Gongsun Li (GSL)/Li Ji – Main character who bore a son with Jing Ke but is now the Emperor’s concubine.
Emperor/Ying Zheng: Emperor of Qin Kingdom and loves Li Ji
Han Shen: Li Ji’s eldest disciple brother who also has feelings for Li Ji but remains in Qin to protect her with the Emperor’s permission.
Jing Ke: Li Ji’s second oldest
Qing’er: GSL’s servant who is very loyal to her.
The Emperor asks Qing’er to take GSL back to her quarters. Then he turns his attention to Lady Min who realises that she is in deep shit. He tells her, “Do you know that I can kill you anytime? But I think I will let you live.” He tells her that the greatest punishment he can bestow on her is to let her personally see Qin overtake her motherland. He then leaves her in shock as she gets weak in her knees and cries into the arms of her servant.
The next day in Zhao, we see Lu Buwei talking to Crown Prince Jia (Zhao Jia) about their plans on what to do with Qin. Due to the lack of messages from Lady Min, they come into a conclusion that she’s in trouble with the Emperor.
Back to GSL, Qing’er blames herself for GSL losing her unborn child. GSL asks Qing’er, “Did I do something wrong?” Qing’er tells her that she’s not wrong and that it was Lady Min’s fault. However, GSL continues to doubt herself and dismisses Qing’er, “I want to be alone for a while”. It’s hard to see her in a depressed mood after losing her unborn child. I feel so bad for her! And those flashbacks!
The Emperor is drinking tea alone with Li Zhong. He asks Li Zhong whether he believes Lady Min’s words about GSL. NO DON’T DOUBT YOUR LOVE!
Li Zhong tells the Emperor that GSL is not a loose woman. The Emperor says that he knows that but he is so angry at the moment. Li Zhong tells him that after a while, he will calm down and make a clearer decision.
Then, we see Lady Chu visiting GSL in her chambers bearing gifts from her parents from Chu. I can’t get used to her nice self. She peels a tangerine and offers it to GSL. However, seeing that GSL is making no move to receive it, she eats one in front of her (to show that it is not poisoned). Then she gives it to GSL who finally takes a bite.
GSL tells Lady Chu that she does not know her motive for coming but she can guess that she wants GSL to help her return back to her former status in the palace. Seems like she’s right as Lady Chu admits it, “I will be very thankful to you”.
Suddenly, Lady Chu’s servant barges into the room to announce that the Empress Dowager Zu has passed away! This upsets Lady Chu and she gets up immediately to see her. However, she faints from shock.
Later, we see that GSL has gotten better and is no longer in bed rest. She visits the Empress Dowager and apologises for her lack of absence. The Empress Dowager’s poor health is clear and she tells GSL that she wants to die in Zhao. She pleads with GSL to help her request this from the Emperor as this is her dying wish.
She goes to see the Emperor who knows that GSL is asking him for help on behalf of someone else. She tells the Emperor that his mother’s health is getting serious and is afraid she doesn’t have much time left. The Emperor understands GSL’s intentions to fulfil his mother’s wishes but tells her that this current situation is a bit impossible. GSL realises that the Emperor intends to fight Zhao and conquer the state. Hence, he says that if GSL and his mother goes to Zhao right now, it will be too dangerous for them both.
GSL tells him that she understands his worries but he owes his mother this much. She tells him that if he allows them to go to Han Dan, she will not reveal both of their identity. And so, the Emperor agrees and says that he will have some people to accompany them for safety. Happy that he agrees, she leaves while the Emperor orders Zhao Gao that protecting GSL will be under Li Zhong’s jurisdiction.
Soon, we see the Empress Dowager’s happy face at being allowed to go back to Zhao before she dies. GSL acts so filial as she’s concerned about the Empress Dowager being cold in this snowy weather. She gives her warm coat to the Empress Dowager saying that she’s too warm and needs to cool off. The Empress Dowager accepts and smiles at her thoughtfulness. She asks GSL whether they are actually going to Han Dan and GSL affirms.
Back in the Qin palace, the Emperor goes to Lady Min’s residence. Noticing her poor expression he tells her that he will bring to a place, “A place where the person who has her heart is in”. He tells her that he’s going to destroy Zhao and he wants to bring her with him to see it. She couldn’t believe her ears, “You sure you want to bring me, a Zhao citizen”. The Emperor tells her that she has to go and obey his orders. Karma is a bitch.
And so we see the Emperor with his army on their way to Zhao. A carriage carrying Lady Min is also in procession as she looks on with hatred.
Back to Lu Bu Wei, he gets news that the Emperor will soon arrive to Han Dan. He tells his servant that the time has come to reveal himself to the Emperor. His servant advises him against it as his plan is not yet complete. But Lu Bu Wei tells his servant that only the Emperor is worthy of ruling all states. He then says that they need to send a message to the Queen Dowager as that will be the only opportunity he can use to meet with the Emperor.
Li Ji goes to check on the Empress Dowager but notices a suspicious servant. It was a man disguising himself as a female servant. He tells GSL that he is here to send a message to the Empress Dowager. GSL reads the message before giving it to the Empress Dowager, “Is this Lu Bu Wei’s handwriting? Is he alive?” The Empress Dowager tells GSL that this message is indeed from Lu Bu Wei. GSL tells her that it will be best to tell the Emperor about this before making a move but the Empress Dowager does not listen and makes a racket.
The next morning, Li Zhong greets GSL. She asks him about the Emperor’s location and Li Zhong says that the Emperor is out with General Meng and would not be back until 4-5 days later. He asks GSL why she’s looking for the Emperor. Seems like she’s making an excuse to help the Empress Dowager see Lu Bu Wei. Unaware of her plans, Li Zhong tells her that they should not go to Han Dan yet as it is dangerous. GSL tells him that they will be fine and she won’t reveal their true identity. Also, she says that her martial art skills are good so they should be fine, “Perhaps do you not trust me?”. Of course he can’t say no so he agrees to her plan.
As GSL makes her way out, Lady Min comes in, “The Emperor thought that this would be the best punishment for me” – referring to seeing him conquer Zhao. She tries to rile up GSL by bringing up her dead child but fails as GSL remains composed.
Meanwhile, Zhao Jia is at a small banquet with other men. He has a small chat with one of the guys who tells him that he suspects the old man of being a person hired from Qin. Soon we see that old man being escorted to his room. He fakes unconsciousness as the two men who escorted him goes through his belonging to find a secret letter. They then leave, “We need to tell our lord”, unaware that the old man knows what they did.
GSL and the Empress Dowager arrive at Lu Bu Wei’s residence in a carriage. Lu Bu Wei asks to speak with the Empress Dowager alone, “She is my woman, what are you afraid of?”. As soon as GSL leaves the room, the Empress Dowager runs into his arms.
Lu Bu Wei becomes straightforward and tells her why he wanted to talk to her, “Tell the Emperor to bring the Qin army to Han Dan”. He reveals his plan to help Qin defeat Zhao. This disappoints the Empress Dowager as she realises that he’s still politically ambitious and is not concerned about her as a family, “You don’t care about me. You don’t care about our Zheng’er…Lu Bu Wei I don’t wish to remain as your wife”.
This angers him as he realised she was not going to listen to his wishes in relaying his message to the Emperor. Hearing the commotion, GSL rushes inside but Lu Bu Wei acted fast and put his dagger against the Empress Dowager’s throat. He threatens his wife’s life by ordering GSL to bring the Emperor here.
The Emperor and his generals are going over their battle plans. They talk about possibilities and strategies to help them be on the winning side against Zhao.
In Zhao, Prince Jia rushes to find Lu Bu Wei. Lu Bu Wei’s servant informs him that he does not know where he is. Seems like Prince Jia discovered that there was a Qin spy and seeks Lu Bu Wei for help.
Then the battle begins. It seems like Zhao is winning but then a messenger from the Zhao palace arrives. Seems like General Li is framed as a traitor to Zhao because they think he has been colluding with Qin. Although it is false, General Li could not accept his King’s distrust towards him and killed himself in front of everyone to try to prove his innocence.
Prince Jia meets with King Zhao covered in blood. He blames the King for letting General Li die. In anger, he threatens to kill the King. The King pleads for his life and says that he should let him talk things over with the Qin Emperor so they can stop this war.
Next scene, Prince Jia goes to see Lu Bu Wei, “You finally decide to come back”. Lu Bu Wei says that things are going according to plan and the Emperor’s seat will be Prince Jia’s. Not believing his words, the Prince scoffs at his statement. Lu Bu Wei placates Prince Jia who tells him, “Fine, I will believe you this time”.
King Zhao, carrying his seal, meets with the Qin Emperor. With his attendants he bows before the Emperor who is still on horseback. The Emperor chats with GSL and they reveal their disappointment at General Li’s death. GSL also informs the Emperor about the Empress Dowager. She says that his mother has already arrived in Han Dan and is waiting for him.
And so, we see the Emperor and GSL meeting with the Empress Dowager. Before he walks into the room, GSL tells him, “No matter what happens, you must remain calm” – she’s smart because she hasn’t told him about Lu Bu Wei yet.
He walks inside the room to find his mother alone. His mother suddenly apologies and then Lu Bu Wei comes out of hiding. This shocks the Emperor as he was supposed to have died. Lu Bu Wei tells the Emperor that he wants to be with him and his mother and return to Qin.
Outside, we see Zhao soldiers surrounding their place. The Emperor immediately suspects Lu Bu Wei is the one who is ambushing them. Lu Bu Wei asserts his innocence but the Emperor does not believe him, “You tricked me again!”. Just as Lu Bu Wei makes a move towards the Emperor, the Emperor quickly stabs him in the chest. Lu Bu Wei finally dies in front of the Emperor’s eyes.
But we know that the Emperor does not mean to kill Lu Bu Wei as he is also shocked at his own actions.
In the Zhao Palace, the King gets informed that the Qin army is creating a massacre in the city. This surprises everyone, including the King, “Didn’t I already surrender?”. The ministers and all of the servants quickly run away, “We must protect our lives!” While they are running away, Lady Min walks in calmly and points her dagger at the king, “Are you going to run away sneakily?”
She tells him how she wanted to be his woman and wife but she now hates him. She blames her misfortunes all on him. She reveals how she helped Zhao Jia because she hates him so much. Her personal feelings are coming out, “The moment you made me marry the Emperor, I’m don’t consider myself as a Zhao citizen”.
The King pushes her away to flee for his life, leaving Lady Min alone. She brings her dagger towards her throat and kills herself. What a sad ending for her.
Later, we see the Emperor with his sword out, being surrounded by dead bodies, “Han Dan, I am finally back”. He says aloud that he used to live in this very street when he was very young and everyone bullied him. Some Zhao citizens plead for their life with a man saying that he used to play with him when he was younger.
The Emperor replies, “Of course, how can I ever forget?” Then we get a flashback of his younger self running away from the bullies. That guy signed his own death sentence, “I will never forgive you in this life”.
Looks like he’s taking out all his pain and sufferings he experienced in his younger days.
The physician tells GSL that there’s nothing he can do to help the Empress Dowager as her health is very poor. He asks her for forgiveness but GSL says that they already know of the Empress Dowager’s poor health. She dismisses the physician and personally takes care of the Empress Dowager who’s calling out for her son, “I want to see him”.
Li Zhong arrives and informs GSL that he was with the Emperor but then he disappeared.
It’s a huge turnaround from the previous two episodes as my heart feels heavier now. Poor Ying Zheng. To think that he retains such vivid memories of being bullied and it scarred him so much. It was not right for him to take out his anger by killing the Zhao citizens but he’s the King and no one else can stop him right? It was sad that he killed his father with his own hands (I don’t like the fact that Lu Bu Wei is his father). But GSL is being strong and I wonder how she will comfort him in the next eps.