The Rise of Phoenixes: Episode 2

Feng Hao urges Zhiwei to agree to the marriage. If she marries into a rich family, he’ll benefit, too. His thoughtlessness provokes her to hit him. As he scrambles away, a hairpin drops on the floor. He claims to have found it in the garden. Zhiwei guesses Zhuyin could have lost it while arguing with Yuhua.

Ning Cheng, Ning Yi’s longtime servant, gives Ning Yi a letter from Xin Ziyan, which provides an update on what Ning Chuan is up to. He already delivered Ning Yi’s invitations to the three princes and reveals that Ning Sheng tried to bribe him. Ning Yi tells Ning Cheng to spend the money well so Ning Sheng hears about it. As payback, Ning Yi plans to give his second brother a “big gift.”

Like Xin Ziyan, Zhuyin is an informant for Ning Yi. Meeting with Ning Yi in her room, she confirms what he suspects – Qiu Shangqi obeys the Emperor while trying to appease Ning Chuan’s faction, specifically Chang Hai. She couldn’t resist teasing Ning Yi, hinting about meeting an interesting person related to him at the Qiu residence.

A commotion outside the room halts their conversation. Ning Yi hides behind a screen right before Zhiwei barges in to return Zhuyin’s hairpin. However, he knocks over the screen, alarming Zhiwei because she sees him holding a pair of scissors. He introduces himself as a tailor who is there to make outfits for the courtesans.

Leaving Zhuyin’s room, Zhiwei hears several courtesans talk about the tailor she just met coming from Ning Yi’s household, so she stops him to ask about “his master.” The image she has in mind is someone who wastes his time drinking, hunting, and fighting. Ning Yi corrects her, describing the sixth prince as living like an ordinary citizen who is obsessed with dyeing and weaving fabrics.

Zhuyin pulls Ning Yi away. She warns him that people at the Qiu residence call Zhiwei “Princess.” Ning Yi looks at Zhiwei more carefully, wondering if she is his betrothed.

Life at the Qiu residence isn’t easy for Zhiwei. Thirteen years ago, her mother returned to the clan in dire circumstances. As the eldest brother, Qiu Shangqi couldn’t forget the shame Zhiwei’s mother caused when she ran away from home, so he refused to help.

Without anywhere else to go, a young Zhiwei knelt in the street and pleaded with the Qiu family to take pity on her sick mother and young brother. The public scene forced the Qiu family to take in Zhiwei’s mother, Zhiwei and Feng Hao.

Returning home, Zhiwei finds her mother talking to her teacher, Zong Chen. She assures them that she doesn’t mind the marriage because her opinion of Ning Yi has changed for the better. Her mother cries and apologizes to Zhiwei but won’t explain why.

It’s the day of Ning Yi’s banquet. Zhiwei dresses like a courtesan and follows a group of courtesans to Ning Yi’s residence. After arriving, she sneaks to the living quarters.

In his room, Ning Yi listens to Ning Cheng’s report on Qiu Yuluo. In Ning Cheng’s opinion, the young lady Ning Yi met doesn’t sound like Qiu Shangqi’s daughter. From all accounts, the young lady rarely ventures outside. Spoiled rotten, she is arrogant and rude with a terrible temper. Several days ago, she sold a maid because the maid accidentally dropped a gold hairpin.

Suddenly, Ning Yi hears Zhiwei’s voice lying to his guards about being a courtesan who’s there to entertain at the banquet. As soon as she sees him, she whispers to him to help her. He confirms knowing her, so the guards leave. She asks him to arrange a meeting with “his master,” but she won’t say for what purpose. He agrees to do so if she lets him blindfold her.

Ning Yi orders Ning Cheng to take Zhiwei to a gazebo and lock the door of the gazebo. A lake surrounds the gazebo, so she cannot leave. Zhiwei thinks her courage is being tested, so she stays there without complaining.

At this point, Ning Yi is certain he is not dealing with Qiu Shangqi’s daughter. As long as the factions at court see him as a nail that needs to be removed, Qiu Shangqi won’t let his daughter marry him. Since the banquet will begin soon, he can’t let Zhiwei wander around and ruin the important event.

Ning Chuan, Ning Sheng, and Ning Yan all show up for the banquet. Ning Chuan woos Ning Yi to his faction by encouraging Ning Yi to visit him more often. However, Ning Yi declines, stating that he wants to spend his time weaving and making outfits. The reply pleases Ning Chuan.

It has turned dark, but Zhiwei is still locked in the gazebo. She calls for help, but no one comes to her aid. In desperation, she jumps into the lake and attempts to swim to shore.

As the banquet draws to a close, Ning Yi gets news about someone jumping into the lake. He concludes that it must be an assassin, but why would anyone want to kill a useless prince like him? Ning Chuan suspects he might be the target and leads everyone to the lake to catch the assassin.

Zhiwei almost makes it when a crowd appears with torches on the shore, forcing her to hide underwater. Ning Yi tosses a hollow stick to Ning Cheng, who tosses it into the lake so Zhiwei can use it to breathe. After looking around, Ning Yi and his brothers return inside to wait for news.

The search ends without finding anything suspicious. Ning Chuan brings up the murder of a Royal guard by the Bloody Pagoda. In addition, there is a rumor about the ninth child of the Cheng dynasty’s imperial family still being alive. While these events target Ning Chuan, they also cause a headache for Ning Sheng because they happen in his territory. Acting like a drunken fool, Ning Yi asks a question no one else dares to say out loud. Ning Chuan became Crown Prince because he eliminated the Cheng dynasty’s imperial family, but if a descendant is still alive, what does that mean for Ning Chuan’s status?

Ning Sheng pulls Ning Yi outside to prevent him from offending Ning Chuan further. Still pretending to be drunk, Ning Yi says he can’t remember what happened at the cliff years ago because he was too young, causing Ning Sheng to doubt if Ning Chuan killed the baby from the Cheng dynasty’s imperial family.

Ning Cheng saves Zhiwei in time. Ning Yi checks on her and gives her dry clothes. She tells him to douse the candles. He does so but still stays in the room while she changes clothes behind a screen.

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