Ning Yi and Zhiwei meet for the first time.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Zhiwei opposes the idea of marrying into the imperial family. “If you raised me so that I can marry into wealth, why would you allow Teacher Zong to teach me? I’m highly educated. How can I endure a life of confinement after marriage?” She asks her mother.
Feng Hao returns home. Tempted by the wedding dowry, he does not care who Zhiwei has to marry. Zhiwei mocks her brother for being greedy, emphasizing that their new wealth comes from selling her.
Later in the garden, Zhiwei sees Yuhua arguing with Zhu Yin, a famous courtesan from Lanxiang House. Zhu Yin is at the Qiu residence because Qiu Shangqi hired her to perform in a banquet for Chang Hai. Zhiwei sees a kindred spirit in Zhu Yin and defends her. Yuhua does not dare to argue back, fearful of Zhiwei’s status once she marries into the imperial family.
A murder occurs, and the victim is a royal guard. A note left in the mouth of the dead body warns that “anyone who betrays the Bloody Pagoda will be killed.” The Bloody Pagoda supports the fallen Cheng dynasty, and Gu Yan, Head of the Royal Guards, used to be a member of the organization before his defection.
Ning Yi and Xin Ziyan did not kill the royal guard, but Xin Ziyan planted evidence to make it seem like the Bloody Pagoda committed the murder. It is clear someone wants to create trouble for the Crown Prince. Thus Ning Yi decides: “They’ve started. Why don’t we give them a hand?”
At the Qiu residence, 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 Zhu Yin could have lost it while arguing with Yuhua.
Meanwhile, Ning Yi receives a letter from Xin Ziyan, which provides an update on what Ning Chuan is doing. His servant, Ning Cheng, already delivered Ning Yi’s invitations to the three princes and reveals that Ning Sheng bribed him when they met. Ning Yi encourages 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, Zhu Yin is an informant for Ning Yi. Meeting with Ning Yi in her room, she confirms what he suspects. Qiu Shangqi is a fox trying to appease all the factions, specifically Ning Chuan’s faction led by Chang Hai. She teases 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 Zhu Yin’s hairpin. However, he knocks over the screen, alarming Zhiwei because she sees him holding a pair of scissors. He snips a loose thread from her outfit and explains, “I’m a tailor who makes outfits for the women here.”
As she leaves, Zhiwei hears several courtesans talk about the tailor she met coming from Ning Yi’s household, so she stops him and asks, “Tell me what Prince of Chu does daily. Does he throw parties, ride horses and gets into fights all the time?”
Hiding his identity, Ning Yi corrects Zhiwei, describing himself as someone who is obsessed with dyeing and weaving fabric. Zhu Yin pulls Ning Yi aside, warning him that a concubine at the Qiu residence called Zhiwei “Princess.” He looks at Zhiwei more carefully, wondering if she is his betrothed.
Life at the Qiu residence is not easy for Zhiwei. Thirteen years ago, her mother returned to the clan in dire circumstances. As the eldest brother, Qiu Shangqi could not forget the shame Zhiwei’s mother caused when she eloped with a man, 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.
Regarding the marriage, Zhiwei’s mother seeks the advice of Zhiwei’s teacher, Zong Chen. Zhiwei interrupts their conversation and assures them that her opinion of Ning Yi has changed for the better. Her mother cries and apologizes to Zhiwei, but refuses to explain why.
On the day of Ning Yi’s banquet, Zhiwei dresses like a courtesan from Lanxiang House and follows a group of courtesans going 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 does not sound like Qiu Shangqi’s daughter. By all accounts, the young lady rarely ventures outside. Spoiled rotten, she is arrogant and rude with a terrible temper.