With all the clues pointing to a specific investigator as the culprit behind the plum tree mysterious burning, our crown prince faces an arduous test of whether he will choose to trust his best friend or let doubts get the best of him and make him lose the people around him one on one. No need to worry, though; our crown prince has a great partner who helps him make the right decision.
Picking up where we left off, seeing how only the plum tree is set ablaze, and no matter how much water is used, the servants can’t control the fire until a long time passes, Hwan calls for Jae-yi who is again already on the way to see him. Ga-ram and Myung-jin have come to her rescue, and almost captured the attacker. But then, a fellow assassin showed up and helped him escape. Jae-yi wanted to follow them, but Ga-ram and Myung-jin advised her not to since it was dangerous.
Seeing how dangerous the situation is, Jae-yi rushes back to the palace to help Hwan. Before he met Jae-yi, Hwan endured everything alone, but now he has someone who genuinely cares about him. Checking the plum tree, Jae-yi concludes it was coated by sulfur. But that is not enough to set the plum tree on fire for that long.
Hwan and Jae-yi head to see the only one who can uncover the truth behind what happened, Myung-jin, who solves the mystery. Probably, someone coated the tree with sulfur, gunpowder, and beeswax to make it look like the plum tree was set on fire as per the curse, since the plum tree represents the royal family. Sulfur and gunpowder can be brought through the war department. While beeswax is sold at the market.
Before we can investigate who is the one that recently bought those three things, we get a semi-double date with our quartet having a meal together. It is funny how Jae-yi keeps complaining that this is the first proper meal she had in a while. You know, back in the palace, she continues running errands for the crown prince, who doesn’t even care to check if she ate her meals. Even last night, she had a bowl of water for dinner. The look on Hwan’s face while hearing that is priceless.
Hwan gives Jae-yi the assignment of finding out who purchased the three things along with 3 nyangs instead of the ones she lost after betting on Sung-on. But our girl is sharper than Hwan thinks. After hearing that Hwan had joined the game, she changed her bet to Hwan; so she didn’t lose her precious money. But since Hwan insists, she will take the money he is offering.
A trip to the market and the war department provides Jae-yi with three ledgers pointing to the same person. And wouldn’t we guess it? That person is Sung-on or at least someone in his family. But is Sung-on really behind that incident, or is it a red herring?
Jae-yi remains torn about whether or not to tell Hwan. But after sleeping on it, she resolves to tell the truth regardless of anything. The next we see Sung-on is when the guards head to his house to arrest his father and imprison the whole family to become servants. But the arrest is interrupted by Hwan and Jae-yi’s arrival. But Hwan isn’t here to list the crimes Sung-on’s father is accused of, but to prove their innocence.
After giving Sung-on the scare of his life, Hwan heads to the storage where the three items are kept. Hence, he proves that Sung-on’s family got the three items for different purposes than committing treason. Sadly for Jae-yi, the storage contains all the wedding items Sung-on prepared for her. Also, those three items turned out to be for the wedding preparations.
The highlight of that incident is the following heart-touching scene between the old friends. Sung-on is relieved and touched by Hwan’s decision to trust him above anything, and Hwan asks Sung-on to become friends again. But there has never been a day when Sung-on didn’t see Hwan as a friend.
We end the episode with a heartfelt reunion between the old friends, who I hope will stay on good terms until the end. Having Sung-on as a multi-layered complex character is good, but seeing how the mere thought of Sung-on’s betrayal deeply hurts Hwan, I want those two to stay loyal to each other till the end.
I am glad that instead of falling into Minister Jo’s trap (He sent someone to tail Jae-yi, swapped the actual ledgers, and then called the guards to Sung-on’s family house), Hwan went there intending to protect his friend. Yeah, it was a gamble with the possibility of Sung-on betraying Hwan. But what matters is that Hwan chose trust over doubt.
On a darker note, we get some snippets about the Song family and why they serve as a threat to the royal family. About a decade ago, some bandits led by a man from the Song family rebelled against the royal family. But the leader was executed, and the rebellion was subdued by minister Jo, who took that chance to rise in the ranks. Now the people believe the shaman got possessed by the leader’s ghost, who is out to get the royal family and punish them for their crimes.
I don’t know how that arc will develop. Still, at least we now know that the assassins, including the tavern couple and part of the remaining bandits, and all their shady actions are part of the plan to overturn the royal family.