We open to the Emperor delivering a well-rehearsed argument for all the reasons that he should make Li'er his Queen: 1)Every state is represented in his harem and because of that he has to deal with the complications of offending someone with his harem 2)A queen from the common people means no feuds among his ministers for power
Li'er tries to back out of this gracefully by explaining that while she is read morenot a negative, she is not beneficial and he should find someone beneficial and besides she doesn't want to deal with the harem. The king ignores this and tells his grandmother that he knows she disagrees, so when he rides out to battle Han, should he win, he gets to have her as Queen
The grand dowager tells him to bring a concubine to battle is the height of scandal. He says nope, it just means that our state is so prosperous he can bring a concubine to battle--
Ru'er predictably states why can only Li'er go with you? And he replies, well you can come, just be prepared to fight. LOLZ
Afterwards, Li'er tells him she is upset because 1)you never talked to me about this and 2)I don't want my child to have to fight over the throne if I become Queen
The emperor diverts her attention by trying to give her a gift (he is so eager, like a kid you can tell he is barely containing his excitement) and its a tray of oranges. Predictably, she says I don't want these, even if its a rare delicacy, and he knocks them to the floor but he isn't angry. He says okay, did deeper. And he pulls out her grandpa's dagger. You know what this is? This is grooming 101 and its working because she is very happy.
Then he sits in his throne room, her at his side, receives Han, promotes him to Middle Guard which means only Li Zhong is above him, and he gives them permission to talk privately whenever they want. She is stunned.
Li'er returns to her rooms with Han, and explains that she can't understand why she saved him, and she doesn't understand her feelings now. (she is being buttered up!)
And the emperor asks Li Zhong if he is being to lax with her, and Li Zhong, not being a moron, says nope. And the emperor says he has finally realized that he can win her by giving her freedom--this is hysterical. All of this chaos, all of it is because he wants to get laid. I love it.
Meanwhile Jing is going into the mountains with Lan'er and someone is following them...I can't remember who the guy is who sent them but he has appeared in older episodes...and it seems this guy wants the mythical legendary sword technique....
The royal eunech, ghao, is discussing what to do with li'er. He acknowledges she is not an enemy but he can't call her a friend. So he decides for now to leave her be but he will have spies reporting on her.
In a great scene, Han confronts Ru'er and tells her that he was appointed to protect Li'er and she needs to stop bullying her otherwise he will act. Essentially he tells her that the emperor gave me this position to cut down people he can't--the emperor won't touch you because he has to think about politics, but I will gladly risk life and limb to protect Ru'er so you better stop--
(so I have lost count of all the warnings that Ru'er has received)
Just before leaving for battle, Li'er reports to the emperor what she knows of Han: Han Fei, the advisor, is smart but has a stutter. He is basically the powerful man while the king is a joke. It kind of illustrates to his men that she has a purpose to serve other than warming the emperor's bed, which is what they will likely suspect.
BUT they reconvene with wind and air, the guys who killed her pops. She freaks, tries to kill them, and the emperor blocks her sword with his armored body. He asks her to stop he orders the guys away, and she says that you only care about losing some good fighters and not about the fact that they killed my grandpa. he says no, I am only concerned about them hurting you (gushing) and she drops the sword and leaves, and he issues an order that the elemental fighters are to never appear in front of her or he will kill them.
Alone, he begins to discuss his battle plans and shares his plans to build the wall of china. In a BIG soap box speech, he tells her that even if the people must suffer, it's to create a stable, better world and even if history derides him as a criminal, he doesn't care (OMG THIS IS DUMB).
While Jing is fighting for his life, she and the emperor are fussing over how to sleep....
Thoughts: I liked this episode because the emperor is like this adorably smug cute guy who is so happy that he has finally found the right tactics to get her in bed and he is clearly so happy that he is making headway with her meanwhile Jing is like fighting for his life AND the emperor is just doing what he wants, no matter the consequences (like the queen issue)