The Imperial Coroner

Overview

Title: 御赐小仵作

Synopsis: Chu Chu is a young female coroner who hails from a family of coroners and is unorthodox because there has not been a female coroner before. She travels to the capital to take the national coroner exam in hopes of becoming an official coroner for the government. Through the exam, she meets Prince Xiao Jin Yu, who is an honorable and upright official in charge of administering justice. She mistakes him for the subject of the coroner exam but luckily he recognizes her talent and enlists her to help him as he and his friends investigate a series of mysterious cases. Together, they chase down clues and unravel shocking murders and mysteries that have dragged on for years. Chu Chu also figures out her birth secrets and family background. Along the way, romance blooms for the friends. They solve the murder mysteries and she wins the approval of the emperor and is certified as an Imperial Coroner.

Cast:
Su Xiao Tong: Chu Chu
Wang Zi Qi: Xiao Jin Yu / Prince An
Zhao Yao Ke: Leng Yue
Yang Ting Dong: Jing Yu
Wang Yan Bin: Xiao Jin Li
Guo Qiu Cheng: Xue Ru Cheng / Prince Chang

Airing status: Completed

Number of episodes: 36

Genre: Historical Romance

Ratings:
Overall: 9/10
Historical Romance Genre: 9/10

Where to watch:
YouTube (english subtitles)
Dramacool (english subtitles)
Chinaqtv (chinese subtitles)

Recaps 

[Episode 1]

Chu Chu travels to the capital and runs into Jing Yi, who hols a vice minister position in the justice department. She helps to expose a man who was defrauding others and impresses Jing Yi. He gives her a special token that would allow her to take the national coroner exam without any issue since she is female, and people were prejudiced against female coroners. She hears about Prince An whose name is Xiao Jin Yu and thinks that his name is “small goldfish” because of how the characters sound. She thinks it’s a strange name but goes with it. She takes the exam and encounters Prince An. She mistakenly assumes that he is the injured “victim” for her coroner exam and starts diagnosing what his injuries are. He lets her do so and doesn’t correct her misassumption. She tells him to kneel so that she can examine the wound on his forehead and although his subordinates are shocked, he complies. Chu Chu aces the test and deduces exactly how Prince An was injured and what injuries he has (one more on his butt but he refuses to show her). He doesn’t quite pass her and make her an official coroner because there are some issues with her background check but he keeps her with him.

Qin Luan is the evil villain and he is the head eunuch. Almost 20 years ago, the eunuchs were fighting to gain power and there was huge unrest all across the country. Eunuchs during the Tang dynasty had a lot of influence and power on the throne. He was sent south to punish the rebels but he flipped the situation and used his army to kill the emperor’s army. Xiao Heng, who is Xiao Jin Yu’s father, was chased by Qin Luan and the evil army to a cliff where he jumped and was assumed dead. His body was never recovered.

When Prince An is taking Chu Chu to see the crime scene, the waiter from the inn that she had been staying at comes running to claim the payment from her. She had left behind a carved rock as collateral. Prince An takes interest in that rock. She tells him that she can only tell her “Jade Face Judge” who is the chief of the Six Gates. He tells her he is not that person.

[Episode 2]

Xiao Jin Yu brings Chu Chu to the murder scene where one of the corpses, the minister of military, was killed. Based on her autopsy, they reenact the murder and she plays the victim and he plays the murderer. As a result, she deduces how he was murdered. After gaining a better understanding of the murder, they and Jing Yu now suspect the courtesan who was the witness. She had supposedly been the first to see the dead victim and yelled for help. Jing Yu goes off to track down the courtesan and question her.

Chu Chu gives Prince An a special medication for the bruise on his forehead. He tells her he doesn’t need it which makes her downhearted because she thinks that he doesn’t want her things as she is a coroner and “dirty” or “unlucky”. Those were common things that people then thought about coroners. She is sad by his rejection. He then decides to take the little box of medication and tells her that he doesn’t think the things she has touched are dirty because after all, she’s touched him too during the coroner exam. She cleans the box with her sleeve before handing it over to him.

Prince An doesn’t trust Chu Chu because she still refuses to tell him about her history with the rock and her background is still in question. His men save her when Qin Luan’s men try to kidnap her because of the rock.

[Episode 3]

Because of the attack, Prince An decides to let her stay at his manor. She is valuable to him because he wants to know the history of the rock and she is too innocent and at risk of being attacked by his enemies if she stays by herself. She tries to thank him for taking her in but his maid tells her that he has people cooking and cleaning for him already. She then notices a lot of land in his courtyard and decides to buy some chickens for him so that he has eggs and fresh chicken. Prince An wakes up to the sound of a rooster crowing and is incredulous. His face when he sees that she bought chickens for him is priceless but he cannot refute her argument and she only did it to thank him. He thanks her and she happily states that there’s more room in the courtyard so she plans to also plant a vegetable garden for him. He continues to be speechless.

There’s a new murder that Prince An suspects is related to the other cases that he is investigating. However, because they have not asked for a coroner, Chu Chu has to go undercover as his maid. She starts her training as a maid. Prince An asks her for a towel after washing his face and she tells him that it’s right in front of his face. He’s like, “If I can get it myself, why would I need a maid?” Chu Chu: Oh. She hands him the towel with one hand. He corrects her that she needs to serve it with two hands and bow her head. Chu Chu does so but complains about the pain and how she doesn’t know how to bow. Prince An then describes which bone and joint needs to bend at what degree and Chu Chu gets it instantly.

At the funeral, Jing Yi runs into Prince An and Chu Chu. He helps them create an opportunity to do a quick autopsy on the victim. Chu Chu finds claw marks on the victim’s chest. On the way back, Prince An wants to talk work but Jing Yi says it’s lunch time so they end up at a restaurant. Prince An orders food for Chu Chu from her hometown, which seems thoughtful but he’s actually just testing her to see if she’s really from that hometown. Chu Chu finds the restaurant owner suspicious because his face doesn’t make sense as a whole and his features look pieced together from various regions.

Chu Chu happens to see Prince An’s chest and yanks his shirt to the side to see if he has a scar. However, he does not and she confirms that he isn’t the “Jade Face Judge” that she has been looking for.

Chu Chu believes the claw marks on the victim’s chest were done by someone trying to save the victim. They try to reenact the murder scene again with Chu Chu as the rescuer and Prince An as the victim. She tries to claw at his clothes and he has to let her. She then moves in to try and give him mouth-to-mouth CPR and they almost kiss. Jing Yi is highly amused at the upright and cold Prince An letting this happen.

[Episode 4]

Jing Yi stops them from kissing. Chu Chu seriously tells them both that she was trying to save Prince An or the “victim” in this case, and the rescuer probably has some medical knowledge and is a woman. She was trying to perform CPR on the victim.

Qin Luan is also interested in Chu Chu and her background because of the rock that she has. They find out that when Chu Chu was born, her supposed Chu mother had already been dead for almost 10 years after giving birth to Chu He (Chu Chu’s brother). Chu Ping is her father and brought Chu Chu home so people believed that Chu Chu was born out of wedlock.

Prince An tells Chu Chu that there is no way he can be the “Jade Face Judge” that she is looking for because she first heard the stories about that judge when she was six which means that he would also have been a child. These stories were actually about his father but neither of them know that.

Chu Chu examines the two other corpses, who were also government officials. She notices that they have injuries at the back of their heads in the same place. She does another reenactment with Prince An, and he’s used to it already. These reenactments usually end with him catching her in a romantic pose. Jing Yi is also there again to witness this.

Chu Chu decides that she needs to re-examine the last corpse again. However, his family is unhappy with Prince An already because they know that he was trying to do an autopsy on the corpse. They think that the ministry of military died while at a brothel with a courtesan so they’re trying to hide that fact. It’s embarrassing especially to the head wife of the victim. However, under the pretense of apologizing, they get into the house again and Chu Chu has 30 mins to do the autopsy. Qin Luan’s men are also trying to prevent Chu Chu from figuring out what’s going on. They decided to lock the funeral room with Chu Chu inside and burn it.

[Episode 5]

There’s a fire and Prince An runs in to save Chu Chu. She still tries to save the corpse but he gets her out. Luckily, his men are able to also save the corpse. The victim’s family is furious and blame Chu Chu for starting the fire. Prince An quickly disproves them by saying that if they had started the fire, why would Chu Chu try to save the corpse? Her hands had gotten burnt too from trying to protect the corpse from the fire. He demands an apology and Chu Chu is touched.

Qin Luan is angry with his men because he only wanted to destroy the corpse and not kill Chu Chu. He still needs her to figure out what is up with the rock.

Back at the manor, Prince An brings her some rare grapes which are a gift from his mother. Chu Chu asks Prince An if he was afraid of dying when he ran into the fire to save her. He says, “Yes, I was afraid.” Her: Then why did you still go in? Him: Because I was more afraid that you would die.

He then tries to negate that by saying that there would have been a lot of annoying paperwork if she had died. He also scolds her that her life is more valuable than that of a corpse so she needs to protect herself first. Chu Chu is a smart girl and continues questioning him, “Why couldn’t you have let Wu Jiang (his bodyguard) save her instead?” Prince An has equally good answers for her questions. If Wu Jiang had gone, she would have tried to save the corpse vs. if he went, she would want him to be out of the fire ASAP. This whole time he’s cutely peeling grapes for her because she found the skin bitter.

Chu Chu figures out that all three victims had their skulls hit in the same spot, likely by the same murderer. She had opened the last victim’s skull to figure that out and both Prince An and Jing Yu are shocked. That kind of autopsy was not common. She reassures them that she put the corpse back together and they’re so confused. She finds that there are bruises at the front and back of the head that were generated from someone hitting the victim from the front so that they would hit the back of their skull and then slowly die from the brain injury. This always happened at some brothel so that people would just think that they were drunk since their speech would start slurring.

Jing Yi joins them now by flying in through the window. He apparently has a bad window-entering habit. He wants some grapes but Prince An only wants to save them for Chu Chu. Jing Yi reveals that he chased the arsonists back to Qin Luan. While tracing back the brothel / bar that the last victim died at, they suddenly remember that restaurant where they had lunch at together. Chu Chu remembers that the restaurant owner looked suspicious because his face was just weirdly “pieced” together.

They head to the restaurant but the owner has disappeared. They figure out that there’s an underground hidden chamber because the kitchen is very hot thanks to Chu Chu’s hint. Chu Chu finds out that Prince An has some sort of claustrophobia where he can’t be in rooms with no windows. She promises to keep it a secret for him. She gives him a handkerchief to wipe his sweat. In the chamber, Jing Yi finds empty shelves that used to contain spy information on various important people. He finds a note that is burned but says “25th day, Princess Xi Ping’s feast”. Princess Xi Ping is Prince An’s mother.

[Episode 6]

Prince An is talented with drawing too and he draws the restaurant owner’s face from memory so that the police can start hunting for him. Chu Chu describes how the owner’s face looks weird and Prince An guesses that he’s using disguises so the drawing won’t help as much.

Qin Luan helps the restaurant owner to successfully escape the capital and tells him to lay low. His general lackey hides the owner under a cart and they manage to leave the capital. Qin Luan had used the restaurant owner and the restaurant as a base for collecting confidential information as well as for assigning kills. When the owner received an assignment, he sends a message through a locker of sorts to the hitmen. This is how all 3 victims had died.

Prince An learns that the little white bone on the handkerchief that Chu Chu gave him is the 5th left rib, which is her favorite bone since it’s closest to where the heart beats. She asks him if the sewing looks nice. He tells her it is pretty. When she leaves, he smiles down at the sewing on the handkerchief as he feels his own heartbeat.

Prince An goes to Princess Xi Ping’s house and brings her the scrolls on his father that he had found in the chamber. He finally learns from his mother that his father’s corpse was never found and now Prince An believes that his father is alive and that’s why Qin Luan is doing all this.

[Episode 7]

Leng Yue is Prince An and Jing Yi’s childhood friend. She is the only granddaughter of a prominent general who is guarding the south border. She is also a renown beauty. She meets Chu Chu and asks her if she is the girl who had touched Prince An all over and even tried to get him to take off his clothes. Chu Chu states that she cannot deny the facts just like how she cannot deny the fact that Leng Yue is really beautiful. If Chu Chu was a man, she would want to marry Leng Yue too. Prince An comes and Leng Yue meets him to report on her findings on Chu Chu’s family background.

Prince An asks Chu Chu to write up the autopsy report for the 3 corpses but to leave the coroner’s name blank. She sulks because she thinks that he’s doing that as she isn’t an official coroner yet. He’s told her that she’s still under “assessment”. While Chu Chu is waiting for Prince An to give him her report, she sees Leng Yue leaving his room and using a gray handkerchief that looks like the one she had given him. She is upset and accidentally scrunches up the report. Prince An doesn’t mind and tells her that it’s fine since the words are still legible. Chu Chu then asks him if he likes pretty girls and he tells her of course. To him, “pretty girls” means that seeing the girl would make him happy so the girl that he likes would be a “pretty girl”. That’s not quite what she was asking but it makes sense in a roundabout way.

Chu Chu sees a portrait that she recognizes as the first victim who had been struck by lightning and was completely burnt. She is so talented as a corner that she can reconstruct their face from looking at their skull. That victim was an assassin who wanted protection from Prince An and had told him there would be a series of murders on government officials. However, before he could get to Prince An’s place, he was unluckily struck by lightning and burnt by the sesame oil that he was carrying.

Prince An shows her a painting of Xiao Heng and she accidentally exposes that she recognizes him. She runs away and doesn’t say anymore.

[Episode 8]

Chu Chu worries that she will accidentally expose everything to Prince An if she stays, thus betraying Xiao Heng’s confidence. She still doesn’t know that he is Prince An’s father and just knows that she had promised him to keep his confidence. She decides to leave the manor. She packs her bags but realizes that she had lost the token they gave her which allows her to leave the capital. Prince An had foreseen that she might try to leave and gotten Wu Jiang to take the token alway. She tells him that she had lost the token but wants to leave. He doesn’t look concerned and she is sad that he is not more disappointed that she is leaving.

Later, Chu Chu gets a letter from Prince An telling her that he thinks that she is a talented coroner and he hopes that she doesn’t leave. He asks for her help in doing an autopsy for another corpse and she forgives him because she is touched that he thinks she is a good coroner. She decides not to leave anymore. He tells Wu Jiang to return her lost token.

Prince An reports his findings to the emperor and the picture it paints is very concerning. Something is going on because three things are connected – confidential information, counterfeit money, and military involvement. All of these incidences were traced back to the south, Xinan. He asks the emperor for permission to secretly investigate these under the pretense of investigating his father’s disappearance.

Before they leave for the south, Jing Yi and his father, who is also a senior government official, take a bath together. He tells his father about Chu Chu and her “jade face judge”. His father reveals that “jade face judge” is a nickname he came up with for Xiao Heng, who was his closest friend because he was a man of integrity. Only he and Xiao Heng know about that nickname.

[Episode 9]

Chu Chu decides to try and make Prince An fall in love with her because she likes him. Since he likes “pretty girls” she applies makeup to make herself look pretty. However, she’s only had experience putting makeup on corpses. She looks quite terrible and he thinks she is practicing corpse makeup and tells her to wash her face. She is disappointed. Later, she gives him a shiny mirror ladle that she had made herself. She had taken one of the ladles from his kitchen and used a rock to shine it. She says that he can use it to see inside window-less rooms since he has that phobia and it has both convex and concave sides. He is touched by her present.

He asks her to go to the south with him as part of her process to becoming an official coroner. He will quiz her along the way and she is excited and agrees. Leng Yue and Jing Yi also go south with them. Jing Yi’s father pushes for a marriage between Xiao Jin Li and Leng Yue. He knows that his own son likes Leng Yue but because both of their families are politically strong, a union would make the emperor suspicious of both families and create trouble. He also knows through his spy network that Leng Yue’s grandfather, Leng Pei Shan, was sick but had hidden his illness from the emperor. He worries that Leng Pei Shan is secretly planning a revolt. Thus, by marrying Leng Yue to Xiao Jin Li, they would be able to control Leng Pei Shan through his only granddaughter.

Without them knowing, Qin Luan had told Xu Ru Gui, the sketchy restaurant owner, to kill Prince An and his friends when they reach the south.

[Episode 10]

Xu Ru Gui and a group of his men ambush Prince An and his friends in the mountains. They survive because Xiao Jin Li comes to their rescue with his military men. Leng Yue protects Chu Chu and gets slashed. It’s not a serious injury but Jing Yi is worried. They recover by the river and Chu Chu shows off her coroner skills by expertly skinning and spearing fish for their meal. Prince An is impressed and recites a poem to convey his admiration but no one understands it because it’s too profound. There’s an awkward moment of silence and then Jing Yi translates that he had meant, “Amazing!”

They travel on to Guanlinxian, Chu Chu’s hometown, and run into Chu He, her brother. He tries to take her home and doesn’t like her company because he doesn’t trust them. Prince An takes her back home and after seeing her with her family, he reveals who he is. He asks about the “witch uncle” who was the local medicinal healer because he suspects that he is Xiao Heng. He ends up asking to stay the night at the Chu family home and Chu Chu is shocked.

[Episode 11]

Prince An is suspicious of Chu Chu’s family and thinks that they are hiding something. Even though Chu Chu had been gone a while and didn’t write them letters, their first reaction when seeing her was just to rejoice happily instead of worrying over her. They’re “too nice” to her.

Prince An drinks a lot over dinner and Chu Chu prepares a soup to counteract the effects because she had noticed that he has a weak stomach. He asks her to keep it a secret from his brother and Jing Yi. She says that her family is happy that he wants to stay at the Chu family home because all her life, other people had avoided them because they are coroners and therefore “unlucky”. He asked whether she herself is really happy. She is but is worried that he has brought her home only to leave her there. He smiles and promises that he wouldn’t do that. He also brings out a gift for her. It is a forensic kit of various metal tools that he had made himself during the trip, at night. He has insomnia and spent the nights making this for her because her previous kit had been burnt in the fire.

Jing Yi finds out that the Chu family is quite weird as they are poor but spend money doing offerings at tomb sites for people who aren’t related to them. Chu He is upset with these officials who have taken his sister away and dares them to catch the ghost who had been haunting the “witch uncle’s” house for many years. If they can’t do that, then they can’t take Chu Chu away. So off they go to the house that very night.

Prince An isn’t worried and knocks on the wall of rocks. He figures out that the rocks are the source of the noise generated because of the wind. Inside the knocked over rock wall, they find the corpse of a eunuch who had been wrapped with various herbs to keep it from decaying. They also find an iron rod, which is the weapon, buried with the body. The “witch uncle” had been started creating the “ghost sounds” to prevent people from poking around his house because he had hidden the body there.

[Episode 12]

Chu Chu does the autopsy and finds out that the eunuch had died many years ago and the rod was what had dealt the fatal blow. They also figure out that the “witch uncle” had been the one who killed the eunuch because of the other injuries that he had, which were dealt from lower down and further away. The “witch uncle” had broken legs so he couldn’t stand. Chu Chu and Prince An do the simulation and they end up in another romantic pose.

Xiao Jin Li defends that the “witch uncle” had done it in self defense. However, Chu He argues that if it was self defense, why would he have kept the body in the wall like that.

Prince An orders everyone there to keep the corpse a secret while he investigates it further. However, Chu He is nervous because of how astute Prince An is and tells Chu Ping about it. He is afraid that the Chu family will be in trouble if the local magistrate finds out. They’re more worried that Prince An will continue digging into Chu Chu’s background and figure out the truth.

Prince An finally tells Chu Chu that the black rock is half of the love token his father and mother shared. He believes the “witch uncle” is actually his father. However, Chu Chu takes this news poorly because she thinks that he only brought her here to learn more about Xiao Heng and didn’t actually intend to make her an official coroner. She feels misled by him.

Jing Yi has gone through all the local records and figured out who Chu Chu’s birth mother is because the Chu family had picked up a woman corpse on the same day that Chu Chu was born. Her mother turns out to be the younger sister of the Xu family. She had supposedly been in an argument with her brother and then committed suicide. Prince An confronts the Chu family while Chu Chu leaves the room. Chu Ping had been asked to collect the corpse late at night and found a pregnant woman who was almost full term. He asks about the child and all the Chu men glance around hesitantly. They didn’t want to tell her the truth because they would rather people think that she was born out of wedlock than she was a coffin baby that they rescued from a dead woman’s body. However, Chu Chu overhears everything. Grandpa Chu vehemently states that even though she is not his blood granddaughter, but they had saved her and therefore she is a Chu granddaughter.

Chu Ping kneels and says that he had wanted to return the child but at the time, the Xu family had disappeared and they heard that they had fallen into trouble so they kept Chu Chu to raise. Chu He also kneels to beg for forgiveness and says that Chu Chu has nothing to do with the Xu family. Grandpa Chu kneels to beg Prince An to spare Chu Chu since the deception was done by them and not her. Chu Chu is sad and also kneels to plead with Prince An to spare her family. She tells him that she will tell him about the rock if he will release them. Her pleas hurt him because they reveal what kind of person she believes he is. He’s so upset that he throws up blood.

[Episode 13]

Prince An wakes up and Chu Chu goes to his room. He tells her that he is not going to punish her family. He also never lied about her talent and does think that she is a very good coroner. He only pushed so hard on her family background because he needs to know everything about her in order to prepare and protect her and his loved ones. If he doesn’t know things about her, he would be putting her and others at risk, which is why he wasn’t able to let his guard down.

Prince An: I knew you wouldn’t be happy if I investigated your past but compared to risking your safety, I would rather you hate me.
Chu Chu: No, I couldn’t hate you.
Prince An: You thought that I was using your family’s lives to threaten you. How could you say that you didn’t hate me. You don’t trust me and I shouldn’t force you to stay with me then.
Chu Chu: No, I don’t hate you. In contrast, you’re too amazing, smart, just, especially when you’re investigating and administering justice. You shine as brightly as the sun. Someone as good as you treats me so well so how could I hate you. Other than my family, no one else treats me as well as you do. I’m afraid that all this isn’t real.
Prince An: Chu Chu, I’m only good to you because you deserve it.
Chu Chu: I won’t go anywhere and I just want to follow you. Give me another chance and I’ll trust you and not make you angry.
Prince An: There’s no need.
Chu Chu: Prince An, please.
Prince An: There’s no need to continue testing you anymore.
Chu Chu: Oh really?
Prince An: If you are willing to continue following me, there’s nothing more I can ask for.
Chu Chu: silence
Prince An: You don’t believe me?
Chu Chu: Yes, I believe you!

Chu Chu asks him if he will punish her family for their deception. He says seriously that he will pardon them on one condition – he wants to drink chicken soup. He wants no blood, no grease, light flavored chicken soup. Chu Chu is relieved and does so.

Chu He isn’t happy with this turn of events because he likes Chu Chu and since they are not blood relations, he wants to marry her. This way she will truly be a part of the Chu family. Chu Ping tells him that it has to be mutual. Xiao Jin Li overhears their conversation.

He goes and asks Prince An why he was so angry that he threw up blood. Prince An is also confused since this had never happened before. Xiao Jin Li also asks why won’t Chu Chu tell them the truth about the “witch uncle”. Chu Chu comes into the room with the chicken soup and he smiles slightly at seeing her.

Chu Chu tells Prince An about the “witch uncle” who is Xiao Heng. He had stayed in their village and the Chu family had helped him. He had disappeared five years ago and left behind a letter. She had kept him a secret because he had asked her to.

Grandpa Chu gives Chu Chu her mother’s hairpin that he had kept all these years. Prince An secretly asks Jing Yi to investigate the origins of the hairpin since the design is quite unique and indicates a family of some power. He also tells Chu Chu that the year her mother and father was said to have died did not have any natural disasters, so they were likely murdered.

Chu Chu asks Prince An about the “jade face judge” and wonders who he is and where the Six Gates are. Prince An jokes that she already wants to transfer to another office. She quickly reassures him that he treats her so well and risked his life for her in the fire, made a coroner kit for her, and treats her family well too. Prince An pauses in his work and tells her she shouldn’t be friends with Jing Yi and Leng Yue anymore as she’s becoming too shameless. Chu Chu: I’ll never be a coroner for someone else as long as you let me stay.

Chu Chu is still curious about the “jade face judge” and believes that Prince An is him since he fits all of the values: fair, righteous, unwavering in administering justice. Prince An tells her that the “jade face judge” isn’t real and was someone that Xiao Heng made up. All the stories he had told Chu Chu were based off cases that Xiao Heng had investigated when he was a judge.

Back in the capital, the court is hearing rumors about Prince Chang being alive. He was the son of the previous emperor and therefore rightful emperor today if he was still alive.

[Episode 14]

Xue Ru Cheng, the new minister of military, is the person who is going around as Prince Chang. The current emperor is his uncle who had pretended to be crazy while the previous emperor was alive but revealed his true colors once the previous emperor died. Prince Chang wants the crown back and has been plotting secretly. He’s been keeping a low profile to prevent attracting too much attention.

Jing Yi runs into Xiao Jin Li and asks how Prince An is doing. Funnily, because so much as happened, Xiao Jin Li’s answers to all of his questions are, “It’s hard to say in one or two sentences”. Jing Yi is confused how so much happened while he was gone.

Jing Yi goes to find Prince An at the Chu family home and gives him an official bow. Because of that, everyone else including the Chu family has to bow to Prince An too. Prince An side eyes Jing Yi because he knows that he is doing this on purpose.

Prince An wants to figure out what happened with Chu Chu’s parents. He asks Chu Chu if she would allow an autopsy of her mother as he suspects that her mother was murdered. Chu Chu agrees on the condition that she does the autopsy herself.

Xiao Jin Li asks Prince An if he was the one who ordered Leng Yue to spy on Jing Yi because he had spotted her doing that. Prince An says no and guesses that Leng Yue is doing that for her own reasons. Jing Yi is meeting up secretly with Tan Guai, who is the son of Tan Hong, the butler in residence of Chu Chu’s mother’s family residence. Jing Yi hands him a letter and Leng Yue almost catches them red handed.

Prince An goes to Xiao Heng’s house to try and find clues. Chu Chu runs over breathlessly because she thought that he had abandoned her and left on his own. He asks if she doesn’t trust him and she stammers that she does. He looks around the house and finds Chinese chess pieces but no chess board. They flip over the table and there is a chess board engraved on the bottom of the table. There is also a paper with a chess endgame drawing. The brothers try to play a chess game but they’re not able to figure it out. In the capital, Jing Yi’s dad and Xue Ru Cheng are playing chess too. Jing Yi’s dad wins but he looks worried.

Prince An’s men are digging up Chu Chu’s mother’s grave. Chu Chu has tears in her eyes but she asks her mother to trust her and she trusts Prince An. It’s hugely disrespectful in Chinese culture to dig up your parents’ graves. She realizes that she had visited her mother’s grave with Chu Ping all those years ago but this is the first time as her daughter. Chu Chu stands next to Prince An and clutches onto the bottom of his clothes anxiously. Both Xiao Jin Li and Prince An notice.

Jing Yi’s father tries to get the emperor to arrange a marriage between Xiao Jin Li and Leng Yue as part of his political plans.

Chu Chu does the autopsy on her mother and finds out that the fatal wound was caused from a blunt object striking the back of her head. So she hadn’t run into a wall and hit her forehead to kill herself. Instead, she was murdered.

[Episode 15]

Chu Chu’s autopsy reveals that her mother had loved Chu Chu deeply and had been injured trying to protect her unborn fetus. She had fractures in her arms because someone had tried to push her into a wall to knock her forehead but she stopped the impact with her arms to protect her womb.

Leng Yue talks to Xiao Jin Li about the arranged marriage and they are relieved that they feel the same way about each other – as brothers. Xiao Jin Yu asks why she is here if she’s not here about the marriage. Leng Yue says that she is here for Chu Chu. Jing Yi interrupts their conversation and pretends that he had just woken up. Xiao Jin Yu knows that he is lying but doesn’t say anything.

Chu Chu is molding her mother’s face from clay through her skull analysis. Based on the clay sculpture, Prince An will draw her mother’s face so that they can try to investigate whether people recognize her. Chu Chu is so talented at this that she has also accounted for weight changes and she had guessed at her mother’s weight from her clothes. Leng Yue is concerned about Chu Chu because she is a daughter trying to reconstruct her mother from her mother’s skull. She tells Chu Chu that she is here because she wants to protect Chu Chu and help her realize her dreams. She feels a kindred spirit in Chu Chu, where Leng Yue wants to stay far away from Chang’an and Chu Chu has a strong desire to become an imperial coroner.

Leng Yue asks Chu Chu who she thinks is the best looking among the three men. Chu Chu answers that they’re all good looking in different ways. However, she thinks Prince An must have a good looking skull. Leng Yue laughs at her thoughts. Chu Chu continues that she thinks Xiao Jin Li and Prince An don’t quite look like brothers or fraternal twins. Prince An overhears this.

Chu Chu goes to the market with Leng Yue and is kidnapped by Xu Ru Gui. Xiao Jin Li asks Prince An if Jing Yi might be related to this since he has been acting suspiciously lately.

[Episode 16]

Prince An confronts Jing Yi and is furious that Chu Chu was kidnapped. He demands to know where Chu Chu is. Jing Yi pushes him off and tells him he’s crazy. He didn’t kidnap Chu Chu and if she is with Xu Ru Gui, then she should be safe. He confesses that he was acting suspiciously but it was to protect Prince An from trouble. Prince An calms down and asks Jing Yi why he never said anything. Jing Yi said that he wouldn’t have wanted Jing Yi to do so if it was truly dangerous.

Xu Ru Gui had purposely dropped Chu Chu’s mother’s hairpin. Prince An knows it’s a clue because why would Xu Ru Gui have done that otherwise. He figures out that the hairpin means her family had a pretty high status and in the southern region, that would narrow down potential families to the ones in the military. He manages to figure out that her father was the second-in-command in the southern army and where she is likely located.

Xu Ru Gui had kidnapped Chu Chu and tied her up in the old Xu family manor. He tells her his story of what happened back then and how her father, Yun Yi, was a loyal military official who was killed by Xiao Heng. He tries to win her trust by telling her that he is her uncle and his real name is Xu Zong Fang. He is her mother’s older brother and therefore blood is thicker than water. Chu Chu remembers what Prince An had taught her which is – let the enemy think that she can be convinced so that they won’t attack her. Once the enemy is distracted, run away or wait for Prince An to come save her. Chu Chu trusts his teaching and asks Xu Ru Gui how her mother died since she had done the autopsy and knows firsthand how her mother had died. The butler, Tan Hong, comes in and explains that her mother’s murder was Madam Xu’s idea and Xu Ru Gui was innocent and knew nothing about it. However, a flashback shows that everything was Xu Ru Gui’s idea and he had ordered for her mother to be killed. To prove that he can be trusted, Xu Ru Gui kills the butler because he had been the one to administer the killing blow to Chu Chu’s mother. A life for a life. Chu Chu screams and Prince An hears her. They find the place and secure the entry and exit. They save Chu Chu and capture Xu Ru Gui. However, they’re too late because Xu Ru Gui had already sent a letter to the capital by pigeon and told Qin Luan that Chu Chu is Yun Yi’s daughter and therefore a traitor’s daughter.

Prince An carries Chu Chu home. She had fainted and was feverish. He keeps vigil by her bed and waits for her to wake up. In the meantime, they had locked up Xu Ru Gui in the barn and blindfolded him. Nearby they had put some slowly dripping water to push Xu Ru Gui’s mental fear to the brink. This way, when Prince An interrogates him later, he would break down more easily. Leng Yue admires Prince An’s thinking and says that she should learn from him.

Chu Chu has a nightmare of Xu Ru Gui kidnapping her again. This time, he kills her family and also kills Prince An. She wakes up in fear and immediately hugs Prince An when she sees in. He’s surprised by hugs her back. She explains that she had a dream of him not wanting her again and he reassures her that he wouldn’t leave her.

Xu Ru Gui confesses that he was under Qin Luan but he doesn’t know anything about Prince Chang or the counterfeit money.

[Episode 17]

Xu Ru Gui had deliberately revealed the identity of Chu Chu’s biological parents to both Chu Chu directly and Prince An through the hairpin to break the trust between them, but neither of them fell into the trap.

Prince An finds out that all the three government officials who had died earlier were linked to Prince Chang. Jing Yi wonders if Prince Chang was behind their murders in order to hide the fact that he is still alive. Prince An thinks it’s the opposite. He had left the scroll behind at one of the murders (Yan Ming) which contained clues about the youngest son of the previous emperor, Prince Chang. Prince An believes that Prince Chang wants to be discovered and wanted to use Prince An to expose this. However, Prince An is too smart to fall for his trap and had figured it out, which is why he had kept the investigation on the down low. His suspicions were confirmed when he heard that rumors of Prince Chang were circulating around in the capital which means that Prince Chang himself was spreading them because he was getting impatient.

Qin Luan was tasked to investigate the rumors and reported to the emperor that the rumors had been spread by a junior eunuch. The junior eunuch committed suicide by taking poison. Qin Luan suggested that the emperor should take this opportunity to give posthumous titles to the Wuzong scholars under the previous emperor’s rule. This way, the rumors would fail to gain strength because it would reinforce that Prince Chang was dead. The emperor liked his suggestion.

After leaving the emperor’s hall, Qin Luan’s right hand eunuch, Sun Deming, asked why Qin Luan was protecting the junior eunuch who committed suicide by taking poison by not telling the emperor the truth of the rumors. Qin Luan says that his true intention was to protect them. The last person who saw Prince Chang back then was him and Sun Deming. In order to prevent the emperor from being suspicious of them, he must clearly be on the emperor’s “side” and proclaim that Prince Chang is dead.

Since the facts of the military rebel case have not been thoroughly investigated, Prince An told Jing Yi to keep it secret and never reveal Chu Chu’s identity to the outside world because she would have to be executed as the offspring of a traitor. This was why Prince An wanted to imprison Xu Ru Gui at the Chu family home so that he could not spread the news of Chu Chu’s background. Jing Yi laughs and teases Prince An that he is just trying to protect Chu Chu and he’s in trouble, here (and taps Prince An’s heart) has someone! Prince An lies that he has a lot of people in his heart and Jing Yi argues that he has never been so angry at someone that he spit blood and fainted.

Back in the capital, Wu Jiang shared Prince An’s investigation with Princess Xiping and took out a drawing of Chu Chu’s mother’s hairpin. Based on the design, Princess Xiping recognized the hairpin as part of a pair that she had given away – one to Jing Yi’s mother, and another to someone else that she doesn’t remember. However, she keeps a good log of all her gifts. Jing Yi’s parents also see a drawing of the hairpin and Jing Yi’s father suspects that it could be a big problem and calls in sick to skip going to court.

Grandpa Chu loves Chu Chu and wants to officially include her in the Chu family tree. Chu Chu stops him and says that all she hopes is that she can be buried next to her mother after her death.

Prince An discovers that the stones which Chu Chu used to bake mushrooms actually glow with light. Chu Chu explains that when these stones are hit with light, they would appear translucent. This makes Prince An think about the four stone chess pieces left on the chessboard and he wants to go back to Xiao Heng’s house to investigate.

Chu Chu wants to go with Prince An but Chu He tries to stop them. He irrationally thinks that Prince An is kidnapping her. He tries to stop her but Prince An flings off his hand. Chu He yells that she is his sister but Prince An yells that she is his coroner and wins because he is more highly ranked. If Chu He tries to stop them, Prince An would strip him of his job. As they leave, Chu Chu worriedly tells Prince An to not be angry with Chu He since he is just worried about her. Prince An says that he is not angry and stomps off. Chu Chu asks Xiao Jin Li if he really is not angry and Xiao Jin Li says that if he says he’s not angry, then he’s not angry.

Chu He figures out that the man kept captive is Xu Zong Fang / Xu Ru Gui. He sneaks into the barn on the pretense of delivering food and distracts the guards. He talks to Xu Ru Gui who lies to him that Chu Chu’s life was in danger because her father had killed Prince An’s father. Chu He believes him and helps him escape.

[Episode 18]

At Xiao Heng’s houses, Prince An notices that the window screens are very thick. Chu Chu tells him that Xiao Heng started to draw paintings on the wall. Prince An lights a candle on one side of the wall and on the other side, the light had traveled through and illuminated a spot on the map Xiao Heng had drawn, which they believed was a clue about his location.

At this time, the guards rushed into to report the accident at the Chu family home and how Xu Ru Gui had gone missing. When Prince An and Chu Chu rushed home, they found that the guards had been knocked out and the rope that bound Xu Ru Gui had been sawed open with a sharp tool. He had untied his ropes with the help of Chu He who had given him the tool.

According to the description of the guards, Chu He had entered the barn to deliver food to Xu Ru Gui and they had been left alone for about 30 minutes, which is the length of a candle burning. When Xu Ru Gui had tried to escape, four men had barged in to kill him. Two men looked like they were trying to take Xu Ru Gui’s life, while two men were trying to help him leave and fought with the other two. Chu Chu does an autopsy on the two dead bodies and confirm that they were soldiers who had similar body marks to the previous soldiers under Qin Luan. From this, Prince An deduced that Qin Luan’s soldiers had wanted to kill Xu Ru Gui but the other two soldiers had wanted to help Xu Ru Gui escape, likely because they wanted Xu Ru Gui as a chess piece to threaten Qin Luan. This is because before Ru Gui Lou (the restaurant that Xu Ru Gui operated out of) was the seller and the person behind all the mysterious incidences in the south was the buyer (this is Prince Chang). The transaction used to be mutually beneficial because neither party knew who the other was. However, now that Ru Gui Lou had been exposed because of Xu Ru Gui, everyone now knows that Qin Luan is behind Ru Gui Lou and people want to use Xu Ru Gui as a bargaining chip to threaten Qin Luan.

Because of the fight, Xu Ru Gui was seriously injured and was trying to flee, not only from the government officials but also the group of assassins that Qin Luan had sent after him. The team also find out that Chu He went missing. Everyone goes to search for Xu Ru Gui and Chu He. Chu Chu is upset that her biological family could be traitors and Prince An tells her that nothing is confirmed. He believes that Xu Ru Gui said that in order to separate them and break their trust. However, Chu Chu is worried that her presence would be detrimental to Prince An.

Xiao Jin Li and his men took Chu He’s dog to try and track down Chu He and Xu Ru Gui in the nearby mountains. The dog followed Chu He’s scent to the river and the men search along the river. Xiao Jin Li pulls his brother aside to speak with him and tells him that he suspects Chu He fled because he was the culprit who released Xu Ru Gui. He also tells Prince An that Chu He had wanted to marry Chu Chu and Prince An is annoyed.

Meanwhile, Chu Chu spots a piece of her brother’s clothing slowly floating by in the river and she immediately jumps into the river. Prince An notices and hurriedly jumps in too but he forgot that he could not swim. His brother and all the soldiers also jump in to the river. Prince An helps Chu Chu save her brother but then he himself starts drowning because his foot is tangled in the seaweed. Chu Chu goes back to save him.

Fortunately, everyone ends up on the shore safe and fine. When Prince An woke up, his first reaction is to find Chu Chu, and he rushes over to hug Chu Chu tightly, even though everyone was there. Seeing his angry and worried appearance, Chu Chu was a little stunned. He yells at her for jumping into the water when there are many other soldiers who could have jumped into save her brother. He is only worried about her safety. Xiao Jin Li’s brother is also angry and yells at Prince An for jumping into the water too when there were many other people who could have saved Chu Chu. Prince An confesses to his brother that he didn’t really know what he was doing and by the time he had thought things through, he was already in the water.

Leng Yue, who has some medical knowledge, prescribes a prescription for Chu He. She then suddenly sees Tan Gui approaching Jing Yi. His shoe size and walk tread match the footprints left on the ground and she knows that Tan Gui was the one who had been with Jing Yi in the cave the other night.

In the capital, Xue Ru Cheng specifically propositioned to the emperor that he should go to the south because he recently discovered that one of Feng Jie’s documents was missing. This was important military information so the emperor approved his trip.

Chu He hadn’t awakened after being rescued from the river and Chu Chu refused to leave her brother’s side. Prince An is angry with her because she is not taking care of her health and not listening to him to go back to her room and rest. He tells her that if she is not going to obey him then he doesn’t need her as his official coroner since he has plenty of coroners. Chu Chu is shocked and upset.

[Episode 19]

Xiao Jin Yu’s sudden anger surprises everyone present. Chu Chu is shocked to the point of being motionless and Xiao Jin Li quickly ushers her out of the room. Jing Yi smirks at Prince An and teases him about whether they need coroners. On the way home, Chu Chu was puzzled by why Prince An was so angry. Xiao Jin Li was just about to explain the reason, but they were interrupted by Tan Gui. Tan Gui tells Chu Chu that he wants to know the details of his father’s murder and came to ask Chu Chu. Chu Chu tells him that Xu Ru Gui had killed Tan Hong to help avenge her mother’s death but it wasn’t what Chu Chu had wanted. Tan Gui appears apologetic and asks Chu Chu not to tell Prince An that he had asked this of her because he does not want to be seen as suspicious. When Tan Gui had left and walked into another alley, Jing Yi suddenly blocked his way and asked him why there was no response after he had sent the letter to Chang’an. He is suspicious. What is Jing Yi’s father planning to do? However, Tan Gui said that he hoped that Jing Yi would not participate and not let down Jing Yi’s father’s good intentions.

Jing Yi’s father had personally visited Princess Xiping as he wants her to facilitate the marriage between Leng Yue and Xiao Jin Li. However, even though Princess Xiping knows that Jing Yi’s father has good intentions, she does not agree to it. She knows that Leng Yue likes Jing Yi which is why she is against the marriage with Xiao Jin Li. She checkmates him in the game of chess.

Chu He wakes up and confesses to Prince An that he was doing all this for Chu Chu. This makes Prince An very angry. Chu He should have thought of the consequences of releasing Xu Ru Gui as his actions actually put Chu Chu in more danger as Xu Ru Gui could have spread news that Chu Chu was a traitor’s daughter. After listening to Xiao Jin Yu’s explanation of the serious consequences caused by this incident, Chu He knew that he was wrong and says that he will accept any punishment. He just hopes that Prince An will pardon Chu Chu and let his family go. Prince An also asks Chu He about the bridge in the town and Chu He confirms that it was built five years ago. Xiao Heng had disappeared before the bridge had been built so it would have been physically impossible for him to have left the town since the only way in and out of the town was through climbing a rope.

Leng Yue is suspicious about Jing Yi’s actions and inform Xiao Jin Yu about the secret rendezvous between Jing Yi and Tan Gui. Xiao Jin Yu tells her that he trust Jing Yi. She thanks him for the trust and he smirks because why should she thank him for trusting Jing Yi. Then, a government official reports to Prince An that Chu He is begging to be caned as punishment. Prince An agrees and Leng Yue is shocked that he is going to cane Chu Chu’s brother. He gives the official specific orders to hit him enough to hurt him but not hurt his bones and don’t let anyone (i.e. Chu Chu) know that he had said this. Leng Yue is amused.

Qin Luan had received the message from Xu Ru Gui about Chu Chu being a traitor’s daughter and drops this knowledge to Minister Han, who is firmly opposed to Prince An. Minister Han tells all the ministers and wants to get credit for capturing Chu Chu. Qin Luan is using Minister Han to capture Chu Chu so that they don’t have to do it themselves.

Tan Gui follows Chu Chu suspiciously that night and makes a move to kill her. At that moment, Xiao Jin Li swoops in and stops him. However, it turns out that Leng Yue had pretended to be Chu Chu so Chu Chu wasn’t even in danger. Leng Yue and Prince An had used a “switcheroo” tactic to lure their “enemies” out. Xiao Jin Li had just followed Tan Guai because Chu Chu had told him that she was suspicious of him since he hadn’t wanted her to tell Xiao Jin Yu about their conversation. In her opinion, only bad people wouldn’t want Xiao Jin Yu to know of them. Jing Yi also appeared because he had been suspicious of what Tan Gui was going to do since he hadn’t received a response from Chang’an. They confront Tan Gui about his motives and find out that he had been ordered by Jing Yi’s father to assassinate Chu Chu since it was Chu Chu’s father who had wrongly killed Xiao Heng. He had deliberately made himself suspicious to Chu Chu and Xiao Jin Li so that even if he killed Chu Chu, people would think that it was to avenge his father, Tan Hong. He’s confused as to why Xiao Jin Yu wants to protect Chu Chu even when he knows Chu Chu’s identity, and knows that Chu Chu’s father betrayed Xiao Heng. Xiao Jin Yu asks him what if his own father, Xiao Heng, had wanted to keep Chu Chu alive. Tan Gui was shocked at the possibility that Xiao Heng might still be alive.

[Episode 20]

Because Chu Chu’s background is complicated and not verified yet, Prince An tells Tan Gui to hold off on executing anymore “revenge” on behalf of Xiao Heng. He reveals that he believes Xiao Heng is still in the town since there’s no way he could have left. Tan Gui agrees to wait until he can ask Xiao Heng whether he should kill Chu Chu. Xiao Jin Li apologizes to Jing Yi about pinning him down. Jing Yi doesn’t blame him. After the rest of them left, Leng Yue is concerned about Jing Yi and wants to check his would by yanking his shirt open. He grabs her hand to stop her and their hands linger. Leng Yue and Jing Yi experience a romantic moment.

Although Chu He was spared heavier punishment, he was still caned. Chu Chu visited him and they have a heartfelt talk. Xiao Jin Yu is upset because he sees Chu Chu hugging Chu He and misunderstands. He doesn’t know that Chu He is actually telling Chu Chu that he is good with her being with Prince An. He starts having a stomachache because he is upset. Seeing his younger brother’s stomachache, Xiao Jin Li sweeps him off his feet in a princess carry and brings him to his room to recuperate. The brothers talk and Xiao Jin Li orders him to rest. Xiao Jin Yu sighs that his heart is in a mess and he doesn’t know what to think or feel. His brother tells him that is okay and he will accept it even if he wants to just yell or vent because no matter what, he always has him as his big brother. Xiao Jin Yu tells his older brother that he hopes that his big brother would not always have to worry about owing him anything because ever since the drowning incident when Jin Yu tried to save Jin Li, Jin Li has always spoiled Jin Yu and given in to him. He doesn’t want his older brother to feel like he owes him anything. His older brother even gave up the Prince title to Xiao Jin Yu. However, Xiao Jin Li says that he had always been good at martial arts and if he had taken on the Prince title, he would not have been able to join the army. This way, it worked out better for both of them because he could join the army and Xiao Jin Yu could be the minister of justice and the status of being Prince An would give him some protection. Xiao Jin Li tells Jin Yu that he loves him and everything he does is out of love and not guilt or because he owes him. Jin Yu smiles and Jin Li pats his brother on the back, hard. Jin Yu asks if that was punishment and Jin Li grumbles that he was hugging him.

Qin Luan orders his lackey, General Zhou Han to kill Xu Ru Gui’s imprisoned family, which included his wife, concubine, one daughter and two sons. General Zhou Han gives a packet of poison to the brothel’s owner to kill the family. However, Wu Jiang had already received news that this might happen and was lurking in the brothel at the time to save Xu Ru Gui’s family. He had hurriedly sneaked into the house to change the poison to make it seem like they had died. That night, Xu Ru Gui’s family “corpses” were taken outside the city and discarded. Once they had woken up, Wu Jiang took them back and arranged for them to be protected without Qin Luan knowing.

The brothers talk about Chu Chu and Jin Li talks about how pitiful Chu Chu is. Jin Yu is surprised because even though Chu Chu has angered Jin Yu to the point of spitting blood, Jin Li hasn’t gotten mad at Chu Chu yet or locked her up in jail. Jin Li is usually very protective of Jin Yu. Jin Li laughs at this and says that he’s not blind. If Chu Chu had really meant Jin Yu harm, he would of course be angry with her. However, he sees that she is truly loyal to Jin Yu and cares deeply about him, potentially even more than Jin Li does.

Xiao Jin Yu remembered that before he left Chang’an, Princess Xiping had repeatedly told him to beware of eunuchs. He concludes that what happened to his father in the south must have some hidden background.

Chu Chu worries that her identity would put Xiao Jin Yu in a difficult position if someone next to him is a wanted criminal. She goes to Xiao Jin Li to ask and he replies quickly, “Of course!” She looks disappointed and he realizes that he had made a mistake. He tries to fix it and says, “Actually not really, it’s hard to explain. You should ask Jin Yu!” She then asks him a second question, “What if someone next to Jin Yu is actually his blood enemy? Would he be angry?” Jin Li tries to be more careful with his words now but says that the answer is complicated and it’s hard to explain, so she should just ask Jin Yu. After she leaves, Jin Li worries that his answers weren’t good.

After the incident, Chu Chu goes to find Xiao Jin Yu but his guards stop her at the door. He grumpily gives her directions to Chu He’s room instead because he was jealous. She insists on seeing him because she has something to give him. It is clear that Xiao Jin Yu wanted to see Chu Chu, because he was carving a wood doll of her but he hides it before she enters the room. She gives him a present wrapped in a towel and it is the ladle mirror that she had made for him. He is furious and asks if anyone knew when she went to get the ladle. She misunderstands that it’s because he doesn’t want anyone to know about his phobia and quickly says that she didn’t tell anyone and went secretly. That makes him angrier because she had put herself in danger and no one had known. He yells at her for diving into the river, first to save Chu He and then now to retrieve the rusty useless piece of metal. He throws the ladle down on the desk like it’s trash and Chu Chu is upset because she thinks that he thinks of her gift as trash. With his voice trembling with anger, he asks her if she is hurt from diving into the river. She softly whimpers that she is not and asks him for one last favor: to let her look for Xiao Heng with him and then she will receive her punishment.

Xiao Jin Li and Jing Yi are eavesdropping on Jin Yu’s conversation with Chu Chu. Jin Li explains to Jing Yi that he had followed Chu Chu out to the lake and Jing Yi says, “Oh do you like Chu Chu?” Jin Li quickly says that it’s not him who is interested in Chu Chu. Jing Yi then teases Jin Li by saying, “Oh so who is interested in Chu Chu then?” Jin Li pushes him against the wall and threatens him to keep his mouth shut. Jing Yi tries to stand on a ledge to gain a height advantage over Jin Li but then Jin Li also stands on it. Jing Yi then yells that he’s going to tell Leng Yue. Jin Li sneers and Jing Yi flings his nose booger at him in revenge.

Xiao Jin Yu tells Leng Yue about what happened with Chu Chu and she laughs at him. He is stuck because he can’t be too harsh since that hurts her but he doesn’t want to be too light on her since she won’t understand how dangerous her actions were. Leng Yue gives Jin Yu advice that he should just treat her according to the situation. Jin Yu smirks and asks her the same question. Leng Yue says that she’s against Chu Chu liking Jin Yu because he is too much of a workaholic. Jin Yu says that he was talking about Jing Yi and casually mentions that Jing Yi has someone that he likes already. Leng Yue is shocked and asks who that person is but Jin Yu tells her to ask Jing Yi hersellf.

Xiao Jin Yu follows the light spot on the wall landscape mural to where he thinks Xiao Heng is. However, when they get there, they find that the place marked by the light spot is a swamp, which is full of venomous snakes and scorpions. They start to despair that Xiao Heng is alive because the mountain is hard to move through and Xiao Heng also had a leg disability so it would have been even harder for him to move. There was also neither clean water nor food on the mountain. They start to believe that he is probably not alive.

[Episode 21]

Princess Xiping accompanies the emperor to enjoy the flowers in the royal garden. She has flashbacks to when Xiao Heng was courting her. He had given her the black rock as a love token. The rock was from his backyard pond because he knows that the Princess’ favorite plant is pucao, which is a type of grass that grows in shallow water. The rock protects the grass in a storm, and the grass protects the rock too. While most couples give each other jade pendants or golden hairpins, Xiao Heng wants to be the rock in her life and guard her and give her a lifetime of security. That is why whenever she looks at the grass and rock, she feels calm. The emperor is angry that Princess Xiping is begging him to cancel Leng Yue’s arranged marriage. He even reprimands her that as a royal family member, she must never lose her sense of responsibility.

The young eunuch, Jin Bao, who serves the emperor tells Qin Luan about the conversation between Princess Xiping and the emperor. This arouses Qin Luan’s suspicion about why Princess Xiping was so against the marriage. He recalls the time when Princess Xiping gave birth to twin sons when no one had thought that she was carrying twins.

General Zhou Han hasn’t returned with any news yet and Qin Luan is very angry. He complains that if it Sun Mingde’s senior hadn’t disappeared all those years ago, General Zhou wouldn’t even have gotten the privilege of working for Qin Luan.

Xiao Jin Yu led the group to search the mountain and Chu Chu climbs up a tree to gain a better vantage point. Jin Yu yells at her to come down. Leng Yue flies up to the tree and together they spot three piles of stones that were piled in front of the swamp. Tan Gui complains along the way that there is no way Xiao Heng could be alive in the forest and Jing Yi threatens him to shut his mouth or else Xiao Jin Li would stuff a smelly sock in his mouth to zip it. Funnily, Jin Li actually carries around smelly socks and fishes one out from his armor. Jing Yi is disgusted and Jin Li explains that soldiers need extra socks always. The locations of the stone piles were surprisingly similar to the chessboard endgame, which meant that the last chess piece was located in the swamp. Realizing this, Xiao Jin Yu is upset because this means that his father is no longer alive. Based on the logic of the chessboard endgame, his father is likely at the bottom of the swamp. Chu Chu tries to stay positive that it might not be his father who is in the swamp. Jin Li doesn’t want to believe it and Leng Yue also argues that it is still possible for his father to be alive. Jing Yi pulls Leng Yue away and explains that if Jin Yu is concluding this, it is because he had already gone through all the possibilities and this is the most likely one. Jin Yu is the one who most wants Xiao Heng to be alive so this is hardest for him. Leng Yue says that Chu Chu also doesn’t believe it and Jing Yi tells her that Chu Chu was just lying to comfort Jin Yu.

When Jin Yu talks to Chu Chu to try and explain, she tells him that he doesn’t have to say anything. She believes him. She already knows that Xiao Heng is likely at the bottom fo the swamp. Jin Yu is comforted by her trust in him. Jin Yu asks her about whether there will be any corpse left after being in the swamp for five years. Chu Chu tells him that it is very likely since these swamps are devoid of oxygen and would actually preserve the body well.

As soon as she says this, one of the soldiers call out. The soldiers found a corpse in the swamp, wrapped in tarp cloth as if it were packed in a natural coffin. They put him on the shore and both brothers kneel beside the body in shock. Chu Chu wants to spare the brothers the pain and does the unraveling. She borrows a dagger from Xiao Jin Li to cut open the tarp, and reveals the corpse. She confirms that he is her witch uncle and Xiao Heng, who has been missing for many years.

The corpse is taken back to Chu’s family house. After Chu Chu’s autopsy and Xiao Jin Yu’s deduction, they confirm that Xiao Heng had built the three stone piles and while still alive, had wrapped himself in the tarp and rolled into the swamp to die of suffocation. They are shocked that he had done that. Xiao Heng had left behind a wooden box that has a message engraved into it. There are characters written on six sides. By comparing the poems in the box, they finally translated the cipher text. Xiao Heng’s message talks about how in the 9th year of Taihe, Emperor Wenzong wanted to eradicate the rebellion so he had secretly sent Xiao Heng to rally Chen Ying and Yun Yi to bring their troops to Chang’an. However, they were wrongly framed for rebellion by Qin Luan and attacked before they could reach Chang’an. He was seriously injured and chased by Qin Luan’s men to the point where he had to jump off the cliff. Fortunately, Xiao Heng was rescued by a witch doctor. He woke up after a month of unconsciousness. In the village, he was unable to contact Chang’an and couldn’t leave the village. At this time, Qin Luan had tried to lure him out with the newly conferred title posthumously. In order to stay alive and clear the grievances of the betrayed army, Xiao Heng stayed low and tried to plan how to keep these secrets alive. In order to preserve these secrets so that one day the truth may be discovered, he developed this plan with the chess game and preserved his body in the swamp together with these messages.

[Episode 22]

Prince An wants to know why his father needed to commit suicide. From the autopsy, Chu Chu confirms that his father had already been dying. Originally Chu Chu refused to tell him but Jin Yu kept pleading so she admitted that Xiao Heng’s legs were not injured by a fall, but by someone with a sword. The biggest difference between the two is that the injury by sword is more vulnerable to wind and evil. In addition, he refused to find a doctor for treatment in order to keep his identity hidden, and so the disease had spread to the rest of his body. The longer the injury was untreated, the more the disease had spread throughout the body, and once that happened, there was no cure for him. Knowing that he was going to die soon, he wanted to make sure that he could protect the secrets and thus wrapped himself in the tarp and committed suicide. His greatest wish was to reveal the secret decree of Emperor Wen Zong and share with the world that Chen Ying was not rebellious. Since this was Xiao Heng’s last wish and is also related to Chu Chu’s safety since it would disprove that she is a traitor’s daughter, Xiao Jin Yu wants to carefully plan how to deal with it. Jin Yu is sad after learning about his father’s late years. They are determined to proceed carefully to carry out his father’s last wish.

Tan Gui feels remorse after knowing that he had wrongly killed these loyal and righteous people with his own hands. Jing Yi’s father had misunderstood what happened and Tan Gui feels like he owes them and should be punished.

At this point, news came from Chang’an that Xue Ru Cheng was ordered to travel to Qianzhou to capture Chu Chu as the traitor’s daughter. Xiao Jin Yu immediately notified Xiao Jin Li and his subordinates to protect the Chu family, and no one was allowed to come close. Xue Ru Cheng meets with Xiao Jin Yu and tells him to go back to Chang’an as he is against the arranged marriage too. Xue Ru Cheng deliberately asked about the missing volume of documents from Feng Jie’s inspection of the south but Jin Yu pretends that he doesn’t know anything about it. Xue Ru Cheng tells Jin Yu that he is worried that Xiao Jin Li might be used by others in this arranged marriage and Xiao Jin Yu should return to Chang’an as soon as possible. At the same time, the emperor, under the advice of several ministers such as Jing Yi’s father, decided to hand over the case of counterfeit coins to Xiao Jin Yu to handle the investigation.

Xiao Jin Li had sent soldiers to guard the Chu family, and ran into Leng Yue. The two of them bickered for a while because Leng Yue asks Jin Li what’s up with all the soldiers.

Jin Li: I don’t know
Leng Yue: You brought them here and you don’t know.
Jin Li: It’s hard to explain in one or two sentences.
Leng Yue: Why is that your answer for everything. Did you grow up eating rocks for rice?
Jin Li: Hey why can’t you speak nicely! You just know how to eat and your waist is already so round but you’re still always eating.

Xiao Jin Li tries to grab the chicken drumstick in Leng Yue’s hand and they end up fighting. Leng Yue is actually better at fighting than he is. When Jin Li fails to steal the drumstick, he teases Leng Yue that she is going to be single forever. She angrily throws the drumstick at him and he’s about to open his mouth to bite, but is unexpectedly attacked by Jing Yi, who steals it back with his qinggong. Jin Li tries asking Jing Yi if Leng Yue had gained weight and Jing Yi, being smart, tells Jin Li that he’s looking for a beating. He softly teases Leng Yue, “You’re not fat, not fat.”

Jing Yi tells them that Magistrate Li Zhang is on the way to arrest Chu Chu because she is the traitor’s daughter. Li Zhang tries to capture her but Jin Li refuses and a fight erupts. Li Zhang takes advantage of the chaos and grabs Chu Chu. Fortunately, Leng Yue flings her sword to free Chu Chu and wounds Li Zhang’s arm. Before the fight gets worse, Xiao Jin Yu and Xue Ru Cheng arrive. Jin Yu convinces Xue Ru Cheng that Chu Chu’s father was not a traitor. Xue Ru Cheng orders Li Zhang to leave and before he leaves, Chu Chu notices many small scars on Li Zhang’s palm.

Jin Yu takes Xue Ru Cheng to see Xiao Heng’s corpse and the box with letters. As this matter is very complicated and has widespread implications, Xue Ru Cheng tells Jin Yu to return to Chang’an with him to explain the situation to the emperor. However, Jin Yu does not want to because there is more he has to do in the south, such as capture Xu Ru Gui. Xue Ru Cheng notices that Jin Yu is fond towards Chu Chu and asks him about his feelings.

[Episode 23]

Xue Ru Cheng continues and says that he noticed the way Prince An protected Chu Chu was more than just a formal work relationship. Prince An admits to him that he likes Chu Chu and has feelings for her. Xue Ru Cheng is shocked and reminds him that Chu Chu is not good enough for him and will hurt his career. It would be best if he were to cut off these feelings now. Prince An doesn’t agree to that.

Meanwhile, Princess Xiping receives the report from the Imperial Astrologer that Leng Yue and Xiao Jin Li are compatible. She is annoyed because this means there wouldn’t be an obstacle to the arranged marriage. She had always wanted both her sons, Prince An and General Xiao, to be able to choose their own partner for marriage and doesn’t like that the emperor is forcing this.

Xiao Jin Yu and his brother talk about Chu Chu and Jin Yu laments that if Chu Chu was just a regular coroner, she would have had an easier life. Xiao Jin Li sighs that Jing Yi was right. The south is a different place and brings about a different Jin Yu. Jin Yu smiles and teases his brother, “I can’t believe that in my lifetime, I can actually hear you say “Jing Yi” and “right” in the same sentence”. Jin Li stops smiling when he is reminded of Jing Yi and their rivalry. They start talking about Leng Yue and Jin Li’s mood darkens. He sighs that Leng Yue had been stalking him ever since she heard about their arranged marriage by the emperor. She threatened him that if he dares to marry him, she would kill him. Jin Yu laughs at his brother and tells him to ask Leng Yue to come in.

Prince An tells Leng Yue to write a letter to her grandfather, Leng Pei Shan, with some common niceties and ask how he is doing. He tells her that this would help her get out of the marriage. Leng Yue resists because she detest her grandfather and she’s never written him a letter. Prince An shares that Leng Pei Shan might have some connection with the mysterious incidences, Prince Chang, counterfeit money, the deaths of the three government officials.

Chu Chu is standing outside Prince An’s door and is hesitating on whether to knock on his door. At the same moment, Prince An is in his room pacing and wondering whether to go find Chu Chu. Eventually Prince An opens the door and finds Chu Chu standing right outside. She had brought him some medicinal soup that she had brewed and tells him that she is ready to receive her punishment now that they have found Xiao Heng. She kneels and tells him that she is ready for any punishment. Prince An tells her that if she agrees to three things, he will consider her punished.

Prince An: First, stop kneeling and stand up. Second, forgive me because I was the one who was wrong to yell at you the day Chu He almost drowned in the river.
Chu Chu: confused. How does that count because I was the one who made you angry that day.
Prince An: Ok, then let us forgive each other. Third, thank you for the years you had spent with my father when I myself couldn’t be with him and be filial.

He bows to Chu Chu to thank her and she stops him because she says that she was the one who received so much love from Xiao Heng. Chu Chu wants to turn herself in as the supposed traitor’s daughter to prevent herself from being a burden to him but Prince An stops her because he knows that it is a trap. If she turns herself in, their enemies would kill her. He convinces her that if she were to get imprisoned or be in danger, that would be a greater burden to him. Chu Chu nervously asks him what she can do to help him then.

Prince An: If you trust me, then stay by my side. I will do the planning. For now, you and I will be one entity and advance and retreat together.
Chu Chu: Of course I believe you. I’ve always believed you since the first day.
Prince An: lifts up her chin so that she looks at him. Chu Chu, are you willing to stay by my side and always be with me?
Chu Chu: Yes of course, I am willing to be by your side always as your coroner.
Prince An: No, not as my coroner. I want to spend the rest of our lives together and take care of you forever. Are you willing to marry me and be my wife?
Chu Chu: shocked. You want to marry me as your wife?
Prince An: firmly. Yes.
Chu Chu: still flabbergasted. Your medicine is getting cold, you should take your medicine first.

Chu Chu hurriedly runs out of his room. Leng Yue finds her crying. She tells Leng Yue that she is willing to do anything for Prince An but she cannot marry him. Leng Yue misunderstands that it is because Chu Chu doesn’t think that Prince An is a great marriage prospect and says, “Yes, he’s not really that great”. Chu Chu then tells her that it’s because she doesn’t want to pull him down since she is a coroner and he is Prince An.

Meanwhile, Prince An calls Jing Yi to come to his room in the middle of the night. He morosely tells Jing Yi that he had made a mistake and he tried proposing to Chu Chu but she rejected him. Jing Yi is like, “Wait what? What did you do?”

Prince An: You told me to look inside my heart to find the answer. I looked in my heart, found Chu Chu there, and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her so I proposed to her.
Jing Yi: …I never told you to propose to Chu Chu!
Prince An: confused. But how can a man be with the woman he loves if not by proposing?
Jing Yi: rolls his eyes and reaches over to check if Prince An’s head is filled with water

Prince An tells Jing Yi that Chu Chu actually ran away when he had proposed and Jing Yi starts laughing at his predicament. He says that it was his fault and he should have brought Prince An out to play a bit more and see the world.

Qin Luan and the emperor talk about Minister Han who has been insisting that they need to arrest Chu Chu. The emperor is annoyed that Minister Han isn’t focused on the counterfeit case since that is arguably way more important. Qin Luan defends Minister Han and that makes the emperor slightly suspicious.

Chu He went missing again and the team reckons that he went looking for Xu Ru Gui to redeem his wrongdoings. They set off to find him and thanks to Chu Chu’s deductions of where there is food (prayer altars), they find both of them next to a large tree that is the site of prayer offerings. Chu He was able to find Xu Ru Gui because he is more familiar with the mountains and area. Xu Ru Gui is unconscious.

Xue Ru Cheng urges Prince An to go home now that they have found Xu Ru Gui. However, Prince An wants to stay in the south to investigate the counterfeit problem. He tells Xue Ru Cheng that he thinks Li Zhang has something to do with the minting of contraband coins since his hands have these scars that match the tools used for producing counterfeit coins. Xue Ru Cheng pretends to be shocked. He tells Prince An that he can stay and investigate the case but he needs to bring something back to the emperor – either Prince An can let him bring Chu Chu back or bring Xiao Heng and the proof that they were wrongly accused of treason. Prince An says that he can’t give him either.

[Episode 24]

Prince An clarifies that it is not that he doesn’t trust Xue Ru Cheng, but he wants to personally bring the evidence to the emperor since this is an important case and concerns his father. Instead, Prince An will give him Xu Ru Gui to bring back to the capital to testify against Qin Luan. Just then, the royal decree to investigate the counterfeit case comes in time from the emperor and Prince An has an even stronger valid reason to stay in the south.

Prince An did not give up on pursuing Chu Chu and tried to apologize to her for scaring her last night. He gives her a present as a sign of his apology and the present was makeup powder and perfume. He says that he spent a long time choosing it but he still thinks that these were not good enough for Chu Chu but they were the best he could find for now. Chu Chu accepts the present but isn’t very happy. Prince An notices and asks. She says that she is a coroner and she can’t actually put on such powder and perfume as this would interfere with her job as a coronor since it would affect her sense of smell. She misunderstands that Prince An had bought her these because he doesn’t like her smell and goes on to say that if Prince An minds her odor, she will make sure to stand further back from him from now on. Prince An quickly takes it back.

He then goes on to say that he has another gift for her and gives her a little bouquet of pink flowers that he had picked up along the way her. He says that when he saw these flowers, he was reminded of her and so he picked some for her. She accepts the flowers without a smile, but looked more insulted than happy. She leaves Prince An and on the way out, she throws the flowers into a bucket of pig swill. Prince An is baffled and complains to Jing Yi that he did exactly as he had instructed. Jing Yi is stumped. Did Prince An follow his script to the letter? Prince An insists that he did. He had never said anything so incredulous in his life so there is not way he would forget. They are both bewildered that Chu Chu would be so unfeeling. They invite Ling Yue and Xiao Jin Li into the room and ask for advice. Leng Yue informs them that those flowers are commonly used by villagers to feed the pigs which is why Chu Chu threw them into the pig swill. Jin Li and Leng Yue laugh when they heard that Prince An had told Chu Chu that she reminded him of the flowers so he had to pick them. They said that Chu Chu might be thinking that he is telling her that he thinks she looks like a pig.

Xiao Jin Li laughed at his brother for his failed pursuit but tells him that although he himself isn’t an expert with women, since Chu Chu has never liked Jing Yi before, why would Prince An think that Jing Yi’s tricks would work on her? Prince An sighs as he sees the wisdom in that. Jin Li reminds Prince An to be true to himself and pursue Chu Chu in his way.

Leng Yue tries to casually ask Jing Yi who he likes and says that she will help him get the girl. He takes her up on her offer but she chickens out because she’s nervous that the girl he likes is not her. The next day, Jing Yi tries to casually ask Leng Yue why she was drinking with Xiao Jin Li the day before and whether that means she has accepted the arranged marriage. Leng Yue realizes that he is nervous and sneakily tells him that she thinks Xiao Jin Li isn’t a bad catch. Jing Yi then anxiously starts listing all the bad things about Xiao Jin Li, such as he only has one set of clothes and hides smelly socks in his armor. He guarantees that she won’t be happy with Jin Li. She then retorts, asking who he thinks she would be happy with. Jing Yi stutters, “M-me.” She rolls her eyes and call him dumb and leaves.

The team and magistrate Li Zhang set off to search for the counterfeit money production site. Strangely, Li Zhang is actually making helpful suggestions and they find a cave that looks promising. Prince An starts showing signs of his phobia because the cave has no windows. He begins to interrogate Li Zhang as to who would be behind this. Regular citizens wouldn’t profit from counterfeit money since the cost of producing it exceeds the returns but it is different when a government official is behind it, especially someone like Li Zhang. Also, Guanlinxian is the perfect place for the production site since it is an isolated, quiet village. The only drawback was the limited means of transportation for the counterfeit money out of the town, and that is why Li Zhang had allocated government funds to build the bridge five years ago. The regular citizens had celebrated the goodness and kindness of Li Zhang for doing so but they didn’t know that it was actually for something more nefarious. Chu Chu examines the tools in the cave and confirms that they match the scars on Li Zhang’s hands.

[Episode 25]

Li Zhang had planned an attack on the team and that was why he had helpfully lured them into the cave. A fight breaks out and Li Zhang runs away. Chu Chu chases after him and Prince An runs after her. The cave collapses then and traps Prince An, Chu Chu, and Li Zhang together. Prince An’s phobia starts acting up again and he is hallucinating. Li Zhang swings his sword at Prince An but luckily Chu Chu stops him. Li Zhang flings her away and is ready to kill Prince An. Chu Chu comes back with a huge rock and hits the back of Li Zhang’s head. He falls unconscious. Prince An’s phobia is getting worse and he imagines bats and drowning in the water to the point that he starts really suffocating. Chu Chu gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and Prince An wakes up.

Prince An asks Chu Chu why she still refuses him when she also likes him. She honestly tells him that she’s a coroner. He doesn’t understand and says that if she doesn’t explain clearly, this will be his biggest regret if he dies here. She explains that she chose to be a coroner even though she knows that people will not accept her but she cannot accept if people also discriminate against Prince An if she is his wife. To her, he is the best and most honorable government official and he treats her the best. She doesn’t want people to scorn him because of her. Prince An nods because he finally understands where she is coming from.

Prince An: Since we are trapped in this cave and will probably die, I only have one question for you. Does your heart have me?
Chu Chu: My heart is full of you.
Prince An: Then from this point forward, no matter how much time we have left or what we have to face, are you willing to be with me?
Chu Chu: Yes, I am. Hug
Chu Chu: We are about to die but how come you still have the presence of mind to talk about these things?
Prince An smirks: Who says we are about to die?

Prince An wants Chu Chu to cherish her life and his more than anyone else’s and since she is already willing to die with him, why should she live her life at the mercy of other people’s opinions? He doesn’t want to give up on her and asks her to also not give up on him. She apologizes for pushing him away.

They go and check on Li Zhang and Prince An finds a piece of cloth. She ties Li Zhang up expertly and tells him that this is the pig trotter knot because it is how pigs are tied up to be sold in the market. The more the pig struggles, the tighter the knots become. The way he is tied up will also make it easy to carry him out with a stick.

Prince An deduces that Li Zhang would have had another way out of the cave because there’s no way he would have wanted to die with them. He wets his hands and stretches out his arms to figure out where any breeze is coming from because that would mean there is an opening. Chu Chu didn’t know what he was doing and thought he was asking for a hug so she cutely hugs him. Prince An laughs. Leng Yue, Jing Yi, and Xiao Jin Li are also looking for them. Leng Yue chooses the path which is the cleanest because why would someone care about cleanliness in a cave unless they were trying to hide their traces. The two groups find each other but they are separated by a wide river. Jing Yi can fly across the river with his qinggong skills but he can’t carry someone back because they would be too heavy. The cave is also collapsing so they need to hurry. Prince An tells Jing Yi to use ropes and Jing Yi flies over to hook the rope and then Prince An holds on to a ziplining device and Chu Chu hugs his waist and they glide across on the rope. However, midway, they hit a snag in the rope and Chu Chu almost falls into the river. Prince An grabs her and dislocates his shoulder. From the other end, Jin Li pulls down on the rope so that gravity would help propel them forward. They all make it to safety.

Back at the Chu family home, Prince An lies that he is fine but Grandpa Chu notices that his shoulder has been dislocated. He quickly fixes his shoulder. Chu Chu cries because she thinks that it is her fault that his shoulder got dislocated.

Prince An: If you are crying because I saved you and got hurt, don’t cry because there is only one Chu Chu in this world. If you die, I may be lucky to find another coroner as talented as you but I will never find another Chu Chu so no matter how I think about it, saving you was worth it.
Chu Chu: hugs

Grandpa Chu and Chu Ping are cutely spying from outside the room. They’re happy that Prince An loves Chu Chu so sincerely.

On the way back to Chang’an, Xue Ru Cheng’s carriage is attacked and Xu Ru Gui is kidnapped. Xue Ru Cheng’s arm is slashed by one of the attackers.

[Episode 26]

Xiao Jin Li retrieves Li Zhang back from the cave. Prince An ignores his brother and starts interrogating Li Zhang. Jin Li is angry as he accuses his little brother of not caring for him first.

Prince An: Aren’t you standing here and yelling at me?
Xiao Jin Li: speechless

Li Zhang wakes up but he’s gone crazy and starts yelling, “Your Majesty, please spare me!” He doesn’t recognize anybody. Prince An orders the room to be closed off except for them. He pretends to be Prince Chang and finds out that Li Zhang was acting under Prince Chang’s orders. They find out from the soldiers that Li Zhang’s office was burned down. Witnesses say that the soldiers were from Leng Pei Shan’s army, which makes Prince An very suspicious.

Prince An and team are invited to Leng Pei Shan’s army camp to help expel evil spirits because soldiers in the camp have been randomly going crazy and committing suicide. They’re suspicious but still go ahead.

Prince An tells Chu Chu that he plans to go to Leng Pei Shan’s camp and try to figure out what is happening. As such, he might not be able to keep her safe forever because they might be walking into a dangerous trap. He still wants to take her with him because he thinks she is safest with him even if the place is dangerous. Chu Chu is surprised and happy that he is going to take her with him because she thought that he was going to leave her behind. She gives him a quick peck on the cheek and Prince An is so flustered he starts picking at the peas that he is holding.

Chu Chu: I want to be with you through thick and thin. You can’t back out either.
Prince An: smiles in relief. I was afraid because I had taken advantage of the situation in the cave and I wasn’t sure if you would reject me once we were out of the cave. I know that I’m not the most attractive prospect for women. Once your family is proven to not be traitors, you will have many better men pursue you, which is why I was in such a haste to propose to you. Can you accept such a cowardly person as me? If you can’t, I won’t hate you either.
Chu Chu: I only like you. No matter how many times you ask me, I am willing to be with you.
Prince An: I wished upon the Moon Tree but I don’t trust those things so I want to confirm this with you. Are you willing to marry me and be my wife? Will you bear my love for our entire lives?
Chu Chu: I am willing.

They lean in to kiss, and then Chu Ping calls Chu Chu’s name from afar. Chu He had been eavesdropping this whole time. After Chu Chu leaves to find Chu Ping, Che He talks to Prince An and asks him to take care of his sister.

The team is upset about the potential of Leng Pei Shan being a rebel. Leng Yue doesn’t have a good relationship with her grandfather because it was his negligence that caused her parents to die in a battle and even after their death, he had left her in the city and never came to see her or sent her letters. She thought that even if he was unfeeling towards her, he was a patriotic and loyal general and not a rebel. Xiao Jin Li is upset too because he is Leng Pei Shan’s subordinate and respects him greatly.

Qin Luan hears about the kidnapping of Xu Ru Gui and is gleeful that General Zhou Han has finally done something right. He stops laughing when he realizes that it was not his people who had kidnapped Xu Ru Gui.

[Episode 27]

In order to gain information covertly in Leng Pei Shan’s camp, they disguise Jing Yi as an injured soldier so that he can go to the medical bay and chat up other soldiers. Chu Chu helps them fake the injury.

Prince Chang’s people were behind the kidnapping of Xu Ru Gui and they want to use him to threaten Qin Luan to work with them.

Chu Chu performs an autopsy on the soldiers who had committed suicide because of the “evil spirits”. Chu Chu doesn’t think that these are normal suicides and General Zhao is offended because he was one of the eyewitnesses. She asks to do an open body autopsy.

Qin Luan continues to search for the maid and nanny who were dismissed from Princess Xiping’s manor after she had given birth to the twin boys. Qin Luan suspects that one of the two boys is not her biological son and he thinks there is a big secret behind the family of where the other baby came from because why else would Princess Xiping go to such great lengths to protect that baby’s history. If the baby is the offspring of one of the traitors, she would be guilty of treason.

[Episode 28]

Leng Yue sneaks around in Leng Pei Shan’s room to steal his letters. They fight and after she leaves, Leng Pei Shan drops his sword in pain.

Jing Yi reports that the first victim was an injured soldier in the medical bay. Prince An suspects Wu Chen (army official who manages the army supply) because he had access to the victims.

Chu Chu does the open body autopsy and thinks that there is something strange about their deaths because in a normal suicide, if you were strangling yourself for example, you would feel the pain and loosen your hold on the rope as part of your survival instinct. However, these soldiers seemed to not feel any pain at all. Also the ways they had committed suicide (hanging, burning, drowning) were very messy ways to die, which was weird since they were all soldiers with swords. She calls them “living corpses” because they were alive but did not have the instincts of a normal live person.

A soldier comes to notify them that Jing Yi is acting crazy in the medical bay, similar to how the other victims had acted. Jing Yi is hallucinating that Leng Yue is being kept hostage. He starts slashing at everything and Xiao Jin Li hits him to make him faint. Leng Yue checks his pulse and everything is normal. Jing Yi wakes up and he doesn’t remember anything. He didn’t feel any pain even when he had injured his hand from slashing around.

Leng Yue suspects that Jing Yi and the other victims had been poisoned by Hujie flower, which is commonly used to reduce pain but too much can cause hallucinations. They are puzzled because they had checked the food and drinks but those were not poisoned. Jing Yi wants to go back and check and Leng Yue refuses. Jing Yi smirks and teases her if she is worried. She says yes, she is worried. Prince An and Chu Chu smile at their antics.

Leng Yue goes back to her grandfather’s room to steal more letters but this time he was waiting for her. He finally tells her his side of the story. He wanted to go to Leng Yue after her parents’ death but because he is the important general guarding the south border, if he were to charge into Chang’an with his soldiers without permission from the emperor, he would have been charged with treason and his entire army would be put to death. He really wanted to go to her which was why his superior then had locked him up to stop him. He couldn’t leave the camp nor send her updates. He would write letters to her father on his death anniversary. Leng Yue is crying at this point and asks him what he meant when he told her father that he is going to join him soon. She checks his pulse and finds that he has been poisoned and is sick.

Prince An suspects that the second group of soldiers who had tried to save Xu Ru Gui from Qin Luan’s men was actually from Leng Pei Shan’s camp and they were the same people who had burned Li Zhang’s office.

[Episode 29]

General Hou, one of the two generals under Leng Pei Shan, commits suicide. Chu Chu wants to perform an open body autopsy to investigate. General Hou’s guards oppose it and Leng Pei Shan punish them for impeding the investigation. Chu Chu defends the guards as she knows that no one would want their loved ones to go through an open body autopsy. General Zhao rushes in late as he was taking a bath. Chu Chu notices that his hand has blood dripping down it.

She finds that General Hou was a victim to the same poison as the other soldiers. He had stabbed himself to death and had even dug around his intestinal organs, as though searching for something.

Leng Pei Shan had tied Leng Yue up. However, Prince An arrives to save her but it turned out that Leng Pei Shan was just trying to keep Leng Yue safe. Leng Pei Shan had been suspicious of Prince An because he had told Feng Jie, the minister who had died earlier, about his illness to tell the emperor. However, Feng Jie had died and that message had been intercepted before reaching the palace. Leng Pei Shan thought the emperor had sent Xue Ru Cheng to provide help but Xue Ru Cheng went back to Chang’an without even going to the camp. Then, Prince An’s letter through Leng Yue had arrived and these so-called evil spirits started haunting his soldiers. He was suspicious of all these occurrences and Prince An seemed to be in the middle of it. Prince An quickly disproves his suspicions.

Leng Pei Shan’s pain starts acting up and he takes out this aijiu roll which is a roll with herbs in it that people burn to inhale the medicinal benefits. Chu Chu thinks that something is wrong with the roll and Leng Yue sniffs it and notices that it contains mercury. Her grandfather had been slowly poisoned by this roll and the culprit who had given the “medicinal” rolls to her grandfather was Wu Chen.

Prince An hears about the use of hujie flower as medicinal balm that is applied topically and deduces that all four victims had been poisoned through that method. Chu Chu confirms that all four bodies had ulcers. Prince An shares that all four victims had a similar traumatic background: the one who drowned had experienced his family drowning in a flood, the one who burned had experienced his family die in a fire, the one who strangled himself had a loved one who died by hanging, and the general who stabbed himself had lost his wife in childbirth which is why he was digging around in his intestinal organs to find the child. Jing Yi was accidentally poisoned because he had touched a herb next to the ulcer medication and then touched his water, therefore consuming traces of the poison.

The team start searching for Wu Chen but he has gone missing. They find that the aijiu rolls are almost depleted and he had not replenished the stock which Prince An guesses means that Wu Chen no longer had any need to poison Leng Pei Shan. General Zhao is sent to search for Wu Chen. The night goes by and Wu Chen’s body is found early in the morning in a well. The soldiers think that he was hiding in the well to wait for a chance to escape and then died by accident. Prince An disagrees as the well was too far from any of the camp’s exits so he wouldn’t have hid there if he had wanted to escape.

Chu Chu does an autopsy on Wu Chen and gathers some unorthodox ingredients such as green onion, hot chili peppers, salt, white blossom buns, wine, vinegar, a mortar and pestle, two mats, and some empty land to dig a deep ditch. Everyone is silent until Leng Yue seriously asks, “Are you planning on cooking him to eat him, Chu Chu?” Chu Chu says that this is a method to quickly deduce if Wu Chen had been murdered or if he had committed suicide.

[Episode 30]

Prince An tells Leng Pei Shan about the various incidences and that the mastermind behind Wu Chen had already made use of Wu Chen and was done which is why Wu Chen had not needed to continue poisoning him. Leng Pei Shan is surprised because he had not known about the counterfeit money and had not sent those soldiers to burn down Li Zhang’s office. He had thought that those soldiers were runaway soldiers who had once been mountain bandits and instead of being captured, they had decided to join the army.

Chu Chu arranges all the ingredients and puts the white blossom buns on Wu Chen’s corpse. All these ingredients were used to accelerate the time it takes for bruises to appear on the body. Shortly after, bruises show up on the back of his neck and Chu Chu confirms that Wu Chen had been hit from the back before he was drowned in the well. Prince An then deduces that it can only be “him”, who is General Zhao. He is leading his army of rebel forces to seize Leng Pei Shan’s camp but luckily Prince An and Leng Pei Shan had anticipated this and set a trap. In Chang’an, Xue Ru Cheng is calmly feeding his goldfishes.

General Zhao and his forces fight and Xiao Jin Li kills General Zhao and the rebels are defeated. They search General Zhao’s room and find a secret letter that is coded. Jing Yi sighs that this is going to be hard to decipher since it’s not like General Zhao left behind the decoder cipher. Prince An muses that the cipher has to be in the room since General Zhao would need it nearby for decoding. Prince An searches the room and picks out a book of poems which should be the cipher because it is the only book which has been used a lot versus the other military books that had not been flipped open much. They still had to figure out the cipher in the book of poems and there are so many potential combinations. Prince An does it in seconds though and Chu Chu and Jing Yi are astonished.

Prince An: If you had memorized the book of poems like I have, then it is easy.
Jing Yi: shocked

Prince An decodes the message: Wu Chen failed and is eliminated. Will meet with the other group in Chang’an. He wants Jing Yi to interrogate the rebel soldiers but they are all dead so Chu Chu does an autopsy on them.

Leng Pei Shan knows that his granddaughter likes Jing Yi because the way she looks at him is the same way his daughter-in-law would look at his son. He asks Prince An if that “Dog” which is what they’ve been calling Jing Yi, is the son of Jing Ge Lao, Jing Yi. Prince An doesn’t deny this.

Chu Chu finds out through the autopsy that not all of them were mountain bandits. Four of the ten were actually military soldiers, which points to Qin Luan’s army.

Qin Luan takes the bait and goes to meet Prince Chang’s man. He learns that Prince Chang is not actually killed and wants Qin Luan to align with him. He has no choice because Xu Ru Gui is kept hostage by Prince Chang.

[Episode 31]

While digging around in Wu Chen’s room, Chu Chu finds a hidden cupboard with accounting books. Everyone assumes that they are just a copy of the original books, as backup. However, Prince An correctly deduces that these aren’t copies but another original set of books because Wu Chen had been importing double the supply of goods. They question with what money? Wu Chen had been using the counterfeit money to replace all the camp’s money. The camp and the soldiers now don’t have any real money which could create a big problem if the soldiers realize and chaos erupts.

To help Leng Pei Shan gather money to replace the counterfeit one, Leng Yue and Chu Chu both give him their savings. He is too proud to accept their money and is already upset that Prince An has had to step in and clean up this mess. The next day, Prince An and Jing Yi bring Leng Pei Shan a chest full of real coins. Since Prince An had received a royal degree to investigate the counterfeit money, he had used that to go around to the neighboring officials and asked each of them to give him money for the investigation. Prince An will explain the situation to the emperor once he goes to Chang’an so Leng Pei Shan need not worry.

In Chang’an, more troubles await the team. Prince Chang had arranged for more soldiers (i.e. the other group) to go to Chang’an disguised as exam takers to enter the capital. Qin Luan tells the emperor that there is an abnormally large number of exam takers this year and he volunteers General Zhou to guard the entry points and exits to increase security in the capital. The emperor approves.

Leng Pei Shan questions Leng Yue about her feelings towards Jing Yi. She shyly admits that she has feelings for him and Leng Pei Shan chuckles. He had guessed right. That night, Jing Yi goes back to his room and finds Leng Pei Shan sitting at his table looking serious. He tells Jing Yi that he is here to drink with him. Jing Yi is confused but can only go along with it. While drinking, Leng Pei Shan starts talking about Leng Yue and Jing Yi is so shocked that he spits his drink all over Leng Pei Shan. Luckily, he doesn’t take offense with Jing Yi but he has some beef with Jing Yi’s father who had pushed for the arranged marriage between Leng Yue and Xiao Jin Li. There are also years of misunderstandings between Leng Pei Shan and Jing Yi’s father because Jing Yi’s father had tried to avenge Xiao Heng by killing off all the rebellious soldiers, while Leng Pei Shan believed that they weren’t rebels and tried to save them. However, Leng Pei Shan admires Jing Yi’s father’s values to fight for his friend and get justice. He approves of Jing Yi pursuing Leng Yue!

Prince An and the team head back to Chang’an. However, he guesses that Qin Luan has likely sent assassins to kill them before they reach Chang’an so as to remove all evidence. Prince An plans to foil the attack and he gets Wu Jiang to switch out the bombs to smoke ones. Then he gets Leng Yue to ask her jianghu friends to help them capture all the assassins to prevent the news of their return from reaching Qin Luan. They successfully executed the plan.

Jing Yi sends a letter by pigeon to his father to tell him the truth about the rebellion. Jing Yi’s father shares the letter with Princess Xiping and they are on the same side. He had also heard that Qin Luan is going around trying to find the two previous maids who had served Princess Xiping when her twin boys were born and he suspects the same thing as Qin Luan, that one of them is not her biological son. He asks her to tell him the truth so that he can protect them, which he had sworn to Xiao Heng that he would do.

[Episode 32]

The suspicions are true and Princess Xiping has a flashback that confirms one of the Xiao brothers is the child of Yun Yi.

Jing Yi dresses up as a courtesan to smuggle into Chang’an with a group of girls. General Zhou, under the pretense of increased security for the capital, is checking each carriage. He looks into the carriage but doesn’t see through Jing Yi’s disguise. Jing Yi thanks the girls for their help. Meanwhile, Chu Chu and Prince An are hiding under a lot of ice in one of the wagons. The drivers tell the guards that the ice is to keep the food fresh.

Prince An gets back to the capital and finds out that Xue Ru Cheng had died in a fire. His body is burnt and unrecognizable. Prince An is sad and grieves for his teacher. While at the house, he notices that there were burn marks both inside and outside the house, which means someone had wanted to make sure that Xue Ru Cheng definitely died and it was not an accident. Chu Chu is doing an autopsy on the corpse and tells Prince An that the body is not Xue Ru Cheng. Prince An is shocked. Based on the teeth, she can deduce that the victim was in his twenties and he was killed first before being burnt which is why he doesn’t have as much smoke in his lungs. She also spots a strange plant in the courtyard. It is a plant that is used to prevent snakes and the flower can be used to treat snake poison. She thinks that it is weird to see this plant in Chang’an houses since snakes are not common here. However, it is a common plant in the south because there are a lot of snakes there and all the families plant it since if one family doesn’t plant it but the rest do, the snakes will go to that one family. Prince An is stunned by the realization that Xue Ru Cheng isn’t dead and he is in fact Prince Chang. He had staged his death in order to be reborn as Prince Chang.

All of the mysterious incidences – the information, counterfeit money, soldiers and rebellion in Leng Pei Shan’s camp – were part of his plan to rebel against the throne and come back as Prince Chang.

Prince An is furious at himself for not realizing this earlier. He berates himself for even giving Xu Ru Gui to Xue Ru Cheng and locks himself up in the study and refuses to see anyone. Chu Chu, however, insists on seeing him and bringing him food. She is not afraid of his anger and hugs him close to comfort him. Prince An is so disappointed with himself and Chu Chu reminds him that he isn’t invincible and an “all knowing god”. Without Prince An, so many things would have already gone wrong – Leng Pei Shan’s army would have been taken over by rebel forces, Chang’an would have been seized by Qin Luan or Prince Chang, the mysterious deaths of the government officials would not have been solved, etc. Prince An is upset too because he was betrayed by his own teacher who he had admired, trusted, and respected. Prince An doesn’t understand if Prince Chang had truly cared for him as a student. Chu Chu reasons that Xue Ru Cheng probably knew that Prince An would have turned out the way he is now with or without his teachings.

Chu Chu: In the past, he protected you and taught you so that you could become who you are today. From now on, I will protect you.
Prince An hugs her.
Chu Chu: You are always so just and fair to others but why can’t you be more just and fair to yourself? The one who committed sins is Prince Chang and he should be arrested but why are you punishing yourself? That will only benefit Prince Chang.
Prince An realizes the wisdom of her words.

[Episode 33]

Imperial Physician Zhang is found dead in his room, hanging from a noose. He was the physician who had attended to Princess Xiping when she was pregnant with the boys. As the head of judicial investigations, Prince An investigates the case and Chu Chu is examining the corpse. Minister Han barges in with his men to arrest Chu Chu because he still thinks that she is a traitor’s daughter. Prince An arrives in the nick of time to save Chu Chu. He has an official document that was stamped by the emperor to prove that Chu Chu is his imperial coroner so Minister Han cannot just arrest her like that.

Chu Chu nonchalantly asks Prince An when he had prepared that document. He says that he had prepared it before the coroner exam but only filled in her name last night. Chu Chu remains silent and doesn’t make eye contact. Prince An quickly says that it wasn’t that he had only decided to keep her as his official coroner last night but because once he writes her name in, this becomes permanent and she won’t be able to leave if she wants to. He didn’t want her to feel tied down to him because of the document but also sheepishly admits that none of his employees have enjoyed working under him. He wants Chu Chu to stay by his side of her own free will and not because she is bound by the document. Chu Chu teases him that even with the document, she will just pack her bags and leave if she wants to.

Prince An smirks and tickles her chin as though she was a dog. In a haughty voice, he reminds her that he is a very high ranking government official and her superior, thus if he wants to keep her, there is nothing she can do about it. Chu Chu seriously stares at him and squeezes his cheeks, “What is the situation now that you are still in the mood to tease me?”

Minister Han is accusing Princess Xiping of being the mastermind behind Imperial Physician Zhang’s suicide. The emperor is presiding over the case. Minister Han says that Princess Xiping threatened the physician to hide her medical history and pregnancy secrets because he had found her medical report lying on the physician’s table. Minister Han wants Princess Xiping to admit that one of her twin boys is the son of a traitor. All Princess Xiping can do is call his accusations pure nonsense.

At that moment, Prince An arrives and tells the emperor that Minister Han’s accusations have multiple holes in the logic. Minister Han is offended. Prince An starts off by saying, if Princess Xiping had truly forced the physician to commit suicide, why would she have left her medical report on the table when the resulting investigation would point to her. Secondly, the medical report is forged because her pregnancy was decades ago but the ink on the paper is fresh. That ink is a newly invented ink that only came out a few years ago and it has no smell. Only the emperor and those around him can use that ink so how can the physician use that ink?

However, the two other physicians who had discovered Imperial Physician Zhang said that he had still been alive when they had opened the door because they saw him balanced on the stool and then kick back the stool. They vehemently insist that what they saw is true. Prince An tells the emperor that they weren’t lying and is willing to show the emperor a recreation of the scene. They head over to a room and when they open the door, the human dummy “kicks” back the stool and hangs from the noose. He demonstrates that this was a simple contraption that was connected to the doors opening and it would knock over the stool, thus giving the illusion that Imperial Physician Zhang had still been alive when he had actually already been dead.

Chu Chu had deduced his method of death because she found some white fluff in his nose which means that he likely was first suffocated to death from a blanket stuffed over his face. After which, the killer had hanged him up to make it look like a suicide.

The killer couldn’t have exited through the door because of how the contraption was set up so he must have exited through the windows. Prince An had found a thread by the window and this thread is only used in eunuch clothing. He had also found that the sign-out sheet from the palace contained Sun Mingde and his entry and exit matches the time of Imperial Physician Zhang’s death. Sun Mingde realizes that he is caught and in his panic, he begs Qin Luan to help save him in front of the emperor. Without warning, Qin Luan breaks his neck in one quick move and kills Sun Mingde on the spot. Qin Luan begs the emperor for mercy and tells the emperor that he was heartbroken that his disciple could do something so treacherous. He wanted to punish his disciple and apologizes for doing it so abruptly.

However, Prince An has more evidence to prove that Qin Luan is the true mastermind behind Sun Mingde. He pulls out a note showing that Qin Luan was responsible. Qin Luan determinedly denies that he had written that note and pleads with the emperor that he is being framed. Prince An has more evidence though and they bring in a corpse. The corpse is the eunuch’s body that Xiao Heng had hid in the rock wall. When Qin Luan sees Chu Chu, however, he tries to divert everyone’s attention by accusing her as the daughter of a traitor.

Xue Ru Cheng realizes that the army coup in the south had failed because the troops do not arrive. However, he has a backup plan and does not think Prince An can foil him.

[Episode 34]

When Qin Luan loudly accuses Chu Chu of being the traitor’s daughter, Prince An questions him, “How did you know of Chu Chu’s status when you are a eunuch who lives deep in the palace?” Qin Luan is caught and falls silent. The emperor permits Chu Chu to speak and she explains that the corpse is a eunuch who had tried to kill Xiao Heng many years ago. They had found a medallion on the eunuch that signifies his status in the palace and they present it to the emperor. The emperor asks Qin Luan to bring his own medallion over to do a comparison. It matches Qin Luan’s which means that the eunuch was working for Qin Luan. Qin Luan tries to wiggle his way out and say that the medallion could be forged. However, there are detailed records on every eunuch in the palace and this eunuch’s appearance and medallion matches one of the supposedly missing eunuchs. The emperor orders Qin Luan to be arrested. However, Prince An suspects that Qin Luan went so quietly to jail because he has a backup plan up his sleeve.

Princess Xiping thanks Chu Chu and Prince An for getting out of the situation. She tells Prince An that she has something to share but he already knows that he is not her biological son. Chu Chu had mentioned earlier that with Princess Xiping and Xiao Heng’s skull formation, it is not possible to have a son who looks like Prince An. Indeed, Prince An’s biological father is Chen Ying, one of the generals who had been wrongly accused of treason. Prince An kneels and asks Princess Xiping if he can still treat her as his mother and she quickly agrees because that is exactly how she thinks of him, as her true son.

Jing Yi’s father interrogates Qin Luan in prison but he refuses to divulge anything. If anything, he tells Jing Yi’s father that the reason the emperor assigned him to do the investigation vs. Prince An is because Prince An would create chaos by chasing down the full truth and embroiling many ministers. Jing Yi’s father says that he will act fairly and reveal the truth. There’s enough evidence that Qin Luan cannot escape but if he confesses, Jing Yi’s father will let him be buried with his corpse fully intact, and he will even throw in the fake mustache that Qin Luan is so fond of. Qin Luan isn’t cowed and sings an opera Chinese song. Prince An is actually secretly listening in on the interrogation from a hole in the cell and believes that Qin Luan is just stalling for time, as though waiting for something to happen.

They execute their plan which includes Jing Yi’s father questioning Qin Luan again and Jing Yi running in, looking all dishevelled and out of breath. He whispers in his father’s ear that the emperor is poisoned! Qin Luan starts laughing and exclaims gleefully that the emperor must have drunk the poisoned tea. Jing Yi acts shocked and runs off to alert the emperor. Then Qin Luan cackles that he didn’t fall for their poor acting and he knew that they had purposely detained him in the dark prison cell to disrupt his sense of time. However, he has been working in the palace for decades and his sense of time is very accurate so he knows that it is not time yet for the emperor to be poisoned. He hadn’t made up a complete lie since he knows how perceptive Jing Yi’s father is so if he had lied, Jing Yi’s father would have seen right through it. Prince An deduces that the poison isn’t in the tea but actually on the cup. Qin Luan’s smile drops off because Prince An had guessed right. However, he starts cackling again because even if they guessed right, it’s too late to get to the emperor. From the prison to the palace, it would take too long, even by horse.

However, Qin Luan is mistaken! Prince An had made another bet that even if Qin Luan has a good sense of time, he probably doesn’t have a good sense of space and likely hasn’t been to the imperial prison nor knows the way there. When they had led Qin Luan to prison, they had led him to the prison right underneath the palace. Qin Luan is crushed because he had planned and schemed his entire life but failed to win against a “baby” like Prince An. He has lost and runs head first into the wall to commit suicide. They manage to get the information to the emperor in time and he is not poisoned!

Jing Yi has some information for Prince An and reports that all of the people who had helped Prince Chang were related to him in some way – Li Zhang, General Zhao, Wu Chen, the courtesan, etc. One of their family members had served Prince Chang in his manor and died unjustly when Prince Chang had been “killed”. He had then used their love for their family members to inspire their loyalty.

Jing Yi’s father offers the exam takers hospitality and it is a trick to expose the number of soldiers Prince Chang has hidden among them. Because Prince Chang would not want his soldiers to be under the supervision of Jing Yi’s father, those “exam takers” would not take the offer and the number of soldiers he has would be the subtraction of the two groups.

With so many blows to Prince Chang’s plan, Chu Chu asks if Prince Chang would run away. Prince An says that he wouldn’t because he is so close to the throne now and he wouldn’t be able to give that up and return back to anonymity. However, since Prince Chang no longer has Qin Luan’s aid in the palace, they need to create some bait to lure him out – an event with the emperor in attendance. Chu Chu suggests a scholar tea party but Prince An rejects that idea because the scholars in attendance might end up supporting Prince Chang’s legitimacy which would be bad. They need to catch Prince Chang quietly and not fuel any rebellion thoughts.

[Episode 35]

Jing Yi and Leng Yu go to her old house in Chang’an and she hesitates going in. She wants to go in but doesn’t want to use qinggong to fly in and wants to enter through the front doors legitimately. She doesn’t have the keys but Jing Yi does! Leng Pei Shan had given them to him. She’s touched for his thoughtfulness and tells him to come closer. She quickly kisses his cheek and then runs away. Jing Yi is shocked and flustered because he did not expect that.

Jing Yi: Don’t run away! I’m still a young innocent man and you have to take responsibility for me! Come to my house tomorrow and ask for my hand in marriage!

Chu Chu goes to find Prince An and tells him that she’s thought of an idea to lure Prince Chang out. She wants to marry him and use their wedding as the event to have the emperor there. Prince An is surprised because she is now the one proposing to him. He rejects her idea because he doesn’t want to use their marriage as a trap to catch Prince Chang. Chu Chu disagrees. Prince An explains that he wants their wedding to be the start of their happiness and it should be meaningful and romantic, and not fraught with danger. He wants her to have a proper wedding and not continue putting her in more danger. Chu Chu smiles softly and says, “That’s why my plan will work!” Prince An: “What?” Chu Chu says that she doesn’t care about the wedding as long as she gets to marry him. If marrying him can help him, she would marry him every day if she could. Prince An is distressed. Chu Chu gently touches his face and says, “It pains me to see you this stressed and that is why I am willing to do this.”

Prince An is convinced by Chu Chu’s words and he asks the emperor to agree to the marriage. The emperor is at first furious because he thinks that this marriage will make a laughingstock out of Prince An since Chu Chu is a lowly coroner. However, Prince An is resolute that he only wants to marry Chu Chu. Thus, the emperor reluctantly agrees but he has a condition – he wants Chu Chu to give up being a coroner. Prince An had already anticipated that and hands over the document to the emperor with Chu Chu’s agreement. Chu Chu had been willing to give up her role because she would rather do whatever she could to catch the villains.

While Jing Yi and Leng Yue are walking around the city, a man starts cheering for Prince Chang in the middle of the street and then falls to the ground dead. On his back, words that support Prince Chang magically appear. This was part of Prince Chang’s plan to try and point to his existence as blessed by the heavens and garner the support of the people. However, Prince An was smart and had guessed that something like this would happen which is why he had asked Jing Yi and Leng Yue to patrol the streets. Jing Yi quickly exposes the magic trick by showing the people around how it was done. It’s basically a chemical reaction and Jing Yi had written a romantic line which amused the civilians. Prince Chang hears about how they foiled his plans and is angry.

Prince Chang’s men drop off a “present” for Prince An and it is Xu Ru Gui. He is sick and disoriented but they manage to get information from him that he had been forced to swollen a large pill. His captors hadn’t let him bit it and he had to swallow it whole. They deduce that Prince Chang didn’t kill Xu Ru Gui because that large pill was a detonating bomb and once it explodes, it would kill Prince An. Jing Yi suggests sending him far away so that when the bomb explodes, no one would be nearby. However, because Xu Ru Gui is Chu Chu’s biological uncle, Prince Chang is betting that she would not want to do that to him and Prince An would support Chu Chu because he loves her. Chu Chu wants to try doing an “open body autopsy” to cut out the large pill before it explodes. Prince An agrees because he can’t argue against Chu Chu.

[Episode 36]

Chu Chu successfully performs the “open body autopsy” and extracts the large pill! Xu Ru Gui is still alive. Leng Yue examines the pill and confirms that it consists of many poisons and mercury. Prince An’s jaw ticks as he realizes the danger that Chu Chu had put herself in. He holds her hands and tells her that the royal edict had arrived and they will be getting married. She is to leave for the palace to prepare herself because the emperor has given her some special status. Once Chu Chu leaves, Prince An smashes the nearest pot, furious that Prince Chang had used Chu Chu and put her in danger.

They explain the extent of Prince Chang’s plan with the pill. It is a fatal bomb that would strike all three obstacles: Chu Chu, Prince An, and the emperor. Once Xu Ru Gui dies from the pill, Chu Chu would perform his autopsy and die from the poisons. Coroners have a tradition to burn certain herbs to drive out evil spirits and the fire would intensify the poison in the room. When Prince An checks on Chu Chu, he would also be poisoned and die. Lastly, when there is an unknown poison, the protocols were to quarantine and bury the dead immediately. Since Prince An is of royal blood and a high ranking official, the emperor would have to come and pay his respects at the funeral, and that would be Prince Chang’s opportunity to assassinate the emperor.

However, because Chu Chu removed the pill in time, Prince Chang’s evil plan does not succeed. He has no choice but to attend their wedding to get an opportunity to overthrow the emperor.

Prince An is feeding the chickens in his yard that Chu Chu had bought for him at the very start! And then Xiao Jin Li comes by and gives his brother a big bear hug. He had missed him a lot but he underestimates his strength and Prince An jokes that Chu Chu almost had to perform an autopsy on him to confirm that he died from a hug. Xiao Jin Li congratulates his brother on the marriage and Prince An congratulates him back because he noticed that Jin Li is wearing a medallion token from Luo Yan, one of the jianghu people who had helped them earlier. After Jin Li leaves, Jin Yu continues to feed the chickens and even coos at them.

Xiao Jin Li goes to visit his mother and ends up having to model Prince An’s groom clothes so that mom can pick the nicest one. Princess Xiping tells him that she had prepared two jade bracelets for her two sons’ future wives. She gives one to Leng Yue to give to Chu Chu and she tells Jin Li that she will keep the other one till he finds his wife.

Chu Chu is getting ready for the wedding and stares in awe at her beautiful wedding dress. She had never seen a wedding before let alone a wedding dress. Leng Yue is surprised and Chu Chu explains that it is because she is a coroner. She learnt as a kid that she was not welcomed at these auspicious events when was even thrown out of a wedding when she had tried to observe one. She is a bit down because she thinks that if it had not been for the emperor’s decree, Princess Xiping would not have approved of her as a daughter-in-law. Leng Yue corrects her and gives her the jade bracelet from Princess Xiping to assure her that she is fully accepted.

Prince Chang knows that the wedding is a trap because the security around the wedding is too lax. As he is thinking about what to do, Jing Yi and Leng Yue barge into his hideout. Prince An had narrowed down where Prince Chang was hiding thanks to clues from Xu Ru Gui. They fight Prince Chang’s soldiers but end up being caught. Prince Chang goes to Prince An’s wedding with his hostages.

Prince An taunts Prince Chang that he is a fake prince and is in fact the real Prince Chang’s childhood study companion. He knows that Prince Chang had chicken pox when he was a child and that kind of disease leaves scars. He tells the crowd that this Prince Chang is in fact “Xue Tang”, the childhood companion. Prince Chang looks flustered which makes him look guilty. He didn’t expect Prince An to do that.

Prince Chang recovers and reminds Prince An that he is holding Jing Yi and Leng Yue hostage. At that moment, both Leng Yue and Jing Yi start smirking. They had planned to be captured as part of the plan so that Prince Chang would believe that he has the upper hand and bring his whole rebellion force into the wedding venue. Prince An had wanted to catch Prince Chang’s entire army in one swoop. General Zhou had turned on Prince Chang because Jing Yi and Prince An had caught and convinced him. General Zhou loosened Leng Yue and Jing Yi’s ropes so they easily escape. Xiao Jin Li then enters with his troops to surround Prince Chang!

Prince Chang doesn’t panic because he has a backup plan. While he had entered from the front, he had gotten some of his men to go by the back and capture the emperor. However, Prince An had anticipated that and had actually set the trap for him by leaving no security at the back. Instead of the emperor, Prince Chang had captured Chu Chu instead who had been disguised as the emperor. Even though Prince Chang has Chu Chu, General Zhou, undercover on Prince An’s orders, starts loudly throwing suspicion on whether Prince Chang is the true Prince Chang. This shakes the belief of his followers and Jing Yi adds fuel to the fire by saying that he’s not Prince Chang but Xue Tang. Jin Bao, the emperor’s eunuch, announces the royal edict that they need to seize the fake Prince Chang and anyone who lays down his arms will be pardoned. General Zhou immediately surrenders and many of Prince Chang’s soldiers follow suit.

However, Prince Chang still has Chu Chu hostage. Prince An tells Prince Chang that he will exchange himself for Chu Chu and Prince An is a more valuable captive. Prince Chang accepts and he holds Prince An hostage. While he starts backing up to escape with Prince An as hostage, Prince An asks him if he was ever genuine towards him as teacher. Prince Chang scoffs, “Sincerity? Don’t be naive.” Once he had backed up sufficiently, Xiao Jin Li shoots at the red drapery above which activates a contraption that shoots directly through Prince Chang’s head. He immediately dies.

The wedding continues and Chu Chu and Prince An get married! However, the emperor has a small surprise for them. Jin Bao reads the royal edict: Chu Chu is allowed to be an imperial coroner again!

The end.

Review

Wow I really loved this drama! I generally really enjoy detective dramas if they are really well done because of how suspenseful and intelligently the script is written! This was one of the dramas that I felt was just written really well – every clue, interaction, character, etc. had an important role to play and no detail was too small. That made the drama really believable. All of the different cases wove so well into one another.

The drama also didn’t try to dress anything up just to have a happy ending. I genuinely believed that they would find Xiao Heng alive and well and was surprised at that twist when he had already died, and in such a horrific way. I liked how realistic the show was – of course, Chu Chu wouldn’t have an easy happy ending just because Prince An wanted to marry her. The emperor was so strongly opposed to it and the sacrifice in this case was her job and dream as a coroner.

The team was really such a joy to watch! Everyone had their own part to play and didn’t feel like an extra or just another pretty face. Prince An was the brains, Chu Chu was the expert at death, Xiao Jin Li was the brawn, Jing Yi was the jokester but disguiser, Leng Yue was both doctor and kungfu expert. Even Jing Yi’s father was a critical character in being an expert of information and manipulation in the court.

I loved the bromance between Prince An and Xiao Jin Li and the strong friendship between the brothers and Jing Yi and Leng Yue. They have such strong, unbreakable bonds and fully trusted one another. These are the kind of relationships that give me hope! It was also really touching to see the strong brotherhood between Jing Yi’s father and Xiao Heng, even after Xiao Heng was presumed dead! He was so loyal and upright to the very end. Even Princess Xiping displayed the same kind of self-sacrificial loyalty – she took in a presumed traitor’s son and lied to the emperor that he was her own biological son to protect and raise him. Their close bonds mean more because they are not blood related and it was lovely to watch all of their interactions!

The romance was also cute and sweet. Chu Chu’s love line with Prince An felt logical and compatible. It was also just adorable to watch Prince An’s evolution from the cold, aloof “judge” to someone who would say the sweetest things in his straightforward, logical manner. I liked that he didn’t change into a different person after falling in love. He was still himself and trying to figure out his feelings in his own logical way. Jing Yi and Leng Yue was also a cute pairing and their interactions were hilarious. I also liked that they found someone for Xiao Jin Li who fits his character. However, even though I liked the romance in this drama, the one flaw for me was the chemistry between Prince An and Chu Chu. There were a few moments when I found their interactions kind of stilted and forced.

Lastly, I really enjoyed having such strong female characters who were smart, capable, and important parts of the drama. Chu Chu was critical in so many parts of the drama, from figuring out how people truly died to extracting the bomb pill from Xu Ru Gui, and literally calming Prince An down when he had stressed himself into depression. Leng Yue was not only smart and independent – she had traveled around the jianghu by herself – but she was also really good at kungfu to the point that she could kick Xiao Jin Li’s butt and all the guys were scared of her. Princess Xiping is also another awesome female character. She was literally almost full term pregnant when firstly she got the news that her husband, Xiao Heng, had been killed in a rebellion, and secondly she was entrusted with Chen Ying’s baby to raise. She then planned a huge deception to raise the supposed traitor’s son as her own and tell the whole world that she had actually had twins. What strength of character.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Imperial Coroner and would highly recommend! 💖

Ratings:
Overall: 9/10
Historical Romance Genre: 9/10

Pictures

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.