Dae-yeop saves the trio hiding in the shed. Then he levels his sword at Ba-woo, blaming him for this whole situation. Ba-woo tells him to take care of the princess first. Surely that is more important than killing him? Dae-yeop recognizes him as the nobleman he met at Aeweol, the gisaeng house. Ba-woo also recognizes him and says ruefully: “I thought we were on friendly terms. I guess it’s an ill-fated relationship.” Dae-yeop calls him a knave and an insect, but the assassins interrupt their talk.
The assassins chase them through the narrow roads. Dae-yeop has serious sword skills and can beat the assassins with the scabbard only. Ba-woo instructs Cha-dol to run and joins the fight with rocks and fists. He tries to lead the princess away, but she won’t move since Dae-yeop is in danger. Ba-woo rolls his eyes: “That man isn’t going to die. He’s the son of their master! Do you think they’ll kill him?” She still won’t budge, until Dae-yeop tells her to go. So Ba-woo and Hwa-in make their escape while Dae-yeop fends off the assassins.
Once they are far enough, Ba-woo persuades the princess to save herself and go to the palace as planned. He thinks that once her family knows that she’s alive everything will be fine. She hesitates for a moment because she is worried about Dae-yeop, but she quickly makes up her mind. They will go to Danbongmun Gate (a small gate along the southern wall where court ladies usually enter and exit the palace).
When Dae-yeop gets home he finds a furious Vice Premier Lee. Dae-yeop begs his father to spare Hwa-in and promises to hide her where nobody will find her, but in vain. VP Lee is not willing to risk getting caught after deceiving the king. Dae-yeop is horrified to hear that the assassins themselves will be killed. He cries:
“Lies beget bigger lies. Even if you kill all those men, who will seal the lips of those who killed them?”
Dae-yeop insists that it’s not too late to tell the king the truth, but he is dragged away. VP Lee sits alone and mumbles to himself: “They say a Mandarin orange can change in the right circumstance into an orange tree.” [This means that the environment where you grow up is more important than where you are born]. He continues: “But I suppose an orange tree, even if planted elsewhere, will always produce oranges.”
Dae-yeop is thrown into a storage room, where we find Chun-bae (Ba-woo’s friend) tied up. They spend all episode in that shed, with Chun-bae starving and Dae-yeop sulking. It’s actually quite amusing.
The princess has walked a long way and is limping across some rocks. Ba-woo notices it and insists that Cha-dol wants to take a break. Taking the hint, Cha-dol whines that he’s so tired. Hwa-in sits down to rest. Ba-woo takes off her sock without any ceremony and holds her foot to inspect the wound. She feels embarrassed at the touch.
Ba-woo staunches the blood with some water and bandages her foot, and then goes into town to buy shoes. He spends some time trying to estimate her foot size before deciding on a red pair, which it turns out was made for the princess’ wedding (which never happened because VP Lee’s son died before the wedding). Hwa-in loves the shoes. She can tell that they were made by a master shoemaker. She marvels at the perfect stiches, little knowing that the shoes were meant for her all along. [This moment is symbolically significant, foreshadowing a future relationship between Hwa-in and Ba-woo, since shoes were traditionally included among wedding gifts sent by a groom to the bride].
They sneak around the streets surrounding the palace, trying to find a way in. Unfortunately, the gates are heavily guarded by men carrying sticks, whom Ba-woo deduces are VP Lee’s men. Hwa-in has a plan: to enter dressed as a palace maid (nain). They put their plan into action. First Cha-dol teases one of the maids to lure her away from the stream where they are washing clothes. Presumably, Ba-woo ties her up somewhere, because next thing we know Cha-dol is playing with her hamper and laundry stick (bangmangi).
While they wait for the princess to change, Cha-dol grows sad because once the princess enters the palace, he won’t see her anymore. Ba-woo reminds him that the princess is far above them and lives in a different world. He also says: “Pretty women are wicked. Don’t get bewitched by her.” The princess walks out. Cha-dol expresses his unreserved admiration at the pretty princess. Ba-woo tries not to look impressed. Cha-dol is already attached to her and cries as he hugs her goodbye.
Hwa-in joins the other maids at the stream, posing as a housemaid of her mother (Consort Yun). She is troubled to hear the gossip that Consort Yun has been sick in bed since the death of her daughter the princess. Later the maids head back to the palace. The problem is that Hwa-in does not have an identification tag to enter the palace. She stands in the line of palace maids, growing more nervous as she approaches the soldiers taking attendance. Suddenly Cha-dol shows up with a tag he stole from another laundry maid. The guards inquire about the kid. Hwa in replies that he’s a child eunuch. They both enter Changdeokgung Palace (restored in 1611 by Gwanghae). Ba-woo figures out where the scamp went and waits outside fuming.
It’s clear that Court Lady Kim Gae-si runs the palace, because even the consorts are trying to bribe her for the king’s favor. Hwa-in tries to reach her mother by sending her hairpin through another palace maid, but the hairpin falls into Kim Gae-si’s hands instead.
Hwa-in and Cha-dol wait at Aeryeonjeong Pavilion that night, in the Huwon “Secret” Garden. To her shock, Kim Gae-si shows up. Kim Gae-si tells Hwa-in to die, since her presence would be troublesome to the king, for VP Lee might retaliate if he feels threatened, and it might mean a civil war. Suddenly King Gwanghae himself strolls by, looking very depressed. He seems to notice Hwa-in but he continues on his way to Buyongji Pond.
Kim Gae-si meets Vice Premier Lee, who’s anxious because Hwa-in is still alive. He asks where she might go now, and Court Lady Kim sneers: “Do you think a person who is running for her life would say where she’s going?” She also warns VP Lee that she’s not his subordinate, but her eyes go wide when he mentions a certain sweet rice cake and the previous king’s death.
Gwanghae takes his trusted guard Jung Yeong aside and orders him to find Hwa-in, and once he’s found her, to make sure he gets evidence if VP Lee kills her (That is harsh! Is he willing to use his daughter’s death as political leverage?).
Ba-woo catches up with Hwa-in and Cha-dol as they leave the palace, knocking out Vice Premier Lee’s spy who was tailing them in the process. They spend the night at a run-down mill. Cha-dol tells his father that the king most certainly saw the princess but that he pretended to not see her. Hwa-in goes outside for a cry while Ba-woo watches from afar.
VP Lee orders his son Won-yeop, who is Left Chief of Police, to guard several city gates. He instructs Won-yeop to look out for a woman in white, since Hwa-in would not have had time to change her widow’s clothes. However, the “woman in white” they see the next day is Ba-woo in disguise. The guards chase Ba-woo through the alleys, while Cha-dol and Hwa-in manage to slip out undetected. Ba-woo joins them a bit later.
Once they are safely outside the city, they part ways. Cha-dol is reluctant to leave the princess and Ba-woo carries him kicking and screaming. Hwa-in walks away by herself. She steps towards the edge of a cliff.
She bows in the direction of the palace and then breaks down in tears. Cha-dol is so distraught that in the end Ba-woo turns back. He sees crows flying above the cliff ominously. He runs, but he’s too late. Ba-woo only sees the red shoes on the cliff’s edge and a little splash at the bottom.
End of episode
Note: This is an extended and revised version of the squeecap I posted on the Dramabeans Hangout thread, now with links and extra notes.