The fight is beginning, and this time Choi Young and Eun Soo are on the same side, fighting together. They stand strongly for the king, but they are only two, and their strength is still weak. The enemy has many more mysterious fighters, and they all target Choi Young, the king’s most stalwart protector…
Choi Young advances to Gi Cheol’s estate, intending to lay a trap…but Gi Cheol is fully anticipating him, having known from his informer. But there is something else here – two Suribang men distract Cheon Eum Ja as he walks in guard.
Gi Cheol is confident that Choi is here to get the all-important diary of Eun Soo’s, gloating over the eventual encounter. He does consider – what if Choi just sneaks in and steals it? No, he’s too honorable for that; Choi would come and fight for it.
Choi himself varguely orders a Suribang to wait for him, and deliver something in case something happens to him. He walks in to the empty courtyard to sit and wait.
Eun Soo, meanwhile, rides like the wind, losing her hat in haste. And Gi Cheol comes out to the courtyard, with his guards at his side. They charge at Choi, who slices his way through them easily…but then they collapse into puffs of smoke. Wha?
Then Choi and Gi Cheol alone are left, both with swords drawn. Choi leaps at him and Gi Cheol swipes, stabbing him in the shoulder and then his stomach. Choi Young is left gasping with pain on his knees, but he manages to get up and fight Gi Cheol, who then grabs him from behind. And then Choi stabs himself in the stomach, going right through his own body to stab Gi Cheol behind him. Oh wow.
And then…the scene vanishes. It was all Choi’s imagination. Phew. Eun Soo finds Dae Man and demands to know where Choi is; he stutters, and so she runs off to find him herself.
Now Gi Cheol and Choi meet for real, with Gi Cheol suspecting a trap. Choi replies no, that he was here to die, knowing his enemy’s strength. He asks if Gi Cheol would really kill all those people who stand with the king, and when Gi Cheol affirms it, he has his answer; “The world would be a better place, without you.”
They fight, and Gi Cheol stabs him in the shoulder and stomach like he did in the vision. Again, Gi Cheol grabs Choi from behind, slicing Mae Hee’s red sash off his sword, but thankfully this time Choi doesn’t stab himself.
They force themselves apart again, ready to fight more, but then Eun Soo charges in between them, screaming at them to stop. She places a dagger at her throat, threatening to kill herself unless they do as she says.
Gi Cheol shouts that she needs to give him a reason to let her live, and asks when he’s going to die. She answers hesitantly, “Four or five years more.” He asks if the king lives on, and she affirms it. So that’s his answer, as he concludes, “So it is the king that kills me.” And now he says that since he knows history, he will try to change it. In the meantime, he decides to let Eun Soo live, and leaves.
Choi is relieved that she’s alive, but of course expresses that by yelling at her for risking herself. She shouts back thathe’s the one who started it, he’s the one who wants to lose and die and leave her here – “How can you think only of yourself?” She continues that because he’s doing it because of her, she feels responsible…and he knows what it’s like to be the one left behind.
Gentler now, she treats his hands, one bloody and the other frozen from Gi Cheol’s ice powers. He looks at her blowing on his frozen hand, then sweeps her hair away from her face and behind her ear, as a tear falls down her face. He explains that this is how he’s always done things – face them, and either win or die. But he promises not to risk his life anymore, “So don’t cry.”
Gi Cheol, meanwhile, is curiously sickened and weak. We find out why when Hwasooin and the others go at him for using his ice powers, which apparently he shouldn’t be using. Still, he’s far more concerned with Eun Soo’s prediction for Yuan and his own death. He decides to change all that – he will replace the king, he will replace Yuan, and “If the heavens have predicted this, I will change the heavens too.”
Eun Soo and Choi Young go for a nighttime stroll, with Dae Man and another Wudalchi ogling them from behind. Eun Soo confesses that she won’t try to run away anymore and instead will turn to fighting Gi Cheol. Even though he’s happy at the first, Choi isn’t so happy about the second part, asking why not do nothing? She replies that it’s not in her nature to ‘just breathe and do nothing.’ Interesting – a stark contrast to Choi, who would do his duty and nothing else.
So Eun Soo decides that they will be partners – she wants her diary back, he wants the king safe. Together, they’ll make the king powerful and get the diary from him. She lays down the rules between partners: always tell each other everything, and protect each other. Of course, she has to explain that “protect each other” goes both ways, and they can’t leave to fight alone.
Eun Soo then forces him to shake hands on it, while the Wudalchi boys snigger in the bushes. Lady Choi comes to take them to the king and the queen. Choi manages to stop Eun Soo from spilling all the details of the night, and asks the king to place Eun Soo in the queen’s security; the queen agrees. This being done, the king asks Eun Soo about the Joseon she was mentioning.
Eun Soo hedges, stating that it’s a country far to the east and populated by Yis, lol. She does cover and say that her knowledge of history is weak, which prompts Choi to scoff that she shouldn’t talk so much about it then. The thing she’s trying to figure out, though, is whether the history she knows is what it was before she came, or because she came.
Choi snaps at this, and Eun Soo snaps back, and both of them have a sound argument right in front of the royal couple. Eun Soo manages to work off her rage alone, ranting at her vase.
In the Wudalchi barracks, the men are busy discussing the general’s relationship with Eun Soo. Doek Man contributes that he saw them ‘holding hands’, which none of them believe, since Dae Man doesn’t affirm it. But then Dae Man remembers Eun Soo giving Choi CPR, which he describes as “the Heavenly Doctor putting her lips to the General’s lips”, and they all gasp in shock.
In the meantime, Choi considers Mae Hee’s red sash, which he’s tied back onto his sword hilt…and now he unties it and puts it away. Lady Choi comes by, relieved that Eun Soo was able to get him in time, but he only complains in his usual way about the inconvenience. Auntie wallops him another one, before bringing up Gi Cheol’s assassins. She wants to contribute some of her own guards, but knows there’s a mole somewhere.
Choi tells her that Gi Cheol had known exactly how he would approach him…and Lady Choi realizes that she was the leak; the traitor had conveyed the exact words she had told Noguk. They seize the opportunity to feed Gi Cheol false intelligence, so that they can separate and take down the assassins one by one. Lady Choi, knowing her nephew, asks what Eun Soo did to get him to stop – “She risked her life.”
Lady Choi then goes to Eun Soo (who’s feeling uncomfortable in Goryeo layers) to ask a favor. Eun Soo plays a joke, going back into plastic surgeon mode and wondering what she could do to bring back Aunt’s youth.
Gongmin and Noguk have a conversation, with her trying to calm his nerves for the upcoming gathering. He’s still wracked with guilt about the people dying because of him, and fighting his own doubts about turning out like Gi Cheol, but Noguk quietly tells him he’s different; he’s not like Gi Cheol. She wants him to have confidence in himself.
The plan gets going: the scholars going to attend the gathering are put under secret protection, guarded by disguised Wudalchi. Eun Soo tells the king, loudly, of all the people who will support him…and Lady Choi notices that Traitor Girl is paying special attention. Caught!
But Traitor Girl goes and reports to Gi Cheol the names, which are utterly unexpected. Gi Cheol is left knowing nothing and still suspicious. They do get to know that ‘one person’, whom they take to be Choi Young, knows the location where the scholars are protected. Choi himself goes to fetch the eminent lead scholar.
He goes back to the palace to find Eun Soo, and worries over her involvement in the plan. She’s in high spirits, though, and teases him instead for worrying so much; she’s far more into her dress – “Does it look good on me?” He just tells her to go inside, so she sits down and muses that partners should have a drink and get together like they do in her world – and make sure they are both safe.
Choi kneels down and tells her to lift her skirt, but it’s only to strap a dagger to her ankle. She squeaks that she’s a doctor! She can’t stab people! Choi dryly points out that she stabbed him, and then adds that she can heal them afterwards. He does offer to teach her in this place when they meet next.
Next up is a meeting with Manbo and sister. They’re grumpy at having only assassin-distracting work to do, but Choi just laughs, knowing they like having something to do.
Jang Bin is teaching Eun Soo the art of the pulse and how to use it to tell the condition of the patient, something totally new to her. Just then, Gi Cheol walks in, demanding to know why Eun Soo gave her knowledge of the future to the king so freely, and not to him.
The queen gets to know of his arrival, and pretty soon the king summons him. Gongmin is confident that none of his team will waver in front of threats. But Gi Cheol knows the king’s weak spots, and plants those doubts: How long with Choi want to clean up after the king? And how long before the doctor realizes that only Gi Cheol can protect her? He delivers the last blow – his sister the Empress of Yuan wanted to know if she should push Gongmin out of power and instate someone else.
Awww, Noguk is being wifely at the moment, cleaning Gongmin’s desk and wondering what she can do to help him feel better. She asks a eunuch what his wife does in this situation (he’s married, apparently). He says that they have wine. Innocently, Noguk wonders if that’s all and urges him to tell more. The man sputters and then spits out “We share a bed!” And then the king walks in. Lol. Noguk flees, and the eunuch cowers in distress.
Hwasooin and Eum Ja go on their own recruiting drive, but the man laughs a cryptic message and walks away. Some distance away, a Suribang man is dressed like Choi, leading mysterious fighters into a forest.
Meanwhile, Choi is preparing and senses a presence, swinging his sword. The people are quick, so quick they’re almost invisible. But he closes his eyes, using his senses, and kills three. He goes to the inn, speaking to the invisible fighters, cutting them down: “Four…Five.” He talks of ‘a person who goes on relentlessly living’, someone who makes him question his own lack of will to live. His breath gets slower, and his legs get shaky. He cuts down a sixth, and falls, clenching his bloodied hand.
Eun Soo is sitting, trying to feel her pulse, when a man comes up to her and says he is King Gongmin’s uncle…and he hands her the diary.