Bao Na finally realises it’s not her Prince of Bo likes. It’s Ma Zhaixing. This whole time, she was just a pawn in the Yang Kingdom’s plans to obtain an agreement between them and her Qitan Kingdom. It all became clear when the perfume sachet she thought she’d receive during some alone time between her and Prince of Bo never eventuated. Instead, she finds it hanging by the vertical frame of Ma Zhaixing’s bed after Prince of Bo leaves her at the study room where she fell asleep.
She had attempted to use the excuse of wanting to practice calligraphy in the study room as a way to give Prince of Bo that opportunity she thought he was waiting for to give the perfume sachet. Never did it cross her mind that after she unintentionally fell asleep (it was meant to be pretend), he went right to the guest room where he thought Ma Zhaixing would be.
Ma Zhaixing was not in her guest room, though. She was out in the courtyard practicing her archery and imagining the straw person target was Bao Na. Her jealousy seemed to have truly settled in after her return from being caught by Prince of Bo out in the markets. However, she would never admit her jealousy.
Ma Jing’s inquiring into the reason Ma Zhaixing went out sees Ma Zhaixing deny being worried about Prince of Bo and Bao Na being together. She tells Ma Jing it was because she worried Prince of Bo would lose his patience with Bao Na and give himself away and expose the real motive.
Prince of Bo attempts to get Ma Zhaixing admitting her jealousy when he locates her. “Why must you pierce through my heart?” he asks after moving in right behind her to show her the correct way to hold her bow and arrow. She hesitates to reveal the reason, and still doesn’t come right out and admit it when Prince of Bo tell her the question is an order from him. However, she does shout that he was supposed to put on an act with Bao Na not do it all for real.
Prince of Bo tries to find out her thoughts about Langzai, next, which would ultimately lead back to the topic of whether she was jealous or not. Overhearing Ma Zhaixing speak to Ma Jing about Langzai and how he was different sees Prince of Bo asking her what exactly it was about Langzai that makes him different to Prince of Bo. Ma Zhaixing thinks the question must be Prince of Bo showing his jealousy over another man–a man who she says is someone who only has her in his sights and his heart, and will say sweet words to cheer her up when she’s sad.
Ma Zhaixing’s words about Langzai has Prince of Bo try hard to hold back his amusement. He tells her he’s no sweet-talker (in other words, Ma Zhaixing just lied), but he’s very envious she has such a friend. It frustrates Ma Zhaixing seeing him say he’s envious but show a smile as he’s saying it. If he really was, he wouldn’t be smiling. (Prince of Bo is teasing her!)
In this battle to get the other admitting or showing jealousy, Ma Zhaixing is on the lower end with Prince of Bo controlling his emotions better than Ma Zhaixing. Despite this being the case, Prince of Bo just can’t get her to admit her jealousy when he fired the question back at her after she tried to get him to admit it. Ma Zhaixing chose to run off than to answer his question just like she did at the market when he took a taste of her maltose candy (Episode 10). He also gets denied when he appeared to want to kiss Ma Zhaixing after pulling her back to have her shoot the arrow through the heart of straw man that’s meant to be him.
Prince of Bo may be good at holding his emotions back, but that second attempt to kiss her, it looked like he couldn’t help being drawn to her lips when she turned around to look at him after shooting the arrow. However, similar to the time at the markets when he took a taste of Ma Zhaixing’s maltose candy, she backed away and ran. Ma Zhaixing may not admit her jealousy. Prince of Bo may not show Ma Zhaixing he has any feelings for her. However, he does have feelings for her—else he wouldn’t have gone and bought her the perfume sachet.
Prince of Bo’s feelings for Ma Zhaixing more or less obvious, it creates the confirmation needed for political enemies to begin taking advantage. Of all people, these political enemies is looking to be Chu Yougui and Jing Xiang.
Hearing Bao Na’s anger at being made a pawn and how the perfume sachet was bought for Ma Zhaixing instead of her, Chu Yougui deliberately creates trouble by suggesting a test Bao Na make to see where Prince of Bo places each of them. Chu Yougui tells Bao Na he believes Prince of Bo won’t disappoint Bao Na—that is, he will place Bao Na ahead and above Ma Zhaixing in this test she creates.
Convinced by Chu Yougui’s words, Bao Na lures Ma Zhaixing out to the forest under the guise of wanting Ma Zhaixing to accompany Bao Na in hunting for meat (which Prince of Bo loves). It’s where Bao Na has her people purposely spook her horse which she had Ma Zhaixing ride, causing Ma Zhaixing to come off the horse and lose consciousness.
Bao Na’s test to see who Prince of Bo will be more concerned about sees her disappointed. Her cries of being in pain from suffering the exact same fall as Ma Zhaixing are ignored for long periods while Prince of Bo stood outside the room of an unconscious Ma Zhaixing receiving a report from Wen Yan about Ma Zhaixing’s condition as well as the incident. Prince of Bo, like Wen Yan, seems to find the incident strange. As expressed by Wen Yan, someone from Qitan coming off a horse is hard to believe because people from Qitan are known to be the best riders of horses. He also thinks that Ma Zhaixing being Ma Ying’s daughter (and presumably because her father guarded the city of Kuizhou, fought battles and aided Chu Kui) she would be pretty good at riding horses, too. What’s more, Wen Yan notes that the medicine Bao Na took was not suited for her injury, suggesting they suspect an act.
Moving to find whether Bao Na was injured at all, Prince of Bo gives Bao Na a visit finally and lies that because of the incident he must kill her beloved horse. That got her right up on her feet to retrieve the head piece to her supposedly dead horse, Bing’er, which Prince of Bo took to expose Bao Na.
This whole incident ends with Bao Na burning a hidden agreement between Qitan and Yang Kingdoms. Unknown to Prince of Bo, hidden inside a box containing yet another painting of Bao Na is the agreement the Yang Kingdom wanted so much. The gift was given to Prince of Bo in Episode 10, and she had hinted having prepared the gift just for him and it being a priceless treasure. With Prince of Bo having never opened the gift, it shocks him when she reveals it then ultimately burns it after Prince of Bo returns the gift to her.
The failure in obtaining the agreement at the end of all this seem to work wonderfully for Chu Yougui. In Chu Yougui’s schemes, which are yet to be revealed, involves the enlisting of a group of bounty hunters including a highly-skilled bounty hunter who goes by the name of Ji Chong (Xiao Zhan).
Ji Chong is so skilled at capturing fugitives, he enters the scene capturing yet another one of the Capital’s most wanted fugitives, Chen Kui, making it four in the last ten days according to one of the government officials. They also mention Ji Chong’s elusiveness, showing up only to bring the fugitives in, receive his handsome reward before disappearing off with his whereabouts hard to track.
Ji Chong appears to be after big rewards only. Chu Yougui’s offer of many boxes of gold bars for Ji Chong’s recruitment saw this bounty hunter happy to do whatever it is Chu Yougui wants him to do. However, after this meeting between him and Chu Yougui, Ji Chong is seen carting bags and bags of what looks to be grains and toys to a village off the border of the Jin Kingdom. Only widowed women and children appear to live here.
Where children all crowd around Ji Chong the moment they see him, pleased by his presence, the widows only go in to pick up their bag of grains without so much as a greeting let alone a word of thanks. There is resentment towards Ji Chong, hinting to a yet to be revealed debt to all these widows and their children.
Bao Na doesn’t stay around to have the matter of her hurting Ma Zhaixing judged by Chu Kui as Prince of Bo demands. Without telling anyone, she leaves the palace immediately during the night, forcing her way through the guards who got in her way.
Chu Yougui and Jing Xiang swoops in to take advantage of the situation, planning an ambush on Bao Na and her entourage with the bandits they recruited to do the job. (Their plan as later will reveal is plan Bao Na’s disappearance and have Prince of Bo suffer punishment for it.) The bandits hired by Chu Yougui and Jing Xiang are are all no match for Bao Na’s guards and servants. With slings, swords and axes, The bandits struggle. It was up to Ji Chong to take care of the hit-job, and take care of it he does. With one single strike, he efficiently kills them all, leaving only Bao Na alive. Ji Chong is no ordinary bounty hunter.
Prince of Bo is informed of Bao Na’s departure and her hurting Chu Yougui’s guards on her way out, but nothing regarding the ambush. Chu Yougui suggests Prince of Bo search for Bao Na—which Prince of Bo does. The moment Prince of Bo passes Chu Yougui to do so, a sly smirk spreads across his face.
Following the road Bao Na travelled, Prince of Bo’s sharp sense of smell catches onto the blood shed by the killed guards and servants before there are any tracks normal humans can follow. Arriving at the location Ji Chong left them dead, they find no signs of Bao Na, which has Mo Xiao fear the worst might have happened to the Qitan Princess.
They’re not allowed to continue their search, though, as Jing Xiang with the Qitan Captain show up to inform Prince of Bo the search for Bao Na has been assigned to him, and for Prince of Bo to return and report to Chu Kui.
Standing before Chu Kui, the Qitan Captain calls for Prince of Bo’s arrest for his grave mistake in his response to Bao Na’s actions towards Ma Zhaixing which led to the disappearance of their princess. Chu Kui agrees to the demand, as not agreeing risks Qitan and the Yang Kingdoms becoming enemies. To appease the Qitan Captain, Chu Kui hands down charges of treason and negligence punishable by death should they fail to bring back Bao Na.
It’s all going well for Chu Yougui. With the control of when Bao Na reappears in their hands, Chu Yougui’s scheme to bring down and take out Prince of Bo is working out quite nicely. That is until Ma Zhaixing wakes and is granted an exception from Chu Kui to join the search. Recognising Ma Zhaixing’s great contribution in solving the Xia Hou Yi case eight years ago, she is granted 100 imperial guards for the search. With the guards accompanying her and Night Fury, she has one of Prince of Bo’s warrior wolves to track down Bao Na through some of Bao Na’s rouge and a bit of blood from Prince of Bo (this is needed to command the wolf).
When Ma Zhaixing is led to the location, she only sees Bao Na’s horse. While Ma Zhaixing had a wolf to search and track Bao Na down, Ji Chong had his eagle, Zhui Ri, scan the land with a 100-mile range from above. Through Zhui Ri, Ji Chong was notified and he let the bandits he had been working with take Bao Na away. Ji Chong on the other hand stayed behind to make up a story to save his client (who up until now remained a mystery until he heard Ma Zhaixing suspect Chu Yougui as being behind Bao Na’s kidnapping) and his business.
Having initially hid from Ma Zhaixing, Ji Chong reveals himself to her with shooting an arrow from behind her and having it flying past to land on the tree ahead where a scorpion was. He makes no attempt to deceive her about being the one behind kidnapping Bao Na when asked his identity. In fact, he voluntarily supplies he’s the person she’s been looking for as he’s the one who was hired to abduct Bao Na. However, he removes himself from the job after “discovering” Bao Na’s identity as the Qitan Princess. He explains that it went against his code of conduct to be involved in such a job. This, as Ji Chong says, caused the bandits he was working with to turn on him and only lived because of the intimidating presence of Ma Zhaixing’s wolf. The wolf had caused the bandits to scatter, leaving him to save himself by hiding behind a tree.
Ji Chong continues to sell the bandits out by letting Ma Zhaixing and the Night Fury team chase them down to get Bao Na back safely to their side. Bao Na tries to get even with a bandit following her rescue and causes a situation where Ma Zhaixing almost gets stabbed in the back trying to save Bao Na from the bandits’ attempt to harm her. Fortunately Ji Chong saves Ma Zhaixing from the attack, shooting the bandit dead with an arrow.
Ji Chong’s rescue sees the bounty hunter gain trust from Ma Zhaixing, satisfied with the help he just provided to be sufficient atonement for his initial deed of working with the bandits in abducting Bao Na. Hai Die isn’t so trusting, but Ma Zhaixing believes Ji Chong will reveal all and expose the people who hired him as this would serve as his means to absolving himself.
Ji Chong is quick in his thinking and thorough. His mission to protect his business and Chu Yougui after only learning the identity of his client moments before sees him send Ma Zhaixing and her group towards a place known as Shanshen Temple where Chu Yougui would be able to send someone as a scapegoat to answer for the crime of an attempted abduction of Bao Na.
Covertly entering the Yun Royal Manor, past the many guards, Ji Chong surprises Chu Yougui with his knowledge of Chu Yougui being the client before telling him the people from the Bo Royal Manor are suspecting him. To help Chu Yougui, Ji Chong suggests Chu Yougui use the plan he’s set up for him to save himself. With Ji Chong’s unknown background, Ji Chong is aware of how Chu Yougui may not believe him; and it’s up to Chu Yougui to what he wants to do, but with Ji Chong giving Chu Yougui the freedom to kill him if it’s discovered he’s lying later, Chu Yougui really has nothing to lose.
Ji Chong is of course not lying, and Chu Yougui does end up heeding to Ji Chong’s warning, sending his own father-in-law, Jing Xiang, to Shanshen Temple to be the scapegoat for his scheme. Chu Yougui had worried a scapegoat wouldn’t be convincing enough to save the situation, but after Ji Chong helps him with this by remarking that it depended on who the scapegoat is and whether Chu Yougui was cruel enough, Chu Yougui appeared to pick up the suggestion that Jing Xiang was that man.
To make things more believable and free Chu Yougui from any suspicion he himself was in on the abduction with Jing Xiang, Chu Yougui takes on yet another piece of help from Ji Chong: consuming the bottle of poison Ji Chong gave him to make it look like he was so overwhelmed with guilt he tried to kill himself. The poison works to make Chu Yougui appear without a pulse for four hours, allowing time for him to be discovered and appear to come back to the living after being saved.
Bao Na found, all abductors thought-to-be found and punished, Ma Jing tries to get Ma Zhaixing and Prince of Bo celebrating a belated Qixi Festival custom of choosing and eating sugar pastries with hope one with a red string is found wrapped inside. Successful in choosing one will mean Ma Zhaixing and Prince of Bo will never separate.
The relationship between Ma Zhaixing and Prince of Bo appeared to finally be on the road towards a marriage which both actually wants to be in and one where both actually have feelings for each other. Prince of Bo finally gives the perfume sachet to Ma Zhaixing without making excuses for being her a gift. They seemed like they were finally happy with each other and were prepared to be a loving couple.
However, it all changed when Prince of Bo asked Ma Zhaixing what she’d like from him as a thank you for her great handling of the Bao Na incident. Ma Zhaixing’s answer? She wants nothing but a pure and sincere love with no lies and no deception.
Prince of Bo’s expression dropped at hearing this. With Prince of Bo being indirectly involved in the assassination of Ma Ying and Ma Zhaixing’s family it was impossible for him to offer her this. Ma Zhaixing herself had described the act as unforgivable when she shouted it aloud during this alone time together. It was directed to the King of Jin, but with the true murderers being his Night Fury team which he is the leader of, unknown to Ma Zhaixing, the words have been directed at Prince of Bo.
Because of this, the red string which was found in one of the pastries and had been tied to Ma Zhaixing between Prince of Bo to signify their love and attachment to each other is broken deliberately by Prince of Bo. Ma Zhaixing doesn’t notice the deliberate tug Prince of Bo made to break the string, though. She thought it was because she had accidentally caused the string to break and tries to comfort him by saying how it’s only superstition.
Asleep, Prince of Bo dreams of him and Ma Zhaixing back on Langshou Mountain. These past eight years it was all a dream he tells Ma Zhaixing before hugging her as well as Xing’er, smiling widely as he does so. (The scene switches from Langzai and Xing’er hugging to Prince of Bo and Ma Zhaixing hugging). Releasing Ma Zhaixing from the hug, the dream turns into nightmare with Ma Zhaixing ripping off his Wolf Tooth necklace and throwing it into the blue pond below them before it and the whole environment turns dark and Ma Zhaixing is aiming an arrow at him.
She calls out to him, “Prince of Bo!” Prince of Bo tells her he’s Langzai which Ma Zhaixing tells him he’s not. He is Chu Kui’s tool she adds. At that time, Chu Kui appears behind Prince of Bo to have him take a sword (which is later revealed to be a sword he forged with Chu Youyu’s hilt representing Prince of Bo’s promise to his First Brother) and pushed to thrust it into Ma Zhaixing.
As much as Prince of Bo wants everything that happened in the last eight years to be just a nightmare and be with Ma Zhaixing, it isn’t a nightmare. The reality is he is no longer Langzai. He is Prince of Bo and Chu Kui’s tool.
The fear that he will be made to kill Ma Zhaixing or be killed by Ma Zhaixing for his indirect involvement in what’s happened to her family sees Prince of Bo back to his cold treatment and pushing Ma Zhaixing away. He has the Night Fury Team maintain their distance and not take part in any personal affairs. Questioned why he’s given such an order, Prince of Bo reminds them (which is also a reminder to himself) their part in destroying the Ma Manor and that Ma Zhaixing is a hostage at the Bo Manor and a way of controlling her.
The sudden frosty treatment has Ma Zhaixing confused what had changed between them in the few days that’s passed. Her kind deed to help a child retrieve a kite from the roof sees her scolded by Prince of Bo for not considering how unrefined she was being.
(Although it looks like Prince of Bo is just picking on something to scold her about to make her go the other way, behind Prince of Bo’s scolding could possibly be concern over that injured leg of hers and falling as well.)
Just when Prince of Bo is trying to create distance between him and Ma Zhaixing, though, Chu Kui commands he take Ma Zhaixing along to Qitan to obtain the agreement between the kingdoms as well as the return of the Fourth Prince. As Kuizhou is en-route, Chu Kui thought it would be a good chance to have the couple become closer (or rather keep her under more control by indulging Ma Zhaixing with a trip to her hometown).
With Prince of Bo and Ma Zhaixing headed for Qitan, it gives Chu Yougui a second opportunity to take out Prince of Bo. Ji Chong is hired to lead Prince of Bo off somewhere to be ambushed and killed by Chu Yougui with help from some soldiers from the Jin. The bounty hunter is quite confident in how he would go about getting close enough to complete the task. The new acquaintance he made with Ma Zhaixing and the promissory note he had her sign for “helping” Ma Zhaixing with rescuing Bao Na (Episode 13) was the first step. Through Ma Zhaixing, he’d look to pose as a horse expert who tends to the horses and riders on Prince of Bo’s journey to Qitan.
His second step would see him meet with a masked man to hand the Jin General a package containing Bao Na’s seal and a note impersonating Bao Na’s handwriting asking to meet to discuss some things. Upon receipt of the note, the expectation would be that Prince of Bo would head to the requested location alone, be ambushed and killed.
During the meeting with the Jin General, Ji Chong hints at his identity when he shocks the General by referring correctly to the General’s rank, top-notch abilities and his name: “General Cheng, you and your followers are first-class assassins in Jin. Promise me not to miss [killing Prince of Bo].” With Ji Chong far up in a tree, obscured by the draping branches and leaves, the General doesn’t discover who Ji Chong is and therefore reveals little about Ji Chong. However, the General and Ji Chong is hinted to know each other as the General is heard remarking how Ji Chong’s voice sounded familiar.
Ji Chong easily enters the Bo Army as a horse expert. Ji Chong also helps with advising on the path ahead. Prince of Bo initially questions Ji Chong’s trustworthiness. But background checks Wen Yan performed clears despite Ji Chong being not who he says he is judging by the meeting with General Cheng. Prince of Bo also questioned Ji Chong’s skills when he—via his eagle Zhui Ri—advised not taking the road ahead because the gorge had collapsed. The report is confirmed by Prince of Bo’s men that Ji Chong and his very clever eagle was not only right but useful.
After verifying Ji Chong’s worth, Prince of Bo not only keeps Ji Chong on as a horse expect and an advisor on the topography during their trip to Qitan, but he offers to pay Ji Chong double for his services.
Although Prince of Bo recognises Ji Chong’s usefulness, his presence is not liked because of the fact he’s so close with Ma Zhaixing. Before Ji Chong was formally introduced to Prince of Bo, Prince of Bo was quick to notice Ji Chong chatting away with Ma Zhaixing who was chatting back quite brightly with him. When Ji Chong showed his skills with Zhui Ri and Ma Zhaixing was trying to (in our view) assure Prince of Bo he’s not making a mistake by hiring Ji Chong and Zhui Ri as their advisor, Prince of Bo had no mood to continue hearing Ma Zhaixing finish. Although Prince of Bo’s reaction could be seen as him acting cold again, it could be that Prince of Bo is feeling a bit jealous over seeing another man appear so interested in Ma Zhaixing.
Arriving at Qitan, Ji Chong’s plan to get Prince of Bo to agree to meet Bao Na so the ambush can take place appears to involve Ma Zhaixing learning a dance and captivating Prince of Bo at a banquet. The dance indeed captures Prince of Bo’s attention. He is initially surprised, possibly taken by Ma Zhaixing’s alluring performance, but a frown quickly develops as his focus seem to go to her leg and her feet. Prince of Bo is not impressed.
Prince of Bo finally gets Ma Zhaixing to understand his wants (which is to give up and not try to gain his approval/heart) following a combination of humiliation at the banquet, an incident which sees Prince of Bo briefly force himself on her in the bed chambers and only regarding their marriage as one he must accept because it was set by the Yang Emperor.
“Princess Dance is an auspicious dance. Both of your legs have been injured before. A lot of your dance moves are not on point. Not smooth enough. You’ve embarrassed yourself. Don’t you know that you’ve destroyed the elegance of this dance as well as my mood?” Prince of Bo tells Ma Zhaixing after the conclusion of her dance.
His focus had been on her leg and her feet, which suggest Prince of Bo likely was unhappy she’d gone and practiced and danced. But this worry is used with words which twists the concern into criticism and dissatisfaction.
Three previously rejected suitors of Ma Zhaixing (Young Lord Qi, Young Lord Liu and Young Lord Qiao) had all jumped to badmouth Ma Zhaixing saying things like her being disobedient and that no man will like a woman like her following Prince of Bo’s vocal disapproval. Young Lord Liu puts his foot in his mouth by laughing at Ma Zhaixing’s butterfly test which she had them take (Episode 3). Only a wolf-like man could like a woman like her, he continues. However, such a man liking Ma Zhaixing would be unlikely as such a man would be dead or extinct.
Prince of Bo did nothing to reprimand them. He even vocally agreed with some of the badmouthing. It was clear Prince of Bo forced himself to do it just so Ma Zhaixing got the message to stop trying to please him and start giving up on him because before he forced himself to maintain his humiliation of her, Prince of Bo’s expression was actually quite soft. It was especially soft when he learned she had her suitors listen for the flapping wings of butterflies in order to pass the test. The test likely had him see that Langzai is the one and only man she was willing to marry because Langzai was the only man who can hear the flap of butterfly wings.
After Prince of Bo coldly tells Ma Zhaixing to leave the banquet, he picks on Young Lord Qi’s drunken promise to hand over his entire fortune to fund the Bo Army. This was the claim Young Lord Qi had made: he had said that out of gratitude for helping him get back at Ma Zhaixing for the humiliation he suffered back then, he would do it anytime. Prince of Bo grants the Young Lord the honour immediately.
With Prince of Bo started on Young Lord Qi, Young Lord Qiao is made to pay double tax as punishment next. Not only must he pay double the tax, he must use his own efforts and not extort it out of the people. The punishment says a little about Prince of Bo’s disapproval of unscrupulous acts like extortion. For Young Lord Liu’s offense of laughing about a wolf-like man who hears a butterfly’s wings being dead or extinct, he’s punished with 100 canings.
Feudal Lord Li Chengzhu doesn’t escape punishment for his disrespect towards Ma Zhaixing after learning Prince of Bo was dissatisfied with her despite initially showing respect. Li Chengzhu is “promoted” (which is really a demotion) to being a gatekeeper of Kuizhou.
Even with the convincing display of criticism and dissatisfaction and despite suffering humiliation, the banquet wasn’t enough to make Ma Zhaixing give up on Prince of Bo. Ma Zhaixing even offers herself to him after not wanting to consummate the first time Prince of Bo forced himself on her.
Adding in words and not seeing her as a woman he’d choose to marry, that he only agreed because Chu Kui bestowed on them, and that he actually found her exhausting and detested her seem to start her on at least understanding Prince of Bo’s desire for her to be far away. To get Ma Zhaixing finally leaving, Prince of Bo has Miss Lufu (some woman who had been called to provide a better dance performance) brought to him to do what Ma Zhaixing failed (that being, to pleasure him). The final words which had Ma Zhaixing understanding Prince of Bo supposed hate is an invite for her to watch the act as that might have her learning some things.
Ma Zhaixing disappears off to Langshou Mountain where she is found sick from spending the night there. Prince of Bo had found her and ended up nursing her. However, it was Ji Chong who had gone looking for Ma Zhaixing first with candied hawthorn and raised her disappearance with Prince of Bo before Prince of Bo became worried and looked for Ma Zhaixing. Apparently, Ji Chong had heard about the incident at the banquet and wanted to comfort her with the sweet snacks. Not finding her anywhere, he hopped on his horse searching the streets for her.
Although it’s Prince of Bo who nurses Ma Zhaixing back to health with some water and herbs, it’s Ji Chong who appears before her when she wakes inside a cave. There, Ji Chong listens to her talk about visiting Langshou Mountain because she wanted to search for her mother’s favourite Cypress Vine (which Ji Chong surprisingly knows as also called The Queen) as the flower symbolised courage. It was something she sees she now needs to remain in the marriage. Ji Chong had suggested she could just forget Prince of Bo and just leave, but he’s told it’s not something she could easily do because it wasn’t only her and Prince of Bo in this marriage. Both the Ma Family and the court were in the marriage, too, and they all needed her to act as if everything was okay in order to keep the fragile alliances and “trust” between them all from breaking.
It has Ji Chong describe the Bo Manor as a prison for her, which he is right. Prince of Bo had previously mentioned her being a hostage in Episode 14. In the same episode, Prince of Bo was also heard in his thoughts the need to get her out of the place as soon as possible to prevent harm going her way. This point is the starting point to Ji Chong’s recognition that Ma Zhaixing is like a trapped bird who he later wants to free. It is here, Ji Chong may have started regarding Ma Zhaixing as more than a means to achieve the job he’s been hired to do or a source of fun and amusement. It is likely that it is at this point Ji Chong started seeing Ma Zhaixing as a friend which later evolves to more.
Zhui Ri sounds a warning that someone is outside comes through. It’s Prince of Bo returning to the cave, but he’s nowhere in sight when Ji Chong heads out for a moment to check. Despite not seeing Prince of Bo, Ji Chong seems to know it was him. Asked who it was, Ji Chong tells Ma Zhaixing exactly who he thinks it was, which has Ma Zhaixing show that even after the awful things she heard from Prince of Bo the night before she still hoped Prince of Bo would come looking for her.
Ji Chong tells her off with a flick to her forehead for believing him just like that. He tells her that even if it was Prince of Bo coming to look for her, he thinks it would only be because of needing to answer to Chu Kui should anything happen to her. He then tries to speak some truth—or least it appears to be that way when Prince of Bo is so good at acting so heartless and cruel to Ma Zhaixing just to get her moving away from him:
“In a relationship, both parties have to be willing. You are deeply in love with Prince of Bo. But does it mean that he has to be deeply in love with you too?”
Ma Zhaixing gets Ji Chong’s point, but it doesn’t help the sadness she feels. “Don’t tell me that I don’t even have the right to feel sad?” she asks Ji Chong. He tells her she has the right, but the point he seems to be making is that perhaps Prince of Bo isn’t the one, but there will be someone who will appear to carry this sadness for her.
Ji Chong, who apparently has this reputation of being quite a charmer, appears to have charmed Ma Zhaixing with his words about her meeting someone one day who will carry her sadness for her. With his direct and completely serious gaze which Ji Chong showed no sign of breaking, Ma Zhaixing appeared to have been taken in by it for a bit of time before averting her gaze to question just how sincere he was/how often he used those words with other women, suggesting that his words had an affect on her:
“Is this what you say to those ladies you hurt [after the fact]?”
Ji Chong answers it with a joke. “Sometimes I’ll drink a cup of wine first.” Asked why, Ji Chong replies, “To boost courage. I’m afraid of being hit.” That gets a rarely-heard laugh out of Ma Zhaixing these days.
A bit of awkwardness develops when Ji Chong goes to place a hand on her forehead to check her fever. The caring act sees Ma Zhaixing react again, clearly affected. Ji Chong picks it up this time, too, and seem to linger in the moment a bit before an amused smile ended the moment. Charming, funny, caring and clearly has an affect on Ma Zhaixing. Maybe if Ma Zhaixing wasn’t so in love with Prince of Bo, Ji Chong would be in with a chance with Ma Zhaixing.
Back to the plan of killing Prince of Bo, the first goes as they had discussed. General Cheng delivers Bao Na’s letter with the seal Ji Chong had passed onto him to gain entry to the restricted hunting ground that is Fuhu Forest to be assassinated. After a curt check on Ma Zhaixing’s condition which Prince of Bo makes it sound like a formality he’s getting out of the way, Ma Zhaixing is sought by Prince of Bo to confirm Bao Na’s handwriting, giving the all clear.
While Ma Zhaixing is standing before Prince of Bo, she tries to at least create a civil, respectful relationship with Prince of Bo in light of what appears to be Ji Chong’s words about both parties needing to be willing in a relationship. Since not all parties are willing and it’s freedom which Ma Zhaixing believes is what he wants, freedom which she says she can’t give him, Ma Zhaixing tells him she will do whatever he wants her to do. She will stay away, not travel with him if that’s what he wants. She will stop loving him and pretend to be his wife in public only. She’ll obey it all and won’t report any of what happened during their stay in Kuizhou so Prince of Bo won’t be punished.
In front of Ma Zhaixing, this all gets a compliment from Prince of Bo as he confirms what she mentioned is exactly what he wants. But underneath, as shown through the tight clasp of hands which twitched as he seem to hold in his true wants, Prince of Bo didn’t want any of that. When Ma Zhaixing takes her leave to pack her bags, Prince of Bo’s expression contorts between a deflated look and troubled frown.
Leaving his tent, Prince of Bo look to use Ji Chong’s eagle to survey Fuhu Forest, but the request is refused by Ji Chong because of the way he treated Ma Zhaixing. In fact, he tells Prince of Bo he resigns, which shows just how much Ji Chong respects and values Ma Zhaixing compared to before where only money talked. He tells Prince of Bo that of all the woman he’s met, Ma Zhaixing is the only one who he has admired, and by this he tells Prince of Bo it’s not in an improper way, but genuine admiration and respect for the person.
Ji Chong’s words may be through and through true, but as his mission is to have Prince of Bo head to Fuhu Forest to be ambushed by Chu Yougui, we’re guessing he can’t have Zhui Ri scoping out the place. What’s more, Chu Yougui’s name-your-price offering for accomplishing the job is much greater than Prince of Bo’s offering.
Ji Chong’s plan to assassinate Prince of Bo goes horribly wrong. Everything looked to be working out as planned with Prince of Bo heading to Fuhu Forest. Meanwhile, the rest of the Bo Army was heading to Nanliao Tower to welcome the Fourth Prince, which advantageously leaves Prince of Bo exposed to capture by Chu Yougui’s elite army made up of first-class assassins from the Jin. However, Bao Na’s unexpected venture out to personally meet Ma Zhaixing interfere with the assassination attempt.
Capturing Prince of Bo goes accordingly. Arriving at Fuhu Forest with only Wen Yan at his side, both Prince of Bo and Wen Yan are led to a dining area set up in the forest to look like Bao Na had set it up for the two to enjoy a meal together. The aide who welcomed Prince of Bo is dressed in clothes of Qitan, but it’s no member from Qitan. He is one of the first-class assassins of the Jin Kingdom. Prince of Bo and Wen Yan insIde the pop-up dining area, they are left alone to wait for Bao Na’s arrival. What greets them, though, isn’t Bao Na, but flying arrows, heavy iron cages, chain-and-shackles and underground stakes which shoot upwards. The iron cage traps Wen Yan only. It’s the chain-and-shackles that gets Prince of Bo.
At this point the ambush appears to be going well. The assassination look to be on the way to succeeding. That is until Ma Zhaixing (with Bao Na behind her) rains on their premature declaration of success. Through a self-constructed aerial zip-line, Ma Zhaixing comes flying past with her arrows firing, providing the necessary distraction for Prince of Bo to free one arm from the chain, which hoisted and held him up in the air, to do a round of attacks and take down everyone he passed. An order to target and kill Ma Zhaixing and Bao Na sees Prince of Bo stop the archer aiming at them before taking him and the remaining assassins down in quick succession.
Where it all went wrong for Ji Chong’s plan is Bao Na’s unexpected decision to ride out on her horse to see Ma Zhaixing. She had reached a place called Nanliao Tower to greet Ma Zhaixing, Prince of Bo and his contingent presumably, but having got bored, Bao Na decided, instead, to go to the lodging Ji Chong had Ma Zhaixing stay whilst this assassination of Prince of Bo took place. It caused concern in Ma Zhaixing because Bao Na was supposed to be at Fuhu Forest not this lodging Ma Zhaixing was staying. Because of Bao Na’s surprise visit, Ma Zhaixing figured out the request at Fuhu Forest was a setup.
The situation worsens when Ma Zhaixing takes an arrow for Ji Chong. After Prince of Bo takes down the elite assassins, General Cheng (full name Cheng Liang) and fresh group of assassins appear to fire at Ji Chong who had not long ago shown up angry at Ma Zhaixing for saving someone as heartless as Prince of Bo. With direct sight of the banks above, only Ma Zhaixing sees the arrow flying towards the bounty hunter. Calling out to Ji Chong before pushing him aside, she is hit in the heart.
As Mo Xiao will later discover, the head of the arrow that goes through her has been sharpened and the edges protrude to increase damage and penetration. It leaves Ma Zhaixing in a critical condition, which had it not been for Bao Na’s rare life-saving pill, Ma Zhaixing would have died. The arrow was in a dangerous position, Ma Zhaixing was bleeding profusely, and they could neither leave it in or remove it as it would mean death either way.
Since leaving it in meant death and removing it meant a great chance of death as well, Prince of Bo had Wen Yan pull the arrow out and put faith in Wen Yan to save her. But the moment the arrow was out, blood rushed out and Ma Zhaixing’s pulse immediately stopped. She was dead. This is when Bao Na reaches into to her clothes for the life-saving pill that is so extremely rare that there are only three in existence: she possesses one, her father possesses the second and the Fourth Prince of Yang, Chu Youzhen, possesses the last one. Because of Bao Na, Ma Zhaixing lives—to the relief of Prince of Bo who held her in his arms the whole time, pleading for her to live so he could have the opportunity to repay her for the act which annihilated her family.
Seeing Prince of Bo show exactly how much he cares about Ma Zhaixing and then deny it as being nothing more than being worried about needing to answer to Chu Kui had she died, Ji Chong and Prince of Bo end up fighting. Ji Chong is strong and highly skilled. He was seen in Episode 11 sending fugitives flying, and taking out Bao Na’s guards and servants with one swift strike in Episode 12, but he is not even close to Prince of Bo’s level. Ji Chong’s punches and kicks go nowhere as Prince of Bo easily blocks them all before sending Ji Chong sliding and rolling on the ground, causing him to bring up blood. Ji Chong is determined, though. Even if it leads him to breaking his legs, he won’t retreat he tells Prince of Bo.
Prince of Bo offers Ji Chong a chance to win him: if Ji Chong can make him take even half a step back, Prince of Bo will count that as having lost. Focusing the kicks at the top then the legs, Ji Chong is met with block after block. It’s not until Ji Chong is struck across neck level, causing him to fall to land on his back, Ji Chong lands a low kick at Prince of Bo’s legs which causes the thus far firm-standing Prince of Bo to take a step back finally.
Ji Chong wins.
Another victory Ji Chong takes is when Ma Zhaixing tells Prince of Bo that he leave and Ji Chong to stay with her. As she was coming around and waking, Ma Zhaixing appears to have heard Prince of Bo tell Ji Chong to leave. She heard Prince of Bo tell Ji Chong he thought it was Ma Zhaixing’s own fault for the injuries she suffered because she had come to Fuhu Forest without permission.
Prince of Bo and Wen Yan out of the tent, Ji Chong moves to scold Ma Zhaixing for acting on her own and saving him. Had it not been for that rare pill of Bao Na’s, she would have died and that would have made him feel guilty for the rest of his life. As if she had perfect control of her dying it not back there, she tells him that she won’t do that to him before her mind goes off to thinking about Langzai and how she’s been living with guilt for a long time.
This seem to get Ji Chong to reveal the guilt he’s been carrying. Although, he doesn’t mention himself, rather he talked as if speaking about a friend, Ji Chong reveals how he understands exactly how she feels because he had helplessly watched all his friends from the army die for him.
Maybe Ma Zhaixing is just comforting Ji Chong because she sees the suffering he has for this friend, but maybe she picked up it’s him he’s actually talking about. Either way, with a hand over his, she requests he pass on a message to this friend: he’s not alone, that there’s this girl called Xing’er who understands and that she wants him to stop blaming himself. Ji Chong promises her. In return for the promise, Ji Chong wants her to promise him a request. This request is to allow him to be her second Langzai, allow him to be there for her. No matter how hard she tries to hide, no matter how much pain was in, he wants to do what Langzai has done for her which to catch her every time.
Ma Zhaixing neither rejects or promises. She only jokes with a question about whether Ji Chong was drunk. Ji Chong returns with a joke—a pickup line—about her smile being enough to make him drunk. This scene all happens with Prince of Bo standing outside the tent, unable to do anything to interrupt them. It’s not just because Prince of Bo was kicked out, but there was still his need to maintain his distance in order to keep her safe from Chu Kui.
With Ji Chong not leaving and keeping watch over Ma Zhaixing’s health for the night, Prince of Bo is forced to make his way to his tent not far from hers. He is greeted by Mo Xiao who brings in the arrowhead to the arrow that hit Ma Zhaixing. Its protruding edges and sharpened tip for greater damage and penetration has them recall and conclude it is one used by the Jin. They also suspect a spy within the Bo Army and is working together with them.
This suspicion prompts an order for the Night Fury Team to secretly investigate who this spy might be, which puts Ji Chong into risk of exposure of being formerly aligned with the Jin. This episode sees Ji Chong reveal one part of his true identity (the other part is still to show), that being a former Young Commander in Chief to the elite group of assassins from the Jin Kingdom who tried to kill Prince of Bo earlier. Cheng Liang was formerly Ji Chong’s subordinate. This fact had been revealed during a meeting between Ji Chong and General Cheng Liang following Ji Chong’s decision to lead Cheng Liang away to allow Prince of Bo to take the critically injured Ma Zhaixing to safety.
Following this meeting, it’s not only Ji Chong at risk of being exposed, but so is Prince of Bo. Seemingly still commanding the utmost respect and loyalty from Cheng Liang and the others, Ji Chong is able to use the opportunity to enquire about whether the Jin Kingdom was really responsible for the Ma Manor incident. With Cheng Liang not clear on the matter, Ji Chong request Cheng Liang investigate it and report back when Ji Chong come to him.
The Princess Consort of Yun, Chuchu, had begged for Chu Yougui to stop falling deeper into his mistakes to the point of being on her knees and losing her baby. In a careless shake of the arm, Chu Yougui’s strength sends her off to the side where she ultimately suffered a miscarriage. This happened all because Chu Yougui was unwilling to stop trying to prevent Prince of Bo from returning to the capital to report the assassination attempt which could lead to his crime against Prince of Bo and the plot to obtain the throne being exposed.
It’s not Prince of Bo who exposes Chu Yougui assassination attempt, though. Chuchu is the one who exposes Chu Yougui. After watching Chu Yougui bent on disposing Prince of Bo on his way back from Qitan following the retrieval of Chu Youzhen and the agreement between the Yang and Qitan Kingdoms, Chuchu sends a letter to Chu Kui about Chu Yougui’s assassination attempt on Prince of Bo at Fuhu Forest.
The letter sees Chu Yougui beaten and detained in the imperial mausoleum as punishment. Chu Yougui’s “reason” for the assassination is not the throne he’s looking to take from Chu Kui but a grudge against Prince of Bo for leaving First Prince Chu Youyu to die in the Battle of Pi in the past. The reason is the reason Chu Youzhen hates Prince of Bo, and the reason Chu Yougui appears to have used to explain his actions and hide his ambitions.
It causes a bit of strain in the father-son relationship of Chu Kui and Chu Youzhen. After Chu Youyu died, Prince of Bo (who is revealed to be called Chu Youzhe) was given Chu Youyu’s entire army and gained a nobility title. Chu Youzhen believes it’s because Chu Kui likes to dote on Prince of Bo. However, judging from the concerns and suspicions Chu Kui had about whether Chu Yougui was scheming with Jing Xiang to take out Prince of Bo and aim for the throne (Episode 13), Chu Kui may have given the army to Prince of Bo because of his concerns about Chu Yougui and Jing Xiang. Chu Kui has expressed his regard of Prince of Bo as being very loyal and likely sees him as very trustworthy, unlike Chu Yougui apparently.
The strain between Chu Kui and Chu Youzhen appear not to be too serious as Ma Zhaixing reveals to Chu Kui that Chu Youzhen had been thinking of him the whole way he travelled, asking about Chu Kui’s wellbeing and expressed that he didn’t blame his father for sending him off to Qitan without even seeing him. Chu Youzhen seem to understand and accept the situation as Ma Zhaixing was told Chu Youzhen never blamed or hated Chu Kui for it.
Chu Youzhen seems most worried about the memory of Chu Youyu (a brother Chu Youzhen clearly loves dearly and highly respects) and his sacrifices for the country fading in people’s minds. This, Chu Youzhen didn’t need to worry about. As a way to try get at least Chu Youzhen and Prince of Bo from fighting against each other, Chu Kui puts Ma Zhaixing onto bringing them together. To get her spending some time around Chu Youzhen, Chu Kui has her help Chu Youyu organise a memorial for the late First Prince.
Organising the memorial also gives Ma Zhaixing the perfect way to avoid running into Prince of Bo and keep her promise to not appear before him or bother him as he had wanted. Prince of Bo is doing the same, seemingly with quite some effort. To keep his mind off of Ma Zhaixing, he’s chosen to work on strategies against the Jin and training Mo Xiao and his army at the Ministry of War till every part of them hurts and are battered. Prince of Bo’s not eating and drinking (presumably alcohol) more according to Mo Xiao.
Prince of Bo was not handling the separation and was taking it out on Mo Xiao and his army. We can’t blame him. Not only is he contending with his own heart and needing to be cold, cruel and distant to keep her away from him to protect her, he’s also contending with Ji Chong who is seen around her more and more, making it look like Ji Chong cares more about her than Prince of Bo does. This view is how Chu Youzhen sees it as well.
It’s not true, of course. Behind the scenes, away from the eyes and ears of everyone but Wen Yan, Mo Xiao and Hai Die, Prince of Bo worries a lot about her. He is heard commanding Wen Yan to take good care of her arrow wound no matter how expensive or rare the medicine is. Even the cold and harsh words he says—things like telling Ma Zhaixing to go rest so he won’t have to see her sickly appearance and him asking why she stood outside Bo Manor so long after returning from Qitan—appear to be his way of telling her not to be in the cold for so long and running around so much.
But with Ji Chong at Ma Zhaixing’s side, showing concern over even a slight wince at the pain from the arrow wound as well as Ji Chong feeling the same dislike of Prince of Bo as Chu Youzhen, Ji Chong’s got Chu Youzhen supporting a marriage between Ji Chong and Ma Zhaixing. This has Chu Youzhen looking to try get Ma Zhaixing forgetting Prince of Bo with the suggestion that Ji Chong go to East Market to take part in the archery challenge there, show off his skills and cheer Ma Zhaixing up.
Meanwhile, Hai Die’s got Ma Jing helping her get Prince of Bo seeing Ma Zhaixing to try lessen the suffering Mo Xiao endures during Prince of Bo’s training. Tricked by a story about Mo Xiao losing lots of money on the same archery challenge Ji Chong is suggested to go try impress Ma Zhaixing, Prince of Bo sees himself in the East Market taking on the archery challenge. He was called over by the vendor to try his luck at winning the jade butterfly prize which the vendor said the lady beside him—that is, Ma Zhaixing—really liked. The vendor successfully gets Prince of Bo taking on the challenge.
Ma Zhaixing finally discovers Prince of Bo is Langzai. This being the case, she starts to clear not only her own misunderstanding of Prince of Bo, but Chu Youzhen’s misunderstanding of Prince of Bo and the truth behind leaving First Prince Chu Youyu to supposedly die in enemy hands.
The archery challenge which Prince of Bo was supposed to show his amazing skills and win the jade butterfly prize Ma Zhaixing liked so much is won by Ji Chong. It wasn’t that Prince of Bo wasn’t skilled enough compared to Ji Chong. Both had impeccable archery skills. Neither Prince of Bo nor Ji Chong missed the target despite the countless rings that Ji Chong had the vendor keep adding.
Ji Chong not only didn’t want to lose to Prince of Bo, but he was also trying to not make it so hard for the vendor by needing to give out two jade butterflies which he didn’t have.
So, in hopes of ending the challenge and break the deadlock, Ji Chong requests even more rings to be added and uses his sword as an arrow to break through the tight row of swinging rings. This is what did it. Prince of Bo loses to Ji Chong as Prince of Bo doesn’t even attempt the shot with his sword.
The admission of defeat by withdrawing wasn’t because Prince of Bo didn’t think he could hit the target. It was because the act required his Yaliao (fangs/teeth) Sword to snap in half with only the front part of the blade making through the rings and hitting the target just like the way Ji Chong’s did. Prince of Bo wasn’t willing to sacrifice his Yaliao (fangs/teeth) Sword like that just to show up Ji Chong.
As Ma Zhaixing will later piece together from seeing a painting of the First Prince, Prince of Bo’s Yaliao Sword had been reforged with the hilt of Chu Youyu’s Longshe (Dragon Tongue) Sword after both swords broke presumably during the hard-fought Battle of Pi. The reforged sword was a sword Prince of Bo cherished. Prince of Bo would rather lose to Ji Chong than have it snap to continue the challenge. This Yaliao Sword with the hilt of Chu Youyu’s Longshe Sword would later be used as an example to show Chu Youzhen how he had misunderstood Prince of Bo. Before the misunderstanding over Chu Youyu is cleared, though, Ma Zhaixing discovers evidence that is almost as good as solid evidence that Prince of Bo is Langzai. It has her finally able to understand why he has been yo-yoing between caring and cold and cruel since they met again.
Seemingly unable to continue not knowing how Ma Zhaixing is doing, Prince of Bo steals her away from Ji Chong after surrendering to him. Ji Chong having made a promise to treat everyone to drinks should he win had the crowd move in on him to hold him to that promise, preventing him from getting to Ma Zhaixing. The blocking allowed Prince of Bo to use the opportunity to carry Ma Zhaixing over his shoulders to an alleyway where he was allowed to finally ask what he really wanted to know (he seemingly had tried asking this but never got to as he was interrupted by the call of archery vendor): was her health improving, did she take her medicine on time and why was she still coughing?
The questions get Prince of Bo told to go ask Wen Yan to avoid misinformation. She does slip in being frail and that cold weather brings her down, but Ma Zhaixing appear to be fed up with Prince of Bo’s hot and cold treatment and had responded quite angrily to the questions. She makes a move to leave, but is stopped when the perfume sachet Prince of Bo had given her falls from her waist.
This perfume sachet which Prince of Bo catches before letting it fly into the air is what would expose Prince of Bo’s past identity to Ma Zhaixing. Maybe her shouts for him to return the item to her had him retrieving the perfume sachet, or maybe it was the anger in her voice when she accused him of needing to destroy even this bit of their past together, but Prince of Bo is later found on a bridge off in the distance waiting for the perfume sachet to fly into his outstretched hand.
Prince of Bo knew the exact trajectory because he could see the wind and how it flowed. Ma Zhaixing’s only seen one other person who could do what Prince of Bo did and that’s Langzai. At this point Ma Zhaixing’s pretty sure Prince of Bo is Langzai, but just to be even surer, she is seen on her horse (with Ji Chong following), travelling out of the city to the mountain where Prince of Bo had jumped off in Episode 5 to make it back to Imperial City before the Ma Family Army opened attacks on the Capital. She has Ji Chong answer the question about the likelihood any normal human can survive jumping off the cliff to confirm the answer she already knows. It’s impossible for a human to survive such a jump and only a man with wolf-like instincts could, Ji Chong responds. Hearing Ji Chong’s response sees Ma Zhaixing sure Prince of Bo is Langzai.
With this discovery, Ma Zhaixing goes about clearing the misunderstanding between Chu Youzhen and Prince of Bo. Because she knows Prince of Bo is Langzai, because Ji Chong also agreed with her that a man’s core personality does not ever change, Ma Zhaixing uses a test to prove this point and that Prince of Bo would never have left Chu Youyu to die in order to save himself.
Prince of Bo and Chu Youzhen trapped in a room with Ji Chong pretending to be the perpetrator in poisoning them all with a mist, Prince of Bo didn’t think twice about saving Chu Youzhen. With only two antidotes, one which Ji Chong takes himself, only one is left for either Chu Youzhen or Prince of Bo. Ji Chong negotiates that if he is guaranteed safe passage out, Prince of Bo can have the antidote and save himself from dying within the hour. Prince of Bo snatches the antidote as if to take it himself, but when he makes it over to the bounded Chu Youzhen, he quickly shoves it into Chu Youzhen’s mouth while declaring to take Ji Chong’s life before he dies.
Given the choice of saving his own life or his brother’s life, it was without question his brother’s life Prince of Bo saves yet again, proving to Chu Youzhen he would never have left Chu Youyu to die at the Battle of Pi if he has a choice. A flashback showed Prince of Bo was forced to leave Chu Youyu when the the latter cut down the only route of in and out of the battleground to stay behind to fight alone while forcing Prince of Bo to go save Chu Youzhen. The Fourth Prince had acted on his own to station himself just outside the battleground to meet Chu Youyu, and was in danger of encountering enemy forces.
Why this fact about the past was hidden from Chu Youzhen is because it would cause pain to learn that because of Chu Youzhen’s decision Chu Youyu missed the chance to get the antidote to treat the poison in him because (presumably) Prince of Bo was needed to save Chu Youzhen. (Chu Youyu’s lieutenant appeared to have betrayed him and was responsible poisoning the First Prince.)
Indeed, this fact pains Chu Youzhen and he blames himself for his older brother’s death now. He is seen running out of the room after learning the real truth about the incident. However, this fact does work to clear the misunderstanding between Chu Youzhen and Prince of Bo, achieving the task which Ma Zhaixing was assigned by Chu Kui.
With the matter between Prince of Bo and Chu Youzhen finally settled, Ma Zhaixing look to move onto testing Prince of Bo. Having Chu Youzhen deliver the note to Prince of Bo, she writes that a life is at stake on the cliff in the woods. Ma Zhaixing was going to see if Prince of Bo would come for her and save her.
Ma Zhaixing places faith in Prince of Bo to save her in her test to confirm Prince of Bo is Langzai. It’s an extremely dangerous and risky test involving her falling off the cliff and Prince of Bo using his wolf instincts to catch her and land safely at the bottom.
Showing no fear or doubt in Prince of Bo, Ma Zhaixing throws herself backwards over the cliff edge with a distressed Prince of Bo shouting after her as he runs to throw himself over the edge to catch her and ultimately land safely as Ma Zhaixing knew they would. He had never failed to catch her in the past and he doesn’t fail this time round either. With the safe landing at the bottom of the cliff that should have seen both of them fail to survive had he been a normal human, there was no denying it Prince of Bo is Langzai. And Prince of Bo doesn’t. He keeps her close and leans his forehead into her like how Ma Zhaixing had done in the past as well as how he had done so when he cared about her.
Meanwhile, on the cliff top, Ji Chong witnesses the whole thing after having followed Ma Zhaixing out of worry overnwhat she was planning. Seeing the two and learning that Prince of Bo is Langzai, Ji Chong doesn’t get in between them like he had done all the other times. As he later tells Ma Zhaixing when they go to the lakeside, he can’t accept losing to Prince of Bo. However, losing to Langzai he is willing because of how highly Ma Zhaixing spoke of Langzai back in Episode 16. There’s no reason to disapprove and stand in between them now. All he can do is make a gracious exit (for now), but not before Ji Chong gets Ma Zhaixing to pay him back for the things he’s helped her with. Specifically, he mentions having helped her with kidnapping Chu Youzhen to clear the misunderstanding between Chu Youzhen and Prince of Bo.
Although Ji Chong’s purpose appears to be getting Ma Zhaixing to clear this debt, his actual purpose seems to be to express his knowledge of her reunion with Langzai, his concession to Prince of Bo (as per above) and to tell her of his departure. He only ever stayed because of her, but with him unable to have her love, he tells her he doesn’t have a reason to stay anymore.
As payment, Ji Chong requests three things. The first thing is Ma Zhaixing’s bronze bell that allows Prince of Bo/Langzai to go to her no matter what. Surprisingly, Ma Zhaixing is happy to give the bell to him despite it being special to her. It’s special not because it brings Prince of Bo to her, but it’s a gift from her late mother which she reveals to Ji Chong.
Ji Chong seems to change his mind after hearing this and tells her he only wants one of the stones inside the bell, which, unknown to him or Ma Zhaixing, are actually quite special as they serve to prove Ma Zhaixing’s royal lineage later—that being, her relation to Princess Pingyuan from the previous dynasty which Chu Kui had overthrew.
The second thing Ji Chong asks for is for her to help him bringing Prince of Bo to Langshou Mountain to play a trick on him, which Ma Zhaixing agrees to do. It sees the Third Prince fall into a trap, foot caught in a noose and dangling upside down from a tree. Prince of Bo could easily cut himself loose, but stays hanging, appearing to let Ji Chong play this trick on him for a short time whilst Ma Zhaixing hid her face behind her hands as she appeared behind Ji Chong.
Prince of Bo does not stand—rather, hang—still when Ji Chong goes for his third payment which is a kiss. Wrapping his arm around Ma Zhaixing’s waist to pull her into him, he steals a kiss from Ma Zhaixing right in front of Prince of Bo. That has Prince of Bo cut himself down and heading straight for Ji Chong to throw a few kicks and punches before Ma Zhaixing fakes experiencing pain in her chest wound to stop them both.
Ji Chong and Prince of Bo immediately go to her, both showing their concern. That show of concern causes an argument of who has the right to show concern, which brings them back to almost begin another fight. But it never eventuates after Ma Zhaixing calls them childish. Ji Chong makes a move to leave, but it’s not forever as suggested by Ji Chong’s reminder that Ma Zhaixing still owes her. In fact, he intends to remain as her one and only creditor forever.
As Ji Chong is saying this, Ji Chong holds out the black stone from the bronze bell as if to let Prince of Bo know that Ma Zhaixing had even agreed to give something as precious as one of the stones from the bell which is used to call him. The sight of it has Prince of Bo demanding Ji Chong stop walking off. Prince of Bo was not happy and jealous.
He needn’t be, though, as the two share their first kiss which Ma Zhaixing initiates. Prince of Bo had complained to Ma Zhaixing about giving Ji Chong one of the stones from the bell, to which Ma Zhaixing has him see how Prince of Bo is the cause for owing Ji Chong so much that she was willing to give Ji Chong one of the stones from the bell. Each time Ji Chong helped her it was when she felt most helpless because Prince of Bo had picked on her. That gets Prince of Bo to understand. This leads to Ma Zhaixing wanting Prince of Bo to face punishment in the form of a hit in the face for his past mean treatment. Instead of hitting him, though, she pulls him in for a kiss.
Retreating to Langshou Mountain for the night, Ma Zhaixing catches up with how Prince of Bo got his second chance at life. He credits this to Chu Kui having rescued, healed and trained him to serve as part of the armies which he as well as other oddities like him were sent after staying in the palace dungeon. He tells her how he had worked hard to train himself and the army and studied hard to acquire knowledge because he couldn’t stand watching people suffer from war and saw it to be his duty as Prince of Bo to uphold justice and give shelter to those who have lost their homes.
This is taken by Ma Zhaixing as the reason why he agreed to the marriage bestowed on them by Chu Kui yet was so cold to her despite their past relationship. He was both loyal to her and Chu Kui and so was in an awkward position. Though she seems to understand, she still stands to grumble about how cold and mean he was to her (in a playful way). When Prince of Bo accepts fault for having misunderstood the situation eight years ago, she reflects on her part in the way things turned out and expresses her regret. Had he not left the mountain (as she had asked), none of the tragedies would have happened. She wouldn’t have lost him down the cliff.
Prince of Bo tells her then the answer to the question she posed to him through a shadow play which he did give eight years ago: is he willing to become human and stay by her side forever (Episode 1). His answer is yes.
However, it’s looking like he doesn’t have the luxury to choose whether he would like to be by her side forever as back at the palace Chu Kui has discovered Ma Zhaixing and Prince of Bo had known each other in the past, sending Chu Kui the message of conflicting loyalties.
Coming down from the mountain, a children’s game which Ma Zhaixing had Hong’er play to try help her befriend some children in the streets, leads Shopkeeper Fang (Hong’er’s Dad) to bring up his suspicions to Deputy General Ma Fengcheng that Prince of Bo may have something to do with the assassination of the Ma Family.
During a game of Tou Lang Hu, a game where players who fail to throw an arrow into a claypot gets flicked in the forehead, Prince of Bo (who’s highly killed in archery but apparently very poor in this game) unintentionally exposes his face to Hong’er. The sight sees her telling her dad Prince of Bo is the same man who had come and reserved the whole of their restaurant the day before the Ma Family was assassinated.
Concerned for Ma Zhaixing’s safety, Shopkeeper Fang rushes to the Ma Manor looking to warn Ma Zhaixing about Prince of Bo being that same dangerous man who was at his restaurant, but run into Ma Fengcheng instead, and instead the information is told to the Ma Family Army General.
Ma Fengcheng shows little concern over the matter after the details are told. He seems to question whether Hong’er saw correctly. But just to ease Shopkeeper Fang’s concerns, Ma Fengcheng offers to get a painter to bring him a painting of Prince of Bo so Shopkeeper Fang can confirm for himself whether the man who was beside Ma Zhaixing is the same as the man who was at his restaurant with three others dressed in black (that is, Night Fury Team’s Mo Xiao, Hai Die and Wen Yan).
Although Shopkeeper Fang hasn’t aroused any suspicion in Ma Fengcheng yet, Chu Kui (who learns about this meeting through an informant planted inside the Ma Family Army) isn’t going to let the matter become a problem, endanger the support of Ma Zhaixing and the Ma Family Army because of Shopkeeper Fang’s suspicions. Chu Kui sends Prince of Bo off to kill Shopkeeper Fang and Hong’er which Prince of Bo coldly shows no issues about doing as a loyal subordinate of Chu Kui.
To be fair, though, Prince of Bo doesn’t really have a choice. It’s follow orders and kill Shopkeeper Fang and Hong’er or have it be seen as an example of disloyalty and risk Chu Kui going after Ma Zhaixing who Prince of Bo admitted he knew in the past and loves when Chu Kui brought Prince of Bo in to question about it. To show his loyalty to Chu Kui, Prince of Bo was made to answer Chu Kui about whether he was willing to kill Ma Zhaixing if that’s what he commands. Prince of Bo’s answer is that he will have no choice but follow the order.
It’s not a convincing answer, but it seems to satisfy Chu Kui for that moment. After Prince of Bo is out of his sights, Chu Kui heads to his dungeon to release Yao Ji (Xin Zhi Lei), someone who has spent lots of time stuck in a cell with Prince of Bo when they were competing to be the head of the Night Fury Team. She is described by Chu Kui as someone who knows Prince of Bo pretty well and will be able to test Prince of Bo’s loyalties.
And that’s The Wolf (2020) Series Recap, Episodes 11 – 20! Be sure to check back for The Wolf (2020) Series Recap, Episodes 21 – 30!