PREVIOUSLY ON: A’Wu was kidnapped by flying ninjas who bear a grudge against her husband. He, meanwhile, is prevented from galloping directly to the rescue by rather suspiciously-timed orders which require his presence at a military parade. Instead of, y’know, guarding the border. He’s got a plan to get around that, but then again so do the ninjas, and theirs involves suicide bomb vests and decoys wearing A’Wu’s clothes.
Anyhow: back at camp, news comes that the imperial envoy is on his way. And thus, with much slow-mo and dramatic flapping of banners, beating of drums, and slinking about in black cloaks, it begins.
Xu Shou and his escort ride into the camp to watch the military parade, which, to this show’s budget’s credit, is pretty impressive for the first five original shots, but gets less so when they start repeating.
So naturally we cut away to something far less interesting: Prince #3 kneeling at the palace door, while the Emperor refuses to see him. Eh? Ah, it’s to keep suspicions from the Empress low. But she is merely nervous in general, given that the ostensibly-insane Emperor is now a lot less predictable. And she feels that there is some sort of third party involved in all this…
Meanwhile the parade progresses. XQ and Xu Shou ride down to observe it closer. Liupan Guy, A’Wu, and their cohort, observe from behind a rock. XQ’s guys suddenly accelerate, leaving XS and his bodyguards trapped inside a ring of shields. And then the grenades roll in. Well that was excessive. What happened to just stabbing people?
Liupan Guy and his men now sound the attack. This involves ninjas jumping out of water barrels, because of course it does. But at least XQ gets to actually draw his sword and do something.
But! Decoy XY and others are up on a tower and A’Wu is elsewhere.
XQ orders that his men clear the way.
The decoy guy with XY says: face me in single combat! (btw, XY do you like me y/n/maybe?)
And then a couple of archers try to shoot XQ when he rides forward but that doesn’t work. And then Swordsgirl arrives and kills Decoy Guy and Xiaoye falls off the tower and XQ grabs her…only for everyone to realize at that moment that she’s fake. He then throws her far enough away that the suicide vest going off doesn’t get him, or apparently anybody else.
Poor XQ is just standing there kind of in shock, but fortunately this is when Liupan Guy and A’Wu do make their appearance.
Liupan Guy says: face me in single combat!
XQ says: OK, sure.
And, when his men protest, he says: Trust me.
So he gallops off after them but hasn’t caught up by the time they reach the rickety looking rope bridge over the bottomless cavern that is the boundary between the barbarian steppes and China.
Liupan Guy says, hey, don’t worry, I’ll marry you!
A’Wu says: Even if he doesn’t kill you, I will.
And then the arrows start flying. Liupan Guy rushes A’Wu towards the bridge, but then….
Hah, XQ is on the other side of it. And it’s a three-on-one fight (at least before the other soldiers start showing up, so, seems like his sidekicks are sensible enough to ignore orders when they need to). XQ takes care of that side of the bridge, but Liupan Guy still has A’Wu–and A’Wu still has the suicide belt. She screams for him not to come over (and LG threatens to throw her over the edge).
XQ says: We can all die together then.
Liupan Guy says: FINE.
So he throws himself and A’Wu off the bridge, but XQ cuts his hand off and catches her. Very romantic. Finally.
Back in the capital, Wan’ru has heard that #3 is back. And….she’s upset that he hasn’t taken revenge for his mother and is still obsessed with the enemy’s daughter. Who used to be her best friend, let us not forget. Jin’er is also there.
Grand Vizier Dad comes over to let Aunty Empress know that no, there has been no news of A’Wu and that it would take several days for any to get there, anyway.
Wan’ru is putting on the crocodile tears for Jin’er, but it’s just an opening gambit. She wants to know what Jin’er’s feelings are towards the Grand Vizier Dad. Jin’er answers that her interest is Prince #3, actually, and she’s been helping A’Wu all these years just so, if they get together, she can be close to them both. Wan’ru looks honestly affected at this, but she also sees an opportunity.
A’Wu, meanwhile, is busy having nightmares but wakes up to hear XQ asking the doctors when she’s going to wake up (it’s been two days). His sidekicks try to reassure him, but he’s not really happy with himself for letting this all happen in the first place.
Knowing that A’Wu is listening, however, he goes into apologize to her and assure her that he can send her back home if she wants to go and not stay.
A’Wu doesn’t really want to accept his help or his presence, but she’s too weak to drink her medicine herself. So XQ, very romantically, spoon-feeds her and then tucks her back in when she falls asleep again.
Wan’ru, meanwhile, is still being showered with presence by the Crown Prince. It’s not enough to assuage her anger, and her plans for Jin’er don’t bode well for A’Wu.
Back at the barracks, XQ is sidling up to change A’Wu’s bandages. Vvvvvvery romantic. She’s not having any part of it, though. He promises to send her home whenever she wants….as long as she’s fine. But even this is coming on kind of strong, because she’s looking kind of terrified. Poor guy only wants his wife to like the things he does and the places he does. His wife, meanwhile, is wondering exactly what is going on here with her pounding heart, strange new feelings, etc.
So we cut back to Wan’ru dressing Jin’er up in nice clothes. And the next episode is “Zi Tan (#3) mistakenly identified Su Jin’er as Wang Xuan”), so….
One more episode. Just one. Just one, I promise!