With a formal alliance in place and a decade-old secret out in the open, the bond between Queen So-yong (Shin Hye-sun) and King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) is only about to get deeper. However, the closer they get, the more enemies they make in the palace. There are also quite a few surprises in store for the couple.
So-yong twists an important reveal
We thought that the truth about So-yong saving Cheoljong as a child was out in the open, but our evasive queen twists and turns to write it off and confuse Cheoljong. However, this does not make a dent on their growing bond. The two learn to open up to each other, share their deepest desires, and comfort each other. So-yong announces that she’s on Cheoljong’s side now and proceeds to tell him all about the South Korea or Daehan Minguk of 200 years later, where the people elect their own king and the caste system does not exist, much to Cheoljong’s disbelief.
So-yong helps her father and gatecrashes a council meeting
Kim Jwa-geun (Kim Tae-woo) might be out of the palace, but he asks his men to spy on the Queen. Meanwhile, So-yong convinces her father to let go of the wealth that he has accumulated as a result of corruption. Her father empties his warehouses with a heavy heart. He even manages to replicate the contents of the ledger from memory, and So-yong manages to both help Cheoljong and her father in one go.
She then disguises herself as a man to eavesdrop on a royal council meeting convened by Cheoljong. She gets to see first hand how the clans band together to prevent Cheoljong from making reforms, and how Byeong-in (Na In-woo) himself coerces him into doing certain things under the pressure of the court.
The Kim clan gets a threat from the Queen
In a hilarious turn of events, our Queen decides to take matters into her own hands. She invites the members of the Andong Kim clan for a drink but ends up forbidding them to block the King’s path when it comes to reforms. Even as So-yong becomes braver, Byeong-in seems to be coordinating with everyone, from Queen Dowager Jo (Jo Yeon-hee) to Grand Queen Dowager Sunwon (Bae Jong-ok), to ensure her safety. Frustrated, he confronts her about insulting the Kims, but she walks away, leaving him heartbroken. Kim Jwa-geun’s mole watches the entire interaction.
So-yong’s disguise and Hwa-jin’s confession
Encouraged by their overnight lessons where So-yong tells him about modern-day politics and military strategy, Cheoljong begins to include her in his plans. Disguised as a man, she teaches Officer Hong (Lee Jae-won) new training methods and weaponry, much to Yeongpyeong’s (Yoo Min-kyu) dismay. Hwa-jin (Seol In-ah), on the other hand, suspects that Cheoljong already knows the secret about the well. So-yong’s words about Hwa-jin turning into a monster haunt her, and she confesses all the trouble she has stirred up to a very shocked Cheoljong.
The Kim clan is in danger
Armed with evidence, Cheoljong and his men proceed to arrest several corrupt members of the Kim clan and make them resign. In their place, Cheoljong appoints his own men. Just as it looks like the King and the Queen are consolidating their power, Byeong-in gets his hand on Cheoljong’s childhood souvenir to So-yong. It contains coded messages about the revolution in the King’s handwriting. In a meeting with the Kim clan, Byeong-in tells them to clean up by giving away wealth, replacing stolen records, and killing those who know about their corruption.
Good news for the royal couple
Strangely, So-yong finds herself unable to stomach alcohol or anything else. Cheoljong visits her with a copy of the military strategy book that has been developed under her guidance. Just as they are about to kiss, So-yong almost throws up. The royal physician is summoned, who makes a baffling announcement: the Queen is pregnant. Celebrations erupt around So-yong as she goes into shock.