In this episode we meet the grown up Chae Yoon and King Sejong. King Sejong is certainly unexpected – he uses bad language and is very short-tempered. He’s intense about his passion – the work going on in secret in the Institute of Learning – but he has little patience for the ‘old fashioned’ thinking of the government ministers. He wants to get closer to the people but the ministers want to keep the old rules in place. Chae Yoon has two faces – he has just arrived from the north and in front of the other officers pretends to be a bit of a fool to hide his real motive for being in the palace – to take his revenge on the king. Meanwhile, someone is murdering the king’s men and Chae Yoon is put in charge of the investigation.
The young Chae Yoon is running back in the darkness looking for his father’s will. Seo Jin is helping Jeong Do Gwang get away. Jo Mal Seng and the rogue soldiers are chasing them. Mu Hyul, the king’s bodyguard, is coming to save them. Chae Yoon comes face to face with Mu Hyul whose sword scratches his arm. He tells Chae Yoon to get away from there and then runs off leaving Chae Yoon alone.
Meanwhile, Seo Jin helps Jeong Do Gwang but he gets hit with an arrow. They try to get away but lots of arrows fly all around them. Jeong Do Gwang is severely hurt and can’t go on, so he hands Seo Jin the pouch with Chae Yoon’s father’s will in it and wants him to find Chae Yoon and the horse ( Hidden Root’s scroll is on the horse). Seo Jin is upset to leave him – he’ll die there, but he has no choice and runs off. The soldiers are shouting to Jeong Do Gwang to surrender, so he stands up and shouts back to them telling them where he is. He knows he’s going to die. Seo Jin runs through a bamboo forest and gets bombarded with arrows in his back and he collapses. At the same time Jeong Do Gwang is shot with arrows too. Mu Hyul is watching from the sidelines helplessly as a crowd of soldiers surround the dying Jeong Do Gwang.
Seo Jin gets home but he is severely hurt after being hit with arrows. His son Yun pyeon comes out to help him. Jeong Gi Joon is there too and is told that his father has been killed. Just before he dies, Seo jin manages to hand Jeong Gi Joon Chae Yoon’s pouch and tells him that the owner of the pouch has Hidden Root’s Scroll. Meanwhile Chae Yoon is hiding from the soldiers and sees Jang Do Gwang being carried away. The horse has come to find him and Chae Yoon sees the scroll but doesn’t know what it is. He packs it up and puts it back on the horse.
The King is told that Jeong Do Gwang is dead but also that Jeong Gi Joon must still be alive somewhere. Meanwhile, Chae Yoon finds an open grave of nobi (servants) and starts looking for his friend. He can’t see her but then finds the trinket he gave her and begins to cry thinking she’s dead.
We move forward in time to an army camp on the northern border. An older and blood-stained Chae Yoon arrives in one of the tents and kicks a severed man’s head towards the other soldiers. He demands that they now accept him into the army. He’s as feisty as ever.
At the palace, Yi Do goes to see his father who is now on his death bed. His father still doesn’t agree with the way Yi Do plans to rule the country. He thinks Yi Do’s way will be too hard and that he will regret it. But then he grabs him and tells him to succeed (if Yi Do is successful then Taejong, as his father, will also be revered) then he falls back dead on his bed. Yi walks away as the people in the palace cry for the loss of the king. He goes and stands thoughtfully on the bridge in Gyeongbokgung palace contemplating life without his father. Chae Yoon fights up north in the army still full of revenge and then time passes by and next we see the older Yi Do standing there on the bridge. Let’s call him King Sejong from now on.
Court ladies come to tell the king that visitors are waiting for him but the king is not pleased that he has to deal with so many visitors and he swears. However he does not want to cancel his regular meeting with the government ministers. A court lady asks him to watch his language but he just asks one of the younger court ladies if he has said the curse word correctly! She confirms that he has. He seems to feel suffocated by all the polite protocol that must be followed in the palace. It looks like he has become more short-tempered as he’s got older!
The government officials are preparing for their kyeong yeon, assembly, with the King. They complain about the number of kyeong yeon that the king wants to have and that he never cancels. We see an older Jo mal seng and Lee Shin Ok. They discuss the jippyeongjeong, Institute of Learning, and Jo Mal Seng complains that before it was just meant to be a place of study but now the king is making the scholars into his own army against the ministers (and the ministers always lose the arguments!) They are suspicious about the institute. The prime minister, hwang Hee 황희 (1363-1452), sits at the head of the table and is addressed as yong sang. Today’s topic at the meeting is 부민고소금지법 a law that means that the common people are not allowed to complain or tell tales about the yangbang that rule them. The officials don’t want to change this law ( it’s good for them) and they want to make sure that they don’t lose to the king again. But the king has all the scholars behind him and they always seem to come up with something to win the argument.
The officials go to the keong hui ryu for a meeting with the scholars. But as they sit opposite them we can sense their reserve towards the scholars. Now we are introduced to some of the scholars: Jeong In Ji (the top scholar), Choi Man Ri, Lee Seung Ji, Park Peng nyeon, Song Sam Moon. They all rise when the king arrives.
They have a meeting. The king wants to discuss the law (mentioned above) But the king doesn’t seem to behave in an appropriate manner – he walks around stretching rather than sitting on his chair (as he says the doctor told him to do more exercise) and he writes 우라질 , urachil, a swear word, with a brush as he listens to Jo Man Seng’s argument. He seems frustrated with the formality of the meeting.
During the meeting, the officials debate the teachings of Joo-Ja with the king. (Joo Ja – was the most influential Neo-Confucian philosopher in China)
The king talks about kan kwan 간관 – a person who tells the king when he has made a mistake. The king wants the people to be able to speak more freely if they have concerns, but the officials argument is that there has to be respect for elders and those in higher positions otherwise there will be chaos. Then one of the young scholars, Song Sam Moon, stands up saying that the king has forgotten part of the argument and he wants to remind him of it. This annoys the ministers and they scold him for speaking up. But the king gets angry and says THIS is exactly what he is talking about – the current rules mean that younger people in lower positions can’t speak freely. And if this is the case, how will the king ever know how his people really feel?
Mu Hyul (addressed as negum uichang yong gam) has been told that an officer, Go In Sul, has been killed and he goes to tell the king. After the meeting, the king goes off to meet him in private and tells him about the murder and that the murderer was after the 비바사론- biba Saron. The king wonders who knows about their plans. Mu Hyul plans to go and talk to the messenger who brought the letter from the north with news of the murder – Chae Yoon.
At the 겸사복청 the investigation bureau, we meet the fully grown Chae Yoon for the first time. He is in the yard tied up and getting flogged for offering bribes. But he’s acting like a fool and cowardly jumping away from the man beating him. Mu Hyul doesn’t look impressed as he watches from the side. He confirms that Chae Yoon has just arrived from the north on the orders of general Kim Jeong Seo. But now Chae Yoon is putting on an act to hide his real motives for being there – to get revenge on the king.
Later Chae Yoon kneels before Mu Hyul to ask for forgiveness. He makes excuses – says he wasn’t offering bribes, but rather parang – offering gifts and he has brought something to enhance male virility. Mu Hyul is not amused by Chae Yoon’s excuses and calls for him to be beaten again.
Chae Yoon staggers away from his beatings making lots of groaning noises, aigoo, aigoo, but once he is far enough away from everyone he stops the pretence and walks normally. He makes some sketches in his notebook about the layout of the area. Later two guards are patrolling at night. They hear an owl – this must be a bad omen. One fo the guards says that King Taejong hated owls because he thought they were the reincarnation of Jeong Do Jeon. He’s scolded for mentioning the traitor’s name. Then a figure flies by in the trees. Meanwhile, Chae Yoon is walking around working out distances so that he knows how fast he can attack the king.
The king hears from the scholar Jeong In Ji that Kim Jeong Seo will be arriving tomorrow. The King looks worried and asks where the scholar Ho Dam is. He has the biba saron – a sacred book written in Sanskrit. He’s in the JippyeonJeon, Institute of Learning, so the king decides to go and see him. On his way there he bumps into Chae Yoon who shouldn’t really be there. Chae Yoon is shocked to see the king and kneels before him, but all the while he’s checking out how many guards the king has and where the swords are. He reaches for his sword but it’s not there.. Then Mu Hyul arrives and wonders what Chae Yoon’s doing there. He says he lost his way. The king continues on his way to the Institute of Learning but then turns and asks Chae Yoon his name. But Chae Yoon is too busy thinking about grabbing a sword to answer the king and so gets scolded for not answering the king quickly. He says his name and the king is gone. He knows he lost his chance. As Chae Yoon walks away he notices something flying past too.
The King arrives at the Institute of Learning. They hear the owl again. They see the scholar Ho Dam at his desk but it looks like he’s asleep. One of the men address him (as nauri, sir) to wake him up but he does not reply. The king goes over to speak to him but when he touches him he falls to the floor. He’s dead. They call for Mu Hyul ( title – negum uijang) who rushes in and confirms that the scholar is dead.
The guards are summoned the next morning and stand at the entrance to the Institute of Learning. When the scholars arrive they are told that they can’t go into the institute so they have saga tokso, home study leave, instead. They turn to go and decide to go to the temple to study instead. Song Sam Moon doesn’t want to go at first, but he is persuaded.
The King sits with Mu Hyul and Jeong In Ji talking about the murder. The king learns that the biba saran has also disappeared so the two murders (the one in the north and the scholar at the institute) must be connected. The king is upset and wonders who has realised his plans and is trying to stop him complete his work at the Institute of Learning. Meanwhile, Chae Yoon is on guard with another guard. He soon makes friends with him by offering him some of his male virility medicine. He asks the other guard why no one can enter the Institute of Learning and is told that a scholar suddenly died from overwork last night.
Chae Yoon suddenly pretends that he needs the loo and leaps over the wall into the Institute of Learning. He makes sketches in his notebook of the layout since he knows the king comes here at night. He looks around the crime scene and finds it suspicious that there’s a crime scene if the scholar died from ‘overwork’. But as he’s looking around he suddenly gets attacked by Mu Hyul and the guard. They are surprised again that he is somewhere he shouldn’t be. And now they are more suspicious of him. He gets tied up again. Mu Hyul demands to know what he was doing in the Institute of learning. At first he puts on his weak and cowardly act again and continues to pretend that he was looking for a bathroom. Mu Hyul doesn’t believe him.
The King learns from Jeong In Ji that someone broke into the Institute of Learning looking for a bathroom. But the king is very direct and says ‘you mean he needed a crap?’ Jeong In Ji tries to persuade the king to speak in a more polite fashion! Ha Ha.
Kim Jeong Seo has arrived and is announced. (Addressed as Jang Gun.) The king looks pleased to see him.
Meanwhile, Mu Hyul questions Chae Yoon about his recent actions. Chae Yoon repeats his excuses saying he was lost the night before when he saw the king and then went into the Institute of Learning because he needed the bathroom! Mu Hyul is not convinced. He thinks he could be the murderer. Chae Yoon realises that Ho Dam has been murdered. Chae Yoon is told that if he wants to live he had better start telling the truth. General Kim Cheong Seo is told that Chae Yoon is being questioned over the murders but he doesn’t believe that he could have committed them.
Chae Yoon tells Mu Hyul that he believes that the two murders were committed by the same person. Mu Hyul is shocked that he knows this and sends the other guards out. He lets Mu Hyul see his notebook – notes for the murder investigation. He also investigated the death of the officer in the north and now wanted to compare the murders. So Chae Yoon says the real reason he broke into the Institute of Learning was to investigate what really happened.
Then the King is announced. Chae Yoon is startled. The king sees the notebook and questions Chae Yoon about the similarities of the two murders. He says both men carried something that the murderer wanted, the murders were different but made to look like an accident, and on both occasions there was the sound of an owl (부엉이 boo onggi).
The king decides to put Chae Yoon in charge of the investigation since he investigated the other murder. As the king walks away Chae Yoon makes a request – if he solves the mystery will the king give him a drink because this would make his dead father happy. The king agrees! Mu Hyul is annoyed at Chae Yoon’s impudence. But Chae Yoon resolves to solve the crime and then kill the king when he serves him a drink …