Deep Rooted Tree Episode 6

Chae Yoon comes face to face with his old friend but doesn’t recognise her. Mu Hyul is after Chae Yoon now who comes close to being killed by him. The king is upset and emotional over all the murders but he is able to read the message left behind from the murdered Yun Pil which tells him exactly who the murders are. But the king can’t quite believe it… 

The other guards manage to drag Chae Yoon away from So Yi and she gets helped away by the other court ladies. Then So Yi wakes up from a bad dream in which the young Chae Yoon (Dol Bok as he was known back then) blames her for the death of his father. She sits up in bed and takes out a pouch similar to the one she gave Chae Yoon when they were children with the Chinese character puk (good luck) embroidered on it. The other lady asks why she keeps making the same bag and keeps it with her – she’s obviously still feeling very guilty. The lady asks her why she went to the chuchaso and also tells her that Yun Pil’s dead body has been found there. So Yi is shocked.

Chae Yoon wants to interrogate So Yi but two ladies tell him that she’s not well. She can still speak though, Chae Yoon insists and then he’s told that she hasn’t been able to speak for a long time. The two court ladies are funny. They are both young but one of them tries to speak in an authoritative manner. The other looks at her and says, ‘the way you speak, anyone would think you’re te bi mama’ (a queen mother!)

The king is upset about the deaths and the fire but Jeong In Ji says he must go to the pyeongjeon – where the king conducts his business. The king meets the ministers and insists that there must be an inquiry at the fire department. He also wants to find out who broke into the palace.

Chae Yoon questions So Yi at his office,the kyomsabok, about why she was in the printing building, chuchaso. She writes that she was running an errand for Prince Gwangpyeong. She’s feisty and doesn’t think he’s asking her the right questions. Chae Yoon doesn’t look convinced at her answers either. Why did the assassin save her since she has seen his face? She doesn’t know. Finally, she tries to explain what the assassin looked like but Chae Yoon saw him too. So she paints a shape with a brush and explains that this is the pattern of the bracelet worn by the assassin. Chae Yoon doesn’t believe she could remember such a complicated design. She reveals that she has a photographic memory and writes the list from the notice board outside the room. Chae Yoon checks and sure enough the names and order are the same.

Prince Gwangpyeong arrives to end the interview. He confirms that she does have this memorisation skill and that the reason she went to the chuchaso last night was to run an errand for him. Chae Yoon has to end the interview.


Chae Yoon goes to the chuchaso and sees the aftermath of the fire.  The coroner is there looking at Yun Pil’s body. He doesn’t reveal much to Chae Yoon – says he can’t find anything wrong but he’ll check his lungs – he may have suffocated. But Chae Yoon mentions that the first crime used water and the second one fire. The coroner wonders if Chae Yoon has worked out the cause of death for the other scholar. Then Chae Yoon gets a message that the king wants to see him in the pyeongjeon.

Mu Hyul is thinking about Chae Yoon as a child. Then he calls for his assistant Deung Young to discretely bring Chae Yoon to the north gate. (This means something dodgy.) Sure enough Mu Hyul gets out his sword – he thinks he has no choice but to kill Chae Yoon.

Meanwhile Chae Yoon checks he has a knife in his boot before going to see the king in the pyeongjeon. Mu Hyul waits for Chae Yoon but is told that he has gone to see the king. Shocked, Mu Hyul rushes off. The king wants to know what Chae Yoon was doing outside the chuchaso in the first place and what he saw inside. Chae Yoon describes the scene. He asks to stand up so he can demonstrate how the assassin ‘flew’ away with Yun Pil. But as he demonstrates he seems to be getting ready to get out his knife and kill the king. However, Mu Hyul comes racing in just in time. He scolds Chae Yoon for not following the rules of etiquette in front of the king. His chance is gone again and Chae Yoon kneels back on the floor.


Chae Yoon keeps his knife hidden in a roof tile and puts a pin in the handle of the knife and then puts it back in his boot. Meanwhile Mu Hyul tells the king who Chae Yoon really is. The king looks pale as he remembers that it was his fault that Chae Yoon’s dad died. Mu Hyul is concerned that Chae Yoon has worked hard to get to the palace to take revenge but the king doesn’t want Mu Hyul to do anything about the situation yet. There’s also So Yi to consider. But Mu Hyul is in a predicament because Chae Yoon IS a threat to security.

The king remembers back to when he was young and the young So Yi threw a stone in anger at him. A guard puts a sword to her throat but the king wants to know why she hates him so much. The queen explains the situation to him as So Yi can’t speak. He apologises to her (blaming himself for all her family dying) and sheds a tear.

The king goes to see So Yi. He’s upset and names all the people who have died (because of him) including even So Yi’s family. He feels helpless and blames himself. He never wanted anyone to die because of him again. She writes that it’s not his fault. But he gets angry and rips up the paper saying that the people died because they were working for him. She writes the same thing again and again trying to make the king accept her words. By having So Yi unable to speak, we are reminded that at the time they had to use Chinese characters to write since this was obviously before hangul was created. I wonder if this is why her character is mute? Finally the king breaks down in tears and So Yi looks at him tenderly. He tells her not to cry for him – he’s very hard on himself. But he doesn’t tell her about Chae Yoon.


The coroner finds metal letters from the printing building, chuchaso, in the throat of the dead body. It’s a pretty gruesome scene – especially with the crazy looking helper! Not to mention the blood-stained hands. Yikes. Anyway, the coroner says this is a 사자전언 sachajonon – a message from the dead person. He must have swallowed the letters before he died to give them a clue to the murderer. The coroner takes the letters to the king. The letters could be parts of Chinese characters (or hangul – but not many people can read hangul characters yet). Jeon In Ji  lays out the letters and the king looks enraged but doesn’t say anything. The coroner tells the king that Chae Yoon seemed to know about the assassination method even though the coroner didn’t tell him…

Chae Yoon has asked a low level yangban to work out the message of the 4 characters.  But Chae Yoon knows the yangban can’t keep a secret and will tell everyone about the puzzle – which is what he wants. Then Chae Yoon shows Cho Tak a mark on the dead body.

Sure enough the yangban is out drinking telling everyone about the puzzle – that the letters are a message from the dead scholar. The head nobi overhears this and looks concerned.

Chae Yoon and Cho Tak discuss the case. By spreading the rumour about the puzzle they will see who can solve it. And who’s acting strange. Chae Yoon wants to go to the Institute of Learning and have a look for tattoos on the scholars’ bodies. The rumour has spread all around the palace. Mu Hyul thinks that Chae Yoon is dangerous. The king wonders how Chae Yoon could have known about the assassination method.  And how far he will go to kill him. And So Yi has realised that the king already knows the meaning of the letters.

As they are walking back through the village, Chae Yoon and Cho Tak see a group from Ming wrecking stalls in the village. A yangban man challenges them showing his identity badge with his name – Sim Jeong Soo. He says he’s from the north. Then he uses his badge as a weapon and they all get into a proper fight. The fight stops when a Ming lady arrives (in an interesting shorts and dress combination) and tells her men to stop. She apologises that her men have no manners and walks away with them.

In the Institute of Learning the scholars are also trying to work out the puzzle. Chae Yoon and Cho Tak arrive and a new face comes out to speak to them – it’s Sim Jeong Soo who they just saw in the village. Chae Yoon tells the scholar that he wants to conduct a 기신검열, a full body check. Suddenly, the scholar in charge bursts in and is outraged. He refuses to allow the check and shouts at Chae Yoon. Although they are in a private room the walls are made of paper (!) so all the scholars can hear the conversation in the next room. Chae Yoon has no choice but to leave.


The scholars continue to try to work out the puzzle. Sim Jeong Soo wonders if it could mean something about China – he’s trying to blame Ming perhaps? (Later we discover that he must deliberately be trying to send them down the wrong path.) They don’t know that the letters are hangul. Later Chae Yoon and another guard are secretly watching the Institute of Learning. Cho Tak comes rushing over with news – the dead body has disappeared. Jo Mal Seng is with the captain of the kyomsa and the coroner looking at the place where the body was. Chae Yoon rushes in shocked.

The two young scholars Soong Sam Moon and Park Peng Nyeon have got the dead bodies. They dress down and go to check the dead bodies for tattoos. The two young men have the same membership tattoo on their arms and realise they were not the only members in an elite group.

The head nobi also wonders who took the dead bodies. She sits with the four characters on the floor trying to work out the puzzle. She wonders how the letters can be referring to them. As she talks to the assassin we can see that the pattern on his wrist bracelet is the same as the pattern So Yi drew for Chae Yoon. Later, the mystery man comes to see the head nobi. This time we see his face – it’s Sim Jeong Soo. He can’t read the puzzle either. (only a handful of people can read hangul at this point) But the king knew straight away what the message was. And finally he tells Jeong In Ji what the letters mean. milbon – Hidden Root.












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