Deep Rooted Tree Episode 9

Chae Yoon gets more incentive to catch the murderers when he realises that they are also the ones who have his father’s will. The butcher comes under suspicion when his knife is used to threaten another scholar. And for two young scholars the king’s secret project is revealed. And they are very very shocked… 

The king tells Chae Yoon to go his own path (even though he knows Chae Yoon wants to kill him!) Then the king walks away saying to himself that he will go his own way too. Chae Yoon walks away thoughtfully. So Yi thinks back to what Chae Yoon asked her about sleep and she takes out the replica of the pouch that she embroidered for Chae Yoon. She still remembers him when he was young blaming her for his father’s death and she feels guilty.


Mu Hyul can’t understand why the king would say such a thing to Chae Yoon. They both know what Chae Yoon wants to do. But the king just gives Mu Hyul books with information on the milbon to give to Chae Yoon because he wants him to investigate them.

Song Sam Moon and Park Peng Nyeon try to work out the message of Yun Pil’s paper. They look through the metal letters from the printing building too. And when Song looks at the letters carefully he gets the idea that they are grouped together by their sounds. Park doesn’t know what he’s talking about but Jeon In Ji has overheard Song working this out and goes to tell the king. The king arrives and confirms that Song is right. The two scholars are full of questions for the king: Why would Yun Pil be grouping letters together according to how the sound is made? (with teeth, tongue, or lips etc) What is this secret work? And why is everyone being murdered? Pertinent questions indeed.

‘Come with me’, the king demands. So the two scholars follow him to a secret room where the hangul work is going on. Jeon In Ji and the court ladies are shocked that he lets the young scholars into the room. The covers are pulled away from the drawers that contain all the precious research. And then, finally, they are told what is really going on – The king is creating their own writing system that will express the sounds of their language.

The young scholars are shocked. They CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Song Sam Moon DEMANDS to know how this can be possible when Chinese characters have been around for YEARS and a writing system must evolve over time. How can the king go against history? Oh! I expected them to be excited to have their own original writing system especially since they are Joseon scholars!

The king doesn’t seem surprised by their reaction. It is revolutionary after all. But he has decided to teach them to read the new system and wants them to judge it objectively. He takes their hands asking only that they do their best to try it out And if it doesn’t work then he is prepared to give up on the project!

Mu Hyul fills Chae Yoon in on Jeong Gi Jeon and milbon. The name milbon rings a bell for him (OMG I forgot he still has that scroll belonging to Jeong Do Jeon) He rushes off to a place where he buried the scroll to check the name. Now he knows that milbon has his father’s will and he has even more incentive to find them.

The ministers continue to discuss whether the king is really against Confucianism. Shim Jeong Soo points out that the parcel Chae Yoon brought from the north to give to the scholar Ho Dam was the biba saron – a Buddhist script. Jo Mal Seng suggests that he is overly interested in the murders. “Do you think I’m a member of milbon then?” Shim Jeong Soo asks? There are two problems – the ministers are suspicious of each other because they don’t know who is in milbon and the other problem is that nobody seems to know what the king’s secret project is all about. The guard is still watching the ministers but when he goes to tell the king what they have been talking about, the king tells him to stop watching them. Is he feeling guilty about spying on his ministers now that he has decided to follow his path?

Lee gets back after the meeting to learn that the scholar Nam Sa Chul who is now in charge of the tax census has just been to visit. Lee decides to go to the taepyeonggwan – a guest house for the Ming ambassador – to meets the ambassador. The ambassador does not know what the king is up to either, but says that Buddhist scripts and musical instruments were delivered to him. He also has Shim Jeong Soo watched and thinks it’s suspicious that he went to visit the scholar Hae Gang. He also knows that he goes somewhere secretly via Banchon every night but doesn’t know where… After their meeting, Lee decides that he must find Jeong Gi Jeon.

Mu Hyul tells the king that he is worried about Chae Yoon taking over the milbon case since he has another motive. But the king seems unconcerned and sends So Yi to Banchon but we don’t know why. Jo Mal Seng is on his way to Banchon too as he remembers something that Shim Jeong Soo said  about the three dead scholars all having tattoos. He decides to go and look at Chang’s body. Chae Yoon has also returned to the shrine in Banchon where he ran into as a child and came face to face with King Taejong’s  men. But when the head nobi suddenly arrives, Chae Yoon rushes off to hide.

Meanwhile, Shim Jeong Soo comes face to face with the Ming spy lady who’s been watching him.  They end up in a sword fight until he recognises her. She says she wasn’t following him, merely drawing her sword because she thought something was suspicious. She introduces herself as the interpreter Kyeon Jo Ki. But as she walks away she rubs her shoulder where he caught her with his sword – she realises that there is something suspicious about him – why should he have such good swordsmanship? Shim Jeong Soo too has realised that with her sword skills she must be a high level Ming agent.

Chae Yoon is hiding in the shrine and overhears the head nobi talking to her second in command. He hears that Shim Jeong Soo has cancelled the meeting tonight as he was being followed and that the scholar Hae Gang is coming for an important visit – nothing must go wrong.

But then the floor creaks and they realise someone is there. The head nobi calls out the assassin’s name Yoon Pyeon wondering if he has come. Chae Yoon remembers the name as he rushes off. Jo Mal Seng happens to see Chae Yoon run off and wonders what he’s doing there.

In the Institute of Learning Nam Sa Chul doesn’t want to be in charge of the census. He is nervous and explains that the night before he found a letter on his desk held in place with a knife. Then a sword was put to his throat. He has brought the knife and letter to the head scholar. The head scholar takes this to the king. The message threatens anyone who is involved in the king’s work.

Park Po is surprised to learn that Chae Yoon has decided to move into Banchon. He wonders why Chae Yoon wants to live with lowly slaves and then worries that he has said the wrong thing again! Last time he said something like that Chae Yoon went mad. But Chae Yoon is focused on other things and he stares at the head nobi knowing that she is related to milbon in some way. He tells her he’s moving into Banchon much to her dismay.

The two guards go for something to eat and drink. Park Po fills Chae Yoon in on all the local characters – the low yangban who can’t pass the government test and the nobi who can make all the animal noises. But Park Po admits that he knows nothing about the strange butcher’s helper…he is strange indeed..

Shim Jeong Soo meets the head nobi at the songgyungwan wondering if the knife incident is related to them. She doesn’t know either. He wants to meet their leader but to his dismay she tells him that’s not possible yet!


Song Sam Moon is drinking some liquor from a kimchi pot when Chae Yoon comes to find him. But to Chae Yoon’s frustration, Song says he’s not going to help him after all.

The ministers are looking at the knife and the message. Minister Lee says that he will look into the matter but Jo Mal Seng has other ideas – he takes over and insists that he be in charge as he knows most about milbon. (Does he really??) Minister Lee looks like he wants to object but Jo Mal Seng unceremoniously takes the evidence away!

Cho Tak is still injured but he gets dressed and says he wants to go to Banchon too and catch the assassin. The captain arrives to say that the knife is being investigated by Jo Mal Seng in the Royal Division so Chae Yoon doesn’t need to get involved. Ja Mal Seng questions Nam Sa Chul who he suspects is not telling him everything. Nam Sa Chul reveals that the assassin was in his room that night.

Jo Mal Seng inspects the knife carefully and then suddenly calls out to the guard, confidently. He wants vinegar straight away. He pours the vinegar over the knife and the blade turns green – apparently when  pig’s blood comes into contact with vinegar it turns green. So the knife must belong to a butcher…

When Chae yoon gets back to his room in Banchon he sees that the hair he put across the door has been broken so someone has been in his room. He checks his drawers and sees someone has been in there too – he drew a map of the layout of the things in there! So cute. But then the butcher turns up with alcohol and so they all go outside to sit and eat and drink. The atmosphere is good and Chae Yoon asks more about So Yi. He learns that for some reason her family was killed because of her when she was a child. Then Chae Yoon notices that the butcher’s fingernail is yellow and he realises that HE was the one who was in his room because Chae Yoon planted some yellow powder on his drawer handle. But he doesn’t say anything yet.

They hear about the pig’s blood on the knife and Chae Yoon rushes to the butcher’s place. He sees the knife missing from the wall. Jo Mal Seng and his men go and confront the butcher  and demand to know if it is his knife. Then the men beat the butcher in the road – he grabs a sword and manages to escape into the mountain and hides from Jo Mal Seng’s men. But Chae Yoon finds him and puts a knife to his throat demanding to know if he is a member of milbon. Chae Yoon is suspicious because the butcher went to Nam Sa Chul’s place, searched Chae Yoon’s room, and the knife in Nam Sa Chul’s room belongs to him. But he has plausible excuses – he was just delivering (illegal) beef to Nam Sa Chul’s place that night, Mu Hyul ordered that he search Chae Yoon’s room, and he would be crazy to use his own knife since he is the only buther in the village. All very believable. And he says he ran away because the servants are never treated fairly.

Chae Yoon knows that at least the last point is true and he softens to him and remembers back to being locked up as a child when he was a servant. Chae Yoon vows to help him if he really is innocent. But then other men arrive and catch the butcher and beat him again. The king is sitting with So Yi when Mu Hyul arrives to announce that the butcher has been arrested…

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