Episode 10 starts right where we left off. Artist Kim Hong Do tells the Crown Prince that the map tattoo is really 3 maps. Map 1 tells the shortest route to Beijing, Map 2 shows various tactical details of the route. Map 3 shows the weaknesses in the defenses of the Qing border, making all out clashes less likely. The Prince asks if this really means that an army using these maps can reach Beijing without any troubles. The artist agrees this is the case.
Back at the beacon, it’s pouring down rain as Dong Soo returns from a walk. Cho Rip tells him he’s going to get sick, and Dong Soo says he’s already heartsick because of Ji Sun. Un hears this, but oddly what he recalls is Chun telling him about the pain of being an assassin, taking on the pain of others.
Seo Yu Tae comes in and tells him that to be a man means to be able to bury these loves in your heart and endure pain. He tells Dong Soo that these things hurt more because he’s young. Then he says that the same is true of learning martial arts. A true martial artist doesn’t use skills to fight and kill, but takes on others pains to save people and help them. Yu Tae asks Un if he’s ever felt a passionate love, and Un denies it.
Jin Ju ends up taking the two little kids she helped over to Sa Ma’s house to get some food from Jang Mi. Gwang Taek remarks that Jin Ju reminds him of Ji (although he uses her real name Ka Ok). Sa Mo tells him that’s been 20 years, forget about Ka Ok already.
In shows up at Lord Hong’s house. Lord Hong takes a look at him and asks what happened. In asks Lord Hong to accept him into his service. Lord Hong laughs and asks how Gwang Taek is. (as in, what does the other guy look like?) Lord Hong says to throw In out, when In implies he knows how to trap Gwang Taek. Lord Hong allows him in despite the complaints of his wife. He explains that he still can make use of In.
Gwang Taek goes to a sword dealer and asks to be taken to the Hired Assassins. He gets blindfolded and arrives to see Chun. Chun tells him that no one has ever visited there and left alive. Gwang Taek says he might be the first and last, and quickly disarms the two men guarding him, while Ji watches from the side.
He tells Chun he came to listen to Ga Ok (Ji) play music. Chun agrees, and says he’ll go get some wine, leaving Gwang Taek and Ji alone. Ji plays while Gwang Taek tells her that he turned down any government position, and instead merely wants her heart. Ji tells him that he should leave, that the Ga Ok he knew is dead. He asks about their agreement – that he would get her out of there. He will wait for 10 days for a reply.
When Chun returns, they sit and drink. Gwang Taek tells Chun he asked Ji to leave. Chun asks if he thinks she will. Gwang Taek says he doesn’t know, but he thought of forcing her to leave. Chun laughs and says he must be drunk.
Gwang Taek says it would be nice to get drunk like Chun does. As he takes his leave, Chun tells him that people say as we get older, we get more alike, so you must also be getting crazy.
Commander Im visits the gisaeng house, where he meets with Gu Hyang, asking her to come to the palace for reasons unspecified. She refuses unless she knows who is calling for her, and he finally tells her that it’s the Crown Prince. He suspects they are being eavesdropped on, but she asks if he sees anyone.
She asks to have a few moments to prepare, and goes to another room, where she meets with Chun and tells him what has happened. He guesses that they want her for her medical skills for some reason, and tells her to go.
Jang Mi, Jang Mi So and Jin Ju take bundles of food to the beacon for the boys. (Jin Ju got dragged into it when the little kids swiped her money, so she’s working off her tab for the day.) Dong Soo is looking a little ragged around the edges, and after the guys all stuff their faces, Cho Rip treats the ladies to a dramatic retelling of the snakebite treatment.
The gisaeng, Gu Hyang, arrives at the palace and meets with the Crown Prince. He tells her that they’ve heard she learned medicine in Qing and wants to know if a tattoo can be removed. She tells him that it depends on the kind of tattoo and explains different types of tattoos. She says she’d have to look at the tattoo to see if it can be removed.
She tells him the tattoo can be removed, but it will require 3 very painful treatments. He asks if it can be done immediately, and she replies that she needs to prepare a few things first.
As the girls leave the beacon, Dong Soo finally calls Jin Ju by name, finally proving that he remembers her as a kid. Yu Tae, on the other hand, tells them it’s going to rain soon, and indeed that night a big storm blows in and lays waste around the camp.
Hong1 visits home and tells his father about the boys being sent out as beacon guards. Lord Hong realizes that if Commander Im took an interest in this himself, then the Crown Prince must have something to do with the boys. He asks which particular beacon they were sent to, and when he hears that it was the 1st section beacon, he realizes that the boys were specifically sent out to Seo Yu Tae’s beacon to learn from him.
Lord Hong goes for the direct approach and asks Commander Im for information on the 3 exempt candidates. He looks over their papers, and he sees the name Baek Dong Soo. He tells Commander Im to hold a beacon test immediately. As he leaves, he ponders the name and age of Baek Dong Soo, and realizes who he may be.
A messenger is sent out from the palace and arrives at a beacon. The first set of beacons is successfully lit by their crew. However because of the heavy storm, the boys are still gathering dry firewood for their beacon.
Back at the palace, Lord Hong tracks down the Crown Prince at his archery range to rub in the fact he’s got a beacon test going (the punishment for failure being death).
Failing to find any dry firewood in the forest, Dong Soo swipes some from the temple, and on the way back sees the beacon fires going. Un and Cho Rip have also seen the fires and are trying to figure out what to do.
It starts to rain again, so even the new firewood is wet. Yu Tae tells them to run to the next set of beacons. Cho Rip points out this is too far. Dong Soo figures that as long as they get the beacon lit at the one nearest the palace, the rest won’t matter, so he suggest bypassing them to get to that one, even though it’s farther away.
Dong Soo takes off running cross country, with Un following and Cho Rip ordered to stay behind. Dong Soo and Un reach a bluff over a river, and before Un can really object, Dong Soo jumps into the water. He waves to Un, who looks for another route.
Gu Hyang returns to the palace with a box of her tattoo removal equipment. However, as she sets up, she pulls out a dagger instead.
The Crown Prince waits at the palace, watching for the beacons, as Dong Soo runs and runs. Just as he starts to collapse, Un shows up on a horse that he stole from the messenger. Un explains that while stealing the horse will get them a beating, failing will get them death, so he had nothing to lose. Dong Soo points out that hanging around him has had some effects on Un, if he’s starting to think like that.
In the meantime, Jin Ki turns up at Sa Mo’s invitation to visit with Gwang Taek. Gwang Taek asks if he’s Jin Ju’s father and he is filled in on what she’s been doing. Sa Mo asks why he’s late, and Jin Ki explains that he saw Un stealing the horse, and drew his sword on the messenger to help Un get away, because he knew it was a beacon test.
Un and Dong Soo get to the nearest beacon post, but because they don’t have the right documents, the officers refuse to listen to them.
As sunset nears, Lord Hong gathers with the Prince and Commander Im to see if the beacon signal will get through.
Meanwhile, Ji Sun asks Gu Hyang if the tattoo is really that terrible. Ji Sun tells her that this tattoo is no different than a slave mark for her. She says that because of that tattoo people she doesn’t even know have hunted her.
It seems that the army post had been given orders that if the trainees had arrived, under no circumstances was the officer allowed to let them in. However, he is willing to trade their horse (HAH!) for 2 bows. They locate a handy nearby platform and prepare to shoot fire arrows into the posts’ beacons to light them themselves.
Dong Soo shoots the first arrow and the first beacon lights. (Back at the palace, the Prince gets in a dig about Lord Hong seeming to want to see a failure of this test, eh?) Dong Soo has lit the first 3 beacons, but as he aims at the fourth a fierce storm starts to blow in. (As it starts to rain, Lord Hong starts to smirk, and the Prince starts to sweat bullets).
Dong Soo’s first attempt at the last beacon fails, and as he takes aim again in the rain, with the last arrow they have, he reconsiders. He hands the bow and arrow to Un.
Un fires the arrow…and lights the beacon. (HE SHOOTS! HE SCORES!) Dong Soo and Un are elated. Cho Rip and Yu Tae party down when they see the beacons, and the Prince shoots a nasty look at Lord Hong as he watches the beacons with satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Gu Hyang contemplates her orders to get the tattoo. Having made Ji Sun sleepy with incense, she pulls out her dagger. She remembers getting a tattoo herself, the tattoo that covers a slave brand. It turns out that she was the daughter of an official who was ruled a rebel, and enslaved. She is grateful to Chun for covering the brand with a tattoo. But she sees herself in Ji Sun, branded and enslaved.
Instead of killing Ji Sun, she takes option 2 – stealing the drawings of the maps from the room.
When the Prince returns to the room, he finds Gu Hyang gone and Ji Sun waiting for her return, unaware of the loss of the maps.
The army post commander takes Un and Dong Soo back to Commander Im, who congratulates them on their successful task (freaking them out a little since they thought they were in trouble for horse theft and fire arrow shooting). On the other hand, he threatens to demote the messenger for losing his horse. Im tells him that he’ll let it go, so keep quiet about the events of the whole day.
That night both Ji Sun and Dong Soo are wandering around the palace, basically stretching their legs. Dong Soo spells out LOVE with petals in a little garden, and Ji Sun walks up as the wind blows the petals away. (awwwww)
Gu Hyang delivers the maps to Lord Hong. He declares that with this in hand, his plans can commence. What plans? The Prince’s life is in his hands!! He orders the Noron officials to a meeting. Among the people who show up? The Queen.
Lord Hong reveals to them that there had been a decree from the Qing Emperor, against them and saying that the Crown Prince should take over the throne. They are astounded, and he then tells them that the order was destroyed. So they have an opportunity at hand, before another order can be sent, to remove the Crown Prince.
From one of the boxes, some royal robes are presented to the Queen. She nods, and reminds them there are to be no mistakes. Lord Hong declares that they will have the Crown Prince’s life. Whatever plans they have are set in motion…
And that’s the end of Episode 10!!
Awww, love is in the air in episode 9. We’ve got squares, triangles, pairs, awwww.
As for the rest of the plot – the plotting part of the plot – all of the pieces and characters are in place, and as Lord Hong says, it’s time to set things in motion!