We’re back at the fight club! Jin Ju is getting ready to go into the ring against a guy with an ax, with Dong Soo watching from the sidelines and Lord Hong’s party of Kenjo, Hong1, the toady and Un watching from above. They notice Dong Soo down below and watch the match. It’s fairly even right up until Jin Ju kicks the other guy in the nuts and therefore loses on a technicality – no blows beneath the belt. Even fight club has rules.
Next up, Dong So (fighting under the name Baek Ho) goes into the ring to fight the bounty hunter Tae San. Jang Mi and Mi So arrive to cheer him on, but up in the Hong’s box, they debate whether it would even be interesting to see Dong Soo fight a lesser opponent. Kenjo offers to challenge Dong Soo instead, so Lord Hong signals the ringman, and Kenjo substitutes in for Tae Sun.
Hong asks Un who he’s betting on, and Un picks Dong Soo.
The two fighters draw their swords, and begin. Dong Soo seems to have a slight advantage, when the bell rings for the end of the first round. Jin Ju acts as his cornerman and asks him who this guy is to match up to him. He tells her who Kenjo is and then takes a drink of water, but as he does realizes that something is wrong with it.
The next round starts, and it’s apparent something is wrong with Dong Soo, as he can barely keep to his feet. Even Kenjo asks what’s the matter with him.
Jin Ki and Sa Mo also come in, just in time to see Dong Soo really faltering and getting stabbed in the shoulder. Up in the Hong’s box, Un is appalled to find that Dong Soo has been drugged. He covers his reaction by saying that only a fair fight is interesting, but then Hong tells him that interesting would be to see Dong Soo die. As Dong Soo starts to really get in trouble, and Sa Mo and Jin Ju narrate flashbacks of the various hardships he’s already survived, Un skates a coin at the timing glass, shattering it and causing the round to end.
As the round ends, Dong Soo still on his feet and fighting, the two fighters break and Dong Soo collapses. Hong accuses Un of breaking the glass, but Un feigns ignorance.
At the gisaeng house, Kenjo is also appalled to hear that Dong Soo was drugged. He tells Hong never to do things like that, but Hong is less interested in the ethics of dueling than he is in getting rid of Dong Soo. Conspicuously missing from the table is Un.
Dong Soo gets hauled back home, and is dead asleep being attended to by Ji Sun. Un comes by to make sure Dong Soo is ok, but Jin Ju sees him and asks if he’s there to make sure Dong Soo is dead. She tells him that she’s lost everyone else, she doesn’t want to lose Dong Soo as well. For once, instead of walking off and letting people think the worst, Un tells her that the two of them are alike, and Dong Soo has always been his friend.
Jin Ju goes in to check on Dong Soo, and sees Ji Sun taking care of him. She is reminded of Un’s comment that they are alike. She walks off, leaving them alone.
At the palace, the King is not recovering well, and is going forward with his plan to let the Prince act as regent. The Queen, however, is not happy, and tells her father to speed up their plans. So there are various scenes of flunkies sneaking around the palace passing the word along.
Dong Soo finally wakes up, and makes it out to the conference with the rest of the guys. Seo and Dong Soo ponder the fact that anyone who wins three rounds disappears, bought up by Lord Hong. They conclude he’s building a private army filled with anonymous fighters.
Cho Rip suggests that following Lord Hong might yield the best clues, and asks Dong Soo to do it.
Un is getting the same reports from his fighters. His solution is to have Tae San win three rounds and get sent where ever Lord Hong is taking the fighters. Gu Hyang reports in with some news from the spy network. The Norons have a meeting scheduled for the gisaeng house, and the Queen will also be there.
Un concludes that with the military under Lord Hong’s control and the Norons under the Queen’s control, that it might be a good thing for him to show up as well. As everyone arrives at the gisaeng house, the sharp-eyed Gu Hyang spots a movement from Dong Soo and raises the alarm.
Hong1 and some troops go after him, but he ends up ducking behind a wall where Un spots him. Un tells him not to get involved with this meeting. Dong Soo asks if it’s something he knows about. Un tells him not to argue and leave quickly.
Dong Soo tells Un to leave instead. Un tells Dong Soo that he’s outnumbered there and please to just leave. Dong Soo asks what Un is doing there, and then asks if Un has everything he wants now that he’s killed so many people (or actually more airily, now that his sword is so bloodstained).
Un, who seems to be getting frustrated at being misunderstood again, yells at him and asks if his sword has managed to protect people. He asks what he should say to the people who will die because Dong Soo couldn’t protect them. He tells Dong Soo that his vow to protect people has just been a lie, and does Dong Soo even know how many people he’s hurt? (sorry no screencaps for this long scene, but it was all in silhouette, and nearly impossible to get a good screencap.)
Un tells him to stop being a hypocrite. Dong Soo grabs him and tells him to shut up. Un whacks him one on the injured shoulder and gets loose. And then the boys fight.
As they end up face to face, grappling, they hear Hong1 yell. They break apart and start running.
Inside, the Noron officials meet with the Queen. Lord Hong comments it’s the first time they’ve met like this since the Crown Prince died. He displays a scroll signed in blood of all the generals who are on their side. He then brings out a blank scroll, and asks them all to sign in blood as well. One by one, they sign.
The Queen gets introduced to Kenjo, and then asks for a rundown of all the preparations. So we learn that all they have enough money, that the fighters they’ve collected can’t be traced back to them and are busy training, the weapons are made including 20 guns, and the signal kites are ready to go as well – looking like a meteor in the sky. Meanwhile, they are busy spreading rumors about the Prince.
The Queen tells them that it’s their lives that are at stake now, so they’d better get this right.
Just then, Un and Dong Soo come barreling down the hallway, knocking guards aside as they escape the ones chasing them. They end up interrupting the Noron’s meeting, alarming Lord Hong.
The Queen tells everyone to let them go quietly. Hong1 bows to the Queen and Dong Soo leaves. Lord Hong asks why Un is there, since he wasn’t invited. Un jokingly points out that they only need the King to make it a full Royal Court at this secret meeting. Lord Kim is appalled, so Un also takes his leave.
The Queen glares at Lord Hong and reminds him that with the planned coup ready to go, he should keep his eye on the goal.
Outside, Dong Soo asks Un what on earth was going on in there? Un asks how he manages to get into trouble no matter where he goes. Dong Soo asks if he should just watch the others get away with crimes. Un tells him that he doesn’t have enough evidence, does he? For now, he should just leave.
Un goes back in and confronts a furious Lord Hong. He tells Hong he was just meeting with an old friend, and having a good time. Hong asks if he even knows what kind of meeting he interrupted. Un tells him that he was just listening to what Hong said earlier, and enjoying a fight.
Hong says fine, but how did he know about the meeting. Un sighs and tells him that he knows pretty much everything that happens outside of the palace. When Hong asks what happened to Dong Soo, Un teases him again, repeating his words about whether Hong had sympathy for him. When that successfully infuriates Hong, Un laughs. Hong asks if Un knows why he’s putting up with his attitude. Un was beginning to wonder why. The answer is that Hong still needs Un’s help.
He pulls out a red parcel. It’s a message from the Queen to the Qing Emperor, requesting an edict back that would prevent the Prince from becoming regent. He needs Un to get that letter to the Emperor and get the edict back in a fortnight.
Un leaves, and Kenjo asks what Hong will do if the letter doesn’t get delivered. Hong tells him it’s something Kenjo doesn’t need to know. Hong asks where Hong2 is. Turns out he’s in charge of the signal kites out on the mountain, so Hong is frustrated that he doesn’t have extra hands around.
Un leaves the gisaeng house, and Gu Hyang asks why he’s acting out of character. He asks what that’s like. She says calm like the sea and solid like a mountain. He tells her that sometimes even the sea gets rough or the mountains fall. And sometimes you just get caught up in the way things happen.
Hong2 is out on the mountain with a bunch of flunkies, flying kites. They light the kite strings, causing a faux meteor shower. Un head over to Sa Mo’s and gets there just in time to hear Dong Soo tell everyone one that he met Un. They see the “meteors” and realize where they are coming from, so they head that way, leaving Ji Sun at home.
Un stands outside the fence, wondering if Ji Sun would welcome him if he managed to break away from the assassins, or if it’s too late.
Back on the mountain, Dong Soo and company track down evidence of the kite fliers, but just barely miss Hong2 and his group in the darkness. Dong Soo figures out that for the kites to work the wind has to be blowing northeast, and that it’s part of a pattern, but he can’t quite figure out why.
Hong Do happens to be in the market when it’s leafleted by propaganda saying that the Prince is out to get revenge for his late father by killing the King. It’s making people really jumpy.
Lord Kim brings it to the attention of the King and Prince, which makes them both angry. However, General Seo advises the Prince that staying calm would be the best way to not play into the hands of any plotters. The Prince, however, has had enough, and wants to take action.
Hong Do brings the leaflets back to Sa Mo’s and tells them that the people are really getting worried. Dong Soo realizes it’s part of the larger plot, but can only report that while they’ve figured out the meteor kites and Hong’s connection to them, they still don’t have much.
Jin Ju, however, is back at the fight club. She only needs one more fight to reach 3, which is when the fighters seem to be bought off by Lord Hong. And if she isn’t approached, Tae San is also reaching 3 wins, so Dong Soo advises that she follow him if he’s approached.
Back in the ring, Jin Ju fights and wins! She gets approached and finds Lord Hong’s toady waiting. She and Tae San are led off.
Dae Ung and the fighters lurk around Sa Mo’s waiting for Dong Soo to show up, but first Ji Sun and Mi So bring back the little bit of saltpeter they’d found still in the market to help the others identify it later. Along with the other ingredients, the Hongs bought enough to make a lot of gunpowder. Sa Mo concludes they must be planning on using guns.
Jin Ki, however, is more worried that Jin Ju hasn’t returned from the fight club, so Dong Soo goes out to see where she went. Dae Ung and the fighters spot him and follow. Dae Ung gives the lead fighter a bottle of poison to use on Dong Soo, just to make sure he’s really dead.
The Queen decides she needs a backup plan, and asks her father how to contact Un. Unfortunately, the only way her father knows to contact him is through Lord Hong. So, he has to go to Hong to ask to meet with Un. He makes the excuse that with the coup close to happening, the Queen wants to make sure the Un is really with them. Hong agrees to contact Un.
Lord Hong tells Hong1 and Hong2 that they need a few more fighters, and they tell him that the fight club is attracting lots of fighters so in just a few days they should have more. In fact, he’s called out to meet the two latest fighters, Tae San and Jin Ju. Hong asks to see them fight each other, and they square off successfully. As Lord Hong is welcoming them, Hong1 recognizes Jin Ju as Chun’s daughter, and removes her mask, declaring that she’s really a she.
Jin Ju escapes, leaving the Hongs upset, but Tae San terribly amused.
Over at the Assassins, Un ponders whether to forward the Queen’s letter to the Emperor. Gu Hyang relays the Queen’s request to meet. Un remarks that she took the bait he tossed out earlier when he crashed their meeting, so he goes off to meet her.
Back at the fight club, Dong Soo finds out that Jin Ju also won three rounds, but can’t find out where she was taken. Jin Ju runs, with the Hongs in hot pursuit, and ends up in the market hiding behind Jin Ki and Sa Mo. Jin Ki and Sa Mo disarm the Hong’s soldiers, so Hong1 and Hong2 retreat.
Meanwhile, Dae Ung and his fighters surround Dong Soo at another street corner. He asks why they’ve been following him, but gets no answer. And so the skirmish starts. (see that screencap? – what I love about this fight is that it’s one where Dong Soo uses Chun’s moves and mannerisms to fight, plus a little of the old fun loving Dong Soo).
Anyway! Dong Soo runs off with the fighters chasing.
Dong Soo runs until he gets to a narrow alley where they have to come at him one at a time. He puts down his sword and nonchalantly puts his leg up on a wall to stretch and warm up. He gives the universal “bring it on” motion of his hands, and the fight begins! Dong Soo takes them out one by one until only the lead fighter is left.
Meanwhile, Un has gone to meet the Queen. As he gets there, he’s met by a courtyard full of guards. At the Queen’s signal, they attack Un. He takes them all out without even drawing a sword. Instead, he reaches into his robe for his acupuncture needles, and handily wipes out the guards. The Queen is impressed.
Un, however, wants to cut to the chase and asks why the Queen looked for him. Lord Kim starts to chastise him for his disrespectful attitude, but the Queen stops him. She comes out with a straightforward proposal for Un to be on her side.
Un tells her it sounds like he’s being asked to betray Hong, which Lord Kim tries to laugh off. He says that it’s just someone with such excellent skills should be employed by someone like the Queen, it would be like having her own army at her side. Un asks what he’d get out of it. The Queen says, whatever he wants, money, power, whatever. Un says he’ll think about it, but the Queen reminds him she’s not a patient person. He returns that he’s not that easy either.
The Queen asks him for a demonstration of what he can do. He tells her that he’s an assassin, what would he have to do? She asks if he can bring her the head of whoever she asks for. He asks who it is she wants. She asks, what about the King? He says she has to be joking. She laughs and as we see Dong Soo fighting in the alley, the Queen demands the head of Baek Dong Soo.
And there we end episode 26!
Well, that had lots of fighting, lots of Un and lots of Jin Ju. So that was kind of pleasant as it set up the big coup! Three more episodes to go!