What are the questionable aspects in Empresses in the Palace?

The Problem with Shuhen Glue Lies in the Destruction of Evidence

The issue with Shuhen glue is actually not very well thought out.

Originally, everything could have been seamless, but the problem arose when An Lingrong and the Empress did not consider destroying the Shuhen glue after the matter was settled.

It’s like leaving evidence for Zhen Huan to find on purpose.

In fact, this matter is not too hard to solve. When the effect of the medicine is almost gone, An Lingrong could have given Zhen Huan a few boxes of Shuhen glue without musk, and it would have passed as a deception. But she didn’t.

I can also understand that she and the Empress couldn’t destroy the Shuhen glue because they couldn’t get close to Zhen Huan, but what I can’t understand is that they never even thought about destroying the evidence.

Weren’t they afraid Zhen Huan would find out?

Or perhaps An Lingrong subconsciously believed that Zhen Huan trusted her, so Zhen Huan would never discover the secret of the Shuhen glue.

Later, I came to believe that the only explanation for this matter is that An Lingrong was following the Empress’s command, and since the Empress didn’t mention it, An Lingrong didn’t consider it.

In terms of An Lingrong’s personality and abilities, she is technically skilled and a good employee, but she can’t become a good manager.

This is because she lacks the ability to take action.

The first time she gained favor was thanks to Zhen Huan.

But once the Emperor’s initial excitement waned and she fell out of favor, she was in a state of lying low and doing nothing, completely unsure of how to compete for favor.

Later, she attached herself to the Empress, who gave her advice, and that’s how she regained favor.

She didn’t want to end up like Yuyinger, who relied on others after failing to take action.

For An Lingrong, it was about setting a goal, seeking help, and if that person didn’t work out, finding someone else to seek help from.

So whatever the Empress told An Lingrong to do, she would do it, and if the Empress didn’t say anything, she wouldn’t think of it either.

And the Empress didn’t consider the issue of destroying the Shuhen glue, which I believe is a kind of inherent selfishness.

The Empress’s goal was to have an abortion, and whether An Lingrong would be in danger afterwards was completely beyond her consideration, so the Shuhen glue became a problem left in history.

In summary, I think there was a major oversight with the Shuhen glue, and with my imagination, this is the best explanation I can come up with.

Why did the emperor trust Yelan Yi so suddenly?

The emperor had no guard against Yelan Yi.

In the emperor’s last moments before death, besides the series of arrangements by Zhen Huan, one of the main reasons was Yelan Yi’s strong assistance. She used the slow-acting poison Zhu Sha to gradually erode the emperor’s body, making him appear strong on the outside but increasingly empty on the inside. Eventually, he vomited blood, and a pill cut off his life force, leading to his ultimate demise.

Throughout this process, the emperor, who was smart, cunning, cautious, and suspicious, would arrange people in secret to guard against Zhen Huan even when facing her. However, he seemed completely unaware of Yelan Yi’s scheming. Upon careful consideration, although the emperor was able to uncover the hidden interactions between Zhen Huan and Prince Gong County, many people witnessed Yelan Yi’s interactions with Prince Gong County when she was a horse trainer, and even her secret infatuation may have been noticed by those around her. She didn’t have any intention of hiding it, and the emperor could easily find out with a little investigation. Yet, he chose not to investigate and instead entrusted her so easily. He never felt as calm and assured in front of his longer-serving empress, his beloved consort Hua Fei, or Zhen Huan, who was once his confidante and true love. So, why did he trust this suddenly emerged Yelan Yi so much?

Moreover, during this process, Yelan Yi didn’t even deliberately try to please him. Instead, she always had a solemn expression, looking nothing like someone deeply rooted in affection for the emperor, someone he could trust so easily.

Especially later on, he would spend every day mingling with her and taking the drugs she provided. Such behavior would not be surprising for a wealthy merchant like Ximen Qing with no clear mind, but the emperor, a highly knowledgeable and capable ruler, couldn’t have let his brain be completely addled just because he desired to regain his lost vigor due to his advancing age, right?

Of course, there is also the possibility that the emperor simply didn’t value her because her status was too low and she had no political influence. He might have thought she couldn’t rise up. However, as someone in a position of power, he should understand that human nature is not that simple. Just because someone is at the bottom doesn’t mean they won’t have malicious intentions. Even people at the bottom are still human beings, not his pets. Moreover, even cats and dogs will bite someone if they become agitated.

One can only say that in order to let Zhen Huan successfully get rid of the emperor with her hands as clean as possible, this part of the plot is somewhat like a plot device that miraculously makes things easier.

The Dilemma of Power

The Emperor is easily deceived.

The Empress’s actions are known by the Empress Dowager.

The things An Lingrong does are known by the Empress.

The Empress Dowager keeps tabs on the Empress.

The Empress keeps tabs on An Lingrong.

Everything is out of control.

Su Peisheng probably knows everything…

The Emperor knows nothing.

The Emperor still has Xia Yi in his hands.

Although the Emperor has Xia Yi, he only has Xia Yi.

Empresses in the Palace: Magical Encounters without Being Discovered

I have watched Empresses in the Palace countless times, and there is one thing that I find particularly questionable: every time Zhen Huan and Prince Guo meet in the palace, they are never discovered by anyone.

Every time I see Zhen Huan and Prince Guo meet in the palace, I can’t help but hold my breath, fearing that they will be discovered and the story will end abruptly.

Their first encounter was by the lake. Zhen Huan came out from a banquet and saw a pool of clear water. Curious, she took off her shoes and socks, sat on the bank, and played with the water.

Unexpectedly, she slipped and nearly fell into the water, but luckily Prince Guo reached out and saved her.

It turned out that Prince Guo had been there all along, admiring her delicate feet. Even after saving her, his gaze remained fixated on her feet, which made Zhen Huan extremely embarrassed and angry.

Because in ancient times, a woman’s feet were not supposed to be seen by men casually.

The second encounter happened during a night banquet where An Lingrong was favored. Zhen Huan got slightly drunk and went outside to get some fresh air. She ended up at the Tonghua Terrace, where she unexpectedly met Prince Guo.

Zhen Huan learned about the emotional connection between Prince Guo’s birth mother, Shu Fei, and the late emperor. The two of them also discussed emotions and evening beauty. Previously, they both enjoyed favor in the harem, but now only the cold palace remained, and Zhen Huan understood this feeling deeply.

The third encounter was when Huan Bi was betrayed by Cao Noble Lady, and Zhen Huan cunningly outplayed Empress Hua. Then, she went to visit the restricted Mei Manor.

On her way back, she almost got discovered by the guards, but Prince Guo helped her evade their pursuit.

These three instances of not being discovered can be understood because the lake and the Tonghua Terrace were indeed less frequented. In the third encounter, Prince Guo intentionally helped Zhen Huan hide, so it can be considered reasonable that they were not found.

However, after Zhen Huan returned to the palace from Ganlu Temple, during the Mid-Autumn Festival banquet, there was the “small statue incident.” The emperor bestowed marriage to Prince Guo and Huan Bi, which made Zhen Huan unhappy, so she went outside to get some air.

Instead of avoiding suspicion, Prince Guo followed her and even had physical contact with her. This behavior was very intimate.

Clearly, this raised the emperor’s suspicion, yet they still acted so recklessly without avoiding suspicion. Aren’t they afraid of being discovered?

Don’t they have any guards patrolling the palace?

Therefore, the reason they were not discovered most of the time seems to be due to the plot requiring it and the main characters having a halo around them. It doesn’t quite align with reality.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t have only been discovered by Ye Lan Yi this time.

If Ye Lan Yi can discover them, others can potentially discover them too. However, if others find out, it would directly lead to the conclusion, considering the serious accusation of the emperor’s woman meeting other men.

So, upon careful consideration, the plot of them meeting in the palace without being discovered seems a bit questionable, giving a feeling that the palace guards don’t exist.

What do you all think?

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Differences in activities in the palace

Even though they are all “activities in the palace,” the scope of activities for eunuchs and imperial guards is actually different. Only eunuchs are allowed to enter the harem, which is where the empress and concubines reside.

According to the layout of the Forbidden City, the Qianqing Palace is located in the center. As for the palace where the empress resides, such as the Kunning Palace, it is separated from the Qianqing Palace by the Jiaotaidian. In addition, the palaces where the concubines reside are located behind the Kunning Palace to the right.

Suppose an imperial guard wants to have an affair with a certain concubine. In that case, he would have to pass through the Qianqing Palace, cross the Jiaotaidian, and somehow infiltrate the Jinghe Gate after bypassing layers of guards before he can see the palaces where the concubines reside.

In 1813, the Taiping Rebellion attacked the Forbidden City, and a group of Taiping rebels rushed through Donghuamen to the north, and entered the Inner Court through Cangzhenmen.

When the imperial guards chased after them and reached the entrance of Cangzhenmen, the Head Eunuch Chang Yonggui stopped the pursuers. The imperial guards desperately begged Chang Yonggui to open the way so they could go in and catch the thieves.

Chang Yonggui said, “The Inner Court is only for the royal family, the emperor, the crown prince, and us eunuchs can enter. Anyone else who steps forward will face the death penalty.

Imperial guards must patrol in groups (usually 12 people per group), with the responsibility of mutual supervision among the guards. If even one person is missing, the other guards must report it promptly.

“Your Majesty, please be assured. Even if I resent you deeply, I will still take good care of Princess Jinghe and Princess Mei. If Princess Mei were to know that she and Prince Wenshichu’s child are cherished by Your Majesty for many years, she would probably be happy even in the netherworld.”

The court physicians do not always live in the palace. They would leave one physician on duty in the evening, while the other physicians would go back to their homes before the palace gates were closed, and this had to be recorded. When the court physicians visited the palace to treat the palace concubines, the etiquette was also very strict. In ancient times, there were techniques like hanging silk and feeling pulses, and there was also a curtain separating the court physicians and the palace concubines, so there was no chance of any physical contact.

Not only that, there would also be one or two young eunuchs accompanying the court physicians on their visits. The role of these young eunuchs was not just to carry a box for the physicians, but also to supervise them. If the court physicians and the palace concubines did anything inappropriate, the young eunuchs would report it.

During the Qing Dynasty, there was a dedicated file called the “Records of Imperial Visits to the Inside of the Forbidden City,” which recorded the emperor’s visits to his concubines. This file was copied and managed by the eunuchs in the Jingshifang. If a concubine became pregnant and the timing did not match the “Records of Imperial Visits to the Inside of the Forbidden City,” the consequences were predictable.

Doubts about the Gu Yi Incident

If we talk about “Legend of Zhen Huan,” there are indeed several questionable aspects.

For example, Zhen Huan’s whole family looks more like the pure Empress Dowager than her own sister Yi Xiu.

Or the incident involving Zhen Huan’s miniature portrait.

Zhen Huan left the miniature portrait in Yi Mei Garden to pray for blessings, but it was found by Prince Guo Jun, marking the beginning of his affection for Zhen Huan. Later, Huan Bi also used the miniature portrait to successfully marry Prince Guo.

A small portrait that possesses such power is truly astonishing.

These details, although not rigorous enough, can be said to be able to deceive people and go along with the plot’s development.

In my opinion, the most questionable aspect is still the “Gu Yi Incident.”

The Gu Yi Incident was the Waterloo of Zhen Huan’s life.

At that time, Zhen Huan could be considered at the pinnacle of her life after entering the palace for the first time.

She defeated Concubine Hua, and in the blink of an eye, she had no more enemies.

Zhen Huan now dealt with the Emperor more freely.

The Emperor had affections for her, but Zhen Huan had shed her naivety and did not hold any excessive expectations for the Emperor or expect any special treatment.

Zhen Huan’s father was a meritorious minister in pacifying rebellions. However, her parents were very low-key and cautious.

And her close friend Mei Zhuang pleased the Empress Dowager.

Zhen Huan herself had a good relationship with Concubine Duan and Concubine Jing, and she cooperated tacitly with the Empress in the matter involving Concubine Hua.

At this time, Zhen Huan believed that she had always been respectful to the Empress, and the Empress also accommodated her.

It was not bad to be a favored concubine who could settle down and live a stable life.

In the palace, Zhen Huan had no formidable enemies, only allies.

Zhen Huan only needed to give birth to a son and a half daughter, and her future would be secure and smooth.

It was precisely at this moment that the Empress arranged the Gu Yi Incident, forcefully bringing Zhen Huan from the peak to the bottom.

Through this incident, Zhen Huan finally saw the true face behind the Empress’s perfect mask.

During Zhen Huan’s ranking ceremony, her intended ceremonial attire was damaged, so she had to quickly wear the ceremonial attire sent by the Empress’s palace for repair. It turned out that this attire was the clothing the Emperor and Pure Empress wore when they first met, a special memory for him.

When the Emperor saw Zhen Huan wearing this attire, his emotions went out of control, he became furious, and ordered her confinement.

Only then did Zhen Huan learn the truth about her favor and the Emperor’s most concealed emotions.

However, the core of the Gu Yi Incident, that attire, completely made no sense.


If this clothing could be used as the official attire for formal noble consorts such as Fei, it would not have appeared on the occasion of the Emperor and Pure Empress’s first meeting.

Based on the strict costume regulations of ancient Chinese palaces, the costumes for these two occasions would not have the possibility of substituting for each other.

When was it that the Pure Empress first met the Emperor?

At that time, Yi Xiu had already entered the palace and was pregnant. Pure Empress, as Yi Xiu’s family member, came to visit.

The Emperor fell in love with the Pure Empress at first sight.

At that time, the Pure Empress’s identity was that of a noble consort’s family member, not an established wife.

Therefore, when the Pure Empress entered the palace, the clothing she wore was most likely the regular ceremonial attire or formal attire worn by noble consorts' family members, which had obvious differences from the formal ceremonial attire for noble consorts.

There is another detail that can explain why the Gu Yi Incident, at least, could not be the attire that made the Emperor fall in love with the Pure Empress at first sight.

During the preparations for Zhen Huan’s promotion to concubine, the Empress once informed the Empress Dowager that the time for the ranking ceremony was tight. So, she arranged for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to make urgent modifications to the clothing worn during the ceremonial ranking ceremony for Concubine Jing, so as not to delay things.

The Empress Dowager was very satisfied with this arrangement and even praised the Empress, saying that she understood how to make accommodations, not only saving costs but not being perfunctory either.

Little did she know, the Empress had really arranged the Gu Yi Incident.

This detail, at least, shows that the ceremonial attire used in the ranking ceremony was regulated.

And the clothing worn by the Pure Empress as a noble consort’s family member when she first entered the palace, no matter how magnificent, could not surpass the formal ceremonial attire of noble consorts.

Regardless of whether it was imitating the Tang dynasty’s palace hierarchy system in the original novel or the registration of noble consorts in the Qing dynasty in the drama version, the position of a Fei for women in the emperor’s harem was a higher-ranking position.

Being bestowed the title of Fei was a turning point in their journey in the imperial harem.

From then on, their treatment, status, and future carried more weight.

Even the Empress, the ruler of the harem, could not easily punish high-ranking consorts.

In essence, we can assume that if the clothing worn by the Pure Empress when she first entered the palace were the ceremonial attire of a high-ranking consort, the most likely scenario would be that she was punished for exceeding her position.

Even with the Empress Dowager’s protection, things would not have been resolved so easily.

In other novels, it might have been possible for a consort to be ordered to death due to fights for favor.

Because in the world of the imperial harem, ranks were clearly defined, with distinctions between respect and inferiority, most commonly reflected in clothing and belongings.

So would a noble consort’s family member like the Pure Empress make such a mistake?

Even if the Pure Empress’s mother was angry, she would not dare to act so recklessly in this matter.

Zhen Huan, Mei Zhuang, and others prepared their own costumes when they participated in the selection. The costumes could be luxurious, but they most certainly could not exceed their positions.

So, how should the screenwriter fix this bug?

In my personal opinion, it could be modified to become the ceremonial attire worn by the Pure Empress during her first ranking ceremony.

Historically, the titled position of Empress was not immediately granted through a grand wedding. For example, the famous Empress Dowager Changle Wang Zhengjun was initially the Crown Princess and was not promoted to Empress until the late emperor passed away.

The idea is to change the significance of this attire for the Pure Empress. It would be a significant milestone on her journey with the Emperor, rather than their first meeting.

In this way, it might seem more plausible.

Just a personal suggestion, let’s enjoy the show with a light-hearted attitude.

Setting and Plot of “Empresses in the Palace”

The setting in “Empresses in the Palace” is overall in line with the historical background, and the plot is also very meticulous.

There are some parts that may not stand up to scrutiny, but they are all trivial details that are not of much importance.

For example:

1. Blood Drops: It’s like cheating when you use it, and it’s as if it didn’t exist when you don’t.

There are many explanations for the term “Blood Drops”. In the drama “Empresses in the Palace”, a more reasonable explanation is that it is a powerful, hidden spy agency, similar to the Ming Dynasty’s Eastern Factory, Western Factory, and Embroidered Uniform Guard.

It is said that after Emperor Yongzheng ascended the throne, he felt that the people in the espionage agency knew too much about threats to his throne. Therefore, he carried out a cleansing of the agency and formed the Blood Drops separately. The purpose was to increase the power of the imperial authority and to monitor everyone who knew his dirty secrets.

The original purpose of the agency was to “specialize in capturing the cicadas chirping around the house in summer, in order to prevent the noise from affecting people’s rest”. In fact, it was a secret weapon before Emperor Yongzheng came to power.

This organization must have been much larger than the people under Zhen Huan, but in the end, it was destroyed by the top expert eunuch under Zhen Huan.

II. Poison

The poison given to Long Kedo by the Empress Dowager takes effect in 2 seconds, causes vomiting in 3 seconds, and kills in 5 seconds.

Khan Qulong is bitten by a venomous snake and falls into a coma. After half a day, a pinch of powdered medicine is applied to the wound, and another pinch is taken orally. Is he cured?!

There are other medicines that render people infertile with just one dose, or even permanently infertile with prolonged exposure. And then there is the medicine that makes the Emperor as virile as a dragon or tiger… this plot device is used too often.

An Lingrong is skilled in brewing such concoctions.

Physician Wen is adept at uncovering them.

The Emperor and Consort Hua repeatedly fall victim to them.

3. Ganlu Temple Workplace Dynamics

In Ganlu Temple, there are three main nuns: Jing’an, who is mild-mannered and serves as the abbot; Jingbai, a malicious troublemaker; and Moyan, who upholds justice.

The other nuns are just bystanders.

Zhen Huan was sent here from the palace. According to Jing’an’s understanding, she is a neglected person.

According to Jingbai’s understanding, she is someone who can be bullied.

According to Moyan’s understanding, everyone should be treated equally.

Abbot Jing’an is stable and prefers to avoid unnecessary trouble.

Jingbai fears the abbot. Although she is afraid of the people appointed by the Empress Dowager and Shen Meizhuang…

She still dares to torment Zhen Huan, causing trouble time and time again. She even dares to meddle in affairs and deceive the emperor.

If she had tormented other palace maids who were exiled here or had heard someone say that it is permissible to torment someone like Zhen Huan who has fallen out of favor… then after knowing about Shen Meizhuang’s relationship with Zhen Huan, she had no reason to continue causing trouble.

Furthermore, in the main storyline, there are no sincere devotees of Buddhism in Ganlu Temple.

Chapter 4: Jinxi Devotes Herself to Su Peisheng

Su Peisheng stayed by the Emperor’s side all day long.

The Emperor had a busy schedule, resting only in the late night and waking up early in the morning, and Su Peisheng never left his side.

-The distance from Ganlu Temple to the Imperial Palace is quite far, about an hour each way.

Jinxi went to Su Peisheng’s private residence to find him, and that night Su Peisheng happened to have a lot of free time.

During the day, Su Peisheng came to find Zhen Huan and exchanged secret plans. It must have taken at least three hours round trip…

Su Peisheng is living a better life than the average worker nowadays, with days off.

Questions about the Incident of the Prince of Guo County and the Doubts between Concubine Duan and Concubine Hua

For me, the two biggest issues are the incident of the Prince of Guo County losing the small statue at the Mid-Autumn Festival banquet, and the matter between Concubine Duan and Concubine Hua.

Let’s start with the Prince of Guo County. Huan Bi, Zhen Huan, and Ye Lan Yi did their best to deceive the Emperor, creating a sweet story about a romantic prince and a beautiful maid. And the Emperor believed it. But then, the Prince of Guo County said:

“I cannot marry Huan Bi. I already have true love. She is not Huan Bi, but someone I have known for a long time, yet we have never been able to be together.”

Surprisingly, the Emperor did not find it strange at all and did not further inquire about the “true love” mentioned by the Prince of Guo County. It was just ignored.

In my opinion, if the Prince of Guo County had simply said that he didn’t want to marry Huan Bi, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. After all, Zhen Huan, Ye Lan Yi, and Huan Bi had created a one-sided story about Huan Bi’s love for the prince, without mentioning any response from the prince himself. So, it would have been normal if the Prince of Guo County didn’t like Huan Bi that much.

But the Prince of Guo County insisted on mentioning his deep love for another woman, and yet the Emperor showed no curiosity about it. Especially considering that this incident was triggered by a prince saying that the small statue resembled Zhen Huan. Given the Emperor’s extreme suspicion, he would definitely not have let this matter pass so easily.

Of course, one possible explanation is that the Emperor had always suspected the Prince of Guo County’s intentions towards Zhen Huan, and the Mid-Autumn Festival banquet further intensified these suspicions. However, the Emperor didn’t want to face the reality, so he intentionally avoided probing deeper.

Now, let’s talk about the matter between Concubine Duan and Concubine Hua. There is a very strange aspect that I can’t recall if the novel explained. The medicine that Concubine Duan brought to Concubine Hua caused her to miscarry. We all know that the truth is that the Emperor and the Empress deliberately added abortion drugs to the medicine and made Concubine Duan take the blame. But at that time, only the Emperor, the Empress, and the Empress Dowager knew about this. No one else in the Wang residence knew what happened. So, how was this matter handled in public at that time?

The contradiction lies in the following:

If we assume that the Emperor and the Empress (referred to as the prince and the concubine here for convenience) laid the blame on Concubine Duan and publicly declared that Concubine Duan harmed Concubine Hua, then the level of wrongdoing should have warranted severe punishment. After all, it involved intentionally giving medicine that caused the death of the fourth lord’s son. But it seems that Concubine Duan didn’t receive any punishment and was still able to continue as a concubine.

If the blame was placed on someone else by the Emperor and the Empress, then why did Concubine Hua target Concubine Duan instead of that person who was openly condemned?

Who was ultimately held responsible for this incident? Or did the Emperor and the Empress find a maid or someone else to take the blame, but Concubine Hua didn’t believe that it was the maid’s doing and thought that Concubine Duan had fooled the Emperor and the Empress?

Details about The Legend of Zhen Huan

The TV series “The Legend of Zhen Huan” is widely recognized as a great drama, with excellent screenwriting and casting. However, as I watched it multiple times, I noticed many aspects that I found unreasonable or questionable. I am writing this to spark a discussion among fellow viewers.

The Awkward Love Story between Prince Guo and Zhen Huan

In all the times I watched the drama, the only part I fast-forwarded was when Prince Guo and Zhen Huan appeared together. Their so-called love story is too awkward.

First, their identities were established from the beginning - they are typical in-laws. Even if Zhen Huan left the palace, she was not a free woman. She was the emperor’s concubine and Ling Yue’s birth mother, while Prince Guo was the emperor’s younger brother and Zhen Huan’s younger uncle.

An illicit relationship between in-laws is already against societal norms, making it hard for the audience to be convinced and empathize with them.

In “Water Margin,” there is a character named Pan Jinlian who is described as “slender waist, graceful figure, delicate rosy lips, eyebrows like spring willow leaves, and a face like peach blossoms in March.” This charming character loved her younger brother-in-law Wu Song, a strong manly man. Even though Wu Song had limited education, he rebuked her, saying, “Hey sister-in-law, have some shame! Wu Song is a righteous and honorable man, not a vulgar and immoral pig or dog!”

If even a common man held such simple values, it would be difficult for the audience to accept and be moved by an illicit relationship between in-laws.

Prince Guo’s infatuation with Zhen Huan is also inexplicable. The first time they interacted was in the Plum Pavilion.

The emperor missed Lady Chun Yuan when he saw the blooming plum blossoms, so he went alone to the Plum Pavilion. The empress was worried and didn’t let Prince Guo accompany her older brother. In the darkness, the emperor encountered Zhen Huan, who was praying. He couldn’t clearly see her face, and Zhen Huan left with wet shoes and socks as an excuse. She forgot the small pendant hanging on the plum tree, which Prince Guo discovered when he arrived later.

Prince Guo’s reaction was perplexing - he secretly hid the pendant.

The emperor was already interested in this woman, and Prince Guo was well aware that the pendant belonged to the woman he had just encountered.

All the women in the palace were the emperor’s, so it would be normal for a brother to present the pendant and say, “You left this, let me find the person.”

But instead of doing that, Prince Guo not only hid the pendant but kept it close to him, even in a personal pouch. Keep in mind that they had never met before, had no connection at all. Why would you keep the pendant of a stranger in the palace?

Zhen Huan resembled Lady Chun Yuan, so did Prince Guo always harbor desires for his sister-in-law? It’s a chilling thought.

Zhen Huan and Prince Guo officially met by the spring in the palace. Zhen Huan took off her shoes and socks to play in the water. A woman’s feet were considered private in ancient society.

However, Prince Guo not only didn’t avoid looking but stared, and not only stared but also lasciviously used phrases like “jasmine-colored and silky” to appreciate her feet.

“Jasmine-colored” refers to a light blue color, usually used to describe the color of wine. It doesn’t seem appropriate to use this color to describe someone’s feet. But “silky,” as in the phrase “silky like jade,” means a woman’s feet are as smooth, white, and delicate as jade. It is said that in ancient times, a woman’s feet could only be seen by her husband, making it an extremely private part.

Imagine in modern society, a strange man staring at a woman’s chest, saying, “Miss, your chest looks great, so white and round. At this moment, I want to write a poem for your chest.”

Wouldn’t any woman give him a slap and accuse him of sexual harassment?

Later, Liu Zhu stepped forward and revealed Zhen Huan’s identity as Noble Consort Guan. She clearly stated that Zhen Huan was her brother, but Prince Guo still spoke casually and behaved promiscuously. Luckily, no one saw it at the time. Otherwise, if someone like Cao Qinmo, who had ulterior motives, witnessed this behavior and talked behind their backs, Prince Guo might be reprimanded and receive a few months' punishment, and Zhen Huan might have been expelled from the palace prematurely.

I think the intention of the screenwriters and the author might have been to portray Prince Guo as a carefree and elegant character, but being elegant doesn’t mean being inappropriate.

Their first meeting wasn’t pleasant, with one behaving inappropriately by being barefoot in public, and the other being lewd. It didn’t create a sense of beauty. It just made Prince Guo seem like a playboy and Zhen Huan seem naive.

Greening Yourself as the Emperor

I have always found it strange that the emperor introduced himself to Zhen Huan using Prince Guo’s identity.

Aside from the fact that Prince Guo, a big overweight orange, is now several years older, this whole affair doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

During that time, it was an era of extreme caution between men and women. If a man accidentally brushed a woman’s shoulder, she would fiercely cut off the offending body part to demonstrate her chastity. At the very least, upon seeing an unknown man, one’s first reaction should be to immediately avoid them.

However, not only did Zhen Huan happily engage in conversation with a stranger claiming to be Prince Guo, but she also didn’t mind when he touched her back and pushed her on the swing. On the contrary, she eagerly asked him to push her higher.

What’s worse, she willingly agreed to meet with him next time, referring to him as “Your Highness.”

A concubine of the emperor, conversing and not avoiding a stranger she recently encountered in the palace gardens, and even making plans for their next meeting—it would be enough to ruin a woman’s reputation in the outside world.

By greening himself, Prince Guo not only wasn’t annoyed but was even pleased with himself. And later, Zhen Huan and Prince Guo ended up together, so Prince Guo served as their matchmaker.

The emperor, who was sensitive and suspicious, met Zhen Huan in this way. Even if he didn’t realize it at the time, upon reflection, he would have doubts about Zhen Huan’s character.

In the drama, Cao Qinmo used this story to sow seeds of doubt in the emperor’s mind:

“I heard that when Your Majesty met Noble Consort Guan, to make sure your sister-in-law wasn’t estranged, you pretended to be Prince Guo, and you and her engaged in intimate conversations. This is how your current union was established. It is truly an interesting tale.”

Cao Qinmo was one of the few clever and ruthless individuals in the palace, and her words hit the emperor hard. What did she mean by “to make sure your sister-in-law wasn’t estranged”? It means that Zhen Huan wouldn’t become distant as long as she thought she was with Prince Guo. It means that Zhen Huan engaged in intimate conversations with Prince Guo as if she was eager to be with him. This led to their union, and she called it an interesting tale.

“Prince Guo is dashing and charming. Countless noble ladies in the court are infatuated with him day and night, longing for his affection. I assume Sister has also heard of Prince Guo’s prestigious reputation?”

If the previous statement was a trap, this seemingly nonchalant remark was like a heavy blow, hitting Zhen Huan.

It practically confirmed that Zhen Huan had an intimate encounter with the emperor while thinking he was the dashing and charming Prince Guo.

I have always felt that this scene was the most dangerous for Zhen Huan since entering the palace. The emperor himself was sensitive and suspicious, and Cao Qinmo’s words were all true, making it difficult for the emperor to ignore them. The emperor’s mother having an affair with someone was his lifelong trauma, and he was particularly sensitive about women. But after Zhen Huan offered a weak defense, he inexplicably let it go. Either he was deeply in love with Zhen Huan, or Zhen Huan’s protagonist aura was too powerful. Otherwise, it wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny.

The Almost Superhuman Little Yun Zi

Yun Zi is basically a heaven-sent assistant to Zhen Huan, a brick in the Yongshou Palace. Wherever help is needed, Yun Zi is there. He is a master of all trades, good at chores, pushing swings, cutting little pendants, climbing up and down, playing the role of a ghost to scare noble consort Li, and instilling fear in the formidable and powerful Xia Qi.

Look at the swing Yun Zi made—solid materials and exquisite craftsmanship. It utilizes the most stable principle of triangles in geometry. Even if Zhen Huan’s weight sits on it, it’s not a problem, let alone someone as big as Prince Guo.

Yun Zi’s craftsmanship is extraordinary. In an era without cameras, this common paper-cutting artist skillfully created the effect of a photograph. The book even mentions that he portrayed the charming and flirtatious expressions of teenage Zhen Huan vividly.

Yun Zi’s small pendant is what brought Zhen Huan and Prince Guo together.

Yun Zi is like a living matchmaker in the palace.

And he is just an average low-ranking eunuch, an ordinary one with an older brother that no one cares about, not even when he falls ill.

Yun Zi, what other surprises are you hiding?

Aside from the extraordinary Yun Zi, there is also the highly skilled doctor Wang who has a super-sensitive nose and can detect poisons just by sniffing them. And there’s An Xiao Niao, similarly able to discern the ingredients of fragrances with a gentle sniff. If they lived in modern times, they would probably be top-notch perfume creators.

“The Legend of Zhen Huan” has been on air for a long time and remains enduring. Zheng Xiaolong and his team deserve credit. However, many details in the original work can’t withstand scrutiny, and Zheng Xiaolong has done his best to compensate for them. Despite some flaws, their work is exceptional in the palace intrigue genre.

If there are any other questionable details, I welcome fellow viewers to discuss and add them in the comments.

Mistaken Trust in Zhen Huan

In the original work Empresses in the Palace, Emperor Xuan Ling and his younger brother Prince Xuan Qing are both handsome, with somewhat similar appearances and a small age difference. Therefore, Zhen Huan mistakenly trusted that Xuan Ling was Xuan Qing, which could be seen as plausible.

But in the TV drama…

Given Zhen Huan’s intelligence, Fourth Prince’s mature wrinkles, Fourth Prince’s unique voice, and the age difference between Fourth Prince and Prince Guo Jun, it is unlikely that Zhen Huan would believe that Fourth Prince is Prince Guo Jun…

It would be more plausible for me to tell myself that Zhen Huan is deliberately testing the sincerity of Qing Xin Xiaochatong…

Yi Xiu

Chun Yuan

Fourth Prince