Whispers In The Shadows
Episode 2 of Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures begins with Fuk’anngan leaving the palace and immediately setting out to escort Xiang’er away, as agreed. Only, he collapses en-route prompting Zhaohua to request he be given medical attention. Determined to see for herself how beautiful Xiang’er actually is, she eventually runs into her and gives her the mixed news – that she’s allowed safe passage out of the palace but with the condition that Fuca can’t join her thanks to his punishment suffered earlier on.
With Fuca finally on the mend, Zhaohua visits and updates him on the situation. As they talk, the conversation steers toward Fuk’anngan’s familial ties. When Zhaohua eventually leaves, Fuca conspires in private that this was his plan all along. Quite what this plan entails right now however, remains to be seen. However, it doesn’t take long for Zhaohua to head back to him and ask for advice on how to win over Lhawang.
In the palace, Lhawang and Zhaohua run into one another and after a frosty reception, she tries to throw a stone at him. Only, his reflexes knock it back into her arm and as she clutches her side and winces, he tends to her feigned injuries, where she asks just why he believes Siwan’s lies. Wallowing in self-pity, he apologises for upsetting her and goes on to admit he’s not on Siwan’s side but does agree that Zhaohua needs to control her emotional outbursts in the future.
As he leaves, it turns out this whole self-pity scheme was an elaborate ploy, drawn up by Fuk’anngan to try and win sympathy for her. With Lhawang already aware of her terrible temper, he suggests showing a different, more sensitive, side to her personality. The next day, Zhaohua and Lhawang continue to spend time together, while Siwan watches from afar. She conspires with her maid until Fuca arrives and informs her that a husband has already been picked out.
Despairing, Siwan laments her luck until Fuca offers his assistance to her as he wants to become Seventh Prince Consort. With the stage set for deceit and trouble on the horizon, Siwan feigns breaking her leg infront of Lhawang and despite Zhaohua’s pleas, he carries her away in his arms.
The next day, Zhaohua hurries to see the Queen with the music box in her arms, ignoring Lhawang as he walks past her. Arriving at the Queen’s chambers, she offers her Mother the music box and eventually she caves, holding onto the toy and even dancing to the charming sounds.
Meanwhile, Siwan speaks to Lhawang about the Princess’ temperament until she arrives and spins a story about smallpox and how Siwan was the one who brought it into the palace. As the episode closes out, he tells Zhaohua that she’s the only one in her heart. Outside the palace however, Fuk’anngan speaks to her and suggests continuing to provoke Zhaohua.
With Fuk’anngan revealing himself to be pulling the strings behind the scenes, Yanxi Palace continues to develop at a decent enough pace, with Zhaohua looking set to be ambushed in the near future given the cunning characters scheming against her. While the episode itself serves to strengthen the foundation being set in this series, it works doubly well to reinforce the gorgeous visuals and production design boasted. The costumes look great, the set design is wonderfully detailed and the light bites of humour are a welcome respite from some of the more dramatic elements at work. As we approach the halfway point to this one, Princess Adventures looks set to tighten the screws and deliver a dramatic second half.
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