Episode 3 of Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures begins with Zhaohua approaching Princess Siwan and giving her back the orchard, who narrows her gaze and tells her she should be careful, going on to mention the accident from before. Zhaohua knocks her down though, advising her to rest up before the two exchange hostile words. This rivalry is far from over.
As she feeds back Lhawang’s words to Fuca, he reminds her that she hasn’t won him over yet and although she’s clearly in his heart, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he loves her. With her humbled for now, Siwan admits she’s afraid that Zhaohua may have her killed. Deciding she needs to do something drastic to save her own skin, she sets a trap for the princess.
Before she can set this into motion however, when she opens her front door, she finds a dead carcass hanging from her doorway. Deciding this is the work of Zhaohua, she immediately sends DingXiang to plead her case. Only, it turns out that Zhaohua wasn’t actually the one who left the cat hanging. Who did? Unfortunately for the maid’s insubordination, she gives her 50 canes. Ignoring Siwan’s pleas, she leaves her to tend to her maid’s caning.
Soon after, Fuca meets with Siwan and they continue to scheme, putting into action the scheme to try and destroy Zhaohua. Summoned to see his Father, he tells her that DingXiang is dead and blames it on the 50 canes she received earlier. He requests she apologize for what happened, as Siwan drops to her knees and pleads her case. Having heard enough, her Father asks Zhaohua to leave while telling Siwan not to blame his other daughter and instead offers her the pick of different handmaids. However, Zhaohua is also forced to apologise.
While Zhaohua is on her knees outside, Siwan reminds her how lucky she is and how this isn’t the end, going on to tell Lhawang that the Princess had her maid caned to death. As Lhawang hurries inside the palace to confront Zhuohua, Fuca corners him and spins things further, casting doubts in Lhawang’s mind and suggesting he choose Siwan instead as his partner. He takes offence though and requests he leave before berating Zhaohua over what happened, who remains outside on her knees in the palace courtyard until her Father decides to pardon her and allow her to stand again.
Meanwhile, the Queen visits Siwan, who happens to be in the midst of hanging herself thanks to Zhaohua upsetting her. As the Queen lets her hang for several minutes, she eventually heads in and cuts her down, splashing water in her face to make sure she’s conscious to before telling her they need to talk where the episode ends.
The growing rivalry between Siwan and Zhaohua is really heating up now and there’s plenty of scope for this to progress in the future too. There’s a really interesting love rectangle going on here too, with the two male leads having a good amount of screen time here and even getting into a heated talk together too. There’s a lot of tension bubbling up in this one now and all these individual character stories look set to come together in spectacular fashion late on. While the show does lack the same finesse a 70 episode drama allows in terms of character progression and growth, this 6 episode mini-series works well within the confines of its limited run-time and I’m intrigued to see what direction this one goes next.
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