The Story of Ming Lan (Chinese Drama Review & Summary)


The Story of Ming Lan (Chinese Drama Review & Summary)

The Story of Ming Lan poster

  • Genre: Historical Costume Drama Fiction, Romance
  • Release Date: X’mas 2018
  • Origin: China
  • CDrama: 73 Episodes


  • Zanilia Zhao as Sheng Minglan
  • Feng Shao Feng as Gu Tingye
  • Zhu Yilong as Qi Heng
  • Wang Ziwei as Xiaotao (Minglan’s ladies maid)
  • Shi Shi as Sheng Molan (fourth sister)
  • Wang Renjun as Zheng Changbai (brother)
  • Wang Herus as Sheng Hualan (Eldest sister)
  • Zhang Jianing as Sheng Rulan (Fifth Sister)
  • Zhang Qiao Xian as Sheng Chang Feng (Brother from concubine)

Looking forward to this drama.  The first drama of Zanilia and William Feng as a newly married couple.

Episode 1

This first episode is on the tad boring because the main actors were not in it.

It started when Minglan was a little girl.  She was a daughter of a court official to a concubine, who had been sold to the Sheng household by her family to buy medicine.

Young Minglan being a concubine’s daughter is treated differently from her sisters from the legal wife and his favourite first concubine.

Despite the hardship, Minglan showed resilience and maturity beyond her years.

It was the wedding of her oldest half-sister.  Her dowry included from her betrothed ia wedding goose.

But there was an incident with the goose, lol,  Minglan’s half-brother from the first concubine of her father started gambling the goose away.

The Sheng household was in an uproar as losing the goose is equivalent to losing their face as well.

A young master, a wedding guest from the groom side, was winning the goose then enters young MInglan who was half the height of the young master.

Without saying anything, she shoots an arrow into a tri-mouthed cylinder and everyone was astounded.  She kept getting it right until she equalised with the young master.

The young master then used two arrows to fill two holes of the cylindrical container which earned him a 6-pointer.  Everyone was less jubilant as they reckoned Minglan won’t be able to top it.

She took just one arrow and threw it as high and as far as she could and it went straight to the farthest cylinder which garnered her 10 points.  Minglan won.

At the end of the episode, her half-brother was ‘sacrificed’ by his own mother so that she does not incur the wrath of the legal wife.  He got a beating of 30 lashes.

Episode 2

Minglan had begged her father to come to visit them, which he obliged to do so.  While in their house, Minglan confessed to her father that they suffered from extreme cold as their allocated allowance of coals and other provisions are not being given to them in the right amount.  At night her pregnant mother was so cold they would huddle together to keep warm.

Her father was shocked to know this and went to his legal wife to ask why his third family was not being looked after properly.  He then blamed his wife for insisting to buy him a second concubine to keep up appearances and then neglect them.

His wife explained to him that she was as shocked and it has really nothing to do with her as the one to manage their housekeeping bills and allocation is the first concubine.

The first concubine (FC) was called and she blatantly made up lies that she had instructed the maids to be more careful with the second concubine (SC) as she was pregnant.  The FC said that she suspected the SC’s maid had been stealing the allocation.

They then all went to the house of the SC to search it thoroughly.  They found coals, silver, and food among the maid’s properties.  Everyone really knows that this was a made up charge but no one was really talking to save face and keep peace within the manor.

The maid was going to be beaten to death but the SC and Minglan who adore the feisty maid begged the father to spare the life of the maid.  They said to just dismiss her.

At the middle of this fracas, there was some sad news that the young master (guest) who happens to be the second son of the Marquis of Ningyuan had drown.

There was chaos as how can they explain the death of an important guest to an even important parent.

After a thorough search, they found a decomposing body by the river.  The face was so bloated that it was beyond recognition.

Episode 3

The young master was not dead.  It was his manservant who died after they changed clothing to confuse the assassins.

Anyway, the young master is Gu Tingye who was in a horse-drawn cart when he noticed Minglan running for her life.

Poor Minglan was beside herself with worry as her mother was in labour but no one competent enough was there to tend to her, in fact, they were hindering her.  No one would boil water, no one to give water to her thirsty mother and the midwife ran away.  I think it has all to do with the conniving FC.

Gu Tingye helped Minglan to get the physician but in the end, it was too late.  Her mother was bleeding to death with a huge baby still in her belly.

When is Zanilia and Shao Feng going to appear. I heard the first episodes were not very well patronised in China.  It is probably due to the non-appearance of the leads even at the third episode.

They should have made a series of flashbacks interspersed here and there in succeding episodes.  That would have been more interesting.

But having said that the young Minglan was so adorable, a good actress at such a young age.

Young Gu Tingye was also charismatic.

Episode 4

Seriously, when are the leads gonna appear?!!!

Minglan’s maternal aunt wanted to take her to the family farm but the Zhengs would not allow it as people might talk.

Instead, Minglan will be looked after by the Zheng grandmother, who told off Minglan’s father for embarrassing his first wife in favour of his first concubine.  The grandmother told him that his legal wife was a decent woman, kind-hearted.  The father, who is a magistrate, said that his legal wife was rather scary and complains all the time.  The grandmother said that it was due to all the humiliation she suffered from his hand.

Anyway the grandmother advised him to treat his legal wife better.  He started being friendlier to his wife.

The magistrate was promoted and they had to move to Baijang.

The conniving FC got her way through by pretending to be weak and frail which brings out the caring side to the magistrate who confessed that his mother was also a concubine and they were both maltreated by his father’s legal wife.  So he promised the FC that whatever happened he would always look after her and their two children.

Episode 5

At long last, the leads are here.

The magistrate is now a minister.  During a court meeting, they beg the king to appoint a crown prince since his son had passed and he doesn’t have an heir  It is said that the belly of a nation rests on a succeeding generation of rulers.  The king got very upset mourning his dead son but in the end, he agreed to look into appointing his successor.

Meanwhile, the Grandmother forced the minister to allow Minglan to join in the studies/school.

In class, Minglan studies with her sisters, brothers and Qi Heng.

Qi Heng had taken a particular interest in Minglan but the fourth sister of Minglan had coveted him already and is very jealous of Minglan. and the attention she gets from Qi Heng.

Gu Tingye had also arrived at the scene but he looks like a bit of a hedonist.  He has a concubine and children already.

Episode 6

A potential suitor came to visit the Zheng mansion.  The fourth sister was advised by her mother and ladies’maid to have a look at the son of a marquis.

The fifth and sixth sister saw her behaving rather suspiciously so they followed her.

The saw the men talking about this and that.  Minglan told her sister that she was going back in a rather loud voice so the men noticed them.  The fourth sister pushed her two sisters and fell into the room where the men where talking with their mother and father.

The parents were so embarrassed.  Their father somehow only punished fifth sister and Minglan.  The fifth sister was livid saying that they were pushed by their elder sister, which only annoyed their father.  The fourth sister is his favourite.

To punish the fifth sister, he commanded her to kneel on their ancestral shire for three days.

Episode 7

The minister was determined to punish his two daughters much to the glee of the first concubine and the fourth daughter.

Tingye was being treated like a wastrel by his father especially when he found out that Tingye was keeping a mistress.

Episode 8-9

Gu Tingye had asked his old nurse/nanny to come over and retire in a place he bought for her.  But of course, this was not really the reason.  He wanted his old nanny to supervise Manniang, his mistress and two young children, a boy and a girl.

The nanny told him off for ruining his chances of marrying a girl from a decent family.

The nanny then recounted the story about his own mother.

Tingye’s mother was a merchant daughter. She was considered lowly but rolling in money.  The old Marquis of Gu then forced his son to divorce his legal wife so he could marry the merchant’s daughter for a sizeable dowry which they needed to save themselves from going completely under.

The Merchant’s daughter was unaware of the divorce and the subsequent suicide of the ex-wife.  She was so upset when she found out.  She was on her second pregnancy then but she insisted that she would like a divorce and she would take young Tingye with her, which her husband had ignored since he was born.  She also told her husband that he can keep her dowry of 500,000 taels of silver, she would not ask him to return it.

The current Marquis, her husband, refused and pulled her roughly.  She suddenly started to have contraction but died with her unborn child during labour.

Six months after her death her husband married the sister of his first (ex)wife.

He had treated Gu Tingye ever since indifferently when he was lucky or violently if the father felt like it, which made Tingye lose his way and travel as far away from his father as possible.  Along the way he sated his avarice, including womanising and drinking and carousing in between studying.

The minister’s first wife hired a madam from the palace to teach etiquette and decorum to the Fifth and Sixth sisters.

Again this turned into another contention.  The fourth daughter and her mother are jealous that fifth and sixth are being home-schooled by a very experienced tutor about behaviour which would make them desirable in the marriage market.

The First concubine again cajoled the minister to include their daughter in the tutorial of the two misses.

Awww it has just been announced through a Weibo post from Feng Shao Feng that his family of two with Zanillia will soon be three.  GlobalGranary sends out congratulations.

Episode 10

The fourth Sister joined the study group under the venerable madam from the palace.

During a flower arrangement class, Fourth Sister hugged all the attention of their teacher.  Every time Fifth sister tried to speak, the fourth sister would ask more question from their tutor.

When the tutor took a tea break, but actually listening to what was going inside the schoolroom, the fifth sister gave the fourth sister an earful.  Overdramatic as usual, the fourth sister used tears to make her case as only a concubine’s daughter more pitiable.  She then tried to leave, Minglan trie to intervene.  Saying that they were all sisters and fighting would embarrass their family from their tutor.

Anyway, the tutor found them scorning one another.

The Minister, wife and his concubine came to see what was going on.  The madam said that she needed to find out the truth from the girls.

In the end, she punished them all with 20 hand beatings, so they are treated fairly and no favoritism and to prevent bad feelings to foster among the sisters,

The grandmother called Minglan and talk over the incident and help her put ointment in her hands.  Minglan said that she does not mind the punishment because for once the father realises how being unfair he was with his other daughters.

Episode 11

It’s the Imperial exam and the brother Shengs are participating so were Qi Heng and Gu Tinghe.

Minglan kindly made kneepads for both her brothers, although Chng Feng was rather dismissive of Minglan’s effort.  She also made a pair for Qi Heng, who was ecstatic thinking that he was indeed in the heart of Minglan.

Episode 12 

The result of the imperial exam was out.   The Sheng family was rejoicing as Changbai passed among the top 15 while  Cheng Feng did not pass.  His mother and sister were very upset with him.

Qi Heng did not pass as well.

Tingye’s father found out his son did very well during the exam but due to his supposed penchant of patronising brothels, he was deliberately failed in the exam.  His father was so annoyed especially when he found out that Tingye could not retake the exam until he was 50.

Episode 13

Tingye’s father told him himself that it was the emperor who especially put forward his name not to be allowed to retake the imperial exam at least until he is 50.

Tingye was upset and decided to uproot his young family and the nanny and find somewhere in the countryside to live peaceful normality.

Unfortunately for him, Manniang had other ideas.  She engineered for her young daughter to get out of their house and wander the street towards the Gu Manor.  She then strategically drop her daughter’s necklace right in front of the manor.

They were returning to their house when they were kidnapped by the Marquis’ men.

Manniang and her daughter were taken to see the Marquis.  Manniang introduced her daughter as his granddaughter but the Marquis was unmoved.  He won’t recognised a piece of dirt like her and her children.

He was pontificating about how unsuitable and how she ruined his son’s life when Tiengye appeared.  He told his father that he was not taking abuse from the family anymore especially knowing how his mother died.  The Marquis became rather nervous.

Meanwhile, the Minister’s household was in turmoil as he had not come home for lunch, dinner and the whole night.

They later found out Minister Sheng was confined in a side room in the palace by order of the king.

While this was going on, Legal Wife Sheng was told by the grandmother that she had the run of the house as the master was away.  The Legal Wife used her time to find something that she could punish the first concubine with.

It did not take long to find something at the moment the FC was meeting a man, a realtor as she was hoping to sell some land and properties.

The LW’s minion was quickly on the move.  Before the FC knew what happened, she was bound, gagged and kidnapped back into the Sheng manor.

They forced her to attach her thumbprint into a document and had her beaten, at one point by her own son.

Episode 14

The minister finally had his audience with the king after waiting for some time.  The king said that his people had heard Minister Sheng third son bragging that he support Prince Yan as the successor to the king.

The king took this as upfront to his royal dignity and ability to make his own decision.

The situation has a major effect in his position as minister.

When he got home, they noticed that he was somber.

He then had his son beaten severely.

Episode 15

The Minister had lost confidence with his legal wife and concubine in managing their household accounts. He found out that his legal wife had been lending money with super high interests while his concubine had been using their money to buy shops and selling them for her own benefit.

The Minister went to his mother for advice. She said that she was too old to do the accounts but she recommended her protegee, Mingla to do the accounts.  She is mature for her age of 15 and very sensible as well.

So it was agreed that Minglan should be the new accounts manager.  With her new duties, she was given her own courtyard/office complete with her own retinue of maids provided by Legal Wife and concubine to spy on her.  The grandmother also sent her own maid to manage the servants.

Episode 16

Qi Heng misses Minglan so much and despite visiting Sheng manor, he can never get to see her.

He arranged a polo match that he hoped Minglan and the Shengs would be able to attend and they did.  The polo match is a really a cover for matching eligible girls to eligible bachelors.

Minglan was very happy to see her friend Yanran in the soiree.  They were happily talking together when Yanran of the Yu Family spotted a familiar hairpin.  She was shocked as the hairpin is a part of her dowry that had gone missing from her house.,  It was just a few remaining pieces she got from her mother who passed away.

Yanran said that she must get back the pin at all cost and without much ado, she ender the polo match as one of the riders.

But her team was looking to lose.  Yanran was really upset.  Kind-hearted Minglan said that she will ride for Yanran.

Qi Heng was surprised.  He thought Minglan can’t ride a horse.  He also joined in as her second.  All this was witnessed by Gu Tingye who was unbeatable in polo.  He was persuaded to join in as well for the opposing team.

Tingye said that to make it fair, he will play with his left hand.

Minglan was a revelation.  Even the mothers of bachelors thought so too.

Tiangye was purposely playing under par, therefore Minglan’s team won and got the hairpin as prize, which she dutifully gave back to her friend.

Episode 17

Minglan was punished by her father for having some kind of dealings with Qi Heng.  It was very unseemly for a girl from the lower rank to be raising her hopes for the ducal heir.

Meanwhile, Gu Tianye wanted to establish his own house and he needed a lady of the house to do so.  He set his eyes on Miss Yu, the first daughter of the Yu house.  He felt that they have many things in common, starting from having lost their mothers from a young age and being undervalued by their families.

Unfortunately, his reputation is such that when he came calling with hs dowry, the House of Yu would not entertain him.

Episode 18

Gu Tingye finally had a chance for a match up with the eldest Miss Yu but his mistress Manniang sabotaged the relationship before it even begun.

Manniang went to the Yu Manor and did all the pitiying begging of having an audience with Miss Yu including hugging a post and wailing and crying.  She could not be kept quiet until she had seen the Yus,  And we she did she proceeded to tell them about her chilldren with Tingye.

Miss Yu was scandalised and so was her grandmother who had a fainting spell.  It was left to Minglan to sort it out.

Miss Yu finally refused a marriage with Tingye as an old suitor had surface.

Tingye went to sought Minglan about the incident and blamed her for the abrupt end of his pursuit of Miss Yu.

Minglan said that if he needed to blame someone then he should start with himself for keeping such an unrully mistress.

Tingye was annoyed with Minglan for looking down as his mistress.  Their conversation went from bad to worst.

Tingye told her that perhaps he went to the wrong household to offer his suit.  He should have asked to marry her.

Minglan said that she would rather jump off a cliff or drown herself.  She would also become a Buddhist nun rather than be his wife.  This scene is so cute because for the first time Minglan really was so animated.

Episode 19

This is a sad episode.

The Family Yu had a rethink.  They would allow Tingye to marry into their family of scholars if he is prepared to get rid of his mistress and two children.

The Marquis of Gu said that his son would.  But Mrs Yu wanted confirmation from the horse’s mouth.  So Tingye was called.

When Mrs Yu told him that he needed to get rid of his mistress and children, Tingye said that Manniang is a very weak woman and won’t be able to survive in the street alone and he cannot be without his children.

His father was so annoyed and started telling off Tingye in front of everyone.  Mrs Yu escaped followed by Lady Gu.

In his fury, the Marquis of Gu took a javelin and struck the kneeling Tingye at the back. He then told him to get out and never darken the doorstep again.

Tingye said he does not want to leave.  He had a heart to heart with his father, remembering that his father once loved him and spoiled him when he was younger.  He then went to hang on his father shirt tail and embraced him.  His father was just about to pat him at the back to console him but he coughed out blood instead and fainted on the floor.

He was told by his Lady Gu to get the doctor from the pharmacy as well as the court physician.  When he returned with them, their path was blocked.  Both doctors cannot wait, they both left.

He was being blamed by his father’s collapsed.

He waited patiently at a side room to see his father when he recovers.  But he waited too long and missed saying goodbye to his dying father.

The Gu family gathered together and put the blame on him for having caused his father’s death.

Only his Third Brother stood up for him.

He then realised that it was all a plot to get rid of him, for him to leave the mansion.

He was so desolate walking the street when his best friend, Changbai came to find him to condole with him.

He started drinking and he self-pityingly said that he was all alone, no father, no mother.

Changbai said you have children.

Episode 20

Nanny Zhao told Tingye not to trust Manniang but Tingye refused to listen.

For ten days Nanny Zhao painstakingly followed Manniang every day.  Manniang would sell or pawn pieces of jewelry, part of the dowry of his mother, and Nanny Zhao would buy them back or redeem them.

Nanny Zhao showed her evidence to Tingye but he was so stupid still refusing to believe.  Nanny Zhao finally begged Tingye to follow Manniang himself the next day and see what she does.  If Manniang does not do anything suspicious then Nanny Zhao promised that she won’t say anything anymore ever.

Tingye did follow Manniang the next day and was utterly surprised that she was meeting her supposedly dead brother who used to beat her up.

He controlled his anger and gave Manniang a chance to come clean but she was just spouting one lie after another.  As evidence, he had her brother brought in.  Mannang immediately blamed her brother, that he made her do it, he was gambling again and wanted money or else threatened to kidnap their children.

Tingye at last the extent of Manniang lies.  He told her to go or else he would make her life in the capital so unbearable.

He was woken up the next morning with the news that Manniang, her borther and Tingye’s son were gone.

Quickly Tingye went to look for them.

Episode 21

It started with the funeral of the Marquis of Gu, where Tingye was not invited to attend, though he dawned his funeral garb and paid his respect to the funeral cortege at the sideline.

After the funeral, Tingye was talking to Changbai, who was slated to get married in a couple of months.

Changbai begged Tingye to postpone leaving town until after his wedding.

Tingye said that Changbai is closer to him that his own brother and he doesn’t want to rub off his misfortune towards him especially on his wedding day.

Changbai understood and wish his friend well in his hunt of Manniang and their son.

Tingye’s out of town sojourn seemed to have done him a lot of good.  He looked healthy and handsome especially with a bow and arrow, which he got to use to save a father and son, both soldiers from bandits.

As the wedding preparation for Changbai is becoming more frenetic,

Minglan found out from her lady’s maid that Qi Heng is planning to bring his parents to propose marriage to her.

Minglan immediately consulted her grandmother, who was in between being annoyed and concerned about this development.  She was not happy at all that Minglan might be marrying into the ducal of Qi.  She reckons that Family Qi is much to high up to be compatible with the Sheng family. The grandmother also heard that the princess, who is going to be Minglan’s potential mother in law has got quite a temper on her.

Minglan assured her grandmother that she had turned down Qi Heng previously.

This is not the only concern that is besetting Minglan at present.  Her maids are always fighting to the point that the legal wife had to intervene and punish the main on behalf of Minglan, who had been treating the maids rather indulgently.

The grandmother summoned Minglan and told her point-blank that she knew Minglan had planned everything so precisely so the respective servants from the Big Madam and Little Madam were sent back to them.

Episode 22

As advised Minglan, the princess and Qi Heng did come to visit during the wedding.

The princess said that the Sheng girls are so beautiful and smart so she would like them to become real sisters to her only son.

Poor Qi Heng was devastated from being misled by the princess and for being a brother rather than the husband of Minglan.

Minglan, though totally disappointed as well but accepted the siblingship present with dignity.

But behind close doors, Minglan cried her eyes out.

Her grandmother understood and thought a change of scene is well in order.

She therefore took Minglan with her to pay a visit to their old hometown.

They had to travel by water.

They noted that Qi Heng was tagging along with them in another boat.

Minglan had a very brief, well chaperoned talk with Qi Heng when they to stop over for provisions in ln land.

Minglan made it clear to Qi Heng that the gulf between their station in life was just to vast and it would be better to forget her and find someone suitable for him.

Qi Heng was far from discouraged.  He promised her that she comes back he would have convinced his mother to accept that he will only marry Minglan.

With the promise, he gave her the female figurine of the loving wedding couple.  He said he will wait for her.

This was very unfortunate because Minglan, her grandmother and the rest of their retinue were a victim of water bandits and they did not have anyone to protect them.

Her grandmother was taken to safety by a couple of boatmen but Minglan and the rest of the servants for lack of transport to safety.   Minglan and her maid jumped into the water.

Episode 23

Minglan was going deeper and deeper into the water and seemed to have prepared herself to meet her maker with the bride statue clasped firmly in her hands.

But she was rescued by none other than Gu Tingye.

He took her to his lair where he stays with his daughter and the canal gang.  They have been guarding the water for a possible sighting of \Manniang and son.

Though it was a happy carefree place to be,  Minglan cannot help but advise Tingye to take his daughter away from this kind of environment as his young daughter really need a safe and settled home to anchor her for the future.

This made Tingye think and as soon as Minglan has been safely delivered to her grandmother, Tingye and his right-hand man joined the army.

Episode 24

This is a rather interesting episode.  It is regarding divorce in ancient China.  It was better to have a legal separation rather than an all-out divorce, which can affect the whole family of the woman including marriage prospects of her sisters.

Tingye is doing well in the military.

Episode 25

Due to the stress of the separation and divorce of Minglan’s cousin, the elder grandmother matriarch of the other Zheng family died.

During her funeral, the bandits struck and frightened the mourners.  For some reason, Minglan runs away again and was being chased by the bandits. (Minglan is not a team player)  Thank goodness, Tingye got her and took care of her.

She was quite happy having a chat with him when his assistant said that the soldiers and the Zheng family had been looking for Minglan.

Tingye sent her home pronto without a bodyguard but surreptitiously followed her to safety.

Tingye’s assistant teased him about Minglan and he laughed.

Episode 26

Minglan’s own grandmother had had enough of rural countryside, so she decided to go back to the capital with Minglan.

They found out that the First sister had a baby.

They also found out that it was not a happy place at the Qi Manor. To replace the maid who was sold to slavery for being such a coquette, the Princess had a number of girls to try out for the position.  Apparently, Qi Heng had a role in choosing the new maid. He chose a girl that had an uncanny resemblance to Minglan.  She even becomes his personal maid.

This turn of event was noticed by the princess, so he fired the maid.

Qi Heng had staged a hunger strike and had been too weak to leave his room.

It was the day of the lantern festival, Minglan got a message that Qi Heng’s servant was waiting to speak with her.

She asked him whether Qi Heng was doing the hunger strike because of the maid or because of her?

She was assured that his master has always been true to her.

Minglan said to tell Qi Heng that if he is true to her then he has got her devotion.  ahhhhh

Their conversation was interrupted by the announcement that a curfew has suddenly been put in place.  Everyone was asked to go home immediately.

It turned out that the princess of Rong had been abducted by the bandits.  She was then dumped into the market place the next day.

The princess could not take the humiliation, she hung herself.

It is a scary time.

Episode 27

Lady Gu invited the ladies of Bianjang for a soiree.  The princess was there and Minglan was looking out if the Younron (Qi Heng) was also somewhere in there.

He was.  Buwei, Qi Heng guard, secretly led Minglan to where Qi Heng was. He said that she does not seem to like gifts of gold and silver but found that she was quite partial to food so he brought a thousand layer cake.

Once again Qi Heng promised her that he would rather die than marry someone else other than her.

Minglan told him that she would not see him ever again that he was unwell because of her.

Qi Heng also said that there was going to be an audience with the king where Qi Heng is planning to beg the king to grant  Qi Heng’s marriage to MInglan.

Minglan more or less told what was said to her ladies’ maid.

They were surprised by the sudden presence of Tingye, who said that just like Emperor Ming and Noble Yong, they did not end up in the end because there were bigger issues and responsibilities than just themselves.

Tingye said that that Qi Heng is the old son and heir of the ducal Qi so in the end, he will have to take responsibility.

Minglan doesn’t appear to be overly bothered, probably being she is beginning to be intrigued by Tingye or she trusts Qi Heng implicitly?

Well the trust is going to be tested at its limit because Qi Heng is now at the end of his tether, weakened by starvation and grief from the death of Bunwei, who was beaten to death by the order of the princess.  Bunwei would rather die than squeal for being the go-between his master and Minglan.

Qi Heng said to his mother that he will marry Minglan whether she likes it or not,

The Princess then told him a few home truths.  The death of the princess of Rong was all due to Qi Heng.  Apparently, the Princess had fallen in love at first sight with Qi Heng during the polo match.  Her family had asked the princess for a marriage between the family.

Almost at that same time the favorite daughter of the Prince of Yong had also wanted a match with Qi Heng.  When the princess had told them that the princess of Rong was more or less first in the queue, the Prince of Yong arranged the kidnapping of the Rong princess, which led to her death.

His mother told Qi Heng that their very survival and of their ducal is now on his shoulders.  If he does not commit to a marriage with the Princess of Yong, then they might as well be the walking deads.

Episode 28

Another sad episode but I must admit it was not that heartbreaking because there wasn’t much of an interraction between Minglan and Qi Heng.

Anyway, the duke of  Qi was on his way home when he was kidnapped by the Prince of Yong, who was so powerful that even the ailing emperor can’t really go against him.

The normally strong Princess Pinying (Heng’s mother) was left incapable.

It the end it was left to Qi Heng to sort things out and to do this he had to marry the Princess of Yong.

He was so upset but his hands are tied.

MInglan heard of this development and was of course devastated but reckoned that Qi Heng was left without a choice.

Tingye also heard of the news and went to speak with Qi Heng.  Tingye said that it was really all Qi Heng’s fault.  He did not make a stand with his parents at the very start, he left things to simmer into how it finally resovled itself.

Qi Heng said that he was marrying the princess for the Sheng family’s sake.  The Yongs threatened the Qis and the Shengs if there was no marriage alliance between the Qi and Yong.

Tingye said that he can always go to the emperor and sue the Yongs for kidnapping and why not kidnap the Yong princess as a tit for tat.  He said that Qi Heng only has to say the world and he will help him any way he can.

But no matter what Tingye said, Qi Heng is just too weak.  He does not even have the got to see Minglan for the last time instead he gave the man statue of the loving couple to Tingye to pass on to Minglan.

Tingye for the last time said that he was harming Minglan’s reputation by marrying someone else.

Qi Heng sadly concurred.

Tingye went to the Sheng Manor and saw Minglan.  He passed to her the statue but Minglan instead told him to wait for a moment.

She went to get the female statue fo the loving couple and asked Tingye to return both of the loving couple to Qi Heng.

Tingye told Minglan that he has an army assignment and may be away for quite some time.  He said that if anyone says anything evil about her marriageabilty, he will cut their sordid mouths when he return.  Awwww

Food for thoughts:


The future is never predictable.

In all matters, look ahead.

Light yourself a good future.


It is true, our eyes are grown on the fron so we could look forwardly.

Episode 29

Countess Wu was determined to match Minglan to Liang Sixth, her son.

Unfortunately, Minglan was not interested Molam, the fourth sister wants to be a part of the Liang House.

It was mutual as well as Liang Sixth prefers her coquettish way rather than of the studious Minglan.

Episode 30

Countess Wu continued to shower Minglan with presents which she shares with her sisters.  Fifth sister was quite satisfied sharing some of the gifts but Molan felt slighted.

She reckoned that it was beneath her partaking some of the gifts given to Minglan.  So instead of being grateful she started a fight with Minglan.

Minglan ended with a bleeding cheek, which Master Sheng can’t really ignore.

Minglan’s being meek, timid and obedient over the years has finally paid off.

When her father investigated the incident, they had to believe Minglan’s side of the story.  She said that Molan had been harboring bad blood against her because she threw mud at her during the last polo game.

Minglan elaborated that Molan was trying to behave inappropriately by loitering into the men’s enclosure/domain, which would have tongue wagging about the misbehavior of Molan.  This would be a reflection of the whole Sheng family.

Minglan’s reasoning was so logical that her father punished Molan with 20 slaps on her hands.

Grandma Sheng knew that Minglan had been planning the situation for a long time and admire her for it.

Episode 31

The Sheng Master has found a suitable suitor for Molan, a  literature scholar from a poor/ordinary background. The very idea of a poor husband repelled her so much.

It might repel her but the fifth sister showed a little interest when she encountered the scholar, who was gentle and charming.

Minglan had been secretly plotting something by going frequently to the temple.

Sadly during one of her visits to the Yuqing temple, she spied up Qi Heng and his new wife looking all loved up.  they were in the temple to offer prayers and to request for babies.  What Minglan did not know was that Qi Heng prayed for her health and happiness and that she finds a good husband.

Molan took matters to her own hand.  As she was not allowed to go out of the manor, she dressed up as one of the maids.  She then went to the temple and conveniently fell where Laing Sixth was nearby.  They had a very tender moment.

From then on, Molan would meet Liang Sixth for a clandestine affair.  One such time, they were seen by the Big Madam Sheng’s maid.

The Big Madam was shocked at first but did not lose time in reporting the affair to Master Sheng.

Episode 32

Master Sheng caught his daughter with Liang Sixth.  He was shocked and distressed at the repercussion of his immoral daughter.  Her sisters and brothers lives would also be blighted.

Big Madam went to proposed marriage to Countess Wu, who cunningly said that she would agree but Minglan would be part of the deal.  Minglan would be the main wife and Molan would be the concubine.

The old madam went berserk.  She said that she would not have her innocent beloved Minglan married to Liang Sixth who was even more immoral than Gu Tingye.  Over her dead body.

Minglan herself said that she would rather be a nun.

The Old Madam said that she would go herself to propose marriage for Molan

Episode 33

Molan and her mother got their wish.  Molan was married off to the Liangs.  During the Leaving the Chamber ceremony, her father told her that whether was fortunate or unhappy with her marriage, she was not to darken their doorstep again.  He was cutting her off from the family.

After the wedding party, the first concubine was severely punished and cast away in a derelict shack.

Not many days after, it gossiped that the First Concubine had passed away as a result of her caning.

The Big Madam was so stressed, she was genuinely sad and yet can’t help herself from laughing.  Good acting.

The Old madam was very sharp.  She realised that this was all the work of Minglan, it was all her machination.

She slapped Minglan but immediately hugged her.

Minglan said that she felt guilty but not sorry.  The concubine murdered her mother and showed her witness evidence to the grandma.  She wanted to be punished even by death.

The Old Madam said to keep what happened between them and never to talk about it again.

Episode 34

Gu Tingye is back in the scene.  He was helping Pring Tong to ensure that the despotic Prince Yan does not get to inherit the throne.

They were on their way to the capital.

Meanwhile, the Sheng Household was rather worried about their menfolk: Master Sheng and Changbai, confined to the palace for overtime, are not having anything to eat.  So they tasked Minglan to bring them roasted fish soup.

It was also the empress soiree where she invited the wives of the dukes, earls, and marquis.  The empress was going to punished Princess Pinying for Qi Heng refusal to marry the Princess of Yan at first which the Princes of Tong killed.

Guards and soldiers have now come inside the palace to unseat the king.

Episode 35

Minglan escaped from the palace by dressing as a eunuch.  In her escape, she met up with a palace made tasked to deliver the military seal and king’s edict written in his own blood to Prince Zhou of Zhouyong naming him as the heir apparent, the crown prince.

As luck would have it, Minglan was saved again by Tingye, who is becoming more gorgeous and I think Minglan think so too. 🙂

Tingye rather mysteriously told her that he knew who her future husband.  Their chemistry was so overflowing.

They got to the palace and saved the king from the attack of Prince Yan.  After Prince Yan was killed, everything died down.

The Prince of Zhou and his son and Tingye was bowing before the king.  The king noticed Tingye immediately and humbly apologised to him for personally failing him in the ministerial exam.  He said to him that Tingye will now have to look after Prince Zhou and his family and the Zhou family must promise to look after Tingye.

Prince Zhou did not realise that Tingye was the son of a marquis and not just an ordinary soldier.

Episode 36

After the emperor had died prince Zhou is the new emperor.

The empire is in a state of mourning.

The He family were waiting for the lifting of the mourning before they officially ask for Minglan’s hand in marriage.

Minglan was quite amenable with the match-up with Mr He as he was gentle and kind and favoured by her grandmother.

The maids were walking Mr He to his carriage.  He was no more than one hundred feet away when there was a veiled woman who forced herself in his carriage.

The maid went to get Minglan who found Brother He and the woman having a  very emotive conversation.

The woman is apparently his cousin who had been abducted by a gang who tattoed her face.  The tattoo would mean no one would want to marry her or even take her as a maid.

She therefore implored the kind Mr He to take her as his concubine.

Mr He did not say no immediately but Minglan had heard enough.  She told Mr He that she would not like him to take a concubine or have the woman as a servant in their household.

Minglan reckons that the woman has a place in Mr He’s heart but Minglan would not be sharing his heart with anyone.

She told her grandmother what happened and she agreed that he had to get rid of the woman otherwise she would not allow Minglan to marry him.

The fifth miss is now involved in her own clandestine romantic interlude.  She has now secretly meeting the poor scholar, her father found for her sister, Molan.

It is unfortunate because as a legal daughter, her parents would like her to marry someone with a title.

Episode 37

Gu Tinye is back from six months of fighting and patrolling.  He has decided to get married as quickly as possible and he wanted to be wed with the Sheng family.

He told Changbai that he wanted to marry his beautiful sister with a kind personality.

Chngbai, thinking Tingye was talking about Rulan, told his surprised mother and father who fell off their seats.

His father asked if it was really Rulan he wanted to marry because his description sounded more like Minglan.

Rulan said she was never going to marry Tingye.

Minglan told Rulan that Tingye is a changed man, who is upstanding, brave, intelligent and kind.

Rulan said that Minglan was overpraising him, perhaps she should marry him.  Minglan said rather wryly that he did not want to marry her.

Episode 38 – 39

Rulan was found out that she was meeting a man behind her ‘betrothed’ back.

Tingye was not unhappy as he’s always known and that it was actually all part of his plan to Minglan to marry him.

Because Rulan was having a clandestine affair with someone else, then to prevent her family from further embarrassment, the next eligible girl has to honour the promise made to the Gu family.  Minglan was of course the girl.  Very cunning.

To make sure that Minglan knows that she was really the one he wanted, he threw a polo match where Minglan and sisters were invited.

Minglan, when she saw Tingye tried to leave but he went after her and told her that he had wanted to make her his wife when he saved her and she was nice to his daughter.

Minglan was so  happy that she even volunteered to partner with Tingye to play polo.

Minglan had actually developed a bit of a crush on Tingye already and was disappointed when she thought he meant to marry Rulan.

Qi Heng found out that he passed the imperial exam the same time that he got to hear that Minglan was to marry Gu Tingye.

Qi Heng was absolutely gutted.  He is now a widower and wanted his parents to ask for Minglan’s hand in marriage but it was just too late.  However, he tried by going into the Sheng Manor but he was refused admittance.

Episode 40 The Wedding

It was a very red wedding.

Minglan was so excited; far from being nervous and a little anxious to be leaving her home, she was giggling inside her horse drawn wedding palaquin.

And she should be happy as her groom was gorgeous, flirty, funny and attentive.

It was interesting to see the wedding traditions.  They have to bow to heaven and earth, followed by a bow to their parents and lastly to each other.  How respectful!

Anyway, Minglan was given a dowry by her grandmother consisting of shows and farmlands, which she thought was more than enough.

But her groom presented her a dowry more than ten times the amount of her own.  The dowry consists of many properties most from his mother’s side of the family, the Bais and Tingye said that his wife has to manage them all now. He trusted her not like he did Manniang.

Minglan was overwhelmed with the idea of managing all the properties including their household as well but Tingye said he had complete faith in her.  He said that he only trusted three people: Nanny Zhang, Xiotou (his bodyguard) and her, Minglan.

Ahhh and Minglan felt ahhhh as well and felt affectionate towards him especially when he swore with his position and prowess that he will never disappoint her.

They got talking about concubines.  Minglan said that he can have concubines which dampened his spirit a little bit.  Minglan does not show jealousy.

Anyway, everything was forgotten when they consummated their wedding night.

Episode 41 – 42

Minglan and Tingye were currently living at the Gu Manor as tradition.  Minglan has to get used to living with a new husband as well as in-laws.

The Gu Manor has a very extended family.  There is a third house, a fourth house, etc.  And the wives in the houses were determined to give Minglan, who comes from a lowly background, not noble like them to get a ‘traditional’ right of passage for new brides.

They presented her with a woman, who was supposed to be a bedmate of Tingyu.  As it is the woman refuses to leave the manor and the only way was for Tingyu to take her in as a concubine or as a maid.

The first day of married life and was presented with such a situation that could end a married immediately was unthinkable.

But Minglan was quick-witted.  She said that she cannot make a decision without her husband, she must consult him.  The matriarchs were telling her that the main wife has to choose the concubine for her husband so it is her decision.

Minglan just repeated what she said and finally told them that she was disrespectful and would willingly kneel at the Gu temple, which she did.

The Matriarchs at first were happy for her self punishment but the Minglan’s mother-in-law, who always appears amiable, gentle and weak, said that they should not punish Minglan on the first day because if it got out their family would be laughed at.

So the mother-in-law went to rescue Minglan from the Gu Shrine.  Minglan knew the psyche of her mother-in-law, who pretends to be weak and charming but she actually rules everyone by psychologically inciting a situation.

Minglan was so unhappy finding that Tingye was inside their bedroom.  She wanted to know why he did not come and rescue her?

Tingye said that he has complete trust in her to overcome any trials.

She then told Tingye about the maid who was being forced on her to make as a concubine for her husband.

Tingye explained that he had to take in the maid before because she was abused by one of the houses and he felt pity for her, he took her into his bed/room.

Minglan said she pities the girl and perhaps she can be a concubine.  Tingye was rather upset and asked Minglan if she does not feel jealousy at all.

Minglan said that she is willing for him to have concubines as long as they have good characters.

Tingye had announced to the Gus that he and Minglan are moving out to their own manor which was bestowed to him by the new king.




  1. I really appreciate your synopsis. I’ve just completed the 2nd episode and it was really frustrating waiting for the leads. At least with your post, I know what happened in the 3rd and 4th episode and can happily skip the boring and angsty parts and jump right to the 5th episode.

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