San sees the Noron faction officials kneeling on their knees before the king’s palace but he tells them that he thinks they came too late. He also mentions that minister Jang Tae-woo, the current Noron faction’s leader, should be kneeling with them, too.
Meanwhile, San is eager to see Song-yeon again and as he greets her, he is told by Chae Jae-gong that minister Jang Tae-woo would like to enter the king’s palace. So San sends Song-yeon to his office, telling her to wait for him there. While waiting for San to return, Song-yeon nods off for a while and when she wakes up she is stricken with fear to see Princess Hye-bin standing right in front of her.
Hong Guk-young orders a strict medical examination of all mid-level officials who belong to the Noron faction and draws their ire. When San hears about this, he orders Hong Guk-young to not attend the royal meetings for the time being but Hong Guk-young disobeys this order. San tells Hong Guk-young to leave in the presence of the Noron faction officials.
Meanwhile, Princess Hye-bin calls Song-yeon and asks her if San went to see her a couple of nights ago. Song-yeon is unable to answer the question for she knows it will anger her and at that very moment, Queen Hyo-eui abruptly enters the room...
The assassination of Minister Min and the discovery of Minister Hyung-jo’s dead body as well as Gong-jo, a high ranking official, raises suspicions that Hong Guk-young is behind it because the dead were all members of the Noron faction.
Meanwhile, Won-bin calls Song-yeon and orders her to paint a folding screen. When Queen Hyo-eui sees So-yeon at the palace, she gets angry at Won-bin for inviting her.
San learns about the dark secret behind the deaths of the ministers and suspects that the Saljoogyeran gang is behind it. Framed for the deaths of the ministers, Hong Guk-young is released from jail and is put in charge of solving the Gyujanggak case.
Meanwhile, Won-bin is crossed that Song-yeon drew a lotus flower on the folding screen and spills paint over it on purpose. Song-yeon explains to her that the lotus flower symbolizes fertility and good fortune but Won-bin slaps her in the middle of her explanation...
San announces reforms for the slave system at a meeting held in the main pavilion. Jang Tae-woo tells San that he just made enemies with all the nobles and commoners in the kingdom and holds him responsible for a breakdown in the nation’s class system before he storms out of the meeting with the other ministers in tow.
Meanwhile, Won-bin hears from the palace doctor that she is not pregnant. At that very moment, Princess Hye-bin visits her chambers and asks about Won-bin’s pregnancy in a matter-of-factly way to the doctor who is still in the room.
When Hong Guk-young learns that Won-bin faked her pregnancy, he decides to prevent dishonor from tainting his family by arranging a scenario where Won-bin pretends that she had a miscarriage. According to Hong Guk-young’s plan, Won-bin clutches her belly in pain during her birthday and shows blood.
Meanwhile, Princess Hye-bin faints when she hears about Won-bin’s miscarriage...
Visiting the guard’s chambers, San sees Hong Guk-young talking with a palace doctor and his face turns grim. San confronts Hong Guk-young and asks him why is meeting with a doctor at the guard’s chambers. But Hong Guk-young cannot answer him.
Meanwhile, Song-yeon hears about the trouble that Queen Hyo-eui is in and she then recalls the day when she drew a folding screen at the palace where she saw Won-bin drink an herbal tea. Song-yeon seeks out Queen Hyo-eui and tells her that she saw Won-bin drink motherwort tea...
Won-bin goes to meet with Princess Hye-bin and lies about the reason for her fake miscarriage by blaming it on the motherwort tea she drank regularly. Princess Hye-bin is overcome with shock that Won-bin could make such a grave mistake and caused the baby to be miscarried. Won-bin cowers in fear.
Meanwhile, when San decides to travel to Mihaeng, Hong Guk-young orders the guards to follow a pre-planned route. However, San gets mad at Hong Guk-young for giving such orders and chooses a different route. Someone tries to assassinate San in Mihaeng with a shotgun.
Stricken with an illness, Won-bin breathes her last breath in Hong Guk-young’s presence. Meeting with Queen Hyo-eui, Hong Guk-young reveals his emotions by asking the queen why Won-bin had to pay the ultimate price for what she did. Queen Hyo-eui is shaken by Hong Guk-young’s words...
Hong Guk-young asks San to relieve Won-bin’s grudge by arranging Eun-eon’s eldest son to be adopted by the late Won-bin. San finds the request to be absurd but he tells Hong Guk-young that he will think about it.
Meanwhile, Song-yeon learns that the man who saved her was Wook, a childhood friend of hers who she believed was dead, and goes to see him with tears streaming down her face. However, Hong Guk-young and the palace guards have surrounded Song-yeon’s neighborhood. Hong Guk-young asks Song-yeon if she knows the whereabouts of Wook...
San visits Song-yeon at the interrogation room. San looks at her with sadness and grief and asks her how this happened but Song-yeon just tells him to punish her. The palace judge enters the room and announce that all the criminals will be transported to the palace jail.
Meanwhile, San tells Hong Guk-young that there was a cache of weapons found in the hideout of the rebels and he finds it very hard to believe that they would have allowed themselves to be captured so easily by the sword-wielding palace when they had such weapons at their disposal. Hong Guk-young is speechless...
Princess Hye-bin becomes shocked when she hears that Song-yeon entered San’s private chambers. Princess Hye-bin vows that a son will not be born by someone from such a low station. However, San is ready to pay the consequences as he keeps Song-yeon at his side.
Meanwhile, Hong Guk-young visits Minister Eun-eon and tells him that his first son will take on the pen name, Wanpoong and it would be a splendid name for a future king...
When Song-yeon visits Princess Hye-bin’s quarters, she is told to return to the Leesang Chamber and this creates a commotion among the court ladies. Princess Hye-bin is rude to Song-yeon when she arrives at the Jinyeon pavilion and tells her to follow the rules of the palace. San and Queen Hyo-eui feel uncomfortable when they see Princess Hye-bin act curtly towards Song-yeon.
Meanwhile, Hong Guk-young visits Jang Tae-woo and arrests all the officials who are with him. He orders the officers to search the room.
Queen Hyo-eui brings Chobi to the Subalsang Palace after seeing how hard it is for Song-yeon to adjust to live in the palace. Song-yeon is overjoyed to be reunited with Chobi and is thankful for the kind gesture on Queen Hyo-eui’s part.
Meanwhile, San is shocked to see the state of the merchants who were captured by Hong Guk-young...
Queen Hyo-eui learns that Hong Guk-young has been collaborating with Empress Jung-soon and tells him to confess his guilt to San before she tells him about it herself. She also coldly stares down at him and says he will pay dearly for scorning the royal court and deceiving the king...
Meanwhile, Song-yeon gets nauseous as she follows San on a trip to the ancestral royal rombs.
With help from Minister Suk-wie, court lady Choi slips out of the palace but she is caught by Dae-soo. When Dae-soo asks her if Hong Guk-young gave her the orders to leave, Minister Suk-wie points his sword at him.
Meanwhile, San hears that the recent incidents around the palace were orchestrated by Hong Guk-young and he stares at Nam Sa-cho with a vacant expression on his face.
Along the path that Hong Guk-young takes to his exile, people hurl rocks at his carriage. Dae-soo and Seok-gi try to stop the crowd but they are overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, Princess Hye-bin invites San to Princess Hwa-bin’s chambers to comfort him after he sent Hong Guk-young to exile but he goes to Song-yeon’s chambers instead.
Hearing that Hong Guk-young is in critical condition, San rides his horse all night to reach Hong Guk-young’s home. San cries at Hong Guk-young’s deathbed and asks him to forgive him for sending him away. Hong Guk-young also cries and tells San the he was always loyal to him and will never forgive him even after his death.
Meanwhile, at the Chinham ritual, Song-yeon joins Princess Hye-bin, Queen Hyo-eui, Princess Hwa-bin and answers withering questions from the wives of high-ranking ministers with aplomb and astonishes everyone in the process.
San gets the needed documents for Jung Yak-yong. In the palace, Jang Tae-woo encounters Jung Yak-yong and warns him that he should not think that he owns the world just because he is under the good graces of the King. San then encounters Tae-gam from China in the government office.
Song-yeon tries to find the reason why the Chinese soldiers used military force and asks Tae-gam. Rather than giving her a straight answer, Tae-gam gives her a painting. Song-yeon shows it to San and asks him to find a way to see what Tae-gam’s inner thoughts really are.
San rethinks Jung Yak-yong’s words that China is attempting to destroy Choseon and what Song-yeon said to him earlier. He then sends soldiers to where the Chinese are staying.
After hearing that San had a worship service at his father’s grave, Empress Jung-soon, Choi Seok-joo and the Noron faction start to feel nervous and perplexed. Meanwhile, Song-yeon has yet to begin her labor although 10 days have passed since the due date. Court physicians start to examine her and realize that although her water is leaking little by little, she still has not felt any pain of labor. The physicians then start to question if there are any internal problems with the baby and immediately start emergency medical procedures.
San selects Suwon as the new capital to replace Hanyang, and makes it the base of reformation of Choseon. Jung Yak-yong and Park-jae are in shock after hearing San’s plans.
Hye-bin, who refuses to allow Hyang to be the heir apparent, is surprised to see Hyang wearing a necklace with the ring that King Young-jo gave Song-yeon before he passed away. Later, Hye-bin is shocked to learn that the ring was given to Song-yeon by the deceased King Young-jo.
Song-yeon’s son Hyang comes down with a terrible case of the measles. Hyang develops rashes on his face and has a high fever. The physicians rush in and out, and try to cure him. Despite their efforts, Hyang passes away.
Song-yeon is in disbelief as she weeps holding Hyang’s body.
San tries to save Song-yeon’s life with the help of Western medicine. San asks Dae-soo to go to China to bring Western medical doctors. Dae-soo rushes to China after receiving these orders. Meanwhile, Song-yeon, dressed in a beautiful Korean traditional dress, asks San to let her fulfill her dream of drawing a portrait of the King. She also asks San to promise her that he will fight any challenges that may come his way in the future.
On the long journey to Hwasung, Choi Seok-joo tells Min Joo-shik to attack San when he visits Temple Yong Joo Sa. Assassins infiltrate the entrance of the temple to take San’s life, but Jang Yong-young’s officers surround them. As a result, Min Joo-shik and his rebels are arrested on the spot. But Choi Seok-joo’s real plan is to sacrifice Min Joo-shik to make a separate attack during the night training.
Seo Jang-bo and Dae-soo find out about the assassins’ plans to attack in the night. Seok-ki then fires his gun and ends the training session. All lights in Seo Jang Dae are lit.
The year 1800, the 24th Reign of King Jeongjo... The shade of the trees and bright sunshine light up the beautiful scenery of the palace. Dae-soo has become a general and he opens the military arts training grounds. As San watches the military arts exhibition, he is pleased with what he sees.
Meanwhile, while looking at the test coins that Jung Yak-yong created, San’s vision suddenly begins to blur, and he faints to the ground and becomes unconscious.