Nirvana in Fire 琅琊榜 - Episode 12 (Recap)

kakashi: Mei Changsu's true identity gets exposed in this episode, thankfully only to a very dear friend... Ah, that scene! That scene! It gets me every single time. He really should be a bit more careful though, right?
JoAnne: I just want to wrap these babies up in something soft and take them away, far away, where no one else is and they can be happy together.
dewaanifordrama: Oh these two. Romeo and Juliet haven't got anything on these two.

Episode 12

The old master Zhuo is surprised when he sees Mei Changsu at the Lingyin temple - because he does not recognize him. That yellow jade cicada was given to the most prized pupils of a teacher named  Li Chong; and he, old Zhuo, met all of those - so how come he does not recognize Su? Su quickly says that Li wasn't his teacher for long, but the old man is not fooled. Su is MUCH too smart (and knows exactly what the cicada means).
The man must know, then.
Well at least he must probably suspect something is up. 
Right before he gets back into the carriage, the old man turns around and says: "Teacher Li had a favorite pupil". He was from a martial family but also extremely bright. "You would have been a glorious pair". TT_________TT
Nope, I'm going with that's his way of saying he knows who Mei Changsu is and that he is still as good a student as he ever was. Hush.
T_____T It's moments like these that the full weight if what has been lost really hits me. Not only have 70,000 faithful and honourable men been killed unjustly, but those remaining have had a full life taken from them. What a waste of good lives. 
His face!!! :((((
As soon as the carriage is out of view, Su Zhe is shaken by a coughing fit. Oh no......
Li Gang is super concerned, but Su has not time to care for himself, he murmurs "She is here"... it's Nihuang, riding like the devil (love the bells). "She is suspecting my identity", Su explains to his trusted man, "constantly investigating and inquiring everywhere". He thinks that he may no longer be able to keep it a secret from her - but he knows that she will keep quiet about it once she finds out. If he asks her to as Lin Shu.
Bring her in, let her help you! Take some comfort from her! Give her peace!
Oh these two. Oh Lin Shu. Oh Nihuang T____T I'm going to run out of tissues. 
Su walks to meet her ... he seems apprehensive and oh-so-tired. And yes, she is clearly out to get him to admit what she feels must be the truth: Her questions are pointed. She finds it remarkable that this scholar, who remained dead to the world for so long, came out in the dead of winter just for him. Is his power that great? Also, there's still that matter about the guy, Wei Zheng, who came to help her that one time when she was in trouble. Clearly, he came from the Jiangzuo Alliance, yet, Su pretends not to know him? Not likely. 
That's my girl, she doesn't give up.
This is why they are so perfect for each other. Perfectly matched in every way. 
Well, in fact, she recognized that man, despite that fact that he changed his name and his appearance: He used to be a Lieutenant in the Chiyan Army, under the command of Lin Shu. He is a traitor. Is he the only former member of that treacherous army in his Alliance? Hm, he does not like to hear her say that they are traitors ... thankfully, she adds that while she does not know exactly what happened, the people she knew would never betray the Emperor or the country.
I love it when people are faced with 'evidence' yet hold true to what they know in their hearts. Of course, lots of times that leads to people who are dead wrong... it's such a crap shoot, really.
At least she is right though in this case to trust that excellent and lovely heart of hers. I love Nihuang so much! 

Still, she sees no point in thinking about the old case, since it is closed - and will remain so, seeing how both Prince Yu and the Crown Prince consider it one of their great accomplishments. Indeed, there is no point in putting your hope in these two, Mei Changsu replies... and she realizes, once again, that he is talking about Prince Jing; valiant Prince Jing who has always openly rejected the stigmatization of his old friends.
Almost there, almost there...
Ask him Nihuang! Push just a little bit more! He wants you to know! He does. 
It seems that Nihuang finally understands the whole extent of the crazy plan: so dangerous! And though she talks about Jing when she says "one false step and he will be at death's door", she might already be thinking about him, her long lost love. And finally, she asks him what she has come to ask in the first place "Who are you?". Her eyes fill with tears. 
There cannot be a more beautiful woman in all of China, honestly.
No, there cannot. Ah! These two! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
He says he's just a former member of that army as well. She laughs incredulous, though still crying: why does she not know him then? He is not a mere soldier, or Wei Zheng would not have taken orders from him.
She steps closer and asks: "Do you know Lin Shu?" - "I do", he replies.
"Did he really die in battle?" - "Yes".
She starts crying more as she asks where her love died, where he is buried, and whether nothing of him remains. But despite her grief, she still listens; and she hears well that he does not refer to Lin Shu as his Marshal - but by name. She grabs his arm and pulls up the sleeve; she pulls down his shirt and checks his collar bone... the scars and the mole that used to be there, they're gone.
What the hell happened to him that he's so completely different, right down to the skin?
Yes! Don't believe him Nihuang! You can see in his face that he desperately wants, no needs her to know. He needs someone to be there for him in a way no one else can. 
Oh, but she knows. She knows! A woman's instincts, a lover's intuition. "I know you are my Lin Shu gege", she cries and hugs him close, "do not leave me ... don't ever leave me again". Let's all cry together now. *sniff* The way he whispers her name ..... the soundtrack ...... *waterfalls*
I cried. She knows him, despite all evidence to the contrary. And what is he feeling in those moments? He is unable to continue the charade but he's not exactly relieved to give it up, either. It's more pain for him.
I'm crying right now just reading and commenting. This scene breaks my heart in all the right places. I know that in some ways this brings him more pain because it reminds him of Lin Shu and not the persona he must be to reach his plans, but I think he needs it. He needs her love.
As if it was not sad enough already, he tells her he is no longer the man she knew. He vowed to always protect her and he thought he would be able to protect her. Ah, but he has! She says, ever since she headed to the Southern border, he was there, beside her. Like when they were young, when she had run too fast and too far, and he would carry her home!! TT______TT He cannot return to these times, he repeats.
I don't think she cares, man. I think she's happy to have you any way you come.
Oh Lin Shu. Let Nihuang love you. We know that you love her too. It doesn't matter that you cannot do all the things you used to. You are alive and for now that is all that matters. 
Thinking about the horrors he must have endured makes her cry even more - he used to be always warm before! What happened to make him likes this? He does not, cannot talk about what happened to him, he says ... later when there's a chance. Why do I get the feeling he knows fully well that there will be no such chance... And now, he cautions her: his identity must remain a secret. Especially Jingyan and Xiadong can never find out. He cannot allow feelings to interfere with his plans. That goes for her, too. He must remain Su Zhe for her.
Well, duh. He can't go around pretending to be some other guy and have her walk up and say 'Hey there, Lin Shu, how's your day so far?' Or is he telling her that nothing can change at all; they can't have a relationship even in his new self.
I think it's a bit of all of that. Lin Shu for all intents and purposes is dead and there's no way Nihuang could be together with a pugilist scholar without raising all sorts of suspicions. But for this moment, here and now, let's just forget that all and let these two be together for this moment. 
She smiles ever so bravely and says she can do this. She will wait until he changes "back to my Lin Shu-gege". TT________TT
Okay, she doesn't get it.
I think it's also that because he hasn't told her he is dying that she can't get it. I also think it's a complete affirmation of her trust in him. She trusts that he can help Jingyan become emperor and overturn the Chiyan case. She doesn't doubt him for a second. 

He seems to have super-hearing (I'm not surprised) and says her brother is almost back, it's better she dries her tears and he leaves. But she calls after him and asks: "Can I still come over to Su Residence, to visit you?" - "If you really want to see me, then come".
Cut to every day for the rest of his life: Nihaung comes to visit.
I think he knows that he cannot keep her away, and really, he doesn't want to keep her away either. The heart wants what it wants. 
When he is far enough from her so she won't notice, he gives in to another coughing fit, much more severe than the one he had earlier. Our Su gege is coughing blood.
So what is wrong with him? Is it tuberculosis? Cancer?
Something not very good.
All that running around in the cold made him very ill (Yan: "Restless thoughts, accumulated cold Qi, resulting in a weak constitution"). He needs absolute bed rest for a few days.
Well, you all know I don't really care for his looks in this drama and that I much prefer him in more modern attire. But I will confess that I liked him this way, with his hair just pulled back simply. And that there were angles to his face when lying down that I admired.
Hu Ge has amazing bone structure. His face is pure pleasure to look at. 
He takes my breath away
On the streets, Prince Jing meets the new Minister of Revenue, Minister Shen, who is on his way to check something at the port, because the records seemed weird to him. And indeed, something is off... the shipment supposedly containing fruit and vegetables clearly is far too heavy for these kind of goods. Even more noteworthy: The ship is an official vessel that belonged to the previous Minister of Revenue.
As the Minister, meaning: on behalf of the state? or his own personal ship?
I think that the previous minister was using official kingdom ships to perhaps benefit privately. At least that is what I'm assuming from that interchange. And boy, Jingyan looks soooooo good here! Royalty suits him. 
There are a few pugilists in the port as well and they hear of six other vessels coming in, carrying the same stuff they have been smuggling: gun powder! Massive amounts! They attempt to trail it, but lose track of the goods. The man from the port goes and reports about this to Mr. Thirteen, who teaches us that only few places, among them a Fireworks Factory, which is administered by the Ministry of Revenues, are legally allowed to get gun powder. They now have a large amount of gun powder somewhere in the city.
Is someone planning a coup? or are they selling it on the black market?
Excellent questions. Hopefully this investigation doesn't blow up in their faces. Ooh. Bad pun. Sorry. 

In the capital, Yujin is super pleased to see that his father has returned! Oh, but poor Yujin... his dad is gruff and says he'll leave again soon. All he does, this father, is meditate on the Dao, poorly neglecting the little sunshine.
Awwww, Dad, come on. Play catch with him, at least.
Dad! Don't be so mean. It's a miracle Yujin is so sunshiney when his dad seems to have neglected him in favour of meditation. Yujin. Poor kiddo. Those robes though: gorgeous!
A few days later, Su is conscious, but still very weak. It seems that Prince Yu has kept sending gifts for Mei Changsu (all returned, of course), but this time, he only sent toys for Fei Liu. Can't refuse those, can they! That makes Banruo win a bet, and Prince Yu euphorically happy. He decides to pay Su a personal visit. 
Fei Liu face makes me happy.
Fei Liu. Guaranteed to brighten anyone's day. Well, maybe not the people he's beaten up that is. 
The Empress is talking to all the other women about sharing some burdens, but she is clearly not well? Oh no, what is this? She faints! Yu is at Su's bedside and seems genuinely concerned for the scholar, when a servant comes running (intermittently stopped by Fei Liu, of course) and tells him about his mother's illness. Prince Yu dearly loves his mother (at least that) and he rushes out.
I immediately suspect Consort Yue. How does this work? If the Empress were to die, can the Emperor promote one of his other women to be the Empress? Or does he have to go out and get a whole new princess?
All good questions. I'm sure there must be court rules that govern that sort of thing and perhaps the Emperor doesn't have as much power to dictate all the rules. Or maybe he does. But whatever's going on, the Empress getting sick so suddenly is rather suspicious. 
Mr. Su's men find an illegal firework factory near the city wall. It was set up by the former Minister of Revenues, to make quite a bit of money on the side. Ah, but the real scandal: The bulk of the extra money was taken by the Crown Prince. Tricky! The details are conveyed to Mei Changsu via the vegetable seller (poor Gong Yu wanted to go herself, but alas...) and he says to hand all the information over to the new Minster Shen.
Man, this girl has it bad. He must know, of course.
I really can't blame her. It's a miracle Su doesn't have half a dozen women all pursuing him. This reminds me. I have a lovely chat with Joyce and Moonlil about Chinese names and about how the author, Hai Yan, chose such really beautiful names for the characters. Gong Yu's is related to music.
Su also hears that the physicians came to the conclusion that the Empress' illness isn't severe. Hmmm, weird ... Su wants Nihuang go visit the Empress and gather intel... including the prescriptions she gets. Yes, indeed, he suspects that some substance is to blame, but he does not know which one; and he does not know who did it. He does not think it's Consort Yue - she is not powerful enough (yet?) and she would certainly have made sure to kill the rival if she got the chance! He suspects that there might be something good about the Empress missing the Year End celebrations - if it isn't a coincidence.
Hmmm. So it's not Su, and it's not Yue... who, then?
Ooh! This is getting interesting! What's going on?! 
After a thwarted visit to the Empress of all the concubines, Concubine Jing takes the opportunity to sniff the tea that is brought of the Empress' room. What is going on?
This woman has way too much hair.
I'm jealous. I've always wanted long, thick, black hair like that. Consort Jing is so beautiful. *sigh*


I am not sure what gets me more: the whole reunion scene per se or the fact that he is not telling her that he will never go back to being "her Lin Shu-gege", because he is mortally ill. It is of course true that he cannot be held back by feelings, or he will fail. But what can you do against feelings, especially if they are that strong? The new mystery about the gunpowder is exciting, but I don't like the way it is set up ... a huge amount of it, illegally in the city?! I am pretty certain they're not just making fireworks there!! Any smart observer will have noticed the advent of a new character in this episode, and seeing how this drama never does anything randomly, our new daddy certainly has an important role to play.
I think the fact that she has no idea he's dying is by far the saddest thing. She thinks now she just needs a little patience and they'll be together again, while he knows that this will never happen, has to suffer that pain alone, AND has to live with the knowledge that she will experience the misery of his death all over again.
Everything about Lin Shu and Nihuang gets me. And it stabs me in the heart and makes me cry. So much. I really did mean it when I said that Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these two. I hate that she doesn't know, but I think that if she does, she will spend too much time trying to save him, and he knows that it's futile if he must succeed. And to know that she will have the pain of his death all over must hurt him even more. I just want them to have a happily ever after, far away from all the pain and hurt. They are one of the most perfectly matched couples ever. Run away Lin Shu and Nihuang! Make beautiful, smart, wonderful babies and be happy!