Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 17-18


Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 17-18

Our heroes have to deal with the fallout of two considerably-awaited figures’ return to Daeho: the heir of a noble line of priestesses, and the Gwanju of Cheonbugwan. Politics just got complex! With Jinyowon and Songrim at each and every other’s throats, it’ll be a mercy if any individual gets out alive…



Final week, we left Wook unknowingly holding his father at swordpoint — with his father’s personal sword, no significantly less. From this, Jang Gang quickly recognizes his son. The similar cannot be mentioned for Wook, who has no cause to associate the parent who abandoned him decades ago with this disheveled wanderer, even when mentioned wanderer knows all about Cheonbugwan’s Gwanju. The 1 who abandoned that sword — and his son — was a madman. So says Jang Gang, anyway. Will Wook seek vengeance for the insult to his father? No, says Wook. His father wouldn’t want that. Nonetheless, he’ll put on the sword for the sake of his mother’s reputation.

Jang Gang presents Wook a drink from a gnarled bottle. Wook, who has under no circumstances met a beverage of dubious provenance that he didn’t right away down, accepts. Father gazes sadly at son. He leaves Wook with a warning: continue chasing sorcery in a location like this, and its darkness will consume your soul. You will drop anything. Like me, he does not say — but the subtext rings clear.

Meanwhile, Mu-deok, getting ditched the Jin family members reunion, regards her face curiously in a market place stall mirror. Why do her eyes often hurt when she nears Jinyowon?

When Wook sneaks up to poke her in the cheek, it is mark of how far their partnership has deepened that she does not right away initiate violence. Alternatively, the two proceed to muck about shamelessly with the stall’s merchandise. Mu-deok smears Wook’s forehead with powder. He retaliates, dotting her cheeks with vibrant blush. A play-fight of epic proportions commences.

Soon after the merchant presumably tells them to go get a area currently, they stroll by way of the market place collectively. Mu-deok’s makeup has faded to a quite flush, which proves great disguise for her actual blush as she remembers Wook touching her cheeks. In reality, Wook’s awful habit of performing charming items like guiding her out of the way of oncoming wagon targeted traffic is proving disastrous for her dignity.

Later, Mu-deok remembers one thing about the newly-returned “Jin Bu-yeon”: she utilizes a familiar object as a walking stick.

Of all the items Yul was expecting from his mates, an interrogation with regards to the place of his umbrella was presumably not 1 of them. Mu-deok, playing poor cop, gets ideal up in his face. When Wook (tentatively donning the part of great cop) points out she sounds like a wife with a cheating husband, it is weird for absolutely everyone involved. Nonetheless, sooner or later, they place the pieces collectively: So-yi the swindler whom Yul saved in the marketplace and the supposed Bu-yeon are 1 and the similar.

A moment’s maternal tenderness from Ho-gyeong leads So-yi to conclusions of her personal. That embroidered blindfold with the Jinyowon emblem? Turns out, it was hand-stitched by Ho-gyeong herself — ironically, in case Bu-yeon ever identified herself lost. It is identical to the cherished keepsake So-yi stole from Mu-deok.

The penny drops. Clearly, a extra elaborate lie is necessary to sustain her cover. She starts telling absolutely everyone she senses poor items from Mu-deok: spiritually speaking, the vibes are rancid.

Ho-gyeong cannot assistance but query Bu-yeon’s reappearance. For 1 issue, it is tough not to dwell on the reality that her daughter’s ears appear unique. Fortunately, Mu is right here to dispel all doubts — or rather, cheerfully bribe them away. While delicately skirting any outright statement, he strongly implies that if Ho-gyeong desires the ice stone Jang Gang as soon as took, she have to declare Bu-yeon her successor. Cast away her doubts, and she can have relic and daughter for the cost of 1! She just demands to do 1 teensy tiny issue first… facilitate the fall of Songrim.

There’s a bigger scheme at play right here, which becomes apparent when So-yi is delivered to the trusty Murder Chamber at Cheonbugwan. Just before the ranks of masked cultists, Mu declares that he will ultimately reveal the identity of their Danju. To her utter astonishment, he gestures to So-yi. It is not extended prior to she’s reveling in the focus: but one more perk to her newfound status! Alas, in actuality, it is a poisoned chalice Ha-sun has currently set her sights on So-yi’s physique for her soul-shifting purposes.

The subsequent day, in firm defiance of Songrim, Jinyowon declares a Unanimous Assembly — to which, unprecedentedly, the royal family members is invited. Ho-gyeong starts with a spirited list of charges against Songrim: ransacking Jinyowon’s relics trampling on Cheonbugwan’s authority and treating all other organizations as suspects. On paper, Jin’s track record appears quite shocking. The other leaders murmur mutinously.

Ho-gyeong declares her bold intention to break a 200-year-old rule. At this, So-yi measures forward, resplendent in spiky eyeliner, holding a box. She is announced as Bu-yeon, official successor of Jinyowon. The crowd watch in disbelief as she opens the box to reveal — the ice stone.

The Assembly devolves into chaos. Amid wild accusations about Songrim’s lies, the debate at hand is Seo Gyeong’s original intentions: would he want the stone destroyed, as Jin claims, or do they now have proof, as Ho-gyeong contends, that he wished it preserved?

Points speedily unravel when it is recommended the ice stone is held, not by Songrim or Jinyowon, but by a third celebration — at which point, it becomes a violent, embarrassing totally free-for-all, exactly where even Yeom, aging medic that he is, throws down with the other grandpas.

Jin watches in despair as his esteemed mates and colleagues, preeminent in their fields, engage in magical fisticuffs on the Assembly floor. Worse nonetheless, they’re ignoring his command to cease! At Ho-gyeong’s admonishment, nonetheless, they return to their seats — which seriously rankles. His No Superior Pretty Poor Day continues when Ho-gyeong suggests that Jinyowon relieve Songrim of its ideal to contact Assemblies.

It is time for an ultimatum. Jin forbids Ho-gyeong from taking the ice stone outdoors of Songrim. Ideal on cue, ranks of Songrim fighters flood by way of the door — at which point, appears that slap-fights on the Assembly floor will degenerate into outright war. Then, a drum sounds.

After once more, Wook and Mu-deok demonstrate that if there’s 1 issue at which they excel, it is theater. With Mu-deok behind the scenes, delivering the excellent soundtrack for a dramatic entrance, Wook strides down the hall with the regal grace of a man about to give each and every single 1 of his former tutors a piece of his thoughts. Politely, of course. Since he’s right here to inform them what Seo Gyeong basically wanted. Songrim hid practically nothing. The answer can be study plainly in Words of the Heart.

In terrifically plausible style, there follows sheepish whispering as all the seasoned magical academics struggle to recall the precise contents of a set text they study as undergrads. Quickly, it is decided the book shall be fetched from Jinyowon. Jin privately determines this to be a stalling tactic to his information, Words of the Heart says practically nothing with regards to the ice stone.

But, as Wook reveals to Won in a furtively-assembled meeting down the hall, he was speaking in earnest. Words of the Heart proves that Seo Gyeong was prepared to leverage the ice stone against the laws of nature — to save the dying lady he loved. Wook intends to comply with his instance to the letter.

He also has some nasty news to share about Won’s mother: although nonetheless alive, she’s getting puppeted by Shaman Choi. Won, who has been pulled in each and every path by Mu’s manipulation, his father’s obsession with the King’s Star, and his personal private doubts, requires this newest blow on the chin: it is practically nothing he hadn’t suspected.

Back in the hall, items get ugly. The King, gazing avariciously at the ice stone, demands a sensible demonstration. It can bring men and women back from the dead, you say? Nicely then. Let’s kill a person to prove it. How about — her? And in a move that just about oozes proof of the banality of evil, he gestures to the only servant in the area: Mu-deok. Nonetheless, for Mu-deok, it is a god-sent chance. Hesitating purely for the sake of authenticity — she assents.

Serene in the information that, immediately after anything, it all comes down to this — 1 final death-defying leap in the face of an audience who would gladly see her go to hell if it entertained them — Mu-deok stands in the courtyard prior to Ho-gyeong. She’s just grateful that Wook will not witness her final stand.

Ho-gyeong promises she’ll make it a painless death. But it is clear that “painless” is relative, as she swiftly follows that up with employing her magic to crush Mu-deok’s windpipe. Only So-yi is conscious of the central irony: that this violence amounts to a mother-daughter reunion.

Suspended choking in the air, Mu-deok blacks out. But then, in a rush of Bu-yeon’s memories, her eyes flash blue, and she breathes out 1 final word: mother.

Even as Ho-gyeong falters, the Queen and Mu exchange conspiratorial grins. Now is the excellent moment to send Shaman Choi’s soul into So-yi’s physique, employing the ice stone’s activated power. There’s a hitch, although: a person else is controlling the stone, and it is producing a beeline for Mu-deok.

Storm clouds spiral. So-yi, terrified that this reveal could possibly be irreversible, dives into action with a move worthy of the KBO League, whacking the ice stone into orbit with her umbrella. The storm roils and twists, enveloping the two ladies — prior to whirling them away.

At Jeongjingak, with Wook, Won and Yul, all is wreathed in dreamlike fog. The other mages, rattled by the crack of thunder, commence to inquire really earnestly regardless of whether they all could possibly be dead — specially when Yun-ok emerges like a fairy from the mist. Even Won’s work at preserving an air of princelike dignity is marginally marred when he clings to Wook’s arm in fright.

Just before extended, they discover they’re surrounded by a magical barrier — 1 that violently repels what ever it touches. On the heels of this comes one more discovery: So-yi and Mu-deok are right here. With the barely-suppressed panic of 1 whose capacity for inventive embellishment is getting stretched to breaking point, So-yi pleads blindness: do not ask her what occurred! Mu-deok serenely claims she was right here all along.

There’s a self-contained pensiveness to Mu-deok that persists even as she’s ordered to make tea for the Prince. After she’s alone, we discover why. Her powers have ultimately returned.

Not only that: they’re theoretically limitless — at least right here, inside the ice stone. Back in the whirlwind, she was confronted by a vision of Bu-yeon, who told her that the stone’s energy is governed by balance. Earn 1, and drop the other. Mu-deok swore she could endure it — prior to plunging her foot in her mouth. Pro tip for developing a healthier partnership with the lady whose physique you are piloting: cease accusing her of getting a relic of Jinyowon!

Obtaining accomplished her dearest objective, Mu-deok is content material to bide her time, dreaming — and scheming — of grandeur. Or rather, she would be content material if men and women didn’t retain ruining her mood with stupid orders. The assassin Naksu needn’t concern herself with mundane matters like replacing chipped teacups and wiping tabletops! She eats chipped teacups for breakfast! Tabletops flee in her wake! Except… for some cause — contact it habit — she cannot look to cease performing servant items?

One particular issue she knows for specific: it is beneath her dignity to play nursemaid to a bunch of obnoxious mages hungry for sujebi. Still… possibly it cannot hurt to be Mu-deok for extended sufficient to finish the dish? But, just this as soon as! Then it is more than! No extra Mu-deok!

In reality, as soon as she shifts souls, she can be any individual at all. She could prance about as King, if she felt the urge. She could rock a goatee and be Jin Mu. (Ew, perhaps not him.) She could swan about Songrim, flipping Park Jin’s luxurious mane of hair like Daeho’s answer to a L’Oreal industrial, and no one could inform her otherwise! She could —

– finish up producing noodles for Wook? He does like noodles. But, just 1 final time.

Later, she approaches Wook. She tells him she’s produced noodles. That she’s leaving now. That they are inside the ice stone — that she has regained her energy like in Lake Gyeongcheondaeho, and that this is the finish. Earn 1, and drop the other is the rule by which she nows lives.

Except — that is not basically how it goes. When she approaches Wook, he does not respond the way she anticipated, mainly because, that basic, bloodless conversation? That was all in her head. In reality, Wook interrupts her, getting currently guessed that they’re inside the ice stone. He wishes she’d regained her energy, like she did in Lake Gyeongcheondaeho! But, he’s afraid that she’ll break her guarantee and abandon him — so, with plain sincerity, he asks her not to do so.

Mu-deok cannot think he can say such items devoid of embarrassment. But, of course, they each know Wook is extended previous that he discovered to be brave at about the similar time he discovered to decipher enjoy letters. Can Mu-deok be equally sincere with herself? The answer will have to wait, mainly because Yun-ok is calling for Wook. He leaves her with a packet of honey biscuits, sweetly assuring her there’s no require to share.

Yul, meanwhile, shares his personal honey biscuit with So-yi. He knows she’s a con-artist, but he also remembers Wook saying she’s getting made use of like Naksu. The parallels are striking, and sharpened precisely to jab at the soft underbelly of Yul’s finer feelings.

So-yi might be taking a swan dive off the moral deep finish, but her smile upon seeing Yul is radiant. He’s startled when she urges him not to mention getting observed her as a beggar: is she attempting to spare him? She is certainly.

So-yi’s woes only intensify when she’s cornered by Master Kang. Obtaining brought himself back from the brink of petrification by draining his host’s mother, he’s ravenous for power. They’re on the similar side — but, to prove that she and this unwished-for ally are really simpatico, she’s obliged to lure victims to his makeshift lair. Soon after snacking on a hapless Jeongjingak mage, he decides to satisfy his hunger for revenge: she have to bring him Yul.

For the duration of a misconceived try to show off his spells prior to Won, Beom learns the tough away that the ice stone sucks the power out of your sword like a straw. Mu-deok is rapid to understand the implications. The ice stone empowers soul-shifters, but it feeds on the ordinary. Leveraging its power to shift souls signifies she have to drain absolutely everyone right here to death. Like So-yi, she have to pick in between enjoy and survival — but, in contrast to So-yi, there’s no external threat. The threat is herself.

As she stares at the barrier, Won approaches, warning her to take care. It is sweet that he’s concerned — although, the chivalry of this gesture is admittedly undermined a bit when he insists she thank him for his thoughtfulness. Mu-deok, feeling guilty about the death to which she’s mentally consigned him, presents him a honey biscuit in recompense. Overlook it, he says. Then, mainly because he cannot resist, he adds that he must take them all: by that logic, they’re his present to her.

Mu-deok, strangely touched, insists that he requires 1 as a symbol of gratitude. But, Won’s an specialist in the arithmetic of metaphor, and he knows this 1 does not add up to the weight of his feelings. He’d choose one thing larger. Mu-deok replies, this is sufficient. And so, he turns away, unwilling to hold onto her, or to accept one thing tiny — and making sure that I’ll under no circumstances once more be capable to consume a biscuit devoid of crying a tiny more than what could have been.

So-yi, in a inventive bid to exterminate her enemy, orders Mu-deok to fetch her blankets from the mages’ quarters, exactly where Master Kang lurks. Alternatively, Mu-deok runs into Yul, who is attempting to light a fire… badly. The difficulty with magical experience is that mundane tasks develop into fraught with complication — and the existence of brazier lids is apt to be forgotten. Mu-deok, although appalled, realizes that Yul’s leg is in all probability aching from the humidity.

Yul is moved that she remembers. She remembers he likes pine pollen snacks, as well. But, what’s the point of remembering when she under no circumstances purchased him any? Yul, unaware that Mu-deok has also condemned him to death in her thoughts, assures her she can do so subsequent time. While Yul is content material that they’ll often have Danhyanggok, Mu-deok is determined to reduce him away once more. In accurate gentlemanly style, he urges Mu-deok to come across Wook he’ll fetch the blankets rather.

Upon hearing exactly where he went, So-yi scrambles away in pursuit of Yul. With barely the pretense of blindness, she blocks his path. Also late: Master Kang emerges, falling upon the weaponless Yul who is forced, as soon as once more, to wield his favourite variation on a sword — So-yi’s umbrella. It is a tiny significantly less powerful devoid of magic: he’s battered to the floor with a barrage of spells. But, Yul and So-yi are momentarily spared by Yun-ok’s canny intervention: in contrast to Yul, she’s a dab hand at wielding fire, setting Master Kang’s coat alight as distraction.

They handle to flee, warning the other folks. Wook connects the remaining dots upon hearing that the soul-shifter was capable of wielding magic: Mu-deok’s powers have returned. He knows what he has to do.

Mu-deok, meanwhile, has come to the conclusion that prior to she murders absolutely everyone in cold blood, she’s going to save their lives. It tends to make sense, okay! Nonetheless, when she runs into Beom, he tells her that Wook is about to die. Horrified, she learns he has set out to trap Master Kang in the secret area. Won tries his very best to discourage her from following — but, even as he grabs her sleeve, Mu-deok reminds him that he mentioned he wouldn’t hold on to her. Conceding, he lets go.

It is ultimately time to break out her old sword. Bracing herself prior to the closed door of the secret area, with Wook’s name on her lips, Mu-deok swallows back her tears. She opens the gate. As Master Kang turns to face her, Naksu is as soon as once more unleashed.

She sends out a blaze of power, unsheathing her sword. As Master Kang rushes towards her, she requires him out with a dazzling version of her signature move: Tansu. It is all more than in a moment.

Now weeping openly, she enters the area. It is empty of all other inhabitants, but it nonetheless requires her a moment to understand — her pupil lives. Wook is standing ideal behind her. Why did you hide it? he asks. Since, she replies, I wanted you to die. Why then, he asks, in the similar steady tone, did you come for me? Since, she cries, I believed you would die. It is a lovely encapsulation of the complete episode’s dilemma.

Fearlessly moving forward, Wook asks her to fulfill her guarantee: to aim her sword at him. In an eerie echo of their initial meeting, she does so. Then, immediately after holding it for a beat, she chooses to decrease it.

It is Wook’s turn to honor his guarantee. And so, he does. He moves forward, cradling her by the back of the neck. And then, they kiss — and kiss, and kiss.

Buddies, Beanies, that ending produced me bawl. Yes, accurate enjoy exists in this planet! Yes, when I say that, I am particularly referring to the enjoy in between a reformed assassin and her pupil who thinks grand romantic gestures only count if they involve danger of death — subsequent query, please!

In all seriousness: wow. That final episode was virtually architectural in its design and style. Bit by bit, Mu-deok dropped her defenses, till she could give Wook what he asked of her at the starting: honesty. All the illusions — the fantasies, the vaguely megalomaniacal energy-grab schemes, the promises that she’d drop her disguise immediately after this 1 final process — have been stripped away down to her final, literal weapon. And do not get me incorrect, Naksu’s sword is nonetheless an emblem of revenge she wielded it considering she was paying back Wook’s death. Nonetheless, now that she’s regained her energy, there’s the possibility of employing it for other, significantly less destructive purposes. Soon after all, her initial move was to make tea — her second, to think about who she desires to be now.

As often in Alchemy of Souls, character improvement feels earned. Even as Wook and Mu-deok make progress, they have a tendency to cycle back to their worst habits: Wook, by retreating into lassitude Mu-deok, by deciding to reduce and run. And there’s often a danger it’ll occur once more. But each and every time, they’ve risen to the challenge collectively. This newest death-defying leap of trust is by far the most satisfying. Typically I’d finish on a sillier image, but honestly? Let’s have 1 extra shot of that final, glorious kiss. We’ve earned it as well!

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