Finally, the wedding of Prince Qing Xuan and Princess Meili took place without trouble: while Yong He was tied to a chair by his parents to prevent him from rash action which could result in serious trouble, and Su Ying playing the liuqin or Chinese mandolin while imagining and consumed by jealousy thinking about the consummation of the marriage between her husband-to-be and another woman. As I expected, she broke a string while doing so.
I was most intrigued by the emphasis on the traditional virginity test in this story. A white napkin was placed on the red bedsheet on the wedding night. The next morning, Qing Xuan was really upset because there was no blood stain, the only proof in those days to show whether a bride was chaste. His thought was flashed back to an instance when he stumbled upon Yong He consoling Meili while she sat on her bed. He jumped to the conclusion that Meili had her first experience with Yong He, and warned that she better not be pregnant too soon as he will kill him. Naturally, Meili was upset that he questioned her chastity. To cover up the 'no blood stain', Qing Xuan took out his pen knife and cut his own palm just to let drop some blood onto the white cloth.
The other thing which surprised me was the ritual next morning, when Meili had to greet her mother-in-law. She was holding a tray with a red cloth covering it and revealed the white cloth with a blood stain.
As if accepting the reality of Meili is now married to Qing Xuan, Yong He apologised to his parents and promised to accept it like a man and not to do anything rash. In an about turn, he even apologised to Princess Song Zhu who had earlier been throwing herself at him shamelessly and hopelessly. She could not believe her eyes and ears when Yong He treated her with focused interest. When Yong He expressed his doubts about his low status which might not be accepted by her parents, she was confident she could convince her father who she thinks will listen to her in everything. So she thought, but the first thing he complained about was his low position. Furthermore, he said that judging from his open expression of love for Meili, and now that he has lost her, his sudden interest in another princess, shows his lack of sincerity.
Anyhow, Yong He even suggested to Song Zhu that she arrange for a meeting with her cousin, Qing Xuan so that he could properly apologise to him for his past unbecoming behaviour. In fact, he was plotting to poison Qing Xuan and again, his father who knew him better managed to foil his plot.
In this episode, being more attentive and caring towards Meili seems to improve their relationship. Qing Xuan even helped her to dress up properly before visiting the Empress dowager. Another thing which surprised me was the suggestion by the empress dowager that she should not have dressed up when there are no guests around and both ladies actually changed into more comfortable clothes for an anticipated long chat which the empress looks forward to.