I have been hooked on Chinese Drama series now for a while. And now am watching the Palace 2 or Gong 2 over Astro Zhi Zhun...
I love it even though the plot is somewhat quirky... sorry if I skip some parts but will summarise the story the best I can....
The story begins with Quan Ming looking for the 8th Prince and The Emperor (one of the few good looking emperors played by Mickey He) fighting for her. However , Quan Ming choses the 8th Prince...
She then wakes up to modern life and her loving husband in the 21st century as a scriptwriter and actress and vows to give the emperor a different ending...
when she was at the site of the movie, she meets easy going and fun loving Lian Er who gives her a lollypop. She immediately thinks of her husband and that the day is their anniversary too and leaves the set/site and insist her role be taken by Lian Er.
Lian Er then finds herself in the Qing empire(not sure if that is the word....) and a daughter of an impoverished official who is hoping to be a minister but unable to do so because he cannot afford to bribe the officials in charge of selections.
Frustrated, Lian Er takes it into her own hands to submit the application again with a huge pearl she found. Duke Guo was in charge of the new selection and refused point blank as he thought it was bribery.
Lian Er then marched up to his residence and insisted on seeing him. He then told her if she can catch up with him on horseback she will be granted an audience. She chases after him but her horse tripped and she flew from the horse back but Duke Guo quickly caught her, breaking her fall. He fell in love with her then but pushed it aside as he wanted to use her to gain the Dowager Empress title from the Emperor for his mother. He wanted her to be a concubine to the Emperor and so she could plead on his behalf.
Her father eventually got the minister's post but died.
However the time she spent in Duke Guo's house resulted in them getting closer and she too fell in love with him. He decided to scrap the idea of sending her to the palace and marry her instead. Promising to select her as his wife during his selection before the new wannabe concubines are sent to the Emperor. However, something happened to a close family friend and his tutor and so to save the life of that man, he had to marry the tutor's daughter Jia Jia who was also a candidate for the concubine selection. That left Lian Er shocked and also sad. She then resigned herself to her new life making a new friend in Yu Shu.
Duke Guo got married to Jia Jia but refused to spend the night or much time with her. However with her sincerity, understanding, kindness and dedication she slowly won him over. Bit he could not forget Lian Er.
Meanwhile, in the imperial palace, Lian Er makes friends and enemies. Her friends included a scholar who got jnto the palace as an imperial guard name Li Wei and Su Pei Sheang/Su Gong Gong...She had treated Su Gong Gong with care and respect even when he was down and beated when he got evicted from his post after his previous mistress fell from grace.
Her enemy was a fellow candidate who manage to be the first selected to be a gui ren by manupulating her cousin wan Pin and also Yin Pin who were at war with each other. Qian Gui Ren is a very evil and manipulative woman. She harmed her own niece and set the blame on her cousin and she tried countless times to eliminate both Yu Shu and Lian Er afrer identifying them as threats. However no one could pin point her as yet.
Su Pei Sheang and Li Wei made a pact to try to help Lian Er get the Emperor's attention and protect her the best they can.It included Li Wei getting beaten up because he was saving Lian Er from being discovered in a plot to run away.
Lian Er also manage to become Wan Pin's companion and upon her death, the empress' companion.
However on the night she tried to escape and failed, she came upon the Emperor stripped of his robes pacing his courtyard. She quickly took it upon herself to 'rescue' him before the Emperor discovers him ans punishes him. The amused Emperor insisted he was the Emperor and she shushed him saying that she knew the Emperor was always wearing a dragon robe and he would get into trouble if people heard them. The Emperor, sick and tired of all the drama and pretension in his life of officials, concubines and so on finds her refreshing,sincere and interesting and decides to play along with her.
They become friends. He allows her the liberty to scold him, pull him to 'steal' food and let her think of him as some eunuch name Xiao Xen Zi being punished and who is always hungry. She then brings him food in the evening. He enjoys her company. And she promises to be his family.
In between Lian Er continues trying to help the Empress get the Emperor's attention, not knowing Xiao Xen Zi is actually the Emperor. Qian Gui Ren tries to get Lian Er into more trouble. And Duke Guo having seen Lian Er kidnaps her for a while and explains himself and plots to run away with her leaving Jia Jia whom he still did not love.
However, a pregnant Jia Jia learns of his plan and puts the money he had given her into his bag and tries to commit suicide. Duke Guo found the money and feeling bad, he return to return it to her just in time to see Jia Jia trying to hang herself. Then the nanny told him she was pregnant and he promised to stay by Jia Jia and their child, betraying Lian Er a second time. She returns to the Imperial Castle and found Xiao Xen zi aka the Emperor who was already frustrated from waiting for her in the garden and cried on his shoulder but refused to tell him the whole story. He comforts her and flies her around the lake.
Qian Gui Ren hears that Lian Er is seeing someone and thinks it's a great idea to trap her. She orders some eunuchs to then follow Lian Er and trap her. One night , while Lian Er was with the Emperor, they were attacked and pushed into an abandoned well. A delighted Qian Gui Ren quickly fetched the Empress and went to check. However, the Emperor had already uses his martial art skills and climbed out of the well with Lian Er.