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Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Caught in the labyrinthine den of murder that is Cheonbugwan, our heroes must once again barter for their lives using all their cunning. But, even if they escape, there’s another bet to contend with — and the stakes of our hero’s latest challenge against the Prince are about to get much higher.

 

EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

At Cheonbugwan, a storm is brewing — and not just politically. As clouds gather, Mu notes with distaste that rain interferes with soul ejectors. In fact, he recalls Bu-yeon, during their fatal trip across the lake, attempted to open the skies and destroy the ice stone she’d discovered.

Bu-yeon possessed powers unprecedented. So too, it seems, might our heroine, who has unwittingly used magic to open the constellation room ceiling. It’s just like that time with Lake Gyeongcheondaeho, only now with a basin and a very bemused Wook. Quiet hug time is over, as is any opportunity for investigation: Wook yanks her out of the way before lightning crashes against the water bowl.

The two don’t have long before Mu realizes they’re rather less dead than they ought to be. To add another layer of complication, Mu-deok’s eyes are out of commission due to what seems to be magical backlash. Luckily, Wook, as ever, is willing to forfeit his pride in exchange for their necks. Prince Won wakes to a spiritual notification ping from the yin jade.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

When Mu discovers our heroes’ hiding place, Wook puts on a clever show. He claims to have planted the yang jade on Eunuch Kim’s body. If Mu doesn’t act fast, Won will stumble upon a freshly petrified corpse. In actual fact, the jade is safe in Wook’s pocket. However, this gambit distracts Mu for long enough for Won to reach Wook in time to hear his story… without his master editorializing.

The master in question has been struck by a belated realization: Mu-deok in a blindfold bears uncanny resemblance to Bu-yeon. We’re treated to another glimpse of the now-familiar boat flashback — learning that when Bu-yeon attempted to destroy the ice stone, Mu seized it, shoving the girl into the lake.

Mu’s not the only one dwelling on past mistreatment of children. Sitting with Master Lee, Do-joo recalls the events following the death of Naksu’s father, Cho Chung. According to her, Jang Gang, forced to cut down his friend for the crime of practicing sorcery, disappeared to search for the daughter he left behind — a task he has still not accomplished, two decades on. Master Lee replies that the daughter is dead.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Across town, Yeom and Jin rush towards Cheonbugwan, alarmed by the fierce lightning. They arrive in time to join a skeptical Won (who’s rocking fresh-out-of-bed chic with a majestic ponytail) to adjudicate our heroes’ claims: that Mu unleashed a soul-shifter to kill them — a palace eunuch.

It looks like Mu might have backed himself into a political corner. However, Wook’s story hinges on one crucial aspect: Kim being dead. And, as it turns out, he is very much not. To the room’s astonishment, a smug Queen Ha-sun ushers an inexplicably still-breathing Kim into the hall. Wook and Mu-deok are forced to grit their teeth and claim they were lying in order to cover up the damage to the constellation room.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Their exit is not precisely frictionless. Mu demands that Cheonbugwan punish Wook. Still, he’s no match for the theatrical tour-de-force that is Wook and Mu-deok really committing to a deception. When Jin insists Wook is Songrim’s responsibility, Mu-deok flings herself at Won’s feet. Anything but that! Wook will be flogged to death! Wook, hardly missing a beat, sobs that if Jin requires his death, then he must of course submit.

Some couples finish each other’s sentences. These two finish each other’s lies. After much whimpering and wailing, they are escorted from the building.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Kim’s impromptu reanimation via ice stone is short-lived. He scarcely has time to protest before Ha-sun uses her power to extract the stone, once again rendering him a lifeless statue.

To Wook’s justifiable surprise, Jin believes him wholeheartedly. This incident is further confirmation that Mu possesses the ice stone — an item Jin’s certain is malevolent in of itself. Before Wook can argue this latter point, Mu-deok seizes his sleeve; while Jin might be their ally now, it’s still the two of them against the world. Later, Yul will hear of this reaction and draw his own worried conclusions.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Jin urges Wook to lie low, as per his pretend punishment. Wook remarks to Mu-deok that they ought to go train in Danhyanggok, but Mu-deok admits it’s too cold for that to be feasible. When she told Yul otherwise, it was only to spare his feelings — about his pet bird, that is.

Moreover, she adds, they should avoid being alone for safety’s sake. However, the power of the Bridge of Romantic Longing Mark 2 (now with 99% more longing) is strong. In what constitutes a stunning display of sentimental excess for Mu-deok, she admits that if she were to devour Wook’s energy and kill him, she’d find it unbearable. Wook, grinning, elects to interpret this as a reply to his love confession. Judging by her expression — which lies somewhere between that of a thief caught red-handed, and a woman skewered through the heart — he’s not far off the mark.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

With no couple’s retreat to Danhyanggok on the horizon, Wook elects to train at home. This time, he assures Mu-deok he won’t be ditching his responsibilities to fish with Master Lee. As such, he responds with no small amount of bafflement when she orders him to do just that. But, Mu-deok has her reasons: Master Lee has offered to help Wook catch a golden fish: one of the masses of energy formed within Lake Gyeongcheondaeho. Doing so requires mastery of Chisu, a skill that’ll propel Wook into the magical big leagues.

Back in the Murder Room at Cheonbugwan, So-yi has reached the wardrobe and makeup stage of her transformation into Bu-yeon. Much like every other stage so far, it’s nightmarish. Woo-tak himself delivers instructions on how to replicate every minor detail of his daughter’s appearance. The red mole behind her ear. The scar on her forearm. So-yi bites back her tears as acid is applied to her skin.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Afterwards, we linger on someone who possesses scar and mole both. You guessed it: Mu-deok! The writers have played fast and loose on this reveal, but it’s incontrovertible — our assassin wears the body of the original flavor Bu-yeon. Accept no substitutes!

While Wook is busy pouring heart and soul into his fishing — occasionally pausing to commiserate with Master Lee about their deeply convoluted love lives — Mu-deok gets an invitation from Do-joo to help with an important memorial service. In a gutting twist of fate, it turns out it’s for her father — and herself. Ever intent on looking after her own, Do-joo intends to pacify their spirits, protecting the Jang household from harm.

It’s one thing to watch your old body go up in flames. It’s another to be a stranger at your own father’s memorial. Mu-deok keeps it together until Do-joo leaves — before kneeling down to weep.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Her sorrow does not go unwitnessed. A visiting Yul has news for Wook: having mastered Chisu, his father will call him back to Seoho Fortress soon. There’s someone he wants to take with him. Wook, who came home in time to watch his friend watch the love of his life as she grieves, has a sinking feeling he knows who it is.

But, let’s backtrack. Why did Wook look so cheerful returning from fishing, before being ambushed by Yul and his whole deal? It turns out, he’s accomplished the impossible. After a few days by the lake, he’s put the decade most mages take to master the elements to shame, and reached Chisu. As Master Lee tells an apprehensive Jin, some people are simply… born great. And Wook, with his volatile destiny, has the potential to alter the world — for good, or ill.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Mu-deok, flush with triumph at her pupil’s success, overplays her hand a tad with Prince Won — who isn’t exactly on his best behavior. Wracked with jealousy, he gloats at the prospect of destroying the yin jade once Wook loses his tenth duel. Mu-deok is outwardly unconcerned: if Won really thinks she and Wook share a bond strong enough to bet her life on, it’ll survive the loss of a keepsake. Won, enraged at her deception, flings the jade into the nearby pond.

It’s time, he says, for Mu-deok to truly bet her life. She listens, unflinching, to the new terms he details — and does not relent. Bluff upon bluff has been called.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Long story short, when Wook arrives for his final fight, the stakes have risen drastically. Rather than the usual golden toad, the winner will walk away with… Mu-deok. And Wook’s opponent will not be the unrelentingly obnoxious CHA BEOM (Lee Ji-hoo), as expected, but rather: Yul.

As the only known Jeongjingak pupil with mastery of Chisu, Won recruited Yul in the hopes of certain success. And, if Yul has ulterior motives for wanting to win Mu-deok’s contract as servant… well, that’s between him and his immaculate pokerface.

When the two cross swords, it’s clear neither intends to let friendship get in the way of a no-holds-barred, bro vs bro showdown. Moreover, it’s no easy win for Yul. Wook shocks the crowd with his graceful deployment of techniques gleaned from his previous fights. To cap it all, he fearlessly pulls off Naksu’s signature Tansu, gathering water from the air with his newfound magical mastery and slamming Yul onto the defensive.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

But, here’s what I love about Alchemy of Souls: destiny or not, Wook has to work hard for his wins. And this one… isn’t a win. Yul sends him flying.

The spectators flock to Wook nonetheless, astounded by his prodigy. Wook, as ever, only has eyes for Mu-deok, but she’s already gone — first, to reprimand a royal prince for his sneakiness (as one does), and then to negotiate with her new master. Yul has just one request. When he returns to Seoho Fortress, he needs her help taking someone else with him. It’s an underhand move that feels shockingly beneath him. Unaware that the person in question is probably her, Mu-deok gives her word.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Back at Sejukwon, Wook tells Jin that Master Lee helped him achieve Chisu owing to a family matter. Cue a significant glance, and Jin experiencing quite possibly the full range of human emotion in a single instant. But, before he can do anything ruinous like hold an honest conversation about what he’s been withholding, Wook finishes: Master Lee likes Do-joo. The whiplash is real. Having identified his romantic rival, Jin is now in agony — all the while, convinced Do-joo still loves Jang Gang.

Do-joo, for her part, worries Jin just doesn’t like her that way. She receives ample consolation from Master Lee, a man unashamed of using his world-defying magical prowess to freshen up her flower arrangements in the hopes of making her feel less lonely.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Like father, like pseudo-son. Wook himself is feeling anything but normal about Mu-deok’s closeness with Yul: the sight of them bonding over homing pigeons is enough to drive him to despair. But Mu-deok is no less of a fool for love; she spends all night dredging the pond for her jade charm, reluctant to face Wook without it.

Elsewhere, Team Evil have been diligently at work. Under the pretext of presenting her with a new hairpin, Woo-tak pricks Cho-yeon’s neck — in much the same place as Mu-deok’s mole — extracting a strange red thread from the wound. Meanwhile, Mu sets about apprehending everyone who knows of So-yi’s true identity. He takes the opportunity to keep his protege nicely traumatized by forcing her to watch Ha-sun drain them to death.

Being passed around like a jade ornament must be taking its toll on Mu-deok, because the gloves are off this episode. She openly mocks Won whilst poor, long-suffering EUNUCH OH (Lee Ki-sub) sifts through the pond in search of the actual ornament she’s already retrieved. When the ever-unpleasant Beom mocks Wook’s illegitimacy, insinuating that he’s taken up celibacy to achieve his magical prowess, she snaps, calling him despicable. Then, when Beom raises a stink before Won, she takes great relish in brandishing her royal perfume sachet — while the prince she’s wrapped around her little finger watches, smug.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Only one thing causes her confidence to falter: catching Wook in laughing conversation with Yun-ok — and just as she was about to show him the yin jade, no less. Once she gets him alone, in a moment of understandable passive-aggression, she relates the incident with Beom. For all she knows, he could have become Master Lee’s pupil.

Wook, unfazed, ponders how he ought to prove otherwise. She meets his eyes, sullen. He hugs her. Unimpressed, she says he ought to go embrace the “pretty lady” instead. Wook asks if she really means it. Do it, she snaps.

And. He. Kisses. Her!!

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Here’s the glorious thing — holy UST, is it awkward. By which I mean, it’s flawless. It’s tender, and brief, and Mu-deok’s eyes are bulged wide open the entire time. After all, why on earth would this intricate, passionate game of emotional Jenga collapse with a single kiss? Why would they do anything other than attempt to continue their conversation, as if they hadn’t locked lips five seconds ago? Mu-deok’s so flustered, she almost forgets to show him the yin jade.

Alas, the two have other responsibilities than loudly pretending to have neither described nor acted on their feelings. Mu-deok’s distinctly un-maidlike gutsiness has not gone unnoticed: Jin has located the man who originally brought her to Chwiseonru, and has some pressing questions regarding her blindness — or lack of it.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

But Mu-deok’s cover remains intact: turns out, Jin’s witness has been bribed by Wook to keep up the pretense that she’s a simple villager. Mu-deok gleans some perplexing information: a thief named So-yi, robbed the former Mu-deok’s house. Her gisaeng friend, JU-WOL (Sojin), suspects she may still be searching for Mu-deok.

Intrigued, Mu-deok visits her former guardian again in the hopes of learning more. What she finds instead is his corpse. Worse still — someone else finds it too. Jin brandishes a sword to her throat, accusing her of murder.

Meanwhile, Wook joins Master Lee to meet King Soon — who, much like his predecessor, has one thing on his mind: longevity. He asks Master Lee how he manages to look so young. In a reveal that, despite being long foreshadowed, hit me like a sledgehammer, Master Lee informs him that his original body is long dead. He is a soul-shifter… and he’s here to sniff out the one that lurks in the palace.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

Talk about intricate plotting! This show never condescends. Most of its reveals are expertly foreshadowed in the sense that we’re meant to guess the what, but we’re left on tenterhooks about the why. This one, though, was of a different caliber: the breadcrumbs were there, but we weren’t necessarily expected to follow.

See, I reckon Alchemy of Souls prioritizes cleverness of a particular kind — both in its writing and characterization. This is a trickster sort of plot, in the same way that Mu-deok is a trickster sort of protagonist. And can I just say, I love the latter? Our heroine is a creature of guile — when the odds are against her, she’ll finagle her way out with a clever deception or a creative gambit. Even better, Wook’s the same, and it’s almost entirely due to her influence. At first glance, he looks like your archetypal hero with the powerful destiny, but he’s all about practicality and survival.

He and Mu-deok are accustomed to being downtrodden, or dismissed as useless — and, as such, they’ve learned to rely on their wits. They both recognize that a loss is not necessarily a defeat. Sometimes, as with Wook’s ten successive duels, it can be an opportunity. Learn to fake a smile. Lose the battle, but win the war. Know the value of a good lie. That’s the rule book Wook and Mu-deok play by — and I can’t wait to see where it’ll take them.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 13-14

 
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Master Heo and Uk teasing Park Jin endlessly☺️. AoS, how could you do this to a 53 year old man?

So now it’s official that Mu-deok is Buyeon, and she’s(Buyeon) a Chisu level mage. And strong enough to open Cheonbugwan's constellation dome...there is levels to her powers. High levels.

In the midst of all this, I can only feel distant pity for Jin Ho-gyeong. Her actions have really torn her family apart, and she doesn’t look ready to pick the pieces together, nor does she recognize what she’s doing. Perhaps she’s feeling safe in her capacity as Jinyowon’s head, plus the seal they have guaranteed from the Royal Family. If she thinks she’s impregnable, at the moment, she isn’t. She’s as open to ill and danger as she can be. Granted, she lost a dear child, a child she’s grooming to succeed her. It’s one thing to long for a lost one, but at the expense of the living becoming estranged to you and you to them due to your disposition, there’s no saying when they’ll turn on you. The husband has already deserted her and is ready, eager to offer her head on a platter of gold, and it’s quite a stretch and a wonder that Cho-yeon hasn’t descended down the bitter party despite the way Ho-gyeong regards her.
I just want Jang Gang to come back because it seems that’s the only person remaining who can rein in Ho-gyeong’s senses. She has hardened herself to Songrim. The tattered man roaming the streets of the capital had better be him.
I guess the vein taken from Cho-yeon will be implanted into So-i who at the moment I must say is an impressive character. If only…if only she’s not forced to be on the bad guys side. It’ll only make it harder for them to distinguish the real deal from the imposter. Good thing that the chirping birds and the relics recognize Buyeon’s energy perfectly, but with Jin Ho-gyeong blind in the head, I don’t know if she’ll register this things. So much Ho-gyeong for being the personification of everything graceful, calm and collected, yet fearsome. Yul’s the first with those specifications. Ho-gyeong’s close second. So-i might be able to open the Jinyowon door, and likely have some mage-ic powers due to the implanted vein, but that’s the only thing she’ll ever be able to do. I hope those relics expose the fraud Jin Mu is selling.

I thought we’d have a step forward with Mudeok, but it seems like we had a one step forward, and a step back. Heart plugging moment – she got to properly hold a memorial for her father, after years of misguided information about him. Really touching.
It was a one step back in the right direction though. Now everything should be forced out to the open.
Talking about Park Jin. He’s a mage who really knows his onions. And the baits he’s been dropping to hook in Mudeok are really smart. He’s knows she’s smart too. I want this two to have a rematch though when Naksu becomes Naksu - a frank friendly rematch. Not like she’s going to defeat Park Jin, I just want a duel that has no inkling of bad blood...

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I wonder if Bu-yeon's incredible power stems from her strange birth story. If she was only born after some sorcery intervention, it could easily have led to some accidental side effects like her power and resulting blindness.

I feel pretty awful for Momma Jin also, and you captured her sad journey so well. She is truly in self-destruction mode and I hope someone is able to get her out of it while there is still time.

100% agree that Park Jin has been playing this one really well. His acknowledgement that she did well when she was trying to get Uk out of Cheonbugwan was fun but also put me on alert. And then the bow was well placed/played. I'm still not sure if he really thinks MD murdered that ajusshi or if he's just pretending to have an excuse to do more investigating. I would love to see a friendly rematch! I just hope they won't have a reason for it not to be friendly...

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I'm still not sure if he really thinks MD murdered that ajusshi or if he's just pretending to have an excuse to do more investigating

It could be both. Park Jin smells foul play miles away. He knows she's not Mudeok, and that conversation he had with Master Lee placed Mudeok on his radar. He thinks Mudeok is still vengeful about the death of her father, hence she's infiltrated the household to finish them off one by one. What he doesn't know is that Naksu now knows a good amount of truth about what happened when she was five.
It's checks both :-
Murder accusation : She's(Cho Yeong) out for revenge and;
More investigating : What really is going on here with Mudeok.

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The bow was definitely suspiciously placed. I'm not sure if he suspects of her being Naksu, but he definitely suspect her of being someone who may kill to hide her identity. I wonder if he may have kept tabs on the ahjusshi and knows Mudeok didn't kill him, but there is no knowing whether what she was planning to do to the ahjusshi. All in all, Mudeok attracts danger and I think that is enough for Jin to make sure she doesn't get near Uk. She is like the bad boy on the motorcycle.

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I love a rematch and let Naksu cream him. Naksu recognized why she lost and once she regains her power, she will advance to do just that. Just for fun.

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Among other items, that dude was hacked down with a sword and Mu-Deok is quite noticeably not carrying a sword. He's just being dramatic to see how she reacts and what she says.

As I've said in other threads, one of the sweetest aspects of this drama is that none of the characters are STUPID. It flips through a lot of Wuxia cliches--as with someone caught standing over a body--and sticks a pin in them every . . . single . . . time. Loved Uk losing a vital match, yes, and also, afterwards, everyone just congratulating him for doing as well as he did!

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...in it, a duel as comrades. AoS, kindly make it happen.

In the teaser comments before AoS began airing, Crown Prince Won is described as a man who strives hard to become a generous King. And as he journeys through the path to becoming king, admiration and respect is all I have for him. He's really working towards that. Close-knit relationship with the mage-ic families is a step in the right direction. And this week only added to the respect and admiration. How can you both admonish and protect the very same person who took you for a fool. Talk of scoring points, he scored very huge and big ones.
He’s going to turn out to be a just king. I must say that Daeho has good tidings waiting for them the moment he ascends the throne.

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I, for one, would love to see a spin-off with the Crown Prince and Mudeok headlining the show with the exact same actors. It would be such a hoot!
Shin Seung-ho mentioned in an interview that the CP was like fried chicken - crunchy & testy on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside. What an apt description indeed. He'll probably be the male character that I will miss the most after the show ends - maybe even more so than Wook!

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There's so much care in how his CP Won is written, acted, and characterized to the audience - a well written, nuanced individual.
I'm up for the spinoff as well. They'll balance each other so well, both with the banters and their sharp wit.

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That's such a cute description and fits perfectly. I like how he's lofty and arrogant because he's been raised as the CP, but is openminded. I love how doesn't dismiss Uk. He gets a middle of the night call from a frenemy, and he gets dressed to see what's up. And even though the undead Eunuch "proved" that his master was right and Uk was a liar, he was open-minded enough to consider that his frenemy of a few months may have been the victim and his master of many years, the aggressor.

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The crown prince is definitely one of my favourite characters at the moment. He's so well written

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Agree. The CP is arrogant and spoiled but also self-aware enough to know and acknowledge (if only to himself) when he's being petty and selfish.

The more the story has unfolded, the more I find myself hoping he will ascend to the throne as king despite Uk's supposed royal destiny being ordained by the king's star.

As it is, I have a hard time imagining Uk even wanting to be king. He's got such a carefree spirit right now and it would just strangle him (metaphorically) to be bogged down by the responsibilities of ruling a kingdom and having to deal with endless political machinations. Being a royal sure ain't all crowns and roses.

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Love to see another rematch between Jin and Naksu again.

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I love it when Master Heo and Uk teased Park Jin. I deeply feel Master Heo's frustration with him as well.

I agree about Ho Gyeong. I feel pity for her family. And now that MD is officially BY I still can't get over why she is unable to recognize her daughter despite the seemingly devotion to her eldest.

I want to see a friendly rematch between Park Jin and Naksu too. They need to find her a new body or recreate her old one, if that is even possible.

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She's most likely *blinded* by the fact that Mu Deok isn't blind. They've been looking for blind girls all these years... since that's been a major part of her, a seemingly unchangeable one even among mages.

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Ho-gyeong witnessed the birds chirp by her very own self. She knows that the birds respond mostly to Buyeon's energy. It should have counted as something to Ho-gyeong but she ignored or brushed aside or called it a bluff, I really don't know what she did.
Cho-yeon even told her Mu-deok opened the Jinyowon door herself but Ho-gyeong shushed he up. She was not even opening herself up to hearing Cho-yeon.
So many things gave an inkling to Buyeon's roots but Ho-gyeong brushed them all away. Why? She isn't listening anymore. She's become blind, in her head.

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With the birds chirping, I'm not sure she could exactly pinpoint that Mu Deok caused it from where she was. The birds started chirping crazily when she was entering the compound... but the entrance doesn't seem to be visible from that Pavillion. They had to round the corner to see her. By the time Mu Deok was standing in front of Ho Gyeong, the birds had all settled down. It seemed to be all of a brief disturbance from her view... or even if Bu Yeon was nearby, it was a brief sign.

When questioned about Mu Deok being in Jinyowon, Cho Yeon said that Mu Deok walked in by herself... she didn't lead her there. So Ho Gyeong asked (rather strongly) if Cho Yeon was saying that Mu Deok opened the door... only their family could open it. Cho Yeon looked confused and backtracked, saying that she herself must have left it open then. Cho Yeon didn't actually see Mu Deok open it; she only saw her walk through it. Cho Yeon also never said that Mu Deok opened the door... She probably didn't think that Mu Deok could do it, either. If Cho Yeon had seen Mu Deok do it and doubled down on a response, Ho Gyeong might have entertained it.... but I wonder if she would just think that Mu Deok were a hidden relative instead of Bu Yeon.

I really do think that Mu Deok being a seeing person is the hurdle here. Looking for a blind girl, you wouldn't think it's the seeing girl in front of you.

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I suppose. She has held on to her daughter's blindness as a means to get her to seriously consider someone as being BY. And you are right, there were few incidents that should've clued her in but brushed off instead.

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Yes! that is the elegant bit of irony. Everyone is "blinded" in this story by various things.
And the girl who is physically blind sees things quite clearly.
Not just Mamma Jin either, so many characters in this show only see what they expect to see and miss reality. Humans do this all the time! We aren't very good at seeing what is truly there, we often fit the facts or the world to the way we want to see it.
It's a really fun theme to track as the story goes on :)

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That whole BY's-family-doesn't-recognize-her angle kinda reminds me of what the mirror told Uk in an earlier episode — everything is an illusion, including how or what people see when they look at us. Could it be that MD's family see something else (like a BY-created illusion) when they look her way?

Or maybe I'm unnecessarily complicating things with the illusion idea. I mean — if we can accept that people don't recognize Clark Kent as Superman because of his glasses, I guess we can accept that people don't entertain the possibility that MD is BY because she's not blind.

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When I was watching this week's episodes, I was thinking a lot about the much talked about "Bridge of Romantic Longing" in our beanies discussion and to quote your comment from last week again:

"That bridge has seen and heard enough of confessions and connectivity, it has become a character itself…one that connects longing/yearning souls ;)"

I noticed that all connections with Uk are done on the cement bridge, cue CP yinyang jade scene, Cheongbugwan aftermath MD/Uk talk (and there will be another one in ep 15/16 preview!) whereas Yul/MD/Naksu's bridge connection is always on a wooden one LOL

And yes it's high time Jang Gang show up again. It's no coincidence AoS started off with a scene with Jang Gang. Please don't pack all the excitement towards the end, drama!

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I actually had the impression that Jin Ho-gyeong husband was also a soul shifter that was planted among them a long time ago LOL...
I actually pity Cho-yeon as her mother is so blinded that she fails to see her other daugther and properly look and give her the love she deserves...
At least Cho-yeon has Dang Gu now who is the ultimate cinnamon roll and will give her the happiness she deserves and make her feel as the best unlike how her mother constantly makes her feel or reminds her of her position in their family...

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I think buyeon is in highest level mage equal to founder of songrim and Jin Seol-ran. I think she was trained by jin mu to unleash her most dangerous and forbidden magic: hwansu, the energy of the sky. You see buyeon is trying to open the sky to destroy the ice stone like the way founder of songrim did. It is level of hwansu. Jin seol- ran created the ice stone from all magic through energy of the sky. And the founder of songrim use it to save the nation the destroy it. In modern day, it is most likely that Jang Uk and jin buyeon together can make and destroy the ice stone. I think nasku is also part of it but we may know it later in part 2 I believe. It requires hwansu. Which is the last magic Jang uk would need to master with the help of jin buyeon. In modern day, other than jin buyeon, but sure who else also master hwansu. Master Lee? Jang Gang? Doctor Heo? We don’t know. It is most likely that jang Uk and jin buyeon will be the modern day hwansu level mage. Naksu will obtain for sharing body with jin buyeon.

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I think something similar, but I think she’s actually part ice stone, I think when she died in her moms belly jang gang put the ice stone inside her. Then when she tried to pull it into being and got pushed into the lake, she lost her memories/personality and became mudeok. I think if they destroy the ice stone, she will have to assimilate with naksu to live. I think the writers will try to make naksu and buyeon into one individual. A individual who loves uk.

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Let me be the first to admit: I was suuuper wrong haha! It is just that simple! Mu-deok’s body is Bu-yeon and Bu-yeon is still inside there too, end of complexity. No previous soul-swapping with So-i. I still feel funny about this because then I feel like Momma Jin has no excused for not recognizing her daughter, and Jin Mu has no business finding a woman to look like Bu-yeon’s portrait, but WHATEVER. MD = BY. I’m glad they could clear this up. It does make me wonder how they are going to do without Jung So-min for part 2, but hopefully it was all part of the plan.

An aside: Did you really have to name one character Cho Yeong and another one Jin Cho-yeon? When there are so many other name possibilities out there? You decided that was your best bet? Fine.

I loved LJW’s face acting in the scene where Eunuch Kim came back into the room after being resurrected. He was surprised, but only for a second, then it was this gorgeous combination of wonder and hope and determination. 10/10 good job.

This new info about the ice stone might set us up for a very logical and very tragic ending. Obviously this is all just speculation. If Cho Yeong gets her body back, but the ice stone has to reside inside her for that to happen, then I can easily see her giving it back up and sacrificing herself so that it could be destroyed. Also, since she is able to cast spells, having the ice stone inside her would give her godlike power, and I can’t imagine that is a healthy situation for anyone to be in for long.

Buuuuuut, enough speculation. So-i seems like she’s not a completely terrible person (she was rightfully horrified at the energy sucking), but also pretty unscrupulous. She is actually daydreaming about making a move for Yul while she pretends to be Bu-yeon? So much for an innocent crush. And I was curious what their solution was going to be for having her open the Jinyowon gate, but I guess Cho-yeon’s blood worm takes care of that. I wonder if her dad is a soul shifter or just a baddie?

VERY intrigued by Master Lee’s latest admission. Not, however, ready to make any judgements until we get to see more of that scene next week. I really hope he’s not just a remorseless eternal-life-seeker like the mages we saw last week. He seems so much more interesting than that, and I’m hoping he actually is.

Quote of the week comes from uri CP Won, “How dare you try to understand me?!”

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@jls943: I beg you, don’t use “blood worm” ever again! It conjures up something really gross!

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Haha, I wasn't sure what to call it! It still moved around even when it was out in the open air! (I'm assuming you mean the polychaetes that the term also refers to? That will be a strong agree from me - not a fan of polychaetes of any description.)

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If Cho Yeong gets her body back, but the ice stone has to reside inside her for that to happen

We certainly do not know how they'll do it. But I guess Master Lee is the key, based on the revelation we got. He's a soul shifter, but he's not sustaining himself with the ice stone. I don't know how he transported his soul, but he's using Hwansu to sustain it. He most likely will restore back Naksu in a body the same way he got his current body. Naksu will have to master Hwansu so she doesn't run wild, even if she's cut and injured.
The ice stone seems to be a cheat code hence the risk of running wild, but with Hwansu, a pure form of sustainability, that risk is effectively covered. The power crazy mages are just too lazy to master hwansu, they just want the easiest way out. So sad it a diabolical one.

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Here is a bad suggestion: during the raging storm more than one hail stone (ice stone) was created.

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He's a soul shifter, but he's not sustaining himself with the ice stone.

I don't think he really is a soul shifter because he uses a dog to sense soul shifters and the dog was controlled by Lee or Uk whenever it was around Mu Deok.

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Agreed. That might have been a lie to get the queen to act.

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He's sustaining himself with that chastity drink. Sure it takes your libido away, but you get lots of power and maybe more . . .

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It does make me wonder how they are going to do without Jung So-min for part 2, but hopefully it was all part of the plan.

With the casting confirmation of Go Yoon Jung for season 2, and Jung So-min's casting withheld for now, I guess there'll be a split somewhere towards the end. Naksu returns to Yoon Jung, MudeokBuyeon remains in So-min.
If this plays out like this, two thoughts arise.
1. As per the romance...who gets Naksu. We will most certainly still be left with a love triangle.
2. Whatever they have in store for season 2 is soo huuuge that they had to make sure both women came back. It's going to be fire.

(@jls943 editing errors I didn't notice until just now)

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"MudeokBuyeon remains in So-min."

If they don't kill off Bu-yeon and JSM returns to portray her - especially blind woman Bu-yeon with amazing powers - I will bow down to the Writer Gods.

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I agree that Cho Yeong back in her original body and Bu-yeon still played by Jung So-min would be ideal. Maybe the rumors have been exaggerated and she will return to play that part. I don't think they can reasonably kill Bu-yeon off in part one, so here's hoping!

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LOL I was actually holding out for:

Yul-Uk-Naksu/ Cho Yeong
Buyeon-Uk-Naksu/ Cho Yeong (would be nice if Uk were to cast an occasional sentimental look on Buyeon while reminiscing about days with MD... now before anyone go on a Naksu/ Cho Yeong defense, of course Uk's heart belongs to Naksu/ Cho Yeong

At this point, best case for JSM in S2 is cameo role IMHO.

Also, since Naksu got her name back, wonder which name she will be addressed with in S2. And will we get the friendly match with Park Jin in S1/S2 or at all...

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my heart breaks reading that 'cameo role' part.

Now, the Writer gods need to make sure the solid reason for only Naksu to be in S2, or for Naksu and Mu Deok to be there together. I do wish So Min not leave, but if she has to stay as Mu Deok/Bu Yeon, I don't want here to serve as just the 'alternative' for everyone's happy ending without any solid, convincing reason.

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my heart breaks too, trust me.
I'm not having much expectation to be honest. And whether the show has good or bad ending, that's really anyone's guess at this point.

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"I wonder if her dad is a soul shifter or just a baddie?"

I'm 99% sure he's a soul shifter. He had this look on his face when he pricked his daughter to get her blood. No father would look at his daughter like that 😅

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Right? He's so chilling in his interactions with them and with his willingness to torture another woman to make her look like his long-lost daughter. I really kind of want him to be a soul shifter at this point.

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Ho-gyeong has done a good job in reducing him to something/a capacity he doesn't want to be in. Even her interactions with him her distant.
What I do not get is the transfer on aggression on sweet innocent Cho-yeon. I thought her comment would derail him, but he just poked her with her poker face plastered. Any sympathy for him just vanished.

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I think he should be a baddie, not a soul-shifter. He is just THAT fed up with his wife’s rage and abuse. In fact, all this time he had been so-called “looking for their older daughter” it was just to have an excuse to get out of the house. But since she put a stop to that, he is now on board with Jinmu… whatever to keep his wife a little doped and placated. And he’s doing this for Cho-yeon, too. Although… yeah… that creepy smile behind her back probably indicates soul-shifting. But I actually wouldn’t have a problem with the wife-made-him-go-nuts explanation.

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I think Jin Ho-gyeong fate might very well be "waking up" and seeing her having lost all her dear ones she took for granted right under her eyes with all her power...She doesn't even know, if he is indeed a soul shifter,like i actually believed,that her husband is long dead replaced by another one,her younger daughter leaving her if she refused her marriage and her oldest with un uncertain destiny,considering her birth(like being dead twice)...

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I loved that line!

Master Lee's admission was a shock, but it made me confused at how young his current body when Park Jin and Master Heo recognizes him in his current form. Park Jin had seen Master Lee since he was a little kid. Did he have several triplets on ice somewhere? I'm guessing he is the one other mage besides Seo Gyeong who has mastered Hwansu.

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I'm not even sure I believe him yet, because of exactly the reason you gave. If he's looked the same for 40-odd years, that's at the very least not the same type of soul-shifting we've seen before, where they would have had to keep swapping out bodies to remain young. I'm excited for more info next week.

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Who says he is telling the truth,like u i can't seem to believe him mainly because of the timeline...The others very mentioned being at his 100 birthday and so on so he had the same body even back then...
Think he is just playing a shameless game to get back at the Queen and Jin Mu.

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Sorry, but which character is Cho-Yeong? I lost track.

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There is Jin Cho-yeon who is Spring of the Four Seasons, but also Cho Yeong is Naksu's real name.

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Also, once again, bravo @alathe!

I read these weecaps twice - once in frenzied anticipation, pausing only to get a hold of my laughter, and again to soak up anything I missed, look at the pretty pictures, and laugh a second time. They are truly a delight. :D

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"Some couples finish each other’s sentences. These two finish each other’s lies."

" See, I reckon Alchemy of Souls prioritizes cleverness of a particular kind — both in its writing and characterization. This is a trickster sort of plot, in the same way that Mu-deok is a trickster sort of protagonist. And can I just say, I love the latter? Our heroine is a creature of guile — when the odds are against her, she’ll finagle her way out with a clever deception or a creative gambit. Even better, Wook’s the same, and it’s almost entirely due to her influence. At first glance, he looks like your archetypal hero with the powerful destiny, but he’s all about practicality and survival."

Brilliant weecap here @alathe. Kudos to you 👏👏👏

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Yes, yes! Loved reading the wee cap as much as watching the drama.

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+100 on the excellent weecaps! ::chef-kiss:: The episode write-ups help me catch little tidbits that I missed, and are quite simply entertaining in their own right. Plus they do so much to set the welcoming and wonderful tone of the discussions in the comments section for this show.

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I agree! Even when I don't like a drama, I want to read a pretty generous re/weecap, otherwise I think the comments are not set up quite as well. It seems easier to be critical in the face of positivity, but I think less easy to be positive in the face of a very critical summary.

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At this point in the show, I liken the narrative to chess board pieces being set in place. We’re building up to some big revelations and even bigger battles and I really hope that the anticipation pays off.

🎀Stray Observations:🎀

🎀I think that Master Lee is lying about being a soul-shifter in order to lure out the shifters hiding in the palace. He’s sent for Sapsali to sic them out, while bluffing and watching for their reactions. It doesn’t make sense that his body is 30-40 years old, yet everyone remembers seeing him at his 100th birthday party and growing up with him. I’m sticking to my gut feeling about him lying and simply using his gate of energy and spells to rejuvenate his physical form.

🎀Adding to the previous point, Sapsali never went after Master Lee, just other soul-shifters like Mu Deok which further supports the idea that he’s not being truthful.

🎀I hate, hate the vague promise trope, especially since both Uk and Mu Deok have vowed to Master Heom and Yul respectively to do as they ask when the time comes, with no questions asked. What is going on, people!? Those promises are going to turn around and bite them in their keisters.

🎀I thought I would feel more from the kiss? It gave early 2000’s dead-fish with eyes wide open. I get that she was taken by surprise, but it was…lacking? Maybe I’m alone in this, but I wanted a more tender moment. It was great that Uk asked if he should kiss the pretty girl and then leaned in to peck Mu Deok at her insistence, but otherwise it didn’t meet my expectations since their hugs to-date have felt more intimate.

🎀I’ve seen theories that the soul-shifter who sucked the energy from those women is the real queen, but why would Jin Gu keep her alive? Doesn’t it make more sense to get rid of her like he did the old mage from previous episodes? His crime, if discovered is high treason, but I guess it goes to show just how far-gone and cocky he is to not care about looming repercussions. Also, the woman looked pretty starved, and I think he’s barely keeping her alive, whilst she pretends to be agreeable, surviving only to get her revenge. He could also be planning to leverage her life in exchange for power when the time comes, or have the king abdicate the throne.

🎀Baby Yul is breaking my heart. He’s lying to himself, clearly, and is still in love with Mu Deok, pretending as though he will take her away for her own good when he really wants to keep her from Uk and by his side. I will give him credit for not trying to confine her, yet, probably because he knows that this wouldn’t slide, but I’m dreading the time when their friendship will inevitably be tested.

🎀Sadly, I do not think Jin Cho Yeon’s dad is a soul-shifter. I think he’s a conniving man who feels overshadowed by his wife and has bought into a cause that will seemingly give him power. Again, it feels like things are slowly being set into place with So-I and I really...

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...hope this arc isn’t drawn out.

🎀Speaking of trouble, I’m not a fan of So-I’s. She steals and lies her way through life and now thinks that she’ll levy her position as long-lost first-born of the Jin’s to get with Yul. *cringe*

🎀Which brings me to an important point, it’s Naksu’s soul that matters. Even when Bu Yeon regains ownership of her body, I doubt Yul will immediately flock to her side or fawn over her. This show is notorious for its love contraptions, so I wouldn’t put that connection past them, but even if the body is the same, her soul is different.

🎀Finally, rumors of a second season have me feeling nervous. I really just want a concise and well-thought-out story without cliff-hangers or lazy writing hinging on a sequel to iron out the remaining details. By now I have a reasonable amount of faith in Director-nim, but I’m still cautious since things really could go either way. We’ve spent so much time on Uk, it only seems fair to give Naksu her share of attention and growth, but we shall see. I’m ready for Naksu to have the agency and power that is her due.

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@mewcrazy: I love your observations/analysis. Specifically, I agree that Master Lee is intentionally fibbing and his claim is a feint. Re the kiss, I hate to disagree with our Alathe but the kiss was sub par. The bulging eyes trope is tiresome but sadly, so entrenched in KDrama. I wanted to see much more tenderness and longing albeit all too briefly portrayed. Re Yul, given his extremely responsible character, what if he intends to do something tragic like killing Naksu and maybe even himself as a solution to the complex situation and as an atonement for his perceived abandonment of the young Naksu? I don’t know why I am filled with this sense of
foreboding as I sometimes think there is a deep sadness in Yul which is portrayed as equanimity. I hope I’m wrong.
And, I think Buyeon’s soul is submerged and will manifest itself soon so it is not just Naksu’s in there.

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I do think that the deer-in-the-headlights kiss expression is overdone, but I thought it worked well here! She was genuinely shocked, and it wasn't a long enough kiss for her to gather herself or change her mind about how to react. Plus, I didn't really expect her to give into her feelings in a physical way right away. I'm still hopeful that a much more tender version is coming.

I don't think Yul has reached the point of killing her yet - I think if that was the thing he had determined, he wouldn't be able to look at her or hang out with her the same way. He's so principled too that I can see him giving her a warning if he ever did decide that's what needed to be done.

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Agree with both points - but Yul has given her a warning, when she says (ep. 8?) that he chose not to let her die, and he replies that a time may come when he must do just that.

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@jls943: I hear you re the kiss. I just wanted a bit less awkwardness and bulging eyes. That’s all. I appreciate that Mukseon was taken aback. I just wanted her to manifest her feelings - even a tiny bit -albeit reluctantly. For me, it would have made the scene a bit more tender.

And, I do feel Yul has reached that stage of reckoning. I hope I’m wrong.

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Maybe y'all are right and Yul is already there. I'm just not sure we would have gotten the cute bird scene if he had already decided to take her out as a threat. I definitely think he's preparing himself for that eventuality though.

And @dncingemma I am with you! Please, drama, bring on the vulnerability! But I think it's a lot to expect from a first kiss. Especially if your love language is Telling the Person You Love That You Are Leading Them Into A Trap Right Before It Springs So That They Have A Chance Of Living Through It!

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Re the kiss. I also agree with @DancingEmma that the kiss was awkward, and not intentionally awkward like @alathe generously allows. My problem is less with the bulging eyes trope, but the fact that Uk suddenly socially distanced himself from her after the kiss. Everything up to the kiss was quite beautiful, but suddenly he takes a big step back. And what makes it the most awkward is the super lovey-dovey music that’s still going on in the background. It’s like that music was trying to create a chemistry that wasn’t observable on screen. If they had like a cute, playful music going on in the background, it would have felt more like what @alathe suggested.

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@KA: Very good point. I noticed that too but got sidetracked by my irritation at the overused trope.

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I think Yul actually is planning on taking UK back to Seoho Fortress, hence the scene when he believed that Uk listens to
Mu-Deoke. Also, foreshadowing her calling onto them by calling the bird to send a message to Seoho Fortress.

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@dncingemma Thank you! I'm a fan of your diction and insight 😊 I hope they have a more passionate kiss in future since this one didn't do it for me. Fortunately, I have seen swoon-worthy k-drama lip-locks a la CLOY, It's Okay Not to be Okay, Red Sleeve Cuff and Oh Hae Young, which leave me feeling hopeful.

I think your point about Yul is 100% valid. I also sensed some tension when he mentioned his father calling him home and don't believe that his family life is happy. Perhaps he feels keenly the weight of being heir and very little affection from them, which makes my heart hurt! I want so much love for this boy, just not romantic affection from Mu Deok. He needs nurturing? I just hope he doesn’t turn evil because of his conviction that all shape-shifters are ticking time bombs.

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Jin Cho Yeon's dad knew quite well what he was marrying into - a matriarchal lead household. There's no way he's leading anything, anywhere, anytime. Even if Ho-gyeong passes away before him, he'll answer to his daughters since they'll become the head of Jinyowon, not him.
So I don't get where his feeling overshadowed comes from. But if it's love degenerated into something else that spells not love due to her casting him aside after the loss of Buyeon, and therefore currently reducing him to nothing beyond a means/vessel to find Buyeon while she keeps Jinyowon running, I hear him. It can drive him bananas. But I do not like where he's ended with whatever is going on in his head.

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Yeah, I feel like the Jin women would have vetted the husbands to see who could handle marrying into a matriarchal household.
I wondered if he married her thinking he could still sweet-talk himself into a nice position. It does suck that his sole job is Bu-yeon-Finder, but I feel like Bu-yeon is also his lost child too and shouldn't he want to find her? Unless he knows for sure that she's dead. Like perhaps he had a hand in getting Bu-yeon to help Jin-mu find the ice stone?

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@asianromance Who knows? Regardless of motive, he is willing to sacrifice his wife's life in order to get it.

You're right about Bu Yeon being his daughter, too, but he seems so resolved in his betrayal. I feel bad for Cho Yeon since the bond with her father filled the chasm left by her mother's emotional distance.

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I think jin buyeon’s father has alchemy of souls controlled by jin mu. Possible one of choi family member to infiltrate jin household.

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I don't think Uk is sly. I would call him street smart, but I 100% agree with what you said and people have already called out MuDeok/Naksu's manipulation in previous recaps, so you are not alone in this matter.

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Well put!

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You raise some excellent points and conundrums. I agree with you that Uk, Mudeok and Sol are manipulating tricksters and hustlers who will stop at nothing when it comes to getting what they want.
I like how you point out that if people use lies and tricks for their agenda, how are they different from bad guys? I guess my tentative answer is - depends on their agenda, lol.

A bad guy's agenda is to hurt other people or to get what they want at the expense of others. Uk and Mudeok are not out to hurt others in any way, they are only trying to save themselves. And when both are in a circumstance where they are powerless to help themselves they resort to their wits and tricks. You gotta remember Uk didn't grow up powerful, he was the outcast loser with no powers. All he could ever do was play mind games with people, I'm sure that shaped his character. And Mudeok lost all her powers and skills, she's only left with her mind now.

We don't know much about Sol but I venture she is pretty similar. When you're at the bottom of the food chain and have no money, strength or power to defend yourself in life, you kinda have to resort to tricks to stay alive. I don't judge anyone forced by their circumstances in life if they have to break the rules in order to make it. I would do the same.

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Ah, I see what you mean.
Actually, the more I think I about it - I do enjoy flawed characters more. In most stories I tend to veer towards the antagonist more than the protagonist, lol.
I find it more interesting to watch complex and morally ambigous people, guess you can say the gray is more fun to me than black&white :)
But it's all preference really, we can't all like the same things, totally normal.

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As I recall, MD mostly "manipulates" the CP because 1. He has power to change things 2. He is arrogant 3. He wants to see Uk humiliated 4. He is charmed by MD. He is fair game. The most that he lost is his pride. Even then he seems to agree that MD bested him and perhaps for that reason likes her much. On endangering Uk's life? she endangers her own life for every accomplishments which Uk earned.

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Why do i foresee Naksu/Mudeok leaving with Yul in a dramatic ending in her quest to regain her body

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"We’ve seen theories that the soul-shifter who sucked the energy from those women is the real queen, but why would Jin Gu keep her alive? Doesn’t it make more sense to get rid of her like he did the old mage from previous episodes?"

If I understand what was previously implied, she's the only one who knows how to make Soul Ejectors, apparently since it was the Choi family that figured out how the Soul Ejector (powder) worked.

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@kathryn51 Good catch! That is an excellent point. I hope she exposes him and kills the imposter Queen.

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Why does the queen need to suck energy from these women. She has the ice stone.

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@Cyberglich The real queen had her body stolen and switched with the Shaman who is currently residing in the palace in her stead.

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I think the person sucking the life out of the 2 women is Lady Han, who replaced the Eunich who was petrified. She is now the person who carries messages and soul ejectors between the queen and Jin Mu

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So Master Lee is looking for soul-shifters in the palace, and he may be spoiled for choice given Jin Mu's and the faux queen's profligacy with soul ejectors and the ice stone. Utterly unsupported speculation: wouldn't the dying old king have wanted to soul-shift again before his death? Possibly into the body of, say, his brother and heir?

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DUN DUN DUN!!!

Sorry, I feel like that last statement needed a little soundtrack.

I don't know about the old king though. I'm sure he would have wanted to, but could he have found someone to perform the spell for him? He definitely wasn't able to do it on his own, and Jang Gang certainly wasn't going to fall for that again.

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I literally spat out my drink when I read this. >_<
HAHAHAHAHA
The next biggest plot hole after the golden fish.

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@elinor 🤯 W.O.W. I never considered that, great point!

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I think the dying old King couldn't have soul-shifted again because only Jang Gang could perform the spell at the time, and I believe JG would have flat out refused to perform the spell again, given what happened when he acquiesced to the king just that once . . . ?

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I hoped that Cho-yeon's dad was a soul shifter since it's sad to see him betray his family, but yeah the more realistic story is that he is just a man who can't stand playing second fiddle to his powerful wife. Don't marry into the Jin family if you can't take it!

I think Yul is trying to save Uk and Mu-deok and I think his lack of jealousy seeing Uk achieve Chisu points to him not feeling resentful, but I think most of Songrim, he underestimates Uk and thinks Uk would just get into trouble (which is also probably going to be true...) He only sees the outcome of Mu-deok going wild and Uk getting hurt trying to get the ice stone.

And amen to how annoying it is in fiction when characters agree to promise things with no questions asked. I guess it takes a lot of trust. Don't make promises lightly!

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Oooh I have the same thoughts with you on Master Lee being a soul shifter a bluff since he said something about making a brazen move when the palace has already revealed that they've got the ice stone.

OMG on the vague promise trope.. my inner theatrical just escalated to Uk on his way to marrying Heo Yoon Ok and MD on her way to marrying Yul all decked out in the red wedding costume.. then the autumn wind blew away the red cloth covering her face just as they turn and meet each other's eye, wondering what dumb promise they've just made back then 🤣 🤣 🤣

The kiss? Firstly I'd wish they hadn't put in on the preview or the still cuts for click bait. Anyway, we get that Uk was being sensitive to not scare our assassin in love here too much, still! for me, I blame it on the sweet smiles on our OTP when they were with love rival scene in this episode. While I'm still firmly team UkieDeoki, objectively speaking, I have a greater feel for the Yul-MD homing whistle scene although it did not involve any physicality. It's just that so much has transpired for Naksu and it's just so sweet of Yul to distract her with something simple and just to see her smiling for real instead of smiling to save her skin or some other hidden agenda. That and objectively speaking, Yul and Heo Yoon Ok do have good visuals together and they looked more relaxed together as they're peers. And maybe they can insert some near kiss moment first before the actual kiss spanning 1 or 2 episodes, that'd be great too. Because a kiss out of the blue on a least suspecting girl is just asking for a awkward scene after.

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Yul and Heo Yoon Ok do have good visuals together and they looked more relaxed together as they're peers.

Do you mean Wook and Heo Yun-ok because Yul and Yun-ok are family? (Her grandfather Heo Yeom is Yul's great-uncle.)

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Heo is Yul's uncle?

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Master Heo and Lady Do-hwa and Kim Do-joo are from the same family branch or hometown. He's a maternal uncle to Yul. But I don't know if they (Heo and Do-hwa) share parents, or if it's just the family branch that they share.

@panshel, I think I @quintessential means romantically. I believe there's no problem with that.

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Pretty much the reason why Mudeok chased Yul to get his breathing pattern which is the same as Master Heo - because they are family.

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Oh ya typo there! Sorry! 😉

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I meant uk and heo yoon ok have great visuals together. I was thinking too much about yul lol

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No worries! Yul does have good great visuals together with Yun-ok and by himself. If they weren't related, I would ship. Both are regal-looking. We don't call Hwang Min-hyun "Emperor Hwang" for nothing. 😉

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Heo Yoon Ok seemed like a sweet and smart person and I'm sensing she will be paired with the Crown Prince. I hope the drama doesn't turn her evil.

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@emsel I love that she's knowledgeable and kind-hearted. She would look super cute with the prince!

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@quintessential Same, SAME! I foresee Master Heo asking Uk to marry his grand-daughter in a dramatic scene with tense music while Mu Deok looks over, and then quickly glances away as she becomes determined to go home with Yul since he'll undoubtedly ask her, or “Cho Yeong” to accompany him. Hopefully Yul and Master Heo will abandon these ill-fated plans since I'd rather not see them play out on screen lol 😅

I agree that the kiss was spoilt. If they had withheld it from being featured in the promos, I would have been pleasantly surprised, but since the kiss is given away early, the sense of intrigue is lost. Finally, I think Yul and Yoon Ok are related, since Master Heo is their common relative. Incest is not wincest.

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But, here’s what I love about Alchemy of Souls: destiny or not, Wook has to work hard for his wins. And this one… isn’t a win. Yul sends him flying.
For this alone, AoS had my respect for this two episodes.

Your last screenie @alathe ...is gold.

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"You lose the battle but win the war"
Totally a gold quote here too 😍.
I must say, it has been a while since I enjoy it very much reading such a weecap. After so many recappers here went off, glad that @alathe join this webpage.

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Sound like a page out of Art of War! 😉

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I feel like Uk's got it easy since even though he entered the magehood late, he's a quick study, and Mudeok is a shark for getting Uk the best training. So I was glad that the drama went against the usual drama battle conventions where the hero wins the final battle. It would have made no sense for Uk to win given that Yul has mastered Chisu for some time and has been closely observing Uk's growth through the battles.

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Indeed. Glad that Yul wins the battle as he is the cremé on top (among Jeonjingak students) and makes no sense if he lost. Also, only true winner will recognized a potential threat/ a great mage-to-be.

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Yul winning was the saving grace that prevented me from ranting this week about anything out of place.
His growth is too easy and if I must add, convinient. But each time it happens, I just remember and liken him to Naruto in his beginning episodes as a ninja and the ways he one-ups opponents who are way experienced than him in battle.

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Exactly. If I were to review AoS, I would say, this is not exactly everyone's cup of tea but if you have enjoyed Bleach/Naruto/Inuyasha or the like before, then you would probably enjoy the story.

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Jang Uk like buyeon tend to be born with powers but unused. They need to be train to gain it. No body want to train uk. So he had to go rouge. Buyeon I believe was taught by jin mu. Since he has access to her to being her uncle. Uk and Buyeon both have innate talent for magic. In real world, we can call them like magic genius. Naksu also trained easily as well. It was their destiny.

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Episode 13's cliffhanger. I screamed so loud when Yul stepped up to fight Wook. As soon as the prize had changed to Mu-deok, I wanted Yul to be the final mage. Or Crown Prince Won because what is that obnoxious mage going to do with a new maid? I was expecting that Mu-deok was sacrificing herself as motivation for Wook, then wondered if she knew his opponent would be Yul.

So I was disappointed when Episode 14 revealed it was Crown Prince Won's idea instead of Mu-deok's and Yul didn't volunteer for the duel but had been recruited by the crown prince. At least Yul knew Mu-deok was the prize, but I was mad when Crown Prince Won threw her jade egg into the pond out of jealousy.

I adore Wook and find his love to be sweet, and I know Mu-deok loves him back because that's what the show tells us, but to me, she doesn't look like she loves him. I can't feel the romantic chemistry from her end, so I'm not invested in their romance.

On the other hand, I love Yul and don't want him to get the girl at all, but I'm invested in his unrequited love. I also screamed when he told Wook about his wish to take someone with him to Seoho Fortress, even though my first thought was it's Mu-deok's decision whether to go.

Crown Prince Won continues to be my favorite character. Omg, I loved him again when he felt bad about throwing the egg and looked for it made Eunuch Oh look for it in the pond only to be caught by Mu-deok. He's smart when he said they can prove whether Eunuch Kim was a soul-shifter by just checking if he was in the palace and questioned Jin Mu's sword.

I predict this is all a ruse, and Master Lee isn't really a soul-shifter. I don't understand with all the relics in Jinyowon, how can not one detect Cho-yeon's father as a soul-shifter? If Park Jin was the second fastest to reach Chisu in ten years, then how many years did it take Yul because the Four Seasons seem to be much younger?

Thanks a million for the weecap, @alathe!

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I totally agree about mudeok and uk. I feel every bit of love from uk but there's absolutely nothing from her side. that blue jade wouldn't fill with energy at all lol I get that naksu is learning how to love, to care, she never had people around her, etc... but at this point, the drama needs to give me more so I will be engaged. they had chemistry at the start of the drama, idk what happened lol

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that blue jade wouldn't fill with energy at all

ROFL Certainly not from that dead fish kiss.

They did have chemistry at the start of the drama because they were always bickering. Like how now she has the best chemistry with Crown Prince Won because they bicker. I can feel romantic chemistry with Yul due to nostalgia, but Mu-deok and Wook's chemistry is friendly or master-pupil.

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@panshel join you ROFL

I agree with both your observations with a slightly different take.

On MD's end, I think it's part of her character right now because she really need to sort herself out on many levels, so how I read MD is that she's not sure she's ready to have someone's heart at this point especially it's someone that she really cared about. She's okay if he hurts her but she's not okay if she ended up hurting him instead. That's the extent of her feelings for him.

On the contrary, I'm of the minority that doesn't feel it from LJW. Excuse me for saying this but he looks so damn charming whenever he's with Heo Yoon Ok!!! Like I said before, I'm not sure is it because of the real life age.

Anyway, speaking from nothing but pure guesswork, I don't see our OTP ending up as a conventional couple. And speaking as a hopeless romantic, sometimes the most beautiful relationship are those when two people love each other even if they can't have each other.

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Yeah, she's always telling him if she ever devours his energy to run away or kill her because she'd rather die than hurt him.

I'm glad you mentioned Yun-ok. When the bee flew at her face and she cried in fear, Wook said, "Wait" and let out a laugh before shooing it away. I know that was Lee Jae-wook laughing in real life. Wook was heart-fluttering when he reassured her, "It left" with a smile. No wonder Mu-deok got jealous.

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i thought i was the only one who noticed the chemistry between Uk and Yoon Ok! Their scenes are so lighthearted and enjoyable to watch, and like you said i think it may just be the actors who naturally have great chemistry due to being closer in age.

Uk is so soft and gentle whenever he interacts with Yoon Ok and honestly it's a breath of fresh air from the constant bickering we see between our leads.

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We seem to enjoy Heo Yoon Ok and Uk scenes because he is carefree with her and she is also not making agressive moves to make him like her. Their relationship is at a casual level but that is not the case with MuDeok/Naksu because behind their relationship, the constant fear of her running wild will always undercut any feelings they want to act on (at least on Naksu's side)

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100% agree that their chemistry is mostly that of best friends, or siblings even, but never romantic.

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I stopped caring about the main OTP's romance even before the fish kiss, but I would like to point out the jade egg needs to be filled with magical energy for it to reflect it and Mu-Deok/Naksu doesn't possess magic yet.

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For Yul, perhaps same as Master Lee (13 years) 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Agree about CP Won! I am so relieved he's not blinded by his mentor, and was unsettled by how the events played out in Cheonbugwan. Super intrigued about where he'll end up loyalty-wise.

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Yul is an exceptional student.
And with his perks, it's so easy to see how much work he puts into his growth as a mage.
I believe they meant second fastest as a contemporary of their time(Jang Gang and Park Jin's) as such they were referencing all the mages-in-training when they themselves were training as mages.
Yul isn't a member of their time. I do think he mastered Chisu faster than Jang Gang. If Jang Gang took 8 years, Yul took maybe 6-7 but not 8.

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I was wondering about his timing - it's a bit harsh that his genius is brushed over...

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Yul probably started really young too. I think with each generation, like nowadays, the parents get more ambitious for their children. They probably had him start jipsu training as soon as he could hold a spoon.

Most mages just get to Ryusu and that's that. He is definitely exceptional to be one of the few mages who can do Chisu and the first of his generation (if you don't count Naksu)

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Well, Wook is the fastest now with his three-day record, so just like in love, Yul comes in second.

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Uk got a cheat. Anyone could have achieved Chisu with the cheat. If Jang Gang, Park Jin, Dang-gu, and Yul had the cheat, they'd attain Chisu in a matter of 3 days as well. Even Master Heo would, despite his...😁(coughs). So I wouldn't call that fastest. If they want to make an Itachi out of Uk, then I'm going to laugh out loud at how ridiculous it is. It's okay with just Naruto.
He bypassed all the works that comes with it since Master Lee taught him to fish straight up without any prerequisite classes.
Hemp Master Lee must have studied all the in and out of Chisu and realized there was no need to go through all that work. But that's the benefit of going through the rudimentary stuff, you get to understand the entire concept of whatever it is.

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Yeah IRL Uk and Naksu would've just went to Master Lee instead of Songrim and the whole drama would have been spared 😁

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Master Lee is indeed Wook's cheat code. He also taught him how to read Words of the Heart, which Wook again accomplished in a week unlike non-cheating mages.

In the Sorting Hat episode when all four Houses were fighting over Wook (even Sejukwon like isn't that an infirmary?), I was confused when Master Lee had already claimed him. I know Wook is loyal to his master, so he rejected Master Lee's offer, but I wish Master Lee can be Naksu's master, which would make him Wook's grandmaster.

Dang-gu's master is Jin?, but is Yul masterless? Master Lee should adopt Yul and teach Dang-gu to fish.

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@panshel Yul is not masterless. I guess he has his master at Seoho. He came to Songrim*Jeongjingak to add more knowledge to his belt.

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"Anyone could have achieved Chisu with the cheat."
I don't see any evidence of that? What exactly did Master Lee give Uk? He took him to the lake and caught a fish in front of him. Okay. So? It's not like no one had heard of the lake or knew there were fish there. The fish doesn't give you power and Master Lee didn't give Uk a fish. Naksu knew about the fish (just manifestations of the power that collects in the lake) and so did other mages.
Just because your teacher shows you where and how to train doesn't mean they just transferred their power and experience into your brain. Uk had to catch a fish for himself.
The way that Master Lee explains to Park Jin how Uk learns means there is not only one "right" way to learn a skill. According to him the founder of Songrim learned skills in exactly the same way.
And it seems like Uk learned to catch a fish the same way that he learned spells from each of the people he had a duel with. He only has to watch someone do a skill a few times, then he practices on his own for a little while and it clicks for him. I've seen people learn like that (in a much less dramatic fashion).
I thought it was wise of the writers to show him learning to "fish" after showing us how he was already learning skills from each of his opponents. And both Naksu and Master Lee know he learns this way

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@bethy80 how do I put it. It is a cheat code written with an undertone of plot convenience - born with the Kings star plus unconventional lecturers.

Before I state my viewpoints, let me state a few things. Had Uk discovered the hack himself, trust me when I say I wouldn't be bothered because that means he understands the in and out of the process. I've encountered such moments in my own life experience. It was a wonder both to me, and those a around me.

Now to the viewpoints. There's a saying I found interesting somewhere : ' The product doesn't determine the process, but the process determines the product.'
I cheered when he mastered Tansu, because the journey was realistic even though it was short. The process was crystal clear to the audience. We saw the struggles, and the work.

Chisu takes smallest 6-8 years to master, and 13 for the longest, but Uk mastered it in how long? Less than 3 days, I guess. Under what guise? Master Lee gave him a clue. Do the teachers of the many previous sets mages lack the knowledge about using lake Gyeongchangdo, I doubt it. But did they reveal it to their students? No. I'm sure Park Jin knows Lake Gyeongchangdo can do the wonder. Why hasn't he taken all of Songrim's mages most especially Dang-gu there to practice? Even Naksu herself whom I presume is skilled at Chisu, do you think she attained it with the Lake? How did she know that the Lake would do the trick? They were introduced to the Lake after they attained Chisu, not the other way round. They got the ability through sheer hard work, not a hack. And as we'll see when Naksu becomes Naksu, the difference will be grand. You just have to respect the process.

Granted, Master Lee showed him a way to attain to Chisu faster. And it is being portrayed to us as a different learning process. To call a spade a spade, that different learning process which he used to attain just Chisu(I'm not talking about his achievements before this since I clearly saw the work put in for most of it both onscreen and off-screen) is a hack. A hack under the guise of a 21st century lecturer who spares you all the theorems and dives you straight right in into the applications. And we both know that is a half baked learning. If put in adverse situations, he's going to get burnt.
And please don't get me started(all the laughs intended, no hard feelings) with the Kakashi of the Copy Sharingan parody.

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As for Mu-deok's feelings for Wook seeming to be absent, I believe that is because she is fighting so hard not to have feelings for him. Remember, at one point, her intent was to kill him when she was ready. Now, it seems more like she would die for him, but go out with a frown on her face and denying she cared.

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Totally with you on not feeling Mu-deok’s love for Wook. Even when she explicitly said she is in love with him in the voiceover.

I also wondered about how long it took Yul to reach Chisu cos Wook is supposed to be 20 yrs old and I guess Yul should be around that age too. But then they start training when they are very young right? So maybe it’s possible.

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