This episode starts off with the main trio leaving the police station. Jiang Shuo wonders if since they solved the Zhao Ling clue, is that the end of their clues. Yi Heng says that since the case of Zhao Ling is considered solved, Jiang Shuo is the only survivor.
Jiang Shuo reminds Qin’er that he told Jiang Shuo not to look at things one sided, he believes that Qin’er’s father is still alive. Mu Qing chimes in that Liu Zhi’s plot will fail, after all he said only one of them would survive yet all three are alive and well. Mu Qing tells Jiang Shuo not to worry as she will help him.
Just then Sergeant Bai comes up to the group with a letter. He tells them it was found in Shang Yu’s room and is probably the next clue. He tells the others that there’s no need to thank him.
It turns out to be a map to the underground river. Jiang Shuo has a flashback to Liu Zhi telling him that he would be waiting there for him at their next meeting. Yi Heng and Jiang Shuo crowd the map so Mu Qing can’t see.
She jumps up behind them trying to use their shoulders for leverage to see but Jiang Shuo tells her it has nothing to do with her and they move away from her. So she comes around to the front to look, but Jiang Shuo folds it out of sight.
Mu Qing tries to guild him by reminding him that he owes her a movie. He tells her that those are two completely separate things and she’s not coming on this mission. Jiang Shuo says he’s worried that something might happen to her.
Jiang Shuo tells Qin’er that they should leave and heads off first. Mu Qing quickly follows him, saying that she wants to go too. Yi Heng is left by himself smiling. All of a sudden we see someone is spying on them, Yi Heng stops smiling, feeling that he is being watched but doesn’t see anyone. He then goes to catch up to Jiang Shuo and Mu Qing. The camera shows the spy to be Yi Heng’s father! He’s alive!
Roll those opening credits!
After the credits, Jiang Shuo and Yi Heng are in the car on their way to the underground river. The car suddenly stops and Jiang Shuo asks Yi Heng why he stopped the car. Yi Heng is surprised and says they ran out of gas. This leads Jiang Shuo to criticize him for not thinking, didn’t he realize how far they had to go?
Yi Heng says he knows that it’s a long way that’s why he borrowed his brother’s car and filled up the gas tank before they left. Jiang Shuo wondered what happened then, did someone do this, and if so who? Just then Mu Qing pops up in the back seat saying that she did it.
Mu Qing has brought gas with her, so if they agree to let her come along they can have it. Jiang Shuo gives in since he doesn’t have a choice in the matter, so he goes to fill up the tank. Once the tank is full, Qin’er starts the car. The headlights come on and Mu Qing sees a woman with a red string around her wrist. Mu Qing calls out to the other two to tell them about the woman, but when they look, no one is there.
They end up driving through Yan Village which as Jiang Shuo comments for such an out of the way place it sure is bustling at night. The crowd makes the car movement very slow to move forward. Mu Qing in the back seat is deep in thought.
Jiang Shuo asks her if she is still thinking about it, Mu Qing says she’s sure that she saw a woman with a red string around her wrist. They eventually stop at the only inn the area. The inn is called the Earthly Inn.
Jiang Shuo says that’s been a long journey so far and they can finally rest. They go inside the inn and the innkeeper asks if they are having dinner or staying the night. Mu Qing asks for three rooms, but Jiang Shuo quickly says that they only need two rooms.
Mu Qing asks him after the innkeeper has left and he tells Mu Qing not to show off her wealth, besides he’s sharing a room with Qin’er not her. The look on Qin’er’s face though.
The drinks have arrived at the table they’re sitting at and Jiang Shuo comments to the innkeeper that for such a secluded village the inn is very popular. The innkeeper says that Jiang Shuo is a very smart man.
While the inn is small, the village is a sacred place that is great for self-cultivation. She then goes on about the virtues of the village. She then asks them about themselves. Mu Qing is about to answer truthfully when Jiang Shuo has a fake coughing fit, so that Yi Heng can answer instead.
Yi Heng does tell her his name and Mu Qing’s but not the real reason they are there. Since Jiang Shuo wasn’t introduced and the innkeeper knows the other two are from noble families she’s very polite to Jiang Shuo when asking who he is. Jiang Shuo tells her that she can just call him Master Jiang which makes Mu Qing snort with laughter.
A fight soon breaks out at a nearby table as the people sitting there don’t want the scruffy poor guy to sit with them. The hostess comes over and settles the matter by saying she doesn’t care if they are rich or poor as long as they pay she treats them the same. The man paid her a lot just yesterday and they all saw it.
The man at the in the golden shirt complains that for all they know, the poor guy dug up the money from the grave (meaning he’s a grave-robber) The look at Jiang Shuo’s face at that comment, makes me believe that he has had to face this kind of discrimination before himself.
The scholar than suggests that fate brought them all together so they should be nice to each other. He then gives a bit of background on each person at the table and their circumstances which led them to Yan Village. After that they ask the innkeeper if she has arranged their visit to the Palace of Absolute Happiness.
The innkeeper says that she just runs the inn, and has no power over that. The man in the gold shirt complains that they spent lots of money on the food, bathed in the hot spring and spent money on the health teas surely the innkeeper can give them a sneak peek. A man comes down the staircase and says that if they want to go to the palace they have to obey the rules of the village.
The hostess greets the new man as the Chief. The men behind him have been to the Palace and show off how one became rich and the other suddenly healed from his maladies. The men are now even more eager to go. The chief says that he’s prepared it for them, they just have to wear the red thread around their wrists.
Tomorrow someone will take them to the Palace of Ultimate Happiness. The Chief reminds them to wear the red string around their wrists though. The Chief and the innkeeper go upstairs together leaving the people at the table to their meal/drinks.
Jiang Shuo asks the other two if Yan Village is really as mysterious as it seems. Jiang Shuo says that he’s never heard of a place where a sick disabled patient can suddenly become healthy and strong, nor a place where someone can suddenly become rich.
Mu Qing tells him not to be fooled as the people here are a bit weird. Yi Heng says that whatever the relationship is between the village and the underground river they are staying here tonight. He suggests they keep an eye out to see what’s going on. Mu Qing points out that everyone there is wearing a red string on their wrist.
Later that night in their room, Jiang Shuo is reading over the map noting that the river leads into Yan Village however on their drive to the village they didn’t see any river. Yi Heng points out that the Palace of Ultimate Happiness is also weird.
Yi Heng says that they will have to take a trip and see if they can find any clues about the river. Jiang Shuo notes that since all the people in the hall had red string on their wrists, that means that the person Mu Qing saw is probably real as well.
Jiang Shuo says that whatever the result is, they must find the underground river. Yi Heng says that it’s getting late.. and there’s only one bed. They both race to take off their clothing, but Jiang Shuo only takes off his coat before running and jumping into the bed.
Jiang Shuo informs Yi Heng that he’s too late and then wishes him sweet dreams.
Meanwhile Mu Qing is in her room trying to figure things out. She figures the woman she was asking for help. She then remembers everyone else getting the red string to wear around their wrists and wonders at the connection.
Jiang Shuo gets thrown into the Rubix Cube Psych and a little kid tosses him a Rubix Cube wrapped in red string telling him it’s a present for him. Jiang Shuo looks at the cube, then at the kid, noting the six fingers he gifures out that it’s Liu Zhi.
Jiang Shuo wakes up from the Psych calling out Liu Zhi and grabbing poor Yi Heng by his necktie. Yi Heng calmly asks him, what he’s doing.
It takes Jiang Shuo a few moments to process this. Yi Heng asks if he’s been dreaming again while taking his tie out Jiang Shuo’s hand and helps to push him back up on the bed gently. Jiang Shuo is still panting from the adrenaline rush, says that he dreamed about the red string. He wonders if Liu Zhi is guiding them again, and that the place they are looking for is here.
The trio come downstairs with Mu Qing calling out for the innkeeper. However no one is there. Since there’s not a soul to be seen, Jiang Shuo wonders if everyone went to the Palace of Ultimate Happiness. Yi Heng says that it’s a possibility and suggests checking outside.
Outside there isn’t a soul to be found either. Jiang Shuo says even if the others went to the palace, did the villagers go too? Mu Qing says that it feels like the village was deserted overnight. They call out for anyone, but no one answers. Jiang Shuo wonders how they will find the underground river now. Yi Heng says they’ll just have to look around.
They look around and find a place where the door is open. Jiang Shuo says that it must be the ancestral hall once through the courtyard the house sign posted says Yan Family Ancestral Hall. Mu Qing calls out for anyone, no response. On the table there is a genealogy book of the Yan family.
Mu Qing goes to check out the book, while Jiang Shuo comments that hall is weird. There’s no statues of god or memorial tablets. Jiang Shuo then points out to Qin’er that the incense has been lit recently, but who was being worshipped?
Mu Qing calls them both over to look at the names in the book. The innkeeper, Chief and the two people that had their lives miraculously changed by the palace are all in the book. Some names are in black while others are in red.
Jiang Shuo says that logically in a genealogy book only the names of the dead are written in red ink. They can’t figure out why some of the names are in the book though or why the people were wearing red strings on their wrists. Yi Heng suggests asking around (if they ever find anyone).
They go outside and finally the see a person in the ghost village. They call out to him, but he tries to get away. He ends up dropping a book of Herbal Classics on the ground though. Having no choice but to stop, which is when Yi Heng recognizes him as one of his seniors in school.
Jiang Shuo picks up the book and starts to flip through it. There’s a red stain on the outer of the pages. Mu Qing is surprised that the Yi Heng knows him. Yi Heng says the man is Su Min as only a few of them studied in England they all knew each other.
Yi Heng is a little confused because he thought Su Min got married and became a doctor on his return home, so why is he here? Su Min says that he’s put his past behind him and as Yi Heng can see, he’s a farmer now.
Jiang Shuo apologizes if they have offended him, then gives back the book. Jiang Shuo the proceeds to introduce himself and Mu Qing. Mu Qing is quick to point out that in the city she is much more famous than the other two. Yi Heng confirms this, as she is General Yuan’s daughter.
Yi Heng then asks what’s happened to Su Min lately and where is Liu Qing? They start walking and Su Min tells them his story. Apparently while in England he and Liu Qing had a falling out. There was a rumour about her and Yi Heng having a thing but it wasn’t true.
Su Min at the time told Yi Heng that he would go back to China and apologize to Liu Qing and then propose to her. Su Min says that after he got home, he couldn’t find her. Not even her relatives know where Liu Qing was. He checked the port, and it had her entry into the country but that’s all he could find.
He’s searched everywhere she might have gone but still no luck. Mu Qing asks if he came to Yan Village to mend his broken heart. Jiang Shuo asks him if he will go to the Palace of Ultimate Happiness then. Su Min says that without Liu Qing there is no Ultimate Happiness.
Su Min says that he’s just muddling along, living day to day like a zombie. Before Su Min can go inside his house, Yi Heng asks if he knows about a river nearby. Su Min gets cagey and says that he doesn’t know about any river.
Mu Qing asks him to think carefully as it’s an underground river and it’s very important to them. Su Min says that as they can see there is no river here. He also tells them that Yan Village is an ordinary village for recuperation and that someone rich like Ms. Yuan shouldn’t stay here at all.
He then warns the other two that they shouldn’t stay in the village long. He tells them to hurry up and leave as there is nothing for them here. He then shuts the door on them. Jiang Shuo tells Yi Heng that he thinks Su Min is acting weird and trying to avoid them.
Yi Heng says that Su Min used to be a very energetic man however he lost his wife, so it’s not a surprise that he would be avoiding people. Jiang Shuo compliments Su Min on being a very devoted guy. It’s too bad since now they have to find the underground river on their own.
Jiang Shuo says it’s important to find out the connection between the red string and the underground river. Yi Heng says they should start with the names in the genealogy book and finding out who they are. Yi Heng remembers seeing a post office in the village, so he plans to contact Sergeant Bai Kai to ask for his assistance. So they decide to split up, so that Mu Qing and Jiang Shuo can check for clues in the village.
After Yi Heng leaves, Jiang Shuo tells Mu Qing that they will go back to the Earthly Inn to ask the innkeeper because they won’t find out anything elsewhere, plus Jiang Shuo is hungry.
At the post office, Yi Heng writes out his telegram to Sergeant Bai. He tells the post office workers to make sure that Sergeant Bai checks the telegram and replies to it.
Sergeant Bai is in the middle of teaching some officers fighting maneuvers when the telegram comes in. He can’t believe that Dr. Qin gave him so many names to check. An officer suggests just calling down to the archives but Sergeant Bai tells him to drop everything he’s doing and to go himself and check everything out for Sergeant Bai.
After Jiang Shuo and Mu Qing have their meal they go for a walk around when Jiang Shuo notes that while they did get a good meal, they didn’t get any information out of the innkeeper. They haven’t found anyone to talk to yet. They are walking when they notice a person lying on the ground.
They run over and Jiang Shuo finds out that the person is dead, recently dead. Although he would need Qin’er to find out what killed the person. Mu Qing points out that he won’t be back yet. Mu Qing points out that there is another person they could ask.. which is when Jiang Shuo remembers about Su Min. They leave the body and head off to Su Min’s place.
Su Min however refuses to go. When he’s prompted by Mu Qing saying that she needs his help, he tells her that he hasn’t touched a medical book in ages. Mu Qing says that he could give an overview at least and for the rest they can wait for Yi Heng to return.
Jiang Shuo points out that Su Min is Yi Heng’s senior if he doesn’t want to help, he can at least give the body a glance. Su Min warns them not to investigate this matter as it will get them and others killed. Jiang Shuo says that he’s sorry but Mu Qing is a police officer. Mu Qing then uses her police badge to force Su Min to cooperate with the investigation.
With no choice Su Min goes with them to examine the body. Su Min says that he doesn’t know what caused the death but he knows the man died from an overdose. Mu Qing wonders what could have poisoned the man. Jiang Shuo decides to look inside the building.
Jiang Shuo takes out a silver needle and checks out the food and drink on the table but the needle comes out clean. (Traditional test for poison). He tells Mu Qing to keep searching but Su Min tells them to stop as Yan Village is more complicated than they think.
Mu Qing asks if Su Min knows anything. Su Min says that he’s seen this poison before, in fact there’s a mass grave in the back and lots of body look the same as the one he just examined. Mu Qing asked if he’s filed a report but Su Min says no, because he never cared about this stuff before.
Jiang Shuo says there’s no point calling the police since Yan Village is a no man’s land and no one will care. Mu Qing says that she’s police and she cares! Mu Qing asks Su Min to take them there but Su Min says that he’s too busy to do that and leaves. Mu Qing tells Jiang Shuo that they will just have to find it themselves.
They are walking outside when all of a sudden Jiang Shuo yelps in pain and says that his leg is cramping. Mu Qing helps him to go sit down. She asks him if he’s tired, and he says that he’s not sure. Then Jiang Shuo says that he can’t find his silver needle, so he’ll go back to building and look for it.
Mu Qing says that Jiang Shuo is in no condition to walk back there now, so she’ll go instead. He tells her that when he is feeling fine, he’ll walk to the front and they can meet at the mass grave. She runs off and he yells at her to come back faster. As soon as she’s gone though he call her a fool and gets up to check out the mass grave.
Jiang Shuo doesn’t want Mu Qing to come along and see the dead bodies which is why he tricked her so that he could deal with them himself.
At the mass grave there are many bodies. Jiang Shuo walks among them and finds a tan line on the wrist that used to have a red string on it. Jiang Shuo then grabs a stick to use to move the sleeves of the other dead bodies and sees the same mark on all of them.
We go back to Mu Qing running back to the building and dead body that they found earlier only to see Su Min taking the red string off the dead body’s wrist. Mu Qing wonders why he did that unless maybe he knows the secret of the red string?
After Su Min leaves, Mu Qing quickly writes a note of “help me” in red ink and leave it and the silver needle she found, on the dead body. She says she hopes “he” is smart enough to figure it out, then goes after Su Min.
Meanwhile Jiang Shuo is waiting for her at the mass grave but she still doesn’t show up which makes him worried.
We go back to Mu Qing following Su Min through the village and into the forest where he uses a ladder go down a stone well. Mu Qing lacking all sense of self preservation follows him down the well…
Jiang Shuo is back in the village walking down the street when a car honks at him, it’s Yi Heng of course. Jiang Shuo asks how it went, and Yi Heng says that he sent the telegram but it may be awhile before Sergeant Bai responds. He then asks Jiang Shuo what happened. Jiang Shuo says he has news and bad news.
Yi Heng says he wants the good news first, but Jiang Shuo tells him it’s a case of bad news, worse news. The bad news is that a guy died yesterday, Su Min examined the body and said he was poisoned. Jiang Shuo was just heading that way as Mu Qing should still be there.
Jiang Shuo says the worse news is that Su Min told them about the mass grave and how many of the bodies there were poisoned the same way. Jiang Shuo says that he checked it out and the time of death was all different for each body. Also the red strings on their wrists were gone.
They get in the car and head back to the ancestral hall only to find the note Mu Qing left and the needle. Jiang Shuo recognizes her handwriting right away. Yi Heng asks about who else knew about the body and Jiang Shuo says they only told Su Min.
Just then Jiang Shuo remembers that Su Min said that he hadn’t touched a medical book in ages, but when they met he dropped a medical book… Su Min is lying so it must be him! Jiang Shuo is ready to go after him, but Yi Heng tells him to calm down and that he trusts Su Min to not hurt Mu Qing.
Jiang Shuo lays down the facts, Su Min knows about the body, the mass grave, lied to them about reading medical texts and avoiding them since they got there. Yi Heng finally has to admit that it’s really suspect behaviour so they go to check out Su Min’s place.
In the underground tunnel, Mu Qing calls out to Su Min and asks why he took the red string. Su Min makes a run for it, so Mu Qing runs after him. She loses him in the tunnels, only for him to come up from behind her and knock her unconscious.
Yi Heng and Jiang Shuo break into Su Min’s house but he’s not there. So they start to search it. All the books Su Min has are regarding antidotes. They then see the wall full of paper is the history of Yan Village.
Jiang Shuo corrects himself saying that it’s actually the history of the Yan Clan. Apparently the Yan Clan perished in the war however humans were greedy and kept looking for the Yan Clan’s treasure.
Legend had it that those in the Yan Clan had six fingers and were adept at mind reading. They were gifted and deemed sorcerers. Jiang Shuo and Yi Heng share a look as they realize who this describes.
Jiang Shuo goes on to read that the Yan Clan built a magnificent sanctuary known as the Palace by the water and prayed to their ancestors for protection. The last article reads that whether or not the rumours are true no one knows for sure.
Jiang Shuo and Yi Heng realize that the palace must have been built by the underground river. Jiang Shuo wonders if Liu Zhi is a member of the Yan Clan. Yi Heng starts looking through the books and finds a book with cut out concealing a box. They open the box to find it full of red string.
They head back to the Earthly Inn to go and question the Innkeeper. However it’s late and she still hasn’t shown up yet. Jiang Shuo is panicking which Yi Heng tells him to stop doing because he’s sure Su Min won’t Mu Qing. Jiang Shuo points out that even if he doesn’t hurt her, he still kidnapped her.
Jiang Shuo wonders if it’s because Mu Qing discovered something, or if maybe after studying the Yan Clan for so long, Su Min might be Liu Zhi’s man? Yi Heng tells Jiang Shuo to stop scaring himself. Yi Heng says they can’t confirm that he’s the serial killer of Yan Village.
Jiang Shuo agrees that they can’t confirm it, but why else would he have all those red strings in his house. Yi Heng says that what’s important now is to find Mu Qing and Su Min. Since all the clues point to the palace so they’ll start there and play it by ear.
They finally get the innkeeper but she says she get them into the palace and she wonders why they are so anxious to get there. Jiang Shuo almost spills the beans but Yi Heng manages to stop him and answer that they are just really curious about it.
So Yi Heng bribes her with gold until she agrees to see if any of the other guests will switch with them. Although she’s still saying that it might not happen. Jiang Shuo is frustrated and just grabs all the money from Yi Heng’s pocket and gives it to her. She says she will definitely make it happen since Jiang Shuo is such a generous man.
The innkeeper leaves after giving them instructions to be in the common room because if they miss the trip, the palace won’t wait for them. Jiang Shuo thanks Qin’er and promises to pay him back. Yi Heng says there’s no need for thanks since he’s also doing it to help Mu Qing. Yi Heng also says that Jiang Shuo’s business is his business too.
That’s the end of episode 23!