Maomao Challenges Lakan to a Chess Game


The Apothecary Diaries episode 23 was released on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 1 a.m. JST. The episode was titled “Balsam and Woodsorrel,” and it revolved around Lord Lakan’s backstory with Fengxian, his past lover. Shedding light on the mysterious character helped fans dispel the misconceptions about his innocent demeanor.

The installment started where the previous episode had ended. As such, Maomao catches Lakan off-guard by suddenly appearing before him. She challenges the strategist to play a game of chess, which Lakan accepts.

A clever Maomao sets a few self-made conditions before the chess game begins. Lakan agrees with all the conditions, the first of which is that one who wins the game thrice will be the ultimate winner. Moreover, she randomly pours three glasses of water and three glasses of “poisonous medicine.”

She shuffles the glasses and suggests that, upon losing a round, the victor will choose a glass from which the loser would have to drink. Maomao confirms that drinking three glasses of the poison can kill them.

The opponents also set the rewards that the winner will be awarded with. Lakan demands Maomao to live with him if she loses, and Maomao demands Lakan to buy a courtesan from the Verdigris House upon losing. Additionally, she also convinces Lakan to agree with the condition that whoever draws out of the game for whatever reason will be the loser.

After losing two rounds, Jinshi gets concerned about losing Maomao to Lakan, but he had promised not to interfere. However, Lakan willingly loses the third round to keep Maomao from drinking the alleged poison. But, only after drinking one glass of the poisonous medicine, Lakan crashes onto the ground. Gaoshan examines Lakan and finds out that he is drunk.

The Apothecary Diaries episode 23: Who is Fengxian?

After Maomao clarifies that the glasses contain alcohol instead of poison and uses this strategy to trick Lakan, who is a teetotaler, Jinshi takes a breath of relief. The episode then takes viewers to Lakan’s saddening past.

Before working at the royal palace, the strategist led a difficult life. As revealed in the previous episode, he grew up with face blindness, making it difficult for him to recognize people. Moreover, he had a complicated relationship with his father.

However, with his uncle’s help, who is speculatively Loumen, Maomao’s adoptive father, Lakan resorted to board games like Go and Chess to find peace. He also started recognizing people as chess pieces.

Later, Lakan met a courtesan named Fengxian at the Verdigris House. She managed to defeat Lakan, who had never experienced defeat in chess. After this, he started to visit Fengxian frequently. Through her, Lakan gets acquainted with the world of color and feelings.

However, their blooming love story takes a tragic turn when Lakan’s father, who was also his boss, sends him to study abroad. Although he assumed he would return in about six months, it took him three years.

The Apothecary Diaries episode 23 ending: Lakan wakes up in the Verdigris House

When he returns to the country, he finds various letters from Fengxian along with her severed finger that she had sent to him. He realizes his ignorance towards the courtesan that he had impregnated and drowns in remorse. Due to circumstances that were neither in his nor in Fengxian’s control, the latter suffered a lot.

In the end, Lakan wakes up in the Verdigris House. Meimei gives him a blue rosebud and a drink prepared by Maomao to help him relieve the hangover. Finally, the episode ends with Maomao holding a blue rosebud as she travels in a carriage.





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