From deadly politics to heartbreaking harassment and violence, there is so much cruelty in it. Inner Palace Raven. Even Shouxue’s isolation is an example of the subtle yet disturbing darkness that exists in Shou. Hardened by the social constraints of her role as Raven Consort and her own tragedy, Episode 8 shows that Shouxue is a surprising source of light in such a dark place.
Throughout the series, as Shouxue works through various ghost cases, he encounters heartbreaking stories of those who suffered under the harsh social structure, punishments and injustices of the era. In the very first episodes, Shouxue discovers the ghost of a woman accused of murder and killed due to sociopolitical tensions. Each episode quietly but poignantly brings to light another brutal aspect of Shou’s culture and reminds viewers of the darkness that underlies the beauty of the setting. However, Shouxue’s gentle kindness to such disturbing stories proves that she represents hope for many characters in the series.
Shouxue Reveals the Sad Story of a Young Eunuch
Wei Qing’s depressing past in Episode 5 has already shown the persecution faced by many eunuchs, but Episode 8 brings another sad tale of a young eunuch. After Yi Siha comes to her with news of a ghost that only she can see, Shouxue sets out to uncover the ghost’s story in order to bring the ghost to rest. As Shouxue learns in his investigation, the ghost belongs to a young boy who was executed for accidentally killing a bird while trying to collect feathers. Although the boy was aware that killing the bird in Shou was a crime and was punishable by death, he nevertheless stepped forward, willing to face the consequences.
Although Shouxue admits that the young eunuch’s behavior was shameful, he is also aware of the tragedy of the situation. Death is frightening but also natural, as Shouxue pointed out as the ghost consoling his grieving friend. Even in his sensible counsel, Shouxue’s sympathy and respect for humanity is evident in his effort to bring peace to both the ghosts he encounters and those with lasting grief.
Other Eunuchs Find Warmth in Shouxue’s Attitude
The ghost of the little boy and his adult friend aren’t the only eunuchs Shouxue brings peace in Episode 8. Bringing the ghost news to Shouxue, the young eunuch Yi Siha endures his own pain at the hands of his masters. After Shouxue realizes that her legs are hurt and offers to treat her, she discovers signs of being beaten. Although this already bothers him, Shouxue runs into other eunuchs who keep Yi Siha on the ground and whip the back of his legs as punishment. Enraged by this display of cruelty, Shouxue demands that they stop and never beat Yi Siha again, which eventually results in his expulsion. However, Shouxue sets out to find arrangements for him and eventually takes him with him.
Although Shouxue has experienced all dimensions of oppression and darkness in Shou, she does not allow Yi Siha and the other eunuchs to suffer in silence. He even raises the issue with Emperor Gaojun, expressing his desire for change. His answer shows the concern that Shou shows for those who suffer from his unjust system. After noticing Shouxue’s gentle demeanor and intolerance to cruelty, Wen Ying, a eunuch currently in Shouxue’s service, explains to her the pain she endured and led to her castration, expressing how much her kindness moved her and touched her heart.
Shouxue may have poor social skills due to his years in isolation, but he shows more humanity than most. While Episode 8 specifically highlights Shouxue’s kindness, each episode shows her warmth even amid her cold personality as she tries to bring peace to the suffering and provide shelter to those in need.