“Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell….? Closer, let me whisper in your ear. Say the words you long to hear…. I’m in love with you!” – the Beatles

Hello everybody! Sorry again for the delay. Actually, we’re nearing the tear-jerking episode of Nueng Dao Fah Diew (One Land, One Sky) and that’s partly the reason why I’ve been really slow with this. But don’t worry, let’s stick together and see the tears through! Without further ado, I give you, Episode 9. (Episode 10-11 in the reuploaded version)

Episode 9 is all about secrets that are raring to come out. Each character in the series had been involved in a secret, one way or another, by now and everyone is getting closer to the truth.

The first secret is the about the main scheme of our villains in this lakorn. After setting Mangmao’s house on fire and finally getting the butterfly flask, Phollathep and company finally try to see if they really got The Kollabot back. Instead, they get Khanthong’s first love letter… erm… I mean, Prince Goong’s famous verse written in the piece of paper inside the Butterfly Flask. (Quick recap: In the previous episode, Khanthong gave the “kollabot” as homework for Mangmao to practice with. What she eventually discovers is that he was actually the one practicing the art of flirting.)

PPP…P! Pretty and poised Jaojom Phen is now… Pissed!

The villains are sure by now that Mangmao is onto something and she is getting closer to the truth. Jaojom Phen swears that she will not let Mangmao trick her again and will do everything in her power to make her miserable. Her battle plan involves pushing Prince Chate’s buttons in order for him to finally go after Mangmao and thereafter discard her like another one of his playthings.

Krom Khun Vimol would never allow wicked things to happen to Mangmao and so she keeps her close to protect her.

Prince Chate’s womanizing and sadistic ways are no secret and Krom Khun Vimol and her ladies in waiting persuade Prince Chate to leave Mangmao alone. She keeps Mangmao in her palace, under the guise of “intensive training” – in order to save her from falling into Prince Chate’s grasp.

Meanwhile, the unresolved problems in the previous episode are given some form of closure.

These three have become secrets in their own right.

In the previous episode, Yuern learned about Khanthong’s secret. Instead of breaking her neck however, our good ex-monk brings her to Phraya Tak’s camp where she is confined, but nevertheless given sanctuary. His mercifulness earn the respect of Luang Pichai Asa and the other guys in Phraya Tak’s camp. Muang on the other hand, is found alive by Phraya Tak’s men and is likewise given sanctuary in the camp, as he thought he was now a fugitive for having “killed” Soon. Phraya Tak offers him a job as a soldier in his camp, in exchange for earning merits, enough to get pardon for his supposed crime. But for now, his location must be kept a secret in order to evade arrest. Lastly, Soon, who was the reason for Muang’s fugitive status in the first place, is actually alive and taken care of by the brothel owner. The sad part is that she is helpless and unable to exonerate Muang from the crime as not only is she in Ai’Kla’s bad side, the brothel owner is likewise insisting that she needs to work extra hard when she has recovered as her value as a harlot has lowered due to her having a scar in her belly – Ouch! Make that, double ouch!

Just a commentary. Here we see the pitiful lives of two women in Ayodhayan court. First is Yuern, who is a slave, and second is Soon, who is a prostitute. Yuern was kept alive by the aristocrats as a slave and plaything – and ultimately kept under Phollathep’s protection, only because she knew something that can destroy Aok Pra Sri Khanthin. Yet just the same, she was fortunate enough to meet Khanthong, who was fair and kind that her life is spared and she is brought to camp where she is at least respected as a human being, despite her being shackled and all. Then we have Soon, a prostitute, who fell in love with her customer, Muang. Like Yuern, she is seen as an object – ready to be used and abused and made profit out of. Yet she met her one true love in the person of Muang, who treated her as a person – who even loved her as a woman. The way their fates turn will be emphasized later on, and it is sad how they both have a bittersweet end. Yet the way they approach life, and the way their stories come to a close is so different, since both of them looked at their benefactors differently as well. Yuern hates and fears Khanthong after she realizes what he truly is (a complete man!) while Soon’s love for Muang remains steadfast and strong. Here we have two women who were victims of circumstance, with very limited choices but with enough gumption to change their fate. It Is their principle which sets them apart and makes one noble or detested later on.

Back to our main lady, Lady Mangmao, who isn’t exactly a Martha Stuart.

Aok Pra Sri Khanthin accompanies Mangmao to her parents’ new abode, which he had arranged for them. Right away, Mangmao notices how much they’ve downscaled things, given their situation. All the servants have left, except for the loyal Tin and Phol.

In order to lift their spirits, Khanthin wisely asks Mangmao to tell her parents about her life in the palace so far. Mangmao, being Mangmao, boasts that she’s fitting in quite well and is able to do all the chores asked of her – and then a montage of her fumbling her way, and Khun Thao Sopha reaching the brink of insanity from her mishaps is shown. Set-thee Ming knows right away what really happened, despite Mangmao’s narration and laughs out loud. The father-daughter team is back to their usual selves and everything is wel.

Khanthong encourages Inn and says that Muang has not been found or arrested, so he must surely be all right. In the meantime, Inn vows to take good care of the family in Muang’s absence. Khanthin and Mangmao return to the palace….

But not without Khanthong raising his flirting game once more.

Khanthong asks Mangmao whether she had done the homework that she gave him, to which she shyly and awkwardly replies, she lost it. Technically, she wasn’t lying, given that the said kollabot is now in Jaojom Phen’s hands, as mentioned earlier. But still, Khanthong vows to give her a new kollabot… which she can think about, decipher and understand better…. His words + his tantalizing eyes are a kollabot of their own and Mangmao quickly retreats, to Khanthong’s amusement.

Khanthong wasn’t amused however when he sees his friend, Nan act on his impulses (sort of ) with Mae Pao as well.

Nan wasn’t happy with Khanthong’s double standards, but Khanthong was just worried that Nan would blow their cover.

Nan sees Mae Pao fancy a hair pin and buys it for her. Rumors spread like wildfire in the ladies’ court as it was unthinkable for a eunuch to give a precious gift to a lady-in-waiting. Khanthong confronts Nan about this, but Nan replies that he knows that Khanthong has been giving love notes to Mangmao too. Khanthong retorts that he could always pretend that it was just pure and innocent kollabot practice and EVERYONE KNEW about Prince Goong’s letter – talk about unromantic. But hey, take note! It’s the priceless gifts that matter in the end! Anyway, Luang Srimanoraj takes this chance and again, accuses Jitjaipak (Nan) of being a man disguised as a eunuch for his actions with Mae Pao. Mae Pao on the other hand is reprimanded by Khun Thao Sopha, saying she wasn’t raised that way – that no matter what, she should not be accepting such expensive gifts from a “man.”

All hell breaks loose among the eunuchs once more.

Acting on Srimanoraj’s complaint, Aokya Wang is given no choice but to investigate Khun Jitjaipak. Srimanoraj and his lackeys goad Aokya Wang and force him to investigate the matter, and even add Khanthin into the mix. They insist on fairness and say that Khanthin and Jitjaipak must be subjected to the same cavity search which was done to them some time ago (in episode 2) as seeing their supposed genitals in a box is not enough proof that indeed they are eunuchs. Also, Srimanoraj adds that he had a witness, Yuern, who testified that she groped… er… I mean, she can attest to the continued existence (and functionality …?) of Aok Pra Sri Khanthin’s manhood. Unfortunately she drowned and cannot be found. Khanthin feigns knowledge of her whereabouts and claims that he only heard now what had happened to her, as she suddenly disappeared.

Aokya Wang is confused by the turn of events, and is continuously being pressured by Srimanoraj and his posse.

Khanthin agrees to a cavity search and all the fangirls in the kingdom rejoiced… er… I mean…

Seeing the bleak situation, Khanthong tells Aokya Wang to search him too, given that he won’t let his friend go on a sinking ship alone and yet….

Nan literally laughs at the face of danger.

Nan laughs and Khanthong thinks that his friend lost his bollocks. Instead, in a moment of clarity, Nan hatches a story that would not only save Khanthong, but also bring down Srimanoraj’s posse. He claims that he is a male gigolo, smuggled in by the two eunuchs to pander their sexual desires. They only pretend to hate each other to not make it obvious that they all love each other.

The tables are turned for these guys! Meanwhile, that unnamed eunuch at the back, doesn’t really care, and just wants to go home.

Khanthong is unable to stop Nan from rambling on about his alibi and it is even made worse, after Nan apologizes to Khanthin and exonerates him from any involvement in the fiasco. Clearly, he was determined to at least keep Khanthong alive to continue on the mission, although he himself dug his own grave.

The worst part however was how his great sacrifice brought a wedge between him and his love forever.

Unbeknownst to them, Mangmao and Mae Pao rushed to the scene once they hear about the investigation. At first, it was Mae Pao who couldn’t slow down but after hearing that Aok Pra Sri Khanthin was in trouble too, Mangmao started to walk like there’s no tomorrow. Yet when Mae Pao finally hear Nan’s words, it shocks her and destroys whatever remnants are there in her heart. Imagine being lifted up and realizing that indeed, Nan was a man who loved her as such – only for her heart to be crushed upon hearing that he was actually a gigolo who was toyed with (willingly) by eunuchs. Alas, the secret that was kept in Nan’s heart had to be kept hidden – and instead sullied by a “secret” which he manufactured and “revealed” in order to save his friend’s life.

Khanthong knew this all very well, as he was in the same situation as his buddy (being secretly in love but unable to act due to their disguise), so it hurt him to the core.

Khanthong is unable to stop the events from unfolding and he was well aware of Nan’s planned sacrifice for his sake. He is doubly pained however when he realizes that Mae Pao and Mangmao has witnessed everything and expression finally breaks into sheer agony.

Mangmao looks at him tearfully and understands, just with one look. It might have been as hard as a kollabot, but she could already feel Khanthong’s heart by now.

Mangmao remains helpless however and she can only look on as Khanthong witnesses his own friend seal his fate.

Nan’s knowledge of the box with holes (where the actual male paramour of the eunuchs is transported. Box with holes sounds very wrong, given this situation… anyway….) comes in handy as he tells Aokya Wang that it is the method for him to go in and out of the palace.

Baby is an actual baby now, as he can do nothing but cower and shiver in fear.

While searching the guilty eunuchs’ house, they see the actual male paramour cowering in fear. This lends credence to Nan’s story and he is sent away to the dungeon.

Meanwhile, the two eunuchs, sharing the same camaraderie as Khanthong and Nan, actually try to save each other – only for them to fight when Nan reveals that Baby (i.e. Mr. Gigolo) is actually two timing them with each other.

It’s friendship over for these two. Again, because of a boy.

Again, juxtapose the situation of these two with Khanthong and Nan. Both pairs have been together for quite some time, and have gone through ordeals together. And yet Khanthong and Nan never betrayed each other or caused any hatred.

Khanthong is deeply hurt and instead of waging war, offers Srimanoraj a truce in order to stop more pain from being hurled at each other. Srimanoraj rejects his offer and vows to destroy him still.

The entire ladies’ court is shocked by the news and appalled after realizing they had a man in their midst all along. Mae Pao laments that she and Khun Jit/Nan did not have any closure given that she learned that he was a man and that everything he had done in the past now had new meaning for her.

Mae Pao, in her confusion, begs Mangmao to help her find a way to talk to Khun Jit/Nan and get the closure that she wanted. Of course Mangmao, despite her mischievousness and resourcefulness, was aware that it was near impossible to accomplish the task.

In Ayutthaya, as with everywhere, it’s not what you know. It’s who you know that matters the most.

Prince Chate overhears Mangmao and Mae Pao’s conversation and quickly pounces on the chance to earn Mangmao’s favor. He implies that he can find a way to let Mae Pao get what she wished for …. In exchange for something from Mangmao. Not willing to get her friend into trouble, Mae Pao quickly rejects her offer, but just the same, Mangmao offers to do as Prince Chate pleased, if only he would grant Mae Pao’s wish. Prince Chate sneers and is gleeful of his chance.

There you have it. The end of Episode 9. Episode 10 is a heavy episode so I hope you can prepare your tissues beforehand. See you when I am mentally and emotionally prepared for Episode 10! ~Greta