The Story of Minglan Episode 12 Recap

We’re back for Story of Minglan Episode 12! It’s about time for the brothers within the Sheng household to finish testing.

Story of Minglan Episode 12 Recap Highlights:

  • Old Madam Sheng is aware of Yuan Ruo’s feelings for Minglan and cautions her
  • The imperial test results are out for the Sheng household
  • Changfeng heads out for drinks with his buddies and they end up discussing the succession of the kingdom

Back in these times, if you weren’t studying to become an official, there’s not much else you can do.

Other than maybe becoming a merchant or using your skills to sell merchandise or services. So for the Sheng family, the most obvious choice is to work as an official.

Let’s talk about this episode in this Story of Minglan Episode 12 recap!

Wishing the Examinees Good Luck

Old Madam Sheng is greeted by Rulan, Molan and Minglan early in the morning.

And she comments that the house feels emptier now. Because Changbai and Chengfeng have left to take the exams.

Rulan then chimes in, telling them that her mother has been praying for good luck and well wishes.

While Molan bickers with her, saying that her mother prayed to multiple gods instead of just one. Which diminishes the sincerity.

Old Madam Sheng sits there listening them drone on and on with disinterest.


When things start to heat up between Rulan and Molan, Minglan tugs Rulan back down.

And glances back at Old Madam Sheng, subtly hinting that they are in the presence of their grandmother.

They shouldn’t cause a scene.

Old Madam Sheng then speaks up again and reminds them to make sure the family is in harmony while the brothers are gone.

That night, Minglan notices a particular building is brightly decorated with lantern lights.

Xiaotao is aware of this and shares that the Qi household put these up for good luck.

The days quickly pass by and the exams are almost over.

Returning Home

It’s finally the day. The exams are finished and the attendees can return home.

The crowd outside of the examination grounds are full of people.

Wang Ruofu and Madam Lin both eagerly wait for their sons.


Yuan Ruo and Minglan make eye contact and Yuan Ruo’s heart soars.

His mother notices that Yuan Ruo seems happy too and wonders what the reason is. But instead of telling her, Yuan Ruo flatters her and distracts her.

That night, Xiaotao (one of Minglan’s maids) reports to Minglan that Madam Lin assigned someone to the city of Yangzhou to procure some goods.

Minglan thinks the timing too much of a coincidence. Because everyone else is preoccupied by the upcoming exam results.

So she wants Xiaotao to inform her aunt that the snake has exposed its tail. And her aunt should follow that person.

Because her aunt never really “left”. She was living at a nearby inn until the opponent made some movement.

Expectations for the Exam Results

Bright and early in the morning, Wang Ruofu is excited to go see the exam results.

Because today is the day results are out.

She noticed that her incense this morning was burning beautifully. Thinking it’s an auspicious sign that her son has done well.


So she rushes out the door and accidentally trips.

Meanwhile, Minglan is at Old Madam Sheng’s room, practicing calligraphy.

Her grandma notices that Minglan can’t focus today because she’s worried about Yuan Ruo’s results.

Minglan tries to deny it but her grandma sees through her.

So Old Madam Sheng points out that Minglan won’t be happy if she marries over there.

Because there’s no guarantee that Minglan will be the main wife and even if she gets the chance to, there’s still the mother-in-law.

Duchess Qi is not an easy person to get along with.

Old Madam Sheng gives the order to have Minglan represent her when viewing the results. Knowing that she needs some fresh air.

Meanwhile, Marquis Gu and his wife are riding in a carriage to go view the exam results.

Madam Gu believes they need to watch out for Gu Tingye. Because Bianjing (the city they live in) has a tradition where families kidnap those who pass the imperial exam to marry their daughters.

Because these men will be successful in the future. LOL

While Marquis Gu tells her not to get ahead of herself. They have yet to see the results.

She then mentions the matter of Gu Tingye’s mistress which riles up her husband some more. Because they still have to deal with her.

This Madam Gu is just adding oil to the fire (making the situation worse).

Imperial Exam Results

Changbai meets up with Gu Tingye at the examination grounds. And Gu Tingye can’t help but comment that the whole Sheng household is almost here.

To prevent Changbai from getting kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Minglan and Rulan rush to the front of the crowd and look for names who have passed the exam.

As Changbai and Gu Tingye head over to the exam results, they overhear someone talking about Gu Tingye and his former reputation.

Saying that they would rather keep their daughter forever at their side instead of letting her marry Gu Tingye.

Well if no one wants Gu Tingye, that’s even better! Because he’s destined for just ONE person.

Buwei finished checking all of the results and heads back with a sigh.

He reports back to the Qi family (sitting in a carriage) that he wasn’t able to find Yuan Ruo’s name.

Duchess Qi refuses to believe it and wants to search by herself.

While Yuan Ruo feels like he’s disappointed his parents.

Minglan found her second brother’s name and pulls Changbai over to see it. He passed and placed thirteenth.

Some merchants then swarm Changbai and ask him to marry their daughters while Gu Tingye comes to the rescue.

OMG so the tradition is true. Hahaha.

Changfeng is still looking for his name and refuses to believe that he didn’t pass.

Madam Lin also orders her servants to help look. But it’s not there.

A passerby tells Changfeng that he can always try again.

But Changfeng lashes out against that person instead.

Yuan Ruo excuses himself from his parents to congratulate Changbai for his achievement.

While also greeting Minglan and Rulan.

Minglan offers Yuan Ruo some words of encouragement and he accepts it gratefully.

Sheng Household Celebrations

Duchess Qi notices that her son brightened up after speaking to the daughters of the Sheng family.

Her husband thinks they should look into it while his wife thinks differently.

She doesn’t believe they are a good match and the household is beneath them.

Changbai returns home and his mother is thrilled to hear that he passed. And wants to celebrate with great fanfare.

At the same time, Madam Lin and her children return back to the Sheng household as well but through the side entrance.

Concubines and their children cannot enter a household through the main door. That privilege is reserved for the legitimate wife and children.

And Molan can’t help but point out that with this win, Wang Ruofu will eagerly rub it in their face.

Minglan reports the results to her grandma before Sheng Hong and his wife stroll in.

Wang Ruofu wants to celebrate with firecrackers and announce to everyone that their son passed.

But Old Madam Sheng asks them if they should do so. Considering that in the Qi and Gu households, they did not pass.

Sheng Hong is like GASP, you’re right!

If they celebrated with such fanfare, wouldn’t it like a slap to their faces?

Because they all studied together and yet out of them, Changbai passed?

Sheng Hong is made aware of the implications and quickly orders his servants to stop the preparations.

While Wang Ruofu comments that living here in the capital is more stifling than Yangzhou.

Minglan chimes in saying that they can still celebrate though. Just behind closed doors.

Changbai’s Marriage Prospects

Now that Changbai passed the exams, Wang Ruofu is worried about his marriage prospects.

And proposes a candidate from her maiden family. A niece from her sister’s husband’s side. Named Yun’er.

She believes this girl may be a good match for Changbai. But Old Madam Sheng brushes it off by saying whenever that girl marries, she will send a congratulatory gift.

Hmm, so this girl isn’t good then?

Sheng Hong believes they shouldn’t rush this.

But Wang Ruofu looks disappointed.

Changfeng’s setback

Over at Madam Lin’s room, Changfeng is frustrated while getting lectured by his mother.

She comments how he could have spent more time studying than going out with friends.

Because maybe he would have done well today. So Changfeng counters that it’s rare to pass the exams on the first try.


But Molan counters that their other brother did. Then she adds more fuel to the fire.

She remarks that if she was a man, she would take the test herself.

Instead of relying on her brother.

And Changfeng lashes back in anger. Comparing Molan to his other sisters.

During these difficult times, Rulan was praying to the gods for their blessings so her brother could pass. While Minglan sewed knee pads.

And what did Molan do? Nothing. Except prepare herself for a future marriage.

Madam Lin states that if Changfeng doesn’t pass the exams, he may have to rely on his sister’s husband in the future.

But he argues that his acquaintances and buddies can help him out.

Refusing to listen to the two of them any further, Changfeng storms off.

Molan: Did you see that!? He yelled at me, mom!

That night, Changbai and Gu Tingye grab drinks together.

And Changbai wonders why Gu Tingye didn’t pass. If Marquis Gu asked the exam proctor, he’ll surely get an answer.

But Gu Tingye doesn’t believe his father will do that for him.

In that exact same restaurant, Changfeng is drinking with sons from other noble families.

Changfeng complains about his brother and his friends throw words of encouragement.

But then they start talking about Prince Yong and Prince Yan. With one stating that Prince Yan should be heir.

Changfeng almost says it out loud, but his buddies cut in and warn him to keep it in his mind.

Changfeng Mispeaks

Madam Lin waits for her son all night. Changfeng comes back completely drunk.

She lectures him for going out drinking despite failing the exam.

But Changfeng replies that he was making friends with those acquainted with Prince Yan.

Since the current emperor has no sons, if Prince Yan gets crowned, he will be the new emperor.

Of course, if Changfeng was sober he might not voice this out loud. This can travel to the emperor’s ears and endanger the ENTIRE household.

Reason why Gu Tingye didn’t pass

In another area of town, Marquis Gu visits the exam proctor’s house.

And asks why Gu Tingye didn’t pass.

His essays were beautifully written and logical.

But there’s a hidden reason why he didn’t pass. When Marquis Gu returns home, he tells his servants to call Gu Tingye for questioning.

The servants don’t dare to wake him up from his drunken stupor.

So Marquis Gu wakes him up himself by dragging him from the bed.

Gu Tingye believes he is being lectured at for failing to pass but his father yells at him for mentioning Scholar Yuandong in his essays.

The former believes Scholar Yuandong is a rare talent.

Then Gu Tingye thinks he’s being lectured for admiring Scholar Yuandong.

I swear these two father and son need a translator. Why is it so difficult for these two to understand each other!?

His father then tells him the main point. The current emperor pulled Gu Tingye from passing the roster because he voiced out Yuandong’s injustice in the public.

And the current emperor found out about it.

The current emperor didn’t like Scholar Yuandong so he put down a law that stated Yuandong can’t take the exams until he’s 50.

So for Gu Tingye, his punishment is not just failing the roster but he cannot retake the exam until he’s 50.

Ouch. That basically ruined his future.

Gu Tingye is devastated at this outcome.

And takes off.

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Awww. Old Madam Sheng is such a great grandma and model figure for Minglan.

She knows Minglan has feelings for Yuan Ruo and gives her advice to think on. Instead of telling her she shouldn’t marry him.

I think that’s great parenting. Changbai brought honor and glory for his family while Changfeng is frustrated with his failure.

And instead of staying at home to celebrate his brother’s win, he heads out to complain to his buddies.

He’s being petty. Well he was raised by Madam Lin so my hopes for his development isn’t that high.

Yuan Ruo can at least try again in a few years but Gu Tingye cannot. His future is stunted if he cannot be an official.

Gu Tingye believes that his father would never ask why he didn’t pass yet his father cared enough to do it anyway. Maybe deep down, he does care for Gu Tingye?

He’s a military man after all so he has difficulty expressing his feelings?

But it’s probably too late because the gap is too wide now. Sigh. T_T

What did you think of this Story of Minglan episode 12? Leave a comment below!

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Prim Keene
Prim Keene
3 years ago

Thanks for the recaps! Sometimes I just dont understand things in chinese ancient dramas

3 years ago

I’ve been really enjoying these recaps. Helps me better understand the show. Without your help in the first few episodes I might have given up.

3 years ago

Really appreciate your insightful recaps. Its helps those of us who are not tuned to chinese historic culture and background. Especially when you explained about the importance of exams in those days. You are blogger to be treasured, as far as cdrama lovers are concerned. Keep up the good work please:-)

3 years ago

Gah the relationship between Tingye and his father is so flawed and gaping and you so want them to just talk. I want to lock them in a room and have them not come out until they resolve their differences. I mean I know Tingye gets resolution for his exam results later in the show but right now this is a heavy blow to him. Yuanruo and his puppy love

too bad he doesn’t have the courage to back up his promise of protection when it really counts. I will admit that episode and that conversation between Yuanruo and Tingye was epic
for anyone not in the know.

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