Park Gyeong-u is a former official of the court who is included by the king as a part of the contest to select the next crown prince.
The King decided the stages of the contest himself and the second stage required that the princes take on the role of inspectors, locate two individuals, and bring them back to the palace.
Half of the princes were instructed to escort Seo Ham-deok and the other half were asked to escort Park Gyeong-u. These men were former court officials who left because they did not agree with the way the King ascended the throne.
Grand Prince Seongnam and Prince Bogeom were amongst those instructed to find Gyeong-u.
Bogeom is the first to make it to Manwol Island where Gyeong-u is rumoured to be. Everyone calls him Master Hyomyeong and he helps the people of the island.
Boom finds a Gyeong-u teaching some children arithmetic and reads the royal edict. The king wishes that Gyeong-u return to the palace and take on the position of Minister of Taxation. Seongnam also arrives at this point.
Gyeong-u tells them that he has no interest in serving in the king’s court and adds that since he is blind he won’t be able to do a suitable job. Seongnam says if he can prove Gyeong-u can see, he must give them 3 days to convince him to return to the palace with them.
He also agrees to leave with Bogeom if he is wrong. He suddenly draws his sword out and points it right at Gyeong-u but the man doesn’t flinch. Seongnam agrees to leave and runs and jumps off a cliff.
Gyeong-u and Bogeom rush to the edge to see what happened and see Seongnam hanging on to a branch by the side of the cliff. He points out that Gyeong-u regained his eyesight as both observers call him crazy.
Put to the test
With 3 days to convince him, Seongnam and Bogeom follow Gyeong-u around the island and observe what he does. They notice that he charges a commission on the sales that the people of the island make which strikes them as odd.
They continue to get more suspicious and decide to investigate further by searching his quarters while he’s not around. Bogeom and Seongnam each find key evidence but they get caught doing so and Gyeong-u banishes them off the island.
Bogeom and Seongnam share what they found and then late confront Gyeong-u about it.
They learnt that Gyeong-u was collecting a huge commission from the people and he was embezzling money from all their income. However, he used that money to pay off the debts of the people on the island and set up a market to ensure that the people remain financially independent, even during the off-season.
A valuable asset
Gyeong-u is pleased that the two princes figured out his secret by working together and agrees to accompany them back to the palace. At the palace, he chooses both of them as the winner and progresses them to the final round.
In reality, the king had sent word to Gyeong-u beforehand about the contest. He knows that Gyeong-u would not be willing to serve the king, but he could be a great teacher to the crown prince.