At the heart of this drama is an emperor who has profound trust issues and is consciously or unconsciously in desperate search of someone to trust. Reliability is what he needs more than romance but with the package that comes in the form of his sword bearer, Cheng Ruoyu is the prospect of romance — a romance he cannot allow himself to be distracted by in his path to bring matters under his control. Therein drives the push and pull. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes (including the Empress Dowager) that the normally inscrutable Qi Yan favours his sword bearer not just as a loyal officer of his court but as a woman that he has feelings for. Officially she is meant to be his shield but there’s something about her personality (not just her inferior martial arts or impetuosity) that sees Qi Yan coming to her aid over and over again.
Thanks for another great insight. This drama is getting better and better.