Gong Choi-king (Crystal Tin) is brought into the palace with her daughter, Lau Sam-ho (Charmaine Sheh), and their serving girl, Yiu Kam-ling (Tavia Yeung). As she comes from a very distinguished line of jewellery makers in the land, she is assigned the task of making a beautiful headpiece in the shape of a phoenix, inlaid with precious stones and tails made from the feathers of exotic birds for the Empress Dowager (Susan Tse). However, during a flower viewing outing, the phoenix headpiece worn by the Empress Dowager suddenly bleeds tears of blood. Taking this as a sign of bad luck, she throws it away and demands that Choi-king be punished. She dies as a result of the harsh beatings. Before she passes away, she tells Sam-ho to always remember the significance of her name, "Speak good words, do good deeds, show good will". (Sam-ho literally means three goodness), and help and work together with Kam-ling.
At the same time around Choi-king's death, Lee Yi (Moses Chan), the young prince of the then Dowager Concubine Cheng (Mary Hon), meets the six years old Sam-ho. He showed kindness to Sam-ho by giving her some white flowers from Choi-king's favourite tree (chinese viburnums so she can take it to her dying mother. Later when he had to leave the palace without his mother, when he feigned mental illness as an excuse to escape the imminent death threat by the Empress Dowager, Sam-ho gives him some sweet lotus seed candy to comfort him on the journey. Because of this, the young prince develops an affection for her
The Imperial Household Bureau is responsible for managing and directing all household services to the Emperor and the Imperial family of the Tang Dynasty. It is made up of four departments, namely the Houses of Jewellery, Attire, Food, and Furnishing. Sam-ho and Kam-ling are introduced into the bureau in their childhood and are brought up as the disciples in the palace. The two girls are very diligent. Yuen Tsui-wan (Susanna Kwan), Head of the Jewels, and Chung Suet-ha (Michelle Yim), Head of Attire, are both very fond of Sam-ho for she is a kind-hearted young girl and shows great capabilities in the decorative arts of jewellery and silk work. Both of them fight bitterly to have Sam-ho in their departments. In the end, Sam-ho is assigned to Department of Attire while, Kam-Ling is assigned to the Department of Jewellery.
Years later, Sam-ho meets Ko Hin-yeung (Kevin Cheng) the palace scholar and chess teacher, where a secret love blossoms between them. The young prince Yi, now grown up, returns to the palace and becomes the Emperor after evading assassinations with the help of Sam-ho and Hin-yeung. He promotes Hin-yeung as the Palace General because of his faithfulness. Sam-ho later becomes the Head of the Jewel Department. Even though the Emperor has deep feeling for Sam-ho and wants have Sam-ho as his concubine, he decides to bury his feeling for her when he discovers that Hin-yeung and Sam-ho are deeply in love and knew they were planning to leave the palace together once the emperor was safe.
Sam-ho and Kam-ling continue to enjoy a very close friendship, treating each other as sisters and this provokes jealousy among other palace girl servants. Time and again some of them will try to get Sam-ho and Kam-ling into trouble. However, Sam-ho's honesty and kind attitude endears many powerful people in the palace to her and they always help her out. Whereas, Kam-ling uses her cunning mind to get rid of her enemies. As time passed, Kam-ling realised that to stop the bullying and to be able to survive in the palace she has to be someone powerful and respected. Therefore, she slowly works on a scheme to gain favour of the Empress Dowager Cheng, Yi's mother. She was eventually chosen as one of the Yi's concubines. From there she works on a bigger scheme to get rid of all her competitors, which includes Sam-ho
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