Act 1, Scene 3: The Countess meets with her steward Rinaldo and her clown Lavatch. Rinaldo informs her that he overheard Helena talking about her love for Bertram. The Countess calls Helena and asks the Steward to leave since it wasn't the first time she'd heard this rumor. Helena enters and the Countess, sympathetic to the young girl who she loves like a daughter, gets her to confess her love. She also confesses her scheme to go to Paris to heal the king with remedies her father left her in order to earn her a position in which she could marry Bertram. The Countess then gives her permission to go through with the plan and wishes her luck.
Act 2, Scene 1: The men of the King's court leave to fight in the wars but Bertram is too young and not allowed to go. Parolles tells him to steal away and go anyway and Bertram decides that is a good idea. Lafew enters and asks the King if he will see Helena because Lafew thinks she can cure him. The King assents and she enters to give him her remedy. He, at first however, tells her that he will not have even though she is the daughter of Gerard de Narbon. Helena continues to convince him however, offering her self up to torture and death if she fails. If she succeeds however, the King must agree to have her marry any man she chooses. The King, inspired by her confidence, agrees to her bargain.