Chinese Paladin 3: Episodes 4-6

Episode 4

Together, XueJian and Jin Tian halted the group of Poisoned People outside the Tang family sanction. But a careless swing of the arm brings one vampire back to action. Panic stricken, Jin Tian pushes XueJian back inside and after a bout of aimless fumbling, they activate a secret path within the room!

Like two headless flies, they set out to roam the passage…

… and effectively get stuck within the first two minutes.

As the two squat down and lament the fickleness of life, XueJian makes Jin Tian a promise: if they were to walk out of the labyrinth alive tonight, she will grant him a wish. (He wants the pawnshop.) At length, they venture on.

Through chance, they end up before a fountain where XueJian retrieves a potato lookalike from the center of the fountain (could’ve sworn it’s a potato!). While gazing at the motionless brown object in wonder, it suddenly stirs and flutters into life. (Cute little thing:)

The little elf guides the way and takes them out of the passage, then it slumps back into its potato form. Seeing that there is no way that they can rely on the little elf to fend against the vampires, Jin Tian somehow musters his well hidden courage and decides to provide cover while XueJian goes and rescues her grandfather. He hands her the newly made tea pot lid replica and she, touched by his offer, hands him the pill given to her by ChangQing. He refuses, saying that her grandfather will be needing it, but she insists. Finally, he takes it but before swallowing, he suggests that they scream their fears out before facing the Poisoned People and without thought, XueJian agrees. Mouth wide open, they scream together — suddely, Jin Tian feeds the life-saving pill down XueJian’s throat. (While there’s a part of me that thinks this scene is utterly cute, the other half couldn’t help but to wonder if Jin Tian is doing it to make sure XueJian will live to fulfill her promise.)

Whatever the case, the plot all of a sudden swirls around and have Jin Tian spotting scattered money on the ground. (How random!) He follows the money trial and finds a trembling figure crouched in the dark. Not good.

The figure turns to reveal a disgustingly hideous vampire. But before XueJian can rush Jin Tian to safety, the bloody vampire scratches Jin Tian hard on the forearm, leaving three bloody marks. Suppressing the excruciating burning of a vampiric transformation, Jin Tian mutters for XueJian to leave, stating his reason as “I don’t want you to rape me”! She turns to leave but on a second thought, remembers that she is the mistress of the house, and he a mere guest. As she grudgingly corrects him that he should be the one leaving, she notices the scratch marks.

Now, she’s determined to stay.

In the meantime, a hilarious farce is going on outside as MaoMao and BiPing struggle to search for Jin Tian’s remains (while hoping not to find it) and elude the attacks of Poisoned People. They are eventually saved by ChangQing’s arrival.

Inside the sealed room, it’s a whole other scene. XueJian is running up and down, dodging Jin Tian’s attack while trying to contain him with the magical flute. Jin Tian on the other hand charges wildly but grimaces even more wildly as he clunks his head and hits his knees in pain. The elfin beast flutters here and there, screeching rapidly to offer her help. But XueJian is too preoccupied to take heed. She waves an arm annoyingly and sends the tiny beastie flying across the room three times in a row. The last time, the little elf flops down the pillow and is pinned down as the giant pillow crashes onto her with Jin Tian’s weight, who is finally controlled and put to sleep.

ChangQing comes in time to usher all the Poisoned People to the Tang family dungeon, save for Jin Tian. As everybody contemplate their next move, no one seems to takes notice of a desperate little elf, trying to set herself free. After a long struggle, she gives up and snorts away.

Jin Tian wakes up the following morning to find himself fully transformed. Hating his new image, his new protuding teeth, and his blackened nails, he runs away after leaving a letter, bidding his friends not to seek him out. They eventually find him crouching before his father’s grave, plucking away his vampire’s teeth so he wouldn’t wind up harming any innocent.

Feeling guilty for Jin Tian’s suffering, XueJian starts to cry. The more Jin Tian tells her to stop, the louder she cries. Finally, couldn’t take it anymore, Jin Tian breaks out from the desk that’s obstructing him and the others and hurtles out, but…

In that exact instant, the elfin beast (having finally struggled to her freedom) bursts out of XueJian’s pocket and suspends herself in midair before Jin Tian, glowing.

Slowly drawing away, the little beastie turns into a fair maiden called Hua Ying. She smiles at Jin Tian and waves her hands at him. Slowly, the green hue faded from his eyes, his nails retracted, and his fangs dropped with noiselessly. She is the Wu Du Shou they’ve been searching for all along. (Ah, game music playing here. Haven’t heard it for so long, quite miss it!)

With Hua Ying’s help, all of the captured Poisoned People are returned to normal. As a fatigued Hua Ying collapses onto the desk, she feebly warns the others to save XueJian’s grandfather at the PiLi Tang headquarters. But, where is that?

While the bunch is cluelessly waiting for Hua Ying to reemerge from her potato form, Luo RuLie has sucked away Tang Kun’s 10 years worth of kung fu. Upon finding out by Tang Yi, who wants to level up himself, the two coil into a fight. In the process, Tang Yi provokes the vampire mother (Wen Xuan’s mom) by poking her with a fat needle and sends her in pursuit of Luo RuLie.

Wen Xuan senses his mother’s distress and runs out to her…

Episode 5

This story starts with a thread.

A thread on a tattered shirt, sewed and resewed on many sleepless nights by the hand of a doting mother.

The thread hangs languidly as the shirt owner, Wen Xuan, cries for tearing the shirt his mother so tirelessly mended for him. Picking up the thread gingerly, ChangQing commiserates. After a moment’s consideration, he bestows the thread the essential task of leading the son to his mother.

While one might scorn the ludicrousness of which this scene is executed, the thread, undoubtedly, gets the job done. It leads the bunch to the gambling house and by chance, XueJian and Jin Tian discover the opening to the underground chambers.

There, a series of unfortunate events take place in quick succession:

  • The appearance of the thread pulled the vampire back from her animalistic inclination momentarily, creating a gap for Luo RuLie to regain control over her.
  • When ChangQing and his fellow Taoist monk arrive at the secret chamber fashionably late, the vampire mother is sent after them. ChangQing manages to disrupt Luo RuLie’s reign over the vampire after a fireworks worth of colors and special effects. Then, when Wen Xuan enters, as if on cue, the vampire mother collapses and loses consciousness.

  • The Taoists engage in a fight with Luo RuLie and eventually killing him in an joint effort. (What? He dies? Just like that?! How anticlimactic!)
  • Deep inside the chambers, Tang Yi is in a therapeutic session with Tang Kun the Grandpa for his inferiority complex that resulted from being an illegitimate son.
  • XueJian and Jin Tian reproach Tang Yi for his misdemeanor and Hua Ying, the elfin beast, takes human shape and sucks away all of Tang Yi’s kung fu as punishment.

Things wind down a bit after that: Wen Xuan’s mother is cured by Hua Ying and Jin Tian’s father turns out to be Tang Kun the Grandpa’s long term friend.

Then it spices up again:

A long time ago, on a cold, snowy night, an infant, wrapped in pink loincloth was found at the doorsteps of Yong An Pawnshop.

She was picked up by the pawnshop’s owners, a loving couple who lived modestly, and brought inside. Once inside, the story quickly unfolded itself. The meager couple had only just given birth to their own child, a boy named Jin Tian. Then months earlier, the family was burdened with one mouth to feed when a fellow businessman dropped off his son (MaoMao) at the pawnshop before going on a business trip. The father never returned to reclaim his son, and by doing so had given Jin Tian an older brother and a playmate.

The baby’s surprise arrival would have been no problem to the kind couple, except that getting by was already difficult enough for the family. Eventually, the couple had to seek help.

So on the day of Tang Kun’s son and daughter-in-law’s funeral, Jin Tian’s parents brought the baby for adoption. The baby shone a light of promise on the devastated man that Tang Kun, much younger then, immediately accepted the adoption and named her XueJian.

MaoMao was there to witness the entire exchange. (Aside: look at those chubby cheeks! Ain’t he adorable?! 😀 )

And he’s here to recall the exchange. But before he says anything, ChangQing stops him and takes him aside. In a quiet voice, ChangQing reasons that XueJian is in good hands and happy, there is no reason to ruin that happiness if her grandfather isn’t ready to divulge the truth yet. MaoMao concedes.

With the Poisoned People case nicely resolved and Wu Du Shou found, ChangQing bids everyone goodbye to return to Mt. Shu. Shortly before his departure, he is pressed by XueJian to let slip a few of the things he can foresee (he’s said to have the power of foresight).

Ambiguously, ChangQing tells her,

“You’ll find your knight in shiny armor and you’ll be with him, and be happy.”

And so, with the message to ponder, the story about a thread ends.

Episode 6

The town has its quietude back; Jin Tian and XueJian have their old, bicker-filled dynamics back.

Yet, behind each scathing remark is the ill hidden intend for good.

On this particular night, Jin Tian is helping XueJian collect flower dew for her grandfather. They are talking when the thunder roars loudly across the pitch black sky. Jin Tian reaches out both hands in giddy anticipation for another gift that’s sure to drop from the sky.

None came. Instead, a ball of red hurtles down rapidly and lands on the pinnacle of the Suo Yao Tower (named after its demon-locking purpose. Might add, the tower looks just like the game!)

What emerges from the puff of red is ChongLou, the lord of the demon realm. He is temperamental and unbounded by the rules and relegations of this world. Yet, there’s a certain stubbornness about him. In pursuit of the only opponent worthy of his attention (namely Fei Peng), he has descended to the mortal realm to continue the unfinished fight with warrior Fei Peng.

Upon arrival he takes back the Demon Sword and unleashes a handful of demons sealed inside the tower. With a thunderous long laugh, he waves a sleeve and flies away, leaving the Taoists to fight the escaping demons. Qing Wei, the master of the Taoist sect chases after ChongLou and makes the demon lord promise no to come back to the mortal realms for 300 days. The demon lord agrees without intending to keep the promise and leaves as abruptly as he had come.

Despite the Taoists’ efforts, some of the demons have escaped Mt. Shu and are on their way to disturb the equilibrium that’s keeping the six realms intact.

To prevent an impending disaster, Qing Wei sends ChangQing to fetch Jin Tian and personally communicated with Jin Tian via dream (really thought he could teleport). As Jin Tian reaches out to grab the vintage box (whose purpose is the opposite of Pandora’s box in that it seals the undesirable attributes, or demons in this case), Qing Wei disappears. Standing before him, tall and menacing, is ChongLou.

ChongLou’s sudden appearance gives Jin Tian a fright. Losing his balance, the mortal falls behind and looks up at the strange demon lord towering over him. “You’ve changed,” observes ChongLou darkly. “I’ve changed? I look shabby? What? I’ve never seen you in my life!” Jin Tian exclaims. On a second thought, he decides he’s still in the dream and dismisses ChongLou almost instantly — until ChongLou tosses Demon Sword on the ground and demands Jin Tian to fight him.

It is then revealed that Jin Tian is the second reincarnation of warrior Fei Peng, a god guarding the heavens. He and ChongLou found each other to be equally capable men. As all highly skilled and powerful men in the genre like to do, they fight and fight and fight until a winner emerges. Unfortunately for Fei Peng, the act of violence was condemned and he must be punished. Consequently, he was banished to the mortal realm to suffer (gotta love the philosophical assumption that (wo)men are born to suffer).

But today’s Jin Tian is not yesterday’s Fei Peng. Knowing full well he doesn’t stand a chance against this monstrous, horned  man, Jin Tian first gets away by lying (he needs to urinate and therefore runs away), then he stalls by “worming up”. When nothing works and ChongLou is still breathing down his back, he picks up the sword to block ChongLou’s attacks but fails to hold up.

At the critical time, ChangQing waltzes in gracefully to save the day. Ta-da!

A rather hilarious flight on the sword ensues, follows by the sword fight between ChangQing and ChongLou, now in eagle form. (BTW, ChangQing can fly!) Amidst everything is Jin Tian’s desperate pleading, “Stop fighting! Stop fighting!” and the laughable special effects that looks too fake to buy into. Yet somehow fast forward never crossed my mind as I laughed through the silliness of it all.

Eventually, ChangQing, a mere mortal, falters and crashes to the ground, barely able to lift a finger. It’s at this point that Jin Tian finally puts on some nerve and faces off ChongLou. Lying on the spot, Jin Tian tells ChongLou that every man (mortal) aspires for greatness. He too, has three wishes — not realizing the obvious irony:

  1. Find himself a girlfriend
  2. Find ChangQing a wife
  3. Watch MaoMao become a scholar (now this one might be a little hard)

Before these three “dreams” come true, he is in no mood for a duel. ChongLou believes Jin Tian and promises (keeping his word this time) that the day these three wishes are granted is the day he will come find Jin Tian again.

Before leaving, ChongLou hands Jin Tian his sword and says, “A warrior cannot be without his sword.”

Relieved that the redheaded monster’s finally gone, Jin Tian turns to deal with the new problem at hand: how is he supposed to bring ChangQing back to the summit of Mt. Shu? In the end, he decides to carry ChangQing allllllllllllllllllll the way to the top.

The trip isn’t as easy as it seems, especially with the dead weight of a grown man on his back. After much contemplation, Jin Tian painfully abandons the thousand-year-old sword that could be resold for a hefty sum to lessen the weight he has to carry. He continues on.

Meanwhile ChangQing is slowly fading away. Jin Tian tries many ways to keep ChangQing awake but when all fails, bluffing to rob the Taoist sect does the wonder. As ChangQing struggles to dissuade Jin Tian from the deed, Jin Tian replies, “If you die, I’ll steal, I’lll rob, I’ll commit every sin there is possible to commit. If you want me to be a good man, you have to stay alive.” Taking Jin Tian’s words literally, ChangQing makes it his mission to keep Jin Tian an upright man and chants “You need to be a good man. I have to stay alive” to keep from drifting.

But ChangQing’s voice grows fainter and fainter and is finally, heard no more. Worried that ChangQing might be trodding the dangerous boundary of death, Jin Tian unloads him from his back but is careless enough to let ChangQing slips down the cliff. Immediately reaching to grab ChangQing’s hand, the two men dangle on the edge of the steep, bottomless cliff.

Jin Tian’s sword senses its owner’s danger. It frees itself from the cracks of the rock and flies upwards Jin Tian. As the two men lose their strength and fall into the abyss below, the sword catches them both…

Comments

Despite the slow recaping speed (three episodes in one week, that’s not too bad is it?) and a downward spiral of readership, this drama is quite entertaining to watch. There are funny lines that jump at you when you lease expect it, when you start to grow bored with the lack of development. Then there’s the exaggeration. It’s exaggeration alright, but none I would call over the top because somehow, in this context, it works remarkbly well.

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