Chinese Paladin 3: Episode 11

Suspicion soon falls upon Wan YuZhi, who is also known as Mrs. Gao. But seeing that the dead died with his bag full of money, Jin Tian quickly dismisses the idea that a frail, beautiful woman can be capable of murder. His reason being: if Mr. Gao were the killer, why didn’t she take his money when it’s public knowledge that she desperately needs money to buy her dying husband medicine? — Maybe she’s smarter than that.

ChangQing is unconvinced, so is XueJian. While LongKui senses the truth behind the assumption that Mrs. Gao may be a fox spirit, she keeps her mouth shut because Mrs. Gao had helped her once by handing the pale ghost an umbrella to shield from the sunlight after XueJian playfully took it away. She had also warned LongKui to look out for ChangQing.

Even though XueJian and Jin Tian hold opposite beliefs about Mrs. Gao, she ends up tagging along with Jin Tian once they start investigating, leaving ChangQing with MaoMao.

Just as the other time MaoMao is scared (below left), he grabs onto ChangQing on all fours like a scared panda dangling from a thin piece of bamboo, quite adorable (below right).

Between bouts of bickering, Jin Tian and the girls spot Mrs. Gao hurrying off into the night and clumsily follow after her home. Hua Ying is sent in to see what Mrs. Gao is doing while the others wait at the top of the wall. She flies to a window and peeps in, Mrs. Gao is “sucking the qi/energy from her husband”. (She’s treating her husband.)

When Jin Tian is informed of the witchcraft, he bursts in and attacks Mrs. Gao. But with LongKui’s help, the fox spirit gets away.

Hua Ying attempts to treat the sick man in bed but to no avail. In the end, Jin Tian is bestowed with the duty of carrying him to the tavern the travelers are staying so Mrs. Gao can’t “harm” him further.

While wandering in the woods with MaoMao, ChangQing senses the fox spirit. He follows the spirit and is lead to rowdy tavern where a hostess dressed with scarce clothing is drinking with a group of lusty men. Mistaken her for the fox spirit, he grabs onto the woman with so much force that her cloth is pulled down by him to reveal a bare shoulder.

The woman, ZiXuan, locks eyes with ChangQing, then she smiles at the “violation”. She teases him, flirtatiously at first. But the longer he lingers, hesitating over what to say, she becomes increasingly forceful. “Do you think you’ll fall in love with me?” She asks abruptly. Taken aback, ChangQing hastily explains that a monk does not marry. She grows resentful at the response and snaps, “I’ve had two romantic encounters with monks in the past.” (Then why be so greedy to desire a third after promising to leave him alone?)

She turns cold when ChangQing replies that he doesn’t recognize her even after her repeated pursuit to extract any hint of lingering emotion from him for her. The in a childish burst of anger, she promptly leaves him and heads to drink with inconsequential men. Being the caring man that he is, ChangQing worriedly tries to tell her that binge drinking is harmful. She ignores, wallowing that her lover doesn’t remember her. (Woman, don’t be absurd! His memory’s sealed!) Of course that gets the job done, ChangQing is eventually guilt tripped enough to drink for her (so she can stop drinking), breaking the first of many Taoist rules.

The following morning when ChangQing wakes up, he’s stripped naked and lying on a woman’s bed. (Oh lala!)

When he sees ZiXuan hovering by his side, he is startled by the condition he’s in. ZiXuan conveniently leads him to believe that while drunk, he has taken advantage of her. Distressed, ChangQing promises to come back in a year and take responsibility for his deeds. Secretly pleased, ZiXuan blinks and wonders why wait a year, why not now? — Woman wants to get married but as women are from Venus and men from Mars, ChangQing is actually thinking of… Letting ZiXuan kill him after his completes his task in 200+ days. Hah!

And to show her he’s a man of words, he’s willing to chop a hand off now if she’s not convinced he’ll be back. Double hah!

Exasperated, ZiXuan reveals that last night, after ChangQing got drunk, he just rolled over and fell asleep. As for the clothes (or a lack of), the server at the tavern undressed him and tucked him into bed. He had done nothing worth dying for!

Then with a thousand sorries, ChangQing leaves. Once outside the premise of the tavern, he runs as quickly as possible.

He finds a quiet place in the woods and squats down to regain his serenity but how can he after such an encounter? So distraught by what happened to him overnight, he didn’t even notice the fox spirit near by.

The fox spirit comes to make ZiXuan a deal. If ZiXuan can save her husband, she’s willing to give up her heart for ZiXuan to stay young. The goddess asks the fox spirit, “If you trade your heart for his life, you’ll die. You still won’t end up with him.” But the fox spirit replies with dignity,

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ll do anything to save my husband. Because as long as I know we love each other, whether I get to stay with him in the end doesn’t matter.”

The deal is made and the fox spirit leaves.

But ZiXuan is left with more emptiness and nostalgia. (If only she wills herself to the duties of her kind, she wouldn’t have all the time to feel sorry for herself.)

When Jin Tian, XueJian, and ChangQing fail to find the fox spirit, they return to the tavern to find LongKui gone. Unbeknownest to all, the red LongKui, more daring, more decisive, has left the tavern with the sick man’s body to help the fox spirit.

But the good thing is, Jin Tian is finally considering the possibility of LongKui being more than a meek girl. Though he remains skeptical to the idea.

He runs out in search for LongKui. When he sees her, all the anger of being lied to surfaces. “How dare you hit MaoMao?” he barks, “He’s the only relative I have in this world!” “But LongKui is kin brother’s only sister!” she protests. “I’m not your brother!” temper flaring, Jin Tian slaps LongKui.

“Don’t let me see you again.” Jin Tian says and walks away.

Pained, LongKui turns red. “Brother, listen to me!” she yells after him. But the red glow only confirms other people’s accusation of her. At this time, XueJian arrives and yells, “See, I told you she turns red!” Maddened by XueJian’s interference, the red LongKui attacks her, only to be blocked by Jin Tian. They exchange blows and LongKui is propelled backward by the force of Jin Tian’s sword. Falling, she yells, “Brother, listen to me, listen to me!” But before she lands, she finds herself encased in a bubble, taken away by ShengGu.

Now, why is ShengGu meddling with LongKui’s business? She’s made a bet with ZiXuan that if after knowing LongKui is a ghost, ChangQing decides to release her soul from purgatory — despite LongKui’s insistence to stay and be with her kin brother — then he will surely treat ZiXuan the same. If that’s the result, ZiXuan should forget about this man and focus on her duty as the creator goddess’ offspring.

ShengGu leads the bunch back to the tavern where she’s waiting. She instructs Jin Tian to put on the helmet.

She is going to flex a muscle and reveal some past!

Comments

I think the drama’s edified portrayal of ZiXuan backfires more than it enhances (honestly she acts more like the fox spirit than the fox spirit herself). Really, it was fine the way she was in the game.

Some may argue that the ZiXuan here provides a deeper personal scope on the character’s suffering, giving her human shape and allows her to err. Perhaps. But she appears too forceful, too desperate, too needy, too unprincipled, and most of all, too experienced, that these distress indicators add up to demean the beauty and virtue of the intended romance between her and ChangQing.

While their three lifetime’s romantic involvement is meant to honor the notion that true love can withstand the test of time, that even in a different lifetime with different names and different environments, their souls will search for each other and they’ll fall in love all over again (sort of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). But here, ZiXuan’s active provocation makes her seem more keen to possess than to love.

The fox spirit’s matrimony with a moral parallels that of the goddess’. However, while ZiXuan’s love is marred by possessiveness, the fox spirirt exhibits a more altruistic attitude towards love. She wishes nothing but for her loved one to be well and for that, her doomed love is more devastating, more worthy of sympathy.

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