They are brought back to the Jiang Kingdom from a thousand years ago…
On the day the queen was to give birth, a star fell, bringing with it FeiPeng’s helmet. The helmet was retrieved and presented to the king. Then moments later, the prince was born, he was named LongYang.
A year later, the queen gave birth to a princess called LongKui.
Although born in the midst of war, the pair of siblings were sheltered from misery and had a happy childhood. But war didn’t end, civil unrest only spread further and wider. Finally, the siblings could no longer remain carefree.
Hunger and poverty hung loosely on people’s sleeves, it became obvious that the kingdom needed reinforcement to survive this crisis. The king sought aid from his ally but the ally refused to joint force unless the queen, famous for her craft, completes a map of the kingdom with her needle. For peace and her people, the queen set out to work day and night until fatigue overwhelmed her and brought her to her deathbed.
Eventually, after their doting mother died and their father slumped into a long depression, LongYang shouldered all responsibility. He put on his helmet and went to war.
To be with her brother, LongKui disguised herself as an ordinary soldier. But her disguise didn’t escape LongYang’s sharp eyes. He picked her out from the crowd and ordered her to return to the palace at once. She refused, telling him that she’s not afraid of death but being apart from him, her beloved brother. LongYang wouldn’t budge. He relentlessly broke LongKui’s legs to keep her from joining him on battlefield.
A year later, he returned. Battered, scarred, but victorious.
He no longer had any time for LongKui. He was always busy ruling the kingdom and fighting off new invaders. But no matter how effortful the endeavor, peace seemed out of reach. Then out of desperation, LongYang sought after the forbidden pamphlet and decided to forge the Demon Sword. The sword was the only hope towards saving the kingdom and spearing its citizens of misery.
But the Demon Sword was the sealed heirloom for a reason. It required the virgin blood of the royal family heiress. When LongYang found out about the last missing ingredient, he became furious. Despite LongKui’s willingness to sacrifice, he forbade her and went as far as to disown her to keep her from doing anything rash.
“Without the Demon Sword,” he had said through clenched teeth, “I can still defeat the invaders!” So without giving the Demon Sword another thought, he continued to fight and protect his kingdom on his own.
Then one day, LongKui received a letter and a bag of sunflower seeds. It was from her brother. He had sensed that the end was near for him and had written to bid LongKui goodbye. “Take the sunflower seeds with you.” he had written, “If one day we were to see each other again, I hope that place is filled with joyous sunflowers.”
She was trembling as she read the last word her brother had written her. Dropping the bag of sunflower seeds at her feet, she hastened to pick them up…
On battlefield, LongYang was slain. He anchored his weight on the sword passed down from his father and silently said goodbye to the world that had nurtured him. Then he closed his eyes and left. The instant his life extinguished, the sun was swallowed by the moon, casting a forlorn shadow on the world.
…LongKui was picking up the last sunflower seed when a sudden blackness fell upon her. A bad omen. She ran out and saw the chaos outside and understood the dread she was feeling: her brother was dead.
“Why didn’t you do as your brother asked?” ZiXuan asks as LongKui wipes away the tear that had slipped during the course of the storytelling. “Without kin brother, there is no purpose for me alive.” LongKui answers sadly. The words sting as if they are describing herself, ZiXuan looks away.
Therefore, over the flames, LongKui jumped.
The Demon Sword was forged and the corpse ridden battlefield was replaced by a sea of sunflowers.
The sword was buried with the ruinous city. It was until a later excavation that the sword and LongKui’s blue dress was recovered as cultural relic. But because the Demon Sword was so powerful, it was then taken by the Taoist sect and sealed inside Suo Yao Tower.
LongKui, residing inside the sword was forced to endure a torturous hundreds of years inside the tower. The demons bullied her constantly. To protect herself, she developed an alter ego and that second half of herself would emerge when she felt threatened.
After knowing the whole story about LongKui, ShengGu calls ChangQing forth and hints at his duty as the regulator of the mortal realm. Watching ChangQing leave to perform his duty as a Taoist, ShengGu leaves as well, sealing the room behind her so the others inside cannot interfere with ChangQing’s action. She needs ZiXuan to see the truth for herself.
ChangQing finds LongKui at ZiXuan’s tavern and politely asks LongKui to follow him. ZiXuan protests, LongKui’s unnatural staying could have dire consequences, but sure there’d be exceptions?
But ChangQing assures ZiXuan glumly that if everyone who ask for except is granted, there would be no order in this world. Rules need to be imposed and as a Taoist, he must fulfill his duty. While ZiXuan continues to protest, LongKui obliges obediently and follows ChangQing out…
The possibility of LongKui leaving the mortal realm for good doesn’t bother ZiXuan a bit — some people are just more concerned with their own welfare than others — she is deeply sorrowful for the fact that ChangQing didn’t cast a single look at her while he was there. “But he used to love me so much,” she sighed and dabbed her eyes for effect. Then as if to emphasize her woe, she adds, “for two lifetimes too!”
The fox spirit appears and puts an end to ZiXuan’s self-pity. (Thank god!) The spirit has come to beg ZiXuan to save her husband. Though ZiXuan no longer needs the fox spirit’s heart to stay young after losing the bet, she agrees to provide her help nonetheless. She tells the fox that only the Earth Pearl can save the husband and the Pearl is in the woods. The fox is given a pouch for protection and sent out in search of the Pearl.
Meanwhile, the seal on the tavern door is lifted, Jin Tian rush out to find LongKui.
When he finds her seated with ChangQing face to face, palms connected and eyes closed, the thought of losing her pinched his heart. He breaks into the seal and charges at ChangQing — only to be stopped by LongKui.
ChangQing is actually trying to help her, not making her vanish. By giving her blood before sun rise, she will be able to walk under the sun and stay in the mortal realm! (There’s never a lack of easy solution with this drama.)
When all’s done and LongKui returned to the “family”, it’s a happy ending again. Except, it’s not the end yet.
After an eventful night, the “family” return to the tavern to catch up on sleep. All slept well except for ChangQing, whose recurring dream is filled with fleeting images of ZiXuan.
After the short nap, the family sit down to discuss their quest for Earth Pearl. ChangQing warns that they will encounter both the Monkey Spirit and the Vine Spirit; but Jin Tian brushes it off, saying, “What’s the problem? Why don’t we just load up on wine and bananas?” (Ingenious!) In an effort to prevent ChangQing from taking the glory, Jin Tian persuades him to stay at the tavern and get a second round of sleep — he really does need it. Then wrapping bananas around his shoulder, Jin Tian sets out to explore the woods with the ladies.
Upon entering the woods, Jin Tian’s bananas are fetched by a large spirit in a King Kong outfit — lame computer graphics. The King Kong wannabe stuffs the bananas down his throat and spits out the peels like bullets at the intruders. Then he hops down and pokes Jin Tian on the head, tipping the small man out of balance. The gorilla thumps his chest in triumph and bellows at the miniature people in front of him, obviously having a great deal of fun.
Jin Tian tries to convey notions of peace but the gorilla effectively ignores him and blows his nose at the little people below. He then turns around to fart at them! Imagine the stench! Finally had enough, Jin Tian pokes the gorilla’s fat arse with his sword, sending the big darn thing into a painful howl! AHA! The gorilla swoops in to attack but Jin Tian strikes again blindly. He thrusts his sword left and right, up and down, until the King Kong shrinks, and shrinks, and shrinks to … roughly half Jin Tian’s size! Now take a look at him, he’s only a yellow-tailed furry money!
Once in his real form, money tells (oh the dub is so annoying!) the bunch that the Earth Pearl is in the hands branches of the Vine Spirit (though called vine, the spirit actually looks like a shriveled trunk). Leaving the fake King Kong to be, the bunch advance to look for the Vine Spirit but stumble upon the Vine Man’s territory first (difference: Vine Spirit belongs to the Spirit Realm while Vine Man belongs to the Elfin Realm)
In order to find the Vine Spirit, the bunch must first past the Vine Man’s barricade. To do that, they were to allow the Vine Man guess their inner most desires — the old fart can read mind and is itching for an opportunity to show off. Jin Tian agrees; XueJian protests, not wanting Jin Tian know she has a crush on him. No use.
The guessing game starts. Within a minute, the Vine Man has guessed the greatest loves and desires of Jin Tian (loves: Yong An Pawnshop, MaoMao, LongKui, his Demon Sword, and all other valuable antiques), LongKui (loves: Jin Tian; desires: to stay by his side), and even Yua Ying (loves: XueJian; desires: harmony between people and nature). But XueJian, much to her own astonishment, takes him a little more time. It’s not that he can’t figure her out, truth be told, she’s also a tree, but one of greater status (which, we’ll find out somewhere down the line). The boastful Vine Man lets them go without divulging XueJian’s secret.
Once inside the cave, they are attacked by the Vine Spirit. But the Demon Sword frees itself from the sheath and cuts off the vines, then with a final jab, the Vine Spirit disintegrates into a pile of ash, leaving the Earth Pearl floating in midair.
Jin Tian follows after the floating Pearl, when it’s within reach, he lungs for it — but Luo RuLie, who we thought was dead, grabs the Pearl a split second before Jin Tian. They exchange blows but Luo RuLie is way stronger than the three of them. Suddenly, the Monkey Spirit jumps out and attacks Luo RuLie. They entangle in a fierce fight but in the end, Luo RuLie gives the monkey spirit a fatal blow and walks away unharmed.
What he doesn’t know is, the money had stolen the Pearl while fighting. Now he hands Jin Tian the Pearl and teaches Jin Tian his favorite trick before dying and disappearing into a puff of golden smoke.
Later, when the fox spirit witnesses Jin Tian, XueJian, and LongKui setting a tombstone for the whimsical Money Spirit, a thought spurred. What if ZiXuan finds out ChangQing somehow let LongKui stay in the mortal realm? Would she retract her promise to spare the fox spirit and demand her heart after all? No, she mustn’t risk losing her heart!
Out of self-interest, the fox spirit kidnaps LongKui when the hapless LongKui offers the Earth Pearl for her to save her husband. She confines the travelers and takes the pearl with her to ask for ShengGu’s help. The Nüwa goddess’ guardian agrees to revive the spirit’s husband and asks ZiXuan to guard the door while the healing takes procession.
ChangQing, notified of Jin Tian et al‘s sudden capture, hastens to save them and is lead straight to ZiXuan.
He wants in; she blocks the way. They fight, leaving MaoMao stuck in the middle.
It’s not hard to see that ZiXuan takes this head on confrontation as a vehicle to vent her frustration. But it only befuddles ChangQing — why is this woman so unreasonable? A flash of light inside interrupts the fight momentarily, Mrs. Gao’s husband is revived.
As promised, the fox spirit takes her husband away and vows to never reappear before ZiXuan. As they make their exit, MaoMao spots the fox spirit and brings it to ChangQing’s attention. With saving Jin Tian on mind, ChangQing follows after but is stopped by ZiXuan once again. More distraught than ever, she tells him she hates the him now and she hates the Taoist sect in which he prides in — only to make herself seem erratic. He eyes her with incredulity, then as Mrs. Gao is getting away, he strikes ZiXuan to force his way out. She persists and gets hurt. As she slouches to nurse her wound, ChangQing gazes at her regretfully, not knowing what to do, much less what to say. Then finally, at MaoMao’s tug, he leaves without saying anything.
ChangQing’s belated recognition has already caused her enough pain, but to be hurt at his hand disillusions ZiXuan. She agrees to try and forget ChangQing and devote herself to the duties she should have faithfully fulfilled 200 years ago. While ShengGu feels guilty for separating the pair of lovers, she has her reasons to keep them apart. First and foremost, as guardian of the Nüwa generation, ShengGu has to make sure ZiXuan does as her duty binds. Then for QingEr, ZiXuan’s child begotten by ChangQing’s past life time, whom ZiXuan has frozen to be with ChangQing. Lastly, for ChangQing’s own good. He is destined to become a god in this lifetime but with ZiXuan pulling him backwards every step of the way, it’s unlikely to happen.
Enough of ZiXuan and her teenage angst, Jin Tian and the ladies are still trapped! When Jin Tian wakes up, he finds himself tied up and surrounded by fox spirits. Worry not, the sweet mouthed Jin Tian manages to buy some time for himself and the ladies before ChangQing comes to save them by playing rock paper scissor with the head spirit. The condition for playing is that if he wins, she will release all three of them. But — here’s the punch line — if he were to lose, then only he gets to walk away.
So game it is. First round, Jin Tian loses. But the quick witted brother isn’t going to let his sister be smashed to pieces by a bunch of fox spirits. He challenges the spirit head for two more rounds. Who wins the majority of the rounds is hailed the winner.
The second round, Jin Tian wins. Then the third round of rock paper scissor comes too quickly for anyone to react. But the bottom line is, Jin Tian wins that round as well, though he knows not how.
Beaming with relief, Jin Tian demands the spirit to let them go, but she who is in control simply snickers at his naivety. How can she be so unfair? LongKui is growing angry and slowly turning red. As she does so, the spirit head speaks, “How ’bout we play another game?” LongKui’s interest is piqued once again and the red fads to blue. (Darn, was counting on her to whip some major arses!)
The new game the spirit head wants to play is called Pick. She wants Jin Tian to pick one of the two to die. Upon hearing the request, both ladies offer to die in place of the other. XueJian brags that a brave soul like her is not afraid to die. LongKui declares her willingness to sacrifice for her brother. As long as it’s for her brother, she’s willing to do anything. After a looooooong deliberation, Jin Tian choses to let XueJian die. Suddenly, images of her kin brother preventing her from offering herself to the Demon Sword surges through LongKui’s head. She is deeply touched by the love her brother has for her.
While LongKui is sobbing in gratitude, XueJian is burning with anger. How dare he want her to die? Although ChangQing arrives at the last minute to save everyone (very unoriginal), the thought that Jin Tian is willing to let her die is unbearable (as predicted). But knowing XueJian, her anger doesn’t last long.
The next morning, ShengGu sends them the Earth Pearl. From a later discussion, the bunch deduces that perhaps it is Luo RuLie who sucked the man dry of his essence/qi for Luo has turned himself from a mortal to a demonic spirit. With that in mind, they must be more careful in later endeavors.
Before leaving the tavern, ChangQing makes a last stop to find ZiXuan but to no avail. He spots her purple handkerchief tied to a large bell and sniffs it with longing. The handkerchief is snatched by Jin Tian, who teases ChangQing of falling for ZiXuan. ChangQing rebukes the insinuation and storms off. Baffled by the over reaction, Jin Tian decides to get to the bottom of this.
In a report with the five Taoist masters, Jin Tian mentions ChangQing’s encounter with a girl dressed in purple and when ChangQing leaves, he presses to know more about ZiXuan. The five masters see Jin Tian’s interest as a possible way of helping ChangQing thrive against the temptation and divulge after making Jin Tian promise to keep secret — only, XueJian is eavesdropping under the bed. God knows when she’ll blurt something out and trigger a cascade of angst. But that debacle is reserved for later episodes.
And the story will be told when the inevitable happens, but for the gist of it, the character guide should suffice.
Meanwhile, Jin Tian gets more training from ChangQing.
At last, with ChangQing’s secret close to heart, the bunch set up for a brand new adventure.
Hint: does the underworld sound exciting?
Episode 12, as propelled by a bet, is a refreshing insert that breaks away from the fox spirit arc. It uncovers some of the backdrop of the main story for us. Although tragic, it feels like a charming folklore. The sibling devotion is touching, the anguish heartfelt, and LongKui’s unfortunate encounters deeply sympathized.
Episode 13, in comparison, is lame. The acquisition for the Earth Pearl is anticlimactic to the point of disappointing and the playful monkey spirit, though aggravating with the dub, could have been a great sport. But alas, he died too quickly and the fact that he’s existence serves the sole purpose of empowering Jin Tian is barely concealed. This episode is crudely done.
Thankfully, episode 14 picks up from 13’s dip and returns to Chinese Paladin 3’s usual light hearted charm.
Now, underworld? That should be fun!