Amidst the fogs and debris, a lone figure makes her way forward. Up ahead is a modest palace, the sanction of the demon lord ChongLou. The figure hesitates for a second, then she hurries onward.
The dimly lit palace is decorated with mirrors and camp fires in every corner, giving the host an all around view of himself. If ZiXuan hadn’t met ChongLou, she would’ve mistook him for a narcissistic, self-possessed man. Instead, she pities him. Tough hailed lord, ChongLou is but a lonely man whose power and temper keep love at bay; a man who fights with his own reflection in the mirror.
ZiXuan’s arrival alarms the demon lord but distraction soon takes his mind off this unexpected intruder. Through one of the mirrors, ChongLou spots Fei Peng sitting with Xi Yao, immersed in a heartwarming reunion.
The familiar sight of Fei Peng in his dazzling armor brings a gleam of excitement in ChongLou’s eyes. He tilts his head back and bellows a long laugh. Loosening his grip on ZiXuan’s neck, he hurdles away to fight Fei Peng.
A violent rattle breaks the peacefulness between Xi Yao and Fei Peng as they sit face to face below the magic tree, savoring the moment. The reverberation worsens with ChongLou’s impatience. At last, Fei Peng gets up to answer the call for battle. Xi Yao grabs Fei Peng’s arm and begs him not to leave her, not so soon. He nods in agreement, unwilling to part from her as well. “Then let’s go together,” he suggests. She smiles and follows him off.
News of the fight spreads wide and quick. ChangQing intends to help but XueJian dissuades him: she’ll go cheer Jin Tian on, ChangQing needs to dispose the evil box in the purging fountain first. Likewise, Tian Di catches wind of the fight. Unlike his initial inclination a thousand years ago, Tian Di decides not to break the heroes apart. He’ll watch them fight this time.
The duel commences but the audience is not limited to those up in heaven. ZiXuan and Xi Feng, ChongLou’s messenger, also have a front-seat view of the latest development from the HD TV palace mirror.
Watching ChongLou intently, ZiXuan asks Xi Feng the messenger, “Has the demon lord always been like this? Fighting with his own reflection?” “Yes. That’s the lord’s life. Lesser people like us cannot imagine the loneliness he endures.” “Has the demon lord no one?” Xi Feng studies ZiXuan for a pregnant beat and replies, “You mean a lover?” She holds his gaze. “No. He doesn’t have one.” Xi Feng answers with a look of bemused understanding. “Maybe it’ll do him good to have one.” ZiXuan assures lightly.
“What do you demons treasure the most?” ZiXuan wonders after a moment. “It’s different for every demon. For me,” he walks around to a stony surface and taps his fingers lighting, producing a sad melody, “this.” ZiXuan lowers her gaze and lets her head sink with the diminishing notes, she sighs, “it’s tragic. Has he heard this?” “Yes. But unlike you, he who has never fallen in love does not recognize the tune of longing.” “Can you imagine him in love?” ZiXuan tests. Xi Feng shakes his head from left to right, “No. That will never be.” “Then you’ll see.” ZiXuan promises with a thin smile.
ChangQing brings the box to the purging fountain. The box, putting up a last fight, tries his luck on ChangQing.
When XueJian arrives at the dueling site, Fei Peng has just been wounded and after Xi Yao’s healing, returned to battle. She brushes past Xi Yao, puts her hands on the hips and yells, “Jin Tian you lousy, ugly fighter! What are you doing waving that sword like a starved sissy? COME ON, show him what you’ve got!” XueJian’s “stimulation” arouses a sense of pride in Jin Tian (and a desire to show off before his woman). He fights harder. Seeing that her stimulation works, XueJian presses further, “Why do you not look dashing when you fight? Even ChongLou looks more handsome than you.” It works again, giving Jin Tian an unfounded source of energy. Finally, XueJian shouts, addressing ChongLou directly, “ChongLou, you look so awesome!” This takes care of it. Jin Tian gives a loud yelp of “I’m so jealous” and pushes ChongLou off.
It’s a conundrum how Jin Tian did it, but he did it. The demon sword is square in ChongLou’s chest. Even Jin Tian is a little frightened at his own success and timidly offers to help ChongLou remove the sword. ChongLou shakes the sword off and openly admits defeat. He laughs like a man recently freed of a great weight and says, “I’ve been waiting for a thousand years to finish this fight. Now I can finally go home and sleep like a baby!” With a popping noise, he extends his black wings and flies away.
Xi Yao watched as XueJian helped Jin Tian win the battle with a worried expression on her face. When it’s over, she is relieved as well. She thanks Jin Tian and XueJian for allowing her to see Fei Peng for one last time and drifts away quietly after giving XueJian the Wind Pearl. One more pearl to go.
Back in the main palace, Tian Di is pleased with Jin Tian’s victory and awards him the title of warrior. Jin Tian graciously refuses, he’s complacent with being a mere mortal.
With the battle over, ChongLou starts to feel a vague emptiness throbbing inside of him. ZiXuan seizes this moment of vulnerability to tell ChongLou that there are other things in life than fighting. To demonstrate her point, she bends down and kisses him on the lips — direct and unexpected. (Why, hello infidelity!) Their lips glue for a long time. At last, ZiXuan draws away. But ChongLou, fearing the moment when their lips part, presses a firm hand against ZiXuan’s head, keeping the two of them locked in a kiss — exactly what ZiXuan wants. She needs a kiss long enough and ChongLou distracted enough to steal his heart. (Literally.)
When Jin Tian leaves the palace to join ChangQing, he is welcomed with a sword, an empty box, and a furious ChangQing. The box had told ChangQing that its destruction will bring about the deaths of the five masters. Not only that, it has also misdirected ChangQing’s anger towards Jin Tian. As a result, ChangQing released the evil from the shackle of the box and now, he’s charging at Jin Tian for turning him into a master-killing devil. (*facepalm* Not only will he have to destroy the thing later, ChangQing and ZiXuan will pay for his folly today.)
Feeding on ChangQing’s anger, the evil grows strong enough to take hold of a manifestation. It calls itself Xie Jian Xian (literally Evil Sword God) and it’s no longer afraid of Jin Tian.
Burning with anger, ChangQing staggers out of the purging fountain and after some tumbling, descends to the Demon Realm. Owing to a foul mood, he slashes whatever comes his way until all the demons flee from him.
He totters into the darkened palace of the demon lord ChongLou and from the glistening surfaces of the mirrors, sees the woman whom he spent many a sleepless night thinking about engrossed in a kiss with another. His rage grows tenfold.
ChongLou disentangles himself from ZiXuan’s embrace and fires a detonation in ChangQing’s direction. ZiXuan, who’s only just seen ChangQing, rushes to protect him. But the damage is done. He pushes her aside in fury, barking at her for her betrayal, and despite her plea to explain, tells her never to appear before him again.
On a more pleasant note (because we need one), while the others are up in heaven, MaoMao has undertaken the work of a craftsman and repaired the ship! Now it’s nice and sturdy, ready for a prolonged trip.
Exclaiming that the jouney has matured them all, Jin Tian returns to the interior of the ship to look for a way to get in contact with Mt. Shu. He succeeds and finds out that the monks at the Taoist sect have already learned the recent developments. Master Qing Wei tells Jin Tian that the only way to prevent a catastrophic ending is to gather all five of the elemental pearls quickly and seal the Suo Yao Tower. But the last pearl, the Water Pearl, will be retrived by ChangQing. The ramifications of which involves too length an explanation to discloses at present and the rest of the group were to return to Mt. Shu at speed. Then with a sigh, Master Qing Wei concedes that the rest is up to ChangQing.
I really liked this episode. It was definitely one of the better ones in this drama.
There was a lot of subtlety going on between Xi Feng and ZiXuan at the beginning, which really got my interest piqued. Aside from a closure for the Xi Yao arc, it’s also a major episode (out of many to come) for ChangQing to shine.
I was initially dubious of the Xi Yao-Fei Peng/XueJian-Jin Tian love triangle. But the way it turned out was satisfying on one level. Although I wished Xi Yao happy, it’s nice to see that rather than clinging, Xi Yao was clear-headed about her feelings. She knew Jin Tian and Fei Peng were different and decided not to meddle with the already established relationship. On the contrary, her presence both solidified XueJian’s feelings for Jin Tian and accentuated the moral lesson that thou shalt not take people for granted — a brush up on the theme that was first touched upon in episode 16, when XueJian was forced onstage to induce tears from the audience.