Ahh… beginnings can be so nice. Here, at the beginning of this epic tale, we meet Ning Que and Sang Sang.
But before that, we get a mysterious narration, and three dudes walking in a weird landscape.
Apparently, there is something afoot.
In the first year of Tang Qi, three ambassadors (stick a pin in the faces), meet up on an initially desolate red plain.
They see some glow-in-the-dark ants under a cherry blossom tree, and some hawks flying in the sky.
Apparently, these are the signs they confirm, that the King of Hades’ prophesied Eternal Night, unleashed once every thousand years, is approaching.
Let’s hope and skip forward in time a bit. Because now, in a dusty ass but bright landscape, we meet the hero of this entire shebang. Yes, my darling Ning Que.
Insouciant and Devil-May-Care, Ning Que is met lying on his back on a sand dune with a book over his face.
Unbothered. And that’s his most basic stance for this entire show. Mostly unbothered.
That is until it’s time to fight, and this is how he becomes the only survivor of a desert attack.
His introductory fight sequence was what perked me up and made me pay attention. This was clearly not going to be Palace Intrigue and Imperial Concubines. No no!
This was some sword play!
Ok… I was born on an island, and I know I lack cultural context, but damn… what an introduction.
The first fight sequence was well choreographed and well edited to my layman’s eye.
In this episode we also meet the scheming princess of Tang, who has been married off to The Golden Horde. With her husband freshly dead, said Horde want to burn her up with her husband’s remains.
She of course isn’t interested in immolation, so this leads to a wonderful cat and mouse and oh my, magic.
It was completely unexpected and after the pretty straightforwardness of Ning Que’s first fight, the flying knife was my first real clue that this wasn’t going to be just an ordinary kind of drama like I’d been watching (I’m new to C-Drama, so cut me some slack).
When our boy gets back to the garrison it is here we meet Sang Sang.
At first I was confused. How big is Ireine Song (she’s my height 5″ 2′) and how tall is Arthur Chen (he’s 6″ 2′!!)?!! Because I couldn’t get over their differences in height. It took me a moment to realize that Ireine Song was older than she appeared based solely on her height.
Later I understood it’s specifically to play up Sang Sang’s youth in comparison to Ning Que… (In real life Song is seven or eight years older than Chen).
The relationship between Ning Que and Sang Sang is fraternal, and I for one am curious at this point to see how they got thrown together. They are definitely not brother and sister.
Arthur Chen completely owned all his scenes. It’s the smirk. It has a life of its own.
We also meet Long Qing, being hailed in the halls of Xiling (a kind of religious magical order) as the Child of Light.
From the beginning he is a) being praised too much and b) liking himself too much.
For a show to catch my attention, it’s got to have that something. This show has it, and by the middle of the first episode I was along for the ride. Wanting to see where the story went.
By the end of the first episode, Ning Que and Sang Sang get roped into traveling with the Princess of Tang back to the Capital.
While Ning Que clearly doesn’t want to babysit the princess, Old Ma (his mentor at the army garrison) insists he go with his blessing and seek entry into Tang Academy, one of the top schools for learning cultivation (it’s like Hogwarts, kinda) and it’s run by the top bad ass in the land, Fu Zi.
Ning Que has his own reasons for entering Tang Academy, so he agrees to go on this mission. But not before he teases the hell out of the princess with his predilection for lizards.
We see Wei Guangming, (a Familiar face from Rise of the Pheonixes) the disgraced high priest of Xiling imprisoned in a dismal place deceptively naked The Serene Pavilion, where he’s been locked up for fifteen years. Long Qing comes for an audience and is lackadaisically addresses by Wei Guangming. Presumptuous and pompous Long Qing sets off in a mission to ‘find the Child of Hades’.
Why is Wei Guangming locked up?
Up next Episode 2.
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