Or, Apothecary Huang Regrets His Actions and Learns…Nothing
For a two-bit village with just one dilapidated inn to its name, Ox Village sure has been busy for the last couple of days. I’m sure the flurry of activity is over by now though…
Apothecary Huang and Cyclone Mei have a final tender moment as Mei dies in his arms. He forgives her and takes her back as his student before she dies. Before he can do anything else…
sigh more people show up.
Well, who’s left? Who else do we know of who hasn’t shown up in Ox Village yet?
Oh! Right. The Seven (Six) Freaks of the South. They do indeed show up and barge into the inn, asking about the man of the hour? day? several days? Guo Jing.
Huang hides himself behind the door (gruesomely comically while clutching Mei’s body) until he knows what the Freaks are here for.
The doesn’t work, as Ke Zhen’e hears Huang’s breathing.
Are you ready for the next bit?
They fight, of course. But Huang has decided that he won’t kill the Freaks. Instead, he will let his student, Cyclone Mei, have her revenge from the grave.
Yes, this means what you think it means. Clutching his dead disciple’s corpse to himself, Huang launches himself at the Freaks, using Mei’s hands to strike at them. I mean, just, wow.
And, all credit to the Heretic, he gets the job done! He puts down Ryder Han and Jade Han. Before the fight can progress any further, Guo Jing loses it, and blows apart the hidden door with a palm strike. All the action stops as everyone is astonished to see the young couple.
Huang goes to greet his daughter, and he even uses his qi to soothe and finish Guo Jing’s healing. And just like that, everything stops and Lord Huang and the Six Freaks sit and listen as Lotus recounts all of their adventures since they parted ways at Roaming Cloud Manor.
(Hey, maybe Lotus is following the read-along!)
Apothecary Huang has a bit of an epiphany here. He realizes that he was in the wrong to attack the Six Freaks. He realizes that Hoary Urchin fooled him into thinking Guo Jing stole the Nine Yin Manual from Cyclone Mei. He also finds enough self awareness to understand that his actions drove away his disciples and led to their deaths.
And what does Lord Huang do with all this new found personal insight?
Not a damn thing. He does however accept Guo Jing as his son, and he pledges to go after Yang Kang, and to help find Count Seven, since Lotus is now the Chief of the Beggar Clan.
The young woman who lives at the inn returns, and Lord Huang knows she is Tempest Qu’s daughter. Inside the hidden room, they go through the chest of treasures and discover that Tempest had been stealing valuables from the Palace in hopes of giving them to Lord Huang to beg forgiveness.
Cyclone Mei and Tempest Qu are buried beside each other behind the inn.
In going through Tempest’s treasures, Lotus finds a scroll that has a poem by Yue Fei. The poem is about the Emerald Hills and foreshadowing. Lotus asks her father to give the scroll to Guo Jing as a gift. He agrees and also gives her a string of pearls.
Just when everything looks like it’s going to work out fine (for once) the white condors show up again. Guo Jing knows the condors’ arrival must mean his Mongolian brothers and sister are in trouble. He and Lotus dash off on Ulaan, telling Lord Huang and the Six Freaks to catch up to them.
Lotus and Guo Jing find Khojin, Tolui, Jebe, and Boroqul tied to trees between Viper Ouyang and Qiu Qianren. Guo Jing jumps into the fray. He knows Qiu Qianren is a fraud, and his own kung fu is stronger than ever. He’s about to beat the trickster into a paste when Lotus intervenes, using her cleverness to keep Guo Jing from smashing Qiu’s face. She doesn’t want Viper to understand how weak Qiu really is, which might invite Viper to attack without holding back.
Lord Huang and the Six Freaks arrive. Viper notices that Lord Huang is wearing a pouch that is Gallant’s. Lord Huang dug up Gallant’s body in order to retrieve his map of Peach Blossom Island (it wasn’t on his body…we should probably remember that tidbit.) Here we learn that Gallant wasn’t Viper’s nephew, but in fact his illegitimate son by his sister-in-law. Ew. Lord Huang tells Viper that Gallant was killed by Yang Kang.
Viper decides he’s going to take on Lord Huang. He asks Qiu Qianren to deal with Lotus, Guo Jing, and the Six Freaks. Qiu Qianren pulls the diarrhea card and…it works. Lotus lets him scamper off into the trees to relieve his bowels. In the meantime, Zhu Cong of the Six Freaks has picked Qiu’s pocket and stolen the collapsing sword that Qiu used earlier to falsely demonstrate the strength of his kung fu.
Lotus demonstrates the collapsing sword, revealing Qiu Qianren’s trickery to her father and Viper. They realize that the man’s kung fu reputation was not well deserved. They have a laugh at the man’s expense. In the lull, Viper launches a surprise attack at Lotus. Lord Huang and Guo Jing both leap to her defense. Viper is again astonished at how quickly Guo Jing’s kung fu is improving.
The Six Freaks surround Viper, but he plows through them and disappears into the forest.
Guo Jing and the Six Freaks untie the Mongolians. And the other shoe finally drops. Guo Jing reveals his prior betrothal to Khojin.
This does not go well.
Lord Huang demands that Guo Jing renounce Khojin, which of course, he won’t do. What do you call the guy who has the harem? Guo Jing is the unhappiest one of those, ever. He knows he can’t keep every commitment he’s been sworn to, and he only loves Lotus.
Tolui is pissed, and he breaks an arrow to symbolize the end of their brotherhood.
Guo Jing makes up his mind. He has to stay true to his word. He will marry Khojin.
Wow. I did not see that coming.
Guo Jing loves Lotus. He will always love her, even if he marries someone else. Lotus see what her father is doing, and saves Khojin from a strike that would have killed her. Lord Huang sees the misery on Lotus’ face and recognizes the pain he himself went through when he lost his wife.
Lord Huang departs, giving Lotus a few days to try to find the Beggar Clan. The Mongolians also depart, happy again. Khojin actually didn’t say anything through all the awkwardness, despite Guo Jing’s proclamations of love for Lotus. Perhaps this is chalked up to the language barrier?
The Six Freaks leave to find their families, to tell them they’re safe from Apothecary Huang. Guo Jing and Lotus ride off to find Count Seven and the Beggar Clan.
In their travels, the scroll Guo Jing was gifted gets wet, ruining the painting, but revealing a poem beneath the painting. It hints at the final writings of General Yue Fei and the Iron Palm Gang, a group led by Qiu Qianren.
Lotus and Guo Jing end up at a tavern where they learn about the Washed and Unwashed factions of the Beggar Clan. They also get a glimpse of Yang Kang, who is about to enter the tavern, but he flees when he sees Lotus and Guo Jing inside.