Episode 23 Recap
“You are but a chess piece in his plan for revenge. A worthless chess piece will be discarded.”
After Qi Bai Cao hears that her kick had shockingly and devastatingly resulted in Fang Ting Yi being in a vegetative state, she hears another piece of shocking information. Coming from Feng Yun’s, Yin Xiu, Qi Bai Cao hears her say Chang An had trained her in order to have Feng Yun Hall’s current strongest one, Chen Zhou, experience what he did to him. She explains that Chang An who was full of trust now become full of hate towards Chen Zhou was used by Chen Zhou for many years. Chang An gave up his leg in a glorious fight and gained nothing from it while Chen Zhou benefitted from it. Chang An had purposely selected her to help him with this revenge plan of his against Feng Yun.
“He got you to participate in the City Youth Competition because he knew Ting Yi went to Feng Yun Hall. At the City Youth Competition, Ting Yi not only represented Xian Wu Hall, she also represented Feng Yun Hall. He wanted you to defeat Ting Yi to defeat Feng Yun.”
Qi Bai Cao was to defeat those Chen Zhou supported to have Chen Zhou work towards something for nothing in return and have Chen Zhou return everything back to him. Qi Bai Cao asks Chang An for clarification. Chang An doesn’t provide any clarification on what Yin Xiu has said about him. He only asks Yin Xiu if she has finished speaking. Yin Xiu sensed anger in Chang An’s tone. She points this out to Qi Bai Cao: this anger in Chang An’s tone is showing what she has said about him is true.
Yin Xiu continues on with speaking of Chang An as skillfully good at getting his students to become fighting machines with only thoughts of winning in the fighting arena. Qi Bai Cao’s performance in the match between her and Fang Ting Yi is demonstration of this. Yin Xiu is unconvinced Qi Bai Cao is the stronger fighter out of the two. It’s the ability Chang An has to turn his students into fighting machines with only the thought of winning that Qi Bai Cao could, with an injured leg, win the match and make Fang Ting Yi into the state she’s currently in. He’s able to magnify the vanity and desire in his students which makes them disregard everything in order to win.
The reminder of her kick knocking Fang Ting Yi out and bringing her to the hospital to be declared as being in a vegetative state is too traumatic for Qi Bai Cao. Qi Bai Cao tells Yin Xiu to stop continuing any further and she exits from the talk of the fight, from Yin Xiu and Chang An.
A year on, Yuan Wu Dao has become a high level sport and has become highly popular all over the world—thanks to the marketing efforts of Feng Yun. Yin Xiu is helping Feng Yun be far ahead in this Yuan Wu Dao competition and she’s taking the Most Valuable Player award in her competitions. Though Yin Xiu is showing herself to be a worthy opponent with her recent top level achievements, there’s a fighter who sees Yin Xiu as not a worthy opponent to go head-to-head in a fight. The South Korean fighter, Kim Min Joo, who has been defeated by Qi Bai Cao many times wants to fight Qi Bai Cao. She waits for her to return to the Yuan Wu Dao world so she can go head-to-head in a fight in the fighting arena with her.
Qi Bai Cao has completely disappeared from the Yuan Wu Dao world, from Chang An, from Fan Xiao Ying—she’s disappeared from everyone. Song Bai is in a sad state without her. There are no students in Song Bai Hall except Fan Xiao Ying. Fan Xiao Ying attempts to recruit new students to keep Song Bai alive, but she struggles to attract interest. The only two people she catches attention of passes up joining Song Bai after hearing she’s the only one in Song Bai Hall and she doesn’t have any huge achievements under her belt to make joining Song Bai to learn Yuan Wu Dao attractive and worthwhile.
Qi Bai Cao is now working at a place by the waterfront cleaning yachts. Though Qi Bai Cao isn’t practicing Yuan Wu Dao, she’s at times reminded of it when her coworker (and apparently good friend), An Xiao Yue, is a fan of Yuan Wu Dao. She looks to be a great supporter of Qi Bai Cao as well. The interesting thing is, An Xiao Yue is unaware that her coworker and good friend of hers, of whom she refers to as ‘Xiao Qi’, is the Yuan Wu Dao fighter, Qi Bai Cao, that she admires a lot. An Xiao Yue says Xiao Qi has some resemblance to Qi Bai Cao, but her facial features, hairstyle and her personality traits are different from Qi Bai Cao’s.
Chang An has been searching for Qi Bai Cao’s whereabouts after she disappeared from them all. On the information Fan Xiao Ying gets from Fang Ting Hao’s secretary who shows her a fourth anonymous bank remittance slip sent to Xian Wu addressed to Fang Ting Yi with no sender details, Chang An heads to a branch of the bank the remittance slip was sent from. Chang An misses spotting Qi Bai Cao here. He also misses spotting her when he asked strangers if they’ve seen the person on his phone. Chang An doesn’t miss Qi Bai Cao on the third occasion.
Chang An meets back up with Qi Bai Cao in the way they had when they first met—only it’s that Chang An does what Qi Bai Cao had done when they first encountered each other: Chang An runs to catch up to the bus Qi Bai Cao went into. He pays for his bus fare and Qi Bai Cao’s bus fare with two Chinese coins when Qi Bai Cao couldn’t find her bus fare card.
Chang An is relieved to have found Qi Bai Cao. He hugs her. Qi Bai Cao is surprised and emotional to see her instructor again. This tender scene in the bus heads to a chilly one at the waterfront. Qi Bai Cao doesn’t receive the touch Chang An gives to Qi Bai Cao on her cheek after some words expressing his concern on how skinny she’s become. Qi Bai Cao is unhappy Chang An had come looking for her. She asks why he had. The question has Chang An see it as being for what she learnt about him in that encounter with Yin Xiu a year ago.
“Will you listen to my explanation for the things Yin Xiu said? At the start, I indeed stayed in Song Bai Hall because of the Pretty Girl Challenge. I helped you to attend the Pretty Girl Challenge with your want to get to the City Youth Competition. I used all means to train you. I wanted you to win the championship and suppress Feng Yun. That was indeed my selfish motive.”
Chang An then seems to want to say he no longer had that desire since their time in Tokyo. This is something Chang An didn’t need to express at all. Qi Bai Cao expresses knowing his original goal had changed during their time in Tokyo.
Qi Bai Cao:
“I don’t blame you, but what about Ting Yi-qianbei? Actually, I already understood things. If you only wanted to use me, you wouldn’t have instead preferred to see me lose to Kim Min Joo during that time in Tokyo so to wake me up.”
Qi Bai Cao’s unhappiness with Chang An’s presence seems to be more to do with him disturbing her current life away from Yuan Wu Dao. She wants nothing to do with it now. This includes anyone from the Yuan Wu Dao world. Chang An attempts to get Qi Bai Cao to see that what happened was something no one could’ve seen. It was an accident and it wasn’t her fault. Qi Bai Cao, however, doesn’t see it this way.
Qi Bai Cao:
“If it’s not my fault then who’s fault is it? This past year, it has been difficult for me. There are times when I look out at the sea I go as far as… However, as difficult as it is, at least I’m living. I can see the sunrise and sunset over the sea. But what about Ting Yi-qianbei? Ting Yi-qianbei can only lie in bed.”
Chang An seems to decide to leave the matter of convincing Qi Bai Cao Fang Ting Yi’s condition being not being her fault for another time. He goes to try and persuade Qi Bai Cao to head back with him first with telling her everyone misses her a lot. However, Qi Bai Cao continues to be set on remaining where she is and him leaving.
Qi Bai Cao:
“Instructor Chang An, thank you for having encouraged me and having helped me in the past. I know you treated me very well. However, I cannot ever go back. Please leave.”
With this answer from Qi Bai Cao, Chang An asks her to allow him to stay with her and accompany her. Again, Qi Bai Cao rejects this and wants Chang An to leave.
Qi Bai Cao:
“I want to completely leave the world of Yuan Wu Dao. I simply can’t forget if you’re here. Please leave.”
In a final attempt to stop Qi Bai Cao from her decision to separate from him and anything to do with Yuan Wu Dao, Chang An holds her back from leaving with a grab of her wrist. The attempt again fails as Qi Bai Cao forces him to let go and he watches her leave.
Chang An’s sudden appearance brings Qi Bai Cao to recall a moment in the past some time after the day’s events.
“The most precious is the time when we’re all together. Do you truly wish that I’m there by your side?”
Qi Bai Cao:
“Of course there has to be you by my side.”
This moment Qi Bai Cao recalls is the time she received Chang An’s gift of wood carvings of her Song Bai family. Qi Bai Cao loved the gift that was like a family photo. Everyone was there and no one was missing except Chang An was missing. Qi Bai Cao noticed Chang An’s statuette was missing from the family photo and this brought Chang An to ask Qi Bai Cao if he wanted him by her side (Episode 17).
Staying by Qi Bai Cao’s side is what Chang An does. Chang An joins Qi Bai Cao in working at the waterfront workplace. Like before, Qi Bai Cao isn’t happy. She wants Chang An to leave. Chang An knows very well Qi Bai Cao wants him to leave. He also knows she will leave if he doesn’t. For this, Chang An advises Qi Bai Cao against leaving.
“I advise you to not think about switching to another location because no matter where you go I will definitely be able to find you. If you don’t want to go back, I won’t force you. You don’t want to practise Yuan Wu Dao anymore—I can understand. But I must be by your side. I can only be at ease if I’m accompanying you. I must watch over you and not let you get hurt again. I won’t let you go missing from my side again.”
“Just continue on with your life. You don’t need to avoid me deliberately. I won’t disturb you.”
When Chang An had told Qi Bai Cao that what happened to Fang Ting Yi had been an accident and it wasn’t her fault, he is with evidence backing up what he says. Chang An has gathered and analysed footage from the match between Qi Bai Cao and Fang Ting Yi as well as Fang Ting Yi’s matches with other opponents. He shows what he has gathered to Qi Bai Cao. He explains Fang Ting Yi has an injury to her brain from practicising the difficult manoevres of the Thunderbolt Firework Kick. This injury to Fang Ting Yi’s brain is what had brought Fang Ting Yi to be unable to avoid Qi Bai Cao’s kick that unfortunately resulted in that terrible accident.
“Fang Ting Yi had the opportunity and was capable of avoiding the attack from your right leg. Watch.
This is your final strike. Fang Ting Yi was already preparing to avoid your kick. According to her body movement and speed, and comparing it with the speed of your move, she could totally avoid it. However, at the most critical moment, because of the injury in her brain, her movements and reaction completely stopped.”
This, Chang An says, is why Qi Bai Cao shouldn’t be blaming herself to the point where she gives up Yuan Wu Dao, her friends and how she was living before because of what happened in the match between her and Fang Ting Yi. This didn’t make Qi Bai Cao feel any less responsible for what happened to Fang Ting Yi.
Qi Bai Cao:
“Regardless of how you exonerate me, if it weren’t for that kick of mine, none of this would’ve happened. Instructor Chang An, that kick of mine was the most fatal. I am that person who destroyed Ting Yi-qianbei’s life and destroyed Ting Yi-qianbei’s Yuan Wu Dao career and yet I didn’t receive any punishment. I even have so many people worrying about me. You all exonerate me. I have friends by my side. I have warmth and happiness. However, I don’t deserve them. I don’t deserve to have these things. Therefore, Instructor Chang An, I must punish myself. Otherwise, this isn’t fair on Ting Yi-qianbei.”
We didn’t realise Chang An had a revenge plan. It didn’t feel like Chang An had one at all. We just assumed Chang An had come to Song Bai Hall because they needed an instructor and Chang An chose to be Song Bai’s instructor after leaving a former Yuan Wu Dao Hall that he was unhappy with. The training methods he used on Qi Bai Cao that Yin Xiu said were ones that is to have Qi Bai Cao help him in his revenge plan on Feng Yun—training methods that Yin Xiu says has the effect of turning his students into machines with the thought of winning at any cost, we only thought it was Chang An’s character. He’s a tough instructor with high expectations. Who knew it was Chang An harbouring a revenge plan and Qi Bai Cao was means to carrying it out?
This new character, An Xiao Yue, we like! With An Xiao Yue so taken by Chang An’s good looks, she’s pointing out how great of a catch Chang An is. Her like towards Chang An gives opportunities for us to see how Qi Bai Cao would respond. Would she stop opportunities for another girl to get closer to Chang An or continue being the way she is and see Chang An as just her instructor that she respects a lot? It’s actually really hard to tell. Qi Bai Cao doesn’t react in a way that makes it clear whether she’s affected by the attention Chang An is getting from another girl or not. It’s still fun to see and wonder, though.
We think the scene where An Xiao Yue asks Qi Bai Cao to help her greet Chang An showed a bit of not wishing An Xiao Yue to get to know Chang An. It felt like reluctance to give that opportunity to An Xiao Yue when Qi Bai Cao said not to play around with the reason that they have a lot of yachts to clean.
Then there’s the incident where An Xiao Yue accidentally makes Qi Bai Cao fall into the water. She sees Chang An immediately going to save Qi Bai Cao. This incident makes An Xiao Yue see the two’s relationship as being boyfriend and girlfriend and she accuses Qi Bai Cao of having hidden it from her. Qi Bai Cao of course says Chang An isn’t her boyfriend, but An Xiao Yue continues thinking Chang An is Qi Bai Cao’s boyfriend. Their stiffness with each other is explained as the two having had a fight. When An Xiao Yue goes and asks Chang An if she’s right about this, Chang An started giving an answer, but Qi Bai Cao cut him off. Chang An said this much: “That, um… we’re not…” before Qi Bai Cao inserted. She told An Xiao Yue there were a lot of yachts to look after and told her to come over as soon as she’s finished eating. Qi Bai Cao then got up and left. On the one hand, Qi Bai Cao looks like she doesn’t want Chang An to say they aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend—well, we’re thinking that’s what Chang An was about to say before Qi Bai Cao inserted. Then, on the other hand, Qi Bai Cao just allowed An Xiao Yue to have a bit of time alone with Chang An. Of course there’s also the other possibility that has nothing to do with the topic of them being boyfriend and girlfriend. It might just be not wanting to lead it to a conversation about Yuan Wu Dao and bringing up a conversation about events Qi Bai Cao wants to forget. The drama isn’t giving out much to let us see what Qi Bai Cao actually thinks of Chang An at all!