The mysteries surrounding Tang San’s family background, his mother and recurring dreams of strange beasts and encounters sees Tang San (Xiao Zhan), the son of a blacksmith wanting to become stronger. Only when he is strong enough will his father begin to let him know about all that he wants to learn about his mother and their family.
Tang San isn’t told exactly how strong is strong enough. All his father tells him is to keep practicing the techniques from Xuan Tian Records which is supposedly his way to becoming stronger and be qualified to learn what he wants to know. But practicing techniques from the Xuan Tian Records brings up more questions from Tang San. Ever since he began practicing from the Xuan Tian Records from a young age, he’s been having recurring dreams which sees him in a field that the Blue Silver Plant is in. Calling him is a woman’s voice that’s gentle and soft. It has him thinking whether it belonged to his mother. It’s a question which Tang San is once again told he’s not qualified to know yet when he asks his father about it.
So many questions, so much mystery, and none of it his father is willing to answer until the day he becomes strong enough. It’s a day which seems so far away. With him living in the remote Saint of Soul Village away from a world which can see him begin to be strong enough, that day appears to be even further away.
This world which Tang San can begin to become strong enough is the world of Soul Masters. It’s one where people hunt Soul Beasts to obtain an energy force known as Soul Rings which Soul Masters absorb. Through these hunts and through fights in Martial Soul battles, they advance and become stronger and more powerful. It’s a world which comes visiting Tang San when an officer from the powerful and influential Martial Soul Hall happen to be in the remote village looking to send a powerful and frightening Soul Beast known as the Human Faced Demon Spider back to the forest it came from.
It’s a Soul Beast which Tang San comes across while delivering some nails to the village head and one he probably shouldn’t be able to fight off, but he does pretty well against a fight which normally requires his Martial Soul to be wakened. With just the techniques he practiced from the Xuan Tian Records which he’s told by his father never to reveal to anyone, Tang San manages to blind the giant arachnid Soul Beast. It sees the visiting Martial Soul Hall Officer to notice him and ultimately invite and vouch for Tang San to enter Nouding School in Nouding City with what is discovered to be a very common, thought to be useless Martial Soul, the Blue Silver Plant.
People with the Blue Silver Plant are traditionally thought to be having no potential to becoming a strong Soul Master, but this is all changed by Yu Xiao Gang (Calvin Chen), a “guest who receives free meals” at the school and who people think talk about theories which is nonsense but turns out to be not nonsense at all. His theories are all in fact all true just not yet proven which is where Tang San will eventually help him prove in a deal formed between them. Yu Xiao Gang helps Tang San advance and become a Soul Master while Yu Xiao Gang gets his theories proven.
Tang San’s great potential to become a Soul Master is not only because he is yet to learn the potential of the Blue Silver Plant from Yu Xiao Gang who understands the Blue Silver Plant and basically everything about Martial Souls theory, but Tang San possesses full Soul Power which is impossible with just the Blue Silver Plant as his Martial Soul. What’s behind this full Soul Power is a second Martial Soul in his left hand, one which is revealed to be the Hao Tian Hammer and one which is later revealed to be the same Martial Soul as his father and one which his father tells Tang San to never reveal.
All this time, Tang San thought his father was just a normal father who drinks and sleeps all day only to discover he was no normal father. Not only does Tang San find out he’s no normal father, but Tang San starts wondering whether he knows his father at all. In Tang San’s journey to becoming stronger as a Soul Master, he is shocked to learn that his father could possibly be behind a hidden force working with Mutant Souls (Martial Soul which mutates through a special drug) which is behind incidents which have caused pain, suffering and deaths of people he knows and come to know. Whether his father is truly behind these incidents isn’t known with certainty until, yet again, Tang San becomes strong enough to know about matters which later proves to be powers and forces which are unimaginably strong and powerful.
When we started watching Douluo Continent (Chinese: 斗罗大陆; Pinyin: Douluo Dalu), we thought maybe this could be the first Xiao Zhan drama we might find hard to complete. There were so many details and unfamiliar elements to absorb and retain it made it quite a struggle to hook onto the story. We had mistaken our own struggle to hook on to details from the get-go for being slow and not all that interesting. But doing a few rewinds and keeping with it, the drama grew on us to the point where we were actually hanging out for the episodes, excited for the battles Tang San and his underdog team face (these are the best); Tang San’s Soul Beast hunts; the power struggle between powerful and influential schools such as Martial Soul Hall, the empires and hidden forces that’s in the main story; and for the mysteries behind backgrounds of the main characters, Tang San’s father as well as the numerous mysterious characters that appear.
Douluo Continent is yet another different kind of drama which we normally wouldn’t watch. It’s not a genre we’re used to which is why we think we struggled to hook on. But just like how The Untamed (a drama which stars Xiao Zhan as well) was initially not a genre or drama we normally pick to watch, we clicked in and ended up loving the drama. Douluo Continent turned out to be the same, although not to the same extent as The Untamed. Suffice to say, after absorbing the details relating to Soul Masters, Soul Beasts, Soul Rings, Martial Souls and the different parties and forces involved in the story, we were clicking next, next, next.
Before we start our recap, we thought we’d mention that the day we’re posting the first part of our Douluo Continent recap is also October 5th, which is Xiao Zhan’s birthday! So, we’re going to send a big happy 30th birthday to Xiao Zhan through the World Wide Web! Wishing you a fantastic birthday and hope to see even more of you on screen and on stage singing or acting.
Now, the Douluo Continent recap. We hope you all enjoy!
“Wake up, wake up,” a voice in Tang San’s dreams tells him. “With your true self and ceaseless hope, look for the deepest secret in your heart. Only when you wake up will you see your true self. Only when you wake up will you uncover the concealed truth. Go through the honest lies to your innermost thoughts and somewhere far away. Maybe you will be reborn. Maybe you will fall into the deepest darkness.”
As the voice presses Tang San to wake up, a series of foreshadowing encounters with what are Soul Beasts has Tang San in the real world frowning in his sleep, hand clenching at his clothes and his body stirring: a black dragon roaring, Tang San wrapped up in wire web cocoon, thick vines snaking about, a gold energy snaking up Tang San’s arm, a smoke monster materialising. Amidst all of these encounters, a mysteriousness to Tang San’s hidden strength and suggestion of a darkness within flash before him: the Blue Silver Grass Spirit drawing a fire-like energy as it sits on top of Tang San’s hand, Tang San screaming in pain after one of his arachnid legs coming out of his back gets severed, and his eyes flipping open to reveal black corneas.
The last image of his eyes fully black stirs Tang San awake and roll off the bed and onto the floor. He doesn’t spend long dwelling on the dream. He sits for only a couple moments to shake off the cryptic images of his dream before he heads straight to preparing breakfast for his father: coal in the furnace, firewood which Tang San heads out into the blizzard to chop for the stove before the congee is cooked and served with a couple side dishes.
Seeing the skies having broken open with rain, Tang San takes in the clothes being drenched before delivering the breakfast to his father. He had seemingly drunk and fallen asleep not far from the hallway.
Putting the breakfast down, Tang San moves his father to his bed before he moves to chopping up more firewood and forging some nails to take to the village head. Travelling through the forest, he stops for a few moments to practice moves from a book called the Xuan Tian Records, revealing a few of his abilities, Purple Demon Eyes (which sees his eyes turn a glowing purple and slow motion right down to see clearly), Ghostly Trace (which sees multiple instances of him move around him) and projectile skills.
Not too long after Tang San is made to use those skills in an encounter with a giant bloodthirsty spider known as the Human Faced Demon Spider. He had tried to lose the spider at first. Running, leaping, rebounding and somersaulting over and against tree trunks, Tang San narrowly escapes the spider’s razor sharp legs swiping at him and the trees that got in the way. He had thought about running back home, but he couldn’t have it follow him back. Unable to outrun it or run back home, Tang San makes the decision to fight back.
Using his Purple Demon Eyes he focuses on the eyes of the spider. Flinging the three nails he had brought with him, two misses but one lands right on one of the spider’s many eyes. It has the spider thrashing about and slicing across trees around him before it gives chase to Tang San again, causing Tang San to be backed up against a tree after slipping.
There was nowhere to go. Tang San almost takes a stab in the face by one of the spider’s legs. Fortunately Su Yun Tao (Cui Peng) from Martial Soul Hall appears out of nowhere to stop the spider.
Three gold rings and his face growing extra facial hair and hands transforming into wolf-like hands—growing fur and large claws with the skin on his hands thick and rough—it sees the spider retreat after initially wanting to challenge Su Yun Tao, too. But Su Yun Tao’s Martial Soul Shield Body—the Lone Wolf Shield Body—and the three gold rings signifying his superior strength sends the spider leaping away without Su Yun Tao making one movement towards the spider.
The sight of Su Yun Tao’s Martial Soul Shield Body frightens Tang San but apparently not the spider. After being saved, Tang San is seen wanting to disappear from Su Yun Tao but has no fear in chasing after the spider to (as Tang San tells Su Yun Tao) catch it. It sees Su Yun Tao caution Tang San about running around the forest because this bloodthirsty spider is a frightening creature amongst the Soul Beasts and it was lucky Tang San wasn’t eaten alive. (In short, don’t underestimate the beast. That, or overestimate himself.)
Su Yun Tao says this not knowing the hidden strength inside Tang San. (Tang San himself doesn’t even know what hides inside him.) With Su Yun Tao referring to Tang San as “Child”, it sees Tang San correct Su Yun Tao with being almost a grown-up. This has Su Yun Tao draw Tang San’s hand up against Tang San’s will to see just how strong and true his own statement is.
Su Yun Tao’s eyes widen. Exactly what he discovered isn’t revealed at this point, but further down in the episode, he describes Tang San as strong-hearted with a powerful and special Martial Soul. It’s what was behind Su Yun Tao’s surprise in the fact that Tang San could blind a Soul Beast such as the Human Faced Demon Spider despite his Martial Soul not having awakened yet. (For the awakening, a Martial Soul Awakening Rite must be performed by a Soul Master like Su Yun Tao it seems.) Apparently, only Soul Masters are able to fight Soul Beasts. So, for Tang San to be able to injure a Soul Beast without his Martial Soul having woken appear to suggest a great hidden strength.
Tang San’s response to that is that it was out of luck. Whether he truly believes this or he’s trying to hide his abilities, he tells Su Yun Tao that the spider just got hit in the eye because it had moved too fast. Tang San have been told by his father to keep abilities such as Purple Demon Eyes, Ghostly Trace and other skills learned from the Xuan Tian Records a secret. Tang San might possibly know the true strength hidden inside him, but his remark about hitting the spider’s eye being purely down to luck could possibly be an excuse to hide these skills.
Tang San returns home to tell his father about his encounter with the giant spider and develops quite an interest in becoming someone like Su Yun Tao. Tang San found Su Yun Tao quite impressive and wondered if he would ever get a chance to become a Soul Master like Su Yun Tao. It sees Tang San asking his father about Soul Beasts which is something not covered in any of the text he’s been reading.
After Tang San’s father, Tang Hao (Kenny Bee), confirms Tang San hadn’t let Su Yun Tao see any of his abilities during the encounter with the spider, his father goes onto answering Tang San’s questions about Soul Beasts. There are both good and bad Soul Beasts but they are not wild beasts. They are far more intelligent than ordinary beasts which can change into human form after living more than 100,000 years. However, with Soul Masters and Soul Beasts being natural enemies, and Soul Masters hunting and killing them endlessly, Tang Hao explains it’s not easy for Soul Beasts to live more than 100,000 years.
In answering to whether Tang San has the opportunity to become a Soul Master, the opportunity arrives at his door step with a Martial Soul Awakening Rite being held in Saint of Soul Village (as this village Tang San and his father has settled is called). With Su Yun Tao staying around for a couple days to prevent the Human Faced Demon Spider from returning, the Village Head had talked Su Yun Tao into holding the ritual to help the youngsters in the village discover their Martial Souls and see if they have the potential to becoming a Soul Master.
With Tang Hao strongly disapproving, Tang San goes but just stands outside listening to Su Yun Tao give others their results. He never looked to actually go in to participate in it. Tang San has shown to listen to his father and won’t disobey his words. However, he is encouraged by Su Yun Tao to find out his Martial Soul—his parents’ Martial Soul (because according to Su Yun Tao Martial Souls can be inherited)—after Su Yun Tao spots Tang San about to leave following the end of the ritual.
Tang San’s interest in the Martial Soul Awakening Rite is not only out of curiosity and finding the idea of becoming a Soul Master to be respectable, but taking that path would enable him to become stronger because only when he becomes stronger will his father tell him about his mother. Ever since he’s been practicing the Xuan Tian Records, Tang San has been having the same dream which sees him being stared down by an unseen beast in the same field as a plant called the Blue Silver Plant. Calling him is a woman’s voice. It’s soft and gentle. It’s a woman who Tang San thinks is his mother. Whether the voice belongs to Tang San’s mother, his father won’t confirm. He doesn’t have the right to learn about his mother until he gets stronger he is told.
Practicing the Xuan Tian Records seems to be the way to getting stronger. What exactly the Xuan Tian Records is isn’t explained, not even Tang San seem to know exactly what it is or why his father had him practice it since childhood. The possibility it might be related to Tang San’s mother is so far only Tang San’s conjecture. More mystery surround the Xuan Tian Records when Tang Hao suddenly burns the book after learning someone from Martial Soul Hall was here at this remotely-located Saint of Soul Village. Tang Hao was also very insistent on Tang San promising he will keep the Xuan Tian Records to himself (which Tang San promises).
Spreading his palm open, Tang San’s Martial Soul materialise. It’s a vine-like plant called the Blue Silver Plant. It’s not what Su Yun Tao was expecting. As Su Yun Tao had said when he was talking about Tang San’s Martial Soul before performing the Awakening Rite, the Soul Master had sensed such powerful and special Martial Soul when he drew Tang San’s hand towards him back in the first, but to discover Tang San’s Martial Soul to be the very common—in fact, the most common— as well as a rather useless Martial Soul, it would seem it didn’t match what Su Yun Tao’s expectations. With the Blue Silver Plant as one’s Martial Soul there was no potential to be a Soul Master because it can neither attack, defend, nor provide support.
With the mismatch of what was presented and what he felt, Su Yun Tao decides to test Tang San’s Soul Power. Apparently, having a strong Soul Power still doesn’t allow someone the ability to become a Soul Master unless the person has a full Soul Power. A full Soul Power is exactly what Su Yun Tao discovers Tang San to have, and it is rare. Tang San is offered an invitation then and there to join Nuoding School.
Returning home, Tang Hao wasn’t happy Tang San had gone to the ritual despite being forbidden. However, seeing Tang San choose this path, Tang Hao finally gives in to letting Tang San go. He even opens up to the idea to start getting Tang San to understanding the function of the Xuan Yu Hand which Tang Hao explains as gathering and concentrating all one’s Qi to the hand holding the hammer and using it to forge. It’s a technique known as Tempering a Thousandfold which turns ordinary iron into a magic weapon.
To start off understanding the Xuan Yu Hand, Tang Hao instructs Tang San to make the fire of the kitchen furnace stronger. The instruction sees Tang San hesitate. It’s presumed the right hand which the Martial Soul manifests is to be used. However, Tang San feels he possesses something in his left hand as well. It leads him to ask whether the Martial Soul only manifest in the right hand.
With his father’s guidance on making (what is to be a second Martial Soul) visible on his left hand, Tang San reveals the Hao Tian Hammer. Tang San was born with Twin Martial Souls. It’s a fact which Tang Hao has Tang San promise not to let anyone discover. He tells Tang San not to let anyone see the second Martial Soul in his left hand.
This Hao Tian Hammer, so heavy Tang San struggles to keep it visible on his palm, and possibly so effective at killing that Tang Hao need to make sure Tang San doesn’t think of the hammer a weapon but a guardian. He tells Tang San that if one day he finds he can’t restrain the hammer, he must remember that the hammer is not a tool for killing but a tool which protects the Blue Silver Plant that’s in his right hand. He repeats this one more time to make sure Tang San remembers.
Tang San assuring his father he will remember this, he is then shown the function of the Xuan Yu Hand. It is a technique which requires him to hit the same spot with precision and speed each and every time to forge (what is to be) a thin needle from a slab of iron. This task is the second of two conditions Tang San must complete before he is allowed to go to become a Soul Master. The first condition was to promise never to join Soul Master Hall. He can become a Soul Master just not join the Hall. Tang San promised.
Seasons change before Tang San achieves the task, but he does it. He’s finally able to start his journey to becoming a Soul Master.
When it was time to set off towards Nouding School, Tang San found himself unable to bear leaving his father as he worried he’d be lonely without him there. He even thought to stay and not go after returning briefly to see his father to make sure he was going to be fine without him. His father was not going to hear of Tang San changing his mind: “Since you’ve made up you mind, don’t give up so easily,” he had told Tang San.
The words and one last hug seem to have assured Tang San to leave on his journey to becoming the strongest Soul Master there is. Still driving his desire to become a Soul Master is the promise that once he’s strong enough his father will think about telling him everything about their family, so this is the goal he has his dad know he will strive to achieve before leaving him. As a reminder, his father repeats once again the need to keep Xuan Tian Records a secret which again increases the mystery to just why it all must be kept a secret.
Although Xuan Tian Records remain an important matter to keep secret, now that Tang San is on the path to becoming a Soul Master, his father has him know that he can use his abilities even his Purple Eye Demon. With his father’s okay about their use, it gives off the idea that letting others see Tang San’s abilities no longer is an issue, but still their specific mention suggest Tang San’s abilities are still unique and possibly a separating sight in the Soul Master world. Tang San had suggested this when he worried over the sight of having purple eyes and people seeing them. His father waves the worry off. The abilities of Soul Masters are strange to begin with so having purple eyes was no big deal in his view.
Arriving at Nouding School, Tang San is greeted by Yu Xiao Gang in a rocking chair with a book in his face who they mistaken as the school’s headmaster or at the very least someone in charge of the school. Their mistake sees them run into a very confronting and rude Liu Long (Ma Rui Ze) who tell them to leave after being given the permission to enter the school. No recommendation letter, no entry.
The encounter sees Tang San and the Village Head accused of presenting a fake recommendation badge from Su Yun Tao when the Village Head has Tang San produce it. Liu Long is clearly judging Tang San and the Village based on their appearance and looks down on them. Thankfully, they receive a better welcome from the son of the Governor of Nuoding City, Xiao Chen Yu (Osborn Ma), who show up to apologise on behalf of Liu Long’s behaviour before introducing himself. Xiao Chen Yu appears to be more welcoming than Liu Long, but there is an artificial air to his welcome. The hand which Tang San extended to shake Xiao Chen Yu is left hanging. Xiao Chen Yu does eventually shake Tang San’s hand when Son of the Governor of Nuoding School extends his hand to invite Tang San to shake his.
Entry permitted, the Village Head leaves Tang San to settle in to the school on his own. Tang San’s first day is met with a good number of people being curious about his strength, his Martial Soul and what got him a recommendation from Martial Soul Hall. Before Tang San is left to head towards the Administration Office to register, Xiao Chen Yu moves to ask about Tang San’s Martial Soul. Told it’s the Blue Silver Plant, Liu Long expresses his surprise by rudely referring to Tang San as a useless person after expressing not understanding why the Martial Soul Hall would recommend such a person. Xiao Chen Yu isn’t quick to conclude such a thing about Tang San as he moves to ask about Tang San’s Soul Power which Tang San reveals to be a full Soul Power. That had them both shocked, and a third person in the background bolt from his rocking chair and following Tang San to interrogate him about the second Martial Soul Tang San was told by his father to never reveal.
This third person is Yu Xiao Gang, the person who Tang San mistakes as the headmaster but turned out to be (as Yu Xiao Gang describes himself) just a “guest who receives free meals”. Unlike the others who just accepted Tang San having the rather odd combination of having full Soul Power and the Blue Silver Plant as his Martial Soul, Yu Xiao Gang had years of research which suggested such combination is impossible. The one way this is possible is for a Second Martial Soul to exist because he found that the amount of Soul Power is proportional to the quality of the Martial Soul. With the Blue Silver Plant being a common and seemingly a low quality Martial Soul, it can only mean someone like Tang San can only reach full Soul Power provided there is a Second Martial Soul and one which is a very powerful. Yu Xiao Gang is sure of this and believes there is no exception to this rule.
Tang San feigns not knowing what Yu Xiao Gang was on about when Yu Xiao Gang confronts Tang San with this theory as well as his belief that Tang San is one of only three people out of a million people in the last 100 years on Doulou Continent to have Twin Martial Souls. Believing such, Yu Xiao Gang repeatedly tells Tang San to reveal the Second Martial Soul in his left hand which Tang San refuses to do and tries to brush Yu Xiao Gang off with the explanation that maybe he’s an exception to this rule in Yu Xiao Gang’s research. But with Yu Xiao Gang confident his research is right, Yu Xiao Gang won’t let up and keeps insisting Tang San reveal the Second Martial Soul in his left hand
Luckily for Tang San, he’s saved by a fellow student who interrupts the conversation with wanting them to hurry along as the Office of Administration needed helpers to carry books. Yu Xiao Gang gives up trying to get Tang San to reveal the Martial Soul in his left hand after this. Instead, he moves onto telling him a few things relating to class schedules, rules and training. In addition to this, he tries to have Tang San think about becoming his student and learning from him. Unlike everyone who has viewed the Blue Silver Plant as common and useless, Yu Xiao Gang tells Tang San this Martial Soul isn’t useless and believes he is the only one who can guide Tang San.
Tang San stays silent which sees Yu Xiao Gang provide reasons for Tang San neither rejecting nor accepting: Tang San doesn’t want to offend him for rejecting, Tang San was thinking of reasons why he should be Yu Xiao Gang’s student when they’ve only just met, or maybe Tang San thinks Yu Xiao Gang isn’t the only one who can guide him. Grinning, Tang San denies thinking such things.
Moving along, Yu Xiao Gang draws Tang San’s attention to Xiao Chen Yu, his Student Martial Club and his cruel way of using defenseless rabbits held in cages to get new students used to killing brutally which he believes will help kill Soul Beasts later. It ends up in Tang San releasing all the rabbits and a debate to arise between Tang San and Xiao Chen Yu about killing for sustenance and killing for no reason. Killing for no reason is something Tang San classifies as simply abuse. The debate then leads onto what appears to be a matter which might just affect Tang San personally in the future: should a Soul Master indiscriminately kill all Soul Beasts regardless of whether they are good or bad just because this is the way to level up one’s status?
Xiao Chen Yu seem to suggest all Soul Beast should be killed as this is the way one becomes a Soul Master. As Yu Xiao Gang had Tang San learn about upgrading the Soul Rings of a Soul Master, one must must hunt and kill Soul Beasts. Therefore, not being able to kill or sparing a Soul Beast misses the opportunity to advance. In contrast, Tang San believes in only killing bad Soul Beasts and letting go those that don’t harm humans. This has Xiao Chen Yu call such a person useless and doubts one can ever become a Soul Master being this way. Tang San’s response to him is that strong people are born to protect the weak; only a coward would attack the weak.
Tang San’s stand for the rabbits and ethical views seem to capture Xiao Wu (Wu Xuan Yi), a female student with a rabbit-like air about her who also just started at Nouding School. After the debate between Tang San and Xiao Chen Yu ends, Xiao Wu shows up at the dorm Tang San is settling into—Dorm Seven—wanting to stay in the same dorm as Tang San, in a bed right next to him desire the Dorm being a dorm for males.
Xiao Wu, who is quite a perky, strong fighter appears to have developed a liking towards Tang San because her Martial Soul is a rabbit. In order to get into Dorm Seven full of male students and reserve a bed right next to Tang San, Xiao Wu takes it upon herself to challenge Wang Sheng (Li Hao), the current Dorm Leader for the Dorm Leader position.
The position of Dorm Leader is not a standard position in the dorms it seems. It’s a position which Wang Sheng looks to have created to make sure there was someone to stand up to the rich students in the school who bully the poorer students (which are the students in Dorm Seven). Wang Sheng probably thought accepting Xiao Wu’s challenge for the position was going to be a sure win for him as his Martial Soul was the Combat Tiger which he probably thought was going to crush a rabbit.
Wang Sheng was no match for Xiao Wu. Before Martial Souls are even used, Xiao Wu sends Wang Sheng hitting the floor with a crescent kick. Wanting to try again, he is sent flying across the room. Once again she didn’t use her Martial Soul. Not admitting defeat, Wang Sheng brings out his Martial Soul to fight Xiao Wu. Xiao Wu still fought without using her Martial Soul, and still, Wang Sheng lost to her. She had him hit a table, the chandelier on the ceiling and almost the corner of a bed behind Tang San. Had it not been for Tang San catching the back of Wang Sheng’s head, Wang Sheng could have cracked it.
It’s defeat for Wang Sheng, but Xiao Wu doesn’t claim the position of Dorm Leader straight away as Tang San’s quick reflex in catching Wang Sheng’s head sees Xiao Wu curious about Tang San’s fighting strength. Tang San initially refuses to fight Xiao Wu (like he had refused to fight Wang Sheng when he wanted to understand how Tang San got recommended to the school with a Blue Silver Plant). However, Xiao Wu’s puppy-dog eyes and pout seems to have coaxed him into breaking the rule of no private fighting.
Before the fight begins, Xiao Wu enquires about Tang San’s Martial Soul. His response sees Xiao Wu engage in a bit of tough talk as she remarks how the Blue Silver Plant is a food which rabbits likes to eat. It gives Tang San the opportunity to back out of a fight which he never wanted to participate in the first place and was happy to end it with surrendering and admitting defeat since she’s his natural enemy.
Afraid she scared him off (she seems to really wants to spar with Tang San), Xiao Wu assures him they won’t need to use their Martial Souls which has Tang San appear to accommodate her wants and the fight begins.
Tang San does no attacking as he dodges, avoids and blocks Xiao Wu’s roundhouse kicks, flip kicks and side kicks with plain speed in his reflexes at first. Tang San may be on the defense, but it’s no indication he’s inferior to Xiao Wu. When Wang Sheng faced Xiao Wu’s attacks, Wang Sheng was outmatched. Tang San, however, is showing his quick speed and reflexes and likely holding off attacking her to start with.
A few quick punches aimed at Tang San’s chest sees him continue to block them all. It’s after these successive punches from Xiao Wu, Tang San decides he’d go into the offensive with a punch, but that’s blocked with a palm. Up until this point, Tang San comes off as going easy on Xiao Wu as the whole time he has a very calm, measured response to her attacks. (To us, he almost has amusement hiding in expression when he looked to be waiting for her next moves.) But when Xiao Wu extends her right arm to grab Tang San’s neck and forcefully pushes his head off to the side, it looked to have genuinely surprised him, causing him to become a little more serious.
Doing the same as Xiao Wu, Tang San extends his right arm to take hold of Xiao Wu’s neck. They both spin as they wrestle to gain the upper hand on each other. It’s Xiao Wu who does. With her power legs, she leaps into the air to have them rest on either side of Tang San’s shoulders. Tang San’s hold on her ankles allows her to flip him right over her and slam him onto his back and pinned down by a knee.
Maybe Xiao Wu had picked up on Tang San’s lack of genuine investment in the fight, but her win seemed to have her question whether Tang San really used his full power. He assures her he really did use his full power. Whether this is true or not, Tang San does appear to genuinely feel the weight of her knee on his stomach and therefore is seen wanting her to release the pinning she has on him. Xiao Wu gets off of Tang San then, allowing Tang San to go back to the unpacking he was doing before she and Wang Sheng interrupted him.
No further challenges, Xiao Wu becomes the Dorm Leader and gains the ability to reserve the bed next to Tang San which allows her to come and go as she pleases. Although she keeps her reserved bed next to Tang San, she doesn’t keep her Dorm Leader position as she is soon brought back by one of the female masters to the female dorms.
Her departure leaves the Dorm Leader position vacant. This has Wang Sheng approach Tang San and make him accept another challenge to fight for the position despite Tang San not caring for the Dorm Leader position. He’s here to study not fight he tells Wang Sheng. Wang Sheng won’t let up. It’s the rule in Dorm Seven he tells Tang San. They must fight to choose a Dorm Leader and tells Tang San that in order to stay in this dorm they follow this rule. Otherwise, Tang San must leave.
Tang San chooses to stay and prepares to start another fight. No fight ends up taking place, though, as the chandelier that was loosened by the fight between Xiao Wu and Wang Sheng earlier came down on top of Tang San. Having seen the chandelier about to fall, Tang San had rushed to push the person who was standing under it—that being Wang Sheng—out of the way. (Tang San wasn’t seriously injured. He only suffered a nosebleed.) With Tang San saving Wang Sheng, Tang San becomes Dorm Leader without him realising it happened.
Looking to reaffix the chandelier, Tang San goes to a blacksmith by the name of Shi San where he seeks to be an apprentice to get some nails for the chandelier. Judging Tang San on his slim build, Shi San looked down on Tang San when he asked if he could work for the blacksmith. Shi San didn’t think Tang San could even hold a casting hammer. Still, Tang San somehow managed to convince the blacksmith to allow him to forge a dagger. The dagger and the use of the Random Air Hammer technique which his father taught him had the blacksmith impressed. It impresses Shi San so much he paid Tang San for the dagger. The blacksmith also gives Tang San the nails he wanted to reaffix the chandelier.
Night falls and Tang San finds himself sharing his bed with Xiao Wu. Seemingly thinking the situation to be too fanciful to be real, Tang San just puts it down to him dreaming and lets her stay. The next morning sees Tang San wake up not quite fully aware Xiao Wu had slept right next to him. Only wen when he notices his dorm mates a short distance away staring at the two, realisation and slight shock runs through him. Nothing is made out of it after this, though.
Obliging in Xiao Wu’s request to help her braid her hair, a story about how Tang San learnt to braid hair leads Tang San to talking about his father. In order to bring back wine for his father, he often took care of children and told stories to them while the adults worked. It included braiding hair which is how he learnt to braid. Curious about Tang San’s mother, Xiao Wu had asked about her which leads Tang San to reveal that his mother had died after he was born. How she died he doesn’t know since his father never told him about her. Asked if he felt sad about this, Tang San reveals he isn’t sure. It has him suspect that his father is probably quite sad, though, otherwise he wouldn’t be drinking everyday.
A series of attempts from Xiao Chen Yu to get one up on Tang San or get back at him for embarrassing him during his attempt to ask Xiao Wu out to a lunch results in failure after failure, and the realisation that Tang San was not given a recommendation by Martial Soul Hall for no reason.
Developing a liking for Xiao Wu after their very brief encounter at Nouding School entrance in Episode 2, Xiao Chen Yu has been out searching for her in the female dorms. She of course isn’t there since she spent the night in Dorm Seven sleeping next to Tang San. Xiao Chen Yu somehow finds his way to Dorm Seven and runs into Xiao Wu, giving him the chance to ask her to a lunch at a restaurant which only people part of the Soul Master Association can enter—people like Xiao Chen Yu who is the Governor’s son.
Xiao Wu being the innocent and simpleminded person she is (Tang San describes her as simpleminded like a child), she doesn’t understand Xiao Chen Yu intentions. When Tang San and the rest of Dorm Seven arrive, she spreads the word that there’s free lunch to be had and invites them along. The invitation gets forgotten when Xiao Chen Yu focuses on finding out why Xiao Wu was with the guys of Dorm Seven—to which Xiao Wu explains it’s because she is Dorm Seven’s Leader before she grabs Tang San’s wrist to get going and have lunch with him.
Here, Tang San isn’t the one who does anything to embarrass Xiao Chen Yu. In fact, it’s Xiao Wu who does the embarrassing or disrespecting with her not only forgetting about Xiao Chen Yu’s invitation, but Xiao Chen Yu’s attempt to impress her by mentioning himself as the Governor’s son. It sees Xiao Wu pick out how his last name, “Xiao”, differs from the Governor’s last name, “Cheng”. It looks like Xiao Chen Yu is not the biological son of the Governor.
However, Tang San does prevent Xiao Chen Yu from insisting on taking Xiao Wu to lunch against her will despite Xiao Wu having already given her answer: since Tang San wasn’t going to the lunch (he can’t even if he wanted to since he’s not part of Soul Master Association), Xiao Wu won’t go either. Even though Xiao Wu made it clear she will only go if Tang San went, Xiao Chen Yu wanted to make Xiao Wu go with him. “Move aside. Hand her over,” Xiao Chen Yu told Tang San before Xiao Chen Yu threatened Tang San with the fact that another member of his family—his third uncle—is the headmaster of the school. Not threatened by the fact, Tang San takes Xiao Wu away with him to have lunch together with the rest of the guys.
Xiao Chen Yu gets his first chance to get back at Tang San and show him up at a practical demonstration. The teacher calling Xiao Chen Yu up to show everyone the art and skill of a Martial Soul Fight, Xiao Chen Yu requests Tang San to be his opponent probably thinking this was a good opportunity to throw a few attacks at Tang San and show off his skills. Xiao Chen Yu indeed gets in a good punch at Tang San’s stomach which sends Tang San stumbling back, but only because Tang San wasn’t ready from the looks of things. The second round of punches, strikes and a kick sees Tang San duck and block well.
Still, it does appear Xiao Chen Yu was in control of the fight as Xiao Chen Yu’s intention was to back Tang San into his group of supporters and have them hold Tang San still by the arms, leaving Tang San open for Xiao Chen Yu to punch in the stomach.
The dirty trick doesn’t go Xiao Chen Yu’s way, though, as Tang San’s Xuan Tian Strike prevents Xiao Chen Yu’s fist from even touching Tang San. Stopped by an invisible force in front of Tang San which produced sparks following apparent contact with Xiao Chen Yu’s fist, Xiao Chen Yu is left stunned and possibly confused by the strength of the force coming from Tang San. With Xiao Wu calling foul against Xiao Chen Yu and the teacher calling everyone to return to their positions, Xiao Chen Yu is left to return to his side of the ground with a deep frown.
Moving the practical lesson to hitting a sandbag in front of them with their Martial Soul Body Shield (this looks to be the force of their Martial Soul which the teacher asks they make a part of their body), Xiao Chen Yu tries to make a sneak attack behind Tang San whilst his attention is on Wang Sheng and Xiao Wu’s talk about the extra pair of rabbit ears Xiao Wu grew when she used her Martial Soul. It’s a sneak attack that is quickly picked up by Tang San and handled by the Controlling Crane Catching Dragon.
Dodging a thrusting arm and blocking a swing of the other arm, Tang San goes to grab both of Xiao Chen Yu’s arms before holding him down so his head is at waist height before lifting him off the ground and kneeing him in the cheek to send him somersaulting into the air. Xiao Wu (who’s always in for a fight) finishes Xiao Chen Yu with a triple pike into the air and coming down on Xiao Chen Yu to send him hitting the ground hard.
The fight ends with water being splashed onto both Tang San and Xiao Wu by the teacher. It appears to them as if the teacher is punishing them and showing favouritism towards Xiao Chen Yu, but as Wang Sheng provides, it’s actually to prevent Xiao Chen Yu from taking even more ruthless actions against Tang San in class as well as avoid offending the rich students.
Whether the teacher succeeded in saving Tang San from more ruthless treatment in class is yet to be seen, but for disrespecting and beating Xiao Chen Yu, Liu Long comes up with a prank involving firecrackers hidden in fallen leaves and exploding once Tang San makes contact with the colorful smoke-producing firecrackers. Tang San and Xiao Wu seemingly made to sweep leaves as punishment for the earlier fight between Xiao Chen Yu and them, only Tang San ends up sweeping. He had offered to do the sweeping and allow Xiao Wu to rest at the side.
As Tang San sweeps, Liu Long willed Tang San to keep going towards the direction of the little black firecrackers which were no bigger than cherries. It’s Liu Long’s hushed voice which catches Tang San’s attention, causing Tang San to discreetly use his Purple Demon Eyes which not only can slow down motion but see through objects like the large bamboo crates Liu Long and Xiao Chen Yu were hiding behind. Spotting them and the firecrackers, Tang San sweeps the little firecrackers at the boxes, causing their explosion on Liu Long and Xiao Chen Yu.
Tang San was too good and too skilled for Xiao Chen Yu and Liu Long’s attacks and pranks. It is at this point Xiao Chen Yu sees Tang San’s recommendation to the school was not for no reason and personally admit (in front of Liu Long anyway) that he isn’t capable of winning Tang San. Still, they don’t appear fazed by their failure as Liu Long seem to have a plan to teach Tang San a lesson which we aren’t clued in on.
Tang San is strong, skilled and smart. The written test they all took before the practical demonstration out on the school grounds sees the teacher report back to Tang San as having done very well. However, with Tang San’s Martial Soul being the only one not to have shown any changes since entering the school and with the teacher inexperienced in handling such a “useless” Martial Soul as the Blue Silver Plant, Tang San is given the prognosis of being limited to (as the teacher tells him) becoming a Master in Theory or a teacher. It’s not what Tang San entered Nuoding School for. He wanted and needs to become a Soul Master.
Recalling Yu Xiao Gang’s words about the Blue Silver Plant as not being a useless Martial Soul (Episode 2), Tang San heads to him to find out why he believes this when everyone doesn’t. The answer he gets is firstly that no Martial Soul is useless. There’s only ever a useless person. However, what he does believe is that the Blue Silver Plant is an inferior Martial Soul which is weak but still has its strength.
Asked what that strengths is, Yu Xiao Gang doesn’t answer for him. He has Tang San think on it himself by asking him to study the form of the plant. Going off to study it after practicing the Controlling Crane Catching Dragon, Tang San takes a bit of time before he discovers the answer with help from Xiao Wu (who had come to get Tang San for dinner).
“What’s so special about it?” She asks as Tang San observes the Blue Silver Plant on his palm. It had Tang San repeat the question, pondering what exactly was so special about it. It’s after saying this Tang San realised that it is this exact view from most people which is the Blue Silver Plant’s strength. Because the Blue Martial Soul is so common, appearing to have no use at all that makes it special. It carries a mysteriousness that is much greater than other Martial Souls.
Going back to Yu Xiao Gang, Tang San shares his answer (which Yu Xiao Gang approves) before Yu Xiao Gang shares his research findings and theories on what kind of Soul Master Tang San can be and the Martial Soul’s uses during attacks and its advantages.
Based on Yu Xiao Gang’s analysis he did for his studies, Yu Xiao Gang believes Tang San can be a Controlling Soul Master. He can use his Martial Soul to restrict the opponent to launch or facilitate an attack. Aside from the Blue Silver Plant being common and therefore being quite mystifying, there are three more advantages the Blue Silver Plant has: it’s flexible and therefore can be controlled and transformed into various forms (a simple example Yu Xiao Gang mentions is using the plant as a rope to tie up the enemy); the amount of Soul Power the Blue Silver Plant consumes is smaller than than what food-consuming Martial Souls consumes, so Tang San can use his Soul Power a lot more; and lastly, because the Blue Silver Plant is so weak it won’t repel Soul Rings of other types.
Told to try be one with his Martial Soul, to have faith in it, Tang San finally sees the Blue Silver Plant plant grow into a long vine. The excitement sees Tang San being dragged all over the place before being bounded to a straw training dummy.
Although Tang San had finally managed to get his Martial Soul to grow, Tang San has no control of it. Told to think about something else like his favourite food doesn’t help because Tang San never actually had it. He only heard the other people in the Village say how good it is (haha!). After some time, Tang San is eventually released. How is not clear, but he’s made a mess of Yu Xiao Gang’s room.
Yu Xiao Gang leaving Tang San to clean up the mess, more progress is made when a falling training dummy sees Tang San reflexively catch it with the Blue Silver Plant’s vine. It lasts only a short time before the vine disappears, but it spurs him to keep on practicing trying to get the vine to lift things like curtains from afar and using it as a climbing rope. He had also tried using it in a training session with Xiao Wu when she appeared before him to offer to train with him. However, before any attacks are even made by either two, Tang San is dragged away by the presently uncontrollable plant.
The two appear to continue to train for quite some time with how Tang San ends up taking so much battering, Tang San had to the bottle of medicine he was encouraged to take from Yu Xiao Gang which he thought he wouldn’t need. He now understands why Yu Xiao Gang has him take it with him.
It leads to Xiao Wu asking Tang San whether she could take a sip of the medicine and revealing she was actually not feeling too well. The reason is not in a physical sense, but an emotional sense as she reveals she’s put her name forward to be elected as President of Soul Master Association. She seems quite worried about needing to prepare a speech and getting people to support her. She seems to suggest that if the election were to be decided by fighting, she’d be a lot more confident. This was made apparent after Tang San teased her with wondering why a leader is decided by an election and not a fight (just like how they chose the Dorm Leader for Dorm Seven) and her agreeing with the same question.
After teasing her, Tang San tries to comfort Xiao Wu with telling her that an election is not about electing a leader. It was about electing someone who is willing to help others and who is responsible. He thinks that as long as she is helpful she will be elected.
This is at least an ideal which one hopes the elections are about isn’t always the case as an incident involving the Governor passing through the city and his guards shoving their way through the street, pushing people aside and knocking people and stalls over.
Tang San and Xiao Wu had gone out in the morning out with plans to buy a dress for Xiao Wu presumably for the speech she will present for the election. Xiao Wu caught by the sight of sticky rice cakes but without any money to buy them, Tang San does some iron work (which has Xiao Wu watch him with awe and admiration) to buy her the sticky rice cakes. Returning for the rice cakes, they witness stall owners and other patrons being shoved aside and knocking into stalls and objects just so the path is cleared for the Governor who’s being transported in a palanquin.
Tang San’s mention that the Governor is born into position of power and Xiao Wu’s remark about how unfair it is hint at Xiao Wu’s chances of being elected as President of Soul Master Association.
Without even given a chance to make her case about why she should be elected President of Soul Master Association, Xiao Wu’s already lost. While she and Tang San were out, the election had been moved by Xiao Chen Yu to take place in the morning instead of the afternoon, causing Xiao Wu to miss it.
With Xiao Chen Yu winning the election, becoming the President of Soul Master Association, he moves to make it difficult for attached students, namely Tang San, to attend class and Soul Power training. Drawing up a new schedule for attached students, they not only have to work in the afternoon, but also in the morning now. It leaves Tang San little chance of advancing.
Xiao Chen Yu is aware Tang San still has one option available to him and that’s to obtain a Soul Ring to challenge him, but Xiao Chen Yu isn’t too concerned. With Xiao Chen Yu having arranged for the capturing of a Ghost Wolf—a Soul Beast of less than 100 years old—and having gone and killed it, Xiao Chen Yu’s earned his first Soul Ring. With his first Soul Ring, Xiao Chen Yu’s finally become a real Soul Master and seems to revel in the thought of destroying Tang San’s pride that way and taking Xiao Wu away from him.
Obtaining a Soul Ring and becoming a real Soul Master to protect Xiao Wu is something Yu Xiao Gang has Tang San see he must do after Tang San learns about Xiao Chen Yu’s advancement and his intentions. So far, Xiao Chen Yu had been holding back from hurting Tang San because (as Xiao Chen Yu admits himself whilst talking to Liu Long) he’d look bad if he hurts Tang San in front of everyone at school. There was also the unconfirmed connection Tang San might have to the powerful Martial Soul Hall—a matter which Xiao Chen Yu is currently having Liu Long look into. With Tang San practically no longer in Nuoding School because of the new schedule which prevents any attendance or training, Xiao Chen Yu doesn’t need to hold back, not outside of school. In order for Tang San to stand up to Xiao Chen Yu, Yu Xiao Gang (like Xiao Chen Yu) also believes obtaining a Soul Ring is Tang San’s only option.
Making the decision to obtain a Soul Ring, Tang San (with the help of Yu Xiao Gang) work towards gaining entry into Soul Hunting Forest, a forest out of the many which is under guard of the Law Enforcement Corps of Martial Soul Hall. In order to get into Soul Hunting Forest, a clearance warrant must be obtained to gain entry.
This warrant is not small money. One hundred Gold Soul Coins is what the store owner of these illegally obtained warrants wants. Tang San only earns one-tenth of that working at the blacksmiths for a month. Tang San couldn’t afford a warrant. He’s made to believe Yu Xiao Gang is going to help Tang San out with this money. However, Yu Xiao Gang also doesn’t have money. What Yu Xiao Gang has is his Martial Soul which Yu Xiao Gang reveals is a dog with a pig snout which goes by the name of Luo San Pao.
Using Luo San Pao to act as a Soul Beast, Yu Xiao Gang and Tang San obtain their warrant. A live Soul Beast is worth more than 100 Gold Soul Coins. It’s priceless as Yu Xiao Gang describes because of how difficult a Soul Beast is to capture. They are extremely proud (tells Yu Xiao Gang) and will blow up once they lose a battle. So, exchanging a live Soul Beast for a warrant seemingly was a more than fair payment.
Luo San Pao is of course not a Soul Beast. He is what is classified as a Mutant Soul. (There are three types of Martial Souls: Tool Souls, Beast Souls and Mutant Souls Tang San lists following discovery of the types.) However, as Yu Xiao Gang says and as the store owner showed, no one can tell the difference. Once far enough away, Yu Xiao Gang reveals the transaction wasn’t a permanent one as he was able to transport Luo San Pao right back. Yu Xiao Gang had tricked the store owner into giving them the warrant for free.
Tang San made to trundle in a cart full of radishes into Soul Hunting Forest (it’s for Luo San Pao: apparently after three attacks it needs replenishment and radishes are most effective), Yu Xiao Gang and Tang San they begin their search for a suitable Soul Beast for Tang San. As they travel through the forest, Yu Xiao Gang shares the fact of there being a limit to a Soul Master’s capacity to withstand Soul Rings. It’s a known fact published in books. What isn’t published in books is this theory about there being a precise number that’s calculated theoretically. Yu Xiao Gang claims that for someone like Tang San, the age limit of a Soul Beast whose Soul Ring Tang San can absorb is 423 years old.
However, according to Xiao Wu (who had snuck into the forest by hiding in the baskets of radishes Tang San trundled in), there was no such theory. She would know because she’s read all the theoretical books in the school library.
One thing which the books and Yu Xiao Gang agree on, though, is that trying to absorb a Soul Ring greater than what the body can handle will result in a failure to advance. However, the limit is very different. According to an Advanced Soul Master which Xiao Wu had read as saying, if the first Soul Ring comes from a Soul Beast older than 300 years old, the person trying to absorb it would certainly fail to advance. It could cause severe injury or death. So, not only is the limit Yu Xiao Gang claims is much higher, but he doesn’t mention anything about the risk of severe injury or death.
It begs the question for what reason Yu Xiao Gang told Tang San this. Xiao Wu suspects two possibilities: Yu Xiao Gang is trying to harm Tang San or Yu Xiao Gang is using Tang San to test out his theory.
Tang San rejects the possibility Yu Xiao Gang is trying to harm him as he could easily hand him over to Xiao Chen Yu to do that. As for using Tang San to test out his theory, Tang San seems to see this as a possibility with neither rejecting or accepting this possibility. Tang San is at least okay with Yu Xiao Gang’s plan for his Blue Silver Plant. He’s turned it over again and again in his mind, he believes it to be correct and logical.
Yu Xiao Gang’s willingness to help Tang San is curious. When Tang San asked why Yu Xiao Gang was helping him, Yu Xiao Gang doesn’t provide a clear answer. The first time, Yu Xiao Gang avoided answering by only mentioning the assistance as a two-way matter: Yu Xiao Gang helps Tang San, Tang San must help him, too. What Yu Xiao Gang is expecting Tang San to help him with Yu Xiao Gang only tells Tang San he will know later.
The second time Tang San asks why Yu Xiao Gang is helping him, Yu Xiao Gang tells Tang San it’s because they are both fools. Tang San’s belief that a Soul Master shouldn’t get used to killing and that the strong should protect the weak, this kind of philosophy has Yu Xiao Gang call Tang San a fool. But Yu Xiao Gang is known to be a fool, too, presumably for his theories. Because they are both fools, they should work together.
There’s also the revelation that Yu Xiao Gang appears unable to advance as a Soul Master because his Martial Soul—Luo San Pao—is damaged. He reveals this after an encounter with a Ghost Wolf whose Soul Ring was left to dissipate because without an undamaged Martial Soul, absorbing the Soul Ring was—as Yu Xiao Gang says himself—meaningless. This inability to advance could be seen as a negative point. Since Yu Xiao Gang can’t be a Soul Master, he’s shifted his attention to becoming a theorist who’s taking advantage of Tang San’s desire to become the strongest Soul Master with the Blue Silver Plant and will Road Tang San’s life doing it.
But with Tang San Yu believing Yu Xiao Gang’s plan for his Blue Silver Plant to be sound, though, and Xiao Wu seemingly happy Tang San is aware of what Yu Xiao Gang might be looking to achieve, Xiao Wu helps Tang San search for a suitable Soul Beast to kill and obtain his first Soul Ring. Xiao Wu is not keen on killing a Soul Beast unless it harms people, but seems to accept Tang San’s need to kill because Xiao Chen Yu has advanced, and so, Tang San needs to advance quickly himself in order to stand up to his bullying. There seems to be an unspoken understanding of this.
Settling with this, Xiao Wu proposes they look for a fierce and evil Soul Beast. Noticing how empty the area they’ve travelled has been, she believes she’s found one. The area being Ghost Wolf territory but seeing neither Ghost Wolves or any other Soul Beasts for that matter, Xiao Wu suspects a huge Soul Beast was in this area.
Following the tracks and scent of the Soul Beasts as well as coming across a tree being ripped in half, Xiao Wu is led to an injured Spotted Cat through some bushes. Despite being injured, Xiao Wu cautions Tang San that it’s still very strong. The fact that Tang San has no Soul Skill is another matter to be wary.
Tang San seem to take note before moving to give it a try in attacking the Spotted Cat. Bringing out his nails and his Purple Demon Eyes, Tang San prepares to kill it, but stops upon seeing the Spotted Cat’s kitten appear beside it. He couldn’t take away its mother.
The decision to not kill it and look for something else has Xiao Wu exclaim how great it was that Tang San had decided against killing the Spotted Cat. It wasn’t only because the Spotted Cat had a kitten, but she liked cats and didn’t want Tang San to kill it from the beginning. Asked by Tang San why she didn’t stop him, Xiao Wu explains that she couldn’t ask him not to just because she didn’t want him to do it. It was unfair to him This has Tang San let her know that whatever she wants she tell him.
Before going back to the topic of the Spotted Cat and Xiao Wu revealing how she wanted to save it, Xiao Wu makes it known she had noticed Tang San’s eyes having turned a glowing purple by asking whether it was the power of his Martial Soul. “Sort of,” he tells her. It has her then thinking how the Blue Silver Plant is blue and wondering why the glow is purple. It’s a question which Tang San luckily escapes answering as she notices the Spotted Cat passing out before her, leading to her wanting to save it.
Tang San agreeing to hold off searching for a Soul Beast to save the Spotted Cat, he is suggested to stay and watch the Spotted Cat while Xiao Wu goes off to look for herbs to stop the bleeding on the Spotted Cat. She also offers to pick some fruits for Tang San. As someone who’s grown up in the wild, she was very familiar with the forest and didn’t need Tang San to go with her.
As Xiao Wu goes on her search, she’s brought back with a strong kick by one of Xiao Chen Yu’s people.
Xiao Chen Yu claims he’s already looked past the incidents between him and Tang San which saw him embarrass him in front of everyone. However, in order to ensure no one dares embarrass him in front of everyone again, he can’t let Tang San go without teaching a lesson. As he is saying all this, Xiao Chen Yu has Liu Long’s shoulder in his grip, apparently sending Liu Long this message as well for some reason.
Controlling people and making sure he commands respect is what keeps Xiao Chen Yu insistent on chasing after Tang San. So, to make sure Tang San as well as Xiao Wu are kept in line, Xiao Chen Yu orders Liu Long to see to teaching them both a lesson before his guards are ordered to capture the Spotted Cat’s kitten as he appears to be looking to kill it for its Soul Ring.
The order never gets completed as Luo San Pao suddenly appears before them all. Behind the Mutual Soul is a large serpent-like snake, the Thorn Apple Snake, chasing it. Yu Xiao Gang had purposely made Luo San Pao provoke the snake after discovering it was responsible for the Spotted Cat’s injuries and found the snake’s nest.
Xiao Wu led away by Tang San while Xiao Chen Yu and his people are left to try fight the snake, they run back into Yu Xiao Gang. The three had become separated after Xiao Wu had purposely dragged Tang San away from Yu Xiao Gang last episode to warn him about the non-existent theory regarding the precise age limit Yu Xiao Gang was taking about. Thinking nothing of the separation, Yu Xiao Gang tells them to stay close to him and not get lost in this large forest before eventually telling Tang San that the Thorn Apple Snake who’s believed to be around 400 years old is a suitable choice for Tang San’s first Soul Ring.
Xiao Wu’s still worried about Yu Xiao Gang using Tang San’s life to test the unproven theory. Not only that, she doesn’t think Tang San can take on the Thorn Apple Snake. It’s untouchable. But she is about to see that Yu Xiao Gang’s theory is right and he can be trusted just as Tang San had believed this whole time.
Going to the Thorn Apple Snake after Xiao Chen Yu and his people retreated, Tang San is made to try take it down. An argument about whether to go to the injured Spotted Cat or go after the Thorn Apple Snake had initially taken place when they arrived to find the snake had gone after Xiao Chen Yu and his people (Xiao Chen Yu had his eye on the kitten and advancing further with its killing); but after the Thorn Apple Snake suddenly appears, the decision was made for them.
Yu Xiao Gang taking the first hit with a poisonous bite to the arm (he was trying to save Tang San), Tang San moves to try take it down after Yu Xiao Gang tells him to kill it. Aiming a nail at the snake’s head, it rebounds off. Calling Ghostly Trace before running straight at the Thorn Apple Snake sees Tang San run straight at it before sliding under the snake’s head, barely avoiding its jaws. Tang San attempts to strike its head with three nails after the snake makes a couple u-turns in response to Tang San’s evasions, but once again the nails rebound off. The nails weren’t strong enough to pierce through the seemingly thick reptilian skin. Tang San attempts to punch the snake in the head, but the speed and power of the snake sees Tang San knocked in the side and sent to the ground, rolling.
The Thorn Apple Snake seemed invincible—that is until Tang San brought out his Purple Demon Eyes. Getting up and staring down at the snake, Tang San with his Purple Demon Eyes and a nail, he flings it towards the snake right as the snake opens his jaws. This time Tang San succeeds. The nail flies into its mouth, through its head and out the other side, killing it.
A Yellow Soul Ring appears. It’s a Soul Beast greater than 100 years old. As Yu Xiao Gang had said and as Tang San guesses from getting a better look at the pattern on the snake, it’s about 400 years old. It’s within the limit Tang San can handle based on Yu Xiao Gang’s theory. It suits him well, Tang San says.
Xiao Wu tries her best to convince Tang San against listening to Yu Xiao Gang, but the immediate threat of Xiao Chen Yu (who returns moments after the Thorn Apple Snake’s killing) and needing to protect her and anyone bullied by Xiao Chen Yu for that matter sees him absorb the Soul Ring. It has Tang San flinching at the intensity of the heat felt. Tang San appears to struggle to contain it which has Liu Long remark Tang San having gone and absorbed beyond his limit. Xiao Chen Yu believes Tang San was going to die, too, and found pleasure in standing by and watching Tang San die on his own.
None of what Liu Long and Xiao Chen Yu’s beliefs—rather their wishes come true. None of what Xiao Wu had feared happened. After Yu Xiao Gang creates a distraction using one of Luo San Pao’s attacks which creates a cloud of smoke to blind Xiao Chen Yu and his people temporarily, Tang San is taken away by Xiao Wu to be given a chance to fully assimilate the Soul Ring and its ability through meditation.
Tang San’s recovery sees him report feeling energised, feeling lighter and comfortable. He had experienced pain during the assimilation of the Soul Ring, but he felt no rejection of it. Everything Yu Xiao Gang had theorised was correct. Absorbing a Soul Ring of a Soul Beast greater than 300 years old didn’t harm or kill him. It advanced him. Yu Xiao Gang was also right about the Blue Silver Plant being non-exclusive in the type of Martial Soul it assimilates. The Thorn Apple Snake was a Soul Beast but the Blue Silver Plant which is plant type was able to assimilate the Soul Ring of a Soul Beast type.
Calling out his Blue Silver Plant on a tree trunk, he notices the vine has gotten bigger, wider and tougher. Testing the new abilities gained from the Thorn Apple Snake on a tree trunk, Tang San finds whatever this new Soul Skill disappears after a short time with no noticeable effect. It has Xiao Wu wonder if it’s because were no special skills gained before wondering if a human is needed to test. Xiao Wu then suggests Tang San try it on her arm.
She reports back a numbing effect as Tang San has the vine wrap around arm. It’s poison she notes. The first Soul Skill he gained from the Thorn Apple Snake is mild poison. Hearing this has Tang San worry he’s hurt Xiao Wu and immediate goes to check her arm to make sure she wasn’t hurting anywhere. It’s only temporary paralysis and so mild the poison could even help alleviate pain next time she’s injured she tells him. This comment even has Tang San worried, telling her that as long as he’s around he’d never let her get hurt.
For providing Tang San and Xiao Wu the chance to escape with Luo San Pao, Xiao Chen Yu takes Yu Xiao Gang with him, counting on Tang San to come rescue him because Tang San is a good person and will come for him. He is right.
Despite Tang San and Yu Xiao Gang not having any personal connection other than the deal they made to advance and validate a theory, Tang San was going to save Yu Xiao Gang. He makes it appear he wasn’t going to save Yu Xiao Gang when Xiao Wu had assumed that’s what they were going to do next, though. Seemingly not wanting Xiao Wu to follow and risk being hurt, Tang San told Xiao Wu he was going to return to Saint of Soul Village and suggested she return home and promise not to return to Nuoding School.
It sees Xiao Wu regard Tang San’s behaviour as odd—odd enough not to believe Tang San would leave Yu Xiao Gang in Xiao Chen Yu’s hands and not attempt to rescue him. Wanting to help Tang San but not be a burden, Xiao Wu goes to the Spotted Cats to request a favour. This favour looks to be the transfer of energy which the cats appears to grants, giving her a Yellow Soul Ring.
While Tang San was recovering from assimilating the Thorn Apple Snake’s Soul Ring, Xiao Wu had gone off searching for an antidote for the Thorn Apple Snake’s poison which had apparently been used to save the injured Spotted Cat. This deed of hers appears to have been what had a group of Spotted Cats grant her request without needing to kill one to gain the Soul Ring.
So, with a Yellow Soul Ring and a new twist skill she dubs Arched Body, Xiao Wu shows up at Nouding School before a surprised Tang San (both at her presence and the sight of her Yellow Soul Ring which she tells him she gained by “killing” some random beast). With the school having many rooms and many guards around, Tang San sought Wang Sheng’s help to find out where exactly Yu Xiao Gang was being held.
Unknown to Tang San, though, Xiao Chen Yu had predicted Tang San would need help and would go to Wang Sheng for said help. Tang San’s predictable move gave Xiao Chen Yu the perfect opportunity to set up a trap involving an electric cage which Xiao Chen Yu had fall over Tang San and Xiao Wu whilst rescuing the tied up and unconscious Yu Xiao Gang in the Practice Court. Only Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang are captured, though, as Yu Xiao Gang’s warning upon waking from having smelt some herbs Xiao Wu put near his nose sees Xiao Wu push Tang San away to avoid being trapped inside.
The cage is inescapable. With it being set by a Soul Honour, a person who is a genius and has three Soul Rings (in other words, the trap is extremely powerful), Xiao Wu’s multiple attempts break out of the cage sees her zapped and flung backwards every time.
The belief that Xiao Chen Yu set this trap to take down Tang San is revealed to not be what Xiao Chen Yu is after. Back in Soul Hunting Forest, Xiao Chen Yu had mentioned wanting Xiao Wu to be handed over and Tang San to join his Martial Soul Club (both wants seem to be about having both submitting to Xiao Chen Yu). Following an investigation into Tang San’s recommendation into Nouding School, though, he wants Tang San to introduce him to Su Yun Tao. Although his investigations didn’t reveal a personal connection to Su Yun Tao, it was still Su Yun Tao who performed Tang San’s Martial Soul Awakening, and seemingly, Su Yun Tao thinks highly of Tang San.
The reason Xiao Chen Yu wants the meeting is because Su Yun Tao is a direct disciple of the Chief of Martial Soul Hall. Through Su Yun Tao, he hopes he can join Martial Soul Hall and form a connection or maybe even a friendship with the ever powerful Chief of Martial Soul Hall. In exchange, he will make Xiao Wu President of Soul Master Association. He can even hand Wang Sheng over to Tang San to be dealt with however he likes for the betrayal presumably. Allowing Tang San to do whatever he wants with Wang Sheng appears to be a superficial exchange: with Wang Sheng’s father in Xiao Chen Yu’s control and will use his father as a way to control Wang Sheng, Xiao Chen Yu isn’t really freeing Wang Sheng. Xiao Chen Yu intends for Wang Sheng and his father to be dead.
In fact, Xiao Chen Yu has no intention of letting any of them go. When Tang San asks if introducing Xiao Chen Yu to Su Yun Tao is all he needs to do for them all to be let go, Xiao Chen Yu tells Tang San, “Of course not”. Xiao Chen Yu can’t have anyone finding out that he wants to join Martial Soul Hall because apparently the Governors and Martial Soul Hall aren’t on the same team. What’s more, in an attempt to get Tang San following Xiao Chen Yu, Xiao Chen Yu threatens Tang San with having investigated where his father lives and promises to bring him to Nuoding School one of these days (that is, use his father to get Tang San to do what Xiao Chen Yu wants).
Refusing to follow Xiao Chen Yu like a good lackey, Tang San moves to try break Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang out with his bare hands. Electricity zap him like it did Xiao Wu. Seeing his bare hands won’t work, Tang San uses his Blue Silver Plant to grip the bars. Against shouts from Yu Xiao Gang to let go—that if he continues he’ll ruin his Martial Soul—Tang San hangs on: “Without blood and pain, how can I make a way of my own?” he shouts and not letting go.
That’s Douluo Continent Recap, Episodes 1 – 5! Please make sure to come back for Douluo Continent Recap, Episodes 6 – 10! We will be updating each part as we finish writing!