Okay things are finallyyyyyy picking up, I skipped through so much of the previous episodes and I might not be recapping them, so here’s a quick summary of what has happened for around Ep 20/ 21/ 22/ 23/ 24/ 25. It’s not really in order of the episodes, just a quick catch-up of what has happened!
The plague is overcome when Lin Xi, Li, and Ping Jing contribute to find a cure. The Empress is grateful that her crown prince is saved.
Turns out that Puyang Ying and his brother was part of an elite group of fighters back in Yeqin. Upon entering the elite training school, each child is stamped with half of a flower – if they get selected to stay as an elite trainee, they would be stamped with the other half. Puyang Ying was unsuccessful. This planted a seed of jealousy. During the plague, their mother had taken care of Puyang Ying. But when the doctor only had one medicine tablet left, she chose to send it to the brother instead.
Eventually, their parents succumbed to the plague. Overwhelmed with anger, Puyang Ying wanted to mobilise the elite fighters to take revenge against Great Liang for shutting Yeqin out. But his brother reprimanded him, saying that it was against their school’s philosophy to take revenge. Puyang Ying ruthlessly stabs his brother, and steals the official seal/ plaque of the elite team that his brother holds.
Thus, this sets into motion Puyang Ying’s revenge. The elite trainees had now planted themselves in various institutions. Thankfully, they manage to alert Commander Xun in time to foil an assassination attempt on the young crown prince. The Empress expresses her thanks indirectly, by letting the Chang Lin brothers spend time talking to the prince alone.
But as Ping Jing and the good guys figure out what is going on, Sister Yun tries to attack Ping Jing. She manages to scar him with a poisoned knife, and Ping Jing falls victim to the poison.
This poison can only be cured with the liver of a rare snake found in Yeqin – and currently in the hands of Puyang Ying. What’s more, the treatment method would involve sacrificing someone to transfer blood to Ping Jing. To Li’s surprise, Lin Xi volunteers herself. Ping Sheng is adamant on meeting Puyang Ying, who hides in a cave.
Puyang Ying has set up an elaborate system, where Ping Sheng has to risk his life in order to obtain the snake liver. Ping Sheng retrieves it, and himself is poisoned when doing so.
Lin Xi and Li manage to find a method that doesn’t need to sacrifice someone. But there is only one liver, and Qian Xue breaks down in tears when she finds out that only one brother will be saved. Lying in bed, Ping Sheng apologies to her.
Just had to say this – they spent at least a good episode debating and crying about how someone else has to die transferring blood to Ping Jing. While it did establish that Lin Xi clearly has fallen for Ping Jing, but it was so lame when suddenly they were like “oh yeah and actually we found another method besides blood transfusion”. The show didn’t need to use so many scenes to do that, and it just felt very anti-climatic.
I think this is where NIF 2 falls short – things don’t seem as important as they make it out to be, and there are a lot of scenes that don’t seem particularly useful. The story could have been so much tighter, or have be richer in the relevant details.