There is not much development in this episode that is more introductory than anything else.
I thought the show would milk the TF Boys for all their worth but it didn't and I welcome the sight of Li Yi Feng (Sword of Legends), Zhao Li Ying (The Mystic Nine) and Yang Zi (Legend of Dragon Pearl) so early in the game.
Episode 2 begins with Zhang Xiao Fan (Wang Yuan) unable to sleep. He stares at the red stone while recalling his master's orders to find a quiet place to get rid of it.
Restless and unsettled, he overhears that there must be a greater conspiracy behind the deaths of his friends and family so he leaves the mountain in a rush to find more clues.
He runs into Lin Jing Yu (Wang Jun Kai) but their reunion is cut sort when the hooded figure launches an attack aimed at Xiao Fan. Luckily, Master Tian and another Qing Yun Sect master arrive just in time to save the boys.
Back at school, Xiao Fan quickly learns that the way to a man's heart is through their stomach so he slowly earns Master Tian's acceptance by owning the role of resident chef.
He promises Master Tian to be motivated by a sense of justice rather than revenge and finally completes the formalities to become a full-fledged student.
Xiao Fan and Jing Yu begin training under their respective masters yet the results cannot be any more disparate. Jing Yu masters level one of the Qing Yun Technique in six months, a commendable feat in and of itself while Xiao Fan chops down his first bamboo after months of painstaking practice.
It soon becomes clear that Xiao Fan is the slowest among his peers, barely making progress no matter how hard he tries.
It has been five years since Xiao Fan (Li Yi Feng) joined the Qing Yun Sect and he has never left once. One day, Master Tian's daughter Tian Ling Er (Tina Tang Yixin) sneaks him into a nearby village to sell magical grass.
While Ling Er steps away, a mysterious person (Zhao Li Ying) buys magical grass with fake money that turns into stone. Xiao Fan instinctively chases the thief but she escapes after a one-on-one fight.
Xiao Fan chases her again but bumps into Zeng Shu Shu (Qin Jun Jie) instead. Zeng Shu Shu misunderstands Xiao Fan's intentions and takes Xiao Fan to a nearby bookstore in a misguided effort to help him find the woman he seeks.
At the bookstore, Zeng Shu Shu stares in awe at Lu Xue Qi (Yang Zi), a fellow student known for her icy beauty. Jing Yu (Cheng Yi) also arrives at the same moment to catch the Qing Yun students for breaking the rules.
Second Impressions: I can't say much in a rather uneventful episode where the most interesting part was seeing everyone grown up.
Things weren't as angst-filled as I expected since our hero seems to have managed a decent childhood with his newfound family. Even Master Tian seems like a softie at heart so I wonder what the catalyst will be for Xiao Fan to turn evil.
Why hasn't he gotten rid of the diabolic red stone like his Master ordered? It's not going to be like Gollum and the ring, is it?