Suddenly a dashing young man rides up on a horse. Hulei calls out to him as Xionglin, but the rest of the people shout, "Iilai-sama!" Without even glancing at Hulei, he announces that he had gone out on a journey to see what other parts of the world were like and had wound up traveling farther than expected. He scoops up Shina and heads back to the ruler's mansion. Despite the flawless attitude of a manly noble, Hulei knows it's Xionglin. Tuoren suspects that the "one year before" when the trouble started indicates that the source is really a rebel who has taken control.
His guess is correct. A woman named Mimi is using scent magic to control the ruler, and she figures that the return of the son can't possibly topple her control. When she sees him, she's shocked at recognizing him as Xionglin, but he doesn't respond to the name and she decides that someone so blatantly (and appealingly) masculine couldn't be the same person. Besides, she knows she already pushed Xionglin over a cliff, having blasted him with a surprise attack. She figures she'll use her magic on Iilai that night, and then he'll be hers as well.
The rest of the team sneaks onto the grounds of the ruler's mansion, where Shina finds them and orders them to follow. The troublemakers from earlier that afternoon are planning to assassinate Iilai, to avoid having their privileges curtailed, and Shina wants them stopped. Hulei reluctantly agrees when the other two do, on the condition that he gets his partner back afterward. Mimi goes to Iilai's bedroom, intending to snare him with pheromones. Just as she's getting all comfy curled up against him, he turns the scent against her and reveals his true identity.
Mimi had joined the rebellion out of frustration that she couldn't be nobility. He tells her she's beautiful, but she still needs polish. (She yells that she doesn't want to be lectured by someone who can never be a woman. He replies that he never once wanted to be.) Finally he sends her to the emperor's palace and rejoins the team to explain what happened--that Shina had found him after he had been bitten by the snake and had asked for his help. Just as they're about to set off looking for Nasha, the real Iilai shows up. He had been the one Mimi pushed from a cliff, mistaking him for Xionglin. He had spent the past year in a small village recovering.
In Jusenkai, Huzhi announces to the gathered royal guard that she had gone exploring outside the palace and found trees bearing fruit that had been barren the year before due to the effects of the war. They have a meeting with the emperor and discuss how to go about uncovering Yanlang's location. They know he expended a great deal of energy during the war and can't have gone far. However, the captured rebels have had a spell cast on them to prevent them from spilling any information; if they even attempt to communicate Yanlang's whereabouts in any way, they die.
Fengyu notices that Nasha's rei is especially faint, and she's been separated from the group for two days. He had thought that she would return to the palace if she got lost, but she hasn't shown up. Kanma wants Long to go to her immediately and find out what's wrong, but Long protests that the group split up intentionally and he doesn't want to treat her as if she's incapable of handling herself. Still, considering that the group itself is special, he decides to check on the others and see what's going on, sending Jing to look after Nasha. Jing hesitates, but the heir encourages him, saying that if he holds back too long, someone else will take her... (Fengyu comments on how amazing it is that Nasha could make a man like Jing so flustered. The others muse that Fengyu can't even imagine how flustered he makes the emperor.)
As Lujing's best friend, Kanma warns Jing that if he's not prepared to stake his life on loving Nasha, then he'd better not get too deeply involved with her. Kanma will severely punish anyone who hurts her. Jing goes to meet up with her, and she says that she intends to join the others when the fog clears. He promises to stay with her until then, explaining that if he lets anything happen to her, Kanma will do more than just shout at him. Jing has been in love with her for a long time, but at first she had Lujing, and after his death Jing didn't know what he could possibly do to comfort her, so he only watched over her in silence.
Meanwhile, Long sneaks up and pounces Lifang (to Tuoren's consternation). They're on their way toward Nasha, but Hong flaps his wings and warns them not to go any farther into the mist. Jing asks Nasha if the fog has been so thick for the whole two days, and she answers that she only separated from the group that morning. Realizing that the time slip means something's wrong, Jing attempts to break out. Someone has used a spell to trap them. He can sense four rebels. When a direct attack comes, aiming to steal their bodies, he figures out that their opponents are the angry spirits of dead rebels.
Jing allows himself to be possessed, trusting Nasha to exorcise them once they're vulnerable. He tells her not to worry, he won't leave her alone. After the ghosts are gone, they teleport to the others. (Lifang applauds when he sees how they do it.) Jing informs Long that he's made up his mind about Nasha, but he wants to wait for the proper time to express his feelings for her--at least until the war is over. Lifang gets the impression that he's been in these particular mountains before.
The emperor ponders memories of Yanlang, who had been the previous emperor's only son. However, the position of emperor isn't inherited, it's given to the one with the appropriate power--in this case, the ability to maintain a strong kekkai to protect the people. Since Yanlang inherited a lot of power from his father, he was made a close advisor to the new emperor, yet he held a grudge for not having been chosen as the successor. The emperor tells Fengyu it's about time he revealed the whole truth to Tuoren and Lifang. Yanlang is the object of a three thousand-year-old prophecy, the reincarnation of a man called the Jinjuu.
A rebel named Yai with the ability to reproduce holograms shows Yanlang an image of Lifang. Yanlang orders Shenwu to capture him. Wang warns him that Lifang's power has only just started to manifest, so it's still unpredictable and dangerous, but Yanlang doesn't care. He has Yai record a message to give to Tuoren.
The team heads downhill, Lifang in the lead. They arrive at the house where Lifang had lived before his mother died. He's quite excited, since he had always wanted to find the place again. He doesn't know why it's in such a remote, hidden location. He wonders if the Senkaijin who killed his father had anything to do with his mother, being from the same world. Tuoren muses that the one who killed Lifang's father is his enemy by association, so he wants to protect Lifang from having to kill the man by doing it himself.
The warriors sense that they're surrounded by rebels. Battle ensues. The rebels retreat, the team members splitting up and giving chase. Lifang goes running after Tuoren. The two confront Yai, who traps Lifang in a kekkai, holding him hostage. Long shows up with reinforcements to help Nasha, having been sent to bring them all back to the palace for the emperor's important revelation. While in hot pursuit, Hulei and Xionglin are caught in a landslide. Hulei wards it off, but then they're knocked off a cliff into a raging river by the Upper Army rebel Baos. Xionglin transfers energy to Hulei to heal his wound, then collapses, unresponsive.
Yai replays the message from Yanlang. Seeing him evokes Lifang's memory of the man who killed his father. It's one and the same person.
End Volume 7