Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire: Sheng Lingyuan Might Be More Than a Traitor

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire Episode 6, "Aluojin," now streaming on Funimation.

Sheng Lingyuan's revival in Episode 6 of Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire isn't without its drama. Bits and pieces of his past begin to fall into place when he is reunited with someone whom he was once friends with: Aluojin. Only, his former friend now has ill feelings towards him because he had betrayed the Wu family clan in the past. There were several hints dropped throughout the donghua that Xuan Ji and Sheng Lingyuan have a shared history as well. For example, the feather and mentions of Chiyuan. Xuan Ji's sword only further cements that connection. When the weapon fell into the casket, it revived Sheng Lingyuan because it had been made from Sheng Lingyuan's remains, thus activating the necessary spell.

3000 years ago, Sheng Lingyuan was known as the Human Emperor Sheng Xiao who defeated the Fiend King. Sometime after that glory, he jumped into the flames of Chiyuan and, along the way, he became a demon. In the new episode, as soon as Sheng Lingyuan rises, Xuan Ji traps him in chains and interrogates him, for good reason. The two spells seen thus far from the Wu people have been used for nefarious purposes, but Sheng Lingyuan rightfully points out that the spells aren't inherently bad. The Human-Faced Butterfly, also known as the Illusory Butterfly, was originally used to give closure to the living.

drowning sorrows in raging fire sheng lingyuan revival interrogation

The person who primarily brought Sheng Lingyuan back to life is someone the emperor knows well: Aluojin, the last leader of the Wu people. When Aluojin immediately attacks Xuan Ji because he dislikes the smell of fire, Sheng Lingyuan calls out his name and he listens. There's a strangely vulnerable expression on his face as he calls Sheng Lingyuan "gege," which is an affectionate word for "brother."

Their relationship is more complicated than that, however, since they share a bitter past. The Wu people had been the ones to save Sheng Lingyuan and shelter him for six years, but he slaughtered them. His reasoning was that killing the Wu would save more lives in the long run. Aluojin sneers at the emperor, asking if he would kill him and his people again if he had another chance. Sheng Lingyuan pins him to the wall, piercing his forehead, chest, hands, and feet with nails, activating yet another spell that sends him and Xuan Ji into his past; a past that he cannot let go of.

drowning sorrows in raging fire xuan ji sheng lingyuan in sheng lingyuan past

The two characters land in a moment of history when Sheng Lingyuan, injured, arrives at Dongzhou, after escaping three fiends. Ever since birth, Sheng Lingyuan had carried a heavy burden on his shoulders due to a rumor that spoke of a father-and-brother-less prince who would exterminate the fiends. As a result, the Fiend King always had a target on his back.

Something terrible must have happened to drive a wedge between Sheng Lingyuan and Aluojin. The young Wu leader had seemed thrilled to see the prince in the past and there were lingering affections remaining when the two reunited in the present, though, those feelings immediately soured. Sheng Lingyuan has demonstrated little to no mercy towards those who displease him, but he also doesn't seem to hurt people without reason. Therefore, something catastrophic must have happened to force him to betray his protectors. And all of it seems to lead back to Chiyuan. In the very same place that Sheng Lingyuan had died, Aluojin wants to rekindle the flames of Chiyuan.

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