Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire’s Finale Leaves [SPOILER] Feeling Confused

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire Episode 12, "A Brief Parting," now streaming on Funimation.

The last episode of Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire left the two protagonists going their separate ways in a rather unusual cliffhanger. Although the Wu people's case has closed by the conclusion of the episode, there's a restless sense that the audience is left with, because it feels like the story has only just begun. But judging by the title of the episode, it won't be long before the two of them reunite once more.

The audience is still just as in the dark about Sheng Lingyuan's past as they were in the beginning but more light has been shed on Xuan Ji's and why Chiyuan is such an important location. Although Aluojin had taunted Xuan Ji about being merely a sacrifice to the emperor, so far, Sheng Lingyuan's actions have contradicted that. This left Xuan Ji more confused than he'd like to be about his feelings towards Sheng Lingyuan.

drowning sorrows in raging fire xuan ji washes sheng lingyuans hair

It had looked like we had seen the last of Aluojin when Sheng Lingyuan sealed him up in Episode 8, but the emperor had used Aluojin's corpse as a trap to draw out the mastermind behind everything. Freed, Aluojin gave chase but Xuan Ji was able to trap Aloujin in an array. He launched one last desperate attack at Xuan Ji and for a moment, it looked like Xuan Ji was done for. But, at the last second, Sheng Lingyuan threw himself in front of him, taking the bullet for Xuan Ji.

After the Fiend King was killed by Sheng Lingyuan thousands of years ago, the emperor had sealed Chiyuan off since it had the power to boost up all of the fiends and demons' energy, but he did that by making 36 Fire Seals. Xuan Ji, being the spirit born of the Fire Seals, became the Nanming Firekeeper. As Firekeeper, he had to sacrifice himself if anything were to happen to Chiyuan. But if that was the case, why did Sheng Lingyuan save Xuan Ji?

Despite knowing that he was intended to be a sacrifice, Xuan Ji refused to let the injured Sheng Lingyuan out of his sight. Sheng Lingyuan teased Xuan Ji, telling him that he can show his concern by helping him take a bath. At first, he refused but he eventually relents. The details that the scene focused on -- Sheng Lingyuan's neck, his long lashes, and his long hair as Xuan Ji holds it -- were sweetly domestic even as Xuan Ji grumbled that he's only doing this because Sheng Lingyuan is hurt. He even tried to comfort the emperor.

drowning sorrows in raging fire sheng lingyuan sword spirit

Without him realizing, Xuan Ji's feelings towards Sheng Lingyuan had already changed and he regarded him with a more tender and soft look. Xuan Ji remarked that Sheng Lingyuan's most dangerous power is how easily he can lead people to their deaths. That turned out to be true for Aluojin. It might also be the same for Xuan Ji if his feelings continue to develop into something more for Sheng Lingyuan.

Xuan Ji wasn't able to inspect his feelings any further before it was time for the two of them to part ways. The two of them bid each other farewell via their mind link as Xuan Ji watched from atop the roof while Sheng Lingyuan looked up from the ground. And strangely, it's a fitting setup. Xuan Ji was born from the bones of the phoenix, a creature of the skies, and Sheng Lingyuan's nickname is the Human Emperor who will always know only the ground under his feet.

The last scene in the episode was of Sheng Lingyuan's past. The young Sheng Lingyuan told Aluojin that immortal people are those who cannot live a proper life nor can they die. The Illusory Butterfly fluttered and rested on top of his sword as Aluojin revealed a surprising detail: Sheng Lingyuan had been waiting for his sword spirit to take a human form. The story of sword spirits and their masters isn't a new one in Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire. A former leader of Aeolus, Yan Qiushan used to have a sword spirit named Zhichun. Unfortunately, Zhichun was destroyed after an accident corrupted him. Heartbroken, Yan Qiushan left and was never to be seen again.

The revelation that Sheng Lingyuan had a sword spirit puts an interesting twist on a common notion in the series. Everyone thought that Sheng Lingyuan was Xuan Ji's sword spirit but is it possible that it's actually reversed? Could it be that Xuan Ji is Sheng Lingyuan's sword spirit instead? Let's hope that Season 2 of Drowning Sorrows won't be too far off into the future before this question gets answered.

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