WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Heaven Official's Blessing, "Confidant's Past Grudge" now streaming on Funimation.
The truth about the ghost groom isn't as simple as anyone thought: it's a story that dates back many years ago to when a female general betrayed her country for love, only to be betrayed herself. Following on from this revelation, things begin to ramp up from there when Xie Lian's past comes back to haunt him in the latest episode of Heaven Official's Blessing in a very nasty, visceral way.
The Ghost Brides' Attack
Xie Lian and Nan Feng are surrounded by dead brides reanimated and raring to kill everyone. Xie Lian momentarily distracts the brides but it doesn't last long though. Nan Feng runs to get reinforcements, leaving Xie Lian to deal with the brides. Flinging the veils at them suppresses the Qi and freezes them in place but while attempting to fight, Xiao Pengtou gets knocked out while the rest of his crew panic and run.
Xie Lian creates a protection circle with his silk band, shouting for everyone to run inside. Xiao Ying can't bear to leave Xiao Pengtou to the mercy of the brides and tries to drag him in. She and the young boy almost get attacked by them but are saved by Xie Lian's protective circle. Utilizing his acrobatic skills, he flings veil after veil at the flood of brides.
This is when Xie Lian finds out from Ling Wen that the god of Ming Guang temple is General Pei Ming who once had a romantic relationship with another general named Xuan Ji, who later became unable to walk. But while she's explaining this, they're interrupted by the reappearance of the ghost groom, er, bride -- Xuan Ji.
Because of her legs, Xuan Ji switches between crawling and walking, furious that Pei Ming didn't come to see her himself. Xie Lian tries to reason with her, deflecting her blows. Meanwhile, Xiao Pengtou is trying to drag the bandaged boy outside of the circle, still wanting to use him as bounty. Xie Lian tries to tell him not to leave the circle but it's too late: a twist of Xuan Ji's hand and Xiao Pengtou is killed.
Xuan Ji gets Xie Lian in a chokehold while Xiao Ying runs to his aid, but Xuan Ji shoves her away, her head landing with a sickening crack. This gives Xie Lian enough time to use his silk band to bind and capture her. In her dying moments, Xie Lian promises Xiao Ying that the young boy can come to Xie Lian if he needs help, dying with the boy crying over her.
Xuan Ji's Tragic Story
Just as Xie Lian and Xuan Ji are about to fight, a loud gong and a bright light shines down from the heavens signals the arrival of General Pei and at first, Xuan Ji is ecstatic. But it turns out it's General Pei Jr. -- Pei Su. Xuan Ji is dragged away, cursing Pei Ming as she goes, to be imprisoned under a mountain.
Pei Su explains that Xuan Ji was captured by General Pei and fell in love with him. Pei Ming told her that she would be "prettier" if she smiled more often. Xuan Ji wanted to get married but Pei Ming didn't. In an effort to win him over, Xuan Ji gave him the schematics to defeat her country. But even with his victory, he still didn't want to be with her, so in order to guilt him into staying with her, she broke her legs but that still didn't work. Heartbroken, she took her own life.
Xie Lian's Past Comes Back to Bite Him
Xie Lian made the villagers promise not to sell the corpses and pray for the dead brides. The three of them bury Xiao Ying and, noticing that his head is injured, Xie Lian offers to clean the young boy up. But when he unwraps his bandages he finds that the boy's face is covered in welts, resembling human faces.
Xie Lian is horror-stricken, his mind spiraling into the past when a lone figure in white robes wearing a half-laughing, half-crying mask stood amidst a crowd of Xian Le's people, plagued with the human face disease -- a disease that should have died along with the fall of Xie Lian's kingdom.
We still don't know what the implications of the human face disease are but looking at Xie Lian's reaction to seeing it again, we can tell that it brings up a lot of trauma for him.