WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 5 of Heaven Official's Blessing, "Daily Life at Chestnut Temple" now streaming on Funimation.
After 800 years of loneliness, Xie Lian has finally found someone to be with in a sweetly domestic episode of Heaven Official's Blessing. With the help of the youth, San Lang, who joined him on the ox cart, Xie Lian cleans up his shrine to a more livable condition. Although there probably won't be any explicitly romantic scenes, the subtle and not-so-subtle flirtatious gestures and expressions in this episode are more than enough to convey a romantic tone, at least. In the process, we also learn some interesting information about Hua Cheng.
San Lang Knows Hua Cheng's Weakness
San Lang explains that he's the third son of his family and that Hua Cheng's moniker was earned due to him shielding a wilted flower from bloody rain with his umbrella after destroying a ghost's realm. Not only that, but Hua Cheng only has one eye, having gouged it out in a fit of madness. Startled, Xie Lian wonders absentmindedly if Hua Cheng has any weaknesses, to which San Lang promptly replies: ghost ashes.
There's a custom amongst ghosts that they will give their ashes to someone they trust. Xie Lian reasons that it would be heartbreaking should that ghost be betrayed but San Lang interjects: if he were Hua Cheng, he wouldn't mind if that person he entrusted his ashes to destroy them. As night falls, the ox cart startles to a stop, nearly throwing San Lang off before Xie Lian grabs hold of him. With a strange expression, San Lang pulls his hand away.
Xie Lian's Suspicions
Because it's the Ghost Festival, ghosts roam the human realm. Although the two skirt some that are passing by, Xie Lian and San Lang are unable to hide their presence any longer and are soon chased. Luckily, one glare from San Lang sends them scurrying away. Although San Lang tells him that it's because of Xie Lian, he's not fooled.
The romantic ante is further upped when Xie Lian tries to pass off palm-reading as fortune-telling when in actuality, he's trying to see if San Lang might be a ghost -- but can't find anything suspicious. He combs through San Lang's hair under the pretense of fixing his ponytail only to tie it back up in a more crooked fashion since hair can usually give away a ghost's identity but there's nothing. This also reveals something crucial about San Lang -- he may not just be a regular ghost: he might be a Ghost King.
Xie Lian & San Lang Share a Home (and a Bed)
Xie Lian invites San Lang to stay the night at Chestnut Temple. As they get ready to sleep in the one bed/cot, which is when San Lang notices the thick black marks on Xie Lian's neck and ankles. Embarrassed, Xie Lian covers himself up.
Although San Lang teases Xie Lian -- calling him "gege" which means "brother," used as more of an affectionate nickname here -- that he's doing this because Xie Lian let him stay there, he's going out of his way to make sure that Xie Lian is taken care of. Not only does he build him a new door, rebuild his roof and clean the inside of his shrine, but he also paints a beautiful portrait of Xie Lian when he was a Crown Prince, despite the fact that it's been many, many years since he had that title.
Despite Xie Lian's misgivings, he's comfortable with San Lang. He hasn't known him for very long -- only a day -- but the smiles and laughs that he's giving are much more genuine than the ones that we've seen in the previous episodes. For once, Xie Lian is starting to put down the walls that he has built to shield himself, and all in the presence of a maybe-Ghost King.