WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Heaven Official's Blessing, "Ghost King of Hua Cheng" now streaming on Funimation.
After an exciting and action-filled three episodes in Heaven Official's Blessing, Xie Lian decides to settle in into the mortal world in Episode 4, doing some very ungodly-like things in the process. The slower pace in this episode doesn't last long, however, with the introduction of a new character. The incident with Xuan Ji makes way for the appearance of a formidable Ghost King, something that sparks fear in everyone... all except Xie Lian.
The Four Ghost Kings
Although the Green Immor wasn't at Mount Yujun, the fact that the woods with the hanging corpses were there in the first place indicates that there's a connection between Xuan Ji and the Green Immor. The Green Immor, first introduced in Episode 2, poses no real danger compared to the other three Ghost Kings since he isn't at the Devastation level. The second Ghost King is named the Black Immor ("Black Water Submerging Boat") who is less well-known and generally keeps to himself.
The third Ghost King is one that causes Xie Lian to flinch and his hands to instinctively clench: Bai Wuxiang ("White Calamity"). Bai Wuxiang was the very same figure who appeared in Xie Lian's memories when he saw the boy with the human face disease and is the one responsible for destroying Xie Lian's kingdom. Despite Ling Wen's reassurances that Bai Wuxiang already died hundreds of years ago, it doesn't stop the trembling in his hands.
The silver butterflies that accompanied the man Xie Lian met at the bridal sedan, Ling Wen says, belong to the last Ghost King: Hua Cheng.
Hua Cheng, The 'Crimson Rain Sought Flower'
The fourth Ghost King causes all of the gods (save for Xie Lian) to shake in their boots: Hua Cheng, the fearsome Crimson Rain Sought Flower, terrorized the heavens by bringing down 33 heavenly officials all by himself. The heavenly officials' arrogance and their refusal to admit their loss led to Hua Cheng burning down all of their temples, turning their followers to Hua Cheng, which depleted those gods of their powers and strengthened Hua Cheng's. It's not explained yet as to why Hua Cheng challenged those specific 30-plus officials but it doesn't seem like it was done out of boredom -- they must have wronged him greatly to provoke such a reaction.
But for some reason, Hua Cheng did nothing of that sort to Xie Lian. He was the one who had crushed the magical formation, revealing the last standing Ming Guang temple to Xie Lian, and he was the one who essentially protected him as he escorted him through the woods. Hua Cheng may hate the heavens but he doesn't hold that same level of animosity towards Xie Lian, confusing everyone, most especially Xie Lian.
The Youth on the Ox-Cart
Since descending into the heavens after his debt was mysteriously cleared, Xie Lian's life is surprisingly humble. He finds an abandoned house, turns it into a temple, somewhat cleans it up and dedicates it to none other than himself. A god needs his worshippers even if he's a god of misfortune, right? Xie Lian starts gathering scraps to make enough money to continue his temple renovations.
While walking home, he hops on a passing ox-cart and meets a youth dressed in red robes. As Xie Lian muses over the scrolls he collected, he discovers that this smiling youth is quite knowledgeable about the gods, which means he must know something about the Ghost Kings... specifically Hua Cheng.
Although the donghua is doing its absolute best in keeping the reveal of Hua Cheng under wraps, it does hint that there might be a connection between the young man and Hua Cheng as it shifts between the two. Although Xie Lian has been warned to avoid Hua Cheng at all costs, should he meet him again, there's no denying that Hua Cheng is different from Xie Lian. The only question is: why?