Wen Chao reports back to the Wen sect leader Wen Ruohan about the incident at the archery competition, stating that the four clans had tricked him. This leads to the start of a series of malicious plans to take control over the four clans. The Cloud Recesses is burned down by Wen Xu, leaving the Lan sect leader gravely injured and Lan Xichen to disappear without a trace. The Wen sect also orders for disciples to be dispatched to Qishan as an attempt to keep them hostage. Their swords are confiscated and they are forced to search for the cave that Wen Chao wants to night-hunt in. Anyone who disobeys will have their Golden Core melted by Core-melting Hand Wen Zhuliu. When Wei Wuxian learns of the burning of the Cloud Recesses, he offers to carry Lan Wangji on his back as his leg is injured. The latter once again refuses. During the search, Wei Wuxian saves Mianmian who is being harassed by Wen Chao, stalling him so his lover Wang Lingjiao can see his actions. In the cave, Mianmian is offered as a sacrifice to lure the beast out, but some disciples disobey and protected her instead, causing Wen Chao to order his people to kill them. The commotion from the resulting fight causes the beast to wake. Wang Lingjiao attempts to brand Mianmian’s face with her branding iron despite the chaos but Wei Wuxian gets in the way, being branded on the chest.