In the twilight years of Eastern Jin, Liu Yu usurps the throne to become the founding emperor of the Liu Song dynasty. Consort Ye’s newborn son is the only royalty to survive the bloody purge, and is adopted by the Imperial Secretariat Fan Jian. At the age of eighteen, Fan Xian’s impending political marriage with a princess makes him extremely popular among the ambitious princes, though he carefully avoids joining any of the factions.
Fan Xian is lauded for his loyalty to the emperor during two successive rebellions, though later discovers he is the biological son of the tyrannical ruler, and that Liu Yu was the one that sent assassins to kill his mother. For revenge as well as the peace of the kingdom, Fan Xian engages in a deadly political struggle with the emperor, and eventually succeeds in forcing Liu Yu to abdicate.