Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Tian Guan Ci Fu

Go To

To be banished once was already extraordinary shame and humiliation. To be banished twice, no one could ever climb up again.

After many more years, there was suddenly a day where the Heavens was once again disturbed by a loud noise. It was extremely violent as the ground quaked and the mountains shook.

The altar lamps that burned day and night trembled as their flames danced violently. Godly officials who were awakened departed from their own palace halls, rushing about as they asked, who is the upstart that ascended? This place is shaking so much!

Who knew, just after sighing ‘how amazing, how amazing’, at the next glance, all of Heaven’s Gods felt as if they were struck by lightning over and over again.

Are you still not finished?!

That famous weirdo, the laughingstock of the three realms, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince from the legends, he he he —— he f*cking ascended to godhood again!

Tian Guan Ci Fu (天官赐福), or "Heaven Official’s Blessing" is a danmei Web Novel by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.

Eight hundred years ago, Xie Lian was the Crown Prince of the Xian Le kingdom, known by the title of the Crown Prince who Pleased the Gods, one who was beloved by his citizens and the darling of the kingdom. Unsurprisingly, he ascended to the Heavens as a martial god at a very young age. Now, eight hundred years later, Xie Lian ascends to the Heavens for the third time as the laughing stock of all three realms as a scrap collecting god. On his first task as a god, he meets a mysterious ghost king who terrifies the Heavens... yet unbeknownst to Xie Lian, this ghost king has been paying attention to him for a very, very long time.


The webnovel is split into five books, with a total of 252 chapters (244 main chapters + 3 extras) and was officially completed in 2018. It's been translated in various languages, with an English translation announced by Seven Seas Entertainment and scheduled for a 2021-2023 release as eight volumes.

An Animated Adaptation was announced. It will be produced by Haoliners (the studio that also did Ling Qi) and is set to air in late 2020 with 12 episodes.

Tian Guan Ci Fu has been adapted into a manhua drawn by original fanartist STARember. The chapters are published every Saturday GMT+8 1200 and can be viewed and bought by using Bilibili manhua coins on their website(guide to creating a Bilibili account) or via the IOS app using Apple Pay or Alipay for Android users since October 19, 2019.

A Live-Action Adaptation has been confirmed to be in the works with the director behind The Untamed.


Tian Guan Ci Fu contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Xuan Ji to Pei Ming. She eventually moves on at the end.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Hua Cheng faced this as a child thanks to his one red right eye, getting mercilessly beaten and attacked for it.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Naturally, there are many who could only dream to one day attain the level of godhood and work all their lives in the hope of achieving it. Some just use less ethical ways than others, driving the plot of this novel.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Many gods know how to shift between genders, but one notable example is The Wind Master Shi Qingxuan, who prefers both genders and switches based on how Qingxuan feels in the mood or when it's necessary, and even trying to get other gods to shapeshift as well, whenever they are together.
  • Anachronic Order: There are several jumps to flashbacks in the novel, with the entirety of Book 2 being about Xie Lian's first ascension.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Xie Lian decides to do a social experiment of sorts before he unleashes the human face disease on the citizens of Yong An. He stabs himself with his own sword and lies bleeding and starving in the middle of a busy street for three days, asking for help. A few people think about helping, but no one does except a lone farmer.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The higher your status in life is, the more likely your martial arts skills are also high. This rings even truer for the Martial gods, with most badass of them all being the Heavenly Emperor. Similarly, the Supreme Ghost Kings are also greatly feared for their skills, considering that to become one, you must be the lone survivor of the undead Battle Royale at Mount Tonglu, with a significant power boost after exiting the kiln as well.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The gods, of course, are the prettiest and hottest people in the three realms, especially Jun Wu and Xie Lian. Hua Cheng, the feared Ghost King, is quite the looker himself.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Xie Lian chose to hide the fact that Hua Cheng was traveling with him from the other gods, chose to go to him and apologise every time he did something in Hua Cheng's territory (rescuing a god from Ghost City, exploring his territory without Hua Cheng knowing); and all of this because Hua Cheng was nice to him while they traveled together. He goes as far as to apologize to Hua Cheng for destroying his armory, which backlashes as Hua Cheng is the one who wants to apologize for cutting him with his scimitar.
    • Also: Hua Cheng towards Xie Lian.
  • Big Eater: He Xuan is almost always eating, even when disguised as Ming Yi. Despite being a Ghost King and not needing food to survive. His endless appetite starts out as a Running Gag... until it's revealed he nearly starved to death when alive.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Book 2 and 4, which chronicles Xie Lian's first fall from grace and the hundred swords and Xie Lian's second ascension and descension, ends on this note.
  • Body Horror: Many examples here. The corpse brides, who end up rotting when the one responsible for them is removed from the picture; a boy who was infected with a human face disease (yes, a disease where little human faces appear on your skin); the buried "mud face" from Banyue who not only has an inhumanly long tongue, but is in fact a skeleton with only his head intact; corpses hung upside down on the trees, with their blood raining down.
    • The human face disease really takes the cake here: the little faces that appear on your skin are sentient and can scream and moan at advanced stages. One person even had faces that tried to eat grass!
  • Bridal Carry: Hua Cheng carries Xie Lian like this several times.
  • Call-Forward: Partly because of Lost in Translation, it's clearer reading in the original text that when Hua Cheng first meets Xie Lian on the cart and Xie Lian asks him who is, Hua Cheng gives him the exact same answer he did when Xie Lian asked him as a child 800 years ago, thus proving a nice Easter Egg on how they met once again.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Dropping from their godhood status, at least. Subverted for characters like Yinyu who was drained of all his spiritual energy in Book 5, but seemingly recovered off screen and is back serving Hua Cheng as hinted in an extra.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Xie Lian's Crown Palace on Mount Tai Cang is being desecrated by thugs and Hua Cheng chases them off they mock him, asking if he's so protective of the shrine because his wife lost her virginity there. 800 years later Hua Cheng's and Xie Lian's first time together was confirmed in an interview to occur there.
  • Child Soldiers: The mortality rate of young soldiers in the Xian Le vs Yong An war was noted to be high, which is why Mu Qing didn't think he was doing anything wrong driving away Hua Cheng from the army.
  • Darker and Edgier: While appearing to be lighter than Mo Dao Zu Shi as this work deals with the divine realm instead of demonic cultivation and sociopolitics, the theme of the plot is a lot more morally based and examines the lengths to which individuals will go to survive when presented with immortality, whether they themselves be mortal or immortal. The results are unpleasant to say the least.
  • Dead All Along: The Earth Master, Ming Yi. It is left up in the air as to whether He Xuan or Bai Wuxiang killed him. And the one posing as him is actually He Xuan, a high-ranking ghost king.
  • The Dreaded:
    • All three Supremes are pretty bad news. Everyone is particularly afraid of Hua Cheng, who has a very well deserved reputation, but for Xie Lian, he's the perfect gentleman and a friend.
    • The White Clothed Calamity/White No Face (Bai Wuxiang) is also greatly feared by Xie Lian especially because of the Supreme pulling the strings to cause the fall of Xian Le.
  • Driven to Suicide: Xie Lian's parents. Xie Lian attempts to hang himself with the same cloth his parents used, however due to his immortality he is unable to die. The Rain Master also committed suicide by slitting her throat in order to save her country.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Qi Rong. Xie Lian, Feng Xin, and Mu Qing only learn this after he lets them ride in his carriage. After a truly terrifying journey...
    Qi Rong: What do you think, cousin Crown Prince? I drive pretty well, right!
    Xie Lian: I'm going to tell Father and Mother to confiscate your coach.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Embarrassing Old Story: The General of Banyue ( Xie Lian) believes that the way he "died" trying to stop both armies 200 years ago (by accidentally tripping), that ended up with him being butchered by both sides is embarrassing enough. It doesn't help when the group comes across an epitaph that says the General tripped and fell between the armies, which prompts them to laugh at his very miserable and apparently funny death.
  • Empathic Weapon: Ruoye and E-ming.
  • Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems: After his first ascension, Xie Lian finds out that Yong An (under Xian Le's rule) is suffering from a terrible drought. Of course, almost all the other gods in Heaven don't care about helping mortals unless they gain benefits (e.g lots of offerings and merits to their temples). After investigating, Xie Lian finds out his parents (the royalty of Xian Le) are unable to supply resources to Yong An so even though Heavenly Officials are not supposed to interact with mortals once they first ascend for many years, he descends to save the common people. As punishment for breaking the rules, Xie Lian is banished from the Heavens. Things proceed From Bad to Worse as the war between Xian Le and Yong An goes on and the Human Face Disease makes its appearance...
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Hua Cheng and Xie Lian met 800 years ago at the Offering to the Gods ceremony when Xie Lian saved him. Xie Lian thinks they must have met a long time ago, but 50 chapters in and he still has no idea that Hua Cheng knows everything about him, nor their exact meeting. It's towards the end of the novel he realizes who Hua Cheng is thanks to the murals at Mount Tonglu and remembering the little ghost fire that Hua Cheng became after dying as a soldier.
  • Foreshadowing: The novel quite enjoys it.
  • Freudian Trio: The Xian Le trio is a perfect example of the trope, with Xie Lian being the Kirk, Feng Xin being The McCoy, and Mu Qing being The Spock.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Generally a Heavenly Official's spiritual power and influence depends on the number of believers they have.
  • Humiliation Conga: Xie Lian's long, disastrous, lonely and very humiliating 800 years, and even after he ascends the third time, he still gets humiliated and ignored even when on official business.
  • I Have the High Ground: Heavenly Officials are noted to like doing this. Xie Lian no longer does this after he once broke his leg upon trying to chase after White No Face during the war, citing that his formerly injured leg aches if he does so.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: It's revealed in book three that the real Ming Yi is dead. The man who's pretending to be him is really He Xuan, one of the Four Calamities, who infiltrated the heavens partly to be a spy for Hua Cheng and mostly to get revenge on Shi Wudu.
  • Improbable Age: It's very hard to cultivate to a high enough level as well as passing trials to ascend to the Heavens. Xie Lian manages to ascend at only 17 years old.
  • The Jinx: Xie Lian is the definition of bad luck. His luck is just... horrifying in contrast to Hua Cheng, who is blessed with good luck. The real reason Xie Lian's luck is so bad because after his second ascension he asked Jun Wu to disperse his luck to his believers.
  • Killed Off for Real: Heavenly Officials cannot reincarnate so for ones like Shi Wu Du they're permanently gone.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
  • Meaningful Echo: "I won't forget."
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The scorpion snakes of the Ban Yue Kingdom. True to their name, they have the head and body of a snake, but their tail has a scorpion's stinger at the end.
  • Named Weapons
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: At the end of the novel, there has been an upheaval of Heaven's hierarchical structure, and the majority of Heaven's physical structure needing to be rebuilt.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After he and Hua Cheng get tossed and bumped around together in a small coffin and reunite with the Water Master, Xie Lian realises what their disheveled appearances must look like and hastes to explain.
  • Older Than They Look: Official full art of the main cast outside besides (Xie Lian, Hua Cheng, Feng Xin, Mu Qing and Ling Wen in the manhua) have not been released, but Xie Lian and Hua Cheng definitely do not look their age (centuries old). It's likely once someone ascends/dies or is reborn as a ghost, their appearance doesn't change unless they want it to. For example when Xie Lian has amnesia in an extra and thinks he's 17 again, upon meeting Feng Xin and Mu Qing he notes both of them look exactly the same as they did 800 years ago.
  • Official Couple: Obviously Xie Lian and Hua Cheng will get there in the end.
  • Open Secret: Xie Lian knew that Fu Yao and Nan Feng were in truth his generals in disguise almost the entire time, but never told them about it till they gave themselves away arguing.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Everyone knows to be afraid whenever someone mentions the silver spiritual butterflies. Those are in fact the sign that Hua Cheng has been there, but Xie Lian finds them beautiful and harmless.
  • Rain of Blood: Hua Cheng protected Xie Lian from bloody rain in the time of his first appearance. Also notable that his demon name is Blood Rain Reaching Towards a Flower.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Mu Qing (Xuan Zhen) as the Blue Oni and Feng Xin (Nan Yang) as the Red Oni. Ironically, they both served under Xie Lian 800 years ago, until they both ascended.
    • Fu Yao is the Blue Oni, and Nan Feng is the Red Oni. Although they're actually Mu Qing and Feng Xin, respectively.
    • Shi Qingxuan is the Red Oni, and Ming Yi is the Blue Oni.
  • Red String of Fate: Present time Hua Cheng wears a red thread around the same finger that Xie Lian wrapped a lock of his hair around long ago. Late in the story he gives one to Xie Lian when in Mount Tonglu so they can find each other if they're separated. The amnesia extra further reveals that many among the common folk have taken to following their example.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Hua Cheng destroys all the common folk who gave Xie Lian a Fate Worse than Death at the temple when he became a fierce ghost. His challenging and burning of the temples of the thirty-three Heavenly Officials was because they mocked and fought Xie Lian over a piece of cultivation land. It's also stated Hua Cheng has attacked Feng Xin and Mu Qing before, likely because they abandoned/left Xie Lian 800 years ago (though the circumstances were complicated with both sides having their reasons why they left; Xie Lian being under immense stress and fear leading him to not inform his retainers about certain things).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Leans more towards idealism.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Unlike with Scum Villain and Mo Dao Zu Shi, Tian Guan Ci Fu lacks any explicit sex scenes due to the increasing stringency of the censorship laws in China at the time the novel was released. However, the novel still goes all-out with the supernatural/spiritual horror elements.
  • There Are No Therapists: A sad lack of. God knows Xie Lian, Shi Qingxuan, and even the three Supremes need therapy after what they were forced to go through.
  • The Scapegoat: Head Priest Fang Xin a.k.a. Xie Lian is blamed for the deaths of Yong An's royalty, but the real culprits behind it were Qi Rong and An Le.
  • Underwater Kiss: Xie Lian's and Hua Cheng's first kiss happened this way.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: In spades. Xie Lian's desperate efforts to save his people are rewarded by them labelling him a god of misfortune, burning his temples, and building statues of him grovelling and crying for people to spit at and step on. Interestingly, the novel emphasizes that showing mercy and trying to save people is still the right thing to do, regardless of what the majority are like.
    • The Crown Prince of Wuyong went through a similar experience. When his people were threatened by a volcanic eruption, he chose the peaceful solution of building a bridge to the heavens instead of invading other territories. Even though his people *knew* he was focused entirely on saving them, once he stopped answering their prayers for a few months, they refused to pray to him any longer, which in turn sapped him of so much spiritual power that the bridge collapsed.
  • Virginity Flag: Jun Wu has a sword that can actually prove someone's virginity.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Downplayed regarding the Three Tumors (Pei Ming, Ling Wen, and Shi Wudu), since they don't exactly bicker all the time, especially compared to Feng Xin and Mu Qing. That being said, while the three of them don't have a good reputation as gods, they get along very well with each other, hence why they're known as the Three Tumors.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The common folk trapped in the temple by White No Face invoke this when the Supreme reveals that in order to save themselves from being infected by the Human Face disease they must stab Xie Lian fatally with a sword. Arguments initially break out that even if he's immortal it's murder to do so but due to increasing desperation as people get infected they start stabbing Xie Lian.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The Head Priest of Xian Le lampshades this to Xie Lian, stating that Xie Lian's well intentions to save the people of Yong An who were supposed to initially die from the drought while supporting Xian Le's army fighting back them only would prolong both sides' suffering and cause greater misfortune to occur to balance the scales e.g the White Clothed Calamity appearing and the Human Face Disease.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Feng Xin and Mu Qing's reaction to Xie Lian involving something that the duo saw in Hua Cheng's shrine for Xie Lian. It's not because it consists of something eldritch in nature, but because it's plainly indecent in that sense.

With the heaven official's blessing, no paths are bound.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: