For generations the Zhao family has wielded power, until their mortal enemy TU’AN GU slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. But one Zhao baby survives hidden by CHENG YING the doctor who delivered him. When Tu’an Gu learns of the baby’s escape he seizes every infant in the city, vowing to kill them all unless the Zhao baby is surrendered. As the tyrant’s soldiers arrive at Cheng Ying’s home the frantic doctor hides his wife with their own baby whilst surrendering the Zhao child as his own. But his family is discovered; his baby is presumed to be the Zhao heir and murdered along with his wife for harboring the infant. Now set on revenge Cheng Ying enrolls the Zhao orphan into the service of the Tu’an Gu household, plotting to use him as an instrument of vengeance when he comes of age.
In the twilight of the Ming Dynasty, the Imperial court is plagued by corruption as tyrants rule over the land. With the Manchurians preying on a weakened empire, war is imminent. To save the victims from their suffering, sorceress Jade Raksha fights the soldiers that oppress people for their own gain. As payback, local government officials decide to pin the murder of Governor Zhuo Zhonglian on Jade, turning her and the members of her cult into wanted fugitives for a crime they didn't commit.
During the reign of King Zhou (Tony Leung Ka-fai), an official enters his bedchamber, and is devoured by the monstrous tails of Daji (Fan Bingbing), his concubine. Outside their city, several warriors within a metal wagon discuss their strategies to free the Invisible People and their Chief, when Jiang Ziya (Jet Li) appears to them. He tells them that when King Zhou was younger, he let himself become possessed by the Black Dragon for his quest for power.