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In the fifteenth year of his reign, Emperor Kang Xi (Luo Jin) was forced to overcome the greatest challenge of his young life when his empire was nearly washed away by the raging current of the Yellow River. Having recently experienced a bout of uncommonly heavy rainfall, the mighty swollen river began to spill over its banks. Washing away home, destroying crops, and taking countless lives, the people of Kang Xi’s empire turned to him for guidance, certain their mighty leader would know how to save them.
Unable to find a solution to the problems at hand, Kang Xi decided to recruit the empire’s brightest individuals into his service. Setting up a series of civil service examinations, candidates from across the empire came, hoping to secure a place by the Emperor’s side. Among these hopefuls was Chen Huang (Yin Fang), a bright young man with a head full of ideas and the confidence needed to turn them into action.