Li Huiniang is a concubine of Grand Tutor Jia Sidao. Li meets an imperial college student, Pei Yu, at West Lake. Li rejects Pei’s love on the grounds that she is already married. However, unable to forget the young man, Li praises, “What a handsome young man!” Overhearing her admiring words for Pei, the furiousJiakills Li and hides the coffin in Red Plum Tower.
Pei encountersLu Zhaorong, whose beauty bears resemblance to Li’s. They fall in love at first sight. Jia also wants to have Lu as one of his concubines. Detecting Jia’s intention, Peiadvises Lu to feign madness. Grateful to Pei for reminding him of the danger of a mad woman, Jia retains Pei in his mansion to recommend him in due course.
When Peienters the Red Plum Tower, he encounters the spirit of Li. They declare their love to each other.Jia’s nephew reveals the hoax of Lu’s madnesstoJia, who decides to kill Pei first and then arrest Lu. Li’s spirit helps Pei to escape. Jia questions his other concubine, Jiangxian, and demands to know why she has released Pei. The spirit of Li stops Jia and makes him repent. Li and Pei arrive at Yangzhou to meet Lu, but Lu has just died of lovesickness. Li’s spirit enters and reanimates Lu’s body. She and Pei get married.