In ancient times, an evil Emperor has used sorcery to harness the five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. With the powers of the combined elements at his command he rules with an iron fist for decades, until a group of warriors known as the Guardians of Prana devise a way to defeat the Emperor and split his soul into five parts.
Successful in their plan, each Guardian vows to protect one of the five orbs containing an element of his soul. Every 60 years a new generation of Guardians of Prana is trained to ensure peace and harmony reign.
But eventually one of the Guardians becomes greedy for power. Soo Lin discovers that whoever restores the five elements to one will rule the world. She persuades fellow Guardian Choo Fang to join her and they murder their comrades Ying Pi and Lao Chen, claiming their orbs. Wang Tang realises he is too late to save Ying Pi and Lao Chen but battles Choo Fang and prevents his orb from falling into the hands of evil.
Wang Tang’s antics make him a local hero, until he is embroiled in a scandal which sees him shunned by the villagers. In his misery, he becomes a drunk vagrant, wallowing in sorrow.
In the present day, we meet The Five. Tuggy, Michelle, Maxine, Flinch and Stylouse are all appearing in court, where a judge is about to sentence them for their crimes. An old friend of Wang Tang persuades him to intervene. At first Wang Tang is reluctant, but seeing an inner glow within them he agrees to begin their training.
The Five arrive at Wang Tang’s compound but show little promise as warriors, sneering at their teacher’s strict regimen. Wang Tang warns them they must never enter his quarters until the spider’s web turns red.
In a flashback, we discover the tragedy that explains Soo Lin’s journey from innocent child to bitter woman and eventually to becoming the Black Widow.
Meanwhile, The Five’s training is underway. Wang Tang tries to teach them the foundations of the martial art Pih Poh Fu but initially they refuse to take him seriously.
As time passes they learn discipline and improve their skills. Wang Tang assigns each of The Five with their spirit animal.
They are humbled at their newfound skills and become respectful of their teacher. In spite of their progress, Wang Tang continues to drink.
He reflects on the past, remembering when he was still friends with Choo Fang, and how they once fought together in a barroom brawl. He relives their fight, not knowing that Stylouse is secretly studying his moves. When Stylouse is alone he copies what he has seen, incorporating the styles of Tuggy, Maxine, Flinch and Michelle. Their spirit animals appear and merge together to form a powerful dragon-like shape.
After two years, The Five are ready to graduate.
Wang Tang feels revived by his success. As he sits in his garden, he sees the spider’s web has turned red. A strange woman approaches, and the pair sits down to play mah-jong. The woman is revealed to be Soo Lin and, with Choo Fang, she is determined to complete her dark mission. Stylouse is ready to fight for his teacher and a battle ensues, but can he save Wang Tang and the final orb?
As act two begins, we are taken back to earlier times at Wang Tang’s compound, where the young Guardians of Prana are learning from their teacher Master Chue. Soo Lin is in love with Wang Tang but he is oblivious to her feelings. Choo Fang spots a chance to win Soo Lin’s favour, but she rejects him.
Master Chue oversees their graduation and anoints them each with their element – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – telling them the elements are nothing without each other. Back with The Five, Stylouse explains the mission Wang Tang has given them. They track down three of Soo Lin’s associates and Tuggy, Flinch, Maxine and Michelle show themselves to be worthy of their place in The Five by getting the information they need to find Soo Lin.
Choo Fang explains his plans for creating a new world order now that the five orbs are his – but he is betrayed by Soo Lin. Before her dreams of world domination can be realised, however, she must face The Five. It is their chance to prove themselves and restore peace and order to the world, but only if they can overcome the Black Widow in time.