The seventh adaptation and the third in this decade of the widely popular novel by Jin Yong, Heaven Sword Dragon Saber, it’s the first for Mainland China production. This 40 episodes TV series produced by Zhang JiZhong and scripted by Liu Yi. Coincidentally, it is the seventh Jin Yong’s novels adaptation either produced or directed by Zhang JiZhong. The storyline followed Jin Yong’s third revision of Heaven Sword Dragon Saber.
The Heaven Sword Dragon Saber took place in the 14th Century toward the end of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (元朝). It revolved around two powerful weapons that the community of the world of martial art hankers for. A well-known legend in the martial art world stated, “Honored by the WuLin, the precious Saber slays the Dragon, commands the world, no one dares to disobey! The Heaven-reliant does not appear who can compete?” And thus the tale of Zhang WuJi began with his parents, Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu, met during the contention for the coveted Dragon-slaying Saber.
Part I: Emerald Mountain and Purple Secret (Episode 1 – 7)
This China’s version of the adaptation started as Zhang SanFeng (Yu ChengHui) reminisced about his last day at the ShaoLin Monastery when he and his master encountered ‘The Three Sages of KunLun’ almost eighty years prior. Zhang SanFeng was narrating to his first generation disciples on how his master was actually injured and recited to him the contents of ‘Nine Yang True Classic’ in which it became the basis of the WuDang Sect martial arts before his death. Among his first generation disciples, the third disciple, Yu DaiYan (Zhang Heng Ping) was not present. He was on his way back to Mount WuDang when he witnessed members of Sea Sand Sect were being slaughtered by the Heavenly Eagle Cult.
Apparently, the coveted Dragon-slaying Saber had fallen into the Sea Sand Sect’s possession, and the Heavenly Eagle Cult members were trying to take it away by any means necessary. Being a disciple of a righteous sect, Yu DaiYan intervened to save the lone Sea Sand Sect’s survivor. Although the Sea Sand Sect member was heavily injured, he refused Yu DaiYan’s assistance. He succumbed to his injury and the Dragon-slaying Saber was now in Yu DaiYan’s hand.
Yu DaiYan thought that his master should decide the fate of the Dragon-slaying Saber but long before he reached Mount WuDang, he was attacked by Yin SuSu’s (Wang YuanKe) poisoned silver needles. Yin SuSu was the daughter of the Heavenly Eagle Cult’s founder, Yin TianZheng (Chen Zhi Hui). She and her brother, Yin YeWang (Guan Xiao Yu) were able to track down Yu DaiYan to snatch the Saber. Yin YeWang wanted to kill the helpless Yu DaiYan but Yin SuSu opposed the idea. Donning in a man’s clothing, she instead hired Du DaiJin (Bai Hai Long) of Dragon Gate Escort Agency to deliver the injured Yu DaiYan back to WuDang. Du DaiJin was handsomely paid by Yin SuSu but with very harsh conditions. He must safely deliver Yu DaiYan otherwise she will annihilate the entire Dragon Gate Escort Agency.
Near Mount WuDang, Du DaiJin and his men met a group of men who introduced themselves as WuDang disciples. Without giving any thought, Du DaiJin relinquished the injured Yu DaiYan to them. The men took Yu DaiYan into a secluded area of Mount WuDang and began to torture him. The men were impostors and they wanted the whereabouts of the Dragon-slaying Saber from Yu DaiYan. Meanwhile, Yin SuSu who had been following Du DaiJin tried to rescue Yu DaiYan but the impostors proved to be too powerful for her to match. She narrowly escaped and the impostors fearing to be discovered by WuDang Sect disciples left the area leaving behind severely injured Yu DaiYan.
The fifth disciple of WuDang Sect, Zhang CuiShan (Ken Chang), concerned about his martial art brother, and he decided to go down the mountain. At the foothill, he met with Du DaiJin and his men who informed him that they just chanced upon Zhang CuiShan’s three other martial art brothers. Zhang CuiShan was perplexed because none of his other martial art brothers went down with him. Realizing the possibility of Yu DaiYan was in dire straits, he searched around the foothill and found the heavily injured Yu DaiYan.
At WuDang Sect, Zhang SanFeng tried to revitalize Yu DaiYan’s injuries but he concluded that his third disciple may be crippled for life. He and his other disciples decided to investigate the matter and sent them down from Mount WuDang. One of his disciples, Zhang CuiShan, arrived at Dragon Gate Escort Agency and discovered that all of its members were killed along with a few other ShaoLin’s monks as well. As he was examining the dead bodies, two monks entered the room and immediately accused Zhang CuiShan of murdering the members of Dragon Gate Escort Agency. A fight ensued as the monks didn’t believe Zhang CuiShan’s explanation. Yin SuSu, who stayed around at the murder scene, attacked the monks with her silver needles. It blinded an eye of YuanYe (Cao Zhan Yong), one of the hot tempered monks who were fighting with Zhang CuiShan. This gave them the chance to cease fighting and Zhang CuiShan left to pursue the attacker.
As Zhang CuiShan tried to find more clues, his path took him to the sound of zither music. Admiring the beautiful song, Zhang CuiShan introduced himself. The zither player was none other than Yin SuSu. After their brief introduction, Yin SuSu revealed herself that she was the one who killed all the members of Dragon Gate Escort Agency and a few other monks. She killed the ShaoLin monks in her rage when they didn’t respond to her inquiry about the golden palm dart’s antidote. Apparently, she was injured with poisoned golden palm darts on her arm when she confronted the impostors at the foothill of Mount WuDang earlier. Although, Zhang CuiShan wasn’t comfortable with Yin SuSu’s vicious acts, nevertheless, he healed her by neutralizing the poison on her arm. While he was healing her, he overheard from Yin SuSu’s assistance, Yin WuFu (Xiao ZongLing), regarding the Dragon-slaying Saber meeting at Mount WangPan. Zhang CuiShan insisted to tag along with Yin SuSu to Mount WangPan to further investigate regarding Yu DaiYan’s matter.
The Dragon-slaying Saber meeting turned chaotic when Xie Xun (Zang Jin Sheng) showed up uninvited. He wanted to seize the coveted Saber and practically killed almost everyone who attended except for Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu. Xie Xun planned to take them along with him to an isolated island so he could learn the secret of the Dragon-slaying Saber. However, their ship caught a big storm in the open sea and sank. The three of them survived and stranded on an iceberg. All of sudden, Xie Xun experienced a relapse episode and started to attack both Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu. In order to fend off Xie Xun, Yin SuSu had to resort to her silver needles and blinded him. She and Zhang CuiShan abandoned the iceberg and eventually came to Ice and Fire Island.
For awhile, it would seem that both Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu were the only two people on the island. They soon found out that Xie Xun, although blind, he was able to follow them there. They agreed to live peacefully and eventually Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu got married. From time to time, Xie Xun would experience relapses. On the night Yin SuSu gave child birth to Zhang WuJi (Shi Lei), once again Xie Xun had a relapse, but the sound of the baby cry alerted him. Thereafter, Zhang CuiShan accepted Xie Xun as his sworn brother and made Xie Xun as Zhang WuJi’s godfather. The name of WuJi was given by Xie Xun who used to be the name of his own son. Xie Xun also revealed that he had deep animosity with his own master, Cheng Kun (Tan Fei Ling), who murdered his family.
Thereon, Xie Xun would train Zhang WuJi martial arts when he was old enough. Although, the four of them were living a scanty life but they were quite happy. Before long, they live on the island for almost ten years. During all these passing years, Xie Xun studied the direction of the wind blow each season and he knew the exact timing of the wind which can sail them back to the mainland. As the timing of the wind approaching, he instructed Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu to start building a raft and prepared for supplies. However, when the time did arrive to sail for homeland, Xie Xun decided to remain on the island and they left him with heavy heart.
Zhang CuiShan, Yin SuSu, and Zhang WuJi were rescued by Heavenly Eagle Cult’s ship once their raft nears the mainland. Apparently, during the last ten years while they were gone, the world of martial art was in a constant feud between the six major schools, Heavenly Eagle Cult and Ming Cult. On board of the Heavenly Eagle Cult’s ship, they were about to have a skirmish with two of KunLun Sect members and the second disciple of WuDang, Yu LianZhou (Wang Jian Guo). The happy reunion restrained the feud, for the time being. They agreed to meet again in three months’ time at WuDang Sect in order to sort out their differences.
Soon after they landed, unfortunate event happened when Zhang WuJi was kidnapped by a formidable fighter. The kidnapper also managed to injure Yu LianZhou. Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu were unable to find their son whereabouts, and so the three of them decided to go straight to Mount WuDang. They arrived almost in time for the one hundredth birthday of their master, Zhang SanFeng. They further enjoyed their happy reunion among the martial art brothers and master under the shadow of Zhang WuJi’s disappearance.
On the day of Zhang SanFeng’s birthday, five major sects of martial art world arrived at Mount WuDang. They were there under the pretext of celebrating the leader of WuDang Sect’s birthday. They soon revealed their initial intention to force both Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu for the whereabouts of Xie Xun in order to seek revenge and the Dragon-slaying Saber. Under this strenuous circumstance, Yin SuSu acknowledged to all of them that she was the one who killed the entire members of Dragon Gate Escort Agency. She took sole responsibility and requested not to associate her husband and his WuDang brothers to this matter. She also sought Yu DaiYan to admit her deed that happened ten years prior. Zhang CuiShan felt an extreme guilt to his third martial art brother, and he went on to commit suicide. At about the same time, Zhang WuJi was released by his captors. Realizing she could no longer live without Zhang CuiShan, she first requested her son to seek revenge against the five major sects that were present. And then before she stabbed herself in the chest, she told a diversion regarding the whereabouts of Xie Xun to Abbot Kong Wen (Wang Wei Guo) so that the other four major sects would put a pressure on ShaoLin. None of them ever expected that both Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu would take their own lives.
Meanwhile after everyone started to leave Mount WuDang, Zhang WuJi fell to the ground and upon inspection, he was severely injured with ‘Mystical Darkness Divine Palms’, a martial art that was once thought no longer in existence. Zhang SanFeng and the remainder of ‘Seven Heroes of WuDang’ took a turn trying to expunge the cold poisonous symptom from young Zhang WuJi, but they were only able to control the spread not purged it. Zhang SanFeng felt that only a complete knowledge of ‘Nine Yang Divine Inner Energy’ could cure the cold poison. He thought of exchanging his martial arts with ShaoLin Monastery in order to fulfill that knowledge, and it was the only hope of curing Zhang WuJi’s injury.
Soon after, Zhang SanFeng and Zhang WuJi headed to ShaoLin Monastery only to be denied their request. On their way to Mount WuDang, they met an injured man, Chang YuChun (Qiao Yu), along with a young girl, Zhou ZhiRuo (Guo Bai Lu), being chased by a group of Mongolian soldiers. Zhang SanFeng saved Chang YuChun’s life from the soldiers and as gratitude, Chang YuChun was willing to take Zhang WuJi to seek ‘Healing Sage of Butterfly Valley’ to try to cure him. In turn, Zhang SanFeng would take care Zhou ZhiRuo.
Chang YuChun who was injured with ‘Heart Splitting Palm’ and Zhang WuJi struggled their way to Butterfly Valley. Along the path, they witnessed Ding MinJun (Li Shun) of E’Mei Sect tortured Peng YingYu (Hou Yue Qiu) and badgered her martial art sister, Ji XiaoFu (He Jia Yi). Once they arrived at Butterfly Valley, Hu QingNiu (Ji Chun Hua) refused to treat Zhang WuJi due to his background from an orthodox martial art sect. However, Chang YuChun made a deal with him to exchange his own treatment for Zhang WuJi.
Part II: The Young Orphan Zhang WuJi (Episode 8 – 11)
Hu QingNiu began to treat Zhang WuJi’s illness, but he utterly ignored Chang YuChun, who remained at a nearby stable. Meanwhile, Zhang WuJi took the opportunity to read Hu QingNiu’s medical journals as he was getting his medical treatment. He soon discovered a way to heal Chang YuChun, and he was indeed successful in curing him.
One day, so many injured people came to the Butterfly Valley asking to heal their wounds. They were members of variety orthodox martial art schools. Hu QingNiu naturally refused them but upon hearing they were injured by Golden Flower Granny (Ma Ling), he feigned an illness. They refused to leave and Zhang WuJi assisted them to ease their pains while letting them stayed at the stables. At night, a little girl arrived with her mother who also sought for treatment. Zhang WuJi recognized her as Ji XiaoFu. She took her daughter, Yang BuHui (Lu Zi Yi), with her for the same reason like the others.
Zhang WuJi often asked theoretical questions to Hu QingNiu in order for him to get the right methods to heal those injured people. However, the next day they would return to the same poisoned conditions. He later discovered that someone had been putting poisons to the medications. Zhang WuJi then asked Ji XiaoFu for help to catch the culprit. At first, he suspected Hu QingNiu, but they caught a woman who they didn’t recognize. Zhang WuJi immediately rushed to Hu QingNiu’s quarter and found him in a bound and gagged position. The culprit turned out to be his wife, Wang NanGu (Gao Bao Bao). Apparently, she came to Butterfly Valley to warn her husband and when she discovered the injured people caused by Golden Flower Granny, she was just trying to protect Hu QingNiu. Especially, the injured people were cured, and she didn’t want Golden Flower Granny to think Hu QingNiu helped them.
Hu QingNiu and Wang NanGu then planned their fake deaths to deceive Golden Flower Granny. The following day Zhang WuJi built two graves and performed funeral ritual. However, Golden Flower Granny came back with a young girl named Yin Li (Jiang YiYi). At the same time, Priestess MieJue (Wang Jing Hua) and her two disciples arrived at the Butterfly Valley. Soon after, Golden Flower Granny and Priestess MieJue fought to test their martial art skills. Meanwhile, Yin Li tried to force Zhang WuJi to come with her, and he refused by biting her arm. Priestess MieJue had with her the Heavenly Sword and very quickly she gained the upper hand.
Once Golden Flower Granny and Yin Li were gone, Priestess MieJue forced Ji XiaoFu to reveal the reason she didn’t come back to E’Mei Sect. She also wanted to know who the father of Yang BuHui was. It appeared that sometimes ago during the search for Xie Xun, Ji XiaoFu was sent in a separate assignment. She was attacked and rescued by Yang Xiao (Wu Xiao Dong) who was the Left Vanguard of Ming Cult. At first he treated Ji XiaoFu with kindness, but later he raped her. Priestess MieJue was furious upon hearing the confession. She then told Ji XiaoFu that she would forgive and even make her to be the next Leader of E’Mei Sect if she would kill Yang Xiao. Ji XiaoFu refused and Priestess MieJue threw a swift blow to her head to kill her. Both Zhang WuJi and Yang BuHui witnessed all these turning of event nearby. In her dying breath, Ji XiaoFu requested Zhang WuJi to take Yang Bu Hui to her father at KunLun Mountain.
On their way, Zhang WuJi and Yang BuHui saw the corpses of Hu QingNiu and Wang NanGu. Despite their ruse, they were still unable to escape Golden Flower Granny. By the time these two children finally reached KunLun Mountain, they had to escape He TaiChong (Wu Xiao Dong) and his wife. Luckily, Yang Xiao was able to save them in time. A happy reunion ensued and Zhang WuJi moved on with his journey.
Zhang WuJi wandered alone until he accidentally fell into a hunter’s trap set by the daughter of Red Plum Manor, Zhu JiuZhen (Xia Yu). He was rescued and stayed at the Red Plum Manor as a servant. The occupant of Red Plum Manor eventually discovered Zhang WuJi’s real identity, and they tried to deceive him to reveal the whereabouts of Xie Xun. By chance, Zhang WuJi stumbled upon their sinister plot and decided to flee without hesitation. During the pursue, he fell down a cliff and ended up at Nameless Valley.
At this Nameless Valley, Zhang WuJi found a white gorilla and discovered it had the ‘Nine Yang True Classic’ manual hidden inside its stomach. He remembered Zhang SanFeng mentioned about the potent martial art skills contained in ‘Nine Yang True Classic’ manual which could purge the cold poison in his body. Zhang WuJi decided to practice the ‘Nine Yang Divine Inner Energy’ from the manual and he stayed at Nameless Valley for five years. Meanwhile at the outside world, Cheng Kun began to send out invitations to the other five major sects’ leaders to launch invasion upon Ming Cult’s headquarter at Brightness Peak in KunLun Mountain range.
Part III: Battle of the Brightness Peak (Episode 12 – 17)
After Zhang WuJi (Deng Chao) fully mastered the art of ‘Nine Yang Divine Inner Energy’, he decided to leave the Nameless Valley. He just barely came out from the valley; he fell down from the cliff again as the result from trickery. Even so, Zhang WuJi managed to break off his fall into a shack, and he broke both of his legs. The shack belonged to a girl named Zhu’er (Zhang Meng) in which he later found out she was actually Yin Li. Zhu’er felt sympathy for Zhang WuJi, and she fed him with little food she had with her. Realizing Zhang WuJi could no longer trust anyone, he took an alias Zheng A’niu to conceal his identity. Meanwhile, Zhu’er left to Snow Hill Manor to confront Zhu JiuZhen and killed her. At that moment, E’Mei Sect entourage arrived in the area and Priestess MieJue ordered Ding MinJun to assist the occupant of Snow Hill Manor to capture Zhu’er.
Zhu’er then led Ding MinJun and the occupant of Snow Hill Manor back to her shack. When they were about to kill Zhu’er, Zhang WuJi secretly used his unrivalled internal strength to help. Thinking a profound martial art master assisted Zhu’er, the group left. Soon after, Ding MinJun and Zhou ZhiRuo (Liu Jing) came back to the shack. Ding MinJun ordered Zhou ZhiRuo to kill Zhu’er, but she refused. Zhu’er defended herself and managed to defeat Zhou ZhiRuo. Afraid of Priestess MieJue herself to go after them, both Zhu’er and Zhang WuJi fled from the area. However, they were soon captured and Priestess MieJue separated both of Zhu’er’s shoulders.
Priestess MieJue took both with her entourage on the route to Brightness Peak. During this trip, Zhang WuJi discovered Zhou ZhiRuo was the same little girl, they crossed path when they were kids. Soon enough the E’Mei Sect entourage arrived at the foot of KunLun Mountain. A battle against members of Ming Cult’s Golden Metal Banner, Flooding Water Banner, and Raging Fire Banner subsequently ensued. The three Elemental Banners were no match against the coalition of the orthodox martial art schools and they surrendered. Priestess MieJue was about to decimate the surviving Ming Cult’s members when Zhang WuJi stopped her momentarily. He asked for mercy for those Min Sect’s members and Priestess MieJue was only willing if Zhang WuJi would take three blows from her in exchange. Once again, Zhang WuJi used his unrivalled internal strength to fend off the three attacks he received from Priestess MieJue. Priestess MieJue disgustedly left along with the other coalition members.
Meanwhile, Yin YeWang (Guan Xiao Yu), who was standing on the side observing the entire situation turned out to be the father of Zhu’er. He wanted to take Zhu’er for punishment of killing her step mother. Suddenly, Wei YiXiao (Li Ming) showed up and swiftly took Zhu’er away. Both Yin YeWang and Zhang WuJi chased him, but they were unable to catch up. In the distance, they saw a distress signal from Heavenly Eagle Cult members and Yi YeWang left Zhang WuJi to aid his members. Zhang WuJi then continued his pursue by himself until he met ‘Monk Sack’ Shuo Bu De (Zhou Gang) when he couldn’t find the direction to go on. Shuo Bu De fiddled around with Zhang WuJi, and he suddenly put him into his sack.
Shuo Bu De took Zhang WuJi inside Ming Cult’s main hall at the Brightness Peak. In the main hall, Yang Xiao, Wei YiXiao and the Five Free Recluses were bickering among themselves regarding the leadership position of the Ming Cult. They subsequently fought until they positioned themselves into a stalemate. Suddenly, Cheng Kun leaped out and attacked them, which resulted in major injuries to Yang Xiao, Wei YiXiao and the Five Free Recluses. They were helpless and now their lives were at the mercy of Cheng Kun. Cheng Kun then revealed on how he exploited all the animosities in the world of martial art. He was about to kill all of them after he finished with his narration when Zhang WuJi was able to get out of the sack and prevented Cheng Kun. Cheng Kun escaped and Zhang WuJi followed him.
Zhang WuJi couldn’t find his way when he stumbled upon Yang BuHui (Lu Chen). She was about to strike a deadly blow unto a chained hunchback and ugly looking woman, but Zhang WuJi stopped her in time. Yang BuHui was delighted of meeting him once again. He then told her to attend her father’s injury. For his kindness, the hunchback hideous looking woman showed Zhang WuJi the way to a secret chamber. Inside the secret chamber, both almost became the victim of Cheng Kun’s trap. Nevertheless, their only exit was blocked by a giant boulder. It was also revealed that the hunchback hideous looking woman was actually a disguise for Xiao Zhao (He Zhuo Yan). As they searched for a way out, they accidentally found ‘Heaven and Earth Great Reversal’ martial art manual. It turned out this martial art was the only way someone could open another exit door from the chamber. It wasn’t long for Zhang WuJi to master ‘Heaven and Earth Great Reversal’. They soon were able to get out from the secret chamber using the martial art to open the exit door.
By the time Zhang WuJi and Xiao Zhao were out of the secret chamber, Ming Cult members were already cornered by the six major martial art schools. They saw a duel between Yin TianZheng (Chen Zhi Hui) and Mo ShengGu (Wang Zhi Gang) and apparently Ming Cult was downed to their last fighter. Yin TianZheng barely edged Mo ShengGu in this duel and right away another fighter from one of the orthodox schools came forth to challenge. Though Yin TianZheng won the match, but he was also injured. He was the grandfather of Zhang WuJi from his mother’s side. Zhang WuJi wouldn’t let him to continue to fight. He tried to be the peacemaker and attempted to explain the root cause of the animosities to those who were present. No one would heed his advice and Zhang WuJi was forced to defend the Ming Cult. He was able to defeat a fighter at a time until Zhou ZhiRuo stabbed him on the chest under the duress order of her master, Priestess MieJue.
Zhang WuJi now revealed his identity and he was happy to be reunited with his five martial art uncles from WuDang Sect. He couldn’t go back to Mount WuDang due to his injury and he stayed at Brightness Peak. The members of Ming Cult indebted to Zhang WuJi and they all agreed to make him as their thirty fourth leader.
Part IV: Fighting Against the Mongolian Warrior Princess (Episode 18 – 24)
Now that Zhang WuJi was the new leader of Ming Cult, he commanded to end all animosities against the orthodox martial art schools. Yin TianZheng dissolved his Heavenly Eagle Cult, and all his members were united with the Ming Cult. Zhang WuJi along with a select few of Meng Cult members left Brightness Peak to head for Mount WuDang to see his grandmaster, Zhang SanFeng. Xiao Zhao who was supposed to remain at Brightness Peak followed Zhang WuJi’s entourage. She was determined to serve and be with him.
Along the way, the Ming Cult entourage met a group of E’Mei Sect disciples who were looking for their master. They didn’t think much about it until they saw a few corpses belong to KunLun Sect’s members on the open road ahead. Further down the path, they found a heavily injured Yin LiTing (Wang Jiu Sheng). He had similar injuries as Yu DaiYan. They camped for the night and Yang BuHui volunteered to nurse Yin LiTing. The following day Zhang WuJi and his entourage decided to head for ShaoLin Monastery to investigate the attack on Yin LiTing who was hurt by some kind of ShaoLin’s martial art. However, their journey was halted when on a narrow pathway, a young man and his eight bodyguards having a tea in the middle of the road. Furthermore, the young man was holding the Heavenly Sword. At the same moment, a band of bandits were escorting numbers of captured peasants. The eight bodyguards displayed their prowess arching skills by killing each of the bandits.
Sometimes later one of the bodyguards approached Zhang WuJi and invited them to Green Willow Manor. At the manor, they finally realized that the young man was a woman in disguised and introduced herself as Zhao Min (Ady An). Her guardians were called the ‘Eight Divine Archers’. She offered them to drink a special wine and excused herself to change while leaving the Heavenly Sword on the table. It turned out the sword was an imitation made of scented wood. Wary about the whole mysterious situation, Zhang WuJi and his companions left the Green Willow Manor. Not far from the manor, Zhang WuJi’s companions fell down and they were poisoned. It dawned on Zhang WuJi that the scented wood of the fake sword was the poison and the antidote was the flowers on the pond at the Green Willow Manor.
Zhang WuJi rushed back to the Green Willow Manor, and his martial arts’ skill was tested by Zhao Min. He edged her martial art by taking away her hairpin. Before he could leave the manor, he fell into Zhao Min’s trap. However, Zhang WuJi was able to grab Zhao Min to go down the trap with him. Zhang WuJi reluctantly used indecent mean in order to force Zhao Min to open the trap door. He got back to his entourage in time to save them from the poison and the advancing Mongolian soldiers around them.
The ‘Eight Divine Archers’ arrived and commanded the Mongolian soldiers to halt. They gave Zhang WuJi a golden gift box from Zhao Min. Inside the golden gift box was the same hairpin he snatched from her and he gave it to Xiao Zhao.
No one was around at the ShaoLin Monastery to greet them when Zhang WuJi and his entourage arrived. Further investigation exposed that there were definitely some skirmished, and they couldn’t locate any ShaoLin monks. They also found one of the Buddha statues was vandalized with words suggested WuDang Sect will be the next. Zhang WuJi immediately left for Mount WuDang and instructed his entourage to follow suit.
Zhang WuJi arrived at WuDang Sect at the same time with a ShaoLin monk. The monk requested to see Zhang SanFeng regarding an important matter related with ShaoLin Monastery. In order to get closer to investigate, Zhang WuJi disguised himself as a fourth generation disciple. Yu DaiYan was under the impression of an urgent concern, and he took the monk to see Zhang SanFeng. No one expected that the monk would attack Zhang SanFeng upon seeing him. As little time for Zhang SanFeng defended himself, he was able to counter attack and killed the monk. It was obvious that the monk was an impostor and Zhang SanFeng had an internal injury from the unsuspected blow.
Soon after a WuDang disciple appeared to let them know that members of Ming Cult demanded to see Zhang SanFeng. Fearing his sect was about to confront members of Ming Cult, Zhang SanFeng passed down his newly created martial art, ‘Tai Ji Fist’ to his crippled disciple Yu DaiYan while Zhang WuJi watched. Zhang SanFeng wanted to preserve the legacy of his school from the downfall.
One looked at the so-called Ming Cult members at the court yard, Zhang WuJi realized Zhao Min was the mastermind behind the antic. She demanded Zhang SanFeng to fight three of her followers or submit to Yuan Court. Meanwhile, one by one the real members of Ming Cult arrived to assist WuDang Sect. However, Zhao Min provoked Zhang SanFeng to represent himself. Zhang WuJi stepped forward to take his place, and he defeated all three of Zhao Min’s followers. He also discovered that the three followers were the ones who injured Yu DaiYan over a decade ago. In exchange for the Black Jade Ointment to cure Yu DaiYan and Yin LiTing, Zhang WuJi considered to do three things for Zhao Min. Zhang WuJi was once again reunited with his grandmaster, Zhang SanFeng.
Thereafter, Zhang WuJi infiltrated Zhao Min’s hideout and he managed to acquire the Black Jade Ointment. Instead of the real Black Jade Ointment, it was a very potent poison. Yu DaiYan and Yin LiTing were in critical conditions from the poisonous ointment after being applied to them. Zhang WuJi must now submit to Zhao Min to fulfill her three wishes in the future for the antidote and the real Black Jade Ointment.
Next in Zhang WuJi’s agenda was to search for the missing six major school’s leaders and their members in addition with resolving their past animosities. He called upon a meeting with Ming Cult members and officially declared their rebellious act against the Yuan Court. In addition, he handed down the Three Capital and Five Minor Orders of the Ming Cult to all those members who were present. Based on new information, Zhang WuJi found out the location where the six sects’ leaders and their members were kept hostage.
Without further delay, Zhang WuJi along with Yang Xiao and Wei YiXiao went to Myriad Tranquility Pagoda located at capital city of DaDu. At the pagoda, they witnessed Zhao Min and her men forced He TaiChong to fight and absorbed his KunLun martial arts essence. When it was Zhou ZhiRuo’s turn, Zhang WuJi cannot refrain to step forward and tried to rescue her. But he had to leave empty handed as Zhao Min was very calculative in prevent him.
Back at Zhang WuJi’s hideout, he was lured by Ku TouTou (Hu Dong) to follow him. At a secluded area, he revealed himself that he was actually Fan Yao the Right Vanguard of the Ming Cult. He disfigured his face to infiltrate Prince RuYang (Tu Men) holdout to investigate Cheng Kun. Soon after, Yang Xiao and Wei YiXiao joined them, and they laid a plan to rescue the hostages at Myriad Tranquility Pagoda. They took advantage of the weaknesses of Lu ZhangKe (Bai Jun Jie) and He BiWeng (Han Dong), the two most formidable guardians of Zhao Min. One had a vice for women and the other for a good wine.
Wei YiXiao kidnapped Wang BaoBao’s (Sun Zu Yang) favorite concubine and put her in Lu ZhangKe’s room to implicate him. Meanwhile, Fan Yao pretended to get poisoned while drinking with He BiWeng to coerce in providing the antidote for the hostages. The plan was halfway in motion when Zhao Min appeared from the Pagoda and requested Fan Yao to escort her. Having no idea what she had in mind, Fan Yao followed her order. It turned out she knew where Zhang WuJi’s hideout and she invited him to have a meal at a tavern nearby. Fan Yao left them at the tavern as he didn’t want to jeopardize the rescue attempt.
Zhao Min wanted to let Zhang WuJi know regarding her background. Nevertheless, he already knew and he wasn’t a bit surprised. In fact, Zhang WuJi hinted that he would be going to south soon to regroup with his Ming Cult members joining on their movements to overthrow the Yuan Court. At this point, Zhao Min was torn realizing her fate on the opposite side of Zhang WuJi. Wanting to keep Zhang WuJi around, Zhao Min asked her first of the three promises. She wanted to see and hold the Dragon-slaying Saber to inspect the secret of the well-known martial art world’s legend. After consideration, Zhang WuJi agreed to take her to Ice and Fire Island.
Meanwhile, inside the cell of E’Mei Sect members, Priestess MieJue transferred her leadership to Zhou ZhiRuo. Her choice of successor was protested by Ding MinJun. At the same time, Fan Yao began to hand out the antidote to members of the six major martial art schools. However, at the bottom of the pagoda, Mongolian soldiers began to grow in numbers in search for the missing concubine led by Wang BaoBao. Needing more time for the antidote to take effect, Fan Yao used the concubine as hostage to stall the Mongolian soldiers from entering the pagoda. Wang BaoBao grew very impatient and he started to order the soldiers to burn the first floor.
The distress signal from the Myriad Tranquility Pagoda alerted both Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min. Zhang WuJi left for the pagoda without hesitation. After a brief confrontation, he seized Wang BaoBao in an attempt to negotiate the situation. Zhao Min arrived at the same time with a soldier bringing news about a fire started at Prince RuYang’s Palace. Zhang WuJi released Wang BaoBao, and he immediately started to rescue the members of the six major sects from the burning pagoda. One by one jumped down while Zhang WuJi caught them in midair. Only Priestess MieJue refused his assistance and chose to sacrifice herself using her body to break Zhou ZhiRuo’s fall.
For their gratitude, five major sects amended their differences with the Ming Cult. They all left the capital and Zhang WuJi bid farewell to his martial art uncles. He didn’t head to south with Yang Xiao and Wei YiXiao, instead he went back toward DaDu. Zhang WuJi and Xiao Zhao then went to the tavern to meet with Zhao Min for the prior arrangement to sail for Ice and Fire Island. In the distance, they heard E’Mei Sect’s signal. Fearing for the safety of Zhou ZhiRuo, the three of them went to check. At the outer city limit, they saw disciples of E’Mei Sect surrounded their new leader, Zhou ZhiRuo. Apparently, under the influence of Ding MinJun, she tried to take over the leadership.
All of sudden, Golden Flower Granny and Zhu’er arrived at the scene. Upon hearing the death of Priestess MieJue, she was deeply disappointed as she wanted to test her martial art skills since their last meeting at Butterfly Valley. She started to humiliate E’Mei Sect’s disciples and took Zhou ZhiRuo hostage. Golden Flower Granny mentioned about having found an old friend who would lend her a sharp saber. Her words reflected a presumption that she had found Xie Xun.
Part V: The Divine Serpent Island (Episode 25 – 28)
Golden Flower Granny coerced Zhou ZhiRuo on taking a so-called poison in hoping to pry the whereabouts of the Heavenly Sword. She took Zhou ZhiRuo along with her while Zhang WuJi, Zhao Min, and Xiao Zhao followed them from afar. Zhao Min who was a shrewd thinker anticipated Golden Flower Granny’s movements. She utilized a Mongolian navy ship to camouflage as fishing boat and ordered a sea blockade within fifty miles radius. She thought of everything so that Golden Flower Granny would only have a choice to rent her ship.
They didn’t sail for Ice and Fire Island as originally thought instead they were heading south toward Divine Serpent Island. During the voyage, Zhao Min began to show some kind of love interest toward Zhang WuJi. Upon their arrival on Divine Serpent Island, they saw members of Beggars Clan were fighting at the shoreline against Xie Xun. The Beggars Clan members were led by Chen YouLiang (Zhou Xiao Bin). With a little assistance from Zhang WuJi, Xie Xun easily defeated the Beggars Clan members. Even after Zhang WuJi saw his godfather for the first time since Ice and Fire Island, Zhao Min insisted not to reveal himself just yet to continue their investigation.
Apparently, Golden Flower Granny managed to convince Xie Xun to come back to mainland promising him the news of Zhang WuJi’s whereabouts. Her hidden agenda was to acquire Xie Xun’s Dragon-slaying Saber. Zhu’er confirmed Golden Flower Granny’s story to Xie Xun, which included how her scar on her hand was caused by Zhang WuJi’s bite. Zhao Min in return bit Zhang WuJi’s hand upon hearing the tale and she wanted him to have the same everlasting experience as Zhu’er.
That evening, realizing it wouldn’t be easy for Xie Xun to relinquish the Dragon-slaying Saber, Golden Flower Granny set poisonous traps for him. Zhu’er objected to her heinous plan, and she spoiled it for her. Xie Xun defended himself well against Golden Flower Granny’s attacks. The agitated Golden Flower Granny then attacked Zhu’er but luckily Zhang WuJi was there to fend most her Golden Flower Needles. Then suddenly from nowhere came Three Emissaries of Wind, Cloud and Moon of the Persian’s Ming Cult. It turned out Golden Flower Granny was actually ‘Purple Robed Dragon King’ Dai QiSi, one of the Four Great Protection Lords of the Central Plain’s Ming Cult. The Persian’s Ming Cult emissaries demanded Xie Xun to behead her but he refused. Apparently, Purple Robed Dragon King violated the holy rules and the emissaries were there to punish her. As the emissaries about to attack Xie Xun, Zhang WuJi intervened and he fought them instead. Using their Holy Flames Scepters, the emissaries proved to be formidable opponents for Zhang WuJi. At a critical moment, Zhao Min helped him but she suffered an internal injury as the result.
For the moment, they were able to temporarily ward off the Persian’s Ming Cult emissaries. As they were leaving for a hideout, Golden Flower Granny attacked Zhu’er for spoiling her plan. Meanwhile at the waterfront, more Persian’s Ming Cult ships arrived with heavy artilleries. By now both Xiao Zhao and Zhou ZhiRuo had joined Zhang WuJi and the others. They sheltered at Xie Xun’s shack in the meanwhile to recuperate. A commotion soon ensued between Zhao Min and Zhou ZhiRuo. Zhang WuJi was at loss of words to be caught in the middle. Once it settled down, Zhang WuJi finally revealed himself to Xie Xun. They were so happy to be reunited again.
While in a wait for Zhu’er and Zhao Min to recover from their injuries, Xie Xun briefly mentioned about the historical background of Central Plain’s Ming Cult. He was so ecstatic when he discovered Zhang WuJi was the leader of the Ming Cult. He then began to narrate about the Purple Robed Dragon King when Zhao Min inquired about her. His narration was cut short when from the distance, they heard the sound of clarions. Xie Xun suspected the Persian’s Ming Cult had captured Purple Robed Dragon King, and they were about to burn her alive as punishment. Zhang WuJi and others went to the dock to investigate.
As soon as they arrived, the Persian’s Ming Cult members attacked them. Zhang WuJi didn’t only defend their attacks, but he captured their leader as well. In the process, the leader was accidentally hit in the cheek by the Holy Flame Scepter. It left an imprint of the wording from the scepter. The Persian’s Ming Cult leader was one of the Twelve Guardian Kings. He was the Equality Guardian King. Xiao Zhao then interpreted the wording, and it turned out to be the key of the seventh level of the ‘Heaven and Earth Great Reversal’ martial art.
Not a moment too soon, the Three Emissaries of Wind, Cloud and Moon tried to rescue their Equality Guardian King, however they lost their Holy Flame Scepters in the process to Zhang WuJi. Thereafter, Xie Xun tried to negotiate to exchange Equality Guardian King for Purple Robed Dragon King. The Twelve Guardian Kings of the Persian’s Ming Cult agreed to Xie Xun’s terms but they had other plan in mind which involved not letting any of them alive. Purple Robed Dragon King understood the situation and in exchange for the lives of Zhang WuJi and others, she proposed her daughter to be the new Holy Maiden of Persian’s Ming Cult. It turned out Xiao Zhao was actually the daughter of the Purple Robed Dragon King. With sadness, Xiao Zhao accepted the burden that just bestowed upon her to save her mother, Zhang WuJi and others. She bid her farewell to Zhang WuJi by serving him for the last time.
Zhang WuJi and others decided to stay on an island temporarily to heal Zhu’er before embarking back to the mainland. The next day, Zhang WuJi, Xie Xun and Zhou ZhiRuo were mysteriously poisoned with ‘Ten Fragrances Tendon-weakening Powder’. The same type of poison the six major martial art schools were given at the Myriad Tranquility Pagoda. They also discovered Zhu’er was dying and had vicious slashes on her face. Furthermore, the Dragon-slaying Saber and Heavenly Sword were all disappeared. They automatically assumed Zhao Min had done it upon them. Meanwhile, Zhao Min woke up on a shoreline somewhere in the mainland. She too had been poisoned with ‘Ten Fragrances Tendon-weakening Powder’. After Zhang WuJi buried Zhu’er in a shallow grave, he helped Xie Xun to purge the poison. However, he hesitated to heal Zhou ZhiRuo due to the location on her body where he had to place his palms. Xie Xun made them to be engaged in order to heal her. Before Zhou ZhiRuo accepted, she required Zhang WuJi to take an oath to seek revenge upon Zhao Min.
Part VI: The Road to Disastrous Wedding (Episode 29 – 34)
In the mainland, Mo ShengGu and Song QingShu (Li Tai) were looking for Zhang WuJi whereabouts. Their movements were being watched by members of the Beggars Clan. Chen YouLiang saw an opportunity of the jealous Song QingShu, and he devised a scheme to manipulate him. That evening, Mo ShengGu caught Song QingShu red-handed in a trap set up by Chen YouLiang. Fearing for his punishment, Song QingShu inadvertently killed Mo ShengGu with the assistance of Chen YouLiang. Song QingShu was now under the control of Chen YouLiang.
Weeks went by and a Mongolian navy ship came to the island to pick up Zhang WuJi, Xie Xun and Zhou ZhiRuo. They were sent by Zhou Min. At the open sea, Zhang WuJi forced the captain to change the course of the original heading. Once they landed on shore, Xie Xun and Zhou ZhiRuo killed everyone on board to keep their secrecy presence in the mainland. They disguised as beggars when they entered a town. Coincidently, they came across a Beggars Clan meeting at an inn and they were noticed by Cheng Kun and Chen YouLiang.
Zhang WuJi decided to investigate and followed the Beggars Clan’s movement. To his surprised, he discovered Song QingShu was joining the Beggars Clan. He also saw that the Beggars Clan had captured Han Lin’er (Rocky Hou) who was one of the rebellion leaders from Ming Cult. Then suddenly, Zhao Min disguised as Zhang WuJi leaped out. But Song QingShu easily recognized her. The Beggars Clan members immediately attacked her, and Zhang WuJi hesitantly helped her from a distance. After the commotion, both Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min hid inside a drum. They uncovered a sinister plan to poison Zhang SanFeng in order to control Zhang WuJi. Chen YouLiang wanted to utilize Song QingShu to administer his plan.
Once the Beggars Clan members left, Zhang WuJi confronted Zhao Min regarding the matter on the island. However, he couldn’t follow through to avenge Zhu’er. Meanwhile, Zhao Min denied the wrongdoing, and she insisted to prove her innocent. At the inn, Cheng Kun and Chen YouLiang captured both Xie Xun and Zhou ZhiRuo. Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min barely missed them when they arrived at the inn. After they couldn’t find Xie Xun and Zhou ZhiRuo at the inn, they decided to search for them.
After a long search without any result, Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min found a cave to rest for the night. In a distance, Zhang WuJi heard horse riders heading toward the cave. He then took Zhao Min deeper inside the cave to hide. It turned out the riders were Zhang WuJi’s martial art uncles. He wanted to go out to greet them but Zhao Min stopped him due to complicated matter surround her to be with him. His martial art uncles were discussing the disappearance of Mo ShengGu when they heard a noise outside the cave. Zhang WuJi thought they have left and he came out from his hiding. He stumbled on Mo ShengGu’s dead body. In his shock, he made a loud noise and his martial art uncles rushed back inside the cave. Zhao Min was quick to use herself as decoy knowing well that his uncles would implicate Zhang WuJi in murdering his seventh martial art uncle.
Zhao Min led the remainder of ‘Seven Heroes of WuDang’ outside the cave and had a brief skirmish. She was no match for them and she fell into the ravine. Zhang WuJi hid the body of Mo ShengGu temporarily so he could investigate further at a later time. However, Song YuanQiao (Chen Ji Ming) found the hidden corpse. Meanwhile, Zhang WuJi found unconscious Zhao Min at the bottom of the ravine. She had a little injury from the fall and they soon climbed back to the top. The shrewd minded Zhao Min cautioned Zhan WuJi to cover his face prior to climb up. Her worry materialized as soon as they got to the top. Zhang WuJi’s martial art uncles were waiting for them. He was forced to fend their attacks and temporarily incapacitated them. However, Zhang SongXi (Guo Jun) managed to remove the cover and Zhang WuJi was unable to explain the misunderstanding.
Down in the valley, all of them overheard an argument between Song QingShu and Chen YouLiang of the Beggars Clan. It revealed Song QingShu as Mo ShengGu’s killer, and they planned to poison Zhang SanFeng in addition to Zhou ZhiRuo in captivity by the Beggars Clan. Zhang WuJi’s martial art uncles realized they had wronged him, and they rushed back to WuDang Mountain. Zhang WuJi decided to pursue the Beggars Clan into their headquarter, but he left Zhao Min behind at an inn.
At first, Zhang WuJi found where the Beggars Clan kept Xie Xun, but the cell was empty. Further, the place filled with a handful of dead members of the Beggars Clan. It looked like Xie Xun fought his way out. Zhang WuJi then tracked down the headquarter and stormed in. He saw Zhou ZhiRuo was being kept against her will, and he released her. Chen YouLiang ordered the members of the Beggars Clan to attack Zhang WuJi in which he easily defeated them. However, in the process Chen YouLiang took Zhou ZhiRuo hostage. Zhang WuJi returned the favor by holding their leader, Shi HuoLong (Yang Yi). During the stalemate, a mysterious Yellow Dress Maiden (Liu Shi Shi) and her entourage appeared. She exposed Chen YouLiang’s conspiracy. The Beggars Clan then released both Zhou ZhiRuo and Han Lin’er.
All the while, Zhao Min had been following Zhang WuJi from afar. She also had her men to search the whereabouts of Xie Xun. She painstakingly witnessed the romance unraveled between Zhang WuJi and Zhou ZhiRuo. Zhou ZhiRuo then admitted to Zhang WuJi that Priestess MieJue forced her to take a harsh oath not to fall in love with Zhang WuJi. Zhang WuJi comforted her and afterward, they along with Han Lin’er were heading to HaoZhou to regroup with the Ming Cult’s rebel forces. Their route must pass through DaDu where they decided to stay over to rest. That evening, Zhang WuJi was restless, and he took a stroll around the capital. His path brought him to the tavern where he twice had meals with Zhao Min previously. To his astonishment, he saw Zhao Min at the dining table with her down. Meanwhile, Zhang WuJi wasn’t aware he was followed by Zhou ZhiRuo. The enraged and jealous Zhou ZhiRuo left in a hurry upon seeing Zhao Min at the tavern. Zhao Min made it known to Zhang WuJi how she regretted to have been born in opposite side of him. She was deeply in love with Zhang WuJi.
Zhang WuJi could not find the whereabouts Zhou ZhiRuo, and he decided to head for HaoZhou. At the rebel camp, Zhang WuJi heard the news that Zhou ZhiRuo had returned to E’Mei Mountain. Zhang SongXi came by the camp and suggested to go to E’Mei Mountain to clear the misunderstanding with Zhou ZhiRuo. His grandfather, Yin TianZheng, also suggested proposing for a wedding day in addition with apologizing to her.
At Mount E’Mei Sect, Zhou ZhiRuo secretly practiced a superb martial art. Her martial art levels had increased by leaps and bounds. While Zhang WuJi, Yin TianZheng, and Zhang SongXi went to Mount E’Mei, Zhao Min discovered through her men that Xie Xun was kept captive at ShaoLin Monastery. By the time she wanted to give the news to Zhang WuJi, she heard about the wedding day of Zhang WuJi and Zhou ZhiRuo.
On the wedding day, Zhao Min arrived and asked Zhang WuJi to fulfill her second promise. Zhang WuJi tried to reason with her, but she insisted. Zhao Min demanded Zhang WuJi not to be married on this day. She showed him a bundle of Xie Xun’s hair, and Zhang WuJi immediately agreed to her request. Zhou ZhiRuo was enraged and attacked Zhao Min with her new martial art. Zhang WuJi intervened and pleaded forgiveness to Zhou ZhiRuo for calling off the wedding. He left with Zhao Min and Zhou ZhiRuo vowed to avenge the humiliation.
Zhao Min was poisoned from the claw-like injury she received from Zhou ZhiRuo’s attack. Zhang WuJi attended to her injury, and in no time she was slowly healing. As promised, she was taking Zhang WuJi to where Cheng Kun kept Xie Xun, and on the way, they were stopped by the ‘XuanMing Elders’ and what it looked like a group of soldiers. Eight Tibetan monks dressed in Mongolian soldiers attacked Zhang WuJi by using combined energy forces. The ‘XuanMing Elders’ took the opportunity to attack Zhang WuJi as well. Zhang WuJi was able to defend the attacks, but he also suffered an internal injury. As the ‘XuanMing Elders’ about to launch their deadly blow to Zhang WuJi, Zhao Min stopped them. She told them that Zhang WuJi was her husband and they couldn’t lay a hand on him. Afterward, she told them to leave them alone and they complied. By this time, Zhang WuJi knew he truly loved Zhao Min as much as she loved him.
Zhao Min finally told Zhang WuJi the whereabouts of Xie Xun. They planned for a rescue attempt, but first they needed to recuperate from their injuries. Meanwhile at Mount E’Mei, Zhou ZhiRuo continued to mastering her new found martial art. Song QingShu hid behind a tree watched her practice and he was almost killed by Zhou ZhiRuo.
Zhao Min and Zhang WuJi found a deserted temple to attend their injuries where they needed a secluded place to meditate. Before they could even begin, two men walked in. They mentioned something about ‘Lion Slaying Ceremony’ and Zhang WuJi wanted to interrogate them. Zhao Min did her best to intimidate them and one of the men launched an attack toward Zhang WuJi. Using his unrivaled internal energy to protect himself, not only he was able to defend but killing the attacker in the process. The other man was a coward and Zhao Min seized the opportunity to use him to cater their needs. Apparently, the two men were assigned to deliver invitation from ShaoLin Monastery to martial art schools.
Final Part: Dragon Boat Festival at ShaoLin Monastery (Episode 35 – 40)
In a matter of few days, Zhang WuJi fully recovered from his internal injury. Zhao Min didn’t want their presence to be known, she threatened the cowardly man that he must head south immediately, or he would be dead if he stayed in warm weather due to the injury she inflicted upon him. Both then travelled to Mount ShaoShi and took a shelter at the foothill with an elderly farm couple. They pretended to be an eloped newlywed and Zhang WuJi was uneasy with their disguised. Within minutes Zhang WuJi noticed the elderly couple was not an ordinary farmer but rather martial art practitioners. At night as the elderly couple practiced their martial arts, Zhang WuJi realized that they were his godfather’s enemies. A couple days later, Zhang WuJi under the pretext of looking for work, he asked the elderly woman. She then told him to pretend to be her son and took him to ShaoLin Monastery. The monks at ShaoLin Monastery needed extra helpers for the upcoming festival and they hired Zhang WuJi for odd jobs.
At Mount E’Mei, Zhou ZhiRuo accommodated Song QingShu but not formally admitted him as their members. She did, however, introduce Song QingShu as her husband in order to mislead Ding MinJun, who was still not fully accepting Zhou ZhiRuo as the leader. Inside the private quarter, Zhou ZhiRuo taught Song QingShu a martial art that she wanted him to use against WuDang Sect at the ShaoLin’s festival. Her only purpose was to make a name for E’Mei Sect.
After many days staying at ShaoLin Monastery, Zhang WuJi finally was able to find the location Xie Xun’s confinement. Xie Xun was being guarded by three ShaoLin’s masters. Zhang WuJi tried to rescue Xie Xun, but the ‘Vajra Taming Demon Array’ martial art of the three ShaoLin’s masters could not be penetrated by him alone. The three masters had a long history of animosity with the Ming Cult and Zhang WuJi managed to resolve it. They welcomed him to come back to try to rescue Xie Xun again whether by himself or with assistants.
Frustrated Zhang WuJi left ShaoLin Monastery and joined his Ming Cult members at the foothill accompanied by Zhao Min. After a short discussion and planning the rescue, Zhang WuJi, Zhao Min, and members of Ming Cult went up to ShaoLin Monastery. At first, they made formality of requesting to release Xie Xun, but Abbot Kong Wen abided with his sect’s rule. Therefore, Zhang WuJi must beat the three ShaoLin’s elders in order to rescue Xie Xun. This time around, Zhang WuJi was helped by Yang Xiao and Yin TianZheng. Once again, the ‘Vajra Taming Demon Array’ of the three ShaoLin’s masters was very profound to defend against Zhang WuJi, Yang Xiao, and Yin TianZheng. Furthermore, Xie Xun did not want to be rescued, and so they had to halt temporarily their attempt. As they regrouped and discussed about their next steps, Yin TianZheng died from an apparent internal injury.
At the day of the festival, Abbot Kong Wen did not greet the guests due to a mysterious sudden illness. Both Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min expressed their suspicious. Inside Abbot Kong Wen’s quarter, Chen YouLiang was guarding the Abbot as a hostage for Cheng Kun. The guests were getting restless, and they started to demand ShaoLin to show the Dragon-slaying Saber. E’Mei Sect was the last of the martial art schools to show up at the festival. Zhou ZhiRuo arrived bringing with her WuDang Sect’s renegade disciple, Song QingShu, who claimed to be her husband.
Upon seeing the entire situation, Zhao Min voiced her thought and anticipated Cheng Kun’s plan. The senior members of Ming Cult agreed with her and Zhang WuJi strategized their next steps for the martial art competition for the right of Xie Xun’s fate. The first fight was between an elder from the Beggars Clan and Song QingShu. The guests soon found out that the Beggars Clan elder was not Song Qing Chu’s match. Song QingShu used his newly acquired ‘Nine Yin White Bone Claws’ martial art to kill him. His next opponent was none other than his second martial art uncle, Yu LianZhou. Yu LianZhou wounded Song QingShu severely using ‘Tai Ji Fist’. When Yu LianZhou was about to launch a killing blow, Zhou ZhiRuo leaped and attack him. Soon, Yu LianZhou and Yin LiTing joined forces to fight Zhou ZhiRuo. The two ‘WuDang Heroes’ immediately found themselves in trouble against Zhou ZhiRou, and at a critical moment, Zhang WuJi had to intervene. With a great reluctant, Zhang WuJi now had to face Zhou ZhiRuo. Nonetheless, Zhou ZhiRuo took advantage of his compassion with her ‘Nine Yin White Bone Claws’. As Zhang WuJi was laying on the ground helplessly, Zhou ZhiRuo launched her deadly claw. She saw the scar from her stab wound on his chest, and she immediately stopped her attack. Zhang WuJi admitted defeat, which made Zhao ZhiRuo to the right to a fight against the three ShaoLin’s masters.
That evening Zhang WuJi went to Zhou ZhiRuo’s quarter not only to try to save Song QingShu’s life but also to beg to help her fight the three ShaoLin’s masters. She refused his request on an account of decency, and Zhang WuJi kowtowed to her in a desperate measure. Without a word, Zhou ZhiRuo let him out of the room. Zhao Min waited for Zhang WuJi to come back, and she knew down to the detail what happened at Zhou ZhiRuo’s quarter.
The following day, Zhou ZhiRuo asked Zhang WuJi to help her to fight against the three ShaoLin’s masters. Yellow Dress Maiden made an appearance just before the fight to begin. Thereafter, Zhou ZhiRuo used ‘White Python Whip Technique’ to attack while Zhang WuJi used his ‘Nine Yang Divine Inner Energy’ to fend off the three ShaoLin’s masters. Their tactics worked and Zhang WuJi was able to rescue Xie Xun from his underground confinement. He then ordered Zhou ZhiRuo to guard Xie Xun while he fought off the three ShaoLin’s masters. However, Zhou ZhiRuo instead launched her ‘Nine Yin White Bone Claws’ toward Xie Xun’s head. At the last second, Yellow Dress Maiden intervened and saved Xie Xun’s life. Zhou ZhiRuo and Yellow Dress Maiden were immediately engaged in a fierce fight. Yellow Dress Maiden edged Zhou ZhiRuo by using the same ‘Nine Yin White Bone Claws’.
Zhang WuJi, Xie Xun, and the Ming Cult members were about to leave when Xie Xun recognized Cheng Kun’s voice. Cheng Kun disguised himself, but Xie Xun exposed him. The two began to fight inside the underground confinement and Xie Xun was victorious while blinding and crippling Cheng Kun in the process. Xie Xun ended his master-disciple relationship with Cheng Kun by removing his martial arts. Then, they all saw Abbot Kong Wen was safe and sound. He was rescued by Zhang WuJi’s men. Abbot Kong Wen made an apology to all the guests and invited them to stay at the monastery for refreshments.
Eventually, Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min found out the truth of what happened on the island when Yellow Dress Maiden revealed it. Zhou ZhiRuo followed her master’s order to obtain both Heavenly Sword and Dragon-slaying Saber with any means necessary. Within those two coveted weapons contained a map for the secret location of the martial art manuals at Peach Blossom Island. Meanwhile at the base camp of Ming Cult, Yang Xiao announced that they had recovered both Heavenly Sword and Dragon-slaying Saber. Yellow Dress Maiden didn’t just revealed Zhou ZhiRuo’s insidious plot, but she had given Zhang WuJi a sealed pouch. Apparently, the pouch was from Zhou ZhiRuo and it contained Zhao Min’s ‘Ten Fragrances Tendon-weakening Powder’, the secret map of Peach Blossom Island, and ‘Nine Yin True Classic’ manual.
Zhang WuJi ordered his Golden Metal Banner leader to re-forge the broken Heavenly Sword and Dragon-slaying Saber. After they were re-forged, he handed the Heavenly Sword to E’Mei Sect. He wanted to give ShaoLin Monastery the Dragon-slaying Saber, but Abbot Kong Wen felt Zhang WuJi was the rightful owner. Thus, it fulfilled the well-known legend, “Honored by the WuLin, the precious Saber slays the Dragon, commands the world, no one dares to disobey! The Heaven-reliant does not appear who can compete?” Zhang WuJi as the wielder of the Dragon-slaying Saber was now the leader of the martial art world to fight against the Yuan Court.
Not far from the ShaoLin Monastery compound, ‘XuanMing Elders’ ambushed Zhou ZhiRuo for the manuals from the legendary weapons. She couldn’t defend against them, and she was injured. Luckily, Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min were nearby to help her. As Zhao Min held her, she took the opportunity to snatch Zhou ZhiRuo’s martial art manual from her blouse. Nevertheless, Zhou ZhiRuo still had a grudge against Zhao Min and she attacked her from behind while Zhang WuJi was fighting against ‘XuanMing Elders’. Using his ‘Heaven and Earth Great Reversal’, Zhang WuJi defeated the ‘XuanMing Elders’. Zhao Min then gave Zhang WuJi the manuals she took from Zhou ZhiRuo.
The following day, members of E’Mei Sect abandoned the severely injured Song QingShu. A member revealed that Zhou ZhiRuo was never married to him, and she did it as a part her revenge plan for Zhang WuJi. Zhang WuJi went to look for Zhou ZhiRuo after he heard to the explanation. In a distance, he saw Zhou ZhiRuo was delusional. Once Zhang WuJi caught up with her, she admitted all her wrongdoings including her love for him. She then left in a hurry.
Zhang WuJi went back and he could not find Zhao Min. But he saw a shadow of a person was following him, which led him to one of the halls at ShaoLin Monastery. Zhang WuJi saw Zhou ZhiRuo, who he thought was praying to repent. Suddenly, she once again was being delusional about seeing a ghost. He comforted her and they went for a stroll. In the woods nearby, Zhou ZhiRuo confronted him about who he really loved among the four women. Zhang WuJi told her that Zhao Min was the only one. Zhou ZhiRuo then told him she knew the whereabouts of Zhao Min, in return, she wanted him to grant her a promise. Without hesitation, Zhang WuJi agreed. Zhao Min was sitting behind them all this time unable to move.
Thereafter, Zhou ZhiRuo used a ploy to made Zhu’er to reveal herself. Apparently, she was still alive, even after they buried her for assuming she was dead on the island. Her state of mind was disarrayed from having to find out Zhang WuJi and Zheng A’niu was one and the same person. Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min then went back to Ming Cult’s base camp. From Yu LianZhou, they found out about twenty thousand strong Mongolian soldiers were heading toward ShaoLin Monastery. Zhang WuJi and his Ming Cult members chose to fight the advancing Mongolians. In the meanwhile, Zhao Min was once again torn between two sides. On one hand was the army of her father, Prince RuYang, and on the hand was her beloved Zhang WuJi. At the same time, Zhang WuJi was in a similar predicament as one of his commanders refused to fight due to his association with Zhao Min.
With an uneasy mind upon him, Zhang WuJi was reading the manuals that Zhao Min took from Zhou ZhiRuo. It would appear martial art was not the only content on the manuals, ‘WuMu’s art of war’ was one of them. Zhang WuJi was excited that he may find strategies to battle against the Mongolians with his outnumbered men. However, they could only do so much with little resources they had. Zhang WuJi was exhausted and collapsed in the battle field. Zhao Min ran to his side as her father, Prince RuYang arrived. She made it clear to her father that she would abandon her family and heritage for Zhang WuJi. Upon hearing her seer determination, Prince RuYang withdrew his army and left. Knowing all the sacrifices Zhao Min had done for him, he relinquished his position to be with her and for the success of Ming Cult’s uprising against the Yuan Court.
Inside a yurt in the northern steppe, Zhao Min asked Zhang WuJi to fulfill her third promise. She wanted him to draw her eyebrows. Zhang WuJi responded that he would comply with her wish and suddenly Zhou ZhiRuo appeared. She told Zhang WuJi that she will ask her promise on their wedding day.
Zhang JiZhong’s production of Jin Yong’s Heaven Sword Dragon Saber TV adaptation can be one of the best all time. With his track record of other adaptations, fans can expect Heaven Sword Dragon Saber 2009 to be very faithful to the original novel. However, with many production flaws either due to scheduling or budget, this China’s version won’t take over fans favorite’s the New Heaven Sword Dragon Saber 1986 or the Taiwan’s 2003 version.
Zhang JiZhong is famed for utilizing breathtaking landscapes for his adaptation backdrops, for this particular version, it was too lacking. The entire Heaven Sword Dragon Saber universe suddenly became very small. In the production notes, filming took place in five different sites. However, many backdrops were overused until fans can easily identify them such as the brick gate, the dead-end hillside, the shallow creek, and the scarce bamboo forest. Many scenes supposed to be on different places far apart, the used of the same backdrops made it like they all in the same area. Other flaw worth noting is the background music. At a time, certain background music was just too similar with themes from Pirates of the Caribbean. Other time was simply taken from another Zhang JiZhong adaptation of Duke of Mount Deer 2008. The first five episodes were stretched longer than other versions of the adaptation especially the Ice and Fire Island scenes. The Battle of Brightness Peak could have been done longer, after all this was the beginning of Zhang WuJi made his name.
As far as acting for the main three characters, they were not superbly performed. Perhaps, Deng Chao is a great actor at another serial portraying another character; but as Zhang WuJi, his facial expression is too stiff and superficially performed. Ady An, on the other hand, wasn’t the first choice of Zhang JiZhong to play the character of Zhao Min. He was right. Ady An may well be the prettiest Zhao Min on the screen, but she’s inefficient at best to perform her character. She’s a far cry compared to Kitty Lai or even Alyssa Chia as Zhao Min. Discerning fans can effortlessly recalled memorable Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min moments from the 1986 or 2003 version. The lack of chemistry between Deng Chao and Ady An is not enough to produce shining affair for 2009 version. Further, Ady An’s kissing phobia prevented the heart-rending kissing scene of Zhang WuJi and Zhao Min on the third meeting at the DaDu’s tavern. Instead, the scene was altered into biting Zhan WuJi’s hand for the second time.
Liu Jing is a couple of years younger than Ady An and her character, Zhou ZhiRuo, is a few years older than Zhao Min. Production crew tried to compensate the age difference and as the result her thick make-up made Liu Jing appeared to be a decade older. As far as her portrayal of Zhou ZhiRuo, she had her moments but for the most parts, it was just coarse especially when she stood next to Deng Chao and Ady An. However, she did a convincing ‘evil Zhou ZhiRuo’ toward the end. Any remake of the Legend of the Condor Heroes should consider Liu Jing to cast the part of Mei ChaoFeng.
The 2009 version of Heaven Sword Dragon Saber cannot be considered as epic failure, there is no such perfect version. Over all, this latest edition is very close to the novel storyline. Aside for the aforementioned flaws, after the first five episodes the pace picked up, and it’s still quite entertaining.
Deng Chao … Zhang WuJi
Ady An … Zhao Min
Liu Jing … Zhou ZhiRuo
He Zhuo Yan … Xiao Zhao
Zhang Meng … Yin Li/Zhu’Er
Lu Chen … Yang Bu Hui
Zang JinSheng … Xie Xun
Ken Chang … Zhang CuiShan
Wang YuanKe … Yin SuSu
Wang JingHua … Priestess MieJue
Li Shun … Ding MinJun
He JiaYi … Ji XiaoFu
Li Ming … Yang Xiao
Tan FeiLing … Cheng Kun
Yu ChengHui … Zhang SanFeng
Chinese Title: 倚天屠龙记
Director: Yu Min
Screenplay: Liu Yi, Wang XueJing, Cao YiMing, Ma Shuai
Producer: Zhang JiZhong, Song YaPing
Action Choreographer: Zhao Jian
Director of Photography: Yu Min, Guan Jian Xiong
Art Director: Han Zhong
Opening Theme: Deng Chao (Ancient China Hero)
Closing Theme: Ady An and Cong HaoNan (Worldly Affairs Love Song)
Filming Locations: Mount WuDang, Long You, Mount WuYi, Peach Blossom Island, ZheJiang Province, China
Release Date: October 23, 2009 – November 7, 2009
Broadcast Network: Wen Zhou TV
Number of Episodes: 40
Run Time: 42 minutes per episode
[pro-player width=’350′ height=’250′ type=’video’ image=’http://mywuxia.com/images/proplayer/HSDS2009player4.jpg’]http://mywuxia.com/videos/HSDS2009trailer.flv[/pro-player]