Brilliance of a blade refined a hundred times.
When he arrives outside that room, he hears loud sound of fire, with three people standing besides a huge fireplace, with a huge saber in the middle. Those three people look to be about sixty, their faces filled with smoke. Even from afar, Yu DaiYan feels like he’s burning from the fire. He can’t believe that those people can stay that close. Yet despite the huge flames, that saber did not change its color to red, remaining black.
Flowers bloom, flowers wither. The young men in the martial world have become old. The young girls have begun to show their age with hair turning white.
It’s has been over fifty years since the demise of the Sung dynasty.
On this third month of the new lunar year, a thirty-some year old man walks on the beach in the southern China. He wears a blue robe, a pair of grass shoes, walking quickly forward, as if in a hurry. Although surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, he has no time to enjoy the scenery. Seeing that the sky is getting darker, he thinks, “Today is the 24th day of the third month. It’s only fourteen days till 9th day of the fourth month. If I hurry, I can make it just in time for Master’s ninetieth birthday.”
This man is Yu DaiYan, the third disciple under the founder of Wu Dang, Zhang SanFeng. At the beginning of the year, Yu DaiYan was ordered to kill an evil, murderous outlaw. When that outlaw heard about this, he went into hiding. It took Yu DaiYan an extra two months just to find him. He then challenged the outlaw to a fight, and on the eleventh move, killed him with his Silence Illusory Saber. But by spending an extra two months, he now has to travel extra quickly to make it back in time for hiss master’s birthday.
Now that he is close to the sea, he sees a wide, flat area sparkling on the beach, something he has never seen before. When he asked the locals, he chuckled after hearing the response. For these are nets used to capture seawater to make salt. Yu DaiYan thinks, “I have eaten salt for over thirty years, yet never knew how they’re made.”
As he continues on his journey, Yu DaiYan sees twelve people carrying some bags on their shoulders, walking quickly. From the look of things, they’re all carrying salt. But this is more than two hundred pounds of salt each person’s carrying. Since corrupt officials like to hoard salts, it’s rare for commoners to be able to buy them through legitimate means. Salt smugglers are quite common in this area. Yu DaiYan thinks, “Wow, looks like salt smuggling is very important here. These people’s kung fu skills are quite good.” If it had been some other time, he would’ve wanted to take a closer look. But he can’t possibly miss his master’s birthday, so he ignores them. By nightfall he arrives at a small town, and settles down in the inn there.
After eating the dinner and finishes washing his feet, Yu DaiYan sees that those twelve salt smugglers also came into this inn. He ignores them, and begins to meditate using Wu Dang’s inner power. After three repetitions, he lies down and falls asleep.
At midnight, Yu DaiYan suddenly hears much noise coming from outside. He immediately gets up, only to hear someone say, “Let’s leave quietly. We don’t want to wake up our neighbor.” The rest of them open the door quietly and moves quickly outside. Yu DaiYan thinks, “They must be up to something bad to walk around at this hour. I can’t ignore this. If I save some innocent people, then it would be ok even if I miss master’s birthday,” He wraps his saber in a cloth and jumps out the window.
With footsteps as his guide, Yu DaiYan follows secretly, utilizing his lightness kung fu. There is almost no moonlight, but he can still see those twelve people running quickly in the darkness. He thinks, “With their kung fu skills, these people can easily go rob rich land owners or officials. Why do they need to settle for salt smuggling? There’s something fishy going on.” With his great lightness kung fu, Yu DaiYan manages to follow the twelve people without a sound.
After following for about an hour, they arrived at a beach. Suddenly, he hears a croaked whisper, “Are the ‘three water-dotted’* friends here?” The leader of the twelve men responds, “Yes. And you are?” Yu DaiYan ponders, “Who could these ‘three water-dotted’ people be?” He suddenly remembers, “Of course, it’s the Sea Sand sect. These three characters are all begin with three water dots.” Only to hear the croaked person say, “In my opinion, you’re better off staying away from the Dragon Saber. The leader says, “Are you here for the Dragon Saber too?” His voice carries a tinge of disbelief. The croaked man starts to laugh sinisterly, but does not respond.
*Note: Three water dots is a term used to describe a particular left side of many Chinese characters. Usually characters with the three water dots have to do with water.
Yu DaiYan moved up to get a better view, only to see that it’s a white-robed man blocking their path. Anyone who dares to wear white in the middle of the night must be extremely confident of his kung fu. That white-robed man laughs again, while the group leader yells, “Get out of our way. Unless you want to die…” Before he finished, a person suddenly yells out in pain, “Ahhhh!” and falls on the ground, dead. The white-robed man then quickly flies away.
Some members of the Sea Sand Sect want to chase after him, but they don’t know which way he went. Yu DaiYan ponders, “This man’s speed is incredible. He seemingly just used Shaolin’s ‘Golden Steel Claws’, but I can’t be sure in this darkness. From his voice, it seems like he’s from the northwestern part of China. What is he doing here?” He then hears the leader say, “Put down fourth brother. We’ll come back for him afterwards.” The rest of the members then continue on their path.
Yu DaiYan jumps out and examines the body, seeing two small holes on the person’s neck, made obviously by two fingers. He feels that there must be something important going on, and quickens his pace, following the Sea Sand Sect members.
After a while, those people begin to split up, surrounding a house. Yu DaiYan wonders, “Is that Dragon Saber they’re talking about in this house?” He then sees the people outside begin to pour salt around the house, and thinks, “Why are they pouring salt around this place? Wait till I tell this to my brothers. I bet there’s no way they’d believe me.” But then he sees that these people pour salt in a very cautious manner, as if afraid that the salt will touch them. Yu DaiYan immediately realizes what is going on. There must be poison within the salt. He’s not certain whether the people inside are good or bad, but figures that he needs to warn them regardless. In an instant, he flew towards the house.
There are many rooms in this house. But he sees that smoke is coming out of one of the rooms, so he figures that there must be someone there. When he arrives outside that room, he hears loud sound of fire, with three people standing besides a huge fireplace, with a huge saber in the middle. Those three people look to be about sixty, their faces filled with smoke. Even from afar, Yu DaiYan feels like he’s burning from the fire. He can’t believe that those people can stay that close. Yet despite the huge flames, that sword did not change its color to red, remaining black.
At this moment, he hears a croaked voice, “How dare you to mess with a precious saber. Get away from it!” Yu DaiYan realizes that it’s the white-robed man’s voice. Those three people ignore the warning, and continue to work on the saber. Only to hear a chuckle coming from the roof as the white-robed man dashed in. He looks around forty, with a pale white face. He says in a cold voice, “Long White Elders, I don’t blame you for trying to get the saber. But why try to destroy it with this fire?”