A Destiny of Sabers
The man had lifted the Thousand Illusion Monkey by the tuft of fur on its forehead, causing it to curl up into a ball, its flailing limbs vainly trying maintain an iron grip on the man’s robe. It cried out in distress, fat tears rolling out of it’s eyes, not in anger, but in supplication and obvious reluctance to leave this callous man’s embrace. As the owner, the girl naturally intuited that the monkey’s actions carried a meaning as clear as day; “Please don’t make me leave, I want to stay right here!”
“You’re not mine, so what’s the point of clinging onto me?” Yun Yang said impatiently as he tried to shake off the clingy creature. He managed to toss the monkey back to the girl which he finally noticed was dressed in green, but not before landing a solid smack across its buttocks.
The girl caught hold of the monkey purely by reflex, but before she could even get a proper grip on it, it was already squirming mightily, trying to claw it’s way back to the man. The girl quickly clamped a firm hand on it as she spoke, “Thank you young master, would it be too much to ask for the pleasure of your name?”
This man had to be either be a legendary beast trainer, or possess some sort of gem to have charmed the monkey to such an extent. As her question left her lips, she allowed her powerful senses to reach out to the man, conducting multiple delicate probes which eventually left her puzzled.
She could sense nothing at all!
His depleted cultivation base was only slightly stronger than an average person; he was no expert, and definitely not a trainer either. What then, had happened to the Thousand Illusion Monkey? For all the time that she had been taking care of it, it had never behaved as lovingly to her as it did to this total stranger.
“Not at all, I’m Yun Yang.” Yun Yang nodded.
“Since I’ve returned it to its rightful owner, I shall be taking my leave.” With that, he turned and left without a second glance, vanishing into the dark all at once without fanfare or commotion; as if he encountered fairy-like beauties and mystical beasts every other day. Normally, if such a wondrous vision had asked your name first, logic dictated that you also ask for hers in return.
However, Yun Yang was no normal man. He behaved as if being distracted by a beautiful woman would cause him to be slower, to lose focus.
The girl dressed in black continued to stare at Yun Yang’s silhouette, although it had long disappeared. Blinking rapidly, she recited softly to herself, “Yun Yang… Nineteen this year, the only son of the Empire of Yutang’s Heavenly Marquis1; he had arrived at Tiantang City 5 years ago and nothing is known of his past. Throughout that five years, only a handful of events that the young master was involved in had been documented. Was it because he stayed at home most of the time? Or was he even home at all? Although Yutang’s Heavenly Marquis had always been a mystery, his real identity should be Absolute Swordmaster Seven Stroke Death2; otherwise known in the underground martial arts scene as Yun Xiaoyao. Since when did Yun Xiaoyao have a grown-up son? That was the type of news that the world wouldn’t have missed.”
The young girl frowned, confused.
It was supposed to be normal. A son of the Heavenly Marquis. But somehow, there seemed to be a cloud of mystery around it.
It made sense in every direction but at the same time, there were also questions in every direction.
“What a strange character.” The girl shook her head and laughed, “A young lady coming to Tiantang City alone, bringing an extremely rare mystical beast’s offspring. Anyone else would have acted with malicious intent, but this guy was not fazed at all! I suppose he could be considered an odd sort of fellow. Furthermore, this Thousand Illusion Monkey that has always been aloof towards anyone was bizarrely intimate towards this young master…”
The monkey also dolefully looked towards the direction Yun Yang had left with falling tears as if saying, “Why did you abandon me? Why didn’t you bring me along? I want to follow you, I don’t want to go back to my owner!”
“This Young Master Yun…” The girl’s eyes glinted, “Looks like I’ll have to get to know him better…” Her voice was faint as she began to dissolve into the fog, becoming translucent and ethereal.
When the breeze blew and the mist dissipated, the girl was nowhere to be found.
Yun Yang had arrived back at the Residence of Yun where Lao Mei was waiting anxiously for him.
His young master had gone to the memorial ceremony alone, still bearing the pain of severe injuries. The ceremony had long ended while the night’s sky deepened to the darkest black, and yet, he still had not returned, until now.
“Young master, where have you been?”
“Why did you only return after so long?”
“It’s not a good time to be out now, it’s dangerous outside!”
Lao Mei’s complaints were ceaseless, and had yet to stop since Yun Yang first stepped foot into the house. Comforting him with some mumbled assurances, Yun Yang halted Lao Mei’s rants and entered his room impatiently, closing his door with a bang.
The first leaf of the Lotus of Endless Fate was already fully grown, and he could not wait any longer to find out what he would get. The changes in his body had buffeted him like strong winds since he had massacred the Green Snake Clan, and he was unable to stay calm or patient. To add to the delay, he had been waylaid by a mystical monkey and an equally mysterious girl. He had managed to get rid of them after some pestering, but he was already burning with impatience at that point. As soon as he entered his room, he sat down, folded his legs and delved into his subconscious mind.
Purple fog immediately enveloped him, the large lotus leaf floating in mid-air and glowing an emerald green. The vitality contained in the viridescent light would make anyone looking at it feel at ease and delighted. The energy in his subconscious then entered his meridians, making Yun Yang feel as light as a feather. The grown lotus leaf trembled twice before it dropped off the Lotus of Endless Fate, floating towards Yun Yang. He extended his arm mechanically and the leaf landed on his hand. Where the leaf originally was, a small silhouette of a leaflet appeared; it was only half the size of a palm but its veins were clear as day.
All around him, his subconscious rumbled loudly, and Yun Yang was withdrawn from it unwillingly. He was again sitting on his bed. Slowly opening his eyes in a daze, he only lowered his head to look at his hands when he felt a comfortable, cooling sensation emanating from his palm.
Yun Yang cried out in surprise. In his hand, he held the jade green lotus leaf!
The leaf, large as the table that sat in front of him, glowed softly, and a faint violet-gold sparkle could be seen glimmering in between.
Yun Yang squinted to take a closer look, and as he did, he could see rows of tiny words written on it. As he saw the words, the rows of writing lifted up from the leaf in a whirl, and turned into a pulsing golden light before entering the space between Yun Yang’s eyebrows.
“… comes out of nothing, grows into infinity… eradicates ten sinners, lotus grows in a pulse; matches the destiny, follows the heart…”
Yun Yang finally understood the mechanics of the seed.
The first leaf of the Lotus of Endless Fate could only complete its growth when ten sinners were killed and the resulting air of injustice was gathered. His first kill had been Wu Wenyuan, followed by Wang Bao and the three men. Eight more of the Green Snake Clan had also been claimed by his hand, bringing it to a total of thirteen people. That was sufficient for not only the growth of the first leaf, but for the budding of the second as well.
“… Destiny Lotus Leaf, goes with the heart; Destiny like saber, eternal saber.”
Yun Yang was deep in his thoughts, studying the lotus leaf.
This Destiny Lotus Leaf would be the first gift bestowed by the Lotus of Endless Fate. It was obvious from the literal connotations that it would turn into your heart’s desire; basically, into whatever you wanted it to become.
“Since destiny is like saber, let’s have you turn into a saber then,” Yun Yang looked at the lotus leaf gleaming in green on his palm. Being sound of mind, he was rather skeptical about how this leaf would go about turning itself into a saber of steel.
However, with the words barely out of his mouth, he could suddenly feel his hand being weighed down by an unknown object. Incredulously, he raised his arm, only to find that the lotus leaf had been replaced by a saber, gleaming with cold conviction.
The moment Yun Yang laid his eyes on it, he knew that this saber would be irrevocably his.
The entire saber was violet in color, a budding lotus formed the pommel; and the grip felt like a lotus stem with tiny bumps protruding from it. Oddly enough these bumps did not feel like a hindrance when Yun Yang held the saber; they improved his grip instead. It felt light in his tight grip and a cooling sensation emanated from the very saber itself.
He somehow knew that no matter how much blood or sweat drenched the grip, the saber would not slip from his hands as long as he held it.
The cross-guard was a small jutting oval-shaped piece with a slight concave that formed an efficient angle; it could prevent the enemy’s blood from flowing as over his hands, as well as offsetting the resistance of his strength perfectly.
The blade was icy and thin like a cicada’s wing; the fullest part of the blade was a bit thicker, the edge as long as 2 feet and 7 – 8 inches, while its point was sharp and longer than most sabers by at least two fingers’ length. The blade glittered as if all the stars of the universe had been captured in it’s mirror-like surface; it should have looked bumpy but it was smooth and shiny even upon closer scrutiny..
Streamlined and flawless, every angle of the saber was perfectly sculpted. Even with Yun Yang’s considerably complex and demanding tastes, he could not point out any flaw on the saber!
These two words blazed across Yun Yang’s mind. It could not have been formed by anything other than God’s will; it was impossible for even a master weaponsmith to forge such a perfect saber!
Divine Edge. Yes, it was certainly deserving of the name.
“Destiny like saber, saber of destiny, kill with the saber, kill for God!”
Yun Yang held the saber reverently, slowly entering his subconscious. In his mind, a figure was slowly practicing with the saber.
“Saber Truth: Destiny Blade3, Destiny’s First Form.”
“Grip the hilt in concentration, watch the injustice without emotion; those rampaging and those who sinned, Destiny Blade will show no mercy!”
“One form, two styles. First style, Merciless Saber. Second style, Merciless Dao4!”
Yun Yang felt that he had entered an intriguing martial arts world; this Saber Truth: Destiny Blade, had exceeded all of Yun Yang’s expectations of forms and styles; and it was only the first form! Yun Yang couldn’t help but imagine that if he had a sufficient cultivation base, no one in this world could escape from his saber!
It was unfortunate that his cultivation base had only recovered, at most, one-tenth of his initial cultivation base. He had to start all over again.
Time passed slowly…
Yun Yang had already memorized technical nuances of Destiny’s First Form by heart. Although it was only one form, he had to incorporate his body, mind and steps together in perfect unison for it to work.
Although Yun Yang practiced with the lotus leaf consistently in his room, he could still feel the lack of power even as he was drenched in sweat and filled with exhaustion..
“Looks like I can only practice and understand it slowly from now on.” Yun Yang sheathed his saber and thought, “I can only unleash half of the effect of this first form with my current cultivation base and it’s already taken up all of my spiritual energy… the power of Destiny’s First Form is not to be taken lightly!”
He looked at the violet saber in his hand that was glowing like the night sky and smiled gently. Slowly, he drew the blade across his wrist, letting his blood drip onto the blade. He wiped the crimson liquid across the blade, speaking softly, “Divine Edge, henceforth, you shall be my eternal partner. Allow me to banish all the injustice in this world with you in my hands!”
The battlefield was filled with blood, and fire seemed to burn bright in his eyes.. Countless warriors charged into the fight while smoke rose and flames danced across the plains.
First, the faces of his eight brothers flickered through his vision, faces that he would never forget.
Then it was the battle at Tianxuan Cliff, the event that would be forever etched in his soul.
The families of the heroes came next, the harassment and hardships that the knight’s family had faced. His vengeful aura arose, gaining strength and purpose as the memories of injustice and wrongness flashed across his eyes.
Divine Edge began to vibrate in his hand with a wild keening, and the blade pulsed with a radiant glow. It was like the constellations had fallen from the sky and landed among men, or an explosion of numerous rainbows. After some time, the blade quaked, right before sucking all the radiance of the stars and rainbows alike like a thunderous maelstrom!
1 Heavenly Marquis (天外侯, Tiānwài hóu) lit. Title: Marquis Beyond Heaven. Yun Yang’s yet-unnamed father was first mentioned as 天外云侯,Tiānwài yún hóu, which had the additional character 云, yún, which means cloud. As such, he was previously called Marquis of Heavenly Clouds. We believe that Heavenly Marquis is a more general term for a specially ranked marquis of the empire while Marquis of Heavenly Clouds is the special title assigned to Yun Yang’s father.
2 Absolute Swordmaster Seven Stroke Death (超级剑道高手七步杀生, Chāojí jiàndào gāoshǒu qī bù shāshēng) lit. Extreme Swords Expert Seven Step Kill. This name was a pain to translate. Regardless of how you play around with it, the name remains just as long. We considered removing the Absolute Swordmaster part or Seven Stroke Death part hoping it could make the name much more concise and readable. However, due to recent circumstances involving readers complaining about the inaccuracy of translations, we now try to alter as little as possible.
3 Saber Truth: Destiny Blade (天意刀法, Tiānyì dāo fǎ) lit. Heaven’s Will Saber Law.
4 First style, Merciless Saber. Second style, Merciless Dao (第一式，刀不容情。第二式，道不容情, Dì yī shì, dāo bùróng qíng. Dì èr shì, dào bùróng qíng!) Had to make a TL note for this as well, notice that the first phrase contains dāo which is the Chinese character for single-edged curved swords a.k.a. sabers. The second phrase contains dào which is what most readers understand as the concept of the Dao. Basically, the author Feng Ling Tian Xia is playing with words that are pronounced the same (except for the sound), which we are unable to convey by translating the meaning of the words.