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Weapons of the Gods (神兵玄奇; hanyupinyin: shén bīng xuán qí) is a Hong Kong comic book series by Wong Yuk Long, which began in 1996. It was translated into English by Bob Allen for Comics One. A role-playing game based on it was published by Eos Press in 2005.

The story is set during the turbulent transitional period from the Jin Dynasty to the Sixteen Kingdoms era, and follows the adventures of various pugilists as they search for the divine weapon known as Tian-Jing (天晶, lit. Heaven's Crystal). The pair of crystalline blades, crafted by the celestial goddess Nü-Wa, had been used to eradicate demons and devils during the primeval era, and was said to have been cursed by them in turn.

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There were four dominant pugilistic clans, hailing from the four cardinal directions of ancient China:

  • North : The Bei-Ming (北冥) clan, manufacturers of the best weapons in the realm, led by Bei-Ming Zheng (北冥正), an ambitious man who dreamed of becoming master of the world.
  • South : The Nan-Gong (南宫) clan, based on the Sword Island in Lake Tai, led by the well-renowned Nan-Gong Yi, who had mastered the art of the sword.
  • East : The Dong-Fang (东方) clan, which held sway over the entire coastal region of the Bo-Hai Sea, led by Dong-Fang Yi-Nian (东方一念). They operated the shipping trade, and were rich as an empire with skills as high as the clouds.
  • West : The Xi-Cheng (西城) clan, which guarded the pass between east and west. Abundant in arms, its leader, Xi-Cheng Hao (西城豪), was a rather boorish individual, though he was also highly skilled. As a clan, their people were wealthy, but arrogant & unrefined.
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In addition, the criminal underworld was dominated by the sinister Heaven-Earth Alliance (天地盟). Its countless minions had infiltrated every part of society and it was widely feared for its brutal methods, which were enforced by its mightiest members.

The prologue begins in AD 318, with the presentation of the pugilists' highest honour to Nan-Gong Yi (acknowledged as the pugilist master of the southern lands) by the Imperial Court. In the midst of the festivities, his wife, Dong-Fang Xiong (东方雄), nicknamed Heartblade (心剑), laments losing her husband's affections to his concubine, Jade Swallow (玉燕).

Proud, aloof, and shrewd, Dong-Fang Xiong was acknowledged as the most beautiful woman in the world, but because she was unable to bear Nan-Gong Yi a son, he decided to dote on Jade Swallow instead - who would indeed go on to give him a son. Although Heartblade did give birth to a son later on, her husband had become estranged from her by then, and she does not join the celebrations during the prologue.

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At the Nan-Gong great hall, Nan-Gong Yi unsheathes the Tian-Jing blades, though he was warned by Heartblade not to do so because of their curse. Inferior weapons in the vicinity shatter in the divine weapon's presence. Soon after, the Sky-Lord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance arrives to seize the Tian-Jing. He had been issued a specially crafted weapon, the Thunder Cudgel, for his mission. In the ensuing battle, the Thunder Cudgel clashes against the Tian-Jing at full force.

The result is a cataclysmic blast that devastates the entire Sword Island, killing everyone present except for a handful of survivors led by Dong-Fang Xiong. She immediately seeks out Jade Swallow, only to find that she had been buried after dying in childbirth.

A month later, a wagon driver, San-Shu, arrives at the Bei-Ming foundry in the north. At the gate, he discovers a child, Wen-Tian (问天), nursing a baby girl with blood from his finger. Despite being barely older than a toddler, Wen-Tian exhibits great inner strength.

The story itself begins 18 years after the prologue, and is told through several concurrent plots that occasionally intersect.

One plot concerns Dong-Fang Xiong reclaiming her legacy from her younger half-brother, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, after their father's death. Having suffered ignominy for being born a girl, she gathers the survivors of the Nan-Gong clan and returns to her childhood home with a vengeance, along with her grown-up son, Nan-Gong Tie-Xin.

Another plot focuses on Wen-Tian, having grown up in the Bei-Ming clan with his sister, Wen-Cai. The Bei-Ming clan is exploring the prospect of a marriage alliance with the Xi-Cheng clan, and Xi-Cheng Hao's son, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu (Great Oak), is sent to them as an emissary.

As the four greatest clans in the realm converge (East-South and West-North), the Heaven-Earth Alliance takes the opportunity to send its most powerful minions to destroy (or at least cripple) the four clans. The Master Geomancer, Zhuo Bu-Fan, had predicted the re-emergence of another powerful celestial weapon, the Hu-Po (虎魄, lit. Tiger's Soul), and the Heaven-Earth Alliance is intent on wiping out its biggest rivals so it can claim the Hu-Po for itself.

As the story develops, more divine weapons and instruments are revealed, each with unique powers. The ten greatest artefacts were not crafted by mortal hands:

  • Tian-Jing (天晶, lit. Heaven's Crystal) - A pair of 'mother-son' blades, cursed by the demons it had banished.
  • Hu-Po (虎魄, lit. Tiger's Soul) - A vampiric halberd crafted by Chi-You.
  • Shen-Nong Chi (神農尺, lit. Shen-Nong's Rule) - A jade broadsword capable of both healing and poisoning.
  • Tai-Xu (太虛, lit. Grand Void) - A single-wheeled chariot crafted by Huang-Di, which derives its strength from its user's righteousness.
  • Shen-Wu (神舞, lit. Divine Dance) - A pipa (Chinese lute) made of divine wood from Nü-Wa's arm, capable of sonic attacks as well as hypnosis.
  • Shi-Hun (噬魂, lit. Spirit Devourer) - A three-section staff crafted by Raksha, capable of dealing with spiritual creatures.
  • Feng-Huang (鳳皇, lit. Phoenix) - An axe crafted by the Great Yü that can control liquids.
  • Shi-Fang Ju-Mie (十方俱滅, lit. Tablet of Annihilation) - Made by Fu-Xi, it can manipulate time and space.
  • Jing-Xie (驚邪, lit. Evil Shocker) - A two-pronged fork created by the gods of thunder and lightning, with electric and sonic powers.
  • Tian-Zhu (天誅, lit. Heaven's Executor) - A crossbow crafted by Raksha's sister. It has nine different arrows, each with unique powers.

The story dives deep into Chinese mythology, with the presence of creatures like sentient draconic beasts.


Weapons of the Gods provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Played with, when Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin discuss the Call to Agriculture while recuperating under an old farming couple's roof. At this point, they've just survived Mount Tai's eruption, slain the Copper King, and have just escaped from Tan-Shen (after Wen-Tian was brought Back from the Dead by Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, no less). Unfortunately, Wen-Tian runs into the Silver King while searching for the Jade King and the Shen-Nong Chi...
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Wen-Tian, Niu-Lang, and Bei-Ming Xue are late to Xiang Ao-Tian's heroes' moot, having halted their journey from Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress to drive off Yan-Shen and his Fire-Worshipping Sect (who were in turn trying to capture Dong-Fang Xiong and the Master Geomancer).
    • Le-Wa, wielder of the First-Grade Weapon Shen-Wu, joins the combined expedition in the search for the Hu-Po (another First-Grade Evil Weapon) when they're in the midst of navigating the traps at the base of Mount Tai itself.
    • Tie-Xin is the last major character to join the Evil Emperor, long after Niu-Lang and Prince Gu have pledged themselves to him.
    • The Tian-Zhu is revealed well into the second half of the story, when the Lord of the Raksha Sect confronts the Evil Emperor over his abduction of Wen-Cai.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Most of the First-Grade Weapons, naturally; they're all divinely crafted, and greater than any mortal weapon. They carve through inferior weapons (and people) like hot knives through butter.
    • Special mention goes to the Shen-Nong Chi, which, while being a blunt, ruler-shaped sword, is powerful enough to cleanly lop off the top of Xiong-Yan Wang's skull!
      • It can even bisect a human body, as the Jade King fatally finds out later on.
    • Even Second-Grade Weapons can be this, depending on the strength of their targets. Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin both use their Second-Grade Weapons early in the story to devastating effect against some Mooks.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • Wen-Tian's left arm has been implanted with a pearl that came from within the Tian-Jing, the greatest First-Grade Weapon. It grants his arm (and the rest of his body, to a lesser extent) extreme strength, durability & endurance, but over-using it drains his stamina to the point where he falls into a comatose sleep for hours at a time.
    • After Xiong-Yan Wang's monstrous makeover, he becomes impervious to pain, but can no longer realise when he's sustained grievous injuries in battle, causing him to dangerously over-extend himself several times.
    • Having grown up in the seafaring Eastern Clan, fire is this to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian. Fortunately for him, the Shi-Hun is powerful enough to deal with the Fire-Worshipping Sect's flame traps.
  • Action Dad: Nan-Gong Yi, Bei-Ming Zheng, and the Jade King. Also Zhuo Bu-Fan, on account of being Tie-Xin's true father.
  • Action Girl: Plenty: Dong-Fang Xiong, Tie-Xin (though she's disguised as a guy for the first major arc), Le-Wa, and the Phoenix Queen for the heroes (even Bei-Ming Xue gets her share of action). Du Zi-Wei and Nie Hong-Luan represent the villains, along with a couple of other supporting characters.
  • Action Prologue: A Superweapon-fuelled class 1 Apocalypse How. Yeah...
  • Adult Fear: Goodness, the series is heavy on this:
    • Watching your (admittedly estranged) husband and almost his entire clan get wiped out by a First-Grade Weapon-mediated nuclear explosion (in the very first book, no less!)
    • Watching your daughter die in childbirth as a result of the above explosion, and subsequently having to hide your grandson and newly-born granddaughter in the clan of your (again, estranged) cousin, because your son-in-law's first wife may kill your grandchildren out of spite (once again, we're still only in the first book).
    • Having your only daughter kidnapped by a brutal, sadistic warlord, while you and your son are too badly injured from a protracted battle to give chase.
    • Knowing that your cruel boss will put your entire family to the sword after you've betrayed him...and arriving too late to save them. Worse still, finding out that said execution has been carried out by your old friend (who is under the same employ of said boss).
    • Being forced to flee from a volcanic eruption (again, caused by First-Grade Weapons going haywire in battle), becoming separated from your badly-injured child in the process.
    • Realising that your cherished younger sister has disappeared somewhere without telling you, along with the First-Grade Weapon that you had entrusted to her.
  • Affably Evil:
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, while a brutal and mighty warrior in his own right, is rather polite to his (comparatively trash-mouthed) underlings...at least while they remain subservient to him...
    • Xiang Ao-Tian, The Mole from the Raksha Sect, is charismatic enough to host the heroes of all 4 major clans under his roof (before they all make the final trip to Mount Tai to obtain the Hu-Po) without anyone suspecting him.
  • Affectionate Nickname: As per Chinese customs, elder family members often address their descendants with these.
    • Some siblings/cousins/friends, and even Bash Brothers may also use these on occasion.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Xiong-Yan Wang meets a particularly nasty end via the Hu-Po, delivered by his rival in the Heaven-Earth Alliance, Yan-Shen, no less. This, after he's suffered through a Humiliation Conga spanning multiple books where not even his "upgraded" body could save him. Granted, he was a brutal and sadistic warlord, but a brief flashback shows that he came from an abusive family, and his mother starved herself to death to feed him.
    • On a similar note, three of Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors undergo a Heel–Face Turn due to a mix of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal and the hope that Wen-Tian will be able to deliver them from their cruel master's clutches. Considering how they were basically raised (and abused) from birth to be unquestioning servants, it's a sad moment when all three eventually bite the dust...at the hands of their master and their still-loyal comrades, no less.
  • Alien Blood: As a result of his gruesome body modification, Xiong-Yan Wang's blood turns a sickly green.
    • Chi-You’s lieutenants also have strange blood colours like blue & purple.
  • All According to Plan: The villains are full of this:
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance brings the Jade King (one of his lesser underlings) to Chi-You's Labyrinth, telling him that there's "something important" inside that only he can draw out. Turns out, he was really after the dragons that dwelt within (and had previously evaded him). The Jade King's gentle nature endeared him to the beasts, causing them to let their guard down just in time for the Overlord to get the drop on them and slaughter them to drink their magic blood.
    • After realising that Xiong-Yan Wang is too strong to compete against (after his body upgrade), Yan-Shen pretends to abandon his quest for the Hu-Po (entrusting his underlings in the Fire-Worshipping Sect to Xiong-Yan Wang, no less), only to infiltrate the Mount Tai expedition incognito. He reveals himself once Xiong-Yan Wang is too badly wounded during the initial tussle over the Hu-Po, and snatches the First-Grade Weapon for himself.
    • If the Lord of the Raksha Sect is to be believed, he sent Yan-Shen to conquer the other clans solo, knowing full well that he would fail (Bei-Ming Zheng & Nan-Gong Yi saw to that), and switch allegiances to the Heaven-Earth Alliance...all so he could keep tabs on the Alliance's Overlord.
    • On the heroes' side, Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin decide to fake bickering Like an Old Married Couple when they realize they can't beat Tan-Shen and his Mooks, eventually tricking him into thinking that Le-Wa (his martial arts student) has actually fallen in love with Wen-Tian. Thanks to this, he decides to keep Wen-Tian alive so that Le-Wa can meet him again, and orders Tie-Xin to lead them to her!
  • All Are Equal in Death: When a First-Grade Weapon (or Weapons, if you're that unlucky) goes haywire, or gets unleashed at full power, indiscriminate death usually follows - even the weapon-bearers aren't exempt!
  • All for Nothing: The heroes' quest for the Hu-Po ends with the villainous Yan-Shen seizing it from right under their noses, fending off no less than three other First-Grade Weapons (the Shen-Nong Chi, the Tai-Xu, and the Shen-Wu), massive casualties on their side (including several supporting characters), and the survivors being separated when Mount Tai erupts in a volcano.
    • In spite of all her efforts, Dong-Fang Xiong's quest to keep The Remnant of the Southern Clan independent falls apart when it gets absorbed into the Eastern Clan. To add insult to injury, she ends up crippled by the Shi-Hun (thanks to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian), and can only act as the combined clans' spokesperson in the end.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Dong-Fang Yi-Nian does this twice, first rampaging through the Fire-Worshipping Sect's hideout, then forcefully taking over the Miao Kingdom while the heroes are off in search of the Feng-Huang's missing segment.
  • Always Save the Girl:
    • The very first quest that Wen-Tian embarks on is to save Bei-Ming Xue, his love interest (and daughter of the Northern Clan's leader, Bei-Ming Zheng). Granted, he has the army of the Northern Clan behind him, along with elite warriors from the Western Clan, but he's the main driving force.
      • Of note, among the Western Clan's elite warriors is Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, son of the Western Clan's leader Xi-Cheng Hao, and Bei-Ming Xue's aspiring boyfriend.
      • A second, but no less important goal of Wen-Tian's is to find the Shen-Nong Chi, so he can use its healing magic to heal his sister's (and adoptive father's) wounds.
    • Some of Yan-Shen's Mooks exploit this to lure Tie-Xin into a trap. It goes badly for them once the ruse is discovered.
    • During the battle for the Hu-Po, Le-Wa attempts to teasingly invoke this on Chaste Hero Tie-Xin, much to the latter's chagrin.
    • After (mistakenly) believing that Bei-Ming Xue has betrayed him, Wen-Tian still saves her and her brother from the Copper King (Tie-Xin being in danger also helps him along). He stops there though, and refuses to undo their bonds or take them back home.
    • Once Wen-Tian starts to develop feelings for Tie-Xin, he starts showing this toward her. This extends to the Sequel Hook where he declares his intention to save her from the Evil Emperor.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu also ends up doing this to Le-Wa due to his righteous and heroic nature. This eventually gets their relationship going.
  • Always Someone Better: Happens frequently, as characters' skills and powers change along with their weapons. Wen-Tian in particular shows up several other cocky martial artists (including Tie-Xin) in the early books, as they underestimate him because he's a relatively young nobody.
    • Wen-Tian also amazes Bei-Ming Zheng and Wu-Fa Shen-Seng when he learns their (relatively complex) martial arts in mere hours, rather than the years it had taken them.
    • Tan-Shen prides himself on his speed an agility. Underwater, however, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian is the faster swimmer.
    • The Silver King is quick to brag about the Heaven-Earth Alliance to Tan-Shen, but the latter was Yan-Shen’s equal back in the Raksha Sect, and isn’t intimidated in the slightest (especially with the Shi-Hun in hand). He goes on to hand the Silver King a swift defeat.
    • As Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, Emperor Yan is plenty strong enough, but the Lord of the Raksha Sect is more than a match for him.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Limbs just don't last long against First-Grade Weapons (and that's assuming the rest of the body doesn't get diced/blown up!). Even Second-Grade Weapons can invoke this, depending on their target's strength.
    • Nü-Wa sacrificed her left arm and both of her legs to create the Tian-Jing in ages past. Fortunately, her giant pet snake sacrifices itself to merge with her, turning her into a medusa-like being.
    • Niu-Lang manages to cut off Gu-Gang’s right arm with his bare hands, shortly before killing him.
    • The Shi-Fang Ju-Mie is made from the amputated limbs of Fu-Xi’s celestial steed, a dragon-horse.
  • An Axe to Grind: One of the First-Grade Weapons, Feng-Huang, is a phoenix-shaped axe that can control water and other fluids, and (fittingly) revive the dead.
    • Prince Gu's weapon of choice is this, and it's also a Second-Grade Weapon.
  • And I Must Scream: Raksha (the deity to whom the Raksha Sect is devoted) is a Sealed Evil in a Can, trapped by magical wards in some far-flung jungle without his First-Grade Weapon, the Shi-Hun. As an immortal, he's unable to die of natural causes, but he's stuck there until someone can free him. Until then, he can do nothing but Rage Against the Heavens.
    • Chi-You is trapped in the secret chamber within his own labyrinth as a wraith-like spirit, waiting for his Hu-Po to re-emerge from Mount Tai so that it can be used to open the chamber. At least he has the Flower Goddess in there with him...
  • And the Adventure Continues: Thanks to the Sequel Hook at the end of the series.
  • Animal Motifs: Yan-Shen's martial arts stances each invoke an Animal Battle Aura, from mundane ones like a tortoise, elephant, and ape, to mythical beasts like Chinese dragons. Likewise, Dong-Fang Xiong's swordplay is visually symbolised by a giant golden phoenix. This makes for awesome splash pages when the two of them clash.
    • The three Second-Grade Weapons of the Southern Clan follow this: Tie-Xin's sword is named "Silver Eagle", and has an eagle's head for a pommel; Dong-Fang Xiong's sword is named "Golden Phoenix", and has a phoenix's head for its pommel and phoenix wings as a cross-guard; Nan-Gong Yi's sword is named "Dragon", but breaks the pattern by not really incorporating visual elements of a Chinese dragon.
    • The Feng-Huang (lit. "phoenix"). The phoenix's head and neck form the shoulder and eye, while its wings form the bit. This results in a rather awesome looking bit that's segmented into interlocking bladed feathers.
    • Interestingly, the Phoenix Queen's Battle Aura isn't actually a phoenix, but the golden silkworm species that she and her people had experimented on in the past (and incorporated into their culture).
  • Annoying Arrows: Zigzagged. One of the Western Clan's elite guard is a powerful archer, but Wen-Tian is sufficiently enhanced by the Tian-Jing Pearl that he can shrug off two arrows to the chest and power through to whoop his ass. That being said, it's later revealed that Wen-Tian did indeed get hurt, and was just barely keeping things together to finish the fight. Thankfully, the Shen-Nong Chi takes care of his wounds quickly enough.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Tie-Xin becomes one for Zhuo Bu-Fan, after joining the Evil Emperor.
  • Anti-Hero: As much as the narrative labels them as "heroes", lots of them are self-serving, and aren't above scheming to get what they want (e.g. Bei-Ming Zheng, Dong-Fang Xiong, and the Phoenix Queen), or are too brutal and ruthless (e.g. Tie-Xin). This is contrasted by the outright traditional, virtuous heroes like Wen-Tian and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Some of the older/more learned characters speak this way. The narrative also appears to use grand, poetic Mandarin Purple Prose when describing people & places.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Gleefully defied: after the Tian-Jing's explosion decimates the Southern Clan, the other three clans react to the power vacuum by threatening to annex and divide up what remains of its territory! Preventing this is one of Dong-Fang Xiong & Tie-Xin's goals.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1, when the Tian-Jing explodes in the prologue and takes much of the Southern Clan along with it. This creates a power vacuum that the other three major clans are more than keen to fill. As its last descendants, it falls to Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin to preserve its legacy, and this is their primary driving motivation early on.
    • Chi-You threatens a Class 4/5 when he loses his patience against the heroes (and Emperor Yan). Thankfully, the Flower Goddess talks him out of it.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Having been coerced into joining the Heaven-Earth Alliance by its Overlord, Niu-Lang apologises to Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Wu-Fa Shen-Seng before siccing Chi-You’s lieutenants on them.
  • Arc Words: Early on, the Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan predicts that the bearer of the Hu-Po will have the character "Tian" (lit. sky) in their name. Multiple contenders emerge as the word is repeated over the course of the story (including Wen-Tian himself).
    • Comes up again in Bei-Ming Zheng's Backstory, where the previous Master Geomancer (Zhuo Bu-Fan's teacher) foretold that the only way for him to escape his dark fate was to find a person with the character "Tian" in their name. This spurs him to name Wen-Tian as his clan's champion.
    • Exploited again, when the Master Geomancer convinces the Phoenix Queen to spare Wen-Tian's life by justifying that a person with the character "Tian" in their name (notice a pattern here?) is needed to locate the Feng-Huang's missing segment.
  • Arrogant God vs. Raging Monster: For a given definition of "god", but the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance's fight with the magic dragons of Chi-You's Labyrinth gives off this vibe.
    • Again, for a given definition of "monster", but the Overlord's confrontation with a mutated Niu-Lang later on (however brief) also has shades of this.
  • Artifact of Doom: The First-Grade Weapons are sometimes treated as such, with Zhuo Bu-Fan (correctly) predicting that unveiling the Tian-Jing in the prologue will lead to a cataclysm for the Southern Clan. The Hu-Po gleefully follows suit later on.
    • The First-Grade Weapons are this for another reason: carrying around such powerful weapons inevitably attracts attention, often of the unwanted kind.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Taken to its logical extreme, with internal energy manifesting in supernatural ways during combat. Love it or hate it, it's all part of the wuxia genre.
  • Artistic License – Physics: As above, in full manhua glory. Par the course for an wuxia story, really.
  • Asshole Victim: Another way of looking at Xiong-Yan Wang's death. Though some of the heroes are stunned at the sheer brutality of it (courtesy of Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po), he really wasn't a pleasant guy by any stretch of the imagination. See Bad Boss, Body Horror, Cold-Blooded Torture, Disproportionate Retribution, and You Have Failed Me below.
    • The womanizing Prince Gu falls for Tie-Xin the moment he meets her, but quickly veers into Murder the Hypotenuse territory when her Undying Loyalty to Wen-Tian is made clear. Crazy Jealous Guy that he is, he offers to bring the couple to meet his mother, the Phoenix Queen, in order to have her heal Wu-Fa Shen-Seng. While there, the queen slips Tie-Xin a love potion, and secretly infects Wen-Tian with one of her golden silkworms. Despite her advice to take it slow, the prince stalks the trio after they leave, and triggers the love potion early to take advantage of Tie-Xin. When Wen-Tian intervenes, he activates the golden silkworm inside him as well. However, his impatience and lack of skills fails to incapacitate the heroes, and they triple-team him and drag him back to his mother to demand an explanation.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: How the Heaven-Earth Alliance is run, in a nutshell. Also tends to happen at the highest echelons of the other large clans/sects.
  • Ass-Kicking Pose: Wouldn't be an wuxia story without plenty of these. Even Wu-Fa Shen-Seng's yoga arts get their screen time when Wen-Tian uses them.
  • Astral Projection:
    • The Silver King can do this with one of his techniques. He uses it on himself and the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance to watch the duel between Wen-Tian and the Gold King in Chi-You's Labyrinth.
    • Fu-Xi’s advanced martial arts are shown to grant him this power.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Wen-Tian does this early on, disarming Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and then one of Xiong-Yan Wang's lieutenants by shattering their weapons with a single strike to their structural weak spots. Apparently, the Tian-Jing pearl allows him to perceive such weak points.
    • Chi-You was apparently wounded at the nape of his neck before his death in the Backstory, an injury that was somehow carried over after his resurrection. Tie-Xin attempts a quick takedown by attacking it, but unfortunately fails.
  • Aura Vision: Highly-skilled martial artists are able to sense all sorts, from a foe's killing intent to their Battle Aura, as well as the relative power of their weapons.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Tie-Xin literally translates into "iron heart", and reflects a cold, haughty, and merciless attitude in battle. Yan-Shen literally means "god of fire", and he's more than willing to make a dramatic entrance wreathed in flames (which also extend to his combat style).
    • Being an wuxia manhua, plenty of other names can be seen as this, once translated and viewed with their original Chinese context.
  • Ax-Crazy: The wielders of the Hu-Po and the Shi-Hun tend to go this way, as they're Driven to Madness by the Evil Weapon.
  • Back from the Dead: Not quite on the level of the Feng-Huang later on, but Wen-Tian uses the Shen-Nong Chi's healing magic to do this to one of Xiong-Yan Wang's Mooks who had done a Heel–Face Turn (and was promptly killed by his former master for it).
    • Later on, the monk Wu-Fa Shen-Seng does this to Wen-Tian, who had died from severe internal injuries.
    • When the Feng-Huang is finally completed, it automatically unleashes a phoenix-shaped (of course) avatar that resurrects Chi-You, along with all the demons that had died along with him.
  • Badass Boast: Plenty, from just about any and every Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. Whether they can back it up varies greatly.
  • Badass in Distress: Niu-Lang is defeated by Xiong-Yan Wang as he attempts to save Bei-Ming Xue all by himself during a chance encounter, and ends up in the same dungeon as her. Later, after both of them escape, he's too badly injured to continue on through the sewers, and Bei-Ming Xue has to help him along. He gets better after a bit, though.
    • Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan ends up as this after a duel with Crazy-Prepared Mad Scientist Jue Tian-Ji. Dong-Fang Xiong rescues him after being tipped off by his disciples, though.
    • The Fire-Worshipping Sect later manages to capture Zhuo Bu-Fan (again), Dong-Fang Xiong, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, Le-Wa, and three of the supporting cast in one fell swoop, thanks to a combination of Du Zi-Wei's poison smoke and all the heroes being too worn out by their fight against the Gold King and his lieutenants.
      • After the Fire-Worshipping Sect is driven from their hideout by Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, all of them and the heroes who've been taken prisoner are then captured by the Phoenix Queen.
  • Bad Boss: Xiong-Yan Wang, oh so much. From treating his hybrid warriors like crap, to swearing bloody murder/torture upon anyone in sight whenever he loses his temper, his minions follow him out of fear more than anything else.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: For the first major story arc, at least: Yan-Shen beats the heroes and gets the Hu-Po for himself.
  • Bad Vibrations: Earthquakes (and later, a volcanic eruption), which are foretold by Zhuo Bu-Fan as heralds of the Hu-Po's appearance.
    • Happens again when tremors rock Chi-You’s Labyrinth after Yan-Shen attempts to unlock the secret chamber with the Hu-Po.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the magic dragons in Chi-You's Labyrinth come under attack by giant serpents, the Jade King despairs when one of the baby dragons gets caught by its tail. Suddenly, a blast of energy kills the snake, and the Jade King breathes a sigh of relief...only to realise that it was the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance who had killed the snake, just so he could kill the baby dragon and drink its blood.
    • During Dong-Fang Xiong's first battle with Yan-Shen, she's forced to use a large amount of her internal energy to keep up with him, causing the ground under them to tremble and crack...only it's an earthquake heralding the emergence of the Hu-Po, instead of her own powers.
    • When Xiong-Yan Wang accosts Wen-Tian after his body upgrade, he alarmingly shatters the Shen-Nong Chi with a single punch. It's played for drama to show just how much stronger he has become, but then it's soon revealed that it was a fake, and the real Shen-Nong Chi has been stolen by Xiong-Yan Wang.
    • When the Gold King manages to snatch the Tai-Xu from Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, he's quick to demand the latter kneel before him. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu abruptly falls to his knees in apparent compliance...only for everyone else on the battlefield to collapse as well, because of Du Zi-Wei's poison gas.
      • When Du Zi-Wei subsequently trash-talks the Gold King, he unexpectedly stands up & dares her to make a move against him. Alarmed, she and her underlings prepare for a fight...only for the Gold King to drop to the ground again as the poison takes full effect.
    • When a new Second-Grade Weapon is revealed in a blacksmith's shop, it's treated with the expected fanfare, including Wen-Tian unleashing a Pillar of Light when he channels his internal energy through it. Prince Gu strongarms the blacksmith (actually his father) into giving it to him after he refuses to sell it to Wen-Tian, and then offers it to Tie-Xin in the hopes of gaining her affections. Tie-Xin refuses to take it for free, and pays with a gold leaf that Dong-Fang Xiong had given her. The Second-Grade Weapon is played up as Tie-Xin's new weapon when she uses it to great effect against the Silver King...only for it to be shattered by the Shi-Hun in the very next book.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Thanks to the Tian-Jing's pearl in his left arm, Wen-Tian can basically pull this off. Whether the armour/clothing on his left arm survives intact is another matter.
    • The usual example is done by the Gold King, as he catches Prince Gu's axe between his palms. It works because of the Gold King's Made of Iron ability, and because axe's bit is big enough for his palms to avoid the actual cutting edge. To his credit, Prince Gu manages to yank his weapon free.
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance manages to do this to the freaking Hu-Po, when Yan-Shen (predictably) turns on him. Goes to show just how powerful he really is.
    • Bolstered by the dragon flesh and blood in Chi-You's Labyrinth, the Phoenix Queen is able to do this to one of Chi-You's lieutenants, and would've killed him if not for Niu-Lang's plea.
  • Bathos: Rarely, which makes the moments stand out even more:
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu scoffs at Zhuo Bu-Fan's recommended precautions before the heroes set out for Mount Tai, preferring to place his trust fully in the Tai-Xu (as it is the Hu-Po's supposed rival). While the expedition is preparing to leave, he angrily hits his horse, which has been resisting all his attempts to mount it. In its panic, the horse defecates, and the force of Xi-Chen Xiu-Shu's strike propels the turd into the air and onto his head.
      • To make matters funnier, the rather-Literal-Minded Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu actually mistakes the turd on his head as one of Zhuo Bu-Fan's portents, and immediately pledges to follow his prescribed precautions!
    • While Tie-Xin is grieving over a recently-deceased Wen-Tian, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng arrives to heal him. His sudden appearance alarms her (he had secretly tunnelled under Tan-Shen and his Mooks to reach them), and she asks if he is a deity. He flatly replies that a deity would not need to dig a tunnel to reach them!
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Zhuo Bu-Fan ends up on both the giving and receiving ends early in the story:
      • He captures Yin Yi-Ma, one of Yan-Shen's spies who has been tracking the combined East and South Clan army, who reveals the Fire-Worshipping Sect's base of operations in the region after some interrogation - only the base is a trap, and is laced with volatile gas that the sect's Mooks ignite with flaming barrels.
      • Zhuo Bu-Fan evades the flames with his two disciples by burrowing underground, leading their commander, Jue Tian-Ji (a Mad Scientist Expy) to think that they've perished - when he ventures forth to search for their corpses, the Master Geomancer erupts from underground, revealing that he had purposely entered the trap in order to draw Jue Tian-Ji out.
      • In the fight that ensues, Jue Tian-Ji reveals that the rather large & ornate litter he's been riding in is actually a diabolical contraption with multiple traps (which Zhuo Bu-Fan had already suspected), and reveals that he was initially expecting the Master Geomancer to survive - all so he could capture him alive.
      • Zhuo Bu-Fan does indeed get captured, and Jue Tian-Ji goes on to use him as bait to draw out his lover (and cousin) Dong-Fang Xiong - she manages to break out of the infernal contraption and rescue Zhuo Bu-Fan, but the whole setup has been a trap to lure both of them into Yan-Shen's clutches. Only the timely arrival of Wen-Tian (and an earthquake) saves them.
    • Prince Gu pulls one soon after his introduction. He offers to bring Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin to a weapon-smith to get some new weapons. Unfortunately, none are strong enough to survive Wen-Tian's great internal energy, and the weapon-smith gets so pissed that he takes out a Second-Grade Weapon to prove that his wares aren't all crap. However, it's actually a ploy by Prince Gu to strong-arm the weapon-smith (his father) into giving it to him, and he uses his own birthday as an excuse when his father refuses to sell it to Wen-Tian.
      • Prince Gu then offers the Second-Grade Weapon freely to Tie-Xin (who still hasn't gotten a weapon for herself), hoping to buy her affections. She, in turn, manages to deflect his advances by properly bartering for the weapon with a gold leaf that she has.
  • Battle Couple: Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, naturally. Dong-Fang Xiong and Zhuo Bu-Fan get this as well, on the rare occasions when the Master Geomancer decides to get his hands dirty.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa eventually grow into this as their relationship blossoms.
    • The gods of thunder & lightning are this, wielding the separate components of the Jing-Xie.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. When Dong-Fang Xiong takes action, how dishevelled she gets is in direct proportion to the threat she's facing. Even then, she emerges from the chaos of the Hu-Po incident without a single wound. Notably, she's shown battered and bruised after Dong-Fang Yi-Nian breaks all of her limbs with the Shi-Hun.
    • Played more straight with Bei-Ming Xue. Despite being captured (and nearly raped) by Xiong-Yan Wang, escaping through a blood and offal-filled sewer with Niu-Lang, and then falling into a cave before the Jade King finds them, her complexion stays perfect.
    • Likewise with Le-Wa. Aside from the usual Blood from the Mouth when she gets injured in the battle for the Hu-Po, her face & hair remain pristine.
    • Once Tie-Xin is revealed to be a girl, this kicks in.
    • The Phoenix Queen also stays clean and pretty (aside from the usual Blood from the Mouth, of course), even when her outfit gets shredded in her fight against Dong-Fang Yi-Nian.
  • Berserk Button: Goodness, where do we start?
    • We are quickly shown that even teasing Bei-Ming Xue is enough for her to throw a tremendous tantrum (as expected of a Spoiled Brat). Double your pain if she goes the extra mile and activates her Mind over Matter ability.
    • Suggesting that Tie-Xin will lose a fight, or else calling for a withdrawal while he's in earshot. The Master Geomancer is also this for Tie-Xin at first, as his arrival inadvertently interrupts a Combat by Champion that Tie-Xin was confident of winning. It gets worse when Tie-Xin catches him in bed with his mother, Dong-Fang Xiong!
      • Things get even worse between them when Tie-Xin catches Zhuo Bu-Fan getting it on with the Phoenix Queen later on...
    • Wen-Tian quickly becomes one for Xiong-Yan Wang after defeating him and claiming the Shen-Nong Chi.
    • Insulting Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu to his face - most people just end up judging him in their own minds, but Wen-Tian just can't keep his mouth shut.
    • Do not harm Wen-Cai, or Wen-Tian's left arm will start glowing green...and will probably be in your face moments later.
    • Also, Bei-Ming Lei's Can't Catch Up inferiority complex when he starts thinking about how his father went so far as to name Wen-Tian (a lowly orphan as far as his upbringing is concerned) their clan's champion, teach him their family's martial arts (which he couldn't even master), and might go even further and betroth him to his sister.
    • Do not look down on Dong-Fang Xiong because she's a woman or threaten the remaining legacy of the Southern Clan, or she'll do an Honor Before Reason and hunt you down, even at the risk of her own life.
    • Once Chaste Hero Tie-Xin is revealed to actually be a girl in disguise, the narrative explains that she was taught to kill on sight anyone who discovered her secret. This causes Wen-Tian no small amount of trouble when she finds out that he treated her chest wound while she was unconscious. Fortunately, she defrosts and gets over it (somewhat).
    • The Jade King seems to be one for the Silver King, because he foiled the latter's ploy to use voodoo to one-up the Gold King in a duel some time in the past.
    • When a famished Niu-Lang stumbles upon a stash of dragon meat and blood (squirrelled away by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance) and begins to feast, he doesn't realise that it was all harvested from the little Jade Dragon's mother. When the little critter realises what is happening, it straight-up attacks him.
    • Denying Prince Gu the woman he fancies is an easy way to piss him off. Unfortunately for him, the woman is Tie-Xin, and her man is Wen-Tian...
    • Chi-You really really hates the Tai-Xu, as it was the weapon responsible for his death in the Backstory. After his resurrection, he goes straight for Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu because of this.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When Tie-Xin, still injured after the Hu-Po incident, is disarmed and defeated by the Copper King, she decides to bite her own tongue before he can have his way with her. Thankfully, Wen-Tian puts a stop to that.
    • Comes up again when the pair are accosted by Tan-Shen and his lieutenants. When Tan-Shen simply brushes off Tie-Xin's suicide threat and states that her corpse would make for a beautiful Dead Guy on Display, she demands Wen-Tian destroy her body after she's dead!
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Wen-Cai may behave immaturely and be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander at times, but she’s the mortal incarnation of Nü-Wa, Chinese mythology’s creation goddess.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Chi-You is so powerful that he manages to use the Hu-Po to outright shatter the Shen-Wu and the Shen-Nong Chi.
  • Big Bad: The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, for the first half of the story at least. The Evil Emperor takes over later.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Subverted. The forest battle between the combined North & West Clans and Xiong-Yan Wang's army looks like this on the surface, but turns into quite the one-sided massacre when Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors take the field, ripping through regular soldiers like wet tissue paper.
    • To make matters worse, Bei-Ming Lei is content to sit back and let them die so he can declare their expedition a failure and leave Wen-Tian for dead (he had gone ahead to infiltrate Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress in order to rescue Bei-Ming Lei).
    • Bei-Ming Lei only takes action when Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and his retinue refuse to sit idly by any longer, but even then he eagerly calls a retreat the moment Xiong-Yan Wang appears (battered and defeated by Wen-Tian, no less).
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Several characters are "inspired" by the Hu-Po to Take Over the World (including Niu-Lang). Unfortunately, they're not going anywhere while the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is still alive.
    • Niu-Lang does get a brief chance to shine when he bests Emperor Yan (who was disguised as the aforementioned Overlord), but is then subjugated by the Evil Emperor once he’s revived.
  • Big Brother Instinct: And how. Wen-Tian swears bloody revenge when his little sister, Wen-Cai, gets inadvertently injured in the first battle with Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors, and has to be reminded to cool down and take prisoners (for interrogation) by Bei-Ming Zheng. This kicks in again when Wen-Cai gets kidnapped by the Evil Emperor after his revival.
    • Bei-Ming Lei seems to have this toward his younger sister Bei-Ming Xue, but it's more of a My Sister Is Off-Limits! situation regarding Wen-Tian (whom he perceives as a lowly orphan), rather than any concern for her safety. Heck, he even rationalises that Xiong-Yan Wang will not kill her after kidnapping her because he wants her for ransom/parley, as he's in no shape to take on the entire Northern Clan again!
    • A cousin variant with Zhuo Bu-Fan and Dong-Fang Xiong. He'll always look out for her safety, as evidenced by him secretly tailing the South-East Clans as they journey to Mount Tai. He even goes so far as to capture one of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's spies, Yin Yi-Ma, and attempts to destroy their base of operations to stop them from hounding the expedition.
      • Kicks in again (no pun intended) when Dong-Fang Xiong verbally assaults the Phoenix Queen. The Master Geomancer is forced to fake loyalty to the hotheaded queen, and rebukes Dong-Fang Xiong (including actually hitting her) so that the Phoenix Queen won't kill her with her poison.
      • Makes even more sense when it's revealed that both of them are also Kissing Cousins. Tie-Xin is actually their daughter!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Especially common when the heroes team up. Special mention goes to the fight for the Hu-Po, where the heroes keep bailing each other out against Yan-Shen in a martial arts roulette.
    • Even the villains get in on this, when the greater warlords arrive to aid their underlings against the heroes. Xiong-Yan Wang even gets an inadvertent version of this, when his mere appearance is enough to send Dirty Coward Bei-Ming Lei packing; he wasn't even planning on joining the fight, and was actually just planning to consolidate his remaining forces after losing to Wen-Tian and the Shen-Nong Chi!
    • Whenever the Pint-Sized Powerhouse that is the little Jade Dragon joins a fight, expect it to do this. Frequently.
  • Big Damn Kiss: When Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin eventually take their relationship to the next level...even though they're Tan-Shen's prionsers at the time.
  • Big Entrance: Whenever a major character (and even some of the more prominent supporting cast) gets introduced, expect big splash pages with their names (and titles, if any) in big, bold fonts.
  • Bigger Stick: The First-Grade Weapons, of course.
  • Big Good: Not a character per se, but a weapon: the Tian-Jing is said to be the greatest, even among the First-Grade Weapons, and is portrayed as a force for justice.
    • Wen-Tian does eventually evolve into this, over the course of the story.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Of a sort. As the manhua was written in Hong Kong, some expressions make more sense in Cantonese, as they're meant to be slangs in the dialect.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the better to set up the Sequel Hook. The Evil Emperor backs down and departs, but takes Tie-Xin, Niu-Lang, and Wen-Cai with him. Wen-Tian becomes the new Lord of the pugilistic world, but the Northern Clan has been left in ruins by the Evil Emperor’s rampage.
  • Blade on a Stick: Bei-Ming Zheng wields one, and it's powerful enough to be a Second-Grade Weapon. His son, Bei-Ming Lei, uses a plain, inferior version.
    • In the Heaven-Earth Alliance, the Gold King uses a staff with a crescent-shaped blade on one end, and an ornate mace-head on the other, while the Copper King uses some kind of giant halberd.
  • Blatant Lies: When the Silver King says that he won't kill them if they come quietly, the Jade King tells Niu-Lang that he's actually a sadist, and cannot be trusted.
  • Blinded by the Light: One of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's elites has a small shield with this function. It gets used to limited effect on Dong-Fang Yi-Nian.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: Outright portrayed and stated in the narrative (and there's even a specific Mandarin phrase for it!), whenever a character drives themselves to their limits in battle.
    • Played for horror when the Tian-Jing explodes in the prologue, killing its bearer Nan-Gong Yi (leader of the Southern Clan), and his opponent.
    • Also happens to the Master Geomancer, when he attempts a dangerous divining ritual to obtain information about the circumstances surrounding the Hu-Po's emergence. Dong-Fang Xiong lends her help (or her sword, rather) for the last leg, and Zhuo Bu-Fan eventually succeeds.
  • Blood from the Mouth: It's an wuxia story. This happens in spades whenever internal injuries are sustained. Makes one wonder if the characters are all Overdrawn at the Blood Bank.
  • Blood Knight: In the Heaven-Earth Alliance, the only ones who don't appear to be this are the Silver King (who's more of a conniving, underhanded fighter), and the Jade King (who isn't really interested in fighting to begin with).
  • Bloodless Carnage: Done very very rarely, most often in zoomed-out shots when smaller amounts of blood don't really show up anyway.
  • Book-Ends: Quite literally: the first and last books both depict Wen-Tian on the cover, wielding the Tian-Jing in the same pose.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Plenty. Nearly all the major characters, hero and villain alike, are stronger than their retinue.
  • Body Horror:
    • Xiong-Yan Wang's body-modification experiments involve bucket-loads of this. His laboratories are even styled to mimic the traditional Taoist hell, with innocent people being tortured For Science!, and red-robed acolytes keeping records. Worst of all are his hybridisation experiments, where he impregnates virgin girls with all manner of wild animals to create his Half-Human Hybrid elite warriors.
      • Xiong-Yan Wang also tortured and mutilated three siblings who were Zhuo Bu-Fan's disciples back when the latter was a common army commander. One was so infused with necrotic poison that his very touch can rot flesh, and the other two were fused into a two-headed dwarf-like creature with unnatural agility (and possibly field of vision). Xiong-Yan Wang allows Zhuo Bu-Fan to take them back, in exchange for three prophecies of his choice.
    • Downplayed with Bei-Ming Zheng when he snaps after San-Shu reveals an Awful Truth to him (see Go Mad from the Revelation below). His eyes glow purple and he grows horns, claws, and fangs, but he's still very much recognizable underneath all of them.
    • During the quest for the Hu-Po, the heroes' expedition comes across a maze filled with temptations to test prospective sword-bearers. One of them is a forest filled with mystical herbs and medicines. Those who consume them, however, are filled to bursting with internal energy, and their bodies become horribly bloated as a result.
    • Jue Tian-Ji's Mad Scientist body becomes way more muscular once he gets his hands on the Hu-Po, but his nails grow into claws, his teeth into fangs, and his ears become pointed and devilish. This only gets worse until his entire body explodes from Power Incontinence.
    • Happens to Niu-Lang as he learns Chi-You's martial arts. He starts sprouting small spikes from every pore.
      • Goes From Bad to Worse after Niu-Lang eats the mother dragon's flesh and drinks its blood. He starts developing draconic features like scales and fangs!
    • Du Zi-Wei also suffers this at the hands of the Shi-Hun, being reduced to a (barely alive) shrivelled husk.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian himself grows scales & fangs after receiving the Celestial Demon’s blessing, in addition to his hair turning wild & white.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Once it's revealed that Tie-Xin is a woman, her very first full-body panel becomes this, if only on hindsight.
    • Then played straight later on when Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin get new outfits after finally escaping from Tan-Shen and the Silver King.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The evil spirits in Chi-You's Labyrinth tend to do this to people via hallucinations. The Jade King, Niu-Lang, and even Yan-Shen (with the Hu-Po in hand, no less) fall victim to them, each with varying results.
  • Bridal Carry: Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin take turns doing this to one another during their first encounter with Tan-Shen.
  • Bring It: Often mixed in with Badass Boast. Again, the results may vary.
  • Broken Pedestal: A brutal, tragic case when Wen-Tian chooses traditional ethics over his love for Tie-Xin, completely undoing the Androcles' Lion effect above. She's instantly reminded of Dong-Fang Xiong's warnings about the unreliability of men, and swears to kill Wen-Tian the next time they meet.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The thugs who taunt Yan-Shen after he collapses from his injuries in the Backstory. One of them even pees on his head. Once the Jade King arrives to bail him out, Yan-Shen promptly massacres all of the thugs after he's recovered.
  • The Bus Came Back: Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, after more than fifty books.
    • Yan-Shen also reappears after more than twenty books, having tunneled through magma to reach Chi-You’s Labyrinth, where he surprises Niu-Lang.
  • Butt-Monkey: Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is this, at least until he gets his hands on the Tai-Xu. He's repeatedly humiliated (verbally and in combat) by Wen-Tian, and generally looked down upon by others as being (mentally) slower than average. His nickname is even "big buffalo".
    • Even after he Took a Level in Badass with the Tai-Xu in hand, he ends up getting defeated by his own weapon on two separate occasions when he tries to unleash the First-Grade Weapon's secret attack. He fares better the third time around, but the backlash from the attack colliding with the Feng-Huang still sends him (and the Tai-Xu) flying.
    • Niu-Lang gets this for some time after his introduction, as he's just not as strong as the other characters. His mundane weapons keep breaking, and even when he picks up the Shen-Nong Chi, he still gets his ass handed to him more often than not. It's only after obtaining the Hu-Po (paired with Chi-You's martial arts) that he becomes a serious threat, enough to face down even Emperor Yan.
  • Cain and Abel: Granted, they're actually half-siblings, but Dong-Fang Yi-Nian is the Cain to Dong-Fang Xiong's Abel, even if Dong-Fang Xiong isn't exactly the most pleasant of people.
  • Callback: The cover of the final book shows Wen-Tian holding the Tian-Jing in the exact same pose as the first book, only with a different outfit.
  • Calling Your Attacks: In full wuxia glory, complete with big, bold fonts.
  • Call to Agriculture: Discussed between Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, when they (finally) have a moment to catch their breath after escaping from Tan-Shen and his lieutenants, and are putting up at an old farming couple's ranch. Unfortunately, their destinies point elsewhere.
  • Cannon Fodder: Basically every single unnamed soldier in anyone's army.
  • The Cape: Wen-Tian eventually grows into this. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is also a close contender for the title.
  • Cast Herd: It begins easily enough, with the North-West Clans vs Xiong-Yan Wang and South-East Clans vs Yan-Shen, and follows with hero and villain alike banding together for the final push towards the Hu-Po.
    • Once Mount Tai erupts in the Hu-Po's wake, the heroes are split up into three groups, this time along much blurrier lines - they were all scrambling to escape the eruption, after all. They are then set upon by the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings and their respective Mooks.
      • The Jade King, Niu-Lang, and the little Jade Dragon escape the Silver King and journey to Chi-You's Labyrinth to pay their respects to the little Jade Dragon's deceased family. Niu-Lang unfortunately kills the Jade King while Brainwashed and Crazy, and later drives off the little Jade Dragon while learning Chi-You's skills and feeding on dragon flesh and blood. He later fights Yan-Shen for the Hu-Po when the latter bursts onto the scene.
      • Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin kill the Copper King, but run afoul of Tan-Shen. Wu-Fa Shen-Seng bails them out, and they narrowly escape from both Tan-Shen and the Silver King. Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin then meet Prince Gu, whereupon they're attacked by the Gold and Silver Kings, as well as Tan-Shen and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian. Prince Gu then convinces Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin to bring Wu-Fa Shen-Seng to his mother, the Phoenix Queen, in order to purge Tan-Shen's poison from his body.
      • Zhuo Bu-Fan, Dong-Fang Xiong, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, and Le-Wa manage to hold their ground against the Gold King, but they are all captured by the Fire-Worshipping Sect. The sect then comes under attack from Dong-Fang Yi-Nian. They all escape, only to be captured by the Phoenix Queen's forces.
    • The Cast Herd swaps around again at the Phoenix Queen's palace:
      • Zhuo Bu-Fan convinces the Phoenix Queen to free the captives, and they go on to see off Dong-Fang Yi-Nian; Dong-Fang Xiong pursues the Fire-Worshipping Sect's survivors as they flee, while Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa stay behind.
      • The Phoenix Queen does indeed cure Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, but poisons both Tie-Xin and Wen-Tian at Prince Gu's behest. This leads to the three of them angrily confronting her and her son. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa join in, but Zhuo Bu-Fan defuses the situation by convincing all of them to band together and search for the Feng-Huang's missing segment.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After Dong-Fang Xiong rescues Zhuo Bu-Fan from the Fire-Worshipping Sect's clutches, they engage in this (even going so far as to make romantic overtures to one another), as they view the sect's Mooks as beneath them. This comes to a grinding halt once Yan-Shen appears, though.
  • Character Death: Xiong-Yan Wang, via Hu-Po thanks to Yan-Shen; the Copper King, thanks to Wen-Tian and the Shen-Wu; the Jade King, via Shen-Nong Chi by a Brainwashed and Crazy Niu-Lang.
    • Yan-Shen and the Gold King don't exactly die in the traditional sense, but their bodies are destroyed and their spirits are dragged into the Pocket Dimension within Chi-You's Labyrinth.
    • Gu-Gang gets killed by Niu-Lang and Chi-You’s last surviving lieutenant when they’re marooned in the Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses (presumably for sustenance), but his son, Prince Gu, is the one to actually feed on his corpse!
    • Near the end of the story, Tan-Shen gets kicked into Ludicrous Gibs by the Evil Emperor, who then goes on to craft a new Evil Weapon (on par with a First-Grade Weapon) with his remains.
  • Character Development: Tie-Xin gets by far the most, starting off as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy with a serious Sore Loser streak, then becoming a Defrosting Ice Queen once she meets Wen-Tian. When it's revealed (incorrectly) that she and Wen-Tian are half-siblings, Wen-Tian chooses anti-incest ethics over their love, leading to her agonising over the ups and downs of romantic love, before leaving with the Evil Emperor at the end.
    • Wen-Tian learns to rein in his overconfidence after several beatings, and isn't quite so hotheaded after the Hu-Po arc.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Just before the heroes set out for Mount Tai, Dong-Fang Xiong presses Tie-Xin to wear a magic ring that Zhuo Bu-Fan had passed to her. Tie-Xin grudgingly accepts. Later on, when the expedition is confronted with the Hu-Po's guardians, they discover that only First-Grade Weapons can destroy them. Although Tie-Xin's sword is only a Second-Grade Weapon, the ring enables him to punch with the power of a First-Grade Weapon, allowing him to defeat the one of the guardians. It is only at this point that Tie-Xin slowly begins to respect the Master Geomancer (unfortunately, it doesn't last).
    • Dong-Fang Xiong also gives Tie-Xin a single gold leaf before they leave for Mount Tai. Tie-Xin eventually uses it to barter for a new Second-Grade Weapon from Prince Gu.
    • During their first encounter, the Phoenix Queen infects Wen-Tian with one of her golden silkworms (as part of a Shipper on Deck plot to help her son Murder the Hypotenuse so that he can claim Tie-Xin for himself). It appears to amount to little, as she ends up willingly suppressing the silkworm after the Master Geomancer convinces her that she needs Wen-Tian alive to find the Feng-Huang’s missing piece. However, the silkworm was never actually removed from Wen-Tian’s body, and Prince Gu reactivates it during his final battle with Wen-Tian in the Evil Emperor’s sanctum. Thankfully, Wen-Tian has the Tian-Jing by that point, and not only purges the silkworm from his body, but proceeds to shove it down Prince Gu’s throat.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Often done during a villain's Big Entrance, or when they go on a Motive Rant.
  • Chiaroscuro: Some panels are drawn this way, often to accentuate drama.
  • Chick Magnet: The Master Geomancer turns into this about midway through the story, to his own frustration. Whether it’s really because he’s that eligible, or Because Destiny Says So (due to his divinations) is up for debate. He hooks up with the Phoenix Queen after acting on his frustrations surrounding his illicit affiar with Dong-Fang Xiong (who's legally married to Nan-Gong Yi, and is Zhuo Bu-Fan's own cousin).
  • Choke Holds: Aside from his utterly massive polearm, the Copper King seems to specialise in a type of unarmed combat that involves these. He attempts to use them on Wen-Tian, but to no avail. His final attempt proves fatal (for him), as Wen-Tian is able to command the Shen-Wu to stab him In the Back and cut him cleanly in two.
    • The Gold King also features a couple of these when forced into unarmed combat, though his style involves a lot more stand-up striking.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The younger heroes like Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Niu-Lang certainly have shades of this. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's righteousness is so strong that he forms an unbreakable bond with the Tai-Xu.
  • Cliffhanger: While the narrative follows Four Lines, All Waiting, each story arc tends to pause on a Cliffhanger by the end of each book.
    • Heck, the entire series ends on one, providing a Sequel Hook into the second series.
  • C-List Fodder: The fight for the Hu-Po brings these to the forefront. The Eastern Clan loses 1 of its 3 elite warriors (with a second losing his right arm and the third getting a chunk torn off his left shoulder), while the Western Clan loses 3 of its 4 elite guard (with the remaining one losing his left arm).
    • The villains suffer this too, with several named mook lieutenants perishing in their introductory scenes alone (just to show how powerful the heroes are), and others biting the dust later on:
      • Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors get hit with this hard, especially once Wen-Tian receives his first Second-Grade Weapon.
      • Of note, Tie-Xin dispatches one when the Fire-Worshipping Sect tries to ambush him, and another (Jue Tian-Ji) gets turned into Ludicrous Gibs when the Hu-Po's power proves too much for his body to handle. Several more bite the dust when Dong-Fang Yi-Nian assaults their hideout with the Shi-Hun.
      • The Gold King loses one of his lieutenants when Dong-Fang Xiong blitzes through his defences with her swordplay, and another one when Wen-Tian first uses Wu-Fa Shen-Seng's skills in combat.
      • One of the Copper King's lieutenants gets the top half of his head lopped off by the Shen-Wu, courtesy of Wen-Tian, while one of the Silver King's gets diced by Tie-Xin later on.
    • Three of Chi-You’s lieutenants get swiftly dispatched by Yan-Shen, when Niu-Lang fails to kill him the first time around. A fourth gets diced by the Phoenix Queen later on, when she bests Niu-Lang.
  • Clothing Damage: Plenty of outfits get ripped and torn when the characters get wounded in battle. Special mention goes to Wen-Tian, who tends to lose his sleeve (if not his entire top) whenever he activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm.
    • Special mention goes to the Phoenix Queen, whose Stripperiffic outfit gets shredded down to the Chainmail Bikini when she uses the Feng-Huang against Dong-Fang Yi-Nian and the Shi-Hun. It gets so gratuitous that the very next book has an author's note that retcons it to just the edges of her outfit getting ripped!
  • Co-Dragons: Back in the Raksha Sect, Yan-Shen and Tan-Shen were these to their lord. After Yan-Shen defects to the Heaven-Earth Alliance, he and Xiong-Yan Wang become these to its Overlord.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Xiong-Yan Wang seems to sanction this partly For Science! and partly for his own amusement. It's so bad that the mere threat/mention of it is enough to keep his minions in line!
    • On the heroes' side, Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan threatens Yin Yi-Ma with this (via his two disciples) when interrogating him about the Fire-Worshipping Sect's headquarters.
    • Tie-Xin (unsurprisingly) also engages in this on at least one occasion: having been poisoned in the left arm by the Fire-Worshipping Sect's poison mistress, Du Zi-Wei, he ambushes her and paralyses her by sealing her acupoints. He then takes her own hand and uses it to scratch her face (her poison is in her fingers), making her suffer her own poison's effects. As her poison kills the moment it reaches the heart, she ends up in greater danger than Tie-Xin, and he is thus able to use her life to (successfully) bargain for the antidote. The other sect members even comment on how un-heroic his methods are.
    • The Silver King is said to be such a sadist that the Jade King would rather die than become his prisoner. Outright shown later on, when he attempts to kill Wen-Tian by slowly & painfully draining his blood and replacing it with poison.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Hu-Po fittingly gives off a reddish glow, while the Tian-Jing is mainly blue-green (notably, its pearl is green, which causes Wen-Tian's left arm to turn green whenever it activates). These two First-Grade Weapons happen to be the greatest evil and good-aligned weapons out there.
  • Color Failure: Not often reflected in the art, but several characters' faces are described as "losing all colour" (with a specific Mandarin phrase for it) when they're particularly alarmed.
  • Color Motif: Often used whenever the First-Grade Weapons take centre stage, matching their respective glows. The Shi-Hun even emits some kind of radiant darkness, which roughly translates into...purple.
    • Prince Gu and the Phoenix Queen are often associated with the colour gold, as their abilities come from a venomous golden silkworm.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: The Fire-Worshipping Sect's poison mistress is named Du Zi-Wei (the "Zi" character meaning "purple"), and her poisonous fingernails are painted purple. Her subordinate, Nie Hong-Luan (the "Hong" character meaning "red"), specialises in seduction and ribbon-fighting, and the "red" in her name might refer to her painted lips.
    • In the Backstory, the Tai-Xu's original owner was called Huang-Di (lit. Yellow Emperor), although much of his armour was actually gold instead of just plain yellow.
    • The Heaven-Earth Alliance gets in on a little of this, with the Gold/Silver/Copper/Jade Kings all having some part of their outfits/weapons match their "colours".
    • “Hu-Po” is a Mandarin homophone for “amber”, and reflects the blade’s primary colour.
  • Combination Attack: Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin attempt one against Yan-Shen, for all the good it does them; the Hu-Po has made him Nigh-Invulnerable by then.
    • Niu-Lang learns to blend the individual elements of Chi-You's martial arts into devastating new attacks. It gives him a small edge over Yan-Shen, but the latter still manages to use the Hu-Po to power his way to victory.
  • Comfort the Dying: Wen-Tian has to resort to this for one of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors who had undergone a Heel–Face Turn (and had paid the ultimate price), when the Shen-Nong Chi's healing magic has been too depleted to heal his wounds.
    • Tie-Xin also does this when Wen-Tian lies dying from his internal injuries, promising to carry out his last wishes. Notably, it leads to Their First Time.
  • Conflict Ball: Xiong-Yan Wang really really doesn't get along with Yan-Shen, due to their rivalling positions within the Heaven-Earth Alliance. This comes to a head when the former confronts the latter after his gruesome body modification. Having been robbed of his victory over Wen-Tian thanks to the Jade King, Xiong-Yan Wang decides to strong-arm Yan-Shen out of the race for the Hu-Po, rather than work with him. To his credit, he's able to outlast his rival in combat (since he can no longer feel pain), and Yan-Shen apparently concedes defeat...only to infiltrate the Mount Tai expedition incognito and show his hand just when Xiong-Yan Wang is too badly wounded to continue fighting. This allows him to claim the Hu-Po and eliminate his rival in one fell swoop.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Downplayed by the narrative, which prefers to focus on the traditional Chinese notions of fate & destiny.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: One of Wen-Tian's early displays of the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm involves him catching Xiong-Yan Wang from behind in a big bear hug, and breaking his ribs when he flexes his arm. He goes on to save Bei-Ming Xue from one of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrids with one of these, and eventually kills the Copper King with this via the Shen-Wu.
    • Yan-Shen is on the receiving end of plenty of these as the heroes attempt to wrest the Hu-Po away from him, but by then he's become so tough that they end up as mere distractions.
    • Niu-Lang tries to do these early in the story, but his opponents are just too strong for him to succeed.
    • Exploited to great effect when the Master Geomancer, Dong-Fang Xiong, and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu triple-team the Gold King after the Hu-Po incident. All three heroes are battered and bruised from the previous battle, and can't afford to take the Gold King head-on. Special mention goes to the Master Geomancer for using his snake-envenomed left arm to transfer some venom to a wound on the Gold King's back, effectively disabling his Made of Iron skill/ability.
    • A revived Wen-Tian cleverly uses this to rip Tan-Shen's backpack off during his fight with Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, knowing that the Shi-Hun is contained within. He then tosses it into a nearby lake, and Tan-Shen and his Mooks predictably run after it, giving the heroes time to escape.
  • Cool Old Guy: The Jade King, who defects from the Heaven-Earth Alliance (escaping even its Overlord, though at the cost of several dragons' lives) and rescues Wen-Tian (and the Shen-Nong Chi) from Xiong-Yan Wang.
  • Cool Ship: The Evil Emperor's ship at the end of the story. In the setting of medieval China, it flies.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Whenever the First-Grade Weapons go head-to-head (assuming they don't just explode and send their wielders flying), expect lots of pyrotechnics. Special mention goes to the epic fight for the Hu-Po, where Yan-Shen holds his own with the Evil Weapon against no less than three other First-Grade Weapons!
    • Even more so in the Backstory, as most of their original wielders were also their makers, and most of them were either deities or immortals.
  • Cooperation Gambit: Yan-Shen orders his Fire-Worshipping Sect to take orders from Xiong-Yan Wang (much to their dismay) after the latter proves too tough to defeat in single combat. However, this is just a ruse for him to infiltrate the Mount Tai expedition incognito, so that he can claim the Hu-Po for himself. He shows his hand once Xiong-Yan Wang is too badly injured to effectively wield the Hu-Po.
    • For that matter, Xiong-Yan Wang and his Mooks join with the heroes' expedition to face the dangers leading up to Mount Tai, and even plays a part in shattering the crystal tiger housing the Hu-Po. The truce quickly falls apart afterwards, though.
  • Counterpart Combat Coordination: Of a sort. When Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Prince Gu are attacked by the Gold and Silver Kings (and Tan-Shen), the swift and agile Tie-Xin duels the similarly swift (and sneaky) Silver King. Bonus points for Tie-Xin's martial arts being depicted with silvery sword-flashes.
    • Prince Gu draws a giant golden axe (a Second-Grade Weapon, to boot) against the Gold King, whose outfit is a bold saffron yellow. His weapon even has a curved, crescenteric head, which looks like an inverted axe-head. Both their fighting styles also feature bold, powerful strikes.
    • As for Wen-Tian, although his weapon isn't anything special at this point, the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm is the closest thing on the heroes' side to a First-Grade Weapon, compared to the Shi-Hun, an actual First-Grade Weapon. He also uses Wu-Fa Shen-Seng's techniques against Tan-Shen, which manifest as rainbow-coloured auras to contrast the latter's dark purple aura.
  • Covers Always Lie: One cover shows Wen-Cai bonding with the little Jade Dragon just after it's hatched. She does indeed befriend it, but the Jade King was the one who was there when it hatched. It goes on to imprint on him, and takes its friend-or-foe cues from him.
    • Another cover depicts Wen-Tian wielding the completed Shi-Hun, but it's Dong-Fang Yi-Nian who actually gets the complete First-Grade Weapon, after wresting it from Tan-Shen.
      • Happens again later on with Wen-Tian holding the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie aloft, when it’s actually the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance who gets it.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Animal variant. When the Jade King leads Niu-Lang and the little Jade Dragon back to Chi-You's Labyrinth to pay respects to the dead dragon family, the little critter flies ahead of the two humans the moment it detects their lingering scent. They find it doing this next to the half-rotten corpse of its mother.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mad Scientist Jue Tian-Ji shows shades of this with his infernal contraption, which packs in enough traps and gadgets to actually capture the Master Geomancer and (later on) Dong-Fang Xiong. Unfortunately for him, Dong-Fang Xiong is strong enough to simply brute-force her way out of it.
  • Cry Cute: Tie-Xin, on the rare occasions when she does cry.
  • Cue the Sun: After Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Wu-Fa Shen-Seng successfully escape from Tan-Shen and his lieutenants, the gloomy smoke from Mount Tai's eruption finally dissipates, leading to this. Spoiled slightly when it's revealed that Wu-Fa Shen-Seng has been poisoned by Tan-Shen's weapon and needs to be knocked out cold before he hurts anyone, but the heroes make it to safety. The next time we see Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, they've settled down with an old farming couple, and are admiring the sunset together.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Almost any time the First-Grade Weapons take the field, naturally: Wen-Tian with the Shen-Nong Chi vs Xiong-Yan Wang, Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po against just about anyone without a First-Grade Weapon, and Wen-Tian (again) with the Shen-Wu against the Copper King.
    • The Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's left arm gives it power somewhere between a Second and First-Class Weapon. Woe betide anyone/anything on the receiving end of that...(other than a First-Class Weapon of course)
    • When both sides are wielding First-Grade Weapons, it gets a bit more subjective:
      • Wen-Tian and the Shen-Nong Chi get utterly outclassed by Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and the Tai-Xu (likely because the Shen-Nong Chi wasn't intended for all-out combat).
      • Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po eclipses even Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and the Tai-Xu (because it's the premier Evil Weapon).
      • Tan-Shen with the Shi-Hun wipes the floor with an injured Wen-Tian, despite the latter wielding the Shen-Wu.
      • As the Hu-Po's original wielder, Chi-You similarly curb-stomps everyone else, even breaking the Shen-Wu and the Shen-Nong Chi!
    • Despite wielding the Hu-Po, channelling the power of the spirits within Chi-You's Labyrinth, and unleashing his ultimate technique, Yan-Shen gets shut down by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance (actually Emperor Yan in disguise) within a few pages.
      • This gets turned around on Emperor Yan later on, as he ends up curb-stomped by the Lord of the Raksha Sect because he's still too flustered over his consecutive defeats by Chi-You and Niu-Lang. Over-reliance on the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie and a case of Forgot About His Powers also contributes to his third defeat.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: When Xiong-Yan Wang accosts Wen-Tian after his gruesome body modification, the latter is forced into unarmed combat when he loses the Shen-Nong Chi. This results in Xiong-Yan Wang simply bulldozing through all of Wen-Tian's attacks because his upgraded body can no longer feel pain. He can still be injured, though, and Wen-Tian does indeed give as good as he gets. When Xiong-Yan Wang realises this, he reveals that he had stolen the Shen-Nong Chi, and is quick to rely on it to heal his wounds. Wen-Tian even calls him out on it.
    • Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po is still too powerful for the empowered Niu-Lang to fight head-on, though the latter actually comes close to killing the former thanks to some quick thinking. Niu-Lang still gets his ass handed to him, though.
  • Cursed With Awesome: Training in Raksha’s martial arts grants the lords of the Rakaha Sect immense power (in addition to immunity against the Shi-Hun’s degenerative effects), but results in all of them dying when they turn 27.
    • The Evil Emperor wields massive martial might, and is functionally immortal. However, this has come at the cost of all of his feelings and emotions. In fact, he’s so desperate to feel human again that he’s willing to beg Wen-Cai (actually Nü-Wa’s incarnation!) for help!
  • Darkest Hour: Mount Tai has erupted in a volcano, the heroes' forces have been decimated in the fight for the Hu-Po, leaving Yan-Shen the victorious (although blinded) wielder of the Evil Weapon. The surviving heroes are then set upon by the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings and their Mooks.
    • On a more personal level, Wen-Tian actually dies after he and Tie-Xin share Their First Time. At this point, both of them have serious internal injuries (his are worse), they've lost their weapons, and they're in the custody of the Raksha Sect's Tan-Shen and his lieutenants.
    • The Feng-Huang was given to its first owner when he pleaded for divine aid to save his flooded homeland when all mortal means had failed.
    • A resurrected Chi-You (with the Hu-Po in hand, of course) has proven to be too powerful for all of the heroes (and Emperor Yan) to take on, even managing to shatter the Shen-Wu and the Shen-Nong Chi. With nobody left to stop him, he threatens to trigger his own Apocalypse How.
  • David vs. Goliath: Wen-Tian vs the upgraded Xiong-Yan Wang.
  • Daylight Horror: The plagues that herald the Hu-Po's emergence all take place during the day. Notably, things come to a head with Mount Tai's eruption at sunset.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Wen-Tian falls into the Silver King’s illusory trap within Chi-You’s Labyrinth, he imagines that Xiong-Yan Wang is attacking him and instinctively lashes out with the Shen-Nong Chi, only to hit Tie-Xin instead. After Wu-Fa Shen-Seng helps him break the illusion, he’s immediately apologetic, only for her to dryly remark that “we haven’t even gotten married, and you’re already a wife-beater?”
  • Death by Irony: Xiong-Yan Wang is eventually killed by the Hu-Po, after declaring that he'll let it go...over his dead body. After struggling against the heroes with him hanging on to it as dead-weight, Yan-Shen finally gets the idea to simply turn the weapon around and kill him with it. Made easier because Xiong-Yan Wang has lost his left arm by that point, and can't effectively stop Yan-Shen from pressing the blade right into his chest.
  • Death by Looking Up: Happens to a very unfortunate villager early on in the story, when Xiong-Yan Wang decides to stop at her village for some food and drink. His giant bat (which he uses as a flying mount) perches on the roof of the inn where she was buying breakfast for her children, and nabs her by the head just as she walks out the door. Her bones are later shown raining down from above when Xiong-Yan Wang summons the bat as he's leaving.
  • Death from Above: The plague of hailstones, one of the signs of the Hu-Po's emergence. Several characters also invoke this in battle by vaulting into the air and descending upon their opponents.
  • Death Glare: The art style of the manhua seems to be tailor-made to give every character this whenever they're being serious, let alone in combat!
    • A spectacular one occurs when Tie-Xin and a revived Wen-Tian are accosted by Tan-Shen's two mook lieutenants. Wen-Tian is so outright pissed that the Tian-Jing pearl's power practically leaks from his eyes when he glares at the pair, causing them to back away.
  • Deconstruction: Happens when Wen-Tian uses his Heroic Resolve to pull a Determinator on Tan-Shen. However, he's sustained so many internal injuries by then that the strain ends up killing him.
  • Decoy Damsel: Nie Hong-Luan plays one in the Fire-Worshipping Sect's plan to lure Tie-Xin into a trap. She manages to prick him with a poisoned needle, but he manages to purge the poison before it takes effect.
  • Defiant to the End: The magic dragons living in Chi-You's Labyrinth hate the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance so much that they fight him to the death, even though they have no chance of winning.
    • Paralysed by the Silver King's poison (and still injured from escaping Mount Tai's eruption), the Jade King simply spits in the former's face (for all the good it does him) when he demands his surrender. Fortunately, Niu-Lang and the little Jade Dragon bail him out.
  • Deflector Shields: Xiang Ao-Tian can create these with his internal energy. Particularly useful when being assailed by man-eating bugs or when debris starts raining down around you.
    • Likewise, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu can twirl the Tai-Xu around himself to create these. He uses one to escape the pyroclastic bombs at Mount Tai's eruption.
    • The Silver King is shown to have one, when the Jade King spits in his face.
  • Dented Iron: All the heroes are injured to some degree after Mount Tai's eruption, and are unable to fight to their fullest when ambushed by the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings afterwards.
    • Invoked on the Gold King by Zhuo Bu-Fan, who poisons him with snake venom so that his Made of Iron ability starts to fail.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Tie-Xin vs Le-Wa in Chi-You’s Labyrinth, when a possessed Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu attacks Wen-Tian.
  • Destination Defenestration: One of the Western Clan's elite guard can hurl a steamed bun with enough force to send several common Mooks out an inn window.
    • Happens multiple times to both heroes and villains when the Copper King and his lieutenants tangle with Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin. That innkeeper's going to have one hefty repair bill...
  • Determinator: Many of the heroes, especially Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Dong-Fang Xiong. Yan-Shen is one for the villains, and he impresses Chi-You so much that the deity agrees to unlock the Hu-Po's full power for him!
    • Deconstructed with Wen-Tian when he pushes himself too far against Tan-Shen. He sustains massive internal injuries to the point of death.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Wen-Tian is said to be the only hero to stand a chance against Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po (thanks to the Tian-Jing's pearl and the Shen-Nong Chi acting as stabilisers to allow him to use the Northern Clan's Dangerous Forbidden Technique). He ends up drained and asleep after pushing himself too far against Xiong-Yan Wang, allowing Yan-Shen to claim the Hu-Po and give the other heroes a beating. By the time Wen-Tian wakes up and gets back in the fight, Mount Tai erupts, scattering hero and villain alike.
  • Didn't Think This Through: During the encounter with the Gold King and his Mooks, the unarmed Le-Wa (she had given the Shen-Wu to Tie-Xin earlier) spots a (lesser) magic lute in one of the lieutenants' hands. Reasoning that it's similar enough to the Shen-Wu that she can wield it effectively, she makes a dash for it, trying to snatch it for herself. The Mook Lieutenant sees her coming easily enough, and strums a mind-control tune that forces her to dance harmlessly instead.
    • Then subverted quickly enough when it's revealed that Le-Wa was skilled enough as a Musical Assassin that she could resist the mind control, and was only pretending to dance to lull the Mook Lieutenant into a false sense of security. She successfully seizes the lute, and uses its mind control music to turn all of the Gold King's Mooks against their leader!
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Wen-Tian, in Tie-Xin's arms. Thankfully, it doesn't stick.
  • Dies Wide Open: Xiong-Yan Wang's fate, having been decapitated when Yan-Shen used the Hu-Po to drain his body dry and blow up the remains. The narrative even uses a specific Mandarin phrase for it.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Bei-Ming Lei, especially where Xiong-Yan Wang is concerned (see Jerkass below). He's quick to abandon his subordinates the moment the warlord shows up (the Northern Clan army and two of the Western Clan's elite guard the first time, and Wen-Tian the second).
    • While inside the Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses, the Silver King notices a Swirly Energy Thingy made of lightning below him. Guessing that it's the way out, he kicks the little Jade Dragon into it, instead of investigating it himself. Said swirly is actually generated by the Jing-Xie's halves, and the disturbance ends up destabilizing the spell keeping the Celestial Demon's prison reinforced. Oops.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Xiong-Yan Wang, arguably.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bad Boss Xiong-Yan Wang is quick to threaten bloody murder/torture for the smallest of mistakes. This includes beating one Bearer of Bad News (an already-enhanced Half-Human Hybrid) so badly that he loses his right eye.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Some of the First-Grade Weapons are this:
    • The Tian-Jing is this in the prologue, at least until Nan-Gong Yi unwisely puts it back together for a public display. This draws the attention of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, and the Tian-Jing goes haywire in the ensuing clash...
    • Xi-Cheng Hao first found the pieces of the Tai-Xu in an underground vault when he got trapped during a mine cave-in. After using it (and the treasures buried along with it) to build his wealth, he tried all sorts of ways to reassemble the Tai-Xu, but to no avail. The First-Grade Weapon only reacted when his son, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, came in contact with it, restoring it to its former glory.
    • Actually happens to the Shi-Hun, a three-section staff, in the Backstory. Realising how it was driving the sect’s lords to ever greater heights of bloodlust, one of the sect’s members stole it & planned to dispose of it. He somehow returned some time later, with one section of the Shi-Hun missing, and the remainder impaled through his abdomen. The missing segment ends up being given to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian several years later.
    • Emperor Yü left instructions for his servants to hide the smallest segment of the Feng-Huang’s bit within his own corpse in the Backstory. The Phoenix Queen and her predecessors have been searching for it for generations.
    • The Jing-Xie’s two halves are wielded separately by the gods of thunder & lightning. When they’re forced to unite the halves in the face of the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie’s full power, the Jing-Xie’s might is so great that it requires both gods to wield.
  • Distressed Dude: Zhuo Bu-Fan, thanks to Jue Tian-Ji. Fortunately, his two disciples escape to inform Dong-Fang Xiong, who hurries to his rescue.
    • Happens to Niu-Lang for a bit in Xiong-Yan Wang's dungeons, at least until Bei-Ming Xue lets fly with a powerful Mind over Matter attack that shatters their cell and allows them to escape.
  • Divide and Conquer: Faced with the Phoenix Queen's entire expedition, Niu-Lang cleverly smokes out Chi-You's Labyrinth to disorientate and separate the heroes. He successfully divides them into three groups (although he and Chi-You's lieutenants still lose to Wen-Tian's group).
  • Diving Save: The Jade King does this to the Gold King in their Backstory, saving him from his enemies but getting stabbed in the chest himself. This act cements the Gold King's friendship with him.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The magic dragons in Chi-You's Labyrinth know that they stand no chance against the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance. They still hold their ground and fight him to their deaths.
    • Yan-Shen gives us a villainous version, as Mount Tai's eruption threatens to consume him. Alone and blinded from his injuries, he keeps refusing to give up and die, eventually impressing Chi-You's spirit so much that he agrees to grant him the full power of the Hu-Po.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Wen-Tian is shown to be capable of this (at least visually), when he pushes himself to the limit against Yan-Shen. It's described as Yan-Shen having to fight off eight highly-skilled opponents at the same time.
      • Later on, the Tian-Jing allows Wen-Tian to take this Up to Eleven, with less effort to boot.
    • Zhuo Bu-Fan has a defensive variant, where he can leave after-images of himself while he manoeuvres into a better position.
  • Downer Beginning: The prologue concerns the devastation of the Southern Clan, due to the Tian-Jing going haywire in battle. Worse still, it was prophesied by the Master Geomancer, but the clan's leader, Nan-Gong Yi, ignored his warnings.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Xiong-Yan Wang loses his left arm early in the fight for the Hu-Po, but he's still strong enough (once he has the Evil Weapon in hand, that is) to send Wen-Tian reeling; Wen-Tian has to use his speed and agility to get the upper hand.
    • The heroes are all battered and worn-out after Mount Tai's eruption, but are set upon by the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings (along with their retinues) almost immediately after they escape. The ensuing battles are quite significant struggles for all of them.
  • Dramatic Irony: One of the Jade King's dying wishes is for Niu-Lang to warn Wen-Tian about Dong-Fang Xiong, whom he suspects is still out to kill the illegitimate child of Nan-Gong Yi. He's unaware that the two have already crossed paths, however (with Wen-Tian already leaving a less-than-stellar impression on Dong-Fang Xiong to boot), but Dong-Fang Xiong has yet to discover Wen-Tian's parentage.
  • Dramatic Unmask: When a "mysterious character" in disguise enters the narrative, expect this to happen sooner or later.
    • Yan-Shen gets to do a suitably epic one, burning off his disguise in front of Xiong-Yan Wang to reveal himself (his original clothes remain fine, however). It's somewhat downplayed because he was wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise beforehand (the tattoos around his eyes are a dead giveaway), but the dramatic effect remains thanks to the artwork and the circumstances.
    • Tan-Shen's headgear gets blown apart by the mere impact from the Shen-Wu clashing against the Shi-Hun.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian returns to the spotlight this way, getting his mask yanked off by Du Zi-Wei in the midst of a vicious battle with the Fire-Worshipping Sect.
  • The Dreaded: The Heaven-Earth Alliance is this to everyone else. Their Overlord is this to his own underlings.
    • Xiong-Yan Wang's underlings fear him so much that they're pretty much willing to throw themselves at their enemies instead of facing his wrath.
    • The Hu-Po is definitely feared by many, and coveted by others. Downplayed with the Tian-Jing, which is feared mostly because of what happened in the prologue.
      • Taken Up to Eleven with the Hu-Po's original owner, Chi-You. The demigod was so vicious that even after his death, his spirit is enough to provoke Oh, Crap! reactions in just about anyone.
  • Driven to Madness:
    • Discussed by the other characters when they notice how Ax-Crazy Yan-Shen has become after the Hu-Po has turned his Blood Knight tendencies Up to Eleven. Le-Wa and Xiang Ao-Tian even fear that he will try to take over the entire Raksha Sect.
      • Gets worse when it’s revealed that Yan-Shen has been possessed by the spirit of Chi-You’s pet tiger (because his viciousness resonates with it), whose spine he had ripped out to create the Hu-Po in ages past. Needless to say, the tiger is pissed (likely a reaction to Niu-Lang being chosen as Chi-You’s successor).
    • For that matter, the old lords of the Raksha Sect became more and more bloodthirsty under the Shi-Hun's influence, even to the point of slaughtering their own underlings just to sate their bloodlust - at least until the Shi-Hun was stolen from them. It’s implied that losing one section of the Shi-Hun actually made them more stable & sane, even if they didn’t actually give up their dreams of conquest.
      • Heck, even wild animals are not immune to the Shi-Hun’s corruption, which spread unchecked after Raksha lost it in the Backstory. It only stopped after it was claimed by a warlord named Ahriman, who would go on to found the Raksha Sect...
      • Similarly, the Master Geomancer and the Phoenix Queen wonder if the Shi-Hun is driving Dong-Fang Yi-Nian to ever-increasing heights of brutality.
    • Arguably what ultimately leads to Tie-Xin’s Face–Heel Turn. Heartbroken Badass that she is, she ends up buying into the Evil Emperor’s scheme to Take Over the World as all of her mental and emotional traumas get amplified by the demon crystal he had passed to her.
  • Dual Wielding: Dong-Fang Xiong uses her own sword together with Nan-Gong Yi's sword to great effect against the Gold King. Unfortunately, she's too badly injured to actually stop him.
    • Huang-Di dual-wielded the Tai-Xu's halves in the Backstory, before forging them into one mighty weapon.
  • Due to the Dead: The Jade King's purpose for heading back to Chi-You's Labyrinth is to pay respects to the magic dragons who died so that he could flee from the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Played with. While (only moderately) injured after a skirmish with two of the Western Clan's elite guard, Wen-Tian acts as if his injuries are worse than they are, and invokes this to trick Bei-Ming Xue into kissing him. He then goes on to declare that her kiss has brought him back from the brink of death. She (and Niu-Lang) are less than amused, and she retaliates with a punch right to Wen-Tian's face. This actually exacerbates his injuries to the point where he needs to use the Shen-Nong Chi to heal himself!
    • Later inverted, with Defrosting Ice Queen Tie-Xin declaring her love for Wen-Tian as he lies dying after suffering fatal internal injuries from one too many intense battles. This leads to Their First Time for both of them...and Wen-Tian actually dies soon after! (He gets better though)
  • Dynamic Entry: Often combined with Big Damn Heroes. One of the more spectacular ones occurs early on, when Bei-Ming Zheng takes the field against Xiong-Yan Wang. Thanks to his martial arts and his Blade on a Stick, his Battle Aura takes the form of a giant Chinese dragon made entirely out of blades.
    • Niu-Lang does one when he busts through a wooden wall with his BFS, catching Xiong-Yan Wang In the Back after feigning retreat from the latter's imposing presence - he still loses the fight, though.
    • Wen-Tian quite literally does a Diving Kick through a wooden roof to save Tie-Xin from the Copper King.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu becomes fond of doing this with the Tai-Xu, often pulling a Big Damn Heroes via Death from Above.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Shi-Hun is referenced early on by Dong-Fang Yi-Nian in a throwaway comment. He later unveils it when he assaults the Fire-Worshipping Sect's base of operations, much to everyone's surprise.
    • The other First-Grade Weapons like the Hu-Po, Shen-Nong Chi, and Tai-Xu are all depicted on the cover of the first book, long before their actual appearances.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Chaste Hero Wen-Tian certainly does (much to his own confusion) when he discovers that Tie-Xin is a girl. Much time is spent with him struggling to reconcile the vicious and haughty young pugilist he's come to know with what's underneath the façade.
    • Hilariously defied soon afterwards: while Wen-Tian is relaxing in a bathtub (after the aforementioned Gender Reveal), Tie-Xin holds the Shen-Wu's blade to his un-enhanced right shoulder, angrily questioning if he had taken advantage of her. Chaste Hero that he is, Wen-Tian replies truthfully, but Tie-Xin hesitates about trusting him. Taking advantage of her confusion, Wen-Tian quickly activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, detonating the bathtub so he can escape. Naturally, Tie-Xin gets an eyeful, and in her embarassment, is too slow to catch Wen-Tian as he flees.
    • The Gold King gives us a villainous version, towards Dong-Fang Xiong. It gets so bad that she swears bloody vengeance against him.
    • Le-Wa is also on the receiving end of this, from both friend and foe. Interestingly, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's first opinion of her is that she can't possibly measure up to Bei-Ming Xue (who comes off a more cute than beautiful), but they eventually hook up.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Several villains use this, to ominous effect. Special mention goes to Yan-Shen, who exploits his summoned flames to make his entrances even more dramatic.
  • Empathic Weapon: Some of the First-Grade Weapons are this, like the Hu-Po and Tai-Xu. The Shen-Wu and the Tian-Jing also share a bond on account of having the same creator, allowing Wen-Tian to unlock the Shen-Wu's blade (though he can't actually use its Musical Assassin powers) easily with the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm.
    • The Hu-Po forms such a bond with Yan-Shen, to the extent that he can command it to stop with his voice alone...even when Niu-Lang is wielding it against him.
      • Goes even further when it’s shown that Wen-Tian has trouble wielding the Evil Weapon because he’s too heroic.
  • Enemy Mine: Wen-Tian and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian against Tan-Shen. Wen-Tian wants to make him pay for the suffering he put him and Tie-Xin through, while Dong-Fang Yi-Nian wants the other two sections of the Shi-Hun for himself.
  • Enhanced Punch: Wen-Tian, with the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, naturally. He can even extend it to his weapons, making them stronger than expected.
  • Enmity with an Object: An interesting case. Due to their original owners being bitter enemies in the Backstory, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is influenced by the Tai-Xu to strike down the Hu-Po more than once, while most of the other characters would much rather claim it for themselves.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The major warlords of the Heaven-Earth Alliance:
    • Xiong-Yan Wang was once a mercenary commander for a kingdom opposed to Zhuo Bu-Fan's.
    • Yan-Shen was one of the Raksha Sect's elite.
    • The Gold King is a monk from India.
    • The Silver King was Zhuo Bu-Fan's junior in the divining arts, but was cast out by their teacher for his sadism.
    • The Copper King is a warrior from the Western Clan.
    • The Jade King was just a humble family man (albeit with Musical Assassin skills) before being pressed into the Alliance's service (with his family as hostages for good measure).
  • Establishing Character Moment: Plenty. The prologue even begins with Dong-Fang Xiong angsting over her estranged marriage from Nan-Gong Yi, who has taken a mistress because she was unable to bear him a son. She then goes on to worry that her husband is inviting disaster by ignoring the Master Geomancer's warnings and publicly unveiling the Tian-Jing. When the inevitable cataclysm occurs, Dong-Fang Xiong survives, and discovers that Nan-Gong Yi's mistress is dead and buried. She spitefully orders her men to mutilate her body in order to sate her vengeance.
    • Wen-Tian's first appearance shows him feeding his baby sister with his own blood because he has nothing else to feed her with, followed by him violently punching a dog in the face (with his magic left arm, no less) when he think it's getting too close to her.
    • Bei-Ming Xue's first appearance has her on the receiving end of some patronising comments from Wen-Tian, followed by her launching an entire forge's worth of red-hot swords at him with her Mind over Matter powers!
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is shown to be a loudmouthed blowhard who gets easily played by the shrewd Wen-Tian.
    • Tie-Xin dispatches the entire Eastern Clan army without killing a single person or unsheathing his sword, before engaging in Combat by Champion with the clan's three elite warriors. All without breaking a sweat.
    • Yan-Shen is first introduced antagonizing Xiong-Yan Wang to the point of exchanging blows (right in front of their boss, no less). Said boss, for his part, is content to sit down and watch the martial arts display, at least until it's clear that they're evenly-matched.
  • Establishing Team Shot: A nicely-done one featuring all the characters journeying with the Phoenix Queen to Chi-You's Labyrinth, seeking the Feng-Huang's missing piece.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors are all separated from their mothers at maturity, and the few with an intact conscience really want to see them again (because they're the only positive influence in their miserable existence). Wen-Tian exploits this to convince three of them to do a Heel–Face Turn, and does actually deliver once he defeats Xiong-Yan Wang. Unfortunately, only one of the hybrids gets to see his mother again (tearful reunion and all).
    • Heck, even Xiong-Yan Wang has sad memories of his mother, who starved herself to death to keep him fed. He never (willingly) brings this up in front of anyone else, of course.
    • The Lord of the Raksha Sect dearly cherishes his younger sister Le-Wa, as does Tan-Shen, her instructor in the martial arts.
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is shown later on to have fallen in love with the Flower Goddess, whose body is sealed within Chi-You's Labyrinth. Problem is, Chi-You was also her lover in the past, and his spirit really doesn't want to share.
    • As the hallucinogenic spirits in Chi-You’s Labyrinth show, Yan-Shen truly loves his mum...whose left arm was eaten by his dad when the three of them were locked in a cage without food by bandits For the Evulz. Kid Yan-Shen (who went by the name Subutai back then) refused to eat his mother’s flesh, and eventually stabbed his father to death when he threatened to eat his own son too. The Raksha Sect came to the rescue later on, but by then, Subutai’s mother had already bled to death. Yikes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Or double standards, anyway. The Fire-Worshipping Sect is appalled at how cold and ruthless Tie-Xin is. This is likely due to their own expectations of wuxia heroes than any form of moral code, seeing as how they're perfectly willing to fight dirty themselves.
  • Evil Gloating: The more sadistic villains like to do this, particularly the Silver King and Xiong-Yan Wang.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Oh, yes. Xiong-Yan Wang and the Gold King certainly take the cake, as does Dong-Fang Yi-Nian after the Shi-Hun turns him evil.
  • Evil Overlooker: Used on one of the covers, to Foreshadow Xiong-Yan Wang's return with his new, modified body.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Any time Xiong-Yan Wang and Yan-Shen get into a fight...which is often.
    • As a memeber of the powerful Raksha Sect, Tan-Shen really doesn't think much about the Heaven-Earth Alliance, and battles the Silver King just as gleefully as he did Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin.
    • Tan-Shen again, when he's attacked by Dong-Fang Yi-Nian (while trying to battle Wen-Tian at the same time, no less).
  • Exact Words: An odd case. When the Master Geomancer is divining the signs of the Hu-Po's emergence, one of the clues is the character "qian" (which translates into "punishment"). Later, when the heroes are on the way to Mount Tai, they come across a large maze of trials, the entirety of which is shaped exactly like a giant version of the aforementioned character.
  • Excalibur in the Stone: The pieces of the Tai-Xu in Xi-Cheng Hao's palace are this, reacting to Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's touch by spontaneously reassembling themselves. This establishes his bond with the First-Grade Weapon.
    • Conversely, the Shen-Nong Chi emulates the visual elements of sword-in-a-stone, but is perfectly willing to grant its power to any wielder.
  • Extra-Long Episode: A couple of books were released as double volumes, usually covering major battles involving multiple main characters.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: All of the events surrounding the final expedition to Mount Tai, the ensuing Hu-Po incident, and its aftermath fill up about ten books, but take place over just two days.
  • Eye Scream:
    • As per Disproportionate Retribution above, Xiong-Yan Wang batters one of his hybrid warriors so badly that his right eye goes flying out of its socket.
    • During the battle of Mount Tai, Yan-Shen gets one eye sliced up by the Shen-Wu’s blade, courtesy of Tie-Xin. He then gets his other eye stabbed out by Wen-Tian’s fingers (which have been empowered by the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, no less)!
  • Face Death with Dignity: Against the powerful Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, the magic dragons of Chi-You's Labyrinth Do Not Go Gentle, and fight him to their deaths.
  • Facial Horror: When Tie-Xin is holding Du Zi-Wei hostage (to get the antidote for her poison), he forces the rest of the Fire-Worshipping Sect to accede to his demands by scratching her face with her own poison-tipped fingernails. The scratches quickly swell up and turn hideously purple.
    • Yan-Shen gets a series of deep grooves carved into his face when Chi-You grants him the Hu-Po's full power. Predictably, he isn't concerned.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Happens twice early on, both thanks to Wen-Tian overusing the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm (at this point, he hasn't learned any advanced martial arts yet, so the mere activation of the pearl is enough to knock him out afterward). In the first instance, his adoptive father San-Shu is berating him for mouthing off to his betters (Bei-Ming Xue and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu in this case), while in the second case, Bei-Ming Zheng is gravely trying to formulate a retaliatory response to his daughter's kidnapping. Both times, the men end their monologue only to find Wen-Tian fast asleep at their feet!
  • Failure Hero: Niu-Lang...at least until he stops being a hero.
  • False Reassurance: The Silver King attempts this toward the Jade King and Niu-Lang. They aren't fooled for a moment; after all, when a known sadist tells you he won't kill you, that doesn't exclude any Fate Worse than Death...
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In a word, yes. This series certainly doesn't shy away from blood and gore. Special mention goes to the Hu-Po, which drains its victims until they're desiccated husks before blowing them apart.
  • Famous Last Words: Xiong-Yan Wang spends his last moments declaring that Yan-Shen will only take the Hu-Po over his dead body. The latter delivers.
    • The Copper King dies swearing that his brother will have vengeance for his death.
    • The Jade King reassures Niu-Lang that he'll die happy as long as his dying wishes are fulfilled.
  • Fan Disservice: Xiong-Yan Wang has an entire dungeon's worth of kidnapped virgin girls in his fortress. Unfortunately, just about everything that happens to them is utterly horrific. Wen-Tian at least manages to set all of them free when he purges the place.
    • Niu-Lang finally gets a Shirtless Scene in Chi-You's Labyrinth...only he's horribly mutated from consuming dragon flesh and blood by that point, complete with scales and webbed spines on his arms...
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian gladly helps himself to the young women of the Miao Kingdom after forcefully taking over the place, but he's so powerful/evil by that point that his...liasons go very poorly for the women...
  • Fanservice: Plenty to go around, from lean, muscular guys going topless, to ladies in Stripperiffic outfits. Even the sex scenes are depicted with as much skin as is legally possible!
    • And then there's the incident concerning Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and a bathtub (see Eating the Eye Candy and Female Gaze elsewhere on this page). Tie-Xin certainly doesn't appreciate what she sees, if only because she's too embarrassed to do so!
  • Fantastic Light Source: The First-Grade Weapons, by virtue of their sheer power. They're even Color-Coded for Your Convenience!
  • Fate Worse than Death: Xiong-Yan Wang is apparently so famous for doling these out (and judging by his torture methods, he certainly isn't exaggerating) that the mere thought/mention of these is enough to keep his minions in line.
    • Becoming the Silver King's prisoner, according to the Jade King. Later quoted verbatim by the man himself, as he tortures Wen-Tian with his weapon, a magic umbrella that can drain the blood of anyone it stabs, and replace it with a paralysing toxin. He manages to catch Wen-Tian in the middle of his back, and is in the midst of gleefully draining him slowly to death when Tan-Shen interrupts.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong sees being raped by the Fire-Worshipping Sect’s Giant Mook as this. Fortunately, she’s quickly rescued, but unfortunately, her saviour is Dong-Fang Yi-Nian...
  • Female Gaze: Wen-Tian, of course. Especially when he does a Walking Shirtless Scene. Then hilariously subverted when Tie-Xin gets an eyeful of Wen-Tian in the buff, and is so mortified that she averts her eyes!
    • Double the hilarity when the above incident takes place while the pair are arguing (Tie-Xin angrily demanding to know if Wen-Tian had taken advantage of her while she was unconscious, and Wen-Tian loudly regretting that he had saved her from a bleeding chest wound), and Wen-Tian activates the Tian-Jing pearl to bust his way out of the bathtub that he's sitting in. Even though Tie-Xin has the Shen-Wu, she's so stunned and distracted that Wen-Tian is able to flee out of an open window (pants in hand, of course)!
  • Fighting Your Friend: For a given definition of “friend”, but when the spirit of Huang-Di senses Wen-Tian using the Hu-Po to open the Secret Room in Chi-You’s Labyrinth, it possesses Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and compels him to fight Wen-Tian.
    • Wen-Tian vs Tie-Xin after the latter sides with the Evil Emperor, to much tragedy.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: During his infiltration of Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress, Wen-Tian stumbles upon a mysterious giant stone plaque that his Second-Grade Weapon seems to have some unnatural attraction to. When he touches it, it immediately generates a magic mist that heals all of his injuries. It's used to great effect in the battle against Xiong-Yan Wang, until the latter wises up and straight-up smashes the plaque to smithereens. It's then revealed that the Shen-Nong Chi was embedded within.
    • While on their way to Mount Tai, Wen-Tian, Bei-Ming Xue and Niu-Lang cross paths with two of the Western Clan's elite guard. In the skirmish that ensues, Wen-Tian lands a hit (with his empowered left arm) on one of the guards' backpacks. Unexpectedly, he's thrown off by a mysterious force (and the guard goes crashing through a wooden floor), and we next see a strange light leaking from a tear in the backpack. It's soon revealed that the guard was carrying the Tai-Xu, a First-Grade Weapon, and was on the way to deliver it to Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu.
    • When Wen-Tian draws the Shen-Nong Chi on an upgraded Xiong-Yan Wang, it doesn't seem to glow with its usual lustre. This foreshadows that it's actually a fake (the real one having been stolen by Xiong-Yan Wang shortly before), which shatters on contact with Xiong-Yan Wang's fist. The real Shen-Nong Chi is subsequently revealed when Xiong-Yan Wang needs to heal his wounds.
    • It's eventually revealed that Du Zi-Wei keeps her male counterparts in her service by exploiting her sexuality to infect them with an STD, to which she has the only medicine (it provides only temporarily relief, and is not a cure). Mere pages later, she plots to use the same trick on the Master Geomancer...and she succeeds. Fortunately, the Phoenix Queen heals him later on.
      • To make matters worse, Zhuo Bu-Fan divines that he will run into trouble with the fairer sex (and has to dodge Dong-Fang Xiong's questions when she overhears it) at about the same time as the above revelation. It still doesn't save him.
    • Just before Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Prince Gu are ambushed by the Gold and Silver Kings, the Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's arm begins reacting to something. He surmises that the two kings have a First-Grade Weapon in their possession, but it's actually Tan-Shen and the Shi-Hun, watching the fight from a nearby rooftop.
  • Forced Sleep: The Jade King knocks a young Wen-Tian out in order to implant the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm. The kid wakes up with no memory of the event. Subsequently, over-using the Tian-Jing pearl causes this to happen to him.
    • The Phoenix Queen captures the Fire-Worshipping Sect's remnants and their prisoners with what amounts to knock-out gas.
  • Forgot About His Powers: One of the reasons why Emperor Yan loses to the Lord of the Raksha Sect: he was too reliant on the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, to the exclusion of his innate (and quite substantial) martial arts abilities.
  • Foil:
    • Yan-Shen is this to Xiong-Yan Wang. Aside from their ranks in the Heaven-Earth Alliance (Sky-Lord and Earth-Lord, respectively), Yan-Shen's martial arts are more flexible and precise than Xiong-Yan Wang's more brutal, bulldozing style. Yan-Shen is also much more cunning and dangerous than Xiong-Yan Wang, whose philosophy can be reduced to "smash everything & everyone who opposes me, hoard as much power as I can, and please my boss". The way they interact with their underlings is also this: while Yan-Shen pretty much lets his Fire-Worshipping Sect act autonomously and respects the elites of the sect as valuable tools; Xiong-Yan Wang basically keeps his hybrid warriors on a leash, using them as destructive forces to be unleashed upon his foes, and treats them like dirt.
      • Yan-Shen, again, to Tan-Shen: the latter is directly related to the Lord of the Raksha Sect, while the former is an outsider who was recruited into the sect's higher echelons. Their lord also uses them for different purposes: Yan-Shen was sent out to conquer the other clans, while Tan-Shen was kept back to handle internal affairs. Even their attitudes are this: while Tan-Shen is unfailingly loyal to his lord, Yan-Shen ambitious and power-hungry, and betrayed the sect to join the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
    • Wen-Tian is this to Niu-Lang. Both are orphans who Took a Level in Badass after many trials, but Wen-Tian is firmly The Cape, out to help others and deal out justice, while Niu-Lang eventually goes off the deep end and starts seeking power to feed his own ego (and to impress Bei-Ming Xue). Wen-Tian ends up as a respected hero, and the new lord of the pugilistic world (like his father before him), while Niu-Lang ends up as the Evil Emperor’s toady. They even end up wielding the two most powerful First-Grade Weapons: the Tian-Jing and the Hu-Po, respectively.
      • Goes Up to Eleven when it’s revealed that Niu-Lang is the Evil Emperor’s blood descendant, while Wen-Tian’s father, Nan-Gong Yi, was the previous lord of the pugilistic world, and a famous hero.
      • Heck, even Wen-Tian’s white hair is a visual Foil to Niu-Lang’s black!
    • Emperor Yan is this to the Raksha Lord. He betrayed and poisoned the previous Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance after learning his skills, and even impersonated him to take command of his warlords, while the Raksha Lord was content to lead his sect just as he was. Emperor Yan also cones to over-rely on the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie (an extremely difficult weapon to wield) after obtaining it, causing him to lose three consecutive battles, while the Raksha Lord is confident in his own skills, which he uses to devastating effect together with the Tian-Zhu and the Shi-Hun. His only defeat in the story comes at the Evil Emperor’s hands during the final battle.
      • Emperor Yan and the Raksha Lord even get their own hair-colour Foil later in the story: after Niu-Lang destroys his kingdom, Emperor Yan’s fiery hair turns white from shock, while the Raksha Lord gets to keep his fiery locks - likely a necessary artistic change, otherwise both would be difficult to tell apart with the same hairstyle.
      • Related to the above, Emperor Yan loses his kingdom, while the Raksha Lord is still firmly in command of his sect.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Wen-Tian does indeed get to wield the Tian-Jing (if only its main blade) by the end. It's all over the promotional pics and even on the cover of the first book.
  • Foreshadowing: Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's odd choice of circular bladed weapons stands out from the usual traditional swords, axes, staves, maces etc. It's revealed later on that his father purposely trained him in the exotic weapons because the Tai-Xu (itself a multi-bladed wheel-like weapon) formed some sort of bond with him when he was a kid. When Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu eventually gets to use the Tai-Xu in combat, he's perfectly poised to wield it with deadly results.
    • Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, the monk who once helped Bei-Ming Fei purge the evil energy that had accumulated from practising his martial arts, is re-introduced when he notices the effects of Wen-Tian trying to unleash the Bei-Ming family's ultimate skills. Concerned, he begins tailing Wen-Tian as he joins the expedition for the Hu-Po. His concerns are justified when he later witnesses Wen-Tian sustaining severe internal injuries in his battle with Tan-Shen. True enough, he's the one who comes to help Tie-Xin revive Wen-Tian.
    • Early on, Dong-Fang Xiong's brother, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, makes a throwaway comment on how the Eastern Clan's elite warriors' fighting styles resemble the Shi-Hun (only less powerful). Turns out, he has one segment of the actual Shi-Hun in his possession, and puts it to good use when he assaults the Fire-Worshipping Sect's base of operations after the Hu-Po incident.
      • Related to the above, the Fire-Worshipping Sect's Giant Mook is surprisingly uninjured when struck by one section of the Shi-Hun, causing him much surprise. It's soon revealed that Dong-Fang Yi-Nian had forged two fake sections for himself, in order to give the appearance of the complete Shi-Hun.
    • Wen-Tian’s first encounter with the Silver King sees him trapped within some sort of maze of living rock (which an interfering Tan-Shen ends up wrecking with the Shi-Hun). The Silver King later reveals an entire elemental maze in Chi-You’s Labyrinth (including brambles, fire, and whirlwinds), within which he traps Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shiu and Le-Wa.
    • Zhuo Bu-Fan is quick to scoff at the Phoenix Queen's divination that he has an heir. This foreshadows that Tie-Xin is actually his daughter with Dong-Fang Xiong.
  • Forging Scene: We get two in the Backstory via flashback:
    • Chi-You created the Hu-Po by feeding a man-eating demon to his pet tiger, and then ripping its spine from its body, hence the "Hu" character in the weapon's name (meaning "tiger" in Mandarin).
    • The Tai-Xu's creation is a much more typical example, with Huang-Di toiling at a magical forge to create it. He fails multiple times, however, and it takes the very flesh and blood of his lover (who willingly threw herself into the forge) to complete it.
  • For the Evulz: When Xiong-Yan Wang captured three of Zhuo Bu-Fan's disciples in the Backstory to force a parley between them, he certainly didn't need to torture and mutilate them...
    • When Dong-Fang Yi-Nian returns to the Miao Kingdom to seek vengeance upon the Phoenix Queen, he discovers that she's already left with the rest of the heroes. He then proceeds to forcefully take over the place and torment the citizens just out of spite (or maybe because of the Shi-Hun's influence).
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Oh, boy...get ready:
    • The first major arc concerns the Hu-Po's emergence, and introduces the main players:
      • The North and West Clans hurry to Bei-Ming Xue's rescue after Xiong-Yan Wang abducts her. Wen-Tian is the main focus here, and his relationships and skills are developed. Time is also spent exploring the Northern Clan's history, as well as Xiong Yan-Wang's hidden fortress and his monstrous minions.
      • The East and South Clans are journeying to Mount Tai to search for the Hu-Po, all while being hounded by the Fire-Worshipping Sect. Tie-Xin is the primary character, but much attention is given to his conflicted relationship with his mother, Dong-Fang Xiong, and her cousin, Zhuo Bu-Fan.
      • Lastly, we have the Jade King, who is on a journey to find Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai (his last living relatives after the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance had his family executed for his betrayal), along with his Animal Companion, the little Jade Dragon. Along the way, he has to grapple with the shadows of his past, like the Gold King and Bei-Ming Zheng.
      • All three storylines converge on Mount Tai, where hero and villain alike fight over the Hu-Po. Yan-Shen emerges victorious, and everyone scatters again when the mountain erupts in a volcano.
    • The second major arc is a sort of long interlude, following the characters as they deal with the chaos caused by Mount Tai's eruption:
      • Dong-Fang Xiong and Zhuo Bu-Fan's illicit relationship is explored further, as they encounter the Gold King and get captured by Du Zi-Wei of the Fire-Worshipping Sect. Zhuo Bu-Fan's problems with the fairer sex cause no small amount of friction between him and his cousin, as he runs into trouble with both Du Zi-Wei and the Phoenix Queen. The Kissing Cousins end up breaking off their relationship when Zhuo Bu-Fan accepts the Phoenix Queen's advances, and Dong-Fang Xiong leaves in a huff to pursue Du Zi-Wei.
      • After escaping from the Silver King, a badly-wounded Jade King convinces Niu-Lang to bring him to Chi-You's Labyrinth, so he can pay his last respects to the little Jade Dragon's family. While there, Niu-Lang unfortunately kills the Jade King while Brainwashed and Crazy, and gradually goes Drunk with Power after taking several levels in badass. This leads him to a confrontation with Yan-Shen, who has also been led to the labyrinth by the Hu-Po, and both of them fight over the Evil Weapon. Niu-Lang loses, and ends up being coerced to serve the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
      • Meanwhile, the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is revealed to be vying for the Flower Goddess' affections with Chi-You's spirit, and actually wants the Hu-Po to unlock a hidden chamber within the labyrinth.
      • Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin's relationship blossoms after Tie-Xin is revealed to be a girl, and is cemented after they fight through thick and thin together against both the Copper King and Tan-Shen. They meet Prince Gu after Wen-Tian learns new skills from Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, but the womanizing prince turns out to be a Crazy Jealous Guy who plots to kill Wen-Tian so he can have Tie-Xin for himself. He convinces them to see his mother, the Phoenix Queen, who poisons both of them so that her son can have his way, leading the couple into further conflict with them. Fortunately, Zhuo Bu-Fan defuses the situation.
      • Meanwhile, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian has been searching for Dong-Fang Xiong in the wake of Mount Tai's eruption. He fails to find her at the Fire-Worshipping Sect's hideout, and goes on to (conveniently) join with Wen-Tian against Tan-Shen. Both of them drive Tan-Shen off, and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian finally obtains the complete Shi-Hun. His search then leads him to the Phoenix Queen, but he is informed that Dong-Fang Xiong has already left in pursuit of Du Zi-Wei. He brutalizes what's left of the Fire-Worshipping Sect, before putting his half-sister back in her place.
    • The third major arc then begins as the Phoenix Queen coerces the heroes to help her search for the Feng-Huang's missing piece, only for Zhuo Bu-Fan's directions to lead them directly to Chi-You's Labyrinth...
      • The heroes are confronted by Niu-Lang and the Gold & Silver Kings. Wen-Tian defeats Niu-Lang and gets the Shen-Nong Chi back, but not before learning the Awful Truth behind the Jade King's death. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa injure and drive off the Gold & Silver Kings, further developing their Battle Couple status. Zhuo Bu-Fan, the Phoenix Queen, and Prince Gu stumble upon the Flower Goddess' sanctum, and learn about the Secret Room within Chi-You's Labyrinth.
      • Meanwhile, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian has returned to the Miao Kingdom to seek vengeance on the Phoenix Queen. When he finds that she's already departed, he forcefully takes over the place and tortures the citizens For the Evulz. Prince Gu's father, Gu-Gang, attempts to unseat him, but is driven off by the Shi-Hun.
  • Free Sample Plot Coupon: Some of the First-Grade Weapons are shown to already be in the possession of powerful clans/sects by the time the story begins:
    • The Tai-Xu is Xi-Cheng Hao's family heirloom.
    • The Shen-Wu was given to Le-Wa by her elder brother, the Lord of the Raksha Sect.
    • The Shi-Hun used to be the Raksha Sect's most hallowed weapon, until one segment went missing. The remaining two segments were entrusted to Tan-Shen by the sect's lord. The missing segment is eventually revealed to have been given to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian prior to the main story's events.
    • The Feng-Huang is an heirloom of the Phoenix Queen's family line.
    • The Tian-Jing was said to be Nan-Gong Yi's family heirloom, but was lost in the prologue.
  • Friend or Idol Decision:
    • Imposed on Wen-Tian during his infiltration of Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress: use the Shen-Nong Chi to heal Xiong-Yan Wang (and then give it to him), or one of his lieutenants will behead Bei-Ming Xue. Subverted when Wen-Tian cleverly turns it around by threatening to straight-up kill the (badly) wounded Xiong-Yan Wang if Bei-Ming Xue isn't set free.
      • Then triple subverted when it's revealed that "Bei-Ming Xue" is actually one of the Half-Human Hybrids in disguise. She back-stabs (well, belly-stabs at least) Wen-Tian, snatches the Shen-Nong Chi, and starts healing Xiong-Yan Wang's wounds, only for another hybrid (who had undergone a Heel–Face Turn) to snatch it from her and pass it back to Wen-Tian.
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is confronted by this once he finally has the Hu-Po all to himself: does he use it to revive the Flower Goddess, whom he's fallen in love with, or does he use it to open the hidden chamber in Chi-You's Labyrinth, and obtain the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie? He chooses the Flower Goddess first, but after his attempt fails, he switches his attention to the hidden chamber.
  • From Bad to Worse: The Hu-Po's portents seem designed to invoke this (as a Shout-Out to the biblical plagues of Egypt): earthquakes -> wildfires -> a hailstorm -> toxic gas -> a freaking zombie apocalypse -> flesh-eating locust swarms -> Mount Tai itself erupting in a volcano!
    • The Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings inflict this on the scattered heroes, who are still battered and bruised after the Hu-Po incident. Tan-Shen and his lieutenants drive this even further when they waylay Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin after their encounter with the Copper King, to the point where Wen-Tian straight-up dies from his internal injuries.
    • Happens to the little Jade Dragon when Niu-Lang starts learning Chi-You's martial arts. Hungry from everything that's transpired since Mount Tai's eruption, Niu-Lang eagerly makes a meal of some dragon flesh and blood, not knowing that they're actually from the little critter's mother. Enraged, the Jade Dragon attacks him, but he easily beats it back with his newfound powers. However, he's unable to deliver the killing blow (as the little critter has saved his life twice over), and the Jade Dragon quickly flees further into the labyrinth...only to get caught by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance!
    • Similarly, Niu-Lang flees from Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po...only to run into the Overlord, who coerces him to serve the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From the villains' point of view, Wen-Tian is this: a random orphan kid from from the Northern Clan who takes several levels in badass (notwithstanding how he starts the story already with the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm), and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
    • Niu-Lang is a straighter example, going from a Butt-Monkey of a Failure Hero to one of the Evil Emperor’s top enforcers, thanks to the Hu-Po, Chi-You’s martial arts, and being the Evil Emperor’s blood descendant.
  • Funny Background Event: The last trap the heroes encounter in the maze of Mount Tai is a cavern where all are consumed by their life's greatest desires (unless they have a First-Grade Weapon in hand). Le-Wa makes her appearance here, using the Shen-Wu to free Xiang Ao-Tian and ask him about the quest for the Hu-Po. All this time, Tie-Xin is air-surfing on his freaking sword in the background, with an uncharacteristically gleeful smile on his face.
  • Fury-Fueled Foolishness: Dong-Fang Xiong admits early on that she is struggling to teach Tie-Xin how to avoid this. Ironic, given that she is prone to similar outbursts herself. This is most prominent when Yan-Shen (and later the Gold King) threaten both the Southern Clan's legacy and insult her for being a woman.
    • Tie-Xin himself goads the Master Geomancer into a duel during their very first meeting, as the latter interrupts the former's Combat by Champion to bring news about the Hu-Po. He nearly unleashes a Dangerous Forbidden Technique against Zhuo Bu-Fan, but is stopped in his tracks by a random (or fated, according to the Master Geomancer) bolt of lightning.
      • Happens again to Tie-Xin in the second half of the story: (1) she's pissed when Wen-Tian cannot bring himself to continue their relationship when it's (wrongly) revealed that they're half-siblings - understandable. (2) She then goes on to vent her rage by Walking the Earth and killing any wedding couples she comes across - needlessly brutal, but still in-line with her character. (3) However, her wanderings lead her to blunder right into the Evil Emperor's territory, where he's presiding over the wedding of two of his underlings. Enraged, she hurls herself at them...despite people like Niu-Lang and Prince Gu being in attendance. Predictably, she ends up soundly beaten...and ends up joining the Evil Emperor.
  • The Gadfly: Wen-Tian has shades of this early in the story, towards Bei-Ming Xue and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu. He manages to get himself out of the trouble it causes, and later goes on to use it on Dong-Fang Xiong! Fortunately, Bei-Ming Lei and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu are there to defuse the situation. He still retains elements of this later on in the story, when he playfully teases Tie-Xin on a couple of occasions.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The "Xiong" character in Dong-Fang Xiong's name refers to masculinity. Her father purposely named her this way because he wanted a son. Likewise, "Tie-Xin" (lit. iron heart) isn't typically a girl's name...or even a kid's name, for that matter. It goes to show how badly broken Dong-Fang Xiong's worldview is, thanks to her crappy past.
  • Generation Xerox: Dong-Fang Xiong gets stuck in the same situation as her mother: playing second fiddle to their husbands' mistresses when they can't produce a son. Needless to say, this turns her into a bitter cynic.
  • Genius Bruiser: Zhuo Bu-Fan is a Badass Bookworm who used to be a military commander before learning the divination arts. He was strong enough to beat Xiong-Yan Wang twice in the Backstory. In the current timeline, he's strong enough to force Tie-Xin to use a Dangerous Forbidden Technique during a duel, and later gives Jue Tian-Ji's metal contraption a serious beating with his bare hands.
  • Genre Savvy: Ultimately subverted. After the heroes have been captured by the Fire-Worshipping Sect following their battle with the Gold King, Du Zi-Wei arranges for Zhuo Bu-Fan to have a veritable dinner feast, while the others are only given plain buns and cold water. The Master Geomancer suspects that their enemies want to entice him to their side because of his divining skills, but he's eventually proven to be Wrong Genre Savvy as Du Zi-Wei actually intends to enslave him via an STD (see Five-Second Foreshadowing above) by spiking the banquet with a powerful aphrodisiac...and she succeeds. Thankfully, it's undone by the Phoenix Queen later on.
  • Gentle Giant: The mother dragon in Chi-You's Labyrinth turns out to be this, once the Jade King gains her trust. She's still a giant freaking dragon though, and puts up a good (if futile) fight against the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
  • Ghostly Glide: Thanks to his skills, Tan-Shen can do this.
  • Giant Mook: One of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's elites is this.
  • Glowing Gem: The Tian-Jing pearl embedded within Wen-Tian's arm glows a bright green when activated, turning his entire arm (and sometimes part of his chest) green.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Early on, San-Shu ends up revealing an Awful Truth to his childhood friend Bei-Ming Zheng, and this happens:
    • Bei-Ming Zheng had always thought that his father (Bei-Ming Fei) had been killed by one of his friends, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, a monk wielding a jade Second-Grade Weapon. He had gone looking for his father, only to see him lying on a bed with Wu-Fa Shen-Seng holding the weapon's tip in his chest. Alarmed, he had attacked the monk, but his father had tragically perished.
    • In actual fact, Bei-Ming Fei had run into trouble while practising his martial arts (which would go on to become the family's signature skill), and needed Wu-Fa Shen-Seng to purge evil energies from his heart with the weapon. Bei-Ming Zheng had interrupted the process with his attack, causing the monk's hands to slip and accidentally plunge the blade so deeply into Bei-Ming Fei's heart that it killed him.
    • Wu-Fa Shen-Seng fled the scene with the jade weapon quickly after, and was taken in by San-Shu. Upon realising that San-Shu was an old friend of the Bei-Ming family, the monk told him the entire story, implored him to keep it a secret, and entrusted the jade weapon to him before eventually leaving the Northern Clan's territory altogether.
      • This revelation upsets Bei-Ming Zheng so badly that the very same evil energies that had plagued his father manifest in a demonic purple glow, complete with him growing fans, horns, and claws, and he blindly attacks San-Shu with vampiric abilities. He comes around soon enough, but San-Shu is seriously hurt, much to his dismay.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The Jade King, after Niu-Lang promises to fulfil his dying wishes.
  • A God Am I: Boatloads of this happen when Yan-Shen and an empowered Niu-Lang fight over the Hu-Po, leading to plenty of Ham-to-Ham Combat.
    • Literally implied by Yan-Shen and Tan-Shen's names, as the "shen" character translates into "deity". Subverted, however, in that their attitudes don't really match the trope...until Yan-Shen gets his hands on the Hu-Po, that is.
    • Chi-You certainly behaves this way. He is a superhuman celestial entity, after all.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Xi-Cheng Hao sees the Hu-Po's emergence as this, and sends the Tai-Xu to his son, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu.
    • When faced with the Tai-Xu later on during Xiang Ao-Tian's heroes' tournament, Tie-Xin knows that his Second-Grade Weapon cannot hope to beat it head-on. Instead, he intimidates Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu by unleashing a Dangerous Forbidden Technique (that he had failed to use against the Master Geomancer during their first meeting). It provokes Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu to reach his own Godzilla Threshold, but his attempt to push the Tai-Xu to its limit backfires on him, leaving Tie-Xin the winner.
      • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu tries this yet again against Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po, but ends up knocking himself out once more.
    • Faced with the Hu-Po in Xiong-Yan Wang's hands, Wen-Tian foregoes all his simpler skills and immediately channels the Bei-Ming family's ultimate martial arts. He falls into a brief coma, but does manage to severely injure Xiong-Yan Wang. He does this again against Yan-Shen when the latter gets the Hu-Po for himself, but the results are inconclusive due to Mount Tai's eruption halting their fight.
      • Unfortunately, the third time is not the charm, and when Wen-Tian tries the same thing on Tan-Shen out of desperation, he suffers major internal injuries from over-exertion.
      • Tan-Shen himself has a minor moment of this, when he unleashes the (incomplete) Shi-Hun against Wen-Tian and the Shen-Wu.
    • The gods of thunder and lightning normally wield the Jing-Xie in its separate halves, but are forced to combine them when Fu-Xi unleashes the full power of the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie.
  • Golden Super Mode: The Tai-Xu does this (thanks to Huang-Di’s spirit) when it senses Wen-Tian using the Hu-Po to open the Door of a Thousand Curses. Notably, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu actually gets possessed by Huang-Di when he takes hold of it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Done in the Backstory, in response to Yan-Shen and his Fire-Worshipping Sect. The popular and charismatic Nan-Gong Yi is named leader of the combined armies, much to Bei-Ming Zheng's dismay.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Basically Tie-Xin in a nutshell (until she joins the Evil Emperor, at least). Several characters even comment on how cold and ruthless she is. She probably gets it from her mother Dong-Fang Xiong.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Again, Tie-Xin and Dong-Fang Xiong. Several characters learn (the hard way) not to assume they're pushovers just because they're women.
  • Good vs. Good: Briefly, when Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin fight during their first encounter.
  • A Good Way to Die: Referenced both ways in several characters' internal monologues, often when they're on the brink of death. Some lament their circumstances, while others are simply thankful/content that they've made it so far.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used very rarely. One memorable one occurs in the very first book, when Dong-Fang Xiong orders her subordinates to mutilate Jade Swallow's corpse.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: When First-Grade Weapons are unveiled by the heroes, the villains tend to go this way. Lampshaded by Niu-Lang, when he theorizes that the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is doing this simply out of greed, as he's even more powerful than the Hu-Po according to the Jade King.
  • Graceful Loser: The Master Geomancer willingly accepts defeat after the Phoenix Queen wins the last two of their three competitions (martial arts & limericks), and admits that he's attracted to her beauty and skills. They hook up in short order.
    • Emperor Yan takes his defeat at the hands of the Lord of the Raksha Sect rather well, taking his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to heart, and vowing to better himself. He bows out of the fight for the Tian-Jing with little fanfare.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Happens when Wen-Tian dies. Then exploited by Wu-Fa Shen-Seng to tunnel underground to Wen-Tian's aid without Tan-Shen or his lieutenants noticing - the thunder muffled the sounds of his digging!
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Celestial Demon, who turned his body into ten evil crystals to get out alive from a celestial war eons ago. It's these crystals that the Evil Emperor is after.
  • Grim Up North: The Northern Clan's headquarters is situated around a volcanic forge-fortress in the midst of a snowy plain under grey skies.
  • Groin Attack: Xiong-Yan Wang gets two in relatively quick succession, first from debris propelled by Bei-Ming Xue's Mind over Matter ability (while he was trying to rape her, no less), second from Wen-Tian's boot when they're both fighting over the Shen-Nong Chi. Perhaps this is why his monstrous upgraded body sports Barbie Doll Anatomy...
  • Guile Hero: The Master Geomancer prefers to fight this way, when he's forced into direct combat. Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin also employ this against Tan-Shen during their first encounter, as they're too badly injured to take him head-on. Prince Gu also uses this when he's initially outmatched by the Gold King.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Vertical example when Wen-Tian uses a Second-Grade Weapon to take out one of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors from above.
    • Happens to another hybrid later on via Razor Floss, after he had done a Heel–Face Turn. He still manages to throw the Shen-Nong Chi to Wen-Tian, though.
    • During the battle with Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po, one of the Western Clan's elite guard is killed this way.
    • The Copper King dies when he gets bisected by the Shen-Wu's blade.
    • The Jade King’s tragic fate, at the hands of a Brainwashed and Crazy Niu-Lang. He lasts just long enough to snap him out of it & beseech him to fulfil his dying wishes.
    • Three of the Gold King's lieutenants are dispatched this way, one by Wen-Tian, and two by Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu when he throws the Tai-Xu at them.
  • Handicapped Badass: Xiong-Yan Wang doesn't need two arms to wield the Hu-Po with devastating effect. Wen-Tian is forced to push himself to his limits to halt his rampage (to the extent that he falls into a coma afterwards!).
    • Despite still nursing injuries from the Hu-Po incident, the heroes all put up respectable fights against the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings and their Mooks. Wen-Tian even manages to slay the Copper King with the Shen-Wu.
  • Happily Married: Nan-Gong Yi and his mistress Jade Swallow. Decidedly not with his actual wife, Dong-Fang Xiong. It gets worse when you realise that History Repeats, as Dong-Fang Xiong's mother was the spurned wife to Dong-Fang Yun's mistress.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Of a sort. Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan knows when the Hu-Po is going to emerge from Mount Tai, and he wastes no time informing the Eastern (and what remains of the Southern) Clan.
    • Zhuo Bu-Fan was also this in the prologue, when he warned Nan-Gong Yi against unveiling the Tian-Jing. Unfortunately, his warnings were ignored.
  • Hard Light: Or hard chi energy, rather. Bei-Ming Zheng and the Gold King are both able to manifest cutting edges with their hands in unarmed combat.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu don't really get along in the beginning. It takes the Hu-Po's impending emergence to make them work together without any verbal insults.
  • Headbutt of Love: Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin share one after escaping from Tan-Shen and his lieutenants.
  • Heartbroken Badass:
    • Wen-Tian, for a brief period, anyway. After mistakenly thinking that Bei-Ming Xue betrayed him by swapping the Shen-Nong Chi for a fake (and handing the real one to Xiong-Yan Wang, of all people), he angrily decides to stop being her Knight in Shining Armor. He shifts his affections to Tie-Xin soon after.
    • Tie-Xin herself becomes a very Dark Action Girl version of this after Wen-Tian decides that he cannot continue their relationship, on account of (wrongly-informed) half-sibling incest. Unfortunately, her path leads her straight into the Evil Emperor’s employ...
  • Heel–Face Turn: Three of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors do this, in the hope that Wen-Tian will be able to deliver them from their Bad Boss, and allow them to meet their mothers once again. Unfortunately, they all end up paying the ultimate price.
    • The Silver King does this in the second half of the story, when he decides to stop the Evil Emperor’s resurrection.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: With the number of battles they tend to find themselves in, the heroes and villains don't seem to care much about headgear. Probably justified with the First-Grade Weapons' sheer power making armour useless, anyway.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Le-Wa certainly doesn't take the Shen-Wu's destruction (at Chi-You's hands) well at all.
    • Several characters get hit with a devastating one when it’s (wrongly) revealed that Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin are half-siblings:
      • Wen-Tian can’t bring himself to accept an incestuous relationship, and forces himself to cut romantic ties with Tie-Xin.
      • This drives Tie-Xin to an Attempted Suicide (which fails), and she tragically abandons all her relationships when Wen-Tian doesn’t make a move to stop her suicide.
      • The Master Geomancer (Tie-Xin’s true father) then gets hit with this when he finds out that Tie-Xin’s BSOD has caused her to throw her lot in with the Evil Emperor.
  • Heroic Second Wind: All over the place (par the course for wuxia, really), especially during the battle for the Hu-Po, where the heroes keep bouncing back from so many injuries that Yan-Shen starts describing them as cockroaches.
    • Deconstructed when Wen-Tian gets trounced by Tan-Shen, and forcefully activates the Tian-Jing pearl to initiate another round. He ends up with severe internal injuries as a result.
  • Heroic Willpower: Deconstructed. Wen-Tian proves to be too heroic (partly due to the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm) to wield the Hu-Po properly, as it’s an Evil Weapon. This causes him to take longer than usual to open the Door of a Thousand Curses, and significantly hampers his fight against a possessed Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu...at least until he straight-out forces the Hu-Po to yield to him. He then manages to rein in the blade’s murderous intent after defeating Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, and spares his life.
  • The Hero Dies: Wen-Tian, when he over-exerts himself against Tan-Shen. It doesn't last long, thankfully.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • While trapped in a Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng gets the idea to let a flock of vultures eat him alive in order to unlock the exit for the others. Being a Buddhist monk, he’s able to regenerate his body thanks to his altruism & selflessness.
    • In the Backstory, Fu-Xi sacrifices himself to use both the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie & Jing-Xie to reinforce the Celestial Demon’s prison.
    • After Wen-Cai is kidnapped by the Evil Emperor, it’s revealed that she is the mortal incarnation of Nü-Wa, and the only one capable of restoring the Evil Emperor’s humanity. She willingly agrees after he begs her to do so, but the effort sends her into a coma. This drives the Evil Emperor’s next plot: to find the (now reconstituted) Shen-Nong Chi to heal her...and he’s not afraid to tear the world apart to do so.
  • Hero Killer: Not so much a character, but a weapon: the Hu-Po claims the lives of many supporting heroes, thanks to Yan-Shen.
  • Hero of Another Story: Downplayed, thanks to the plentiful flashbacks filling the reader in on what other characters were doing while they were Out of Focus.
    • Fu-Xi gets a significantly longer series of flashbacks that span several books, detailing how he created the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, and battled the gods of thunder & lightning for the Jing-Xie so that he could reinforce the Celestial Demon’s prison. Turns out, the spell he crafted was sealed beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses later on by Chi-You, who went on to build his infamous labyrinth around it. Said labyrinth (along with the aforementioned door) is the Overlord’s primary focus for the first half of the story.
  • Hidden Depths: Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors may be monstrous, but some of them actually resent serving under him (Bad Boss and all), and a few still remember their mothers and wish to meet them again. Wen-Tian exploits this (and he does indeed deliver later on) to encourage three of them to do a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian seems like a weak-willed ruler, but is actually very ruthless and cunning behind the scenes. While the other characters are busy fighting each other, he manages to snatch the other two segments of the Shi-Hun from Tan-Shen, and later foils Dong-Fang Xiong’s entire mission to preserve what remains of the Southern Clan by merging it with the Eastern Clan.
  • High Collar of Doom: Yan-Shen's outfit sports one.
  • History Repeats: A tragically sad case: Dong-Fang Xiong was looked down upon by her chauvinistic father, Dong-Fang Yun, for being a girl. He later took a mistress, who bore him a son (Dong-Fang Yi-Nian). When Dong-Fang Xiong eventually married Nan-Gong Yi, she then became the wife who was not able to bear a son, causing Nan-Gong Yi to take Jade Swallow as his own mistress. Jade Swallow would subsequently give birth to Wen-Tian, while Dong-Fang Xiong eventually produced a daughter, Tie-Xin...
    • Wu-Fa Shen-Seng once helped Bei-Ming Fei purge the evil energy accumulated by using his martial arts. He returns decades later to help Wen-Tian, who has fallen to the same Dangerous Forbidden Technique. He even has a dagger made from the same mystic jade as his old sword (which has long been broken in Wen-Tian's vicious battle with Xiong-Yan Wang) just for this purpose.
    • Early on, one of Wen-Tian’s quests is to find the Shen-Nong Chi to heal his sister Wen-Cai, who has been inadvertently injured in Xiong-Yan Wang’s assault on the Northern Clan (the little Jade Dragon ends up healing her with its powers, rendering the quest moot in the end); near the end of the story, Wen-Cai is left in a coma after channeling Nü-Wa’s powers to restore the Evil Emperor’s humanity, driving the Big Bad to seek out the Shen-Nong Chi to heal her, just as her brother had done.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Xiong-Yan Wang is eventually killed by the Hu-Po (thanks to Yan-Shen), the very weapon he had been obsessing over.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu has difficulty unleashing the Tai-Xu's full power at first; the first two times he tries both result in a backlash that knocks him out.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Aided by his infernal contraption, Jue Tian-Ji is able to do this to Zhuo Bu-Fan, despite being less athletic (and smaller!).
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Tan-Shen prefers not to use the Shi-Hun unless absolutely necessary, like when Wen-Tian pulls the Shen-Wu on him, or when the Silver King attempts to trap him in a rock formation. Justified, as it's an heirloom of the Raksha Sect, and was entrusted to him by his lord. The second time he fights Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, though, he's pissed and out for blood, and immediately unleashes the First-Grade Weapon (destroying Tie-Xin's new Second-Grade Weapon in the process). This attracts Dong-Fang Yi-Nian's attention, and he briefly joins forces with Wen-Tian to beat Tan-Shen down and claim the Shi-Hun. Oops.
  • Holding the Floor: The Master Geomancer does this when he, the Phoenix Queen, and Prince Gu have been incapacitated by Niu-Lang and Chi-You’s Lieutenants. Well aware of the Phoenix Queen’s ability to (gradually) unseal her own acupoints, he distracts Niu-Lang by making proclamations about his ill-fated destiny if he carries on with his Face–Heel Turn. The Phoenix Queen does get some help from Gu-Gang, but the Master Geomancer’s diversion distracts Niu-Lang long enough for her to catch him off guard.
  • Home Field Advantage: The magic dragons (and later the Jade King) use the tunnels in Chi-You's Labyrinth to give the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance the slip, if only for awhile. Niu-lang also does this to escape Yan-Shen, though he ends up running straight into the Overlord instead.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: We're introduced to Du Zi-Wei and Nie Hong-Luan's relationship this way. It's outright confirmed later in their Backstory flashback.
  • Honor Before Reason: Many characters espouse this (as per the genre), but Dong-Fang Xiong practically breathes this. Somewhat justified, in that her father was extremely misogynistic, and had treated her as an Inadequate Inheritor for the Eastern Clan. This was only worsened when her husband Nan-Gong Yi cheated on her with Jade Swallow because she couldn't bear him a son. As the last survivor of the Southern Clan (following the Tian-Jing's explosion), she gets particularly defensive whenever her legacy or gender are brought up.
    • Tie-Xin has also inherited this from his mother's upbringing, though it's more of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy honour than anything related to his legacy.
  • Hope Bringer: Bei-Ming Zheng is this during Xiong-Yan Wang's assault on the Northern Clan. He manages to fight Xiong-Yan Wang to a standstill, and probably would've won if he didn't get distracted by Bei-Ming Xue's kidnapping. Wen-Tian proceeds to fill in for him after he gets smacked around by Xiong-Yan Wang, battering the latter so badly that he's forced to cut his losses and flee with Bei-Ming Xue.
  • Hope Spot: After severely injuring Xiong-Yan Wang during the battle for the Hu-Po, everyone cheers for Wen-Tian to take the powerful weapon for himself...only for him to collapse into a deep sleep from his exertions. Yan-Shen then gleefully steps forward to help himself.
    • After being defeated by Tan-Shen in their first encounter, Wen-Tian forcefully activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, complete with Artistic License – Martial Arts as its power lifts him into the air...only for him to suffer severe internal injuries after one too many exertions over a short period of time.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Wen-Tian is basically this for Xiong-Yan Wang and his Mooks: a young nobody with mysterious powers who goes on to claim a First-Grade Weapon and thoroughly trash an entire fortress. It takes a full body modification before Xiong-Yan Wang confronts him again.
    • Tie-Xin is this for the Fire-Worshipping Sect, tearing apart their trap, taking Du Zi-Wei hostage to ruthlessly get the antidote for her poison, and then kidnapping Nie Hong-Luan.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: As with Friend or Idol Decision above, Bei-Ming Xue for the Shen-Nong Chi during Wen-Tian's infiltration of Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress.
  • Human Popsicle: For a given definition of "human", anyway. Chi-You's five lieutenants are first introduced sealed within giant icicles (and have been for thousands of years since Chi-You's death), but able to communicate through the spirit realm. Niu-Lang inadvertently frees them by learning a fire-based skill from Chi-You's own martial arts repertoire, and gets them to pledge themselves to him.
  • Human Shield: The Jade King takes this upon himself in the Backstory, saving the Gold King's life in the process. This cements their friendship.
    • Gruesomely used by Yan-Shen, when he hides behind Xiong-Yan Wang while both of them have a grip on the Hu-Po. This results in the latter being brutally dismembered by the heroes as they attempt to attack Yan-Shen. For better or for worse, Xiong-Yan Wang is put out of his misery soon after.
    • The Gold King himself uses Dong-Fang Xiong as this when Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu hurls the Tai-Xu at him. It takes the combined efforts of two Second-Grade Weapons (which get shattered in the process) to deflect it.
    • One of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's elites does this with a corpse on the floor against Dong-Fang Yi-Nian. He gets a brief advantage, but ultimately loses.
  • Humiliation Conga: Xiong-Yan Wang, so much:
    • First, he attacks the Northern Clan with his hybrid warriors, only to lose all but two of them (who get taken prisoner instead). He then gets injured by Bei-Ming Zheng and Wen-Tian in quick succession, and has to resort to taking Bei-Ming Xue hostage in order to escape.
    • As he's heading back to his fortress, he stops over at a small village for food and drink, only for Niu-Lang to show up and challenge him. He wins quickly enough, but Niu-Lang does manage to get in a couple of good hits.
    • While trying to heal his injuries back in his fortress, one method mentions having sex with a virgin. He then tries to rape Bei-Ming Xue, only for her to use her Mind over Matter powers to destroy the dungeon cell and pelt him with debris (including a telekinetic Groin Attack for good measure). She then escapes with Niu-Lang in tow.
    • Before his minions can find Bei-Ming Xue and Niu-Lang, Wen-Tian infiltrates his fortress, finds the Shen-Nong Chi, and (with the help of three hybrid warriors who have undergone a Heel–Face Turn) very nearly manages to kill him. He only survives and escapes thanks to one of his lieutenants who stalls Wen-Tian with a Sadistic Choice via Friend or Idol Decision. Said lieutenant ends up being taken prisoner by Wen-Tian, who goes on to kill nearly all of his acolytes.
    • He then upgrades his body into a new, monstrous form, and seeks out Wen-Tian for revenge. He manages to get the drop on him, stealing the Shen-Nong Chi and swapping it with a fake for good measure, only to discover that his body can still be injured with enough force, and he has no early warning system because his new body can no longer feel pain. Though he does manage to manhandle Wen-Tian, the Jade King and the little Jade Dragon ambush him and his hybrids, and reclaim the Shen-Nong Chi before escaping with Wen-Tian.
    • He then seems to gain an advantage when he forces Yan-Shen to back down and give up his quest for the Hu-Po, and even takes over command of the Fire-Worshipping Sect, but it's all revealed to be a ploy by Yan-Shen so he can snatch the Hu-Po for himself once all the contenders have worn themselves out fighting each other.
      • To make matters worse, Yan-Shen shows his hand when Xiong-Yan Wang is on his knees, having bled out from so many injuries that the Evil Weapon is literally the only thing keeping him alive. Yan-Shen then goes on to kill him with the Hu-Po itself. Alas, Poor Villain? Maybe. Asshole Victim? Definitely.
    • Taken Up to Eleven once one takes his backstory into account. Xiong-Yan Wang was a mercenary leader for a kingdom opposed to Zhuo Bu-Fan's. The latter defeated him in battle not once, but twice, and he was forced to parley using three of Zhuo Bu-Fan's disciples as hostages in exchange for three free divinations.
    • Hurting Hero: Wen-Tian becomes this once it’s made clear that Tie-Xin is not actually his half-sister, but has fallen in with the Evil Empreror because of their prior Heroic BSoD. To make matters worse, Wen-Cai gets kidnapped by the Evil Emperor, who uses her powers to restore his humanity. Despite a suitably epic final battle (where he allies with the Lord of the Raksha Sect), he’s unable to save either of them.
  • I Don't Want to Die: Basically Dirty Coward Bei-Ming Lei's justification for calling a full retreat the moment Xiong-Yan Wang appears, never mind that he's badly battered and bruised after a fight with Wen-Tian.
    • Exploited by Prince Gu, to get the Gold King to drop his guard. Once he's distracted by Wen-Tian, the prince makes his move, reclaiming his Second-Grade Weapon and forcing the Gold King to retreat.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: And this is just the beginning for anyone on the receiving end of the Hu-Po...
    • Xiong-Yan Wang dispatches one of his hybrid warriors this way, after the latter had undergone a Heel–Face Turn. Thankfully, Wen-Tian uses the Shen-Nong Chi to bring him Back from the Dead.
    • Happens to the Jade King (right through the heart) during the skirmish with the Silver King. Niu-Lang and the little Jade Dragon save him and the trio escape, but the Shen-Nong Chi is too drained to completely heal him. He survives, but just barely.
    • It’s revealed in Yan-Shen’s Dark and Troubled Past that he killed his father this way. When Yan-Shen was a kid (then named Subutai), bandits had locked him & his parents in a cage without food For the Evulz. Desperate, his father resorted to eating the flesh off of his wife’s left arm, using a small knife the bandits had given them to carve her up. When he got annoyed with Subutai’s pleas to stop, he lost his temper & threatened to eat the boy as well. Enraged, Subutai took the knife & stabbed his father to death while he slept. Yikes.
    • Thanks to the metal fists carved into either end of the Shi-Hun, the Evil Weapon can be used to do this. Dong-Fang Yi-Nian certainly indulges in a fair share when he wields it.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The First-Grade Weapons, of course. Even if not all of them have earth-shattering powers, their designs are all so stylised that they border on Rule of Cool. Even the most "mundane" one, the Shen-Nong Chi, has geometric patterns on its surface that make it resemble a circuit board.
    • The Second-Grade Weapons are no slouch either, especially the Southern Clan's three swords. Dong-Fang Xiong's is even completely gold.
    • Then there's Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's exotic bladed discs. Granted, he doesn't get too much mileage out of them before he obtains the Tai-Xu, but their designs certainly stand out from the other, more traditional swords, axes, staves, etc.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Done unintentionally early on, when Tie-Xin attempts a Dangerous Forbidden Technique against the Master Geomancer during their first encounter. Levitating high in the air with a sword high above one's head under an overcast sky tends to do this. Who knew?
  • Indy Ploy: Essentially what Wen-Tian does while he's infiltrating Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress. Beyond using one of his hybrid warriors as a guide, he doesn't really have any concrete ideas about how he's going to find Bei-Ming Xue and get out of there.
    • After the chaos of Mount Tai's eruption, all of the heroes are forced to do this when the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings attack them.
  • Inevitably Broken Rule: When the heroes enter the labyrinth at the base of Mount Tai, Zhuo Bu-Fan warns them not to fall for any of the temptations within. Guess what the Red Shirt background characters do.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The First-Grade Weapons, naturally. And even among them, the Hu-Po and the Tian-Jing are the mightiest.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Tie-Xin openly compliments Wen-Tian as he's beating down Tan-Shen (thanks to Dong-Fan Yi-Nian's interference), not realising that Prince Gu is quite smitten with her...and is standing within earshot. This prompts him to lure the couple to his mother, the Phoenix Queen, so that she can slip Tie-Xin a love potion.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Niu-Lang's first appearance has him loudly declaring that he'll slay Xiong-Yan Wang for attacking an innocent village. Xiong-Yan Wang wipes the floor with him within a few moves.
    • On his return to Chi-You's Labyrinth, the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance surmises that the magic dragons are too afraid of him to appear, even with the Jade King's music as a lure. He's proven dead wrong almost immediately, as they all attack him in fury for killing one of their kind in the past.
    • Both the Fire-Worshipping Sect and the Gold King's Mooks view Dong-Fang Xiong as just a pretty face. She quickly shows them how wrong they are.
    • While in the Fire-Worshipping Sect's clutches (the second time around), the Master Geomancer thinks he's Genre Savvy enough to suspect that he's getting preferential treatment because they want to make use of his divining skills. Just as he finishes his dinner, its revealed that the food was spiked with an aphrodisiac, and Du Zi-Wei was actually buttering him up to enslave him via STD. Thankfully, the Phoenix Queen heals him later on.
  • Internal Reveal: Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai are Nan-Gong Yi's kids Jade Swallow, and thus Tie-Xin's half-siblings. At least until it's revealed that Tie-Xin was actually conceived between the Master Geomancer and Dong-Fang Xiong.
    • The Jade King was the one who implanted the Tian-Jing pearl within Wen-Tian's left arm (after knocking him unconscious).
  • Interrupted Suicide: While living among the magic dragons in Chi-You's Labyrinth, the Jade King stumbles upon the grove where they have been harvesting nourishing mushrooms for him to eat. He's immediately drawn into an illusion of his daughter and two grandchildren, who beseech him to join them in the afterlife. He picks up a sword from the floor...but the dragons barge in and quickly pull him away.
    • Wen-Tian does this to Tie-Xin (via Diving Kick) when she's cornered by the Copper King and his lieutenants.
  • In the Back: See Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind above. Nie Hong-Luan also manages to prick the back of Tie-Xin's neck with a poisoned needle when he first falls into the Fire-Worshipping Sect's trap, but he purges the poison quickly enough.
    • The Silver King also gets this when Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu nails him with the Tai-Xu after successfully escaping his trap in Chi-You's Labyrinth. He ends up begging the Gold King to carry him to safety, as only he knows the way out of his own trap.
  • Ironic Echo: During the fight for the Hu-Po, Tie-Xin manages to cut Yan-Shen's left eye with the Shen-Wu's blade. Realising that his remaining eye is basically his only weak spot, Tie-Xin attempts to take out his right eye while he's busy dealing with Wen-Tian. Unfortunately, he notices Tie-Xin approaching, and stabs him in the chest with the Hu-Po's pommel while proclaiming that "only an idiot would fall for that twice!". However, this takes his attention away from Wen-Tian, who manages to gouge his right eye out by empowering his fingers with the Tian-Jing pearl. Wen-Tian even quips "so this proves that you're an idiot!".
  • It Only Works Once: When Tan-Shen unveils the Shi-Hun, Wen-Tian, at the end of his tether, decides to end it then and there by pouring all of his remaining energy into a Death-or-Glory Attack. Unfortunately, Tan-Shen uses the Shi-Hun to render his final attack useless. Determinator that he is, Wen-Tian activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm to force another round, but suffers fatal internal injuries as a result.
    • Then turned around on Tan-Shen during his second battle with Wen-Tian. After Wen-Tian gets the Shen-Wu back (Tie-Xin had snatched it from one of Tan-Shen's lieutenants), Tan-Shen attempts the same counterattack as before, but Wen-Tian uses Wu-Fa Shen-Seng's skills to stand his ground. This flusters Tan-Shen so much that Dong-Fang Yi-Nian manages to get the drop on him.
  • It's All My Fault: Bei-Ming Zheng carries the heavy burden of getting his two younger brothers killed when he rushed recklessly against Yan-Shen and his Fire-Worshipping Sect in the Backstory.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong to Zhuo Bu-Fan, when she squanders his efforts to buy them time to flee from the Gold King. Fortunately, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu joins the fight with the Tai-Xu shortly after.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong also begins to feels this way when she starts realizing how Tie-Xin's harsh Friendless Background upbringing has royally screwed her up.
  • It's Personal: Dong-Fang Xiong is none too pleased about losing her husband's affections to Jade Swallow, and goes so far as to order her men to mutilate her corpse when she discovers it. This enmity is why the Jade King (Jade Swallow's father) took Jade Swallow's children to the Northern Clan to be fostered.
    • Wen-Tian becomes Xiong-Yan Wang's sworn enemy after he hands the latter one too many defeats.
      • Happens again when Wen-Tian evades Tan-Shen not once, but twice. At first, Tan-Shen wants to keep Wen-Tian alive, so he can (mistakenly) reunite Le-Wa with her lover. By the third time they meet, however, he’s so pissed that he declares he’ll just straight-up kill Wen-Tian.
    • The Jade King was content to simply break familial ties with his cousin Bei-Ming Zheng (after learning that he had killed his own father), but when the latter physically attacked him, he swore bloody vengeance on his branch of the family.
      • Then turned around when it's revealed that Bei-Ming Zheng has been on the lookout for the Jade King for decades. He immediately attacks the Jade King when he returns, even though he's just looking for his grandchildren Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai, and has long abandoned his vengeance.
    • Even the little Jade Dragon gets this, when it stumbles upon Niu-Lang (unknowingly) chowing down on its mother's flesh and blood. It does its best to avenge its mother, but Niu-Lang has become too powerful by then, thanks to Chi-You's martial arts. Still, he can't bring himself to kill the little critter (who has saved his life twice over by this point), and the Jade Dragon takes the chance to flee.
    • Due to his disdain for Chi-You (they were both vying for the Flower Goddess' affections), the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance does not take kindly to Niu-Lang picking up the former's martial arts skills. He's unable to kill Niu-Lang at first because he's sealed within a magical block of ice, but once Niu-Lang escapes, he declares that sparing his life was the Overlord's big mistake, and decides to hunt him down. Things get even more complicated when Niu-Lang also falls for the Flower Goddess, but the Overlord subjugates him soon afterwards and presses him into his service.
      • Goes Up to Eleven when Niu-Lang’s hatred prompts him to thoroughly trounce Emperor Yan (having shed his Overlord guise) in a later encounter and destroy his entire kingdom.
  • Jerkass:
    • Smug Snake Bei-Ming Lei certainly fits the bill. He intensely disapproves of Wen-Tian's budding romance with his sister because Wen-Tian is a lowly orphan, and gets jealous because his father names Wen-Tian as their clan's champion (which only gets worse when he finds out that Wen-Tian was able to master their family's martial arts - something that even he couldn't do).
      • He's then willing sit back and let Wen-Tian charge ahead into Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress to rescue his sister, because there's a chance Wen-Tian will die without backup.
      • While Wen-Tian is struggling on his own, Bei-Ming Lei then decides to sacrifice the rest of the Northern Clan's army (and associated mercenaries) in an all-out battle with Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrids, just so he can avoid paying them. All this while, he makes no move to personally save his sister, as he's confident Xiong-Yan Wang will keep her alive for ransom (and for parley), because he's in no shape to take on the entire Northern Clan again!
      • All this is topped off when Bei-Ming Lei outright disobeys his father's orders to join the hunt for the Hu-Po, because he's miffed that the Northern Clan has lost the heroes' tournament, and also because Wen-Tian has successfully returned his sister to him. When Wen-Tian tries to call him out on this, he simply pulls rank (or family status, in this case).
      • It gets worse after an upgraded Xiong-Yan Wang ambushes Bei-Ming Lei in an inn and forces him to steal the Shen-Nong Chi from Wen-Tian for him. When Xiong-Yan Wang starts the fight proper, Bei-Ming Lei is quick to abandon Wen-Tian to his fate, rationalising to his sister that they'd just get the way!
    • Prince Gu is a womanizing jock who takes a liking to Tie-Xin, and plans to Murder the Hypotenuse the moment he fails to win her affections with a Second-Grade Weapon that he strong-armed out of his father. When she and Wen-Tian seek his help to heal Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, he seizes the opportunity to bring them to his mother, the Phoenix Queen, so she can slip Tie-Xin a love potion and infect Wen-Tian with one of her golden silkworms!
      • He turns into a Stalker with a Crush as he tails the couple after they depart from the Phoenix Queen, and attempts to take advantage of the love potion before it wears off (despite his own mother telling him not to rush!). This gets him triple-teamed by Wen-Tian, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, and a now-incredibly pissed off Tie-Xin, who kick his ass and drag him back to the Phoenix Queen to demand an explanation.
  • Kick the Dog: Xiong-Yan Wang regularly does this to his hybrid warriors, physically berating them for the smallest things even when they're not at fault (to the point where one of them loses an eye), and keeping them in line with threats of Cold-Blooded Torture. It gets so bad that three of them do a Heel–Face Turn once Wen-Tian starts gaining the upper hand against him.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian also starts behaving this way under the Shi-Hun's influence, as when he forcefully takes over the Miao Kingdom (in the Phoenix Queen's absence) and tortures its citizens For the Evulz.
    • Niu-Lang ends up doing this after his Face–Heel Turn, by quite bluntly describing the Jade King's brutal death to Wen-Tian (as well as his hand in it). It has the intended effect of provoking Wen-Tian to recklessly attack him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Xiong-Yan Wang's definitely not coming back from having his entire body blown up by the Hu-Po. Ditto the Copper King, after being bisected by the Shen-Wu. The Jade King also doesn't survive being bisected by the Shen-Nong Chi, as it doesn't have enough healing energy left to mend his wounds (despite Niu-Lang's best efforts).
    • Also happened to Chi-You in the Backstory, thanks to Huang-Di. His spirit stuck around, though.
  • Killer Gorilla: One of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors is this. He doesn't last long against Wen-Tian, though.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Or "kneel before the wielder of the Hu-Po", rather. Yan-Shen indulges in plenty of this.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian also pulls this on the Miao Kingdom, in the Phoenix Queen's absence. With the Feng-Huang gone along with her, no one can stand up to him and the Shi-Hun.
  • Kubrick Stare: Thanks to the art style, as per Death Glare above.
  • Kung-Fu Sonic Boom: When a First-Grade Weapon meets another First-Grade Weapon, expect large splash panels of these. The Tian-Jing takes it Up to Eleven in the Action Prologue, complete with a jade-green mushroom cloud.
  • Last of Their Kind: Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin are the last descendants (by marriage and birthright, respectively) of the Southern Clan, thanks to the Tian-Jing's explosion in the prologue, and preserving their legacy is a major goal of theirs. What they don't realise is that Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai are also Nan-Gong Yi's children by Jade Swallow.
    • Then, in an absolutely crazy subversion, it's later revealed that Tie-Xin was actually conceived between the Master Geomancer and Dong-Fang Xiong!
    • The little Jade Dragon also seems to be this, after its family was wiped out by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance. This becomes a Berserk Button when it stumbles upon Niu-Lang (unknowingly) chowing down on its mother's flesh and blood.
  • Last Stand: After ensuring that the Jade King escapes Chi-You's Labyrinth with her last egg, the mother dragon prepares to make her last stand against the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance. Her two children do the same, flying back to her after depositing the Jade King a safe distance away.
  • Late to the Tragedy: While searching for Zhuo Bu-Fan, Dong-Fang Xiong and his two disciples come across the remains of a village that has been pillaged and burned by the Fire-Worshipping Sect.
    • As Wen-Tian, the Jade King, and the little Jade Dragon tail the combined expedition, they discover the remnants of those who have fallen to the traps on the outskirts of Mount Tai.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The little Jade Dragon is usually a cute Animal Companion with a surprising degree of intelligence (as evidenced by its Thought Bubble Speech), but when things get tough (especially concerning the Jade King, on whom it has imprinted), the little critter is more than capable of joining the fight. It even manages to Goomba Stomp Xiong-Yan Wang at one point.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Early on in the story, the Heaven-Earth Alliance uses a divide and conquer strategy to destroy (or at least cripple) the four clans. Yan-Shen and his Fire-Worshipping Sect manage to severely whittle down the East and South Clan's numbers, while Xiong-Yan Wang actually fails quite horribly against the West and North Clans.
    • Justified by Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, as a smaller party is harder to track down. Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin agree, but convince him to stay with them until they can purge Tan-Shen's poison from him. For better or for worse, he ends up being dragged on their adventures anyway.
    • Happens to the Phoenix Queen's expedition within Chi-You's Labyrinth when Niu-Lang smokes the place out. Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Wu-Fa Shen-Seng spot some suspicious figures and give chase, only to get lured directly to Niu-Lang and Chi-You's lieutenants; Zhuo Bu-Fan, the Phoenix Queen, and Prince Gu stumble upon a hidden passageway that leads to the Flower Goddess' resting place; Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa tunnel underground to escape the smoke, only to get ambushed by the Gold and Silver Kings.
    • Occurs again to hero & villain alike in the Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses, when they get sent into different “dream sequences”.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin's first encounter with each other. Tie-Xin has been in a sour mood the entire day after he walked in on his mother and Zhuo Bu-Fan having an "intimate moment" the night before, while Wen-Tian is deep in an Anger Born of Worry moment concerning Bei-Ming Xue's kidnapping at the hands of Xiong-Yan Wang. Wen-Tian is driving his horse so hard that it practically speeds across Tie-Xin's path, almost causing him to fall. Enraged, Tie-Xin leaps off his horse to give chase, and actually manages to catch up with Wen-Tian. Tie-Xin's sudden appearance before Wen-Tian does indeed cause him to swerve and fall off his horse, pissing him off in turn. Thus begins our two protagonists' first fight.
    • Villainous example between the Silver King and Tan-Shen. The former wants to kill Wen-Tian for eavesdropping on him, and the latter wants to take him alive so he can locate Le-Wa. Their conflicting goals (which they don't bother to explain to one another, of course) and their individual Pride cause them to come to blows. Wen-Tian seizes the opportunity to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Light Is Good: The good-aligned First-Grade Weapons appear to give off these auras: the Tian-Jing is blue-green, the Tai-Xu is golden, and the Shen-Nong Chi is jade-green.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Several characters count, like Wen-Tian, Bei-Ming Zheng, Xiong-Yan Wang, Yan-Shen, the Master Geomancer, and the Gold King.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Depending on the character. While Wen-Tian regularly suffers Clothing Damage and is forced to change his outfits, Tie-Xin only changes his outfit once he wins the heroes' tournament and gets promoted to expedition leader. She is then stuck with the same Bare Your Midriff threadbare outfit after the Hu-Po incident, when she and Wen-Tian are stuck (and on the run) with one another. They at least get new outfits once they catch a breather.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, on the other hand, never seems to change his outfit.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong only changes her outfit far into the story.
    • The members of the Heaven-Earth Alliance also stay in the same outfits throughout the story - even Xiong-Yan Wang only changes his outfit once, after his body modification upgrade.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Hilariously done by San-Shu, Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai's adoptive father. When the young Wen-Tian remarks that his baby sister hasn't been named yet, San-Shu admits that he's no scholar, and only knows how to drive wagons and cook (and he's indeed a Supreme Chef, if Wen-Tian's own cooking skills are any indication). Thus, he decides to name the baby girl "Wen-Cai", with the "Cai" character literally meaning "vegetable"! All this while he's in the midst of stir-frying some vegetables, no less! For better or for worse, Wen-Cai has no problem with her own name, but the Jade King is none too pleased when he finds out many years later, and calls San-Shu out on it.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Happens to one of the Western Clan's elite guard, when he's caught by one of the Hu-Po's guardians. The guardian's touch can chill victims to the bone, and prolonged exposure eventually freezes them solid. Unfortunately, this happens before anyone can help him, and the guardian dashes him to the floor.
  • Living MacGuffin: Of a sort, with Wen-Tian and the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Aye. At least the vast majority can be sorted by sect/clan affiliation, and most have quite distinct appearances.
  • Long Bus Trip: Dong-Fang Yi-Nian makes his reappearance in a big way with the Shi-Hun in hand, more than fifty books after his last appearance.
  • Love Confession: Between Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, of course.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents:
    • Ultimately averted. The Jade King is initially displeased with his daughter marrying Nan-Gong Yi, as he thinks it's beneath her to be a mere concubine (he's already married to Dong-Fang Xiong), but goes along with her in order to make her happy.
    • Brought up by Wen-Tian when he wonders what Dong-Fang Xiong will think of his romance with Tie-Xin. Tie-Xin reassures him that he's definitely worthy of her.
    • Happens again when the Jade King’s spirit warns Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin not to hook up. Unfortunately, Poor Communication Kills, and his lack of explanation only serves to make them defy him...to much tragedy later on.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Subverted. One of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's elites has a small shield as his personal weapon, but (1) it doesn't seem to protect him all that well (considering he tried using it against Tie-Xin and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, though...), and (2) the only time we do see him actively using it is to unleash some sort of blinding flash.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu plays it straighter, using his disc weapons as shields from time to time. Justified, as their shape naturally allows them to be used as such. Naturally, he can do this with the Tai-Xu as well.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Hu-Po is fond of turning its victims into this after draining them dry. Xiong-Yan Wang is no exception.
  • MacGuffin: The Hu-Po is this for the first story arc, with multiple factions racing to claim it. The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance wants it specifically to unlock a secret chamber within Chi-You's Labyrinth.
    • The other First-Grade Weapons also turn into this when they provoke Gotta Catch 'Em All reactions from some of the characters.
  • MacGuffin Melee: The scramble for the Hu-Po becomes this. Nearly all the major heroes and villains get involved, though only three villains actually lay their hands on it.
  • Mad Scientist: Jue Tian-Ji certainly gives off this vibe. Xiong-Yan Wang is a decidedly more martially-oriented version.
  • Made of Indestructium: Basically all of the First-Grade Weapons.
  • Made of Iron: As per wuxia tradition. Artistic License – Physics aside, many highly-skilled characters are shown to have a straight-up Charles Atlas Superpower, or are otherwise Empowered Badass Normals. Expect them to shrug off (aside from the usual Blood from the Mouth) injuries that would kill normal people, including invoking Strong Flesh, Weak Steel against bladed weapons. The Gold King even has a specific skill where he reinforces his own body just for this.
    • This trait even extends to the characters' eardrums, with higher-skilled individuals able to withstand the shockwaves produced by First-Grade Weapons clashing!
  • Magical Defibrillator: After draining the dark energy from Wen-Tian's heart with a jade dagger, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng goes on to use his internal energy as this, reviving Wen-Tian in short order.
  • Magic Pants: Both Wen-Tian and Niu-Lang undergo shirt-shredding powerups over the course of the story, but their pants remain nicely intact.
  • Magitek: The Evil Emperor's ship at the end seems to run on this.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Yan-Shen barely bats an eyelid after the hallucinogenic spirits of Chi-You's Labyrinth drive him to cut his own left arm off with the Hu-Po. He simply uses the weapon's energy to staunch the bleeding and carries on. Possibly justified by the Hu-Po (and the spirit of Chi-You's tiger, by extension) bolstering him with so much power that he simply doesn't care.
  • Male Gaze: Le-Wa gets plenty of this, as does Tie-Xin post-gender reveal. Dong-Fang Xiong gets her fair share as well, though significantly less than the two younger women.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Several: the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is this for all of its warlords; the Lord of the Raksha Sect is this for Tan-Shen and Xiang Ao-Tian, and the Evil Emperor ends up being this for Niu-Lang.
  • Mangst: Wen-Tian, in the throes of dismay over Bei-Ming Xue's (perceived) betrayal, as well as the ongoing mystery of his family lineage, angrily declares that he'll claim the Hu-Po and prove his worth to the world. He very nearly succeeds, for what it's worth.
  • Manly Tears: Wen-Tian tends to reserve these for his family members, like when Wen-Cai gets seriously injured during Xiong-Yan Wang’s assault on the Northern Clan. A Roaring Rampage of Revenge quickly follows. Also happens when he meets his grandfather, the Jade King, after more than a decade, as well as after learning of his death at Niu-Lang’s hands.
  • Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Tie-Xin's face is drawn this way, with and without makeup, respectively.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": No less than three times in succession, when the villains take turns seizing the Hu-Po. It sticks after Yan-Shen emerges as the victor.
    • An epic one occurs when the Door of a Thousand Curses is finally opened, and the backlash threatens a cave-in. Hero & villain alike agree that the safest route is through it.
  • Meaningful Echo: Overcome with grief at the death of the magic dragon family, the Jade King can only play the same song that he had previously used to entertain the baby dragons and earn their mother's trust. At least the little Jade Dragon and Niu-Lang are there to appreciate it.
    • One of the ways the Master Geomancer talks the Phoenix Queen out of killing Wen-Tian is to remind her that love cannot be forced (as killing Wen-Tian would make Tie-Xin available for Prince Gu - whether she likes it or not), just like how she had won him over earlier by winning two of his three challenges. This earns him another bit of respect from Tie-Xin.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Often:
    • Wen-Tian starts out with a jade Second-Grade Weapon, then obtains the Shen-Nong Chi. He ends up wielding the mighty Tian Jing (if only the main blade).
    • Tie-Xin starts with a silver Second-Grade Weapon, then gets to use his father's sword, a gold Second-Grade Weapon.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu gets a huge upgrade, going from drab disc/wheel weapons to the mighty Tai-Xu.
    • Xiong-Yan Wang is an interesting case, as he trades his Second-Grade Wrecked Weapon for bare fists. However, after his body modification upgrade, his mere fists prove even stronger and tougher than his old weapon.
    • Yan-Shen discards his Sinister Scythe for the deadly Hu-Po.
    • A twofer for Niu-Lang: he goes from generic great-swords to the Shen-Nong Chi, which he then mixes with Chi-You's formidable martial arts and an Oblivious Transformation. He tops this by finally claiming the Hu-Po when Chi-You departs the mortal realm for good.
    • Heck, even the Master Geomancer upgrades his mystic tortoiseshell (which he uses in his divining) to a golden one during the journey to Mount Tai.
  • Mildly Military: The Cannon Fodder Mooks on both sides give off this vibe. Probably historically justified, as China was in a turbulent transitional period between governments, so no "state military" existed.
  • Militaries Are Useless: ...And when you throw First-Grade Weapons into the mix, the major battles come down to (and are decided by) the individuals wielding them, as run-of-the-mill soldiers would just get blown away.
  • Mind over Matter: Bei-Ming Xue can do this. Notable, as her ability seems unique among the Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Tian-Jing pearl is this.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Some of the book covers do this, like the Jade King vs the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, Wen-Tian vs Tie-Xin, Tan-Shen vs Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian vs the Feng-Huang’s phoenix avatar.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Sort of. Wen-Tian initially thinks that Bei-Ming Xue betrayed him by giving the Shen-Nong Chi to Xiong-Yan Wang, and this prompts him to give her the cold shoulder, even after saving her and her brother from the Copper King later on. In truth, it was Bei-Ming Lei who was strong-armed by Xiong-Yan Wang into stealing the Shen-Nong Chi, but there was certainly no love lost between him and Wen-Tian.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The Gold King, hot on the trail of Du Zi-Wei and the Fire Worshipping Sect, stops by the city where Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin are. When Wen-Tian unleashes a new Second-Grade Weapon, its aura is so powerful that it can be seen outside the city...and by Du Zi-Wei and her underlings, who are in no condition to fight (having just fled from Dong-Fang Yi-Nian). They promptly do an about-turn, and head in the other direction.
    • Also happens to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian when he tracks the heroes to the Miao Kingdom, only to be informed by Zhuo Bu-Fan that the Phoenix Queen has just set them all free. He willingly abandons the fight to continue his pursuit of Dong-Fang Xiong.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The Shen-Wu is a traditional Chinese lute on the surface (complete with Musical Assassin powers), but hides a curved blade that usually sits flush with its edge. It can unfold with the right stimulus (reacting to the Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's arm, Le-Wa's special training, or receiving an impact from another First-Grade Weapon), turning a bludgeoning weapon (as far as a lute can be considered) into a bladed one.
  • Moment Killer: And HOW! Soon after Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan arrives at the Eastern Clan to deliver news about the Hu-Po, he and Dong-Fang Xiong are quick to hook up the following night (after spending years apart). They waste no time getting down to business...until Tie-Xin bursts into the room. Granted, he was there because he had suspected that the room had been tapped by a spy (he was right), but the scene naturally has a huge impact on him from then on.
    • Happens again to the Master Geomancer just as he's getting it on with the Phoenix Queen. Her son, Prince Gu, is looking to introduce Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin (but mostly Tie-Xin) to her when he walks in on them. Zhuo Bu-Fan really can't catch a break...
  • Mooks: But of course. Every major villain has ties to a sect/clan of some sort, and they have plenty of Cannon Fodder.
    • Notably, they also work as messengers, scouts, and spies, and are actually quite effective out of combat.
  • Motive Rant: Happens on occasion, especially when the heroes' Honor Before Reason comes into play. The villains usually do this as a mix of "The Reason You Suck" Speech and To the Pain.
  • Mr. Fanservice: When nearly every male pugilist is the epitome of lean and shredded (except Acrofatic Gonk Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu), just about all of them count, even Badass Bookworm Zhuo Bu-Fan.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Likewise with the ladies like Tie-Xin and Le-Wa. Dong-Fang Xiong is also very well preserved despite being in her forties, as is the Phoenix Queen.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Niu-Lang, after realising he's just killed the Jade King while under the influence of evil hallucinogenic spirits in Chi-You's Labyrinth.
    • Also happens to Wen-Tian, after he injures Tie-Xin and Wu-Fa Shen-Seng while in the Silver King's illusory trap. Thankfully, the Shen-Nong Chi is there to patch them up afterwards.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Yan-Shen's clothes are apparently fireproof, being able to survive even a volcano's magma chamber.
    • Defied so often with Wen-Tian that it's almost a Running Gag: whenever he activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, expect his sleeve (and sometimes his entire top) to get blown off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Nan-Gong Yi really, really shouldn't have unveiled the Tian-Jing in the prologue...
    • While trying to heal a gravely-wounded Wen-Tian's internal injuries, Tie-Xin realises that she doesn't have enough internal energy herself to help him (having been injured as well). She pulls a Determinator and tries to force the healing process, but ends up inflicting even more damage by accident. It's so bad that Wen-Tian actually dies soon after. Thankfully, Wu-Fa Shen-Seng arrives shortly after to help.
    • Niu-Lang curiously follows the Jade King deeper into Chi-You's Labyrinth, despite the latter's express orders not to do so. He ends up Brainwashed and Crazy by the hallucinogenic spirits within, and kills the Jade King in the process.
      • Then again, the Jade King didn't explain himself further (he wanted to see the illusion of his daughter again, and was already prepared to resist the evil spirits, having been exposed earlier on in the story), and didn't bother shooing Niu-Lang away, despite him knowing full well that the youngster was following him. In a way, the Jade King kind of "broke it" himself.
    • In the Backstory, Fu-Xi’s lover beseeches him to stay put while she goes to request the Jing-Xie from the gods of thunder & lightning, because of the bad blood between them & Fu-Xi. Unbeknownst to her, Fu-Xi tags along via Astral Projection, and boldly reveals himself when his lover’s attempts fail. Her reaction to his actions is basically this.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Not the characters themselves, but the First-Grade Weapons. They're so tough that even clashing against each other doesn't even scratch them.
    • The Hu-Po itself is embedded within a crystal tiger that is so impregnable that seven of the heroes (and Xiong-Yan Wang) have borrow the power of eight different Taoist deities and strike it all at once in order to destroy it.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Brutally defied. The fallout from cataclysms like the Tian-Jing's explosion and Mount Tai's eruption are all lovingly depicted in full colour, along with the narrative describing the carnage in Purple Prose.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Xiong-Yan Wang delivers one to Bei-Ming Zheng when he's distracted by his daughter's kidnapping. He does it again to one of his hybrid warriors during a You Have Failed Me incident. Happens again when he accosts Wen-Tian after his gruesome body upgrade. Yeah, Xiong-Yan Wang pretty much loves these.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Discussed by the Master Geomancer, after his divinations predict calamities surrounding both the Tian-Jing and the Hu-Po. Considering that they do indeed come to pass, he does have a point.
  • No-Sell: The Hu-Po makes Yan-Shen so tough that Second-Grade Weapons simply have no effect on him.
    • Subverted with Xiong-Yan Wang's modified body. He only lost the ability to feel pain (allowing him to simply power through any injury), and while tougher than he was before, he can still be injured with enough force.
    • Prince Gu can take a hit from his own Second-Grade Weapon straight to the forehead (the Gold King had briefly stolen his weapon) with no ill effects, thanks to his golden venom ability.
    • Later on, as the Phoenix Queen attempts to parasitize Wen-Tian with one of her golden silkworms (by hiding it within a pill meant for Wu-Fa Shen-Seng), the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm automatically detects its evil and destroys it. Wen-Tian mistakes the sensation for the pill's potency, and is none the wiser.
      • Unfortunately, the Phoenix Queen manages to implant another golden silkworm via Wen-Tian’s unprotected right arm soon afterwards.
    • Raksha's martial arts render their practitioners immune to the Shi-Hun's powers. Near the end of the story, the Lord of the Raksha Sect exploits this to lay an impressive smackdown on Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, killing him and finally reclaiming his sect's heirloom.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: The Hu-Po and Shi-Hun tend to induce this in their wielders. Simultaneously, other characters are driven to acquire the other First-Grade Weapons because of this.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The power vacuum left by the Southern Clan's near-complete annihilation in the prologue severely destabilises the politics of the pugilistic world, such that Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin have to stay vigilant for any scavengers who are out for a piece of its legacy. Even Dong-Fang Xiong's half-brother, Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, gets ideas to claim what's left of the Southern Clan for himself after he receives one segment of the Shi-Hun.
  • Not So Above It All: Haughty, aloof, and self-righteous Tie-Xin sure doesn't turn down the offer of alcohol during Xiang Ao-Tian's heroes' moot, much to Dong-Fang Xiong's disapproval.
  • Now, Let Me Carry You: As part of her Defrosting Ice Queen process, Tie-Xin saves Wen-Tian from Tan-Shen during their first battle, returning the favour he had done for her against the Copper King earlier. Wen-Tian doesn't initially appreciate it, because he was hoping to create a distraction for her to flee to safety. Though initially miffed, Tie-Xin quickly comes to appreciate the care & concern shown to her, and the pair engineer a fake-out argument between themselves that tricks Tan-Shen into taking them as prisoners instead of outright killing them.
  • Obviously Evil: In the Heaven-Earth Alliance, the only ones who don't look Obviously Evil are the Jade King and possibly the Gold King (until he gets into a fight, at least). Probably justified by their friendship in the Backstory.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Somewhat defied. Flashbacks are plentiful whenever the story needs to show how Out of Focus main characters went from point A to point B. The flashbacks don't go into complete detail though, but give us enough of an idea of what happened.
  • Off with His Head!: Less often than An Arm and a Leg above, but First-Grade Weapons and some Second-Grade Weapons are depicted doing this. Two particularly memorable ones are Xiong-Yan Wang's death by exploding body due to the Hu-Po, and one of the Copper King's lieutenants, who gets his face horizontally bisected by the Shen-Wu.
  • Oh, Crap!: When any character gets their hands on/unveils a First-Grade Weapon, expect some characters on the opposing side to do this.
    • Plainly drawn on Dong-Fang Xiong's face when the Tian-Jing explodes in the prologue.
    • The warlords of the Heaven-Earth Alliance (save for the Jade King) tend to evoke this whenever they make an appearance.
      • Xiong-Yan Wang provokes an epic one in a poor innkeeper when he stops over at a small village for food and drink after kidnapping Bei-Ming Xue: the unfortunate guy falls to the floor and wets himself. Niu-Lang later fakes one and pretends to flee, only to ambush Xiong-Yan Wang In the Back, for all the good it does him.
      • Ditto when Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warriors make their first appearance. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu gets over it quickly enough to put up a decent fight.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong does this again when Tie-Xin attempts a Dangerous Forbidden Technique in his duel with Zhuo Bu-Fan.
    • During the heroes' tournament, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu does this when he reaches his Godzilla Threshold against Tie-Xin. He still loses, though.
    • Also occurs in rapid succession when the plagues heralding the Hu-Po begin.
    • Happens to Tan-Shen and his lieutenants, when Wen-Tian tosses the Shi-Hun into a large lake. It distracts them long enough for the heroes to escape.
      • Tan-Shen gets hit with this again, when he loses the Shi-Hun to Dong-Fang Yi-Nian after being double-teamed by him and Wen-Tian.
    • Occurs when the Jade King realises that the evil spirits in Chi-You's Labyrinth have convinced Niu-Lang to kill him. Unfortunately, he's unable to save himself.
    • Happens to the little Jade Dragon, when the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance catches it trespassing in the Flower Goddess' alcove. Its so bad that it causes the little critter to have a Potty Failure.
    • Even the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance gets this when Yan-Shen’s attempts to open the secret chamber within Chi-You’s Labyrinth result in an earthquake.
      • The Overlord gets this again when he tries to physically cut the Flower Goddess’ crystal casket open with the Hu-Po, only for the rejuvenating energies within to leak out from the cut, causing her body to rapidly decompose. Thankfully, the cut seals itself up and the energies are restored once he removes the Hu-Po.
  • One Degree of Separation: Phew, here we go...
    • Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai are Nan-Gong Yi's children by his affair with Jade Swallow, who is also the Jade King's daughter.
    • The Jade King himself is Bei-Ming Zheng's cousin, and the one who brought his two grandchildren to the Northern Clan where they could be adopted. Bei-Ming Zheng himself is the head of the Bei-Ming family, which rules the Northern Clan that Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai were adopted into.
    • San-Shu, Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai's adopted father, is Bei-Ming Zheng's childhood friend.
    • The Jade King is also the Gold King's old friend, and the one to recruit Yan-Shen to the Heaven-Earth Alliance. Yan-Shen himself was originally sent by the Raksha Sect to conquer the other clans years prior, but he was defeated in battle by Bei-Ming Zheng and Nan-Gong Yi. This defeat led to his meeting with the Jade King.
    • The Silver King was Master Geomancer Zhuo Bu-Fan's junior in the divining arts, but was banished for his sadism. Zhuo Bu-Fan himself was a former military commander who had tangled with Xiong-Yan Wang (and actually defeated him) on at least three prior occasions.
    • Zhuo Bu-Fan is also the cousin of Dong-Fang Xiong, who herself is Nan-Gong Yi's lawful wife. However, due to the first two being Kissing Cousins, Tie-Xin is actually descended from both of them, and is not related to Nan-Gong Yi at all.
    • Prince Gu's father was once a blacksmith from the Northern Clan.
  • One-Man Army: As per wuxia tradition, any sufficiently skilled martial artist, when pit against regular Mooks, of course. Goes Up to Eleven if they get their hands on a First-Grade Weapon.
  • One Steve Limit: Loads and Loads of Characters, all with different names and titles.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Xiong-Yan Wang's upgraded body is all about this. He's tougher and stronger, but can still be seriously wounded when taking enough punishment. However, thanks to the loss of all sense of pain, he can power through almost any injury to continue fighting. It takes Yan-Shen draining him dry with the Hu-Po (and then blowing him up) to finally stop him.
  • Only Like Can Cut Like: Defied, as the First-Grade Weapons tend to actually violently rebound off of each other, producing powerful shockwaves in the process. Second-Grade Weapons play it straighter, though, making short work of lesser weapons but engaging in mutually-assured destruction against other Second-Grade Weapons. Heroes and villains alike lose their weapons this way.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Seems to be the case with the Tai-Xu, as it reacts to the righteousness of its wielder. Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is so simple-minded in his righteousness that he forms an unbreakable bond with it.
    • Downplayed with the Hu-Po, as anyone with sufficient inner strength can simply wield it as a weapon, but only Yan-Shen manages to fully tap its power by proving his worth to Chi-You's spirit.
    • While in the Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses, Wen-Tian encounters a vision of Nü-Wa that tells him that he can only be fully worthy of the Tian-Jing if he’s able to overcome any obstacles in his way...even his love for Tie-Xin. He falters on that last one, and fails Nü-Wa’s test.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Combined with When She Smiles with Tie-Xin. Despite defrosting during her time with Wen-Tian, she still maintains the same haughty Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy air in front of almost everybody else.
    • When the Master Geomancer forces himself to physically strike and berate Dong-Fang Xiong so that the Phoenix Queen won't kill her for mouthing off to their captor, all the other heroes (and even the Fire-Worshipping Sect) are stunned.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Used on a few book covers, like the Mirrored Confrontation Shot between the Jade King and the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, an empowered Niu-Lang with the Shen-Nong Chi vs Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po, and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian with the Shi-Hun against the Feng-Huang’s phoenix avatar.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Niu-Lang, at least initially. His martial arts skills are respectable, as he's able to wield a BFS with more speed and precision than expected for someone of his stature. Problem is, just about every other major character is simply better than he is.
    • This continues even after he Took a Level in Badass by learning Chi-You’s martial arts & eating and drinking dragon flesh & blood, as his first real opponents turn out to be Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po, and the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance. Yeah...
    • Bei-Ming Lei is a more glaring case. He's decent enough with a polearm to reach the finals of the heroes' tournament, but considering his first fight is against Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and the freaking Tai-Xu, he goes down in a single move. Even when he obtains an Evil Weapon on par with a First-Grade Weapon in the second half of the story, Kid Hero Wu-Yong still manages to kick his ass and take it from him.
  • Out of Focus: Inevitable, given the Four Lines, All Waiting method of storytelling.
    • Notably, after Mount Tai’s eruption, the spotlight shifts away from Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po for more than twenty books, despite the Evil Weapon being the primary focus of nearly all the major characters up to that point.
    • Of all the First-Grade Weapons, the Jing-Xie seems to receive the least amount of attention.
  • Pensieve Flashback: Occurs on occasion, particularly to fill in characters' backstories that have yet to be told.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: In the prologue, Nan-Gong Yi has been awarded a special hero's title by the emperor, and he hosts many famous guests at the Southern Clan's main temple to show his gratitude. During the ceremony, he is asked to show off the Tian-Jing, and gladly obliges. This draws the attention of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, who want to seize the Tian-Jing for themselves. In the battle that follows, the Tian-Jing goes haywire and explodes, killing everyone present and practically demolishing the Southern Clan.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite having turned rather evil (and partly draconic), Niu-Lang still heals the little Jade Dragon with the Shen-Nong Chi after freeing it from the container that the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance had locked it in. Presumably, he wasn’t bothered by the little critter attacking him as he ate & drank it’s mother’s flesh & blood (he had no way of knowing where the flesh & blood had come from, anyway). This causes the little Jade Dragon some confusion at first, but it finally turns against him when it sees him fighting Wen-Tian.
  • Pillar of Light: The first (and most persistent) sign of the Hu-Po's emergence is a red-orange one emanating from the peak of Mount Tai. Also happens when Wen-Tian unleashes the full potential of the Northern Clan's martial arts.
    • Becomes egregious when Wen-Tian gets his hands on a new Second-Grade Weapon after the Hu-Po arc. Not only does it alert the Gold and Silver Kings (as well as Tan-Shen and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian) to his location, but said weapon lasts no more than two books before being shattered by the Shi-Hun!
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The little Jade Dragon is this. It's powerful enough to give people like the Silver King and Xiong-Yan Wang a run for their money. Granted, it tends to get the drop on its foes because it comes across as just another cute Animal Companion, but considering it can (1) breathe a special kind of sticky fire, (2) generate enough electricity throughout its whole body to send the Jade King and Niu-Lang flying, (3) breathe a paralyzing/blinding poison gas, (4) heal external wounds just by licking them, and (5) even bear the weight of two adults in flight, it's clear that the little critter packs a crazy amount of power into its tiny body. Likely justified by its mother having fed off the magic mushrooms (make of that what you will) in Chi-You's Labyrinth while its egg was still gestating.
    • Kid Hero Wu-Yong is also this, having inherited his father’s (the Lord of the Raksha Sect) martial arts, as well as Tan-Shen’s Flash Step technique. All things considered, he’s still Just a Kid though, and can’t keep up with the other heroes when they battle the Evil Emperor.
  • Please Wake Up: Tie-Xin's first reaction to Wen-Tian's death.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • When it's revealed that Xiong-Yan Wang somehow got hold of the Shen-Nong Chi, Wen-Tian jumps to the conclusion that Bei-Ming Xue betrayed him by handing the First-Grade Weapon to Xiong-Yan Wang. Wen-Tian had given it to her to heal Bei-Ming Lei (whom he had accidentally injured in a bar brawl), and suspects that she had used that chance to give the Shen-Nong Chi to the enemy (and replace it with a fake) in revenge for him hurting her brother. In truth, Xiong-Yan Wang had strong-armed Bei-Ming Lei into tricking Wen-Tian to give up the Shen-Nong Chi, which is why he instigated the bar brawl to begin with. When Wen-Tian and Bei-Ming Xue next meet, they don't bother to explain themselves, with Wen-Tian giving her the cold shoulder and Bei-Ming Xue throwing another hissy fit when she doesn't get her way. This drives a huge wedge between them.
    • While navigating the Pocket Dimension beyond the Door of a Thousand Curses, Wen-Tian & Tie-Xin come across the Jade King’s spirit. Knowing (incorrectly) that the couple are actually half-siblings via Nan-Gong Yi, he repeatedly warns them not to hook up, but instead of explaining why, he simply pulls rank (or age, rather) on them. While it’s implied that he was reluctant to explain further due to the taboo nature of incest, his blunt warnings eventually enrage Tie-Xin, and she disperses his spectral form with a swing of the Shen-Nong Chi. While Wen-Tian is initially pissed that she attacked his long-lost grandfather, he remains steadfast in his affections for her...until the next incident below.
    • The entire romantic tragedy surrounding Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin could’ve been avoided if Dong-Fang Xiong had clarified earlier on that Zhuo Bu-Fan was her true father. Then again, she was relying on Tie-Xin’s supposed heritage as heir of the Southern Clan to cement her power, and they were all in a large hall surrounded by the pugilistic world’s elite at the time, so such an admission would’ve likely caused more trouble than it was worth. Predictably, by the time Tie-Xin hears the truth, she’s too far gone to listen.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Zigzagged with the First-Grade Weapons:
    • The Shen-Nong Chi's healing abilities are shown to be very accessible to just about anyone, but only Wen-Tian seems to be able to use its secondary mass-poisoning ability.
    • The Hu-Po invokes Only the Chosen May Wield on its user, in that only those with great inner strength can even hope to wield it for extended periods, and even then, it won't grant them its full power until they prove themselves to Chi-You's spirit.
    • The Tai-Xu also does something similar, with the added clause that it's an extremely exotic and difficult weapon type to wield (Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu had to specifically train with similar weapons for his entire life, and even then he has difficulty unleashing its ultimate ability).
    • The Shen-Wu's hidden blade is also shown reacting only to specific people (Le-Wa, who had specifically trained with it, and Wen-Tian, who has the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm), or in specific circumstances (when it impacts another First-Grade Weapon, and sometimes not even then), to say nothing of its Musical Assassin abilities requiring, you know, actual skills in playing a Chinese lute.
    • The Shi-Hun is a three-section staff, a rather complex Chinese weapon in its own right, but doesn't seem to impose further prerequisites on its wielders beyond straight-up technical mastery.
    • Things are less clear with the Feng-Huang’s liquid-manipulation powers, as it’s only ever wielded by the Phoenix Queen. She doesn’t seem to have control over its resurrection ability, though.
    • The Shi-Fang Ju-Mie is an extremely complex weapon on account of its Reality Warper powers, and Emperor Yan takes considerable time to master it. Notably, he gets trounced by Chi-You, Niu-Lang, and the Lord of the Raksha Sect while he’s still getting the hang of things, causing him to willingly back out of the pugilistic world so that he can train.
  • Potty Failure: Happens on occasion, when characters get extremely frightened. It even happens to the little Jade Dragon!
  • Power at a Price: The Hu-Po bestows its wielder with immense power, but (1) their body needs to be strong enough to contain it, and (2) it constantly drives its wielder to fight increasingly stronger opponents so that it can feed off of them.
    • Related to the above, learning Chi-You's martial arts (which he used to wield the Hu-Po in ages past) can cause one's body to swell with geometric spikes.
    • Raksha’s martial arts grant their users immense physical power, in addition to immunity to the Shi-Hun’s degenerative effects, but has the downside of killing all of them at age 27.
    • In the process of developing his skills (and attaining immortality), the Evil Emperor ended up losing all of his feelings & emotions. It bothers him so much that he straight-up begs Wen-Cai (who is Nü-Wa’s mortal incarnation) to restore his humanity.
  • Power Crystal: The Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's left arm.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: For a given definition of "fighting", anyway: Bei-Ming Xue doesn't appear to have much martial skill, and brings the pain mostly with her Mind over Matter ability. That being said, it's powerful enough to send people like Xiong-Yan Wang flying.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Early on, the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance sends the Jade King to Chi-You's Labyrinth to lure out the magic dragons living there, because they've wised up to his scent/aura after his previous encounter with them, and are unlikely to willingly reveal themselves to him.
    • Rather than compete openly with Xiong-Yan Wang for the Hu-Po, Yan-Shen relinquishes command of his underlings to the former, and infiltrates the combined expedition incognito. With Wen-Tian in a coma due to his exertions and Xiong-Yan Wang too badly injured to put up much of a fight, he's perfectly poised to take full advantage of the situation, and successfully claims the Hu-Po for himself.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Plenty to go around, as per wuxia tradition. The subsequent results vary wildly, though.
  • Precision F-Strike: Hilariously often. Characters on both sides regularly spout vulgarities (in Mandarin, of course) whenever they lose their tempers. Some of the villains are simply foul-mouthed to show how uncouth they are.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Tai-Xu can do this.
  • The Promise: With Wen-Tian at death's door, Tie-Xin accepts his dying wishes, promising to (1) cremate his body and bury his ashes at Northern Clan's highest mountain, (2) find a way to heal his little sister and adoptive father, and (3) send his grandfather a letter about his untimely demise. He gets better thanks to Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, though.
    • Another one occurs after Niu-Lang accidentally kills the Jade King while Brainwashed and Crazy by the evil spirits in Chi-You's Labyrinth. The Jade King makes him promise to (1) find and inform Wen-Tian and Wen-Cai about his death, (2) reveal to Wen-Tian that he's actually the son of Nan-Gong Yi, and that it was the Jade King himself who implanted the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm, and (3) warn Wen-Tian to stay away from the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, as well as Dong-Fang Xiong.
  • Psychotic Smirk: The villains simply love this. Yan-Shen seems to have one perpetually plastered to his face, as does the Silver King.
    • Niu-Lang sports this once he learns Chi-You’s martial arts. It even manages to piss off the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance!
  • Punch Catch: When Xiong-Yan Wang returns to hound Wen-Tian after his monstrous body modification, he manages to do this, despite Wen-Tian empowering his punch with the Tian-Jing pearl. He goes on to manhandle Wen-Tian, but he definitely feels the impact.
  • Punched Across the Room: Basically anyone/anything on the receiving end of Wen-Tian's Enhanced Punch, thanks to the Tian-Jing pearl. It bears mentioning that Xiong-Yan Wang is the first to avoid this outcome, thanks to his upgraded body.
  • Put on a Bus: Inevitable, given the Loads and Loads of Characters and the Four Lines, All Waiting narrative. Characters like Xiang Ao-Tian and Nie Hong-Luan fall sharply Out of Focus by the end of the Hu-Po arc. Wen-Cai and San-Shu at least have the excuse that they're either badly injured or comatose.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian is briefly featured in an early chapter, before going on a Long Bus Trip for over fifty books.
    • Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po also go on a bus trip for over twenty books, after having been built up as a deadly threat to the heroes (thanks to everyone being scattered by Mount Tai’s eruption). They reappear in Chi-You’s Labyrinth, much to Niu-Lang’s surprise.
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": Yan-Shen is certainly ecstatic when he's using the Hu-Po to cut a swath of death through the heroes. The Silver King is also shown laughing as his Mooks slaughter other martial arts sects who are trying to reach Mount Tai.
  • Rated M for Manly: Whenever the major characters throw down, especially if they have First-Grade Weapons in hand. Even the ladies are not exempt.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered by hero and villain alike, usually in response to a Badass Boast or Pre-Asskicking One-Liner that can't be backed up.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Several villains get reddish glows in their eyes whenever they get riled up. Yan-Shen appears to get permanent glowing red eyes after Chi-You replaces his original, destroyed eyes.
    • The Shi-Hun is shown to turn its users' eyes purple.
    • Happens to Niu-Lang when he gets Brainwashed and Crazy by the evil spirits in Chi-You's Labyrinth. The Jade King snaps him out of it (at the cost of his own life), but it occurs again soon afterwards when he learns Chi-You's martial arts.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The Bei-Ming siblings: quick-tempered Bei-Ming Xue wears her heart on her sleeve, while Bei-Ming Lei is more pensive & scheming. Even his skin is an odd shade of blue.
    • Dong-Fang Xiong is the hotheaded, impulsive red to Zhuo Bu-Fan's calculating, thoughtful blue. Later, he also ends up playing the blue to the Phoenix Queen’s red.
      • Dong-Fang Xiong also starts out as the red to her half-brother Dong-Fang Yi-Nian’s blue, but their roles get flipped after she experiences a Humiliation Conga & he gets driven insane by the Shi-Hun.
    • Xiong-Yan Wang is also the brutal, bulldozing red to Yan-Shen's scheming, sinister blue.
    • Among the Heaven-Earth Alliance’s lesser warlords, the Gold & Copper Kings are the reds to the Silver & Jade Kings’ blues. Notably, the Jade King isn’t even evil to begin with, and the Silver King eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn late in the story.
    • Wen-Tian is plenty Hot-Blooded himself, but even he plays the blue to Tie-Xin's sharp-tongued red.
  • Red Shirt Army: Any group of Mooks, regardless of allegiance, is essentially this.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin, and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa.
  • The Remnant: Dong-Fang Xiong leads all that remains of the Southern Clan after the Tian-Jing's explosion.
  • Retractable Weapon: The Shen-Wu's blade is this, staying folded up within the instrument's main body when not in use.
  • The Reveal: Lots, especially in the second half of the story:
    • The convoluted family lineage concerning Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin: Tie-Xin was actually fathered by Zhuo Bu-Fan, not Nan-Gong Yi, and is not actually Wen-Tian's half-sister. Unfortunately, she snaps and joins the Evil Emperor before things can be sorted out.
    • On the villains' side, the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance isn't planning on using the Hu-Po to Take Over the World (as it's shown that he's actually more powerful than the Evil Weapon), but wants to (1) revive the Flower Goddess, and (2) open the hidden chamber within Chi-You's Labyrinth so that he can obtain the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, another First-Grade Weapon.
      • Chi-You, for that matter, is revealed to have survived as a disembodied spirit after his death, and is hanging out with the Flower Goddess' spirit within said hidden chamber.
      • A short while later, the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is revealed to be Emperor Yan in disguise, having poisoned the previous Overlord after learning all that he could from him, and taking over his place.
      • Taken Up to Eleven when the previous Overlord is revealed to have survived his poisoning (although it had the effect of turning him quite mad), and set his two sons on a journey to avenge him.
    • A huge one concerning Niu-Lang: He's actually the Evil Emperor's blood descendant, and becomes psychically connected to him after his revival.
      • Followed by an even bigger one regarding Wen-Cai: She's actually Nü-Wa's mortal incarnation, having been born prematurely on the day the Tian-Jing exploded back in the prologue.
  • Revenge: Dong-Fang Xiong's Establishing Character Moment in the very first book. After the Tian-Jing explosion claims most of the Southern Clan's upper echelons, she immediately consolidates the survivors and sets about cementing her power. The first thing she does is seek out Jade Swallow (Nan-Gong Yi's concubine) to kill her and her children. When she finds out that she had already died in childbirth, she orders her subordinates to mutilate her corpse.
    • Prince Gu basically spends the second half of the story plotting vengeance upon Wen-Tian for foiling his efforts to Murder the Hypotenuse (i.e. Wen-Tian) and claim Tie-Xin as his own. Notably, after falling in with the Evil Emperor, he still fares no better with Tie-Xin after she joins their ranks.
    • The previous Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance sets his two sons on a journey to avenge him after the current Overlord (Emperor Yan) had him poisoned.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Dong-Fang Xiong, again. Overlaps with Honor Before Reason above, but the incident that really stands out is when she impulsively charges back into battle against the Gold King after Zhuo Bu-Fan had risked himself to create an opening for them to escape. Yes, their foe was a humongous chauvinistic perv, but they were in no shape to fight him head-on. It takes the arrival of Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu to even the odds.
    • Happens again after the Phoenix Queen has released all of her captives (hero and villain alike). Dong-Fang Xiong blames Du Zi-Wei for “tainting her cousin’s affections”, and pursues her out of vengeance. Unfortunately, Zhuo Bu-Fan isn’t with her this time, and she falls into a poison trap and nearly gets raped. She’s saved just in time...by none other than her bitter half-brother Dong-Fang Yi-Nian.
    • After Fu-Xi disarms the gods of thunder & lightning and threatens the thunder god with the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, the lightning goddess picks up the Jing-Xie (which required the Battle Couple to wield in unison) and prepares to have it out with him, even though the First-Grade Weapon’s power threatens to tear her body apart. Fortunately, Fu-Xi breaks it apart into its separate halves, saving her life & earning both gods’ respect.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Just before Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Prince Gu are ambushed by the Gold and Silver Kings, the Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's arm begins reacting to something. He surmises that the two kings have a First-Grade Weapon in their possession, but it's actually Tan-Shen and the Shi-Hun, watching the fight from a nearby rooftop.
    • Happens again when the Phoenix Queen hands him a pill that can cure Wu-Fa Shen-Seng. Wen-Tian thinks that the Tian-Jing pearl is reacting to the pill’s potency, but it’s actually reacting to the golden silkworm (itself plenty potent & venomous) that the queen has slipped into the pill (and has secretly burrowed into Wen-Tian’s arm). As the Tian-Jing pearl automatically detects & kills the silkworm, he’s left none the wiser.
    • Wen-Tian gets a third episode when he senses a deadly enemy within Chi-You’s Labyrinth. He’s soon attacked by the Gold King (who was given the Hu-Po by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance, no less), but the enemy in question is actually the Overlord himself, who’s secretly watching their fight from nearby.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Done by Wen-Tian, when he sees Wen-Cai get injured during Xiong-Yan Wang’s assault on the Northern Clan. It results in Xiong-Yan Wang fleeing with Bei-Ming Xue as a hostage, two of his hybrid warriors taken prisoner, and the rest slaughtered.
    • The Phoenix Queen almost goes on one against the heroes when her Mama Bear instincts get triggered, but is talked out of it by Zhuo Bu-Fan (much to Prince Gu’s displeasure). She ends up ransoming Wen-Tian’s freedom in exchange for his help in finding the Feng-Huang’s missing piece.
    • Fu-Xi went on one against heaven itself in the Backstory after completing the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, in retaliation for the thunder & lightning gods attacking him & injuring his celestial steed. Fortunately, he gets steered toward the more constructive goal of reinforcing the Celestial Demon’s prison instead.
    • Niu-Lang embarks on one after he finally secures the Hu-Po for himself, destroying Emperor Yan's kingdom in retaliation for his actions as the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance. This culminates in a duel with the Emperor himself, but by then, not even the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie can help him stand against Niu-Lang.
    • When Wen-Cai gets abducted by the Evil Emperor, Wen-Tian's Big Brother Instinct gets kicked into overdrive.
  • Roundhouse Kick: Plenty, as per the genre. Wen-Tian, in particular, seems to prefer roundhouse flying knees.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: As far as the various clan leaders and their heirs can be considered royalty, anyway: Dong-Fang Xiong and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian for the Eastern Clan, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu for the Western Clan, and Bei-Ming Zheng and Bei-Ming Lei for the Northern Clan. Even the nearly-destroyed Southern Clan has representatives in Tie-Xin (though not actually by blood) and Wen-Tian (though he doesn't initially know it).
    • Prince Gu and his mother the Phoenix Queen are a straighter example.
    • The higher echelons of the Raksha Sect could be considered as well, considering the amount of influence the sect commands.
    • The Evil Emperor, naturally. It’s in his title, after all.
  • R-Rated Opening: As per Downer Beginning above, the Tian-Jing explodes in the prologue, killing hundreds, if not thousands, and destroying most of the Southern Clan. All in colour, with splash pages to boot.
  • Rule of Cool: In grand wuxia tradition, Artistic License – Martial Arts and Artistic License – Physics come together under this umbrella. Taken Up to Eleven with the impossibly cool-looking First-Grade Weapons.
  • Rule of Three: Beating an opponent in three moves is a common Badass Boast and/or Pre-Asskicking One-Liner in the wuxia genre. For specific examples, there's plenty:
    • The Eastern Clan's elite warriors are a trio of brothers skilled in staff combat.
    • When Bei-Ming Zheng was younger, the previous Master Geomancer (Zhuo Bu-Fan's teacher) gave him three prophecies: that he would experience three calamities in his life, he was not allowed to meddle in the pugilistic world's affairs, and failure to comply would bring about ruin to his family. Becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy when he rushes into battle against Yan-Shen, and his two younger brothers die as a result.
    • In the Master Geomancer's Backstory, three siblings pledged themselves to him during their time in the military. They go on to become his disciples in the present day.
      • Also, his divinations informed him that Xiong-Yan Wang would cheat death three times before actually dying. Two occur at his own hands in the Backstory, while Wen-Tian (and the Shen-Nong Chi) are responsible for the third one. Xiong-Yan Wang finally gets killed by Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po.
    • After the Jade King deserts the Heaven-Earth Alliance, the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings are deployed to prevent other martial artists from reaching Mount Tai. They then go on to menace the scattered heroes after Mount Tai erupts.
    • During the heroes' tournament, three of them make it to the finals: Bei-Ming Lei, Tie-Xin, and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu. Wen-Tian is quick to jump in when Bei-Ming Lei gets curb-stomped by the Tai-Xu, keeping the number at three.
    • The Southern Clan had three powerful swords in its possession, all of them Second-Grade Weapons: one was given to Tie-Xin, another belongs to Dong-Fang Xiong, and the third was Nan-Gong Yi's personal weapon. After his death, Dong-Fang Xiong kept it by her side until Tie-Xin's was broken during the heroes' tournament, whereupon it was passed to him.
    • The Master Geomancer makes three divinations before the heroes set out for Mount Tai. They provide enough information to lead the expedition straight to the Hu-Po.
    • Three First-Grade Weapons (the Shen-Nong Chi, Tai-Xu, and Shen-Wu) are brought to bear during the Hu-Po incident. They're just strong enough to stand against Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po, but Mount Tai erupts before the battle can conclude properly.
    • For that matter, three villains attempt to seize the Hu-Po for themselves. It claims Jue Tian-Ji and Xiong-Yan Wang before finally settling into Yan-Shen's hands.
      • Of note, Xiong-Yan Wang sustains three grievous injuries before Yan-Shen finally ends him with the Hu-Po.
    • Niu-Lang loses three great-swords (his weapons breaking being something of a Running Gag early on) before the Shen-Nong Chi gets passed to him.
    • Wen-Tian pushes himself to his limits three times over a relatively brief period (against Xiong-Yan Wang, Yan-Shen, and then Tan-Shen). The third time actually kills him. He gets better later on, though.
      • Related to the above, Wen-Tian requests that Tie-Xin fulfill three dying wishes for him. She tearfully agrees.
    • As with Wen-Tian above, the Jade King also requests that Niu-Lang fulfil three dying wishes for him.
    • After Niu-Lang proves himself to Chi-You's spirit within the Flower Goddess' realm, the demigod gives him three imperatives: (1) lead his five lieutenants into battle, (2) obtain the Hu-Po, and (3) guard the secret chamber in his labyrinth that has the Hu-Po's imprint on the door.
    • The Master Geomancer requests to pit his skills against the Phoenix Queen three times (divination, martial arts, and limericks) before he'll willingly accept her advances. He only wins the first round, but makes good on it to buy the other heroes' freedom.
    • The third time Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu unleashes the Tai-Xu’s ultimate attack is also the first time he’s not actually hurt by it (he’s still sent flying from the backlash, though). Third time’s the charm?
    • When the heroes depart with the Phoenix Queen to seek the Feng-Huang’s missing piece, they carry three First-Grade Weapons with them: the Feng-Huang itself, the Tai-Xu, and the Shen-Wu.
      • When they get ambushed by Niu-Lang and the rest of the Heaven-Earth Alliance in Chi-You’s Labyrinth, they get split up into three groups.
      • Another three-way split happens later on when hero & villain alike enter the Door of a Thousand Curses to escape said labyrinth’s collapse.
    • In the Backstory, Fu-Xi required three things to help him reinforce the Celestial Demon’s prison: the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, the Jing-Xie, and a celestial pool of water infused with the essence of creation.
  • Running Gag:
    • Niu-Lang getting his weapons wrecked (at least until he gets his hands on the Shen-Nong Chi). He even starts complaining that great-swords (his Weapon of Choice) are hard to come by!
      • Again related to Niu-Lang, his tendency to lose fights: he’s beaten by Xiong-Yan Wang, bested multiple times by Wen-Tian, and gets his ass kicked by Yan-Shen despite taking several levels in badass. When he plots to steal the Feng-Huang from the Phoenix Queen post-Face–Heel Turn, he gets incapacitated by Gu-Gang, and the Phoenix Queen “repays” him by poisoning him with golden silkworm venom!
    • The Master Geomancer and his “troubles with the fairer sex” also come up often during his character arc, much to his dismay.
  • Sadistic Choice: As per Friend or Idol Decision above, imposed on Wen-Tian during his infiltration of Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress: use the Shen-Nong Chi to heal Xiong-Yan Wang (and then give it to him), or one of his lieutenants will behead Bei-Ming Xue with Razor Floss. Wen-Tian rationalises that Bei-Ming Xue will die either way, as a healed Xiong-Yan Wang will probably subject them to a Fate Worse than Death, and Takes a Third Option by threatening to straight-up kill the (badly) wounded Xiong-Yan Wang if Bei-Ming Xue isn't set free, thus turning the Sadistic Choice around on the villains!
    • When the Jade King is badly wounded by the Silver King's Mooks, Niu-Lang is faced with one: surrender to the Silver King (he's not strong enough to beat the villains alone), or risk an escape across a lava field. Knowing how sadistic the Silver King is, he chooses the lava. Thankfully, the Shen-Nong Chi and the little Jade Dragon are there to help.
  • The Scapegoat: Bad Boss Xiong-Yan Wang has a habit of turning any Bearer of Bad News into this. It just reinforces the fear that keeps his underlings in line, really.
  • Scenery Censor: The remnants of the broken wooden bathtub are this for Wen-Tian, when Tie-Xin attacks him with the Shen-Wu.
  • Scenery Gorn: What happens in the wake of the Tian-Jing's explosion, the Hu-Po's emergence (thanks to the plagues and Mount Tai's eruption), as well as the opening of the Secret Room in Chi-You's Labyrinth later on.
    • Also shown in the Backstory, when calamities occurred as a result of (or as triggers for) the First-Grade Weapons' appearances.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Basically Bei-Ming Lei's justification for abandoning the expedition to Mount Tai. Once Wen-Tian delivers his sister safely back to him, he refuses to go on simply becuase the Northern Clan lost the heroes' tournament, and pulls the entire Northern Clan army back. When Wen-Tian protests that seeking the Hu-Po was one of Bei-Ming Zheng's orders, Bei-Ming Lei immediately pulls rank (or family status, rather) on him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Several Mooks do this once their overlords are defeated. Xiong-Yan Wang's last surviving hybrid warrior outright thinks this to himself once his master has been killed by the Hu-Po.
    • Yin Yi-Ma flees the moment he's discovered by Tie-Xin, going so far as to dive into the sea to escape. Fortunately for him, the Fire-Worshipping Sect has a boat in the vicinity, and he makes it out in one piece.
    • Niu-Lang exploits this in a fake-out to catch Xiong-Yan Wang In the Back during their first encounter. He still loses, though.
    • Bei-Ming Lei enthusiastically does this the moment Xiong-Yan Wang appears, taking the survivors of the Northern Clan's army with him. Never mind that Xiong-Yan Wang has just pulled this himself, fleeing from a victorious Wen-Tian and the Shen-Nong Chi.
    • Some of the Fire-Worshipping Sect's members do this when their trap fails to ensnare Tie-Xin, only to regroup and take him on all at once. They still lose.
    • Due to the injuries sustained in the Hu-Po incident and the fight against the Copper King, Wen-Tian wisely begins doing this more often (although Tie-Xin would rather fight to the death against their enemies), beginning with Tan-Shen and his lieutenants. Unfortunately, Tan-Shen forces a confrontation the first time they meet, causing Wen-Tian to fatally over-exert himself. He gets better thanks to Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, but is in no hurry to face Tan-Shen again.
    • Wen-Tian (solo, this time) does this again when the Silver King catches him eavesdropping. Unfortunately, the Silver King and his lieutenants catch up to him, and he's forced to fight yet again. When Tan-Shen interrupts, Wen-Tian seizes the opportunity to flee while he and the Silver King fight.
      • Then done by the Silver King and his lieutenants when Tan-Shen unleashes the Shi-Hun.
    • The little Jade Dragon cleverly gives Niu-Lang a wide berth as he powers up with Chi-You's destructive martial arts.
    • Once Tan-Shen unleashes the Shi-Hun during his second battle with Wen-Tian, the Gold and Silver Kings (who have been defeated by Prince Gu and Tie-Xin, respectively) are quick to book it.
    • When Prince Gu tries to take advantage of a love potion-addled Tie-Xin, she’s able to shrug off its effects & resist him. A vase is broken in the ensuing tussle, and the prince kidnaps her & flees, fearing that the noise would’ve alerted Wen-Tian & Wu-Fa Shen-Seng. It does, and they kick his ass in short order.
  • Secret Room: One in Chi-You's Labyrinth, which requires the Hu-Po to unlock. This is why the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance is after the Evil Weapon.
  • Secret Test of Character: Of a sort. Some of the First-Grade Weapons also display Empathic Weapon properties due to their celestial origins, and grant their users powers according to how closely their alignments match those of their original wielders.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu was apparently deemed worthy by the Tai-Xu way back when he was a child, as it responded to his touch by spontaneously reassembling itself. He takes to it like a fish to water once he gets to properly wield it during the heroes' tournament. Unleashing its ultimate ability still takes some practice, though...
    • Yan-Shen proves his worth to the Hu-Po (and the spirit of Chi-You within) after fighting through Mount Tai's volcanic eruption and absolutely refusing to die.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • When Bei-Ming Zheng was young, he was told that he would meet three calamities in his life, he was not to meddle in the pugilistic world, and failure to do so would lead to the destruction of his family. Upset, he ignores the warnings and attacks Yan-Shen and his Fire-Worshipping Sect. He ends up losing two of his younger brothers in the ensuing battle.
    • An interesting variant happens later on: in order to get the Phoenix Queen to spare Wen-Tian’s life, the Master Geomancer cooks up a prophecy that Wen-Tian is needed alive because he’ll be the one to find the Feng-Huang’s missing fragment. Wen-Tian is ultimately the one to open the Door of a Thousand Curses, where the missing fragment is kept.
    • When Emperor Yan was a young teen, the previous Master Geomancer (Zhuo Bu-Fan’s teacher) made a proclamation that basically described how the kid would later bring about his own downfall. Enraged, Emperor Yan dedicated his life to amassing power to defy the prophecy, learning Fu-Xi’s powerful martial arts, usurping the Heaven-Earth Alliance, and claiming the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie in the process. He ends up over-relying on the (very complex) First-Grade Weapon, however, and gets beaten by both Niu-Lang (losing his entire kingdom in the process!) and the Lord of the Raksha Sect (losing the chance to claim the Tian-Jing) in quick succession.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of 146 books. The second series is basically an Immediate Sequel.
  • Sherlock Scan: Done by the Master Geomancer when he's Holding the Floor against a post-Face–Heel Turn Niu-Lang. He noticed how Niu-Lang rebuked Prince Gu for not heeding the Phoenix Queen's words while giving him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, complete with mentioning how lucky he was to have a mother. The Master Geomancer deduces that Niu-Lang is an orphan, and manages to distract him with his words long enough for the Phoenix Queen to spring into action.
  • Shipper on Deck: A sinister version with the Phoenix Queen: after learning that her son, Prince Gu, has his eye on Tie-Xin, she slips her a love potion in the hope that she’ll fall for her son...and give her an heir!
  • Shirtless Scene: Wen-Tian gets plenty. Also, Xiong-Yan Wang after his monstrous body modification is a Walking Shirtless Scene, as is Niu-Lang post-Face–Heel Turn.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Quite literally spelled out with comic-style sound effects whenever bones get broken.
  • Skyward Scream: Occasionally done by the more Hot-Blooded guys like Wen-Tian and Xiong-Yan Wang. Also sometimes happens when characters get their hands on First-Grade Weapons, like Yan-Shen with the Hu-Po and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian with the Shi-Hun.
  • Slasher Smile: One of Xiong-Yan Wang's lieutenants, a Joker Expy, sports this at all times. Similarly, the more sadistic/unhinged villains like Yan-Shen, the Silver King, and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian also do this. Niu-Lang and Prince Gu post-Face–Heel Turn also get in on it.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Discussed in both the narrative and the characters' dialogues, due to traditional Chinese notions of fate & destiny. The Master Geomancer goes the furthest with these discussions, due to his divination skills.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Swings between the two quite often. While the heroes usually come out on top, they're often put through hell to get there. The series even ends on a Bittersweet Ending (or Pyrrhic Victory) Sequel Hook, which sets up the second series.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Pretty much in the middle. Incidents surrounding the First-Grade Weapons form much of the main plot, but the characters all react to them in different ways due to their backstories (not to mention the sheer number of flashbacks showing how they came to be who they are).
  • Smug Super: Practically every high-ranking member of the Heaven-Earth Alliance apart from the Jade King. Many other villains like Dong-Fang Yi-Nian and Niu-Lang also act this way. Notably, the Anti-Villain Raksha Sect members are much more subdued, like Tan-Shen and the Raksha Lord.
    • On the heroes' side, the more prideful characters like Tie-Xin, Dong-Fang Xiong, and Bei-Ming Zheng have their moments.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Tie-Xin is the only lady among the main heroes of the younger generation. Her mother, Dong-Fang Xiong, is also the only lady among the heroes from the older generation.
      • Tie-Xin also ends up as the only female warrior in the Evil Emperor’s ranks.
    • Le-Wa appears to be the only prominent female martial artist from the Western-Raksha Sect.
  • Snow Means Death: Downplayed. Wen-Cai gets gravely injured when Xiong-Yan Wang and his Half-Human Hybrids attack the Northern Clan on a cold, snowy night, but she survives (albeit just barely).
  • Sole Survivor: Wen-Tian & Wen-Cai are technically Nan-Gong Yi's last surviving blood relatives, after it's revealed that Tie-Xin was actually fathered by Zhuo Bu-Fan.
    • The little Jade Dragon appears to be the last magic dragon left, after its family was slaughtered by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
    • By the end of the Hu-Po incident, only one of the Western Clan's elite guard is left alive (sans his left arm).
    • Bei-Ming Xue is the last surviving member of her family, after Bei-Ming Zheng slays Bei-Ming Lei (who had turned evil), and sacrifices himself to regenerate the broken Shen-Nong Chi.
    • The Silver King is the only warlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance to survive the story, having undergone a Heel–Face Turn to help Zhuo Bu-Fan deal with the Evil Emperor.
  • Sonic Stunner: Whenever magical music instruments (including the Shen-Wu) are wielded by people with Musical Assassin skills like the Jade King or Le-Wa, they can be used as this. The Jade King in particular is skilled enough to partially incapacitate the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance with his starting Second-Grade Weapon.
    • Gu-Gang can also do this with his Second-Grade Weapon. He manages to incapacitate Niu-Lang long enough for the Phoenix Queen to plant some golden silkworm venom in him.
    • The Jing-Xie also has this ability, likely derived from the shockwaves generated by thunderclaps.
  • Sore Loser:
    • In keeping with her Spoiled Brat status, Bei-Ming Xue is quick to take offence at any slight, not even sparing her childhood friend Wen-Tian. This takes the form of either a bawling tantrum, or using her Mind over Matter powers to bring the pain.
    • Tie-Xin has shades of this in the beginning, being an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy and all. When the Master Geomancer manages to evade two of his attacks, he loses his temper and immediately resorts to a Dangerous Forbidden Technique. Fortunately for Zhuo Bu-Fan, it fails.
    • Prince Gu also has his moments, from plotting to kill Wen-Tian so that he can have his way with a love potion-addled Tie-Xin, to willingly antagonizing Niu-Lang in response to the latter’s trolling (to the point where his own mother, the Phoenix Queen, threatens to leave him to fend for himself if he causes another scene!).
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The greater warlords of the Heaven-Earth Alliance seem content to hang back and let their underlings confront the heroes before they take any actions, usually because they're looking down on them. This usually results in the death of at least one or more Mooks. Larger groups like the Fire-Worshipping Sect also have their more eminent members wait and watch the heroes before joining the fight.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The Bei-Ming family's martial arts are depicted this way, complete with swirling Taoist symbols.
    • Xiong-Yan Wang's staff-fighting technique also evokes this, and he successfully adapts it to his bare fists after he loses his weapon and undergoes his gruesome body upgrade.
    • Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu's fighting style revolves around this, as it's specialised for bladed disc-like weapons. This allows him to easily wield the Tai-Xu once he obtains it.
  • Speed Blitz: Played with. While the medium necessarily requires at least some visual cues of the super-humanly fast fights, the characters are portrayed reacting appropriately when they're on the receiving end.
  • Spider Limbs: The Hu-Po's four guardians look like giant metallic anthropomorphic animals. One of them is modelled after a spider, and it has four of these protruding from its back (with its arms and legs thus making a total of eight limbs).
  • Spider-Sense: As per the wuxia genre, skilled characters can often sense battle auras and other killing intents.
    • With the sheer number of magic weapons on display, the weapons themselves have this, with the First-Grade Weapons reacting to one another when in proximity, and causing less powerful weapons to physically tremble in their presence. The Tian-Jing is so powerful that it causes lesser weapons to straight-out break in the prologue.
    • This extends to the Tian-Jing pearl in Wen-Tian's left arm as well, which reacts when First-Grade Weapons are in the vicinity.
  • Spin Attack: As with Spectacular Spinning above, several characters engage in this over the course of the story. The special martial arts designed for the Shi-Hun and Hu-Po also include some of these.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu spins the Tai-Xu around himself to deflect pyroclastic bombs during Mount Tai's eruption.
    • The Shi-Hun is sometimes used for this, as are similar segmented staff weapons. Dong-Fan Yi-Nian can even use it to deflect fire.
  • Spoiler Cover: The very first book already spoils that Wen-Tian will eventually obtain the Tian-Jing.
    • The other First-Grade Weapons also tend to appear on the covers of the books in which they're first introduced.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Used from time to time. Zhuo Bu-Fan tends to do this to Dong-Fang Xiong whenever he's dragging her away from a dangerous, pitched battle (that she has willingly thrown herself into).
    • Also done to Tie-Xin by Wen-Tian, and Le-Wa by Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu.
  • Standard Power Up Pose:
    • Wen-Tian does this sometimes, when he activates the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm.
    • Also done by Xiong-Yan Wang just after his gruesome body modification is complete.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian also gets to go this when he receives the Celestial Demon’s blessing.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Done by Dong-Fang Yi-Nian as he pursues Zhuo Bu-Fan and the Phoenix Queen.
  • Story-Breaker Power: The Tian-Jing is the most powerful weapon in all existence, so it gets blown up in the prologue. On a related note, Wen-Tian cannot continuously use its pearl to simply power through every fight, as the strain it puts on his body can eventually put him in a coma.
    • The combination of Chi-You and the Hu-Po is this, so the Flower Goddess convinces him to abandon his bloodlust for love, and he departs the mortal realm to live out his days with her. Unfortunately, the discarded Hu-Po lands in Niu-Lang’s hands...
  • Stout Strength: Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, definitely.
  • Strong and Skilled:
    • The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance can wield Fu-Xi’s martial arts to deadly effect, beating out practically every other pugilist in the first half of the story. Gets subverted after he obtains the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie, as he over-relies on its (very complex) abilities, forgetting that Fu-Xi himself had blended the First-Grade Weapon together with his martial arts.
    • Yan-Shen becomes this, once he unlocks the Hu-Po's full potential. Notably, he was already close to this even before claiming the Hu-Po.
    • The Gold King also comes close, with his Made of Iron ability nicely complimenting his unarmed combat skills.
    • Among the heroes, Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin are the closest to this at the start of the story.
    • Downplayed with Niu-Lang. Though he gets the Shen-Nong Chi for himself and learns Chi-You's martial arts (turning him quite evil & vicious in the process), he’s still weaker than Wen-Tian (who has learned Wu-Fa Shen-Seng’s skills by then).
    • The Lord of the Raksha Sect is all over this thanks to Raksha’s martial arts, being able to kick copious amounts of ass even without a weapon. Needless to say, he’s near-unstoppable with the Tian-Zhu/Shi-Hun in hand.
      • Only the Evil Emperor manages to give the Raksha Lord pause, negating an attack from the Tian-Zhu with his own skills. He even manages to beat both the Raksha Lord & Wen-Tian (wielding the Tian-Jing, no less!) at the end!
    • Wen-Tian eventually grows into this. Taken Up to Eleven once he finally obtains the Tian-Jing.
  • Stunned Silence: Xiong-Yan Wang's Bad Boss tendencies often do this to his underlings.
    • The other heroes and even the Fire-Worshipping Sect do this when the Master Geomancer physically rebukes Dong-Fang Xiong for mouthing off to the Phoenix Queen (in order to protect her from the queen's hot temper).
  • Summon to Hand: Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu can do this with the Tai-Xu.
    • Dong-Fang Yi-Nian is later shown doing this with the Shi-Hun.
  • Super Speed: Lots of highly-skilled martial artists are plenty fast, but the ones who really stand out are Wen-Tian, Zhuo Bu-Fan, and Tan-Shen, who can move fast enough to leave after-images. Tie-Xin and Dong-Fang Xiong are also a close contenders with their sword skills.
  • Super Strength: Wen-Tian can summon this by using the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm.
  • Super Toughness: Wen-Tian, again, with the Tian-Jing pearl. Many other highly-skilled martial artists also display varying degrees of this, from the Gold King's Made of Iron body technique, to the wielders of the Hu-Po being granted near-invincibility. Notably, said toughness is also relative to whatever's trying to injure them: mundane weapons are practically useless, while First-Grade Weapons trump basically every mortal character.
  • Supervillain Lair: Xiong-Yan Wang's hidden fortress, Chi-You's Labyrinth, and the Evil Emperor's sanctum.
  • Superweapon: The First-Grade Weapons, naturally. Even among them, the Tian-Jing and Hu-Po are the mightiest, able to cause a Class 1 Apocalypse How by themselves.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: For a given definition of "average" in a World of Badass, but we have Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu with the Tai-Xu, Le-Wa with the Shen-Wu, Niu-Lang (briefly) with the Shen-Nong Chi, and Dong-Fang Yi-Nian with the Shi-Hun.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Wen-Tian carries an unconscious Tie-Xin into an inn after Mount Tai's eruption, he requests for a doctor to see to her injuries (he's only applied basic first aid up to that point). None the wiser, the doctor refers to Tie-Xin as his wife, and Wen-Tian thinks this to himself when he realises that explaining the entire situation would be too troublesome!
    • Things only get (hilariously) worse when it's revealed that Tie-Xin had already regained consciousness by the time the doctor was talking to Wen-Tian, and had faked being unconscious so that she could gather her strength to confront Wen-Tian about him discovering her true gender. Needless to say, she's pissed that Wen-Tian didn't bother correcting the doctor when he had assumed that she was his wife, let alone that he had undressed her to treat her chest wound.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Jue Tian-Ji gives off this vibe when he's saddled with the decidedly-less subtle Xiong-Yan Wang and his army during the quest for the Hu-Po (on Yan-Shen's orders, no less).
    • When Tan-Shen is alerted to a mysterious ship by the Shi-Hun's Spider-Sense, he and his lieutenants immediately head over to investigate. Before they can do anything, a mysterious character dives off its deck and into the water. Tan-Shen gives chase, but ultimately loses his target. After emerging from the water, he realizes that his lieutenants have been so preoccupied with killing that they (almost) forget to leave survivors for interrogation. The way he subsequently rebukes them certainly gives off this vibe.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Justified, possibly due to the turbulent time period: there was probably no organised state army, so the main characters had to make do with their own clan/sect members and/or mercenaries.
  • Swapped Roles: Done when Tie-Xin saves Wen-Tian from Tan-Shen. She had previously been saved by Wen-Tian after being wounded by Yan-Shen during the Hu-Po incident. With Wen-Tian severely injured after his fight with Tan-Shen, Tie-Xin becomes the one to look after him, at least until Wu-Fa Shen-Seng takes over.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy:
    • After the combined expedition passes the trials at Mount Tai's base, one such thingy sucks everyone right through Mount Tai's base, and plonks them directly into the Hu-Po's chamber.
    • Later on, one is glimpsed within the Secret Room in Chi-You's Labyrinth when it's finally opened...only for a second, utterly humongous one to manifest in the sky outside as the Celestial Demon's prison starts to weaken...
    • The Jing-Xie’s halves create a lightning-based one (naturally) when Fu-Xi uses them to help reinforce the Celestial Demon’s prison.
  • Take a Third Option: Early on, Wen-Tian is faced with a Sadistic Choice during his infiltration of Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress: use the Shen-Nong Chi to heal Xiong-Yan Wang (and then give it to him), or one of his lieutenants will behead Bei-Ming Xue with Razor Floss. He rationalises that Bei-Ming Xue will die either way, as a healed Xiong-Yan Wang will probably subject them to a Fate Worse than Death, so he Takes a Third Option by threatening to straight-up kill the (badly) wounded Xiong-Yan Wang if Bei-Ming Xue isn't set free, thus turning the Sadistic Choice around on the villains!
  • Take Over the World: The Hu-Po seems to nudge its wielders in this direction...and the more blood shed, the better.
  • Takes One to Kill One: The only way to really stand against (let alone defeat) someone with a First-Grade Weapon is to have one yourself.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Expect to see this in practically every battle. Often leads to You Talk Too Much.
  • The Teaser: The entire Downer Beginning is the story's prologue, before a Time Skip of eighteen years brings us to Wen-Tian and the Northern Clan in the first chapter.
  • Teeth Flying: Wen-Tian invokes this twice on two opponents: once early on when he's duelling Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, and another time when he beats up one of Xiong-Yan Wang's lieutenants. Curiously, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is shown with all of his teeth intact later on.
    • This happens when Dong-Fang Yi-Nian kills the Fire-Worshipping Sect’s Giant Mook by shoving the Shi-Hun through the back of his head and out his mouth.
  • Tempting Fate: Before setting out for Mount Tai, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu is full of blustery confidence, having just gotten his hands on the mighty Tai-Xu, and boasts several times that he'll strike down the Hu-Po. He ends up badly injured in the following fight, leaving Yan-Shen to successfully claim the Evil Weapon.
  • There Are No Coincidences: The Master Geomancer's worldview, in a nutshell. Justified because of his divination skills.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Hu-Po doesn't just drain its victims dry; it also blows the remains up into Ludicrous Gibs for good measure.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Chinese variant. In grand wuxia tradition, food gets wasted whenever there's a fight in an inn. Also happens during Wen-Tian and Tie-Xin's...intimate moment while under Tan-Shen's captivity.
    • Subverted after Zhuo Bu-Fan's second capture by the Fire-Worshipping Sect. He finishes his food, only to discover that it was laced with an aphrodisiac, which Du Zi-Wei exploits to then infect him with an STD that will enslave him to her! Fortunately, the Phoenix Queen heals him later on.
  • This Cannot Be!: Villains tend to do this when faced with Wen-Tian's strength/endurance, or Tie-Xin's ruthlessness.
    • Also happens to the heroes when Chi-You manages to shatter both the Shen-Wu and the Shen-Nong Chi after his resurrection.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Happens on occasion, when characters are moments from death. They're bailed out (if they're main characters, of course) more often than not, however.
  • Threshold Guardians: A entire gauntlet of them on the way to the Hu-Po. First, there's a labyrinth full of various temptations, both worldly and intangible (complete with deadly consequences for those who fall victim to them), then there's the four powerful guardians in the weapon chamber proper, which can only be destroyed by First-Grade Weapons. Finally, the Hu-Po itself is embedded within a Nigh-Invulnerable crystal tiger that is only destroyed when seven of the heroes (and Xiong-Yan Wang) borrow the power of eight different Taoist deities and strike it all at once.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by the Hu-Po itself, which is its own Threshold Guardian. Wielders without sufficient internal strength to contain its power are liable to explode, and even after that, it still won't grant its bearer its full strength until they prove themselves to Chi-You's spirit within it.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Wen-Tian does this not once, but twice to Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu. The first time occurs early on during a small tournament in the Northern Clan: Wen-Tian is pissed that Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu isn't taking him seriously as a martial artist, and demands to challenge him. When the latter unveils a powerful Second-Grade Weapon, the former is forced to use the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm to get out alive. The second time occurs during Xiang Ao-Tian's heroes' tournament, when Wen-Tian is worried that Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu will win with the Tai-Xu in hand. His concerns are right, especially when he actually loses. Tie-Xin ultimately wins the tournament, though.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: Often paired with Big Damn Heroes or Big Entrance.
    • An interesting version happens during Wen-Tian’s battle with the Gold King in Chi-You’s Labyrinth: the Gold King has bulldozed through all of Wen-Tian’s attacks with the Hu-Po, but the golden silkworm venom in his body (courtesy of Prince Gu some time back) acts up, robbing him of his victory.
  • Time Skip: Eighteen years between the prologue and the start of the main story.
  • Together in Death: Nan-Gong Yi and his mistress, Jade Swallow, are both victims of the Tian-Jing's explosion in the prologue.
  • Token Good Teammate: The Jade King, for the Heaven-Earth Alliance.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: With their martial skills, Tie-Xin, Le-Wa, and the Phoenix Queen are the tomboys to Bei-Ming Xue and Wen-Cai's girly girls. Even further, Bei-Ming Xue is a tomboy to Wen-Cai's Girly Girl, as evidenced by her romp through Xiong-Yan Wang's fortress with Niu-Lang (to say nothing of her Mind over Matter powers).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Prince Gu gets this frequently, what with his Dumb Jock and Idiot Hero (for a given definition of "hero") tendencies. He antagonises Wen-Tian and Niu-Lang, two fighters who quite simply outclass him (when he's outnumbered, no less!), and is quick to jump at any goodies he comes across, regardless of the danger/consequences.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Goes hand-in-hand with obtaining a First-Grade Weapon, as with Wen-Tian and the Shen-Nong Chi, Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and the Tai-Xu, and Yan-Shen and the Hu-Po.
    • Wen-Tian also takes one when he uses the Tian-Jing pearl in his left arm and the Shen-Nong Chi to stabilize the Bei-Ming family's Dangerous Forbidden Technique. He's able to take it further than anyone else, but still has his limits.
      • Then he takes another one when he learns Wu-Fa Shen-Seng’s skills, allowing him to deflect even the Shi-Hun with his bare hands.
    • Xiong-Yan Wang gets tougher and stronger after his gruesome body modification, though the loss of all sense of pain causes him to dangerously over-extend himself him battle.
    • Niu-Lang gets a massive one when he learns Chi-You's martial arts.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Unfortunately, Niu-Lang's newfound powers also come with this, as he recruits all five of Chi-You's lieutenants to Take Over the World. While Yan-Shen and the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance swiftly put a lid on his ambitions, he remains an unambiguous Heel from then on.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: The Downer Beginning, arguably. If Nan-Gong Yi had heeded the Master Geomancer's advice and not unveiled the Tian-Jing, the Southern Clan wouldn't have been destroyed.
  • Trick Arrow: The Tian-Zhu’s specialty. Each arrow even has its own trick.
  • Turn Coat: As with Heel–Face Turn above, three of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors decide to help Wen-Tian during the battle in the hidden fortress. All of them end up paying the ultimate price.
    • The Jade King betrays the Heaven-Earth Alliance early on, when he's sickened by the Overlord's brutality in killing the magic dragons in Chi-You's Labyrinth for their flesh and blood. Notably, he's the only one of their warlords who isn't outright evil to begin with. He ends up as Wen-Tian's guide for the first major story arc, before going along with Niu-Lang after Mount Tai's eruption.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The Northern Clan starts off with Bei-Ming Xue and Wen-Cai, while The Remnant of the Southern Clan has Dong-Fang Xiong and Tie-Xin (disguised as a guy).
    • The ranks of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrid warriors also feature two females.
    • Of the First-Grade Weapons’ original wielders (in the current day), two are ladies: Le-Wa and the Shen-Wu, and the Phoenix Queen and the Feng-Huang.
    • The Evil Emperor’s retinue contains Tie-Xin and Wen-Cai, who also form a Tomboy and Girly Girl duo.
  • Underequipped Charge: The Western Clan's elite guard and the Eastern Clan's elite warriors all rush Yan-Shen after he beats back Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, Dong-Fang Xiong, and Tie-Xin. They show good teamwork, but are nowhere on the level of the three stronger heroes. Their numbers are quickly reduced from six to three by the Hu-Po.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Multiple villains do this to Wen-Tian when they first meet, as he's a relatively young nobody. They're much more cautious (if still sneering confidently) during subsequent encounters though...assuming they survived the first one.
    • Starts to happen to Tie-Xin once she sheds her disguise, as people can't recognise the slender, fair-faced girl as the cold and ruthless heir to the Southern Clan.
  • Undying Loyalty: The little Jade Dragon imprints on the Jade King when it hatches, leading to this.
    • Wen-Tian has this for Bei-Ming Xue in the beginning, at least until he mistakenly believes that she betrayed him.
    • Tie-Xin eventually develops this for Wen-Tian as their relationship blossoms...at least until he chooses ethics over a (wrongly-informed) incestuous relationship, and she joins the Evil Emperor.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Xiong-Yan Wang certainly has shades of this, using brute force in most of his battles.
    • Downplayed with Wen-Tian at the beginning of the story, as he does have basic martial art training (and is quite agile to boot), but can’t really fight on the level of some of the other major pugilists. He gets around this by using the Tian-Jing pearl as an ace up his sleeve (no pun intended).
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wen-Tian desperately wants to free the Jade King's soul from the Secret Room in Chi-You's Labyrinth, while the Phoenix Queen wants to retreive the Feng-Huang's missing piece from within it. Unfortunately, the reassembled Feng-Huang ends up resurrecting Chi-You himself, who goes on to use the Hu-Po to wipe the floor with everyone present. It takes the Flower Goddess' love to stop his rampage.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Basically everyone who got played by the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance to open the Secret Room in Chi-You's Labyrinth: (1) Xiong-Yan Wang, who obtained information behind the Hu-Po's emergence; (2) Yan-Shen, who actually obtained the Hu-Po, and basically delivered it right to where it was needed; (3) the Gold King, who was used in a suicide mission to deliver the Hu-Po to Wen-Tian; (4) and Wen-Tian himself, who (with the Phoenix Queen's help) finally opened the Secret Room.
  • Up to Eleven: The Hu-Po hyper-charges Yan-Shen's Blood Knight tendencies once he gets his hands on it.
    • The Tian-Jing turns Wen-Tian into one of the strongest fighters out there.
    • By the end of the story, Prince Gu has imbued himself with so much poison that he eclipses even his own mother the Phoenix Queen, who was previously established to be the setting’s premier poison mistress.
  • Urban Ruins: The earthquakes, wildfires, and hailstorms that herald the Hu-Po's emergence, along with Mount Tai's eruption, turn the surrounding settlements into these.
  • Vigilante Man: Niu-Lang seems to be this when he is first introduced, declaring that he'll slay Xiong-Yan Wang for terrorising the village where he's stopped over. He fails terribly.
  • Villain Ball: Xiong-Yan Wang manages to steal the Shen-Nong Chi from Wen-Tian, but wants to show off his newly-upgraded body, so he replaces it with a fake and hands the real deal to one of his hybrid warriors for safekeeping. He ends up having to rely on it during the ensuing fight, as the Tian-Jing pearl still gives Wen-Tian enough punching power to actually injure him (Wen-Tian even calls him out on this). This allows the Jade King and the little Jade Dragon to pull a Big Damn Heroes to snatch it back and rescue Wen-Tian.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: One of the Copper King's lieutenants does this after his master's death. The Silver King & his lieutenants also do this once they realise Tan-Shen is closing in on them.
    • Later done by both the Gold & Silver Kings (who’ve already been defeated) once Tie-Xin & Prince Gu get distracted by Wen-Tian’s battle with Tan-Shen.
      • The duo do this again after Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu and Le-Wa break out of the Silver King’s trap in Chi-You’s Labyrinth. The Gold King even grumbles that he has to rely on the Silver King for directions (as only he knows the way out of his own trap)!
  • Villains Want Mercy: Xiong-Yan Wang parleys with Zhuo Bu-Fan in their Backstory, trading his prisoners for the latter’s divinations. Notably, he takes no further action against the Master Geomancer during the main story, save for collecting the divinations owed him.
    • Midway through the story, a post-Face–Heel Turn Niu-Lang begs the Phoenix Queen to spare Chi-You's lieutenants (as well as himself), claiming that they've been victims of the Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance (when only Niu-Lang had previously encountered him). In addition, he says that they need the dragon flesh and blood in Chi-You's Labyrinth to heal the wounds inflicted on them by the Overlord, when it was actually Wen-Tian's group who had previously wounded them. Zhuo Bu-Fan convinces the Phoenix Queen to spare them, and Niu-Lang takes the opportunity to recuperate and plot his next scheme.
  • Villainous Legacy: Chi-You may be long dead by the time the story starts (his spirit is still hanging around, though), but his Magnum Opus, the Hu-Po, drives much of the plot early on.
    • Likewise with Raksha and his Shi-Hun (though he’s not actually dead). The entire titular Raksha Sect is founded on the Evil Weapon, which is an heirloom of its leaders. The sect has aims to Take Over the World, but its lords all die mysteriously on their 27th birthday. Le-Wa’s desire to help her brother (the current lord) achieve the sect’s goal causes no small amount of trouble when she secretly departs with the Shen-Wu...prompting her brother to send Tan-Shen after her (with the Shi-Hun in hand).
  • Wall of Weapons: Gu-Gang's smithy. Unfortunately, Wen-Tian is so powerful by that point that simply casually handling the weapons is enough to wreck them.
  • We Have Reserves: Bei-Ming Lei certainly seems to treat his troops this way. It’s later revealed that he purposely sent them all into a meat grinder against Xiong-Yan Wang’s forces with minimal backup just so he could avoid paying them.
  • We Only Have One Chance: When Zhuo Bu-Fan gets the other heroes (and Xiong-Yan Wang) to strike the crystal tiger housing the Hu-Po all at once. It works, though all of them sustain internal injuries from the backlash (and the Hu-Po exploding out of its container).
  • Wham Episode: When Tie-Xin is revealed to be a girl.
    • Later on, the secret chamber in Chi-You’s Labyrinth is opened...to reveal a Pocket Dimension inside.
      • A double-whammy then occurs when Chi-You gets resurrected (along with the Flower Goddess) by the completed Feng-Huang!
      • The above events then escalate when it's revealed that the entire setup was made by Fu-Xi in ages past to reinforce the Celestial Demon's prison, turning an epic fantasy story into a borderline Cosmic Horror Reveal.
  • Wham Shot: While fighting over the Shen-Nong Chi, Wen-Tian manages to score a blow across Xiong-Yan Wang's forehead with the First-Grade Weapon, fracturing his skull...but the next panel shows the blunt weapon lopping the entire top of his head off!
    • When Tan-Shen is alerted to a mysterious ship by the Shi-Hun's Spider-Sense, he and his lieutenants immediately head over to investigate. Before they can do anything, a mysterious character dives off its deck and into the water. Tan-Shen gives chase, but ultimately loses his target. The mystery character later shows up attacking Du Zi-Wei's hideout, wielding the complete, three-sectioned Shi-Hun.
      • Turns into a double-whammy when the mystery character is revealed to be Dong-Fang Yi-Nian, who was gifted the last section of the Shi-Hun some time before the main story began. He then forged two imitation segments to give the appearance of the complete Shi-Hun.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Bei-Ming Lei, to his sister Bei-Ming Xue and Wen-Tian, who’s a lowly orphan.
    • Downplayed with Wen-Tian himself, to Bei-Ming Xue and Xi-Cheng Xiu-Shu, who isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Xiong-Yan Wang's Half-Human Hybrid warrior who posed as Bei-Ming Xue during Wen-Tian's Friend or Idol Decision. She isn't mentioned/shown when her master returns to his fortress for his body upgrade procedure after Wen-Tian has almost completely purged the place. She remains absent when Xiong-Yan Wang accosts Wen-Tian later on as well.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed between Wen-Tian and one of Xiong-Yan Wang's hybrids, while the former is using the latter as a guide to find Xiong-Yan Wang's hidden fortress. After a pissed-off Precision F-Strike regarding the hybrid's mother (yes, it's basically a Mandarin version of Your Mom), the hybrid rebuts that he actually has a human mother, and yearns to see her again. This inspires Wen-Tian to save the imprisoned women within the fortress, and spurs three of the hybrids to do a Heel–Face Turn. To Wen-Tian's credit, he does indeed deliver, although only the first hybrid gets his heartwarming reunion.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Opposition: As with Artifact of Doom above, possessing a First-Grade Weapon tends to invite all sorts of unwanted attention, especially from those who want said weapon for themselves.
  • Worf Had the Flu: All of the heroes after Mount Tai's eruption, as they haven't had time to recover from the injuries sustained during the Hu-Po incident. All of them struggle to some degree when confronted by the Gold, Silver, and Copper Kings, and Wen-Tian straight-up dies when he pushes himself too far against Tan-Shen.
    • The Phoenix Queen is unable to unleash the Feng-Huang’s full power against Dong-Fang Yi-Nian & the Shi-Hun, because she has yet to find the Feng-Huang’s last missing component. Thankfully, the Master Geomancer pulls a Your Princess Is in Another Castle! on him, and he leaves to continue his hunt for Dong-Fang Xiong.
    • Despite wielding the Shi-Fang Ju-Mie during the battle for the Tian-Jing, Emperor Yan is still too traumatized by his losses against both Chi-You and Niu-Lang, and gets his ass handed to him by the Lord of the Raksha Sect.
  • World of Badass: Subverted. In grand wuxia tradition, there are plenty of martial artists and weapons to go around, but the First-Grade Weapons basically overshadow everything else.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Hu-Po constantly drives its wielder to seek these out...to feed on them.
    • The Lord of the Raksha Sect comes to see Wen-Tian as this, and ends up siding with him against the Evil Emperor.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Xiong-Yan Wang certainly doesn't hold back against Bei-Ming Zheng, even resorting to dirty fighting to get the upper hand.
    • Likewise, the Silver King isn't above killing the Jade King if he can help it.
    • Tan-Shen and Niu-Lang also don't hold back against Wu-Fa Shen-Seng, especially after getting a taste of his exotic martial arts.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Early on, the Fire-Worshipping Sect sets one up to draw Tie-Xin into a trap. They do manage to get him where they want him, but actually taking him out is a whole different can of worms...
    • Later on, a post-Face–Heel Turn Niu-Lang feigns defeat at the hands of a dragon flesh/blood-enhanced Prince Gu to get close to the Phoenix Queen...in an attempt to steal the Feng-Huang.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Lesser weapons tend to go this way against First-Grade Weapons. Special mention goes to the Tian-Jing in the prologue, which can invoke this just by being drawn.
    • This is a Running Gag with Niu-Lang early on. Lampshaded when he complains that great-swords (his Weapon of Choice) aren’t easy to come by! Thankfully, he gets the Shen-Nong Chi later on.
    • Probably the most ridiculous example would be the Second-Grade Weapon that Tie-Xin buys off of Prince Gu (not that he wasn’t willing to make a gift of it). It lasts no more than two books before it clashes with the Shi-Hun. Guess what happens to it.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Master Geomancer is hit with this, hard (no pun intended): when the Fire-Worshipping Sect gives him preferential treatment during the heroes' imprisonment (serving him a full set dinner instead of just plain buns & cold water), he thinks they're buttering him up so he'll provide them with divinations. Turns out, his dinner has been spiked with an aphrodisiac, and Du Zi-Wei uses that to enslave him via STD (since he'll need to regularly get medicine from her). Made worse because he had just divined that he would run into "troubles with the opposite sex" just a few hours before. Fortunately, the Phoenix Queen undoes the damage later on.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Tie-Xin has been raised from birth in a strictly martial, Friendless Background, moulded into the perfect warrior by Dong-Fang Xiong (it's even reflected in the name, which literally means "iron heart" in Mandarin). After a cold, hard life devoid of romance or friendship, Tie-Xin meets Wen-Tian, and discovers what it means to care about someone (and have someone care about you in return). She eventually defrosts under Wen-Tian's influence, and the pair eventually form a romantic bond. Then, Wen-Tian gets seriously injured in battle against Tan-Shen, and Tie-Xin tearfully promises to fulfil his dying wishes. They even consummate their relationship when Tie-Xin offers to give Wen-Tian Someone to Remember Him By. Wen-Tian then dies shortly after (although it doesn't last, thanks to Wu-Fa Shen-Seng).
    • Her mother, Dong-Fang Xiong, also gets hit with this. She triumphantly set out to obtain the Hu-Po in order to restore the Southern Clan & claim what she viewed as her rightful place as leader of the Eastern Clan (being her father’s first-born), but the expedition failed terribly, ending in Mount Tai’s eruption and the Hu-Po landing in Yan-Shen’s hands. Though she ended up with her lover Zhuo Bu-Fan, his troubles with the fairer sex come between them as he’s seduced by Du Zi-Wei (unsuccessfully) and then the Phoenix Queen (this one sticks). Enraged, she resolves to hunt down Du Zi-Wei, but gets caught in her trap. She’s saved in the nick of time...by her (now quite evil) half-brother Dong-Fang Yi-Nian (still the legal ruler of the Eastern Clan), who swiftly pulls rank on her. The elite warriors who were with her summarily abandon her, leaving her alone & with nothing. This drives her to seek out the Tian-Jing, so that she can restore her status.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: One of the downsides of being the Master Geomancer. He may be able to divine the future, but there's nothing he can do to change it.
  • You Have Failed Me: You really, really don't want to be on the receiving end of this from Xiong-Yan Wang. One of his punishments is styled "a hundred days of torture" for a good reason. Early in the story, he demands his underlings bring him a virgin girl so he can receive some Intimate Healing (go figure), after taking one too many beatings from the heroes. When he’s informed that all the surrounding villages have already been emptied of virgin girls, he smacks the poor messenger so hard that he loses his right eye. To make matters worse, said messenger is one of his empowered hybrid warriors; a regular human would’ve straight-up died.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Tie-Xin briefly thinks this when she and Wen-Tian first meet Prince Gu, and are told that he's one of the heroes of the realm. To wit: The prince appears in front of them with A Lady on Each Arm, and two more fawning over his shoulders for good measure, and is acting like a stereotypical jock instead of a refined warrior. Though he goes on to show that he can handle himself in battle, his sleazy personality pretty much dispels his heroic reputation.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: The villains absolutely love doling these out, along with To the Pain. Special mention goes to Yan-Shen loudly proclaiming this after he obtains the Hu-Po, as well as Dong-Fang Yi-Nian after he gets the complete Shi-Hun.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: The warlords of the Heaven-Earth Alliance appear to enjoy doling these out. Unfortunately for them, the members of the equally-powerful Raksha Sect aren't intimidated in the slightest.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Overlord of the Heaven-Earth Alliance certainly seems to treat his underlings this way, not even batting an eyelid when they get killed. He even sends the Gold King to his death so that the Hu-Po will land in Wen-Tian’s hands!
  • You Killed My Father: Niu-Lang is tricked into thinking that the Jade King killed his mother and older sister, thanks to the hallucinogenic mushrooms in Chi-You's Labyrinth. Unfortunately, the Jade King doesn't survive his subsequent Brainwashed and Crazy rampage.
  • You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: Those on the business end of First-Grade Weapons tend to use this as a retort against their wielders. Then again, said weapons are so insanely powerful that they regularly eclipse their wielders.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Villainous variant. Dong-Fang Yi-Nian is out hunting for Dong-Fang Xiong, but by the time he’s fought his way to where she’s supposed to be (the Fire-Worshipping Sect’s hideout & then the Miao Kingdom), she’s already gone. He finally succeeds on the third attempt.
  • You Talk Too Much: Said by hero and villain alike. Their rebukes would be more effective, if they didn't tend to immediately launch into a Motive Rant of their own...
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: The villains occasionally pepper their insults with these, particularly in regard to the younger heroes like Wen-Tian, Tie-Xin, and Niu-Lang.
    • Then there are demigods like Chi-You, who speak to practically every mortal like this.
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