A Deadly Secret


A Deadly Secret

"A Deadly Secret" (zh-tsp|t=連城訣|s=连城诀|p=Lián Chéng Jué) is a wuxia novel by Jinyong, alternately translated as "Requiem of Ling Sing"Fact|date=February 2007. It was first published in the Southeast Asia Weekly (東南亞周刊) in 1963. The story revolves around Di Yun (狄雲), a down-to-earth young martial artist who was imprisoned after being framed for a crime. In his quest for revenge, he accidentally acquired the "Lian Cheng Jianfa" (連城劍法), an ancient artifact not only prized for its martial arts values, but also for containing a secret that had become the envy of the martial arts community.

Plot Summary

Di Yun was a young martial artist who studied under the tutelage of Qi Zhangfa(戚長發). Along with Qi's daughter Qi Fang (戚芳), the three of them led a simple life in a remote countryside farm where Di Yun and Qi Fang had plans to marry each other.

Frame-up and imprisonment

One day Qi Zhangfa received an invitation from his senior Wan Zhenshan (萬震山) where Wan claimed he had acquired the "Lian Cheng Jianfa". This secret was originally guarded among Qi, Wan and another their martial arts brother Yan Daping (言達平), but had thought to have been lost. Surprised by the news, Qi Zhangfa took Di Yun and Qi Fang to visit Wan, only to realize Wan did not actually acquire the article. In the coming scuffles Qi wounded Wan and strangely disappeared, and Di Yun was intentionally framed for the attempted larceny and rape committed on one of Wan's concubines(the story later turned out that Wan's son Wan Gui (萬圭) had lust on Qi Fang and decided to wipe out Di Yun so that Qi Fang could possibly accept Wan Gui's wooing).

Di Yun was tortured in prison, rendering him unable to perform his martial arts skills. In addition to his inexplicable imprisonment, his plight was compounded by the presence of fellow inmate Ding Dian (丁典), who beat him regularly. Meanwhile, Qi Fang married Wan Gui, and when the news filtered through to prison, Di Yun attempted to commit suicide, but was saved by Ding. It turns out that Ding mistreated Di Yun because he mistakenly thought Di was spying on him, as Ding too was aware of the secrets of the "Lian Cheng Jianfa". Di's suicide attempt was a turning point as Ding no longer held suspicion for Di and went on to teach him powerful martial arts skills.

Ding revealed the reason why he was imprisoned: because he knew of the secrets to "Lian Cheng Jianfa", he needed the time to develop his martial arts skills in order to fight off enemies who sought to acquire the secret. He also witnessed Wan, Yan and Qi murdering their master in order to gain the secret, and for the first time, Di (and the readers) gained an insight on the conflicting nature of the three martial brothers, particularly Qi, whose apparently earthy appearance hid his cunning nature.

More Injustice

Ding and Di conspired to escape from prison, however they were heavily pursued. Ding was poisoned by his deceased lover's father, yet his devotion to her was unwavering, asking Di to bury him with his lover.

Di Yun suffered further misfortunes: first he was pursued by Bao Xiang (寶象), a monk of the evil "Crimson Sword Sect" (血刀門). Bao Xiang died unexpectedly of food poisoning, so Di Yun took his possessions, resulting in himself being mistaken as a member of the evil Sect. He was saved by the leader of the Sect, Xie Dao Laozu ("Crimson Sword Master", 血刀老祖), who thought he was Bao Xiang's disciple, and although Di's life was spared, misunderstanding and injustice against him grew.

Trapped in the Snowy Valley

As the martial arts community began to pursue Xie Dao Laozu, Di Yun followed in the escape path. During their escape, however, an avalanche broke out, trapping the pair in a valley, along with several pursuers, the beautiful young swordstress Shui Sheng (水笙) and Bei Si Qi ("Northern Four Remarkables", 北四奇, a group of four highly-skilled martial artists). At the end only one member of the Four Remarkables survived. Xie Dao Laozu taught Di Yun more advanced martial arts techniques, which caused much conflict within Di Yun: on the one hand the Crimson Sword Master was evil in his dealings, yet he was also Di's saviour. In an unexpected twist, when Di Yun mercy-killed Shui Sheng's gravely injured father, Xie Dao Laozu suspected him of disloyalty and attacked, helping Di Yun to complete the energy cycle within and killed the master with an unexpected powerful kick to the stomach.

Eventually, the ice blocking the escape path melted, and pursuers for Xie Dao Laozu and Di Yun arrived. Throughout their stay in the Valley, Di Yun conducted himself chivalrously towards Shui Sheng, a young virgin. However the last Remarkable turned to cannibalism to survive gus four-month stay in the valley. In order to cover himself, his launched a pre-emptive strike against the younger two, announcing to the martial arts community that they had slept together, despite him being the murderer of her father. Amidst this injustice, Di Yun escaped the Valley and was forced into hiding.

Revenge

Di Yun returned to search for Qi Zhangfa, only to find the old family home demolished, replaced with a luxurious mansion. Inside the mansion, though, was a massive search site where the new owner hired local peasants to search underground, supposedly for a treasure chest. It became apparent to Di Yun that the new owner is also seeking the secrets to "Lian Cheng Jianfa". As it turned out, the new owner is Qi Zhangfa's long-lost martial brother Yan Daping.

Di Yun returned to the Wan's to visit Qi Fang, but was initially reluctant to reveal his identity. Qi Fang witnessed Wan Zhenshan murdering one of his disciples, and in the process discovered that her father was in fact killed by Wan during the scuffle. Qi herself was pursued by Wan Zhenshan and Wan Gui because they suspected her of infidelity, when Di Yun revealed himself and defeated both Wans. Unfortunately, even though Qi try to spare the Wans lives, her husband mercilessly killed her and fled.

Eventually, Di Yun fulfilled his promise to Ding Dian, buried his ashes with his lover, in the process discovered the secrets to "Lian Cheng Jianfa" himself: the location of a massive treasure trove. He publicised the secret, lured the Wans out of hiding, and killed Wan Zhenshan at the location of the treasure trove. It was there that Di Yun also became reunited with Qi Zhangfa, who in fact escaped from the scuffle with Wan Zhenshan; however when the masses of martial artists arrived to share the treasure trove, Qi and Wan Gui both died in the ensuring brawls. Di Yun noticed that the treasure was poisoned, but he was too late to save anyone.

Di Yun spurned the opportunity for the massive fortune, instead returned to the Snow Valley with Qi and Wan's daughter, where Shui Shen awaited for his return. The once-naive but always kind-hearted Di Yun received his just rewards at the end: a peaceful life with an ideal partner.

Characters

* Di Yun
* Qi Zhangfa (戚長發)
* Qi Fang (戚芳)
* Wan Zhenshan (萬震山)
* Yan Daping (言達平)
* Wan Gui (萬圭)
* Ding Dian (丁典)
* Bao Xiang (寶象)
* Xie Dao Laozu (血刀老祖)
* Shui Sheng (水笙)
* Liu Chengfeng (劉乘風)

Ambiguity

A Deadly Secret itself does not clearly state the era in which it happened, as with The Smiling, Proud Wanderer and Ode to Gallantry. However most readers speculate this story should have happened in late Qing Dynasty, judging from the illustrations inside the original Chinese version and Jinyong himself's confessions in the epilogue which stated that he wrote this novel to recognize He Sheng(和生), a servant of his magistrate grandfather. Jinyong claimed He Sheng had a similar fate as Di Yun, and it was his grandfather who took up He Sheng's case, released him, and hired him as servant. Jinyong further stated He Sheng died during the Second Sino-Japanese War period at very high age. As a result, He Sheng's misfortune should have happened in late Qing Dynasty.

Despite these confessions, many commentators feel this novel's plot is quite similar to Alexandre Dumas, père's The Count of Monte Cristo, only under different historical backgrounds. Jinyong himself has not commented on this so far.

TV series

"A Deadly Secret" or "Ling Sing Kuet" is the only Jin Yong wuxia novel was adapted to TVB in 1988. It has 20 episodes all-in-all.

External links

* [http://jinyong.ylib.com.tw/ Jin Yong Teahouse] - fansite of Jin Yong's novels in Cinese
*en icon [http://wuxiapedia.com/novels/jin_yong/linked_cities Mnemonic of the Linked Cities] - Information on the revisions of the novel at Wuxiapedia.com


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