At dawn, in a poor village in the Far East, to the sound of a tiger’s roar a boy was born. The villagers took it as a good sign and expected that the boy would become the pride of the town.
His father, known to have died, had once shared the same burden, and the boy took up the villager's high expectations in stride, showing a talent in the martial arts. He remained undefeated throughout his entire youth, which made him highly arrogant, but also very lonely.
He dreamed of joining the "Western Frontiers," an elite group of martial artists composed solely of winners from the kingdom's decennial "Martial God Tournament." The villagers and the young man had no doubts that he would emerge triumphant.
Time passed, and the day of the next tournament had finally arrived. To no surprise, the young man made it to the final round. However, the one who had caught people's attention was not him, but an old martial arts master who had nonchalantly defeated all other masters of the continent with his gigantic crescent blade.
Final round. The entire continent watched the young man and the old master lock blades. Amidst the bloody battle without room for a single error, the young man began to feel something rather familiar about the old master.
The young man mustered up the last ounce of his strength into one final blow. Then something most unexpected happened. The old master started vomiting blood and lost his footing. The young man saw an opening and took it. Once the dust had settled, the young man emerged victorious, claiming the title of the new Martial God, and immediately was recruited into the ranks of the Western Frontiers. Despite having achieved his childhood dream, he felt no joy. Rather, he was filled with rage. For what should have been his crowning moment, was lost as the audience cheered on the defeated old master.
The humiliation did not end there. The Western Frontiers of his dreams was full of what can only be truly called monsters, and as one’s position in the group was dictated by pure merit and achievement and not seniority, the young man was placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. For too long the young man had believed no one to be above him, and this was truly unbearable. Blaming everything on the old master, the young man set out to find him. The old master was living deep in a cave within the mountains. Upon finding him, the young man immediately challenged the old master. After another bloody duel, this time, the young man fell flat in defeat. But he refused to acknowledge it, and repeatedly challenged the old master each time he felt able. And each time the old master knocked the young man flat on his feet, he would console him by dripping a few drops of water into his mouth and tell him, “Walking the path of martial arts means walking the path of endless innovation. Let everything flow naturally, and eventually you will succeed.”
Eventually, after enough bouts, the young man managed to defeat the old master. However, he did not celebrate. Over time, he had matured, and instead was humble in his victory. The countless losses he had suffered allowed the young man to mature, to take stock of his old brash ways, and understand the nature of a true warrior. Every three steps towards the defeated old man, he would bow in respect, and ask the old man to become his master. Each bow carried the weight of their previous encounters, yet every time he stood the young man felt lighter. The weight of the past was finally starting to shake off. The old man congratulated the young one for his victory, and gladly accepted his proposal.
And yet, this heartfelt feeling would not last long. The old master's health quickly deteriorated, and it wasn’t long until the young man performed the funerary rites for his master. He was shaken, for it had been quite some time since he had finally been acknowledged by someone ever since he had left the village. As he was wrapping up the old master's funeral rites, laying his worldly possessions at the base of the grave, he noticed a letter titled "The Martial God's Teachings" and his master's will.
The Martial God Haeam. One who had climbed to the top of the Western Frontiers with his crescent blade skills alone, Haeam was supposedly assassinated in the midst of an internal power struggle. The Martial God Tournament was organized every 10 years to commemorate him. Then there was his father, who had been assassinated following his birth.
The young man did not feel worthy yet of reading those teachings, so he laid the letter down and instead picked up his master's will. The following revelation rocked him to his very core - the old master was his presumably dead, absentee father. Recalling the old master's warmth towards him, the young man could not stop the flow of tears running down his face. He realized that he got to spend time with not only his father, but with the Martial God himself. With Haeam laid to rest, he decided it was time for his own journey to begin.
He returned to the Western Frontiers and defeated every one of his father's enemies. One by one he took them out, and step by step he ascended the ranks. He managed to claim his father's crescent blade, a priceless treasure of the kingdom and the symbol of the Western Frontiers, the Martial Gods, and returned to Haeam's grave to dedicate it to his late father.
The man continued to follow in his father's footsteps. Yet he was caught up in the trickery and wiles of the corrupt officials of the kingdom’s court, which put his life in jeopardy. Barely surviving multiple assassination attempts, he decided to board a ship to the west, packing nothing but the Martial God's Teachings and his blade.
He had a feeling that, although the path in front of him was long, he would one day reach the end of it, and with Haeam's teachings and his own enlightenment, he would truly become the Martial God.