n 1664, the Manchus take control of China and establish the Qing dynasty. The Qing government issues a martial arts ban, forbidding the common people from practising martial arts and possessing weapons. Prince Dokado, a Manchu noble, leads an army to eliminate those who defy the order. Dokado and his men kill many martial artists before assaulting Martial Village, which houses rebels from the Red Spears Society, an anti-Qing resistance movement. Two young villagers, Han Zhibang and Wu Yuanying, break out of the siege and follow Fu Qingzhu to Mount Heaven to seek help from Master Huiming, a reclusive martial artist and sword forger.
Huiming allows his four students — Chu Zhaonan, Yang Yuncong, Xin Longzi and Mulang — to join the trio on their heroic quest to save the wulin (martial artists’ community) from the Qing government’s persecution. Each of the seven men receives a special sword from Huiming. They title themselves “Seven Swords”.
The Seven Swords return in the nick of time and save the villagers from attacking Qing soldiers. However, they decide to split up temporarily later to avoid trouble, and embark on their respective missions and adventures: Han Zhibang and Mulang remain with the villagers; Fu Qingzhu, Xin Longzi and Wu Yuanying travel to the capital to assassinate the Qing emperor.
Meanwhile, Chu Zhaonan falls into a trap and is captured by the ruthless Qing general Fenghuo Liancheng. Chu falls in love with Fenghuo Liancheng’s slave girl, Lüzhu, but the romance ends in tragedy because Lüzhu sacrifices herself to help him escape. Chu Zhaonan meets Yang Yuncong in northwestern China and they join the Desert Eagles, a tribal anti-Qing organisation led by the legendary heroine Feihongjin. Yang Yuncong is wounded during a battle with Qing forces, but is rescued by Nalan Minghui, an enemy general’s daughter. They fall in love, despite standing on opposing sides, but are not fated to be together as Nalan Minghui is engaged to Dokado. However, Nalan is already pregnant with Yang’s child and she gives birth to a baby girl later.
In the capital, Fu Qingzhu and company sneak into the palace and attempt to assassinate the Shunzhi Emperor, but, ironically, they end up saving the emperor from a coup staged by some nobles. In Hangzhou, Han Zhibang is elected as the new leader of the Red Spears Society for his heroic acts in rescuing his imprisoned comrades. After the reunion of the Seven Swords, Chu Zhaonan pretends to defect to the enemy and uses the opportunity to get close to Dokado and assassinate him. Chu’s plan fails because Dokado is aware of his intention and manipulates him into killing some of the rebels, resulting in Chu’s fellows starting to doubt his loyalty.
Eventually, to prove his innocence, Chu Zhaonan and the other six swordsmen challenge Dokado to a battle on the Qiantang River bank. Although the battle concludes with Dokado’s defeat, it also causes the division of the Seven Swords: Yang Yuncong is killed in action; Xin Longzi goes missing after entering a fit of insanity; Mulang returns to Mount Heaven in shame with Yang’s infant daughter after carelessly allowing the enemy to infiltrate the rebels’ hideout; Chu Zhaonan is deeply traumatised by the mentally devastating experiences he went through and he abandons his fellows along with his conscience. Fu Qingzhu and Wu Yuanying embark on a search for their missing comrades, while Han Zhibang stays behind to help the surviving rebels rebuild their force.
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