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See also: Ming Cult
The Bright Left and Right Messengers serve as the cult leader's deputies. They are:
Yang Xiao (楊逍; 杨逍; Yáng Xiāo; Joeng4 Siu1) is the Bright Left Messenger (光明左使). He served as the cult's acting leader during its period of internal conflict, and later as an adviser to Zhang Wuji after the latter became the cult's leader. In the earlier revisions of the novel, Zhang Wuji names him the new leader of the Ming Cult before leaving with Zhao Min. He is Ji Xiaofu's lover and Yang Buhui's father.
Fan Yao (范遙; 范遥; Fàn Yáo; Faan6 Jiu4) is the Bright Right Messenger (光明右使). He disfigured himself and disguised himself as a mute monk called Kutoutuo (苦頭陀; 苦头陀; Kǔ Tóutuó; Fu2 Tau4-to4) so that he could infiltrate Chaghan Temür's army and work as a spy for the Ming Cult.
The Four Guardian Kings (四大護教法王) assist the leader in overseeing the cult's activities. They are ranked in order of seniority:
Daiqisi (黛綺絲; 黛绮丝; Dàiqǐsī; Doi6-ji2-si1), nicknamed "Purple Dress Dragon King" (紫衫龍王) for her underwater fighting skills, is one of the three "Sacred Maidens" of the Persian Ming Cult. A half-Persian half-Chinese ambassador from Persia, she was originally sent to China to search for the lost manual of the skill Heaven and Earth Great Shift (乾坤大挪移) and became Yang Dingtian's god-daughter. She was later made one of the cult's guardian kings after defeating Han Qianye, a man who challenged Yang to a vengeful underwater duel. Later, she broke her vow of celibacy when she fell in love with Han Qianye, exiled herself out of the sect to settled on Divine Snake Island with Han, and bore him a daughter, Xiaozhao. She disguises herself as an old hag and calls herself "Golden Flower Granny" (金花婆婆; Jīnhuā Pópó; Gam1-faa1 Po4-po4) to avoid being identified by the Persian Ming Cult.
Yin Tianzheng (殷天正; Yīn Tiānzhèng; Jan1 Tin1-zeng3), nicknamed "White Brows Eagle King" (白眉鷹王), is Yin Yewang and Yin Susu's father, and Zhang Wuji's maternal grandfather. He left the Ming Cult during its internal conflict and founded the Heavenly Eagle Cult (天鷹教) in his home region of Jiangnan. He later dies from exhaustion while trying to save Xie Xun by fighting against the three Shaolin elders.
Xie Xun (謝遜; 谢逊; Xiè Xùn; Ze6 Seon3), nicknamed "Golden Haired Lion King" (金毛獅王), is Zhang Wuji's godfather. His most powerful skill is the 'Lion's Roar' (獅子吼), which allows him to project his inner energy with his voice and cause internal injuries to everyone nearby who hears his roar. His family was murdered by his former mentor Cheng Kun, who disappeared after committing the atrocity. Guided by fury, he went on a rampage to kill many people and push the blame to Cheng Kun, in the hope of forcing him out of hiding, but to no avail. After he kidnapped Zhang Cuishan and Yin Susu, Yin blinded him with her needle darts in self-defence when he was in a violent fit of insanity. His insanity was cured when he heard the cry of Yin's newborn son, and agreed to Zhang and Yin's offer of him becoming the godfather of the baby, whom he named "Wuji" in memory of his own deceased son, Xie Wuji. The families and associates of Xie Xun's victims later forgave him after his final confrontation with Cheng Kun. He eventually becomes a Shaolin monk to seek peace and redemption for his past sins.
Wei Yixiao (韋一笑; 韦一笑; Wéi Yīxiào; Wai4 Jat1-siu3), nicknamed "Blue Winged Bat King" (青翼蝠王), is unmatched in his qinggong prowess in the jianghu world. He once accidentally infected himself with an icy venom while practising the skill 'Icy Palm'. Since then, he has to routinely consume the warm blood of living creatures (including humans) to keep the freezing poison in his body under control. Zhang Wuji cures him later by using the Nine Yang Divine Skill to purge the venom from his body.
Yang Buhui (楊不悔; 杨不悔; Yáng Bùhuǐ; Joeng4 Bat1-fui3) is Yang Xiao and Ji Xiaofu's daughter. Her name literally means "no regrets" to reflect her mother's love for Yang Xiao. Zhang Wuji helps her escape from Miejue after her mother's death and leads her on a perilous journey to bring her safely to her father. She regards Zhang Wuji as an elder brother for his care and concern towards her. The trauma of witnessing her mother's death makes her become suspicious of anyone who could be a potential enemy and this intensifies her hatred towards Miejue. This is evident in her treatment towards Xiaozhao, when she and her father suspect Xiaozhao of being a spy from the Emei Sect. It also made her extremely protective towards her father and Zhang Wuji, whom she sees as what is left of her family. She falls in love with Yin Liting, her mother's original fiancé, and marries him despite the large age gap between them. They are expecting a child near the end of the novel.
Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋; Zhū Yuánzhāng; Zyu1 Jyun4-zoeng1) is an ambitious minor leader of the cult who eventually unites the rebel forces under his control and leads them to overthrow the Yuan dynasty. He betrays the cult later and becomes the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty.
Chang Yuchun (常遇春; Cháng Yùchūn; Soeng4 Jyu6-ceon1) is a cult member who travels with Zhang Wuji to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from Hu Qingniu.
Xu Da (徐達; 徐达; Xú Dá; Ceoi4 Daat6) is a minor leader of the cult. Zhang Wuji presents him with Yue Fei's military text Book of Wumu. Xu Da studies the book and uses his knowledge to lead the rebels to victory in the battles against the Yuan forces.
Five Wanderers (五散人):
Leng Qian (冷謙; 冷谦; Lěng Qiān; Laang5 Him1), nicknamed "Cold Faced Gentleman" (冷面先生).
Shuobude (說不得; 说不得; Shuōbùdé; Syut3-bat1-dak1), nicknamed "Monk with the Sack" (布袋和尚).
Zhang Zhong (張中; 张中; Zhāng Zhōng; Zoeng1 Zung1), nicknamed "Iron Crowned Taoist" (鐵冠道人).
Peng Yingyu (彭瑩玉; 彭莹玉; Péng Yíngyù; Pang4 Jing4-juk6), nicknamed "Peng the Monk" (彭和尚).
Zhou Dian (周顛; 周颠; Zhōu Diān; Zau1 Din1), nicknamed "Lunatic" (瘋子).
Hu Qingniu (胡青牛; Hú Qīngniú; Wu4 Cing1-ngau4) is a physician residing in Butterfly Valley. He is nicknamed "Jiansi Bujiu" (見死不救; literally "watch one die and not save him/her") for his odd practice of treating the cult's members free of charge but not others regardless of whatever they are willing to pay. He helps a young Zhang Wuji slow down the effects of his injury caused by the Xuanming Elders, thereby preserving Zhang's life and buying him time to find a way to heal himself. He also indirectly imparts his medical knowledge to Zhang Wuji, who is the only de facto student he ever took. He is killed by Golden Flower Granny in revenge because he refused to save her husband's life many years ago. However, in reality, it was beyond Hu's ability to treat Han Qianye's wounds.
Wang Nangu (王難姑; 王难姑; Wáng Nàngū; Wong4 Naan4-gu1) is Hu Qingniu's wife. In contrast with her husband, she uses her mastery of toxicology to kill people. The couple become rivals in a contest, in which Wang will poison someone while Hu will try to save the person's life. She imparts her knowledge to Zhang Wuji by leaving behind a book she authored. She is killed along with her husband by Golden Flower Granny.
Yang Dingtian (陽頂天; 阳顶天; Yáng Dǐngtiān; Joeng4 Ding2-tin1) was Zhang Wuji's predecessor as the Ming Cult's leader. He was practising the skill 'Heaven and Earth Great Shift' when he discovered his wife's illicit affair with Cheng Kun. He was so infuriated that the inner energy flow in his body was disrupted and he died from the consequent internal injuries.
Chiefs of the Five Elements factions
Zhuang Zheng (莊錚; 庄铮; Zhuāng Zhēng; Zong1 Zang1) is the chief of the Gold Banner Faction (銳金旗). He is slain in combat by Miejue.
Wu Jingcao (吳勁草; 吴劲草; Wú Jìngcǎo; Ng4 Ging3-cou2) is the former deputy chief of the Gold Banner Faction. Zhang Wuji promotes him to chief after Zhuang Zheng's death and tasks him with repairing the damaged Dragon Saber.
Yan Yuan (顏垣; 颜垣; Yán Yuán; Ngaan4 Wun4) is the chief of the Earth Banner Faction (厚土旗).
Tang Yang (唐洋; Táng Yáng; Tong4 Joeng4) is the chief of the Water Banner Faction (洪水旗).
Wen Cangsong (聞蒼松; 闻苍松; Wén Cāngsōng; Man4 Cong1-cung4) is the chief of the Wood Banner Faction (巨木旗).
Xin Ran (辛然; Xīn Rán; San1 Jin4) is the chief of the Fire Banner Faction (烈火旗).
Heavenly Eagle Cult
Yin Susu (殷素素; Yīn Sùsù; Jan1 Sou3-sou3) is Yin Tianzheng's daughter and Yin Yewang's younger sister. She meets Zhang Cuishan by coincidence and both of them are cast adrift to Ice Fire Island, where they are married and settled. She gives birth to Zhang Wuji. She follows suit after her husband commits suicide.
Yin Yewang (殷野王; Yīn Yěwáng; Jan1 Je5-wong4) is Yin Tianzheng's son and Yin Susu's elder brother. He is Yin Li's father and Zhang Wuji's maternal uncle. His first wife (Yin Li's mother) practised the 'Thousand Spiders Venom Hand' (千蛛萬毒手), became infertile and disfigured, and fell out of her husband's favour. Yin Yewang took a concubine who bore him two sons. Yin Li killed her stepmother because she often bullied her mother, and then fled from home to evade her father's wrath. In the earlier editions of the novel, with Zhang Wuji's help, Yin Yewang forgives his daughter and reconciles with her.
Yin Li (殷離; 殷离; Yīn Lí; Jan1 Lei4) is Yin Yewang's estranged daughter and Zhang Wuji's younger cousin. She practises the Thousand Spiders Venom Hand, a deadly skill she inherits from her mother and which causes her face to become disfigured with edema. She is thus known as Zhu'er (蛛兒; 蛛儿; Zhū'ér; Zyu1-ji4; 'Spider Girl'), a nickname given to her by her mother. Her mother commits suicide to allow her to escape from her father and half-brothers after she killed her stepmother, and she became despised by her father ever since. She encounters Golden Flower Granny, who protects her and accepts her as an apprentice. She develops feelings for Zhang Wuji when she first met him in her childhood but does not recognise him when she meets him again later. She is apparently murdered by Zhou Zhiruo but is revealed at the end of the novel to have survived.
Leaders of the halls and altars:
Li Tianyuan (李天垣; Lǐ Tiānyuán; Lei5 Tin1-wun4) is the leader of the Heaven Hall. He is Yin Tianzheng's junior.
Chang Jinpeng (常金鵬; 常金鹏; Cháng Jīnpéng; Soeng4 Gam1-paang4) is the leader of the Vermilion Bird Altar. He is slain by Xie Xun.
Bai Guishou (白龜壽; 白龟寿; Bái Guīshòu; Baak6 Gwai1-sau6) is the leader of the Black Tortoise Altar. He is slain by Ding Minjun.
Cheng Chaofeng (程嘲風; 程嘲风; Chéng Cháofēng; Cing4 Zaau1-fung1) is the leader of the Azure Dragon Altar.
Gao Shanwang (高山王; Gāo Shānwáng; Gou1 Saan1-wong4) is the leader of the White Tiger Altar
Feng Gongying (封弓影; Fēng Gōngyǐng; Fung1 Gung1-jing2) is the leader of the Divine Snake Altar.
Yin Wufu (殷無福; 殷无福; Yīn Wúfú; Jan1 Mou4-fuk1), Yin Wulu (殷無祿; 殷无禄; Yīn Wúlù; Jan1 Mou4-luk6), Yin Wushou (殷無壽; 殷无寿; Yīn Wúshòu; Jan1 Mou4-sau6) are three bandits from the southwest who pledged allegiance to Yin Tianzheng after he saved their lives.
Persian Ming Cult
Xiaozhao (小昭; Xiǎozhāo; Siu2-ziu1) is Han Qianye and Daiqisi's daughter. Her mother sends her as a spy to infiltrate the Ming Cult and find the location of its secret tunnel. Xiaozhao becomes a servant in Yang Xiao's household. The Yangs suspect her of being a spy so they bind her in chains to restrict her movements. Xiaozhao runs into Zhang Wuji and narrowly escapes death with him in the secret tunnel. Xiaozhao falls in love with Zhang Wuji but can never be with him because she has to take her mother's place as a virginal "Sacred Maiden" to save her mother's life. She eventually becomes the new leader of the Persian Ming Cult and returns to its headquarters in Persia. Jin Yong mentioned in the epilogue of the novel that Xiaozhao is his favourite character.
The Wind, Cloud and Moon Three Messengers (風雲月三使) are in charge of safekeeping the Ming Cult's sacred artefacts – the Holy Flame Tablets. There are the most powerful martial artists in the Persian Ming Cult. The three are:
Mysterious Wind Messenger (妙風使; 妙风使; Miàofēng Shǐ; Miu6-fung1 Si2)
Drifting Cloud Messenger (流雲使; 流云使; Liúyún Shǐ; Lau4-wan4 Si2)
Bright Moon Messenger (輝月使; 辉月使; Huīyuè Shǐ; Fai1-jyut6 Si2)
The 12 Guardian Kings (寶樹王) of the Persian Ming Cult come to China to search for Daiqisi and bring her back to Persia. Four of them appear in the novel:
Equality Guardian King (平等寶樹王; 平等宝树王; Píngděng Bǎoshùwáng; Ping4-dang2 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
Unity Guardian King (齊心寶樹王; 齐心宝树王; Qíxīn Bǎoshùwáng; Cai4-sam1 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
Transparent Guardian King (俱明寶樹王; 俱明宝树王; Jùmíng Bǎoshùwáng; Geoi1-ming4 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
Victorious Guardian King (常勝寶樹王; 常胜宝树王; Chángshèng Bǎoshùwáng; Soeng4-sing3 Bou2-syu6-wong4)