Lin Chong, the chief instructor in lance for the eight hundred thousand imperial guards, and Lu Zishen,the “Amorous Monk”, are sworn brothers. While offering incense in Dongyue Temple, Gao Yanei, adopted son of Minister of War Gao Qiu, makes advances towards Lin’s wife, who is fortunately saved byLin himself. Frustrated, Yanei speaks ill of Lin before his adopted father. Qiu wins Lin’s trust by giving him a precious sword and asks Lin to meet him bearing the weapon. He leads Lin into White Tiger Hall, an area where all weapons are forbidden. Found there with the sword, Lin is charged and exiled to Cangzhou, where he will be forced into hard labour. Lin’s wife sees him off at Willow Pavilion. Lin presents her with a letter of divorce, which she refuses to take, vowing allegiance to her husband till death.
On the road to exile, Lin’s escorts try to kill him by order of Yanei, but "Amorous Monk" saves him. Lu tries to persuade Lin into joining the Mount Liang Gang, but Lin declines the offer on grounds that he was once a government employee. In Cangzhou, the fodder storage ground is set on fire at Qiu’scommand.Fortunately,Lin escapes the disaster. Lin hears news that his faithful wife has committed suicide and is thrown into a violent rage, during which he slaughters the escorts. Now an outlaw, Lin is left with no choice but to join the Mount Liang Gang.