“Could it be that, like the Mountain and Sea Sect disciples who encountered her in previous years, Xiao Qi suddenly had bad luck today? Is he suffering from diarrhea, or is he troubled by emotions, or has he just gone berserk?”

Xiao Qi: “???”

He looked at Lin Shuang, only to see her still innocently receiving her junior sister’s concerned inspection.

Is she a repeat offender?!

Xiao Qi took a deep breath, lowered his head in silence, and wrapped the sword layer by layer, from the inside out.

The outermost layer was made of brown linen, breathable and sweat-absorbing.

In the middle was cotton cloth for warmth, suitable for use as outer clothing.

Wrapped in all three layers, Xiao Qi wiped the brand-new black boots under his feet and cast a dust-dispelling spell on them before finally stepping onto his beloved sword.

He turned his head to look at Lin Shuang, but quickly blushed and turned away.

“Everyone, I’ll head back to the Mountain and Sea Sect first.”

He had lost all face and staying here would be humiliating.

Besides, after the blow he just experienced, he felt unstable in his ninth-level realm and was feeling uncomfortable.


“Xiao Senior Brother, wait! I’ll accompany you on the way back.
Can you take me along?” A junior brother who was also heading back called out, trying to catch up with Xiao Qi.

“Sure,” Xiao Qi replied without looking back.

“First, wash your feet.”


“If you don’t want to wash, you can use your sword.”


Lin Shuang raised her head and watched Xiao Qi leave, stepping on his junior brother’s sword.
Her brow twitched.

What a strange person.


Then, another bright mark faintly appeared on her waist token.

【Victory over a Qi Refining Ninth Layer disciple, surpassing six minor realms.

【Reward from the Clearwater Sect’s management office: 600 spirit stones! 】

All the disciples cast envious glances.

Lin Shuang took out her sketchbook and stepped on her wide sword like a sled.

She examined herself internally.

Dan Tian 1: Qi Refining Third Layer, peak, running at 100%.

Dan Tian 2: Qi Refining Third Layer, peak, running at 0%.

Dan Tian 3:…running at 0%.


Dan Tian 85:…running at 0%.

Her body had returned to its normal state after burning fat, leaving only one dantian active.

She nodded slightly, waved her sleeve at the still-unresponsive management senior brother Xu Rui, and left with Zhao Keran on their swords.

Xiao Qi was absent-minded all the way back, stepping on his junior brother’s flying sword.
It was only when he met his senior brother at the Mountain and Sea Sect’s outer gate that he gradually regained his senses, after being overwhelmed by grief and indignation.

His Senior brother was surnamed Zhao and was the same age as Xu Rui, the senior disciple of the neighboring Clearwater Sect.

Zhao Ming didn’t participate in the fight for the Spirit Spring today because he had already reached the Fourth Layer of Condensation.

Like Xu Rui, after reaching the Condensation realm, he no longer participated in the outer disciples’ battles, as the difference in strength would make it unfair.

“Seventh Junior Brother, what’s going on? The management office asked me when you took an oath not to fight against female cultivators, but I had no idea,” Zhao Ming said with a serious expression.

The rules of the Mountain and Sea Sect were strict, and there were punishments for disciples who lost in battle.

According to the rules, Xiao Qi, having lost to a cultivator six levels below him, would need to receive six hundred strikes with a spiritual ring ruler.

The ruler had been soaked in a hundred-year chili pepper water prepared by the disciplinary hall, and when it struck a disciple, the skin would crack open and bleed.

Xiao Qi showed no expression and took off his outer garment.

“Senior Brother, go ahead.”

Zhao Ming’s eyebrows twitched.

Xiao Qi remained silent.


After a moment, he turned his head to look at the spirit ring ruler in his senior brother’s hand.

“If I lose too much blood and faint, Senior Brother, please remember not to let my blood flow onto my sword.”

“—If, by any chance, it does get on the sword, Senior Brother, don’t mind me, just save my sword first! Remember to use the spirit silk fabric, dip in the Spirit Spring to wipe, and then use the Dragon’s Saliva Incense to remove any smell…”

Zhao Ming’s eyelid twitched, and he firmly pressed his hand on Xiao Qi’s back.

He was about to strike with the ruler, but when he saw Xiao Qi take off his outer robe, he noticed a large area of red swelling on his back.

“?? Junior Brother, were you injured by a female disciple? Are you troubled by emotions?”

“…” How could there be emotions involved in this? It was a one-sided incident!

“Wait, Junior Brother, quickly stabilize your Qi and condense it into one.
Your realm is unstable, and the Condensation Qi on your body is about to dissipate!”

Xiao Qi looked bewildered.

He raised his head.


What dissipated?

Condensation… Qi?

Did he remember it wrong?

Wasn’t he just stepping into the peak of the Qi Refining Ninth Layer?

“Senior Brother, what if I use a Boosting Spirit Talisman at the Qi Refining Ninth Layer?”

Zhao Ming: “??”

“Who wasted such a precious item? The Boosting Spirit Talisman is usually used at the peak of the Qi Refining realm, and it can barely allow one to experience the Condensation realm’s Qi Refining Initial Stage for the duration of three sticks of incense.
If used in battle…”

Xiao Qi opened his mouth, then closed it.

In an instant, he sat cross-legged, hugging his sword, and entered a meditative state.

“Sh*t! Senior Brother, don’t wake me up, let me remain in this Condensation dream and never wake up.”


“Senior Sister, don’t wake me up.
I’m too tired, let me take a short nap.”

Lin Shuang returned to her wooden house, relieved to hear that the Spirit Spring was eventually won by the Clear Water Sect, and she lay comfortably on her small bed.

Today’s achievements:

Aerobic exercise √

Practicing talisman usage √

She lowered her eyelids, barely allowing Xiao Ai to record the completion of today’s tasks, then closed her eyes.

“Xiao Shuang, are you not done with work yet?”

“Yes, I have to work hard, but I also need to rest.
Otherwise, I’ll have problems all over my body, and I won’t have any friends.”

“How can I leave at ease if you say that?”

Lin Shuang tried hard to open her eyes, wanting to see the elderly person standing on the roadside talking to her.

She wanted to hold the old person’s hand, but could only touch the bloodstained clothes.

The warm and moist liquid flowed from the old person’s body, and she couldn’t tell whether it was tears or blood…

Too slow.

She was too slow.

If only she could be faster…

Faster in completing experiments, faster in satisfying her boss, faster in getting off work, faster in riding to the orphanage, and faster in not taking detours…then the grandmother wouldn’t have to wait at the intersection… Just a few minutes faster, and she could grab the grandmother’s hand by the roadside, not losing her…

Lin Shuang breathed in pain, her entire being engulfed in blood-red.

It was all her fault.

It was all because she was too slow.

“If only I were faster… even faster…”

Lin Shuang opened her eyes in a daze.

The setting sun’s afterglow slanted through the window of the wooden house, falling on her face.

She reached up to touch the corner of her eyes, and the moist liquid slowly rolled down her fingers.

She sat up, silent, her face in her hands.

【Ding, Xiao Ai has timed your rest, it’s the end of a short break.

【Resting is for higher efficiency.
Your next schedule is to listen to the latest chapter of Cultivation Tales, followed by learning a new talisman for the duration of a stick of incense.
Then, communicate with your roommate and have dinner.

Lin Shuang tugged the corners of her mouth.

Grandma matron, she was being obedient now.

She could follow her plans and quickly complete all her tasks.

Study, rest, make friends, exercise, nothing is delayed.

Grandma Matron…

This time, she will never be slow again.

She will become the outstanding and happy person you always wanted me to be, right?

“Sister, I’m back.”

Zhao Keran, covered in dust, pushed open the door of the wooden house and handed over the 600 spiritual stones rewarded by the administration.

Blinking her eyes, she noticed that her Senior sister’s eyes seemed a little red.
Was it her imagination?

“Senior Sister, remember that we have to submit the talisman assignment tomorrow, okay?”

Lin Shuang yawned, then hugged the blanket and slithered down from the bed.

Zhao Keran tapped the table, “It’s twelve sound-transmitting talismans.”

Lin Shuang nodded but soon frowned.

Sound-transmitting talismans, first grade.

She had already completed all the talisman classes of the next three years at the Transmission Hall—72 first-grade talismans and 35 second-grade talismans.

Grandma Matron, she learned fast enough this time, right?

But learning too fast was also a headache.

Now, making first-grade talismans had no practice effect on her anymore.

Lin Shuang put on a wry and happy smile, “Junior sister, can you do it for me?”

Zhao Keran: “???”

Sister, what are you thinking?

“No, sister, Master of Transmission has said it many times.
Cultivation relies on oneself, and making talismans is no exception.
Only through practice can we improve.
I will supervise and assist Sister in completing the assignment together with Xiao Ai.”

Lin Shuang’s body stiffened.

But in an instant, a voice was heard from outside the door.

“Lin Shuang, someone from the Mountain and Sea Sect seems to be looking for you!”

Author’s note:

“Memoirs of the 134th Generation Leader Zhao of the Clear Water Sect – Part 4”: It was only after a long period that Sister told me how she completed the talisman assignments that I was unwilling to do for her all those years.
Since then, the way talismans were made by the talisman masters underwent a major transformation that hadn’t happened in a hundred years.

“Manual of Cultivation Talismans”: Lin’s method of making talismans started to take shape in that year.

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