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God damnit! Now, I’ll have to cultivate all the fuck over again!

A thousand years ago, my American-who-barely-understood-any-Mandarin ass was transmigrated into a Xianxia novel. Even with all the culture shock and the decades of learning I had to go through, it wouldn’t have been so bad except this particular novel was one I’d only briefly heard about. I never actually read the fucking story!

What I could grasp though, was that my body’s initial owner, as “the girl next door,” had likely been destined to end up as one of the main character’s braindead wives.

Fortunately, I became neither braindead nor his wife. Unfortunately, I failed my ascension to immortality and died only to have my soul fall into something strange, like a tear in space-time, causing me to return to the beginning of this dumbass Xianxia harem novel!

I clutched my aching head. It had been damaged from the fall that caused my original transmigration.

Was it my imagination or was my thinking very sluggish? Ah! Of course! There would be strange side-effects to stuffing a huge Immortal Ascension Stage cultivator’s soul into a tiny mortal’s body.

Whatever! This was all that asshole main character’s fault! He knew I was ascending that day and yet he decided to ascend at the same fucking time, like the idiotic shit donkey he was. Of course, since the tribulation worsened due to us ascending together, I was struck down by the overpowered lightning strikes. He, on the other hand, had a shield made out of plot armor that protected his ass.

Know what? This time around, I was going to find that insufferable cock mosquito and have him use this lifetime to make up for the death that he caused!

***

The main character and I grew up in the same place, this little seaside village where the houses were made of ocean stone and local wood, and the air scented of saltwater, and fresh breezes. Of course, us being from the same place made my ability to avenge myself easier. I used the tiniest portion of my divine sense, the only thing that stayed with me after my trek through time, to find his location; that of a dilapidated hut.

Ah, right, the kid was an orphan. His mother, a woman on the run, arrived here with him two years before the immortals came to recruit sect members. She died mysteriously a few months after arriving, leaving the child an orphan. Typical story lettuce.

I pounded on his door.

“Open up!” I would have said his original name but I’d forgotten what it was. A thousand years was a long time, after all.

The door opened to a dirty interior that stank of unwashed bodies. A six or seven year old child with messy hair and big black eyes peered up at me. Though young, the resemblance between the asshole and this kid stood out.

I tilted my chin up and looked down at him. Every angle and posture of my body gave me the appearance of an immortal child.

“In our past lives, because of your stupidity, you killed me. So in this life, you need to pay me back. From now on, you’re following me as my junior brother and must do whatever I say!”

I turned and took a few steps as if certain he’d follow. When I peered back I saw that he just looked tired and confused, so I stopped. “To say it another way, go pack your things, you’re coming home with me.”

His eyes grew wide and he slammed the door shut. Oh, I probably sounded crazy to him. Whatever. I’m older, wiser, prettier, and all-around more amazing than him at this point in time, so he can’t escape. Muahahaha.

I waited for a while. Honestly, I expected him to straight-up ignore me and take me as a loon, but eventually, he did come out with a bag filled with his worldly possessions. He stepped up to me, reached up, and pulled a dried leaf out of my hair. Ah, wasn’t that from my fall earlier? I’d been so angry I didn’t even notice. Whatever, I’ll pretend it didn’t happen. Onward!

I nodded with the haughtiness of an immortal and we trudged back toward my family’s large rural farmhouse, picking up small flat rocks along the way.

When I reached the front door, I froze. Shit. My body was only, like eight or nine. I had a large extended family that included brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and, of all things, parents. Parents I hadn’t seen or thought about for a thousand years. Filial piety was a big thing in this world. And I was no longer the Immortal Ascension stage cultivator of my past life, but a child with parents I had to show respect to. Damn it! Why couldn’t I kidnap a main character in peace?

Still, I made a quick plan and walked inside and up to my mother and father. For this time period, what exactly was the proper etiquette? Was I supposed to bow? Whatever. I bowed. A rock may have dropped but that didn’t matter. One couldn’t go wrong in first showing obedience to one’s parents in the mortal world.

“Father! Mother!”

They looked behind me at my little shadow then my father said my original body’s name, and after a few more pleasantries that showed how rusty I was at talking to mortals and people who I needed to respect as an elder, I finally got to the meat of the matter. Or the super-duper cliche lie of the matter.

“Last night an immortal appeared in my dreams and took me in as her disciple. She also wanted me to accept this boy as my junior brother. After seeing where he’s living I can’t force my brother to live there. Please allow him to stay with us!”

I bowed again and hoped they’d agree without much effort. And I may have used a little pressure from my divine sense to convince them.

“This...”

“Don’t worry. He doesn’t eat much and in a few years immortal cultivators should arrive and take us to a sect.”

After that, they reluctantly agreed, and through my convincing words and a few more well-timed applications of divine sense, I managed to let him stay in my small room so I could privately teach him how to cultivate.

After I helped the dumbass main character’s child form wash up (which included the rocks) and eat (which did not), I brought him to my room and made a space for him and his things.

“We’ll cultivate here for now.” Reaching out with my senses, I felt the area’s thin spiritual energy. Disgusting. “The mortal world leaves something to be desired.”

I took out the rocks from earlier, wrote a few rough symbols on each of them with charcoal, and created the lowest leveled energy gathering formation I could remember. It was so low leveled that it didn’t even require anything except the formation itself and a few crude formation glyphs.

While I let that gather what it could inside the room, I stared at the little future harem lord. He hadn’t said a word so far.

“In your past life, your Daoist name was Bloodsword, but that’s the dumbest, most chuni name ever so I’m vetoing it. Also, your destiny is oftentimes connected to your name, and since, I would rather you not repeat the mistakes you made in that life, it’s better to change it. So, in this life, you’ll be known as Spring of the Universe Zhenren... no, that title is too good for you at this stage...”

“What were you named?”

Startled by him finally speaking I said, “Fairy Lin.” It was my last name in my original life and I kept it so I wouldn’t forget the world and culture I came from.

“That’s...”

“Shut up. I know it’s plain. Whatever. Fine, I’ll call you Little Spring, for now, and you can grow into the other one as you age and cultivate.”

He scowled and gave me a skeptical look. “Fairy Lin, do you lie often?”

“Are you referring to the lies I told my parents?”

He shrugged.

“They aren’t actually my parents so I don’t feel guilty. Now, enough talk. It’s time you learn to cultivate.”

Bloodsword and I had the same master, Fairy Verdant Bamboo, so technically he was also my junior brother back then. But then, like main characters of harem stories often do, he ended up taking our master in as one of his wives making him, as our master’s husband, above me in rank. Fuckers, both of them.

But, before those two turned me off to the idea of ever accepting a disciple, I did memorize all cultivation manuals that all my master’s disciples learned, just in case.

So, I taught him the breathing technique to help a cultivator sense spiritual energy while planning to recklessly give him the technique he learned in his last life once he succeeded.

Now, what should I cultivate? This was my chance to start over and build my foundations better, stronger, and do it faster.

Although my mind wasn’t working quite as quickly, and my memories, now that I lost my cultivation, were a bit fuzzy, I still recalled the personalized cultivation techniques I’d developed in my later years. The one I cultivated previously and the others I’d researched were all flawed in ways I found unacceptable in that they required stupidly expensive herbs or spiritual beast blood to activate my unique constitution. In frustration and boredom, I created a new and perfected one that would theoretically require no external measures while also increasing the speed of my cultivation. Who knew I’d eventually need it!

I sat down to cultivate the manual I’d named, Lin’s Fucking Kickass Cultivation Technique, No Peeking.

Breathe in, while moving the external spiritual energy inside the Dantian. Move the energy in a loop through a specific path designed to stimulate and slowly activate my constitution. Bring the energy back to my dantian and exhale the impurities. Repeat as needed.

After a very short time, I paused my cultivation because the area ran out of spiritual energy and I had to wait for my formation to gather it back up again. When I looked over to Little Spring I noticed that he’d fallen asleep. He curled in on himself and shook while mumbling out for his mother.

Well, this was awkward. What the hell was a thousand-year-old monster supposed to do with a grieving child main character? Leave him alone? Pat his head? Murder all of his family members so he can strive for revenge? Oops, that one was taken already.

I sat down next to him and pet his hair like a cat. Well, I was never good with sympathy, but maybe psychology would work better.

“It is okay to be sad. It is healthy to be sad. Live through your grief and grow stronger...”

Eventually, after my speech on grief had repeated a couple of times, his muscles loosened and he slept peacefully.

***

Sitting in our room, I stared at Little Spring, baffled.

“It’s been two months already! I’m at the second layer of Qi Condensation, but why haven’t you even sensed Qi yet?”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled and refused to look me in the eye. I wanted to call him out on him sleeping instead of cultivating but stopped myself. He still didn’t trust me enough. I could tell. Maybe it was because I lied to my body’s parents, all the time, or perhaps he just thought I was crazy...

I thought back to how I treated him these past two months, and while I hadn’t exactly been bullying him, it probably hadn’t been the best experience for him either, with me forcing him to do my chores and me supervising him while huffing with arrogance everywhere I went. But he was responsible for my death, so, whatever.

I grabbed his wrist and sent my Qi into his body. There was something strange about it.

Eh? What was this? Did he have a super rare special constitution of some kind? Of course, he did. He was the main character. It was probably locked or something too by his whatever parents.

Now that I thought about it, I, unfortunately, knew little about special physiques and bloodlines, besides my own (though I’d certainly studied them more than most cultivators). I did, however, know novels.

With a sigh, I asked, “Do you have any keepsakes your parents left you?”

He hesitated for what felt like an hour. When he finally opened his mouth again a loud noise rocked through the village. Well, it was more a voice than a noise as it said, “The great Immortal Flower Thief orders you, insignificant mortals, to bring out your daughters and your food or I’ll burn this village to the ground. You have an incense stick worth of time. Tarry and die!”

Huh? Did something like this happen?

Wait? Yes! It did! It was hard to remember things from a thousand years ago but I remembered this guy. Ah, this flower thief was a loose cultivator who was just barely not a demonic cultivator, though what with the things he did he might as well have been.

I looked at the little kid who was shaking in terror.

“Little Spring!”

“Yes!”

“You heard this asshole?”

“Yes!”

“Don’t be like him. He’s scum, and he commits evil because he can.”

“Evil?”

I nodded sagely. “Things like robbing mortals, kidnapping mortals, killing mortals for no reason, and taking a ton of lovers then abandoning or killing them. Though, it’s more the taking of a bunch of lovers that’s—”

“Fairy Lin!” His face turned bright red.

“And above all else, if you ever dual cultivate with someone, never do it in such a way that you get all the benefits and they get nothing. That’s just rude and unfair.”

“What’s dual cultivation?” He asked as if he was putting up with a senile grandma.

“I mean, it should be something reserved for a cultivator’s one Dao Companion, but some people who happen to have a harem of wives or husbands use it with the ones they trust the most...” Just as I was about to go into further details I realized who I was talking to. Fuck. Maybe I am insane since I just started to give the standard lecture on Dual Cultivation to a six or seven year old.

His eyes had grown super wide.

“Right. Forget what I just said. Just know that he’s a bad person and I’m going to go murder his ass before he does bad things to the women in our village.”

He nodded, face pale.

I stood up and took a step only to realize that my sleeve was caught in Little Spring’s hand.

“Don’t go.”

I crouched down and grinned. “You think I can’t win?”

He nodded. “I’m a man, I’ll go instead.”

Aww. He was so adorable when he was a kid. The fuck happened?

I flicked his forehead and he rubbed it cutely. “For mortals, men are supposedly needed to protect women because they have the genetic strength advantage. But for cultivators, genetic physical strength doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is cultivation and skill. Because I have the highest cultivation in this village, as long as I’m able, it’s my responsibility to protect it from other cultivators. And, judging by this ignoramus shit snake’s power just now, he’s only at the fourth level of Qi Condensation.”

I ruffled his hair and pulled his hand away from my sleeve.

“Be good. And remember that you still owe me. If you are to pay me back in the future, you need to grow stronger.”

***

After losing the dumbass little shadow that followed me despite my repeated orders to go back home, I made my way to the center of the village. There were already women and food supplies gathered there. The women cried with gut-wrenching sobs and the men waited off to the side, eyes red, hands clenched into fists, shame and horror painting their faces alabaster.

Several men from the village had already tried to kill the evil bastard and, sadly, their corpses lay strewn throughout the square, making people who had seen less than me lose their lunch.

The culprit, a thin man with an odd double chin and a bulbous nose stood on a flying sword, laughing. That flying sword artifact was terribly made, but even Qi Condensation stage practitioners could use it and, frankly, since I currently had nothing of the immortal world, I needed it.

I walked through the carnage, a little smile on my face that was not of the happy variety.

“Daoist Immortal Flower Thief, I presume?”

He snorted. “You’re a bit on the young side, but you’ll do. Go get in line.”

I stood my ground, placed my hands on my hips, and sneered. This guy was the worst so I decided to have a bit of fun with him. “Surrender all your valuables, or die.”

He laughed and landed near me. “Little girl, you think you’re cute? Huh? Are you trying to throw yourself at me?”

“If you give me your sword now, I’ll be sure to keep your corpse intact.”

“If you’re trying to distract me, then you’re doing a piss poor job of it.”

Then he turned and grabbed something small that was about to attack him. He threw it off to the side. The crack of a bone breaking sounded in the quiet.

I blinked once and realized that my dumbass Little Spring was trying to kill the bad guy and failed because he had zero cultivation.

“Fucking idiot!”

Time seemed to slow down.

Two options. Go kill dumbass number 1 or go save dumbass number 2.

Because I was a logical person, and because the little main character had plot armor, I chose the first option.

Focusing on Flower Thief, I unfurled as much divine sense as I could without doing too much damage to my mostly mortal body and I threw out an immense amount of pressure on the asshole that to him would feel like I was a hidden master at the peak of Foundation Establishment. His eyes bulged and he prostrated before me. Which was good since he couldn’t see the nosebleed I’d given myself while his face ate dirt.

“You were having fun here, weren’t you? Gathering food and cultivation ‘vessels?’” I wiped the blood off my face with a handkerchief. “Hurting the people of this town, you maybe could have gotten away with it if I’d been in the right mood. And only after you left behind your items and cultivation. But hurting my little brother... That was a mistake.”

“Senior! Please forgive me! Let me go and I’ll give you everything, even the clothes on my back!”

I chuckled. “Just kidding. I was going to kill you either way.”

My new sword had fallen a few feet away from him. I picked it up using my spiritual energy then executed him on the spot. Then I grabbed his storage bag and searched for medicinal pills while walking to Little Spring. I found one that was a low enough level that it worked on mortals and took it out. I then scanned his body with my divine sense and froze. A chill ran down my spine and I regretted my previous choice.

This little idiot was mostly dead. And if I didn’t hurry, he’d be all the way dead.

I shoved the pill into his mouth. It melted on contact with his tongue. Without wasting time, I poured a small portion of my spiritual energy into his mortal body to take the healing energy of the pill and move it to the areas that needed the most attention. I used some of my divine sense to put pressure, off and on, against his heart to get it pumping.

A minute passed. Was this it? Did I fuck up so bad that even the plot armor couldn’t save him? I grabbed his hand tighter and kept cycling my spiritual energy through him. No! I would not let him die. So what if he was the main character of this novel? So what if in my past life he was a selfish, idiot harem master? So what if he killed me out of malicious ignorance? Right now, this little guy was just a sweet (mostly) innocent kid. He had no clue about any of that. And, without any cultivation, he still tried to protect me. Fucking adorable dumbass.

“Hey. You survive and I won’t make you owe me anymore, okay? Okay? Come on, Little Spring.”

Something inside his body gave way and — for a mortal — a torrent of bloodline power flooded the boy’s system. It traveled through the broken areas, healing and strengthening it. Making him live.

He coughed and breathed in. When he opened his eyes he grabbed my hand in terror.

“No, Fairy Lin! I still owe you. I still owe you. Please don’t throw me away.”

I grinned so wide that my eyes started to water. It definitely wasn’t because I was emotional or something.

“Come here!” I hugged him so tightly that he froze. “Don’t worry. I won’t throw you away even if you don’t owe me.”

When I released him his face blushed, then he looked around and paled. I knew the exact moment he saw the body of the flower thief by the horrified look on his face. He turned to me, mouth agape.

“Fairy Lin,” he started, his voice high. “You really weren’t lying about all that cultivation stuff were you?”

I glared at him. “Do you mean to tell me that all this time you didn’t believe a word I said? I bet you thought I was crazy right? Humph! You were sleeping instead of cultivating, weren’t you?”

“Ah! No! Maybe?”

I stood up, intending to kill him (but not really), except the boy, after his bloodline was partially released, was faster. He ran off yelling a sentence as one word, “I’llgocultivatenow!”

“Brat!”

I walked after him, ignoring the stares of the villagers near me, and making plans to join the sect early, now that I had a flying sword, a storage bag, and the villagers’ fear. That last point was the big red flag that told me it was time to get the fuck out of town.

But I kept walking, my thoughts drifted to the past future and the new future. I felt a little stupid for not knowing what Daoist Bloodsword had been through over the years. He was my junior brother after all, however gross I found his behavior to be, it was a tragic failure on my part that I never learned much of anything about him besides what he cultivated, what I overheard from his many braindead wives chatting on our mountain and whatever juicy sect gossip went about. And now I didn’t have the chance to learn more. Everything had refreshed.

But maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t fuck up too bad and get my little junior brother killed off, I could raise him as a better, smarter cultivator than Bloodsword. And maybe, by doing so, having to cultivate all over again wouldn’t be so bad.

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A note from DragonOfRochester

Fairy Lin - Lin meaning “Forest”

Spring of the Universe - the pinyin is Yuchun and, according to the wonderful translator who helped with it, if read in different tones can sound like, ‘stupid’.

Zhenren - I’m using it as a title attached to the end of a name but it means Perfected Being, Paragon


Special Thanks to the Royal Road authors, Unintelligent Donkey, and Nameless32 for proofreading this series’ first short. Also, thank you to Unintelligent Donkey and the wonderful translator Syndethia and helping me with Little Spring’s names.


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DragonOfRochester

Bio: Artist and a retired game industry professional.

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