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Another BL story I'm quite interested in! I actually started this chapter a month ago but put it off to focus more on TVHSS. I am also kind of unused to this writing style lol, but I think I did a good job. I truly hope someone else will pick this up. If you do please email me for the Google docs ([email protected]) and I will also gladly offer my help. Anyway, I cannot guarantee if I'll translate any more. and if I do it'll only be at least once a month as TVHSS takes priority.
edit: There isn't a novel page for this yet
Seal Cultivation for Self-Improvement
Author: Mo Xiao Xian
Yu Qiu once thought that he and his s.h.i.+xiong would be together for his entire life, but the moment when he fell into an enemy's hands, he stared helplessly as his s.h.i.+xiong and a woman by his side stepped into a bridal room together.
He knew he was one foot in the grave, powerless to reverse the situation.
After reincarnating, how could he walk the path of seal cultivation again?
Rebel? Vengeance? Revenge? Depend on a loyal dog who would be his s.h.i.+eld?
That was too low for him!!!
He was going to:
Break up that haze in front of his eyes and turn it into tall mountains.
No longer depend on anyone, but rely on his own strength for everything.
Make every cultivator never say the words "seal cultivation is only supplementary" ever again.
Become the strongest person in the world.
Show that he will become a Daozhang.
Chapter 1: The Path Known By Morning
A mirror hung in front of Yu Qiu's eyes for three months.
This object was called the "True Thousand-Miles Seeing Mirror", and it was magical. This object, as the name implied, could peek at a scene in real life a thousand miles away.
Currently, the mirror's surface was a scene full of happy red. The red of the lanterns hanging in the sky, the red of the fluttering, wind-borne curtains, the red of the "xi" characters that were seen everywhere, the red of new clothes that wrapped around a happy and beautiful pair stepping into a bridal room under everyone's blessings. The bridegroom was Yu Qiu's s.h.i.+xiong, Xu Hong.
Three months ago, someone accidentally brought Yu Qiu into a shadow demon's domain. After that, that person took advantage of Yu Qiu's difficult struggle against the shadow demon as he tried to share the burden with him, and decisively ran away. As he ran, he shouted, "s.h.i.+di, hold on! I'll come back and rescue you soon!" That person was his s.h.i.+xiong, Xu Hong.
The pile of large, eye-burning red eyeb.a.l.l.s blinked at Yu Qiu as he thought to himself: At the very beginning, Xu Hong probably should've remembered his own s.h.i.+di.
After all, when Xu Hong had just fled to Chi Xia Sect, he said he was going to save his s.h.i.+di. As a result, he hoped that he and the Chi Xia beauty that he knew would come and save him. But the Chi Xia beauty raised her elegant eyebrows, meaning, "It'd be even better if that annoying fly were dead. Anyway, you wanted his sealing, but you should come to our Chi Xia Sect instead. You can pick any of us." After that… Xu Hong visibly started to waver.
He was conflicted for three months, until he decided to have a wedding ceremony.
Neither Xu Hong or the Chi Xia beauty would ever guess that Yu Qiu had seen those three months in clear detail, from start to finish. They were both certain that Yu Qiu was already dead, as the shadow demon was extremely powerful and had a fearful reputation for killing people without the slightest bit of remorse.
What happened to Yu Qiu was that the shadow demon had unexpectedly changed his ways. He didn't kill him right away but instead patiently kept him imprisoned under layer upon layer of formations, even specially hanging that True Thousand-Miles Seeing Mirror in front of him.
One Spirit-Rejection formation, which disrupted any spiritual energy in his surroundings.
One Thousand-Gram formation, which increased the gravity around him by at least tenfold, heavily pressing down Yu Qiu's four limbs so he couldn't budge an inch.
These two formations together pressured at all times Yu Qiu to use up too much of his strength. But he could not replenish any of it since he couldn't even absorb a drop of spiritual energy. Not only that, but there was also the Heart-Devouring Formation, the Bone-Eroding Formation, and so on, making Yu Qiu crack further and further.
Yu Qiu, who was unable to budge a single inch for a long time, blankly stared at the True Thousand-Miles Seeing Mirror. Then he heard a low, deep voice in his ear, "Have you still not changed your mind?"
Yu Qiu did not turn to look. Being trapped like this for three months, he didn't even have the strength to turn his head.
The shadow demon walked over, blocking the face of the mirror. He squatted down in front of Yu Qiu. "Look, he's already completely given up on you. Yet you continue to be this foolish? Forget him and follow me."
How could a murderous shadow demon propose this invitation? The only reason was that Yu Qiu was a seal cultivator. Not only that, but he was currently Xuanyan's most powerful seal cultivator, worthy of being t.i.tled the greatest seal master. Don't even mention the aggregation seal Yu Qiu made that could save several years of normal cultivation if used at the right time.
Because he had spent all his time on developing seals, Yu Qiu was good at nothing else. He was incapable of defending himself, and he didn't have the makings to use powerful attacks. He could only attach himself to another expert, creating a symbiotic relations.h.i.+p.
These were all characteristics of a seal cultivator. Therefore, if a seal cultivator wanted to survive, they must either find a brave and powerful sword cultivator, or find a body cultivator that was good at guarding others. Or maybe find an insightful cultivator that cultivated the five phases… some seal cultivators could even find a good number of experts in a single stretch and form a small group.
And taking along such a powerful seal cultivator like Yu Qiu was the dream of every single expert in Xuanyan. As a result, Yu Qiu, the world's best seal cultivator, was already bound to an outstanding yet not quite number one sword cultivator, Xu Hong… so the other experts were green with envy.
It was clear that the shadow demon also had his eyes on him for a very long time.
He crouched in front of Yu Qiu, looking at his endlessly tortured body. Xu Hong's words and actions were the first major attacks to the number one seal cultivator's spirit. He surmised that it was about time for Yu Qiu to finally surrender.
Yu Qiu looked at him back. The shadow demon's entire face was covered with demonic marks, and none of his facial features could be made out. The only thing that could be seen clearly was a strange mark that looked like a plum blossom near his right temple. It was green and seemed to be a birthmark. And in those s.h.i.+ning cyan pupils, Yu Qiu saw his own stick-thin figure.
After that, Yu Qiu wanted to move away his line of sight, but the shadow demon took up his entire field of vision. As a result, Yu Qiu used his constantly trembling hands to support himself on the ground, wanting to move, and saw the mirror's surface behind the shadow demon.
The shadow demon stood up, disappointed. He glanced at Xu Hong in the mirror and said before he left, "You really are foolish." Then he walked several steps to the side, leaving Yu Qiu's field of vision.
He knew this was not an easy thing to do. Yu Qiu followed alongside Xu Hong for hundreds of years, whether life or death, and he didn't do it for no reason. Several hundred years ago, Xu Hong and Yu Qiu were in the same sect, Xuan Yang Sect, and were s.h.i.+xiong and s.h.i.+di. Not only that, but it was said that the very person who received Yu Qiu into an immortal sect as an ordinary person was Xu Hong. Later, Xuan Yang Sect was wiped out in a single morning. Only Xu Hong and Yu Qiu had escaped.
For hundreds of years after, they were always together. From the breakthrough of peak Qi Foundation to Nascent Soul, and from the breakthrough of peak Nascent Soul to Core Formation. Currently, they both had already spent dozens of years at peak Core Formation. No one knew exactly how deep Yu Qiu's feelings for Xu Hong went.
But the shadow demon didn't expect things to be so difficult. Getting cold feet like this, firmly throwing away a fellow teammate like a pair of old shoes – was this not enough to make Yu Qiu see the kind of person Xu Hong really was? As expected, he was foolish. Too foolish.
The shadow demon could not help but shake his head.
Meanwhile, in the surface of the mirror, the bridal room had already become a picture of happiness and warmth.
Yu Qiu couldn't help closing his eyes. But the shadow demon's True Thousand-Miles Seeing Mirror was very high quality and not only transmitted images, but also sound. Even if Yu Qiu didn't want to listen, he could still hear the two lovers.
The Chi Xia beauty bantered with Xu Hong flirtatiously, while Xu Hong spoke heartfelt words of love. They talked and talked until to Yu Qiu's surprise, the topic wound back to him.
"Why couldn't you have done this earlier? You used to never part with that s.h.i.+di!" the Chi Xia beauty said, pretending to be angry.
The Chi Xia beauty did not like Yu Qiu, which he knew. It was only because the Chi Xia beauty had a younger sister who was also stupidly infatuated with seals. Ever since Yu Qiu took up the position of the number one seal cultivator, no matter what the little sister did, she could only be second best. This made the Chi Xia beauty, who doted on her little sister more than life, gnash her teeth in hatred.
Therefore, some ten years ago, when the Chi Xia beauty had first caught sight of Xu Hong, she told him that if he wanted to enter Chi Xia Sect, he had to abandon his s.h.i.+di Yu Qiu. But Xu Hong never mentioned this to Yu Qiu, so Yu Qiu always thought that Xu Hong wanted to be together with him too.
But at this very moment, Xu Hong held a beautiful woman in his heart, and laughed heartily without a care in the world. "My G.o.ddess, don't be angry! I can see that his seal skill is very strong, can't I?
"He's strong, but strong for what? How much stronger is my little sister Qing Xia?" The Chi Xia beauty was still pretending to be angry. "You and I have become a family now. What else could such a little thing like seals do for you?"
"G.o.ddess, don't you know! His skill is so high that if I didn't want him, there would be many others who would scramble for him besides me." Perhaps because the fact that it was his wedding night made him too complacent, Xu Hong forgot himself and exposed his true feelings. "I can't just leave him without a plan. What would I do if he found someone truly powerful and came back to take revenge on me?"
At these words, shock appeared on the Chi Xia beauty's face.
A thousand miles away, Yu Qiu suddenly opened his eyes.
Even the shadow demon couldn't help but turn his head, smiling as he gave the mirror a sweeping glance. Then he glanced over Yu Qiu and thought to himself, how fortunate.
As Yu Qiu was being pressed down by the Thousand-Gram Formation, he originally wanted to try and resist the trembling, but now his entire body was shaking.
He had never known that Xu Hong had such thoughts. Before, Yu Qiu used to think if Xu Hong truly wanted to be together with the Chi Xia beauty, truly planned to abandon him, then he would only need to have a good word with him. Not speaking only proved that Xu Hong's unwillingness to abandon him. After all, Yu Qiu was the number one seal cultivator. If Xu Hong really didn't want him, then what else could he do if he couldn't find another? Did that mean he couldn't cling to Xu Hong's side even if he still wanted to?
He would never guess that Xu Hong really did feel that way!
So now what? Since Xu Hong couldn't abandon him without a plan, how exactly was he going to do that?
Suddenly, Yu Qiu felt a chill rise up from his back to the rest of his body.
Over there, the shadow demon began to chuckle.
The Chi Xia beauty in the mirror was already asking, "My husband, what do you mean by that?"
Xu Hong coughed, and his mouth twisted. But since he had already let something slip out, it wouldn't hurt to let a little something else slip out too. "If I hadn't run into that shadow demon that kills anyone he sees, where else would I dare to leave him so quickly?"
…What did he mean by that?
Outside the mirror, Yu Qiu felt stupid. Perhaps he should've already known the answer, but at the same time he didn't want to think about it.
"Didn't I say," the shadow demon cut in, "the sword cultivator Xu Hong is strong enough to rank up among the top 20 in Xuanyan? Even if he couldn't beat me on his own, he was with you. Nothing so terrible would happen. What would scare him away so quickly?"
Yes, there was only one answer.
Aside from the shadow demon's fearful reputation and his incredible strength, he also had a tendency to kill people on sight as he couldn't stand being near others. Throughout the cultivation world, there were rumors that his body was being controlled by a cultivation method. He lived for no one else but himself, and killing people was the only thing he could accomplish with his half-baked mind. If Yu Qiu hadn't been imprisoned for three months, he would never know that the shadow demon's mind was completely whole, or what a single seal cultivator was worth.
And the shadow demon had already seized this territory many years ago. Yu Qiu was drunk on sealing, and for many years he never paid attention to anything else around him. Perhaps Xu Hong didn't know either? At that time, Xu Hong brought Yu Qiu to the shadow demon's lair by accident, but was it really?
Yu Qiu finally had the answer. No matter how much he didn't want to, he couldn't avoid it.
Next to him, the shadow demon said what he had been thinking out loud. "He wanted to use me to kill you."
Yes, he was correct. Xu Hong wanted to get Yu Qiu murdered. He already thought of this, but he had always hid it from himself too well. Ever since he first started to seek out Chi Xia Sect and meet the temptation of the Chi Xia beauty, he feigned his internal conflict so well that everyone believed it.
But everything turned out to be a lie.
And what about their friends.h.i.+p that spanned over hundreds of years? How much of that was fake? This question was the only thing that made Yu Qiu s.h.i.+ver with fear. And what about the faith he had in Xu Hong for hundreds of years? What was he going to do with that now?
Surprisingly, Yu Qiu began to laugh.
"Haha, hahaha…. hahahaha…" A dry, rough, trembling laugh, a trapped-in-nightmare kind of laugh.
The shadow demon proudly looked at Yu Qiu. "You should've realized that this time, right?"
Yu Qiu kept laughing and laughing.
Of course he realized. He realized it all too well!
"Yes, the Xu Hong you followed for hundreds of years is an untrustworthy lying little b.a.s.t.a.r.d." The shadow demon squatted in front of Yu Qiu once again. "Why don't you follow me instead? I would never do something like that to you."
Yu Qiu laughed as he stared at the shadow demon. His lips moved as he spoke a single sentence. But the sentence got stuck in his throat because it was sore from laughing too hard, only identifiable from reading his lips.
What Yu Qiu said was: s.h.i.+xiong is untrustworthy, and you aren't?
If he couldn't rely on Xu Hong anymore, was there anyone else on earth worth trusting? To himself, Yu Qiu thought, No one is worthy.
The shadow demon slapped Yu Qiu in anger, making him roll to the side.
Yu Qiu did not even attempt to get up.
To be honest, why should I rely on anyone? he thought.
He was a seal cultivator. And according to a seal cultivator's way of life, they must find someone to depend on, exchanging their sealing arts for the other's protection in a kind of symbiotic relations.h.i.+p. Every single seal cultivator on Xuanyan lived this way, with no exceptions. However…
Why was this the only way seal cultivators could live?
For what reason that this was the only way seal cultivators could live?
They possessed skills that everyone coveted. They could create countless powerful seals, and no one else but them knew better how to use them. Then why did they still have to rely on someone else's protection!
Back then, Yu Qiu chose to be with Xu Hong because he told him that seal cultivators should devote their entire efforts to sealing, not wasting it protecting themselves. That was the reason why they must find a person they could trust the most.
But in this world… was there anyone who he could rely on more than himself?
The path of relying on others was an easier and more relaxing path, but it was also the path where you gave your own life away. Yu Qiu finally realized that this path was not for him at all, because it was impossible to find a person he could trust with his life. He thought that he found that in Xu Hong, but he didn't. Therefore, no one like that existed.
Yu Qiu was convinced.
His worst mistake was not choosing to trust Xu Hong, but choosing the path where he signed his life off to someone else.
If Yu Qiu never chose this path from the very beginning but instead worked hard to learn how to protect himself, how to fight, how to use seals to make himself stronger, so much that even if his partner abandoned him, even if his partner secretly wished for his death, then would he ever end up in this situation?
From the very beginning, the only person he could rely on was himself.
Yu Qiu was truly convinced.
The shadow demon's cheek twitched. He would've never guessed in his wildest dreams that this was the result of devoting so much time and effort to painstakingly convince Yu Qiu. He didn't even know what to say.
Then he felt the spiritual energy around Yu Qiu start to fluctuate peculiarly.
The shadow demon was frightened.
He recognized this fluctuation. He had seen this several hundred years ago when an old man broke through Core Formation to Nascent Soul. But now, this sudden enlightenment slackened Yu Qiu's cultivation, which had been stopped up at peak Core Formation for decades.
After his great enlightenment, Yu Qiu finally found his own path.
In a split second, he finally found his chance to break through to Nascent Soul.
Ever since Xuanyan lost its last Nascent Soul cultivator, no one else had reached Nascent Soul for hundreds of years. If Yu Qiu managed to succeed in his breakthrough, even if he was just a seal cultivator, he could become the strongest person in Xuanyan.
The shadow demon couldn't keep calm any longer and screamed loudly, "Stop it! Don't mess around, stop it right now!"
His panic was not because he was afraid Yu Qiu was going to make a breakthrough. The truth was the exact opposite; there was no way Yu Qiu could succeed this time. Because Yu Qiu's body… had already suffered through three months' worth of imprisonment and suffering. It was impossible for him to support himself during a breakthrough. If he went on any longer, the only outcome for Yu Qiu was absolute annihilation.
And Yu Qiu was currently still inside the Spirit-Rejection Formation! He couldn't even stabilize his spiritual energy, let alone a breakthrough!
To the shadow demon's shock, Yu Qiu only laughed.
In fact, he could stop himself. If he did, he would miss nothing more than a chance to break through this time. But no cultivator would pa.s.s up the opportunity when it comes, even if it came at the cost of their own life.
And besides… how could he live on? If he gave up the breakthrough, would he continue to be imprisoned until the day came when he finally couldn't take any more torture and accept the shadow demon's invitation, relying on yet another person?
No, Yu Qiu refused to.
There was a cutting implication in Yu Qiu's smile: If in the morning I were to know the correct path, I would be able to die at sunset with no regrets. (1)
The shadow demon turned around and threw himself at the center of the formations, intending to at least stop the Spirit-Rejection Formation.
But it was too late.
A hint of a smile showed on Yu Qiu's face. His soul was already mixed with the world and was spreading throughout the sky, almost as if it was going to reach the very heavens. This was the first step of the breakthrough, but also Yu Qiu's last.
A burst of wind blew past. For a period of time the body that had lost its soul was no longer able to support itself and transformed into fine powder in a flash.
There was nowhere the soul could return to. Finally, it could only dissipate into the earth.
But in that moment, Yu Qiu's soul reached what every cultivator dreamed of. Scattering into the earth, becoming nothingness.
To reach… a death with no regrets.
But are you willing?
In some corner of the world, Yu Qiu suddenly heard a tiny voice.
The author has something to say: I solemnly declare that this is not a sc.u.m kind of story, but an upgrade kind of story. The upgrade is the priority, and stuff like sc.u.m are going to take the backseat so it will absolutely never interfere with the protagonist's upgrade progress.
T/N: (1) The chapter t.i.tle, “path known by morning” is a reference to this line. yes I copied word by word lol.