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Chapter 11

Xu Manman slowly awoke amidst the chaos. Warm currents buoyed her up and down, a familiar force that didn’t belong to her yet felt completely integrated with her being. She looked around, finding herself in darkness, but when she raised her hand, she saw a faint glow emanating from her body, clearly visible.

This power… it’s the spiritual energy of Immortal Lang Yin!

Xu Manman suddenly realized.

Earlier today in the herb garden, she was strangled by Immortal Lang Yin and was on the verge of death. She had anticipated this, knowing she had offended the Immortal Lang Yin many times before. So, she prepared herself by wearing an artifact necklace from the Purple Bamboo Pavilion, which had a defensive array that would release a powerful electric shock upon activation, even making the Immortal Lang Yin suffer a bit.

She pretended to attack Immortal Lang Yin to make him lower his guard, and then deliberately provoked him to anger him into attacking her neck. As long as he had a moment of negligence, she could use the Golden Bell formation to suppress him for five breaths.

Her real target was the Hibiscus Mark on Immortal Lang Yin’s neck, the weak spot where his soul resided. Seeing the mark turn purplish-black, she guessed that attacking it might make the vicious Immortal Lang Yin disappear. She wasn’t entirely sure, but she had no choice but to gamble on it, as escape was impossible.

Biting the Hibiscus Mark, Immortal Lang Yin’s blood flowed into her mouth, and the vast spiritual energy clashed violently with her soul, causing her to lose consciousness. His blood was unlike anyone else’s, with a golden shimmer in the crimson liquid, devoid of any bloody scent, instead having a faint floral fragrance. Reverend Nian Yi once said the Thousand-Petaled Hibiscus was a divine herb, capable of curing any poison or injury as long as one had a breath left.

Xu Manman’s primodial spirit was critically injured and on the brink of death, but the Immortal Lang Yin’s spiritual blood continually nourished her body, circulating through her limbs and meridians, entering her spiritual aperture, and buoying her primodial spirit within it.

Humans naturally have seven apertures. The strongest can open the Yin and Yang apertures, becoming martial arts masters through extreme physical refinement. Those who open the spiritual aperture can refine the spiritual energy of heaven and earth, tempering their primodial spirit. The primodial spirit resides in the spiritual aperture, and with successful cultivation, one forms a Golden Core.

If this was the spiritual aperture of this body, Xu Manman should have seen a half-formed Golden Core. But she saw nothing. She wasn’t sure if her forced primodial spirit exit to save Immortal Lang Yin caused any issues. The body is the vessel for the primodial spirit; outside of it, the primodial spirit is exceptionally fragile, dispersing with a gust of wind. Only by cultivating an external form can one leave the body and summon the power of heaven and earth, wind and rain, akin to a god.

Xu Manman already cultivated such a form, which is the Dharma form, but after dying and being reborn, her cultivation greatly diminished, barely managing to exit her body. She was severely injured by the shadow in the nightmare, lucky not to have dissipated but still heavily wounded. More confusing was why she didn’t appear as herself in Immortal Lang Yin’s nightmare.

She groped through the darkness with no sense of up or down in the spiritual aperture, easily losing direction and relying on intuition. The warm current continued to nourish her primodial spirit, her strength gradually increased, and the light from her body became brighter, illuminating a one-meter radius.

Then she discovered something.

The light enveloping her had a clear boundary. She traced its contour with her hand, drawing a smooth arc with her fingertip.

It was a light sphere.

She was inside a light sphere.

No wonder she couldn’t find the Golden Core in the spiritual aperture; she was in the Golden Core.

Xu Manman shivered, breaking free from the spiritual aperture and suddenly opening her eyes.

It was still dark. She was lying on Immortal Master Lang Yin’s chest, her head resting on his shoulder, her lips still against the vein in his neck.

Xu Manman quickly sat up, calmly moving off the Immortal Lang Yin. Not wanting to waste anything, she licked the remaining blood from her lips, sneaking a glance at the still unconscious Immortal Lang Yin.

The Hibiscus Mark on his neck had faded, blending with his pale skin. Upon close inspection, the petal outlines and faint teeth marks were barely visible.

Immortal Lang Yin’s body had a strong self-healing ability. By dawn, the tooth marks would likely be gone. She wondered if he would remember what happened last night. The visicious Immortal Lang Yin’s origins were mysterious, possibly linked to the Blood Sect or the Burning Heaven division incident, somewhat like an inner demon, but heartless people shouldn’t have inner demons. In the nightmare, the evil Immortal Lang Yin seemed to try to eliminate the Immortal Lang Yin’s consciousness, suggesting their minds were separate. Immortal Lang Yin likely had no memory or awareness of the evil one. Even if he remembered her last night and recognized her as Xu Manman, he probably wouldn’t kill her.

Xu Manman didn’t know if the evil Immortal Master would reappear, but that was a problem for another time. The priority was to clean up the scene to avoid Immortal Lang Yin discovering her presence.

She restored the scene to its original state, placing Immortal Lang Yin back into the Spirit Gathering Formation, not even wiping off the blood. This way, when he woke up, he would think he had been unconscious all night.

Carefully arranging Immortal Lang Yin, Xu Manman looked at his pale, handsome face with his eyes closed, feeling a wave of emotion.

She had always respected Immortal Lang Yin, never daring to think impure thoughts. Unexpectedly, not only had she bitten his neck today, but she had also slapped him twice.

Sinful, sinful—she licked her lips, thinking absentmindedly.

Before dawn, Xu Manman hurried back to the Purple Bamboo Pavilion. Exhausted from the night, she should have fallen asleep quickly, but perhaps thanks to Immortal Lang Yin’s nourishment, she felt invigorated, brimming with energy.

She repeatedly examined her spiritual aperture, confirming one thing—her primodial spirit had fused with the fragments of this body’s primodial spirit.

Her primodial spirit had been simultaneously impacted by Immortal Lang Yin’s spiritual energy, causing her to lose consciousness and fall out of control. Perhaps due to the influence of external forces and the protective spiritual blood, what was initially extremely dangerous turned out to be a blessing in disguise, allowing her to overcome the peril unscathed and even benefiting significantly. At this moment, she could clearly feel her cultivation level soaring. If she drank a few more sips of the spiritual blood…

Sigh, one shouldn’t be too greedy…

Xu Manman quickly reflected on herself.

“Shi Niang, are you awake?” A voice outside interrupted her thoughts.

“I’m awake, come in.”

Xu Manman leisurely got out of bed and saw Ning Xi pushing the door open.

Ning Xi held a tray with porridge and small dishes, placing it on the table. She smiled at Xu Manman, saying, “Shi Niang, I’ve prepared some food for you. These are the flavors the master enjoyed when she was alive. I hope you like them.”

“In a few days, you’ll be the head of the Siyi Sect. How can I let you do such small tasks yourself?” Xu Manman said affectionately as she walked to Ning Xi’s side.

“Being able to do small things for you is my honor. Besides…” Ning Xi’s eyes filled with mist, and her voice lowered, “The Purple Bamboo Pavilion was the master’s residence. Every bamboo here was personally selected and polished by her. Other disciples are not allowed near.”

Xu Manman sighed deeply, saying, “I’ve heard her talk about the Purple Bamboo Pavilion. Though I’ve never been here before, it feels familiar. Every inch of this place retains her presence…”

Ning Xi lowered her eyes, sorrowful, “Yes, every time I come here, I feel like the master hasn’t died, like she’s still watching over me…”

Xu Manman shuddered, forcing a laugh, “The spirit of Daozun will always be with you…”

Ning Xi managed a faint smile and said, “Shi Niang, please eat while it’s hot. See if it suits your taste.”

Dao cultivators generally start fasting from the Golden Core stage, but many still enjoy good food. Xu Manman was one such person, loving spicy food, alcohol, and indulgence. To maintain her image, few knew this, but Ning Xi, whom she had personally raised, was well aware. Today, Ning Xi had prepared breakfast according to Xu Manman’s preferences, making her feel very comfortable as she ate.

Ning Xi smiled as she watched Xu Manman eat breakfast. For some reason, she felt very close to her. The way Xu Manman looked at her was reminiscent of the master, warming her heart. Since the master became the Daozun, all the affairs of the Siyi Sect were entrusted to her. She was revered as the senior disciple, but in front of the master, she could always be the child needing care.

“Shi Niang, you should stay in the Purple Bamboo Pavilion from now on,” Ning Xi said gently.

Xu Manman paused, swallowed her food, and replied slowly, “I’ve mentioned before that I need to avenge Daozun.”

“I understand your intentions, but the Blood Sect is ruthless and elusive. I’m worried about your safety…” Ning Xi frowned, trying to dissuade her.

Xu Manman interrupted with a smile, “I know you’re worried about my lack of cultivation to handle the Blood Sect. Don’t worry, I have plenty of life-saving artifacts, and with Immortal Lang Yin and the others, I’ll stay far from the front lines.”

“Immortal Lang Yin and others?” Ning Xi asked, puzzled.

“Yes, I’ve already discussed this with the Immortal Lang Yin. He’s determined to carry on Daozun’s legacy, to eradicate the Blood Sect and to avenge her. Also, there’s Young Master Li Que and Sea Emperor Ao Xiu. I doubt they’ll refuse. After all, they were all Daozun’s companions,” Xu Manman said with a meaningful smile.

Ning Xi rubbed her forehead, finding the complex relationships hard to comprehend. The master was noble and beloved, which she understood, but how could several Daoist companions get together and call each other brothers?

“Ning Xi, don’t worry about me. After being with the Daozun for so many years, I’ve learned a lot and can now protect myself. But you, with the Daozun recently departed, the Siyi Sect has almost been expelled from the Daoist Alliance, and you were not even allowed to attend the Daoist Alliance Council. This is outrageous,” Xu Manman said indignantly.

“It was all very sudden, and I haven’t officially taken over as the head yet,” Ning Xi said nonchalantly.

“No, this is a signal. The world is changing rapidly, and the structure of the Daoist Alliance is shifting again. For the past three thousand years, the seven sects of the Daoist Alliance have changed nearly every century. The only ones that have remained constant are Xuantian Temple and Yongxue City. Do you know why?”

Ning Xi thought for a moment and replied, “Xuantian Temple has the most widespread monasteries and the most believers, while Yongxue City focuses solely on cultivation, with unparalleled swordsmanship and the strongest top-tier combat power.”

Xu Manman nodded appreciatively.

“Exactly. Since you understand this, I can rest easy, handing over the position of head to you.”

Ning Xi felt something odd in her words and couldn’t help but look a bit suspicious. Xu Manman realized she had said too much and quickly diverted her attention, “For a sect to endure for a thousand years, it must either grow or become strong. When Daozun was alive, the Siyi Sect managed to join the seven sects in such a short time by excelling in both of these aspects. Within the Daoist Alliance, sects are divided into human sects and spirit sects. Though humans and spirits have made peace and can join any sect, human sects rarely accept spirit disciples, and spirit sects are reluctant to take human disciples. This is not just because of mutual racial exclusion, but also because humans and spirits have different cultivation methods. Spirit disciples in human sects don’t get the best cultivation techniques.”

Ning Xi listened intently to Xu Manman’s teachings, nodding lightly without realizing it.

“For the past two hundred years, our Siyi sect has accepted thousands of disciples without distinguishing between humans and spirits. We often extend kindness first and accept disciples later. Among the seven sects, we have the most diverse group, yet we are the most united, with the most comprehensive techniques. This is one of the foundations of the Siyi Sect. By fostering good relations, as long as we remain united, even if Si Yi Sect cannot maintain top-tier status, it can endure for a thousand years.”

“The second foundation of the Siyi sect is the Cardinal Tower. Historically, cultivators sought personal immortality and unrivaled strength, but no one has seen an immortal person or an undefeated god in ten thousand years. Cultivating for a thousand years is like a fleeting dream, leaving no indestructible soul or immortal body, but the Dao can be passed down for thousands of years. The Cardinal Tower, meticulously managed, can benefit countless generations. This is where Daozun invested her life’s efforts, and it represents her Dao. Ning Xi, you must keep a close watch and not let the Cardinal Tower be destroyed.”

(T/N: The Cardinal Tower name came from the Cardinal Flower. It is a bright red flower with a velvety sheen, a high center, and curled edges. The flower shape is very beautiful; the petals are hard, and the leaves are small, dark green, and thick. The branches are stiff, slightly curved, and have many thorns. the scientific name of this flower is Lobelia cardinalis.)

Xu Manman’s serious instructions made Ning Xi’s heart tremble, and she straightened her back, nodding firmly.

“I understand Master’s Dao heart and will not betray her trust!” Ning Xi said, her voice choked with emotion.

Xu Manman smiled slightly, patting Ning Xi’s shoulder, “With that, I can leave Siyi Sect with peace of mind.”

Hearing her intention to leave, Ning Xi hurriedly asked, “Where are you going?”

“I’ve found a lead on the Blood Sect. I’m leaving today and need to use Cardinal Tower’s transportation formation, the Fuyao Formation, for a transfer. Give me a golden token of the Cardinal Tower.”

In the seven nations and fourteen regions of the world, there are a total of fourteen Cardinal Towers. Each Cardinal Tower has a large Fuyao formation as its core, connecting the fourteen regions and facilitating travel for the people. Operating the formations is costly, requiring a huge amount of spirit stones for each activation. Hence, while the Cardinal Tower offers great convenience, it also incurs significant expenses. Even with money, one cannot travel freely and often needs to queue in advance. However, since the Cardinal Tower was jointly built by the Shen Xiao Sect and the Siyi Sect, each head of these two sects holds seven golden tokens. Holding a golden token is equivalent to the head being present, allowing unimpeded travel.

Ning Xi obediently took out a heavy golden token from her Qiankun bag and handed it to Xu Manman, then turned to the study room’s bookcase and took out a large brocade box. She opened it, revealing seven Qiankun bags embroidered with golden dragon patterns neatly arranged inside. Xu Manman was momentarily stunned.

“What is this…”

“These are the belongings of Daozun. Everything she accumulated in her lifetime, regardless of value, is here,” Ning Xi said, her eyes downcast as she gazed at the seven Qiankun bags, gently stroking them.

“Since Daozun’s will was to leave these to you, you should take them with you.”

Xu Manman didn’t expect Ning Xi to be so straightforward, actually handing over all these items. Xu Manman, having lived for three hundred years, had collected seven Qiankun bags in total. She would casually throw anything she received into these bags, switching to a new one when one filled up. She didn’t keep an exact count of how many items she had. As her status and reputation grew, so did her collection, especially in the sixth and seventh Qiankun bags, which contained numerous artifacts gifted by various kings and the leaders of the Daoist Alliance.

After thinking for a moment, Xu Manman took the first six bags and left the seventh one in the brocade box.

“You keep this one. There should be plenty of useful artifacts inside. I trust you know how to distribute them to the disciples.”

Ning Xi was slightly startled and remained silent for a moment. She then gave a faint, somewhat sad smile and accepted the Qiankun bag without protest.

At this moment, a disciple’s voice came from outside, requesting to see Ning Xi. Xu Manman smiled and said, “Your sect affairs are numerous. There’s no need to stay with me.”

Ning Xi stood up and bowed deeply, “Shi Niang, then I will take my leave. When you are about to depart, let me know so I can see you off.”

“No need, no need,” Xu Manman waved her hand repeatedly, “As cultivators, we are not bound by formalities. We come and go like the wind, leaving it all to fate.”

Ning Xi gave a light smile and said, “Daozun used to say the same thing.”

Xu Manman’s heart skipped a beat, wanting to explain, but Ning Xi had already turned and left.

Could she have figured it out?

Probably not; otherwise, she would have thrown herself at me, crying.

Who in this world would ever imagine that one could really return to life by taking over another’s body…



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