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Literature / Beware of Chicken

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Jin Rou and Big D/Bi De

His body soared through the air. His legs lashed out with strength unknown to his lesser kin. He danced as the Great Master danced. He did breath, as the Great Master drew breath.
Something swirled around him.
Within him.
I smiled at Big D as he hopped and kicked along my fence.
Cute little guy.

Beware of Chicken is an English language Web Serial Novel written in the style of Xianxia novels. However, the protagonist Jin Rou, or rather the person that transmigrated into his body, has no interest in ascending to the heavens, becoming the most powerful cultivator known to mankind, or even defeating the hordes of demons ravaging the land.

He just wants to make his own little slice of heaven in the peaceful, backwater regions of the Azure Hills with his rooster Big D, and maybe that cute sassy girl from the village. Well, that is, until the chicken starts learning martial arts. Or the pigs keep an army of mutant rats from harvesting the farm. Or the sentient fish shows up and starts being a living dishwasher. Turns out that just because he turned his back on cultivation, doesn't mean that the Cultivator Life is going to leave him behind so easily.


This story is also available on Royal Road and The first book has been published on Amazon as an ebook and audiobook.

This novel provides examples of:

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  • 100% Adoration Rating: The Patriarch of the Verdant Hill! Internally self-centered and self-important, who is still a great ruler out of a pragmatic belief that the best way to get praise and respect is to earn it. When he is tired of the yearly floods cutting into his leisure time, he commissions great canals. When he bribes someone it is seen as a prudent investment in the future and it turns out to be just that. When Meiling stops a plague in its tracks, he is suspected to have summoned her. He also makes sure to remember the names of all his staff, because they like him more when he can call them all by name.
  • Abduction Is Love: Jin is taken aback to hear about how Ten Ren gave up on winning over Nezin Hu Li's father, and just kidnapped her. But she seems to be happy about it, and her account implies that it was consensual, so he decides he won't judge.
  • Absurd Cutting Power: Imbuing qi into his tools allows Jin to saw hardwood timber like paper and plough ground like a knife through butter, without ever having to manually sharpen the metal.
  • Accidental Bargaining Skills: Jin has looked around the marketplace and seen that ten silver coins is a normal price for a luxury item, so when Guan Bo offers fifty for a jar of maple syrup, he frowns in puzzlement. Guan Bo misinterprets it and promptly increases his offer to sixty. (Subverted when the rising offer clues Jin in to the worth of his goods, and he bumps the price up further on purpose.)
  • Achievement In Ignorance:
    • Jin sees his farming as a way to get away from the cultivation world. His Qi-powered farming techniques are driving his cultivation to untold heights.
    • He knows that maple syrup is a saleable product, but he has no idea that it contains fire and earth qi in excellent balance, worth hundreds of coins a bottle, until he's actually selling it.
    • Similarly, he knows that his rice is good, grown with his Earth knowledge of proper planting techniques, but doesn't realise that it's actually of a grade not seen locally in a thousand years, too valuable to even sell to anyone nearby.
    • Fenxian desecrates the corpse of Zang Li to vent his anger and frustration, after confirming that the disciple had been killed and possessed. More specifically, he targets the puddle of oil and blood congealed under the body, repeatedly blasting the slurry with lightning until it's entirely incinerated. The puddle was actually Lu Ban's true self, and Fenxian's attack may be why Lu Ban became unrecoverably dead.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Lu Ri, upon meeting a sect member capable of manifesting an aura of oppressive Intent, took it as an opportunity, and successfully persuaded her to let him experience it randomly throughout the following month until he could keep his composure. It serves him well when dealing with upset elders about Jin's departure.
  • Action Girl:
    • Jin meets one in the form of Xiulan, a more typical Xianxia heroine.
    • Tigu, the farm cat, counts as well.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Jin would have stopped his fish from bouncing after a village boy for revenge, but the villagers are just laughing, and he thinks it's funny too, so he figures all is well.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Zang Li/Lu Ban tells Xiulan to kowtow before him if she wants him to listen, she does, dropping to her knees and begging his generosity. However, despite his approving laughter, he still refuses her request.
  • All for Nothing: Miantiao goes into a state of depression when he learns that all of his martial arts training, and turning Yin into a weapon of vengeance, were for nothing since the one he was training her to get revenge by proxy on, Sun Ken, was dead.
  • Alliance with an Abomination: Although "abomination" is a bit misleading. One who follows the path of Shennong may be able to form a pact with an earth spirit. The pact grants long life, prosperity, and peace, but requires the recipient to give up striving for power and immortality; they will certainly die someday. Jin unknowingly — as is usually the case with such individuals — contracts with a very powerful earth spirit.
  • And Then What?:
    • Miantiao and Yin get hit hard with this, after receiving news of Sun Ken's death. Thankfully, Bi De is there to help.
    • After winning the Dueling Peaks Tournament Xiulan begins to wonder what she is going to do with her newfound power and prestige, as her old motivations — to defy the heavens and become the strongest cultivator — no longer seem important to her.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: There are celebrations across the countryside at the death of Sun Ken, the Whirling Demon Blade. Re-enactments by actors or puppets become popular, and the "Demon Slaying Orchid" is renowned far and wide. Which is why Jin gave Sun Ken's blade to Xiulan and let her take the credit; he wanted people to know of Sun Ken's death so they could stop being afraid, but he didn't want the attention.
  • Anti-Climax: Jin is stunned to realise that he's spent the last year hiding fearfully away from...the mailman. Albeit with a rather significant letter.
  • Apocalypse How: Bi De finds indications of a Regional/Societal Disruption event in the distant past, with a large arrangement of shrines aligned to the five qi elements — wood, metal, water, fire, and earth — but with the elements now rotated one place, burning the forest, flooding the metal area, etc. It appears to have been designed to feed power to the earth spirit, but something broke or corrupted it, and it shattered her.
  • Appeal to Force: The Shrouded Mountain junior disciples really don't want to pick a fight with Jin, because they can tell he would flatten them all, but if their conflict gets political, then the full sect would feel obligated to get involved, and would be capable of annihilating any resistance in the Azure Hills. Until Jin produces evidence that he's backed by the Cloudy Sword sect, which is a far bigger fish than the Shrouded Mountain, giving them ample excuse to humbly and apologetically back down.
  • Arcadia: The Azure Hills, are quiet, without the strife and drama of many other nations, and Jin's farm in particular is strongly in touch with nature. It's implied that this is largely because there isn't much qi around, so cultivators haven't paid enough attention to wreck the place.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: As Tigu is preparing to undergo Tribulation in order to achieve human form, the land spirit tries to dissuade her, asking Tigu what is it that she she hopes to achieve by doing so. Both engage in a volley of this trope and the next, both admitting that they seek/sought human form because what they wanted was a closer connection to humans, and acknowledge that despite the inherent physical and spiritual risks, the wish to understand and be understood is ultimately Worth It.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Jin is worrying about becoming like the cultivators he left behind, hungering for power and conquest, Meiling shrugs and tells him, "The answer is simple. Don't." He breaks down laughing, and recognising the sense in her words, is able to let go of most of his worry about it.
  • Arranged Marriage: Appears to be the norm here.
    • Downplayed with Meiling, whose father announces her engagement to Jin without specifically talking to her first, but only after he knows she's interested; he wants her to be happy.
    • Played straight with Xiulan, who anticipates her father choosing a political match for her and is unenthusiastic but dutiful.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: As expected given the setting and genre, arrogant Young Mistresses and Masters who take offense at nearly anything and whose go-to conflict resolution method is beating the living hell out of people with magical martial arts are common.
    • Jin is a subversion as although he's both a very powerful cultivator and an Isekai protagonist, he wants nothing more than to live peacefully on his farm with his family and he's unfailingly polite to everyone he meets. He will, however, jokingly dive headfirst into the trope when he figures out a Mundane Utility for his Qi.
      Fool. This is only the first form of my cuisine! Teriyaki burgers will flow! Poutine will flourish! I will master the Dao of Cooking, and all will fear my might!
    • Bi De becomes an arrogant Young Master after defeating Basi Bu Shi but learns to be humble after he is deceived and nearly killed by Chow Ji, only to be saved by the lowly Ri Zu.
    • Xiulan, although honorable and upright, had some tendencies this way but softens up after spending time at Fa Ram.
    • Xianghua acts like one, but isn't. She has a hard time reading social cues and body language, so she defaults to this sort of behavior since it's relatively easy to do consistently and the reactions she gets from others are mostly predictable.
    • In fact, very few of the cultivators met in the Azure Hills region are really arrogant, although Meiling does recall seeing one kill a beggar child for getting in his way.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Cultivator society basically functions on this principle. The stronger you are, the more authority you have within the sect. Likewise between sects; a stronger sect can give orders to weaker ones. This is played with however in that although cultivators are generally above mortals in the social hierarchy, among mortals there is much more rule of law and power derives much more from tradition or legal authority than violence or the threat of it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Jin's qi-infused foodstuffs are simultaneously this and Boring, but Practical. On the one hand, growing spirit herbs and refining them into pills would produce far more potent cultivation boosters for the same expenditure of qi and effort. But on the other hand, you can't take too many pills too quickly or the impurities will build up and poison you, while Jin's products can be eaten for every meal without difficulty.
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • After dispatching a scout, Bi De calls the other Disciples, who turn up one by one and march together on the bandit camp.
    • The inhabitants of Fa Ram later appear in sequence in Tianlan's domain, in spirit form, to help Tianlan prepare for winter, each setting out to take up part of the task of building her a home. Jin and Bi De cut logs, Gou Ren gathers stones, Xiulan and Meiling weave reeds into a mattress, and Chunky is just the right size for Tianlan to lean against in her tired state.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When it's time to head home from Hong Yaowu, Jin walks to his sleigh and whistles for Chunky and Peppa, who come trotting over — and jump into the driving seat, while Jin picks up the front of the sleigh and starts running with it, to the villagers' laughter.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • After wearing themselves out with hockey, Jin tells Xiulan that he'll run a bath for her and they'll have more fun afterward. She tenses, but doesn't want to argue with the powerful man who saved her life.
      "Yeah, we're gonna play answer-go!" he said cheerfully. "Winner gets to ask the loser one question! Dare you challenge me?"
      She paused. Wait, what?
    • On a later visit, she gets her revenge; Meiling is away, so she asks, "Perhaps I could keep you company tonight?" Jin is shocked and can't help but stare — until she brings out the Go board.
      Xiulan: Oh? Is something the matter? How else would this one keep you company, Master Jin, aside from a rousing game of Answer-Go?
    • When Tigu hears that Xiulan is helping Gou Ren to find a woman, she declares it "a monumental task," causing Gou to deflate. She then goes on to explain that there are very few women worthy of her Junior Brother, or any of Fa Ram's disciples, causing Gou to do a double take.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Jin, natch. He does sometimes wield a shovel against wolves and foxes, but when given a ceremonial sword, he reflects that all he knows how to do with it is swing or throw it at someone, then End Them Rightly with his fists.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind:
    • After her battle against Sun Ken, where many lives were lost on both sides, Xiulan is plagued over and over by dreams where she relives the deaths of her soldiers and then gets killed by Sun Ken. With the earth spirit's tutelage, she eventually reaches a point where she wins the dream fight and vanquishes him — Just in Time, as it appears that the internal manifestation of him was gaining presence and becoming some form of demon.
    • Xiulan again experiences one of these, this time against Lu Ban's fire Qi which has ignited her wood Qi. It takes the form of a wildfire in a grass field in her mind. She is able to extinguish it with the help of Ri Zu channeling water Qi provided by Xianghua. Then, with the help of the earth spirit, plus what she has learned from Jin, Xianghua, and others, she is able to restore her ability to cultivate, in the same way that a burned-out forest will grow back stronger because of the nutrients deposited in the soil from the ashes.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Jin accidentally wins the devoted loyalty of the spirit of the Azure Hills, who has been deeply wounded by a mysterious ancient calamity, and has been essentially in a coma for untold years. Jin's devoted investment of work and qi causes her to start healing — and become very attached to him, pouring her power back into him and never wanting him to leave.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: The magistrate of the local town is not happy about having someone living nearby who could probably destroy his town by accident if he went all out. And every time Jin does something generous, the magistrate drives himself to distraction worrying about the implications of being indebted to such a person. Every time he tries to repay Jin, however, Jin does something else for him in gratitude.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Downplayed with Meiling, who is understandably wary upon sensing that Jin has powerful qi, and then incensed by him dragging her into a mudhole — in her good clothes! — to join his game with the local children, but who can't help noticing how well built he is. And the fact that he is playing with children rather than slaughtering them for getting in his way as many cultivators would. She warms up to him considerably after he kills the Reaper Wolf known as the "Wicked Blade", and then protects her best friend from being raped.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Wa Shi returns to his home under Jin's house — and finds that other fish have moved in. The narrative just mentions that he "saw red", before cutting to Jin's point of view, watching a carp get smacked upward out of the water and then hit five times in mid-air before being spiked back down.
    • Gou Ren is quite an even-tempered fellow, who readily recognises how much better it is to use cultivation peacefully than violently, but when he learns that the Shrouded Mountain sect has kidnapped Tigu, he quickly passes through Tranquil Fury into Unstoppable Rage. His qi manifestations, rather than elegant techniques like [Split Faces of the Half Moon], or [Verdant Blade Sword Arts: 16 Blades of Grass], are simply [Break], shattering the ground and cracking nearby buildings like a localised earthquake.
      The boy who was not a threat suddenly became one.
  • Best Served Cold: Invoked by Jin after the Xong brothers spend the day laughing at Tigger's nude sculptures of him. Rather than retaliate immediately, he waits until the end of the day, when they're enjoying a sauna, then gets their father's approval to administer a massage with a bundle of sticks — including some thick branches that will leave marks.
    Jin: It's medicinal. It's supposed to feel like this.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog:
    • Jin puts up the titular "Beware of Chicken" sign at his farm as a joke after Bi De violently kills a troublesome fox. Newcomers tend to find it funny, until they meet the chicken in question. It should be noted, however, that the chicken is scrupulously honourable; you just don't want to cross him.
    • Bi De later makes a second sign at the village of Eighth Correct Place, after saving it from wolves.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Everyone loves Chunky. He's kind, placid, endlessly patient, gets along great with all the children in Hong Yaowu. He provides invaluable counselling that helps keep the peace between Tigu and Ri Zu. Nonetheless, he absolutely wrecks the Whirling Demon Blade gang when they threaten his family.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Bi De reaches the village of Eighth Correct Place just before it can fall to a pack of wolves, and cuts down the leader, which scares the others away.
    • Tigu bails out An Ran and the other Petals from a horde of Five-Venom Spiders on the Hill of Torment in the Dueling Peaks Tournament.
    • Bi De later comes to the rescue of Xiulan, who is locked into a desperate, slowly losing battle against Lu Ban. He blocks numerous blows aimed at finishing her off, but is slowly losing the battle himself. The battle becomes a Delaying Action, where he holds on just long enough for the arrival of Jin.
    • Jin shows up to the battle at Dueling Town just in time to save Yun Ren from Fexian, intimidate the other Shrouded Mountain disciples into a ceasefire, and end the battle with a punch that fires Lu Ban's ''corpse'' more than a thousand li into the next province over.
  • Big Eater:
    • Pi Pa can eat a human body in one bite. Though depending on the body, she finds it distasteful.
    • Wa Shi is all about food. He'll eat a bowl of dinner with everyone else, then jump into the river and beg for everyone's dirty plates to scour. He's loyal to the farm because he recognises that it's his food supply. He leaves the secret garden and climbs the waterfall back home because he wants more food variety.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Inverted In-Universe. Since it's xianxia-land, the native language is Chinese, but there are many names that are puns or other jokes in English.
    • Jin calls his rooster (i.e. his cock) "Big D". The natives all interpret it as "Bi De".
    • The other animals get pop culture references as names, such as Ri Zu (Rizzo) the rat, and Pi Pa (Peppa) the pig.
    • Miantiao the snake first introduces himself as "Shi Ti", as an indicator of his poor self esteem and sense that he's useless. The story makes it clear that the translation from Chinese is "corpse", but he'd probably embrace the English meaning too if he knew it.
    • Bonus points for Tigu: Jin names her Tigger; everyone assumes her name is Tigu because 'er as the end of a name is used as an affectionate diminutive (like calling her "little Tigu"). She even gets offended if others refer to her as Tigu'er, because they haven't earned the right to, and upset if Jin doesn't, concerned that she's offended him and he's using her formal name as a rebuke.
  • Brick Joke: When Guan Bo first meets Jin, shopping with Meiling and Xiulan, he mistakenly assumes that Xiulan is Jin's wife, as she's more conventionally attractive. He exultantly toasts in private about the deal they struck, "to the Cultivator, his oddly familiar looking wife, and even to their freckly maid!" Many months later (and in a later book), when Guan Bo visits Jin's home, he mentions what a pleasure it is to see Jin and his lovely wife again — nodding to Xiulan. In front of Meiling.
  • Bringing Back Proof: Jin's animals kill Sun Ken, the Whirling Demon Blade bandit, ending the terror he brought to the province, and recover his intelligent sword — but Jin doesn't want the credit, he values his privacy. So he gives the blade to Xiulan, the woman who was supposed to do the job, and tells her to take it back to her sect as proof of the villain's death and the completion of her mission. She's uncomfortable with taking credit that doesn't belong to her, but since Jin also saved her life, she isn't going to argue with his request.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Well, Blaze Bears don't wear pants, but after one challenges Jin, then senses his true power and flees, it leaves behind a distinctive smell.

  • Call to Agriculture:
    • The premise of the story is that after leaving the Cloudy Sword sect, Jin decides he's absolutely sick of this cultivation nonsense and goes out to build himself a new life as a farmer.
    • Sun Ne is changed from a sword into a plowshare, and revels in its new and more wholesome method of cutting.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Comes up on several occasions, given that eating the Lowly Spiritual Herbs causes some but by no means all of the Fa Ram livestock to develop sapience and become Spirit Beasts. The reactions of the Spirit Beasts to the sacrifice of their lesser kin varies widely, with some (like Wa Shi and Tigu) barely being bothered, while Bi De is initially startled but ends up accepting it as appropriate, and Chun Ke is upset enough that he refuses to eat meat from anything raised on Fa Ram.
  • Catchphrase: Happens pretty much every time Bi De crows.
    Jin: You tell 'em, Big D.
  • The Cavalry: Fa Ram's representatives at the Tournament put up a valiant fight and surprise their attackers with their skill, but can't actually win, and are being worn down. Until Jin and the animals he brought with him show up.
  • Charged Attack: It's not intentional on Jin's part, but when he chambers a Megaton Punch, the world channels energy into it, complete with a whisper of ancient scripture into the ears of those nearby. There is enough time during the charge-up for the target to begin running away at superhuman speeds... not that it helps him any.
  • Chariot Pulled by Cats: Jin's mammoth cart, so big it would be crushed under its own weight without qi reinforcement, gets pulled to Pale Moon Lake City by a small white rabbit. She does eventually trade off with him, not because it's too heavy, but just because it's awkward for her to pull it.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the very first chapter, when clearing his land, Jin finds a root with a sense of qi, but has no idea what it is, so he just sets it aside. Much later, Meiling is able to confirm that it's so potent that it overloads her qi sense, though she still doesn't know what it actually is.
    • The sword leaning on the grave in Nezan's cave is initially used simply for a Secret Test of Character on Yun Ren. Turns out the sword is the Empathic Weapon Summer's Sky, and Nezan, being a Trickster God, secretly swaps it with Yun Ren's sword. This means the sword, with its millennia of combat experience and its ability to absorb and redirect lightning, are on hand to aid Yun Ren when fighting Fenxian.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Gou Ren practises qi manipulation by reinforcing Jin's retaining walls until they can survive Chunky hitting them at full force. When he fights Yingwen, though he is vastly lower in skill and power, his qi manifests with the solidity of stone, and his bamboo stick is as strong as a serious weapon, making him a credible threat.
    • Yun Ren starts learning how to make illusions with light and shadow in order to be able to project the images stored in his recording crystal for others to see and record them on solid objects. This pays off twice:
      • All the Shrouded Mountain Sect's fox-detecting techniques are based on detection of shadows, not light. Thus, the new illusion concealing the mouth of Nexan's cave, woven by Nezan with light after experimenting with Yun Ren, is completely undetectable by the sect expedition sent to kill him.
      • When Fenxian comes looking to kidnap Yun Ren, he uses the illusions first to disguise himself and then to mess with his attacker.
  • The Chosen One: Xiaoshi left a recording crystal with a loyal spirit bound inside, to instruct and raise up a worthy successor someday. And the first one to view the memories in the crystal is... Bi De. Nonetheless, after recovering from the shock, the spirit examines him and pronounces him worthy, promising to help him ascend and become the new emperor.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The narrative in chapter 1, when the main character finds himself in Rou's battered body and sees Rou's memories of the world, is quite profane. It's no surprise, then, that he decides to Opt Out of the whole system he's in. The language calms down considerably in later chapters.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: A rare non-radio/TV example. Having lost track of time, Jin inquires at an inn what day it is and how many days there are left until the Dueling Peaks Tournament concludes. The innkeeper replies the tournament ends that very day, but they're still waiting on news of the results. Mere seconds later a messenger boy bursts into the room.
    Messenger: Cai Xiulan defeated Rou Tigu! The match of the century!
  • Comically Missing the Point: After defeating Lu Ban/Zang Li and intimidating the Shrouded Mountain Sect into submission, Jin receives a scroll with poetry on it as part of the reparations for the damage, injury, and death caused by the fight in Dueling Town. The poem is a series of metaphors for what the Shrouded Mountain Sect thinks is going on and is their way of letting him know that they know and assuring him that they will help him (and the Cloudy Sword Sect) with his problem. Jin completely misses this and thinks they're just trying to apologize nicely, though he admits he's never been good at poetry.
  • Crushing Handshake: Yao Che the blacksmith, and Huo Ten the spirit monkey, shake hands aggressively — and then both surreptitiously nurse their hurting hands as they walk away.
  • Cry into Chest: Meiling makes Jin rest his head on her chest after he arrives home from the Tournament, and then lets him break down into tears.
  • Culture Clash:
    • The more Jin interacts with the people of this world, and particularly with other cultivators, the more it becomes clear that he represents several concepts which are utterly foreign to them and put them on the back foot with every interaction.
    • Jin's "We give to the Earth, and the Earth gives back" philosophy of living In Harmony with Nature and other people is contrary to the inherently selfish attitude of "defying the heavens" that dominates cultivator society. His generosity without ulterior motive inspires loyalty and reciprocation in those he deals with and leads to a level of cooperation between people (and animals) of different social and political standing that is unheard of.
      • It is mentioned in a book Jin reads, Contemplations of the Flame Bud, that there are some who find more value in something similar to him, with the book being about how two different men approach discovering an example of the titular extremely rare flower. While one takes the usual Cultivator path of tearing it from the ground, throwing it in a spirit furnace, and turning it into a pill to slightly improve his resistance to fire, the other finds it beautiful, and contemplates it, thinking about how its seeds must have travelled far and been carried by the currents of the world, and observing its life cycle, and thanks the flower for the experience when it finally dies. While most Cultivators view the story as being about how they should make pills out of rare flowers and think that the man who contemplated the flower is weak, Jin ponders that maybe the contemplation guys are the ones who actually ascend, rather than the cultivators.
    • Jin's belief in sharing your emotions with friends and family and maintaining good mental health by talking through problems is novel and contrary to the xianxia-world culture. They say "you face the heavens alone", he says "you don't have to face the heavens alone", or in some cases, "what you face right now is not the heavens". This attitude leads to his friends and disciples having much better mental health than most others, both enabling unexpectedly rapid advances in their cultivation and preventing their emotional problems from transforming into heart demons.
    • Jin's actual cultivation method of meditation through moving, and using up all your qi during hard work, building up the world rather than stripping it for resources, and in general creating "his own little slice of heaven" instead of striving to leave the earth for the heavens has enabled him to become absurdly powerful extremely rapidly, more so than anyone would have thought possible.
    • The fact that Jin is absurdly powerful but always restrains himself is another Culture Clash for the people of "Xianada". In the culture he grew up in and personal philosophy, you only ever use force, or even the threat of force, as an absolute last resort for self defense and the defense of others. Defending one's personal honor just isn't a thing, and the concept of "face" is much less strong. Here, those who have strength use force to get whatever they want, all the time, and preserving one's honorable reputation is a valid reason to attack someone. So whenever Jin allows them to see how powerful he is, but then doesn't use that power to his advantage, they assume he must be giving them a subtle threat and trip all over themselves to do whatever they think will please him.
    • Jin thinks freckles are cute rather than blemishes and thinks that a tan and muscles are attractive and the other members of Fa Ram follow his lead. This is in contrast with the local preference for a lean build and pale and flawless skin.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Jin runs into a cultivator who attempts to have his way with Meiling's best friend, but who breaks his hand when he tries to strike Jin.
    • The Reaper Wolf is built up as something terrifying, having been preying on the Azure Hills for over a century and has even killed a cultivator. Jin bashes it over the head once with his shovel and kills it.
    • A bandit seizes Bi De by the throat and squeezes, intending to cook him. Bi De is unimpressed, not to mention unharmed, and proceeds to casually tear the bandit's arm off.
    • When the Cloudy Sword Elder hears of how Jin was treated, he's pissed enough to call up the entire sect and deal brutal beatdowns upon those who engaged in Young Master-style antics against their juniors, telling them he'll be "trading pointers" with them with the same respect and diligence they gave their victims.
    • Xiulan's first fight at the Dueling Peaks tournament is not close to an even matchup; she simply places a hand on his chest and gently pushes him out of the ring.
    • In the final showdown against Lu Ban, Jin only throws a single punch. A single punch so powerful that Lu Ban simply disappears, despite his own power and the five protective talismans he was wearing, and the inhabitants of Yellow Rock Plateau, over 500km away, report a mysterious impact on a nearby mountain, triggering a rockslide.
  • David vs. Goliath: Invoked by Jin the first time he sees Bi De fighting a fox, and dashes to the rescue. As time passes, Bi De no longer needs rescuing, but still encounters people who do a double-take or laugh at him. Until they see him kill bandits and bears and dire wolves without a scratch on him...
  • Deader Than Dead: The Twilight Cuckoo's Triumph is a technique that allows its user to possess the bodies of others — and if killed, to revert to a puddle form that can infest anyone exposed to it. But after Lu Ban is first struck by Jin wielding the power of the land, then the resulting pool of oil and blood is incinerated with lightning, he's confirmed by an expert in the technique to be properly dead and unrecoverable.
  • The Dead Have Names: When Xiulan is finally able to open up and talk about the guilt of losing many soldiers under her command, she tells Meiling that she remembers every name.
    Jian Yuan, loyal and true. Lie Quan, who was perpetually poor from his gambling habits. Ming Po, and his pet duck. Hi Shin, and his dream to become a great general.
  • Delaying Action: All Bi De's skill is still not enough to defeat Zang Li/Lu Ban, but even as they fight, Bi De's shadow clone is running to alert his master.
  • Demonic Possession: An evil technique known as The Twilight Cuckoo's Triumph allows its user to take over a living or dead body, influencing or impersonating the host. Even killing the body won't automatically kill the possessor, just reduce them to a puddle of oil and blood that can take over another host.
  • De-Power: Lu Ban sets Xiulan's cultivation on fire and burns a great deal of it, leaving her at the third stage of the Initiate's realm — which is where she was before she met Jin. Instead of being the most powerful cultivator of her generation in the Azure Hills, she's now thoroughly mediocre. Nonetheless, she considers it an acceptable sacrifice to stop such a vile man.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: Subverted when Jin watches Meiling healing someone, and thinks she looks beautiful doing that — then sees her flush. When he realises that he said it aloud? He says it again.
  • Didn't See That Coming: A fox spirit finds Yun Ren examining a tomb it is supposed to protect... and runs into this trope constantly. The fox expects the young cultivator to rob the grave? No, Yun says, his parents raised him better than being a grave robber. The fox grants him a boon? No, he doesn't want incredible power, he just wants to know how to project his pictures on the walls for others to see. The fox gives him some scrolls to study and orders him to not read the others? Not five minutes later, Yun is touching the other scrolls! Time to- oh, wait, not only is Yun admitting weakness—something prideful cultivators never do—but since he couldn't understand the scrolls, he just decided to start cleaning up the fox's cave a bit as thanks. The fox is very confused by the young man by the end, but finds him endlessly entertaining.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Jin knows the correct way to grow rice, which has many extra steps but produces results head and shoulders above the farmers around him. To the point where he eventually can't sell his rice locally, because they can't afford the legally mandated price for such a high grade. He does share his techniques with his friends, though it's harder without qi.
    The funny thing is that I learned most of this from reading a manga. Thanks, Shizuko.
  • Dire Beast: In addition to spirit beasts, Xianxialand also has oversized primal fauna like Wreckerballs (elephant-sized armadillos) and Thunderhooves (moose, but the adults are the size of a house, and they may have some kind of electrical abilities).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The Xong brothers, especially Gou Ren, do try to behave themselves, but they find Xiulan's beauty very distracting. Which doesn't help Gou Ren make a good impression when he does make a serious attempt at courting her, even though he's sincere and actually does recognise her more meaningful good qualities.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength:
    • Jin has no idea that all his time investing qi in his farm has acted as highly effective training; his last reference point for his own strength was when he was part of the Cloudy Sword sect, where he was quite mediocre. When enemies flee from him in terror, or break their fingers hitting him, he just assumes that they were quite weak.
    • When Yun Ren keeps breaking bows, Jin recognizes it as an early sign of awakening qi.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Meiling has a naughty sense of humour at times, such as when Jin declares it's bathtime after checking the pregnant cows.
      Meiling: Indeed. We must clean ourselves of our effluvium, after our strenuous time penetrating the fine ladies of this establishment.
    • In a less risque example, Jin has become an extremely powerful (Qi) cultivator, not via the usual methods, but by becoming a literal (Plant) cultivator.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Xiulan informs her saviours that she has found bandit remains indicating that there is a dangerous spirit beast nearby, but she promises to drive it off and keep them safe. Jin smiles and tells her that he's sure it won't be a problem. It was his own farm animals — and yes, they are dangerous spirit beasts, but they adore him.
    • Lu Ri ponders his difficulty in finding Jin, while enjoying a new delicacy of maple syrup (which Jin produced). When he finally catches up to Jin and discovers it, he has a chuckle at the fickleness of the heavens.
    • The Xong brothers attend an auction, and are startled to see just how high the bidding goes on five bags of gold grade rice.
      Yun Ren: That's some expensive rice. Bet it's not as good as Jin's.
      Gou Ren: No bet!note 
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Jin has a lot to say about cultivators and their obsession with medicines to increase their power.
      I was extremely suspect about all the pills these people choked back. I'm half convinced the reason every cultivator is so damn nuts is because of all [the] drugs they did.
    • Bi De learns the hard way that taking the pills offered to him was doing bad things to his body. Made worse that Chow Ji, the pills' supplier, deliberately uses their impurities to nearly cripple him.
  • Dying Curse: Chow Ji invokes a plague of rats on the farm with his dying breath; Ti Gu spends a good deal of her time after that dealing with them, so all it manages to achieve is to feed and train a dedicated rat killer. Jin later overpowers and destroys the curse, unknowingly, as his bond with the land increases.
  • Eastern Zodiac: Jin seems to be gathering at least one of every animal from the zodiac: Rizzo is the Rat, Tigger is the Tiger, Washy (a carp) is the Dragon, Big D is the Rooster, and Peppa and Chunky share the role of the Pig. Later, he acquires Babe the ox, Miantiao the snake, and Yin the rabbit. Meiling identifies Gou Ren as the monkey, and Yun Ren as the dog. All that's currently missing are the Horse and, to a lesser extent, the Sheep (Jin has three sheep at the farm, but so far none of them have shown signs of uplifting.)
  • Eating Pet Food: Jin always shares his cooking, so Bi De tries to do the same, after smoking and drying a bunch of worm skewers as travel rations. Jin is brave enough to try one when offered, but doesn't enjoy it.
    Jin: Most humans won't like this, buddy.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: The first time she visits Fa Ram with the Xong brothers, Meiling sees Jin with his shirt off and just stares.
    Gou Ren: Stop drooling, Meimei.
  • Elemental Powers: Qi can be aligned to different elements. There is wood qi, fire qi, water qi, and many others. Jin's power appears to be associated with growth; his crops are fantastically productive, but infusing his qi into milk causes it to rot faster (the opposite of Meiling's qi, which is medicinal, and can sterilize surfaces and objects).
  • Embarrassing Slide: Yun Ren shows off the many photos he took on his trip north, using a recording crystal, but he didn't mean to include the picture of the rather cute girl who sold him the crystal, whom he's started dating. Especially in front of his mother, who didn't yet know about her.
    Yun Ren: And then this one is—
    Meiling: Oh?
    Yun Ren: And what I meant to say is, this one is the end of things. Time for food, everybody—!
  • Empathic Weapon:
    • The magical sword Summer's Sky is intelligent, experienced, and can talk to its wielder, of which it has had seven. It's also capable of independently absorbing lightning attacks and returning them to sender, but it doesn't actually puppet its wielder, so Yun Ren still has difficulty.
      Summer's Sky: Ah. Eighth Wielder's abilities are low. Challenging. Interesting. Approval.
    • The Crimson Demon's Tooth, Sun Ken's sword, is sapient. However, no one realizes this until after he is killed and the captured sword is reforged into a plow and renamed Sunny (Su Ne). Perhaps unsurprisingly for a blade, it is obsessed with cutting things. Luckily for it, the only person who knows this fact is Babe (Ba Be) the ox and he enjoys working with it.
  • Enemy Mine: Xiulan is in the middle of a semi-serious spar with Tigu, when Bi De interrupts, chastises them for the noise they're making, and invites them to "trade pointers" with him instead. They quickly set aside their differences to face him together. He still trounces them both without a feather out of place, but the experience brings them closer.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: Wa Shi is, above all else, a glutton. However, he is a highly intelligent glutton. He is willing to work hard to ensure the farm's prosperity, because it's what feeds him, and he's entrusted with managing and accounting for their food supplies because he'll do the job well.
    And while I was sure we would have some things missing, I did trust him to make sure we would all be able to last the winter eating good food.
    If only because if he ate too much now, he wouldn’t be able to eat more later.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Bi De feels like laughing when Chow Ji tells him that his "qi-less wretch" of a master is unworthy of the land he lives on, and that they should instead rule it together. Bi De knows full well that the land's richness is largely because Jin has immense qi and invests it all into the land.
    • When Xiulan warns Jin and Meiling about a dangerous beast nearby, which she promises to track down and protect them from, Jin just smiles. She's worried about whatever killed the Whirling Demon Blade gang — but it was Jin's own farm animals.
    • At the Shrouded Mountain's inquiry on Zang Li's death, Jin's first confrontation comes up, and the elders realize "the unknown cultivator" that defeated Li back then is obviously Jin. However, they think, due to his connection to the Cloudy Sword sect and their own reputation, that Jin is present in the Azure Hills because there is something there he wants, or that he is dealing with secretly. By that logic his conduct after defeating Li means he knew full well the gravity of the impersonation and gave him back to them quietly with the expectation the parasite would be dealt with, a duty they view as having grievously failed. Of course in reality, the first time Jin defeated Zang Li he had no idea the man was possessed by a demonic cultivator, and he came to the Azure Hills specifically to get away from all the sect politics.
  • Exact Words:
    • The Magistrate of Verdant Hill is able to honestly say that he doesn't know of anyone called Jin Rou, except the butcher. Of course, if he were inclined to be helpful, he could have mentioned that he does know someone who calls himself Rou Jin.
    • The town of Eighth Correct Place. On hearing the title, people (including Bi De) think that this is the eigth place that was Correct. Not so; the name is a joke on how the first seven towns of "Correct Place" were wiped out by flooding, and this is the eighth iteration of "Correct Place."
  • The Exile: Jin settles on this as a punishment for Yingwen of the Shrouded Mountain, passing up the option to execute him.
    Jin: Go. Take the others with you. Go, and never return.
  • Explosive Results:
    • Learning to correctly infuse qi into an object takes a lot of practice, and the results of failure aren't pretty. Meiling's lessons result in her wiping off green sludge from the grass blade she melted, and even Jin, who knows how to do general infusion, exploded a lot of ice when trying to make it melt more slowly.
    • Using pill furnaces to concentrate the qi from herbs is a delicate process that takes years to master, and can lead to violent results if mismanaged. To the point that competitive pill-making is a popular event at the Dueling Peaks Tournament, mainly for the spectacular explosions.

  • Family of Choice: As the various farm animals gain sapience and grow, Jin increasingly sees them as children. Eventually, he and Meiling speak with them about whether they want to take on family names; Tigu takes on "Rou", Ri Zu is adopted into the Hong family (Meiling's surname), and Bi De is honored by the offer but instead settles on "Fa" in honor of Fa Ram itself.
  • Fan Disservice: Jin notes that stripping Xiulan to treat her wounds is way less sexy than it sounds, given that she is on death's door and leaking demonic pus from some of her wounds.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Cultivators tend to outrank all but the richest and most powerful mortals, which has odd effects when the cultivator is an unassuming farm boy from the sticks visiting the big city for the first time.
  • Fat Bastard: An in-universe trope for petty officials. The typical small town magistrate is corpulent, corrupt and incompetent. Visiting merchants are surprised to see that the Lord Magistrate is athletic... even before they discover that he's very competent.
  • Fertile Feet: When Jin uses qi in an area, he tends to leave behind grass and flowers. Without noticing. Meiling is unsure what to think, except that she was right in believing he's overwhelmingly strong. It turns out to be caused by qi leakage, from wood-aligned qi.
  • Fetch Quest: Lampshaded when Jin returns a wandering goat to an old woman and gets... a cat.
    This… was a very strange side quest. I wonder what I trade the kitten for. The sword of +3?
  • Fingore: Zang Li strikes Jin with his "Heaven Piercing Lance" technique – and his fingers bend backwards, leaving him screaming in pain.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • The original animal disciples of Fa Ram become truly close after the defeats of Chow Ji and Sun Ken.
    • Helped largely by Tigu's post human transformation brash and disarming personality and the dedication of Yun Ren and Gou Ren to making parties, not war, the Younger Generation of the Azure Hills cultivators – both sect-affiliated and independent – become good friends over the course of the Dueling Peaks Tournament and the battle against the Shrouded Mountain Sect afterwards.
  • Flash Step: The Shrouded Mountain sect has a mobility technique called Thunderous Steps that allows users to move very quickly.
  • Flight: As his body is perfected by qi, Bi De becomes capable of flying, although he usually doesn't use it, and apologises to the heavens when he does.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Thousands of years ago, Xiaoshi recorded his history and his failure in a crystal, and entrusted it to a Temple Dog to take somewhere safe, so that someday, a suitable heir could learn from his mistakes and do better.
  • Forceful Kiss: When Meiling learns that Jin's house plans include space for her to produce medicines, and even a library, she promptly sends the Xong brothers out of the room and then kisses him hard enough to back him up against a wall. (Not that he minds.)
  • Gargle Blaster: Jin's experiments in distilling alcohol eventually pay off, but most of it is fairly standard if somewhat strong vodka and mead. However, mead fermented from honey produced by Vajra's hive of spirit bees is both incredibly potent in an alcoholic sense and filled with Qi, making it doubly strong for cultivators. The first test of it leads to a wild night for humans and spirit beasts alike, after narrowly preventing Washy from diving into the barrel, and Jin decides to lock the stuff away because it's dangerously good.
    Jin: I think… we might keep this one to ourselves.
  • Gathering Steam: A literal example when Liu Xianghua starts up a boiler of qi-infused water to empower her during the Dueling Peaks tournament. Tigu remembers having heard about the figurative term, just as Xianghua's eyes light up orange.
  • Genius Loci: Near the end of the first volume, it's revealed that the farm/Fa Ram is developing a consciousness of its own. Bi De's investigation with Miantiao and Yin revealed that this used to be the case for all of the Azure Hills, until something happened that severely injured the spirit.
  • Genre Savvy: Jin informs Tigu that when cultivators gather at a restaurant, some sort of a fight will always break out. Xiulan goes to contradict him, then pauses to reflect on her past experience and realizes that he may be right. Tigu is just excited at the prospect. Her brashness and naivete do start stirring up a hostile reaction, but she's so much more powerful than the average Azure Hills cultivator that as soon as she manifests her Intent, the troublemakers immediately become quiet and apologetic.
  • Geo Effects: During the fight with the Shrouded Mountain sect's delegation, the Azure Hills cultivators have an initial advantage since they're used to the low-Qi environment of their region. Even when their opponents eventually adapt, the morale boost helps keep their spirits up.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Bi De and his companions are attacked by Blaze Bears, the scene ends with "The Bears roared, and the battle was joined." Immediately after the scene transition, the bruised and bleeding bears are kowtowing, apologising, thanking Bi De for his restraint, and in one case, half-buried in the ground head-first.
    Now, such a thing will not happen again, will it?’ Bi De asked the bear with several missing teeth and a black eye.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Jin is an Isekai protagonist from 21st-century Canada, so naturally he has some advanced knowledge compared to the society he finds himself in, but he's clearly a fairly average guy, and aside from some experience with farming, has no in-depth professional knowledge, so this is downplayed:
    • Jin's rice farming techniques date to the 1850s, which is old hat for someone from the 21st century but is cutting-edge to the Imperial Chinese Medieval Stasis of Xianxia-land and gives him much higher crop yields than everyone else, even before the gains from infusing the plants with his Qi. This extends to his other crops, as well – for example, he knows the optimal distance to space wheat plants from each other for best yield.
    • Jin admits he's not much of a mechanical engineer, but still has enough knowledge to help design a still for distilling liquor and a water-powered drop hammer for forging metal tools, which are both basically unknown in his region.
    • Jin builds his house and farm using techniques and designs pulled from modern and historical Japan and Canada. The insulation of the house, its size and height, and use of windows are noted to be superior to the norm.
    • Judging by everyone's reaction when Jin recognizes and points out sugar maples in the woods near his farm, the concept of tapping trees for their sap is completely unknown to them.
    • Subverted in the case of germ theory; it turns out that the combination of healing with Qi cultivation long ago clued the locals into the existence of microorganisms and their role in causing disease. (Jin is impressed that the discoverer actually shared the information with everyone, though.)
    • Jin negotiates with the Patriarch of the Verdant Hills for the right to build a Roman-style road from his house, to the village of Hong Yaowu, and on to Verdant Hills. However, he notes that there are higher-quality roads already in existence, and the only reason there aren't any nearby is that the province is too poor and unimportant to afford them. There's also a brief mention of a southern village that had something similar to concrete, only to be destroyed when the Emperor demanded the recipe and what they gave him didn't work.
    • Being Canadian, it should be unsurprising that Jin promptly introduces ice hockey and saunas as soon as it starts to get cold out.
    • Jin's sketches of modern clothing design prove inspiring to Meiling and others, but they still need to be brought to professional clothiers for manufacture.
    • It's not clear whether local farmers are familiar with the concept of keeping bees to pollinate crops; there's some discussion of the difficulty in finding and moving a hive as well as the exorbitant cost of honey and difficulty in harvesting it, implying people have had some reason to mess with beehives in the past. However, Jin's modular beehive design and knowledge of bee behavior are clearly innovations. The queen bee is stunned — albeit in a good way — to realise that Jin is able to harvest honey and wax from her hive without destroying the whole thing.
    • The idea of a seed drill is not unknown to the other farmers in Azure Hills but Jin's design is noted to be radically different in execution and allows for multiple holes to be drilled simultaneously.
    • He introduces knitting to Meiling, who is intrigued by the possibility of creating clothes without a full loom.
    • Jin wants to build a greenhouse, which is a new concept in this world. However, it's noted that even if they had thought of it sooner, it'd be impossible for the average farmer to build one, since the quantity and quality of glass required would be prohibitively expensive. Luckily for him, the absurdly high quality farm goods he produces — particularly gold-grade rice and qi-infused maple syrup — are highly profitable, and he also has access to a spirit beast snake who is also a master glassblower so it's within his reach.
    • Jin teaches his farm animals/disciples some basic principles of physics. Washy puts this to good use and uses fluid dynamics to inform his telekinetic water manipulation techniques, manipulating the flow rate and pressure of water streams to achieve everything from creating a cutting jet to propelling himself up a waterfall.
      The Black Turtle of the North: What is flow?
      Washy: Q=V/t.
  • Glamour Failure: The illusions protecting Nezan's cave don't work properly on recording crystals, causing a fuzzy patch in Yun Ren's photos, where his eyes see a solid wall. When he investigates, he's able to collapse the illusion and enter.
  • The Gloves Come Off:
    • When Shen Yu hears about his chosen protégé being viciously beaten and leaving the Cloudy Sword Sect while he has responsibilities elsewhere, he decides it's time to finish up quickly. The mere gathering of his intent incinerates an army of demons.
      Shen Yu: Restraint? Rationing of power? What is losing a mere Ten Years of Cultivation?
    • Tigu, being the Spirited Competitor that she is, and much stronger than the rank and file cultivators of the Azure Hills, treats her initial tournament fights primarily as teaching opportunities, explaining and urging ways for her opponents to improve their combat techniques. Until one of them calls her tanned skin "ugly," and she immediately punches him out of the ring into the barrier protecting the stands.
  • A God, I Am Not: Jin is insanely powerful, at least in comparison to the rest of the cultivators in the Azure Hills, but is perfectly happy with working on his farm.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Downplayed, it's not all bad, but Jin probably would have been more content if his advanced growing techniques and abundant qi infusion had merely turned out to produce high Blue-grade rice, the best in the local area, instead of Gold grade, requiring him to reach out to a nationwide merchant network in order to find customers rich enough to pay a reasonable price for it, and risk drawing a spotlight to him, since Gold-grade rice hasn't been grown in the Azure Hills in the past millennium.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Jin's placement at the Cloudy Sword sect. It was supposed to let him grow on his own terms for a few years until his very powerful grandfather could come back to collect him – but he didn't realize that. It gets him killed and replaced with an Isekai character who turns his back on the whole cultivation lifestyle. Subverted as Jin and the original Jin are shown to be connected to each other and Isekai Jin shares everything with the original Jin, leading the two to inhabit the body in harmony.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Jin is a bit soft; he can kill foxes and wolves when needed, but is very hesitant about violence to other people. His animals, however, have no such compunctions. They are honorable and generous and patient, but they are also killing machines when roused.
    • Jin isn't sure what to think when he learns that they have slaughtered and eaten the Whirling Demon Blade bandits, but he settles on thanking them for defending the farm, then having more conversations about the proper usage of power.
    • Even Jin has his moments, when a wild beast must be put down, even if in human form.
      He was nothing but a rabid beast, wasn’t he? And every farmer knew what to do with one.

      …No farmer ever enjoyed it.
  • Green Thumb: Discussed, deconstructed, and defied by Jin, who acknowledges that he could use qi to make plants grow rapidly, but he doesn't have a comprehensive enough understanding of the full ecosystem to do that without risking a collapse. He could even cause the trees to rise up and fight for him, but that's a nightmare scenario to him. Instead, he focuses on making plants grow better, pouring his qi into them without making specific demands. It works, with the farm following the normal seasons but being fantastically productive, both in quantity and quality, at harvest time. It also turns out that while Jin isn't using his powers to directly grow plants, someone else is; by pouring his Qi into the land Jin is reviving and healing the local earth spirit, who in return uses her power to further improve the quality and yield of his crops.

  • Hangover Sensitivity: Exploited by Jin, who has much faster recovery than anyone else, and delights in talking loudly about how it's a beautiful day, while everyone else except Meiling (who stayed dry) is walking like a funeral procession.
  • Happiness in Slavery:
    • Jin's animals all consider themselves honored to serve the great Fa Ram. Jin eventually tries to pay them so that it isn't slavery, but they mostly seem to put their pay back in the farm savings. (From an animal's point of view, they're not exactly wrong; everyone at Fa Ram eats like kings and queens, enjoys unparalleled safety from predators of all kinds, and has access to high quality medical care.)
    • Vajra the queen bee is a particularly notable example, since she can't speak, and thus actually views herself as a vassal and Jin as an emperor. But she's very pleased with her situation nonetheless; her hive is protected from invaders and kept well fed, and she's quite happy to offer her bees' life and service in return.
  • Healing Factor: Qi can be used to accelerate healing. Once Xiulan is purged of demonic qi, she's able to heal her cuts and bruises in seconds.
  • Healing Herb: Hong Yaowu has records of many qi-infused plants with remarkable medicinal properties, but Jin's "Lowly Spiritual Herbs", which he quietly took with him when he left the Cloudy Sword Sect, and which have been saturated with his abundant qi, are especially potent — particularly after Meiling discovers ways to refine and concentrate them. They're a key part of the surgery to heal Bowu's crippled leg, allowing near-instant recovery without stitches.
  • Hero Insurance: Defied. Cultivators actually can smash buildings and roads with impunity, since mortals can't hold them to account (and would normally be destroyed for the insult of trying). But after the Shrouded Mountain disciples are defeated at the Dueling Peaks, Jin makes sure all the cultivators involved gather together to clean up and rebuild.
    Jin: If you break something, fix it.
  • Hero of Another Story: There are a lot of more traditional Xianxia characters and stories going on in the background. Sometimes they encounter the Fa Ram and go Off the Rails.
  • Heroic Build: Played with. Jin has a bodybuilder's physique, but the local ideal is lean and fast. (Tigu is teaching the local girls to appreciate abs, though.)
  • Hermit Guru: Xiulan, after observing the farm, concludes that Jin is a Hidden Master, and that's also how she describes him to her sect. When Meiling realises it, she's first amused, then realises that he actually does fit most of the criteria, although it's certainly not what he set out to do.
    Jin really was some kind of hidden master, wasn't he? Powerful, with strong "disciples", and living as to not be disturbed?
    She looked over at her intended, and he perked up, giving her a big, goofy grin.
    Meiling grinned back, for an entirely different reason.
    He would figure it out, or he wouldn't.
  • Heroic Vow: Xiulan promises Jin that she'll bring his disciples back safely from the Dueling Peaks Tournament. She isn't able to do it alone, but she gets herself almost killed in a Delaying Action to protect Tigu until Jin can arrive and intervene, which Jin considers to be going above and beyond.
  • High-Class Call Girl: This is essentially Guan Chyou's role in the Azure Jade Trading Company; she's both intelligent and attractive, and is assigned to highly valued clients to provide for any and all needs that they may have – business-related or otherwise. When she starts flirting with Jin, he quickly shuts her down and requests different services, but doesn't realize it's actually part of her job; he assumes it was more of an impromptu order to seduce a client.
  • History Repeats: As it turns out, this is not the first time that someone has followed the Path of Shennong and connected to Tianlan Shan. Xiaoshi was in many ways a similar man to Jin, kind and friendly and wanting to build a little slice of heaven on earth. But he built a large formation to empower her, and it was eventually corrupted to destroy her instead. Tianlan is now terrified of being torn apart again.
  • Hive Queen: A literal hive; spirit bee queens appear to be able to share the senses of their subordinates and remotely command them. Vajra also demonstrates the ability to dominate foreign bees and add them to the swarm.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Chunky the boar, after awakening as a spirit animal, grows immensely (and can alter his size), but remains extremely friendly and gentle. (Unless you've made yourself his enemy.) He frequently gives rides to everyone, especially children.
  • I Choose to Stay: Jin is a little surprised to learn that the fragment of Rou's soul, despite having initially wanted to remain in the Cloudy Sword Sect, doesn't want to return when offered the chance, having become attached to the farm.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Jin isn't exactly thrilled at how the clash with Zang Li and the Shrouded Mountain turned out, but he doesn't wallow in self-recrimination.
    I had killed somebody. I couldn’t say I really regretted it. Some men needed killing. Taking charge of the Azure Hills? Well, that was downright terrifying, but I think it had to be done too.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jin really wanted peace, which is why he left the Cloudy Sword Sect, but even as a farmer, his level of power makes all sorts of waves.
    This was coming, I knew it was, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. My rice was getting too good. I was expanding the roads too much. There was no way I could have remained hidden forever.
  • Immune to Fire: When Jin first tries out his idea of using qi to quickly boil water, it's an emergency situation, so he just sticks his hand in a pot of water and dumps qi into it, with immediate results. Then realizes how foolish it is to have his hand in a pot of boiling water. Then he realizes that it's not actually hurting him. He later speculates about the idea of qi-powered metalwork, being able to just reach into a forge and reshape the hot metal inside.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Qi-enriched food is vastly superior to ordinary food, especially to Cultivators who can benefit from absorbing the qi from it, making it very valuable. Everything Jin grows is qi-enriched.
  • Incest Subtext: Leading to an in-universe squick moment, a huli jing tries to seduce Yun to find out more about him, but it turns out "Fox + attractive female" looks really similar to Yun's mom, which is a huge turn off for him. (When the Fox finds out, it remarks that many nobles don't seem to care.)
  • I Need A Drink: Upon hearing that Jin single-handedly forbade the Shrouded Mountain from entering the Azure Hills again, the magistrate seizes a bottle of wine, but only allows himself a single sip, though he desperately wants more — so he hands the bottle to his wife to remove the temptation.
    She obliged him, draining the rest.
  • Insatiable Newlyweds:
    • Shortly after getting married, Zhuge Tingfeng is contemplating how good his life is, including the fact that, "His wonderful bride was as enthusiastic about their marriage as he was, and he was the envy of all of his colleagues."
    • After their marriage, Jin and Meiling are quite active both by day and by night, leading Gou Ren to stay in Jin's old shack and Xiulan to sleep outside.
      "And Jin…." I turned back to my wife, who had a bit of a flush on her face. "No slacking on your duties, husband."
      I chuckled.
      "Lewd woman."
      "I am not lewd, I am a proper wife, attentive to her duties!" she shot back, glaring.
      "You're the one who got the recording crystal out. You're lewd."
  • Insult Backfire:
    • After Yun Ren refers to Meiling as "our flower", Gou Ren snorts that she could only be a bunch of thistles. She takes this in stride, though threatening revenge – but when Jin hears of it, he's impressed.
      Jin: A thistle, huh? I can see it. Medicinal. Tough enough to grow anywhere. And really, they are truly beautiful flowers, the same colour as her eyes.
    • Ty An disparagingly calls Tigger in human form "Muscles" – which she takes as a compliment, and returns the favour, referring to Ty An by her beautiful "Freckles".note 
  • Interesting Situation Duel: To help them set aside their regrets, Bi De offers to fight Miantiao and Liang Yin as a stand in for the deceased target of their ire, Sun Ken. He matches his power and abilities to best emulate how that fight might have gone so that the snake and rabbit don't feel that their efforts to grow stronger were wasted.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • At the end of book 2, Xiulan finally learns about Jin's history with the Cloudy Sword sect, realizing why he prefers a First-Name Basis to being called "Master". She decides he's worthy of the title, anyway.
    • The Lord Magistrate finally learns that Jin is young and inexperienced and really did look up to him all along, and is stunned.
    • In volume 3, Meiling asks how Jin knows so much, and he tells her about his reincarnation.
  • Interrupted Intimacy:
    • Things are heating up on Jin and Meiling's favourite rock, when Bi De calls them to attend the pregnant cows.
    • Xianghua's evening with Gou Ren is going perfectly, until they're disturbed by a Shrouded Mountain disciple intending to essentially kidnap Gou Ren. An extremely upset Xianghua opens hostilities by striking the intruder with the bedroll she had secretly prepared.
      Xianghua: This night was going as planned. Things were just getting good. You have ruined it.
  • Interspecies Romance: Bi De and Ri Zu have some chemistry and show interest in each other. They don't seem to regard species as a barrier; it's more about Ri Zu developing her self-confidence.
  • Intimate Healing: Just working in close proximity to Jin seems to result in his friends benefiting from his qi, and after sleeping next to him (chastely, no more than cuddling) at the end of a strenuous day of work, Meiling wakes up without muscle soreness.
  • I Owe You My Life: After Jin and Meiling treat Xiulan's wounds and bring her back from the brink of death, she declares that she owes them her life and will repay them a hundredfold. Jin tries to assure her that no debt is necessary, but ultimately finds it easier to just accept her promise and then largely ignore it.
  • Ironic Echo: Pi Pa acts as a mediator between Ti Gu and Ri Zu on multiple occasions, reminding them that there is to be no fighting in the house. She freezes when Ti Gu repeats it back to her to stop her taking revenge on Washy for slapping her butt.
  • I Shall Taunt You: When defending Xiulan from Zang Li/Lu Ban, Big D realizes that while he can hold off the enemy cultivator in the short term, in the long term he's outclassed. However he also notices his opponent, already enraged at being challenged by a chicken, responds poorly to references to Jin, and begins to criticize his adversary's technique and compare him to Jin.
    Big D: Hmph, your power is far below that of my Master's. You are beneath his notice. Look at you, struggling so greatly against just his chicken.
  • Joke and Receive: Xiulan encounters a rooster that's a stronger cultivator than herself, a rat learning the healing arts, and wonders if she'll next encounter pigs that shake the earth.
    There was a happy squeal from outside, and the thunder of trotters.
    Her eyebrow twitched.
  • Just in Time: A minor example, when Xiulan visits for Jin and Meiling's wedding, having travelled for weeks and dodged her minders, and arrives during the bridal procession.
  • "Just So" Story: The story of why the village known as "The Eighth Correct Place" is named that. Supposedly, the founders were commanded to build the village in its current location by some great lord. However, the area was subject to great floods, and all the buildings were washed away, seven times. Still, the founder, the first Zhang Fei, was determined to comply with his lord's command, and rebuilt the village after every flood. At the beginning, he placed a sign by the entrance of the village that read "The Correct Place" and it miraculously was the only thing that survived every flood. His brother, making fun of Zhang Fei's stubbornness, secretly added the word "Eighth" to the sign. When the great lord came to inspect, he asked about the name of the village, and learning of its hardships, turned the ground to silver, which is how the village both got its name and its silver-mining livelihood. Besides explaining the local mythology, the story may also hint at the nature and the reason for creation of the province-spanning formation Bi De is investigating.
  • Kayfabe: At the Azure Hills tournament the contestants, Liu Xianghua in particular, engage in the typical Xianxia threats and posturing, but it's mostly good natured play-acting. The organizer of the tournament sells dolls of the competitors and tries to turn the fights into a dramatic story.
  • Killing Intent: A powerful cultivator can terrify weaker enemies into submission merely by flaring their Qi. Tigu does this by accident at a noodle shop. Jin can end a battle involving Profound realm cultivators just by turning up.
    His intent.
    It was like the Dueling Peaks had decided to lean in from their positions. That the entire mountain was directly over his head, looking down upon him, and finding him wanting.
    Yingwen tried to take another step, and then realised he couldn't lift his feet. It was as if there was a great weight upon his shoulders.
    And then he was in front of Yingwen. He was merely head and shoulders taller, yet it felt like if Yingwen wished to look at the man's face, he would have to crane his neck to look up at the Heavens.
  • Killed Off for Real: A senior disciple of Lu Ban's Master is astounded to find that Lu Ban is actually dead after Jin's blow; the Twilight Cuckoo's Triumph should have allowed him to survive his body's death. She assumes he never bothered to learn the technique properly, but as the narrative shows that he did, his death is probably the result of the earth spirit empowering Jin.
  • Ki Manipulation: Qi is the life energy that flows through all plants, animals, people, and the land. Cultivators and Spirit Beasts can use this to perform Supernatural Martial Arts. Qi can also be aligned to an element.
  • King Incognito: Rou first met "Gramps" sitting on the street in threadbare clothing, looking like a homeless vagabond. He's actually one of the most powerful cultivators in the world, who beats demon armies with a mere fraction of his power (because using all of it would be wasteful).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The start of Jin's journey is deciding to walk away from the Cloudy Sword Sect. Possibly even run.
    Arrogant young masters? Heavenly tribulations? Cultivating for days on end, then getting into life or death battles?
    Yeah, no thanks. I'm getting out of here.

  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Bi De considers this to be a pillar of "the Great Master's" philosophy. "One who cheats the earth shall be cheated by it. One who gives to the earth, shall surely be rewarded."
    • Bi De rescues Ri Zu the rat from a bird of prey. When Chow Ji's malice is exposed, Ri Zu contains the corruption in Bi De's body so he can end the rat.
    • The Cloudy Sword inner disciples who had been bullying the outer disciples, leading to Rou's death, are called up to face a sect elder and "trade pointers" in turn.
      Elder Ge: Fear not, I, Your Grandfather, shall treat you exactly as you have treated your juniors.
  • Laugh Themselves Sick: After Jin's Innocent Innuendo about having fun after her bath, Xiulan is on edge, despite his clarification that he's talking about a board game. When she then finds her clothes prepared and sitting next to a go board, she breaks down laughing until she cries.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Jin's adoptive grandfather, not knowing that he left the Cloudy Sword sect, sends him a letter with a seal attached, designed to unlock a gift when his cultivation has reached the second stage of the Profound realm.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Meiling accidentally discovers that exposure to electricity can cause spiritual herbs to become more potent. So she performs a series of experiments with Wa Shi blasting them with lightning over and over, then testing and recording the effects.
  • Literal Disarming: A bandit seizes Bi De by the throat — and Bi De, unimpressed, tears his arm off. The bandit doesn't have time to even finish screaming, though, before he's decapitated.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": Jin manages to get a hold of a Pipa, a traditional Chinese string instrument, and starts using it like a banjo to play modern North American folk music. Downplayed in that by his own admission, he's not very good at it, and he's not taking the musical world by storm. However, it's enough for a good time with friends and family, and for wooing Meiling. Later he carves his own banjo.
  • Logical Weakness: The Shrouded Mountain Sect has a series of techniques for detecting and defeating the illusions used by their traditional enemies, the fox spirits. These illusions are generally created by manipulating shadows, and the sect's techniques are all focused on detecting and dispelling mystical shadows. Unfortunately for them, the illusion concealing Nezan's cave is rendered completely undetectable by those techniques since it was woven using light, not shadow, inspired as it was by Yun Ren and Nezan's experiments in projecting and preserving images from Yun Ren's recording crystal on solid objects using light.
  • Lost Technology:
    • The Earthly Arena at the Dueling Peaks was constructed thousands of years ago, with mechanisms to lift it toward the top of the mountains as each tournament progressed, but has since broken down, requiring contestants and sect elders to lift it manually. Until the earth spirit reconnects to it, and it reactivates, revealing that it was constructed on a scale that the current sects would be unable to replicate.
    • In Pale Moon Lake City, there is some kind of ancient Qi-powered distilling rig. It is said to have been able to distill any liquid into a more pure solution, but it no longer works correctly, producing a kind of sludge and nothing else. Nobody knows who built it or how it works, so no one is bold enough to attempt to repair or dismantle it, and it remains a stationary curiosity, just sitting there and glowing. In keeping with the story's usual subversion of xianxia plotlines, Jin checks it out and decides that there's nothing he can do about it, so he just leaves it there.
  • Lunacy: Big D can project Laser Blades formed out of moonlight, which are the basis of most of his combat techniques. He later develops Twin Faces of the Half Moon, a Doppelgänger Attack, and Aegis of the Full Moon, an energy shield.
  • Magic Dance:
    • Throughout the Azure Hills, there is a very old traditional dance, with five variations for the five qi elements. It's part of feeding power to the earth spirit, but its purpose has been forgotten, and the great formation of dancing villages is incomplete.
    • Part of Xiulan's Character Development is rediscovering the dance at the heart of the Verdant Blade's sword techniques. And it's how the earth spirit helps her to recover from the destruction of her cultivation.
  • Magitek: There are magic equivalents to modern technology.
    • Recording crystals are basically magical cameras.
    • There are also transmission stones, which work like a radio, although the transmission quality is generally too poor to actually speak through them.
    • The world has knowledge of modern germ theory, due to a cultivator discovering that a technique for seeing long distances could also be used as a microscope.
    • The Earthly Arena, site of the Dueling Peaks Tournament, contains a bunch of magitek equipment, including a recording system, voice amplification, and special lighting. It also used to rise to the top of the peaks by itself, but that system stopped working ages ago and it is now lifted by rope and pulley hauled on by teams made up of defeated competitors and sect elders. Until Jin comes to town with the earth spirit Tianlan Shan in tow, inadvertently reactivating the lift mechanism... and many other internal systems long dead and forgotten. Like the security system which locks the elders inside the mountain.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Yingwen sends the Shrouded Mountain disciples on a three-day trip over more than 500km to find Zang Li's body, including hiring a local guide to lead them to the point where the body's impact caused an avalanche. When they find the very dead corpse, they seal it up for delivery to the sect, and incinerate the pool of oil and blood that demonic parasite Lu Ban left behind.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Bi De's opening strike against the Whirling Demon Blade gang is a screech that makes several bandits stagger backwards with bleeding ears.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Misty Lake is really more of of a swamp, home to spirit plants like the Carnivine, which can grow large enough to eat entire villages if not culled.
  • Man Hug: Jin makes plans to give the Xong Brothers their "allotment" after subduing the Shrouded Mountain sect and rescuing Tigu.
    It would of course be manly, with lots of back thumping, but they were totally getting it later.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: It turns out that the Verdant Blade Sect's core combat technique, the Blades of Grass, originated as a theatrical device.
    Tianlan Shan: Just don’t make the mistake of having people think you can actually fight, now.
    Ruolan: Who would dare sully the thirty-two Fans of Grass with something as base as combat?
  • Martial Arts for Mundane Purposes:
    • Tigger uses her claw arts to carve sculptures (mostly of Jin, in the accurately depicted nude, triumphing over a pile of enemies), or harvest with qi blades.
      Tigger: This Rou Tigu shall harvest the most! I shall surpass all others!
    • As Xiulan begins to adapt to the peaceful and gentle use of qi, Jin finds her in a kitchen, "at the center of a storm," using her qi to telekinetically chop vegetables in mid air on their way to the pot, mash garlic in seconds, cut through roots in a single slice, and catch items thrown to her by the other women present (many of whom are just watching the show).
    • Lin's techniques that mimic the power of the sun and produce enormous amounts of heat and light are very useful for anything that requires a heat source, like cooking, or powering a furnace. And conveniently, it's way easier to keep her "fueled" with qi and literal rabbit food than to acquire coal or firewood.
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: Xiulan has two heirloom swords, which she can multiply with the Blades of Grass technique, forming spectral copies, which she then wields with telekinesis. When she first meets Jin, she's able to form eight blades, but she later goes up to thirty-two.
  • Master Poisoner:
    • Meiling is an expert healer, with a focus on herbalism. Which is to say, she knows exactly what all the plants growing nearby can do to the human body, and in what doses. Amongst friends and family, this is generally limited to minor revenges like itching powder and turning skin different colours, but she also has nastier recipes for effects like rapid and violent diarrhoea.
      There were some things in the medicine house I wasn’t touching with a ten foot pole, thank you very much. It was a little freaky how Meimei could cheerfully describe how exactly a poison could kill somebody, along with her efforts to make it even deadlier.
    • Ri Zu becomes Meiling's student, and bases her combat style primarily on throwing pepper powder in people's eyes, slipping paralytics into drinks, and so forth.
  • The Medic: Medicine is the Hong family business, and Meiling excels at it. When she repairs Bowu's ruined knee, her father admits that she has entirely surpassed him.
  • Megaton Punch: Jin doesn't really keep up any martial arts, but he does make sure to exercise regularly and ensure he still knows how to throw a punch, just in case. When that case comes up and he uses his full power, he sends Zang Li/Lu Ban, or rather, his corpse flying clear out of the province at speeds so great that to the naked eye, the target just vanishes. The impact on a mountain about 1400 Li awaynote  is energetic enough to cause a landslide, and the Qi released by this attack causes a bumper crop at farms for hundreds of Li around the flight path and impact point.
  • The Merch: In-Universe. The master of ceremonies for the Dueling Peaks Tournament has a flourishing side business merchandising the tournament, such as selling dolls of the competitors and sensationalised books of the events. Not that he's giving the competitors themselves a cut of the profits... until the Azure Jade Trading Company warns him that in Tigu's case, he'd better ensure she gets her due, since her presumed father Jin is a very valued client.
  • Merger of Souls: The transmigrator arrives in Jin Rou's body, with access to his memories. It's later revealed that the original Rou still exists as part of him, but they're normally fused together under the newcomer's control; they partially separate, enough to talk to each other, during his dreams, but forget while awake.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • The Whirling Demon Sword Gang is quite pleased to discover that someone has built a farmstead near their old hideout. A prosperous one, too, and the scout can even hear a woman inside. Time to rape, pillage, and burn! Except that the farm animals include five powerful spirit beasts, who proceed to wreak havoc and slaughter upon the intruders.
    • At the Dueling Peaks tournament, Zang Li aka Lu Ban and his Shrouded Mountain lackeys throw their weight around, confident in the knowledge that if it came to a fight a single Shrouded Mountain elder could very possibly beat every cultivator in the Azure Hills at once. And then they discover that one of the people they've been bullying is under the protection of the Cloudy Sword sect, one of the foremost sects in the Empire and at least as far above the Shrouded Mountain as the Shrouded Mountain is above the sects of the Azure Hills.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The spirit beasts who awaken on Jin's farm treat everything that happens there with the kind of drama and gravitas that is typical of the xianxia genre. It isn't Jin's farm; it is the Great Sect of Fa Ram, presided over by Great Master Rou Jin. The gate and fence at the front are the Great Pillars of Fa Ram. He's not Big D the rooster, he's Fa Bi De, First Disciple of Fa Ram. They aren't farming, they're doing Profound and Mystical Training...and so on. (They're not exactly wrong. Jin thinking it's just a farm isn't accurate either.)
  • Mundane Solution: Knowing that a cold room won't last all year, Jin experiments with qi reinforcement in various ways to make ice last longer, but all he manages to do is explode it — so he just digs a huge hole and fills it with several tons of ice from a nearby lake.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Jin uses the superhuman strength and endurance of a cultivator to make the hard work on the farm easier.
      The best part about everybody you know being super humans, is the fact that you can turn mundane, back-breaking labour into games.
    • The primary seasoning in his cooking is the "Lowly Spiritual Herbs" that he quietly took with him from the Cloudy Sword Sect. Herbs that turn out to have fantastically potent healing properties, especially when stuffed with his qi, and may have been responsible for Bi De's awakening as a Spirit Beast. When the Magistrate receives a bundle of what he recognises as Seven Fragrance Jewel Herbs as a gift, with cooking instructions attached, he doesn't know what to think.
    • The trophies taken from Spiritual Beasts and given to Jin as a wedding present include bones — so he turns them into fertiliser.
    • Qi-enhanced strength means that you can...carry a growing younger sibling in one arm, without trembling.
    • One of Jin's favorite parts of being a cultivator is that "Mosquitoes couldn't get through your skin."
    • Being a supernaturally strong spirit beast rabbit allows Yin to...pull a cart that would have taken multiple normal oxen.
    • The ancient magical sword Summer's Sky has been unknowingly used (while in disguise) to chop wood and skewer meat. It actually enjoyed the new experience.
    • Gaining telekinetic power over water allows Washy to fill cups and pots, water crops without having to carry water all the way from the river, and keep surgery sites clean of blood. It's never been used in combat.
    • Since qi is energy, rapid infusions of large amounts of it will boil water immediately, which is handy for sterilising medical instruments. Jin discovers this based on earlier experiments with simply heating things, rather than producing actual flames.
      I also invented a technique! A truly frightening fire-based attack that I used to surpass the will of the heavens!
      And by that, I mean I used it to defeat rain and dry things out. It works really well for seasoning wood and to keep things from moulding.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: The Xong brothers don't make a very good first impression on Xiulan (who is, even Jin admits, very well endowed). By the time Gou Ren is able to see her deeper qualities and actually makes a serious attempt at courting her, she's already suspicious of him. She internally gives him credit for otherwise behaving himself, though.

  • Named Weapon:
    • Sun Ken's sword is widely known and feared as the Crimson Demon's Tooth. After it's turned into a plow, Jin renames it Sunny/"Su Ne".
    • The magical talking sword guarded by Nezan (and originally belonging to his old friend, now passed away) is named Summer's Sky.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter:
    • Most of the story doesn't shy away from profanity, but when it switches to a child's point of view, there's a sample.
      Yun Ren said a word that Meimei always said, but threatened to stick bitterroot in Xian's mouth if she ever heard him repeat.
    • And another from Ri Zu, who is generally very civilized, but who sees the herb prices in a regular city and "squeaked something most uncharitable about the owners of this shop."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Millennia ago, Xiaoshi overthrew and killed a tyrannical and cruel emperor — whose bloodline was empowering the mist wall that keeps demons out of the world.
  • The Nicknamer: Tigu doesn't bother memorising most people's names, and just calls them by something descriptive, from "Smaller Blade of Grass" for one of Xiulan's junior disciples, to "Handsome Man" for the young master of the Hermetic Iron Sect.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Being on the receiving end of one is what "killed" the original Jin Rou and allowed "our" Jin to take over his body.
    • In turn, Elder Xiao Ge of the Cloudy Sword Sect administers several to the disciple who beat Jin and his supporters once he finds out it drove Jin out of the sect.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Defied by Jin, but mostly Played for Laughs. He makes everyone using the drop hammer wear safety helmets, even though they're mostly cultivators whose heads are more resilient than rock, and he gives Bowu a set of steel toed boots for the solstice. Chunky even makes Tianlan Shan wear a helmet when building roads in her spiritual realm.
    I didn’t need the great and powerful OSHA Sect to cross time and space and start screaming at me, thank you very much.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond:
    • Jin was a fifth-level cultivator of the Initiate Realm in his old sect, which means he was one of the weakest people there. He moves to the Azure Hills, where that makes him laughably, hilariously overpowered in a Qi-starved land. The author actually compared cultivators from Azure Hills to deep-sea extremophiles like tube worms, who are specialized to exist in such a Qi-less environment, to such a degree that outsiders who come here have a hard time dealing with how much power they have in comparison.
    • Lu Ri goes through the same thing while traveling through the Azure Hills searching for Jin. He has to constantly suppress his power, lest it overload and destroy the qi sensors routinely used by guards to detect approaching cultivators.
    • Tigu has this experience when attending the tournament — back home on the Fa Ram, she's not especially powerful. Apart from Xiulan, she's the strongest competitor.
  • The Nose Knows: Meiling can smell qi, and especially cultivators. This lets her recognise Jin as one even when he isn't behaving like a typical cultivator. She also notices the scent changing when a cultivator is stressed, such as Jin smelling like overboiled rice, or Xiulan's blade oil smell turning rancid.
  • No-Sell:
    • Jin doesn't have time to dodge or block Zang Li's "Heaven Piercing Lance" technique, he just gathers his qi — and stops it so hard that Zang's fingers break.
    • He also doesn't notice Meiling's attempts at revenge for the mud pit incident, including itching powder, blueskin dye, and coughing candy. She's eventually successful in getting him with a coffee-like energy drink, with mixed results.
    • Xian tries to scare Xiulan by putting a grub under her nose while she's meditating, but after all the blood and death she's seen, she's not so easily spooked.
      Xiulan: A Great Horned Beetle Grub? An auspicious find, Young Master.
  • Not So Above It All: When a snowball fight breaks out between the boys, Meiling just sighs and shakes her head at their immaturity — until a snowball hits her in the head, and it is on.
    Meiling: I'm going to murder you sons of a flea-bitten whore!
  • Ominous Ancient Chinese Chanting: When Jin finally consciously decides to draw upon all his ability for a Megaton Punch in order to kill Zang Li/Lu Ban, there is so much power being gathered that the world itself begins whispering a quotation from ancient scripture in the ears of everyone present, culminating in the title of the attack.
    'And so the great Ancestor, Shennong, commanded his disciple in the ways of preparing the fields. Till the land. Cut down the trees. Divert the waters—'

  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Meiling is most unimpressed that Jin has produced Orgasmically Delicious spirit mead while she's pregnant.
    Meiling: Jin, my dearest husband, why did you make this, when I can’t have any?
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Elder Xinling is very protective of her beauty, habitually wearing a veil, but when the elders have dinner with Jin, she's not wearing it, and voluntarily plays an instrument for him, because they have all sensed his power and are being very deferential.
    Cho: Didn't she stab Elder Gang for asking for her to play for him, saying it wasn’t for his crude ears?
    Huizong: Yes.
  • Opponent Instruction:
    • Tigu so badly outclasses her opponents in the Dueling Peaks Tournament that she starts giving them advice to make the fights more interesting.
    • In general, sparring matches in cultivator society are meant to be an exercise in helping the opponents learn from each other, so they're usually referred to as "trading pointers". Unfortunately, among less scrupulous cultivators, this sometimes becomes a mere euphemism for "let's beat up someone weaker for fun."
      Elder Ge: It is a blessing to receive a pointer from one more powerful than yourself. To witness their technique first hand, and use that knowledge to better oneself.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: The reason why there are many different cultivator sects. Each has a particular philosophy that inspires and underpins their martial arts styles and abilities.
  • Opt Out: Jin's response to the cultivation world. He's willing to admit that it may be partially Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Orgasmically Delicious:
    • Several people really like the foods that Jin introduces, partly because he knows how to produce high-sugar foods like maple syrup, and partly because everything he makes is bursting with qi. (The moaning can sometimes put other people off, though.)
      • This starts to happen so frequently that several characters begin referring to them as ‘Xiulan noises’, including Xiulan herself when she offers samples of the Fa Ram’s produce to her own sect’s elders. Liu Bowu hears her reaction to Jin's latest product and reflects that he "had heard purer sounds coming out of a brothel".
    • When Jin ferments mead from his spirit bee honey, Wa Shi has a taste and immediately attempts to swan dive into the barrel, before being brought to his senses.
  • Pacifist Dojo: Jin didn't mean to found a sect when he built his farm, but his animals that have become spirit beasts treat Fa Ram that way. Once Jin realizes they're sapient, he begins to actually teach them and his philosophy is far more pacifistic than the vast majority of the cultivator sects in the world.
    Jin: We give to the land, and the land gives back.
    Jin, later: If you break something, fix it.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Posthumous version. Before giving Sun Ken's sword to Xiulan to serve as proof of the man's death, Jin had considered turning the weapon into a plow. Her Sect's elders are inspired by the suggestion, declaring that there could be "no better insult" to the memory of the murderous bandit; they even gift the newly-made plow to Jin as a wedding gift.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Several of Jin's spirit beasts are still quite small, but their Ki Manipulation grants them vastly superhuman strength, toughness, and speed.
    • Bi De frequently attracts derision from enemies who are unimpressed by the idea of fighting a chicken, until they see what he can do.
    • Yin is a small white rabbit, with all the cuteness that implies, but she is capable of pulling Jin's mammoth rice cart by herself.
    • At one point, Jin muses that his new ox might be stronger than Ri Zu the rat, but he wouldn't bet on it.
  • Plague of Good Fortune: The Lord Magistrate of Verdant Hill isn't exactly unhappy to have Jin taking out bandits and feral Spirit Beasts, building roads, and frequently gifting him with luxury foodstuffs, but he is constantly worrying that someday the other shoe is going to drop and Jin demand something crazy in return. And every attempt he makes to pay off some of the debt only results in Jin doing something even more extravagant in return.
  • Polyamory:
    • Defied by Jin, who is aware that Xiulan is attractive but intends to be monogamous. Despite the remnants of Rou asserting that they should go for it. Meiling actually seems more open to the idea.
      Pffft. Yeah, right. Xiulan was cute, but I'm not going there. Hell lies in that direction.
    • Ty An tries to imply that Meiling is just a concubine, and that Xiulan has supplanted her as Jin's true wife. Meiling proceeds to ruthlessly take her accusations apart and stomp on them, demonstrating to the village that Xiulan acts more like her servant, and that she is the one who shares Jin's bed while Xiulan sleeps in the guest quarters.
    • Bi De, on the other hand, has an entire harem of female chickens, and has no problem with that. He also doesn't object to multiple sapient females showing interest in him, such as Ri Zu and Yin.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Invoked by Chow Ji to tempt Bi De with strength carrying a hidden curse.
    • The Pact of Shennong offers prosperity, peace, the strength of the earth, long life — but it cuts off all prospects of immortality.
  • Power Levels: In this setting, the levels of cultivation go in this order: Initiate's Realm, Profound Realm, Spiritual Realm, Earth Realm, Sky Realm, Imperial Realm, Heavenly Realm. There are five stages to each realm. When Jin left his old sect, he was at the fifth stage of the Initiate's Realm, but is significantly stronger now.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Not only does cultivation grant superhuman stamina, Meiling's herbal and medicinal knowledge includes a coffee-like energy drink.
  • The Power of Friendship: After winning the Dueling Peaks Tournament, Xiulan decides that instead of just striving alone for power as a traditional cultivator, she wants power to protect others. Her plan to do is to invoke this trope and take advantage of the friendships formed among the younger generation of Azure Hills cultivators during the tournament. Her ultimate goal is a mega-alliance of all the sects and independent cultivators in the region who can together use their power for the benefit of others.
  • Pride Before a Fall:
    • Bi De learns this lesson well, almost losing the farm to Chow Ji's tainted promises, and saved by the pigs whom he had dismissed.
    • He in turn teaches it to Tigu, who had thought that his reputation was overblown and that she is the true defender of the farm, but discovers that she cannot land a hit on him if he doesn't let her, cannot penetrate his skin if he does, and can be knocked aside with a single blow of his wings.
  • The Quiet One:
    • Liu isn't said to be mute, so she probably does talk occasionally, but it's never seen in the story. She frequently hangs around Xiulan, or later Babe, and weaves flower crowns to cover them in, but without saying a word.
    • Babe is similarly an ox of few words. We do see him talk once, just a few words, but it's rare, to the point where Jin took months to recognize that he was sapient, because Babe never chose to say or do anything about it. When questioned, he prefers to answer through actions.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Whirling Demon Blade Gang plays this very straight, attracting the attention of the Verdant Blade sect after slaughtering an entire village. There are celebrations across the countryside when the gang is all killed.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: A Running Gag is that Jin has become so powerful that other cultivators are able to sense that Jin's animals are cultivators of the Initiate or Profound realms, but they can't gauge Jin himself. Initially when they look at him they notice nothing, as if he was a mortal; when they look closer, or if Jin decides to reveal himself, they don't know exactly what his power level is, but they suddenly feel very small by comparison.
    Xiulan: It was like looking into a lake, and never being able to see the bottom. Like looking at a mountain, and not knowing how much of it was hidden by clouds.
  • Readings Blew Up the Scale:
    • Necklace-sized qi sensors made of Heavenly Ascension Stone are used by nobles and guards in the Azure Hills to detect the presence of cultivators. However, such small devices can only handle qi levels up to approximately the Profound Realm without destructively failing — which, in the Azure Hills, is plenty. Until Lu Ri, an inner disciple of the Cloudy Sword sect, comes looking for Jin...
    • Interestingly, despite having considerable power, Jin himself does not have this effect on the sensors, possibly because his power is more subtle and calm. In fact, they may even be unable to detect him.
  • Read the Fine Print: Tigu actually does read through the whole stack of paperwork for the Dueling Peaks Tournament registration, which mildly surprises the staff. It's later helpful to her when intervening to stop a fight from breaking out on the street (which would have been against the rules and potentially disqualified the participants).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tigu and Xiulan become close friends and sparring partners, and face each other in the finals of the Dueling Peaks Tournament. Tigu is wild, fierce, and fights for the thrill of it. Xiulan is calm, graceful, and dutiful. Both of them learn a lot from each other, though.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Discussed when Tigu starts lining up some of her kills outside Jin's house. The memories of Rou include people eating rats, sometimes even as a delicacy, but Jin doesn't intend to follow suit unless he's somehow starving.
  • Regained Memories Sequence: Tianlan Shan regains many old memories that she had lost when she reaches the Dueling Peaks, leaving her confused and hurting.
  • The Reveal: Book 3 finally reveals what has happened to Jin, and what broke the earth spirit. He has followed the "Path of Shennong" and inadvertently made a pact with an earth spirit, giving him long life and prosperity, but locking him out of further growth. She previously made a pact thousands of years ago with a man named Xiaoshi, who fought a war against demons alongside her, but the demons took over a formation in order to steal her power, and Xiaoshi broke the formation to stop them — which wrecked the province, damaged everyone's memories, turned the spirit beasts into vicious animals, and drained the land of most of its qi, leaving the spirit shredded and comatose.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • Jin thinks that Zang Li couldn't have been really a Young Master of a respected sect because he seemed too weak. Jin had become much more powerful than he realized and he's actually a demonic cultivator who's killed and replaced the original.
    • The Elders of the Shrouded Mountain Sect also stumble into this. Upon learning the truth that Lu Ban had possessed and eaten Zang Li, they begin to wonder why Jin (whom they believe to be an active member of the Cloudy Sword Sect) did not simply kill the imposter himself instead of having Lu Ban handed back to them to take care of. They eventually decide that he must have been on the trail of an even more dangerous Demonic Cultivator. Turns out there is at least one nearby; another disciple of Lu Ban's master.
  • Rival Dojos: Xianghua's Misty Lake Sect is "enemies" with the Azure Horizon sect, and it's mentioned that there are several others with whom they're less than friendly.

  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Jin starts worrying about this after he realizes Big D isn't a normal animal, knowing that he previously turned one of the chickens into soup; he's much more careful about the animals he kills for food after this. It gets worse when he finds out about the rest of the animals that are starting to develop sapience. After he learns of the potential sapience of his animals, he makes a point to do intelligence tests for all of them, even the ones not currently showing intelligence.
  • Secret Legacy: Shen Yu, the old man who taught Jin Rou the basis of cultivation, is really a cultivator of great power and status.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Xiulan thinks that was Jin's intention when her first set her farming. It wasn't, Jin considers himself a farmer and hadn't yet realised that she thought he was a Hidden Master.
    • After Tigu transforms herself into a human she expresses her desire to travel to the upcoming Dueling Peaks Tournament. However, Jin isn't sure she's mature enough and ready to peacefully interact with normal people and cultivators who aren't familiar with Fa Ram. So he tells her that there will be a test in Verdant Hill to determine whether she's ready. What he doesn't tell her is what the test will consist of, and that it actually started well before their arrival in Verdant Hill: He has her participate in the construction of the road between Hong Yaowu and Verdant Hill, to see how she interacts with the villagers who are already friendly. And then, once they get to town, he discreetly investigates to find out who the most irritating and frustrating people in town are... and sends Tigu on errands that will require her to interact with every last one of them. He only informs her that that was the test after she's passed it.
    • When Yun Ren discovers an old grave, with a magical sword lying next to it. Fortunately, his mother taught him that grave robbing is disrespectful to the dead; he just picks a nearby flower to press as a gift for his girlfriend. The guardian fox spirit later informs him that if he had taken the sword, the fox would have killed him; instead, he's offered a boon.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Even when they're merely betrothed, Jin only has eyes for Meiling. He helps her strip another woman naked to provide emergency medical attention, and finds Meiling's cool competence and efficiency more distracting than the patient.
  • Serious Business: The Chao Baozi restaurant chain sells meat buns that are guaranteed to be 100% pure ingredients, no filler — on pain of death.
    They took things seriously in that shop.
  • Sex Magic: The memories that Jin inherited with his body include just one way to transfer qi to another person. He dismisses the idea of using it to help heal Xiulan, but Meiling is inadvertently awakened as a cultivator on their wedding night.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Tigger, after transforming into a human, is unable to change back, despite trying all sorts of methods. Ri Zu speculates that deep down, she doesn't actually want to. She manages it in an emergency, to escape from being chained up, but shifts back to human again at the first opportunity, and her thoughts indicate that Ri Zu was likely correct; she much prefers her human shape.
  • Shock and Awe: As well as water control, Wa Shi in dragon form can also launch lightning blasts.
  • Shoo the Dog: Jin tells his animal companions to go tend to their own business while he meets with Lu Ri, so that they'll be out of the way if things go badly. Bi De thinks it over, then refuses, promising to stay with him.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Downplayed; Xiulan's father asks her to send him an invitation to her wedding to Jin, and frowns when she replies that they aren't getting married, but he's just teasing.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Simple Life is Simple: When you have experience from two worlds, superhuman strength and endurance and can apply your Qi powers to it, it is. Jin notes that if he didn't have cultivator strength and endurance, he'd have killed himself trying to farm on his own.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Jin's scroll of sword techniques, received from his "Gramps" contains only basic foundation exercises, but they're the foundation exercises of a master swordsman.
  • Sizeshifter: Chun Ke can make himself larger at will. He mostly uses it for playing with children; providing them with shade, carrying them around, or letting them slide off his back into a pool.
  • The Sleepless: Cultivators can sleep, and normally do, but qi usage allows them to stay awake for very long periods of time if needed.
    • Jin tries it out, gets to five days without suffering any side effects, and stops the experiment there.
    • Xiulan stands guard outside Meiling's tent during the wedding procession, and is still standing in the same position in the morning, without any sign of tiredness.
  • Slow Life Fantasy: Jin Rou is a person from the modern day who finds himself in the body of a cultivator in a medieval China-esque fantasy setting. He immediately leaves the sect he's a part of to avoid the political intrigue, backstabbing, and over-the-top superpowered battles to retire to a quiet life as a farmer. Unbeknownst to him, his use of qi in growing the plants used to feed his livestock has given his farm animals self-awareness and a desire to impress him, resulting in them becoming superpowered qi cultivators.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Shrouded Mountain Sect thinks it is a powerful and honorable sect. It's undisciplined, decadent, and built on a lie (Their story is that the founder of the sect defeated an illusion-using monster, but it appears that they actually made an unprovoked attack on the fox clan).
  • Snake Oil Salesman: If Hong Xian didn't know better (having watched the creation process and independently tested the recipe), he would have assumed that the elixir produced from Jin's "lowly spiritual herbs" must be a variety of snake oil.
    Seven Fragrance Jewel Herb Liquid, grown by a powerful cultivator and then refined through the lightning of a dragon and the medicinal Qi of another powerful cultivator.
    In any other case, it would sound like the creation of a charlatan. If a traveler dared to say that this was the method to obtain the sparkling concoction within, they would have been chased out of town for trying to swindle the population.
  • Sneeze Cut: After dealing with several sect elders, all the way worrying that he has absolutely no idea of what he's doing and terrified that one misstep will end with him and the region trampled by cultivators, Jin moans how stressful it is. Back at the Azure Hills, the Lord Magistrate feels slightly better, as if some faraway soul had finally grasped his woes.
  • Snooty Haute Cuisine: Jin's maple syrup quickly comes into in very high demand by high-end restaurants, who serve it by the thimble. So when the Lord Magistrate uses an entire cup, it's a clear power play, showcasing not just wealth, but connection to Jin.
  • Snowlem: The General That Commands the Winter started out as a large snowman that Jin built for fun, but it's heavily implied that it became a Snow Golem.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Xiulan is quite an attractive woman, only enhanced by her use of qi — to the point where she has faced unwanted advances from a very young age. Her father actually killed a man who would not take "no" for an answer, a man whom he had previously thought of as a friend, when Xiulan was just twelve.
  • So Proud of You: Jin is deeply moved when his father-in-law, at a village festival, smiles at him and tells him, "I'm glad you came north, my son."
  • Spectral Weapon Copy: The Verdant Blade Sect's signature technique, the Blades of Grass, makes a copy of the user's blade. An Ran, a novice, just gets a small and fragile copy, more of a dagger than a sword, but Xiulan, with more experience and power, can make dozens of near-perfect replicas at once.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Played With.
    • Jin gives all his animals English names, but all of these names are changed when pronounced by others (Big D becomes Bi De, Tigger becomes Ti Gu, etc). Curiously, Chunky (Chun Ke) is the only one who seems to be aware of what the original names are.
    • Deliberately invoked in one case by switching his name around on official documents (Jin Rou -> Rou Jin) to keep the Cloudy Sword Sect off his trail.
  • Spirited Competitor: Several of Jin's animals develop a taste for combat and proving themselves, but especially Tigger, who joins the Dueling Peaks Tournament just for fun. Notably, while there, she gives her opponents helpful advice in the middle of their fights to make them less boring, and defeats the traps and monsters on the Hill of Torment without bothering to collect the loot.
  • Spit Take:
    • Meihua gets Meiling shortly after they've first met Jin, and when Meiling has just had a sip of tea.
      Meihua: So, when is Jin marrying you?
      Meiling: Wha-Uh? Not- Maybe-Nev— Meihua!
    • Meiling and Jin are sharing a bottle of wine when she first finds out that he was a disciple of the Cloudy Sword Sect, and she promptly has a coughing fit.
    • Yun Ren times his strike carefully, waiting for Hong Xiao to question Meiling about her visit to Jin, tease her about the liberties she took with him, and then get himself a cup of water while she splutters.
      Yun Ren: Also, Jin's chicken killed Sun Ken, and we met the Young Mistress of the Verdant Blade Sect.
      The water went down the wrong way.
    • Defied, with difficulty, by the Magistrate, when he hears that Tigu won second place in the Dueling Peaks Tournament. He does manage to make himself swallow his tea, but it's a near thing, with every muscle in his body clenching.
  • Spy Speak: The poem Jin receives from the Shrouded Mountain Sect as part of their reparations is meant as a message to him couched in metaphors and flowery language. They think that he's actually still a member of the Cloudy Sword Sect on a secret mission to the Azure Hills to try to stop a demonic invasion from the Sea of Snow to the north. The poem is meant to convey to him that they realize this, and that they stand with the Cloudy Sword Sect against the demons (and please don't declare us a demonic sect, we didn't know that Zang Li was an imposter, we promise!). Entertainingly, not only is the message based on a complete misunderstanding of the situation, but its meaning flies completely over Jin's head.
  • The Stoic: Babe the ox is so much of a strong silent type that it takes months for Jin to realise he's awakened as a Spirit Beast. When Jin then proceeds to check if he wants anything, Babe asks only that he be allowed to sleep outside, instead of in the barn, because "the elements purify his spirit".
  • Super Mode: Xianghua carries a boiler full of qi-infused lake water, and when she starts it up, the steam empowers her, making her eyes glow and speeding her up to the point where she can fight Tigu on nearly equal footing. Pushing it too far may cause the boiler to overheat, though, and the supply of water is limited.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: All cultivators and spirit beasts can do this.
    • Bi De has a martial art style inspired by the moon.
    • Yin, a rabbit, has a set of moves based on the sun, and her master, Miantiao, has ones based on glass blowing.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Upon being drawn by its Eighth Wielder Xong Yun Ren, the magical talking sword Summer's Sky quickly discovers that he doesn't have a clue what he's doing beyond "stick the pointy end in the other guy". Just as well the sword enjoys a challenge!
    Summer's Sky: Ah. Eighth Wielder's abilities are low. Challenging. Interesting. Approval.
  • Swallowed Whole: Pi Pa's techniques and qi focus on consuming things. She can swallow a human in one bite, or put her fellow disciples in timeout.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: Qi can be used for pretty much anything, from Super Strength to throwing lightning to helping plants grow. Generally speaking, it reinforces and improves things, but it's also a generic and versatile energy source.
  • Sword and Sorcery: Set in a world like this, but focuses more on what it's like to live in a world like this when you're not a cultivator.
  • Sympathetic Magic: The Cloudy Sword sect uses a sample of Jin's qi to scry on his current location. The image fills with golden cracks and falls apart before it can resolve, though, presumably due to the influence of the earth spirit.

  • Tempting Fate:
    • When he first sees the titular "Beware of Chicken" sign, Gou Ren laughs and asks why anyone would fear a chicken. The next moment, a severed hawk's head lands in front of them, killed by Bi De and its eyes plucked out. Yun Ren mocks him about it afterward.
    • Lampshaded by Jin when Meiling says that with all the spirit animals around, they basically have children already, and that having their own "can't be too much different".
      Jin: .... our kid is going to be worse than both of us put together just for you saying that.
    • Lu Ri, upon being tasked with finding Jin and delivering his mail, initially thinks, "How hard can it be?" Several months later, he concludes that the heavens took exception to this. He winds up having to painstakingly weld dozens of underground gangs into an effective and surprisingly moral intelligence network in order to find out where to deliver the mail. When he finally finds Jin and learns that he was eating Jin's maple syrup during his search, he laughs.
    • Lu Ri had previous experience with this. He witnessed a Senior Sister of his sect once stand tall before someone with overwhelming aura, and asked for experience with resisting that so he would never be so weak. She agreed... and apparently spread rumors about him so that every female member of the sect was giving him death glares from every angle and trying to smother him with their ki. While he admits it wasn't pleasant, it was what he asked for and thanks his senior sister for the training.
  • There Are No Therapists: So it's just as well that Jin has stepped away from the trauma and violence. At least Meiling is able to provide good advice and a listening ear for Cai Xiulan, who has led friends into battle and watched them die, though her medical speciality is more in herbalism.
  • Third-Person Person: Courtesy in Xianxia-land leans toward referring to oneself in the third person, eg "This John Smith greets you." Ri Zu, though, is particularly prone to it, even informally; she sometimes says "us", but never "I", and refers to herself as "her".
  • Thug Dojo: Although most of the cultivator sects have some guiding wisdom that they are supposed to follow, in practice some of them simply worship strength and allow the strong and skilled to do whatever they like, including violence to the other students and the general public. Shrouded Mountain is a straight example. Cloudy Sword had degenerated from its heyday and was becoming one until the fallout from Jin leaving caused the Elders to clean house.
  • Title Drop:
    • After he sees Bi De start practicing Martial Arts, Jin makes a "Beware of Chicken" sign for his farm as a joke. Newcomers tend to laugh, until they see the chicken bowing to them and opening the door for them, and realise that it's a Spirit Beast.
    • Bi De makes a copy of the sign for the village of Correct Place Eight, after he saves it from wolves.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Despite his reservations, Bi De acknowledges that Tigu's transformation into a human has had only good effects on her, helping her relax and get along with others.
  • Tournament Arc: The Dueling Peaks of the Azure Hills region host a big all-comers organized scrap for the local cultivators, whether sect-backed or independent, every eight years. Cai Xiulan was tasked with victory by her sect (and her father); Tigu enrolls because it sounded fun.
  • Training Montage: Big D has one of these, much to Jin's bemusement. He feels a little less bemusement when he realizes that it's working.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • When questioning the Shrouded Mountain disciples involved in kidnapping Tigu, Jin is calm, and polite, and also angry enough that his qi and Intent are pressing down on them like a mountain.
    • When Meiling later hears about the incident, she is filled with rage for a moment — and then her mind clears, and is filled with recipes for the nastiest poisons she knows along with several new ideas, and plans to spend some time in her library.
  • Transforming Conforming: Even though Tigu the cat and Ri Zu the rat already had mutual respect as fellow disciples, their relationship becomes much easier after Tigu gains a human form, shedding her instincts to eat Ri Zu; they quickly shift from tense and guarded cooperation to inseparable friends. When Tigu later briefly changes back, she has to quash those instincts again, and notices herself feeling more proud and less bashful.
  • Trash Talk: Despite his usual respectful and serious demeanour, Bi De engages in this when fighting Zang Li, possessed by Lu Ban. His opponent's emotional insecurities, despite having considerable raw power, make it a very effective distraction.
    Bi De: Hmph, your power is far below that of my Master's. You are beneath his notice. Look at you, struggling so greatly against just his chicken.
  • Tsundere: As a result of her social difficulties, Xianghua leans heavily into an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy persona, frequently mocking or chastising others, but she also shows a good heart. Xiulan originally didn't know what to do with her, but after learning to relax at Fa Ram, she's able to enjoy Xianghua's company and heckle her back.
    Xianghua: You are a fool twice over for your words! I don’t hate it!
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Downplayed; Jin waits to ask for Meiling's hand until he's built a large enough house, instead of his initial rushed shack, but it doesn't take all that long. Even though what he builds is a manor by local standards.
    Hong Xian: When were you going to ask me for my daughter's hand in marriage?
    Jin: When I had enough food to feed her, enough cloth to clothe her, and a house worthy of her.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Meiling gets dolled up for her meeting with the magistrate's wife, but the makeup doesn't suit her skin tone, it's too obviously covering her freckles, and the dress makes her feel fake. So she scrubs her face off and changes back into her regular clothes — but as a budding cultivator she has presence and self-confidence. Her friend Meihua, widely considered to be an astounding beauty, takes one look and is stunned.
    Meihua: That is very, very unfair, Meimei.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Jin states in chapter 1 that the original Jin Rou was killed, and he was shoved into the body, fortunately preserving the original's memories. It's eventually revealed that that's not quite right; their souls have fused together, apparently both half complete and together forming something like an intact whole. While sleeping, they partially separate and can talk to each other, but they recombine and forget while awake.
    • In-Universe, Jin is quite skeptical about Washy's account of his time in seclusion with the Black Turtle, suspecting (correctly) that he's talking himself up.
    • And Zang Li, when he talks about his defeat in Verdant Hill, leaves out details like "attempted rape" and "utterly one sided beat down".
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Gou Ren has no actual combat training and isn't especially agile, but when roused, his qi hardens around him like stone, making him highly resilient and letting each of his blows smash the street and the surrounding area. He wouldn't win any tournaments that way, but he's a threat not to be underestimated.
    • Jin doesn't keep up any serious combat training after leaving the sect, but on those rare occasions where he needs to fight, he has enough qi to make it a Curb-Stomp Battle anyway.
      It was a simple punch. The simplest of punches. The foundation of all cultivators, the first thing all warriors learned. His stance was wide and stable. His fist chambered like it was from a training manual.
      A technique to be practised and refined. Diligently studied and then abandoned, as a cultivator learned better and more powerful techniques.
      Lu Ban did not pause to see what would happen.
      He threw himself backwards as fast as his body could carry him.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: A downplayed example when Jin serves his father-in-law a drink — not of the rice wine he was expecting, but one of Jin's experiments in making vodka. Hong Xian is quite taken aback when his mouthful just about sets his face on fire, but he's able to hold his drink.
    Hong Xian: ... I take it your "distillation" was successful, then?
  • Uplifted Animal: Big D gains sapience after eating enough "Heavenly Herbs" (the Qi-infused plants Jin grows around his farm).
    • Other animals around the farm start also showing sapience through either natural means (being born) or eating heavenly herbs on their own.
    • Spirit Beasts in general are this: normal animals who became sapient. And sometimes gain other powers like breathing fire.
  • Villainous Vow: Sun Ken is a bandit, and the leader of the Whirling Demon Gang. He is an unrepentant murderer, and his gang pillages, kills, and rapes throughout the countryside. After Big D insults him, Sun Ken makes this declaration ( and needless to say, he doesn't live to fulfill it):
    Sun Ken: I take what I please from your Great Master! I shall slay his brothers, and rape his wife! I will burn down his home, eat his flesh, drink his blood, and sleep in his skin for daring to mock me so!
  • Voice of the Legion: When Lu Ban's control slips, he starts speaking with two voices.
  • Walking the Earth: Bi De engages in this in Book 2. His initial motivation was to examine some qi patterns that he'd seen a glimpse of, but he also travels around to gain some life experience, eradicate predators and bandits, and generally get to know the world outside the farm.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Played with. People think that this is what Jin is doing with his farming and the games he plays. He isn't deliberately, but they double as effective training anyway. Largely because he's sinking a lot of qi into the land, which brings the favor of the local Earth spirit.
    Perception. Endurance. Balance. Timing.
    Ha Qi was a multi-layered art. The blades on her feet tried their hardest to throw her to the ice. The speeding stone puck forced her to dodge or block with the stick.
    She was hunted relentlessly, pushed always to the edge and forced to stay there. There was no mortal peril to this, but being hounded by a more powerful cultivator was always thrilling. He had found her limits, like all Great Masters found, and then proceeded to push.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Lots of Cultivators tend to be this. Jin is no exception, to the magistrate's annoyance and horror.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After trying Jin's spirit-honey-based mead, Bowu wakes up the next morning on the floor, resting against a pig, with the events after his first cup being fuzzy.
    He did remember getting carried out to a beehive, so that everybody could praise it and the bees within.
  • Wham Episode: Volume 2, chapter 85, "The Final Day." After the Dueling Peaks tournament has concluded, Zang Li and his goons from Shrouded Mountain kidnap Tigu, destroy Loud Boy's cultivation, and leave Rags a bloody heap. Xiulan and Ri Zu stage a rescue attempt where they confront Zang Li, but while that's going on additional goons attack Yun Ren and Gou Ren.
  • A World Half Full: The world has plenty of problems, but Jin can make his farm and village a little better, at least.
  • World of Badass: Even the animals are getting on the cultivating action. It's only a few chapters in that Jin laughingly (but truthfully) tells the village children that his chicken is mightier than all of them.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Meiling has dark green hair, and several others are noted to have hair colors that do not occur naturally in humans from our universe, but no mention is ever made of hair dye. Guan Chyou's red hair, on the other hand, is noted to be rare.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • After a string of disappointments, Tigu is thrilled to meet Xiulan's rival, Liu Xianghua, and bursts out laughing after catching a punch to the gut and being flung to the ground.
      Tigu: This is what I've been waiting for.
    • Guo Daxian's pride demands that he be recognised as this, and Xiulan obliges him, drawing on the full power of her Blades of Grass technique, rather than the Cherry Tapping she used on lesser challengers.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Magistrate persists in expecting Jin to behave like a regular cultivator, which elevates his stress levels through the roof as he agonises over receiving gifts from Jin, seeing clerical mistakes like incorrect rice prices brushed aside, or learning that Jin is helping to build infrastructure and making plans to stay long-term. He almost doubles over vomiting when he receives a polite invitation to dinner that Jin "seemed concerned" about. Jin, meanwhile, has no idea, merely thinking that the Magistrate is a great guy and that more politicians should be like him.
  • You Dirty Rat!: In the first volume, a group of pill-making rats take up residence on Fa Ram, who intend to corrupt Big D into being their stooge. Rizzo averts this, thankfully.
  • You Got Murder: Downplayed; it's not lethal, but Jin's reply to Rou's "Gramps" is filled with horse dung as a prank. Complete with a mechanism that makes it spray outward when opened.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Jin has a great time introducing some Christmas traditions to the Winter Solstice, turning up in the village on a sleigh pulled by antler-wearing pigs, to deliver cookies and gifts to the children. (After checking that it won't be disrespectful to their own solstice traditions.)
    Jin: ...Not too disruptive, I hope?
    Meiling: <shakes head> Joy helps bring back the sun. Joy, colour, fire. Little sparks that the sun can see, even when it's so deep in its slumber.

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