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Literature / Fox Demon Cultivation Manual

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Fox Demon Cultivation Manual (狐妖修炼指南, Hú Yāo Xiū Liàn Zhǐ Nán) is a danmei Web Novel by Feng Ge Qie Xing, first published on the Chinese web novel site JJWXC. It's the second in a trilogy of novels set in the same universe. The other two, Your Ninth Royal Highness, Please Change Your Clothes! and The Devil Lord is Fleeing for His Life Again Today, haven't been translated into English yet.

Song Ci accidentally consumes some of the Demon King's blood, which turns him into a demon too and makes him a target for other demons. He decides the best solution is to get rid of the Demon King. Then he meets Rong Bai and agrees to travel to the Demon Realm with him... unaware Rong Bai is the Demon King.

The novel is completed with 101 chapters and 1 extra. A full English translation is available here.

Contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Rong Bai's father Tu Shan Bi. In flashbacks he throws Rong Bai — who's just a child at the time — to the ground for resting without permission, and years later he whips Rong Bai for bringing Song Ci back with him.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • The Fu Chi/Dai Yanxing/Qingyuan debacle. Dai Yanxing becomes infatuated with Qingyuan, who's in love with Fu Chi. Everyone thinks Fu Chi returns her feelings but he's actually in love with Dai Yanxing, who hates him because Qingyuan loves him.
    • Rong Sang loved Tu Shan Bi, who loved Lian's mother but was forced to marry Rong Sang.
  • Arranged Marriage: In the past Rong Bai was betrothed to Zhu Han because their families wanted them to marry.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: Rong Bai is a nine-tailed fox spirit (a jiuweihu or huli jing). Through drinking Rong Bai's blood Song Ci also becomes a fox spirit, though he has fewer tails than Rong Bai.
  • Blood Knight: Ze Chen is so obsessed with fighting that she even barges into Rong Bai and Zhu Qin's fight, which has nothing to do with her, just so she can attack Rong Bai.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the book three rabbit demons steal Song Ci's money. When he meets them again later on he demands they give him their money.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Zhu Qin forcibly undresses Zhu Han and threatens to rape her if she doesn't give him the information he wants. Thankfully averted when he doesn't go through with it. And then it turns out they're Not Blood Siblings anyway.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Situ Zhoulan's death. Song Ci gets Xiaochao to drag her into a nightmare she can't escape, a nightmare that "was beautiful at the start, but as it progressed, it would begin to dig out the dreamer’s innermost fears and sufferings and repeat it over and over again". Then Song Ci cuts Situ Zhoulan's wrist so she slowly bleeds to death while still trapped in the nightmare.
  • Death of a Child: Liang Shuli, Song Ci's younger brother, was murdered when he was only eight.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Changchu dies in Song Ci's arms.
  • Doorstopper: The full novel has 101 chapters, which is quite short by Chinese web novel standards.
  • Dramatic Irony: Played for laughs when Song Ci thinks Rong Bai — the freaking Demon King — is good-tempered and gentle.
  • Facial Horror: The people Song Ci sees outside the inn had their skin ripped off, leaving their faces a "skinless, bloody mess of rotten meat".
  • Flayed Alive: An unfortunate scholar gets skinned alive by a demon.
  • Footnote Fever: The English translation has many footnotes explaining things non-Chinese readers are unfamiliar with.
  • Gender Bender: Song Ci briefly gets turned into a woman when he replaces the bride in the procession.
  • Gilded Cage: Rong Bai has the best of everything in Tu Shan, his family's home, including a bathtub made of jade. While there he's also under his father's control, and his father does things like force him to choose between being whipped or killing Song Ci. Unsurprisingly Rong Bai describes Tu Shan as "a massive cage" and says he dreams of destroying it.
  • Harmful to Minors: When he was ten Song Ci was forced to watch as Liang Shuli was beaten to death in front of him.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Demons are captured and brought to Sihuang Mountain to be hunted during the Divine Hunt Meet. When he goes back in time Song Ci is one of the people captured.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: The real Feng Zhuojun died years ago. The man Jiang Liang thought was Feng Zhuojun, the one who got married and apparently betrayed Jiang Liang, was actually his twin brother.
  • I Have Many Names: Song Ci has three names: Liang Shuhong (his birth name), Liang Ci (his courtesy name), and Song Ci (the alias he uses to hide his real identity).
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Rong Sang was impaled and stuck to a tree by her own husband.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Before the novel's start Rong Bai got sick of immortality and dispersed his soul, meaning he's Secretly Dying. When Song Ci finds out he goes back in time to prevent Rong Bai dying.
  • Meaningful Rename: Rong Bai's original name was Tu Shan Bai. He changed it to Tu Shan Rong Bai in honour of his mother, but removed one radical from her name. The "Rong" in Rong Sang's name is written 榕, while the "Rong" in Rong Bai's name is written 容 without the tree radical (木).
  • Mystical White Hair: Rong Bai has white hair when in his true form.
  • Oblivious to Love: It takes Song Ci a very long time to realise Rong Bai is flirting with him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Song Ci and Qinyu both have this reaction when Rong Bai's identity is revealed.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Song Ci's parents outlive their younger son, Liang Shuli.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jiang Liang would have been spared a lot of misery if Feng Zhuojun's twin had told him Feng Zhuojun was dead. Instead Jiang Liang thinks Feng Zhuojun has abandoned him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Song Ci tells Tu Shan Bi what he thinks of him during Rong Bai's wedding.
    Song Ci: Tu Shan Bi. You are not worthy to be a father, and even more so, a husband. I'll teach you a good lesson today. Consider it a memorial to the woman whose death you caused.
  • Red String of Fate: Qinyu uses one as a weapon to defeat Zhu Yun. Once the red string is fastened to his finger he can't attack her without feeling extreme pain, and pain is the one thing he's afraid of.
  • Relative Error: Inverted. Because Song Ci drank Rong Bai's blood, his own blood smells like Rong Bai's. This prompts Zhu Yishu and (briefly) Rong Bai himself to assume they're related. Then Song Ci decides he might as well go with that so he calls Rong Bai his father, to Rong Bai's confusion. The misunderstanding is cleared up before they start a relationship, though.
  • Right Behind Me: Tu Shan Lian calls Rong Bai detestable and a loser, unaware Rong Bai is behind her and can hear everything she says.
  • Right in Front of Me: Song Ci tells Rong Bai exactly what he thinks of the Demon King, calling him "cruel", "tyrannical" and "abominable". This comes back to bite him later.
  • Sadistic Choice: Rong Bai's father tells him to either kill Song Ci or be punished for refusing. Rong Bai chooses the punishment.
  • Secretly Dying: Rong Bai is slowly dying from his suicide attempt.
  • Slashed Throat: Qingyuan kills herself by cutting her own throat.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The Divine Emperor Yan Song has golden eyes, and so does his nephew Yan Bei.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Happened to poor Sun Yunniang on her husband's orders. She died because of it, so her ghost goes around tearing off other people's faces.
  • Teeth Flying: Zhu Qin spits out two teeth after Rong Bai kicks him in the face.
  • That Man Is Dead: Song Ci tells his mother that Liang Shuhong is dead.
    Song Ci: The 'me' now is no longer Liang Shuhong, nor the child you often compare to Liang Shuli. My current name is Song Ci. [...] I no longer hate you, but I still can't forgive you. Liang Shuhong, whom you had once used Liang Shuli to put down, had already died four years ago under your harsh words. Now, I have a new life. One that does not belong to you or the Liang Clan.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Rong Bai's past. His parents hated each other, his half-sister despised him, his father harshly punished him for taking too long to take on a divine form, and when he left to gather flowers for his mother he returned to find his father had murdered her.
  • The Un-Favourite: Song Ci's parents preferred his younger brother Liang Shuli to him. When Liang Shuli was murdered Song Ci did his best to adopt his personality and become as much like him as possible.
  • Unfortunate Names: Hua Wuneng's name literally means "incompetent flower" (花/huā = "flower", 无能/wú néng = "incompetent"). Song Ci sarcastically calls it a "really good name". Unsurprisingly Hua Wuneng introduces himself with the much less embarrassing name "Hua Wu", meaning "flower mist" (雾/wù, pronounced the same as 无 but with a different tone).
  • Wedding Smashers: Rong Bai's wedding to Zhu Han is eventful to say the least. Rong Bai publicly declaring he doesn't want to marry Zhu Han is just the start of the drama. Then Song Ci reveals he's impersonating Zhu Han, Rong Bai extracts his heart's blood, a fight breaks out between Song Ci and Tu Shan Bi, the real Zhu Han is murdered by her adoptive father, and Song Ci disappears in the middle of the battle.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The bandits who kidnap Madam Liang and her sons. They try to force Song Ci, who's only ten at the time, to jump on broken planks over a pit full of stakes. He's too frightened to do it, so they beat his eight-year-old brother to death.