◎ One Stroke, Two Symbols ◎

Did someone come to visit from the Mountain and Sea Sect?

Lin Shuang shook her head; she didn’t have any disciples from the Mountain and Sea Sect in her contacts.
It wasn’t her visiting hours either.

“Sister, could it be that the one who fell into demonic cultivation, Xiao Qi, lost and now other disciples from the Mountain and Sea Sect are coming to challenge you?” Zhao Keran instantly worried.

Lin Shuang gestured to dismiss the thought, perhaps the person at the gate misunderstood the message.

“Let’s wait until they arrive.”

“Yeah, Sister, you should focus on making symbols for now.
They’re due tomorrow,” Zhao Keran reminded her.

Lin Shuang nodded and quickly concentrated, preparing to complete the talisman assignment left by the Transmission Hall’s master from the previous lesson: twelve first-tier communication talismans.

First-tier talismans were the most basic introductory ones.
She had already successfully self-studied and mastered them, rendering practice unnecessary.

But if she didn’t do them, she would be penalized with copying scripture books, twelve of them to be exact.

Plus, this would displease her teaching master’s and potentially lead to stricter scrutiny of her future assignments.

Her junior disciple wouldn’t help her with this…


Thinking of this, Lin Shuang squinted her eyes, taking out twelve blank yellow paper talismans.

【Today’s Tomato Timer Checklist: 】

Draw third-tier Gathering Spirit Talismans.

Gathering Spirit Talismans could accelerate the attraction of spiritual energy within a hundred miles, a skill that third-tier talismanist must master for advancement.

This was her true task for today.

Hence, she had to hit two birds with one stone!

While drawing the communication talismans, she would also complete today’s Gathering Spirit Talismans!

Lin Shuang closed her eyes, considering the ink strokes for both talismans.


She started playing the background music of a calming zither piece from her self-made earbuds.

With the aiding BGM of light music that helped her concentrate, she picked up the large wolf-hair brush from the left side of her pen stand and dipped it into a pile of well-prepared cinnabar by Little Ai.

Twelve blank yellow paper talismans were placed on the table.

From right to left, arranged in three rows and four columns.

With bated breath, she took up the brush.

Dense ink was applied to the first piece of yellow paper.

Three hooks, three clear strokes, and the head of the first-tier communication talisman formed in an instant as the brush moved.

The ink also seeped into the tabletop.

“Ah, Sister, you’ve used too much cinnabar ink.”

On the side of the desk, Zhao Keran, Lin Shuang’s junior disciple who had already finished three communication talismans, was massaging her temples and resting.
When she turned her head and saw Lin Shuang’s actions, she couldn’t help but speak.


But she quickly covered her lips.

When drawing symbols, any disruption in spiritual focus was highly undesirable.

If the flow of Qi was interrupted, all previous efforts would be wasted.

Zhao Keran didn’t dare to disturb Lin Shuang, but after glancing a couple of times, a gradually saddened expression appeared on her face, mixed with regret.

“Sister, the wolf-hair brush you chose is not suitable; there’s too much ink and the lines become blurry when you stroke it.
The cinnabar smudges on the yellow paper.”

“Ah, and the focal point of the talisman is slightly off.”

“The effectiveness of this communication talisman will be at most fifty percent.

Sister’s talisman crafting performance would probably end up being rated as mediocre by the Transmission Master again tomorrow.

Barely passing.

Zhao Keran sighed, and shifted her gaze away, but then saw that Lin Shuang’s face wasn’t showing the frustration of the ink smudging on the yellow talisman paper.
Instead, she looked content and confident, exuding an air of self-assuredness and strength.

As if she was crafting high-tier talismans.

Zhao Keran couldn’t help but admire her sister.
Could this be the mental resilience that Sister mentioned in the “Fastest Cultivation Discussion”?


After Lin Shuang finished a stroke, Zhao Keran gently placed the third communication talisman she had completed on her desk.

Her talisman assignment had been rated as excellent by their master last time.


“Take a look at mine.”

But just as Zhao Keran was about to hand over the talisman, Lin Shuang’s brush tip flipped it over and pushed it away in an instant.

“Go away, be good~”

“Don’t disturb Sister while she’s working.”

Zhao Keran froze and then retreated a step, feeling disoriented and rejected.

Even though she didn’t rank first like Senior Brother Zhou Xuanwu every time, she had special confidence in her communication talisman.

Zhao Keran felt despondent, retreating to her desk and listlessly drawing small circles with her fingers.

Inside the small wooden hut, there were two beds side by side, each against the wall beside a window.

One facing south, the other north.

The space in the middle aisle was occupied by two square wooden tables placed side by side.

Zhao Keran stood with her back to Lin Shuang, her heart heavy with sorrow.

And behind her, the table that spread out twelve yellow paper talismans emitted a faint red glow.

With each stroke of her brush, Lin Shuang’s willpower was evident, as if the cinnabar ink had entered the table!

Beneath the twelve yellow paper talismans—

On the surface of the wooden table, a third-tier Gathering Spirit Talisman was formed!

“!?? ?”

Just as the Mountain and Sea Sect’s Xiao Qi had located Hut 99, he peered inside through the plum-carved window.

Even the pain from the beating he had just endured was forgotten as he stood there in shock.

[Senior Brother, is there a possibility that someone seems to be crafting a low-level talisman, but is actually crafting a mid-level one?]

He clenched the voice transmission stone in his hand, his mind in a daze.

He saw the female cultivator at the third stage of Qi Condensation who had just beaten him up wearing a gray robe.
Her sleeves hung down from her wrists, revealing a fair portion of snowy-white skin.

With her delicate wrists holding the ink-black wolf-hair brush handle, she smiled contentedly.

The radiance of two different-level talismans, different in quality and grade, flashed and vanished under the brush strokes!

Xiao Qi stood outside the window in utter astonishment.

[Junior Brother, what nonsense are you talking about? Even though you’re a sword cultivator, you’ve learned the basics of talisman crafting.
Different talismans have completely different patterns and symbols.
How can they be crafted simultaneously?]

Well, they can.

Xiao Qi directly ended the communication with Senior Brother.

Looking at the wooden hut again, he prepared to push the door open but then heard Lin Shuang’s languid voice from inside.

“Mm, I’ve completed today’s talisman practice.”

“Sister, oh, your first-grade communication talisman is really sloppily done.
Our Transmission Master won’t be pleased.”

Upon hearing this, Xiao Qi took a sharp breath.

A sloppy first-grade communication talisman, because it was merely a side task.
The third-tier talisman with the ink on the tabletop was the real focus of the practice!

Just as he was about to enter the room, a ripple spread across the wooden hut’s surface, and words appeared.

[If you’re looking for Lin Shuang, please leave a message if it’s not urgent.]

[Today, Lin Shuang’s communication schedule is full.
Matters of communication with her can be resumed around noon tomorrow.]

Xiao Qi: “!”

For him, as a junior sect disciple, it wasn’t easy to come here.

Especially since the two sects often clashed over the Spirit Spring.

Just now, he had managed to bribe the gatekeeper with fifty spirit stones to gain entry.

But just as he was about to knock on the door, a stern voice suddenly sounded behind Xiao Qi.

“Hmm, a Mountain and Sea disciple?”

Xiao Qi turned to look and saw three sword cultivators floating about ten steps away in midair, standing with their arms crossed.

They were dressed in black attire with conspicuous red belts across their chests—the insignia of patrol duty for the Clearwater Sect.

“Bold! The dispute over the Spirit Spring has ended! Without permission, how dare the Mountain and Sea Sect’s disciples not sheath their swords when entering our Clearwater Sect!” The person at the forefront scolded.

Xiao Qi furrowed his brows.

He couldn’t hand over his sword; it was his wife.

However, this patrolling individual was at least at the Foundation Establishment stage, and his speech carried an imposing pressure.

Xiao Qi couldn’t beat him.

Next time, should he bring his senior brother’s sword as collateral and then visit again?

“Senior Sister Lin Shuang, today, Xiao Qi from the Mountain and Sea Sect is here to visit!”

Xiao Qi hurriedly shouted.

“I just wanted to inform you that if you require… fat-burning exercise next time, Senior Sister can find me anytime.”

The patrolling disciple was taken aback.

Xiao Qi spoke while retreating, preparing to leave.
But just as he was about to go, the door of Hut 99 creaked open behind him.

“Oh? Are you the one from earlier?”

A cheerful and melodious female voice came from behind the open door.

“Are you willing to establish a long-term fat-burning partnership with me?”

Although dressed in gray robes, Lin Shuang’s eyes were sparkling.

With a wolf-hair brush in hand and a sheet of yellow paper talisman with fresh ink, she walked out of the wooden hut.

She smiled.

A long-term exercise partner wasn’t easy to find.

In her previous life as a fitness coach, the starting price was three hundred yuan per hour.

Moreover, she was too close to her roommate, making her hesitant to make a move.

But in the Mountain and Sea Sect, finding a workout partner didn’t come with such concerns!

This was entirely voluntary on the other party’s part.

Lin Shuang opened the wooden door, and her phoenix eyes involuntarily looked at Xiao Qi.

She saw that he had changed into a royal blue silk robe, his countenance dignified.
However, he still had his sword wrapped in cloth on his back, which looked out of place.

Approaching him, she couldn’t help but recall the exhilarating fat-burning boxing workout during the spirit spring dispute.

A straight punch precisely hit his chest.

An uppercut landed on his chin.

A downward punch aimed at his abdominal muscles.

More importantly, at this moment, there was a hint of condensed energy around him, as if he was about to break through to the Foundation Establishment stage.

In this way, he could at least make her sweat.

This ‘punching bag’ was exactly what she needed at the moment.

If she missed this chance, who knew how many more years she would have to wait.

“Let’s add each other as friends.” Lin Shuang’s eyes shimmered as she handed over the communication stone.


Xiao Qi smiled gracefully, the mole on the tip of his nose seemed to shine.
He carefully raised his cloth-wrapped sword, lifted the non-crease silk robe, and accepted the voice-transmitting stone, inputting his spiritual sense mark.

But just as he made contact, a sharp blade wind descended from midair.

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