My name is Soft Moonlight. I am the only chosen of the Shadow Devil Sect. After today, that will no longer be the case. Sect Elder Shu discovered a talented individual on his trip to the heaven and earth pocket realm. Apparently, this individual cultivated the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique for a single day and reached the ninth layer. For reference, I’m only at the seventh layer of the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique despite the fact I’ve been practicing it for over a decade. If Sect Elder Shu’s report is true, then my standing in the sect will fall…, unless the individual is a man; in that case, my grandfather, the sect leader, may force me into a marriage with the new chosen.
“Isn’t that Sister Moonlight?”
I nodded at the fellow disciple on the path and continued on my way. Anywhere I go within the sect, people recognize me. They flatter and heap praise upon me, hoping to become acquainted. With a single sentence, I can gather an army of willing and able men to destroy anything in my path. It’s not unusual for me to receive gifts every day from my suitors. But not today. Today, everyone is preparing for the arrival of the new chosen. The gifts that are supposed to be mine are being prepared for someone else. The attention that should be mine is directed elsewhere. The gossip that should be about me is no longer about me.
“I hope the new chosen is more approachable than Sister Moonlight. She’s such a frigid bit—”
“Shush! Sister Moonlight’s coming this way.”
Some people don’t realize one’s hearing is improved upon reaching the saint realm. But I don’t mind. As the chosen of the Shadow Devil Sect, I have to be frigid. I have to be stoic. No matter how scared I am, I have to confront things with an unwavering heart to save face for the sect. I am the poster child, and the poster child is not allowed to cry. But after today, there will be a new poster child along with me. He or she will take half the burden off my shoulders, or even the whole burden if the rumors of his or her ability are true. And for that, I am thankful. I really, really hate my position as the chosen of the sect, but I’m the sect leader’s granddaughter; it’s not like I can refuse. There’s nothing I want more in the world than to run away and live out the remainder of my life in a small village, free from all responsibility.
I don’t need attention. I don’t need suitors. I don’t need gifts. Rejecting three people per day week after week wears down on a girl. And some men don’t take rejection kindly! Speaking of suitors, here comes one now.
“Sister Moonlight! I’ve loved you for years! Please, marry me!”
“I’m sorry. My grandfather doesn’t want me to be in a relationship. If you became a saint-realm expert, our love could truly blossom.” Then I walked past him. I really, really hate rejecting people because my grandfather won’t let me properly reject them! And even if I try to make my words sound as fake as possible, these men cling onto them as if they were ropes keeping them from falling into the abyss. It’s all a ploy by my grandfather. He wants me to make as many men fall in love with me as possible, so that once I get married, all of them will gain a heart devil.
“I’ll do my best, Sister Moonlight!”
Please don’t. I’m so tired of this kind of life. I don’t have any real friends. There’s no one I can trust. If I told my grandfather about my real feelings, I’d be spanked and thrown into a room to meditate in seclusion for a year. After walking a bit further, I finally reached the entrance of the sect. The million sect members were separated by rank: outer sect disciples, inner sect disciples, core disciples, me, elders, grand elders, the sect leader, and the sect ancestors. That’s the way it should’ve been, but the sect ancestors are always in seclusion, trying to break through to the sky realm. And since I’m also the sect leader’s granddaughter, I’m allowed to sit by him.
“Grandfather.” I lowered my head, and my grandfather patted the seat beside him.
There’s something that’s been bothering me for a while now. “Grandfather, why do we need to host such an elaborate ceremony for the new chosen?”
My grandfather stroked his beard. “It’s … part of the terms Elder Shu negotiated with her.”
“The chosen. Her name is Lucia Fluffytail.”
It seems like I won’t be getting married anytime soon. What a shame. Wait. “Negotiated?”
“She’s from the pocket realm, so she doesn’t understand the might of the Shadow Devil Sect. This is a show of force.”
“Oh.” Right. She was a bumpkin. I heard bumpkins make great friends. Could it be possible for me to become her friend…? A familiar sight in the sky came towards us. “The boat is here, grandfather.”
“Yes.” My grandfather nodded. He was an earth-realm expert, so he should’ve realized it was coming way before me. I feel silly now. “I wonder what the chosen will say after seeing this sight.”
It was a very grand sight. A million people sat in neat rows, all dressed in the same black outfit. Everyone had taken out some spirit stones and placed them on the ground around them so that the whole place would sparkle if seen from the sky. My grandfather had even activated the grand formation that was meant to defend our sect. Of course, the formation wasn’t in defense mode but in welcoming mode. Which meant translucent golden dragons and phoenixes were flying about a few characters that read, “Welcome to the Shadow Devil Sect, Lucia Fluffytail!”
The flying boat came closer and closer before coming to a stop above the gate that was the sect entrance. I squinted up at the bow of the boat. There were four figures: a handsome man who was eating … a sword, a young girl with purple skin, Elder Shu, and a woman with rounded fox ears and a very bushy foxtail. The last one must’ve been Lucia Fluffytail. Lucia’s mouth dropped open. Was she going to say something?
“F***! That’s a shitload of people!”
For the first time—in probably the whole history of the sect—there was not a single sound. If a pin dropped on the ground a mile away, I could probably hear it. What happened next was as equally baffling. The boat did a massive U-turn and sped away.