The lights were bright in Dao Nian's residence. Shen Changan had just wheeled Dao Nian in and saw the people who usually lived in this house smiling at him.

"Mr. Shen, happy birthday." Liu Mao placed a gift box in Shen Changan's hands.

"Thank you." Shen Changan felt a little embarrassed. He didn't expect Liu Mao to have specially prepared a gift for him.

"Mr. Shen, happy birthday, I wish you good health and safety."

"Mr. Shen, happy birthday, I wish you great fortune."

One after another, gifts were placed in his arms until he almost couldn't hold them all. "Thank you all for the well wishes and gifts, it's just that..."

"Just accept them." Seeing the gifts about to slip from his arms, Dao Nian helped him put the gifts on his own lap and said to everyone, "You all go back, it's time for Changan to sleep."

"Yes, Master." Liu Mao led everyone away. When he turned to look at Shen Changan, Shen Changan happened to smile back at him. Liu Mao blinked in slight surprise, and then returned a gentle smile.

As one grows older, it is hard to resist developing some affection towards those pure, lovely beings with clean souls.

"Um..." After everyone left, Shen Changan wheeled Dao Nian into the elevator and said, "Dao Nian, did everyone prepare gifts for me because of you?" He felt like a detestable person with connections for whom the employees had to prepare gifts to curry favor in order to receive better treatment from the boss.

"They all like you." Dao Nian said as he pressed the button to go up. "Don't overthink it."

"Alright, half of it is because they like me, and the other half is because of you." Shen Changan wheeled Dao Nian back to the room and dumped the gifts from his lap onto the carpet, and sat cross-legged on the floor, starting to unwrap the gifts.

Unwrapping the first gift - very nice, a diamond watch.

Unwrapping the second gift - a designer wallet.

Unwrapping the third gift - a car key. The luxury car logo on the key made him a little scared.

He didn't even get through half before he got afraid to unwrap further. He looked at Dao Nian with trembling hands, "Dao Nian, are the employee benefits in your company that good?"

"Just useless toys to amuse kids." Dao Nian's gaze swept over the pile of gifts and he pointed at an orange wrapped box. "Open that one."

Shen Changan did as told and opened it. Inside was an exquisitely made candy figurine wrapped in rice paper, emitting a faint sweet fragrance.

"It's passable, eat it."

Shen Changan remembered this was from the uncle who usually cooked in the kitchen. He looked at the candy figurine, put it back in the box, and went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Breaking the figurine in half through the rice paper, he gave half to Dao Nian: "Here, half for you."

"This is of no use to me." Dao Nian didn't take it.

"If it's tasty and harmless then it's fine, who cares if it's useful." Shen Changan stuffed half the figurine into Dao Nian's mouth, and continued unwrapping gifts with the other half of the candy in his own mouth. He found more and more precious items like gemstone brooches and jade pendants from them.

Sitting blankly amidst the pile of valuables on the floor, he turned his head to Dao Nian in a daze, then pinched his own arm. It hurts!

"Dao Nian, I've read a story before." Shen Changan lowered his head to finish eating the sugar figurine and then neatly repackaged all the precious gifts. "There was a person who had a dream. In this dream, he entered a paradise like peach-blossom village. The villagers gave him many precious things to welcome him, and he was happy for a long time. Only when he woke up did he realize it was just a pipe dream."

The light sweet scent had long dissipated on his tongue. Dao Nian silently looked at Shen Changan, with some confusion in his eyes.

"I really like everyone's gifts." Shen Changan stacked the gift boxes neatly. Looking up at Dao Nian with a smile, he said, "But the neighborhood where I live is quite old with lax security. Can I leave these things with you to keep them safe?"

Since he had already accepted these things, returning them one by one would make things awkward and probably make Dao Nian lose face too. So after thinking it over, leaving them with Dao Nian seemed the best choice.

"Alright." Dao Nian hesitated for a few seconds. "Wear what I gave you."

"I'm wearing it." Shen Changan took out the necklace still warm from his body temperature for Dao Nian to see, then sat cross-legged facing him. "Dao Nian, if I were a woman and you were the king, doesn't this scene tonight resemble courtiers flattering a favored wicked concubine?"

Dao Nian: "..."

Are all humans so good at self-deprecating humor?

Dao Nian: "Don't think nonsense, go to sleep." Pointing at the door, Dao Nian refused to discuss this kind of ridiculous topic with Shen Changan as talking was tiring.

"Hehe." Shen Changan crawled up from the carpet, put the gift boxes aside on a nearby cabinet, and retreated to the door, waving at him. "Goodnight."

Dao Nian tapped his fingers twice to indicate that he heard it. Suddenly remembering something, he fished out a bunch of keys from his pocket and tossed them to Shen Changan.

"What's this?" Shen Changan caught them and flipped through them.

"Keys to the main gate, house, and cars." Dao Nian said, "There are too many cars, and they've been collecting dust. Take one to drive." He had noticed earlier that Shen Changan had also put the luxury car key into the gift box to store back here with him. So he could only prepare another one for him.

That way he wouldn't have to bike back sweating buckets in the middle of the night.

Shen Changan gripped the keys tightly and smiled at him. "Dao Nian, thank you for the three birthday gifts you gave me."

Dao Nian was taken aback. Didn't he only give him a necklace?

The next morning when Shen Changan woke up, it was very lively downstairs. After changing, he went down and found many strangers in the house. Seeing Shen Changan, they all greeted him with warm smiles.

Looking around the living room, Shen Changan didn't see Dao Nian and asked Liu Mao, "Mr. Liu, where's Dao Nian?"

"The master is in the greenhouse outside," Liu Mao pointed to the greenhouse. "Go look for him there."

"Okay." Shen Changan nodded, smiled politely at the strangers, then quickly walked towards the door.

"Mr. Shen..." Someone tried to stop him, but was glared at by Liu Mao and quickly swallowed their words.

Shen Changan strangely felt something off about these people. Pretending not to hear the call, he strode to the greenhouse to find Dao Nian. When they came back together, those strangers in the living room were all gone, and the table was piled high with gift boxes.

"Mr. Liu, what were those people here for earlier?" Shen Changan noticed the house had been cleaned again, even the flowers in the vases had been replaced.

"Just some people wanting to curry favor with the master. They got wind that it was your birthday and shamelessly came to the door." Liu Mao smiled. "Don't mind them. I've already checked the gifts they brought, and they're all fine. Keep what you like, give the ones you don't like to friends or throw them away."

Shen Changan: ...

Damn, that feeling like I'm a wicked consort seems even stronger now.

The news of Dao Nian celebrating Shen Changan's birthday quickly spread out.

"Lord Dao Nian is actually celebrating a birthday for the human kept by his side?" Hearing this news, the demonic cultivators of the bird clan could hardly believe their ears.

That Lord had long ceased to interfere in human affairs thousands of years ago and wasn't close with any races. His sudden decision to let a human temporarily reside by his side was already eye-catching enough. They didn't expect he would even celebrate his birthday too.

It was as preposterous as humans celebrating for ants and cicadas, making the gods and demons wonder.

In the past few millennia, as humans thrived, they had long been dissatisfied with humans. Now there was actually a human enjoying the favor of their lord - how could they sit still.

The more proactive clans sent people to inquire in detail under the guise of celebratory gifts. Since the bird clan's Kong Ying and an elder had seen the appearance of the human, some also came to the bird clan to ask about him.

Kong Ying, who had just been punished, sat pale-faced in a chair, refusing to speak no matter how others asked. The elder of the bird clan was very crafty. He seemed to have said everything while actually saying nothing at all.

After sending away all the gods and demons who had come to inquire, the bird clan elders gathered to consider what attitude they should take towards this human.

"Since there is a human who has gained the lord's favor, why can't someone from our bird clan do the same?" A bird clan elder suddenly said, "Could a human's looks surpass those of the young ones from the peacock tribe?"

The elders suddenly realized that if a human could win the Lord's favor, it meant that the Lord had not reached a state devoid of any emotions. In that case, other races also had a chance.

If they could gain even a bit of the lord's favor, what worries would there be about their clan's prosperity?

It was still the humans who were the most shameless, starting to use the beauty trick so early and striking before them.

After a lively birthday at Dao Nian's place, Shen Changan drove the car Dao Nian had lent him and brought back piles of food and clothes.

Getting out of the car, he bumped into the dad who had threatened to jump off a building because of his child's homework. The man greeted him warmly, "Little brother, bought a new car?"

"No, a friend saw how tiring it was for me to commute by bicycle to work every day and lent me a car to drive." Shen Changan took three large bags out of the car. Seeing this, the dad helped carry one of the bags.

"Bro, you live in this building?" The man's voice trembled a little in the corridor.

"Yes," Shen Changan nodded. "When I moved here, I found this area to be pretty good and the rent was cheap, so I chose to live here."

"Cheap it is, but here..." Hearing footsteps upstairs, the man was startled  in fright. He secretly breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that it was an old man with a ruddy complexion.

"Grandpa Zhang, you're back?" Shen Changan saw Grandpa Zhang and greeted him with a smile. Seeing he didn't look too good, Shen Changan fished a few fruits out of the large bag and stuffed them into his arms. "You old man should pay attention to rest."

Looking at the spiritually abundant fruits in his hands, Grandpa Zhang wracked his brains for what nice things he still had to give in return. "I came back a couple days ago." What had Shen Changan been up to while I was away? Why are his merits even more profound now?

"I've been staying at a friend's place these past few days so I didn't know that you had already returned." Saying so, Shen Changan felt a little embarrassed. It turned out he had already stayed at Dao Nian's for several days.

"Your friend..." Grandpa Zhang really wanted to ask, just what kind of figure was Shen Changan's friend for him to give out these spiritually potent vegetables and fruits as if they were worthless? In all his decades of life, he had never seen agricultural products with such abundant spirituality. Even hundred-year lingzhi and thousand-year ginseng paled in comparison.

These were simply not like things grown out of the ground.

Shen Changan couldn't discuss Dao Nian's private affairs with him, so he just smiled at him and lifted two large bags as he said, "Let me put these upstairs first."

"Okay." Grandpa Zhang, who was about to head out, hugged the fruits given by Shen Changan and turned to go back into his house.

He carefully ate the fruit flesh clean, then stored even the peels and pits into jade boxes to use for medicine later.

He couldn't bear to eat the remaining fruit and planned to take it back for some elders of advanced age in his sect. His Zhang clan was considered a top cultivation family in the country with resources that countless cultivators envied, yet even they couldn't produce things like this. He really didn't know whether the one who took these out was human or demon.

It could be seen that in this mysterious world, humans were not some particularly remarkable existence.

Just as he finished arranging the fruits, the communication device in the room rang. He pressed receive and several cultivation masters appeared on the projection screen on the wall.

"Did something happen?" Seeing so many masters gathered, Grandpa Zhang sensed something big must have happened. His heart faintly felt uneasy - had some evil demon escaped to wreak havoc in the mortal realm again?

"A major event." One of the masters spoke up. "Last night, while divining the stars, I noticed a change in the Heavenly Dao."

"Change in the Heavenly Dao?" Grandpa Zhang was so frightened he stood up, wanting to see the master's expression clearly, before remembering this was a projection, not real. He could only forcibly maintain calm and sit back down. "How could the Heavenly Dao change casually? Will it have too big an impact on us humans?"

"How could we ordinary people easily deduce the trajectory of the Heavenly Dao?" The master gave a bitter laugh. "If Taoist Master Yuan or Sect Leader Huang were still alive, they might be able to make some predictions."

Everyone fell silent. Their generation of cultivators was weaker than the previous, and many couldn't even learn the divination arts left by their predecessors, let alone observe the Heavenly Dao and predict prosperity and decline.

This one who could see changes in the Heavenly Dao was already the most skilled in prediction and astrology among them. If even he couldn't figure it out, none of the rest of them had the ability either.

"So we take it one step at a time?" After long mutual silence, Grandpa Zhang was the first to speak. "Earlier, when the matter of impure Qi in the north came up, I forgot to tell you something - I found a young man with a ten lifetimes meritorious body."

"Ten lifetimes of merit?" The Sutrayana Master Yanyin who hadn't said a word from the beginning to the end, solemnly looked at Grandpa Zhang, "Amitabha Buddha, Fellow Daoist Zhang, I wonder if this virtuous person is married?"


"Are the parents open-minded?"

"No parents."


Sutrayana Master Yanyin's words were interrupted by a knock on the door. Grandpa Zhang got up and opened the door to the living room. Shen Changan was holding a plate of washed cherry tomatoes. "Grandpa Zhang, have these. I've already washed them."

"Chang'an, keep these nice things for yourself to eat well, don't just casually give them to others." Looking at the plate of spiritual fruits emitting a strong aura, Grandpa Zhang firmly resisted the powerful temptation and said aloofly, "It wouldn't be appropriate for me to take something that your friend specially gave to you."

In case this eminent one misunderstood and thought as a cultivator he was deceiving a youngster's treasures, not only would he be doomed, even his entire sect would be impacted.

"Don't overthink. I specifically told my friend that an elder downstairs likes to eat these, so he asked to pack more." Shen Changan shoved the plate into Grandpa Zhang's hands. "Just eat at ease, sir. My friend isn't such a fussy person."

Taking the plate of spiritual fruits, Grandpa Zhang's legs went soft. So that eminent one already knew that he had taken Shen Changan's stuff?

Since he already had a bad reputation, it would be a waste not to eat them. Eating them, he could at least become a ghost filled with spiritual energy. Grandpa Zhang turned and took out a box of lingzhi tea from his room to give Shen Changan. "Here, share this with your colleagues."

"Thanks." Shen Changan was already used to Grandpa Zhang's habit of giving ginseng and lingzhi. "Then, you should rest early. Goodnight."

After closing the door, Grandpa Zhang returned to the room and said to the camera, "The young man who just brought me fruits is the ten lifetimes meritorious one I mentioned."

"Worthy of being the one with ten lifetimes of merit, he can be so gentle to an eccentric old man like you."

Grandpa Zhang frowned. What does he mean?

"And his voice sounds so pleasant. He's clearly favored heavily by the heavens." Sutrayana Master Yanyin said, "I can sense that he has great affinity with Buddha. I will take a flight tomorrow to come and meet him."

Another Daoist quickly added, "I can also feel a strong affinity between him and our Daoism."

Grandpa Zhang: "Don't randomly fantasize. He doesn't even believe ghosts exist in this world." He recounted his experience bringing Shen Changan to see ghosts, and looked mockingly at the cultivators eagerly vying over the person. "Do you believe that if you go to invite him to cultivate, he'll take out some cash to give you and advise you not to be superstitious and come out to scam people?"

The cultivators: "..."

"A ten lifetimes meritorious person is unlikely to survive without the protection of cultivators to live to adulthood. Since he doesn't believe in ghosts and gods, how did he live to this age?" The master skilled at predictions felt it strange. "Could there be places in this world that can evade ghosts and monsters?"

"There are. Small ghosts don't dare go near people with extremely righteous qi, but such people are extremely rare. There are also places abundant in yang qi that are even more inaccessible to evil spirits. For example..."

"Places related to the military?!" The others reacted. "He grew up in a military compound?"

No wonder he was so patient even with Grandpa Zhang, a lonely old man, and didn't believe in ghosts and deities. If he had grown up in such an environment since young, it wouldn't be surprising at all.

Understanding this point, everyone's moods became complicated again. It was like watching a powerful Buddhist, master of mana go train physical attacks instead, even denying the existence of mana attacks.

After another long silence, a master working at the security department gave a light cough. "By the way, I forgot to mention something. The plague demon was also captured by a ten lifetimes meritorious young man in Wuming City. If I'm not wrong, the young man mentioned by Daoist Zhang should be the same young man who captured the plague demon."

"There is another extremely important matter, I want everyone to swear an oath to the Heavenly Dao to never divulge, only then can I tell you. This matter has an extremely high chance of involving life and death for our cultivation world." The master's expression was grave.

Since it concerned life and death, prosperity and decline, no one dared be careless. After swearing oaths to the Heavenly Dao and putting up barriers around them, they continued listening.

"This junior with ten lifetimes of merit has likely unintentionally attained the ability of Golden Words. This ability is effective not just on humans and ghosts, but also has an influence on monsters and demons." The master slowly continued, "That is to say, his sincere blessings have been recognized by the Heavenly Dao. As long as they are words he has said, they have a chance of coming true. From last night until now, I have been looking through ancient texts, and found only sparse records. But ordinary people who gain this ability all have deep virtues and pure thoughts. Yet no one can maintain this ability for life."

"The shortest was a few months, the longest close to ten years, but in the end, the heavens took back this ability from them." The master's expression was grave. "But no matter what, his deep virtues are a blessing to our cultivation world. Even if he doesn't believe in ghosts and deities in this lifetime, I hope fellow daoists can still look after him a little."

"Don't worry, ever since this kid moved into this building, all the ghosts in the entire building have scrammed cleanly. Even the earth spirits took the chance to escape during a rainy day." Grandpa Zhang said, "Becoming adults, people like him have increasingly better fortune, offending him only leads to misfortune, there won't be any good outcome. Who knows who will be looking after who in the future."

All the cultivators: "..."

Although that's true, is it really necessary to be so straightforward? Do they monks not care about saving face?

Back home, Shen Changan strangely couldn't fall asleep. He tossed and turned in bed, took out his phone wanting to message Dao Nian, then worried that it was too late and would disturb his rest, he put his phone away again.

"Sigh." Lying on the bed, he let out a soft sigh. "It's easy to go from frugality to luxury, but difficult to go from luxury to frugality."

Having gotten used to having company, he now found it difficult to adjust to the quiet environment.

In the quiet room, Dao Nian looked at the pitch dark night sky. "Why are there no stars tonight?"

"Maybe the clouds are thicker tonight?" Liu Mao looked up puzzledly. Since when did the master start noticing such trivial matters?

Dao Nian pointed at the sky. The dark clouds instantly dispersed, revealing twinkling stars hanging in the sky, adding a touch of dazzling beauty to the night.

After doing this, he lazily leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.

Through the window, Shen Changan happened to see the beautiful starry sky. He sat up, draped the bed sheet over himself and sat cross-legged looking out the window.

The night is so beautiful tonight.

The weather forecast had tricked him again, saying it would rain tonight. Looking at the starry sky, it didn't seem like it would rain at all.

A shooting star streaked across the sky. Shen Changan took out the little round lamp beside his pillow. He shook it in his hand, and the lamp lit up.

It seemed...the little round lamp Dao Nian gave to him was even prettier.

After playing with the little lamp for a while, he finally felt drowsy. Hugging the lamp, he curled back under the blankets. The little lamp dimmed gradually, and in the moment when Shen Changan fell asleep peacefully, it finally went out completely.

The whole world seemed to have quieted down.


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