It’s Not Easy Being a Master


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Shen Zhixian transmigrated into a book as a cannon fodder master who hatefully severed his disciple’s spirit root. This disciple fell into the devil’s path and returned to make mincemeat out of him.

Shen Zhixian just happened to transmigrate into the last moment of the master’s captivity, and then he was reborn again.

After rebirth, he devoted himself to fostering and supporting his disciple, only to discover later that his disciple was also reborn.

Even worse, the disciple still retained the memory of his life before rebirth.

Shen Zhixian: …Disturbed.

Afterward, he realized one truth: Being a master is a high-risk occupation. Not trivial at all!

Associated Names
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Related Series
The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (16)
The Husky and His White Cat Shizun (10)
The Daily Task of Preventing My Disciple from Turning to the Dark Side (8)
Every Day the Protagonist Wants to Capture Me (7)
I’ve Led the Villain Astray, How Do I Fix It? (5)
Transmigrating into a Mob Character to Rehabilitate the Villain Plan (3)
Recommendation Lists
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  4. student x teacher danmei
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Latest Release

Date Group Release
04/11/20 Xixi’s Translations extra 3 (end)
04/10/20 Xixi’s Translations extra 2
04/09/20 Xixi’s Translations extra 1
04/08/20 Xixi’s Translations c79
04/07/20 Xixi’s Translations c78 part2
04/06/20 Xixi’s Translations c78 part1
04/05/20 Xixi’s Translations c77
04/04/20 Xixi’s Translations c76
04/03/20 Xixi’s Translations c75
04/01/20 Xixi’s Translations c74
03/31/20 Xixi’s Translations c73
03/30/20 Xixi’s Translations c72
03/29/20 Xixi’s Translations c71
03/29/20 Xixi’s Translations c70
03/28/20 Xixi’s Translations c69
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154 Reviews sorted by

ylial rated it
March 8, 2020
Status: Completed
Cannon fodde review has wrong information. First, the novel is similar to scum villian for only the first few chapters (really similar). Second the novel is up to chapter 82 only not 100.

My rating: 4

As mentioned by the other reviews, this one has a similar start but the plot is really different. There are lots of mysteries regarding Sui/MC. The downsides of the story are the plot holes and the not well written journey of MC and ML. The interactions between MC and ML are fluff unlike the scum villian.... more>> Also, I like the MC here better. He has this personality "I like him then so be it". He's not indecisive with his feelings and constraint with their master and apprentice relationship. This one too has less dog blood drama. Good story But could have been improved. <<less
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Euphoriella rated it
January 18, 2020
Status: c82
Once I started reading, I wanted to know what happened so I binge-MTL the rest of the novel within a couple days. It's not one of the best novels I've read, but it's still really good. Better than some others, for sure.

I also wanted to correct some comments made by one of the other reviewer. Maybe he or she misremembered some details.

... more>>

1. The main character actually did gain the villain's memories. In the early parts of the novel, which had been translated, the author mentioned several times that Shen Zhixian was using the villains memories to do certain things. He even spent the first several days practicing. Then, several years practicing.

2. When he witnessed the ML being bullied by his other disciple, he basically punished the disciple by exiling him out of the sect to do manual labor for some time. Then, he moved the ML over to stay next to his house. Later, he even severed one of his other more scheming disciple's spirit root. The guy definitely deserved it.

3. The reason they went out adventuring (though not intentionally together, at first) was not to figure out why the original master became villainous but to find something to heal the MC's heart injury. The discoveries about the original master just fell into place bit by bit later.

4. I was also expecting the ML to be reborn after he committed su*cide, but, after reading the rest of the story, it made sense this way too. I guess having your spirit root severed can be considered as a kind of major death.


It was a really good read with some sweet fluff and some funny moments. Started out a bit slow but got more fast paced once they left the sect. I agree that the ML was a bit two-dimensional, but that's pretty typical for most of these types of novel I've read. The translation is really good so far. Thank you to the translator for your hard work and for sharing this story. Once it's completed, I'll come back to re-read. <<less
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phobosdeimos rated it
March 25, 2021
Status: Completed
I was hesitant at finishing this at first because the beginning was so boring and stagnant that there was no development between the MC and ML other than the MC's effort to placate the hedgehog disciple of his.

But boy was I wrong. This book is not perfect. There are lot of inconsistencies but you can't just put it down. There are 3 reasons why I love this book so much. First, the characters. The ML and MC are adorable! They have their own personality. They don't need each other to... more>> shine. Unlike other stories where the MC is bland without the ML or the other way around. In this story, you can rest assured that they would be fine because they are capable of surviving by their own. Some may found this weird because it makes the romance boring but I assure you that it wasn't the case. Because of that, when they are together, they are just so powerful.

Second, the development. Their relationship was not rushed. It was not out of place. As a reader, you will see how they've learned to acknowledge their feelings. The ML was the first one to fall in love. Honestly, I was scared that the MC would fall in love with him too immediately. However, I was glad that it did not turn out like that. Keep in mind that the MC was his master and he did not want to take advantage of the ML because of that. When the ML confessed his feeling, he did not panicked or found it appalling instead he talked to him calmly and asked the ML to give him time. I was like, (☞゚ヮ゚) ☞. Their relationship was realistic. Also, the MC was open-minded. He did not question his sexuality in a weird way but just accepted it as another form of love.

There's this scene where one of the villains accused the two of them having something 'nasty' between the two of them (because they are master-disciple). Do you know how the MC responded? He said that what they had was sincere affection and THAT WAS f*ckING BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Third, the mystery. Now, when I mentioned this, I did not mean that the mystery was so groundbreaking and revolutionary. To be fair, the mystery was generic. But, the thing was it was beautifully laid out that even though you already know the plot, you still can't help but exclaimed, "WOW"

You might say I'm exaggerating but that was literally my expression.

And to address the elephant in the room, I know that some of you might be subconsciously comparing this to SVSSS or don't want to read it because of the fear that you'll find a second-rate SVSSS. I assure you besides the fact that the MC was trasmigrated and the MC and ML have master-disciple relationship, there's nothing similar between this and SVSSS. I've read SVSSS too and if I had to choose who has the better relationship development, I'll pick Yan Jin and Shen Zhixian.

Again, this story is not perfect but it was enjoyable and that is enough. Sometimes we just need something to make us feel giddy and that is fine.

(English is not my first language so please bear with me) <<less
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Melange rated it
April 16, 2020
Status: Completed
Many people say that it has Scum Villain vibes, and this is initially true. However, the plot is less intriguing and the transitions are exceedingly confusing. There's a "big twist" but it's predictable. It's difficult to distinguish between the present and flash backs, and sometimes years pass in just one sentence. Sometimes the translator has to put T/N explaining the plot because the readers are confused... lol.

MC is pretty useless throughout the whole novel and relies on ML's strength to get through struggles. How they fell in love, I have... more>> no idea, because it went somewhere from adoration/guilt to ??? flashback hell to "you're mine nobody can even look at you" within 10 chapters. At one point ML is described as an ice cube and that's about the extent of his personality. His sole purpose in life? To find and live for MC... I think? Hell if I know.

The pacing is poor and goes from turtle crawl to bullet train before slamming into a wall and -- the end! There's almost no resolution to this novel, it just ends at the climax. The author introduces a bunch of new characters, they go and break through some cave, ML "kidnaps" MC, and everyone is confused. Huh?? At the end of the novel I still don't know who half of the side characters are or why they matter. <<less
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TooEarly rated it
March 1, 2020
Status: c43
Very hard to read. I don't know if it's the translation or the author's writing style but I feel like the transitions between every chapter is jarring. Like I'd have to reread the beginning to figure out what is going on. Timeskips aren't mentioned so there is a lot of unresolved minor conflicts which builds up. And I feel like the characters are just shoved around to reach certain plot points. Like the ML being unforgiving no matter what the MC does even to the point of repaying kindness with... more>> harm. But then out of nowhere one act of kindness just changes everything. Barely any build up. Just a bunch of time skips and wala it happened. <<less
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Miyuki_Hoshi19 rated it
January 31, 2020
Status: Completed
MTL this, a very good one.. Although there a lot of scum-villain vibes but I assure you that this story is very much original story, especially when a lot of mystery unfolded about ML experience and MC reason to transmigrate. Also the pace, in the beginning, a little bit all over the place (it will be better in mid-story though). And I must remind that you can't read this halfway since the last couple of chapter is pretty much clear all the misunderstanding, secret etc.. Heck I even cry about :


After ML kill "master" in the main story, the sect-leader (The villain in whole story) telling him that the one he kills actually both his real master (MC) and the "master" (half-demon that takes his master (MC) body after MC sacrifices himself to ML (in the past when ML still a child).


5 star for me since I like master x disciple relationship!! OwO) 9
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Pavetta rated it
January 13, 2020
Status: c2
I'm loving it so far! Reminds me of Scum Villain, in that a modern character ends up in the body of a villainous master of a sect who mistreated the protagonist, his disciple. Except in this story, the disciple has time travelled, so he is fully aware of all the bad things his master does to him in the future.

So we've got our MC who is trying to treat the protagonist right to avoid being tortured in revenge, and the protagonist who remembers all the slights and has already taken... more>> revenge, and hates the MC.

I can't wait for more. <<less
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BanniNotBunny rated it
May 23, 2021
Status: Completed
It's a good novel.

It is not similar to The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System. Apart from different plot, there is consent and mutual feelings in this novel unlike SVSSS.


Note : There is no smex scenes.
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stardustmist rated it
April 17, 2020
Status: extra 3
This initially does have a likeness to Scum Villain, however, isn't the trope of a Master bullying his Disciple into demonic path and getting chopped up a genre where many stories are build upon??? Scum Villain isn't the only one out right having this type of storyline, so people saying that it's plagiarized are too mean.

The novel is nice, fun to read as a light novel. I wouldn't say that it's the most amazing novel I've ever read, but it's good for just a light reading. The translator did an... more>> amazing job as there are a very few mistakes, doesn't make it difficult to read or understand.

Now, the story isn't the best it is out there, the author skips time abruptly and you won't know it unless you have read a few lines. The plot twists aren't that exciting and surprising; mostly predictable.

Storyline: 3.5 stars

Characters: 4 stars

Main couple: 5 stars!!! <<less
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homoloaf rated it
July 15, 2021
Status: c79
I know a lot of people are saying it's like Scum Villain but it really isn't. At the start it seems like it but it changes drastically and tbh I prefer this story over Scum, the relationship is consensual they actually like each other and ML isn't out to kill everyone that even looks at the MC. I can never understand the want for yanderes.

It's a good story, is it a great story? No, but a good one none the less. Certainly good for passing the time.
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naomisugoon rated it
April 26, 2021
Status: Completed
The CP is literally the cutest thing ever, I am so happy to find a cultivation BL novel that has a good dynamic between the MC and ML, meaning it's completely consensual and seems quite healthy lolol. The MC doesn't resist his feelings for ML and I think he takes a mature stance on love, nice to find an MC that doesn't hesitate to be with the person they like and give the relationship their all. The ML is also pretty good, he has some hatred for the MC as... more>> his master in the beginning because he doesn't have all of his memories, and feels conflicted about how he should treat MC. The MC's transmigration thing is also interesting, going into that would be spoilers, but I like that it actually has a reason and isn't like he literally just transmigrated into a book out of nowhere. <<less
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Cannon Fodder
Cannon Fodder rated it
January 15, 2020
Status: c100
I have mixed feelings reading this novel and my enthusiasm depletes as I continue reading.

For those who are wondering if it is similar to "The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System",...yes it is. In fact, I believe the author literally took the whole plot of Scum Villian, condensed it and shoved it into the first 50 chapters of this novel. No kidding.

I am simply appalled and have no words to describe how to feel.

To be fair, I have read my share of similar novels with Master and Apprentice pairs so I... more>> did have a very high expectation from the summary. I was especially intrigued by the rebirth element in this novel but so far, the novel is lacking in more places than one.

Our MC transmigrates into a novel he had read before getting into an accident and becomes the Villian. I do appreciate the fact that there is no system, which was a great change for me. But I was not able to put the MC's character together at all in the first half of the novel.


MC does not receive the memories of the original Villain Master, but since he read the novel he should act as a master easily no? Aaahhhh. His presence was weak and I felt as if he was not a "master" at all. For example, when ML is getting bullied by his other apprentices, MC doesn't do anything about those people and says the situation was too deep to handle and will wait. But... aren't you the master???


But I am hoping... begging on my knees that he gets stronger not just physical wise but character-wise as well.

As for the Protagonist (ML), he's pretty cold-hearted and has little to no expression unless MC is involved. I do appreciate that he doesn't immediately forgive the MC (props to the rebirth, nice). But the rebirth itself is confusing.


The "original novel" does not explain anything and is basically: Villain master bullies Protagonist and takes root, Protagonist grows and kills villain master, Protagonist finds out some "truth", Protagonist commits su*cide. The Protagonist's rebirth happens before his root was taken out, so he originally died when his root was taken out?? Confused? same.



This novel will basically have the first part regarding those 50 chapters I talked about. Then, they go on a journey together to broaden their experience/relationship and solve mysteries behind the real antagonist? and how the original Villian master became the way he did.


Yes, there are good things about this novel, I'm sure there is. I just haven't gotten to it yet.... perhaps. So I will return and change the rating because I do appreciate the translators. <<less
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PhoenixPlume320 rated it
July 4, 2022
Status: c58
Y'know those girls that Isekai into a romance novel/game and try to win over the the guy who killed them in hopes of not getting killed in the future? I never understood that. Instead of trying to better their personal situation, they pander to ruthless men in hopes of an uncertain future. Of course, since these are romance novels, their plan works and it's happy ever after.

This novel is basically a BL xianxia version of that. I understand the logic behind it but realistically... Would you try to pander to... more>> someone that strangled you? In hopes that they might not kill you? It's even more ridiculous because after years of giving ML the best things and treating him nicely, ML still attempts to kill the MC before deciding not to follow through. It's only after this incident that MC 'suddenly' remembers that there's a way to cure his illness and get better. Even then, he still thinks maybe he should help the ML and the og FL try to get together in more hopes maybe the ML will be like him enough to spare him. Strange how there's no psychological barrier of kissing up to someone that hates you.

The MC is likable, if a bit dumb. The writing isn't bad either; some weird plot holes, some weird perspective jumps. Things do sort of get explained but it's not really satisfying...

My main gripe is the ML, who rly blends into the stoic, ruthless trope. He's nothing special honestly. The Xianxia version of the cold CEO, but a lot of people like that. <<less
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angstywuxian rated it
July 14, 2021
Status: Completed
It may give off SVSSS vibes but to be very honest, I enjoyed this more than SVSSS. The relationship and the character development was pleasant to read. Although there are loopholes in the story which can get you confused, it's one of those stories where you simply just can't put it down. I also like how the MC is chill about his feelings like, "if I like him then I like him." And he's not secretive about it. I also like how they have their own personalities and don't need... more>> to depend on the other to shine. They are very much independent but at the same time, fools in love.

Overall, I really liked this book. If you want, you can give it a try. <<less
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secondthots rated it
November 16, 2020
Status: extra 3
Not the worst thing I've read, but definitely scores low in my books. I had high hopes, expecting that it might be a more refined version of The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, but it seems that I duped myself. The premise is quite similar & I'm into the whole, "trying to make amends with my former enemy", I like the slow-burning love/hate tension.

But this.. Was meh. The main two's connection is good & I like how ML was never impulsive or a s*ave to his longing & lust. I enjoyed... more>> the consent. But the plot was on a lower level. The twists weren't that great, the foreshadowing was mediocre, & I just could care less about any of the side characters. My boredom was at the point of me skimming the final chapters because I couldn't take it anymore. <<less
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Leviathan.James rated it
August 31, 2022
Status: Completed
I have nothing but good things to say about this novel. If you're a fan of cultivation novels, boys love, mystery, plot twists, and super sweet happy endings, you need to take the time to journey through this gem of a story.

Let's break this review down into three parts: romance, plot, and extras.

Romance: As other reviewers have indicated, the romance in this story stands out from other novels because of its realism and maturity. This is not a novel filled with dramatized angst and heartbreak. Rather, the MC and ML... more>> talk about their feelings and their intentions in a mature fashion. They're equals in their relationship. This is one of the very rare instances where a romantic relationship depicted in a book is actually healthy and role-model worthy.

The intimate scenes are PG-13, which rather than being a disappointment actually enhanced the depiction of the relationship. This is a life-long commitment between two people who cherish and respect each other. By choosing to keep the intimacy PG-13, the author emphasizes the emotional intimacy over the physical intimacy between the characters. It's a beautiful relationship that feels natural as it develops and deepens throughout the novel.

Plot: In many novels that I've read, once the MC and ML enter into a relationship, the plot is throw out the window and the book becomes solely about the romance. That's not the case in this story. The plot and romance are perfectly balanced from beginning to end. And what a plot this is! I don't think I've ever read a story with so many plot twists! About two-thirds of the way through the story, you will question everything you thought you knew. But this isn't a bad thing. Every plot thread is tied up by the end of the novel, and as the mysteries unravel you won't be able to put the book down. The plot is intricate and engaging, and although it might seem a bit confusing at times, all the pieces are provided by the final chapter. This is a story that will not disappoint.

Like many other readers, when I read the plot summary here on NU, I immediately thought of Scum Villain's Self-Saving System. As other reviewers have indicated, aside from the most basic premise, this book is nothing like SVSSS. Don't get me wrong, I love SVSSS, but honestly I think I like this book more. If you enjoyed SVSSS, you will like this one too. If you didn't like SVSSS, you will probably still like this one.

Extras: I'm not normally someone who reads the extras for books. However, in this case, I do recommend reading them. There are only three and they do provide some additional information that pertains to the story but doesn't affect the story. Two of the extras take place immediately after the book ends so you get to see a little bit of what the post-novel world looks like and how the characters are doing after the big finale. The other extra is a bit more ambiguous as to where it falls in the story and is just a generally fun moment between the MC and ML. The extras maintain the same quality as the rest of the book and are enjoyable glimpses into side characters and post-plot activities.

In conclusion, there is no reason for you not to read this book. So what are you waiting for? <<less
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earlgreyt rated it
August 4, 2020
Status: Completed
Almost a 4/5.

The best part of this novel is that the master, the MC, is really a powerful cultivator and maintains that image throughout the story (despite his heart problem). He's never a damsel-in-distress or directly outshone by the ML-- MC and ML have the same gifted spiritual roots and talent. MC and ML work together to solve mysteries and beat the bad guys instead of ML being super OP yada yada yada...

There is also a lack of evil scheming women to throw at people to be cannon-fodder which was... more>> quite pleasant and original. The main villain had quite a good build up and the revenge wasn't over-the-top.

Great translation overall, flowed very smoothly.

This author was fairly ambitious and I did think the story was more original than [Scum Villain]. There were things about Scum Villain that weren't set up or tied up as well as in this story (plus the ML never r*pes or forces the MC in this story, demonic cultivation or not). The stories really are not the same, so I definitely recommend giving this one a shot. This one actually reminds me more of [Guardian] with the case-fic/mystery-solving/tragic side-story elements.

Yes, there are pacing issues, but only about twice were there really big time skips that didn't quite make sense.

Overall, my issue with the pacing was actually its focus on the mystery parts and all of the mystery were very detailed and interesting, but the transitions between them were fairly abrupt.


The author had a lot of great ideas and was very ambitious about them, but needed to refine the writing and pacing more. I do believe there's a lot of potential to see better works from this author in the future. <<less
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Chipmunkch33k5 rated it
April 14, 2021
Status: Completed
(ノꈍᴗꈍ) ノ彡。*゚+*.✧SATISFACTION*.✧。*゚+ (◡ ω ◡)

I love feeling like this when I'm at last chapter. Not saying I want more but it comes from having all or most of the mysteries/questions answered, potential CPs are canon and the main CP are fully immersed in their love-filled world (*˘︶˘*).。*♡✧*。
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btsdynamiteAUG21 rated it
August 30, 2020
Status: Completed
Wow! This is such an interesting and excellent novel I have read so far! I love the depth of the story and how the characters correlate with one another. The translations were so good and deep with reliable footnotes :)

One of the best historical yaoi novels I have read. The sweetness and fluff is so real I'm curling my toes to death!

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ReadTillYouDrop rated it
May 27, 2020
Status: Completed
At first I thought this gonna be just like other master disciple relationship but that was not for long as I see their cute development <3. I think the novel is fully coherent from the beginning till the end and this show how well thought the author is. The romance is quite slow thou but very worth it at the end ?.



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