The Low Key Cultivator Becomes Emperor

I Just Won't Play by the Book

I Just Won’t Play by the Book is a Chinese Web Novel written by Feng Yunzi. It falls into the xianxia genre. The story follows a modern man who gets transported into a mystical Cultivation world and has to rely on a mysterious system to survive and become stronger while keeping a low profile as the World is trying to kill him.

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Related: This Cultivation Novel Made Me Cry Twice

Something to Note before reading: The novel is good but the translation is horrible. First around 100 chapters are good. The translation group has stolen the translations from a mtl site. If you like the novel then be sure to read machine translation.

I Just Won’t Play by the Book Review

I Just Won't Play by the Book Review


The story follows Jiang Beiran, an ordinary junior high school student who suddenly finds himself transported to a world of martial arts and mystical powers. He struggles to adapt and survive in this chaotic new world where strength and power rule. Jiang Beiran soon discovers that he has a special system that gives him options and quests to complete in exchange for rewards that make him stronger. However, he realizes the options are often dangerous traps that could get him killed.

Through trial and error involving many brushes with death, Jiang Beiran figures out that the simplest options that reward basic attribute points are the safest choices. He resolves to accumulate these basic points slowly to become stronger while keeping a low profile to avoid trouble. However, various incidents continue to put Jiang Beiran at risk, including run-ins with beautiful female martial artists who seem always to trigger high-stakes quests and options from his system.

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World Building

The world depicted is called the Land of the Black Dragon, which features an intricate complex world of martial arts sects, mystical realms, and chaotic battles for power and influence. Martial artists aim to cultivate and refine their internal energy and strength to reach higher realms of power. Weapons, armor, and pills are graded by mystical levels like Heaven, Earth, Black, and Yellow.

The world is inhabited by both ordinary people and powerful martial artists divided into sects and orders. Ordinary people often become victims of the various battles and power plays between sects. Joining a powerful sect gives martial artists resources and training to become strong, but there is also competition and danger from fellow sect members.

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Character Development

low profile web novel

Jiang Beiran is thrust unprepared into this brutal world but shows tenacity and intelligence to survive. His motivation shifts from trying to become the traditional xianxia hero to just wanting a peaceful life. He is cautious and avoids needless conflict, using disguises and tricks to appear weak. Still, trouble and beautiful women continue to find him, triggering dangerous new quests.

Other characters include his senior brother Lu Bogui, a carefree adventurer, the alluring yet domineering Law Protector Yu Manwen, and the colorful Order Master Shi Fenglan. There is also the naive Liu Zijin who develops an interest in Jiang Beiran, much to his horror as she draws endless troubles to him.

There’s no romance as of 200 chapters.

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Unique Aspect of the Novel

A unique part is the mysterious system that guides Jiang Beiran’s development in unexpected and often dangerous ways. The system gives options for quests but does not guarantee a safe or successful path. Here’s an option for example,

[Choice 1: Kiss her lips gently. Reward for completion: Thousand Leaves Wonder (Earth Grade, High Tier)]

[Choice 2: Kiss her on the forehead. Reward: Sword of Yin Yang (Earth Grade, Low Tier)]

[Choice 3: Hug her. Reward: Netherworld Treasure Scales (Black Grade, High Tier)]

[Choice 4: Say it as fast as you can: Senior Sister, what are you doing? Are you trying to seduce me? You’ve only fought with me once and want to be my girlfriend? Are you sure? Ah, do I go too far? But actually, I’ve always treated you as my sister. I’m sorry. Completion reward: Randomly basic attribute points+1]

Instead, Jiang Beiran has to decipher the hidden meanings and risk levels on his own. The System often plays tricks and seems to have great malice with high rewards like Ultra Pro Max treasures and Ultra Pro Max cultivation methods, despite helping Jiang Beiran grow stronger.

As Jiang Beran continues to choose the safest option, he surprisingly soon finds himself in the seat of the emperor.


Overall, I Just Won’t Play by the Book subverts and combines many common xianxia tropes with a protagonist determined to avoid conflict and danger. Backed by an unreliable system offering risky power-ups, Jiang Beiran treads carefully in the complex world of sects and martial arts to gain strength while keeping out of trouble.

Despite his best efforts, trouble keeps finding him. This unique approach will appeal to readers tired of hot-blooded, justice-driven xianxia heroes. Those looking for a more cautious, thoughtful protagonist who accepts and avoids danger in pursuit of a peaceful life will find enjoyment.

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