Okay, let me clarify some points: I call it wuxia instead of xianxia because of the different focus. As far as I know, xianxia revolves around cultivation for immortality and reaching higher stages of being, while in wuxia is more about actual martial artists, rivalries and politics, with cultivation-levels being much less pronounced, if there at all. Speaking of which, there is a huge difference in power levels as well. While a wuxia fight between two young combatant might be decided by one of them using a self-developed technique to deflect the opponent's famously unblockable stab, xianxia fights are usually decided more along the lines of one of the combatants pressuring the other with their all-powerful dao eye of infinite whatchamacallit, but then the other uses an artifact to summon the river Stix, forms a ten thousand miles wide and one million miles long bridge on it, and then he picks up said bridge and uses it as a whip to strike his opponent's eye, thus blinding him. Not really on the same field. As I said, the world used to be a xianxia one, with sect elders and young geniuses and OP artifacts and all that jazz, but because of the Age of Strife, the most powerful people all died, got crippled or said "screw you guys" and ascended to the next realm, techniques and resources were lost, and so "modern" cultivators do not have the means to reach the same cultivation levels. Speaking of level, I have an eight step thing in mind, exemplified by an average cultivator dude: -Qi gathering - This is where the dude forms his dantian and starts being able to use techniques -Body cleansing - This is where the dude uses the collected qi to reinforce their physical body, which also eliminates most disease and increases lifespan -Diffusion: Qi is spread in the body, further reinforcing it, plus it can be used as temporary power boost in times of crisis or can protect the dude from harm to a degree -Meridian opening - This is where the dude starts opening up their junctions (think acupoints), with the number depending on one's talent and with the meridians being channels connecting them. Different techniques require different meridians, and if the dude aims for a specific one without being able to unlock all the necessary junctions, in the best case they won't be able to use it to its fullest, in the worst case they might get stuck in their cultivation altogether. -Unification: Fully synchronizing the meridians and the body. Further raises lifespan physical abilities. After this, no more junctions can be opened for the rest of the dude's life. -Aura: This is when the dude begins to project qi outside his body. This is where the wacky stuff starts happening, like shooting kamehamehas at each other, or summoning spectral dragons, or creating wings to fly around. -Rejuvenation: The dude's body is returned to their peak and they get another boost to their life span, plus regeneration factor. -Golden Soul: The dude's consciousness is diffused into their qi, allowing them better control and to survive with otherwise mortal wounds, and at the end they can separate their souls to ascend to a higher plane. Because of the Ages of Strife, there are no complete manuals beyond Unification, and while the new simplified, hobbled-together manuals allows even peasants with zero talent to reach Body Cleansing, they also damage their foundations, making reaching even Diffusion incredibly hard. As for the story focus, it would be mostly a mystery, with occasional spots of buddy-cop comedy between the sardonic MC and the prim and proper first prince, plus most of the early investigation would exist as a vehicle for the world-building. As for the tone, I would aim for something like the Dresden Files; mostly serious, with occasional bits of comedy, and some epic climaxes. Finally, where I come from, 100k words is about the length of a paperback short story, that's why I used it as a yardstick. My previous works usually ranged in the 250k range, but I don't really have that kind of time for writing anymore.