Chapter 1: Substitute Marriage (1)

A girl clothed in red sat in front of the makeup station.

Her full head of soft hair was held in place with a sparkling phoenix head ornament. Its mouth held a pearl, which dangled on her bright and clean forehead.

A red camellia was inserted next to her temple. The petals were somewhat withered. It wasn’t freshly picked from the garden, rather, it had been picked from a flower pot that afternoon.

The garden was already devoid of flowers.

The night was as dark as ink. The sound of thunder was akin to the roar of a beast. Lightning, thunder and heavy rain all amalgamated into a deafening symphony of raindrops crashing onto the ground. She knew even without thinking, that the flowers that weren’t under a cover would be struck onto the ground by the rain and the ground would soon be covered by torn and tattered petals.

Story translated by Second Life Translations

Jutting joints on thin fingers touched the wilted petals. She thought, No matter how much of a hurry I’m in, I should still be somewhat merry.

The person in the mirror smiled weakly.

I’m getting married today.

Her smile widened but her snow white complexion suddenly froze. In the blink of an eye, her expression turned into a lifeless mask. In the next moment, her facial muscles started moving again and her smile started to fade away.

Foolish eyes revealed a curious yet calm light.

Ling Miaomiao slouched into her chair as she carefully examined the face in the mirror: Pale-white skin, slender eyebrows, large round eyes, thin lips and a sharp but thin chin.

They had the appearance of a jade beauty from a humble household. If those glistening, lustrous eyes were a little closer together, she could have become a fox-like beauty with eyes that could electrify people, and even walk the path of becoming a country-toppling beauty. It was unfortunate that Ling Yu’s eyes were a little too far apart. They gave people a sense of warmth and an illusion of harmlessness. Even if she glared and narrowed her eyes, it only made her look pitifully cute.

Ling Miaomiao sighed, I don’t have the fate of becoming a female lead, I can see it just from this face.

She lightly stroked her chin as she knit her brows.

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Ling Yu was too skinny. So skinny that it made people feel discomfited just by looking at her. Since time immemorial, full-bodied women were considered to have good fortune. According to what the old generations say, this face of hers meant she had a miniscule amount of fortune and a short-lived existence.

Ling Miaomiao stood up, allowing the red marriage dress to cascade down the ground. The bronze mirror in front of her, blurrily reflected her figure.

Her marriage had been set up in a hurry, and she’d no idea where this wedding dress came from. It didn’t fit her at all. Silver needles were used to compartmentalize her waist and the cuffs were much too big, it went past her hands. Wearing the dress on herself, the golden embroidery was hidden in the folds and couldn’t be seen clearly.

Ling Yu was skinny like a bean sprout. She had been used to lowering her head and slouching her shoulders forward, so she looked very cowardly.

Miaomiao forcefully straightened her back, and looked at the mirror through the corner of her eye. Seeing a frowning, impatient face staring right back at her, she became startled and immediately tried to smoothen her eyebrows. Perhaps her first impression of Ling Yu was so bad, she also naturally moved this dislike onto her body. She definitely couldn’t let this go on.

In this day and age, humans traveling to parallel universes was already a commonly seen phenomenon. Any random occurance in a person’s life could cause a person to travel to another dimension. As for why Ling Miaomiao transmigrated into this world, she had stayed up till midnight writing a review for a novel.

This novel was written by the melodrama romance queen Floating Boat, titling it as her gorgeous transformation piece and 10 year comeback. It was a Xuanhuan novel called <Demon Hunters>.

When she was an ignorant youth, Ling Miaomiao had been tricked into letting out countless tears for the ‘even death cannot break our love’ melodramatic stories. After ten years, for the sake of reminiscence, she stayed up all night reading Floating Boat’s work. Yet what she got in return was waking up in the middle of night in her room and a “WTF!?”

What gorgeous transformation?! Under the shallow surface of the world of <Demon Hunter>, it was all completely the same! The three women that loved the male lead fought with their might and their wits, and the second male lead that liked the female lead only had unrequited love. Several series of misunderstandings cropped up between the male and female lead. They were a pair of mandarin ducks that had an inseparable love that lasted through countless conspiracies and ploys, their feelings becoming as tangled as a ball of wool.

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With this frustration in tow, Ling Miaomiao brought out her keyboard to write a review. Before she wrote it though, she carefully picked out a representative character to use as a point with which to cut in through.

If one could consider causing anger in readers as a success, female number three, Ling Yu, would’ve been considered a smashing success.

Because she was bad.

But her ‘badness’ wasn’t exactly stereotypical. She was used to acting as a victim, biting the hand that fed her, backstabbing, and putting on a poor, pitiful act.

This character was completely timid and gloomy. She loved the male lead yet didn’t dare to compete with the female lead directly. Other than pervertedly fantasizing about obtaining the male lead, all she did was insidiously plot, harm and drive wedges between the female and male lead.

If villainess woman number two was a proud and powerful tigress, she could be said to be akin to a rat that sneakily bit ankles or the insects that eat through rice buckets.1Rice Bucket 米桶: Can also refer to one’s livelihood. If one’s rice bucket is overturned, that means one’s life has been turned upside down, destroyed.

On one hand, she enjoyed the protection of the main leads, but at the same time, she tried to undermine them. She was like wet and moist mold that grew in the walls, gloomy and difficult to peel off.

This kind of ‘fantastic’ personality caused Ling Miaomiao to feel disgusted. In comparison, she felt that the arrogant, pampered and spoiled woman number two, Duanyang Diji’s straightforwardness was extremely cute.

As cannon fodder, Ling Yu’s destiny naturally didn’t look too great. Her road to affection was especially rocky.

She was married off twice in her life. The first time, she put on a play with the man she loved with all her heart, Liu Fuyi, to pretend to get married. But before she could revel in her situation, her dream was abruptly crushed.

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The second time, she was married to the female lead, Mu Yao’s younger brother, Mu Sheng.

The door creaked as it was pushed open.

A servant girl stood by the door as she folded up her umbrella, the corners of her clothes dripping with rainwater. She spoke shakily, like a little chick, “Young Miss, the time has arrived.”

The servant girl’s face was ashen and her hand shook slightly. It was evident that she was extremely terrified.

Miaomiao made a sound in agreement before hurriedly wiping a smear of lipstick carelessly onto her lips. Then, she held onto the servant girl’s dripping wet sleeves and walked out.

The oil paper umbrella was nearly unable to bear the fierce rain. The rainwater converged into a line and little rivulets of water flowed down from the umbrella. The hand with which the little servant girl was holding the umbrella with, was trembling. And with every tremble she made, some of the rain water splashed onto Miaomiao’s thin and flimsy wedding dress. Very soon, her shoulder was completely drenched.

Miaomiao was unhappy and took the umbrella from the servant girl. The big umbrella securely covered the little servant girl’s head.

They followed the winding path with no words spoken, until Miaomiao broke the silence, “Can you see it?”

“…mhm.” The servant girl closely stuck herself onto Miaomiao’s side. Her tone was full of grief as she spoke, “Young Miss… Young Miss you aren’t scared…? That ‘thing’… is so scary….”

Apart from the widowed, there wouldn’t be anyone else who’d have their marriage ceremony at night. Perhaps even if they were a widow, they still wouldn’t choose such a thunderous and raining night.

It was because this marriage was, from the beginning, just a play.

This should be the time when Liu Fuyi invited Ling Yu as a bride, with the goal of drawing out a Great Demon.

Mu Yao and Liu Fuyi had both been staying at Taicang for a month now.

Even though Taicang County was small, it was very affluent. The number of rich and wealthy people there were aplenty. Outsiders racked their heads trying to find a way to settle down there.

However, starting from a month ago, several newly wedded couples disappeared before they could enter the bridal chamber. Rumors say that people saw a demon appear and leave. The rumors permeated everywhere and panic quickly settled into this little town.

For a time, nobody in Taicang County dared to conduct a marriage ceremony.

Marriage was, however, a common matter and putting it off constantly was not a solution. The County Mayor, Ling Lushan, who originally didn’t believe in the supernatural, stuck out his potbelly in worry for three days. In the end, he had no other choice but to make an announcement to start recruiting capable exorcists.

The original book’s male lead Liu Fuyi and female lead Mu Yao reached this place while traveling. They were unwilling to let others take on the responsibility so they stayed behind to help the people eliminate the danger.

On the day they were to capture the demon, the two stayed in the Mayor’s residence, which was also the family of the host’s body, Ling Yu.

On the third day after the group of protagonists arrived, the demon took the initiative to send themselves to the front door.

It possessed the body of the Mayor’s beloved daughter, Ling Yu.

The sixteen year old Ling Yu was unwilling to get a husband. During the day, she acted normally, but when night came around, she would always dress herself up and act as if she was about to be married off. She’d worship heaven and earth2Worship Heaven and Earth: basically marriage rites. Similar to the western marriage’s vow. in the empty hall, appearing as though she was possessed.

With Liu Fuyi guarding at the side, the moment Ling Yu “entered the bridal room”, he took out a Nine Mysterious Demon Restraining Pagoda and quickly forced the Fox Demon that possessed Ling Yu’s body to show its true form.

The Fox Demon had originally planned to suck away their life force but was forced to show its true body. Its expression was malevolent and its claws fully outstretched. It hissed loudly before it charged at the unarmed Mu Yao.

Mu Yao, an experienced and trained Demon Hunter, had been calm and patient. At that moment, Liu Fuyi had picked up the victim lying on the ground, Ling Yu. He was just like an immortal stepping down from the clouds, saving her from the illusion she was in.

As Ling Yu laid in his arms, she had the first taste of her heart beating fast.

”Creak—-” A crack appeared from the door.

The servant girl jumped back a few steps out of fear. Miaomiao watched her quivering appearance and felt it a bit unbearable, “You can go first. I’ll enter by myself…”

The servant girl retreated a step, before collapsing onto a puddle of water butt-first.

Ling Miaomiao couldn’t remember the details in the book. She pumped herself up as she pushed open the door empty-handed.

Liu Fuyi’s jade-like back figure faced her and he clearly looked very relaxed. Underneath his marriage robes, the corners of his usual white clothes stuck out. It was apparent that he merely casually found a random set of marriage robes.

Sigh, the other party only treated this as an insignificant play yet the pitiful original host was so excited she couldn’t sleep all night.

Liu Fuyi heard the sound of her entrance and turned around. His countenance appeared truly breathtaking.

The original book had written that Liu Fuyi’s body was weak, and as a result, he was thin and his complexion was always pale. Yet, for this same reason, he had a thread of immortal-like aura around him.

He was warm and gentle, but his expression couldn’t hide a streak of melancholy.

Liu Fuyi was just like the description in the book, both affable yet untouchable. He truly was the type of person to cause girls to get distracted. However, after taking two glances at Liu Fuyi, she had lost all interest. The author was the one who created the world of <Demon Hunter>, and she had it set in stone that Liu Fuyi belonged to Mu Yao. No matter how warmly he treated someone else, in this world, there wouldn’t be any sort of story development down that road.

Liu Fuyi broke the silence, “Miaomiao.”

Miaomiao trembled from shock, “What did you just call me?”

Liu Fuyi knit his brows and spoke with a little hesitation, “If I remember correctly, your childhood name was Miaomiao….”

“Oh……” Ling Miaomiao stretched out the word. She was a bit unhappy that she and Ling Yu both shared the same name. “It is Miaomiao, Miaomiao is right… you said it all of a sudden, I couldn’t react in time.”

Liu Fuyi gave a faint smile, “Today is our wedding day, we should call each other more intimately.

With the male lead saying such endearing words, it really caused one’s bones to soften.

Miaomiao looked into Liu Fuyi’s eyes and could see clear expectations within.

Good, the male lead had taken the lead, reminding her to completely act out this play.

“Fuyi.” She cleverly called his name and saw gratification flash through his eyes before he walked over to her.

However, a thread of doubt suddenly appeared in her heart, “Wait!”

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