Chapter 5: Substitute Marriage (5)

Miaomiao wrinkled her brows as she tried to smile, but her eyes were like uncontrollable faucets. Under the system’s forceful interference, she laboriously twisted her face into a wide smile. She was crying and smiling at the same time, tears streaming down her face as she looked at him.

Mu Sheng was stunned. He lowered his gaze, and she couldn’t tell what he was thinking.

“Wuu… too touching…” She simply covered her eyes and ignored the river of tears flowing down her face.

Mu Sheng’s smile grew rigid. Through the cracks between her fingers, Miaomiao could see his expression.

Mu Sheng didn’t move and waited until she put her hand down. He slowly crouched down, his attractive face grew close to hers, close enough to see each and every hair of his standing brows. “Touching?”

”Mhm……” Miaomiao nodded twice. Casting an envious glance towards the two stuck close together on the couch, “If I were to have Sister Mu’s luck and find someone who loves me like Brother Liu loves her, I’d be blessed… When can I meet my husband wahhhhhhhh….”

Tears rolled out between the slits between her fingers and Ling Miaomiao took the chance to observe him.

Mu Sheng was very distrustful. But at this point, he concealed his suspicions. It was not the time to spill out all of his misgivings.

However, no matter what she said, there was actually some truth to her feelings.

Thinking of Ling Miaomiao in the real world, who was a young girl in the peak of her life and was akin to a fresh fruit hanging from a tree. She was twenty but had not experienced love before, yet this time traveling system paired her up with this great demon king! She felt so distressed!

Mu Sheng slightly scrunched up his brows because when she praised Liu Fuyi she had touched his reverse scale.[1]1 Reverse scale: Basically someone’s sore spot. The topic that brings about one’s fury, that crosses one’s bottom line. Stepped on a landmine.

However, the freezing killing intent in his eyes seemed to subside before it was gradually replaced with a mischievous smile.

He slowly extended his arm, meaning to touch Miaomiao’s lips.

Soft. Cold.

Miaomiao grew stiff. She could feel his cold fingertips start from her lower lip and follow the shape of her lips all the way to her lip bead in the center of her upper lip. His hand movements were soft and gentle and it felt somewhat like the ambiguous actions between lovers.

Ling Miaomiao felt her hair standing on end, thinking that this was the actions a murderer would make before killing.

“Miss Ling, why are you shaking?”

He innocently raised his face as he showed the redness on the tips of his fingers. “Your makeup was drawn off-kilter. It looks as if you just ate a child.”

As soon as he finished, he let out a smile as if he was just playing around with her as a forthright but naughty youngster.

Ling Miaomiao’s face immediately turned red.

That damn Liu Fuyi! He watched her make a fool of herself for so long, couldn’t he have reminded me?

Mu Sheng, who felt he had teased her enough, stood up and straightened his posture. He threw a meaningful look towards the affectionate main lead couple and turned around to leave. His hair bouncing around yielded an extremely youthful feeling in those who saw it.

This was the first time she and the black lotus crossed blades and Miaomiao could feel sweat soaking her back. Mission 2: Get him to love her?

Forget it, another day she could live was another day alive.

Since Ling Miaomiao passed into this world, each and every action of her easily attracted the attention of all the maidservants.

Taicang County was a prosperous land overflowing with milk and honey. The rice kernels in the paddies were fat and plump and could be easily distinguished. Taicang County’s young miss was treated extremely well. The beautiful kernels of rice came out perfectly al dente after being steamed. There were even some sesame seeds and crushed peanuts sprinkled on top. It was mouthwateringly and saliva-inducing.

The other dishes didn’t need to be mentioned at all. Ling Yu was only sixteen years of age and already had her own chef. There were four dishes and one soup dish for every meal. For the sweet and sour fish, they used the freshest and tenderest bass. The Longjing Prawns were even more exquisite, the clear scent of the Longjing tea covered the plump shrimp and no matter how many one ate, they wouldn’t feel it greasy. [2]2 Longjing Prawns: Produced using the meat of live river prawns coated with egg white and moistened starch, fried in lard at a medium-low temperature for 15 seconds, removed from the oil and drained when jade-white in colour, and then quickly stir-fried over extreme heat with boiling water infused with Longjing tea, tea leaves and Shaoxing wine. (Excerpt from wikipedia)

Miaomiao’s appetite was capacious and the bowl of rice revealed its bottom in no time at all, revealing a delicate looking red plum on the exquisite porcelain bottom.

Pushing the bowl away, she found the two maidservants beside her to be strangely staring at her.

Miaomiao: “Why are you looking at me? More rice!”

Maidservant 1 took the small round porcelain bowl and joyously whispered to maidservant 2: “Did young miss’s appetite improve? Usually she’d only eat a liang and still fret over it?” [3]3 Lingzhi: a type of mushroom I ‘spose. 🙂

Ling Miaomiao’s ears were sharp and her face immediately changed, “Are you kidding me? How is a liang enough?!”

One liang of rice was only half of the scoop cafeteria ladies would use.

Ling Miaomiao finally realized why Ling Yu was so skinny. It was midday yet she couldn’t even eat a liang of rice. If this were to continue, would she become an immortal?

When she had no relation to the relationship between the male lead and the female lead, the system would play dead in a corner and turn a blind eye to whatever she did.

This point made her feel quite satisfied. If she had to rack her brain everyday to complete missions and couldn’t even eat her fill, there was no way she could survive.

She called over the quick-witted maidservant 1 and then intimately hung her arm on the maidservant’s shoulder: “Uhm… when the kitchen steams rice, do they use uhm….” She pondered for a moment as to what vocabulary to use then gestured with her hands, “…a pot?”

The maidservant was momentarily stunned before also pantomiming in return, “I think they used… a pot.”

Servant and master stared at each other for a while before Ling Miaomiao smiled gratifyingly: “That’s good. For my next meal, bring that pot over and put it on the table. It’ll be easier for me to get more rice and looking at it will make me feel more at ease inside.”

Maidservant 1: “…”

The young miss’s maidservants discovered that their young miss has undergone some subtle changes.

The old young miss was gloomy, had low-self esteem, ate very little, found sleep difficult to find and spoke pitifully few words. Now, the young miss’s appetite not only increased a lot, she would sleep till late in the morning. She even liked to talk and smile now. Sometimes, she would even burst out with a donkey-like smile but after sensing the frightened expressions of the people beside her, she would cover it up and straighten her spine.

How the young miss explained all of these changes was: After undergoing a near-death experience, one would realize all of those petty and small feelings were completely useless. Living was what was most important.

Even though they couldn’t quite understand, it sure seemed to make a lot of sense.

In short, after the fox demon crisis passed, Ling Yu suddenly became an energetic young lady that extremely treasured her life.

After Ling Miaomiao used brainwashing to convince the surrounding maidservants, she started to make big moves again. She started to wake up early in morning, when the earliest rays of dawn fell, to start morning runs in the backyard.

The day wasn’t bright yet and the fog was abundant. The courtyard’s shrubbery painted a dim scene. Ling Miaomiao was gasping for breath as she ran headlong into a dark shadow, who was the Taicang Mayor who had gotten up muddleheadly to urinate.

Ling Miaomiao nearly screamed in fear. The fatty father in front of her obviously got off the wrong side of the bed as he rubbed his painful stomach that someone had just rammed into. He angrily roared: “Which scoundrel is running about wildly so early?” When he finally managed to clearly see the person in front of him through squinting, he was shocked, “Ehhh? Daughter-chwan?!”

The mayor who had been putting on a cursing uncle act very quickly patted her shoulders and rubbed her head. His tone sounded as if he was so anxious he was about to cry, “Child, does it hurt here?”

Liang Miaomiao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as she pushed away his hand, calling: “Father.”

Only then did the mayor calm down. Looking at Miaomiao’s little red face and the steam coming off of it then noticing the masculine silk pants she wore, he was stunned: “My child, what are you doing?”

“Father, I’m doing a morning run.”

“Morning run?” The mayor acted as if he had swallowed an egg.

”Ehm… I’m training my body.”

The mayor thought for a moment. Then, accompanied by a smile, in a persuading tone: “Daughter-chwan, your body isn’t very good. You should sleep more in the morning and wait till the warm midday to get a few maidservants to accompany you, how does that sound?”

“Not good.” Miaomiao skillfully duped her elder, “Father, mornings are the best times of the day. I can absorb the essence of the heavens and the earth and it’s very nourishing and helpful for the body.”

“Oh—-” The mayor was the same as all the other fathers who were easily swayed by their daughters. Hearing her words, he was easily appeased in his heart. An expression of gratification and confidence intertwined appeared on his face, “Miaomiao, run then. You have to have perseverance.”

He took a look at Miaomiao’s silk panks and staunchly said: “Don’t wear this any more, father will call people to make you a new pair of pants tomorrow. It’ll be spattered with flowers and will look beautiful.”

Miaomiao felt sullen, “Thank you father… how about foregoing the flowers…”

The mayor’s smile was so great that his double chins peeked out. There were countless folds beside his eyes as he replied, “Ok ok ok. Then a big flower, a big red flower, just for my beloved baby child.”

Miaomiao laughed bitterly.

Liu Fuyi was busy looking after the injured Mu Yao. The main characters spent all day hiding in their room being lovey dovey. Mu Sheng was busy picking herbs and for a while, the three of them seemed to have disappeared from the face of the planet.

There weren’t any missions the past two days and Ling Miaomiao was happy, free and comfortable. She slept early and woke up early, taking morning runs to train herself. She lived a life much more orderly than any year prior.

On this day, in the dim early light, Ling Miaomiao encountered Mu Sheng, who returned early.

The early morning fog stained his gleaming dark hair, turning it moist and hazy as it swayed back and forth. He lightly carried a bamboo basket on his back as he smilingly wound his way to her front, “Miss Ling?”

“Eh?” Ling Miaomiao was panting for breath as she came to a stop and when she saw who it was, took in a large breath of cold air into her lungs.

His pupils were as bright and shiny as a clean piece of glass, reflecting a small amount of light. It was like the first rays of dawn that expelled the darkness of night.

”Miss Ling, you’re…” He had on a smile that wasn’t quite a smile as his gaze traveled down her face. Pausing at her the big red flower on her new silk pants.

“Oh. Morning run.” Her face didn’t change as she replied. She was a little nervous as she recited the words she had used countless times to trick others, “Mornings are the best times of the day. I can absorb the essence of the heavens and the earth and it’s very nourishing…”


Miaomiao grew tongue-tied out of embarrassment.

The black lotus smiled, the black lotus actually smiled!!

She was at a complete loss and her brain was only filled with countless repetitions of that phrase rolling about.

Mu Sheng lightly curved his eyes up in laughter as he attentively stared at her crimson flushed face: “Miss Ling, you aren’t a Lingzhi[3], can you even absorb the essence of heaven and earth?”

Mu Sheng’s smile was akin to a devilish flower blossoming. The corner of his eyes, mouth and cheeks all emphasized his beauty. It was a sort of sincere and joyful beauty.

Ling Miaomiao embarrassedly tried to explain, “Anyways, it’s good for me. The next time I meet a demon I can at least run away.”

When ‘demon’ was brought up, Mu Sheng’s eyes instantly grew a few degrees colder. However, his face was still full of smiles: “Speaking of demons, I’m reminded of something. When my sister met with danger that time, Liu Fuyi used the transmission talisman to contact me…”

He studied Ling Miaomiao’s face as he smiled, “That transmission talisman, why would it be in Miss Ling’s hand?”

Ling Miaomiao’s heart leaped for a moment.

Of course the black lotus wouldn’t come looking for her heedlessly, he would’ve come prepared to fish something out of her.

“What’s weird about it? It was I who told him to contact you.”

“Oh?” Mu Sheng’s eyes drooped a little, “How did you know my sister was in danger?”

Ling Miaomiao stared into his eyes. Her heart was trembling but she managed to speak everything in one spurt: “I didn’t know Mu Yao was in danger, but I knew that you all left her, an injured girl, in a room by herself. Which is just asking for someone to take advantage of the situation.”

Her tone grew quieter and in the end, she started to mutter to herself in embarrassment: “I didn’t feel at ease so I told him to go take a look but he wasn’t willing… I could only tell him to contact you…”

Mu Sheng’s expression was somewhat alleviated, “My sister isn’t a normal girl. She’s a demon hunter of the Mu family…”

Ling Miaomiao interrupted him in disagreement: “What does that matter? No matter how incredible she is, after she’s injured, she needs someone to protect her.”

Right after she spoke out, she immediately felt regret.

This tone in comparison to the yes-man Ling Yu, was it too tough?

After waiting nervously for a while, the system still hadn’t given her any notifications. She could only scrutinize Mu Sheng’s expression. She saw that he seemed slightly out of it, his eyebrows were completely motionless and a few notes of tenderness could be clearly seen on his face.

Miaomiao pretended to be ignorant of his change in emotions. She was only somewhat in disbelief, was the interrogation over just like that?

This black lotus was truly temperamental.

Gradually, the light in Mu Sheng’s eyes once again gathered on the bed fiery red flowers on Miaomiao’s legs. At the center of the flower was a dazzling yellow, the favorite of market-going married women—lively and bright.

However, she suddenly started kicking her dazzling legs, that ridiculous and gaudy flower shaking alongside her movement. When the corners of the pants lifted up, her snow white ankle was barely discernible.

The girl’s expression was full of joy: “My father chose the material, looks good no?”


[1] Reverse scale: Basically someone’s sore spot. The topic that brings about one’s fury, that crosses one’s bottom line. Stepped on a landmine. Image of landmine for those who don’t know:

[2] Longjing Prawns: Produced using the meat of live river prawns coated with egg white and moistened starch, fried in lard at a medium-low temperature for 15 seconds, removed from the oil and drained when jade-white in colour, and then quickly stir-fried over extreme heat with boiling water infused with Longjing tea, tea leaves and Shaoxing wine. (Excerpt from wikipedia)

[3] Lingzhi: a type of mushroom I ‘spose. 🙂


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