The first time Mu Zhe saw her, he noticed her incredibly beautiful eyes.
Beneath her long lashes were pure black pupils, intricately shaped as if carefully painted. The corners of her eyes drooped slightly, giving her a look of innocence when she gazed at others.
But if you looked closely, you could discern a hint of cunningness hidden within them.
Like a naive yet alert fawn.
Now, this fawn had hopped into his lair and deliberately concealed her cultivation to participate in this absurd selection of concubines.
Mu Zhe narrowed his eyes and unconsciously licked his lips.
Why had she come?
Over these 300 years, he had killed countless cultivators from the cultivation world. Righteous cultivators already hated him to the bone, and if given the chance, they would kill him without hesitation.
Will she be any different?
Inside Wen Ruan’s mind, 996 watched the plummeting favorability rating and frantically pulled at its fur.
Boss, what kind of imagination have you conjured up? The favorability rating has dropped into negative territory!
Sensing her curiosity, Wen Ruan poked it and asked, "What's wrong?"
"N-nothing." It forced a smile. "I just think this fur color doesn't suit me and I want to change it."
She was indeed interested and excitedly asked, "What color do you want?"
It wiped away a tear, looked up at the sky at a 45-degree angle, and spoke with a solemn tone.
"I want it to be green."
Wen Ruan was speechless.
"My Lord?" A subordinate cautiously called out, "Should we let them leave?"
Mu Zhe withdrew his gaze, took large strides away, and replied playfully, "No, let everything continue."
He wanted to see how this little deer planned to kill him.
The selection process concluded, and just like the original host, Wen Ruan successfully entered the final round, becoming one of the reserve members of the Demon Lord's harem.
She curled up in her temporary residence's bed and, in her drowsy state before falling asleep, thought that Mu Zhe, as the Demon Lord, wasn't doing a great job.
Earthly emperors had thousands of beautiful concubines, but he only has 300. His status is far from impressive.
The selection of concubines would last for three days, and the humans could only participate after the native residents of the Demon Realm had been screened.
During this period, they were closely monitored and not allowed to wander freely.
Wen Ruan enjoyed herself comfortably in the room for two days, eating and sleeping. She completely shook off her previous despondency and felt energized.
On the third day.
The previous night, the demon servants had sent over clothes and required them to change early in the morning.
Wen Ruan glanced at the thin undershirt that was almost transparent and started worrying about future shoulder periarthritis.
She tied the straps of her underskirt, mentally prepared herself, and then pushed open the door.
A gust of cold wind rushed towards her, causing her to sneeze loudly. She quickly closed the door and squeezed into the crowd.
The entire procession moved quietly, following a Demon General, until they finally stopped in front of the main hall.
A woman in purple clothes awaited them at the entrance and spoke coldly, "The Lord has not summoned you yet. Be patient and wait."
Everything was proceeding according to the original trajectory. Wen Ruan kept track of the time in her mind, estimating that she would be able to enter in another half an hour.
Time passed second by second as they anxiously waited.
Two hours later, there was still no movement inside the main hall.
This wasn't what was agreed upon.
How could Mu Zhe change the script without authorization?
Wen Ruan was bewildered and whispered to 996 in her mind, "Is something wrong?"
996 forced a dry laugh and unconsciously pulled out a clump of fur. "Everything is normal. Don't think too much. Maybe he just overslept."
Well, it's winter, so it's normal to want to sleep in.
Wen Ruan understood and shook off the snow on her shoulders, sinking into contemplation.
Cultivators shouldn't have to worry about shoulder periarthritis, right?
Another two hours passed.
The girls in the queue were teetering on the edge of fainting as they tested their limits.
Many of them were true mortals and couldn't withstand such bitter cold, but due to the intimidation of the Demon Realm, they could only grit their teeth and endure.
Zi Ji also furrowed her brows. Mortals are just like this, useless.
I really don't know what our Lord likes about them.
As she hesitated, there was finally a slight movement from inside the hall.
She quickly composed herself and pushed open the door to enter.
On the throne, a young man gazed coldly at the snow outside the window. He supported his chin with one hand while the other lazily rested on his knee. His slender fingers were long and pale, almost glaring.
"Let them come in." Mu Zhe still didn't avert his gaze, but straightened his leaning body slightly, his smile ambiguous.
"It's time to unwrap the gifts."
Puzzled, Zi Ji bowed her head and left.
"Everyone, come in."
The doors of the hall opened once again, and Wen Ruan let out a sigh of relief.
If she had to stand there any longer, she had reason to suspect that she would turn into an ice sculpture.
Following the procession, she found an inconspicuous corner and quickly knelt down.
It wasn't that she was being obsequious, but her legs couldn't bear the strain anymore. Kneeling like this actually felt a bit easier.
Noticing her action, Zi Ji was somewhat surprised and couldn't help but glance at her a little more.
This mortal seems to be clever.
She cleared her throat and shouted sternly, "What are you all standing there for? Kneel before our Lord!"
The others turned pale and immediately knelt down.
Mu Zhe hadn't found anyone he liked among the people from the past two days. This was the final group of candidates.
If no one was chosen from this group, then this selection of concubines would officially be deemed a failure.
Zi Ji had a sleepless night full of worry. As she could not be too direct, she could only gently persuade:
"My Lord, just choose one. You are already over 300 years old; it's time to have an heir."
Here it comes. Wen Ruan prostrated herself on the ground, her heart tightening.
Next would be the infamous sentence that would send her to her death: raise your head.
She held her breath and waited. The thought of the fate of the trio from Mingyue Palace made her feel uneasy, and she instinctively closed her eyes.
If people from the cultivation world sent people to kill Mu Zhe, it would make sense for Mu Zhe to kill them in return. Both parties were locked in a battle to the death.
It's just pitiful for these pawns. They weren’t purely good or purely bad.
In the end, I'm just like them, nothing more than a cannon fodder in this book.
Lost in contemplation, a sudden sound of footsteps came from ahead.
Someone confidently walked up to her and calmly said:
"Raise your head."
She abruptly opened her eyes, and on the black stone floor, there was an expanse of dark-colored robes. The fabric was adorned with silver and gold threads, depicting large patches of amaryllis flowers. Illuminated by the candlelight on either side, it shimmered brilliantly.
Suddenly, the icy fingers of the other person hooked under her chin, forcing her to raise her head.
It was still the same pretty-faced Demon Lord from her memories, and it was still the same impending death sentence.
Wen Ruan didn't know how to react for a moment, staring blankly at his stunning appearance.
Boss, why aren't you following the script again?
Mu Zhe, with a cold expression, gazed at the bewildered girl and gently caressed her jaw.
With great patience, he asked, "What is your name?"
Wen Ruan couldn't help but swallow nervously and stammered, "Wen, Wen Ruan."
He raised an eyebrow, his gaze fixed on the graceful curve of the girl's neck. The corner of his lips lifted slightly, his voice light and ethereal.
"What are the meanings of those two characters?"
Wen Ruan felt that hand moving toward her throat, and the tension in her mind instantly tightened. Without thinking, she blurted out:
"’Wen’ as in ‘wen ruan’ (warmth), ‘ruan’ as in ‘rou ruan’ (softness)."
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