Wen Ruan's heart tightened. Is it finally happening? Is he going to decapitate me, albeit belatedly?
The voice of the Demon Lord came from above, lazy in tone, carrying a hint of drowsiness reminiscent of a sleepy spring day. It inexplicably reminded her of the cat her family used to keep when she was a child.
“Raise your head.”
...Is that the only line you know?
Wen Ruan began to tremble. Her inner robe was instantly soaked with cold sweat. She clenched her right wrist tightly with her left hand, attempting to control the frequency of her trembling.
But it was as futile as trying to stop an addiction.
A pale hand reached out, with slender knuckles gently pinching her chin, causing her to shudder in the icy grip.
"Why are you trembling?" He forced her to look up, his voice light and ethereal, with an eerie upward inflection in the trailing tone. In just a few words, it exuded an indescribable gloominess.
Why am I trembling?
You don't know why I'm trembling???
Wen Ruan chuckled, abruptly shifting her gaze to his face, intending to deliver a parting sarcastic remark before her demise. However, as she saw his face, she unintentionally bit her tongue in surprise.
The rumored Demon Lord, with his sinister features and fangs, had a rather remarkable face.
His contours were elegant and smooth. On his pale, cold skin, his eyebrows and eyes were as dark as ink, his lips red like blood, exuding an enchanting aura like a newly blossomed spider lily.
He was not the decrepit old man of 300 years in her imagination but a young man with rosy lips and white teeth.
And excessively beautiful at that.
"Hmm?" Seeing her sudden stupefaction, he exerted a threatening force. "Why are you not speaking?"
Wen Ruan pinched her palm to force herself out of the mesmerizing beauty, then confidently spoke up:
"Because I'm cold. That's why I couldn't help but shiver."
This statement was not a lie. To conceal her true identity, the former host of this body had been given a pill by the Sect Master of the Shangyang Sect, which suppressed her cultivation. She was currently no different from an ordinary mortal.
It was already impressive that she hadn't passed out from the cold with just two thin layers of clothing in this palace without heating facilities amidst heavy snowfall outside.
Mu Zhe narrowed his eyes but remained silent.
However, in her highly nervous state, Wen Ruan assumed he didn't believe her, and her nerves, unsurprisingly, started acting up.
She raised her stiffened hand and gently gestured toward him. "Come closer."
Mu Zhe furrowed his brow, then unexpectedly bent down, shifting from a condescending position to meet her gaze at eye level.
Wen Ruan extended a trembling fingertip toward his face, nervously swallowing a mouthful of saliva. "Look, I really am cold, aren't I...?"
When her fingertips grazed his jade-like face, she paused and blinked her clear, bright eyes.
“Wait. Why are you colder than I am?"
This person before her emitted no warmth whatsoever, resembling an icy block.
A trace of astonishment flashed in the eyes of the attendant, Zi Ji.
After 300 years, it was the first time she had seen the Demon Lord, apart from the purpose of killing, being so close to a woman.
Could it be that this time the selection of a consort would be successful?!
Since it was destined to end badly, Wen Ruan couldn't help but sigh and complain, "The original host was truly unlucky, ending up looking just like your unforgettable first love*."
*translator’s note: the original word Mandarin is 白月光 (bai yue guang). The direct translation of this term is ‘white moonlight’, but it also symbolizes a person’s unforgettable first love.
Little did she expect that Mu Zhe would gaze at her with a dark, intense look, loosening his grip a bit and gently caressing her neck with his thumb.
"What is this 'white moonlight' you speak of?"
He studied her face, unconsciously licking the corner of his vermilion lips. "Who resembles whom?"
Wen Ruan was speechless.
She cautiously lifted her eyes and carefully examined his expression. Big boss, are you trying to trap me?
You can't even recognize your unforgettable first love you keep obsessing about?
“White moonlight is…” She hesitated for a moment and began to fabricate nonsense. “As the name suggests, a person as beautiful as the white moonlight.”
Mu Zhe sneered lightly, mocking her with a quick once-over, his gaze speaking volumes.
It seemed that this big boss really didn't recognize me.
Wen Ruan nervously swallowed her saliva. What's going on? Was the record in the book wrong, or... did he lose his memory?
Wait a minute, if you've lost your memory, why are you doing this? Could it be that you simply want to be a pure murderer?
The girl's neck was slender and elegantly long, as white and delicate as jade.
It made one uncontrollably want to... destroy it.
Mu Zhe caressed her delicate chin, his fingertips slowly moving towards her neck, feeling her suddenly accelerated pulse.
Death is like the wind; it is always by my side.
Wen Ruan silently lit a candle of prayer in her heart, adding a resounding exclamation mark to her journey through the book.
What did the Sect Master of the Shangyang Sect say when the original host set off?
"My good disciple, the fate of the cultivation world rests in your hands."
The middle-aged man in black robes waved his handkerchief while sobbing, "You must kill the Demon Lord!"
Hmm, she was about to be killed by the esteemed Demon Lord himself.
She wondered if she would still be able to make it to her morning class after dying and returning. How worrisome.
"There is no going back."
Suddenly, a childish voice cheerfully chimed in her mind: "When you're dead, you're dead. You can't go back to the real world~"
Wen Ruan thought, “??? Who are you?”
"Ding~ The 996 System has been activated. I'm delighted to serve you~"
She didn't have time to ponder how this thing came about and quickly asked in her mind, "Why can't I go back even if I die?"
"Host, your physical body in reality is already dead. However, after completing the mission, we will provide you with a brand new body."
After saying that, a segment of images played in her mind.
Amidst the rumbling thunder, she had just crossed the zebra crossing.
A lightning bolt descended from the sky, making a sudden turn, bypassing that scumbag's head, and striking her back, leaving her charred and tender.
Why did the lightning make a turn???
Why did the scumbag’s oath strike me instead???
Veins throbbed on her forehead as a thousand ‘beautiful’ Chinese phrases floated through her mind.
"So, if I die here, I’ll die for real?"
"You lousy system, why are you only telling me about this now?!"
Feeling Mu Zhe's icy fingers on her neck, her survival instinct kicked in.
"I'm about to be done for!!"
996 scratched its head reluctantly and said:
"Uh, how about I make an exception for you? You can give me 50 points in advance and go back in time to start over?"
Wen Ruan hurriedly spoke, "Quick, quick, quick!"
996 emphasized with concern: "Just this once, okay?"
The perpetual snow in the Demon Realm ceased for a moment as a ray of sunlight broke through the gloomy sky.
Strong winds suddenly rose, and light and darkness intertwined in a massive vortex.
In the last scene within her vision, Mu Zhe lowered his phoenix-like eyes, his gaze heavy and deep like newly melted ink in a cold spring.
His thin lips trembled, his voice fragmented in the roaring wind, making it hard to hear clearly.
"Zi Ji, let her..."
"Ding~ Time travel completed."
Time returned to 10 days ago at the Shangyang Sect.
Inside the disciple's residence.
The girl who had been meditating with peace of mind suddenly opened her eyes. Like a drowning person resurfacing, she took in a deep breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly.
"I'm alive." Wen Ruan wiped off the cold sweat on her forehead, collapsing on the ground like a dead fish, her eyes lifeless.
"In this world, killing is not a crime. It's too terrifying."
“Exactly,” 996 transformed into a fluffy Totoro and hopped around in front of her.
"That's why you have to complete the mission quickly to return to the real world."
Wen Ruan couldn't help but give it a rub. "What's the mission?"
996 licked its little paw, and the system panel rapidly unfolded in her mind.
"Mission One: Please conquer the villainous Demon Lord Mu Zhe from the book and make him wholeheartedly fall in love with you~"
Wen Ruan decisively closed the system panel after only looking at the first mission.
Conquer the Demon Lord who loves to remove people's skulls?
And make him wholeheartedly fall in love with me?
Haha, this must be an illusion.
Just as 996 was about to say something, there were two knocks on the door of the disciple's residence, and someone outside shouted loudly, "Junior Wen, the Sect Master is looking for you."
She got up from the ground, about to go open the door, but suddenly changed direction and went to the dressing table instead.
In the mirror, the girl with black hair and fair skin, a face the size of a palm, and long, fluttering eyelashes could be seen.
Her pair of doe-like eyes were clear and sparkling. They widened slightly due to surprise, adding a touch of innocence to her already beautiful appearance.
How... is it possible that the original owner of this body looks exactly like me?