Lance Hua led the way to the train station. They walked in silence, side-by-side. Chiaki was at a loss for words; her brain still caught up with the suddenness of it all.

She took inventory of the situation: getting transmigrated to a new realm based on her favourite game, landed naked on someones body although not doing anything yet, being forced to marry an evil character – villain still under question, and now having to follow her (near) future husband home to a new place. According to the game map she had unlocked in her physical world, she never visited this area.

The summer breeze kissed her nose with the smell of fruity scents. The lovely sunlight warmed up his physique with a gentle halo; his long locks radiated with a golden hue.

But when she landed her eyes back on his face, it felt like her breath was knocked out from her chest. Her husband-to-be was a cold person with abrasive words; she was fortunate enough to ascertain this Path of Indifference. Otherwise, how could she live with someone she had any feelings for?

Love or hate feelings didn matter; as long as she had feelings, she couldn be neutral. This would affect how she judged the world. And as a Guardian, it was on her utmost priority to ensure the realms stability first before anything else, much less her feelings.

This was how she tried to make peace with the current situation. It was as if living alone again. Theyd be roommates at best, but without any attachment that would complicate their daily life. Husband and wife would just be statuses on paper and on the Council members eyes.

Everyone knew this marriage held the one and only purpose, a political one. Nobody would bat an eye if their actual relationship were unharmonious. She still saw him as the bad guy, and she was sure neither would he worship the path she walked on.

Shed rather hold on to her indifferent, solitary heart than let her emotions rule and get an acrimonious union instead.

”Lord Hua, how long would it take to your place by train? ” She chose a simple, safe topic to start a conversation.

It was only normal to talk about the itinerary, right?

Lance Hua stopped at the ticket checking gate, pulled out the transportation card from his coats inner pocket, and tapped it until the machine beeped. ”Four hours. You haven been there? ”

How could I know? Even the old memories didn have any clue. If this general had been there before, she might have met this arrogant ruler by chance and branded it onto her mind catalogue.

She only briefly shook her head.

After checking the remaining balance of her transportation card, she followed him again on the silent trip downstairs to the platforms.

Does this game follow the real world to a T? Judging from the very sparse passengers, it was like walking in an abandoned station in a post-apocalyptic setting. It was like that during her first train ride earlier with Oriole, and it was deadly silent, too, this time.

System, why don you create more peo- Ah, its the curfew, isn it?

She felt like in the squash game, playing catch-up against her own memories. It wasn due to the pandemic like in the real world; the curfew in the Dome regions was due to the recent atmospheric anomalies over them. Their beautiful night skies sent fireballs and sometimes the dropping meteorites. An unfriendly reminder that human beings always had a limit on what they could control.

The normal heat of human bodies seemingly attracted the fireballs, making large crowds become palatable to the fiery attacks. To avoid more casualties, the Council and Guardians decreed the citizens to stay at home until the holes in their barrier had been patched.

Perhaps, that was why she would have a shotgun wedding. Nobody liked being placed under such a restriction. Only the Guardians and people with high self-defence skills consciously exempted themselves. Guardians had to do patrol sometimes, and this pompous bastard of the north most likely considered the fireballs as a mere disturbance.

With the trains and modern attire that was not much different from her physical realm, Chiaki didn find any difficulties in adjusting. Coupled with the memories from the original general, she was only fairly surprised at finding they had to ride horses to reach his mansion after the train stopped.

System, isn there any single car here? Or motorcycles? I thought Chiaki loved horseriding, but it was because her choice was limited.

[The Dome is modelled after an ideal society and environment. With much air and noise pollution, and fossil fuel consumption, don you think it is apt to start over with a better, more desired foundation?]

True that. Starting over was her purpose for transmigrating here; that was her motivation to register as a volunteer. The Dome designers would have wanted an entire system that reflected their wishes, a dream of an ideal way of living. Chiaki heard about The Great Reset project of the safety net, a stimulus given to the unemployed to rebuild their life.

Wasn that everyones dream to push a reset button in a thread of life that had been too tangled to unsnarl?

Be it through an economic effort or a leap of faith into the metaverse, each person had the final choice to pick how they reset their life.

Thinking about that, I wonder who he was before coming here.

[Warning! Illegal action.]

Huh? What did you warn me for?

[No asking other people about their background.]

Even my bridegroom?

[Insufficient coins.]

Since when do I have coins in my vault?

[Coins will be given every day when you check in throughout your marriage.]

How very convenient, System!

Chiaki recalled many apps or games had this kind of gamification model to ensure the users or players get back to play routinely. This way, the coins act as a reward for their loyalty. From a routine check-in, users would subconsciously form a habit of playing every day. This was how those app makers got that sticky user base.

Hey, since this is otome, theres a good side that there won be any point deductions, right?

[Correct. But don let this encourage you to steer off the path. Many things could render you unfit to continue the mission, sending you back to the original world.]

Brooding against a dialogue box in her mind sounded crazy, so Chiaki left her inner arguments for now and checked out her surrounding. Riding on a separate horse, Chiaki could observe the scenery on the road to his mansion. Although darkness had descended on the vast land, her sharp eyes could still distinguish the outlines of building wreckage and uneven fields.

In the flickering cross-shaped light on a wall of a remote clinic, people walked in and out of the building, orders and calls blended together in a cacophony of voice.

”Refugees of the last lightning strike yesterday, ” he explained bluntly. ”The holes here were smaller than those in the Dome capital. But to the villagers in this Wisteria village, the smallest tear in the barrier was a slit wide enough for the threats to come in. Their houses shattered into rubble in half an hour of continuous lightning and thunderous night. ”

Chiaki glanced over her shoulder for a little longer. Her heart moved. ”Should we stay and help out a bit? ”

”Each person has their own duty. Lets get this wedding over with and then you can do whatever you want with them. ”

Having no room to argue this simple logic, she tightened her grip on the reins.

They rode until a mechanical voice sounded from the holographic screen that emerged from her palms pulling up movement.

The Northern Mansion, it said. Like any other handheld device she saw or used in her physical realm, this holographic projection also functioned like a smartphone, but without the electronic components themselves. She didn know what the benefit was of having this as a substitute.

Perhaps, it was cooler. But it didn have to be because of this, did it? Why did the Dome designers bother with it?

The horizon of the night was a jagged line; the mansions four turrets loomed in the view. Like a bastion of the northern mountain ridge, it stood boastful against the anomalies of the sky. Chiaki could make out a few archers making a round on the narrow bridges.

Around a hundred metres farther to the west, a cantilevered modern building with plexiglass windows welcomed the approaching unlikely couple.

”So, you don live in the mansion? ”

”Its been there forever. Whats the point of living in a place with memories we couldn erase? ”

”I don think the old ghosts would dare to disturb you, ” she offered.

Lance Hua didn reply. It was then she realised she had completely missed the point, but she couldn grasp what.

”This is your room, ” he pointed down the hall. As he opened the door, a subtle scent of rose wafted out.

”Well get married tomorrow? ” She stared owlishly at his scowling face.

If she was the one with the path of indifference, then he was the king of impertinence. Technically speaking, although he was the ruler of the Northern region, Chiaki was still a Guardian, only a level lower than the Council.

But his already forced hospitality could only go this far.

”The wedding ceremony will unite our two insignias. This ritual must not be disturbed. The mansion is obviously your best venue option as compared to your hostile Council hall. ”

As one could expect from his predictable acerbity.

”But, ” Chiaki followed him out of this guest room, ”before I say I do tomorrow, I have a few terms for you. ”

This was, after all, only a game with System, progress, and points. Chiaki would treat this unequivocally as one. Those terms and conditions that people tend to brush off before clicking an OK button? She would make this husband accept them before proceeding.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like