Lance Hua turned around to face his bride-to-be. Within the next twenty-four hours, theyd be lawfully wedded, husband and wife.

But his downturned lips expressed his dissatisfaction with the best candidate the Council found for the arrangement.

”And, pray tell, what could your terms be? ” His deep voice drawled at the end of the question, bored to death. He looked like hed rather be anywhere else, preferable in his bed sleeping, rather than spend another minute with her.

She cleared her throat. ”Not that many. I just want this partnership to benefit everyone. If you feel Im not worthy, at least please help me to make our life together bearable. So I- ”

”Cut to the chase. The round trip tired me out. Im old. ”

Hes in his late thirties, isn he? Perhaps, it was true that being in your thirties, your body felt no longer the same.

”Just three conditions. ” She lifted her three fingers to emphasise the point.

Lance Hua patiently waited with his arms crossed in front of his chest.

”Im not a sophisticated cook; my home cooking is so-so. ”

”I can cook just fine. ”

”Secondly, please split the house chores. With my guardianship duty, its impossible for me to do the housekeeping alone. ”

Clicking his tongue, his answer sounded rather irritated. ”Do you think I can pay for cleaners? ”

Pressing on, Chiaki looked up from beneath her long lashes. ”And lastly, um, don force me in bed without my consent. ”

The Evil Lord of the Northern region leaned closer, lowering his head until his dark irises turned blurred in her vision.

”Do I even look like I want to sleep with you? ”

The only thing she wanted was that the ground split open; its hole to be big enough to swallow her. No filter existed between his brain and his mouth, and he was considered a great help to the overall Council situation. His arrogance spanned 24/7.

She could envision her daily life mastering her emotions. Path of Indifference suddenly sounded like a sage helping a green youth navigate her turbulent life.

Ones virtue is reflected by the clarity of the mind.

She recited the first chapters title of the handbook of Path of Indifference. It made sense after she turned the situation over in her head, hindsight of their interaction.

This guy had no scruple to start their relationship amicably. But as a disciple of this path, Chiaki had to clear the clutter of her assessment. Her humane fear naturally doubted whether she would endure this. But she had a mission that required her to stay on top of her duties.

She would make his words a daily challenge. She had committed herself to participate in this programme; she would see to it, however irritating this quest was. Facing the threat of having to go back to her realm should she fail this task, she undoubtedly chose to stay.

Learning something new, meeting new people. She would walk this discipleship journey, embracing anything she couldn experience in her previous life that could potentially elevate her as a person.

”I just wanted to inform Lord Hua in advance. Its always better to avoid misunderstanding down the road. ” With a sincere smile breaking on her petal lips, she said her piece and wished him a good night.


It wasn like anything she had ever heard from relatives, nor was it like any scene she had ever watched or read from series or books.

She could only describe it in these three words: surreal, magical, and spellbound.

The couple only had the Northerns servants and officers to arrange the ceremony. The Council members and their subordinates only arrived on the morning of D-day, so the scope they were helping with was already limited.

Chiaki wanted to help. After all, it would be her wedding. Although she hadn gotten married in her previous life, and this life was that limbo she couldn categorise as a real or simulated experience, she still wanted to make this a once-in-a-lifetime memory.

Based on the Domes tradition, the groom and the bride couldn see each other on the wedding day until the ceremony tied them as husband and wife. Moreover, she couldn see any other men outside non-family members. Since the other three Guardians were male, it was out of the question whether she could have a quick tea time with them.

Chiaki surveyed the wedding venue when Lance Hua didn need to visit it. The main hall of the mansion had been transformed by the joined efforts of the Northern and Councils teams into a vintage royal ballroom.

A few workers stood on the metal scaffold with brooms or microfibre towels to wipe the ceiling fresco. The massive painting of the baby blue morning sky with clouds shily revealed its former glory once the layers of dust had been removed.

The French candelabras hanging on attached wall fixtures had their candles replaced, too. Those who were left on the tables were decorated as centrepieces. Around the antique staircases hung crystal-and-flower garlands. The amethyst pieces stood out among the rose quartz, lending their magnetic purplish hue to the overall arrangement.

The long garland laid on the main dining table was another story. Vibrant blue hydrangea and soft football white chrysanthemums stacked on the deep green leaves, leaving a soft impression like the bride. Frosty glass candleholders decorated with golden glittery streaks were ready to shine at the evening reception.

She made another round at the hall, inspecting the overarching taste and colour, and then walked past the wide-open centre doors to step into the garden.

In the rundown, an insignia-binding ritual was mentioned. This was also what Lance Hua mentioned the night before. Her curiosity took her to see more about what this was about. As the event details said this would take place in the garden, she raised her head to scan the scenery.

The flower garden extended to the flower fields as far as she could see. A wide path strewn with blue, white, and pink petals connected the halls terrace to the focus spot of the garden: a gazebo with a dome-shaped roof. Around the pavilion, the calm blue-green lake greeted her eyes.

She knew it would be where they would conduct the ritual, so she refrained from walking there, afraid of the sacrilege.

Taking the east and west detour of the garden, she strolled farther until the garden transitioned to the wildflower fields. In summer, delphinium and dahlia sent a sweet contrast of blue and yellow that pleased the viewers eyes. The vivid combination lifted up the mood. The dark foliage provided a lush backdrop against the black tulips at the other side of the garden. The wide healthy leaves of the elephant ear looked as shiny as polished.

But the flower fields were dominated by the plain white lily of the valleys.

This landscape was still visible from the glass window that faced the garden from her guest room. Her heart trembled as she ran her fingers through the lacy ivory wedding dress in her room.

No, she had to be strong.

The first paragraph of the first chapter of the handbook:

Your mind is your greatest enemy; it cowers at adversities while your heart strides.

Your mind seeks pleasures to numb the pain; your heart befriends the tribulation to nurture your soul.

She knew what she had to do.


In the afternoon, she stood in front of Lord Lance Hua, the ruler of the Northern region, saying I do sincerely in front of the officiant from the Council.

After exchanging prescribed vows ended with mutual I-dos, the officiant allowed the groom to kiss the bride. Numbing all the flutters in her chest, she silently closed her eyes to receive Lance Hua, who leaned down slowly.

He slowly lifted the white chiffon veil only to kiss her forehead. A touch as soft as a butterflys wings, she didn register it at first.

His hands trailed down her shoulders and met her fingers, intertwining them in his warmth. ”Lets go to the gazebo, ” he asked her.

Following the lead of her now husband, Chiaki held his hand in one hand and the cascade-type bouquet in the other. Its wisteria bulbs waved with her movement and the wind.

The procession of the Council members and the Northern clan leaders followed behind them, separated only by the three-metre wedding dress train. Bejewelled by ground crystals, the already elegant train reflected the summer sun in blinding rays.

A wedding fit for a Guardian and a Lord.

Reaching the gazebo, the officiant recited his books sacred words and stepped aside to let Lance and Chiaki occupy the centre tiles, hands entangled with each other.

”I don know how to do this, ” she whispered to the Evil Lord, who returned that nervousness with a simple nod.

”Follow me, ” he answered as lifting their joined hands mid-air at their face level.

Both spoke these words, ”Lord Lance Hua and Guardian Chiaki Spring, as a couple and family, invoke the powers of the universe, nature and ancestors, to bless this union and conjoin our elements. ”

”Crystal and vortex. ”

The Guardians insignia embroidered on the stomach of her gown was transformed and animated, unfurled from the silk like a thin ribbon only to be reshaped into a triskele and a pair of wings above their heads.

”Destruction and healing. ”

Blood rained from the sky. But not a splash of it dirtied those who stood on the petal-strewn path or under the gazebo. The crimson pattering droplets surrounded them like a curtain.

”Light and darkness. ”

The lily of the valleys in the fields shook and fluttered as if a strong breeze swept the earth. Million ruby drips that had landed on their petals and leaves swarmed up the air and coalesced into new blooming flowers that dominated the fields with red.

Red spider lilies. The flowers of the underworld.

From the Evil Lords sculpted back, a translucent carbon copy of the flower emerged past through his wedding attire, floating up together with the triskele crest.

Both symbols amalgamated into a cloudy sphere and then disintegrated into nothingness in a flash of incandescent light, causing the couple and all the wedding guests to shut their eyes to avoid temporary blindness.

Chiaki learned one new thing. Lord Lance Hua had nothing to do with any beast like his depiction in the original game.

He was associated with flowers, instead.

Red spider lilies, nonetheless.

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