Chapter 1: Replacement Bride
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
In the darkness, a strong masculine scent wafted toward her. The man pressed Qiao Nian forcefully against the bed. With tears in her eyes, she tried to push the man away, but there was no strength in her body.
The sound of tearing fabric could be heard. Qiao Nian’s tears fell uncontrollably.
“Lass, what’s your name?” The man’s hoarse voice was like a demonic spell. His breath, filled with lust, lingered by her ear.
“It’s fine if you don’t want to tell me. My name is…”
An intense pain pierced through her entire body. Qiao Nian’s breathing hitched, and her eyes flew open. She stared straight ahead. Only then did she realize that she was in the car.
So it was just a dream!
Once again, she had dreamed about what had happened five years ago.
Qiao Nian sat up and breathed heavily, her pale face etched with unease.
The events from that night five years ago constantly haunted her.
After that night, she got pregnant. She didn’t know who the father of the child was, but after ten months, she suffered a stillbirth.
After her mother and sister seized her shares in the Qiao Corporation, they sent her to a mental hospital.
The Qiao family butler, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, sensed a movement in the backseat. Seeing that Qiao Nian had awoken, he reminded her with an indifferent expression, “Miss Qiao Nian, we’re reaching the Qiao family’s house soon. Please get ready!”
Qiao Nian ignored Butler Qiao’s words. She tilted her head and looked out of the car window at the dimming lights outside. An City had grown more prosperous since she last saw it—she had been in the mental hospital for more than four years. The Qiao family had sent someone to pick her up tonight, and she was well aware of their intentions.
Her younger sister, Qiao Xin, was going to marry the Second Young Master of the Gu family, Gu Zhou, who was rumored to be ugly beyond belief, not to mention only have a lifespan of twenty years. But how could her “good mother” bear to let Qiao Xin marry such a man? Hence, the Qiao family planned to let Qiao Nian marry into the Gu family on behalf of Qiao Xin.
Qiao Nian’s eyes turned cold, as if covered by frost. There was no warmth in her expression.
They stopped at the entrance of the Qiao family’s villa.
Qiao Nian walked in alone, shrouded in a grim aura. The moment she entered the living room, she saw her mother, Su Xue, sitting on the sofa combing Qiao Xin’s hair.
“It’s a good thing that Qiao Nian, this good-for-nothing, can replace Xin Er to be a living widow in the Gu family. If Xin Er were to marry into that family, I would be heartbroken.”
Qiao Xin sat there obediently, her long eyelashes drooping down. Looking uneasy, she said gently, “Mom, don’t say that about Sister. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t know what to do. I’m just worried that Sister won’t agree.”
The father, Qiao Shan, who was sitting by the side and reading the contract, frowned in disapproval. Thinking of Qiao Nian, he said angrily, “Xin’er, you’re too kind. Have you forgotten how Qiao Nian slandered you five years ago? She has no self-restraint. She got pregnant before marriage and even gave birth to a stillborn child. She should be grateful for the chance to marry into the Gu family! What right does she have to be picky?”
“Who said I wouldn’t refuse?” A cold voice suddenly rang from the door.
The three people sitting on the sofa were startled. They glanced towards the door.
Qiao Nian was still wearing her hospital gown and slippers. She stood in a dark corner, looking like a devil from hell.
“Ah!” Qiao Xin screamed and threw herself into Su Xue’s arms, shivering in fear.
Su Xue patted Qiao Xin’s back and comforted her in a low voice. Then she glared at Qiao Xin and said angrily, “Qiao Nian, who exactly are you trying to scare? You’re acting like a ghost!”
Qiao Nian stepped into the house.
Qiao Xin came back to her senses and looked up from Su Xue’s arms. She tilted her head and looked towards the door. Seeing Qiao Nian standing there, a bright smile appeared on her face. “Sister, you’re back!”
Qiao Shan put down the contract in his hand. He strode towards Qiao Nian with anger written all over his face. “If you dare to refuse, I will beat you to death!”
“You should return the shares to me right now!” Qiao Nian looked fearlessly at Qiao Shan, her expression cool. “If you return them to me, I will consider marrying him!”
Qiao Shan raised his hand in anger, but Qiao Nian dodged the incoming slap. Frenzied with rage, he bellowed, “How dare you dodge?”
Qiao Nian stepped over to the sofa and sat down. Under the shocked gazes of Su Xue and Qiao Xin, she leaned lazily against the sofa. Seeing Qiao Shan take off his shoes in preparation to hit her, she looked at him indifferently and said, “If you dare to hit me, even the shares won’t help. Any discussion of marriage is off the table!”
The sole of Qiao Shan’s slipper was only a centimeter away from Qiao Nian’s face, but at her words, he stopped abruptly. It had been more than four years since he had last seen her. Qiao Nian, this wretched girl, had grown up and now even dared to threaten him!
At the beginning, he had wanted to marry Qiao Nian off to someone who was about the same age as him, and use the opportunity to ask for tens of millions of dollars for the betrothal gift. Who would have thought that after Qiao Nian lost her virginity, the man was no longer willing to marry her.
Five years ago, Qiao Nian caused him to lose tens of millions of dollars in betrothal money. Because of her, his company nearly went bankrupt.
Now, Qiao Nian was showing off in front of him and she even wanted to harm Xin Er. This was simply a heinous crime!
Qiao Shan’s expression darkened, and his grip on the slippers tightened.
“Hit me! If you hit me, I refuse to be married off!” Qiao Nian looked up at Qiao Shan with a challenge in her eyes.
Seeing that Qiao Shan was about to hit her again, Qiao Xin immediately ran over and entreated her father. “Dad, don’t!”
Qiao Xin met Qiao Shan’s gaze and shook her head lightly. She turned back to glance at Qiao Nian. For some reason, she felt that Qiao Nian seemed to be telling the truth. She was a little afraid that Qiao Nian would not marry into the Gu family for her.
If Qiao Nian didn’t marry into the Gu family, she would have to marry that short-lived wretch!
When she thought of this, Qiao Xin could not help but shudder. She was the precious daughter of the Qiao family. Even if she were to marry, she had to marry a man with power and influence. She could never marry a short-lived wretch!
Qiao Shan retracted his hand angrily and threw his slipper onto the floor. He glared at Qiao Nian, put on his slippers and walked over to the sofa to sit down. Indignantly, he spoke. “Look at your sister. She cares so much about you. Is there anything wrong with you helping her marry someone else?!”
“Is that so?” A faint smile appeared on Qiao Nian’s face as she continued, “Xinxin, since you’re so good, you can just marry him yourself. Why do you need me to do it for you?”
A trace of panic flashed across Qiao Xin’s face. She lowered her head and didn’t speak.
Su Xue, who was sitting at the side, could no longer stand it. She stepped in front of Qiao Xin and shielded her daughter behind her, saying coldly, “Qiao Nian, we asked you to marry in place of Xin Er so that your marriage would be settled. Otherwise, who else in An City would dare to ask for your hand in marriage?”
“Oh, that’s interesting.. Did I beg you to find me a husband?” Qiao Nian casually tucked her hair behind her ear. Her phoenix-like eyes flashed with ice as she spoke, “Oh, right, I wonder who sent me to a man’s bed five years ago, causing my reputation to be ruined? I wonder who sent me to a mental hospital?”