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The rising sun cast a rosy hue across the morning sky, softly illuminating the bedroom. Bai Zhen Zhen and Huo Xiang had forgotten to draw the curtains last night in their fluster. It was only seven in the morning, but the sun was already disrupting their dreams.

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Bai Zhen Zhen woke up shortly after the sun shone on her face.

Turning her head, she immediately saw Huo Xiang sleeping beside her. He was still slumbering deeply, his eyes shut tight without a single sign of waking up. The sun shone on his face, giving the scene a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

Bai Zhen Zhen couldn’t resist reaching out. She gently touched the tip of Huo Xiang’s nose, but there was no reaction at all. Bai Zhen Zhen’s fingers traced its way down to his cheeks, light as a feather, and prodded it gently, poking out a small dimple.

With the dimple, Huo Xiang looked as if he was smiling in his sleep.

The corners of Bai Zhen Zhen’s lips curled up as well.

Disturbed by her actions, Huo Xiang grumbled childishly in his sleep as he turned sideways and wrapped his arms around Bai Zhen Zhen, hugging her tightly. He even rubbed his face against Bai Zhen Zhen’s neck.

Bai Zhen Zhen was flustered and tried to push him away, but Huo Xiang only tightened his grip.

“Huo Xiang! Let go of me this instant!” Bai Zhen Zhen finally realised that Huo Xiang was just pretending to be asleep, and loudly reprimanded him, “You rogue! Stop pretending!”

Huo Xiang burst out in laughter, lifting his head to look at Bai Zhen Zhen: “You’re allowed to tease me, but I’m not allowed to do the same?”

“Who… who teased you?” Bai Zhen Zhen’s face grew hot. She brushed it off as the heat from the sunlight shining on her face.

“I’m getting up,” Bai Zhen Zhen continued, “The sunlight is too bright, I can’t continue sleeping.”

She prepared to get up.

However, Huo Xiang grabbed her hand: “Don’t go.”

Bai Zhen Zhen was baffled. She could write off Huo Xiang pretending to be asleep earlier as a joke, but his current tone didn’t seem like he was pretending or pranking her at all.

“Huo Xiang, what are you doing?” Bai Zhen Zhen called out his name seriously, “You can’t possibly think that we are a proper husband and wife after sleeping in the same bed for one night, right?”

“We are a proper husband and wife, since a long time ago.” Huo Xiang replied. He held on to Bai Zhen Zhen’s hand, refusing to let go.

“Zhen Zhen, I like you.” Huo Xiang said.

Bai Zhen Zhen completely forgot about about retrieving her hand.

Hearing Huo Xiang’s sudden confession which came out of nowhere, she panicked at the sudden surprise, not knowing what kind of medicine Huo Xiang had taken for him to spout such words.

“I like you,” Huo Xiang re-emphasised, “Zhen Zhen, I want us to be a real couple, a real husband and wife.”

Bai Zhen Zhen’s other hand reached out to Huo Xiang’s forehead to measure his temperature, saying absentmindedly: “There’s no fever? Are you still dreaming?”

“I’m serious.” Huo Xiang’s gaze was sincere, his eyes staring unblinkingly at Bai Zhen Zhen, “I don’t know when it started, but every time I see you, my heart erupts in joy. The moment you leave, my heart becomes empty. As long as it’s something you want to do, I will accompany you without a second thought. As long as you’re happy, I’m happy too.”

“And… every time I see you smiling brightly at another man, I feel very upset.”

“When have I smiled at other men?” Bai Zhen Zhen rolled her eyes at Huo Xiang, “Other than my dad and your grandpa, I haven’t smiled brightly at other men before.”

“Xi Xixi counts too!”

“… He’s a younger brother.”

“I don’t care. Either way, I’m jealous.” Huo Xiang pouted, “Zhen Zhen, even though I’ve never dated before, but from my feelings for you, what is it if not love? Since I like you, then I must let you know, if not it’ll be too late for regrets if you’re stolen from me one day.”

Bai Zhen Zhen lowered her head and muttered: “I never expected that you would also have your emotional moments, springing this up on me so early in the morning.”

“After hearing my confession, are you happy?” Huo Xiang looked at Bai Zhen Zhen with eyes full of anticipation.

— System: “Ding~ Female lead happiness index +10.”

— Huo Xiang: “!!!”

Bai Zhen Zhen swallowed her saliva and replied: “We’ve already agreed that this is a contract marriage, that both parties will not interfere with each other’s lives, and that both parties will not breach the contract…”

“Ignore the contract for now, just tell me, do you like me?” Huo Xiang asked impatiently.

Bai Zhen Zhen fell silent for a few seconds, before ultimately shaking her head.

When she raised her head and met Huo Xiang’s disappointed eyes, she felt uncomfortable in her heart.

“How could it be? How could you not like me!” Huo Xiang gripped Bai Zhen Zhen’s hand tighter.

“I- I just treat you as a good friend.” Bai Zhen Zhen tried to convince Huo Xiang, and at the same time, tried to convince herself.

She had to admit that Huo Xiang’s earlier confession really moved her. When she heard Huo Xiang personally confess that he liked her, she was overjoyed.

She didn’t know if it meant that she liked Huo Xiang back, but taking a look at the larger picture, even if she liked him back, Huo Xiang was just a fictional character in a novel. And as someone who would eventually have to return to the real world, the two of them could never have a future together.

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“You’re lying!” Huo Xiang saw through Bai Zhen Zhen’s lie, and said righteously, “Women are all two-faced creatures! Bai Zhen Zhen, I will eventually make you spit out your true feelings one day!”

Bai Zhen Zhen pulled her hand out from Huo Xiang’s grasp guiltily, and hurriedly got out of bed while avoiding his gaze.

To hide the unnaturalness of her actions, she pretended to be nonchalant as she replied lightly: “Don’t be so narcissistic! If you’re still not awake yet, then you can go read through our marriage agreement again to wake yourself up.”

Hearing Bai Zhen Zhen bring up the marriage agreement, Huo Xiang’s lips curled up into a meaningful smile.

He sat up on the bed and remarked in amusement: “Bai Zhen Zhen, I think you’re the one who should read through the marriage agreement and understand your responsibilities written in the contract.”

“Huh?” Bai Zhen Zhen didn’t understand what Huo Xiang was implying, and turned around to look at him.

Huo Xiang merely shrugged: “That’s all I have to say. You can see it for yourself.”

****

After washing up, Huo Xiang headed downstairs for breakfast first.

Bai Zhen Zhen had never experienced a feast like last night’s before, and overate, causing some… constipation today. She was still camping in the toilet.

Elder Huo was seated in the same dining room, at the same dining table, waiting for them.

“Grandfather!” Huo Xiang greeted him.

He had to cherish the opportunity to call him “Grandfather”, if not once his identity as the heir is lost, he wouldn’t have the qualifications to do so any more.

Elder Huo revealed a meaningful smile when he saw Huo Xiang coming down alone.

“Zhen Zhen isn’t up yet? Don’t worry, she must have been very tired last night. It’s good for her to rest more…”

Huo Xiang’s eyes twitched. He cleared his throat and replied: “Uh, Grandfather, that… I have something I need to tell you…”

“What is it?” Elder Huo frowned, “Was there a problem with the booklet? It can’t be, that is our Huo family’s treasure…”

“It’s not about the booklet,” Huo Xiang interrupted Elder Huo’s words. He paused for a moment, before continuing, “Actually, it has something to do with the booklet…”

“What are you trying to say?” Elder Huo asked.

Huo Xiang took a deep breath and replied frankly: “Grandfather, I’ll just tell you the truth. Ever since Zhen Zhen and I got married, we haven’t done that deed yet. Zhen Zhen is inexperienced, and harbours anxiety about it. I want to wait for her to be ready, before making any advances. So, as for what you entrusted me with yesterday… I didn’t do it. The milk was also disposed by me.”

“You… The two of you actually haven’t…”

“Grandfather, don’t worry. Even if it hasn’t happened yet, it doesn’t mean that it won’t ever happen. I’m your grandson; don’t you trust me? It’s just that I truly love Zhen Zhen, and I don’t want to force her to do something when she’s not ready…” Huo Xiang said.

Hearing his words, Elder Huo sighed.

After a while, he slowly said: “I was the one who was inconsiderate. The two of you have just gotten married; I was too impatient… Zhen Zhen is a good child, we should indeed respect her decision.”

“Thank you Grandfather for understanding us.”

“Regarding what I asked you to do last night, I was wrong.” Elder Huo continued, “Fortunately, you didn’t blindly do it, if not Zhen Zhen would definitely be upset…”

As the two of them hashed it out emotionally, Bai Zhen Zhen finally arrived.

Because she knew about the booklet, Bai Zhen Zhen was not as natural as yesterday when she saw Elder Huo.

On the other hand, Elder Huo greeted her first, taking the initiative to bring it up: “Zhen Zhen, regarding yesterday, I was wrong. I should give the two of you more space, and not stubbornly impose my wishes on you…”

“Grandpa, it’s all in the past now! Let’s let bygones be bygones!*” Bai Zhen Zhen didn’t expect that the moment she came down, she would hear Elder Huo apologising to her, and was surprised but gratified.

“Come, let’s eat!” Elder Huo smiled and waved Bai Zhen Zhen over.

With the white elephant in the room addressed, Bai Zhen Zhen also relaxed.

“By the way, Grandpa,” Bai Zhen Zhen had just sat down when she thought of something, “Will you… still blame Huo Xiang for going against your wishes…”

“Of course not!” Elder Huo immediately refuted, “I didn’t understand your difficulties and hastily tried to push you into making a difficult decision. It’s already good that you don’t blame me; how could I blame you!”

Bai Zhen Zhen was surprised. What did Huo Xiang say to his grandfather that caused his stance to completely flip?!

Then would Huo Xiang be able to keep his status as the Huo family’s heir even if they didn’t “do it”?!

Huo Xiang also had the same question. At that moment, the system notification rang out.

— System: “Ding~ The system warmly reminds you: Due to the influence of Elder Huo’s emotions, the content of the side mission has changed. The progress of the fifth side mission has been updated to 67%. According to the side mission requirements, please complete Elder Huo’s next task to complete the side mission.”

Huo Xiang almost cried with joy.

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— System: “Knight, why are you so excited?”

— Huo Xiang: “Regaining billions of dollars of the family’s wealth after losing it, how could anyone not be excited?”

— System: “But didn’t you say yesterday that you already have something more valuable than money?”

— Huo Xiang: “Even if I have something more valuable than money, I still won’t reject having more money. The more the better! Hehe.”

— System: “…”

Elder Huo glanced at Huo Xiang, then glanced at Bai Zhen Zhen, before turning his eyes to the sandwich in his hands, pretending to casually remark: “There’s no rush in having a child, but the wedding… still has to be arranged.”

Huo Xiang and Bai Zhen Zhen were both stunned.

“Huo Xiang, you must handle this matter personally. Uncle Cai is only responsible for assisting you.” Elder Huo continued, “You don’t have to worry about the money. The only thing you have to ensure is that everything follows Zhen Zhen’s desires. Of course, the necessary grandeur will still have to be arranged…”

“Grandpa, actually I’m not in a hurry…”

“But you should be in a hurry, Zhen Zhen! The wedding must be pushed forward!” Elder Huo’s kind tone suddenly grew grave, “Which girl doesn’t want to have a grand wedding ceremony? Back in the days, when your grandmother married me, our family was still dirt poor. However, she didn’t disdain it, and we had a simple wedding ceremony with just a pair of red candles…”

“When our family gradually became wealthier, the first thing that came to mind was to hold a proper wedding ceremony, letting your grandmother wear her favourite wedding dress. That day, she was moved to tears, crying so much that her makeup completely ran…”

“However…Your grandmother was truly beautiful, whether she had makeup or not…”

Bai Zhen Zhen was touched when she noticed that Elder Huo’s eyes were misted over in wistful recollection.

“Grandfather, you’re right! Zhen Zhen has been married to me for more than a fortnight, it’s time I gave her a grand wedding!” Huo Xiang echoed.

Elder Huo was elated. He patted Huo Xiang’s shoulders, saying: “As expected of my good grandson! I’ve already asked someone to review the dates. 15th June** will be an auspicious day, especially suitable for holding a wedding. Your wedding will be on that day!”

“15th June?” Bai Zhen Zhen turned on her phone to check the date. It was 1st June today. There was only approximately half a month between today and 15th June.

“Yes, the 15th of June!” Elder Huo laughed cheerfully, “This day also happens to be the halfway point of the year. Our older generation call it the ‘Half-year festival’. Traditionally, friends and family will gather together on this date for a meal!”

“That sounds fantastic!” Huo Xiang continued to echo, “It’s truly an auspicious date! Let’s set it on that day!”

Bai Zhen Zhen glanced at Huo Xiang speechlessly.

Huo Xiang turned a blind eye to her “scornful” gaze, and instead discussed the details of the wedding with Elder Huo: “Grandfather, you mentioned that we can spend as much as we want, right? Why don’t we have the wedding in our garden? The area is large, and the flowers are beautiful…”

However, Elder Huo frowned: “Why are you asking me! The bride is right here; you should be asking for her opinion!”

Huo Xiang had no choice but to turn his attention to Bai Zhen Zhen.

Bai Zhen Zhen looked at him coldly.

“… Why don’t we eat first.” Huo Xiang said weakly.

****

After breakfast, Bai Zhen Zhen went to “work”. As a self-proclaimed gentleman, Huo Xiang personally drove her to work.

On the ride there, Bai Zhen Zhen asked Huo Xiang in a low voice: “Why didn’t you find an excuse to get out of the wedding planning when Grandpa brought it up earlier? Instead, you enthusiastically agreed to it. You clearly know what we are just…”

“I don’t know anything else,” Huo Xiang leisurely cut Bai Zhen Zhen off, “I only know that I like you, and that I want to marry you.”

“…” Bai Zhen Zhen was speechless.

“Zhen Zhen, just give in. I’ve already confessed to you, and I won’t give you any chance to run away.” Huo Xiang continued.

Bai Zhen Zhen snorted lightly: “I don’t believe you will force me against my will. If you wanted to force me, you would have let me drink the milk yesterday night.”

“Bai Zhen Zhen, why are you so dirty-minded?! You even dare to say such things!” Huo Xiang snorted.

Bai Zhen Zhen was taken aback: “What did I say?”

“You can think about what you said yourself!”

Bai Zhen Zhen frowned and carefully recalled the two lines she said earlier. She didn’t find anything wrong with what she said, but from Huo Xiang’s tone, there should be something fishy with it.

After thinking about it for a few more seconds, Bai Zhen Zhen finally reacted.

After that, she immediately punched Huo Xiang on his shoulder.

“Hey! Don’t hit me, I’m driving!” Huo Xiang exclaimed sharply.

“Who asked you to choose to drive!” Bai Zhen Zhen angrily huffed, “My decent words were interpreted indecently by you!”***

“What indecent interpretation are you talking about? Can you elaborate?” Huo Xiang teased with a playful smile.

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Bai Zhen Zhen trembled in anger, choosing to look outside the window and ignore him.

Huo Xiang coaxed her in a gentle voice: “Alright, I was just teasing you. We’re all adults, a little joke doesn’t hurt! Come, smile a little.”

“Can’t smile,” Bai Zhen Zhen turned to look at him, grumpily replying, “After the wedding is held, the whole world will know that I’m your wife.”

“Is that bad? To be the wife of the heir of the world’s richest man is something that others can’t achieve even if they begged for years!”

“It’s not like this is real…” Bai Zhen Zhen muttered.

This was the world within a novel. At the very most, the marriage would last a year before everything would be over.

However, Huo Xiang interpreted her words differently, smiling: “Didn’t I say it before? As long as you want, it can become real anytime!”

Bai Zhen Zhen didn’t respond.

After a while, she recalled what Huo Xiang said earlier in the morning, and asked: “Ah, that’s right. What did you mean when you asked me to read the agreement again?”

“If you want to know, then you should go back to the hotel and read it again after getting off work today.” Huo Xiang smiled.

“Why do I smell something fishy?” Bai Zhen Zhen squinted at him.

“Seeing is believing. You should discover the surprise yourself.” Huo Xiang said, before asking, “Weren’t we supposed to meet your step-sister today? You should quickly make arrangements for the time, location and script.”

If Huo Xiang didn’t bring it up, Bai Zhen Zhen would have forgotten there was such a thing.

With just a visit to the Huo family’s ancestral home, she was greeted by one “surprise” after another, and almost forgot about her “main mission”.

“I estimate that she will contact you first, so we don’t have to worry.” Bai Zhen Zhen said, “When she calls you, you can invite her out for dinner. The location will be at the hotel restaurant, the same hotel that we won in the lottery. As for what happens after that… I’ll sort it out later and let you know.”

“Then is there any payment for my efforts to cooperate with your performance?” Huo Xiang asked.

Bai Zhen Zhen sneered: “Didn’t you say you like me? You should be happy to help the person you like, right?”

“… Bai Zhen Zhen, you are ruthless!!”

****

Under Su Meng’s considerate arrangements, Bai Zhen Zhen had a pleasant day at work.

She started work at nine o’clock, met and greeted her colleagues before liaising with the newspaper office to order newspapers and magazines. At twelve noon, she took a nap after eating lunch. At two o’clock, she prepared tea for everyone, and finally got off work at five o’clock.

“Zhen Zhen, you’ve worked hard so hard the whole day. You’re not even willing to get off work early. I really can’t bring myself to pay you just a thousand dollars a month…” Su Meng said.

“Sister Meng, don’t feel bad! You gave me this opportunity to realise my dreams! That isn’t something we can compare to money!” Bai Zhen Zhen exclaimed.

Su Meng had no choice but to nod: “Ok, you’re not short on money any way. If you meet any difficulties at work, feel free to let me know. Don’t treat me as a stranger just because I’m your boss!”

“Okay!” Bai Zhen Zhen smiled gleefully, “Once I’ve arranged my dad’s matters, I will treat you to a meal!”

“There’s no rush, after all there will be a huge feast soon.” Su Meng replied.

Bai Zhen Zhen met Su Meng’s meaningful look, and paused for a moment, before asking: “What do you mean?”

“Zhen Zhen, why are you still trying to hide the good news from me? Huo Xiang told me that you’re holding your wedding on 15th June. He’s already preparing the wedding invitations!”

Bai Zhen Zhen was dumbfounded.

“Zhen Zhen, since you’re able to see through my little performance with Huo Xiang, I believe that you’re aware of Huo Xiang’s feelings for you! I can tell that your feelings towards Huo Xiang are also not as simple as what you claim. Cherish it well. I wish you a blissful marriage!”

“I- I don’t have any feelings for him… The wedding is dictated by Grandpa…” Bai Zhen Zhen was still trying to deceive herself.

Su Meng didn’t say anything else, only laughing cheerfully and patting her shoulder: “Ok, I get it. Don’t you still have a date tonight? You should get going!”

Bai Zhen Zhen was tongue-tied.

— What date! It was obviously a play set up to incite a vicious supporting female! She wasn’t the main protagonist today either! What did Huo Xiang say to Su Meng to cause her to misunderstand! He sure was big-mouthed!!

On the way back to the hotel, Bai Zhen Zhen sent tonight’s “script” to Huo Xiang, and conveniently threatened him as well: “Don’t spread rumours everywhere, please respect our agreement! Even if you don’t care about the compensation sum, trustworthiness is priceless!”

Huo Xiang replied simply: “Wait till you see the agreement!”

Bai Zhen Zhen was really puzzled.

Why did she have to read the agreement? She had read the agreement a long time ago. On the day they went to the Civil Affairs Bureau to collect their marriage certificate, she had even signed neatly on the agreement, before handing a copy to Huo Xiang.

It was only half an hour later, after Bai Zhen Zhen returned to the room and dug out the 《Pre-nuptial Agreement》 at the bottom of the box, that she finally understood what Huo Xiang meant.

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It was also at this moment that Bai Zhen Zhen was truly stunned.

《Bai Zhen Zhen x Huo Xiang Everlasting Sweetness 10,000 Year Love Pre-nuptial Agreement》?!

Just this blinding title alone left Bai Zhen Zhen at a loss.

Flipping the page open, Bai Zhen Zhen began to question her whole life.

In what way was this the three pages of marriage agreement that she had previously read line-by-line? Not a single line indicated their identities as “fake husband and wife”.

Instead, it was replaced by rules and regulations showing off a married couple’s affections.

The first clause was —

Party A and Party B love each other deeply. The two parties agree to marry each other voluntarily, and to stay true to each other till death do them part. Neither parties can take the initiative to file for divorce.

The last clause was —

If one party violates any of the contents of the agreement, they must compensate the other party for mental damages totaling one hundred million dollars.

… One hundred million dollars.

Looking at this four words, Bai Zhen Zhen slumped on the hotel bed.

She dialed Huo Xiang’s number with trembling hands.

The moment the call went through, Huo Xiang’s gleeful voice sounded out.

“How is it? Aren’t you surprised?!”

Bai Zhen Zhen forced down the anger and annoyance in her heart, asking: “How did you change the agreement?!”

Huo Xiang casually replied: “The two agreements that you signed that day were different. You only read the first one before signing the second one as well. I just wanted to play a small trick. I didn’t expect that it would be so successful!”

Bai Zhen Zhen gritted her teeth in anger at Huo Xiang’s shameless attitude.

“So the first set of agreement is in your hands, isn’t it? Hurry up and take it out to prove my ‘innocence’!!” She growled through gritted teeth.

Huo Xiang sneered: “Do you think I’m stupid? I burned it long ago!”

Bai Zhen Zhen replied without hesitation: “Then I’ll burn my set too!”

Huo Xiang: “Haha, do as you wish. Even if you burn the pre-nuptial agreement, we are still husband and wife. Besides, when I accompanied you to Haicheng previously, I made a copy of the agreement. Look carefully, the one you have is actually a copy…”

Bai Zhen Zhen: “… Huo!! Xiang!!”

Huo Xiang: “Alright, baby, I’ll be there soon. No need to be anxious, we can meet up and talk! Muacks~”

Bai Zhen Zhen: “…”

——————–

[Small scene]

Huo Xiang: Teacher Huo’s class is starting now! Today, Teacher Huo will explain a saying to everyone — “If it’s a blessing, then it won’t be a disaster (‘huo’). If it’s a Huo (surname), then you cannot escape it.”
是福不是 (huo),是 (huo) 躲不过

Number one (female) fan Su Meng: What does the saying mean?

Huo Xiang: It means that if someone surnamed Huo is courting you, then you should give up any thoughts on running away. You won’t be able to escape anyway! And this is a blessing, not a disaster!

Number one (male) fan Xi Xixi: So that’s what it means! It seems that brother-in-law and sister will have a lifetime of love and happiness!

Bai Zhen Zhen: ……

——————-

Translator’s Note: The actual saying above basically means that blessings and disasters are pre-ordained. If you’re fated to have a blessing, then it will definitely not turn out to be a disaster. If you’re fated to meet a disaster, then there’s no way you can avoid it.

——————–

*爷爷,您言重了 – This can be translated in multiple ways, but it generally has the context of humbly acknowledging (the words of) a respected elder. If the respected elder is flattering you, then it would take on the meaning of “humble thanks”. In this case because Elder Huo is apologising to her, it takes on the meaning of “humble assuage”.
I tried my best to express that context. If you have better ways of expressing it, do let me know in the comments.

**The dates are all using the Chinese (lunar) calendar. I have (lazily) put in a date according to the English (solar) calendar that fits the context because I don’t know/remember if the novel mentions what year they are in, and the dates will change according to the year.

***Highlight to see the “indecent” meaning below if you haven’t already figured it out:

It’s the milk… To drink the glass of milk or Huo Xiang’s milk?

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