Everyone else in the room scattered within seconds, leaving the fear-stricken Wang Li quivering on the floor.
Hysterical exclamations could be heard from outside.
“That damned woman sat up!”
“She was supposed to be dead! How did she come back alive?”
Tang Tian still felt slightly disoriented from the earlier events, but realizing there was barely anyone left in her room, she seized the moment to hurriedly retrieve the mobile phone hidden under her pillow.
There was a new text message on the screen.
【Current Mission: Ghost Marriage
Mission Difficulty: 1 star
Reward: Health Points (HP) 480 hours
“Till death do us part”
Tang Tian was thoughtful as she read the words again.
Somehow, this text message was rather infuriating.
“Tang… Xiao Tang…” Wang Li placed a hand on the wall for support and mustered all her strength to stand up.
However, she could not stop her voice from quivering with fear.
“You were… you stopped breathing just now…”
Wang Li had been asked to come to the Chen estate this morning.
Even though she didn’t agree to Tang Tian’s request to conduct the ghost marriage ceremony earlier, she had assumed Tang Tian’s time was almost up, considering her condition.
Thus, she had arranged for someone to bring over the necessary clothing for Tang Tian to be changed into after she passed.
A few minutes ago, she had tried to reach Tang Tian on the phone.
When she failed to get a response, Wang Li had come to check up on the girl, which was when she discovered that Tang Tian wasn’t breathing anymore.
Galvanized into action, Wang Li proceeded to kickstart the preparations for the ceremony, starting with changing Tang Tian into her wedding dress.
It was best to do so while her body hadn’t gone stiff.
However, the most unexpected thing happened—the second that Wang Li was done with her preparations, Tang Tian’s body abruptly sat up, scaring the living daylights out of everyone in the room.
“…I choked on my own breath just now.
A little rest was all I needed.”
As she spoke, Tang Tian sensed her fingers touching something beside her pillow.
Fumbling around, she soon found a red packet.
“What is this?”
Wang Li looked uneasy as she muttered under her breath, “It’s just part of the local customs for ghost marriages here.
Families of the deceased men usually prepare a red packet containing, instead of money, a wedding proposal detailing the man’s death anniversary and a lock of his hair, as a betrothal gift.
If the families on the women’s side accept the red packet, it means that they agree to the ghost marriage.
A similar lock of hair would then be trimmed from the woman’s dead body and tied into a knot with the man’s hair in the red packet, symbolising eternal love and togetherness.
Finally, the death anniversary of the deceased woman is added to the wedding proposal, turning it into a proper wedding invitation.
All of these are then buried along with the deceased woman.”
“That’s quite a number of customs.”
Wang Li peeked at Tang Tian with a wary glance.
“Aren’t you… afraid?”
Everything seemed odd about this situation.
The young woman had literally just risen from the dead, but she was able to have a conversation about ghost marriage customs in such a calm, indifferent tone.
Tang Tian shrugged.
“When you’ve had as many scares as I have, you get used to it.”
It finally made sense now.
Real ghost marriages didn’t just require two dead bodies.
Instead, their souls were needed to complete the ceremony.
Whether the ceremony was held while she was alive or dead didn’t make a difference.
Her mission would have failed, unless…
Chen Xu’s ghost must be willing to help… He’s the key to the mission!
It dawned on her, how cunning the mobile phone was.
Judging from Chen Xu’s hesitant attitude in guiding her to his notebook in the study, he was actually reluctant to get involved with the phone.
That means… when Chen Xu was still alive, he rejected the mobile phone’s offer and refused to be bound to it!
So, the mobile phone had designed a scheme to trick her, by tempting her with the chance to live longer.
If Chen Xu had merely stood by the sidelines, she would have died, without a doubt.
However, by helping her and completing the ceremony, he had allowed himself to be bound to her, albeit spiritually.
Through my bond with him, this mobile phone will be able to control Chen Xu as well! What a devious, sneaky little thing!
Tang Tian held the phone in her hands as a wave of melancholy washed over her.
She had thought she was being benevolent by using the remaining few hours of her life to fulfil Chen Xu’s dying wish, but in reality, it was he who sacrificed his freedom to save her, the same freedom he refused to give up when he was still alive.
The mobile phone vibrated softly as another text message was delivered to her.
【Current Mission: Investigate the Truth of Chen Xu’s Death
Mission Difficulty: 1.5 star
Reward: A unique surprise, perhaps?】
Tang Tian scanned through the text message and swiftly shoved the phone into her pocket.
Out of habit, she reached for the bedframe to support herself as she stood up from the bed, but she needn’t have worried.
The usual lethargy she needed to overcome had disappeared, and for the first time in a long while, she felt energetic and healthy.
The Health Points given by the mobile phone as a reward… could truly prolong my life.
As she took a few more steps towards the door, all of a sudden, a group of people rushed in.
The middle-aged man at the front almost collided with Tang Tian.
When he saw her, he staggered backward in shock and would have fallen over, if not for someone else holding him up.
“Aghh! A ghost!” Ear-splitting shrieks echoed through the air as the other men and women who entered the room also reacted with undisguised fear at the sight of Tang Tian’s appearance.
Why are they being so dramatic? thought Tang Tian incredulously.
Curious to find out what exactly had elicited such a reaction from them, she held up her phone and aimed the camera at herself.
The screen showed a thin, bony woman in a traditional red wedding dress with layers of white powder pressed upon her pale skin, which contrasted greatly with her bright, crimson lips.
No wonder everyone was horrified; she looked exactly like a ghost!
The middle-aged man from earlier steadied himself with the support of his secretary.
He was someone used to adapting to various situations in life, so he regained his composure in no time.
“Xiao Tang, I presume? Wang Li informed me that you had passed away.
What’s going on?”
He shot a cold glare at Wang Li, who was still sitting on the floor, but scrambled to her feet when she sensed that her employer was unhappy with the situation.
She was eager to explain herself, but with Tang Tian standing in the middle of the room, apparently fit as a fiddle, she was at a loss for words.
“…Boss Chen, I wasn’t— A few of us checked her pulse just now… We all agreed that she really had stopped breathing…” Wang Li murmured anxiously in a low voice while stealing a few careful glances at Tang Tian.
She was still rather shaken from what happened earlier.
Tang Tian turned to the middle-aged man, who was wearing a tailored suit.
She gave him an amicable smile and said in greeting, “Hello, Boss Chen, nice to meet you.
I’m Xiao Tang.”
“Alright, Xiao Tang, care to explain?” Boss Chen nodded at her.
He had dropped everything to rush over, only to witness such a ridiculous farce, so he also gave Wang Li a critical, sidelong glance to show his immense dissatisfaction with how the matchmaker had managed things here.
Before Tang Tian could respond, another man said, “Boss Chen.” It was a Feng Shui master who had been standing behind Boss Chen.
Unlike his wife the matchmaker, he didn’t dare to infuriate his wealthy employer any further and hurriedly explained, “I’ve heard about such a thing before, from the elders.
A man, his breath ceased, had been presumed dead and laid in a coffin.
Yet when they made to move it, the rumbling and tumbling restored his breath and he was brought back to life.”
It was an anecdote told more as a distraction than an honest explanation.
In reality, that was a one-in-a-million situation, and besides, the man had only been poisoned, unlike Tang Tian who had been steadily wasting away from a chronic illness.
Nevertheless, Boss Chen’s anger dissipated slightly upon hearing his words, though he maintained a stern, cold expression.
As Tang Tian was nothing less than alive— derailing the original plan—it resulted in a huge complication for everyone.
The funeral march team they hired had arrived and every other funeral arrangement was already in place.
Everyone stood by the entrance hesitantly, their eyes wandering around the room, unsure of what to do as awkward silence filled the room.
Tang Tian, being the considerate person she was, decided to break the tense silence.
“Boss Chen, may I speak to you, alone?”
Chen Yunzhi, whom everyone called Boss Chen, opened his mouth to respond, but a woman dressed in an expensive-looking, figure-hugging dress interrupted brusquely, “What’s there to talk about in private? You may speak in front of everyone here.”
A younger man sneered at Tang Tian.
Whatever this ‘resurrection’ shit is, we’ve already paid you beforehand, and the funeral ceremony is also ongoing right now! Everyone in the neighbourhood knows about it.
Do you know how embarrassing this is for us and the whole Chen family?”
“Enough!” Chen Yunzhi bellowed.
Although he didn’t direct his anger at them, they were intimidated enough and obediently did as told.
Chen Yunzhi then gestured at his secretary, who nodded understandingly and proceeded to request all the hired workers who were helping out at the funeral ceremony to leave.
The workers dutifully gathered their things and left, showing just how much they trusted Boss Chen to pay them on time.
While Butler Chen invited everyone else to the main hall to have a cup of tea, Tang Tian went back into her room to wash her face and change into her own clothes.
When she joined them in the main hall, they were all sitting by the round table.
To a man, they were surprised at the sight of Tang Tian in regular clothes.
Despite Tang Tian’s height of 1.65cm, a Southerner like her was still much shorter than most of the locals in the North, as Northerners were known to be tall.
Her unblemished complexion looked as pale and sickly as ever, but compared with her ghostly-looking funeral makeup from earlier, her delicate natural features were rather attractive.
Boss Chen glanced at her.
“Feel free to speak here.
Sitting by my side here are my wife and my youngest son.
They are all family, so it will be alright.”
Tang Tian’s lips curled up into a wan smile.
“Since Boss Chen allows it, I will speak my mind.
“A while ago, when I choked on my own breath, I was truly on the verge of death.
You may not believe what I am about to say, but it is all true.
When a living soul crosses the border between life and death, one sees some rather strange things.
I saw myself wearing a bright crimson, two-piece bridal dress, being lifted on an old bridal carriage, and I was brought to someplace—similar to this main hall, in fact—to be married to a man…”
Every single person in the hall stared at her in disbelief.
Ignoring their reaction, she continued her tale.
“That man pulled away the veil that was covering my face, and I saw that he was… Chen Xu!”
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