Ye Zhuo opened her eyes once again to find an endless stretch of pitch darkness before her. Right then, her nasal cavity was flaring up with a strong alcoholic stench.
Even though she could not see anything, Ye Zhuo's sharp senses that she had developed as a prominent tech mogul made her aware that her surrounding ambiance was different - it was no longer the world that she used to live in.
Where was she?
Was she dead or alive?
Ye Zhuo used her hands to maneuver around the room, searching for the switch to turn on the lights.
The room then lit up with snowy white light.
Swiftly, Ye Zhuo sized up everything in her surroundings.
The curtains were tightly shut while empty wine bottles were scattered across the room as cigarette butts covered the floor. Every sign gave Ye Zhuo an insight into the house owner's persona.
All of a sudden, countless memory fragments flooded Ye Zhuo's mind.
Ye Zhuo combed through these memory fragments slowly and eventually came to a crucial conclusion - she was reborn!
The original owner of this body was named Mu Zhuo. The surname 'Mu' was one that everyone was envious of as it belonged to a wealthy family.
Nonetheless, despite being born into a wealthy family, the body's original owner was clearly incredibly dumb! She was a typical, ignorant, and spoiled girl who refused to learn anything to the point where she could not understand many simple words despite being in high school.
She was a widely-known deadbeat and a target of mockery for wealthy families during their leisure time.
Three days ago, the Mu family members accidentally discovered that Mu Zhao was not the Mu family's biological daughter. There was an accidental switch at birth in the hospital back in those years.
The surprise came like a shocking thunderbolt that made Mu Zhao's world lose its color entirely in a flash.
The Mu family members did not like her from the beginning, so they disliked her even more after the revelation.
Their real daughter was named Ye Yourong.
Ye Yourong was gentle, polite, and talented. She was a classic 'model' child, and as compared to the dumb original owner, the differences were simply astonishing and too large to ignore.
The original owner of the body and the Mu family's real daughter studied in the same school where the Mu family's real daughter was, unsurprisingly, very popular. She was the most beautiful girl in the school and received numerous international awards to go with her good looks!
If one were to describe the real daughter as the bright round moon in the night sky, the original owner was even worse than the mud on the ground.
Today was the day that the Mu family's real daughter, Ye Yourong, was supposed to return home. The Mu family members appreciated Ye Yourong's presence so much that they threw a grand banquet downstairs to serve their countless invited relatives and good friends from rich and powerful families.
The flashbacks stopped at this point.
Ye Zhuo narrowed her eyes and thought about how Ye Yourong would become Mu Yourong from now on.
On the other hand, she would go from Mu Zhuo to Ye Zhuo as well.
Apparently, their switched lives would return to their proper paths from this point on.
After processing her emotions, Ye Zhuo opened the closet to get ready to take a shower.
Her body was still emitting a pungent concoction of alcohol and sweat. It was a genuinely uneasy feeling in the heat of the summer.
However, as soon as she opened the closet, Ye Zhuo was startled by the clothes inside. The view of exceedingly revealing clothes came into her sight. There were clothes with plunging necklines, ultra-short shorts, studded pants, fishnet stockings, and the like…
Ye Zhuo clearly obtained more information about her current body's original owner by looking at her clothing choice.
The worst was yet to come as she was dumbfounded when she saw a photo that was beyond her imagination placed right on the night table!
What!? What the f*ck!?
What kind of person was she?
Ye Zhuo searched for a long while, yet she did not find a single ordinary piece of clothing in the closet. Hence, she decided that she would not take a shower for the time being and just put on a long-sleeve top over her attire. She then strolled downstairs with her excessive makeup.
"Mom! Dad!" Ye Zhuo made her way to her 'Mu' parents.
The guests at the scene glared at Ye Zhuo despisingly upon her arrival.
It was the day of Mu Yourong's return! Why would a dog in the manger make an appearance here?
Moreover, who was she to address Mu Yourong's parents as her mom and dad? She was truly shameless!
"How could she still have the courage to make an appearance? I would have jumped off a building to my death if I were her! What is the point of living anymore? She is an embarrassment!"
"Ugly people are bound to do bad things to get attention!"
"I heard that her biological mother is named Ye Shu and that the family is impoverished to the point that they don't even own a house now. I think she's probably too spoilt and too used to living a good life which is why she still refuses to leave now!"
"Are all of you aware that Ye Shu is a mistress? She doesn't even know who the father is till now..."
"So, it turns out that you're an illegitimate daughter that no one wants, huh?"
The crowd of people raised a babble of criticism, and their cold, merciless remarks were akin to sharp blades. If another person were in her place, that individual would not even be standing steadily anymore. Yet, there was not the slightest change in Ye Zhuo's facial expression as she remained as calm as the sea.
Mrs. Mu Shen Rong looked at Ye Zhuo and braced herself to speak, "Come here. Allow me to introduce you to your elder sister, Yourong. Both of you siblings must be nice to each other from now on."
Mrs. Mu maintained the smile on her face on the surface, yet her heart was already burning with hatred at Ye Zhuo in reality.
The little b*tch Ye Zhuo was obviously not her daughter, yet she still refused to budge from their home. She was truly shameless!
Nevertheless, it did not matter because the Mu family would still come up with a way to make her disappear from this world!
Meanwhile, Ye Zhuo looked toward Mu Yourong. "Hello."
Mu Yourong paid no attention to Ye Zhuo, but instead, she turned her head to look toward Shen Rong and asked with reddened eyes, "Mom, I thought that I only have two older brothers? If she is your daughter, who am I?"
Even when she was a young girl, Mu Yourong could sense an extremely strange premonition.
She sensed that she was not a common person; she hated the dim basement where she lived, and she hated the lowly people around her…
She refused to believe that she was a daughter born out of wedlock by a disreputable mistress mother.
The truth had proven that she was not as wildly imaginative as she seemed to be. Apparently, she was akin to a princess who was stranded in an ordinary world.
She was an inherent royalty!
Needless to say, she was overjoyed when she received the news.
What a waste that destiny had played a cruel joke on her.
She could not forget her miserable past life.
She already had a nap hand that she ruined.
Mu Yourong was reborn as well.
She was taken back by her biological parents in her past life when she was over 20 years old.
After returning to the Mu family, her parents treated her well. They sent her to many training classes to morph her from Cinderella to the magnificent daughter of a wealthy family.
What a waste that she was so blinded to marry the wrong man in the end. She took a fancy on a beast dressed like a gentleman!
In the end, she was sacrificed as a scapegoat, leaving behind not even bones or a corpse.
However, her current life was no longer going to be the same as what it was in the past.
The reborn Mu Yourong had the Goldfinger system that common people did not possess.
She also carried with her the memories of her past life. Therefore, she would become the brightest, most prominent person in the world in this life. She wanted to make her parents proud of her! On top of that, she wanted to make the Mu family the most powerful family in Yunjing Province!
Mu Yourong knew from the Goldfinger system that a financial magnate who was so powerful that he could make Yunjing Province tremble with just a stomp of his foot would be at the banquet tonight. What a waste that there were too many people at the scene, and she had never encountered the legendary financial magnate in her past life…
Fortunately, she had a face so beautiful that put the flowers to shame and outshined the moon - an appearance that could charm the birds from the trees. She would certainly be able to draw the attention of the financial magnate this time. In fact, she would make the financial magnate fall head over heels for her.
In this life, she would never allow herself to end up like her past and let Ye Zhuo die so easily! Ye Zhuo wanted to remain in the Mu family, right? She would fulfill Ye Zhuo's wish then!
She wanted to keep Ye Zhuo to become the accessory that set her off to her success. She even wanted to make Ye Zhuo fall for the beast from her past life to add more misery to her life! She would make the hideous swine, Ye Zhuo, her stepping stone to success!
At the thought of this, the corners of Mu Yourong's lips curled up while her face was tainted with a determined expression that was barely discernible.
Meanwhile, two men were seated at the corner of the living hall.
The man seated on the upper corner had a black hat on his head. The shadow cast from the brim of his hat concealed his facial features while he held a cigarette between his long, slim, fair-complexioned fingers. His face, which was already hard to discern, turned even more clouded from the puffing smoke in front of it.
Meanwhile, his other hand held a string of prayer beads. The dark-colored prayer beads contrasted his snow-white complexion and accentuated his fair skin.
He was dressed in a plain-colored Chinese robe buttoned all the way to the top of his collar with the same-colored buttons. A cold and solemn aura seemed to disperse from his body, so even though his face was barely discernible, it was hard for one to ignore his lofty aura.
Meanwhile, the other man had a handsome face and appeared more relaxed. His gaze landed on Ye Zhuo. "Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would truly find it incredulous that such a shameless person like Mu Zhuo still exists in this world. She is a dog in the manger, a fake substitute. Brother Fifth, your fiance is too despicable…"
From an outsider's perspective, Ye Zhuo's shamelessness was truly despicable.
Even as the fake daughter of the Mu family, she had the audacity to intrude the debutante of their real daughter!
Out of the blue, the man suddenly reacted to the situation and added, "No! The person who is betrothed to you is the real daughter of the Mu family. This fake daughter is totally unrelated to you! An unpresentable object like her does not even deserve to carry shoes for Brother Fifth."
The person speaking was Li Qiandong, and he was an influential official in Beijing.
Normally, the Mu family would not be able to invite a bigshot like him to a party in view of his family's status in Yunjing Province. However, the man seated opposite him was the fiance of the Mu family's daughter. So, he came to accompany the man.
Speaking of the man opposite him, he had his lips pursed while his legs were crossed. His cold elegance was tainted with solemness, and his body was enshrouded in a snowy glow.
Li Qiandong heaved a sigh and could not help but continue describing the scene, "The real daughter of the Mu family is truly piteous. Her identity was taken by someone else for years for absolutely no reason, and now, she is forced to accept this fake sister as her own."
No one could accept this matter willingly, regardless!
Upon saying that, he raised his head to look at the man seated opposite him. "Frankly, I didn't expect the fiance who you've never met before to be so pretty, Brother Fifth! I was still under the assumption that there would not be beauty in a small place like Yunjing Province."
The blood of the Mu family flowed in Mu Yourong's veins after all. She was genuinely beautiful. Otherwise, why was she reputed to be the most beautiful girl in the school? In stark contrast, there was Ye Zhuo's excessive makeup! So, she appeared even more exquisite!
The man took his time to look up. His pair of mysterious eyes cast a gaze so deep that it was beyond fathomable. His complexion was very fair as if he had not been in the sun for a long time. In addition, there was a red mole on the upper corner of his eye. In short, he looked 30% sickly and 70% cold and arrogant.
One could tell that he was a man who was hard to please at one glance.
"You won't be regarded as a mute if you don't speak!" A nonchalant remark from him in a voice that carried 70% hoarseness and 30% overbearingness was heard. It was a voice that sounded so pleasant it could suffocate a man.
Li Qiandong trembled in fear, but he still braced himself to say, "Brother Fifth, the real daughter of the Mu family is the one who is engaged to you. Even though the Cen family has moved away from Yunjing Province over the years, the Mu family and the Cen family have a tight bond. What if Aunt Xiang and Madam Cen insist on you marrying the Mu family's daughter?"
"Brother Fifth, do you have a soulmate in your heart?" Li Qiandong inquired soon afterward.
"What's a soulmate?" The man raised a charming eyebrow.
Li Qiandong replied, "A soulmate is a person that you love; you love the person so deeply and dearly that you won't marry anyone except her."
The man shook his head ever so slightly. "I don't have one now, and I won't have one in the future either."
Li Qiandong did not doubt this man's words even the slightest.
They had been acquainted for more than a decade, and he had never seen this man on intimate terms with a woman.
To make matters more difficult, the man was a strict vegetarian. He spent his days working on documents in the office and the rest of his time meditating in a temple nearby, listening to Buddhist chants.
He would not be surprised even if the man were to become a monk in the future.
Mu Yourong continued to behave provokingly and feigned pitifulness such that the public opinion leaned toward her. In fact, she would easily win any fight just by being the real daughter of the Mu family. Whose fault was it that Ye Zhuo was a dog in the manger anyway?
Ye Zhou was well aware of her current situation, so she said while looking at Mu Yourong, "Ms. Mu, I'm truly sorry for occupying your identity as the Mu family's daughter for 18 years! I will leave this place immediately and return to where I belong."
"The identity of the eldest Mu daughter shall return to its rightful owner, and I shall be called 'Ye Zhuo' from now on."
This place was not Ye Zhuo's or the original owner of her body's home. As a result, she would not insist on staying.
Nonetheless, Mu Yourong was stunned for a moment.
She did not expect Ye Zhuo to propose to leave on her own initiative. Things were a little different in her past life.
In the past, Ye Zhuo shamelessly insisted on staying with the Mu family. She was rejected by the people around her and was even killed by a member of the Mu family in the end.
Mu Yourong was prepared to lay out a scheme to embarrass the shameless b*tch. However, with Ye Zhuo's sudden decision to leave, how would she carry out her scheme?
The b*tch probably retreated for the sake of advancing her own cause and feigned pitifulness to gain some sympathy. Was she trying to do so fraudulently?
At the thought of this, a disdainful look emerged in Mu Yourong's eyes. Was an illiterate deadbeat like Ye Zhuo trying to play a trick on her?
That was absurd! She was a phoenix that rose into the heavens! What was Ye Zhuo? She was not even worthy of being a little sparrow!
Mu Yourong chuckled softly, and her lips curled into a mocking smile.
"Return to its rightful owner? Ye Zhuo, you took a life that belonged to me for 18 full years and enjoyed a life of luxury the entire time! Do you expect me to forgive you just by making a statement?"
The expression on Ye Zhuo's face was nonchalant. "Please allow me to correct you; it wasn't me who caused the switcheroo 18 years ago. It wasn't you, nor our parents. It's only human that you are resentful, and it's normal for you to loathe me. However, you should be hating the hospital the most. Had it not been for their negligence, our lives would not be switched! Ms. Mu, we were just swaddled babies back in those years. This is neither of our faults, so there's no need to talk about forgiveness."
Even though her body's original owner had a bad reputation, she never actually did anything bad to Mu Yourong.
However, it was only human for Mu Yourong to loathe her. After all, anyone would be displeased to suffer an incident like this. Nevertheless, Mu Yourong should not be provoking her when she had retreated so willingly! The original owner of her body was but a tiny baby in swaddling clothes back in those years; she did not have a choice!
Mu Yourong sneered, and her eyes were filled with cynicism as she uttered, "Do you think that a sacred, strict place like the hospital can cause a switched-at-birth incident?