I’ll Be the Male Lead’s Sister-in-Law - Chapter 4
Translated by ShainaG Translations
Despite knowing this, Mu Mingtang was willing to live in the shadow of another person. She wore the colors that Jiang Mingwei liked and lived in the room where Jiang Mingwei used to live, then she learned how to talk and even walk like Jiang Mingwei did.
Madam Jiang disdained the vulgarness she’d shown that day on the streets, so she removed the claws and teeth she had honed over the years of hardship and became soft-spoken and obedient, capable of smiling without teeth and walking without noise. She hid her true self and turned herself into a different person.
She was afraid of being thrown out. She was afraid of having to return to the precarious life she’d lived among the refugees who were no better than wild dogs. Dignity was useless in such circumstances, let alone staying true to one’s true self.
After undergoing a year of intensive closed-door training, she finally succeeded in just barely meeting Madam Jiang’s expectations. However, while it was simple to change one’s skin, the bones that made up one’s person were impossible to change. Naturally, she still couldn’t compare with Jiang Mingwei, who had been born into wealth and nobility. Nonetheless, a shadow of Jiang Mingwei could be seen in her as long as she just stood still and stayed silent.
It was with reluctance that in March, Madam Jiang finally introduced Mu Mingtang to the public. This was when the girl truly understood why the Jiang family had adopted her, and why Madam Jiang was so anxious about her training.
It turned out that the prestige the Jiang family held came from not only Jiang Honghao’s position as a grand minister but also Jiang Mingwei’s engagement to an imperial prince.
The emperor’s words were law, not to mention he had issued an imperial edict of marriage. It was easy for Jiang Mingwei, whose whereabouts had been unknown since the last Lantern Festival, to escape this, but the same could not be said for her parents. On one hand, they were worried about their daughter, and on the other hand, they were worried about her engagement to the Prince of Jin.
As a prince who had been granted a high-ranking title, the Prince of Jin was the most popular candidate for the position of crown prince. If it weren’t for the fact that the emperor and the Jiang family were neighbors before he ascended the throne, he would never have granted them such a great honor.
When Jiang Mingwei ran away in order to escape the marriage—of course, this was Mu Mingtang’s speculation, despite Madam Jiang’s insistence that her daughter had simply gotten lost—this great honor turned into a life-threatening sentence for Jiang Honghao, who flew into a fury when he learned of her disappearance. He claimed that she was no longer his daughter and even refused to send people out to look for her. As a result, Madam Jiang could only grieve over her husband’s heartlessness and search for her daughter herself. By the time she encountered Mu Mingtang, she was already at her rope’s end and had no choice but to come up with a plan to use her as a substitute.
Although she hoped that her daughter would return, they would have to use Mu Mingtang as a substitute if she didn’t. After all, the edict was between the Prince of Jin and the Jiang family and didn’t specify that the bride had to be Jiang Mingwei. The adopted Mu Mingtang could also be regarded as a daughter of the Jiang family, albeit barely.
In March of the next year, Madam Jiang finally gave up all hope for her daughter’s return. In April, with their elders as witnesses, Mu Mingtang and the Prince of Jin, Xie Xuanji, met formally and tacitly consented to the marriage.
With that being said, the Prince of Jin’s infatuation with Jiang Mingwei was truly admirable. Even after she ran away from their marriage and was suspected of eloping, he forgave her and went as far as to secretly help Madam Jiang with the search. Then, when time began to run out, he readily agreed to marry the substitute.
Even Mu Mingtang was moved by his devotion. As a substitute, she understood better than anyone else that the only reason she was able to enjoy this life of luxury and become a princess was because she bore physical similarities to Jiang Mingwei. Every time Madam Jiang looked at her, she was looking for the shadow of her real daughter. This was already more than enough for Mu Mingtang; she was not greedy enough to expect the Prince of Jin’s love on top of everything else.
As a matter of fact, she was ready to live the shadow of Jiang Mingwei for the rest of her life. Before her marriage, she would play the role of a good daughter who looked like Jiang Mingwei but was even more gentle. After the marriage, she would do her best to project the image of the Prince of Jin’s first love. It wouldn’t matter who “Mu Mingtang” was, what she liked, and who she used to be.
However, who would’ve thought that on the day of the birthday banquet the Jiang family held for Mu Mingtang, Jiang Mingwei would appear?
She didn’t show herself in public, but when the Prince of Jin suddenly left in the middle of the banquet, Mu Mingtang’s intuition had told her that something was wrong. Subsequently, she followed him in secret and witnessed the touching display of affection between the two childhood sweethearts.
After seeing it, she was reminded once again of how deeply the Prince of Jin was in love with Jiang Mingwei.
So, what about her? How were they going to deal with the substitute, the miserable refugee?
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