Chapter 1

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I opened a door that was guarded by five knights and entered solemnly.

Inside was a woman who was dressed in dazzlingly beautiful garb, yet she was sobbing forlornly.

“Take it off, Renée.”

She raised her head when she heard my voice.
As she saw me, she immediately shrank in terror.


There wasn’t much time, so I hurriedly began to undress her.

“You’ll be shipped off soon.
There is no turning back if it’s not now.
You don’t want to get married, do you?”

“Why are you doing this all of a sudden?”

“Sister was being abused by mother all this time, and I pretended I didn’t see anything.
This is my apology for turning a blind eye.”

At the candid confession, Renée stopped sobbing and instead gaped at me.

“What’s the reason you’re saying this now…?”

I caressed her tear-stricken cheeks.

“If I allow you to leave like this, Sister, then we’ll both become unhappy.
From now on, I want to change our fates.”

Renée’s eyes trembled minutely as if she couldn’t believe my words.

It had always been like this.
Renée had always been ignored by her younger half-sibling.
Whenever Renée was being abused by her stepmother—Rowaine’s biological mother—Rowaine inevitably turned a blind eye to it all and never once reached out a helping hand.

I held her shoulders gently, hoping to reassure her.

“So, this marriage… if you don’t want it for yourself, I’ll take your place.”

Renée widened her eyes in surprise.


“You love someone else, don’t you, Sister?”

There really was no time left.

Soon, people would come to pick up the bride.

I finally urged Renée into switching our clothes, then I covered my face with a veil.

Without a moment to spare, she managed to sneak out the room before people came in.

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Those people roughly dragged me out as if I were a criminal, then threw me into a carriage, which soon rattled off as it departed.

“It’s done.”

Only at this moment did I relax, removing the veil and sighing in relief.

I couldn’t exactly reveal it to Renée, but I wasn’t doing this out of the goodness of my heart.

‘We need to twist the original…’

It was also to save me from the horrendous death I would face as a cruel villainess.

Anyway, the person who would be my husband now was an indifferent man who never came to see the bride’s face, so he probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash at the sudden switcheroo.

“Although… He might hate it since it’s ‘Rowaine’ who’s become his bride.”

I was currently known to have many different nicknames.

Demon, slave murderer, blood-crazed villainess.

Regardless of the original Rowaine, these nicknames had been accumulated by the ‘original owner of this body’ through the evil deeds she had committed.

There wasn’t exactly a decent nickname attached to my current identity, but what bothers me the most was the notorious nickname of ‘Shapeshifter Disparager.’

Because my soon-to-be husband, who I would shortly meet, was a cat shapeshifter.

* * *

When I opened my eyes in this world, it was hard for me to comprehend what was happening at first.

‘I was definitely looking for a cat.’

On one chilly evening, just as my autumn stroll ended when the sun had set, I stopped by the countryside house where my grandmother and I lived.
I packed up some white rice cakes and mugwort rice cakes.

As I snuck out of the gate with a jacket on, the sighs of the neighborhood aunties and my maternal grandmother dug straight into my heart.

“Ah, you’re still looking for those kittens every night like a crazy woman?”

“Hey, don’t be so harsh.
My mother died, too, so I know how they feel.”

“Yeah, but do you know how dark out it was last night that I thought ghosts were wandering around the rice fields.
My heart was about to pop off my rib cage then,” one of the aunties said.

My grandmother, who sat between the chattering aunties, looked at me and sighed.

“Eun-soo, it’s dark out so be careful.
Come back quickly.”

“Don’t go near Mr.
Kim’s house!” added Mrs.
Lee, our next-door neighbor, a bitter smile pasted on her worried face.

“Don’t worry.
I’ll be right back.”

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Kim Deok-soo.
As soon as I heard that devil’s name, tears threatened to burst from my eyes.
I held back my tears and left through the gate.

He was an old man who wiped out four cats that I cared for by putting rat poison in a bowl of local cat food.

For more than a decade, I took care of those cats as if they were my own children.
They were supposed to have been raised as village cats so they could catch mice, but since they were only recently born and subsequently abandoned on the streets without proper hunting skills taught by an adult cat, the malnourished kittens were left wandering around the village.

It had already been more than a decade since I first started giving them food and medicine, caring for them because I saw myself in those four kittens, who would have just died lonely and helplessly.

I was overcome with grief and rage as I saw them lying motionlessly on the ground, seeming to have coughed blood overnight.
I reported it to the police, yet they immediately believed Mr.
Kim’s words over mine even as it was obvious he was only pretending to be innocent.

I couldn’t kick up a fuss in the neighborhood, and with my grandmother there, I couldn’t express my qualms and frustrations freely.

Since then, I just wandered around the rural streets every night hoping to find the last kitten, who had not yet been discovered.
With a torn heart, I hoped to find the child either dead or alive.
I would be glad to even find a dead body.

That day, too, in the middle of the night, I went outside with a flashlight in tow to go on a search.

As I was walking alone on the street at night, crying while no one was around, my flashlight suddenly flickered, and soon it lost power.

I was standing on a dark road next to the highway.
Sometimes, the traffic lights wouldn’t turn on and so the cars that would pass by would sometimes swerve to the road used by pedestrians.
But the road I was using then w

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