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Chapter 1: You're Missing an Arm, He's Without Legs, You're a Perfect Match

When Yuri Cheng woke up, she found herself inside a clear pod. Her eyes could slowly move around, but her body felt kind of numb.

"Am I alive? No way—I've blown up my crystal core!"

She looked around the room: clean white walls and weird machines everywhere. It looked like a hospital room, but not like any from before the apocalypse. This one seemed super advanced.

She heard footsteps coming closer.

"What a bummer—the star of Military Academy No. 1 is now injured," someone said sadly.

Another woman chimed in, "If they had implanted bones as soon as he came to the hospital, there could've been chances for his legs to grow back."

"New legs might not be as good as the ones he had. He'll never be as strong as before."

"Yeah. And it costs a ton of money. Even for a rich family like his, getting new legs would be a huge deal."

"They can always earn the money back. If it were a different family, they'd go broke trying to save their kid. They're not helping because the matriarch in charge of the family isn't his real mom."

"It's so sad to lose such a talented and smart young guy."

"And the girl in this room has it worse: she's missing an arm, and she doesn't have any family."

"..."

The footsteps got closer, and Yuri saw a few women in white uniforms—they must be doctors or nurses, based on what they were talking about.

"You're awake? How are you feeling?" one of them asked Yuri.

Yuri tried to answer, but her throat was super dry.

The woman pushed a button, and the clear pod lid moved down. She helped Yuri sit up and gave her a cup of warm water. "You've been sleeping for three days. Drink some water before you try to talk."

Yuri went to grab the cup with her right hand but found out what was wrong: her whole right arm was gone!

The nurse looked at her with sad eyes. "After you get better, you can think about getting an artificial limb. They work just like a real one, and in some ways, they're even cooler—they can do things human arms can't."

Yuri nodded, calmly taking the cup with her left hand and drinking the water quickly. "Can I have some more, please?"

Later, the nurses moved Yuri from the weird pod to a normal hospital room, where she shared it with a white-haired old lady. When Yuri found out the lady was a hundred and fifty years old, she couldn't believe it.

"What kind of world have I ended up in?" she wondered.

Several days later, Yuri finally understood her situation. Her soul had transmigrated from the apocalyptic world into a parallel universe of interstellar life, taking over the body of another eighteen-year-old girl also named Yuri.

In this advanced world, people were divided into three groups: omega, beta, and alpha.

Omegas, unlike the ordinary people in her old world, were much stronger physically. Alphas were even more amazing; they had incredible physical skills and powerful mental abilities, making them great at many things. Betas were in between omegas and alphas, not having the strongest bodies or the most powerful minds, but they were the most balanced. Their mental strength could help calm down upset alphas and organize the messy Sea of Consciousness within them.

Alphas couldn't live without betas. An alpha without a beta would turn into a wild, crazy monster—violent, dangerous, and confused—eventually dying in pain. On the other hand, a beta without an alpha would suffer too. First, they couldn't handle the monthly heat cycle that started when they became adults. Second, they'd have trouble finding emotional support, which could lead to mental health issues over time.

Yuri was secretly glad that her new body wasn't an alpha or a beta, as the two types sounded so troubling.

The original body owner, also named Yuri, was the daughter of the Cheng family born outside of marriage. Her mom, who loved to party, had given birth to Yuri and got money from Nero, Yuri's biological father. She then left Yuri with Nero and went off to enjoy her life.

Yuri had lived a quiet life in the Cheng family for seventeen years before joining Military Academy No. 1. During her midterm exams this year, her arm had been bitten off by an alien insect. While getting treatment, she became the person she was now.

As for where the soul of the original body owner went, Yuri had no clue.

Her academy had paid for her medical bills, and nobody from the Cheng family had visited her since the accident, including her supposed dad.

"Patient 76, you can leave the hospital tomorrow," the nurse told Yuri, using her bed number.

Yuri thanked the nurse and started thinking about where she would live after leaving the hospital. She couldn't go back to the academy for now since her body wasn't fully healed and needed rest. Plus, as the top military academy in the Alliance, her school probably wouldn't want a student with a missing arm.

She didn't want to go back to the Cheng family either. She didn't have the original Yuri's memories, so she didn't care about them, and they probably felt the same about her. That much was obvious, since they hadn't been around.

It looked like she needed to find a place to rent.

"Ma'am, do you know where I can find a cheap place to live?" Yuri asked the old lady in the bed next to her.

"Cheap?" The old lady shook her head. "I don't know about cheap places, but I can tell you about some expensive ones."

Yuri, who had no money, fell speechless for a while. The original Yuri's savings were less than 10,000 astracredits, which wouldn't keep her afloat for long.

"Try the interstellarnet. It has everything you need," the old lady suggested.

Yuri had an opticomputer on her wrist, a device way cooler than smartphones or computers. It was more like something from a sci-fi movie, super easy to use, with a lot of the same functions as a smartphone. After playing with it for a few days, she knew how to use it.

According to the information in it, Yuri was now on Planet Alpha, one of the main planets in the Alliance, where housing prices were super high and living costs were just as expensive. Sadly, Yuri found out that her small savings could only pay for one month's rent for the cheapest studio. After renting, she'd have no money left and starve to death.

It seemed that she had no choice but to get back home.

Just as Yuri was thinking about heading home, a message alert popped up on her opticomputer, marked as being from her dad.

Yuri tapped to answer, and her father, Nero Cheng's serious and attractive face, appeared on the screen.

"Come home tomorrow," he ordered, without any warmth or greeting.

"Understood," Yuri thought his timing couldn't be better since she was planning on spending a few days at home anyway.

Nero frowned, apparently unhappy with her response, and said coldly, "A driver will pick you up tomorrow," before hanging up.

The next day, Yuri finished packing and took the car to her family's home.

Yuri had learned that her family was a middle-class one on Planet Alpha. Her grandpa had been a powerful military figure in his younger days, and that the most successful period for the Cheng family. In Nero's generation, even though he was an alpha, he only had average talent. Instead of following his dad's footsteps, he decided to go into business. With his father's connections, Nero's business was doing pretty well.

The Cheng family lived in a spacious, standalone house – a rare luxury in the pricey real estate market of Planet Alpha.

Yuri walked into the house calmly, not bothering to look around.

Her grandpa had only one child, Nero, who had six kids. Three were born to his wife, and the other three were born to different women outside his marriage.

As Yuri entered the living room, everyone's eyes turned toward her, focusing on her missing right arm.

Their stares were cold, taunting, and smug. There was no sympathy, pity, concern, or kindness.

"Grandpa, Dad," Yuri greeted the two men.

"Today, we've gathered you here to talk about your future marriage," her grandpa said, looking straight at Yuri. He couldn't help but be surprised that this granddaughter he had always disregarded actually looked quite good after missing one arm.

Yuri was shocked, thinking, "I'm only eighteen–why are they discussing marriage already?"

"My older siblings haven't gotten married yet. Isn't it weird to jump straight to me?" Yuri wasn't interested in the marriage they were discussing and had a feeling it wasn't a good match.

"Because only you are suitable," Nero replied firmly.

Yuri was confused, asking, "Suitable? For what?"

"For the guy that is also disabled," answered Yuri's eldest sister, Kiki Cheng.

"You're missing an arm, and he's lost both legs. Aren't you a perfect match?" her second sister, Shero, said with a slight smirk.

"He's the oldest son of the Hiro family, a top-tier alpha. If he hadn't lost his legs, you wouldn't even be considered as a possible match," added her third brother, Tairo.

Her fourth brother, Rui, and sixth sister, Yano, both born out of wedlock, didn't join in the teasing.

Yuri raised an eyebrow, thinking that the name Hiro and the mention of missing legs sounded familiar.

"Is he okay with it?" Yuri asked, feeling a bit of sympathy for the similarly disabled man she had never met.

"This is a marriage arranged by both families," her grandpa said, implying that neither Yuri nor the legless guy from the Hiro family had any say in the matter.

Yuri quietly closed her mouth. Having survived the apocalypse for years and having faced life and death situations several times, she had become indifferent to love and even more detached from marriage. It was something she could take or leave.


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