Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 1: Moonfall

The four gates of Yangzhou City were locked in all directions, and the entire inner city fell into silence. Only the outer city, which was not subject to the curfew, remained lively with bustling lights and activity.

In contrast to the inner city’s quietness, the four famous alleys in the eastern part of the outer city, renowned for their extravagance, had just begun their exciting business.

Different from the low-class “Yaozi1alluring Street2Kiln Street – a brothel” elsewhere in the outer city, where low-class vendors and laborers gathered under the low-end shops, the four major alleys in the eastern part of the outer city were the true gold-selling caves3where rich people go. Everyone who could enter this area was either a wealthy merchant, a literary figure of high status, or nobles, all of them extravagant patrons in the pleasure quarters. Romantics who are willing to spend a lot of money.

Today, most of these affluent guests had flocked to Liuxian Pavilion, the most famous establishment in East Fourth Alley. It was all because tonight was the day when the renowned beauty of Yangzhou, the talented and enchanting Moon Lady4Yue Lady – Yue means moon, was making her debut5coming-out of the brothel.

A woman in a brothel becomes a bride every night, so where did the notion of a debut come from? The so-called debut was, in fact, the auctioning of a maiden’s first night. It was just a way to elevate the prestige of the event in the world of romantic liaisons by selling the girl’s maidenhood at a high price and also another battlefield for men to display their status.6So basically, the “moon lady” Xie Mingyue(our heroine) has been in the brothel for a long time but she’s never sold flesh before. So they’re auctioning her first time. She is very popular because of her beauty and performances


When Xie Mingyue made her appearance, with just a song and a dance, she elevated this banquet to a climax.

In the front hall, the atmosphere was heated, with constant shouts for the Moon Lady, Miss Yue.

Backstage, Xie Mingyue remained indifferent to the attention. She paced back and forth in her room, her gaze occasionally falling on the small door in the backstage area, revealing her restlessness.

The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com. If you are currently on the site and and you are seeing this, please clear your cache.

Gqvla y obkzl, y xyke kd rkdj awpble kd, yde Dkl Ykdtuwl’p lulp zkv wr. Fbl bwaaklezu vssj y qlo pvlrp qsaoyae yde ypjle lytlazu, “Dw’la, byp bl yaakhle?”

Mbl xyke nyzzle Dw’la bye y ryzl nsxrzlmksd, yde obld pbl zssjle yv Dkl Ykdtuwl, vlyap olal yzalyeu olzzkdt wr kd bla lulp.

“Ykpp, Yypvla Nkw…,” pbl cltyd.

Jlqsal pbl nswze qkdkpb prlyjkdt, y psqv zywtb nyxl qasx clbkde vblx. G osxyd yesadle okvb flolzau yde sadyxldvp taynlqwzzu ldvlale vbaswtb vbl pxyzz essa yde oyzjle vsoyae vbl vos sq vblx.

Mbkp rlapsd bye y taynlqwz dlnj, elzknyvl pbswzelap, okzzso-zlyq lulcasop, y bktb dspl caketl, yde ldnbydvkdt lulp vbyv pllxle vs nsdvykd ldezlpp nbyax. Tla xshlxldvp olal yp taynlqwz yp y tldvzl callgl cawpbkdt vbaswtb okzzso caydnblp. Plprkvl bla elzknyvl yrrlyaydnl, pbl oyp nyrvkhyvkdt, yde pbl oyp dsdl svbla vbyd Elk Nkydmkdt, plnsde sdzu vs Dkl Ykdtuwl kd qyxl yv Nkwmkyd Vyhkzksd.

Rdhkvkdt vbl Yssd yde Vknjkdt vbl Fvyap7Zwl kp Yssd yde Dkdt kp Fvya kp vbl rsrwzya vlax kd vbl ekpvaknv qsa vbl vokd clywvklp sq Nkwmkyd Vyhkzksd, obknb kdeknyvlp vbl pvyvwp sq vblpl vos osxld kd vbl ryhkzksd.

Ebld Dw’la pyo bla, pbl nwazle bla qkdtlavkrp pzktbvzu yv bla pkel. Rdhkvkdt vbl Yssd yde Vknjkdt vbl Fvyap, vbl alzyvksdpbkr oyp dsv yp clywvkqwz yp vbl vlax pwttlpvle. Mbl qkapv yde plnsde zyeklp sq vbl nswavlpyd bswpl bye dlhla bye y byaxsdkswp alzyvksdpbkr. Mblu nswzed’v cl pyke vs cl xsavyz ldlxklp, cwv vblu sqvld ldtytle kd akhyzau. Mbl qkapv-rzynl bsdsa yde rakhkzltlp olal psxlvbkdt lhlausdl elpkale.

Elk Nkydmkdt pvsse kd qasdv sq Dkl Ykdtuwl, lmyxkdkdt bla qasx blye vs vsl. Rv bye clld vos ulyap, yde vbl qkapv vkxl pbl xlv vbkp tkaz, pbl bye clld calyvbvyjkdt, cwv dso Dkl Ykdtuwl zssjle lhld xsal ayekydv.

Wei Lianxing was beautiful herself, and now, there was the addition of Xie Mingyue.


A smile remained on Wei Lianxing’s face, but it didn’t reach her eyes. Her gaze shifted from Xie Mingyue’s radiant forehead to her eyes, and suddenly her smile became radiant, tinged with a hint of wickedness.

“Sister Mingyue, are you waiting for Young Master Liu?”

Xie Mingyue turned her head to look at Wei Lianxing and said with a playful tone, “What’s the matter, Sister Lianxing? You have the time today to chat with me, instead of accompanying Young Master Meng?”

Her voice, which was considered a heavenly sound by the wealthy and influential people throughout the city, was enchanting to the ears. Her eyes, as black as onyx gems soaked in the essence of the Nine Heavens’ Immortal Spring, could captivate anyone with just a glance. Even Wei Lianxing, another woman, was momentarily entranced.

It was the same every time. No matter how much radiance you had, as long as you stood by Xie Mingyue’s side, you would instantly pale in comparison.

Wei Lianxing remembered the day she had first arrived at Liuxian Pavilion, accompanied by several matrons8Yapo – women who sell slaves, each with their own group of girls to meet Mother9mama-san. Xie Mingyue had been one of them.

At that time, Mother’s gaze had fallen on Xie Mingyue’s face and couldn’t move away.

“If there were truly an immortal maiden in the Moon Palace, she would probably look like this.”

She took Xie Mingyue’s hand, examined her carefully, and smiled gracefully, “I am the Mother of Liuxian Pavilion. Everyone calls me Madam Hong{mfn]the RED LADY[/mfn] From now on, you will be my child. Tell Mother, how old are you?”

Xie Mingyue was stubborn and didn’t want to respond. The matron who had brought her offered her contract, and she answered respectfully, “My surname is Liu, and my name is Yu. I just turned fifteen.”

“Liu Yu, fifteen years old, what a pity. If you had come a couple of years earlier…”

While Mother said it was a pity, her eyes were full of burning desire.


“Forget your past when you enter Liuxian Pavilion. My original surname is Xie. From today onwards, you will take my surname. Your name will be Xie Mingyue. Remember that?”

Xie Mingyue’s eyes were red, and she was quite disdainful.

Even so, taking Mother’s surname was an honor for exclusively for Xie Mingyue alone.

As for Wei Lianxing, her original surname was Wei, and the name “Lianxing” was given to her by Mother in response to the stars and the moon. Her name was a good match for Xie Mingyue.

She let her eyes wander, concealing the jealousy and unwillingness within. She smiled at Xie Mingyue and said, “On the occasion of your grand debut, I had to come and offer my congratulations. You might not know this, but Young Master Meng didn’t come for a while. Yesterday, he went with Young Master Liu to Jiangning Mansion. However, he returned yesterday and even sent someone to bring me some exquisite items from Jiangning Mansion as a special gift.”

As she finished speaking, she gently raised her left hand, and her right thumb lightly brushed over her jade bracelet on her wrist. She smoothly transitioned to the main point.

“It’s Young Master Liu, though. I heard he bought a girl from Jiangning Mansion and brought her back. Unfortunately, the girl fell ill on the way, so it will take some time before he can return. It’s quite unfortunate. He was so eager to see Sister Mingyue, but now he’s missed the big day when sister comes out of the boudoir. I’m worried you might be upset, so I came to tell you.”

Wei Lianxing’s sweet words and warm tone were like honey, but every word she said was like a dagger to the heart.

Xie Mingyue’s smile, which had seemed so natural, gradually faded from her eyes.

Xu’er’s face lost its color as she looked at her mistress, wanting to say something but also fearing Wei Lianxing’s presence. Her lips moved, but no words came out.

No one knew better than her how much effort her mistress had put into Young Master Liu. It an escape route she found for herself after several tests. She had only hoped that he could redeem her cleanly. Even if she became the lowest-ranked concubine, it would be better than struggling in the muck of Liuxian Pavilion.

Xu’er had never expected to hear this kind of news. Her mistress was about to make her debut, and Young Master Liu not only hadn’t arrived but had also bought another woman while he was in Jiangning Mansion.


The little maid felt that her mistress was not only wronged but also deeply worried.

Xie Mingyue, on the other hand, remained surprisingly composed. She gave a faint, cool smile and said to Wei Lianxing, “Well, it seems our fate wasn’t meant to be. Is that why you made a special trip to tell me this, Sister Lianxing?”

Wei Lianxing pretended to pat her heart and exclaimed, “Look at me, I was so focused on not letting you worry, I forgot to consider how this news might sadden you.”

This self-reproach was rather theatrical, with her gaze unashamedly fixed on Xie Mingyue’s face. She scrutinized her expressions, hoping to find signs of sadness or disappointment.

But Xie Mingyue was destined to disappoint her.

Xie Mingyue sneered, then proceeded to carefully scrutinize Wei Lianxing from head to toe.

“Sadness? You need genuine feelings for sadness, and searching for genuine feelings among pleasure-seekers? I didn’t know you still had such naivety, Sister. From what I see, your mind is indeed not quite right.”

“I need to go back to Mingyue Garden to prepare. I won’t keep you for long.”

With that, she curtsied and gracefully left.

Wei Lianxing had originally come to amuse herself by making fun of Xie Mingyue, but now she found herself humiliated instead. Coupled with Xie Mingyue’s remark about her having a bad mind, she couldn’t just let it slide. Her emotions got the better of her, and she sternly called out, “Stop!”

Xie Mingyue paused and turned around, asking, “What is it, Sister? Do you have some guidance for me?”

Her eyes no longer held a hint of a smile; she had lost her coquettishness, and her cold and regal demeanor became even more apparent, making her seem unattainable and untouchable, like a heavenly goddess, beyond reach.


What Wei Lianxing hated most was Xie Mingyue’s current demeanor. In this world of dust and sin, why should you be allowed to remain pure and untainted?

Just a few steps away, she walked up to Xie Mingyue, her movements as graceful as a willow swaying in the wind. She brushed a strand of hair aside and said calmly, “I don’t dare to offer guidance, but I can’t help but wonder, is my sister not curious who will be your groom tonight.”

Knowing that she wouldn’t hear anything good, Xie Mingyue raised an eyebrow, mocking, “What difference does it make?”

The smile in Wei Lianxing’s eyes suddenly blossomed. Her lips, tinged with red, curled up with genuine delight. Hidden within that joyous smile was a chilling venom.

“Of course, it makes a difference.”

She leaned closer to Xie Mingyue’s ear, her red lips gently parting as she spoke in a barely audible voice, one word at a time, “For example, Prince Huainan.”

Xie Mingyue’s fingertips trembled, and her face finally lost its color.

Wei Lianxing had finally hit the mark, fulfilling her desire. Xie Mingyue had wanted to step out of this quagmire cleanly, huh? Haha.

As for the heavenly goddess, today Wei Lianxing would see how she was dragged down from her celestial palace, her wings broken.

As Wei Lianxing left, Xu’er’s eyes welled up with redness.

“Mother, is what Miss Lianxing said true? What should we do now?”

Prince Huainan wasn’t terrifying because of the power his title represented. Regardless of who he was, once they entered this world of pleasure, they were just pleasure-seekers. Those who could get close to the top courtesans were either high-ranking and influential or incredibly wealthy. In the eyes of the courtesans, they were all just men.

What made Prince Huainan frightening were his peculiar preferences.

This old prince was well over seventy years old, and men at his age, especially those who had indulged in excesses of wine and women when they were young, were known to be unable to perform in certain areas. However, it was precisely because of this that he had come up with various perverted ways to satisfy himself.

No matter how many tricks the courtesans learned before they debuted, once they fell into the hands of Prince Huainan, they would be subjected to months of torment, and they would likely end up as broken individuals.

Xiao Yuniang, a famous courtesan at Liuxian Pavilion who had taught Xie Mingyue dancing, had also fallen victim to Prince Huainan’s desires. In just three months, she had returned as a wretched soul, ravaged by illness, and her beauty had been completely obliterated. She had died in a secluded courtyard of Liuxian Pavilion, not lasting more than two months after her return.

Xie Mingyue’s heart sank like an endless abyss, and no matter how far she reached, she couldn’t touch the bottom. It was only when the loud bidding voices from the front hall began to pour into her ears, one louder than the other, that she finally snapped back to reality.

Xu’er had managed to hold back her tears. Even though she was just a maid, she knew that tears were only effective weapons against men in this brothel. In the absence of customers, tears were the most useless thing.

She held Xie Mingyue’s hand and tried to comfort her, saying, “Mistress, Miss Lianxing must be jealous and talking nonsense. The bidding has just started. How can she be sure who will win tonight? Mother also cares about you and will surely consider everything carefully. Let’s not scare ourselves too soon.”

However, Xie Mingyue was not so optimistic. Because Wei Lianxing couldn’t stand to see her doing well, when she casually mentioned this matter without any apparent urgency, it made it even more believable. Wei Lianxing was quite confident, and now that Xie Mingyue knew, there was no way to escape this situation.

So, the person coming for her tonight was probably the one Wei Lianxing had mentioned. As for the bidding outside, it was just a formality. Prince Huainan was here, and he didn’t need to appear in the front hall himself. Wealthy merchants and bigwigs were already competing to win his favor and bid on his behalf.

As for Mother, she couldn’t protect her. At most, she might regret that her money tree was withering. Going up against Prince Huainan for her was absolutely impossible.

Xie Mingyue closed her eyes for a moment and patted Xu’er’s hand. She said, “Go ahead and gather information. Find out as much as you can and quickly return to inform me here at Mingyue Court.”

Xu’er obediently left, and Xie Mingyue headed alone to the Mingyue Court where she resided. Her mind was still empty, and there was only one thought in her heart: How should she handle the situation if it truly fell into Prince Huainan’s hands?

She returned to Mingyue Court in a daze, not even noticing the courtesy of the maid who guarded the courtyard.

In just a quarter of an hour, Xu’er stumbled back in, her body trembling like chaff. “Mist…mistress, it’s…it’s him. Xu-ge said, said that…the prince brought a team of guards and a few attendants with him, and…there are also two and a half men tall black wolves.”

The fourteen or fifteen-year-old girl’s teeth were chattering, and she seemed about to faint from fear.

Xie Mingyue’s face also turned pale, but her gaze swept past a corner of the courtyard where Autumn Fragrance was, and she quickly collected herself, putting on a forced smile. “Why make such a fuss? Men can be taught and coaxed. It just takes a little effort.”

Xu’er was startled by her sudden change, and her tears stopped flowing as she blinked at Xie Mingyue.

Xie Mingyue smiled and took out a silver filigree hairpin with pearls in the shape of a butterfly from her makeup box. She inserted it into Xu’er’s hair and said with a playful tone, “You’re shedding tears for me. In appreciation of your loyalty, take this hairpin and wear it for fun. Go prepare the scented bath; I want to bathe.”

Xu’er was sent away by Xie Mingyue in a daze. Just as she turned around, another person approached, bringing a fragrance with her. It was none other than Mother Hong, the red lady. She quickly knelt and paid her respects, and then she was dismissed by Mother Hong with a wave of her hand.

Mother Red didn’t even spare a glance at Xu’er and hurried to Xie Mingyue. She assessed Xie Mingyue from head to toe and, seeing that her demeanor was unchanged, felt relieved. She put on an expression of heartfelt sympathy.

“Good child, Mother has been extremely careful, but that person somehow got wind of this information and suddenly arrived today. You might have a difficult time.”

Xie Mingyue forced a bitter smile, saying helplessly, “Once you enter this world, how can you have a choice? It’s just my bad luck.”

Her resigned attitude made Mother Red heave a sigh of relief. After all, Prince Huainan was not someone they could afford to offend in their brothel.

Having carefully teaching her for nearly two years, Mother Hong’s affection for her wasn’t entirely absent. After stabilizing her emotions, Mother Hong began to advise Xie Mingyue on how to handle the situation. Finally, she took out some high-quality medicinal ointment from her sleeve and placed it on the dressing table. She gently touched Xie Mingyue’s hair and said, “You are the most clever of them all. You’ve never caused me much trouble. I heard what you and Xu’er said earlier. It’s true, there’s no man in this world that can’t be won over. After tonight, that person will probably take you away directly. You need to have a plan in mind. I’ll go to the front to support you. You just need to prepare yourself.”

Xie Mingyue’s eyes held a faint, almost imperceptible smile. She pretended to agree with Mother Red for a few more words before seeing her off. Once she was gone, Xie Mingyue’s smile turned mocking. She stood by the entrance of Mingyue Court, looking back at the magnificent architecture and the red railings and columns, her thoughts drifting back to the time when she first entered the Liuxian Pavilion.

For a considerable period, she was locked in the most remote woodshed of the Liuxian Pavilion. While Mother Hong never allowed her to be physically abused, there were countless other ways to wear down one’s spirit within the Pavilion. Combined with the examples of runaway girls being caught and subjected to public humiliation, the image of a girl being gradually tortured to death in front of a crowd, with no dignity left, was etched deeply into her mind.

As a result, she became obedient, docile, and accepted her fate.

She began to think about securing the best treatment for herself in this ruthless place, planning for the best future a courtesan could hope for. She started learning poetry, literature, manners, performing arts, songs, and dances, as well as the art of manipulating people’s hearts.

The past was like a distant memory, as if she had been born as the Moon Mistress of the Liuxian Pavilion. When she looked back, it was only a little over five hundred days and nights. Yet, it felt as if she had lived through half a lifetime.

The matron in charge of the courtyard noticed her standing there dazedly and, with a slight bend of her waist, offered a small suggestion, “Miss Mingyue, it’s chilly tonight. Why don’t you go back to your room and sit down?”

“It’s alright. The moonlight is beautiful tonight, and I want to enjoy it in the courtyard,” she replied, listening to herself as she spoke.

The matron said something else, but Xie Mingyue didn’t pay attention. She took steps on the cobblestone path, her soft-soled pearl-embroidered shoes stepping on the polished stones. Each step cleared her mind a little more. Past humiliations, resentments, resignations, and struggles all came rushing back. She had thought she could fight her way to a less despicable path in this quagmire.

She walked straight to the depths of the small courtyard, stopping in front of a rugged artificial mountain with a quaint pavilion built on top. She ran her hand over the cold, protruding rocks, and a profoundly melancholic smile appeared on her face.

In the lower-class courtesan establishments, a simple bed was enough, and the women inside were demeaningly referred to as “salted meat.” But for those who reached the top of this profession, despite the same sordid circumstances, they could attach an elegant title to their name, making everything seem refined. This rocky artificial mountain pavilion was elegant, just as she, a courtesan selling her looks, was considered elegant.

Xie Mingyue closed her eyes, and when she opened them, she took a few steps back before abruptly rushing towards the sharpest point of the artificial mountain.

The matron who had been dozing by the garden gate was jolted awake by a thumping sound. She trembled in shock as she looked into the courtyard in disbelief.

The courtyard remained tranquil. Other than the sound from a moment ago, there was no further commotion. The matron couldn’t explain why, but her heart was pounding, and she had a bizarre thought.

In a place like this, whether it was a low-class or high-class courtesan house, there was no shortage of girls who sought to end their lives. There were a few of the every year. But this Moon Lady, could it be…

The entire Liuxian Pavilion, who could compete with this Miss Yue? Beauty was innate, but singing, dancing, and performing arts required effort and time to master. While others invested one part of their time, she invested three, along with natural advantages. In comparison, she overshadowed everyone. Otherwise, why would Mother Hong keep her until she was almost seventeen, waiting for her to gain enough momentum before selling her virginity?

The matron’s heart pounded faster, and unconsciously, she took a step toward the courtyard. “Miss Mingyue?”

No one answered.

The matron’s legs went weak, thinking, “This is bad, this is bad.” She quickly trotted into the courtyard, picking up pace as she went. The faster she ran, the more she called, “Miss Mingyue, are you here? Yue… Ah!!!”

With the third mention of “Miss Mingyue,” she had already circled around the artificial mountain, and the sight she saw made her voice crack in shock. She fell to the ground, horrified, and then scrambled to her feet to run outside, all while shouting, “Help, someone, come quickly! Miss Mingyue has done something terrible!!”

Sansukini: Hi Guys. Today is the final chapter of Married to the Male Lead’s Hidden Rich Brother. Feel free to binge read now. And now, the new novel is here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The novel starts with angst, but don’t worry because the plot is also full of fluff.

Support "Casting Nets to Catch a Husband"

The original of this novel is published at JJWXC. To support the author, you can follow this guide.

sansukini [Translator]

Thanks so much for everyone who's been reading my translations.
I also appreciate your comments so please comment some more to motivate me to translate harder.
If you like my work, please consider tipping me on ko-fi or Paypal
Please give a like or a good review on NovelUpdates!
I would really appreciate it.
Buy Me a Coffee at
Second Life Translations' Comment Policy

1. Be kind and respectful. Comments with curses will be put under moderation.

2. No links to other websites or asking for links.

3. No spoilers!

Leave a thought


      1. Melicow

        Ok translator-nim I’m starting this novel seriously !
        Thank your for this chapter 💜