MC gets drugged w/ an aphrodisiac during a fight while ML's in the middle of retrieving the sword he used in his previous life. MC then gets news that ML might be in trouble, so ignoring the fact that he's poisoned and that rushing back would agitate his poison more, MC still selflessly flies to where ML is as fast as he can.
MC helps ML from descending into madness, and ML returns to his senses. I have to stress this: ML is 100% within his right mind at this point. MC then asks ML for the panacea antidote MC gave him before, and what does ML do?
ML refuses, and proceeds to rape MC instead.
And that's not even the worst part. After MC wakes up, he realizes that while he was compromised, not only did ML rape him again and again, but ML also forced him into signing a death marriage contract. The contract can't be altered, can't be erased, and all of its terms were completely dictated by ML alone.
I don't know what you guys consider a fluffy romance, but this is furthest thing away from that for me. To be honest, the kinds of methods ML was using before this to get MC to agree to be with him were already straight up emotional manipulation/abuse. And then literally a day after MC (reluctantly) agrees to be with him, ML rapes MC like the scumbag that he is.
True love? Yeah, right.
All I can see from their "romance" 2/3 of the way through this novel is that ML has zero respect for MC, doesn't care at all about MC's feelings, and chose his own sexual gratification over MC's well-being.
I can't remember a single instance in which ML chose MC over himself. All of his "doting" is founded on the basis that it doesn't inconvenience or go against his personal goals/desires. Not once has he sacrificed anything for MC, and even his "sacrifice" last life was b/c he knew he could go back in time and reset everything, which makes it not a sacrifice at all. ML doesn't treat MC like a lover; ML treats MC like a favored toy.
Forcing MC into a permanent death pact completely against his will, is not love. Threatening to destroy the world unless MC always stays by his side, is not love. Kidnapping the only relative on MC's mother's side who cares about MC and never allowing them to meet again out of petty and completely unfounded jealousy, is not love.
That's just some of what ML has done, and it finally culminated into MC getting raped and forced into a permanent bond that's not much different from those slave collars you often see in fantasy isekai. Except this one can't be removed, ever. MC now literally has no other option but to stay forever w/ ML. No autonomy, no choice, no respect.
Some people might like this kind of abusive relationship. I don't. Some might even argue that it gets better in the last 1/3. But to me, a "romance" that's founded on forced coercion, blackmail, and rape is just a Stockholm Syndrome tragedy. ML is irredeemable as far as I'm concerned, and I regret reading this so much.
There are both plot-intensive and cute/fluffy arcs. It's mostly action/adventure plus some cultivation in the first half, along with a lot of adorable moments that lay the foundation for the relationships of the main cast. The focus shifts to a romantic one in the latter half, but there's still plenty of humor and action.
I really like the MC. He's humorous and feels very real as a modern person abruptly thrown into a fantasy world: someone with knowledge and skills but isn't OP with insane cheats, and sometimes fails despite giving it his all. While he is fundamentally a very kind person, he recognizes that this new world has it's own rules, and tries his best within those bounds. The love interest can be quite pushy, but my favorite part about him is that he never forces past the MC's bottom line. The times when MC told him to seriously stop, in the end, he stopped. The side characters are also very likeable and have lives and goals outside of their relation to MC, which is something I rarely see but loved a lot. My only lament is that the author didn't give us more details about them.
This is my favorite type of love story, where the build up is gradual, and there are a lot of hints and character development before they finally get together. There's enough drama to keep it exciting, but not to levels of soap-opera extremes. Their love and devotion is 100% mutual, and the extent in which they both go to protect the other is enough to give you diabetes (and heartbreak). And for those of you wondering, yes there are are R18 scenes (only in the latter half though).
I'm not a fan of romances that rely on repeated misunderstandings or falling for a rival's schemes to create conflict, and thankfully, this has neither. It's far from smooth-sailing though, so be ready to prepare your heart. Seriously, prepare your heart. I just about died over the course of cheering them on, but worry not, the ending is very satisfying and sweet. Their interactions are not only adorable, but also ridiculously hilarious at times.
Reading this was definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions, but for the most part, it's very light-hearted and will leave you full of smiles. It's an excellent blend of action and romance, with conflicts stemming from both external forces and internal turmoil. If you like transmigration stories where the characters establish a bond of affection and trust before falling in love, plenty of plot that doesn't revolve around said romance, and a happy ending (plus some extra chapters that act as fluffy icing on the cake), I definitely recommend giving this a try.