5. To Fix a Broken Reputation, One Must Be a Humble Black-Belly

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5. To Fix a Broken Reputation, One Must Be a Humble Black-Belly

Step.

Step.

Step.

Yu Zhenzhen was almost sweating by this point as the sibling duo inched closer and closer to where the banquet was being held.

Yu Lijie turned his head to her and gave her a reassuring smile, "Little sister need not be nervous. Once I find out who the bastard is who thinks he's good enough for you, I will tear him to pieces. That way, you can stay with me forever in the palace." He grabbed one of her wrists and wrapped his arms around her protectively. Yu Zhenzhen coughed violently and gave the boy in front of her a slight push. His eyes filled with hurt and it made Yu Zhenzhen think of a little kid who was being bullied.

She awkwardly patted his head, "A hug isn't appropriate with so many people in the room ahead of us. Think of our reputation and the face of the royal family if they misinterpreted your intention."

He nodded as the lightbulb in his head finally clicked. He distanced himself from her and a small breath of relief escaped from her mouth. She wasn't going to be like the previous princess who used her brother's affections to her use. She was going to cure the sis-con of his sis-con-ness.

She walked behind him as someone announced their arrival, "His royal highness the crown prince and her royal highness first princess!"

Here goes nothing...

Yu Zhenzhen straightened her back and smiled. Unbeknownst to her, there was a pair of eyes as dark as night looking at her like a predator stalking its prey. The empress and emperor beckoned them both with smiles. "Greeting to imperial father and imperial mother," both siblings said in synchronization.

"Filial children, come. Sit down." The emperor's smiling was blinding by this point which made Yu Zhenzhen remember an important fact about the engagement. Since Nangong Longwei was too powerful, the engagement was the only way for the emperor to tone down his power.

Sure it's referred to Nangong Longwei as a mere lord in the novel, but the author reveals his true position to be an incredibly powerful duke who holds more than half the military in his palms, pulling the strings from off the scene. Hence the entire royal court had to be polite to him, even forcing the emperor to be cautious while using his words.

But suddenly one day, the emperor used his imperial seal to command Nangong Longwei to marry his eldest daughter in hopes of better relations. In reality, it was keeping a leash on the dog. Sure, Nangong Longwei was calm during the whole announcement and such, but the book mentions he gets his revenge later for forcing him with the bratty princess. Although it never did go into detail on what he did, just that what he did do caused the emperor numerous headaches and griefs.

"Thank you father emperor. Daughter wishes to say a speech." First, she was going to clean up Yu Zhenzhen's horrible reputation. If she was going to be stuck in this body, she was going to make sure the rumors about her were praise rather than mock.

"Hmm? What does daughter wish to say?" The emperor's words were full of concern, but she understood the meaning laced behind them—are they going to be embarrassing in any way?

"Zhen Zhen wishes to clear up her name due to all the rumors floating around, some quite unpleasant." The emperor's eyes flashed momentarily as he nodded. Yu Zhenzhen flashed him an appreciative smile and took a deep breath. She turned her back and focused on the audience. Every eye was on her as they wondered what the spoiled princess was going to say. "Welcome everyone," Yu Zhenzhen greeted. "Zhenzhen is really happy that so many people came for her sixteenth birthday."

Small gasps and whispers broke out after she paused.

How could royalty refer to themselves in such a humble way? How could royalty even dare to say their name in the presence of those with a lower status? The emperor and Yu Lijie were about to angrily get up, but the empress stopped them with a hand. "Listen. Have confidence in our Zhen Zhen."

"Recently, Zhenzhen hit her head and is suffering from amnesia." Some sympathetic looks were sent her way, but most were disbelieving.

Was the princess craving attention again?

Yu Zhenzhen cleared her throat and began speaking again, "I know it is hard to believe, but the imperial physician can confirm. But as Zhenzhen had woken up, she had started noticing that her previous self-hadn't been the best first princess. Zhenzhen has made it her goal to be a better person for our Yu nation! Zhenzhen asks for everyone's help in that manner." Everyone was speechless including her family and even three particular men that had heard about Yu Zhenzhen's wretched self. "Zhenzhen wants to use her birthday today to build a better relationship with everyone, a fresh start for everything. If the heavens have taken Zhenzhen's memories away, Zhenzhen has concluded it must be for this reason."

Yu Zhenzhen turned back to the emperor and bowed, "Father emperor, daughter wishes to use the money from the presents received today to buy grains to distribute to the commoners. It would be unfair for daughter to be extravagant while others suffer so. Father emperor, please allow Zhen Zhen the opportunity." Emperor Yu clapped his hands and the audience followed. Today, he had truly been proud of his daughter.

Though it is unfortunate that she had lost her memories, her kind behavior had made up for it. He nodded, "Of course I'll agree. Father is very proud of you, my daughter." Yu Zhenzhen bowed again and went back to her seat. Everyone noticed how graceful her attitude and movements were today, unlike before. Her clothes, unlike the previous birthday banquets that were tacky, were simple yet stunning.

Sure their princess was the most beautiful, but her shallow personality shattered the image of a docile princess. Yet her words today subconsciously made their hearts a bit warmer. Ouyang Dichen narrowed his peach blossom eyes at the unfamiliar girl that was smiling gently.

Where was the girl that was spoiled to the point of irritation? Why was she so humble today?

Natsu Sin's dark, brooding eyes followed the petite girl as she made her way back to her seat. His heart unconsciously skipped a beat seeing her adorably awkward laugh. Before he had arrived in this foreign country, he had heard that the first princess of Yu was the most annoying person one had the misfortune of meeting. Yet today, she had proven rumors are truly only rumors, not to be trusted. He made a mental note to introduce himself to her later as the banquet progressed.

Yu Zhenzhen felt a shudder in her spine like someone was watching her. She turned her attention and found herself to be gazing into a pair of dark, phoenix eyes. She wanted to look away, but it was like she was entranced. The eyes were like a dark whirlpool that pulled her into a place of no return.

Before she had the chance to scan the owner of the phoenix eyes' face, the emperor's loud voice broke her out of her trance, "Fortunately, the Yu family will be having a son-in-law. Everyone, congratulate my daughter and her new fiancé, Duke Nangong Longwei."

Yu Zhenzhen gasped with her eyes wide open. It wasn't because of the news, she had already known that an engagement was going to be announced. It was because the man that had gotten up was the man with the phoenix eyes!

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