p>In fact, when Father Zhen first sent someone to fetch her and her grandmother into the Imperial City, Zhen Ting Yun was a little nervous.
She grew up in the countryside with her grandmother and had never met her parents before, let alone her eldest sister and younger brother who was raised at her parents’ sides.
She heard from others that Old Madame Zhen valued males over females.
Hence, when Mother Zhen, Pei-Shi2, gave birth to two daughters consecutively, Old Madame Zhen did not treat her well during her confinement.
In a fit of rage, Pei-Shi brought her eldest daughter to the Imperial City to find her husband. 

In the beginning, it might have been because her youngest daughter was still an infant, hence making it unideal to have her travel the long journey over.
Later on, it was because Father Zhen was appointed to a remote post outside the Imperial City.
In addition, Old Madame Zhen could not bear to part with their ancestral home.
Hence, it did not make sense to just pick up his daughter while leaving his mother alone back in the countryside. 

Thus, after all these twists and turns, when Father Zhen was finally promoted and returned to the Imperial City, did Zhen Ting Yun finally get to meet the parents she had never seen before.
It was inevitable that she felt apprehensive.


As a result of this unrest, Zhen Ting Yun fell ill and had a strange dream.

In her dream, she followed her grandmother to the Imperial City.
They rushed all the way and finally met with her parents and siblings.
Father Zhen was cordial and tolerant; Mother Zhen was an iron fist in a velvet glove3; Eldest Sister was beautiful and talented; Younger Brother was smart and sensible.
At one glance, this was a harmonious and loving family.
Unfortunately, there was the addition of her and Grandma.

As Grandma spent most of her life in the countryside, she did not know the etiquettes of the Imperial City.
After arriving in the capital, her grandmother could neither manage the housekeeping nor go out to socialize, she could only stay at home in boredom.
On top of that, the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law was not harmonious.
The boredom gave birth to more issues which finally led to the fallout between mother and son.
Then, Old Madame Zhen fell seriously ill and passed away not long after.

As for Zhen Ting Yun, she had a more miserable fate.
Because she had a talented and beautiful elder sister, Zhen Ting Yun, a bumpkin from the countryside, was compared to be nothing better than mud.
She was not close to her father, her mother did not dote on her, her brother thought that she was clumsy, and even her maternal uncle’s children did not like talking to her. 

In the dream, Zhen Ting Yun was naturally unresigned.
She tried to prove herself several times, but in the end, she made more mistakes and made a complete fool of herself.
She only received more disappointing gazes from her family.
After her grandmother passed away, the Zhen family no longer had a place for her.
Father Zhen did not want to let such a disreputable younger daughter ruin his family’s reputation, so he simply instructed someone to have Zhen Ting Yun sent back to the countryside.
He asked his uncles from the countryside for a favor by looking for a suitable marriage for her and letting her live her remaining life in the countryside.
In the dream, Zhen Ting Yun became extremely upset.
Before her departure, she ran to argue with her parents and quarreled with her eldest sister, before running outside and meeting her demise.

Yet, even after her death, the dream continued.

In the dream, she saw that the Zhen family grieved over the death of this unfilial daughter momentarily.
Before long it was overridden by the good news of the Heir of Duke Yan being established as the crown prince.
The whole Zhen family rejoiced over it because Zhen Yi Yun, as the crown prince’s consort, would naturally become the crown princess, and presumably become the future Empress.
It was only at this moment that the beautiful and talented Zhen Yi Yun breathed a sigh of relief.
As she looked at her reflection through the bronze mirror donned in the crown princess attire, she smiled.

With no one around, Zhen Yi Yun looked in the mirror and voiced out what was in her heart, “And here I thought the protagonist’s halo was some powerful thing, but it only just amounted to this.” 

Then, she triumphantly continued to narrate all the things she had done throughout her span of life.

She claimed that they were living in a novel.

She claimed that in the original novel, Zhen Ting Yun was the actual beloved female lead.
Pei-Shi was reluctant to leave her younger daughter behind and thus brought both of them to the Imperial City with her.
Due to the hasty and straining journey, the younger daughter fell ill.
Father Zhen and Pei-Shi felt extremely guilty because of this and so they loved and pampered this daughter even more. 

Since young, Zhen Ting Yun was fair as jade, clever, and quick-witted.
Occasionally, she would go to live at her maternal grandfather’s manor and was well received by her eldest aunt, thus she and her eldest cousin were arranged to be betrothed.
As they grew up together, they were like green plum and hobby-horse4.
So when they got married, they were even more affectionate.
Later on, their eldest cousin became the grand secretary, a first-rank official, and she was also granted the title of the first-rank madam.
The both of them became a couple that shared one life and one world, becoming the envy of others.


However, when Zhen Yi Yun transmigrated into the novel, she felt that a female lead like Zhen Ting Yun, who only relied on luck and was favored by others, was really worthless.
And she did not want to be inferior to such a useless female lead.
Thus, she thought of a simple plan for Pei-Shi to leave Zhen Ting Yun behind and only bring her to the Imperial City.
Whenever Father Zhen and Pei-Shi had thoughts to fetch Old Madame Zhen and Zhen Ting Yun, she would always get them to dispel those thoughts.
This way, she was able to take Zhen Ting Yun’s opportunities to live at her grandfather’s manor, become childhood sweethearts with her eldest cousin, snatched the chance of becoming the disciple of a famous teacher, and become the top female scholar.
All of which, originally belonged to Zhen Ting Yun.
When Zhen Yi Yun finally felt that Zhen Ting Yun was no longer a cause for concern, did she stop preventing her parents from bringing them into the Imperial City.
Instead, she displayed the appearance of a lovable and amicable eldest sister and even brought out the fine steed Father Zhen previously gave her, saying she wanted to give this gift to her younger sister.

However, the horse was lost during their journey.

This resulted in Zhen Yi Yun deciding that hers and Zhen Ting Yun’s lives would always clash with one another.
A king shall not encounter another king5.
Thus, she plotted and schemed against Zhen Ting Yun…  

It was only natural that Zhen Yi Yun, who was privy to the novel’s plotline, would constantly emerge victorious against Zhen Ting Yun, who just arrived in the Imperial City from the countryside and knew nothing.
She forced Zhen Ting Yun into a corner where Zhen Ting Yun was always embarrassed and despised by all and finally found her demise on the streets. 

On the other hand, Zhen Yi Yun was able to broaden her horizons.
Their eldest (male) cousin could no longer enter her eyes.
She took advantage of the situation and married the future emperor, who at that point in time, was only the Heir of Duke Yan, thus embarking on her road of prosperity.


Like a dream of Nanke6; to say it was not true was wrong, but to say it was false, was also wrong.

Zhen Ting Yun was literally jolted awake by the scene in her dream.
After she woke up, the first thing she did was to check on the horse.

This horse cannot be lost.
If it was lost, would it not be giving Zhen Yi Yun another reason to torment her?

Yellow peeps! I’ve decided to pick up another novel.
Hope everyone will like it as much as I did~

As this is my first historical novel, there might be some inconsistencies/discrepancies in the terminologies.
If you have any suggestions for a more accurate term, you can leave them in the comments and I’m more than willing to consider them! 

As with my other novels, please feel free to let me know if there are any terms or idioms that didn’t make sense because I didn’t leave a description or definition.

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