Novel Name : After Rebirth, the True Eldest Daughter Starts Brewing Green Tea

Chapter 7 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 7

After the Qingming Festival, the weather started to clear up. Calculating the days, it had been about ten days since Li Zhizhi arrived in the capital. During this time, except for the first day, she hardly had any chance to go out. It was not because Li Cen was keeping a close eye on her, but because she spent her days studying.
Li Cen cared a lot about his reputation and would never admit to outsiders that he had a daughter who couldn’t read a single word. The Li family was not poor either, so they hired a private tutor to teach Li Zhizhi. With two or three years of effort, she should learn something, and then they could consider arranging a marriage for her. Once she was married off, regardless of how she behaved afterward, it wouldn’t concern the Li family anymore.
Li Zhizhi understood Li Cen’s intentions but didn’t want to let him have his way. She didn’t want to lead a submissive life and be a good, obedient daughter.
On this day, during dinner time, Li Zhizhi went to the dining hall as usual. Li Cen and Li Xingzhi were already there, engaged in a conversation. When they saw Li Zhizhi arrive, they stopped talking.
Li Zhizhi obediently greeted, “Father.”
Li Cen was quite satisfied with her recent behavior and smiled warmly, saying, “Please have a seat.”
Li Zhizhi sat next to Li Xingzhi obediently, and soon, she heard someone coming in from outside. Turning her head, she saw Lady Li and Li Suwan entering the hall. They were engaged in a conversation, and Li Suwan had a gentle smile on her face.
Seeing Li Xingzhi and Li Cen, her eyes lit up, and she cheerfully called out, “Brother! Father!”
In the past few days, Li Suwan’s health had gradually improved, and no one in the household mentioned the rumors about her horoscope causing trouble. It was as if nothing had happened. Perhaps this was due to Li Cen’s intervention or other reasons that were unknown.
With the illness fading away, Li Suwan’s spirit had improved significantly, and her facial features appeared lively and charming. One couldn’t deny that Li Suwan was quite good-looking, with her delicate eyebrows and bright eyes, easily evoking a favorable impression. When she looked at Li Zhizhi, she managed to hide her disdain and smiled faintly, saying, “Sister Zhizhi.”
Li Zhizhi also smiled back, her eyes slightly curved like bright crescents, and replied, “Has Sister recovered from her illness? I’ve been worried about you these past few days.”
Li Suwan didn’t believe a word of this, but she still had to put on a show of being moved. She looked at Li Zhizhi, who was attentively inviting her to sit, and instructed the servants to arrange the dishes skillfully, as if she had been the mistress of this place for many years, and Li Suwan was merely a guest returning home.
This perception made Li Suwan feel suffocated, and she slowly clenched her hand in her sleeve until her nails almost pierced the skin. She looked at Li Zhizhi, who was now sitting in the seat that originally belonged to her, and eagerly pushed a plate of scallion tofu towards her, speaking in a gentle tone, “Sister just recovered from her illness, so it’s better to eat some light dishes.”
Li Cen was very pleased and nodded with a smile, saying, “Zhizhi is considerate.”
Li Suwan felt as if the food she was eating had turned into burning coals, scorching her internal organs. Unfortunately, Li Zhizhi was adding fuel to the fire. With widened eyes, she asked in apparent confusion, “Sister, why aren’t you eating? Don’t you like these dishes?”
Everyone turned their attention to Li Suwan as she hardly touched her food. Li Xingzhi, seeing her lack of appetite, said, “If you want something else, I’ll have the kitchen prepare it.”
Li Cen’s brows twitched slightly, a sign of displeasure that Li Suwan couldn’t miss. She immediately suppressed her resentful feelings and softly said, “No, I really like them.”
“Do not be polite,” Li Zhizhi spoke again, her peach blossom eyes curved as she smiled and said, “Sister, if you want to eat something, I can make it for you.”
Li Suwan: …
Li Suwan didn’t dare, fearing that Li Zhizhi might poison her food. She quickly held her chopsticks and forced a smile, saying, “Really, there’s no need. I like all these dishes.”
She couldn’t taste the meal at all, but Li Zhizhi seemed to be in a good mood and ate two bowls of rice. Li Suwan watched in disbelief, secretly cursing in her heart. She thought Li Zhizhi was like a bottomless pit, eating so much. She was indeed a country bumpkin, never seen someone with such an enormous appetite.
After dinner, the servant brought tea, and Li Cen asked about Li Xingzhi’s studies, then turned to test Li Zhizhi. Over these days, everyone had grown accustomed to this routine, except for Li Suwan, who felt jealous. She had grown up in the Li family, started studying at the age of nine, and Li Cen had never cared about her studies, let alone scrutinize them like this. It was a privilege reserved only for Li Xingzhi.
Thinking about this, Li Suwan began to feel anxious, and the more she listened, the more uncomfortable she felt. Why was it like this? This country bumpkin was somehow winning father’s favor?
It was entirely different from what Li Suwan had expected.
On the other side, Li Cen continued to advise Li Zhizhi to listen to her teacher. Li Zhizhi obediently agreed and suddenly looked at Li Suwan with innocence, asking, “Now that Sister’s illness is better, can she study with me?”
Li Cen hesitated for a moment before explaining, “Sister does not study at home.”
Li Suwan keenly sensed the hesitation in her father’s words and suddenly understood something. She couldn’t help but smile and asked deliberately, “Father, why don’t you let Zhimei go to school like me?”
As expected, the smile on Li Cen’s face faded, and he said, “Zhizhi is not suitable for going to school yet. She just arrived in the capital and is not familiar with the place. It’s better for her to study at home.”
Of course, that wasn’t the real reason. The main concern was that Li Cen couldn’t afford to lose face. If Li Zhizhi went to school, it would inevitably expose her lowly background, a young lady of the Li family who couldn’t read. That would be quite laughable.
Li Zhizhi was clever, but compared to Li Cen’s expectations, she still had a long way to go. So, Li Cen was secretly reluctant to let her appear in public.
Li Suwan understood Li Cen’s concerns and felt relieved. However, just at that moment, Li Madam, who had been silent, spoke up: “I think it’s okay to let her go to school with Suwan.”
Not only did Li Suwan’s expression change, even Li Cen looked surprised. Li Madam gently placed the teacup down and explained in a soft voice, “Think about it, this is the capital, under the Emperor’s feet. She will have to go out and meet people eventually. How can she stay in the mansion forever? It’s better to let her adapt earlier. Besides, Suwan is also at the school, so she can take care of her if anything happens.”
Li Suwan’s face turned slightly pale. She opened her mouth but couldn’t bring herself to voice any objections. She forced a smile and said, “Yes, mother is right.”
Li Cen frowned and didn’t immediately agree. He was obviously still hesitant, so Li Zhizhi kindly said, “It’s okay, I can learn from the teacher.”
“The teacher’s knowledge is limited after all,” Madam Li glanced at her indifferently, elegantly dabbed the corner of her lips with a silk handkerchief, and said, “He’s just a scholar, teaching children is his limit. For playing musical instruments, chess, calligraphy, and painting, everything requires careful learning. As for etiquette, embroidery, and female handicrafts, we need to hire a maid to teach separately. It would be more convenient to send her to school to learn everything at once. Isn’t that right, husband?”
Li Cen pondered for a moment and said, “Let me think about it.”
He still had some concerns about the words spoken by the Taoist before, but as time passed and there were no incidents in the mansion, those concerns had gradually dissipated. Now that Madam Li brought it up again, Li Cen couldn’t help but consider the idea seriously.
Li Xingzhi looked at him and then at his mother, frowning, feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
After everyone dispersed, Li Suwan followed Madam Li back to their courtyard. She didn’t dare to speak along the way. When they arrived at Ziteng Garden, she cautiously asked, “Mother… Will father… agree?”
Madam Li stopped and reached out to tidy up her daughter’s hair, saying, “He should agree.”
Li Suwan felt uneasy in her heart, but she still put on a happy expression and said, “That’s great. It seems that father really likes sister Zhizhi. When she goes to school, I’ll take good care of her.”
Madam Li reached out and tapped her forehead, laughing, “You silly girl. Why do you think I suggested sending Li Zhizhi to school?”
Li Suwan looked a little bewildered, and Madam Li continued in a slow and deliberate manner, “A flower needs green leaves to set it off and make it look beautiful and eye-catching. You’ve been following Rong An County Princess and her group for a long time, and it’s fine if your relationship with them is good. However, they all overshadow you. Who will pay attention to you when you are by their side? You’re just there to complement them.”
Li Suwan’s look of confusion gradually turned into delight, and she hesitated as she said, “Mother, are you saying…”
Madam Li raised an eyebrow slightly and said, “The more foolish and ignorant Li Zhizhi is, the more she can bring out your good points. When others mention Miss Li from the Li Family, they will naturally think of you. Now do you understand my intentions?”
Li Suwan was moved and happy at the same time. “Mother, I thought…”
“What did you think?”
Li Suwan’s eyes turned red, and she choked up, “I thought you didn’t like me anymore.”
“Silly child, how could you think that way? Your mother has worked so hard to raise you all these years, putting in so much effort and love. How could I not like my child?” Madam Li caressed her cheek and sighed, “It has been sixteen years, and I’ve taught you so well. Who can compare to you with just anyone? Even if a deity comes, they would have to stand back when compared to you.”
Tears welled up in Li Suwan’s eyes, and she was deeply moved as she said, “I really don’t know how to repay you.”
“Just be good, and that’s the greatest repayment to me. A great master once said that you have a phoenix destiny, incomparably noble. Your worth is beyond measure. I’m still hoping that my child will soar to great heights in the future and bring glory and honor to our family,” Madam Li said with a gentle smile.

In the end, Li Cen finally relented and agreed to let Li Zhizhi go to school. It’s unclear what his true intentions were, as he didn’t mention how Li Zhizhi’s identity would be handled. He hastily handed the matter over to Madam Li and went to court.
Early in the morning, Madam Li took Li Zhizhi and Li Suwan in a carriage to the school. Throughout the journey, Li Suwan was chatting happily with Madam Li, while Li Zhizhi sat alone in a corner, like a transparent person.
She coldly observed the mother and daughter, and Li Suwan occasionally threw her a glance with a subtle provocation. Li Zhizhi remained calm, finding it somewhat amusing. Feeling bored, she reached out and pulled the curtain to look outside.
It was a beautiful spring day, and the willows on both sides of the Imperial Street were lush green. As the carriage passed the Yueli Bridge, it reached the Zhaoming Temple. Taking a left turn at the Zhaoming Temple led to the school.
The school was named Mingyuan and was very famous in the capital. It was established by Princess Yongning and only accepted female students. The teachers at Mingyuan were renowned scholars recruited from various places. Many families considered it an honor to send their daughters to study there. In fact, there were even wealthy families who moved to the capital just to have their daughters attend Mingyuan. As a result, young ladies who had studied at Mingyuan became sought-after marriage prospects for prestigious families.
After some time, the carriage stopped, and they had arrived at Mingyuan. Li Zhizhi got off the carriage and squinted slightly. The morning sun rose from the east, casting a golden glow on the plaque with the characters “Mingyuan,” making it radiant. This place was so familiar to her—it was where she endured the most trials and tribulations in her previous life, second only to the Li Family residence.
“Whenever there are many people, conflicts and disputes are bound to occur, especially in a place full of women like this,” Madam Li said.
“I’ve taken care of everything, but there are a few things I want to remind you of,” Madam Li’s voice brought Li Zhizhi back to her senses. She turned to look at her birth mother, with a hint of genuine confusion in her eyes.
Madam Li elegantly held a silk handkerchief and spoke softly, “Originally, your father didn’t intend to send you to Mingyuan for schooling. Most of the girls here are from noble families, even some princesses from the palace. They are all precious and distinguished. For someone like you who came from the countryside, you’ll have a hard time fitting in, understand?”
Li Zhizhi pretended to be perplexed and nodded slowly. Madam Li continued, “I put in a lot of effort to persuade your father to give you a chance to attend Mingyuan. However, you know your situation well. You can barely read or write, and if people find out, they will undoubtedly mock our Li family for lacking education.”
As she spoke, her eyes fixed on Li Zhizhi, revealing her hidden disdain. Only when she saw Li Zhizhi shrink back did Madam Li seem satisfied. “You need to remember that once you’re inside Mingyuan, you must stick with Suwan. She will take care of you. But there’s one thing you must firmly remember: you cannot reveal that you are a young miss from the Li family. You must say that you are a distant cousin who came from outside to seek refuge here. Your father is kind-hearted, and he adopted you, do you understand?”
How could Li Zhizhi not understand? In her previous life, she was oppressed by the title of “distant cousin” from the Li family until her death. That identity had constrained her for a lifetime. But this time, she had changed her mind.
She wanted to live better than all of them and turn that “distant cousin” label into a slap, smacking it right onto the face of the Li family, making them regret their actions.
Thinking of this, Li Zhizhi smiled, her golden eyes shining like sparkling sunlight. She obediently replied, “I understand, Madam.”
Madam Li gazed at her beautiful features, feeling an inexplicable unease rising within her heart.
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