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

Chapter 17 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 17

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Chapter 17 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 17

Li Xingzhi went to the main courtyard, while Madam Li was talking to a servant. When she saw him enter, she waved and smiled, saying, “Xingzhi, you’re here. Just now, they made some golden date cakes in the kitchen, and they’re still warm. I was about to send someone to bring them to you.”
Li Xingzhi took a seat and saw a plate of date cakes on the table, their fragrance filling the air. Madam Li handed him a piece and said, “You’ve been studying all day, it must be tiring. You seem to have lost some weight these days.”
Taking the date cake, Li Xingzhi took a bite and replied, “No, Mother, please don’t worry. Father even said yesterday that I haven’t been studying hard enough.”
“Why listen to him?” Madam Li scolded. “He was just a top scholar back in the day, and now all he does is criticize you.”
As mother and son talked, Madam Li casually instructed the servant, “These date cakes are good; send a portion to the Purple Wisteria Pavilion.”
The maid obeyed and was about to leave when Li Xingzhi suddenly stopped her, saying, “Send a portion to the Shuyue Studio as well.”
Madam Li was momentarily surprised but didn’t object, only gesturing for the maid to go. “Go ahead, do as Young Master has instructed.”
“Mother,” Li Xingzhi finished his date cake and took a sip of tea before asking, “I heard that you told Zizhi to tell others that she’s adopted?”
Madam Li looked at him, and her smile faded slightly. She asked, “Is she telling you everything now? When did you become so close?”
Li Xingzhi hurriedly tried to explain, “It wasn’t Zizhi who told me; I guessed it myself.”
“You’re defending her,” Mrs. Lai remarked, giving her son a sidelong glance. “But it’s alright; you’ll find out sooner or later.”
Li Xingzhi’s heart sank, and he asked, “Mother, why?”
Madam Li explained, “I’m doing this for her own good. Look at the legitimate daughters of prominent families in the capital; they are all outstanding in both talent and beauty. As for your sister, she will be compared to them behind her back and ranked. Not to mention Yellow Millet, even more unkind words will be spoken about her. Rumors are frightening, and when they reach her ears, how will she bear it?”
While what she said had some merit, it didn’t entirely convince Li Xingzhi. He tried to argue, “But I think Zizhi is very clever…”
“She’s just a child from the countryside. How clever can she be?” Madam Li interrupted him. “Today, you’re speaking up for her, but have you considered your own sister?”
Li Xingzhi was left speechless.
Madam Li didn’t continue to persuade with earnest words. Instead, she said, “If we were to make Li Zhizhi the legitimate daughter of the Li family, her true identity would inevitably be exposed. Everyone in the capital would know, and she would become a laughingstock. How would she handle it? Have you thought about that?”
Li Xingzhi was momentarily speechless. Madam Li shook her head and sighed, “Besides, your father has always cared about his reputation. You know that. This is the best solution your mother can come up with.”
Watching Li Xingzhi walk away, Madam Li pondered, “Why did Xingzhi suddenly speak up for that girl?”
Her personal maid by her side said, “Young Master has always been soft-hearted.”
Madam Li glanced at her and asked, “So, my heart is too hard, is it?”
The maid hastily knelt down, alarmed, and said, “I didn’t mean that, Madam. I apologize.”
Madam Li pinched her handkerchief and calmly sipped her tea. She continued, “I don’t mean to mistreat her either. It’s just that I can’t get past this hurdle in my heart. Somehow, when I look at her, I don’t feel close, as if she’s a stranger.”
The maid didn’t dare to respond, and Madam Li didn’t mind. She said, lost in thought, “They say blood ties can’t be severed. I feel like Zhizhi is the one I gave birth to after ten months. On the day she was born, there was a sky full of golden radiance, bathing the entire room in a golden glow. On her first birthday, a fortune-teller said she had the destiny of a phoenix and would marry into the imperial family, becoming extremely prestigious. That’s how my daughter should be.”
Madam Li set down her teacup gently and said, “But do we have to believe what the midwife said? Only your father believes it. It’s not like we can’t afford to raise an extra person, but trying to replace Zhizhi? She’s dreaming.”
As for Li Zhizhi looking like her? There were countless people in the world, and a few looking similar wasn’t unusual.

Someone from the main courtyard sent a plate of date cakes, which was a rare occurrence considering that Li Zhizhi had been back at the Li estate for quite some time, and Madam Li had never shown much interest in her, except for that one time at the school.
Old Lady Wang smiled at Li Zhizhi and said, “These date cakes were just made in the kitchen. Miss, you see, Madam still thinks of you.”
Li Zhizhi picked up a piece, feeling the warmth. The scent of red dates wafted through the air, sweet and tempting. She found it somewhat strange and asked the servant who brought the date cakes, “Is this sent to the wrong place?”
The servant replied, “No, it’s as per Young Master’s instructions. When Madam ordered them to be sent to the Purple Wisteria Pavilion, Young Master also said to send a plate to Shuyue Studio.”
“I see,” Li Zhizhi put down the date cake and smiled, looking genuinely puzzled. “Oh? Wasn’t it sent by the main courtyard?”
The servant, unaware of her thoughts, answered honestly, “When Young Master was present, Madam ordered the date cakes to be sent to the Purple Wisteria Pavilion. Young Master then said to send a plate to Shuyue Studio.”
“Thank you for making the trip,” Li Zhizhi said sincerely.
At that moment, the maid Hai Tang came in and said, “Miss, Young Master has arrived.”
This was Li Xingzhi’s first time entering Shuyue Studio, and he was surprised to find that the courtyard was quite small. With just one glance, he could see the entire space. The plants in the courtyard appeared wild, growing haphazardly along the walls, and there was no sign of meticulous care. Inside the room, it was even quieter, with empty shelves and not a single decent decoration except for a slender white porcelain vase on the table, holding two peach blossoms, barely adding some liveliness to the room.
“Eldest Young Master.”
Li Zhizhi’s voice brought Li Xingzhi back to his senses. The young girl looked very happy and asked, “Why did Eldest Young Master come?”
Hearing that, Li Xingzhi’s throat seemed to tighten, and for some reason, he suddenly couldn’t speak. He simply said, “I came to see you.”
Li Zhizhi personally poured him some tea and pushed a plate of jujube cakes in front of him, joyfully saying, “You’ve come at the right time. Look, Madam sent some snacks for me. Would you like some?”
Li Xingzhi looked at the jujube cakes, which had already cooled down a bit. She held them up as if they were treasures, her cheeks glowing, and urged, “Eldest Young Master, please eat.”
In fact, Li Xingzhi was already full, but he didn’t want to disappoint her, so he reluctantly took a piece of jujube cake. He didn’t like sweet foods, and at this moment, he found it a bit nauseating. However, Li Zhizhi didn’t seem to notice and asked eagerly, “Is it delicious?”
Li Xingzhi nodded with difficulty, “It’s delicious.”
He ate the jujube cake in a few bites and said to Li Zhizhi, “You should have some too.”
However, Li Zhizhi shook her head, saying, “No, please have it all, Eldest Young Master.”
She placed both of her hands on the table, her movements as gentle as a kitten. It made him want to touch her head involuntarily. Li Xingzhi took a deep breath and smiled as he urged, “I have more at my place. Please, eat.”
They chatted for a while, and Li Zhizhi brought out a book to ask for his help. Li Xingzhi patiently answered her questions. Finally, she hesitated and asked, “Eldest Young Master, did you… talk to Madam?”
The air suddenly became quiet, and Li Xingzhi remained silent for a moment before he replied with a bitter smile, “I did ask, but… it’s not of much use.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be of much use. Madam Li was not like Li Cen, easily persuaded. In fact, from the beginning, Li Zhizhi never expected Li Xingzhi to change anything. She only asked to make him feel guilty.
She wanted to slowly tilt the scales in Li Xingzhi’s heart toward herself, until he completely abandoned his beloved sister.
By that time, Li Suanwan’s expression would surely be quite interesting.
Li Zhizhi snapped back to reality and saw Li Xingzhi looking at her with a hint of worry and remorse in his eyes. She smiled and said, “I’m sorry, I was lost in thought earlier.”
To Li Xingzhi, her smile seemed forced, and it made him even more uncomfortable. The jujube cake he had just eaten felt like a heavy stone in his stomach, weighing him down.
But then Li Zhizhi asked, “Eldest Young Master, do I not compare at all to my sister, Wan’er?”
Li Xingzhi was stunned, “Why would you think that?”
Li Zhizhi lowered her gaze, playing with her thumb and softly asked, “Is it because I’m not as good as Sister Wan’er that Madam doesn’t like me?”
It turned out she knew everything. Li Xingzhi suddenly realized, recalling his previous conversation with his mother. He couldn’t dare to look into Li Zhizhi’s eyes, and at that moment, he even felt despicable.
Clearly, Li Zhizhi hadn’t done anything wrong, but…
“Does the eldest young master also think I’m not as good as Sister Wan’er?”
“No,” Li Xingzhi blurted out. He looked at Li Zhizhi and repeated, “No, you are just like Wan’er, both are my sisters.”
He paused and added, “Don’t call me ‘Eldest Young Master’ from now on, call me ‘Brother.'”
Li Zhizhi squinted her eyes slightly, gazing at him. There was a hidden coldness and mockery in her eyes that outsiders couldn’t perceive, but soon, she lowered her eyelashes, shook her head gently, and said, “I can’t.”
“What’s wrong?”
Li Zhizhi bit her lip lightly and said, “Everyone would be unhappy.”
Though this statement was somewhat vague, Li Xingzhi instantly understood her meaning. It was about his mother and Wan’er. Li Xingzhi suddenly felt somewhat powerless.
“Anyway…” Li Xingzhi’s voice was somewhat strained as he promised, “You will always be my dear sister.”
“Really?” Li Zhizhi’s face lit up with a joyful smile, and she said, “Can I make a small request to my brother?”

When leaving Shuyue Pavilion, Li Xingzhi still held a plate of jujube cakes that Li Zhizhi had forced on him. “Brother Xingzhi, please bring these snacks to Sister Wan’er when you pass by Ziteng Courtyard later,” she said.
Li Xingzhi was surprised. “Don’t you like eating them?”
“I do,” Li Zhizhi said earnestly. “I’ll keep a few pieces for myself. The rest is for Sister Wan’er.”
Li Xingzhi couldn’t help but be touched. As he walked, he thought about the “request” Li Zhizhi had made: “Even though I’m not as good as Sister Wan’er, I hope that Brother Xingzhi will treat me half as well as he treats her, and I’ll be very happy.”
It was such a small request, so small that Li Xingzhi couldn’t refuse it at all. He looked at the plate of jujube cakes in his hand and sighed, hoping that Wan’er would understand her goodwill.
Inside Shuyue Pavilion, Li Zhizhi shared the remaining jujube cakes with two maids. Haitang hesitated and asked, “Miss, why aren’t you eating?”
Li Zhizhi smiled and replied, “I have a toothache these days, so I can’t eat sweet things.”
She took a piece and handed it to Wang Pozi, saying, “Granny, you have some.”
Although Li Zhizhi didn’t particularly like this plate of jujube cakes, it wasn’t entirely useless. For instance, sending pastries to Wan’er to irritate her would probably be quite amusing, thanks to Li Xingzhi.
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