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

Chapter 33 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 33

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Chapter 33 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 33

In a teahouse, a young lady holding a pipa changed to a new tune, not the popular tune in the capital, but with a hint of the gentle and sweet tones of the Wu dialect from the Jiangnan region, giving it a unique charm.
Pei Yanchuan looked at the teacup on the table, chuckled, and said, “For the sake of this cup of tea, if I have to endure a beating from my mother, it’s just not worth it.”
“I’m afraid that if you drink and then go back to fight with your mother, the Prince Hou might have to reprimand me tomorrow,” Xiao Yan casually poured tea for him and said slowly. “I suppose you’ll have to suffer for it.”
At these words, Pei Yanchuan instinctively shrunk his neck and didn’t dare to think further. He sipped his tea and started cracking sunflower seeds, gazing at the spring scenery along the river outside the window. The warm breeze, the tender green willows, made him sigh and feel quite sentimental. He said, “You’re the Crown Prince and the heir to the throne, yet you seem to have more leisure than I do. You’re constantly drinking tea and listening to music.”
He glanced at the sandalwood Buddhist beads on Xiao Yan’s wrist and looked puzzled. “You still recite Buddhist scriptures?”
Xiao Yan suddenly laughed and asked in return, “Aren’t you a man of leisure too?”
Pei Yanchuan laughed and replied, “How can I compare to you? I have an older brother who is a top scholar and a hero who achieved great feats last year. His future is bright, and after my father’s hundredth birthday, the marquisate will naturally be passed on to him. I don’t need to strive so hard.”
To his surprise, Xiao Yan smiled and said, “The current Emperor is in his prime, and his reign is stable. He could easily rule for fifty more years. Who’s to say my son won’t die before me? So, why wait? We should enjoy life to the fullest now.”
Hearing this, Pei Yanchuan was shocked, almost dropping his sunflower seeds. He had only known of his own lack of ambition, but he hadn’t expected the Crown Prince to be even more determined. He swallowed hard, and asked, “Does the Emperor know about your thoughts?”
Xiao Yan’s smile was enigmatic as he replied, “What do you think?”
It seemed like Pei Yanchuan could sense something profound in that expression. He couldn’t help but think about what Xiao Yan had said earlier, and his mind raced with various speculations and thoughts, along with the elusive rumors that abounded.
For instance, Xiao Yan, as the fifth prince and not the eldest, became the Crown Prince, but why? It was because the previous heirs had all passed away. The first two Crown Princes had died, and the third prince had been demoted to a commoner, still confined to the royal mausoleum in Zibei. He could never return to the capital in this lifetime.
Emperor Ming had a total of five sons, but only two remained now: Prince Ning and Crown Prince Xiao Yan. Pei Yanchuan had heard vague rumors that when choosing a new heir, the courtiers had advised Emperor Ming to select the older Prince Ning, but the Emperor had insisted on choosing his 15-year-old younger son, Xiao Yan. The reason was simply to delay the Crown Prince’s involvement in state affairs.
Of course, these are just private rumors, unverifiable, but now, as Xiaoyan is about to come of age, he still has not been involved in politics, idling away his days, seemingly carefree. The Emperor turns a blind eye to it all, as if he is happy to see it happen, which is truly unbelievable.
Every little detail makes people hesitant to continue thinking further. Just at this moment, a pipa suddenly sounds, clear and melodious. Pei Yanchuan suddenly snaps back to reality. It’s the young girl holding the pipa who has finished playing, and she is now whispering to the teahouse attendant. After that, she curtsies and leaves.
A gentle breeze brings a slight coolness, making the bamboo curtains by the window sway gently. The old tassels hanging down also sway in response. Across the river, there’s the sound of people laughing and playing, perhaps children frolicking. However, the atmosphere in the teahouse is strangely quiet until the sound of footsteps outside announces the return of Xu Tingfeng.
He is holding a person with closed eyes, dressed in a faded blue Taoist robe, and holding a flag with the words “Divination for Eight Coins, Honest and Trustworthy” written on it. Upon closer inspection, the corner of the flag still bears traces of oil stains, as if it has been meticulously cleaned for years.
Xu Tingfeng gestures towards Pei Yanchuan and says, “Master, the person has been brought here.”
The Taoist priest, who appears to be blind, takes a look at Pei Yanchuan and promptly turns to leave. However, Xu Tingfeng grabs his collar, and Pei Yanchuan tosses aside some melon seeds and points at the Taoist, saying, “Daoist, do you remember what I said earlier? Your forehead seems to be dark, which usually implies impending disaster. Looks like my prediction was accurate today.”
The Taoist priest looks distressed and says, “Kind sir, please don’t mock this poor Daoist. I was only trying to make a living and earn some tea money. Why take it seriously?”
Pei Yanchuan responds, “I’m not here to see you. I’m here for him.”
The Taoist priest had already noticed Xiao Yan, and now he scrutinizes him carefully. With his extensive experience, he can tell that Xiao Yan’s demeanor is far from ordinary, and dealing with him is a different matter. In normal circumstances, he might have taken the risk, but the current situation is not in his favor. Besides, there’s a man with a stern expression standing by Xiao Yan’s side, gripping him firmly.
His thoughts race, and the blind Taoist quickly forces a smile, asking cautiously, “May I ask why the kind sir called me here? What can I do for you?”
Xiao Yan smiles and says, “I’ve heard that your divinations are quite accurate, and I’d like to have mine done.”
The Taoist repeatedly expresses his humility but, seeing Xiao Yan’s silence, reluctantly asks, “Would you like to know about your marriage or your future?”
Xiao Yan replies, “What if I want to know about both?”
The Taoist instinctively tries to evade the question but, under Xiao Yan’s gaze, he laughs and says, “If the kind sir wishes to know, then I can certainly provide both readings. Please, extend your hand, and allow me to take a look.”
Xiao Yan extended his left hand, and the Buddhist beads on his wrist emitted a faint sound. The blind Taoist was surprised and asked, “Do virtuous people believe in Buddha?”
Xiao Yan replied, “Why, when you all engage in religious practices and worship the Tao, are there any taboos?”
The blind Taoist shook his head and said, “No, it’s not that. I was just observing your facial features, and they don’t quite resemble those of a virtuous person. Perhaps I made a mistake.”
He then examined Xiao Yan’s palm, praising him profusely, saying that he had a bright future and would attain great wealth. He also mentioned that in the future, he would encounter a benefactor who would provide great help and lead him to success.
Pei Yanchuan, standing nearby, listened to the Taoist’s nonsense and couldn’t help but burst into laughter. He said, “Why don’t you show this young man his marital fate again?”
This time, the blind Taoist hesitated for a moment, at a loss for words. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to speak kind words, but it was because this young man didn’t have a marriage line on his palm at all.
Fortunately, Xiao Yan had no intention of taking the Taoist’s words seriously. He withdrew his hand and calmly said, “Forget it, I invited you here today for another reason.”
The blind Taoist eagerly inquired, “Please, virtuous sir, tell me.”
As Xiao Yan looked at the Taoist’s respectful and obedient demeanor, he suddenly thought of another person. After a subtle pause, he continued, “Auspicious clouds encompass the five colors, the blue phoenix returns to the Imperial Capital, and the Yaochi spring is like the sea.”
Before he could finish, the blind Taoist turned pale with shock and attempted to flee. However, he was stopped by Xu Tingfeng, who almost strangled him. The Taoist coughed loudly and begged, “Virtuous sir! Hero! Spare me this time!”
“Treasure cauldron gleams with celestial radiance,” Xiao Yan slowly recited the last line and smiled as he looked at the Taoist. He said, “According to the laws of our dynasty, fraud and theft are equally punishable. For thefts involving ten wen or less, the punishment is twenty lashes. For thefts involving more than ten wen but less than one guan, the punishment is forty lashes. For thefts involving five liang or less, the punishment is eighty lashes and three years of hard labor. As for thefts involving more than ten liang, the punishment is execution and exposure in the market.”
His tone remained unchanged, as if he were reciting a textbook. The Taoist’s expression revealed fear, and he shivered as if sifting chaff. He almost knelt before Xiao Yan but managed to stammer, “Virtuous sir, it was my momentary foolishness, and my greed clouded my judgment. I…”
Xiao Yan raised his hand to stop the Taoist from continuing and then said, “We have reached this point, but I have no intention of pushing you into a dead end. I just want to offer you a small piece of advice.”
The Taoist, with his life and fortune in Xiao Yan’s hands, dared not disobey. He eagerly replied, “Please, virtuous sir, tell me, I will remember it and never forget.”
Xiao Yan tapped his fingertips lightly on the table and said with a smile, “The individuals who were swindled for these ten taels of silver are now searching for you all over the capital, ready to offer a substantial sum to have you resolve their predicament. My suggestion is simple: you can sharpen their skills further.”
The blind Taoist initially thought that there was something wrong with his ears and hesitated for a moment, not knowing how to respond. He looked at Xiao Yan with a puzzled expression, but Xiao Yan didn’t beat around the bush. He squinted his phoenix eyes slightly and softly asked, “Parents may not be kind, and children don’t need to be blindly filial. What does the Taoist think?”
At this point, the blind Taoist finally realized, no matter how foolish he might be, and quickly replied, “The virtuous one speaks the truth. I understand your meaning.”
Well, it turns out that all this talk was about asking him to continue deceiving that family.

Cien Temple was located in the suburbs of the capital, built against the mountains. From a distance, the temple complex had a grand and majestic aura, with wisps of blue smoke enveloping most of the hill. It was the largest temple at the foot of the imperial city, with nearly a century of history. Incense was burning vigorously, and on the first and fifteenth of every month, a continuous stream of pilgrims visited, creating a long line of carriages and horses.
There were many people burning incense in the temple, and the atmosphere was lively. Xiao Rulei was often choked by the smoke, and her eyes were watery. She was almost suffocating and looked very pitiful, so QianLuo took her to play somewhere else.
Princess Yongning first took Li Zhizhi to the main hall, where many people were bowing to the Bodhisattva. There were also monks chanting scriptures, and the sound of Buddhist chants filled the air, occasionally accompanied by the sound of wooden fish, creating a lively yet strangely peaceful atmosphere.
Li Zhizhi had never been to such a place before, and she looked up at the towering golden Buddha statue that seemed to reach the sky. The Buddha had closed eyes, one hand holding a flower, and looked at the worshippers with compassion. She was deeply moved and remained silent for a long time.
It wasn’t until Princess Yongning asked her, “Zhizhi, do you want to pay your respects as well?” that Li Zhizhi blushed with embarrassment. However, Princess Yongning smiled and handed her a stick of incense, leading her to the front of the Bodhisattva. Nearby, there was a mother and daughter. The daughter was only eight or nine years old, and it seemed to be her first time paying respects to the Bodhisattva. She was a bit clueless, and her mother was helping her tidy her clothes, smoothing her disheveled hair, and saying, “Neatness is a sign of respect for the Buddha. Alright, sweetheart, kneel down.”
Li Zhizhi looked down and quickly adjusted her dress. At that moment, a warm and gentle hand reached out to help her tuck her stray hair behind her ear, and Li Zhizhi was surprised to meet Princess Yongning’s gaze.
Princess Yongning smiled tenderly and said, “No need to be too nervous. Sincerity touches the divine. Come, my dear, bow to the Bodhisattva.”
In that instant, Li Zhizhi’s face turned red. The noise in the hall was all but forgotten. After a while, she finally realized and, imitating Princess Yongning, knelt down with great respect. She held the incense with both hands and made a meticulous offering, afraid of making the slightest mistake.
Looking up at the Buddha, Li Zhizhi took a deep breath, raised the incense, and made a bold and audacious wish.
A wish was called a wish precisely because it was too distant and unattainable. Li Zhizhi never thought there would be a day when it would come true. She was merely indulging in a little daydream because, apart from the golden statue of the Bodhisattva in the temple, no one else would hear her wish.
She thought that if there were a next life, she hoped the Bodhisattva would give her a mother as good as Princess Yongning.
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