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

Chapter 42 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 42

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Chapter 42 - ARTTEDSBGT Chapter 42

In Sujiabao Village, when they learned that the visitor was the Seventh Princess, the sisters of the Su family spoke more carefully, but they soon found that this Seventh Princess was indeed as rumored, somewhat simple-minded, with a childlike innocence, and lacked the airs of a princess. However, she was most attentive to listening to Li Zhizhi’s words, even insisting on sitting together, and they were very affectionate with each other.
The Su sisters gradually relaxed and didn’t treat Xiao Rulei with any disrespect. In fact, they liked her and even had various pastries and fruits brought out for her to choose from, letting her indulge in the treats.
Every time Xiao Rulei tasted something delicious, she would give a piece to Li Zhizhi. She felt that she didn’t come here in vain, as this place was so much fun. She decided she wanted to come out and play with Sister Zhizhi next time.
While Li Zhizhi chatted and laughed with the Su Tang sisters, she discreetly observed Song Lingyun, who was sitting next to her. It had to be said that this person’s appearance and manners were impeccable. He was polite and well-behaved, with no inappropriate behavior. When he arrived, he even brought gifts for each of the Su family’s young ladies, such as hairpins, bracelets, pearl earrings, and various items. What he gave to Su Tangyu was a white jade pendant with the meaning of “two hearts as one.”
Amid the playful banter of the Su family sisters, Su Tangyu’s fair face turned red, and she shyly accepted the jade pendant, thanking Song Lingyun softly. Song Lingyun only smiled and said, “The moment I saw this jade, I felt that it was a perfect match for Ayu, pure and flawless.”
While sweet words were exchanged, Li Zhizhi couldn’t help but roll her eyes inwardly. She nearly gagged but kept it in check, not wanting to embarrass Su Tangyu. She also noticed that there was someone else who appeared uncomfortable, and that person was Jiang Ziyu.
She lowered her head slightly, holding a hairpin tightly in her hand, which was the one Song Lingyun had just given her. Her expression was deep and contemplative, and it was unclear what she was thinking. Li Zhizhi observed her while a hint of contemplation crossed her face.
Just then, Song Lingyun suddenly called her name and apologized with a smile, “I’m sorry for not preparing a gift for you today. I didn’t expect my cousin to visit. I hope you won’t blame me.”
Li Zhizhi looked at Jiang Ziyu, maintaining a playful smile on her face, and intentionally replied, “How could I blame my cousin? You can make it up next time, cousin.”
Song Lingyun responded with a smile, “Certainly, certainly. What kind of gift does my cousin like?”
Li Zhizhi playfully said, “You don’t have to spend too much, cousin. A hairpin will do.”
Song Lingyun readily agreed, and in that moment, Li Zhizhi clearly noticed that Jiang Ziyu’s expression became even more unpleasant. She gripped the hairpin so tightly, it seemed like she wanted to break it.
This made Li Zhizhi even more convinced that her suspicions were true. Either Jiang Ziyu was excessively jealous and possessive, even to the extent of being bothered by others giving gifts, or she had ulterior motives towards Song Lingyun.
Thinking back, in their past life, Jiang Ziyu had inexplicably grown close to Li Suwan, who had a secret affair with Song Lingyun, leading to Su Tangyu’s tragic fate. Li Zhizhi felt that something was seriously amiss. However, Su Tangyu herself showed no signs of feeling threatened. She treated Jiang Ziyu like a little sister, and whenever she had something useful, she always included Jiang Ziyu. Even their fashion styles were very similar, and she had no defenses against her whatsoever.
While Li Zhizhi was deep in thought, she overheard them talking about a nine-tier waterfall on the mountain that cascaded down from the mountaintop, with a majestic and dragon-like appearance. They said that on a clear day, you could even see a seven-colored rainbow, creating a dreamlike and enchanting scene, almost like a fairyland.
Su Tangyu looked at Li Zhihi with a hesitant expression and said, “Zhizhi is somewhat afraid of water, so she might not be able to go. Why don’t the sisters go and see, and we can go somewhere else while you come back.”
Today was Su Tangyu’s birthday, and Li Zhizhi didn’t want to dampen their spirits, so she smiled and said, “If it’s a waterfall, we’ll just look at it from a distance. It should be fine.”
Su Tangyu’s younger cousin from the Su family excitedly said, “In that case, after lunch, let’s go take a look.”
Not long after, it was time for lunch, and everyone went to the dining hall. Su Tangyu asked a servant, “Where is Second Brother?”
The servant quickly replied, “Second Young Master traveled by car and felt unwell. He sent someone to let us know.”
Upon hearing this, Su Tangyu looked worried and regretful, saying, “It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have insisted on having him come. I’ll go check on him.”
Just as she finished speaking, a person at the door reported, “Second Young Master has arrived.”
Li Zhizhi had already heard Su Tangyu talk about her second brother, whose name was Su Qingshang. He was only two years older than her, exceptionally talented, and had a photographic memory since childhood. Any praise was well-deserved for him, but it seemed that excessive wisdom came at a cost. When Su Qingshang was young, he had once fallen into the water and suffered a fundamental injury, leaving behind a lingering illness. Since then, he had never fully recovered, and the Su family had no intention of letting him pursue an official career, only focusing on his long-term medical care.
At that moment, the curtains in the hall were lifted, and a young man dressed in white stepped in, bowing his head as he entered. He had a somewhat handsome appearance, with some resemblance to Su Tangyu, clearly indicating their sibling relationship. However, his complexion was slightly pale, which highlighted his finely shaped eyebrows that were as dark as ink strokes, making people inexplicably think of ink on paper.
Objectively speaking, Su Qingshang’s appearance wasn’t particularly striking, but he had a unique sense of clarity and purity that left a lasting impression. Similarly dressed in white, compared to the former, Song Lingyun seemed like an inferior gem in the presence of a radiant pearl.
“Second Brother!”
“Second Young Master.”
Su Tangyu personally went forward to support him, and everyone immediately stood up to greet him, exchanging greetings. Su Qingshang’s face showed a faint smile, responding to each one. His gaze fell on Li Zhizhi, and Su Tangyu quickly explained, “Brother, this is the Zhizhi I mentioned to you. The other person is Princess Qi.”
Upon hearing this, Su Qingshang showed a knowing expression and said, “Miss Li.”
Li Zhizhi smiled and nodded, “I’ve met Mr. Su.”
Su Qingshang took his seat, and Song Lingyun smiled and said, “I heard that Second Young Master is fond of painting. I recently acquired a good painting, so I brought it today to present to Second Young Master.”
With that, he had an attendant bring in a scroll, and in front of everyone, he slowly unrolled it. It was a painting of butterflies playing among peonies, with exquisite brushwork and vibrant colors. The butterflies, in particular, looked incredibly lifelike.
After seeing the painting, Su Qingshang smiled and said, “It’s a beautiful painting. Thank you, Mr. Song, for your kind gesture.”
He then had it put away, and Song Lingyun felt a sense of accomplishment. He bowed and said, “I’m glad Second Young Master likes it.”
Everyone took their seats, and servants entered, serving a delicious and fragrant meal that made one’s mouth water. However, in front of Su Qingshang, there was only a bowl of medicinal gruel and nothing else.
Su Tangyu quietly explained to Li Zhizhi, “My second brother’s health has not been good these years, and he can’t eat anything else.”
Li Zhizhi noticed that the medicinal gruel was very plain and had a distinct bitter medicinal scent. Su Qingshang, however, ate it without any change in expression, making her suddenly feel a sense of pity for him.
At this moment, a sudden noise from the side caught everyone’s attention. When Li Zhizhi looked over, she saw that Xiao Rulei had accidentally knocked over a bowl, spilling soup all over the table, creating a mess.
Feeling flustered under the gaze of so many people, she reached out quickly to clean it up, but Li Zhizhi immediately held her back and said, “Don’t move.”
The soup had just been served, and it was certainly very hot. Su Tangyu saw this and immediately called a servant to clean up the mess. However, Xiao Rulei’s clothes were also stained. Su’s young cousin suggested, “I have some spare clothes. Why don’t you let the princess change into them? They might not fit perfectly, but it’s better than being dirty.”
Li Zhizhi expressed her gratitude and thanked her. Su Tangyu personally accompanied them to the backyard to change clothes. Along the way, Xiao Rulei remained unusually quiet, keeping her head down. Li Zhizhi thought she might have been frightened and tried to comfort her in hushed tones.
It wasn’t until they were changing clothes that Xiao Rulei finally raised her head. Her eyes were red, and she whispered, “Sister, I’m so sorry.”
Li Zhizhi was taken aback and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Xiao Rulei’s lips curved downward slightly, and she carefully said, “It’s because I’m so clumsy that I embarrassed Sister. Please don’t dislike me, Sister, okay?”
Her eyes welled up with tears, and her expression seemed both helpless and awkward, as if she was afraid of Li Zhizhi getting angry. Li Zhizhi’s heart suddenly ached, and a hint of bitterness washed over her. In some inexplicable way, she found this careful and appeasing expression very familiar and it made her sad.
At that moment, Li Zhizhi finally understood why she liked Xiao Rulei so much. It was because Xiao Rulei was so much like her former self. Everyone thought she was clumsy, and even she knew it, but she still wanted to make an effort to win others’ affection.
Li Zhizhi took a deep breath, lowered her head, and embraced Xiao Rulei. She gently stroked her head and said very cautiously, “Why would I ever think that way? I didn’t feel embarrassed at all. Xiao Rulei is the sweetest and best child in the world.”
She was really easy to please, and she quickly burst into joyful laughter, hugging Li Zhizhi tightly. “Sister, you’re the best sister!”
Before long, Li Zhizhi led Xiao Rulei back to their seats, and the table had already been cleaned up. Li Zhizhi decided to let her sit next to her for better care.
For some reason, Xiao Rulei was not very skilled with chopsticks. When she was at the princess’s residence, the Princess would simply have her use a spoon. Now, as a guest in someone else’s home, she was not as considerate. But even so, Xiao Rulei was awkwardly trying to use chopsticks.
A voice suddenly came from beside, saying, “Look at her, she can’t even hold the chopsticks steadily. Be careful that she doesn’t spill it again later. It might be better to have a servant feed her.”
The words seemed well-intentioned, but Li Zhizhi didn’t think so. She raised her eyes to look over and indeed saw Jiang Zilu. There was a hint of mockery in her eyes that was quite unpleasant.
Xiao Rulei’s rice scooping paused for a moment, and she looked at Li Zhizhi with puffed-up cheeks, her gaze uncertain. Li Zhizhi smiled at her and coaxed, “A’yang, keep eating.”
Xiao Rulei obediently nodded, and neither of them paid any attention to Jiang Ziyu. She felt a bit embarrassed, her face not looking good. Su Tangyu said, “I think the princess is doing just fine; what happened earlier was just an accident.”
Su’s little cousin, however, was not so polite. She simply said, “Eat your food, and if you overeat, go outside and walk it off. Why do you care how others eat?”
This time, Jiang Ziyu’s face turned completely black, and she couldn’t sit still any longer. She hastily got up and left the table.
The atmosphere returned to normal, and after the meal, the servants brought tea. Su Tangyu took Li Zhizhi to the corridor outside the door and said somewhat apologetically, “Ziyu does sometimes speak inappropriately. If she offended you, I apologize on her behalf.”
Li Zhizhi remained silent for a moment, then looked at her friend and spoke honestly, “It’s not about whether she speaks well or not, Tangyu. Regardless of how others perceive it, I treat A’yang like a real sister. If it weren’t for your birthday today, and she wasn’t your cousin, I would have told her she couldn’t leave this door without losing face.”
Upon hearing this, Su Tangyu’s expression became awkward, and she lowered her head. “It’s my fault…”
“How is it your fault?” Li Zhizhi couldn’t help but feel puzzled and said in disbelief, “This is clearly Jiang Ziyu’s fault, and what does it have to do with you? Even if an apology is needed, it should be Jiang Ziyu who gives it.”
Jiang Ziyu has always been sharp-tongued, and Li Zhizhi has witnessed it more than once. She is also very harsh in her words towards Su Tangyu, or perhaps even more so. However, Su Tangyu never takes offense. If she were naturally a soft-hearted person, it would be understandable, but when they first met, Li Zhizhi once saw her stand up for herself and make sarcastic remarks at Li Suwan, leaving the latter speechless with anger.
It seems that only when facing Jiang Ziyu, Su Tangyu appears to be at a loss and repeatedly backs down, as if she has no boundaries.
After a moment of silence, Su Tangyu suddenly said, “This is something our family owes her.”
“Who?” Li Zhizhi automatically responded, then realized and exclaimed in surprise, “Jiang Ziyu?”
Su Tangyu gave a bitter smile and whispered, “Have you seen my second brother? He has been in poor health since he was very young, due to falling into the water. My uncle saved him, and later…”
Li Zhizhi instantly understood the unspoken words and was momentarily at a loss for words. Su Tangyu’s eyes reddened as she continued, “Our Su family owes her a life. After my uncle passed away, my aunt’s health deteriorated as well. My parents brought her and her daughter into our family, instructing us to yield in all matters and not to contend with her. Besides, what else could we do?”
Her voice was light and helpless, especially in the midst of this summer afternoon, it seemed exceptionally heavy.
Li Zhizhi remained silent for a long time, then gathered her emotions and exhaled, saying, “Since it’s like this, I’m your friend, and I shouldn’t make things difficult for you because of this. Just remind her that words can bring disaster. Not everyone in this world owes her a life.”
At that moment, Xiao Rulei’s maid suddenly rushed in, her face pale, and said, “Miss, the little princess is missing!”
Li Zhizhi was shocked and asked, “When did this happen? Weren’t you with her?”
The maid was so frightened that she was about to cry and stammered, “The little princess doesn’t like being restrained. She never lets us get too close, just watches from a distance. But in the blink of an eye, she disappeared.”
Li Zhizhi had experienced this habit of Xiao Rulei before, such as during the Spring Feast. She disappeared quietly, and Li Zhizhi’s forehead was covered in sweat. She couldn’t bear to think about the possible consequences. Su Tangyu, who was beside her, said, “Don’t worry. If it’s only for a short while, she shouldn’t have gone too far. There’s not much danger on this estate. I’ll send people to look for her.”
Li Zhizhi nodded and said to the maid, “Where did she disappear? Take me to see.”
Xiao Rulei held her small purse, humming a little tune and walking back happily. However, just as she turned around a fake mountain, she heard someone calling her, “Hey, little fool.”
Xiao Rulei was taken aback, turned her head to look, and saw a girl standing on the corridor. She recognized her; it was the one who had asked her if she wanted to feed the fish at the banquet earlier.
Xiao Rulei didn’t particularly like her, and she also disliked being called a fool by anyone, so she turned her head and continued walking. Seeing this, Jiang Ziyu changed her tone and called out, “Seventh Princess.”
Calling her like this was more appropriate. Xiao Rulei stopped in her tracks, slightly raised her chin, and mimicked the tone of the Grand Princess, saying, “What business do you have with this palace?”
Jiang Ziyu was irritated by Xiao Rulei’s pretense, but she smiled and said, “I have some delicious candy here. Do you want some?”
Upon hearing this, Xiao Rulei’s eyes lit up, and she asked, “What kind of candy?”
Jiang Ziyu took out a piece of sugar candy and coaxed, “Come over here.”
Xiao Rulei, without any suspicion, followed her instructions. When she saw the candy in Jiang Ziyu’s hand, it turned out to be the kind she was used to. She couldn’t help but feel disappointed and asked, “Just this?”
Thinking that Xiao Rulei wanted it, Jiang Ziyu proudly said, “Do you want it?”
She tossed the sugar candy on the ground and said, “Here, have it.”
Xiao Rulei was somewhat surprised and opened her eyes wide, feeling heartbroken. She asked, “Why did you throw the candy on the ground?”
Although she was tired of this kind of candy, wasting it like this was really a pity. How could this sister act this way?
Jiang Ziyu, seeing that Xiao Rule didn’t move, urged her, “Hurry up and pick it up.”
Xiao Rulei shook her head, and Jiang Ziyu became somewhat angry. She thought to herself, “Why isn’t this fool listening? Shouldn’t she be picking it up from the ground and eating it? She’s so foolish and stupid, but she was born lucky. Everyone has to bow to her, no matter how foolish she is, no one dares to make fun of her, and she gets whatever she wants…”
The more Jiang Ziyu thought about it, the more jealous she became, and the jealousy in her heart turned into resentment. Seeing that there was no one around, she plucked up the courage, grabbed Xiao Rulei’s small purse that she had been holding, and threw it on the ground. She stomped on it harshly and scolded, “I told you to pick it up!”
Xiao Rulei was caught off guard and exclaimed, “What are you doing?!” She quickly crouched down to pick something up, but a embroidered shoe ruthlessly stomped on her hand. Just then, a person suddenly emerged from the side and forcefully pushed Jiang Ziyu aside. She had no time to react and screamed as she fell to the ground. A sharp pain shot through her, causing tears to well up.
Xiao Rulei saw the newcomer and happily exclaimed, “Why did you come?”
Li Zhizhi first looked at her nervously, relieved to see that there was no problem. She asked, “Why did you come out here alone?”
Xiao Rulei quickly replied, “I wanted to give a gift to my sister.”
She opened her bag to check, and the flowers inside were already crushed and withered. Xiao Rulei felt heartbroken and disappointed, saying, “She stomped on them.”
Li Zhizhi turned to look at Jiang Ziyu. Perhaps the push earlier had been too strong; she hadn’t gotten up yet and her expression was twisted. Li Zhizhi asked Xiao Rulei, “What happened?”
Xiao Rulei explained the events that had just transpired. Li Zhizhi could now somewhat understand how easy it was to deceive Xiao Rulei. She was too gullible, going over just for a piece of candy and almost getting bullied.
Li Zhizhi lowered her head to assess Jiang Ziyu and her gaze was icy. In that moment, Jiang Ziyu was a bit afraid of her and instinctively backed away, asking, “What do you want?”
Li Zhizhi walked up to her, stepped on her skirt, and Jiang Ziyu had no room to retreat. She became angry and said, “Li Zhizhi, this is the Su family’s place. Don’t go too far!”
Li Zhizhi replied indifferently, “Yes, this is the Su family’s place. What does it have to do with you, Jiang Ziyu? You’re just a distant relative with some connections. I’ve heard of people being influenced by those in power, but I’ve never seen someone who wants to appease a dog.”
Jiang Ziyu’s face changed, and she stammered, “You—.”
“Do you really not understand that I’m cursing you, you dog?” Li Zhizhi looked down at her with a condescending gaze and sneered, “Princess Qi is His Royal Highness’s own sister. If you want to bully her, you better think about your own life first. Offending her, do you think the Su family will protect you then?”
After saying this, she suddenly reached out and plucked the hairpin from Jiang Zilu’s head, tossing it to the ground. Jiang Zilu was shocked and instinctively reached out to pick it up. However, Li Zhizhi stepped on her hand, causing her to cry out in pain.
Li Zhizhi remained unmoved, even exerting more pressure on her hand. Her beautiful eyes seemed to be filled with icy determination, radiating a chilling aura. She warned in a low voice, “You lowly creature with dog-like eyes, if there’s a next time, I’ll skin your hand, strip it to the bone, finely chop it into mincemeat, steam it, and make you eat it!”
Her tone was frigid, and in this summer day, it carried a hint of terror. Jiang Ziyu was frightened, tears streaming down her face, as she stammered, “You… dare…”
“Do you think I dare or not?” Li Zhizhi raised an eyebrow slightly, staring at her with a look of disdain, as if she were examining something filthy. Her tone suddenly softened, “By the way, do you know how they skin pigs in the countryside? They first make a small incision with a knife, then blow air into the gap. This makes the skin swell and separates it from the meat…”
“Stop it!” Jiang Ziyu screamed, attempting to pull her hand back but unable to move due to the excruciating pain. Her fingers were numb and throbbing, and her already unattractive face became even more grotesque, a pitiful sight.
Li Zhizhi was about to administer another harsh blow when she caught a glimpse of someone standing not far away on the veranda. It was Su Qingshang, dressed in all white. She had no idea how long he had been watching.
Li Zhizhi hesitated, her emotions stirred, and she finally lifted her foot, releasing Jiang Zilu’s hand. However, due to the force she had applied, a clear shoe print was imprinted on Jiang Zilu’s hand, which was now swollen and appeared quite pitiful.
“Oh, my, Jiang sister, it was such an unfortunate accident. How did you end up falling?” Li Zhizhi’s tone feigned surprise as she extended her hand insincerely to help.
As soon as they made contact, Jiang Ziyu seemed even more afraid of her. She shrank back but couldn’t avoid Li Zhizhi’s grip. Li Zhizhi smiled and said, “Jiang sister, you really must stand steady this time.”
Jiang Ziyu looked at her beautiful face, filled with sincerity and concern, as if the person who had just threatened to chop her into pieces by stepping on her hand was not Li Zhizhi. Li Zhizhi even tidied up her collar for her, gently patted her shoulder, and smiled as she advised, “Jiang sister, be more careful. If there’s a next time, it might not be so easy.”
Jiang Ziyu seemed like she wanted to glare at her or maybe say a few words, but for some reason, when she saw Su Qingshang not far away, she didn’t say a word. She turned and left, walking very quickly. If you didn’t know better, you’d think there was a ghost chasing her from behind.
Li Zhizhi watched her figure disappear around the corner of the corridor and didn’t move. Before long, Su Qingshang had indeed approached. His complexion still appeared pale, and the sunlight cast a faint glow on his skin, just like the early summer sun. It looked bright but not overly harsh, with a hint of coolness.
Li Zhizhi discreetly assessed him and politely asked, “Second Young Master, do you have something to say?”
Su Qingshang cleared his throat lightly and then, suddenly, he started to smile. This smile was like ink blooming on rice paper or a rainbow in the early summer sun. His voice was slightly hoarse but carried a hint of cheerful laughter as he said, “You’ve done something that I’ve never been able to do. If anything, I should thank you, Miss Li.”
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