The Rise of Xueyue

Chapter 12 Someone of Importance

The next morning, the servants were bustling around as they quickly prepared a new room for Xueyue. It was bigger than the one she was currently staying in, and Duchess Li had ordered many accessories, hanfus, and shoes for the girl.

When Duchess Li had received word that Xueyue had woken up, she was the first to bring her a tray of food. Duchess Li had gotten up extra early this morning in order to personally prepare light dishes suitable for a patient that had just awoken from a long sleep.

"The servants could carry the trays." Duke Li worriedly said to his wife.

Duchess Li who rolled her eyes at her over-bearing husband.

She was holding a silver tray that held one tea cup, a pot of freshly brewed tea, and a bowl of vegetable porridge.

"It's only a tray of food, not a plate filled with gold!" Duchess Li resorted. She loved her husband dearly, but sometimes he worried too much.

The servants following closely behind them exchanged nervous glances. It was their job to take the workload off of their Masters. They were supposed to carry the tea pot, the water, and the tray.

As the Missus of the house, Duchess Li was supposed to live the life of extreme comfort. She had servants that waited on her beck and call. But here she was, stealing the job of a servant!

"Be a dear and knock on the door for me." Duchess Li nudged her husband with her shoulder.

Duke Li grumbled something under his breath, but proceeds to follow his wife's wishes.

Knock, knock!

Xueyue, who had been daydreaming, snapped into reality. In a quiet and hesitant voice, she said, "C-come in...?"

Although Duke Li was the one who knocked and opened the door, Duchess Li was the first one to enter the room. She was already five steps ahead of him and she didn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.

With a gentle, yet excited smile, Duchess Li said "Sweetheart, I've brought you breakfast!" She placed the silver tray onto the dinning table.

Xueyue felt overwhelmingly happy, so much that she struggled to form a proper sentence! "T-thank you." She said.

It was the first time Xueyue would have a meal so early. Back in the Bai Manor, the servants always served her last. The food would always consist of cold and unwanted dishes meant for servants.

Often, her food was spoiled, but Xueyue ate it anyways. She knew it was better to eat damaged goods than starve the entire day.

"You're welcome. Now, don't just sit there. Come and enjoy your food!" Duchess Li happily beckoned Xueyue forward.

She didn't expect Xueyue to be so polite and was a bit surprised at her behavior. Daughters of wealthy families were usually spoiled rotten and rarely would they express any form of gratitude. There were a few smart ones that knew how to mask their bad temper with a thick mask of falsified innocence, but often, their masks were too thin and would crack easily.

Xueyue had just washed up before Duchess Li had walked in. She nervously walked towards the table filled with piping hot food. 'Can I really eat it...?' Xueyue thought to herself.

Duchess Li began to list the dishes she had made. "This is vegetable porridge cooked with carrots, mushrooms, and spinach! It is filled with nutrients for your malnourished body. And in this cup is ginseng tea, which works wonders on your immune system!"

"Dig in!" Duchess Li clapped her hands. Although she wasn't showing it, Duchess Li was very nervous of Xueyue's reaction. Will she like the food? Will she push it away? Oh no, what if the porridge is too salty?

Xueyue stood by the table. When she didn't make any move of touching the porridge and tea, Duchess Li felt her heart drop. Duke Li frowned. Was there something wrong?

"U-uhm...You're not going to eat?" Xueyue quietly asked.

The couple blinked in surprise. 'Oh my, what a wonderful child!' Duchess Li thought to herself.

Duke Li pleasantly hummed in reply. 'It seemed this child was at least raised with manners,' Duke Li noted in his brain.

Duke Li cleared his throat. He didn't expect to hear such caring words, but it had moved his heart.

In a light and calm voice, Duke Li said, "We've already had our morning meal. You don't have to worry about us. Now, dig in, child." He beckoned her forward.

After the reassurance, Xueyue finally sat down. She nervously picked up the metal spoon and took the first bite of her porridge. Her eyes immediately widened at the amazing flavors that boomed on her tongue. She had never tasted something so warm and delicious!

Duchess Li watched in awe as Xueyue finished the bowl within seconds. She scraped the entire bowl clean and finished all of her tea. There was not a single food gone to waste!

"How did it taste?" Duchess Li tried to keep her voice calm and without any bias, but her tone sounded very eager for a good response.

Xueyue happily grinned. "It's the best dish I've ever had! I've never tasted something so warm, rich, and delicious!"

Duchess Li was so overwhelmingly happy at the compliment, she nearly cried tears of happiness! None of her children complimented on her cooking, as a matter of fact, most of them disliked it!

Duke Li and his children always preferred saltier and heavier dishes. They didn't like Duchess Li's simple and light flavored cooking, even though cooking was something she greatly enjoyed.

Duchess Li tenderly grabbed Xueyue's tiny hands. In a gentle and reassuring voice, she asked, "My dear, would you like to stay in the manor and enjoy warm meals everyday?"

Duchess Li felt her heart race with anxiety at Xueyue's response. She feared Xueyue might reject her offer.

"You mean I can stay here and work?" Xueyue was beyond excited at Duchess Li's words.

Taken by surprise at her words, Duchess Li awkwardly blinked a few times. She didn't expect Xueyue to immediately think about working as a servant. 'What an odd thing to say for a child her age...' Duchess Li pondered to herself.

'This child has the blood of a Viscount running through her veins. Why would she think about working?' Duchess Li couldn't help but wonder about Xueyue's treatment in the Bai Manor. How bad could it be for a legitimate daughter to desire the strenuous work of a maidservant?

"You will not stay here as a servant...the only occasional task you will do is keeping me company." Duchess Li patiently explained.

Xueyue tilted her head in confusion. "I-I don't understand..."

"I would like to adopt you into our family." Duchess Li gently said.

Xueyue felt her eyes grow wide with surprise. "B-but why me?" There's nothing special about me...Why would she pick me?

Duchess Li placed a tender hand over Xueyue's tiny hands. "You see, sweetheart, I used to have a daughter your age. She was as bright and wonderful as you, but I-I eventually lost her to an unfortunate accident..."

"I'm not a selfish woman. I don't want a girl to replace her spot as my daughter, but nothing can ever replace the company of a girl." Duchess Li paused and carefully thought about what she wanted to say next.

"Please don't misunderstand...I still love my daughter very much. I have two lovely sons who are a few years older than you, but nothing can fill the void of having a chance to cook for, dress, chat, and enjoy occasional tea-times with a lovely girl..."

Duchess Li tucked a few strands of hair behind her ears. "I-I suppose I'm rambling a bit too long."

Xueyue immediately shook her head. "No, your explanation was the perfect length!"

She realized Duchess Li seemed like the type to blame herself for doing nothing wrong. Xueyue didn't want to place a heavy burden on a woman who has shown her so much kindness.

"I-I suppose what I want to ask of you is if you'd like to become my adopted daughter and inherit the Li family name?" Duchess Li softly asked Xueyue.

Xueyue felt her eyes grow wider in surprise. Her voice seemed to be stuck in her throat and the emotions washed over her like a heavy tidal wave.

Xueyue felt tears welt in her eyes. 'Would I finally have someone to call mother?'

In fear of her rejection, Duchess Li hurriedly listed the benefits, "You can restart in life! After inheriting the Li surname, you can gain a new identity. I hate to brag, but our family is wealthy enough to allow you to enjoy a life free from can have a better future with us!"

Duchess Li nudged her husband.

"My lovely wife states nothing but the truth. If you would allow us, we would happily accept you into our family." Duke Li had a small smile on his face. Though the majority of his heart wanted to go against his own words, there was a small portion that was beginning to warm up to the idea of having Xueyue as their daughter...

Xueyue breathed out slowly and breathed in deeply. With tear-filled eyes and voice crackly from holding back her emotions, she said, "It would be my greatest honor to accept your offer."

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