After the emperor had left, Duke Li Shenyang informed everyone of the plan to move to the capital. Li Chenyang and Li Wenmin were reluctant to move, because of how long and tiring the journey would be. But after realizing their new home would have an even bigger field to practice and they could be closer to their doting grandparents that gave in to their every whim, the two packed faster than anyone in the house.
Out of everyone, Xueyue was glad to finally leave Hechen, a city filled with nothing but painful and dreadful memories. If she went to the capital, she would never run into Viscount Bai and his family.
Thus, the move took two uneventful weeks to finish. The new house was significantly bigger than the house in Hechen. Xueyue didn't think she was a quick learner until the duke pointed out how fast she memorized the layout of the new house whereas the servants still struggled.
The entire family was enjoying breakfast in their new house when Duchess Li Qixing suddenly spoke up. "Xueyue, have you been to the capital before?" she asked while placing half a braised egg into Xueyue's already full rice bowl.
"No, I'm afraid not," Xueyue answered while placing a piece of tender fish onto Duchess Li Qixing's plate with a bright smile.
"I see, then Wenmin or Chenyang can take you on a tour while the duke and I pay our respects to the Emperor and Empress of Wuyi." Duchess Li Qixing nodded her head to her sons to make them understand.
"Sure! I'll take Xiao Yue on a tour of the capital!" Li Wenmin excitedly responded while finishing his bowl of soup in one gulp. The servants were so used to his antics that they immediately stepped forward with another bowl and took the empty one.
"Whatever," Li Chenyang replied. He casually deboned a fish and when no one was looking, he placed it into his mother's bowl. He was pretending to not care, but in reality, he loved his mother more than anyone in the world.
Duke Li Shenyang happily chuckled at the sight of his happy family and the lively atmosphere that seemed to surround the table. He wished it would remain this way forever.
- - - - -
"And this is the stall that sells my favorite red bean steamed buns!" Li Wenmin babbled. "This is the stall that sells Shenzhou's famous honey rice cakes!" He pointed down an alleyway and said, "Oh and if you walk through this street, there will be a stand that sells tanghulu ! But if you don't want something sweet, you can walk down this street and—"
"Li Wenmin, she gets it. You know every food stand in Wuyi," Li Chenyang sighed. "Besides, how can you even think about food after having such a big breakfast?"
Li Wenmin sheepishly smiled and scratched the back of his head. "Is it a bad time to say I'm hungry for some snacks?"
"You're kidding," Li Chenyang deadpanned.
"I wish I was," Li Wenmin grinned before grabbing Xueyue's wrist as he began to drag her in the direction of the honey rice cake stand. She laughed at his enthusiasm and allowed herself to be dragged away. It was hard to catch up to the pace of his long legs, but the boy was too excited to wait for her — not that she minded.
Li Wenmin was practically bouncing on his feet when they arrived at the honey rice cake stand. He eagerly held up three fingers, "Three rice cake sticks."
The vendor nodded and said, "Sir, that will be 30 copper coins or 3 silver coins."
Li Wenmin didn't bother counting his coins as he handed the man three gold coins.
The stand owner's eyes widened at how easily he handed out money.
"Keep the change," Li Wenmin said with an easy-going smile.
"T-thank you for your patronage!" The stand-owner nearly stumbled over his words. His hands could barely keep up with his excitement. Xueyue was also surprised by Li Wenmin's generosity.
A gold coin was worth 50 silver coins and a small bag of rice was only worth 10 copper coins. The stand-owner was a farmer who often came to the capital to sell his rice cakes in hopes of making more money. A small bag of rice could only feed a family of four for three days and through Li Wenmin's enormous donation, the stand owner's family could be full for a very long time!
The stand-owner respectfully handed Li Wenmin the rice cakes and bowed deeply to the young boy in front of him.
Li Wenmin grabbed the three sticks and handed one to Xueyue and the other to Li Chenyang before stuffing the remaining one in his mouth. Before Xueyue even took a bite, Li Wenmin was already leading her towards another store, but she planted her foot down. Quickly turning towards the stand-owner, she offered a quick, "Thank you!"
Silence ensued, but Xueyue was too oblivious and engrossed in her food to realize what was happening. She happily chewed the soft and delicious treat that was just the right amount of sweetness.
The stand-owner knew the three children in front of him came from a wealthy family, and they seemed to be siblings, but he did not expect them to be so courteous. Usually, sons and daughters of noble families were spoiled rotten and had no manners.
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The rich weren't the type to say thank you to someone who was socially beneath them, since they saw no benefits in paying respects to the lower ranks.
However, Xueyue was too naive to understand such a thing. She was too sheltered to have been spoiled by the rules of society. It takes less than a second of a person's day to be polite and respectful.
Li Wenmin, who had a soft spot for kind girls, couldn't help but gently pat her head. Likewise, Li Chenyang seemed a little less grumpy than usual. The servants trailing after them were dumbfounded to see the tender expression on their young masters' face, but wisely chose to not comment.
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