5 Chen Weihao
Chunan walked Yuxi to her room. Opening the nostalgic room, Yuxi was surprised to feel a sense of familarity and comfort, but she didn't know why.
Chunan looked at Yuxi and didn't speak for a while. After thinking of her next plans, she finally spoke. "After his conversation with Duke Wen, Master Chen will most likely call you back into his study. It's best we get you cleaned up and fed."
Yuxi looked down and realized she was still wearing her white mourning hanfu. Yuxi touched her hair and noticed how messy it was. She felt a slight blush rise to her cheeks.
'Was that why the people stared at me?' Yuxi asked herself. She was suddenly self-conscious of her appearance. From being so tired on the journey from the capital to Leijing, Yuxi didn't take her public appearance into account.
When Chunan saw the slight distress in Yuxi's eyes, she spoke up. "Don't worry, the servants were starring at you because of your hanfu and hair."
Yuxi slowly nodded.
"Now come, let's get you cleaned and properly dressed." Chunan walked the girl to her closet to pick out a fresh set of clothes.
She then guided Yuxi to her private bath house where Yuxi was thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed, until her body was bright red and she had a faint scent of Jasmine. In order to enhance her youth and adorable features, Chunan dressed Yuxi in a light blue hanfu.
"There, you're all fresh and clean." Chunan proudly declared. She had a small smile on her face at how quiet and unspoiled Yuxi was. The entire time Chunan was washing her, Yuxi never voiced her opinion.
After examining Yuxi to make sure there wasn't a flaw in sight, Chunan nodded her head. "Now, let's get you some food..." For the first time in forever, Yuxi was presented a full-course meal. It was warm, hearty, and extremely hearty.
Chunan was shocked to see such a small girl wolf down so much food in one sitting, but figured the girl was probably very hungry from the long journey to Leijing.
A knock echoed in the quiet room.
"What is it?" Chunan asked the servant.
"Master Chen had just finished his meeting with Duke Wen. He's seeking for Lady Yuxi's presence." The servant immediately responded.
Yuxi felt herself muddled with confusion at the title of "Lady." She had never been addressed this her entire life, and didn't know how to respond.
"Very well." Chunan nodded.
"I will take Lady Yuxi to Master Chen's study." Chunan said. She guided Yuxi out of the room and towards the direction of the Commander's study.
Chunan knocked on the door and a mellow voice responded, "Come in."
Yuxi gathered all of her courage and pushed open the door.
She was surprised to see the extremely lavished room. Decorated with Zitan wooden furniture that had intricate details of gold embedded within the wood and the perfect view of the Manor's biggest garden, it was a magnificent room.
When Yuxi stepped into the room, she recognized the familiar smell of her mother's favorite chrysanthemum tea.
Stepping into the room with a cleaned face and fresh set of clothes, Yuxi's youthful beauty was further enhanced.
Her unreadable eyes, resembling an innocent fawn, scanned the room. When her eyes finally landed on her grandpa, a soft smile graced her lips. The sight of the girl whose face resembled a porcelain doll immediately caught the attention of a thirteen year old boy.
Standing by the Commander with a bored and nonchalant expression, he caught Yuxi's attention. Likewise, the boy's face lit up with curiosity.
He didn't expect tiny Yuxi to stroll into the room with the elegance of a woman, but the body of a child. Unlike many girls he was acquainted with, Yuxi was quiet and soft.
"Good evening grandfather-" Yuxi stopped herself and cleared her throat.
Remembering his words, she quickly corrected herself. "Greetings to grandpa and..." Yuxi trailed off, unsure how to address the stranger.
At the familiar title, the Commander beckoned Yuxi forward. His face had softened at the sight of Yuxi whose smile resembled Chen Xiyue. The boy besides him immediately saw the similarity.
"Come forward, child." Yuxi immediately obliged. Trying her best to not embarrass herself in front of strangers, Yuxi took dainty steps.
"Yuxi, this is your eldest cousin from the Chen family. His name is Chen Weihao. I hope you two develop a close relationship." Moyao hoped his favorite grandchildren could be good friends whose bond will be stronger than blood.
Yuxi was too sheltered by Zhao Yulong and his men. The Commander knew she needed strong allies to keep her safe when the Commander cannot be there for her. The first step in this plan would be the introduction of Weihao.
Yuxi immediately recognized the name. In her previous life, Chen Weihao was the name of a great Commander. Though he's currently just a boy, Yuxi knew of his bright future.
Turning to the boy, she was prepared for a bow. The Commander cleared his throat in hopes of reminding Yuxi.
Understanding the message being passed, Yuxi slightly bent her head in greeting.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Weihao." Yuxi acknowledged, her voice barely higher than a whisper.
Stepping forward with grand smile, he surprised Yuxi. In her previous life, his reputation was that of a fearsome Commander.
She had forgotten the rumors that used to surround Chen Weihao who only cared for his family and nothing else.
"Call me Wei-ge and in exchange, I'll call you Mei-mei." His smile eventually blossomed into a wide grin at the sight of Yuxi's soft and shy expression. Her sharp and clear eyes hid no greed or thoughts of manipulation.
It was a refreshing sight to see. All of his female acquaintances wanted something in befriending him. It was that or they pretended to be someone they weren't.
"I hope we can have a bond similar to brother and sister, instead of cousin to cousin."
It was easy to see Weihao was excited to finally have a younger sister. His mother who already birthed three males and was tired of childbirth, never provided Weihao a sister.
The Commander never claimed any of his granddaughters, so Weihao never bothered to be in acquaintance with the rest of them. If the Commander didn't care for them, Weihao wouldn't care for them.
"Yuxi would be honored to have such a relationship." Everyone was immediately taken back when a smile graced Yuxi's lips. Though it was a small smile, it immediately had a hand on Weihao's heart.
Yuxi didn't see the beauty in herself and what her smile could do to a man. One glance at her evident beauty, Weihao knew she would one day cause many problems for the Chen Manor whose front entrance will be filled with lines of potential suitors.
If she was beautiful as a child, her beauty as a grown woman would be no match to any woman in Leijing.
Weihao glanced at the Commander whose expression was neutral.
Deep down, the Commander also shared the same opinion. He was already making plans to ensure Yuxi's grown face will never been seen by public's eye.
He wanted to hide the treasure from the greedy mans of undeserving men.
"Mei-mei is even cuter when she smiles." Weihao smoothly commented.
Never once had anyone complimented Yuxi in her previous life.
The people would always call her ugly or bone-woman because of her small stature and extremely ghostly appearance.
This tiny compliment was a welcome surprise that immediately send Yuxi's cheek ablaze. At the sight of her fluffy cheeks whose color resembled a tomato, the men chuckled.
"Please don't tease Yuxi. I'm a bit too shy when it comes to compliments." She nervously whispered while twirling with the materials of her hanfu.
The tiny and unintentional action was enough to solidify their affection towards her. Without realizing it, Yuxi was beginning to build a small hut in their hearts.
"Master Chen, and Young Master, there is a guest outside that awaits the presence of Commander Moyao." An Eunuch spoke from outside of the heavy door.
"Very well, let them in." The Commander said, just as he turned towards his adoring grandchildren.
"Weihao, take Yuxi for a tour of the Manor. I have business to attend to." With a happy nod, at the command, he immediately took Yuxi's small hand in his.
Slow and steady, he softly lead her to the door in fear of pulling her too hard. He was afraid of hurting her and her porcelain face.
As she was pulled out of the door and down the hallway, Yuxi's eyes connected with a boy whose age was similar to Weihao.
Judging by his taller frame, he was perhaps one or two years older than Weihao. He was standing besides his father, an extremely stern and fierce faced man.
Paying no mind to the stranger, Yuxi hurriedly walked to match Weihao's bubbly pace. Yuxi didn't realize she had just crossed paths with the boy who would eventually become this country's strongest Commander.