Noble Daughter | Chapter 9: Shu He Ju

“Zhu Zhu, don’t be naughty. I see that fiery horse, swift as a thousand-mile horse, untamed and hard to tame. You’ve only learned equestrian skills for a few days, and you dare to tame a horse?” Mothers always felt that their children were still young, afraid of any accidents.

Wei Heng blinked and smiled, “That’s why I’m taking advantage of Dad and Uncle being here to tame the horse.”

“Let’s go; we can’t avoid riding just because we’re afraid.” Wei Jun said. Men treated children differently from women and were more accepting of their brave attempts.

Although Flame was not yet an adult horse, it was already quite tall. Wei Heng was only up to its belly. Standing next to Flame, He Shi was afraid that a sudden move from the horse might break her neck.

Wei Heng was dressed in riding attire, wearing leather boots. Standing next to Flame, she took a deep breath. She was not without fear, but she glanced at her mentor, who nodded in approval. She gently touched Flame’s belly.

Flame let out a long neigh, raised its front hooves, and started running lightly. Wei Heng ran after it, grabbed Flame’s mane, and, with a leap, mounted the horse.

Unable to contain himself, He Bin exclaimed, “Good.” On the side, He Shi tightly held a handkerchief, not daring to breathe.

Flame neighed again, accelerated suddenly, like lightning flashing before everyone’s eyes.

“Ah, ah, Zhuzhu, Zhuzhu. Someone, go chase her, quickly, go!” He Shi’s tears started flowing. Seeing Wei Heng bouncing on the horse as if in a giant wave, in the midst of He Shi’s cries, Wei Heng had already been thrown from the horse, holding onto the mane for dear life, being dragged by Flame.

Wei Jun, Li Yong, and He Bin had already mounted their horses and were chasing after.

He Shi screamed and almost fainted. Fortunately, Wei Heng, showing determination, managed to climb back onto the horse, letting out a sigh of relief.

After that, Flame carrying Wei Heng had disappeared from view. Wei Jun and the others’ horses were no match for Flame’s incredible speed, making the pursuit difficult. They exchanged glances, all wearing grim expressions. They were aware of Flame’s impressive speed, but they didn’t expect it to be this extraordinary, especially considering Flame was not yet fully grown. Additionally, Wei Heng’s boldness surprised them.

If it were another girl, she might have been scared out of her wits when thrown from the horse. Even if she had let go of the mane during the fall, with Wei Jun and the others there to assist, it wouldn’t have been life-threatening. However, Wei Heng refused to let go, eventually climbing back onto the horse.

The adults had faces drained of color, urging their horses to catch up. However, to their surprise, after a while, they saw Wei Heng riding toward them, excitedly shouting, “Dad, Uncle, Master.”

Wei Jun noticed that Wei Heng still had her right hand free from gripping the mane, waving it at them. He was almost scared off his horse.

“Dad.” In the blink of an eye, Wei Heng was in front of Wei Jun, wearing a brilliant smile. She gently pulled the horse’s mane, and Flame immediately stopped.

“I’m amazing, right? Haha.” Wei Heng laughed carefreely, unaware that her parents were nearly terrified moments ago.

Wei Jun, with a stern face, couldn’t bring himself to scold Wei Heng. Later, he sighed to He Shi, “Zhuzhu, such a stubborn temperament.”

Wei Heng was indeed strong-willed, a trait that had caused her constant competition with Wei Xuan in their past lives. In this life, she hadn’t truly overcome it; the recent tranquility was merely a result of her avoiding Wei Xuan.

This time, Wei Heng’s horse training scared He Shi to the extent that she lay in bed for two days, her legs almost giving way. She was not only angry with Wei Heng but also with He Bin for giving such a frightening gift to her niece.

In reality, even He Bin didn’t expect his pampered niece to have such courage. Faced with his sister’s angry look, he could only smile bitterly.

Wei Heng didn’t anticipate that He Shi would be so frightened, even affecting her spirits during the New Year. It wasn’t until the first day of the lunar year that He Shi had to pull herself together, put on makeup, and go to the palace to pay respects to the Empress Dowager along with the old lady and Mu Shi.

When He Shi returned from the palace, her expression became even more unpleasant. Upon seeing Wei Heng, she couldn’t stand her at all.

“You, why can’t you be more sensible? A girl learning such rough behavior like a boy scared me out of my wits. Look at Xuan, she composed a congratulatory poem for the Empress Dowager, so innovative that it’s spreading everywhere. I don’t expect you to shine like Xuan, but all you care about is playing. What will you do in the future?” He Shi spoke with increasing sadness and frustration.

Wei Heng knew that today, when they went to the palace, the Empress Dowager praised Wei Xuan again. Not to mention that Wei Xuan is the Empress Dowager’s niece, her poetic talent is exceptional. How could the Empress Dowager not favor her?

“Today is Xuan’s birthday, and the Empress Dowager even gave her a birthday gift, using Tian Shui Bi that money can’t buy.” He Shi said. Although she didn’t act like she had never seen Tian Shui Bi before, she sighed at Wei Xuan’s ability to gain the Empress Dowager’s favor. In the capital city, Wei Xuan had already become a renowned talented lady, while Wei Heng was still just a child, with only a year’s difference between them.

Wei Heng pouted, “Is Mom still thinking about how amazing Second Sister is? How lucky she was to be born on the first day of the lunar year, what a good omen.”

He Shi heard this and harshly pointed at Wei Heng’s forehead, “You naughty girl, are you implying that your mother gave birth to you at the wrong time?”

Wei Heng forcefully squeezed into He Shi’s arms and said, “Mom, why don’t you think about it? The Empress Dowager is Second Sister’s maternal aunt; it’s only reasonable for her to give gifts.”

“Yes, I didn’t say it’s unreasonable. But speaking of reason, shouldn’t you address the Empress Dowager as ‘Aunt’ too? Your sister Xuan is good with several princesses in the palace, but you, like a dumb gourd, can talk fluently in front of me, but in the palace, you can’t say a word.” He Shi complained.

Wei Heng clasped her hands together in front of her chest and smiled, “Guilty, guilty. Mom, you’ve spoken too much, even mentioning a fart.”

He Shi grabbed Wei Heng’s chubby cheeks, “You daring girl, dare you say your mother like that?”

“Ouch, it hurts, Mom.” Wei Heng quickly retreated from He Shi’s clutches, then said seriously, “Regardless of whether Mom admits it or not, a talented woman like Second Sister is rare to see in decades. Your daughter simply can’t compare to her.”

“You…” He Shi was about to scold Wei Heng for being unambitious when, without a fight, she heard the maid outside the curtain say, “Madam, Miss Shuying from Second Miss’s room is here.”

Shuying was the head maid in Wei Xuan’s room, accompanying Wei Xuan. Despite He Shi’s dissatisfaction, she had to save face, “Quickly, ask Miss Shuying to come in.”

“Miss Shuying presents gifts to Madam and greets Third Miss.” A charming maid in a water-blue dress walked in, lifting the curtain. “Today, the Empress Dowager gave several bolts of Tian Shui Bi in the palace. Our young lady asked me to bring two bolts to Third Miss for making clothes.”

“Thank your young lady for me. Is the eldest Miss’s side taken care of?” He Shi asked.

“Madam, the gifts for the eldest Miss have already been sent over.” Shuying replied.

He Shi nodded.

Shuying added, “Our young lady also invites Third Miss to Shuhe Ju for some fun. The Miss and young masters from the Mu family are also there.”

“I’ll go over to celebrate my Second Sister’s birthday in a while,” Wei Heng said.

He Shi had already prepared a birthday gift for Wei Xuan, which she had sent with Shuying to Shuhe Ju.

After Shuying left, He Shi advised Wei Heng, “Your Second Sister knows how to handle things. Learn a bit from her. Even though we don’t care much for Tian Shui Bi, it’s her goodwill. Nobody would dislike it.”

Wei Heng obediently nodded.

He Shi glanced at Wei Heng and, to make her more comfortable, gave her a slightly worn padded jacket. “Go change into new clothes. It’s the first day; you should wear something new. The Mu family’s young masters and misses are here. You can’t be too casual when meeting guests.”

Wei Heng said, “I’ve prepared them already. I’ll change now. It’s more comfortable to wear old clothes inside the house.”

After changing, Wei Heng came back for He Shi’s approval. He Shi nodded, and Wei Heng left for Shuhe Ju.

In the current Marquis’s residence, apart from Wei Xuan having her own dwelling, Wei Heng and Wei Fang lived in the courtyard with the Madam.

Although the Marquis’s residence was considered substantial in the capital, the city’s limited space made it challenging. Given the prevailing trend of competing with gardens, any family without a notable garden felt ashamed to call themselves distinguished. The Marquis’s residence in Jingcheng wasn’t particularly spacious. When Wei Heng’s great-grandfather was the Marquis, he allocated part of the front yard for a garden. As a result, the residence’s buildings seemed insufficient. Moreover, the Marquis’s residence had expanded over several generations, with an increased number of masters and servants. Whoever lived there found it not spacious enough.

Shuhe Ju, where Wei Xuan resides, was the former dwelling of the Old Madam’s only daughter, Wei Lan, before she got married. Wei Lan married Liao Dechang, who is currently the Governor-General of Shandong. With a prominent husband and her own fame as a talented woman before marriage, Wei Lan was doted on by her parents and naturally developed a somewhat proud temperament. Even after her marriage, she wouldn’t allow anyone to stay in her place without her consent.

Wei Xuan caught Wei Lan’s attention, and thus Shuhe Ju became her dwelling. For this matter, He Shi did express some grievances towards her younger sister-in-law, but she wasn’t an unreasonable person. Instead, she directed her frustration towards Wei Heng for not being ambitious.

In the previous life, Wei Heng had vowed not to set foot in Shuhe Ju, so every New Year’s Day when Wei Xuan celebrated her birthday, Wei Heng conveniently claimed to have a stomachache. However, in this new life, Wei Heng no longer harbored the same temper and narrow-mindedness as she did as a young girl.

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