Noble Daughter | Chapter 3: Reluctant

Now that Wei Hong has experienced a lifetime and been a daughter-in-law, understanding the difficulties of a daughter’s family, she couldn’t help but sympathize with Ge Shi.

He Shi also noticed Ge Shi’s embarrassment and felt somewhat displeased. Women from humble backgrounds tend to be a bit petty—once they enter a women’s school, it’s hard to change their ingrained habits. Nevertheless, Mrs. He, being Ge Shi’s mother-in-law, defended her and quickly changed the topic, “Zhu Zhu, don’t cling to your grandmother like a monkey. Look at you, all teary and snotty. How unsightly. Why not learn from your second sister? Her demeanor is praised by everyone, even the empress. When you go to school tomorrow, learn well from the teacher and your second sister.”

Wei Heng’s heart had just opened up a little because of the old lady, sbut he was hit again by a series of “second sisters”, and her unhappiness was written all over her face.

“What, you have to go to school tomorrow?” The old lady couldn’t help but widen her eyes when she heard this.

He Shi nodded.

“How can you go tomorrow? Your body hasn’t healed yet. My second daughter-in-law, have you forgotten how Zhu Zhu’er got sick? Are you trying to force her and this old woman to death?” The old lady hugged Wei Heng and refused to let go, as if He Shi was the stepmother.

He Shi was so angry that she fell over. This old woman just doted on her children and was not teaching them at all. She was simply raising a spoilt child. However,He Shi couldn’t tell the old lady clearly like this, so she could only say calmly: “Ancestor, I don’t want to do this. Aren’t you anxious too? Zhuzhu’er is already nine years old and will take the entrance exam for girls’ school at the age of twelve. I’m just worried.”

“How? Is she going to study with her head hanging, kneeling, and staying up late to recite books? How can you, as a mother, forget how Zhu Zhu got sick? Is a girls’ school so great? If our Zhu Zhu’er doesn’t go to a girls’ school, will she not get married? Aren’t you going overboard?” The old lady was stubborn about protecting her granddaughter.

In fact, the reason why the old lady protected Wei Heng like this was because Wei Heng kept burrowing into her arms, and she knew that the child was afraid of studying. Although the old lady also likes Wei Xuan, the granddaughter who earned her a good reputation, secretly she prefers Wei Heng, a coquettish and lively girl like her.

How could He Shi dare to compete with the old lady, but Wei Heng couldn’t lose his studies, so she had to smile bitterly and said: ” Old Madam , Zhu Zhu’er naturally has no worries about getting married. But I hope that she will be better?”

Looking at He Shi who really can’t speak. Could it be that the old lady isn’t looking forward to Wei Heng? However, after being mother-in-law and daughter-in-law for so many years, the old lady also understood He Shi’s personality and knew that she didn’t mean bad. However, she was a bystander and felt that Wei Heng’s illness was caused by He Shi pushing her too hard.

The old lady spoke earnestly and sincerely: “A sharpening of a knife can make a difference in chopping firewood. If Zhuzhu’er is not healthy, how can she learn well? You, you can’t eat hot tofu in a hurry. The Chinese New Year is coming soon, in the cold winter months, girls Studying is even harder, so listen to me and let Zhuzhuer go to school after spring comes.”

Wei Heng raised his head from the old lady’s arms and looked at He Shi with a bright look on his face. Those Confucian classics, forcibly stuffed into Wei Heng’s mind in her earlier years, still had to be occasionally brought out and paraded around in her lifetime. For instance, when encountering younger generations, she would utter the customary three questions: “How old are you?” “What books have you read?” “Let me test your knowledge.”

Sometimes, one also has to accommodate the husband’s hobby of enjoying the beauty of red sleeves, isn’t that something used throughout one’s life? It’s something unforgettable even if one wants to forget. However, when it comes to studying, it’s truly a matter of talent. It’s not just about rote memorization; one must also draw connections, think critically, and apply knowledge flexibly.

Wei Heng questioned her own abilities; even if she exerted herself, she couldn’t surpass Wei Xuan. Though she now had the experience of two lifetimes and might outshine Wei Xuan for a short time, she was well aware that Wei Xuan would eventually catch up, and in the end, she, Wei Heng, would be the one embarrassed. Moreover, there was always the suspicion of cheating. Wei Heng, being proud and assertive, was not willing to win unfairly. Therefore, she simply didn’t want to go to school. After all, the teachings of these scholars were things she had learned in her previous life, and picking them up again wouldn’t take much effort.

Seeing the expectation in Wei Heng’s eyes, He Shi hated her for being cunning and ignorant. At a young age, she knew how to use the situation to force others, but at this moment, He Shi had no choice but to timidly say: “Mother, this It’s only October.” This means that if Wei Heng goes to school at the beginning of the new year, she will be wasting too much time.

Seeing that He Shi had given in, the old lady thought that she shouldn’t let Wei Heng play for too long, otherwise it would be bad if she became distracted.

When Wei Heng saw that the old lady’s face had softened, all the strength in his body suddenly seemed to have been drained away and she fell limply into the old lady’s arms, sighing “Hey–“.

But the little girl pretended to be an adult and was so innocent and cute that the eldest lady who was watching couldn’t help but laugh. As long as there is anyone with eyes in this room, who can’t see that Wei Heng doesn’t want to study.

“That’s all, just go easy on Zhuzhu’er this time. Feel it, how much meat does she still have on her body?” The old lady touched Wei Heng lovingly.

Wei Heng called He Shi pitifully at the right moment, “Mother.”

“Sister, just let Zhuzhu’er take care of herself. Xuan Jie will copy her teacher’s lecture notes every day, so she won’t delay her studies.” Madam Mu also advised.

In Lady Mu’s mind, she felt that He Shi was pushing too hard, trying to force Zhu Zhu into academic pursuits when she clearly wasn’t naturally inclined. It seemed overly ambitious. Of course, in turn, Lady Mu couldn’t help but feel a bit of superiority.

Hearing Mu Shi remarks, He Shi felt infuriated inwardly but had to maintain a grateful appearance on her face.

After bidding farewell, the old lady didn’t require the attendance of Mu Shi and He Shi during the meal. She sent them back on their own. Although she wanted to keep Zhu Zhu with her, seeing He Shi’s expression made it clear that she intended to scold Zhu Zhu. If she kept Zhu Zhu there at that moment, He Shi’s  anger would only accumulate, and it might frighten Zhu Zhu.

So, the old lady patted Wei Heng’s hand and said, “You go back with your mother. The matter of going to school will be decided by your grandmother.”

Wei Heng nodded, stood on tiptoe and hugged the old lady’s neck. He couldn’t help but press his face against the old lady’s face. She really missed the smell of her grandmother.

The old lady was so heartbroken by Wei Heng’s action that she hugged Wei Heng and said, “Oh, my little sweet granddaughter.”

When Wei Heng followed He Shi out of the gate of Ruiyun Hall’s courtyard, the smile on He Shi’s face could no longer be held on, and the clouds suddenly gathered. He Shi took Wei Heng’s hand and pulled her back to Lan Yi Courtyard, regardless of whether her short legs could keep up.

After sitting down, He Shi’s anger swirled in her mind for a week, and she suppressed it again. For a child as big as Wei Heng, if you force her, she will already have her own thoughts, but if you reason with her, she will act willful and not understand, it’s really a headache.

But in the end, Mrs. He still felt sorry for Wei Heng. She nodded her forehead and said, “You know how to be clever. How great would it be if you could use this in your studies? At such a young age, you already know how to bring out the old lady to suppress me. Let me tell you, you don’t have to go to school, but you can’t escape the daily homework, which is ten large-character articles, three small-character articles, memorizing three poems, and silently a passage of the Analects.”

Wei Heng’s little face instantly wrinkled up exaggeratedly, “Mom, this is too much.”

However, He Shi didn’t give Wei Heng any room to bargain, “Go, go, go inside. I get upset when I see you, you little heartless kid. Do you think I’m hurting you by asking you to study? Those who advise you not to read.” It’s them with bad intentions.” The person with bad intentions that He Shi was referring to was naturally Mu Shi.

Wei Heng didn’t take it seriously. She stepped forward and put his arms around He Shi’s waist, rubbing and twisting in her arms. She called out in a voice sweeter than ever, “Mom, my good mother.”

He Shi was helpless against such coquettish Wei Heng, and she finally kissed her with a smile on her face, “Okay, you little enemy, girls have to have a girly character, look at what you look like, Are you a monkey?”

Wei Heng calmed down and sighed in an adult manner, “Mom, even if I have three heads put together, I can’t compare to my second sister.”

He Shi was shocked. She didn’t expect Wei Heng to say such a thing. She said harshly: “Studying is for yourself. How can you say it is to compare with your second sister?”

Wei Heng glanced at He Shi, which meant that you and I knew everything.

He Shi said angrily: “I asked you to follow your second sister as an example. You are all sisters. If people see such a stark difference between you two, what kind of reputation will we have? Does that sound pleasant to your ears?”

Wei Heng pouted and said: “Mom, no one will say that. My second sister is like a monster in academic pursuits. How many women in the capital and in the world can surpass her? At just nine years old, her poems have become widely known, and they praise her ‘talent in praising catkins.’ Trying to imitate her is just futile.”

In fact, He Shi did know this in her heart, but she just couldn’t reconcile it, “But you’re not bad either. In school, Master often praises you, so aren’t you just a little bit worse than her?” The thumb and index finger were put together to mark a distance about the size of a grain of rice.

Wei Heng wanted to sigh again, lowered his head and said, “That’s because you asked Teacher in person, how can teacher hit you in the face?”

He Shi wanted to scratch the wall again, “Why don’t you listen to me kid?”

Wei Heng also knew that it was unrealistic not to study. “Mom, I just don’t want you to be disappointed, the more you expect, the greater your disappointment.” When He Shi learned that Wei Heng had not been admitted to a girls’ school, she was so angry that she wanted to jump into the river. That scene was still fresh in Wei Heng’s memory, and she was frightened in her heart.

“You’re a good-for-nothing, why do you dislike learning so much?” He Shi asked.

Anyway, Wei Heng really didn’t like the feeling of being forced to learn something. “It’s not that I don’t want to learn, but the workload is so heavy. To cope with it, I have to just go through the motions. When Mom tells me to write, I dare not refuse; when told to memorize, I dare not neglect it. But while my sister memorizes a passage in one go, I have to repeat it ten or a hundred times to remember it fluently.”

He Shi clearly saw the self-doubt and self-blame in Wei Heng’s eyes. She also felt surprised, especially after Wei Hong’s recent illness. She knew she had pushed too hard, but she couldn’t easily accept it. 

From ancient times to the present, these three words “unwilling” have harmed countless people.

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