When Duke Li Shenyang returned home, none of the children mentioned what had happened in the capital. Duchess Li Qixing, however, informed her husband of the drama that went down. He was highly amused by the twin's reaction and had reassured his wife that everything would be alright. Despite his reassurance, the Worrywart Duchess continued to fret about it. It didn't take long for the night to pass and the sun to rise the next morning. After enjoying a hefty breakfast, the trio boarded the large family carriage and rode into the capital.
"Where are we going?" Xueyue asked Li Wenmin when she watched the carriage ride past the capital and towards the outskirts of town.
"Father discovered your skills in archery and wants us to buy you a horse to practice with. It will come in handy if you ever want to compete in archery." Li Wenmin patted Xueyue's dainty head, ruffling her hair in the process.
Xueyue swatted at his annoying hand. The maidservants had spent the entire morning doing her hair and he was always ruining their hard work. Li Wenmin chuckled at her feeble attempts before soothing the hairpin back into place.
Xueyue thought about the idea of owning a horse. When she was younger, she used to own a small and inexpensive horse, but when Viscount Bai discovered her sweaty and covered in specks of dirt, he banned her from the sport, declaring it was too "unladylike". Despite his words, Bai Tianai was gifted with a prestigious horse bred for speed and races on her thirteenth birthday.
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Xueyue's lips thinned in displeasure. She remembered asking her father for another horse, but he was furious, declaring Tianai deserved the horse because she was so well-behaved. That week, Xueyue was locked in her room without food and water for three days. She was taunted by Bai Tianai's frequent laughter when the latter went horseback riding. When Xueyue persisted and pestered on, it was the first time she got beaten by Viscount Bai.
Ever since that incident, Xueyue rarely voiced her desires. She was scared of approaching Duke and Duchess Li to ask them a favor… What if she gets kicked out of the house for being so troublesome?
"What type of horse do you want, Xiao Yue?" Li Wenmin asked her.
Li Chenyang stared out the window with a nonchalant expression. Everyone thought he was bored, but secretly, he had been watching Xueyue. He hated how much he noticed her silence. She had been with them for a few weeks now, but she rarely spoke first. The realization disturbed him to no avail.
"Uhm...the least expensive one?" Xueyue hesitatingly said, even though it sounded like a question.
Li Wenmin laughed, thinking it was a joke, but when she stared at him confusedly, he realized she was serious. His smile wavered. "Xiao Yue, Mother, and Father are very rich. They can buy you the most expensive horse that money could buy," he told her.
"I don't want to waste their money--"
"Father instructed us to buy you the most expensive horse," Li Chenyang interrupted her. He turned towards her, a frown on his face. Usually, girls would want the best that money could buy. Why was she so different?
"And we won't settle for anything less than that." Li Wenmin grinned at the dumbfounded Xueyue.
"Young Masters and Young Miss, we have arrived at the horse ring," the footman announced right on time.
"Come on, let's go!" Li Wenmin excitedly said. He climbed out of the carriage and Li Chenyang followed after him.
Xueyue struggled to climb out of the carriage with her long hanfu. The maidservants came forward, but Li Chenyang brushed them aside.
"Here," he grumbled, offering her a hand.
Xueyue stared at his outstretched hand, her brows knitting together in confusion. She didn't think he was the type of man to do such a thing.
"What are you waiting for? Hurry up, my hand is tired," Li Chenyang muttered, avoiding her curious gaze.
Xueyue gently laughed and accepted his hand. "Thank you," she gratefully said.
"Whatever," he grunted, helping her off the carriage before swiftly leaving her behind.
Xueyue couldn't wipe the amused smile off of her face. Li Chenyang was so awkward with girls and it amused her to see him like that.
He paused and glanced back at her with an impatient scowl, "Well, are you coming or not?"
Xueyue laughed again and instantly ran to catch up to the twins. She followed Li Chenyang's quick-paced footsteps towards the excited Li Wenmin.
- - - - -
"Li Wenmin, be careful! You're going to choke if you keep stuffing the buns into your mouth!" Xueyue reprimanded for the tenth time as he inhaled the salted yolk buns.
"He'll be fine. Let him choke," Li Chenyang mused while taking a slow bite from his bun. He ate the way a normal person should, whereas Li Wenmin was too busy wolfing down his portion too care about appearances.
"You can have mine. There's no need to rush!" Xueyue gestured towards the untouched bag beside her. She was too full from breakfast to even fathom eating more food.
"Rweally?" His voice was muffled by the buns causing Xueyue to laugh. His cheeks were overly stuffed with food and he looked like a little hamster.
"Yes, really. Now eat slowly," she mused, wiping the crumbs off of his face with a handkerchief.
"You're the best, Xiao Yue." He grinned, nudging her shoulders.
Xueyue rolled her eyes. "You only say that because I offer you food," she said while he took the handkerchief from her hand.
Li Wenmin laughed, but didn't bother to deny the truth. After finishing the food, he finally said, "Alright, let's go to the horse ring now." He began to walk in the opposite direction.
"The horse ring is this way, you dimwit." Li Chenyang grabbed Li Wenmin by the back of his collar when he noticed Li Wenmin was walking towards another food stall.
"Aw, come on!" Li Wenmin whined when he was dragged further and farther away from the rice cake vendor.
Li Chenyang rolled his eyes at the glutton beside him. "Mother wants us back for the afternoon meal. We've already had enough food for the day."
"YOU had enough food, I didn't!" Li Wenmin grumbled as he stomped towards the horse ring.
Xueyue chuckled upon seeing Li Wenmin grumble and sulk to himself like a child. Sometimes she forgot he was older than her.
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