Li Xueyue wondered about the possibility of privately funding the orphanage herself, or perhaps, opening schools on her own. But it would be a difficult task.
The best way to go about this was to raise the issue before the Round Table again via a different approach.
"I should be thinking about my next plan," she sighed. "Instead of standing here and admiring weapons."
Li Xueyue abandoned the tent and went outside. She wasn't surprised to see Lady Ge Beining had disappeared from this guarded part of the training ground. A simple glance to the right told Li Xueyue that Ge Beining hadn't left yet.
Lady Ge Beining was still training diligently. She carefully lifted the arrow, set it against the bow, and aimed.
She pulled the strings, her eyes focused on the target straight ahead. Without warning, she unleashed the arrow. It pierced through the target, landing straight in the center.
A large smile formed on Lady Ge Beining's face. She shyly glanced at the ground, feeling proud of herself.
'It would be difficult not to fall in love with her,' Li Xueyue thought to herself. She noticed the guards visibly tensed up, obviously thinking the same thing.
Lady Ge Beining was practically all alone, except for her maidservants who lined the walls. She was a daisy swaying in the wind, blooming for no one else but herself.
"You've finally hit the center, Lady Ge," Li Xueyue said with a clap of her hand. There were multiple arrows that almost hit the red dot but didn't.
"Yes, Princess. It took a few tries." Lady Ge Beining laughed it off. "It seems my skills have gone rusty from neglect."
Li Xueyue was worried that the same thing would happen to her. It had been a few weeks since she lifted a bow and arrow. And she couldn't even remember the last time she picked up a sword. It had truly been too long.
"Princess, I've spent so much time learning so many other things, I've neglected my true hobbies," Lady Ge Beining said. She turned to face the Princess.
Lady Ge Beining grasped another arrow from the quiver and set it in position with lowered hands. "Well, it's not bad to have more than one interest right, Princess?"
Something about her wording felt off. Li Xueyue went on high-alert, her shoulders tensed up.
"Too many hobbies will dull your passion." Li Xueyue noticed another set of bow and arrows lying on the table beside Lady Ge Beining. It seemed she was testing the different bows to see which suited her best.
Lady Ge Beining lifted the bow, her hands set in position. "Indeed, but having a variety of interests will stimulate your life a lot more."
Lady Ge Beining released the arrow. It whirled through the air, spinning with speed. In an instant, the object pierced the left side of the red dot. It had grazed the arrow stuck in the center. She shifted her chin in the Crown Princess's direction.
"Too much of something is never good." Li Xueyue picked up the bow, testing its strings. She picked up a spare arrow from the table.
"Of course, Princess," Lady Ge Beining softly said. "Reality is cruel. It is unfair that we can't enjoy everything in life."
Li Xueyue chuckled at this. She set the arrow against the bow and angled her elbow. "If everything makes us happy, then people will crave sorrow."
Lady Ge Beining's lips twitched. When they told her the Crown Princess was intelligent, she didn't think the woman was also philosophical. She despised how arrogant the Princess sounded. Women should be humble and poise. Showing off is meant for men.
"Life would be boring if we didn't have many hobbies," Lady Ge Beining chided. "Imagine honing a skill so much that it's perfected. What now? Should we continue to practice it, again and again just to remember it?"
Li Xueyue felt like the conversation was getting out of hand. She didn't feel like responding. She pulled the string back, ready to fire the arrow when Lady Ge Beining suddenly spoke up.
"I heard something interesting today," Lady Ge Beining said. She lowered her voice and approached the Crown Princess. To her surprise, guards instantly came forward, blocking her path with crossed swords.
"Under the Crown Prince's orders, no one shall touch the Crown Princess."
Li Xueyue was surprised by this. The guards were never this protective of her. What changed Yu Zhen's mind? Was it after yesterday's discussion? She guessed he was worried she had made too many enemies.
"I merely wanted to have small talk with the Crown Princess," Lady Ge Beining softly said. "Lady to lady."
Li Xueyue saw the effect that Lady Ge Beining had on men. Her beautiful face reminded people of an innocent bunny perched upon a soft mound of grass. She was harmless and endearing, her eyes wide with curiosity.
"You must pardon them," Li Xueyue chuckled. "Yu Zhen is quite protective of me.��
Lady Ge Beining's lips twitched at the mention of him. She had rarely heard anyone call him by his full name, much less, with this much ease. The words rolled off of Li Xueyue's tongue as if she had always called him that.
The Crown Prince's name was sacred. Only his parents were allowed to say it. And even then, they used it sparingly.
"Do not fret, Princess. I understand you meant no harm," Lady Ge Beining concluded. "If my husband was from Wuyi, I'd do everything in my power to keep him safe as well."
Li Xueyue's gaze sharpened. Yet another stereotype about Wuyi. Just when would they stop? It was the judgement she'd have to face again and again, as a foreign Princess.
"Some things are too precious to lose," Lady Ge Beining added on, upon seeing the displeasure on the Crown Princess's face. She didn't think someone so wise would be angered that easily. Well, she supposed not everyone can be as perfect as her.
Li Xueyue didn't respond to Lady Ge Beining. She didn't see the need to. Silence would force Lady Ge Beining to rethink her words. Of course, this method would only work if the opponent had doubts about their thoughts.
From the looks of Lady Ge Beining's unfazed expression, it seemed she didn't mind.
"Oh, that isn't the right position for a bullseye, Princess," Lady Ge Beining gently pointed out. She came forward again, hoping to show the Princess the proper posture.
"I'd understand the posture is difficult to memorize. I hear Wuyi doesn't encourage women to excel in sports, Princess." Lady Ge Beining glanced at the guards who continuously looked her way.
"Let her through," Li Xueyue said.
Simultaneously, the guards stepped aside. Lady Ge Beining was finally given the perfect view of the Crown Princess.
Lady Ge Beining was all smiles again. She took a relaxed step in the Princess's direction. "Here, let me guide you, Princess—"
Lady Ge Beining didn��t get to finish her sentence. The Crown Princess had released her arrow.
Everything happened too quickly. One minute the arrow was flying through the air, and the next, a crack was heard. Following after it was the sound of wood splitting into two.
The Crown Princess's arrow had struck the center, going through Lady Ge Beining's first achievement of the day.
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