“I,” the young woman slightly nodded her head, “am only one who has been trained in horsemanship.”
The girl swept her hands behind her, clasping an iron-headed stick and swaying it in a mischievous and leisurely manner, her tone relaxed.
“Yan Yan?” He Sui was stunned for a moment, and then quietly rebuked: “What are you talking about?”
He Yan didn’t spare He Sui a glance, but instead stared at Zhao gongzi and challenged, “Is the gentleman willing?”
Zhao gongzi was a man of passion. Although the girl’s face was concealed behind a veil, from her pair of exposed eyes, he could faintly guess her appearance to be above average. Besides, when she reached her hand out with a stern look, her voice had sounded very clear, much like a delicate beauty. And when a delicate beauty put forward her request, he naturally did not have the heart to refuse.
“The girl doesn’t know that this horse is fierce. If you are hurt because of this, I will be very upset,” he also reminded with good intentions, conscious of his own gracefulness.
But as soon as he finished speaking, he heard the girl chuckle and, in a flourish, the peony flowers on the girl’s vermilion dress dazzled his eyes, conjuring a fragrant breeze. Looking up again, He Yan was seated upright atop the horse’s back, clutching the reins in her hand.
He Sui had originally pulled the horse towards them, but he didn’t expect He Yan to suddenly turn over and mount on the horse. As soon as his hand loosened, the rope fell, frightening the horse. He let out a long hiss and lurched up in place.
“Yan Yan—” He Sui exclaimed, also startling He Yun Sheng.
He Yan was in no hurry. She simply tossed the reins aside and hastily grasped the mane on the horse’s neck. She held it firmly and tightly, intent on keeping the horse upright and stable. She then bent forward and pressed her lips close to the horse’s ear, purring a series of strange noises.
Strangely, the horse stopped struggling, and its front hooves retracted to its original place, gradually calming down.
The crowd was astonished.
“Yan Yan, come down quickly,” He Sui’s heart finally fell to the ground, and he eagerly extended his hand towards He Yan, “Don’t fall.”
He Yun Sheng finally came back to his senses. The boy bit his lips, his face turning white as his voice trembled, “You… come down quickly! Do you want to die? Do you?!”
“Hahahaha,” the dazed master Zhao burst out laughing. “I didn’t expect the girl to be an expert. In that case,” he also turned over and hopped on the horse, “How about a match, little girl? “
He had proposed very elegantly.
He Yan smiled, “The gentleman should be careful. I did say I was trained.” After which, she stretched out her hand, slapped the horse’s buttocks, and had the horse gallop away with a cloud of dust!
“Don’t you use a whip?” Mr. Zhao murmured, then flourished his whip, “Go!”
The two horses trailed out smoke on the track, leaving behind a crowd of stunned onlookers.
He Sui slowly turned his head and shot He Yun Sheng an inquisitive look. He Yun Sheng hastened to explain, “Don’t ask me. I don’t even know when she had learned to ride a horse!”
He Sui thought he was imagining things.
He knew his daughter best. She was proficient in the four arts: music, chess, calligraphy, and painting, and was also eager in dressing herself up. But when it came to riding horses and playing swords, let alone being skilled, the mere mention of them provoked her disgust. He Yan was fond of those elegant childe brothers who immersed themselves in tea, poetry, and flowers beneath the moonlight. She shied away from these coarse things for fear of ruining her delicate skin.
But she turned over and mounted the horse so skillfully, as though she had done it thousands of times, and even more aptly than her father. Moreover, that fierce horse was as obedient as a kitten under her hand even without the aid of a whip. How did she do it?
He Sui gazed at the figure on the runway.
The blazing steed that He Sui couldn’t tame dashed as swiftly as the wind underneath He Yan, and her posture was somewhat graceful due to the inconvenience brought by her long skirt. She tugged the skirt away, revealing her conspicuous trousers, which should have appeared vulgar, but instead gave off an indescribably downbeat impression.
Zhao gongzi couldn’t catch up with her.
Zhao gongzi was annoyed.
He had come to the military grounds to make a name for himself, not to lose face. He Sui had flattered and amused him just now, but what was wrong with this girl? He couldn’t lose to a woman, even more so that she was riding a fierce and untamed horse. Was he going to become a laughing stock?
Suddenly, Zhao gongzi‘s heart grew even more competitive, and the horse he was riding bore the brunt. The horse endured the pain, rushed forward, and was about to surpass He Yan.
Yes, that was it. Looking at He Yan’s figure getting closer and closer, Mr. Zhao couldn’t help but be proud. He had learned to ride at the age of seven, and after all these years, how could he be no match for a woman?
His horse finally overtook He Yan’s.
Zhao gongzi laughed out loud, “Girl, you’ve got to work harder!”
“The gentleman is so talented,” He Yan exclaimed with faint surprise, “It’s the first time I’ve been overtaken.”
As she spoke, she stroked the iron-headed rod swaying around her waist. Zhao gongzi‘s horse was in front of her, while her horse fell behind. The distance between them was so near that one end of the iron-headed stick stabbed the other horse’s rear end.
No one noticed these slight irregularities, except for the horse underneath Zhao gongzi‘s body.
The horse was alarmed and suddenly stumbled, catching Zhao gongzi off guard. Next moment, his horse disobeyed his command and darted forward, leaving Zhao gongzi at a loss for words. He tightened the reins, but it was utterly useless.
“Stop, stop!” He screamed, overwhelmed by force as his body slammed onto the horse’s back.
Behind him came a woman’s eager voice, “Master Zhao? Master Zhao? Are you alright?”
“Save. Help me!” Zhao gongzi was so frightened that his voice had transformed into a cry, “Tell it to stop!”
In the distance, He Yun Sheng frowned, “What’s the matter? Why did I seem to hear Zhao gongzi shouting for help?”
He Sui was appalled, but he had noticed that at the end of the track, the two horses were running back to them. Zhao gongzi‘s horse was ahead, but his whip was missing from his hand, and he was tearfully clinging onto the reins. Behind him, He Yan called on anxiously, but was as steady as Mount Tai on horseback.
“Zhao gongzi‘s horse seems to be frightened.” He Sui quickly went to the stable to lead the horse, “I’ll help!”
“Young master, young master,” the boy’s face was blue, “You mustn’t lose the reins.”
Zhao gongzi was mournfully wailing on horseback. He Yan freed her hand and pressed it against her ear. It was too noisy.
Such an arrogant boy, if she didn’t scare him to death today, she would not be called He Yan. At that time, there were no lack of recruits in the army who had thought they were superior and gifted, but in the end, reality beat them into submission. In this world, after all, there were plenty of talented people, so it was better to keep a low profile.
After enjoying enough, she spotted He Sui leading the horse from a distance, so He Yan once again patted her horse’s buttocks. The horse stopped. She heroically flew off the horse and crossed the iron-headed stick horizontally against Zhao gongzi‘s horse’s neck. This sudden action obstructed the horse, causing him to behave erratically. He Yan snatched the reins and uttered, “Whew—”
The horse quieted down.
Wind unfurled the white veil, and, for a very brief moment, exposed the girl’s face. After a glance, her face was once again covered with white cloth.
“All right,” she spoke towards the man hugging the horse and weeping, “You can come down now, Zhao gongzi.”
Zhao gongzi wept.
——- Extra Topic ——–
Yan Yan: [covering her face] Uncle will officially appear in the next chapter.