15 The Stronges
Coming back to the bustling city of Leijing, Weihao strolled with his head resting on his hand. He had a very laid back posture, but his eyes were on high alert.
He was accompanied by shadow guards that protected them from a distance and personally trained by the Chen Family. In order to ensure the best quality guards, the Commander had handpicked them himself.
Weihao felt a sense of worry for his little Mei-mei. She was only a child, but her face alone was enough to stop men and little boys alike in their tracks. He knew she'd have a very long line of suitors once her beauty is revealed to the royal courts.
A frown made its way to Weihao's lips. He never wanted her to enter the backstabbing life of the royal palace. It wasn't a good place for delicate and innocent flowers to bloom. The palace was a death trap that would crush the most harmless flowers.
His eyes trailed to Yuxi who was happily chatting away with her maidservant. He was surprised when he saw Yang Rufen and thought nothing more of her, except for her surprisingly bold and stubborn demeanor.
Weihao's eyes narrowed onto a servant weaving through vendors. He was one of the higher ranking "Han" servants that had accompanied Suying the day of the apple incident.
At the thought of Suying, Weihao's mood significantly darkened. He noticed the boy's interest in his little Mei-mei, and the very thought was like learning Weihao was diagnosed with a slow and torturous disease.
Han Suying would be a great suitor, based on his immense wealth which was significantly higher than the Chen family, but Weihao would never allow his precious Mei-mei to be tainted by him.
"Wei-ge." Yuxi whispered, tugging at his sleeves.
Yuxi was beginning to grow worried when she had saw her cousin's face turn considerably dark and hard.
She didn't know what he was thinking, but there was a few guesses that it had something to do with the boy she had encountered the days before.
At the first sight of the curious expression on Yuxi's face, Weihao's stony expression softened the slightest bit.
"Where are we going today?" She asked, her eyes scanning the environment.
They were walking through a highly populated area of Leijing. Many tents lined the entrances, each selling unique items. But Yuxi noticed the biggest tent wasn't selling anything, instead, it had multiple wooden signs within in.
To the far end of the tent was an enormous open-arena with wooden fences creating a circle.
Rufen's curious eyes also roamed the area. She was rarely allowed outside, so the sudden visit to Leijing was greatly welcomed.
"We're here to get you a horse for archery." Weihao said, as he walked Yuxi and Rufen to the bigger tent.
He grabbed two wooden signs and handed one to Yuxi.
"Here. If you like something, raise this board and I'll get you anything you want." Weihao said with a beaming smile.
"If you want the best horse, tell Wei-ge and I'll buy it for you." Be it the most expensive horse or the biggest gem, Weihao would buy it all. For Yuxi's simple and small smile, he'd risk being in debt for the rest of his life.
He didn't know why he treasured the small child. Perhaps it was because her mother took care of him before Yuxi was born, or perhaps it was because she was the only female cousin he was acquainted with.
"There's no need to waste so much money on me. I'm fine with the least expensive horse." She shyly commented and took the sign from his hand.
"Nonsense, money isn't an issue in the Chen family. If you want the most expensive horse that money can buy, we will always be able to afford it." Weihao chided, as he wrapped an arm around her tiny shoulders.
To Yuxi, Rufen, and the rest of the servants, it seemed like a simple gesture of steering her away from the pushing people, but it was more than that.
Weihao had realized there was many men and little boys staring at Yuxi and her beautiful maidservant. By having an arm around her, it was warning the people away.
"Let's sit in the second row. It gives the best view of the horses, but will also protect you from any kicked up sand."
Weihao's voice suddenly became rigid when he spotted the same Han servant.
"Wei-ge?" Yuxi called in confusion when he stopped leading her.
His feet stopped moving and his face went rigid.
"Wei-ge? What's wrong?" Yuxi asked. Her eyes trailed the arena in hopes of seeing what he saw.
"Sorry, I was a bit distracted." He softly said, his voice and face going back to usual. There was still a dark and gloomy cloud over his head and Yuxi didn't know why.