Published at 20th of November 2020 01:09:55 PM
The location of the horse breeding operation had been very carefully chosen . It was within a valley . During the autumn, the area was protected from the chilly, biting winds on all four sides, so the grass here was especially green and tender . A small pure creek criss-crossed its way through the area and there were a few spirited horses leisurely eating grass by the side of the water with their tails idly swishing .
Yu Xiaocao stood on the soft as carpet grass and next to her was a pure date-red horse that was gently butting her arm with her head from time to time . In the past, when Little Red had been sent to this stud farm, she had already been pregnant for four to five months . It had been almost half a year since she last saw her master . She used her pair of bright, watery eyes to stare at her master in an aggrieved manner, as if she was trying to ask why she had been abandoned for so long .
However, at this time, Xiaocao’s attention was taken up entirely by a little black colt who was next to Little Red . The little fellow, who hadn’t reached three months in age yet, looked quite sturdy and he had graceful and handsome lines .
Perhaps it was because Xiaocao’s body gave off the scent of mystic-stone water, but this usually arrogant and proud little colt wasn’t the least bit afraid of this new stranger . In fact, he pushed away his mother, Little Red, and stretched out his neck to touch Xiaocao . His pair of large, limpid eyes curiously regarded this strange human in front of it .
Xiaocao retrieved a piece of rock sugar from her embroidered pouch and dipped it into some mystic-stone water before delivering it in front of the little fellow’s face . The little black colt’s eyes immediately lit up with interest . This was the tantalizing smell that was in his food every day and it was more irresistible than oats and bean fodder . How could the little horse possibly reject such delicious smelling food? However, by the time he reached his head forward, a long tongue curled forward, around the sugar lump, and the tasty snack in front of him had disappeared!
The little black colt stood there stupidly for a second and then raised his head . He discovered that the owner of that tongue was his own beloved mother! Wah wah wah… The other foals had mothers who truly loved their children . Every day, those mares would use their tongues to help wash their offsprings’ fur . However, his mother, other than trying to steal food from him, was like a stranger . No! She was even worse than a stranger .
Whenever he tried to get closer to his mother, his mother would always step away in disdain . Every day, when it was time for him to drink milk, if it weren’t for the farm hands doing their best to placate his mother, then he would have long starved to death .
Fortunately, when he got a little bit older, the grooms added food for him . However, whenever it was time to eat, his mother would run over and try to steal his food . The stable hands saw how pitiful he was, so they would always add some more for him later . As he was small, he ate at a slower pace . Thus, when his mother finished eating the food she had stolen, she would always run over to eat his share again .
Wah wah wah . . . now it was the same again! His mother had stolen that sweet-smelling piece of candy from that human little girl from him! Was he not his mother’s true son? He must have been picked up from the side of the road, wah wah wah…
The little black colt’s jet black eyes seemed to be shining with wet tears as he wretchedly watched as Little Red chewed on the lump of rock candy with relish . He looked quite pitiful and pathetic at this moment!
Little Red truly didn’t like that black furred son of hers . If she hadn’t lost control of herself and allowed Fierce Wind to take advantage of her, she wouldn't have gotten pregnant with this fellow and been sent to this godforsaken place, in the middle of nowhere, as a result .
What was wrong with eating his fodder? After all, when she was by her master’s side, she ate delicious foods and drank delicious water every day . All of her meals then were more delicious than this little fellow’s snacks . She had eaten so many sugar lumps that she had almost gotten sick of them!
Hmph! If it wasn’t for this little fellow, she wouldn’t have had her job snatched away by that stupid white horse and would still be her master’s primary steed! Instead, she was banished to this tiny, boring area and was sentenced to eat tasteless grass and fodder all day . This son of hers was complaining even though she ate just a single piece of his snack . Clearly, he wasn’t a filial child!
Yu Xiaocao knew that Little Red had been spoiled rotten by her and was very particular about her food . In the past, when she fed Little Red and Fierce Wind together, Little Red also insisted on snatching away Fierce Wind’s portion but she also didn’t want to let her own share go to waste . Thus, the little red horse often ate until she was bloated . Fierce Wind, on the other hand, usually had to go half hungry .
However, she didn’t expect that this horse was still clueless after becoming a mother and had started to fight for favor and food with her own child . Xiaocao took out another piece of candy and dipped it into some mystic-stone water before giving it to Little Red . Only then did Little Red relax——the master still loved her . She knew that she liked to eat candy and had especially brought more over .
Little Red happily ate the piece of rock sugar from her master’s hand and even licked all of the mystic-stone water from her master’s hand clean with her tongue . Now that she was satisfied, when the master attempted to give another piece of candy to her son, she didn’t try to snatch it away from the younger horse . The master’s embroidered pouch was chock full of rock candy and she wasn’t so short-sighted to make her master upset and end up losing more in the end .
The little colt was finally able to taste the sweet-smelling candy and he closed his eyes in bliss . The candy was so delicious and was a hundred times more tasty than the ones that the farm hands would occasionally give him! His mother had said that the person in front of him, the little girl who fed him the candy, was her master . His mother’s master was naturally his own master ah! If he recognized her as his master, wouldn't that mean, in the future, he would get more tasty sugar to eat? As he thought about it, the little fellow’s eyes shined with admiration as he looked at his new master .
After Zhu Junyang had heard the reports from the steward in charge of the stud farm, he came over . Behind him was the strong and sturdy Fierce Wind . It had been a long time since Fierce Wind had last seen his wife, Little Red, so he eagerly trotted over and used his neck to rub against Little Red in a very intimate and affectionate manner . Little Red, on the other hand, had no interest in the fellow . In fact, she even twisted her head around and bit at his ears until she drew blood . The criminal who had sent her away to this godforsaken place was him! In the future, she was not going to be nice to him at all!
Xiaocao carefully inspected the little colt . The colt was like a mini-version Fierce Wind! She took advantage of the fact that Little Red was being distracted by Fierce Wind and began to get closer to this little fellow .
The horse breeder had said that the little fellow was still young but had the same arrogant temperament as his father . Other than his personal assigned groom, no one else was allowed to get close to him . Every time the stud farm’s veterinarian came around to inspect him, they needed to expand a lot of effort for this fellow to cooperate . Later on, they discovered that as long as they gave him some of that special fodder, this little colt would obediently allow them to do whatever they needed to do .
Truly this fellow resembled his mother as they were both little foodies . Xiaocao took out another sugar cube while the little colt watched her avidly . Then, when she was adding some mystic-stone water to it, the little fellow even stretched his head over and used his tongue to drink the water out of the pouch with a satisfied expression on his face!
Xiaocao hugged the little horse’s neck . The colt was so small and was even smaller than Little Red when she first got her . However, it wasn’t surprising as the horse had only been born about three months ago . The reason why he was able to grow so fast and so strong was probably related to the special fodder that she had sent over here under Royal Prince Yang’s name, right?
After Little Red was done having her tantrum with Fierce Wind, she noticed that her son was currently being groomed by her master and felt jealousy rise . She rushed over and pushed her son away before stretching her head forward towards her master . Xiaocao felt helpless at the sight of her horse’s jealous actions and could only first groom this jealous vat of vinegar’s sleek and soft fur first to sooth her feelings .
Zhu Junyang burst into laughter when he saw this, “Little Red is still so strong-willed . Look, Fierce Wind has been injured from head to toe from her tantrum but he’s not even willing to bare his teeth at her . Everyone says that a horse takes after his master’s temperament . This prince’s horse treats his wife so well, so clearly he took lessons from this prince!”
“Pffftt——” Yu Xiaocao comforted Little Red as she interacted with the little black colt . However, she didn't forget to rebuke the self-satisfied man in front of her, “Are you sure you want to compare yourself to Fierce Wind? Are you sure you’re as good tempered as Fierce Wind?”
“When has this prince ever been bad tempered in front of you? All of the rumors in the capital say that this prince is a scary beast but, in front of you, I act like a gentle little rabbit! I have never had a temper tantrum or threatened force against you!” He paused for a moment and then a mischievous smile crossed his face as he slyly said, “If you don’t believe me, then you can also bite this prince a few times . That way you can test just how good tempered I am, right?”
Yu Xiaocao watched as that shameless fellow scuttled over with his lips pouted . Her face felt hot and she glared at him furiously as she snarled, “There is one thing that makes you and Fierce Wind quite similar!”
“Ah? What part?” This was one of the only times when that annoying eyesore, Chief Steward Su, wasn’t around, so Zhu Junyang took advantage of the other man’s absence to monopolize the little lass . He pecked at her red, alluring lips a few times and only backed off once she angrily glared at him .
Yu Xiaocao retreated a couple of steps as she used the back of her hand to wipe her mouth . She glowered at him and hatefully said, “You’re both incredibly shameless and clingy to the extreme . Brazenly shameless!!”
“Everyone always says a fierce woman is afraid of a clingy man . If this prince wasn’t more forward, when would I ever be able to hug the beauty, eh?” Zhu Junyang was usually quite cold and aloof in front of others, but in private he was quite sloppy and sappy . If his subordinates could see him now, they would have absolutely thought that some evil, perverted spirit had entered his body and started controlling him .
Yu Xiaocao coldly huffed and stamped her feet helplessly on the grassy ground . Behind her were two horses, one large and one small, and then another one also came over . It was Fierce Wind, who was begging for favor . If a stranger was here now, they would have thought that the stud farm had an additional groom in the form of a young girl!
“Cao’er, let me remind you that you will be sixteen next year ah!” Zhu Junyang threw a charming look at the little lass in an attempt to change the topic to his liking .
Yu Xiaocao pretended to not understand what he was trying to hint at and casually replied, “That’s right ah! I’ll be older by a year again!”
Zhu Junyang saw that she was deliberately making things difficult and decided to directly address the issue at hand, “Just look, don’t you think this prince should have my lady mother start preparing for the three letters and six rites  ?”
“Wouldn’t starting to prepare now be a bit too early? Didn’t we agree to go with the imperial court’s suggestion to only marry when I turn eighteen?” Yu Xiaocao continued to bait him . In actuality, after all these years of observation and testing, Yu Xiaocao had already accepted this man in front of her . In addition, she felt like she was discovering more and more good things about him every day .
One of his good points was that if she married him, he wouldn’t expect her to act like the typical virtuous wife like the other old fossils in this era . Other men expected their wives to spend almost all of their time in the one mu or so of land in the back courtyard, managing the household and children . Zhu Junyang, on the other hand, had directly said that she could do whatever she wanted to do after she married him . He didn’t expect her to change at all .
The second good point was that he was very lenient and accepting of her, and this was something very important to her . After all, her ways of thinking and interacting with the world were very different from the other people living in this ancient era . Regardless of what shocking things she did or scandalous things she said, he always reacted the same: with a raised eyebrow and a rueful smile .
 three letters and six rites (三书六礼) - traditional ceremonial rites for engagements and weddings