Mingxia didn't understand how the second prince found out about her identity but she knew that from now on, she had be careful when coming out. She arrived at her house and purposely walked towards the back door. She jumped up the wall and climbed into her courtyard.
"Lady Mingxia! You're finally back!" Xing quickly ran over and helped Mingxia land on her feet.
"I was only gone for a while, why are you so worried?" Mingxia laughed and walked towards her room.
"Of course I was worried! You failed to come back after so long and your grandmother came earlier." Xing reported as she helped me change into blue robes.
"Grandmother? What did she say?" Mingxia took out the blue pouch and touched the vines sewn on it.
"She said that she would like to have lunch with you but since you weren't here she told me to tell you to go have a cup of tea with her when you come back."
"I see. I'll go now I guess. Xing, grab the blue dress. I'm going to wear that one." Mingxia pointed at a sky blue dress hanging in her closet.
Xing nodded and took it out.
"Grandmother, the weather is quite nice today isn't it?" Mingxue awkwardly tried to start a conversation with her grandmother. However, her grandmother ignored her attempt and acted as though she did not hear. Mingxue bit her lips and took a long sip of her tea.
"Grandmother," A calm voice said and Mingxue turned her head towards the voice.
"Xia er! Come quickly, let grandmother see you!" Grandmother opened her arms and Mingxia gently hugged her.
Mingxue dug her nails into her dress and bit her lips.
"Mingxia… Mingxia... Mingxia… Why is it always her?! I can do what she can a hundred times better but why is she the one that gets everything?!"
Mingxia was shielded by her doting grandmother, so she did not notice her sister's darkening heart.
"Now tell me Xia er, where were you when I went to visit earlier?"
"Uhhh. I was out?" Mingxia's response resulted in a gentle glare from her grandmother.
"Sigh. Xia er ever since young, you have been, well... different, from other girls. But now that you are a young women and going to turn 16 soon you will have to act like a woman now." As she said this Mingxia's grip on her cup tightened.
"Grandmother what is it that you want to tell me?" Her grandmother looked surprised by Mingxia's straightforwardness but in the end sighed.
"I would like for you to be more ladylike so I have hired teachers for you everyday. These teachers are not like the ones you have had in the past, they are strict and have tolerated things worse than what you have done before. You will have classes for sewing, guqing and drawing first. Once you have adapted to those classes you will have-"
"I will not take these classes!" The porcelain cup in Mingxia's hand broke from Mingxia's grip leaving multiple cuts of blood on her left palm.
"Mingxia! How dare you speak to your grandmother like this!" A high pitched voice interrupted their conversation.
Mingxia and Mingxue turned around to see who it was but their grandmother did not need to turn to know who it is. A women walked gracefully towards them with her head held straight. She wore a purple dress adorned with numerous jewels.
"Mother." Mingxue curtsied and Mingxia did the same.
"Mingxia, how dare you talk to your grandmother like that!" The high pitched voice did not stop to yell at Mingxia.
"Mother, are you all right?" Her tone immediately became soft when addressing her mother but the grandmother turned her head and walked towards Mingxia.
"Tang Xiao Min, how dare you yell at my Xia er! Who gave you that right. Remember that you are only the second wife and that Xia er is the daughter of the first wife!" Grandmother did not speak in a loud voice but the tone she spoke was strict and the threat in her voice was clear.
"I-I-I see..." Tang Xiao Min took a step back and mumbled her response.
"Xia er are you alright?" When Mingxia nodded and grandmother sighed.
Tang Xiao Min could not bear to see how kind her mother is to Mingxia and burst out without thinking. "Mother how can you favor that tomboy! She is a-"
"Tang Xiao Min!" Grandmother's face darkened and her eyes sharpened. Mingxia never saw this side of her grandmother and was shocked with how threatening her grandmother looked.
Tang Xiao Min took a step back and lowered her head.
"Leave. All of you." Grandmother pointed at Tang Xiao Min and her servants. They bowed and her maids had to help Tang Xiao Min back to her room.
Seeing her beloved grandmother commanding others with a threatening tone made her question if this is really the grandmother she knows.
"Xia er, I do not want to force you but you have to understand that you are of age and would need these classes when you marry." Grandmother spoke with care and Mingxia could only agree.
"I will grandmother but I have a condition."
"Speak." Grandmother replied without hesitating, Mingxia accepting to learn these classes has greatly surprised her.
"I want to learn martial arts." Mingxia's outrageous request seemed odd but her grandmother agreed immediately.
As Mingxia and grandmother spoke Mingxue sat in her seat forgotten like the background. Her maid could not control her anger at how her lady was being treated and prepared to burst when she was stopped by Mingxue.
"But lady Mingxue, how can she treat you like this. You are also her granddaughter but the difference in her treatment between you two are-"
"Stop. Speak no more." Mingxue ordered in her soft voice and sipped her tea.
Her appearance may look sweet and innocent but the thoughts in her head were far from what she looked like. Mingxue's envy, hatred and jealousy from earlier brewed inside her and was at the point where she would explode.
"Mingxia, the treatment I have faced because of you, I will return it ten times worse. Be prepared." she thought.
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