was all white and was really the most beautiful.
Who dared to steal from you?! Gu Yu Qi slandered inwardly but her lips said yes.
She had the lowest status here and could only wait for everyone else to finish.
Only then did she walk slowly towards the last black horse.
After the selection was complete, Gu Yu Qi was a little dumbfounded.
Everyone had brought personal bodyguards and palace maids.
The maids helped them mount the horses, but as for her… Chun Xing had been left outside of the Imperial Princess’ main tent, looking anxiously at her over the guards.
There was no point being anxious.
Gu Yu Qi looked up at the tall black horse.
No one cared about her so she just gritted her teeth and grabbed the reins and saddle.
When no one was paying attention, she got onto the horse.
Her movements naturally caught Imperial Princess Ping Hu’s eyes.
Imperial Princess Ping Hu was surprised.
She had arranged for someone to help Gu Yu Qi onto the horse but had deliberately been slower because she wanted to see Gu Yu Qi’s reaction.
She had not expected this child to be so sincere, not get angry, and even more be so silent.
She dealt with it herself and seeing her movements, neat and clean, it was likely she was capable.
His Highness the Crown Prince would probably lose.
However, being agile did not mean that her hunting skills were also powerful and the crown prince was not without a chance of winning.
The women of the Qi dynasty imperial family were outstanding in riding and archery.
They were taught these skills from an early age.
Hence, in her previous life, Gu Yu Qi had worked hard in riding and shooting, otherwise how could she have been shocking with a single feat? At the Winter Hunting Festival surrounded by a large number of women from the imperial family, other noble ladies also learnt to ride horses but their requirements were not as strict as those for the imperial family women.
Fearing that these little girls would cause trouble, Princess Ping Hu found some guards and eunuchs with martial arts backgrounds to follow Jing Cheng, Yun Xi, Yun He, and Jia Xi.
As for Gu Yu Qi, she also sent someone to follow.
After all, it was just a gamble and there was no need to cause an accident.
That would not be fun.
She had arranged it well.
Even the hunting area had been cleaned up by Yun Yi’s people.
A large section of the hillside had been cleared out, enough for the girls to run around.
There was also a special net on the periphery which prevented large beasts from entering.
Only some rabbits had been put on the hillside as well as some deer which were relatively mild animals.
The hillside faced the sun and it was at the middle height.
It had open areas and pine forests that were not particularly dense.
The gap between the pine trees was relatively large.
When Princess Ping Hu went and looked around, she was very satisfied.
The place Yun Yi had chosen was really good.
The sound of the horn could be faintly heard from other places.
The little girls were very excited before they even reached the hillside, chattering incessantly.
Only Gu Yu Qi followed behind a little wanly.
The princesses were speaking so of course there would be no place for her to interrupt.
It was fine for her to just follow.
She also observed secretly and saw that each of the princesses were followed by two guards and a eunuch.
There were also two guards behind her.
Her heart settled a little.
This hunting ground stretched for miles and miles.
Some of the places were still very dangerous but this hillside looked very safe.
She also knew in her heart that for these princesses to have fun, this place must have been cleaned up beforehand so that there was no danger.
Otherwise, Imperial Princess Ping Hu would not have brought the girls here to look for trouble.
Princess Ping Hu gave the palace maid next to her a wink.
The palace maid sent the order forth and several guards came running on horseback in front of the hillside, surrounding three youths in Chinese outfits.
They stood before the princesses.
Gu Yu Qi took a look then frowned slightly.
Why did she meet them wherever she went? What misfortune! Who else was it surrounded by guards if not the crown prince, Yun Yi, and Yun Ke? They dismounted and saluted Princess Ping Hu.
This side also curtseyed to them.
Then they mounted their horses again.
Yun Ke followed behind Yun Yi and looked coldly at Gu Yu Qi who was at the end.
She was indeed in a red outfit just like in the previous life.
Was she going to again show horsemanship and archery skills today that would bring unanimous applause? There was a hint of contempt at the corners of his lips.
In her previous life, did she not come here to win everyone’s attention?
Gu Yu Qi felt Yun Ke’s eyes on her keenly.
She lowered her head a little trying to avoid that person’s gaze.
With the approval of Princess Ping Hu, the six guards blew the horns pinned to their waists.
The sound of the horn spread into the depths of the hillside and there was also the sound of the horn in response.
This was the signal that everything was ready and the continuous sound of the horn would also startle the prey in the forest and make them run.
“Go!” Princess Ping Hu waved her hand and Princess Jing Cheng could not wait to take the lead and rush out.
“Aunty, elder brothers, wait for me to bring back something delicious!” Jia Xi followed Princess Yun He and rushed out.
Before she left, she did not forget to look back and say this to Princess Ping Hu.
“Aunty is waiting.” Princess Ping Hu laughed as she sat on her horse.
Then she looked at the unhurried Gu Yu Qi, “Miss Gu doesn’t dare to go? Or you can’t use a bow and shoot arrows?”
Gu Yu Qi deliberately hid her clumsiness although she held the bow and arrows specially prepared for her by Princess Ping Hu, but she shook her head, “I cannot shoot well and do not dare to show incompetence in front of His Highness the Crown Prince, the princes and princesses.”
She felt that the limelight was obviously on the four little girls who rushed out just now.
She was merely there as a supporting cast so it was just a matter of if she went or not.
Especially now that the crown prince, Yun Yi, and Yun Ke were all present, she should try to shrink back as much as possible.
As soon as she finished speaking, she seemed to hear Yun Ke’s cold snort.
Gu Yu Qi tried her best not to look at him, lest she make herself uncomfortable.
Who knew that Princess Ping Hu would look unhappy, “It seems that Miss Gu doesn’t like the Winter Hunting Festival very much?”
“How could that be?” Gu Yu Qi was startled, and immediately smiled, “This minister’s daughter is really happy to be able to participate in this kind of event.”
“Then why don’t you go and play?” Princess Ping Hu saw that she had fooled Gu Yu Qi and immediately smiled, “Go, go.
Don’t worry about it so much, just go play.” She also said to the guards behind Gu Yu Qi, “Follow Miss Gu, don’t let anything happen.”
Since she said that, it would be ignorant not to move.
Even though Gu Yu Qi was reluctant, she could only bow and lift the reins and let the horse run.
It was also good to leave so as not to feel uncomfortable facing Yun Ke.
In fact, she liked horse riding very much.
At first, she was rather restrained but when she gradually got out of the sight of Princess Ping Hu, the crown prince, and the others, she squeezed its belly with her legs and let the black horse run away.
When Gu Yu Qi rode into the pine forest, she saw a wild rabbit running out of the forest from a distance.
It was probably lured out by the horn somewhere.
For a moment, she pulled back the longbow in her hand.
Princess Ping Hu had specially made these longbows for them.
They were exquisite and suitable for girls their age with thick leather wrist and finger guards to prevent injuring their hands.
Gu Yu Qi drew an arrow with a red mark from the quiver.
She put it on the string, aimed, then in the end, the arrow missed.
The arrow struck the snow beside the little rabbit.
The rabbit was startled and spreading its legs, it ran deep into the pine forest.
Gu Yu Qi deliberately missed.
She was not going to be in the limelight here.
Missing nine out of ten shots should be her goal right now.
“Oops!” Gu Yu Qi sighed deliberately right away.
The two guards following behind her glanced at each other.
In their hearts, they thought that although she was born to a general, in the end she was just a young miss and it seemed that she really was not good at archery, but she rode the horse very smoothly.
The Imperial Princess had ordered them to have a good look at whether the daughter of the Marquis’ could do martial arts or not.
Now, it looked like she probably could not.
After that, Gu Yu Qi duly missed all her shots.
At this time, several signal arrows of different colours had been raised in the forest.
At the Winter Hunting Festival, whenever there is a hunting competition, there would be guards with signal arrows of different colours.
If the master they followed shot a prey, the guards following would release a signal arrow.
Gu Yu Qi’s signal arrow was red.
It seemed like whether it was Princess Jing Cheng, Princess Yun Yi and Princess Yun He, or Princess Jia Xi, they had all caught something.
Princess Ping Hu, the crown prince, Yun Yi, and Yun Ke sat far away in the makeshift tent.
Looking at the signal arrows flying up from time to time in the sky in the distance, she smiled, “It seems that Jia Xi that child’s archery skills are a little bit better.”
On the contrary, Gu Yu Qi’s red signal arrow never flew even once.
She really had changed and knew how to be restrained.
Yun Ke, who had been sitting for a long time, silently put down the fragrant tea in his hand and pursed his lips tightly.
He raised his eyes slightly and glanced at his side.
Yun Yi seemed to be unable to sit still and although the crown prince did not say anything, there was some joy in his eyes.
Even Princess Yun He had caught prey.
There had been no movement on Gu Yu Qi’s side for a long time.
It was likely that he had won and the tension in the crown prince’s heart gradually eased a lot.
He cared about money.
It had originally been just for fun but who knew Yun Yi would bet so big? Sigh, Yun Xuan sighed in his heart but he could not suppress the joy in his eyes.
It was likely that Yun Yi was going to shoot himself in the foot this time.
Supposing he won, more than a hundred thousand taels of silver would enter his account.
How much is his crown prince’s salary a year? The annual revenue of the store under his command was only about 500,000 taels.
It was not that he was stingy as a crown prince.
His mother the empress had died early and the honour guard for his mother’s family had originally been thin.
After all these years, the crown prince had been trembling with fear so how would he dare to do something to enrich his own pockets.
Even during festivals and at New Year, he did not dare to accept the presents from the officials everywhere for fear of having his shortcomings caught by others.
Maintaining the great crown prince’s palace was really not easy.
Others only knew that he was the crown prince, but they did not know how hard it was for him to be the crown prince.
The eunuch and two guards who followed Gu Yu Qi saw that Gu Yu Qi was dawdling.
They saw a lot of prey along the way, but none of them were hit which made them a little discouraged.
Gu Yu Qi looked back at them, smiled and said, “I’m a bit stupid.
I can’t compare to Her Highness and the others.”
“Does Miss Gu want to try over there?” A guard said quickly, pointing in a direction, “Maybe there will be something to catch.”
“Okay.” Actually, what Gu Yu Qi wanted to express was that she was tired and they should go back! How would she know that the guards at the Imperial Princess’ palace were so diligent!
Gu Yu Qi’s first few arrows were indeed deliberately shot crookedly, but the next few arrows were really not intentional… She also needed to bring one or two prey back to fulfil her duty.
Originally, she saw that everyone else had caught a lot so she just wanted to shoot a rabbit or something then go back, but somehow her arm seemed to be getting weaker and weaker.
Her whole body felt heavier and heavier.
Was this the residual effects of her fever from before?
Gu Yu Qi tried her best to cheer herself up.
She shook the reins and continued to walk in the direction pointed by the guard.
She felt more and more weak, as heavy as a cement block, and there was no strength in her hands and feet.
“Can we take a break?” Gu Yu Qi endured it but finally could not help but ask the guards.
“Yes.” The two guards got off the horse, “Is Young Miss thirsty? Drink some water.” The little eunuch who followed Gu Yu Qi took a water bag hanging from the saddle and gave it to Gu Yu Qi.
“Mn.” Gu Yu Qi took the bag with effort but found that she even had a little difficulty holding the water bag.
What was going on? Her whole body seemed to have lost its strength.
“I… feel…” Before Gu Yu Qi could finish speaking, the sky spun and she fell down from the horse.
The two guards were stunned.
The little eunuch who gave the water subconsciously reached out.
Fortunately, he caught Gu Yu Qi’s falling body and hurriedly carried Gu Yu Qi aside.
“Send the signal!” He said to the two guards.
“Oh,” A guard took out an arrow from the bag, lit it, and shot it into the sky.
“Look, isn’t that a red arrow rising?” Princess Ping Hu said with joy, pointing to the sky.
Yun Ke raised his eyes but his heart tightened and he stood up suddenly, “It seems like something happened!” It was indeed a red arrow rising but it was not the signal arrow indicating prey had been caught.
It was the red arrow for help! Something happened to Gu Yu Qi!
“Aunt, Your Highness the Crown Prince, Fifth Brother, this younger brother will go and have a look,” Yun Ke said quickly with his fists cupped to Princess Ping Hu.
“Go quickly.” Princess Ping Hu’s heart tightened and she hurriedly said to Yun Ke, “Don’t let the girl in the Gu family be in danger!”
At first glance, she thought it was a red signal arrow but she had not expected the arrow to explode in the air after it was shot.
It was a red distress signal arrow and there were three fired in a row.
Something must have happened!
Yun Yi also stood up and frowned slightly as he watched Yun Ke’s back leaving quickly.
“Aunt, I will go look too.” Yun Yi also wanted to go but was stopped by Princess Ping Hu, “Xiao Qi going is enough, you need not go.”
Something happened to the daughter of the Gu family and two princes scrambled in a mad rush to go over.
What was this? Were they not afraid of other people spreading jokes?!
Although Princess Ping Hu did not mind the exchanges between the younger generations, this was the hunting ground of the Winter Hunting Festival after all.
If rumours spread, it would be bad for Gu Yu Qi.
Although Yun Yi was anxious, it obviously seemed a little bad if two princes went together, so he could only sit down again.
“Send more people to go have a look,” he said to the guards beside him.
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