Jun Qian Che stares at her, not saying anything.
Mo Qi Qi smiles and drags him towards a stall.
Seeing the two of them coming over, the stall’s owner quickly welcomes them enthusiastically, “Welcome, gentlemen! Our stall’s beef noodle is a family recipe from 100 years ago! I assure you the taste is authentic!”
“Look at our chicken! The skin is very crispy and the flesh is very tender, please try our stall!” Another stall’s owner excitedly beckons them over.
Instead of choosing any of the two stalls, Mo Qi Qi drags Jun Qian Che to sit in a stall that is selling skewers. That stall’s owner welcomes them warmly, “What would you like to eat, gentlemen?”
“Please bring us your grilled skewers,” Mo Qi Qi excitedly replies.
“Yes, alright, please wait for a moment,” the old owner quickly prepares their order.
Jun Qian Che looks at her curiously, “There are so many stalls, why did you pick this one?”
Mo Qi Qi rolls her eyes at him, “Different stalls are serving different dishes. I want to eat skewers, so I naturally pick this place! Do you think this place is your imperial kitchen that serves different meals at the same time?”
Jun Qian Che nods, enlightened.
The owner quickly sends their skewers over, “Please eat, gentlemen. There are more to come!”
“Yes, thank you,” Mo Qi Qi politely replies.
The boss returns to grill more skewers.
Just as Mo Qi Qi is about to eat, she notices that Jun Qian Che has not moved. She kindly gives him her skewer, “Try this, Husband.”
Jun Qian Che looks at the skewer offered to him. It looks unhygienic, he hesitates a little.
Mo Qi Qi helplessly rolls her eyes, “Don’t judge it based on it’s look. I guarantee you it will taste good. Try it!”
Jun Qian Che hesitates some more, “I am not hungry, you eat.”
“It’s not like this skewer is going to hit you, just try it!” she persistently gives it to him.
When Jun Qian Che notices that people are starting to stare at him, he accepts the skewer.
Mo Qi Qi laughs, “That’s a good boy! When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Dig in!” She picks another skewer for herself. Just as she is about to eat, she notices that Jun Qian Che is picking at the lamb meat with a pair of chopsticks.
She sighs, “Oh, Husband, just because you have never eaten pork before does not mean that you do not know how pigs look like. You do not eat skewers like that, you eat it like this!” She eats the meat straight from the skewer like a proper gentleman before giving it a thumbs up, “How delicious!
Jun Qian Che frowns, “But it does not seem very polite.”
Mo Qi Qi almost vomits blood when she hears that, “Oh Husband, can you not put a damper to my mood? Let’s only care about politeness and etiquette once we return to the palace. Loosen up a little!” She gives the skewer a fierce bite. She really must seize this opportunity to run away in this trip. Who knew that the life outside the palace is so fun? She had been cooped up inside the palace for so long and had to miss out on so much fun.
Jun Qian Che becomes quiet.
Mo Qi Qi knows that that means that he agrees with her; that makes her really happy, “Give it a taste, husband. This is a fresh lamb meat, it tastes even better than the ones in the modern times.”
“Modern times? You have tasted this before?” Jun Qian Che quickly catches on to the important parts of her sentence.
Mo Qi Qi is momentarily frozen before quickly smiling, “Hehe, when I was younger, before I entered the palace.”
“Where is ‘modern times?” Jun Qian Che persistently asks.
Mo Qi Qi thinks for a moment, “I don’t remember where it is. I believe ‘modern times’ is the name of the shop that I used to frequent when I was younger.”
Jun Qian Che no longer pursues the matter.
Mo Qi Qi sighs in relief, “Give it a try, Husband. It’s very good.”
Jun Qian Che hesitates for a moment, before eating it directly from the stick like Mo Qi Qi did.
Mo Qi Qi eagerly looks at him, “How?”
“The color is good and the meat is full of fat. The flavour is slightly spicy and refreshing, neither oily nor greasy. The meat is very tender, what a unique flavour.”
Mo Qi Qi is momentarily stunned, “I never knew one could use so many words to describe a dish! Awesome!” She gives him a thumbs up. This Jun Qian Che is the type that will still be the leader of the mass no matter in what era he is born to.
“If you like it, eat a little more, Husband!” she gives him a couple more sticks.
Mo Qi Qi proceeds to eat happily. She pats her full stomach, “How blissful! This is the happiest I have been, these days!” She felt very trapped inside the palace, without any freedom to do what she wanted to do. She finally gets to do what she wants today.
“A simple dish is enough to make you happy. Your happiness is too simple,” Jun Qian Che comments.
Mo Qi Qi gives him an innocent smile, “Correct! My happiness is very simple. I am a woman with no ambition, living a worry-free life with enough food and clothes are enough for me. But, even that is hard to obtain.”
Jun Qian Che gets up, “Let’s go.”
Mo Qi Qi puts some silver pieces on the table before following Jun Qian Che.
Why does it feels like Jun Qian Che is angry? “Did I say anything wrong, Your Majesty?”
Jun Qian Che’s voice is very calm when he replies her, “No. What you said is not wrong. Being able to do what you want will indeed make one happy, but how many people have that kind of privilege in this world?”
Mo Qi Qi quickly points at him, “You, ah! No one in this world can do as they please, no one but you! You are sitting at the top of the world, the entire land is yours, no one can do anything to you.”
Jun Qian Che stops walking and turns to her, “Do you really think that zhen can do whatever zhen wants?”
Mo Qi Qi scratches her head, “Am I wrong?”
A bitter smile appears on Jun Qian Che’s face as he shakes his head, “Let’s go.” He is the last person in this world who could do as he pleases. He owns a lot of things, but what comes with it are a lot of vigilance and care. One wrong move and he will lose everything.
Both of them walk back to the inn in silence.
Jun Qian Che suddenlys stops in his steps and looks at Mo Qi Qi.
Mo Qi Qi looks back at him in surprise, “Why are you looking at chenqie like that, Your Majesty?”
He lifts his hand and slowly directs it to her face.
Mo Qi Qi’s heartbeat suddenly quickens. She quickly says, “Your Majesty, please promise chenqie you will not force chenqie to do things that chenqie does not like.” If you dare to act discourteous to this young lady again, I will scream and tell this world what kind of a person you really are!
Jun Qian Che ignores her and slowly wipes something from the corner of her lips, “You are the empress and yet you ate without caring for etiquette.”
Mo Qi Qi laughs awkwardly when she realizes what just happened, “Hehe, chenqie was wrong. Lucky no one sees it.”
“It is late, go and rest,” Jun Qian Che’s voice is as low and magnetic as ever.
Mo Qi Qi nods, “You should rest early as well, Your Majesty. Good night!” She waves at him before running towards her room.
As he looks at her retreating back, he smiles. She is becoming more and more different from the Mo Qi Qi that he knows. The new side of her is very cute.
As for Mo Qi Qi, she quickly returns to her room and closes the door.
Ban Xiang happily welcomes her, “You are finally back, Your Ladyship! Lucky the emperor did not call for you tonight, we are safe!”
Mo Qi Qi goes to the table and pours herself some tea, “Bengong was really unlucky tonight.”
Ban Xiang becomes worried, “Did you encounter any danger outside, Your Ladyship? Are you injured?”
Mo Qi Qi looks at her earnestly before saying, “I bumped into the emperor while I was at the brothel. Does that count as ‘dangerous’ in your book?”
Ban Xiang sits down in shock, her little face completely pale. Tears glisten in her eyes, “Are you joking with this servant, Your Ladyship?”
Mo Qi Qi helplessly sighs, “I want this to be a joke as well, unfortunately, it is true.”
Ban Xian’s tears fall non-stop, “Wuwu, how could this be? His Majesty must be so angry. The mother of the kingdom visits the brothel, if words of it comes out, His Majesty will lose face! The ministers will start submitting petition to admonish you! The empress dowager will be angry as well! How will His Majesty deal with you?”
“His Majesty did not say anything. He was angry at first, but after that, we left the brothel together. Then, we went and eat at a street-side stall. He did not say anything about punishing me. Oh my God, don’t tell me he is planning to write this down first and then use this against me in the future!” Mo Qi Qi covers her mouth in shock.
Ban Xiang sniffs heavily, “Wuwu, this is all this servant’s fault. This servant should have tried to stop you.”
Now that Ban Xiang has put it that way, this matter indeed sounds serious. This matter involves Jun Qian Che’s face. He does not make a big deal of this now because he does not want the matter to spread out, causing him to be made fun of by the people. Once they return to the palace, he will deal with her for sure. She will lose her life! No! She must try to find the opportunity to run before they return to the palace.
In the courtyard outside, the uneasy Han Yi Xiao personally patrols the courtyard to make sure that no harm should befall the emperor.
After patrolling the entire perimeter once, he turns around to return to his own room. It is then that he is greeted by Bai Jiu, “Great General.”
“General Bai, it is late, why haven’t you gone to rest?” he inquires in surprise.
“You haven’t gone to rest yourself, Great General. Since we are here to protect His Majesty and Her Ladyship, we must not neglect our duties. We must do our best to ensure their safety!” To be honest, she is only here because she saw him outside just now.
“You are so responsible even though you have only been here for a short while. If the emperor finds out, His Majesty will reward you,” Han Yi Xiao praises her.
Bai Jiu laughs happily, “This General dares not guess His Majesty’s opinion of this General. But since this General works under you, this General is really happy to have received your words of praises.”
“You did well. This General was not wrong when making you the General of the Cavalry,” Han Yi Xiao sincerely says. He really likes this Bai Jiu. Although young, Bai Jiu is capable and quick-witted, very fast in battle. No wonder the emperor picked him to join this trip.
“Thank you, Great General. This General will work even harder in the future!” Bai Jiu is extremely happy.
Both of them return to their own rooms while chatting idly.
“If I remember right, your record states that you came from Qing Shui County. Am I right, General Bai?” Han Yi Xiao casually asks.
Bai Jiu is frozen. “Correct, this General’s ancestral home is in Qing Shui County.”
“What a coincidence. Our first stop is Qing Shui County. You should take this chance to visit your family home, General Bai.”
Bai Jiu shakes her head while laughing, “It is this General’s privilege to follow His Majesty on this trip, this General does not dare to make a private trip. This General wish to protect His Majesty the best he can.”
Han Yi Xiao smiles, “It is rare to find such a loyal officer, but it will be such a waste to not to visit your family home while you are already here. I will try and ask for the emperor’s permission to let you go out tomorrow. As your superior, I will keep you company. Your family will be really happy to see you in this position.”
Han Yi Xiao usually treats his subordinates solemnly, full of discipline. If this had been another person, they would have cried in gratitude. But since this is Bai Jiu, this becomes a problem. She is the Mo Clan’s Third Young Miss! She simply wrote Qing Shui County as her hometown back then because she had once travelled to this place with her shifu. The truth is, she does not even know this place well. Where should she find this non-esistant home of hers?