“Mo Qi Qi—-“ screams Jun Qian Che. He lets go of the rock and plunges down the chasm right after her.
The sound of water splashing can be heard as he falls into a river. He sinks down before slowly floating up. He wipes the water from his face as he looks all around him. The scenery is very beautiful, as though a painting has just come to life, but he is not in the situation to admire it. His heart sinks when he fails to find the person that he is looking for. “Mo Qi Qi! Mo Qi Qi, where are you!” he shouts for her.
He swims around, trying to find her.
After a long time of searching, he fails to find any traces of her. He becomes even more worried as he continues his search.
The river is very long, and the direction that Jun Qian Che is swimming towards is the complete opposite of the direction that Mo Qi Qi took.
After Mo Qi Qi falls into the river, she seems to have heard the sound of Jun Qian Che calling for her. She must have heard wrong! Without her to drag him down, Jun Qian Che has probably flew up the cliff using whatever energy he has left. She struggles for a moment under the water. Lucky she knows how to swim, so, at least, she will not drown to death in this place. She swims to the riverbank, hoping to find someone who can help her get out of this place.
As she sits on the riverbank, soaking wet, she looks at the cliff that she fell from. She cannot even see where the peak of the cliff is. She could almost cry, “How am I still alive after falling from that height? Now what? Not only have I failed to return to my own time, I am also stuck in this place with no way up. There is no one around, what if I bump into a wild beast? Wuwu, I am so going to die here! From either hunger or from being a wild beast’s food. If I had known that there is a river here, I would have dragged Jun Qian Che down with me. At least it will be safer with him around. No! I cannot just sit here and wait for my death! Since the Heavens have allowed me to live, it means that it is not my time to die yet. I will definitely find a way to get out of this place!”
She gets up, spirit coming back into her heart. She walks along the riverbank, trying to find her way out of the gorge.
Jun Qian Che swims along the current of the river because he assumes that Mo Qi Qi has been washed up by the current.
His long arduous search turns out to be futile. Since he is very tired and has been poisoned and is therefore under the risk of drowning himself, he swims towards the riverbank, intending to try and find her from there.
After he reaches the riverbank, he walks along the banks, following the current to continue his search for her. Somehow, a tiny voice can be heard inside his heart saying; ‘Go back. Turn around.’ Jun Qian Che does not know why his instinct tells him so. He hesitates for a moment, before deciding to follow his heart.
He turns around and walks the opposite way.
Mo Qi Qi drags her soaking wet body along the riverbank. Something tells her that she should turn around. She shakes her head, trying to will that feeling away. She wonders why her heart tells her so. Perhaps there are imperial guards over there, looking for her. She stops in her steps. Deciding to follow her instinct, she turns around and walks the opposite way, hoping that she will really find someone who can help her get out of this gorge.
15 minutes later, a man and a woman’s path crosses at the riverbank. They are about 10 metres away from each other. Both of them stop walking and look at each other in disbelief. Joy fills their eyes as their eyes lock.
For a couple of seconds, neither of them speaks. Then, they start walking towards each other. The distance between them feels like millions of lightyears away, and although not much time has passed, they feel as though they have been away from each other for far too long.
When Jun Qian Che sees her, the weight in his heart slowly dissipates.
As for Mo Qi Qi, she wants to laugh upon seeing the dishevelled Jun Qian Che, but somehow, she doesn’t. Her nose feels sour and she feels like she is going to cry. Something pools in her eyes. She holds it in and tries to appear as calm as possible, “What are you doing here?”
Jun Qian Che does not answer her. Only the Heavens know how scared he had been for her. He suddenly pulls her towards him and hugs her tight, like someone who has just recovered his precious treasure. If possible, he really wants to put her inside him, to make her a part of himself, to let her run through his veins.
After living for 22 years, he finally knows what fear is.
Mo Qi Qi is stunned by his sudden action. Her heart momentarily blooms, but the joy is cut short by how tight he is embracing her. She feels like she is going to stop breathing soon, “Y-Y-Your Majesty! I can’t breathe!”
Hearing her, Jun Qian Che loosens his hold and looks at her without any words.
Mo Qi Qi feels a little weirded out at being stared at like that. She laughs sillily, “Why are you looking at chenqie like that, Your Majesty? Is there something on chenqie’s face?” The quieter he is, the more scared she becomes.
“Mo Qi Qi, your bravery sure exceeds the sky! How dare you let go of zhen’s hand? Have you forgotten what zhen said? Without zhen’s permission, do not even dare to consider leaving zhen’sside!” scolds Jun Qian Che after collecting himself. He really wants to choke this stubborn woman to death.
Mo Qi Qi quickly tries to excuse herself, “Your Majesty, chenqie was only thinking on your behalf! The situation was so dangerous! It is alright for chenqie to die, chenqie is only a little woman. You are different! You are the Emperor! If you die because of chenqie, chenqie will be cursed by the future generation! Chenqie will be branded as the sinner who harmed their Emperor to death!”
“That is not for you to worry about! What you should worry about is how to live!” Jun Qian Che yells at her angrily.
Being yelled at like that makes Mo Qi Qi angry as well. Remembering that he had jumped after her makes her even angrier. “What right do you have to scold me, Jun Qian Che? Alrhough I am your Empress, I have the power to decide my own life and death! Didn’t I say I didn’t want to drag you down with me? Why did you jump after me anyway? Do you really want to make me the icon of notoriety in history? What will happen to the kingdom if you die? What will happen to the common people? To the consorts in the palace? Why on earth did you jump off after me? Do you want me to owe you a favour? I will not think it that way! In fact, I think you are stupid, you are a fool! Do you really think that you are saving me? You are harming me! If the common people know of this, they will call me a star of calamity! The courtiers will think of me as a pretty face who has ruined a kingdom and the imperial censors will write me down as the demonic Empress who seduced the Emperor into oblivion! After I die, people will, mmph—-”
Without waiting for her to finish, Jun Qian Che pulls her towards him and kisses her hard on the lips. He does not want to hear what she has to say. Does she even know how worried he was for her? How scared he was for her? She actually dares to bring up the word ‘die’ right now? Even if she dies, he will chase her to the Underworld. Even then, he will not let go of her.
He originally wanted to stop her from speaking, but the moment their lips touch, his head turns light as her soft lips draws him in. He does not want this to end. Perhaps, she is right. Perhaps, she indeed has the ability to seduce him into oblivion.
Mo Qi Qi is shocked senseless by the kiss. The kiss feels gentle and warm, so unlike anything he has been before. This kiss seems to contain care, concern, fear, affection, and his unwillingness to part—–
She is taken by surprise by her own thoughts. She quickly drives the unrealistically happy thoughts away.
Did you actually think that Jun Qian Che cares about you? Stop dreaming!
She pushes him away angrily, “You took advantage of me again! You promised you wouldn’t force me to do things I don’t want to do!”
He looks at her silently.
She sneers coldly, “What are you looking at? Don’t you even dare to think that I will be thankful to you just because you jumped off a cliff for me! It is your fault that I fell down on the first place! Being with you is so dangerous. I told you I didn’t want to join you in this trip, but noooo, you just had to insist! Now we are trapped in a gorge, are you happy now? You will really harm me to death one day!” Why did you jump after me, Jun Qian Che? Why were you so foolish?
“Your day won’t be complete if you don’t infuriate me, is it, Mo Qi Qi?” scolds Jun Qian Che. This ungrateful yatou! He did all this just to save her!
“So what if it is?” Mo Qi Qi gathers her courage to retort back. They are trapped inside a gorge, right now, just the two of them. His title as the Emperor is currently worthless.
“What ‘you’?” goads Mo Qi Qi again. She has no idea if they will ever be able to escape this gorge. If they can’t, then she will bully this guy to her heart’s content as they wait for their deaths. He used to bully her so much back in the palace, she must take this chance to repay his ‘grace’.
“You must be tired of living, Mo Qi Qi,” Jun Qian Che threatens her coldly.
She laughs at him mockingly, “Hahaha, just look at where we are, Jun Qian Che! Do you think you can still scare me? Do you honestly believe that I am afraid of you? You usually looked so lonely back in the palace, so I pitied you and let you bully me. I, Mo Qi Qi, has never feared anyone ever since I was born! I was never scared of you. I only kept giving in to you to give you face, but you didn’t know that and thought yourself so formidable! Do you think you are a celestial figure? Hahaha, so funny!”
Jun Qian Che narrows his eyes coldly, “Zhen never knew you have this much courage in you, Mo Qi Qi.”
“It’s alright. Knowing about it now is not too late. You better say some pleasant things to this Young Miss if you want to live what remaining life you have in peace,” Mo Qi Qi sweeps her fringe like a dandy playboy.
Jun Qian Che looks at her before slowly closing their distance.
Mo Qi Qi slowly retreats backwards, “Jun Qian Che, a real gentleman will use reason instead of brute force! Don’t you ever think that I will be afraid of you just because you know martial arts!”
Jun Qian Che laughs rakishly, “Don’t worry, zhen will not kill you. The scenery here is too beautiful to be marred by blood. Since we are married, don’t you think we should be doing something else? Don’t worry, this place is very secluded, no one will see us.”
Mo Qi Qi’s heart drops as she points at him angrily, “Let me warn you, Jun Qian Che, don’t you even try to do anything despicable to me. I can accept you forcing me once, but if you try to do it again, I will—- I will—–“
Jun Qian Che tips her chin before ambiguously asking, “What will you do, Mo Qi Qi?”