Jun Qian Che carries a pheasant as he walks back towards the cave. He spots Mo Qi Qi sitting outside, hugging her legs as she rest her head on her knees like a helpless child. She looks distressed.
Jun Qian Che’s heart aches at that sight. “What’s wrong?” asks him, his voice laced with worry.
Mo Qi Qi quickly looks up when she hears that familiar voice. Upon seeing Jun Qian Che standing not far away, she runs towards him and embraces him tightly. “Jun Qian Che!” She wraps her arms around him tight as she buries her head on his chest.
Her action takes Jun Qian Che by surprise. He looks at her, even more worried now, “What happened?”
“You didn’t leave me. I thought you left. Where on earth were you?” she looks up at him before punching him in the chest.
He shows her the pheasant, “It is past lunch time, you must be hungry. I went to catch something to eat. You—- You thought I left you?” Joy rises in his heart. She is starting to learn to depend on him.
“Hmph, I couldn’t care less about you! I just didn’t want other people to ask me where you are after I escape this place! What if you got eaten by a wild beast? How should I answer to other people? They will blame me for not taking care of you!” Mo Qi Qi raises her chin proudly.
Jun Qian Che does not want to embarrass her by calling out her lies, so he simply says, “Let’s go.”
Mo Qi Qi follows him back into the cave.
An hour later, the cave is filled with the aroma of roasted pheasant.
The hungry Mo Qi Qi swallows heavily as she looks at the tempting pheasant.
Jun Qian Che smiles when he sees her and hands her the pheasant’s leg.
Mo Qi Qi shamelessly takes it and starts eating, all the while, nodding in appreciation, “It’s good! It’s really delicious!”
Seeing her eating so heartily makes Jun Qian Che happy. Looks like she has really recovered from the palm strike. He finally lets go of his worry.
She finishes the leg very fast.
Jun Qian Che gives her the other leg.
This time, she gets a little embarrassed, “You haven’t eaten yet, Your Majesty. You should eat this one. I will eat one of the wings, instead.”
“Zhen is not hungry, you go on and eat,” he insists on giving it to her.
Mo Qi Qi is defenceless against that temptation and quickly accepts the offering.
Jun Qian Che eats very little, the rest of the pheasant is eaten by Mo Qi Qi.
She pats her full stomach happily, “It was just too good!”
“Full?” asks Jun Qian Che.
Mo Qi Qi nods, “Yes, I am so full. Who would have thought that Your Majesty could hunt animals, start a fire and even cook! Chenqie never knew you could do all this.”
“Zhen has to know all that in order to go to the battlefield,” says Jun Qian Che calmly.
Mo Qi Qi looks at him in surprise, “You have been in the battlefield before?”
Jun Qian Che trains his eyes on her, “Have you forgotten all that, Empress? You even snuck out of the palace to follow zhen but was discovered during the journey. Zhen ordered you to be sent back to the palace.”
Mo Qi Qi avoids eye-contact while scratching her head, “For real? Who would have thought that chenqie was that unruly and crazy?”
“You forgot all that?” Jun Qian Che eyes her carefully.
Mo Qi Qi looks at him before sneering, “Honorable people sure have short memories, Your Majesty. Didn’t chenqie told you that chenqie lost my memories after falling from the viewing tower?”
Jun Qian Che studies her face intently, as though trying to sense any lies.
“Why are you looking at chenqie like that? You don’t believe chenqie?” asks Mo Qi Qi.
“No, just zhen has never seen something like this before,” Jun Qian Che looks away.
Mo Qi Qi purses her lips, “That still means that you don’t believe chenqie.”
Jun Qian Che does not pursue the topic. It does not matter if he believes her or not. The point is, she is his wife and nothing will ever change that fact. It does not matter that her personality has changed.
Mo Qi Qi, it does not matter whether or not you have really lost your memories. You will forever be zhen’s woman. Do not even dream of leaving zhen’s side.
“Let’s go!” Jun Qian Che suddenly says, walking out of the cave.
Mo Qi Qi looks at him in confusion as she hastily chases after him, “Where are we going, Your Majesty?”
“You want to be stuck here forever?” asks Jun Qian Che in return.
Mo Qi Qi shakes her head, “No.”
“Then let’s find our way out,” says Jun Qian Che as he walks forward in large strides.
Mo Qi Qi half-runs to keep up with his pace.
Whilst both of them are busy trying to find the exit down below, the people up above are also busy figuring out ways to go down.
Jun Yue Hen’s heart aches so much as he sits under a tree near the edge of the cliff. If anything happens to Qi Qi, what is the point of living?
Bai Jiang and Wen Xuan try to comfort him, “Do not be so worried, Wangye. Her Ladyship must be fine!”
“Yes, Wangye. General Han is trying to come up with ways to save her. He will definitely figure out the way to go down to save Her Ladyship.”
Jun Yue Hen’s face is expressionless as he mumbles, “This is all my fault. I already promised her I will not let anything happen to her. In the end, she is still in danger. Go and help General Han, let this King sit here for a while longer.”
“Yes!” The two people immediately retreat away. They are both still worried about the 7th Wang. If anything happens to the Empress, the 7th Wang will crumble with her.
Han Yi Xiao leads the team to search for the method to climb down the cliff. Bai Jiu helps him, plagued with worry. If something really happened to her sister, how should she answer to their parents?
Ban Xiang, on the other hand, cries through the entire thing.
As for Mo Qi Qi and Jun Qian Che, they follow the flow of the stream to find their way out, believing they will find either people or an exit if they do so. After all, the river has to flow somewhere.
After a couple of hours, Mo Qi Qi is already tired and can only force herself to walk on. Jun Qian Che is still doing fine.
She really does not have the energy to take even a single step. When she sees that the sun is setting and they still haven’t found any sort of exit, her spirit collapses. She sits on the ground, completely drained, “I can’t go on. We walked so long for nothing. If we don’t die from being trapped in this place, then we shall die from fatigue.”
Jun Qian Che stops to look at her.
Without waiting for him to speak, Mo Qi Qi speaks first, “Mock me if you’d like, there’s no use to it. Either way, I refuse to walk on. If you want to go, feel free to go. I would rather die here than to walk on for nothing.”
Jun Qian Che walks back to her without saying a single word.
Mo Qi Qi looks at him, scared, “W-What are you trying to do? You want to hit me? Go on! I will not listen to you even if you hit me to death.”
Jun Qian Che shakes his head helplessly. He really admires her ability to conjure up scenes inside her head. He pulls her up.
“What are you doing?” asks Mo Qi Qi in worry.
Jun Qian Che does not wish to waste words with her. He carries her on his back and continues walking.
Mo Qi Qi calms down when she finally understands his intention. A sweet smile is formed on her lips as she speaks to him gently for once, “You are tired too, Your Majesty. It will be too much for your body if you carry chenqie like this.”
“Zhen is not tired,” says Jun Qian Che as he walks on.
Warmth creeps into Mo Qi Qi’s heart for reasons even she cannot tell. She feels like she is unafraid even if there is no exit as long as he is there with her.
Jun Qian Che carries her for a long time.
Just when Mo Qi Qi is about to give up hope altogether, hope appears before their faces. Amidst the darkness and trees lies a small village.
There are light and smoke inside the houses, meaning that they are inhabited.
Mo Qi Qi happily pats Jun Qian Che in the shoulders, “Hurry and put me down, Your Majesty.”
Jun Qian Che puts her down.
Mo Qi Qi runs a few steps before happily jumping on her feet, “Someone is cooking! This village is definitely inhabited!”
Jun Qian Che walks towards her before calmly saying, “You finally have your energy back?”
Mo Qi Qi laughs sillily, “After receiving hope? Naturally. Hehe, it has been hard on you, Your Majesty.” She pounds on his arm coquettishly.
Jun Qian Che frowns lightly. The arm she is pounding on is the one that has been poisoned.
Seeing his expression, Mo Qi Qi inquires in worry, “What is wrong, Your Majesty? Did chenqie hit you too hard?”
“Nothing. Later on, remember to mind the way you address me.” To be honest, rather than as an Emperor, he would rather she address to him as a husband.
Mo Qi Qi nods obediently, “I understand. I must not address you as ‘Your Majesty’. We cannot leak our identities.”
Both of them walk closer to the village.
A bunch of children are playing together while an old woman watches them with a serene smile from under a tree.
Young men are busy chopping woods while young wives cook in their kitchens, waiting for their husbands’ return.
All eyes fall on them as they enter the village.
Jun Qian Che’s face is cold and solemn while Mo Qi Qi’s is adorned with a brilliant smile.
She secretly tugs on his sleeves before whispering, “Please, can you at least try to smile? You will scare them off.”
Jun Qian Che looks at Mo Qi Qi, forcing a smile on his lips.
Mo Qi Qi helplessly sighs, “Never mind. There is actually someone who does not know how to smile in this world. Stop smiling. I will try and get acquainted with the people here.”
The villagers start to gather upon seeing the two strangers. Since this little village is under a cliff, visitors must be very rare here. They are surprised and somewhat diffident.
Mo Qi Qi waves at him friendlily, “Hello, grandpas, grandmas, sirs, madams, brothers and sisters! Sorry for bothering you! We actually fell down from a cliff and have been trying to find our way out when we stumbled upon your village. Don’t worry, we are not bad people! We will not harm you!”
The villagers look at each other before a middle-aged man steps forth to ask them, “Where are you from? How did you fall down from the cliff?”
“We are from the capital and have been travelling south to visit relatives. We were ambushed by robbers along the way. We gave them our money, but they pushed us down anyway. Lucky our luck is big. We fell into a river and did not die,” says Mo Qi Qi.
The crowd nods, believing Mo Qi Qi, “Don’t be sad. Money can be recovered, but not your lives.”
“Yes! Your lives are more important than money. Don’t be sad. As long as you are still alive, nothing else matters.”
Seeing the villagers’ kind disposition, Mo Qi Qi smiles, touched, “Thank you. The day is getting dark now and we have been walking the entire day. I wonder if it is possible for us to stay in this village for a night? Just to rest?”
The villagers smile as they nod, “Of course! Of course! We have an accommodation for you. You can stay there for the night. We will help you to the exit tomorrow.”
Mo Qi Qi is very happy when she hears that. She exchange a look with Jun Qian Che before saying, “Thank you so much! You are so kind”
The crowd smiles back at them.
One of them suddenly pipes in, “What kind of relationship do you have with each other? We will put it in mind while we arrange your accommodation.”
Mo Qi Qi immediately pulls Jun Qian Che over to her, “He is my brother. Hehe. My brother does not like to speak and looks very serious all the time, but don’t worry, he is not a bad person.”
Jun Qian Che glares at her unhappily. Her face does not even turn red from lying.
Mo Qi Qi raises her eyebrows while smiling, “Why don’t you greet everyone, brother!”