“Yes!” the crowd immediately prepares to continue the journey.
Ban Xiang runs up to Mo Qi Qi, crying tears of happiness, “You are finally back, Your Ladyship! This servant was so worried! Wuwu—-“
Mo Qi Qi smiles at her before wiping her tears comfortingly, “Alright, enough crying. Haven’t I safely returned now?”
After Mo Qi Qi and Ban Xiang returns to her tent to change, Bai Jiu sneaks after them, “Second Sister….”
Mo Qi Qi jumps up in shock, “Mo Jiu Jiu, haven’t you heard that a person could die from shock? My soul almost flew out of my body because of you!”
Bai Jiu grasps her hands, checking her from head to toe, “Let me see you, Second Sister! Are you really alright, falling from such a height? If you feel sick anywhere, you must let the imperial physicians know! Do not simply hold it in!”
Mo Qi Qi’s heart warms up when she sees how worried Mo Jiu Jiu is for her. Although Jiu Jiu dresses like a man, her heart is warm and considerate like a woman. Mo Qi Qi has always has good feelings for this sister of hers. Although she can be weird, her care and love for her family is genuine.
Seeing Mo Qi Qi smiling so foolishly, Mo Jiu Jiu becomes even more worried, “What are you smiling at, Second Sister? Did you hit your head somewhere?”
Mo Qi Qi knocks her in the head dotingly, “Why? Do you want your sister to hurt her head from the fall? I am fine. You know me the best, do you think I will endure it if I am sick anywhere? I am really fine.”
“Really? Even after falling from such a height?” Mo Jiu Jiu circles her in worry.
“Of course! I am the kingdom’s Empress! My body is so precious and noble, the gods out there are looking after me! It is just a cliff, how could it hurt me? Relax!”
Seeing her sister acting like she usually does, Mo Jiu Jiu sighs in relief, “I am glad that you are fine. You scared me to death! If anything happens to you, I wouldn’t have been able to face Mother. If something had really happened to you, I would jump off the cliff as well. I wouldn’t have the face to return home.”
Mo Qi Qi discourteously knocks her in the head, “You foolish child, what are you even talking about? Never mind now; even if something did happen to me, you are not allowed to do something so foolish! Do you want our parents to lose their two daughters at the same time?”
Bai Jiu leans her head on Mo Qi Qi’s shoulder coquettishly, “I don’t care! I only want to protect my sister! If I cannot protect you, I will follow you, at least you will not be lonely!”
“Silly child! Does this means that I have just saved your life?” says Mo Qi Qi. She is starting to like this little sister more and more. She is so straightforward and sincere.
Bai Jiu smiles, “Yes! You saved my life! You must be really careful with this little sister’s life, from now on, Second Sister!”
Mo Qi Qi laughs in amusement, “You are really….. Anyway, you have been living in the army barracks for a while now, are you tired of it yet? You need to leave fast, before people figures out who you are!”
“You have changed, Sister. You have become more careful, more generous as well,” confesses Mo Jiu Jiu.
Mo Qi Qi tries to smile at her calmly, “Really? How was I in the past?”
“You used to be very haughty. You did not care for anyone but yourself. You did not know how to talk to people, how to care for them,” says Mo Jiu Jiu without holding back.
Mo Qi Qi laughs, “Really? I must have been really hateful!” If you stay in the barrack, people might find out who you are and drag me into the mess, how could I not care?
“It does not matter how you were in the past, or how you are now, you are still my sister. I love you. But still, I have to say I love the current you better. It is easier to get along with you now. I don’t have to worry about what I say and how you will take it,” Bai Jiu clicks her tongue before smiling brightly.
Mo Qi Qi finds her very cute, “It does not matter who I am, the one in the past, or the one right now, we both love this little sister very much. Just, the past me did not know how to express that love, did not know how to be considerate towards other people. I will try to change and become someone that everyone can like. But still, Jiu Jiu, are you sure you want to stay in the camp? You are playing with your life, just what exactly do you seek in the camp that you refuses to leave?”
Bai Jiu gives her a mysterious smile, “Stop worrying about me, Sister! I know how to take care of myself. I cannot leave the camp yet as there is something I need to do there.”
Mo Qi Qi smiles, “Since you are so sure about this, I will not force you. I hope that you will keep the Mo Clan in mind, be careful. This is no small matter.”
“I will keep that in mind, Sister. I must not stay long, I should leave first,” Bai Jiu sneaks out of the tent.
Mo Qi Qi helplessly sighs, “This kid is hopeless.”
Jun Qian Che, on the other hand, enters his own tent and changes his clothes. After that, he begins discussing about the assassination attempt with Han Yi Xiao. It is then that his poison starts spreading again. This one is worse than before. He spits a mouthful of blood before passing out.
He is very lucky to have Han Yi Xiao nearby, who promptly helps him suppress the poison for the time being.
Jun Qian Che stands up calmly, “Zhen feels fine now.”
“Your Majesty, the poison inside your body is spreading even faster. That means that you have maxed out your inner power. The Empress received a heavy strike when she got pushed down the cliff. She is fine now, you must have used yungong to help her. Why did you take your own life so lightly, Your Majesty? Using yungong while suffering from that poison will forfeit one’s life,” says Han Yi Xiao, worried.
“Nothing will happen,” says Jun Qian Che calmly.
Han Yi Xiao shakes his head helplessly. Who knew the Emperor cares for the Empress to that degree? The Empress, on the other hand, treats him so distastefully, always trying to find faults. Why must he do this to himself? But still, the Emperor’s decision is not something that he, a little official, can ponder upon. He just wish that their journey back to the palace will be without any obstruction. The Emperor needs the cure as fast as possible.
After Jun Qian Che and Mo Qi Qi rest for a moment inside their respective tents, the journey continues. With the rate in which the poison is spreading, Jun Qian Che cannot afford any further delay.
Mo Qi Qi, who is ignorant of Jun Qian Che’s current predicament, is very unhappy with how hasty the journey is.
Both of them are sitting inside the same carriage; Jun Qian Che calm and quiet, while Mo Qi Qi, restless and furious.
“Your Majesty, it is not easy for us to escape death, couldn’t we at least rest properly for at least one day before resuming the journey? Our bodies are made of flesh, not iron. We are not made to endure such a long journey!”
“You can rest once we return to the palace,” says Jun Qian Che coldly.
“If we wait until we get to the palace, I could close my eyes for forever because then I would have been dead from fatigue!” disagrees Mo Qi Qi.
“Stop speaking nonsense,” Jun Qian Che glares at her; he really hates the way she keeps bringing up the word ‘dead’.
“Chenqie is not speaking nonsense; chenqie is really tired.” So many things have happened, she is completely drained. She just wants a good night sleep. This bas**ard on the other hand, is just so hasty to get back. Just what is so urgent in the palace that he is anxiously rushing back in this manner?
A thought suddenly flashes in Mo Qi Qi’s head. She laughs roguishly at him, “Your Majesty, are you rushing back because you’re missing Yang Meimei? We have been away for close to a month, you ought to miss her!”
Jun Qian Che glares at her unhappily. “Do you actually think that you understand zhen?” he asks warningly.
Mo Qi Qi raises her eyebrows confidently, “Chenqie believes that chenqie understands you, yes.”
Jun Qian Che sneers in disdain, “Stop trying to figure out what zhen thinks; you will never get it.”
Mo Qi Qi purses her lips in grievance, “What is so hard to guess? Men like you can never live without touching a woman for one month. If chenqie had known, chenqie would have told Yang Meimei to come with us. At least, you will have someone to make you happy; someone who will be there when you need to—- Haha—–“
Jun Qian Che tries to suppress his anger as he says, “Stop speaking! If you want to stay alive, return to the palace quietly.”
“What do you mean?” asks Mo Qi Qi in confusion.
“Our whereabout has been discovered. If we don’t return now, we will get ambushed once more. Are you sure you want to delay our return and wait for the assassins to catch up to us?” he looks at her while raising his eyebrows.
Mo Qi Qi starts shaking, “Your Majesty, let’s return to the palace as fast as we can! Chenqieyearns to see all the sisters in the palace!”
A flash of smile can be seen on Jun Qian Che’s eyes.
10 days later,
The beautifully dressed concubines are waiting to welcome the entourage back to the palace. They already received the news of the Emperor and Empress’ return and had spent the morning preparing themselves.
“Why aren’t they here yet?” asks a concubine.
“Right! I thought they are already really close to the palace; why aren’t they here yet?”
Hearing that, Yang Shi Han toys with her red fingernails before sneering, “What are you lot so anxious for? It’s not like His Majesty is going to spare any of you a glance. He only has bengong in his heart. His Majesty will not see you even if you wait for him here.”
Xia Fei is not happy to hear that, “Yang Guifei, His Majesty belongs to all of us, not you alone. Please mind your words.”
“Right! If His Majesty only has you in his heart, why does he always take the Empress with him whenever he leaves the palace, never you?”
Yang Shi Han laughs haughtily, “Before leaving, the Emperor did asked bengong if bengong wanted to go with him. Bengong said no, because bengong did not want my skin to become tanned, that’s why His Majesty brought the Empress instead. The Empress ought to thank bengong for giving her the opportunity.”
The rest of the concubines laugh exagerratedly. “Aiya, how funny! Do you take us for fools, Your Ladyship? Which concubines would say no if His Majesty wanted to take them out? Don’t lie to us just to save face, Your Ladyship!” one of them says.
“Haha, correct!” quips another concubine.
Yang Shi Han glowers at them angrily, “The only reason His Majesty took the Empress with him is so that Duke Zhen will sit quietly in court! Do any of you here actually thinks that His Majesty likes the Empress? Stop dreaming! The only person inside His Majesty’s heart is bengong! If any of you here continues aggravating bengong, bengong will complain to His Majesty and ruin your lives inside the palace!”
The rest of the concubines obediently keep their mouths shut at that threat. Although they don’t like Yang Guifei, she is still a Guifei, her position is right below the Empress. If they offend her, the one losing will only be themselves. The task of teaching her a lesson can only fall on the Empress’ shoulders.
Seeing the concubines knowing their places and keeping their mouths shut, Yang Shi Han smiles proudly, “At least you know where you stand. Get your acts together once the Emperor comes. Don’t annoy him by being overbearing. The first palace that he will go to will be bengong’s, so don’t even dream of trying to attract his attention.”
Although angered by her words, the rest of the concubines merely keep their anger inside their hearts.
The entourage slowly comes into view. Han Yi Xiao and Bai Jiu ride their respective horses as they lead the Emperor and Empress’ carriage in front.
The officials are all gathering outside the palace, welcoming the entourage. When the carriage comes into view, they kneel on the ground, “Greeting to the Emperor and Empress.”
The carriage stops when it reaches the entrance to the imperial palace.
Jun Qian Che holds Mo Qi Qi’s hand as they get down from the carriage. He turns to the officials solemnly, “All of you may get up.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” the officials stand up.
Jun Qian Che walks towards the imperial palace while holding Mo Qi Qi’s hand, where they are thereafter welcomed by the concubines.
Now that their beloved Emperor is back, the concubines immediately curtsy in front of him, “Greeting the Emperor and Empress.”
“All of you may get up,” says Jun Qian Che calmly, completely indifferent to all the women before him.
Mo Qi Qi approaches him before whispering, “Your Majesty, my sisters must have missed you a lot. All of them rushed here just to welcome you. Why don’t you give them a little smile so as to not appear so cold?”
“Zhen does not get paid to smile,” says Jun Qian Che unhappily.
Mo Qi Qi does not know whether to laugh or to cry, “Please, Your Majesty. These are all your women. Do you need to get paid to smile in front of your own people?”