“Mother…” the word sounded bitter in Lan Qi's mouth. She fell to her knees, with her knees hitting the grass beneath her. As if her soul had crashed into the earth, Lan Qi was struck by the reality she had just heard. Empress Na Xing had sent her back to the Palace but not as Princess Li Ming. But as a slave because after her father's death, she is worthless. What do they mean? What does Mother mean—One of the bodyguards approached and grabbed Lan Qi's limp hand. But Xiao Zhun immediately brushed it off.“Lan Qi watch out—” before Xiao Zhun's sword lifted from her waist, Lan Qi quickly restrained the young man. “Enough,” Lan Qi said almost in a whisper. Her eyes were blurry. Her breath was labored and her mind was too empty to decide anything. All that was in her throat was a lump of emotion from the question that exploded as if demanding an answer. Xiao Zhun lowered his head, his brow furrowed in worry as his gaze dived into Lan Qi's thoughts. Without Lan Qi needing to e
She thought she was being followed by Xiao Zhun, but the boy was not around. Is she walking too fast? Before Lan Qi was about to turn around to turn back— suddenly from behind her an arrow shot out and stuck in front of her feet. Lan Qi was aghast. She looked up, looked right, and left. Spread the gaze to the sky. To the top of the tree. From the right. Lan Qi turned around, just in time to find an imperial guard—obviously an imperial guard, in golden robes and black armor. A face helmet made of golden copper with a bow in his hand. Lan Qi widened her eyes before another attack landed. "Princess Li Ming, run!" Xiao Zhun shot quickly from behind her and just in time, he brushed aside the bow that was about to sink into Lan Qi's back. With his dual swords, Xiao Zhun held the two twin daggers like a protective shield. “You—” “This is not the time to be in denial. They are palace people, you have to get out of here.” For a moment, Lan Qi seemed to have lost her mind. A
Lan Qi froze for a while before Miss Jing also stopped what she was doing. The boy who called Xiao Zhun put his hands on his hips as he stared at Lan Qi, waiting for her. “I—” Instead of being suspicious, the young man stepped closer and lowered his face so that he was level with Lan Qi. "I thought you were prettier than in the paintings at the Academy." Miss Jing immediately ran out from the kitchen table and came over to the two of them. She patted Xiao Zhun's shoulder who stood up straight again. “What did you say just now? Don't be rude! She—” Xiao Zhun crossed his arms with a smile. “I'm not saying nonsense. She is definitely Princess Li Ming.” It was Lan Qi's turn to open her mouth. "I'm not Princess Li Ming!" she exclaimed. “Xiao Zhun, you stopped by my stall just to pick up one steamed bun. Don't irritate my new friend." "New friend?" Xiao Zhun had narrow eyes that were sharp like an eagle's. His lips were tucked into a thin smile. “I'm sorry Your Highn
Early in the morning, Lan Qi's body was gently shaken by Miss Jing who had gotten up from where she was. The air outside was still chilly to the point where Lan Qi found it hard to open her eyes. If in the palace, all the maids would have prepared toiletries, escorted her to the bathroom, prepared perfume, combed her hair, chose a dress for her, and put on beautiful earrings. But waking up twice in an unfamiliar place made Lan Qi realize that now, she was doing everything herself.“Sorry, Lan Qi, are you still sleepy? It's fine if you want to catch up with me later."Lan Qi pushed aside the covers as she shook her head and rubbed her eyes. “No problem, Miss Jing. I'm awake now."Miss Jing smiled. It turned out that she had already prepared a bamboo basket box where the dumplings were. Lan Qi got up from the bed, then searched around for consciousness. How many days has she not showered? Geez, she didn't even remember because she was too depressed from yesterday's incident.“Miss Jin
“I don't really remember…” Lan Qi clutched her dumplings tightly. Her throat suddenly turned hoarse as the flames that burned the curtains in the palace hall came to life in her image again. As the muggers raised their small bodies, shouting that they would kill her, all of them suppressed Lan Qi's lips that were ready to explain. Miss Jing's gaze turned gentle. "I don't think he's a dangerous person." Lan Qi again unwrapped the ice knife. The question is, why did the blue bowman leave this knife with her and didn't even take it with him? Lan Qi's only wish was to thank the man for saving her life twice. She doesn't know where he is now, without this knife too—can this man survive the robbers' pursuit? Lan Qi took a deep breath. “He saved me from the robbers. That night, on my birthday… they robbed our residence and destroyed part of the house. I could have died if he didn't come…” Lan Qi's voice turned to a whisper as she recalled the chaos to a halt in her heart.
A day after Lan Qi regained consciousness from her fever and sore throat, she barely touched food and was able to swallow the small dumplings made by the girl who had taken care of her for the past two days. “Miss Jing, your dumplings taste delicious.”Jing Hua who was busy in front of the big stove with the fire she was constantly fanning to make it bigger turned her head and smiled. To Lan Qi, Jing Hua still looked young enough to be able to live alone. Even though Lan Qi had only slept and taken medicine since yesterday without swallowing any food—Jing Hua still boiled her soft raw vegetables and congee so Lan Qi could eat. On that one day, Lan Qi felt that Miss Jing's help was truly sincere. “You can eat as much as you want. I'm going to make another basket of dumplings today. Early tomorrow morning, I have to go down the mountain to go to the market.”Ever since Lan Qi realized that she was no longer in the palace, she slowly began to accept that the tragedy of two days ago was
That afternoon the forest on the hill was still too cold. Actually, yesterday's rain was enough of a sign that winter was coming. Before the tree branches were wet and filled with snow, a teenage girl enthusiastically collected tree trunks around the forest. Birds chirping to each other accompany the girl's busy life. She wore simple overalls of the only nicest clothes she had. With a thick robe given by one of her grandfather's friends, she walked through the forest while singing softly.The forest ground was slightly slippery with piles of fallen autumn leaves from last night's rain. The girl was already quite careful. She bent down, picking up thick, dry branches covered with mountains of dry, wet leaves. The wood is a little weathered, she needs time to dry it later. But when she turned around to take another step forward, between two large trees, accidentally, she seemed to step on something.Something that feels soft and hard at the same time. Cautiously, the girl turned her he
It felt like something was dripping on her eyelids. Caused Lan Qi to slowly open her eyes and she blinked briefly to regain consciousness. She was no longer in that burning hall. But in the middle of a forest filled with tall trees and dense leaves. Beneath her, Lan Qi felt a wet piece of cloth encircle her body with rain-stained soil. While Lan Qi looked around, the night was slightly brightened by the moon which seemed to be unobstructed by the thick rain-causing clouds. She found the blue bowman crouching in front of her, his back to Lan Qi. Not far away, all Lan Qi could see were trees and darkness. Lan Qi coughed and then cleared her throat subconsciously. Her throat was sore, the residual smoke from the fire had probably affected her a little. Then the blue bowman turned to look at her. For a few seconds, they stared. But the man said nothing. He looks like he's sharpening something. As soon as Lan Qi got up and walked over to him, he was chopping a branch of woo