Content Warning: This chapter contains a brief scene of self-harm near the end of the chapter, reader discretion is advised.
"Ah? Oh, poor you. Every day he’ll get beaten by passerby A." Gu Qingyu sighed and looked at the second-in-command with sympathy.
The third in the squad raised his head and blinked puzzledly. "Lady-in-chief, are you looking for me?"
Gu Qingyu was startled. "What? What's your name?"
"Passerby A!" The third man looked at her matter-of-factly. "What's wrong?"
"Pff! Do you have anyone called passerby B!" Gu Qingyu could not hold in her giggle.
The fourth in the squad was confused. "I am the third's younger brother, and my name is Passerby B. The lady-in-chief had a good eye, but how did you find out?"
"Okay, what's your name?" Gu Qingyu looked blankly at the most silent fifth and the boss who had been watching silently.
The boss answered with a serious voice. "My name is Shrimp Oil, Lady-in-chief."
And the fifth in the squad raised his head. "And my name is Vinegar, Lady-in-chief."
Gu Qingyu was gobsmacked. There's strange people everywhere, but why are there so many of them today? What is Qi Wan's squad? Soy Sauce, Shrimp Oil, Vinegar, Passerby A and B. What is going on?
"Ahem," Qi Wan cleared his throat unnaturally, reaching out to help Gu Qingyu close her chin. "I had the same reaction when I first met them."
"Well, I know." Gu Qingyu pouted and looked at the five people, "Hello, introduce yourself, you can call me MSG."
The squad of five didn't know how to react.
Meanwhile, Qi Wan came to a realisation. "Oh, I get it now! Then I'm Salt!!"
The squad of five was completely speechless. Lord Qi, what ever happened to your pride?
Gu Qingyu nodded confidently. "No wonder you're salty!"
"Does this have anything to do with whether I'm salty?" Qi Wan looked at Gu Qingyu calmly, "It is in my blood!"
"Oh, get lost." Gu Qingyu pursed her lips in annoyance and then looked at the squad kindly. "You guys have followed us around all day. If you're tired, please feel free to go and rest up."
The squad was confused. "Lady-in-chief! We are not tired! We are not really tired!"
"Oh, then would you like to join us?" Gu Qingyu asked innocently.
"Okay, you all can go now." Qi Wan waved his hand, and the squad left with a bow.
"Boss, it's just the two of us now!" Qi Wan smiled with a scowling look, "This young mister will now bring you on a mountain adventure!"
"A mountain adventure? What, are you the king of the mountain?" Gu Qingyu said with great interest.
Qi Wan nodded thoughtfully, but his answer showed that he was really considering it. "Hey, not a bad idea! And you will be queen of the mountain!"
Gu Qingyu reached out and smacked Qi Wan's head. "Stay focused! Stop thinking about unrealistic things!"
"Why? It's very realistic..." Qi Wan looped her arm with his and led them to the exit. "Come, come, Madam! This young mister will bring you on a mountain adventure! And show you the sights of the world!"
"Tch." Gu Qingyu rolled her eyes, and walked through the tunnel with Qi Wan.
At the end of the tunnel was a springboard. Qi Wan stepped onto the springboard and beckoned her to join him with a wave. Slowly, the springboard slowly activated. Suddenly, it shook violently. And then they were launched upwards, along with the board. Gu Qingyu panicked, and she lost her balance but Qi Wan grabbed her by the arm and supported her. "Careful, Boss. This pathway hasn't been used for a while, so things can get a little rocky."
"Was the tunnel that we took on the way in considered stable?" Gu Qingyu snapped back, but she was really quite scared.
"Well," The springboard suddenly came to a halt, and it disappeared into the floor. Qi Wan gently pinched her hand and said with a teasing grin, "Oh, I didn't know you would be scared of such things, couldn't tell at all!"
"Yes, yeah, this thing scares me the most." Gu Qingyur replied with a huff and rolled her eyes, even though her face had turned a little pale. "You know me so well."
"Don't get angry, Boss, I'll get someone to change these immediately!" He apologised the moment he noticed that Gu Qingyu was actually scared of these thrill-seekers, and a tinge of guilt poked at his heart when he saw her pale face. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you don't like these things...I wanted to give you a surprise, so..."
"It's okay. It's not that I can't do this, I'm just not really up for it right now. It's a little too exciting for me." She shook her head, but her legs were still a little weak.
She looked up, and a vibrant scene greeted her. She was standing in the middle of green pastures, wildflowers of red and yellow peeked out from the green grass.
"Do you like it?" Qi Wan helped her off the springboard and led her to sit down on the grass. There were no trees in sight, and the bright sun that showered onto the pastures was a welcomed warmth in the tail end of winter. Birds were chirping in the distance, and the fragrance of flowers filled the air.
"It's breathtaking." Gu Qingyu laid directly on the soft grass, it was warm from the sun. It felt as though she was lying on a heating blanket. She closed her eyes, it was still bright behind her eyes.
Qi Wan laid down beside her. "Boss, if you want to, you can stay here with me, forever."
"That sounds nice, but there is still so much to see, so much to do." She sighed, "when we've gathered all of the spirit gems and completed my mission, then we can all come here together. Imagine, on a sunny morning just like this, Ye Jin and Murong Zuoyu are having some sword practice, Mo Bai's playing the flute, Xie Zang is playing with the birds, you and Qi Yichen are bantering as always, and Xiao Qi and I would be in the kitchen. Then, we would announce that breakfast is ready, and everyone would come in then we would all sit down for breakfast together. That would be our life. We'll all have breakfast together, then travel and go on adventures every day."
"This is your wish?" Qi Wan turned his head in surprise and looked at her.
Gu Qingyu didn't answer and she closed her eyes again. After a while, she said, "I know that will never happen. All of you have other things to do, there's no way that you could give up all of that to fulfill my literal fantasy. You would be giving up your countries and people. Even if you all really uproot your lives to fulfill my dream, that would not make you guys happy. I would be the only one that's happy, and there is just no point if you guys aren't happy."
"Who said that?" Qi Wan hmphed, "Everyone would love to go on adventures with you everyday, and just have fun together. You know what? Once you have finished your mission, we'll come back here, and we'll do exactly what you dreamed of. I'm looking forward to it already, Boss."
"Hmm! Me too!" Gu Qingyu smiled. The sun and Qi Wan's enthusiasm brightened up her face. "Thank you, Qi Wan. Sometimes I wonder if this is all just a dream. All of a sudden, I would wake up to my alarm blaring in my ears. And then I would get up, get dressed, have breakfast then go to work. I would have to rinse and repeat that for the rest of my life. Maybe sometimes I would remember my time here, but it would still be just a dream. Even meeting you would be just part of a dream."
Qi Wan didn't say anything, so she continued after a pause. "But, I would still be happy if it's just a dream. I did meet amazing people like you guys, and have such amazing and beautiful experiences. So, one day, if we ever go back, you have to call me... Qi Wan?"
He had been silent for a while, so she turned to look at him.
His eyes were closed, and his long lashes quivered with each breath. As she leaned over him, the sun cast a shadow on his face. His chest raised and fell peacefully, he seemed to be asleep. His handsome features turned soft and warm under the sun, his dark green robe smelled like the sun as well. The young nobleman was just a normal, cheerful boy. He may be a bloodthirsty big bad villain in many people's eyes, but to her, he would always be that boy that tries to make her laugh and would do everything for her. He carefully hid all of his cold and dark sides, and only showed his cheerful side as he joked and laughed with her.
Gu Qingyu looked at Qi Wan's sleeping face, smiled gently, and laid down again. She would not forget this moment, she would not forget this person in front of her. The sight of him dressed in a dark green robe, taking a nap in the warm sun on soft green grass, she would burn it into her memory. Gu Qingyu also closed her eyes, the warm sun has made her quite drowsy. And soon, she was dreaming.
She dreamed of someone, his blue robes danced in the wind. His face was all that she could see in that moment. Blue light gathered in his hand, it was his prized sword, Ghost Howl.
"Xiao Yu'er..." He seemed to be calling her with a low voice "Please, come back soon..."
Gu Qingyu could feel a lump form in her throat, but she couldn't say a word. She wanted to go up to him and hug him as tight as she could, but they were separated by a glass wall. She could not get through it no matter how hard she tried.
"Xiao Yu'er, why can't I find you at all... He seemed to be mumbling to himself, "Xiao Yu'er, I miss you so much, where are you..."
Ye Jin! I'm right here!
Gu Qingyu slapped the glass and shouted constantly, but even she could not hear her own voice.
Ye Jin! Ye Jin! Jia Qizhe! I'm right here! Just come here!
Ye Jin's sword suddenly sliced open his arm, and blood splashed onto the glass. The crimson liquid slid down the clear wall.
"I'm sorry, Xiao Yu'er! I'm useless! It's all my fault! I will find you, no matter what it takes, and I will protect you.." Ye Jin suddenly turned around and walked away, as if he never saw her.
No! Ye Jin!
The glass wall vanished in an instant, and she dropped to the ground. She could not find the strength to stand up. Tears poured down her cheeks as she reached out toward him. She stretched as far as she could, but he was still walking further and further away from her.
"No!" Her eyes snapped open. Qi Wan's giant face was looking back at her and gave her a scare. "Qi Wan?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I thought I should put a content warning ahead just in case. Xiao Qi’s crisis way back in chapter 83 was a cop-out, so I decided not to put a warning at that time. But this one is an actual scene, so I decided to put that in.