Gu Qingyu finally snapped back to reality when Ye Jin walked through the palace gates. She ran after him, only to be stopped by the guards.
"Let me go!" She tried to push past them, but her limbs were shaking and she seemed to have lost all of her strength. "Xiao Zhezhe!"
Ye Jin froze for a split second, but he kept walking. The guards glanced at her in disgust as they threw her out. Gu Qingyu fell back unsteadily and fell into someone's arms.
"Qi Wan..." She said in a daze. His eyes were burning with anger, he wrapped Gu Qingyu in his arms with one hand and waved his free hand. Ribbons shot out from his sleeve and wrapped tightly around the two guards.
"Boss, I'll bring you in today, no matter what happens. And if Ye Jin somehow doesn't remember you, then he would pay for it!" Rage and bloodthirst gleamed in his eyes as the guards were lifted off the ground and the ribbon wound tighter and tighter around them.
"No!" Gu Qingyu grabbed him by the shoulders. "Qi Wan, don't!"
"Why?" Qi Wan lowered his head and looked at her tenderly. "Don't worry, I'm here. No one would hurt you. No one would stand in your way. And no one would make you cry. No one would dare to."
A chill ran down her spine despite the fact that she was still in his warm arms. She had never seen this side of him before. "Qi Wan..."
"Boss, you're scared." Qi Wan said as he looked at her. That was a statement.
"Yes." Gu Qingyu stretched out her hand and caressed his face with trembling fingers. "Don't do this, I just want Qi Wan." She's such a coward, she could not bear to face his true self. She only wanted the good, the sunny, cheerful Qi Wan, and not the Qi Wan she was looking at now.
Qi Wan flinched, then smiled. "Okay." He released the two guards, and they knelt on the floor, gasping for air.
"What should we do now?" Qi Wan has calmed down as he asked lackadaisically.
“Um, let’s go inside and have a look. Maybe we’ll learn more.” She turned to the two guards. “With their help, of course.”
The guards huddled together and shivered under her plotting gaze. “We’re sorry, we had no idea...”
"Qi Wan, take them away." Gu Qingyu tilted her head towards a small alleyway near them.
"Good!" Qi Wan walked over with a smile, picked up the guards and followed her.
In the alley, Gu Qingyu grinned as she stared at the quivering guards.
"Umm, w-what are you going to do to us...?” One of the guards plucked up his courage and asked.
Gu Qingyu did not answer his question. She squatted down and smiled. "Hm, you’re quite good looking.”
Droplets of sweat formed on his forehead. “P-p-please, my wife is still waiting for me at home...”
“What are you thinking?” Qi Wan punched him.
"Oh~ that's it~ what a pity~" Gu Qingyu shook her head with a sigh.
“But...if that would spare me then...” The guards continued with a stammer as he glanced furtively at Qi Wan.
Qi Wan punched him again, then he turned to Gu Qingyu with a straight face. "Boss, he's not as good looking as me and he's not as rich as me, so you can just take a pass on him. But if you're really looking for someone, maybe consider me as one of the potential candidates?"
Gu Qingyu rolled her eyes. "Have you always been this bold in asking girls out?" She was referring to their past lives in the modern world.
"No," Qi Wan smiled brightly, "Only you, Boss. Only you."
"Fine, since you've got some ideas, I'll let you handle this." She stood up and clapped twice. "Strip them bare, Qi Wan."
"Huh?" Qi Wan stared at her, his eyes were as big as saucers. "Boss, you're...I know Ye Jin not recognising you has been a shock, but you don't need to do this to yourself. I can..."
"What the hell are you thinking?" Qi Wan received a punch in the face as well. Gu Qingyu explained with pursed lips. "Take off their uniforms so that we can disguise as them and sneak into the palace."
"Oh, that! You scared me!" Qi wan patted his chest exaggeratedly and then stepped forward with a sly smile.
The guard watched as Qi Wan stepped closer and closer to him, and closed his eyes in despair.
Gu Qingyu walked to the other guard's side and squatted down. "Hey, let me ask you something."
"Just ask!" The guard focused his attention on her, he did not even glance at his colleague.
"How often do you change posts?" Gu Qingyu looked at the sky.
"Once half a day." The guard replied cautiously. "It's about time."
Gu Qingyu nodded and waggled her eyebrows. "Well done, you're much more cooperative."
The guard stared at her blankly.
"What are you staring at!" Qi Wan, who finished undressing one of the guards, punched the guard that was staring at her. "Is my wife that pretty?"
"Huh?" That guard immediately came back to his senses and looked at his colleague, who had shrunk into the corner in only a pair of boxers. He immediately wrapped his arms around himself. "I'll-I'll do it myself!"
"Okay." Qi Wan straightened and rested his elbow on her shoulder. "So, sweetheart, is your husband's efficiency up to standard?"
Gu Qingyu rolled her eyes helplessly and picked up the first set of uniforms on the ground. "Less talk, more work. Get changed, let's not waste any more time."
"Yes, milord!" He picked up the other set of uniforms, turned away, and changed into it. It fitted him nicely. He turned back to check on Gu Qingyu, she had changed into the uniform as well, but it was a little big on her.
"Now, I will give you two choices," Gu Qingyu looked at the two naked guards, "You can either pretend to be dead. Or, I can help you forget all of this happened."
The two guards looked at each other, immediately knocked their heads into each other without hesitation, and flopped to the ground.
"I said pretend." Gu Qingyu looked at Qi Wan with some confusion.
"Ah, they probably misheard." Qi Wan smiled, and put his arms around Gu Qingyu, "Let's go, sweetheart!"
"Hands off. Let's go" She sprinted back to the palace.
As soon as they got to their posts, two other guards approached them. "Hey, newbies, you can head back inside now."
Newbies? Gu Qingyu had been worried that she and Qi Wan would blow their cover, it seemed like that would be very unlikely. They were new here, so no one would recognise them. As long as they stayed in line, they should be safe. Gu Qingyu nodded and walked into the palace with Qi Wan.
Their lack of response made the other two guards look back at them. They looked at Gu Qingyu and Qi Wan suspiciously as they disappeared into the palace and then shook their heads. "The newbies these days barely have any respect for their elders."
"What can you say? That's what being young is like." The older guard replied wistfully. That tugged at her lips, she kept her head down and pulled Qi Wan along as he chuckled at her.
Suddenly, a group of people, nay a small parade walked by right in front of them. Gu Qingyu and Qi Wan immediately ducked behind a tree while the other palace guards and servants bowed. They watched discreetly from their hiding spot. At the beginning of the parade was Xie Zang! And Xie Li! It seemed too much of a coincidence to have them gathered here as well. Between Xie Zang and Xie Li was a man dressed in sea green. He looked to be in his mid-thirties as he walked with them with grace. Servants followed them, and soldiers surrounded them as they walked further into the palace. Gu Qingyu's lips tightened to a thin line as she watched the parade. Right then, for a split second, Xie Li turned around and smiled at her. That surprised Gu Qingyu, she did not expect Xie Li to notice her and Qi Wan, but before she could do anything, the parade had already walked away.
"What's the matter, Boss?" Seeing Gu Qingyu's startled eyes, Qi Wan couldn't help asking curiously, "That was Xie Zang?"
"Yes." Gu Qingyu nodded, "and his sister, Xie Li."
"Xie Li?" Qi Wan blinked, "I have only heard of Xieli City and the Xieli flower."
"Those were named after her." Gu Qingyu sighed softly.
"Oh." Qi Wan spotted a palace maid in the short distance, and he walked up to her with a smile. "Hello, I was wondering, what is going on today?"
The maid looked up at him, turned a deep shade of pink and stared at the tray in her hands. "Um...the Ye Empire has come to visit Xiqian today, and...all of the surrounding countries has also sent their representatives to attend the event."
The Ye Empire?
Gu Qingyu's heart jumped, that did not sound good to her.
"Sorry, we're new here and we're a bit lost. Can you tell us why has the Ye Empire come to visit?" Qi Wan stared at her with his amber eyes.
"Of-of course." She answered with a stammer, her eyes remained fixed on the tray. "The Ye Empire basically rules the entire continent, and all of the countries need to obey them. And the current monarch of Ye is the young Emperor."
"What's his name?" Gu Qingyu asked pointedly, her voice betrayed her anxiety with a tremble.
"I shouldn't..." The maid looked at Gu Qingyu a little strangely.
"It's okay, there's only the three of us here. Tell us, you can trust me." Qi Wan stared at the maid intently.
She glanced at Qi Wan and lowered her head again. "I heard the Emperor is called Ye Jin." Gu Qingyu only felt that something exploded in her mind. That name, his name echoed in her mind and everything else faded to a hum.
Qi Wan looked at Gu Qingyu with a worried look then dismissed the maid with a friendly wave. "Okay, I see. Thank you for your help, we should get going."
"Wait, what's your name?" The palace maid tugged on his sleeve and stopped him.
"I'm Cloud." He gave her a mysterious smile. "But don't tell anyone I was here."
The palace maid nodded fervently as she watched them leave.
"Boss, are you okay?" Qi Wan watched as Gu Qingyu walked away.
"I was right." She sighed as she leaned back against a tree. "He's from here too."
Qi Wan gritted his teeth. "I'll punch him if he doesn't remember you, until he remembers!"
"Thank you, Qi Wan." Gu Qingyu's smile was a little sad.
"Hey, what are you doing? The ceremony is about to begin, get to your posts now!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter