Lin Xulian's party temporarily stopped when they reach the top of a mountain. Behind this mountain is the border between Gonglu country and Zhixiang country. But they would only need to pass through the outskirts of the Zhixiang country to reach the Quiangdu country. They don't need to enter the capital and take a risk that someone might recognize them.
Not long later, they heard a screech of a bird. They simultaneously looked up and saw Lin Xulian's red bird, Fei. Fei screeched and flapped his wings when he is finally in front of Lin Xulian. He looked like he was nagging them for leaving him behind.
"Hey stupid bird can you keep quiet! We're fleeing here. You'll get us caught if you keep making noise." Lin Xulian said irritatingly at the bird.
But instead of obeying, he gave a long and loud screech in protest. The three of them covered their ears from his noise. Irritated, Lin Xulian grabbed him by his beak to shut him up. "Why are you throwing a tantrum?! It was you who chose food over your master and always stayed by Feng Jun Yi's side. I thought you'd choose to stay with him."
This time, Fei finally stopped making noise. It was true that he stayed mostly with Feng jun Yi because Lin Xulian can't remember to feed him. But she is still his master. Even if he is destined to starve with her, he cannot leave her side. To show his sincerity and loyalty, he nudged Lin Xulian's leg and act cute.
Lin Xulian raised her eyebrows at the bird and teased him. "Do you really want to follow me? Don't blame me if you starve." Without warning, Fei flew away. When he returned shortly, he has a fat rabbit clamped in his claws. He presented it in front of Lin Xulian and stood proud like a mighty predator.
Seeing this, Lin Xulian had an idea and smiled satisfactorily. Fei on the other hand weakened by her next words. "Since you can hunt, then you can feed me instead."
****** The three of them chose to rest and camp for the night because of Lin Xulian's condition. Because she cannot use her internal energy that much, the cold weather is starting to affect her. They knew sooner or later, the snow will start to fall and they need to reach the nearest town if they want to be safe from the cold. But Lin Xulian cannot stand to travel right now because she used a lot of her strength to fake her death.
Even though the thick layer of trees is shielding her vision, Lin Xulian looked at the direction of the Palace with sadness in her eyes. Just few more months before her and Feng Jun Yi's fifth year of marriage but it suddenly ended just like that. They almost became a real couple but reality hindered it. And Lin Xulian needs to accept the fact that her first love failed and wasn't returned.
'He never loved me. He just wanted to build a family for the empire's sake. He really is an ideal emperor.' Lin Xulian thought while mocking herself. 'But I am not born to be used. I can do more and be more other than becoming a woman with an empty title. Women are not only meant to be a wife and a mother. The world is vast and knowledge is endless. I'd rather discover them than stay within that cold place.
But before I seek that path, I will first treat myself and search for the person who ruined my little paradise. I should thank them though for making me realize that my paradise wasn't real. But still, they deserve to be punished.'
Seeing her boss in deep thought, Xiao Tianshi sat beside her and asked in concern. "Boss, what are you thinking? Do you regret leaving the palace?"
Lin Xulian looked at her and returned her question. "Do you regret leaving the fourth prince?"
Xiao Tianshi averted her eyes and denied it. "W-why would I regret leaving that airhead and brash prince? There are a lot of adorable and sweet men out there!"
"You should stay here." Lin Xulian said with finality.
"But why boss? I can't stay there without you anyway. But I can be of help if I go along with you." Xiao Tianshi exclaimed.
Lin Xulian looked back at the Palace's direction and replied solemnly. "Yours and my situation is different. The fourth prince loves you in return. Don't waste your chance in finding your happiness just because of me."
"It's totally fine boss. I am your subordinate and it is only natural for me to sacrifice—" Lin Xulian stopped Xiao Tianshi from speaking further by holding her shoulders.
"Tianshi, you are my sister. You deserve your own happiness too. And big brother Rui is with me." Xiao Tianshi teared up from Lin Xulian's words.
"But boss, how am I supposed to do it. They would surely suspect something. By returning in the Palace, it might jeopardize your plan."
"Silly girl. You can make an excuse. You are good with that anyway." Lin Xulian said while knocking on her head. Xiao Tianshi on the other hand thank her while crying.
The next day, Lin Xulian watched the sun rise and the vast foreign land in front of her. Her journey will finally begin. She inhaled the cold morning air deeply and smiled in determination. 'Finally, my freedom. Freedom from the loveless marriage and freedom from the unknown enemy. But I will unravel their identity soon and make them pay.'
Rui on the other hand have different thoughts while watching Lin Xulian. 'Lian'er, I will surely take this chance to stop being just your brother.'