The four of them, three royalties and a servant, were squatting behind thick bushes. As they're in the middle of fall and close to winter, the leaves were dye in a mixture of orange and yellow.
One move and the dead leaves will come falling down to the ground.
One blow from the wind and the leaves from the tree surrounding them will come raining and showering them.
"Big sister almost left me there to fend for myself.
"The mission is done. We're supposed to escape on our own." Wei Yi Yi answered in a deadpan manner. She was busy trying to remove the leaves stuck on Jiang Chen's hair.
"Why is that?! This brother thought we're all on this together?!" Jiang Liu started his famous whining. "I didn't know that big sister would leave her comrades behind."
"Jiang Liu, for a comrade, you go as far as retrieving their body in the middle of the war." Wei Yi Yi said heroically. "But we're not comrades, you're an accomplice." She corrected him.
"What's the difference?!"
"Well, a comrade is loyal. We do the crime together then we clean up after each other. On the other hand, an accomplice is a partner in crime... which clean up their own mess. If you get caught, you better not tattle me, or something like that."
"No! No! This brother never tattle on you! We're comrade! Comrade, see?"
More like, even if he wanted, he couldn't. Just think about the portraits, if Jiang Yu learn he cheated on his job, which resulted with the empress having fun with it, that will only add on to his crimes! And even if Jiang Liu insists that he's innocent, his royal brother won't believe him for Wei Yi Yi put too many animals on the portraits. It came to the point that he cannot deny it.
The prank style totally shout, Jiang Liu! Wei Yi Yi has talent on making trouble for others while staying clear.
But that's alright, too. This way, his royal brother can no longer escape to the comfort of his imperial study.
"I'm loyal only to big sister! This brother swears to the moon and the stars as the witness!" Jiang Liu raised two fingers and seriously vowed his allegiance.
Wei Yi Yi also turned serious and said, "Don't swear to the moon."
"Why?" Jiang Liu showed a confused look.
"Because it changes every night! That thing is definitely not loyal!" Wei Yi Yi holds both his shoulder to emphasize the seriousness of it.
"..." Jiang Liu.
Jiang Chen thought he must remind the two and said, "Imperial uncle, Auntie, it's still the middle of the afternoon."
Wei Yi Yi, "..."
Jiang Liu, "..."
Suddenly, a voice sounded from above them. "Your Majesty, Your Highness..."
"AAHHH!!!!---" The two got the scare of their life and shouted. Jiang Chen got shocked as well. He jumped back to Wei Yi Yi's embrace, and cling tighter.
"Ouch! Ouch!" Wei Yi Yi cried.
"Eunuch Yuan." Tang Mei addressed him, quite ashamed. Both of them cannot look straight to each other.
"Oh, it's just you, Ah Yuan. Don't scare me like that." Wei Yi Yi heaved a sigh of relief then smack the still shouting Jiang Liu. "Xiao Wang is also here. The group is complete hehe."
The three wanted to facepalm in front of their masters.
They came searching as they're worried when the masters went missing. And as predicted, the empress came to seek trouble and a bigger one this time.
And she can still laugh!
"Empress, this servant directed the imperial guards the other way. There's a desolated pathway towards the inner palace that this servant know." Xiao Wang Xi stepped forward and saluted.
"Then we'll follow Eunuch Wang's arrangements." Wei Yi Yi stood up and carried Jiang Chen with her.
"What about this brother?"
"Can't you escape from the inner palace? I don't believe you don't know any secret passages from there leading outside."
This guy came in and out of the inner palace as he pleased and even knew which dog hole to crawl into.
"Big sister is so smart. Let's go back then."
The group parade in an informal way back to the inner palace. The road that Xiao Wang Xi lead them to is indeed desolated. This path leads them near the south gate and they needed to walk a few more to get into the inner palace.
It's no wonder this path is desolated most of the time. The southern area connects to the edge of the inner palace and only the cold palace is situated there. No one stayed at the cold palace nor they wanted. It is abandoned, out of way and far from the main palace, where the empress live.
Mostly, only carriage exiting the south gate will use this path. Wei Yi Yi thought of pushing Jiang Liu out of the south gates but scrap the idea immediately when he cried.
Tang Mei walked in the back and received the full view of the two silly banter. Looking at the sixth prince, it was another imperial member added to the list of 'members not acting according to status when the emperor is not looking'.
When the emperor is present, the imperial nephew would run back to his chambers, the empress would obediently sit in one place, and the sixth prince would hide his face with his fan.
But once the emperor is clear of sight, they would be jumping at each other. It's like they have this switch that they immediately flip.
Tang Mei happily watched over her mistress. It's fine now that she's like this.
After giggling to herself and looking some more, Tang Mei notice something. "Whose bow is that your majesty?"