Chapter 1154: Tang Li, I'm back

What was wrong with Gu Qishao?

He only felt hungry and sluggish. It was different from his usual exhaustion, which recovered with time. Although he looked to be sprawling lazily in his seat, the fact was that he had no energy. He desperately wanted to sleep on a shady roof somewhere. 

Glancing back at Long Feiye, he broke into a dazzling grin and said, “Tsk tsk, Your Highness the respected crown prince, since when have you started caring about others?”

Long Feiye only gave him a deep look before dropping his questions. He leaned back against his own seat to stare at the blue skies. Autumn skies were free of clouds and always looked so far away.

Gu Qishao stared up as well, a beautiful smile playing about his lips. Abruptly, he broke out into a mountain song.

“Singing a mountain song, songs over here and meetings over there; a mountain song is like spring river water, not fearing the shores and full of curves…”

Everyone looked towards Gu Qishao, but that only made him sing louder and merrier than before. The entire trip was much more lively with his voice accompanying them.

--

Han Yunxi noticed that Ning Jing didn’t really speak much. Su Xiaoyu had mentioned how the woman lost her two front teeth, but didn’t go into the details. Everyone knew implicitly that Bai Yanqing was to blame. If Han Chen hadn’t left him behind, Han Yunxi would probably explode and vent all her temper on him. 

As Han Chen was planning to stay at Clearbreeze Peak to cultivate for the next three years, she wouldn’t be sending any people over to “take care” of Bai Yanqing. For the sake of Ning Jing’s dignity, everyone pretended not to notice a thing. None of them asked any questions, and Han Yunxi sat meditating over taking her to a doctor when they returned.

If she remembered correctly, the history of Chinese medicine had records of treating bad teeth as early as the Han Dynasty. By the Tang Dynasty, they could even fill in cavities. The Tang Dynasty’s medical canon Xin Xiu Ben Cao (新修本草) contained detailed accounts of filling teeth with various amalgams. Such technology matured by the Song Dynasty until there were specialist “dentists” in charge of filling and fixing teeth.

Cloud Realm Continent’s medical advancements were definitely superior to that of ancient Chinese canon. Some of its medical arts even surpassed the skills of modern day. Han Yunxi believed that with Gu Beiyue’s assistance, they’d definitely track down a helpful doctor.

By the time they made it down the mountain and back to the medical academy, it was already the middle of the night. They didn’t alert many people on the way. Gu Qishao stood up from his chair just as Long Feiye gave him a cold look.

“There’s nothing left for you to do, so you can leave,” he said simply.

Chu Xifeng was already on attendance. On the way back, His Highness had instructed him to escort Gu Qishao back to his rooms and guard him until Gu Beiyue came over.

“I did my part in saving Ning Jing too. At least let this old man witness a couple’s reunion with Tang Li?” Gu Qishao said as he dashed into the courtyard.

“Your Highness, that fellow can still run. He shouldn’t be in too much trouble,” Chu Xifeng observed.

Seeing that Han Yunxi and the others were walking in as well, Long Feiye didn’t speak and followed after them.

--

Ning Jing was floored by the sight as soon as she entered the courtyard. It was filled with shadow guards and all of the windows and doors to Tang Li’s rooms were sealed. One guard murmured by Long Feiye’s side, “Last night the Tang Clan Head insisted on going back to the Tang Clan. We subordinates couldn’t stop him, so we had to resort to this.”

Long Feiye nodded in tacit approval. This was a similar scene to the house arrest in Three-Way Black Market. But! Back then Tang Li was still in his right mind, while now…

Ning Jing looked back at Han Yunxi, perplexed. “Princess, we...did we go the wrong way? Tang Li...where is he?”

She had kept quiet the whole way, but it was about time she asked. Han Yunxi felt stifled and couldn’t bring herself to speak. Finally, it was Gu Beiyue who broke the silence.

“Miss Jing, the Tang Clan Head thought you perished in the sea of flames. Because he was too grieved...he’s a little…”

“Tang Li is really inside?” Ning Jing interrupted. “You guys locked him up inside the house?”

“Miss Jing, the Tang Clan Head is…” Gu Beiyue was about to reveal the truth when Han Yunxi grew angry.

“Open the doors! Why are you guys locking him up? Open it!” As she finished, Ning Jing immediately dashed into the room.

Inside the rooms, Tang Li was sitting by himself on the bed with his head bowed. He seemed to be muttering something to himself. Ning Jing was already standing in front of him and everyone else had come in, but the commotion didn’t seem to reach him at all.

Ning Jing grew afraid as she carefully called out. “Tang Li…”

Tang Li didn’t react. Ning Jing’s eyes turned red with tears as she turned towards Han Yunxi. Fear, confusion, and panic were all written on her face.

“When we reached the cliff, we only saw Su Xiaoyu. He thought you fell to your death, so he...he lost his mind.” Han Yunxi said in a choked voice.

“Lost his mind…” Ning Jing’s tears streamed down her face as she slowly turned to Tang Li. She couldn’t accept what she was hearing. “A’Li’s lost his mind?”

The A’Li who’s always lively and chattering nonstop...the A’Li who won’t stay in the Tang Clan and brings me out to play…the A’Li that I force to make me soup in the middle of the night without any complaints, and even with a smile...has lost his mind?[1]

Ning Jing fell to her knees in front of the bed and took Tang Li’s hand as tears flooded her face. “Tang Li, I’m back...I’m back…”

But Tang Li still didn’t budge. His soul was gone, leaving an empty shell that sat motionless as he muttered softly to himself.

“Tang Li! I’m back! I’m here!” Ning Jing sobbed. She gripped Tang Li’s face with her hands, but he didn’t even look at her. It was as if he’d never lift his head again.

“Tang Li....I’m already back. I’m here, so look at me!”

“Tang Li, please look at me.... Tang Li, you...don’t you want me anymore?”

“How could you not want me...how could you bear it?” Ning Jing broke down into crying as she cradled Tang Li’s face, but the man just wouldn’t budge. 

Han Yunxi and the rest stood on the sidelines. Her eyes were already damp. She desperately wanted to help Ning Jing move Tang Li’s head, but so what if he did? 

If Tang Li couldn’t come to his senses, it wouldn’t matter if he saw Ning Jing.

Gu Beiyue had long started staring at the right wall, while Gu Qishao was looking at the left. Both men wore heavy, silent expressions. Long Feiye hadn’t even entered the room, but was leaning against the wall outside with his eyes shut. Ning Jing’s sobs grew louder and more broken with time. She couldn’t move Tang Li, so she gave up and rose to her feet. She wrapped her arms around his head and buried it against her chest in a strong embrace. 

Refusing to give up, she stubbornly plowed on. “Tang Li, I’m hungry...I want to eat red bean soup. Go make me some right now.”

She’d spent countless nights ordering him around like this.

“Tang Li, I’m hungry! Go! Right now!” Ning Jing pushed him, but only succeeded in shoving him aside. Despite her teary face, she put on a commanding expression and demanded, “Tang Li...hurry up and go! I’m going to starve to death! What are you dawdling for?”

“Tang Li, if you do go, you can sleep on the floor outside tonight! Don’t even think of climbing onto my bed!”

“Get to it already! Are you going or not? Are you going...or not…”

In the end, Ning Jing cracked. Her voice began to tremble as she cried, “Tang Li, I’m begging you...please. I want to eat red bean soup… A’Li, won’t you make me some? Pretty please?”

“Tang Li, are you hungry? ….how about I make you some instead?”

“Say something! What’s wrong with you? Tang Li...please don’t scare me like this, won’t you?”

“.........”

As Ning Jing’s tears flowed, Tang Li slowly raised his head and stared at her blankly, his mouth still muttering words. Everyone tensed at the sight. Ning Jing was both nervous and excited. She quickly wiped away her teardrops and took his hand.

“Tang Li! Tang Li, look at me, I’m Ning Jing! ….do you recognize me? I’m Ning Jing, I’m back! I didn’t die, I really came back…”

Tang Li only stared at him, unmoving. Ning Jing could clearly see his gaze, but it was empty like an endless abyss that faded into a black nothingness. She was drawn into that darkness, which enveloped her in despair. Her tears never stopped, but she soon grew quiet.

By contrast, Tang Li’s muttering grew louder. Ning Jing quickly leaned in to listen, holding her breath in case she missed a word. It would have been better if she hadn’t, because his ravings made her tighten her grip on Tang Li and burst into wails. If she could, she would cry herself to pieces until the fragments fell into his lap, his heart, his life.

All this time, Tang Li had been muttering the same things over and over again.

“I miss Jing Jing...I miss peace and quiet…”

Unable to bear the scene, Han Yunxi turned on her heel and fled the room. She said nothing as she threw herself into Long Feiye’s arms and held on tight. Gu Beiyue and Gu Qishao soon followed her out, the former giving a heavy sigh as he shut the door behind her.

“Bai Yanqing! It’s all because of Bai Yanqing!” Han Yunxi was both hurt and angry. “I’ll go find Han Chen right now and get back the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. I’m going to kill Bai Yanqing!” She was so furious that her complexion had turned white, but Long Feiye quickly held her back.

“The child!” he said sternly.

Han Yunxi finally remembered that she was still pregnant.

“Princess, don’t affect your womb! It wouldn’t make a difference even if you killed Bai Yanqing,” Gu Beiyue said seriously. “Psychological problems must be treated with the heart. Miss Jing is the Tang Clan Head’s best medicine--and his only cure. Perhaps as time goes on, he’ll recover--and even very soon. Please don’t worry too much, princess.”


1. This was originally dialogue but it sounded so unnatural being “spoke out loud” that I’ve turned it into thoughts. It’s basically stream of consciousness from Ning Jing’s head in the end.

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Spoiler'd this title so people who haven't caught up with the latest releases yet won't be spoiled. After all, Ning Jing "died" about 20 chapters ago, lol.

Sigh, we knew this reunion would be painful.