Chapter 1195: Don't bother me, don't come find me

Mu Linger never expected Gu Beiyue to call her “lass!” She couldn’t react beyond thinking that Gu Beiyue’s tone of voice and smiling face was different than usual! Inexplicably, Mu Linger felt that he’d suddenly grown much more intimate. After all, his usual gentleness and elegance gave him a sense of aloofness from other people.

If her brother-in-law was someone who kept people 1,000 li away and scared people off from approaching them, then Gu Beiyue was someone who made a great fist impression but left one feeling cold after extended interactions. Even after knowing him all this time (and knowing him well), she still felt like she only understood a tiny part of him.

Mu Linger couldn’t help growing curious. Would Gu Beiyue truly grow closer to that Eldest Miss Qin? After careful thought, she only felt the idea was hilarious. He’s about to marry, so of course he likes her. If that’s the case, then it’s a give they’ll grow closer.

If not for Mu Linger’s big mouth, Ning Cheng would never have known about Gu Beiyue’s wedding. He looked at him in astonishment and asked, “You’re getting married?”

“Mm, pretty soon. You have to show up at Medical City then to drink a cup of wedding wine,” Gu Beiyue grinned before walking off, unwilling to say any more.

Ning Cheng and Mu Linge stared after him with the same thought in their minds: Gu Beiyue is someone...really difficult to understand!

“Miss Linger, did you need me for something?” Ning Cheng asked next.

Mu Linger glanced back and forth until Ning Cheng invited her into his tent. But she remained hesitant and even melancholy inside.

“How about you think it over before coming back again?” Ning Cheng asked.

“No no, I just want to ask you...ask you something,” Mu Linger was conflicted. After some hesitation, she finally blurted out, “Where’s Jin Zi?”

Ning Cheng wasn’t surprised that Mu Linger was asking about Jin Zi, but he didn’t expect her to have this attitude. She was always open and forthright and said whatever was on her mind. She didn’t even hide the fact that she chased Gu Qishao all around the world. Whenever anyone asked if she liked the man, she’d admit it outright. 

But to ask after Jin Zi’s whereabouts, she’d stammered and wavered until finally spitting it out. Was she shy or just feeling guilty?

Ning Cheng studied her before replying, “What are you looking for Jin Zi for?”

Mu Linger’s heart was a mess. She didn’t felt shy or guilty, but she suddenly grew embarrassed under his gaze. “I’m looking for him...because there’s business,” she replied.

“What business? Is it very important?” Ning Cheng asked.

Mu Linger paused, then blurted, “It’s not that important. Sorry for disturbing your this late, I’m leaving.”

Ning Cheng’s eyes sharpened before he said loudly, “I’ve already given the indenture agreement to Jin Zi. After getting it, he left and I haven’t seen him then. He probably went back to Wintercrow Country and will never show up again.”

“He’s free?” Mu Linger halted her steps.

“He burned up the indenture agreement in my tent over three months ago,” Ning Cheng’s voice continued to boom loudly as if he was doing it on purpose.

“So he already went back…” Mu Linger muttered to herself. Suddenly, her eyes brightened as she turned to laugh at Ning Cheng. “That’s great! Then I’m free too!”

She’s free too?

While Ning Cheng was puzzling over this, Mu Linger had already ran out of the tent. She stopped at the doorway to holler back, “Great General Ning, I’ll be leaving in a bit. I’m going back to find my big sister!”

Leaving in a bit? Overnight? Is she in that much of a rush? Ning Cheng’s lips twitched. 

As he expected, Jin Zi appeared at the entrance as soon as Mu Linger was gone. He pushed Ning Cheng back inside and snapped, “Ning Cheng, who told you I went to Wintercrow Country? Who told you I was never coming back?”

Ning Cheng’s words just then were done to incite Jin Zi into showing himself. He thought the man had headed for Wintercrow Country as well, but since he never got any letters, he knew Jin Zi still had to be nearby.

“It was a misunderstanding. You could go explain yourself? She’s not leaving until a little later,” Ning Cheng replied.

“It’s none of your business what happens between us!” Jin Zi fumed.

Ning Cheng couldn’t even relax so much in front of Gu Beiyue. Jin Zi was probably the only person he could say whatever he wanted to. Withdrawing his smile, he said, “Jin Zi, I lured you out because I need to discuss something with you. The matters at Northern Li are just about finished. Are you coming with me to Yunning? I’ll leave in a few days.”

Ning Cheng was afraid Jin Zi would reject him and was ready to coax him to think it over a few days. But Jin Zi actually nodded without thinking. “Going. I’m leaving tonight, you do whatever you want!”

Jin Zi was in a similar rush to leave as Mu Linger. Ning Cheng pressed down on his shoulders and said, “Just then, Mu Linger said she was free. What does that mean?”

When Han Yunxi left Northern Li last year, she had told Ning Cheng to find out what was going on between Jin Zi and Mu Linger. He hadn’t been able to discover any answers until Mu Linger spilled the beans.

She would be free as long as Jin Zi went to Wintercrow Country and never came back? Did Jin Zi force Mu Linger into something?

“I don’t know, let go!” Jin Zi said coldly.

“Do you think you can still go to Yunning if I passed on her to words to Han Yunxi?” Ning Cheng’s voice grew frigid as well.

Jin Zi paused, then intoned, “Ning Cheng, I’ve always thought of you as a friend. Can you stop digging into things between Mu Linger and me?”

Ning Cheng was a little angry. “Calm down. If I didn’t treat you as a friend, could I have returned your indenture agreement? Do you know Han Yunxi’s been asking me repeatedly to keep an eye on you? Of all the people you could provoke, you chose her younger sister!”

It was only in private settings that Ning Cheng ever used “Han Yunxi” in speech. Jin Zi turned to look at him and saw wine jugs on the side. Without a word, he strode to one, lifted it up, and downed its contents! His alcohol tolerance was only average at best, but drinking daily with Ning Cheng had improved him immensely. One whole jug was no longer capable of rendering him drunk.

After finishing the drink, Jin Zi went to sit on the side while Ning Cheng crossed his arms and leaned against the wall map, staring at him. Jin Zi was a recticurn man to begin with, so now he looked even lonelier sitting all by himself.

He began to tell Ning Cheng about the agreement between him and Mu Linger. 

After some careful thought, Ning Cheng concluded, “Missed appointments don’t count, you know?”

“I only promised to let her go if Gu Qishao took a fancy to her within a year. That deadline’s already passed. Whenever I choose to bring her back with me to Wintercrow Country is my business!” Jin Zi said confidently.

Ning Cheng grew curious. “Gu Qishao didn’t come with us…” 

Besides Han Yunxi and a select few, the rest were ignorant to Gu Qishao’s condition. Ning Cheng and Jin Zi had never investigated the man, either. But the fact that Mu Linger was here without Gu Qishao, combined with Han Yunxi’s special instructions, made it clear that Gu Qishao and Mu Linger weren’t a pair. According to the previous promise, Jin Zi had full rights to take Mu Linger away. Moreover, Mu Linger had even come to the army camp herself and asked about his whereabouts.

“She definitely came to fulfill the promise. Otherwise, her personality would have her hiding far away ages ago. She never would have come here,” Jin Zi’s lips rose into a self-mocking grin. “Ning Cheng, we’re both businessmen who value our contracts. But…”

But he was actually afraid that she would default on hers!

Over the past three months, he’d been avoiding her in case she came to try negotiations with him. He feared that he’d grow soft if he saw her pitiful eyes! 

How could he give up on prey that was already delivered to his mouth?

Ning Cheng smiled helplessly and patted Jin Zi on the shoulder. “Done! I’ll pretend I know nothing about this matter. If you want to head for Yunning, hurry and make preparations!”

Jin Zi was about to leave when Mu Linger actually backtracked. She didn’t enter the tent, but loudly called out from outside, “Great General Ning, can I ask you a favor?”

Ning Cheng glanced at Jin Zi before he agreed. “What is it?”

“I have a gold card with me. I’d like to trouble you to give it to Jin Zi when you see him in the future. Just say I’m returning it to him.” 

Outside the tent, Mu Linger was already drawing up the horse carriage with her luggage on her back.

“Alright, you can just hand it to the guard,” Ning Cheng replied loudly.

“I’ve troubled you. And now I’m off!” Mu Linger’s voice was cheerful.

Jin Zi’s expression was cold and dissatisfied as he listened to this exchange. After Mu Linger left, both men walked out of the tent. Jin Zi played with the gold card as he told Ning Cheng, “I’ll see you in Yunning. Also, we agreed beforehand that you’d pay me back for the private bank I lost. Otherwise, even if I stay in Northern Li, I won’t get involved with the Black Clan!” 

Ning Cheng was rather easygoing. “No problem. Leave your tiger tally here. For the past few months, the Black Clan and tiger army members have been nothing short of chaotic.”

Jin Zi didn’t think twice before handing over the special command token. He hurried off, planning to shadow Mu Linger in secret. It wasn’t until he left that Ning Cheng smiled slyly.

“Brother, so it seems only that person and money both are capable of keeping you here. If you want cash, go ask Long Feiye!”

When Ning Cheng returned to the tent, he picked up his brush and begin to quickly draw dots and circles on the wall map. The spots that Gu Beiyue had noticed were all old marks. The real places he wanted to station his garrison troops hadn’t been decided yet! 

He spent an entire night to arrange everything--a map of Northern Li dominated by the Black Clan and tiger army. He wasn’t giving this map to the princess, but drawing up a chessboard for her sake! No matter what, Northern Li should remain under the princess’s power! 

The very next day, he used Jin Zi’s name to deploy the Black Clan troops and tiger army to station themselves at Three-Way Pass and various major passes within Northern Li. A few days later, Ning Cheng handed over all his duties to his deputy general and left the camp by himself to head for Yunning. 

Three days later, the deputy general received a letter penned by Ning Cheng himself. Its contents read: Everything is fine. Don’t bother me, don’t come find me.

The deputy general grew alarmed and began to search for Ning Cheng in earnest, but he couldn’t contact the man or find him no matter how he tried. Ning Cheng seemed to have vanished while on his way to Yunning!

The deputy general did track down Jin Zi and told him to search. He also informed Ning Jing and Ning Nuo and told them to search. But none of them succeeded. Various army factions had already prepared themselves to await Ning Cheng’s arrival in Yunning so they could fight with him over the rights to Northern Li, but Ning Cheng had simply abandoned the country and left himself!

Even Long Feiye, who had prepared the best, most potent alcohol for their promised bout, was left waiting for nothing!

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Ruyi's Thoughts

It feels like Ning Cheng finally got the last laugh here. Good for him, he deserves a win once in a while.

Meanwhile, C1200's release will be delayed until Tuesday because our lovely Yuuko is still working on the commemorative graphic. Look forward to see it on volare's Facebook, instagram, and twitter pages when it goes live! ^-^