The Tang Clan’s massive territory stretched over the entire Reclining Dragon Range, which included the three mountains of Sky, Earth, and Divine Dragon Peaks. Between each were mountain basins, gorges, and streams. The Tang Clan and the elders resided on Divine Dragon Peak, while their members and workers were scattered between workshops on the other two peaks.
Autumn of this year saw a extra scene of romantic beauty on one of the mountainsides. All of the daisies planted on Divine Dragon Peak had burst into bloom. They were the same strain: white petals with a yellow center, Ning Jing’s favorite flower.
After returning to the Tang Clan, Ning Jing had planted them with Tang Li and Lady Tang one by one. On their wedding night, Tang Li had covered the bridal chamber in daisies. Ning Jing had scorned them then, but she still recalled the words he’d said to her back then.
Under the flickering candlelight, he’d promised, “Well, no matter what, I’ll take responsibility until the end. Jing Jing, I, Tang Li, will only love you in this lifetime. We can live on Reclining Dragon Range in the future and forget about the trivial details of the world. Shall I plant the mountain full of daisies? When autumn comes, it’ll be filled with your favorite flowers. I won’t do anything except spend my days with you in the sea of blossoms to watch the sun rise and set. How’s that?”
Tang Li, Divine Dragon Peak is full of my favorite flowers now. Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
It was currently morning. Little Tang Tang could already run away and was playing with the servant girls in a sea of flowers. Their laughter and smiles filled the air beneath the sun. Ning Jing and Tang Li were sitting on a large boulder nearby, smiling at the sight of their daughter.
Tang Li could now smile. Whenever he saw his daughter giggling, his smile would grow more radiant. An outsider might even assumed he’d gone back to his old elegant yet ruffian self. Over the past year--especially in recent months--Ning Jing had found an excuse to keep trying and stay strong in his smile. As Tang Li looked at his daughter, she looked at him.
In this mountain filled with flowers, the days passed easily. But flowers would wither eventually and winter would come calling. “A’Li,” Ning Jing muttered as Tang Li laughed, “A’Li, wake up before the flowers die, okay?”
Everyday, she asked him this question. Even if he never regained his sanity, she was more than willing to accompany him for life. But her wishes weren’t the wishes of the Tang Clan!
Just yesterday, Lady Tang had half-joked, “Ning Jing, you have to hurry up before his father returns to birth a son for the Tang Clan. It was only after I gave birth to Tang Li that the Tang Clan stopped suggesting concubine candidates. Otherwise, they’ll be plenty of gabbing for you to deal with!”
Tang Zijin utterly doted on Lady Tang. For the sake of avoiding concubines, he had gotten into multiple arguments with his parents. Ning Jing even heard that Tang Zijin had considered eloping with Lady Tang in the past. But her situation with Tang Li was different. Lady Tang could birth a son, but she was all out of chances. Moreover, people changed over time. Not everyone would keep their rashness and determination of youth into old age. In the past, Tang Li had ran away from home to avoid his arranged marriage, but Tang Zijin never stopped looking for him. He even forced Tang Li to take Cang Xiaoying as a wife without any consideration for his son’s feelings, just so they could gain Cang Qiuzi’s strength on Celestial Mountain.
Ning Jing was young, but not ignorant or naive. She knew how cruel the Tang Clan could be despite this mountain full of daisies. Even now, she didn’t dare tell Lady Tang that she couldn’t conceive anymore. No matter how much the woman cherished her son, she could never take her side in an issue concerning the Tang Clan heir. Only Tang Li, the current Tang Clan Head, was the true and sole source of support for her and little Tang Tang.
Tang Li, when will you wake up?
Abruptly, Tang Li turned to look at Ning Jing. She was startled, because he’d never responded to any of her questions when watching his daughter play. This was the first time he was looking at her. Ning Jing’s heart rose to her throat. She wanted to take his hand, but didn’t dare. She waited with bated breath for his answer.
Tang Li muttered, “Will withered flowers bloom again?”
Ning Jing smiled helplessly. “When flowers wither, they’ll bloom again next year. But when people leave...they might never return.”
“Are we...going to leave?” Tang Li asked next.
Ning Jing didn’t know whether to laugh or cy. He didn’t ask “Are you going to leave” but “Are we going to leave.” If she wanted to take him away, she would never have come back here. But now she really wanted them to run away. Tang Li waited for Ning Jing’s answer until Shuang’er, Lady Tang’s personal servant girl, came hurrying their way.
“Tang Clan Head, Your Ladyship, the Old Madame’s collapsed!”
“Hurry and take a look, she’s fainted!”
Alarmed, Ning Jing ordered the servants to take care of little Tang Tang as she dragged Tang Li after her. Little Tang Tang’s face was full of confusion and ignorance as she watched her parents run off. When they were far in the distance, she suddenly burst into tears. She had just learned how to talk and didn’t know many words, but cried out, “Mother...mother…”
The servant girls had no choice but to pick her up and chase after them.
By the time Ning Jing and Tang Li reached the peak, Lady Tang had already been shut up in her rooms with a doctor taking her pulse. Tang Li, her own son, stood expressionlessly beyond the crowd while Ning Jing rushed to the front and waited quietly with a worried expression. The servant girls who were still clueless could only watch on in doubt. After all, Lady Jing had fought multiple times with the old madam when she first entered the Tang Clan! They all knew this mother and daughter-in-law didn’t mix.
When the doctor stood up, Ning Jing asked urgently, “What happened to the Old Madame?”
“Your Ladyship, be at ease. The Old Madame is simply overexhausted and caught a chill. Her body was too weak, so she fainted,” the doctor explained. “I’ve written a prescription for the Old Madame to deal with her chill. As long as she rests until she recovers, then nourishes her body well, she will be fine. Old Madame will be awake in a bit.”
Ning Jing exhaled in relief as she ordered the servant girls to follow the doctor and get medicine. Once everyone withdrew, only Ning Jing and Tang Li were left in the room. Tang Li was still standing blankly in the corner. If Ning Jiing didn’t speak, he might stand there for the rest of time.
Ning Jing sat down by the edge of the bed and murmured, “Tang Li, come here. Your mother’s fallen sick.”
Tang Li glanced at her and obediently came over. Ning Jing made room for him on the bed so he could sit by Lady Tang’s side. Tang Li did as he was told, but with his head bowed. Looking at mother and son, Ning Jing suddenly felt miserable.
She scolded him, “Tang Li, look at your mother! Your mother dotes on you most of all! Just look at her, okay?”
Tang Li’s gaze finally moved to Lady Tang’s face. He stared for a while, expression still blank, voice still mute. Ning Jing was about to speak some more when she noticed the edges of Lady Tang’s eyes were wet. Very soon, a single tear trickled down her face. Only then did she know that Lady Tang had already woken up.
Steeling her heart, Ning Jing took Tang Li’s hand and made him wipe away that tear. But Tang Li immediately shook her off and stood back up. Ning Jing rose as well, asking, “Tang Li, why are you rejecting it?”
Tang Li only shook his head endlessly.
“Why? Why aren’t you listening anymore?” Ning Jing pressed. She could clearly feel his repulsion.
Tang Li suddenly turned and ran out the door. He happened to run into the servant girl carrying Tang Tang inside, and the ensuing crash sent the little girl flying!
Ning Jing ran out at the same time Lady Tang fell out of her bed in shock. She ignored the pain and her dizzy head to chase after them all. At the door, she saw a shocking scene.
Seconds before little Tang Tang crashed to the ground, Tang Li had flown out and hugged her before twisting his body and crashing on his back to the floor.
Everyone exhaled in relief. Lady Tang couldn’t help the tears prickling at her eyes again. Ning Jing didn’t express anything, but her tightly clenched fists betrayed her inner feelings. It was little Tang Tang who began gurgling in delight in Tang Li’s arms as if she loved the scary game.
It wasn’t clear whether Tang Li had been scared as well, but he was grinning foolishly back at his daughter. Whenever she was present, Ning Jing never pressured Tang Li on anything. She had the servant girls and guards keep an eye on them while returning to the bedroom with Lady Tang.
Neither mother nor daughter-in-law said a word about the secret tear just then, as if it never happened. Ning Jing tucked Lady Tang back in her bed and prepared to leave when the matron called her back.
“Ning Jing, let’s have a chat?”
Ning Jing could more or less guess what Lady Tang wanted to talk about, but she sat down.
“Lately, has A’Li...always been sleeping in your room?” Lady Tang asked.
There was a lot of meaning to her question. Ever since their marriage, they had shared a bed even if they dreamed separate dreams. Tang Li didn’t have the habit of sleeping in his study for a single day. After Ning Jing brought him back, Tang Li only recognized her and their daughter. Where else would he sleep if not Ning Jing’s room?
Lady Tang clearly knew the answer, but she was asking a rhetorical question. Ning Jing knew she wanted to ask about those matters. To be more accurate, Lady Tang wanted to know if there was a chance Ning Jing could get pregnant. A calculating look flashed through Ning Jing’s eyes. This might be her best excuse for the moment.
“No,” she replied, “He’s not willing.”
Actually, she had no idea whether Tang Li was willing or not. But every night, she ended up just embracing him to sleep until morning. If she said he wasn’t willing, would this mean they wouldn’t help Tang Li find another woman in the future?
Hearing this, Lady Tang took out a small pouch of medicine and handed it to Ning Jing in a low voice. “You should know how to use this. Ning Jing, help Tang Li birth a son.”
Ning Jing guessed what Lady Tang wanted to do, but she never expected the matron to have her drug Tang Li! She only felt like the sight of the powder was extremely mocking. A sardonic smile rose to her lips.
Lady Tang noticed this and said, “Zijin and the elders are all at the royal capital. It’l take three to four years of work before they finish things there. Tang Li should be shouldering the various duties of the Tang Clan during this time, but what can he do now?”
“I can shoulder them!” Ning Jing declared. She knew the ins and outs of the Tang Clan extremely well and had advised Lady Tang on multiple matters already.
“Who will believe you unless you birth a son?” Lady Tang asked her helplessly.
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Yeaaaaah! We begin with the extras! The TangNing (aka Tang Li x Ning Jing) Chronicles are 30 chapters long and finally wrap up their character arcs in PGC.
In addition, I wrote a mini post announcing our main story clear here. Heheh. Go check it out for the LFY kicking HYX's palanquin GIF if nothing else! (UWU)