Chapter 1210: [TangNing] Not allowed to leave

It was actually Cloud Realm Consortium that reported the Tang Clan!

Ning Jing was taken aback. After Ning Cheng’s departure, the military matters had been left to Deputy General Chen. The Ning Clan troops cooperated with Jin Zi very well in Northern Li, while Ning Nuo had oversaw Cloud Realm Trade Consortium peacefully within the last few months.

Why would that fellow Ning Nuo report the Tang Clan? Although he wasn’t as skilled as Ning Cheng, he wasn’t an idiot either! Accusing the Tang Clan was equivalent to reporting her! What was he doing?

“How did Cloud Realm Trade Consortium make their report?” Ning Jing asked.

“It was an anonymous letter. All we know is that it came from Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. The emperor personally suppressed the matter, but the Tang Clan will have to give him an explanation!” Tang Zijin said, before adding, “Ning Jing, no matter how Cloud Realm Trade Consortium did it, they had to get approval from your little brother first, right? Heheh, what does the little uncle mean by this?”[1]

How should Ning Jing know? Could it be that someone in the consortium had snuck past Ning Nuo to tattle to Long Feiye? All for the sake of sowing discord between the Ning Clan and the Tang Clan? Cloud Realm Trade Consortium had its share of internal strife, so Ning Jing had no choice but to suspect them.

“The emperor said that we must give him an explanation before spring,” Tang Zijin was serious. “Ning Jing, you should know that although esteemed empress oversees the military, it’s still the emperor who calls the shots! Your crime of acting first and reporting later is no small matter!”

“I will definitely explain everything to the emperor and empress. No matter how heavy the punishment might be, I’ll shoulder it. I definitely won’t drag in the Tang Clan!” Ning Jing said without hesitation.

Tang Zijin accepted this as a matter of course, while Lady Tang looked conflicted. “Ning Jing, let me go with you to Yunning after the New Year’s. These are Tang Clan matters after all, so how could you take it all on yourself?”

Lady Tang’s words were a slap in the face for Tang Zijin! He looked at his wife, not knowing what to say. 

“This is Tang Li’s responsibility, so it’s only logical that I shoulder it for him as his wife,” Ning Jing intoned.

“As his mother, I have to shoulder the blame even if the sky falls down! Don’t be afraid, Feiye won’t cause you or A’Li any trouble. He’s only putting up a front when he demands the Tang Clan explain themselves! No worries!” Lady Tang consoled.

Tang Zijin could already tell that his wife was mocking him. He was afraid to explain himself, nor was now the time. After a pause, Ning Jing said, “I have to make a trip to Cloud Realm Trade Consortium first and figure out what’s going on. Ning Nuo would never do something like this, so I’m afraid he still has no idea.”

A crafty gleam shone in Tang Zijin’s eyes before he said righteously, “The weapons will be due when spring arrives. It looks like you’ll have to hurry off before New Year’s.”

“I’ll leave within the next few days, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to pass the New Year with you both,” Ning Jing said lightly.

Tang Zijin smiled coldly. “I don’t hope for your companionship, but I’ll be satisfied enough if you can resolve the troubles and let me have a peaceful New Yea.”

Ning Jing nodded silently and rose to leave. Tang Li immediately followed after her. Once the doors shut, Lady Tang asked, “Old grandfather, do you know who made the accusation?”

“Wife, this matter concerns the future of the Tang Clan. If I knew, would I hide it from you two?” Tang Zijin retorted.

Lady Tang pursed her lips before she said, “In any case, I won’t worry about too much. Ning JIng truly has ability and already promised me to have a son with Tang Li. Don’t always treat her with that stiff face. Do you think it’s easy for her to look after A’Li constantly like that?”

“If it wasn’t for her, would your son have lost his wits in the first place? He doesn’t even recognize his own parents anymore,” Tang Zijin fumed.

Lady Tang gave a start before breaking into sobs. “Lecture, then! Scold all you want! You can scold your daughter-in-lay, all right, but now you’re even scolding me? Tang Zijin, you certainly grew a backbone in the months you were gone!”

Tang Zijin panicked as soon as he saw her tears. “Wife, I’m not scolding you. Aren’t I just anxious? It’s my fault, all my fault, now don’t cry.”

“Then will you be this fierce in the future?” Lady Tang asked.

“I won’t, I promise there won’t be a next time,” Tang Zijin said hastily.

“Alright, you said it yourself. If I see you lecturing my son and daughter-in-law again, hehe, Tang Zijin, this old mother won’t have an end of it with you!” Lady Tang gritted her teeth.

Tang Zijin was rendered mute. He wanted to defend himself, but ended up holding back.

--

Two days later, Ning Jing prepared to head for Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. At noon, she brought Tang Li and little Tang Tang to eat with Tang Zijin and Lady Tang in an early New Year’s Eve “dinner.” Tang Li couldn’t leave her alone, so he would accompany her. She couldn’t bear to keep little Tang Tang behind either, so she decided to bring her along. 

It would take about 10 days to reach Cloud Realm Trade Consortium from here. Thankfully, it was still the middle of the month, so she could take Tang Li and little Tang Tang to visit her maternal family and see Ning Nuo and Ning An. She silently hoped that she might glimpse her big brother Ning Cheng too. 

Back at the dentist’s, Ning Nuo and Ning An had both came to pay her a visit. They wanted to see little Tang Tang too, but they disliked coming to the Tang Clan. Leaving aside other members of the Ning Clan, even Ning Jing didn’t like the Tang Clan. In a place where Tang Li had no say, she didn’t feel at home at all.

The meal passed by in silence. Besides Lady Tang who spoke a few words, everyone else was quiet. Afterwards, Ning Jing stood up while carrying little Tang Tang and Tang Li copied her. 

“Father, mother, no need to send us off. I’ll head for Yunning Palace as soon as I take care of things at Cloud Realm Trade Consortium,” Ning Jing said seriously.

“Done. After New Year’s, we’ll head for Yunning Palace first. Aiya, I should go visit Rui’er. How about you leave little Tang Tang with me so I can bring her there?” Lady Tang couldn’t bear to part with her granddaughter.

Little Tang Tang understood her words and wrapped her arms around her mother’s arms while pouting and shaking her head. Ning Jing couldn’t bear to part from her daughter, either. As she prepared to speak, Tang Li suddenly fell to the ground with a thud.

“Tang Li!” Ning Jing cried. She put down her daughter to help him.

“A’Li!” Lady Tang panicked as well.

But neither of them were faster than Tang Zijin, who dragged Tang Li upright and handed him off to two guards. “Take him away and lock him up!” he ordered.

Ning Jing came to her senses and lost it. “You drugged him!”

Little Tang Tang threw herself at her father’s legs and clutched them as she wailed, refusing to let the guards take him. Lady Tang’s temper flared as she grabbed Tang Zijin’s hand and demanded, “Tang Zijin, have you gone mad? What are you doing?!”

Tang Zijin let her tug him as he ignored her to speak. “Tang Li is the head of the Tang Clan. On the last day of the lunar year, he has to pay respects to the Tang Clan’s ancestors, so he must be present! You can take away your daughter, but definitely not Tang Li.”

After marrying into the Tang Clan, Ning Jing had always treated these two elders with respect. Although she had been acting in the start, now she meant it from her heart. Still, Tang Zijin’s words made her smile mockingly. “Old Tang Clan Head, are you chasing me out? Or are you afraid I’ll steal Tang Li away?”

“This old man has no idea what designs your Cloud Realm Trade Consortium has against our Tang Clan for reporting us. In any case, you can investigate them if you like, but Tang Li can’t go with you!” Tang Zijin said coldly.

Ning Jing understood. If little Tang Tang had been a boy, she probably wouldn’t be able to bring him away, either. Tang Zijin still mistrusted her to this day!

Lady Tang suddenly shook free of Tang Zijin’s hand and walked to Ning Jing’s side. “Tang Zijin, fine. If you won’t let your son go, then I’ll make the trip with Ning JIng! You can just protect your precious son and pass the New Year’s with him!” 

“Wife!” Tang ZIjin panicked.

“Don’t call me wife! You dared to drug my son?! Tang Zijin, you better watch him well. If something happens after he wakes up because he can’t find Ning Jing, I’m telling you now--this old mother will divorce you!” Lady Tang was so furious her face had turned green. She never expected her husband to have this scheme hidden up her sleeve.

“Someone come, take Her Ladyship away!” Tang Zijin steeled his heart.

But all of the servant girls in the room fell to their knees instead. They were Lady Tang’s people and didn’t dare touch her. Perhaps outsiders might find this strange, but these servants had witnessed the Old Madame’s tempers over the past twenty years. No matter how she fussed, the old clan head would always lose. Thus, they never dared to raise a hand against her.

Tang Zijin’s two guards were busy with the unconscious Tang Li, so they couldn’t help, either.

“Tang Zijin, this old mother will divorce you this instant! This old mother...this old mother isn’t coming back, sobsob…” Lady Tang burst into tears.

Ning Jing never expected this old matron to be so biased towards her side. Although she knew it was more fo the sake of her son, she was still touched.

“Mother, don’t be like this! You and Tang Tang both stay behind. With you here, at least...at least Tang Li would be able to find someone he knows,” Ning Jing said.

After staying together all this time, Tang Li and Tang Tang were very close. He would more or less pay attention to his mother, too. She had no idea how he’d react if he woke up and didn’t see her there. But if Tang Tang was around, she could at least keep Tang Li’s temper under control.

“I’m leaving! Even if you don’t, I will! I can’t live any longer with a man like him!” Lady Tang huffed.

“Wife, these are the Council of Elders’ intentions! I’m not chasing her out. Once she settles everything, she’s still our Tang Clan daughter-in-law when she returns!” Tang Zijin explained.

“Who amongst the Elders came up with this idea? Call them out!” Lady Tang was so angry she’d almost lost all reason.

Ning Jing pulled her back and said, “Mother, even if you don’t want to come back, I do. If you leave, I’ll never be able to return.”

Lady Tang calmed down at her words. Ning Jing’s sentence held too much meaning. 

Ning Jing walked to little Tang Tang’s side. She immediately released her father but used one hand to grip his clothes, afraid that they’d take him away. She was still so young, only less than two years old. She looked both spritely and cute, but was far more obedient than other children her age. One of her hands held her daddy’s robes, while the other clutched her mother’s fingers. She didn’t speak, but she shook her head nonstop. Her large, teary eyes were filled with fear that broke Ning Jing’s heart.

Tang Li doted on his wife so much that he definitely cherished his daughter too. Little Tang Tang should have been so happy, so lucky…


1. Little uncle - It’s commonplace in Chinese families to refer to relations by the titles that the youngest child would call them by. Thus, “little uncle” is used here because Ning Nuo is Tang Tang’s younger uncle.

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Dang it, Tang Zijin, why did you turn into such a petty jerk in your old age? What happened to the young romantic who defied everything to marry Lady Tang? Sigh, sigh...