Chapter 1211: [TangNing] You're not her

Ning Jing had lived through rocky times. She dearly wanted her daughter to live without worries, even if it was a plain and ordinary life. She stared at little Tang Tang for a long time before gently drawing close to whisper in her ear.

“Tang Tang, be good,” she murmured, “Mother will be right back. When mother comes back, daddy will get better. Then daddy can protect us both.”

Little Tang Tang’s teary eyes shone with a spark of joy. 

“Be good, mother will be back soon,” Ning Jing said tenderly.

At last, Tang Tang let go of her hand. Ning Jing looked one last time at Tang Li before standing up. She turned to leave without a word.

Lady Tang picked up little Tang Tang and chased after her, insisting on sending Ning JIng all the way down the mountain. Tang Zijin followed them as far as the gates but stopped there. He looked back at the guards dragging Tang Li and hesitated, but steeled his heart in the end. “Send him to that room.”

Since Tang Zijin had already drugged Tang Li, he had committed himself to forging a path with no way back. 

--

By the time Lady Tang returned to the peak, little Tang Tang had already fallen asleep in her arms. Children were children, so they could cry themselves asleep even after the deepest sorrow. Lady Tang settled Tang Tang down before going to find Tang Li. Unexpectedly, she didn’t see him in his rooms.

Growing uneasy, Lady Tang suddenly found it hard to catch her breath. She ran to Tang Zijin’s study, but it was empty too. Now things felt even more off. She asked multiple guards, but none of them knew where Tang Zijin had brought Tang Li.

What do I do?

Tang Zijin isn’t planning to hide Tang Li away so Ning Jing can’t find him when she comes back, right? Ning JIng is from the Di Clan, so Tang Zijin has grievances against her. After Baili Yuanlong mocked him, he liked her even less. Lady Tang knew all this as she huffed, “That damned old thing!”

She went back to her rooms and took out a length of white silk, tying it around one of the ceiling rafters in preparation for hanging herself. The sight terrified all of the servant girls, who soon spread word that the Old Madame was trying to commit suicide all across th Tang Clan.

Tang Zijin was currently outside a small house on the shadowed side of the mountain, personally keeping watch over Tang Li locked inside. When the guards came to report on Lady Tang’s suicide plans, Tang Zijin was scared to death and ran off without a second thought. 

Currently, Tang Li was only half conscious inside the rooms. His body felt scorching hot, his face unnaturally red. Next to him laid a female with pretty features--the daughter of the Tang Clan’s Fifth Elder, Xiao Lan.[1] She and Tang Li were lying under the same quilt, their bodies covered completely except for their heads. She was extremly nervous, her face pulled taut as she didn’t dare to move. 

She had liked Tang Li since childhood, but never dared to express her feelings. A few days ago, her father told her that the old clan head wanted to have Tang Li take her as a concubine. Although Tang Li was now a witless fool and she’d be nothing more than a second wife, she was still willing to accept it. Father said that it was best to cook the rice before Tang Li recovered his sanity. That would guarantee he had no choice but to accept her then. The old clan head had also promised that as long as she could birth a son before Ning Jing, she would be Tang Li’s official wife.

Underneath the covers, she was lying completely naked. Her arm was next to Tang Li, so she could sense his every movement and the temperature of his body as it grew hotter and hotter. She knew that his drug was to blame. If Tang Li was still sane, he might be able to contain the effects of the aphrodisiac, but now he was a complete doofus. As long as the drugs took effect, he wouldn’t be able to control himself!

Actually, she had been rather against this idea, but his father secretly revealed that Ning Jing had used the exact same method to gain Tang Li in the first place. With that in mind, she agreed without hesitation. She refused to believe that her gentle charms could lose to a tomboy like Ning Jing!

Abruptly, Tang Li tore away the bedcovers and opened his eyes. He sat up and looked dazedly around the room while tugging at his collar.

Hot! So hot!

“Jing Jing…” he muttered to himself. As he prepared to get off the bed, an arm suddenly wrapped around his waist.

“Jing Jing…” he was going to turn around when the woman behind him drew near, plastering herself against his back until they were tightly squeezed together. He could feel her soft mounds against his skin. 

But Tang Li remained looking blank as he muttered, “It’s not Jing Jing…”

As he spoke, he broke free of the woman behind him and got off the bed, then turned to stare. Xiao Lan quickly pulled up the covers to hide her naked body. But Tang Li had long turned away, afraid to look any longer. He grew anxious and went to open the door, but it didn’t budge no matter how he tried. Xiao Lan was filled with grievances. She was already reduced to this, but Tang Li didn’t even spare her a look.

Aren’t men creatures of instinct? How could this man still refuse after being drugged and losing his wits?

Is he really insane, or just faking it?

Tang Li tugged at the door with all his might, chanting Ning Jing’s name under his breath as he grew more and more panicked.

“Tang Li, no need to keep trying. Your father isn’t going to let you out,” Xiao Lan huffed.

Tang Li ignored her as he kicked the door repeatedly. His voice grew louder as he shouted, “Jing Jing...Jing Jing…”

Xiao Lan stopped speaking to sit blankly on the bed, staring at him. 

Tang Li kicked the door for ages with no luck. He had tugged on his collar multiple times, but didn’t notice. As the powerful effects of the drug swept over him, his body grew restless. His kicks against the door turned weaker as well before they stopped. One hand rested on the door while the other couldn’t stop pulling apart layers of robes until he exposed his chest. 

Xiao Lan watched from the back, silent as she bit her lip. Soon enough, Tang Li had completely stripped himself of his upper robes. Although it was winter, he still felt cold without his clothes. A restless heat rose from his body that demanded release. Xiao Lan finally opened her lips to call out tenderly, “A’Li…”

But Tang Li continued to ignore her. Growing irritable, he punched the door. Heaven knows what Tang Zijin had done to this doo, but it was immovable. Tang Li had no idea what he was doing here either. Jing Jing said she’d take him way, but why was he shut up here? Why?

Why did he feel so miserable? His stomach felt like it was on fire that poured out unceasingly, strange yet familiar. He desperately wanted to see that woman, Ning Jing!

“Ning Jing…” Tang Li suddenly grew quiet and muttered to himself, “Ning Jing...Ning Jing…”

Who was Ning JIng? Why was she so familiar?

Jing Jing...then who was Jing Jing?

An unbidden headache caused him more pain. He gradually fell to his knees, lost amidst the discomfort as he felt his body about to explode. Still, he focused on the two words in his mind: “Ning Jing.”

What was the relationship between Ning Jing and Jing Jing?

Who was Ning JIng? Who?!

While Tang Li was wracking his brain for answers, Xiao Lan suddenly ran off the bed and hugged him from behind. His parched body seemed to find its cure in her soft skin. His bottom half felt much more comfortable, but it still wasn’t enough! Far from it!

Xiao Lan held him tight as she begged tenderly, “A’Li, come hold me...A’Li, I’m cold…”

Tang Li almost lost control as he spun around and pressed Xiao Lan to the ground. But when he saw her face, he froze to gape.

“A’Li, hold me! I’m cold, so cold!” Xiao Lan was determined to get some today. She wrapped her arms around Tang Li’s neck and refused to let go. 

Tang Li struggled as he locked eyes on her face, muttering to himself. “You’re not Ning Jing, you’re not...you’re not…”

“I am! I am Ning Jing!” Xiao Lan thought she must have gone crazy, but for the sake of getting some, she was prepared to pretend to be Ning Jing this time!

“A’Li, I’m Ning Jing! I’m your Jing Jing, ah! Hug me, hold me!” Xiao Lan said loudly.

“Ning Jing...Jing Jing…” Tang Li’s voice began to shake as he repeated to himself, “Ning Jing, Ning Jing...Ning Jing, Jing Jing…”

“I’m Ning Jing, it’s me!” Xiao Lan shouted, her arms now circling around Tang Li’s waist. She hadn’t even noticed how his expression shifted, or how the formerly blank features had gradually turned cold and even angry.

“Ning Jing is Jing Jing...Ning Jing is my Jing Jing…” As Tang Li repeated the words, he suddenly gave a howl and broke free of Xiao Lan’s grasp to stand up. Leaning against the doo, his furious expression suddenly turned broken as he shook his head. “You’re not her, Ning Jing is dead...hehe, and I was so close. I can’t save her anymore, I can’t.”

The effects of the drug had all but disappeared from his body. How strong were his thoughts, his convictions?

He looked like a fool, but also sane. He stared blankly ahead of him as a self-mocking smile rose to his lips. “Xiao Lan, you’re not Ning Jing. You’re not.”

Xiao Lan’s heart lurched. She couldn’t believe her ears. Tang Li had actually recognized her! H-how can this be possible?

Doesn’t Tang Li only recognize Ning Jing and his daughter? He doesn’t even recognize Lady Tang even if he won’t avoid her!

Tang Li, he…

Tang Li walked to the bed, grabbed the bedcovers, and tossed them roughly at Xiao Lan to cover her up. He then sat down and clutched his head in his hands, rubbing his temples furiously. The pounding headache made it hard for him to stand. He only remembered seeing Ning Jing fall into the sea of flames at Clearbreeze Peak. As for what happened afterwards, or how he’d ended up in this room with Xiao Lan, he remained clueless and ignorant. 

The only thing he recalled was feeling sorrowful for a long, long time. It was a kind of sadness that couldn’t be described in words, like something had clammed up his heart to make every day, every hour, every moment agony.

“Ning Jing…” he muttered as his eyes grew damp.

Xiao Lan clutched at the bedcovers while looking blankly at Tang Li. She didn’t dare to disturb him, afraid that he’d recovered his wits. 

After all, once he was sane, even the old clan head would be helpless against him!


1. Xiao Lan (萧岚) - Xiao means “desolate, dreary,” Lan means “haze, vapor, mist.”

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Ruyi's Thoughts

*internally screaming*