Under the winter chill of the twelfth lunar month, Tang Li ran like a madman down the mountain, his top exposed beneath the moonlight. The guards at the gate were scared stiff by the sight as they got out of his way. They assumed the witless clan head was having a fit.
Tang Li stole a horse and stared galloping wildly in the direction of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium.
Ning Jing was heading out by herself, so she went on horseback to save time. She had almost been gone for a day and was now resting in a village house to eat her supper. She didn’t plan to spend the night and was preparing to keep traveling, but an increasing snowstorm forced her to wait.
Late at night, Tang Li braved the wind and snow to enter the very same village. He was so cold his teeth were chattering, but he didn’t notice. After entering hte gates, he wandered amognst the patchwork houses, searching each one after the other. The snowstorm was so big that there was no way Ning Jing would travel tonight. This was the closest possible village she could have stopped over in.
When Tang Li reached the first house, it was an old woman who came out of the entrance. She had a fright as soon as she saw Tang Li and slammed the door in his face. He knocked again and cried, “Ning Jing--Ning Jing, are you inside?”
There was no sound from inside the house, so Tang Li could only try the next house. But it was still the same. Tang Li tossed aside the reins and went to find another building, but the people inside shut the door on him as soon as they saw him, giving him no chance to ask questions. He was impatient and anxious as he flipped back onto his house, galloping through the rice paddies as he hollered, “Ning Jing! Ning Jing! Ning Jiing! Come out! Ning Jing...come out! I’m here to find you, come out!”
The clattering of horses hooves and howling north winds couldn’t even drown out Tang Li’s voice. His shouts were loud and bright, echoing beyond the paddies into the village itself. Ning Jing was just about to sleep when she quickly rose at the sound of her name. After listening carefully, she grew stunned.
“A’Li!” She scrambled off the bed and ran out the door, forgetting to put on her outer robes or even shoes. She saw a familiar figure riding on horseback, holding a torch as he ran towards her.
“Ning Jing, where are you? I’m Tang Li, I’m here to find you!”
“Ning Jing, come out! I’m here to look for you!”
His voice had long alarmed the entire village. All of the houses lit lanterns as the people came out to see what was the matter. Even the ones that Tang Li had scared off revealed themselves. Ning JIng was stunned at first, but as Tang Li drew closer and the crowd grew larger, she immediately recovered her wits. Pushing aside the people blocking her way, she stepped barefoot into the snow and wind.
“I’m over here!”
“Tang Li, I’m here, I’m here!”
Tang Li had chased after her. Tang Li had called her name. Did he recover?
Ning Jing was both excited and nervous. She rushed out of the crowd, allowing Tang Li to spot her instantly. He flew off his horse and towards her. Ning Jing stepped against the snow and rose up to meet him halfway. The north wind whistled and sent snowflakes swirling around them both. One had no shirt, while the other was barefoot.
Ning Jing bit her lip, refusing to cry. But when she saw the eyes of the man before her, which seem to glimmer and shine even in the darkest nights, she couldn’t help choking out with a sob, “Tang Li, you’ve finally woken up!”
Tang Li didn’t say a word as he wrapped her into his arms and held her tight. He was afraid that this was all just a dream. No matter how beautiful and slowly dreams passed, one would wake from them eventually!
“Ning JIng, I thought you…” “Tang Li, I thought you…”
Both of them blurted out at the same time before stopping. Tang Li cupped Ning Jing’s face and studied it closely before he laughed. “Wonderful, you’re still alive!”
Ning Jing’s tears flooded her face as she asked, “Tang Li, you...you know who I am now?”
Tang Li’s smile turned bitter. He didn’t know what to say. Of course he knew who she was. Ning Jing couldn’t be sure whether Tang Li had truly recovered. She thought it over before cradling Tang Li’s face and saying, “Tang Li, I want to eat red bean soup!”
Tang Li stared at her wordlessly. Ning Jing panicked when he didn’t answer, and her voice took on a pleading tone. “Tang Li, I want to eat red bean soup!”
Tang Li laughed, then broke into his old ruffian grin. “Aiya, Ning Jing. Are you begging me for it?”
She’d never asked him to make red bean soup without making it sound like an order. And every time, he’d chuckle and say, “Ning Jing, you have to beg me. Beg me for it and I’ll make it for you.”
She’d only glare at him before he submitted and went to cook her soup.
Ning Jing now gave a start before she recovered instantly. She knew now that Tang Li was truly well! She tried glaring at him like the past, but couldn’t keep it up. Her tears flowed uncontrollably down her face. All of the wrongs and suffering in the past few months rose to fill her heart.
“Tang Li, I thought you’d never wake up again,” she said hoarsely as she buried her head against her chest and held him tight.
Tang LI only hugged her close. He raised his head to look at the falling snowflakes for a long, long time. Finally, he mumbled, “Ning Jing, you’re finally hugging me sincerely from the bottom of your heart.”
Ning Jing looked up as he looked down, adding once more, “Really. This is the first time you’ve been sincere about hugging me first! You have to hold me a little longer.”
Even red bean soup wasn’t as touching as Tang Li’s words right now! This was the real Tang Li, all rogue and rascal!
Ning Jing broke into a teary grin. “I even want to kiss you, alright?”
Tang Li immediately leaned in, a wicked tone in his murmur. “No. You’re not allowed to take the lead on those things.” He didn’t give Ning Jing any time to react as he gave her a furious kiss.
Their long-awaited reunion was sealed with an eternal kiss beneath the snowflakes, filled with warmth. Tang Li had indeed recovered. He even had his old bad habits, kissing Ning Jing to the point he wanted to push her down and do it right there. Thankfully, the whispering from the villagers brought Ning Jing to her senses. Like before, she bit him on the lips to stop his restless hands.
“What are you doing? Haven’t you shamed yourself enough?” Ning Jing cursed.
Tang Li looked at her while licking his lips, still wearing a devious grin. Without a word, he tiled his head and suddenly kissed her again. It was a long time before he could bear to part from this display of public affection. He whistled for the horse to come over, then held Ning Jing and got on its back, intended to gallop for the Tang Clan.
He stopped teasing her to ask seriously, “Ning Jing, was I unconscious for a long time?”
“You forgot?” Ning Jing was surprised.
“I only remember I was at Clearbreeze Peak,” Tang Li said hastily. “Didn’t you fall into the sea of flames?”
Only then did Ning Jing tell him everything that had happened in the interim. Tang Li’s arms tightened around her waist the more she talked. Although Ning Jing did her best to summarize the details, he was no idiot! Judging from the words his father had said, he could imagine all the pressure Ning Jing had been shouldering!
“How did you come to your senses?” Ning Jing glanced back at him, finally realizing he was wearing nothing on top.
She had been so touched and happy to see him that she completely overlooked this detail.
“It’s so cold, where did your clothes go? What happened?” Ning Jing grew uneasy.
“My father locked me in a room and...and drugged me. He also stuffed a woman in with me,” Tang Li said, feeling stifled by the words. Just what did his father take him as?
Ning Jing froze before looking at him in shock. She seemed to think of something, but she didn’t voice her thoughts. Tang Li lowered his head and rested it against her forehead. “Nothing,” he muttered, “Nothing happened, I swear! My mother had people unlock the door and then I came to chase after you.”
Ning Jing stared at him, wanting to ask if it was Lady Tang who had given him the antidote. She had personally experienced how crazy this man acted while under the influence of drugs! Tang Li only panicked and cried, “Ning Jing, you don’t believe me?”
“I do. I never said I didn’t,” Ning Jing said hastily. Lady Tang must have been the one to give him the antidote.
Tang LI’s flustered heart finally calmed down. He held Ning Jing and planted multiple kisses on her forehead as if this was the only way to still his racing nerves. He was deathly afraid that she’d misunderstand and raise objections! He knew very well how strongwilled she could be.
Back at the Tang Clan, Tang Li and Ning Jing couldn’t stop sneezing as they’d both caught chills. Tang Li couldn’t care less what his father and Xiao Lan were up to now. He carried Ning Jing back to their courtyard first, then placed her on the bed with the covers wrapped tightly around her. Afterwards, he poured hr a cup of hot water before wrapping some fox furs around himself.
He was supposed to be a lord and gentleman who had everything handed to him as soon as he reached out a hand. But after marrying Ning Jing, he learned how to wait and serve on others. The only thing he was missing was helping Ning Jing wash up and change into her clothes.
He said, “Jing,’er, wait here. I’ll go make you some red bean soup right now, nice and hot!”
No matter how big Heaven or Earth could be, it was vastly more important for Ning Jing to eat her red bean soup!
Ning Jing could never bear to make do that! She said, “No need, you come here!”
Tang LI insisted on leaving, but Ning Jing’s voice turned stern. “Are you coming or not?”
Tang Li immediately ran over. Ning Jing drew him close and stuffed him under the covers with her, tucking him in nice and tight. She split the hot water in her glass with him while the two of them suffered through runny noses. Even though they were both sick, they were happy enough just lying side by side!
Ning Jing had never felt so carefree in all her life. She only felt like she could forget about everything now. She hoped that the snow tonight would fall forever until the end of time. She was willing to sleep next to Tang Li on the same bed and share his warmth forever.
In the stillness, they could actually hear the sound of falling snowflakes.
Tang LI opened his mouth and murmured, “Ning Jing, I...want to tell you something. When my big brother and sister-in-law left Three-Way Black MArket that day, I was going to find you for a talk. I…”
Tang Li suddenly grew embarrassed. He had bullied this woman mercilessly in the past, but now he was flustered over a single sentence. Afraid to meet her eyes, he held her and whispered, “Ning Jing, I...I really, really love you. Although I don’t know when I started, but...I really do love you very, very much.”
Ning Jing’s face flushed as she fell silent.
Tang Li waited for a while, but finally couldn’t bear it. He asked, “You...don’t you have anything to say to me?”
Ning Jing burst into giggles. “Nope.”
“You do!” Tang Jing was like a little child who didn’t get his candy as he began to fuss. “You do! Say it!”
“Nope! I really don’t have anything to say!” Ning Jing stubbornly refused to admit it.
The two of them began to mess around in bed before Lady Tang’s cough drifted in front outside. “A’Li, you’ve brought Ning Jing back, right?”
“I have. If there’s anything to say, save it for tomorrow! We’re sleepy!” Tang Li shouted back.
Lady Tang didn’t leave, but said, “A’Li, you two..you two should both come over. Xiao Lan, she...she says she wants to kill herself.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This sponsored chapter brought to you by the generous donation of:
- Eugene M.
Thank you so much! I didn't expect to get donations for PGC when we reached the extras, but you can be sure that I (and the readers) appreciate it lots! ^-^
Although TL and NJ might not be lauded for their wits and cunning like our main couple, they've both got plenty of tricks up their sleeve. Tomorrow we'll see how they deal with that witch~