Chapter 1226: [TangNing] Victory or defeat

How did Tang Li and Gu Qishao end up walking on the same side of the road? Long Feiye ignored everyone else in favor of staring at his son. Unfortunately, his precious child hadn’t spared him a single look since coming into the room. Han Yunxi finally realized that the dinner mood was off and quietly lowered her head to eat in silence. Gu Qishao cradled little Rui’er while feeding him enthusiastically. Meanwhile, Tang Li took care of both his daughter and Ning Jing. As he picked some vegetables into Ning Jing’s plate, he added, “Ning Jing, my big bro said there’s no formalities when it comes to eating with family. No need to be so courteous to him.”

Faced with Han Yunxi, Ning Jing had no problems relaxing, but she’d be lying if she wasn’t nervous eating at the same table at Long Feiye. Why, if Tang Li hadn’t given her some veggies, she would have been too restrained to eat anything but rice tonight. Besides Han Yunxi, there was probably no other woman in the world who could relax enough to eat with Long Feiye. Even Mu Linger would have reservations if she was here.

Soon enough, Tang Li saw that Ning Jing’s bowl was full of vegetables. He asked, “Ning Jing, why aren’t you eating?”

As he spoke, he placed a piece of fish by her mouth. “Try some, this fish is delicious.”

In a flash, Ning Jing’s face reddened. She couldn’t decide between eating and refusing. With a brilliant smile, she deflected, “Give it to Tang Tang, she likes fish.”

Tang Li fed the fish to his daughter before prodding, “Then what do you want to eat?”

“I can take care of myself. Hurry and stuff your daughter so she can go off and play,” Ning Jing replied.

“Seeing you two eat makes me full,” Tang Li teased.

If this was any other day, Ning Jing would be rolling her eyes at Tang Li’s increasingly flowery words. But all she could do now was smile while flushing at the table. Han Yunxi stole a peek at her and almost laughed out loud. Luckily she controlled herself, or else Ning Jing would have left the table in the middle of the meal. 

Just like that, the lively evening mellowed out into absolute silence. It wasn’t until Tang Li fed his daughter full and set her aside to play, and Gu Qishao handed over a stuffed Rui’er to Zhao mama to take somewhere else, than the atmosphere return to normal. Little Rui’er was still counting when Zhao mama took him away. He had no idea that every single one of his actions had thoroughly convinced Long Feiye of one thing: do his best to father a daughter!

Long Feiye had been busy establishing the country and didn’t have much time to spend with little Rui’er, so he was hesitant to have another child in case it took away more time from his son. But today the child had tested the limits of his patience! Very soon, this brat’s fearless days would come to an end! 

“Qishao, this tea plantation belongs to you?” Han Yunxi still wanted to know the facts.

Gu Qishao admitted it openly. “Number 1 to 7 are all mine. I’m planning to open 77 of them in total. Poison lass, Qi gege will give you the 77th one, I’ve already picked out the plot.”

Long Feiye only scoffed. “There’s no land in this kingdom beyond the sovereign’s dominion!” All of Cloud Realm Continent belonged to him, so how could Gu Qishao choose out his own plot of land? 

But Gu Qishao only replied, “It’s right around Pill Fiend Valley, I’ll build up a tea plantation there.” He purposely shot Long Feiye a look as he spoke, then asked, “Your Majesty, that prefecture belongs to this subject, does it not?”

When Long Feiye had first made Gu Qishao a qinwang (prince of the first rank), he indeed bequeathed Pill Fiend Valley’s prefecture to him. Thus, even if the lands belonged to the sovereign, that prefecture was his! 

“It’s good that you still know you’re a qinwang,” Long Feiye said icily.

After gaining a title and land, Gu Qishao had the responsibility of looking after his prefecture and people so that they could thrive. He also needed to command a cursory army and pay tributes on time. However, Gu Qishao hadn’t done a thing in the past six months or so. If Long Feiye hadn’t sent some civil and military officers over to set up a government office, the prefecture would’ve fallen to chaos by now.

Gu Qishao finally realized he ot only had the power to divide up his land, but also a duty and obligation to rule it. He grew serious and said, “Long Feiye, I’ve been researching medicinal tea recently, so I haven’t had time to help the masses. Lend me the men you sent for a few more years.”

Long Feiye was aptly attuned to the mention of “medicinal tea.” While Gu Qishao understood tea, he wasn’t partial to it, making it impossible for the two to chat. Still, Long Feiye admired the man for his research into new strains of tea. 

“Medicine?” Han Yunxi was curious too.

“It’s both tea and medicine. Tea has medical properties to begin with, although not strong. If I could plant tea with strong medicinal properties, then we could use tea in place of medicine for minor ills,” Gu Qishao said seriously.

From what Han Yunxi understood, “medicinal tea” had existed as early as the Tang Dynasty. Later on, the Song Dynasty classified tea as a type of medicine. She never expected Gu Qishao to have such ideas, but it made sense. Gu Qishao was the Pill Fiend and knew teas. It wasn’t strange at all that he’d combine the two.

“I’ll tell Linger when I get back. She’ll definitely be very interested!” Han Yunxi said offhandedly. She didn’t mean much by it, but Gu Qishao couldn’t help but react with fear.

“Don’t, definitely don’t!”

He would need three to four years to finish his research. If Mu Linger got wind of it, wouldn’t she pester him during that time? Leaving aside her infatuation for him, she had an equal obsession with medicines! 

“Interesting,” Long Feiye remarked.

“Most of the medicinal teas are of the nurturing variety. If there are any new products, hehe, I’ll definitely send them to the palace,” Gu Qishao added hastily.

Did this count as bribery? And yet, Long Feiye was so taken in he didn’t press any charges against Gu Qishao.

Actually, anyone with a brain could see that Long Feiye’s style of doing things meant he never really intended for Gu Qishao to administrate a piece of land. He just wanted to confer glory and ownership to the man. A qinwang was the highest form of nobility given only to the family of the royal clan by right. Long Feiye made Gu Qishao qinwang, which told the world that he saw the man as his brother. He was in no rush to pursue the matter of the still nonexistent No. 77 Tea Plantation, but said instead, “The No. 7 Tea Plantation…”

Before he could finish, Gu Qishao knew what he was planning and interrupted. “No. 7 is my gift to Rui’er for his one-year-old birthday! I already told him and he was thrilled. Long Feiye, don’t you go stealing things from your so! If you want to give him a tea plantation too, then build one for him yourself.”

Business deals were always a matter of choice, but Gu Qishao not only turned down any offers but rubbed Long Feiye in his sore spot! First off, he mocked Long Feiye for snatching things from a child. Then he told him to build his own! 

Everyone knew Long Feiye loved buying land and tea plantations. His businesses were spread all across Cloud Realm Continent. If this was the past, he could buy as much as he wanted and no one would care, but now he was the monarch of a nation! Many tasks remained unresolved in Cloud Realm while Northern Li was still picking up the pieces. Both the eastern and western fronts needed reconstruction while the imperial palace was still a work in progress. He wouldn’t touch the national treasure, but even taking his own money to build a tea plantation would earn the protests of the people beneath him. 

It was hard for him to find one he liked to buy in private with none the wiser, but he just happened to run into Gu Qishao’s! Long Feiye’s complexion visibly shifted while Han Yunxi, Tang Li, and Ning Jing couldn’t help bursting into laughter. 

What a feat!

After all their years of arguing, Gu Qishao had finally won a bout with the help of Rui’er! Han Yunxi laughed until she got a stomachache after seeing Long Feiye take the short end of the stick for the first time ever!

Gu Qishao picked up his wine cup and grinned while toasting Long Feiye to his face. His movements were elegant and measured as he drank down the alcohol. Long Feiye was thoroughly thrashed on account of his son, but he maintained his dignity and returned the toast with one of his own.

“Don’t worry, I won’t steal it from him. After a couple of years, I’ll definitely build one and gift it to Rui’er.”

Once the palace was down and the effects of the war remedied, he could still take his revenge! As Long Feiye drank, he looked towards a corner in the right, where his precious son was oblivious to everything while sitting at the table and counting his rattan vine seeds. Everyone followed his gaze while knowing full well where matters stood. Although Gu Qishao had beaten Long Feiye, it was more accurate to say the father had lost to his son. If Rui’er hadn’t accepted a stranger’s gifts so easily, his father might have escaped such mockery. 

As if sensing something, little Rui’er looked over and felt lost. What are the grown-ups doing looking at me instead of eating?

Annoying!

He quickly stuffed the seeds into the bad, ran off the table, and headed for the restrooms. Besides fearing rackets and rarely deigning to speak, he was like his imperial father in that he hated stares. Fortunately, these were all people he knew. If they were a bunch of women, he would have gotten angry. 

It wasn’t until Rui’er’s figure vanished behind the doors that Gu Qishao turned back to remark, “Tsktsk, Long Feiye, you’re so lucky to have a son like that!” His words came from the bottom of his heat. Still, to the onlookers it still looked like he was ridiculing Long Feiye.

At last, Tang Li couldn’t sit still and stood up. He tossed a tankard of wine to Gu Qishao and declared, “You were the one that got this clan head drunk in the past, right? Do you dare…”

Gu Qishao couldn’t believe it. Tang Li still dared to challenge him after losing their last bout? 

But Tang Li finished with, “Do you dare to have a drinking bout with my big bro?”

Long expecting this, Long Feiye was not surprised. Both Ning Jing and Han Yunxi ended up looking down on Tang Li’s attempt.

“I don’t dare!” Gu Qishao openly admitted his loss with a chuckle. “This old man wants to pass the night with my godson and set off fireworks. I can’t get drunk.”

Long Feiye’s eyes flashed at that statement. He had been trying to figure out ways to send Rui’er away tonight so he could have a good soak in the hot springs with Han Yunxi! Now Gu Qishao was volunteering to babysit, so of course he’d give him the chance. See how Gu Qishao would deal with a godson who threw a fit strong enough to shake the Heavens when he couldn’t find his mother!

Without a word, Long Feiye picked up his wine cup and took a soft sip. He suddenly felt that tonight’s meal was a rather glad affair, after all. 

Who won and who lost between him and Gu Qishao would have to wait for results after tonight!

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Ruyi's Thoughts

I'll see if I can do a release a week, guys. We're really close to the end so I definitely want to finish this series. Until next release!