Chapter 1234: [TangNing] Bullying

“Lele!” Le Zheng grew angry. Had this daughter grown used to the jokes of the men she hung around all day? Why didn’t she feel any shame? 

Lele showed no fear nor rage, but laughed out loud. “Father, I won’t bother you now. I’m going to set off fireworks!”

By now, Ning Cheng had already gotten Shaoqiu fully drunk. He leaned down and prepared to rip open her clothes before suddenly recalling something. Rising up, he used sword qi to tear Shaoqiu’s clothes to shreds and tossed the covers over her without another glance. Then he lay down on the bed and closed his eyes to sleep.

But soon enough, the fireworks outside woke him up. He looked at their unremitting flames before falling into deep thought. Le Zheng wouldn’t go so far to probe him, so this Shaoqiu was probably sent by the eldest young Miss Lele. Uncle Gong had already passed away, but he was in charge of big business when he was alive. Only Le Zheng knew the full details of his accounts. If Jin Zi’s identity was a complicated matter, then Le Zheng would definitely remember! Until he fully gained the man’s trust, Ning Cheng wasn’t planning to startle the snake in the grass. He knew that the upcoming days would involve running circles around Shaoqiu and her true master Lele. 

On New Year’s night, he suddenly thought of Jin Zi. If that cold fellow knew what he was doing for him here now, would he be touched? Actually, he wouldn’t have hung around so long if it wasn’t for the wine. 

Naturally, Jin Zi had no idea what Ning Cheng was doing for his sake, much less that the man was in his dearly-missed Wintercrow Country. On this chilly night, he was still rushing elsewhere. Northern Li needed grain from the south to pass through this especially bitter winter. Multiple blizzards had buried Northern Li’s prefectures in snow, blocking much of their roads. Even with ample grain, it was difficult to deliver the goods to the disaster victims. Han Yunxi had already delegated crack troops from the western prefectures, Baili Clan, and southern generals to hurry into Northern Li and help the Ning Clan and Black Clan troops. She also said there was a generous reward for those who aided with the disaster. 

Although the various army factions were secretly vying against each other, everyone still cooperated up north. However, it was impossible to avoid complaints when soldiers were send to clear roads on the first day of the New Year. Jin Zi had exhausted himself for days to get a wink of sleep on New Year’s eve, but when he heard complaints coming from the Baili Clan soldiers and even rumors of soldiers running rogue, he couldn’t sleep anymore.

With the country just established and the multiple problems plaguing the people, most of the silver was used on weaponry. Northern Li’s grain supplies had partially came from Long Feiye’s own coffers and supplies he’d forced the Jiangnan and southern regions to give up. The southern generals had once requested to oversee the relief efforts in Northern Li because of this reason, but Long Feiye sent them back in the end.

Jin Zi knew about Baili Yuanlong allying himself with the southern generals as well. After following Ning Cheng for over a year, he thoroughly understood the shadowy struggles between the various Great Generals. He was clear that if he didn’t show himself tonight, they would make a mountain out of a molehill and cause a giant racket.

The new spring would be lively in the army!

With Jin Zi personally taking up the shovel to get rid of snow with the soldiers, personally delivering the grain at the head of the caravans, who would date utter a word of complaint? 

After crossing the hills, everyone stopped to rest. A soldier came to deliver hot water and said, “General, use it while it’s hot! It’ll cool before long!”

Jin Zi drank a few sips before letting the soldier drink as well. He immediately left, not daring to linger by the general for long. They would be on their way after a brief rest, so they didn’t bother starting a fire. It was hard to do so in this weather too, so everyone huddled together for warmth. Only Jin Zi stood far from the crowd, leaning against a horse carriage as he drew his cloak tight around himself. His lowered head and shoulders were covered in snowflakes. He was extremely thin and quiet, looking lonely and mysterious as he stood there. There was no resemblance to a general at all.

In truth, people in the army avoided him even more than Ning Cheng. If Ning Cheng was here, there would still be people claiming seniority to speak up about matters. But nobody dared to speak out against Jin Zi, because none of them knew him well enough to guess his thoughts. He had raised a tiger army out of ten or so beasts all by himself. Although they didn’t show themselves often, everyone remembered and feared the sight. No one had the guts to get close to him.

As the bone-piercing winds rose again, they brushed away the snow on Jin Zi’s hair and shoulders while flapping his cloak. Everyone felt frigid and drew closer to each other, but Jin Zi didn’t react to the winds. He was playing with a gold card in his hand--the same one that Mu Linger had returned. He wanted to forget about that girl, but the very reason he was staying in Northern Li to clean up Ning Cheng’s mess was for her sake. How could he forget her, the origins of everything, in this annoying environment? 

I probably bullied her too hard in this life, which is why she’s tormenting me so much now.

If…

If I keep bullying her in this lifetime, will we get to reunite in our next life?

Jin Zi suddenly laughed at the thought. He called over a guard and gave him the gold card with covert instructions. “Send someone to buy harvests at high prices. Get as much as you can, no matter how expensive it is!”

This gold card was under Mu Linger’s name, so if he used up all her credit, she would have to pay the rest. In any case, the banks would only look for her, not him in the middle of nowhere. If it was too late for love in this life, he could still feel happy bullying her. Jin Zi could almost see Mu Linger jumping up and down in fury before him. His lips curved up unconsciously at his imagination. Abruptly, he felt that this New Year’s Eve was very boring…

Everyone knew as early as a year ago that Northern Li needed grain. So many profiteers were hoarding their supplies so they could raise prices! How could Mu Linger have any idea that Jin Zi would choose to cheat her on New Year’s Eve after his countless months of inactivity? When she returned to Medicine City, she gathered up numerous disciples and even fostered a few orphans. She handpicked the ones with latent talent to personally instructed in medicinal knowledge. Little Yi’er and Chen Xiang were even studying with her. 

She had also borrowed Lil Thing from Gu Beiyue. When spring came, she would start a mass inspection in Medical City for fake medicine and substandard goods. Naturally, she had given her big sis a heads up before borrowing Lil Thing. The gist of Han Yunxi’s reply went like this: “If Lil Thing wants to be a dog, then you can take it away.”

It was unknown how Gu Beiyue negotiated things with Lil Thing, but it actually agreed to come with her to Medicine City. Lil Thing’s nose was much better than any dog’s. It could tell the quality of medicines with a single sniff! Of course, Mu Linger needed more help than that. Thus, she had someone find her ten dogs to train as sniffers. She would be very busy once spring arrived, both with forming a drug regulatory commission and cooperating with Gu Beiyue’s movements in Medical City. She never imagined she could come back after being tricked into going to Northern Li. She used to be unhappy all the time at the Mu Clan, but now she lived much freer than before.

Late at night, she was currently...fast asleep!

Lil Thing was nestled next to her feed, but two barks from outside caused it to raise its head, alert. It waited for awhile, but heard nothing more, and ran off the bed. It reached the dogs, who started barking in unison as soon as they spotted it. Lil Thing really didn’t understand why Miss Linger had gotten so many dogs. As a wolf, it only scorned these beasts.

“Cheep…!” Lil Thing loudly told them to shut up. All of the dogs fell silent, confused to Lil Thing’s intentions. Seeing that Lil Thing didn’t budge, they soon resumed barking again. In their eyes, Lil Thing was nothing more than a rat. 

Angry, Lil Thing glared at the pack. Sensing antagonism, the dogs barked fiercer. One of them even pounced towards Lil Thing. Furious, Lil Thing raise its head and roared at the dog. In a flash, all of the dogs fell silent. The one who pounced was left sprawling on the ground, scared to death. 

Sometime during that instant, Lil Thing had reverted to a large white wolf even taller than a tiger. Its body of white fur was extremely noble and elegant, its bright red eyes deep and penetratingly cold. It towered over the pack of dogs as they trembled and shook in silence. Very satisfied, Lil Thing gracefully turned away and padded towards Mu Linger’s room. A few steps later, it lost control over its wolf form and returned to a small squirrel. Since it was still recovering, it could only transform for short periods. As a squirrel, it lacked all elegance and looked like a tiny snowball with legs. 

Despite all the racket in the courtyard, Mu Linger didn’t stir at all. She was in deep sleep, dreaming of something that made her drool. 

Everyone had their own festivities and dreams this New Year’s Eve night.

--

On New Year’s Day, No. 7 Teahouse’s earliest riser was Zhao mama, who personally prepared a rich breakfast for her masters. Han Yunxi was woken up by Rui’er, who had completely forgotten the events of last night and was making a fuss with his arms around his mother’s neck.

Long Feiye had long left the rooms, while Han Yunxi noticed her son was still wearing the clothes from last night. She was about to get up when she recalled what happened last night and quickly pulled up the covers. Little Rui’er clearly sensed something amiss about his mother’s expression and stared at her questioningly. He didn’t move as Han Yunxi peeked inside and saw with relief that she was still clothed.

After Long Feiye thoroughly wrecked her last night, she had no idea when she fell asleep, much less when Rui’er returned. Removing the quilts, she saw herself in her chest sling and sleeping robes and felt her ears heat up. Heaven knows how Long Feiye had managed to dress her.

“Mother...imperial mother…” Little Rui’er’s childish tones called her by both names.

As Han Yunxi moved to pick him up, she saw behind him a giant red packet…

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Ruyi's Thoughts

omg am i dreaming is this an actual pgc release