Faced with the resolute question, Tang Li realized that this was the first time that Long Feiye was begging him for help. Technically speaking, it couldn’t count as begging. Without Long Feiye, he would have never become the Tang Clan head or have the right to hear Long Feiye plea for help today.
No one understood Long Feiye better than Tang Li when they were growing up. In fact, Tang Li had more or less guessed the truth on his own, but he didn’t want to believe it, nor could he accept it. Now he could neither accept nor refuse Long Feiye.
“Big bro, it’s just a woman,” he said, but even he felt those words to be insincere. He had seen too many exceptions when it came to Long Feiye’s treatment of Han Yunxi, including how he’d excused his severe mysophobia to protect her, or hold her in front of a crowd, or kiss her deeply.
He doted on her to his very bones, loved her into his very blood. How could he throw someone like that away after four years of spoiling her?
“Big bro, even if you don’t care about her status--even if none of us East Qin adherents minded--what about her herself?” Tang Li asked seriously. “She’ll hate you. She’ll think that you were using her!”
Hadn’t Long Feiye hid the truth of her identity from Han Yunxi because he feared this very fact? The hatred of the West Qin princess towards the East Qin crown prince! Love was supposed to come from both sides in a couple. No one had the right to force others to sacrifice and give up the same things. Nor did they have reason to believe the other party was willing to do just as much.
For example, just because he could ignore her status, it didn’t mean she could do the same. Tang Li’s words made Long Feiye’s heart sink.
Sighing, Tang Li added, “Big bro, actually, I like Ning Jing too, but…” he smiled bitterly, “How could she really like me? Would she actually want to bear my children? We’re both just fooling ourselves.”
He had played around with Ning Jing quite a bit since their wedding, especially during the first month, but there had been no news from that woman’s stomach at all. It was obvious that she’d been taking drugs to prevent getting pregnant.
Undoubtedly, Tang Li’s feelings for Ning Jing surprised Long Feiye, but he didn’t have time to consider that now. Instead he asked coldly, “Do you know who kidnapped her?”
Seeing that Long Feiye wasn’t pressuring him to help out anymore, Tang Li silently exhaled. His single statement made everything clear to Long Feiye.
“I’ve been waging a cold war with Ning Jing over the past few days,” said Tang Li. “After leaving the house, I doubled back twice on purpose but didn’t see her in her rooms. Last night I waited until the middle of the night before she came back. Seeing me gave her a fright.”
Ever since the Apricot Woods Conference concluded, the military officer from Tianning had left, while Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s businesses in Medical City had long been handed over to Ning Nuo. Thus, Ning Jing should have no dealings with either of those things. But what could keep her busy until the middle of the night? It was obvious that she was trying to hide it from Tang Li, too.
“Big bro, maybe Ning Cheng himself’s in Medical City. Last night I’ve already sent people to investigate. If Ning Cheng’s not in the battlefields, then he must be here! He must have kidnapped Han Yunxi.”
Tang Li glanced at the purple muslin robe in Long Feiye’s hand and said seriously, “Big bro, at a time like this, there’s only two types of people that would target Han Yunxi: our East Qin faction or West Qin’s people.”
“Ning Cheng!” Long Feiye narrowed his eyes. East Qin’s factions didn’t need to take the pains to kidnap Han Yunxi when they could simply find Chu Xifeng directly. Thus, the culprits had to be from West Qin. The torn clothing was probably done to ascertain the phoenix birthmark on her back.
Chu Tianyin of the Nether Clan had been sending Gu Beiyue letters nonstop over the past few days to ask about Han Yunxi’s identity, while the Li and Black Clans were still remaining silent. Long Feiye himself was certain that the Wind Clan wouldn’t take the initiative to kidnap Han Yunxi now. They would have moved long ago!
Seeing Long Feiye’s dangerous expression, Tang Li knew that he was back to being himself.
“Did you send anyone to tail Ning Jing?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
“You still need to worry about how I deal with things? I arranged for followers long ago. Ning Jing didn’t leave the house last night, but she was gone first thing this morning. I already have someone watching her movements,” Tang Li replied.
Long Feiye nodded before staring coldly into Tang Li’s eyes. Tang Li didn’t sense it at first, but soon averted his gaze. “Big bro, it’s not that I won’t help you, but...in any case, I can’t accept something like this!”
“She’s only a single woman. Why does she have to shoulder the grudges of the previous generations? What did she ever do wrong?” Long Feiye challenged.
“Big bro, haven’t you shouldered the grudges of the previous generations yourself? She’s just like you. Neither of you can help it! You’re both destined to be enemies in this life. Won’t your heart feel uncomfortable living with your enemy day after day?” Tang Li asked seriously.
Long Feiye fell silent for a long time before he intoned, “At least, your lordship wants to ask her personally.”
Tang Li was conflicted. After a long struggle, he finally decided to buy some time. “Fine. I promise, as long as Han Yunxi doesn’t hate or resent you, I’ll help you! But if she does, heheh...don’t blame my Tang Clan for being ruthless then!” As he spoke, he added, “And also, Han Yunxi’s the only exception. Everyone else, no matter if it’s the Nether or Di Clan, will find no mercy with the Tang Clan!”
“Naturally!” Long Feiye’s killing intent was even thicker than Tang Li’s.
The brothers returned to Medical City to await news from their scouts. Long Feiye wrapped the muslin robe around his arm and tied it tight before rolling down his large, wide sleeves. Seeing this, Tang Li only felt a twang of pain within his heart. Actually, he was hoping that Han Yunxi would hate and resent Long Feiye. This way, Long Feiye could have a clear-cut fight with West Qin. But witnessing such an action made him ache.
If Han Yunxi really hated Long Feiye, how much would that wound his heart?
Whoever loved more deeply in a relationship would be the one to suffer a crushing defeat after failure. Tang Li suddenly realized that he had a more vicious heart than Long Feiye. Or perhaps he didn’t love his partner enough beyond “like.”
Once Long Feiye calmed down, he had plenty of things to do. Since Ning Jing and Ning Cheng were their suspects, that meant Ning Cheng was still somewhere in Medical City. He found Department Head Shen and increased the number of searchers around the city. At the same time, the poison guards that Han Yunxi had transferred to her side arrived as well. Fortunately, these guards still listened to Long Feiye’s orders, so he carefully deployed them before waiting for news from Ning Jing’s scout. Meanwhile, he replied to letters from the Tang Clan and the Baili military.
He had received both letters before arriving at Medical City. Both asked after Han Yunxi’s identity, but he only replied with five words:
- You can’t believe in rumors.
He didn’t elaborate further. One he dealt with the matters on hand, Tang Li dashed into the scene.
“Big bro, it’s the Apricot Woods! She’s in the Apricot Woods!”
Tang Li was still outside the door when Long Feiye flew out of the rooms. He almost crashed into the man, but then turned to chase after him. “Big bro, Ning Jing went in circles around the city multiple times before slipping into the Apricot Woods.”
The Apricot Woods were closed to the public except during the medical academy’s conferences. Ning Jing had walked around in circles just to avoid being seen or heard as she slipped inside. Her motives were obvious.
Xu Donglin followed after them, but Long Feiye only ordered him, “Guard well your own places. No need to come along.” His precautions were meant to lure the enemy away from his base.
As long as he could ascertain the person was imprisoned there, then his current abilities were enough to stop three Ning Chengs from escaping, to say nothing of a single one! Under the guidance of a secret agent, Long Feiye saw a discarded courtyard in the distance. For the sake of evading suspicion, Tang Li had hidden himself in the shadows instead of showing himself.
“You Highness, this subordinate saw Ning Jing enter there with my own eyes. This subordinate was afraid to get too close, so I kept watch here. She still hasn’t come out, but I didn’t see anyone else go in, either,” the agent reported in a low voice.
“Very good!” Long Feiye murmured before flying out at a speed too fast for the human eye to see. All of his fears, worries, and longing didn’t matter now. All he wanted to do was to see her! But when Long Feiye entered the room, all he saw was Ning Jing sitting by herself in the courtyard and crying.
“You...Duke of Qin?!” Ning Jing exclaimed as she sprang to her feet.
Long Feiye sensed something amiss, but ignored her to charge into the rooms. Unfortunately, he didn’t find the person he wanted even after searching through the premises. By the time he returned to the courtyard, it was to see Ning Jing standing there with a face full of tears, looking lost and confused. Naturally, this was all an act. Long Feiye didn’t hesitate to turn on his heel and leave!
This was an abandoned courtyard, but there had been a bed in one of the rooms, along with clean table and chairs. Someone had lived there once, but it wasn’t Ning Jing.
As expected, this was to lure the tiger out of his mountain!
Long Feiye made a beeline for the city gates as soon as he left the woods. Fortunately, the exits were still quiet--no one had disturbed them.
“Xu Donglin, where’s Tang Li?” Long Feiye asked in a low voice.
“Still in the Apricot Woods,” Xu Donglin reported.
“Tell him there’s no need to pretend. Ning Jing’s long suspected the Tang Clan,” Long Feiye said coldly.
Ning Jing must have suspected Tang Li as well, so she must have Ning Cheng to leave ahead of time while filling in the gaps herself. There was no need for Tang Li to keep up his ignorant act at a time like this. It didn’t matter whether or not they got Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s arms trade anymore. The Tang Clan’s assassination weapons were already East Qin’s greatest strength!
Xu Donglin had hardly gone to find Tang Li when he returned by himself. “Big bro, if you’re guarding the east gate, then I’ll take the west. The various secret passages are all blocked as well. I refuse to believe that Ning Cheng can grow wings and fly out of here!”
“Where’s Ning Jing?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
“I tied her up and gave her the choice between her life or the arms trade routes,” Tang Li said carelessly. “Big bro, even if she chooses the latter, I can still get all of the account books and ledgers, as well as the records of the stocks. In any case, I’ll definitely complete the mission!”
If this was any other day, Long Feiye would let Tang Li go without another word, but not this time. He looked at him with a peculiar look. Tang Li avoided his gaze again to laugh out loud.
“This clan head’s been waiting for this day for a long time! Big bro, if we still can’t find Ning Cheng, let’s hang that woman over the city gates tomorrow for three days and three nights. I refuse to believe that Ning Cheng won’t show up then!”
“She’s your wife by marriage and law,” Long Feiye said icily. “You decide what to do.”
“Then it’s set!” Tang Li left in high spirits, his disappointment well hidden behind his eyes.
Long Feiye kept guarding and searching, but Ning Cheng had already left Medical City with Han Yunxi long ago. They vanished last night without alerting a soul--but how?Previous Chapter Next Chapter