Chapter 869: From sweet to salty, eating without miss

In the silent room, chaos reigned on the floor. Tang Li leaned against the bed while he stared expressionlessly at Ning Jing’s tantrum. This wasn’t the first time it had happened. Late one night not long after they married, Ning Jing had been hungry. Instead of calling for a servant girl, she had woken up Tang Li from his sweet dreams and made him look for food. 

Ning Jing was a right and proper president of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium who controlled large business deals in the organization as well as the Di Clan’s family business. How could she ever be a spoiled rotten princess? Tang Li knew that she was deliberately making trouble for him to set him off, so he was willing to play along to the end. How well he used to act. No matter how much Ning Jing fretted, he would wait on her like a slave to his wife while seeming perfectly willing. He personally went to fetch a bowl of red bean soup from the kitchens, but Ning Jing only drank a sip before smashing its contents on the ground, complaining that it was too sweet. He didn’t get mad, but chuckled as he asked her to wait. Then he personally boiled another bowl and added twice as much sugar, preparing to deal with her by acting like a crazy fool. He even figured that he’d add four times as much sugar if she complained again until she stopped pestering him.

But instead of falling for his tricks, Ning Jing finished the bowl in one gulp and praised Tang Li for his cooking skills. She even said that she would only drink his red bean soup in the future. Ever since that fateful night, Ning Jing would occasionally pester Tang Li--sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the morning--to cook her soup, no matter how sleepy he was. 

Tang Li wasn’t an easy foe. He added more and more sugar into the soup, but Ning Jing could always stomach his soup. Finally, Tang Li added ten spoonfuls of sugar into the soup one day, only to see Ning Jing swallow it all without knitting her brows once. He even began to suspect that her tastebuds had problems! Their silent sugar war finally ended in Tang Li’s defeat. He grew truly afraid of Ning Jing getting sick if she continued to eat that way. From then one, he didn’t dare add too much sugar into her soup. Ning Jing never discuss the difference in flavors with him, but simply finished each bowl without a word. This made Tang Li understand one thing: don’t get serious with women, because they were too scary when they got serious back!

Although this scene resembled the past, the people in it had already changed…

Tang Li arched a brow at Ning Jing before he laughed coldly. “If you won’t eat, then forget about it!” As he finished, he rose and strode out of the door. Ning Jing chased him to the door, but was held back by the guards before she could get out. In reality, she didn’t want to chase after him anyways, but only put on appearances. Now she was certain that he wouldn’t return tonight. Without him here, she could finally calm down and think about what she should do. 

Tang Li didn’t go far before he ran into Lady Tang. Her face was full of anxiety. “A’Li, the elders have all been looking for you. You...what’s wrong with you in the middle of the night, hiding in the kitchens to make soup?!”

That’s right. The red bean soup that Ning Jing had overturned was made by none other than Tang Li himself. He had left the Tang Clan elders waiting for nothing while shutting himself up in the kitchens to cook. He had no idea what had gotten into his head tonight, either.

“I didn’t!” Tang Li denied.

“You can lie to your father, but could you really trick me? A’Li, tell your mother the truth. Have you long taken a fancy to that Ning Jing girl?” Lady Tang asked.

Tang Li ignored her and took long strides forward, but Lady Tang quickly chased after him, unhappy. “You reckless boy, if this old mother can’t see through your heart, then I would have raised you for nothing in the past twenty some years!”

Tang Li still refused to speak as he headed towards the meeting hall. Lady Tang gave up chasing him and shouted, “Someone come, take Ning Jing to Dragon’s Peak. Hand her into Aunt Ru’s custody!”

The Tang Clan’s ancestral hall was located on Dragon Peak, where generations of the departed were enshrined as memorial tablets and worshipped. Lady Tang had no idea that Aunt Ru was trapped up there until Han Yunxi’s identity was exposed and Tang Zijin rushed there in a hurry to find her. Currently, Ning Jing was only being confined within the Tang Clan. If Lady Tang delivered her to Aunt Ru, then based on the woman’s hatred for East Qin, Ning Jing would be tormented to death within three days.

Tang Li kept walking forward, but Lady Tang’s lips only curved into a grin as she began a mental count. One, two, three…

She thought she could make it to five, but she didn’t even reach four before Tang Li stopped. However, he didn’t turn back and only said coldly, “Do as you want! But if Aunt Ru torments her to death, I can’t guarantee I’ll get Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s arms trade agreement!”

Then he stalked off, walking too quickly for Lady Tang to catch up. 

“This damned brat!” Lady Tang was so furious, she nearly turned green! 

“Old Madam, calm yourself. Be careful of your health, “ her servant girl coaxed.

“Will you look at this child...just what is he thinking?” Lady Tang realized that she understood her son less and less now. After some hesitation, she went to Ning Jing’s room. It was already the middle of the night, so she didn’t expect a trip from Lady Tang herself. She was still in the middle of making herself presentable when Lady Tang dismissed all the servant girls and went into her rooms. Ning Jing had been living at Reclining Dragon Peak for a few months now, but Tang Li had always shielded her from Lady Tang. She had never met the woman in person. For some reason, she felt a little flustered. A complicated look flickered past her eyes before she sat unmoving on the bed.

Lady Tang leisurely sat down on one side and said, “Ning Jing, seeing as you’re still this madam’s daughter-in-law, I’ll give you a way out. Whether or not you want it, decide quickly.”

“You won’t get the arms trade, but I still have this life to offer!” Ning Jing said coldly.

She was wondering why Lady Tang had come in all of a sudden. As it turned out, it was just to give her “a way out.” This calmed her down immensely. After returning to the Tang Clan, Tang Zijin’s group had sought her out, each and everyone offering her a “way out” with the purpose of the arms trade in mind. She had already betrayed the Di Clan once, so she wouldn’t repeat that again. Although Tang Li had already taken away her account books and keys, he couldn’t claim any of it without her stamp or the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s council of elders’ seal!

Lady Tang laughed. “Arms trade? Haha, those are men’s matters! Ning Jing, this madam isn’t making you do anything to let down the Di Clan. I only want you to take your heart and draw a clear line between you and the Di Clan. Once Tang Li gets the arms trade, this madam promises to keep your life and find a way to keep you by Tang Li’s side as his concubine. If you agree, make a vow.”

After getting the arms trade and revealing the Tang Clan’s true alliances, even the Di Clan’s Ning Family wouldn’t be able to do anything against them! Even less would they be able to recover Ning Jing. With Tang Zijin and the council of elders’ tempers, they’d probably kill her instead. Lady Tang felt that her terms were quite generous. If she didn’t fear that her son’s emotions would cause a ruckus within the Tang Clan, she’d never do something this foolish!

Ning Jing couldn’t help but laugh out loud, irking Lady Tang to demand, “What are you laughing about?”

“You won’t let me do anything that lets down the Di Clan? Lady Tang, if your son landed in the Di Clan’s hands and lost the Tang Clan’s assassination weapons to them, could he still live carelessly?” Ning Jing asked.

By knowing what was going on and yet doing nothing to stop it was an even more shameless form of betrayal! Although Lady Tang would always give Tang Li the benefit of the doubt, she found herself unable to answer Ning Jing’s query. Nor could she confidently reply that she’d let him live! After remaining mute for a long time, she finally huffed, “Ning Jing, you’re a woman. Why are you being so stubborn? If you surrender to our Tang Clan, Tang Li won’t treat you unfairly!”

Ning Jing smiled icily. “This young Miss won’t miss a shameless thing like Tang Li! If Lady Tang has nothing else to say, then please leave!”

Lady Tang sprang to her feet and raged, “Ning Jing, you can just waste time here! Don’t even dream that the Di Clan can rescue you! I’m telling them, Tang Li will settle the arms trade routes for sure! Once he does, your death day will arrive!” She swished her sleeves and left, leaving Ning Jing smiling coldly without moving a muscle. How could she hope that the Di Clan would save her? What a joke!

As the door was locked, Ning Jing took out Ning An’s medicine. Without hesitation, she boiled the powder in the packet, then dumped it all into a flowerpot on the side without leaving a trace behind. If Ning An knew I betrayed Ning Cheng and didn’t tell him about the Tang Clan’s true origins, she would never give me this medicine, much less recognize a sister like me.

Why did she have to take this infertility medicine at all?! She needed a bottle of poison--one that she could take and die, thus finishing everything for good. By continuing to live, Tang Li could keep on manipulating her to trap Ning Cheng and steal the consortium’s arms trade routes. She had already made one mistake, but if she kept on like this, even death wouldn’t be enough to repay her debts. Actually, she should have died once already back in Medical City. If that had happened, Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s council of elders would never come discuss terms with the Tang Clan or fall into Tang Li’s trap. 

Thinking up to here, Ning Jing took out the dagger concealed on  her body, but she wavered for a long time, unable to make the final move. If this was the past, she wouldn’t hesitate. Whether it came to others, herself, or even death, she didn’t blink an eye. Those who should live should live, while those who should die should die, wasn’t that right?

But now she was trapped.

Once again, her hand drifted to her stomach. She could be cruel to Tang Li and herself, but what about this innocent little life within her? She hadn’t lied to Tang Li in Medical City--she really was pregnant with his child--their baby. She couldn’t begin to imagine what Tang Li would think if he knew of the child’s existence. If this was the past, he would definitely put up a great act and happily pick her up before spinning her in circles, right? And what about now?

In Medical City, he had said she had no right to bear his seed. He even found a doctor to abort her “child.” She either had to die or run away before her stomach starting showing signs of her pregnancy. She would have to escape both the Tang Clan and the Di Clan. Actually, Ning Jing had already chosen escape over death, but it was just too hard to run away! Unless Tang Li took her down the mountain, she wouldn’t have a chance. At most, she had a month left. Ning Jing decided to gamble on a chance.

In any case, the worst case scenario would end with her death. Things couldn’t get more terrible than that. After steeling her resolve, she ended up sleeping very peacefully tonight.

Late in the night after all the elders were gone, Tang Li sat alone in the empty meeting hall. His white robes draped against him, a celestial yet lonely form who seemed to have fallen from grace into the depths of the darkest hell. It was as if nothing could ever offer him salvation again. 

He remained silent for a long, long time before suddenly standing up. Like a madman, he rushed out the door and ran straight to Ning Jing’s door. The guards there were frightened to death by his speed. “Clan head, has something happened?”

“Open the door!” he said coldly.

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Ruyi's Thoughts

This is yesterday's release, expect today's in an hour or so too!