For Tang Li, the words “Ning Jing” were like the incantation used by the Tang Monk to keep the Monkey King under control during their journey to the west, especially when it came from Han Yunxi’s lips. But it gave him not headaches, but heartaches. His chest throbbed with pain, yet he couldn’t ignore the mention of her name at all.
He purposely coughed and said impatiently, “Han Yunxi, just say what you want to say. Don’t hold back any longer.”
“I have one condition!” Han Yunxi chuckled.
“No way!” Tang Li turned aside, his handsome face filled with a tsundere pride.
“Call me ‘sister-in-law’ once and I’ll tell you. It’s a heavenly secret!” Han Yunxi continued to tease.
Tang Li thought Han Yunxi had wicked ideas in her sleeve, but never expected something so simple. But he still couldn’t do it! He pursed his lips and remained silent. Han Yunxi watched with amusement as she waited patiently. They eyes locked for awhile before Tang Li was the first to look away.
“Are you saying it or not?” she asked.
Tang Li neither spoke nor refused.
Han Yunxi’s grin widened. “If you won’t, then forget it! Goodbye!”
She pushed her wheelchair and prepared to leave when Tang Li suddenly cried out, “Hold up!”
Han Yunxi rejoiced as she stopped to wait. But Tang Li only said, “Han Yunxi, if it’s matters related to Ning Jing, then I’ll have to trouble you not to bother me again!”
Han Yunxi’s heart stifled at the answer before she turned back to curse at him. “Tang Li, are you still a man?! You don’t even have the guts to admit you like a girl? Aren’t you just a coward? I’m telling you now, Ning Jing agreed to work with me and take Myriad Merchant Hall under control, then have the Di Clan cooperate together with Long Feiye. We’ll team up to deal with Bai Yanqing and figure out the true cause of the civil war in the Great Qin Empire from all those years before!”
As she spoke, she drew closer to him. “Do you know why Ning Jing’s doing all this? Because she’s like me, someone who hopes all of the conflicts came from a misunderstanding. She wishes that East and West Qin never had such hatred between them! Because she wishes she had a fighting chance to love you!”
Tang Li stared at her gap-faced as Han Yunxi continued to rebuke him.
“She’s a woman with a sense of integrity and self-respect. She likes you but she was afraid to say it, which is perfectly reasonable! But you’re a man! You lack even that bit of courage? Will you die if you admit you like someone?!”
“The secret I wanted to tell you was that Ning Jing loves you very, very much!” Han Yunxi finished with a shout.
Tang Li was still stunned as he remained silent. If Han Yunxi wasn’t injured right now, she’d go over and give him a sound kick.
“If you didn’t want to know this secret, then just pretend I said nothing! Goodbye!” Han Yunxi was really going to leave now, but Tang Li suddenly halted her with an earth-shattering cry.
Han Yunxi almost went deaf from the noise! Fortunately, she had the foresight to tell Ning Jing to bribe all the guards to get the heck away from the jail cells whenever she came to visit. Otherwise, Tang Li’s single cry would have sold them all out. She cupped her aching ears and ignored him, but Tang Li excitedly grabbed her wheelchair’s handlebars.
“Sister-in-law, just then you...what did you say just then?”
Han Yunxi looked up at him. “Tang Li, what did you call me?”
Tang Li was on the verge of tears. “Sister-in-law, I’m begging you, alright? Spare me! Ning Jing, she...she...what did she say?”
Han Yunxi was caught in a mix of mirth, anger, and heartache. “Ning Jing loves you. She loves you very, very much. She told your sister-in-law in person.”
Tang Li was now really ready to cry. Tears pooled at the edge of his eyes. “Really?”
Han Yunxi broke into a helpless smile. “Of all the people sister-in-law tricks, I’d never trick you. It’s true beyond a doubt!”
“I want to see her!” Like a madman, Tang Li rushed out the door. Han Yunxi let him leave. Tang Li actually reached the very exit of the jail cells before a bunch of archers stopped him, forcing him to retreat. Only then did he realize that Han Yunxi lacked complete control over Myriad Merchant Hall despite being allowed to walk about freely. The archers at the doorway were both to prevent his escape and stop Han Yunxi from taking him with her.
“You can’t go out, but Ning Jing can come in. Whether or not she wants to see you, I don’t know,” Han Yunxi told him the truth.
“Sister-in-law, tell Ning Jing, tell her that…” Tang Li thought for a while before he added, “Tell her that while the Pear Blossom Rain Needles have no heart, I do! Tell her to come, I have things to tell her.”
“Alright, I’ll consider it,” Han Yunxi intoned.
“Sister-in-law!” Tang Li begged. Han Yunxi couldn’t help but laugh. She’d waited ages for him to call her that.
“Tang Li, leave this to sister-in-law. Even if I have to lie, I’ll trick her over here! You can tell her what you need to say yourself,” Han Yunxi said.
“Hurry and go, hurry!” Tang Li couldn’t bear to wait another second.
Han Yunxi left immediately. By the time she reached outside, it was already daylight. Fifth Elder had sent people to look for her until they found their way here.
“Your Royal Highness, the elders have already assembled in the great hall to wait,” the servant girl reported.
“This early?” Han Yunxi grew doubtful. She had no idea that Fifth Elder had already told the other elders about how she swallowed up East Valley Private Bank last night. Shocked and amazed, especially the head elder, they had all grown eager to meet with her for discussions as soon as possible.
Myriad Merchant Hall made money for the Di Clan, so here was a place where money talked. Han Yunxi had only used a single night with no losses to win them a bank. Even the most reluctant elder was somewhat convinced by her actions. As the situation in the auction and gambling houses were getting worse and they were running out of ideas, they naturally wanted to hear if Han Yunxi had any brilliant insights.
“Tell them I’m not feeling well and will be there later! Have them busy themselves first,” Han Yunxi said while secretly slipping an ingot of gold to the servant girl. She then asked, “Is Ning Jing there as well?”
“Miss Jing hasn’t gone over yet, but the head elder sent someone to invite her. Miss Jing returned late from the gambling house last night, so I’m afraid she must be still resting,” the servant girl replied in detail after receiving the gold.
Han Yunxi immediately found another servant girl to push her wheelchair to Ning Jing’s rooms. Nothing was more important than her little brother Tang Li’s marriage life now. Those elders could take their time and wait. As she hurried to Ning Jing, the woman herself had already woken up.
Her belly was four months along by now. Although it didn’t show or hinder her movements, she was still very careful in private. In the past, she’d skip breakfast if she was too busy, but now she always stopped to eat her fill first. Despite the head elder’s coaxing, she remained in her rooms and slowly chewed and finished her food before exiting.
Unexpectedly, Ning Jing had hardly stepped into the courtyard when a hurrying Mu Linger crashed into her head-on.
“Ahh….ahhhh…!” the two shrieked, but Ning Jing’s cry was louder than Mu Linger’s. She was knocked to the ground and on her bottom. Mu Linger didn’t fall, but her nose was sore and sticky inside, as if with blood. Ning Jing supported herself with one hand as the other clutched her stomach. Her complexion turned ashen as her heart almost stopped. She was too afraid to look down.
“Ning Jing, are you alright? I didn’t mean it! Someone was trying to kill me, so I came to find my big sis!” Mu Linger explained as she helped her up. But she’d hardly moved when she saw, stunned, the pool of blood flowing out from under Ning Jing’s body.
Mu Linger might still be a virgin, but she was also a pharmacist. She knew elementary knowledge like this! She was so frightened that she almost screamed, but Ning Jing muffled her in time. Her voice was as cold as ice.
“Mu Linger,” she said, “Save my child...otherwise, I’ll have you pay with your life!”
Mu Linger’s hands chilled as she realized the disaster she’d caused.
“Ning Jing, you...don’t get angry, y-you, you let me go first so I can...so I can save you!” Mu Linger’s teeth were chattering. She didn’t fear death, but she was afraid that there was no saving this calamity.
Ning Jing had one hand over Mu Linger’s mouth and the other grasping her arm. The nails sank through the fabric and into her flesh. Her grip gradually tightened; she was even more afraid than Mu Linger! But Mu Linger was so terrified that she didn’t even notice the pain.
She said, “Ning Jing, calm down. You don’t have any time. Call the servant girls to take you inside and I’ll go find medicine right away. Trust me, I can...I can make a prescription that’ll keep your baby for sure.”
Actually, Mu Linger wasn’t certain at all. Before she could do a diagnosis, she couldn’t make any prescriptions. But as a pharmacist, she still had the basic training of her profession and the calm to use it. First and foremost, she had to calm the patient down. A good mood was its own good medicine.
“Mu Linger, you take me back. No one can know I’m pregnant, including those servants!” Ning Jing said coldly.
Mu Linger’s heart chilled before she blurted out, “You’re pregnant with Tang Li’s baby?” She felt like an idiot as soon as she said it. Why else would Ning Jing be so secretive?
“Shut your mouth!” Ning Jing hissed.
Mu Linger didn’t dare delay, but murmured, “Ning Jing, it’s best if you don’t stand, or the child will be in danger. Endure a bit, I’ll carry you inside!”
Mu Linge wasn’t even as tall as Ning Jing and much thinner. How was she supposed to carry her? But her strength was quite surprising. She gritted her teeth and princess-carried Ning Jing step by step into the room before laying her flat on the bed. After taking Ning Jing’s pulse, she finally exhaled in relief.
“Ning Jing, we can save the child! You have to stay lying down, I’ll go find a doctor from outside right now and bring back some fetal medicine to help the baby.”
Judging from the pulse, Ning Jing wasn’t past the point of no recovery. But she wasn’t a specialist in this area, so she didn’t dare to take any chances. Ning Jing’s taut nerves finally relaxed as she laid there unmoving. Mu Linger poured her some water before she ran to find a doctor. But she’d hardly reached the doors when she saw a servant girl pushing Han Yunxi inside the courtyard. Han Yunxi was staring at the puddle of blood in doubt and only grew more confused when she saw Mu Linger.
“Linger, why are you here? What’s the rush?”
Mu Linger seemed to have seen her savior. She grew emotional and gave Han Yunxi a tear-filled look. Instantly understanding, Han Yunxi dismissed the servant girl. Mu Linger rushed over with a hoarse voice.
“Big sis, I caused a disaster! Ning Jing almost had a miscarriage and I was the one who crashed into her. I’m going to find a doctor and some medicine right away. Help me look after her, please make sure she’ll be alright.”
Han Yunxi gave a start. ”Miscarriage?”
Mu Linger nodded vigorously as her tears finally streamed down. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
#8 of the 12 owed PGC chapters!
Teaser gave me a sense of relief, full chapter gave me a panic attack, but we're good now, right? Right?!