Han Yunxi saw Mu Linger focusing on making medicine when she entered Ning Jing’s room.
“What are you doing?” Han Yunxi asked.
“I’m thinking of a way to combine the two prescriptions so Ning Jing can absorb the medicine better while minimizing the effects on the baby,” Mu Linger replied.
“How’s her status?” Han Yunxi asked in a low voice.
“She hasn’t made a peep for half the day. I’m afraid to talk to her too,” Mu Linger said before murmuring, “Big sis, do Ning Jing and Tang Li really love each other?”
“If not, would their love crystallize into this?” Han Yunxi retorted.
Mu Linger nodded. “Big sis, any news of Qi gege? Blacktower’s only half a day away, so why isn’t he back yet?”
Han Yunxi would have plumb forgotten if Mu Linger hadn’t asked her. “It should be time for him to come back. Did he not find the target yet?”
Although she and Long Feiye had come back earlier, the Di Clan’s men and Long Feiye’s shadow guards were still combing the mountains for signs of Bai Yuqiao. Gu Qishao should have ran into them if he hurried to Blacktower on the second day.
“Qi gege will definitely find him!” Mu Linger vowed before she grew alarmed and clutched Han Yunxi’s hand. “Big sis, nothing should’ve happened to Qi gege, right?”
Han Yunxi was a little worried as well, so she quickly had Fifth Elder increase the searchers.
“Do you want to see her with me?” Han Yunxi asked when she was done.
Mu Linger was still wracked with guilt and afraid to face Ning Jing. “Big sis, you go in yourself. I...I already saw her just a moment ago.”
Han Yunxi didn’t force it, but went a distance before she turned back and grinned. “Lass, you call me ‘big sis’ pretty naturally, you know.” With a smug grin, she brushed her hair and turned to enter the room, leaving a gaping Mu Linger. Only then did she realize she’d been calling Han Yunxi “big sis” for the past two days.
Ning Jing immediately grilled her on the situation at the auction hall and gambling house as soon as Han Yunxi stepped inside.
“You’re not asking me how Tang Li’s doing?” Han Yunxi challenged back.
“Don’t bring him up with me! You should know that changing the auction and gambling houses is your only chance.” Although Ning Jing’s body was still recovering, her spirits were already back to normal.
Han Yunxi told Ning Jing all about the details of her plans, and the girl remained silent before sticking up her thumb. “Han Yunxi, you’re pretty good at this!”
It was a shame that Mu Linger hadn’t followed Han Yunxi in, or else she’d be crying out loud! Although she had no idea how Qi gege was planning to get back at Ning Cheng, she did know that he was the owner of Golden Wing Hall! Then again, if Gu Qishao was still here, he might have gifted Golden Wing Hall to Han Yunxi already without a single fight.
“Could Golden Wing Hall be one of the Wind Clan’s properties?” Ning Jing wondered doubtfully.
“It can’t be. If the Wind Clan had Golden Wing Hall, then Jun Yixie wouldn’t be lacking for soldiers’ pay and provisions,” Han Yunxi replied. The Northern Li emperor had kept Jun Yixie in check precisely because he had detained all of the soldiers’ pay and provisions. The 30,000 battle horses that had already arrived, as well as the 30,000 on the way and 30,000 more preparing to depart for the capital, all demanded pure gold and silver as support.
“I suspect your big brother didn’t fall into Bai Yanqing’s hands, or else he wouldn’t be sitting putt with Jun Yixie right now. They would be threatening us on our doorstep,” Han Yunxi analyzed.
“Then where can Bai Yuqiao take my brother?”
Both Ning Jing and Han Yunxi were at a loss. They had no idea of the gap between Bai Yanqin and Jun Yixie, or how Bai Yuqiao’s relationship with her master had deteriorated to nothing. As they chatted, Ning Jing refrained from bringing up Tang Li, so Han Yunxi didn’t mention him either. She just wished that the man could come and tell Ning Jing about his feelings in person instead of making her a messenger. Even if she told Ning Jing the truth now, suppose she didn’t believe her or go to the jail cells? Then it’d all be her fault.
After talking a bit, Han Yunxi asked, “Ning Jing, how do you feel about Uncle Cheng?”
“He was my father’s retainer, but followed my big brother after father passed away. In the Di Clan, he’s the only one who dares to talk back to my brother.”
Han Yunxi probed, “Then...can our alliance be revealed…”
“You can’t tell anyone, especially him!” Ning Jing interrupted. “Han Yunxi, how could anyone by my brother not be on his side? If you want to control the Di Clan, then you have to pin down Uncle Cheng first!”
Han Yunxi nodded as she understood what to do. “You take care of yourself. Later I’ll act out a play and said you fainted at the auction halls from overexhaustion. The doctor said you needed to recover your health for a bit,” Han Yunxi explained. “I’ll arrange for the specific doctors and servant girls so you just worry about getting better. I’ll send someone to tell you about the situation at the auction and gambling houses, while you help me keep an eye on them in case any knots show up.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep a close watch,” Ning Jing promised.
When Han Yunxi left, she announced according to plan that Ning Jing needed bedrest. She bribed a servant girl from Fifth Elder’s side and found a doctor outside before managing to cover up the incident. Once that was done, she ordered the servant girl to push her back to the jail cells.
From a long distance away, Tang Li began to shout. “Sister-in-law...sister-in-law!”
“Are you trying to call back the dead?” Han Yunxi asked unhappily.
“Where’s Ning Jing?” Tang Li had been waiting for half the day and assumed Han Yunxi would bring her back.
Han Yunxi wasn’t planning to tell him, but ended up deciding that Tang Li had a right to know about Ning Jing’s pregnancy and near miscarriage since he was her husband. In any case, he’d find out about it eventually, so she might as well tell him now so he didn’t blame her later.
She wagged her finger at him. “Come over here, and I’ll tell you another secret.”
Unlike last time, Tang Li dashed towards her and obediently waited for her words. But he lost all sign of docileness once Han Yunxi broke the news. Without a word, he rushed for the prison exits again. Fortunately, Han Yunxi had the foresight to let the jailkeeper lock them both inside this time. Leaving aside all the archers, what could Tang Li do if he broke past them at all? He and Ning Jing were like her and Long Feiye right now. Their relationship couldn’t go public.
The Di Clan still had no idea about the relationship between the Tang Clan and Long Feiye, but the empty Pear Blossom Rain Needles had already shattered the alliance betweeen Di and Tang. If news of Ning Jing’s pregnancy broke out, she’d be the one suffering the greatest losses, while Tang Li would be controlled utterly by the Di.
Tang Li kicked furiously at the door as he recalled the words Ning Jing had said in Medical City. He wanted to slap himself for being so stupid. Why had he been so thoughtless? Back then, he’d confined Ning Jing with only water for three days and three nights. He even tied her hands up above her head and threatened to hang her over the city gates. And yet, Ning Jing had only smiled and said, “A’Li, I’m pregnant.”
“Ning Jing, you stupid woman! Why were you so idiotic, ah?” Tang Li’s heart felt like it was going to break. Although he was cursing her, his voice was filled with doting as if Ning Jing was standing before him right this second.
He finally understood why the ever stubborn Ning Jing had agreed to compromise back then. It was for the sake of the child in her womb. How lucky he must be that she chose to yield at all? Otherwise, he’d needlessly hang her over the city gates and starve her for three more days and nights. By then, her body would have given out and her baby completely lost!
Bang! Tang Li punched the cell door in anger. Han Yunxi wanted until he was finished venting before she said, “Tang Li, if you want to preserve your child’s life, you better calm down. Otherwise, mother and child will have greater troubles ahead. Don’t forget where we are.”
Even without her reminder, Tang Li understood the implications. He clenched his fists against the prison door and fell silent as he endured. After a while, Tang Li said, “Sister-in-law, is there really no other way to get me out of here?”
“There’s ways, but it’s too risky right now,” Han Yunxi was in a tough spot.
But Tang Li cut straight to the chase. “Then help me take care of them both…” After some silence, he continued, “Sister-in-law, call me when you guys face off against Bai Yanqing. No matter what, I want to take Ning Jing back to the Tang Clan!”
Han Yunxi suddenly felt that Tang LI had finally grown up. She agreed without hesitation. “Alright. When the time comes, your big brother will help you make arrangements.”
She finally remembered her husband and how she’d abandoned him before daybreak. Since then, she’d been busying herself until night was approaching again. Long Feiye should be on his way to Western Zhou by now.
Tang Li’s child would be Long Feiye’s niece or nephew in the future. Thus, Long Feiye was now an uncle? She suddenly found the thought unbelievable. When she recalled all the questions he’d asked her before, she felt bitterness in her own heart.
Children...is it easy to get them just because one says so? If our armies meet on the battlefield one day, what will we do with our children?
Han Yunxi shook her head and abandoned that train of thought. It was better to seize this time to deal with matters at the auction and gambling houses. If she could finish both tasks before Long Feiye returned and conquered Myriad Merchant Hall’s Council of Elders, then they could find Bai Yanqing sooner to settle their debts.
No one knew the whereabouts of Gu Beiyue or Lil Thing right now. She really missed them both. Thus, Han Yunxi left the jail cells and disguised herself with a face veil before heading for the auction hall. The moment she left the doors of her room, Long Feiye slipped in behind her. Once again, he waited nearly an entire night before she came back in the wee hours of the morning. This time, he watched Han Yunxi’s entire bathing process until she wiped herself dry, then laid herself on the bed. He appeared from behind the folding screen and asked, “Tired? You want to sleep?”
Han Yunxi was scared to death by the sudden surprise. She almost tumbled off the bed as she glared at her in disbelief, wondering if this was all a dream.
“You...why didn’t you come out earlier?!” she had asked the same question last night.
But the meaning behind the query was completely different today! Long Feiye had shown himself midway through her bath last night, but today he actually...he actually looked at her soundlessly through the entire process before revealing his location.
Just then...how much did he see?
Thinking up to here, Han Yunxi couldn’t help but recall their first meeting under Long Feiye’s scrutiny. She was completely unclothed now as he stared domineeringly at her body and all its details. Sometimes, the way he looked at her was frightening, like she’d be eaten clean to the bones.
“I saw everything,” Long Feiye came straight to the point as before. Then he teased, “Your movements are quite nimble, aren’t they?”
Han Yunxi finally sensed the displeasure in his eyes. Although her legs were much better and she could sneak a few steps here or there, he had prohibited her from moving around before a complete recovery.
Han Yunxi quickly changed the subject. “Long Feiye….weren’t you going to Western Zhou?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
#10 of the 12 owed PGC chapters