Chapter 1219: [TangNing] Screwing with one's father
Ning Jing had doubts, but hearing Tang Li explain the Tang Clan’s marriage customs for its women made her steel her heart to be stubborn until the end. If they couldn’t break through the Tang Clan’s customs, then it was possible little Tang Tang would be forced to marry below her station to some weaponmaster one day. In that case, it was better to have her inherit the clan head spot and get a man she liked to marry into the Tang Clan.
Ning JIng could take any grievances against herself, but not her daughter.
Tang Li wanted to leave overnight and use that to threaten Tang Zijin. Ning Jing set to packing their bags and husband and wife worked as one! Tang Li left Lady Tang a piece of paper expressing their intentions, intending to give it to her tomorrow. He didn’t bring along a single attendant, only his wife and child as they snuck down the mountain and escaped!
Early morning the next day, Lady Tang had just gotten out of bed when she saw Tang Zijin return. Her face was gloomy and her heart heavy as she ignored him. It was unclear whether Tang Zijin had thought things through or just finished venting at Lotus Peak; in any case, he had a better attitude today. Seeing his wife’s stiff expression, he walked over and personally poured her some tea.
“I’m here to ask for forgiveness. Wife, it’s all my fault, I lost my wits in the heat of the moment.”
“Petty man!” Lady Tang tore apart his pretense with one word. He clearly knew she’d be angry with his actions, but still choose to lie first and apologize later. If these weren’t the actions of a base villain, then what was?
Tang Zijin’s expression didn’t change at the curse. When it came to their private affairs, Lady Tang could poke him in the nose and he’d still only chuckle in return.
“I was wrong, I was wrong!” Tang Zijin clung to Lady Tang as he did his best to win her favor. Outsiders might even assume they were having a lovers’ tiff. If this was the past, Lady Tang would allow Tang Zijin to hang around and punish him this way and that, but not this time.
She shoved him aside and said lightly, “Don’t try this act with me. I’ll tell you now, don’t waste any time forcing Ning Jing either. She even agreed to let Tang Li take concubines last night, but your son refused.”
Tang ZIjin immediately went to sit on the sidelines, looking at her doubtfully. Lady Tang wanted to wait until Tang Li showed up, but Tang Zijin’s expression made her impatient with fury so she blurted it straight out.
“Tang Zijin, listen up! I have to tell you something monumental,” Lady Tang turned serious.
Tang Zijin was even more lost. Tang Li had been very decisive yesterday, that much he knew. What else was there to say?
No way, my wife wants to divorce me? She had mentioned it twice in yesterday’s argument. Looking at her furrowed brows and serious expression now, Tang Zijin finally grew anxious.
“Wife, I was all--”
“Tang Zijin, Ning Jing can’t have children anymore,” Lady Tang interrupted.
“What?” Tang Zijin exclaimed in alarm.
“When Ning Jing was locked up in Tiger’s Prison, she used medicine to induce early labor in order to save little Tang Tang. That left complications, so she can never get pregnant again.”
“This…” Tang Zijin was taken aback.
“Tang Zijin, Ning Jing is a daughter-in-law you can’t find anywhere else!” Lady Tang sighed with emotion.
Tang Zijin fell silent, his brows knitted in thought.
“Tang Zijin, say something! What do we do about this?” Lady Tang probed.
“Wife, you just said that Ning Jing agreed to let Tang Li take concubines?” Tang Zijin asked meaningfully.
Lady Tang knew what he was thinking before he even mentioned it. Tang Zijin wanted Ning Jing to convince Tang Li into taking concubines. She chose to stay silent and Tang Zijin’s mood markedly improved. Looking at him, Lady Tang silently vowed to head for the temple after the New Year’s to pray and practice Buddhism and ignore him forever.
Some people ended up changing eventually. Baili Yuanlong was one example and Tang Zijin was no exception. Still, Lady Tang also firmly believed that some people never changed. Their hearts would remain the same as the start!
“Wife, this is an important matter. We can’t let Li’er do as he pleases, so you must make certain--”
“Bad news bad news!” a guard rushed in before he finished, “The clan head left a note and left!”
“What?” Tang Zijin slammed the table and stood up.
The guard hastily handed over the piece of paper that Tang Li had written on. When Tang Zijin saw the two lines, he almost fainted with rage. In the end, he sat down and patted his chest as he heaved for breath. Lady Tang took the paper and read its contents. She wasn’t angry, but she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as she sighed endlessly.
She should have guessed. When Tang Li said last night that he’d talk with his father, she should have already figured out his intentions! Tang Li had only written two messages for his parents.
The first one read, Father and mother, your child apologizes to the successive generations of Tang Clan ancestors for being unable to leave them a heir, which gives me no face to stay at the Tang Clan. Your child has taken Ning Jing and Tang Tang and left; we’ll be back as soon as we have a baby boy for the Tang Clan.
The second one read: If father and mother can’t wait that long, then you can birth a little brother for your child. This child is more than willing to give up the clan head’s position.
What did you call this? A bare naked threat!
Ning Jing couldn’t have any moe children. Unless they gave up wanting a grandson, the couple would never return again.
This threat not only served as a warning, but ridiculed Tang Zijin as well. At his age, it was still possible to have children. It was harder for Lady Tang to get pregnant, but there were plenty of young women that could be his concubine. If it was for the sake of continuing the Tang Clan, he could always take concubines of his own!
Tang Li was using this method to tell his father, “do not impose on others what you yourself would not desire; do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you!”
Lady Tang could do nothing but smile bitterly.
“Tang Zijin, you can decide what to do about this! It’s the important matters of your Tang Clan, so a wife like me has no say in it! Without A’Li and the rest, I don’t need to spend my years here anymore. I’ll leave in the afternoon for West Peak Temple and pray for my children and grandchild there! The Buddhist grounds are sacred places, so don’t come bother me!”
Lady Tang waved a hand before going to her rooms to pack her things. Tang Zijin sat still for a long while without reacting. But when he saw Lady Tang emerge with a cloth-wrapped bundle on her back, he immediately grew flustered.
“Wife, if there’s something to say let’s discuss things reasonably! Reasonably!”
“Think carefully about A’Li’s affairs. I really have no ideas,” Lady Tang intoned.
“Wife!” Tang Zijin panicked.
“Move aside!” Lady Tang said coldly.
Tang Zijin refused to budge, but when she shot him a icy look, he still got out of the way. Just like that, Lady Tang and a few attendants left the Tang Clan that very day for West Peak Temple. Tang Zijin was left to look over Reclining Dragon Peak alone. He didn’t send men after Tang Li like the past, nor publicize the fact that he’d left home.
He only sat at the peak and spent an entire day deep in thought.
Very soon, New Year’s Eve arrived. Tang Li and Ning Jing were heading south, but they didn’t rush the trip. Time was too tight for them to make it to his big brother and sister-in-law’s place for the New Year’s. Instead, they slowed down their trip and treated it as a vacation. By the time they reached Yunning Palace, it would already be time for Rui’er’s first birthday. As the crown prince, he would definitely have a lavish celebration since he didn’t have anything for his one-month anniversary.
Tang Li found a map soon after they left the Tang Clan and used it to pick out fun places to play, sightsee, and eat. He acted in the roles of driver, guard, and servant. During the day, he held hands with Ning Jing while carrying Tang Tang to tour around. During the night, he let Ning Jing sleep without worries while attending to every need and movement of his daughter. Thankfully, little Tang Tang was an easy child to look after. Besides a few instances where she got up wanting to pee, she could generally sleep until daylight.
On this New Year’s Eve, Tang Li made extravagant reservations at a place called the No. 7 Teahouse. It was the only tea plantation still open on their trip south to Yunning and even brand new. Like other tea plantations, there were mountains for the tea plants, buildings for manufacturing tea, and pavilions for enjoying the brew. Free-standing courtyards were provided for the guests to stay overnight. However, unlike other tea plantations, No. 7 Teahouse also combined tea with hot springs. Every single courtyard had a hot spring of its own where the waters were mixed with certain teas to produce a warm, fragrant scent.
To tea lovers, this was an irresistible temptation.
Tang Li had no interest in tea, much less knowledge of its particulars. He only chose this location because it was still open on New Year’s Eve. After all, this was the first time their family of three would be celebrating the New Year together, so he didn’t want Ning Jing or little Tang Tang to spend it in a carriage. For the sake of getting here on time, he’d traveled two nights without sleep to urge the carriage one. At last, they arrived around dusk.
Ning Jing had hardly lifted the curtains when Tang Li came over to carry down little Tang Tang and wrap her in his cloak, afraid that she’d catch cold from the wind and snow.
“No. 7 Teahouse? That’s an interesting name. Don’t tell me there’s a No. 8 and No. 9 too?” Ning Jing wondered.
“You really hit the nail on the head. There’s a whole set from one to ten. I heard the owner behind the scenes has considerable origins.”
“What kind of origins?”
“That, I’m not sure.”
“I’ve never heard of this place before. It should be newly opened?”
“It opened just seven to eight days ago. Late, you can go rest with our daughter. This clan head will personally cook you a New Year’s Eve meal. What do you want to eat?”
“I’ll think about that later, but cook your daughter some porridge first.”
Husband and wife shielded Tang Tang between them as they walked and headed for the teahouse. Soon enough, a female tea attendant came to receive them and led them to the covered walkway. Tang Li couldn’t help looking around and caught a glimpse of a tall horse carriage out of the corner of his eye. He only saw a corner of it, but felt it was somewhat familiar. Before he could take a closer look, little Tang Tang stuck out her hand from his cloak to pinch his chin.
Tang Li looked down and started playing with his daughter, forgetting all about the other carriage.
The tea attendant led them to a room to warm up, but they’d hardly entered the doors when someone who looked like a manager hurried over.
“This must be Sir Tang, right?” the manager asked politely.
“You’re the owner of this tea plantation? What’s your name?” Tang Li asked.
“This one’s surname is Wu. I am not the owner, simply someone in charge of looking after No. 7 Teahouse,” the man replied politely.
“Manager Wu, is the owner here?” Ning Jing asked. After doing business for so many years, she was quite interested in the workings of the plantation and its hot springs.
“The owner isn’t here. The two of you, something’s come up at the teahouse, so we won’t be able to serve you tonight or the next three days. I shall compensate you both for your losses. Could you help me out in exchange?” Manager Wu asked as he made a gesture of invitation.
Was he...asking them to leave?