Chapter 61: He Came
Sun Yan has come?
Overjoyed, Chen Rong couldn’t help herself from turning her vivid eyes to the doors.
“Why is he here?” asked a scowling Prince of Nan’yang.
One of his advisors leaned over and softly whispered something in his ear.
The prince nodded and waved his hand, ordering: “Tell General Sun I’m busy. Whatever it is, we’ll talk tomorrow.”
And then his voice increased in volume when he next bellowed: “I won’t meet anyone tonight.”
“Aye,” the guard replied him, his footsteps instantaneously distant the moment he finished speaking.
Chen Rong pressed her lips staring at the doors before she turned around to the prince.
Advisor Xu was watching her expression when he said jeeringly, “Pretty one, there’s really no need to look so unhappy. Time is golden; pleasure ought to be taken when you can!” His eyes then clung onto Chen Rong’s chest and legs.
She lowered her gaze and, not waiting for the prince to urge her, strode to the musicians.
“Pretty one, what are you doing?” the prince asked in surprise.
She did not answer him. As she was slowly walking to the group of musicians, a burst of clamor out of the blue gave sound from outside.
“Your Highness,” a voice cried in, “General Sun insists on entering and is forcing his way in!”
“What?” Furious, the prince’s face sank as he screamed: “How dare he?! What does he treat me as? And where does he think my residence is?”
“Could it be that General Sun has come here to assassinate you?” an advisor uneasily supposed.
What a stupid thing to say. Even Chen Rong knew the factor of surprise was key to an assassination. Where was there ever an assassin who insists his way in like this? Besides, the Prince of Nan’yang wasn’t worth assassinating!
Sadly, the prince did not understand such rationality. The color drained from his face as he hastily shouted: “Send him away. Send them all away.”
Together with these disciplined answers was a series of orderly footsteps leaving the courtyard.
Chen Rong’s face was completely ashen. She bit her lips as she hopelessly thought: It seems nothing can be done now.
After a few interruptions, the prince’s face had soured terribly. Huffing and puffing, he turned around to glare at Chen Rong, thundering as he did: “You woman there, I’ve told you to come over here, why did you go there? One more time and I won’t be playing nice!”
Guards armed with spears promptly encircled the hall amid his thundering. They coldly stared at Chen Rong, one of them lifting his spear, casting an icy beam at her.
Chen Rong’s pallor worsened.
The noisy laughter and music had also quieted.
Even the advisors behind the prince all lowered their heads and made not a sound.
The prince hardened his face. Heaving, he gave his seat a slap and furiously barked: “This world is getting worse by the day. Damnation, even this infantile Sun Yan dares to break into my home? Men!”
He stood up, pointed outside and screamed: “Throw Sun Yan and his…” His voice all of a sudden diminished.
With his finger shaking, the Nan’yang Prince wheezed and turned around inside. His murky, puffy eyes almost popped out of their sockets as they swept across the crowd.
Everybody lowered his head under his glare; some of the women even began to quake.
And then his eyes came upon Chen Rong.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
As he stared at her standing in front of the musicians, gradually, those muddy old eyes revealed a hint of indescribable violence. He gasped for air and hissed: “You’re but an insignificant concubine-born girl. It’s your good fortune that I’ve taken a fancy to you! How dare you disobey me time and time again? Bah! If that’s the case, what use is there to keep you around?”
He waved his hand to stop a panicking Advisor Xu from speaking. “Damnation, you shitheads, all day long telling me to exercise restraint. ‘One should bear in mind social consensus’? Bah, I can’t even have a good time playing with a woman.”
Here, he pointed at Chen Rong, who was herself shaking. “Men, drag this wench away and kill her…”
Another burst of rapid footsteps sounded and, at the same time, a resounding voice cried: “Your Royal Highness, Lang’ya Wang Qi requests an audience.”
“Lang’ya Wang Qi?” the Prince of Nan’yang slowly turned around to ask.
His hand was still outstretched in the air. He slowly retrieved it and frowningly asked, “What did he come here for?”
“I do not know, Your Highness.”
He slowly went back to his seat and reached for the wine cup, taking slow sips next.
His twisted face markedly eased after he completed these actions. He placed the cup down, his voice softening: “Wang Qi’s quite a fascinating character. If he has come, then let’s see him.”
At the time the man left with his order, the hall was filled with a burst of heaving.
While the crowd sighed in relief, Chen Rong’s feet went soft, and she almost dropped to the ground. Only now did she discover that the perspiration on her forehead had seeped into her eyes, stinging them immensely.
She looked down and slowly released her right hand from which a few drops of scarlet spilled onto the floor – the hairpin had jabbed her palm because she’d been too nervous.
Footsteps pattered outside.
Almost suddenly, Chen Rong discovered that everyone’s attention had turned to the entrance. The Prince of Nan’yang was repeatedly calling: “Quick, open the door, open the door.”
Seeing that nobody was giving her any notice, Chen Rong quietly retreated to the back where she inadvertently came to stand among the group of women. Unbeknownst to her, Advisor Xu had seen her movement and was nodding his head.
The gate squeaked open to a gleaming halo that filled their eyes.
At the end of the light was a fluttering white robe that was swiftly coming toward them.
Even at this distance, his figure conveyed to everyone a kind of tranquil ease, elegance, and latitude…
The Prince of Nan’yang got to his feet and rushed outside to welcome him. “Is Qilang here? Capital, Capital.” He laughed and then paused to study the snow-white figure awhile before remarking: “Oh? Why is it that you seem to me to be in a hurry, Qilang? Why have you come here so travel-worn?” He sounded both surprised and ironic.
Chapter 62: Getting Out
Outside, Wang Hong’s raspy chuckle answered him: “No sooner had I returned than I heard a hundred beauties are blossoming at Your Highness’s estate. In a moment of curiosity, I’ve brought a few friends over.” He had come to the door at this time. From the doorway, Wang Hong cast a glance at the women inside, causing them to flirtatiously smile in return when they felt his attention on them. Wang Hong smiled, his eyes crystal under the starlight.
Chen Rong raised her head looking at him helplessly.
She was conspicuously standing among the musicians at present, and it only took Wang Hong a single glance to detect her.
Her eyes got misty as they stood there face to face.
Wang Hong gave her a long gaze before turning around to face the Nan’yang Prince.
At this time, the prince also regarded him with a chill in his murky and puffy eyes. Involuntarily, the prince’s face sank. “I’m afraid you’ve come but for one among those hundred,” he said deliberately.
Wang Hong laughed. He did not answer him, merely waving to the back and ordering: “All of you may step down.”
As soon as he said this, everyone discovered that there were some carriages behind him. With his command, the curtains simultaneously lifted to a burst of fragrance. They promptly looked, all the men lighting up. Sitting in those five carriages were five splendidly dressed beauties.
The prince’s eyes twinkled. He laughed in surprise: “My, oh my, do you also have such interest, Qilang?”
Wang Hong merely said in reply, “Beautiful woman can be a feast for the heart and eyes, and can assuage worries. Being a man myself, how can I not have a fondness for them?” He gave a dazzling smile, flapped his sleeves, and leisurely said, “Come down and let His Highness have the pleasure of meeting the beauties of the Wang house of Lang’ya.”
“Aye,” replied the five women in unison who then proceeded to alight from the carriages.
The prince’s unblinking eyes were locked on the five of them. Seeing that the light in the room was not bright enough, he clapped his hands and anxiously called: “Quick, light the lanterns!”
“Aye.” Following the rush of running sound, illumination began to wash over the courtyard.
Five beautiful figures plainly appeared in front of the crowd.
Once the lights went on, the Nan’yang Prince narrowed his eyes, clucked his tongue and struggled to take in the beautiful scene as he exclaimed: “Superb, superb indeed! Alas, Nan’yang cannot compete with Jiankang after all.”
He wasn’t the only one affected by such sentiments. His subordinates, too, were staring at the five women fixedly, all beguiled and drunken by their allure.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
With Wang Hong’s wave of the hand, the five women gracefully shook their hips and sashayed into the hall.
Chen Rong shifted her gaze as she also watched them in stupefaction.
None of them was quite as beautiful as she, but for some reason when they stood together, they called to mind the orchid in springtime, the plum blossom in winter, the lotus in summer, and the chrysanthemum in autumn, dazzling people’s eyes with a feeling of surreality.
While the men gaped at them witlessly, Wang Hong in his fluttering white outfit had made straight for Chen Rong.
Looking at his smiling face, Chen Rong slightly bowed her head and curtsied to him, her voice sounding a little astringent as she said, “Good greetings, Qilang.”
Wang Hong smiled. He gently regarded Chen Rong and remarked, “I heard the Xianbei tribe is planning to attack the southern regions. You, miss, are intelligent with astute discernment. I was prepared to visit the Chen estate upon my return to ask for your opinion. I hadn’t expected His Highness to beat me to it.”
He did not speak quietly. Furthermore, someone like him was always the center of attention no matter where he went. Thus, when he made these remarks, everyone including the Nan’yang Prince and Advisor Xu heard him loud and clear.
Slowly, the prince’s attention moved away from the five beauties and turned to Chen Rong, which was also to Wang Hong.
Wang Hong turned around. He faced the prince’s darkened eyes, smiled, flapped his long sleeves and nonchalantly headed to the center of the hall to take the seat to left of the prince. Once seated, he poured his own wine and, after throwing his head back for a swig, he waved the wine cup toward Chen Rong and smiled to her: “Ah Rong, why are you standing there? Come and have a seat.” That was all he needed to say to make her a proper guest.
Whirl. The people in the hall, whether consciously or not, turned to the Nan’yang Prince.
The prince’s plump face had darkened by this time. One could not see whether he was angry or joyous. With the support of his guard, he sat back down on his seat.
Chen Rong broke from her static state, her long sleeves fluttering as she walked around Wang Hong and sat down. As she touched her chair, her legs gave out and almost dropped to the seat. Luckily, she was able to swiftly reach her hand out to support herself.
The hall was very quiet. Everyone’s eyes were quietly glancing sideway at the Prince of Nan’yang, Wang Hong, and Chen Rong.
After Wang Hong had emptied the wine in his cup, he placed it down and said, “Bring me the zither!”
Wang Qilang’s zither playing was world famous. His announcement caused quite a stir.
A musician quickly picked a zither up and pattered to Wang Hong. After she curtsied to him, she respectfully presented the instrument.
Wang Hong received it from her. His slender fingers gave a pluck and a strum. After creating a series of melodious notes, he smiled and glanced at the prince. “Your Highness, have you heard of a popular dance these days in Jiankang called “Whirling Steps of the Jadeite Beauty’? Though it is composed of five distinct styles, each beauty alike would be dressed in gossamer silk and dance barefoot to the music. What do you say to a performance today?”
Ever since he entered the hall, the prince’s eyes had been carrying unspoken undercurrent whenever he looked at him. At the moment, he stroked his short beard, nodded and said, “Your zither playing alone is unrivaled in the world, not to mention beauties will be dancing along. Very well, let’s see it, let’s see it!”
Wang Hong slightly lifted his hands, his fingers sweeping across the strings. Instantaneously, a melodious and vivid string of music floated in the air.
The moment his music wafted, the five beauties stepped out and pointed their toes, all rotating outward.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
Out of the blue, the zither pulsated like drums, colliding rapidly and passionately.
To this sound, the five women together writhed their waists and lightly kicked their feet into the air. In ten rhythmic beats, their shoes simultaneously flung at the Nan’yang Prince. Just as the guard behind him swiftly got up, ten slippers had neatly landed at the prince’s feet, lining into a pair of five-petal plums.
The prince was greatly delighted; he clapped and laughed aloud.
Chen Rong closed her eyes and slowly pushed the golden hairpin away under her sleeve, taking a deep breath of fresh air all the while.
In the hall, the briskly changing zither notes continued to flow. Accompanying the sound of the zither were five beauties writhing their waists, their jade legs kicking beautifully, vaguely seen from time to time, in an exceedingly bewitching dance.
The music slowly reached its conclusion. The dancers spun their way to the Prince of Nan’yang and waved their sleeves while throwing flirtatious gazes his way – their smiles sweet, their feet milky and slender.
As he watched them, the prince sighingly acquiesced: “Never mind, never mind. Do as you wish.” He reached out to catch one of the women and gave a resounding smack on her cheek. Then he turned toward Wang Hong, unexpectedly saying: “It appears you also harbor affection for this insignificant concubine-born daughter of the Chen house.”
Wang Hong smiled. He placed the cup down and rose to his feet. After bidding goodbye to the prince, he said to Chen Rong: “Let’s go.” Then he turned around and left. Not another word was said.
Chen Rong hung her head and quickly followed him out.
Soon, their figures disappeared at the doors of the large hall.
An advisor sitting behind the Nan’yang Prince stroked his long beard and exclaimed as he watched their backs: “He is indeed Lang’ya Wang Qi; that is truly the poise of a savant!”
At this time, Advisor Xu took the lead and said to the Nan’yang Prince: “Congratulations, Your Highness, on attaining five beautiful women.” He leered at the five girls dripping in fragrant perspiration and said, “They must have been specially trained by the Wang house of Lang’ya, for such style and charm aren’t qualities the dancers in Nan’yang can possess.”
The Nan’yang Prince nodded. He reached his right hand into the breasts of the woman in his arms and, after kneading them a couple of times, said with satisfaction: “Whether they look pure and proper, supple and graceful, or haughty and indifferent, they are all luscious inside. The training skill of the Wang house of Lang’ya is indeed amazing.”
Advisor Xu stared after Chen Rong’s departing figure, sighing: “This Ah Rong of the Chen house is a sought-after woman, it seems.”
The Nan’yang Prince lowered his head to kiss the beauty in his arms, vaguely replying: “We’ll talk of tomorrow tomorrow. Wang Qilang won’t stay in Nan’yang for long.”
Chen Rong hastily chased after Wang Hong. Under the light, she quietly peered at him for a long time but did not speak.
At the same time, Wang Hong paused. He slightly tilted his head looking at Chen Rong.
Facing his gaze, Chen Rong pressed her lips and said despite herself: “I-I haven’t been sullied!”
Wang Hong was taken aback by her remark.
Chen Rong herself was astounded. Her mouth gaped speechlessly, seemingly in disbelief that she spoke such words. She blushed all the way to her neck, hung her head for a long while before stammering: “I-I-I…” She “I” for a length only to find the elegant white figure had already walked away. Looking at his tall figure under the starlight, Chen Rong dazed for a time before hurrying after him.
Wang Hong had come to his carriage. He momentarily leaned on the carriage shaft and then suddenly said, “If others ask, say you were with me in the prince’s estate during your stay.” Then he lifted the curtain and went inside.
Chen Rong bowed her head and at length softly answered, “Aye,” also climbing onto a carriage.
The horse-drawn carriages began to move. Their wheels’ rolling rhythm steadily sounded, and soon, Chen Rong heard the iron gates open.
She had left the Nan’yang Prince’s estate. She had finally escaped! Chen Rong’s left hand gripped her right one tightly, her lips upturning into a smile. Unconsciously, tears brimmed her eyes, which dilated to allow the drops to freely roll down her cheeks. She quietly lifted a corner of the curtain and let the biting cold wind dry her face. Her tears ran steady like a stream, however. No matter how the wind blew, it would not dry. Quietly, Chen Rong sniffed and wiped her tears in the dark.
Unexpectedly, Wang Hong’s gentle and pleasing voice whispered to her: “Are you crying?”
Surprised, Chen Rong quickly dabbed with her sleeve and replied, “Nay.”
Wang Hong softly laughed.
Chen Rong was vexed by his laughter. “What are you laughing at?” she fiercely demanded.
Wang Hong gave a low chuckle: “I used to think the mind of Ah Rong of the Chen house is as unfathomable as a lake.”
Taken aback, it took Chen Rong a good long while before she finally said, “Fortunately you were there this time… I’ll certainly repay your life-saving grace!”
Wang Hong blanked. At length, his surprised voice came to her: “Life-saving grace? Were you prepared to kill yourself?”
Chen Rong did not provide an answer.
Amid the moving clops of the carriages and at a rustle, her curtain lifted. Under the starlight, Wang Hong’s handsome, lofty, and enigmatic face appeared to her.
He was watching her fixedly and Chen Rong had to tilt her head away to avoid his scorching gaze.
“Is the Nan’yang Prince so insufferable?” he asked.
In the dark, Chen Rong faintly nodded. “Such a man is naturally insufferable.”
“You aren’t afraid of dying?”
Chen Rong lowered her eyes. “I am, but there are things that are worse than death.”
Wang Hong studied her. At long last, he softened his voice to say: “It’s fortunate that I’ve come in time,” and drew the curtain down.
With the dropped curtain, Chen Rong turned her head to look at the tall shadow under the faint starlight.
All of a sudden, the atmosphere settled into silence.
“Ah Rong of the Chen house,” whispered Wang Hong at length.
“Do you really like me?” he asked after a short pause.
Flustered, Chen Rong slowly moved her lips to reply: “How many girls can resist admiring you?”
Wang Hong spoke no more.
Against the sound of spinning wheels, the driver’s voice was heard: “We’ve arrived at the Chen estate.”
Was it so fast? Chen Rong awoke from her spell and quickly lifted the curtain.
At this moment, Wang Hong’s soft voice sounded from the carriage opposite hers: “Go home. Remember to consider your answers first if anyone asks.”
Chen Rong hummed a reply and hopped down from the carriage, then turned and walked to the Chen estate’s entrance. While in the middle of walking, she stopped and then slowly turned around. Her eyes were steady and bright in the darkness as she stared at the carriage and the vague silhouette inside it. Suddenly, she took a big stride toward the vehicle, lifted the curtain, and thereupon encountered Wang Hong’s quiet gaze.
Chen Rong looked at him with her quivering lips pressed together. At length, she suddenly stepped back and bowed deeply to him, saying tremulously: “I’ll forever remember your grace today.” Pausing, she looked up to the handsome face looming in the swaying lantern light as she blinked her tears away and softly smiled. Her smile was exceedingly radiant. At Wang Hong’s surprised look, Chen Rong added: “Wang Qilang, if you weren’t from the Wang house of Lang’ya, I would hang onto you so untiringly that you’d have no other way but to marry me.” She next giggled, tossed her sleeves, and turned to go.
After five steps, Wang Hong’s gentle and pleasing voice called out to her: “Ah Rong of the Chen house.”
Chen Rong paused to turn around, whirling her head to look at him. In her eyes was a hopefulness even she wasn’t aware of.
Wang Hong regarded her as he grinned a toothy grin. “Remember, you owe me five first-class courtesans.” Forthwith, he lowered the shade and ordered: “Let’s go.”
The carriage drove away.
This is the last chapter update for 2015. I’m spending the rest of the month finishing up typing Prissana Volume 2 and making an e-book for it.
If anyone knows how to make a PRC file, please volunteer yourself. As it stands, I can only make PDF and Epub, but I know Kindle readers would love to have the PRC option.
Everyone stay safe and warm, and I’ll see you in 2016!
p.s. the comments got me interested in knowing the shipping percentage, so here’s a poll for you shippers: