Chapter 94: Abducted by Ran Min
The announcement card was soon ready. Chen Rong headed out of the estate in her carriage.
Once they left the gate, she lifted the curtain to survey Chen Wei’s courtyard. Its gate was wide open, but its perimeter was very quiet. At a glance, she saw the busy servants scurrying around with their heads down, daring not to breathe even a puff too loud.
Looking at this scene, a sneer hovered over Chen Rong’s mouth. But just as quickly, her eyes blurred to see that such a scene had also happened in the past. At the time, Chen Wei had also suffered the same lost and she had also smirked the same sneer.
In the end, however, she wasn’t the one to have the last laugh.
At this thought, Chen Rong immediately snapped awake.
It was snowy white no matter where one looked. It had not stopped snowing in the last few days, continuously floating down to dye the earth a silvery white.
The muddy and messy path was covered in wheel traces. On the roadside, trees were coated with snow. From time to time, traveling vehicles would make a thump that caused a thick layer of snow to fall and hit their rooftops.
Chen Rong drew her curtain down and then rubbed her hands together. She quickly shifted toward the furnace to warm her hands. Remembering that Old shang was driving outside, she picked one of the two small charcoal heaters and handed it out, calling: “Old Shang, keep your hands warm.”
Old Shang’s laughter rang in. “No need, no need, miss. I have to drive so I can’t free my hands.” His wrinkles were highlighted by his merry laughter. Like Nurse Ping, he felt that Chen Rong had become so much more mature ever since they moved south. She was indeed making him feel more reassured.
Inside, Chen Rong hummed a reply and retracted the heater.
At this time, the carriage had left the Chen estate and begun heading into town.
The streets were buzzing, surprisingly enough. In addition to raggedy commoners who made up most of the crowd, the nobles’ carriages were also shuttling back and forth.
Old Shang watched the scene and smilingly said, “Miss, everyone is enjoying the peace.”
Chen Rong hummed her reply.
The carriage had a tough time moving on the muddy street that was covered in uneven snow. It slid to the side several times and almost hit the carriage beside it.
Chen Rong poked her head out calling: “Slow down, Old Shang.”
As Old Shang cheerfully answered her, a man’s voice made its way to Chen Rong’s ears: “Did they say General Ran Min is back in Nan’yang?”
“Aye, since last night,” another man answered him. “Haha, I felt assured once the snow fell. And now with General Ran’s return, I can finally relax.”
Listening to their easy conversation, Chen Rong smiled and withdrew inside.
Her carriage continued along.
Soon, it arrived at South Street.
After she had bought some stores here, Chen Rong would come to see them each time she went out. She felt rich just by looking at the closed shops.
She lifted her curtain, staring from shop to shop. After a while, she briskly called, “Old Shang, hold on.”
Old Shang complied and slowed the vehicle down.
Chen Rong lowered her head and was preparing to hop down when suddenly a familiar, deep voice called out to her. “Ah Rong of the Chen House?”
Chen Rong tensed almost as soon as she heard him.
She very slowly looked up.
At the moment she saw the man, a distant and polite smile displayed on her face.
Looking at the approaching man, Chen Rong gave a slight bow and dutifully said, “Good greetings, General Ran.” Speaking of the devil, she got to see him quite soon.
It was indeed Ran Min who had appeared in front of her. Unlike last time, he was now sitting in a carriage.
He first stared at Chen Rong before turning his eyes to his driver.
The driver was large and tall, his eyes as big as copper bells. One could tell he was a man of the military. At Ran Min’s cue, he chuckled in understanding and steered the carriage toward Chen Rong’s.
Chen Rong’s carriage had stoped on the side of the road by a store. The other carriage swiftly drew near and tightly trapped it.
Ran Min again looked at Chen Rong.
Appraising her from head to toe, he watched her unconsciously pursed lips as well as that flushing face full of wariness.
As he watched her, he softly laughed. “Little miss, we’ve even shared skinship before. Now that we finally meet again, why are you acting so distant toward me?”
Chen Rong’s flush deepened. She looked up and sent him a glare.
Facing his handsome face, authoritative though it was not angry, her eyes wavered. Chen Rong bit her lips and quietly said, “Please watch your words, General!”
Her voice was unyielding. Read at h@mster 428.
Ran Min continued to stare at her.
He unblinkingly regarded her and, after quite a while, he sighed and asked, “Tell me, little miss, how have I offended you?”
At this point, he wryly smiled and amusedly said with his magnetic voice: “You’re always furious like this whenever you see me. You keep looking at me with so much animosity. I would ask you every time, but you never give me an answer.”
He was apparently in a good mood. There was a rare gentleness and clarity in his dark, bottomless eyes. On his chiseled face was also a faint smile.
This was a Ran Min not often seen. Read at h@mster 428.
Chen Rong gave a brief glance at him before quickly looking away.
Ran Min was still looking at her. Read at h@mster 428.
She tried her best to appear milder. With a dutiful look, she softly replied, “You haven’t offended me.”
Ran Min slapped the carriage shaft in laughter. Almost suddenly, he outstretched his right hand towards her and smilingly said, “In that case, would you like to go for a drive with me?”
His large hand was placed out in front of Chen Rong, its slender and caloused fingers that carried his body warmth, too, were in front of her.
He looked at her with a focus she had never seen before… Faintly, might there even be persistence?
Seeing Chen Rong hesitate, Ran Min’s deep and powerful voice came to her: “Little lady, aren’t you angry with me? Why don’t you come here and give me a beating?” His eyes flickered over to the whip hanging in her carriage. “Or give me a few whips, if that would make you feel better,” he continued to tempt her.
And indeed, his were tempting words. They were precisely speaking to Chen Rong’s heart.
She whipped her head up, glaring at him. If only she could kill this man with her eyes. “Do you mean it?” Chen Rong asked. “Can I hit you and give you a few whips?”
She had barely spoken when two riotous laughters simultaneously sounded. Aside from Ran Min, his driver was also laughing.
The driver laughed in utter hilarity; he slapped the carriage shaft and cried to Ran Min: “General, it seems this young lady really hates you.”
Ran Min was also laughing in delight. He narrowed his eyes in amusement and regarded Chen Rong with interest, saying: “You’ve just said I have never offended you. How soon you forget.”
Chen Rong didn’t think her blurting words would cause two grown men to laugh without a care for propriety. The startled passers-by kept looking their way. She bit her lip, then turned around to tell Old Shang to drive away.
At this point, Ran Min’s right hand reached out like a flash and accurately grabbed her arm, easily picking her up.
Finding that her body was suddenly in the air, Chen Rong cried out in fright.
Ran Min was still laughing at this time. He carried her as he laughed, gently pulling her out of the carriage. It was a very difficult maneuver, but he did it ever so effortlessly.
Instantly, the tall and lithe Chen Rong was placed like a child into his carriage.
Glancing at a paling Chen Rong who was staring at him speechlessly, his intensely fiery eyes squinted in great relish.
He turned to Old Shang with a hardened face and ordered, “Go back on your own!”
To have a battle-hardened and lethal general speaking to him with such a glower, even a learned Confucian would be terrified, much less Old Shang who was a mere servant.
Color instantly drained from his face. He involuntarily repeated, “Aye, aye,” while steering the carriage away in hasty departure.
A dozen paces later, Old Shang recovered from his fright and quickly looked back in concern for Ah Rong.
But their carriage was already driving away. From time to time, a man’s laughter and a woman’s hissing could be heard. Old Shang was still completely flummoxed.
Ran Min placed Chen Rong inside next to him. After he had scared Old Shang away, he shouted at his cackling driver: “Let’s go.”
The carriage advanced forward.
Ran Min turned to look at Chen Rong.
She dazedly blinked back at him.
He smiled at her.
Chen Rong suppressed her fury and shouted, “Look here you Ran fellow, I’m an unwed lady, how can you take me into your carriage with absolutely no regard like this? Y-you, this is despicable!”
The driver howled with laughter: “Aye aye, well admonished. General Ran is indeed despicable!” As if he had become addicted, he roared with laughter again. “Shucks, the general has carried out many an abduction, but this is the first time he abducts a young lady. How despicable! How very despicable!” He slapped the shaft and laughed.
Because of the driver’s interjection, Chen Rong’s righteous accusations had all of a sudden turned into flirtation. She was furious. She shot daggers at the driver before turning to see that Ran Min was still looking at her with interest. She glared back and gave him a low bark: “Let me down!”
Chapter 95: Drinking His Blood
Ran Min grinned at Chen Rong and, ignoring her avoidance, stretched his large hand to stroke her face.
His rough fingers moved in a deliberate ease that when they brushed across her face, she felt a softness in the roughness, like a winter breeze that was gently prickling her heart.
“No,” he answered her.
It was quite final.
Chen Rong choked with anger. She stared at him, growling: “Ran Min, stay away from me!” Though she was growling at him, she still sounded as though she was pleading.
She didn’t want to, but for some reason, once those words left her mouth, her voice was choked.
Ran Min ignored her. Seeing her head tilting away to avoid him, he closed his fingers around her chin and smilingly repeated, “No!”
This man was actually playing with her so roguishly.
Chen Rong was beyond livid.
Her face flamed red as she glared at him. If looks could kill, Ran Min would’ve been stabbed by ten thousand arrows.
Unfortunately, looks cannot kill. Inherently, Chen Rong’s beguiling eyes still cast an implicit seduction even when she was angry.
By the time Chen Rong was gasping from anger, Ran Min knitted his brow and muttered, “You must really be angry with me.”
After talking to himself, he pulled her forward.
The sudden force caused Chen Rong to fall into his arms.
Despite the pain on her chin, Chen Rong threw her hands against his chest when she sensed his body heat and strong male breath.
She pushed hard, her face reddening from the effort. One could even see the artery popping on her neck as she tried to avoid falling into his arms.
Normally, others might have let go and stopped forcing the matter. Unfortunately, Ran Min wasn’t a normal person.
He raised an eyebrow. A flicker flashed in his eyes as his right hand let go of her chin.
Finding herself freed, Chen Rong was about to jump off when Ran Min swiftly held her waist and locked her in his embrace.
What kind of strength did Ran Min use? It was the invincible force of a thousand pounds! All he did was give a slight pull, and Chen Rong had fallen into his arms, her nose colliding against his chest.
Instantaneously, the surge of warmth she had dreamed and longed for after so many years made its way into her nose.
Chen Rong froze. Read at h@mster 428.
She widened her eyes but did not move.
Sensing that she had tensed up, Ran Min’s muffled chuckle faintly rang.
Gently, his powerful palms came to rest on her wasp waist.
While her virgin self couldn’t help trembling at his touch, Ran Min bowed his head and whispered into her ear, “You long for me so, how can there be no animosity? Ah Rong, you always make a gaffe every time you see me. Do you know why?”
Chen Rong dazedly shook her head. Her eyes were still widened – damp with a resistance from the depth of her soul.
Ran Min’s right hand moved from her waist to her back, its fingers combing through her thick, dark hair and unknowingly causing her bead hairpin to come free. “Because you love me,” he murmured when her hair spilled down.
While Chen Rong stiffened, he softly laughed. “Ah Rong of the Chen House, you’ve loved me for a very long time.”
Chen Rong became unhinged as soon as these words were said.
She suddenly leapt forward, clutched his neck, and crouched down to bite his neck.
It was a vital spot that could kill him.
The battle-scarred Ran Min laughed and swiftly dodged her attack. He then offered his shoulder to her with a husky chuckle. “Bite here instead.”
He had not finished by the time Chen Rong already chomped down.
She was actually biting him. Read at h@mster 428.
Instantly, blood oozed out and dripped from her mouth.
Chen Rong savagely swallowed a mouthful of that blood. Ran Min was stunned at first when he heard the gulping sound, but he soon broke out laughing.
While he was laughing, Chen Rong shoved him away with a sudden and maddening strength.
Ran Min certainly didn’t think the girl would suddenly gain that much strength. He gave a grunt, his large body crashing backward and hitting the carriage wall with a loud thud.
Just as his grip loosened, Chen Rong swiftly fled like an agile rabbit. She flung the curtain and jumped off the moving vehicle.
The driver cried out in shock. Quickly enough, he exclaimed with great admiration: “Impressive!”
Chen Rong, who had jumped off the carriage, steadily landed on the snow with a graceful somersault.
As soon as the driver spoke, as if she was spooked, Chen Rong lifted her skirt and ran toward the city center – unknowingly, Ran Min’s carriage had taken her to the suburb near the city gate.
Watching Chen Rong’s figure dashing away, the driver again applauded her before turning around.
He widened his oxen eyes, shouting: “Golly, this young lady is quite something if she can draw blood from our valiant General Ran!”
Ran Min shot him a glare. Caring little about his bleeding left shoulder, he looked in the direction Chen Rong had gone and muttered, “I don’t know what I’ve done to her to deserve this spite.”
The driver laughed in hilarity. “Isn’t this just capital?! It’s not every day I get to see a girl being so harsh to you.”
Listening to his gloating laughter, Ran Min gave him another glare and then also laughed out loud. He reached for a cloth and carelessly wrapped his bitten shoulder. “Aren’t you going to help me?” he snapped at his driver.
The driver unhappily took his time to get off his seat and go over to his boss, muttering as he tied the bandage: “But it’s such a pity to bandage it. You should leave it so the guys can know you’ve mistreated someone else’s daughter.”
Ran Min ignored his rambling driver. Still looking in the direction Chen Rong had gone, he murmured, “You really hate me that much, huh?” There was a laughing note in his voice.
Chen Rong maddeningly ran forward.
Before she knew it, her hair had become disheveled and rendered her appearance a sorry state.
She didn’t know how long she had run when she heard someone say: “Hey, this crazy looking girl seems a little familiar.”
Along with the cold wind, this voice startlingly doused her burning anger.
Chen Rong stopped.
At this moment, she had run to North Street, past which would be Nanyang’s bustling Main Street.
Chen Rong gazed at the increasingly crowded throng ahead and saw that many people were curiously staring at her. “Eep, she’s bleeding. She looks scary,” a child cried.
Facing those people’s eyes and hearing the child’s voice, Chen Rong’s dizzying brain gained more awareness. With the fastest speed she could muster, she looked down at the ground and quietly wiped her mouth before undoing her hair to comb her fingers through it. Then, she followed the curbside and walked on.
After hurrying away for a few dozen steps, Chen Rong saw no more strangers paying attention to her.
Quickly recalling the scene just now, she vigorously scrubbed her mouth and scathingly said, “I’ll bite you dead!”
She was surprised at her own words.
Slowly, she blinked back her tears and sped up.
Chen Rong walked for nearly an hour in the snow to go from North Street to the Chen estate.
Listening to the monotonous sloshing of snow and feeling the rush of biting wind, Chen Rong slowly recovered.
By the time she got to the Chen estate, she saw Old Shang’s carriage still parked in an alley. He was standing beside it looking out to the larger road.
He was overjoyed to see her.
Chen Rong also hastened to him. After she had lifted the curtain and climbed onto the carriage, she sat motionlessly on her seat.
At this time, Old Shang’s worried voice sounded outside. “Are you crying, miss?”
She did not answer.
The vehicle was put into motion.
A moment later, Old Shang again asked, “Do you still want to go to the Wang estate, miss?”
“What for? Let’s go home,” Chen Rong wearily replied.
Amid the clopping wheels, Old Shang’s cautious voice again spoke to her. “Did General Ran do anything untoward to you?”
Chen Rong again did not answer him.
After Old Shang had hollered twice to command the horses, he continued to mumble to her: “I heard that General Ran had asked from Chen Gongrang, not for Ah Wei’s hand in marriage, but for yours. Miss, is it because of Wang Qilang that you are turning General Ran down?”
At this juncture, he sighed and dolefully said, “Miss, I don’t understand why you won’t agree to it. Whether becoming Wang Qilang’s concubine or marrying General Ran, you should make a decision and extend your acceptance soon, no? If this drags on, I’m really worried…” What he was worried about was naturally Chen Rong’s reputation.
Inside, Chen Rong remained unspoken.
Her limbs were lifeless, and she could only lie still on her seat, staring absently at the ceiling.
The carriage slowly approached the side entrance.
A gateman shouted to Old Shang: “Where did Ah Rong go in this freezing snow?”
He eyed Chen Rong’s carriage with a flicker of curiosity.
Old Shang laughed. “Nowhere, really. My mistress felt stuffy so we went out for a drive. Yah – Yah –”
At his holler, the carriage passed and drove through the green path.
It eventually entered Chen Rong’s courtyard.
At the squeak of the opening gate, Old Shang’s voice was suddenly heard: “Miss, Ah Wei is here.”
There was still no sound from the carriage.
At length, Chen Rong repeated: “Ah Wei?”
Old Shang brought the carriage to a stop. He walked to the side and, with a smile displayed on his face, whispered to her, “She brought a lot of people with her. They’re sitting on the steps looking at us.”
Chen Rong at once sat up. She lifted a corner of the curtain, turning her head to take a peer.