Chapter 178: Disheveled
The captains left in short order, turning to cast Chen Rong a glance as they passed her.
“Come in,” she heard Murong Ke call from the tent.
Chen Rong bowed her head to walk in.
Murong Ke looked at her and proceeded to say: “We’re leaving. Get ready.”
She didn’t think she had anything to get ready for, but she hummed an agreement regardless.
As she turned away, he added, “Put on the red outfit, and stop wearing a man’s topknot.”
His order was for the benefit of the two servant girls standing next to her. They fretfully gave him a reply before helping Chen Rong back to her tent.
Two clever pairs of hands wove through her hair as she sat, from time to time grazing her face. Soon, a beautiful woman appeared in the bronze mirror.
She was, however, biting her lips; her mien somber.
Chen Rong stared at her reflection and intuitively knew Murong Ke had begun his plans — dressing her up like this so that anyone who laid eyes on her would take notice. Things seemed to bode more ill than good.
Chen Rong was dressed by the time she ended her thoughts. She took a deep breath to compose herself as she quietly awaited Murong Ke’s order.
Time felt stagnant.
When nothing happened after half an hour, she asked for her zither and played a piece as she habitually did.
Zither playing in this era was a privilege belonging to the scholars. Men who faced hardship would play as she did to while time away. It was so normal that Murong Ke and his soldiers were already used to hearing her play.
The notes trickled down like a winding creek and gradually brought Chen Rong’s restless heart to a calm.
Unknowingly, the music halted when she was lulled to sleep.
“Wake her up, we have to leave,” someone barked.
The maidservants quickly roused Chen Rong and whispered to her, “Miss, we need to leave.”
Chen Rong sat up, which gave the maids the chance to fix her hair.
Neighs and shouts continuously filled the air. “What’s keeping you dawdling?” she heard another bark.
“Aye, aye, we’ll be right there.”
They pushed her out of the tent.
Once outside, Chen Rong raised her face to the sky. There was a streak of light from the east, and a cool wind on her face. She breathed in the coldness of the morning air and saw beads of dew on the swaying grass.
It was dawn.
Chen Rong pulled from the servant girls’ hold and slowly made her way to Murong Ke’s tent.
Several horses were waiting outside his tent, mounted by his bodyguards. Wolf-like eyes immediately fixed on her, their owners’ swallows clearly heard.
Those terrifying eyes seemed to be burning through her layers of clothes. She quickly turned her head and stepped inside.
Murong Ke was already armored with sword in hand. The flaming torches outside made the cold blade look as if blood was flowing from it.
He was very focused on wiping, slender fingers slowly stroking the sword. The cold sheen it gave off along with the frostiness of his bronze mask struck fear in her.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Noises were growing more and more intense outside.
Murong Ke did not move, so neither did Chen Rong. She lowered her head and waited for time to pass.
At length, Murong Ke let go of his sword and looked up to cast her a glance.
“Lift your head.”
She looked up.
His eyes were wolf-like in the torch light as he watched her. “Come here.”
Chen Rong obediently went to him.
When she was an arm’s length away, he reached out and pulled her into his arms.
“Plop – ” Chen Rong’s nose hit his armor, but neither she nor Murong Ke paid attention to it.
A hand lifted her chin, forcing her to look up.
They held each other’s gaze.
In the blazing lights, their eyes were bright: one penetrating while the other bottomless.
They wordlessly stared at each other.
Almost suddenly, Murong Ke crudely shoved his right hand into her dress.
Her lapels were tightly fastened and prevented him from reaching her skin. He impatiently used both of his hands to tear apart the fabrics.
“Rip – ”
The lapels were torn and cold air swept into her bare chest. Chen Rong’s face blanched as she glared at Murong Ke in disbelief before looking down at her disheveled state.
There was clearly no lust on his face. What exactly did he want to do by tearing her clothes while his army was about to march?
While Chen Rong was racking her brains, Murong Ke roughy pulled on her topknot, sending a sharp pain to her scalp and tears to her eyes.
He lowered his head to examine her.
After some moments, he again reached out and yanked Chen Rong’s lapels apart.
“Rip – ”
By the time Murong Ke was satisfied enough to stop, half of her body had been exposed. Her chest was bared, her outer red robe hung below her bust, her white inner layer was completely torn, and her pink undergarment was also pulled down, baring half of her bosom.
Murong Ke stepped back and appraised Chen Rong again. “Not bad,” he remarked with a nod.
After uttering these two words, he ordered, “Get your horses ready to go.”
He stopped within two strides and looked back at Chen Rong to say: “Follow closely.”
Of course she would follow closely behind him. She didn’t need a mirror to know she looked as if she had been assaulted and ravished by a man. If she didn’t stay close to him, those Hu men may very well carry her off.
She pressed her lips together and clutched her clothes in vain as she hurried after Murong Ke. She very much wanted to condemn Murong Ke for not keeping his words, she wanted to say something so that he would let her put on another layer. But there was no time, and he clearly had an objective.
Dealing with the devil was a dangerous matter. She could only find opportunities for herself.
As soon as they walked out, the dozens of eyes turned even more scorching. Murong Ke mounted his ride while Chen Rong was also brought a horse.
She had to let go of her clothes to mount the animal. The moment her hands fell from her dress, gulps and rapid breathing pulsated through the air.
Chen Rong unblinkingly held the reins in one hand and gathered her outfit with the other.
At this time, Murong Ke had already rode away, leaving her to chase after him.
She had thought to fall behind and find an opportunity to escape while Murong Ke wasn’t paying attention. Now she didn’t dare to entertain the same thought. How could she escape when she was being watched by these fiery eyes?
She couldn’t help wondering if Murong Ke had made this move because he didn’t want to assign men to watch her.
Wherever Murong Ke went, his two thousand soldiers followed. Amidst the thuds of horseshoes and clanking of armor was the sound of breathing.
In the twinkling of an eye, they had reached the main road.
At this time, the morning star had risen in the eastern sky.
Chen Rong got closer and closer to Murong Ke… Right now she was a beacon in the night. To see her, the soldiers in the front would turn around from time to time, and one could hear people being thrown from their horses or slamming into each other.
“My lord,” one of the advisers ventured, “this woman will damage morale like this.”
Another adviser proffered, “Aye, my lord, let her put on another layer.”
Murong Ke apparently didn’t think that the impact of Chen Rong’s disheveled state could be so great. He scowled, saying at length: “That’s not necessary.”
“By my order, anyone who spares a look at that woman shall be beheaded.”
As soon as his order was delivered, a guard rode off to announce: “By the prince’s order, anyone who spares a look at that woman shall be beheaded.” He rode along, his voice ringing far.
Murong Ke’s military order was notoriously strict. Sure enough, all eyes withdrew. Except for a few captains, the soldiers did not dare to take another look back.
Keenly feeling their gazes had reduced, Chen Rong sighed in relief and wiped away the perspiration on her forehead.
At this moment, Murong Ke’s low-pitched voice sounded: “Ah Rong of the Chen House, will your man be waiting for you ahead?”
His voice was mild and flat, as if he was casually making conversation.
Chen Rong’s heart constricted.
She looked down at her tattered clothes and wryly smiled, “How would I know?”
Murong Ke flung his whip at the distance and said with a half smile, “Maybe he’s looking down from that hill.”
Chen Rong looked to the hill and furrowed her brow. “He won’t be there,” she quietly said.
“Then where is he?”
“What can be worse to a woman than a disheveled outfit? Heaven won’t be so cruel to me, so Qilang won’t appear this time to witness it.”
She actually gave him such an answer.
Murong Ke wanted to laugh. Looking at her sad and powerless face, he thought of his promise to her and felt his heart soften. But he promptly turned away and stopped talking to her.
More than two thousand people continued to hurry along.
At this time, those in the front came to a halt. A rider turned back to report: “Sire, there’s a bending valley in front of us.”
Murong Ke nodded and rode forth.
Behind the guards, Chen Rong also ran along.
A winding mountain road came into their sight. Bamboos and shrubs, as tall as two men, deep and dark, lined its two sides.
“Scout the way,” Murong Ke ordered.
Soon, the scout came back to report: “There is nothing unusual.”
Murong Ke stared at the soldier behind his mask. “Nothing unusual?”
The soldier’s forehead was perspiring cold sweat. “Nay, my lord,” he replied after a long pause.
Murong Ke frowned at the distance in contemplation. He suddenly reached forth to pull Chen Rong’s arm. Before she could react, he had placed her onto his horse.
He handled his weapon in his right hand while his left hand rested on Chen Rong’s breasts where her lapel had been torn. When his hand came into contact with her supple skin, he grew noticeably rigid. But almost immediately, Murong Ke commanded: “Let’s go.”
Sorry that October came and went! I’ll be traveling for much of November and the next chapter is also *twice* the length of a typical chapter so I’m guessing I won’t see you guys again until December. Stay warm~