In the intervening chapters Wang Hong got disinherited, both the Xie family’s daughter and the 9th Princess who had been in contention for becoming his wife are now marrying his cousins, and now he’s just an ordinary member of the Wang House rather than the favored heir.
Chapter 188: A Single Remark
Chen Rong hesitated as Wang Hong turned away. “I-I’d never want to burden you,” she whispered at length.
When she looked at Wang Hong, she was gentle and frank. “I’m only an ordinary woman. You shouldn’t have to do so much for me.”
She was telling him her thoughts, or rather, her decision.
Wang Hong looked back at her.
Slowly, he moved his lips to say: “You don’t want to burden me?”
“Aye, I do not.”
“You think I shouldn’t have to do so much for you?” he asked with another smile.
Chen Rong nodded. She extended her hand to caress his eyebrows. “Human hearts are the most changeable thing in this world. The love that thinks itself everlasting, the love that thinks it would never change even if it turns into ashes will eventually fade over time. Qilang, I truly don’t want you to have any regrets.”
Her eyes burned as she talked, filled with the agony of having to let go.
Wang Hong laughed.
“You worry unnecessarily,” he said.
Withdrawing his gaze, he lazily leaned back and closed his eyes. “I, Wang Hong, make my own judgment in everything I do. I don’t perform for the sake of other people. Ah Rong of the Chen House, you’re overthinking things.”
How cold his voice was.
Chen Rong numbly stared at him. At length, she lowered her head and replied, “I… I see.”
A day swiftly came and went.
By noontide, a troop of a few hundred men appeared at the end of the road. Wang Hong smiled at the sight of a flying banner with the word Wang on it. “They’re here.”
Several guards and advisers moved towards Wang Hong. They glanced at the troop and then at their master, their expressions tensing.
These men had followed Wang Hong throughout the years. They knew that although their young master was not yet of age, he had demonstrated extraordinary intelligence since he was a boy, and was beloved by the elders of the clan. He had practically been the family heir ever since he developed rudimentary cognizance.
In the blink of an eye, his honor and status as well as power and wealth had all been stripped away. There were few in the world who could bear this overnight fall from grace.
Yet from what they could see, Wang Hong was still indifferently at his leisure.
Yellow dust was rolling closer and closer to them.
Someone among the carriages in the forefront made a shout, at which the troop stopped and a carriage drove out to approach Wang Hong.
When its curtain lifted, a handsome young man poked his head out. He was fair and elegant, and resembled other men from the Wang House of Lang’ya. Compared to Wang Hong, however, his face did not glow and his eyes weren’t as lofty.
Those who look similar in this world can still feel very different. That was the case for the young man before their eyes. He was undoubtedly just as fair and refined, and almost as handsome. Nevertheless, he was like a firefly to Wang Hong’s full moon. The difference between their brilliance was simply too great to quantify.
The young man looked at Wang Hong’s carriage, raised his clasped hands and laughed. “Qilang, I hope you are well. I’m here by order of my cousin, Wang Gu, to welcome you.”
His smile was friendly and his voice was resonant, but Wang Hong’s curtain didn’t make one flutter.
The young man’s expression slightly altered. He put on another smile, his tone higher and clearer: “Are you disappointed, Qilang? I guess that’s to be expected. Just moments ago you were as precious as the land’s ruler. Then in the blink of an eye you’re no better than an ordinary member in our clan.”
When he said this, his smile was especially sweet and bright.
Wang Hong’s carriage offered no response, still.
The young man frowned at the carriage. “Why aren’t you answering, Qilang?”
A long time passed and still there was no answer.
The young man’s brows furrowed deeper. He turned to a guard and asked, “Is Qilang here?” His voice was growing impatient.
“His lordship is here,” the guard replied.
“He is?” the young man laughed. “What big air he makes then.”
The guard raised his clasped hands towards him and replied, “My master says I can answer young master Yun’s questions; there is no need for him to make an appearance.”
They were equating him with a guard.
The young man flushed in anger. He gritted his teeth and pointed at the guard, but he could only heave for breath.
“It is sweltering these days,” the same guard said to him. “Young master Yun should take care.”
The young man made two choking grunts. He turned his head to glare in Wang Hong’s direction. “Wang Hong, Wang Qilang, do you think you’re still a big shot? Phooey,” he shouted, with his finger pointing at Wang Hong. He spat on the ground, disregarding decorum and popping a vein to say: “Do you think that the clan chief likes you? Bullshit, if it wasn’t for the old fogy, he would’ve offed you a long time ago. Your life of glory had all been a part of his plan to get rid of you.”
He threw his head back with a mirthful laugh. “Wang Hong oh Wang Hong, you finally get to have a taste of falling from grace, going from everyone’s darling to an outcast. Now that the old fogy is gone, do you think you’re still a brilliant and gifted Wang Qilang? Give me a break.”
Wang Hong lifted the curtain amidst his joyous laughter.
Looking at the laughing man, he nodded and gracefully replied, “Does the clan chief not like me? I wouldn’t have known had you not told me.”
His voice was light and supple as before, like a spring breeze passing by. But his words caused the young man’s laughter to cease and the smile on his face to stiffen.
He was suddenly overcome with regret as he stared at Wang Hong. When he left, both his father, the clan chief, and his cousin, Wang Gu, had warned him repeatedly that Wang Hong was not a simple man, and asked him to be cautious in his speech and conduct. He, however, didn’t heed their words the moment Wang Hong got a rise out of him.
As young Yun’s face turned blue then white, Wang Hong curved his lips and said in contempt, “The chief position of the Wang House is nothing but a scrap of rotten meat. I see that the likes of you are rodents after all.”
Young Yun’s face altered almost immediately.
Meanwhile, Wang Hong had already raised his voice to command his men: “Let’s go.”
The guards escorted his carriage onward.
Very soon, the vehicle produced a fume of dust over young master Yun and the hundreds of knights he led.
In the blink of an eye, Wang Hong’s carriage had gone far away while young master Yun was only beginning to come to his senses. He turned his head and anxiously shouted at his driver: “Follow them, follow them.” The driver followed his order and hurriedly took chase. While they sped along, he screamed in the midst of smoky dust: “Wang Hong, don’t celebrate just yet! You have nothing now.”
After screaming for some time, Wang Yun ordered his carriage to stop.
When he turned around, he was faced with pairs and pairs of scornful eyes. By the time he took a closer look, however, all the guards had already bowed their heads.
Even so, young Yun was extremely angered. He clenched his jaws and heaved: “So what if you’re a renowned Jiankang scholar?!”
His chest felt tight, his face was even more unsightly… He knew Wang Hong was a famous scholar – admired by everyone in Jiankang and also among these guards. These people memorized every word and deed of his, then spread them everywhere. His remark: “The chief position of the Wang House is nothing but a scrap of rotten meat. I see the likes of you are rodents after all,” was exactly to the intellectuals’ taste.
With very minimal reflection, he knew that these words would be on everyone’s lips before he even made it back to Jiankang.
And then it occurred to him that even though Wang Hong had withdrawn from the heir position, he was not without everything, he still, in fact, had a very large sphere of influence.
Sitting in the carriage, Wang Yun’s face altered between blue and white, and his eyes were at a loss.
He finally calmed himself down after a while. He raised his head and stared at his guards. “Did any of you hear what was said just now?”
Woosh, all the guards lowered their heads.
“Take care of your mouths,” Wang Yun warned. “Remember that the clan chief is not alone. He has the entire Wang Clan behind him. He is the chief of the most powerful clan in the world, and your glory is bestowed by him. Think twice before you dare to slight him, for the sake and safety of your family.”
He was afterall a member of the most powerful clan, and could assess that Wang Hong’s “rodent” comment couldn’t be contained. But what he himself had revealed about his father’s deliberate attempt at killing Wang Hong must be silenced.
At his shout, the guards cowered and bowed their heads. “We would not dare.” Even the ones who were most disdainful of Wang Yun still gave an emphatic and orderly answer.
“Don’t worry, my lord,” an adviser reassured Wang Yun. “Since it affects our clan’s reputation, no one will dare to speak nonsense.”
After a pause, he added with some concern: “But I don’t think we can hide this from the clan chief.”
Wang Yun gritted his teeth. “If worse comes to worst I will take responsibility for what I’ve said.” At this juncture, his face was ashen as he stared after Wang Hong’s departing carriage. “I hate accepting this defeat, but that smiling bastard made me forget myself.” A clan chief who wanted to kill his young relative. A man so uncompassionate, one who was only pretending to obey his elder’s orders. In an era that placed the utmost importance on virtue and reputation, such knowledge was far from trivial once people got a hold of it.
The adviser was also looking in Wang Hong’s direction and said with a composed expression, “You’re not the only one. The clan chief and others also did not know about Wang Qilang’s military prowess. Even Murong Ke isn’t his match.” After a pause, he softly explained to Wang Yun: “Wang Hong has hidden well for a long time. If it weren’t for that woman, I’m afraid the entire world would still be in the dark. My lord, he has been in control of the clan for so many years, both directly and indirectly. I wonder if he will have traps waiting for us? Wang Hong’s reputation and talents are such that he will undoubtedly make a comeback. When you see him in the future, do be polite.”
Wang Yun’s face twitched to hear this, but he clenched his teeth and at last nodded.
Under Wang Hong’s order, the return to Jiankang this time was very slow. Because cities such as Nan’yang, Qi’yang, and Mo’yang had become the first line of Hu resistance, bandits on the road had been dealt with by the Jin army. For this reason, the journey had been without any surprise or danger despite Wang Hong taking only fifty guards with him.
The journey took nearly two and a half months before they arrived just outside Jiankang.
Chen Rong sat in the carriage and looked up at the tall city walls, touching her stomach when no one paid attention.
Wang Hong was also looking at Jiankang’s city wall.
A staff member approached him and quietly reported, “My lord, no one came to meet us.”
He smiled and added, “Your words have spread in the city… Everyone says that you are indeed a member of the literati for regarding the clan chief position as a foul piece of meat. They also say that by leading troops to contend with Murong Ke over a woman and defeating him head-on, you have proven that you are not only an earnest romantic but also an outstanding talent.”
Wang Hong’s mouth upturned to hear this. “Is that to say my reputation has risen?” he chuckled.
“It’s soaring,” the adviser laughed. “Everyone is talking about you. No one thinks to slight you anymore. Even the zealous patriots who disapproved of your sending troops for a woman and sacrificing the common goal are admiring your talent. They say you are capable of handling a crisis if ever our people are in danger.”
The adviser smiled with pride: “Your matter had generated numerous rumors in Jiankang, but those who criticized you don’t dare to open their mouths now. My lord, our plan has worked. No matter how scheming the clan chief is, he will not endeavor to treat you as a discarded piece of chess.”
Seeing Wang Hong nodding his head, the other guard interjected with a smile: “As soon as Wang Bo and Wang Wenyun came, I knew that His Lordship’s arrangement had gone as planned.”
“Aye, just so.”
Wang Hong looked up at the towering city walls, his eyes squinting. “It is I who determine the pace of the game,” he murmured.
“Let’s enter the city.”
The carriage picked up speed.
As soon as they entered Jiankang, they smelled a strong fragrance that came with the wind and heard the soft Wu dialect (1). Looking at the untroubled faces on the streets, Chen Rong let out a sigh of relief.
- 吴侬软语 refers to the Wu dialects such as Suzhou and Shanghai, which are relatively soft and melodious, so they are called the soft dialects of the Wu people.
She peeked out from the opening of the curtain. After a while she suddenly asked, “Where are we going?”
“My house,” replied Wang Hong. He glanced at her and lazily continued, “Don’t worry, there are no other women there.”
Chen Rong grinned and asked, “Then would your maidservants call me madam of the house?”
She was frivolous and joking.
Wang Hong looked at her.
Obviously it was just a joke but his eyes were quiet and serious. Chen Rong’s heart thudded a few times, and she stammered, “It was only a joke. I dare not ask for such a beautiful thing in my life.”
“Dare not ask? Then what does Ah Rong want to ask from me?”
Chen Rong never thought he would ask such a question.
She widened her eyes, glanced at Wang Hong, then dropped her gaze.
She pressed her lips together and couldn’t provide an answer for a long time. Just when she thought the matter had passed, Wang Hong’s gentle and quiet voice sounded, “Ah Rong, what would you like to ask from me?”
What would she like to ask from him?
Chen Rong blinked her long lashes as she gathered up the courage to raise her head. At the moment she met his handsome face, she developed a frivolous smile in reflex and said, “Me? I just want to be with you. No other women, just the two of us. I want my child to have a happy childhood. He won’t have brothers who are superior to him, no one to defer to. He won’t have brothers who are inferior to him, ones who are eager to trample on him. And then, just like this, day after day, year after year, the both of us will have grown old before either of us have noticed it.”
“Is that all?”
Chen Rong raised her brows and laughed: “Aye that is all! I’ve already wished for so much, wouldn’t I be greedy to ask for more?”
She was smiling happily, but for some reason her eyes were stinging a little.
Chen Rong tilted her head, the corners of her mouth upturning. As she charmingly looked at Wang Hong, the burn in her eyes gradually disappeared.
She looked into the bronze mirror hung on the carriage wall and combed a lock of hair while she whispered, “To be honest, I’m quite satisfied already…” Her voice was barely audible as she stroked her stomach while Wang Hong was not paying attention.
Chen Rong did not hear Wang Hong answer her.
It was within her expectation, so she didn’t mind. In silence, she looked outside again.
At this moment, a commotion emerged ahead.
Hundreds of people were surrounding a carriage. Seeing the exquisite vehicle, Chen Rong couldn’t help herself from leaning forward to take a better look.
As Wang Hong’s carriage approached, the noise grew louder and louder.
“Ah Bi of the Xie House, who is the man next to you?”
“Ah Bi of the Xie House, how can you treat my Qilang this way?”
“Hehe calm down, everyone. Qilang said they’re nothing but rats.”
Chen Rong’s heart thudded amidst the commotion: This Ah Bi of the Xie House must be Wang Hong’s betrothed whom his family had chosen for him. Goodness, it was only ever spoken in private, why does everyone know about it now?
She worriedly turned around.
Watching Wang Hong, Chen Rong asked in surprise, “Aren’t you furious?”
Wang Hong opened his eyes and asked her with a veiled smile, “Do you want me to be?”
Certainly not, Chen Rong replied in her mind. She gave him the side-eye and turned her head to continue looking outside.
The noise was growing louder and louder. Meanwhile, more than a dozen people took the bamboo baskets in their hands, stones on the ground, and shoes on their feet to hurl at the carriage.
At this moment, the curtain lifted to reveal a beautiful couple, the man somewhat resembling Wang Hong.
The young girl raised her chin and addressed the crowd: “Qilang may be good, but the man by my side is the finest of all (2).” Having said this, she continued disdainfully: “Everyone admires Wang Qilang. But to me, Ah Bi of the Xie House, it is a crying shame that Wang Qilang is infatuated with someone as shameless and promiscuous as the nun, Hong Yunzi.”
- She uses the phrase 人中龙凤 – lit. dragon and phoenix among ordinary humans, or crème de la crème so to speak.
No matter the era, no matter how outstanding the man, he would face censure if he was too obsessed with an acclaimed beauty. This was true for Daji in ancient times, and Yin Lihua in more recent times.
Thus, as soon as she said this, even Wang Hong’s most staunch admirers had nothing to say in refute.
The girl’s voice was clear and confident, and was very penetrating. Once she spoke, all around fell silent. Then, accusations against Chen Rong quietly started.
Wang Hong scowled.
He withdrew his nonchalant expression, waved his hand at a guard, and whispered his order.
The guard got off his horse and into the crowd.
The crowd was still buzzing at this time. Seeing that her own words had succeeded in holding everyone’s attention, Ah Bi of the Xie House and the man next to her both smiled triumphantly.
At this moment, a chuckle sounded among the crowd. “Shameless and promiscuous? Ah Rong of the Chen House in a blood-stained dress had faced tens of thousands of barbarians as if they were thin air. I would agree that her spirit is free from restraint (3). Is a greedy woman like you who vie after fame and fortune worthy to be compared to her?” He was being unfair, of course. In terms of status, Chen Rong was the one who couldn’t be compared to Xie Bi, yet this man was voicing the contrary. His tone was also incredibly contemptuous. For the moment being, Xie Bi was so angry that she could cry.
- 风流 lit. to flow with the wind. It can mean anything from free-spirited, to amorous and promiscuous depending on the context. Xie Bi uses it to mean promiscuous but this man uses it to mean free-spirited.
Another sharp laughter sounded. “In my opinion the likes of you are really like rodents. Wang Qilang thinks you’re unsightly and would rather choose the promiscuous nun than you.”
The crowd broke out in laughter as soon as they heard this remark. Wang Hong had many admirers. They had been powerless in defending him, so they did not waste his cue. Momentarily, dozens of voices were yelling out:
“You’re the one who can’t be compared to her.”
“Qilang would rather the Daoist nun than you.”
Amid the laughter, several shouts rang from behind the carriage:
“Who are you that you’re so rude?”
“Come out, stop trying to hide your exposed tail.”
Laughter quickly drowned out these shouts.
Loud ruckus and amusement swelled from the crowd of onlookers. All of them watched Ah Bi of the Xie House and the young man next to her with scorn and derision.
Ah Bi of the Xie House, as a first-class aristocrat, was possibly more distinguished than a number of princesses. She couldn’t remember a time when she had suffered more humiliation. Her face burned crimson as tears welled in her eyes. Her lips moved with the intention to speak, but she was drowned out by the commotion.
When she was finally so angry that she was in tears, the young man next to her helped pull down the curtain to block everyone’s sight.
“Clear out, clear out,” yelled the guards surrounding the carriage, as they departed in a hurry.
Chapter 189: The Tale of Two Lifetimes
As he watched the carriage rush off, one of the staff members leaned towards a nearby guard and whispered to him: “His lordship shows no tolerance for a mere slight against this nun.”
The guard spared him a glance and whispered back, “Go see the world, then everything won’t seem so shocking anymore.”
His reply drew a sheepish smile from the staff member. Yet after some time, he still couldn’t help from muttering: “His lordship has shown ill restraint when it comes to women. No wonder his clan is angry.”
His words were lost in the wind, receiving no other reply.
The carriage slowly drove through the busy streets of Jiankang, making its way to Wang Hong’s home.
Before long, a lush courtyard appeared before Chen Rong’s eyes. Wang Hong dismounted as soon as the vehicle came to a stop, and then offered his hand to Chen Rong: “Come down.”
He stood with a smile, holding her hand as his white robe fluttered in the wind. The servants bowed and accorded them ceremony along the way, quietly lifting their heads from time to time, nevertheless, to steal a glance at Chen Rong.
Chen Rong was also glancing around the exquisite courtyard.
“Who will be my clan’s next chief?” Wang Hong suddenly asked.
“Sir Wang Yan.”
These words had no sooner left her lips than Chen Rong froze in place, cold sweat seeping from her waistcoat. Wang Hong stopped and slowly turned to look at her.
They stood on a shaded path, one bowing her head while the other beheld her. From the side, they had looked to be sharing an intimate moment. Upon this sight, the servants hurriedly retreated and left the two of them alone.
Wang Hong fixedly stared at her.
“Wang Yan?” his throat moved at length.
“Wang Yan?” He raised his head to look at the idle sky. With his hands clasped behind his back, he softly told her, “He’s five years older than me. An honest and prudent man. Not very talented, but I suppose he is kind and has sound judgment of character.”
He stood against the wind, his dark hair fluttering, looking rather lonely in his unearthly way.
He stood like this for a long time, making no movement other than a slight frown between his brows.
Catching sight of the setting sun, Chen Rong opened her mouth to speak.
At the same time, Wang Hong’s voice sounded: “And me? Where will I be?”
Chen Rong paused, then answered him, “You were lost to us when Murong Ke besieged Mo’yang.”
Wang Hong turned around to look at her.
“You don’t have to think twice about this answer?” his throat undulated in a croak. He knew how much she loved him. It was hard to believe that she would make up his early death just to win his trust.
Chen Rong pressed her lips together. Why should she have to think twice about something that had truly happened?
Looking at her, Wang Hong’s voice became even hoarser, and he chuckled: “Is everything really a butterfly dream?”
“And who did you marry?”
Startled by his question, Chen Rong shook her head and quietly replied, “I was a nun then, too.”
“Also a nun?” Wang Hong chuckled. “But why?”
“My clan wanted to send me to the Prince of Nan’yang. I refused and retreated to a monastery in the mountains.”
“Is that so?”
“Aye.” Chen Rong’s answer was brisk and light. She raised her head to look at Wang Hong as she spoke, her eyes completely candid.
She knew there were things that could be said, and things she must never say. Wang Hong was a proud man; he would not like to hear that there had been other men in her life… Even if it was in the past, even if it was in another lifetime, or even if it was a mere thought.
“How old were you when you passed away?”
Wang Hong lapsed into silence.
He tilted his head to look at the lake on his left, the wind blowing his hair in an endless entanglement.
At length, he quietly remarked, “Ah Rong, your words and actions are so incongruous that perhaps only Zhuangzi’s dream can explain them after all.”
He looked at her again after standing there for a long while. At this time, clarity and placidity had returned to his eyes.
A smile slowly formed on his lips. “Did you rush to Mo’yang that time because you knew the city would fall and you wanted to save me and Sun Yan?”
Chen Rong nodded.
He reached for her hands, smiling: “Then that’s to say, it was you who afforded me my life?”
Chen Rong did not give him an answer. His smile brightened. “Then that’s to say you know everything that’s happening in Jiankang and the world at large, which means I can also know them in advance?” He laughed. “This alone is enough to dominate the world and be Emperor Gaozu of Han.”
That was indeed true. Chen Rong’s ability could violate divinity during warring times as these. If it fell into the wrong hands, it could completely turn the world upside down. Take the most powerful shamans in history, for example. They had been placed on altars by ambitious rulers and honored for life just because they had accurately prophesied an event or two.
Chen Rong should have been alarmed to hear such dangerous remarks, but she only stood there quietly, at peace and with full trust in him.
Wang Hong lazily said to her, “It seems the old chief was right. Although I’m a man of great talents, I only have the ambition of the fairer sex. Unless I am forced to, or until I experience suffering, I would only be an idler my whole life.” He rubbed his chin and chuckled. “The old chief had liked me right away, the very first time we met. It would take ten or twenty years in other clans to confirm an heir; I was just ten when they put me on that pyre. Haha, if the chief knew what’s happening he would surely turn in his grave.”
He held Chen Rong’s hand and walked on.
“Do you believe me?” she asked as she followed him.
Her question was redundant, but she had to ask.
Wang Hong nodded. “I guess I do.”
You guess you do? What kind of an answer is this? Chen Rong didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
“I would’ve been a short-lived person after all, had I not met Ah Rong.” He tightened his hold on her hand.
Chen Rong tilted her head to look at him.
She may have been hallucinating it, but his entire body seemed to relax after she recounted her stories to him. His temperament had always been as airy as a celestial being. Now it was even more weightless, as if he wasn’t of this world.
At the steps, Wang Hong appointed two girls to serve Chen Rong. She took a good wash with their help, then fell asleep to the delicate incense.
At the time she awoke, light was still shining through the screened window, and there were voices in the wind — a peaceful and beautiful feeling.
Chen Rong lifted the quilt. Just as she was slipping on her wooden clogs, a maid called in from the door: “Your Excellency, there is someone waiting outside to see you. Will you receive him?”
“Was it your master who let them in?”
“Then of course I want to see them. Come in to help me get dressed.”
Chen Rong again wore her hair up like a married woman, then walked to the guest hall.
As soon as she arrived outside, she heard a young and familiar voice: “Why isn’t she here yet? Go and wake her up.”
“Sun Yan?” Chen Rong happily called upon hearing his voice.
The door opened with a squeak, and Sun Yan, who was still beautiful but had grown much taller, dashed out to meet her. As soon as he saw her, he gave her a good look until the smile on his face receded. “Why are you wearing your hair up like a married woman?” he said in dissatisfaction. “Has that brat Wang Hong snatched you for himself? Don’t tell me you’re dead set on being with him?”
He blurted his questions one after another without any pretense of politeness, but Chen Rong was happy to hear him speak.
As soon as he finished, she unceremoniously glared at him and replied, “It’s just a hairstyle, why do you care so much?”
“Just a hairstyle?”
Sun Yan let out a sigh and strode to Chen Rong.
Holding her shoulders, he looked at her from head to toe again, and hoarsely asked, “Are y-you well?” He continued with difficulty: “I heard you fell into the Hu’s hands, are you alright now?”
Chen Rong knew what he was worried about, so she rolled her eyes again and said to him, “Of course I’m alright.”
Sun Yan lit up at this, repeatedly saying: “That’s good, that’s good, I’m glad.”
While he was overcome with joy, he glanced at several figures who were looking at them from the distance. He seemingly thought of something, took a step forward, and pulled Chen Rong into a hug.
His embrace was so tight that Chen Rong struggled to free herself from the discomfort. Confused, she asked, “Why are you being so emotional?” She thought they had already gotten the sentimental part out of the way. Didn’t he already ask what he wanted to ask? Why was he hugging her now?
Sun Yan tightened his hug and trapped a struggling Chen Rong in his arms. He leaned into her ear and whispered, “Wang Hong’s servants were giving me a warning just now.”
Chen Rong calmed down and curiously listened at the mention of Wang Hong.
Sun Yan scoffed. “He said you’re his. That bastard, I’m smart enough to know he was reminding me to keep a certain distance from you. Screw him, as if I’m going to do what he wants.”
So this was the reason.
Chen Rong felt slightly exasperated.
Sun Yan shook his head, his voice still triumphant: “That arrogance of his is really annoying. Don’t let me near you? Fuck that, I’ll keep giving you hugs, great big ones!”
Chen Rong was worried upon hearing this for apparently no reason. “Qilang has a lot of tricks up his sleeves,” she whispered to him.
Sun Yan glared at her in reply. “Your grandpa Sun has more tricks up my sleeves.”
Chen Rong shot him a look. “I’m serious. He’s really not a gentleman.”
Sun Yan hesitantly considered her words. Slowly letting go of her, he whispered back, “How many tricks exactly?”
“You’ll be surprised.”
Sun Yan thoughtfully rubbed his chin, then all of a sudden slapped his thigh and cried out, “Fuck, why are we talking about these useless things? I haven’t said any of the things I need to tell you.”
“Ah Rong, your brother is with me,” he began solemnly. “His witless wife wanted to use their son to threaten him, but because the monastery is guarded so well, she colluded with thugs to commit kidnapping. Unexpectedly, the thug was instructed by someone else to kill your brother’s son. He is overcome with grief, you have to go comfort him. In addition, I’ve found the person who used Wang Qilang’s name in Nan’yang to invite you out and put you in danger.”
OMG I’m so sorry for the how late this update is *kowtows* TBH I’ve lost much of my motivation, and not just for translation but also in other aspects of my life. There’s just been a lot going on, and also the pandemic has kinda sucked ya know. Hopefully it’ll get better but I’m in such a funk that it’s hard to promise anything at the moment. With that said I feel horrible for leaving any of my readers (maybe just 1 left now?) who has followed this story for so long without some type of closure. So I’m going to try translating the last couple of chapters so that you’ll at least get an ending. Crossing my fingers that’s gonna happen by December or January. *so sorry, more kowtows*