Chapter 190: Jealousy
“Who was it?” Chen Rong asked, looking at Sun Yan. “Who invited me out?”
“Who else could it be if not your cousin Chen Wei?” He sneered. He leaned closer and added, “She’s in Jiankang now, and not in the best of situations. It would be easier to kill her than to squish an ant. Do you want me to do it?”
Chen Rong lowered her eyes. “Is she that cruel?” she murmured. Even after two lifetimes, even as she had watched Chen Wei attain glory while she herself was consumed by fire, and even if she had always been jealous of Chen Wei in the past, she hadn’t done anything this time around. Why did Chen Wei hate her so much that she would want to kill her?
Taking a breath, Chen Rong raised her head and answered, “No need.”
“That’s fine, she’s just an insignificant wench. Let me know if you ever want to deal with her.”
Chen Rong couldn’t help but smile widely at his words. “Aye, she’s just an insignificant wench.” She then asked, “Then who had colluded with those thugs?” (relating to her nephew’s death)
“The ninth princess.”
“So it was her,” said Chen Rong, nodding her head.
“By the way,” Sun Yan continued his rambling, “His Majesty has sent ten beautiful boys to your hamlet. Do you want to accept them?”
His words took Chen Rong by some distraction.
Sun Yan was happy to see her perplexion. He rubbed his chin and grinned. “At first, I had wanted to keep you as far from that hamlet as possible when I saw those boys. But now I’m feeling quite glad.”
He flashed a smile at her. “Bah! That fool Wang Hong is still so full of it even though he got into an embarrassing load of trouble. Ah Rong, you should throw him on a cart and drag him to your hamlet, so he can be your eleventh pretty boy.”
“What do you think? How’s that idea?”
Chen Rong’s eyes widened as she stared straight behind him, calling: “Qilang…”
As soon as she called out these syllables, Sun Yan waved his hand and resolutely interrupted her, squinting his eyes in a smile. “Ah Rong, you should let it go. Trust me, this is the only way we can make a dent in that rascal’s arrogance!” He threw his hand in the air with a booming laughter. “Or, we can make arrangements now and I will tell him on your behalf in two days.”
Without waiting for Chen Rong’s answer, a quiet and leisurely voice sounded behind them: “Why wait two days when you have the good will, young master Sun?”
A tall and handsome figure walked in. He went to Chen Rong’s side, hugged her waist, and graced a smile at Sun Yan. His eyes were clear and unclouded, expectant of an answer.
It was Wang Hong.
Sun Yan was not expecting his appearance, so he lapsed into silence, staring at Wang Hong stupidly. Almost reflexively, he lifted his feet, agilely turned his body, and jumped backward, landing on the ground three steps away.
Sun Yan’s martial arts were extraordinary, and his movements were beautiful to behold.
Wang Hong looked at him with a float of a smile, lifted his eyes, and asked in a very leisurely manner: “What have I done to deserve your fright, young master Sun?”
“Who’s afraid of you?” Sun Yan’s eyes widened, and there was a suspicious blush on his beautiful face. For shame, the rascal hadn’t done anything… Bah! Why does my agility have to be so good?!
He glared at Wang Hong and shouted: “Asshole, don’t be arrogant. I’m warning you, Ah Rong is my younger sister! Do you know what this means? It means I’m your brother-in-law!”
He was pleased with himself and laughed with his arms akimbo. While laughing, he triumphantly exclaimed, “Pay attention you brat, stop bluffing in front of your-brother-in-law!”
He laughed aloud, turned around and walked away.
Before long, he had walked out the door. Halfway out, Sun Yan slapped the back of his neck and groaned: “Ah crap! I haven’t told Ah Rong a bunch of things.”
He looked back at the courtyard and couldn’t help from scowling. He really didn’t want to go back inside. Never mind, they’ll talk about it later.
As soon as Sun Yan left, Wang Hong tightened his arms around Chen Rong’s waist. He softly chuckled and said in a gentle and nonchalant manner: “Ten beautiful boys? His Majesty is so generous!”
Feeling the tight grasp on her waist, Chen Rong quickly lowered her head, afraid to reply.
Wang Hong turned around to look at her. At length, he quietly called, “Men.”
One of his guards stepped forward. “At your service, m’lord.”
“Go to Ah Rong’s hamlet,” said Wang Hong, “and, erm, transport those pretty boys to the Ninth Princess’s bed.” As Chen Rong snapped her head up, eyes widening, Wang Hong’s smile was noble and innocent, his mien as ethereal as a god’s. “It would be best to let people know. Do it within three days.”
Hearing his words, the guard arched his hands and answered “Aye” with nary a blink. Then he turned and strode away.
Apparently the guard didn’t think he had taken on a strange order.
Wang Hong lowered his head. Seeing Chen Rong was still staring at him, he raised his brows and very gently asked, “Darling, are you looking at me like this because you’re reluctant to let them go?”
Chen Rong blinked and immediately reacted. She shook her head and decisively replied, “No.” After a pause she added, “I have no such thought.”
Wang Hong smiled to hear Chen Rong’s definite answer. He lowered his head and kissed her lashes, softly asking: “Darling, I took revenge on the ninth princess for you. Are you happy?”
Happy! Can she not be?! Chen Rong didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. He was obviously sending those boys to the ninth princess to vent his anger, how did it become a favor for her?
At the thought of the ninth princess, Chen Rong remembered her brother’s tragic situation. She quickly raised her head and looked at Wang Hong, anxiously saying: “Qilang, I have to go and see my brother.”
“You don’t have to leave. I’ll bring him here if you want to see him.”
Chen Rong frowned and said, “But I want to see Nurse Ping and the others too…”
“They’re all doing well,” Wang Hong interrupted her. He kissed her cheek and softly said, “Good girl, wait another three days.” After that, he gracefully made an exit.
Looking at Wang Hong’s departing back, Chen Rong wanted to laugh but also felt annoyed: They’re just some beautiful boys, are they worth paying so much attention to, that I have to wait for him to deal with those people before allowing me to go outside? This man, really.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
After Wang Hong left, Chen Rong summoned the maids and had them bring the divan to the courtyard, along with her zither.
She leaned against the divan and played two tunes. Looking sideways at the pretty and shy maid beside her, she asked, “What are people talking about today?”
At the unintelligible look in the maidservant’s eyes, Chen Rong smiled and added, “What I mean is, what are they saying about the young master?”
Having understood the question, the maid turned to accord her ceremony and softly said, “Don’t worry, Your Excellency. Everything is fine with His Lordship.”
“People are all reciting the ‘rodent’ words that he had said. The scholars who were dissatisfied with him now say that he regards fame and wealth as dung, for he described the chief position of the greatest clan as ‘rotten meat’, and felt that it was a restraint and insult to his person. Everyone says Wang Qilang is the true phoenix; if not the paulownia then he does not land; if not nectar then he does not drink. He comes and goes as easily as a celestial being.”
Chen Rong interrupted her: “I know this already. Tell me the unfavorable gossip.”
“Aye,” the maid quietly replied. “There are also some who say His Lordship has disregarded his noble standing and the lives of the clan’s elite warriors just for a woman. They say he was ungrateful for the cultivation given to him by the clan chief. He not only failed the expectations of his elders, but also insulted them, and he is thus a scoundrel. Some say that the assassination of the Prince of Jiankang was at the young master’s hand… For the sake of a filthy woman… he is committing all kinds of malfeasance.”
Chen Rong shuddered and asked, “The Prince of Jiankang was assassinated?”
“How is he doing?”
“It is said that it’s life threatening, I’m afraid he won’t make it.”
Chen Rong was stunned for a while. She thought about it, then hurriedly raised her head and asked, “Then does your young master have a counterattack?” As soon as the question left her lips, she smiled and said, “I asked the wrong person.”
At this moment, Chen Rong could not sit still. She pushed the zither away and circled the courtyard.
Turning around, she asked, “How about the rumors at His Majesty’s?” This girl may be a maid, but Chen Rong knew she was Lang’ya Wang Qi’s maid. She must have some ability separating her from ordinary people.
The servant girl lowered her head and softly answered, “I heard His Majesty once laughed and said, ‘That hypocritical Wang Qi was very annoying in the past, but now I know he’s a good kid, I quite like him.'” Rousing Chen Rong, the girl added, “His Majesty said those he likes are usually not liked by the literati.”
Chen Rong nodded. She turned around and returned to the divan.
Pulling the zither to her knees, she gave a strum, and slowly, the zither music changed from anxious to idle, becoming more and more stable, more and more pleasant.
The maid listened and wondered to herself: Why is she not panicking?
She didn’t know that in Chen Rong’s mind it was useless to be anxious. Besides, Wang Hong had excellent strategies, and so it was better to wait for the outcome.
A series of footsteps padded amidst the zither notes, and after the song ended, a clear voice called to her: “Your Excellency, your brother is here to see you.” After a pause, the same voice added, “Beside your brother, there are also your servants. Additionally, someone named Chen Wei came and said that you are her cousin and the two of you are well acquainted. Now that she knows you are back, she has come to visit.”
Chen Rong slowly pushed the zither away and raised her head.
Chapter 191: I Don’t Want Him Anymore
She stood up, gave some thought and said, “Take me there. They aren’t outsiders, so there’s no need to invite each of them one by one.” She wasn’t from the Wang House of Lang’ya, and hadn’t yet reached that level of importance. She must remember to keep her own duty and understand her position.
“Aye,” the maidservant replied, leading Chen Rong to the outer courtyard.
She heard a burst of voices as soon as she arrived. Chen Wei’s was soft and pleasant: “My cousin and I are on very good terms. Back then, on the way south that is, we were always in each other’s company and talked to each other about everything. Her courtyard was next to mine in Nan’yang. Us cousins often got together and made mischieves. Those were happy times.”
Her voice was happy and shy. She sounded like a sweet young girl recalling good memories from the past.
At this time, Chen Wei’s voice took on a note of surprise: “Young master Wang Hong’s residence is just as beautiful and noble as himself.” She raised her head to peer inside the courtyard. “Although Qilang is distinguished and exceptional, my cousin herself is a fine person. Hehe, her looks may be unconventional, but she has many advantages that the young master may not know of. Ah, no, I ought to call him my cousin-in-law. Hehe, no one must have called him this before. Later when we meet I will call him so.”
Upon hearing this, Chen Rong took a slight pause and inwardly sneered: Why would she assume she will be seeing Wang Hong? At this time, Chen Rong was a little distracted. She felt as though she had experienced this scene countless times before… In her previous life, after Chen Wei had become Ran Min’s concubine, her cousin was never without these amiable compliments for her. She was seemingly the only one among all of Ran Min’s women to willingly recognize Chen Rong as the lady of the house.
Chen Rong smiled at these memories. She quickened her pace.
At the gate, she turned her head and glanced at Chen Wei. Her cousin looked different from their previous meetings. She was plumper, with glowing skin and a finely powdered face, giving off a maiden’s bashful charm.
Lo, her hair style! It was combed like that of an unwed maiden.
Chen Wei was smiling sweetly even though she was only talking to a servant girl. With what she said about her own social standing, treating the help this way would have gained her their good impression. Unfortunately for her, she was talking to the maidservant of Lang’ya Wang Qi. No matter how she smiled, the other girl only stood there with a respectful demeanor, without arrogance of course, but offering no reply.
Chen Wei smiled softly, and looked around like a young guileless girl.
At this moment, she caught sight of Chen Rong.
Chen Wei froze, but managed a flattering smile as quickly as she could. She had just taken a step by the time Chen Rong retracted her gaze and walked away, leaving Chen Wei to stare after her proud back.
Chen Wei blankly stared at Chen Rong leaving. She opened her mouth and wanted to stop her cousin, but swallowed back her words at the sight of her unreachable back.
At this time, a maid came up to her from behind and smilingly said, “Please wait a moment, Her Excellency has another appointment.”
The maidservant’s polite voice was tinged with chilliness, and Chen Wei looked back in a daze. She saw a condescending kindness in the girl’s eyes, the same kindness she had seen too many times before, enough that she couldn’t count it. Rumors were undoubtedly spreading on the streets, but why was her lowly cousin still acting so high and mighty? Even her maid was behaving like a haughty princess.
Chen Rong was all alone by herself. Wang Qi may like her, but the most powerful clan in the empire and all of the Jiankang nobility did not. Shouldn’t she be very helpless? Shouldn’t she long for relatives and friends to keep her company?
This translation belongs to hamster428.
After walking tens of steps, Chen Rong saw a dozen familiar faces in the front hall.
Her brother sat on the left; Nurse Ping and the others stood behind him.
The first person to see Chen Rong was Old Shang. “Miss!” he called, then let out a sigh when he glanced at Chen Rong’s updo.
Old Shang’s voice prompted the others to turn to Chen Rong.
She strode forward. She came to her older brother and curtsied, then raised her head and said, “Brother.” Her eyes were teary and her voice was numb. “It was my fault, brother,” Chen Rong said to her haggard brother. “My men didn’t do a good job guarding, and have caused you this tragedy.”
Her voice was pained. Looking at her tired and gaunt brother, Chen Rong couldn’t help from feeling remorse: If I hadn’t pressured him, he wouldn’t have had to face the pain of losing his son. I… I wonder if he can make it to next month.
And yet, Chen Rong was not one to dwell in regrets. She immediately thought: No, you have to talk to Qilang and ask him for a famous doctor to treat him.
The eldest brother of the Chen family outstretched his hands. He held Chen Rong and softly said, “It has nothing to do with you, Ah Rong. It’s because I was blind that I didn’t know how malicious that shrew is.”
His voice was filled with pain and regret, as well as extreme disgust. Chen Rong pursed her lips and repeatedly nodded: “Brother, you must hang on.” After a pause, she carefully asked, “How is that woman doing?”
As soon as his ex-wife was mentioned, the muscles on his face twitched sharply. His impossibly thin face grew red, and words stuck at the base of his throat.
Startled, Chen Rong hurriedly shook his hand and called, “Brother, brother, brother.”
After her repeated calls, the eldest brother of the Chen family finally calmed down, and he muttered, “That shrew is under an aristocrat’s protection.” He said in hate, “I can’t do anything to her.”
“Don’t think about it anymore, I’ll take care of it,” Chen Rong soothed.
Her brother, the eldest Chen, nodded fiercely. “Ah Rong, this woman deserves to die.”
“Aye, I will definitely catch her and hand her over for your disposal.”
At this point, Chen Rong held his hand and quietly said, “Brother, you must get better and continue to live well… Even without your son, you still have a younger sister. I can only live well if you’re here.” She wasn’t lying just to comfort him. All women in this era depended on the glory of their fathers and brothers. Chen Rong had left her clan and couldn’t rely on her father and brother, and had surprised the world with where she stood today.
Her brother looked up in a daze.
He opened his eyes wide at Chen Rong, staring at her stupidly. After a long time, he said to himself, “Yes, I am Ah Rong’s brother. She is having a hard time. I need to help her.” At this point, he raised his hand and struck two slaps across his face.
In a blink of an eye, two palm prints emerged.
When he raised his head again, there was finally some light in his gloomy eyes.
As the servants behind him looked at each other, Chen Rong’s eyes turned red: He was her kin, even in his worst sorrow and desolation, as long as it was possible, he would always want to shelter her from the storm outside.
Her brother’s mood stabilized, and everyone felt relieved. After half an hour, Chen Rong looked at Nurse Ping and the others.
On that day, Chen Rong went too hurriedly, and before anyone could panic, Wang Hong had sent someone to explain the situation. However, just because they didn’t panic didn’t mean other people in Jiankang did not look for her. Even His Majesty had sent someone to enquire after her twice.
No one knew what His Majesty was thinking. After he sent someone for the second time and learned that it was Wang Hong who had taken Chen Rong away, the next day he sent ten beautiful young men to the hamlet he had given Chen Rong. Although these boys came from humble backgrounds, they were all elegant and handsome, with exceptional demeanor and talents. Ever since they moved into the hamlet, there had been countless young ladies lingering outside, intoxicated by the music from the manor.
One day, Xie Heting, who was as famous as Wang Hong, also drove to her hamlet and had a long conversation with one of the boys. Laughter was unceasing that day in the hamlet, and it was really lively.
At this point in her report, Nurse Ping looked at Chen Rong and said, “Miss, your hamlet has become a scene. Music inside, young ladies outside. Everyday people come in droves to watch.”
Seeing Chen Rong lost in thought, Nurse Ping couldn’t help herself from calling: “Miss, miss, say something.” She looked at Chen Rong’s updo and wanted to say something several times, but hesitated.
Chen Rong returned from her stupor. She smiled and thought: Is it such a grand affair? It seems that there are some extraordinary boys among those ten. It would be a waste to give them to the ninth princess. No, I have to discuss this with Qilang.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Amid Chen Rong’s random thoughts and after a long period of time, Nurse Ping finally asked what everyone most wanted to know: “Miss, are… are you and Qilang…?” She mustered up her courage, looked at her updo and asked, “Did Qilang give you a proper status?”
Whoosh, more than a dozen people were looking at Chen Rong. Her brother who had been bowing his head also looked up at her.
Chen Rong smiled, shook her head and said, “No, you don’t need to worry about this.” She removed her hairpin, uncoiled her bun and lightly smiled: “We’re in Jiankang. It’s inappropriate to wear my hair like this.”
She stored the hairpin in her sleeve, and wore her satiny hair down.
Standing up and turning around, Chen Rong smiled: “Brother, Nurse, let’s go.”
Her older brother was still in a trance, but Nurse Ping and others had responded in unison: “Aye.”
With her wide sleeves swaying, Chen Rong walked to where Chen Wei was waiting.
They walked behind and looked at her graceful figure. A maid remarked, “Our young lady has the beauty of a rose and the air of a lotus. She is really a noblewoman.”
She said what was on everyone’s mind. After a few months of not seeing her, they suddenly discovered that Chen Rong now had a comportment that only belonged to the aristocrats. His Majesty’s regard for her had apparently changed her.
They didn’t know that there’s a saying: those who stay near vermilion are stained red, and those who stay near ink are stained black. In staying near Wang Hong, Chen Rong had been influenced by his aristocratic demeanor. In the past, she humbly watched him from afar and his treatment towards her was slightly condescending in its kindness, so Chen Rong could not find her confidence. In the past few months, it was she who was favored by the emperor, and Wang Hong had to take her away in fear. While together, he regularly showed his jealousy and treated her as his equal. Gaining respect from the person who she most valued and loved turned out to be the best spiritual cure. Unknowingly, Chen Rong began to develop her self-confidence and express it in her conduct.
She led the group to the pond in the flower garden. She turned her head and said a few words with her brother, then ordered: “Go and bring that woman here.”
After the maid left, Chen Wei timidly and weakly appeared in Chen Rong’s sight.
Nurse Ping gasped in surprise upon seeing her. She was about to ask Chen Rong, but when she saw her figure standing in the wind, she swallowed the words she wanted to speak: Meeting the young lady again, for some reason, I’m afraid to be as casual and frivolous as before, I no longer dare to say whatever that comes to my mind.
Chen Wei saw Chen Rong from a distance, as well as the many familiar faces standing behind her.
After biting her lips, Chen Wei’s footsteps did not stop. She had thought about leaving just now, but she knew that she couldn’t leave. Chen Rong was not as she used to be, and she had no right to act as she pleased.
She came to Chen Rong while Chen Rong was quietly watching her. She wanted to say something intimate, but meeting Chen Rong’s eyes, she unconsciously curtsied with her head lowered, and called out: “Greetings, Your Excellency, the Grand Chamberlain.”
Chen Wei regretted her words in just one sentence: Haven’t you thought this through? Why do you make our relationship sound so strange?
Chen Rong nodded and lazily said, “Don’t stand on ceremony, Sit down.”
Her tone was one of superiority. Chen Wei was inwardly angry but reluctantly lost her momentum. She had no choice but to respond, stepped back and sat down.
Chen Rong didn’t sit down. She turned around and looked to the lake, asking quietly: “Did you come to see me?”
“Aye,” Chen Wei replied. After she said a few words to herself, she looked up at Chen Rong and called out with a smile: “Ah Rong…”
Chen Rong interrupted her: “Address me as the Grand Chamberlain.”
Chen Wei choked, her smile stiffened.
Chen Rong turned around.
She stared at Chen Wei, smiled, and lightly asked, “Are you here this time to ask me about Ran Min?”
Chen Wei quickly shook her head. “No, no,” she hastily said. “That brute has nothing to do with me. Didn’t you know Ah Rong? My father has agreed to absolve our ties.”
Chen Wei smiled as Chen Rong’s eyes widened. She pursed her lips and lightly said, “Ah Rong didn’t want him then, and I don’t want him now… Ah Rong, my whole person seems to come alive after I decided to cut ties with him. Goodness, why was I so stupid before?”
Chapter 192: Your Life and Death is Up to Me
Seeing Chen Rong’s eyes widening and looking at her as if she was confused, Chen Wei blinked and called out, “Ah Rong, Ah Rong?”
She called several times, but Chen Rong was still in a stupor.
Chen Rong didn’t expect Chen Wei to give Ran Min up this easily. Wasn’t her love for him very deep? She.. she had loved him so much. In both lifetimes, with Chen Yuan’s doting on her, she could marry any number of scholars even if she wasn’t able to marry Ran Min. Yet she always cast her reputation aside to be with Ran Min, even as a concubine.
Her previous life came rushing back to her. Whenever Chen Wei was with Ran Min, she was always full of affection and worship. She had obviously loved him so much.
She looked at Chen Wei whose skin was glowing with health and whose eyes were sparkling with life. She looked completely different from the last time they met. Chen Wei was speaking from her heart, it seemed.
But how could she just turn around and forget it all after desperately doing everything to have him?
… Had she lost to such a Chen Wei last time?
As she thought about it, Chen Rong’s lip was filled with a wry smile.
Chen Wei looked at Chen Rong in puzzlement. The cousin in front of her held a strange expression.
Pressing her lips together, Chen Wei again smiled and said, “Ah Rong, Ah Rong?”
This time, Chen Rong stirred. She looked at Chen Wei and asked in bewilderment, “Why don’t you want him anymore?”
“Because Ah Rong doesn’t want him anymore,” Chen Wei replied in a blithe manner. “He’s just an uncouth commoner. Though he is brave and handsome, the nobles who fill the streets of Jiankang are all more refined than him…”
Chen Rong interjected her, “General Ran is a man of honor. There are not many in this world who are more honorable than him.”
Chen Wei was in the middle of a merry speech. She didn’t expect Chen Rong to defend Ran Min this way. She couldn’t help but fall silent, and the rest of her words were lodged in her throat.
She stared back at Chen Rong, her expression was one of disbelief… I thought Ah Rong didn’t want Ran Min? Why is she praising him?
After some time, she glanced at a man from the corner of her eyes. Instantly, she raised her vice and shouted in a surprised and disbelieving tone: “Why are you praising Shi Min, Ah Rong? He’s nothing more than an uncouth commoner. Let’s not mention other noblemen in Jiankang, he isn’t even worthy to carry your Qilang’s shoes.”
“Shut up,” Chen Rong shouted upon hearing Chen Wei’s remarks.
She raised her head, stared at Chen Wei in disgust and coldly said, “Chen Wei, don’t forget that the man you call an uncouth commoner, Shi Min, was the husband you had sworn to follow.” Chen Wei’s face turned red. Chen Rong sighed and calmly said, “Qilang is a good man, but so is Ran Min. Both are of exemplary character, and it cannot be said that one isn’t worthy of carrying the other’s shoes.”
Chen Rong’s voice darkened and she was rather tired. “Ah Wei, you had loved and respected him so much. Even if you decide to leave him now, you shouldn’t malign him… You loved him.”
Chen Wei lowered her head while Chen Rong was staring straight at her, muttering: “I was not sensible then.”
Chen Wei suddenly raised her head to yell at Chen Rong: “Didn’t you also want to marry him? Then why don’t you want him anymore? Ah Rong, Shi Min is boorish and cold blooded. Why can’t I have had enough of him?”
At this juncture, her eyes were teary, her expression was bitter. She twisted the fabric of her clothes, bit her lips and said, “Ah Rong… my father and brother have lost their power, and those girls Ah Qi, Ah Qian do not welcome me. They berate and ridicule me every day. I have nowhere to go. Can, can you…?” In Chen Rong’s cold eyes, she dropped to her knees and kowtowed to Chen Rong. Like a pear blossom in the rain, she pitifully sobbed. “Ah Rong, please take me in… please,” she said as she knocked her head on the ground.
By the time she looked up, Chen Wei’s forehead was bruised, and her hair was scattered on her cheeks. Such an image coupled with her misty eyes and her pitiful appearance was really indescribable.
Chen Rong coldly looked at her. Before she had time to speak, Chen Wei had crawled forward on her knees. She crawled very quickly, and in a blink of an eye she had gotten past Chen Rong. As Chen Rong turned around in surprise, she saw Chen Wei holding onto a white robe, tears falling as she begged: “Qilang, please ask Ah Rong to take me in. I promise to be obedient, and I promise to stay out of everyone’s way. I’m willing to be Ah Rong’s maid, servant, and slave. I only ask her to give me a way to survive.” While she spoke, she lowered her head and again banged it on the ground.
The person she was tugging was Wang Hong.
He stood quietly, looking at her with a smile. At her nonstop kowtowing, he bent down slightly.
“Do you want to stay here?” he asked, reaching out and gently raising her tearful face.
Chen Wei’s cheeks were flushed, and her teary eyes looked at Wang Hong in a daze. She repeatedly nodded. Qilang deigned to bend down and stroke my face with his flawless hand. Does he like me, then? Her eyes unconsciously sparkled.
Chen Wei bit her lips, sniffled, and produced more mist in her eyes. “Aye,” she cried, “I have nowhere to go. Ah Rong and I were on good terms. We are the closest and best of sisters. If she doesn’t give me a way to live, what am I supposed to do?” Her tone was faintly aggrieved, and she looked like a delicate pear flower.
“Is that so?”
“Aye, aye that’s the case. I beg Qilang for pity. I beg for your permission.”
Wang Hong straightened up. He turned his head to look at Chen Rong, his eyes narrowing slightly. “So Ah Rong wanted to marry Ran Min?” His voice was soft and quiet, like a spring breeze.
Chen Rong didn’t know if she should laugh or cry to hear him bring this up. She glared at him and stepped to Chen Wei.
Walking to Wang Hong’s side, she suddenly lifted her foot and kicked her crying cousin.
Chen Rong knew martial arts, and her action was sudden. The kick aimed straight at Chen Wei’s chest, throwing her backwards like a piece of cotton tumbling in the wind. After three or four steps, she slammed against a big tree.
Chen Wei’s body vaulted forward after hitting the trunk of the tree. She rolled a few times before coming to a stop.
It was a very violent scene.
Suddenly, the courtyard went hushed. The maidservants in attendance had always lived within the nobility’s elegant circle. They had never met a woman like Chen Rong. All of a sudden, they were rendered speechless, unable to speak.
Chen Rong didn’t seem to realize what viciousness she had committed. She strode to Chen Wei. Seeing her walking towards Chen Wei again, Nurse Ping and the others opened their mouths to stop her. The Wang servants turned their heads to the side, looking as though they couldn’t bear to witness what was about to happen.
Among these people, only Wang Hong, with his hands behind his back, watched this scene with a smile.
Chen Rong walked to stand in front of Chen Wei. She lifted her foot and stepped on Chen Wei who was twisting and struggling to get up. Chen Rong stared at her and coldly uttered, “It’s unfortunate that General Ran Min accepted a woman like you to be his concubine.”
She lifted Chen Wei’s soiled face with the toe of her shoe and asked in disgust, “Chen Wei, did you used Qilang’s name in Nan’yang to ask me out and get me killed?”
Upon hearing these words, not only Chen Wei but also the displeased Nurse Ping and others widened their eyes and listened intently. As for Wang Hong, his smile had disappeared, his brows furrowing.
Chen Wei’s eyes widened, and her teary face was awash in horror. Paling, she looked at Chen Rong and screamed, “Those are lies!” Her eyes were already brimming with tears. She stared at Chen Rong and angrily demanded, “Ah Rong, I only came here to beg you to take me in. If you don’t want to, just say you don’t want to, why do you have to humiliate me like this?” At this juncture, she clutched her chest and produced a few weak coughs. Despite being covered in dirt, she maintained a look of frail beauty.
This translation belongs to h amster428.
After coughing twice, before Chen Rong could reply, Chen Wei raised her face as tears rolled down her cheeks. “Ah Rong, you must know how I treated you?! How can you be so cruel and heartless?” She was imploring Chen Rong with the sadness and powerlessness of one who was wronged. She then turned to Wang Hong and begged like a cuckoo crying blood (1): “Qilang, everyone says you are kind and tolerant. Please persuade Ah Rong, I beg you, please.”
- 杜鹃啼血 an idiom depicting a cuckoo bird that cries and cries until blood comes out; the image of extreme grief
The answer she received was Chen Rong’s sneer.
Chen Rong clapped her hands. “You can join a troupe with those talents, Ah Wei.”
She pressed her foot and forcefully stepped on Chen Wei’s chest. “You don’t have to ask Qilang.”
She stared at Chen Wei from above, indifferently and arrogantly saying: “There’s no use asking him. I, Chen Rong, am appointed Grand Chamberlain by His Majesty. In my capacity, no one would dare to gainsay my wish to kill you.”
Chen Wei seemed to be stunned.
She turned to look at Chen Rong with her mouth gaping, seemingly in disbelief.
She saw Chen Rong, who was indifferent and aloft; and Wang Hong, who was still smiling like a spring breeze, but who had been ignoring her; and the servants who waited quietly without blinking their eyes… Everyone looked so normal, as if what Chen Rong said was justified… Since when did Chen Wei become so humble? Since when did she become as insignificant as a speck of dust in front of Chen Rong?
This realization came too suddenly, too unbelievably, and too terrifyingly.
Slowly, her face was drained of color.
Chen Rong smiled coldly to see this. She pushed her foot. After making Chen Wei truly cough, Chen Rong stared at her and quietly asked, “We weren’t at odds in Nan’yang. What made you want to harm me like that?”
She looked at Chen Wei and waited for her answer.
However, Chen Wei only stared at Chen Rong, coughing unceasingly, unable to say a word.
Pulling back her foot, Chen Rong brushed her sleeves and ordered, “Carry her out and throw her on the street.”
“Aye,” two guards responded as they lifted Chen Wei and walked outside.
Chen Wei remained motionless, staring at Chen Rong with scattered eyes even as she was being lifted far into the distance.
Only until Chen Wei’s image completely disappeared did Chen Rong slowly turn to look at Wang Hong.
Wang Hong raised a corner of his mouth and lightly chuckled: “Why didn’t you kill her?”
Chen Rong also raised a corner of her mouth. “Why kill her? Jiankang is only so big, and she is a ruined woman. Can she run or can she cling to the nobles? Isn’t it better that she lives out the rest of her days like a stray dog?”
As soon as Chen Rong said this, Nurse Ping, her older brother and the others anxiously spun to look at Wang Hong. Ah Rong did not conceal her malice, would Wang Hong tolerate it?
In their uneasy eyes, Wang Hong only laughed but did not say anything. He flapped his sleeves and walked out.
Looking at his immaculate figure, Nurse Ping and the others traded glances and wondered if they should breathe a sigh of relief.
Chen Rong turned to look at her older brother, then smiled and said, “Brother, let’s talk about it in my courtyard.” Her mien was light and airy, as if she had only returned from a walk in the garden. Where was the ruthlessness they witnessed just now?
Her brother dazedly nodded and followed her.
Chen Rong walked through the willows and flowers, and said, “Brother, how is your health?”
She turned around after not receiving an answer from him.
When he met Chen Rong’s gaze, a smile suddenly lit his thin face. He happily looked at her and said, “Only until today do I know Wang Qilang holds you in such high esteem, Ah Rong.” He let her do whatever she wanted and let her deal with Chen Wei. It turned out that his sister was so casual, at ease, and herself in front of the illustrious Wang Qilang. Just like she had been in front of him in Ping, as the concubine-born sister to her wife-born brother. His Ah Rong turned out to be such a blessed person.
The eldest brother of the Chen family was so pleased and looked at Chen Rong with great happiness. But he had been sad for too long that his smile looked stiff somehow.
Chen Rong returned his smile. She turned her head and said to a maid, “Go and ask Qilang whether there is a famous doctor nearby. My elder brother is unwell and needs medical treatment.”
While her brother waved his hand and repeatedly said that it wasn’t necessary, the maidservant gave a resounding response and left with her order. The eldest brother of the Chen family wasn’t the only one who saw what happened. They did, too. It seemed that they hadn’t known, until now, how important the Grand Chamberlain was to their young master. Her answer, then, was naturally respectful and emphatic.
Happy belated New Year! I’m -this- close to quitting but you guys keep writing encouraging comments. Soooo I guess I’ll just limp along for as much as I can. Less than 20 chapters left hahaha *bang my head*
Again, thanks everyone for following along. You guys are the best.
P.S. I went back and re-read the comments from the last post. Sorry I wasn’t clear in my summary of the skipped chapters. Chen Rong didn’t tell Wang Hong in the skipped chapters that she’s from the past. She correctly guessed his military move and he asked how she knew when it was a secret between a handful of people. But she mostly evaded his question. Then in the posted chapters he asked her about his family’s next heir and when she slipped by answering him without thinking, that was when she admitted she sees things from a dream.
P.P.S. Thanks everyone who’s concerned. I’m not in danger of hurting myself. 2020 was actually better than 2019 for me in various ways, and I’ve learned to live for the little things (also, I have a great therapist). I hope you guys are also doing well and taking care of yourselves.