Chapter 17: Beautiful Still
Brought by the wind from time to time, the sounds of laughter coming from the nobles’ gathering place made Chen Rong itching to go. If her mind weren’t preoccupied, she would have gone over already. It wasn’t every day she got this kind of opportunity. If she performed well, it would be advantageous to her in the future.
After some deliberation, she returned to the carriage to change her clothes and then walked over to the crowd.
The nobles had chosen a barren field just beyond the woods. Damask mats were spread out on this field.
People had formed circles, sitting behind tables that were filled with meat, wine, and pastries. Encircling them were bright torches. Chen Rong gave a glance and found that the corner in the south actually used candles in place of torches.
Weren’t they burning money by illuminating the wilderness with candles?!
Chen Rong shifted her gaze and then walked to the east. Occupying that corner were people from the Wang and Yu houses.
At this time, she was wearing a loose robe and a pair of wooden clogs. Her hair was pulled back and simply tied. There was an easy-going charm in her casual way of dressing.
Amid the clopping of her clogs, the boisterous crowd looked up to her from time to time, many lads rendered silly.
Chen Rong’s had excellent features to begin with, her allure completely different from other girls. Her style of dressing now added to her beauty a bewitching languidness.
Chen Rong did not seem to notice the young men’s eyes. She continued to walk forward with each clomp of her clogs, showing a faint smile in the swaying torchlight.
Before long, she reached the corner where the two families of Wang and Yu sat. She had barely arrived when she heard the 7th lady’s cry: “Father, father, why don’t we also use candles? Look at the Shi family’s laughing faces. I’m irritated just by looking at them!”
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Dozens of other youngsters followed suit in grousing.
At this time, Wang Hong’s indifferent voice rose to say: “The Shi family is the Shi family. The Wang family is the Wang family. It’s good enough to do things our way. Why should we imitate others?”
The youngsters simultaneously silenced. The 7th lady of the Wang house turned her head in embarrassment, her eyes diverting from Wang Hong. Casting a glance, she detected Chen Rong and could not help calling out: “Ah Rong, you’re finally here. Hey, what are you wearing? Aren’t you afraid of offending people with that androgynous appearance?”
The others glanced to Chen Rong at her words, many lighting up at the sight of her – Wang Hong not to be an exception.
Under his sharp gaze, Chen Rong shyly smiled and bowed her head to say hello, then slowly walked to a corner where a few tables were laid and took a seat.
In the firelight, her small blushing face resembled a blooming rose.
Her gait was leisure though she was bashful. Under the loose robe, her slender waist swayed attractively with each of her movement.
Her beauty and allure did not decrease because of her androgynous attire but instead gained a touch of spontaneity and ease like that of water flowing its course.
Unknowingly, Wang Hong became absorbed looking at her.
A scholar slowly said after a sip of wine: “What a beauty, indeed, if she can make the godly Wang Qilang watch her to distraction.”
The crowd all turned to look at Wang Hong upon hearing the man’s words.
Wang Hong coughed, raised his glass to block his face, and smiled uncomfortably: “Your eyes are too piercing that my thin face cannot bear the sting!”
Bursts of laughter rang out.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Yu Zhi slapped his thigh laughing while waving to Chen Rong and calling her: “Miss Chen, come and take a seat over here.”
And then he pointed to Wang Hong: “Right there.”
Everyone’s eyes instantaneously gathered on Chen Rong’s figure.
These included both burning gazes from the young lads and jealous ones from the girls.
Chen Rong did not move. She lowered her gaze and coyly said, “Qilang’s presence is so unearthly that a mere mortal like me does not dare near him.”
Wang Hong’s soft laughter gave sound: “I’ve not been able to see you again ever since you played that song for me. Now I know it’s because you ‘dare not near’ me.”
In front of so many people, his voice was one of rich smoothness, like a flowing mountain stream. It was as if he was affectionately reproaching her. How unbearably ticklish his words had strummed people’s hearts.
Before she knew it, all the girls were glaring at her with jealousy and antagonism.
Chen Rong had a good laugh to herself, thinking in her mind: As a man, if you had any feelings for me at all then why didn’t you approach me? Instead, you want a woman like me to approach you. My, Wang Hong’s sweet words are very charming. He must be another womanizer.
The ladies’ eyes from all four sides were too threatening. Under Wang Hong’s gaze, Chen Rong merely smiled and made no other reply.
When she did not speak, Wang Hong’s attention soon turned to the topics of the scholars’ conversations.
At this time, Wang Wulang’s voice came to her from behind: “Ah Rong of the Chen house.”
“Hmm?” Chen Rong looked up.
Wang Wulang was watching her with a fiery gaze, one that was different from his previous intensity. It seemed Wang Hong’s interest in Chen Rong had roused this young man.
Under her quizzical eyes, he briefly paused and then at length laughed and said, “By the way, why did you want to leave during the day? Isn’t it better to stay with us? Or do you feel that we have not been good hosts to you?
He had wanted to start a topic, but the moment he opened his mouth to speak, his tone came out somewhat intimidating.
Chen Rong shook her head, saying: “Why do you say that, Wulang? I just… I just feel uneasy, that’s all.” At this point, she felt especially stuffy. Seeing that Wang Wulang was about to speak again, Chen Rong quickly inquired, “Have the guards come back? How is the situation on the other side of the river?”
“How can they come back in so short a time?” said Wang Wulang in an unconcerned manner, shaking his head. “In any case, everyone will cross the river tomorrow regardless of whether they come back or not.” After a pause, he added, “This is what the scholars have all agreed on just now. Ah Rong, you’re just overly worried.”
Is that so?
Chen Rong’s heart gave a start as she thought: Never mind, that man would not do anything out of line to the nobles. It’s just that, it’s just that… I really don’t want to see him…
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