Chapter 26: Change in Status
Chapter 26: Change in Status
Early next morning, the cavalcade pressed on amid the noble children’s grousing.
Chen Rong was very reticent as of late. Unless she felt the need to appear, she remained quiet the rest of the time.
After twenty days of traveling day and night, they found themselves only a hundred miles away from Nan’yang.
When they heard Ran Min’s announcement, the crowd erupted in loud cheers. Only a hundred miles more before they could settle down. There would be no living in tents and constant fear any longer!
As they approached their destination, each clan began to tighten its watch on the children. Chen Rong’s carriage was also not allowed to freely come and go. Additionally, she was grouped with the Chen queue and had to stay with other young ladies of the Chens.
As for the position of the carriages, hers was right next to Chen Wei’s. This was not a trifling matter, for her status after arriving in Nan’yang was decided at this very moment.
Chen Rong let out a long exhale and finally relaxed. She had often showed off along the way, never giving up any opportunity to display her talent. She at last received her rewards.
One ought to know that a gentlewoman’s position in the clan typically decided her marriage. In the past, she was pushed to the outermost peripheral of the Chen unit. As soon as she arrived in Nan’yang, she was almost promised as a concubine to a decrepit man by her uncle, Chen Yuan. Had she not thrown out a series of schemes, she wouldn’t have been able to escape that dreadful marriage.
Wang Wulang and his sister who had long paid attention to Chen Rong quickly noticed her change in status. While they were lost in thought, another Wang youngster laughed: “Hey, isn’t Ah Rong of the Chen house now a direct descendant? It seems that if any of us Wang wanted to marry her, it’d be a tad difficult to take her in as a concubine.” He turned to Wang Wulang and teased him with a grin: “Wulang, you should be content and marry her as your wife. Despite her humble background, she has extraordinary talents, is viewed highly by Qilang and praised by the elders. You can deign yourself to marry her, methinks.”
On their journey, Wang Wulang had struggled regarding Chen Rong’s matter. The Wang children had taken notice. When the opportunity arose, they all took the chance to make fun of him.
Wang Wulang harrumphed and responded, “My marriage will be decided by the elders.” Irritation was detected in his voice.
A surge of restlessness suddenly broke out in the forefront at this time.
At the crowd’s puzzlement, Ran Min was seen riding away on his red stallion as he led his army to a smaller path.
Watching their figures going farther and farther, the noble children were quick to cry:
“Why is this happening?” moc.824retsmah
“What is going on?”
A middle-aged scholar responded: “General Ran has other business to attend to and must leave first. Everyone, we can only rely on ourselves from now on.”
Commotion ensued. “Then what are we waiting for? Hurry, let’s go, else the barbarians will catch up to us,” a young boy yelled out.
“Aye, aye, we should make haste.” moc.824retsmah
“Hurry along. What are you still standing around for?”
These nobles had been full of complaints all day every day along the way. Now that Ran Min left, they automatically urged themselves on.
Amid the calls and noises, a young lad from Ran Min’s departing group suddenly turned his horse around and galloped straight for them.
He cantered quickly and soon darted to the Chen house to the surprise of everyone. Chen Rong raised her head to see that it was he. She quickly told Old Shang to steer the carriage over.
The person who came had a small, dashing face, fair and soft skin, a tall nose and rosy lips. Enchantingly beautiful, it was indeed Sun Yan.
He looked up at Chen Rong. moc.824retsmah
Facing him, she smiled and said, “Young Mr. Sun, you’ll have to be careful of swords and arrows now that you’ll join the general.”
Here, she thought to herself that the place he would be following Ran Min to wasn’t just any ordinary battlefield. With her voice suddenly lodged in her throat, she took a good long while before saying: “Protect yourself. Only when you stay alive can you take revenge.”
Sun Yan grinned, his smile resembling moon beams breaking through the clouds.
He smiled with squinted eyes. “I’ve come to hear you say this. I’m glad I got to hear it.”
He kicked the horse’s girth, causing it to trot to Chen Rong’s side. Then he leaned in so close that his face almost touched hers.
Pressing against her ear, he used his pubertal voice to huskily say: “Ah Rong of the Chen house, you’re not little anymore.”
Chen Rong turned a supercilious eye.
Sun Yan’s voice continued to pour into her ears. Whether he was intentional or not, his breath blew straight into her ear, raising goose bumps on her skin.
“I’m sure you’ll be promised away after you arrive in Nan’yang. But your birthright is too humble that most of these proposals can’t be great. Listen to me, don’t compromise so easily. You must drag your feet, drag them until the day no one wants you anymore and until I have come back.”
Whatever he was thinking, Sun Yan suddenly laughed. He was still cackling by the time Chen Rong shoved him away.
Watching the boy merrily ride off, Chen Rong muttered under her breath: “I can’t believe he had the nerve to laugh with that quacking voice. What a grating sound!”
Though she grumbled, at this moment, Chen Rong thought she saw faint tears from the young boy who had suddenly returned.
The team went forth again. moc.824retsmah
As night fell, they could not go on for the sky was moonless. While they set camp, the youngsters almost caused a scene after some relentless pressuring.
Fortunately, their journey was free from harm. Three days later, the city gates of Nan’yang came into view.
Looking at the towering gates, the crowd abruptly broke into ecstatic cries. These were cries from people who used all their strength to howl after they had survived the worst. They attracted turning heads at the city gate where numerous people looked in their direction.
A scene of joy ensued. There were still clansmen in Nan’yang, all of whom came out at this time to welcome them. Since he belonged to the primary Lang’ya line of the Wang clan, Wang Qilang even received a reception from the Prince of Nan’yang. As for other clans like the Chens, despite being direct descendants, they were only branches instead of the main household of Yingchuan, and they thus could not meet the city’s master.
Through the hustle and bustle, Chen Rong’s horse carriage followed the Chen clan’s enormous queue and headed for a residence. This residence had belonged to the Chen house of Nan’yang before they vacated it for them.
Room assignment came next. Even though Chen Rong was only a concubine-born daughter of a subsidiary branch, she was the only member of her branch. Furthermore, she had displayed extraordinary wisdom on the journey, and thus was given her own courtyard. This courtyard was a bit removed from the main compound, and next-door was the courtyard belonging to Chen Wei and her younger sister.
Nurse Ping led the group and began to busy themselves with sorting out the rooms and then storing away their food. When everything was taken care of, they went and returned the carriages.
Because she was understaffed, Chen Rong was also put to work. Of course, the tasks she did were of the scholarly variety such as organizing her study and cataloging her books.
This flurry of activities was one that spanned two full days.
Whew, we finally got to Nan’yang! That sure took forever.
I’ll try to keep the weekly updates coming but don’t be surprised if they come a little later from now on. Our workload at work isn’t very consistent so I might be running into a heavy spell as soon as this coming week -_-