Chapter 42: Heart-to-hear
Chapter 42: Heart-to-heart
The hall came to life again once Wang Hong entered it.
Yu Zhi spotted him from the distance and called him over: “Come, that boy Wang You was saying ‘if you want good health, your energy must first flow’. He also said I only know of tranquil void but do not know I must be like the generals to have true health, that one needs to vent when he’s angry, one needs to kill when he’s filled with hatred, and one should express his resentment if he feels such emotion. Only then are you living the ways of the Yin and Yang, Heaven and Earth. I couldn’t argue with this guy. Qilang, you should help me now that you’re here.”
Wang Hong laughed in reply. “All right, let’s go have a debate with him.”
As she listened to the scholars debate, a girl from the Wang house who sat behind Chen Rong said in distaste: “Didn’t I say Nan’yang is a shallow place? Even the men’s debate can’t be heard. If the Wang house of Lang’ya hadn’t come, tsk, we wouldn’t be able to hear these philosophical talks.”
Another lad cast a glance at Ran Min and lightly echoed her thoughts: “With a commoner like General Ran here, what kind of debates can Nan’yang possibly have?”
Sitting behind the screen, Chen Rong bowed her head in thoughts. She shook her head when she heard these words.
The buzzing behind her intensified at this point, every sentence turning blunt. Most had come to surround the scholars and listen to their arguments in rapture.
Unable to sit still any longer, Chen Rong moved her screen and walked out.
She followed the side hall and went out to the brightly lit area. Very few ventured outside at this time; when she turned and glanced around, there were only a few sparse silhouettes under the moonlight.
Chen Rong slowly walked along the gravel path.
Her head was bowed, watching her shadow and pondering as she walked. Tonight’s banquet was of particular significance to her. Now that it was coming to an end, Chen Rong recalled her words and behaviors and, for some reason, felt a little disappointed.
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At the end of the path was a small silvery lake glittering under the moonlight.
Chen Rong paused to raise her head and turn around, at which point she stopped in her tracks.
To the left of the lake just ten paces away from her stood a tall and great figure. At this moment, the owner of that figure was also turning around, his eyes staring at her quietly in the dark.
Chen Rong forced a smile onto her face and turned to curtsy to the man. “Good greetings, General Ran,” she softly spoke.
Standing there was indeed Ran Min. How strange, he was still inside when she left the hall. How was he able to walk ahead of her?
Ahem, now isn’t the time to think about this.
Ran Min’s eyes were astoundingly bright in the dark. As he watched Chen Rong, his gaze shifted to her feet – ones that were ready to sprint at any time. He curved his lips and said to her in a low voice: “Come here.”
“Pardon?” Chen Rong exclaimed.
Ran Min furrowed his brow and repeated: “I said come over!” It was a command.
“Aye,” Chen Rong replied almost involuntarily and lifted her soles to move toward him. And yet her footsteps loitered more and more as she walked.
Ran Min had turned to look at the horizon by this time and did not notice her struggle.
His hands were clasped behind his back, his black robe fluttering in the wind. At this moment, his thin lips were slightly upturned, making his chiseled profile even more handsome.
By the time Chen Rong dragged herself to his side, Ran Min’s deep and dynamic voice gently spoke: “These nobles are all our people, they are all Hans, the core of our country. Ha –” He burst out laughing somewhat mournfully. “The Hu Army must’ve laid siege to the city of Luo’yang tonight. Those who could not bear to leave their hometown will turn into corpses along with the ashes of the houses they have dwelled in for generations.”
He suddenly turned to look at Chen Rong.
He saw her watching him with respect and a faint tenderness.
Her gaze was apparently beyond his expectation. Ran Min chuckled as he contemplated her. “Are you not afraid of these bloody things, a young maiden like you who wears perfumed sachets?”
Chen Rong shook her head and lowered her gaze.
If she wanted to, there were a number of ways to please him. But she didn’t want to say any of those things. If this had been her past life, she’d try to make a good impression and keep comforting him. She’d praise him and try to tell him just how much respect and sympathy she had for him.
Even if her respect for him had indeed come from her heart every time she saw him like this.
Ran Min wasn’t waiting for her answer either. His eyes remained staring to the north, fiery flames dancing in its black pupils.
“My people…” he murmured at length.
As if it had a mind of its own, Chen Rong’s right hand outstretched to almost touch his sleeve.
Luckily she reacted in time and only completed half of this action.
Just as she drew breath and was about to quietly withdraw her hand, Ran Min looked down and saw it.
He eyed her milky hand under the moonlight and then slowly raised his head to look at Chen Rong.
What he saw was her turned profile. She was pressing her lips together, distractedly staring at the lake. She seemed to be a little vexed.
Ran Min laughed despite himself.
“I say, little miss, did I somehow offend you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Chen Rong emphatically shook her head.
“I’m sure I’ve offended you somehow,” Ran Min chuckled. “From the way you look, to say ‘offend’ might even be making light of the matter.”
Chen Rong’s lips drew into a line when she heard what he said. She hurriedly turned and curtsied to Ran Min, saying: “You haven’t, sir. I must head back now. Goodbye.”
She didn’t wait for his reply. She flapped her sleeves and hastily rushed off.
Watching the figure that was rapidly dissolving in the dark, Ran Min, whatever he might be thinking, burst out laughing again.
His laughter still rang in Chen Rong’s ears by the time she was a long distance away.
“Hmph!” Chen Rong stomped her foot on the ground. But as she was clenching her teeth, her dark eyes suddenly gleamed and, gradually, a little smile emerged on her stiffened face.
She straightened her back, lifted her soles, and walked like the wind in the direction of the hall.