Chapter 43: Sisters
Chapter 43: Sisters
Just as Chen Rong arrived at the steps, the hall door opened to a burst of fragrance. The nobles were now flocking out; the banquet had come to an end.
She froze and then quickly retreated into a corner, gazing at Wang Wulang’s figure among the flitting shadows with a pinch of disappointment. She hadn’t any opportunity to be alone with him the entire night.
She dithered awhile and then followed the stream of people as they flocked to the carriage square.
Nurse Ping and Old Shang were both there standing beside her coach. When they sighted her, they hurried over with twinkles in their eyes.
Old Shang laughed: “Miss, did you meet anyone else from the Lang’ya House of Wang? Do they also have a godly bearing like Wang Qilang?”
Nurse Ping gave him a poke and then proceeded with her own question. “Miss, were you able to ask for the Wang house’s help? We are both from Ping, and they had furthermore received your help on the way. It’s said that close neighbors are better than distant relatives. You can ask Sir Wang to persuade your uncle. It’d be best if Wang Wulang asked for your hand.”
Chen Rong gave her a wry smile and shook her head. “It’s not that simple, Nurse.”
Then she passed the two of them and climbed onto the carriage.
But they did not immediately leave after Chen Rong mounted the carriage.
Her status was the lowest among the people in this square. She did not want to compete with those distinguished people for the travel way.
After half an hour when the square was finally empty, Chen Rong’s carriage slowly pulled out of the Wang estate.
The streets of Nan’yang were enveloped in pitch darkness in these hours. There were only scattered lanterns hanging under the eaves of wealthy homes.
It had been fine when they left, but the sky suddenly sprinkled moments later.
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Through the shade, Chen Rong looked back at the Wang estate under the drizzling rain. Their gates were still wide open, faint voices were heard inside, eight gold foiled lanterns lined both sides of the gates, swinging in the rain. Their flickering light radiated a sense of solitude in the mist.
Chen Rong withdrew her gaze after a brief glance.
The two estates of Wang and Chen were not far apart. In half an hour, her carriage quietly entered the Chen compound and pulled into her courtyard.
As soon as Chen Rong stepped away from her carriage, peals of laughter rang out from Chen Wei’s courtyard next-door. She paid little attention to them and continued on. “Is Ah Rong back? You there, open the door!” a girl’s voice was heard outside her yard.
The courtyard door’s squeaked open at this girl’s order.
At once, several girls in splendid gowns filled the courtyard with their chattering.
Chen Rong raised her head looking at the clouds that had receded and the moon that once again hung in the sky. Why did the rain have to stop? If it kept on raining, these girls wouldn’t endure the rain to come. That’s just too bad.
Once the girls came in, Nurse Ping and the others were put to work again. Soon, her study was brightly lit and filled with the fragrance of meat and wine.
Chen Qian looked around the room full of bamboo slips and burst out laughing: “I heard from people who came from Ping that you don’t read. That being the case, why do you have so many books on display? Are you trying to appear learned?”
Chen Rong was sitting in the host’s seat. Hearing this question, her docile face gave a smile as she softly answered, “Who says I don’t read?”
Chen Qian paused.
She tilted her head to appraise Chen Rong. She had thought of a thing or two to rebut before she suddenly thought of her recent display, which was truly not something an unread girl could have. “Perhaps I heard wrong,” she said with pursed lips.
At this time, Chen Wei who had been sitting silently in a corner suddenly spoke up. “Ah Rong, were you the one to say General Ran doesn’t want me anymore? Were you the one to say I bullied you?”
There was a sharpness that she couldn’t control by the end of her sentence.
Chen Rong looked up.
She widened her eyes in surprise at Chen Wei and then clutched the left cheek that had been slapped. “When had I said General Ran doesn’t want you? And when had I said that you bullied me?”
Chen Wei sprang to her feet, pointing at Chen Rong shakily. “If you didn’t say anything, then why did everyone laugh at me? You-you’re even covering your face. Aren’t you trying to let everyone know I had slapped you?”
Chen Rong swiftly let go of her hand, dropped her gaze and earnestly said, “Ah Wei, I swear I’ve never said General Ran doesn’t want you, nor have I said that you bullied me.”
Her dark eyes were penetrating in the candlelight. She looked at Chen Wei and said somewhat obscurely: “Our marriages are arranged by our parents. They’re also our parents’ order. How can General Ran not want you?”
Chen Wei went silent.
Slowly, a smile materialized on her face.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
“All right, let’s not talk about these boring things,” said Chen Qian impatiently.
She was a legitimate daughter of the direct line in Nan’yang. Ranked second, her status was higher than all the girls here. Once she opened her mouth, both Chen Rong and Chen Wei bowed their heads to reply: “Aye.”
“Tell us now Ah Rong, who did you see at the Wang estate?”
At this juncture, Chen Qian looked up to see Chen Rong’s charming face under the lights. She suddenly interrupted her from answering: “These things aside, did you get to see Wang Qilang? What did he say when he saw you?”
About seven or eight faces turned around, staring at Chen Rong with interest while awaiting her answer.
Watched by these eager eyes, Chen Rong opened her mouth and really wanted to tell them that Wang Qilang never blamed or spurned her. Instead, he was gentle enough to even comfort her.
She couldn’t say these words, however. If not handled properly, her coming days would only worsen.
She dropped her gaze and displayed a slight weariness on her face.
Such expression greatly amused the girls. Chen Qian laughingly remarked, “What did I say? To have someone like you confess in public and plainly say you want to be his first wife is an insult to the distinguished Wang Qi. Even I am not worthy to be his wife, much less you.”
Chen Wei, too, looked to be quite pleased. She covered her mouth as her eyes bent into lines.
While the girls giggled mirthfully, Chen Rong’s lips curved to reveal a secretive smile, one of joy and contentment.
This expression gave the girls pause. As they were staring at her in careful appraisal, Chen Rong stood up, curtsied to the girls and wearily said, “Sisters, I’m really tired.”
“Hmph, who wants to loiter at this place of yours?”
Chen Qian flapped her sleeves and led the girls away.
Staring after the girls going farther away, Nurse Ping came to her and sighed. “You’ve always run around with boys when you were younger. You were the only girl in our estate so of course you don’t even have any experience of getting along with other girls. Just now you should have waited for them to be bored. Then when they wanted to leave you still would’ve needed to try to keep them. That’s how you should treat your fellow sisters.”
Chen Rong merely smiled and softened her voice: “Nurse, get the water ready. I want to bathe.”