Chapter 45: She Is a Double-sided Blade
It was noon that a round of horse hooves tore along the streets of Nan’yang.
Before long, a guard hurried in the direction of the Chen estate. He ran in haste, stumbling along, and did not stop to wipe the dripping sweat on his forehead.
He arrived at the main courtyard within a short time. Presently, Chen Yuan and Chen Shu were sitting on either side of Chen Gongrang to talk over books and wine.
The guard hurtled to the door as he cried urgently: “Masters! The barbarians had taken over Luo’yang.”
“Thump.” “Thump.” Chen Yuan and another noble fell to the ground.
Chen Gongrang sprang to his feet and asked, “When was this?”
“The news had just arrived, sir.”
“Wu Xian,” he murmured with a blanched face, staggering backward, “Wu Xian and his men are still in Luo’yang…”
He shut his eyes, and then opened them again. “Was anyone able to escape?”
The guard shook his head and sobbed: “No, none. Apart from the soldiers, no one escaped. I heard that several thousand nobles including men and women, young and old, had dressed properly and moments before the barbarians broke into the city had jumped into the Luo River.”
Chen Gongrang dropped to his seat, paralyzed.
Chen Shu and Chen Yuan themselves are as white as sheets, both taken by dread.
At long last, Chen Gongrang waved his hand and feebly bade, “I got it, go.”
A suppressed sob was heard the moment the guard took the steps. Listening to the cries, he himself was choked up and could not help stretching his sleeve to wipe his tears. Then he briskly walked out with his head down. A scholar who was walking to them paused when he saw this scene.
After some deliberation, he continued forth and called out softly from the steps: “Shihua?”
Shihua was Chen Yuan’s courtesy name.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
Soon, a red-eyed Chen Yuan appeared on the stairs. He looked to the scholar, frowning: “What is it?” The scholar took a few steps to Chen Yuan’s side, raised his clasped hands and softly replied, “Have you forgotten, Shihua? You asked me to go to the prince’s estate and ask Xu Zhiming for an explanation.”
Chen Yuan nodded and impatiently said, “Speak.”
“Aye, Xu Zhiming said the Prince of Nan’yang is dissatisfied with your daughter. He also said that unless you send Ah Rong of the Chen house over, dialogue will be difficult.”
Chen Yuan’s face turned blue. “If Ah Rong could be sent over, why would I need to waste a daughter?” he growled. “Bah! That Xu fellow is a debaucher himself. It must be he who whispered troubles in the Nan’yang Prince’s ears!”
At this point in his rumble, Chen Yuan took a deep breath and suggested, “Let’s do this, is there not a lantern festival three days from now? Go do some preparation work. Remember, there must not be any errors this time.”
The scholar turned when he suddenly heard Chen Shu’s voice raised from inside: “Wait a minute.”
He strode to Chen Yuan, frowned and said, “Shihua, I forgot to tell you that Wang Hong sent people yesterday looking for our older brother. He asked why the Chen house of Nan’yang, being such a great family, does not treat a concubine-born daughter well?”
“What?!” Chen Yuan was infuriated. “Wang Qilang belongs to the Wang house of Lang’ya. What can they do? They have the nerve to interfere with our family’s affairs?”
“Why should he interfere?” Chen Shu coldly replied. “He merely said there are rumors circulating outside that are detrimental to our family’s name.”
Instantly, Chen Yuan suppressed his anger to reply in diffidence: “Ah Shu, it’s not as if you don’t know that the Prince of Nan’yang has been making things difficult for me ever since I offended him. I wasted a daughter but he still wouldn’t bend. What else can I do?”
Chen Shu flapped his sleeves and unsympathetically replied, “It’s your own doing in any case. I think that Ah Rong, although young, is very sophisticated in her purposes. Didn’t you send someone to inquire on the matter of the Wang estate’s banquet? Not only Wang Hong, but I heard Ran Min also talked and laughed with her. Think about the status quo. Are you going to offend both Wang Hong and Ran Min for this tiny thing? Hmph, Ah Rong is a double-sided knife. You’ll easily cut your hand. You better be careful!”
Apparently not wanting to say more to Chen Yuan, he flapped his sleeves and strode back into the room.
Chen Yuan stood ashen-faced for a moment before turning around to bark at the scholar: “Go!”
“What about the lantern festival?”
“What festival can we have now?!” Unable to release his anger, he labored for his breath for a while and then growled: “Good for Chen Rong. She’s not even fifteen yet she already has the skill to seduce men. Isn’t that just extraordinary, hmph!”
“What are you standing frozen here for? Go!”
Just as the scholar turned to go, Chen Gongrang’s displeased voice rang from the room: “Shihua, how can you be so vulgar even till now! Go! Refrain from coming to my place in the near future!”
Stunned, Chen Yuan quickly turned around in a deep bow as he pleaded: “Brother, I…” He had not finished when Chen Gongrang thundered from the room: “Men, take Chen Shihua back to his courtyard.”
Two servants at once came forward. Before they could speak, Chen Yuan flapped his sleeves and yelled: “I can walk myself!”
When he finished, he harrumphed and stalked away.
On this day, not only the house of Chen found out about Luoyang’s fall, but so did everyone else.
Like thunder striking in broad daylight, this news struck brutally on the Nan’yang residents who were singing of peace not long ago. Only now did they realize they may not be as safe as they thought. Awaiting them ahead were swarms of barbaric iron heels!
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