Chapter 47: Custom
Chapter 47: Custom
The young man nodded his head proudly when he heard her laughter. “Actually, I don’t need you to tell me. All the besotted damsels in the city of Nan’yang were ogling me on the way here. I only have to open my mouth for some of them to scream and squeal.”
As Chen Rong went on laughing, he abruptly turned to her peevishly. “What, is that not so?”
She stopped and immediately retrieved her smile. She nodded vigorously, saying: “Of course, of course, the dashing General Sun has the aura of dragons, the courage of Lu Bu (1), and the brilliance of Zhuge (2).”
Lu Bu – a famous general in the Three Kingdoms period
Zhuge – Zhuge Liang, a famous strategist in the Three Kingdoms period
He was listening to her in rapt attention when her last few words stoked his temper. He swiftly cuffed her hands behind her back and demanded, “You little minx, did you just tease me?”
Unable to move, Chen Rong was quick to exclaim: “Let me go!”
“No, you’re my captive, you have to plead to me.”
Chen Rong couldn’t help herself from giggling as she said, “General Sun, please spare me.”
“Say that again, louder.”
“Won’t you be merciful and spare my little life, general?”
The young man was pleased with Chen Rong’s words. He laughed and let go of her hand. “I see you’re a sensible girl.”
While the two of them played around, Chen Wei next-door had been perking her ears to listen in. She stomped on the ground and griped bitterly: “I really don’t get it. She’s only a tawdry girl who knows no shame. How can those men be so beguiled by her?”
To be considered beautiful in this era, one must firstly have fair skin, she must secondly carry an impression of purity, and she must thirdly possess frailty and femineity. Chen Rong’s looks were too striking, her figure too voluptuous. It couldn’t be helped that she would be branded ‘tawdry’ by virtue of her sensuous beauty.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
Nurse Ping arranged a table filled with meat and wine in the courtyard.
Holding Chen Rong’s hand, the young man carelessly sat down and reached for a cup of wine. After a sip, he handed it to Chen Rong and said, “Let’s get drunk tonight.”
Chen Rong only smiled wordlessly. Nurse Ping softly laughed from the side: “That won’t do. My mistress isn’t yet betrothed.”
Sun Yan stared at Chen Rong and demanded, “Then if she’s betrothed, I’d be able to get drunk with her?”
Nurse Ping faltered and, not knowing how to answer, turned to look at Chen Rong.
Chen Rong inwardly thought with a wry smile: I really want to get drunk with you, but Chen Yuan would be the first to relish in my mistake. He’d bring me straight to the prince’s inner quarters and tell the world I’m a contemptible girl. The advantage I created last time by playing ‘The Phoenix’s Love Song’ for Wang Qilang would come to naught.
At this juncture, she couldn’t help herself from looking up at Sun Yan.
What she saw were his clear orbs under the sunlight.
Chen Rong’s lips moved as she stared into such eyes, wanting to tell him everything.
Just then, a loud voice came from the courtyard gate: “Is General Sun here? My master is very glad to learn of your visit. He has prepared a humble meal in your honor and especially sent me to invite you.”
Sun Yan scowled and muttered: “I hate these customs the most.”
He was about to refuse when a warmth lay over his hand. It was Chen Rong who gently pressed him down.
She was looking at him, her eyes dark yet steady. “My young sir, you mustn’t refuse them.” Upon seeing Sun Yan’s quizzical expression, she smiled and playfully said, “General Ran didn’t give you orders to take advantage of the nobles’ panic and pressure them for some military provisions, seeing as how they are filled with grains and money?”
Sun Yan laughed. He covered his mouth and whispered: “I’d have forgotten if not for your reminder.”
Upon his last word, he rose to his feet.
At the moment he agreed, Chen Rong picked up the veiled hat on the side and wore in over her head, then she took a few steps backward and demurely stood behind him.
The door squeaked open.
Into the door were Chen Yuan and two other scholars. As soon as he entered, his eyes glanced to Chen Rong and then back to Sun Yan.
After appraising them, he pleasantly raised his clasped hands: “General Sun, it’s an honor.”
Sun Yan also returned him an acknowledgment per gentry standards. “My pleasure,” he smiled.
Chen Yuan laughed jovially. “Are you surnamed Sun, general? Then who are your ancestors, if I may ask?”
“I am a direct descendant of Sun Zhongmou of Jiangdong,” Sun Yan lightly replied.
This one sentence made Chen Yuan widen his eyes and put away his nonchalant face. “The Sun clan from Jiangdong?” he exclaimed. “That being your identity, why are you involved in these gory battles? If your elders in Jiangdong know, they will be very terrified.”
Sun Yan scowled and impatiently said, “If the barbarians come at me, I will come at them. As a man, I pay blood with blood. What is there to be afraid of?”
Chen Yuan laughed, again clasped his hands together and exclaimed: “Young general, you truly are a man of honor with valiant blood coursing inside. After you.”
Sun Yan nodded this time.
After having gone two steps, he turned his head to look at Chen Rong.
Seeing Chen Rong especially reserved behind her veiled hat, he secretly gave her a wink, turned his head in a careful bow to her and raised his voice: “Ah Rong, you’d given me food and clothes on the road south. I shall eternally engrave your life-saving grace in my heart.”
Chen Rong stared blankly before she quickly realized his meaning. Leaning sideway to avoid his ceremony, she curtsied and said, “You’re too kind, general.” And then she blushed and stammered: “It’s only right for me to have done so.”
Seeing her put on this appearance, Sun Yan had to squint his eyes and cleared his throat before he could barely hide his smile to say, “No matter what happens, I shall never forget your kindness. I’ll pay you another visit in two days.”
He flapped his long sleeves, turned and strode out. Following behind him, Chen Yuan, at the moment they left the gate, shot a look back at Chen Rong a few more times.
Only until they were gone in the distance did Chen Rong recover.
At this time, Nurse Ping ran to her side and remarked in joy: “Miss, miss, how wonderful that General Sun has also come to Nan’yang. With him here, your coming days should be looking up.”
Thinking awhile, Nurse Ping proceeded to mutter: “Unfortunately the young general insists on going off to kill the barbarians. Otherwise, while he has not returned to his clan, he can quickly marry you. How good would that be?”
While the nurse muttered from the side, Chen Rong slowly removed her veiled hat and thought to herself: No matter what Sun Yan did, it’s impossible to become second-in-command to Ran Min in a short span of two months. That’s right, Ran Min must’ve learned of his identity. To protect him, he is sending him to Nan’yang where it’s safe.