Chapter 51: Gifting Grains
Grains were loaded into ten carriages to the sound of carefree music. Even when they finished, Old Shang and the servants were still reluctantly looking at the food and gazing longingly at Chen Rong, waiting for her to change her mind.
Chen Rong paid them little attention. She looked down and softly bade, “Old Shang, pay more attention and see if any families are moving away to Jiankang. If they are, ask them whether they are selling their land. Take nine carriages out of the ten my uncle gifted us the last time. I’ll also give you ten gold leaves. Remember, you must exchange all of them for land within this month. Ah yes, record the titles under General Sun’s name.”
Now that Luo’yang had fallen, Nan’yang would be facing the barbarians directly; and without the natural barrier of the Yangtze River, most clans would want to leave. Due to the prince’s intervention, however, few of them had the actual freedom to go as they pleased.
Purchasing land was unexpectedly not a bad idea. “Miss, did you say to record under General Sun’s name?” Nurse Ping asked tentatively.
Chen Rong nodded. “Yes. If the selling families ask, you can tell them that General Sun wants to settle here.”
“But what if something were to happen and the titles are under his name?” Old Shang tried to caution her. Nurse Ping likewise suggested: “Miss, why not have them under your own name?”
Chen Rong raised an eyebrow and dismissively said, “Because what’s mine is the clan’s.”
And like that realization dawned upon them.
It was Chen Rong’s turn to hesitate at this point. After a very long time, she at last quietly said, “Then why don’t we record it under General Ran’s name.”
“… Miss, I don’t think that’s a good idea either.”
Chen Rong smiled confidently this time. She shook her head saying: “Nothing will go wrong. He is completely trustworthy regarding this point,” smiling wryly as she did.
Seeing how adamant she was, Old Shang stood quietly for a moment before asking: “Then should we let General Sun know about it? We’re sending so much food to him today; it’s a good time to mention it to him.” It had always been the practice across the country to record one’s lands under the name of highly-ranked friends and family to evade taxation. It could be said that Chen Rong’s method wasn’t anything new. But how could she have so much trust in General Ran when she was merely his acquaintance?
Chen Rong shook her head. “That’s not necessary. Tell him only if he finds out.”
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
The delivery team comprising of Old Shang and the servants attracted widespread attention the second it left the Chen estate.
One should know that it was overly aggressive for Sun Yan to display empty carriages on the street waiting for major clans to send food. The clans were furthermore suffering food shortages themselves. In the short given time, they looked at one another but none took the initiative to send food.
It was in this stifling atmosphere that Chen Rong’s team appeared.
Her cavalcade had belonged to the Chen estate in Ping, the carriages painted yellow and the servants also dressed differently from the local Chen estate. Both commoners and nobles couldn’t help themselves from inquiring around as they watched the spectacle.
Listening to the buzz coming from time to time around him, Old Shang laughed aloud and exclaimed in a rather proud voice: “My lady’s donating these chestnuts to the warriors from her own inventory. Have you heard of her? She is Ah Rong of the Chen House. She’s the very same generous Chen Rong in Ping who had foretold correctly three times on the way south.”
Once Old Shang’s voice rang out, the group of servants next to him loudly followed suit resulting in a dozen people chattering and spreading Chen Rong’s story from beginning to end.
“Ah Rong of the Chen house?” an old man exclaimed. “Isn’t she a concubine-born daughter? How did she acquire so much food?”
“Aye aye, this young lady is so wealthy! Her gift alone is comparable to that of an entire clan. She’s indeed very generous. How incredible she is!”
Old Shang’s voice boomed louder when he heard the passers-by asking. At once, he meticulously recounted over and over to them what Chen Rong had done.
When the team reached the middle of the street where Sun Yan was, Old Shang had to swallow back his words in the middle of his narration. Glancing at Sun Yan in his golden armor trying to suppress his laughter, he quickly jumped down and bowed to him. “I come on the order of my mistress, Ah Rong of the Chen house, to deliver ten carriages of grains to you, general.”
Sun Yan raised his clasped hands and responded: “I thank you kindly.”
“Don’t mention it, sir. My mistress says it is due to you and your men that she can enjoy peace in Nan’yang. Gifting food is only a matter of course.”
Sun Yan laughed and remarked, “Though Ah Rong of the Chen house is a woman, her generosity and gallantry have put us men to shame.”
As he said this, many passers-by quietly retreated and turned to hurry away.
Sun Yan took note of everything that went on and smiled again. This smile attracted screams and cheers from the girls standing around.
Apparently accustomed to the girls’ admiration, he stepped forward, helped Old Shang up from his deference, and softly chuckled: “Did that little girl Ah Rong tell you to spread her name?”
“Haha, she never misses any opportunity, does she?” He paused and then continued: “I was a bit reckless about today’s matter. Thank Ah Rong for me after you return. Without her help, I would’ve caused great trouble.”
Still not really clear, Old Shang only replied, “Aye.”
“Also, tell her that I had stood on the street in my armor today. So handsome and swashbuckling was I that droves of women gathered around me. Ask her why she didn’t come to join such spectacular a scene.” He was now bursting out in laughter on his own.
“Aye, I will definitely relay your words,” Old Shang replied, almost too honestly.
In a good mood, Sun Yan laughed aloud again. After some time, he withdrew his smile, took two steps back, raised his clasped hands to Old Shang and said, “I thank your lady on behalf of General Ran. Goodbye.”
“There’s no need to be so polite, general.”
Sun Yan sat back down on the seat he had placed in the middle of the street. Watching Old Shang getting on the carriage and continuing to tout Chen Rong, he couldn’t stop himself from laughing again.
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