Chapter 52: Undercurren
Chapter 52: Undercurrent
After returning to the estate and thoroughly recounting to Chen Rong everything that had happened, Old Shang’s lips then twitched hesitantly.
Chen Rong gave him a glance, asking: “Are you worried?”
“Aye.” Old Shang had served her for so long that he was as comfortable around her as his own family. “Would our praises for you cause the literati to disapprove of you?”
Smiling, Chen Rong stood up looking to the distant sky and lightly said, “No, General Sun’s demanding for food on the street has placed the major clans in a difficult situation; they can only now hide behind their doors. There are not many scholars wandering the streets of Nan’yang at this time. There should only be commoners and women out there right now.”
Her lips revealed a smirk. “To achieve eternal fame in this world, one must either come from a good background and thereby attract the world’s attention with his every move, or his deeds must be spread through others’ mouths. The saying ‘three humans make a tiger’ merely means the more people repeat an idea, the more it becomes true.”
To Nurse Ping standing behind her, she said, “Bring me my veiled hat,” her eyes curving into crescents. “Let’s go see young General Sun.”
When Chen Rong left her courtyard, the side door opened to show Chen Wei and several other girls gathering around Chen Qian as they were also walking out.
Chen Rong slowed down when she saw them.
Even so, Chen Wei had noticed her. At once, she smiled and called, “Ah Rong?”
The girls stopped and all turned to look at Chen Rong.
Their expressions were a little strange. At length, a girl standing next to Chen Wei called and asked, “Ah Rong, are you going to General Sun’s place?”
She sounded quite grim.
“I’m just taking a walk,” Chen Rong replied with a curtsy.
“But the one Ah Rong admires is Wang Qilang,” smiled Chen Wei. “She doesn’t have anything to do with General Sun, right?”
Faced with her inquiry, Chen Rong just smiled wordlessly.
She slightly turned and called Nurse Ping from behind: “Nurse, let’s go.”
“Ah, aye aye.”
Chen Rong turned around, curtsied to the girls and said, “Sisters, I’ll go on ahead.” When she finished, she proceeded to straighten her back and head for the door.
Quite a while later, a girl shook her head saying: “Ah Rong is merely a concubine-born daughter from a subsidiary branch. I’m rather stumped where she got this arrogance from. How dare she speak so rudely to us?”
Chen Qian, too, harrumphed at this.
Among them, only Chen Wei had lived with her long enough to faintly understand that: Chen Rong simple wouldn’t get along with these girls, and it was hard to blame her. She was born with that look, so she was born only to deal with men.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
The hustle and bustle returned to the streets of Nan’yang at this time. Several small teams of carriages filled with grains and chestnuts could be seen making their way to the city center.
It seemed hers was quite the opening act.
“Is there a festival today?” Nurse Ping asked in surprise when she saw the flow of people surging on the street, many of them splendidly dressed girls. Just as quickly, she realized and laughed: “But of course, it’s General Sun. I don’t think I’ve told you, miss, that though General Sun was handsome on the road south, he was nothing like this. Only now do I know how dashing a man in armor can be.”
Chen Rong chuckled. “Nurse, he’ll have a field day if you say this to him.”
The nurse and her mistress laughed in good humor as they arrived at the street where Sun Yan was.
This place was overflowing with people.
In addition to the congregation of girls who gathered laughingly around Sun Yan, there were also carriages brimmed with food, being loaded under the soldiers’ direction.
Whose ever idea it was, each time a clan sent food to them, the recording officer would chant aloud: “The Wu house of Luo’yang sent five carriages.”
“The Wu House of Jiang sent seven carriages.” (1)
These are two different last names. The first is 虞 while the second is 吳
As she listened to these announcements, Chen Rong watched the distress on the stewards’ faces and felt like laughing: What a shrewd trick Sun Yan has devised. How can these families who place face above everything else dare to be perfunctory in their efforts now?
She cocked her head, looking at Sun Yan who was surrounded by the girls. Through the crowd, she could see his golden armor and his handsome, almost enchantingly soft and fair face. Nonetheless, that face was growing impatient.
Sun Yan turned his head at this moment and met Chen Rong’s eyes.
Almost instantly, he grinned and winked at her.
Chen Rong didn’t expect him to recognize her. Afraid this man, who feared nothing, would call her name, she quickly placed a finger on her lips and rounded her eyes to warn him.
Sun Yan burst out laughing, making the girls squeal with one hastily asking: “Young sir, what made you laugh so joyously?”
Another round-faced girl who was as lovely as a doll happily sang: “Mr. Sun is exceedingly handsome, his laughter beyond compare. Ah, please take this pine from me.”
She next held a pine branch and brought it before Sun Yan, blinking her large, sparkling eyes.
Sun Yan halted his laughter in stupefaction.
Just as he stood there immobilized, Chen Rong laughed out loud amusedly. Afraid Sun Yan would turn angry, she quickly turned and stifled her laughter.
While the young girls larked in merry frolic, two scholars passed by Chen Rong, one whispering: “Nan’yang can’t stand much longer!”
The other sighed in bitterness: “Cursed! The Prince of Nan’yang tried his best to block the news ahead of time and didn’t allow anyone to leave. Tsk, what can be done now?”
The first man glanced at Sun Yan, Chen Rong, and the other girls. He mockingly said, “What’s funny is that the entire Nan’yang is singing of peace. They think that with Ran Min’s promise, no one will dare to breach Nan’yang. They had forgotten that Ran Min is surnamed Shi! Hmph, Shi Hu had ordered him to take Nan’yang. I cannot imagine when that time comes, with an army outside and their back up in here, who’s going to be able to climb to the sky for an escape?”
Watching the two men leave, Nurse Ping worriedly asked, “Miss, do they speak the truth?”
Chen Rong didn’t answer her. She gazed down in thought for a moment and then said, “Let’s go back first.”
Because they were unnerved, they took very little time to return. Just as Chen Rong entered her courtyard, a steward of the Chen estate strode forward, complaining the moment he saw her: “Miss, where have you gone to? The prince’s estate sent people over saying there’s something important they’d like you to go over for. They have been waiting for very a long time.”