Chapter 54: The Prince of Nan’yang
Chapter 54: The Prince of Nan’yang
It was very uncomfortable to have such a pair of rat eyes glued to her body. Chen Rong reached for her veiled hat and strode to the carriage that was pulling out.
Only when she mounted the carriage did Advisor Xu’s eyes reluctantly move away. He shouted to the driver: “Let’s go.”
The prince’s estate was indeed very large. After half an hour of driving round and round, outside finally came a holler: “We’ve arrived.”
The curtain lifted and the young maid helped Chen Rong down.
She alighted the carriage, looking around. This was a small house that was completely isolated from the buildings behind it. She secretly exhaled in relief as she watched the comings and goings of the scholars in the vicinity.
Advisor Xu’s eyes were again on her. He revealed yellowish teeth with a smile as he watched her. “It seems Ah Rong of the Chen house does not trust His Highness very much.” His tone was very odd.
Chen Rong walked forward and did not look back. “If you want others to believe you, then don’t resort to deception.”
Her pertinacious tone startled Advisor Xu. He had thought Chen Rong would be afraid to offend the prince and him. He hadn’t known this young lady was fundamentally not afraid of offending anyone.
Hers was indeed a very infuriating personality.
Chen Rong hadn’t gone more than ten steps when a familiar laughter rang out in front of her. Forthwith, Chen Yuan and a few Chen scholars were seen walking out from the reception hall.
She stopped at the sight of them.
As he was laughing, Chen Yuan’s eyes turned to see Chen Rong. He stepped forward and gently inquired: “Have you come, Ah Rong?”
“Aye.” She looked up at him: “Where are you going, uncle?”
She was now pressing her lips together. Though her eyes were turning moist behind the veil, her voice was unyielding: “It can’t be that you’re planning to bring an unmarried lady like me to the prince’s estate and then readily leaves by yourself?”
Chen Yuan stiffened.
Seconds later, he scowled and snapped: “What nonsense are you speaking, Ah Rong? His Highness heard of your three predictions on the way here and is impressed by your extraordinary discernment. He calls you over to ask about the war. What a great honor this is! You’re an ill-advised girl.”
Ah Rong curtsied to him but obstinately insisted, “I only know that I am an unmarried lady. It is rather improper to expose myself in the estate in the presence of men.”
“Improper?” Chen Yuan scoffed and was about to say something but quickly closed his mouth.
He flapped his long sleeves and impatiently snapped: “That’s enough, His Highness has waited long enough. Go in.”
When he finished, he hurriedly walked away without waiting for Chen Rong to counter.
She watched his back but did not make any move.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
At this time, the two maids came up to her. Before they could speak, Chen Rong lowered her head and continued forward.
Advisor Xu led them east then west before they entered the hall through a side door next to a small pond.
Through a few side halls, the main hall appeared before Chen Rong’s eyes. While they were some distance away, a burst of fragrance had entered her nose; along with these scents was also an older man’s low and dull laughter.
Advisor Xu was smiling broadly by this time. His eyes had also recovered from Chen Rong’s body: “Go in, His Highness is inside.”
She slightly leaned and curtsied to Advisor Xu, saying: “If His Highness asks, please allow me to sit behind a screen.”
Advisor Xu scowled as he glared at Chen Rong. “Why are you so troublesome?” He turned to the two maids and shouted: “Take her in!”
At his order, each maid came to either side of Chen Rong and stared at her after their curtsies.
By now Chen Rong had composed herself. She unhappily said, “Do the people of the Prince’s Estate not understand etiquette?”
Advisor Xu was growing impatient. “It’s so chaotic that His Highness has thrown etiquette to the wind, else he wouldn’t be so muddled and absurd. Is that what you want to say?”
He was satisfied to see Chen Rong freeze on the spot, her small face aghast.
He chuckled and then actually reached his hand over, lightly brushing across her full bosom. “Go in, it can be bad if little girls are stubborn like this. You’ll only force men to use force on you.” When he finished, he placed his hand on Chen Rong’s back and pushed her into the hall.
Inside, four gossamer curtains were billowing in the wind, and the scent of ambergris was slowly rising from the incense burner in the corner.
Chen Rong raised her head and looked to the host seat.
Sure enough, a portly man was spreading his legs on the divan, on each of his sides was a splendidly dressed woman.
Chen Rong looked left and right and finally saw someone scribbling away in the corner on the right side.
She gave some thought and, without the maids’ urge, came forward, curtsied and said, “Good greetings, Your Royal Highness.”
“Ah Rong of the Chen house? Hehe, come here, come here.”
The Prince of Nan’yang pushed the two beauties away and hurriedly turned his head to watch Chen Rong with the pair of small eyes that was hidden behind fatty folds.
Chen Rong wrung her hands under her sleeves, pressed her lips, and took another step forward.
Just then, two figures entered the door.
They were two scholars carrying two thick stacks of documents. They both wore long robes, their faces rather somber.
Chen Rong relaxed.
They strode past her and went to sit in front of the prince’s seat. The man on the left pointed to a few of the letters and said, “Your Highness, these are the strategies the noblemen have drafted to resist the Hu.”
Another scholar opened a roll of silk manuscript, painted a few strokes onto it, and then turned toward Chen Rong: “Is this the young lady of the Chen house?”
“Aye,” Chen Rong respectfully bowed.
“Bring a seat and a screen for the young lady.”
“Miss, have a seat,” he said, indifferently glancing at Chen Rong.
Chen Rong lifted her soles, went around the screen and sat down.
Up until that moment, her heart was still secretly wondering: Could it be that the Prince of Nan’yang had really invited me to talk about the Hu?