Chapter 59: Attending the Banque
Chapter 59: Attending the Banquet
Sir Yu had been invited.
He silently stared at the Hu script on the sky lantern for a length.
The middle-aged general frowned and asked, “Sir Yu, what does this say?”
Sir Yu looked up at him, pointed to the words and replied, “This means Wang, this means Hong.”
“Wang Hong? Does it really say Wang Hong?” exclaimed the general.
Sir Gong nodded. “There are two other words on the back: Ah Rong. It’s also someone’s name. General Wen, the two sides join together to make four words: Wang Hong, Ah Rong. They’re both names.”
General Wen went blank as he murmured: “Wang Qilang? This is related to Wang Qilang?”
A change came over his expression. After a long while, he deeply bowed toward Sir Yu and asked, “Sir, how do you think this matter should be dealt with?”
Sir Yu turned a supercilious eye and answered him: “What’s the big deal? Just give these lanterns to Wang Qilang.”
Detecting hesitation from General Wen, he continued: “You must stay composed when you work with Wang Qilang’s personality.” He then paused and sighed: “But Wang Qilang is not in Nan’yang at present. You’ll have to wait two more days to see him.”
General Wen nodded, laughed and said, “Since these sky lanterns mention Wang Qilang, they must not have anything to do with the Hu. We’ll wait two days, then.” He laughed heartily though uncertainty was still heard in his voice.
Sir Yu nodded, said no more, and bowed to take his leave.
At the prince’s estate.
Another night passed.
Chen Rong had spent an entire night floating sky lanterns. When she at last fell asleep due to exhaustion, in addition to the sky lanterns, she also saw the man she had drawn glowing in her dream.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
Early next morning, Chen Rong woke up to a burst of chirping.
With the help of the two maids, she groomed herself and began her day’s routine of playing “Lament of the Scholar”. Fortunately, it was a tolerable piece, else even if she could stand playing it day after day like this, the two maids and nearby women would not be able to bear it.
The afternoon quickly came.
Exhausted from playing, Chen Rong went back to her divan and took a nap. At this moment, the young maid’s voice called from outside: “Miss, are you awake? His Highness has sent someone to invite you to a banquet!”
Chen Rong was awakened from her dream. She sat up staring at the door, asking: “A banquet?”
“Aye,” the young maid answered. “He says for you to freshen up well so that you can attend dinner in half an hour.”
Chen Rong very slowly extended her sleeves. After wiping the sweat on her brows, she blinked and said in lowered voice: “Prepare warm water.”
“Aye,” the maid answered after a brief silence.
Even at the prince’s estate, not every house had a washroom. Besides, Chen Rong’s status was not entitled to such luxury.
The two maids swiftly boiled water and filled a large barrel with it.
Behind the veil of steam, Chen Rong watched her rippling reflection in the water.
The two maids stood on either side but did not urge her when they saw her hesitate.
A while later, Chen Rong opened her arms and said, “Undress me.”
Almost half an hour had lapsed by the time Chen Rong finished washing, combing, and simply putting on a gown.
At the main compound, reed music and songs drifted out. Even from a distance away, she could smell the powder and perfume wafting in the wind.
“Let’s go.” Chen Rong picked up her pace.
The two maids exchanged looks. The younger one bowed her head, curtsied and said, “Miss, please leave behind the hairpin.”
Chen Rong stared at them, smiled coldly, and merely reiterated: “Let’s go.”
She then flapped her sleeves and turned to go.
The maidservants watched her leaving back. “What should we do?” the younger one whispered.
The older shook her head and said, “Pretend like we don’t know. We’ll follow her.”
Twilight was approaching by this time.
The western horizon blazed red with brightly dyed clouds. As she looked to the sky, Chen Rong’s stiff pace began to relax.
Many young and beautiful girls came to attend dinner. But the beauties all without fail turned to look at Chen Rong when they saw her.
Chen Rong had been painstakingly dressed up by the two maids. She had a fine figured to begin with, coupled with the outfit that complemented her skin color and body, she could be said to be so luminous that she overshadowed all those standing around.
Facing the girls’ stunned eyes, she flapped her sleeves and pained herself with the tightening of her grip on the hairpin.
Chen Rong left the west wing.
Walking down the path that led to the main compound, the scents of cosmetics and sound of music gave forth a sense of prosperity. Chen Rong watched the steady stream of beauties as she suddenly thought: Does someone like the Prince of Nan’yang really deserve Ran Min and his men’s protection at the risk of their lives?
This idea only lasted a moment, for she was instantly reminded of the fate of everyone in the city should Nan’yang fell. She shook off the disgust in her heart and went on.
To go from the west courtyard to the main compound only took a few hundred steps. Even if Chen Rong did not ride in a carriage and was moseying very slowly, she arrived within half an hour.
Standing in the yard and watching the brightly lit hall, Chen Rong took a deep breath and strode inside.
The prince’s estate was different from other estates in that whether a woman had status or not, as long as she came to attend a banquet, she would be coming in from the main entrance.
By the time Chen Rong stepped into the hall, in front of her was already a myriad of beautiful women while behind her were still many more.
In front of the hall, the Prince of Nan’yang and his dozen subordinates were sitting on the main divan, sipping wine in enjoyment. With the help of music, they delighted in the scene of beautiful women lightly streaming in.