Chapter 64: Profane or No
Chapter 64: Profane or Not
“Miss, the master is here,” Old Shang called Chen Rong while she was stewing.
Chen Yuan? Almost as a reflex, Chen Rong’s hand reached for the whip hanging on the wall. She took a deep breath, tightened her grip on the whip before releasing it, and then turned around to go outside. “Ask him to wait a moment. I’ll be there right away.”
By the time Chen Rong got to the door, she could hear voices inside. It was clear to her that they belonged to the father and daughter pair of Chen Yuan and Chen Wei.
She paused, and then went forth with heavy stomps.
The laughter in the room ceased. Chen Yuan looked up and solemnly appraised Chen Rong when she appeared at the door. He waved his hand, gently saying: “Ah Rong, come sit here.”
Chen Rong curtsied to him, replying: “Aye.” She slowly walked over to the chair Chen Yuan had pointed to and sat down across from him.
After he saw her sit down, Chen Yuan released the wine cup and regarded her as he sternly said, “Ah Rong, I heard Wang Qilang, Wang Hong, had sent clothing and jade to you this morning.”
“Aye,” Chen Rong replied dutifully.
“Oh? What is your relationship with him, anyhow?”
He paused and, when he didn’t see Chen Rong reply, frowningly continued. “Ah Rong, you’re an unwed lady. It does your name great harm to be traipsing around so intimately with a man.”
Chen Rong kept her head lowered. Under her loose sleeve, her right hand was clenching into a fist. She had a brief impulse to throw out a punch. Luckily, she was able to refrain herself.
Chen Yuan’s expression softened seeing that she did not talk back. He sighed and then said in a somber voice as though he was lamenting: “Even though the Prince of Nan’yang had brought you into his estate, it had been for your foresight; it poses no harm to your reputation. You are, however, on too intimate terms with Wang Qilang.” He shook his head, looking quite torn. “Considering your status, it is not possible for you to become his wife; but to be his concubine would be a pity for you.”
Chen Rong secretly sneered at these words. Is it because his actions had ruined your plans? It’s wrong for me to be his concubine, but I’m sure it would be great if I became someone else’s concubine!
Seeing that it was the third time she hadn’t replied and was being as quiet as a piece of wood, Chen Yuan again shook his head. He waved his hand, saying: “Now that you have Wang Qilang’s jade ornament, you should visit the Wang estate more often. When there’s a chance, invite Wang Qilang to our home as well.” He knitted his brow, barking: “Have you been listening to what I’m saying?”
Chen Yuan harrumphed, stood up, and turned to leave. He abruptly stopped and turned back to Chen Rong. Her demure and honest appearance was still all he saw. Chen Yuan moved his gaze and hurried away.
Chen Wei hurriedly got up and also followed him out.
After Chen Yuan had left Chen Rong’s courtyard, he dismissed his carriage and took a stroll for he was still feeling a little agitated.
Having walked around for half an hour, he next came to a garden where the sound of laughter could be heard ringing out. He adopted a smile and, from the distance, called out to a middle-aged scholar who was sitting in the pavilion to fish in the cold weather: “Elder brother.”
This scholar was Chen Gongrang. go to hamster428
Upon hearing his name, Chen Gongrang raised his head, but when he saw that it was Chen Yuan, his face hardened and he averted his gaze.
Chen Yuan’s expression sank. He sheepishly glanced at the nearby maids and again offered Chen Gongrang a smile.
Still staring at the lake, Chen Gongrang suddenly asked, “Did you go to see Ah Rong again? Who are you preparing to give her to this time?”
Rattled, Chen Yuan stammered with the same smile on his face: “Elder brother, what are you saying? She is of marriageable age. Since her father isn’t here, I ought to be looking out for her.”
Chen Gongrang frowned. “There’s no need to tell me this.”
Chen Yuan quickly complied. Seeing that Chen Gongrang was looking rather displeased, he couldn’t help himself from saying: “Brother, why let our relationship be affected by a lass?” He muttered when Chen Gongrang did not bother to give him a glance: “Even that Wang Qi turns out to be nothing more than a vulgar man. He was taking five courtesans around with him even in these turbulent times. Those who told me about it were all shaking their heads. Now they are saying that Lang’ya Wang Qi is but common and profane. Giving beautiful women to the Prince of Nan’yang – his action belies his reputation.” There was disdain in his voice.
Chen Gongrang slowly looked up. He spared Chen Yuan a glance as Chen Yuan had hoped for. But it was one of distaste. “Those five women didn’t belong to Wang Qi,” Chen Gongrang unhurriedly stated.
“Oh?” Chen Yuan took no notice of the distaste, asking in surprise: “I heard those five women are so uncommonly stunning that even the Prince of Nan’yang treats them like precious treasures. If such women didn’t belong to Wang Qi, then who could they possibly belong to?”
“There were a few others from the Wang house of Lang’ya who came here, weren’t there? They had been his uncle’s, Wang Zishi.” Chen Gongrang chuckled despite himself: “I must say it was quite funny an affair. Wang Qi had hurried back to the Wang estate the moment he returned last night. Wang Zishi was out on a lake excursion with me at the time. Without so much as a word, Wang Qi took Wang Zishi’s five prized courtesans away. When Wang Zishi returned and asked about them, he was told that they had been given away to the Prince of Nan’yang. Wang Zishi was cursing up a storm, seizing Wang Qi and asking for recompense. Hahaha.”
Chen Yuan stiffened. He forced a smile on his lips and struggled to say: “So those five women weren’t Wang Qilang’s.” His voice was full of disappointment.
Chen Gongrang turned to look at him. He was also giving him a look that was full of disappointment. Chen Gongrang sighed, seemingly spent of his patience. He waved his hand, saying: “Leave, it makes me ill every time I see you.”
Chen Yuan’s smile froze on his face. He harrumphed, flapped his sleeves, and turned away.
He had only gone seven or eight strides by the time Chen Gongrang’s voice sounded behind him: “Let’s not count the daughter you’ve used to pay for the mess you’ve created, you even want to give Ah Rong away. Ah Rong is just a lass; it shouldn’t have mattered if she was given away. However, you clearly knew Wang Qilang and General Sun both hold her in high regard. Not only have you failed to steal the chicken, but you’ve also lost your feeds in the process. You’ve offended everyone yet have you succeeded in pleasing the prince?”
At this juncture, Chen Gongrang’s voice clipped low: “No one knows when the barbarians will attack Nan’yang. For all that you’ve planned and schemed, it may not amount to anything.”
These were words Chen Yuan didn’t want to hear. Luo’yang and Nan’yang were so far apart; he didn’t believe that the trivial Hu force couldn’t be stopped with the Prince of Nanyang’s military strength! Even if the Prince of Nan’yang were to be met with danger, wasn’t Jiankang still there? Advisor Xu had promised that he would help him settle in Jiankang. At this thought, Chen Yuan’s pace quickened and, in a flash, had left the incessantly nagging Chen Gongrang behind him.