Chapter 66: Trifled With
Chapter 66: Trifled With
This familiar man was too close, and he was using such a gentle, seductive, and ardent voice to tell her those words.
Chen Rong’s eyes reddened.
She swallowed her tears, pursed her lips and impetuously cried: “Of course I don’t want you to marry me!”
His warm breath gently blew over her pores and seeped into her body.
Chen Rong genuinely wanted to scream at him and rebuke his impudent teasing of a proper lady. Nonetheless, one look into his eyes was all that was needed for her tears to roll uncontrollably.
She promptly dropped her gaze, both of her hands pounding on his chest and pushing him away. Because she was putting in quite an effort, her entire face flushed red.
Ran Min slightly cocked his head, the corner of his mouth curving, as he amusedly looked at the girl who was refusing him with all her might. At last, he couldn’t help himself from laughing out loud.
He suddenly sat up.
It was too sudden that Chen Rong, who was trying her best to push him away, couldn’t have expected his action. As soon as he withdrew, she fell entirely forward into empty air and dropped off the carriage.
At that very moment, a pair of steely arms went around her, and just like that, Ran Min had picked her up and deposited her on his horse. He held her close, his face pressing against hers, as he gently admonished: “Why were you so careless? See, you would have fallen down had I not been agile. Wouldn’t it have been unsightly for a beautiful girl like you to get her face dirtied?”
His countenance was as gentle and considerate as one could ask it to be.
Unknowingly, more than two hundred soldiers had burst out laughing.
As she was held on horseback, Chen Rong got so indignant that her entire being choked for words. She trembled for a moment, found her voice, and hurried to say: “Let me go, let go me at once…”
“You really want me to let go?”
“Isn’t it obvious?!”
“Very well, I’ll do as you say.” Ran Min chuckled and let his hands go.
At the same time he let go, his right foot quietly gave the horse’s girth a kick.
The red stallion let out a long neigh and reared on its hind legs.
Chen Rong had just been freed at this time and was still struggling to jump down to the ground. She lost her balance from the horse’s sudden rearing and fell to the ground like a rolling mutt.
When Chen Rong began her journey, she was doubtlessly tidily dressed with proper garments and makeup; but now, a roll on the sandy ground had left her body as sooty as a monkey.
Caught off guard and with her face now to the ground, Chen Rong sat up and faced more than two hundred pairs of teasing eyes. Immediately, she also faced Ran Min’s mischievous gaze from his position on horseback.
Shame and anger gushed into her heart. She drew her lips into a tight line, her watery eyes fiercely glaring at him. Her eyes increasingly reddened as she stared, and finally when she couldn’t bear it any longer, she burst into tears. Following the first wail, she covered her face and hid behind her sleeves to sob.
Her suppressed grievance was rather difficult to watch.
Ran Min sighed and alighted from his horse. go to moc.824retsmah
He picked her up and pulled her into his arms. Recovering her face from her sleeves, he helped her wipe off the dirt as he sighed: “Hadn’t you even the grit to kill? Why, then, would you cry so sadly from a fall? I guess you’re a little girl, after all.”
He gave her two wipes, lifted her with his right arm and placed her onto his horse again.
Chen Rong hastened to squirm from his hold. She widened her reddened eyes, crying as she insisted: “I want to sit in my own carriage.” And then she twisted around and jumped down.
Once on the ground, Chen Rong dashed into her carriage and yanked the curtain down. Ran Min watched her rabbit-like actions with a helpless smile and shook his head. Just then, the curtain lifted again at a whoosh. Chen Rong raised her whip and placed the handle against his throat, growling fiercely: “Careful with your dishonest ways, Mister Ran, or don’t blame me when I make you an invalid!”
Her growl was both resounding as it was spirited – a rather vociferous threat.
And yet, her face still had traces of dirt and tears, and her entire body resembled a spotted kitten.
When they saw her image alongside her threatening action, and at the thought that she was pointing at none other than their invincible Heavenly Prince, all of the soldiers roared with laughter.
Chen Rong stopped to turn around. go to moc.824retsmah
When they saw her, the two hundred soldiers’ laughter boomed louder. And Chen Rong’s face, after a brief silence, was taken by boundless shame and agitation in place of the previous anger. She quickly shrank into the carriage and soon, her soft white hand stretched out to pull the curtain down again.
Ran Min, too, burst into laughter.
He leaped onto his fiery horse, waved his right hand and shouted: “Let’s go.”
The sandy smoke scattered anew. go to moc.824retsmah
Amid orderly and powerful footsteps, Ran Min rode near Chen Rong’s carriage and softly chuckled to her: “Little miss, you’ve let me hold and kiss you. Just marry me, eh?”
Chen Rong’s muffled voice came out as a low gnarl: “In your dreams.”
At her words, the soldiers laughed again.
Ran Min also laughed, saying: “Alright, I won’t tease you anymore.”
He went to the front of the queue, recovered his smile and demanded: “Any accomplices?”
The forbidding-looking Li Wei stepped out, clasped his hands and replied: “There are two, sir. They all gave the same answers when we questioned them.”
Ran Min nodded. “Kill them off.”
Li Wei hedged. “General, why don’t we tie them up and hand them to the Nan’yang nobles? That way, they’ll stop pointing their fingers at you.”
“I am a man,” Ran Min answered with a hardened expression. “Why must I care about the words of scoundrels? Besides, they’ll find excuses even if we hand them over.”
Li Wei mulled over his words, nodded, and spoke no more.
After half an hour of travel, Nan’yang was already in sight.
Chen Rong’s icy voice sounded from the carriage at this time: “General Ran, we’ve arrived in Nan’yang. Please allow me to leave ahead.”
Ran Min kept quiet. He turned and stared at the fluttering curtain and the vague silhouette behind it. At length, he smiled and said, “Even if you’re angry with me, you don’t have to speak to me in this tone.”
Replying him was Chen Rong’s emphatic harrumph.
Amused, Ran Min laughed and waved. “Go on, then.”
Chen Rong did not thanked him but instead shouted at her driver: “Drive a little faster.”
Stunned by the intimacy between his mistress and Ran Min, the poor boy only snapped awake at this time. He complied in a trance and drove the carriage forward.
Ran Min laughed out loud again as he watched Chen Rong’s carriage going away.
Chen Rong’s carriage blitzed through as it scattered smoke and dust into the air. By the time they were two miles from reaching the city gate, she told the driver to stop by a lake. They started again only after they had washed the blood stains from the carriage and horses.
Soon after they continued, smoke was seen billowing from the south. Thousands of men on horseback were galloping forth. Chen Rong saw two flying flags amid that smoke; one read “Min”, the other read “Sun”. Sun Yan had brought his troop to welcome Ran Min’s return.
Chen Rong knew that according to the rules, Sun Yan’s thousand-man team wouldn’t be following Ran Min into the city. He would only welcome him at the gate, report the situation at hand, and then bring his team back to the camp site outside of Nan’yang.
Chen Rong looked at the banner that read ‘Sun’ and bit her lips in hesitation. Ultimately, she did not tell her driver to stop… She was too embarrassed to see that dastard Ran Min again in the presence of Sun Yan.
Before long, her carriage reached the city walls. go to moc.824retsmah
Many prominent nobles were standing on both sides of the entrance at this time. They were speaking in pairs, playing the zither, or requesting songs and dances from the courtesans. The Chen house’s chief in particular, Chen Gongrang, was standing at the center of the gate, tilting his head in conversation with Sir Yu.
Chen Rong watched Chen Gongrang in his long robe, with his long beard and benevolent temperament, as she thought to herself: He won’t be stabbed to death this time, right?
Chen Gongrang had died in this incident in her previous life. After some contention, Chen Yuan had gained control of all of the Chen house’s affairs in Nan’yang. Without Chen Gongrang to restrict him, he had acted very selfishly and tyrannically. Chen Rong couldn’t imagine what would happen to her this time if Chen Yuan again took control of the entire Chen house in Nan’yang.
Chen Rong lifted the curtain and, at Chen Gongrang’s surprised eyes, entered the city.
Her carriage went straight into the Chen estate and to her courtyard.
Inside, Nurse Ping and Old Shang both came to greet her, along with Chen Qian, Chen Qi, and Chen Wei’s band. They were all shocked to see Chen Rong’s smeared face and dirty outfit. Chen Wei and the other girls rounded their eyes and started to snicker.
Chen Rong ignored them. She casually gave the crowd a curtsy and, without another word, went into her backyard and began washing up.
Chen Qian watched Chen Rong flee away before she turned to the driver and asked, “Hey, what happened to your mistress?”
The driver bowed, replying: “I’d drove badly and made the miss fall.”
“She has the worst luck,”Chen Qian snickered. “It’s fortunate that no noblemen saw her. It would’ve been a big joke otherwise.”
Not answering her, the driver brought the carriage to the backyard.
Chen Rong spent nearly an hour to wash herself. Once she came out, Chen Wei and the other girls had already left.
She sighed in relief and then walked to the hall with her head kept low.
Nonetheless, Nurse Ping and Old Shang now surrounded her.
Chen Rong raised her head as she came to face with her servants’ elated expressions. Nurse Ping came up to her, took her hands and said happily, “Miss, I heard from the young helper that General Ran has asked you to marry him?”
Standing nearby, Old Shang added with a beaming grin: “Miss, General Ran is a man of honor. You used to always praise him whenever you heard his name in Ping. How great it is that you can marry him now. What did I say? Our lady is blessed.”
Chen Rong’s expression was one of suffering.
She hadn’t replied by the time Nurse Ping suddenly put on the same pained look: “But what will we do about Wang Qilang?”