Chapter 67: A Sharpened Blade for the Wolf
Chen Rong glowered. “No one is allowed to mention this again,” she unhappily blurted.
Her servants stopped.
Glaring at the young driver, Chen Rong angrily repeated: “You’re to never speak of this matter again. Remember well: nothing had happened today!”
Still a little frightened by her, the young helper was quick to agree. Nurse Ping, however, hastily asked, “Why? General Ran is the only man who doesn’t place so much importance on social standing like other nobles. He’ll be able to marry you. If you let him go, then what will you do?”
Chen Rong’s eyes glowed red. She stubbornly pursed her lips and stood her ground. “Even if I stay unmarried for the rest of my life, I will not marry this man.”
And then she turned and walked back into her room.
“Miss,” Old Shang called after her, “the clan won’t let you stay unmarried. It’s much worse to be someone else’s concubine than to be General Ran’s wife.”
Answering Old Shang was a slamming door.
Chen Rong locked herself inside all the way till the afternoon when she heard waves of laughter coming from the streets.
After listening for a while, she couldn’t help calling from behind the door: “Nurse.”
At length, Nurse Ping answered: “I’m here, I’m here. What is it, miss?”
Chen Rong tilted her head looking beyond the silk screens. “What’s going on out there? Why is it so raucous?”
Nurse Ping had watched her grow up and knew curiosity was nibbing at her. She said helplessly, “If you want to know, why don’t you go to take a look, miss?”
Chen Rong didn’t say a word. go to hamster428
Nurse Ping had to tell her: “Well, General Ran brought two hundred soldiers to Nan’yang. Everyone is overjoyed for they think that he had really come to protect the city.”
Chen Rong gave a hum.
Seeing her again quiet, Nurse Ping walked over and cautiously asked, “Miss, you hadn’t eaten breakfast. It’s past noon now. Are you hungry? Would you like to come out?”
Chen Rong didn’t answer.
“I don’t know who you are angry with that you won’t even eat,” the nurse muttered. “Really… you’re being more childish as you get older.”
The door suddenly opened and Chen Rong swept out like the wind. Her hands were even gleaming!
Nurse Ping gave a jump. “Miss, what are you doing?” she nervously called after her.
Chen Rong went to the backyard without turning around, shouting: “Sharpening my dagger!”
Stunned, Nurse Ping watched her with a silly look and sighed in relief. She had thought that her mistress was going to kill someone. She next shook her head, increasingly uncertain of what was in her mistress’s mind these days.
Another day passed by in the blink of an eye. go to moc.824retsmah
By eventide, Chen Rong was squatting beside a well as she repeated over and over to her reflection in the water: “You can’t cry! Do you hear me? You’re not allowed to cry next time you see him!” She forced her eyes to open wide and, by the time she saw her reflection looking determined and without a single tear, she raised her head in satisfaction.
Just then, a servant’s call reached her: “Miss, General Sun is here.”
What? Sun Yan is here? go to moc.824retsmah
Chen Rong happily rushed out. After few steps, she remembered that she was still holding a dagger in her hand and promptly tossed it behind her.
By the time Chen Rong got to the door, a handsome boy in golden armor was seen striding inside under the brilliant sunset.
The pair saw each other at the same time and promptly broke into a smile.
After Sun Yan regarded her from head to toe, fury emerged on his fair face. “Sorry Ah Rong, I couldn’t help you kill that old pervert,” he ground out.
His eyes were apologetic. The entire city was talking about Chen Rong’s two-night stay at the prince’s estate. Outsiders either said she had slept with the Nan’yang Prince or they said she had slept with Wang Qilang. In short, her name was as good as ruined.
Chen Rong repeatedly shook her head and a put on a wry smile. “You’d done what you could.”
She gratefully looked at the boy who had, for her, almost directly opposed the Prince of Nan’yang. In this world, there were not many who were as good to her as he was.
Sun Yan patted the sword on his hip and strode inside. “That old fart. Fuck, if I hadn’t worried that the Hu would attack Nan’yang, I wouldn’t have spared him face.”
He went to the stone table underneath a tree, reached for the bottle of wine Chen Rong had drunk from, and threw his head back for a swig. Chen Rong was about to remind him when she saw that he had finished, so she in turn closed her mouth.
Sun Yan sat down, patted the spot next to him, and called Chen Rong: “What are you standing there for? Come here and have a talk with me.”
Chen Rong quickly went over. go to moc.824retsmah
After they sat down across from each other, Chen Rong concernedly looked at him and asked, “Didn’t you move out of the city? Why have you come back in?”
Sun Yan poured a drink, picked up a piece of pastry and threw it into his mouth. He mumbled as he chewed: “The troops are still outside, only I can come in.”
He looked up and took another gulp of wine, then casually inquired after her. “But enough about me. What about you? How are you doing? What happened that day anyway? When I saw General Wen that day, he said you had released sky lanterns. Your name and Wang Hong’s name were also written on them in Hu script. I was fearful for you when I heard that you were at the prince’s estate and immediately thought that you were in danger. If not, you wouldn’t have risked alarming others by releasing those sky lanterns and writing Hu script.”
He pounded the cup onto the table, stared at Chen Rong and indignantly said, “Why did you write Wang Hong’s name? Why didn’t you write my name? Dammit, even if I couldn’t have saved you, I could’ve looked for Wang Hong like I had!”
Chen Rong watched the young boy huffing and puffing and couldn’t help smiling despite herself.
Upon seeing her smile, Sun Yan came to realize that his words were quite irrational and he therefore glumly lowered his head.
Chen Rong had wanted to talk to him about this matter. Now that he took the lead in mentioning it, she cleared her throat and began to speak.
Sun Yan’s face darkened. He slapped the stone table and growled: “I can’t believe Chen Yuan is that kind of a person!”
He raised his head worriedly. “When will your father and brother come to Nan’yang? Or… should I find a way to bring you to Jiankang? You’ll get into trouble sooner or later under this man’s custody.”
My father and brother in Jiankang? go to hamster428
Chen Rong smiled wistfully and shook her head.
Sun Yan studied her and, when he saw that she had seemed sad, a thought came to him which made him smile wryly: “Your name is as good as destroyed by the Prince of Nan’yang and Wang Hong. Or else, I could go ahead without the approval of my family and marry you.”
Chen Rong’s head was bowed in silence. She naturally understood Sun Yan’s meaning. Although the boy was footloose, he was after all a direct descendant of the Sun house in Jiangdong. Even if his parents were no longer by his side, he couldn’t arrange himself a marriage that would bring dishonor to his family and ancestors. For him to marry someone with a ruined name like her, he’d first need to win his family’s consent.
At this thought, Chen Rong couldn’t help but to be angry with Wang Qilang.
She pursed her lips and fumed: “You’re all a bad lot!”
Sun Yan was bemused by her words. “I’m a man of honor,” he claimed. “And so is General Ran!”
Just then, a woman’s voice came: “Is Ah Rong in? Jiejie has come to see you.”
It was Chen Wei’s voice. go to moc.824retsmah
“Ah Yan, leave for now,” Chen Rong immediately said to Sun Yan. “My cousins are the most troublesome.”
Sun Yan nodded, stood up, and turned around to go.
He had just gotten to the gate by the time Chen Wei gracefully came in.
She paused at the sudden meeting with Sun Yan, then glanced at Chen Rong in jealousy before turning to give him a curtsy. “Good greetings, General Sun,” she sweetly said.
Sun Yan snorted, flapped his sleeves, and went out the door without any concern for her.
Chen Wei froze at being snubbed. She turned to watch Sun Yan’s departing back while, slowly, her face grew ugly.
But in mere seconds, Chen Wei forced a smile on her lips and turned to her cousin. “Ah Rong.”
Chen Rong curtsied and smilingly said, “Jiejie, have a seat.”
Chen Wei nodded. She walked over, asking: “Did General Sun come to see you? How kind of him.” Here, she maliciously added: “Did he know you had stayed at the prince’s estate?”
Upon hearing these words, Chen Rong’s face couldn’t help but darken.
Chen Wei felt slightly regretful the moment her words left her mouth. When she saw Chen Rong’s sullen face, she quickly offered a smile. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have said that.”
Chen Rong lowered her head in acceptance of her apology. “I know you didn’t mean anything by it. Jiejie, you’re my guest, please have a seat.”
Chen Wei took the seat Sun Yan had vacated. She reached to accept the wine cup, her thin and pale fingers stroking it, but she did not talk.
Seeing so, Chen Rong looked at her with some surprise. She deliberately did not ask when she saw her being bashful.
“Ah Rong,” Chen Wei softly said some time later.
Chen Rong’s tone sounded somewhat indifferent.
Chen Wei didn’t notice it, however. She was apparently too distracted, as she was constantly stroking her cup. At length, she finally asked, “You said last time that General Ran disliked women who aren’t frank. Did you mean it?”
Sure enough, she has come for him.
Chen Rong smirked, casually replying: “Aye.”
Chen Wei looked up.
Her face was blushing and her eyes were bright. Her entire being exuded joy and excitement, and even nervousness. She hastened to ask: “Ah Rong, did you know that General Ran has returned to Nan’yang?”
Chen Rong nodded in reply. “So I’ve heard from the servants.”
Chen Wei lit up, happily saying: “Yes, it’s true, the entire city of Nan’yang is talking about him right now. Even the servants who never leave the house know his name. This time, he only brought two hundred soldiers back. Chen Gongrang said it was evidence enough that General Ran truly wants to protect the Hans and this city.”
At this juncture, she bit her lower lip and shyly smiled. Wringing her skirt, she said, “Father says he’ll host another banquet in honor of the general. He also says he’ll bring up the wedding so that General Ran can officially marry me.”
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