Chapter 77: Young Lover
Chapter 77: Young Lover
His warm breath wormed its way from Chen Rong’s ear into her heart, bringing with it a grassy scent that seemed to dissolve her.
Her legs buckled. Ashamed and angry, she watched the mayor of Mo’yang walking away as she took a quick inhale to bark at Wang Hong: “Let me go!”
She elbowed him when he did not comply and again told him to let her go after he gave a grunt.
Wang Hong slightly squinted his eyes at her while clutching his stomach. Then, he raised a lock of her hair to his nose and took a whiff.
He was about to say something when, below the walls, thundering drums drowned out all other sounds and brought with them a deadly air.
Wang Hong gently took hold of Chen Rong’s hand. “I had thought that Ah Rong wasn’t afraid of death,” he said to her with a smile. “It’s all right, don’t be afraid,” he next told her, his voice having softened like mellow spring.
Startled, Chen Rong quickly broke away and turned her head from him.
She saw the Hu slowly retreating to the sides below the walls like a receding tide, making a clear path.
A masked general appeared in the open space. Behind him, a powerful army ceremoniously knelt down on either of his sides.
All Chen Rong could see was rows upon rows of soldiers. Her heart suddenly sank. She placed her hand over her chest and found it the only way she could bring her rampantly pounding heart back down. It certainly appeared that these Hu were united as one! Were the so-called flaws in the past still really there?
At this time, Wang Hong’s light voice sounded beside her: “He is Murong Ke, the Xianbei’s God of War.”
When he didn’t hear Chen Rong’s response, he couldn’t help but turn around.
He was made to see Chen Rong’s ashen face, empty eyes, and lips that were tightly drawn into a line. Down below, the Hu soldiers rose to their feet at Murong Ke’s wave of the hand.
The Xianbei general gazed up at the walls, his eyes translucent behind his mask.
No matter where he was or how many people were around, Wang Hong always seemed to attract attention with ease. Murong Ke only needed to shift his gaze before he found him.
Meanwhile, Chen Rong cast a glance to see that Wang Hong was also looking down at Murong Ke with a smile.
This strange smile was entirely different from his usually nonchalant and gentle expression. It has seemed threatening to her.
Nobody knew whether Murong Ke had seen Wang Hong’s expression. He merely looked up and quietly appraised the man who stood like an unmoving pine in the wind, as airy as a celestial being.
After a while, Murong Ke withdrew his gaze, waved his hand and whispered something to his generals. They spoke quietly and at a far distance that no one could really hear what they said.
“Let’s go,” said Wang Hong at this point.
He flapped his sleeves and took the lead to descend the fortress wall.
Chen Rong briefly dithered before picking up her pace to follow him.
She blindly followed him with her head down as she tried to recall the details she had heard in the past.
Wang Hong stayed ahead and did not say anything.
At length, the beating of drums sounded.
Chen Rong looked up.
She only now realized she had followed him to the streets in town. Mo’yang was surprisingly quiet at present. Even when they saw the occasional pedestrians, these people’s faces would be clouded by restlessness as they hurriedly came and went on the streets that were guarded by marching soldiers.
Chen Rong gave the surroundings a scan before turning her attention back to Wang Hong.
He was still walking in front of her.
In the bright daylight and at such a perilous time, his figure remained straight and tall, clothed entirely in white and enveloped by an air of transcendent unworldliness.
Chen Rong watched him, her lips quivering.
Wang Hong chose this moment to turn around.
His eyes were exceedingly transparent under the sun. He looked at Chen Rong and said with a faint smile, “You’ve been preoccupied ever since we met again. May I know what it is that’s on your mind?”
Chen Rong didn’t have a chance to open her mouth. A burst of rapid hooves was fast approaching them.
“Wang Qilang!” a loud cry woke Chen Rong from her reverie.
A young captain was galloping forth. After he pulled his horse to an urgent stop, he raised his clasped hands toward Wang Hong and relayed: “Sun Yan is looking for you.”
He glanced at Chen Rong who stood next to Wang Hong. Almost at once, he frowned and ironically smiled: “Only you scholars would still be traipsing around with a lover boy at a time like this.”
As soon as these words were said, Wang Hong heard a sharp draw of breath next to him.
He slightly tilted his head.
At his side, Chen Rong’s face had reddened. She shot daggers at the young captain and eventually drew her lips into a tight line.
Wang Hong outstretched his hand to lightly press a slender finger on Chen Rong’s lips.
After successfully stiffening her, he turned around, smiled at the young captain and replied, “We should go, in that case.”
When he finished, he was the first to leave.
The captain alighted from his horse, caught up to him and said, “Murong Ke is here. Qilang, do you think he’ll begin the attack tonight?”
From the front, Wang Hong’s airy voice sounded: “Tonight? He won’t.”
He sounded rather certain.
“Why not?” asked the young captain in surprise.
They talked as they walked, going farther and farther until their figures disappeared around the corner. Only then did Chen Rong stomp on the ground in vexation and made a sound, flushing and gnashing her teeth all the while. But her voice was small and vague, and never did form a complete sentence.
After fuming for a time, Chen Rong turned around.
She kept her head down while limply walking back to the mayor’s estate.
She had scarcely entered the front door when she heard Old Shang’s voice: “Miss.”
Worry was apparent on his face. “Miss, you and Wang Qilang…” he began. He then sighed and murmured: “The city will soon fall. There are only a few more days for indulgences. If you like him, then do as you please.”
Chen Rong didn’t expect to hear such a suggestion from the ever old-fashioned and loyal Old Shang.
She was so infuriated that her small face flamed red. She opened her mouth to curse, but then closed it up, flapped her sleeves, and whipped around to go inside.
She stopped after five paces, whirled back and shouted at Old Shang: “Prepare the carriage. I’m going to see General Sun.”