Chapter 97: Seeing Qilang Again
Chapter 97: Seeing Qilang Again
The people in the woods stopped talking.
Suddenly, Chen Sanlang’s laughter sounded: “Zhang Xiang, you’re a brave one for wanting to marry such a woman. Aren’t you worried that she would wash her face every day with her tears after she is married to you because she misses her old lover?” He laughed again, disdainfully saying: “But honestly speaking, your situation makes a good match with hers.”
Chen Rong whipped around upon hearing these word. She widened her eyes wanting to see the man behind the dense foliage. But how could she?
“I have faith that she wouldn’t agree to marry me if she was in love with another man,” replied Zhang Xiang’s steady and placid voice. “But once she agreed to marry me, then she would’ve thoroughly thought through her choices.”
Chen Sanlang laughed out loud. “You’re very generous.”
She heard more sloshing on the snow; the men were nearing her.
Eventually, Chen Sanlang’s voice sounded from a place only fifteen paces away from her: “All right, let’s not talk about women anymore. Zhang Xiang, ever since I was humiliated, I haven’t seen a single shadow of my old friends and acquaintances. Only you still come to see me. The ancients say true friends are the ones who stay with us through adversities. We weren’t that close, but you are unexpectedly the only reliable one when something went wrong.”
Zhang Xiang smiled.
They had walked to a lakeside path fifteen paces from where Chen Rong stood. The snow was calf-deep in this area, and the two men had to tread very slowly.
Chen Rong quietly took a peek. Read at h@mster 428.
On the left was Chen Sanlang. Accompanying him was a young man of eighteen or nineteen, with a rectangular face, even features, a dark complexion, and a pair of large dynamic eyes. He was also very tall. Although he was neither fair-skinned nor handsome, his straight posture and healthy glow overshadowed Chen Sanlang’s pallor that had resulted from excessive wine and women.
Chen Rong’s eyes moved to his clothes. He was also wearing a fox fur coat on this cold day. If one paid closer attention, however, one could see that there were signs of wear on his cuffs and collar.
He must be Zhang Xiang. His looks, his family background, as well as his temperament, all made him exactly the humble scholar she had been looking for!
Chen Rong’s eyes opened wide, looking at him and Chen Sanlang walking away. Only until they disappeared did she begin to go home herself.
The sky hadn’t cleared for half a day when snow began to fall again in the evening.
To the people of Nan’yang, the snow had been protection sent by the gods. For the time being, the apprehensive residents laughed once more. There was widespread music even in the Chen estate. Since early in the day, Chen Gongrang and his friends had taken courtesans on a snow rendezvous.
These things didn’t concern Chen Rong.
She spent the day thinking without success on how to find an opportunity to meet the scholar named Zhang Xiang. There was nothing she could do. Without her parents, as a young lady, she didn’t have any chance to meet people of the opposite sex.
After sighing for a while, Chen Rong decided to look for something to pass the time. She summoned Old Shang to take her to her stores.
As she lifted the curtain and stepped onto the vehicle, footsteps approached the yard. Suddenly, a maid called in, “Is Ah Rong home?”
“Aye,” replied Chen Rong, a little perplexed.
Four maids came in, leading them was the one who served Lady Ruan.
Not expecting Lady Ruan to be the one who would look for her, Chen Rong at once put her guard up while hopping down and asking: “What is it that my aunt wishes from me?”
The leading maid scornfully watched her careless action. She gave a cursory bow and then said, “There is a banquet at the Nan’yang Prince’s estate tonight. You are now famous in the city, Madam wants me to ask you to get ready so that you can attend on time.” Once she finished, she turned to go.
Chen Rong contemplated as she watched them leave.
Nurse Ping went up behind her and warily asked, “But miss, the Prince of Nan’yang…?”
Chen Rong shook her head, quietly saying: “They didn’t even try to pretend. There’s likely no deception.”
It was already late in the day. Seeing that there was now a banquet to attend, she would have to hurry in getting dressed.
It got dark two hours later but the night seemed brighter thanks to the snow.
From inside out, lanterns hung high, torches swayed in the wind.
Chen Rong’s carriage slowly began to exit the estate. She should have followed behind Chen Yuan, but after waiting to no avail, Chen Rong had to get into her carriage and set off on her own.
In the sky, thick snowflakes continued to float down. The lights ahead flickered through them.
Old Shang hollered a command at the horses, then asked Chen Rong: “Miss, we don’t have an invitation. It would be embarrassing to be denied at the door.”
Chen Rong lifted her curtain. While surveying the scene and road traffic, she replied, “If we were to be denied at the door, then Chen Yuan would also be embarrassed. Don’t worry.”
She looked around for a while and found that there were many carriages on the road. It appeared that the rich and famous were all in a hurry to get to the prince’s estate. It made Chen Rong greatly relieved.
She released the curtain and rested against the carriage wall.
At this time, the vehicle jolted and came to a stop.
She opened her eyes, sat up and asked, “What is it?”
“There’s a group of young ladies blocking the road ahead,” Old Shang replied.
Not waiting for Chen Rong to inquire again, women’s cheers and screams erupted.
Amid the deafening din, a girl cried in mesmerization: “Qilang, Qilang, if you have gone out then why don’t you reveal your face to us? Don’t intoxicate me with the wait.”
She had used ‘intoxicate’ rather ingeniously. A dozen women abruptly laughed. “Aye aye, please reveal your face and intoxicate us all.”
“Qilang, we never get to see you. If I can’t see your face today even with this encounter, then wouldn’t that be too cruel?”
“Qilang, let me see you.”
Amid the waves of laughter, Old Shang smilingly said, “Miss, Wang Qilang is here. His carriage is stopped by the young ladies.”
Chen Rong gave a hum in reply. She slowly raised the curtain and looked ahead.
At the same time, Wang Hong’s curtain also lifted. In the screaming, his handsome face and pure white appearance appeared in front of Chen Rong.
Snow continued to fall from the sky – the earth a vast expanse of white. Dressed in the same color, he smiled at the female congregation, and just like that, Chen Rong felt as though the most dazzling star from above had descended among them.
This was how he would always be. Regardless where and when, his appearance would always blind others into feeling that the world was as beautiful as a dream.
Chen Rong looked at him awhile and then lowered her gaze to wryly say: “How can I harbor feelings for a man made of jade and moonlight like him?”
She decisively pulled her curtain down and said to Old Shang: “Take another road.”
“Aye.” He drove the carriage into another path.
After half an hour, Chen Rong’s ride arrived outside of the prince’s estate.
The mansion was built in a very extravagant style. The walls were so high that the large marble exuded a majestic and impregnable aura against the snowy background.
Chen Rong glanced at the armed guards standing on both sides of the gate as she said to Old Shang: “Don’t dither, go on.”
They queued behind a dozen other carriages. By the time it was her turn, a quarter of an hour had passed.
A guard respectfully asked, “Which clan does the young lady belong to? Please present your name card.”
Old Shang pleasantly said, “My mistress has come with her uncle, but we’ve fallen behind…”
Not waiting for him to finish, the guard loudly shouted, “Name card!”
While Old Shang faltered, Chen Rong’s voice rose from inside, “Let us go home.”
Old Shang hedged. With everyone’s eyes looking at them, he chuckled again, turned and said to the guard, “We’re leaving, then.”
At this point, a young scholar walked up behind the guard and raised his voice to ask: “I see that this is one of the young ladies from the Chen estate. Is she Ah Rong of the Chen House?”
All around them was silent. Read at h@mster 428.
Chen Rong was surprised as well. Recognizing the familiarity in his voice, she quickly looked through the curtain slit and found that he was Chen Sanlang’s friend, Zhang Xiang. But how could he be in the prince’s estate?
Amid Chen Rong’s silence, Old Shang replied: “Aye, my mistress is Ah Rong of the Chen House.”
The guard stepped back and loudly said, “Ah Rong of the Chen House? Of coure she may come in. This way.”
Chen Rong lifted her curtain when Old Shang hollered at the horses. Wearing a blue and purple dress, the exquisitely beautiful girl appeared before everyone’s eyes.
Just as they looked at her in appraisal, Chen Rong’s eyes turned to Zhang Xiang. She smiled at him and was about to speak when she saw him turning his attention to something behind her.
The others did the same.
Chen Rong turned around in curiosity. She hadn’t seen the newcomer by the time a carriage drove up next to her. At the same time, a soothing voice like spring water said, “Ah Rong, you’re also here? Let’s go in together.” This was Wang Hong’s voice!
Chen Rong slowly looked up at him.
What she saw was his smiling handsome face.
At this moment, Zhang Xiang was standing sideways behind Wang Hong, both their faces simultaneously appearing in her view.
Zhang Xiang raised his head as he cast an admiring glance at Wang Hong. Chen Rong couldn’t help lamenting to herself: Next to this man, I fear all men will become as common as fowls and canines! At this thought, she withdrew her gaze.
No sooner had she turned her gaze back to Wang Hong than his charming voice teasingly rang by her ears: “Who were you looking at, Ah Rong? Your eyes twinkle like a thief’s!”