Chapter 112: My Dear Sir, You Haven’t Changed
Chapter 112: My Dear Sir, You Haven’t Changed
At this despairing juncture, Chen Sanlang burst into tears and continued to drunkenly blabber on.
A few questions later and after finding that she could not retrieve much information from him, Chen Rong then saw several servants hastening over. The nobility had always, for hundreds of years, followed the golden rule of not disclosing their dirty laundry. Were the sky to fall down, appearances must still be kept in front of outsiders. Those servants must be rushing over for the reason that they feared Chen Sanlang would spout nonsense in his drunken stupor.
She got up and whispered to the restaurant owner, “Uncle, can I trouble you to help him out and take him to his servants?”
He was more than willing to be troubled, having received the gold leaves earlier.
By the time they reached the door, several men had arrived to retrieve Chen Sanlang. They turned to look at Chen Rong but she had, at this point, retreated to a corner where they could not make out her blurry face and vague figure.
Ran Min chuckled as he watched them leave. “Missy, did you get your wish?”
Chen Rong turned around, curtsied to him and happily replied, “Indeed, I did.” Chen Yuan had offended the Wang House of Lang’ya as well as the Prince of Nan’yang. He now could neither thrive in Jiankang nor Nan’yang.
And if Chen Yuan had fallen, then Chen Sanlang and Chen Wei both would lose their worth. Even Lady Ruan might find it difficult to remain in aristocratic society.
Chen Rong did not hide her satisfaction when she next faintly smiled.
Ran Min quietly watched her and again smirked from the shadows.
Noises stirred at this time.
There were shouts of cheer along with female squeals, rare as they were amid the city’s ongoing anxiety.
Ran Min raised his head while Chen Rong tottered to the door.
A horse-drawn carriage appeared on the street ahead.
Chen Rong stilled, and then broke into a slow smile.
Young men and women were surrounding the carriage. In the midst of their merry laughter, she heard Chen Qi exclaiming: “Qilang, Qilang, I know the barbarians’ siege has nothing to do with you. You mustn’t pay heed to what people say.”
Another young lady sweetly voiced: “With Qilang here, Nan’yang has nothing to worry about.”
“What can a mere Murong Ke do,” a lad joined them, “when the Wang House in Lang’ya has innumerable troops?”
Comforting words ensued, all of them cheerful exclamations. As she watched the crowd’s ebullient faces, Chen Rong realized they truly believed in Wang Hong’s ability to avert the crisis.
At this time, Ran Min’s deep voice sounded behind her: “Uncle, even you don’t have any grievances towards Lang’ya Wang Qi?”
The restaurant owner good-naturedly replied, “All the scholars say Wang Qilang is reliable, so I reckon he must be.”
Upon hearing his words, Ran Min sighed in frustration. “Just because he’s Lang’ya Wang Qi? A world-renowned reputation, indeed!”
Chen Rong was still scanning the area.
She gazed through a sea of heads and colorful robes and dresses to find the man sitting inside the carriage.
As the vehicle moved, she occasionally caught a glimpse of his unclouded and lofty eyes. Even now, they were smiling ever so gently and serenely… His composure and nonchalance made his impending battle appear as if it was nothing more than a dinner banquet.
Eyes that could soothe others, that could make them smile along. Lulled into serenity herself, Chen Rong also unconsciously smiled as she sang, “Does the gentleman know of tranquil days.”
It was a very simple line and she had sang very offhandedly, yet her smiling eyes had begun to moisten.
At this time, the man inside the carriage suddenly turned to look in her direction.
Chen Rong started and retracted her head.
Merely casting a glance, however, he also withdrew his gaze and did not look towards her any longer.
Chen Rong heaved in relief, but at the same time, tasted something like bitterness in her mouth.
Clenching her teeth, she forced on a smile, determinedly turned around and walked back to the restaurant.
In a corner, the stalwart figure was looking up at the ceiling beams. Desolation and timeworn vicissitudes cast a shadow over his handsome face.
Chen Rong lowered her head, walked over and slowly sat down next to him.
She dropped her gaze to quietly stare at her own hands. Her eyes were glazed over, her mind elsewhere.
It was strikingly silent inside the restaurant .
Outside, noisy laughter merrily rang on.
Wang Hong at this moment spoke up from his carriage.
At once, the vehicle accelerated.
The encircling crowd automatically gave way. The youngsters retreated and made no more sound as they watched Wang Hong’s carriage dash ahead. They knew that Qilang must have many things to attend to, and that they must not distract him.
This translation belongs to hamster428
The carriage dashed to the restaurant.
Behind the curtain, the young man turned his head and carelessly glanced at the store. “Muzi.”
A young guard of twenty rode over. “Aye, master?”
The corner of Wang Hong’s mouth curved to speak in an amused voice, “Send someone to check that restaurant out. Be quick but also thorough; they may try to hide from you.”
“Aye,” replied the guard before riding back.
No sooner had Wang Hong’s carriage left than Ran Min stood up to leave. He pushed down on his straw hat and ordered, “Let’s go.”
Chen Rong also pushed down on her hat and followed him out.
They had not reached the door when she suddenly stopped to exclaim: “It’s Old Shang!”
A carriage was heading this way, and who else could the elderly driver be but Old Shang?
Ran Min glanced at Chen Rong, who was expectantly watching him, but he did not stop.
Chen Rong rasped for breath even though she continued to follow him. Nonetheless, she kept turning around to look at Old Shang’s carriage.
The two of them came to an intersection.
Ran Min stopped. Chen Rong looked only to see him stand with his hands clasped behind his back, straight and tall, and quiet.
Meanwhile, Old Shang’s carriage was fast approaching.
Chen Rong suddenly understood his intention.
She stepped out and called in her clear voice: “Old Shang!”
Old Shang quickly looked up upon her call.
He detected her right away. Although she was donning a lad’s outfit, and wearing a hat, Old Shang only needed a glance to know that she was his mistress.
His eyes immediately reddened. His cracked lips quivered, wanting to call her name.
“Don’t give me away,” she said.
There were few people on this part of the street. Even so, Chen Rong had lowered her voice when she spoke. Old Shang quickly sobered at her words. He raised his sleeves and wiped his tears that had begun to unknowingly spill.
Just as he reached her, a figure appeared next to Chen Rong. It was Ran Min. Without waiting for Old Shang to park, he had lifted the curtain and jumped up.
Chen Rong had not reacted by the time Ran Min reached out from the carriage and pulled her up by the arm.
He was so swift that he likewise gave Old Shang no time to react before Chen Rong’s eager voice reached him: “Old Shang, quick, tell me, how are things in the estate? How are all of you doing?”
Her retainer collected himself and answered: “Aye. The estate’s in a bit of a plight.”
“Chen Yuan, who else. I heard he botched some major business for the Nan’yang Prince and the Ruan family, angering both of them. The Prince had killed Lady Li’s brother out of rage and wanted to kill Chen Yuan as well. Chen Yuan had divorced his lesser madam in panic and gone to kneel in front of Chen Gongrang in a blubbering mess before he could be pardoned from death.”
Old Shang looked around and closed his mouth when he saw someone. Some time later when they got to a quiet place, he continued: “Ah Wei does nothing but cry these days. Lady Ruan’s family had announced that their ties are no more. Chen Yuan and his wife are locking themselves behind closed doors. You don’t know how bad it is right now. The servants all know your uncle had lost his standing. They don’t say anything, but the mood’s different. I heard the Nan’yang branch had held several meetings, wanting to throw their entire family out.”
At this juncture, Old Shang sighed, “Chen Yuan’s downfall also drags us with him. Luckily you aren’t here.”
Chen Rong kept quiet.
Of course she knew she would be implicated. She was Chen Yuan’s ward, and if the Chen House in Nan’yang were to expel Chen Yuan, they’d expel her as well.
Nevertheless, she cared little about such loss. At this very moment, her heart was only gushing with the satisfaction of revenge.
Suppressing her joy, Chen Rong looked towards Ran Min to see that he was closing his eyes in meditation, his dark brows knitting. She didn’t know what was going through his mind.
Watching him, Chen Rong thought to herself: What kind of story did he spread, exactly? So that Chen Yuan and Lady Ruan are in such dire straits?
Old Shang’s voice sounded on: “A few days ago, Lady Ruan had ordered to keep just one of us to look after our courtyard. The rest was to be dismissed. Luckily, Chen Gongrang had sent someone over. That man claimed you are kind and noble, and your servants can’t be scattered when your safety was yet known.” His voice took a gleeful turn: “And then he said there are people who do wrong, but take it out on others. Those are the lowest scum. Haha.”
Chen Rong came to understand at this point why Old Shang didn’t speak of Chen Yuan with any respect. It turned out there had been such an aria.
At this time, Old Shang couldn’t help but stop the carriage and turn back to say: “Miss, everyone in the clan thinks something has happened to you.” After a pause, he lowered his voice and hesitantly said, “Not one who went with you had returned. There are all sorts of rumors going around. I had cried for you more than once…” As he said this, he quietly stole a glance at Ran Min in the corner.