Chapter 117: Murong Ke
Ran Min was at the fortress tower. When Chen Rong got there, he was giving orders to a few of his subordinates. At this time, Ran Min and his commanders were dressed in normal clothes. It appeared their presence in Nan’yang had not been let known.
Chen Rong hid away in the side room when she saw that Ran Min was occupied. She opened the bundle and held up a soft golden armor. Though it was very lightweight, its remarkable toughness provided protection for the vital chest area. In the past, she had heard from Ran Min that there were no more than ten of these in the world.
Chen Rong dropped her gaze and brought the armor to her face, murmuring, “It’s not as if you don’t know that even the royal princes would feel ashamed in your noble presence… Why would someone like you treat me so well? Knowing I’m low and vulgar, yet you are still so good to me. Are you trying to make me remember you all my life?”
The moment her eyes welled with tears, Chen Rong quickly wiped them using her sleeve. She then removed her robe and put the armor on.
“Where’s Ah Rong?” she heard Ran Min’s low bark from the main hall.
Chen Rong put on a smile and replied, “I’m here.” She turned and pushed the door to go in.
Ran Min knitted his brow as he stared at the map on his desk. He heard the sound of her arrival, but did not lift his head. “Where were you last night?” he asked.
Chen Rong paused. Quickly, she made a bow. “General, did you forget? The moment I got here, the maids had made arrangements for me.” Wasn’t this common sense? Typically, the servants would make arrangements for a visitor’s female relatives.
Ran Min raised his head.
He stared at her and impatiently said, “I’m asking how far were your bedchamber from mine? Why did you wake up so late?”
Chen Rong lowered her head. She did get up too late this morning. It was her mistake to stay in bed at a time like this.
Ran Min did not want to pursue the subject when he heard no answer from her. He waved his hand and shouted, “Never mind. Ah Rong.”
He waved his right hand to say something, but at this moment, earth shattering drums gave sound outside, accompanied by gallops and panicking shouts. These noises completely drowned out Ran Min’s voice.
The door banged opened to the entrance of a soldier. “General, Murong Ke is here,” he cried.
Ran Min shot a glare at him and shouted, “So what if Murong Ke is here? Why are you so surprised that you have to be so loud about it?”
Next to him, a commander intervened, “General, it seems Murong Ke has come in haste. Given the circumstances, do you want to meet him?”
“Nay, let’s not,” another said. “Murong Ke knows how to read an opportunity. If he sees our general now, he will take his army away.”
He then turned to Ran Min with a laugh. “In my opinion, you should keep wearing your hat and watch the fun from the sideline, sir.”
Ran Min nodded with a smile. “Let’s do that.” He had forgotten what he was going to say to Chen Rong.
She had by now approached him. She took his robe and hat from the side and helped him put them on.
The beating drums grew louder outside.
After being appropriately dressed, Ran Min moved outside, prompting Chen Rong to hurry after him.
Once they left the tower, she found that the nobles on the wall were leaving in a frenzy. She craned her neck to see people fleeing and crying on the distant streets.
A voice spoke at this time, making the soldiers retreat.
Instantly, only a few dozen people were left on the wall.
Standing in the middle was still Wang Hong in his fluttering white robe. Around him were Nanyang’s famed scholars and heads of clans. When they saw Ran Min walk out, they turned to look at him.
Ran Min stopped after a few steps. He folded his arms in front of his chest, leaned against the wall and glanced below.
Like rising tide, smoke spread below to completely cover the earth. At first, they saw the surging yellow dust and heard the rumbles of horse shoes, but they sighted no men.
When the dust eventually settled, armored knights appeared one by one before their eyes.
It was an endless army that donned helmets and brandished bows and halberds.
The galloping hoofs began to slow down; the drums also softened.
Slowly, the drums ceased.
Slowly, the riders came to a halt.
And just like that, the scattering dust made way for full silence.
The banner turned at this time.
Amid loud rumbles, the knights parted to create a passage in the middle.
At this sight, Chen Rong heard Ran Min laugh: “Murong Ke is clearly a Hu, yet he imitates the Jins. Look at his fashionable style.”
A familiar voice spoke behind Ran Min: “Very true. The Murong clan of the Xianbei tribe is rather interesting. Like the Jin court, their royal family uses outer appearance to evaluate people. Good looks can get you high positions, but no one wants an ugly man even if he is talented. They’re men, yet they have a thing for face powder.” This voice belonged to the driver. He had followed Ran Min to make fun of Chen Rong before, and she remembered him well. She didn’t see him a moment ago; she wondered when had he arrived.
Another commander ridiculed: “If you ask me, Murong Ke wears a mask because he doesn’t want to tan his pretty little face.”
Laughter boomed upon his remark. The scholars and heads of clans looked over with questioning faces.
Chen Rong saw someone leaning into Wang Hong and pointing this way, as if asking a question. But Wang Hong just smiled without giving a reply.
Below, the riders gave way to a tall knight who slowly rode out of ranks.
He wore a ferocious bronze mask, underneath which, his electric eyes were unblinkingly staring at Wang Hong.
This was Murong Ke. Everyone had seen him once on their way south. Chen Rong had also heard of him in her previous life. It was said that this famous Xianbei general was very handsome. Whenever he was on the battlefield, his looks were so unconvincing that the impatient lad had to put on a frightening mask to intimidate his subordinates.
Murong Ke was still riding forth at this point.
The dust behind him had sunk to the ground. The knights kept silent across the plains without a sound.
Before long, he rode to the wall, then slowly came to a stop.
Ran Min narrowed his eyes. The driver looked at Ran Min and lowered his voice to say: “If that ignorant Murong fella knows you are here, he will not dare to stop closer than 200 paces from the fortress.”
Another general cocked his head to observe Murong Ke. He suddenly turned to Ran Min and said, “General, we’ve the crossbow ready, why don’t you give this brat a shot? Hell, one shot and we can all go have lunch.”
Ran Min was still staring eyeing Murong Ke. He slowly shook his head.
At this time, Murong Ke began to speak from below.
He raised his head. His electric eyes stared at Wang Hong. His message was clear and magnetic, and very pleasant sounding: “Wang Hong, it’s been a while.”
He lightly smiled and then suddenly waved his hand toward the back.
A carriage drove up.
It stopped at Murong Ke’s side where several soldiers leaped off their horses and ran to it. They lifted the curtain and brought out a gleaming gold coffin.
The soldiers put the coffin down by Murong Ke’s side, bowed to him and then slowly retreated.
Murong Ke glanced at the coffin and grinned. “I have thought of you ever since we parted last time. I am filled with regrets every time I think of Qilang’s elegance.”
He threw his head back in roaring laughter. “I got delayed by Ran Min last time in Mo’yang. What a shame I could not send Qilang off. I have crossed a thousand miles this time in hope that Wang Qilang will not reject my sincerity.”
Whoosh, all eyes landed on the snow-white Wang Qilang.
Chen Rong also looked at him.
With the crowd’s attention on him, Wang Hong remained smiling nonchalantly in his free and indifferent way.
He cocked his head to the side, causing a strand of hair to playfully fall across his forehead and block his left eye.
In the midst of whistling wind, Wang Hong’s pleasant voice sounded on the battlefield. “I went to Mo’yang, you chased me to Mo’yang. I went to Nan’yang, you chased me to Nan’yang… Lately, every time I meet my friends, they would ask what had happened to make Murong Ke so persistent.”
Wang Hong smiled. With a tone that was gentle and ambiguous, he said, “Do not worry, young master Ke. I will keep your secret for things that can’t be said.”
Murong Ke shouted back: “Wang Hong you motherfucker! What rubbish are you talking about?”
His shout prompted echoes throughout the city.
This translation belongs to hamster428.wordpress.com
Wang Hong looked at Murong Ke, who was shaking in anger, with a faint smile. His eyes were bright with concern. “Shh, rest assured young master. Don’t be impatient, everyone’s watching.”
At this time, Ran Min said in vexation, “The Jin literati and their stupid gentility. Talking to these kind of people on the battlefield is fucking infuriating!”
His commanders repeatedly nodded in agreement.
At this point, Murong Ke had quickly gained control over his emotions.
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