Chapter 124: Ran Min’s Woe
Chapter 124: Ran Min’s Woe
Wang Hong watched her beautiful and cold face that had been washed clean. Her charm was almost a witchcraft. His heart constricted as he looked at her bloodstained robe.
He dropped his gaze. “Come back with me,” he said insistently.
Chen Rong smirked and withdrew her gaze from him. Seemingly not hearing what he said, she walked on ahead.
Answering him was still her lonely back.
Wang Hong chased after her and pulled her in for a hug from behind. “Ah Rong, are you hurt? Come, return with me,” he softly said.
Like flowing water, there was a lingering affection in his voice.
Chen Rong gently avoided his touch when his arms went around her waist. She did not turn around but kept walking ahead, leaving Wang Hong behind alone.
Seeing this scene unfolding, the driver whispered to Wang Hong, “My lord?”
Wang Hong dropped his gaze. A long while later, he softly said, “Send four people to follow her.” A pause. “Remember, if she is met with danger, do not show yourselves until the very last minute.”
“Hey! Whose troop is that?” the driver exclaimed.
Wang hong looked up.
Dust was soaring from the main road. Behind it, a group of riders was heading their way.
Wang Hong’s eyes returned to the solitary and sanguine figure walking down the road.
Before long, the troop had appeared in his field of vision. The character “Min” was clearly visible on the flapping banners.
It was indeed Ran Min’s troop.
In the midst of rumbling horseshoes, the soaring smoke of dust soon reached Chen Rong who was now in the far distance.
At the sound of a holler, the horses came to a halt.
Ran min rode out of ranks and galloped to Chen Rong.
After reining his horse to a stop, he stared down at the bloody girl and frowningly called, “What happened?”
Seeing that Chen Rong only kept her head down without one word, he captured her chin so that she would look up at him.
His frown worsened as they stared at each other. “Ah Rong, what happened?”
He could see that Ah Rong’s face was just as beautiful and her eyes were just as bright as they had been. But she seemed a little different somehow… It had only been a couple of days but she was no longer the same person.
He gently stroked her lips and lowered his voice: “Speak.”
Chen Rong dropped her gaze.
After a long time, she hoarsely said, “General Ran, I cannot marry you.”
Ran Min’s grip tightened around her chin. “What did you say?” he incredulously asked.
Chen Rong’s long lashes fluttered with a blink as her lips slowly formed a smile.
Her smile was like that of a siren.
She looked up at him, at his facial features, at his thin lips, and then at the troops behind him.
A carriage was now driving up to them. Its curtain was raised to reveal a familiar face, one that was pale as it was beautiful.
That woman gaped when she saw Chen Rong – the usual malice in her eyes was replaced by surprise.
She was Chen Wei, and her updo was that of a married woman.
Chen Rong smiled and looked at Ran Min, softly saying, “General, Chen Yuan’s family and I are irreconcilable. Since you have accepted Ah Wei, I don’t want to marry you anymore.”
Afterwards, she threw his hand off and walked away.
She did not speak of her defilement or of Wang Hong.
Ran Min’s long laughter rang behind her. He sarcastically said, “Ah Rong of Chen House, aren’t you trying to control too many things?”
Answering him was her distancing figure.
Ran Min’s thick eyebrows knitted together. He gave a kick and sent the red horse galloping towards Chen Rong like a gust of wind.
He quickly appeared once more in front of her.
He took her chin with a low shout: “Ah Rong of the Chen House, where did the blood on you come from?” He looked her up and down, his heart thumping, while his questions fired rapidly: “Were you the beautiful woman who rode out to the two armies? Was she you?”
Chen Rong nodded.
She slowly pried his hand away and then lightly said, “Because I don’t think living has any more meaning.”
His grip on her chin was so tight that it pained her and made her unable to pull away.
He took another look at her when he suddenly pulled on her arm and asked suspiciously, “Why aren’t you injured?”
Hearing his question, Chen Rong disdainfully said with a laugh, “I reckon those Hu soldiers had never seen a woman on the battlefield before. They were all stunned to see me. The halberds that aimed my way also deliberately avoided me. There were some who even put their weapons away so that they could capture me alive.” At this point in her explanation, she finally felt pain coming from her chin… She reached out to pull his hand away, but how could she with her meager strength? So she lifted her eyes charmingly at him, her mouth lightly curving, as she slowly said, “General, please let go.”
Ran Min harrumphed. He suddenly let go to take hold of her arm. His wolf eyes were blade sharp. “Ah Rong of the Chen House, I know you. Tell me! What had happened?”
Chen Rong blinked her long eyelashes.
She glanced askance at him and beamed a brilliant smile. “Must you know?”
Chen Rong laughed. She stood on tip toe, leaned into him, and then gently brought her lips to his throat.
Almost suddenly and like a snake, a tongue slid across his throat.
Ran Min slightly shook and then went entirely still.
Her faint and fragrant breath blew against him. “Because,” she laughed, her voice supple and ambiguous, “I’ve been disgraced.”
Two hundred paces away, Wang Hong watched this scene from his carriage. He threw his head back and emptied his wine in a swig.
With her lips on his throat, Chen Rong again giggled and tossed him a flirtatious gaze, then she slowly pulled his hands away and walked off.
He imprisoned her arms and demanded, “Who was he? Who was that man?”
He sounded furious. Chen Rong didn’t have to look back to know he must be livid. Because in her field of vision, all the soldiers were bowing their heads and backing away.
He abruptly pulled her into his arms and murderously hissed: “Who was he?”
He had believed her pretext as soon as she said it. Because no young lady in the empire would joke about such matter.
It was also the only reason that could explain her changes.
Ran Min was consumed by fury and hatred. His grip on Chen Rong was so strong that it made cracking sounds on her bones and cold sweat forming on her sweet smiling face.
She did not cry in pain, however. Not only did she not cry, her smiling face remained brilliant and charming. She cocked her head to quietly look at Ran Min and gently said, “I don’t know who he was.” Under Ran Min’s sharp stare, she indifferently added, “I was idle and bored, so I went out for an evening stroll. Unexpectedly I got knocked unconscious. When I awoke, I found that I had been defiled.”
Her voice was too indifferent, and her smile was too bright.
Almost suddenly, Ran Min felt nauseated.
Plop. He shoved her off. After making her roll on the ground, he dismounted the horse and strode to her.
While he was staring down at her, besides anger and loathing, there was also woe on his handsome face. “Ah Rong of the Chen House, I had promised to marry you.” He hoarsely chuckled, struggling to say: “I had promised, hadn’t I?!”
With this, he suddenly turned and mounted his horse. He hastily pulled on the rein, madly riding away.
His soldiers and Chen Wei were surprised at first, but they soon enough reacted and hurriedly chased after him. By the time they pulled into the distance, Chen Wei was still looking back at Chen Rong. In that instant, however, the bitterness and loss on her face had been swept away. Instead, they were replaced by a blithe smile.
A captain was the first to catch up to Ran Min almost an hour later. Ran Min had stopped riding by now. Surrounded by the deserted wilderness, he sat on horseback facing the sunset.
He continued to stay there motionlessly. If not for his fluttering robe and hair, one would think he was a statue.
The captain came up to Ran Min and quietly said after some consideration: “She is but a woman, sir. Why let her foul your mood?”
Ran Min did not turn around. He stared for a long time at the sunset and, when the captain thought he would not speak, suddenly rasped, “No, she’s lying!”
He laughed aloud, bewildering the captain.
He threw his head back in laughter and slowly stood his halberd on the ground.
He bowed his head in a hoarsened sneer: “She’s already defiled and looking for death, yet she still wants to cover for that man… Ah Rong of the Chen House, your feelings for me have been nothing but pretense!”
Realizing he was talking about the future madam’s private affairs, the captain did not dare to speak. He swiftly lowered his head.
Ran min held a tight grip on his halberd. This time, he used all of his strength to drive it deep into the ground until it started to bend.
He hung his head and hoarsely laughed out loud. His voice grew hoarser and hoarser, deeper and deeper.
Almost suddenly, he gave the halberd a hard kick. While it flew to the distance, he growled in anger, “Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are?!”
Amid his low roar, he suddenly turned and launched onto his horse. He swooped down for his halberd along the gallop and then maddeningly rode away.