Chapter 125: Metamorphosis
Ran Min hurried back.
When he arrived at the main road, he subconsciously turned his head and glanced toward the bloody figure.
However, all he could see was a slowly moving cavalcade.
Several carriages in the front were marked with the Chen House’s emblem; they were heading in Chen Rong’s direction.
In fact, everyone’s attention on the main road was presently attracted by the cavalcade, each turning to look.
Chen Rong was staring at the ground. One day and night only amounted to a dozen short hours, but for her, she had gone several times to hell and back.
At this moment, she turned around looking for her mount. She had taken it from Wang Hong’s residence, and the whip she had used to kill the enemies was just an ordinary whip she wasn’t used to handling.
She kept her head down as she quietly walked to the horse. At length, she felt something unusual.
Chen Rong’s foggy mind slowly returned. She turned around to look.
It was then that she came to face with a cavalcade composed of a dozen carriages.
The foremost carriage was marked with the Chen emblem. The Chen estate?
She slightly tilted her head.
Someone noticed her and at once whistled for the carriages to stop.
Chen Yuan was the first to jump down. When she saw him, Chen Rong’s mouth curved into a smile while her grip tightened around the whip.
At this point, another man had also jumped down from a carriage in front of Chen Yuan. He was Chen Gongrang.
Next came Yu Zhi and Huan Jiulang.
It finally dawned on Chen Rong why so many people were staring. It turned out these carriages were filled with scholars.
Chen Yuan appeared to rejoice at the sight of Chen Rong. But as he made for her, Chen Gongrang made a disapproving sound from behind which made him stop and step to the side.
Chen Gongrang walked past him to Chen Rong.
As he approached her, he gave note to her blood-dyed state. He took two more steps before stopping to look at her and say: “How frightened you must be, child.”
His voice was kind.
Chen Rong blankly looked up at Chen Gongrang.
Seeing such a Chen Rong, his eyes unknowingly reddened as he said to her, “Ah Rong, come, return with me.”
Chen Rong remained bewildered. She tilted her head to look at him.
Watching her, Chen Gongrang gently brushed the blood on her shoulder and said, “You forget, child. You are a Chen. Come, let’s go home with your uncle.”
“Go home?” Chen Rong blinked and murmured, “I have a home?”
Chen Gongrang sighed. He turned and softly said, “Silly child, let’s go.”
Chen Rong did not move.
Chen Gongrang had no choice but to turn around again.
At this time, Yu Zhi had dismounted his carriage and was striding towards Chen Rong while loudly speaking: “There are no real men in the entire city! It is the lass Ah Rong who makes me feel inferior.”
Walking next to him was the thin and delicate Huan Jiulang. He looked at Chen Rong and eloquently spoke, “Little lady, go home with your uncle. Last time, you had fearlessly went to Mo’yang even while knowing it was surrounded by the barbarians. This time, all the men in the city have been outshone by you. Return with your uncle. When we arrive in Jiankang, we will ask the court to grant you a title.”
Huan Jiulang came forth from the crowd.
He unhurriedly walked to Chen Rong.
Seeing him approach, Yu Zhi and Chen Gongrang stepped aside and began conversing with each other.
Huan Jiulang leaned closer to Chen Rong and softly said, “Ah Rong, I don’t know why you suddenly appeared on the battlefield, nor do I know why you are wandering outside even after we have won. We’ve come to bring you home.”
The eyes with which he was looking at Chen Rong contained both pity and admiration in them. “In two days we will be going to Jiankang,” he gently told her. “You’ve helped raise morale in Nan’yang. Although a girl, you have much more courage than the men. Your action is something both the Chen House and the royal court will appreciate. Let’s go, this is your chance.”
His young, clear eyes were perspicacious. This thin and frail Huan Jiulang had always been sharp.
Chen Rong looked at him.
Her dry cracked lips twitched to hoarsely ask: “This is my chance?”
“Aye.” Huan Jiulang looked at her with a warning: “Once we’re in Jiankang, you can seek an audience with His Majesty and make your request… but no matter who asks you, you must only answer you had wanted to bolster our army’s morale.”
Light slowly entered Chen Rong’s eyes. “This is my chance,” she murmured.
“This is my chance.”
After repeating these words a few more times, luster was restored to her eyes. She quietly watched Huan Jiulang and then dropped into a curtsy. Then she went to Chen Gongrang.
Seeing her walk to him, Chen Gongrang quickly stepped forth and kindly said, “Child, you have suffered.”
Chen Rong lowered her head with a curtsy. “I’m sorry to have worried you, uncle.”
Chen Gongrang shook his head. “Nay nay, it was my mistake. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be my ward from this day forth. Chen Yuan’s family will no longer have ties with you. When we reach Jiankang, you can stay with me if you don’t want to stay with your father and brother.”
“Thank you, uncle.”
“All right all right, get in the carriage.”
Chen Rong turned around and slowly walked to the carriage.
After only one step, however, her legs gave out and her body threatened to slump down. As she was about to fall, she quickly braced her whip on the ground.
She had apparently supported herself, but she looked to be paralyzed. She tried several times, but could not stand up no matter what.
Chen Gongrang hurriedly called, “Quick, help your mistress.”
Two servant girls jumped down from the carriage and rushed to Chen Rong. They held her on either side and helped her over.
Once Chen Rong mounted the vehicle, the scholars had also gotten back inside their own rides. Amid shouts and hollers, the cavalcade made its way back to Nan’yang.
Ran Min gave them another glance and then rushed towards the city.
In no time at all, he had stormed into the north gate. Once inside, he pointed his halberd and savagely shouted, “Where is Wang Hong?!”
The north gate’s garrison had never seen such a Ran Min. They paled and looked at one another. One came forward and raised his clasped hands to Ran Min. “My master has left the city from the west gate. He is going back to Jiankang.”
“The west gate?”
Ran min sneered, turned his horse around, and yet again madly rode away. In the twinkling of an eye, only a speck of dust was left.
Looking at him riding to the west, a Wang guard nervously asked, “Could General Ran want to harm our master?”
The guard who had replied Ran Min murmured, “Seeing how murderous he looks, I’m certain he means harm to the master. Quick, go and tell them to urge His Lordship on the road as soon as possible. Remember, you can’t leave from the west gate.”
The other hurried away.
This translation belongs to hamster428
The carriage steadily took Chen Rong back to the Chen estate.
It didn’t go into her old courtyard, but toward another magnificently decorated residence on the east side.
Almost as soon as Chen Rong stepped down, her servants went up to surround her. Old Shang rushed to her and burst out in tears.
Chen Rong looked at the wailing man and tiredly asked, “Where’s Nurse Ping?”
While Old Shang was still crying, another servant quickly replied, “Did you forget miss? She went away with you.”
Nurse Ping had not come back, but if she was still with Ran Min then there was no cause for concern… even if she was in danger, death was the worst one could expect.
And honestly speaking, death was perhaps even more relaxing than life. What had she to worry about?
Chen Rong stepped inside.
She wasn’t in the mood to look at this gorgeous new courtyard. The servants led her to her room where a hot bath had been prepared.
She struggled off of her bloodied clothes with their help. It stuck to her skin where blood had been, so it wasn’t easy to remove.
Afterwards, she sank her face into the warm water.
After a long time, she glanced sideways and softly called, “Change my clothes to white.”
The maids paused.
Without lifting her head, Chen Rong again ordered, “Change them all to white… I’ll only wear white from now on.”
The two maids soon reacted and answered, “Aye.”
After her bath, Chen Rong lay down in bed.
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed when the sound of sobbing made its way into her muddled mind.
She opened her eyes.
Nurse Ping had come back. She was lying by Chen Rong’s bedside, sobbing unceasingly.
Chen Rong tilted her head looking at her nurse. She simply smiled and said, “Don’t cry, nurse.”
Nurse Ping quickly looked up when she heard her speak. Her glowing face and pretty smile did not have any trace of the sadness the older woman had imagined there to be. Clearly, she had never been more beautiful and assured.
The nurse wiped her tears and chokingly asked, “Miss, have you been well?”
“Me?” Chen Rong breezily smiled. She slipped her feet into her wooden clogs and looked at her reflection in the bronze mirror. “Aye, I’m very well. I couldn’t be better.”
She opened her arms.
Nurse Ping quickly retrieved Chen Rong’s outfit and helped her into it. She next picked up the comb and groomed Chen Rong’s hair, looking all the while at her white-robed reflection in the mirror. “Miss, you’ve changed.”
She looked at her radiantly cold face and alluring smile, unable to stop herself from remarking: “You’ve become so beautiful.”
Indeed, she had become a completely different person within the few days that they were apart. At this moment, she was like a rose free from all worldly dust.
At this moment, she did not look anything like a humble concubine’s daughter. There was an indifference about her, as though she had seen all of life’s vicissitudes.
At this moment, Chen Rong was blindingly luminous.
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