Chapter 136: In the Spotligh
Chapter 136: In the Spotlight
Looking at the closed door, Wang Hong sighed and shook his sleeves before turning to leave.
Once he was gone, the maids and servants poured out again. When she heard their whispering, a vexed Chen Rong strode to the door despite herself.
She wryly smiled when her hand reached the handle. Why am I even angry? She knew that even though she was the courtyard’s owner, in the servants’ hearts, her status wasn’t necessarily higher than theirs.
After giving it more thought, she still opened her door and came out.
She quietly stared at them with a scornful smile, flapped her sleeves and turned back in.
The servants traded glances and helplessly shook their heads at the closed door. Chen Rong did not say anything, but the contempt in her eyes had shamed them so.
Jiankang was festive today.
Chen Gongrang’s group was arriving.
Of course, he wasn’t the only one to arrive, but had come with a legion of several thousands.
Chen Rong sat in her carriage.
Outside, her fourth uncle Chen Zifang was leading the Chen House of Jiankang to welcome their arriving relatives.
Nurse Ping looked outside, smiled and said, “Once Chen Gongrang comes back, your audience with the emperor won’t be too far away.” She longingly looked towards the palace and remarked in envy: “I wonder what the princes look like. They must be extraordinarily handsome, like fairies in the sky.”
Chen Rong just smiled.
At this time, Nurse Ping suddenly poked her mistress and whispered, “Look, miss, it’s the young master and your sister-in-law. They’re staring this way.”
Chen Rong didn’t lift her head. She merely bade, “Lower the curtain.”
Lower the curtain? What a hurtful thing to do. Nurse Ping was surprised, but upon seeing Chen Rong’s tightly pressed lips, looking dead set, she reached out and pulled the curtain down.
Her sister-in-law was craning her neck towards Chen Rong’s carriage. She pushed her husband and yelled, “Look, there’s your sister. Call her!”
Mr. Chen frowned in reply. “It won’t do. If you really want to see her, I’ll have to go to the Chen estate and pay a visit.”
These words vexed Mrs. Chen greatly. She stomped on his foot and barked, “Are you crazy or are you stupid? You have to call her in front of everybody so that she won’t ignore us.” She gave him another stomp. “Call her! Look, the old servant saw us.”
Mr. Chen hedged.
At this very moment, the curtain lowered and blocked Chen Rong from their view.
That servant had clearly seen Mr. Chen but she still lowered the curtain down, obviously not wanting to recognize him.
Momentarily, both Mr. Chen and his wife were dumbfounded.
After some time, Mrs. Chen shook with anger.
She pulled her husband’s ear and shrieked, “You useless garbage! Take a look, you go on and on about your sister every day but what about her? She doesn’t even want to see you!”
While the city was getting more crowded, her raised voice got into the ears of the noblemen traveling on the road.
Several guards instantly turned around and shot her a glare.
Mrs. Chen blanched. She gave a fright when she saw the disgusted looks they threw her way. Quickly putting on a smile, she pulled her husband’s hand and retreated to the side.
Soon, Chen Rong’s carriage reached the city gate.
Noises gradually fell and people began lining on either side of the street as they waited for the smoke of dust in the distance to get closer.
“Miss,” a maid called her.
Chen Rong made a reply.
“After Chen Gongrang arrives, please accompany him into the city.” After a pause, she softly explained, “Several noblemen have just come.”
Chen Rong shivered. “I understand.”
She looked at her reflection in the mirror, which was dressed in a light blue dress with yellow trims and flower embroidery. This dress and her plain face made her look particularly fresh-faced and refined. It diffused her stunning beauty and made her look more innocent.
Yes, I can see the aristocrats like this.
When Chen Rong was satisfied and withdrew her eyes, Nurse Ping asked from behind, “Do you want to comb your hair again, miss?” For simplicity’s sake, her hair was in a simple bun fastened by a golden hairpin. Additionally, her wooden clogs were the ubiquitous kind found everywhere in the city. She looked elegant, true, but also fairly informal.
Chen Rong shook her head. “No, we don’t need to try too hard.”
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Noises and laughter filled the air.
Chen Rong turned around to look.
What she saw was about a dozen carriages that was slowly approaching. But when she saw emblems of the Wang House from Lang’ya and the Xie House from Chen County, she lost interest and withdrew her gaze.
By this time, the dust had dispersed to reveal the cavalcade behind it.
As they looked out to the endless caravan, a man remarked from the crowd: “There are so many people coming this time. Even though they are coming through four separate gates, it’s still quite a frightening number.”
“That’s not it,” someone else interjected, “There are rich and there are poor people. How can they all come into the city together? I heard that’s why they’ve divided into four groups.”
While the discussion went on, the cavalcade outside the city was getting closer and closer.
Chen Rong peered outside and discovered that the Chen House of Nan’yang was out in front.
Ah yes, the Wang House of Lang’ya and people such as Yu Zhi and Huan Jiulang had arrived earlier. Among the rest of the clans, the Chen House held the highest status; of course they would lead.
When the Chens’ banners and carriages appeared in people’s sight, their laughter and voices grew ever louder.
At this moment, ten carriages drove by without regard for the crowd or her carriage. “Miss, the princess’s entourage is here!” Nurse Ping exclaimed.
It was indeed the princess’s entourage that was charging to the front. Following closely behind were a number of imperial relatives and young ladies from the new noble families that the Empress Dowager and the Emperor had retained.
These girls drove out as they laughed, cheered, waved their whips, and sang. It was clear that these girls had come to draw attention.
At this moment the maidservant’s voice sounded: “Miss, go on.”
Chen Rong quickly caught on and let Old Shang know what to do.
Old Shang’s carriage also drove out.
When the noble ladies drove out, their tall guards were also riding out to protect them. No one paid attention to Chen Rong’s carriage.
In the blink of an eye, her carriage had dashed to the Chen House of Nan’yang.
The vehicle suddenly stopped, at which time a hand lifted the curtain. It was Chen Gongrang’s retainer. “Please come down, miss,” he respectfully said.
Chen Rong hopped off and followed him to Chen Gongrang’s carriage.
Behind the curtain, Chen Gongrang kindly looked at her and smilingly said, “Very good, come in.”
Chen Rong folded her hands on her knees and softly said, “I was told the aristocrats are here and that I should go into the city with you.”
Chen Gongrang stroked his long beard and chuckled. “That’s fine.”
The two maids in the carriage crawled on their knees to help Chen Rong set her seat, after letting her and Chen Gongrang sit to the left and right, they lifted the curtain and retreated into the corner.
The noises ahead grew increasingly louder.
The cavalcade gradually began to pull apart. The guards on either side slightly retreated as the carriages added distance between each other.
Out in front was Chen Gongrang’s carriage, which reached the gate before long.
It pulled to a stop, prompting the fleet behind to likewise do so.
Chen Gongrang swept the curtain aside to step down. He clasped his hands towards Chen Zifang and said, “Zifang, sorry for the trouble.”
He then turned to greet the Wang House of Lang’ya and the Xie House of Chen County.
Behind him, Chen Rong matched his pace and smilingly raised her head to accord them a curtsy.
Her debut instantly drew all attention.
“Who’s the girl that came with Chen Gongrang?”
“Her demeanor is refined while her dimpled smile is graceful. I reckon she must be an accomplished lady from the Chen House in Nan’yang.”
“An accomplished lady so bewitchingly pretty? Who’s the blessed gentleman, then? Haha.”
Amid the voices, a single laughter sounded.
It was sharp and resounding, and somewhat frivolous.
It was as if all noises stopped the moment this laughter sounded. Next, the crowd gave way for a dashing carriage.
It was an ordinary carriage without any clan emblem. It headed straight towards the large crowd and charged past the Chens.
It reached the city gate in a flash and then slowed down when it was less than ten paces from Chen Rong.
Before the vehicle could pull to a complete stop, the curtain lifted and out came a man in his late twenties with a pale complexion and handsome features.
When he did so, all the stunned guards around him stepped up to help.
The man stumbled two steps to the front. Before he could find his balance, he had waved his hands to dismiss the guards. He next reached out and, as he was wanting to grab onto something, touched a woman’s bosom. She looked somewhat like Chen Rong’s sister-in-law, having murky eyes and a foul face.
The man quickly turned around when he felt the softness in his hand. At the sight of her, he began to retch.