Chapter 138: All That’s Needed Has Been Said
Chapter 138: All That’s Needed Has Been Said
Chen Rong rose from her kneeling position under the crowd’s watchful eyes.
Her mouth formed a smile.
Wang Hong as well as the others could see that it was a genuine smile borne from within. It radiated from the happiness of having removed all her shackles and yokes. It could even be said to be burning with life.
She withdrew her smile and then turned around to face Chen Gongrang and Chen Zifang, at which point she knelt down to them.
Again on the ground, Chen Rong articulated, “I’m sorry I have disappointed you, uncles. But despite having survived on the battlefield, the killing and bloodshed have made me weary. It had been my wish for some time now to leave the secular world.”
She knocked her head on the ground in several kowtows. “I know you both sincerely care for me. However, I am disheartened with life and just want to spend my days quietly. Though I am unfilial –”
Her forehead had bruised from her emphatic kowtows. But even with bruises and dirt on her forehead, her smile was relaxed and brilliant.
“I hope you can forgive me,” she tremulously pleaded as she looked up at Chen Gongrang and Chen Zifang.
Afterwards, she knocked her head on the ground again.
Everyone was looking their way. Though Chen Rong’s actions were outside of her clan’s expectations, there could be no discontentment as the literati were known to endorse a reclusive life away from money and fame.
Chen Gongrang hastily helped her up. He wiped the dirt on her forehead and wryly smiled. “Child, why are you kowtowing so hard?”
He could only shake his head and sigh.
Chen Zifang also stepped forward. He looked at Chen Rong and quietly said, “Silly child, if you wanted to become a nun you could have talked to the clan in advance. Never mind, never mind.”
Chen Rong curtsied to them and softly replied, “Aye, it was inconsiderate of me.”
Chen Zifang shook his head. He turned and waved his sleeve, “Let’s go.”
The carriages moved at his order.
Chen Gongrang mounted his carriage and was followed by Chen Zifang. After saying a couple more things to Chen Rong, they began to depart.
Chen Rong also climbed onto her carriage.
Nurse Ping was still at a lost for words. She looked at Chen Rong and suddenly burst into tears.
Chen Rong glanced at her and smiled, but offered no reassurance.
In the crowd, Mr. Chen stood rooted to the ground as he murmured, “My Ah Rong must be suffering so much!”
His gossipy wife was staring and clucking by his side when she suddenly gasped in delight. “Doesn’t that Xishan monastery have a lot of good farmland? Those are fertile land, you know!” She whipped around, grabbed Mr. Chen’s arms and cried, “Now that she’s a nun, she’s not going to marry or have children in the future. Doesn’t that mean the land is actually ours?”
Upon hearing her words, Mr. Chen abruptly turned around.
He stared at her happy jiggling face and handed her a severe slap.
Mrs. Chen didn’t think her submissive and cowardly husband would do this to her. She momentarily clutched her face in shock.
Mr. Chen stared at her, gritted his teeth and scolded, “How can you think about such things at a time like this? You may as well have the heart of the animals!”
Not waiting for his wife to flare, he pushed through the crowd and chased after Chen Rong’s carriage.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Only until her carriage had driven to the far distance did a guard quietly call, “M’lord?” He sounded extremely cautious.
The man inside did not answer him.
Through the curtain, his handsome face with eyes as clear as water was absently looking at the billowing smoke.
His gentle strokes on the stag’s tail (1) suddenly snapped.
(1) 麈尾 (stag’s tail) is a fly whisk, similar to a 拂尘
“Rip,” the white whisk tore in half.
Slowly, his lips lightly pressed together to quietly ask: “You would rather never marry?” He softly chuckled.
His laughter gently drifted and soon disappeared in the air. By the time the guard was collected enough to look, he saw his master slightly leaning forward like a predatory beast, silent and expressionless.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Chen Rong’s carriage was still driving forth.
She was heading to the courtyard she had bought. As far as Chen Rong was concerned, she had found her independence. After astounding the world in such an episode, she might as well continue. Going back to her relatives now would not save anything anyhow.
She had only stepped down from the carriage when a man ran to her and cried, “Ah Rong, my pitiful Ah Rong,” pulling her into his arms.
Chen Rong recognized this voice as her brother’s, who had always loved her.
She closed her eyes in his warm embrace.
Above her head, her brother’s voice sounded hoarse and sad. He hugged Chen Rong, choking over and over again: “Ah Rong, my poor Ah Rong, my poor pitiful Ah Rong!”
Then he let go of her, hunched over and sobbed.
Chen Rong gently knelt down before him, placed her hand on his shoulder, and softly said, “Brother, don’t be sad for me. I’m very happy right now. Truly.”
She tilted her head and giggled. When her brother raised his head in surprise, she happily winked at him, made a face and pointed at herself to mischievously say: “Brother, do I look unhappy to you?”
Mr. Chen took a serious look at her.
At this point, a woman’s shrill voice sounded: “Yes, what would she be unhappy with? She has to be happy.” A plump woman whirled herself to Chen Rong, wanting to reach her with her grubby hand. After Chen Rong avoided her, she stopped and put on a friendly face to say: “Ah Rong, Ah Rong, it’s so hard to believe you were able to see His Majesty and even got rewarded. What great news, congratulations, Ah Rong.”
She cast her kneeling husband a glance before turning to Chen Rong. She pointed to the palm print on her face and grievously said, “Look, take a look, your brother slapped me! I only said you can have no grievances in this turn of event, but he hit me!”
Chen Rong backed away from her.
When Mrs. Chen finished, she tried to pull on her but Chen Rong gave her sleeve a sudden jerk.
Mrs. Chen was caught by surprise and thrown backward.
While she was staring at Chen Rong with her murky eyes, Chen Rong looked towards her brother.
Looking at her brother’s thin and kind face, she dropped her gaze and slowly said, “Brother, do you know why I wanted to cut our ties that day?”
Her future had been foggy and there were things she couldn’t say or didn’t dare to say. However, she could now say what she wanted to say and do what she wanted to do… If she could ask His Majesty to make her a Daoist nun, then nothing else she did would shock the world a second time, neither would it cause any true consequences.
Chen Rong was now a nun who did not need to worry about the world’s view or her husband family’s opinions. Henceforth, she could only be herself – a single woman with neither a home nor a family.
She trusted that, even if she were to displease His Majesty, the worst he could do was taking back the property he had granted her.
Mr. Chen didn’t expect her to talk about this. He blankly shook his head and looked at her.
Mrs. Chen also stared at Chen Rong.
With their attention, Chen Rong quietly looked at her brother and uttered each word: “It is because I cannot tolerate such a sister-in-law.”
Chen Rong flapped her sleeves and said to her older brother, “It’s repugnant to call such an ugly and vile woman my sister-in-law!”
When she finished, she turned and left.
People nearby were poking their heads out their doors. They were all ears, hanging onto Chen Rong’s every word.
Chen Rong’s blunt speech stunned everyone into silence.
And then, the whispering started.
To be fair, the people in these times placed great importance on appearances. Chen Rong’s sister-in-law’s appearance and temperament were both completely incompatible with people’s aesthetics. At a time when elegance was the crown of beauty, she would be shunned by society merely on account of her looks without ever saying or doing anything.
For this reason, whispers quickly commenced, all showing contempt for Mrs. Chen.
By and by, Mrs. Chen screamed and lunged towards Chen Rong, reaching for her head as she shrieked, “Shameless wench! You should respect your sister-in-law as you would your mother. Is there anyone in this world who despises her sister-in-law as you do? I’ll rip your mouth, you shrew!”
“Enough!” someone shouted.
It was Mr. Chen who dashed out. He abruptly grabbed his wife’s arms, but his thin body was lacking strength and not only was he unable to catch her, he also got pulled forward by his stout wife.
At this time, Nurse Ping stepped in front of Mrs. Chen and yelled at the screaming woman: “Shut your mouth! Our mistress’s sister-in-law had passed away long ago on the journey south! How can you be worthy of her respect when you never once gave her any food or water? Pooh! You’re smearing the Chen estate’s century-old reputation!”
Nurse Ping spat on the ground and then took Chen Rong back to their courtyard. The door slammed shut behind them, locking Mrs. Chen and Mr. Chen outside.
Mr. Chen was frozen stiff.
Next to him, the plump woman was still shrieking her curses.
Almost suddenly, Mr. Chen screamed at the top of his lungs, “Enough, that’s enough!” He jumped up and then proceeded to blush when laughter and looks of contempt surrounded them. He stared at the heinous woman in disgust and blurted, “She’s right. You’re sullying the Chen estate’s century-old reputation!”
Mr. Chen hurried away. In a flash he had left his shocked wife to the crowd’s derision.
At this time, Chen Rong who was walking in her courtyard suddenly said, “Old Shang, send a few men to watch over my brother. Her brothers are both thugs. Don’t let them hurt him.”
“Aye, miss,” replied Old Shang with clasped hands.
Under Nurse Ping’s and the servants’ stares, Chen Rong dropped her gaze and softly said, “I want to help my brother live a comfortable life… but if my sister-in-law remains, then it really can’t be helped about me and my brother.”
She smiled and murmured, “I’ve always been capricious, right, nurse?”
Nurse Ping did not reply.
She stared at Chen Rong and then suddenly hugged her, bursting into tears.
She wept, “Miss, everything was still fine. How can you become a nun? How can you become a nun?”
The more she spoke the more heartbroken she felt. She had been so happy and hopeful when Chen Gongrang and the clansmen wanted to introduce Chen Rong to His Majesty.
She just couldn’t accept her mistress’s dancing with death only to exchange for the title of a priestess.
How could any woman stay unmarried? How could they not need a husband and children?
Furthermore, Qilang obviously cared for her. Considering Qilang’s station, his willing to accept her as an honored concubine was a great blessing. But her mistress had to be so stubborn and adamantly commit her life to a religious scripture and a Daoist robe.
In a few years when she and Old Shang both passed away, what would their mistress do? She was all by herself with no family or anyone to rely on, what was she going to do?
The more she thought about it, the more despairing Nurse Ping felt. She hugged Chen Rong and sobbed. “Everything was still fine. How can you become a nun? How can you become a nun?”
Readers told me that someone like Chen Rong couldn’t possibly exist in the Wei and Jin dynasties.
But this is wrong.
The Wei and Jin dynasties was an era of rare ideological liberation in Chinese history. There were many independent and interesting aristocratic ladies during this time. There’s no need to look far, the two most famous prime ministers in the historical records of this period were Wang Dao and Xie An. Their wives weren’t shy to show their jealousy, and it follows that they didn’t allow their husbands to take in any concubine.
It can be said that Chen Rong’s idea of monogamy isn’t that surprising. The only surprise is that she was in love with the precious son of the Wang House from Lang’ya.
Do you know how famous and widespread the story of Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo is? It was popularized by the then prime minister Xie An, you know. In the name of the imperial court, he even declared Zhu Yingtai, a woman who cross-dressed to attend school, a woman who went against her parents’ wishes, a “righteous woman.” This is why later generations often say that the woman in Xie An’s heart was someone like Zhu Yingtai, who dared to lay her life on the line for love, who dared to ignore tradition and propriety.