Chapter 139: Wang Hong Gives Her a Daoist Name
Chen Rong knew there wasn’t any way to explain her ideas to people like Nurse Ping. She also didn’t want to explain.
She slowly pushed her nurse away and walked inside.
Her servants were standing in a line in the courtyard. She couldn’t tell whether they looked sad or whether they looked relieved.
Chen Rong’s nunship posed no disadvantage to those who depended on her. Moreover, a nun ordained by the emperor did not have to worry about food or shelter. That much was certain. Her servants finally didn’t have to suffer hunger and cold anymore.
She went to them and gently smiled. “Everyone, we’re finally settling down.”
She turned her smile to the cheerless Old Shang and Nurse Ping. “We’ll move to Xishan as soon as His Majesty’s decree arrives. If there’s any preparation to be done, you can start now.”
She gave some thought, then turned and said to her nurse, “Nurse, prepare a Daoist robe for me right away. I have to thank my former relatives as well as the friends who have helped me.”
Nurse Ping took a while to stop her tears and nod.
Early next morning, Chen Rong combed her hair and coiled it into a bun. She next put on the light yellow Daoist robe that Nurse Ping had found even through her sobs.
The loose robe did little to hide her beautiful figure. The nurse looked up at her and again burst into tears.
Chen Rong ignored her.
She turned around to take a look in the mirror, frowning as she murmured, “Still tawdry looking.”
She was indeed more suitable for vibrant colors. Even in a Daoist robe, she still looked rather beguiling, especially when the fluttering fabric outlined the contours of her figure.
But she wasn’t too concerned. There was no shortage of beautiful women in Jiankang. She didn’t count as anything.
Chen Rong retracted her gaze and then softly said to Nurse Ping, “What’s the use of crying at this point? Do not cry anymore.” She walked out as she spoke these words.
At the gate, Old Shang had prepared the carriage.
Chen Rong got onto the vehicle and bade, “Go to the clan.”
The carriage slowly drove off.
At the time her carriage left the gate, a dozen heads poked out from the neighboring side doors. They were the smaller clans’ servants who were now craning their necks and joining in curious gossips.
The carriage drove out of the alley and onto the larger street.
Now springtime, small green buds could be seen on the willow trees lining the roadsides. The people on the streets were also wearing thinner clothes.
Soon enough, Chen Rong’s carriage turned into the street where the Chen House of Yingchuan was located. They say that birds of a feather flock together. Everyone who lived on this street was without exception an aristocrat. Inside the walled homes that spanned several hundred acres, the rows of buildings looked exceptionally time-worn.
As she watched the wealthy and prosperous neighborhood, Chen Rong wondered how much blood and tears had been shed in these vast estates.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Old Shang brought the carriage to a stop when they arrived at the clan. Before he could make a sound, the side door opened where a guard nodded to him and said, “Is it Miss Rong? Come in, come in.”
Old Shang repeatedly thanked him and then drove into the courtyard.
Nevertheless, Chen Rong now discovered that they had come for naught. Chen Gongrang wasn’t here, nor was Chen Zifang. She asked and asked, but nobody was home for her to actually visit.
“Miss, where are we going next?” asked Old Shang after he drove back out.
After thinking for a while, Chen Rong quietly replied, “Go to the Wang House of Lang’ya. I’ve received their help from Ping to Nan’yang, and again from Nan’yang to Jiankang.”
“The Wang House of Lang’ya?!” Old Shang exclaimed. “Miss, how can we hope to visit such a family? I’m sure we won’t be let in.”
Chen Rong smiled and leisurely said, “We won’t go in if they won’t let us in. Our visit today is just a matter of etiquette.”
“Aye, you’re right.”
The carriage drove on.
This time, it was heading to the famous Wuyi Lane where dignitaries had frequented for centuries, where no peasants were ever sighted.
For this reason, the closer they got, the slower Old Shang drove. Chen Rong looked through the curtain to see that his neck was profusely sweating.
If seemed just a single visit was giving him great pressure.
Wuyi Lane had always been picturesque. Two streams ran parallel to the road, and a meandering mountain range stood in the background.
A mile before they reached Wuyi Lane, Old Shang was greeted by the sight of blue water and the mountainous reflections in it. He could already smell strong incense from the carriages by the riverbank and hear music wafting from afar.
Chen Rong took a glimpse through the curtain and then softly said, “Go, Wang Qilang is over there.”
Old Shang looked up in surprise. “I can’t really tell. There are so many people here, how are you able to recognize him?”
She didn’t need to look. No matter how many people there were, no matter how far away, a glance was all she needed to know if he was there or not… Even if there were millions of people in this world, there was only one of him.
Her two lifetimes told her that this was a cursed fate – a cursed fate that would need all of her efforts to break free from.
Old Shang’s was simply a rhetorical question. He continued to drive near.
A moment later, they heard a loud and chilly voice: “Which house are you from?”
Before Old Shang could answer, the other man softened his voice with a smile: “Are you the young lady who requested to be a Daoist nun? Come through, come through.”
“Thank you, thank you.” The carriage went in as Old Shang said his thanks.
When the carriage next stopped, Chen Rong heard Old Shang say: “We’re here… Oh, Qilang’s really here, Miss. Not only is Qilang here, but Jiulang of the Huan House is also here.”
Chen Rong raised her curtain upon hearing this.
Since her arrival, the young aristocrats’ singing and drinking had quieted down.
Yu Zhi’s eyes lit up at an inadvertent glance. He poked the man quietly drinking next to him and whispered, “Look who’s here?”
The white-robed man looked up.
His eyes slowly narrowed.
He sat up to stare at the approaching vehicle.
Yu Zhi laughed out loud to see him like this. He looked skyward with a sigh and shook his head. “The bloom is not a bloom, the mist is not a mist. At midnight she comes, and at dawn she leaves. She appears like a short spring dream. She vanishes like the morning clouds (1)… No, no, she doesn’t come at midnight and leaves at dawn. I should say she is a fragrant plum blossom on a winter day. After a night of passion, her scent remains but she is gone… Oy, the lady is very heartless.”
(1) 花非花 “The Bloom is Not a Bloom” by Tang poet Bai Yuji
He was bobbing his head to his song in glee, but the longer it went the more his voice abated. That guy normally wouldn’t let him go on for so long. Why was he so quiet today?
Yu Zhi turned around.
He saw the white-robed man springing up and striding to the front as though he didn’t hear any of his sarcasm.
Wang Hong slowly walked towards Chen Rong’s carriage.
His movements were unhurried and graceful, and his expression was as still as water.
Chen Rong lifted the curtain and turned her gaze to the river. Wait a minute, where is he?
At this moment, she noticed from the corner of her eyes that he was less than ten paces from her.
She turned around.
The white-robed man was looking at her. His eyes were still clear and lofty, his face was still blinding.
But his gaze on her was too quiet.
Chen Rong smiled brightly as they looked at each other.
With a dimpled smile, she bowed to Wang Hong from her carriage, lowered her gaze and quietly said, “I hope you’re well, m’lord. As I will be leaving the secular world, I’ve specially come to thank you for all that has passed.”
Her smile was soft, her voice was gentle.
Wang Hong slowly went to her.
He was deliberate and graceful, like a hunting leopard, but with a taut tension in his seeming ease.
In the twinkling of an eye, he had gone to Chen Rong’s carriage.
He stopped when he was only another step from reaching her.
As he was quietly staring at her, his lips formed a smile.
His smile was so unusual that Chen Rong couldn’t help looking at him in bewilderment.
The white-robed man softly smiled at her. He outstretched a slender hand and place it next to hers on the carriage window.
His eyes traveled from her snowy white hand to her beautiful face and then to the Daoist robe that could not hide her full bosoms.
His mouth slowly upturned.
Almost suddenly, he raised his head and said to Chen Rong, “Ah Rong, now that you have left the secular world, do you have a Daoist name yet? How does Chen Yunzi (2) sound?”
(2) Chen is her surname and Yunzi means “the charming/graceful one.”
Chen Rong blinked. While she was still caught by surprise, several lads had already laughed. “Chen Yunzi? Why should she keep the surname Chen now that she’s a nun? I think the name Hong (3) is as good as any.”
(3) the same Hong in Wang Hong
Wang Hong beamed. His smile was exceptionally brilliant, his white teeth flashing in a way that made Chen Rong avert her eyes.
But soon enough, Wang Hong’s smile disappeared. The expression on his face also returned to its habitual nonchalance. “Hong Yunzi?” he unhurriedly mused. “This is not a bad Daoist name. Ah Qi, present it to His Majesty. His Majesty can be a little confused sometimes, so remember to repeat yourself.”
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