Chapter 140: Becoming a Nun
Chapter 140: Becoming a Nun
“Aye.” A young man with the appearance of a scholar stood up and turned to leave.
Chen Rong quickly looked up and cried, “Wait a minute.”
She spoke with clarity, but the man named Ah Qi and everyone else automatically ignored her.
She couldn’t but turn to Wang Hong.
She was facing his smiling, gentle gaze. He reached out to stroke her chin, saying with a sigh: “Silly child, we’re in Jiankang.”
Without waiting for Chen Rong to speak, he waved his sleeve and turned to go.
Chen Rong suddenly smiled as she stared after his white figure.
She stepped down from her carriage, capturing everyone’s attention with her alluring appearance despite being dressed in a yellow Daoist robe.
Under the crowd’s watchful eyes, Chen Rong curtsied to Wang Hong’s back and cheerfully said, “Hong Yunzi? This is a very good Daoist name. Thank you, Qilang.”
She walked to Huan Jiulang and Yu Zhi.
As she passed Wang Hong, she stopped to look back at him and smilingly said, “I know my appearance may cause me trouble even as a nun who is leaving the secular world. Fortunately, you have given me a title today. I reckon under Lang’ya Wang Qi’s and His Majesty’s protection, I will be able to live in peace until the day I die.”
Having said this, she again accorded Wang Hong ceremony, smiled and turned to go.
Watching her graceful figure gradually distancing from him, Wang Hong stilled.
The smile on his face slowly faded away.
Not too far from there, Yu Zhi and Huan Jiulang both shook their heads. “Qilang, Qilang,” Yu Zhi sighed, “why are you doing this to yourself? The lady doesn’t even want you, she’s going to be a nun. Why can’t you just let it go?”
Huan Jiulang took a sip of wine and began to lament: “The poor son of the Lang’ya Wang House has fallen into the throes of love. Woe is he.”
Yu Zhi interjected, “Aye, the poor lad, let us drink to the pitiful Lang’ya Wang Qi.”
Huan Jiulang took a quick swig of his wine. He shook his empty cup at Yu Zhi and cackled: “The woeful man and his woeful affair are worth getting drunk for. Another round, another round.”
Chen Rong had gone to them by this time. She dropped to a curtsy and said, “Thank you for all that you have done for me, gentlemen.”
Yu Zhi waved his hands and smilingly replied, “No need for thanks, no need for thanks.”
He leaned into Chen Rong and surreptitiously glanced at Wang Hong in the distance, whispering: “On the contrary, we’re the ones grateful to you. Little Ah Rong, if you’re ever in need, don’t hesitate to tell us. Especially if shameless people try to approach you, you must ask for our help.” Whatever he might be thinking about, he slapped his thigh and laughed out loud.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
In fact, they weren’t the only mirthful ones. Seven to eight young men nearby were sitting with extraordinary grace. They glanced at Wang Hong, then turned to Chen Rong, then back at Wang Hong, and finally hid their faces behind their sleeves to shaking shoulders.
In the midst of their laughter and gazes, Chen Rong curtsied to each of her acquaintances before going back to her ride.
Her back was straight and her smile was pleasant all the way til she got onto the carriage.
The vehicle began to move, eventually leaving the laughter behind.
At length, Chen Rong moved her stiff back and withdrew her smile.
“Even now that you’re a nun, Qilang still cares for you,” Old Shang sighed.
Chen Rong closed her eyes. After some time, she quietly said, “Aye, that he does…”
Old Shang sighed again to hear her. After another while, he asked, “Miss, should we also go to see your brother?”
Saying goodbye to family and friends before one entered nunhood was a long-standing tradition. Generally speaking, her nunhood represented the absolving of all past love and hatred. Some people not only said goodbye to their friends and family, but also to their enemies. After all, what they needed to severe were but four words: gratefulness and resentment, love and hatred.
Furthermore, Chen Rong wasn’t on bad terms with her brother.
She considered the suggestion and then quietly replied, “No need.”
“Why not?” Old Shang was confused.
Chen Rong did not offer him an answer.
Her carriage was now driving into the alley.
There were people on both sides of the road who looked at her carriage in appraisal.
“That’s Ah Rong of the Chen House who asked the emperor to let her become a nun.”
“I heard she’s extraordinarily beautiful.”
“What a pity.”
“What is there to pity? Tsk tsk tsk, doesn’t Daoism have seventy-two bedroom practices that are passed down to mankind? It’s apparent she won’t escape from romance.”
“Jia – jia – ” Old Shang continuously flicked his whip and drove back to Chen Rong’s courtyard.
Chen Rong had only stepped down from the carriage by the time a shadow dashed in front of her.
Startled, Old Shang stepped up to block him from Chen Rong.
That person pushed Old Shang aside and yelled: “Ah Rong, Ah Rong, your brother is kidnapped. You have to hurry and save him.”
He had a long and thin face, and an equally thin body. His already pale face was also covered in powder. He was her sister-in-law’s younger brother, wasn’t he?
His face was filled with worry.
Chen Rong turned away in disgust.
She went into her courtyard without a care.
After the frail man recovered from the shock, he called after Chen Rong: “Ah Rong of the Chen House, have you any conscience left? I said your brother got kidnapped by the thugs. They even want to cut his hand off.”
Chen Rong and Old Shang had entered the courtyard by now. Hearing the man’s yelling, she stopped and coldly said, “I’m now a priestess ordained by His Majesty himself.” She turned around with a contemptuous glare. “Go tell those thugs that if they want to implicate their families, if they want to die without a corpse, then don’t stop at cutting his hand, go ahead and cut all of his limbs off, too.”
Upon her speech, the door slammed shut.
Her sister-in-law’s brother stared at the door in disbelief.
Once inside, Chen Rong asked Nurse Ping who had stayed home: “Did the men we sent to protect my brother come back and report anything?”
Nurse Ping shook her head. “Nay. You told us if everything is fine then we don’t need to come back to report.”
Chen Rong nodded and said to Old Shang, “Go look for our people after you park the carriage. Tell them to mask their faces and abduct my sister-in-law’s brothers when night comes. Give them a good beating. Beat them badly enough so they can’t get up for at least ten days if not a month.”
Old Shang didn’t hesitate this time. Not only did he not object, he very much agreed with Chen Rong’s order. He rushed off right away.
Two more days passed by in the blink of an eye.
In the evening, Nurse Ping went to Chen Rong and relayed, “Miss, your brother came by this morning.”
“What happened?” Chen Rong asked, turning around.
“He nagged for a while. He was saying things such as although his wife is vulgar, and even her brothers are incompetent, when he first arrived in Jiankang, not only was he seriously ill, but he was also destitute. If his father-in-law hadn’t taken him in and his wife hadn’t taken care of him, he wouldn’t be alive today. He said that he will discipline them from now on, but you’re under the spotlight so you should be cautious in everything you do. Don’t let other people get a handle on you.”
At this juncture, Nurse Ping hedged: “Your brother must have guessed what had happened. He also said that they cannot get out of bed. The doctor who came to see them said one got broken ribs while the other got a broken leg. He said they’ll have to stay down for a few months.”
Chen Rong lightly smiled to hear this. She undid her hair and unhurriedly said, “My brother has always been softhearted… But he doesn’t realize that if his brother-in-laws dared to use his safety to lure me out today, they will dare to cut his head off to ask for funeral expenses tomorrow. I’m not going to tolerate any of it.”
She shook her head. “Anyway, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
Nurse Ping was quick to concentrate on her hair upon seeing her unhumored expression.
The emperor’s decree took about four full days before it was issued. After receiving his edict and accepting the royally granted Daoist robe, Chen Rong again put her hair into a Daoist bun and mounted the carriage with her luggage. With great fanfare, the imperial guards began to escort her to the temple on Mount Xishan.
The streams of visitors parted to the sides to let the carriages by.
Before long, they had arrived at Xishan.
The monastery was located on the hillside. Its upturned eaves were visible at this distance through the sparse woods. Although newly spring, the season was already abounded in green foliage and music.
Chen Rong got off and unhurriedly walked to the monastery with the imperial escorts.
Moss covered the gravels on the meandering mountain road. Around a hillside, a dozen or so traveling aristocrats looked on in Chen Rong’s direction.
Seeing her ill-hidden beauty under the wide Daoist robe, a powder-faced lad bantered: “Isn’t she something, this pretty little girl called Hong Yunzi? The ‘Yun’ in her name is quite apt for her charm.”
Another young man in his twenties, tall and thin and comely, smilingly replied, “In my opinion, ‘Yun’ 韵 (charming/graceful) is too elegant and noble for her. It is better to use ‘Mei’ 媚 (charming/seductive). Nay, ‘Mei’ is too vulgar. This woman does have some elegance in her, tsk tsk, it’s difficult to describe her.”
Amid their chatter, a courtesan wondered aloud, “I still don’t understand why Lang’ya Wang Qi let her become a nun if she means that much to him. Or is this how the scholarly like their romance served?” With this, she hid behind her sleeve and laughed.