Chapter 159: Mistress; Ran Min
Chapter 159: Mistress; Ran Min
Chen Rong was completely still.
Her cries had stopped at this time.
“I know,” she replied at last.
Now she knew.
Wang Hong had been gazing down at her. Upon hearing her answer, he tipped her chin to make her look at him.
Her teary eyes were puffy, but there was no longer uncertainty when she smiled.
Wang Hong pressed his face to hers and softly asked, “Darling, you won’t cry anymore?”
“Aye, I won’t cry.” Chen Rong still sounded hoarse.
Wang Hong softly bit her nose and asked again, “And you won’t hate me anymore?”
“I don’t hate you anymore.” Her smile was radiant.
She pushed him away and slowly sat up. Lifting the curtain to glance outside, she smiled and thought: If there’s no escape then I should stop running.
Wang Hong was still quietly looking at her from behind.
She turned around when she perceived his gaze. The newly dried tears on her face made him think of a delicate pear blossom in the rain. His mouth moved to say something just as she leaned forward and softly placed a kiss onto his lips.
This was the first time she kissed him in a completely sober state.
Wang Hong momentarily froze.
Her rosy lips was mesmerizingly fragrant, her bewitching eyes beheld his. “My husband lord.”
Wang Hong trembled to hear the appellation.
As though she didn’t know what she had said, Chen Rong tenderly kissed him again. With their lips touching and their breaths entwined, she coyly said, “Even when you don’t love me anymore, you must always protect me.”
This was her request.
She was very quiet – taking the initiative to kiss him for the first time, calling him her husband for the first time, only to ask for his protection.
Wang Hong’s throat undulated. He lifted Chen Rong’s face away to quietly contemplate her.
She did not avoid his fixed stare but leaned forward to rest in his arms.
Toying with the sachet on his belt, she sweetly said, “I can’t come to your house. I can remain at the temple or you can provide a different house for me. Or it can also be somewhere away from Jiankang. From now on I will be your mistress (1). If you want to come, then come. If not, stop when you wish.”
(1) 外室 – this term lit. means “outside the home”. Unlike a concubine, a mistress is not a part of the man’s household and is thus not subjected to its rules or hierarchy, but any children she conceives will also be illegitimate.
At her words, Wang Hong who had been in a trance made a slight movement.
His lips slowly curved into a feeble smile. He kissed her hair and stiffly repeated, “Come when I want to, stop when I don’t? That is to say you’re prepared to be void of jealousy, hatred, resentment… and even love?”
Chen Rong chuckled. “You’re very smart, Qilang.”
She was admitting it to him.
Wang Hong withdrew his arms to quietly look down at her. Eventually he unfurled his frown and smiled: “All right.”
He bit her nose again, only harder this time so that he left an imprint. “We’ll do whatever you want.”
Chen Rong closed her eyes, but the corner of her mouth was tugging upward in a faint and peaceful yet ironic smile.
Similarly, Wang Hong who was looking down at her also smiled.
At this moment, the carriage jolted and came to a halt.
Chen Rong raised her head to look outside. They had just left the main road and turned into a small lane that was largely occupied by commoners.
“Who are you?!” the driver was heard demanding outside.
Curious, Chen Rong left Wang Hong’s arms to lift the curtain. Her discovery prompted her to hide Wang Hong behind her, but she stopped midway. At the man’s fixed stare, she indifferently smiled and called, “So it’s you, General Ran.”
Sure enough, the man who was grabbing onto the driver’s reins and staring at their carriage was Ran Min.
His eyes coldly swept over Chen Rong to Wang Hong behind her. His thin lips moved to say: “Ah Rong of the Chen House, you aren’t going to protect him this time?”
Hearing these words, Wang Hong who had been leaning back with a faint smile also turned his eyes to Chen Rong.
Chen Rong dropped her gaze and quietly replied, “He doesn’t need me to protect him.” She looked up at Ran Min and added, “You are both men of distinction who are admired by all. Why would a lowly woman like me need to offer my protection?” She wryly smiled and murmured to herself, “Why did I even overestimate myself?”
She then retreated to a corner inside the carriage, turned her head to stare out the window and did not give another glance to what was happening in front of her.
Ran Min broke into laughter.
He wordlessly glared at Chen Rong and Wang Hong, took a step forward and waved his right arm. Forthwith, a cold and sharp blade shot from his sleeve and thrust at Wang Hong’s throat.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
He was so fast and so sudden that the guards couldn’t react before his sword was already on Wang Hong’s neck.
The sunlight danced on the metal blade, reflecting everchanging beams as a ray of blood was drawn.
Wang Hong raised his head, though he smiled at Ran Min. “I wouldn’t have expected you to use weaponry in Jiankang just for Ah Rong. Are your imperial ambitions not great enough to overcome a beauty’s smile?”
Ran Min scoffed. The sword in his hand bore down to draw more blood from Wang Hong’s neck. “Wang Qi, you think too highly of yourself. If I have the gall to come then I can easily leave whenever I want.”
Several swords simultaneously pointed at him: “Let go of His Lordship!”
“How dare you, withdraw your sword!”
“Withdraw your sword!“
Ran Min did not heed the five men’s warning. He let them point at him and, when their threats became more urgent, exerted more strength on his sword.
It cut into Wang Hong’s neck from whence blood started coursing.
The five men behind him at once withdrew their swords.
Sensing that they had put their weapons away, Ran Min sneered and relaxed his blade.
He cared little about the men and only stared at Wang Hong who was resting comfortably on his seat, looking at him in apparent amusement.
“Wang Hong,” Ran Min spat. He glanced at Chen Rong who was still gazing at the scenery and icily said, “I’ll never forget your offense of stealing my wife.” His assertion thick with murderous intent.
Chen Rong finally turned her head. She couldn’t but glance at Wang Hong’s bleeding neck, quietly intervening: “General Ran.”
Her voice drew the crowd’s attention.
She looked up at Ran Min, softly saying: “This morning I saw a young Huan descendant shot to death outside the palace gate.” She closely watched Ran Min. “He was killed in front of everyone only for singing this verse: She waves her sleeves, the red chamber beauty; food aplenty to waste in houses of wealthy. Surely you know, general, that noblemen cannot be executed publicly in Jiankang.”
Not only Ran Min but also Wang Hong turned to look at her in surprise… How did this woman have such a keen observation on current affairs?
Chen Rong ignored them. “They killed a nobleman just because of a poem. You can’t think that this is a common and trivial matter?” She dropped her gaze from Ran Min and unhurriedly added, “I heard you want to unite the Jin in the fight against the Hu… many passionate men in Jiankang have been moved.” She smiled, “You assume that no one notices your arrival in Jiankang, but don’t you remember that your emperor had once placed an informant by your side in Nan’yang? It’s anybody’s guess whether another scoundrel is with you this time.” Chen Rong sighed, “I fear that the arrow had been meant for you.”
Her logical and clear analysis showed that she was indeed perceptive of Jiankang’s politics.
These men were talents of their era, but listening to Chen Rong, they felt that perhaps her wits were not inferior to theirs.
For a moment, both men were stunned.
Wang Hong quietly watched Chen Rong. He was reminded that it was her intelligence on the journey south that had attracted his attention… He almost forgot.
With their eyes on her, Chen Rong quietly looked at Ran Min. This man had always killed decisively, but the sword placed on Wang Hong’s neck was meaningless to him. She smiled and lightly said, “Didn’t General Yang warn you, general? Jiankang is a troublesome place, don’t get yourself into unnecessary predicament.”
Ran Min drew his lips into a line. He unblinkingly stared at her.
After a long while, he hoarsely laughed and muttered, “You’re really trying hard for him.”
Chen Rong shook her head. “You’re wrong. Aye I’m doing this for him, but also because there aren’t many men in this world whose aspiration it is to defeat the barbarians. Your internal strife will only benefit Shi Hu and Murong Ke.”
Ran Min scoffed to hear Chen Rong’s words.
He turned to Wang Hong.
Wang Hong was still reposing and looking at Chen Rong with a gentle smile. “Ah Rong is indeed very smart.”
At the same time Wang Hong spoke, a female voice anxiously called, “My husband lord.”
The caller was Chen Wei, standing not far from them and dressed in a man’s outfit. She was very thin, her face hidden under a wide brim hat. Chen Rong looked up after she heard her voice and then did not pay attention to her anymore.
Chen Wei bit her lips and sounded as if she was about to cry. “My Lord, let it go, I beg you to let it go.”
“Be quiet!” Ran Min barked as he shot a glare at her.
Chen Wei’s unspoken words at once lodged in her throat.
Ran Min turned to looked at Chen Rong and back at Wang Hong again. He slowly smirked, again forcing the sword into Wang Hong’s neck.
A slight exertion was all it took to draw more blood from Wang Hong.
He stared at Wang Hong with a sneer. “I do not intend to take your life this time.”
Wang Hong merely nodded.
Ran Min angrily glared at Wang Hong, gritted his teeth and icily said, “Of course, I shall never forget that you stole my wife!”
This time Wang Hong glanced up once, before carelessly lowering his gaze again.
After Ran Min spoke his piece, he harrumphed and withdrew his sword.
He looked at Chen Rong.
The look in his eyes were complicated. He shouldn’t have come to see her. Even just now, he did not intend to become more entangled in this meaningless love. But for whatever reason, when he inadvertently saw the embracing adulterers in the carriage, he couldn’t restrain himself from stopping the vehicle and pointing his sword at Wang Hong.
She is just a woman! She is just a woman…
Only until Chen Rong averted her eyes did Ran Min stop staring at her and flap his sleeves to go.
Chen Wei and the two hatted men at once chased after him.
As he watched him leave, Wang Hong produced a handkerchief from his robe and placed it on his wound. “Take care that nobody knows I’ve met him.”
“Aye, my lord.”
He thought for a moment and then added, “Tell our men not to give General Ran any difficulty. Hmm, help him if we can.”
His words made Chen Rong look up in surprise. As if he could feel her gaze, Wang Hong smiled. “If my darling can prioritize the country’s welfare, how can I fall behind?”
He turned back and quietly regarded her.