Chapter 160: Wang Hong Defies the Imperial Edic
Chapter 160: Wang Hong Defies the Imperial Edict
Chen Rong hurried to avoid his gaze.
Seeing her dutifully scoot into the corner, Wang Hong tossed a handkerchief around his wound, reached over and pulled her back into his arms.
She unavoidably fell against his chest, her elbow turning sideways and unwittingly hitting his wound.
Blood promptly soaked through the handkerchief, down his clothes and Chen Rong’s robe.
Seeing the startlingly red patch, Chen Rong produced a handkerchief from her sleeve and gently pressed it onto the wound.
Without looking at Wang Hong, she quietly growled at the guards outside, “Where’s the medicine?”
The five guards glanced at Wang Hong and deferentially stepped forward.
With their help, his wound was soon bandaged; his outfit was also changed.
The curtain was let down again.
Chen Rong soothed Wang Hong’s neck and gently asked, “My dear husband, does it hurt?”
Her voice was filled with love and concern.
By the time Wang Hong lifted her chin, Chen Rong had raised her eyes to meet his gaze.
The look in her eyes was filled with an overwhelming affection. She gave him a tender look before bowing her head to place a kiss on his wound through the robe, asking: “It must be painful?”
Wang Hong did not answer her.
Chen Rong’s delicate fingers ran across his chin along the wound. She sighed and softly rubbed her face against his. Following his example, she bit the tip of his nose and murmured, “If this ever happens again, I will take the sword for you.”
Her words were gentleness.
Her gaze was tender affection.
Her expression was solicitous concern.
It was everything Wang Hong had hoped to see… Yet as he was quietly watching her, he felt strangely restless.
At this time, drum beats sounded outside.
After hurrying to take a look, Chen Rong withdrew her gaze and smoothed her robe and hair.
She turned to Wang Hong and charmingly asked, “Do I look presentable?”
Wang Hong had been watching her silently. When he heard her question, he gave her an appraising look, then outstretched his hand and as light as the wind hooked her hair behind her ears, saying: “Now you do.”
“Thank you, my husband.”
She pushed the curtain aside to alight the carriage.
“Where are you going, Ah Rong?” Wang Hong asked, holding her back.
Chen Rong turned around and smiled: “It may not be obvious to you, but I am from a humble background. I have been walking on eggshells around other people ever since we moved south, never once have I dared to relax. I’ve come to Jiankang for some time but due to my looks I have not dared to indulge myself. Now it’s all right. I have you to miss me while I’m alive, and I have you to collect my body when I die. I can finally breathe easy.”
She pulled away from his hand and hopped down.
In front of the swaying curtain, she suddenly turned back and curtsied to him: “My lord, I’m going for a walk.”
She waved her sleeves and went towards the sound of the drums.
Scarce had she taken a few steps when Wang Hong’s voice called from behind, “Come back.” he was soft spoken but it was an order.
A gentle hand pressed her shoulder. “Another time,” sighed Wang Hong. He stepped off the carriage to take her hand, leading her back to the vehicle.
Chen Rong did not protest, obediently following him.
“Aye, my lord.”
“To the temple.”
As he gave his orders, Wang Hong pulled Chen Rong onto his lap. Because of his movement, the wound on his neck began to bleed again.
When Chen Rong saw this, she pressed on the wound to stop the flow.
“Didn’t you know, Ah Rong? I won’t let you die,” Wang Hong said, looking down at her.
His smile was graceful if faint, his fingers combing through her hair. “Come, look at that person.” He was pointing to a bedraggled woman about a hundred paces from the carriage. “She was sent by the Ninth Princess. That one, that one, and that one, too.”
He gently kissed Chen Rong’s hair. “Those people would jump for joy to see you travel alone.”
Chen Rong smiled and feebly replied, “Alright, I know.”
She leaned back into his arms and muttered, “You’re a bad person, you won’t let me do what I want. Life isn’t easy, death isn’t allowed. Oy, my husband is really not a good person.”
Wang Hong laughed to hear her words.
Until this moment his smile had been faint and light and he seldom laughed out loud like this.
He stretched his left hand and tapped on the carriage wall. Amid the rhythmic beats, he placed a finger on his lips to shush a warning: “Ah Rong, these words can’t be said so heedlessly… If you badmouth me in Jiankang, people will give you grief for it.”
Amid Wang Hong’s laughter, the carriage continued its route forward.
They soon arrived at the foothill of Xishan Temple where they began to decelerate.
Leaning back, Wang Hong reached out to stroke Chen Rong’s back and her satiny hair, and admired her bewitching profile. It was almost strange now that he thought about it – after she slept with him, her entire being now glowed in a blinding and seductive aura. This kind of sensual charm couldn’t be covered up even if she wanted to. It was as if she’d completely shed off her former lowliness and replaced it with poise and triumph.
It seemed as if she was no longer in a rush, as if she no longer cared about life and death… Aye, she had changed after all.
As he looked at her, his slender hand gently stroked her nape and he softly said, “You keep getting prettier every day, Ah Rong. What good does this do?”
His voice had dipped into a whisper.
Chen Rong turned around.
He looked into her bright eyes, his finger brushing across her long lashes. “You make it harder and harder for me to let go. This can’t be good.”
Chen Rong withdrew her gaze and smiled: “Why do you say so, my lord? Haven’t you locked me to your side? If you have too much of something, you’ll soon tire of it, even if that something is the rarest of delicacy. When you are tired of it, you won’t keep it around for long.”
She didn’t wait to hear his reply. As she turned around, a series of drum beats suddenly appeared.
It was the same one they had heard in town, but it was now trailing right behind her below the temple.
Chen Rong sat up and reached out to lift the curtain looking outside.
The drum music was drawing closer and closer, looming at every bend of the winding road. She glanced to discover that there were hundreds of spectators behind the band.
And they were only about a hundred paces from her.
The carriage stopped. Chen Rong had yet to turn back by the time Wang Hong sighed, “Is it the emperor’s people?”
The emperor’s people?
Chen Rong shivered as she looked sideways.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Gradually, the spectators dispersed and the band appeared before her.
They were the Royal Guards and a troupe of drummers, led in front by a eunuch holding an imperial edict.
Chen Rong thought for a moment and hopped down.
“Ah Rong, come back to the carriage,” Wang Hong called.
A rare coldness was heard in his voice.
Surprised, Chen Rong glanced at him to see that he was staring at the band. She went back to him and climbed onto the carriage.
As soon as she was inside, Wang Hong held her and quietly said, “Go.”
He was talking to the driver.
The driver gave a reply and hurriedly drove on.
Wang Hong’s carriage had not gone far when a eunuch’s sharp voice called to them: “Is Priestess Hong Yunzi here?”
He followed Wang Hong’s carriage, but spoke to the one belonging to Chen Rong.
Silence all around.
All eyes were on Chen Rong’s empty carriage.
At this time Wang Hong quietly said, “Go forward.”
The driver drove two paces forward and came to the empty carriage.
Slowly, Wang Hong lifted to curtain and let his and Chen Rong’s face appear before the crowd.
This time everyone stilled before breaking into murmurs.
What kind of name was Lang’ya Wang Qi? Of course they all knew Wang Hong was here without needing him to appear. The shocker was that he was holding a nun for all the world to see!
It was impossible for people to play dumb.
The eunuch took one look at Wang Hong before withdrawing his gaze.
His manners were so nonchalant that it was clear he had long known, Chen Rong’s heart sank in realization.
The eunuch ignored Wang Hong and only intently stared at Chen Rong. “Are you Priestess Hong Yunzi?” he asked.
Chen Rong couldn’t return full courtesy to him, for her waist was held by Wang Hong. She only made a slight bow and replied, “Aye.”
The eunuch stared at her and slowly uttered, “There is an imperial edict.”
Chen Rong shivered and clambered to stand up. She stepped down from the carriage, now according ceremony to the eunuch, and said, “Hong Yunzi is present for acceptance.”
This time, snide remarks rose around them: “Good for an amorous nun. She had just left a man’s bed and now she accepts the emperor’s edict.”
These words weren’t low in volume.
Chen Rong ignored them. One of the guards behind the eunuch turned around with a glare. His threatening eyes silenced everyone.
The eunuch stared at Chen Rong, slowly nodded, and then opened the edict and shrilled, “Why did Hong Yunzi ask to be made a Daoist nun when she still pines for the secular world? A nun who keeps men in her company is a humiliation to the emperor.”
As this juncture, the eunuch made a wink to those behind him.
As a result, three palace maids holding wooden trays slowly stepped forward.
The crowd stirred as soon as he finished. And while the palace maids went forth, the murmurs had turned into cries and clamoring.
Even Wang Hong who had been leaning on his seat to watch the scene unfold was now sitting up.
The three palace maids were holding three items in their hands.
An exquisite porcelain bowl, a white sash, and a dagger…
Everyone knew what these objects signify.
In order to maintain the royal family’s eminence, it seemed His Majesty was granting death to the amorous nun.
As the maids walked forward, voices and cries rose louder.
All eyes were on Chen Rong and Wang Hong.
Chen Rong froze.
She was truly shocked.
His Majesty was ordering her death?
How could this be?
At this time, the eunuch’s sharp voice rang in her ears: “Hong Yunzi, do you dare to refuse?”
His voice was shrill and menacing.
Chen Rong slowly raised her head.
She faced the eunuch and then turned her gaze to the maids before sweeping it across the crowd.
She slowly turned to look back at Wang Hong.
When he felt her gaze, Wang Hong who had been coldly staring at the crowd looked up to meet her eyes.
She smiled to see him look at her.
It was a very peculiar smile – plaintive and relieved, causing it to be even more gorgeous.
Quietly staring at Wang Hong, she said, “Qilang.” Her voice was soft and sentimental, as if she was reluctantly giving up. “Qilang, you lost.”
“You lost,” she sadly murmured.
Foolishly looking at him, Chen Rong smiled and turned around.
She walked to the three palace maids.
Almost without hesitation, she reached for the dagger and in the middle of a sudden silence, gazed at everyone with a smile. “It should have been sooner… I thank His Majesty for giving me the resolve I need.”
As her small hand reached for the dagger, Wang Hong’s low yet sweet voice spoke: “Wait.”
Everyone quieted down to look at him.
With their attention, Wang Hong unconcernedly beckoned the eunuch. “Let me see the edict.”
“Preposterous!” the eunuch shrieked. He took a step back to glare at Wang Hong, harping: “Is the emperor’s edict for an idler like you to see?”
Wang Hong shot a glance, at which time the rest of the eunuch’s words lodged in his throat… it was just a glance, and a very quiet one, but the eunuch felt chills.
The chills were brief, nonetheless, and the eunuch thought of his duty. He gritted his teeth and shouted at Chen Rong, “Priestess, do you dare to defy His Majesty’s edict?”
At this time Chen Rong’s hand was placed on the dagger’s handle. After hearing Wang Hong speak, she had turned around to tenderly and quietly watch him.
She slowly turned back to the eunuch and lazily asked, “Why are you so anxious?”
She looked up at Wang Hong with a smile that hid a hope she did not dare to admit: “It’s very hard for me to find someone who protects me like this. Why are you in a hurry, sir?”
The eunuch’s face darkened. He didn’t have the audacity to look at Wang Hong, but it wasn’t a problem to glare at Chen Rong. He stepped forward and yelled at her: “Preposterous! Men, bring the wine to this nun.”
Two men stepped forward at his order.
At this moment, Wang Hong’s lazy voice was heard: “Bring the decree to me.”
The eunuch stopped.
While he was still puzzled, Wang Hong’s guard had strode forward. It took only a few steps for him to reach the eunuch. He reached out and snatched the decree from the eunuch’s hand.
The eunuch was furious. He frantically screamed, “How dare you! Men, capture him!”
His sharp cries echoed across the mountains. But no one felt brave enough to come forward even after the guard had returned to Wang Hong’s side.
The eunuch furiously turned around to see the fearful crowd backing away with their eyes glued to the ground.
The eunuch turned livid. His limbs gave out to think that he had lost the imperial edict in his hands.
The guard handed the decree to Wang Hong.
In the sunlight, Wang Hong took a few glances at it before he slowly rolled it up and then gracefully stepped down from the carriage.
He walked over to Chen Rong, cast her a glance, and put his hand out to her.
Chen Rong blinked.
Tilting her head, she absently stared at him for a moment and, when she understood his meaning, picked the dagger up and put it into his hand.
Wang Hong smiled. He waved his sleeves and strode to the eunuch.
Even though the dagger in his hand was flashing a dense coldness, the eunuch didn’t know what else to do. He stared at Wang Hong, put up a front and yelled, “Wang Qilang, what are you doing? Are you defying His Majesty’s edict?”
“Defy His Majesty’s edict?”
Wang Hong’s lips upturned to lightly say: “So you do know I’m Wang Qilang.” Upon his words, his right hand thrust forward.
In a flash, he was standing in front of the eunuch with the dagger in his hand.
Along with a swing of his sleeve and his soft spoken words, the crowd heard a stabbing sound.
Everyone screamed and backed away in horror.
Blood spewed forth.
Wang Hong indifferently stepped back to avoid the spattering blood. He knitted his brow and shook his sleeves. “You know who I am, yet you dare to deceive my woman with a fake edict?”
He made a turn without a care, shook his sleeves and walked to the carriage.
At this time blood was still gushing from the eunuch’s throat. He pointed at Wang Hong but was unable to utter anything.
At this time, the spectators had been so shocked by the turn of events that they could only gasp.
At this time, Chen Rong was looking up at Wang Hong.
As he was walking to her side and offering his hand, another sharp voice sounded from the mountainside: “Where is Priestess Hong Yunzi? There is an imperial edict –”