Chapter 166: Wang Hong Issues a Warning
Despite her sinking heart, the girl was unable to stop herself from saying: “Seventh brother, aren’t you too incapable?” She continued: “For this woman you willingly carry a reputation of ridiculousness, refused the royal messenger in public, gave His Majesty little consideration, and even killed Eunuch Wu yesterday. You have made the clan very dissatisfied with you, yet you haven’t managed to win this woman over. That’s really too useless of you.”
Wang Hong withdrew his gaze to glance at the girl, lightly replying: “The clan is dissatisfied with me?” He smiled. “They are dissatisfied with me and yet they cannot do anything to me. Isn’t that good, then?”
Thus spoke, he flapped his sleeves, pressed down on his hat and went on his way.
The girl laughed to see her cousin walking away without a backward glance. She formed her hands into a speaking trumpet and shouted at the top of her lungs: “Wang Qilang, even if you put on a blue robe and a wide brim hat, they cannot hide your unrivaled bearing.”
Almost as soon as she shouted his name, the people coming and going on the streets all turned to look. By the time she finished, there were already widespread cheering and screaming.
Among these voices, someone was shouting: “Qilang is not a ridiculous or unreasonable person, let me go ask him.”
In the blink of an eye, the blue figure had been buried behind a swarm of people. Watching her cousin struggling to escape, the girl broke into laughter.
She tilted her head and mumbled: “My goodness, dear cousin. You’re having an affair with a nun, no wonder everyone is upset. Tsk, the fairy has fallen, how pitiful.” At this juncture, an inadvertent glance led her to see a shadow sitting in an ordinary and unmarked carriage. She stared for a moment and then scornfully muttered to herself: “The ninth princess?”
At this moment the princess was quietly parked in a corner. She lifted the curtain and painfully watched Wang Hong encircled by the crowd.
Her face was ashen, and her lips were pressed together.
The curtain swayed behind her.
“How did it go?” she asked without turning around. As she thought about those eyes, her voice slightly trembled.
“I haven’t found out, your royal highness,” the other person’s voice was low and scratchy. “Our people inside and out of the temple are gone. Even those we have just sent to follow her carriage have also disappeared.”
After a pause he whispered, “Could it be the boy from the Sun House in Jiangdong – the one called Sun Yan?”
“Imbecile!” the princess blurted. She clenched her teeth and lowered her voice to say, “Sun Yan only recently arrived in Jiankang. He has yet to find his footing in the Sun family, how could he have had the facility?”
Having said this, she turned to look at Wang Hong, her anger gradually turning into sadness, fear and pain: “This was his doing. I don’t want to believe it, but I know it’s him… He changed the moment he killed the imperial messenger. He’s become frighteningly ruthless; he’s no longer gentle and kind.”
She closed her eyes and murmured, “I know he is warning everyone that she is his, and no one but him can touch her. Never mind, I should calm down and wait to see how long he will be protecting her… This woman sickens me. As soon as he lets go, you should take care of it. I do not want to see her again.” She spoke her words with gnashing teeth and a hint of masked fear… She had woken up this morning to find that a lock of her hair had been inexplicably cut off. So frightened and angry was she that she had ordered the death of her servants in attendance.
While sitting in front of her mirror, she suddenly remembered her royal brother had once said: Lang’ya Wang Qi may look like a fairy, but his temper is that of a wolf. All is fine when he does not act, but when he does it will be with the rage of lightning.
She didn’t want to believe it, but his image kept appearing in her mind. For this reason, she had left the palace so in the morning to speak to him.
However, he didn’t even need to speak now. Just moments ago he was glancing at her from the crowd with eyes that were penetrating but also unsympathetic. It was a look of disdain for her life. Almost suddenly she was convinced that it was his doing all along. He was warning her, and ordering her to stop.
Not long ago, his censure had led to the mockery of her in the palace. Now he had obviously ran out of patience, so she should forbear and bide her time.
Bowing her head and hiding her tears behind her sleeve, the ninth princess whispered, “Go.”
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Chen Rong soon returned to the temple.
After freshening herself, she hurried to the back of the mountain where she spotted a small boat moored in the distant valley. There, Old Shang and a thin man were talking to each other; behind them a few servants stood by.
They bowed to the arrival of Chen Rong.
She nodded to them as she briskly walked to the boat and, after circling it, said to the thin man, “Can we start now?”
The commoner didn’t dare to raise his head at a high-profile character in Jiankang. “Aye,” he replied.
“Then teach me.”
The man jumped onto the boat. Timidity vanished from his face once he was on the water. With his back turned to Chen Rong, he explained, “Priestess, it’s fairly easy to row a boat. The key is knowing how to exert your strength.” He demonstrated with gestures as he spoke.
Chen Rong listened in earnest. From time to time, she made a few strokes according to his instructions.
Her lessons in martial arts afforded her good balance, and since she was eager to learn, she grasped the idea in just a quarter of an hour. By the time she took the boat around the lake, she had started to look the part.
She laughed and called to Old Shang from the distance: “Old Shang, I did it! Give him a bolt of silk and see him home.” The man dropped to his knees to thank her in surprise. A bolt of silk! It’s this simple to earn a bolt of silk? Working for the rich is indeed the best way to make money.
Chen Rong who had just learned how to row was besides herself with joy. She paddled back and forth in the lake and loudly sang:
“That cunning boy,
Won’t talk to me.
Because of him,
I cannot eat.
That cunning boy,
Won’t eat with me.
Because of him,
I cannot sleep.” (1)
(1) 狡童 – “Cunning Boy” from the Book of Songs
Her voice was so bright and high that these lovesick words sounded cheerful and breezy. After she sang the song twice, she frowned: Why did I sing this kind of song? Now I’m upset for no good reason. At this thought, she shook her head and began rowing back.
Before she reached the shore, a young man’s laughter rang to her: “I barely arrived only to hear you singing love songs. Woman, can’t you pretend to be a little holier?”
It was Sun Yan’s voice.
Chen Rong was happy to see him. She gave him a glare, but cheerily smiled: “Who told you to eavesdrop?” She looked him up and down and then curiously asked, “Why are you dressed like this? Are you going somewhere?”
Sun Yan pushed a stray hair aside, replying: “Didn’t you want to tour Jiankang? I’m here to accompany you.”
Chen Rong was overcome with delight. She jumped onto shore and asked, “Really? Do you meant it?”
“Of course,” Sun Yan laughingly replied. “Rest assured, I’ve brought ten masters with me. If you’re still worried, your imperial guards may come along.” The imperial guards looked very imposing, and weren’t used to listening to Chen Rong’s command. For these reasons she didn’t bring them to court this morning, much less thinking of bringing them along on a drive.
“Ah Rong,” Sun Yan patted her shoulders and winked at her.
She turned and eyed him with vigilance.
Sun Yan flashed her an amiable and toothy grin: “Ah Rong, dress like you did this morning.” Answering her wary eyes, he scratched his head and swallowed to say: “Hehe, there’s something you don’t know. Zuihonglou has some very excellent wine, but they only serve men of talents, hehe, and beautiful boys.”
His eyes crinkled into lines as he quite smugly said, “Think about it, out of the two of us, at least one would qualify as a beautiful boy, right?” Seeing Chen Rong raising an eyebrow at him, he hurriedly added, “I mean, shouldn’t we play it safe? You’re a woman, you have no idea how good that wine tastes.” He gulped, and she couldn’t hear the rest of what he said.
She studied his serious appearance. After deciding that he wasn’t joking, she smiled and nodded: “All right.”
“Great, let’s go.”
Because Sun Yan was hurrying her, Chen Rong jumped onto his carriage as soon as she was dressed. They drove into the city with ten guards in tow.
They hadn’t arrived at Zuihonglou by the time fragrances wafted into their nostrils. From the lofts, several beauties were looking down and pointing here and there.
At this moment, Sun Yan suddenly cried, “Wait.” Seeing that the driver wasn’t responding, he hastily cried, “Catch that carriage!”
He was referring to a pink carriage that had just exited from Zuihonglou.
Their driver quickly drove near, at which time Sun Yan poked his head out and stared at the other coachman. After some time he suddenly yelled, “Lord Sun Lin, who is the beauty that has made you abandon your name to run from Wu to Jiankang and be a driver?”
There was anger in his voice and his eyes were burning with flames.
The pink carriage’s curtain lifted to show a woman and her servant girl staring back at Sun Yan. Even on Zuihonglou’s second floor, two beautiful girls were looking down at him.
The pink carriage’s driver sighed and turned his eyes to Sun Yan. He had high cheekbones, sunken eyes and long limbs. At first glance he seemed thin and ordinary, but upon careful observation, he had a rather solitary and classic style.
He looked at Sun Yan and sighingly said, “Chap, you can’t just yell my name like that. How am I going to continue living at my master’s house?”
Sun Yan pointed at his nose and shakily demanded, “Are you not a descendant of Sun Wu from Jiangdong? Why are you behaving like a servant?”
“Who said I am a servant?” the driver rolled his eyes in disdain. “I mostly manage the wine cellar for the Fang family, and sometimes fill in as the driver.” He muttered, “I waited three long years for this wine. I still haven’t tasted it but you’ve ruined it for me. What rotten luck!”
He appeared to be extremely dejected. He jumped down, shook his tattered sleeves, bobbed his head and strode away. Only until he had taken a dozen steps did Sun Yan yell after him: “Uncle, where are you going?!”
Meanwhile, the woman in the pink carriage also called, “Old Xun, Old Xun, where are you going? Y-you can’t leave us here!” She was so anxious that she was stomping her feet.
The more they called after him, the faster he walked. In a flash he had completely vanished from sight.
Seeing that Sun Yan wasn’t moving, Chen Rong quietly said, “Aren’t you going to send someone after him?”
Sun Yan eventually sighed. “What use is it if it’s not what he wants?” Having lost his mood, he then told the driver to turn around and circle the city.
While the carriage jostled, he remained glum and somber. At length he angrily slammed the table and asserted, “He’s being ridiculous! As a famous scholar from Eastern Wu and as a descendant of the Sun family, he abandoned his family and career to go incognito for the sake of alcohol? Does he even think?”
Chen Rong covered her smile to see his furious appearance. “He’s got quite the flare of an elite scholar, though.” Her words earned a glare from Sun Yan. She quickly offered him a smile and gently patted his back.
Sun Yan quietly leaned back with his eyes closed.
The carriage had gone to a quieter street, one that looked oddly familiar. Chen Rong suddenly remembered that it was where her brother lived.
At this moment, a woman was screeching outside: “Go to hell you worthless piece of trash! How hard is it to go and talk to your sister, but you keep dragging it until now. I-I’m really going to kill you.”
Amid her screaming, the large woman rammed into a thin man. She raised her hand and beat him into a corner.
Chen Rong slowly sat up and told the driver to stop.
Hearing something wrong from her tone, Sun Yan turned his head to see her staring at the couple in the alley. “Who are they?”
She was silent for a while before admitting: “My older brother and his wife.”
Chen Rong raised her chin and whispered to Sun Yan, “I’m going down first, observe the situation before you come.”
She dismounted the carriage and walked over.
Within ten steps she was in the dark alleyway, staring at the quarreling couple. “Stop!” Chen Rong demanded.
The two entangled people stopped in their tracks .
Seeing her, the beaten and bruised Mr. Chen happily called, “Ah Rong, is it you? You’re back?!”
At the same time, Mrs. Chen’s shrill voice took over: “Why, isn’t it the young missy? I’m glad you’re finally here!” She patted her husband’s clothes and tidied his lapels, then greeted Chen Rong with a smile and intimately said, “I knew we’d always be family. Look, we just ran into some trouble and here you are!”
Chen Rong quietly looked at them and then asked Mr. Chen, “What’s wrong?”
Her brother looked dejected while her sister-in-law couldn’t wait to cry: “Young missy, it’s like this. You know we have two stores, don’t you? The front one was noticed by a nobleman who wants to forcefully take it from us. I know you have a say among the rich, so I want you to talk to them for us.” As soon as she finished, Mr. Chen angrily disputed, “Don’t use these words to deceive my sister, it’s your brothers who had gambled and lost the store.”
Ignoring his wife’s glare, he dragged his hurt legs and called to Chen Rong, “Ah Rong, stop minding this. If you get involved, you won’t get any peace.”
Almost as soon as he spoke, his wife was already so provoked that she screamed and threw herself at him.
It might have been that Chen Rong’s eyes were frightfully cold, for strength left Mrs. Chen’s legs and she leaned against the wall before she could beat her husband.
Chen Rong inwardly heaved a sigh.
“If she is such a shrew, why haven’t you left her, brother?”
A howl erupted as soon as she said this. Mrs. Chen had dropped to the ground, beating her chest, stomping and screaming. “Heavens above, open your eyes, how can there be such a ill-bred wench in this world? Heavens, open your eyes to see, this little wench is telling her brother to divorce his wife.”
Her wailing and shrieking caused the passersby to stop and turn to look.
Just then, a light footfall sounded.
It passed Chen Rong to arrive in front of Mrs. Chen. While she was crying bloody murder, a glare blinded her eyes and a cold sword sat on her stout neck.
Mrs. Chen had never been in this situation before. Her outcry lodged in her throat. She widened her murky eyes to shakily stare at the sharp blade just inches from her face.
Seeing that she finally closed her mouth, Sun Yan looked back at Chen Rong, asking: “How should we deal with her?”
Chen Rong looked at her brother and solemnly called, “Brother.” She paused, her tone carried anger and disappointment when she next said: “I’m not short on money. If you’re willing to leave this woman, I’ll do my best to set you up with a better life. But if you don’t want to, then we will continue to be strangers. This will also be the last time I call you my brother.”
Mr. Chen looked at her, and then back at Sun Yan.
Despite standing in a dark alley, he was frightened witless by Sun Yan’s blue-blooded temperament. “Ah Rong, t-this this is a big matter. We can’t be rash.”
Chen Rong hummed a reply and turned around. “Then I’ll let you think about it for a few days.” Before she left, she tossed Sun Yan a look.
Because they shared an affinity, Sun Yan immediately understood what Chen Rong meant. He withdrew the sword from Mrs. Chen’s neck, stared at her and coldly warned, “Witch, be careful. If you bear your claws again, you’ll have to watch out for your hands!”
He harrumphed and turned to leave.
Mrs. Chen stared after them before springing up and storming outside.
She rushed to the street, looking at the two of them stepping onto their carriage, at the ten guards who were closely following behind, and at the exquisite ride. Mrs. Chen spat onto the ground: “What a tramp, she changes men one after another!” Despite saying these words her face was a ghastly color of blue.
As soon as he got on the carriage, Sun Yan lazily said, “There’s no need to spend so much time and effort on this kind of people. If you don’t like her, I’ll send someone to kill the witch.”
Chen Rong bowed her head, whispering at length: “I can’t decide his life for him.”
She next turned to him with a smile. “These things are no fun, let’s continue our trip.”
Sun Yan nodded.
He leaned back, staring at Chen Rong.
Sensing his stare, Chen Rong laughed: “What are you staring at me for?”
Sun Yan’s gaze held steady. “Ah Rong,” he sighed, “why did you want to become a nun? You’ll be lonely for the rest of your life. I-I…” He again sighed. “If I hadn’t come to Jiankang I wouldn’t have known how powerful the Wang House is. If you want to leave the monastery, you’ll have ask for Wang Qilang’s help.”
Chen Rong glanced at him and sullenly said, “Who said I want to come back to the secular life? It’s better this way!”
Sun Yan shook his head. “No family, no friends, no one to lean on when you grow old. How can you say that this is better? Moreover, you like festivities, Ah Rong.”
Chen Rong stilled. She pursed her lips and tried to refute him, but in the end she had nothing to say.
There was now silence in the carriage.
“I saw Wang Hong before I found you,” Sun Yan suddenly said. He stroked the sword on his hip and menacingly announced, “I was going to make a mark on his body when people weren’t paying attention, but then I heard him say something that made me spare him.”
Chen Rong turned to him, asking: “What did he say?”
“He said to an elder of the Lang’ya Wang House that whether his woman is unruly or contrary, he will be the one to teach her, and it was best that others keep their noses out of it.”
“To speak that way to his clan elders… Ah Rong, that bastard is trying. He has done a lot for you.” He clenched his fist and spat, “But what makes him think he has the rights to teach you, the unscrupulous bastard! Dammit I’m so peeved.”
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