Chapter 98: Is Wang Qilang Attached Or Indifferent? (1)
How close he was leaning!
Chen Rong shrank back by reflex. When she turned her gaze, she caught numerous eyes burning with jealousy.
Although she was occupied enough, Chen Rong didn’t forget to glance at Zhang Xiang. At this time, he was looking at her and Wang Hong with a faint admiration in his eyes – the kind of admiration one might have for a well-matched couple.
Chen Rong’s heart pounded: Among the thousands of scholars in the world, this stranger named Zhang Xiang might very well be the only one who doesn’t mind my humble background and tainted reputation. Although I’ve forgotten his face the moment I looked away, although he himself might have only said it jokingly, shouldn’t I at least give it a try?
She turned her head in Wang Hong’s direction at this point in her thought.
He was smiling at her. Without her realizing it until now, his carriage had been driving alongside hers, separated by less than an arm’s length.
Glancing at him, Chen Rong bowed from her seat and politely said in a crystalline voice: “I thank you for asking, sir. I’m in good health; I even had two bowls of rice at lunch.”
Upon hearing her words, a girl was quick to laugh: “What did I say? Qilang was simply making inquiries; he’s not that close to her.”
The surrounding stares simmered down.
It was to Chen Rong’s satisfaction. She turned back at Wang Hong.
Again, she saw his faint smiling eyes that looked as gentle as it did taunting.
She dropped her gaze to avoid them, gave their owner a bow and said to Old Shang, “Let’s go.”
The carriage began rolling and easily entered the prince’s estate.
A long line filed in front of them while another waited behind.
Chen Rong stared at the quartized road to force herself from looking back.
The road was narrow, and could only accommodate two vehicles running side by side.
While her eyes were glued to the road ahead, her ears were alert to the surrounding sounds. Just as she reached for her curtain after not hearing his familiar voice, she caught another carriage running beside her – was it not Wang Hong’s? Heaven, how could he have passed all the other vehicles so quickly?
As Chen Rong stared in surprise at Wang Hong’s carriage, he laughed and came closer to her. He looked at her with a smile so gentle that it could drown her alive.
Chen Rong’s heart suddenly palpitated. But forthwith, she decidedly turned her head and dropped the curtain.
Just as she did so, she heard his charming voice speak: “You’re being very clear-cut, darling. Your eyes can’t sparkle any brighter to see the young man. Or do you wish to clarify yourself again? How soon you discard your old love.” Then he sadly added, “You can be quite cruel!”
Chen Rong’s hand froze on the curtain. Her smile stiffened. A while later, she rigidly turned to look at him. When she saw his quiet eyes, something like guilt and discomfort flickered across her face.
It was just like Wang Hong to make snide remarks so mildly. Even so, they had carried the weighty accusation that her confession to him that day had been a lie.
And yet his voice was too sweet, his eyes too quiet. Momentarily, Chen Rong was wracked with guilt.
Soon, her shame dissolved into emptiness. She stared at his intricately embroidered white robe and mumbled back: “But you can’t marry me!”
“If you have never tried, how do you know I can’t?” Wang Hong’s beguiling voice returned.
Her head snapped up. She stared at him without knowing that her eyes were, at this moment, as bright as the stars in the sky.
In just a flash, however, they darkened as Chen Rong looked down and let the cold wind blow her hair over her eyes. “What good is trying?” There was something that sounded like a broken soul, a crushed dream, and a devastated melancholy in her voice. She opened her misty eyes and, looking only at his white robe, slowly said, “Asking for too much will only result in our demise… Trying won’t be of any use.”
Wang Hong froze. His cloudless and smiling eyes all of a sudden grew stagnant. He stared at her and searched her eyes with his own.
Chen Rong did not look at him. She sniffed, retracted her head inside, and pulled the curtain down.
The carriages went on. Do not steal from ha mster 428.
This time, she did not hear Wang Hong speak again.
When her carriage stopped in the square, Chen Rong got down with Old Shang’s help and looked around only to find that Wang Hong’s carriage was nowhere to be found. It goes without saying that she was even less privy to his whereabouts.
By the time Chen Rong entered the main hall, endless streams of guests had flooded the site. All was dressed in fashion, their intoxicating scents and fluttering fabric weaving the night scene.
Due to the presence of these sophisticated guests, Chen Rong’s arrival did not catch anyone’s attention.
She kept her eyes to the ground and quietly went around the corner.
The room was awash in light and music. At a glance, Chen Rong saw her kinsmen sitting in the third row. In addition to Chen Gongrang, there were also Chen Yuan and Chen Shu; no young ladies were in attendance.
Chen Rong took two brisk steps and sat down on the last seat in the corner.
She had barely sat down by the time a servant came over and said to her, “Ah Rong, this way.”
She got up and followed him.
The servant went to Chen Gongrang’s side and made a bow.
Not waiting for him to speak, Chen Gongrang turned to Chen Rong with a kind smile. “Ah Rong? Come and sit next to me.”
“Aye.” Chen Rong slowly sat down.
The maids at once stepped forward and placed partitioning screens around her.
Just then, the crowd quieted and all at once turned to look at the doorway.
Due to the screens, what Chen Rong could see were only blurry images. Even so, she could recognize him in just one glance. The tall snowy figure was Wang Hong. He was now striding in together with Wang Yi.
While Wang Hong and Wang Yi entered the hall, clamor also rose at the inner side door. The portly Prince of Nan’yang were slowly making his way in while with his subordinates and concubines encircling him.
The crowd gave the Prince of Nan’yang a fleeting look before turning and continuing to look at Wang Hong and Wang Yi. Of course, most of the nobility in the hall didn’t even turn their heads or give the Prince of Nan’yang a glance to begin with.
Upon witnessing this, the Prince of Nan’yang laughed as he wiggled his way to Wang Hong. “Qilang is like a peony in the garden, garnering attention everywhere you go,” he croaked.
The subordinates behind him were quick to show their delight of his coarse analogy. Wang Hong’s lips twitched enough to make a smile but Wang Yi didn’t even raise his eyes; he walked past the Prince of Nan’yang and went to his seat.
Wang Hong’s and Wang Yi’s tables were right in front of the Chen House. After Wang Yi took his seat, he reached for his wine and began to drink.
Meanwhile, Chen Rong’s view was shadowed by the white figure that had sat down in front of her.
Behind the screen, she quietly looked at him before lowering her head again.
Her hands knotted together as Wang Hong’s words rang in her ears over and over again: “You’re being very clear-cut, darling. Your eyes can’t sparkle any brighter to see the young man. Or do you wish to clarify yourself again? How soon you discard your old love.”
“If you’ve never tried, how do you know I can’t marry you?”
Her ten fingers twined around each other. Eventually, Chen Rong took a deep breath and inwardly thought: Ah Rong, what are you dreaming about? Don’t forget who Lang’ya Wang Qi is! Did Chen Qi not say? Even two royal princesses are ill with heartbreak because of him. Why would you fall for him when you haven’t fully understood him? Can you afford to lose?
She calmed down having asked herself these questions. Nonetheless, looking at the white figure in front of her and smelling the fresh scent belonging to him caused her heart to thump in weak confusion.
At this time, the Prince of Nan’yang had also seated. He took a drink from his jade cup, wiped his mouth, and then bit off a chunk of meat from the hands of a beauty.
He waved his hand as he chewed and swallowed, all the while garbling to his guests: “Speaking of the snowfall, I’d like to thank the gods by presenting them beautiful dancers. To hell with it, enjoy yourselves at this feast. If you want meat and wine, I have meat and wine. If you want women, I have plenty of those too. If you see one you like, feel free to find a room and have fun.”
At this juncture, perhaps feeling that his speech was rather amusing, his greasy mouth curved into a grin before laughing out loud with his yellow teeth in full display.
With the prince’s laughter booming, the hall followed suit.
At this point, Chen Rong heard Wang Yi impatiently saying in front of her: “Disgusting.” He then turned to Wang Hong and asked, “Xiao Qi, Nan’yang isn’t a very good place to stay. I will leave come springtide. Will you go with me?”
Wang Hong will leave? Chen Rong’s head snapped up, staring at him through the screen with her ears perked and her breath in suspension.
With Wang Yi’s attention on him, Wang Hong leaned back toward Chen Rong and faintly smiled with his hands interlaced before his abdomen. “Leave Nan’yang? I suppose that’s possible.” While beads of perspiration collected on Chen Rong’s brows, his handsome face slightly turned, as if toward her yet at the same time as if toward the aisle. “But there is someone I will have to bring with me,” he gently added.
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