Chapter 99: Is Wang Qilang Attached Or Indifferent? (2)
Wang Hong’s voice was so soft and faint that Wang Yi only heard him vaguely; he nodded: “As long as you are willing to leave.”
On the other hand, Chen Rong had heard him clearly. Her heart thrummed wild. She couldn’t help herself from thinking: Could he be talking about me? He appeared to be talking about me, but that’s not right, he was looking at the aisle…
Does he really want to take me away?
Despite having lived twice and always feeling guarded, at this very second, she still felt flustered and lost.
From his seat, the Prince of Nan’yang swallowed a pastry off of a beauty’s hand as his gaze shifted to Chen Rong.
Almost immediately, Advisor Xu leaned into him and whispered something while staring at Chen Rong and Wang Hong.
The Prince of Nan’yang nodded. His eyes were still locked on Chen Rong’s body, but since she was concealed by the screen, he could not see her.
He thus moved his gaze away.
At this point, Wang Yi suddenly said to Chen Gongrang out in front: “I heard there’s an Ah Rong in your clan who had gone through life and death with Qilang. Has she come?”
Chen Gongrang chuckled. Stroking his beard, he looked in Chen Rong’s direction and replied, “She’s the lassie over there…”
Wang Yi raised a brow as he followed Chen Gongrang’s gaze.
He looked at the screen where Chen Rong sat and then glanced away. “Is she betrothed to anyone?” he casually asked Chen Gongrang.
Chen Rong felt cold upon hearing his words. Her head snapped up to look at him.
“Nay, that she is not,” Chen Gongrang replied with a frown.
Before he could finish, Wang Yi continued: “If that’s the case, then give her to our family’s Qilang. It would be fine to elevate her to an honored concubine, too.”
He had sounded supremely condescending.
Chen Rong didn’t expect him to suddenly bring the matter up. She felt the chills and drew a sharp breath despite herself.
When he heard her gasp, Wang Yi frowned at Chen Rong before asking a contemplative Chen Gongrang: “Is anything the matter?”
Nearby, Chen Yuan was looking ill with disappointment.
“Forgive me, sir,” Chen Rong broke the silence. “Although my station is humble, I’ve vowed to never be a concubine in this life.”
All eyes turned at her words.
Wang Hong, too, turned to look at her.
She could not see his expression through the screens. Looking at his blurry face, she unhurriedly said, “I had risked my life for him simply out of gratitude. It had nothing to do with personal attachments. Please pay no heed to it, sir.”
These words were even more resolute compared to the previous ones!
Almost as soon as she finished, Wang Hong raised his head staring at her.
Chen Rong was also looking at him.
Unfortunately, there was a screen dividing them, and neither could see the other’s expression…
Before Chen Gongrang could scold her, Wang Yi inattentively nodded and said, “If you don’t want to, then never mind. How about this: I’ll give you ten carriages of valuables; should you want to return to Jiankang, I can find an honest husband for you.”
This was his repayment to her. Do not steal from h amster 428.
It was a fairly trivial repayment for a clan as influential as the Wangs. While Chen Yuan was scowling in dissatisfaction, Chen Rong joyously replied, “I thank you…”
She hadn’t said more by the time Wang Hong’s tranquil voice interjected: “Uncle, you needn’t intervene in the young lady’s business.”
His tone was both nonchalant and curt.
Wang Yi paused. He turned his head to regard Wang Hong, nodding: “Then do as you wish.” Then he turned away and did not look at Chen Rong again.
Poor Chen Rong still had her mouth open, yet to finish what she was saying… A good while later, she closed her mouth and irritably glared at Wang Hong.
On the other side of the screens, his blurry face broke into a smile. Chen Rong gave him a brief glance before dropping her gaze. She did not know that right after she looked down, Wang Hong turned around and quietly stared at her. If he wasn’t mistaken, she had clearly been tempted and moved just now when he said he wanted to take her away from Nan’yang… It was astonishing that a girl so young could restrain her emotions and return to being cold and heartless in a matter of seconds!
Chen Rong’s imprudent interjection had obviously caused displeasure to the House of Chen. A servant went to her and flatly relayed, “Please return to the corner, miss.”
Chen Gongrang had dismissed her.
Chen Rong mumbled her answer and got up while several maids came to move the screens around her.
With the screens taken away, members of the Wang estate all turned to look. Those more senior in age lit up at the sight of her while the bookish scholars furrowed their brows disapprovingly.
Wang Yi also turned back to gaze her way when he heard the servant utter a gasp.
He gave a noticeable start, looked her up and down and said, “Her eyebrows are the tides of spring. There are only wrath and seduction in her eyes, and no nobleness. Would a woman like this go to Mo’yang to die out of gratitude? How odd, how very odd!”
People of this era loved to pay attention to appearances and demeanors. At the same time, they liked to assess an individual based on his temperament, poise, physical build and facial features. Elders who had read countless people could typically see through a man’s essence. The art of discerning people and its evaluating words were therefore very prevalent.
At this time, Wang Yi was also using the art of discerning people on Chen Rong. But for all his appraising looks and winded comments, he could only end in: “How very odd.”
When Wang Yi began staring at Chen Rong, the hall had silenced to await his assessment.
Murmur hence broke out after he had spoken. Like Wang Yi, they found her curious.
Their peering eyes were intolerably uncomfortable to Chen Rong. She lowered her head, accorded Chen Gongrang and Wang Yi ceremony, and turned to go.
Barely two steps later, she heard Wang Yi’s voice behind her: “No wonder Qilang is interested in this Ah Rong. Even my curiosity is piqued. Since he has come across something so interesting, he can have fun if he wants to.”
Chen Rong flinched before moving her rigid self to the corner.
As soon as she took her new seat, several maids came back to replace the screens around her.
Behind the screens, Chen Rong slowly sat down and curled up.
She had known since long ago that she possessed no strength of character let alone a noble poise. She was just a vulgar thing, a nobody, a mercenary monger, an uncultured fishwife.
After her rebirth, she had tried to arm herself with the illusion that she was as sophisticated and noble as the scholars.
It seemed he who had real insight could still see right through her.
But so what? Chen Rong quietly sneered.
Her hands twisted into a ball under her sleeves. Time seemed to still with her brooding.
At length, the hall grew livelier and livelier. In the brightly lit space, song and dance along with laughter filled the air.
Chen Rong saw Chen Gongrang, Wang Hong and Wang Yi gathered in the hall as they drank and bantered.
Seeing that no one was paying attention to her little corner, she quietly moved the screens and retreated to the shadows where the tradesman Chen Shu was sitting lest people deride him if he went out. “Uncle,” she began with a curtsy, “I’d like to go home.”
Chen Shu turned his head.
He looked at Chen Rong, slowly placed his cup down, nodded and said, “There are no young ladies at this banquet, I’m not surprised you would feel bored here. Go ahead if you want to. Unluckily for me, I have to stick around.”
While Chen Shu was trapped, Chen Rong again curtsied to him and followed the corner out.
She soon left the hall.
Once outside, the bright snow and another light greeted her eyes. Chen Rong looked up at the bright moon in the sky, thinking: Tomorrow will be another clear day.
After a moment of musing, whatever she may be thinking, she slowly turned her head and looked back at the hall.
Dances and songs of peace gaily rang in the night. Even through the throng of shadows, Chen Rong knew that the most crowded corner was were Wang Hong sat.
She watched the scene, laughed out loud, then turned and headed straight for the square.
She went to the carriage, lifted the curtain and climbed inside. As she was about to order Old Shang to drive off, someone fast approached her.
Spotting her from afar, the man called aloud: “Ah Rong of the Chen House?”
Chen Rong paused to focus her sight. She immediately recognized that he was the middle-aged scholar who often accompanied Wang Hong, the same one who had been with them in Mo’yang.
Chen Rong quickly accorded him a curtsy and respectfully said, “Aye, how may I help you, sir?”
The scholar strode to her carriage. Under the moonlight, he used a strange look to regard Chen Rong.
Afterward, he presented something to her and said, “This is for you.”
“For me?” Chen Rong curiously received it from his hand. She found that it was a sachet made from the finest palace silk. Soft and warm, it apparently had only been taken off of its owner not too long ago.
The scholar chuckled and said, “Or rather, it’s from Qilang.”
Thump thump thump, Chen Rong’s heart pounded faster.
She bit her lips and stared in the direction of the lights. Her heart that had just frozen up was fast melting. Slowly, she dropped her gaze and asked, “Why did he give this to me?”
“I don’t know,” the middle-aged scholar smiled, “When I asked, Qilang only said you’ll understand.”
He laughed pleasantly. Watching Chen Rong’s face, he nodded his head in satisfaction and added: “I’ve traveled far and wide and have come across many things, but this is my first time passing personal belongings to a little girl. Haha, what a novel experience.”
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