Chapter 149: Ran Min’s Love 1
Chapter 149: Ran Min’s Love (1)
Ran Min somberly stared at her.
“I didn’t know…” his voice softened into a murmur, “about you and her.” He sighed and explained, “I was secretly sneaking into Nan’yang one day when Chen Wei recognized me from the crowd. She flew right to me. She cried so pitifully and she looked to be so enamored that I agreed to let her be my concubine. And then I had someone send her home.”
He must be talking about the time he returned to Nan’yang to secretly meet with Wang Hong and join hands with him in fighting against Murong Ke.
Yes, things had been very good between them then. Since she did not love him in this incarnation, she had thought she would not be driven hopeless by jealousy, and it would be alright to marry him… But when she heard that Chen Wei had been accepted by Ran Min, she was at such a loss that she didn’t know where to go or what to do. In her muddled mind, she had followed the Wang servants to Wang Hong’s home and lost her chastity to him.
It turned out Chen Wei needed only to glance at him and shed some tears for him to accept her as his concubine? Haha, how laughable life was. They made a big circle and came right back to where they started.
Chen Rong turned around. Her lips moved to speak but they did not form any words.
A while later, she quietly asked, “Did Ah Wei leave the city through the secret tunnel on the day of the battle?” She was asking him about the day she rushed into the battlefield but did not die, when she next saw Ran Min and Chen Wei, Chen Wei had braided her hair like a married woman.
If she remembered correctly, Nan’yang was heavily guarded at the time. Chen Wei could only come to Ran Min through the secret tunnel. He evidently liked her if he even told her about the tunnel.
See? No matter how much she tried, no matter how much she changed fate, fate still stubbornly returned to its original orbit.
Ran Min paused. He looked at Chen Rong and unconcernedly said, “Aye she worried about my safety such that she forgot to eat and sleep. She knelt all day before the gods to pray for my well-being. My personal guard felt sorry for her so he led her through the tunnel to me.”
Ran Min frowningly regarded Chen Rong. “You can hate Chen Yuan, but don’t take your anger out on Chen Wei. She’s only a weak girl. Besides, she is a mere concubine who cannot affect your position.”
As he talked about the past, his anger was rekindled. He breathed deeply and said after some time, “I had already promised to marry you. Ah Rong of the Chen House, my acceptance of Ah Wei is inconsequential. Don’t use her as an excuse.”
He took a step forward, his eyes boring into her like a wolf’s. “Ah Rong of the Chen House, say something. Why didn’t you cherish our promise? Why did you sleep with another man?”
His words were ground out, so that each word weighed heavily like a venomous snake that lurked in his heart. Each word suddenly made him furious, bitter, and hateful.
He was putting aside all of his military duties to chase after her just to say this.
He had to receive an answer.
Chen Rong slowly looked back at him.
Though she was looking at him, her eyes were void of him.
This man really doesn’t get it, she thought. My entanglement with Wang Hong aside, as long as he accepts Chen Wei, I cannot be with him… I will never repeat that nightmare from the past.
Ran Min was still staring at her, his intent and gloomy eyes did not allow Chen Rong to retreat or stay silent.
But Chen Rong didn’t know what else to say to him besides to laugh. She couldn’t possibly tell him about the entanglement between the three of them from a previous lifetime.
She inwardly sighed and looked up to meet his eyes.
Blinking her long lashes, she unhurriedly said, “General, you and I are very similar, so why can’t you see that Chen Wei and I cannot coexist under the same sky? When you took her in, you are asking us to share the same husband moreover.”
Chen Rong bit her lips and sneered, “You’re right, you had promised to let me be your wife, and she is only a concubine. Me, the lowly cousin who would rise above her in your household.”
She snapped her head up looking at him. “But you forget, general, that Chen Wei has the backing of her parents and the clan while I, Ah Rong of the Chen House, have no such things. Even if I were the lady of the house, I would not win against her.”
She began laughing at this juncture. She stared mockingly at Ran Min and said, “Besides, what makes you think I would be willing to share a husband and compete with her my whole life?” Her lips were upturning, the irony on her face showing clearer and clearer. “Why should I toil for a life that’s already doomed to suffering and failure? Why should I get myself into that kind of misery? I’m not Chen Wei this time, nor do I love you so blindly.”
Her mocking remarks mercilessly stunned Ran Min.
He was wise enough to know that each and every word she said was from her heart.
He froze, too dismayed to notice that her usage of ‘this time’ when she said ‘I’m not Chen Wei this time’ sounded out of place.
He motionlessly watched her and numbly said, “I see.”
He stared hard at Chen Rong. “You don’t love me, so the moment things seem to go wrong you immediately run away.”
“You were telling me the truth after all,” he murmured. “You don’t love me. The one you love has really become Wang Hong.”
“Even if it’s someone you don’t like, I was merely taking in a concubine. Yet for something so trivial you threw away the status I gave you, you unconcernedly slept with Wang Hong…”
He stared at Chen Rong and spitefully said, “Ah Rong of the Chen House, you… you really are a tramp.” After saying so in an extremely disgusted and hateful tone of voice, he reached out to pull Chen Rong to him.
Just as he was uncontrollably strangling her, Ran Min suddenly stopped in his tracks.
As he stared at Chen Rong’s beautifully indifferent face and her calm and clear eyes, he loosened his grip and rested his hand on her neck, numbly laughing: “I was almost riled by you again.”
He forced her chin up and, staring into her eyes, softened his voice. “No, it’s all wrong. Everything you say is just an excuse.”
“If Wang Hong was really your goal all along, if he was a better match than me, if he was your true love, then why did you choose to jump into the battlefield after you slept with him?”
His tone had unknowingly become gentler and hoarser, his grip on her chin had also loosened.
He gently stroked her lower lip and softly asked, “Ah Rong, tell me, did he force himself on you? You had still loved me and wanted to marry me, right? He forced himself onto you, didn’t he?”
At this moment, something gentle flickered in his fierce eyes, shining a ray of hope and longing that he himself did not understand.
But amid these emotions, Chen Rong could also perceive his anxiety and lack of confidence.
This translation belongs to ha mster428
She knew that the man in front of her was confused by her actions. He instinctively believed that every word she said was from her heart, but he could not understand why she chose to cut ties with Wang Hong after she slept with him if she really liked him. Wasn’t every woman in this world like Chen Wei? Lowering herself to be a concubine to the man she loved? Even if Chen Rong was willful and could not tolerate a speck of sand in her eyes, she should still compromise now and fight for her place later after she joined his household. No matter what, the position of Lang’ya Wang Qi’s honored concubine was nothing to sneeze at.
For that reason, he would rather believe Chen Rong wanted to commit suicide because she loved him, because she could no longer marry him. That she chose to become a nun because of him.
Ran Min reached out to caress her Daoist bun with sadness in his eyes.
Eventually, he said, “Ah Rong, I… I’ve thought about it, I won’t be bothered by this anymore… Wait for me to take care of things, then let’s leave Jiankang together.”
He stroked her small face and earnestly said, “You will still be my wife.”
He looked relieved after having said this. His eyes were filled with tenderness as he drew Chen Rong into his arms.
He hugged her tightly, closed his eyes and whispered, “Ah Rong, come with me.” Please.
This time, she could hear pleading and vulnerability in his words. There was even fear on his handsome face.
He was afraid of Chen Rong’s rejection, he was afraid Chen Rong would utter the cruel truth and crush his heart.
Chen Rong had never seen such a Ran Min. She never imagined this fearsome and insufferably arrogant man would one day speak to her in such a gentle and pleading tone. She would never guess that the man who watched her die in their previous life would one day beg her to marry him.
She went still.
In both her lives and in all of her dreams, she never imagined Ran Min would really fall in love with her one day… But she must have really poisoned him when she came to him with her memory, her thorn, her spite and wound.
She still could hardly believe it, so she stood frozen even by the time he enveloped her in his arms.
Chen Rong had no idea that even in the past, after this man had resolutely watched her die, he had also dreamed of her time and again. At first he did not feel differently, but after he had declared himself King, he would wake up from the fire where he saw her eyes full of love and longing. As the women around him alternated like a revolving lantern, he would look at them and think to himself: There will never again be another woman who foolishly loves me with all she has… When he was dragged on the street like a dog by the Xian Bei, a thought had flitted through his mind: He had made both the Jin and Hu remember him; his name had made history; and there was once a woman who loved him with all she had. It had been a worthwhile life, then.
Life has always been this way. When we were young, we might carelessly have let someone go. But in old age after we had weathered the vicissitudes of life, the memory would repeatedly appear – to remind us of our stupidity, to tell us of what we had lost.
Furthermore, to be loved so deeply and madly isn’t something one can simply ask for… perhaps we shunned this kind of entanglement when we were young and proud, but when we were old and weary, one day we might look around to discover that we had no one by our side, no one who wanted to love us, and no one who would make sacrifices for us. This memory and the regret that came with it would devour our soul during our vigil as in our sleep. We would laugh and shout in our dream, only to wake up with tears unshed.
This is why for thousands of years, the wise men had always told the world that it is enough to reach the end of our lives with no regrets.
Ran Min unconsciously pressed Chen Rong to his chest. He did not look down at her or let her look up at him.
When he arrived, all he wanted was to know what had happened that day, all he wanted was to banish the venom in his heart and leave in peace.
But he surprised himself by making such a request before anything had been said. He didn’t want to know anything, he didn’t want to ask anymore. He just wanted to let the past be bygones, he just wanted to take her away… He just wanted to return to the time when she could read him from the look in his eyes, when she could match his every movement, when she could keep up with him on horseback as if she was his protector. And when tiredness took over, she could comfort him with her whispers, when he was in great spirits, she could lie in his arms as they ride off into the horizon.
Though their time together had been short, for the first time, he had felt that his life would be complete if he had someone to never leave or forsake, to love and to cherish, in life as in death.