Chapter 23: A Lifetime Lost Due to a Glance
While Chen Rong was staring off, a clear voice came to her from behind: “Ah Rong?”
It was Wang Wulang.
Chen Rong turned and spoke: “Good greetings, Wulang.”
“There’s so need for such formality between you and me.” Wang Wulang hopped down from his carriage and went to Chen Rong’s side. He dithered for a moment before asking: “Ah Rong, did your uncle say how your father and brother are doing in Jiankang right now?”
“How they’re doing?” Chen Rong looked at him quizzically.
“That is, what ranks are they holding currently?” As soon as he said these words, Wang Wulang hurried to repeat himself: “I’m just asking, I’m just asking.”
Chen Rong looked at him. After offering a little smile, she suddenly replied just as he was turning to go: “I think my father is still only an eighth-ranked magistrate.”
Wang Wulang paused at her words. He knitted his brow, his face a bit solemn when he asked, “What about your brother?”
“Likely also an eighth-rank.”
“Is that so?” He sounded disappointed. He gave her a nod and took his leave.
He had barely left by the time the 7th lady’s carriage drew near. She glanced toward Chen Rong and asked her brother, “Fifth brother, what did she say?”
Wang Wulang frowned and said unhappily, “Her father and brother are still only minor eighth-ranked officials.”
The 7th lady scoffed: “Promotions are common among nobles who went to Jiankang. I can’t believe her father and brother are so useless that they’re still only minor eighth-ranked officials.” Here, she turned to Wang Wulang and told him in seriousness: “Fifth brother, if that’s the case, then you cannot marry Chen Rong as your primary wife.”
Wang Wulang nodded, saying in uncertainty: “But if I were to ask her to be my concubine, I’m sure she wouldn’t agree.” When his eyes turned to Chen Rong, her beautiful face blinded him under the sunlight. Admiring her awhile, his heart drummed a bit quicker. “This is an important matter. I should talk to father about it regardless.” He removed his gaze from Chen Rong’s face and clenched his teeth determinedly: “I will let father know and then discuss the matter after we arrive in Nan’yang.”
This translation belongs to hamster428.
The team started moving again.
In the Chen camp, Chen Yuan was laughing in delight.
At his resounding laughter, the Chen children all turned to look at him in surprise.
“I did not expect Ah Rong to be so clever. How capital!” Ah, so he was talking about Chen Rong. The youngsters nodded and paid him no further attention. When Chen Yuan and Ran Min were talking earlier, all the young nobles were also standing nearby and had heard of Chen Rong’s matter. After all, Chen Rong as a young lass was able to foresee correctly three times. Something so rare and remarkable easily became a topic of gossip.
Chen Wei sat in her carriage listening to her brothers talking about Chen Rong outside. She pursed her lips at first, but whatever she was thinking, she immediately clenched her teeth and lifted the curtain.
She instructed her carriage to approach Chen Rong’s, and then from across their curtains, she timidly spoke: “Ah Rong, I was rude. Don’t be upset with me.”
Chen Rong lifted her curtain, her expression was one of grievance and confusion. “Jie, I don’t understand. Why were you angry at me?” 𝗶𝚗𝘯𝘳ℯ𝒂𝑑． cｏ𝙢
Chen Wei froze.
She carefully regarded Chen Rong and when she saw that her look of grievance did not seem to be pretense, she bit her lips, bowed her head and quietly said, “Ah Rong, how did you know General Ran Min?”
Chen Rong looked at her in puzzlement and asked, “Wasn’t everyone talking about my foretelling? He naturally knows me from those stories.”
Suddenly realizing the matter, Chen Wei smiled and said in a slight embarrassment: “I-I-I thought he was happy to see you.”
Chen Rong watched her timid older cousin and all at once felt a rush of dread. She unconsciously clenched her fists again before letting go an instant later.
Not hearing Chen Rong reply, Chen Wei raised her eyes to study her and said rather seriously, “Ah Rong, you don’t like him, do you? Tell me you don’t like him.”
Chen Rong gave a tight-lipped smile, lowered her gaze and slowly said, “Jie, our marriages are determined by our parents.”
“My father wants to betroth me to him,” Chen Wei immediately replied. “Ah Rong, it’s fine as long as you don’t like him.” She raised her head, watching an indecipherable Chen Rong across the curtains. As she watched her, her heart took a little dip. For some reason, she always felt that her cousin, while not necessarily more beautiful than her, was so enchantingly different. If Ah Rong didn’t want to yield, Chen Wei was definitely not her opponent.
With that said, she was only a concubine-born daughter of a concubine-born man belonging to a subsidiary branch. Chen Wei, although also concubine-born, was daughter to a direct descendant. In terms of status, hers was much higher than Chen Rong’s.
Chen Wei looked to be a little too anxious.
Chen Rong furrowed her brow when she saw this look. She gave some thought before looking to the crowd, her eyes unconsciously landing on the somber handsome man.
She silently smiled and lowered her eyes, coyly saying: “Jie, let’s not talk about feelings and love.” And then she turned her back toward the other girl.
That... wasn’t acquiescence.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
Layers of dark clouds took over Chen Wei’s heart. She bit her lips, wanting to probe yet again, but in the end felt a bit embarrassed to do so.
Night soon fell. The cavalcade stopped and the servants hurried to set camp and prepare dinner.
The nobles felt gratitude toward Ran Min ever since he scared away the barbarians twice. They all knew that without his help, their fate would be very worrying.
Unknowingly, the scholars all surrounded him. Elders like Wang Zhuo also came to sit by his side, according him full respect and ceremony.
Ran Min seemed as though he did not notice any of these things. He did not pay heed to the elderly scholars around him, merely keeping his head down as he carefully wiped his double-edged spear with a cloth. Under the sunset, the cold tip vaguely seemed as if it was seeping blood.
After some time, Wang Zhuo scowled when he did not get a response to the few things he said, stood up, flapped his long sleeves and walked away.
More time lapsed when the rest angrily rose and left like Wang Zhuo.
In the end, only Wang Hong, who was busy tuning his zither, still sat next to him. It was uncertain whether he noticed if there was a bloodthirsty and tasteless man who was playing with a weapon at his side or not.
Chen Wei bit her lips saying worriedly: “Everyone thinks so highly of him. Why doesn’t he appreciate their respect and indulge them in conversations on philosophy or the arts, instead of playing with weapons like that? I only hope my father will not change his mind.”
She turned to look at Chen Rong and when she saw her looking at Ran Min in absorption, she could not help calling: “Ah Rong, Ah Rong, what are you looking at?”
She had to call a few times before Chen Rong suddenly awoke. She whirled around, hopped off the carriage, ignored Chen Wei and strode to the distance.
Chen Wei bit her lips at this scene, her face filled with anger.
Chen Rong quickened her steps forward, her hands balling into fists as she thought: No, not again, never again... Last time, it was at this very moment that I fell in love with that man.
It was with her entire life that she had had to pay for this one glance!
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