Chapter 27: Important Affairs
It was the third day, and Chen Rong was sitting in the courtyard that had been newly remodeled while bowing her head to tune the zither.
“Miss,” Nurse Ping came over and whispered to her.
“We are running out of money and fabric,” she said, before adding: “Some furnishings will need to be replaced. You’ll also have to acquire new clothes as you have very little right now. Miss, should we mention this to the master?”
Chen Rong’s eyes did not move from the strings when she replied with a no.
Here, Nurse Ping thought to the extraordinary way her mistress had conducted herself along the journey and calmed herself down as she awaited Chen Rong’s instruction.
Chen Rong placed the zither to the side, looked up to Nurse Ping and said, “Tell Old Shang to listen around and see whether my uncle Chen Gongrang has returned.”
Seeing Chen Rong starting to play with the strings again and looking to be slightly absent-minded, the nurse asked in curiosity, “Miss, what have you been thinking about these past few days?”
What has she been thinking about? What else but the events that had happened in her previous life? For whatever reason, her memory was becoming blurrier and blurrier. She completely couldn’t recall some of the pieces of the past; even a few of the more crucial events did not come to her mind until the very last minute.
It was making Chen Rong ill at ease.
This translation belongs to hamster428.
At this time, laughter rang out from the courtyard next-door.
Chen Wei’s courtyard.
Nurse Ping sighed and couldn’t help herself from saying: “The rooms have been visiting one another in these past three days. But when I tried to make appointments on your behalf, people from the Chen house of Nan’yang would only give lukewarm responses and look to be rather unhappy.”
“I know.” Nan’yang was suddenly overcrowded by people like her and other migrants. Even if the Chen house of Nan’yang was prosperous, she wasn’t exactly a favorite guest. Since they didn’t want these people to come, they would put forward all kinds of conditions once they asked for a visit.
Of course, she was mainly shunned due to her inferior line. Chen Wei next-door had long mingled with other girls in the clan while her place had been deserted for the past three days with not a single soul stopping by.
In the past, she didn’t understand these things and would follow Chen Wei house to house each day in Nan’yang. As a result, everybody thought she was seeking charity. They looked at her as if she was a beggar, never bothering to hide the sarcasm in their words while they thoroughly humiliated her. Of course, it had been for her lack of food and money that she had had to solicit her family.
At this point in her train of thought, Chen Rong bade: “Tell Old Shang he’s never to bother the master no matter what we’re missing.”
“But miss, we’re family.”
“Do as I say,” she ordered frowningly. 𝓲n𝑛𝓻ℯ𝗮d.＆nbsp;𝚌o𝒎
“That’s right miss, the master has ordered every lady to attend tomorrow night’s banquet. What will you be wearing?”
“Tomorrow night?” Chen Rong asked, rising from her seat. Tomorrow night? Yes, it would be tomorrow night! In honor of the Prince of Nan’yang, who already had one foot in the grave, the Chen house would be hosting a night banquet. Back then Advisor Xu, an aide to the Prince of Nan’yang, had taken a fancy to her looks and demanded to have her as a concubine. At the time, she was so lovestruck with Ran Min that even her dreams were filled with his shadow. She had been thunderstruck to hear this news. Because refusal turned out to be futile, she had even thought to kill herself.
That nightmare was too dark and deep. Even now, her voice would involuntarily tremble at the mention of it.
Nurse Ping looked at her in surprise, nodded and said, “Aye. I heard the Prince of Nan’yang, Qilang of the Wang house, and the Duke of Jiangzuo will all be in attendance.”
Seeing Chen Rong’s quivering lips, the nurse worriedly called, “Miss, miss, are you all right? Are you feeling ill?”
Yes, yes, I can pretend to be ill!
Chen Rong’s ashen face slightly relaxed. She turned to her nurse and hastily said, “Nurse, announce to the master at once that I have been looking ill since we arrived in Nan’yang; that I’ve had no appetite and am now bedridden. Ask him to find a doctor for me.”
“For what reason, miss? I heard all the young ladies and gentlemen will come to tomorrow night’s banquet. If you make a good impression, you might even find a favorable match.”
Chen Rong didn’t want to explain. She snapped impatiently: “Just do as I say!”
“... Aye.” As she watched Chen Rong, the nurse couldn’t stop herself from thinking: My mistress is acting more and more peculiarly these days.
By the time Nurse Ping left, Chen Rong’s face was still drained of color.
She knew because she was only a concubine-born daughter of a subsidiary branch, at the banquet in her previous life, her uncle Chen Yuan had agreed to give her to an advisor who was already in his fifties. It was the beginning of everything. She had had to exhaust all means and almost made her reputation into an entangled mess before she could barely escape from that nightmare. At the time, she had heard her uncle say that not only Advisor Xu took a fancy to her, but so did the Prince of Nan’yang.
Her uncle had been filled with regret then. In his opinion, if Chen Rong hadn’t acted with impropriety, the Prince of Nan’yang might have asked Advisor Xu to transfer her to him.
In other words, even if she didn’t go tomorrow night, even if she painstakingly tried her entire life to elevate her status, even if she wasn’t going to be promised to Advisor Xu this time, she still may not be able to escape the claws of the Nan’yang Prince. That lecherous monster had almost a hundred concubines in his inner quarters, assembling every temperament and face that existed on Earth. It was her stunning looks and fiery temper that had caught his attention.
Chen Rong’s heart became weary at this thought. She rubbed her hands together while pacing back and forth in the courtyard. What could she do, what could she do?
And yet the laughter from the other side of the wall kept drifting over.
It was becoming more and more audible.
Sensing that the laughing voices had come into her courtyard, Chen Rong gave a glance to Old Shang before turning away and darting into her bedchamber.
Soon, she heard Chen Wei pleasantly asking outside: “Oh, your lady isn’t home? There is a banquet tomorrow night and we are all taking a look at our new clothes. Tell your lady to go with us.”
“Our lady is sleeping,” Old Shang’s respectful voice was heard.
“Is that so?” Chen Wei sounded a little disappointed. “The dress for Ah Rong is very beautiful. I had wanted to see how it would look on her.”
Standing in her bedchamber, Chen Rong’s brain started to buzz when she heard these words. I remember it now, I remember it now! It was exactly like this previously. The clan had prepared the most beautiful gown for her and given her gorgeous accessories. When Advisor Xu asked Chen Yuan to let him have her, Chen Yuan’s face had seemed a little disappointed. Yes, that’s right, at the time, the Nan’yang Prince’s attention had been lured away by an equally glamorous courtesan. Seeing as the prince did not appear to be interested in Chen Rong, Chen Yuan had agreed to give her to Advisor Xu.
The house of Chen had long meant to give her to the Prince of Nan’yang! And yet considering his status, even though she was now a direct descendant, she could only be his concubine.
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