List Chapter

Mei Gongqing Chapter 170





Dumbfounded, Chen Rong accepted the imperial edict and left the palace with the imperial messenger and one hundred knights in tow.

She was presently going to the Qingyun hamlet. The emperor was so pleased with his decision that he wished he could announce it to the entire city of Jiankang. It had been at his urging that Chen Rong was to receive the hamlet at once.

She sat in the carriage that was led by warriors in the front and escorted by royal guards from behind, looking altogether the definition of impressive.

Chen Rongs eyes, however, were still wide open.

Along the road, there were people looking at her from time to time. Those who saw this pomp would turn to her carriage and become confused when they saw her insignia.

As they watched, several young scholars stared intently at the fluttering curtain and whispered to one another, Which princess is this? (1)

(1) xianzhu this is a princess title used in various dynasties for daughters of a prince, similar to the more well-known term junzhu.

If she is sweet-tempered, we can try to make her acquaintance.

At this juncture, a young female general rode up and took a look at these people. Sweet-tempered? A princess is inherently born with the best this world has to offer. What a waste of life if she has to be sweet to a stupid man.

They hastily bowed their heads in respect to the young rider. They didnt know who were sitting inside the carriage, but this one in front of them was a real daughter of a prince.

After she reprimanded them, she turned to look at Chen Rongs carriage. She narrowed her eyes for a moment before frowning in surprise.

Is it Hong Yunzi, the Grand Chamberlain? she cried. His Majesty is being absurd. I cant believe a lowly woman like her can saunter her way into our circle like this.

The princesss cry overwhelmed everyone elses conversation.

They looked up at Chen Rongs carriage.

Despite the staring and pointing, contrary to Chen Rongs expectation, no one cursed her and not very many said ugly words. She didnt know that despite her unpleasant experience during this time, to outsiders she was friends with the emperors and Langya Wang Qi. They say birds of a feather flock together. The people around her were the most powerful in Jiankang, thus in their eyes she was also extremely influential.

Her entourage took its time driving by.

The guards deliberately went very slowly at the order of His Majesty. Like a magnet, Chen Rongs parade attracted more and more spectators.

A plump woman squeezed into the crowd to watch the scene. She tugged the sleeve of a man in front of her and asked with a smile, Pardon me. While the man impatiently side-eyed her, she stammered her question: Who did they say is in the carriage?

She vaguely heard them but she didnt believe her own ears, so she had to ask again.

This man was a commoner. Like most other commoners, he had a natural awe for the nobility. He admiringly and reverently looked at Chen Rongs carriage, replying: Thats Hong Yunzi whom the emperor appointed to be the Grand Chamberlain. Tsk tsk tsk, shes born to be noble. Shes just a woman, yet in the blink of an eye she has obtained a hamlet, farmland and even bodyguards. What grandeur.

Priestess Hong Yunzi?! the plump woman cried.

Her shrill cry made some people scornfully look back at her. She quickly smiled and bowed her head for a while before the others withdrew their gazes.

The woman smacked her lips together as she stared after the carriage, her jiggling cheeks twitching.

Almost suddenly, she slapped herself in the face. I ought to kill you, you blind fool, I ought to kill you, you stupid wench. Back when she had just arrived in Jiankang, if you hadnt thought about those few meals and be nicer to her, this relationship wouldnt have ended. When she finally came by, instead of mentioning the two stores, you should have chatted with her and things wouldnt have turned out this way.

The more she cursed herself the angrier she became. The more she muttered the more she suffered. Looking at Chen Rongs entourage, she wished she could run over and kneel down to beg Chen Rong.

But in the end she did not dare. It was just yesterday when she told other people of Chen Rongs interference in her marriage.

While the woman wallowed in her misery, a thin scholar ran over. He looked around for a while and squeezed his way to her when he found her. He pulled on her arm.

The woman at first jerked her arm back impatiently. When she saw that her sleeve was still pulled, she turned around.

Seeing that it was her brother, she glared and asked, Whats got your knickers in a knot?

The frail man looked miserable. White powder fell from his face with each movement he made. He tugged his older sisters sleeve and cried in panic, Its terrible. That guy left a divorce letter and disappeared.

Divorce letter? the woman screamed, jumping up and down. What divorce letter?

Her scream once again attracted looks from the onlookers, but she wasnt in the mood to mind them and continued firing questions at her brother.

The scholar exclaimed, What divorce letter? Your divorce letter! He glared at the enraged woman, yelling: Its all your fault that you cant even keep your man. It isnt everyday that his sister comes into wealth but now you wont even get a bowl of soup from them.

No matter the era, no matter ones gender, after someone gained independence and acquired land, property, and guards, he was considered a local member of the gentry. This kind of wealth was therefore better than any titles in the eyes of the commoners.

Not waiting for him finish his accusation, the woman bolted into her house like a cat that got stepped on its tail. The nerves of that bastard!she screamed in anger and disbelief.

The thin man staggered behind her, sarcastically shouting: Of course hes got nerves, he even took your son and his wench with him.

What?! Hurry, chase after him.

Chase after him? I dont know where he went. No one saw him.

Nobody saw him? Im going to make a ruckus at the temple. Despite saying so, the woman shook at the thought of the one hundred royal guards behind Chen Rong.

The frail man hastily said, You cant, youll die! The aristocrats had never reasoned with the commoners. They could kill someone just because they didnt like what they saw, let alone a troublemaker.

Take him for example. If it wasnt for that useless man, how could he have been fit to wear a scholars robe? Even so, his scholar robe was only good for flaunting to other commoners. As for finding jobs, he wasnt from the gentry class. Over the years, this third brother of Mrs. Chen had been dismissive of commoner jobs, yet he couldnt do things not belonging to the commoners, so there was nothing left to do but loaf about.

He finally got crafty. He shifted his eyes and said, Calm down. Youre the birth mother of young Mu. As long as we find him we will get our share.

Mrs. Chen calmed down at his words. She stopped, grabbed her knees for breath, and continuously nodded in agreement.

The carriage continued driving forward.

Inside, Chen Rongs mind was still in turmoil. What the emperor said about allowing her to keep pretty boys was still ringing endlessly.

The emperor said it alright, but he was apparently so proud of what he said that he also made people write it into an edict

At this time, a somewhat familiar voice floated into her ears: Its not possible. Why would she?!

This voice wasnt very loud, but it was so familiar that even among a thousand other whispers it still floated into Chen Rongs ears. She lifted her curtain and looked in its direction.

Searching the crowd, Chen Rong quickly found the delicate woman standing in a corner. At this moment she was pale and tearful, glaring in her direction with a hateful, disbelieving and angry look.

Chen Wei.

Why hasnt Ran Min left Jiankang even until now? Chen Rong uneasily frowned.

Standing next to Chen Wei were Chen Qi and a few others. At this moment, they were all green with envy, staring in surprise at Chen Rongs carriage.

Chen Qi couldnt help herself from blurting: So proper ladies cant compare to this ignorant and shameless minx now?

When she said these words, several people simultaneously tugged her arms. Some even moved away from her, afraid that if someone were to condemn her, they would die by association.

Chen Qian glared at her older sister and whispered, Are you mad? Chen Rong is now the apple of His Majestys and Wang Qis eyes. If you want to die dont drag your family with you.

The family Chen Qian spoke of wasnt the Chen House in Yingchuan, but the Chen House in Nanyang which their parents belonged to. After moving to Jiankang, they discovered that aristocrats and royalty existed in droves in this city. They, as legitimate daughters, may still be distinguished if they had belonged to the Chen House in Yingchuan. Unfortunately subsidiary branches like theirs werent worth mentioning. On the street, there were at least eight carriages out of ten that carried someone with a higher status than them, and they would need to accord these people a proper greeting.

More importantly, it was necessary to talk of wealth and capability to determine ranking even within the same clan. They had little wealth and even less land after they moved back to the south. Just to be able to buy some land and stores at high prices, they would have to go quite some distance from Jiankang.

Since their resources couldnt compare to the local clans, and their ability was nothing more than ordinary, their lives were different now compared to when they were in their hometown.

Chen Qian stared at Chen Rong in envy. Did you hear? His Majesty gave her a thousand acres of farmland. Tsk tsk tsk, a thousand acres! Even if she were to burn her money in frivolity she cant spend it all in this lifetime.

Another girl interjected, Aye, he even allows her to keep young men. Then doesnt he mean to let her have heirs to these fields? Why is Ah Rong so lucky?

Chen Qi likewise clucked her tongue, muttering under her breath: Not only does a lowly person like her have land and property, shes also allowed by royal decree to keep young men? Shes clearly a defiled nun whom nobody wants anymore, why should she have this splendor and happiness? She sounded greatly envious.

She turned to look at Chen Wei, who was cowering in fear, and burst into laughter: Ah Wei, in the past even you could crush the one sitting in that carriage under your feet. But look at her now, she has the emperor and the son of the Wang House of Langya. What about you? You threw away your self-respect to become a concubine. Pft youre scorned even as a concubine completely useless. Listen to me Ah Wei, why didnt you cry to your husband this time to go away with him?

Laughter rose around them at these words. Chen Wei endured their taunting with sobs of her own.

She dried her tears as she stared after Chen Rongs carriage in resentment. Chen Wei really didnt understand. Ah Rong had lost her virginity; at first Wang Qi clearly hadnt wanted her anymore and her husband had wanted her even less. She was in dire straits at the time. Hmph, she even ran to a battlefield looking for death, didnt she?

How happy she was at the time. Is there anything better in the world than seeing ones enemy falling to her demise?

And yet how did things change so fast? How did she manage to seduce the emperor with merely those flirty looks? And she even made the emperor and Wang Qi unhesitatingly protect her?

What was wrong with this world? How did a vulgar woman like that climb up so smoothly? She really didnt get it; shed lost all faith in humanity.

This translation belongs to hamster428.

Chen Rongs carriage strolled along. By the time she reached Qingyun hamlet it was already in the afternoon.

Chen Rong brandished the edict and entered Qingyun hamlet with her hundred guards in incomparable glory.

Qingyun was a vacant hamlet. It once belonged to a major clan and was repossessed by the royal family after the clan fell to decline. There were thirty to forty buildings within the hamlet, every three to four forming a walled courtyard complete with a flower garden.

This hamlet was made up of beautiful wooden lofts and it was landscaped to showcase the delicate beauty of the south.

The entire hamlet wasnt too big accommodating about one hundred and fifty people but ingenuity could be seen in its layout and decorations. Because it had been maintained and repaired, the complex was clean and tidy.

After arranging for the guards and seeing the messenger off, Chen Rong sent someone to call for Nurse Ping and Old Shang. She was about to take a stroll around her new home when she heard a call outside the gate: Ah Rong.

Chen Rong stopped and turned around to see Sun Yans handsome face. She lit up at the sight of him. Come in, come in, she called as she ran to him.

Sun Yan didnt budge.

His face was red with anger. What the hell is going on?

What do you mean?

He glared at her and barked, Listen to what those people are saying!

Chen Rong quizzically turned to look.

There were several groups of idlers on the street. When they saw Chen Rong, the whispers inevitably grew. A lewd looking man shouted to her, I admire your amorous lifestyle, priestess. It took no time before a young man had come to seek your patronage.

Thus said, he enviously looked at Sun Yan. The one standing beside him was quick to chide: Nonsense. Dont judge from the lack of insignia on his carriage. His poise and demeanor are those of a nobleman.

While they traded nonsense, Chen Rong found that wherever she looked, there were several young men who met her gaze with a flattering smile to win her attention.

Startled, she withdrew her gaze and pulled Sun Yan inside.

Close the gate, hurry, close the gate.

Aye.

With her back to the gate, Chen Rong exhaled and began shaking in laughter behind her sleeve.

How can you still laugh?

Sun Yan was furious. He shot her a glare, yelling: Whats going on? It has barely been a day since I last saw you, but the moment I get here, everyone tells me Im your bedroom guest?

He waved his fist in front of Chen Rong and ground out: Are you still laughing? Are you laughing that Sun Yan, a man of honor, in a flash has turned into a boy toy you keep? Do you expect me to take this?

Chen Rong covered her mouth behind her sleeve and looked up at Sun Yan. Didnt you hear from the others on your way here? His Majesty rewarded me.

She clasped her hands, held her head high, and sauntered back and forth like those imperious princesses. His Majesty said that I greatly please him, and he therefore bestowed me a hamlet and a thousand acres of farmland that come with it. Right, there are also a hundred guards. She blushed and couldnt help a giggle when she added, His Majesty even said that Im allowed to keep pretty boys.

After swaying her hips for a dozen steps, she couldnt hold back her laughter anymore. Ignoring Sun Yans increasingly irate face, she ran to him and grabbed his sleeve, saying: Sun Yan, now that youre back, this hamlet of mine wont have to rely on the Wang House anymore. Can you arrange a few people to take care of this place? Look for tenant farmers and a steward, too, for those thousand acres of farmland.

Seeing that Sun Yan was doing his best to ignore her, she laughed, shook his sleeve with both hands and pleaded, Alright alright, dont be mad. Youre still my brother, really.

Only after hearing her admit her wrong did Sun Yan look down at Chen Rong.

His heart softened to see her smiling face. They both knew that despite his exceptional background, he was only a visitor in Jiankang with neither parents or elders to lend their support. He didnt have a band of trusted servants and, within his clan, there were few places where he had a voice.

In Jiankang where an inch of land was worth an inch of gold, he indeed needed help if he wanted to have a firm footing. Chen Rongs one thousand acres of fertile land was precisely that help.

Chen Rong softly told him, Ah Yan, its equally important during wartime to have support from home Cant you stay in Jiankang? She looked up at him with tenderness and trust. Stay in Jiankang and do business with me. If we can accumulate wealth and gain the scholars recognition, itd be a great help to General Ran, would it not?

Chen Rong had some experience in doing business. She could, like the previous two times, transport food and medicine to war zones, and then collect the silver and gold back from the war.

This was also the second major event that would be happening in Jiankang a decade later which she could vividly remember. If she could take advantage of it, the effort wasnt worth mentioning.

She hadnt had any relations in the past. Even if she had had any money she wouldnt have been able to keep it. Now that she had the emperors jade pendant and the help of an aristocrat like Sun Yan, the possibilities were many.

Chen Rongs eyes twinkled more brightly the more she thought about it.

Thus, she gripped Sun Yans sleeves very tightly. She was only a small woman; although she hated the Hu and was angry at the court for their impasse, she nevertheless did not want to see her only friend going to the battlefield, again and again, to a place where life and death were separated by but a thin line.

Sun Yan had to know Chen Rongs thoughts.

He couldnt help grinning at her hopeful eyes.

Im glad youre sensible enough to know Im your brother, he tilted his head with an emphatic nod.

Having said this, he let go of her hand and went forward. After a few steps, he replied, Can you give me some time to think about it before I give you my answer?

Chen Rong knew he wasnt one to give empty promises, and thus agreed.

As they walked side by side, she told him of her conversation with the emperor in the palace today.

Afterward, she turned to look at Sun Yan and seriously told him, When His Majesty mentioned you and General Ran, he didnt sound very amicable. Ah Yan, there are many things you cant rush in Jiankang.

This was her advice to him.

Sun Yan nodded and coldly said, Ive never thought to offend His Majesty.

He didnt want to say more on this subject. He waved his sleeve and cried, Why are we talking about these things? Bring the wine, bring the wine.

Chen Rong glanced sideways at him and replied, I dont have any.

Sun Yan was reminded that she had just moved here. Except for one hundred guards, she was the only one in the compound. Where would wine come from?

Ill arrange for some help around here, he said, laughingly waving his arm and turning to go.

At this moment the gates opened to let a carriage through.

It pulled up in front of them and stopped. The curtain lifted at which time a missive was handed to Chen Rong. This is sent to you from Qilang, a scholar said to her.

Chen Rong unhurriedly opened the letter, which contained one single line: At Liuyue Pavilion by the riverside, to row with my darling, catch the breeze, watch the moon, and drink Qingyun wine.

Sun Yan sneaked a peek at the letter and at once burst into laughter. That punk Wang Qi is angry. Haha, drinking Qingyun wine? Haha, Ah Rong, this is your true bedroom guest. He clasped his hands behind his back and continued to laugh at her misery. The more he laughed the more mirthful he became, so his laughter resonated loudly, causing the passersby to turn their heads.

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