Chapter 3: Raising Children (Part 1)
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Fu Qiuning sat down a chair. The two children, without their much older servant prompting them, immediately prostrated themselves on the ground and kowtowed three times respectfully, saying together, “This servant greets madam.”
Tears immediately welled up in Fu Qiuning’s eyes. She hurriedly got out from her seat to help the two children up. This was her first clear glance at their faces. Both children have delicate and pretty features under all that dirt. Fearful eyes blinked up at her and she looked at Yu Jie, nearly choking with emotions as she said, “These two children suffered an even worse fate than myself. What ‘Young Marquis’? A fierce tiger does not eat its young and even wolves protect its cubs. How could that man allow his own flesh and blood to suffer like this? The women who love him are truly blind.”
“Madam, you must not say this!” The beautiful woman in her 30s threw herself to the ground and flapped her hands in panic. Fearful eyes darted to the door and windows before she whispered, “If the Young Marquis hears this, Madam will suffer for it. Please, never say this again.”
Fu Qiuning gritted her teeth. However, she also knew her limits and could only hiss, “Fine, fine! I won’t say it.”
She helped the two children up and fished out a handkerchief from her bosom to wipe their little faces. The beautiful woman stood up too and smiled awkwardly, “I had cleaned their faces this morning, but they followed me when I was called to work at the warehouse and both became covered in dust. I intended to give them a bath before coming to see madam, but Xia Yue suddenly came and said to hurry and dragged us all here… This one… has really let madam see something unfortunate…”
Fu Qiuning frowned and said: “You work at the warehouse? Why bring the children along? Speaking of which, what is your name? And what are the names of these children? Tell me now.”
“This humble maid is Qiao Yu. People address this one as Aunt Yu . The children do not have names. The Young Marquis has yet to set his eyes on them. Their mother and this maid are ignorant. How could we name them?”
This sentence was punctuated by an embarrassing pause. Nevertheless, Aunt Yu continued, “Perhaps Madam is not aware but the children are not favoured by their parents since they were still young. The Young Marquis aside, even their blood mother was… b-before this, if they weren’t being beaten, they were scolded. There is no child in the estate who had not bullied them.
Just last month, this maid came back from working at the warehouse to find the girl-child thrown into the water tank in the courtyard. if this maid had not returned in time, the child would have lost their life…”
Aunt Yu pressed her sleeve against her mouth, choking from emotion. The boy and girl clutched each other, tears falling from their eyes but not daring to cry out their grief.
The story was so filled with tragedy and misfortune that even Yu Jie was shocked. She muttered, “This… h-how can this be? What Young Master or Young Miss? Even offspring of dogs and bitches would not be so ill-treated.” She reached forward to pull the boy closer by the arm to wipe his tears when the child cried out in pain.
Shocked, Yu Jie quickly rolled up his wide, ill-fitting sleeves and beheld an arm that was as thin as a wooden stick and covered in swollen bruises and old scars.
Even the jaded Yu Jie could not help the tears falling from her eyes. She looked up at Fu Qiuning and said, “Madam, I never thought they’d be so pitiful. Just look at this arm…” she could not bring herself to continue and just held out that thin arm to Fu Qiuning.
“What marquisate? Clearly, this place is a devil’s nest filled with man-eating demons,” Fu Qiuning shook her head and sighed. “Do we have any healing ointment or something? Just the arm is already so pitiful, I cannot imagine the injuries on the rest of the body…”
Before she could finish, the boy said timidly, “It has always been like this, madam… madam need not be concerned, if… if these injuries displeases madam… In the future, as long as I am not beaten, they would… disappear.” Then, he hung his head.
Fu Qiuning froze. She studied the boy for a moment before asking Aunt Yu: “How old is this child?”
From her inherited memory, these two children should only be about three years old, but what kind of three-year-old would say these words? Not only was the thought process fluent, but the words were also polite. The most surprising thing was his cleverness. On the surface, it was as though he was speaking for Fu Qiuning. What ‘if these injuries displeases madam’? What ‘madam need not concern’? He was clearly scheming to prevent future beatings! Was this the kind of cunning something a three-year-old should have?
“In reply to Madam’s words, both the girl and the boy are nearly three years old. They were born on the same day. In two months, it will be their third birthday.” Aunt Yu replied with a smile.
Fu Qiuning was even more amazed; these two children weren’t even three years old yet? Keeping the surprise hidden, she laughed gently and said, “No need to be so afraid. Your days with me will also be quite bitter here. Soon, you two shall understand my situation better. Though I carry the title of Madam, my life is no better than your mother’s. However, I can promise you one thing. As long as you are in my place no one will come and bully you. After all, this is a place where no one would willingly visit. It is unfortunate, but you will most likely suffer from loneliness in the future.”
“We are not afraid of loneliness.” Perhaps it was due to Fu Qiuning’s gentle tone, the little girl actually raised her head and spoke up in a childish tone.
Looking at these dirty but clever and sensitive children, Fu Qiuning liked them even more. She nodded and said, “Good, good, it is very good if you are willing. From now on, we shall only have each other to speak to. We will not mingle with the bad people from the outside. That’s not so bad, is it not?
Now, neither of you have names yet. Since the Young Marquis does not acknowledge you as his children, I believe we cannot expect him to grant you a name. Why don’t I pick out something for you?” Fu Qiuning stood up and paced a couple of steps before studying the boy’s steady and silent back. Suddenly, the phrase ‘Beware the Quiet Ones’  appeared in her mind.
She believed that so long as she carefully nurtured this child, he would one day astonish the heavens. Surely the name Chang Feng would suit him well? Or is ‘Hidden Blade’ too straightforward? She laughed and decided, “Boy, what do you think of the name Jin Changfeng? A quiet blade hidden in the sheath. However, once your sharpness is revealed, the world would be amazed.”
Fu Qiuning turned to the girl and could not help but think of the story ‘A Golden House to Keep a Beloved ’. The pinyin just happened to be ‘Jin Wu Chang Jiao’, isn’t it auspicious? “Yes,” she laughed gently. “It would be a pity to not refer to an old classic. The girl shall be called Changjiao. Jin Changjiao. I hope my Jiao’er will live in a golden house as someone’s precious beloved and be doted on forever.”
Before the two children could say anything, Aunt Yu said out loud, “Changfeng, Changjiao, what wonderful names they are.” Although Fu Qiuning had addressed them as Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao, she was perceptive enough to understand that the names of these two children could not be recorded into the family tree. Nor could they use the surname Jin. Still, the children now had names, and what good names they were.
“From now on, your nicknames will be Feng’er and Jiao’er.” Fu Qiuning said with a little smile. She glanced at Yu Jie and said, “You take them and give them a good bath. Aunt Yu shall go with them too. Find some clean clothes for them as well.”
Aunt Yu and Yu Jie quickly accepted the order and pulled the children to the kitchen in the back. First, they should boil some water for a bath.
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 玉娘, I originally translated as Miss Yu, but this may later be confused with 雨阶 Yu Jie. Maybe Aunt Yu is better?
Gumihou: Yes, let’s go with Aunt Yu
 不鸣则已一鸣惊人 reworded this idiom a bit.
 金屋藏娇 The story goes:
Princess Guantao Liu Piao once held a young Liu Che (who would later become Emperor Wu of Han https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Wu_of_Han) in her arms and asked him whether he wanted to marry her daughter Chen Jiao (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Jiao). The young prince boasted that he would “build a golden house for her” if they were married. Thus, there was an arranged marriage between Liu Che and Chen Jiao, and Chen Jiao became the first empress of China during Liu Che’s reign. This phrase later would mean: “to marry a concubine”.