Higher Level Wife – 016 – Meeting Again after 5 Years
Cup of tea on wood board, drink for health

Higher Level Wife – 016 – Meeting Again after 5 Years

Chapter 16: Meeting Again after 5 Years

 

Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou

 

Jin Ming nearly choked to death on his own spit. He thought: Hey, did the sun rose from the west today? Had he ever heard this usually graceful and poise master speak in such playful tones?

He was not the only person shocked by the master’s weirdly cheerful tone. The two siblings by the door were nearly scared silly. Changfeng and Changjiao stared at each other with wide eyes.

Outside the door, Jin Fengju heard a girl’s voice say, “Th-this is bad. Brother, go fetch mother, quick! I will stay and block the door.”

Jin Fengju nearly slipped and hit his head against the door: Am I such a scary person? What do you mean ‘This is bad?’ Also, what’s this about you staying to ‘block the door’? How dare you treat me like a big bad wolf?

Nevertheless, though these various thoughts ran through his mind, his interest had already been piqued. When he visited his other wives, concubines and children, all of them had presented themselves in their best behaviour and were invariably respectful and obedient. Although they were all very courteous, thoughtful and well-mannered, it became a little boring over time.

A while later, sounds of hurried footsteps were heard crossing the courtyard and the door opened. His eyes fell upon a woman in plain clothing with a cotton handkerchief wrapped around her head. The only accessory on her was a plain silver hairpin, which looked like it had been used to pin up her hair and nothing else.

At the sight of him, the woman gave a deep salute and said, “This humble woman had not known that the Young Marquis is visiting. Please excuse this one for not coming to meet you. This one begs the Young Marquis for his indulgence.”

Jin Fengju studied her closely before finally saying in a light voice, “Why are you dressed like this? Have the usual allowances not been given?”

His eyes travelled past her shoulders to study the two children behind Fu Qiuning. One glance was enough to make his heart jump.

Beside him, Jin Ming was also staring with a stunned expression: Aiyo! Wei! How unexpected, ah. To think that ugly laundrywoman could actually give birth to such a beautiful pair of children. Well, considering how they look seven or eight points out of ten similar to the Young Marquis, it’s no wonder they are so handsome and lovely.

“To reply the Young Marquis, the usual allowances are sent on time. However, this humble woman likes to spend time in the garden. Silks and satin might be spoiled, so this humble woman wore plain clothing,” replied Fu Qiuning lightly.

To this, Jin Fengju said, “This is nothing. Gardening is a good activity. Let’s go inside. I have walked about for half a day now and am thirsty. Pour me a cup of tea.”

With that, he stepped past her and made his way towards the main building.

“Yes.” Fu Qiuning answered helplessly. She straightened up and trailed after Jin Fengju into the main house. As they passed by her maid, she said, “Yu Jie, serve tea.”

“Yes,” Yu Jie replied and hurried towards the inner room to brew tea.

Jin Fengju stepped into the living room with all the authority of the master of the entire estate, sat himself down on the most prominent chair and began questioning Fu Qiuning about their general living conditions. All the while, his eyes roamed about the room. After a few rounds of general talk, he smiled and said, “Your room is very fragrant, what incense did you use?”

Fu Qiuning was a little taken aback. She quickly smiled and said, “To reply the Young Marquis, we do not use incense here. The fragrance came from the plants and flowers in the courtyard. When this humble woman first came here, this humble woman noticed there were many kinds of curious plants and flowers in the courtyard. Some of them could even be made into spices. Thereafter, this humble woman raised them tenderly and was thus rewarded with such a fragrant room.”

Jin Fengju nodded. He then glanced over at the pair of children standing to the side. When the children noticed their father’s gaze, they hastily dropped to their knees, touched their foreheads to the ground and called out together, “Greetings to lord father.”

Seeing them, Jin Fengju could not help but recall the first time he saw these children. They were basically two little beggars hiding behind Fu Qiuning’s trousers, staring at him with fearful eyes of birds fearing a hunter’s bow. If he had not seen them with his own eyes today, he would never have thought that those two children could have turned out this way.

When he thought of their pitiful appearance, his cold and merciless heart could not help but soften a little. He said gently, “Get up,” and put his hand into his shirt.

However, aside from ingots of money, there was nothing else. He had never paid attention to these children before and guilt pricked at him. Surely silver ingots are not suitable gifts?

After some thought, he took off two jade pendants on his person and said with a smile, “This pair of dragon and phoenix jade pendants is gifted to me by Prince Rong during the last Lunar New Year. I just wore them yesterday. Since the two of you are a pair of dragon phoenix twins [1], these jade pendants are perfect for you. Take them.”

The two children had not expected this frightening, big bad wolf of a father to suddenly give them jade pendants. Stunned and a little frightened, they froze in place for a long time. They exchanged a look with each other but still dared not reach out for the pendants. Finally, the pair of gazes turned to Fu Qiuning, who nodded slightly. Like a spell breaking, the children said in unison, “Many thanks to father,” before stepping forward to receive the jade pendants.

Fu Qiuning was secretly amused: Have I accidentally brought up these two to become fans of wealth too? When they first greeted their father it was ‘Greetings to lord father’, as though greeting an unfamiliar person. At the sight of the jade pendants, the man suddenly became ‘father’.

Jin Fengju also smiled faintly, probably because he was happy at the children’s naivety and lack of scheming. Just then, Yu Jie came to pour tea. She gently set a teacup in front of Jin Fengju first before setting a second cup for Fu Qiuning.

There was a slight frown of worry on Yu Jie’s face, but Fu Qiuning nodded slightly, signalling something with her eyes. At the signal, the crease between Yu Jie’s eyebrows flattened a little and she gave a little bow before backing away.

Jin Fengju picked up the cup of tea in front of him. He studied the colour of the liquid and frowned, “What kind of tea is this? What is this strange smell?”

Tea, real tea leaves, are expensive things. How could Fu Qiuning afford such luxuries here? However, it’s too miserable to just drink water all the time. For women and children, the only interesting beverage they had to drink was tea. Therefore, Fu Qiuning was struck by an idea. She collected the first crop of green plum herb[White Pear Flower: A kind of wild vegetable eaten locally. We called them this way but have no idea what its scientific name was. Not sure what it’s called elsewhere either] [2]. This wild vegetable was dug out, dried and could be made into tea. After all, in the absence of pearls, fish eyes would do [3], right?

From Jin Fengju’s frown and knowing his background as the young master of a very rich and noble family, she realised there was no point hiding this matter from an expert. Therefore, she only smiled and said, “To reply the Young Marquis, we just happened to run out of tea leaves. This humble woman has yet to ask for more and decided to make some myself.”

She described the tea making method to him and laughed, “Young Master need not look down on this thing. It may not be real tea but it is still a good thing. Ever since they started drinking this, Feng’er and Jiao’er’s appetite grew better due to a more novel diet, we happen to start drinking this tea every day. Thus far, all of us rarely encounter sickness. Because of this, the people in this courtyard tended to drink this tea from time to time.”

Fu Qiuning was not speaking blindly either. Back in her previous life in modern China, she heard an old Chinese doctor once say that this green plum herb was the best at enhancing one’s immune system. Once, a friend’s prawn farm happened to suffer from some kind of disease. The friend was very anxious since they could go bankrupt if all the prawns in the pond died. In their desperation, they sought advice from an old Chinese doctor who advised them to chop some green plum herb and mix them into the pawn feed.

The prawns were given this special feed for two or three days and would you believe it? The prawns which had been languishing for close to half a month suddenly recovered without the use of antibiotics or other medicines.

According to that old Chinese doctor, patients suffering from hepatitis B could also recover from drinking tea made from green plum vegetables. [White Pear Flower: This is true! My father personally experienced this. Of course, dad was just a regular doctor and not an old traditional Chinese doctor] [2].

What kind of person was Jin Fengju? After hearing this explanation, he came to some private conclusions of his own. Though Fu Qiuning said that the allowances had been given regularly, what rich noble family would wear plain clothes or have no incense in their room? These standard things aside, it looked like basic necessities such as food and clothing had also been skimped. Why else would they take the trouble to make things like tea, and moreover, to dare serve it to the master of the house?

He had known they were not rolling in luxury. However, he never thought that an entire family would be so poor that they have to dry herbs to make fake tea! The situation was far worse than anything he had imagined. These people must not have received a single silver ingot for goodness knows how many years.

Naturally, Qiuning was also at fault for acting so low-key and refused to come out and collect her dues. Otherwise, how could the estate neglect them to this point? In all these years, if it were not for Fu Qiuning’s careful plans, the entire population within this estate would probably have starved to death long ago.

 

 

[Gumihou: …so, the father’s here… awkward…]

 

 

Pill Bug TL Notes:

 

[1] 龙凤胎 Twins with different genders, literally “Dragon and Phoenix babies”.

 

[2] Σ(°°); Author-saaaaaan!

Author literally put these words in the brackets, this is not TL’s explanation!

Pill Bug does not endorse this as actual medicine!

PLEASE Go see a doctor if you get sick!

Don’t be like Steve Jobs, eating a fruitarian diet to cure his pancreatic cancer, only to die when it was perfectly treatable with regular medicine!

Gumi: Pill Bug is an actual professional in the medical field, so he’s understandably outraged. Also, Gumi could find absolutely no trace of this so called ‘Green Plum Herb’…

[3] Chinese idiom, basically means using fakes to substitute for real stuff.

 

 

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