Higher Level Wife – 018 – Words Like Knives & Arrows

Chapter 18: Words Like Knives & Arrows

Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou


While Jin Fengju continued to ponder over his thoughts, his feet led him over to Jiang’shi’s courtyard. When he entered the house, in addition to the secondary wife, his three concubines and one lesser concubine [1] were also there. Of the ladies in the room, only the lesser concubine was childless. However, Jin Fengju had not sold her off yet nor did he add any new people into his house.

In fact, it could be said that he was very indifferent towards matters of love. On the day he was forced to marry Fu Qiuning, the Marquis of Jinxiang gave him special leave to take in other people out of sympathy. In the end, he took in so many people that even the blind could see that it was done out of revenge against that woman, a way to appease his own helpless anger.

Seeing him come over, the secondary wife and mother of two, Jiang’shi, ordered the maids to prepare the meal. She came over to personally help him out of his light silk cloak. Her laugh was crisp as she commented, “What’s this? Here I thought you’d be kept by Prince Rong until dinner time. That Prince is also too much, calling you to his place the moment you return from Suzhou. Your bottom has yet to warm the seats here but he called you over without telling us anything and insisted on keeping you until so late. We don’t expect you for lunch, but to think he did not even allow a messenger to bring word to us.”

Jin Fengju smiled and said, “There was some business to discuss. I have made you worry.” After the main couple exchanged their greetings, the three concubines and one lesser concubine all hurried over to greet him and speak with him. Suddenly, several children ran in from outside, clutching paper balls in their hands, their mouths calling “Father, father!”

The group of children quickly erupted into a cacophony of noise. One complained “Little brother drew a turtle on my paper”, another cried “he beat me”, then there was something about “someone drawing a short-tailed magpie on mine”. A little apart from the boys, the girls gathered together and twittered like birds, laughing at their brothers.

Jin Fengju’s expression went flat and could not help but think of the two quiet and well-behaved children at Night Breeze Pavillion. He sat down in a chair and said, “You sure are lively, what happened to the large characters I’ve instructed you to write before I left? Also, what books have you memorised? Well? Tell me all about it.”

As soon as he mentioned “large characters”, the two boys and four girls suddenly stopped speaking. They all darted glances at their father, unsure what to say.

Seeing how quiet the children became, Concubine Xu’shi came forward to say, “My lord, really, to ask after their homework as soon as you come home, just how old are the little children, ah? This is the age where children longed to have fun and play. Old Madam and Elder Madam also mentioned that winter has just passed and to not force the children to study too much. Otherwise, they could suffer from internal heat and fall sick. It’s better to wait until the season is warmer before letting them pick up their studies again.”

Jiang Wanying also came forward to intercede on behalf of the children. Like cunning little beasts [2], with their mothers’ support, the children all rushed forward to clutch at his clothes, their little mouths filled with all sorts of flattery and promises until Jin Fengju could not help but laugh and shook his head. “You, ah. When it comes to fighting for favour, you are all so spirited. When it comes to studying, you refuse to be moved at all. These silk clothes, expensive inkstone and papers have all been wasted on you.”

At this, Jiang Wanying sneered. She could not accept these words. Her voice was filled with mockery as she scoffed, “What is the Lord saying? I cannot believe the lord who just came back from the royal palace actually said these words. I cannot believe it. Is the lord saying the young masters and young misses of the royal palace are all obedient and understanding little people who refused to set their sages’ books down and spent all day memorising essays? They must be for you to praise them this much.”

Jin Fengju smiled mildly, “No need to speak to me thus. The children at brother-in-law’s place, aside from Little Fourth, all like to have fun, just like the ones in our estate. However, there are clearly many children in this world who are more outstanding than yours.”

Concubine Huo’shi stepped forward to smile and say, “This humble woman knows that the lord must be speaking of children from poor families. Who asked them to be born into such bad situations? When they have been dealt with such a poor hand, if they don’t study hard, would they have any other way out? How could our children be compared to those poor wretches? With a grandfather and father like the Old Marquis and my lord, not to mention the Second Lord and Uncle who are officials at the court, is there any need to worry about their future?”

She finished her little speech triumphantly, only to see Jin Fengju’s expression sank. Her heart lurched with a thump and she immediately shrank back, her knees bending and her lips curved into a desperate smile, “This humble woman is too foolish. This clumsy mouth is stupid, and to be blamed for offending my lord…”

“No need to blame,” without waiting for her to finish, Jin Fengju turned away and said plainly. “If your ability to talk well is clumsy and stupid, how many others would be considered fools?” He got up and said, “I’m hungry, let’s eat.”

Huo’shi’s face reddened. Just then, Jiang Wanying’s tittering laughter reached her ears, “My dear sister must be ecstatic. Look how my lord praises your ability to talk well.” She covered her mouth with her hand and left, still smiling.

Shame and hatred roiling inside her, Huo’shi flashed a glare at Jiang Wanying and said coolly, “I may be the one who bore the shame this time. However, I’m afraid that as mistress in charge of this family, you must carry the greatest responsibility. My lord’s meaning has been clearly revealed. He finds our children inferior to outsiders.”

Jiang’shi stopped in her tracks. She frowned. Beside her, Xu’shi laughed gently, “While it is true that she is in charge of the family, but the mistress? Perhaps not quite yet. That title belongs to the first wife by right. You should be careful with your words, sister. If you anger the Madam, as concubines, we are the ones who would eat a loss.”

Jiang Wanying’s hand immediately clenched into a fist, her heart filling up with hate as she gritted her teeth and thought: After so many years, you still bring this matter up every single time. Just you wait, that useless waste of space has occupied my rightful position long enough. Now that Prince Hong’s faction has weakened, isn’t it time to throw her out?

Thinking of this, she couldn’t help but be a little smug again.

Concubine Cui’shi and Lesser Concubine Yue Lan were the most honest and straightforward in the group. They dare not say anything when battles like this erupted. Suddenly, the womenfolk heard Jin Fengju call from the dining table, “What are you all muttering about over there? Still not coming?”

Only then did the women stop their spats and rush over as one with smiles on their faces.

At the large table, only Jin Fengju, Jiang Wanying and the children were seated. All the concubines, lesser or otherwise, had to stand by the side and serve their masters and mistresses quietly.

That’s enough about Jin Fengju and his troop of concubines.

Let us return to Night Breeze Pavilion.


Once Jin Fengju left the courtyard, the stiff atmosphere at Night Breeze Pavilion relaxed and everyone immediately cheered up.

Changfeng and Changjiao held the jade pendants in their hands, cheerfully chasing after each other, stopping now and then to admire them. Just then, happy laughter reached their ears.

Aunt Yu came out, her hand wiping her tears as she said, “It is true that the bond of flesh and blood indeed cannot be erased. Madam, can you still remember the Young Marquis’ cruelty last time? After not showing his face for so many years, he suddenly came and gave the young master and young miss some trinkets. Look how happy they are at his gifts.”

Fu Qiuning laughed, “At least his conscience has not been completely fed to the dogs, still know to give the children a gift as a reminder. It was not in vain that the children to call him father.” Seeing the children still holding up their jade pendants to the candlelight admiringly, she quickly snatched them away. “My two little ancestors, ah. These are very valuable items, so take care not to break them.”

She handed the jade pendants to Aunt Yu, “Find some red thread and string them into necklaces. Let them wear the jade around their necks.”

Changfeng blinked and whispered, “Mother, since it’s so valuable, why don’t you sell it? Won’t you get a lot of money?”

“Have you exchanged your eyeballs for golden taels? [3] These are your father’s gifts to you. If he no longer visits us in the future, it will be the only thing that reminds you of him. Still willing to sell? You are unexpectedly heartless.”

Fu Qiuning shook her head good-humouredly.

Unexpectedly, however, Changfeng lowered his head, his eyes reddened, “If father doesn’t come and doesn’t like us, what is the use of keeping reminders? I would rather sell it so that mother, Aunt Yu and Sister Yu could rest their eyes and embroider fewer flowers.”

When he finished, Changjiao echoed, “Yes, ah, yes, ah. Mother, if you embroider by the light of the oil lamp every night, you will eventually spoil your eyes.”


[Gumihou: …what? I’m not crying, you’re crying. 55555]


Pill Bug TL Notes:

[1] Welp, time for the wife chart to make an appearance again!

Wife Ranking Chart 妻:

正妻 (Official wife, aka 嫡妻 direct wife)

填房 (Succeeding Wife) if the Official wife dies or was divorced, she would rank higher than all wives/concubines except for Official Wife. Her children would have similar ranking too.

平妻 (Secondary Wife) generally daughters of officials who are married in for political reason. Or in the case of Jin Fengji, he married Official Wife for political reason and Secondary Wife for love

Children from this category are all di-born

Concubine Ranking Chart 妾:

二房 (Second Room Concubine) generally dowry maids of wives, they are given rooms close to the wife so that they can still serve their mistress. They are also close confidants and serve as the hands and feet of the wives in their schemes.

姨娘 aka 偏房, 侧室 (Side Room Concubine) given small rooms on the side, out sight out of mind, but still have their own servants. Generally, maids that have given birth to the nobleman’s children and thus were granted corresponding status

房丫头 (Common Room Girls) maids that the master has taken a liking to are given their own rooms (no need to sleep in dormitories with other girls). Highest ranking personal servants. Their job was to warm the master’s bed. They still have some jobs, bringing tea, massaging shoulders etc, but their main purpose was to be pretty and agreeable.

Children from this category are all shu-born


[2] Got a better term for 人精?

Gumihou: Cunning little beasts.


[3] Originally I intended to use “Have you screwed in dollar signs as eyes?” but ancient China doesn’t use dollars…

Gumihou: Let’s replace $$ with gold taels, muahaha!



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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hamster

    Thank you for the Wife Relationship Chart. It’s hard for me to keep track of all the names and relationships week after week. Maybe future chapters can have a link (at the beginning of the chapter) to the most recent Wife Chart as they are updated with changes. That avoids repeating the chart in each chapter, but lets the novelupdates type readers re-familiarize themselves.

    1. Gumihou

      We’re keeping track of all the random wives etc in a list according to chronological appearances. Will wait until most of the Jinxiang family tree have been introduced before we put up the list

  2. seawaterwitch

    Thank you so.much for the chapters. I love the official wife and her foster children.

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