Chapter 19: Seeing Through
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Fu Qiuning couldn’t help but pull Changfeng and Changjiao into her arms. Her tears fell like a snapped string of beads, pattering unstoppably down her cheeks. Beside her, Aunt Yu was also crying. This startled Changfeng and Changjiao, who quickly came forward to wipe the tears from her eyes, all the while stuttering, “Mother… mother… d-don’t cry… it’s all this child’s fault… causing mother to be sad…”
“Stupid child, mother is not sad. Mother is very happy,” Fu Qiuning hugged the two children close to her. She looked at Aunt Yu, “Look, look, have we loved these children in vain? So young but already know how to care for us. As for those pampered young masters and young misses raised on luxurious food and brocade clothing, how many of them are as lovable and understanding as my children?”
Aunt Yu also wiped her tears and laughed, “Isn’t this true? What Madam said is very true. The rich and noble families produce many useless fops, unlike the children from poor families who had to manage households early.”
Fu Qiuning nodded, grasping the hands of the children, “Don’t worry, mother has her own plans. I won’t abuse myself. I won’t work too long into the night and will make sure to sleep well. The next day, I will always exercise well. At the end of the day, I won’t let my eyes be too tired. You just make sure to study properly and don’t worry about us.”
Changfeng and Changjiao nodded. Seeing them so obedient, she ushered them to run to the kitchen to see if the meal was ready. Once the children had left she turned to Aunt Yu, “Feng’er and Jiao’er had no idea they have just saved my life today.”
Startled, Aunt Yu said, “Madam, what are you saying? Why would you… Saved your life? Could it be… had the Young Marquis come to take your life?”
Fu Qiuning smiled bitterly, “He was not here to kill me, not directly. However, isn’t divorcing me the same thing? Once I’m divorced, I’ll have to return to Zhenjiang Palace. Even if I have no wish to die, that ruthless father and grandfather of mine would never tolerate living proof of a family dishonour. They would rather hang me to death with a rope and tell everyone that I killed myself to protect my reputation. This way, they can also smear the Marquis of Jinxiang’s name without having to risk much.”
Aunt Yu was speechless.
Fu Qiuning continued in a low voice, “In fact, I knew this day would eventually come. I must say, the Young Marquis came much later than I had expected. This closed courtyard method of ours must have been very effective. He must have completely forgotten about me these past five years, allowing me to stay alive and giving Feng’er and Jiao’er more time to grow up well. As you’ve said, the blood knows, and considering how much the children resembled him, he must have been moved to compassion. Thus, allowing me to escape disaster for just a little longer.”
Aunt Yu’s face slowly regained its colour as she muttered, “So that’s how it is… that is to say, the Young Marquis probably won’t be divorcing Madam in the future, right? But… he won’t come back here either?”
Fu Qiuning said, “En, I believe he won’t be back until a few years later. Perhaps, he might take Feng’er and Jiao’er away immediately and place them in some other people’s care so that they could continue to study and shine. If my fortune is good, he might even let me stay here for the rest of my life.
Or perhaps he won’t remember my affections for the children and forgot who raised Feng’er and Jiao’er all these years and divorce me. If that happens, well, it can’t be helped. We can only go with the flow and hope for the best. So long as Feng’er and Jiao’er can be included in the family genealogy, they will be acknowledged as the Eldest Young Master and Eldest Young Miss of the Young Marquis despite not being di born children. Having such status should protect them from direct bullying. So long as this happens, I can feel relief in my heart.”
“No, surely the… the Young Marquis would not divorce Madam? Surely he would not be so heartless? These past years, this maid has kept an ear open for news from around the estate and heard that he has never brought any new people into his house. Clearly, he is devoted to the Second Madam and… therefore, surely… surely such a person would not be so heartless? Madam, please do not worry.”
“En, let us hope so.” Fu Qiuning smiled faintly, secretly thinking: Even if the final axe falls on me and the worst happens, I will not return to Zhenjiang Palace to quietly wait for death. Perhaps, I should make plans to escape. I can still join an opera troupe to earn my keep.
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Because he just returned from Suzhou, Jin Fengju really was busy for the next few days. Basically, he had to travel between Prince Rong’s palace and the Imperial Palace to run errands here and there. Just travelling from the prince’s palace to the Imperial Palace took up a lot of his time. Thus, he spent very little time at the marquisate during the daytime. When he finally returned, night had fallen and he would take turns resting at his different wives and concubines’ rooms. In short, he had very little time to think or even care about what was happening with Fu Qiuning and those two children for now.
Finally, after matters had settled down a little, the emperor took pity on him and specially granted a three-day leave for him as a reward after toiling so hard for the country.
Jin Fengju had not been officially acknowledged as a marquis yet. Right now, he held the position as one of  Imperial Hanlin Academy’s compilers. However, instead of compiling books at the Academy, his real job was to patrol parts of the country any time the emperor decreed it. This was equivalent to being an imperial enjoy, a very lucrative and powerful position.
On days when he did not have to patrol the country, he would help compile books at the Imperial Hanlin Academy. It was quite an idle position, which allowed him some freedom. Still, it was rare for him to have three days to himself without having to show his face in court.
Therefore, he took the opportunity to sleep in as much as he wanted. When he finally woke up, the sun was already high in the sky and Jiang’shi was smiling down at him. “You must have worked hard. To think you’d sleep in this late. Well, it’s time to get up. The leading man must not be late for his role this afternoon.”
“The leading man? What role are you talking about?” Jin Fengju pushed himself up and washed his face, ignoring the adoring gazes of the maids as though he was a blind man. Jiang’shi personally combed his hair and laughed, “You really don’t know? It’s your birthday, have you forgotten?”
“My birthday? Is today the 16th of the Fourth month?” Jin Fengju made to turn around in astonishment but was stopped by Jiang’shi’s light pat on his head. A gentle laugh later, her voice floated down, saying, “Don’t move, you’ll mess up your hair.”
Jin Fengju smiled faintly, causing the peeping maids to blush as their hearts fluttered in their chests. However, none of them dared to come forward with the madam there. They could only complain bitterly in their hearts: Which young master is like our young master, ah? Don’t mention his position as the future Young Marquis, even if he was not the Young Marquis, surely he should have a few or even a dozen bedmates by now?
Don’t we always hear the madams of other families complain about the number of bedmates their husbands have? Only our master is too incomprehensible. To date, he only has two maids to warm his bed. Pei! Those old things are already over 20 years old and still have the face to squat over a toilet without shitting ! Who knows what kind of vixen magic they used to charm the master into keeping them?
“No need for you to serve, leave.” Jiang Wanying had seen the maids’ little gestures and expressions in the mirror and could not help the impulse to strike them out with a smile. Then, she stretched out slim, flexible fingers as white as spring onions and lightly touched Jin Fengju’s face.
“Cousin is so good looking. I still hear people still addressed you as the number one most beautiful man in the capital. To think, you, a married man with several four or 5-year-old children under you the most beautiful man in the capital! Surely such a title should have been inherited by some other man, and yet, the last time I met with Fifth Madam, everyone still addresses you the most beautiful.
It felt so odd that I felt compelled to speak a word for you, reminding them that you already have six children and surely could no longer be called the most beautiful of man? Ah, but guess what they said to me in return?”
[Gumihou: …I guess the other two kids don’t count?]
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 翰林修撰 Compiler? Editor? Librarian?
Gumiho: Let’s go with compiler. 占着茅坑不拉屎 This idiom LOL, direct translation: “occupying the toilet pit without shitting”
Gumihou: Such vivid imagery, lol 五奶奶 Uh… Fifth Madam? Fifth Grandma? Who’s this?
Gumihou: Goodness knows…
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