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Set with embroidery in the process, the embroidery frame, linen cloth, scheme embroidery, thread, scissors, embroidered knitting head

Higher Level Wife – 020 – Birthday

Chapter 20: Birthday


Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou


The Jin Family Tree as of chapter 29


Jin Fengju’s smile was very bland, “What’s the point of getting excited over looks? Isn’t it just a bit of skin? Whether it looks well or not the important thing is what’s underneath. So long as you don’t feel that I am golden outside but rotten on the inside.”

“What’s this? Who would dare utter such words? Who does not know that our lord is a great person admired by even the emperor? The long term envoy of this generation’s celestial guards? Such a great man has never yet existed and may never exist again. Our current emperor, this once-in-a-million brilliant ruler, clearly values great talent. Who dares to say that my lord is golden on the outside yet rotten on the inside?”

“What do I care what others think of me? It’s all good so long as Madam doesn’t think me that way,” Jin Fengju held Jiang Wanying’s hand and smiled.

Jiang Wanying blushed and gave a gentle little laugh, “How old are you? Still speaking such sweet words, no wonder those maids stare at you so, afraid to even blink.”

After a pause, she sighed and took a seat beside Jin Fengju, “Time flies by so fast. In a flash, six years have already passed us by. We have two children and you’re still so young, just twenty-four, and your every word and glance are still so charming. Cousin, you are so outstanding that it makes me fearful. Fearful that I could no longer match you. You will grow tired of me and become bored of me. I swear, you even look younger than me.”

Jin Fengju smiled, “You’ve worked hard for the sake of the family and have suffered. Do not worry, don’t you know what kind of person I am? I dislike people who fight for favour the most. Back then, I had to marry in a few more people and felt shameful about facing you. How could I bring in any new people, ah? I don’t like it either.

Just you, Cailian and Biyu is enough for me [1]. It’s more than enough. I am so busy that I barely spend any time at home. I feel lucky that you ladies live so harmoniously together. Otherwise, how could I find happiness within the family?”

Gazing into Jin Fengju’s incomparably handsome face, Jiang Wanying’s heart could not help but swoon. She fell into his arms and closed her eyes. “Cousin, can we grow old together?”

“Nonsense, how can we not grow old together?” Jin Fengju replied with feigned anger.

“Cousin, I’m afraid, afraid that one day, I will no longer be able to control my fate and… Heaven’s will is difficult to defy… I- I’m really afraid…”

“Afraid of what? You’re being overly concerned again aren’t you?” Jin Fengju patted Jiang Wanying’s shoulder soothingly, a touch of pity rising within. “Enough, ever since you married me, you often say such things, aren’t everything perfectly fine? You only said that you are afraid of early death from a life that is too smooth and too happy, yet we have already passed these years peacefully.

Do not think too much, get up and dress quickly. Today, you shall accompany me to pay respects to Mother and Grandmother. Today might be my birthday but I should still accompany and entertain them a bit. I don’t know if Father has sent any letters recently, I’ve been too busy these days and haven’t had the time to ask.”

While he was speaking, Jiang Wanying also got up, dried her tears, freshened up again and changed her clothes. She accompanied Jin Fengju to the inner court to greet the Old Madam and the Marquis’ wife. Later, the Jin family’s Second Old Master’s wife and daughter-in-law also arrived. It was afternoon before they finally dispersed.

The group made their way to Jiang’shi’s room. Jin Fengju rarely had such a leisurely half-day with nothing better to do but lounge around the kang bed in the living room to chat and joke with his concubines. Gradually, the talk wound around to the topic of rent collection.

Jiang’shi was complaining about how uncontrollable the tenants were becoming. Why, when the representative went to collect rent at the beginning of spring, the tenants were asking for a reduction of the rent! How reckless of them, considering that last autumn’s rent had already been reduced by nearly 10%, to think they’d want further reduction this year too! Isn’t this Stepping on Her Nose to Climb Up Her Face [2]?

Jin Fengju listened from the side. When she finished, he said lightly, “Surely that’s fine? Last year’s harvest was not too good, quite a few places have suffered natural disasters. In fact, our family’s properties are some of the less affected ones. It’s not easy to be a farmer. Come spring, not only would they have to till the fields, but they also needed money to purchase seeds and fertilisers, all of which cost money. Since they want some reduction, just give them another 10%.”

Jiang’shi laughed reproachfully, “Aiya, it’s so easy for my lord to just flutter his lips and say ‘give them another 10%’. Words are light but consequences are heavy. If we reduce the rent by 10%, they would naturally be happy. But for us? Once we reduced this money, what would our family eat? Really, people who had never managed the household finances would not know the cost of firewood or rice.”

A slight frown appeared on Jin Fengju’s forehead. When Xu’shi saw this, glee brightened her heart so much that it resembled newly fallen snow. Her smile was quick and demure as she gently said, “Sister must not say this. Just what sort of person is our Lord? Do not mention household finances, is there anything in this household that escapes his eyes?

The emperor advocates a benevolent government and our lord moves on behalf of the emperor, to gladly spread a little benevolence to the people. What is this matter in comparison? Do not speak of 10%, our little palace could afford a 50% reduction in rent. After all, who depends on that little bit of rent for a year’s worth of food and clothing, ah?”

Huo’shi was also quick to echo these words. “What Concubine Xu said is right. Though we have never been in charge of the household finances, we have eyes and could watch the situation with detachment and understand enough to know that in all these years, our marquisate does not depend on this little bit of rent money. After all, we have other businesses everywhere. The yearly income of just any of these stores would yield a profit that is no less than the rent collected. In fact, one could say that the rent collected is equivalent to A Single Hair off Nine Oxens, simply too minute to be considered…

Moreover, our lord enjoys his majesty’s imperial favour. Each year the annual bestowment of gold, silver, jewels, courtyards and stores makes up the highest income of our marquisate. Dear sister, you are always so busy that not only your feet barely touch the floor, but you nearly kick the back of your head! How on earth did you find the leisure time to think about that bit of rent money? Surely there’s no need to worry yourself over such trivialities?”

Jiang’shi gritted her teeth in anger. However, none of the ill will showed on face aside from a condescending sneer, “What’s this? No matter how wealthy one is, money is accumulated coin by coin. Not to mention, the rent of 20,000 to 30,000 silver taels is no small amount. Moreover, the rent included items such as hard to obtain game animals, river goods and some of the best fresh rice and grain.

Your daily food, toys and wild pets, are they not paid for with this rent? You accuse me of being heartless, having no care for the lord or the people. I know that you are not happy about having me in charge of the household finances. Very well, I can hand this matter to you. I wish to see if my little sisters are ten times cleverer than me when it comes to household management.”

Jin Fengju listened as the women continued throwing their barely veiled verbal barbs at each other, one side insinuating that someone had been sneaking silver back to their maternal house, another wondering why a certain someone had been wearing a lot fewer of their valuable accessories lately, just where have those accessories gone to? Have they been gifted away?

He was getting rather tired and annoyed by the quarrelling. Secretly, he thought: These people already have more than enough to eat, drink and wear, yet still felt that life was inadequate and wanted to garner more power and hoard mountains of gold and silver. If I make them live like Fu’shi, would they all commit suicide within five days?

He was a calm and steady person, with a mild temper. He did not like conflict and though he did not like to see his women throw barbs around like this, he continued to listen with a faint smile on his face. As he lay on the quilt, his eyes travelled to where the children were playing on the floor.

All six children were pretty good looking, their skin jade-white but bearing only 30 or 40 percent resemblance to him. Still, since they had also inherited beauty from their mother’s side, their looks were not inferior to Changfeng or Changjiao.

Just as he was starting to grow interested in what they were doing, the children suddenly began to argue. Jiang’shi’s daughter, Xiuzhen, accidentally stained Huo’shi’s daughter’s skirt with something oily, causing Little Xiuru to cry. Xiuzhen had no idea that her father was looking at them, believing that he was still chatting with their mothers. This little girl curled her lips and sneered, “What precious thing are you talking about? This kind of satin is only good for rags in our place. The oil stain compliments it perfectly.” So saying, she ran her hands down Little Xiuru’s skirts a few more times.

Suddenly, Xu’shi’s son came forward and pushed Xiuzhen away. With a disdainful snap, he said, “Yes, who dares to compete with the main house? With your mother in charge of the food and clothing for all the family, you naturally keep everything good to yourself and throw whatever you don’t want to us.

This is already too unfair. It’s fine if you treat yourself well but there’s no need to shamelessly throw your weight around and bully people. Take care not to offend me or I shall bring this matter up to the Madam.”


[Gumihou: You know, I’m not interested in seeing romance between Fu Qiuning and Jin Fengju. I want to see Finance Manager Fu!]


Pill Bug TL Notes:


[1] 有你们几个和采莲碧玉陪着我 Is this referencing 采莲曲, or are there really 2 more girls called Cailian and Biyu?

Gumihou: They are probably the concubines’ given names. Though I’m not sure who’s who yet.

[2] 蹬鼻子上脸 Chinese really has some funny idioms. Direct translation: “Stepping off the nose onto the face”. Meaning being given face and overlooked on bad behaviour, yet totally disrespecting the giver by not appreciating it and acting arrogantly instead.


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Have a Grilled Rice Ball

HLW – 021 – Untitled


Grilled Intestines are Yummy!

HLW – 022 – Back to Night Breeze Pavilion


A Bucket of Crowdads

HLW – 023 – The Majesty of being a Father

HLW – 024 – Dinner


Grilled Matsutake

HLW – 025 – Staying Overnight

HLW – 026 – Teasing

HLW – 027 – Great Waves 

HLW – 028 – Hidden Battle

HLW – 029 – Old Madam Jin

໒( ́ ۝ ́ )७

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