You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 022 – Back to Night Breeze Pavilion

Higher Level Wife – 022 – Back to Night Breeze Pavilion

Chapter 22: Back to Night Breeze Pavilion

Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou

 

“Your mouth only knows how to spew good things.” Jin Fengju glared at him. However, his anger was mostly feigned, for he understood that this manservant was only trying to make him feel better. He stood in place for a while, looking forward, and noticed that the garden was showing signs of spring. Flowers were blooming everywhere. It was the season for falling blossoms. The faintest breeze sent a shower of petals down. It really made for a beautiful scenery.

“Come, let us visit the Night Breeze Pavilion.” The way Jing Fengju waved his hand, it was as though he was trying to brush the moody and irritating air around him away.

“Yes.” Jin Ming hurriedly agreed. Then, he paused for a moment before venturing to say “Master, you mentioned that when you next visit, you wish to bring the young master and young miss some brushes, ink and paper…”

Jin Fengju actually slapped his forehead. He shook his head and laughed, “Yes, I have forgotten about this. Go quickly to my study and have a few errand boys to bring some papers. All sorts of different kinds of papers. If it’s not in the study, fetch them from the inner court warehouse.”

As soon as he spoke, Jin Ming smiled ingratiatingly and hinted, “Master, surely there’s no need for this? Such an aggressively generous move… surely it would not be good if madam and the concubines know about it?” 

Jin Fengju gave a cold snort, “What is not good about it? No need to hide anything from them. They are welcome to say whatever they like to each other. However, if they dare to say anything to my face, heh, heh-”

He paused, interrupting himself. In the end, he merely waved his hand and said, “Alright, alright, now go and complete your task.”

“Yes.” Jin Ming accepted the order and left.

With nothing to do but wait, Jin Fengju sat on a rock and… waited. A short while later, Jin Ming came trotting back followed by a few errand boys with large piles of papers in their arms. Balanced on the papers were ink and brushes of all kinds. As they drew closer, Jin Fengju suddenly slapped his forehead again. “I have forgotten again, I should have had you fetch some fabrics as well…”

Jin Ming’s expression collapsed in worry as he dithered for a moment trying to work out the logistics of solving this issue. However, Jin Fengju soon smiled and shook his head, “Enough, there’s no need to rush. Let’s just bring those over on our next visit.” With that, he turned around and strolled ahead leisurely, naturally taking up the position of the leader in this little procession.

 

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Night Breeze Pavilion was set quite far apart from the main house. It was quiet too. So quiet, that from a long way away, laughter could be heard from the courtyard.

A tender voice that should belong to… Changfeng? Called out, “Yu Jie, let me have that little apricot.”

A sweeter, clearer childish voice, a girl’s voice said, “No, you can’t. This apricot has just grown out of a flower. It is too bitter and sour now, so you can’t eat it. You shouldn’t play with it either, we should let it grow into a big apricot. When it’s yellow and soft, it will be sweet and delicious.”

Another voice, an adult woman, said, “Aiyo, my lady, don’t pick up flowers from the ground. You’ll get dirty, you just changed into these clothes yesterday.” 

Changjiao’s childish voice replied, “I want to thread some flowers on a string for mother to wear. When I went outside with you yesterday, I saw those people with flowers on their necks. It’s far away but it’s really pretty.”

“Enough with your nonsense, what ‘those people’? That’s the Madam, what she had around her neck were Eastern Pearls. Those pearls are some of the largest and roundest in the world [1]. It’s no wonder you can see them even from that distance. If you want to give your mother flowers to wear, wait for the pomegranate season. You can thread those for her later.”

By now, Jin Fengju had just arrived at the gate. He had heard everything. 

For a moment, he stood by the door silently. 

Finally, he turned to Jin Ming and said, “She has lived here for some time now. Presumably, the people of the marquisate have not taken good care of them. Her maternal family probably did not give them any jewellery or accessories either. Have a box of accessories sent over with the silk on our next visit.”

After Jin Ming’s acknowledgement, he personally knocked on the courtyard door and said, “Open the door.”

 

Aunt Yu and Yu Jie had been playing with Changfeng and Changjiao while Fu Qiuning did needlework in the house. When they heard Jin Fengju’s voice, they dare not dawdle and quickly rushed over to open the door, bowing their heads anxiously, “This lowly maid greets Young Marquis,”

“No need to be courteous,” said Jin Fengju lightly.

Just then, he saw a pair of children in clean clothes bowing together, “We, the children, greet father.”

His heart could not help but be warmed by their neat and well-behaved attitude. He smiled and walked over to pick up a child in each arm. He led them to the house, turning to say, “Why would you keep the courtyard door closed during the daylight hours? Such a good courtyard like Night Breeze Pavilion has been turned into something like a prison by you. From now on, this door is not allowed to be closed before nightfall.”

Aunt Yu and Yu Jie’s hearts trembled, and they hastily acknowledged the order. After receiving their acknowledgement, Jin Fengju walked up the steps to find the door to the main room open. Fu Qiuning was already there, standing at the door to give her polite salute. Without waiting for her to speak, he waved his hand and said, “Enough, what are you following all these hollow protocols within your own home for?” as he stepped into the room.

Fu Qiuning had not expected him to appear at her doorstep so soon. The last time he appeared was probably to divorce her. What is his purpose for coming here this time? Didn’t he already change his mind about divorcing her? Could it be that after going back home and thinking about it for a bit, he felt that he could not keep her in the marquisate after all? As she struggled with this question, she heard an ingratiating laugh and someone saying, “Madam, apologies but, where should we place these brushes, ink and paper?”

“Ah?” Fu Qiuning came back to her senses. She turned around and saw stacks upon stacks of paper held by the servants. Her heart nearly burst with happiness as she hurried over to touch the stacks of papers, exclaiming, “This is high grade Wave Chaser paper [2] and Xuan paper, and there’s also Snowflake paper. My heavens… how… how is there so much at once?”

Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao were also the scholarly types. At Fu Qiuning’s exclamation, they finally noticed the papers and were stunned speechless. But only for a moment. In the next instant, they cheered and struggled out of their father’s embrace to admire the stationery.

“Mother, mother, so much paper, ah, so much…” The two children were too short to reach the stacks of papers held in the errand boys’ arms and were desperately bouncing on their toes trying to reach their goal. The errand boys knew enough [3] to indulge their little masters by crouching down so that the children could have a better look. This caused the children to become even more excited as they hugged each other and cheered, “Ah ah ah! There are even brushes here, so many brushes! Ah, these are ink sticks! Wow, such a big ink stick, there are even patterns on it. Heavens, so beautiful…”

Jin Fengju watched the two children cheering happily over these trivial things. Even Fu Qiuning looked delighted, as though unable to bear not touching these paper and ink sticks. Though she did not say any flowery words of thanks, he could see the excitement and happiness etched on her face. In that instance, all the irritation that had been lurking in his heart vanished, blown away by the sight of genuine expressions of pure joy on their faces. He recalled those wives, concubines and children who grew up in gorgeous houses, rolling on laps of luxury and fattened on good food. He had to sigh: It was really easier for people who have lived a hard life to be happy and grateful.

“Madam, apologies but… these young ones have been carrying these papers for half a day. Since these papers are some of the heaviest, I’m afraid they won’t be able to carry them for too long…” Jin Ming reminded her with an ingratiating smile.

This caused Fu Qiuning to snap back to her senses. She had just lost her manners due to this huge temptation, revealing the greedy face of a lesser person. Ashamed and anxious, she lowered her head, not daring to look at Jin Fengju as she said, “Yes, we should quickly put them away in the study. I shall show you the way. Feng’er, Jiao’er, be good and accompany your father.” The words were barely out of her mouth and she had already dashed out of the room without a backward glance.

Jin Fengju followed the shy and embarrassed appearance of his wife with a small smile.

Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao stared yearningly as the brushes, ink and papers left their sight. How they wish they could dart after their mother and run their hands over the new stationeries…

A gentle cough from behind reminded them that their other parent was just still in the same room. The two children turned around with smiles spread across their faces at Jin Fengju. However, because their mother was not there, there was still some lingering wariness against this unfamiliar person. Aside from greeting this rarely seen parent with a respectful ‘father’ they backed away and retreated to the side, unsure what to say.

 “En, do you know who brought these brushes, ink, paper for you?” Jin Fengju came to the children instead and squatted down in front of them, one arm around the shoulders of each. He purposely hardened his face, pretending to be stern. [4]

 

[Gumihou: Erm, are you going to bully those kids?]

 

Pill Bug TL Notes:

 

[1] Gumihou’s note: Er, no they are not. ‘Eastern Pearls’ are more precious because of where they are sourced from. Not for their looks. Sea pearls are larger, rounder and more lustrous. However, because it’s rare for river pearls to be large and round. Large round river pearls are prized, and usually only the Imperial family could wear them.

 

[2] 逐浪纸 What paper is this?

Gumihou: Unsure… can it be eaten?

 

[3] As in, “have eyes and can see Mt. Tai”, they recognize the children’s status.

 

[4] Oh no, the bully is here!

Gumihou: He’s definitely the type to pull the pigtails of the girl he likes

 

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hamster

    Fancy paper with watermarks is okay, but if it had decorative flecks and bits of coloured petals or even leaves in it, that makes the paper more difficult to write upon. Various art stores sell “washi” (japanese paper) and I would buy some to make fancy gift boxes to contain the christmas or birthday gift. I would buy cheap but sturdy (not too flexible) paper gift boxes. Then I would both the insides and outsides with the fancy paper. I would not mark the box with the recipient’s name since that would let them re-use the gift box to send a gift to someone else. The gift box would be labeled with the name on a tag attached by fancy yarn instead of ribbon. The fancy yarn is found at any store that sells yarns for knitting. I would buy the poofy fluffy yarn which becomes thick and thin. Imagine a regular yarn thickness, but make that 125% thicker. Every 5cm the yarn becomes extra thick and fluffy for about 3cm. With earth tones and a red streak, I would use this yarn instead of ribbon to wrap around the gift box to keep it closed. Now from a differently multicolored yarn skein, measure out and cut 49 inches of poofy fluffy yarn (or longer if it is not very puffy). From one end of that 49-inch length, measure out approx 8 inches. Now bend the long 41 inch part of yarn 180 degrees back along the 8 inch length about 2 inches long (4 inch circumference) and tie a knot there with the long length. You now have an 8 inch long piece with a one end being a loop 2 inches. Of that 41 inches, you now have approx 37 inches left. Repeat tying these loops until the yarn is used up. Trim the last stray end to be even. Apply a little glue to the place where the knots are and work the glue into the fibers so that it will harden and set the knot. Cut the loops in half and you now have a fluffy thing. The 6 inches of yarn can be threaded thru a hole in the tag with the recipient’s name and the yarn is then snugged up and tied to the yarn already holding the gift box closed. This rustic approach, in my opinion, takes advantage of the artisan look of the fancy washi paper.

    Making of artisan handmade paper sheets:
    https youtu DOT be/tcasDg_HbkE?t=263

  2. Reader

    Sounds like he brought fancy paper.

    1. Gumihou

      Rice paper should be some of the more expensive ones, lol

      I imagine they are judged according to lightness, smoothness, absorbency, durability and colour. Prettiness is… probably low for scholars.

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