Chapter 38: A Fun Life
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
Yu Jie and Aunt Yu watched  as Fu Qiuning carefully tucked the money away. The maids could not help themselves and suddenly burst out laughing, “Madam, are you still desperately saving money for the children’s future? Surely you no longer need to save as though your life depends on it? Now that the Young Marquis has recognised the children, what is there to worry about? Rather than being so tight with money, why don’t we buy a bit more rice, flour, meat and eggs instead?
This way, you can eat well too. After marrying into this place, the days have had only gotten more and more destitute. Even life as the shu daughter of the Zhenjiang Palace was better  than as the official wife of a young marquis. If people know this, wouldn’t they laugh at us?”
“What do you know?” Fu Qiuning flashed a glare at Yu Jie and Aunt Yu. In a low voice, she said, “Don’t you know the saying ‘Make Preparations before the Rain Comes’? The Young Marquis might seem to like Feng’er and Jiao’er for now. However, who could know what that person is thinking? He was the one who threw his own children away for six years.
What if someone or something agitates a bad memory from his past indiscretion and he suddenly decides to hate the children again? What if he gets bored of them? By then, if even this bit of money is wasted on pointless food and drink, Feng’er and Jiao’er with nothing to fall back on. That is why I must save this money. In this world, outsiders cannot be relied upon. The only thing you can depend on is yourself and the money you have saved. This is the most important thing.”
At this, she opened up the red silk again and counted her silver pieces. There were a total of 15 silver taels in total. She was so happy that she sighed and said, “So long as we have money in our hands, who cares whether the Young Marquis hates or favours us.”
Yu Jie and Aunt Yu laughed again, “Madam is usually so mature and dignified. Who would have thought that you’d suddenly turn into a complete miser in the face of money?” Fu Qiuning glared at them but then laughed too.
After carefully placing the silver into the bottom of a box, Fu Qiuning locked the box and tucked the key away on her person. Then, she said, “That’s right, with the Dragon Boast Festival around the corner, it’s about time to collect Water Reed  leaves from the pond out back and prepare them for Rice Dumplings. As for the duck and chicken eggs, I believe we should have about 30 or 50 of them now? Let’s not sell any and keep them for ourselves. While we normally don’t use as many, that Young Marquis might suddenly turn up again, so we could use the extra ingredients.”
At this, she sighed and rubbed her forehead. Every time she thought about that unpredictable Jin Fengju, a vein throbbed in her head.
Yu Jie and Aunt Yu quickly accepted her order and rushed out to call Jin Changfeng and Changjiao to come to the pond. They also locked the courtyard door,  with everyone out in the backyard, it was better to be safe than sorry. There were no other people in this place aside from them, who knew what would happen if they didn’t don’t lock the door?
Once everything was secured, the little family made their way to the pond located behind the few mu of farmland in the back
This large pond used to be filled with lotus flowers. However, due to neglect, not many were left. Instead, Water Reeds flourished in their place. Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao had learned to swim in this pond. Yu Jie grew up knowing how to swim and was fairly proficient. Therefore, Fu Qiuning got her to teach the children how to swim.
As soon as they got to the pond, the children tore off their clothes and leapt into the water without waiting for Fu Qiuning’s instructions.
They were not allowed to play here without adult supervision, thus, how could they  pass up the opportunity to splash around happily in the water? However, they also did not forget the purpose of coming to this pond. After splashing around a bit, the children swam towards the Water Reeds and began picking off the long wide leaves for dumpling-making.
Neither Fu Qiuning nor Aunt Yu knew how to swim, so they stayed on the shore and collected Wall Iris  leaves instead. The long and slender leaves of the Wall Iris was just perfect for trying up the Rice Dumplings. This was the traditional way of securing the Rice Dumpling packet. Back in her previous life, Fu Qiuning would not have used leaves but would have tied her dumplings with colourful strings instead.
They collected leaves and splashed about until mid-afternoon. When Fu Qiuning saw that they had enough leaves, she called for the brother and sister , “Alright, we have enough reed leaves now. Don’t keep playing in the water, it’s time to get out.
The two children giggled and dove down underwater, only their heads popping up near the shore. “Mother, we should drive the ducks and goose back home first.”
“Enough with you,” Fu Qiuning laughed half-scoldingly. “Our head goose is a natural leader and would always lead the herd back by evening. So there’s no need for you to bother. The sun hasn’t set yet, so there’s no way the birds would be willing to come ashore. However, you two had better climb up.”
At this, the children could only  paddle towards the shore. Suddenly, they dove back into the water again. When Fu Qiuning saw this, she turned to Yu Jie, “You stay here and watch them. If they still refuse to come up, just fetch them out of the water later.”
Yu Jie smiled, “Of course. But madam, why don’t you just say there’s a giant turtle in the pond and scare them out right away?”
 One of Fu Qiuning’s eyebrows went up, “Enough with you. Though this pond is large, they have already more or less explored the whole place. Who would believe that a giant man-eating turtle the size of a mountain is hiding there…”
The children’s screams startled her and Fu Qiuning hurried over to the edge of the shore, only to see the two children paddling quickly towards her with something in their hands.
“Perhaps they caught some small fish?” said Aunt Yu with a smile.
 Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao expertly paddled forward with their hands tucked close to their chest shrieking with laughter, “Mother, mother, see what we’ve got.” They carefully opened their hands to show four light-blue duck eggs nestled in their little hands.
“Oh my, duck eggs!” Yu Jie and Aunt Yu cried out.
Yu Jie scolded cheerfully, “What on earth? These could only belong to our ducks. Those ungrateful things have certainly bitten the hand that feeds them. Very good, ah. Each of them eats the feed I mix for them, however, for the bit of tiny fish and shrimps in this pond, they dare betray me by laying their eggs here?
Here I was wondering why there have been fewer duck eggs lately. Thinking that they were getting old, I helped hide the matter in case madam decides to kill them for dinner, but to think they were so unsatisfied with my service that they’d actually lay their eggs outside. Humph. Just wait, I’m going to catch one and stew us an old duck soup!”
 Fu Qiuning and Aunt Yu laughed at her indignation. Even Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao had to clutch at their mother’s clothes as they tried to stay upright while laughing. As for the ducks and geese, they ignored the angry girl as they paddled happily in the water, perfectly content. Finally, a red-faced Yu Jie could only creep back in silent embarrassment.
Jin Changfeng said “Mother, why don’t I dive into the water again? I could collect a few more duck eggs.”
“No need. That would be too great a coincidence. They don’t make a habit of laying their eggs in the pond anyway. Perhaps they just could not help themselves that one time. Moreover, even if there were more eggs, who knows how long they had been there? If you fish them out, they could stink to high heavens.”
With that, Fu Qiuning made sure the children put on their clothes before the little group collected their harvest of Water Reed and Wall Iris leaves and made their way toward the house.
As soon as they left the backyard, they heard a series of loud knocking. For a moment, the women and children looked at each other in confusion,  unused to this unusual noise when Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao suddenly jumped up and shouted, “It must be Father! Let’s open the door for him!”
Brother and sister grabbed each other’s hand and ran for the front yard, leaving Fu Qiuning and the others behind in a flash.
[Gumihou: …deez kids…]
 Some minor adjustments for smoother transactions
 Water Reed
Someone wrote an article about Rice Dumpling/Zongzi leaves
 Wall Iris (iris tectorum)
If you love my translations, do consider dropping a comment at novelupdates!
Gumihou loves reading your comments, so gimme, gimme ~
( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ
໒( ́ ́ )७