Chapter 42: Three Directionally Challenged People
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Jin Changfeng nodded, “That’s all well and good, but what should we bring? Even the best that mother could give is a few Rice Dumplings. The most valuable things you or I have are the jade pendants from Father. Are we to gift those to Grandmother?”
Jin Changjiao pouted and said, “Mother said that our marquisate is rich and powerful, so what precious things has Grandmother not seen before? She must have seen even better jade pendants than ours. If we gift her our jades it would make us look tacky and ungrateful. How about this? Though something is of little value and could be found everywhere, it could still be made into something unique and special as long as you and I put some effort into it. What do you think?”
At this, she leaned in closer and whispered into Jin Changfeng’s ear.
Jin Changfeng fell silent for a long time before answering. “Isn’t this thing of too little value? It can be found everywhere and neither your skills nor mine could be compared to Yu Jie, don’t you think we should…”
Before he could finish speaking, Jin Changjiao interrupted and said, “Why can’t you understand? It must be made with our own two hands. Whether Grandmother likes it or not, it’s a measure of our filial piety for her. If Grandmother laughs at our efforts, she is not worthy of our respect or filial piety. As Mother said, we should cut ties with those who do not recognise us or our efforts and avoid her from then on. Right?”
Jin Changfeng thought for a moment and nodded. “Right, let’s do as you suggested. In fact, let’s go do it now!”
With that, the brother and sister ran off, hand in hand to get started on their secret project.
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The next day was the Dragon Boat Festival.
Early that morning, a maid from the Old Madam came to remind them of the banquet once again. Fu Qiuning noticed that the maid’s attitude was very respectful with no attempt to bully or intimidate them. The maid’s overall attitude was very dignified and proper.
A heavy burden lifted from her heart. She thought: It looks like this Old Madam might really be a charitable and calm elder that would not simply scold people out of hand. If that’s the case, there’s no need to worry about Feng’er or Jiao’er being mistreated in the old lady’s presence.
Because it was a family banquet, after changing her clothes she did not put her hair up in its typical handkerchief wrap. Instead, she styled her hair into a simple bun, inserted two beaded flowers into her temple and wore only a silver buyao hairpin . As for those dazzling accessories and flowery hairpins that Jin Fengju had sent via Jin Ming the day before yesterday, they were all left untouched in her drawer.
Her outfit consisted of a many-layered goose yellow blouse, secured with only a satin belt that accentuated her slim waist and slender shape. Her skirt was a plain green one that rippled along as she walked. Although she wore no necklace, jade pendants or other accessories, the multiple layers of gauze floating elegantly in the wind gave off a very refreshing impression.
Yu Jie and Aunt Yu also dressed up. They then helped Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao into their clothes. As for the jade pendants, the children were allowed to wear them, but they were instructed to keep them under their shirts. Fu Qiuning thought that it was better to not show those pendants off. What if those madams, young masters and misses grew jealous at the sight of these pendants?
That’s authentic Hetian jade, ah. Such valuable things! Rather than risk having them broken via a jealous fit, it would be better to just pawn them off and keep the money for Feng’er and Jiao’er. Fu Qiuning continued to harbour such petty and money-grubbing thoughts as they made their way across the courtyard.
Finally, they stepped out of the courtyard door. A few hundred meters later, they entered Yong Cui Garden and the group paused to look backwards and saw only the corner of Night Breeze Pavilion’s flying eave through the cover of green trees. They all could not help but felt a little emotional for the moment.
From the moment she transmigrated, Fu Qiuning had never gone further than a few hundred meters from that courtyard. She had always been the quiet and persistent type. Otherwise, she would have never had the patience to engage in opera singing. Therefore, although the number of activities within the courtyard was limited, she never felt suffocated by the isolation. Compared to the life of living in a modern concrete jungle where one hardly knew their neighbours and surviving on various kinds of junk food, the ancient idyllic life of a shut-in with a few close intimate relationships was good enough for her to feel gratitude towards life. She had no complaints. Moreover, such an isolated life was something that she had consciously chosen to undertake.
As they were walking through Yong Cui Garden, there was nothing but gorgeous red flowers, beautiful greeneries and little pavilions everywhere. It was as though the very garden sought to flaunt itself to their eyes at every step. Every once in a while, they could not help but stop and be dazzled by some sight or other.
Even Aunt Yu and the siblings could not help but stare at everything. Though they had walked through this garden before, it had already been five years and back then they had been anxious about their future at Night Breeze Pavilion. Who would have the mind to enjoy the scenery?
Moreover, a lot could change in five years. Trees could have been transplanted, shrubberies changed and who knew what else? The children were so excited by this wonderful view and seeing that no one else around, not even a servant, to reprimand them, they chased each other through the garden paths, calling out joyfully to each other as they raced around the trees and shrubberies. As they neared the garden gate that led to the main courtyard, the children’s steps slowed and they grew withdrawn. Suddenly, they were a pair of reserved and well-behaved dolls again as they held Fu Qiuning’s hand and exited Yong Cui Garden.
That morning, the maid had already given them directions to the location of the banquet, but now, looking at the neat pathways and nearly identical blue-tiled flying eaves, Fu Qiuning blinked a few times before turning to her maids. “This… you were both there when the maid gave us directions to the place, right? Well? How do we get there?”
Yu Jie and Aunt Yu looked at each other. One pulled a face and said, “I can’t tell north from south, east from west, so how do you expect me to understand directions, ah?”
The other beamed stupidly, “I can barely understand front, back, left, right, but the directions given to us were ‘north of this’, ‘west of that’, it is beyond my understanding.”
Finally, the two turned to Fu Qiuning and said in unison, “We’re ready to follow Madam to the end, we’ll follow you wherever you go.”
“I am directionally challenged,” Fu Qiuning gritted out each bitter word through clenched teeth.
She thought: It’s over. With three directionally challenged people, how are we supposed to get to Health & Longevity Court? Should they ask a passerby? What would they even say? ‘Excuse me, could you give me directions to the Health & Longevity Court? Also, please use front, back, left, right instead of north, south, west, east when you give us directions.’
If asked, ‘Who are you people’, could I bear to tell them ‘I am the wife of the Young Marquis’!?!
“My Heavens…” Fu Qiuning slapped her forehead. “Just getting to Health & Longevity Court alone would be so shameful. Wh-where am I going to put my face, ah…”
As the final echo of her lamentation fell, she heard a light laugh followed by an overly familiar voice, “What is the whole family standing around here for? Were the maid’s directions not clear enough?”
Fu Qiuning lowered her hand and turned around just in time to see a man step out from behind a clump of emerald green bamboo. With hair mostly loose and just barely held back with a ribbon, dressed in silver-white floor-length changpao edged with ink-black patterns, and an open folding fan painted with a landscape of flowers and birds waving gently to complete the aura of the dashing scholar, who else could it be if not Jin Fengju?
“Father.” As soon as Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao saw him, they pounced on him with a cheerful cry. Jin Fengju hastily put away the folding fan, squatting down to pick up a sibling on each side, listening to Jin Changjiao chattering while laughing and saying, “We came from the garden, there are so many flowers and trees in the garden, it is so beautiful, but when we are out of the garden, mother and Aunt Yu and Yu Jie do not know the way, Yu Jie said she does not even know north south east or west, Aunt Yu said she barely knows front back left and right, mother said she is directionally challenged and was still lamenting at the heavens…”
“Jiao’er.” Fu Qiuning’s face had reddened all the way to her neck. She thought: This traitorous f***king child of the devil actually sold us three out without hesitation…
As for Jin Fengju, the devil himself, he was laughing so hard that he could not straighten up. Fu Qiuning was so angry that she wanted to forget all about status, identity and all that nonsense to slam her foot into that protruding backside and leave a nice footprint on that silver-white changpao.
[Gumihou: I hope, and wish desperately, that she gets to do this one day.]
Pill Bug TL Notes:
Ahhhh~~ This kid!
 步摇银钗 or Buyao – This hair ornament thingy, but silver: http://fashion.fengsung.com/n-210222144453638.html
Bu yao literally means ‘step shake’, so, hair ornaments that shook or swayed at every step.
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