Chapter 47: Dragon Boat Festival Banquet (5)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
In the wake of the Young Marquis’ departure, a group of maids whispered and giggled to each other about his gorgeous outfit and dazzling smiles. In contrast, Jin Fengju’s wives and concubines were very sedate and calm as they drank tea together on the side. As for Madam Jiang, it was unclear what was going on in her mind, but her expression was very cold. Now and then, she would flash a look at Fu Qiuning’s general direction, her expression becoming gloomier the more she looked at that woman and those two children.
Fu Qiuning was seated in a chair with Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao  in a quiet corner. She whispered, “Who told you to do this reckless thing? Well, now you’ve just seen for yourself the kind of backlash that comes from a reckless action-. I’ve told you before, haven’t I? ‘ A tall tree attracts wind’, the most important thing we should do in this mansion is to hide our talents and restrain our feelings. But you two did the exact opposite and stuck your head out like birds waiting for a hunter’s arrow.”
The twins whispered back, “We didn’t think it would be like this. We just thought, since it’s our first time meeting Great-Grandmother, we should make her happy by gifting something to her. We know that mother has no money for expensive gifts and thought… thought that we could make something… It’s just a small token. Since it’s the Dragon Boat Festival, we thought… making a boat is…” the twins stopped. Their lips flattened as they tried to restrain their tears.
Fu Qiuning sighed. She thought: It was just a child’s desire to please a senior family member. How could she scold them for their filial thoughts?
She was about to comfort the two when Jiang Wanying’s voice interrupted, “Yi? Why are the pendants on these children’s waists so familiar? I wonder, just where did elder sister buy these gorgeous jades? I must say, the colour of these jades is very good. My, they are actually rare Hetian mutton fat jades.”
Fu Qiuning privately sighed. She thought: Here it comes again. I knew that today’s banquet will be difficult to swallow.
Already fed up with all the fakeness around her, she nevertheless dredged up a soft smile and said, “The Young Marquis gifted these jades to the children. I have little understanding of such things. I just thought they look good. The children usually keep the jades on a string around their necks and under their clothes for fear of breaking them accidentally. How unfortunate it would be to ruin a token from Lord Husband? However, when Lord Husband personally tied the tokens to their belts, saying that it looks better than having the jades hidden away.”
There, thought Fu Qiuning: I am telling you now that I have no interest in expensive trinkets but that your master is the one who gifted them to the twins. So, if you want to be angry at anyone, please direct your anger to the proper channel. Also, the children’s pendants are personally tied to their waists by their father. So if you want to damage them, do so with the full knowledge that you are damaging something personally gifted by your hubby.
“So, it is like this. Here I was wondering why two of Lord Husband’s jade pendants have gone missing. Speaking of which, these pendants were bestowed to Lord Husband by Prince Rong. Zhenxuan and the rest have begged him to lend the pendants to them, but never even get to touch them. Mother, look, look how much Lord Husband adore these pair of twins. No wonder Zhenxuan could never get his hands on the jades. Looks like they have already been prepared for the twins.” Jiang Wanying never dropped the smile on her face, but her every word dripped with vinegar.
Suddenly, Old Madam Jin laughed and said, “Wan girl is still so wonderfully articulated. No wonder Fengju favours you best. With his every visit, something always goes missing from my place and ends up in your room. In my eyes, the jades on Feng’er and Jiao’er are quite ordinary. It is only significant because it had been bestowed by Prince Rong. If you like jade pendants so much, why don’t I gift one to you too? What is so amazing about a piece of jade? Even I am starting to feel distressed by how pitiful you sound.”
Jiang Wanying nearly choked. How could she not understand that the Old Madam was protecting Fu’shi and those twins by ridiculing her? Though she felt even more annoyed, the smile on her face bloomed even brighter. Nevertheless, she decided not to speak anymore.
Xu’shi, who had been observing the situation on the side, saw everything clearly. She smiled and said, “Elder sister, just what have you been saying to the brother and sister? They looked like they are about to cry. Good children, don’t cry, come and let Concubine Mother have a look at you. Aiyo, now that I have a better look, I must say, your faces are really similar to Lord Husband’s. Come over and let me have a better look.”
She beckoned Changfeng and Changjiao to come over, but the twins were still a little frightened. Fu Qiuning shook their hands gently and laughed, “Since Concubine Mother wants to have a look at you, do go over. Go on now, be generous and don’t act like a petty child.”
Helpless  now that their mother was personally sending them to the wolves, the twins could only trot over to Xu’shi’s side and let her pull them over to be looked at. A few more insincere words of praises later, they suddenly heard Yue Lan say, “Oh, so the gold collars were made for the twins! Yesterday, I saw Steward Jin bringing these collars in and was wondering what on earth was happening.”
At this, all eyes went to the gold collars around the twins’ necks. Being new, they looked very beautiful and so polished that they dazzled under the merest hint of sunlight.
Suddenly, Jin Xiuzhen said, “Since mothers are chatting together, this daughter dare not disturb too much. It just so happens that the sun is shining so brightly, when don’t we all play outside with elder brother and sister? We can all return for lunch, is that alright?”
Jiang Wanying frowned. She knew that her daughter was scheming something. After some time, the crease disappeared from between her brows and she smiled, “In that case, go and play. Be sure not to go too far, it will be lunch soon. All of you eat very well and won’t miss a banquet or two. However, it is probably rare for your brother and sister to experience such a wonderful meal even a few times a year. Be sure not to make them miss the feast.”
Fu Qiuning’s eye twitched but her expression remained calm. She thought: Such a low blow from this Second Madam. She already knew that we are poor, but she still wants to press us like this? It’s just a meal. Since I will return to Night Breeze Pavilion after this meal, I won’t quarrel with you. Why can’t you just endure a bit?  Have you been scheming and fighting all your lives that you had forgotten how else to live?
While she was pondering over this, she noticed the twins still standing in place, waiting for her instructions. She took a slow sip of her tea and smiled, “Go ahead. Come back in time for lunch. There are rules for people like us and we must abide by them. The rest is up to your discretion.”
At this, Jiang Wanying’s face changed again.
Fu Qiuning privately sneered: If others don’t offend me, I won’t bother them. However, if you insist on pressing me into a corner with your words, allow me to apologise first. Though I do not wish to become a thorny durian, I am not a soft persimmon.
The twins were obviously reluctant to leave, but they made their way outside nevertheless. The other children exchanged glances with each other. Suddenly, they all rushed outside shrieking and shouting in a lively manner. Aunt Yu looked worried and was about to follow them out but was stopped by Fu Qiuning’s sharp hand wave.
Fu Qiuning understood that the twins’ positions were different from hers. Though she could protect them for a few years, she could not shelter them forever. Unless they leave this wretched marquisate, they would one day have to deal with the underhanded schemes and hidden battles of a noble house.
The sooner they learn to recognise these dangers, the better. Although it was a little cruel to the twins,  it was the best thing she could do for them so that they could survive better in the future.
[Gumihou: Kids can be very cruel. Most of the adults are just brats with more years under their belt]
 Some small adjustments for a smoother passage  A tall tree attracts wind = the nail that sticks out gets hammered.  This… hits a little too close to what their lives must be like. I feel a little sorry for Jiang Wanying.
If you love my translations, do consider dropping a comment at novelupdates!
Gumihou loves reading your comments, so gimme, gimme ~
( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ