Chapter 51: Gifts
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
When Jin Fengju took his seat at the table, Jin Ming cleverly took the opportunity to present the sandalwood boxes and said with a meaningful smile, “The Young Marquis knew that today is the twins’ birthday and had especially prepared these gifts…”
Before he could finish speaking, Jin Fengju waved for him to stop. He took the two sandalwood boxes and smiled bitterly at the twins, “Enough with those face-saving remarks. How could I know that today is Feng’er and Jiao’er’s birthday? In the past, I… didn’t even know when their birthdays were.” He sighed again, but soon regained his spirits and continued, “Don’t worry, Feng’er, Jiao’er, father will remember all your birthdays from now on and spend them with you. Alright?”
“Yes, ah, yes, ah,” Jin Chanfeng and Jin Changjiao clapped their little hands as Jin Fengju handed the sandalwood boxes to them.
“I heard that your dragon and phoenix jade pendants were broken. Don’t worry, father knows what happened. I also know that Feng’er and Jiao’er are good and sensible children. As the eldest, you are to set a good example for your younger brothers and sisters. Therefore, Father will gift you these as compensation. See if you like them or not?”
The children opened the boxes and immediately a burst of sandalwood fragrance was released into the air. Fu Qiuning smiled and said, “So precious? The boxes themselves are already quite valuable, right? I can’t imagine what precious thing they contain.” As she spoke, she stuck her head over to take a look and was surprised to see two delicately made white jade lions in the boxes. The workmanship was exquisite and captivating.
“Father, are these lions? But they are quite big, we can’t wear them,” said Jin Changjiao as he picked up his lion for a closer look.
Jin Fengju smiled, “Yes, these lions aren’t meant to be worn. They are paperweights. Do you know what paperweights are? When you are writing in the study, to prevent your paper from being blown about by a sudden wind, don’t you usually weigh it down with something? That’s a paperweight. From now on, these little lions will accompany you as you study. If you are not diligent, they could get angry and bite you.”
“Don’t you scare them, what if you frighten them too much and they drop the lions?” Fu Qiuning glared at Jin Fengju before striding over to pack the lions away with a sigh. “These are too precious. If the other mothers and concubine mothers know, we will have to deal with them again.”
Jin Fengju smiled mildly at her, “What does that have to do with the people in Night Breeze Pavilion? Others might be ignorant, but I know everything. How could you be willing to take a loss from them? Perhaps this kind of attitude is normal without backing, but with me backing you from behind, what are you afraid of?”
Fu Qiuning said crossly, “It’s easy for you to talk. Haven’t you heard the saying ‘To Bow one’s Head while Living Under Other’s Eaves’? Even if I do have something of a position in this family, do I have the power to be stubborn in the face of your wives and concubines? If you pity those two children, you had better seal this information tightly instead. Otherwise, once I fall, the two children will suffer too.”
Jin Fengju smiled and said, “No one has ever dared to speak to me like this before. If you could oppose even me, why are you still afraid of that woman? Be at ease, I promise you, so long as you take care of your side of things, no matter what you do, I can promise not to find fault with you.”
Fu Qiuning nearly spat up blood at that. She muttered, “No matter what I do? Young Marquis, aren’t you thinking too highly of me? Do you think I possess martial arts like you? Leaving everything else aside, your Second Madam could easily give the order to have a few slaves come and attack us. When that happens, the children and I are done for.”
“What do you think this place is? This is the Jin Marquisate. No matter what, you are still my Official Wife.” Jin Fengju sneered. “Don’t worry, they won’t be so stupid. Moreover, those slaves would never dare carry out such orders.” He turned to the children, “Alright, why don’t you take the little lions to the study? The emperor bestowed these lions to Father. You two must be very careful and treat them respectfully. Understand?”
So precious, and a gift from the emperor? No wonder the quality is so excellent, Fu Qiuning thought.  Her reflections were interrupted by the sound of children running into the study. Afraid that they might accidentally break those precious tokens bestowed by the Imperial Family, she quickly said to Aunt Yu, “Quick, follow them. Make sure they don’t run too fast or fall down.”
Aunt Yu quickly trotted after the children. A short while later, the children came running back to the room with two handkerchief wrapped items in their hands.  They showed the contents of the handkerchieves to Jin Fengju and said in unison, “Look Father, the pendants are broken but we still take care of them. We dare not throw them away.” It was as though they were indirectly letting their father know that: Look, we take good care of everything you give to us. In the future, if you have any good things in hand, you can always send them to us.
Jin Fengju and Fu Qiuning laughed at the twins’ obvious little scheme. Fu Qiuning poked their foreheads and said, “You’ve only been to one family banquet and you’ve already picked up a naughty little trick like this instead of learning something good. I have never seen you act like this before. You’re not allowed to play these tricks in the future.”
Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao stuck out their tongues at her. Jin Fengju said, “Aiya, there’s no need to criticise. It is human nature to be greedy. So long as don’t allow your greed to control you, it’s fine. As a man, you should not be too content with your lot and forget how to progress in life. There’s no need for Feng’er or Jiao’er to give this too much thought yet. You’ll naturally understand in 10 years’ time.”
He took the broken jade pendants from them with a smile, “There’s a century-old accessory store in the capital with the unique ability to repair jade ornaments with gold inlays. It would be a pity to throw away such good quality jades. Jin Ming, take these to Song’s Accessories. See if they can do anything about the jades.”
“Yes,” Jin Ming accepted the pieces of broken jades and tucked them into his breast pocket. “Gold inlay? What’s that?” asked Jin Changjiao.
However, her mother interrupted, “I’ll tell you all about it later. Let your father eat first. The food will be cold soon. No matter what, it’s your birthday, if your father gets a stomachache from eating cold food, what should I do?”
“Do I look as delicate as that?” Jin Fengju rolled his eyes. Then, he noticed that on the table was an extra wine cup next to his plate. Moreover, it was filled with amber-coloured wine. He smiled and said, “It smells quite sweet, did you make this too?”
Fu Qiuning smiled back, “Aunt Yu was the one who taught me how to brew wine. She had done it quite successfully a few times and I asked her to teach me. Last year, the trees bore a lot of fruit and we decided to try making wine with them. It’s a little sweet. I’ve never taken it out as I was afraid that Lord Husband would not like it. However, since today is Feng’er and Jiao’er’s birthday, I thought it would be nice to liven the atmosphere with a little wine.”
While she was speaking, Jin Fengju took a sip and nodded, “Though the taste is sweet, it is both mellow and refreshing. I don’t tend to drink strong wine often. Who could stand it all the time?”
[Gumihou: Well, this Jin Ming is quite clever, but at least the man isn’t scummy enough to take credit for something he didn’t actually know]
 Some small adjustments for a smoother passage
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