Chapter 53: Promise
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
She had barely finished speaking when Jin Fengju suddenly leaned forward and grabbed her hands. Startled, she found herself staring into a pair of intense eyes as a charming voice murmured, “Qiuning, are you truly at peace? Do you truly have no feelings for me? When it comes to the so-called inner house struggle, the power of one’s maternal family is only secondary. What matters is your children’s abilities, your husband’s love and the elders’ favour. Elder Madam might criticise you, but you have the love of the Old Madam. I too shall protect you well and not lead you astray. You… still wish to reject me?”
Fu Qiuning’s face turned white. As she stared at Jin Fengju’s fervent, half-crazed face, she really couldn’t figure out what triggered this weird reaction. She was so frightened by this sudden burst of ardour that she immediately pulled her hands away and stood up. She sank into a full salute and said with some fear, “Young Marquis, do not be impulsive. Think thrice before taking action. This humble woman would rather leave the secular world to become a nun and worship the ancient Buddha than willingly cause trouble for you. This humble woman begs the Young Marquis to grant this humble plea.”
“You… really have no feelings for me?” Jin Fengju stared at Fu Qiuning for a long time before letting out a sigh. Eventually, an indifferent smile graced his face and he stretched out his hand to say, “Enough, get up first so we can talk. Since you have said this, naturally, I shall not force you. However, you must also not try to be too clever. You clearly have no feelings for me and do not wish to battle with those wives and concubines. Yet, you still claim to do things for my sake. Qiuning, I have never liked it when people lie to me.”
“There are some words, some justifications, though high sounding, that must nevertheless be said,” replied Fu Qiuning in a low voice, still keeping her head down. Privately, she thought: It’s rare to see a confused Young Marquis, ah. Just because you know it, doesn’t mean you have to say it, you know? Don’t you think we should just keep on moving forward at this pace and not break the status quo?
She was still mulling things over when Jin Fengju stood up. He shook his fan open and waved it a few times before flashing a dashing smile over it, “I can see that your action just now was not fake. If you can continue to be this way, I, too, shall be at ease. Qiuning, you are a person worthy of respect. Feng’er and Jiao’er may not be of your blood, but you have brought them up carefully nonetheless.
I am grateful that you did not allow the injustice inflicted upon your person by this marquisate to colour your feelings towards them, and had educated them to this level instead. Do not worry, I come to your place as a friend for a meal, to spend time with Feng’er and Jiao’er and perhaps to chat with you to dispel some small frustrations. Naturally, I shall not do anything outrageous or overstep boundaries that would bring you public criticism. You… understand my meaning?”
“This humble woman understands. Gratefulness fills this humble woman’s heart over Young Marquis’ generosity. This humble woman is greatly honoured to be called a friend of Young Marquis,” Fu Qiuning quietly sighed with relief. Although this man was a scum husband, as a casual friend, he was still someone worth getting along with.
Moreover, as ‘friends’, their status would be more equal. It would be much better to be a ‘friend’ than a dependent ‘wife’. Since he favoured both Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao, Night Breeze Pavilion would likely see better prosperity in the future. This was also a good thing.
Jin Fengju continued to stare at Fu Qiuning. For some, reason, he felt a sudden sense of loss. He was the one who had sealed away the connection as man and wife with this good looking and intelligent woman, relegating them to a relationship where one could only see but never touch for the rest of their lives. He had no idea if he would regret this in the future one day.
If he were to regret it, was he to turn around and break that promise? No matter what, Jin Fengju was still a young marquis whose word carried enormous weight, and could never go back on his word. What if… if one day he was tempted by this woman, would he harass her and ended up stalking his own wife like a crazy youth in the first blush of love?
As soon as the thought surfaced, Jin Fengju shivered. He quickly shook his head and tossed away those messy thoughts.
While he was busy with this little dilemma, Fu Qiuning had sat down on her end of the couch again. After ridding himself of his silly thoughts, Jin Fengju watched her with unburdened eyes.  The sun had moved in a way that sent a shimmer of light through the window and illuminated her neat and capable person. From his vantage point, Fu Qiuning looked like she was shining.
Suddenly, Jin Fengju blurted out, “Qiuning, do not worry. So long as the Jin Marquisate does not lose its power and regardless of the changing forces outside, I, Jin Fengju, shall protect your peace. If I do not fall for a day, I shall defend you for a day; if I do not fall for a lifetime, I shall be your protector for a lifetime. Though we are not destined to be lovers, we may still be  life and death companions.”
Fu Qiuning suddenly shivered. Jin Fengju’s meaning was very clear. If Prince Hong cannot ascend to the Dragon Throne in the future, Zhenjiang Palace would also suffer defeat. When that time comes, families who had married even the most favoured of the di daughters of Prince Zhenjiang would divorce them to avoid being dragged into disgrace. Only daughters who had given birth to children or contributed greatly to their husband’s family could avoid such a fate. Even so, their future would be uncertain for a long time.
What Jin Fengju was promising now was that even after Zhenjiang Palace had fallen, so long as the Jin Marquisate still stood, she, this shu born official wife, would not be divorced or sent home to face death. So long as he, Jin Fengju, remained in power, he would also guarantee her safety.
It would be a lie to say that she was not moved. This Jin Fengju, who had always seemed like  a plague bringing rat to Fu Qiuning, suddenly appeared to be a little taller and loftier. This had nothing to do with love or any tender feelings. Fu Qiuning was giving him a thumbs up based on his ability to foresee future troubles and still making such a solemn promise to her. This guy may be an unfeeling scum to women, but at least he treated his friends fairly and has clearly defined grudges and gratitude. She had to admit, he was truly worthy of being called a real man. Of this era anyway.
“This humble woman is truly grateful for Young Marquis’ protection. It is a pity this humble person is born a woman and of low status, and therefore cannot be of assistance to the Young Marquis. This humble woman is too ashamed of her incapability,” Fu Qiuning’s words were very sincere.
Since Jin Fengju had given her a promise in good faith, it was like receiving a gold death-exemption plate. However, due to the limitation of her status, she was unable to repay that person. Fu Qiuning, who was accustomed to the modern idea of repaying a favour with something of equal value, felt a little guilty.
“You have some very odd ideas,” Jin Fengju smiled slightly as he sat down and took a sip of his tea. “Isn’t it only natural for men to protect women? Don’t mention your status, I shall not treat you differently had you been higher born. I, Jin Fengju, shall not resort to using women to achieve my goals. Isn’t this the role of a true man? Moreover, there’s no need for you to be too emotionally touched. Consider this your compensation for the care you have put in to raise Feng’er and Jiao’er. It is what you deserved. Naturally, I am happy to hear from your own lips that you are grateful.”
“As Young Marquis had said, this humble woman and Young Marquis are  life and death companions. Therefore, how could this humble woman not care about Young Marquis’ fate?” Fu Qiuning smiled as she stood up and went to refill Jin Fengju’s teacup.
The tea was something that Jin Ming had sent to them some time ago, and was many times better than the tea she had gritted her teeth and purchased with her precious money. As soon as the steam dispersed, a wonderful aroma filled the room
[Gumihou: I hope Jin Fengju stay in love purgatory forever~~]
 Some minor sentence adjustments for better flow  Okay, Gumi has been influenced by ORV, lol!
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