Chapter 54: Clear Skies
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
“You are quite the clever one,” Jin Fengju took another sip of his tea and sighed. “You said that you have me in your heart, but then say that your care was due to our intertwined fate and had nothing to do with love.” He lowered his cup and stared into Fu Qiuning’s eyes. “Qiuning, perhaps, not being able to be true marriage partners with you will become one of my few regrets in this lifetime.”
“This humble woman’s heart is like stagnant water, I dare not claim to be Young Marquis’ regret. Many flowers are gathered by the Young Marquis’ side, the outstandingly beautiful moutan peonies, pretty and charming Chinese peonies, elegant and exquisite rhododendrons… each one could overturn a country with their own unique charm. Therefore, why cling to a common cattail?
One must know that the world is complex, and the future is impossible to divine accurately. Sometimes, not possessing something might turn out to be the best.” Fu Qiuning kept her head lowered as she continued to console earnestly. It could be said that each word was like a polished knife, designed to stab right to the heart. Thus, for a moment, even Jin Fengju could only remain silent in the face of her words.
Seeing that the sun was shifting westwards, Jin Fengju finally stood up and said softly, “I have been here for quite a while. I should return. I’m afraid the Elder Madam wishes to see me for something. I shall see Feng’er and Jiao’er before leaving. You do what you need to do, no need to see me off.”
Fu Qiuning responded agreeably and watched as Jin Fengju’s figure disappeared through the doorway. Once he was gone, she slumped sideways on the kang bed and downed several cups of tea in one breath. Then, she wiped her lips and grinned. If not for the fact that Jin Fengju was still on the courtyard grounds, she would have raised three cheers to the heavens and shouted out her joy.
The boulder that had been pressing on her heart had finally rolled off, and Fu Qiuning wanted to cheer and laugh out loud. Ever since she transmigrated, the word ‘divorce’ had hung over her head like a sword that could fall at any time. Even if she did not die outright, she would be seriously injured.
While it was true that she had plans to escape the Zhenjiang Palace and talked big about making a living with a theatre group, it was a last resort plan. After all, for women in this ancient era, breaking into entertainment groups was like stepping into a man-eating devil’s cave. Fu Qiuning dared not imagine how a divorced woman, whose only skill was opera singing, could survive in this world.
As for making a living with a theatre troupe, nearly every woman attached to an entertainment troupe had some sort of ‘tragic background story’. Therefore, how could she depend on that uncertain way of life? How many people could decide their own fate? Nearly everyone would be dragged along by the currents of fate anyway.
Therefore, when she received Jin Fengju’s personal guarantee of allowing her to maintain her leisurely life as an abandoned woman in the paradise that was Night Breeze Pavilion, she was happy beyond words. Though life was busy and laborious, she could eat her fill, dress warmly, sing her favourite opera songs, work on her womanly arts, play the qin and read in her spare time. Moreover, she also had two playful and filial children to keep her company. For the diligent Fu Qiuning, this could be considered a heaven-blessed day.
The sword hanging over her head was finally gone, the sky was clear and Fu Qiuning was so happy that could practically soar like an eagle through the sky. That evening, she gave a complete performance of the <Fairy Couple>  to the children, Yu Jie and Aunt Yu. The few people listening to her songs fell into a daze. Intoxicated by the mesmerising quality of her voice. That night, she was so excited that she could hardly sleep.
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The summer sun blazed in the sky, baking the earth with its heat. Even the willow trees and the flowers were drooping, as though exhausted by the terrible weather.
In the Health & Longevity Court, Old Madam Jin personally held a watering can as she watered her beloved plants. The maid, Luo Cui, watched nervously from the side and finally could not help but say, “Old Ancestor, please allow this maid to water the plants. Seeing you hold such a large watering can is frightening this maid. Why not let this maid water the plants?”
Old Madam Jin gave a cold little sniff and shook her head, “You little slut, you can stay there and stay frightened. Are you trying to say that I’m so old that I could barely be trusted to walk on my own? Well, I want you to see just what ‘old and vigorous’ looks like.”
The words were barely out of her mouth when Cai Yun’s cheerful voice came from near the door, “Yes, yes, yes, Old Ancestor is clearly an old steed that aspires to run a thousand miles. Luo Cui, you lack eloquence. What is watering a few flowers? Once our Old Ancestor gets excited, even mountains can be moved.”
Before she could continue, Old Madam raised her head and spat. She laughed scoldingly, “Ming Yu, why haven’t you come and tear these girls’ mouths off? They are getting more and more lawless by the day, to even dare to tease me.” She handed the watering can to Luo Cui, “Since you are so afraid to see me water the plants, you can take care of the rest yourself. Make sure to take care of them properly and don’t let Fu’shi see them wilting at my place. They grow so well in her courtyard. If they happen to wilt under my care, it would look like we do not care for them.”
Granny Ming Yu smiled as she laid some pillows out and helped the Old Madam to the couch, “Amitabha, no matter what kind of confused person she is, she would never have this kind of lightning-inviting way of thought. How the Old Madam treats these pots of flowers and plants, anyone with eyes can tell. Besides, Fu’shi is not a child who doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Old Madam Jin nodded with a smile.
Cai Yun stepped forward to say, “Old Madam, as ordered, satin, needles, thread and food have been sent to Fu’shi. They happened to be steaming corn when we arrived and urged me to bring some back for Old Madam to enjoy. I must admit, this Fu’shi is very considerate. Within this marquisate, none of us had ever enjoyed such tender corn as these.”
Granny Ming Yu and Luo Cui both agreed in unison. Old Madam Jin could not help herself as she accepted the plate from Cai Yun. She laughed and said, “Fortunately, my teeth are still good. Otherwise, I would have been bullied by this corn. Though it looks tender enough to leak water, without any teeth, I’d never be able to nibble on it even if I chew over ten thousand times.”
While they ate, an announcement from the outside came, “The young marquis is here.”
Following that, a hand pushed the curtain aside and Jin Fengju stepped in. Old Madam laughed, “Quick, quick, I haven’t had enough yet, but already another beggar came to freeload my food. Chase this beggar out quickly. No, wait, hide these under the plate before letting him in.”
Jin Fengju laughed merrily and said, “Old Ancestor, it’s too late, this grandson has already smelled it.” As he stepped into the room, Jin Fengju’s eyes went to the large basin on the table. He laughed again, “No need to ask. This must be a tribute from Night Breeze Pavilion. Such crude things cannot be found elsewhere on the marquisate. What’s this? Corn? Heh, well, well, well, I haven’t been there for half a month and their corn has been harvested.”
Old Madam Jin laughed and said, “Is that right? You had better not eat mine. Go eat at your wife’s place. Even if she did not wish to leave any for you, surely Feng’er still thinks of you as his father? Speaking of which, how is it that she could have such fresh things before us?”
“So Old Ancestor does not know. She has a backyard filled with over a hundred corn stalks especially planted for their own enjoyment. Not only that, but they also have pearl millet, common millet, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. These are all personally planted by the mother and children. They said that these are all planted to fill their leisure time.”
After speaking, he picked up an ear of corn and began to nibble on it. A mouthful of corn later, he suddenly remembered Old Madam Jin’s words and chuckled through the corn in his mouth, “Old Ancestor, don’t be angry, this grandson may have nibbled on one stick of your corn. However, I shall return 10 sticks to you by tonight.”
[Gumihou: …somehow, I feel angry each time I see Jin Fengju eat Fu Qiuning’s food]
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 天仙配 This play: https://chinesetheatre.leeds.ac.uk/plays/15 The English equivalent would be The Romance of Altair and Vega, AKA the Star-Crossed Lovers.
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Have a Grilled Rice Ball
HLW – 055 – Old Madam’s Thoughts
Grilled Intestines are Yummy!
HLW – 056 – Between Husband & Wife
A Bucket of Crowdads
HWL – 057 – The Plan
HLW – 058 – Discussion
HLW – 059 – The Young Marquis Gets Stung (Gumi likes this chapter)
HLW – 060 – Revelation
HLW – 061 – Emotionally Touching
HLW – 062 – Harmoniously View the Osmanthus Flowers
HLW – 063 – Foreshadowing (Gumi feeling sad for rival)
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