Chapter 74: Bewitching Performance
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
Fu Qiuning sang for a quarter of an hour before the song finally concluded. Once the song was over, Fu Qiuning stood up nervously, her nerves stretched to near panic again as she looked through the window to see if there was anyone else listening in. When she saw no one, her nerves settled down a little.
When she turned to look at Jin Fengju, she was taken aback by his bewitched expression.
The enchanted man suddenly stood up and exclaimed, “The song is indeed most wondrously melodious. The notes are drawn out and lingering, as though they could remain in the air for three full days. It is a most excellent song. However, I can tell that it is merely a single section. You must sing the whole opera for me.”
Fu Qiuning stumbled and nearly fell. She flashed a look at Jin Fengju and shook her head, “My heart is all confused now. I sang one section for you, just to let you understand what I am speaking of. In fact, I have not sung it well. How could I sing the whole opera right now? Lord Husband, I beg that for my safety and peace, please, please do not ever let this secret out. This humble woman’s life and everything all depends on your word.” Then, she attempted to throw herself at Jin Fengju’s feet.
Jin Fengju hastily helped her up. He appeared to not care about anything else as he continued to exclaim, “Your opera is truly unique and refreshing, it is also very charming to the ear. If you claim that no one else in the country can sing thus, this may well be true. I have travelled to many places these past few years and have never heard anything like it. The only puzzling thing is the identity of that old woman who had taught you. Since she has taught you everything before her death, it looks like even the heavens themselves are not willing to allow such a wondrous thing to be buried away and found its way to you.
Do not be frightened, although those who are abnormal are often considered demonic, these plays of yours are pleasing to the ears and ease the heart. If you insist on calling them abnormal, then one should liken them to the fairies of the heavens rather than the demons of hell. After all, how could those ugly demons produce something so melodious and heavenly?
 As an inner noble house woman who has never stepped out of the courtyard, you could not have known that the Great Ning Dynasty is currently experiencing great prosperity and wealth. Nations large and small from all around come to celebrate and pay tribute at the capital every year. Although it was not a fixed rule, each nation would send a representative to stand on stage to perform at the All Nations Cultural Festival. At times, even the emperor would perform too. It is a wonderfully lively celebration.
Each year, many people of curious talents would appear. Although I have won first place as a representative of Great Ning many times, talents from other countries have started to emerge like fierce crocodiles. These past few years, our victories have been hard-won. If you truly have a whole new genre of opera in your possession, it would shine brightest on stage when performed by a well-rehearsed troupe. At that time, even the emperor would praise you. Who would dare to treat you like a demon, then? Come, sing the whole play for me. I swear that I will keep you safe.”
When he was done talking, Fu Qiuning was stunned: Nani? There’s such a good thing?
No way, ah. This doesn’t fit into the usual transmigration novel route where her predecessors wowed the audience by quoting a few lines from a long-dead poet. Then again, even in modern times, someone like me who could sing entire plays by myself would be considered unconventional. Wait, shouldn’t the main female character hide their special skill and only perform before a few people? Or, have I fallen into the genre where opera is the golden finger through which I become famous and wealthy?
No, no, no, none of this makes sense, ah.
Seeing that she was still in a daze, Jin Fengju assumed that she was still in shock and was suffering from fright. Therefore, he could not help but smile and said, “It will be fine, I have already vowed to keep you safe and shall keep this promise. It is you who frightened yourself with heavy thoughts. Just like ‘The man of the Qi state who fears the sky would one day fall down ’. Come, sing a couple more songs for me.”
Fu Qiuning looked at the eager face before her. There was no trace of shock or suspicion, merely excitement.
 She privately sighed and thought: Whatever, let us forget about it and not court disaster. After all, this guy already  ‘knew’ about my deepest secret. Let’s just appease him with a few songs, after all, my life is in his hands regardless. Since he wanted me to, why should I be afraid to sing? If I were to die, well, who knows, I might just be sent back to my original timeline. That would be a happy ending for me too.
Once she had thought things through, she gave a little cough and said lightly, “Lord Husband, it is as you have said. Just now, what I have sung is called the Yue Opera. The next one will be the Huangmei Opera.”
Without waiting for Jin Fengju to comment, she opened her mouth and sang.
“ You and he are childhood friends, so sweet and so loving…”
Although Jin Fengju was born into a rich and well-connected family, he had never heard such a harmonious tune in his life.
As you must know, the musical entertainment of ancient times was nothing like the modern times. In the few decades of their lives, even the wealthiest family only ever heard a few ‘new’ operas in their lives. Therefore, if a new genre of opera were to suddenly burst into the scene, how can they not be captivated?
After hearing the end of the Huangmei Opera, Jin Fengju could not help but clap his hands in admiration. He said, “Good words, good lines, it’s all wonderfully fresh and delightful. I wonder, just where did that old mother come from? Was she the Fairy  Lin Fan? If so, I wonder just how did she fall into that pitiful state? What a pity, ah. What a pity…” he shook his head and sighed.
Fu Qiuning privately laughed. She thought: What Fairy Lin Fan? I made up that old lady to cover my tracks and hide my bizarre identity.
In fact, while the  original owner of her body had been languishing in the countryside with her mother, there was indeed a strange old woman in the same village. Back then, the original’s mother thought they had been banished from the palace forever, never to return to the capital, and had therefore washed her face with tears of self-pity every day. The original could not bear seeing her mother cry and always ran outside alone. An old unmarried woman had probably taken pity on a little girl and took the child under her wing. Inevitably, the two grew close.
Nine years later, original goods Fu Qiuning left the village and was made to marry into the Jin Marquisate. In the same year, the old lady died. These were all memories that had been left with this body,  along with the knowledge of how to play the qin and do embroidery. Unexpectedly, it also provided her with an explanation for her unusual knowledge.
After the song ended, Fu Qiuning turned to Jin Fengju and said, “After hearing me sing for half a day, Lord Husband should have some understanding of my fears. Only, my fate is now up to your discretion. Can you keep my secret and spare my life?”
Jin Fengju narrowed his eyes at her. A smile quirked up a corner of his lips as he drawled, “I’m fine keeping a secret for you, but, how do you plan to thank me?”
Fu Qiuning breathed a private sigh of relief, she had him. She deliberately sniffed and turned away, “You have seen our place. You make take whatever you wish from Night Breeze Pavilion. Only, I fear that we do not have anything that will catch your eye. I have nothing on my person, but my life. If you wish it, you may take it any time.”
Jin Fengju felt his senses suddenly dimming. As an intelligent person, he naturally knew the difference between ‘life’ and ‘person’. He had not expected that even until this point, Fu Qiuning would refuse to expose any weakness, not letting him any opportunity to take advantage of the situation to change their relationship. He sat upright and said in a grave voice, “I can keep this secret for you, on one condition. That is, should the time come and you are required to sing these plays openly and sincerely, you must not hide away. Can you do that?”
Fu Qiuning frowned, “You are referring to that All Nations Cultural Festival? What for? Are we not a great empire with no lack of talented people? Why should I show my secret there? What’s more, the countries that come to celebrate and pay tribute to us are merely border nations or those wild places. How could they be compared with our great civilisation?”
“Have you never heard of the term ‘Beyond the tall hills, taller mountains stand’?” Jin Fengju shook his head sternly. “Anyway, let us settle the matter this way. Do not worry, this is a good thing. It’s not like singing is a crime. I am good enough to protect you so there’s no need to worry. However, since you are afraid, there’s no need to spread the matter, not many people know about your talents anyway.”
He had already made up his mind to dominate the All Nations Cultural Festival with this unique opera. That’s because, for this coming Cultural Festival, the Ministry of Rites and the emperor had brought up the matter in court, concerned about what to perform during the festival. This was why he had suddenly thought of it.
Since he had insisted, Fu Qiuning was helpless to deny him. She thought: Whatever, since he promised to protect me, I can only rely on him. In the future, I shall deal with each matter as they come up.
She was busy pondering over this when she heard Jin Fengju giggle to himself, “Only, you know, now that I know, you can’t blame me for being a little selfish. In the future, you must sing for me when I come~”
Fu Qiuning glanced at him and thought: This guy seems to like opera a lot.  Moreover, this crazy rich family paid a lot of money to invite a singer and her son to live in their marquisate only to sing a handful of times a year. If I were to indulge him, what would happen to me once I can no longer drive him out of my house? If I’m forced into the inner court, just how much hatred and jealousy would those wives and concubines have for me?
Therefore, she hastily said, “Lord Husband is busy most days, how could you delay your work for such frivolities? If Lord Husband really likes it, I shall sing 3 times a month for Lord Husband, how about it?”
“How could 3 times be enough?!” Jin Fengju howled. [a]
Fu Qiuning merely smiled, “Why ever not? Shall I calculate for Lord Husband? Lord Husband has 3 concubines, 1 low-level concubine and 2 common room girls. Naturally, these are merely the ones I know of. 6 women, and each should be accompanied by Lord Husband at least twice per month, that’s 12 days. Naturally, Lord Husband should spend 15 days with Lord Husband’s cousin sister, the secondary wife, to appease her. Visiting my place 3 times per month is already stretching the limit. Were I more virtuous, I should only allow 1 visit a month.”
Jin Fengju stared at Fu Qiuning’s bent eyebrows and curved eyes and could not help but gnash his teeth. However, he knew she was right. Depressed, he thought: Who on earth does not long for her husband’s favour, ah? This person is the opposite. That must be because she had never tasted love between men and women. I heard that women who had never experienced physical love would never desire it for the rest of their lives unless they were born sluts.
Looks like Fu Qiuning is such a virtuous person, ah! Aih! If I had known, I would never have made that promise to her. If I could have a husband and wife relationship with her, would she still push me away into another person’s arms?
Looks like he had really miscalculated, ah.
The two of them spoke for a long time. Meanwhile, Yu Jie, Aunt Yu and the twins were feeling anxious outside. Jin Changjiao had long since made noise about wanting to see her mother while Jin Changfeng and Aunt Yu did their best to block her. Close to two hours later, even Aunt Yu could not help herself anymore and advanced to the room with the twins’ hands in hers. As they stepped closer to the room, they heard laughter floating out and could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
They were about to retreat quietly when Jin Ming called from outside, “Miss Yu Jie, excuse me, but could you please inform the master that Prince Rong had sent over a few pots of famous Chrysanthemum plants? Additionally, Prince Rong wishes to invite Master to the imperial banquet. That is… the master asked me to wait for him, but had not allowed me in. I trouble miss to help me inform the master.
Gumihou: Looong, loooooonngggg monologues… Also, bwahahahah!!!! Who ask you to be such a player, you stud donkey? Not sorry for you!!
Also, the remark about having ‘miscalculated’ looks like he was 1000% sure that FQN would fall for him. Tch.
Pill Bug: I can imagine the 囧 face haha
 Some minor sentence adjustments for better flow. This includes deleting things like ‘when she saw’ that were totally unnecessary. Deleted a few ‘laughed’ too.
 Slightly incoherent paragraph. Will just… read, understand and redo it.
 The man of the Qi state who fear the sky would one day fall down
 Huangmei Opera: Title is <家> or family
 Fairy Lin Fan – There were a lot of references of ‘Lin Fan’ (not including the Lin Fan of Cooking Saint), but they’re generally male and fighters. Not sure why JFJ brought this name up in the context of a singer.
 Her thoughts moved as though she truly was Fu Qiuning, but readjusted to include ‘the original’ to distance herself from the pre-transmigration character.
 Added details re Er Gou’s mom to reinforce the theory
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