Chapter 76: Brother-in-Law (elder sister’s husband) & Brother-in-Law (wife’s younger brother)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
“How could I not know? Isn’t that the story from Mister He’s Jade ?”
Princess Consort Rong fanned herself with her handkerchief, her phoenix eyes  looking at her younger brother with a hint of mockery as she said, “What is it? Have you encountered a beautiful hidden jade? Surely you haven’t cast your eyes on some brothel courtesan, have you? I shall warn you now, even your brother-in-law dare not be so naughty. If you dare to be so lively as to roam those places, see if I do not pass down a decree to have your legs broken.”
“Tsk, where has Elder Sister’s thoughts wandered to? I have no eyes for those vulgar, powdered and gaudy creatures. What I am saying is… enough, enough, anyway, you won’t understand me for now. However, I shall tell you this: This time I have really picked up a treasure. It’s fine so long as you know that.” Jin Fengju said as he waved his hands at her, clearly not wanting to explain himself to his sister.
“You dare whet your sister’s appetite and leave me with ‘you won’t understand me for now’?” Princess Consort Rong snorted. “I haven’t heard of any new concubines or common room girls. Even so, it doesn’t matter. With your status, you are entitled to more. The concubines, lesser concubines and other girls by your side have all aged now. My illustrious younger brother is still so youthful, handsome and outstanding. It is only right for you to receive a few new girls. Just the other day, Lord Gu’s wife told me that, back at her place…”
“Stop stop stop, elder sister please don’t mention this anymore. The few at home are quarrelsome enough to trouble my peace. What would happen if I bring more home?” Jin Fengju waved his hand a little more frantically at his sister. “Those few are enough. I have more than enough to occupy my time, and though they are no longer fresh, old affection is still better than new strifes.”
When Princess Consort Rong heard this, she could not help but stomp her feet in a huff. She poked his forehead and snapped, “I really don’t understand you. Just look at other families. Their prospects are so much more inferior than yours and yet they each have eight or nine concubines in their inner court. Look at you, a youth in your prime, but you live like an old man!”
Jin Feng studied his face in the mirror closely. Suddenly, he asked, “Elder Sister, are you sure that this little brother of yours is as good as you say? Someone named me the most beautiful man in the capital…”
Before he could finish, his sister tossed her head and stuck her nose in the air, “But of course, when it comes to looks, there are none that could match my little brother in the whole capital. Not only that, I dare say there is not a single man in the entire Great Ning Empire whose looks can be compared to my little brother’s.
What’s more, looks are secondary. All one has to do is take a look around and tell me, who else holds such a high position at such a young age? And a favourite of the emperor too! What’s even more unique is your exceptional character as a family man. Who in the capital does not know that the Young Marquis is a gentle family man so warmly considerate towards his wives and concubines, that even after six years of marriage, he had never accepted a new person into their home to this day?
Otherwise, would those officials’ wives be so eager to marry their precious daughters to you? They would even welcome the opportunity to enter your harem as a lesser concubine. So long as I give the word, and so long as you are willing, no woman in existence would refuse you.”
Jin Fengju muttered to himself in bewilderment, “Everyone said so, but I cannot think so. Since everyone seems to believe it, it must be true, but why is it that she treats me with disdain? Even now, she practically has me in her hand, but still maintains the ‘still water within an ancient well’ behaviour she had since the beginning. I really don’t know what to do.”
“What are you muttering about over there? There is a girl you like, but hesitate to propose to? If so, leave it to Elder Sister. Speaking of which, have you rid yourself of that worthless and disgraceful shu-born daughter of Prince Zhenjiang? Humph, once you’ve divorced her, if you don’t give Wanying the Official Wife position, you may still marry a royal princess or even an imperial princess. After all, you hold such high status, and with your brother-in-law receiving the old man’s attention… you listen to me, you must strike while the iron is hot…”
“Sister, don’t mention this anymore. I still need to go to court. You should just give up on being my matchmaker.” Jin Fengju stood up, stopping her excited flow of words with an agitated wave of his hand.
This only served to anger Princess Consort Rong. She was about to scold him for being impotent when Prince Rong’s voice was heard, “Fengju, ah. Are you not done grooming yet? It’s time to leave for court, quickly now.”
The man himself stepped in and looked a little taken aback to see Princess Consort Rong right then. He laughed heartily and said, “Ah, Beloved Consort is here as well. Hehe, that is, I- I shall leave for court with Fengju first. Whatever you need to talk about, you may continue later when we return, ah.”
He immediately tried to pull Jin Fengju away, but Jin Fengju said, “Hold on, brother-in-law, I haven’t put on my official clothes yet. Do you want the emperor to punish me for disorderly conduct before His Majesty?”
“Oh oh oh, is that so, ah? Well, go and change quickly,” As Prince Rong glanced over at his consort, he smiled simperingly at her and said, “That is…Beloved Consort, would you mind withdrawing for a bit?”
“Hmph, I cannot bear the sneaky looks on your faces,” Princess Consort Rong glared at the two fellows. She snapped her handkerchief once before swaying out of the room.
Prince Rong wiped the cold sweat from his head. He glanced outside to make sure that the princess consort had left before inflating his chest and straightening his spine. He coughed, “Well? Did your sister give you a hard time? I was at fault last night for not paying attention and letting you over-drink. However, you cannot blame me for that, ah. All this while, you were the one to dissuade me from drinking, how would I know that you would take the lead yesterday and drink so vigorously?”
Jin Fengju put on his official uniform. While a maid tied on his belt, he fiddled with his cuffs with a little laugh, “Naturally, brother-in-law could not pay attention as you got drunk even before I did. I remember after you got drunk, I had a whole bottle of Bamboo Leaf Green  to myself.”
“What? Bamboo Leaf Green? You—- You drank a whole bottle of Bamboo Leaf Green?” The flesh on Prince Rong’s face quivered.
Puzzled, Jin Fengju looked back at him, “That’s right, it was the last bottle of wine on the table so I drank it. I must say, the taste is really not bad.”
“Nonsense, how can it taste bad? That is a bottle of 40-year-old Bamboo Leaf Green from my special collection! Back then, I had a lot of trouble getting my hands on 10 bottles. I presented 6 bottles to Father, leaving only 4 for myself. I cannot bear to even take a sip, only taking a bottle out for a little whiff or two. Other times, I cannot help it and took out a bottle and placed it on the table for show. To think that you’d… you rascal… you actually drank one whole bottle! Good, ah! Now I only have 3 bottles left…”
Prince Rong collapsed in his chair, his face twisted as he cried without tears. Jin Fengju wanted to laugh, yet he dared not. He knew that this brother-in-law of his was pretty good and generous with many things, however, he was addicted to good wine. Who knew just how many treasures he has within his special collection? Even so, this 40-year-old Bamboo Leaf Green must be one of the crowning jewels in his cellar. No wonder he looked like he was on the verge of grief after Jin Fengju had drunk it by mistake.
“Brother-in-law, you often say that you and I are life and death companions who would forge our paths through disasters. However, it looked like this friendship could not even win against a bottle of top-quality Bamboo Leaf Green? If you blame me for drinking your wine, well, that’s fine. I’ll just have to search the whole world over to find you a replacement bottle. In the meantime, you may replace me as well,” Jin Fengju huffed exaggeratedly as he flung his sleeves, lifted his chin and feigned anger as he made to stomp past his brother-in-law.
However, he was caught by Prince Rong who laughed and said, “Fine. fine, it is I who is petty. No matter what, it’s just a bottle of wine, how could it be compared to my good little brother? Right? Just now, I was a little afraid that your sister will reprimand you and became a little flustered. I lost my composure just now. Come, come, it is time to leave, we must be there on time. What an embarrassment it would be for us brothers-in-law to appear late in court. We would be laughed at by Prince Lie and Prince Hong’s faction. Humph, you know I simply cannot stand those people.”
Jin Fengju stopped walking. After some thought, he turned to Prince Rong and said, “Brother-in-law, though His Majesty recently praised you, it is best not to be complacent. Let us take Prince Hong as a living lesson. Back then, just how much favour did the emperor graced him with? But now? With just a single sentence, he was thrown down from the clouds to the earth. You have endured for many years, do not throw away your effort for a moment of success. It is possible the emperor wishes to see your heart and find out if you can endure both favour and humiliation without wavering.”
Prince Rong wiped the cold sweat on his head and nodded, “Fengju, you are right. Recently, my father did treat me very well, bestowing a lot of things, and often threw banquets. I believed that the end of my suffering had arrived and had gotten a little carried away. Looks like I must continue to show modesty and restraint in the future.”
The reason why Jin Fengju and this brother-in-law of his could talk heart-to-heart was that Prince Rong, Zhao Lun was big-hearted, benevolent and straightforward. Although he was plagued with little bad habits, he was still worth supporting. More importantly, there was no need to fear that this man would turn around and be suspicious of the people who had supported him. By tying the Jin Marquisate with Prince Rong through his sister and his sons as nephews of the future emperor, the future of the Marquisate is more or less guaranteed. So long as the Jin Marquisate was not too domineering and so long as the emperor’s nephews showed even the smallest bit of achievement, a hundred years’ glory would be assured. All this was not accounting for the merits he had already accumulated on behalf of Prince Rong.
Thus, after seeing Prince Rong wholeheartedly accepting his advice, he did not nag on. Although the prince was a straightforward person, he also possessed a brain. Otherwise, he would not have amassed so many supporters on his side. As the saying went, ‘there’s no need to sound a drum with a heavy hammer’, for this kind of princely brother-in-law, going straight to the point was enough for some things, and there is no need to go into the specifics to be more understandable.
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After the Mid-Autumn Festival, the weather grew colder day by day. The season was entering late autumn. The leaves in the courtyard yellowed and, when the north wind sauntered by, the ground was covered in gold litter.
Fu Qiuning, Aunt Yu and Yu Jie were busy sweeping the courtyard. They were taking advantage of the sunny weather to clean up the leaves. Otherwise, if left alone, the next bout of rain would come and the leaves would turn a muddy brown after being stepped on a few times.
“Ahh, I’m about to die from excess anger!! I had just finished sweeping, but more leaves just fell where I had swept!!” Yu Jie shook her fist at the falling leaves dancing in the wind.
Fu Qiuning cast a glance at her. “You’ve been here for so many years, but you are still such a basket case. You complain about the falling leaves now, why don’t you keep your mind on your favourite season? Think of how pretty the trees would look come spring? You admire the blooms but complain when they shed a few leaves. In life, you gain some and lose some. Don’t tell me you don’t understand this even now? Very well, let us sweep this bit and stop for now. If it rains, it rains. There’s only so much we can do.”
“That’s right, it’s about time to cook too,” Aunt Yu looked up and smiled. “Steward Jin sent a rack of ribs over at noon today. This servant had set some aside to be salted. The rest would be stewed in a large cauldron with autumn kidney beans picked just this morning. Young Master and Young Miss love this dish most.”
[Gumihou: I like that the reason why JFJ did not want more concubines was that it would be ‘more annoying’ not because was ‘morally not okay with the concept’ or was ‘just cold and indifferent’ a la Chinese CEO air-condition character]
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 The title here is a reference to a 1992 Chinese springtime night skit, 《姐夫与小舅子》
 和氏璧 Also known as “Mr. He’s Jade” a jade disk with a hole in the centre, an imperial treasure and also a royal seal.
 Chinese has quite a few terms for describing eyes.
Image and other eye types from https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%B9%E5%87%A4%E7%9C%BC/1690342#:~:text=%E4%B8%B9%E5%87%A4%E7%9C%BC%E6%98%AF%E5%87%A4%E7%9C%BC%E7%9A%84,%E5%BC%80%E5%90%88%E9%A2%87%E5%85%B7%E6%B0%94%E8%89%B2%E7%A5%9E%E9%9F%B5%E3%80%82
 竹叶青 This can be either the famous bamboo leaf green tea, or from the context of this chapter, wine.
Fun fact, the green viper Trimeresurus stejnegeri is also called 竹叶青蛇, Bamboo Leaf Green Snake in Chinese. Did Jin Fengju drink snake wine or herbal wine? …Who knows?
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