You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 079 – Winter Warmth
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Higher Level Wife – 079 – Winter Warmth

Chapter 79: Winter Warmth

Author: White Pear Flower


Translated by Gumihou

Proofread by Pill Bug


Suddenly, the door was pushed open, and in came Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao. Both of them were all smiles as they said, “Father, dinner is ready. Father, let’s eat together.”

Jin Fengju slid off the kang to smile brightly at Fu Qiuning, “Since you have no idea I was coming today, I wonder what has been prepared? Surely it’s not some pickles and radish sticks? How could I bear it?”

Jin Changjiao laughed and said, “No, no, Aunt Yu had stewed some beans with pork ribs. It’s very delicious. Father never had that before.”

“Yi? Is that so? We haven’t even reached the dining room yet, but I can already smell it,” said Jin Fengju as he pushed past the door into the dining room. On the middle of the table was a large steaming bowl. Looks like the fragrant aroma came from there. He smiled at Fu Qiuning, “With the weather getting colder, there’s no need to be strict about the rules. Let’s just move this table to your room and eat. It will be warmer there.”

Seeing that Fu Qiuning did not answer, Aunt Yu hastily smiled and said, “The dining room is close to the kitchen and is very warm. Although the weather is cold, it is meal time now and eating by the kang might be too hot. Young Marquis, please take a seat.”

Ever since they received the charcoal, Yu Jie and Aunt Yu were both filled with obvious joy and were even more respectful and loving towards Jin Fengju. When Fu Qiuning saw their fawning visage, anger filled her heart. She seethed: So, I see that your loyalty could be had for a few hundred catties of charcoal.

Just then, Jin Ming also came in. Whenever Jin Fengju ate here, he would not observe the usual etiquette, therefore, Jin Ming would sit with Yu Jie and Aunt Yu at a separate low table and eat together with the masters. After a single bite, he smiled and complimented, “These kidney beans have been nicely stewed, the ribs fragrant but not greasy. I had no idea that Aunt Yu had such skills.”

Aunt Yu’s reply was a few words of modest denial. Jin Fengju laughed and said, “Jin Ming, you only know this now? On regular days, they kept back the good things and only served us some rotten food. Because they were sure we would not turn up today, they made a spread for themselves. How heartbreaking, ah.”

“How could you say that? To even use the word ‘heartbreaking’.” Fu Qiuning snorted, “You’re the one who doesn’t know how good you have it. On days we know you’re coming, we would do our best to make dishes that are considered elegant, only to be scolded as bland or worthless. Instead, you ate our poor crude dishes with relish. Well, since that is the case, we shall not worry about making good food for you anymore. We shall just casually throw a few things into one or two big pots and consider it a meal.”

“Did your best?” Jin Fengju smiled. “To think you were so attentive to me? I never knew, ah. Here I thought you never gave a thought to me and purposefully served me poor meals to discourage me from coming. Well, well, looks like it’s all a misunderstanding on my side.” As he spoke, he turned sharp eyes at Fu Qiuning, [1] hoping to catch some undercurrent emotions from her playful words when suddenly, he felt a little choked up.

Above the smiling mouth, Fu Qiuning’s thoughts might as well be displayed over her head: You’re right, ah. I hope you never darken my doorway again.

[1] However, the words never left her lips, nor did she refute his statement. Instead, she merely lowered her head and began eating. The lack of denial served as her answer.

Although Jin Fengju felt a little depressed by her reaction, he had already half-expected this reaction. Therefore, he did not bring up the matter again.

“Father, do try the potatoes. They are this year’s new potatoes, the freshest. They have been stewed with the beans and are very delicious.” Perhaps sensing the awkward atmosphere between her parents, Jin Changjiao tried to diffuse it by changing the topic. She held out a piece of potato to Jin Fengju with her chopsticks.

“My good daughter is the one who loves Father most,” Jin Fengju patted her cheek and took a bite of the potato. He nodded, “This is indeed very good. These are new potatoes? Have you sent any to the Old Ancestor?”

Fu Qiuning smiled, “Don’t take Jiao’er’s nonsense to heart. You cannot even tell the difference between the five grains. These potatoes have been dug up a few months before the sweet potatoes. It has already been kept for so long, how could they be considered new potatoes? Furthermore, I have already sent a basket of these regular potatoes along with the basket of sweet potatoes to Old Ancestor’s place. I don’t have much left.”

Jin Fengju nodded, “I see, that’s right. The other day when I went to give my greetings to the Old Ancestor, she often reminisced about you. She probably hopes that you would come by and chat with her. Tomorrow morning, you should go and give your greetings to her.”

“Can I not go?” was Fu Qiuning’s answer after a long silence. Recent incidents had frightened her. She felt as though she was being pulled inexorably towards a giant vortex. She wanted to stay away from that vortex, but somehow, some kind of force was pushing her forward, as though it would not rest until she had fallen into the pit.

“What do you think?” Jin Fengju’s chopsticks stopped moving. His expression was calm. When he did not smile, he exuded a firm and powerful aura that was all self-control and no anger. It made people want to surrender and worship him.

“I understand,” Fu Qiuning sighed. She lowered her head and continued eating. Jin Fengju smiled slightly. He moved his chopsticks and picked up a piece of sparerib.

After dinner, the tables and chairs were cleared away. Fu Qiuning sent the children to the study with Aunt Yu and Yu Jie and turned to look quietly at Jin Fengju. She said, “Do you remember? Your promise to me, that I could stay away from the world in Night Breeze Pavilion?”

Jin Fengju’s smile was faint, “I promised to let you stay within Night Breeze Pavilion and to protect you for the rest of my life. However, I never promised to let you stay away from the world. Qiuning, this is, after all, the Jin Marquisate. Night Breeze Pavilion is not your private paradise. You cannot keep staying away from everything. Naturally, I am willing to give you my protection, however, even I cannot control every element. If an accident were to happen, well. Moreover, the food you ate and the fuel you use came from my Jin Marquisate, is that not right?”

Fu Qiuning gave him a bitter smile. “There is no need for you to remind me. I know very well that I depend on you for many things, and therefore should perform certain acts for you. However, there is one thing I do not understand. The Old Ancestor is one thing, she is an old lady and a senior in this house and therefore would act wilful or confused at times. However, you struck me as an intelligent person. Do you enjoy the strife and secret fights between your wives and concubines? Is your life not lively enough? Still want me to take part?”

[3] “No need to worry when lice multiplied,” Jin Fengju sighed heavily. He picked up his teacup and took a sip of the fragrant tea. “It’s because there is no lack of hidden battles. After all, it’s not like things will change if you are involved. Moreover, since you live in such a location, what kind of struggle could you get into? It’s not like they could come here every single day to cross verbal swords with you. Even if they wish to do so, they would need to make time for it, ah.”

Even as he said this, he privately sneered: Qiuning, what are you saying? The Old Madam, confused? Hahahah, this is your biggest mistake. There is no one more shrewd than the Old Ancestor. You pitiful girl. She already saw through my desire to not let you stay long in Night Breeze Pavilion. However, you are blind to her schemes. That’s right, if the Old Ancestor is the ‘Bystander that sees clearly’, you are the one who ‘Could not see the forest for the trees’.

He was still privately snickering to himself when Fu Qiuning sighed. “Of course, I’m not afraid of them coming here to bother me. Even if they do, what do I care about some verbal abuse? I only… what of the children? They leave the courtyard to attend the clan school every day. I… I worry that they would be bullied…”

“Naturally, I shall pay attention to the children’s affairs. There’s no need to worry about a thing,” Jin Fengju waved his hand dismissively, obviously making it clear that this was not a topic he wished to discuss anymore.

[1] Fu Qiuning sighed again. She thought about it, but in the end, decided against bringing up the matter of Jin Zhenyi and the other children’s odd behaviour. It would just make Jin Fengju think she was worrying over nothing.

Just then, Aunt Yu came out to inform them that the kitchen had been tidied up.

[1] Jin Fengju turned to Jin Ming, “Alright, there aren’t many warm rooms in this place. You should return to your room and rest. I don’t need you to serve me tonight.” With that, he returned to the room with Fu Qiuning and the children, leaving Aunt Yu to send Jin Ming out.

[1] After Jin Ming had left and the door to the room closed, he rubbed his hands together and giggled, “On nights like this, it’s best to have only family members together. Qiuning, ever since that last time, I have been thinking of your opera songs for days. I’ve been itching for a song. Come, sing a few verses for us.”

Fu Qiuning thought: Who said he was sending charcoal? This is clearly borrowing an excuse to listen to opera.

[1] For a moment, she felt both crossed and amused. Even the twins, taking a cue from their father, begged her to sing as well. Helpless, she could only say, “Fine, since it is still early, I shall sing a few verses for you. However, after that, we must all go to bed obediently, alright?”

The twins quickly agreed. Fu Qiuning flipped through her repertoire, wondering what to sing, when Aunt Yu suddenly said, “How about the husband and wife returning home together? I like that one.”

When Jin Fengju enthusiastically asked what that opera was about, Qiuning gave him a brief summary of the story about Dong Yang and the Seventh Fairy [2]. He sighed to himself before laughingly saying, “I really don’t understand how that old woman gets her songs from. To rearrange such an ordinary folk song into an opera. Well, I am very interested now. Quickly sing a few verses for me.”

Fu Qiuning took a sip of tea to moisten her throat. Fearing that she would not be able to resist performing along with her songs, she sat still in her chair and sang:

“The birds in the tree sit in pairs,

Green waters and mountains smiled…”

That night, the north wind howled like crying ghosts and wailing wolves in the courtyard. However, within the building, the atmosphere was warm and cosy as the occupants basked with rapt attention at Fu Qiuning’s singing. She sang for a good hour before finally stopping. The children were already dozing in Jin Fengju’s arms. When she stopped, she had Yu Jie and Aunt Yu escort the children to their rooms before quietly asking Jin Fengju, “Do you have court tomorrow? What time do you need to be called?”

“His Majesty is not well, therefore morning court will rest for a day. I don’t have to be there either. For those with important national affairs, they may go straight to the imperial study to make their reports.” Jin Fengju turned to look straight at Fu Qiuning. “That’s right, I heard that your second uncle’s di-daughter will be marrying into Prince Lie’s harem as a concubine. Looks like Prince Hong and Prince Lie are about to join forces soon. What do you think of this?”

Fu Qiuning did not even bother to pretend to have any interest. Instead, she pushed the quilt away and said indifferently, “Those two are meat devouring wolves, what’s the use of uniting? So what if it’s a di-daughter? Would it change their wild ambitions or calculative hearts? Tie down their hands and feet? Why is Lord Husband bringing matters like this up again? Surely you do not take this marriage seriously?”


[Gumihou: He’s trying to shake her into depending on him more. Also, she had already seen through your Millennium Fox Grandma long ago]


[1] Some minor sentence adjustments for better flow. 

[2] Dong Yang and the Seventh Fairy

Lots of dramas and stories (and opera) had been made from this famous legend.

Pill Bug Notes:

[3] A Chinese idiom, originally 虱多不痒 “When the lice are many, it doesn’t itch”, which means: “Since you owe so much already, there’s no use worrying about it. Since it can’t be solved anyway, what’s the use of worrying?”

Gumi: This is kind of creepy yet awesome at the same time.


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. kumquatswirl

    That idiom is kinda amusing. But I gotta say, as somebody who suffered from lice infections as a kid, bruh I can tell considering my scalp is itchy all the time.

    Any warm and fuzzy feelings that I have in this chapter (not that there was much to begin with) kind of evaporated with JFJ’s persistence to include her in the dog-eat-dog world of his harem without actually discussing with her the nitty-gritty details, especially the children’s welfare. Because that’s where it counts you blockhead!

    1. Gumihou

      To him, the harem was just… there. A place where women lives. When people die, it was just too bad.

      As for the lice idiom… that he would use it on the harem battle is… telling. Lice are annoying and irritating and it does not matter if there are 1000 or 10000 them, similarly, women in the harem and annoying and irritating and it does not matter if there are 5 or 15 of them causing trouble there…

      Yeah, sleep on that.

  2. Eiri Tezuka

    He wants her to depend on him? Honestly, he has not been able to control any of his wives especially that cousin of his whom he “loves”. How on earth can he protect the two kids from his other children who are swords sent by his beloved cousin.

    So typical men. They can rule the country but they cannot control their own household and depend on the old matriarch. This old matriarch is also all about benefits.

    1. Gumihou

      If she depends on him, he gets to demand things. Both benefit. Yay!


  3. Reader

    Nope, he is still scum.

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