Chapter 80: Confidante (a)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Jin Fengju laughed, “Who says I do not take this matter seriously? Although those two meat-eating wolves would eventually turn against each other, if they united together, no matter how temporarily, they could still bite a cow to death first before turning their fangs on each other. When that happens, regardless of which of the wolves wins, the cow is already dead. So, what does their winning or losing matter to the cow?”
Fu Qiuning straightened herself and gently clapped her hands, smiling at Jin Fengju as she replied, “Indeed, if it is a mere cow, there is no other ending other than being bitten to death. But what if it’s not a cow, but a tiger under a cowhide? Even if the two wolves were united, it would be of little use, wouldn’t it? These things should be within Lord Husband’s expectations. When the time comes, it’s just a matter of responding appropriately after watching their movements. So long as Yourself and His Highness Prince Rong show a little restraint, pull the cowhide a little tighter and not reveal the tail, what is there to fear?”
Jin Fengju could not hold back his laughter, shaking his head, he said, “Truly, you have a very nimble and creative mind. However, matters are not as easy as you described. Enough, it is getting late, go to sleep.”
His eyes lingered on Fu Qiuning as she left. He only looked away when she had fully disappeared. Sighing with some melancholy, he said to himself, “Tiger? If I am a tiger, you are the sky, right? After meeting you, though you called me a tiger, I cannot even take a bite, ah. Sigh! Is this Heaven’s retribution? My punishment for neglecting them before? That should be so. Enough, enough, since this is retribution, I must suffer a few more days of torment before things could turn for the better.”
The next day, after Fu Qiuning had woken up and freshened herself for the day, she found Jin Fengju waiting in the front hall. For a moment, she was stunned to see him before remembering last night’s orders. She could not help the sigh that escaped her lips. She thought: Looks like I can’t flee from greeting the Old Ancestor today. Look, that instigator is standing right there waiting for me.
Thus, she could only turn around and change her clothes to something more suitable, put her hair up into a bun with a hairpin and paste decorative  flowers on her temples as part of her formal makeup routine. She also dressed up the children properly, making sure to inform them, “Today, we shall give our greetings to the Old Ancestor with your father. Be on your best behaviour and observe the proper manners.”
The two children answered affirmatively in unison. Jin Changjiao smiled and added, “Surely Mother need not remind us thus? We have always behaved well. The Old Ancestor also likes me and Brother very much. She has always been very warm and friendly.”
As they talked, they arrived at the front room and saw Jin Fengju looking at the pots of gold-edged hydrangea and chrysanthemums on the windowsill. These were the special rare chrysanthemums that had been brought in just the other day. When Jin Fengju saw them, he smiled and said, “The chrysanthemums have bloomed until today. That’s rather rare.” He went forward with a pair of scissors and trimmed off a half-open flower. With another smile, he pinned the half-open chrysanthemum into Qiuning’s hair, “You dressed too plainly most days. Today, even with just a single flower, your whole person appeared quite gorgeous. Do not worry, this flower does not lessen your dignity.”
Since he had said so, Fu Qiuning was also helpless to refute and could only nod. They all followed Jin Fengju to Health & Longevity Court.
About a hundred steps away from Night Breeze Pavilion, the Yong Cui Garden, which had been a bright and flourishing place in summer, had now withered. There was nothing left of the blooming trees and bushes except for the decaying grass and fallen leaves.
Fu Qiuning observed the bleak scenery, remembering the morning of the day she transmigrated. In this ancient marquisate, survival alone was already difficult. Right now, she had to face an even more difficult road ahead. Moreover, she had no idea what kind of plans were brewing inside the head of the man beside her. Though he looked playful and sincere on the surface, she knew that he was deeply calculative inside. Suddenly overwhelmed by the scene, she gave a long, drawn-out sigh.
“What’s wrong? Have the colours of deep autumn made you melancholic?” Jin Fengju, who was walking in front, turned back his head and asked, “You women are like this. What is there to be sad about? Even though the grass and trees withered with the season, once the next spring breeze arrives, the branches and leaves will flourish once again. As the saying goes, “Rosy cheeks age quickly” but as for those these trees have wilted now, they will bloom again year after year. Aren’t they much better than us?”
“What kind of argument is this?” She often heard people talking about “rosy cheeks age easily” and “flowers wilt and bloom”, and then becoming depressingly sad. However, this was the first time she heard the sayings being used like this. Jin Fengju’s determination and optimism could clearly be heard in his words.
“This is my, Jin Fengju’s, argument,” Jin Fengju raised his head haughtily. “Only, though rosy cheeks easily age and are incomparable to the renewable bloom of the grass and trees, without the ever-changing thoughts of people, how could grass and trees be compared to us? People possess desires, joy, anger and sorrow. In short, though their lives may be long, their existences are dull and strict.”
Fu Qiuning replied, “I do not know what Lord Husband intends to say. One moment, you sigh that people are not as good as wood, in the next breath, you sigh that wood is not as good as people. It appears that neither wood nor people live up to your expectations.”
Jin Fengju shook his head vigorously and retorted, “In life, eight or nine times out of ten, things would not go the way you wish. It is the same with all things in this world. There is not a single perfect thing in life. Since that is the case, why should we focus our sights on those defects and regrets? Is it not better to set our eyes on things that make us happy? To not be too proud to accept good times and be not discouraged during the bad times? That way, we could live our few decades of life happily. What do you think?”
Fu Qiuning could not help laughing out loud, “Isn’t this merely a glass-half-full outlook ? Yet, Lord Husband managed to turn it into a sermon about the great truth of life. This humble woman can only be ashamed for being Lord Husband’s inferior.
Jin Fengju asked curiously, “What is this “glass-half-full outlook’? Tell me.”
Fu Qiuning choked, knowing that she had let something unintended slip by her lips. However, it was too late to take it back, so she could only smile and say, “Back in the day, that old mother told me how she had once encountered a senior monk in her early years. She asked the senior monk for advice on how to face life’s difficulties. The senior monk happened to be drinking water at that time.
The monk set the half-empty cup of water down, pointed to it and said, ‘A person walking in the desert is dying of thirst when he sees this half-cup of water. Some might say: What a pity, there’s only half a cup left. Others might say: Wonderful, there is still half a cup left.
Suffering and happiness exist together in one’s heart. A person with a happy heart can still be happy amidst suffering. A sad and bitter heart, however, would still suffer even as it dwells within a golden house, feeds on delicious food, dresses in silks and is served by a harem full of wives and concubines. Nothing would ever be enough for it.
Now that I think of it, I could only pity that old mother now. She could not see through true bitterness and happiness in life until the day she died. I happened to recall the past just now and remembered that saying. I believe that Lord Husband must belong to that second group of people. Whether times are good or bad, Lord Husband would live your days happily. That is a rare thing.”
As she spoke, Jin Fengju felt a stirring within his heart, like a breaking storm. However, he maintained a calm smile and said, “What you say is very much correct. Thinking about it, are you not also such a person? Otherwise, how could you have endured six months, let alone six years of loneliness within Night Breeze Pavilion? I remember, back when we first got married, you still sent people to invite me over. From time to time, you also cried and threw tantrums. However, matters between our families were still too tense. I disliked you then and was very strict and severe. Later, when I heard that you hanged yourself, I paid a visit. You have calmed down a lot since that time. Could it be that you recalled this story? Is that why you no longer held on to self-pity and stopped those pointless tantrums?”
Fu Qiuning thought: Since you have provided me with such an excellent excuse to explain my sudden change of behaviour, it would be foolish of me not to take it.
Thus she nodded.
Jin Fengju sighed, “These days, I often think of you as my confidante. Still, I have some misgivings, thinking that we do not see matters eye to eye. However, now that you have said this, I can tell that you are indeed my confidante [a]. As the saying goes, a thousand taels of gold is easy to get, but even a single soulmate is hard to find. I never thought I would be so lucky that my wife would be my only confidante. Only… I don’t know whether to call this fortunate, or unfortunate?”
Seeing the two of them talking so harmoniously together, Jin Ming, Aunt Yu and the other people looked at each other with knowing eyes and led the children out first without Fu Qiuning noticing. When confronted by the topic which she least wanted to face, Fu Qiuning quickly looked around to find someone to use as an excuse to get out of this talk, when she noticed that she had been abandoned!
She privately cursed: These blasted opportunists! These swaying grasses that bowed whichever way the wind blew! She had helped and nurtured them for six years, but all of them followed the lead of the steward and deliberately assisted Jin Fengju in forcing her down into a blind alley.
“Whether something is a fortune or misfortune all depends on one’s heart. Has Young Marquis forgotten our conversation just now?” Fu Qiuning sighed deeply. She thought: Young Marquis, do you feel that no female creature can escape your charm? How many times do you plan to test me? Though I restrained myself from striking out too viciously due to your status and kindness, my meaning should still be clear, right?
Since you are supposed to be clever, you should not keep striking blindly at a wall, right? However, now that matters have come this far, I should just make things clear to you. After all, several hundred catties of charcoal and firewood are already in my hands. Surely you would not be so shameless as to take them away if I reject you, right?
As expected, Jin Fengju relentlessly continued, “Indeed, I tell my heart not to care, but the ignorant are happy. Such is human nature. For certain things, if one does not attempt to lay claim to it, how would one know that it could not be had? If the goal could be reached with some extra effort, but was given up at the first adversary, would it not be a pity?”
Fu Qiuning’s steps slowed and halted. She smiled a smile that was not a smile at Jin Fengju. As for Jin Fengju, he matched it with a burning stare that was so bright that it illuminated his whole face. The two gazes met. The meaning behind those gazes was too profound and difficult to untangle by outsiders.
A long moment later, Fu Qiuning started walking again. She slowly said, “This humble woman’s heart is like an ancient well, not even the howling winds could cause any waves. Cold tea can be easily heated back up, but spilt water is difficult to retrieve. Young Marquis, if through effort, you can climb and pick what you want, of course, you should work hard. But to pour your life’s work, and have it all end in vain, like forcing a dog tail grass to stand as straight and verdant as the green pine, such matters are impossible. Therefore, why bother?”
So… this is the result. In the end, after all that effort, it is still this result. Jin Fengju retracted his gaze from Fu Qiuning’s face and said softly, “If I do not strive my hardest, how could I say that it is impossible? I believe in the principle of ‘Cracking open the golden core’ .” Without waiting for Fu Qiuning’s reply, he hastily continued, “We have left Yong Cui Garden, look, Feng’er and Jiao’er are waiting for us.”
Fu Qiuning sighed again. So, matters have come to this. She had finally determined Jin Fengju’s intention. Short of holding her hand and declaring, ‘Qiuning, I love you, I want to possess you’, he had done pretty much everything else to make his intentions clear. If not for that rash and arrogant promise back then, this male would probably not have lowered himself so much to achieve his desire. She was already his wife in name. If he were to just utter his intention, she did not even have a toe to stand on in this era. Fortunately, thankfully, he had made that arrogant promise back then, sure of his own indifference and assured that all women would fall at his feet. As an arrogant and proud man of his word, there is no need to fear him going back on his word.
Qiuning, I know, you still resent me, right? It is this terrible resentment that transformed your heart into an ancient well where the waters would not ripple. While it is true that six years could wilt a woman’s affection, I shall spend the next six years watering your heart until it blooms again. If the first six years are not enough, there are still the second and third. In short, I thank the Heavens for allowing us to be husband and wife. So long as I do not divorce you, you are destined to be with me for a lifetime, until death do we part. I do not believe that when I pour out my feelings, I cannot warm up that ice-cold heart of yours.
Gumihou: Bro, this dawg trying to convince our Qiuning girl to forgive him because ‘nothing in this world is perfect’ and that she should ‘focus on the positive now’. In other words, he’s trying to convince her to forget about 6 years of mistreatment just because his dick suddenly decided it likes her.
If this is the modern world, time to get that restraining order. Girls, guys, fellow readers, no matter how nice the ML in your life is after years of neglect, DO NOT forgive them. LEAVE! Qiuning has no option here, he’s the best of the worst in this horrible patriarchal world. However, you do! Get into your car with your kids and drive far away!!! Leave the country if you have to!!
Also, please note that this novel is a work of fiction. It would be super nice if your formerly neglectful spouse finally looks at you and wants you back and treats you like a queen later. It is up to you to decide, but in Gumi’s humble opinion, it’s better to just kick this kind of ass to the curb. Kick their faces in while they are down too.
Also, Fu Qiuning going: This is me now
Pill Bug TL Notes:
[a] 红颜知己 The title might be a pun. 知己红颜 means “a boy’s girlfriend, but not the romantic kind, who is a very intimate friend, who that boy can talk with about anything and everything. A best bro, but girl.
Gumihou: We ended up using ‘confidante’ since it kind of means ‘woman I trust my secrets with’. I supposed it is meant to be meaningful? JFJ is a man who likes operas, which are kind of romantic and tragic, so I guess he saw himself as the MC of his own tragic romance story.
 花黄 “yellow of flowers”, an ancient cosmetic, from yellow flowers, rubbed on women’s foreheads. Source: https://www.baike.com/wikiid/8734560337559445131
 Chinese idiom, means: happiness fades quickly and good things don’t last forever,
 This is actually the inverse of the idiom 知足者常乐，不知足者常新, which means “The person who knows what is enough, is always happy; the person who does not know what is enough, always looks for new things”.
 A Chinese idiom, means “As long as you work hard and sincerely, you can solve any difficult problem”.
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