Chapter 82: Great Waves (1)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Gumi rolled her eyes many times during this chapter.
Jiang Wanying sneered, “That’s right. Even if they fed on grass, roots and tree bark, it cannot sustain them for 6 weeks, let alone 6 years. Moreover, in those 6 years, they never came to me for their montly allocation. Curious, isn’t it? Just where did they get their living supplies? Even if they depend on the trees and gardens for a bit of food, how did they get their hands on cloth for clothes? Though the clothes they wore were not new, they were not several years old either.”
“This maid is stupid and begs Madam to grant her wisdom,” Qiu Xia immediately put on an attentive expression. She knew that allowing this mistress to show off her cleverness was the best way to flatter her. Sure enough, the corners of Jiang Wanying’s lips curled up. She beamed proudly as she drawled, “Clearly there is only one explanation. They must have found ways to make money. Perhaps by selling their embroideries, or those fragrant potted plants, or other similar things. Once they have the money at hand, it would be spent on food and clothing.”
“Madam is right, looks like this is the only explanation,” Qiu Xia quickly raised her thumbs in praise. Jiang Wanying looked even more ecstatic, “As the official wife of the Young Marquis, to actually sell things privately? More importantly, to even sell her hand-sewn embroidery to the public? Hahaha, she can forget about ever getting a foothold in this marquisate.”
Qiu Xia nodded like a chicken pecking rice, “Madam is right, only… how do we prove it?”
“This will not be simple. You, come over here,” Jiang Wanying waved a hand and Qiu Xia quickly scuttled over. As Jiang Wanying spoke, she nodded several times. Finally, she straightened up and said, “Do not worry, Madam. This maid will carry out your orders.”
“En, be cautious. Make sure no rumour gets out. Otherwise, forget about not serving by my side, you can get out of the Jin Marquisate,” Jiang Wanying carelessly threatened. Qiu Xia quickly acquiesced and ran off to carry out her errands.
“Fu Qiuning, ah, Fu Qiuning. This time, even if your hands reach the skies and Cousin does his very best to protect you, I’m afraid the sin of ‘Private Business Ruins the Marquisate’s Good Name’ is more than enough to drive you out and ruin your reputation~” after drawing out that last line, Jiang Wanying laughed happily to herself.
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“Madam, this is the money we have collected from selling embroidery for the past few months.” Yu Jie came into Night Breeze Pavilion and handed over two silver taels to Fu Qiuning.  As she handed the money to her mistress, she added, “Since we now have the favour of the Young Marquis, all food, clothing and other expenses are taken care of. There’s no need to risk our reputation for this money. So, why hasn’t Madam given it up, yet?” Yu Jie had been puzzling over that matter for some time now and still could not understand her mistress’s actions.
“He sends us all kinds of things, but have you ever seen him send money to us?” Fu Qiuning stroked the silver taels in her hand, as though they were precious treasures. She sighed and said, “At first, I did not quite understand it, thinking that he understood our circumstances and would know what to do. I had not imagined that he would go so far as to not spare us even a single coin. He must have also understood our shameful circumstances and the embarrassment of not having even a coin to reward the messengers and servants. Why do you think we kept getting more and more things, and yet were given not a single silver tael at all? I now realised that this was all deliberate. He deliberately used this method to force me into a corner and is waiting for me to open my mouth and ask him for money.”
“Why would he do this, ah? If the Young Marquis wanted Madam to ask him for things, surely it would be better for him to not give us anything at all?” Yu Jie tilted her head to the side, still not understanding the situation.
“He had not sunk to that level as yet. After all, I have already raised his son and daughter, children with no blood relationship to me,” Fu Qiuning sighed again and looked at Yu Jie. “Enough about that, you won’t understand. It’s fine if you don’t understand. As the saying goes, ‘Ignorance is bliss’, these words turned out to be very true.”
“Madam, this maid has something to say, b-but is not sure if it is appropriate…” Yu Jie stared at Fu Qiuning for a moment, biting her lip. After some time, she continued, “In- in fact… the Young Marquis, recently, towards Madam is… he is quite affectionate but, but Madam is being very indifferent. Madam says that the Young Marquis is trying to force you into a corner, is it…”
Fu Qiuning cut her off by saying, “Enough about that. Since you have no idea whether to speak up or not, just don’t speak it. I understand the situation well. Don’t you think our lives are pretty good now? There is no need for us to conduct business anymore. From now on, be sure to remember that the spring flowers, summer potted plants, autumn fruits and winter embroidery are all leisure activities in this courtyard. In the future, we may sell some of our embroidery outside again. After all, Third Brother Zhang is a trustworthy person. Therefore, we should not encounter trouble from that side. However, there are more and more eyes on me right now. With so many wishing to get rid of me, it is only a matter of time before someone casts their suspicions on my head. Therefore, from today onwards, the things within Night Breeze Pavilion cannot be sold outside.”
When she was done speaking, she stood up and walked to the window. As she stared into the garden, she sighed and said, “It’s been nearly seven years, hasn’t it? Ever since I moved into Night Breeze Pavilion, without my knowing, seven years have passed just like that. We depended on ourselves for food and clothing, and even managed to save twenty or thirty taels. In the eyes of the Young Marquis, this money would barely make a satisfying sound when thrown into the river. However, this little bit of money is our hope, our confidence. Now that Feng’er and Jiao’er have caught their father’s eyes, there is no need for me to worry about them. As for you, me and Aunt Yu, this money will be reserved for our old age. When we can no longer move, it would serve as our coffin money.”
Yu Jie’s heart thumped. She finally understood what Fu Qiuning had been telling her all this time. Her mistress’s message was clear: Until the end of her life, she does not intend to forgive the Young Marquis. When old age comes and her looks decline, when the Young Marquis finally loses interest in her, she would use this money for retirement and burial arrangements.
She sighed, as a maid, Yu Jie could only helplessly hope for a blessing for her mistress, before retreating.
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In a blink of an eye, the winter season came. The days were getting colder until one morning, snow floated down from the sky and the world turned white.
Jin Fengju came out of the hall, and was about to get into a sedan chair in front of the palace gate to go home when someone called him. “Fengju, do stay for a bit.” He turned and saw Prince Lie walking over to him, a wide smile on his face.
“This lowly official greets Your Highness,” Jin Fengju greeted the prince ceremoniously. Privately, he thought: Just why did Prince Lie call out to me? It’s not like he doesn’t know whose faction I am with. What is his intention? Unsure, but unable to just leave, he maintained a warm and gentle smile on his face. Quietly, he remained guarded.
“What’s all this ‘lowly officials’ and ‘your highness’? You are my Sixth brother’s brother-in-law. I often hear him call you by name, therefore, this king  shall naturally follow his lead. Alas, as you are well regarded by the emperor and quite busy with all kinds of errands, it is difficult to get to know you. It’s rare for the emperor to let you off so early like this. Therefore, you must not go home, you must accompany me.”
Jin Fengju smiled and said, “This lowly official is ashamed to be so highly praised by Your Highness. However, our grandmother caught a cold today and this lowly official is worried and must hurry back to inquire after her health. Do allow this lowly official to entertain Your Highness some other day as compensation.”
“Fengju, don’t tell me you only give face to my Sixth brother? Are you reluctant to give me face?” Prince Lie laughed as he put an arm around Jin Fengju’s shoulder. Acting as though they were intimate friends, he leaned close to Jin Fengju’s ear and whispered, “Let me tell you a secret, you should just agree and come with me. If you don’t, well, I’m afraid you won’t have the opportunity to see this good thing in my hand.”
Jin Fengju was not used to this affectionate demeanour. Although he was young, he had always been mature and indifferent even towards his peers. Even when it came to his brother-in-law, Prince Rong, there was no real brotherly affection between them. Therefore, he could not help but felt annoyed and sternly said, “As a noble royal son, Your Highness should mind your manners. Please do not forget that Prince Rong was personally reprimanded by the emperor for drunken, disorderly and disobedient behaviour.”
Prince Lie laughed, “It’s fine, Emperor Father knows that I have always been fond of playing with swords and maces ever since I was a child, and I have spent many years in the army. A little rambunctious behaviour is expected of me. Enough with the nonsense, why don’t you have a look at this thing first? Later, you can decide if you wish to accept an invitation to my banquet. What do you think?”
Hearing this, Jin Fengju had no choice but to agree. The ‘thing’ that Prince Lie was so excited to show him turned out to be a handkerchief. On the handkerchief were delicately embroidered flowers. The prince waved the handkerchief back and forth in front of Jin Fengju with a grin, “Well? Do you recognise this thing?”
“Isn’t it just a handkerchief? What’s so special about it?” Jin Fengju’s eyebrows raised even as he made a show of studying the thing. However, he knew that there must be something odd about it. Otherwise, Prince Lie would not have behaved so mysteriously.
“The handkerchief is not that special, however, hehehe… the origin of this handkerchief is quite unique, ah. Moreover, it has some connection to you, Fengju. Well? How about that drink? If you don’t want to come, you won’t get to know the origin of this handkerchief and I’m afraid you’ll regret it later when the reputation of the Jin Marquisate falls into ruins, ah.”
“Your Highness, this lowly official has never liked to play jokes,” Fengju stared at Prince Lie, his eyes burning.
Prince Lie also put his joking manner away, he turned solemn as he said, “Of course, this king knows. This king does like to play jokes, but, Fengju, have you ever seen this king joke with you?” Suddenly, the solemn façade disappeared under a smile and he said, “How about it? Are you going to accompany this king to White Phoenix House ?
Jin Fengju breathed in deeply before letting out his breath slowly, his eyes never leaving Prince Lie’s. Prince Lie continued to smile at him. After a long while, Jin Fengju nodded, “Your Highness, please.”
The two of them left, walking side by side just as Prince Rong stepped out of  Imperial Hall of Diligence and saw them. He had been reporting something privately to the emperor and happened to see Prince Lie and Jin Fengju walking away arm in arm. Suspicion immediately suffused his person. He thought: Fengju had never interacted with Fourth Brother or Eighth Brother before, so why do they look so intimate together? Could it be that they had coerced him into something? En, I should ask Brother-in-law about it later. See if this prince could be of any help.
Snow had been falling since morning, only stopping when evening came, covering everything in two inches of snow. Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao held hands together with Lu Hua and Jin Zhuan as the four of them rushed home. After tumbling through the front gate, they saw their mother waiting at the door and the children quickened their paces.
Although the snow within the courtyard had been swept away, it was still a little slippery. Yu Jie and Fu Qiuning had to caution them not to run before the children slowed down. Even so, Jin Changfeng cheerfully called out, “Mother, we don’t have to go to school tomorrow. The teachers told us to stay home to avoid the slippery paths.”
Gumihou: …for all his vaunted ‘intelligence’ Jin Fengju doesn’t seem to react well when things are outside his control. This isn’t actually an ‘OOC moment’. There are precedents for this. Jin Fengju had been described by many people (mom, sister, servants) as being someone who ‘has never been particularly influenced by emotions even when young’.
Washerwoman incident – possibly raped when drunk. Reacted by cutting off all relationships with the woman, and later the twins when they were born, he refused to even acknowledge their existence. Overreaction? Perhaps. Then again, he was 12 or 13 at that time, and this may have influenced his future behaviour towards women
Original Fu Qiuning incident – forced into a political marriage that humiliated his entire family. Reacted by marrying lots of women in to snub the official wife. Overreaction? Perhaps. Then again, he was not the only one who suffered from this political marriage, his whole family did too. He was probably 16 or 17 here.
Falling for Fu Qiuning – suddenly having feels for a wife he had not even seen in years. This is not the issue, the issue is the woman actually *gasped* refused his charms!! Reacted by chasing her harder, not even considering her feelings. A total asshat? Yup. Do we hate him for it? Totally.
Yes, actually. This is again another ‘out of his control’ situation. This time, the lack of control came from within himself, not from outside conditions. However, his reaction is the same. Through excessive counter-reaction.
Prince Lie poking him – Jin Fengju lost his cool and visibly tried to regain control? Very possible, though this shows that the perfect image most people have of him was actually flawed.
Conclusion: He only has control over himself when he has control over the situation.
Readers: …Gumi, what’s with all the excessive character analysis?
Gumi: …it’s… an occupational hazard. It’s how I know whether a character is OOC and exactly how to steer them back to the set character path. I don’t have to like them to understand them. Let the record stand that I hate Jin Fengju and hope he gets struck by lightning, steps on dog poo on the way to an important event or slips on a seaweed while walking downstairs.
 Some minor sentence adjustments for better flow.  ‘This king’ = 本王 or benwang  White Phoenix House or 白凤楼 is probably a ‘den of sin’, lol.  勤政殿 literally ‘Hardworking Governmental Palace
Pill Bug: Sounds like where the king goes to do his paperwork
Gumihou: Lol, that’s exactly what it is
Pill Bug: Diligent Admin Hall
Gumihou: Diligent Palace Hall
Pill Bug: Paperwork Hell
Gumihou: Diligent Paperwork Hell
Pill Bug: How about something MMO-like, ‘Hall of Diligent Governer’ or something. Sounds like a boss room.
Gumihou: Oohh. Imperial Hall of Diligence.
Pill Bug: YES!
This is basically how we decide on Names of Things/Places/People
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