Chapter 86: Carrying Out a Plan
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Gumihou: …this chapter is very difficult for me. It stinks. I nearly threw up many times. Author-san, why don’t you just say that JFJ farts rainbow and poops gold?
Jin Ming shook a little at Jin Fengju’s outburst. He stared at his master and said in a low voice, “In the past, matters relating to the resettlement of citizens to the Capital City were handled by Prince Rong. However, from last winter onwards, the work was given to Prince Lie. At that time, Master was in the Northwest assisting the emperor in training the troops and did not return for nearly the whole of the winter.
Word has it that tens of people froze to death, but the news disappeared and no one seemed to know about the deaths. The emperor also praised Prince Lie for doing a good job. Thus, he was naturally given the same responsibility again.”
Jin Fengju frowned, and said, “So that’s what happened. That is to say, not only was the winter prevention disaster management for the capital handed to Prince Lie, but for other provinces as well.”
Jin Ming nodded repeatedly, “Isn’t it so? All were handled by Prince Lie. Fortunately, last year’s winter was not too bad and no deaths were reported from other places. When the reports were submitted, the emperor was very pleased and even rewarded Prince Lie with a few precious paintings. Our prince does not care for the paintings, otherwise, he would have complained about the matter to Young Marquis.”
“Idiot, can such words leave your lips?” Jin Fengju glared at him. Then, he shifted his gaze to his twin son and daughter. He smiled and said, “Good children, go and play with Aunt Yu and Yu Jie. Father wants to speak to your mother now. Can you remember father’s instructions?”
“Yes, Father. Anything that was said today cannot be said in front of others,” Jin Changjiao announced with a raised hand. Jin Fengju stroked her little head, smiled and said, “Very sensible. Just remember, if you two speak of the matter and others know, Father will never come to Night Breeze Pavilion anymore. Understand?”
Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao nodded like chickens pecking rice, running out hand in hand. Fu Qiuning released a sigh, casting a reproachful look at Jin Fengju, “The two children are still young, you know they are most afraid of you never returning to Night Breeze Pavilion, so why do you have to scare them like this?”
“This is a matter of great importance. I, too, have no choice. This is the best way to scare them into compliance,” said Jin Fengju indifferently. He got off the bed and slipped on his shoes. After pacing about a few times, he suddenly stood still and looked at Fu Qiuning. “Paper cannot wrap fire . Prince Lie relies on the emperor’s favour and does not put the hundreds of lives from these provinces in his eyes. If we let him continue with this nonsense, it will backfire one day, drawing the wrath of the dragon on his head. When the time comes, all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the show. Don’t you think so?”
Fu Qiuning looked into his eyes. Suddenly, she smiled and said softly, “Could it be that Lord Husband pities those innocent lives and cannot bear the weight on your conscience?”
Jin Fengju’s lips twisted into a bitter smile as he patted her shoulder. His voice was grave as he said, “Only you could say this, and only you know me well enough. Qiuning, are you willing to be used by me, just this once?”
“Does the Young Marquis wish for this humble woman to make a trip back to her maternal family?” Fu Qiuning’s tone was indifferent as she sat on the edge of the kang. In a voice so low that it sounded as though she was talking to herself, she smiled and said, “It is cold, the kang bed is warmer for it.”
Jin Fengju’s brow was tightly knitted. After frowning for a long time he sighed and waved his hand, “It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s not like there are no other ways. The days are getting colder and snowy roads are hard to traverse. There’s no need for you to make the trip.”
Fu Qiuning continued to sit and study the man before her quietly. [a] She never knew that this man could actually look so worried when it came to matters about the country and people. Wreathed in worry, anguish and melancholy, his handsomeness wafted off him almost like a visible cloud. Anyone looking at him would be drawn to believe that he truly worries for the people. In fact, from the way he paced back and forth in front of her, even letting out a long sigh before calling for Jin Ming to, ‘Go to my study and bring me my account books’ [b] she had to wonder whether he was putting on a play before her.
“Enough [b] of that, you wish for me to visit my maternal family? Fine, consider it my payment for the Young Marquis’ promise to stick up on my behalf.” Fu Qiuning suddenly stood up. If the Young Marquis’ concern [c] was not mere performance, she could at least allow herself to imagine that he was less of a scum to the general public than to the women in his harem. At the very least, she would play his games and not let the people suffer over some stupid family intrigue schemes.
Jin Fengju looked at her with some surprise. He barked out a sudden laugh, “Why the sudden agreement? Don’t tell me you hold a grudge against my questioning you over the handkerchief, and waited to see me embarrassed before agreeing to assist me? Looks like you still have me in your heart?”
“Lord Husband, please mind your words.” Fu Qiuning shot him a displeased look [b]. “Lord Husband has the common people in his heart. Thus, should not this humble woman have pity for them as well? I merely hope that my actions will serve to assist the people. Though I will come to entangle with other people in the process, it is my shame to bear. However, I also understand that I am merely a helpless creature in a hopeless situation. I understand that to live in peace, I shall have to compromise certain things. This, I am very clear in my heart.”
Jin Fengju’s eyes lit up, he nodded and said, “Yes, it is good that you understand. Qiuning, you… are truly a curious woman. How unfortunate that you are not in the harem. Otherwise, with such boldness and courage, you would have taken over the harem quickly. So long as you have a shred of benevolence, the harem would be blessed.”
“Young Marquis, please mind your words.”
Fu Qiuning thought: Why don’t you just scram? Having transmigrated into this marquisate is already unfortunate enough for me and you still want to push me into the harem?
Do you think I’m Zhen Huan?  Even if I were Zhen Huan, wouldn’t my whole life still be described as extremely unlucky?
Today, I agreed to abandon my father and grandfather to assist you. However, that’s only because they pushed me into this horrible marquisate in the first place, so why should I put their interest above mine? I am no Virgin Mary and those men are strangers to me. Furthermore, I still have to rely on you to keep me safe. Why should I let your family fall over such a small matter? Moreover, if Prince Rong ascends the throne in the future, having a capable minister who appears to have the people’s welfare in his heart would benefit the public.
When her thoughts reach this part, she softly said, “It is to Lord Husband’s credit that he cares for the people. However, as the saying goes, ‘Those who should achieve great things, must not be stuck on trivial things’. Though your heart aches with pity, could Prince Lie’s arrogance be knocked down by the weight of one beggar’s life?” She turned to look out the window, “The snowfall is very heavy. Once the sky clears, there would be no telling how many would be buried in the snow. However, this short-term pain would be worth it for a wave of long-lasting peace.”
“What you said, I understand.” Jin Fengju nodded. He said solemnly, “As you said, sacrifice is necessary for long-term peace.” Suddenly, he felt a jolt in his heart. With a smile, he said, “Well, it’s time to sleep. I promise to act on your behalf. To shake the mountain and scare the tiger, so to speak, and I never go back on my word. This time, I shall make it so that you may raise your eyebrows and blow off steam. When the time comes, I believe there is no need to make up any excuses. Your father shall suddenly miss his daughter on his own.”
Fu Qiuning looked at him blankly. She thought over the matter for a moment before smiling lightly and said, “If that is the case, this humble woman shall carry out her duty should the opportunity arises and fulfil Lord Husband’s wish.”
Jin Fengju nodded with a smile. Then, he turned to Jin Ming, “Well? What of the matter that I instructed you to investigate? Have you found the source?”
Jin Ming replied, “The source is still unclear, only….” he flashed a quick glance at Fu Qiuning. Catching the hint, Jin Fengju nevertheless waved his hand carelessly and said, “It’s fine, continue.”
“Understood. Back to the matter Young Marquis bade this one investigate. Everything in Madam’s hand was sold through the backdoor by Madam Zhang’s son. This servant dare not ‘startle the snake by swatting the grass’  and returned for further instructions from Master.”
Fu Qiuning [d] stayed silent, but her eyes spoke volumes as she stared at Jin Fengju.
Jin Fengju waved his hand at her as he laughed and said, “I understand, I understand, I know what to do in this matter. Rest easy, I will not break the mother and son’s rice bowl. ”
Fu Qiuning looked away, leaving Jin Fengju to look at her pensively. [b] On her side, there was really nothing she could do if Jin Fengju decided to persecute the mother and son due to the grudges between them. It would not be the first time this happened after all.
The heavy snow fell throughout the whole night.
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The sky had yet to brighten when Jin Fengju got up. He had intended to wash his face and have Jin Ming put his hair up when he unexpectedly encountered Fu Qiuning. The two met in the corridor, surprised to see each other. Jin Fengju spotted the kettle of hot water in her hand and asked, “Why are you up so early in such weather?”
Fu Qiuning quickly saluted with a smile, “This humble woman is used to waking early. It does not matter whether it is spring, autumn, winter or summer, this humble woman would be up at this time. But, why is Lord Husband up so early? The snow may have stopped falling, but the wind is still quite strong. It scrapes at people’s cheeks like knives and sneaks snowflakes into one’s clothes. Surely there is no need to be up so early if there is nothing urgent to be done?”
“You are not wrong. However, there is one matter that can never be delayed,” said Jin Fengju as he returned to his room. Fu Qiuning trailed after him, “The morning court?”
“Naturally, aside from that, why would anyone wake up so early?”
As they spoke, Fu Qiuning moved to pour hot water into a copper basin. Jin Fengju went over to wash his face and dried himself off with a large square of cloth. On the side, Fu Qiuning frowned, “What if the emperor did not appear? Won’t the people who appear early in the morning have gone to court in vain?”
“Then we would have gone to court in vain and can only disperse. Though we carry a belly full of complaints, we dare not let anything spill out. Yesterday, no one informed us that court is cancelled today, therefore we must all attend. If the emperor did not appear, I shall return early.” Jin Fengju said as he wiped his hands.
“Isn’t this similar to playing with people’s lives?” Fu Qiuning’s [b] modern worker’s rights thoughts intruded.
“As someone who lives off the ruler’s fortune and is granted much glory and wealth, this much respect is appropriate,” said Jin Fengju with a smile as he placed the towel on a stand. He sat on his chair and said, “You have not seen the farmers who faced the ground day after day with their backs to the sky. They make only enough to ensure the survival of their families but their lives are a hundred times harder than ours. Jin Ming had probably just rolled out of his nest. Come, help me put up my hair. Just a bun would do.”
[Gumihou: Made sure Fu Qiuning stayed cynical, because, you know, that’s IN CHARACTER?! Also, what’s the use of mentioning Fu Qiuning’s ‘modern thoughts’ only when it’s to JFJ’s benefit? Gumi cries foul!]
[a] Oh look, so much rainbow farts. In fact, FQN was fangirling here. DELETE [b] Gumi added just enough dash of cynicism to make the transition from ‘intelligent’ to ‘intelligent + eye rolling like whatever I’ll play your dumb game you ass’.
Especially, considering how she later ‘advised’ JFJ to let more people die so that he could have a better reason to take down Prince Lie?
It’s counterintuitive to Note [c], hence why a lot of the Ass Polishing had been deleted.[c] Deleted: She had to admit, at least, at that moment, this man who cared about the common people in his heart, moved her ice-cold heart a little. There was nothing related to love. she just found that he was not as cold and heartless as she thought, like a hopeless slag of a man. At least he had a benevolent heart for the people, for the world, and even sacrificed his own interests for that.
Just… what are you trying to imply author-san? Also, such a loooong contemplation over a minor thing? Please don’t demean my favourite character like this and let her maintain her brain a little longer. Also, provided the information as: let’s play along and not let the people suffer due to family schemes.[d] Deleted: Fu Qiuning did not wait for Jin Fengju to speak, interjecting quickly, “Lord Husband, Madam Zhang is an honest person. She and her son couldn’t overlook that we mother and children had no support, if we did not turn to selling our things, we would not be able to live on, and so they were only selfishly helped us offload some of it-”
Author-san, Fu Qiuning is either a nervous wreck or a woman with steady nerves. Please don’t recklessly turn her spine into overcooked noodles just to make JFJ look good. Replaced the entire nervy AR (Alternate Reality) Qiuning monologue with a single look.
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 A Chinese idiom, meaning that news cannot be kept under wraps for long, or that something cannot be blocked.  甄环, A famous empress. Watch this series for info, “Empresses in the Palace – The Legend of Zhen Huan”:
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