Chapter 90: A Tactful Warning
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Jin Fengju held Fu Qiuning’s hand as they walked out of the courtyard, together with the twins, Madam Jiang, Jiang Wanying and the group of concubines.
The courtyard was empty of servants that usually lined the place, awaiting orders from their masters and mistresses. Fu Qiuning’s face was solemn even as Jin Fengju held her hand intimately. The faces of Elder Madam, Second Madam and the concubines were all very ugly.
How could the servants who noticed this entourage not draw certain assumptions? Bolts of frost pierced through their hearts as they mused: This Fu’shi, who had already won over Old Madam, has now obtained the Young Marquis’ favour. Looks like we cannot underestimate this soft and weak-looking woman in the future.
“There’s no need to hold my hand, it’s… embarrassing.” Fu Qiuning was [a] already getting used to receiving hostile gazes, but the amount of aggression she was getting was starting to go beyond uncomfortable to painful. It felt as though she was being stabbed in the back.
[a] Unfortunately, Jin Fengju merely tightened his hold on her hand and sniggered quietly as he leaned close to her ear, “Did I not ask you last night if you wish to make a fuss or maintain your peace? You have raised a scene by yourself, so why are you saying ‘no’ now?”
“The scene is already over. One could tell from the eyes of the people here that the Young Marquis had moved on behalf of this humble woman to strike the mountain and scare the tiger. This humble woman desires a life with less trouble and has no wish to enter the inner court. This much drama is more than enough.” [a] Fu Qiuning said indifferently.
To the eyes of the people around them, it looked like the Young Marquis was being very affectionate with this ‘Second Young Madam Ning’, the former abandoned woman. What they did not realise was that these two were in the middle of a negotiation.
“One must see through a good deed till the end and send Buddha all the way to the West . If you start a drama, naturally you must carry on till the end. Not to mention, have you already forgotten? We still need to shake things up a bit more so that news would reach Zhenjiang Palace.”
With Jin Fengju [a] coercing her, Fu Qiuning had no choice but to keep walking with him until they reached the junction where most of the ladies would part. Jin Fengju stopped. Without turning around, he deliberately raised his voice to say, “Mother, Wanying, do head back first. I shall visit you after escorting Qiuning to Night Breeze Pavilion.”
Without waiting for their reply, he left, still holding on to Fu Qiuning.
With such an obvious declaration, even the blind could see that the Young Marquis was very angry with the Second Madam over Fu’shi, to the point that even the Elder Madam caught some of the blame. The people around them were a little shocked as they sighed to themselves and thought: Looks like the winds of change are blowing through the inner court.
At the entrance of Night Breeze Pavilion, Fu Qiuning sent the children in first before shaking off Jin Fengju’s hand, [a] resisting the urge to wipe her hand on her skirt. She then put her hands together and saluted him ceremoniously, “This humble woman thanks the Young Marquis for his assistance. It is enough to send this humble woman this far. This humble woman has done her best to cooperate. The Young Marquis has promised to visit the Elder Madam, this humble woman shall not see you off.”
“Did I not say that I do not want you to call yourself ‘this humble woman’? Why do you insist on this kind of behaviour? Really, this is called burning a bridge after you’ve crossed it, ah.” Jin Fengju laughed. Then he sighed, “I have helped you to solve such a big matter, but you refuse to let me pass through your door. Well, since you have decreed it, I shall go. I do have a lot of matters to attend to.” So saying, he turned and left.
[c] Fu Qiuning said nothing, but she thought: I would not be in this dilemma if it were not for you and your shitty grandmother. How could such words ever have passed my lips? Of all the shitty people in this world, I still have to depend on this arrogant shitty person to survive in this shitty era.
She turned around and had just reached the courtyard door when…
[c] Fu Qiuning closed her eyes in despair. What now? However, she still turned around.
Jin Fengju suddenly gave her a thumbs up from a dozen paces away. A large grin adorned his face as he cupped his mouth and yelled, “Your crying scene was greatly performed, ah! I really have to admire you from now on!”
Heat suffused her face as [a] anger nearly choked her. She thought: So, it was all entertainment for you? I was fighting for my life, crying and scrambling for my life, and you think it’s all a funny joke? [a] Hands clenched into fists, Fu Qiuning pressed her mouth together and whispered, “Just leave.”
“Hahahaha…” Unexpectedly, Jin Fengju actually heard her, [a] and his reaction was to laugh at her misery. He continued to laugh as he said, “Why so angry? Aren’t I leaving already?” Leaving that taunt behind, he continued laughing loudly as he strode away.
Fu Qiuning went straight back into the courtyard, her face still feeling hot. She had never seen Jin Fengju [d] acting this way before. Was this his true behaviour? After suppressing himself before his family, the emperor, and pretending to be a mature person, did he finally find someone he could bully openly? Half-despairingly, Fu Qiuning wondered if life would be better if she just ran away with the children.
The children… no, she had to endure. [d] So what if he taunts her? Wasn’t it just some verbal suffering and mental games? She just… had to put up with it.
[d] Jin Fengju would be twenty-four this year. However, age does not equal maturity. He already married two wives and several concubines, had many children and was well regarded by the emperor. She could only hope that this taunting was an aberration of his behaviour and that the man entrusted with important duties did not have the disgusting habit of playing mind games with the women in his harem.
As for choosing a young man over wise and famous ministers, could it be that this old emperor liked the story of “Gan Luo Appointed As Minster”  so much that he believed that heroes arise from the youth ever since ancient times?
As her thoughts skipped over different topics, childish laughter disrupted her increasingly chaotic thoughts, “Mother, Mother, we heard Father laughing just now. Why is Father so happy? We have never seen him like that before?”
Fu Qiuning looked down and saw that it was Jin Changjiao and Jin Changfeng. They must have been worried about her and had been waiting for her by the courtyard door.
“Well, [a] your father works very hard. He must have been very stressed thinking up ways to save us just now. So, Feng’er and Jiao’er, be filial to Father when you grow up, but also strive to be sensible a bit earlier to help Father share the burden, understand?”
“We understand, we children must study hard, help Father and Mother share the workload early and be filial to Father and Mother.” Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao replied in unison, apparently having secretly muttered many such words to each other during the week. Fu Qiuning felt quite comforted. No matter what kind of slag [a] Jin Fengju was, she still had to depend on him. He was [f] confident enough of his own attractiveness to keep clinging to his off-hand promise to her, which meant that he was not infallible. She still had some cards she could play. Regardless of whether he was sniffing after her virginity or merely infatuated over a novelty, she still has a slight upper hand here. At least, for now.
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Jin Fengju left Night Breeze Pavilion, and after some thought, did not go back to Clear Soft Pavilion, instead, he went directly to Madam Jiang’s courtyard.
“Elder Madam is chanting Buddhist sutras, she will come out soon.” Madam Jiang’s maid, Ju Rui, informed Jin Fengju as she served tea and snacks before shuffling to the side to stand quietly, awaiting orders.
As expected, a short while later, Madam Jiang came to the room, her face cool and indifferent. She cast a glance at Ju Rui and said, “Go out and keep watch. Let no one in.”
Ju Rui acknowledged the order and retreated
Madam Jiang seated herself. Noticing that Jin Fengju had eaten a piece of dessert and had drunk some tea, her expression softened a little and she said in a tender voice, “What is it? Are you hungry? Were you in a hurry to go to morning court and missed breakfast?”
“Mother, do you feel better after repenting in the Buddhist Hall?” Instead of answering Madam Jiang’s question, he continued to eat his snacks and smiled meaningfully at his mother.
“What nonsense are you saying?” Sure enough, Madam Jiang’s face immediately paled. The hand holding Buddhist beads twitched and she shuddered.
“Fine, this son has given Mother a fright and is unfilial.” Jin Fengju put the snacks down and sat upright. The slight mischief on his face had receded, replaced by his usual cold and solemn expression. He eyed Madam Jiang dispassionately and said, “As the saying goes, ‘The person who did no wrong in life would not fear a midnight knock’. This son had merely spoken a single sentence, and yet Mother had…”
“Enough, just say whatever you want to say. Enough with these insinuations. Do you still recognise me as your own mother?” Madam Jiang shouted back. She had never received such words from her son, her expression grew uglier as she tried to sound stern.
“This son has always respected Mother. However, Mother was the one who had committed a sin. Therefore, Mother cannot blame this son for being unfilial. If Mother becomes clear-headed from the shock of this son’s lack of filial piety and stopped doing things that deliberately hurt others, this son would be glad to love and respect Mother once again.” Jin Fengju was not at all moved by Madam Jiang’s temper tantrums. He responded calmly, indifferent as always. For a moment, Madam Jiang did not seem to know what to say.
“You… you still have the cheek to call yourself filial? Last time, when I would have you divorce that Fu’shi, did you even listen to me?” Unable to suppress her son with arguments, and suffering from minor effects of guilt, Madam Jiang reverted to employing her seniority and a past event to push forward.
“Mother, you should know that loyalty and filial piety  cannot exist side by side all the time. There are no dignified seven-foot-tall sons who dare not put loyalty before filial piety.” Jin Fengju stood up, his expression solemn as he stared down at his mother. “Thus, if a mother would have her son harm the Heavens in the name of filial piety, the son still cannot abandon his conscience on reasons of filial piety.”
“Have you forgotten the reason that Fu’shi married into our family? Divorcing that piece of wart would free our family of the anger and suffering that had been forced down our throats years ago. How did it turn into making you abandon your conscience?” Madam Jiang slapped the table, her eyes indignant as she glared at her son.
“The one who harmed me is Zhenjiang Palace, and not Fu’shi. She was sent here under the orders of her parents and the matchmaker’s words. As a young girl, how could she resist? If you wish to condemn a helpless woman like her, then what about this noble son? A marquis’ heir and first-class scholar, I had to obey my parent’s arrangement to marry her in. If my parents had felt so humiliated by the arrangement back then, they could have chosen to struggle and engage in a death match  to show their dissatisfaction. Why swallow this anger?
Ever since she was married to me, I have not set foot in Night Breeze Pavilion for five years. Even so, she had done her best to bring up my twin children without complaint. Mother, this son confesses to being a cold and heartless person, a wretched being who abandoned his own children born out of my own mistakes. Now that I think back on it, regret and shame cannot even begin to describe my feelings or even make up for what I have done.
As a woman, can Mother truly say that Qiuning is not a virtuous wife? She has served me well, she has caused no shame, her character is virtuous, and of the Seven Offences , she does not have even half an offence. You want me to divorce her, but how can this son agree? If I were to agree, would the conscience of Heaven and Earth or Principles of Man spare us?”
Every word from Jin Fengju’s mouth was eloquent and forceful, pushing Madam Jiang into a corner until she was speechless and have no grounds to refute. Jin Fengju continued, “Of Zhenjiang Palace’s sin, this son naturally knows. This debt can never be simply written off. However, this son shall leave these words before Mother. Even if our two houses exist like water and fire, it has nothing to do with Qiuning. This son is only interested in her selfless love and sincere care for Feng’er and Jiao’er. Therefore, this son will love and respect her as the Official Wife and do my best to preserve her safety. Mother, surely you understand this son’s meaning?” 
Gumihou: Like I said before, JFJ portions out his love like currency. He owed Jiang Wanying since he married her in to avenge himself against FQN. To compensate her, he gave her power, authority and a portion of his ‘love’ as befitted her status and what he owes her as his cousin and a Duke’s granddaughter. She likes being coaxed and playing coy, so he coaxed her and smothered her with ‘love/sex’ when they are together.
He did not know how to act around FQN since she has put up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign on her well, so he did all the stuff that JWY likes, pressuring her for sex and acting (probably) spoilt and coaxing. He probably doesn’t actually love FQN even now, but sees her as a possible stabilising effect on his harem and a good person to bring up his children. As for the extra thoughts on FQN, he’s probably just obsessed and intrigued by the chase.
Gumi is not impressed by the cute (supposedly) contrast between the way he laughed and happily pranked Fu Qiuning but is suddenly all cold and logical with mummy. It’s clear he doesn’t respect mummy at all as an intellectual equal. According to the earlier chapters, he was ‘practically brought up by his sister’. The sis who thinks that JFJ could do no wrong, did not like Jiang Wanying (important factor) and thinks that JFJ hung the moon and deserves the best women.
[a] More In-Character Details: Dial up the ‘creep factor’ and reduce the ‘shy female’ bits. Because, seriously? It’s damned creepy. Readers, if you are being treated like this by a romantic partner and have a choice to get out, GET OUT NOW!
[b] Prevention of OOC: Blushing Fu Qiuning? Delete all weird blushy occurrences and replace them with stern formality. Because she had been acting formally right from the beginning, so why not?
All of Jin Fengju’s creep factor behaviour is canon by the way. He really is that slimy and disgusting.
[c] Even More In-Character Details: Fu Qiuning’s thoughts, ‘Like dude, I wouldn’t be in this shit if it weren’t for your shitty behaviour’.
[d] Prevention of Obvious Ass Polishing: She had never seen him with such a spirited teenage look, completely unlike his usual calm and cold self.
That’s… not spirited and ‘teenage look’, that’s bullying and taking pleasure in others’ misery. Being in his twenties doesn’t excuse the behaviour. Replaced it with: ‘Will endure for the children’. Dismantle all the cute excuses and have Fu Qiuning persuade herself to suffer for the children
Gumihou: Can I kill him
Pill Bug: Uh, he’s one of the main characters?
Gumihou: I need to write a fanfic now
[e] Prevention of More Obvious Ass Polishing: a talented, suave and promiscuous wanderer, but he had to take on the burden of upholding the family’s glory early in order for all of you to have a better life, and so he became what you usually see
Not OOC FQN would have coughed up blood if she had to puke up the above nonsense. Explain JFJ’s ‘spirited teenage’ laughter away with ‘hysterical stress’
[f] Prevention of Even More Obvious Ass Polishing: Replace the very generous description of ‘cute and young’ JFJ being ‘affectionate and promise keeper’ to ‘arrogant asshat who thinks with his dick’
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 Chinese idiom, means to do a good deed all the way to the end. You may have heard of “Journey To The West”, where Sun Wukong and company escort a monk westwards through a lot of trouble to obtain the sutra scrolls.
 Gan Luo became a minister at the age of 12 years old. https://thehistorianshut.com/2018/02/13/the-child-who-became-a-minister-in-the-kingdom-of-qin/
 This term for loyalty and filial piety is 忠孝 in Chinese, 2 letters 1 word.
 Chinese idiom, means life or death struggle. ‘Either the fish dies, or the net breaks’.
 Same ‘Seven Offences’ as back in Chapter 15.
Seven reasons in Chinese Feudal Society where you can divorce your wife.
1: No offspring. 2. Obscenity. 3. Not respecting grandfather or grandmother. 4. Gossip. 5. Theft. 6. Jealousy. 7. Incurable illness.
Seriously, not very good reasons for divorce in modern society.
 Oh come on author-san, a single paragraph took up an entire page, no one likes a huge wall of text! Broken up into multiple paragraphs for readability.
Gumihou: Ugh, Gumi’s pet peeve with White Pear Flower
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