Chapter 102: Eat Hotpot
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Back at the Marquisate, Fu Qiuning made her way towards Old Madam Jin’s place first. It was close to dinner time and she found Madam Jiang, Madam Fang as well as Concubine Xu and Concubine Huo there. Jiang Wanying was not around. As the lady in charge of the household accounts, this happened to be one of her busier times. Fu Qiuning took the opportunity to give her salutations to the elders and greetings to the juniors, even presenting the gifts that the Palace had prepared for them.
The gifts were fairly valuable. In fact, they were even more lavish than her original dowry back when she first married in. After all, the Jinxiang Marquisate was nothing like what it used to be, therefore, how could the Zhenjiang Palace people dare be as contemptuous as six years ago?
However, it was only natural that none of the people there cared for the gifts. The Old Ancestor merely cast a glance at her gift before ordering someone to put it away. Madam Jiang coldly snorted and turned her head away, clearly recalling the humiliation done to her son six years ago. Only Madam Fang cared to bestow a few words to Fu Qiuning for the gift.
Finally, Old Madam Jin said, “The children are still at school. They should be back soon. Where is Fengju? Isn’t he with you? Why haven’t you returned together?”
Fu Qiuning answered according to Jin Fengju’s instructions.
Just then, Jiang Wanying happened to return. When she caught sight of Fu Qiuning, she warmly welcomed her home. She even turned to Qiu Xia and said, “Now that Elder Sister is home, I should return and arrange for someone to send venison and pheasants to your place. That’s right, we just received some fresh vegetables from the farm a day ago.” She turned to Fu Qiuning and smiled, “Sister is so fortunate to return at this time, otherwise, these vegetables would not have touched your lips. It is all thanks to the ingenuity of our farmers who planted these vegetables in a hothouse. I fear that Lord Husband shall visit your place soon. Luckily Elder Sister may prepare some dishes with these vegetables to entertain him.”
Fu Qiuning was quick to thank her, never telling Jiang Wanying that Night Breeze Pavilion had its own hothouse where all kinds of hotpot-related vegetables were being grown. Everyone sat down and chatted a little longer. Not long after that, school was over. When Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao entered the house and spotted their mother, they grew very excited but dared not act too unrestrained in front of others.
Old Madam Jin laughed, “Qiuning, you, Fang’er and Jiao’er shall have dinner at my place today, ba. Usually, I am the one who receives food from them and I rarely reciprocate.” At this, everyone laughed out loud. When dinner was served, Madam Jiang and Madam Fang also stayed to eat with the Old Madam. Once dinner was over, everyone returned to their own residences.
Back at Night Breeze Pavilion.
It was likely that Jin Fengju had ordered servants to clean the place in their absence.  The whole place was unusually bright and sparkly, probably due to the increased number of exquisite stuff added in by Jin Fengju. The former cold palace, Night Breeze Pavilion, was now filled to the brim with expensive things. It looked like a museum piece to Fu Qiuning’s untrained eye, or a very expensive period set. Being surrounded by exquisite things made her extremely uncomfortable.
Also, who is going to dust all these very expensive knickknacks?
Fortunately, Fu Qiuning had the children to distract her. After not having seen each other for three whole days, they were even more fond and affectionate with each other. After asking after their lessons and how they were being treated by their peers at school, Jin Changfeng said, “Most are still fine, especially Zhenxuan from the Honourable Mother’s place. He’s smart and diligent, and would speak to me now and then. The most troublesome one is Concubine Mother Xu’s Zhenyi. He’s always looking for an opportunity to make trouble,
I kept ignoring him, but that just made him even more annoying. He had even thrown an inkstone at me. I tried to dodge it but a corner of it still hit me in the forehead. When I returned to Old Madam’s place, the Old Madam wanted to know what happened. I didn’t want to say anything but Sister’s mouth was too fast. Old Madam told off Concubine Mother Xu, so he restrained himself these past two days. However, I get the feeling that he hates me even more. I really don’t know what to do.”
Fu Qiuning frowned, “What a reckless thing. It is still unclear who instigated him into this. There is no need to reason with him. If he wishes to make a move so much, just be smart. Wait until the teacher is about to arrive and provoke him a little. Be sure to endure and not retaliate. Once the teacher witnesses his actions, he would naturally be punished. Since you have always been studious and hardworking, the teacher would not suspect you. This is one of the secrets to protecting yourself. You must slowly learn them, otherwise… alas! Who asked you to be born into such a household? I’m afraid you are destined to never live harmoniously with your brothers and sisters.”
Jin Changfeng smiled and said, “Mother is right. This son has an upright nature and did not think of this good scheme.”
Just then, Jin Changjiao came forward and started chattering about her adventures at school. About how she had won against Jin Xiuzhen in playing the qin and giggled non-stop. She also took out her embroidery to show Fu Qiuning. Unfortunately, she was too impatient and her two mandarin ducks looked more like a pair of wild ducks.
Fu Qiuning asked after Jin Zhuan and Lu Hua’s health. Mother and children talked until evening. Since the children had to go to school the next day, she sent them to bed early and had the lamps put out.
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After that, there was no sight of Jin Fengju for the next few days. Fu Qiuning guessed that he must have been busy with something. However,  considering this person’s ability to change according to the situation and his ability to keep a cool head and plot against the enemy, she was not at all worried. In fact, she could not help but thought that this Prince Rong had truly lucked out by having Jin Fengju in his corner. Leaving aside the fact that he was the sixth-born son, his situation was fairly similar to a young Emperor Yongzheng . As the thirteenth prince, he had gotten onto the throne thanks to… doing nothing and showing filial piety to his Imperial Father. There was more to it, of course, but the core of it was basically ‘doing nothing’. Looks like Jin Fengju’s [3a] main plan for Prince Rong was similar to the Thirteenth Prince: Keep doing nothing and show filial piety. This Jin Fengju’s ability to scheme clearly does not lose to the Thirteenth Prince.
It was another day of light snow. Snowflakes continued to fall until late into the night.
The next morning, Fu Qiuning went out with her urn to collect more snow from the plum blossoms. After lunch, she went out to collect more snow again. On the way back, she stopped by the hothouse and found that the spinach, rapeseed and lettuce had all grown. The leaves were very fresh, tender, and sweet looking. In fact, they were fresher and much better looking than the stuff sent over by Jiang Wanying.
Tempted by the abundance, she took a basket, collected some fresh greens and informed Aunt Yu, “Let’s have  hotpot tonight. Don’t we still have some of those silver charcoal? I do believe we haven’t used any yet. So, let us use some tonight. You set up the fire while I prepare the sauces.”
Although something like  hotpot existed in that world, it was a very simple affair. The meat was generally eaten with pickled vegetables, tofu slices, meat slices and starch noodles.  It was basically just simmered in a clear soup until everything was ready to be eaten. Generally, meat was favoured when it came to hotpots in that era. However, after coming into that world, Aunt Yu and Yu Jie had been converted by Fu Qiuning to enjoy eating vegetable hotpot with seasoning sauce. Naturally, they grew to like that kind of hotpot better, especially [4a] since it was one of the few hot dishes they had huddled over together to eat during winter when meat was scarce. Their mistress somehow managed to coax the vegetables to grow in the hothouse, which supplemented their diet a little. In a way, being able to eat vegetables in winter was even more luxurious than having meat, so they were even fonder of vegetable hotpot.
When it came to the sauce, Fu Qiuning decided to get started on the sesame seed sauce first. She already had a basic sesame seed sauce, but for the hotpot, she added some chopped pickled leek flowers and a little hoisin sauce. Perhaps it was because the ingredients here were fresh and pesticide-free, the sauces she prepared here were even better than the ones at modern restaurants.
Naturally, when Aunt Yu and Yu Jie heard they would be having hotpot, they both cheered and moved about quickly to get everything ready.
As for Fu Qiuning, [4b] perhaps infected by the cheerful mood, she went a little overboard and ended up preparing a large bowl of sesame seed dipping sauce. Fu Qiuning smiled wryly, “Oh well, looks like we don’t have to prepare other sauces now. Also, if we have any of this leftover, we can mix them with some fresh vegetables and make a nice refreshing salad.”
Even as she spoke, she wiped her hands and left the kitchen. It was just about the time when Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao should be returning from school.
Unexpectedly, when the courtyard door opened, several people came in at once. Fu Qiuning saw them from the window in the main room and quickly stepped out. She thought: Here I thought I had misstepped by making [4b] too much of one kind of sauce, but it turns out I have two more foodies for dinner?
Should I make [4b] another sauce?
While she was pondering over some pointless details, Jin Fengju had already reached the main door with Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao under each arm. He smiled at her, “You are very quick to come out, have you been watching the door, waiting for the children to return?”
Fu Qiuning smiled, “I had nothing to do, thought the children should be back around this time and came out to have a look. It is a pointless exercise, I know.”
Jin Fengju sighed, “A mother’s loving heart moves the heaven and earth, how could it be considered pointless?” As he spoke, he entered the house with the children. Fu Qiuning took his cloak, brushed the snow off and hung it up.
“Go to the kitchen and see what good thing they are making,” Jin Fengju unsubtly drove the children away and Fu Qiuning knew he wanted to speak to her privately.
She thought: In fact, he most likely wants to eat here too. However, I can always hope that he is having a busy day and will rush off just as quickly as he appeared.
“Lord Husband’s mood appears to be very good today. The corners of your eyes and lips are filled with cheer, has something good happened?” Fu Qiuning said with a smile, [1a] taking the initiative to start the conversation since the Young Marquis had not said anything despite nearly vibrating with anticipation.
“A good thing, a very good thing indeed. Not only I, but I fear your father and grandfather will be ecstatic too.” Jin Fengju laughed out loud as he sat on the kang bed, the smile on his face smug [1a] and filled with self-congratulations.
“Prince Hong finally could not help himself and sent a petition?” Fu Qiuning continued.  Since the man wanted to look cool in front of the woman he was chasing, she might as well give him the opportunity to show off.
“As expected, you are exceptionally brilliant,” Jin Fengju gave her a sidelong glance. “You’ve guessed it already? But you refused to speak it out?” 
[5a] Fu Qiuning smiled vaguely. Inside, she seethed: First, you bait me into letting you show off and now you accuse me of, what? Deliberately flattering you? This is basic TV drama plot, also, the plan I am actually privy to. I would have to be as stupid as those Zhenjiang Palace spies to not know what is going on.
Instead of saying all of this, she poured tea for Jin Fengju and said, “What of the emperor’s reaction? I supposed he cannot be too happy about Prince Lie?” 
“Oh, the emperor is very angry, of course. How could he not? Prince Lie was fined a year’s salary as well as an additional three thousand silver taels. Another official was appointed for the winter disaster relief work at the capital. The two incompetents at Liaodong were also dismissed as they could never be put to use,” Jin Fengju was smirking as he rattled off the punishments. “What do you think? The result is not bad, right?”
Fu Qiuning smiled, “As to whether the result is satisfactory, Lord Husband is the clearest. What do I know? Only, after reporting Prince Lie, Prince Hong side is now…?”
Jin Fengju smiled and said, “Prince Hong’s side, well, well, he naturally receives a reward. The emperor has always been clear with his punishments and rewards. This time, the reward is spectacularly generous. Not only was he rewarded with rare antiques and treasures, but also a six-clawed dragon robe. Let me ask you, isn’t this a great reward? Both the civil and military side of the court is in an uproar. Qiuning, thanks to you, Prince Hong has finally caused a powerful sensation this round and even the people from Zhenjiang Palace are beaming with joy.”
[1a] Instead of reacting to his taunting, Fu Qiuning frowned, “A six-clawed dragon robe? What is that thing?”
He smiled, she smiled
And they all smiled
He said, she said
And they all said
They all smiled and said
And Gumi ended up ded
 Another aww moment? Haha, let us cast doubts into this UwU.
Deleted: The cold palace looks somewhat restored to the rich and elegant demeanour, just like back when the old marquis was still alive.
Shouldn’t you say, when the favoured concubine was still alive?
Are you not going to mention that this was a former mistress’ home?
Also, how would FQN know what it looked like before?
Compare it to a museum instead.
[a] Add an eerrghh moment.
 Insult hidden in a compliment
 Emperor Yongzheng, former name Yinzhen
Yinzhen’s tactics during such the struggle for crown prince’s position was practically doing nothing and stayed away from the limelight. Instead, he focused on filial piety towards Kangxi and dutifully performed the given tasks as a subordinate of the Emperor. Comparing to other siblings (Yinzhi, Yinsi, Yinti, Yinreng), Yinzhen had no clear advantage.
Many believed that Yinzhen was Emperor Kangxi’s ‘secret choice’ and was secretly assisting him…
Anyway, Gumi gave the loooong ass polishing paragraph a darker spin.
[3a] Deleted: with his deep mind for both civil and military affairs
… like, how and when did the military thing came about? Didn’t you mention that though JFJ is a man who knows martial arts, he had never been on the battlefields? Hence why he suffered so much by the caterpillar stings? Are we forgetting that?
 Author mistaking hotpot and shabu-shabu. Let’s just assume that the character doesn’t know better either.
For those who wants to know the difference between shabu-shabu (涮锅) vs hotpot (火锅)
Basically, all shabu-shabu are hotpots, but not all hotpots are shabu-shabu.
You know what? After checking the other chapters, it’s all hotpot from then on. Probably.
Also, all the talk about this hotpot that hotpot, all kinds of seasoning sauces became one big bowl of seasoning sauces… it was like the watching FQN transforming into AR QN but in food form.
[a] Create an actual reason why they like vegetable hotpot better instead of the generic MC golden finger, after all, there’s a reason the saying ‘hunger makes the best sauce’ exists.
[b] Give a reason why sauces became big bowl of sauce
 Deleted Pre-Ass Polishing moment: Fu Qiuning already guessed what had happened, but a smart woman knows that she must flatter a man and allow him to bask in the limelight.
Deleted the Actual Ass Polishing Moment: Fu Qiuning was smart, but JFJ was no fool.
[5a] Replaced with ‘what the F do you want me to say, you ass bandit’
 Deleted Backhanded Ass Polishing statements: She was curious about the emperor. From what she had heard from JFJ, this man was like the Old Kangxi emperor. Surely he would not deal out simple rewards or punishment.
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