Chapter 118: Chastity Proving Dust
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Pill Bug
Edited by Gumihou
Warning: This chapter is punctuated with many of Gumi’s comments.
In fact, it was not that Jin Fengju was being deliberately wilful and uncaring about Qiuning’s wishes. In fact, he was thinking of her well-being all the time. After all, he knew very well from the depth of his heart that once he and Qiuning were no longer a couple in name, no matter where she resided, harem battles would be inevitable. Therefore, instead of being isolated and alone at Night Breeze Pavilion, it would be better for her to be moved into the inner court as soon as possible. With Old Madam Jin there to look after her, those other wives and concubines would not dare to be too presumptuous. [f]
He had already decided this earlier, but could not carry out the matter immediately as he had been occupied with too much work. He simply did not have the time to plan or carry out any appropriately subtle, yet inevitable schemes to move her in.
[a] If he had not made that hasty promise, he would have had a much easier time. Right now, he had no choice but to come up with a scheme that would not make him look bad, which was easier said than done. Why did Qiuning have to be so stubborn? He just didn’t understand it. [g] [a]
While Jin Fengju was busy making up plans to… [a] ‘gently convince’ Fu Qiuning into agreeing to move into the inner court, Jiang Wanying had not been idle either.
That day, Madam Jiang had called her over. After dismissing their subordinates, the Madam asked worriedly, “Wanying, you’ve seen it yourself these past few days. Fengju spends all his nights at Night Breeze Pavilion regardless of how far it is or how tired he is. Think, girl. What do you think will happen to you eventually? Of the matter we discussed last time, has there been any progress?
If you wait too long, even if you wish to make use of this as leverage, you might miss your opportunity. No matter how much that Fu Qiuning professes to hate Fengju, she is still a woman. How long do you think she could hold out? Once she develops feelings for him, your opportunity would disappear.”
Jiang Wanying quickly replied, “Do not worry, Aunt. Your niece has considered this matter carefully. Today, Cousin has moved his official clothing back to Clear Soft Pavilion. I believe that he will be busy for the next few days and will not visit Night Breeze Pavilion. With him being busy, the time is right for us to implement the plan.”
Madam Jiang sighed and said, “No matter what, she is still your cousin’s
official wife. I have thought of the matter over and over again. Even if there is complete certainty, I am not comfortable having another woman check her body. It is not right. If word gets out, not only will she lose face, but you and I shall also carry the scandal on our shoulders.
It is a disgrace to the family’s honour. The Old Madam and Old Master would almost certainly be angry. Therefore, perhaps it is better to find out the matter from Fengju’s lips instead? Also, what if that woman got wind of our investigation? Once she knows of our plan, all she has to do is instigate a night between herself and Fengju in order to turn around and bite us to death instead.”
Jiang Wanying smiled, “There is no need for Aunt to worry about this. I already have a plan. Aunty, do you know that hundreds of years ago in the Great Song Dynasty, it was popular for maidens to wear Chastity Proving Dust on their person?”
“Chastity Proving Dust? It has been hundreds of years, didn’t they say the technique had been lost to time? It’s unlikely that Fu Qiuning would have any on her person. As for you or I, we don’t have it either. How do you expect to get some on her?” Madam Jiang exclaimed. [h]
Jiang Wanying walked a few steps closer and whispered something in her ear.
Madam Jiang’s perplexed expression eventually transformed into glee. She nodded and said, “Good, this is an excellent scheme. Let’s do it this way. Only, you must be cautious. Once you have the prescription in hand, you must ensure that no one notices anything. This matter must be handled well. Once this is confirmed… humph, even if that Fu Qiuning wants to delay or deny anything, there is nothing she can do.”
“It is as you say,” Jiang Wanying was beaming smugly now. “Therefore, Aunt may rest easy. The time for that Fu’shi to be driven out of this place is not far now. Just endure it for a little longer.”
Madam Jiang nodded and coldly snorted, “She is fortunate to have Fengju endure her presence. Each time I clap my eyes on her, I recall the insult that Zhenjiang Palace has inflicted on our Jinxiang Marquisate. I look forward to pulling this thorn out of my flesh as soon as possible. That way, I may live the rest of my life in peace and happiness at last.” [i]
Jiang Wanying covered her mouth and laughed, “Aunt still calls us the ‘Jinxiang Marquisate’, but it should be ‘Jing Dukedom’ now. Now that Uncle is the Duke of Jing, Cousin is now the present Marquis of Jinxiang.”
Madam Jiang gave a sudden trill of laughter. “So it is. Oh, it just slips my mind. As for you, aren’t you also a forgetful one? Why are you still calling me ‘Aunt’? Shouldn’t you call me ‘Mother’?”
Jiang Wanying immediately lowered her head to giggle, “After having called you ‘Aunt’ for over twenty years, it’s difficult for me to change. Uncle also did not oppose it. My Aunt loves me, so why force me to change? Though my lips call you Aunt and Uncle, my heart has long since regarded you as my parents.”
Madam Jiang smiled and nodded, gratified with her answer. “I know you are filial.
Enough, you go and do your thing. So long as I know that there is a plan in place, I can be at ease.”
With that, Jiang Wanying excused herself and returned to Clear Soft Pavilion.
She was in her sitting room, pondering over various matters and schemes when Qiu Xia came in to report that Fu Qiuning had arrived. Surprised, she thought: Why did she come to find me of her own volition?
Still, she put on a smile on her face and personally went out to receive Fu Qiuning, even taking her hand and escorting her into the bedroom. With a brilliant smile as fresh as spring, she said, “Elder Sister is a rare guest. I remember that you have never been to my Clear Soft Pavilion before. Why did the wind blow you over here today?” If one did not delve too deeply into her attitude and tone of speech, one would think that she really did think of Fu Qiuning as a beloved sister-friend.
Fu Qiuning returned the brilliant beams with a bland smile of her own. “Little Sister is busy every day, how dare I disturb you? I came here to beg Little Sister for a favour. I had beseeched Lord Husband about it before, but he said that it would be better to ask Little Sister about it. Therefore, I thickened my face and came to your door. Well? Have I bothered Little Sister?”
Jiang Wanying laughed and said, “Goodness, how distant your words sounded. You and I share a husband, therefore we should be as close as sisters. Now that Elder Sister is preoccupied with a need, if you don’t come to me, who should you go to? This little sister is hurt by your words.”
Even as she spoke, she ushered Qiuning into an upper-tier seat, while she occupied a lower-level seat. Qiu Xia had already served them tea, so she took the initiative to say, “Is this the Mingqian tea  that arrived just a
few days ago? Elder Sister is unlike other guests, be sure not to serve the
inferior Yuqian  goods to her.”
Fu Qiuning thought: Even the oh-so-famous Yuqian Longjing tea has become inferior goods here. Even if you want to show off your wealth, isn’t this a little too tacky? [b] Can’t you at least pretend to have some subtlety? Is your status as a granddaughter of a duke just words on paper? [j] [b]
On cue, Qiu Xia laughed and said, “How could this maid be so classless? This is indeed the Mingqian Longjing tea sent over just a few days ago.”
Fu Qiuning gave these [c] two performing artists a glance before playing her part by sipping her tea and giving the appropriate praises. It amused her to see Jiang Wanying’s eyebrows soar, apparently very pleased with herself.
After some idle chatter over family affairs and other nonsense, Fu Qiuning finally deemed it time to declare her reason for coming here. It was actually for Aunt Yu and Third Brother Zhang’s marriage.
It was only then that Jiang Wanying finally recalled Jin Fengju had instructed her to follow up on the matter. Still, since it was nothing for her to perform this bit of task, she was happy to show her magnanimity.
After receiving a promise from Jiang Wanying, Fu Qiuning was about to turn and leave but Jiang Wanying got up to pull at her, saying, “Why the rush? It is rare for Elder Sister to come, but now that Elder Sister is here, this little sister cannot allow Elder Sister to leave so easily.”
Jiang Wanying dismissed Qiu Xia and the rest of the maids and pulled Fu Qiuning to sit on the bed once more. She leaned closer and, with a discreet laugh, whispered, “I heard that Elder Sister does not have a room with a canopied bed, but has a kang bed instead. Is it because there is more room to move about when Elder Sister engage in that matter with Lord Husband?”
“That matter?” Fu Qiuning blinked. It took her a while to understand what Jiang Wanying was referring to and had to cough. With a heated face, she said, “What are you saying… what kind of question is this?”
She nearly blurted out that she never did the deed with Jin Fengju, [d] but stopped herself just in time. After considering the snakes and scorpions that disguised themselves as broody chickens in Jin Fengju’s hen house and considering how this beaming woman and her disapproving mom-in-law had been looking for ways to kick her out, it was probably better to not let them find out that she had not let their precious stallion stick his thing into her v.
Jiang Wanying’s eyes were as sharp as knives. Even so, the smile on her face became even warmer as she nudged Fu Qiuning and coyly said, “How is that nonsense? Aren’t we sisters? It is fine to talk about such private things with each other. When I sit with my maids, we sometimes talk about men. When men sit with other men, it is only natural for them to talk about us women. Now, Elder Sister and I both belong to Lord Husband, so what is there to be shameful about?
Our Lord Husband is the best. He is so powerful that each time I ended up begging him to stop. I had to plead and plead before he finally pauses. I wonder, is Elder Sister stronger than this little sister? How many times do you and Lord Husband do it, ah?”
Fu Qiuning blinked at her. She thought: Were the ancient people always this liberal? Weren’t people always saying something about the feudal system being strict and inhumane? So, why is this woman talking about being done by her husband many times so gleefully? Should I say that Jin Fengju does the deed three or seven times a night too? Why can the woman in front of me talk about such an explosive topic without changing her expression?
Cheeks burning a little, she decided to play coy and stood up to shyly say, “Little Sister’s words are getting more and more outrageous, this… how could we even talk about such things even in our own boudoir? I… I’m sorry, I have some matters to attend to at home. I need to be back.” Then, she fled the Clear Soft Pavilion, refusing to let Jiang Wanying make her stay. So what if it made her look like a prude? Let that woman think whatever she liked.
“Elder Sister should come by whenever you have the time. Us sisters should get together more often and be closer to each other,” Jiang Wanying trilled loudly at Fu Qiuning’s disappearing back. Suddenly, a cold smile crossed her lips.
She turned to see Qiu Xia standing right behind her. The maid had a confused look on her face. Jiang Wanying lightly scoured her with her eyes before saying, “What is it? Is there something else that you don’t understand?”
Qiu Xia trotted closer and asked, “Earlier, was Madam testing that Fu’shi? Are you not worried that she might suspect something? Surely it’s best to ask the Master…”
Jiang Wanying interrupted her with a spit. Still in that light, trilling voice, she said, “You stupid, stupid thing, did I not already guide you through all the important points? Think, no matter how cunning that Fu’shi is, could her intellect be compared to Lord Husband’s? Our Lord Husband’s mind is the best among the best. I had been worrying over how to inquire after the matter without rousing his suspicion for days, but then that Fu’shi actually delivered herself to our doorstep. What could she know? What is there to suspect? In the first place, this kind of talk is perfectly common in a boudoir.” [k]
One could almost see the lantern lighting up in Qiu Xia’s mind. Thinking of the almost omniscient Jin Fengju, she could not help the full-body shiver as she nodded fervently. “Madam is truly far-sighted. So it is like this. Then, how was it? What did Madam find out?”
Jiang Wanying’s smile was smug as she said, “Naturally, she refuses to say. Only… from her words and the way she looks, I can tell that she had never shared a room with dear Cousin. At last, my plan may be carried out now.”
Qiu Xia also beamed. However, it soon disappeared as she pondered, “But… Madam, what if that Fu woman had an affair with someone and the thing doesn’t work? Wouldn’t the scheme be useless?”
Jiang Wanying couldn’t help but angrily drill her finger into Qiu Xia’s forehead. “Stupid thing, you stupid, stupid, thing! So what if she climbed into another bed? If the Chastity Proving Dust cannot fix her, Cousin will naturally take her to task. What kind of person is Cousin? Could he tolerate his women putting green hats on him?  If that were to happen, events would turn out even better for us.”
The lantern in Qiu Xia’s mind brightened once more as she exclaimed joyfully, “Then, this means that no matter what, we would win! Congratulations to Madam, felicitations to Madam! We can finally remove this thorn from our flesh!”
[f] Gumihou: Okay, who threw up in their mouths a little at JFJ’s self-justifying thoughts? Say ‘I’ in the comments.
[g] Gumi: Yeah, show your toxic hypocrisy, JFJ
[h] Gumi: Behold, the stupid chicken
[i] Gumi: Note the selfishness? She’s not evil, just a selfish dumb chicken
[j] Gumi: Calling out childish, inferior behaviour from other female characters
[k] Gumi: Ma’am, your husband is not all that intelligent, really. The rest of the people around him are just dumb buttss.
Pill Bug TL Notes
 and  雨前茶 Yuqian tea and 明前茶 Mingqian tea
Yuqian means “before the rains”, that is, from April 5th to around April 20th. The tea made from tender bud tips harvested during that period is called Yuqian tea. Although Yuqian tea is not as tender as Mingqian tea (tea picked before Qingming), due to the high temperature at that time, the buds and leaves grow relatively quickly and the accumulated contents are richer, so Yuqian tea is often fresh and strong and can be steeped for a long time. (Normal teas turn bitter when oversteeped)
Mingqian tea is picked before the Qingming Festival. It tends to have less insect damage, have tender buds and leaves, be green in colour, fragrant, mellow in taste and beautiful in shape. Considered upper-class tea. At the same time, because the temperature before Qingming is generally low, the number of buds that germinate is limited, the growth rate is slow, and the yield that can meet the picking standard is very small, so there is a saying that “Mingqian tea is as expensive as gold”.
 ‘Wearing a green hat’ means getting cuckolded in Chinese.
[a] Add detail to show JFJ’s scumbag side. Actually, scratch that. Add detail to reveal JFJ’s scumbag and hypocritical side.
[c] Add ‘performing arts’ detail
[d] Okay, so FQN was not very charitable towards the women here. One could say she even looks down on them by calling them chickens, snakes and scorpions but think, could you, as a modern woman think of these women as anything but poisonous creatures or walking wombs when they themselves don’t act any better?
Moreover, there is a feeling of distance when you don’t openly acknowledge the other person as ‘people’ but as ‘chickens’ instead. It makes it easier to dismiss their feelings and existence. Also,
FQN is acting oddly prudish here, which is really weird? Fixed.
[e] Yeeting the AR Qiuning.
Replaced: Heavens help me ah, how would I know whether Jin Fengju is a man who does it three times or seven times a night ah!
Dude, just say the man’s a limp noodle or something.
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