You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 119 – “Missing”

Higher Level Wife – 119 – “Missing”

Chapter 119: “Missing”

Author: White Pear Flower

Raws: https://book.qidian.com/info/2386994/

Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou

Gumihou: Gumi is going to insert her comments into the tex

Pill Bug: I wish to let it be known that I disagree with this practice, but I’m not the boss

 

Jiang Wanying finally revealed a smug smile. In a gentle voice, she said, “That’s right, we can finally be rid of that thing. As you know, I have been a secondary wife for six years now, and I have long tire of this position. It is only right for me to become the official wife.”

[Gumi: Ah, so we’re going for the obsessive yandere path? Sad for Jiang Wanying, but you’re the villainess in this story]

 

Enough about the master and servant and their secret talks at Clear Soft Pavilion. Let us speak of Fu Qiuning’s position now.

On her way back, heart filled with all kinds of suspicion, Fu Qiuning mulled over Jiang Wanying’s words and actions. She thought: Isn’t it too odd for Jiang Wanying, who had always hated me and invariably filled her words with hidden knives to suddenly ask such a private question? Moreover, in such a cheery and buddy-buddy tone too?

Would any jealous woman willingly talk about such things with their rival? Something must be wrong, but I can’t think what it could be. Was it to investigate something? Is she testing me? Testing me for what? What could she do with this information?

As she walked, Fu Qiuning continued to think. Today was a sunny spring day in March, and the willow wind [1] was no longer chilling her as it blew across her face.

Seeing a pair of flowers blooming on an apricot tree, she could not help but smiled and thought: When the buds first opened a few days ago, I caught a cold just by standing outside too long. Now, the weather feels so warm.

[Gumihou: Ah, foreshadowing, nice touch. A bit heavy-handed though]

 

Fu Qiuning had walked through Yong Cui Garden several times, but had never fully explored it. She only took the shortest path back and forth from Health & Longevity Court. That day, seeing the distant willow branches, little bridges, flowing streams and half-hidden pavilions and flowers, she was struck by a sudden impulse to explore the garden a little more. There was nothing urgent waiting for her at Night Breeze Pavilion anyway, therefore she felt that it would be alright to stroll around a little.

[Gumihou: A potential pushing scene. Lovely]

 

She was so excited to explore the garden that she had forgotten that this garden was nothing like the modern ones, filled with tourists, staff and little directional signages. Thus, casually following a little trail towards an

interesting-looking pavilion, she admired the trees and flowers along the

pathways, entering deeper and deeper into the depths of the garden.

[Gumihou: The fact that she was directionally challenged was indicated 3 times here. …she was so excited; …she could get directions in modern gardens, …she forgot (just in case dear readers did not get it the first two times]

 

Speaking of which, Fu Qiuning was not some young miss who merely hid at home all the time. She often visited the Suzhou Gardens and Hangzhou West Lakes. Even as a directionally challenged person, she had visited places like Suzhou’s Humble Administrator’s Garden or Lingering Gardens so often that she could find her way with her eyes closed. Only, after walking through the endless paths of Yong Cui Gardens, she finally realised just how inferior those gardens were, especially in terms of acreage.

According to the <<Dream of the Red Chamber>>, it was mentioned that their Grand View Garden alone occupied a few mu [2] of land. From what she could tell, this garden felt larger than even that fictional garden, especially in its half-wild condition. Servants and gardeners must have gotten a little lazy about maintenance there.

She continued to look and admire the scenery until the sun was high in the sky. Thinking that it must be close to lunchtime, she decided to return.

Unfortunately, when she tried to trace her way back, she found herself

confronted by five or six forked roads. Heart thumping a little faster, she

tried to remember her original path, but no matter where she looked, there was only silence around. What had been a beautiful, half-wild garden, suddenly felt gloomy and threatening.

Panicking a little, she picked up speed, hoping to meet up with a gardener or some sweeping staff. Unfortunately, no matter how long she walked or how many paths she went down, she did not even meet a single person.

[Gumihou: Original paragraph was twice as long to make FQN seem extra incompetent. Deleted them]

 

She walked until she was a little out of breath. [a] Since it looked like there was no way she could get out of this place on her own, the gardens already looking far too different from what she remembered, Fu Qiuning chose one of the more prominent-looking pavilions and sat down. She thought: Considering Aunt Yu and Yu Jie’s attitude and their absolute love and trust for Jin Fengju, they would raise the hue and cry soon enough.

[b] The most unfortunate thing about this situation was that she would have to tell people she had gotten lost in a garden. An enclosed garden inside an estate. How humiliating was that? Then again, who in their right mind needed a whole few acres of garden for one family? It was really not her fault. It’s the fault of these people being too excessive about showing off their wealth.

 

Speaking of Aunt Yu and Yu Jie.

As Fu Qiuning had predicted, once noon came around and not a hair of Qiuning was seen, they immediately panicked and rushed to the inner court. Knowing that Madam Jiang and Jiang Wanying hated their mistress to the bone, the only person they could rely on was Old Madam Jin.

 

Jin Fengju just happened to be back to the dukedom for lunch. Because the emperor had bestowed a box of treats made with cheese and sugar, which the Old Madam liked, he came over with the box after a meal at Clear Soft Pavilion. He was on his way when he saw the two women hurrying at a distance. He called out to them with a laugh, “Where is your Madam? Why are you two empty-handed? I thought she plans to give…”

That was when he noticed their tear-stained faces. His heart shook and the smile on his face disappeared. In a solemn voice, he said, “What happened? Where is your Madam?”

[Gumihou: Many words were dedicated to JFJ’s schedule and extra emphasis on how this is all Just One Big Coincidence. Wow fate, wow divine intervention, wow your fart]

 

“Young Marquis, Madam went to Clear Soft Pavilion this morning to see Second Madam Wan about Aunt Yu and Third Brother Zhang’s marriage. She has not yet returned.”

The moment Yu Jie caught sight of him, she found her backbone to say all of that in one breath before crying out in a loud ‘Waaahhh’, dissolving into sobs.

[Gumihou: Backbone? Wut? Seriously?]

 

Aunt Yu was also sobbing, “Young Marquis, please, please have people look for her. I… I don’t know if Madam is harmed…”

“Enough with your nonsense. This is the dukedom. Do you really think that the people here are so daring?” Jin Fengju chided them in a low voice. Even so, his fist tightened and he thought: Did Wanying really harm her? No… she would not. Even if she wishes to harm Qiuning, she would not dare be so blatant. She could perhaps come up with some scheme, but she would never dare to have someone killed off just like that.

Managing to calm himself down with this logic, he continued in a low voice, “I understand now. There is no need to inform the Old Madam. She is getting on in age and could not bear the shock. Return to Night Breeze Pavilion, I shall handle the matter. If Feng’er and Jiao’er look for her, just say that I have called her to see me. Do not scare them.” Then, he turned around and returned to Clear Soft Pavilion with the box of treats in hand.

 

Seeing him return so soon, Jiang Wanying could not help but get up with a smile, “You are back? Why such urgency? Is there some government business that needs tending? Clearly, being a compiler for the Imperial Hanlin Academy is more leisurely…” she paused at Jin Fengju’s expression. A little shocked, she said, “What is it?”

“Did Qiuning come to Clear Soft Pavilion this morning?” Jin Fengju asked with a gloomy face. Jiang Wanying’s heart could not help but jump with a “thump”. She nodded and said, “Yes, Elder Sister came to speak with me about Aunt Yu and Third Brother Zhang’s marriage. Lord Husband had already decided on this matter, so I was happy to assist. Elder Sister did not speak of anything else, merely bidding me farewell and leaving soon after. What happened?”

“Qiuning is missing.”

As soon as the words were out of Jin Fengju’s mouth, Jiang Wanying was so shocked that she collapsed into her chair. After a while, she stammered, “H-how can this be? When Elder Sister left, she was perfectly fine, ah.” Seeing how Jin Fengju’s expression had not changed, she threw herself at him to cry, “D-does cousin suspect me?”

“What are you crying for? I do not think even you have such great guts,” Jin Fengju patted her shoulder. “Alright, it is not the time to cry. Now is the time to quickly gather people to search for her. Although there are all kinds of schemes and hidden struggles inside this dukedom, I don’t believe that anyone would dare to lay a hand on Qiuning so blatantly. No matter what, she is still my official wife.”

[Gumihou: See this? This is the arrogance of a man in power. ‘My position will protect you’, ‘I like you, therefore you are safe’, completely forgetting that women aren’t rational creatures. Moreover, we could be driven by motives such as desperation or hate.]

 

Jiang Wanying nodded and said, “Yes, although those concubines and other inferior women are a little jealous of Elder Sister, none of them would do such a heinous thing. Even the heavens would not tolerate it. This is something that would absolutely not happen in our dukedom.”

As she went out to arrange for people to go look for Fu Qiuning, she thought: Could there really be someone here with the guts to swallow the sky that assassinated Fu’shi and tried to pin the blame on me? This person is really tired of living. Just what kind of person is Cousin? To dare rub sand in his eyes, they should reconsider the weight of their own worth…

At this time, all the courtyards had been searched aside from Health &

Longevity Court. Nearly everyone had learned about Fu Qiuning’s disappearance.

Even more servants had been sent out to look for her, and yet, when evening neared, not a trace of her could be found.

Seeing that it was getting late, Jin Fengju grew more and more anxious. He ordered Jin Ming, “Bring a few people with me. We shall walk through Yong Cui Garden once more to see if we can find any traces.” He had already searched Yong Cui Garden a few times already. However, not suspecting that Fu Qiuning had ventured deep into the garden, he had found nothing.

Jin Ming hastily called a few sharp boys to follow him. While they searched, he heard Jin Fengju mutter, “There is not even an extra servant by her side. Is this truly what the Mistress of the House should be like? If someone were to develop any nefarious intentions…”

When he did not continue on, Jin Ming thought: Master, ah. That’s not the Mistress of the House, just one of the madams…

Naturally, he did not voice this thought out loud, because Jin Fengju followed that muttering with a fierce, “When I find her next, I shall send 20 or 30 people into Night Breeze Pavilion. If trouble happens, I can shake them for answers.”

Jin Ming hastily made some sounds of agreement, even as he thought: Master, you are very good at planning. However, I fear you can never master Second Madam Ning.

[c] Desperate to please his increasingly agitated master, Jin Ming looked around the garden and, spotting the blooming flowers, a thought pinged in his mind.

“Master, didn’t Madam fall sick after she spent too much time outdoors admiring the blooming flowers? As someone who admires spring flowers and autumn moons, could it be possible that she had been lured by the beauty of the garden, ventured too deeply in and became lost? Just a day ago, even the Old Master mentioned something about wanting to come and admire the flowers…”

Like someone waking from a dream, Jin Fengju stopped in shock. Then, he fiercely slapped his own forehead a couple of times before saying loudly, “Right, that’s right, that’s very possible. That person is truly bad at directions. Indeed, back when she first started visiting Health & Longevity Court, how many times did she have to be guided there before she could remember the way? Moreover, she never even deviated from that single straight road. If she really had gone deep into the garden with its many forks and turns, how could she find her own way out?”

He turned around and barked, “Quick, all of you split up and look in all

directions. Yell a few times if you find anything.” Then, he turned his wrath

on Jin Ming, “Why did you not mention this earlier? Your incompetence cost me needless worry for over half a day.”

[Gumihou: Ah, how ironic. Just a chapter ago his mind was ‘best among the best’. Then again, Jiang Wanying is clearly biased…]

 

Jin Ming gave a bitter little laugh, “Master, this servant just thought of it.

Also, it… it, the Madam may not actually be there…”

Jin Fengju firmly interrupted him, “No, she must be there. She must. Qiuning must have just gotten lost. She must.”

Jin Ming blinked at his master’s out-of-character actions. His master who had always been ‘calm, ruthless and indifferent’ was shaken up to this point. Perhaps he was really worried that Fu Qiuning had been assassinated?

 

Gumihou: …I has a question. Why did FQN go off to the enemy camp Clear Soft Pavilion alone?

Fu Qiuning: Yes, I would like to know what possessed me to do that. Oh, wait.

Gumihou: You were clearly possessed.

Fu Qiuning: Looks like me, sounds like me, but not me.

Gumihou: Pfft

Reference to this: https://www.malaysianbar.org.my/article/news/bar-news/news/lingam-looks-like-me-sounds-like-me

 

[a] Retain Fu Qiuning’s logic and give a more likely response rather than unnecessary panic for dramatic purposes.

Walking until the afternoon, Fu Qiuning was so tired she was huffing and puffing. Seeing a pavilion with some difficulty, she went in, sat down and refused to get up. She thought: I definitely cannot get out. Now, I’m counting on Yu Jie and Aunt Yu observing that I had not returned and then reporting it to Fengju, and then him sending someone to find me. 

Ultimately, the true reason for this ‘getting lost scene’ is for JFJ to swoop in for the ‘rescue’.

Hah, no.

[b] Change the reason for being humiliated with the ‘getting lost’ scene. Instead of ‘oh noes, I is ashamed~~ kyaa~~’ replaced it with ‘ugh, rich people and their stupidly huge gardens’

[c] Add detail to why Jin Ming has a good idea whereas his master is still floundering around.

 

Pill Bug TL Notes:

[1] 杨柳风 Willow wind

People in Ancient China called the wind that came during the flowering period the flower letter wind. There are 24 periods from Xiaohan to Guyu, each period corresponding to a type of flower letter, collectively called “twenty-four flower letter winds”. Among them, the flower letter at the end of Qingming Festival is the willow flower, and the wind at that time is called willow flower wind, or willow wind.

https://baike.sogou.com/v75075745.htm

 

[2] 亩 1 mu = 0.165 acre, or 666.5 square meters (around 26 x

25 meters). That’s kinda small for a mansion garden, it’s like only as big as a house!

Gumihou: Well, they did say it’s a ‘few’ mu

 

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