Chapter 184: So, Sh*t was Stirred Up by You (Edited)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Gumihou: Adjusted the language style so that it better reflects the sentiment of this beautifully descriptive subtitle
When Jin Zhenyi saw his stepsister choke on her words, he could not help the smug sense of satisfaction in his heart, even though he had also thought of Jiang Wanying as ‘that woman’ at least he never said it out loud. Not recently at least. He raised one superior eyebrow at her, hummed a little tune and left.
Let us leave the children for now.
As soon as Fu Qiuning and Jin Fengju stepped out of the courtyard gate, there was already a sedan chair waiting for them. They got into the sedan chair and less than a quarter of an hour later, passed the West Corner Gate, then got into an incredibly magnificent Eight Treasure Carriage. As soon as the couple boarded, the carriage started its way towards the palace.
Husband and wife sat facing each other. Jin Fengju was still fervently staring at Fu Qiuning, making her very uncomfortable. Finally, she could not stand it anymore and snapped, “What are you looking at? Am I that unrecognisable?”
Jin Fengju chuckled indulgently, “What’s this? I am just thinking about how gorgeous you look today compared to before. Although you have the demeanour of a scholar and the simplicity of a chrysanthemum without makeup, I see that when you dress up, you give off a distinctly different charm, no?”
“If you wish to stare at beautiful women, Young Marquis, you only have to shift your gaze to the side and look at your other women. There is no need to keep staring.”
Jin Fengju suddenly smirked. He leaned back in his seat, snapped open his folding fan and drawled, “I sense some hidden meaning behind these words. What is it? Are you angry because I asked you to perform in the palace? I remember telling you before that if the opportunity arose, I would need you to showcase your talents. You didn’t object at the time, so why are you angry now?”
“I did not object, but I never agreed either.”
“In that case, isn’t it the same as agreeing?”
Fu Qiuning stared at him, “I suppose you think it is very clever of you to take advantage of a woman with nothing to her name, no family and no support back then?”
“No, no, Qiuning, of course not,” he rushed to say, the fan finally snapping close as he reached for her hands. “I would never, naturally, I did it all for you-”
However, she refused to budge. Withdrawing her hands, she said, “I already know you have little respect for me. To think that you actually see me as the same level as street performers, happy to be used by you for some palace power play.”
“No, no, of course not, Qiuning, my dear Qiuning, please don’t be angry.” He beamed ingratiatingly and laughed a little too loudly, “What street performer? Naturally, your opera is beyond such vulgar performances. It is unprecedented and incomparable, a pioneering masterpiece. Moreover, you shall perform before the Emperor! Not to mention, during times of joy and leisure, those old, respected officials of the court may even be called to sing a song or two before the emperor!
At times, even the Emperor himself and the Empress may even perform before the Empress Dowager to establish intimacy and show filial respect. I only regretted my lack of talent, otherwise, I too, would have sung before the Emperor during one of those leisure times. Who knows how many rewards I would have gotten just by singing before our esteemed monarch?”
Nani? No, she must not waver at this. The issue now was not how much face or reward she could receive by singing before the monarch, the issue now was this scum man’s lack of respect for her privacy and wishes. Look how he just diverted matters by making it look like it was a privilege for her to sing when in fact, the issue now was him coercing her into doing whatever he wanted!
So what if she was rewarded for singing before the emperor? In the old Western Medieval times, she heard that a performer was given status and money just because he could fart the alphabet!
Thinking of this, she became even more angry.
Jin Fengju, sensing her anger, decided to go on the attack instead. He was thoroughly confused by Fu Qiuning’s anger. Surely she would understand what a great thing he had done for her once he had properly explained everything? He laughed out loud once more and said, “Qiuning, you really are unexpected, ah. Do you think performing in front of the Emperor is nothing? It is a great honour. So long as you receive the Emperor’s praise, the entire Ducal estate will also gain face and no one will dare oppose you in the future. How can you not understand a simple truth that even a three-year-old child knows?”
Fu Qiuning stared at him for a moment before saying, “While a three-year-old child is easily deceived, I have to live with the consequences of my actions. Where do you expect me to put my face after performing in public?”
Jin Fengju laughed and laughed, “Goodness, is this your true concern? Do you imagine me the sort of scum like those dogs and pigs? Qiuning, ah, although I have neglected you in the past, you are still my official wife. Not to mention, you are the only one in my heart and my lifelong beloved, and there is really no reason for my official wife to perform in public. Even your father and grandfather, who had already abandoned you, will never allow it, if only because it would disgrace the family name. Moreover, how could you place those barbarians and commoners in the same place as the Emperor and Empress?”
Aren’t they all people? Don’t they all eat food and poop shit? Fu Qiuning felt the corners of her lips curl up, but she did not bother to say that to the scum before her. He would only hear what he wants to anyway. Instead, she said, “I imagine you want me to teach some singers?”
Jin Fengju smiled, “As expected, my Qiuning is clever indeed! Naturally, while you cannot appear in public, you may select talented individuals from the imperial opera group and teach them the songs. There are still more than four months till the official convention, surely there is enough time to learn one play and win first place? The Ministry of Rites did not manage to find any outstanding talents this year, but with the borders at peace, we have many more countries wanting to make a name for themselves by participating.
If we lose this time, the next convention could be held at the winner’s capital, causing a huge blow to our Great Ning Empire. That is why the Emperor was so dissatisfied and scolded the Ministry of Rites’ officials. When I saw that poor old man, I immediately thought of you and your opera and said something to the emperor. Look, it is already late afternoon, yet the old emperor bade me to come and fetch you immediately. Don’t you see just how much the emperor cares about this matter?”
Fu Qiuning said evenly, “In short, you saw an opportunity to solve a problem at a critical moment and took it. Indeed, I must commend the Young Marquis for his ingenuity and timing.”
Jin Fengju did not even have the courtesy to blush as he proudly said, “Haven’t you been worrying about what others would say about your mysterious talent? You are the shu-born granddaughter of Feudal King Zhenjiang and my official wife. People can only praise you as the creator of this amazing opera and see you as a talent sent down from the heavens. Do you truly see yourself as some daughter of a lowly commoner to be gossiped over tea?
Enough with these jokes. Do not worry, when the time comes, you will receive nothing but adulation and admiration from all. Not a single bad rumour would befall upon your pretty little head. I have said before, esteemed old officials have performed before the Emperor already, but who dares to belittle them? Myself and the several princes, which one of us do not respect these venerable old ministers?”
“As you have said, these are venerable old ministers. I have no status aside from the wife of a Marquis…”
“Naturally, any insult upon you is an insult upon me! Who would dare?!” said Jin Fengju grandly.
There was really no point talking to this person anymore. Her very life hinged upon his obsession with her. The moment he loses interest, he could turn around and blab to everyone about her abnormal status and have her executed whenever he liked. However, they were already in a fancy carriage on their way to the palace. There was nothing she could do but plan for the worst.
“How about it? Are you reassured now?” Jin Fengju beamed at her contemplative expression, mistaking resignation as acceptance. He sighed dramatically, “Speaking of which, that old lady in your village has no luck. Otherwise, she would have enjoyed this glory that has now fallen upon your head upon her death.” He closed that statement with a meaningful smirk.
“Indeed,” she said quietly, “it is very sad.” She looked out the window, unwilling to look at Jin Fengju’s smug face anymore, “The credit really should have been hers.”
The silence that followed was very awkward.
Jin Fengju coughed. He regretted his flippant words just now. Another cough later, he snapped open his fan and bulldozed forward, “I mean, I am sure that she is happy to know that her legacy lives on! Think of it! Her songs will now be performed before the emperor! What great honour, don’t you think? Speaking of which, there is no need to perform both Huangmei and Yue opera. There will be more Festivals in the future. Perform one type for three years, and once the public is used to one, we may take the other performance out as needed. What do you think?”
“As you say, Lord Husband,” Fu Qiuning murmured, still looking out the window with a sad expression.
Jin Fengju’s fan waved faster as sweat gathered at the nape of his neck. He loudly said, “Goodness! I have no idea which to perform first. It’s so hard to choose. What do you think, Qiuning? Should we start with Huangmei opera or Yue opera?”
[Gumihou: And this, is how we create a stilted, awkward situation without too much blablabla like this is so awkwardlikeletmetellyouwow blablabla]