You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 196 – Parting Ways
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Higher Level Wife – 196 – Parting Ways

Chapter 196: Parting Ways

Author: White Pear Flower


Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou

Note: All mentions of 天仙 shall be ‘celestial’ instead of ‘fairy’ from now on.


Fu Qiuning had already explained the matter several times by then and had no problem repeating everything to her mother and Concubine Yu.

Naturally, both were surprised and full of praise for her ‘achievements’.

Concubine Yu chimed in curiously, “Back then, when the Old Master came over to scold us, he also mentioned how good this opera is. Young Miss, since there are no strangers around now…”

She suddenly stopped speaking, presumably remembering that Fu Qiuning’s status was no longer that of a ‘young miss’ but the wife of a Marquis. Her face flushed red with embarrassment. Surely someone like her had no right to request a performance from someone so above her station?

[a] Fu Qiuning smiled and said, “If Mother and Madam Concubine wish to hear me sing, I am willing. Regardless of my status, am I not Mother’s daughter?” [a]

Concubine Yu and Concubine Luo hastily said, “No, no, regardless of anything, you are still the Madam of a noble family. You must maintain your dignity, even behind closed doors.” [a]

Fu Qiuning smiled awkwardly at the women, thinking: It’s only a song, but yet these two are so afraid to hear me sing. Well, if that’s the case, let’s not push the matter.

The ladies continue their chat for a little while longer before retiring to their rooms.


The next day, Fu Qiuning returned to the palace as usual.

While she was in the middle of coaching one of the singers, a palace maid rushed in. A little concerned, Fu Qiuning stopped to look at the rushing maid, who beamed and said, “Madam, this maid just heard that the Young Marquis may have to leave for an official mission again. Madam may wish to return home earlier and help the lord prepare.”

For a moment, Fu Qiuning stared blankly at her, wondering what this news had to do with her when she noticed the expectant gazes from everyone. She inwardly sighed, time to put on a performance of her own. [b]

Otherwise, who knew what kind of news this maid would bring to the Empress Dowager? In a loud and dramatic voice, she exclaimed, “Going out on another official mission again? It has not even been half a year since he returned from Yangzhou…” 

Before she could continue, the palace maid gave a little trill of laughter and said, “This is the Emperor’s way of showing concern for Young Marquis. He has already rested for half a year now. In previous years, when has he never gone for a few trips? There is no need to worry, Madam. Missions like the one to Yangzhou should not be common.”

Fu Qiuning nodded. Now that both of them were done with their little side act, she returned to her coaching. She had less than four months until D-day, so every moment counted. As the maid said, Jin Fengju often went on these little missions for the Emperor anyway, so there was really no need to bother herself with them.

In fact, she continued with the rehearsal until late in the afternoon as usual before taking the carriage home. The moment she stepped into

Elegant Mansion, no less than three people reported that Jin Fengju was at Health & Longevity Court. However, she had no intention of going there to see him. The man would definitely turn up at her place that night no matter what.

Yu’shi and Luo’shi, having already heard that the Young Marquis was leaving for an ‘outside mission’, were casting worried looks at her. Both of them were incredibly anxious for various reasons.

As she had expected, Jin Fengju turned up while Fu Qiuning was reassuring the two ladies. Yu’shi and Luo’shi hurried back to their rooms after giving their greetings to Jin Fengju. Once the ladies were gone, Jin Fengju smiled at Fu Qiuning and said, “Could it be that I am indulging in wishful thinking? Is [c] that a troubled look on your face? If that’s the case, there is no need for you to worry. This time, I’m going to the northwest to rouse the troops, conducting a round of inspections along the route. Do you think every place is as dangerous as Yangzhou? So, there’s no need to worry.”

Fu Qiuning [c] looked at him incredulously. “As you say, there is no need to worry.”

[c] Instead of pouting as she had half expected, Jin Fengju clapped his hands and nodded with a wide smile, “As expected, my brilliant wife saw through me, yes? Just now, how many words have I spent trying to explain the matter at Health & Longevity Court? Even so, though there is little danger attached to the mission, it is still an urgent matter. Help me pack, I need to depart tomorrow.”

Fu Qiuning [d] raised an eyebrow, “Help you pack? What would I know to pack for you? In fact, none of the maids here have packed for you at all. Call Jin Ming instead and have him supervise your packing.” She turned to leave, but was chased down by Jin Fengju who hurriedly said, “How could it have nothing to do with you? Are you angry with me for leaving you so suddenly? I know, I know, I shall tell you what’s happening. In fact, it is because Softstone Kingdom has been quiet for a long time, yet we do not know what emboldened them to suddenly attack our borders this year. With it being such a tiny country, our Great Ning Empire doesn’t fear it. But behind them, the Heartwind Kingdom, with its strong and aggressive population, is not something that we can ignore. 

The Softstone Kingdom is small and weak, always having been backed by us to resist the Heartwind Kingdom. But this time, they unexpectedly turned hostile. Likely, the Heartwind Kingdom has secretly carried out some plot. The Softstone Kingdom is our Great Ning Empire’s gateway and we must not let it become Heartwind’s route to attack our supply routes. That is why I am in such a hurry to leave.” 

Fu Qiuning stopped walking and said, “I see.”

Jin Fengju chuckled, “Qiuning, you are a discerning person. I have only told you about this and I haven’t breathed a word to Old Madam, Elder Madam and the others. You mustn’t let it slip either. Actually, it is really not that dangerous. I will play it by ear. If things get difficult, we will take the initiative. Instead of letting Softstone become Heartwind’s invasion path, it would be better for our Great Ning Empire to turn it into our border. The border troops are strong and brave, and this time I am bringing twice as many guards. So, rest assured. Fu Qiuning actually had no idea what he was talking about.

[d1] What Softstone Kingdom or Soapstone Country? What Heartwind Kingdom or Heartworm Country? Surely none of these places have anything to do with her?

Although it may be troublesome if war were to happen, she would still be stuck there regardless. [d2]

Early the next morning, Jin Fengju headed to Health & Longevity Court to bid farewell to Old Madam Jin, Madam Jiang, and his other wife and concubines. The women of the family saw him off beyond the inner ceremonial gate before finally stopping in their tracks. 

Fu Qiuning watched him leave and couldn’t help but feel a bit relieved. At least she didn’t have to put on a performance for him all night long after coaching a bunch of palace performers all day long. She silently prayed: Please have a nice long stay at Soapstone Country, or was it Softstone Country? Who knows, just stay away for as long as you can.

[e] With Jin Fengju gone, life at Elegant Mansion settled into a tranquil routine. Fu Qiuning went to the palace every day to coach the singers and supervise rehearsals. She periodically checked the children’s homework in the evenings. With no harassment from Jin Fengju, the study room returned to its quiet studious atmosphere, punctuated by the occasional smart remark from Jin Zhenyi.

Fu Qiuning had divided <<Celestial Couple>> into three major parts for rehearsals. By the end of the month, the first part had been fully learned by all the performers. Although it was the shortest part of the three, it had the most performers since it was the ‘introductory’ part of the play.

[e] As for the music, she just let the two musicians have free reign over every decision. All she did was suggest the inclusion of the yangqin [f] and the konghou [f1] for a purer and more romantic sound.

Today was yet another day of rehearsal when the Empress

Dowager’s palace maid, who came now and then to inspect their progress, eagerly approached Fu Qiuning and pulled her aside to say, “We must have the Empress Dowager witness a performance at this stage. This opera is truly unparalleled. I was both dazzled and overjoyed to the point that I could find no words fit to describe it. My dear Madam, do not keep the Empress Dowager hanging, you must know the old woman has been looking forward to it day and night so much that her gaze can almost pierce through obstacles.”

What could Fu Qiuning do but smile and say, “Of course, it shall be done at Lady-in-waiting Li’s discretion. Thus far, though there are some minor flaws, the performance done by the palace talents is not bad. Hearing how the Empress Dowager is so anxious to see our progress, I trouble the Lady-in-waiting to inform Her Majesty that should she wish it, they troup may perform this very afternoon.”

Lady-in-waiting Li laughed, “How can this lowly one be the person to report such a great thing? Not to mention, I lack the necessary knowledge on these matters. I fear I must trouble the Marchioness to come with me to make the report together. While we are there, even if we eat a little more of the Empress Dowager’s snacks, I’m sure the old lady would still be happy to see us.”

With that, she pulled Fu Qiuning along to see the Empress Dowager. The palace maids, musicians and dancers that were left behind were all very excited. [f] Sounds of music being played and singers practising their verses could be heard within the Jade Lotus Pavilion, creating a cacophony of noise.

Fu Qiuning arrived at the Empress Dowager’s palace to see that several elegant ladies were already seated inside the ostentatiously decorated room. Those had to be the various imperial concubines [g] stuck inside the inner palace after marrying the emperor. She already knew from Jin Fengju’s rambling that Prince Rong’s mother had already passed on a long time ago, but Prince Lie’s mother should be one of the elegant ladies sitting before her.

Lady-in-waiting Li introduced Fu Qiuning to the ladies and she had to greet each of these imperial ladies of the palace individually. Fortunately, no one insisted for her to kneel and kowtow to all of them, otherwise, her poor knees would have been worn out.

Eventually, the Empress Dowager ordered some servants to bring in a chair. The chair was placed in a position just below Imperial Concubine Jin. Fu Qiuning noted that this person’s name, although was also a ‘Jin’, had nothing to do with the Duke of Jing’s family since her ‘Jin’ meant ‘brocade’ and had nothing to do with the ‘Jin’ or ‘gold’ of Jin Fengju’s family.

The Empress Dowager smiled and addressed the room, “It has been many days since you have last visited me. I trust you have some good news for me, yes? If you dare to say that you have none, don’t blame me for kicking you.”

Everyone, including Fu Qiuning, laughed at that lame joke. [g] This situation was exactly like that time she had to attend a meeting with the bosses. Only the big boss was allowed to make jokes, and her job was to laugh. Once the laughter died down, Fu Qiuning respectfully answered, “Yes, Qiuning is here to report that the first section of the <<Celestial Couple>> has been completed. This humble woman dares not present anything until the dress rehearsals have been done, but Lady-in-waiting Li expressed that as Your Majesty had been looking forward to their performance, we can only offer up a less-than-perfect piece for Your Majesty’s inspection. Do accept this humble woman’s apologies and forgive any future transgressions should the piece turn out to be less than perfect.”

The Empress Dowager smiled and said graciously, “I understand. We are indeed curious to see your progress. When can we expect to see this performance?”

Fu Qiuning smiled and replied, “Today’s weather happens to be excellent. A clear day with a cool breeze is excellent for watching a play. If Empress Dowager does not mind, this afternoon should be good.”

The Empress Dowager nodded and turned to the imperial concubines, saying, “The last time Qiuning performed, none of you were present. Afterwards, she has been busy with rehearsals, so she hasn’t even visited my palace frequently, not to mention any of your palaces. I think that all of you must have known that there is a new opera around, yet have never heard it. So, today, all of you should come and listen. It is truly a most extraordinary and unique performance indeed. Why else would I, a veteran who had seen so many good operas in my lifetime, be so eager for this one?”

Imperial Concubine Xu, Prince Lie’s mother, was an astute woman. She quickly responded to Empress Dowager’s words by saying, “Indeed, we heard nothing but talks about this extraordinary play every day, to the point that our ears have grown calluses. This humble woman could only wonder, could such an excellent opera really exist? Hearing Mother Empress’ assurance, this humble woman’s doubts immediately disappear, leaving nothing but an itching curiosity behind. After all, how could any of us claim to be more knowledgeable to Mother Empress?”

Another concubine, Consort Huishu, chimed in, “Some days ago, this humble woman was taking a walk around the gardens. Thinking that the lotus flowers in the Jade Lotus Pavilion were about to bloom. This humble woman was about to walk over to take a look but found that His Majesty had issued strict orders not to disturb the area around the Jade Lotus Pavilion. So, this humble woman could only watch from a distance. Although nothing could be heard, the faint melodies carried by the wind and the fluttering robes in the waterside pavilion were truly enchanting. Now, thanks to Mother Empress’ magnanimity, we can finally sate our curiosity.”


[Gumihou: I wish the author did a little more homework on music]


[a] Deleted obvious butt polishing for FQN. It was a ‘short’ summary of Fu Qiuning’s achievements, in case we had forgotten what she did in the past few chapters.

[b] Justify the ‘loving FQN’ with a ‘performance for the Empress Dowager’. 

[c] Turn every ‘aww, oh noes~’ AR Qiuning moment to JFJ’s delusions

[d] Logistical issue. What would she even pack for JFJ? Just get Jin Ming to pack his stuff for him.

[d1] Why would FQN know what’s happening with Softstone Country or Soapstone Kingdom? It has nothing to do with her, she’s not a native

at all!!! This is exactly like the scenes where she shed ‘real tears’ for a sister-in-law’ she had absolutely no connection at all!!

Author-san!! If you want her to have this connection, don’t write a transmigration story!

[d2] In fact, the whole scene was actually designed for: With the impending separation of husband and wife, their love seemed even deeper.

Yeah, nope.

[e] Let’s enjoy a JFJ free time~

[f] Although the ancient musical instruments were not as diverse as modern ones, perhaps due to their purity, the addition of instruments such as the harp and yangqin gave the music a beautiful and moving quality that rivalled modern accompaniments.

Gumihou: What is she even saying? Does she even know that ancient music tended to be more ‘jangly’ and ‘chimy’? Also, what modern accompaniments? You’re supposed to use traditional musical instruments when playing opera music!

Yangqin – a stringed musical instrument, closest cousin to the Western piano

Konghou – the original called it a ‘harp’, but that’s a Western musical instrument. The Chinese version is called the Konghou and they come in different designs. Shapes aside, the sound quality is different, although the modern ones are more melodic and less ‘jangly’;_ylt=AwrOoftmKvJkYs8Jbf8M34lQ;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3BpdnM-?p=harp+vs+konghou&fr2=piv-web&type=E210GB739G0&fr=mcafee#id=7&vid=7c45e3b8d6c5fe668dcac9800e1e9842&action=view

Another reason why Gumihou cannot rely on White Pear Flower’s word when it comes to musical information

[g] Since FQN is a transmigrator, put in details of the thoughts a transmigrator would have on ancient practices. Also, when the boss made a joke, you had better bust a gut laughing


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Melissa

    Perfect! The mom is out and safe and rooster has gone on an errand. Now our girl only needs to keep the tigers of the palace happy. Praise me Mt darling praise me gor I deserve it. Oh your leaving grand stay away till the festival please or for the rest of my life.

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