Chapter 202: An Outing
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Gumihou: Let’s have the children behaving like actual children and FQN behaving like actual Fu Qiuning. Replaced a lot of bla bla with sad.
Fu Qiuning shrugged and said, “Why are you being so angry? She is still Brother Yi and Third Young Miss’ mother. Have you forgotten this ?”
What else could Yu Jie do but giggle in reply?
What her mistress said were facts. Although she hated those petty villains, it was not to the point of wanting them to be badly treated.  She had brought up the matter as a way to gossip with Fu Qiuning and get closer to her, since it felt like her mistress had been distancing herself from the maids. Nothing like trash-talking an enemy to build connections, right? However, Fu Qiuning effectively cut off that line of chatter with that simple reply. What else could she do but titter and ask, “Madam asked me to stay back, do you have any orders for me?”
Fu Qiuning studied Yu Jie for a moment before saying, “You said that you were abducted and sold into slavery as a child, yes?”
“Yes, Madam,” said Yu Jie, uncertain why her mistress would ask her this now. Could it be…
“The Young Marquis has found a candidate as your marriage partner. He is a freed commoner who achieved the position of Imperial Guard on his own merit. What do you think?”
For some reason, instead of looking happy, Yu Jie looked a little pensive instead. “What now? Do you already have someone in your heart?”
“No, no, it’s just… I know my own situation well. I am but a slave girl whereas the other side is an Imperial Guard. Does the family know? Even if they don’t, would they accept me once they know? Not to mention, if he wishes to advance his position, it would be better for him to marry well…”
“… I agree, it is better to remain unmarried than to be stuck in an unhappy marriage,” said Fu Qiuning. Some measure of sympathy for this maid of hers emerged in her heart. [3a] No matter what she had done in the past year, selling her mistress out for gold leaves and such, this maid had stayed with the original Fu Qiuning for over a year before that poor woman hung herself out of depression and neglect. That’s right, she should strive to never forget that poor woman. Aside from herself, who else would remember her? Speaking of which, should she light some incense for the original!Fu Qiuning? At least, she had brought that woman’s mother and a companion out of King Zhenjiang’s palace. If nothing else, she could help that unhappy woman look after her mother…
“Madam, rather than getting married, I want to stay by your side forever!” Yu Jie suddenly declared, interrupting her dark thoughts.
Fu Qiuning looked at this young, earnest-looking girl and chuckled, “Now that’s a fine thought. Still, it is better for women in these times to get married to a good man if possible. That person will be accompanying us to the farmstead. I shall arrange for a meeting. You may decide for yourself if you wish to make the connection.”
That’s right, there was no need to waste words on that matter. It all depended on the character of the person. If the man proved to be the quietly vicious, ambitious type, even she would not easily relinquish a partway loyal maid into his hands. She owed this maid 5+1 years of Fu Qiuning’s life, so one year of disloyalty should not blind her to that.
Despite all her talk about remaining by her mistress’ side, Yu Jie still looked flushed and excited. Well, she was a young woman after all and the prospect of a family, possibly romance and children, could only fill her with anticipation.
As for Yu Jie, she had made up her mind to tell Fu Qiuning that she would never marry and would stay with her mistress forever!
Eventually, Jin Fengju returned.
Yu Jie hurried off to make tea for the master.
Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao had never left the estate in their entire lives, having spent their first few years being [3b] abused by their blood mother and neglected by their own father before being shipped over to an abandoned wife’s courtyard. Later, even after they were acknowledged, Jin Fengju was too busy with everything else to take them anywhere. Fu Qiuning had no support from her maternal side, which was why they ended up never leaving the estate, not even to the streets where the servants sometimes go to buy soymilk or sell the ladies’ embroideries.
Therefore, they were naturally very happy and excited to go out, even though Jin Changfeng expressed concern over his mother and grandmother visiting a ‘farmstead’ which he understood to be a terrible place which they had been banished to before. This belief was further strengthened by Jin Fengju’s action of banishing Concubine Xu and her children’s obvious sadness.
Thus, it was with mixed feelings that the people went to bed that night.
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The next day, several large carriages had been prepared at the entrance of the estate. Jin Fengju was on a horse and Fu Qiuning had one carriage to herself, together with the four children as well as Yu Jie and Jian Feng.  Jiang Wanying and the concubines, as well as Jin Fengju’s other children, occupied other carriages, with more carts and carriages carrying bedding, clothes and other items deemed necessary for a farmstead visit.
Thus, an entourage of carriages left the Duke of Jing’s estate in a grand manner for the outskirts of the Capital.
Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao were naturally very excited to travel outside. After they left the area cordoned off for noble mansions and rich aristocrats, the streets became livelier with vendors selling various snacks and jewellery coming into view. There were even performers in colourful costumes executing impressive acrobatic feats for money.
While they were being dazzled by the sight, Jin Fengju came over with a few sugar figurines  and handed one to each other the four children. “Here, try this. I used to eat them all the while. It was usually made by the cooks at home. I rarely buy them on the street.”
Fu Qiuning looked at the shining faces of the children, then at the beautifully blown glass sugar figurines. Though she was a little hesitant about hygiene here, surely it would be alright? [3b] The two older ones had had a hard life with her and should be more robust. Jin Zhenyi looked like he would chew up insects on a dare. The only one she was truly worried for was Jin Xiunan…
Still, it would not do to leave anyone out. Instead, she smiled and said, “Everyone, take one. You must leave the rest for your other brothers and sisters.”
Jin Zhenyi looked reluctant, but took one only.
Naturally, Jin Fengju made her simple remark all about him as he chuckled and said, “Surely there’s no need for you to remind me? Can’t I think for myself?”
Fu Qiuning gave him a blank look, to which he returned with another hearty laughter before spurring his horse towards the other carriages.
All too soon, the carriages left the busy streets and were passing through the city gates. Fu Qiuning, Jin Changfeng and Jin Changjiao had a sudden intake of breath as the walls disappeared, leaving no obstruction to a vast landscape of majestic mountains, a clear river winding like a jade belt, nodding flowers and lush waving grasses. Their carriage was not the only one with windows drawn open, with the concubines and children in other carriages also looking outside with awe. It was an incredible scene for the ones who grew up stuck inside an estate.
Jin Fengju smiled at her reaction and said, “After the All Nations Cultural Festival, we may have a few vassal kings who would prefer to stay a little longer. The Emperor may invite them to participate in the autumn hunt. Feng’er is now almost 10 years old. I will bring him with me this time…”
True to his precocious attitude, Jin Zhenyi suddenly piped up and said, “Although my brother is older than me, he can’t ride a horse or shoot arrows as well as me. Take me instead, Father!” Jin Fengju spluttered, how dare this child interrupt his attempt at charming Qiuning? He said irritably, “Just because you can ride a little pony and shoot a little bow, you have the nerve to claim yourself good at both? What’s more, you only turn eight this year. Still too early.”
Jin Zhenyi protested, “Riding and shooting doesn’t have anything to do with age! I may be only eight, but I’m about the same size as Brother Feng!”
By now, heads were poking out of the other carriages. Jin Fengju realised that due to the commotion, even Jin Zhenxuan was staring eagerly in his direction. The boys were all clearly waiting for his answer. He had accidentally stirred up a hornet’s nest among his sons. Feeling a headache creeping up, he said quickly, “We will talk about it later. So long as you are obedient, Father shall consider it.”
Even the usually pensive Jin Zhenxuan cheered loudly at that. Inside the carriage, Fu Qiuning made eye contact with Jin Changfeng who coughed into his fists. Jin Changjiao smirked at Jin Xiunan who blinked back at her expressionlessly. There was a tacit understanding among all four individuals even as Jin Zhenyi started chattering excitedly about the coming autumn hunt.
It was another half-day travel before they reached the Jin Clan farmstead. The people living in the farmstead had long received news that their masters would be visiting and had made the necessary preparations. Concubine Xu was not in that village but in another about two miles away. Jin Fengju was the one who had banished Concubine Xu, so even talking about visiting that village would be impossible. When Jin Zhenyi and Jin Xiunan passed by him, he turned a blind eye at their anxious gazes.
How could the children not be anxious?
As soon as they found out that their mother was not in the village but in the village two miles away, they were unable to sit still. Even the steady Jin Xiunan was anxious. Fu Qiuning looked at the two fidgety children and said, “Stay for lunch. You should show your faces during that time at least. After that, when everyone’s taking their afternoon nap, I shall make arrangements for someone to take you there.”
If anything, this made them even more excited. However, they manage to calm themselves down enough to get through lunch without looking more excited than the rest.  Father was hardly looking at them, only having eyes for Honoured Mother. Though it pained them, it was not too bad since all the rest of the children were treated the same way, even Jin Changjiao and Jin Changfeng. To distract himself, Jin Zhenyi began thinking about the coming Autumn Hunt. He knew that Father only offered to bring Brother Changfeng hunting because he wanted to curry favour with Honourable Mother. He no longer resents Brother Changfeng for receiving more attention since he knows that Brother Changfeng likes to be fair and just. The noisy one was Changjiao, who got under his skin sometimes, but was good fun most of the time since she was the one who laughed at his jokes the most whereas Xiunan would just frown and Changfeng would just smile briefly at best.  It was… nice being with his new siblings. Sometimes, he felt like he was betraying his own mother for having fun, but then Jin Zhenyi would remind himself that he was currying favour with the most powerful woman in the estate. And look! His currying has come to fruition at last! They were barely two miles away from Mother! They would be able to see Mother soon!  He had brought some gifts for her, a few things that would help her get through winter in a farmstead such as coal, bedding, warm clothing, as well as some small jewellery she could use to pawn for things if needed. It was Jin Xiunan who suggested those things and he was happy to comply. Personally, he wanted to bring Mother a horse, more servants, and maybe even some of her favourite clothes, but Xiunan had shot those down, saying that Mother had to not stand out or trouble would find her.  That was fine, especially since Xiunan had brought the matter up to Honourable Mother and she had approved of the gifts, calling Xiunan sensible and practical. She even gave the two children another bolt of cloth and a set of good candles because ‘working in the dark during winter is hard on the eyes’.  He tried not to think about how Honourable Mother would know that.  Father finally stood up and gave a huge, exaggerated yawn. Mother stood with him and the two of them left the dining room for the bedrooms. She did not look back, but Jin Zhenyi noticed Yu Jie leaving in a different direction. Mother’s personal maid must have gone to ensure that those ‘arrangements’ were being carried out properly.
Hearts beating like drums, the brother and sister sat next to each other, waiting.
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Yu Jie left to meet with the guards brought over by Jin Fengju. These guards were the ones who went to the Western Region with Jin Fengju. After making his report to the Emperor, he had taken the lot with him to the farmstead, ostensibly for a ‘vacation’. Although his relationship with the guards could be formed on flattery or ambition, money still had to be paid later. When Yu Jie approached them, one of the guards actually recognised her. It was Yang Ming, that unlucky fellow who played the Ghost of Night Breeze Pavilion.
He had been promoted and was now a Third Rank guard with the privilege of carrying a sword by the Emperor’s side. When he saw Yu Jie, he approached her with a smile and said, “Miss Yu Jie, do you need anything?”
Yu Jie asked, “How does this gentleman know this maid’s name?” Yang Ming’s smile froze. He quickly recovered and said, “The Master and Mistress asked me to pick a few people to escort Young Master Yi and Third Young Miss someplace, yes?” he was just guessing, but surely this would cover his little slip.
“Is that so? Well, Young Master Yi and Third Young Miss wish to visit a village two miles from here. Be sure that they return before the evening meal.”
“Yes, I understand,” said Yang Ming with a smile. He turned around to call out a few names while Yu Jie waited on the side.
Suddenly, she noticed that one of the guards appeared to be staring at her. She had no idea what to think of it at first until she remembered what Fu Qiuning had said, and then she could not help but look directly at the person, meeting the eyes of a handsome guard.
Even though Yu Jie had always been the straightforward type. She could not help but blush at that moment. She quickly thanked Yang Ming and hurried off with the selected guards. At the designated location, Bai Lu and several maidservants as well as the two siblings, were already waiting together. Just outside the gate was a black horse-drawn carriage.
Yu Jie did not go with them to the other village, merely giving Bai Lu some instructions before personally watching the carriage leave with its entourage and returning back to report to Fu Qiuning.
As for Jin Zhenyi and Jin Xiunan, their thoughts were already with their birth mother. When they arrived at the second village and the children quickly made their way to their mother’s courtyard. The servants had not expected a visit from their young master and young miss. Thus, panic reigned for a while until one of the matrons took charge and led the children to their mother’s room loudly calling, “Madam Concubine! Your son and daughter are here to visit you! Why don’t you come and meet them?”
[Gumihou: Can feel the half-heartedness in this chapter. Especially Note 5. Also, yet another lookism encounter. Such originality.]
 Deleted 150 words of pointless explanation meant to make FQN look good.  Realistic reaction to  instead of more pointless details to make FQN look good  Replaced over 300 words of heartwarming dialogue btw FQN and this traitorous maid. Give something realistic and perfunctory instead. [3a] Add details re original Fu Qiuning, because we must not forget her [3b] Add details re children’s abused and neglected upbringing  Replace ‘kyaa~’ thoughts of JFJ with sad thoughts for original!FQN  The other carriages contained Concubine Huo, Concubine Cui and their children Jin Zhenxuan, Jin Xiuzhen and –
Gumihou: Wait, wait, aren’t Zhenxuan and Xiuzhen JWY’s kids?!! Why are they being lumped with the concubines?! Also, why no mention of JWY at all?? You can’t just abandon your characters like this you shitty author!
Also, where are Concubine Luo and Yu?! Sugar figurines or sugar people – is a folk art of using hot liquid sugar to create 3D figures