Chapter 206: Wrath (?)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Han Qixue listened as Feng Zhenzhu laid out her points one by one, unable to find any words to refute her. Although she admired Jin Fengju, deep down in her heart, she felt that things wouldn’t be as straightforward as Feng Zhenzhu imagined. She stood in place for a moment, at lost for words.
Seeing her in that state, Feng Zhenzhu could not help but sneer and say, “Well, as they say, one must venture into the tiger’s den to catch a tiger cub. Today, we merely tested the waters with words, and you have already become this frightened. What is there to be afraid of? If things work out according to my plan, you too will one day become his concubine. Therefore, you should be thanking me.”
Han Qixue flushed at these words. As for Feng Zhenzhu, she was looking in the direction where Jin Fengju had disappeared before turning around and walking back into Elegant Mansion. Han Qixue followed after her, staring at her straight, resolute back. She could not help but sigh and think: Second Sister appears to be very confident, but have you considered what would happen if you failed to succeed? What if Second Madam Ning gets angry at us, what will you do?
However, it was pointless to think about these things now. Han Qixue followed after Feng Zhenzu and sat with the other ladies. After a few more rounds of exchange, Jin Yanfang noticed that Concubine Yu looked a little fatigued and tactfully led the other ladies away.
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In reality, Fu Qiuning [a] was too busy to even notice the Feng sisters (and cousin’s) plans. In the first place, it would be to her advantage if Jin Fengju were to turn his attention to another woman. After all, with her connection to the Imperial Palace, there was no need to worry about lack of money or influence within the Duke of Jing’s household. In fact, if she were to find out about the three beautiful girls’ plans, she would caution them to be prudent with their hearts and not pick a scum man with too many children under his knees already, but if they insisted on being drawn like moths to a fire, well… there was really nothing much she could do about that.
After a complete rehearsal of <<Celestial Couple>>, the performers had mastered all the moves within two days and were nearly perfect by the third day, which went as she had expected. It was on this third day that Fu Qiuning finally got to return to Elegant Mansion a little earlier than usual. It was time to tell Jin Fengju to let the eager Emperor and Empress Dowager know that the team was ready to give a private performance at the palace.
After entering the Duke of Jing’s estate, she debated going back to Elegant Mansion first or going straight to Jin Fengju’s study to inform him about the performers’ progress. Finally, she decided to just stop by the study since she was a little early. That way, she could have a good nap right away once she returned to Elegant Mansion. Thus, Jian Feng was directed to take her to the Young Marquis’ study. Once they reached the study, she vaguely noticed that there were several servants loitering about outside.
They all hurried over with smiles and said, “We really did not expect Madam to come at this time. The Master is currently reading in the study. Allow these lowly ones to announce your arrival.”
Fu Qiuning [a] looked at the overly eager looks on the faces and said slowly, “No need to bother, I shall let myself in.” [b] The servants protested loudly, but no one actually stopped her. Feeling a little suspicious, she stepped through the door and heard some very loud ‘whispering’:
“Met a few times…”
“Why isn’t he bothered now…”
“Master doesn’t seem happy…”[a] “… …” This all seemed very familiar somehow. [b] Fu Qiuning turned a corner and found Cai Lian and Bi Yu hunched over together. Really? A pair of servants whispering loudly to each other in the middle of the corridor? When they ‘spotted her’, the maids jumped apart with such exaggeration that she had to look around to see whether there was a camera nearby to catch their comedic actions.
Cai Lian was the first to stammer, “Madam, why did you enter so quietly? You startled us. Those little monkeys also do not know how to send words either.”
Fu Qiuning [b] paused to ponder how to answer that question. Finally, she decided to just be straightforward and ask, “What are you two whispering about in the middle of the corridor?”
Cai Lian and Bi Yu immediately blushed and looked away. [b] They could not have been more suspicious had they been running around with a sign that said ‘Suspect’ hanging down their chests.[b] On cue, Jin Fengju’s voice called out, “Has Qiuning arrived? Why aren’t you coming in?”
Still not looking at her, Cai Lian said, “Master is calling for Madam, Madam should enter quickly. We will talk to Madam later.”
Fu Qiuning raised an eyebrow. Something was clearly wrong there. However, she was too lazy to deal with them and just went with it. “Fine, tell me about it later.”
The two maids exchanged glances and breathed very obvious sighs of relief.
“… …” she had no idea who taught them how to act, but they were nearly as bad as those inept ‘spies’ from Zhenjiang Palace.[b] Casting one final critical eye at them, she entered to room to find Jin Fengju lounging artistically in his chair, a book in his hand, but his gaze smouldering in her direction. [c] Fu Qiuning had to resist the urge to cover her chest despite being fully dressed.
“Why aren’t you wearing more clothing? The northern wind outside has picked up today. Though it is not quite deep into autumn, it is best to be cautious and avoid catching a chill.”
Fu Qiuning [c] gave into the urge to put her arms up to cover her chest, “You’re right, I should put on more clothes. Maybe a cloak and a mantle as well.”
Jin Fengju laughed out loud, [c] clearly thinking that she was amused by his wit and not creeped out by his stare. He stretched out a bit more, lazily saying, “Ah, I have read so much that I grew tired of it and decided to change my posture. My madam caught me in a rare moment of laziness. Still, with no outsiders around, surely, I am allowed to stretch as I like? I never thought that my Madam would come by my place on an inspection tour. Does my madam have some instructions for this husband? Do tell me quickly so that I can complete it in haste. If the Madam delays, who knows, I may not be as amiable as now.”[a] “… …” Fu Qiuning debated just leaving the place and letting him twist around his couch as he liked. However, she was too much of a professional to just leave without at least giving her updates to this superior. A superior she had to placate with sex on top of her regular work, by the way. Finally, she said, “The <<Celestial Couple>> has been fully rehearsed. Please report this matter to the Emperor and Empress Dowager. Let us know when it is convenient for the troupe to perform, and where. That is all I have to say.”
Jin Fengju’s eyes lit up with joy. “Truly? It has been fully rehearsed? Aiya, that is simply wonderful! Wait, I can go to the palace immediately. As the saying goes, picking a date is not as good as encountering a date, so let the performance be done tonight.  Not only the Emperor and Empress Dowager, even I can’t wait any longer. Before, I had only heard you sing a few parts, but now that the entire opera has been rehearsed, I cannot even imagine how captivating it will be…”[b] He was jumping about, looking like he was on the verge of running next door and making the performers put on a show for him. [a] Fu Qiuning frowned, “Why are you being so noisy? Don’t tell me you’re going to disturb the performers and musicians now after a long day of practice? How unsightly.”
Jin Fengju eagerly beamed and said, “Since Madam has given the order. How could I not obey? Please have a seat, and I will have Cai Lian and Bi Yu serve tea.”
Fu Qiuning replied, “There is no need for tea. I am tired. I wish to return to rest.”[c] Instead of granting her wish, Jin Fengju suddenly rushed over to kiss her cheek. He snickered to himself and said, “In my eyes, you are as precious as a treasure. How about resting here for a bit? I must reward my wife for such an excellent job.”
“You may reward me by letting me rest.”
“Cai Lian, Bi Yu, bring in the tea and snacks!”
“… …”[c] As Jin Fengju flitted about the room excitedly, Fu Qiuning kneaded her forehead. Looks like she could not escape having a meal with the boss, a fate most workers never wish to suffer. [a] Fortunately, once most of the snacks were gone and the tea drunk, Jin Ming appeared, looking very constipated. Fu Qiuning immediately stood up and said, “It appears that Lord Husband is very busy, this humble woman shall take her leave now.”
Without waiting for anyone to say yay or nay, she quickly stepped out of the room. She had just stepped into the courtyard when she heard loud hissing voices calling her name. Fu Qiuning sighed before turning around to see Cai Lian and Bi Yu scuttling towards her in the most suspicious way possible.
“What now?” she sighed at the heavens.
Cai Lian and Bi Yu stopped just a few feet before her, exchanged glances, and then swept their gazes very obviously around for eavesdroppers. Unable to bear the second-hand cringe from their poor acting, Fu Qiuning kept her gaze on the sky. Eventually, they sidled over and spoke in that same stage whisper to say, “It is not that we are being loose-tongued, but Madam, this matter is quite unusual indeed. We are afraid that if it continues, it might lead to some scandal. Who knows what has happened with Second Madam Wan? She has always been such a strict and assertive person, not even tolerating a grain of sand in her eyes. Back when the master treated Madam well, she had also repeatedly made things difficult. But now, she seems to have turned into a hands-off shopkeeper, turning a blind eye to this matter. We sisters are concerned all day and night. It just so happened that Madam came today, but even if Madam had not, we would have found an opportunity to discuss this with Madam.”[b] “… yes?” was all she could say to that cringeworthy speech. [b] There was a pause as the maids hesitated, probably because Fu Qiuning was not reacting the way they thought she would. Eventually, Bi Yu stepped forward to whisper, “Madam, these days, you have been busy rehearsing dramas at the other residence, so Madam might not be aware of things in this estate. Something is odd with the three young misses from the Feng family, frequently appearing near this study. Sometimes, when we accompany Young Master outside, they often meet us ‘unexpectedly’. When we ask them what they are doing, they claim they are just on a casual stroll or admiring chrysanthemums and osmanthus flowers.
Think about it, Madam, isn’t this an absolute farce? Even if they want to see osmanthus and chrysanthemums, are there any better ones than those in the garden? Even the ones in Old Madam’s courtyard are superior to those scattered flowering trees near this study. Moreover, the Old Madam likes the three misses, so why wouldn’t they visit Health & Longevity Court, to come running here instead?”[b] Still keeping her gaze upwards, Fu Qiuning said, “… and?”
She heard Cai Lian sidle up to her other side and continue their little performance, “Indeed. Once or twice might be a coincidence, but in this past half a month alone, it has happened at least four or five times. Although Master seems calm on the surface, just what kind of person is he? Both Bi Yu and I have a feeling that Master also has plans in his heart for this. Speaking about it, Madam, these three Feng family misses still stem from a ladylike background at any rate. Despite their fallen family, they should have still been taught those ladylike virtues and values, right? Even our maids are not as bold as they are. They have abandoned their shame as young ladies. This… how can this be akin to whatever noble young lady? This is more like those brothel flowers…”[b] Fu Qiuning coughed. “Right, I’ve heard enough and my neck hurts.” She lowered her head from its unnatural position to sigh and say, “That’s enough. Whether they are hussies or noble daughters, it is not for you to judge. If the Young Marquis so wishes it, no amount of guarding could prevent it. Therefore, there is no need to discuss this matter anymore.”
Cai Lian and Bi Yu were bewildered. [c] This was not the reaction they had expected. Where was the expected anger and wrath? Why was this official wife so calm? Was she forcing herself to be calm? They watched as the Madam sighed again and moved away. To their eyes, it looked like the Madam’s shoulders were heavy with some sort of burden. Ah, she must be too sad to react.
How pitiful, ah.
Fu Qiuning thought: According to the internet, what were the most hated types of characters in novels? They would be the mistresses, but what was even more despicable than that? It’s when good sisters became mistresses to their husbands. [d] However, the ultimate scum of the novel would be men who cheat. After all, no matter how foxy or charming a woman may be, so long as the man did not pop open his trousers for them, nothing would come of it.
The Feng family sisters had followed Jin Yanfang to the Jin estate and were dependent on others. With Jiang Wanying’s personality, how would she ever pay them any attention? Therefore, Jin Yanfang also did not associate with that sister-in-law of hers for that reason. It was only Fu Qiuning who had taken special care of them due to her sympathy for the girls and Jin Fengju’s request. She treated Jin Yanfang and those three girls with kindness and even advised Jin Fengju to find them suitable families and not treat them as tools to be married off to wealthy households to suffer. But it looked like they were still not secure enough and chose to bait the ‘good husband’ in the family.
Fu Qiuning never understood why women would get angry at ‘the other woman’ when it was clearly the fault of the husband who could not control the one-eyed snake living inside his pants. After all, if any cheating were to occur, surely the most despicable person in the equation would be the one who allowed it, right?
Men would often make excuses about how their wives had gotten old or loose or unattractive, but had they even looked at themselves in the mirror to see what they looked like in their old age? Also, if a woman were to set their sights on a ‘loyal and dependable man’ and ‘win’ by making them cheat on their wives, wouldn’t that so-called ‘loyal and dependable’ man be tempted to cheat on them in the future? Do these short-sighted women actually think they won something by making loyal husbands abandon their wives for another?
This was why she had never placed any real trust in Jin Fengju’s promises of fidelity or love. Look at the number of wives and children he already has. It is only a matter of time before she too, would fall from grace and be replaced by a better, newer model in the future. So, why worry about holding on to a flighty man? It’s better to put her energy into cultivating her children instead.
[Gumihou: The subtitle is ‘Wrath’ because AR Qiuning was going ‘pun pun’ with jealousy all over the place. Actual Qiuning is just exhausted by all the drama]
[a] Reduce stupidity. Seriously, the text ‘Fu Qiuning did not realise the Feng Sisters’ plans’ actually existed, like, hellooo? Have you never watched a Chinese drama in your effing life? [b] Explain away the poorly acted ‘revelation’ scene as a stage created by Jin Fengju to make his beloved FQN jealous
Fu Qiuning: That sounds more realistic than me being blind as a chair in the dark[c] More creepy, less sexy [d] Complete the internet survey: What’s more scummy than women who climb into the beds of other men? Men who let the women into their beds, that’s who.
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 捡日不如撞日 The full Chinese idiom is 择日不如撞日，撞日不如今日 “Choosing a day is not as good as encountering it one day, and encountering it one day is not as good as (doing it) today”
meaning: Let nature take its course, and since you have encountered it, choose now and not have to change it to another time.
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