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Higher Level Wife – 209 – Dispelling the Scheme

Chapter 209: Dispelling The Scheme

Author: White Pear Flower


Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou


When Feng Zhenzu turned to flash a look at the door. Jin Yanfang sneered and said, “Don’t waste your anger on those junior maids. I forbade them from announcing my presence. I came from Sister-in-law’s place with some reservations, believing that she might have overthought matters, but after hearing your words, it turned out that I was the one who was made a being made into a fool by all of you.”


Feng Zhenzhu and Feng Mingzhu leapt into the air with fright. They had never seen Jin Yanfang that angry before. The sisters knew that even though they possessed both beauty and grace, being able to stay at the Duke’s estate was all thanks to their sister-in-law’s shelter. If they truly offended her… it would be too disastrous!

The two sisters dared not think further and immediately knelt on the ground, tears welling up in their eyes as they implored, “Sister-in-law, please don’t be angry. We beg you to keep our foolish words a secret. Otherwise, we will truly have no face left to live on.”

“So, you both are aware of this,” Jin Yanfang felt her heart soften at the tearful expression on the sisters’ faces. The tears resembled raindrops trembling upon pear blossoms, a truly beautiful and pitiful sight indeed. However, instead of showing her sympathy, she stretched out her hand to pound on the table and sternly scolded, “In any case, both of you are from noble families. How could you carry such foolish thoughts in your heads?”

Feng Mingzhu remained as still as a statue, but Feng Zhenzhu was more proactive. She crawled a few steps closer to Jin Yanfang, crying, “Sister-in-law, we know that you have treated us well. There are also no servants in this estate who have ever shown us disrespect to our faces. We understand that this is all because of Sister-in-law’s reputation. The Jing Dukedom values loyalty and benevolence, which is why it allowed us to escape from the fire pit along with Sister-in-law.

However, Sister-in-law is still the mistress of this estate after all, and after moving back because of your husband’s family’s misfortune, at most, only the ignorant servants would gossip behind other’s backs. But how can we sisters compare to Sister-in-law? Even if everyone treats us kindly, we, sisters must always be cautious and smile ingratiatingly all the time to avoid causing trouble for others and inviting curses behind our backs. Do you know what it feels like? 

Our situation while living here, even though Sister-in-law doesn’t mention it, doesn’t Sister-in-law understand deep down? Are we people who can rightfully stay here? Moreover, what is there that Sister-in-law doesn’t understand about the dandies from those noble and wealthy households? Even our elder brother, though he and Sister-in-law shared a loving relationship, he still visited the brothels once every three days, or five days at most. So…so, this foolish idea came to our silly heads. We only wish for a legitimate place to stay and someone reliable to lean on.”

Feng Zhenzhu let a line of tears flow for every other line of words she spoke. Because Jin Yanfang had come that day to discuss that matter, the maids and servants had already been sent away by her, leaving only one trusted aide in the outer room who probably could not hear the conversation clearly. Jin Yanfang watched as the two sisters continued to cry pitifully at that moment and thought of Han Qixue, who had initially sought refuge in the Feng family, then at the Jing Dukedom, Jin Yanfang thought that she must be feeling even more uneasy than the two sisters. 

She couldn’t help but sigh and nod, saying, “I also understand these little thoughts of yours. However, both of you should not have set your sights on Second Brother. Do you not have eyes? Haven’t you seen that besides his official duties, his entire attention is focused on Sister-in-law Ning and those few children? Where would he have the time to spare a glance at you? If you are relying on your beauty and talents, then you are merely heaping errors on a grave mistake. 

Back when Elder Sister Wan married into this family, there were two concubines, two lesser concubines, and two bedroom maids. Who among them were not great beauties? Even now, though they are no longer young, neither are they old and withered. If Second Brother truly favours beauties, could Sister-in-law Ning ever catch his eye? As for talents, that would be even more absurd. When Sister-in-law Ning married in, she was already considered a talented woman. Right now, she is leading a special, first-of-its-kind Huangmei opera and was acknowledged by the palace. What woman dares to claim to be more talented than her?

How could you have made such a miscalculation? Fortunately, Sister-in-law Ning pointed this out to me today. Otherwise, if rumours were to spread in this estate, what face would you have left to stay here? Even I would lose face. Given your difficult background, it is not wrong for you to plan for yourselves, but your choice of target is too far off the mark. Think about how well Sister-in-law Ning treated us back then, yet now, you are coveting her husband. Beat your chests and reflect on yourselves, do you feel any shame at all?”

Feng Zhenzhu and Feng Mingzhu’s faces instantly burned crimson, and they clutched at their skirts, unable to say anything back. Jin Yanfang allowed her expression to soften as she said, “Let me tell you now, Second Brother is currently considering potential matches for you. I am here to ask: do you prefer a person from a wealthy family, or a humble scholar harbouring great ambition? Tell me now, this is the only way I can help you. Do not worry, they are only humble when compared to the Duke of Jing’s household. The family backgrounds are fairly well-off and you will not suffer hardship there.”

The two sisters remained silent as they bit their lips. Jin Yanfang snorted and shifted forward to help them to their feet. She smiled and said, “What? Why are you so afraid to speak up now? Are you ashamed? Where is the boldness you had when you came after my Second Brother? Right, enough of this nonsense. There is no one here but us. Do you really think that I, your sister-in-law will push you into a pit of fire without hesitation? If you do not speak for yourselves, I have no choice but to decide for you.”

“Sister-in-law, we… we just want someone to spend our days with happily. An honest person who will treat us well is enough.” Feng Zhenzu and Feng Mingzhu stammered out.

When they heard that Jin Fengju would be selecting matches for them, any hope of joining the Jin clan family as a wife or concubine was extinguished.

If Jin Yanfang said that Fu Qiuning had invited a matchmaker to the estate, they could still imagine it as the official wife hiding her true intention of getting rid of potential rivals under a benevolent action. Now, however… they could only recall Jin Fengju’s cold indifference during every ‘chance encounter’ they had worked so hard to create. Their dream of loving moments between Jin Fengju and themselves became nothing but shameful imaginings and embarrassing thoughts.

Jin Yanfang nodded to herself at their flushed faces. She thought: Yes, it is good that these girls have regained their senses and opened their eyes to reality. They could also talk to Han Qixue about this. She let out a sigh of relief and stood up, saying, “Now that you have more or less understood, rest assured. Second Brother is a good man, and Sister-in-law Ning has always sympathised with your situation. They will naturally find good matches for you and not let you down.”

After that, she made to leave but Feng Mingzhu and Feng Zhenzu hastily rushed over to grab her sleeves. Blushing, Feng Zhenzhu hesitantly asked, “Sister-in-law, is Second Madam Ning angry with us?”

Jin Yanfang recalled Fu Qiuning’s [a] slightly annoyed face as she off-handedly dropped the shocking information about how her sisters-in-law were having too many ‘coincidental encounters’ with Jin Fengju. [b] What was even more shocking was that she had said that while Second Brother was there! Jin Fengju immediately turned sheet white, and before she could gently hint to her sister-in-law about being more discreet, Second Brother had quickly jumped in to reassure Sister-in-law and told her that he would personally select families for the Feng sisters. That was… anyway, rather than Sister-in-law being angry, it was more like Second Brother had immediately panicked at the thought of wronging his wife.

Still reeling from the impact of having witnessed that encounter, she slowly said, “Sister-in-law was… not angry. Anyway, Second Brother was the one who insisted on finding good matches for you. Though it is the norm for large estates to have three wives and four concubines, I fear Second Brother is just… unwilling. You would have wasted your time and reputation for nothing. Truly.”

Feng Zhenzhu and Feng Mingzhu felt as though they were missing something in her words, but… what could they do? They were the ones who had wronged the person who was kind to them. In the end, they decided to not visit Elegant Mansion unless expressly invited, lest they be accused of wanting to seek opportunity for another ‘chance encounter’.

As for Fu Qiuning’s side, she barely noticed the absence of the Feng sisters and cousin. She was just too busy! Jin Yanfang and Concubine Mei were the ones who talked the most whenever that side of the family visited. Also, Concubine Yu and Luo were the ones who took it as their task to entertain the random guests that popped up anyway, allowing her to rest and relax after a long day of dealing with more important things.


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Time passed swiftly, and the Mid-Autumn Festival was approaching. After the Mid-Autumn Festival would be the All Nations Cultural Festival and envoys from some countries had already started arriving at the capital. There were even foreigners with blonde hair and blue eyes from across the ocean. The capital was filled with exotic faces, drawing crowds of people to come and gawk. The already bustling capital became even livelier and more prosperous, brimming with a sense of peace and prosperity.

The <<Celestial Couple>> opera had already been completed, and Fu Qiuning received many praises from the Empress Dowager. Even so, the full opera could not be performed too frequently lest the performers’ voices became strained or injured, causing them to not be able to perform to their full capacity at the most important All Nations Cultural Festival.

At any rate, Fu Qiuning’s main duties were mostly done with, which was why she had shifted more hours to Health & Longevity Court, there to flatter and be flattered in turn. She would rather spend more time at Elegant Mansion, checking the children’s studies and hearing them play their instruments, but had no choice but to go and placate the older ladies.

Jin Zhenyi and Jin Xiunan had grown closer to her after the visit to the farmstead. As expected, their hearts could not settle when their mother’s situation was unknown. It was too cruel of Jin Fengju to simply banish and exile people as he liked. He had done so with that laundress and with original!Fu Qiuning. Concubine Xu was merely the latest victim. [c]

One day, she found herself at a loss, having nothing to do. The children were at school and she no longer had to work day and night just to scrape a bit of money for something a little more nutritious for the children. She vaguely recalled that Old Madam Jin had taken a liking to the knotted silk strings that Yu Jie had made, and after some thoughts, told Yu Jie to pick out some colourful threads before setting out for Health & Longevity Court.

Lacking anything to do in the ancient era, visiting each other and doing craft work was one of the few ways women could pass the time. As they passed through the gardens, Fu Qiuning looked at the browning grass and lamented, “In the blink of an eye, it is already autumn again. Aunt Yu has married, and it seems that you will be married soon as well. Although I am happy for you all, I can’t help but sigh at how quickly time flies.”

The marriage talks between Yu Jie and Ling Yun had finally taken place. Although Yu Jie had intended to serve Fu Qiuning for the rest of her life, she was ultimately persuaded to marry. One of the reasons was Jin Fengju, who kept extolling the various virtues of Ling Yun’s family. Fu Qiuning was unclear as to why Jin Fengju was so determined to get Yu Jie married off to one of the Imperial Guards, but as she had already cut this maid off her list of loyal people in her mind, it was not difficult to be persuaded. She would just have to make sure to keep in touch in case that family proves to be one of those who like to bully their daughters-in-law.

One good thing that came out of this arrangement was the groom’s family’s insistence on lifting Yu Jie’s slave status. To Fu Qiuning, being a free person could only be a good thing for Yu Jie and she considered this a good point towards Ling Yun’s family.

As for Yu Jie, her eyes would reddened whenever she looked at her mistress, the person she had served for so many years. It was difficult for her to imagine a life without Fu Qiuning in it. She forced a smile and said, “Madam, there is no need to be so sentimental. Time does fly by, but Madam’s blessings are getting deeper with each passing day. This year, Brother Changfeng might not be able to participate in the provincial examination, but in another three years, I believe he can at least become a scholar. After that, when he grows a bit more, he might even become a Juren-ranked scholar or a Jinshi-ranked Imperial Scholar. [1] If he marries a virtuous lady who will be filial to you, wouldn’t that be great? Sister Changjiao will also be getting married, and so will Brother Yi and Third Young Miss. Every single one of these events is a joyful occasion. Everyone would soon see just how great Madam’s fortune is, ah.”


[Gumihou: So many people working hard to polish asses]


[a] Ei, let’s have a slightly more realistic expression.

[b] Arrange so that the information of ‘Second Brother will arrange for you’ come out in the most realistic, yet shocking way for Jin Yanfang to make her so sure that JFJ is in luuuurve with FQN

[c] Ei, instead of talking about how shiny AR Qiuning’s butt is and how ugly her haters are, let’s talk about JFJ’s habit of banishing random women in his life.


Pill Bug TL



[1] 举人 进士 Juren and Jinshi, degrees after passing the imperial examination. I supposed you could compare them to modern Masters and PhD degrees. They are a big deal, because getting a Juren degree gives you gentry (minor nobility!) status.


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Melissa

    I pray these ladies will be given good husbands preferably the less wealthy that they may be cherished and honoured. Beleive me girls you have dogged a bullet not getting into that man’s pants. Yet if you had stayed honorable you could have enjoyed his generosity longer. Now you will be married out. All but our beautiful lady will give a sign of relief. As long as Rooster is not comfortable in his beloved presence he will never look at another women. One thing she would be indifferent if he did.

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