Chapter 219: To Console
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Gumihou: Eiii, melodrama abound~ which is fine. Gumi also deleted over 500 words of ‘aww, hubby so sma~rrt, so kleberrrr~~’
Jin Fengju frowned darkly before saying in a low voice, “What you said may be right. However, the imperial edict for the establishment of a crown prince has already been prepared and will be announced to the world tomorrow. This is no game, Qiuning. The emperor would not joke over something like this. Once he made his decision public, it means he had already made up his mind.”
Fu Qiuning  nearly laughed in his face,  she thought: So what if the Emperor had ‘made up his mind’? Emperors are notorious for changing their minds and flip-flopping on their decisions later. During  Kangxi’s era, one of his unlucky princes was crowned twice and deposed twice. However, there was no point saying all this to a  supposedly politically savvy person, because surely he must be more aware than her? Jin Fengju is clearly just throwing a little tantrum to make me feel sorry for him or, more likely, throw a simple, easily refutable fact for his ‘beloved’ to look good. It is either that or he really believes whatever nonsense he is saying to her, which… is a whole other problem altogether.
While she was busy pondering over the emperor’s court officials’ actual level of intelligence, Jin Fengju was still mumbling to himself.
“I must get a message to my brother-in-law. Who knows what he and my sister are thinking right now? No, I must go and see him after court tomorrow. Surely this is not the end? I have a lot of information on Prince Lie’s misdeeds and even some critical information on his involvement in the Yangzhou incident. Humph, now that it has come to this, I have no choice but to bring this matter up with the emperor and get His Majesty to judge the matter impartially.” “… …” Was this man trying to force a reaction out of her? Just look at that overly gloomy face. He was trying to get her to jump up and declare: ‘No, no, you must absolutely not, dear husband!’, wasn’t he?
Fu Qiuning must have been silent for much too long, or her expression of disbelief over the utter stupidity of his statement might have shown through, because Jin Fengju hurriedly laughed and said, “Of course, I would never do it! Not right away, not like this! Not when the emperor has just made his decision. Ha ha ha, it would be too much to suddenly come and… question the emperor’s decision…” “… I see…” said Fu Qiuning in her best neutral tone.
However, she must have appeared more sceptical than she meant to, because he immediately added, “Naturally, this does not mean that we would lie down like a fish on a chopping board waiting for others to slaughter us! How can we just wait to die without even fighting like trapped beasts against this unfair judgement?!” “Naturally,” Fu Qiuning echoed, busy thinking of the best ways to run away with the children. They could probably sew plenty of money and small precious stones into the hems and sleeves of some sturdy old cloaks, and maybe even line the belts with fine gold chains and run off with enough money to buy a small farmstead and the land around it to make a decent living away from the chaotic imperial infighting…
“Ah, it feels like a large stone is pressing upon my breast right now. I felt out of breath each time I thought about this very serious matter. I maintained a calm façade during the banquet, but I had no idea what I ate or even how I had swallowed my food. If you have any thoughts for how we should deal with the matter, do speak now, or the fire of curiosity shall burn me to death before I know it!”[2a] Fu Qiuning sighed at the excessive show of dramatics. Was this really a smart man? Was he only smart compared to the idiots around him? Madam Jiang and Jiang Wanying were known as ‘schemers’, but their plots were childish at best and reckless at worst. As for her maternal side of the family, the less said about them the better. How could she forget about those clumsy maids sent to ‘spy’ on her? She had to practically lead them to the ‘discovery’ of Jin Fengju’s ‘nefarious plans’ by being all dramatic and even go ‘ohohoho’ at one point. How cringingly embarrassing was that? [2b] Still, she had to say something before that ‘earnestly beseeching’ face. Fu Qiuning contemplated for a moment before saying, “Do you believe the emperor’s decision is truly final?”
Jin Fengju raised his eyebrows.  After a moment, he sighed and said with obvious pitying condescension, “Qiuning, ah, I understand what it is you wish to say, but the appointment of a crown prince is of great importance. It is a national matter. The emperor would definitely not play around or appoint a prince randomly as a jest.”
“Oh?” It was interesting to see Jin Fengju’s cheek jerk at her short answer. She shrugged and said, “It is as you say. The emperor would not appoint a crown prince as a jest, but what about a test? Think of it.”[2c] From Jin Fengju’s obviously shocked expression, Fu Qiuning had to revise her impression of his intelligence level again. To not be able to see such an obvious ploy… no wonder his harem was on the verge of imploding. Look at the way he ignored the rest of his wives and concubines just to spend time with a favourite. The way he brought all his riches and money into his favourite’s home screamed of a lack of forethought and only wanting the instant gratification of having Fu Qiuning fall over herself to his feet. This was not the behaviour of a rational or intelligent individual. How many stories had she read about a king neglecting his country and citizens to shower money and attention on a single imperial concubine? [2c] This was clearly the same thing. The only difference was, Fu Qiuning had no intention of rewarding this kind of behaviour. So long as she show disapproval and disinterest in power and wealth, this man would be forced to find other avenues to ‘please’ her, and the only action Fu Qiuning would reward right now was him paying attention to his own children. Children which he had begotten with women he had married, slept with and had children with, to spite original!Fu Qiuning, by the way.
Jin Fengju suddenly stood up to pace in tight circles in front of her, muttering under his breath, “Could the emperor really be testing his sons? If Qiuning is right… but that, no that can’t be… no, but if Qiuning is right, this is not good…”
He suddenly stopped and rushed to grab his cloak. Fu Qiuning watched with dispassionate eyes as he dramatically swirled the cloak on and made to rush out. She also stood up and said, “Well, if there is nothing else…”
“I am going to meet my brother-in-law,” Jin Fengju declared.
Fu Qiuning paused.
For some reason, Jin Fengju picked up on this pause and was immediately all solicitous and alert. “What is it, Qiuning? Is there something wrong? Qiuning, ah, won’t you say something? Are you worried about me going to Prince Rong’s palace? I was just thinking that even if the emperor has announced the crown prince candidate in a secret meeting, I should still meet my brother-in-law because that is the normal thing to do. If I do not go and alert him, what if he were to show too much of a reaction at tomorrow’s morning court?”[2c] Fu Qiuning thought: As expected, this guy was just too sensitive to my reaction to not be able to tell when I didn’t want him around. He was just wilfully ignoring whatever it was he did not wish to see, hear or think.
Out loud, she said, “If the Young Marquis thinks it is wise to do so, you may go ahead.”
Jin Fengju scuttled over to sit next to her, “Qiuning, my dear Qiuning, won’t you tell me? Surely it is only natural for me to go to Prince Rong?”
“If the Young Marquis thinks it is wise to do so,” Fu Qiuning said at last, knowing that he would continue to pester her until she explained herself. “There are only two prince candidates left, and if this was truly a test, what do you think His Majesty would think if Prince Rong reacted with too much dignity on the morrow?”
Jin Fengju’s eyes rolled about a little wildly before laughing out loud, “Goodness, I really have not misjudged you. You are the only woman in the world who could properly guess the emperor’s intent! Such great insight! Of course, it is best for Prince Rong to react naturally. He is, after all, a man without a deceptive bone in him.”
Fu Qiuning thought: If he was really ‘without a deceptive bone’ would he have cheated on Sister-in-law by keeping a secret mistress outside? What a joke.
Unsympathetically, she said, “If he is to be emperor in the future, surely he must learn to face his trials without the coaching of his brother-in-law?”
Jin Fengju was taken aback. He thought for a moment before smiling bitterly and saying, “Face his trials? Yes, if the emperor had named Prince Lie as crown prince as a way to test the princes, tomorrow’s morning court would be a test… I fear…”
He was silent for a long time, which was annoying for Fu Qiuning because she really did not want to sit there and listen to his nonsense any longer. Fortunately, soon he shook himself out of his daze, only to say, “Goodness, it’s long past evening. How time flies! You did not even remind me!”
“Yes, it is past evening now and I am tired. I’m sure the maids have prepared your food. Well, good night.”
She rose to leave, but was caught by Jin Fengju who beamed and said, “My dear, you are too thoughtful. I am feeling a little hungry now. How lovely it is to have a wife who is not only wise, but is also thoughtful and loving. Ah, I am truly too blessed.”
Fu Qiuning had no choice but to sit with him. After raising her voice to call the maids, Jian Feng and Yu Jie came in with food boxes containing bowls of sweet congee made with glutinous rice and red beans as well as four side dishes.
Jin Fengju ate everything quickly, occasionally looking up to beam at her. Eventually, the bowls were empty and he took her hand and sighed, “What more could a husband want when he has a wife such as you? Qiuning, thank you for staying with me till the end. To think that you would stay with me at such times of trouble, I am truly grateful to you.”
Fu Qiuning took her hand back and stood up, “It is not that I stayed with you till the end. You are the one who chose to stay. You may also choose to leave one day…”
As expected, Jin Fengju immediately caught her hand again to say, “No, no, how could I, I would never…”
Fu Qiuning watched as his words trailed off as he remembered how he had abandoned original!Qiuning to die. Though it satisfied something in her to make him remember, it would not do to press the matter.
“That reminds me, the weather is getting colder. It is late autumn now,” she looked out the window to the darkness. “Preparation must be made so that no one freezes to death in their sleep.”
“Qiuning…” Jin Fengju stroked her hand as he laughed with forced cheer, “Indeed, indeed, winter is also the time for hotpot, isn’t it? Ah, I remember… time flies by so quickly! It must have been over half a year since I had hotpot! Goodness, we must give some thought to what we should put into our first hotpot of the year! I fondly remember the fresh vegetables grown in Night Breeze Pavilion’s hothouse. I had servants to take care of your plants for you, they are still there now.
That’s right, I heard that you have started a small vegetable garden at Elegant Mansion as well. Goodness, you should really have the servants do such rough work. Surely, surely there is no reason for the official wife to engage in such work? Oh, but if Qiuning likes to do it, of course, I would never stop you from such… productive work. Only, I fear for your health…”
Fu Qiuning finally pulled her fingers away from his hands. “Having knowledge on how to grow food is vital for survival. Why should we care who inherits the throne so long as there is food on the table, clothes to wear and enough coal to survive the winter? The rest is nothing more than gross surplus.”
[Gumihou: Automatically deleted all ‘uwu *hearts* moments with JFJ’. The final paragraph in the original text was especially obnoxious as ‘the couple laughed together and the previous haze swept away’ by talks of hotpot. Yeah, right, let us totally pretend the past 5 years of near starvation never happened.]
 The unlucky twice-deposed prince was Yunreng/Yinreng, who did NOT eventually become emperor by the way
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