You are currently viewing Higher Level Wife – 226 – Guidance

Higher Level Wife – 226 – Guidance

Chapter 226: Guidance

Author: White Pear Flower


Translated by Pill Bug

Edited by Gumihou


Jin Fengju’s provocation caused the young girl to laugh out loud. Just then, a gentle voice interrupted them, “Little Yu, are you arguing with someone again?”

A man emerged from the room, still dressed in his stage clothes. Immediately recognising Jin Fengju and Fu Qiuning’s status from their outfit, he bowed and said softly, “Both masters possess extraordinary grace and nobility. May I know what guidance you have for our humble place?”

Jin Fengju smiled slightly, his tone filled with pride and haughtiness as he proclaimed, “Earlier, I and my wife were in the audience. The performance of the Huangmei opera by your noble troupe, though charming, differs somewhat from the true Huangmei opera. Though my wife is not talented, she is willing to offer you people a pointer or two. However, should your noble troupe deem itself more talented than other people and not willing to listen to these pointers, then so be it. Just pretend that we had never made this trip.”

The man looked stunned. [a] Fu Qiuning felt similarly stunned by Jin Fengju’s incredibly high-handed remarks. She was suffering secondhand embarrassment from that, but from Jin Ming and Yu Jie’s proud faces, this was apparently very normal. Perhaps, even encouraged? Was this kind of shitty attitude actually encouraged in noble sons? Jin Changfeng had better not develop this kind of attitude, although she could certainly see Jin Zhenyi displaying such snooty behaviour. As expected, that rascal Jin Zhenyi resembled Jin Fengju the most.

After being stunned, the man’s eyes flashed around once and [a] Fu Qiuning could see the moment he decided to err on the side of caution and beamed flatteringly at them, saying, “Ah, so that’s how it is. Although the Huangmei opera has shone brightly at the All Nations Cultural Festival, as commoners, we can only copy what we have seen with our eyes, not having learnt the true essence. Since the Madam understands such intricacies and is willing to lower herself to offer guidance, we are beyond honoured to receive it.” He then motioned for them to enter the shed.

Jin Fengju thought: Now, this sounds more like what a proper human person should say.

He flashed a look at the young girl who was gaping at them in shock. The man turned to her, saying, “Little Yu, go and serve tea. The best tea we have. Bring out the Pu’er tea brick [1] that Master had hidden away. I shall take responsibility for everything, so just take it.”

“There is no need for tea. We shall not be staying for long. We shall leave after a few words,” said Jin Fengju with a lazy wave of his hand. Fu Qiuning looked at the man and [a] they both cringed slightly at the same time. There was no way she was going to allow a rich goodness-knows-how-many-generation man to embarrass someone from the same line of work. Ignoring Jin Fenju’s posturing, she stepped forward to say, “We shall trouble you.”

“Ai, alright,” the man smiled in their direction, purposely not looking at her directly before turning around to call out to the others in the shed. “Quickly now, go to the stage and have someone announce that we have some urgent matters to attend to and therefore shall be ending the performance early today. Have Little Fifth come down quickly.”

He must have been someone of great importance in the troupe, because as soon as the order was given, there was a flurry of noise, including shouting and cursing, as people scrambled to obey. Fu Qiuning raised an eyebrow and said, “Is this alright? [b] To cut a performance short like this…”

“It’s fine, the performance is paid for by the Yun Clan. The ones in the audience are fellow commoners who did not pay anything for the show. Although they may grumble, they will leave willingly enough if we explain things properly,” said the man [c].

[b] Fu Qiuning nodded uncertainly. Although it was unfortunate for the audience, at least they were not financially shortchanged. She wondered if the explanation would be the standard ‘Haiz, a nobleman…’ type of excuse. She had personally witnessed a few ‘Haiz, a VIP…’ explanations in her previous life.

He further explained, still not looking directly at Fu Qiuning, “Though we who work in this profession should never turn our audience away, Little Fifth is our main actor. I believe the one who would benefit most from any kind of guidance would be him. There could be no other opportunity like this, therefore, I believe that a little compromise is acceptable. Should Old Master Yun find out, I’m sure he could only be pleased.”

Fu Qiuning thought: This person must have guessed my identity. Jin Fengju’s face alone is famous enough, not to mention the many rumours flying about about myself.

As people still in their costumes scrambled to assemble before her, she noted that this was the traditional troupe where all the actors were men. [d] There must be something in the waters of this world to produce so many pretty and beautiful men who were gorgeous enough to play celestial ladies. Like Thailand’s ladyboys, they looked even more charming than actual women. Not to mention, their greater height meant that they looked better on stage. All-woman troupes were rare and could only be found performing in noble houses for madams and mistresses of wealthy houses.

Fu Qiuning smiled at the faces that were looking at her and Jin Fengju. Most were curious, while others looked a little wary. She noted that quite a few had gathered around one with the most striking appearance. It was the Ninth Celestial, presumably their most valuable actor, Little Fifth. One of the other men was standing a little closer than the rest. A protective relative or a lover? Regardless, as it was not something that concerned her, she proceeded to give a few pointers to each of the performers she had seen performing earlier. She left Little Fifth for last, and the actor looked more and more nervous as time passed, probably wondering why she had not said anything to him yet.

Finally, she addressed Little Fifth, “I heard that you are the best actor here. Your singing is excellent, could you sing the following stanzas for me…”

For the closing address, she said, “You are all very talented and hardworking. I hope you will continue to do well and continue to spread the pleasure of Huangmei everywhere.”

More than an hour passed and she could see from Jin Ming’s anxious gaze that it was time to leave. Yu Jie looked enchanted and excited to be near so many ‘real actors’, while Jin Fengju looked prideful and arrogant. Finally, she stood up and said, “It is getting late, and we must leave. I have already said everything that needs to be taught and said. Though I cannot personally teach you step by step, I look forward to witnessing how much you can comprehend in the future and how the songs turn out.”

The performers and musicians all gratefully expressed their thanks. The group escorted Jin Fengju and Fu Qiuning out the door. As the two left with their servants, the Cloud Stage Group burst into excited whispers in their wake. The girl called ‘Little Yu’ tugged at the warm-tempered man’s sleeves, asking, “Big… big brother, was that madam truly the… Marquess?”

“You silly goose, have you only realised that now? See if you dare to be so sharp-tongued again in the future. If I had not overheard you just now, you would have driven away that noble lady with your ridicule. What do you think will happen then?”


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On the way out, Jin Fengju laughed and said, “You certainly have an addiction to teaching opera. It is not enough to teach those performers and musicians, you even ran all the way here to teach these commoners. You know, if someone were to find out, even I would be reprimanded for taking you to that place. Fortunately, a few of those performers appear to have some talent. Especially that Little Fifth. His singing voice is already quite acceptable, and with your guidance, he could become the best Huangmei opera singer among the common folk.”

Fu Qiuning nodded and said, “It was one thing to find talented people from the Imperial Conservatory, and quite another to have self-taught people from the commoners. Moreover, it was interesting to find such beautiful men to play the celestials, and so talented too…”

Feeling somewhat unsettled, Jin Fengju said, “Are those men more beautiful than me?”

“Little Fifth’s looks are more striking than beautiful. It was his gorgeously emotive voice and vivid acting that brought the main character to life.”

Jin Fengju sniffed and said, “Once someone enters this profession, can he still be called a man? Relationships between men may not be in fashion in this dynasty, but performers can still be toyed with at will by those wealthy families.”

Suddenly, Yu Jie gave a little shriek and said, “Then, could it be that Little Fifth be the same Fifth Brother mentioned by the little girl? She was being so hostile because he was being harassed to… to…”

Jin Fengju frowned at being spoken to while chatting with Fu Qiuning. However, seeing his wife’s interested expression, he nodded and said, “I think that should be the case. I actually observed a hint of arrogance in him. However, what is the use of being arrogant once a person has entered this profession? Won’t he still be at the mercy of others in the future…” 

Before he could finish, he suddenly remembered Fu Qiuning’s kind heart and realised he shouldn’t let her know about these sordid and dirty matters. So, he quickly stopped talking. Looking around, he saw a stall selling melon seeds, walnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts and other dried fruits. He quickly changed the topic, saying, “Look at those dried fruits. Let us buy some to enjoy once we return.”

“It is not like we don’t have those at home,” said Fu Qiuning listlessly. [a] She thought: Harrassed by customers? Isn’t this similar to the ‘unspoken rules’ prevalent within the entertainment industry? Even the traditional entertainment industry suffered from all these ‘unspoken rules’. In fact, she had elected to leave the stage to teach little children because of these kinds of dirty business.

As for Jin Fengju… No matter how Jin Fengju tried to coax her, he could not get her to even look at the dried snacks. Finally, he said, “Home is home, and what you buy outside naturally has a different taste. Do not forget, didn’t both Zhenyi and Feng’er love to eat the Tanghulu sold outside?” After saying this, he rushed around excitedly, buying several varieties and wrapping them all in paper, holding them in his arms with obvious satisfaction as he continued to do his best to coax Fu Qiuning.

Eventually, they returned to the carriage. Fu Qiuning’s mood was still low and Jin Fengju’s regret became heavier. He thought: it is all my fault for being too talkative. If I had known earlier and had not talked so much, wouldn’t it have been fine? Now, after arriving here with joy, must I return home in disappointment? 

He was still contemplating how to best improve his dearest Qiuning’s mood when suddenly, he heard a fierce and malicious voice not far away, saying, “Damn, it was just a stinky little performer, yet he actually dares to refuse to give face again and again. He thinks that the young master of the Yun Clan has an interest in him, so he becomes arrogant. Does he think that Young Master Yun, a great and distinguished person, would ever pay attention to him? Tonight, you must bring him back and have him sing for me. You must bring him over even if you have to tie him up. That performer called Little Fifth…”

Jin Fengju quickly became alert. A quick glance at Fu Qiuning showed that she was frowning at the direction of the people speaking about this Little Fifth. He sighed inwardly, thinking: it seems that I have to intervene in this matter, even if I do not want to care. 

He called Jin Ming over and said, “Follow that group of people. They are probably going to Cloud Stage Group to kidnap someone. Tell them that Cloud Stage Group has been reserved by the Jing Dukedom. Except for the Yun Clan’s performers, no others are allowed to step into that place.”

Jin Ming acknowledged the order and left. Jin Fengju then turned to Fu Qiuning and said, “It is getting unusually cold. Get on the carriage first. Jin Ming will probably be back soon.”

Fu Qiuning stared at him for a moment before silently climbing into the carriage. Jin Fengju followed suit. Looking at the pile of goods that took up half the carriage space, he laughed and said, “Yo, this is very lavish indeed. When we bring them back and share them with everyone, they will surely be delighted. It also just happens to be an opportunity to talk about this half-day experience in front of Old Ancestor. That old person loves a good story. Even if she cannot come in person, hearing our account will surely bring her joy.”

When Fu Qiuning still did not respond, he could not help but say, “Stop worrying, Qiuning. Haven’t I already sent Jin Ming over? Judging by that person’s words just now, it seems that Little Fifth has some connections with Yun Jinlong. I will consider this action as a favour to the Yun Clan. In the future, Yun Jinlong may even come over to express his gratitude to me.”

Fu Qiuning said, “You know the young master of the Yun Clan?” Even as the question left her lips, she nearly rolled her eyes at herself. Who else would these rich noble young men interact with if not other rich young men, noble or otherwise?

“You are right,” Jin Fengju laughed and said. “The Yun Clan is a well-known wealthy mercantile family, and Yun Jinlong is also a prominent figure, on par with Elder Brother. They have expanded their business even beyond the capital. They have connections with many influential people in the court and are also in Prince Rong’s faction. How could I not know them? As I said, I shall consider this as a favour to them.”

Fu Qiuning considered her response. On the one hand, she did not want to encourage his attention further. However, there seemed to be no end to it regardless of what she did. Therefore… 

“Lord Husband is most gracious and benevolent with his favour and thinks kindly of the common folk.” There, this should be enough to signal to him how much she looked favourably to actions like this and encouraged him to do more ‘good deeds’ in the future. This weird obsession might as well be channelled where regular people could benefit from it.

Jin Fengju quickly responded, “I know you are simply trying to reassure me. Rest assured, I do not see myself as a bodhisattva, thinking of rescuing people from dire straits. With Prince Lie gaining power, we should all be a little more cautious for fear of offending anyone from his side. Even so, there is no need for my dear Qiuning to overthink it. Although we need to be cautious, the situation now is not like the situation a while ago. Even with Prince Lie in power, we cannot be too timid. Moreover, if this matter becomes known, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. Don’t you think I have been a bit too pure and righteous these years? No one is perfect, and it is time to let people know that I, Jin Fengju, am not a saint, and I too have stains. Rest assured, I handle these matters with discretion. If it was not proper to help him, even if he had a hundred thousand pitiful reasons, I would also not act so recklessly. You said that you are not a bodhisattva, so how can I be someone who doesn’t know when to advance or retreat just for the sake of saving all living beings?”


[Gumihou: This is just an arc for JFJ to play hero and display his phallus. What mighty phallus indeed.]


[a] Just Fu Qiuning being stunned by JFJ’s asshole behaviour like any normal people would be

[b] Replace ‘make someone angry’ with ‘to cut a performance short’ because, hello? Fu Qiuning was someone in the opera business? Her first thought should be for the opera performance and not some angry person from the audience?

[c] This character’s characteristics are unclear, probably was placed there to make JFJ look good? Anyway, will try to get a handle on it. If he’s a respected person with some authority, let his character reflect that and remove any unnecessary smiling and beaming that were not for ‘flattering’

[d] Deleted: Watching several people hastily descend from the stage, she noted that in that era, most actors were men dressed as women, yet they didn’t look as unattractive as depicted on television. 

Why. Mention. The. TV?

Why when you are in the actual freaking opera business yourself? Huh? AR Qiuning who had completely forgotten you are from this business aside from moments when your talents are useful for the ML?

[e] Deleted: Fu Qiuning also knew her behaviour was somewhat against the rules of convention. Just now, with her teacher’s soul burning with passion, she felt that she had an unavoidable responsibility for the growth and expansion of Huangmei opera. Now, that enthusiasm had cooled, and she also realised the inappropriateness of her actions. Yet, Jin Fengju’s agreement to this visit indicated not just doting love, but also a genuine understanding. Only if he truly respected her, would he have done so. With those thoughts, she felt a subtle, sweet feeling in her heart.

Isn’t this sweet? Is that why ‘the man’ was not even named? Because this was a ‘pushing scene’ for JFJ to look good?

Delete the sweet moments and replace them with actual teaching.


Pill Bug TL Notes:

[1] 茶砖 Yes, literally a brick made of tea leaves. I have not seen anyone make tea from this, but apparently, they exist!

Gumihou: I accidentally bought a brick of tea leaves once, will post a pic one day


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