Chapter 229: Reminder (Part 1)
Author: White Pear Flower
Translated by Gumihou
Proofread by Pill Bug
Gumihou: The chapter’s been split into two because it’s waaay long
Fu Qiuning nodded and said, “I understand. You can go now.” Then, she turned to Jin Fengju and added, “As you can see, there is no need to blame Second Madam Wan. The person who asked my sister to visit Clear Soft Pavilion first was Elder Madam. Now that matters have been resolved, there is no need to pursue it further.”
Jin Fengju looked like he had swallowed something unpleasant. However, he quickly smoothed out his expression and said, “Qiuning, ah. There’s no need to be upset. I’m sure Mother was just being petty when she gave that order. That is… she just wanted to use this as a way to emphasise Wanying’s status and prevent the servants from looking down on her.”
“That’s right!” Jian Feng quickly interjected, “Madam, this maid also found out that after Concubine Lan left Clear Soft Pavilion, she headed straight for Elegant Mansion. Once here, she sat at the garden pavilion and did nothing but nibble on tea and snacks while waiting for Madam to arrive. Also, Concubine Lan only asked when Madam would return and nothing else. Oh, after that, she asked this maid to look for Madam. After that, Madam arrived and that was it.”
As Jian Feng beamed eagerly at Fu Qiuning, she had to wonder if this maid had been reading too many detective stories. She seemed to really enjoy this kind of intrigue just a little too much. Back when they first figured out that her jewellery box had been rummaged through, the most excited one was this maid.
Meanwhile, cogs were also turning in Jin Fengju’s head and he said, “Do you suspect that Concubine Lan is here to exchange information?”
Fu Qiuning shrugged, not at all interested in the intrigue.
Jian Feng was the one who quickly nodded and said, “Yes, no matter how this maid thinks about it, this matter seems rather suspicious. Think of it, Master, Concubine Lan had never been by for a long time, and yet, suddenly she has been here twice. Isn’t that suspicious?”
Jin Fengju laughed, “What nonsense! Qiuning, ah, your maid sure has an active imagination. Well, go on now. Leave us.”
Instead of looking upset, Jian Feng quickly obeyed the order. But not before making sure to give Fu Qiuning a wink.
Jin Fengju laughed again and said, “Speaking of suspicious circumstances. What does Qiuning think? Do you believe that your dear sister’s appearance has anything to do with Prince Lie receiving information on our side? Well, in the end, we have nothing incriminating in our estate for people to discover. If she wants to come, then let her come. It would just cost a few cups of tea. I really want to see, just what information can she pass out?”
Fu Qiuning spread her hands and shrugged, “It is as you say.”
“… Speaking of which, Old Ancestor really liked the New Year goods that we bought from the market earlier. You should have seen the joy on her face as I told her stories of your exploits. Old Ancestor’s mouth barely closed from laughing so much. In the past six months, I have not ever seen her so happy. Ah, right, those things we bought, apart from giving some to others, I have picked out the good ones and kept them. Later, Jin Ming will probably have some people bring them over.”
Fu Qiuning made some noise of acknowledgement since it was expected of her.
When the room lapsed into silence, Jin Fenjgu’s laughter rang out through the room again as he said, “Oh, goodness, you must be worried about the Tanghulu, right? Do not worry, I did not take any of them to Health & Longevity Court. I had them placed in the room next to the kitchen. It is clean and also cool enough over there. I have already sent a junior servant to inform the children from the clan school to have them come to Elegant Mansion after school. At that time, we will distribute them to the children.”
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In the blink of an eye, it was almost the end of the year.
On the day before New Year’s Eve, Fu Qiuning, Madam Jiang, and others were happily talking and laughing in front of Old Madam Jin. Fu Qiuning’s cheeks had stopped hurting after going through many of these meetings. Her ability to laugh on demand had also improved a lot.
Jiang Wanying was the only one absent, and everyone knew Second Madam Wan would be busiest during this time, so no one brought it up. After talking for quite a while, a junior maid outside announced, “Second Madam Wan has arrived.” Then, the curtain was lifted, and Jiang Wanying walked in, wearing a fox fur cape. Luo Cui quickly stepped forward to take her cape, asking in surprise, “Second Madam Wan, is it snowing outside?”
“It is snowing rather heavily. I see that none of you have noticed because you have been indoors all day,” said Jiang Wanying. She made her greetings to Old Madam and said with a smile, “This granddaughter-in-law has been so busy these past few days that I feel my feet kicking the back of my head. I am thankful that Old Ancestor sent someone to exempt me from the daily greetings. It was a great consideration for me.”
Old Madam Jin laughed, “With you being so busy; what do customs matter? It is only right that you are not required to come give your greetings. Speaking of which, why are you here now?”
Jiang Wanying smiled, “This time, I am not here for customs’ sake. The menu for New Year’s Eve reunion dinner has been finalised. Old Ancestor, Elder Madam and Second Madam, please have a look. Could you let me know if there is anything inappropriate? It is not too late to make any changes.”
Old Madam Jin laughed in reply, “My eyesight is poor, so why don’t you read it out loud for everyone?” She turned to Madam Jiang, Madam Fang and Fu Qiuning, “You should speak up too if you think there’s anything inappropriate.”
With that, Jiang Wanying unfolded the menu and began to read, “The main dishes include Roast Suckling Pig with Poria  Wine, Roasted Leg of Lamb, Braised Sea Cucumber, Braised Shark’s Fin, West Lake Vinegar Fish, speaking of which, we received these fishes from First Master in Jiangnan. There are dozens of authentic Wes Lake Carp there and I heard that they tasted excellent. There is also Duck Tongue Soup, Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots…”
On and on the list went. There were a total of sixteen hot dishes and eight cold dishes along with five or six staple dishes such as Fried Rice Cakes, Dragon Beard Noodles, Rice Balls, Thousand Layered Pancakes etc. etc.
Fu Qiuning had also attended last year’s family banquet and had been [c] shocked by the sheer number of different foods she had seen. Hearing them being casually read out like this was somehow even more shocking, given that she was too preoccupied and nervous to properly appreciate what she was eating last time and could barely taste anything. If anything, hearing all the fancy names being read out like that somehow made it even more shockingly extravagant and far beyond natural common sense.
She was still reeling from the impact of these dishes when Old Madam Jin said, “Didn’t the farmstead also send some deer? Make a plate of venison and replace the duck tongue soup. Hundreds of duck tongues are needed for a meal like this and the murderous aura is too heavy, not being suitable for a day like this.”
[c] “… …” Fu Qiuning had no words, was this truly the issue here? What about the poor people outside? Did these people eat like this regularly while she and the twins were on the verge of starvation and dying of cold just less than a fifteen-minute walk from this place?
While she was preoccupied with her thoughts of woe, Jiang Wanying quickly nodded in agreement and removed the duck tongue soup, replacing it with venison. Then, she asked Fu Qiuning, “Elder Sister, is there anything specific you would like to eat? Speak up, let us discuss it together.”
[Gumihou: Author is clearly trying to ruin Jiang Wanying, but you don’t have to be so blatant about it.]
[a] What is this white lotus way of speaking? Are you Concubine Huo now?
You also need not be upset. Although Second Madam Wan is still in charge of overseeing the household, you practically never visit there any more. Elder Madam intends to use this as an excuse to emphasize her status and prevent the servants from looking down on the mistress. This is not a big deal after all.
Attribute all of this ‘intrigue’ dialogue to Jian Feng, who seemed to fancy herself a character in a detective noir story
[b] Deleted 200 words of Fu Qiuning’s kleberrr deductions
Pill Bug TL Notes:
 茯苓 Poria is a type of mushroom known as the Ancient Fungus of Immortality.
Gumihou: It is unclear whether the dish 茯苓花雕烤乳猪 translated as Poria+Chinese Wine+Roasted Suckling Pig, is actually Roasted Suckling Pig with Poria Wine or Roasted Suckling Pig with Poria Mushroom and Wine.
There are no references for this dish in Chinese or English.
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