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Higher Level Wife – 249 – Demotion

Chapter 249: Demotion

Author: White Pear Flower


Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Gumihou

Gumihou: Expect a lot of drama… and its cousin, melodrama. Please also pay attention to Note 5. Bestowed some depth to Jin Fengju. Also, please don’t ever say Gumi is out to destroy the characters because all that asshole character design was originally set down by White Pear Flower. In the first five chapters in fact.


Fu Qiuning was unsure what to say to this remark [1]. She thought: Did he want me to agree with him or counter his remark?

[1] In the end, she erred on the side of caution and said, “It is as the Young Marquis said. The children and I shall be quiet at the table from now on. Etiquette should be observed regardless of the situation.”

[1a] “Wait, that’s not-”

[1b] Jin Changfeng and Jin Xiunan, ever cautious and always taking their cue from her, nudged their siblings into silence as well. The two concubine-born girls had always been shy and reserved anyway ate even more quietly after that. Jin Zhenxuan, who had been in a small play fight with Jin Zhenyi sank into a sullen silence after Jin Changfeng started shushing them. The younger children mostly fell into a habit of taking their cues from Jin Changfeng after they noticed how much their father favoured this child despite his ‘dirty blood’. Moreover, this Elder Brother of theirs appeared to be the benevolent type who enjoyed playing the ‘good brother’, so there was no reason to doubt his actions. Like Father’s current favoured woman, their twin elder brother and sister like to appear like ‘good people’ in front of Father.

[1c] “Haha, that is… everyone must be really excited about eating the Big Wok Dishes today, right? Come now, what is a little happy conversation over a wedding banquet meal? So long as you mind your etiquette in the future, there is no issue. Ha ha ha!”

[1b] “Yes, Father,” the children echoed obediently.

[1a] Even so, the lively atmosphere from before had already been ruined. The meal went on in silence, with the occasional nudge or kick from the children which quickly subsided under the heavy atmosphere.

After a while, Jin Fengju sighed. Feeling as though today’s meal was clouded by the worrisome thoughts in his heart, he instructed Jin Changfeng, “Take your younger brothers and sisters out to play for a little while. Make sure to study your letters later.”

Jin Changfeng [2] immediately obeyed. He stood up along with Jin Xiuzhen and saluted his father smartly [3] before practically dragging Jin Zhenyi off the table. Jin Changjiao was much cleverer as she deliberately passed by the side table full of food and grabbed one of the covered bowls before rushing out with the rest. Seeing her acting like this, Jin Xiuzhen turned up her nose, thinking to herself that this must be the result of the dirty washerwoman blood in her veins when… she caught sight of her brother sneaking some snacks into his pockets.

[3] Jin Xiuzhen, “… …”

Once the children were gone, there was only Fu Qiuning and Jin Fengju left. [4] Before Jin Fengju could say anything, Jian Feng swept into the room with a tea tray in hand and two other maids moving swiftly to clear off the dishes and wipe the table.

Fu Qiuning observed Jin Fengju’s slightly constipated expression and knew that he could not bear to keep his thoughts in his stomach any longer. She thought of having tea here, just to watch him squirm, but in the end, directed Jian Feng to the adjacent room and sent all the maids away so that Jin Fengju could unleash his solo act on her.

Once the last of the maids left the room. Fu Qiuning poured herself some tea and cued the coming performance by saying, “Well? Has the Crown Prince made his move?”

Jin Fengju immediately launched into his speech. “The Crown Prince scolded me a lot today. To aggravate him even more, I deliberately left court early to show my dissatisfaction even more clearly. He should kick up an even bigger fuss in the next two days. You should take care to pack some things just in case.”

Fu Qiuning nodded to show that she was listening. Unexpectedly, Jin Fenju suddenly rushed over to hold her hands, sighed deeply and lamented, “I promised to protect you for a lifetime, yet now it seems my promises are nothing but empty words. To think that I had dragged you into this turbulent journey. Qiuning, ah, I know you’re someone with a quiet temper. If- if you are not willing, just stay inside the estate, ba. I believe, that since this is just a small matter, even if the Crown Prince were to act recklessly, he would not dare to seize the Jin Clan’s titles and properties without a good reason. Moreover, you have the favour of the Empress Dowager, therefore…”

[1d] Fu Qiuning waited, curious to see where he was going with this. Was he waiting for her to dramatically declare that husband and wife are one body and soul? That it is easier to share hardship than to share wealth? What a joke.

[1d] Instead of saying the expected nonsensical declarations of love, Fu Qiuning nodded simply and said, “That is fine, what is a mere broken promise or two? It is not like Lord Husband to fret over such minor things.” [1d] Fu Qiuning pretended not to see the devastated expression on Jin Fengju’s face as she continued, “Even so, I know my place. To not go would only incite criticism from others. Do not worry, I shall do my duty to Lord Husband and go with you. There is no need to act overly sentimental now.”

[1a] “This… Qiuning, ah…”

[5] To be honest, he had not expected Fu Qiuning to suddenly throw the past into his face like that. He had been doing his best to wash off the image of a scum male for the past two years. A part of him cried out at the unfairness of it all. Had he not proven himself already? Had he not given her all of his private wealth and treasures, stopped by her place nearly every single night and spent every possible waking moment with her? Had he not favour the children the way she wished him to? What more could she want?

[5] A thin yet insistent voice sneered at him: Isn’t she right to mistrust you? You who promise to never love her and never let her leave the protection of Night Breeze Pavilion? What of these promises? What have you done instead? Can you really pat your chest and say that it is all for her own good?

[5] But of course! Isn’t it all for Qiuning’s good? She is too sheltered and benevolent to understand the dangers of being a noble wife in a noble household without protection. Though he could favour her as much as he could, she has no maternal family to back her. That was why he had sought so hard to help her gain rank and status. That way, no matter what happened, she would have the backing of the imperial family and status! It was all for the greater good, didn’t she enjoy teaching those performers and commoners her art? If she had stayed holed up at Night Breeze Pavilion, she would not have enjoyed any of the recognition and prestige she has now.

[5] The thin sneering voice hissed: What of it? Do you think she wanted any fame or recognition? Even now, she refuses to take on the housekeeping position because she does not want the recognition (and trouble) that comes with it. What makes you think that she will thank you for pushing her into the limelight?

“It’s late, I should go and check on the children’s homework,” said Fu Qiuning as she moved to stand up.

Jin Fengju immediately leapt to his feet and gently pushed her back onto the couch, saying, “No, no, since I am back early, I should be the one to check on the boys’ homework. After all, I am their father…”

“Alright,” said Fu Qiuning as she poured herself another cup of tea. “Go on then.”

“… Ah, yes, I’m going now!”


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News of Jin Fengju’s ‘demotion’ to Quanzhou City of the Fujian Province came like a bolt out of the blue for most of the family. Not Fu Qiuning, of course, since she (along with some key people, presumably) already knew about it. Even so, Old Madam and Elder Madam were gasping and clutching at their throats as though it was their first time hearing this matter. Therefore, either they were really good at acting shocked or they must have believed that their most capable son/grandson would pull some scheme out of his ass to prevent this from happening. Regardless of the reason, once the announcement was made, the entire Duke of Jing’s estate was plunged into gloom and misery.

“The Quanzhou Prefecture used to be a good place with many people vying to be placed there. However, ever since the Japanese pirates became rampant there, officials all regarded it as a place of great danger and would rather be demoted to the Northeast of Lingnan. Fengju, are you sure this is what you wanted?”

In the study, Jin Yu studied his son’s calm demeanour. Even though the older man had gone through many experiences in life, [6] he was used to a pampered life and knew that his son was the same. Not to mention, this child of his was not one to suffer humiliation willingly. Which was why he was deeply concerned by this matter. Who knows what kind of reaction Jin Fengju would have if he deemed this a ‘great humiliation’, much like the time when the twins were conceived or when King Zhenjiang’s shu-born daughter was forced upon him. Both times, Jin Fengju displayed reckless behaviours which he later bitterly regretted.

“Father, do you not believe your son’s ability? I have long anticipated this move and have orchestrated it myself. There is no need to worry. Mother and Grandmother will rely on you to comfort them in the future. Not to mention, although the Emperor had allowed the Crown Prince to demote me, he had no authority to seize the family titles or properties. It is all within my calculations. Father, please take care of yourself and await your son’s return.”

Jin Fengju finished his closing speech as he held his father’s hand.

Seeing those prideful eyes, Jin Yu could only nod and pat his son’s hand, saying, “You have always been [6] one to walk your own path ever since you were a child. You handle matters swiftly and decisively regardless of others’ opinions. I am an old man now, as a younger and stronger man than I, you are the pillar of this family. Only, do remember one thing, Fengju, remember to always think thrice whenever you perceive yourself to be humiliated. Swiftness of decision could also be recklessness. Fengju, remember that you now carry the entire Jin Clan upon your back. The entirety of the wealth and lives of the whole clan depends upon your decision. Understand?”

“Yes, I understand. I will not disappoint Father,” said Jin Fengju solemnly. [5] That’s right, how many times now had his reckless decisions and rash promises ruined his chances for a full reconciliation with Qiuning? Although they may be husband and wife, Jin Fengju could still feel the gaping chasm between them even as they slept on the same bed or whenever they were intimate together. Fu Qiuning may have moved into Elegant Mansion and is now raising most of his children, but there was a distance between them that appeared unreachable…

[5] If only he had not made that rash promise to Fu Qiuning. If only he had not made Fu Qiuning swear to not fall in love.

[5] If only he had not abandoned her for five years…

Jin Yu waved his hand at Jin Fengju, ignorant of the swarming thoughts in his son’s mind. “Fine, enough about that, your mother and grandmother must have a lot of advice to give. Go and let them fuss over you so that they may be at ease.”

Jin Fengju accepted the order and left for Health & Longevity Court to be fussed over by the senior ladies. Fu Qiuning had already gone back to Elegant Mansion to supervise the packing. 

Although she did not have to do any of the actual packing, Fu Qiuning had to be the one to decide what to pack and more importantly, who to bring with them on this ‘demotion trip’. [7] She had no idea what the etiquette was when it came to bringing wives and concubines on such ‘official excursions’. When Jin Shi was at his post, he left Madam Fang at home and brought a few of his concubines. Presumably, some women were there to take care of the general household and others to take care of whatever children he happened to father. Jin Fengju wanted her to go with him because of ‘love’. As for the rest of his women… Concubine Huo had declared herself too ill to even get out of bed, so a long journey to the Fujian Province was out. If Jiang Wanying is truly the Crown Prince’s spy, she or some of her trusted maids would have to be part of the group. Well, she would let that drama happen on its own between Jiang Wanying and Jin Fengju. He would certainly be all too happy to report everything to her later, as a way to show off his ability to scheme as well as ‘proof’ that he no longer had any feelings for ‘other women’. Once again, she found herself feeling sorry for Jiang Wanying…

[7a] As for the children, Jin Fengju’s plan was to have them all stay at the estate to continue their studies, but the next thing she knew, the children had somehow gotten together to cry and sob at Jin Fengju to take them with him. Fu Qiuning had no idea why the sensible Jin Changfeng and the stoic Jin Xiunan would be included in the group that wailed and cried at their father to somewhere dangerous. Although to be fair to the children, the two more sensible ones mostly looked bemused and slightly confused while Jin Zhenyi and Jin Changjiao, as well as Jin Xiuzhen, did the wailing and beseeching.

[7a] Fu Qiuning watched as the children wailed that they would follow their father to the outpost and would not neglect their studies etc etc. Fu Qiuning imagined that Jin Zhenxuan and Jin Xiunan must have been instigated by Jiang Wanying to go. They may have also roped in the quiet concubine-born girls for extra support. It still did not explain Jin Changfeng’s behaviour. Jin Xiunan may have been there to support his decision and observe her brother.

[7a] Later, when Fu Qiuning called him over, the boy shyly explained that he wanted to travel outside to have a look at what the world was like. How could Fu Qiuning fault him for having the same reason as her for leaving the dubious safety of the Duke of Jing’s estate? She could only sigh and tell him to keep an eye on his other siblings. Not just his own sister and Jin Zhenyi, but the rest of the children as well.

In the end, only Jin Xiuru elected to remain behind with Concubine Huo while the rest of Jin Fengju’s brood came with them. Naturally, the brood was attached with the necessary maids and mothers. In the end, Concubine Cui and Yue Lan also went with them, and Jiang Wanying would be going too, of course. Especially since her children would be leaving for Fujian with the rest.

Fu Qiuning [1e] had no idea whether this was the main reason why Jin Fengju would allow nearly all of his children to go with him to a likely dangerous location. If so, isn’t this just too… reckless? He was worried enough for his ‘true love’ to offer for Fu Qiuning to stay back, but is willing to bring not just one or two, but all of his children aside from one concubine-born girl. For a moment, Fu Qiuning had to knead her forehead, before deciding that there was no point trying to understand his motivation.

[1e] It was all probably something grand and utterly selfish.

As expected, Jin Fengju eagerly puffed up his chest and declared, “That’s right, as the saying goes, ‘When the tiger is absent, the monkey becomes the king of the mountain’. It may be more convenient for us to leave her here, but Yanfang and the rest of the women in the estate would suffer. Now that Second Uncle and his family have moved to the other estate, while we could have asked them to move back to the main house to keep an eye on them, it would still be an inconvenience to them even if they understand our intentions.

Therefore, when Wanying approached me to ask if she could come with me, I immediately agreed. Hahah! I could tell from her expression that time that she had been hoping that I would refuse to bring her. That way, she would have a convenient excuse for the Crown Prince for not ‘performing well’. However, I saw through her schemes and happily agreed to take her. How could I let her have such an easy time of it after causing so much trouble for me by playing spy in my household? If she dared to play spy, she should be prepared to endure all the hardships and obstacles that came with the position!”

[1e] “… …” as expected, Jin Fengju was drunk with the prospect of outsmarting his adversity with little care about whose lives he trampled upon.

[1] After watching Jin Fengju gloating over having made life difficult for Jiang Wanying, Fu Qiuning decided to take herself away from the situation and continue packing. Speaking of which, Jin Fengju seemed convinced that Jiang Wanying did not wish to come with them to the Fujian Province. Could she have been mistaken Jin Zhenxuan and Jin Xiuzhen’s intentions? Were they really here to annoy their father into severely scolding them and making them stay within the estate?

After thinking over the matter for a while, Fu Qiuning decided that there was no point thinking about it any more. Now that she knew that even more children would be coming with them, it’s best to pack more things. 


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For a time, a cloud of gloom filled the estate. Even so, things progressed in a fairly orderly manner. In anticipation of Jiang Wanying’s absence, Jin Fengju entrusted the housekeeping to Jin Yanfang and Madam Jiang. After all, Jin Yanfang used to be a madam of her own household with housekeeping experience. After only two days of observation, Jin Fengju felt he could entrust the household to them.

Since they were about to leave in two days, he deliberately approached Jiang Wanying and said, “Since we shall be moving quite far away, you should bid uncle and aunt goodbye. Why not go and stay with them for a couple of days? I shall have someone collect you tomorrow evening.”

Jiang Wanying stared at him with resentful eyes. However, since she was unable to reveal her true feelings, she could only agree and left for her parents’ house after lunch. After seeing her off, Jin Fengju brought Jin Zhenxuan and Jin Xiuzhen to Elegant Mansion. The two children were happy to be with their father but were still awkward around Fu Qiuning.

On her side, Fu Qiuning did not bother to put too much effort into winning their little hearts. So long as they behaved themselves and didn’t bully the others too much, it was all fine. These two used to be rather arrogant because Jiang Wanying had the most power within Jin Fengju’s harem. However, now that she had fallen out of favour, the children had also grown more sullen and quiet.

Even so, she was glad to see the children actually acting like children most of the time when they were together. There were the occasional quarrels, but more often than not, the children got along fairly well.

[1c] “Once Wanying leaves, who knows how sad uncle and aunt might be,” said Jin Fengju with a grin over tea. 

[1] Fu Qiuning paused for a couple of seconds before pouring her own tea. Since Jin Fenju clearly wanted to gloat, she may as well get comfortable. “That would be most unfortunate,” she said gravely.

“We reap what we sow after all, even if aunt and uncle cried their eyes out, it is all the result of their own choice. They chose to walk down this road on their own,” said Jin Fengju after another triumphant sip of his tea.

[1] “… …” she had no words.

He beamed at Fu Qiuning and said, “What is it? As husband and wife, surely there is nothing you cannot ask me?”

[8] “… Should I remind you that you are husband and wife with Second Madam Jiang?”

[8] Jin Fengju’s pleased face suddenly contorted.

[8] “Or, do you consider her as well as Madam Huo as criminals and have nothing to do with you now that they have sinned?” she asked, genuinely curious. “Is that how it works? Will they be flogged to death? That is one convenient way to be rid of them.”

Jin Fengju’s mouth twitched a few times before he finally sighed and muttered, “When I first found out them deceiving me, I was determined to have them killed. They have deceived me for six years, six years! Fortunately, I have always been diligent about keeping my nose clean and never involved myself in anything dirty, otherwise, I would have died at their hands a dozen times. However, now that some time had passed, I… perhaps it was due to your influence, I… no, no, enough about them. Since they are heartless, vicious women, I shall just divorce them. The Duke of Jing’s estate may one day regain its former glory, which means I can still afford some leniency but… I absolutely will not allow them to stay here!”

Fu Qiuning had been nodding along with Jin Fengju’s rant. When he finally finished, [8] she thoughtfully said, “Lord Husband is right, six years is truly a long time.”

[8] “This-!!” all of the bluster deflated from Jin Fengju’s body. “You- that’s different. Qiuning, ah, you must know that I- I…”

[8] Fu Qiuning kept nodding, “Of course, I know it.”


[Gumihou: It is unclear whether it is by design or accident (probably accident), Jin Fengju often made the worst decisions when agitated or angry. Here, his decision to take nearly all of his children to a place that was clearly marked as dangerous was skimmed over quickly, a clear indication that the author Has Plans for them. Since the move was so dumb and since AR Qiuning was praising JFJ for being ‘so cunning’ for bringing Jiang Wanying with them, Gumi connected the two incidents, creating a ‘missing the forest for the trees’ situation that was seriously exasperating Fu Qiuning. White Pear Flower, I’m sorry but just because you say that ‘JFJ is so cunning’ doesn’t make him cunning, you know?]

[1] Avoid obvious bait to make sweet, lovey dovey conversation

[1a] Consequences of a stupid action

[1b] Actions of kids raised in a noble household. Please don’t forget this, author-san

[1c] This was said by a winsome Jiang Qiuning, let JFJ have the dialogue instead.

[1d] Mocked AR Qiuning’s dramatic declarations.

[1e] Instead of ‘hubby so kleber~’, be more ‘wow, this psychopath’

[2] Deleted this kleber line: Jin Changfeng was clever and was surprised by his father’s unusual kindness. He couldn’t help but feel a bit puzzled, but he agreed without showing it on his face. 

[3] USMiC – Give the children a bit more character and screen time that does not involve polishing their dad’s ass

The only thing here was Jin Zhenyi jumped up happily, and when he saw his father staring at him, he realized that he had made a mistake out of joy. He quickly stuck out his tongue and ran out.

Basically more of ‘Jin Zhenyi bullying’ to make dad look like a stern dad and not an asshole

[4] Maid logistics – it is unclear whether they were in the room or had been sent away. They were supposed to have ‘gone to the banquet’ but somehow are still here to ‘serve tea’. Like, continuity error much?

[5] Bestow a more logical and character building POV for JFJ that is not ‘wow, like, I want my love to go with me~ ah, but she would be in danger~ but, mai ha~at~ah~’

Deleted: Jin Fengju saw how determined his wife was and couldn’t understand what she was thinking. He was incredibly moved, and to be honest, he also wanted to go on the assignment with Qiuning. Over the past year, he had become inseparable from this beloved woman of his. Moreover, this time was different from the previous assignments that only lasted two or three months before returning. This time, it could potentially be more than six months. If he left Qiuning in the capital, how would he bear the longing for her? 

Fu Qiuning: Is he a schoolboy?

Gumihou: The author is probably a school girl

Fu Qiuning: Isn’t he in his early twenties? Or mid-twenties now?

Gumihou: Mmmm…

[6] USMiC – Give dear old dad more depth beyond ‘my son so great and wise, lol’. Give some proper character analysis from dad because the author conveniently mentioned some chapters before that JFJ’s father was one of the few people who ‘showed disapproval’ when teen dad JFJ chucked his own twin children aside.

[7] Logistics of which wife to bring, discuss beyond ‘lol, traitor bitch!’

[7a] Children going why? Probably to make AR Qiuning look good, but let’s at least make it somewhat plausible.

It was originally the four under FQN’s care first. The other children ‘followed’ because they ‘refused to be left behind’, like, what in the sound of mind would Jin Xiunan and Jin Changfeng go along with this tomfoolery? At least make it vaguely plausible by having ALL the kids wail and sob to go

[8] FQN asking difficult questions instead of leading questions meant to make JFJ look good. Also, f*ck that sweet ending.


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