Big Boss – Chapter 19

The gift of sh*t

On the day before the empress dowager’s birthday celebration, the imperial palace in the capital opened its granaries to distribute food to the officials and the people, causing everyone to rejoice and celebrate. Even the old locust tree at the outskirts of the city was adorned with bright red banners.

The day before the birthday celebration, all the officials and nobles who had received invitations needed to go to the palace. They stayed up all night, with lights burning bright, praying for blessings for the empress dowager.

In the mansion of the Duke, Ye Youqing sat upright, waiting for Zhao Qingrou to place a hairpin on her head. The hairpin was intricately designed in a clustered floral pattern, but it appeared a bit worn out.

Suddenly, Zhao Qingrou sighed and removed the hairpin.

“It’s just not suitable. On such an important day, with almost all the elites of the capital in attendance, Mother can’t even present you with something nice.” Zhao Qingrou’s expression was deeply melancholic.

Ye Youqing knew she was being too hard on herself, so she smiled wryly and cheerfully said, “I actually find this hairpin quite beautiful, it just doesn’t match my outfit. How about using the willow leaf hairpin from the past? It would complement this blue dress better.”

Upon hearing this, Qin Xin quickly brought over the hairpin box.

“But it’s a grand occasion, and you are the legitimate daughter. Wouldn’t it be…”

“It’s fine, I just don’t want to attract too much attention,” Ye Youqing said, taking the willow leaf hairpin and inserting it into her hair. She also hung two jade earrings on her ears, looking contentedly at her reflection in the bronze mirror.

At this point in the original story, the female lead had been through quite a lot of bullying. First, her gift was swapped by Concubine Xiao, turning into a joke at the birthday celebration. Then, she was taken away by Ci Ke, and heard some unpleasant things. She had faced setback after setback, enduring a significant ordeal.

“Qin Xin, where is the snow fox?” Ye Youqing, feeling uneasy, asked again.

“Always by my side,” Qin Xin replied as she approached with a large bamboo basket. She lifted the lid, revealing the snow white fox’s head peeking out, wrinkling its small nose at Ye Youqing.

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After Qin Xin’s attentive care, the fox had regained its former cuteness, with its fur glossy and smooth, resembling a fluffy cotton ball.

“That’s good, just remember not to stray far,” Ye Youqing said, extending her finger to push the fox’s head back into the basket.

“What about the fake gift?” Ye Youqing inquired once more.

“It’s all prepared, sealed in a box and placed in the hall, waiting for the servants in the mansion to carry it,” Qin Xin replied.

Zhao Qingrou listened to their conversation, feeling puzzled. She gently pushed Ye Youqing and asked, “Since you have the snow fox, why is there another gift?”

“You’ll find out later,” Ye Youqing winked at her, coaxing a smile out of Zhao Qingrou, whose face had been clouded for the past few days.

“Good, you’ve grown up with your own ideas. Mother will listen to you,” Zhao Qingrou affectionately patted Ye Youqing’s head.

In the past few days, Ye Youqing had insisted on Zhao Qingrou staying in her courtyard, with Qin Xin taking care of all her needs. Surprisingly, under Ye Youqing’s watchful eye, Zhao Qingrou’s illness miraculously stopped worsening and even showed signs of improvement.

The once pale face now had a hint of color, making her already beautiful features even more lively.

Ye Youqing almost certain that someone had tampered with Zhao Qingrou’s surroundings, but lacking medical knowledge and trustworthy individuals, it was difficult to prove.

Perhaps she could seek help from Shi Li. Suddenly, an idea popped into Ye Youqing’s mind.

There was a knock on the door, and a maid with pearl flowers pinned on her head entered. She seemed to be from Concubine Xiao’s side. Glancing at the three people in the room, she lowered her head and said, “Madam, Eldest Miss, it’s time.”

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“I understand, you may leave,” Qin Xin said, raising her head.

The maid left, and Ye Youqing stood up, patting Qin Xin’s shoulder. She thought that this maid was clever and thorough in her actions, although a bit timid, she was still a valuable partner.

The “gift” in the hall had already been taken by the servants. Ye Youqing smiled subtly and then supported Zhao Qingrou, stepping out of the room. The sweet scent of spring brushed past them, and a few flower petals floated down onto their foreheads.

Her plain green dress, though simple, matched the abundant blooming flowers around. As the gentle breeze blew, it created a ripple-like effect, very pleasant to the eye. Today, Qin Xin had applied some makeup for her—arched eyebrows like a crescent moon, bright red lips and white teeth, a hint of rouge on her cheeks—enhancing her beauty beyond her usual aloofness.

At the entrance of the Duke’s residence, Concubine Xiao, Ye Chengzhu, and Ye Chengfu were waiting. A stately carriage stood in front with Duke Liang inside.

“Mother, let’s go,” Ye Youqing patted Zhao Qingrou’s hand back, gesturing for Qin Xin to support her as they walked towards Duke Liang’s carriage.

Regardless of whether the husband and wife were harmonious, Zhao Qingrou was the main wife of the Duke’s Household after all. And behind her, Concubine Xiao’s gaze remained fixed on Zhao Qingrou, seemingly tinged with jealousy.

“Concubine Xiao, please,” Ye Youqing said calmly.

Ignoring the woman’s spiteful glances, Ye Youqing climbed into the carriage. After a while, the curtain was lifted, and Ye Chengzhu also got in. However, judging from her expression, she seemed quite reluctant.

“At such an important occasion, dressed like a commoner, how shabby,” Ye Chengzhu suddenly covered her nose, disdainfully muttering.

Ye Youqing glanced at her sideways. “You look like a house sparrow.”

“House sparrow?!” Ye Chengzhu seemed quite upset, her seat shaking a bit. “This is made by the most famous artisan in Bianjing!”

Ye Youqing covered her ears, afraid of having her eardrums shattered by her yelling.

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“With three feathers at the back of the head, a circle of white velvet on top, and a bird beak on the forehead, it’s either a house sparrow or a pheasant,” Ye Youqing said with a smile.

She wasn’t exaggerating; Ye Chengzhu’s current look indeed matched that description.

“What bird beak? This is a forehead ornament, set with the finest jade!” Ye Chengzhu was originally very pleased with her outfit, but now, after Ye Youqing’s comments, she was so angry that her eyes were turning red.

Ye Youqing saw that she had made Ye Chengzhu cry and finally stopped talking. She lifted the curtain to enjoy the scenery of the spring day.

Ye Chengzhu, raised pampered since childhood, had a proud and wilful nature. In the past, Ye Youqing was not one to back down in arguing with her, but now that roles were reversed, it was Ye Chengzhu who suffered.

Perhaps feeling defeated, Ye Chengzhu sat aside, wiping away tears as she pulled off the “bird beak” from her head. The carriage fell into a quiet atmosphere, while outside, the bustling street was filled with luxurious carriages racing alongside them, likely carrying dignitaries heading to the palace.

As they passed by the Imperial Street, Ye Youqing vaguely saw the once vibrant Cuihong Zhuang, where Shi Li was now sitting at the threshold, basking in the sun, holding a tattered fan without avoiding the passing carriages and horses.

Ye Youqing shook her head, about to open the curtain to signal her to go back, when she saw the young man angrily rushing out from the door. With force, he dragged the taller Shi Li back into the building, slamming the door shut with a loud bang.

Ye Youqing couldn’t help but chuckle and adjusted herself in her seat.

Before long, the carriage entered the palace, with the Chengde Gate wide open. The Imperial Guards stood alert in two rows, respectfully welcoming the visitors. It was Ye Youqing’s first time entering an ancient palace, filled with curiosity, she observed everything along the way.

Truly, this place was ten times larger than any ancient house she had seen before, with towering buildings stacked one after another, endless in sight. The roads were wide and clean, surrounded by solemn red walls. After passing through dozens of gates, they finally entered the inner palace.

The carriage slowly came to a stop, and a eunuch lifted the curtain, helping Ye Youqing and Ye Chengzhu out of the carriage. Ye Youqing then noticed many female relatives walking behind her. It dawned on her that she was benefiting from the prestige of the Duke’s Household, allowing her to enter in a carriage.

“Eldest Miss, Second Miss, Duke Liang has already entered the banquet hall. Please follow me,” the young eunuch respectfully said, leading Ye Youqing up the wide white jade steps, all the way to the main hall.

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Inside, the grandeur was even more impressive. Many tables and chairs were set up in the main hall, with no visible separation between the main hall and the side hall, allowing a clear view. Courtiers sat in the main hall, while the side hall was filled with family members and some young men and women.

Following the arrangement, Ye Youqing took her seat. Ye Chengzhu, unwilling to stay with her, gave her a fierce glare before running off to the opposite side. She sat with the gentle round-faced woman she had seen a few days ago, engaged in an animated conversation.

The gentle woman glanced at Ye Youqing from time to time, but her gaze held no malice.

Unaware of who she was, Ye Youqing paid her no mind and instead looked towards the main hall, searching for Zhao Qingrou’s figure.

She breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing Zhao Qingrou safe and sound, with Qin Xin still by her side holding the basket. Ye Youqing then discreetly got up, blending in with the palace servants’ movements nearby, temporarily disappearing into the main hall.

Luckily, her unassuming attire allowed her to blend in without being noticed.

Once outside, she spotted several eunuchs carrying congratulatory gifts towards a side hall. Quietly trailing behind them, she glimpsed a maid adorned with pearl flowers speaking to one of the eunuchs guarding the gifts at the door.

After passing something to them, the maid swiftly lifted her skirts and hurried inside.

Ye Youqing arched an eyebrow, then moved stealthily behind a pillar, circling around the building to a back area where verdant bamboo covered a square window.

Using her agile movements, Ye Youqing skillfully balanced on the edge of the wall, peeking out with only her head visible.

Most of the valuable congratulatory gifts were carried on people’s persons, with not many presents left in this area. With a quick glance, Ye Youqing spotted a box marked with the Duke’s Household, and she saw the maid with pearl flowers approaching it. The maid pulled out a worn-out headdress, stuffing it inside, and removing the original contents before disappearing from sight.

Ye Youqing chuckled to herself, applying a bit of force to her legs as she effortlessly flipped over, leaning forward and landing almost soundlessly.

Ignoring the tampered gifts, she spun around and located Concubine Xiao’s gift, opening it to retrieve a priceless jade carving, which she cradled in her arms.

From her sleeve, she took out a small paper packet and poured with interest the snow fox droppings she had collected the previous night into it.


LP: Oh damn, the title is literal ꉂꉂ◟(˃᷄ꇴ˂᷅๑)༡



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Ry96

😂😂😂😂Too literal

dweeb

She’s a menace I love her 👌😭

dadin

she didn’t even hesitate lol

Little Panda
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