Big Boss – Chapter 54

She is drunk

The Emperor looked at him for a while, then leaned back lazily in his chair, playing with the smooth ring on his finger.

The hall fell silent, the Scholar Huang glared angrily at Minister Song, but he ignored him with a smile.

“Spread the word, shut down rumors. Anyone who speaks ill will be punished. Also, investigate Wei Yanei’s movements, find out who is responsible. Be discreet, don’t leak any information, it’s a matter of imperial face.” The Emperor tapped his hand on the table, making a sound.

“Yes, Your Majesty.” The two ministers bowed and left, a man in armor came forward.

“Keep a close eye on the Ye family, especially Ye Youqing. Report any unusual activities to me immediately,” the Emperor said, then added, “Summon Duke Liang and the daughter of the Ye family here.”

When Ye Youqing arrived at the gate of Ganlu Palace, the turbulent waves in her heart had already returned to calm.

She knew things wouldn’t be resolved so easily, but when she saw the city’s chatter quickly turn to silence, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of stifling anger in her chest.

What an Emperor.

The palace attendants greeted her at the door and opened it. Ye Youqing walked slowly into the hall, passing by two folding screens, and saw the Emperor sitting behind a spacious carved mahogany table.

Duke Liang had already arrived, standing to the side with a tight frown and a serious expression.

“I have seen Your Majesty.” Ye Youqing’s voice was clear and neutral, showing neither joy nor anger.

The Emperor looked at the woman before him, unable to read her expression. He tapped his fingers on the table faster, then sighed deeply, “No need to be so formal. Let’s consider today as a private conversation.”

“Come, take a seat,” the Emperor motioned.

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Ye Youqing said politely.

“I have already discussed today’s matter with Duke Liang. I will investigate this thoroughly and ensure justice for you and Wei Yanei,” the Emperor said with a sympathetic look, casting his gaze over Ye Youqing.

Ye Youqing glanced at the broken tea cup stain on the ground with disdain in her eyes. Truly, the Emperor was swift in changing his expressions, quicker than flipping through books. It seemed he was adamant that Wei Yanei were harmed by traitors and refused to consider any other possibilities.

Despite this, she maintained a natural demeanor even more convincing than the Emperor. She raised her phoenix-like eyes, pretending to be confused.

The Emperor paused for a moment before continuing, “Duke Liang has always been a trusted minister, holding a title. I have long intended to promote him, and with this marriage, it will strengthen our relationship and enhance his contributions to the court. Today, the Empress Dowager invited your mother, daughter of Si Rongwang, who has suffered greatly in recent years and is in poor health. I thought, after your marriage, I will grant her the title of a lady-in-waiting, so she can rest and recuperate in her later years.”

Upon hearing this, Ye Youqing graciously glanced at Duke Liang and then rose to offer her gratitude, “Thank you for your great kindness, Your Majesty. I have nothing to repay this favor.”

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

Her words of gratitude unexpectedly silenced the Emperor.

Originally, the Emperor planned to rule with both kindness and authority. Normally, when a woman hears such rumors, she would either feign grief or become angry, begging for mercy, and under pressure, she would obediently agree to marriage.

However, Ye Youqing’s accepting demeanor made it seem as if she had never heard the rumors before. This left the Emperor feeling as if he had punched through thin air, leaving him feeling empty and awkward.

The Emperor opened his mouth, then burst into laughter.

Her attitude, though, eased the Emperor’s concerns. As Scholar Huang had mentioned, she was just a woman, easily controlled, and would not dare to go against his wishes. No need to worry.

With that, he dismissed any further thoughts, gesturing to her, saying, “Enough. There are many state affairs to attend to today. There are also matters to handle within the court. You may leave.”

Upon hearing this, Ye Youqing bid farewell and left the palace gates, following closely behind Duke Liang. She watched as he strode ahead in silence, his angry demeanor apparent in his brisk steps.

Despite the rumors and the deliberate act of betrothing his legitimate daughter to Wei Yanei, it was clear that Duke Liang was not valued, but rather suppressed. He was bound to be infuriated.

As for Ye Youqing, she felt this anger had little to do with the suffering she may have endured in the past. She was merely a pawn in the game of power.

With this realization, Ye Youqing involuntarily clenched her fist, then turned to look at the brilliant sunlit palace and walls, glowing a fiery red.

Imperial power, easily controlling the fate of others.

Suddenly, Ye Youqing laughed.

“Sister, sister!” a voice called from outside the arched gate, a pale yet slender hand waving to her. Ye Youqing put away her thoughts and walked over quickly, allowing the hands to pull her behind the stone lion.

Clear black and white eyes met hers, a young man dressed in dark red brocade, with a tall bun atop his head, looking much tidier than before, resembling a wealthy young noble.

However, the hostility in his eyes remained.

“You must not marry that man surnamed Wei. I sneaked into the imperial physician’s residence just now, the rumors in the capital are true. The physicians are secretly searching for various cures, trying to save him,” the youth said, tightly gripping Ye Youqing’s wrist, his gaze growing increasingly dark, “I have a way to ensure he doesn’t live past tonight.”

“Shh.” Ye Youqing pressed her finger to her lips, silencing him.

“This conversation cannot be overheard,” Ye Youqing said lightly, reaching out to pat the young man’s head, “I don’t need you to do anything.”

“But sister, you are a good person. Good people shouldn’t marry such a scoundrel,” the young man’s eyes were red, his thin chest heaving up and down.

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

“There are many good people, but good people often suffer,” Ye Youqing smiled, “In the future, you must strive to be someone who does not cause good people to suffer.”

The young man was on the verge of tears.

Ye Youqing patted his shoulder, saying, “No tears allowed. You are a prince, weakness should not be shown to others.”

“You’re no longer with Yan Jieyu?” Ye Youqing asked.

The young man gritted his teeth fiercely, veins bulging on his forehead as he held back his tears, hoarsely saying, “Yan Jieyu was gone last night. It’s said that the Emperor tortured the mastermind behind the scenes, and she was so frightened that she hanged herself.”

“Frightened to hang herself?” Ye Youqing shook her head, understanding in her heart, “How could someone so ruthless and cunning hang themselves upon hearing news?”

The young man bit his lip, as if realizing something.

“If you want to stand out among the many princes, you must find a backer,” Ye Youqing watched as a line of palace servants approached, speaking faster, “You must also learn to endure, protect yourself. You can’t be quick to resort to violence. With your intelligence, you won’t be obscure in the future.”

“We must stand tall in order to protect those we care about,” Ye Youqing said, pointing to the approaching palace servants.

The young man’s lips were close to bleeding, still holding onto Ye Youqing’s arm as they slowly backed away.

His eyes were like obsidian, yet resembled uncarved jade.

“Sister, will I be able to see you again?” he suddenly asked.

“Perhaps,” Ye Youqing pursed her lips, smiling gently.

The young man stared at her intently for a while, then turned and slipped along the palace wall, quickly disappearing from sight.

Ye Youqing looked back at the towering Ganlu Palace one more time before leaving.

Soon after, the Emperor issued another decree, decreeing that Ye Youqing and Wei Yanei would be wed in the early days of the next month, half a month earlier than originally planned. The wedding day was now just around the corner.

At this point, the entire capital knew about this marriage arrangement, yet due to the imperial order not to speak out of turn, people could only discuss it in private. Many felt sorry for the legitimate daughter of the Ye family, marrying a man rumored to be inhumane. This was unprecedented for the Ye family.

However, most people were just watching from afar, some even looking forward to this being the biggest joke in the entire capital.

At one point, the capital presented a bizarre scene, with teahouses and restaurants packed with people, yet no one spoke loudly. They communicated through eye contact, creating a bustling yet silent atmosphere.

In the center of this whirlpool, Ye Youqing seemed as if nothing had happened. She remained indoors as usual, occasionally venturing out to Jinglingzhai for a brief visit before returning home.

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

Moreover, at the end of midsummer, the Ye family even began preparing the bride’s dowry, purchasing red wooden chests, reportedly filling a courtyard, looking every bit like a bride about to be married.

People loved to see the children of wealthy families suffer, and Ye Youqing’s apparent indifference only added to the anticipation for a good show.

While Ye Youqing remained unrushed, there were others who were anxious on her behalf.

In the Qiushui Palace, several palace maids stood huddled outside a room, holding bowls, plates, and basins, looking unsure of what to do.

“What’s the matter?” a woman’s voice rang out as Zhou Ziqiu, dressed in elegant attire, walked in from outside the palace and stood behind the group of palace maids.

Upon hearing her, the palace maids quickly turned around and knelt down, pleading, “Your Highness, Miss Ci Ke still cannot eat anything and has locked herself in her room. We are worried, but dare not go in to check…”

Zhou Ziqiu’s brows furrowed with concern. Her fingers adorned with rings waved, gesturing for the palace maids to leave.

“Chunhong, leave the bowls and plates,” Zhou Ziqiu said as she took the tray from Chunhong’s hands, tapped on the door twice, and pushed it open.

The dimly lit room was draped with curtains, making it even darker. A woman, dressed neatly, sat on the bed, staring blankly at a few pieces of candy in front of her.

“Ci Ke.” Zhou Ziqiu approached slowly, placing the tray down. “Why aren’t you eating?”

“Aunt,” Ci Ke was startled by her words, but gradually relaxed her body, shaking her head in silence.

“Is there still no news from her side?” Ci Ke asked softly.

“No,” Zhou Ziqiu replied. She turned and sat on the edge of Ci Ke’s bed. “She’s preparing her dowry, she should… have accepted it by now.”

She is getting married, and she didn’t come to find her. Ci Ke’s eyes drooped, feeling inexplicably aggrieved inside.

But what right did she have to feel aggrieved? From start to finish, it had all been her own thoughts.

“Ci Ke, you really are…” Zhou Ziqiu sighed heavily. “What you did for her, does she know? Daring to provoke the Emperor’s people, do you realize if they trace it back to you, even I won’t be able to protect you?”

“You’re too bold.” Zhou Ziqiu half scolded, picking up a teacup and placing it in her hands.

“Aunt, rest assured. I won’t think of anything else in the future, but I’m still a bit confused.” Ci Ke said, placing the teacup down. She would find a way to break free from these absurd thoughts, not wanting to bring trouble to anyone else.

Zhou Ziqiu looked at Ci Ke, feeling a bit emotional, and whispered, “If it weren’t for Aunt, you wouldn’t be like this.”

“How could I blame Aunt?” Ci Ke smiled lightly at the words, with a couple of dimples on her cheeks lighter than her smile.

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

“Aunt, I want to go out for a walk,” Ci Ke said, pulling on Zhou Ziqiu’s sleeve, as if pleading.

“You are not allowed to go find Ye Youqing. Since she is getting married, you must break free from her, otherwise it will not be good for both of you,” Zhou Ziqiu said in a low tone.

“I won’t,” Ci Ke said softly. “I just want to go sit in Jinglingzhai.”

On this night, as the next month was approaching, the current weather was like a dying charcoal fire, making people feel stifled.

Ye Youqing had just finished talking with Zhao Qingrou and returned to her own room. She felt extremely hot and sweaty, so she had Qin Xin bring some ice from the winter storage in the well to cool down the room.

Although she appeared leisurely these days, she was actually extremely busy, barely having a moment to rest. She sat by the ice, looking at a map and marking a few places she remembered.

The advancement of her wedding date had caused some chaos in her schedule, but it didn’t completely disrupt her plans.

However, she couldn’t shake the thought of saying a few words to Ci Ke. But now, she was under constant surveillance, making it difficult to find an opportunity to get close. She also feared that getting too close to Ci Ke would raise suspicions from the Emperor.

Unable to do anything but delay.

As the night grew darker, Ye Youqing firmly memorized the map in her mind, then burned it in front of the candle, and looked out of the window at the night outside.

There was no moon or stars; it was an overcast night.

As the last piece of paper burned out, Ye Youqing was about to get up when she heard a few very soft noises outside the room. She quickly moved to the door, pressed against it, and looked cautiously through the crack.

“Who is it?” she asked in a low voice.

“I,” a voice from Shi Li came.

Ye Youqing breathed a sigh of relief and reached out to open the door, only to see something thrown into her arms, scalding to the touch and soft.

Ye Youqing instinctively dodged, letting the object softy hit the ground.

She held her chest and looked down, seeing a set of light-colored clothes, blending in with the body’s color, revealing a well-proportioned figure with delicate skin and bones. Looking up, the person’s eyes were tightly closed, with a picturesque profile under the lamp light.

“This girl kept bothering me in the middle of the night, so I had to bring her to you,” Shi Li’s voice came from outside the door, tinged with alcohol. She braced the door with one hand and leaned in, “Don’t worry, the people watching the mansion gates have been sent away.”

As she spoke, she met Ye Youqing’s surprised gaze, and then both of them lowered their heads.

Shi Li remained silent for a while, bid them good dreams, and her body swaying as she left.

Ye Youqing quickly crouched down, grabbed the woman’s arm, and pulled her up from the ground, her body limp as if she were water, settling in Ye Youqing’s arms. “Ci Ke?”

“Ye Youqing.” The woman murmured, reaching out to caress her shoulder, like a vine climbing upwards until her forehead touched Ye Youqing’s neck.

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red flower

do something Ye Youqing ୧( ಠ Д ಠ )୨ thank you for the chapter i like it

Last edited 10 days ago by red flower
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