Big Boss – Chapter 59

Her ignorance

In the moment she realized what it was, it felt like a spark igniting and spreading heat all over her body, burning intensely. Ci Ke hurriedly fed the medicine to her and then stood up, covering her lips.

Ye Youqing lay down weakly, her wound touching the bed, her delicate brows slightly furrowed, damp with sweat.

Ci Ke momentarily forgot to breathe, the sensation of her lips still lingering. She stood there in a daze, then quickly moved forward again, lifting Ye Youqing to avoid pressing on her wound.

It felt like her whole body was on fire, her heart not just fluttering but pounding so hard it seemed like it would leap out of her throat. She picked up the medicine bowl again, hesitating for a long time, unsure how to feed her.

Fortunately, at this moment, the door was lightly knocked on, and a sturdy woman walked in, smiling and saying, “The young escort head sent me to check on Miss Ye. How is the medicine going?”

“Why is your face so red, miss?” Ma Xiao asked in surprise, reaching out to take the bowl from Ci Ke’s hand.

“It’s nothing, just a bit hot,” Ci Ke said, wiping the remaining medicine from her lips, afraid she might notice something unusual. “She’s unconscious and wouldn’t drink it.”

Fortunately, Ma Xiao wasn’t a particularly observant person. She laughed heartily, motioning for Ci Ke to hold Ye Youqing steady, and then sat down beside Ye Youqing.

“It’s really stuffy here, not like wealthy households that have ice to cool down. Miss, you’ll have to make do with a fan,” she said, gripping Ye Youqing’s jaw to force her mouth open.

Without using a spoon, she simply poured the medicine from the bowl into Ye Youqing’s mouth. Seeing that Ye Youqing was about to spit it out, she immediately covered her mouth. After a brief struggle, Ye Youqing swallowed the medicine.

When she removed her hand, there were five distinct finger marks on the pale cheek.

Ci Ke felt a pang of heartache at the sight and instinctively reached out to touch it, but Ma Xiao pushed her hand away. “Miss, don’t worry. Back in the day, when we got heatstroke while escorting goods, we’d also force down cooling soup like this. In the time it takes to burn a stick of incense, we could down two big bowls.”

As she spoke, she continued, and true to her words, it only took a few more tries for the bowl of medicinal soup to be emptied.

“All right, let Miss Ye lie down for a while. She’s only unconscious from blood loss and the pain. She should wake up by tomorrow,” Ma Xiao said cheerfully. “By the way, the young escort head just asked for you.”

Ci Ke looked at Ye Youqing worriedly for a moment, wiped the medicine off her face, and then stood up, expressing her thanks.

After all this commotion, the blazing sun outside had already started to set. Shi Li, dressed in rough hemp clothing like a typical wanderer of the martial world, was sitting in a courtyard filled with a rancid smell, sharpening a long sword on a table as hard as a whetstone.

The courtyard was full of the sounds of metal scraping against stone, accompanied by the stench of pig blood, making for quite the fitting scene.

Ci Ke walked forward and sat down beside Shi Li.

“Did Xiaoqing drink the medicine?” Shi Li asked, looking up.

“Yes, she drank it and is still sleeping,” Ci Ke replied.

Shi Li stared at her for a moment, then took out a handkerchief from her pocket and handed it to Ci Ke with a frown.

Ci Ke was a bit puzzled. She touched her face and felt some dried blood clots. It suddenly dawned on her that she had been so focused on cleaning Ye Youqing that she had forgotten about the blood splatters on her own face.

She rubbed her face with the handkerchief, using it to hide her blushing cheeks as well.

“What are your plans now? Return to the palace or stay here?” Shi Li asked, blowing the dust off her sword.

“I don’t know.” A brief struggle flashed across Ci Ke’s face as she took out the broken willow leaf hairpin from her sleeve and wiped the blood off it.

The fear she felt when she saw Ye Youqing in danger surged back, making it clear just how worried she was about Ye Youqing.

“Ever since Qin Wang was eliminated, the Emperor seems to have started guarding against my aunt. Though he still shows her care, it’s like keeping a bird in a cage—the most luxurious cage in the world, with the finest food, but it’s just for show.”

“His suspicion of her is obvious. He no longer stays at Qiushui Palace overnight, and even when he dines there, his shadow guards are always by his side. He smiles and treats her well in public, but in private, his attitude often plummets, and he scolds her coldly,” Ci Ke said, lowering her head. “So I’m very afraid that one day my aunt might…”

“The matter with Qin Wang clearly shows someone is pushing things behind the scenes. The Emperor’s suspicion of her is entirely understandable,” Shi Li said, her sword-cleaning motions slowing down.

“I don’t know what else I can do, so I just want to stay by her side. But now, with Ye Youqing…” Ci Ke trailed off, her voice disappearing, as she stared at the greasy stone table in front of her.

Shi Li opened her mouth as if to offer comfort but then swallowed her words. She tapped Ci Ke’s chest lightly with the sword sheath beside her, her light brown hair partially covering her eyes.

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“You can’t have everything. Just follow your heart,” Shi Li said.

Suddenly, a few groans of pain came from inside the house. Ci Ke dropped the handkerchief in her hand and quickly rushed towards the small house, with Shi Li following closely behind.

The two burst into the room to see Ma Xiao holding a piece of gauze, looking distressed as she turned to face them.

“What happened?” Shi Li asked urgently.

“Young escort head, I haven’t done anything,” Ma Xiao raised her hands. “It’s just time for a medication change.”

Shi Li breathed a sigh of relief, watching Ma Xiao continue to apply a yellow ointment to Ye Youqing’s wound. Yet, Ye Youqing let out a few low groans, her brows furrowing, sweat rolling down her face.

Shi Li quickly reached out to stop her. “Don’t use too much force with those hands of yours, or you’ll hurt my apprentice.”

Ma Xiao scratched the back of her head, blushing. She stood up to give her place to Shi Li. As Shi Li was about to step forward, she was stopped by Ci Ke from behind.

“Sister Shi Li,” Ci Ke looked at Ye Youqing with compassion in her eyes, a hint of helplessness in her gaze. “Your strength isn’t any less than hers.”

If she wasn’t here, relying on these people who had never cared for anyone beside Ye Youqing, when would her wound ever fully heal?

Ci Ke pondered, letting out a low sigh, she stooped down and sat, taking the ointment from Shi Li’s hand. She dipped her pinkie into it and dabbed it onto Ye Youqing’s already scabbed wound.

Ye Youqing, who had been in pain just a moment ago, fell silent. Her furrowed brow gradually relaxed, and she fell into a peaceful sleep.

Shi Li exchanged a glance with Ma Xiao, giving her a pat. Ma Xiao then stealthily left the room.

Meanwhile, Shi Li leaned against the doorframe, observing the scene before her. She couldn’t help but curl her lips upward.

A woman with beautiful and charming features carefully tended to Ye Youqing, each touch gentle as if handling delicate treasure. The scene unfolded slowly, time seeming to stand still.

Suddenly, she felt a sense of déjà vu, as if stepping into a different time and seeing herself from nine years ago.

“I’ll go ask Ma Da to prepare some food. You do your best to feed Xiaoqing. We don’t want her to go hungry all day and faint from hunger when she wakes up,” Shi Li said, glancing at Ci Ke’s blood-stained dress. “I’ll bring you a clean outfit too.”

Ci Ke smiled gratefully at her.

After a while, Shi Li brought a bowl of meat porridge and a set of clothes. Though the clothes had been washed, they still carried a faint scent of blood, likely from when Ma Xiao helped with slaughtering pigs.

Ci Ke didn’t mind and put it on hastily. She tied her hair into a bun. If one ignored her appearance, she would be unmistakably a common girl.

She spoon-fed the porridge to Ye Youqing, which was surprisingly easy. Ye Youqing was famished, instinctively swallowing at the scent of meat, quickly consuming half a bowl.

“Good girl, you can eat more later,” Ci Ke pursed her lips, tapping Ye Youqing’s nose before setting the bowl aside.

Suddenly, there was a commotion outside the door, as if someone was entering from the courtyard. Then came Ma Da’s voice, trying to sound respectful and accommodating, “Esteemed guests, we’re just butchers. May I ask whom you’re looking for?”

“That’s my little sister’s chamber, not suitable. How about having some tea instead?” He forced a smile, his voice echoing through the spacious courtyard, reaching Ci Ke’s ears.

With a quick mind, Ci Ke swiftly stood up, tossing the porridge bowl out of the window, where it landed amidst the overgrown weeds. She then hurriedly dressed Ye Youqing in her undergarments and outerwear, bundling up her own blood-stained clothes.

“Sir, please, this is the pig slaughtering area. Don’t dirty your eyes!” Ma Da hastily opened his arms, using his large frame to shield the guards’ view, smiling apologetically. Ma Xiao followed behind, nervously clenching her rough palms.

“Get out of here!” One of the guards kicked Ma Da’s leg, causing him to stagger and reveal the stable behind him. He peered inside.

The stench of blood and filth made him recoil, covering his nose and uttering a curse.

“You see, I told you, this is the pig slaughtering area,” Ma Da said, rubbing his leg, with a grin.

“In the imperial capital of Bianjing, beneath the city’s grandeur, coarse butchers like you should be driven out, stinking up the place,” the guard said, wrinkling his nose in disgust, waving his hand as he and his men stepped out forcefully. However, just as they were about to cross the threshold, they heard a very faint sound.

He raised his hand to halt his men, slowly turning around.

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Ma Xiao’s palms were sweating profusely as she glanced towards the sound coming from the wooden hut. “Hey, the stray cats around here have become a nuisance, constantly fighting over territory with people.”

The guard stared suspiciously, then turned towards a small shack that resembled a woodshed.

“Sir, sir!” Ma Da intervened hastily, approaching and slipping a handful of coins into the guard’s hand. “That’s where my younger brother lives. He’s not tidy, and the place is filthy and foul-smelling inside, truly unbearable!”

The guard weighed the copper coins in his hand for a moment before pushing him away, striding purposefully towards the small hut. Ma Da and Ma Xiao couldn’t stop him, their faces drenched in sweat.

With a loud crash, the door was abruptly kicked open, and a thick, metallic scent of blood hit them. Yet, it wasn’t the foul stench of decay but rather the fresh smell of blood.

The guard entered cautiously, finding the room cramped with a bed next to tables and chairs, the bedding in disarray.

But there was no one there.

Ma Xiao couldn’t help but clutch at Ma Da’s clothes, and the two exchanged worried glances.

“How come the stench of blood is so strong?” The guard surveyed his surroundings, beginning to pull apart the bedding in search of something, but there was nothing inside. The cramped little hut had nowhere to hide.

The guard glanced at the small window in front of him, currently tightly shut. He approached, reaching out to push it open, but heard a few disgusted cries behind him. Turning around, he saw Ma Xiao crouching under the bed, pulling out a freshly slaughtered, blood-drenched pig’s head.

“Damn it, Ma San, this glutton wants to eat alone again! No wonder why there was one less head when we sold meat this morning, missing several coins!” Ma Xiao exclaimed angrily, holding up the pig’s head to the guard, who recoiled from the smell.

“Sir, it’s probably the smell of this. It was just slaughtered last night, brought back to make pig head meat for drinking?” Ma Xiao grinned, stuffing the pig’s head into the guard’s hands.

The guard knocked the pig’s head away, straightened his attire, and angrily pushed past the two, walking to an open space, retching a few times.

“Let’s go, damn it!” He spat again, then with his men, hurriedly left the courtyard.

Ma Da and Ma Xiao finally dared to breathe heavily, rushing into the house to open the window, only to find no one outside.

At the same time, in the dilapidated alleys outside the house, Ci Ke was struggling to hide, carrying Ye Youqing on her back.

It seemed that the Emperor’s concern about the so-called escape from the capital was just a ruse. Therefore, besides searching along the outskirts of the capital, they hadn’t spared searching within the city itself.

Ci Ke could barely breathe, Ye Youqing was taller than her, and carrying her was extremely difficult. Moreover, dragging Ye Youqing out of the window just now had already drained most of her strength.

Those soldiers might still be in the courtyard, and she didn’t dare to go back. She could only shrink into the depths of the narrow alley, silently waiting.

“Just a merchant dealing in private salt, yet causing such a commotion. The entire Ministry of Justice has mobilized, conducting searches from house to house. Originally, today was meant for rest, but now it’s all ruined,” someone said, full of resentment.

Footsteps approached from afar.

Ci Ke paused, quickly retreating. However, several soldiers also passed by the alley entrance behind her, freezing her in place.

“Yeah, daring to snatch someone right under His Majesty’s nose. If we don’t catch them back, how can the imperial dignity remain?” another voice said. “What puzzles me is why, apart from the wanted poster of that thief, they also included a portrait of the legitimate daughter of the Ye family.”

“Who knows.”

Ci Ke closed her eyes, allowing her chaotic mind to settle. She placed Ye Youqing on the ground and looked around. Nearby, she spotted some clothes drying outside a house, and among them were two bamboo hats. She took them and placed one on Ye Youqing’s head, then covered her own face securely as well.

Just in case those soldiers recognized her.

The footsteps drew nearer and nearer, and she found herself engulfed in a tense and bewildering state. How could she deceive those people’s eyes with Ye Youqing being so young and alone?

“Ci Ke, don’t panic.” Ci Ke muttered softly to herself, turning her head to stare tightly at the alley entrance, awaiting the appearance of even a glimpse of the armor belonging to the imperial guards.

Suddenly, someone covered her mouth and nose from behind.

Accompanied by a faint scent of blood, Ye Youqing’s gentle voice enveloped her, her breath whispering in her ear, “Don’t move.”

Ci Ke’s eyes widened beneath the bamboo hat, feeling a surge of emotion that threatened to spill tears from her eyes.

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As Ye Youqing slowly rose to her feet, Ci Ke followed suit, and they both retreated to the wall.

Ye Youqing’s voice and breath were weak, a testament to the severity of her injuries. That she had awoken so quickly after such a serious injury was nothing short of a miracle.

Ye Youqing reached up and took off the bamboo hat covering her face, tossing it aside. Her gaze was unfocused, but her mind was slowly clearing. She couldn’t remember why she was in the alley, only recalling being carefully tended to while unconscious.

Surveying her surroundings, she noticed people approaching from both ends of the alley. Despite the pain, she extended her uninjured arm, digging her fingers into the protruding bricks on the wall, and vaulted onto the wall.

She was about to jump down when she glanced down and saw a woman in coarse clothing and a bamboo hat. Wrapped tightly in oversized garments, the woman’s scent was unfamiliar, devoid of fragrance, and instead carried the odors of sweat and something slightly foul.

Realizing the urgency of the situation, she didn’t hesitate. She gestured for the woman to come up.

Without hesitation, the woman extended her hand into Ye Youqing’s palm. With a sudden force, Ye Youqing pulled the woman onto the wall, then flipped herself down.

When she landed, the wound tore open, causing her to stagger back a few steps, leaning against a tree, silent and grimacing in pain.

The woman in front of her didn’t speak but hurried forward to inspect her wound. Perhaps feeling uncomfortable with the proximity, Ye Youqing instinctively pushed her away.

This action surprised Ci Ke, who had never been pushed away by Ye Youqing before.

The footsteps of the soldiers outside passed by, and Ye Youqing breathed a sigh of relief before speaking softly, “Miss, did you save me?”


LP: Eh? She doesn’t recognize her? Or worse, amnesia?!



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red flower

(」゚ロ゚)」ᴺᴼᴼᴼᴼ~ anyway thank you for the chapter (๑•ᴗ•๑)♡

The One Who Decides Fate Based Solely On Cliffhang

I assume with the ambiguity of that A/N that she did not lose her memories, but was just in a state of adrenaline. UNLESS the Author decides that an arrow to the shoulder causes memory loss or some form of brain damage. If that is the case, MC here will have to rediscover her situation and Ci Ke will attempt to lie, saying they had no relationship solely out of guilt for rejecting her. If that is the case, I will truly be pissed. You cannot paint the MC as a domineering yet incredibly dense character without providing any positive traits. All you’ve given her so far is her adamant refusal of forced relationships, something any modern human would stand for. She can’t ride a horse, she doesn’t even know her own feelings, there are a ton of secrets, her strength obviously amounts to nothing, as she’s been completely overpowered more than once, and she’s not even using her business ability. I remember something about business in her past life. A business magnate, or in other words a business genius. All she’s been doing is running around finding Ci Ke after she’s killed a guy, or after she gets ganged up on by maids. Then she looks at them angrily and they run away. Fate is a musical hellscape I can hear, and, frankly, I don’t always enjoy the songs it plays.

dadin

why they always make it difficult for the both of them sighs