Chapter 1052 An Accident Caused by a Box
The vegetables and meat presented before them indeed looked good. Even the pickiest person could not say that the chicken was sick and the fish was near death because they were alive and kicking. He turned to see the young man, who looked aggrieved and angry. It could be seen that he had really been bullied. They disgraced him even when he did nothing wrong, which was a shame for the chief supervisor.
In particular, the young man was the nephew of the eunuch, who was the former empress’s trusted servant.
The chief supervisor’s face fell, and he looked terrible. “Did these people in the kitchen say that?”
“Sir, I swear I was telling the truth. If I lied, let me be struck by lightning and split into two halves!” The young man wiped away his tears and swore viciously.!!
It sounded more authentic, and several young servants in the outer court couldn’t help getting indignant. These people were the chief supervisor’s trusted helpers who had been loyal to him. When they learned some people in the kitchen didn’t take the chief supervisor seriously, how could they not be angry?
“Sir, I’ll go and ask the supervisor in charge of the kitchen.”
“Sir, when Princess Chen married into our mansion, Qing Yue came here with her.”
“That’s too unreasonable. Even when His Highness was in the mansion, the affairs of the outer court were under the management of the chief supervisor.”
Several young male servants all talked indignantly.
The chief supervisor shook his hand, and all the servants stopped talking.
“Go and invite Qing Yue, Her Highness’s principal maid,” he ordered blandly.
“Yes, I’ll go now.” A clever servant answered and ran inside.
“Thank you, Sir. Thank you so much. In fact… it’s my fault. It wouldn’t have been like this if I had sent it out then.” The young man kowtowed to the chief supervisor with gratitude and murmured.
“What’s that?” a servant asked.
“Well…” The young man realized he had made an indiscreet remark. He looked around, feeling uneasy because too many people were around him.
“Bring him here,” the chief supervisor commanded and turned to an empty yard aside.
Immediately, a young male servant stepped out and reminded the young man to follow them while the others dispersed.
The chief supervisor didn’t enter the principal room in the middle of the courtyard but just sat at the yard’s stone table. With his penetrating eyes on the young man, he knocked on the stone table twice with his fingers and spoke up, “Tell me, what’s the secret?”
Only the chief supervisor and his two trusted young male servants were in the courtyard. The young man observed around and suddenly took a small brocade box from his arms and handed it over. “Sir, here it is. Take a look!”
A servant took it and brought it to the chief supervisor sitting at the stone table. He was in no hurry to open it but looked at the young man up and down.
“Is this what the people in the inner court wanted from you?”
“Yes. It’s my bad. When I came to deliver food, someone spotted it. Today, a person asked me for it when I sent the food, but I refused. Then she left with a sneer, threatening that I couldn’t do the delivery job if I didn’t give it to her. After that, they picked on me when I carried these goods to the kitchen.”
“Who wanted it from you?” The chief supervisor asked, calm and collected.
“I don’t know it either. The old maid looked ordinary, and I didn’t know if she was from the mansion. I wondered about it at that time. But my box accidentally fell when I was delivering the cooking ingredients. The person who saw it must have been from the mansion. Moreover, they threatened and punished me by not letting me do my delivery job.”
The young man thought for a moment and said bitterly, “In fact, I didn’t take it seriously. Maybe it had nothing to do with the mansion. However, I still worried about it, so I kept it in my arms. I didn’t expect someone who wanted it to frame me up.”
The more the young man talked about it, the more aggrieved he felt.
The chief supervisor didn’t ask anymore and let his eyes settle upon this obsolete brocade box.
This kind of brocade box was hardly seen in the outside world, but it was not rare and even common in the Palace. With time passing on, it faded and looked much outworn. On its engraved corner hung a rusty lock.
“What is this?” the chief supervisor asked in a solemn voice.
“I don’t know. It’s from my uncle. He told me that it was passed down through the generations in my family. When my uncle was seriously ill, he gave it to me. That day, I happened to carry it in my arms, but the people in the mansion saw it. I didn’t know what was inside and wanted to check it out after going back. However, I suddenly remembered that my uncle had told me not to see it.”
With this, the young man said, taking out a key from his arms and handing it over respectfully.
There was a brocade box and a lock. If the chief supervisor hadn’t met Shao Wanru, he would have opened it to see what was inside and asked about it.
At this moment, he didn’t open it rashly and just glanced casually at it, weighing it in his hand. Then he scrutinized the lock. It seemed that the lock hadn’t been opened for many years. The lock had rusted so that the box was hard to open. If the lock were forced open, the clot formed by rust under it would inevitably be damaged.
No one had opened this brocade box over so many years.
“You mean, someone in the mansion recognized it and thought there was something good inside, so the person wanted to get it from you?” He asked.
“Uh… I don’t know. I honestly don’t mind giving it away, but my uncle had warned me not to give it to others.” The young man scratched his head and said uneasily. He appeared very flustered and helpless. “My uncle also said that if there was anything, I could come to the chief supervisor because you would protect me.”
The chief supervisor was someone who kept old friendships in mind.
“Let’s call it a day. Qing Yue is Princess’s maid. Do your job as usual in the future. I’ll place some people in the kitchen,” said the chief supervisor.
“Thank you, Sir. Many thanks! Fortunately, you’re here. Otherwise, I didn’t know who could help me out. I never imagined it was Her Highness… She worked for Her Highness… Sir… I…” The young man was grateful and panicky.
Anyone who offended Princess Chen would panic.
But when he added a few words at this time, coupled with what he had said before, the chief supervisor might think of something else.
Except for him, only Princess Chen in this mansion possessed such marvelous abilities and could mobilize the servants in the kitchen. Since the chief supervisor didn’t give the order, Princess Chen must be behind this conflict.
The chief supervisor looked back at the brocade box and seemed lost in thought.
The young man didn’t dare to interrupt, so he just quietly stayed by his side.
Before long, Qing Yue arrived here after a servant. After entering the door, she bowed to the chief supervisor and said, “Greetings, Sir. I’m Qing Yue.”
“Qing Yue?” The chief supervisor looked Qing Yue up and down. He was unfamiliar with Princess Chen’s servant girls in the inner court, and Qing Yue rarely went out of the inner court.
“Yes, I’m Qing Yue.” Qing Yue answered, carrying herself with ease and natural poise.
The chief supervisor pointed at the young man who delivered the cooking ingredients and asked, “Have you seen him before?”
Qing Yue turned around to look at him and nodded. “I met him before. He delivers the food to the big kitchen. To my surprise, he sent us defective goods and quarreled with the kitchen staff. Seeing that he was arrogant and aggressive, I asked some people to throw out the things he had brought in and asked him to return with fresh vegetables and meat. Otherwise, he will not be allowed to send food for the mansion in the future.”
“His Highness agreed to him to deliver the food for our mansion. Do you know that?” the chief supervisor asked unhappily.
“I don’t know. I only know that his goods were bad. I couldn’t let masters in our mansion have these rotten dishes that would damage their health!” Qing Yue answered in a very matter-of-fact way.
Somehow, her calm and disapproving attitude irritated the chief supervisor. He pounded the table heavily and snapped, “You’re merely a humble servant girl. How could you stick your nose in your master’s business? Guards, take her away and flog her ten times before sending her back to the inner court!”
“Sir, Her Highness also knows about it.” When two servants came over to pull her away, Qing Yue said anxiously in a hurry.
“It’s really Her Highness.” The young man who delivered the food looked frightened.
“When His Highness is away, even Her Highness will have to discuss it with me before making the decision. You are just a low servant girl, but you intervened in the affairs of our mansion at will with Her Highness’s power. How dare you?” The chief supervisor scolded with growing anger.
The two servants came at Qing Yue from both sides, dragging her out.
Qing Yue shouted anxiously, “Sir, I am the servant girl of Her Highness. Only Her Highness has the right to punish me. You’re just a supervisor of the outer court and can’t reach the affairs of the inner court…”
In the end, her voice stopped abruptly — she should have been gagged.
“Sir, this… this matter is related to Her Princess. Why don’t we… give this box to Her Highness!” In a great rush, the young man knelt and pleaded.
It was going to be a big deal! The young man complained bitterly before the chief supervisor in a fit of pique. However, as a servant responsible for food delivery, he lost the courage to foment trouble further.
Her Highness, instead of others, was involved. He was just a servant who came here to deliver food, so he would have to weigh his words while watching others’ expressions. How dare he confront Her Highness?
“Does Her Highness want this box?” The chief supervisor’s eyes darkened, and there was a hint of fierceness in his eyes. Unlike other ordinary supervisors, he had an imposing manner because he had been the general steward in the Palace.
“I… I don’t know. Maybe it’s not Her Highness. Perhaps, she asked for it for other elders. Or possibly, Her Highness…” The young man who delivered the dishes stammered and looked at the chief supervisor with a pleading look. “Sir, please just give the box to Her Highness. Please!”
He seemed scared out of her wits and didn’t dare to make trouble anymore.
The chief supervisor sneered in his heart. “This kid is good at acting. His performance would have been more believable if he had not mentioned Her Highness frequently but talked more about Her Highness’s elders.
“He would have taken me by surprise if I hadn’t discussed it with Her Highness in advance.
“I’m too old indeed. After living a peaceful life in Prince Chen’s Mansion for so many years, I’ve lost my vigilance and nearly fell into a trap.
“He talked about not only Her Highness but also Rui’an Great Elder Princess. Since the box looks so old and worn out, it sounds more authentic if it is related to Her Highness’s elders other than Her Highness. Among these elders, only Rui’an Great Elder Princess has the closest relationship with the Palace.
“They set up a chain of tricks that starts with the smallest thing. Each scheme leading me by the nose will lure me into investigating it further until I fall into their trap.”
The chief supervisor’s eyes fell on the brocade box, which looked more and more similar to the one in his memory…