In the mid-1820s, a natural disaster strikes the city of Nantong, tarnishing most of the city’s rice fields. Running out of food supply, city mayor Hong Chi-wing (Wong Wai Leung) decides to use the city’s military food supply to feed the people. A few days after the disaster, an official from Beijing arrives to the city to check the military supply. Upon seeing an empty trailer, he sentences the Hong family to death. His daughter Hong Po-yin (Sheren Tang) escapes from punishment and becomes a maid in Prince Wai’s mansion, living under the name Hong Po-kei.
Twenty years later, Po-kei reunites with the rich rice merchant Chiang Kiu (Elliot Ngok) at his manor in Wuxi, whom she was betrothed to before the disaster, while Prince Wai is there for a visit. Chiang Kiu’s wife, Yan Fung-yee (Susan Tse) recognizes Po-kei and reveals her identity to Prince Wai. Kiu manages to convince the Prince to free her, and marries Po-kei as his fourth wife. He appreciates Po-kei’s wisdom and persistence, and decides to entrust his business to her, telling her to find a suitable successor for him before he dies.
Hungry for power and eager to keep tradition, Fung-yee finds every opportunity for her son, the eldest child Bit-man (Ngo Ka-nin) to be the only heir of the family business. She tries to strip Po-kei from power even when Chiang Kiu’s final will reads that Po-kei should be the full owner of the business.
Despite attacks from the family, Po-kei manages to keep the business in good shape. She is impressed with second son Bit-ching’s (Ron Ng) intelligence and guides him to become the successor, but her efforts are met with Chai Kau’s (Wayne Lai) challenges. Chai Kau seeks vengeance for being mistreated and wants a pay back from Bit-man and the Chiang’s family uncle, Pang Hang (Henry Lee). After rounds of battle wits and fights, Po-kei and Chai Kau develop a deep friendship.
Chai Kau appreciates Po-kei’s work ethics and pledges his loyalty to her. With their excellent cooperation and quick thinking, the business manages to survive through the locusts disasters and the Taiping Rebellion.
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