Sleepwalking isn’t a properly understood disease.
Even though they are asleep, they move about as though they are awake.
If there is any cause to speak of, it would be the discord of the heart. No matter how much medicinal herbs are boiled, it is futile.
A certain courtesan was inflicted with that disease.
She was a cheerful woman who was good at writing poetry. The talk of redemption had come up for her.
However, that talk was broken off.
She strolled through the brothel every night as if she was possessed.
When the madam tried to stop the courtesan who had been walking around, she got scratched.
The next day, everyone in the brothel came to press her about her erratic behaviour. What the courtesan said in her cheerful voice was this,
“Oh my. Everyone, what happened?”
The bare feet of the woman who had no memory of the night before were covered in dirt and cuts.
“What happened next?”
Jinshi and Maomao were in the living room. Gaoshun and Consort Gyokuyou were also there. The Imperial Princess had been entrusted to Honnyan.
“Nothing. When the talks of redemption died off, her wandering also stopped.” Maomao said curtly.
“So, could you mean that she hated the redeeming talk?” Consort Gyokuyou asked.
“Probably. The other party was a large patron but he had not just wife and children, but even grandchildren. Moreover, if she worked for another year, her term of service would be over.”
If she was redeemed by a person she didn’t like, it seemed that she would rather endure one more year of service. As a result, that courtesan had no more new talks of redeeming and was later freed from her service.
“As there are many who wander after they had extreme stress, you can give them a combination of calming drugs and scents, but, well, you only calm them down.” Maomao had prescribed for these patients instead of her dad.
“Hmm.” Jinshi rested his hands on his chin, looking amused. “Is there anything after that?”
At his persistent gaze, she held back the contempt that was going to show on her face.
Gaoshun wordlessly sent support beside her.
“After that, I return to work, so excuse me.” She bowed once and left the room.
Rewinding a small amount of time.
The day after the ghost inspection, Maomao went to see Shaoran, the talkative girl from the east side.
As soon as Maomao met up with Shaoran, she was thoroughly asked about Consort Gyokuyou, so she got information about the ghost panic and old news in exchange.
The start of the ghost panic was some time before the half moon. The ghost was first sighted at the north side. After that, before long it became that she was sighted on the east side, and she could be seen every night.
The palace guards were scared of the ghost story, so they did nothing.
At present, there were no damages, so it seemed that no one tried to do anything about it.
What a bunch of useless guards.
The next place she went to was the quack doctor’s place.
In a period where there was no such thing as personal information, the man who doesn’t understand confidentiality will even talk to her about things she’s never heard about.
About the recently unhappy Princess Fuyou.
She had the social status of one who attained the rank of high-ranking consort while being titled as a princess – the third one of a small vassal state that could scatter at a breath.
She had a building on the north side. She danced as a hobby but was timid and easily nervous. She failed when she had an audience with the emperor.
Excluding her dancing, there was nothing about her that stood out in particular. Two years after entering court, she had yet to be chosen.
This time, as she was bestowed to her childhood friend, a military official, she would be finding happiness.
Something clicked in Maomao’s head.
However, what would happen if she said something that didn’t come from the limits of speculation?
(Dad said that you shouldn’t say things you guessed.)
That’s why she decided not to say it.
The docile, fair-skinned princess passed through the central gates with flushed cheeks.
Although she didn’t have looks that stood out, everyone lamented at the face that was glowing with happiness.
They would be grateful if they were bestowed this way.
That scene spread out.
“Isn’t it fine to talk to me at least?” Consort Gyokuyou, who smiled charmingly, was a mother of one child despite her actual age being not even twenty years old. She had a slight tomboyish smile.
Maomao pondered for a second. “This is a guess at most. Also, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“I’ll hear it for myself. I won’t get angry.”
“Not a word to anyone then,” Maomao said.
“My lips are sealed,” Consort Gyokuyou promised.
Maomao told her about the story of a sleepwalking courtesan.
It was different to the story she told before Jinshi and the others a couple of days ago, the story of another sleepwalker.
Similar to the courtesan from before, she got ill due to the redeeming talks that came up and got cancelled.
However, the sleepwalking didn’t stop after that. Prescribing medicine like last time didn’t calm her down.
A new redeeming talk came up for that courtesan. The brothel owner couldn’t bring themselves to allow an ill person to be redeemed, but even so, he wanted to redeem her. Reluctantly, she was arranged to a contract that was half the amount of silvers of the previous redeeming talk.
“I only understood what happened later, but this is swindling,” Maomao said.
The man from the previous redeeming talk was an acquaintance of the man who came afterwards. When he understood that the courtesan was faking her illness, he cancelled it. And then, the destined man redeemed her for half the amount.
“The courtesan still has her terms of service left. The man’s redeeming silver was not enough to pay for it,” Maomao said.
“So, you’re saying this courtesan is the same as Princess Fuyou?”
The childhood friend military official didn’t have the social position to propose to a princess of a vassal nation.
He had planned to come for the princess one day by going up the ranks through the feat of arms.
However, due to politics, the princess was made to enter the inner palace. The princess, who had feelings for the military official, failed at her speciality, dancing, so she wouldn’t attract the attention of the emperor.
As she had expected, her body stayed clean within the two years she didn’t sleep with anyone.
Around the time the childhood friend collected his feat of arms and had Princess Fuyou bestowed to him at his next merit, it reached the point where the princess was wandering about suspiciously.
It was so that the emperor would never think Princess Fuyou as valuable and pick her.
Were she to be chosen, the bestowing will be postponed. Princess Fuyou, who prized her maidenhood, wouldn’t be able to face her childhood friend again if she slept with another.
She was dancing at the east gate was for the sake of prayers to her childhood friend who was coming back for her. For the sake of a prayer that he comes back unharmed.
“This is nothing more than a guess,” Maomao said.
“How do I say this? Since it could be true concerning the emperor, I won’t say anything.” The Favoured Consort looked slightly troubled. She was unable to say that the lustful emperor didn’t hold any interest to the princess who desired the military official to that extent. “If I say that I’m jealous of Princess Fuyou, would I be a cruel woman?”
“I don’t think so.”
Though she thought the theory was mostly coherent, she didn’t feel like telling Jinshi.
Since it will certainly be happier this way.
She wanted to keep that tender, simple smile as it is.
It seemed that the problem was completely solved but….
In truth, there was still one mystery that remains.
“How did she get up there?” Maomao tilted her head, looking up at the wall that surrounded her on all four sides.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.