There was the crash of something falling.
The potato and grain porridge, tea, and grated fruit went everywhere.
“Did you think to serve Rifa-sama this kind of peasant food? Remake it all.” The corners of the palace lady’s eyes were raised. She was one of the maids attached to Consort Rifa, a young woman with a face of gaudy make-up.
(Ahh, what a pain.)
Maomao cleaned up the fallen food and picked up the plates while heaving a sigh.
She was at the Crystal Palace.
Consort Rifa’s residence.
She was surrounded by a great number of glares.
There were looks of ridicule, scorn, and bare animosity.
As a maid who served Consort Gyokuyou, this place was just like enemy territory.
She was standing on a bed of nails.
It was when the emperor showed up in Consort Gyokuyou’s place last night.
Maomao had tasted for poison as usual and was planning to leave the room.
“I have a request for the doctor from the rumours.”
She was called for the first time.
(What is this rumour you’re speaking of?)
The emperor’s age was somewhere around his mid-thirties, a great man growing a beautiful beard. As the one who holds the highest authority in the country, it wasn’t unreasonable that he could dazzle the eyes of palace ladies, but unfortunately, this was Maomao. She just thought, “I want to try touching his long beard”.
“What shall it be?” She respectfully lowered her head. It was just as she wanted to leave before taking a humble correspondence with a maidservant’s social position.
“Consort Rifa’s condition is bad. Can you look at her for me for a while?”
The emperor’s words were the heaven’s word.
Maomao, who wanted her head and body to remain close with each other, had no choice but to reply with “By your pleasure.”
‘Look after her” had the same meaning as “Cure her”.
Be that as it may that his favour for her was gone, it could either be that his affection for her remained to some extent, or it could also be that he couldn’t disregard the daughter of an influential person.
If Maomao didn’t cure her, her head will fly.
Their lives were linked.
As he was entrusting this to a young girl, it was at best due to the reason that the inner palace court physician was usually unreliable, or that there was no issue with her dying. Either way, it was an irresponsible request.
(At any rate, it’s not something you talk about in front of another consort.)
The emperor, who had requested that upon her, had been leisurely enjoying supper with Consort Gyokuyou. Maomao was convinced that he was really what she had expected an emperor to be.
The first thing she should do when she sees Consort Rifa was to improve her eating habits.
At present, within the inner palace, due to Jinshi’s words, the use of the poisonous face powder was banned. If merchants were found to sell it, they would be thoroughly punished cruelly.
If that’s the case, then getting rid of the poison that was left in her body will be the first priority.
Although the meal was served with porridge, it was an extravagant affair with fried fish with ankake broth, stewed pork, and red and white steamed bun with shark fin and crab. It was nutritious, but overly dense for a sick person with a weak stomach.
She ordered the cook to redo it while trying not to drool herself. With the imperial command, Maomao, who gave off the air of a humble maidservant, was able to maintain authority.
The meal consisted of porridge high in fibre, tea with a diuretic effect, and easily digestible fruit.
It was regrettable that it was thrown on the floor some time ago.
Other than criticising the imperial command, the maids weren’t pleased with the ugly maidservant who served Consort Gyokuyou.
Maomao had a lot of things she wanted to say, but she firmly put up with it and cleaned up.
A maid brought in another luxurious and gorgeous meal, and carried it towards Consort Rifa, but a short time later she returned with most of it uneaten. The remainders became the reward for the lowly maidservants.
Just as Maomao wanted to perform palpation, the maids shadowed her around the canopied bed, and so she nursed her, completely failing to be respectful. When they slapped the face powder at the sleeping place, she only coughed once,
“Because there’s a peasant here. The air is bad.”
And was driven out of the room.
The chances of the consort getting cured were low.
(She will certainly waste away if it keeps up like that.)
It could either be that her body couldn’t eject the over-accumulated poison in time, or that she will not have enough vitality.
If you take away food, a person will die. They lose the energy to live.
Maomao leaned against the wall in front of the room. Until the day her head separates from her body, she will count the days with her fingers. As she thought that, she heard a lovely voice in her vicinity.
She had an extremely unpleasant sensation and looking up with an extremely serious face, she saw an extremely lovely face smiling extremely cheerfully.
“You looked troubled by something.” Jinshi said.
“Do I look like that?” She replied monotonously, eyes narrowed.
“You do look like that.” Jinshi was staring intently at her, so her gaze gradually strayed. His long eyelashes neared as he attempted to follow her. If their eyes met, she would look at him as though she was touching garbage, a conditioned reflex.
“What’s with that girl?”
She heard malicious whispering. It was the maidservant who dismissed the meals.
Maomao really felt like running away. The atmosphere around her became terrible.
A sweet, honey voice spoke close to her ears. “Let’s enter for the time being.”
Before she nodded, they shut themselves into the room.
When she entered, the followers in the room glared at her even more grimly than just then.
But when they gazed at the one with the look of a celestial maiden next to her, those looks subsided into light smiles.
Women are really scary.
“Taking out the person the emperor arranged is not becoming of beautiful, talented women.” She bit her lip at Jinshi’s words, and softly retreated from the front of the bed.
With a push from her back, Maomao pitched forward.
With a bow, she stood in front of the bed, and took hold of the pale hand with light veins.
She also had experience in things to do with being a doctor, not just medicine.
Consort Rifa’s eyes were closed; she did not resist. Maomao didn’t know if she was sleeping or awake. Half her soul had already moved to the other world.
To look under her eyelids, she placed her fingers on the consort’s face.
Her fingers slipped from the smoothness of it.
Her skin was pure white, not different from before.
(The same skin colour as before?)
Maomao’s face stiffened. She turned towards the maids.
She stood before one of them among them, and asked in low, stifling voice. It was the girl who slapped the powder some time ago. “The one who applied the make-up on the consort, was it you?”
“Yes, that’s right. It is the duty worthy of a maid after all.” As Maomao stared into her, the maid answered while panicking in some way. She was bluffing with all her might. “I want Rifa-sama to be always beautiful.”
As if to say she was right.
“I see,” Maomao said.
There was a loud slap.
The maid collapsed, her strength leaving her, no idea what just happened.
Her cheeks and ears would have to be strangely hot.
“What are you doing!” Amid the dumbfounded group, one person flared up on Maomao.
“Hah? I’m just disciplining a fool.” As she spoke disdainfully, she grabbed the collapsed maid by the hair and dragged her along.
She stopped the front of the dressing table, emptied her hands and reached for the engraved container. She opened the lid and showered the maid with its contents.
The maid coughed violently. Her eyes teared up.
“Isn’t that great? With this, you’ll be pretty like the consort.” She pulled the maid up by her hair and leered like a beast that hunted its game. “The poisonous essence will pass through the whole body, from the pores, the mouth, the nose. You will acquire hands like withered branches, sunken eye sockets, skin that has lost its complexion, just like the Rifa-sama you adore.”
“Why? Didn’t you know it was forbidden? They even told you it was poison!!”
“B-but, it’s the most beautiful. We thought Rifa-sama would be happy.”
“Who would be happy with a poison that killed their brat?” Like she was speaking to a child, Maomao clicked her tongue and released the maid’s hair. Several strands of her long hair remained on her fingers. “Hurry up, go rinse your mouth. Go wash your face too.”
After she saw off the palace lady who scrambled out of the room in haste, she then looked at the other frightened maids.
“Oi, at this rate, you’re touching a sick person, right? Hurry up and clean.” Turning a blind eye to the fact that it was Maomao herself who had ransacked it, she pointed to the powder covered floor. The maids trembled in fright and came back with cleaning equipment.
She crossed her arms and let out a huff.
“Women are really scary.” Both hands in his sleeves, Jinshi muttered to himself.
She had forgotten about his existence.
“Ah.” Maomao suddenly felt her blood rushing from her head and crouched down at that spot.
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.