Volume 1, Chapter 24: Qilin

“Bullying….” Gaoshun had a look of disbelief.

That’s right. Maids must not do such things to high-ranking consorts. It was unthinkable.

“It’s hard to believe,” Maomao said.

If the other party was reluctant to understand it, Maomao also didn’t want to talk about it.
She didn’t like to talk of speculation.

However, it was crucial for her to explain why the maid had touched the bowl.
She decided to honestly speak her mind instead of doing a poor job of pretending.

“Can you tell me about it?” he asked.

“I will. I just want to say in advance that this is just my speculation,” she said.

“That’s fine.”

She talked about it first from the unique perspective of Consort Riishu.
About her becoming the previous emperor’s consort despite her young age and leaving her family as a result of that.

Many women are educated to fully commit their body as wives to their husbands. It is more prominent for those who were well-bred.

Even if it was said to be political, the fact that Consort Riishu married the son of her deceased husband was severely unvirtuous.

“Did you see Consort Riishu’s Garden Party outfit?” Maomao asked.


“She didn’t read the atmosphere.”

However, everyone in her retinue had been wearing correspondingly white outfits.

“Normally, maids are supposed to advise their consort on what to wear. Otherwise, they would wear outfits that will compliment her. But what we saw there, was as if only Consort Riishu was clowning around.”

Maids are people who support their master. That was what Honnyan and the other maids had told her. Even the things Infa said during the Garden party, she understood as reality.

If she thought of it that way, it brings out a different side to the incident where those maids were arguing amongst each other about Consort Riishu’s outfit.

(The Pure Consort’s maids must have been scolding the cowardly Consort Riishu’s maids.)

The young Consort Riishu most surely wore that outfit as she was flattered by her maids and was told that it matched her.
There was no doubt about it.
In the inner palace, everyone around her is an enemy, so the only ones she could trust were her maids.

“It wasn’t just that. Didn’t they also swap the meals to trouble Consort Riishu?” Gaoshun asked to make sure.

“That’s right. As a result, she narrowly escaped death,” she said.

Fugu poison had no effect in the first moment.
In other words, if it wasn’t swapped, she would have put it in her mouth thinking that the food tasting was fine. It would have taken ten minutes.

“What a distasteful way of doing things.”

(Let’s leave the speculation off here.)

She picked up the bowl again and pointed with her finger. “This here is probably the fingerprints of the one who poisoned it. They had held it by the edge when they mixed in the poison.”

You must not touch the rim of food bowls. That was also one of Honnyan’s teachings. The reason being that you must not contaminate the place where the lips of the noble ones touch with your fingers.

“This ends my opinion,” Maomao said.

Gaoshun looked at the silver bowl as he stroked his chin.



“Can I ask one question?”

“What is it?” She replied to Gaoshun, who was bundling up the food bowl.

“Why did you cover for that maid?” he asked.

In response to Maomao who looked at him dubiously, Gaoshun added that he was asking out of curiosity.

“Compared to a consort, a maid’s life is worth almost nothing,” she said.

Even more so for a food taster.

Gaoshun gave a barely perceptible nod as if he understood her meaning. “I will explain everything to Jinshi-sama.”

“Thank you very much.”

After she sent off Gaoshun, Maomao sat down on the chair with a thump. “That’s right. I need to thank her.”

(She took the time to swap it for me, after all.)

At the same time, she thought, I knew I should have swallowed it.


“That is all,” Gaoshun said.

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Jinshi ran his hand through his hair as he listened to Gaoshun’s report.
The desk was piled with documents waiting to be stamped.

“No matter when I hear it, you have a way with words,” Jinshi said.

“Is that so?” The fearless attendant said curtly.

“No matter how much I think about it, the perpetrator is an insider,” Jinshi said.

“It’s turning out to be the case with these circumstances.”

His head was starting to ache.
He wanted to stop thinking.
At any rate, there was no time to sleep from tomorrow.
He couldn’t even change clothes.
He wanted to stamp his feet.

“Your true nature is coming out,” Gaoshun remarked.

He wasn’t smiling as usual. He was sulking, looking like his age.

It seems that Gaoshun understood him clearly.

“Isn’t it fine? There’s no one here,” Jinshi said.

“I am here,” Gaoshun said.

“You’re an extra,” he retorted.


Jinshi had asked in jest, but it didn’t pass through to this overly serious man.

This person was bothersome, seeing how he also the one looked after him since his birth.

“I’m still wearing the kanzashi,” he said.

“Aah, that’s no good,” Gaoshun said.

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“It’s hidden, so no one will notice it.” When Jinshi pulled out the deeply embedded kanzashi from his hair, the design became visible.

It was called a qilin – an indescribable legendary creature that was both deer and horse.

“Then I’ll leave it to you for safekeeping.” He casually flung it at Gaoshun.

“Please treasure it. It’s an important thing,” his attendant said.

“I get it already.”

“You don’t get it.” After he finished scolding, his minder for sixteen years left the office.

Jinshi, with a childish expression, laid his head on the table.

There was still a lot of work left.
He must quickly make free time.

“Let’s do this.” He made a big stretch and picked up the writing brush.

So that he could become a leisurely person, he had no choice but to finish his work.

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