“Jinshi-sama didn’t mean to go overboard with his prank. Can you forgive him?” Gaoshun was guiding her to the Diamond Palace, Consort Riishu’s residence. His master, due to the incident just then, was at the Jade Palace getting severely lectured by Consort Gyokuyou.
“I understand. Then, it’ll be fine if Gaoshun-sama does the licking from now on,” Maomao said.
“It’s fine if you understand.” Maomao walked briskly, pouting.
He was truly a pervert. A nasty person with only looks.
No doubt he deceived everyone like that.
If he wasn’t a big shot, she would have kicked him between the legs. Or so she thought, but there was no point kicking something that wasn’t there, so she decided to let it go.
And so like this, they reached the brand new palace that was set up under the southern sky.
Consort Riishu was dressed in a sakura-coloured dress. Her soft hair was bundled up with a flower kanzashi.
Maomao thought that this cute outfit suited her more than the extravagant outfit she wore at the garden party.
After Consort Gyokuyou entered, Maomao asked her for permission to meet with Consort Riishu to clarify something she was curious about.
Consort Riishu, noticing that Jinshi was not around, looked clearly dejected.
Only his outward appearance is good, so it can’t be helped.
“The thing you want to talk to me about, what it is?” She was eased comfortably on the couch, covering her mouth with a fan. She didn’t have the majestic bearing like the other consorts. Hesitating somewhere, the consort who was still young.
She only had the beauty expressing a beautiful maiden. She has yet to express a womanly charm.
Behind her were two of her personal maids, standing listlessly.
Consort Riishu had looked at the court lady with freckles she’s never seen before with displeasure, but upon taking a closer look, she seemed to notice that Maomao was the maid she saw at the garden party. Her eyes widened, and she looked a little calmer.
“Do you hate honey?” Maomao asked.
It would have been fine to follow up with some small talk, but that was a pain, so she went straight to the point.
“How did you know?” Consort Riishu asked.
“It shows in your expression.”
(You know with just a look.)
Her bewildered look gradually turned sulky. She was really easy to read.
“Was there ever a time you got stomach aches from honey in the past?” Maomao continued.
Moreover, Consort Rishuu puffed out her cheeks. Further affirming Maomao’s guess.
“It isn’t unusual to become unable to eat a food after food poisoning.”
Consort Riishu, having been seen through, made a face that was a mix of bewilderment and irritation.
“Aren’t you rude? Suddenly coming here and speaking so bluntly to Riishu-sama,” a maid said.
(Like you’re one to say.)
She was one of the maids who didn’t stick up to her honey-hating master at the tea party the other day.
(By doing this, she’s acting as an ally.)
Sometimes, they pretend to be allies of Consort Riishu to make outsiders into villains. The naïve young consort would be convinced that everyone was her enemy. They persuaded the consort into thinking that only they are the consort’s ally and isolate her.
The consort then has no choice but to depend on her maids. It is a vicious circle.
If the person herself didn’t noticed that she was being bullied, there was no means this will be known to the public. It seemed they overdid it at the garden party though.
“I am here under Jinshi-sama’s orders. Do you have a problem with that?” Maomao asked. While she was at it, let’s borrow the tiger’s authority and make some trouble.
The maids flushed furiously, for some reason they were looking forward to getting close to that perverted eunuch.
“And one more thing.” Maomao, expressionlessly, returned Consort Riishu’s gaze. “Were you ever acquainted with the Garnet Palace’s head maid before?”
The consort’s surprised expression was answer enough.
“They have what she asked me to look for.”
At Maomao’s behest, Gaoshun was in the imperial court’s archives.
Maomao, a palace lady, is fundamentally unable to leave the inner palace.
Let’s see. What did she realise?
Her composure and her unexpected knowledge beyond her seventeen years was astonishing. He thought, with her rational way of thinking, and her ability to deal with things, it was regrettable that she was a girl. Of course, this talk excludes one part of her characteristic though.
She was a chess piece that was extremely easy to use.
It would have been fine to treat her like so.
The person herself had accepted it too, albeit reluctantly.
“I did something bad.” He grumbled to himself.
Should he have really stopped his master’s overboard prank?
What would have happened if he stopped it?
Recalling Maomao’s resentful eyes, anxiety swept past him. She might serve him something after this.
(Sixteen years ago. He was born at the same time as the imperial brother huh)
In Maomao’s hand was a single volume of a book bound in cord.
It was a compilation of every incident from the inner palace.
Gaoshun had brought it over to her at her request.
There was a single child born when the current emperor was the crown prince. The mother was the crown prince’s milk sibling, the future Pure Consort.
The child had died in infancy, and afterwards, until the new inner palace was made at the previous emperor’s death, there were no children born.
(The consort from the crown prince’s time was always alone huh)
It was surprising. She thought that as he was lusty old man he would have many concubines from his crown prince days. To think that he was married to one consort for more than ten years.
Absolutely, it was also necessary to not rely on rumours and hearsay, but on accurately recorded information.
Sixteen years ago.
“Court Physician, Ruomen(羅門, Luo Men). Banished.”
She found a name she recognised.
The emotion that surfaced wasn’t surprise but understanding. Some way or other, she already had a feeling about it.
All the medicinal herbs that grew in large numbers in the inner palace were something that Maomao used often.
They don’t grow in nature. She guessed that someone had planted them before.
“Dad, what did you do?” she said.
The man who shuffled along with a gait of an old woman.
Maomao’s medicine teacher was a former eunuch who had a bone in one of his knees extracted.