Volume 1, Chapter 9: Cacao

“Your skills are better than I expected,” Jinshi told Maomao in astonishment.

“I didn’t think I was that good either.”

She was somewhat stunned at the scene before her eyes.

“Ahh, is that so.”

There was no usual pointlessly bright smile.
He just looked extremely tired.

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“How did it turn out this way?”

For that, they had to go back a couple of hours.

 

 

The cacao that was delivered came not as the seed but in the powdered form.
Maomao carried all the other requested ingredients to the kitchen of the Jade Palace.

The three maids had watched her in the spirit of curiosity but returned to their respective workstations when Honnyan reprimanded them.

Milk, butter, sugar, honey, fruits dried in distilled liquor, aromatic herb oil. They were all high-class items with high nutritional value. At the same time, they could also be used as the ingredients to make a tonic.

Maomao had only tried cacao once. The courtesan who gave her the chocolate said that it was something kneaded into powder, mixed with sugar, and hardened.

Though the piece was the size of her fingertip, eating it made her feel like she drank up strong liquor.
She became strangely cheerful.
It was something a wicked guest gave to garner the interest of a popular courtesan by saying it was an unusual confectionery. Regrettably, the courtesan got angry when she saw the Maomao who looked out of sorts, and the guest ended up getting banned by the madam.

After that, there were times where she got her hands on a couple of those seeds, but she didn’t treat them as a drug.
A pharmacist of the pleasure district had no customers who requested such a high-class item.

The chocolate in her memory was something that had been hardened with fat. Maomao, who can perfectly remember the scent and taste of medicines and poisons, had a clear memory of its ingredients.

As the season was still hot, Maomao didn’t think that butter will set properly. So, she decided to use it to cover the fruits. It would be perfect if there was ice, but of course, that was something impossible to obtain.
As a substitute, she prepared a large unglazed jug and filled it halfway with water. Water evaporation will make the inside a couple of degrees cooler than the open air – just cold enough for the fat to set.

Maomao put a spoonful of the mixture in her mouth.
Bitterness, sweetness, and a component that lifted her emotions passed through her tongue.

Maomao, who became strong to alcohol and poisons, didn’t feel as high as she did before in the past. Nonetheless, she could feel a strong effect.

(Maybe it’s better if I make them a little smaller.)

She cut the fruits in half and drenched them in the brown liquid.
Then she laid them on a plate and finished off by placing that inside a container that could float inside the jug.

She capped the jug and hid it under the straw mat. Now the only thing left was to wait for it to harden.
By the time Jinshi comes to pick it up in the evening, they should be already set.

(There’s a little left over…)

There were still some of that brown liquid left over. The ingredients were very high-class items and were also high in nutritional value. Although it was a love potion, seeing as it wasn’t that effective to Maomao, she decided to eat it later. She cut up a loaf of bread and soaked it in it. This way, there was no need for cooling.
She covered it and left it on the shelf.

She packed up the leftover ingredients in her room and went to the pool outside to wash up.

That time, it completely escaped her mind that she should have bought the cut bread into her room as well. It might have been because she was a little high from the tasting.

Well, it was too late by then.

 

 

Afterwards, she was entrusted a job by Honnyan. The incident occurred when she was getting into the flow of harvesting the medicinal herbs that grew outside.

She was smugly holding onto the laundry basket with herbs, when she saw a blue-faced Honnyan and a gloomy Consort Gyokuyou waiting for her. As Gaoshun was also there, Jinshi should have also come.

Honnyan, who was pressing her forehead, pointed Maomao to the kitchen. She pushed her basket to Gaoshun and went towards the scene of the crime.

Jinshi was looking there with an amazed expression.

There were three maids sleeping, affectionately embracing each other. Their breasts were bared, skirts were turned up to their calves. Everyone had flushed, content faces.

Insolent words passed through her head about what happened before and after, but she tried not to think about it.
Rather, she didn’t want to think about it.
Well, because they were all women, the worst case didn’t happen, maybe.

There was the brown bread on the table.
Three pieces were missing.

 

 

After Honnyan, Gaoshun and Maomao carried the maids to their respective rooms to sleep, she was suddenly tired.

In the living room, Consort Gyokuyou and Jinshi were looking at the chocolate bread curiously.

“Is this the mentioned love potion?” the consort asked.

“No, that would be this.” Maomao presented the thing that covered the fruits. There were around thirty grains about the size of her thumbnail.

“Then, what’s that?”

“My supper,” Maomao answered.

Evidently, everyone was taken back as though she said something wrong. Gaoshun and Honnyan looked at her as if she was a strange person.

“I’ve gotten used to alcohol and stimulants, so it doesn’t have much of an effect on me.” Maomao was a heavy drinker, as she once drank alcohol seeped in snake poison as an experiment. She categorised alcohol as a type of drug.

Jinshi picked up the bread and stared at it intently. “Then, there shouldn’t be a problem for me if I eat it.”

“”Please stop that!!”” Honnyan and Gaoshun’s voices overlapped.

It was the first time she heard Gaoshun’s voice.

Jinshi put the bread back onto the plate, saying that it’s a joke.

Certainly, tasting a love potion in front of the Emperor’s Beloved Consort was disrespectful. But even with that mistake, anyone would be capable of straying from common sense if a celestial maiden’s beauty ever drew close with a flushed face.

“Shall we make it for the emperor next time? As a change in routine even,” the consort mused.

“It’ll have to be three times the effectiveness of the usual tonic.”

“Three times…” Perhaps a means to continue, Consort Gyokuyou decided in a quiet voice on something that couldn’t be heard.

How intense.

Maomao transferred the love potion to a container with a lid and handed it to Jinshi. “Please aim to have one grain at a time as it is very effective. I think you will get a nosebleed if you overeat as it will cause the blood to over-circulate. Again, please use it when you’re together with a consenting partner.”

When she finished with the precautions, Jinshi stood up.

Gaoshun and Honnyan left the room, getting ready to return.
Bowing once, Consort Gyokuyou also left the room with the sleeping princess in the basket.

When Maomao was about to put away the plate of bread, she smelt a sweet scent from behind.

“Thank you for making something that was better than I expected.”

She could hear a sweet honey-like voice.
She felt something cold touch her neck as her hair was swept up.

When she looked over her shoulders, Jinshi was leaving the room, waving one hand.

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“I see,” she said.

There was one less piece of bread on the plate when she looked away.
The aim of the criminal was on point.

“It’ll be good if there are no victims.” Maomao muttered about other people’s affairs.

The night was still young.


A story about the time when there were people who got drunk from high quality green tea.

 

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