And just like this, half a month passed by in a blink of an eye.
The coldness has also subsided. The time when the buddings of Spring is felt. While drying the futons, Maomao felt like she was losing against the allure of the pleasant sunlight. Bad, bad, she shook her head and devoted herself to work.
The days really do pass by quickly when you’re productive every day. She felt the two months she spent at Jinshi’s building was needlessly long.
She had regrets for the medicine shelves in the medical office she was allowed to use sometimes, but that shouldn’t be an issue hereafter if the medical office that the quack doctor used got remodelled.
As for the archives, if she asked Gaoshun, he’ll bring over something of her choice for her.
Now if she could go out of the inner palace anytime, it would be so much better, but that was a talk of luxury. As long as she is in the inner palace, she cannot go out readily.
Consort Gyokuyou’s pregnancy was beyond certain.
Her period stopped, she continues to be lethargic. Her body temperature seems to be slightly high and the amount of defecation seems to have increased as well.
For some reason, Imperial Princess Rinrii smiled when she saw Consort Gyokuyou’s abdomen. Perhaps she noticed that there was something there.
(Does she know?)
She waved her hands in goodbye at Consort Gyokuyou’s abdomen and moved to the nap room with Honnyan.
Children are mysterious.
The imperial princess who now totters about is wearing the red shoes bestowed by the emperor and has come to take up the maids’ time. She had become more expressive, smiling sweetly in return when she raises her soft steamed buns. Maybe it was women’s instinct, the maids of the Jade Palace brought up the imperial princess affectionately despite having no children.
Occasionally, Honnyan would say something like, “It should be about time for me too,”, but Maomao and the other maids had no idea how to react to that. Though she looked impatient, the head maid who had a strong sense of responsibility couldn’t be planning to retire for marriage. Although, even if she brings in that kind of marriage proposal, everyone would force Honnyan to stay.
It’s because there was her that the Jade Palace had only this many people.
It is also troubling to be overly capable.
Maomao became the imperial princess’ companion when she didn’t have anything much to do. Rather than the other hard working maids, it was more efficient to have someone who doesn’t work well enough aside from food tasting to look after her instead.
Maomao was playing with Imperial Princess Rinrii today as well. The imperial princess was playing by knocking down assembled building blocks. The blocks were purposely made from light timber.
As she seemed to be interested in books with pictures, Maomao copied down the pictures from a book she borrowed from Gaoshun and wrote their names under it. The imperial princess was still two years of age, though Maomao tried it out since she heard that you remember faster what you’re familiarised with, but Honnyan confiscated it.
“Draw normal flowers.”
She was told and was pointed to the flowers in the garden.
It turns out that poisonous mushrooms were a no-go just because they are pretty.
She spent every day doing things like that.
It was at that time the eunuch who was beautiful in looks appeared after a long while with a troublesome present in hand.
Maomao said, looking at the eunuch who appeared slightly worn-out.
“Yeah, everyone was interested in it.” Jinshi nodded with a troubled face. The palace ladies will raise their voices at that sort of expression, saying that his sorrowful face was also beautiful. Also, let’s not mind the three pairs of eyes that were currently peeking in from the gap of the door. There was Honnyan with reverse triangle eyes who were skilfully pulling the ears of two people with her right hand and another with her left, don’t mind that either.
Let’s keep silent about Gaoshun who was admiring that with, “What a clear way of doing things.”
Returning to the conversation.
“They had come to admire that flower this time.” He said he was tasked with finding that for some reason.
(Yet another bothersome thing.)
“And you’ve come to find me,” Maomao said.
“You know anything?”
“I am a pharmacist.”
“I thought you might be able to do something.” Jinshi said something deplorable.
“That’s the very thing.” Consort Gyokuyou who was sitting comfortably on the couch also followed his lead. The imperial princess was slowly sipping her fruit juice beside her.
She didn’t know who in the world it was, but it seemed that someone said that if it’s Consort Gyokuyou’s maids, they would know something. So that’s how it is. That’s why Jinshi came around with a flower pot.
(Could it have been the quack doctor?)
It wasn’t out of the question.
That good-natured old man tends to overestimate others. This was the most troublesome thing.
She couldn’t say that she knows absolutely nothing about roses. The courtesans had ordered for skin-beautifying oil derived from flower petals. It was boiled down and distilled from the petals of strong smelling wild roses; she made it before to earn some pocket money.
“Apparently it bloomed in the imperial court a long time ago,” Jinshi said, crossing his arms.
From the entrance of the room, Honnyan who was done with scolding the three girls entered with newly prepared tea.
“Couldn’t that be a delusion?” Maomao asked.
(Ahh, my shin is itchy.)
I wonder if there are bugs in this season, Maomao thought.
Maomao scratched her skin with her toes, taking advantage of the table to hide her feet.
“One person suggested it, but when I asked, I got quite a number of testifiers,” Jinshi said with an indescribable expression. “Was opium prevalent?”
“The country will fall if that sh*t circulates!” Her speech unintentionally changed, Consort Gyokuyou and Honnyan exchanged glances with bulging eyes. Gaoshun furrowed his brow and cleared his throat.
Jinshi looked momentarily offended, but he gave a celestial maiden’s smile at the next instance. He looked at Maomao with appealing gloominess.
As expected, Maomao was bad at dealing with this sparkly face.
Oh my, Consort Gyokuyou watched with amusement. It was not amusing from this side.
“Is it unreasonable?” he asked.
(Don’t lean closer.)
It’s depressing if he comes any closer.
She gave a sigh. “What do you want me to do?”
“They want it for the garden party next month,” he replied.
The Spring Garden Party.
Did they already request it from the previous garden party?
When Maomao was lost in her deep feelings, she realised something.
(Mm? Next month?)
“Jinshi-sama, did you know?” Maomao said while scratching her other leg this time. She must make some insect repellent since she can’t make it after the imperial princess’s skin has insect bites.
“About what?” Jinshi tilted his head.
As expected, he didn’t know.
Blue roses don’t exist, but this was a problem before commenting about colour.
“Roses bloom at least two months later.”
“….” His silence was telling of what he didn’t know.
(I knew it.)
She had a bad feeling for some reason.
It seems he was pressed down with an unreasonable demand to put him on the spot.
“I’ll go decline it somehow,” Jinshi said.
“Can I ask one thing?” she said.
Jinshi, whose shoulders were slumped, looked towards her.
“Could this be something a certain tactician proposed?” she asked.
Considering the flow of things, it might be something like this.
(I thought it was no wonder I was itchy from way before.)
She presumed it was that sort of atmosphere somehow or other. It seems Maomao’s body displayed a strong reaction against the man whose name she didn’t want to hear.
“Yeah. Raka….” Jinshi held his mouth in a fluster.
Consort Gyokuyou and Honnyan tilted their head in perplexity.
Needless to say, it was about that man.
(Can’t be helped.)
If that was the case, it was also her responsibility. “I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ll do what I can.”
“You sure?” he asked.
“Yes. For that, there are several things and a place I’ll need.”
It was irritating to just run away.
Might as well, she now wanted to smash that smirking monocle.
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.