Looking unmotivated, Rihaku was gazing down at the flickering lanterns from the top of the castle. Party at noon, party also at night – the main party was the one at night.
“Whoa, that looks fun hey.” His subordinate who was sitting next to him remarked.
Though he was still a kid who had only attained manhood, despite being a trainee, him passing the exam as it is to become a military official was a testament to his skill.
He is worth poking fun, I mean, training, among those who entered this year, Rihaku thought.
Rihaku was staying in the castle tonight. Military officials make sure that there are a fixed number of them inside the castle. It wasn’t really required of him now to go out of his way to keep watch outside with his promotion, but since desk jobs aren’t his style, he is thus watching over the newcomer.
The official party was held from morning to afternoon, but you could say that people were waiting for the real fun at night afterwards.
Of course, the ones doing that were the merry-loving high officials. The high officials live in the high-class residential area in the north of the capital. Several among those were large, but the lights could be clearly seen from the top of the castle walls, looking like they were having fun without regarding the price of oil.
“No way that’s fun.” Not really, though Rihaku had accompanied his boss to several parties too. The fun part was just for a portion of those officials who could get festive with the wine. For the underlings, that was a place where they had to worry about the high officials.
Even so, what’s preferable to Rihaku was based on the company. No, it’s because of the company that was probably why he didn’t enjoy it.
Rihaku was called to the party of the chief retainer of the military, who was called Rakan, yet an eccentric and famous man. If you get called to that man’s house – to speak about what goes on there – you’re going to a talent show(Think Japanese game shows).
Thanks to that, Rihaku, whose beard was thin, had to put on woman’s clothes, and dance with his face painted with white paint and red rouge. His body was perfectly built at the time so it must be surely weird.
However, it was also the truth that he is in his current position because of that. Rihaku’s father was a district official, equivalent to being a military official in the royal capital with no backing. While his boss whose ability was clearly lower than him became a superior official from just his pedigree, as soon as that Rakan saw that man at the banquet, he carefully picked up a brush and advised him to become a civil official.
Though thinking What is this suddenly, the superior official really left the military the next day. Because it was said that that man has now promoted as a civil official, he thought it was even more What?
Afterwards, Rihaku taking up the superior official’s position was also from the recommendation of the man called Rakan.
Not knowing what the person himself is thinking, on top of that annoying character, he only had an eye for people – that left behind this result.
In Rakan’s case, if he was like that in other banquets, it would no doubt be a meeting of racoons that are hiding its craftiness.*
Though the burning smell was a bother, where could the source of the fire be?(Another interpretation: who/what was the source of the suspicion.)
That saying, Rihaku folded his finger while leaning against the wall. “First was the small fire at the warehouse.”
Maomao had called it an accident, but Rihaku was strangely apprehensive. He was still holding onto the ivory pipe that he kept in custody for Maomao from that time.
It was Rihaku’s secret that he still has a small bald spot due to the burn from that time. I’ll absolutely let Pairin stroke it next time I go to the Rokushoukan, he made an incomprehensible vow.
“Next were the guys I came across at the bar.” What could they be doing, those people?
In the end, he passed the day without knowing anything.
Rihaku has been stuck always with not being about to recall the people he encountered that time.
And one more thing. “The attempted poisoning of the official huh.”
At first, it was treated as a mere food poisoning case, but it became a trivial commotion. It was a high official with a connection with the military; Rihaku was also acquainted with him.
That official’s younger brother was thrown into prison a few days ago. It was unfortunate that the perpetrator was a relative.
Perhaps the treatment of the poisoning was too late, in the end, though he kept his life, he became a cripple. It was said that he couldn’t handle his work like he used to.
At the same time, the official who did the same job, while pulling out his hair saying, “What should I do”, remembered that he denounced his subordinate. It seemed to be quite an important matter.
The high official’s younger brother blurted out something strange huh, Rihaku thought. Set-up or what, it could be anyone in prison who could claim innocence. And as the prison was in the basement of the military, even Rihaku had come across the criminal many times.
It’s few if you say it’s few. It’s a lot if you say it’s a lot.
It was something Rihaku was interested in recently.
Rihaku bragged that his intuition was quite good, and was confident that it will be helpful after this.
That’s why he didn’t have to overthink and remembered this on a whim.
Thus, he thought there’s nothing he could do no matter what he considered.
Rihaku cracked his neck, yawning. When he did so, he noticed he is going to end up falling asleep. “Well, I’m heading back.”
“Ehh, you’re going back already? Stay a little longer hey.”
“As if anyone would think staying with a rascal is fun.”
After saying just that, he was going to go downstairs and head to the nap room.
As he did so.
There was someone running noisily on the stone-paved hallway.
While saying “Come quickly” in a panicked voice, a man clad in white official robes was leading. That was probably the court physician.
“What’s up?” Rihaku asked while running alongside the men.
For a moment, the man looked extremely annoyed, but when he checked the jade and the colour of the tassel on the jade pendant hanging from Rihaku’s waist, he whispered to him.
“Th-the criminal. He collapsed while frothing at the mouth.”
After saying that, he forcibly tugged the court physician who looked like he was going to collapse, and continued to descend the stairs down to the basement.
Rihaku stopped in his tracks and scratched the back of his head in disbelief. “Frothing at the mouth huh.”
He could only think it was suspicious no matter how he thought about it.
Imperial Court 1 END
T/N: I think we have enough clues to know who might be the perpetrator.
There’s also Character Introduction 2 after this, which should be released a minute after this chapter. I left in the names of the characters as they appear in Japanese (edited the first character intro to reflect that too) since they might prove useful for something later on….
Volume 2 was kinda like an introduction to the Imperial Court; it goes more in-depth after this. More on the country and the clans if you will. Well, the stage for volume 3 is now set. All the characters are in place. Ahh, it’s gonna be so exciting— 45 chapters though orz
As usual, thanks for reading, guys! o/
comments are great
If you see any wonky grammar or mistrans, don’t hesitate to let me know (ﾉ^ヮ^)ﾉ*:・ﾟ✧