“I might be feeling a little sluggish.”
Airan said, her eyes partly on the verge of shutting, chin resting on the table.
Maomao placed her hand on her brow. It appears that she has a fever.
They were taking a break in the kitchen, eating snacks. Honnyan, whose duty was to watch over them, wasn’t around, so they passed the time in a laid-back manner.
“Don’t tell me you have a slight cold or something. What would happen if you pass it over to Consort Gyokuyou and the princess?”
Infa said as she picked up a cherry. The cherries were taken from the inner palace orchard. Just saying this in case, but this wasn’t something Maomao took on purpose. Don’t take her wrong, she only snuck some in.
“I was careful though.”
Airan raised her head tiredly.
Maomao was going to return to her room to boil some cold medicine, but Infa pulled her to a stop.
“Sorry about this, but since you’re going to make medicine, can you take her to the clinic?”
“The clinic? You say?”
Maomao tilted her head. Wasn’t that, the medical office? If so, even if I take her there, it’ll just tire her out, Maomao thought, but then Infa, guessing that, shook her head.
“It’s different to the medical office. How do I say this? Though we don’t have court physicians, we have different people instead? For the time being, Airan knows, so go with her.”
Maomao nodded, I understand.
This so-called clinic was on the north side of the inner palace. It was at a distance from the back of the washing area; there were palace ladies in white robes.
(It was in such a place.)
It was out of Maomao’s area of activity. I didn’t know about it, she muttered, and Airan laughed wryly amid her coughs.
“Probably, you weren’t simply told when you entered here?”
Unfortunately, since Maomao entered here while sulking, she didn’t listen properly. It was likely that, in the middle of being brought here and getting the explanation, she must have been observing the mugwort that was growing on the roadside.
She was that kind of creature.
In the washing area beside it, palace ladies were briskly washing clothes. The things they were carrying in their hands seemed to be sheets.
By being close to the washing area, they can immediately wash clothes and futons. For a place where it is important to have the area clean for medical treatment, it was a good location.
“Excuse me. I caught a cold.”
Airan called out to a palace lady who was moving quickly. Although the busy looking palace lady made a brief look of doubt, she set down the washing basket and placed her hand on Airan’s forehead.
“A fever, I see. Stick out your tongue.”
It was a seasoned voice. The palace lady’s face was covered in deep wrinkles. For the inner palace, an unusual middle-aged palace lady.
The palace lady squinted and lifted Airan’s chin up to see. It was a more practised action compared to the quack doctor.
“Hmm. It doesn’t seem to be that serious. If you don’t exert yourself, you’ll be fine in two or three days. What do you want to do?”
The palace lady asked Airan. Her diagnosis was also reliable.
“I can’t pass it over to the consort, so can I stay here? Just in case.”
The palace lady picked up the laundry basket and promptly entered the clinic. She set down the basket and beckoned at them.
The inside of the clinic was a simple structure that was devoid of splendour. There were no decorations hanging off the pillars, the corridor had plain timber flooring. Even the windows, the square windows were only just installed at fixed intervals. Because of the lack of decorations, cleaning was easier to do, so they are sufficiently thorough. There were many windows, the ventilation was also good. It seemed to be a very restful place to spend the time in this coming season.
There was no characteristic stench of traditional eastern medicine. However, an alcohol-like stench permeated the air.
Airan grimaced. It appears that the reason she hesitated coming here was because she hated this smell. However, Maomao could only admire that they were attentive with disinfection. Strong alcohol killed toxins when applied on the wound. Needless to say, holding it on the open wound and wiping it down is a method of disinfection.
She had thought it was mysterious before that disease didn’t spread with only that quack doctor around. Turns out there was this kind of place.
“Then, tell them that I’ll come back tomorrow.”
Airan received a tag that was made from wood from the middle-aged palace lady, and headed to the room of the number written on that tag.
Maomao looked at the inside of the clinic with interest, but she was seized by the nape of her neck.
“Hey, what about your job. Don’t think you could slack off just because you were the chaperon.”
“What? Or, would you rather, clean all the washing here for us?”
Maomao shook her head in refusal at the aunty who was grinning widely.
Maomao, with nothing she could do, decided to return to the Jade Palace.
The madam was also like that. She really can’t win against old ladies.
(I wanted to see more of it.)
But it didn’t seem like she could do it, so she gave up. She trudged the way back. While Maomao was being carefree, the palace ladies carrying laundry baskets scurried around her on the road.
Since it was the rainy season, it seems tough that they have to pack up the washing when the sunniness occasionally abated. That said, Maomao also recalled that she had to go get the washing too.
(At any rate.)
Aside from that aunty, there were several other palace ladies. It can be said they were all senior aged.
Since they were in a place called the inner palace, when palace ladies age, they are half forced to be replaced. Generally, when they get to their thirties, they are forced to take breaks. If they remain, they would all be high positioned personnel like the Inner Palace Chief, or a maid that attends a consort.
If she spoke it out loud, she would surely be hit, but Honnyan the head maid was already the age where she would be leaving the inner palace.
Speaking of that palace lady’s experienced manner, she must have stayed behind as an existence that the inner palace needed, Maomao thought.
However, there was one point of concern.
The smell of medicine was non-existent. Could it have been erased by the smell of alcohol?
No, or could it be—.
Maomao walked, stroking her chin as she contemplated, and bumped into something. Did I hit a pillar? She thought, but for some reason, there was the face of a celestial maiden that was dazzling like a sun above her head.
“Don’t mutter to yourself as you walk. You’ll trip.”
“What are you talking about?”
Jinshi sighed tremendously and spread both of his hands, shaking his head. At his expression of disappointment, Maomao inadvertently became sullen, and her eyes were like she was looking at a swollen earthworm in a puddle of water, but then she politely met eyes with Gaoshun, who was overflowing with the expression of a bodhisattva. For now, she forced her narrowed eyes wide open.
“Where did you go?”
“The clinic. To think there was such a place huh.”
“…It was mentioned to palace ladies when they were first shown around, could it have been omitted?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
Looking at Jinshi who had a somewhat strangely serious expression. Maomao thought, What should I do? Occasionally, does this eunuch have no confidence in his own work? He has so much confidence normally.
Jinshi slowly veered off to a path that led to a place with few people. The beautiful eunuch, him just standing here will become a hindrance to work, so it would be a welcome decision.
“It was a place that was more established that I thought, so I was surprised. Rather, it would be better if the court physician was there.”
No, if it was like that, the quack doctor’s head will fly. If it was like this, the places where Maomao can slack off will decrease, so it was troubling.
I really should have corrected what I said just then, she thought, when Jinshi lowered his brows again.
“If there is a court physician there? Wouldn’t that be a hardship if that’s done?”
“What do you mean?”
“Only males can be court physicians, you know.”
Maomao tilted her head, and Gaoshun explained instead.
“Fundamentally, only court physicians can boil medicine. For the treatment of wounds too. Scratches aside, the treatment of serious injuries was impossible. It was banned.”
(Was that how it is?)
Maomao understood. The reason why there wasn’t the smell of medicine, must be due to that.
However, if that was the case.
“What about me?”
Maomao felt that she boiled medicine as she pleased. Of course, she couldn’t bring in ingredients from outside, but she used the plants that grew within the inner palace and the medical office’s medicines.
“You can say our eyes are closed. Among consorts, there aren’t few people who know a lot about medicines placed as maids. Though, when it becomes such a case, conversely, their presence becomes too distinct and can’t provide medicines then.”
From Jinshi’s phrasing, I’m involved in some complicated situation, Maomao thought. Like the inner palace lady wage system, an incomprehensible system and law might exist, but Maomao had not much interest in it so she had absolutely no idea.
Even if medicine was not allowed, you can use alcohol to disinfect then – it could be utilised by applying that devising.
By just resting in a clean place, illnesses can be easily cured. In the case where the condition is severe, there was also the means to return to their family.
(What a bother.)
However, it would be more of a bother to overturn the system that was once decided. In this world, there are many people who chose to immobilise.
“Even for the future, it would be good if we can supply more figures that are different to court physicians.”
Jinshi also couldn’t speak about Maomao. Like he was making a speech, that was a monologue.
“So we can do it even if there aren’t eunuchs.”
Within the inner palace, eunuchs make up about half of all the people. Compared to palace ladies, since they aren’t often replaced, their average age was considerably high.
(That saying, there aren’t many young eunuchs huh.)
She was pretty sure she heard that a couple of years ago, the surgery to become a eunuch was banned. If she remembered correctly, wasn’t it the time when the emperor was replaced by the current one?
Maomao didn’t know when Jinshi became a eunuch. However, considering Jinshi’s age, it could only be just before it was banned.
(Poor thing. If only you waited a little.)
Involuntarily, her gaze dropped. She looked at Jinshi’s crotch. Since the eunuch’s surgery removed it all by the roots, it becomes flat. Since she knew what happened to her foster father’s area, she could pretty much imagine it.
(Smooth and flat.)
Maomao slowly raised her head, locking eyes with Jinshi.
Jinshi was making a somewhat complicated expression. His lips were shut in a zigzag shape; he was staring back at Maomao.
(Don’t tell me, did I say it out loud again?)
Not good, she thought, holding her mouth and averting her eyes, this time meeting eyes with Gaoshun. His bodhisattva expression had crumbled; it seems he was looking towards Jinshi with the same sympathetic smile as Maomao. Being fellows that had the same flatness, could they have a connection?
Gaoshun slowly shook his head,
“Jinshi-sama, our work is being held up. ”
And said a behest.
“Okay. That’s right. Tell them that I will be heading to the Jade Palace afterwards.”
So Jinshi said, and left with an elegant retreating figure.
Maomao released her hands that she clamped over her mouth,
(If I make a medicine that can grow it, could it be profitable?)
She considered imprudent things along those lines.