The place Jinshi summoned Maomao to was the room of Palace Official Chief. As usual, Maomao dipped her head at the Palace Official Chief, who had stepped out from her seat, and went inside.
In the spacious yet simplistic room, Jinshi was sitting comfortably on the couch. What is this, his highness’ face was more beautiful than usual, that is, he was sparkling pointlessly.
Maomao slowly lowered her head. There was the sound of Gaoshun closing the door behind her.
How many days has it been since she has seen Jinshi that other day? That time, Jinshi was pale and had said nothing. Maomao also asked nothing. She thought of asking but she couldn’t ask for the details. Her head was full of the lingzhi she got her hands on. That was inevitable.
And so, for the past couple of days, she was afraid that this eunuch, no, this pseudo-eunuch would show up at the Jade Palace someday, but to directly summon her-.
Maomao clutched her lapels.
“What is your business?” she prepared herself and spoke.
Seeing her doing that, Jinshi smiled widely. “I thought about continuing from where we left off the other day.”
(Is it really coming?)
Maomao took a deep breath.
What this man wanted to say. Maomao was anticipating.
Maomao took out a cloth bag from her bosom.
She set it up on the table. “I am properly prepared for it.”
Jinshi lightly tilted his head in response to Maomao’ stiff expression. “…Umm, prepared for what?”
What is he playing dumb for, this man?
Maomao opened the bag and showed him. “The compounding is still imperfect, but it will be completed if we combine it with another medicine. The finished product would make you appear as you have died from shock.”
The one other medicine couldn’t be obtained here, so she will have to get Jinshi to prepare it for her. He should do that much for her. It’s a medicine that has some value in a foreign country, but that’s why it was something that wouldn’t leave proof.
Listen to her final wish.
Let her die by the medicine she wanted to try out.
It looks like she hadn’t thought about it, but even Maomao has thought about her own death.
If she must really die, then let her die in the manner she likes.
It’s only just a trivial wish.
Jinshi made a grim expression.
What is this? Could it be, that he can’t even buy such an expensive medicine? No, there’s no way, but, does he have a plan to deal with her in a more economical way?
“Jinshi-sama?” When Maomao timidly called his name, Jinshi did a complete reversal from his elegant appearance from just then to a grim expression. Thinking he was going to put his fingers on his brows, he started to rest his chins on his hands, his manners poor.
“…I’m asking just in case, but what are you planning?” he asked.
“Even if you ask what I’m planning, I have resolved myself in my own way. I’m planning by considering how to die without leaving proof.”
Jinshi’s head slipped from his palms and hit the table with a thud. Maomao jerked back. Gaoshun approached Jinshi, but he raised his hand. “I’m asking you once, but don’t tell me, for this past couple of days, you’ve just been thinking about such a thing?”
What this such a thing he was talking about, must be about Jinshi dealing with Maomao? For that, she could only give an affirmative.
“Yes. I am an eyesore, so it’s inevitable.”
Otherwise, it would be about considering a method to seal her lips. In that case, taking a hostage would be paramount. It would be the older sisters of the brothel, no, her dad?
Her dad had been living severely with difficulty up until now. He doesn’t need to bear any more hardship, Maomao thought.
That’s why she prepared the medicine like so.
If he rejected her using that medicine, then speaking of what would become of her-.
“Is it by expeditious hanging? Pressing some blunder on me,” she asked
Just when she thought she heard the loud bang of the table moving, an impassive Jinshi was standing in front of Maomao.
Bent down, he glared at Maomao with damp eyes.
Maomao subconsciously drew back a step. But, like he was following her, Jinshi advanced a step.
“…Jinshi-sama, isn’t it better to relax on the couch?” she asked.
“Who on earth interacts without relaxing?” he replied
A step. Another step. As Maomao stepped back, Jinshi stepped forward. Even when she sought Gaoshun’s assistance, the man was being himself, hands together, saying nothing and looking up at the ceiling.
When Maomao realised it, she was forced all the way up against the wall. A hand was landed next to her head with a thud. His hands on the wall, Jinshi looked down at Maomao.
“…I thought I said, that I have something I must tell you. So why would there be a reason for dealing with you?” he said, breathing in deeply.
(Did you say such a thing?)
Probably, her memories of that time must have flown out the window due to various mushrooms. She can’t remember at all.
Yeah, it was the mushrooms’ fault.
“In other words, is Jinshi-sama saying you’re not planning to deal with me?” Maomao looked up at Jinshi. He shook in surprise.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
“That’s great.” Maomao sighed in relief.
“….” Jinshi looked at her with a very complicated expression.
“What is it, Jinshi-sama?”
“No, I’m sorry that you’re in the middle of being relieved, but I think this isn’t the place where you should be relieved.”
Jinshi was saying something she didn’t understand.
Hm, Maomao looked around her.
As Jinshi had driven Maomao to this point, he was peering down at her from above.
“Jinshi-sama, we have cleared the misunderstanding, so can you move aside?” Maomao stated frankly. Jinshi was in the way as he won’t move from the wall. It was possible for her to slip through, but passing between the legs of a noble would be rude.
“…I knew it. You don’t understand at all. Do you understand how me, being, um, not a eunuch is supposed to mean?”
“That would be, it would have to be dreadful if it gets exposed here.”
Having men in the flower garden called the inner palace that was made only for the emperor was something that cannot be. However, if she thought really hard about it, it didn’t seem likely that the emperor would leave someone who stands out as much as Jinshi does alone. Wouldn’t it be considered abnormal to leave him as a man for some reason?
The emperor must have an ulterior motive to have low ranking consorts give birth to Jinshi’s children. High ranking consorts aside, the children birthed by low ranking consorts have low inheritance rights. It’s troublesome if they were males, but what would happen if females were born?
The daughter of Jinshi, who possesses a face that could topple one or two countries even as a man, would surely become a trump card of diplomacy. The talks sound patient, but political marriages are decided while the girl hasn’t even turned ten yet.
There might be a multitude of issues to it, but that might have profitability on its own.
(What a terrifying emperor, and a stud!)
Maomao faced Jinshi with an unspeakable gaze. It was half contempt and half pity. “I understand that Jinshi-sama’s position is complicated. However, any more than this, the talk is a little too important for me. Can you pardon me for that? I won’t reveal it to others even if you split my mouth.”
That was all Maomao was able to say.
“I thought your intuition is good, but were you already aware of it?” Jinshi asked.
“Yes, I am confident now. I understand that you are in a difficult position, but this talk is beyond my standing.”
“…I get you. Let’s agree on that.” Jinshi’s expression was gloomy. While trembling, he thrust his empty hand into his breast pocket for some reason. As he was going to take something out, it seems something stopped him.
It seems there was some kind of complicated emotion within Jinshi. “No, how do I say this, there is that too, but there’s also something else? How do I say this? More than my position, it’s about me personally.”
I possess a splendid thing that is like a stallion, was what he even should say? Speaking of that, this man had wanted to boast about his own body.
“No, I don’t mean looking.” She unintentionally whispered it.
Jinshi’s face stiffened.
Crap, Maomao looked at Gaoshun. Gaoshun was starting to blossom divinity as though he reached enlightenment, but he reacted to the sound of the door knocking.
Jinshi finally moved away from Maomao, went to lie down on the couch as if nothing happened, and the Palace Official Chief who was waiting outside entered the room.
“What is it?” Jinshi, plastering on a sparkling smile, said to the middle-aged palace lady.
“Yes, His Majesty had said that he will be going to Consort Rouran’s place for sleeping today.”
“Is that so? I heard that he won’t go there tonight, though.” Jinshi tilted his head in a haughty manner.
When the emperor comes to the inner palace; it is reported beforehand. The room he comes to requires various preparations too. The consort must take a bath, puts on clothes imbued with incense, wears make-up and even the supper for meals have to be prepared.
It seems that there were some problems by just seeing the slightly flustered expression of the Palace Official Chief.
“Yes. I have been told that Consort Rouran is not in her palace,” she said.
“…Hoh, isn’t she taking a walk?” Jinshi asked.
“About that…” It looked like something that was difficult for the Palace Chief Official to say. “It seems common that Consort Rouran often goes off somewhere…” she minced her words unintelligibly.
It seems that she sees the palace ladies who end up having to search for Consort Rouran every time she is informed when the emperor is coming. Normally, the Palace Official Chief wouldn’t interrupt, but since there was no time this time, she relied on Jinshi for what to do.
If a high ranking consort goes out, she should have someone following her. And yet, is it possible to have no one knowing where she goes?
It’s as if she goes out in a disguise.
Maomao was suddenly reminded of Consort Rouran. The eccentric consort who wears unusual outfits every single time. She always wore gaudy make-up.
If she ended up being called a fashionista, that might be the end of it. However—.
Maomao found herself approaching Gaoshun and spoke to him. “Gaoshun-sama, there’s one thing I want to ask you.”
“What is it?” he asked.
“Do you know about a palace lady from Consort Rouran’s place that is called Shisui?”
Gaoshun answered Maomao’s question. “I do not know all the palace ladies of the palace either, but there should not be a palace lady with that name,” he proclaimed.
“Why do you suppose that?” she asked.
“Shisui, the name isn’t that unusual, but it isn’t a name that exists in Consort Rouran’s place. The consort’s father is ‘Shishou’. You should understand the meaning of that name.”
Maomao pressed down on her forehead.
How did she not notice that?
Among noble bloodlines, it is said that characters that stand for the family are added in their name. In Shishou’s case, ‘Shi’. His children might also have the ‘Shi’ in their names. It is mostly customary for males of direct descent, but females having that isn’t absent.
In that case, this means that there specifically shouldn’t be a palace lady with such a misleading name in the place of his actual child, Consort Rouran. That character isn’t in Consort Rouran’s name – it would truly become misleading to have another palace lady with that.
Such that, there comes an issue.
“A palace lady called Shisui, is it?”
The one who nervously interrupted was the Palace Official Chief. Seems she heard their voices.
“You know her?” Maomao asked.
“It’s a little vague. Memories from a short while ago.”
The Palace Official Chief rummaged through the bookshelf in the room, picked out an account book and started to open it. She flipped through it and stopped at a certain page. “It’s this. It’s the palace lady who was originally arranged to enter with Consort Rouran.”
Everyone looked at the account book the Palace Official Chief opened.
While wondering whether a mere palace lady would be written in detail, when they saw the family tree, they understood.
“This person is Shishou-sama’s daughter, Consort Rouran’s older half sister.”
When Maomao gazed at the account book in a daze, her mood plummeted.
While thinking that—.
(I kinda recognise her.)
T/N: Title of the chapter is ‘Shi (子)’ as in the Shi Clan, and it can also mean ‘child’.