Maomao could hear clattering sounds. When she slowly opened her eyes, she saw silken locks of black silk.
While her vision was blurry, she touched her mouth. There was something sticky around her lips. Her mouth tasted bitter, but her nose smelt sour.
(I must have vomited.)
No doubt she was made to drink an emetic or water to vomit out the poison first things first. It seemed that she had been properly treated. Her throat wasn’t blocked; she wasn’t suffocating.
She was blanketed by furs. She had pushed it aside.
Her whole body was still itchy. It was also hard to breathe.
She also felt like slumping down on her side, but there was a reason she couldn’t do that.
The locks of black silk were hanging right over Maomao’s face. When she followed its origin, a face so beautiful to the point of disagreeableness was staring at Maomao fixedly, lashes lowered.
Jinshi’s pale expression lifted with a smidge of relief.
No sound came out when she tried to speak. She could only open and close her mouth repeatedly like a fish.
Even though her body was rocking with the clatter, her head didn’t hurt. She felt something kind of hard on the back of her head.
Considering the position of Jinshi’s face and his posture, as well as the place where Maomao was lying down, it seems that she was now in an immensely uncomfortable position.
Should she call it a lap pillow?
Originally, it wasn’t something a noble should give.
She tried to move her heavy body, but she couldn’t move while she was numb.
Jinshi held down Maomao’s squirming body.
“Be obedient. I’m taking you to the person you call your adoptive father.”
The clattering was because they were in a horse-drawn carriage. The banquet was held in the imperial court, near the ritual grounds but was considerably closer to the edge of it. If they were to head to the inner palace from there, it will be difficult to carry one collapsed person without a carriage. It should be more than two ri (~1 km or ~0.6 mi.) in a straight line.
Though she tried to look out the window, Jinshi was in the way so she couldn’t. Jinshi, being Jinshi, was staring at Maomao.
“Did poison get served?”
Maomao could only shake her head slowly.
“Gaoshun must have told you, about what was going to happen.”
He said to verify. Maomao could only nod.
It was as Jinshi had said.
This wasn’t to serve poison to the imperial brother. It was something that Maomao had devised with Gaoshun beforehand.
The rashes that broke out on her entire body wasn’t poison. It was a reaction that occurs when she eats a certain food.
“It didn’t seem like there was anything that was like poison.”
It shouldn’t be poison for Jinshi. After all, Maomao was more resilient against poison than people. This Maomao had a weakness too.
It was just buckwheat, that she cannot eat.
If there was buckwheat in the food, Jinshi would also notice it. He should know that Maomao cannot eat that.
Things like what the food taster cannot eat at least are investigated before the food tasting. Buckwheat wasn’t eaten much in the capital, and it wasn’t something that the emperor or Consort Gyokuyou liked to that extent, so it was something that hardly came out in meals.
Nonetheless, there was one time where helou(河漏. A type of noodle said to have originated from Northern China from ancient times. Made from buckwheat and wheat flour.) was served, but she explained it to Honnyan on that occasion and another person was substituted to food taste for her.
And so, Jinshi must think that buckwheat wasn’t used in the cooking.
Maomao also anticipated that. That’s why she took upon herself to have the shaojiu diluted with fruit juice as the aperitif.
Distilled liquor used grains as the ingredient. There were those among them that used buckwheat.
Although it was made into alcohol, it was often the case that the buckwheat base gets mixed in during the process. And this time, there were more than expected in it.
(That was bad.)
Since it was not good if the effect was slow, she had drunk it all down. She regretted that she should have just gone through with it with a sip.
There was also the other way of mixing a different poison and acting. However, someone would then have to become the villain. If that was exposed, it would be herself, if that wasn’t exposed, someone would be made out to be the criminal. They cannot get away with plotting to poison the Imperial Brother.
If it was the wine used as the aperitif, she heard that they wouldn’t specifically go as far as to look into the ingredients. They won’t consider that deeply on the food taster’s constitution. A strange reaction towards a specific food wasn’t that well-known in this society.
Even if they followed up on the incident where Maomao had collapsed this time, Gaoshun, who knew the circumstances, would skilfully explain it away for her. Maomao wished that this incident, even if it becomes an issue from now on, wouldn’t grow to the point of a question of who was responsible.
Speaking of disadvantage, it might be that weirdo tactician who might have stirred some commotion, but that person shouldn’t mind it.
Maomao just needed to collapse before that man, that nasty b*stard with the monocle. Before that b*stard who controls the imperial court as the man who doesn’t want to be surrounded by enemies.
Surely, when that man sees Maomao who collapsed in that place, the idea that will come to his head foremost will no doubt be the imperial brother’s assassination. And then, he would evaluate the plotting men would no doubt be creating a diversion.
Oddly, though Maomao hated him that much, she had the strange self-confidence that weirdo tactician will finish up anything for her sake.
What that meant was, Maomao thought that she was a sly creature herself.
If it was that man who possessed the eyes and sensitivity different to normal people, from now on, he will catch the officials who are up to no good, and besides, he will evaluate the ones who must be spectating that. Surely, even if the country was going to topple, that man would have to be indifferent to it. At best, he will think it as a world where it became difficult to play Shogi.
He was just the right person to use to bring it to light.
And, the sole people who could use him would be Maomao, and at best, her dad, Ruomen.
Fabrication isn’t effective for that man. Supposedly, if Jinshi knew about this, there was the possibility where he would sense that.
That’s why, she took it upon herself to cover it up from Jinshi and do it.
(Besides, he might object.)
Jinshi strangely charged at Maomao with such a behaviour. If he has a noble social standing, he should treat the likes of a mere maidservant more rudely. This way feels easier for herself as well.
(Even though it feels easier.)
She could see something giving off a dull gleam in Jinshi’s jet black hair. It was an exquisitely crafted silver kanzashi. Even though the lustre was removed, she understood by seeing that it had a high-class feeling from the exquisite craftsmanship. It seems there was some animal carved on it.
(Horse? Deer?(Ba? Ka? baka lol))
Even though the flaming mane was a carving, it was lively. That adorned Jinshi’s hair.
Maomao understood something from that animal.
And then, she gazed at it intently with vacant eyes.
The animal that looked like a horse and a deer. Maomao won’t go as far as to joke around by calling it a fool.
The fictional creature. Those who can wear this design on their body are limited.
She slowly extended her hands. Her hands that had erupted with red rashes was ugly. She should not show it to the nobleman before her eyes. Despite knowing that.
There was a reason for his beauty that was unimaginable for a human. There was a reason he could go in and out of the inner palace while remaining as a man.
This man who assumed the name Jinshi possessed that qualification.
Jinshi must be an alias. This man’s original name should have the character ‘Ka’ in it. Like how Ruomen and Rakan had the character ‘Ra’ that was conferred to their family.
The flower of the country, the character of the emperor that reigns above the three blades(As a reminder: 華(‘flower’, can also mean ‘brilliance’, ‘best’…) is the surname of the imperial family. The country is 荔.)
Speaking of it sounding fitting, it sounded fitting.
The misfortunate crown prince who continues to hide his face.
The current emperor’s idiotic younger brother, who hardly performs his work that seems like work, and just continues to shut himself inside his room.
Rather, it must be stranger that Maomao hadn’t noticed it. When she tried to think really hard about it, it wasn’t that she didn’t notice that he seemed to have said, and didn’t say, on something like this either. However, people are beings that when not clearly told to understand, they still don’t understand.
She didn’t know if she should say something. It wasn’t just because she couldn’t move her mouth properly that she just slipped her extended hand back to its original position.
Jinshi placed his palm on Maomao’s rash covered forehead and closed her eyes.
“Be obedient and go sleep.”
Jinshi spoke in a brusque manner unbefitting his appearance.
Maomao couldn’t withstand the sluggishness of her body, so she decided to go along with those words.
T/N: It took 85 chapters in total, but they’re finally, finally, on the same page. \o/
Good job to everyone who guessed what was up last chapter ;D …though no one seemed to have guessed where the allergens came from.