“About how much is the redeeming money for courtesans?”
Maomao stood flabbergasted at what Rihaku, who was waiting in the room that connected the inner palace and the outside, had said.
Even though Maomao had gone out of her way to get permission to come here, wondering what was so special about it, since she was told that they couldn’t just exchange letters.
(He really is a mongrel.)
Maomao sat down on a chair as she thought that.
There was a eunuch posted as guards at each of the two entrances of the room, watching the two’s movements.
Maomao had thought that since they couldn’t talk about things that are that weird even if she directly went to meet up with him, but it would be a problem if it is something like this.
“There’s a full range.”
“I’m talking about the best.”
No need to ask who Rihaku was going to redeem.
Maomao said, narrowing her eyes at him.
She requested the eunuch guards to lend her a brush and ink stone. Rihaku provided the paper.
“First things first. I want to say that is only a rough estimate since the estimated price is based on the current market value.”
Maomao glided the brush, writing down “Two hundred”. You can take this as the standard silver that a peasant earns in a year. And then, double this amount should be enough as the redeeming money for cheap courtesans. Hm, okay, Rihaku nodded.
“Although this doesn’t take the congratulatory money and any of the sort in consideration.”
The redeeming money is the amount of money calculated back from the number of years the courtesan has left to earn, plus some extra. Also, around double of this amount is used to celebrate the redeeming extravagantly.
“I beg you to cut to the chase. How much is the total?”
Though he was looking at her seriously, What’s up with that, Maomao held back her answer.
(It’s hard to say.)
Pairin has been properly working and getting customers since she debuted in the shop. If it was true that she had no debt to the brothel from clothes and kanzashi, her term of service should have already ended. Nevertheless, her staying in the brothel to work was simply that her character was made for working as a courtesan. If the redeeming money was the debt a courtesan shoulders, she didn’t have any of that kind of thing left.
(How old is she this year?)
Pairin, with the glossy skin, who also improved her forte in dancing year after year, had been in the brothel long before Maomao was born, the oldest of the Three Princesses.
Her youthful appearance sometimes conjured up rumours where “She retains her youth by absorbing energy” and so on.
They even wondered if she might have grasped the so-called bedroom technique to preserve energy from making out between the opposite genders.
The person herself was still eager, and her looks had yet to decline despite her age where her value should have already been lost.
On the other hand, the madam cannot always just throw the weight of the Three Princesses around, so she should be about wanting to deal with the oldest – Pairin – soon. She had grumbled about it when Maomao returned home the other day.
While it was certainly true that they were courtesans who became the symbols that supported the Rokushoukan when it was in decline, the brothel cannot keep relying on them. When the shop is steady, if they don’t give a good replacement, before one knows, it would become covered in old grime.
Maomao thought that Rihaku probably happened to hear it or something, and so he came to consult her.
Maomao groaned, scratching the back of her head.
“Supposing Pairin-neechan is going to be redeemed, there are two contenders.”
One was the head of a trade business, a lavish and good-natured old man who visited the Rokushoukan when it was in the state of decline. Maomao also got a lot of candy from him she was little.
He was a gentleman who mainly enjoyed himself by drinking wine and watching her dance – not for sleeping – and had proposed many times over about redeeming Pairin. The greedy old lady would skilfully evade it every time, but she might take up to his offer if it was now.
The other was a frequent customer, a high ranked official. He was still young, should be about a couple of years passed his thirties. She didn’t know what post he had, but Maomao recalled the jade pendant that hung off the customer’s sword hilt a couple of years back, meaning that he was in a higher position than Rihaku. He should be promoted even higher now.
As her partner for nightly play, he seems to get along pretty well with Pairin. Pairin will be in a very good mood the next day.
However, something to be concerned about is that, compared to the glossy Pairin, the customer is often a bit drained.
Maomao felt uneasy for either of them when she thought about their life after redeeming.
Pairin is a beautiful courtesan with talent in dancing, but at the same time, she was famous for being never defeated at night. Sometimes, when she gets frustrated, not just the manservants of the brothel, she even crooks her finger at other courtesans and kamuro—.
In other words, she’s a lust demon.
The madam, aside from redeeming her, considering whether to entrust the control of the Rokushoukan was also because of this.
Besides, Pairin also had the means to leave the brothel, but Maomao had a feeling that chance was low with her character.
(I feel that is the most harmonious choice.)
While outwardly retiring, taking customers in special circumstances, and aside from that in her free time, freely pursuing her affection is good. Since she would be freer than what she had now, she might do it with pleasure.
Maomao glanced at Rihaku.
His age was in his mid-twenties, and he had a sturdy body. His tempered upper arms of a military official were actually to Pairin’s taste.
Moreover, before, when he first came to the Rokushoukan, in the more than two full days that Maomao had eventually returned, he was confined in Pairin’s room, but he didn’t look tired.
“Rihaku-sama, how much do you get paid?”
“Why are you suddenly asking me this?”
Rihaku said, looking slightly flustered.
“Do you get about eight-hundred silvers in a year?”
“Oi oi, don’t appraise people like that.”
Rihaku’s face was slightly stiff. It was a face that still had some flexibility.
“Then, one thousand two hundred?”
Seeing him go silent, she took the middle ground. Does that mean that he gets a thousand in a year? He gets quite a bit for his age.
Nonetheless, you’ll want to prepare ten thousand silvers if you’re redeeming a high-class courtesan. Since they are courtesans that take a hundred for just drinking tea, and three hundred for getting to sleep.
For the latter, Rihaku had slept with Pairin for one, two times. Considering his wages, it wasn’t that he couldn’t pay it off completely, but that would be probably the madam’s suggestion. It is highly possible that Pairin will assign Rihaku to placate her frustration.
“Is that enough?”
“It’s not enough.”
“What about repayment after promotion?”
“Impossible. They’ll want ten thousand upfront.”
Maomao wondered what she could do to the petrified Rihaku.
Even if you consider raising money, Rihaku wasn’t bad as a redeemer. Since he looked like he has prodigal physical strength, Pairin wouldn’t find him unpleasant either.
She thought she wouldn’t find it unpleasant, but she didn’t know whether she would go as far as to like him.
Maomao sighed deeply while looking at Rihaku who was feeling down.
“Rihaku-sama, can you stand up for a bit?”
The dispirited large-breed dog obediently did at Maomao told him.
“Well then, just like that, can you take off your outer garment, raise both of your hands up to your shoulders, and flex your biceps? “
The eunuchs who were guarding were flustered in response to Rihaku who was doing as she said. They stopped Rihaku who was starting to take off his clothes.
“We’re not doing anything shameful. I’m just taking a look.”
Even when Maomao said that, the eunuchs didn’t listen to her.
Rihaku, while feeling down, knelt down in a seiza on the chair.
“Will redeeming be cheaper if I strip?”
“I don’t know if it would get cheaper or not, but there might be a chance.”
Rihaku stood up again, and stripped. He showed the jade pendant that denoted his rank to the eunuchs who were trying to stop him, thus silencing them.
Rihaku, who took a pose that allowed Maomao to see his muscles, turned around for her to see at every angle. Sometimes, she framed her thumbs and index fingers into a rectangle and peered through that.
Being a military official, his body was very well trained. Nothing crooked in his frame, his muscles were uniform. His right arm being slightly bulkier should be because he was right-handed.
Pairin was a gross eater than ate anything if there was nothing, but she still had preferences. In this case, now, Pairin should be licking her lips.
“Well then, your bottoms too please.”
Maomao said with a serious look.
Rihaku reluctantly put his hands on the sash of his hakama, and was now down to his loincloth.
Even so, Maomao’s expression remained unchanged, she observed him with a fixed stare.
His leg muscles were also firm; she gathered that Rihaku didn’t shirk from his daily training. The sinewy muscles of his thighs smoothly traced down to his knees, and from there, the muscles of his calves were also bulging.
(Really nice muscles.)
It was different to the swollen bellies from those who come to the brothel to drink.
He didn’t have that sallow unhealthy skin either.
This might work, Maomao looked at the muscles rippling as Rihaku continued to shift his pose.
Rihaku seemed to be one who gets carried away quite easily, his poses gradually became energetic.
Lastly, so she could determine the most important place,
“Well then, take off the last layer…”
When she was about to say it, there was the sound of the door opening.
The energetic Rihaku’s face turned pale.
The eunuchs’ faces looked like they received death sentences.
Maomao gaped her mouth in shock.
“What the hell are you guys doing?”
The inner palace administrator with a prominent vein on his face and his adjutant stood by the door.
Beyond the door, the palace ladies who were peering at Jinshi’s direction saw something improper and collapsed noisily. It seemed the stimulus was too strong for the palace ladies who were distanced from men.
Maomao, for the time being,
“Pleasant day to you, Jinshi-sama,”
returned with that first.
T/N: I admit I had so much fun translating this. And the next chapter. Maybe the aftermath too, if it wasn’t for its length *cough*