The first day of work. Apparently, they will first pack in knowledge about working in the imperial court as court ladies.
So, nearly a hundred newcomer court ladies were led by their senior court ladies into a large auditorium for a lecture. Maomao had given a lecture in the inner palace auditorium before but it was honestly sleep-inducing to hear other people’s lectures.
Since there was a surplus of tables and chairs, the newcomer court ladies sat sparsely in their own posts.
No one sat around Maomao. The court ladies, who had pushed her before, were sitting like good friends in the seats in front of her.
Most women who become court ladies were the daughters of officials. Occasionally, there would be the daughters of wealthy merchants. There weren’t few quarrels even among the maidens in the inner palace, but it was also the same here. Maomao got quite a bit of harassment when she was working at Jinshi’s place, so she understood.
However, while, in a certain meaning, there was the hungry air of upstarts in the inner palace, it was a little different here.
It seemed as though your standing was already determined by the pyramid structure that had been present from the start. Speaking of what, the newcomer court ladies had already formed cliques; the important people in those cliques were known from the air about them.
(Does the position of their parents reflect the position of their daughter?)
And if there was a Maomao who was from who-knows-where, of course, she would be excluded. Otherwise, they would find a way to figure out her position. Considering that, it wasn’t that she didn’t understand their previous actions.
But then, that was childish, Maomao thought.
After the half-dual-hour-long lecture ended, the court ladies scattered off to their posts. Maomao and everyone else belonging to the same post headed to the medical office together. Though it was called the medical office, there were a number of them in the imperial court. The one that Maomao dropped by frequently was the medical office in the west side—where her dad was stationed.
In comparison, there was also one on the east side. It seems they will be going to this one this time.
The west of the imperial court had a lot of civil officials, while the east had military officials. The reason her dad Ruomen was stationed on the west side, was in consideration that he won’t have to deal with military officials for as much as he could, but it turns out it was all for naught.
As for why he was avoiding the military officials, Maomao also wanted to avoid them for the same reasons.
(Why, he’s already noticed.)
While giving her all to school her face into the picture of calm, Maomao walked through the passageway behind the elderly court lady. As they walked, the grim military officials would glance over. Maomao aside, the other court ladies were young and attractive. Faces that men would look at against their better judgement.
It was already the turn of the summer, the sticky season. The smell of sweat permeated the air just by their walking. Seeing the men training with the top halves of their bodies exposed, the newcomer court ladies’ gazes wandered.
Amid that, a suspicious shadow followed them.
Maomao wanted to ignore that presence, but he entered her peripheral nonetheless. He had been planning to tail them, but he was found out, being so careless. And speaking of who she had noticed…
Foxy eyes with no beard. A useless monocle who can’t drink, there’s no knowing what his intention is – saying this much would be enough to know who, right? The person whose name she didn’t want to say either.
“What’s with that person?” the newcomer court ladies whispered to each other.
(He’s the most important guy here.)
She thought that there were still people above him in the military, but in that case, their office would be on the central side. He was loitering like he had free time; it seemed as though he was only good due to this title.
To the point of amusement, when they noticed the weirdo tactician’s presence, the military officials, who were glancing at them, averted their eyes and focused on their training. There was probably an iron-clad rule for these guys—that they’re not allowed to touch.
Maomao wanted to move quickly, but it was troubling that the elderly court lady walked slowly. It was covered by her skirt, but from the way her backside sashayed, she might have foot-binding.
(Even though it’s hard to walk.)
The newcomer court ladies, the five people with Maomao included, had light gaits. Being the daughters of officials, it was expected that at least one of them would have foot-binding, but by chance, everyone had healthy feet.
“That place is the medical office.” The elderly court lady pointed to the sturdy plain building that was close to the training grounds. The medical office on the west side was showier.
While Maomao had that impression, she heard a voice call out from behind them.
Everyone turned around. There was a man being carried over on a stretcher. He was prone; there were beat marks on his body.
“Carry him into the medical office!” The strong military officials ran into the office with practised ease.
“Let us go too.” Maomao and rest went after them.
When they reached the medical office, the men were bewildered.
“No, normally, there would be court physicians around.”
There was no one inside. There wasn’t even note saying that they were away.
The fainted man was unmoving, laid onto the bed. Maomao suddenly looked at the man. His body was covered in bruises. He was a youth who hadn’t grown a proper beard, so she understood he was being worked hard every day.
“How did he collapse?” Maomao studied the youth’s face.
When a newcomer court lady tried to stop Maomao, the elderly court lady held her back. The older woman’s eyes were saying, “If you know what to do, give him an examination.”
“He suddenly collapsed during training. The spot where he got hit got worse…it should be that.”
The military official was biting his words. He might have been seen through that he was overworking the youth. Or he might have been uncomfortable from the weirdo who was staring in from the window, where only the top half of his face was visible.
The youth’s temperature was normal. He was also sweating. Only his pulse was a little erratic.
“Rather than the spot where he was hit…” Maomao picked up several towels that were in the medical office and dipped them into the jug. She placed the wet towels onto the collapsed youth.
“May I use the things on the shelves?” she asked the elderly court lady, but the woman’s reply was questionable.
Instead, the person outside the window raised an index finger.
When court lady saw that, she replied, “You may.”
The weirdo tactician was an eyesore, but he was pretty useful.
The shelves, aside from medicine, contained seasoning—for supper perhaps.
Maomao poured water into a bowl and added salt and sugar. Speaking of what she was doing, it was the same as the thing she made when Jinshi collapsed in the summer resort. The reason the youth fainted was due to dehydration from the heat.
She slowly lifted his head up and made him drink from the bowl by wetting his lips. His consciousness seemed to have mostly returned, so afterwards she let him drink it himself.
When the youth recovered his consciousness, the overworked military officials gave a sigh of relief. However, Maomao felt like scowling from the staring.
She wet the towel again and cooled his body when she heard the sound of applause.
When she wondered what it was, men clad in white had come over. The white outerwear was the proof of a court physician. There was one elderly man and two in their prime.
“You pass,” One said.
It was a newcomer court lady who asked.
“Pass what? Since you came as helpers, it would be troubling if you were just chosen through a written exam, right? We also need to see.”
In other words, it seems they were hiding until now to see what Maomao and the rest were going to do.
Such evil conduct.
“If you were useless, we could have also cut you from this place.” The elderly court physician drank from the jug as he looked at Maomao in disappointment.
(What a peculiar old man.)
Maomao bore in mind that she couldn’t state her honest impressions.
By the way, it should be fine enough to ignore the weirdo tactician who was still staring in, right?