Volume 6, Chapter 5: Nepotism

With Maomao included, the five court ladies who were assistant to the court physicians will be training for the job at the medical office near the military training grounds for the first month give or take. Speaking of why the one in the military grounds, it was the place with most work.

Maomao might have gotten Jinshi’s recommendation, but she was told that doesn’t mean that she would be getting special treatment. So, she had to land herself the job properly for the first time since entering and leaving the inner palace.

Warriors would be carried in every day. Scratches and cuts were commonplace, and the occasional injuries that required stitching weren’t few either.

It was the perfect place for them to get used to the job.

(It’s unexpectantly serious, huh.)

Maomao had thought that the post was made just for show. She had thought that the other newcomer court ladies were all working here to find a husband, but–

(The ones who are trying unexpectantly hard are those two.)

Out of the other four people, those two worked briskly. The court lady who appeared to be the leader of the clique and a quiet court lady. The remaining two were unmotivated; they had fainted at the first sight of blood last time. Though they got used to it after a couple of days, they still made faces. It would be better if they just stopped, seeing how they grimaced whenever they saw sweaty and grimy military officials.

“En’en, pass me the bandages please.”
“Yes, Yao-sama.”

(En’en: 燕燕, yan yan in Chinese. Swallowas in the bird)
(Yao: 姚, yao in Chinese)

The one called En’en seemed to be the attendant of the court lady called Yao. Everyone was taken as colleagues here, but as far as Maomao could see with their behaviour, their hierarchical relationship was clear.

As usual, their treatment towards Maomao was harsh. Since they only spoke as little as possible to her, Maomao didn’t chat much. As long as they didn’t speak to her, Maomao won’t speak to them, so could this be something that goes both ways?

The court physicians also worked the court ladies hard, but Maomao was used to this kind of work, so she didn’t need to ask anyone to help her.

As a result, Maomao finished her job without getting close to anyone.

“Can I ask a question?” a court physician asked.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Isn’t the work and all hard?”

When work ended today, a court physician came to speak to her while she was cleaning and drying the used bandages. She felt that she had seen him before—she had gone to the medical office when she was working at Jinshi’s place; it was the court physician that was often there. He was still young and wore glasses.

“Not really,” she replied.

“You look like you eat alone during meals though.”

“The food here is delicious.”

Lunch was served to them. Maomao, who didn’t eat much, also went for seconds. They could have seconds here, unlike the inner palace.

“No, that’s not what I mean. Isn’t it painful to be blatantly ignored?” he said.

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“Even if you say that, when the others ask me, it’ll get easy for them, and it is rare to have it go the opposite way.”

It was the others who have it harder. Occasionally, she wasn’t given word about important messages, but since there was a weirdo who would glare at the court physician who was scolding Maomao from the window outside, there was nothing they could say. Multiple times he appeared in the day, and every time he continued to be hauled back by his subordinates.

Rather, the ones who have it the hardest would have to be court physicians who were teaching them.

“It’s hard for me to get along, but I more or less know a way to handle the weirdo,” Maomao said.

“…please tell me,” the court physician said.

For the time being, she put out Ruomen’s name. She was sorry for her dad, but Maomao was annoyed by the fact that that old man was clinging to her.

“Can I ask a question?” the court physician said, while troubled by the monocle old man who was peering at them from the shades of the trees. It seems he’d turned up without them realising again. The old man’s eyes were stabbing into the court physician who was talking to Maomao. “What’s your relationship with Tactician-sama?”

“He’s a stranger.”

“No, then…”

“He’s a stranger,” Maomao stated and continued with her washing.

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Ever since she started working at the medical office, she stayed in the lodgings near the imperial court. In terms of distance, it wasn’t an issue to commute from the pleasure district, but it was about avoiding strange rumours from spreading about the place she was living in.

(I feel it’s a bit late for that, though.)

Still, people want to preserve their reputations.

Her dad also lived in the same lodging as Maomao. Naturally, court physicians also work night shifts, so there weren’t few people who just stay in the nap room near the medical office. It appears her dad rarely returned to the lodgings.

The sizes of the rooms weren’t large or small. It was large enough to have a bed and a cabinet, as well as a desk, so Maomao had no complaints. It was also furnished with a bookshelf. Books were valuables so they couldn’t buy so much, but she was told that if you get permission, you can borrow the books in the medical office.

This lifestyle wasn’t that bad for Maomao. However, the meals needed to be individually prepared. There was also an eating house nearby, but she often borrowed the stove to cook congee.

While sitting on the bed, she opened the letters she had received at noon. There were two letters—one was from the pleasure district, so it was a report about the happenings at the pharmacy. The madam was keeping a close eye on Kokuyou, but he hadn’t shown any strange actions lately. Sazen seemed to be doing well too.

The other letter was from Jinshi. It came with Gaoshun’s name, but the writing was Jinshi’s. The contents looked like an extremely normal report of the current circumstances, with no issues. In truth, it contained information about the new middle-ranking consort in the inner palace, the woman from Sha’ou who was called Airin.

However, it was strange.

The person has certainly had one or two peculiarities, but the consort was alone when she entered the inner palace. So why are they so vigilant towards her? Maomao thought as she finished reading the letter and placed it in the letter box. Airin’s actions didn’t seem to be particularly strange, though.

It was a couple of days later when she understood that, but at this point in time, Maomao had no reason to know.

 

 

 

When she was mostly used to the work in the medical office, the weirdo tactician who was still relentlessly staring in from the window was taken away by her dad. Her dad had a bad leg, so as if they were sorry that he had to make several round trips, he was recently placed on a wagon and carried away. It seemed very mean, but he was missing a bone in his knee, so it can’t be helped.

“Huh?” she said.

Ruomen, her dad, who should have taken that weirdo away just then, had shown up again. When she wondered if he had forgotten something, he went inside the medical office.

Maomao packed up the dried bandages and went inside. The other court ladies had already assembled. It seems she hadn’t gotten any messages again. The grim-faced court physician told Maomao to line up as well.

“I was thinking of going to the inner palace today, but I want to get a number of helpers,” Ruomen said.

So that’s how it is. Is that why Ruomen came here?

The inner palace had the quack doctor, but recently, Ruomen also visited the inner palace. The other court physicians still possessed their important thing, so only the former eunuch Ruomen could enter the inner palace.

“In that case, I shall.”

Stepping forward smoothly was the leader of the clique of four court ladies, Yao. En’en also came forward, like a subordinate. When it came to that, the other two also followed.

“Unfortunately, we have already decided who will be coming along.”

When the court physician said that, Yao narrowed her eyes.

“In that case, is it this person?” Without calling out her name, she just glanced at Maomao.

It’s fine if this girl didn’t remember her name, but Maomao wanted her to give up on stopping her from going to the inner palace. She became a court lady to work there.

“The only thing she does is washing, and it doesn’t look like she does a good job. Ahh, and she also sweeps the floor.” As if she was covering for Yao, one court lady, whose name Maomao couldn’t remember, uttered.

“Rather than a court lady, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for her to be a maidservant?”

They giggled together.

(No, isn’t it because you won’t do it?)

Even if she was called a maidservant, that was all she did, so she didn’t think much of it, but she wondered what would come of denying the work she was told to do as work.

Should I rebut, she looked, when the bearded court physician smiled and placed his hand on the shoulders of the two court ladies whose names she didn’t know. It was the court physician who had tested them when they came in the first time.

“I see. You two can go home.”

At the sudden words, the two court ladies widened their eyes. “Wh-what?”

“I mean, I was sure that I have told you to wash up properly. Do you think I should keep those who arbitrarily decide that it’s not work and do nothing? I hate those types the most.”

He was speaking gently, but on the other hand, there was an atmosphere that gave people no options.

“You passed the exam, I guess. But you weren’t suited for work in the medical office. You’ll be rotated to another post, but there’s heaps of cleaning and washing in other places, so you should be prepared for that.”

After stating that, he indicated to the young court physician to take the two away.

“Y-yao-sama!” They looked at Yao for help.

Speaking of Yao and En’en, they only looked shocked.

“Well then, it’s quieted down. I have one more thing to add.” The court physician looked at the remaining two court ladies, Maomao, and then her dad. “I also hate nepotism.”

Her dad’s brows bent into a 八 shape in embarrassment.

(Could this be..?)

Maomao had planned to take the exam properly, but seeing her surroundings, it might not have been taken as so.

Above all, since coming here, she couldn’t deny that it had been a hindrance to work due to the weirdo tactician hanging around.

“Well then, that’s all from me. Quickly go to the inner palace or whatever, please.”

Her dad dipped his head with a troubled expression.

In the end, it was Maomao and the two who remained, the three of them, who will be going.

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