Volume 7, Chapter 1: Autumn of Beginnings

Volume 7: Jinshi

It was around the time the wind gained a certain chill, a time when you’re tempted to add an extra layer to your blankets.

Maomao’s mouth hung open at the sight of the mountain of books. “To Maomao” was written in huge letters on a stack that blocked the lodgings’ entrance.

“What are these? Books, right?” Yao emerged from her room. She was recuperating for a short while, but will return to work from tomorrow onwards. It was good that she had somehow recovered from the critical condition she was in from the poison served during her food tasting job. However, there was still a tinge of jaundice on her skin. There was considerable damage to her kidneys and liver so she probably has to hold back on alcohol and salt from now on.

“They’re all copies of the same book, yeah.” Where Yao goes, En’en will surely follow. She was clutching a cloth bag full of ingredients for Yao’s dinner. In order to get rid of Yao’s jaundice, she was doing her best to gather medicine and foodstuff.

“It’s a Go book. The author is ‘Kan Rakan’.”

When it concerns a certain bothersome individual, only bothersome matters will follow—Maomao understood. She understood but it was difficult to avoid them nonetheless.

“I told them it’d be an inconvenience, but they insisted it had to be left here. They also gave me a letter to hold onto for you.” The old lady who managed the lodgings passed Maomao the letter. A direct translation of the beautifully written, roundabout words seemed to be “I wrote a lot of Go books. I’ll give some to Maomao too.” It was clear as day that the weirdo tactician had had a subordinate write it on his behalf. It must’ve been troubling for the subordinate themselves too.

“What should we do with all this?”

There were enough books for Yao to lean against. Books were valuable and a single volume was often expensive enough to cover an entire month’s worth of food expenses. Since it wasn’t a handwritten manuscript, but printed, it probably can be a little cheaper, but how dare he make only this many.

She imagined that at this time, Rahan would be weeping about raising money. However, that had nothing to do with Maomao.

“Burning it…. Is not something we should do, right?”

In spite of the author, the books themselves committed no sins. She flipped through the pages—the Go book was surprisingly well written. It had an explanation of the important positions on the Go board with the game pieces in place. It was hard to say whether it was targeted towards beginners, but the contents seemed enjoyable for Go players.

“…” Maomao glanced at En’en, who was opening a book with great interest. “En’en, is it interesting?”

“Yes. As expected of Tactician-sama. This is well put together. The first half describes exemplary game settings which use established tactics, and the latter half contains unconventional settings.”

Maomao wasn’t as knowledgeable. Go and Shogi were only things taught to her by her older sisters.

“You want?” she asked.

“If you’re willing to give it to me, I’ll accept. If you want money, I’ll give you no more than one silver. The standard of its contents goes without saying. The paper and print quality are also beautiful,” En’en replied.

“One silver…” Maomao looked at the mountain of books. To think they were that valuable.

“One silver, huh. Should it be this cheap?” Yao asked.

“It certainly is cheap, but I felt that Maomao would give me a friend’s discount,” En’en said.

(We’re friends?)

Not coworkers, but friends. If En’en said Maomao is her friend, then it’s probably rude to not acknowledge it from her side. Therefore, En’en is her friend.

Setting aside Yao’s skewed perception of money, it’s probably fine to purchase such a book at one silver per volume if En’en said so. However, from the look of things, there may yet be a further drop in price as a large number of them are still being printed.

“En’en and Maomao are friends…” Yao stared. “Hey, what about me?” Yao asked En’en and Maomao.

“Milady is an irreplaceable milady for me,” En’en responded with a bright smile.

(That response, is probably an incorrect one.)

Milady looked sullen at that moment. She sat down on a chair at the entrance, and crossed her legs as if sulking.

“En’en. I’ll give the books to you, so if you know someone who likes Go, can you let me know?” Maomao asked.

“Go players? There are a few of them. Court physicians generally spend their days off playing Go after all.”

She heard some good news. Maomao’s cheeks started to relax before the huge number of books.

Due to the Sha’ou priestess’ visit, various things from the West have assembled in the capital. Unusual things were first bought by the wealthy, before appearing on the town market a short while later. During her walk around town when she was off duty, medicine she had never seen before had become available for purchase.

Of course, although it came out on the market, imported goods are expensive. Expensive, but it was buyable if you come up with the money.

“Can you tell me who those Go players are?” Maomao requested.

En’en took out a silver coin from her money bag. “Yes, the cost.”

“No, I don’t need it though.”

“No, I’m paying. In exchange for that…” En’en glanced at the mountain of books. “Please leave one coin with me as well.” She indicated the money with her fingers.

(She is indeed cunning.)

Understood, Maomao replied with her eyes, when there was a thump behind her.

Yao was tapping her feet.

“Hey, En’en! Are you not done with dinner yet?” She scowled at Maomao and En’en.

“Ah, Milady. Sorry. I’ll prepare it soon.” En’en headed towards the kitchen.

Maomao caressed the large number of books and looked at Yao, thinking, how cute.

She decided to bring the books into her room for the time being. Right now, there was no space left to stand on.

There were several issues, but the air around Maomao was overall peaceful.

Regarding the incident of the Sha’ou priestess’ death, at first, there were many rumours floating around town, but it has since moved on to the topic of the crown prince’s debut.

It was truly peaceful.

Around Maomao, at least.

T/N: Well, with this, I’m officially ahead of the LN (but not for long, seeing how that LN8 will be released on the 28th of this month lol. I won’t be able to get my hands on it for a while though.). The issue with that is that I can’t cross-check for typos and stuff, but I’ll do my best 😀

Anyways… Jinshi arc. Let’s hope, per its name, that there will be more Jinshi this arc…

- my thoughts:
And I'm going to announce a schedule change. Two chapters a week now (Monday and Thursday), since I'll be a lot busier come next week, and some later chapters are humungous as well. This arc is also the latest one in the raws.
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