Volume 7, Chapter 23: The Revolting Dish

Snow was falling in flurries against a leaden sky.

“Just when I thought it was getting chilly, it really did start snowing.”

Yao blew on her fingertips, which had reddened from the washing. No doubt En’en will start to painstakingly apply ointment to them as soon as she sees.

“It was clear the night before though.”

Maomao recalled the beautiful starry sky. The clearer the days, the colder the winter. Dad taught her that without cloud cover, the air warmed by the sun during the day will escape.

“At this rate, the garden party is going to be a hard time.”


Chatting about the people around them, they returned to the medical office with a basketful of laundry.

“Huh? Somehow, there’s a lot of people,” Yao said.

There were both military and civil officials present.  Even though civil officials don’t tend to frequent the area under normal circumstances.

When she realised that they were heading to the toilet, Maomao thumped a fist against her palm. “They’re here for the garden party. They have to relieve themselves before it begins.”

“But isn’t that far from here?” Yao asked.

“The closest one is for the big shots. The next closest would be for maids, right?” Maomao remembered from last year.

“Then for his imperial majesty?”

“They should be setting up a new place for him.”

He won’t take care of his business in a toilet used by just anyone. He’s the gentleman who stands at the summit of the country.

Yao’s footsteps suddenly came to a halt.

“What’s wrong?”

“Maomao, let’s not go this way.” She tugged on Maomao’s hand.

“We’ll be taking a detour then?”

“There’s someone I don’t want to run into.”

Her explanation was easy to understand.

Apparently, among the civil and military officials heading towards the toilet, was someone she couldn’t stand. Maomao understood very well the feeling of wanting to avoid carelessly catching someone’s eye.

(Who on earth could it be?)

If it’s an official known to Yao, could it be her uncle who’s currently serving as her guardian? Or perhaps one of the lolicons she was forced into a marriage interview with, as En’en mentioned before?

There was no point even if she looked into it so Maomao meekly followed after her.

Yao clutched onto En’en as soon as they returned to the medical office.


“…En’en, it’s a bit cold.”

En’en prepared a jacket and warm ginger soup for Yao, whose ears and cheeks had gone red. She also gave some ginger soup to Maomao.

Maomao blew into the bowl and swallowed a mouthful, feeling herself warm up. There seems to be some orange zest added in; it had a nice fragrance.

As the interior of the room was also heated for when sick and injured people arrive, she was on the verge of dozing off. Apparently, in winter, military officials who come here to procrastinate are oft dragged back to training by their superiors by the scruffs of their necks.

The noisy court physicians were out today. The only ones left were younger court physicians who were relatively kinder to Maomao and the others. Everyone turned into cowards when the superiors weren’t around.

“Ahhh, I’ve warmed up. Shall we get back to work?” Yao said.

“Milady, please stay here for today. Maomao and I can do the outside work,” En’en said.

“We can’t do that, right? …from the look of things, Uncle came before, didn’t he?”


It seems it was the uncle Maomao had expected.

“So, how was it? Did he not trouble other people?” Yao asked.

“Y-yes. It’s just that he had planned to wait, but—” En’en snuck a glance backwards.

The young court physician at the desk stood up with a determined expression. “I have explained to him. This place is for the sick and injured, not a rest area. Also, when I told him he won’t make it in time for the garden party, he left.”

“Is that so. Thank you very much.” Yao dipped her head.

En’en looked at the young court physician with jealousy.

(You can rest assured. This person isn’t aiming for Yao, but En’en.)

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

For En’en who lived for her young lady, every man who approaches her young lady is like a caterpillar.

Maomao moved the washed bandages to the pot and prepared to boil them. She wanted to drag it out for a bit longer, but getting work done takes priority.


She turned around at En’en’s call.

“Please use this as kindling.”

She was passed over a board covered in cloth. There were two joined together. A drawing of a man was interposed between them.

“An incorrigible man, huh.”

A surprised Yao borrowed fire from the brazier to light the stove.

Maomao understood what this uncle person came to do. It was the portrait of a marriage interview partner, but it was hard to tell to what extent it had been beautified. It looked like a drawing of an actor.

Glancing at Maomao and Yao, the young physician complained: “Leave the room already.” Even if he’s left alone with her, Maomao didn’t think he’d get close to En’en. The other young court physicians had already given up on En’en, as well as Yao, who is guarded by En’en. What a tenacious individual. By the way, it should be added that Maomao was excluded from the start.

(Rather, will their conversation progress once they’re alone?)

It was a simple question, but this court physician is quite determined. As soon as Maomao and Yao made to leave the room, he entangled himself with En’en.

“En’en, how about we continue our conversation? You can talk with Yao-san later.”


If she could draw attention away from Yao, En’en would more or less bear with it.

(I think she would only talk about simple topics though)

En’en is tough, Maomao thought as she headed towards the cooking stove.




Drying the bandages they boiled in the afternoon took around a dual hour. They’ll have lunch once they returned to the medical office.

It seems there was also a break for the garden party. People rapidly crowded around the toilet.

“Yao-san, are you okay with not going to the toilet?”

“I-I’m okay. What about Maomao?”

“I went just then.”

Yao looked betrayed. As it looked like more people will come, she went quickly while Yao was drying the bandages.

“Yao-san, are you not going?”

“I’m not going!”

The toilet is separated by gender, but while there were many civil officials and military officials, you’ll probably need the courage to go. Moreover, there are some who can’t hold it in and use the female toilets. It’s uncomfortable for the court ladies who normally use it.

“Maomao has been to the garden party before, right?” Yao asked.

“Did you hear about it from En’en?”


She’s truly well-informed, Maomao thought.

“How was it?” Yao asked.

“It was cold. And it wasn’t really like something you see in your dreams.”

The scene was sunny, but for Maomao who attended as a maid, it was a battle with the cold. She had been desperate in making sure Imperial Princess Rinrii, who was still a baby, didn’t catch a cold.

Next, was the meals. The food tasting was full of people who looked like they don’t know the taste of food. So it meant that they were bringing their spoons into cold soup.

(There aren’t many opportunities to add poison in the first place.)

Naturally, the risk is great when it comes to mixing in the poison. The poisoner needs to be prepared for that as well.

However, there was a person who attempted it even at the cost of a sacrifice.

And so, Maomao ingested poisoned soup in the past.

(I want to eat it.)

“Maomao, are you smiling?” Yao peered at Maomao.

“Ah, excuse me.”

She recalled the flavour of the soup once again. Poisons are bitter and astringent tasting, but there are also a lot of delicious things in the world. Like fugu, like mushrooms.

As they passed the front of the toilet, they heard sounds of vomiting.

She wondered what it was. There were a number of military officials huddled around the well, filling their mouths with water before spitting it out.

“What could have happened?” Yao asked.

The military officials were wearing clothes of higher quality than usual. They must be attendees of the garden party. There was a face she recognised.

“If you’re curious, shall we try asking?” Maomao said.

“Eh, wait.”

Maomao approached the side of the well.

Amongst the nicely built military officials, there was a man who reminded her of a large breed dog.

“Long time no see,” she said.


It was Rihaku.

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

This man also came to the garden party two years ago. It wasn’t strange for him to attend this year as well.

“What happened? You looked like you were vomiting up something,” she said.

“Yeah. Thanks for your concern. There’s nothing strange in particular. Just that the food was revolting. Isn’t that right?” Rihaku called to the military officials around him.

“That’s right. It was terrible. Even though I was looking forward to it, as it was imperial court dishes. If it’s like that, the food made by the old man of the dining hall is way better.”

“Some were cold. Not that soup though. No matter how I think about it, I can only see that flavour as a mistake in portioning. There’s no way his imperial majesty is served the same things, right?”

“His imperial majesty has something else. No way he gets the same things as us.”

“That’s true, huh.”

The military officials laughed.

“The food was unpalatable?” Maomao knew what kind of dishes were served. Cold or not, the flavours of the dishes should all be delicious.

“What kind of dish was served? That soup thing was…”

If his imperial majesty and high officials were served strange dishes, the chef might get fired later. Otherwise, if something strange was mixed in it, that was a problem in and of itself.

“Really salty, right? They may have thought of serving interesting dishes so they made a southern dish. There was a patterned boiled egg as a garnish. It looked delicious.”

On the contrary, when he put the garnish in his mouth, it was somewhat salty. When he got to the soup, he was on the verge of vomiting.

“I tried my best to eat it all somehow. I wondered if the rest of the dishes tasted strange,” Rihaku said.

“Yes, yes. But everyone else looked fine. Our superior officer was even smacking his lips, saying “delicious, delicious”. His tongue might have turned useless.”

The military officials here were saying that they wondered if their own tongues were weird. However, seeing how everyone had the same impression, they were sure that it was indeed the dish that was strange.

“So then, everyone, how long has it been since you drank the soup?” Maomao asked.

“Ummm, about half-a-dual-hour? I stopped myself from spitting it back out, and ran all the way here when it was break time.”

Come to think of it, they were slightly sweaty, Rihaku included.

“Half-a-dual-hour, is it? Your physical condition seems fine,” she said.

“Why are you speaking like that? Don’t tell me it’s been poisoned. Come on, I’m lively, as you can see,” Rihaku said.

“Depending on the type of poison, some start to take effect much later.” Yao quietly came over. As she had personal experience, her tone was imbued with emotion.

“D-don’t intimidate me.” Rihaku’s face contorted.

“If anything happens, please come to the medical office. We’ll make preparations for you to puke your guts out,” Maomao said.

“Isn’t it bad to puke out your guts?”

As Rihaku turned pale, Maomao and Yao returned to the medical office.

“Maomao, what do you think, about just now?” Yao asked.

“Under normal circumstances, I would consider it to be clumped-up salt. I don’t think so much would be undissolved in soup though,” Maomao replied.

Did they put in a large chunk of rock salt? Or was the salt added in later?

Either way, if he feels unwell, he’ll have no choice but to come again.

“That’s true.”

With a tilt of her head, Yao decided to accept Maomao’s hypothesis for the time being.

You may also like: