Volume 8, Chapter 2: Rakan’s Residence

Yao and En’en imposed on Rahan’s house.

The circumstances are ideal, but at the same time, there are some issues.

For one, it is the weirdo tactician’s house.

And two, they will be staying at a male stranger’s house.

The house of a widower, so to speak. Even in terms of propriety, it was unthinkable that they would want young maidens staying over–

“Maaan, how nice it is to have flowers.”

Rahan pushed up his glasses as he walked over.

Afterwards, the two of them immediately wrote a letter, and ordered a manservant to deliver it to Rahan.

“I mean, he’s also male, so will it be fine?”

Maomao had winced at their exceedingly hasty actions.

“Why wouldn’t it be? He doesn’t have an indecent gaze,” Yao answered in a carefree manner.

No, Yao should think twice. He stares quite a bit at women, however, his perspective is a little different. Rahan, who sees everything around him in terms of numbers, in a sense, probably looks at women as he would admire a work of art.

“It should be fine if it’s Rahan-sama.”

En’en, whom Maomao thought would object, was also on board. When she asked why–

“Rahan-sama’s relationships with the ladies end on a good note since they’re all older women.”

(I wish I’d never heard that.)

For a laughing stock, he’s a player. That was one thing she didn’t want to know despite understanding it.

And so, without a hitch, Yao and En’en will be staying over at Rahan’s house from the first day of the holidays. Rahan courteously came to pick them up.

“A horse carriage, huh. How polite. Where do you plan to extort money from? By asking En’en to pay rent?” Maomao asked.

“That’s unrespectable. Isn’t treating women with kindness a given?” Rahan said.

How suspicious.

“And the truth is?”

“…”

Apparently, he has no intention of telling her. It looks like he has some sort of hidden agenda. How scary.

“Whatever.” Maomao planned to return to the pleasure district after sending Yao and En’en off. Since it’s the weirdo tactician, he probably won’t mind having more people around.

“Maomao,” En’en said.

“What?”

“You’re coming back with your older brother too… don’t make that face.”

Apparently, she was making a face. En’en came over to smooth out Maomao’s face. What was that?

“No way.” Maomao refused outright. She returned to her room to fetch her belongings. “Well then, I’ll be going home.”

See you, Maomao waved at Yao and En’en, but someone tugged her sleeve. Turns out Yao was holding onto her sleeves.

“Maomao is coming along as well.”

“This has nothing to do with me.”

She has to make this clear at this point. However, Yao looked hurt. Her face looked like that of a lost child, asking “Why isn’t Maomao coming?”

“Maomao…” En’en scowled. Aren’t you too protective, this subordinate?

“Rest assured. I have arranged it so that Esteemed Father is away. He won’t be back for the next couple of days.” Rahan’s glasses flashed.

 .

 .

 .

“Are you fine with strange rumours?” Maomao asked Yao and En’en in the carriage.

Inevitably, two unmarried women staying at a man’s household will raise suspicion.

“…” Yao looked at Maomao with a complicated expression. She looked like she wanted to say something but wasn’t able to voice it. Upon seeing that, En’en opened her mouth.

“Is it strange for friends to visit each other’s houses?”

“What the heck?” Maomao found herself raising a threatening tone.

“I-if we do it this way, we can also save face. That’s why Maomao has to come along as well,” Yao stammered.

“I’m against it. It smells like old people.”

“Maomao, Esteemed father smells young for his age,” Rahan said.

“What the heck?” Maomao said.

“Maomao.” En’en smoothed out Maomao’s face again. Yao watched them both with an inexplicable expression.

“Anyway, Esteemed Father isn’t here, so don’t make such a face. Come on, we’ve arrived,” Rahan said.

They were at the eastern end of the capital. The location was a little low within the residential area of the elite, but the estate itself was quite expansive. She knew that it was once a good building that had seen better days.

Although there was nothing in the garden, could the impression of practical beauty from the arrangement be Rahan’s handiwork?

Eerily, there were notches and scorch marks on the pillars, railings, and walls of the building.

Truth be told, this was Maomao’s first visit to the weirdo tactician’s estate. The weirdo had tried to take her many times when she was young, but each time the madam would beat him black and blue with a broom to have him release her.

 “Could this be where the night burglars break in?”

Maomao ran her fingers down a burned pillar. The red paint had worn away. She saw the resignation; it was meaningless to repair the pillar.

 “Our reputation is bad. Take a good look. Esteemed Father is behind the burn marks, but the sword cuts are old, right? There have been crooks breaking in since a decade ago,” Rahan answered.

(You make it sound as though they drop by from time to time.)

The scorch marks may be related to the use of gunpowder. It was reasonable, considering the size of the property and the fact it was not located in an affluent residential district.

“Leave it to Brother Dearest. We can rely on the guards.”

It seems they do come after all.

Rahan passed through the main building and headed for the outbuilding. The outbuilding was a cosy structure compared to the main one, but it was still a two storey house.

The interior wasn’t extravagant, but that being said, neither was it modest. En’en was nodding as she looked around, so it seemed like it got a passing mark.

“It’s a little cramped, but would this be okay? Of course, we can’t have you go through to the main building. Next up, the servants…”

Rahan called out to a middle aged woman walking down the hallway. Her appearance was not eye-catching, but as an employee of this particular household, she had an inexplicable air.

“Use this person. She’ll listen to very typical commands.”

(How typical?)

“Best regards.” The maidservant lowered her head politely and left quickly, as if to say “don’t bother me”.

Given the size of the estate, there were few servants. Others included a manservant who was clearing away the garden leaves, and three girls who looked about ten who could be working or playing. No, was one of them a boy?

“As for meals, we’ll be preparing them but if you wish to cook for yourselves, use the kitchen here. There are supplies if you go to the kitchen at the back of the main building. The servant from before is often there, so you can ask her.”

“Thank you very much.” En’en lowered her head politely. Yao also gave her thanks.

“My apologies for it being so plain,” Rahan said.

“No, it’s good enough.”

En’en can look after Yao alone so it shouldn’t be an issue. If they have a place of refuge, they can make do.

“Um…” Yao timidly raised her hand. “When does the family head, Rakan-sama, return?”

“He should be away for three days at the barest minimum. He’s playing a match with the Grandmaster of Go,” Rakan answered after a look at Maomao’s face. “Although it’s not official, there are a lot of spectators. He’s staying over at an exclusive building.”

“Did you arrange all that for us purposefully?” Yao was a little surprised.

“No, this is held every year. It’s fine for me to be away from Esteemed Father for around three days as well, right? At that point, I received a letter from you guys. I thought the timing was just perfect.”

“Then, what about us?”

“It’s fine. As long as he doesn’t have malice towards you guys, Esteemed Father wouldn’t mind.”

Apparently, that weirdo tactician has something that can differentiate between friend and foe in an instant.

“Now then, my presence is probably a hindrance, so I’ll disappear. I’d tell you where my room is, but I’ll stay quiet for Maomao’s sake. If you need anything, talk to any of the servants.” Rahan left the outbuilding. “Ah, that’s right. Maomao.”

“….”

“Please stay here for the night. You can’t bear to leave your two friends at a stranger’s house, right? I’ll let Rokushoukan know, so.”

“This place is also a stranger’s house for me, though,” Maomao said.

“Stranger or not, please take a look at the inner room. You’ll find out who used this room before. I’m sure one night won’t be enough.”

With those suggestive parting words, Rahan left.

“A room who used?” Maomao spun around, looking inside the outbuilding. It was quite a dated structure. Walking to the end of the corridor, she found a kitchen on the right, and a room on the left. She opened the door at the end of the hallway.

“…”

It smelt like paper.

Rows of old medical books lined the shelves on one side, while the shelves opposite held medicines.

(Ah, that’s right.)

Being the house of the Ra Clan, Dad would have lived here too.

And, no doubt, shunned by his older brother, he would be given not the main building, but a room located faraway.

She opened the drawers of the medicine shelf. There was nothing inside, of course, but the smell of herbal medicines tickled her nostrils.

“Amazing… what’s all this?”

Yao and En’en were also surprised. Maomao opened a book. The silverfish damage on the old books were conspicuous.

Dad moved to the pleasure district to raise Maomao. The former eunuch, banished from the inner palace, was probably driven out of the estate with no possessions.

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Many of the books here would have gotten Maomao yelled at had she tried to peek into them in the past.

“…with this many books, you won’t be able to finish reading everything in one night.”

Yao seemed to speak for Maomao’s heart.

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“One night isn’t enough.”

Though vexing, that was the case.

 

 

 

 

 


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