I’m back from my trip to Japan! 😀 I even saw a pop-up store for The Apothecary Diaries when visiting Yokohama (yeah apparently everything’s going on there LOL, lots of exhibits at the mall I visited, though terribly confusing to navigate)! Still kicking myself for forgetting to buy a freaking drink to get a coaster, I only walked out with a tote bag (very cute one by the way) because I stupidly didn’t see the sign until later, and then I couldn’t find my way back to the place because I kept getting on getting lost and missing it. The phone case would’ve been nice if it hadn’t been sold out, but I’m getting side tracked, LETS GET STARTED!
Continuing where we left off with the tragedy of the death of Lady Lihua’s baby due to the face whitening powder’s poisoning. Man it was so aggravating to see how Consort Lihua’s ladies-in-waiting were sabotaging Maomao’s efforts to help Lihua recover, but it was so freaking satisfying to see her ruthlessly put them in their place, and justifiably so. It was their negligence of failing to heed Maomao’s initial warning about the danger of the face powder, and then the bloody audacity to hide it when it had been declared banned for that very reason. Like holy shit, these ladies were so fixated on making sure that Lihua was always beautiful and getting the most luxurious meals suitable for her standing that they were (unintentionally) killing her. So yeah, Maomao had every reason to slap that girl, drag her by the hair and dump that poisonous powder on her and give her a piece of her mind how in world does it make any god damn sense to keep using the powder that killed one’s baby. Though I have to say I freaking laughed so hard when Jinshi fired back the comment Maomao made earlier: ‘It’s scary how women can change so quickly.’
But as brutal as that was, this helped Maomao establish her authority after being constantly kicked out by the ladies. Despite the fact Maomao has been requested by the Emperor himself to treat Lady Lihua, they refused to allow her to check Lady Lihua’s condition and feed her the right food. It was thanks to Jinshi’s assistance that shes was able to gain access in the first place. Obviously Maomao never intended to resort to a smack-down, but when she sees a patient being neglected by her caretakers, she sure as hell isn’t going to turn a blind eye to it, and will quite literally slap some sense into them.
That said, I must say I was rather shocked that the lady-in-waiting responsible for hiding the power and continued to use it after it got banned was punished rather lightly in comparison to the eunuch who was responsible for recovering all of the powders. While she was confined for a bit, the eunuch was punished by flogging, heck she was even able to return to her position and continue to serve Lady Lihua. Honestly I think that’s the part that shocked me the most because I thought she would have surely been evicted from the palace altogether because not only did she put her life in danger, but she and the others refused to listen to Maomao who was employed by the Emperor himself to treat Lady Lihua.
After all said and done, it was great that Lady Lihua was able to make full recovery, especially since in the beginning Maomao had to take care of her for most part on her own and you could see how deadass exhausted she was. It was very sweet to see Lady Lihua caressing her head when she had dozed off, a sweet gesture of appreciation of her efforts. With Lady Lihua mostly recovered, Maomao is due to return to Lady Gyoukuyou’s side, but not before sharing a generous secret technique she has learned from the sisters she served at the brothel. Oh my god, I was wheezing from laughing so hard. The way Maomao just drops these things with a deadpan face cracks me up every time!
After the gloominess of the tragedy that befell Lady Lihua, it was nice for the episode to start on a light-hearted and hilarious note with Maomao’s usual shenanigans with foraging, and having the quack doctor as she likes to call him become an accomplice snacking on her finds! What a riot, I freaking love her! Her sneaky little trick didn’t go unnoticed by Jinshi though and was called out on needing to share some later with him, haha!
The mystery of the episode started off with an Eunch’s simpleton fear of thinking he had been cursed only for Maomao breaking it down that it’s just part of science. But it’s actually in part of a larger mystery going on behind the scenes, as Jinshi ended asking her wisdom in regards of which materials causes the fire to turn a specific color. He has yet to divulge the details of this investigation to her, but as we know right now, the eunch who got the rash had found a woman’s burned dress and wooden tablets, and now Jinshi is trying to trace down a suspect who is believed to have a burn. As it stands, he bears concerns that this perpetrator may cause problems during the Garden Party, which is why he was trying to apprehend them before then.
The Garden Party an event that is held twice a year where the emperor and high official gather in the garden for entertainment. As he has no empress yet, it’s customary to bring the upper first rank concubines (the four best contenders). Among them are: The Precious Concert Gyoukuyou, the Wise Consort Lihua, the Virtuous Consort Lishu, and the Pure Consort Ah-Duo.
Except there’s one problem: It’s fucking cold out.
So Maomao’s genius DIY way of keeping herself warm with pocket warmers while wearing loose clothing spread like wildfire and before she knew it, everyone was asking her to help sew pockets into her under-robe and to share those said pocket warmers, or at least teach them how she did it– including the Emperor’s servants! Makes sense though especially with how freaking cold it is out it is during the cool autumn season. Maomao’s strategy to stay warm definitely came in handy for the little princess and the rest!
Since Maomao is now among Lady Gyoukuyou’s people, she too had to attend the Garden Party. That meant we finally got to see her all dressed up, and sure enough she’s a beauty, so much so she took Jinshi’s breath away! But what caught everyone off-guard was the fact the freckles the ladies sought to hide in fact didn’t exist in the first place. The freckles on her face are actually dried clay she applies every day as a means of protection of avoiding be dragged into a back alley. The unsettling reality of its purpose is enough to put a rock in one’s stomach, but that’s the dangers of growing up in the Red Light District. It’s a dreadful thing, and she’s been lucky to get away from attempts that were made, including barely slipping under the radar after she had been initially kidnapped and sent to work in the palace.
Its true purpose shook Jinshi to the point he was apologizing even though he’s not the one to blame. It was a nice change of pace given he’s usually seen mischievously teasing her whenever they interact, especially since he acknowledged the gravity of using cosmetics not to beautify one self, but to serve as one’s defence changed. Thanks to that, really for the first time, Maomao was able to see a bit of the true Jinshi that is concealed under the sparkly smile mask he usually wears. On top of that we saw how he was earnest, and was more direct with his true feelings by giving Maomao his hairpin. Though poor guy, little did he know that the first thing that crossed Maomao’s mind was how to give it away and split it up to be shared among the ladies hahahaha! Unfortunately she hasn’t been fully explained what it actually means, apart from the clue that Gyoukuyou mentioned earlier of how she’s no longer only her person.
With that said, I’m almost caught up so Episode 6 & 7 entries will come out either later today (if I manage to finish it) or by the end of the day tomorrow!