Maomao is finally home again for a bit, but as expected there’s never a dull moment in the Pleasure District as her morning starts off with dealing with a courtesan and her client poisoned in what at first appeared to be a double suicide. With her father out in the fields, it was up to Maomao to take control of the situation, one which she did remarkably well.
Thanks to that, we really got to see how Maomao became the bright mind she is, with the way her father teaches her to think and analyze the situation at hand. We saw that today with the way he had her access the crime scene of identifying the cause and motive of the incident between the courtesan and her client. One of his most important pieces of wisdom he often reminds her of is how she should never speak based on conjecture. We know Maomao holds this close to her heart as she understands the importance of it. After-all, if she were to speak recklessly, someone who is innocent may pay the price for it, herself included.
But as it turns out upon further inspection of the scene and understanding of the circumstances, it was indeed not a double-suicide, but a shrewdly attempt of murder, with more accomplices than initially anticipated. The victim today was not innocent by the slightest as he constantly toys with the courtesans’ emotions, and then breaks their hearts and promises, who then retaliate by attempting to kill him. It has gotten so bad to the point that he had to hire bodyguards, but the biggest problem is that he comes from a wealthy family, so his father is able to clean-up his mess and allow him to walk free without paying the consequences for his actions. Having a notorious reputation of the sorts led to an elaborate scheme that almost everyone in this particular brothel seemed to have played a part in.
Starting with the little girl who deliberately sought out an Apothecary instead of a Doctor in time of an emergency. As Maomao deduced, the child seemed to have taken into consideration that her father would be out in the fields at the time she visited. The one thing she wasn’t expecting however was Maomao to be there, thus tried to delay them as much as possible (which I imagine, was part of the initial plan), just hoping that Maomao wouldn’t be able to save them on her own. But since Maomao had successfully resuscitated him, the child took it upon herself to kill him herself– only to yet again be thwarted by Maomao’s presence. Good grief… The lengths she was willing to go to see that man dead because he was responsible breaking her elder sister’s heart, which led to her suicide.
Then there was the courtesan who put together the elaborate trick to make the man lower his guard and successfully poison him. Her shrewd strategy to mix drinks, one that was lighter and the other heavier to create a false sense of security that the drink was no poisoned. The wheat stalk straw that women would use to prevent smudging their rouge was the perfect cover to safely drink from the bottom, while the man drinks the poisoned substance at the top. To cover both the scent and presence of the poison, she spread the tobacco leaves, and then took a safe sip of her own to paint the perfect picture of an attempted double-suicide– one which she intended to be the sole survivor of.
And finally there was the ladies of the brothel, and the Madam who runs the place herself. Both had wordlessly asked them to turn a blind eye to the situation, the first with the lady trying to get Maomao to emphasize with the little girl’s grief and injustice, while the Madam served them nice good and gave them good money to keep them hushed. It’s a messy situation altogether to be a part of.
Indeed, it’s as Maomao says, not much different to the Rear Palace. Never a dull moment.
With that all said and done, Maomao’s three day homecoming had come to an end and returned to the Rear Palace only to find a very salty Jinshi. Oh my god, the misunderstanding scene did not disappoint. No matter how many times I reread it, this scene always had in my tears from laughing so hard, and this time was no different. The way Maomao proudly says tells him that she gave Lihaku a night of blissful dreams, OF COURSE ANYONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW THE FULL CONTEXT OF WHAT’S SHE’S REFERRING TO WOULD MISUNDERSTAND! Poor Jinshi, thinking Maomao did the deed with Lihaku absolutely broke him. The guy already had it rough in a sense of a bruised pride of losing out to a consolidation offering, and the disappointment that Maomao didn’t pick him to rely on. Of course as Maomao said, she couldn’t think of anything she could compensate him with as returning the favour by serving as her guarantor (which she still, as Jinshi realizes, doesn’t fully understand the significance behind receiving a hairpin). She wasn’t about to take Jinshi to a brothel since she believes there’s no point to when he’s an Eunch. The other reason why she didn’t want to was because she saw it as potentially problematic for the ladies to fall head over heels over his beauty instead. That said, I find it rather hilarious how Maomao is quite intelligent, but this is the one thing she is out on the loop on– and understandably so considering it’s not within her field of interest: Apothecary. Bearing that in mind, Jinshi is certainly going to have to have the patience of a saint because I don’t think it’s going to click in Maomao’s brain anytime soon, HAHAHA!
However unfortunately for Maomao, because she elected to rely on Lihaku instead, it ended up costing her a pretty penny. Sure, she got an advance payment, but she had hoped that Granny would at least be a bit more lenient with the costs with her, and of course she didn’t make any special exceptions. Instead the old woman capitalized on the opportunity to get Maomao to sell herself since she’s been nagging her to do so for a long time now. So now she got that hanging over her head once she finishes her duties at the Rear Palace, it’s not exactly something she’s not exactly keen on returning to anytime soon…