Chapter 4 of Kusuriya no Hitorigoto manga.
Lately, there's been rumors of a ghost clad in white roaming on top of the castle wall. They call her the white specter. Ouka has been telling Mao Mao all about it as they make their rounds for the day. As Mao Mao finishes her work, she made a detour to the infirmary to get some herbs that she wanted. There, the Quack Doctor greeted her with a smile. Ever since he found out that Mao Mao was good at making herbs, his image of her has changed for the better. He even offered her rice crackers when she visits. To Mao Mao dismay, however, her race crackers was replace by moon cakes as Jinshi too made his appearance in the infirmary.
Upon sending the Quack Doctor away, Jinshi begin to talk with Mao Mao about the case of the white specter. Particularly, sleep walking. Mao Mao was interested in it but knew she could do nothing about it. For sleep walking wasn't a physical illness but a mental illness and she was a herbalist and not a psychiatrist. Despite answering so, Jinshi isn't going to take no for an answer. And being overly touchy with Mao Mao only prompt Mao Mao to comply so that Jinshi will leave her alone. And thus, Mao Mao agreed to investigate the so called white specter for Jinshi.
She stayed up late that night and met up with Gao Shun. When they arrived at the rumored place, what they saw wasn't a ghost but a beautiful Lunar Lotus. At the top of the castle wall was a beautifully consort clad in white. She was dancing lucidly like a flower being gently blown by the wind. The beauty she shown under the half moon that night rivals that of High Consort Gyokuyou and Rifa themselves. When Mao Mao utter the name Lunar Lotus, Gao Shun replay that the name of the consort is Lady Fuyou. And that she is to be bestowed to an honorary military officer in the up coming month.
The next morning, Mao Mao consulted with the Quack Doctor about Lady Fuyou. The Doctor told Mao Mao that Lady Fuyou was a princess of a vassal state of Rii. She was brought into the inner palace to be the consort of the Emperor. But the night she arrived, she ungraciously fall during a dance in front of the Emperor which cause her to lose the Emperor's favor. Afterwards, she confined herself to her quarters and hasn't gotten a visit from the Emperor since. As she discovered that she was going to be bestowed to a military official, she started to roam the night like a specter. But more to it than that, the officer she was going to be bestowed to also happened to be her childhood friend.
Upon gaining this information, Mao Mao went to Jinshi to report her findings. She repeat that unlike physical illness, sleep walking is a mental illness that she is powerless to cure. All she can do is provide herbs to calm the mind. Mao Mao then went on to talk about a similar situation she witness in Roukushokan. Mao Mao told Jinshi and Lady Gyokuyou of a harlot who begin to sleep walk after she found out that she was being sold to a man who's old enough to be her grandfather. When the offer was canceled, the sleep walking stop. Hearing the story, Lady Gyokuyou commented that the sleep walking must have been brought about because the harlot didn't want to be sold to the old man. Mao Mao nod in agreement.
After reporting to Jinshi and Lady Gyokuyou, Mao Mao excused herself and returned to her post. It wasn't until a month later when Lady Fuyou was finally bestowed that Lady Gyokuyou, once more, asked Mao Mao what she really thought of the situation. Mao Mao then humbly told another story of a different harlot of Roukushokan. This harlot too was being sold to man and she started sleep walking. In the end, the offer got canceled. But immediately after the offer was canceled, another man made an offer to buy the harlot. The offer went through and the harlot was sold to the man at half the price.
To simply put it, it was a ruse. The man who made the first offer was a friend of the second man. The two of them worked together with the harlot to bring down the brothel's buying price. Since the second man didn't have enough money to buy the harlot at the time, he asked his friend to make the first offer. And when the harlot fake her sleeping walking, the first offer was canceled which dropped her value. That is when the second man stepped in to make a second offer and bought her for half the price. Mao Mao explain this to Lady Gyoukuyou and told her that Lady Fuyou situation was similar to this harlot.
Mao Mao suspect that Lady Fuyou was already in love with her childhood friend but was force to become a consort. So in order to avoid the Emperor's advance, she purposely fell in front of the Emperor to lose his favor. She then confined herself so that the Emperor won't visit her so she can preserve her chastity. And when her childhood friend finally earned enough merits to come for her, she pretended to sleep walk and roam the castle at night. This is to prevent the Emperor from visiting her at the last moment before she was bestowed. She did all of this not because of an illness but so that she can be reunited with her beloved who's coming to save her.
As Lady Gyokuyou and Mao Mao watch Lady Fuyou leave the inner palace in happiness, Lady Gyokuyou ask Mao Mao if envying Lady Fuyou would make her a petty woman. Mao Mao shakes her head to say no in reply. Mao Mao understands all to well that despite Lady Gyokuyou being the favor consort, she is not the only consort that the Emperor fancy. More to it than that, the relationship between Lady Gyokuyou and the Emperor is born of politics and not of love. Any woman in Lady Gyokuyou's position would be jealous of Lady Fuyou.
A princess in distress who is saved by her knight and shining armor. She is beautiful not because of her beauty but because of her love. Mao Mao thought to herself, if love can make a woman so beautiful, she wonders what kind of medicine she can make with it should she ever obtain it.
- Mao Mao
- Lady Gyokuyou