|“||If I should die, I'd want to die of poison.||”|
Maomao (猫猫, Maomao) is the main protagonist of Kusuriya no Hitorigoto. After getting kidnapped, she found herself working as a court lady in the Inner Palace of Rii. There, she was able to make use of her keen sense of practicality and insightful knowledge of herbs and illnesses to solve the mysterious problems within the inner court.
Maomao is a petite girl with dark green hair and purple eyes. She usually has bandages covering her left arm to hide the burns and scars that she inflicted on herself for the sake of her experiments. Unknown to most, the freckles on her face are applied through cosmetics in order to prevent her from being captured and violated in the red light district; however, she comes to feel more comfortable wearing them even in a safe environment.
When she wears beautifying makeup, her face changes drastically, to the point where her colleagues often do not recognize her at first. Though she normally wears an impassive expression on her face, she flushes, her eyes light up, and she begins to smile whenever she is able to taste poison or interact with rare medicines.
Having been raised by the esteemed pharmacist Ruomen, Maomao is fascinated by poison and herbs, and has a habit of experimenting with different materials to observe their effects, including and especially on her own body. Due to her obsessive love of poisons and her tendency to eat laced foods with a smile on her face, she is seen as strange, creepy, or fanatic by many characters in the series--a trait she shares with many other members of the eccentric and uniquely talented Ra clan. This obsession is a large motivation for many of her actions throughout the series, as Jinshi would bait her to solve court mysteries with the promise of giving her rare medicines.
When she isn't being bribed by poisons, she has a very pragmatic mindset and has good street smarts due being raised in the red light district. Calm, mature, and sharp-witted, she is rarely tricked or charmed by others; for example, she is one of the few to be unaffected by Jinshi's beauty. It is because of this pragmatism that she is able to easily forget matters that many would find concerning or even scarring; even when she was nearly raped, she dismissed the scenario as being typical of the red-light district.
She considers her own life her own highest priority, and makes it a habit to not think about or get involved in troubles that have nothing to do with her. This means that she never acts rashly or talks back against authority. Despite these values, she will sometimes act against them and become involved in troublesome scenarios due to her natural curiosity.
In part because of her own self-preserving attitude, she finds selfless people who will help others to their own detriment (e.g. Ruomen and Jinshi) painful to watch. Despite her view of herself as a low-born daughter, she believes that social hierarchy is the inevitable way of things, and that people of lower status who can be used should be used, including herself.
Herbal medicine: Having been taught by Ruomen, one of the best pharmacists in the country, Maomao is an excellent user and maker of herbs--so much so that she makes her own unique medicine, which she often tests on herself.
Poison resistance: Because she constantly experiments with poisons on her own body, Maomao has developed a mithridatic resistance against drugs and poisons. Whether afflicted by snake bite, aphrodisiac, alcohol, or hallucinogenic mushroom, her body is able to resist the effects, and she is able to consume the same alcohol content as multiple grown men combined.
Perception: Having been raised in the red light district, Maomao is very good at dealing with and manipulating others. Along with her experience and knowledge of herbs, she is able to deduce and solve problems more effectively than most. In spite of this, she does not consider herself intelligent by academic standards, as the only thing she can bring herself to study is medicine.
- Maomao's name, 猫猫, is derived from 猫咪 (māo mī), the Chinese word for cat.
- This reinforces the fact that she is often described as a cat or cat-like.