Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace - Chapter 131
Yui Mei noticed the scent of tobacco wafting from the woman.
Tobacco was a luxury product that only the few wealthy people of this country enjoyed, but the woman got her hands on them from somewhere.
The fingertips peeking out of her sleeves as she received the sweet potato were thickly callused.
‘Is she a musician?’
The hands of the performers who play stringed instruments were usually like this.
Yui Mei recalled the hands of her fellow nurse who played guitar as a hobby. They had similar hands, although there was a difference in the amount of calluses.
Yui Mei wondered which instrument she played — the lute or the zither — during her musical performances.
There was also another thing that bothered Yui Mei aside from the characteristics that point to her being a musician.
The woman’s joints looked swollen.
The woman noticed Yui Mei staring at her hands intently, so she hurriedly withdrew her them in her sleeves.
“Musicians don’t have pretty fingers no matter how you look at it, right.”
She muttered while averting her eyes.
Yui Mei shook her head in response.
“I’m sure you spent a lot of time practicing in order to play beautifully, right? There hands are proof of your hardwork, I think.“
The woman lifted her head in surprise when she heard Yui Mei’s words, but she scowled right after, as if she just swallowed something bitter.
“There’s a fool here.”
Those were the words that the woman spat out.
‘Oh, sounds like she’s got a sharp tongue, huh.’
Well, Yui Mei just thought that that was probably how she was.
She could’ve just ended things here and ignored the woman, pretending not to know anything.
However, Yui Mei couldn’t do that, so she tried to talk to her again, albeit hesitatingly.
“…Ahm, your hands…do they hurt?”
The woman was stupefied for a brief moment when she heard that, then she glared at Yui Mei.
“None of your business.”
The woman spat those words out. She stood up and strode hurriedly away.
“I failed, huh.’
Yui Mei had been too direct with her words, apparently.
However, the woman still brought the sweet potato with her, so she probably didn’t hate Yui Mei to the extreme.
And so, this was how she met such a peculiar court courtesan.
A few hours passed after that, and now it was time for dinner.
Mei Na had already finished her shift, so they had their dinner together.
Today’s menu was stewed sinewy meat.
It was such a delightful dish that warmed the body after being chilled by the cold winter breeze, and it also tasted twice as good after dipping the manju that came with it into the broth.
“Hmm, it’s warming me from my belly.”
“Even left-over sinewy stew can be enjoyable by eating it like this.”
Mei Na laughed as she gazed at Yui Mei, who was gulping her food as if trying to gorge herself with all the warmth of the stew.
Indeed, this stew was made from the scraps of meat from those served in the concubines’ palaces.
However, this particular part of the meat unexpectedly provided more nutrition; it was also an environmentally-friendly dish because it didn’t contribute to more waste. Thus, Yui Mei thought it was a great dish.
Yui Mei focused on her food, but after a while, just when the plate was about to become empty, she decided to bring the topic of the court courtesan that she saw earlier.
“Mei Na, have you ever met a court courtesan before?”
“What’s up all of a sudden?
Mei Na seemed perplexed, so Yui Mei recounted what happened earlier during today’s trip.
Mei Na sighed in admiration when she learned that she met her at the dumping site.
“Meeting a court courtesan is already rare as it is, and yet Ah Mei met one, huh.”
“Well, I guess you’re right.”
Mei Na was moved, so she said those words, and Yui Mei also nodded.
At any rate, a court courtesan’s job was to enliven banquets.
Usually, both large-scale and small-scale banquets were held in the evening, and banquets held during the daytime — like Cherry Blossom Viewing were very rare.
And because the court courtesan had to work during such events, it was only natural that they were night-owls.
Moreover, these court courtesans spent most of their days practicing their dance and song, and they rarely step out of their residence.
In short, Yui Mei’s daily schedule was completely different from that of the courtesans, moreso because she’s a certified morning person.
Thus, the courtesans were like rare people — the so-called ‘rare characters’ in her previous world.
“What’s wrong with that courtesan? Did something happen? Did she disturb you while working, or did she play a prank on you?”
“No, it’s not like that, but…”
Yui Mei hemmed and hawed for a bit at Mei Na’s question.
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