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Cold Folks

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 5

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

18 May, 2022

Translation

1 comment

The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 5 is the fifth volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary universe historical fantasy, the Apothecary Diaries series of light novels. The illustrations are by Touko Shino; the 2022 English translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Having survived entanglement in high-level imperial conspiracy, Maomao returns to the pleasure district to pursue her vocation as a Verdigris-House-affiliated apothecary. She is accompanied by young Chou‑u, the last survivor of the disgraced Shi clan. Maomao fosters Chou‑u just as she does everything else: grumpily.

Maomao may wish to be done with imperial schemes, but imperial schemes are not done with her.

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Where, Where Are You?

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 4

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

12 Jan, 2022

Translation

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Natsu Hyuuga’s 2015 The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 4 is yet another volume in her secondary world mystery series. Volume 4’s illustrations are by Touko Shino. The 2021 English translation is by Kevin Steinbach. 

Apothecary Maomao is painfully aware she has, thanks to the revelations of Volume 3, become someone who knows too much about high-ranking eunuch Jinshi. Thus, when a fellow servant enlists Maomao’s help in a mundane matter, Maomao welcomes the distraction. This is an error of judgment. 

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Such a Classic Tale

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 3

By Natsu Hyuuga  

23 Sep, 2021

Translation

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2015’s The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 3 is the third volume1 in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary-universe quasi-historical mystery series. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The 2021 translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Jinshu is a skilled administrator but he lacks the professional training that would allow him to notice a potentially ominous development in the imperial harem. For palace servant Maomao, the problem is more obvious.

Perfume.

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Clouds of Mystery

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 2

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

7 Jul, 2021

Translation

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The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 2 is the second volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s illustrated light novel series, The Apothecary Diaries. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The English translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Court eunuch1 Jinshi made an allusive comment that was misinterpreted; it cost his protégé Maomao her job in the Rear Palace, where the emperor’s wives and concubines live. He attempted to repair his error by recruiting her to the Outer Court. 

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She’s a Mystery Girl

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 1

By Natsu Hyuuga  

19 May, 2021

Translation

1 comment

The Apothecary Diaries, Volume One is the first volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s episodic historical mystery series of light novels. The illustrator is Nekokurage. The 2020 English edition was translated by Kevin Steinbach.

Kidnapped by greedy villagers, Maomao was sold to the hougong, the rear palace. This is a sprawling residence for the emperor’s many wives and consorts, as well as for the eunuchs and servants who tend to them. Steadfastly unsentimental and practical, Maomao set out to keep a low profile until her term of service was up and she could return home. (Home is a red-light district where she lived with her doting apothecary stepfather.) 

Maomao would like out for several reasons. She’s homesick, yes, but she’s also afraid for her life. The hougong is a hotbed of vicious rivalry. To be noticed by the powerful is to become a target for jealous and quite possibly homicidal hougong folk. Better to be a mere servant than a figure of interest.

Maomao is too clever by half and becomes a figure of interest.

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