Maomao works as an apothecary with her father when she is kidnapped and sold or ransomed off to the rear palace in The Apothecary Diaries.
Maomao was headed back home after delivering medicines to a brothel when she was kidnapped by some men.
3 months later, she is working as a servant girl in the rear palace where all of the Emperor’s concubines live.
Unlike many of the other servants, Maomao is educated and would receive a promotion and higher pay if she revealed it.
However, part of her wages go to her kidnappers and she doesn’t want them to benefit from her any more than they already are.
She decides to keep her head down and go about her business as normal but when rumors of an illness spread through the palace, Maomao takes notice.
Putting her knowledge to good use
Lady Gyokuyō and Lady Lihua had both given birth to children recently but both babies fell ill, with Lady Lihua also showing some symptoms.
Maomao hears that a few other children also died from a similar illness soon after their birth, and the rumors attribute it to a curse.
The Apothecary doesn’t believe such far-fetched tales and figures out what the real issue is. She drops off an anonymous message tied to a flower at the window of both ladies.
Only Gyukuyo follows the advice, and Lihua’s son perishes. Gyukuyo asks Jinshi to find out who is responsible for saving her daughter, and Jinshi gets to work.
He remembers Maomao contemplating the scene of Gyukuyo and Lihua’s argument in the courtyard, and after confirming his doubts, brings her to Gyukuyo.
The Concubine is grateful for Maomao’s intervention and promotes her to the position of lady-in-waiting in the Jade Pavillion.