Who are Maomao’s real parents in The Apothecary Diaries?

Maomao’s true parentage remains a mystery until it is revealed later on that she was born under tough circumstances.

Maomao was raised by Luomen, the eunuch apothecary, but he is only her adoptive father as she explained to Master Jinshi.

He was serving in the rear palace when Lady Ah-Duo’s child was possibly exchanged and was punished for not realizing it.

It was this indiscretion that led to the Empress Dowager ordering that his manhood be taken away.

A weird individual

When Lakan learns about Maomao’s arrival in the outer court, he takes a special interest in her and pesters Jinshi regularly.

Jinshi ensures that Maomao is nowhere around when he visits, and entertains him to find out more about his intentions.

Lakan mentions the Verdigris house and how he had a history there. He was obsessed with one of the courtesan there but chose not to buy out her contract.

However, when he saw others competing for her attention, he changed his mind and resorted to underhanded methods to lower her value.

When Jinshi enquires further, Lakan tells him to find out what that means from someone who has experience in a brothel.

During their trip outside, Jinshi asks Maomao how a courtesan’s value is lowered. Maomao is offended by the question but answers nonetheless.

According to her, a courtesan’s value lies in their purity and virtue, and if that is besmirched then their value is lowered.

If they become pregnant, then it is brought down to zero.

A miserable existence

When Maomao visits the Verdigris house during her break, she goes to the annex where a woman is kept hidden away from the outside world.

It is revealed that this is Maomao’s mother, and she is suffering from a terminal case of syphilis.

She was the courtesan that caught Lakan’s attention, but when he couldn’t get her for himself, he decided to force himself upon her.

Her disease could have been settled early on when Luomen first arrived at the brothel, but the women didn’t trust a eunuch who appeared very suddenly.

Their mistrust led to her condition growing worse until all they could do was manage her symptoms and lessen her suffering.

Maomao shows some resentment when she calls the woman “stupid” under her breath.

She is also aware that Lakan is her father as evidenced by her reaction when Jinshi mentions his name.

He wishes to meet his daughter, but neither she nor Jinshi is keen to see that happen.


Also Read: The Verdigris House from The Apothecary Diaries explained

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