Translator: Blushy
Editor: delishnoodles

Kousho addressed the guests. 

(Huh? Why is he greeting the guests? There’s still one more dance left to perform. I thought Kousho-sama was supposed to get on the stage when all the performances were over. Ah! Perhaps, something happened, so his speech got moved up.)

The Emperor, accompanied by his aides, was listening to Kousho’s speech below the stage. 

(His Majesty will go up on the stage and formally present Kousho-sama as the next emperor after Kousho-sama’s speech. One of the purposes of this Elegant Incense Gathering is to announce the next emperor. That’s happening now, so I can’t get close to him for a while.)

She looked around quickly. 

“What should I do? I can’t see Garan either. Rarai-sama isn’t here either, so Garan must be keeping an eye on him. I can’t tell anyone else about this. Do I wait for Garan to come back? But Mokuren might do something while I wait…”

She couldn’t talk about this to Kousho or Garan but she couldn’t just wait here for them to be available since she had smelled Mokuren’s scent. She had caused Kousho a lot of trouble and worried him a lot before the Elegant Incense Gathering started, so she vowed that we would never act without his knowledge again, so it would be a bad idea to go see Mokuren without telling Kousho. She pondered about what she could do when she suddenly saw a familiar face. 

“Consort Shoei.”

She approached Shoei, who was looking up at the stage, and gently spoke to her. Shoei widened her eyes in surprise. 

“What’s the matter?”

“I have a favour to ask you. Could you please tell Kousho-sama that something bad has happened after his speech is over?”

“S-something bad…? What happened?”

“Kousho-sama will know what you mean if you pass him this message. I will go check it out first, so please tell him this for me.”

She became impatient when she thought about what Mokuren could be up to while she was wasting her time here. She turned her back on Shoei, who was blinking in confusion but nodded, and left the hall. 

If she had been mistaken about smelling Mokuren’s scent and stopped Kousho’s speech to inform him that she had, then it would disrupt the banquet. Kousho will take measures to deal with Mokuren if Shoei tells him after his speech. 

Kousho will have to take responsibility if a disturbance occurrs at a banquet where royals from other nations are gathered. She wanted to do what she could for him, and what she could do right now was check if Mokuren was in the palace. 

She ran down the corridor and imagined Mokuren’s face. She knew that she didn’t want him to get caught somewhere at the back of her mind. She asked herself if this was the right thing to do as she sped up.



There was a small garden at the back of the Beautiful Flower Palace that Kousho liked.”

Riiri walked along the edge of the small pond after she entered the garden. 

“I can smell him from here. He feels pretty close.”

She walked while keeping low and observing the area when she suddenly noticed a figure around the pavilion. She hid herself behind the plans and saw someone come out of the pavilion. 

He was dressed in black and was wearing a black mask, but she recognised his back and the way he walked. 

(It’s Mokuren…! It’s him! I have to tell Kousho-sama about this!)

She was going to inform Kousho as soon as she confirmed that Mokuren was here. 

She had to tell him to make the banquet a success, but then she suddenly thought of something. 

“Are you hungry?”

He had asked her that when they had first met. 

She moved to the downtown area with her mother after her father passed away. 

Her mother was frail and couldn’t work much, so they lived on empty stomachs every day. That was when he showed up, brought them food, and taught her how to make incenses so that she could survive on her own. 

She never forgot the look on Mokuren’s face when he told her that it was okay to cry if she was having a hard time. 

She wouldn’t have become who she was today if he hadn’t spoken to her back then. 

She might have been so hungry that she would have stolen, and she might have died alone with her mother. 

Mokuren had saved their lives even though he had approached her because he wanted to know how to make the treasured incense. If she were to tell Kousho about Mokuren being in the palace, he would get caught and would face the death penalty. 

(If Mokuren gets caught and executed, then I’ll never be able to see him again. He won’t be able to teach me how to make any more incenses and I will never see his kind smile again… Am I alright with that?)

Her calm mind was telling her that she shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts but she couldn’t stop herself from being swayed from her emotions. 


She stood up from behind the plants and spoke up. The man dressed in black stopped and turned his head towards her. 

“It’s you, isn’t it? I can tell from your scent. Let me see your face.”

She approached him slowly. She knew this action might destroy her. 

Why can’t you make the correct decisions? She asked herself. 

But the thought that Mokuren was someone very dear to her pushed her body forward. 

The man stood still for a while and then eventually took off his mask. 

She smiled despite the situation she was in when she saw him. 

“You wore your glasses underneath your mask? Oh yeah, you can’t see anything without them, can you?”

Mokuren pushed up with glasses. 

“It takes a lot of skill to wear glasses and a mask. It’s hot and stuffy and I don’t like wearing masks.”

It was funny to hear Mokuren say that with a serious expression on his face. 

It had been a long time since they’ve had a casual conversation like this. 

“You came. I didn’t want to see you here.”

Those were her true feelings. Mokuren looked at her sharply. 

“This is Nine Tailed Fox’s and my destiny.”

The thing he was holding caught her eye. 

“… What are you going to do with that incense burner?”

The incense burner seemed to be filled with some kind of incense. It hadn’t been lit yet, but the slight aroma coming from the incense burner wasn’t something she was familiar with. It was probably something Mokuren had created, and she couldn’t tell what it would do. Mokuren looked at the incense burner and laughed. 

“We are Dark Perfumers who use poisonous incenses. What do you think we secretly planted?”

Only one answer popped into her mind. 

“Are you saying you’re going to plant poisonous incenses in the hall where the royals and nobles of other nations are gathered?”

She was afraid to say those words out loud, still she remained strong. 

“Yeah, but that’s not all. We also placed them in other places too. Poisonous incenses with strong effects will kill anyone nearby just by opening the lid. You don’t even have to light them. If all the incenses are lit, then there will be no one left alive in the palace. The palace will be filled with a mountain of corpses in the blink of an eye.”

She suddenly felt uneasy towards Mokuren who was saying all this calmly. 

“Is that really a poisonous incense?”

Riri asked him and he looked at her sharply. 

“Why are you asking?”

“I know you. You love to make incenses so much that you even forget to eat when you make them. You’re especially good at making incenses for medical use.”

She gently closed her eyes, and her head was filled with the memories of her time downtown. 

“I remember you made an incense for a boy who was injured in the downtown area. The boy finally stopped crying when he smelled the incense you had made. You were really happy when the boy thanked you for making an incense that eased his pain.”

She wanted to become a perfumer like him when she saw him saving people. 

“Even Ryouka’s mother was treated with incenses. Ryouka was so thankful towards you that she even helped you with everything even when she knew that you had turned your back against the palace. And you still use the mortar that we brought together with great care.”

She remembered that the mortar was in his hiding place. She could tell at a glance that he had been using it for a long time. 

The aroma that came from the mortar reminded her of the incense he used to make when he wanted to ease people’s pain. 

“When we brought the incenses, you told me to use it to make incenses that will help people, since you will do the same. I believe you have kept your promise. You’re a kind person who loves incenses and likes to save people with incenses. I don’t believe that you would use incenses to kill people.”

She opened her eyes and stared at Mokuren. 

“I’m sure the incense inside that incense burner isn’t poisonous.”

Mokuren laughed.

“I’m the head of the Dark Perfumers who utilises poisonous incenses, and I’m not that kind. This incense is poison. Many people will die from this point forth.”

Mokuren declared but Riri’s mind was screaming that he was wrong. 

“… I believe in you, so let’s make a bet.”

It took her a lot of courage to speak. 

But this was the only way to be sure if she was right. 

“A bet?”

Mokuren tilted his head curiously and she put a hand on her chest before taking a deep breath. 

“Yes, I believe that you’re a kind person and that you won’t kill anyone with incenses. So… I will smell that incense.”

Mokuren was dumbfounded. 

“What idiotic nonsense are you saying?”

“It’s not idiotic nonsense. I believe in you, so I don’t think what you’re holding is poison. I win if I don’t die. I want you to stop your revenge if I win.”

She folded her hands in a prayer gesture, but Mokuren didn’t change his expression.

“You’ll really die.”

He sounded cold and cruel. 

Her heart was trembling with fear, but she tried hard not to let it show on her face. 

“I won’t, because you won’t use incenses to kill people.”

She rushed towards Mokuren at the same time she said those words. Mokuren’s reaction was slow, perhaps because he was caught off guard.


She forcefully snatched the incense burner from his hands. 

Mokuren reached for the incense burner, but she was quicker. She turned her back on him and opened the lid. 

“You can’t!”

Incenses with strong effects are effective just by smelling it, so you didn’t need to light them. 

She brought the incense burner close to her face and inhaled the fragrance. 


Mokuren quickly took the incense burner and put the lid back on, and Riri felt her consciousness fade away. 

She was about to fall but Mokuren helped her stand. 

Her eyelids were getting heavy, and she couldn’t even see how worried he was. 

(I will never see Kousho-sama again if I die like this…)

That was her only regret.