Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ The Apothecary's Other Diary ❯ Unwelcome World ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

The Apothecary’s Other Diary

ONE Unwelcome World


This world has no magic. Of that I am certain. Born aware, again, reaching for the power to defend myself from a hostile god… I found nothing. No magic, no god, only people. It was weeks before my eyes could focus enough to see and realized I was in a fancy place, too fancy. Trying to keep thoughts in my infant brain for more than a second is a serious struggle, and I fully understand why so many reincarnates forget their prior lives. Holding onto a thought at this age is nearly impossible.

When I can see and think I realize I’m in a brothel. A whorehouse. It seems to have fallen on hard times and my mother is in despair. Her understudies, one called Pairin, is my wet nurse, feeding me every few hours. Mother tries, but she’s crying much of the time. The language here is one I do not know, but I suspect it to be Mandarin Chinese, a divergent strain of Mongol. I don’t understand it, but the gist seems to be Mother wants father and father isn’t around. Being a brothel, this is not completely unexpected. When you pay for sex, you also pay for no responsibility for a bastard child like me. Once again, I’m the unwanted child of a fallen woman. How very like Berlin. Again.

Mother is insane with grief. She’s been told to work, and fallen as she is, this means taking any man who pays, using her body. No more auctioned chastity like Pairin and Meimei. Every time she uses her body she is more and more wrecked and screams at the unfairness of it all. Disease blossoms red sores across her body and her nose rots into a hole, barely covered by a bloody bandage. The horror of it drives her mad.

Eventually, one dark night, she comes to my crib with a knife and … my finger hurts. It hurts it hurts it hurts. The old madam comes running and pulls away my mother, bleeding from her hand, a finger missing. I don’t see mother again for some time after this. She has been confined to the guest house, the annex. Meimei looks after her, with the new girls helping, perhaps as a warning for what happens if you fall from grace. This is an odd thought to my small mind, the idea of grace in a brothel, but they auction the virtue of the high class courtesans to the high bidder, and she will stay virgin until the price is high enough. This is the sort of irony only a twisted mind could arrive at.

Meimei and Pairin and the new understudy Jyoka all care for me, feed me, tend to me with help from the girls in training. I am a hellion once I gain enough mobility to move around on my own. There are many things to learn in a whorehouse as a little girl. Getting into things. Falling down the very short distance. One of the things I learn is crying in my crib is pointless. My adoptive mothers won't come until they are done with their client’s needs. Only then do they show up. Much like my life as Tanya, I can only rely on myself. This is particularly vexing when I need a diaper change.

An old man arrives and offers to take care of me. He is my great uncle. I stay with him a year before a man with a monocle shows up, maddened by grief and demands to take me away. He says he is my father. He is the one who drove mother mad. He is the one at fault. He and my great uncle, whom I call father now, argue and the monocle cries and we leave him behind. More time passes.

My childhood is impoverished in material goods, but wealthy in education. From the time I can speak, I learn from Father how to raise herbs, what they do. I brush against a strange mushroom and it burns, turning the skin between my wrist and elbow on my left arm a mottled red scar. It is horrible, and Father is able to stop it getting worse, but can’t cure the damage. I wrap bandages around it because many people find the scar on my arm disturbing.

My curiosity is my driving factor of my personality now. Without magic I have only science, and in this primitive world, science is struggling to rise against the overwhelming ignorance that surrounds it. Between learning herbs and identifying diseases and what herbs to treat them, and my time in the Verdigris House (Vert means green, gris means grey so it literally means greenish-grey colored house), I am a child who knows far more of the world than most children.

Years pass. I am teenager. I learn a great deal of the arts of dance, music, poetry, and tea service from the brothel. My family ties there are strong, with my time divided between there and father’s home, where we make medicines. He is missing his kneecap so I do the deliveries for him.

“Be careful today. More girls have been kidnapped, they say,” warns Father. I deliver medicines to the Verdigris House for one of the sickened girls who’d caught a disease from a customer. She was dying, and this would only take away some of the symptoms, but it would not cure her. I headed home and spotted herbs growing in a field outside the walls. I stopped to pick them.

“Heheheh! Hey little girl. Come with us!” threatened a brute with rope. There are two more, surrounded. Without magic I am helpless.

Thus I ended up in a basket and sold like a piglet to the Golden Palace of the Emperor. I pretend I can’t read, so they get less money for me. I end up assigned to the laundry.

I wash clothes for three months. It is hard work and my hands wrinkle, but I am resilient. I have no expectations. I am not a master of my fate.

I keep my head down because there is no magic here. I am not Tanya here. I am not Komachi or Madoka or any number of magical girls or cute little sisters. I am Maomao. I am a girl who acts like a cat. I keep my head down so I can keep my head attached. Punishment in the palace is rumored to be swift, and heads literally roll in some cases.

SLAP echoed the sound through the courtyard. I turned to regard one top courtesan holding her reddening cheek and the other glaring down upon her, accusing assassination of a baby. Both displaying something I recognized. All eunuchs and serving girls and maids stared at the tableau and none saw what I did, what I recognized.

“If only I could find something to write with,” I muttered to myself, slipping away through the crowd.


“You. You’re wanted in the head office with the others. This way,” ordered the guard. I followed him, keeping my head down. On entry to a room with two dozen other girls some fancy high class woman arrived and barely held in her sneer at us lowly maids and washerwomen. He, and I realize this was a eunuch, wrote something and held it up: You, with the freckles, wait here.

“The rest of you can go,” he announced. They muttered at the waste of time, filing out. Crap. I want out too. Was I spotted?

“Where do you think you’re going? I told you wait here,” he said, grabbing my collar.

And that’s how I met Jinshi. And got my new job working for Lady Gyoukuyou. An impish lady of perfect looks and good temper. The full details are in my official journal, but in this one, written in German? I sense a terrible and imposing narrative leaning over me, and the absence of god I’d enjoyed coming to an end. What is this all about? What have I gotten myself into? What is the cost of my good deed?


Another Time And Place


My alarm woke me. I rose slowly. Being too young to drink in a world without my precious sister really bites at your soul. The potential solace is denied me, so every day I go to sleep, hoping for a distraction, another life to live that won’t remind me of her. Komachi was family, the only family I was actually close to. Mom and Dad are devastated by her loss, of course, and the sorrow of the house and the shrine in the living room, her bedroom untouched… and to think I used to mock the many dead struck down by those box trucks. And one of them had killed Komachi, crossing the street on the way to school. Taishi had been standing a few feet from her, and had to be sedated.

Part of me died with her. Maybe my faith in people. Or maybe the kindness of gods. Or even the one that is meant to protect children.

My day at school was grey. People tried to talk to me, and I choose not to respond. I contemplate in silence, lost in my memories. My club is pointless, so I quit after Komachi died. I can’t stand to be around happy people anymore.

Asleep, then awake. My vision is blurry and I feel older. I ache in various places. There is something really wrong with my knee, and something far worse. My male parts are… what in the cruel hells is this? I activated my healing magic… healing… magic. What? What magic? Why? My kneecap popped back into place from nothing, and the scars over it smoothed, the tendons reconnected. My magic created the flesh I had lost, somehow, and regrew. My liver was somewhat imperfect with metals and toxins. I extruded those out through my flesh and caught them on a soiled garment. Must dispose of that safely away from the… house? Hovel? Mud shack? There was wood, but lacking a kneecap did not help with maintenance. The garden was fabulous, which in the absence of a kneecap meant that the pain was worth enduring to this man, who was not me, but still somewhat myself. I was nearly out of magic as I finished regrowing my parts and healing my liver and kidneys from decades of hard living. I reached for magic to refill my reserves and found… nothing. No mana at all. This place had no magic. None. My magic sputtered out and I fell away from the body and sat bolt upright in my bed back in Chiba City.

“What in the nine hells was that?” I said out loud. I spent the next predawn hour praying at my sister’s shrine. She’d offered me guidance when she was alive. I can only hope she will offer it now she is a spirit.