”How long will this take? ” I asked.
The seamstress weaved the last fabric unto the clothing.
”Its finished, my lady ”
I held unto the flower my sister gave me as I gazed with awe. I am so mesmerized by how the whole thing turned out that I haven given the ache in my palms any attention.
”Its a sangria hanbok, as you have requested. ”
One night ago…
”Mahri! The rice is burning! ”
I ran inside the kitchen. The blazes of the fire lit up as it ate our pot. I poured water towards the continually growing fire until it died out. The smoke stung my eyes and my throat slowly dries out.
”And now, we no longer have rice. ”
My sister mockingly looked at me as I gazed at my wrinkly clothes then at her iron-like clothes. She hasn been moving from inside the study.
”Look at the bright side! At least the house hasn burned down! ”
I said in my most enthusiastic tone but she didn budge.
”I don get our mother, she puts you in charge when you cannot even do anything right. ”
I placed my hands on my hips and looked at her.
”Excuse me? I am older than you, Rhiame. ”
”You do not act like someone older. ”
”And you do not act like someone younger. ”
We were both glaring at each other when she rolled her eyes and fixed her posture.
”Then I will act like one! How about we go to the fields right now? Please! ”
”Wow, and the intelligent young daughter of a market vendor is now looking for trouble? Theres only a few minutes before the curfew, we won make it back in time, and mother is coming. ”
”Please! Ive seen some kind of flower that caught my attention and I want to give it to someone. ”
”Someone you like? Is it a scholar*? ”
”Just someone! Please! I will help you with the chores from now on, just please let me get that! ”
”Just get it tomorrow morning. ”
”It will wither! And besides, we won be staying here any longer, mother is taking us to the US colonies in a cargo ship! I heard her a few nights ago! ”
”We don even know if what you heard is accurate! ”
”I heard what I heard! Would you doubt an intelligent girl like me? ”
”We have no reason to migrate, we are not criminals. And even if what you told me is true, we can just pass by the fields tomorrow. ”
”And what? Go back here to give it to him to hold mother a bit longer and miss the ship? ”
”Okay, but we shouldn take too long so we can get back here in time, okay? ”
She nodded happily in response.
She ran through fields as I watched her.
”I told you that we shouldn be too long, we might get caught during the curfew. ”
She ran towards me while holding a purple-colored sunflower.
”Where did you get that? I thought the sunflowers were yellow. ”
She handed me the purple sunflower.
”This is not a sunflower! I forgot what this flower is called but this is not a sunflower, sunflowers are way bigger. ”
”Why are you giving me that unusual sunflower? ”
”Its for you. Ive been meaning to give it to you but every time we go to the fields, these flowers have withered or been cut, I hid this one for you. ”
”You should have just given it to me tomorrow. ”
”But thank you. I liked it. ”
We ran towards home and made it through the doors before the bells started chiming.
Mother is not yet here.
”See? I told you wed make it in time. ”
My sister boasted.
”I am happier with the fact that youd finally stop bossing me around. ”
She rolled her eyes.
I walked towards my room but stopped before opening it. I should take care of the flower first.
I went to the well and poured water into one of my mothers pots and placed the flower.
”I don know what you
e called but Im pretty much content calling you purple sunflower. I think thatd be a lot better than calling you a weird purple flower nobody knows existed. You
e pretty, you deserve it. ”
”Mahri, are you talking with the flower? ”
My sister used her sweet tone but Im pretty sure she is hiding her mockery behind it.
”What? No! You
e hearing things. ”
I love her, but I don want her to know. I care about her but I don want her to be too dependent on other people, she is intelligent and has a bright future ahead of her unlike me, I don want her to be controlled by other people, and I am not being strict. She wouldn be able to boss me if I was being strict around her.
”I thought you lost a couple of screws off your head. ”
And there she comes with her nasty remarks.
Im not sure why I should be worried about her, she doesn even fear her older sister.
I went to my room and opened the door. I placed the flower in the very corner and opened the doors to the study.
My smile faded and I couldn move.
Her eyes widened at the sight of me. She then started shaking her head but my mind was too consumed and shocked to process what was happening or what she was trying to tell me.
Her bleeding head stained the clothing used to tie her whole body.
A loud shriek rang through my ears.
My body acted in an immediate response and I ran toward my sister.
Black men with swords strapped on their waists are surrounding her.
Shes still breathing but knocked unconscious and my mother has her head bleeding terribly.
What should I do?
What can I do?
Another man in black appeared on the top of our roof looking pretty irritated at the sight.
”I thought this woman was alone? ”
He mocked the others.
”This would be a problem, eradicate them immediately. We need to take the woman with us, alive. ”
The men surrounding my sister saluted.
What is this?
What is happening?
What do these guys have to do with us?
Why are they doing this?
What do they want from my mother?
What are they going to do with us? Are they going to kill us?!
I guess Id be very much pleased to know if they really were bandits, but judging from the situation, the purpose of their visit is far from stealing our stuff.
It sent chills down my spine.
”You need me, take me instead! Leave them alone! ”
My mother weakly yelled behind me.
I turned my head and saw my mother free from the binds, although looking weak, I haven seen any traces of her being held captive. Is this really my mother?
Their leader smirked.
e loose? I guess they are pretty important to you, though Ive never really thought that those ropes would hold you. They
e so important that you
e willing to come with us in exchange for their safety? ”
He jumped down the roof and went close to my sister. He sat down, looked at her, grabbed her hair and examined her face.
”How pathetic. ”
He took a blade from his behind and softly rubbed it on my sisters cheek. I want to move and take that blade off but I am frozen in place. Whats wrong with me?!
”It still confuses me. Who is this little girl? It tempts me to see what you will do if I dig deeper. ”
He pushed the end of the blade to my sisters cheek enough for it to bleed.
”What kind of length are you willing to take? ”
My mother went down to her knees and looked at the guy.
”Ill do anything, just, just don hurt her, don hurt any of them. ”
”Love, what a thrilling emotion. It bewilders me that someone like you could do this for some shrimp. ”
”I am rather intrigued with what your actions may be after this. ”
And yes, I expected what he did. Yes, I knew it from the start since I saw my mother in the study.
And yet no, I didn know hed do it. No, I didn want to expect that it was coming.
No matter what I felt or predicted, it wouldn change the fact that my sister…
He quickly slid the knife into my sisters throat. So quick that the next thing I saw after seeing him talking to my mother was the bloody neck of my sister.
It wouldn change the fact that my sister is dead.
One of the black men collapsed out of the blue.
His leader whispered.
What did he say…?
I looked at the dropped man and saw a very thin pin struck at his forehead.
I turned to my mother and saw her exhale.
No, she isn crying… she exhaled.
And from that moment, I don think I really knew who my mother was.
”I told you to leave them alone. ”
My mother said silently.
She removed her last hairpin and her hair went down. The men surged toward my mother and with a few moves, she killed the men without breaking a sweat despite getting outnumbered.
”If I were you, Mahri, I would run. ”
My mother said without looking at me.
I want to but how can I leave my sister here? How can I leave my mother here? I can see that she can manage herself here but what after? Id just leave this place alone?
”Mahri! Leave! Id take things from here, I don think I can still hold on if you are hurt as well. ”
Mother directed in a stern voice.
”Just leave! ”
I paused and ran outside. I stopped and looked at my mother. She smiled. I hesitantly stepped away.
She nodded softly, ordering me to go after locking my eyes on her.
This may be the last time Id see my mother, at least Id see her smiling even for the last time. I decided to go but turned one last time.
I was about to turn to go when I saw their leader slash my mothers leg.
And I had what I wanted. I saw my mother smile weakly as she mouthed the word ”go ” but no, I can move, and no, I don want to go.
I acted on impulse and was about to run towards my mother when someone covered my mouth and pulled me out of the open.
”Shh… you can trust me. ”
She harshly whispered to my ear.
Who are you?
Key term: (all words in italic and ends with an asterisk* excluding the title)
Scholars – refer to people who serve the public without governmental positions. They live their life studying philosophy, most specifically Confuciuss teachings. Scholars are all men due to gender discrimination during the Joseon Era where women are considered lowly creatures and therefore don have the right to study. All scholars had undergone examinations the same as how other governmental position exams are held. They differ from other exams because the people who prepare for the exam are the royal family, most of the time, the King, and sometimes they are also the ones who take hold of the examination.
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