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”No, a weak, useless creature like that one isn to be frightened of but she might get in contact with the woman. Itd be trouble for us if his majesty found out. ”

I backed off. I am not surprised that he sees me as someone weak and useless. I am more surprised by the fact that the King is involved. Here, he is either the one who ordered these men to take my mother or they are just scared to be taken down because of somebodys complaint.

But the latter wouldn match. Something doesn match…

I looked at the ledger again. The King had a transaction with them. He paid them to do something which means the King also uses them. There is a larger possibility that it is the former.

It is the King who ordered them to take my mother… but why?

As I walked slowly out of their radar, I gently closed the ledger. I need to investigate the King to find out how exactly he is involved in all of these and to do so, I have to get close to the King but how?

While walking to the market, its been a bit hard to ignore all the noise but I couldn care less. I have something to think about right now other than the markets noise.

I was thinking deeply when someone hugged me from behind. I was so shocked I almost hit his pretty face. He was shocked but then laughed after looking at my face.

”This is not funny, Song Yun. What are you even doing here? ”

He wiped a tear off his eye.

”Sorry, I couldn help it. You were looking at me as if you were being followed by someone who wanted to kill you, its priceless. ”

I looked at him bluntly.

”If you are here to mock me, then I am leaving. ”

I turned but he took hold of my hand.

”Come on, can you take a joke? I haven been able to see you laugh or smile after what happened to you. I only have two days before I get restricted from going around, can you spare me your two days? ”

”No, I am busy. Besides, you are going to study, you
e not dying, do not be overdramatic. ”

His cheeky face suddenly disappeared, all the sparkles hiding from his long pretty eyelashes were gone and he became serious.

”By the way, where have you been staying? Did you sleep on the streets? You shouldve stayed at our place, we are worried sick of you, we thought you were hurt too. ”

”Don waste your time worrying about me, I can handle myself. ”

”What if you get ill after sleeping on the streets? Or did you get caught by the patrol during the curfew? Or did some bad people get you? Hurt you? ”

Right, I haven even taken time to fix myself. I probably look like a beggar.

”I am not staying on the streets. I have been staying with my mothers friend. ”

”Are you sure that that person really is your mothers friend? That person isn faking it to take you for granted or to maltreat you? That person mustve threatened you! Is it a guy? I need to see him first. ”

”No, Song Yun, its not a guy, its a woman. She helped mother at the market before. ”

”Are you sure? ”

”Yes, Song Yun. I am sure. ”

”Okay, but if you need me, or you need anything, or you
e in trouble, you know where to find me. ”

I smiled. I know that he is worried. And it worries me because all the time they spend worrying about me mustve been interfering with their lives. I don want to be a problem to them. It is the very reason that I didn come to him first when I needed something. All of my friends help me so much, and most probably too much. I am becoming a hassle.

”Thank you. ”

I was about to leave when…

”Song Yun! ”

I shouted.

”You are coming clean? She really is harassing you? ”

”What? No! Whats your problem? ”

I inhaled.

”Who is the closest to the King? ”

”The King? Out of the blue? Why? ”

”Is it his concubines? ”

He paused for a second.

”No, they are just there as the Kings pastime. Even the queen isn that close to the King. ”

”The ministers? ”

”Its a war between the King and his ministers, didn you know? ”

”His parents? The rest of the royal family? ”

He shook his head.

”Nope, not them either. ”

”Then who?! ”

I yelled out of frustration. I am a woman, how else should I get close to the King?!

”Whoa, don get mad. They said he is closest to the scholars because hes been molding the next lineup of ministers. He is the one who is deciding on the contents of the examination for the next two days. He would even be there at the examination area to observe the applicants. ”

”Doesn it take a week before the decision gets released? Why does he have to stay there? ”

”Hes observing everyone. I don know why, maybe its another factor hes considering before letting anyone be a scholar. Why are you asking me anyways? Are you planning to take the King? Do you like the King? ”

”No, hes too old for me. ”

He sighed in relief.

”Thanks for the information! Take care! ”

I ran off as he waved goodbye. I headed to the womans house.

~

”Hi, my lady! Are you looking for my mother? ”

Wait, that woman has a daughter? She looks so young I never thought shed be the same age as my mother.

A girl, probably my age, looked at me enthusiastically. She has a pointy nose and round brown eyes. Her lips are slightly curved. From a side view angle, she looks like her mother.

”Ah, yes, where is she? ”

”Shes inside. In her room. ”

”Thank you. ”

I bowed and went to her room. I closed the door behind me and looked at her.

”I was expecting you, the tea is still hot. ”

Shes sitting down in her room with a table prepared for two.

”You
e a seamstress, right? Can you make me look like a boy? ”

She smiled and looked at me.

”Sit down. ”

Sangria scandal*

”I can. But are you willing to listen to what I say? Are you willing to do what I tell you? ”

”Yes. ”

Im having a bad feeling about this.

Key term: (all words in italic and ends with an asterisk* excluding the title)

Yangban nobility In the Joseon Dynasty hierarchy, the yangban nobility stands on top of the pyramid. They are one of the most powerful, influential, and wealthy people amongst Joseon. They are mainly composed of highly educated civil servants, military officers, and aristocrats. Following the hierarchy, Yangban is followed by Jungin (middle class men), sangmin (commoners), and lastly, cheonmin (outcasts)

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