”In the next two days, I will not allow you to leave this residence. ”
She said sternly. She looks so peaceful and calm anyone would think shes speaking softly.
”Sorry, what? ”
I just told her that I needed to take the scholars examination and make me look like a boy, I didn tell her to lock me up before the exam.
”And starting from this day on, call me Lady San. San. Sun. Min. The lady outside is San Ha Ra, my daughter. Wed both be working with you however, I won listen to anything you say unless you call me Lady San. ”
”The exam is in the next two days, why are you locking me up? ”
She strictly looked at me.
”Lady San. ”
She took her fan and stood up.
”Do you think youd look like a boy just because you dressed like a boy? It takes more than that, young lady!
She warily pointed the fan at me.
”Youve got the confidence and the brains but you
e lacking something else. ”
”And that is…? ”
She stepped closer to me.
”You don hold the body of a man. You. Are. Weak. Even if you dress like a man outside, a kid would still look at you like a woman. We will fulfill what we can in those two days and make you unrecognizable a week before you get the results. ”
I rolled my eyes.
”Fine, but I need to go outside tonight. ”
”I don need to report everything to you! Besides, I cannot leave this place for two days, can you spare me the night? ”
I am treating her coldly and I feel sorry but… I feel wronged. My mother has never locked me inside the house, who is she to do that? If only she wouldn be of any help, I wouldn have listened.
”Fine. But don spend the night. You have to rest. ”
I didn answer her, instead, I stormed outside. I crossed paths with her daughter as she was attempting to go inside.
”Mother, why do you keep treating her like that? Do you want her to leave? ”
”No, I want her to feel as if her mother is still around. I want to at least act like a mother figure to her. ”
”You don even know how she is treated by her own mother. And you can never replace her mother, you can never be her mother figure, you know that. ”
”Yes, I know. But it doesn hurt to try. ”
I inhaled deeply and exhaled.
Shes just worried about me, why do I have to make her feel bad?
I ran my fingers to my hair out of frustration. I am being too emotional and I am starting to hurt people around me. This is not right. I have to cool down.
But Id do what I needed to do first
I passed the market on my way to the castle grounds. This place is quieter when the night falls. There are still vendors and there are still people who buy at this hour. I haven seen a single civilian around, most are maids of ladies or servants.
I looked ahead of me and saw the headmaster removing the announcement from the wall. I ran towards him.
”Sir! Why are you removing the announcement? ”
”Isn it obvious? The registration is done, we are no longer listing names. ”
”Can you add one more name to the list? Just one more, please. ”
”No, weve already sent the list to the King, we can no longer take that back over one name. ”
And I just missed my chance, how amazing of me.
At least I don need to get locked up in Lady Sans residence.
A servant struggling to carry the papers alone bumped into the headmaster.
”Hey! Watch where you
e going! ”
The servant bowed several times while saying sorry so loud I think the whole castle grounds heard it.
I knelt and picked up the papers not minding the fact that they were not for the civilians eyes to see. As I picked up the papers, I saw a sheet containing the names of men. I looked for more sheets like that and ended up seeing a total of three. I scanned it and saw the purpose on the top right of the paper.
Scholar examination applicant list
I scanned it once again and noticed six blank columns on the last page. I can squeeze my name through here.
”Excuse me, ” I say, interrupting his overly given apology. ”If I am not mistaken, is this the scholars examination master list? ”
The servant slowly nodded as a smile slowly curved my lips.
”Then I guess I can add another name unto it since it hasn been given to the King just yet. ”
The headmaster nudged his servant hard.
”What is that doing there? Haven I told you to give it to the King before dawn? ”
”The papers were switched and I accidentally gave the renovation papers of the ministers wife. ”
”How can you be so foolish?! Can you tell the difference between a list and a hand drawn renovation paper?! They even differ from appearance! ”
The poor servant started bowing to him again and apologizing loudly.
”Oh, I ought to– Ugh! ”
The headmaster almost hit him out of frustration.
I handed him the list.
”Here, now write my brothers name on it. ”
He angrily looked at me.
”What is your brothers name? ”
”Ma Ri I meant Ma Oh Chul. His name is Ma. Oh. Chul. ”
”Okay. Id do it later. Now, get lost. ”
”I want to see you do it. Just to, you know? Make sure. ”
”Oh, how dare you! ”
He attempted to grab my hair but stopped midway.
”I… do not have an ink right at this moment. As you… can see, we are in the middle of the castle gates. ”
He said trying to control his anger but is not doing a good job about it. Hes so red out of anger.
This guy has serious anger issues.
”Then Id wait. ”
I sat on the ground and looked at him. He looked at me as well waiting for me to break.
”Don worry, I can leave right now. I can risk getting caught in the curfew… ”
”But if my brothers name isn on the list, Id tell your mistake to the King. And Id tell him that it is all your fault and that you should be the only one who should be punished because you are not doing your job as a responsible superior too well. ”
He is so pissed his ears are turning red and his nose is getting bigger. Hes fuming.
”Jun Yong, can you fetch me a brush and ink inside the quarters? And make it quick! ”
He yelled so loud I don think those sleeping in the quarters will be able to sleep again.
”Yes sir. ”
He bowed and ran off.
The head looked at me and smiled sarcastically.
”I swear Id make your brother regret having his name listed late. Mark my words, hed be leaving early. ”
”Oh, well see about that. ”
”This little ”
He was about to hit me when his loyal servant came.
”Here is your brush and ink sir! ”
He snatched them from his servants hands and wrote the name I told him earlier.
I know hes being sarcastic but…
”Very happy. Thank you. ”
I said and bowed. I turned to take my leave and snickered. I guess Id pretty much enjoy my stay then.
Theres only an hour before the curfew starts. I have to head back.
I was about to take the route to the market when I felt the watery wind on my left. I looked in the direction and was stuck staring at that place. I wouldn forget the green trees often covering the sun at day and making a cavern like darkness under its realm. At the end of it is a sparkly river that illuminates the light of the stars. It is where my mother took me back then.
I could still hear the headmasters curses behind me when I took a left turn and went to the river.
Its dark and the wind is a bit strong. I sat down and looked at the river as it let the wind cradle its flow.
Mother told me that the wind is the voice of the dead. Could I possibly hear my sisters voice here? Would she talk to me though? I sniffled as I hugged my knees. Its cold, the night is cold.
I felt something warm blanketing me from behind. I miss my sister too much, I expected that it was her who covered me from the cold for a split second. I looked behind me and saw an unfamiliar face. I was so shocked that I stood up and slipped on the ground. I went sliding down the shallow river.
”Oh no! Im so sorry! What should I do… ” She looked around frantically.
I stood up.
”No, its fine. Its low tide, I won drown. ”
I slowly climbed up and dusted myself.
”I Uh… I ”
She gave up.
”I made you colder. I was attempting to at least ease the cold since you
e already crying but I just made things worse. Im sorry. ”
She has such pretty eyes it resembles the river as it borrows the stars light. Her skin is so soft and fair it lights out the dark. Pointy nose and puffy lips that I know would be so soft to touch. Her hair is black it looks pretty under the stars and her lips are so red a cherry would be ashamed of its color.
She was about to cry when I spoke.
”Hey, look at the bright side. At least now, I can get home early and avoid the curfew. I also felt a little bit better. Its fine. Im fine. ”
”You should get dry first. You might catch a cold. ”
She worriedly looked at me.
”No, really, Im fine. My house is close too. ”
”Then Ill just walk you home! ”
Shes too persistent.
”Oh, no. Id be a bother. ”
”No! I am the one whos being a bother. Now come, come and lead me to your house! ”
She pointed ahead and walked. Shes a bit stubborn.
”You said it was close! ”
She whined for the fifth time.
”It is. We just passed the market there. And now its just a few blocks away. ”
”Oh okay! ”
She said and started hopping.
She has too much energy. Way too much.
”If you don mind, can I ask why you were crying back there? ”
I fell silent.
”If you don want to talk about it, its okay not to tell me anything! I am not forcing you or pressuring you. If you feel that way, Im really, really sorry. ”
”Its my sister. ”
”I just… miss her. ”
She said and stopped her hops. She then rushed in front of me and hugged me.
”I have no idea how to comfort somebody but whenever I feel sad, a hug helps me. I don know if it works for you too but its worth the shot. ”
I smiled. Ive never felt warmth since yesterday. Nobody has done this to me so far and now that Ive received it, it actually felt good. I can believe I am being this open to a stranger.
After some time all the goodness of it disappeared. Shes been hugging me for way too long. I can breathe.
”Uh, I think this is supposed to be a momentary gesture…? ”
She lets go.
”Oh, sorry! ”
She had been oddly gazing at my breasts.
”Sorry, but why are you looking there? ”
I can help but ask.
”You have a pretty pin. ”
I looked at what shes talking about and saw the pin I usually wear. It came from Song Yun and Id feel bad if I didn wear it. Its pretty expensive.
”Oh, thank you. ”
She went back beside me.
”So, why are we still so far away from your house again? ”
I pointed to the house near her.
”Thats my house. ”
She looked at it with amazement evident on her face.
”Woah, are you a daughter of a physician? Thats one big house you got there. ”
”Ah, no. ”
I chuckled. Thats my first impression of it too.
Its my aunts house. Shes a seamstress. I guess she has pretty big clients since she earns pretty big and all. ”
”I see. ”
She turned to me.
”Off you go then? ”
”Uh, yes, okay, bye? ”
I said awkwardly.
I went to the gates and opened them.
”Will I see you here again? ”
Thats a question I didn expect to get from her but wanted to have her ask me.
She frowned. Even I was disappointed by my own answer.
”But I promise that this isn the last time well see each other. ”
I turned to look at her and saw her smile sweetly.
”Okay, see you then! ”
”See you. ”
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