”This water is not enough! Should I add more holes in it for you to move quicker?! ”
I poured the water inside the big bucket and ran for my life.
In my estimation, I just spent the first two hours of my morning trying to fill a bucket full of holes. My back aches and my legs and arms are losing their strength. Just four more buckets of water and this will all be over.
I reached the well and I quickly took water from it, filling up my two buckets and placing them on my shoulders. I then started running back to fill the big bucket and doing it all over again. My feet are sore after walking barefoot for some time. The ground became very slippery after I continuously spilled water while rushing to pour it into the bucket. I filled it with the last two buckets, and the big bucket is now full.
Lady San smiled.
”Well done. ”
I fell to the ground so hard my butt ached and breathed. My heart is racing and I don think I can still feel my legs. Im bathing with my own sweat and my clothes are soaked. I can distinguish whether it was from my sweat or is it from the water I carried. I am too lost to even figure that out.
”Ill give you a ten minutes break to breathe. After that, clean that mess and well resume. ” She left and went inside her room as I caught my breath. Hara went to my aid with a pitcher full of water.
”My lady, youd get more exhausted with the way you are breathing. Do it like this. ”
She gently placed the pitcher on the ground and straightened her back.
”Slightly part your lips and inhale from your mouth slowly and deeply. Hold it for a second and release it to your nose very slowly as well. Do it again until you feel better without holding your breath, that way, youd be able to use the whole part of your lungs and not just the upper part. ”
I did as I was told and I can no longer feel the exhaustion from what I did earlier. I can breathe normally and think straight now as well.
”How did you know that? ”
”I do strenuous jobs all day and it exhausts me. I passed by a medical lecture and heard that I should breathe like that to avoid exhausting myself even further. It even works as you do your thing. ”
That explains why she doesn seem like she is getting tired at all.
”Thank you. ”
I took the pitcher and drank the whole thing. I then started to get up, stretch my limbs, and straighten my back. I cleaned the mess I made and even scrubbed the floor.
After all that physical work, I don understand how I was still this hardworking. I should be dead by now. I guess Haras breathing exercise really does help.
”Okay, your ten minutes is done! Lets resume! ”
Lady San shouted.
On second thought, I think I am conveniently dead after all that. I am not willing to be alive for another hour anymore.
”The people who wrote The Five Sages of Korea originally known as, The Five Sages of Song in the Chinese Confucianism literature are Kim Koengpil, Yi Hwang, Yi Onjok, Ching Yochang, and Cho Kwangjo. ”
She stopped pacing back and forth and looked at me. I mustve looked too pathetic to bear.
”What is The Five Sages of Korea originally known as? ”
”It is originally known as The Five Sages of Song in Chinese literature. ”
She placed yet another heavy brick on my pile. I have so far been carrying three at the moment because I had two mistakes over her past questions and I just had to flop this one. My arms are tired from all the work earlier and this just has to add to the soreness. I tried to straighten my back for as long as I can so I don have to worry much about back pain. How many questions does she have left? I want to throw these bricks, seriously.
”Ill repeat my question, what is The Five Sages of Korea originally known as? ”
I tried to recall what she said and noticed that I just answered in an incomplete sentence. I know that Chinese literature and Chinese Confucianism literature are two different things but she shouldve just told me instead of adding one more brick to my pile.
”It is originally known as The Five Sages of Song in Chinese Confucianism literature. ”
”Who are the people who wrote it? ”
Id be dead glad if this is the last question, honestly.
”Squat lower! You are taking too much of your time. You are too slow to respond! ”
I squatted lower and my legs are shaking. These bricks are getting heavier over time and my legs are starting to shake.
”Ill once again, repeat my question, who are the people who wrote it? ”
”It is written by Kim Koengpil, Yi Hwang, Yi Onjok, Cho Yochang, and Ching Kwangjo. ”
She added another brick.
”Repeat your answer. ”
What have I done wrong? Which of my answers are incorrect? I just told her what I heard!
”It is written by… Kim Koengpil,… Yi Hwang,… Yi Onjok,… Ching Yochang,…? ”
She placed her elbow on top of my pile and leaned on it.
I swear, she looks fit but she is so damn heavy despite just leaning on it.
”Ching Kwangjo? ”
”Are you sure? ”
She is adding her own weight, its too heavy.
”I can feel the confidence in your words. Are you really sure? ”
She stopped leaning toward me and went in front of me.
”Okay, last question. If you fail to answer this correctly, Ill leave you here and you have to stay in that position as we eat lunch. ”
I don think Id be able to skip lunch in this state nor do I think theyd eat quickly to make me rest.
”What cultivation of personal qualities did Confucius stress out? ”
She mentioned this earlier after I made my first mistake. I was so consumed by the stress of thinking about carrying all these bricks that I didn even notice it.
I mustve at least recognized her words…
He believed in education and virtue… blah, blah, blah… cultivate discipline… authority…
Ahh, I messed up.
”It doesn matter what Confucius stressed out, I just care about how important justice is to be served to those who need it. People who made horrible, intentional mistakes are to be punished, not the innocent. I stand on my belief and that is what matters. ”
I said with my chin up. Incorrect answer, but at least I have confidence. And that is something.
Please work… please work… Please work…
She looked at me for a second and said,
”You are not eating lunch, wait for me here, and do not change your position or youll stay here longer. ”
She was about to exit when I yelled. There is NO way Im staying here.
She looked at me amusingly.
”He stressed out benevolence and filial piety. ”
”Is that all he stressed out about? ”
It was three but I am not sure if she said reciprocal, recitation, hypocrisy, or reciprocity.
She turned to leave. Whatever, Ill just say the word that sounds complicated to my ears.
”No! The third one is… reciprocity? ”
I doubtfully said.
She went to me and I was expecting her to say that I am staying here, and worse, longer but she whispered,
”That is correct. ”
She started helping me put down the bricks from my grip.
”Get out and eat after you regain your composure. ”
I nodded and waited for her to leave before dropping to the ground.
I never thought that lying on the cold ground could feel this good. I missed the ground, missed it very much, I don want to part with it.
After some time, I decided to get out of the room and eat. I sat down and gulped everything I could see. I have never been this hungry before.
”Eat all you want, if ever you need more, just tell us. Your training requires energy and energy comes from the food you eat. Those are rich in protein and fibers so don hesitate to eat so much. ”
I nodded as I stuffed myself. I feel like I haven eaten for a month or so. Although I haven been food deprived, I missed food.
”Ill train you that much until tomorrow. The week of waiting would be all about the exercise youd be doing even as a scholar. That way, you can train without me watching you around. ”
I expected the fact that Id continue training even after the whole examination period. I wanted to, in fact, continue training because Id get stronger that way.
I finished my food and was washing the dishes when Hara took the bucket of soap from me.
”Youve had enough work for the day, let me do this one. ”
”No, Id feel bad. Just sit down, I would no longer be doing this once I am not around anyways so just let me do this. ”
”Neither would I. My lady, can you just take a rest? Why would you spend the hour my mother gave you over washing the dishes? Use that to rest. ”
”Id do that after I finish washing this one. ”
”My lady! ”
”Hara, Id let you do the dishes later and tomorrow and the day after that. Just let me do this one, please? ”
She gave me back the bucket and sat down beside me.
”Thank you. ”
I scrubbed the plates and the pots as if it would be their last time being clean. Im irritated though I don know why. The feeling of the bubbles on my hands and the cold water relaxes me. I like it.
”Are you mad at my mother? I mean, all the horrendous work mustve given you severe fatigue. ”
”I won say I am mad but I am irritated. But its okay, this is needed for me to get strong. Its not like I have time to spare. We
e both just pressured by everything thats happening. ”
”You have a point. Id make your bed cozy for tonight so you can sleep comfortably. And you can still sleep in my room if you want? ”
”Hara, don push it. I am sleeping in my own room. ”
”Okay, okay. But if you feel hot, you can leave the doors open. Id tell my mother so she wouldn be too nosy to check inside your room and touch your things. ”
”Thank you, Hara. ”
”My pleasure, my lady. ”
I dumped myself into bed or is it my bed? Am too tired to check. Besides, I am so exhausted I don think Id be able to move.
Lady San made me catch chickens and plant different kinds of plants in a short amount of time. She even made me push up as she sat on my back reading whatever Confucius wanted to teach his people and made me do math while holding my breath underwater because ”I can do basic addition that even children younger than me can do ” I mean, sorry, I am not as smart or as knowledgeable as my sister. I just took my time playing outside or helping my mother with her fake market selling stuff.
I was so irritated and exhausted that I didn realize that I forgot to close the door of my room as I fell into a deep sleep.
I was walking when I realized I was about to turn to that soaked girls aunts home. I decided to pay a visit and check if she was still there.
Wondering if she is around, I peeked through the gates and saw her lying suspended on the floor. She mustve fainted!
I went in and rushed to her aid. She hadn even made it to her bed, she was lying on the doors entrance. I carried her to bed and went outside.
Where do they store their water?
As I walked around and saw a well. I took water from it and went to her room. I looked for towels around but couldn find one so I decided to tear my skirt and soaked it in the water.
I gently wiped her head and arms with it. I touched her forehead. She isn sick.
Is it because she had been wearing wet clothes yesterday that she had fainted this way?
I decided to take off her clothes. I pulled the ribbon to undo it and removed her Jeogri. She was so hot inside. The room is cold, how can she be this hot?
After damping the piece of cloth again into the bucket of water, I wiped her. This should lower her temperature and cool her off.
I was in the process of wiping her neck when her hand grabbed my hand and pulled me so hard I heard my bones clatter as she open her eyes.
”Who are you? ”
She coldly said.
Honestly, I was hurt. We just met yesterday, how can you forget me? I thought you wanted to see me again?
Well, it is understandable though. Id ask the same thing to an intruder who just intrudes my property without even telling me who they were.
They just need to tell me. If they say they were bandits, I would mind but at least they have manners and respect me enough to tell me who they were and why they were intruding my place.
Should I have just woken her up to tell her that I wanted to assist her after fainting and that she doesn need to pull out of her sleep because Id just carry her to bed?
I really should have just woken her up to tell her that she needs to continue sleeping and that I mean no harm.
”Hae Cha? ”
She looked at me confusedly.
”Woah, you know my name! ”
”Yes, apparently. My cousin told me. ”
”You meant the cute girl last night that asked me why I was staring at your gate? ”
That… was a mistake. I didn mean to call that girl cute. But that girl does look cute… but this girl is cuter. Wait what am I talking about? Shes pretty which is way beyond being cute.
”Yes, thats her. ”
”Oh! You know my name but… I don know yours. ”
”Ah, sorry. I am Sun Mah Ri. ”
”Mah Ri… you have a pretty name! ”
She scratched her neck.
”Thanks. What are you doing here? ”
”I saw you fainted at the entrance of your room and I panicked so I trespassed and helped you get to your bed. ”
Did I just admit that I trespassed into their property? I mean its for good reason…
”Why… Did you remove my top? ”
e sweating! But your forehead isn hot. So, I removed your clothes since they may have been the cause of your sweating. Well, Im right since you are not sweating much right now. ”
She touched her chest.
e right. Thank you. ”
She… touched her chest… I mean, the chest and the breast are two different parts of the body but her breast is close to her chest so that still signifies the same thing.
I could still feel the softness of those two big balls when they touched me as I hugged her last night. I couldn think straight and a supposed affectionate and innocent hug became a suspicious and sexual one.
Thats inappropriate, I need to remind myself. I have no romantic feelings for her and am just attracted to her. I have no right to think this way about her.
”Why do you keep staring at my chest? ”
Because I want to feel the softness of your breasts in the palm of my soft hands. I am eager to touch them, I swear but I won .
”Im just worried about you. You were hot. I thought it was my fault. ”
That was half true.
”Oh… sorry for keeping you worried. ”
”Its fine. Id take my leave then? ”
”Okay, sorry. And uh, thank you. ”
I stood up and smiled sweetly at her.
”No problem. ”
I left their residence without looking back. I don think Id be able to hold back my naughty hands if I stayed any longer, I have to go as far away as I can. How can I think that way? What do I want, a one night stand? Thats awful!
I am shy around a girl. This is a serious situation. Why am I shy around a girl?
Well, I was almost naked but we
e both women so that doesn really matter.
Though she praised my name and I almost turned red when she said it was pretty, why do her remarks matter so much to me? They were just words.
I looked at her as she took her to leave. She didn look back. Im glad she didn , Id be too embarrassed if she ever saw me getting my face all red.
I stood up, closed the doors, wore my top, and went back to bed. Lets just put this to sleep. Right. I was just tired. Thats all.
”Good morning, my lady! My mother told me to assist you around the house before your training. You should eat breakfast now, she said. ”
I turned my back on her and ignored Haras calls.
”Shed be the one to wake you up if you don move, my lady. ”
I quickly stood up and woke myself up.
”What are we going to do? ”
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