10 Buckets of Water Pt.1

    "Ow, ow, ow!" Gyuri howled. "Please, Madam Zhou, this is torture!"

    Madam Zhou rapped a narrow stick on Gyuri's slackening arms, forcing her to straighten them up again. Gyuri bit her lip as she tried to keep the buckets of water from touching the floor.

    "You are not leaving until the two hours has passed, Gyuri," she told her sharply.

    "But why?" she whined for the tenth time. "Why am I being punished? I didn't do anything wrong!"

    Madam Zhou rapped Gyuri's arms again, with broader strokes this time as the buckets of water nearly reached the floor. Gyuri could only whimper in pain.

    "The fact that you have not realised what you have done wrong is precisely why you are being punished," she told her sternly. "It shows that you feel no remorse."

    "Madam Zhou, I can't feel remorse if I have no idea what it is I should be remorseful for!" Gyuri retorted as she struggled to keep her arms perpendicular to her body. "Please, can you just tell me what it is?"

    Madam Zhou sighed, "You are being punished for misbehaving in front of the Young Master."

    Gyuri's eyes widened. "Seriously? You're making me carry these buckets of water for the next two hours because of that little perv walking in on me?"

    Gyuri felt another sharp tap on her arms as Madam Zhou struck her. She cried out in pain.

    "That is not how you address the Young Master" Madam Zhou pointed out. "And it will do you no good to keep behaving in this manner. The Kims are your masters now and you will do well to remember that."

    Gyuri watched as Madam Zhou started walking away, leaving her alone outside of the maids' quarters, carrying a bucket of water in each hand. "Wait, are you just gonna leave me here?" she shouted after her.

    Madam Zhou looked over her shoulder. "Yes. Once you are done with your punishment, I will come and start your training." She narrowed her eyes. "And do not even think about putting down those buckets of water even for a second" she warned. "I will be watching you."

    With graceful steps, Madam Zhou disappeared inside the maids' quarters. Gyuri craned her neck behind her just to make sure that Madam Zhou was indeed gone. Cautiously, she started relaxing her arms.

    "I would not do that if I were you."

    Gyuri jumped in surprise at the sudden sound of someone's voice. She turned to find the source of the voice and she scowled when she saw who it was. "Ugh, why do you always pop up at the wrong time?"

    Taehyung strolled over from the other side of the courtyard with the same impish smile. He was wearing vibrant robes, a stark contrast to what Gyuri saw him wearing earlier. His long hair was fashioned into a bun and only then did Gyuri notice that Taehyung walked in the same gallant manner as his brother and cousin.

    He grinned at her, his large almond-shaped eyes twinkling with mischief. "I see that Madam Zhou has taken the liberty to discipline you." He smirked while gesturing at the wooden buckets in Gyuri's hands.

    Gyuri huffed. "It's your fault I'm doing this right now" she complained.

    "I beg to differ" he replied back. "You should not have thrown that pillow at me." He drew closer to her and Gyuri took note of his cocky attitude. Something about the way he was acting irked her but she couldn't pinpoint what it was. Taehyung continued, "For a peasant, you really are quite dumb."

    "I am not dumb" she responded hotly.

    He smirked, "You clearly are." He peered at her face as if inspecting her, "and now that you are all clean, I see that you are quite ugly too..."

    Gyuri dropped the buckets of water as she launched herself at Taehyung. "That's it, you're having it!"

    Startled by her abrupt movements, Taehyung pounced backwards as Gyuri hunted him down. Taehyung shrieked as Gyuri chased after him like a relentless predator prowling hungrily for its next victim.

    "Stop chasing me, you crazy wench!" he shouted at her.

    "Not until I wring your neck!" she shouted back.

    The pair raced around the courtyard, catching the attention of the servants passing by, who watched on in wonder at the spectacle before them. Squeals of fright escaped Taehyung's mouth while Gyuri continued to chase after him with zeal. It was only when Taehyung had reached a dead-end did they stop running. The pair stared at each other trying to anticipate the other's next move. Both were visibly tired as they were panting and gasping for breath.

    "You... run... well" Taehyung spoke in between gasps.

    Gyuri smirked. "And... you... scream... like... a... girl" she replied back.

    Taehyung loured at her.

    Without warning, Gyuri charged at Taehyung and rugby tackled him to the ground to prevent him from escaping. Taehyung landed on his back with a thump with Gyuri on top of him.

    "Aha!" she exclaimed triumphantly. "I gotcha now!" She gazed down at him as she declared, "Now I can finally get revenge for losing my coin earlier!"

    Taehyung struggled and squirmed from underneath her, his brows furrowed as he glowered. "What are you doing? Get off me this instant!"

    Gyuri took hold of his robes by the collar, her hands balling into fists as she did so. "Not until you apologise, you little brat. I'm always getting into trouble because of you."

    Taehyung retorted defiantly, "I have nothing to apologise for. If you are always getting into trouble it is because you are too ignorant to know when to stop."

    Gyuri frowned at him. "So you're not gonna apologise?"

    "No, I am not" he responded boldly.

    Gyuri scoffed. "Fine, then. You leave me no choice." Gyuri started gargling as if she had mouthwash in her mouth, alarming Taehyung.

    "Wait, what-what are you doing?"

    She smirked at him before continuing to gargle, even louder this time, to accumulate more saliva. She grinned down at him when she had a mouthful.

    Taehyung's eyes were the size of saucers. "D-do not dare do what I think you are about to do!"

    Gyuri shaped her lips into a spout as she leaned forward, a string of saliva escaping the narrow hole that was her lips.

    "Gyuri, stop what you are doing right now!" Taehyung panicked. "Stop!"

    But Gyuri didn't and the string of saliva grew longer and longer, threatening to snap and land squarely on Taehyung's frightened face. He struggled from underneath her, more energetically now, as he desperately tried to get Gyuri off of him.

    "Get off me you peasant! Get off!" he screamed whilst thrashing about. But Taehyung was too late. He had flailed about so much that the string of saliva broke, landing on his nose. He froze immediately, paralysed and in shock at the warm liquid substance on his face. Gyuri watched as his face switched from an expression of shock to disgust and then, to anger.

    "Argh!" he screeched as he finally pushed Gyuri off from above him. Gyuri tumbled to the side as Taehyung got up and used his sleeve to wipe the spit off his face. "You are disgusting! You disgusting peasant! You horrid wench! You-!"

    Taehyung stopped midway his tirade when he spotted Gyuri on the ground, laughing heartily. She was laughing so hard that tears were springing from her eyes. The sight of her clearly mocking him only enraged Taehyung even more. With vengeance in mind, Taehyung took the opportunity to charge at Gyuri while she was defenceless. "Now, it is your turn!"

    Gyuri, sensing the shift of gravel on the floor, quickly turned and saw that Taehyung was advancing towards her. She pushed herself up quickly but not quick enough as Taehyung had caught up with her and was making a grab for her hair.

    "Oh, hell no!"

    The pair struggled against each other as Taehyung, driven by petty retribution, attempted to pull her hair while Gyuri tried to avoid his lean arms. Taehyung and Gyuri were locked in a stalemate as despite Gyuri being taller than Taehyung, Taehyung was somewhat stronger as he had more energy. Gyuri, on the other hand, was still ravenous in her newly discovered impoverished body. Keen not to lose, Gyuri and Taehyung held onto each other tightly.

    "You are going to pay for what you did!" Taehyung shouted.

    Gyuri scoffed, "Not if I get to you first."

    With one last push, Gyuri managed to trip Taehyung up, causing him to fall unflatteringly to the ground. Swiftly, Gyuri sat on top of him again and this time, targeted his ears. She squeezed and pulled and twisted his earlobes as she ridiculed him, "How do you like that now?"

    Taehyung struggled against her nimble fingers that stretched and tormented his earlobes. It felt like she was trying to rip them off. Yelps of pain escaped Taehyung's mouth as Gyuri continued to pinch them raw.

    "Stop it!" Taehyung howled. "Stop it now!"

    "Say 'sorry' first" Gyuri ordered. "Then I'll let you go."

    "No!" Taehyung protested and Gyuri pinched even harder, resulting in louder cries.

    But while Gyuri was occupied with torturing Taehyung, she had failed to notice that a stranger was quickly advancing from behind her.

    "What is the meaning of this?" a loud voice boomed.

    Gyuri jolted.

    She had been so busy with punishing Taehyung that she didn't notice that the stranger was now standing in front of her. Gyuri looked up warily and her eyes were greeted by a pair of angry ones. The person that was looming before her had a scary expression as he shot daggers at her direction. The first thing Gyuri observed was that the person was a man. He had long black hair that was loosely tied into a bun and he was wearing dark silk robes that had an intricately embroidered pattern in gold. He continued to scowl at her, causing Gyuri to avert her gaze.

    The stranger's eyes then narrowed as it travelled down from Gyuri's face to Taehyung's. His thick brows knitted even closer to each other as he glared at his brother. "Taehyung?" his voice was icy, "What are you doing on the floor?"

    Taehyung pushed Gyuri off, while she was distracted, with ease and dusted his front. "Third brother..." he began. "I-"

    "It seems you have been disgracing yourself again" he interrupted.

    Taehyung weakly protested, "Brother Junmyeon, it is not what it appears to be-"

    "I think it is exactly what it looks like" he snapped. His eyes darted from Taehyung to Gyuri and then back again. "Clearly, you have been rolling around on the floor while arguing with a maid, disgracing yourself in front of father and the servants."

    Taehyung pouted, "That is unfair, brother! You speak as though I am guilty when I am the victim in this!" He directed Junmyeon's attention to Gyuri, "She is the one that started this!"

    Gyuri was astounded by Taehyung's fabrication. "It's not my-!"

    Junmyeon looked at her and Gyuri was immediately silenced. Yikes, she thought inwardly. This guy's as scary as my Maths teacher.

    "I do not care whether or not this maid started things" he stated with a steely gaze. "What I care about is how a Kim, like yourself, is debasing himself and stooping to the level of peasants; acting like an uncultured swine and in turn, embarrassing the rest of the family." His frown deepened as he said, "You bring dishonour to the rest of us, Taehyung."

    To Gyuri's surprise, Taehyung didn't say anything back. He just bit his lip while glaring at his older brother as if trying to withstand his insults. But it didn't escape Gyuri's notice that Taehyung's small hands were clenched into fists.

    Junmyeon sighed. "Get up" he ordered. "Go and clean yourself up in preparation for supper later."

    Without a word, Taehyung did his brother's bidding and left without giving Gyuri a second glance.

    Once he was gone, Junmyeon turned to look at her. "I assume you are a new maid" he commented, his expression impassive.

    Gyuri nodded from the floor.

    "Well, since you are new, I do not expect that you have been taught how things work here, in the household." He crouched down so that he was at eye-level with her.

    Gyuri leaned backwards as Junmyeon's face came into clearer view. She couldn't help noticing how, even though he was intimidating, she found him quite alluring in that dark and sexy way. Get your mind out of the gutter, Subin! she scolded herself.

    "I-I'm not really familiar with them yet..." she admitted.

    Junmyeon's expression was still unreadable. "No worries. You will soon be acquainted with how we do things here." He got up from his position and scanned the area. In a loud voice, he addressed the servants who were spectating from afar, "Where is Madam Zhou?"

    The servants broke into whispers while one of the maids went to fetch the head maid. Not a moment later, a flustered Madam Zhou appeared from the maids' quarters, clearly aggrieved when she spotted a dusty Gyuri on the floor.

    Madam Zhou bowed to Junmyeon. "You called me, Master Junmyeon?"

    Junmyeon didn't waste time. "Is this one of your new recruits, Madam Zhou?"

    Madam Zhou glanced at Gyuri briefly and then nodded in reply. It was only brief but Gyuri could already tell that Madam Zhou was itching to hit her for making a blunder.

    "It seems that this one has escaped your disciplinary action." His statement was said with no malice but his body language suggested otherwise. "I caught her wrestling on the floor with my younger brother."

    Madam Zhou's eyes widened. "Wrestling?"

    Junmyeon merely nodded. He glanced at Gyuri with little emotion. "See to it that she is disciplined appropriately."

    Madam Zhou bowed as she replied, "I will, Master Junmyeon. On behalf of Gyuri, I apologise."

    "You should not need to apologise" he declared before walking away. "Because mistakes like these should not be happening in the first place." And with those cold words, Junmyeon departed without looking back.
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