23 Something in Common Pt.1

    Taehyung peeped from behind the wall to look at the steaming hot meat buns being sold across the road. He gulped as he eyed the succulent, white bread that was oozing with a mouth-watering aroma. Even from afar, he could already imagine his teeth sinking into the soft dough.

    Taehyung hid behind the wall again.

    "Are we really doing this?" Gyuri asked from behind him. "You're rich. Why can't you just buy the food?"

    Taehyung sighed for the third time. "I thought I already explained it to you. Why should I pay for something that is rightfully mine?"

    "Still..." Gyuri muttered dubiously. "It just seems so wrong. Even if you say that you used to own the land that grew the food, it doesn't erase the fact that you're stealing from the new owners."

    "The new owners" Taehyung rebuked contemptuously, "are no other than the Lees. They do not deserve the money that goes to them."

    Gyuri was still uncertain.

    After Taehyung and herself had left the orphans in the field, they had returned to the busy market streets to 'retrieve' food. Taehyung had explained to her that the food they were going to be acquiring belonged to the Lees' tenants. And the Lees were no other than the Kim family's rivals and surprisingly... their relatives.

    "Just because the Lees are the new landowners doesn't mean that you can take food from the tenants. I mean, don't you feel bad for the tenants? They work hard to sell their produce."

    Taehyung scoffed. "Why would I feel bad? Part of the profit that they earn will always go back to the Lees in tithe."


    "Yes," Taehyung replied. "So, the more I steal from them then the less the Lees will get in return."

    "But that also means the tenants will get less for themselves!" Gyuri protested.

    Taehyung was unfazed. "It is not like I take from the same vendors each time. And anyway," he pointed out with a grin, "it is not like I am taking without good reason."

    Gyuri curled her lip. "I'm starting to question whether you are. Why do I feel like you're doing this more for yourself than the orphans?"

    Taehyung smirked. "You are right. I will not deny that I do find the act of taking from the Lees thrilling."

    I knew it... Gyuri thought. This kid's an adrenaline junkie. "Alright, let's just get this over and done with. The sooner we get the food, the better."

    Gyuri emerged from behind the wall and proceeded to approach the meat bun vendor. She glanced behind her one last time and saw Taehyung give her a brief nod.

    That's the signal, she thought. Okay, now to distract the vendor.

    Gyuri walked up to the vendor who was a stocky middle-aged man with a bushy beard. Seeing Gyuri, he jerked his chin towards her as if to indicate what she wanted from him. He did not smile nor did he utter a single word. It was like he had sworn an oath of silence, making it hard for Gyuri to approach him.

    She smiled at him awkwardly as she attempted to grab his attention. Gyuri and Taehyung had discussed that while she distracted the vendor, Taehyung would sneakily take a few meat buns.

    "Oh!" she groaned as she clutched her stomach. "My stomach! It hurts!"

    The vendor, startled by her sudden cries of pain, drew closer to her as if to assist her.

    "I think there must be something wrong with me!" Gyuri continued to whine. "Sir! Please help me!"

    With her exaggerated ruse, Gyuri managed to draw the attention of not only the vendor but also the pedestrians nearby. Taehyung observed with a sly smile at Gyuri's melodramatic performance which was both embarrassing and incredibly entertaining at the same time. Her shrill voice and terrible acting were so perplexing that it successfully gathered a large huddle of onlookers who most possibly mistook her cries of pain for some sort of street performance. Regardless, with the vendor preoccupied, Taehyung was able to swipe more meat buns than he originally hoped for.

    Once he was satisfied that he had enough, he turned tail to run. But that was until he spotted a cloth bag filled to the brim with coins. He stopped at his tracks immediately. The bag of coins was at the far end of the wooden cart but nevertheless was within his reach. All he had to do was lean in. But doing so would mean compromising his getaway position as the vendor was not too far away.

    Taehyung engaged in a debate with himself: should he take the risk?

    To hell with it. There is no way I am letting the Lees get a single penny!

    While Taehyung attempted to loot the vendor's hard-earned money, Gyuri continued with her shrieks of discomfort that had escalated to unsightly rolling on the dirt floor. She clutched her stomach in pain and assumed the foetal position to further emphasise her phantom stomach ache.

    "What could be wrong with her?" she heard someone ask.

    "Might she have eaten something bad?" another one suggested.

    "It must be the meat buns!" someone else shouted. "They must be expired!"

    The huddle broke into murmurs of agreement which eventually led the vendor to speak. "'Tis not my meat buns!" he proclaimed in a bid to defend himself. "This lass hadn't even bought any!"

    "How can we believe you?" a woman questioned. "This young'un's rolling 'round the dirt right in front of your stall!"

    "Yeah!" a group of others chanted in unison.

    Gyuri peered from the ground and found that the vendor had grown beet red with anger. "'Tis not my meat buns' fault!" he insisted crossly. With eyes burning with rage, the vendor gazed down at Gyuri who was still pretending to be sick. "Tell 'em you, hussy! Tell 'em you ain't eaten any of my meat buns."

    Gyuri resumed her groaning. "My stomach... it hurts..."

    "You should take her to a physician!" the woman ordered the vendor. "You should take responsibility for her!"


    "She's right!"

    "You should get her treated!"

    Gyuri groaned inwardly as she listened to the crowd berate the angry vendor who was still insisting that he was not to blame. She felt slightly guilty for causing a scene that could potentially impact his livelihood in the future.

    That kid better be done now, she mumbled inwardly. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up before things get out of hand.

    "Fine!" Gyuri heard the vendor shout. "I'll bring her to a physician."

    Gyuri peeped at the vendor with one eye open and saw that he was displeased with how things had turned out. With subdued anger, the vendor stomped towards his cart, all the while grumbling under his breath.

    "Are you okay, young miss?"

    Gyuri opened her eyes and was speechless to see that it was an attractive young man. She was in disbelief at his ethereal semblance that was likened to a mystical elf: he was simply gorgeous. The strapping man, clad in what looked like military attire, crouched down to help her sit up.

    "That salesman will bring you to a physician" he informed her, his voice soothing. "Do not fret. We will ensure that you get the proper treatment for food poisoning."

    But just as a tongue-tied Gyuri was about to correct him, she was suddenly side-tracked by the jarring sound of the vendor's gruff voice.

    Everyone turned to look at what had made him shriek and were startled to discover him brawling with a scrawny, young boy. Gyuri's face fell when she spotted Taehyung stuck in a deadlock with the vendor as they played tug-o'-war over a pouch.

    What is that kid doing?

    "Let go, you thief!" the vendor commanded. "How dare you try to steal from me!"

    Taehyung grunted with effort as he refused to yield. When he saw that Gyuri was signalling for him to let go, he pulled just a little harder to incite the vendor to exert more effort.

    "You want the money?" he grunted mockingly. "Fine, take it!"

    All of a sudden, Taehyung let go of the pouch, causing the vendor to lose balance and tumble backwards. Taehyung sniggered as the vendor fell on his backside with a loud thump. But he couldn't revel at the vendor's misery for long as suddenly, he noticed movement from the corner of his eye.

    Taehyung's eyes rounded when he saw Gyuri charging towards him. In the blink of an eye, Gyuri hooked her arm around his neck bulldozing him and forcing him to run along with her.

    "Let's get out of here!" she screeched into his ear.

    Not needing further encouragement, Taehyung obliged and the pair sprinted away, leaving a crowd of confused pedestrians and a disgruntled vendor, gaping after them.
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