42 Stick of Pain Pt.4

    Crap, Gyuri kept internally cursing. Oh, crap, crap, crap!

    In front of her, Madam Zhou had prepared a thin rod which she was already acquainted with: it was the same rod used to punish her when she was carrying buckets of water a week or so ago. She eyed the sharp instrument warily and gulped.

    I didn't expect to meet you again, stick of pain.

    Madam Zhou beckoned for Gyuri to come closer. Reluctantly, Gyuri approached Madam Zhou while the other maids spectated in a huddle. Murmurs escaped their mouths as they darted dirty looks at her, making her feel like she truly was guilty.

    We're doing the right thing, she internally told herself. We'll be fine. It won't hurt a lot.

    But as much as Gyuri tried to reassure herself, she couldn't avoid the beads of sweat that started to form on her forehead. It was like she was more afraid of the idea of being hit rather than the actual pain itself.

    When she was finally in front of Madam Zhou, Madam Zhou signalled for her to show her hands.

    "You're going to flog me there?" Gyuri's voice was squeaky from fear.

    Madam Zhou nodded. "Open your hands, Gyuri."

    Hesitantly, Gyuri did as she was told but she couldn't help flinching. She shut her eyes tight while her hands shook uncontrollably. The maids watched with bated breaths as Madam Zhou lifted her arm with the thin rod in her hand. With an impassive expression, Madam Zhou averted her gaze slightly as she prepared to strike down. But before she could do so, she was suddenly interrupted by a loud voice.


    Madam Zhou froze and looked towards the doorway, where the voice had come from. So, did the other maids. When Gyuri dared to peek, she was greeted by an unexpected visitor.

    "Ma-master Namjoon?"

    Namjoon grinned at Gyuri fondly, revealing his famous dimpled smile. The maids, who were gaping from both sides of the common room, swooned at him and the room was filled with hubbub once more.

    Madam Zhou peered at Namjoon, flustered. "Master Namjoon!" she addressed him with her head bowed. "What brings you here?"

    "I was just passing by," he replied, "when I overheard a lot of noise coming from here." He approached Gyuri and Madam Zhou, his eyes trailing from the rod in Madam Zhou's hand and Gyuri's outstretched arms. "I could not help overhearing your conversation." He inspected Gyuri closely. "Is it true that you stole three baskets worth of food?"

    Gyuri blushed under his intense gaze. There was something about Namjoon that made her nervous. Earlier on that day, she didn't have much time to converse with him properly, save from when they were talking about Taehyung and her rescuing him. Apart from that, Namjoon and her had hardly interacted with each other so she didn't know where she stood with him. After all, the last time they saw each other, apart from today, was during tea time... and that didn't end well.

    "Ye-yes" she answered feebly with her eyes averted. Something about Namjoon's smile told her that he could see through her façade.

    In response, Namjoon arched his brow. "Are you certain?"

    What's up with this guy? Gyuri inwardly asked. Didn't I just admit to being guilty? "I am" she answered cautiously.

    "Huh," he grunted. "That is odd."

    "Master Namjoon." It was Madam Zhou. "I beg your pardon but Gyuri has admitted to thievery of the pantry and was in the middle of being punished-"

    "That will not be necessary" he interrupted.

    This made everyone in the room look up at him.

    "Gyuri is innocent" he elaborated. "She is not the culprit."

    Madam Zhou peered at him, puzzled. "If not her, then who?"

    Namjoon met eyes with Gyuri before turning his attention to Madam Zhou. "It is me."

    "What?" Madam Zhou uttered in shock before apologising for her rudeness. "That is ludicrous! How can it be you, Master Namjoon?"

    He smiled at her charmingly. "I do beg everyone's forgiveness" Namjoon sincerely uttered before directing his attention to Gyuri. "And more so to Gyuri. You need not lie anymore for my sake." Gyuri looked at him questioningly as Namjoon proceeded with his explanation. "I have been feeling very peckish lately so sometimes, during late at night, I would take something from the pantry to eat." He gave a shy laugh before continuing, "And before I knew it, I have already consumed three baskets worth."

    Madam Zhou eyed him doubtfully but tried to hide it. "But how is this related to Gyuri?"

    "Gyuri caught me sneaking into the pantry" he explained while gesturing at her. "I wanted to keep my snacking a secret so she kindly offered to bring me snacks late at night to save me sneaking out and having my secret discovered." He eyed her steadily before adding, "So Gyuri does not deserve to be punished. If anything, I should be the one to be flogged."

    Madam Zhou was taken aback by Namjoon's suggestion. "Master Namjoon, please do not apologise. It was a misunderstanding."

    "Thank you, Madam Zhou" he responded. "Now that my secret has been discovered, will you let Gyuri honour her promise to me without interference?"

    Madam Zhou nodded. "Certainly."

    "Great." He darted a look at Gyuri before saying, "Will you excuse us? There is something I must discuss with Gyuri in private."

    Gyuri blinked as Namjoon signalled for her to follow him.

    "Go," Madam Zhou mouthed to her while she ushered her to quickly follow Namjoon, who was pacing ahead.
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