53 Striking a Chord Pt.3

    Gyuri wiped her brow once she reached the safety of the courtyard. Her unexpected encounter with the scary brother had left her shaken up but, most of all, shocked that the brother the pale-faced boy was referring to was no other than Junmyeon. How could a mild-mannered person like Jongin be related to a ruthless guy like him?

    "It's such a shame" Gyuri pondered aloud. "Master Jongin seemed like a nice guy." She scrunched her face up in thought as she tried to visualise his face. "And he was kinda cute too. I guess that's the last I'll be able to see of him."

    As Gyuri trudged towards the next house, she suddenly heard someone calling her name.


    She turned and found that Pho was running towards her.

    "At last! I found you!" she exclaimed in between pants. Pho's untidy appearance suggested to Gyuri that she had been running around. "You have to go back," she said, once she finally caught her breath.

    Gyuri halted in her step. "Go back? Go back where?"

    "The kitchen" Pho replied, breathing heavily. "The guests will be arriving soon and we're short-staffed."

    Oh, no, Gyuri thought inwardly. That must mean I'll have to serve drinks or something. Gyuri bit her lip as she remembered the last time she served tea. "But I haven't finished cleaning-"

    "Never mind that!" Pho interrupted. "Madam Zhou is requesting that we all return so that we can be debriefed again." She peered behind Gyuri. "Where's Kalyani? Isn't she supposed to be with you?"

    Now that she mentions it... Gyuri joined Pho in looking around. "I don't know" she answered. "She went to refill her bucket but she never returned."

    Pho sighed. "Okay, well, just go back. I'll search for her."

    Gyuri watched as Pho sprinted ahead before Gyuri could say anything. Great, she thought inwardly, I guess I'm stuck with tea duty. Glumly, Gyuri sighed before scampering back to the kitchens while carrying her bucket and rag.

    As she approached the building, she was surprised to see that the Kim household had undergone a noticeable transformation.


    In front of her, vibrant paper garlands embellished the walls, coating the area with a festive ambience. A platoon of entertainers, dressed in equally colourful robes, were preparing their act with some even demonstrating their skill in juggling, singing, and dancing. In one corner, Gyuri noticed a huddle of servants, carrying crates of what appeared to be fruit and other delicacies which were being hauled into the kitchens. In another part of the courtyard, she observed a band of musicians who were tuning their exquisite instruments-most of which were either string or percussion.

    Gyuri's mouth was agape as she witnessed all the incredible sights before her. For her, it was like going to a fairground and she couldn't help but feel excited. As she scanned the area, she suddenly noticed a flustered Madam Zhou trying to instruct a lost musician on where to prepare his instrument. Gyuri decided to approach her. But as she was doing so, she ended up colliding with a scruffy-looking servant that she had never seen before.

    "Oh, sorry" he apologised, his eyes darting around like he was on edge.

    Gyuri raised a brow at his skittish behaviour. What's up with this guy? She asked herself internally. He eyed him closely and noticed how he had something tattooed on his arm. It resembled a flower. Following her gaze, the unknown servant tugged at his sleeve so that his tattoo was concealed. He smiled at her awkwardly.

    "Do you know where the kitchen is?" he asked. "I'm actually from the palace" he quickly added while subconsciously tugging at his sleeve.

    Not thinking much of his odd behaviour, Gyuri replied, "Yes, it's that way." And she pointed to the other side of the courtyard.

    The scruffy servant nodded thankfully before scuttling off.

    Gyuri watched him intently as he left. Something about his odd behaviour, despite not paying much attention to it, had triggered her instincts which warned her to stay clear of him. "He looks like he's high" Gyuri observed and then dismissively shrugged before approaching Madam Zhou once more.
Previous Index Next