86 In Plain Sight Pt.2

    Taehyung turned to face Jongin, who had an enlightened expression. "That is what it means."

    "Indeed" Tutor Wentai answered. "Your great-grandfather was a firm believer in trust and loyalty as the firm foundations to a successful clan. He believed that by putting the needs of others' before one's own, internal strife can be avoided."

    "So, he taught the Jade Lotus to be selfless?" Taehyung questioned dubiously. "I do not see how that could have stopped the other clans from rebelling."

    "That is because that is only half the answer" Tutor Wentai explained. "The other half of the solution was to appease the clansmen through strategic marriages."

    "Marriages?" Jongin repeated.

    "Yes." Tutor Wentai started writing on the sheet of paper in front of them again. "Over the past century, the children of the Jade Lotus have been married off to the clansmen to unify the kingdom." With bold strokes, Tutor Wentai swiftly wrote the names of many clan leaders. "In fact, Lord Hyesung himself had made strategic marriages too."

    At this, Taehyung was attentive. "Father did?"

    Tutor Wentai eyed him steadily as he nodded. "One can say that the marital unions between the Jade Lotus and the clansmen are like alliances."

    Alliances, huh? Taehyung mumbled to himself. Of course, I already knew Father was not the type to marry for love...

    The elder turned to Jongin as he leaned over to show him what he had written. "For instance, your mother, Lady Sooki, was from the Geon clan."

    Jongin watched as Tutor Wentai wrote down his mother's name.

    "Do you know what the Geon clan is renowned for?"

    Jongin shook his head.

    "They are very well-known for their military background."

    Jongin eyed the sheet of paper where Tutor Wentai had written his mother's maiden name against the character for 'military'. "I see." His eyes dulled as he muttered, downcast, "It is a shame that I cannot uphold that reputation..."

    Taehyung peered at his brother but said nothing.

    Sensing the awkwardness that was creeping into the room, Tutor Wentai continued keenly, "As for you, Young Master" he said, addressing Taehyung, "your mother, Lady Junghye, was from the Song clan." The elder elegantly wrote his mother's family name before writing another character next to it. "The Songs are highly acclaimed for their weaponry."

    "My mother's family are blacksmiths?" Taehyung asked eagerly.

    Tutor Wentai nodded. "They are the finest Saim has to offer."

    The elder watched as Taehyung's eyes filled with awe. Had he known how little Taehyung knew about his mother's side of the family, he would have avoided the topic completely. For in less than a minute, he was soon bombarded by Taehyung's excited questions that only served to illustrate how distant the Kims were to each other.

    How can a family know so very little of their own ménage?

    "Young Master, I am afraid that I do not know a lot about the Songs" Tutor Wentai confessed once Taehyung had finished his tirade. "I am but a mere tutor, not a registry officer."

    Taehyung's shoulders slumped. "Oh..."

    "The best person to enquire about such matters would be Lord Hyesung or perhaps Master Seok-" Tutor Wentai abruptly stopped and coughed to clear his throat. "I beg your pardon, I mean-"

    "It is okay, Tutor Wentai" Jongin replied kindly. Words were not needed to communicate the acknowledgement that transpired between the two. "We should just resume the History lesson."

    The elder nodded thankfully.

    "But before we do" Jongin interrupted, "there is something that has been bothering me as of late."


    "And I was wondering if you could shed some light on the matter."

    Tutor Wentai sat up attentively. "Of course. Ask away, Master Jongin."

    He spoke tentatively, "What do you know about... the White Hibiscus?"

    The elder's eyes rounded.
Previous Index Next