111 Shes Our Friend Pt.2

    High in the vast, blue sky, the sun glared from above causing sweat to bead on Gyuri's forehead. But while she squirmed uncomfortably because of the sticky heat, what fuelled her discomfort more was the suffocating silence.

    Gyuri peered at Pho, who was walking alongside her.

    Ever since they had left the household together, Pho had been acting strange. In her usual manner, Pho had greeted her with a toothy grin, but something about her demeanour seemed lacklustre. Her big brown eyes, once sparkling with excitement, was now clouded with preoccupation, leaving an unfamiliar and lifeless version of what used to be a bright and cheerful lass.

    Gyuri pondered on whether she should ask what was wrong.


    Startled, Gyuri fumbled in reply, "Oh, um, yeah?"

    Without taking her eyes away from the dirt road ahead, Pho murmured, "I know you're staring at me."

    Flustered, Gyuri looked away. "I'm sorry" she shyly apologised, "I-I didn't mean to..."

    "It's okay" Pho responded with a weak smile, but as soon as the smile came, it faded away. "Is there something on my face?"

    "No, there's-there's nothing."

    Pho resumed her silence.

    "But there is something I'd like to ask you."

    At this, Pho hummed to indicate that she was listening.

    "Did... something happen?" Gyuri carefully probed. "You seem... distracted."

    Pho stole a quick glance at Gyuri before fixing her eyes on the basket she was carrying in her arms. "N-no," she reluctantly responded, "nothing happened."

    But Gyuri knew better than to believe her. In the time she spent in Saim, Gyuri had become accustomed to Pho's tell-tale habits and mannerisms that suggested her mood. And one of them was her tendency to avert her gaze when she was fibbing.

    "Well, if there's anything that's bothering you, you can tell me you know."

    Pho peered at her.

    "I'll listen to your troubles" she offered while tossing her a warm smile. "That's the least I can do as your friend."

    "She's our foe."

    Pho flinched as she recalled Kalyani's words.

    Noticing her reaction, Gyuri pried, "Pho? Are you okay?"

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    The doe-eyed lass glanced up again and forced a smile. "I'm good. No worries." But inside, memories of Tzu-lin tormented her.

    Kalyani's wrong, she kept thinking. Gyuri won't betray us like she did. Gyuri's different. She won't put us all at risk. She's-


    Gyuri turned to face her.

    "What do you think of Master Namjoon?" Before realising it, the words were out of Pho's mouth.

    Gyuri's eyes widened to the size of saucers. "Huh? W-what?" she stammered, her cheeks growing pink. "Why do you- why do you ask?"

    Pho watched as Gyuri nervously tucked her long hair behind her ear. "Nothing. I just want to know what you think of him."

    "Erm, well, I-I dunno what to say" Gyuri mumbled, her eyes avoiding Pho's. "I mean, he's very kind. He's also very smart and very... charming, I guess." Gyuri paused as she attempted to keep a straight face.

    "And what about the Young Master?"

    Taehyung's boxy grin flashed before Gyuri's eyes and she smiled.

    "He's a good kid" she replied, much more composed than before. "He can be annoying at times, but he has a mature side to him too." Gyuri's smile unknowingly widened as she remembered how Taehyung had reacted to when she told him how babies were made. "He's also pretty gullible which makes him so fun to tease!"

    Pho watched as Gyuri quietly snickered to herself as she continued to carry the wicker basket in her arms. They were near the storage house now, but Pho's mind was elsewhere.

    "Gyuri, do you remember when I asked you, 'if you had the chance to choose your master, who would you choose?'"

    Gyuri tilted her head in thought. "Yeah, I remember."

    "Has your answer changed?"

    At this, Gyuri replied with a questioning stare. "Pho, what's going on? Why are you asking me all these questions?"

    The doe-eyed lass chewed nervously on her bottom lip.


    "Alright," she conceded, "I'll tell you." She abruptly halted on her step and Gyuri followed suit. "It's the other maids," she began, "they're... concerned about you."

    "Concerned about me?" Gyuri echoed. "Why?"

    "They're worried about you getting too close to the Kims" Pho divulged. "They're worried because you are in their good favour."

    "Me? In their good favour?" Gyuri was baffled. "No, I'm not."

    "Yes, Gyuri. You are."

    "But why would that be a concern to the others?"

    The same perturbed expression flitted across Pho's big eyes as she cast her gaze down. "Gyuri, have you ever wondered why Master Jongin doesn't have a personal maid?"

    Gyuri was quiet for a while as she processed her question. "Now that you mention it, why doesn't he have one?" She looked up at the sky while deep in thought. "I always assumed you oversaw Master Jongin as well as the scary brother."

    Pho shook her head. "No, I only cater for Master Junmyeon's needs." Setting the basket down, Pho locked her gaze with Gyuri. "But before you came, there used to be another maid who I..." she fiddled with her hands, "... who I used to work closely with."

    Gyuri observed how Pho anxiously gaped at her.

    "Her name was Tzu-lin" she hesitantly revealed, "she was Master Jongin's personal maid."

    "What happened to her?" Seeing the reluctance in Pho's features, Gyuri quickly added, "It's fine if you don't want to tell me."

    "No... you should know" Pho eventually replied. She fumbled with her hands again. "Tzu-lin... she... she did something unforgivable."

    Gyuri eyed her curiously. "Oh? What did she do?"

    With a grave voice, Pho revealed, "She tried to seduce Master Jongin."
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