IAL - Chapter 9
** oooo why he mad? ***
There are now exactly two instances wherein Mo Yeon found herself trailing behind Yoo Si Jin with her hands being gently held by him: the first was when he took her to his residence and gave her his book. She was a health center's errand lady then.
The second was today. Now as a free woman, he grabbed her by the hand as they both walked towards the doors of the bookstore, passing through stacks and shelves of books—a sight Mo Yeon thought was beyond amazing.
Wait, was it the books that caught her eyes, or was it the minister's foxy grin whenever he would glance back at her?
Or both, she wondered; the feeling of having Yoo Si Jin hold her hand was also spectacular beyond words, and it was a moment she wanted to get trapped in.
She was falling indeed.
But the holding of the hands...does this usually happen when he has the intent to bestow her a reading material? She laughed at the similarities of the circumstances.
He stopped when they reached the backmost corner of the bookstore, with shelves that contained science and medical-related books.
"You might want to start looking for literature here," Si Jin said as he turned around to meet her awestruck face at the books neatly stacked and stored inside the shelves. "Pick to your heart's content. Don't worry about a single penny, I'll pay for it,"
Mo Yeon nodded, still with an overwhelmed expression before Yoo Si Jin shot her a smile and told her he'll be looking for some resources at the Historical Sections of the store. It was located at the opposite end of the building. "It's either I come to meet you here or you come over to where I'm headed," he added before walking away.
"Ne," she felt embarrassed though. Was he serious about picking to her heart's content? Because if he was, then she would hoard any book she found interesting—that was how much Kang Mo Yeon loved reading; it has been an irreplaceable part of her ever since, which explains why she felt extremely devastated when the false-physician Kim Eun Ji tore the first book she owned after two long decades of living among commoners.
With Yoo Si Jin out of sight, she skimmed through the books one by one, and true enough, Mo Yeon loved every book she pulled out of the shelf. "Pick to your heart's content," Mo Yeon quipped as she flipped through the pages of another book she pulled out, "He would surely want to take back his words,"
"Whose words, agassi?"
She jolted at the familiar voice in front of her, and she was certain that it did not come from Yoo Si Jin.
Rather, it came from that man who threw her a bag of bronze coins yesterday. Mo Yeon slowly lowered the book from her face and true enough, it was him.
Just seeing Inspector General Han made her want to run to wherever Yoo Si Jin was at that moment...but where could he be? He was at the opposite side of the place!
"It's a pleasure to meet you, agassi," the Inspector General took a step forward, while Mo Yeon backed away slowly with the book covering her face. "You might want to put the book down so that I could see you eye to eye,"
She didn't. Instead, Mo Yeon lowered the covering down to her eye level; there was a big chance he could lunge in to kiss her. The daesaheon, upon seeing her disinclination, still did not feel any less rejected. He went on, intimidating her with every gesture he made.
"I wonder how the byeongjo thought of you... Perhaps not good enough to make you his regular entertainer, much more a concubine," He chuckled, moving even closer to the terrified lady. "He can't even afford to pay for you that night! He even sent you back! What a foolish man to let go of such beauty,"
She moved away further until she can no longer step back—Mo Yeon reached the end of the wall and was trapped with nowhere to go.
She wanted to scream.
Inspector Han smirked seeing her fretful face while his hand reached for her shoulder, "Now that he's done taking pleasure on you...perhaps I can have my turn? Now?"
She nervously shook her head with the book still covering the frame of her face, but the inspector bellowed like a mad man.
"Wait a second, what am I even thinking, asking you permission?! You're a gisaeng, for heaven's sake! You should not resist an offer," He sneered with his hands pounding on the walls between her, trapping her from where she stood. "Do it,"
Mo Yeon shook her head in response. "No..."
"I said you ing do it! Or else things shall go my way!" He pounded on the wall again, making Mo Yeon all the more scared. They were in the darkest corner of the store, and there was no way they'll be noticed or seen by either Si Jin or the store-in-charge.
She covered her face entirely with the book she had been holding onto the whole time as she whispered his name.
"Yoo Si Jin-ssi..."
It was a desperate plea that she could only whisper in her frightened state. Hearing her quietly calling his name, Inspector Han was sent laughing near her. "Quit it. He's no hero, he can't save you all the time," The weight of his body started to push on Mo Yeon, his hands starting to snake around the sleeves of her olive-colored jeogori.
"Please don't—" Mo Yeon jolted when the Inspector yanked the book away from her face and lunged forward to kiss her, but was unsuccessful when a person from behind pulled a fringe of his hair and eventually, his whole body away from Mo Yeon; he pulled it so hard that it sent the inspector lying flat on the ground with a startled expression.
"What did he do to you?" It was Si Jin—a very distraught Yoo Si Jin. He walked towards Mo Yeon and checked if she was fine, which she eventually turned out to be.
But he was mad beyond compare.
Facing the Inspector who seemed to find his own way to sit back up after the sudden attack, Si Jin crossed his arms in dismay, "You're out of your mind, even at your sober state," He said.
"Hah, if it isn't the young minister," Inspector Han chuckled, slowly standing up in front of the man shielding the terrified Mo Yeon, "How was your gisaeng night, byeongjo? Playtime? Hide n' seek? I heard you did not lunge into her last night,"
"Piss off. She is not a gisaeng anymore," Si Jin boldly stepped forward, causing the Inspector to back away, "I'd rather spend my money on the things that matter than just satisfying the fickle pleasures of the mind. I released her,"
Hearing Si Jin sent him surprised; he looked at Mo Yeon, and then back at the young byeongjo, "Well, that still does not make you own her,"
"You're right, but what you just did can be taken against you." He moved further away from the edge of the secluded area, securing Mo Yeon a safe distance from the lecherous inspector, "You, a government official, just ually harassed a woman whose work is not that of a courtesan. Do you even know the punishment for that?"
"Unbelievable!" Inspector Han Suk Won laughed with his hands resting on his waist, "Is a young man threatening me? Are you threatening me?"
That's when Si Jin lost his calm composure. He swiftly grappled the man's collar, choking him as he clenched on the fabrics even tighter.
"You might be forgetting who's more superior between the both of us, well let me remind you of something," Si Jin muttered, leaning closer to the frightened inspector, "I am a dangerous man,"
He saw Han Suk Won break a sweat, panting at the cold, threatening voice of the young minister. Si Jin immediately let go of his collar and pushed him away, sending him back to the ground again.
"One more wrong move, and I'll surely kill you with my own hands," Si Jin glared at him before looking back at Mo Yeon, who also seemed overwhelmed at what was currently happening, "Kang Mo Yeon-ssi, let's go,"
She quickly ran to his side, walked to the store-in-charge and paid for the books. At the end of it all, Kang Mo Yeon had only bought one.
They walked out of the store and, though it seemed contradicting, they walked along the noisy streets with silence clamming up in between them. While Mo Yeon was feeling frightened, Si Jin on the other hand, wanted to scold her for not fighting back. She should’ve whacked him with that book of hers, he frowned. He wondered how she could be so idle at such time—she does not even know how to defend herself.
But nevertheless, Si Jin chose to let it pass; at least he arrived to her aid in time.
Silent—it remained that way until she caught him peering at the only book she clasped with both hands. "Only one?"
With slight hesitation, she nodded.
She can't seem to look at him straight in the eye, or even talk to him in her usual way—which was not even close to speaking casually. Her mind was still preoccupied at the events that had taken place earlier at the bookstore; she was glad that Si Jin was quick to come to her rescue, but she never anticipated to hear such words from the man.
Let me remind you of something: I am a dangerous man.
I'll surely kill you with my own hands.
That moment, she didn’t know whether she should be scared of the inspector or of the minister; she had never seen him that mad. When Mo Yeon heard him speak those cold words, it didn't sound like him, or rather it was him— but the darker side of Yoo Si Jin.
And it felt like she have heard the same words a long time ago.
"Gwenchanha?" He heard him say; this time, his voice was back to the warm, caring Yoo Si Jin she knew. “Did he hurt you?"
"Animida… I’m sorry, I was too overwhelmed. I caused you trouble,"
"Mianhe," He apologetically said as he heaved a sigh, "You have been through a lot these past few days because of me—"
"Please don't apologize," She stopped walking and faced him, finally having the courage to look at him straight in the eye, "I'm very thankful you came. You're really a kind person, and I will forever be grateful to receive your help," she reassured him, thinking that it was also rightful for him to receive such.
"I'm...glad," Si Jin responded, giving her a humbled, crooked smile—something she found cute from the young man.
One moment, he looked so dangerous, and another he appeared to be the cutest.
She giggled, her emotions bursting at the sight of the charming minister.
"Aigoo, you're really handsome," Mo Yeon blurted, to only realize after a split-second that she just said something insanely stupid and embarrassing.
But it was too late to retract, as Si Jin began to chuckle.
"Omo, I... I meant, I was, you... I.." She flusteredly attempted to shoot a reason but ultimately failed to do so. She looked away instead, concealing the blush on her face. "L-Let's just continue walking! Where are we headed to?"
Aish... She frowned, Babo, Mo Yeon! So embarrassing!
"It's fine," She heard him say, "I get that a lot,"
"Where are we going now?" Mo Yeon still desperately attempted to change the topic, but Si Jin won't budge.
"I bet if I told you how beautiful you are, it would not mean anything to you as well. Because you probably get it a lot,"
"You don't get compliments?"
"No," She replied dismissively, "I'm not beautiful. I don't think I am. Where are we going?"
"Jamkkanman," He held her by the wrist, ultimately forbidding her from walking any further, "Are you embarrassed because you expressed how you feel about me all of a sudden?"
She looked away, and Si Jin found her flustered expressions really cute.
"Don't get mousy for telling me how much you like me," He smiled, "Because I'll always like you more than you will like me. Always,"
She bit her lip, feeling insanely abashed at his remark. "Aish... I never said I like you, all I said was that you're good-looking,"
"I thought you said I was handsome—"
"But still, I never said that I like you, concretely," This was ridiculous, she thought. She was obviously fighting a hopeless battle, and Si Jin was definitely having the longer end of the stick.
He moved closer to her, patting her shoulder, "You like me. You do,"
Yes, she does. In her defeat, Mo Yeon slumps her shoulders as he chuckled at his victory, "I'm glad you lightened up. You've been