Meeting Lee Sunjoon, Part 1
[Yoonhee wants to get higher paying gigs at the bookstore, but no matter how well learned or talented “Kim Yoonshik” is, if she does not take the state exam to higher her status (not taking it equates to …hmm, I guess not having graduating high school?), nobody will ask her to help them do more difficult homework / help them cheat on tests. Since her brother is about the age to take the exam and is unable to because of his illness, the family agrees that it might be okay for Yoonhee to go ahead and take it.]
The day of the exam, Yoonhee waits among a crowd of men for the doors of the exam site (which is the Sungkyunkwan Bicheondang) to open, but even long before the doors move, everyone is pushing and pulling (they want to get the best place to sit), and Yoonhee starts being thrown around within the chaos. Yoonhee tries with all her strength to stay close to the doors, but she can’t help being pushed farther and farther away. She is about to trip on one of the men’s ankles, and she braces herself to be trampled all over, when somebody’s hand reaches out to grab Yoonhee’s arms and pulls her towards him.
Yoonhee, even after she finds her balances, is still shocked from her almost-fall, and finds comfort in the hand grabbing her arm, even though she doesn’t know who it belongs to. Because of that hand, she is able to resist the pushing and pulling. After a while, the crowd becomes calmer and Yoonhee looks to the person holding her arm. Her eyes go to his white neckline, an then to his adam’s apple. She thinks to herself that it’s normal for men to have an adam’s apple, and lowers her head to cover her own neck, before she can see his face.
“Whoever you are, I was saved, thanks to you.”
“There’s no need for thanks.”
Even as the man speaks, he doesn’t let go of her arm.
“I-I’m okay now, so you can let go.”
“There’s no saying the crowd won’t stir up again, so it’s better if we stay like this until we can go in.”
“A-ah, but, that’s… I don’t want to bother you…”
“If we stay together, I won’t be pushed away by the crowd either. Let’s just help one another.”
Everyone else is so busy taking care of themselves, but this person holding her arm feels so different.
Even though all the other men are worked up and anxious, for some reason, this person is so calm.
His presence helps her forget that she is here to take an exam, and she becomes calm as well.
Curious as to what he looks like, Yoonhee raises her head. She herself is pretty tall but this man is so tall that even when she raises her head she can only see from his wide shoulder up to his neck.
But the crowd now relaxes and Yoonhee can reach her face up farther. She can see his face. As soon as she sees it, she is so surprised and lowers her face right away, because his face is so beautiful that her face reddened the moment she saw it, forgetting that she is dressed as a man.
“You look very young. Is this your first exam, too?”
Yoonhee is startled at the question.
“Ah, yes. It is.”
“It’s nice to make your acquaintance. It’s my first time as well.”
“N-Nice to meet you, too.”
“I noticed you didn’t bring a mat to sit on, and that’s why I thought it might be your first time.”
“That’s because I couldn’t get it, not because I didn’t know.”
“Then let’s use mine together. There’s a lot of people, and I was going to feel guilty sitting on this large mat by myself.”
“N-no, I don’t want to trouble you further–”
Yoonhee looks up to the man again. But before she can even see his face, her eyes go to another face that’s looking at her, one that looks like it belongs to a monster.
Yoonhee screams, startling both the man and the monster. The man looks behind him too see the monster’s face and smiles knowingly. The monster says to Yoonhee, “Why did you get so surprised? You were so pretty I just wanted to see you up close… I thought you just looked like one but I guess you get scared as easily as a girl, too. ”
“Soondol! How can you be so rude? Are there any men who wouldn’t get surprised if your face just showed up in front of them like that?”
“But he looks so weak as well–”
Yoonhee gets ahold of herself and pulls her arm away. I’m not a woman right now, I have to be a man, she thinks to herself. When Yoonhee pulls her arm away from him, the man mistakes her to be angry.
“I’ve been ill since childhood, so I look weak. That’s why I’ve never been taught at a 서당seodang or 과부학당 gwabuhakdang (kind of like the prep schools of the day), and I had to study by myself. I barely could come today with this body…”
“I’ll apologize for Soondol. He might look this way and he says things without thinking, but he by no means has any bad intentions. He was just trying to say that you are indeed very pretty, so please, I hope you won’t get angry.”
Even at first glance anyone can see that this man is well-taught and well-off, but there isn’t a trace of arrogance; on the contrary, he is quite humble! Because of this Yoonhee becomes embarrassed about how she must have come off.
“I didn’t pull away because I was angry. I was just surprised–”
“It’s only natural you would be. Everyone is, when they first see his face. But despite his looks, he is quite innocent.”
Soondol looks a little apologetically at Yoonhee, and she can’t help but smile at him. Soondol was giant and scary-looking, but as the man said, Yoonhee could feel that his eyes are kind. It’s likely that the two of them could withstand the crowd because Soondol was helping with his strength.
“You have quite the 선접꾼 seonjupkun (it’s like a servant who does bodyguard-type jobs).”
The man stares at Yoonhee, puzzled. Then he sees that she is looking at Soondol, and realizes what Yoonhee means.
“Ah, that’s not it. Soondol is just here until I get into the site (the seonjupkun usually goes in and saves the spot, fighting off other people).”
“Oh. That’s a waste–”
Yoonhee is about to ask why he would send Soondol off, but before she can say anything, Soondol protests to the man, “I can’t do that, doryunnim!”
Doryunnim? That means he isn’t married yet. A strange feeling tickles Yoonhee’s insides.
“Your father ordered me to follow you in and find you a good spot. It was so dangerous just now–what if it gets even more out of control in there? If you get hurt, I might die of sadness…”
“You don’t know where the good spots are, so what aro you going to do when you get in there? Don’t worry about it and go back.”
Soondol tears up. “It’s because I’m so dumb, I can’t remember where I was told was a good spot… Your father told me, but…”
The man sighs. “I should have come alone. It’s my exam, and you shouldn’t be troubling yourself.”
“But I have to do as your father told me to do! He might kill me otherwise.”
“I’m sure all the seats inside are about the same. Don’t worry about it.”
It’s a strange conversation. Soondol is definitely the man’s servant, but it’s hard to see a man treat his servant so kindly. And from his tone, he doesn’t seem any worried about passing the test.
Yoonhee, knowing Soondol’s potential strength, doesn’t want to send him off, so she slips into the conversation.
“Not all the spots are the same. There are definitely good and bad ones in there.”
Soondol widens his eyes as he lowers himself to Yoonhee’s face.
“Where is that?”
“You said your name was Soondol?”
“Yes, pretty Sunbinim!”
“I can tell that you are strong, but are you fast?”
“Of course. Although I’m big, I can run very fast.”
“Then as soon as the door opens, don’t wait to follow your doryunnim, but run ahead in first, before anybody else!”
“What? But what about you two? What if you are hurt because I’m not around?”
“We’ll run as fast as we can behind you, and we should be fine as long as we don’t fall. So don’t look back and run as fast as you can.”
“And now, listen carefully. The place you’ll run to is on the right side of Bicheondang, at underneath the second tree from the building. If you spread the mat and wait there, nobody should try and take the spot.”
“But why not the first tree? Isn’t it better to be more in the front?”
“You’ll know when you sit there and look up at the sky, so do as I say.”
Soondol still seems to think that closer to the building will be better, but the man says, “do as he says.”
Before Soondol can protest, the doors open, and Yoonhee exclaims, “Soondol! Run!” Before she knows it, Soondol’s gone. As he runs, the crowd splits and Yoonhee hurries to take this chance to run through, only to be held back by the same hand that grabbed her arm earlier.
“What are you doing! You should run after him, too!”
“Didn’t you say that you are ill? I didn’t think that you should overwork your body…”
‘Ah! I forgot!’
As Yoonhee is about to respond, the split that Soondol left behind him is closed up again by the crowd. Yoonhee shouts over the noise, “you should at least go on ahead alone!”
“How can I leave when we’ve agreed to help one another? Even if we get there a little later, Soondol will be waiting for us in that spot.”
The man places his body so that he is right in front of Yoonhee, to protect her from the moving crowd. It seems as though he really believed that she is ill.
Soondol, without realizing that he lost the two, hurries to the tree Yoonhee pointed out. People run out of his way, scared, and he arrives at the second tree. There are already some people who’ve settled there, so Soondol sets the mat slightly to the side. Even though the site is full of people fighting for their seats, there isn’t anybody who dares to pick a fight with Soondol.
Meeting Lee Sunjoon, Part 2
Soondol starts getting worried about the two he left behind. He gets up, but sits back down, remembering the pretty sunbinim’s words. Afraid that the spot will get taken, he gets up and sits back down repeatedly. But soon he sees the two arrive, and he stands up to wave his large arms at them. The two, exhausted, sit down.
“Doryunnim, are you alright? How about you, sunbinim?”
“I’m okay. Hm! I’ve never experienced such chaos. How can one even call this an exam site? It’s more a battleground. I’m already so exhausted, before even the 시제 shijae (the subject that they are supposed to write on) is put up–it must be hard for you, when you’re fighting an illness.”
Yoonhee smiles at him. She’s so tired that she can’t even thank him or tell him she’s okay. If her brother was here instead, he might have really died. She sees Soondol looking up at the sky.
“What are you doing?”
“You told me that I would know why we should sit under the second tree if I look up at the sky. But I can’t even see it–there are so many leaves… Is it because I saved the spot a little too much to the side?”
The man looks up along with Soondol and smiles knowingly. It’s a good spot exactly because the sky is covered. The first tree has too few leaves and when the sun rises high up, they’ll be protected by the shade. And the trees on the left side would cast a shadow the wrong direction of the exam site, so this was indeed the best spot.
His eyes turn to Yoonhee. Yoonhee’s eyes go to him as well. She notes his sharp features–his thick eyebrows and eyes, nose, and lips all come together to make a flawless face, and she can’t help but evade his gaze.
She also observes his clothes. She can tell by his face and presence that he must be from a rich background, but he’s not dressed that way at all. It’s not as old or ratty as her own, but his clothes, hat, and even the fan he carries look inexpensive. If anyone were to look at him passingly, they would probably think he was from a common family. Because of this, Yoonhee feels more at ease with him.
He tidies his clothes and smiles in thanks to Yoonhee. Soondol asks Yoonhee, “I thought it was your first time taking the exam, but you look very used to all this.”
Soondol is the one to ask the question, but Yoonhee answers for the man to hear.
“Ah, since it’s my first time, and since I couldn’t even bring a mat, I thought I should prepare by asking other experienced people. I don’t have a seonjupkun or anything, so I’m very lucky to be able to sit here. It’s all thanks to you.”
It’s an excuse, so Yoonhee looks to the man nervously, only to find that the man seems like he doesn’t seem suspicious at all. And if she thinks about it, he’s believed everything she’s said since they met, and therefore even Yoonhee feels that what she has been saying could be the truth.
The test starts and Soondol leaves. As soon as the shijae is put up, everyone runs up to the scroll to see closely what they are supposed to write on, but the two stay seated calmly, looking at the shijae from where they’re sitting.
Yoonhee copies the shijae down onto her own scroll, and starts jotting down what comes to her mind on extra blank pieces of paper she’s prepared. Then her eyes go to the man, and she sees that he is already writing on his exam scroll. Even the most intelligent examinees practice on another sheet beforehand, but he starts right away on the final sheet. And even without having practiced, he is writing line by line calmly at a steady pace. There’s only one scroll sheet, and it would be disastrous to make a mistake.
As she is about to tell him to be careful, she’s silenced by what she reads on his scroll. His writing is flawless, almost as if he had written a rough draft. He is definitely not of the norm. Her heart beats, and she becomes even more nervous before. She feels that her writing, compared to his, is hopeless. What if everyone else in here are just as good as he is? And she has to take a second exam, and she becomes worried that she’ll have to compete with people as intelligent as him during that, too. Even though she had built her confidence because the people she helped at the bookstore were always buying her help to do their writing, there is no telling that the men in the exam site are of the same kind. The anxiety she felt when she left her home this morning doubles, and she starts shaking.
But she can’t fall apart now. She has to calm down, for her mother and brother. She concentrates, and starts writing on her extra pieces of paper. She examines them over and over again.
Even though she fixes it again and again, she can’t help but feel that her writing is no good. She can’t believe she even tried at this exam, at this level. She’s filled with shame that she even asked for higher paying jobs at the store. She gives up on revising any further and starts writing on her exam scroll.
After the man finishes, he looks towards Yoonhee, who is concentrated on her writing. He observes her moving brush. Her brush moves fast, but creates beautifully written characters. He’s surprised at her skill. He thinks to himself, he’s so young! How many words must he have read and written to acquire such a talent?
He doesn’t go to turn in his own exam, and waits until she’s done. Even though Yoonhee is dissatisfied with her writing, she finishes and sits up to see the man, who is folding his fan. He asks, “Are you finished?”
Started, Yoonhee responds, “i-if you’ve finished, you should go and turn it in! Don’t you know it’s better to turn it in early?”
“I was going to turn it in when you’ve finished, so we can go together. I thought it would be better to wait, so you don’t get nervous that I’ve already gone. It would be rude to make you worry, and you might have made a mistake.”
It’s true–her anxiety would have further increased if he had gone ahead to turn the exam in. She can’t believe what kind of a person he is; how can he be so kind to someone he’s just met? She sees that a few people are turning their exams in, so she gets up.
“I’m finished as well, so let’s go turn it in.”
“Your ink isn’t dry yet. It’s fine to read over it one more time and turn it in after.”
“No, it’s okay. It’s actually better not to mess with it any further. Let’s go turn it in.”
The man gets up as well, and the two walk side by side to turn in their scrolls. As soon as they get back and tidy up their spot, others flock to take it. The exam site is still filled, from those focused on their scrolls to those who are almost just having a picnic, eating and drinking. There’s also a worker going around carrying out water to drink for the examinees.
The man goes to get a bowl of water, and after drinking half of the bowl, gives it to Yoonhee. Yoonhee is taken back, because he’s offering her the water he’s put his lips on. She thinks to herself, there’s nothing weird about it, since both of us are supposed to be men, and I can’t ask him to give me a new bowl, and I am thirsty, so it’s not like I can refuse it… So she takes the bowl and drinks it. The water is sweet, and she can’t tell if it’s because she was thirsty, or because his lips touched it.
As they leave, Yoonhee thanks the man.
“Thanks to you, I was able to get through the exam safely. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t meet you.”
“We helped each other out, that’s all. Are you taking the second exam the day after tomorrow?”
“I think I was told it was at Yehjo.”
“I am at Yehjo as well. Then, we will meet again, day after tomorrow.”
Yoonhee is rejoiced at the news, but to hide her expression, she turns her head towards the other way. The man smiles as he says, “I’m relieved we are at the same site, but it doesn’t seem like you are as happy about it as I am.”
“N-no, that’s not it! Why wouldn’t I be happy?”
The conversation is too awkward for Yoonhee, but thankfully they’re interrupted by Soondol, who’s ran to greet them.
“Doryunnim! How come you’ve come out already?”
“I came out because I’ve finished. Why are you still here?”
“I was waiting for you!”
Soondol takes the things from the man’s hands. The man turns to Yoonhee and says, “I want to be here with you a little longer, but I don’t want to burden you when you’re unwell, so I’ll say goodbye.”
Yoonhee doesn’t want to say bye yet, but she bows, and says, “then have a safe trip home.”
He bows too. “I’ll see you the day after tomorrow at Yehjo.”
Yoonhee after bowing one more time, starts walking away. Soondol, as he observes Yoonhee walking away, says to the man, “do you think that sunbinim wrote anything correctly? I’m sure he hasn’t read much, since he looks so young, and he seems too weak to even hold up a brush…”
The man stares towards Yoonhee and answers quietly. “I can’t even explain it. I couldn’t believe it with my own eyes.”
Soondol looks at the man, puzzled. The man smiles.
“Soondol, can you explain to me the beauty of that sunbi?”
“What? How could I?”
“I can’t either. And his writing that I saw was just as inexplicably beautiful as his face. Soondol. I didn’t decide to take the exam because of those pressuring me, but because I thought I’ve read and learned a good amount. But now I know. I think I came here so I could make a good friend.”
“But doryunnim, I know you are kind to everyone, but why do you seem so overly concerned with someone that you’ve just met?”
“I’m overly concerned?”
“Yes! It’s almost strange how much.”
“Ah is that so? Was I?”
The man starts running towards where Yoonhee disappeared. Soondol, surprised, follows. The two find Yoonhee, trekking not too far away. He reaches out for her arm and turns her around, and Yoonhee is barely able to stop herself from screaming.
“I forgot something.”
“We didn’t even introduce ourselves.”
Yoonhee had realized this earlier, but she had kept quiet, as to be not found out as a woman. Soondol grins and mutters, “Humph, I thought it was something important. I told you that you’re overly concerned…”
“My name is Lee Sunjoon.”
He also tells her his township and that he’s twenty years old. Yoonhee also introduces herself as Kim Yoonshik, eighteen years old (Yoonhee is nineteen, but Yoonshik is eighteen, so she uses Yoonshik’s age).
After smiling widely, Sunjoon leaves. Yoonhee stares as he walks away. Even though he looks small next to Soondol, he is a tall man, with wide shoulders and thin waist–he was perfect.
[Yoonhee and SunJoon have finished their second exam]
[Before taking the exam, Soondol fought off other senjupkuns who wanted the place that he was saving for Sunjoon and Yoonhee. Sunjoon steps in and separates them, stating that he was there first. The other seonjpkins and their masters are not very happy.]
After turning in her exam paper, Yoonhee begins to have second thoughts. She’s sorry that she took the exam; she’s not sure of having passed it, and she thinks she wasted her time. If she hadn’t been so greedy, she could have found a normal job and help out her family with the expenses, and be able to help Yoonshik. Why did she want more? Did she really think she could do it? Is she really there because of her family?
Yoonhee is not the only one asking herself these questions. The students gathered there look lost, waiting for their test results and hoping to be admitted. Some even cry out loud. That makes her very sad, and she can’t help crying too. Worried that Sunjoon might see her cry, she averted her eyes and bit her lips. She’s trying to contain her tears because Sunjoon is sitting next to her and is softly caressing her back. The sun has raised the temperature and his hands are very warm, but the tears don’t stop. No matter how much she tries to control herself, she can’t avoid crying even though she’s dressed like a man.
When some elderly people passed by and saw Yoonhee crying, the whispered: “Why are all the young people crying? There are people like us from our generation who couldn’t even get to take the exam.”
Yoonhee wipes her tears, not because of what they said, but because she is ashamed to have been seen crying by Sunjoon. He comes close and whispers in her ear: “We each have our own reasons to improve our lot. The fact that we are young doesn’t mean that we can be less strong that those elders, so go ahead and cry all you want. Yoonhee wants to lean on his shoulder to cry on, but the gat gets in the way. Instead, she looks at his face and when she sees his sincere smile, her tears begin to flow again. She can still feel the warmth of his hands on her shoulder and his calming aroma. She doesn’t even worry about being outed as a woman right then; after all, after today, there will be no reason to see each other again. All that Yoonhee can hope for is that she can marry someone under 50 years old. She can’t stop crying, she can’t stop thinking how happy she would be married to someone like Sunjoon.
They leave the examination area and meet Soondol.
“Doryunmin, are you just leaving now? Oh! What’s wrong with our pretty sunbinim?”
Soondol looks at Yoonhee’s face in tears. Sunjoon covers his mouth with a fan and whispers to Soondol “Did you see the men you fought with before?”
“No, I didn’t see them since I’ve been out here.”
“Seriously?” Sunjoon wonders about this, but he doesn’t pay any more attention to it. The three of them arrive where the roads stop and divide. Sunjoon doesn’t want to say goodbye so he invites Yoonhee to his house.
“My house isn’t far from here. If you have time, I’d like you to come.” Yoonhee would like to but she can’t.”
“Thank you for the invitation, but I don’t feel well. Besides, there is something I have to do as soon as I get home.
“Sunjoon is crestfallen. For some reason he can’t explain, he feels pretty desperate. “I don’t want to let him go without us at least promising something to each other” he thinks.
“Then, I’ll see you when the results are posted?”
“I don’t know, I don’t think my name will be there.
“That day, I’ll wait for you. I hope to see you there.”
“Yoonhee turns around and walks away quickly, while he looks at her until she’s out of sight. Then, he turns and continues on his way.
“Doryunmin, the sunbinim seemed upset. I think he didn’t do well on the exam.”
“No, that’s not it. He doesn’t recognize his own talents since he’s never studied among other classmates who could review his work.
“Does that mean he did well?”
“I’m not the examiner, so I can’t say.” Sunjoon lowered his voice, and asked “Is anyone following us?”
“No, no one.”
“That’s strange, I didn’t think they’d give up that easily.
Sunjoon stops suddenly. They’ve walked some distance but, what if…? Suddenly he starts walking in the opposite direction, and Soondol asks in a surprised tone:
“What’s wrong? Do you have to ask sunbinim a question?”
“I think we weren’t the target for those men. They could have gone after him!”
“Why? Why pick on sunbinim?”
“Because he’s defenseless. They wouldn’t dare attack me when you’re with me!”
They rush to find Yoonhee, but they can’t find her after they reach the spot where they said their goodbyes. They start walking down the road and ask the merchants, most of whom say the haven’t seen him. They keep asking until an elderly man murmurs to himself. “They’re probably looking for the one who took the exam, who didn’t even have a mat.” Sunjoo listens as the old man continues:
“That boy was so beautiful that no one could take their eyes from him.”
Desperate, Sunjoon asks: “Where did he go?”
“It’s possible he’s not the one you’re looking for. He wasn’t alone. There were about 4 senjupkuns following him.”
“Four seonjupkuns? I was right, they were following him” thought Sunjoon.
“W..where did they go? Do you know where they were headed?”
“I don’t know. If I knew where people went just by looking at them, I’d making my living that way.”
Sunjoon worriedly grabs his fan.
At the same time, Yoonhee begins to realize that there are men following her. They are the seonjupkuns who she saw walk out of the test site. She hadn’t noticed that they had been following her all this time, because her thoughts were elsewhere. Soon it would be nightime and no one would be able to help her. She started to run, but a hand grabbed her.
“Hey, what should we do, when you start running suddenly like that?”
“Let me go!”
Yoonhee sees some people passing, but they pretend not to see her and continue on their way. One of the seonjupkuns looks at Yoonhee’s face.
“Why are you following me?”
“Our masters weren’t happy that you took their places, so they ordered us to follow you. If you resist, the other man you were with is not going to be feeling too good.
“He won’t care; we hardly know each other”
Yoonhee begins to shake with fear. What if they really attack her and discover that she’s a woman?
She doesn’t even want to think about what they’d do to her.
“There’s no way he’ll come to help you tonight. He won’t know. The news won’t spread until possibly tomorrow. Hmmm…maybe he’ll be glad he wasn’t with you so that he didn’t get hurt too.”
“Don’t insult him! You don’t have his courage, even if you were a holy man.”
As soon as Yoonhee says this, one of the seonjupkuns hits her face. With just one blow, blood flows out of her mouth, and she gets dizzy and nauseous.
“I’ve heard of the courage of those bastard noblemen. Shut your fucking mouth. We’ll break your right arm so that you can’t earn any more money. So shut up! Maybe we shut cut out your tongue too.”
In spite of her dizzyiness, she heard them say they were going to break her arm. If she loses the use of her arm, it would be a terrible blow for her family. Her mother and brother would die of hunger. Yoonhee grabs one of them by the arm and bites as hard as she can. They throw her to the ground and she feels pain all over her body. She wants to get up but doesn’t have the strength. But the seonjupkuns have stopped attacking her. Her eyes are set on another man. He’s tall and well-built. But there’s something strange about him. He’s definitely a nobleman, but his hat and clothes are all torn, as if cut with a knife, and he’s bloody.
He doesn’t run away like the others. He’s there observing the men who are after her.
One of the seonjupkums says: “Don’t butt into other people’s business, and leave.” The strange man walks toward them and says: “I’ll go.” But when he walks by, he turns and smiles sarcastically: “You son-of-a-bitch. How can you follow a nobleman who’s just walking along quietly?”
Immediately, he starts hitting them one by one and knocking them down. He puts his bare foot on the neck of one of the men on the ground, and smiles while he says: “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to beat all of you up. I’ve gone against gangs like you before. There’s no reason why we have to fight over a sunbi that none of us knows. Are you just carrying out orders of those who are superior to you?”
The stranger goes up to Yoonhee and lifts her chin, moving her face to one side and then the other.
“Surely your superiors wanted this pretty sunbinim to have fun with, but the sunbi refused, right? Very well, I’ll have my own fun with him. So now I can beat all of you, right?”
“Wh…what fun?” Yoonhee asks.
But the stranger keeps talking. “I’m going to take advantage of this sunbi after saving him from you, and then I’ll go on my way. No better prize, right?”
The stranger doesn’t seem to fear the gang’s knives, or even death. Yoonhee gets up when the stranger starts to fight again against the men. Although the stranger said he’d take advantage of her after he finished with the seonjupkuns, she can’t just run off when he’s fighting to help her. So she picks up rocks from the ground and throws them towards the seonjupkuns. One of them takes out his knife and slashes the skin on the stranger’s arm. Blood starts to flow, but to everyone’s surprise, he just smiles and says:
“You’ve slashed my clothes. Now you’ll have to assume the cost of replacing them.” (While continuing to fight).
“Are you crazy? Your clothes were already slashed!”
“You’re calling me crazy? Now you’ll also have to pay for insulting a nobleman.” (While continuing to fight).
The stranger doesn’t stop fighting even though he’s bleeding all over. The seonjupkuns keep falling with each punch, and soon start wobbling from the force of the stranger’s blows. The stranger also seems to be getting exhausted. Yoonhee stops throwing rocks because the seonjupkuns suddenly start to back up. She sees a light behind her which temporarily blinds her. They are Sunjoon and Soondol. Even in this situation, Sunjoon is calm. She can’t see his face because even though his hand is holding her, she’s very scared. The men flee but one of them lunges towards Yoonhee with a dagger. Suddenly Yoonhee’s eyes are covered by Sunjoon’s sleeve. She can’t see what’s going on, but Sunjoon covers her eyes and opens his fan to intercept the dagger. Then he closes the fan and twists it together with the man’s hand. Then he kicks the man in the stomach. When he takes his hand off her eyes, she sees the man clutching his stomach in pain, and the dagger stuck in Sunjoon’s fan. The seonjupkun on the ground gets up and flees. Sunjoon stops Soondol when Soondol tried to chase after him.
“Let him go.” His voice is cold and furious. Even Soondol seems to be frightened of Sunjoon. He looks at Yoonhee’s face. It’s swollen and has red marks; there is blood on her mouth. He cleans the blood and touches her face.
Suddenly the stranger speaks: “How could anyone do this? Damn, I wasted my time.”
Yoonhee turns towards the stranger. He’s sitting down, his back leaning on a wall. She_runs to him and asks: “Are you okay?” No response. Surprised by the amount of blood, she lifts her sleeve and takes out a handkerchief she had made as a gift for Yoonshik.
“I thought you only looked like a girl, but you carry a hankerchief too, like a girl.”
Ignoring him, Yoonhee cleans his blood. The stranger gets up and looks at Sunjoon, who bows in gratitude. But the stranger spits at Sunjoon. “Your appearance, your face, everything about you angers me.”
Sunjoon’s expression doesn’t change, and he responds very politely “You are badly injured, you should be treated.”
“I can take care of myself!” The stranger limps away.
“We are indebted to you, we shall pay you.” says Sunjoon. The stranger turns around and faces him.
“From now on, I don’t want to talk to you. Don’t show your face in front of me again. That’s how you’ll repay me.”
“Did I do something to annoy you?”
“Just repay it as I said.”
After insisting that the only payment he wants is never to see Junsoon again, he walks off and disappears into the night.
Yoonshik’s Sister, Part One
Yoonhee, after what happened with the seonjupkuns, stays home for the entire week after–she wants to shake off what happened to start working again, but her days are shadowed by nightmares of what happened that night. Her mother has been doing sewing work so they could get by with porridge on their table, and thankfully Yoonshik’s illness has not worsened. But Yoonhee is pained that her mother is carrying all of the burden because of her fears.
Her mother comes in and sits in front of Yoonhee. “I heard on the way here that the names of those who passed have been posted up.”
Yoonhee hangs her head–she’s sure that the name Kim Yoonshik will not be on there, anyway. Her mother looks at Yoonhee’s face, which has only now healed, and tells her not to go, that it’s dangerous.
“I’m okay. I’ll be alright soon, and I’ll start going to the bookstore again–”
“Stop it! What if they’re waiting for you there? Don’t even go near that place again. I’d rather go around begging.”
Yoonhee doesn’t say anything and touches the sewing work her mother has been doing. She’s sorry that she can’t help; even though she is skilled in calligraphy, she is poor at sewing, a woman’s work. If she tried to help her mother, she would just get in the way. She touches the cloths and thinks about Sunjoon. Even though the name Kim Yoonshik wouldn’t be on the list of names, she’s sure that Sunjoon’s will be. And therefore he would be there. She thinks about what he said.
“That day, I’ll wait for you. I hope I will see you there.”
His voice still rings in her ears. Now that she knows it is likely she’ll never see him again, it seems that the voice rings clearer than ever. That night, Sunjoon and Soondol had insisted till the end that they’d accompany her back to her home, but she had refused, and so none of them know where each of them lives.
His voice rings again in her ears. Will he really be waiting? He could be. No, he will be. Yoonhee suddenly grabs the tattered 쓰개치마 sugaechima (its the cloth the women cover their heads with, you saw Yoonhee hiding with it from Sunjoon in episode 1) next to her mother, and her mother is startled. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“I’ll just check the names real quick and come back.”
Yoonhee slips out of the room before her mom can grab her. “Yoonhee, you can’t!”
“They’ll be looking for a man. So if I’m covering my face with this (the sugaechima), they won’t know.”
She covers her face and starts walking. Her mind is in a hurry–what if he left after checking his name? She starts running. She’s completely erased the fear of that night and filled her head with Sunjoon.
Yoonhee sees the crowd in front of Yehjo and checks for Sunjoon’s face. She can’t find him. But she sees his name the first in the list posted up.
And then she sees a familiar name. In the middle, she sees the name “Kim Yoonshik”. She can’t believe her eyes. Maybe it’s someone with the same name? She has to go in and check. But as soon as she is about to set foot in Yehjo, she stops. She forgot that she was in women’s clothing. Kim Yoonshik may be able to go in, but she can’t. She contemplates on going back to change, but that would take too much time. While she is thinking about what to do, she hears the name Lee Sunjoon.
The crowd is talking about Sunjoon–it’s no surprise that the son of the left court minister Lee Sunjoon would be up first on the list; how much does one have to study to get such an honor?
Yoonhee feels her heart sink with the shock of the news. The left court minister? Lee Sunjoon? The left minister is the center of the noron faction and power. Before Yoonhee can sort through all of this, she sees Sunjoon come out the door. Startled, she turns and covers her head. Sunjoon sees her turn around, and looks at her for a moment but passes by, not recognizing her. Sunjoon doesn’t leave, but looks around the wall the names are posted, as though he is looking for someone. He’s looking for a man–Yoonshik.
Yoonhee zones out all the noise. She turns around. Nothing else comes into her eyes, only the sight of Sunjoon far away.
He’s looking at Yoonshik’s name on the list, happily. He’s glad that he’ll have a friend to share the learning experience, and glad at the idea that the two will surely help each other improve and grow.
Sunjoon suddenly turns his head and gazes at Yoonhee. First, he thinks it’s strange that there’s a woman here, but then he feels that she’s been looking at him, so he approaches her. A startled Yoonhee tries to leave, but he catches up. “Excuse me. I want to ask you something.”
Yoonhee tries to walk faster, but he follows. “Just please answer me this. Do you know Kim Yoonshik?”
She stops, and Sunjoon does, too. Yoonhee doesn’t answer. She looks down at her tattered clothing and hides her face deeply into the sugaechima, but she can’t hide her old skirt or the state of the sugaechima. She’s ashamed to stand in front of him this way.
“I know that it’s not proper for a strange man to just start talking to you like this, but please, at least give me an answer.”
Yoonhee, worried that he might recognize her voice, just nods her head. Sunjoon brightens. “You really know Kim Yoonshik?”
As soon as she nods again, he asks, “is he okay?”
What does he want to hear? What does he mean by is he okay?
“Ah! I meant his health. He wasn’t well to begin with, and he was hurt that night, so I suspected that he might not be able to come here himself today…”
Yoonhee nods. Sunjoon realizes that she’s not comfortable answering, so he decides to ask so that she only has to nod or shake her head.
“Is he very ill?”
“Are you his family?”
Yoonhee nods again. Sunjoon straightens up and properly bows to her.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Lee Sunjoon. Kim Yoonshik helped me out a lot during these past exams.”
She doesn’t nod or shake her head–she thinks to herself that she was the one receiving all the help.
“Are you his sister?”
“I see–he had a sister. We don’t know each other very well yet, so I’m sorry to have greeted you this way. If you are his sister, you are a sister to me as well. I want to formally greet you again.”
He bows again.
“Please let me visit him.”
Yoonhee shakes her head violently. She is out in this garb–what would happen if he were to go home with her? He is taken back at first, but decides to comply. “Ah right! I made sure that the name on the list was Kim Yoonshik’s. His father’s name is Kim Lee Young, right?”
Kim Lee Young! Her father! That means she made it through both exams. She can’t believe her ears. She suppresses the hurrah she would have otherwise outwardly expressed and starts walking away, but is followed by Sunjoon. She stops and shakes her head to tell him that he should go home.
He tells her that he’ll accompany her home, but Yoonhee shakes her head. Sunjoon stops, and realizes that he must have made a mistake. “I apologize.” He thinks that he stepped over the line, offering to accompany a woman alone. “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way.” She gestures that it’s okay by nodding.
“Please, let Kim Yoonshik know this. Those seonjupkuns and their masters were all taken away and jailed, so he doesn’t have to worry.”
Yoonhee nods, and quickens her pace back home, to let her family know the good news.
The 방방례 Bangbangryeh (Where the passing examinees are announced)
[Between above scenes and this one: Autumn turns to winter, and Yoonhee has just turned twenty.
Yoonhee takes the 진사 jinsa and the 생원 saengwon tests, but is disappointed to find that Sunjoon is not there for either (because he was most likely assigned to a different test site). When she comes to check for her name she finds that Sunjoon’s name is first for both the jinsa and saengwon, while she is second for the jinsa and sixth for the saengwon. She sees Sunjoon, but before they can say anything to one another, soldiers come and ask them to line up (in order of the ranking on their tests) and are led towards the king’s palace, to the puzzlement of all the examinees. ]
Yoonhee, like the others, is worried about what’s going on, but Sunjoon as always seems calm.
“I was worried that something bad might have happened, since you’re fighting an illness.”
She is startled but glad he spoke. He sees her wide-eyed expression, and says, “I was curious as to how you were.”
“I was curious too; I thought maybe you had gotten married or some–”
Yoonhee, shocked at what just came out of her mouth, stops. She’s supposed to be a man; she shouldn’t let her thoughts slip out like this.
But Sunjoon smiles widely. “I haven’t even done anything with my life; I am not yet ready for marriage. How about you…?”
Sunjoon looks at Yoonhee. Both of them are walking, but she’s lowered her head. Sunjoon thinks to himself about how he wanted to see this… boy. The boy is weak and thin, but Sunjoon doesn’t understand why he missed him as a man would, towards a woman. It’s bizarre to him. That’s why even though he recognized him right away, he fought with himself not to run and greet him, because it was bizarre, the way he felt. Sunjoon reasons with himself that he must just feel really apologetic for that night, since the seonjupkuns targeted Yoonshik because of him.
“I’m glad you look better.”
Yoonhee’s heart beats at his smile. She wishes she could stand in front of him as a woman. She wants to tell him, that the man “Yoonshik” who is walking by him right now is “Yoonhee”, a woman, even if it means that he would leave, angry that she’s committed such a crime. She should tell him, since they won’t meet again, anyway, and she won’t be able to stand in front of him as a woman, anyway. She should just tell him before they say their goodbyes today. She works up her courage and looks at him.
He stops walking and looks at her.
“After this, do you have any other appointments?”
Sunjoon, ignoring all the things he has to do later that day, answers no right away.
“I…. I have something that I really need to tell you. So…”
“I understand. I will wait for you after this. I have something that I would like to discuss with you as well.”
Somebody yells at the two to keep walking, and they do, until all the examinees stop, seeing that they are right in front of the king’s palace. The examinees clamor, asking why they are being directed here, to which the soldiers answer that they don’t know, they’re just doing what they’re ordered to do.
Yoonhee hears the others talk. “Is the king himself handing back our scrolls? There was a rumor about this during the first exam… is that why they didn’t hand them back yet?”
Everyone tightens with anxiety and nervousness. The only one who isn’t shaken is Sunjoon, and with every door the they pass, the examinees become more and more aware that they are within the king’s palace, and many of them aren’t even able to breathe properly.
Yoonhee is in a daze, looking around at where she is. Suddenly Sunjoon pulls her to him, and she crashes into his arms.
“The middle is 어도 uhdo, so you can’t set your foot there.”
Yoonhee looks down at her feet. The wide pathway they’ve been walking on is tiled, but in the middle was a narrower way lined with stone tablets. She almost accidentally walked on the path on which only the king himself could set foot.
As they near their destination, horror surrounds Yoonhee–in this place, she feels more like a criminal than ever, and the soldiers’ stern gazes seem like they are asking why there is a woman amidst all these men.
Everyone lines up properly and stops. Yoonhee is out of it, her head in complete chaos. She, as a woman, shouldn’t even dare look at the King, or be in his presence, but here she was, with basically nothing that could buffer her from the King’s eyes. She can only be thankful that the distance between the courtyard to the King’s chair is so large. She tries to remember the right manners in which one receives the king, with the right number of bowing and whatnot, when she hears the dreadful roar, signaling the king’s entry.
The scene which follows the above events is not translated, but it’s the scene we see in Episode 2 of the drama, where the King commands that the top examinees who passed both tests (which includes Kim Yoon Shik), to enter the university immediately.
First day at Sungkyunkwan
[This scene makes it clear that Sunjoon and Yoonhee are both attracted to each other physically from the beginning. This scene takes place when they arrived at the dorms, and Sunjoon and Yoonhee discover they will be roommates.]
Yoonhee looks at the doors to the entrance of the school. Today is her first day. She has been here before, but now she’s a bit afraid, because she must live day and night as a man. She looks up to the heavens as if in prayer.
“Please, father, help me get through this without being discovered.” She doesn’t have the courage to enter, and she keeps staring from the outside. Suddenly, she hears a familiar voice.
“Oh, beautiful sunbinim, have you been alright?”
She turns around and sees Soondol. Although Sunjoon isn’t with him, he can’t be too far off. She greets Sundool cheerfuly.
“Sundool, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you.”
“And you’re still as pretty as always. Oh, once again, I’ve said too much…”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Soondol takes her books and her belongings and starts to walk, but along the wall and not towards the door she’s been watching. She simply follows him, and realizes that he’s carrying her heave load as if it were light as feather.
“Lee Jinsa… (anyone who passes the Jinsa exam can be referred to this way)
“Lee Jinsa? Oh, you mean our doryunnim! He’s here. I followed him in order to help him with his things, but he keep admonishing me for following him all the time. But it’s good I stayed next to him all this time, otherwise I wouldn’t have found you.”
Soondol suddeny stops walking. She asks him what’s wrong, when he suddenly squats down and begins to cry.
“I want to stay next to our doryunnim, but he doesn’t want me to. He says the school has its own officials, and he cannot have a personal aide (servant) by his side. What can I do now?
“What do you mean. Can’t you go home?”
But doryunnim won’t be there. What can I do at home?” Soondol looks at Yoonhee with a desperate expression. “Can’t you convince him so that I can stay next to him? There’s nothing more I can do to convince him. He’s such a terrible person; even his father is afraid of him!”
Yoonhee smiles and squats down next to him.
“I don’t know if I should say this, since I’ve only seen him a few times, but he frightens me too.
Soongol lowers his head in despair. Is it wrong to want to be next to Sunjoon? Although Soondol is huge, Yoonhee feels as if she were consoling a child. So she says jokingly:
“Why do you want to be next to someone as frightening as he is?”
“He’s the scariest persona on earth, but he’s also the kindest.” Yoonhee can see what type of person he must be when he has a servant such as this one. Soondol holds back his sadness and gets up.
“In any case, sunbinim also is very surprising.”
“You passed! Which was a bit suspicious.”
“Because I thought you were a woman.” Yoonhee’s heart skips a beat, but she pretends it didn’t faze her.
“I’ve heard that so many times, that it no longer surprises me.”
“I…I didn’t mean to offend you. Now that you’ve passed, I can see you are a man among men. How could a woman know how to write and read so well? It’s definitely impossible to pass the test unless you are a man.”
“Ha ha ha…You’re right. It’s ridiculous to think that a woman could do that!”
Yoonhee is grateful that she can fool people so easily, given that men don’t suspect that a woman can read and write so well. Yoonhee follows Soondol, who passes by several open doors; not the main doors, but the rear doors which lead to the dorms on the East side. They reach a building with a lot of dorm rooms and a big porch. For each dorm room there is a seomdol (a rock on which to place your shoes). This is the Dongjae (Dorms of the East).
“Doryunnim!” Soondol starts to run towards the open door to the dorm room, and SunJoon appears behind the door, sticking out his head.
“I told you not to come back. Why are you here?”
Yoonhee follows and smiles broadly. Se sees that Sunjoon is wearing a blue-green dopo (the long part of the outfit) and a yoogun (the hat the students use while inside the classroom). She bows to greet him.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. How have you been?” Sunjoon comes out of the dorm room and puts on his shoes.
“I’m glad you’re here. I was waiting for you. But why have come from that direction?” Soondol is suddenly frightened at Sunjoon’s words.
“Oh, I’m so absent-minded. I forgot that sunbinim are allowed to enter through the main door.
“It doesn’t matter” says Yoonhee. “Thanks to you, I was able to enter through the nearest door. I think I’ll use this door instead of the main one.” Soondol puts her things down on the porch. Sunjoon and Yoonhee sit down, and she looks around at the building. “I’m not sure how all of this works, or what dorm room I have to go to.”
“Usually students share a dorm room with other students that they know. Do you know anyone here?”
“What? Shared dorm rooms? We don’t have individual rooms?”
Yoonhee’s heart beats as fast as it possibly can. All along she thought she’d be alone in a dorm room. Sunjoon explained to her about the dorm rooms in the East side and West side, which has 32 rooms, of which 29 are for the students (the others are for faculty).
“But the total number of students is about 150, so it’s necessary for students to share the dorms. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but…”
Yoonhee does some mental calculations. “If there are 150 students and only 29 rooms, that means that there are 5 or 6 students per dorm room!” She looks around the room. It is small. Even three students would be uncomfortable. Would she have to sleep with men in the room? All she can think about is fleeing, but when she picks up her things to leave, Sunjoon says.
“There will only be 2 or 3 students per dorm room.” Yoonhee calms down a bit. Two or three is better than five or six.
“What about the rest?”
Some stay in Banchon, others live nearby, so they come and go. We are lucky that the King has allowed us to stay in the dorms.
Lucky? Yoonhee doesn’t even want to imagine what her mother would say if she knew she was going to sleep with men. She looked around the room, and asked with concern: “I don’t know anyone here. What should I do?”
“You know me.”
Yoonhee looks at Sunjoon, nervous and unsure. Sharing a room with him is fortunate, but also unfortunate. Although she trusts him, she doesn’t trust herself.
“Th…then, I’ll have to share the room with you. Is there anyone else besides us?”
“I haven’t seen him yet, but I think there is. There were things in the room already when I arrived, and all the other dorms are occupied by two or 3 people, this was the only one where there was just one.
“Do you know what type of person he is?”
“No, I don’t. Are you worried?”
“Since he is a complete stranger…yes, I worry a bit. What about the dorms in the West side?
“The rooms over there are mainly occupied by Norons. Over here, there is everyone else, Sorons, Nam-in…you look like a Nam-in.
“H…how did you know?”
“I just had a feeling.” An uncomfortable silence arises between them. Yoonhee breaks the silence by asking:
“But if the dorms on the West side are for Norons, what are you doing here?” Sunjoon smiles.
“Originally, the dorms on the west were for Jinsas and on the East for Saengwons. But then they divided them between Norons and Sorons, which isn’t right. I am both a Jinsa and a Saengwon, so it doesn’t matter which side I stay on.
Yoonhee doesn’t understand. Even so, he’s a Noron, and he’d be more comfortable in the same dorms as his fellow Norons. Why should he want to be in the East dorms? That seemed strange. In any event, she’s glad that she’s able to share a room with him and not with a stranger.
Yoonhee goes to unpack her bags. She opens her pile of books, and Sunjoon sees the title on the cover of the first book. “Wait, what is this?”
Sunjoon looks to be sure no one is around; only Soondol is at the door. He approaches Yoonhee, places his lips close to her ear, and whispers. Although it’s just a whisper, his warmth makes her heart beat faster.
“It’s against the law to have books by Lao Zi, and besides, it’s against school rules.”
“What? I didn’t know! I was reading it only because I was bored.”
Sunjoon is surprised. Besides being very difficult to find this book, she was reading it because she was bored?
“What should I do? Where should I hide it?”
Yoonhee is nervous, and she goes through all her books, to turn the banned ones face down. After Sunjoon explains which one are not allowed, he warns her to be careful.
You’re not going to be able to take them home, so I’ll ask Soondol to take them to my house for the time being.
“Thank you. Thanks to you too Soondol.” Soondol smiles while he receives he books.
“But I don’t see your mat and blanket. Didn’t you bring them with you?” Yoonhee gives Sunjoon a surprised look. He realizes that she didn’t know she needed to bring them, so he tells her: “I brought mine, but I’ve heard you can get them here too.”
Someone from the school approaches them and asks them if they are new students. When Yoonee and Sunjoon confirm it, he brings out a piece of paper and checks off their names.
“You’ve decided on this room? There weren’t any other empty ones?”
“I understand there’s only one other person here. Is something wrong?”
“No, there’s only one person, but…Let me see if I can find you another room.” He checks his list and says: “No, there are no other rooms available. Well…I guess you’ll be alright. He doesn’t come here too often.” When he sees their strange looks, he changes the subject. “Your desks and uniforms will be brought in shortly. Will you be needing anything else?”
Sunjoon speaks up for Yoonhee. “I didn’t bring my mat and blanket. What can I do?”
“Oh, it’s possible we may have some in the warehouse, but they’re probably not in good shape. They’re old and worn out, so I recommend that you bring one from home.” Yoonhee realizes that the ones at home are not in much better condition, and besides, she can’t take them away from her mother and brother.
“I’ll take one anyway” Yoonhee says.
“It will take a few days to get them fixed.”
“Well, I don’t have any to spare at home…” The worker looks at Yoonhee and nods.
“Don’t worry” says Sunjoon “I’ll bring them from home.”
“When the worker leaves, Sunjoon asks Soondol to bring a mat, a blanket and a pillow.
“I don’t know if it will be ready right away.”
“If you tell my mother, she’ll have it ready right away. Bring it tomorrow morning.”
“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it.” says Yoonhee.
“No, you’ve been sick, and it won’t be good for your health to use old things from the warehouse.
Yoonhee lowers her head, not knowing what to do or how to take his good deed. She had thought there weren’t any good and generous men in the world, but she had just met Sunjoon. After organizing his things, Soondol leave with the books and they sit on the porch. Yoonhee is nervous so she plays with her fingers while she looks at the trees and the rest of the buildings.
“Which building is that?”
“I think it’s the student’s cafeteria.”
“Oh, I see.”
“You should take that off.”
“What? Remove what?”
After seeing Yoonhee’s startled reaction, Sunjoon was also surprised, and he pointed towards her hat. Students don’t wear it in school.
“Oh, the hat…yes, I’ll take it off.” Embarrassed, she begins to untie it.
“I’m not telling you how men should act, but you seem a bit shy.”
Her heart beats rapidly when she sees his kind smile. She takes off her hat and puts it on the floor. She looks through her clothes until she found her yoogun (the cloth hat that the students wear). She starts to put in on, but it was handmade by her mother with cheap cloth (all they could afford) and it doesn’t fit the way it should. Yoonhee is embarrassed to show her sangtoo (the ribbon for the topknot) so she rushes to put it on quickly, tying the ends of the ribbons. Suddenly, Sunjoon’s hand is near her face. Before she could show her surprise, his long fingers undo the ribbon she had tied. His hands lightly touch her chin, and her body responds to his touch. Sunjoon ties the last knot, leaving it perfectly tied.
It’s natural that you would be shy, since you’re not used to be surrounded by people. I’m sure you’ll get over it after being here a while.
Yoonhee nods in agreement, almost out of breath. Sunjoon hangs up her clothes next to his, everything in perfect order. There are also some ripped clothes that surely must belong to their other roomate.
Yoonhee sees a piece of cloth, probably a handkerchief, that has fallen below the clothes of the other student. When she picks it up, Sunjoon says: “Didn’t you say that you had something to tell me after the Bangbangryeh? You left quickly and I wasn’t able to ask you.
She has thought of telling him she was a girl. But she was so taken by surprise over the king’s presence, that she completely forgot. She’s still too shaken up to say anything, so she just turns towards him and says: “Ah…ah, yes. It wasn’t anything special. I just wanted to congratulate you. Oh, didn’t you have something you wanted to tell me too?”
Yoonhee is still holding the handkerchief, which is all bloody, but she hadn’t noticed. Her hands are now bloodied, but she’s looking at Sunjoon, so she doesn’t see it. She sits and waits for his answer.
“Oh, it’s already done.”
“What was it?”
“I just wanted to ask you if you were interested in attending Sungkyunkwan with me, but it’s already done.”
“Oh, I see. Why are we talking so formally? Think of me as a younger brother, and talk to me that way.”
“Should I, now that we are sharing a room? I’ll try. But I can’t call you by your name, so think of a nickname that I can call you.
Yoonhee tries to think of a nickname. It’s as hard as choosing a name. But since she is now a student, she must find a name by which they can call her. A student passes by and sticks his head in the door to greet them.
“You’re new here, right? Nice to meet you.” Sunjoon and Yoonhee return the greeting.
“Are you our roomate?”
“No, I’m not. I’m from over there, from the hajongbang.”
Suddenly, the students’ eyes open wide, as if just realizing something. “Th..this room is…!
“What? Are you ill?”
“N…no. Nothing. It’s nothing. Nothing.”
After looking around carefully, the student rushes out. Yoonhee thinks about his strange reaccion, and recalls the similar reaction of the worker when he confirmed their room. Sunjoon notices the same thing. The both look at each other apprehensively, as if they shouldn’t be in this room.
First day at Sungkyunkwan – meeting Yeorim
Sunjoon sits on the porch of the dorm and calls one of the children (“jaejiks”). He runs towards Sunjoon, looks at him, and runs right back to the group of jaejiks.
“I saw him. I saw his face. He’s very handsome, even more so when you look at him up close. I’ve never seen anyone like him. I thought my heart my stop.”
It looks like the jaejiks are all talking about Sunjoon’s appearance. He smiles but is embarrassed. Yoonhee comes out to the porch, laughing because she understands the jaejiks’ reaction.
“It’s understandable that they’d be surprised by your good looks. I was surprised too at first.”
Sunjoon feels that “he” is making fun of him. Another jaejik runs to see Sunjoon’s face, and falls to the ground. When the jaejik gets up and runs to tell his companions, Yoonhee tries to suppress her laughter, but another jaejik who approaches her, suddenly blushes and runs off.
“He’s so pretty! He’s even prettier than my neighbor’s sister. Much prettier. He has a small face too.
This time it’s Sunjoon who makes fun of Yoonhee.
“It’s true that you are pretty. It’s normal to compare you with a woman.”
Sunjoon puts on his shoes and walks towards the jaejiks. They all come towards Sunjoon and Yoonhee. He squats down to their height and asks them:
“Do you know who else lives here at the Joong-ee-bang? (the name of the dorm where they are staying).
“Crazy Horse”. Immediately upon blurting this out, the jaejik who said it bit his lip, realizing what he had said
“What did you say?” Sunjoon asks politely, but the jaejik who spoke continues to keep his mouth closed, just shaking his head. Calling a nobleman “Crazy Horse” is an insult, and the jaejik fears the consequences. Sunjoon, kindly allows the jaejiks to leave, but one brave child tells him what he knows:
“I think he’s a good person.”
“What? Who?” asks Sunjoon.
“The person who lives in this dorm. They call him “Crazy Horse” but I don’t think he’s bad. I haven’t seen him up close, because I’ve been afraid.”
“Really? Well if you say so, then I’m sure he must be a good person.”
Sunjoon smiles at the jaejik, but Yoonhee can’t smile. Crazy Horse? She’s afraid of sharing a dorm room with someone who is called by that name.
Some of the students begin to arrive at their dorms, and one of them looks at Sunjoon and Yoonhee.
“Ah, you two are the new students that the whole school is talking about?”
They both look at the student who has spoken. He walks towards them with very expensive clothes. He’s dressed in the finest silk, and his shoes are leather sewn with golden silk thread. In his hand he holds carries a very fancy fan.
“Are you the one who lives in this dorm room?”
“Didn’t you hear the jaejik say “Crazy Horse”? Do I look like a crazy horse?” Sunjoon and Yoonhee look at each other apprehensively, but the young man smiles.
“Ha ha ha, I’m just joking. I’m in the neighboring dorm, the Joong-il-bang. I’m Saengwon, although some call me Yeorim. My real name is Goo Yongha. I’m 23, so I’ll address you informally. You don’t need to introduce yourselves, I’ve already heard all about you.”
Heard what? thinks Yoonhee. It’s true people must have heard of Sunjoon, but her? Yoonhee worries what others may think of her. Her hope is to stay invisible to others, and she’s not happy to hear what Yongha has said. Yoonhee greets Yongha. “Pleased to meet you.”
Yongha looks at Yoonhee from head to toe. “Are you the Nok-bin-hong-un (Pretty Face) everyone is talking about? I usually don’t believe in rumors, but in fact, everyone is saying that you are a pretty face. Yoonhee is uncomfortable with Yongha’s scrutiny of her, but fortunately, Yongha turns towards Sunjoon.
“Why did you decide to room here in the dongjae, when your father is the head Noron of all the Norons? Don’t you realize that the tension between the political factions extends here too?”
Sunjoon just smiles and changes the subject.
“Where is the person who resides in this dorm?”
“How should I know? I haven’t seen Geol-roh in several days.”
“Yes, the Crazy Horse. That’s what everyone calls him. If you two want to remain in this dorm room, don’t get him angry. No one has been able to share a room with him for more than two months, tops. Well, I have to leave now.”
Yongha walks away, but as he leaves, he looks back and scrutinizes Yoonhee one more time. She doesn’t notice this; she’s much too worried about her roommate, who is such a rebel. The name Geol-roh is used to describe someone impatient and uncontrollable. Sunjoon speaks to her softly, to allay her fears: “There’s nothing else to be done here, so let’s go look up some nicknames for us.”
“There’s a bunch of books over there (in the library). I’m sure you will like it there. (speaking formally)”
“Yes, let’s go. Why are you speaking to me in such a formal manner?”
“Oh, sorry, I’ll try not to do that from now on.”
They both smile. Yongha watches them and murmurs to himself: “A woman’s blood smells much different than a man’s blood. After looking at him from the front and the back, “he” is a woman for sure. All the other students don’t notice because they’ve grown up with their heads buried in books, so she’ll fool them, but she won’t be able to fool me. This is going to be fun.”
Yongha walks away and enters theHyangkwanchung, where many students gather.
“Hey, Yeorim, what are you doing here? We thought you’d be out in the arms of one of the gisaengs.
“What do you take me for? Classes haven’t started yet!”
“Oh, so classes are more important to you than women now?” Yongha laughs and sits down.
“Ha ha ha. In the bet you are all making, I want to take part.”
“You said it was boring. Why did you change your mind?”
“Yes, I want to bet that Kim Yoonshik will leave the dorm in four days, and Lee Sunjoon in five days.
“That will be difficult, but understandable. Geol-roh won’t tolerate in his room the son of a Noron, when he considers them the murderers of his brother. And it’s no secret how much Daesahun (Jaeshin’s father) and the Minister are basically enemies.” Everyone laughs and they make note of Yongha’s bet.
“I’ve heard that you’re planning something very amusing.”
“Well, we were discussing the shin-bang-centeno (initiation) but we don’t have good ideas. Especially because we don’t want to do anything unpleasant since Lee Sunjoon is here.
“That isn’t right. We’ll never have the opportunity to play a prank on a student like Lee Sunjoon. We can’t miss this chance. I hope you’re not planning something lame like broken dishes or crawling between people’s legs, are you?” The students nod because Yongha is correct. He sighs and says: “I have some suggestions, would you like to hear them?”
“Sure. You’re good at these types of things.”
They all huddle together and plan.
Sunjoon, after getting directions from sooboks, found his way to Jongyunggak with Yoonhee. The building is behind he Myunryundang, separated by a tall wall. Yoonhee reads the name of the building, and asks Sunjoon “What is this place?”.
“It’s the Sungkyunkwan students’ library.”
Yoonhee smiles broadly. He had told her they wanted to find nicknames for themselves, but it was evident, he just wanted to find the books here. After climbing the stairs in the Jongyunggak, they find a small desk of a Seo-ri (a school employer, librarian) at the entrance. Further away from the desk, there is a room full of shelves. Yoonhee looks at Sunjoon enthusiastically, but unlike her, Sunjoon looks disappointed.
“They said there was a bunch of them.”
It seems like the library is not to his expectations. They both approach the shelves and flip through a few of the books. They grab some stories and sit down at the table next to the window.
Yonhee opens a book to subtly cover her face so that she can look at Sunjoon who is absorbed in his book. She smiles thinking of the jaejiks who were admiring his beauty. She observes him, and he is in fact, very handsome. His eyes…no, his pupils…his pupils shine brightly without commotion. No, it’s his nose…his nose is straight. No, it must be his mouth. His lips seem sweet with hot blood flowing through them. When she’s observing his lips, they move, and she hears him say:
“Are you able to decide on a nickname just by looking at my face?”
Embarrassed, Yoonhee blushes and hides behind the book.
“I…only…I just had the same thought about you as the jaejiks did.
Sunjoon puts his book down, and takes her chin. He looks firmly at her face and smiles. She asks:
“Why are you looking at me?”
“I was thinking the same thing as the jaejiks.”
Yoonhee’s face blushes even more, and she hides behind the book. He does the same, but her face again distracts him. A ray of sn filters through the window and lights up Yoonhee’s face, making her skin shine. Sunjoon continues to observe her while thinking that it’s perfectly understandable that the jaejiks had compared him to a woman. Aren’t her eyes big like a baby’s, and isn’t her nose softly shaped? Aren’t her lips rosy? He’s surprised at his thoughts and tries to block them. He gets up saying:
“A-ah, where’s the book I was looking for?
He gets up and goes to a shelf, and looks at Yoonhee through the slots of the shelves. Sunjoon frowned and pounded on his chest with his fist.
“I must be crazy. How can my heart beat so rapidly in the presence of another man? It doesn’t matter how beautiful he is, a man is still a man.”
After calming down, he takes a book and sits down again across from Yoonhee, pretending that her proximity didn’t affect him.
The initiation rites
(Blogger’s Note: This part was not translated, but we were told it was exactly as depicted in the series, except that certain characters from the series were not as depicted in the book. In order to keep the story flowing, I’ve copied a description of what happened in the series during this scene, from one of the websites that summarized the drama. I edited this as best as I could to conform with the characters as depicted in the novel. There are probably some discrepancies with the way it is actually described in the novel).
To her surprise, a group of upperclassmen runs through the dorm area, dousing the lights and calling out the newbies. The incoming class gathers in the courtyard, where a light display is presented. Then, flour is doused over the newbies (which is still in practice today), and a select group of senior students comes out wearing elaborate masks, and they remain covered as they start the tradition. Yong-ha declares that they will begin collecting offerings from each of them, and the new students are called up one by one to present the food they brought.
Now, they move on to the task portion in these traditional rites. The freshman class is given written instructions in riddle form, and whoever wins will gain a “big prize.” On the other hand, those who can’t follow the orders will get stripped of his shirt.
Each person has a slightly different clue leading them to a different location. Junsoon’s task consists of entering the private chambers of a nobleman’s daughter.Yoon-hee, on the other hand, figures that her clue leads her to gisaeng Cho-sun, and she is to “get her affection” via silk petticoat.
These tasks are meant to have obstacles, and Yoon-hee finds herself unable to see Cho-sun, who is the top gisaeng at the gibang (gisaeng house). Instead she is waylaid by a group of gisaengs.
In her desperation to avoid being undressed and discovered as a woman, Yoon-hee bursts out of her room and runs away — but smashes into another room by accident.
Just her luck, this is the room where Cho-sun is attending to the evil Minister of War. This angers the man for several reasons: He was just about to get busy with his companion, and other guests recognize him and begin whispering.
Just as he points his finger at her and begins to speak, a gisaeng apologizes for the disturbance, explaining that this was all a part of the Sungkyunkwan initiation and he(she) is a Sungkyunkwan scholar. The Minister threatens that he will have Yoon-hee expelled for disorderly conduct to which Yoon-hee respectfully bows and offers her most sincere apologies.
Just as Yoon-hee turns to leave, the whispering of the peeking noblemen catches her attention and she realizes that they’re staring at the bare-shouldered Cho-sun. The woman in Yoon-hee can’t stand to see another woman being so embarrassed and so, to Cho-sun and everyone’s surprise, she gives her outer garment to Cho-sun. Yoon-hee then asks the Minister’s permission to take Cho-sun with her, explaining(slightly mocking) that the president of Sungkyunkwan was the one to make such demands in the name of initiation. Despite his anger, the Minister is forced to let Yoon-hee go because it is his son she speaks about—and of course he cannot protest unless he was to undermine his son’s authority.
Yoon-hee leads Cho-sun out of the room, venting that it’s because jerks like the Minister are in positions of power that Joseon is in such bad shape. Guys like him should all be thrown into the Han river. Giggling, a gisaeng asks her if she’s going to spend all night ranting when she’s finally met the gisaeng she’s been looking for all along—Cho-sun. By the surprise on Yoon-hee’s face, it’s clear that she only brought Cho-sun out to save her from an unpleasant night with the Minister.
Cho-sun asks Yoon-hee what it is she can do for her—is it not her undergarments marked with proof of her affections? (I think we all know the undertones of that mission). Yoon-hee admits that she’s right. Cho-sun then says, “All that is left for you to do is ask me then.” She moves closer to Yoon-hee and blows flour from her face. This is enough to unsettle Yoon-hee and she hurriedly gets up to leave, claiming that she is no different from the Minister—they’ve both come to beg for one night with her. Impressed by his(her) chivalry, Cho-sun suggests that Yoon-hee just take her undergarment—it is a gift to the one she’s given her heart to. (Painter of the wind, anyone?).
Yoon-hee unfolds the undergarment and begins painting on it to show that this is not a shameful undergarment but a beautiful memory. A smiling Cho-sun says, “Then I must write a poem in reply.”
Meanwhile, Sun-joon is still pondering over his own mission: “The flower of all flowers is the lotus, thus pluck the lotus of all lotuses, the Bu-yong flower.” Being the puritan that he is, Sun-joon is thinking flowers and lotuses in literal terms. It’s only when his man-servant comes to the rescue(knowing Sun-joon and his puritan ways) that Sun-joon grasps the figurative undertones of “pluck” and “flower”. Tehe.
The “lotus” in question is none other than Hyo Eun, the daughter of one of the Ministers. Of course the mission itself is a setup for Sun-joon to fail, since a noblewoman would reject a stranger’s advances.
Back at Sungkyunkwan, the Yong-ha and the senior scholars Yong-ha and In-soo share drinks. They reassure themselves) that Cho-sun will not so easily be moved—she wouldn’t even blink if a man were to lay down his life for her. Yong-ha explains that is the precise reason he sent Yoon-hee…he wants to see her be stripped of her guise.
Meanwhile, an awkward Sun-joon managed to enter the noblewoman’s chambers. She is startled but does not scream or push him away. He begins to excuse himself when the lady stops him—she can’t let him leave like this. Why? It’s probably a trap. Someone might be watching and it wouldn’t bode well for him. She looks to see that the coast is clear and helps Sun-joon escape. Girl is hit hard by cupid’s arrow.
Blogger’s Note: I apologize to the person who summarized this episode, for having taken the liberty of using your words and making some changes to conform to the novel and keep this story flowing. I don’t remember who you are, but I thank you for your contribution.
First night at Joong-ee-bang.
Yoonhee returns to Sungkyunkwan, very cautiously so that no one can figure out that she is a woman, but suddenly, she realizes that someone is following her. A thief? She’s very scared, and realizes it can’t be anyone from Banchon, since she’s so far away. She walks faster; she must get back as quickly as possible. She runs as fast as she can and begins to beat on all the doors, but no one opens them.
“Open the door, please!”
The person following her is catching up to her. Yoonhee tries to calm down thinking it may be another student, but she sees his shadow behind her and she realizes he’s not wearing a yoogun on his head, which means…
“Hey, do you think you are the king?”
Yoonhee is surprised to hear the voice of the man behind her. It’s a rough voice but doesn’t sound like the voice of a thief. She returns to her senses and realizes the door she was beating on is the one in the middle, the shin-sam, which is only opened for the king; of course no one was going to answer. She walks away from the door and begins to turn towards the man’s face. He’s not wearing a gat, but you can clearly see he is a nobleman…although he isn’t dressed as he shuld be. His dopo is open, without his sash on his head, and he isn’t wearing his sok-jum-sam (undershirt). Tied to his waist is a bottle of liquor. Although he looks strange, she feels that he is vaguely familiar to her. He’s not as tall as Sunjoo, but he’s still very tall. She looks at his face but she can’t see him very well because it is now very dark. His chin looks familiar. The man looks at Yoonhee, smiles, and says:
“You are still a very pretty boy.” Yoonhee now remembers who he is. He’s the man who helped her against the seojupkuns that summer night. A soobook passes by and greets the man.
“Oh, scholar Geol-roh, you’ve come back!”
Geol-roh? She feels as if someone had hit her over the head with a hammer. The man enters and the soobook asks him “What have you done with your gat?” He replies that he traded it for some liquor, and walks away. Yoonhee sees that he is bleeding over the bottom part of his body, but he is barely covered by his dopo. Did he fight again? She feels she’s about to faint. How can she be a roommate to a man like that?
The initiation, Part 2
The seniors of Sungkyunkwan begin checking the fruits of the freshmen’s missions and when they finally reach Yoon-hee, Yong-ha is sure of her failure. To his and everyone’s surprise, however, she offers up Cho-sun’s undergarment. Failing to hide his shock, Yong-ha asks if this really belongs to Cho-sun—the others suspicious that it belongs to another gisaeng—but when he unfolds and counts the flowers on the undergarment, he is assured that it truly is Cho-sun’s undergarment.
The class president grabs it, and begins to read Cho-sun’s poem: “Who would say that a short night is lesser than a long night? Such an enrapturing short night…I would not trade for any longer night.”
“Is it true? Did you see Cho-sun? And did she give this to you directly?” When she answers yes, he clenches his fist silently in anger. Yong-ha on the other hand is thoroughly amused and lets out an adorable chuckle.
Yong-ha declares that the greatest prize is undisputedly Yoon-hee, who made possible the impossible. Yoon-hee receives her uniform, officially(or…unofficially) admitted to the university.
Next is Sunjoon. He announces that he was unable to fulfill his mission, saying that he did not even go to the Minister’s house in Buk-chon. Yoonhee quietly protests that she saw him coming from Buk-chon but Sunjoon clears his throat to keep her quiet.
After preparations are complete, the seniors give the OK for the punishment to begin(after a smug little speech) and several scholars come out to push him in.
Yoonhee decides that she wants to use her one wish(the grand prize) on saving Sun-joon. Despite the class president’s threats that if she uses this wish, he has the power to expel her, she insists that she wants to use it on Sun-joon.
Everyone is a bit upset that they didn’t get to see the spectacle they were expecting to see.
When they return to campus, Sun-joon asks Yoon-hee if she isn’t sorry she gave up her wish for him
“I’ll ask for you to return the favor. I’ll get a wish from you. I’m quite greedy, and my wish will be a big one.” Sunjoon smiles. Both of them are standing in front of the door of their room.
“I’ll be waiting. In any case, you surprised me. I never expected that side of you.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’re both men. You know what I’m talking about.” (he’s referring to her “night” with Chosun, which everyone assumes was a sexual affair, but Yoonhee doesn’t understand what he’s trying to say). Yoonhee smiles, although she has no idea what he means by that. She’s nervous at the thought of obtaining a wish from Sunjoon. She must wait until the proper moment so she can use it wisely.
“But, aren’t you curious about what your riddle was?” Yoonhee asks.
“Well, it’s over already.” He’s really not interested, but she tells him anyway to see his reaction.
“The Lotus refers to a beautiful woman.”
Sunjoon nods his head as if he were really trying to figure it out, but Yoonhee is shaken as she realizes that he knew it all along. She doesn’t say another word, but she had hoped that Sunjoon had not met the beautiful woman. Since they are nearing Dongjae, a group of Norons pass by and greet Sunjoon, completely ignoring Yoonhee.
Yoonhee finds herself shivering at the door of her dorm room. Her real travails tonight wasn’t the initiation, but rather, having to spend the night with the Crazy Horse. She feels like she’s inside a nightmare, but she has to go in, since the other students are looking at her puzzled as to why she doesn’t go inside.
Geol-roh is lying on the floor, leaning his elbow on a desk. His hand covers his face, so he doesn’t immediately notice that one of his roommates has arrived. Yoonhee cough to get his attention, but he doesn’t move. She gets upset, not knowing what to do. Should I sit down? Should I remain standing? She finds courage enought to speak up.
“Um, excuse me, scholar Geol-roh” but suddenly panics. She doesn’t know if it’s correct to call him by his nickname. Is it permitted to call your seniors by their nicknames? In any event, Geol-roh realizes that she is there and turns his head, and yells: “What?”
Geol-roh sees her and realizes who she is. “What are you doing here in my room? Come here. I want to enjoy this great prize.”
Yoonhee is surprised. “I appreciate what you did that day, but I’m still a man! I don’t feel comfortable with you saying those types of things.”
Geol-roh bends over in laughter until his side begins to hurt. He stays that way for a moment until the pain subsides before continuing:
“It’s possible that you are a man, but I don’t discriminate. Don’t be offended. Since there are no women here, I’d just as soon take you. If you don’t want me to do anything to you, then leave my room.”
“How can a student like you enter Sungkyunkwan?” she yells with all her might. “This is my room too!”
“What?” Geol-roh looks around the room, and sees that there are in fact other things there besides his own. “Damn it, this is really annoying!.”
He motions for her to sit down. Yoonhee is still angry, but she sits down, since that’s one way to prove that it’s also her room.
“What? Moon Jaeshin?”
“That’s my name. What’s yours?”
“My name is Kim Yoonshik, and…” before she can say another word, he interrupts her.
“That’s enough. Even if you say nothing else, I’ll remember it. I’ll call you by your name. By your face, it looks like I’m older than you, right?”
“I’m 19 years old.”
“I’m 23, so I’m your senior.”
“Well, nothing can be done. You are so small that if you just stay in one corner you won’t bother me.”
Yoonhee is about to tell him that they have another roommate, when Sunjoo enters.
“How can a Noron dare to enter this room?”
Yoonhee is surprised that Jaeshin can tell by simply looking that Sunjoon is a Noron, but it could be that he remembers Sunjoon from that summer night when he fought the seonjupkuns who had attacked her.
“Ah, you’re the one who helped us that evening. I’m glad to meet you again. My name is Lee Sunjoon.” But Sunjoon’s calm demeanor only enfuriates Jaeshin.
“Get out! NOW!”
His yelling could be heard in all the dorm rooms, and the students know why: Yongha has entered the room.
“Tsk, tsk. Look at you. It’s been a long time.
Jaeshin’s expression changes when he sees Yongha enter, but he doesn’t answer. He’s too angry to respond. Yongha sits down, and signals Sunjoon and Yoonhee to do the same.
“Geol-roh is not a bad person, as you already know. His voice is strong, so don’t take him seriously.” Jaeshin stays silent while looking at Sunjoon.
“It’s sufficating to have so many men in this room. I’ll go crazy. I don’t want to yell anymore so all of you, except Shik, get out.”
Yongha looks at Yoonhee, surprised. Is Jaeshin being kind to this student? Is it possible I’ve been correct about the student, and Jaeshin has noticed that she’s a woman? Jaeshin ignores Yongha’s suspicious stare, and he looks at Sunjoon.
“I’m Lee Sunjoon and I’ll remain in this room with you from now on.”
Jaeshin realizes that yelling isn’t getting him anywhere. If Sunjoon isn’t affected by his yells, Jaeshin will just look like a fool by continuing to yell. Jaeshin’s a fighter, but not an idiot, and he knows when to keep his mouth shut.
Angry, he begins to undress. Yoonhee is surprised and moves closer to Sunjoon. Sunjoon looks at her, while he removes his gat, inquiring with his gaze if she has anything to tell her. Yoonhee responds with her look “No, it’s nothing.” When Jaeshin is naked from the waist up, he looks and sees that the two students are very close together.
“Hey, it looks like you may be in that type of relationship, but don’t do it in my room. The walls are thin, so even the slightest moan can be heard. If you can’t keep it in your pants, I can tell you of a good place to do it.”
Sunjoon holds back his anger and wills himself to keep his mouth shut. He’s not angry for himself, but because Yoonshik is being insulted. She, on the other hand, is so surprised to see a man’s naked torso that she doesn’t even notice the insult. Her face reddens, and she tries to hide behind Sunjoon. To her surprise, Jaeshin lies face down and grabs her.
“Hey, Shik, come look at my butt.”
“What, look at what? Why do you keep insulting me?” Yoonhee said in despair, and Jaeshin laughed.
“What do you think I’m asking you to do?”
At that moment, Yongha sees his injury. “I can’t believe you are joking around, with this type of injury! Why didn’t you say anything sooner? You are a stupid, ignorant…”
Jaeshin’s left buttcheek is covered in blood. He was asking her to look at the injury, but she can’t look at a man’s rear end. She’s frozen in place, unable to move, and Sunjoon pushes her aside. “I’ll go take a look.” he says.
“My wound would rot if a Noron looks at it!”
“Sunjoon doesn’t let himself get upset. Jaeshin gets up when Junsoon comes near, but the pain makes him lie back down. Yonha tells Sunjoon that he’ll look at it. He calls a soobook to bring something to clean the wound.
“Is scholar Geol-roh injured again?”
When Yoonhee was going to ask if he usually arrives with such injuries, the soobook arrives with the needed items.
Yoonhee sits as far away from Jaeshin’s naked rear end as she can. Although she pretends to be a man, she still can’t look at a man’s naked body. All of this, of course, doesn’t escape Yongha’s attention.
“You’ve bloodied your pants as much as women do every month!” he joked, while looking a Yoonhee. Her face turns red. She feels wary and overwhelmed by Yongha’s presence. Yongha, while curing Jaeshin’s wound, turns him around (facing towards Yoonhee). Yoonhee, utterly surprised, closes her eyes and turns towards the wall. Yongha laughs.
“Why are you so embarrassed to see the naked body of another man?”
“I…ah…am not embarrassed. It’s just that I faint easily and can’t stand to look at blood.”
She’s glad she was able to find a good excuse. Yongha is now confused over Yonghee (“is he a man or isn’t he?”). Jaeshin yells to hurry up already.
After curing the wound, Yongha jokes about Jaeshin’s firm butt, which does not humor Jaeshin at all, and he grabs Yongha by the collar. “Before you say anything else, I’m going to kill you. How dare you say such a thing?”
“Yeorim sahyun and Geol-roh sahyun must be very good friends” says Sunjoon. Jaeshin just laughs and fall back, face down.
“He corrupts the other students. Do you know what Yeorim means?” asks Jaeshin.
“What? What does it mean?” asks Yoonhee, still facing the wall.
“Yeo, which means woman, and Rim, which means bush. “Woman’s bush.” I suppose that it expresses my desire to spend the rest of my life next to him. My nickname of Geol-roh was also given to me by this bastard here.”
Yeonhee laughs nervously. This man can’t be in his right mind. No matter what, he’s still a nobleman. How can they live with those nicknames? Geol-roh is a surprise to her, but not half as much as Yeorim. Sunjoon is equally surprised, but more so over their nicknames than their persons. He asks, “How can a nobleman be covered with such wounds? This isn’t the body of a scholar. What do you do when you leave here?”
Jaeshin screams coldly. In order to break the tension, Yongha laughs.
“In any case, it’s fascinating. How is it possible that this room is occupied by three single guys? There aren’t a great number of unmarried scholars here. But no family will accept Geol-roh.”
Sunjoon smiles and asks: “Then, are you married?”
“I was married so long ago that I don’t even remember, but I think I am. When I grew up my wife was already there, ha ha ha.”
“You must have a very good relationship.”
“I grew up thinking she was my noona (older sister). It’s been three years since the last time I saw her.
“Sahyng Yeorim seems like such a different person here.”
“I agree, but what can I do? If I leave here, my family won’t send me money. If I don’t have money, I can’t go to the gisaengs’ house. And if I don’t go there, I’ll die. So, it’s a good arrangement, even if they make me study morning through night.”
“But it must have been very impressive when you got here.”
“Actually, I’m not interested in taking the exams, but if I don’t pass them, there will be no more money or concubines. I can’t do anything about it.”
Yongha continues talking about women while Jaeshin still lies facedown, refusing to put on any more clothes than what he’s wearing right now, a very short pair of underpants. Yongha tries to scare Yoonhee and Sunjoon with a story about a ghost. Finally, Yongh leaves them alone so that they can sleep.
Yoonhee is still hoping Soondol will arrive with the mats and blankets. If he doesn’t bring them soon, where will she sleep? Sunjoon realizes this. “It looks like he won’t come today. It may take him a while to get them ready. You can share mine in the meantime.
“We can share the mat. It may be a bit small but if we stay close togetherk we’ll both fit. The only problem will be the pillow.”
The problem won’t be the pillow, thinks Yoonhee. It will be having to sleep so close to you. A single woman sharing a room with two men, and on top of that sharing a mat. If anyone found out, she could be expelled and lose her designation of virgin, and be sold as a slave. She is filled with mental anguish. I was so naive to think I would come here only to study and pass the exams. But, what all good will all that do me now? She closes her eyes, trying to calm herself, by repeating: “I am a man, I am a man, I am a man.”
She calms down as soon as she opens her eyes and sees Sunjoon remove his top. She closes her eyes again, but it’s no use. The image is already burned into her brain, and she sees Sunjoon removing his top over and over again in her mind, even with her eyes closed. Even though she saw more of Jaeshin’s body, she’s even more nervous seeing Sunjoon in his underclothes.
Jaeshin complains when he lays down his mat. Damn it, how can three men share such a small room? The Norons should be with the Norons!
All dorm rooms are already filled. You should just give up.
Hey! Are you going to sleep with your dopo? Take it off!
Yoonhee is scared, so she starts to take off her clothes too. She looks at Sunjoon, whose body can be seen through the light on the fabric. What if her body also shows through her underclothes? But she can’t sleep with her dopo. Little by little she removes the ribbon on the top part, and she remembers that luckily, she has another layer of clothes between her outer garments and the bands across her breast, so her body won’t be seen.
Jaeshin, looking at her, spits. “Are you going to change before the sun comes up? Since you look like a girl, are you going to act like one too?”
Yoonhee removes her outer clothes, and quickly slides between Sunjoon and the door.
“Where do you think you’re sleeping? Come here next to me!” yells Jaeshin.
“N…no, I’m the youngest, so I should sleep next to the door” she says, inching closer to the door.
“Lie down over here! Do you expect me to sleep next to a Noron?”
“Then, do you expect me to sleep with a man on either side of me?” She looks at Sunjoon for assistance.
“I too think it’s best. You health isn’t good and the draft from the door may not be good for you. The center will be warmer.” She sighs. She was an idiot to expect anything else.
“It’s not cold. I…it’s warm…”
“Come here before I get violent.”
Because of Jaeshin’s threat, Yoonhee moves to the center. She wonders if she’d be better off with Yongha than with this naked man, but then she corrects herself. Yongha could be even worse. The room is so small that there’s no room after laying down the mats. There’d be no place to lay down an additional mat even if Soondol would bring it.
Fortunately, due to Jaeshin’s injury, he lies on his side with his back to her. Although it’s probably because he doesn’t want to face Sunjoo, who’s lying on his back. Yoonhee does the same thing, and puts the blanket over her face. Jaeshin turns off the light, and the room is dark.
Yoonhee feels suffocated by the silence, since she can hear both of them breathing. Besides, she feels as if her arm, which is touching Sunjoon, is paralyzed. Finally, she decides not to fall asleep. She’ll have to do it during the day for the duration of her stay at Suhgkyunkwan. Jaeshin, from the other side, speaks up: “Why did you come to this room, since you are a Noron?
“Dongjae and Seojae are divided into Saengwons and Jinsas. I am both, so I can sleep in either section.
“That’s even more absurd. Jinsas are better known than the Saengwons, so you should have gone to the Seojae where the Jinsas are.”
Yoonhee’s eyes are closed, but she nods her head. Sunjoon doesn’t answer, and Jaeshin, getting no response, says: “I don’t like Norons. You know that.”
“Geol-Roh sahyung gives greater importance to political parties than to people” says Sunjoon. In reply, Jaeshin turns over and after kicking him in the back, he leans over to get to him. Yoonhee is surprised to find herself trapped between the two of them.
How can I be your sahyung? Don’t call me that again. I’m a Soron and not your sahyung. I don’t discuss political parties with the dirty mouth of any Noron. Don’t you know it’s the Norons who promote and manipulate the divisions between the political factions?
Jaeshin yells louder and louder. Yoonhee doesn’t want to get involved so she keeps her eyes closed. But that doesn’t last long, since Jaeshin grabs Sunjoon by the neck. She’s stuck between their two bodies, with her face against Jaeshin’s chest. Trying to distance herself, she manages to turn towards Sunjoon. But this was a mistake. Since Jaeshin is pulling Sunjoon towards him, her body is stuck under Sunjoon. Her face turns red and she feels her blood rushing. Jaeshin pulls once again. The men’s bodies move together with her in the middle, her face is buried in Sunjoon’s chest, and…she feels Jaeshin’s “thing” pressing against her back.
In the middle of all this, Yoonhee feels something between her lips. It’s small but firm. What is it? Yoonhee turns pale when she sees what it is. She has just caressed one of Sunjoon’s nipples with her lips.
“Aaaaaahhh!” screams Yoonhee lifting her fist, which collides with Jaeshin’s chin.
“Did you just punch me with your fist?”
She’s trapped and there’s no way to escape. Sunjoon laughs and although Jaeshin grabbed Sunjoon easily, it doesn’t look like he will grab her. He starts yelling in anger, and the other students heard, and were surprised to hear that Yoonshik dared to hit Jaeshin. Yongha also heard it, and although he was surprised at first, he begins to laugh out loud. “Ha ha ha. Kim Yoon Shik is definitely a big shot. He’s a Daemul…a Daemul. Ha ha ha.”
“A Daemul?” asks his roommate.
“Yes, a Daemul. The prize that even the great Chosun couldn’t refuse. Isn’t it perfect?”
And Yoonhee’s nickname from that moment on was Daemul. And all the students could do was imagine what really happened that night at the Joong-ee-bang.
The first morning.
Yoonhee wakes up slowly from her dream, although she can’t really call it a dream since she hardly slept all night long. She feels inmobilized between two bodies, and all night long she was in full alert of all their movements. Sunjoon moved very little, but Jaeshin moved all night long…probably because of his injury.
Suddenly, she could hear drums from outside their building. Someone is beating the drums. “Wake up! Wake up!” the sooboks yelled.
“Did you sleep well?” Sunjoon asks. “I thought maybe you might not be comfortable in a new environment” he says. She slides away from him. She may be dressed as a man, but she doesn’t want him to see her “just woke up” face. “Yes, I slept well.”
“You weren’t cold?”
“No, I was fine.”
Jaeshin moves from one side to the other, angry over the sounds of the drums and covers his head with the blanket. In a rough voice, he yells: “How dare they beat the drums before I wake up?”
The sound of the drums are heard again. The soobok beats it three times and yells: “It’s time to wash up.”
Yoonhee carefully asks Jaeshin: “U…um, aren’t you going to wash up?”
“Geesh, just take the sesutdae* (a wash basin) and get out!
Even though he’s still half-sleep, he’s still scary. Sunjoon laughs and takes his sesutdae. He steps outside and the soobok is there to pour hot water in his sesutdae. Yoonhee is folding the mat and blankets when Sunjoon returns with the kettle of water. He begins to wash his face and she stares at him from the back. He removes his Mangun. After washing his face, he lifts up his legs to wash his feet. She can see that his feet are big and the hairs on his legs are so light that from a distance it looks like he doesn’t have any. She squats down and hides her feet with her hands. There’s a big difference. Her feet are much smaller while his are very masculine.
When he is finished, he places the bowl with the dirty water outside and the soobok come rapidly to take it away. Yoonhee is ashamed that she is still wearing her pajamas. She takes her clothes and goes to a corner near the door, her back to the rest of the room and very carefully begins to wash her face and other parts of her body. She is so concentrated in what she’s doing that she doesn’t see Sunjoon behind her.
When she is finished and turns around, her legs fail her and she falls to the floor. Sunjoon is completely nude! With her eyes wide open, she absorbs everything that she sees: his wide shoulders, his arms, his back, his waist and his “thing” which makes her face turn red. Inside her head she repeats the image over and over. Sunjoon sees that she is completely stunned, with her eyes fixed on him.
“At least you should have averted your eyes. How can you keep staring at me like that?”
She tries to tell him that her body isn’t responding to her commands, but she can’t speak. All she can do is get redder. Worried by her expression, he turns toward her. She can’t move, she can’t scream, and worse of all, she can’t avert her eyes. Seeing his nude chest and only makes her blush more. She sees his “thing” which last night casually brushed against her. Her head is a complete chaos and she can’t breathe. He puts on his undershorts and then comes toward her. Although she can no longer see “it”, she sees the line of hair on his lower stomach which leads to…
Sunjoon touches her head and feels her face burn. He’s worried that she may have gotten sick. But the worse thing for her, is that now she is seeing everything up close.
“It looks like you are running a fever. Your face is very red and … you are sweating!”
Yoonhee contains herself from telling him it is all his fault. She turns away and buries her head in her arms.
“I’ll be okay if I stay like this for a while. In the meantime, just get dressed.”
“Are you sure you’re okay? Should I call someone from the infirmary?”
“N…no! Just get dressed.
Sunjoon dresses quickly. Yoonhee tries to calm down. How many times will she have to see a naked man in this place? And how to put up with it? How long before she goes crazy? She thinks to herself that it won’t be possible, unless she starts seeing herself as a man. After Sunjoon is complete dressed, he returns to Yoonhee’s side, but she yells that everything is fine. Sunjoon observes her closely to be sure she is all right, and he notices how smooth her skin is. Her face is to beautiful to be a man. He doesn’t want to insult her by telling her she looks like a woman, so he keeps his thoughts to himself. His hands accidentally caress her sangtoo when he gets up to put up his hair.
An uncomfortable silence engulfs them. Now they are completely dressed but, fortunately, the silence is broken by the sound of the sooboks calling all the students to breakfast.
Bows and Arrows
Yoonhee and Sunjoon lead the Bicheondang with their bows and arrows. There is almost no one there except a few sooboks. She remembers how she had to fight against the crowd to arrive at this place to take the exam. At that time, she couldn’t even imagine being a student in this place. But one thing has not changed. After all this time, she still has to pretend to be a man in front of Sunjoon.
Sunjoon carefully ties his sleeves and gets up on the platform. Yoonhee observes him from the back. Maybe it’s because his body is stretched out, but he looks surprisingly big today. Her face turns red when she remembers his body since this morning. Unwittingly, she begins to imagine seeing his nude body again. She admonishes herself for being a perver, but her memory of what she saw refuses to leave. Sunjoon, without knowing that he is naked in the eyes of Yoonhee, shoots his arrow from his bow. It lands right in the center, in the bullseye, as if he had been practicing for hours. He grabs another arrow and shoots.
After having shot ten arrows, Sunjoon cleans the sweat off his face. Yoonhee, who all this time has been thinking that firing an arrow with a bow should be fun, tries one herself, but when she stretches the bow, she realizes why Sunjoon was sweating. You really need a lot more than normal strength for this, which is expected from a man, so in her case she has to try even harder. Sunjoon notices how she’s using all her strength, he approaches her from behind and holds her with both his arms.
“Don’t be greedy. Just stretch the bow with the normal strength that you have.”
Yoonhee suddenly loses all her strength, not because of the tension of the bow, but because his body is touching hers and her temperature is rising. Sunjoon puts his hands on her shoulders and says:
“You can’t shoot the arrow simply by stretching the bow.”
He pushes my body with his body, chest and stomach, pushing firmly.
“To be a great archer, you must know your body. You need to get in the proper position, and you must control your mind and your breathing. If you don’t start by doing this, you won’t be able to shoot any arrows.
“Yoonhee was about to go crazy with each one of his touches, but now one of his legs slid between hers. Her whole body went rigid when Sunjoon’s leg pushed her legs apart.
“You must spread your legs like this.”
He places her waist in a straight line, and he places his head next to hers, with his cheeks touching hers. He adjusts her head so that she faces the target.
As to the target, now is the opportunity for your eyes to rest after reading so many books up close, but the most important thing is that you open you eyes and look clearly.
He stops. He notices Yoonhee’s smell; it is different from the smell of a man. He can’t understand it. He tries to avoid this strange sensation and he grabs Yoonhee’s wrist so that she can aim towards the target with the bow. His fingers stretch out towards the arrow.
“Try not to shoot with your wrist, but rather with your stomach, breast and arm.” Sunjoon says, as his hand approaches her chest.
“Try to think that you are filling your lungs with air” he says, and while he speaks, his hand touches Yoonhee’s chest. Surprised, Yoonhee removes his hand.
“If you have already shot the arrow, hold your breath and send the arrow to the bullseye.”
Yoonhee tries to concentrate on what he has said. He steps back to watch her. He closes his fist tightly and then opens it again. He looks at the palm of his hand thinking of the body he has just touched. It’s much softer than that of any normal man. Not just his chest, also his armss, stomach, back, shoulders…a strange tingling sensation runs up and down his neck, and he can’t understand this new sensation. He shivers and closes both his fists. He reaches the conclusion that Yoonhee’s body is soft because “he” still hasn’t matured due to his illness.
Yoonhee’s first arrow falls to the ground. She had always thought archery was a minor sport, but it’s a lot more difficult than she expected. Yoonhee decides that she will try for at least one arrow to hit the target, so the lifts the bow again.
“Don’t shoot thinking only of reaching the target.” says Sunjoon. Yoonhee lowers the bow and looks at him.
“I’m only trying to shoot the arrow calmly and strongly. If I shoot greedily, I’ll only make you mad and get you frustrated” she adds, a bit ashamed.
“I think that broadening my mind is a bit difficult, or else, the task is too easy for me.”
Suddenly she hears: “Tsk, tsk. You are hopeless. Generally, most people try to get at least one in the bullseye.”
Yoonhee was alerted by the voice of Jaeshin. He looked at her up and down.
“Why are you looking at me that way?”
“I heard about your yangmul (which means “treasure”, “thing”…”penis”). It’s very big.”
Yoonhee’s face pales, as if she’d seen a ghost. Big penis? She doesn’t even have one! She looks at Sunjoon and laughed in complicity
“What do you mean by “big”? What are you trying to say?” asks Sunjoon.
“It’s because of Chosun’s undergarments.”
Yoonhee’s head begins to spin, because she suddenly realizes what they, and the rest of the students, must have thought when she brought back Chosun’s undergarment. She’s about to clarify that it’s not what they think, but she decides that it’s best this way because it confirms her “masculinity”. When Sunjoon walks towards the target to remove the arrows, Yoonhee takes advantage of the rumor by telling Jaeshin:
“Ha, ha, in spite of my slight appearance, I am very masculine…where it can’t be seen!”
Jaeshin responds while he plays with the arrows: “Then tonight let me take a look at it.”
Yoonhee is surprised by his rudeness, and shakes her head no. She puts her hands on her waist and lifts her chin saying: “I’d do it only if you were a woman. I won’t let anyone else see it, except a beautiful woman like Chosun. I can’t show my treasure to just anyone!”
Surprised, Jaeshin looks hard at Yoonhee. The small kid looks so innocent, but seeing him in this light makes him look even prettier. Jaeshin brings up the bow and prepares to shot an arrow which is directed not at the bullseye, but at Sunjoon.
“W…what are you doing?”
She yells to Sunjoon. The arrow misses him by a few inches and impales itself on the ground. After seeing that Sunjoon is fine, she goes to Jaeshin and throws the arrows at him.
“Are you crazy? How can you shoot an arrow at a person?” Without a single change in his expression, Jaeshin answers:
“Now is the only chance to be free of a future puppet for the Norons.”
“What? Don’t you think your jokes are going too far?”
“Don’t worry. Do you think I’m so crazy that I’d this in full view? I’d rather do it secretly so no one will know.”
“You’re crazy! Your nickname fits you perfectly!”
If I don’t kill him now, he’ll surely die by your hands. Aren’t you a Nam-in?”
Yoonhee is furious. There’s no need to remind her that he’s aware of all their social positions. Jaeshin brought his face near to hers, and whispered:
“Why are you studying here?”
“What difference does that make?”
Jaeshin answers: “Although many students say otherwise, they are all only here for one reason. To obtain a government position. If you want any filthy government job, this is the place to train for it.”
“If you are so anxious for one of those jobs, then you should study!” says Yoonhee.
“If you think the only way to solve things now is by killing one another, shouldn’t you study, so you can make a difference?”
“Study? Don’t be studpid. The few available jobs are all occupied by Norons, without leaving room for anyone else. His Majesty is not too confident in the Norons right now, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be stopped.
Yoonhee is about to explode in anger. Sunjoon after removing the last of the arrow, sees that Jaeshin takes Yoonhee’s chin in his hand and moves her face close to him.
“You should be happy that you’ve discovered that I’m crazy. But you, you are a real surprise. At first, you looked like a girl, following Garang everywhere…but you have more balls than the rest of the students. What I said yesterday, that I don’t discriminate between men and women (meaning: for sex) was a lie. But starting like now, because of you, it could become the truth!
Suddenly Sunjoon runs towards them full of anger. He grabs Jaeshin’s wrist and removes his hand from Yoonhee’s chin. He returns to his courteous ways and greets Jaeshin. “Have you had breakfast?”
Sunjoon is not aware that he’s putting more and more pressure on Jaeshin’s wrist. Only Jaeshin ca feel the pressure of his hand. He tries to act unaffected and responds calmly:
“Yeorim always has food in his room. I just ate there.”
“Geol-roh sahyung, it’s not proper to shoot an arrow when there’s a person near the target. It doesn’t matter how good an archer you are.
Jaeshin imagines that’s the reason why Sunjoon is holding on so tightly to his wrist. He tries to walk away, but unsuccessfully. Sunjoon is stronger than he thought. He’s remembering how Sunjoon fought the seonjupkuns that night. “This guy must be much more than just a bookworm.” thinks Jaeshin.
“Are you trying to start a fight? Why don’t you let me go?” Sunjoon realizes he’s still holding Jaeshin’s arm, and let’s go.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude.”
“Classes will start soon, so go get ready. I’ll shoot a few more arrows.”
When Sunjoon and Yoonhee turn around to leave, Jaeshin turns his back to them and grimaces at the pain. There’s a red mark on his wrist where Sunjoon held him.
Yoonhee realizes that Sunjoon is still angry, and says: “He really is crazy. How can he be a scholar?”
“I think he’s a good person” says Sunjoon.
“He almost shot you!”
“I got too near the target.”
“Whatever you say.”
Sunjoon continues: “He’s one of the best archers. I wasn’t his target. If he had actually aimed at me, he would have killed me. If he had really shot at me, he would have killed me.”
“How do you know he’s such a great archer?” He could have missed.
“I can feel it. The arrow arrived exactly where it was aimed. And all of his other arrows hit the bullseye.
The Math Study Group
[This takes place after Sunjoon and Yoonhee’s first two classes–Yoonhee is pretty much dejected after the first class when Professor Jang scolded her. He asked her about the reading, and when she answers, he tells her, “I told you to tell me the meaning, not to recite it.” Then he asks Sunjoon, who is able to answer correctly. Yoohee is also scared about the level of difficulty of the classes. The second class is with Professor Yoo. The next scene is after Professor Yoo leaves the class after assigning them the reading.]
Yoonhee lets out a deep sigh, and says to Sunjoon as she is packing up her books, “did you understand everything? I have no idea what’s going on.”
“It’s not any different for me–I have a hard time following it as well.”
Yoonhee becomes a little peeved–it’s obvious he understands everything; she is the one having a hard time following.
“You’re terrible!” (This I had a hard time translating. The original was “얄미우십니다!”, which is kind of way of saying “I hate you!” or “You suck!” but not with the same amount of harshness or bite that it means in english. She is simply exclaiming with no intention of actually saying that she hates him or that he sucks, that he is being a little patronizing. lol. I hope that make sense.)
Sunjoon is surprised at her exclamation–her peeved tone made him feel as though he was with a woman. Yoonhee is a little startled, as well, because she thinks the same thought. She is reminded to earlier when Jaeshin said that she is like a woman in front of Sunjoon.
Even though she tries to be careful, her real self tends to come out when she’s with this person, strangely enough. It’s fortunate that Sunjoon seems as though he doesn’t sense these type of things, but if it was Yongha, she might have already been found out.
“Hey you all. Let’s go back to Dongjae.”
Yoonhee jumps at the sound of Yongha’s voice. She forgot he was in the same class. She turns around to find him smiling–what is he thinking? Yongha’s smile makes her uncomfortable; the thought of what is behind it sends chills through her body.
“Your books look heavy. Should I help you?”
Yoonhee is extra weary of her words, so she deepens her voice, and responds, “I’ll be okay. It seems like you’re having a harder time with your books. Should I help you, instead?”
“I’d be grateful. Thanks, Daemul.”
With his answer, he puts his pile of books on top of Yoonhee’s. He pretends not to see Yoonhee’s eyes widen at the weight and says to Sunjoon, “I heard your morning class was with Professor Jang (I think they made professor Jang into Professor Jung, but anyway, this professor is not the famous historical figure 정약용 Jung Yak Yong, like in the drama). And your afternoon class is with professor Yoo… You are really unlucky. Be warned. These two professors’ classes are the most difficult. Even the brightest of students give up when it comes to them.
Sunjoon just smiles as he takes Yongha’s stack of books from Yoonhee and puts them on top of his. Yoonhee suddenly thinks about how Yongha has just referred to her as_Daemul–in fact, she’s heard herself referred as “Daemul” by a lot of other people today.
“W-wait. Did you call me Daemul?”
“Yeah, it seems like it just naturally because your nickname.”
“W-what? How can it— I have a nickname I was thinking of for myself! Can’t I just–”
“It’s too late. All the students already know you as so.”
“But Daemul… it means…”
“What? You’re so perverted! It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s your “thing” that’s big. It could just refer to your character!”
Yoonhee’s face reddens. The latter is obviously just an afterthought.
“But what kind of nickname is Daemul?! I agree that Garang is a nice nickname, but Daemul is…”
“Wait! Garang… is that referring to me?”
Sunjoon remembers how other students were calling him by this nickname earlier that day. He looks at Yoonhee as he says, “as a matter of fact, it seemed like you were also calling me that…”
“Ah, it just happened that way, since other people were already…”
“I got it. I understand, Daemul doryung.”
He turns his back to a stammering Yoonhee and leaves with that answer. Yoonhee chases after him, saying, “are you mad? The nickname suits you so well that I just naturally… Please don’t call me Daemul.”
“Your nickname suits you as well.”
Yongha shows up behind the two again. “Wait for me!”
“Ugh, it’s so noisy.”
Jaeshin glares at Yongha, who is chatting away. Yongha replies, “there’s no one here_as_noisy as you are. What keeps you here on campus today?” as he clings onto Jaeshin.
Jaeshin twists his arm and throws him down onto the porch, pressing down on his neck. “Stop touching me, it’s disgusting!”
“A-ack! Let me go!”
Sunjoon puts Yongha’s books down. Jaeshin presses Yongha’s neck down even harder when he sees Yongha’s books. “You’ve been making new students carry your books?”
Sunjoon answers calmly, “No, it’s not that. It’s only right that we should carry the books for a sunbae.”
“It was just because I was teasing Daemul a little. I’ll carry my own books next time.”
Jaeshin lets Yongha go. Yongha tidies his clothes and sits down. “You’re so monstrous! Doing all that just because I hugged you. Even after I saw your bare butt yesterday.”
Jaeshin ignores him and turns to Sunjoon and Yoonhee.
“You had class with Professor Yoo? Well, you should be grateful. If you had either Professor Yoo or Professor Jang for any harder subjects, you might have actually died.”
Yoonhee feels her spirit draining away from her. She just wants to collapse into a deep sleep in her room. It’s partly because she didn’t get any sleep last night, but also because she is tired out just by the thought that she won’t get any tonight, either. Sunjoon takes_her books from her hands and sits her down. He calls to the jaejiks to bring some water.
One jaejik runs towards the cafeteria and brings a bowl and a jug. Sunjoon holds the bowl as the jaejik pours the water, and Yongha is about to reach his arm out for the bowl, but Sunjoon’s hand extends the bowl past Yongha’s hand and to Yoonhee.
“Drink this; it’ll make you feel better. You don’t look so well.”
Yoonhee starts gulping down the water quickly, and Sunjoon takes away the bowl from her before she finishes. “Stop! You should leave some room so you can eat later.”
Yongha, surprised, looks back and forth at Sunjoon and Yoonhee. Sunjoon is completely unaware that his actions make Yoonhee seem more like a woman.
“Look here, Garang. Daemul is a man. Do you really have to treat him like your woman?”
“I think you mean, like a younger sibling.” says Sunjoon.
Yoonhee tightens at Yongha’s question, but is strangely not very relieved to hear Sunjoon’s answer. It’s fortunate that she won’t be found out, but she isn’t very happy that Sunjoon is not at least a little suspicious that she is a woman. Yoonhee’s shoulders drop in disappointment.
“Are you tired?”
“No, I’m just discouraged. I don’t know if I can do well in these classes.”
Jaeshin taps her with his feet. “Don’t take Professor Jang’s criticism too hard. From now on, things like that are going to happen so many times you’ll forget about it. If you let it affect you so much, you won’t last.”
“Geol-roh, I think you should take some criticisms to heart,” jokes Yongha.
Sunjoon asks, “it seems as though Dongjae is pretty empty. Where is everyone…?”
Yongha, after a drink of water, replies, “most of them are probably playing around in Banchon, since any leisurely activities like chess is forbidden within campus. Some of them might have already formed a study group. There are a few people who go to Banchon to read forbidden books, since the law hardly extends into those parts.”
Yoonhee has also read her share of forbidden books. Not to learn, but to copy and sell at a high price.
Sunjoon asks, “Do you, Geoh-roh or Yeorim sahyung, have a study group?”
“Why would we? Sounds annoying.”
“Yeah, I don’t have enough time to spend with my gisaengs as it is.”
“Then, are there any study groups studying 산학 san-hak (mathematics)?”
Yongha, as though he welcomes the thought of a study group for math, says, “there was one before, but I don’t know about now. Are you interested in doing one with me?”
Yoonhee’s eyes widen and she turns to Yongha. She is surprised because she can’t imagine Yongha or Jaeshin studying. She realizes, even with their character, there’s no denying that they are also scholars, and must be well learned, despite having different reasons for being here, whether it be for women or whatnot.
Yongha, glad at the idea, starts chatting Sunjoon up about possible books to study from. “In any case, math is a subject that could benefit from a large group! We should try to find other people outside us four.”
“What do you mean, ‘us four’?”
Jaeshin and Yoonhee both shout simultaneously at Sunjoon and Yongha. Jaeshin has no intention of joining a study group, and Yoonhee is already burdened with the existing courseload.
“It’s difficult enough with my classes.”
“If you two want to do it, just do it and leave other people out if it!”
Despite Jaeshin and Yoonhee’s protests, Yongha acts as the plan is already set, going on about who else to drag into the group. Sunjoon sits between Yoonhee and Jaeshin to try and convince them. “Math should be made familiar to a Sunbi, just like archery. This is a necessity, not a study. Later we might not have the same opportunity to study like this, so it’s important we do it now. How can one look after the country’s people without having learned the subject? And you might find it fun…”
Even if she does learn math, she won’t have to look after her country’s people, so what is it to her? But Yoonhee looks at Sunjoon. She shouldn’t have looked at him, because she weakens at the sight of his eyes. She sees his pleading expression, and an answer slips out of her. “Ok, I’ll do it, too.”
She gasps in her head. What did she just do? Her entire body is tired and beat–how is it that her mouth just shot off so energetically? She feels her spirit draining away from her body once again. She remembers back when she used to think that all Sungkyunkwan scholars were lazy noblemen who learn to memorize like parrots. How wrong she was then. If she knew how hard they had it, following their coursework, she might not even have dared set foot in the place.
Yongha tries to coax Jaeshin into joining as well, but Jaeshin only retorts angrily, “You expect me to study across the table from a Noron?!”
“You’re already sleeping side by side, so what’s so bad about studying together?”
“I told you! It’s best if Garang just goes to Seojae.”
Sunjoon jumps in between the two. “Goel-roh sahyung. You don’t want to join because you think I’ll end up teaching you, right? Just leave your pride behind.”
The three see Jaeshin’s eyes ablaze with anger. And like Yoonhee, he ends up saying something he regrets seconds later.
“What did you say?! You think I’d be worse than you? Fine, I’ll show you. I’ll be the one teaching you, you’ll see.”
“Alright, you can teach us. So we’ve decided! You’ve promised all to join, so you can’t go back on your word.”
Sunjoon, at the sound of the bell signaling that it is mealtime, turns to go, leaving Jaeshin agape at what just happened. He realizes he got trapped into the ordeal by Sunjoon’s maneuvering, but acknowledging would only make himself more laughable, so he just sits in a daze, watching Sunjoon walk away.
The Second Night
[Takes place on the same day as the last scene–between this scene and last, all that’s happened is that Yoonhee first learns about Hong Byeok Seo (the Red Messenger) through the news posted as well as through the other students.]
The night is deep, but the rooms at the dormitories remain lit. Joong-ee-bang is one of them, and in the room, Yoonhee, Sunjoon, and Jaeshin each sit with a wall to their backs. Yoonhee reads desperately what she learned from class, and after reading and re-reading, she starts finally comprehending the content, little by little, and she notes down all she can understand. Sunjoon, having borrowed a mathematics book from Yongha, is busy calculating and diagramming problems, while Jaeshin sits reading a book of poems. Reading isn’t very like him, Yoonhee thinks, but Jaeshin reads in his typical Jaeshin-like manner, with his clothes hanging open to show his chest, leaning in not so proper a position. Thankfully, after the fiasco last night, Yoonhee is able to handle seeing Jaeshin’s exposed chest without getting red.
Yoonhee’s eyes stray from her book to Sunjoon. She was wrapped up in the chaos of adjusting that she had no time to comfortably stare at him the entire day. She is grateful that she can at least see him like this, in this room.
“Hey, Shik! Do you want something for your chin?”
At Jaeshin’s voice, Yoonhee’s eyes tear away from Sunjoon to him.
“It’s fine that you are staring at Garang and all, but isn’t it too much to drool like that?”
Sunjoon’s eyes raise up from his book to look at Yoonhee. Yoonhee, surprised, waves her arm “no” and replies angrily to Jaeshin.
“I-it’s not like that! When did I drool?”
“Take a look at your desk; there’s a pool.”
Yoonhee looks down at her desk, but there’s nothing there. Angry, she decides to concentrate on her book and not bother respond to Jaeshin’s taunts, but he does not stop.
“You should think about it from Garang’s position. How dirtied would he feel, having someone with the same parts in the middle stare at him like that?”
She wants to ignore him, but this last joke hurts too much. She would rather take a beating from him than hear this type of thing. Because she is in Yoonshik’s clothing, it’s truly possible that Sunjoon could feel uncomfortable if she kept staring like she did. She decides not to retort, in fear that tears might come out, and only makes a fist underneath her desk. Yoonhee hears Sunjoon’s angry tone.
“Why are you being so childish, sahyung? I think the one who would feel more dirtied in this room is Daemul doryung.”
She brightens a little at his voice, but is still unable to raise her head. She wants to protest to Jaeshin’s accusations, too, but she’s afraid she’ll only look at Sunjoon again with the same eyes just like before.
“Didn’t Geoh-roh sahyung also keep staring at Daemul doryung as well?”
Jaeshin seems a little embarrassed as he decides to just look back into his book again, as though he didn’t say anything. Yoonhee pretends to read as well. As long as Jaeshin is in the room, she can’t look at Sunjoon like that. It’s supposed to be strange, for a man to look at another man like this.
The room is silent again. As the night deepens, Yoonhee’s eyes start losing their will to stay open. It’s because she is tired out from today, but mostly because she didn’t get any sleep last night. Soondol didn’t show up again today, which meant that she would have to share a blanket with Sunjoon again, and even though she tries to stay awake in worry of handling another night, Yoonhee’s head starts to get closer and closer to her books until it arrives on her desk, fully asleep.
Sunjoon yawns and discovers Yoonhee, already deep in sleep. Jaeshin sees her as well, and grumbles, but quietly so that she doesn’t hear.
“It’s probably because he is tired from today–he seems to be having a hard time adjusting to a new place. On top of that, he isn’t so well.”
“He didn’t seem like it; he’s so thin. Everyone outside these walls think we scholars just play around, but most of us study as though our lives are on the line. There are even a lot who end up walking out because of the workload.”
Sunjoon blows out the candle, and sets up the blanket. He tries to lay Yoonhee down, so he leans her head onto his shoulder as Jaeshin puts away her desk. Sunjoon raises her up, surprised to find that she is much lighter than he was bracing for. In his arms, everything of hers looks so small–her head, her shoulders, and her body. He thinks that it must be due to her poor health, and looks at her sympathetically. As Sunjoon lays her down, Jaeshin looks at the notes Yoonhee’s been making.
“I’m impressed. He’s bright, for a young one.”
Sunjoon goes to Jaeshin to see what he is looking at. She had noted down every detail of today’s classes, neatly organized. Jaeshin jokes, “I should ask him to let me see this for the exam.”
“I should, too. I guess he was being modest, saying that he couldn’t follow the class. I feel a little lied to.”
“Hey you, stop being so patronizing. You don’t even have to do these type of things and are doing well enough in class.”
Sunjoon sees another book — it’s a book with the same notes, and he tilts his head in_curiosity, unaware Yoonhee is making a book with the notes so her brother can study from it.
Jaeshin starts undressing to sleep, and Sunjoon follows. When he is done, he sees Yoonhee, who is fully dressed. He should probably undress her. But for some reason, even though it should be nothing, his hands won’t go to Yoonhee’s body so easily. He sits there, conflicted. The longer he goes back and forth about whether to undress Yoonhee, he becomes more and more sucked into her sleeping face. But to find another fully grown man’s face as beautiful isn’t proper. He tries to chase away his thoughts and works up the courage to undo the strings of her yoogun.
Even though she is deep asleep, she responds to the touch of his fingers on his chin. Her face makes an expression he hadn’t seen before–her nose scrunches and her mouth forms a small smile. Sunjoon freezes. Why is his heart pounding? This isn’t right.
He goes to the ribbon of her clothes and pulls it undone, and he tries hard to keep his hands from shaking. A little shaken, he tries to finish the job fast, and gets her out of her outer clothes quickly. He leaves her clothed in the rest–the two layers of underclothes she slept in last night.
He takes off her beoseon (socks), and her small feet make a normally expressionless Sunjoon redden. Yoonhee makes a small movement, and he is taken back by her waistline, which doesn’t feel like a normal man’s.
“How did you two come to know each other?”
As soon as he hears Jaeshin’s voice, Sunjoon snaps out of it, and puts the blanket over Yoonhee. “We met each other last summer during the Cho-shi… Why do you ask?”
“You guys aren’t even the same faction, so I was wondering how you were close. Even if the king is talking about coexisting peacefully and all, because of the division, there might be a bad end to those types of relationships.”
“Is that what you are afraid of? And why you’re pushing us away?”
“That’s not what I’m saying!”
Jaeshin, after shouting, quietens at the sight of Yoonhee sleeping. He turns his back to the other two and quietly says, “I’m talking about you two.” (meaning: a homosexual relationship).
“We are good learning friends.” (He says 글동무, which is kind of like i guess school buddies or colleagues)
“What? If you asked anyone, they would probably be fighting to be your learning buddy. It’s just strange that you chose him! Are you trying to convert him to a Noron?”
“I’ve never thought that.”
Sunjoon lies down. He wishes it would be dark, but the moonlight shines into the room. He’s never thought to make Yoonshik into a Noron, or why he wants to be together with him, a Nam-in. Is he purely a learning friend? That’s not completely true. It’s something he can’t answer.
Yoonhee, who is under the same blanket, unconsciously fidgets, uncomfortable without a pillow, and so ends up resting her head on Sunjoon’s shoulder. Her sangtoo touches his face. His chest tightens in nervousness. However answerless to why, he was happy to be with this person. But it’s wrong that his heart keeps beating, or that he wants to touch his face, or that he wants to hold him. As Jaeshin said, wouldn’t Kim Yoonshik feel dirtied if he knew that Sunjoon felt this way?
Kim Yoonshik. He is beautiful. He probably had a hard time when he was younger, and therefore became weak and ill, and most likely that’s where his shyness roots from. With this thought, Sunjoon decides that it’s best that he must treat Yoonshik like a proper man as well as not cross the line so that Yoonshik isn’t made uncomfortable.
After a while, Sunjoon slowly falls asleep, wrapped in the warmth of the body adjacent to his.
Yoonshik’s Sister, Part two
[Jaeshin steps out of school with the excuse that he is going to “go buy a hat”, but Yongha predicts Jaeshin is evading the school meeting in which the west and east dormitory votes on which new student to deliver letters. Yoonhee observes how divided the political factions are when she sees that the seojae picks a noron student and dongjae picks a soron without fail, despite the fact that there are other few students within each dormitory that is not of the same faction. All this while, Sunjoon is also constantly being pressured to remove himself from dongjae from other students.
Yongha notes that Yoonhee is probably going to be alone with Sunjoon today, since their vacation day is two days away there’s no reason Jaeshin will come back for one more day of classes. Yoonhee is both excited and nervous…]
Even though the two are alone in the room, nothing is different. Yoonhee still has to study to be able to follow the course content, and Sunjoon has his head buried in his book, as expected. Yoonhee loses all the anxiousness as she realizes that she has to stick to her studies or else she won’t be able to pass the next class. After the first class, it’s just a miracle for her that she can get through a class without professor Jang calling her out. On top of that, professor Yoo’s classes are so fast-paced she is having a hard time just reading what he assigned, never mind studying it closely.
When the books pile up one by one on her desk, she senses a strange feeling from Sunjoon. Even though he has his book open, his pages aren’t turning. Even though he isn’t showing it, his expression is dark, and Yoonhee can’t find herself able to ignore him. So she closes her book. She approaches his desk and puts her elbow on it, holding her chin up with her hand. Sunjoon, a little startled at first, smiles.
“What is it?”
“Let’s play. It seems like you don’t want to study either.”
Sunjoon jokes, “how did you come to such an idea? It seemed like after you came into Sungkyunkwan, you spent all your time with your books and hardly gave me the time of day.”
“When did I do that?”
She wasn’t ignoring him–she was trying to be careful not to meet his gaze. It seems like every time she is in front of him, she ends up reverting back to her female self. And with Yongha always around, she has to stay wary. No, she should be wary, with just anyone, not just Yongha.
That one day when she woke up, realizing she fell asleep before Sunjoon and Jaeshin did… She still can’t shake off the shock from that day. She went through heaven and hell wondering whether she was found out, until Jaeshin and Sunjoon woke up. Thankfully it seemed like they did not notice anything. Even so, she still can’t shake off the shock. That’s why she is being more careful now than ever.
Yoonhee relaxes at the sight of Sunjoon’s smile.
Sunjoon asks, “are you trying to comfort me?”
“Is there something you should be comforted about?” (Note, Yoonhee does know that Sunjoon’s unhappy with the peer pressure, but she is trying to joke it off to make him feel better).
Sunjoon looks at Yoonhee’s face. He finds himself smiling as he looks at Yoonhee’s expression. How can a man make such a lovable face? Yoonhee realizes that she has made a woman’s face yet again and reverts her voice and expression back to that of a “man’s”.
“You came into dongjae because you didn’t want to be picked, right? You wanted to avoid the fight between the norons and sorons…”
“There’s no one reason someone does anything.”
It’s a vague answer, but the best that Sunjoon can give her. How could he say, he wanted to stay close to the person in front of him, and that he came to dongjae because it was easier that he came here than to bring Kim Yoonshik into seojae? He says to Yoonhee,
“I know we are study buddies, but don’t you think we could be good play buddies, too?”
“What should we do? Maybe it’ll be fun to do math together?” (Sunjoon, representing all the nerds out there).
Yoonhee thinks to herself, he comes up with math, for play. He is something else–it’s frustrating enough to give her a headache. Yoonhee makes fists with her hand and exclaims, “but we always do that with other students!”
“Let’s just talk.”
“Just make conversation! There’s no saying only women enjoy gossip.”
“Ah, isn’t conversing just talking? You’re right, men do enjoy their share of talking…”
“It’s true. It seems like men talk a lot too. They talk so much, but they always ignore women for doing the same and try to hush them…”
She stops, as she realizes she’s speaking again from a woman’s point of view. She chastises herself in her head.
“You always seem so understanding of others. You’re right–us men try to understand too little about how a woman might think.”
“A–ah, yes. But I still can’t seem to understand how they think, though. Ha, ha.. ha.”
“Same with me. Speaking of women, I have something to ask…”
“I told you, I don’t know very much about women!”
“About your sister…”
My sister? Yoonhee thinks, by “your sister”, he means… me. She is startled, and confused about what expression or answer she should give.
“When I met her that time, she didn’t speak at all. It might be rude of me to ask, but is she…”
From his tone, Yoonhee realizes that he is trying to ask if she is a mute.
“N-no! It was because she was outside, and she was probably really embarrassed that a man like you was speaking to her…I mean, that’s what she told me. And my sister is usually very quiet…”
She stammers through her answer, and continues, determined to make a good impression of “Yoonshik’s sister” on Sunjoon.
“She’s very quiet and mature and…smart…and beautiful! And she is…somewhat skilled at sewing. Just a little. She can read pretty well, and… and she is kind!”
She wants to say more good things, but she can’t seem to think of anything else. Sunjoon smiles. “I heard that she is older than you. How come she still hasn’t…”
“Ah, she was too busy helping me with my illness and looking after our family.”
Sunjoon looks down, as though he feels sympathetic. Yoonhee doesn’t want to see his sympathy so she also lowers her head and says quietly,
“But she is not that old. She’s only one year older than me, and so one year younger than you. I…I mean, I guess twenty is a little late to be unmarried still.”
“I felt bad looking at the state of her clothes.”
“Please don’t say that. I… I mean, my sister… My sister isn’t such a pitiful person to warrant your sympathy.”
“It’s not sympathy or pity. Your sister is a woman, also–wouldn’t she want to wear good shoes and pretty clothes? She is sacrificing all of that to support you; how can I not sympathize with such an admirable person? I only felt bad seeing her clothes because I was embarrassed of the costly clothing I was in.”
Yoonhee hugs her knees and looks up to Sunjoon. Even though it was just in passing, she remembers “Yoonshik’s sister” as being happy to have met Sunjoon that time. She wants to let Sunjoon know.
“My sister told met to let you know that it seemed like you were a good person.”
“How come you are just telling me this now?”
“She said that your voice is very nice as well.”
“Ah… I couldn’t even hear her voice.”
“She said that you were handsome, and that it seemed like your face was glowing.”
“She saw my face? How unfair! I did not even get to see a single strand of her hair.”
“She said she was comforted just by your presence by her side.”
Yoonhee is sitting in front of Sunjoon now, not as a man, but a woman. Her hair is long. She is wearing a bright, red skirt. In Yoonhee’s imagination, Yoonhee is turning her head from Sunjoon, hiding her shy face with her sleeve. In Sunjoon’s imagination as well, Yoonshik is sitting in front of him, but as Yoonshik’s sister. He is startled by what he just fantasized, and tries to calm himself down. Did I just fantasize about Kim Yoonshik dressed in women’s clothing? Even though it was just an imagination, how could I just do that? And then feel nervous? How can I call myself a sunbi?
“What are you two doing, sitting across from one another.”
Yoonhee, who was lost in her own thoughts, almost screams at Yongha’s entry. She barely stops herself, and replies, “we were just making conversation. Why is Yeo-rim sahyung here?”
“To play. Include me in your conversation!”
It seems like Yongha is always here. He was here yesterday, and the day before. It almost seems as though they are sharing a room with him, except that he sleeps elsewhere. So it’s almost no use to ask him why he is here. Yongha settles down in the room and says, “I can’t breathe if I don’t surround myself in a woman’s scent — but for some reason, it seems lately as though I can get by whenever I come into this room. Isn’t it strange?”
For Yongha, Yoonhee laughs loudly like a man and responds, “hahaha, it must be the scent coming from Chosun’s underclothes that’s keeping you breathing.”
It’s almost a good thing that Yongha frightens her, since it means she can stay alert. Thanks to him, she is now able to get through other hurdles without struggling, and it seems like other students haven’t noticed anything else.
“Anyway, what were you two talking so intensely about?”
“We were talking about Daemul doryung’s sister.”
“Oh, really? Daemul has a sister? If she looks like you, she must be beautiful.”
Yongha feels like he’s onto something here. Yoonhee, wary of Yongha, looks once towards Sunjoon, and says, “S…she is.”
She is embarrassed to be basically bragging about herself, but she really does not want to say in front of Sunjoon that her “sister” is not good looking. She was hoping that Sunjoon would only think good things about her. And to her surprise, Sunjoon takes her side.
“I saw her too, and she was indeed very beautiful.”
“What? You saw her?”
Sunjoon meant that her kindness and maturity was beautiful, but the way he spoke, Yongha thinks that Sunjoon must really have met “Yoonshik’s sister”. Yoonhee smiles as she realizes that Sunjoon has just helped her out–Yongha was obviously suspecting that Yoonshik’s sister was indeed the Kim Yoonshik sitting in front of them.
So Yongha falls deeper into confusion. But no matter–he was still enjoying his time here. Even though he is suspicious of Kim Yoonshik, he’s come to enjoy his company. Yongha was starting to like Yoonshik enough to really hope that he was a man.
“Then, I want to meet her, too.”
“Even if I showed her to everyone else, I wouldn’t let you meet her.”
“In this entire region, the wind more frightening than a typhoon is Yeorim sahyung’s wind (note–wind is called 바람 baram, and a 바람둥이 baram-doong-yi is someone who is a playboy, someone who goes from women to women easily like the wind). From the rumors, they say there’s no type of women you haven’t been with. So until you fix that problem of yours there is no meeting my sister.”
“Wow, that’s harsh. Then I guess I will never be able to meet your sister.”
He would rather keep being a playboy for the rest of his life? Whoever his wife is, I feel sorry for her. Yoonhee is angry thinking about the amount of women Yongha must have hurt in his life, but she tries to not let it show. Yoonhee starts chewing on the snacks Yongha brought to take out her anger, when Yongha asks Sunjoon,
“Look here, Garang. Don’t you think Daemul doryung is very pretty-looking?”
Yoonhee starts coughing on her snack. She grabs a bowl of water while the other two talk.
“Yes, I think so too.”
“That’s why I’m asking you: did you ever suspect that Daemul doryung here could be a woman?”
Yoonhee stands still in shock. It feels as though the floor beneath her is collapsing. She is unable to do anything. She is frozen, and her insides are in chaos. She doesn’t know what to do. It would be weird to get angry, and weird to brush it off. Would it be weird to just laugh it off? He’s not even asking her directly, so would they find it strange that I pipe in angrily? Then she hears Sunjoon’s reply.
“Does Yeorim sahyung always look at a person that way? It’s true that Daemul doryung is beautiful. It’s not a bad thing that he is beautiful, but why do you try to make him feel bad about it by suspecting such a thing? Daemul doryung, as I know him, is a man among men! Have you been spending your time so much with women that you can’t tell a man from a woman?”
Yoonhee sinks in confusion. It’s good that he doesn’t suspect her, but it’s also disappointing how naturally he thinks that she is a man. She knows he is taking her side, but it’s not so nice to hear that she is a “man among men”.
Yongha replies, “how scary you are! I was just curious only because he is so manly that it doesn’t match his face. Then Garang, if there was a woman just like Daemul, what do you think she would be like as a wife? Someone with the same looks and intellect, but just a different gender. It’s not so rude to just imagine someone like that, is it?”
Yoonhee, unable to calm herself, keeps shoving snacks into her mouth. But Sunjoon does not answer for a while–it seems as though he is thinking about it. Before he can speak, Yoonhee speaks up.
“Why does Yeorim sahyung engage in such worthless imaginations? Please stop. There’s no woman just like me anyway.”
Then Sunjoon turns to Yongha and says, “you shouldn’t imagine a woman just like Daemul doryung as a wife.”
What, to him, am I not good enough unless I am just Kim Yoonshik, a man? It seems like her heart is sinking lower and lower. She tries to smile to cover her disappointment, but she can’t smile very easily. But Sunjoon continues.
“It’s not right to be so greedy. So one shouldn’t imagine a woman who doesn’t exist in the world.”
“It’s not right? Why is wanting a woman like Daemul being greedy?”
“Because to me, there isn’t a more ideal woman.”
Yoonhee’s heart quickly finds it’s original place. She brightens, when the door opens. Jaeshin comes in, and Yongha looks as though he’s seen a ghost.
“What are you doing back?!”
Jaeshin ignores Yongha and says to Sunjoon, “there isn’t a woman more ideal that one just like Daemul? You must be crazy. A woman who doesn’t listen, and answers to you with such an attitude? A wife just needs to be a little smarter than a fool. If she is too smart and knows too much, it’ll be annoying and loud.”
Jaeshin takes off his dopo and hangs it in his closet.
“How did you come back without passing a night? You usually don’t come back when you step out.”
“I told you I went to buy a hat. I went and bought a hat.”
He is really wearing a hat. He takes off his hat and after showing Yongha, puts it onto the shelf above the door.
“Never mind your hat–I’m asking why you’re back! This is so unlike you!”
“Eish, I came back early because I thought these two might do it it my room!”
The Day Off
Tomorrow is their day off, so Sunjoon and Yoonhee prepare to leave for home as soon as they are finished with dinner. Jaeshin and Yongha are already gone, nowhere to be seen. Sunjoon and Yoonhee have planned for Yoonhee to drop by Sunjoon’s home to pick up the books that he’s been keeping for her at his house, and also so that she could thank his mother for the blankets she’s been using. Sunjoon, finished, asks Yoonhee if she is done.
Excited, Yoonhee comes out of the room. In her hands is the same bag she had brought on her first day.
“What is all of that?”
Sunjoon takes the bag from her and sees how much it weighs. “Are you sure you can carry both this and the books all the way home?”
“Hahaha, I’m a man, too. I brought them both when I came here, so it’s no problem. It’s lighter than then.”
Yoonhee raises her load with one hand, pretending that it does not weigh much. Then she follows him out of the dormitory. She sees that Sunjoon also has a bag of clothes to wash.
“You seem very happy. Is it that nice that you get to go home?”
Yoonhee wants to answer that she is more excited to get to go to his home than her own, but she says, “I was worried about my mother and sister. I am the only man in the house, but I’ve been gone..”
“Ah, you really must have been worried. But if you are to come to my house first, it might be hard for you to make it home tonight. I don’t want to have to send you off just after you pick up your books…”
“I know–I had thought that, too.”
She smiles, both excited and nervous. Sunjoon sees her expression and smiles as well. He is sure that this person in front of him is a man, but why is he nervous?
“You have a room to yourself, right? I’m curious as to how your room would look like.”
“There’s nothing much to see in my room. But there is something I want to show you.”
“What is that?”
“You’ll see when we get there. Ah, but don’t keep your expectations too high. It’s just a simple hobby of mind.”
“Wow, I’m excited! A hobby…”
Yoonhee becomes more energetic at the feeling that she is getting to know more and more about Sunjoon. She is so happy that she can’t feel the weight of the bag in her hand, even though the handle is digging into her hand.
The two converse as they come out of Banchon and head towards Bookchon. They turn into a deserted road when they run into a gama (the carriages they carry noblewomen in) with a man standing next to it. The man looks at Sunjoon, who passes him with Yoonhee, and then follows him.
“Excuse me. Please, I have something to ask.”
Sunjoon and Yoonhee stop and turn towards the man.
“Are you coming from Sungkyunkwan?”
“Yes, we are.”
“Then by any chance are you the newly admitted Lee Sunjoon doryunnim?”
Yoonhee and Sunjoon look at one another. Sunjoon turns to the man, as Yoonhee eyes the gama that is probably holding a woman inside.
“I am Lee Sunjoon. Is there something you need?”
“I am a servant for the house of the Byunjo-Panseo (The Byungpan). The lady in the gama over there has asked me to ask you if you remember the Boo-yong-hwa (the lotus flower).”
Yoonhee’s face falls as she gazes towards the gama. She can’t believe what she’s just heard. She tries to tell herself that she heard wrong, but she is thwarted by Sunjoon’s answer.
“Please let her know I did not forget what she did for me.”
The servant runs over to the gama, and after a few seconds of whispering with the woman inside, runs back to Sunjoon.
“She says that she sent you off without a proper goodbye because of the circumstances. She learned recently that the whole thing was due to the initiation pranks at Sungkyunkwan. The lady has told me that since you have helped her (the implication is the since Sunjoon did not carry out the task, he saved her from being shamed) that she would like to thank you properly.”
“I was the one that received her help, so let her know that there is no need to thank me. Also please let her know that I am very sorry to have involved her in such matters in the first place.”
Yoonhee is unable to take her eyes off the gama. She can feel that the woman is looking at Sunjoon through the narrow space made between the curtains on the side of the gama. She isn’t able to shake off this uneasy feeling–she is both displeased and distraught. When the man runs to the gama again, Yoonhee pulls Sunjoon’s arm and says desperately,
“I think that’s all that needs to be said, so we should go on. It will get dark soon.”
But even though she is desperate and anxious, Sunjoon seems like he is in no such hurry. Before the two can turn away, the woman steps out of the gama and slowly stands up. The woman is beautiful and looks like, as expected, a rich nobleman’s daughter. Yoonhee is struck by the woman’s beauty. It’s almost as though she is looking at a real nymph–real lotus flowers cannot compare to this woman. Any man would have surely fallen in love with her at first sight.
Hyo-eun covers her face with an outer cloth and turns, facing away from them. Yoonhee sees Hyo-eun’s long braid spilling out from the cloth that covers her head. And her bright red skirt and her dark green cloth shine brightly in Yoonhee’s eyes. The servant approaches Sunjoon again after talking to Hyo-eun.
“She would like to talk to you in detail about that night… She would like to find out why and how such a prank came to be.”
Yoonhee is flabbergasted. How would a woman of such background find out about the initiation prank in the first place? And even if she had found out through anyone that there existed such a prank and what the prank entailed, why would she want to know more about something that’s done and over with after? Why now? It’s more than obvious that she just wants to see Sunjoon.
“That sounds fine.”
Yoonhee looks at Sunjoon. As the servant goes to Hyo-eun again, Yoonhee tries to talk Sunjoon out of this situation, trying as hard as she can to try to keep smiling.
“What is there more to explain about that night? Nothing happened. Let’s just keep it short and head home.”
“But I shouldn’t refuse her. If she wants to know what happened, I should explain.”
“That doesn’t even make sense…”
What happened isn’t important to that woman. Yoonhee can see clearly what the woman wants.
“Then what about me? How much should I wait? It’s not proper to go to someone else’s home so late…”
“I’m really sorry that things have turned out like this, but maybe today isn’t such a good idea after all.”
“W-what? What do you mean? You can just keep your conversation short.”
“I don’t know how long the conversation will go, so…”
“H..how can you do this? Doesn’t the promise you made with me come first? You said that you had something to show me…”
“We should plan for you to come again when we have more time to ourselves. We are always together anyway.”
“Do you really think there will be another chance? Do you really think we will always be together?”
Yoonhee had been thinking like that as well. She was mistaken in thinking that she will always be with him. But the person with Sunjoon isn’t her, it’s Yoonshik. The woman, Kim Yoonhee, is no more than the person who Sunjoon met in passing, who hid behind a ratty old Sugechima. The ‘together’ Sunjoon is talking about has no meaning to Yoonhee, who will never really be with him. Even though the two are with one another, they aren’t, and are nothing to one another.
Sunjoon makes a conflicted expression. Yoonhee can’t stop him any longer. She doesn’t want to cling onto him and argue that she is more important. But she can’t put on a brighter expression so she looks to the ground. She wants to get out of here. now.
“A-ah, we can’t do anything about it. It’s alright–it’s better to go and see my family. Don’t worry about me and go ahead.”
“Daemul doryung, we can come next time–”
“I’m going to go ahead.”
Yoonhee walks away quickly, with her eyes only on the ground underneath her. She knows she should have told him that she would come with him next time, but she can’t find the good spirit in her to swallow all her despair. Before she can get very far, she feels sorry for the way she left. So to make sure he does not fret over her, she turns around to show him a smile.
But she shouldn’t have turned around. She sees the two beautiful man and woman standing close together. Sunjoon probably forgot about Kim Yoonshik or their plans together in front of that beautiful woman. She was probably mistaken that he would spend any time fretting over her. Sunjoon is a man, after all. Wouldn’t he be overjoyed that such a woman would want to talk to him? How annoying would have been to have to leave her to keep a promise with another man?
The two disappear, and Yoonhee starts trekking alone towards her home. She feels a lump in her throat. To try and comfort herself, she says loudly, “Ahhh, he’s such a disappointment. He’s just like everyone else! Following around pretty women…”
She feels the weight of the bag in her hand. She puts it down on the ground and sits on a rock nearby. She closes and opens her hand as she thinks about Sunjoon and Hyo-eun. She tries to shake them away from her thoughts, but fails. She tries to put on a bright expression and shouts, “Eesh! Garang hyung! How lame! Chasing at a pretty woman’s tail… Honestly, it was hard to watch! Hahaha. And what about that lotus flower? How can a nobleman’s daughter go around following a man she’s met only once? She’s probably a bigger fox than Chosun, for sure.”
Yoonhee stops and bites her lips. ‘You’re pathetic. You’re worse than anyone. If you’re going to dress up as a man, act like one! The one that’s lame is you!’
She chastises herself and stops when she sees her beoseon. If she had stood in front of Sunjoon as a woman from the start, the two might have been in a different place. Yoonhee asks herself with a heavy heart, is it too late to tell Sunjoon that she is a woman? She grabs on to the hope that he would understand and smiles. She makes fists with her hand and gets up from the rock.
“Let’s tell him! He would understand. And he would comfort me, and worry about how hard I’ve had it.”
Yoonhee stops as she thinks about the past. She thinks about when she stood in front of the King, when Sunjoon had asked that she be placed in Sungkyunkwan, praising her skills, worrying for her health, protecting her…
Yoonhee sits down on the rock again. Sunjoon can’t know. Even if Yongha finds out, even if Jaeshin finds out, and even if the King himself found out, Sunjoon can’t. She can’t make him a part of her own crime. She can’t be an obstacle in his life–it would be easier that she watch him marry another woman.
And that day when she will have to watch him marry someone will come, soon. It might even come sooner than the day Yoonhee will come out of Sungkyunkwan and out of her disguise. Will she be able to go through it? Even if she doesn’t want to see or hear about his love life, she will have to, eventually. Would she be able to go through with it with a smile on her face?
Yoonhee, at that thought, tries to smile. She will have to, eventually–it’s no use asking if she can or not.
She tries to steer her thoughts to her mother and Yoonshik. She wants to go home. At home, she can be Yoonhee again. She can relax and sleep without worry. She gets up and tries to lift up her bag, to no avail. It’s heavier than ever. It’s almost as though somebody put a spell on it while she was sitting on the rock.
“Please, just budge. Just move a little.”
She lifts up the bag. As she starts walking, the bag only gets heavier, as does every step home.
Sunjoon and Hyo-eun are walking together. But all Sunjoon can think about is the way Kim Yoonshik walked away. He shouldn’t have let him go like that.
“Uh? Ah… Yes.”
“What are you thinking so deeply about? You couldn’t even hear me…”
Sunjoon looks at Hyo-eun. It’s strange. Why is he thinking about Kim Yoonshik when such a beautiful woman is standing in front of him? His insides sting a little. And he knows it’s not because of this woman, it’s because of Kim Yoonshik.
“Did I interfere with some important plans?”
“N-no, it’s not that….”
Hyo-eun smiles. But her smile only makes Sunjoon think of Kim Yoonshik, and Sunjoon can’t help but want to see him again.
“Who do you think made such a prank, knowing that my house is called Boo-yong? (Boo-yong is the first two characters of boo-yong-hwa, aka the lotus flower)”
“How did you come to know about the initiation pranks?”
“I asked my older cousin. He learned about it through someone he knows at Sungkyunkwan.”
Sunjoon smiles to himself, thinking about the fact that Kim Yoonshik was smart enough to figure out that Boo Yong Hwa referred to a woman without having gone to Bookchon to find her house.
“I can only say sorry again. It must be the doings of a mischievous scholar.”
“Whoever it is, I am only thankful… Because he sent you.”
Sunjoon looks at Hyo-eun, uneasy. Even in this situation, Kim Yoonshik is in front of him.
“Don’t you think that this was meant to be? So that we could meet…”
“Ah, wait. Sorry. I.. I can’t.”
Sunjoon’s answer slips out of him. Did he just say that because of Kim Yoonshik? No, that can’t be.
“Did I get too far ahead of myself?”
“It’s not that. I.. I just don’t have the leisure for… If this is what you wanted to talk about, I should get going.”
“W-wait. Please wait. Doryunnim, please.”
Hyo-eun grabs his arms before he can turn away. Shocked, she takes her hands off him. “If you would not like to meet me, would it be too much to exchange letters? It’s not easy for me to come out of the house as well. It’s difficult for me to bring up such a request, so please. If you just leave like this, I’d be so embarrassed I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Sunjoon stands still. It’s not because he is listening to what she is saying. It’s because it feels as though Sunjoon is tearing himself away from this woman because of Kim Yoonshik.
“Please, let us just exchange letters. You might feel burdened because of our parents, but they need not know. Please.”
“Just letters…sound fine.”
Sunjoon knows why he accepted her request. He knows that it’s strange to keep pushing away this woman because of Kim Yoonshik. Pained, he leaves. On his path home, he feels like Kim Yoonshik is following behind him, and so quickens his pace, almost as though he wants to run away.
Back at Sungkyunkwan
[At her stay at home Yoonhee tells Yoonshik about her school life, and about Jaeshin, Yongha and Sunjoon (Yoonshik notices Yoonhee seems different when she talks about Sunjoon than about Jaeshin or Yongha). The next day Yoonhee visits Chosun and enjoys a conversation with her, making Chosun more and more interested.]
Yoonhee treks towards Sungkyunkwan with a heavy heart (this is the same night–she comes back to Sungkyunkwan after visiting Chosun). She walks through the Jeonhyuang door (the door she walked through with Soondol on the first day) and arrives at the dorm to find her room, which is empty. Even though she knows Sunjoon will sleep at home and come tomorrow morning, she is nonetheless sad to be looking at the dark room.
She walks into the darkness. Her eyes slowly adjust and she is able to see the inside of the room. She thinks about whether to go get a candle or to go directly to sleep, when she sees Sunjoon’s desk, on top of which is a closed book. Her eyes quickly scan the room, and she sees his gat.
Sunjoon must be here. Before she can think any more, her legs take her outside. She runs, with her bare sangtoo, towards the cafeteria. But it’s dark and deserted. Suddenly she misses him more. She tries to think about the places he could be, but before she can make a reasonable guess she is already running towards the library.
The library is closed–locked, with a giant lock. She doesn’t give up. She shakes the door to the library and makes noises by pounding and pushing on the door. Then she runs from the library towards Bicheondang. But Bicheondang shows no sign of life, only darkness.
Her legs take her from each place she cannot find Sunjoon. But now, she doesn’t know where to go anymore. There is no way he would be at Byuksongjung or Hyangkwanchung. Might he be at Jeongrokchung? She runs again. But alas, it’s empty.
Yoonhee walks to the courtyard outside Myunryundang and stands underneath the ginko tree. She can’t find him, within this small place. Why does this small place seem so wide today? She walks around, going from Myunryundang, to dongjae, then to daesungjeon. And before she realizes it, she is in front of seojae, the west dormitory. Before she can leave, the seojae hajaesaeng (lower level students) appear behind her.
“Stop right here! Why is someone from Dongjae loitering around here?”
Yoonhee stops. She doesn’t turn around.
“Why aren’t you answering? I asked, why are you here.”
Yoonhee turns to them, angry that they are talking down (banmal) to her.
“Are you talking to me?”
“Who else is here other than you?”
She thinks back to Yongha’s advice (He told her to be a little confident and stand up for herself). So she firms up and shouts, “Your rudeness is inexcusable! How dare you hajaesaengs treat me like this? What country’s laws do you abide by?!”
[This goes on for a bit–the lower level students insult her by saying she didn’t get a real education, and she, offended (since they are insulting her brother as well in this manner), says that she came here in her own right, and those who weren’t admitted through the proper exam shouldn’t belittle her, and tells them to apologize. They are taken back by her and her loud voice, and another student tries to stop both parties by saying that it’s too loud–what if Sunjoon hears?]
“Hey, don’t you know that Garang sahyung is in Daesungjeon? What if he comes here because of all the noise?”
She knows where Sunjoon is. There’s no time to stay here to listen to their apologies. She leaves them and runs.
She goes into Daesungjeon. Her eyes search all around the place, but it’s empty. She goes around the building to the courtyard.
There, amidst the trees, she finds Sunjoon who seems to be taking a walk underneath the moonlight.
She feels her tears fall. She can’t tell if it’s because she is happy to see him, or if it’s because the sight of him overlaps with the day she saw him talking with Hyo-eun. Taken back by her tears, she wipes them away, but she can’t stop them from falling.
Sunjoon is walking in circles around a pine tree, with his gaze fixed on the shinsam door (the main door). Yoonhee, after wiping away her tears, approaches him slowly.
When Sunjoon realizes her presence, he smiles. He stops looking at the shinsam door and his eyes now go to the ground beneath him as he continues walking around the pine tree.
She starts walking around on the opposite side of the tree, and asks, “Are you already preparing for the state exam under this tree? (there is a myth that you will pass the gwa-guh if you nap underneath the tree in the daesungjeon courtyard)”
“That’s not a bad idea. When the exam nears, I won’t find any space for it.”
“If not, why are you walking out here this late?”
Sunjoon can’t tell her that he was waiting for her. It’s not anything particularly hard to say, but strangely enough he can’t get it out.
“I guess the wind just blew me here.”
Yoonhee glances at him, wanting to know if it really was the wind or himself who brought him here. As they are walking around the tree, the trunk covers the sight of Sunjoon.
Sunjoon says to himself, “I didn’t know you were going to come through the jeonhyang door…”
Yoonhee pretends not to have heard, and says, “I don’t know why I went through the jeonhyang door.”
The two keep walking slowly around the tree without words. Then Sunjoon, with sadness in his eyes, opens his mouth, heavily. “I don’t know if it’s me who is running away from you, or you running away from me.”
She wants to see his face, but the tree blocks him.
“I don’t know if I am the one looking for you, or if you are the one looking for me.”
Sunjoon also looks to see Yoonhee, but the tree stops him as well. His sad eyes go to the ground again. Yoonhee walks further so that the tree is not blocking them from one another.
He starts, “yesterday…”
Yoonhee’s heart sinks. She tries to be unaffected as she says brightly, “Ah, yes! How was yesterday? That woman, isn’t she beautiful?”
“Yes. She really is.”
“Y-you lied to me that day. You said that you didn’t go to Bookchon, but you went… and you met her…”
Yoonhee, afraid to meet his gaze, lowers her head. Sunjoon is silent as he continues walking. After a while, he stops. And he speaks.
“She asked to meet again, so I said okay. And she suggested between those times that we exchange letters, so I agreed.”
Yoonhee’s legs stop and she stands behind him. She can’t take in what she just heard. It feels as though bees are scratching at her heart. It feels so crowded, so loud, so chaotic, that she can’t breathe.
“She’s a beautiful woman. And she is kind. Isn’t it only right that a man’s heart be taken by her? Shouldn’t every man feel nervous to stand in front of her? That’s what’s right. That is what it should be.”
Yoonhee, in the end, has run around the entire campus to hear this. She can’t find it in herself to smile, but she forces one anyway, as she says, “yes. That is how a man should feel.”
Yoonhee’s voice turns Sunjoon around to face her. But before he can see her face, her hands fall onto his face. She covers his eyes as she says, “please don’t look at my face right now. Even though it is dark, I don’t think it can cover my pathetic face.”
“Pathetic? What’s wrong?”
“Didn’t you say all men’s hearts would beat in front of such a woman? I am also a man. So how can I not fall in love with her? I was nervous since the first time I laid eyes on her. I’m acting this way because I am too envious of you. Because I’m jealous!”
Should she use this as an excuse to use her wish? To stop him from meeting Hyo-eun? But she can’t accept how low that would be.
“I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“There’s no reason for you to be sorry! I went around before today with Chosun, and then thought about Hyo-eun. I’m this type of man. I’m pathetic, wanting all the women in the world to be mine.”
“Chosun…. from the initiation? You are still meeting her…”
Sunjoon’s hands tighten into fists, and he isn’t unaware why his body is reacting this way. She takes away the hands from his face and turns around. Sunjoon sees the small sliver of what he can see of her face, and what he sees overlaps with the face of Yoonshik’s sister, covered by the Sugaechima. And he grabs her shoulder. But unable to find it in himself to turn her around, he takes his hand away.
“I will be okay by tomorrow. They say people fall just as easily out of love as they do in.”
Yoonhee leaves, and Sunjoon watches her walk away. He does not take his eyes off her and keeps his gaze in the direction she disappeared.
“It was me who was running away from you. I was afraid…. that my heart was taking me away from the right path…”
Later, deeper into the night, it starts pouring. It had been sprinkling the past few days–it must have been foretelling a more cold, intense rain. Although Jaeshin isn’t in the room, Yoonhee, buried in despair, does not feel the same nervousness as she did when she last thought she would spend the night with Sunjoon alone (when Jaeshin went to go buy the hat). And she is unable to sleep–the sound of the rain keeps her awake the entire night.
[The Jangchigi tournament in the novel is pretty similar to the part in the drama. Yongha appropriately stays out of the game, and the norons on the Seojae team target Yoonhee to try and injure her at every chance they can get. And like the drama, there are many watching, including the King. There are three parts to the tournament–soccer, jangchigi, tug-of-war.]
Yoonhee tries her hardest to escape those set out to attack her. Although she was first afraid of joining the game, she slowly starts to adjust, and proves to be pretty agile (at least, much more than Yongha, who, according to the author, only knows how to use what’s between his legs than his legs themselves).
The moment Yoonhee starts to ease into the feel of the game, the ball flies past several other players and arrives directly onto her stick. She starts running with the ball, lowering her body. Suddenly she sees someone’s stick flying towards her face with incredible speed. But she knows, by the time she’s noticed it, it’s too late.
Her eyes close tightly shut when she hears the noise, bracing herself for the pain. But she doesn’t feel it. Nothing has hit her face. Yoonhee carefully opens her eyes. In front of her eyes is someone’s shoulder. The person in front of him has his arm extended, holding onto something. His hand, dripping with blood, is holding onto the stick that almost hit her. Onlookers shout in surprise.
Yoonhee realizes that it’s Sunjoon. He doesn’t move. Anyone can tell how dangerous the situation could have been. Yoonhee looks at the blood falling from his hand, and says, with her voice trembling, “Ga-Garang Hyungnim…..”
Jaeshin runs to the scene from far, swinging his own stick. “You bastards! I’ll kill you all!”
He swings his stick in anger, and Yongha shouts from the sidelines, “this is going to become too big a fight. Everyone, grab Gul-oh!”
Several people run to Jaeshin and hold him back, but he rips them off of him. He raises his stick again, but stops.
Before Jaeshin can do anything, Sunjoon has already punched the student who swung the stick and knocked him onto the ground. Everyone is shocked and silent. Nobody expected Sunjoon to do such a thing.
Sunjoon says angrily, “That’s enough.”
The student Sunjoon has punched touches his face with his hands and yells, “is living at dongjae not enough? How can you punch another noron?!”
“If doing these sort of things is what becomes of this division, I won’t tolerate it all the more! Do not test me!”
He turns coldly and starts walking out of the field. The student on the ground, angry, shouts, “Garang, say it once and for all. Are you a noron or not?!”
Sunjoon stops. He makes a fist with his bloodied hand and says quietly, “I am definitely a noron. But in front of you, I shouldn’t be anything more than a Sungkyunkwan student.”
The referee, not knowing what to do, looks back and forth and says in a tiny voice, “uh…well…here… I think both of you need to step out. I’m sorry to scholar Garang, but you are out as well…”
Jaeshin protests, “Hey, ref! How can you take Garang out?! He was trying to stop anything from happening. Just take the bastard who injured him!”
The referee flinches at Jaeshin’s loud voice. Sunjoon smiles at Jaeshin.
“It’s true that I used my fist during the game, so I should be taken out. Gul-oh sahyung, please win for us.”
“What? You arrogant… Who are you to tell me what to do? I was going to win regardless of whether you asked me or not.”
Sunjoon puts his good hand on Yoonhee’s shoulder.
“I trust you to take care of the rest.”
“Your hand… because of me…”
His lips curl into a smile. It’s so beautiful that it chases both her worry and reason away. If Yongha hadn’t shouted loudly for Sunjoon, she might have touched them with her own.
The game resumes after Sunjoon has stepped outside the field. The doctor from the medicine room comes running to Sunjoon and looks at his wound. Yongha, worried, pesters the doctor with his questions.
“How is it? Are his bones okay? He dripped so much blood–he’ll be okay, right?”
“…Let’s take a look at it first…”
The doctor cleans Sunjoon’s hurt hand with a wet cloth.
“It should be okay. Thankfully there shouldn’t be any problems with your bones.”
“Then why is he bleeding so much? Are you sure you’re looking at it right?”
“Scholar Yeorim, please! He’s bleeding much faster right now because he’s been running around so much until now.”
The doctor wraps Sunjoon’s wound with a white cloth after applying ointment.
“Don’t lower your hand until it stops bleeding. And don’t put it in water. Even though your bones are okay, your flesh has ripped a little, so you should be careful. I’ll take a look at it later again.”
Yongha jumps up and shouts towards Yoonhee, “Hey, Daemul! He said Garang will be okay! It’s just ripped a little!”
Yoonhee stops for a moment. Grateful, she bites her lip and starts chasing the ball again.
“Look at him pretending he didn’t hear. Look here, Garang. It’s a shame your hand became like that, but imagine if it didn’t. If that stick hit Daemul… I don’t even want to imagine!”
“It wouldn’t have been just his face. It would have taken his eye.”
“What? …That bastard. How can you be satisfied with one punch?!”
“That’s probably why I’m still so frustrated… I should have beat him more.”
Yongha notices Sunjoon subconsciously lowering his hand and helps raise it with his own.
“It’s good that you’re at Dongjae. I even get to hold your hand like this. If you were at Seojae, we probably wouldn’t even have spoken!”
“I would have approached you.”
“What would a do-gooder like you need from a person like me? Hahaha.”
“There are a lot of things I need to learn.”
“Huh? Learn what? Women? What would you need that for?”
Yongha is puzzled. Sunjoon doesn’t explain; he just smiles. Yongha reads Sunjoon’s face and asks, “is something worrying you lately?”
Sunjoon’s eyes follow Yoonhee, who is running around as hard as she can. He smiles sadly.
“I don’t know what it is, but if it worries you so much, you can talk to me. You said yourself you would have approached me, right? Don’t try to bottle it in.”
If it was something he could talk about, he would have done so already. If it was about a normal woman, he would have already bothered Yongha to ask how to go about it.
But what could he say? How could he say it?
There’s someone my heart beats for. And that person is not a woman; he is a man, just like me. He’s the one running as hard as he can over to do his part, and to do even my part in my absense. Kim Yoonshik. The two of us are together day and night. He’s with me always, even in my thoughts. I don’t like it when he looks at Chosun, I don’t like it when Geol-roh sahyung stands close to him, and I don’t like it that he is close to Yeorim sahyung. I just want him to be my side, looking only to me, talking only to me, and smiling only to me. You could say that’s not really a big deal. You could just say that it’s just a little strong, for a friendship between two men.
But why does my heart beat in front of him when it’s as still as ice in front of a woman as beautiful as Hyo-eun?
Yes, you could also say that it’s not a big deal. But it’s not only my heart. When I’m in front of him, my whole body is strange. Every time I hear his breathing as he sleeps next to me, I’m shocked to realize that I feel lust. Some nights it gets so bad I sleep with my back to him. When he’s asleep, I want to touch his hand. I want to touch his face. I want to steal his lips with my own. I want to hold the feet in his beoseon in my hand.
How can a man with any reason or morality feel this way, inside Sungkyunkwan, a place of Confucius and Mencius? So I tried to meet Hyo-eun, but it’s no use. I thought that if I met a woman, that my feelings would change, but it seems like my feelings have become even more sure. What should I do about these feelings?
…Is this what I should confide in him? Sunjoon can never let it leave his mouth. This is something he does not need to ask Yongha–he knows it is wrong. Sunjoon slowly swallows in all the words he thought and painfully lets out the only thing he can say.
Both teams continue with even points. A blue flag is raised to signal that the game will end soon. The ball is with the seojae team. If they win at Jangchigi (Seojae already won the soccer part), the tournament will be Seojae’s victory. Jaeshin starts to throw himself towards the Seojae players. After pushing and tussling, he successfully steals the ball. He evades those coming after him, and when he sees the crowd of players coming his way, he twists his body and swings his stick, hitting the ball.
Sunjoon gets up. The ball had flown up high in the air, passing over the heads of several players, and landed right into Yoonhee’s stick. Yoonhee, tired, was straying away from the main action, and so in front of her is only one seojae player. At first Yoonhee is taken back, but she starts running. As soon as she starts running, all the players on the field start running towards her from all directions. Surprised and scared, she just hits the ball as hard as she can. Before she can see where it went, she falls with the weight of other students, who jump on top of her.
A great roar overtakes the field in Bicheondang. Yoonhee is not able to make out from which side the cheer is from, buried under the other students. She crawls out from underneath them and raises her head, looking out for the ball. The ball is outside the field, and she can’t tell whether it went through between the posts or outside them. She raises herself up and looks around, and finds Dongjae students jumping in happiness.
“I-it went in?! That?”
Yoonhee points at the ball and herself back and forth. Instead of answering, the Dongjae students run to her and start patting her on her shoulder. Her eyes search for Sunjoon. She seems him clapping toward her.
Her legs start running. Her legs take her to Sunjoon and throw her into Sunjoon’s arms. Yoonhee hugs him with his arms around his neck.
“Did you see? I made the goal! I did it!”
Sunjoon’s good right arm wraps tightly around her waist.
“I saw it. I saw you put it in.”
Jaeshin runs to them and lightly hits Yoonhee’s head.
“Are you that happy, when you only made it by mistake?”
Jaeshin’s voice is full of laughter. Jaeshin taps Sunjoon’s hurt raised arm (like a high-five, I think), happy to have won.
Yoonhee unwraps her arm from Sunjoon’s neck.
“It’s still a goal, even if I made it my mistake. It’s all thanks to you, Geol-Roh Sahyung.”
“No, you made the goal. Imagine if I had passed the ball to Yeorim.”
Even though Yoonhee has already let go of Sunjoon’s neck, her body is still stuck to Sunjoon’s. His right arm is still around her waist. His left arm is raised, and his right arm firmly holds her to him so that she can’t pull away. But she doesn’t think about why he is not letting go, because she is busy jumping up and down in joy. Yongha finds them and pulls all three into a hug. Jaeshin pretends to find it annoying but stays still in the embrace. More and more dongjae players surround them, joining in the hug, until all the players become one. In the center is Yoonhee, who is not only overjoyed at their victory, but excited to be held in Sunjoon’s arms.
Chosun looks onto the scene with narrow eyes. She tilts her head, puzzled. Even though everyone is hugging one another, something feels different between Sunjoon and Yoonhee. A strange idea tickles down her spine, and she shakes her head to shake it off.
Night of the sports competition, after the DongJae Victory
[DongJae wins, and there is a grand party, along with the Gisaengs from MoRakGahn (including Chosun). There are many women and Gisaengs surrounding each member from the JalGeum Foursome.]
The night comes, and they light the place, and all the people are now looking at Chosun, who is dancing as she approaches Sunjoon and Yoonhee, who are sitting next to one another. Yoonhee is sure that Chosun is coming to her (Chosun, prior to this, has been very blunt about her affection for Yoonhee, who she thinks is a man) and is contemplating on what to do, but to everyone’s surprise, she goes to Sunjoon, and lures him to the dance floor. Sunjoon, who’s been pushing away all women the whole night, follows Chosun without hesitation, and everyone is so surprised that the crowd splits to make way for the two.
Yoonhee can’t believe her eyes (first, because of Chosun, then because Sunjoon followed her so willingly), but she’s not the only one so shocked. Chosun hides the fact that she is really surprised; she thought that if she tried to seduce Sunjoon to dance, Sunjoon would struggle, and that Yoonhee would get jealous and try to pull Chosun to him/herself. She didn’t think that Sunjoon would follow.
She doesn’t have the time to be flattered, because as she leaves with Sunjoon to dance, another handful of women surround Yoonhee. And Sunjoon’s eyes are cold, and he does not move to the music. Chosun asks him what he was thinking, in following her, and he replies, “that’s what I want to ask. Why did you approach me?” Chosun hesitated in answering, and Sunjoon is fast to say,
“Even a Gisaeng’s loyalty spans at least one night. Because you danced with me, you shouldn’t go the scholar sitting next to me, isn’t that right?”
Chosun is baffled, and stops dancing. She doesn’t understand. “You did this for that reason? Why? Aren’t you a man?”
Sunjoon thinks to himself, I am a man. That is actually the reason of my misery.
“You and I both know I am a man.”
Sunjoon thinks, don’t ask that, because it pains me that I can’t answer. He makes up an excuse saying that he wants to protect Yoonhee and Yoonhee’s name, to which Chosun doesn’t accept. And then Sunjoon cuts her off, saying,
“Let’s make this clear. I didn’t approach you tonight, you approached me. You are the one who betrayed Kim Yoon Shik!” Then he turns his back to her, and sees Yoonhee approaching the dance floor, still surrounded by women. Yoonhee evades his gaze, and he interprets it as anger for taking Chosun away from him (he thinks that Yoonhee likes Chosun). As Yoonhee and her crowd of women pass Sunjoon, Sunjoon grabs her wrist and drags her away from the dance floor to underneath the canopy. And Yoonhee (who is a little tipsy from drinking) says, “I know all the women must love you, but isn’t this too much? And with my woman.. to my woman..”
Sunjoon feels a stab in his heart as he contemplates, he likes her so much as to call her “my woman”? Without showing any expression, he grabs her shoulders and forces her to sit, and Yoonhee struggles, trying to break free. When she calms down, he sits next to her, and says “don’t get up.” And with his words, she folded her knees and buried her face in them, unable to explain what had just happened.
Chosun is speechless watching the two. She thinks that Yoonshik (Yoonhee) is definitely a man, but Sunjoon is treating Yoonhee as if she was his woman (ha!). She seems to have picked up that that the two aren’t your normal friends. She’s sure that there was something going on between them.
To quell her feelings, Yoonhee keeps drinking, and thinks stuff like, there are so many women clamoring for Sunjoon already, and now I have to worry about Chosun too? (so cute). Sunjoon is suffocatingly silent, and Yoonhee looks around for Yongha, who would usually find them and break the mood, but alas, Yongha has disappeared with a Gisaeng.
A man comes looking for Sunjoon, and Yoonhee recognizes him as Hyo-eun’s servant. The man tells Sunjoon that Hyo-eun is waiting outside Banchon (The marketplace you saw in the drama right outside the actual walled SKK Campus) and that she asks to see him. Sunjoon tells the man to go back first, that he would soon follow, and Yoonhee, having heard this, is not very happy. She is drunk, and when Sunjoon gets up to leave, she stares for a while, and decides to follow.
She is super tipsy and keeps falling over as she follows Sunjoon (at some point, Chosun helps pick her up, but she pushes her away by going through the cafeteria, since Gisaengs cannot enter). After a while, she catches up to him, and says “I caught you!” She’s still very tipsy. He says that she drank too much, to which she replies, “don’t act like you’re worried about me!”
“Are you going to her? She is a very pretty woman, and such a great family background! You must be very in love, to leave a victory party so fast!”
And Sunjoon thinks, this looks like I am going for the woman? No, I was just trying to run away from you.
Yoonhee keeps trying to pick a fight, saying “you’re gonna give Yeorim (Yongha) a run for his money! going from one woman to another…” And she falls to him, and he tries his hardest not to catch her (because he is afraid of what he would do) and she does not fall because she hugs his waist to stand back up. Sunjoon thinks that it might be easier if he did just move from woman to woman so easily. Yoonhee says,
“The wish! My wish, there’s a wish I can use, right? That wish, I want to use it now. My wish is that you don’t meet that woman…” and as she says this, she is knocked unconscious and faints, and both of them fall to the ground. And Sunjoon says, “if that’s your wish, I won’t meet her.”
And he says it genuinely, but she’s completely knocked out. He’s saddened and angry, and shakes her, yelling, “Make that your wish! Please, make that my excuse!” (He means that if yoonhee does wish that, he doesn’t have to meet Hyo-eun, since all this time he’s so conflicted as to why he is not in love with Hyo-eun, who is a beautiful woman and a wonderful catch, wants an excuse as to not love Hyo-eun). Yoonhee murmurs something. He sticks his face really close to her to see what she was saying, and he’s entranced by her face, and he is overcome with the desire to kiss her.
He stops when Jaeshin calls out to the two of them (Jaeshin has been looking for Yoonhee). He notices that Yoonhee is passed out, and jokes, “You guys were doing the unspeakable at a place for saints and their relics?” (They were near a temple) (also Jaeshin does not know as of yet that Yoonhee is a girl)
Sunjoon knows it’s a joke, but it hurts a lot more this time, and yells, “how can two men do such things?!” and Jaeshin jokes, “If two men want to, they can do whatever they want. If you’re curious as to how, just ask me.” [Blogger’s Note: Wow, Jaeshin, how do you know such things?]
Then Jaeshin checks on Yoonhee, and as he tries to pick her up to take her, Sunjoon takes Jaeshin’s hands off of her, and clutches her to himself. “Why? you think I’ll do something to him?” And Sunjoon says, “no, it’s not that…” And Jaeshin replies, “I’ll take him to the room. You were going somewhere, so go on ahead.” Sunjoon says that he will take him, and Jaeshin takes Yoonhee away by force, and says, “it’s not that I’m taking him for you; Your hand will start bleeding again (Sunjoon hurt his hand during the sports competition) so go_on.”
Sunjoon watches them goes and thinks that if Jaeshin did not come, he was sure to have met his lips with Yoonhee’s. He is now more conflicted than ever and asks himself what he should do.
As Jaeshin is carrying Yoonhee, Yoonhee murmurs, “Garang (Sunjoon’s nickname) Hyungnim, don’t go…” and starts crying. Jaeshin spits out, “I know you follow Garang everywhere you go when you’re awake…but to look for him even in your dreams? Why am I so angry? Dammit, I should just throw you to the ground.” But he doesn’t, and thinks to himself that Yooshik is very light, and carrying him doesn’t feel gross, it feels actually very nice. Jaeshin catches himself, saying “if this goes on, I may really become gay.”
Jaeshin sets Yoonhee down in the room and decides to undress her. His heart starts racing as he starts undoing her clothes (to which he is baffled as to why) and he is startled to find the cloth that is wrapped around her upper body, around her breasts. Even as she is unconscious, Yoonhee clutches to her clothes as to hide what’s inside, and Jaeshin jumps up from the shock, backing away from her towards the door. He stares for a long time, and then paces around the room, and he becomes sure that she’s a woman. He says, “how did I not know?” and Yoonhee murmurs, “Garang hyung..” and Jaeshin says,
“Why are you calling for him?! What are you thinking? Why did you come here? Do you know what would happen if…”
The Happening At BiBokCheon – Alone with JaeShin
[After the previous scene, above: Jaeshin dresses Yoonhee, and sits outside the room to think. Sunjoon comes back and tries to walk in the room to sleep, but Jaeshin stops him. It looks like Jaeshin is drunk and confused while Sunjoon is just sad and angry. Jaeshin doesn’t want Sunjoon going in the room, and they start throwing punches. Yongha comes to try and stop them, but they keep going at it, and they wake up Yonghee. Yoonha and Yoonhee try to break up the fight. They stop, unable to explain why they were fighting. Sunjoon storms off to sleep in the room, and Jaeshin similarly storms out, but out of SKK. Nobody hears of Jaeshin until this next scene.]
[Next scene: Yoonhee has been bathing at BiBokCheon in the very late hours of the night so that the other students don’t see her but there are some lower-level students nearby who have followed her just to scare her, but she hears them coming. She scrambles to pick up her clothes and runs into the nearest storage warehouse, where everything is dark. Jaeshin, who was resting there (he was hurt from a wound while he was in his guise as the Hong Byeok Seo) sees her silhouette, with her hair in a mess and covered with straws. He thinks he is seeing a ghost, and faints (I think also part of it was because he was severely wounded). The lower level students who were near the storage house hear Jaeshin’s voice and flee, but then wonder what Jaeshin and Yoonhee are doing together at the storage warehouse this late at night. And the rumor starts that the two of them had spent the night together…]
Yoonhee dresses herself completely and sees that Jaeshin is unconscious. She shakes him, telling him he should sleep at the room, but he doesn’t wake up. She checks if he is drunk, but she can’t smell any alcohol. She punches him lightly, and starts getting worried. She starts hitting him harder and then finds that he is bleeding from his side. Shocked, she stammers, “you’re … you’re not dead, right? open your eyes! Just a little bit, please…”
Jaeshin opens his eyes slowly. “Is that .. you… shik..?”
“Yes! I am shik. I’m Daemul Yoonshik!”
“Why are you.. here?”
Yoonhee starts crying. “Thank goodness..Thank god..” Her mouth forms into a smile even as she is crying.
Jaeshin says, “Punk, you were beating me up so freely when I was out, and now that I am awake, you’re gonna cry?”
“Ah! since when were you awake?”
“Since you started giving me a beating. Anyone would wake up to that.”
Yoonhee gets up, and says that she will bring a doctor, but Jaeshin grabs her wrist, and tells her that she can’t tell anyone. She tries to leave, but Jaeshin yells, “I told you you can’t!” And with that shout, his pain comes back and he puts his hand on the wound on his side. Yoonhee cries and says that then she will just bring Yongha, and Jaeshin yells, “You can’t tell Yongha! You can’t tell Garang (Sunjoon)! You can’t tell anybody, even if I die!”
Yoonhee cries, but realizes that if she can’t tell anybody, she’ll have to treat him herself.
“I’ll be back with things to wipe your wound.”
“Just go; pretend you didn’t see me.”
“If you don’t want me to punch you again, then stop saying things like that!” Yoonhee runs out the door, and Jaeshin smiles weakly.
Yoonhee comes back with water and clean towels. When she comes back, Jaeshin is sitting up, trying to stay conscious. He smiles at her as she starts undoing his clothes. He says,
“Slow down. If you keep pushing against me like this, I might actually do something to you.”
“In your condition?”
“My side is hurt, but my “thing” is still fine.”
“What would you have done if you hurt that great mouth of yours?”
“Are you going to keep talking back like that? Where’s the crybaby that was just here just a minute ago?”
“And are you the man who was just struggling to stay alive? I should have beat you more when I had the chance.”
Yoonhee wipes the blood off his body; his chest, stomach, and arms are fine, but his side almost seems like the organs will pop out of it. She wipes the wound carefully, and frowns, to which Jaeshin says,
“I know you can’t look at wounds and blood very easily.”
But as Jaeshin says this, he realizes that it isn’t because Yoonhee can’t handle blood, it is because she is a woman that she kept refusing to tend to his wound on his butt back in the beginning of the school term.
Yoonhee asks how he got so hurt, and he evades the subject by asking her what was she doing her pretending to be a ghost, with her hair all messed up like that. Jaeshin slowly takes his hand to get straw out of her hair, and doesn’t take his hand out of her hair. So soft–this kid is such a woman. “Your hair feels so much different than my hair,” he says. Yoonhee is busy tending to his wound, and doesn’t notice the change in his gaze. So she answers, “hair is different from person to person, as personalities are.”
Jaeshin becomes really sensitive to her touch on his body, and pulls her to him, catching her in a hug. This catches Yoonhee by surprise, and she tries to push him away, but he is holding her too firmly.
“What do you think you’re doing! Let me go!”
“How are you so …soft?”
“I.. I’m a man! Why are you doing this!”
“How are you so soft, even though you are a man?”
“Let me go!”
“You’re so soft; why should I even care that you’re a man? It’s fine if it feels this good to hold you.”
Yoonhee struggles for a while, and Jaeshin finally lets her go. Yoonhee backs away from him, and says, “This time your joke went too far! If you held on any longer, I would have hit where your wound was.” Jaeshin smiles, “that’s why I let you go.” He laughs.
The next day, Jaeshin has again disappeared without a word.
Yoonhee, Sunjoon, Jaeshin, and the Tree
[Yoonhee and Sunjoon are in their room, contemplating on Jaeshin’s long absence.]
Sunjoon closes his book, and lays out blankets, including Jaeshin’s, in case he comes back. Sunjoon sighs as he looks at the empty spot–Jaeshin has been gone at least ten days. Yoonhee says, “It’s not that he’s not coming back because of you.”
“How do you know?”
“Uh… Well, I just know that he’s not so narrow-minded like that.”
Yoonhee smiles at him to comfort him, but he evades her gaze and gets changed and ready to sleep. Sunjoon gets underneath the blanket and asks,
“Are you sleeping late again?”
“Yes, I’m just going to look at this longer. I didn’t have time earlier because of that other scholar…”
“Ah, the scholar who wanted to look at your writings. I would really like to see as well.”
“It’s not that great…”
“But don’t work too hard; it’s already so late.”
But Yoonhee replies that there are so many tests to study for, to which Sunjoon says that her skills are already very good. Yoonhee says that it’s not good enough for the eyes of the king (the king would come to read and ask about the test held the next day). “Anyway, what will Gul-oh (Jaeshin) Sahyung (sunbae/older person) do if he fails?” Sunjoon doesn’t know either, and tells her to not worry too much, so that she won’t be too nervous in front of the king tomorrow. He settles in to sleep.
Yoonhee thinks, he’s always so properly punctual. How can someone always go to_sleep and wake up at the same time every night? She steals glances at his sleeping face.
The shadow of the campus ginko tree suddenly had a human silhouette–it’s Jaeshin.
Jaeshin looks towards DongJae and counts down the doors until he finds his room. He sees that the room is still lit by candlelight and realizes Yoonhee is still not asleep. He rests on top of the tree, looking towards the room, as though he is looking at her.
Yoonhee, to stop herself from looking at Sunjoon’s face, turns off the light, but the moon is so bright that his face is still well lit. She decides she might as well close her eyes then, and wiggles into the blanket. But as she goes into the blanket, the back of her hand touches Sunjoon’s. Sunjoon, seemingly deep asleep, shows no reaction, so Yoonhee takes this chance to touch his hand. It’s so warm that she could cry. She touches finger by finger, and even his palm. She holds his thumb and sticks her head out of the blanket too look at his face. She thinks,
His face is so close. The face that I’ll miss so painfully that one day we can’t see each other anymore, it’s so close to me now.
She touches his forehead, and then his nose, and with her fingers touches his lips, as though she is kissing him. She is entranced by the touch and how different it is from just looking. Before she knows it, she’s slowly put her lips on top of his, because she wants to know how different it feels on her lips than her finger. Balancing her weight on top of him, she steals a kiss. And just as feeling his lips with her finger is different from just looking, the feeling on of his lips on hers is different than on her finger.
Jaeshin, having noticed that the lights have gone off, starts throwing pebbles at the door. Yoonhee, who’s just had her lips on Sunjoon’s, is startled and gets up. She opens the door and Jaeshin pops in, whispering, “Come out. Let’s play..” Yoonhee shouts as softly as she can. “Do you know how much we worried about you?” She makes sure he is well, and he seems so (he even has new clothes on! To impress a certain person?). He gets close to her and says, “I said, come out! Isn’t it sad to let such a well lit night go by?” Yoonhee tries to protest, mentioning the test tomorrow, but he takes her away by force.
“Shh! You’re going to wake up Garang.” Jaeshin puts his own shoes on her feet, and drags her away barefooted. “I want to show you something. Come.”
After Yoonhee and Jaeshin leaves, Sunjoon slowly opens his eyes. He looks at his hand, which is shaking. He can still remember her touch. He touches his lips with his hand, and his heart races.
Yoonhee, as she is being dragged away, asks Jaeshin quietly, “Have you healed alright? Where have you been? Are you okay moving around like this?”
“You talk too much. I’m moving around because I’m okay. If I’m dead, how could I be dragging you around like this?”
“Why didn’t you come back? You should think about those worrying about you.”
“Did you really worry about me? You shouldn’t have bothered. I didn’t ask you to worry over me..”
“You disappeared in that state! How was I not supposed to worry?”
“Shh! How will I stop that mouth from shooting off? Should I attack it with my own?”
Yoonhee shuts her mouth. But she is happy to hear his jokes once again. Jaeshin takes her to the huge Ginko tree and hoists her up. She tells him that she can’t climb trees, and Jaeshin offers his shoulders. He stands with her on his shoulders until she grabs a branch. Then Jaeshin climbs up the tree and then pulls her up. They repeat this until they are very high up on the tree.
Yoonhee looks out to what seems like the world to her. Because of the bright moonlight, she can see all SungKyunKwan and the palace far away. Jaeshin is satisfied looking at her awed expression, and says, “I told you you would regret it if you didn’t come.”
Yoonhee says, “Thank you. This is blowing all my frustrations away.”
“You’re frustrated? because?”
Yoonhee doesn’t answer. Jaeshin says, “if you’re up here, you can see all the things you can’t see down there. And you can even hear it. Close your eyes.”
Yoonhee closes her eyes, and she can hear what sounds like the breeze, like animals wandering the night, like the water… And something else she can’t quite make out.
Jaeshin speaks. “Can you hear it? That’s the sound of SungKyunKwan breathing.”
Yoonhee thinks, if this place could breathe, it could also be angry. She thinks back at what she just did to Sunjoon, and that if this place was alive, it’d be fit to punish her. She shakes herself back to reality.
“Ah! about the test tomorrow..”
“I know, I’ll probably fail. It’s not anything new, not even to the king.”
“But your family… wouldn’t they have high expectations for you?”
“Just because someone can write a few words doesn’t mean they’ll make for important people. It’s useless, all of it.”
Jaeshin looks down at Dongjae, and continues,
“…that’s what I thought before I met Garang. After I met him, I realized that you can indeed write a few words with the right mind, instead of the right brain. Words aren’t so useless then after all. It’s so surprising. He’s something else. Even if I stayed here forever I might not have realized this. Don’t you dare tell him that I said this.”
Yoonhee smiles widely and nods.
Jaeshin says quietly, “You must like him, right?”
Jaeshin stares far away, and murmurs, “Ah, I hate Garang. I can’t do anything about it, but I hate him so…”
Yoonhee thanks Jaeshin for taking her back to the room the night of the victory party. She asks, “Did I ..do anything that night?”
“Isn’t getting knocked out on the street something already?”
“Ah.. I’m just wondering.. why you just left me in the room like that. I woke up with the same clothes on…”
“Look at you. You’re saying I should have changed you, too? I took you to your room even though I just wanted to abandon you somewhere on the street!”
“No I didn’t mean it like that! I just want to say…thank you.”
Jaeshin starts, “But I should have taken a look at that great thing of yours!” (“Daemul” means literally big wealth/treasure, but it more or less implies “big penis”. The nickname sticks because Yoonhee is the great man who was able to get Chosun’s affection.)
Jaeshin breaks out in laughter. After he says it, he realizes the hilarity of the matter. The person rumored to have the biggest penis is actually a woman! How did that rumor even start? He starts even tearing as he laughs.
“Why are you laughing so much?”
“Ah.. I was just thinking about the fighting ring… (He pretends he is getting hurt getting into things like wrestling matches people bet over)”
“You’re lying about going to those places right?”
Jaeshin coughs. “What? I’m lying?”
“Yes, Garang Hyungnim said that you’re not the one to go to places like that.”
“You’ll believe anything Garang says, dammit!”
Jaeshin suddenly, in anger, climbs down from the tree. Yoonhee slowly and carefully climbs down branch by branch, but reaches a point where she can’t go down further.
“You can’t just leave me here! How do I get down?”
Jaeshin looks up from the ground and says, “if you jump from there, you might break something.”
“So can you offer your shoulder like last time…”
“I never told you I would help you get down.”
With that Jaeshin goes towards DongJae, pretending not to hear Yoonhee. He shouts as he walks away, “By the way! It’s forbidden to climb trees on campus. Don’t get caught!”
Yoonhee stays in the tree stuck. “I wondered why he was being so nice! If I get down, the first thing I’ll do is to kick where he was hurt.”
Jaeshin arrives at the door of his room, and sees that Sunjoon is waiting outside, looking around. Jaeshin says, “I came back. Aren’t you going to greet me?”
“Yes, about that time…”
“That time, I hit you first. So I should apologize, isn’t that right?”
“No, I am sorry.”
“In any case, I wasn’t gone because of you. I kept trying to come back but there were things to take care of.
“You weren’t sleeping?”
“I woke up, and Daemul was gone, so I came out looking for him.”
“You think he got kidnapped or something? Maybe some women dragged him away. Hmm, but his shoes are here, so I guess there is reason for worry.”
Sunjoon knows he is lying. Jaeshin’s the one who took Yoonhee away, but he’s come back alone. Where did he leave him?
“Where is he?”
“How would I know?”
“Where is he!”
“Why are you asking me? You think I know?”
“Where is he!”
Sunjoon’s shout is cold, although it’s not loud enough to wake others.
“Ah, you were awake. I left him hanging at a tree!”
Sunjoon grabbed Jaeshin’s arm. “A tree? What tree?”
Jaeshin frees himself from Sunjoon’s grasp and heads into the room, saying, “look for it yourself. He won’t be able to get down by himself from that tree.”
Jaeshin slams the door shut, and contemplates on telling Sunjoon about Yoonhee’s identity…
Sunjoon hurries to the tallest tree at Daesungjeon. Yoonhee sees Sunjoon and is so surprised to see him awake that she forgets to call out for him. Sunjoon calls out to him and Yoonhee snaps back to reality, and calls out to him. “Garang hyungnim! Over here!”
Sunjoon finds here and looks up. Worried, Yoonhee asks, “…W-weren’t you sleeping?”
Sunjoon answers, “I woke up, and you were gone, so I couldn’t go back to sleep. And your shoes were there, so I was worried.” Thank God, she thinks. She is assured that he wasn’t awake when she kissed him.
“Jump down, I’ll catch you.”
“You might get hurt.”
“You don’t trust me?”
Yoonhee looks down and smiles. “Goel-roh Sahyung is right. I would believe anything you say.”
Sunjoon becomes desperate. For some reason, with the moonlight on Yoonhee, it seemed as though she would fly away into the sky like a Sun-nyeo (a wood nymph), forever gone. He shouts, “Please! Come down!” and with that, Yoonhee jumps down into his arms.
Sunjoon and Yoonhee both fall into the ground. “Are you okay?” “Are you all right?”
But both of them are startled to realize the awkward position they are in. Both of them are down, but Sunjoon’s waist is between her legs. Yoonhee tries to get up pushing against his chest with her hands, and sits up, but the position is not any less criminal: it was almost as though she is riding a horse. Under her was his…thing, separated by only a few layers of clothing! The feeling is so strong that it almost feels like its piercing her body, that she can’t even move.
Sunjoon is similarly taken aback, and tries to get up himself, only to be sitting up with her on his lap. His “thing” seems similarly surprised–if she were to get up now, she would notice the state it was in (“erected”).
Their eyes meet, and both of them try to pretend that they’re not so affected, and ask each other if they’re hurt. Yoonhee slowly gets off of him. Sunjoon, so that the state of his lower body is not found out, sits with his back turned to her.
“It’s..it’s late. We should sleep.” Yoonhee starts getting up, but Sunjoon pulls her back down. “Let’s stay a little bit longer.” It’s because Sunjoon is in no state to get up, but Yoonhee doesn’t know, so she asks, “are you hurt?”
“Ah, no, it’s just.. that.. the stars are so beautiful tonight.”
It’s just an excuse, but when the two looked up at the sky, the stars are indeed very beautiful, so the two stay.
The two lean against each other on their backs, and Sunjoon starts, “When are you going to use your wish?”
“The wish that I’m supposed to grant you.”
Sunjoon thinks, if you tell me not to meet Hyo-eun, I won’t. He wants it to be that wish. If that was the wish, he has an excuse to enjoy his time here with Yoonhee than to spend it with Hyo-eun.
“If I had a wish.. It would be that later, when we are away from this place, that you would not forget me. Should I make that my wish?”
“I can’t accept that. Even if that wasn’t your wish, I will not forget you.”
I won’t forget you, Sunjoon thinks. Even if we are of different class or party, we’ll be together.
Sunjoon says, “why do you always keep talking like we will separate? Even if we are not taking classes here, it’s not like we will never meet… You always act as though we have just a short amount of time.”
“You don’t know what will happen.”
“I want a different wish.”
Yoonhee thinks to herself, should I ask him not to meet that woman? But how would she explain herself?
“If I can’t make that my wish, I don’t have one as of yet.”
“You can save it up and use it anytime, even if it’s after 10 years, or 30 years.”
Yoonhee closes her eyes. “10 years… 30 years…”
The two head back to Dongjae, and as she enters, Yoonhee kicks Jaeshin’s bottom.
“What the– who do you think you’re kicking!?”
“You should be thankful I’m not doing more. You are just too much.”
The three settle in to sleep, and Jaeshin says that she’s got some guts kicking him, when everyone else in Sungkyunkwan is deadly scared to even go near him. Jaeshin sleeps with his back to her, and she’s surprised to see that he is wearing his underclothes to sleep.
Why? even when it is cold, he always sleeps with most of his clothes off. Yoonhee deduces that it’s to hide his wound, and goes to sleep.
Sunjoon and Yoonhee at the Waterfall
[Before this: The lower level students, who blame Yoonhee for keeping Sunjoon at Dongjae instead of Seojae, spread the rumor that Yoonhee and Jaeshin have been fornicating at Bibokcheon late at night. Yoonhee and Jaeshin confront the lower level students, and all the students gather as the lower level students accuse them of being “disgusting” and tell Sunjoon to leave his roommates immediately.]
Jaeshin is super angry, and Yoonhee is extremely upset to have dirtied her brother’s name. Sunjoon, similarly angry (but he tries not to show it), ask how they know that Jaeshin and Yoonhee were doing those things, to which they answer that they were at Bibokcheon late at night. Sunjoon is like, so you didn’t actually see them do anything? You just deduced that they were because they were together? And the lower level students respond, what else could they have been doing together at Bibokcheon that late? Sunjoon fires back, saying, “if you think they were doing it because they were together at Bibokcheon that late, isn’t it fair to claim that since you all were there together, too, that you were doing the same?”
The lower level students are all startled, but claim that they were there just to scare Yoonhee. Jaeshin tells them that he went looking for Yoonhee as well to scare her for fun, because it was too awkward to be alone in the room with Sunjoon after their fistfight, which people accept as reasonable. Yoonhee wonders why Jaeshin is lying, because she knows he was there to rest because of his wound. Then another student pipes in, saying that he saw Yoonhee on top of another man underneath the tree at Daesungjeon. Everyone is like, yeah, what’s that about?
Sunjoon says that it was him, to which the lower level students (who are all very enamored of Sunjoon) exclaim that that’s a lie; he must just be covering for Jaeshin! Jaeshin gets angry because of the discrimination. Sunjoon tells him that he was just helping her get off the tree, and the witness is quick to accept it, since Yoonhee was not on top of him for very long. Yoonhee is quiet, because even though there really isn’t anything between her and Jaeshin, she does not have the conscience to defend herself regarding Sunjoon. All the lower level students have no more to say, and they pale as Jaeshin growls that he’s going to have to take care of them for what they’ve done.
As Sunjoon and Yoonhee leave the confrontation, Sunjoon is quiet because he’s sure that Jaeshin was not at Bibokcheon that late just to scare Yoonhee; there must be something between them that he doesn’t know, and it bothers him. Yoonhee is curious as to why Jaeshin is lying.
Additionally, on their day off, Yoonhee and Yongha go to Morakgahn (the gisaeng house). Yoonhee meets Chosun, and Chosun, just to tease Yoonhee, tells yoonhee that her relationship with Sunjoon makes it seem almost like Yoonhee is gay. Yoonhee is caught off guard, and she doesn’t defend herself, to which Chosun is extremely surprised. She also gets kind of angry and when Yoonhee tries to leave, saying that she isn’t fit for Chosun anyway, Chosun goes kind of insane and tells Yoonhee that she will cut off Yoonhee’s …thing… before any woman or man can get to it, and grabs a knife. Thankfully Yongha comes to the rescue and both of them flee the place, back to Yoonhee’s room in Dongjae.]
Yoonhee, Sunjoon, Jaeshin, Yongha, and other boys from Dongjae go to play at the water and look at chrysanthemums. They all settle down at the bottom of a medium-sized waterfall. The scene is described as very picturesque, with big trees extending their branches over the water, providing them with shade. Some of them start putting their feet in the water, and others set up the food and alcohol.
Jaeshin goes to lay down on a rock. Someone asks, “you came all the here to sleep?”, which Jaeshin ignores. But he gets up to drink a bit, to settle back again. The same student congratulates Yoonhee on advancing to a higher level student status (I think the students do this depending on the results of their tests) and offers her a drink. She just responds that she’s lucky. The student leaves, and Jaeshin extends her legs to tap her on the shoulder.
She says, “What?”
“Nothing, he says.”
“You’re still below me, though.”
“What? In what?”
“I already advanced from those levels, before.”
“Did I say otherwise?”
Then he pushed her waist with his foot. He turns his back to her, and sighs, “If you graduate and leave this place (SKK) before me, I’ll haunt you forever and never leave you alone!”
“Maybe you shouldn’t try and hold me down but study hard!”
“Hey! I–I’ve been reading! A little.”
Yoonhee is taken back because when does Jaeshin ever stuttuer? She smiles at it, and Jaeshin having seen her smile, buries his face into his arms to hide his own. Another student approaches them to give Yoonhee more congratulatory drinks. Yoonhee hesitates on taking the drink (because of last time) and Jaeshin sits up and snatches the drink, and gulps it down. He yells at the student who offered the drink. “There’s not even that much alcohol! Stop giving so much to this kid.” He chases the student away. Jaeshin tells Yoonhee, “Don’t drink a drop more. If you get knocked out last time, I’m not carrying you back! I’ll just leave you here in the water, got it?”
Sunjoon, who has been surrounded by scholars, gets up to go to Yoonhee and Jaeshin. Sunjoon hangs his hat on a tree and takes Yoonhee’s to do the same. He goes to the water and raises his pant legs to dip his foot. He tells Yoonhee to do the same, and Yoonhee, who doesn’t want to reveal her hairless foot and legs, just touches the water with her hands.
A pebble gets thrown their way, and it’s Jaeshin. Other scholars, including Yongha, who see Jaeshin throwing pebbles on top of the rock, they sneak up on Jaeshin and grab him, then throw him into the water. Everyone laughs. Jaeshin comes back up, yelling, “who was it! I’ll kill you all!” But the scholars are already heading for their next target: Yoonhee. When Yongha and Jaeshin see this, both of them scream.
All the scholars are surprised and Jaeshin shouts, “he’s so weak, he’ll probably get sick and we’re the ones who’ll have to take care of him! It’s your turn!” Jaeshin takes the attention off Yoonhee and goes after another student. All of them, excluding Yoonhee, all get into the water and play.
Amidst all the commotion in the water, Sunjoon quietly steps out and gestures at Yoonhee to follow him. He climbs up the rocks next to the waterfall and she follows, until the two are above the waterfall. It’s quieter because it’s farther from the sounds of the fall hitting the water.
“Why did we come up?”
“It seemed like you couldn’t dip even your foot in the water because you’re worried that the students might do something. You should be fine here. I’ll be here.”
The weather is hot, and Yoonhee, if it weren’t for the others, would take her clothes off and jump into the water. Sunjoon starts undressing to squeeze the water out of his clothes, and when she’s sure he is not looking, she takes off her buh-seon (they are kind of like socks, you saw Yoonhee trying to take them off Sunjoon in episode 4) and dips her foot in the water. She raises her pant leg to dip her leg in even more, and she revels in the feeling of the cold water.
Sunjoon undresses more and leaves his clothes on the rock, goes back into the water to wash his hair. Yoonhee looks up, and she’s shocked to see his butt facing her way! Even though he has his underclothes on, they are so wet that they are sticking completely to his body. And it leaves Yoonhee to think about what it must look like in the front and screams silently in her head. Agh! And the rest of the students on the bottom of the fall only have their underclothes on, too! How many butts will I have to face? She screams into her head even more.
Jaeshin climbs up with a watermelon in his hand, saying “You guys were here! Let’s eat–what the!? What do you think you’re doing?” Jaeshin runs through the water to kick Sunjoon into the water. “Where do you think you’re sticking your butt? Hey, did you see anything?” Jaeshin turns to Yoonhee, and Yoonhee shakes her head violently. He gives her the watermelon, and Sunjoon comes out of the water, saying, “That was dangerous!” Jaeshin replies, “how can a scholar show that much skin so easily? Hmph!” Yoonhee is like, look who’s talking… lol.
Yoonhee keeps her gaze on the watermelon, and Sunjoon comes out of the water and puts some clothes on. He sits down near Yoonhee and sees her small foot. He thinks to himself, so strange. At age nineteen, some are already fathers, but he is still so small. His hands and feet are so small! Was he too embarrassed to show them?
Sunjoon catches himself getting nervous at the sight of just the bare skin of her foot. What is he going to do with himself?
Sunjoon and Yoonhee in the Water
The sky clouds up. Jaeshin, who is at the top of the waterfall with Sunjoon and Yoonhee, yells down towards those playing at the bottom, “Hey! it looks like it’s going to rain!” Nobody can hear, so he decides to head down to ask. As he climbs down the fall, it starts to rain.
Sunjoon puts on his outer clothes and Yoonhee puts her buh-seon back on. Jaeshin yells from the bottom, “get your things! let’s get out of here!”
Sunjoon waits for Yoonhee, who, as she’s scrambling for her things, gets her sangtoo (the updo all men are sporting) stuck in a branch. She tries to get it out, but she has a hard time because she can’t see it.
“I’ll help you.”
Sunjoon comes over to grab the branch.
“It’s okay. It’ll come undone soon.”
“Stay still. It’s going to get even more tangled.”
They hear Jaeshin shout from the bottom, “I’m taking your hats! Do you remember the place we were at before we came here? We’ll be there, so catch up!”
Sunjoon yells back that they will soon be there, and goes back to taking her sangtoo out of the branch. Yoonhee stands there frozen between his arms, which are raised around her to reach her hair. She can’t step back because she will fall into the waterfall. She looks at Sunjoon’s neck and remembers the first time she met him, when she didn’t think she would ever see him again.
Her clothes start getting more and more wet. But his hands are slow and careful. She can’t get her clothes wet, but she doesn’t want to hurry him. She wants to stay like this for longer, if she could.
Sunjoon’s hands have stopped. But her hair is still caught on the tree. She looks up to his face. His own hair and rain are running down his face, and his eyes are looking at her. It’s different. His eyes don’t look like the first time she’s met him. It looks like hers.
Why? Why is he looking at me like this?
Tears start running along the hair and rain on his face. All the emotions he’s kept hidden start flowing out.
“Even if I do away with your sangtoo, you are still a man…”
Yoonhee is pained just to see his sadness that she doesn’t decipher what he means. She wants to pretend that she’s not seeing him like this; it’s just the wind and the rain making him seem sad, she wants to believe.
She missteps as she tries to back away, and the wind blows her sangtoo free; she loses her balance, and waterfall suddenly becomes louder. She reaches out a hand, but she feels him getting farther away, and she can only see the clouds in the sky. But after a moment, the sky is covered by Sunjoon, who’s leapt to grab her. They catch each other in an embrace and fall into the water, like the rain, like the waterfall.
The water sucks the two in, and in the water, Yoonhee can see Sunjoon’s eyes. She can’t see the tears, but she can see that they are still falling. His hair weaves through the water, as does hers, until they get closer and closer to be one, in a hopefully neverending embrace. She can’t breathe. Not because she’s underwater, but because his lips are on hers. They float in the water as though they’re in a dream, as though they’re above the skies, as though they are babies in a mother’s womb.
There’s no world underneath here. Since there is no world, there’s no rules, or duties. There’s only these two people. Only their lips. They share their warmth through their lips, in this cold, small, world-less place.
But the water spits them out. As they come out to the world, they are torn apart, and Sunjoon’s lips are far away. They stand where the water is shallow. There is no one else. Sunjoon evades Yoonhee’s gaze.
Yoonhee can’t believe what just happened under the water. She thinks it’s because of the shock of falling that she made it up in her head. Or it’s because he was trying to help her breathe, to save her, that he did that.
Sunjoon turns around to walk out of the water. Yoonhee, somewhat out of it, follows, but the water is unruly under the rain and she keeps falling. When she reaches a point where most of her body is above the water, she finds that her clothes are almost completely see through, and she’s lost the cloth she keeps to cover her breasts in the water. She quickly puts her arms around her chest.
Sunjoon, who is almost out of the water, suddenly turns around and walks towards Yoonhee. He kisses her passionately. The warmth that was there underneath the water isn’t there anymore. Instead, he is drinking her heat with all his emotion through their lips. Yoonhee is unable to even understand what is going on, so she doesn’t push him away, or embrace him. She just stands there with her arms around her chest. Her knees go weak and the water tries to push her. Sunjoon grabs her firmly and pushes his tongue through the small space between her lips. He kisses her as if he is searching for something, as if there’s an answer there, as if there is a way for them to be together. Tears fall from Yoonhee’s eyes.
Sunjoon, unable to find what he’s looking for, stops, and turns around. He doesn’t look at her, and Yoonhee, scared that he will run away, grabs the tail of his clothes. Sunjoon says,
“I won’t say that I’m sorry.”
She wants to answer, but no words come out of her mouth.
“I’ll leave SungKyunKwan. I no longer deserve to be there.”
Yoonhee shakes her head, but he can’t see. Yoonhee walks through the water so she stands in front of him, but Sunjoon turns his head, and closes his eyes.
“You didn’t do anything wrong.” he says.”I don’t think I did anything wrong, to you. But I’ve wronged everybody else.”
Yoonhee leans her forehead onto his chest and starts sobbing as she says,
“Everything is my fault! You didn’t do anything…”
“I’m the one who wanted this! Even if you say you wanted me too, I’m the one who wanted you more, and therefore I am more at fault.”
Yoonhee takes his hand and she puts his hand onto her breast.
“Are you still at fault? Please, don’t blame yourself…”
Yoonhee bites her lips, with her hand holding his tightly. She can’t raise her head.
Sunjoon’s senses come back to him, and he realizes what he’s holding in his hand. This is a woman’s breast. Shocked, he takes her arms off her chest and he sees a woman’s body through wet clothes. Her hair falls down with the rain.
Sunjoon’s hands shake as he undoes her clothes. Her clothes fall, one by one, to reveal the body underneath. The rain falls on her to run down her body. When all her clothes are off, Sunjoon finds that Yoonhee is wearing a 허리가리개 (This is the underwear bottom that all the women wear… > >) Sunjoon can’t believe his eyes.
“Wha–what is.. Is something wrong with my eyes?”
Yoonhee covers her body with clothes and shakes her head.
“So you deceived me?”
“I didn’t intend to lie to you.”
“If you didn’t lie to me, what is this?!”
“I didn’t deceive you! There was nothing I hated more than standing in front of you as a man! I would deceive the entire world, but I wouldn’t deceive you..”
“W–wait. I don’t understand anything. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Sunjoon shakes his head in confusion, then looks at Yoonhee. Then he puts his arms around her. He doesn’t think about anything else, but he feels pity that she’s had to dress as a man.
When he is hugging her, he is sure that he is embracing a woman’s body. Suddenly the water gets more out of control because of the rain. Sunjoon takes Yoonhee by the hand and head the opposite direction of where they are supposed to meet the other students.
[Warning — this part is HOT!]
The two sit on top of a boulder. Sunjoon paces in front of her. They can no longer hear the sound of the water. Sunjoon suddenly stops and speaks.
“You’re really a woman?”
Yoonhee buries her head into her knees and answers with a small voice. “Yes.”
Sunjoon shakes his head. It seems like the world flipped upside down after they fell into the water. Or did he fall on his head? Maybe he pulled out this fantasy from the pain he was feeling before the fall? Sunjoon puts puts his arms around her head and says, “n-no.. This can’t be. This is too cruel a dream. If I wake up from it, I don’t know how I could go on living.”
Yoonhee can’t tell him it’s not a dream. She can’t really believe this is all real, either. Sunjoon asks again.
“Who’s Kim Yoon Shik?”
“He’s my younger brother.”
“Then who is the person in front of me?”
“She’s Kim Yoon Shik’s older sister.”
“Then who was the older sister that I saw that time?”
“That was also me.”
Sunjoon sits down. He laughs, and sighs, “this is indeed a dream. This is too much like what I wanted, like what I fantasized.”
Yoonhee can’t believe what he is saying. She can’t believe he’s fantasized about this, and about her being a woman.
Sunjoon runs his hand slowly down her hair. She’s beautiful.
“You’re really a woman?”
He touches her cheek.
“And I can love you as much as I please?”
Tears start coming out of Yoonhee’s eyes. His thumb touches her lips. Sunjoon’s hands slowly run down her neck, past her collarbone, into her clothes, and to her breasts. They are still there. Yoonhee and Sunjoon kiss. Sunjoon’s lips follow his hand’s path down her body, but he stops when he reaches her breasts.
“Being together before marriage makes us no better than beasts. It’s no matter to me, but I can’t do that to you.”
His breath is warm. Yoonhee pulls his head to her and says,
“If being with you right now makes me a beast, then I’ll choose to be a beast. If I don’t now, I will die forever regretting that I didn’t become one.”
How can she ever dream of marrying this man? It’s better to just become a beast. Sunjoon is trying hard to hold himself back. Yoonhee breathes into his ear, “A man and woman’s lust is the will of the skies(“gods” is a more appropriate translation, but Koreans usually interchange “Sky” and “God”), whereas propriety and discretion are the teachings of man. Man can disobey man, but he shouldn’t disobey the sky.”
Her whisper kills all the reason in him. His lips move once again and they land on her breasts. She leans back to lie down on the rock. She looks up at the sky, and rain droplets fall between tree branches onto her face. The drops aren’t cold, not because the rock is warm, but because of Sunjoon’s mouth. Yoonhee doesn’t close her eyes, because she’s afraid that she’ll wake up from this dream.
Sunjoon pulls her clothes away and looks at her small, pale waist. He is about to pull down her bottoms but stops. He is scared: what if he pulls them off to find a man’s object waiting to taunt and scare him awake?
He looks at her face, and even though he’s felt this way before, she looks more womanly than ever. He can’t even believe he saw her as a man until now. It doesn’t matter anymore. Man or woman, he doesn’t care. Having someone that he loves so much in front of him, like this, is enough.
He quickly pulls off the rest of her clothes, and puts his face between her legs. There isn’t anything. There isn’t a trace of the famous Daemul (“big thing” “big treasure”), nor is there even a Sohmul (“Soh” means small). Grateful, he kisses where it should have been, and drinks her body.
After a short while, Yoonhee raises her waist. A cold pain penetrates her body. She closes her eyes. It’s not a dream, because she doesn’t wake up. She takes in the pain because it means that she is taking Sunjoon’s body into hers. Amidst the rain, the two share their bodies. Sunjoon’s personality is calm and reserved, but his body is not. Sunjoon, unaware of Yoonhee’s pain, doesn’t stop, and he goes on for a long, long time.
Jaeshin impatiently plays with Yoonhee and Sunjoon’s hat, putting them on top of each other, taking them out. (coincidence?) He’s worried. He throws the hats onto the floor and yells, “Why haven’t they come back yet?!”
Yongha says carefully, as to not anger Jaeshin, “They’ll come. They probably stopped somewhere to avoid the rain.”
“The rain’s stopped now! Why aren’t they coming?”
“How would I know? It’s not even that far in; they couldn’t have gotten lost. They’ll come.”
Yongha shuts his mouth after he sees Jaeshin’s angry eyes. He picks up the hats and dusts off the dirt. Jaeshin spits to the other students, “Hey! Aren’t you guys worried?”
“Of–of course we are!”
“Aish! I shouldn’t have left them there…”
Jaeshin starts putting on his shoes, and Yongha stops him.
“You’re gonna go? What if you just miss them?”
He’s right. Jaeshin takes off his shoes and sits down again. He’s worried. Not because he thinks they are lost, but because the two are alone together. Jaeshin lies down, and imagines Yoonhee’s face on the ceiling. He starts imagining Sunjoon’s face next to hers. Anger fills up his throat.
Somebody yells, “Here they come!”
Jaeshin jumps up. Yoonhee, who’s put her hair nicely back into a sangtoo, and Sunjoon, whose hair is down, are walking towards them, with their clothes mostly wet. Yongha murmurs, “was there a typhoon over there?”
Yongha shouts out to them, “Hey! We came here to avoid the rain. What’s the point if you are all already soaked?”
“Sorry we’re late.”
Sunjoon greets Yongha, and then the other students.
“Daemul doryung fell into the bottom of the waterfall; that’s why we’re late.”
Yongha, surprised, says, “What? he wasn’t hurt, was he?”
“No, just a little shaken.”
“Why is your hair that way?”
“I lost my Mang-gun (the band around their head). I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find it, and I came because I didn’t want to make everyone wait.”
Jaeshin is the one who waited the most impatiently, but after their appearance, he takes a glance at Yoonhee and lies back down again.
Yoonhee, after greeting the students, sits down to lean against a pillar. She still feels a strong pain and soreness in her lower body. It was hard just walking over here; how will she walk all the way back to Sungkyunkwan? On top of that, it’s hard to pretend she’s not in pain.
Yongha looks at her face and asks, “Daemul! Are you okay? Why do you look so pale?”
Jaeshin gets up suddenly to listen to the two.
“N-no, I’m okay. I’m just a little shook up. I think the water was a little too cold.”
Jaeshin kicks her side. “Hey! Are you sure you’re okay?”
With Jaeshin’s kick, Yoonhee feels the pain in the lower body spread throughout her system. She tears up a little, and nods painfully.
Sunjoon is quiet because he knows, and he sits down next to her. He is worried, but can’t ask how she is because of everyone around, or hold her.
Back at DongJae
“Are you feeling okay?”
Sunjoon says this in a small voice, finally free of having to watch out for others listening. He’s had to hold back his concern on the way back to Sungkyunkwan, and even as he laid out Yoonhee’s blankets back in their room in Dongjae, mostly because Jaeshin would not leave their side, with a suspicious look on his face. Sunjoon finally can attend to her, since Yongha has pulled Jaeshin away from the room to talk.
Yoonhee answers his question with a smile. Sunjoon is dissatisfied with her answer, so he lies down close to her and whispers into her ear. “I didn’t realize you were so unwell.”
His undone hair touches her face. Soon someone will bring him a mang-gun, but Yoonhee likes his hair this way for now. She whispers back, “The one who’s unwell is my brother.”
Sunjoon whispers even softer, “If you’re well, what is this fever?”
“I said that I was well, not that it didn’t hurt.”
Sunjoon realizes what she means and his face reddens. Yoonhee’s face reddens as well. Yoonhee’s mind travels back to when she was pushing Sunjoon to go ahead and take her. It’s not something a woman should do, even if she wasn’t in her right mind in that state. Yoonhee feels shame filling her body. She tries to hide her reddened face underneath the blanket, which Sunjoon pulls back down. She tries again, and they repeat this tug-of-war cycle.
“Why do you suddenly want to hide?”
“Why are you embarrassed all of a sudden?”
Yoonhee pokes her head out the blanket and asks, “You must not see me as a proper woman, right?”
Sunjoon whispers back, “do you think a proper woman tells a man to submit to lust before moral conduct?”
Yoonhee’s eyes fill with disappointment. Sunjoon tries to hold back his laughter.
He reassures her, “what’s important is not whether you are proper or not, but the person I’ve been looking at all this time.”
“I.. I lied to you about something.”
“Is there something you didn’t lie to me about?”
Yoonhee confesses, “I.. I don’t do stitching or anything like that. I’m not good at it.”
“But you’re good at everything that I like. I like that better.”
Yoonhee smiles widely, and Sunjoon smiles back. He wipes her forehead with a dry cloth, and puts a cube of ice in her mouth (They did this to lower fevers; not sure that it works). Yoonhee thinks about how he’s been this gentle, even back when they first met.
There are only the two in the room. Even though it’s hot out, the two lie adjacent to one another and whisper.
“I’m okay with everything, but I wish that you wouldn’t call me Hyungnim when we’re alone.”
“Then what do I call you?”
“Whatever it is, I want it to be from Kim Yoonhee, not Kim Yoonshik.”
“But.. what if I accidentally call you that in front of the other students?”
Sunjoon is hesitant because he’s embarrassed, but he comes out to say, “there is something you can call me so that they don’t notice… It sounds a lot like my nickname…”
“Ah! Ah-rang (what a woman calls her husband or lover)!”
Yoonhee’s face reddens as she smiles. But suddenly she’s hit with worry. It seems the more and more happy she is, the sooner the bad parts will strike. She imagines Hyo-eun’s face.
Sunjoon kisses her eyes, then her ears. He whispers in her ear, “that time I went over there with Soon-dol (his manservant), I told her how I felt. Since then, we haven’t met or spoken.
It was hard to meet her when all I could do was think about you.”
But Yoonhee is still worried. A Noron and Nam-in, the wall between them is too big. Yoonhee runs her hand down his hair. Maybe she shouldn’t worry about the tomorrow….wait. Tomorrow?! Yoonhee suddenly gets up, only to be pulled back down by Sunjoon’s hand.
“I–I have to get up.”
“You can’t yet. Tell me–I’ll get you anything.”
“I have to prepare for the exam tomorrow. I can’t be lying down like this…”
“Rest tomorrow. If you say that you’re unwell, Professor Jung will understand.”
“Resting is fine, but it will be too hard for me to catch up to the next lesson. I don’t have the leisure of wasting a day.”
Sunjoon grabs the book before she does, and he lays back down. “Come lie down. I’ll read it to you.”
Yoonhee complies, and says, “You can start at 일음일양지위도–where they say that yin yang and karma is the 도 (do, the character meaning “road”). I can decipher the characters, but their meanings are always hard to grasp. I think it’s harder to understand when the phrases get simpler.”
“There’s a lot of meanings to the character ‘도’, but here it’s understood as ‘law’ or ‘rules’.”
“Law? so it’s nature’s law… You explain it well.”
He speaks as though he’s whispering. It seems like he’s trying to get her to sleep.
“Everything about the universe is in duality. If there is a front, there is a back, and if there is a man, there is a woman. There’s nothing with one side. There is a saying here: ‘The world is a stage in mid-performance. There is only two performing all these thousands of years. One is woman, one is man.’ Nothing can be done with just one. Just as I am nothing without you, and you without me.”
Yoonhee laughs out loud to that last sentiment.
“This is the way of the world. If there is peace, there will be pain, and if there is pain, there will be peace.”
Will there be a time when this happiness will end to allow for pain to come? Then will happiness come again? Yoonhee doesn’t know the amount of pain that will strike, or the magnitude of the second happiness, but she can’t imagine that they will be as great as the happiness she is experiencing now.
“I have to memorize the characters for Fuxi as well…”
“It’ll be easy to just practice drawing it.”
Sunjoon grabs Yoonhee’s hand and puts his finger on her palm.
“Ah! That tickles!”
Yoonhee tries to pull her hand away, but Sunjoon holds it down firm.
“Wait! I will draw you each character on your hand. First, 건괘.”
There’s nothing to draw about 건괘, Yoonhee thinks to herself. It’s just six lines. Anyone would know that there isn’t anything to memorize there. It’s just Sunjoon’s desire to touch her that he’s pretending to help this way. Sunjoon gets a little bit greedier.
“Recite the eight characters to the left of that.”
Yoonhee recites them.
He puts his hand into the blanket. Yoonhee is startled, and tries to pull her waist away.
“What are you doing? We don’t know when Gul-oh Sahyung will come back in.”
“Your palm is too small to write all eight of them!”
Yoonhee is speechless at his tactic. He could just as well easily write each of them separately on her palm. Even doing this, Sunjoon’s face is calm as ever. “I’ll start from쾌.”
And he starts moving his finger softly on her stomach. It seems like he doesn’t even remember why she wasn’t not feeling well in the first place. Or he thinks it’s okay, as long as he’s not doing more. But with each touch, Yoonhee’s lower body becomes more and more sensitive, and her face gets hotter.
Jaeshin suddenly bursts the door open and enters, spitting, “I can’t believe he pulled me away for basically nothing! Why haven’t the ghosts taken care of that guy yet?”
Yoonhee’s face becomes beet red, but Sunjoon has already pulled out his hand, paying attention to the book he holds, as if nothing has happened. Jaeshin sits down next to her and asks, “what were you doing?”
Sunjoon answers, “he wanted to prepare for tomorrow’s exam, so I was reading for him.”
Yoonhee’s face doesn’t move.
“Why is his fever still so high?”
“I don’t know… maybe it’s still hot. I’ll give him another piece of ice.”
Sunjoon gets up to pull out the bowl of ice, when Jaeshin puts his large hand on her forehead.
“Why is your fever so high? We should get you treated, or at least get some medicine.”
“I’m okay. It’s just that it’s hot.”
Sunjoon reaches out to Jaeshin’s hand and pulls it away, then puts the bowl of ice in its place. “The ice melted, and this is what we have. It should help lower the fever, though.”
Jaeshin feels weird. It’s not like Sunjoon pulles his hand away with any type of attitude, but Jaeshin feels as though something is up. He feels a little twinge of anger. Even though Sunjoon does not show it, he’s burning up with frustration. Soon the three will have to sleep, and the thought of Jaeshin sleeping next to Yoonhee is making him explode inside. But it’s not like he can suddenly propose to change way they’ve been sleeping. He thinks back to the first night, when he proposed that Yoonhee sleep in the middle, and wishes he had kept his mouth shut then.
An Angry Yoonhee
[Between the last scene and this one: The government’s still out on a search for Hong Byuk Seo (That’s what they call Jaeshin’s batman character) and they’ve come around to deduce that he must have some relation to SungKyunKwan, so people are sent in to check books and writings in the students’ rooms to see if anyone has anything suspicious, like the red notes that Hong Byuk Seo always leaves. The students wait outside until the search is over, and Yoonhee, Sunjoon, Jaeshin, and Yongha all come back into the three’s room.]
The books that Yongha has left in their room is in a mess, and to lighten the mood, Yongha grabs one of them and hands them to Sunjoon.
“Garang, why don’t you take a look at this? It’s very precious to me, so I don’t let anyone take a look at it, but I’ll take you for a special case.”
Sunjoon opens the book without thinking, and then closes it suddenly. It’s a book of drawings of sexual relations and teachings. Jaeshin opens another book in the series as well and opens it–he then smirks, looking at Yongha. But only momentarily: he goes back to explore the book. Sunjoon does so, as well. Sunjoon turns each page slowly, as though he’s learning from the book. Yongha puts his hand on one of the pages Sunjoon has turned to.
“Wait! This one.”
The picture is of a man on top of a woman who is laying down on her stomach.
“This is the so called Tiger-walk position. All the women say that they’re embarrassed to do this one, but all women enjoy it. They’ll go crazy for it. Even if they pretend that they don’t, women actually like it more than the men do.”
Yoonhee, who’s initially curious as to what they are all reading so intently, stops reaching for the books when she hears Yongha. This is definitely a perverted book. She’s speechless at Sunjoon, who is ever so calm as he says, “Ah, is that true?”
“It’s because it’ll go in real deep even if the man’s not very big. And the spot it reaches is usually unreachable normally!”
“I suppose that makes sense.”
Yongha sighs, “You have to be careful doing it to your wife, though. I tried to get my wife to do it, and you wouldn’t believe the hard time she gave me for it. Kept going on about how it wasn’t proper! After that I was so disheartened I wasn’t the same.”
“I could see that happening.”
Sunjoon flips to another page, and asks,
“I didn’t know that there was so much variety. They are all possible?”
Yongha is excited that Sunjoon is so interested, and grabs Jaeshin and says, “Hey, Goel-roh! Let’s show Garang if it’s possible or not. Get in position.”
Yongha falls down with a kick in the head from Jaeshin.
“Why would I do that with you?!”
“Because Garang is curious! It’s not like I can show him using Daemul–he’s sick!”
Even if she was healthy, she wouldn’t do it. Yoonhee is so in shock that she retreats to the other corner of the room and pretends she is paying attention to something else. In this setting, she wouldn’t be able to look at Sunjoon and not be found out.
Yongha licks his lips as he says, “I guess you’ll just have to try and find out for yourself. Since you feel different things in different positions, it’s good to change it up when you’re having sex. If you have enough energy, that is! Sex isn’t there just to make babies, you know. It’s not like you to have many women, Garang, so you’ll need it more than me. There’s more–you can read them when you have time.”
“Give them here.”
Yoonhee is again speechless at Sunjoon, whose speech is still calm and reserved. Sunjoon, after all, is a man. Jaeshin throws a book at Yoonhee and jokes, “Hey, you should look at it, too. Being big isn’t everything.”
“A-Ah, that’s alright. I’m not feeling too well…”
Even though she is actually sick, she pretends she is even more so to avoid this situation. She tries to get into her blanket when a very perverted picture appears right in front of her eyes. It’s Yongha, holding the book in front of her head. She tears her eyes away, but she’s already seen everything.
“I-I’m really sick. And I’m getting tired, too…”
“I’m just curious, Daemul. How big is it anyway? Is yours as big as the one in this picture?”
Yoonhee suddenly remembers Sunjoon’s, from earlier that day. Even though she only saw it momentarily, she’s startled to find that she can remember it so well.
“U-Uh… It may have been…Ah, no, it’s.. you can’t compare…”
Yoonhee thinks to herself that it’s now way too late to even seem like a proper, discreet woman to Sunjoon. She feels dizzy. Her lower body is still sore, and her fever heightens. And it seems like if these boys don’t get out of the room soon, she’ll faint. Jaeshin looks at Yoonhee, who’s working up a cold sweat, and tries to hold back his laughter, hiding behind his own book.
Yongha puts his hand on Sunjoon’s shoulder and laughs as he says, “Honestly? I think the real Daemul in this room may very well be you, Garang.”
Yoonhee silently screams into her blanket.
‘Daemul?? Guhmul (Dae = big, Guh = Giant), maybe!
“Even so, I’m sure mine won’t measure up to Daemul’s,” Sunjoon responds jokingly.
Yoonhee hides in her blanket and tries not to hear, but the conversation doesn’t escape her.
It’s especially hard to listen to Yongha.
“Looking at this picture, it makes me think of a poem.
Their waists meet together,
I raise the two legs.
I’ll do the moving and shaking,
and you take care of the deep and shallow.”
The poem keeps making Yoonhee think of what happened earlier that day. She can’t bear it any longer.
“Yeorim Sahyung! Please stop. Isn’t it inappropriate for scholars to talk about such perverted things?”
“What? Daemul, you’re the perverted one. This poem is simply about cutting paper with scissors! (LOL.) Why would you imagine such things?” Yongha starts laughing.
Even though Yongha can’t be doing it on purpose, it seems like he is making fun of her for what happened that day. He keeps going.
“But position isn’t everything, either. One shouldn’t put things in and out the same way forever! Sometimes with strength, and some times quick and fast. There’s even mashing, rubbing… (O_O)”
Too Yoonhee, it seems like the room is on fire. She tries her hardest not to listen to them by reading and memorizing another book.
After that, Yoonhee is angry for a few days. Even though she should have been sick only a couple days, she was unwell for five, because of how they were playing around in her room.
Yoonhee is especially cold to Sunjoon, even when they’re alone, like now, in the library. Sunjoon, who’s been looking for a chance to get near her all this time, goes near Yoonhee, who’s looking for a book. He tries to grab her wrist, but she moves her hands away to another bookcase. Sunjoon looks around to see if anyone is there, and says carefully, “don’t be angry.”
Even though he tries to appeal to her with a regretful voice, she doesn’t change her expression. He gets real close to her and says softly,
“I don’t know why you’re angry.”
“That’s even worse.”
“Just because of that book… How are all men like that? Hyungnim is no different.”
“I told you I don’t want to be called that when we’re alone–”
“Do you think I would call you Ah-rang in this situation?”
“Ah–okay. I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
“I can’t accept an apology from someone who didn’t even know that they were wrong.”
“I can’t see why looking at that book is such a big deal…”
“It’s not because you were looking at the book–how could you be like that when I was obviously in pain? I thought that when the other two were going on and on, you would stop them and let them leave me in peace. Why was I in pain in the first place? If I think about it, you, Garang-hyungnim, are as much a philandering pervert as Yeorim Sahyung.”
Sunjoon can’t say anything. He had forgotten about the state of her body, because of those books.
“Ah–but–he’s always just joking like that, that’s nothing new, and that day I thought that if I did anything too obvious that they might find out and I was trying to act like nothing happened on purpose..and..and why I did that was…”
Sunjoon stammers as he puts some books back onto the bookcase and dusts off his hands. He’s like a kid, getting chastised by his parents. Yoonhee finds this amusing, because it’s a new side to Sunjoon. She tries her hardest to hold back her smile. But Sunjoon sees her expression, and stealthily steals a quick kiss from her, and runs away from the library. Yoonhee is dumbfounded, but amused and happy. She hides her lips with a book and starts giggling. She follows his path back to their room in Dongjae.
(Note: According to the translator, this scene was by far the hardest to translate. It was way, way too hard trying to put all the innuendos in the right euphemisms. Also she was laughing too much.)
Rescuing Jaeshin – bringing back Sunjoon
[Setting: Sunjoon’s family rejects the proposal from Hyo-eun’s family. Hyo Eun’s father, angry and seeking revenge, frames Sunjoon to be the Hong Byeok Seo (the “Red Messenger” character).
Things get out of hand when Sun Joon is transferred to Jae Shin’s father to be interrogated. The latter knows that Lee Sunjoon is not the culprit, but cannot let go of the chance to avenge his eldest son, and throws Sunjoon in jail.
Jaeshin tells Yongha and Yoonhee that he’ll talk to his father to release Sunjoon, and he leaves to his father’s house. But his father doesn’t listen to him. Jaeshin threatens that if Sunjoon is not released, he will reveal himself as being the Hong Byeok Seo. To prevent Jaeshin from doing that, his father has his guards forcibly take him and lock him in a separate room so that he cannot get out.
Seeing that Jae Shin is not returning, Yoon Shik and Yong Ha decide to rescue him.]
[Note: Most of the texts were summarized by the translator, and this is an English translation of a Chinese translation of the novel so it is really far from the original work…]
Even though this was a night-time incursion, our great Yeorim never forgot about taking care of his clothing, magnificent as if he were to go to a festival (Note: translated from “drinking liquor while admiring the moon” which may refer to the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival). Yoonhee, Yongha, Soondol, with the help of an acquaintance of Yongha finally managed to break into Jaeshin’s mansion, and miraculously brought Jaeshin out. Soondol was in charge of carrying Jaeshin on his shoulder, the four of them running toward Sungkyunkwan as if their lives depended on it. Only after a good while, did they come to a halt. Yoonhee, feeling breathless, started to have a heaving fit. But no one took notice of the tightly bound Jaeshin, who still had a piece of cloth stuck in his mouth, mumbling undecipherable words. Yongha, only noticing now, immediately took out the piece of cloth in Jaeshin’s mouth.
“Yah! Are you all idiots?! You want to die?!”
Yongha stuck a finger in his ear to rub it, and said to Yoonhee:
“Hey, Daemul. Should we stuff the mouth of this guy again?”
“Please stop joking, and quickly untie him. It must be uncomfortable for someone like him to be tied up like this (Note: translated from “a temper like his to be tied up, it must be uncomfortable”, meaning it doesn’t fit his personality, and must be hurting his pride.).”
“The first things that come out of this mouth are ‘You want to die’? Aah, what an ungrateful fellow!”
“How can I not be angry? What’s the point of saving all this money of yours? It would have been better if you fetched some guys to help me out. Daemul aside, even with Yeorim in this, you still managed to bring me out (Note: Yeorim is even weaker than Daemul in physical interventions, so he is often considered a hindrance. Jaeshin is underlining how miraculous the whole rescue was, thus insulting Yeorim.). Look at your clothes.”
Yongha, who was about to untie the ropes on Jaeshin, suddenly stopped.
“Aigoo! It looks like our Geol-roh is tied down.”
Jaeshin, seeing Yongha’s peculiar smile, became imperceptibly uneasy, and quickly asked:
“Yah! What’s wrong with you? What do you mean by that?”
“Hehehe, such a rare opportunity. Daemul, you must have a lot of resentments these days. Quick, take this chance to let them out.”
“I’m fine. Yeorim sa-hyung, you take time and enjoy this to the fullest.”
“Hmm, things that normally cannot be done to this guy, what are they?”
“Yah, Yeorim! If you dare to do anything to me, then I’ll make sure to return it back faultlessly! Aah!”
Stupefied, Yoonhee and Soondol’s body turned stiff at once.
Yongha forcibly grabbed Jaeshin’s head, kissing him firmly and deeply on the mouth! After a moment, Yongha released him, smiling to a frozen, stiff as a rock Jaeshin, and said:
“As the saying goes, ‘a man’s word weights gold’ (Note: I couldn’t really translate this… It means roughly that a man should always keep his promises.), you have to make sure to return this back without a fault. If you back down, I will hate you.”
“T-t-this lunatic dared to-!”
“True, you didn’t even brush your teeth these days, so I can understand you being so agitated. But don’t worry, my deep feeling for you will overlook this. Not even a bit of unpleasantness is felt. Rest assured.”
(Note: The play on words is the whole point of this scene. With ‘lunatic’, Yeorim came up with another interpretation: ‘being crazy because he kissed someone who didn’t shower or even clean himself for several days’. Then, Yeorim says that he will use his deep feeling [for Geol-roh] in order to be lenient/indulgent on this fact. In the Chinese translation, the word used for ‘lenient’ also means to contain or to hold. Thus the materialization of his feeling, the word used and the tendency of the sentence created an image that couldn’t be translated here: it felt as if Yeorim was embracing Geol-roh, covering him with his deep feeling to prevent him from being hurt. The whole thing turning condescending with the current situation.)
“Hurry up and untie me! You’re sure to die by my hand!”
“To be able to die by your hand is also a kind of an exhilaration filled with passion! But before that, you must absolutely keep your promise from earlier. With things already like this, being here won’t do, first go brush your teeth, find a place that sets the mood… …”
Yoonhee, watching the grotesque show of the two guys, thought about the “great things” that they actually have to achieve in the future, and felt a headache rising.
“Soondol, use all of your strength and hit the two sa-hyung.”
“All of my strength? Meaning, killing them would be fine?”
Jaeshin and Yongha immediately calmed down. In fact, Soondol’s fists were even bigger than Yoonhee’s head (Note: Soondol is like a giant in the novel). And like this, neither of the two dared to make a sound, quietly following behind Yoonhee.
The three of them then started to plan how to rescue Sun Joon. But Jae Shin, not wanting to put Yoon Hee in danger, gave to her a lighter work to do in comparison. Leaving behind a dissatisfied Yoon Hee alone in Sungkyunkwan, the others thus following the original plan walked towards the streets.
“Geol Oh sa-hyung! Wait!”
Yoon Hee came up running, panting heavily.
“What is the meaning of this? Shouldn’t this kind of work be given to the even-more-useless-than-me Yeorim sa-hyung?”
“You promised me earlier, did you not?” (Note: translated from the affirmative “how did you promise me just now” which leaves the questions silent but demands explanations, and is more authoritative.)
“It was because at that time I didn’t know about the details yet. If you want me to comply with this promise, Geol Oh sa-hyung has to comply with what he promised Yeorim sa-hyung yesterday as well.”
(Note: in Yoon Hee’s sentences, the “you” is in a polite/respectful form, thus the use of formal speech. Because Jae Shin is older and is her senior, Yoon Hee uses the polite form. However, in this context, it becomes ambiguous as it could be used to make fun of Jae Shin, and also to retort back.)
“What did you say?! How can that thing and this one be put together?”
“Are they any different? If you kiss Yeorim sa-hyung right here, right now, I will follow your words obediently.”
“Huh? On my lips? Daemul, you’re great! (Note: translated from “the things that you are saying are so nice/smart” emphasizing on her way with words and her intelligence) So, what has to be done needs to be done, of course. Come on, let’s do it!”
Yong Ha, pouting his lips, leaned toward Jae Shin’s face. Jae Shin hesitated for a moment, then seemed to have made up his mind, and grabbed Yong Ha’s face.
“If I kiss him, you have to be obedient and return to Sungkyunkwan. You understand?”
Having said that, Jae Shin really stretched his lips forward. But before the lips touched, Yoon Hee said weakly:
“Please stop, that’s enough.”
Jae Shin immediately pushed Yong Ha away, while Yong Ha cried out with a sniveling face:
“How is this enough? Please stop? Oi, Daemul, how can a man go back on his words?”
Yoon Hee ignored Yong Ha.
“To prevent me from following you, you even resorted to do this kind of thing. I really didn’t know that I was that much of a hindrance. You’re making me feel very miserable.”
Yoon Hee coldly turned away.
“Is there such a principle as giving something and taking it back in this world? Daemul, tell him quickly to continue!”
Yong Ha shut his mouth the same moment, because, standing next to him, Jae Shin’s whole body was emitting dangerous vibes.
“T-that’s not it, what I meant to say was… … J-just joking. You know already that I really like making jokes, don’t you? Hahaha.”
But this wrath was not caused by Yong Ha at all. Jae Shin took a while to push it down, before going after Yoon Hee. Yong Ha sighed.
“I don’t want to see a hurt wild horse either, it would have made people feel better if he yelled and shouted.”
[Translator’s note: Following the previous scene, the three of them (Jae Shin, Yoon Hee and Yong Ha) manage to convince the authorities that Sunjoon is not the Hong Byuk Seo, and finally Sunjoon is released. Everyone’s been through a lot, so try to paint the best you can how hard they all had it and how much they missed each other.]
“Garang is coming!”
Even before the messenger finishes his words, Soon-dol runs out the door of Sungkyunkwan to greet Sunjoon.
Even though Yoonhee is in her male attire, she tries to tidy her clothes and hat, so she is the last to come out of Sungkyunkwan to welcome Sunjoon back. Before she knows it, she can hear the noise of the crowd and see their smiles. She thinks back to when he told her that he’d be back soon. Even though it wasn’t soon, he did come back, she thinks to herself. She wants nothing more than to run into his embrace, but the wall of students is so thick she can’t get past them.
Sunjoon looks around to the students who are all wearing the same uniform–then he sees Yoonhee. As soon as their eyes meet, he can see tears welling up in her eyes. She is still stuck behind a group of students, trying to get past them. Sunjoon feels tears coming up, himself. Was she always that small, and was she always so thin? She is so beautiful to him that he wants to wrap her in his arms, and hide her so that no one else sees that she’s a woman. But out of politeness he remains stuck within the students, who come one by one to welcome him back. It’s not that he didn’t want to see them, it’s just that she’s the one he wanted to see the most.
By the time Sunjoon’s smile becomes more and more forced. Jaeshin appears, having pushed away the students one by one. Sunjoon is surprised, as he didn’t expect him, but Jaeshin surprises him by giving him a big hug. Sunjoon is shocked, but not as much as all the other students watching.
“Thanks, for coming back in one piece.”
This short phrase and his hug says more than they could. When Jaeshin lets go of Sunjoon, Sunjoon automatically looks towards Yoonhee again. He starts to go to her, and just as he is about to reach her Yongha jumps into his arms. Yongha, similarly stuck behind the crowd of students, was eager to greet Sunjoon, and unaware that he’s getting in Sunjoon’s way, holds on to Sunjoon, almost tearing up.
Sunjoon smiles at Yongha, and then tries to go to Yoonhee again, this time, determined to put his arms around her. As soon as he reaches out his arms to meet Yoonhee’s, the Daesasung (he’s the school official who is always buttkissing in the drama) appears.
Expectedly, the Daesasung lingers long to converse with Sunjoon, and Sunjoon, unable to betray his manners, stays put. About the time the conversation ends, everyone is ordered to go to the cafeteria to accept the food and drinks bestowed by king.
Everyone becomes so busy arranging tables and food, that Yoonhee and Sunjoon don’t get a chance to even say a word to each other. Thankfully they end up sitting next to one another, but the timing to welcome each other is lost, because it is too late to hug each other without anyone else thinking that it is strange. They can’t hold hands, because of the obvious. Both sigh as everyone drinks.
As the students drink, Sunjoon and Yoonhee get separated even farther by a crowd of students who come to talk with Sunjoon. By this point, Sunjoon starts to lose his patience and thinks of a plan. He gets up to say, loud enough that Yoonhee can hear, “I’m going to go for a walk for a bit. I have some things to take care of…”
Yoonhee is aware of Sunjoon’s intention, so she tries to get up, but before she does so, a few students get up along with Sunjoon, telling him that they will accompany him.
“Ah! I forgot, I haven’t even changed. I’ll go by my room first.”
Thankfully, with that statement, the students sit back down and let him go. As soon as Sunjoon can’t be seen, Yoonhee gets up, but Yongha pulls her back down to sit.
“Hey Daemul! You had it pretty rough because of all this; lets drink it all off!”
Even though he jumped in between Sunjoon and Yoonhee unknowingly last time, he was definitely doing it on purpose now.
“N-no, it’s okay. I have to–”
She tries to get up again, to be stopped by Jaeshin.
“You should drink. It’s wrong to refuse drinks provided by the king, too. Drink just a little bit.”
He passes a cup to her and pushes her to drink. Yoonhee, trapped between Yongha and Jaeshin, fails to follow Sunjoon.
When Sunjoon gets to Dongjae, Soondol is waiting for him in tears. He goes on and one about how much he missed him, and how worried he was. Sunjoon sighs. He wanted to hear these words so, so much, but not from Soondol. It seems like he’s had more conversations with everyone but Yoonhee; he hasn’t gotten a chance to talk to her, or to hold her or her hand. It’s almost as frustrating, if not more, than when he was imprisoned.
Sunjoon changes his clothes, waiting, but she does not come.
Sunjoon, dejected, gives up and starts his way back to the feast. He’s stopped by four men, who ask for Jaeshin.
[Spoiler alert: this has to do with Jaeshin’s involvement in saving Sunjoon, so it might be confusing… At least, by this point the main crew know of his nighttime crusades as the Red Messenger.]
Sunjoon gets back to Yoonhee, who is sitting with Yongha and Jaeshin.
“Goel-roh Sahyung, there are servants asking for you back at Dongjae.”
The three sitting down look at each other nervously. Jaeshin gets up, dusting off his clothes. Yongha tells him, “just go home for a little bit. You’ll just get a beating, probably.”
“But what if–” Yoonhee looks worried, but Jaeshin pushes her head lightly with his fist and says, “even so, I’m his son; it’s not like he’ll kill me. My house is close by, so I’ll be back. See you later tonight.”
“You’re going home in a while, so stay there for a while. You should make up with your father…”
“I’m gonna come back soon! I can’t miss classes, can I?”
And with these words, Jaeshin leaves.
The feast nears its close and Sunjoon and Yoonhee pretend to be tired. They start to leave, hopeful that they’ll get some time alone, when Yongha decides to join them. Even Soondol is keeping watch in front of their room at Dongjae. Soondol and Yongha, excited about Sunjoon’s return, go on about their adventurous rescue, mentioning what they did, what Yoonhee did… And Sunjoon’s face starts to harden. Yongha realizes that Sunjoon is angry, and also that he and Soondol have said too much. Sunjoon is angry realizing the danger Yoonhee could have faced potentially.
He starts chastising Soondol. “The reason I sent you here to Sungkyunkwan was none other than to keep Daemul doryung safe!”
Yongha decides to flee the tense atmosphere, leaving the three after starting the mess.
Yoonhee doesn’t say a word as Sunjoon yells at Soondol, because she knows that he is actually chastising her. But Yoonhee doesn’t think she was wrong. She wants to think that he is yelling at Soondol so that Soondol will eventually leave to leave the two alone.
“Please stop; he didn’t do anything wrong.”
“He doesn’t stop you, and on top of that he decides to jump into it to help! Did I send you here so you could do that?”
“I’m so sorry, doryunnim (“young master”). It was all my fault.”
After a long talking to, Soondol is sent away back to Sunjoon’s family. They were finally alone.
They both enter the room, and Yoonhee, nervous, sits carefully in front of Sunjoon. If_he were to hold her now, it would undo all the hardships they’ve had to face up till now. But even now, Sunjoon is still angry. He is even cold. Was he really angry? He_wasn’t pretending? Yoonhee steals a glance at his eyes and they meet hers. They’re cold.
“U-uh. Garang Hyungnim….”
“How can you be so careless? What would have happened if something were to go wrong?”
“But I couldn’t just do nothing. And nothing went wrong…”
Yoonhee starts getting angry herself. Finally they’re alone, and she feels that Sunjoon is ruining the moment. They should be crying and laughing, telling each other how glad they are to see each other. He should be thanking her for what she did, telling her that he’ll remember it for the rest of his life. But what kind of situation was this?
“Garang Hyungnim! Is that something to get so angry about?”
“It’s not about me being angry; its the fact that it makes the hairs on my back stand to think of you in that situation. You have to promise me. You won’t do that again.”
“I don’t want to. If the same thing were to happen, I will do what I did.”
The mood is tense, and the two are cold.
“I want to ask you one thing.”
“I won’t answer anything unless you promise me that you won’t do something like that ever again.”
“It’s a matter of reason, of logic. What’s worse? Losing your loved one and so ending your life, or risking your life to save your loved one before you lose him?”
“I’ll ask you something too. It’s not about logic, but about me. If something had happened to you because you were trying to save me, what would I do? Do you think that I could have gone living like that?”
The two are silent for a long time. This isn’t anger. This is a silly lover’s quarrel. To the two of them, it’s wasting their precious time together. Yoonhee starts to smile. Sunjoon is unable to fight his smile and he goes to her, putting his arms around her. Yoonhee grumbles, “it wasn’t as dangerous as you thought. I was mostly stuck here because Geol-roh sahyung threatened me to. I could have done better than Yeorim sahyung…”
Their hats touch. Their lips meet. Both pair are dry and rough. Sunjoon pulls away to look at Yoonhee, whose face, in the light, has bruises and scars that have not yet healed.
Yoonhee, unaware of the state of her face, looks questioningly at Sunjoon, who looks at her with mixed feelings of affection and worry.
Their lips meet again. Even though their lips are rough, the scent is still present and strong. After a long time, the two pull away and whisper the word they forgot.
“Thank you, for being safe.”
“That’s what I want to say. Don’t take it away from me.”
Sunjoon looks at Yoonhee as she responds. The answer makes him all the more aware of Yoonhee’s presence as a woman, and with that thought, his hand goes to undo her clothes. His lips move to meet the undone ribbons of her clothes and Yoonhee reddens, not because of his hands or his lips, but because of the way he is looking at her. Sunjoon pulls away at his clothes and hers, and his hands find way to the woman’s body hidden within. Yoonhee whispers to him carefully,
“They said the walls are really thin here…”
Sunjoon, without any words, takes off her hat and pulls the blanket over them to buffer them from the walls.
He can’t see anything. He can only feel with his lips her lips, and he can feel with his hands her body. It’s a summer night, and underneath the thick blanket, the two share their heat, overlapping their lips and their body. Sunjoon moves his hand to undo her underwear…
“Geol-roh Sunbaenim! You are back!”
The two jump when at the exclamation from outside their room. They kick away the blanket. They can hear Yongha running out to greet Jaeshin.
“Our Goel-roh! I’m so grateful you came in one piece, and real quick, too!”
“I told you I’d be back soon. Move! I’m going in.”
Yoonhee is moving nervously trying to put all of her clothes back on, and Sunjoon says calmly, “you can just put on what you’re going to sleep in. We can just say we were about to go to bed.”
The two tidy their sleepwear and their hair, when the door opens.
“Welcome back, Gul-oh sahyung.”
Jaeshin doesn’t notice anything different and asks, “it’s dark out. What were you guys doing, not even lighting the room?”
“The two of us were tired, so we were just going to sleep.”
Yongha pops in.
“You guys are done?”
Yoonhee, startled, answers back. “D-done with what?”
“What? your quarrel, I mean.”
We didn’t even start,” says Sunjoon. The discontent in his voice shows that he is obviously referring to something else, but only Yoonhee notices.
“Ah, it seems like Garang is still angry.”
Jaeshin settles into the room and asks, “angry? you two fought?”
As Yongha explains everything to Jaeshin, Sunjoon’s thoughts go to Bibokcheon (Yoonhee’s bathing place), where at late hours, he and Yoonhee won’t be interrupted. After listening to Yongha telling Jaeshin about Sunjoon finding out how he was rescued, Sunjoon bows to the two. “I’m sorry that it’s so late. Thank you. For going through so much for me, and keeping Daemul safe.
“If you’re thankful to us, why did you get angry at Daemul?”
Jaeshin’s tone is grumpy. “And is Daemul yours or something? I did it out of my own accord; I don’t know why you have to thank me for keeping it safe. Hmph! It makes me kind of angry, really.”
“I’m sorry if it sounded that way.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry or thankful about. It was all for me, anyway. I should probably be the one thanking–well, let’s just omit formalities. We don’t need it, our relationship.”
Yongha asks, “relationship? What kind of relationship is that?”
“H-Hey! I won’t be the one to talk about being friends and stuff like that! Dammit!”
Jaeshin scratches a his neck–even though it is dark, it is obvious that his face is red. He is aware of it as well, so he spits out, “Ey! I shouldn’t have done it. I could have just used this chance to get rid of you for good, Garang. Why did I give it up? It would have been like sneezing without getting my hand dirty.”
Jaeshin looks at Yoonhee, who is smiling widely. He continues grumbling, “I was crazy. I lost my chance.”
As though it was getting hard to look at her face, Jaeshin turns his back to her. Yongha laughs and changes the subject. “Anyway, what happened when you got home? Was he really angry?”
Jaeshin points to his butt. “Ask this.”
“Eh! Beat with sticks?”
“Lets see how much you were beat. Show us.”
Jaeshin pushes away Yongha, who seems like he’ll actually pull down his pants. Sunjoon and Yoonhee laugh out loud at the sight, but underneath his laughter, Sunjoon’s insides burn with the desire of being with Yoonhee. He’s sorry he didn’t take her to Bibokcheo where he could have quelled the heat of his desire for her.
After Yongha and Jaeshin come in, interrupting Sunjoon and Yoonhee, the king visits Sunjoon. He is foremost looking to see that Sunjoon is alright, but he’s also there to try and recruit Sunjoon, Jaeshin, and Yongha to work (all three are from pretty important backgrounds and were already expected to do great things–the King has actually been trying to get Sunjoon to start working for him since the beginning of the novel, but Sunjoon refused, saying that he still has a lot to learn.)
The King tells Sunjoon that he would allow him a wish, and Sunjoon asks for access to the books in the Gae Yoo Wah, which is a part of the GyuJangGak, which is the king’s library (it’s also where the Jalgeum four will work in the second series), and the King tells Sunjoon that he can get access to any books there if he agrees to work at GyuJangGak. The king tells him to think about it and leaves.
The three (Sunjoon, Jaeshin, Yongha) contemplate on the prospect of working at GyuJangGak, thinking that it might be the right thing to do, and Yoonhee is saddened by the idea that she will probably be left at Sungkyunkwan all alone. ]
“Aagh! Lets go inside before the mosquitoes eat us up.”
Yongha and Jaeshin both get up to go back (the four and the king were conversing outside), but Sunjoon stays put.
“Go ahead in. I have some things to think about.”
“Then, me too…” Yoonhee moves to sit next to Sunjoon.
Yongha grins and says teasingly, “Didn’t you say you were tired? You guys are going to stay here at this hour? Alone?”
“You two can stay as well…”
Jaeshin spits, “are you crazy? And be bitten to death by these mosquitoes? I’m gonna go in and sleep.”
As Jaeshin starts heading back, Yongha follows Jaeshin, obviously disappointed that he can’t stay to tease the two more. He tries to convince Jaeshin to stay, but Jaeshin won’t have it, and all Yongha can do is yell back at Sunjoon and Yoonhee, “Come back fast! If you don’t, I’ll spread the rumor that the two of you are doing it! And when I spread a rumor, it doesn’t stay within Sungkyunkwan, it’ll be the talk of the country!”
Yongha’s laughs disappear as the two get farther away. Sunjoon and Yoonhee are left alone in the calm night air. Even though they are alone, Sunjoon’s eyes are looking at the stars in the sky. Yoonhee glances at his hands and thinks back to how hurriedly they were trying to undo her clothes earlier that night. She can’t help hate the king a little for interrupting her night. She looks up at the stars, too, a little miffed.
“Are the stars that beautiful?”
“Do you think only the stars are beautiful?”
Yoonhee waits expectantly for his follow-up, but all she gets is:
“The moon is beautiful as well.”
“Since your eyes are busy with the stars and the moon, I might as well just turn in…”
Yoonhee turns her head away from him.
“I couldn’t see them in the prison.”
“And you could see me in prison?”
Sunjoon laughs. Yoonhee softens at the sound of his laughter, and asks him if he will indeed take the exam to star working at the king’s library. She says hesitantly,
“Do you have to take it so soon? You could stay here a little longer…”
She can’t get the words she wants out of her mouth. Couldn’t you stay a little longer here, with me? She can only mutter, “even though you’ll start your career, I won’t be able to, and I would like to stay here a longer, so when initiation comes, I could do to the new students what was done to me, and…Ah!”
Yoonhee slaps her arm. She’s bitten by a mosquito.
“I got attacked by a mosquito.”
Yoonhee points at where she was bitten, and Sunjoon, without warning, puts his mouth there, and licks the spot. He pulls away.
“Were you bitten anywhere else?”
Yoonhee reddens and points her finger at her lips. Sunjoon smiles, and his eyes seem like they’re calling Yoonhee a liar, so she becomes embarrassed. “I mean, I wasn’t bitten there, but, ah, the moonlight, and, uh, Arang’s eyes…”
Sunjoon lightly bites her lower lip. “Now you’re not lying.”
And he does the same to her lips as he did to her arm.
Yoonhee says to Sunjoon, “the one that bit me on the lips is so much bigger than the one that bit my arm–shouldn’t you be putting your mouth on it that much more? When are you planning on using the math we learn here?”
Sunjoon laughs loudly. He puts his arm around her waist and pulls her to him. He whispers, “you want me to be satisfied spending the rest of the night kissing you?”
“It’s better than spending the rest of the night looking at the stars!”
Sunjoon gets up and dusts himself. “I wonder if anyone’s at Bibokcheon right now…”
Yoonhee gets up, too, knowing what he means. Her face brightens and the two head down, hand in hand.
They arrive at Bibokcheon, and Sunjoon jumps the wall first. As Yoonhee is about to do the same, she hears Sunjoon’s voice.
“What are you two doing here?”
Yoonhee freezes. She hears Yongha’s voice.
“Can’t you see by the way we’re dressed? We’re trying to wash ourselves.”
Yoonhee hears another voice that she recognizes as Jaeshin’s.
“Why are you here?”
Sunjoon stammers, “A-Ah, well, I thought I should wash as well…”
“Didn’t you wash after you got out of the prison?”
“Ah, well, I thought I could use another wash…”
“He went back already.”
Darn it! Yoonhee swallows up her frustration and tries to get away as silently as possible, when she hears Yongha.
“Hmm! I hear some noises there behind the wall.”
Startled, Yoonhee gets down low and runs as fast as she can back to their room. Sunjoon hides his disappointment as he goes to the well to wash himself alongside Jaeshin and Yongha.
Jaeshin complains, “Yeo-rim suddenly dragged me here, telling me that we should wash, out of nowhere. He’s always making me do whatever he wants to do…”
Yongha grins as he looks at Sunjoon. This night, all Sunjoon can do between the two men is wash his sexual frustration away with each pour of water on his back.
(Typical Yongha mischief-making!)
It’s late at night at Bicheondang (a communal study space for the students). Students file away one by one, but Sunjoon stays firmly planted in front of his book. It’s as though he doesn’t even notice Yoonhee’s presence. Sunjoon had started being this way ever since the [증광시] Jeung Gwang Shi was announced. (It’s an exam held every time the country is celebrating something significant, and held every 30 years or so… It’s a pretty freaking big exam, the second biggest that you can take in the Joseon era. Basically, through such an exam the students can become officials for the King and graduate from SKK) Everyone is studying hard, including those who are just trying to catch up on their classes.
When the two are left alone, Yoonhee closes and opens her book several times to try and get Sunjoon’s attention. He doesn’t even flinch. She drapes herself over her desk and raises only her head, to see Sunjoon’s shadow cast on the wall. She takes the shadow of her own hand and motions it so that her shadow is punching the shadow of his head.
It’s as though he felt the punches himself, because Sunjoon looks up. He’s finally looking at her! Happy, Yoonhee sits up nicely and smiles at him. He gets up and approaches her. She doesn’t want much; she would just be happy if he will hold her for a bit. But he picks up her book and tosses it into her lap. Then he forces her up and pushes her outside Bicheondang, locking her out.
Yoonhee doesn’t even register what just happened. Tears start coming out of her eyes as she comes to her senses.
“Garang Hyungnim, why are you doing this?”
She can hear Sunjoon say from the inside, “You’re distracting me.”
Yoonhee sits down on the steps in front of the door and wipes away at her tears.
“It’ll be time to take the Hwe-shi (the first of the two levels of exams–so they basically have to do two separate testings), then the Jeon-shi (the second test, where the topic they write about is directly given by the king, who then picks the best “tests”. The tests are more like essays written in the format of a poem), ” he said.
“And that’s all the more reason you should stop distracting me.”
How could he be so mean? Yoonhee wants nothing more than to stay at Sungkyunkwan longer with him, but all he wants to do is take the exam to get out of here. There’s so little time left. He’s wasting away this precious time, looking at his book instead of her.
Yoonhee tries to protest, telling him that he is wasting what little time they have, but Sunjoon shuts her out. Yoonhee looks at his silhouette from the door, and mutters to herself, “He’s so frustrating! I hope you live happily ever after with your stupid books!”
Snow starts to fall, and Jaeshin, wrapped around a blanket with a book in his hand, approaches Yoonhee, who is now covered in snow.
“Ugh, it’s so cold. What are you doing over here?”
“Ah, Gul-oh Sahyung! I came out here to try to wake myself to focus…”
“Garang is still studying? It should be freezing in there, because they don’t heat it. Garang is pretty intense, staying there to study.”
“I think he’s staying there on purpose because he might fall asleep if it’s warm.”
Yoonhee looks back to Sunjoon’s silhouette. Sunjoon is blowing hot air into his hands as he turns the pages of his book. Other students pass by, remarking that Sunjoon is the same as everyone when it comes to the king’s exam, that he cares about his own promotion and career as much as the next person. Some even whisper rumors that the King told Sunjoon himself that he’ll punish him if he does not graduate out of Sungkyunkwan through this exam. Another rumor is that since there are ghosts of students that never graduated, one of them must have Sunjoon under a studying spell. Sunjoon is completely unaffected by these words and he goes on turning the pages of his book.
“Daemul, if you’re sleepy, leave Garang here and go back to the room where it’s warm. The blankets are laid out already.”
“It’s okay. I’m going back in. He must be cold, and more bodies will make it warmer…”
“You’re going to get sick.”
Jaeshin looks at Yoonhee, who is shaking in the cold, and makes a worried expression. He turns his head as he says, “Don’t shiver like that in front of me.”
Because you’re making me want to hold you, he thinks to himself, but he can’t get the words out of his mouth. He looks over towards Sunjoon’s silhouette.
“Whoever becomes his wife, she’s going to have a troublesome life. Pfft, to be honest, he may be good looking, but I’ve never seen anybody that stubborn. If I had a sister, I’d never let her marry him.”
Yoonhee laughs, and sees Yongha arriving with his books, dressed in fancy, thick, leather outerwear. Following him are is a servant, carrying a lot of things other than his books.
“Damn you Gul-oh! If you want to study, you should do it alone! Why would you wake me up and force me to come with you?” He sneezes.
Even the servant seems sleepy. Yongha motions him to leave the things inside the Bicheondang. The servant does so and leaves. Jaeshin, by force, takes off the leather coat from Yongha and puts it over Yoonhee’s shoulders. She says that it’s okay, but he puts it on her nonetheless.
“You’re giving my coat to Daemul?”
You’re already well covered up anyway. Why’d you bring so many things? I told you, just books and a blanket. You look like you’re moving in here.”
Yoonhee interrupts them. “Wait. Are you two going to study here?”
“Why? Is there a reason we can’t?”
“Ah, no, but… He might throw us out if we are even a little loud…”
Yongha, with a yawn, stealthily takes the coat from Yoonhee and wraps himself with it.
“Let’s go in before we freeze to death. I’m never even awake this late unless I’m with a woman! hmph.”
They enter, and see that Sunjoon is still focused on his book. Sunjoon greets them with a quick smile, and turns back to his studies.
Jaeshin mutters about what a bookworm Sunjoon is, when Yongha suddenly takes out a Hwaro (it’s like a bowl they would put flames in, like a small stove). The four end up studying around the Hwaro. Yongha doesn’t study though, and instead takes out a bag with some sweet potatoes.
“This is why I brought this stove.”
He boils water on top of the Hwaro and passes around a cup of hot water to everyone. Sunjoon glares at Yongha, as though he’s warning him not to distract him, but Yongha doesn’t notice. Yoonhee is scared that he’ll chase them out, but Yongha doesn’t care: he even takes out some rice cakes and starts cooking them on the Hwaro. He definitely is not here to study. Jaeshin is also wary of Sunjoon’s glare, so he tries to stop Yongha, but Yongha starts passing around the now cooked sweet potatoes.
“We have to warm up our body so we can focus, don’t we? Let’s eat this before we study. We’re all going to get sick because of this exam if we don’t take care of ourselves.”
Sunjoon lets this go, worried that Yoonhee might be hungry. Yoonhee, relieved, bites into the sweet potato. Yongha flips the rice cakes on the Hwaro and says to Sunjoon, “You know, with your skills, you’re not going to have any problem passing the exam. Why would you go through so much trouble to study, risking your health? We’re the ones who should be staying up to study.”
Sunjoon lowers his head, and makes fists with his hand. “How can you say I’ll get through it so easily?! I’m as worried as everyone else!”
The three can hear his voice shaking. They’re surprised, and Yongha asks, “What? Why would you be so worried….?”
Sunjoon doesn’t answer.
The smell of the rice cake cooking fills Bicheondang, and the four silently study, wrapping themselves in their blankets to bear the cold.
The final exam.
Yoonhee sits at the testing site, unable to rid herself of her nervousness. She breathes in and out. She doesn’t think she can even write properly, because her hands are shaking so much. She looks at Sunjoon sitting next to her. His face seems as though it’s aged, because he’s studied so much that it was almost as though it took the life out of him. But thanks to him, she could focus on her studies just as much. Jaeshin studied hard for the first time since his entrance to Sungkyunkwan, and Yongha, who didn’t have anyone to play with, studied alongside them too.
But Sunjoon’s been strange. He’s closed his eyes, sitting properly, as he’s always done, but his hands are shaking. He’s never been like this for other exams. He’s never shown any sort of nervousness before, and she doesn’t understand why he’s so afraid this time. She’s also a little angry, because even now, he won’t even say a word to her.
Yoonhee looks at Yongha, who sits behind Sunjoon. She grins when she sees his fancy outfit; he’s obviously using every trick in the book to try and pass. There’s a rumor that if he wears the inner clothes of a student who’s successfully graduated he will meet the same fate and pass, too. Yoonhee is laughing because she knows that inside those fancy clothes is someone’s old inner clothes. Jaeshin, who’s sitting behind Yoonhee, gives her a light kick.
“You must not be worried, seeing as how you’re smiling like that.”
“Ah, it’s not that…”
Yongha glances at Yoonhee and smiles, aware that she is smiling because of his secret. Even with his smile, it’s obvious how nervous he is. Jaeshin too. Yoonhee looks at Sunjoon one last time, but Sunjoon does not even glance at her.
The testing starts, and the three start writing.
The four return to Sungkyunkwan after they’re done, but Sunjoon, without a word, heads to Bicheondang with his books to study for the second testing. It seems as though nothing matters to him, except this exam. Yoonhee, Jaeshin, and Yongha all look at him, worried.
“I think he is really under a spell or something. He can’t possibly be like this unless he’s possessed by a ghost. How can he be so hard on himself?”
“Yeah, there’s only the Jeon-shi left… Why is he studying so hard?”
Yoonhee starts packing her books to follow Sunjoon, but Jaeshin stops her.
“Why are you going too? The Hwe-shi just ended! We can rest today, at least!”
“I can’t leave Garang Hyungnim alone–”
“Just forget about him! He’s already a lost cause.”
“Don’t kid around like that.”
She gets up, but Jaeshin pulls her down by her wrist and throws the blanket on top of her. He yells at Yongha, “Go and bring Garang back! I’m going to force Daemul to sleep.”
“How will you put him to sleep like that? He’ll suffocate first.”
“How will I bring him back? He’s so stubborn.”
“Just do something!”
Yoonhee tries to get out of the blanket. “Let me go! I’m going to study!”
“Shut up and stay here! I’ve been too nice lately. You should listen to your Sahyung!”
Yongha leaves, and Yoonhee calms down. Jaeshin rests his head on the lump of body under the blanket, and says calmly, “I’ve seen a lot of students go just as crazy before an exam. I understand that it’s good to graduate to start a career. It’s commendable to study hard, but doing it today is a bit much. He’s out of his mind.”
After a moment of silence, Jaeshin speaks again. “Garang is probably going to graduate this time around. What are you going to do then?”
Yoonhee doesn’t say anything. Even if Sunjoon graduates, even if Sunjoon, Yongha, and Jaeshin graduate, or even if she graduates along with them, she can’t escape the farewells she’ll have to face. She’s been trying to run away from this thought for so long. She wonders if Sunjoon is thinking that way too. Is that why he hasn’t even tried to look at her? Yoonhee, buried under her blanket, doesn’t know that Sunjoon is outside the room, listening to the conversation. She swallows up the tears that come up. She feels as though her insides will explode of sadness.
[Soon after is the Jeon-shi. Everyone looks beat up and tired because of the nonstop studying, and Sunjoon still seems surprisingly shaken at the exam site, but the four finish the testing in without falling ill. The results are to be announced later by the King. Announced will be 3 Gap-Gwa (The three top tests, the first/best tier of the examinees), 11 Eul-Gwa (the 11 next best tests, 2nd tier), and 23 Byung-Gwa, (the 23 tests after that, 3rd tier), a total of the 37 of the best tests (its basically picking the smartest 37 people out of the country).
Before the results, all the students are given their day off. Yoonhee returns home and dresses as a woman again, and she gets a visitor. It’s a woman who claims to be a merchant. When Yoonhee tries to tell her nicely that she has no money to buy anything, the woman tells her that it’s okay, and that she just wants to have a conversation with her. Yoonhee thinks it’s strange how elegant and well-mannered this merchant is, and takes interest in what she has to say.
The woman seems very interested in Yoonhee and engages her in a story. She tells Yoonhee about how when she was younger, she took the name of her brother and tried to test for school, but failed. Yoonhee is glad to find someone like her and tells her that it’s unfortunate that she failed, but the woman laughs, saying that she was lying. How could a woman even take a test? The woman gives a comb to Yoonhee as a present and goes on her way, leaving Yoonhee dumbfounded. The woman, when she comes a good distance away from Yoonhee’s house, gets into a carriage waiting for her, and directs her servants to take her back to Bookchon. (That is where Sunjoon lives, if that’s any hint to who this woman_is.)
It’s not clear if she is a woman from Hyo Eun’s household (the noblewoman who wanted to get engaged to Sunjoon) because she wanted to confirm what she suspected as to why Sunjoon rejected the engagement, or maybe it was a woman from Sunjoon’s household, sent by his mother?)
[While at home, her mother tells Yoonhee that when she comes out of Sungkyunkwan she should get ready to wed. Yoonhee convinces her mother to postpone her marriage, and tells her to reject any proposals that are sent to their house. Yoonhee’s mother and Yoonshik note how sad Yoonhee looks, and her mother wonders why, especially when Yoonhee will now be safe from danger after she gets out of the school.]
The Test Results
The day of the results, the new graduates gather at the Gwanghwamoon, the southern gate of Kyung Bok Palace. Yongha and Jaeshin are fooling around even in their green uniforms, but Sunjoon stares up at the sky as though someone’s sucked the spirit out of him. Yoonhee stares at his face. She won’t be able to see him anymore. She can’t waste a second looking at anything else.
And then! She sees him shake a little. She can’t believe her eyes. He’s never even flinched at Jaeshin’s threats, or in front of the King. It’s not like it’s cold anymore, so there isn’t any reason for him to shiver.
Sunjoon still does not look at Yoonhee, and keeps staring at the sky with a hardened expression. It’s as though he’s praying for something. It’s been a long time since they got together, but he’s still off in his own world.
Jaeshin watches Yoonhee and scowls in jealousy. He approaches her from the back and takes his hands to cover her eyes, then whispers into her ear, “Are you crazy? Why don’t you just announce to the world that you’re gay? If you keep looking at Garang like that, people will start talking.”
Before he can finish, he finds Sunjoon glaring his way. Jaeshin backs away from Yoonhee, and says, “Okay, I got it! I’ll stay away from him. If you’re going to be that scary, you should have thrown him a glance so he wasn’t staring at you so longingly.”
Yongha laughs. “I agree. I thought he was going to burn a whole in your face, Garang.”
Even though she finally has his gaze, Yoonhee can’t help turning her head away. Jaeshin shuffles his feet as he says to Sunjoon, “Garang! Let’s try to see more of each other. I mean, we were in the same room until now, but we’ve graduated and we might separate depending on where we go. Some of us might be sent into the faraway parts of the country, so we might not see so much of each other.”
Yoonhee feels tears welling up, and she tries hard to suppress it.
Yongha looks at Sunjoon and says, “ey, it seems like he’s still under his studying spell. I can’t even tell what you’re thinking.”
Right then, a lot of the gathered graduates bow towards someone who is coming their way. The four bow as well, after seeing that it’s none other than Sunjoon’s father, the left court minister. After greeting everyone else, Sunjoon’s father goes to the four. He gives a quick glare to Jaeshin and a kind smile to Yongha before recognizing Yoonhee. He seems surprised, but he congratulates her. “You must be the one who surprised the Jojeong (the king) by graduating at such a young age. Everyone is watching you with the highest of expectations, so keep working hard.”
Yoonhee nervously thanks him for his compliment. Sunjoon’s father looks at the pretty “boy”, who he assumes is a Nam-in, then turns to his son.
“Are you confident?”
“Please, keep your promise.”
“I told you that I won’t go back on my word. But you have to keep your promise as well.”
“It’s no easy thing to be one of the three best examinees. Even at your level, you’re still too young to achieve such a feat. You’re brilliant for your age, but I don’t think you are quite there yet.”
“I know that you made me the promise because you knew that it would be difficult.”
“It’s good that you know. My son is not a fool, after all. In any case, I am proud of you just for graduating. I don’t expect anything else. I will see you when the results come out.”
His father starts to leave, muttering to himself, “I wonder whose test his majesty has picked to be the best. Ha ha ha…”
The two men’s conversation is a riddle Yongha, Jaeshin, and Yoonhee can’t solve. Jaeshin puts his arms on Sunjoon’s shoulders and jokes, “I thought your father was much different than mine, but they’re almost exactly the same. That’s too bad; they might have been good friends if the situation was different…”
[All four of them passed the preliminary testing (the Hwe-shi), which means that the four all successfully graduated from SKK. The results they are waiting for is the Jeon-shi, the testing where you get acknowledged and basically hired by the King.]
[The King announces the result of the tests. Yoonhee and Yongha both make it to 을과Eul-Gwa, the second tier of the tests (which is still pretty high). Both of them are assured that Jaeshin and Sunjoon are then 갑과 Gap-Gwa (the best three tests)–then it’s announced that Jaeshin is the 탐화 Tahm Hwa(the third place out of the three best).
Then the King announces 장원 (Jang Won, and you’ve heard this word said at the Dae Sa Rae, it means first place, or the best one), Lee Sun Joon. His father clenches his fist because he is so proud of his son, and he almost forgets that he is in front of the king because he might have shouted in happiness. Sunjoon get up to the king, and King tells him that he’s glad, because he was waiting for him. Jaeshin is supposed to put the 어사화 Uh-Sa-Hwa (it’s a long arching flower ornament they put on a hat) on Sunjoon, but Jaeshin’s hands are big and stubby and he fidgets with them, careful as to not snap it. Yoonhee and Yongha are about to burst into laughter at the this sight, because it’s not every day you see a man as gruffy as Jaeshin trying to handle flowers.
But Sunjoon doesn’t laugh, because it seems like he’s still thinking about something else. Jaeshin’s face reddens with embarrassment while Yongha is planning on how to tease him about this later. ]
Sunjoon’s father comes to him with his arms open and embraces his son.
“I’m proud of you! My son, Jang-Won!”
“Father, you must keep your promise.”
“Of course! You achieved Jang-won, how could I go against my word?”
“Then, please, send someone right away.”
His father pulls away from the embrace.
“Right now? Why are you in such a hurry? There’s a lot of things to prepare…”
“Please, if you just send someone, mother told me that she will take care of everything. She’s already prepared for it.”
“Huh, you two have been planning this without me, is it? You know that I can’t say no to your mother…”
“Hahaha! I understand. I will send someone right away.”
“I promised you. I can’t betray my son.”
His father leaves happily. Jaeshin’s father similarly congratulates Jaeshin, lightly hitting him on his head. Jaeshin’s father looks towards Sunjoon in acknowledgement, and disappears as well.
Yongha and Yoonhee appear. Yongha starts teasing Jaeshin right away, and Yoonhee can only stare at Sunjoon.
A feast is held for the recently graduated, with the food and drinks provided by the king. The Gisaengs come and dance and everybody parties. Yoonhee is smiling on the surface within all the noise, but she’s upset, and to try and soothe herself, she heads away from the feast. When she is out of the gate, she thinks about how much time she has left now. She will have to say goodbye soon. It’s as though Sunjoon was thinking the same, because he’s followed her out.
Yoonhee sees Sunjoon and asks, “Why did you come out?”
It seems like Sunjoon’s ghost is finally gone, because he is grinning widely. Yoonhee is a little angry because she can’t believe how happy he looks. Sunjoon looks around, and grabs her and takes her behind the building. Yoonhee can’t smile even as she is being dragged away. After Sunjoon makes sure that nobody is around, he kisses her. It’s been so long since she felt his lips. She won’t be able to feel them for much more longer. He pulls away.
“I really can’t keep secrets.”
Where did that come front? Yoonhee is dumbfounded. It’s so out of nowhere that a small smile escapes her.
“I can’t bear it any longer. Ahh.. Should I just say it?”
“Ah I should wait! You will find out soon when you head home… I was going to keep quiet until then, but I’m just so impatient…”
Yoonhee is speechless. How could anyone be more frustratingly patient than he is? She is peeved, and says, “well, I’m impatient. I’m curious, so just tell me.”
“Soondol and my Jip-Sah (head servant) will be heading over to your home soon.”
“To send my proposal.”
At first, Yoonhee doesn’t understand. Then her eyes widen and her jaws drop.
“What? A proposal? A proposal proposing that we, uh…”
“You’ve written a proposal at your store before, haven’t you? You know what it is.”
He smiles widely, but Yoonhee’s still in shock.
“Then, is the promise you made with your father–”
“Yes. This was all so I could marry you.”
“Then does your father know about what I’ve been doing? It doesn’t seem like he knew, from when he talked to me earlier.”
“He doesn’t know that it’s you, but he knows that it’s a daughter of a Nam-in family. I also told him about your family’s situation.”
“And he gave you permission?”
He smiles again, but Yoonhee can’t smile. She hangs her head, as she says, “I can’t marry you.”
Sunjoon’s face drops. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t marry you. There’s still time before my brother can regain his name, after the memory of me as Yoonshik is well enough faded, because only then I can go back to being Yoonhee…”
“You can wait that time after marrying me!”
Yoonhee shakes her head. She can’t. Sunjoon raises his voice, which is now mixed with a little anger. “Fine, then we won’t wed!”
He grabs her hand. “But I have to at least verify that we will marry, in a contract. (He’s basically telling her that he wants to make their marriage registration in advance). Let’s go right now to get some paper and a brush!”
Yoonhee struggles to stop Sunjoon from dragging her away, because she can see that he’s not joking around.
“To me, you’re already my wife and I am already your husband, and I need a contract that verifies it until you marry me, if you’re going to postpone the wedding! How can I just let you go? How will I trust you? You can’t just leave me!”
“That’s not what I mean–”
Sunjoon pulls her into an embrace. He whispers to her, “Don’t ask me for anything more cruel than to wait for you. I don’t even think I have the strength to wait.”
“Then, if we do make the contract, will you really wait for me?”
“Of course. I’ll post the contract for everyone to see, and wait for you, whether it’s raining or snowing, so you won’t have a choice but to come back to me.”
“Wha– you’re going to wait like that?”
“What, you thought I would keep it to myself? I still think you should marry me first, then wait.”
Yoonhee tries to free herself from his grasp, but his arms hold her tighter.
“Let me go. People might come.”
“Agree to a contract, or marry me. I won’t let you go before you answer, even if his majesty himself shows up. If you know how much effort I put into study to make this happen, you should know that I’m not lying right now.”
She stops struggling. “Why are you threatening me with such happy choices? If you don’t let me go, I might just nod and go along, without thinking of the consequences.”
“I’ll take care of the consequences, so just please, do nod and go along.”
She raises her head and looks at his eyes. She doesn’t nod or shake her head, but her eyes tell Sunjoon that she agrees.
“You should have agreed from the beginning. Why do you always make me so nervous?”
But Yoonhee responds, “this is nothing compared to what you put me through lately!”
She suddenly feels all the sorrow she’s tried to suppress the past month, and can’t help but start sobbing. She collapses on the spot and buries her head into her knees, and cries loudly.
“Wh–Why are you crying? Please, stop crying–”
Sunjoon is taken back and he doesn’t know what to do.
She sobs, “if you were going to do this, you should have just let me know!”
Sunjoon lowers himself next to her to try and calm her. “I-I didn’t know if I could do it, and I didn’t want to tell you just in case…”
“You wouldn’t even look at me!”
“I– It’s not because of you! It was because whenever I looked at you, I’d get distracted and … I’m sorry! It’s my fault, I was wrong. I beg you, stop crying, please?”
Sunjoon puts his arms around her. “I wanted to be with you. And I wanted to hold you. Everytime I lost confidence, I thought about just giving up and running away with you. I thought about leaving my family, and leaving my name.”
Yoonhee tries to wipe away at her tears, but they keep falling. “How could you think of making such a bet with your father?”
Aware that people might come around, the two pull away from one another, and Yoonhee is able to barely calm herself down. They both get up and start heading back to the feast, when Yoonhee stops. “I forgot! Mother!”
“Is something wrong?”
“I told my mother to reject any proposals sent home!”
“Soondol knows what’s going on, so he’ll wait it out–”
“But your Jipsah doesn’t. If your father hears that our family rejected your proposal…”
After hearing this, Sunjoon becomes worried as well. He worked so hard for his father’s permission; he has to make sure that nothing goes wrong. The two run back to the party, to say goodbye to everyone so that they can then hurry to Yoonhee’s home. Yongha asks why they’re in such a hurry.
“Something’s come up at home, and we’ve got to go.”
“Both of you?”
“Ah, I think I’ll have to go along with him…”
“It seems like it’s pretty urgent. Take my horse. I rode it here because I was late. It’s outside the gate.”
Yongha leads them to his horse, and Sunjoon and Yoonhee follow, hand in hand.
Sunjoon lifts Yoonhee onto the horse first, then gets on. They promise Yongha to return the horse, and they leave.
Yoonhee, stuck between his arms, jokes, “If I come home to my mother with you like this, I can’t imagine how surprised she’ll be.”
She imagines the happiness on her mother’s face, and she feels tears welling up.
“I can’t imagine that she’ll be more surprised than my father when he sees you. I’m curious as to how he’ll react.”
“Do you think he’ll recognize me? I wonder what your mother will think…”
Sunjoon smiles. It seems as though he’s not at all worried.
“How can you be so calm? I’m so nervous.”
Still, Sunjoon can’t help grinning.
The sound of the two riding the horse fades away, and Yongha heads back to the party, when he sees Jaeshin walking towards him with the uh-sa-hwa in his hand.
“Oh hey! Tam-hwa!”
“Hey! stop with the Tam-hwa business!”
“Why are you coming out?”
“Did those two leave?”
Yongha smiles and puts his arms around Jaeshin’s shoulders, which hang in misery. Jaeshin tries to shake his sadness away and spits, “Let’s go drink.”
“Yes, let’s. Let’s drink until the day breaks!”
The two walk away, with Yongha still teasing Jaeshin for how he looked handling the flowers, and he doesn’t stop, even after Jaeshin throws a punch.
[At some point later, Yongha and Jaeshin appear in front of the king, telling him that Sunjoon and “Yoonshik” cannot come because Sunjoon is marrying Yoonshik’s sister, Yoonhee. Then Yongha and Jaeshin hurriedly head over to the wedding.]
The Wedding Night (from The Days of-Gyujanggak Gakshins (Government Officials))
[Blogger’s Note: This next scene is from the second novel, it was translated by a different translator, and posted on a separate website. I don’t remember where it’s from, but I want to thank the person who took the time to do this.]
The Wedding Night
Seonjoon and Yoonhee haven’t spoken a word until now, although they still exchanged glances and smiles. But they hadn’t exchanged a single word .
The silence started from the moment they had entered the room decorated for their wedding . The room is so dark that the lights from the oil lamp in it is the only thing enabling them to see each other ‘s face . But still he is silent, and she becomes impatient with his silence. Finally, Yoonhee speaks first.
“This hurts so much ”
As she predicted , this made Seonjoon jump in shock.
“Hurt? Where does it hurt? ”
“Thanks to my heartless groom , my shoulders hurt , and my head feels so heavy.”
The burden of being dressed in the heavy wedding costume, of course hurts her body. Seonjoon understands this, but he didn’t respond with the answer she wanted to hear.
“Sorry , but can you endure it for a little while longer? I dont want you to disrobe yet. ”
Yoonhee was speechless, watching him with eyes wide with surprise. The groom is saying that he doesn’t wish to have his bride disrobe when they are on their wedding night, is there anything stranger than this?
But he speaks with such sincere and serious expresion that he doesn’t seem to be joking.
“Are you really my bride? Are we really married? I still can’t really believe it even though I am seeing this with my own eyes!”
“If you do not intend to prepare for your bride’s funeral tomorrow , you better help me remove this heavy thing now! ”
Hearing her complains, he responds by teasing her.
“This is the first time I’m seeing you dressed in female attire. I won’t ever get sick of watching you dressed like this.”
Yoonhee can’t bear to continue her complaints, instead her heart is filled with such apology towards him, who is now frowning with such a serious request. Her voice and expression took on a hint of teasing .
“In the future I will just let you have your fill of watching me like this till you get sick of it, will that be okay ?”
In the future…Sunjoon repeated these words in his heart over and over again. Even if the future is filled with more obstacles, he would still wish to be wed to her. If they do not overcome this hurdle now, they might never have any future.
“Yes.. you must!” He answered with such conviction .
Then he started to help her disrobe, but after removing the wedding headgear, he stopped.
Yoonhee gazed at the old headgear that was borrowed .
“Sahyung is a man with such great status, but now i am making you go through such a humble wedding, I am really ashamed.”
“What does it matter this kind of wedding or that kind of wedding. Just having you sitting right in front of me like this, I am already content!
The words were spoken with such tenderness and devotion … and his eyes speak the same as he gazed at her. And also his hands that is now gently covering her hands, are filled with love and tenderness.
“Even if I were really a man, I will still have loved Sahyung.”
Ever since he met this woman, how many times had he been through hell, and how many times more in the future? But as long as he can be with her together, even if there is hell far worse then this, he will be able to endure it.
Sunjoon frowned slightly but soon the frown wss replaced by twinkle in his eyes and a smile that emerged just for her.
“Thank you for being a woman. For me, the fact that you are a woman, there is nothing more that I am grateful for.
Yoonhee can sensed his feelings for her through his hands that hold hers so tightly.
“Wi ..wish ..I can still get a wish from you, right?”
“Now can I use that wish?”
“What kind of wish? Since I promised you, I will do my best to make it come true for you.”
“This might be a bit shameless to ask,.but can you promise to love only me forever?”
She asked so cautiously and he replied without hesitation, “I cannot grant you this wish.”
Yoonhee held her breath as she stared at him. Contrary to the answer that he had given to her, his smile was filled with such love as he watched her.
“Loving you only forever, even if you didn’t make a wish, to me that is the most natural thing to do. So I won’t consider it a wish and grant it to you.”
Yoonhee looked into his eyes, her eyes filled with such happiness.
Being with him like this, all the worries seem to have vanished, she didn’t even dare dream of being his wife, and even if she had, she was so afraid the dream will be broken and it will hurt even more. So of course, she can understand him now, that he can’t even bear to see her out of these clothes (cherishing the moment so much, thinking it might be a dream.)
Yoonhee stretched out her hands to help Junsoon remove his hat. She smiled as she continued on to remove that belt around his waist.
“I haven’t heard of a bride removing the clothes for her groom on the wedding night.”
It might sound like one of the groom’s lectures again but there is no hint of reprimand in there. The bride responded in kind with a rebutt that wasn’t intend to sounds like one but more like teasing: “If there is a groom who intends to sit there till morning, then of course there has to be a bride that will do that.“
He was captivated by that suggestive graze in her eyes and quickly extinguished the lights out with the chopsticks.
He used his sense of touch to remove her clothes, his hands different from before…now they had become more eager and hurried. As if reprimanding him for his impatience, Yoonhee spoke: “though it is worrying when the groom sits till the morning, but a groom that seems to be obsessed with lust till it hurts his health, is even more worrying.”
“Someone said that no matter how much rice wine you drink, you wont be drunk, no matter how much you adore your wife, it wont hurt your health. Having intimacy with one’s wife is not considered lusting.”
“Whose words are those? Which sage said that? Confucius or Mencius? From now onwards, I will only follow the person who had said those words.”
Her resistance made him more anxious. He pushed away her hands, and as he started to remove her outer coat, he said: “Fortunately this is just a saying ,otherwise I will be jealous of the sages.”
“What will happen to the Confucius and other sages that I have followed during my life? I won’t stop my admiration for them in future too …”
He didn’t stop what his hands were doing, removing her dress. And with a hint of laughter in his voice:
“Huh, Nan-Sul-Hun’s * (a famous female poet in Joseon dynasty) husband treated Du Fu (a famous male poet in China) to be his love rival. Do you intend for me to make Confucius into my love rival? I am a petty husband who will get jealous!”
The layers of inner garments under the dress is making him lose patience, there seems to be no end to the layers . And that whispering voice of his wife is making him even more anxious.
“I said before that the skies (heaven) are greater than the sage, so how can the sage compared to my husband who is as high as the sky.”
The memories of that moment flashed through his mind, he pushed her to the mat on the floor, his lips sealed hers, and they drown in each other kiss and it was so addictive that they can’t stop.
Suddenly there were shoutings from outside the door: “Yo Garang! are you in there!”
Sunjoon’s hands stopped what he was doing, that amusing tone seemed to belong to Yongha Sahyung. In Sungkyunkwan , his voice never faiedl to appear at the most inopportune of moment. Now Sunjoon is even hallucinating about it.
Yoonhee was laughing: “It is really amazing this thing about habit. I think I heard Yeorim Sahyung’s voice!”
“Yes I heard it too.”
But he doesn’t care about this hallucination now, and continues his quest to remove what is remaining of her pants. And Yongha’s voice becomes more clearer now.
“I received information that the one and only Garang is having a secret wedding here! Quick come out to receive your punishment!”
Sunjoon broke off from Yoonhee in a hurry . Yoonhee was also in shock and sat up instantly. The two looked at each other; if they heard it together, then it cannot be be hallucination, hence both of them were so in shock that they did not even dare breathe.
“Oh! This is the newlywed’s room? How can there not be anyone peeping in! This wont do, at least I need to poke into the window to take a look.”
“Hey! Stop it. The ones inside are not children! What are you doing looking in like that?“
That voice came from Jaeshin.
Jaeshin and Yongha! And there is something more urgent then the problem of both of them being here now. The emergency is that Yongha’s voice is getting closer to the door!
“The fun of wedding nite is to peep into the newlywed’s room, how can you do without that!”
He isn’t thinking of poking into the paper window is he? But with his kind of character, Yongha will definitely do it! Yoonhee and Sunjoon stood up at the same time. She looked around flustered, and was in such a hurry to get out that she can’t even differentiate which is the front and back door.
Sunjoon grabbed her hands, and pointed to her clothing, she had only the inner garments on. She was too panicked to care about her state of dressing and took the dress to covered herself.
Meanwhile, Yongha’s fingers are closing in to the window and poked open one of them.
Sunjoon snatched the dress that Yoonhee had taken to cover herself and covered it over the window! Luckily there was voice outside that came to stop Yongha.
“Who are you! Why are you here?” Lady Cho asked outside.
Sunjoon listened to what was happening ..and whispered to Yoonhee.
“I will take care of this…you just stay here. Don’t go out!”
And he let Yoonhee take the dress, while he looked for the hat he had just taken off. As he searched, he yelled towards the outside. “Yeorim sahyung! We haven’t start to undress yet, there is nothing to watch! I will be right out!
There was a twinge of anger in his voice. It isn’t enough with what happen in Sungkyunkwan, now he had to come and ruin the wedding night. Which groom would not be angry! And it had to happen right after he had managed to remove all those layers of clothes.
So he stepped out with a stern face, wishing that they weren’t even here right now!
END OF TRANSLATED EXCERPT FROM THE SECOND NOVEL.
Here’s an additional scene from the wedding night which follows the above scene, but hasn’t been translated. This comment was made by someone who had read the second novel, and posted her comments on one of the many websites about the drama:
Yoonhee has kept telling Sunjoon to tell his father about her crossdressing, since his father already has seen her face. Sunjoon lies to her that he did (also he lies to her that she hasn’t been called to work at Gyujanggak) so that she’ll agree to marry him. When Yoonhee finds out (she finds out on the wedding night) she runs over to Sunjoon’s father to tell him the truth, and Sunjoon’s father cancels the whole marriage, despite Sunjoon and his mom’s protests. Well, not cancel, but he’s not letting them start living together, even though the wedding is done.
[Blogger’s Note: Those of you who watch a lot of Korean dramas know that in Korea, a marriage has to be recorded in order to be recognized, and when it is recorded, the wife is officially listed as part of the husband’s family. So basically, this means that the marriage is not official yet.]