Chapter 11

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"I didn't know this was going to involve so much reading...," Sun-woo mumbled. He sounded a bit uneasy like the assignment they just got already gave him a headache and Jia could understand him all too well. Going into the Hwarang house she had been prepared for trouble, risk a few cuts and bruises if that helped them to get through this, but she didn't think she'd have to worry about something as irrelevant as philosophy. Who in his right mind would ask the future of Silla, the young men who will one day defend the country against its enemies, about the connection of water and the king according to some godforsaken philosopher no one cared about?

"What a ridiculous assignment...," Jia groaned. She knew she shouldn't complain too much about this but she couldn't hide her annoyance.

"You don't have to tell me that. I know around one hundred characters, how am I supposed to read philosophical scriptures?"

Who would have expected after yesterday's fight that what they'd all worry about was a reading assignment. Everyone had their fair share of bruises and cuts - Ban-ryu of all had to deal with some nasty bruises blemishing his oh so handsome smug face - but all in all it caused less fallback than expected. They had been told off and even Sun-woo who she spent all night worrying about got off with a strike. This was the first of three , the third one meaning his expelling. Sadly, that didn't mean that he was on the best way to get out of here because him getting expelled would once again endanger Ah-ro's father. So he was even more tense than before.

Their first assignment was to discribe the meaning of the King as  water according to the philosophies of Laozi in Tao Te Ching. Apparently, even though all of the young men must have gotten great education at home, none of them were used to assignments about philosophy. Their lives had been rather carefree and privileged up to this point and only a few of them had to worry about anything else than their personal vendettas.

The hallway from the main room was filled with chatter, everyone discussing their task and no one was very fond of it. The scraps of conversation Jia caught while talking to Sun-woo were full of complaints.
'I can't believe we have to do to this. Do i look like i cares about philosophy?'
'The king as water? Water is weak and bends itself around everything. No king should be weak like that! This is dumb'
They hadn't complained this much since they had been tasked with cleaning the stables and this time, she couldn't really blame them. This was pointless and, most of all, once again a difficult task for Sun-woo. He could barely read, much less bring his thoughts to paper in an essay. And even for Jia writing was something she had barely done in years. They had to work together for this.

"We'll be alright. I can read the books to you if you want to and we'll practice some sentences you can use in your essay," she proposed while strolling down the hallway alongside him.

He shook his head. "I have to write the essay myself. So either way, I'll have to learn how to write."

"Then I'll teach you," she tried again.

"You focus on your own essay. I can expect you to carry me through this one." Sun-woo's voice was firm. She wouldn't be able to change his mind. "I'll ask Ah-ro. Now that she's in here as our doctor she can continue where we left off before."

Stubborn fool. Why does he choose her help over mine? He doesn't even really know her... "Sure. As long as you do well on the exam in the end. You know you can't afford to get another strike." She tried not to let her voice show how much this bothered her. And the nagging truly seemed to do the job, earning her a look she knew all too well.

"You should get some rest. You look tired today," he changed the topic.

"No it's fine. I just...slept outside. A bit restless."

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