1860, Korea, Kingdom of Joseon, Seoul City
Streets lay vacant under the blanket of dawn. The walls confining the city held on to the last wafts of fog as if to keep the peace of night a little longer.
But the drums at the four gates announced the new day clamorously. No household in the city of Seoul could ignore them, each bang echoing through the streets with compulsory force.
With a groggy sigh, Sooyun pulled the pillow over her head. "Can't someone please smash that drum's gears?"
Alas, the drumming stopped, but the knocking on her door persisted. "Come in," Sooyun mumbled in defeat.
Her handmaiden, Yuna, entered the room skittishly, "good morning, mistress."
"It depends on your definition of good," Sooyun scoffs as she slips out of bed.
Yuna didn't acknowledge her mistresses grumpiness, instead focusing her attention on the cabinet. With a switch of the key, the golden butterfly flapped its wings, the gears behind it opening all the mother of pearl inlaid drawers, displaying its splendid contents.
Sooyun watched in the reflection of the mirror how Yuna picked her outfit for the day with the upmost care. A gracious smile lined her lips when she saw Yuna picked out her favoured hanbok. A dark brown skirt, lined with gold. A white embroidered bodice balanced it out and the sleeveless jeogori over the bodice had a flowing trim in the back, giving her that regal appearance. A copper belt with the family crest was the final cherry on top.
Admiring herself in the mirror, Sooyun hardly noticed the scrutinizing look of Yuna at the sight of empty bottles filling the dresser. "Have you been drinking, again?"
"I had to," Sooyun declared in defence, "after drinking that dreadful Makuli at the banquet of the Eunsaeg clan."
Yuna rolled her eyes, prompting Sooyun to elaborate. "I mean, who serves cheap Makuli at a banquet? I had to wash it down with something."
Not lingering on the subject any longer, Yuna steps back once she's finished and bows, "breakfast is served in the pavilion, my lady."
Hearing the gates open in the distance Yuna watched with pity as Sooyun glances at the litter being carried out by four automatons. Her eyes were filled with the fear of abandonment yet her expression never swayed from its aristocratic mask.
No words were exchanged during the walk, Sooyun simply held her head high, being every bit the lady of the house she should be.
Another servant was already placing down the tower of bowls, containing the food, when SooYun arrived, "Hand me the news Jobo, please."
The servant looked at her with quizzical disagreement but did as she asked. Sooyun pushed a button, letting the metal arms holding the bowls steady spread out like a flower.
Picking up the paper Jobo, a drawing of the Eunsaeg estate immediately caught her eye.
Last night a dozen silver blocks were stolen from the faults of the Eunsaeg clan. The office for Public Order suspects this is another theft committed by the Iron Mask.
"Another robbery," Sooyun mumbled under her breath.
Perhaps that's why her father had gone out so early, to meet the other clans. After all, he is the head of the Guli clan and they are the only one that hasn't been robbed yet.
If only he had taken her with him, she is the future of the clan, why should she be stuck at home like a child.
With a frustrated sigh, Sooyun turned towards the garden hoping its oases of colours would grand her peace of mind. But something was rustling through the oases, it was larger than a fox and to low to the ground to be a bird. Sooyun quickly grabbed her Norigae from her belt, pulling out the knife as she carefully made her way towards the rustling.
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Tales Told Beneath the Gaslamp : A Wattpunk AnthologyScience Fiction
A collection-in-progress of short stories created by Wattpadders, curated by @Wattpunk, for all those seeking brief adventures in punk worlds. Stay tuned for: Steampunk, Cyperpunk, Dieselpunk, Biopunk, Nanopunk, Atompunk, Clockpunk, Decopunk ... It...