CHAPTER 20: BEGGING FOR FORGIVENESS
As I have repeated so many times, women had practically no rights as humans. My own status was ambiguous for although I was a girl, I was part of the noble class. Men used a noble title to refer to me, and I ate three meals a day without hard, physical labor. Before my excursion, I had not realized just how privileged my life was.
Surely, they’re not slaves?
From books, I had learned that there were three classes: nobility, commoners, and slaves. Most slaves were women. Everyone who worked on the cotton plantation was a woman. It was a scene straight out of antebellum South in America except that all the slaves were women of various ethnic backgrounds. The slaves lived in abject conditions
“Get to work! Get up!”
A man, presumably the overseer, brought down his whip and the sound cut through the air.
“Slack off and I’ll kill all of you!”
The whipped girl fell to the ground and begged forgiveness.
I was grinding my teeth with rage. What would she be begging for forgiveness for? The women lived terrible lives. I realized now for fortunate I really was. My skin was smooth from a life indoors, and my only labor was placating the men in my life. My life was heaven compared to theirs.
Hwan-Seong asked innocently, “Mutt. Do you need to go to the bathroom? You have the funniest look on your face.”
I had to laugh at his question. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this scene to him. I was powerless to do anything or interfere, and it wouldn’t do to express my abhorrence.
“I can hardly stand the joy I feel to be here with you, Brother.”
I managed my most cheerful smile and linked arms with Prince Hwan-Seong making Gitae flinched. It might be the first time he’d seen something as audacious as a princess linking arms with a prince, but Hwan-Seong just smiled. He spread his shoulders, his chin raised.
What does ‘ahem’ mean?
We kept moving. We were going to have tea with the plantation owner. I fell deep into thoughts of my own.
“Get to work! How are you going to make the quota at this rate?”
He didn’t hit anyone. The whip had cracked on the ground, but the slaves all shrank back anyway. It was my first time seeing slaves. of course, I had seen servants, but servants were not treated this poorly at the palace.
I could not understand this way of life. I did not want to understand. The shouts of “Get to work!” and the cracks of the whip continued. I was still not accustomed to the concept of slavery but the sight of these women stooped under the scorching sun terrified of the whip continued. The sight of these women stooped under the scorching sun terrified of the whip was heart-wrenching.
I was powerless and effect any lasting change, but I wanted to do something to ease their burden.
“Brother,” I turned to Hwan-Seong with my well-practiced, doe-eyed pity-me expression. “The sound of whip frightens me! I can’t even walk because the sound is so terrifying.”
The ever-arrogant Hwan-Seong, who had been swaggering arm in arm with me laughed heartily. “What a little wimp you are! Pathetic!”
Shall this “Mutt” give you a punch to the head? Just you wait…
Hwan-Seong thundered, “Stop that noise!”
My ears were ringing. Gitae warned Hwan-Seong, “If you use magic when you speak, you will injure the princess’ ears.”
“That’s fine. They can be healed.”
You jerk. Even if my ears can be healed, what about my suffering?
A man approached us, and Gitae looked through his papers for proper identification.
After a brief introduction, he took off his hat and bowed deeply. I surmised that the man was a commoner. To compare the ranking system to modern day society, a king might be equivalent to the president of a company, while a commoner might be one of the Dilberts in middle management. While the prince was is no doubt of a higher rank, those who encountered him did not have to prostrate themselves immediately before him or anything like that.
“I don’t want to hear the annoying sound of the whip.”
“My apologies. Many tourists pass through the plantation, and I was unaware Your Majesty was here.”
He took out his wireless receiver and called a break. It seemed to have been transmitted to all the overseers. The woman slaves all stood up and stared in our direction. They had been given a break.
I still did not know what he meant by “tourists”
Slave No. 7, who had been laboring in the field, paused to stretch. She looked into the distance and saw a girl with pale complexion accompanied by two men. She must be from a noble family. The overseer bowed before her. She must be a princess. How wonderful it must be to never go hungry!
“Number Seven, what are you looking at?”
The slaves huddled together and spoke softly amongst themselves. They did not want to risk losing this glorious respite from backbreaking labor.
“Number Fourteen did it yesterday.”
They all sighed. The cotton plantation was sprawling. So many tourists came through. Naturally, most “tourists” were men who wanted to have sex with the women. They would just choose the ones they wanted and slip the overseer a little money.
“Number Fourteen had a baby girl.”
“It could be better just not to be pregnant at all.
If the baby happened to be a boy, your life of slavery was over. According to the rules of the plantation, the mother of the baby boy was taken care of and the boy would grow up to be the overseer.
“It’s so difficult to work when pregnant.”
“It’s almost Number Five’s time!”
“Yes. Whipping her when she’s due any day now was too much.”
Just then, Slave Number Five, who had been gazing off in a stupor, collapsed. Number Seven, standing beside her, shrieked, “Number Five!”
This was an all too frequent occurrence. Malnutrition, fatigue or a bacterial infection…the potential causes were many then Number Seven began running.
I spotted the gaunt woman running towards us. Her emaciated figure only highlighted her large stomach. The rags on her could barely be called clothes.
“Crazy bitch!” The overseer cracked his whip as she raced towards us. I almost yelled at him to stop. Gitae appeared beside him and grabbed the whip, “His Majesty clearly told you not to use the whip.”
The combat abilities of a common man were no match for a knight. I remember a passage in a book that said one knight could fend off several hundred adult men.
The woman knelt before me and put her face to the ground, begging, “Please, I need food. My friend passed out from malnourishment and she’s with a child. Please, my Lady, would you give her some food?”
The overseer was beside himself. Since the knight had forbidden him from brandishing his whip, he didn’t know what else to do. “Crazy Bitch! was all he could manage.
Hwan-Seong suggested, “Maybe I should kick her.”
“But she’d go flying and die upon landing.” I feigned a nonchalance I didn’t feel. He wanted to kick a woman who had, braved herself to help a friend, to beg for food. I was reminded anew that women were treated like property here.
Half intentionally, half of their own accord, the tears began to flow. There were so many reasons to weep. I was completely helpless and enraged by this world.
Hwan-Seong was weak before my tears
“What’s wrong Mutt?”
Sensing something off, he looked at me expectantly. I had heard that Hwan-Seong was a ruthless knight, peerless in his combat abilities. He had, had his magical awakening at the age of eleven and could take on adult knights. I was scared when I beheld him. Magic in this world was an omnipresent force.
“Whats wrong Mutt? Is she making you cry? Should I kill her?”
Gitae looked astonished. Had a prince really asked for a princess’ permission? This was nuts! (A/n: nope it’s you guys that are nuts -.-)
The overseer stepped forward, “Your Majesty, I will kill her myself. This worthless piece of shit has crossed the line.”
“Brother!” I cried.
“What’s wrong, Mutt?”
“Your Majesty knows that my love for Your Majesty is boundless.”
“Certainly!” Hwan-Seong beamed. I started to wonder whether he had bipolar disorder.
“May I request one favor? I will be an ever so faithful servant if Your Majesty grants this one request.”
“I won’t give up fetch. Definitely not.” (A/n: LOL.)
You’re bringing that up again? Tch.
“I-I would be so thankful if Your Majesty would give me some food.”
“Oh? Are you hungry? You’re a little piggy!”
Can’t you hear her sobbing? I thought you had a superhuman hearing? How can you be so thick!!!
The world around me was even more distressing than the one I had experienced through literature. I would have to hurry along Hwan-Seong’s training to become a better human being. I didn’t have a second to lose. Since I was already crying, I decided to continue. Careful not to step over the line, I decided to exert more pressure on him.
“I feel that my love for Your Majesty might be diminished.”
His face fell then…
FINALLY CHAPTER 20♥ ヾ(ﾟ∀ﾟ○)ﾂ
Aaaaah….I know this chapter won’t sit well for some of you and how Hwan-Seong was in this chapter. Remind y’all he’s like a high ranking military officer (At a young age) with comparable magical powers (for his age) to Jinsu and just because he has a soft sport for Sang-Hee doesn’t mean he’ll treat all woman the same. The hierarchy of “men” has been engraved too deeply for generations. Look at how Gitae’s been reacting, for him the interaction between the princess and prince is abominable and beyond the norms already. u_u