“Everyone listen up. We have been instructed to get the courtyard decorated for the banquet. Qing Dynasty will be arriving tomorrow to meet with the king. We need to do our best. No mistakes can be made. Understand?” Lady Jang announced to the other palace maids.
Lady Jang was the chief palace maid who was in charge of organising the palace banquets.
“Yes my lady” the maids agreed.
They began to decorate the courtyard using the most intricate table cloths made out of expensive silk. The Qing Dynasty came to Korea once a year to discuss business with the king. It was wise for the king to form an alliance with Qing Dynasty.
“Your highness, Lord Chin seeks your audience” Lady Yun said to Queen Sook.
Queen Sook was the first queen. Lady Yun was the chief maid of her attendants. Lord Chin a member of the royal council. He was the head of the South section. He was always plotting something with Queen Sook against Queen Ryung.
“Let him in” said Queen Sook.
“Yes your highness”
Lady Yun bowed and left the room. She returned with Lord Chin. He paid his respects to the queen and sat down in front of her.
“Your highness, we have to win Qing Dynasty’s favour” said Lord Chin.
“I agree. We need to allies in Qing. We do not know what Queen Ryung will be planning”
“We have the poison ready”
“Make sure it is not traced back to us”
“Yes your highness”
The palace maids that worked in the laundry were washing the maids and eunuch’s clothes. They were never invited to the banquets. Most of them had never even seen the king. The ones that had seen the king had seen him from afar.
“What kind of food do you think they serve at the banquets?” Hana, one of the palace maids asked.
“All the food we will never eat” said Ae-Jong.
“And they will have lots of expensive wine” said Eun Sun.
“You are always thinking about wine” said Ae-Jong.
Eun Sun frowned at Ae-Jong. Hana smiled slightly.
“I wonder what the king looks like” spoke Hana dreamily.
“He is probably tall” said Ae-Jong
“And dark” said Hana
“With broad shoulders” said Eun Sun.
All three of them laughed. At this point they had stop washing the clothes. Lady Bok the main in charge of everything that happened in the Laundry approached the three maids.
“Those clothes aren’t going to wash themselves” barked Lady Bok.
“Please forgive us” said the three maids.
They continued with the washing. Lady Bok shook her head.
“Stop dreaming about the king” she said. “We will never see up close”
“Lady Bok, even you have never seen him before?” asked Hana.
“No I haven’t. People like us can never be in the company of royalty” answered Lady Bok.
Lady Jee walked into Queen Ryung’s quarters. She was the chief maid of Queen Ryung’s attendants.
“Your highness It is I” Lady Jee announced her arrival as she entered the Queens room.
“Welcome my lady” said Queen Ryung.
Lady Jee bowed to the queen then sat down. She pulled out a small pouch from underneath her hanbok (Traditional Korean dress). She passed it to the Queen.
“These are the herbs, Your Highness” said Lady Jee.
“How effective are they?” asked Queen Ryung.
“They are the best fertility herbs. They are said to work very well” said Lady Jee.
“I hope so. It is the King’s visit to my quarters next week”
Both Queens did not have any children. This also meant that there was no heir to the throne. Both Queens very much wanted to be the mother of the crown prince. This meant more power. Unfortunately both women had not given birth to any children.
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