Chapter 1: Winter song

This is flashback chapter after the confession about the spirit and before the labor. Set in December.

Winter Song by Ingrid Michaelson & Sara Bareilles as song inspiration Crowned clown promo picture became the major inspiration for this chapter.


Kim Hwan knows he’s not the brightest member of the family, and to some degree, he likes that since no one expects much from him. But he also knows he’s a man of many talents. When he helped the King and Queen win their battle he was finally noticed. He received a government post that allows him to travel often and do what he’s best at – make friends.

When the Queen asks him to join her for tea, he isn’t surprised at all. Besides the fact that they are cousins, they also share fond memories about their late cousin Kim Byeong-In.

Overwhelmed with pride, Hwan greets the Queen in her chambers and takes a seat on a cushion beside her table. He exchanges awkward smiles with Hong Yeon, who thankfully no longer looks wary at the sight of him. He hopes they may be friends someday. Just because they could not be lovers did not mean they couldn’t enjoy each other’s company.

“My dear cousin, I have an important task in mind for you,” the Queen declares and Hwan can’t hide his excitement. Finally, a new mission!

“I am at your service, Your Highness!” he says eagerly, bowing his head with respect.

“I need you to organize the very first wedding ceremony inside the inner palace between a royal chef and a court maid.” At first, Hwan is puzzled by this turn of events, but after considering it for a moment, he decides that if the Queen has requested it then it must be important. And if it’s important, he must do his best.

“I will handle everything to the best of my ability, Your Highness,” Hwan promises, smiling brightly.

“There is no need to go to such trouble, Your Highness,” the Queen’s court lady interjects beside them.

“How can we celebrate an important event like this without going through all the proper rituals? Court Lady Choi, you are going to be the first court maid to be married inside the palace. This is a big event!” the Queen explains while Hwan nods in agreement. As far as he knows, allowing court maids to marry was one of the first rules the Queen established once she took over the inner court. It’s understandable why she feels so passionate about this.

“Do it for me,” the Queen says in a softer tone. “I didn’t exactly have my own wedding…”

“What do you mean?” Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi protest in unison.

“After the lake incident, I wasn’t myself,” the Queen reminds them and Hwan feels his heart ache with pity for his poor cousin. He of course remembers all the rumors about the Palace Witch turning into the Mad Queen after a near-death experience. “I felt like someone else when I got married…”

The Queen’s voice is so pitiful that her maids start tearing up and Court Lady Choi agrees to have any kind of wedding the Queen fancies. At that concession, the Queen’s sad expression instantly disappears from her face and is replaced with a pleased look. Hwan may not be the smartest person in the room, but he can recognize that his cousin has some impressive acting skills.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Winter song

  1. orladark December 22, 2022 / 8:39 pm

    farrahtango on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:17PM EDT
    thanks for your update authornim..
    i can feel how distress SY felt and how suffer CJ was. “CJ is still a terrible pick-up master, making your wife almost get cold so you could show off, really?” ahaha 😀 so this was CJ planning, waah how petty he was! aahh always wait for next pain chapt!

    Last Edited Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:24PM EDT

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:57PM EDT
    I’m glad you like it and thanks for the feedback!
    I feel for SY too, she basically tortures not only CJ but also herself T_T

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    makpalu on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:45PM EDT
    I was feeling so sad at Say’s distress then I read your judgement of CJ pickup skills and burst out laughing. Talk about two very clueless puppies- misreading all signals and retreating. It hurts so good. Can’t wait for what comes next. Thank you author!!

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:59PM EDT
    We know CJ is bad in pick-up skills, girls all over him bc he’s pretty lol
    Jokes aside, he really tries to reconnect with her but SY is too stubborn =(
    Thank you for your feedback!

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    goldensoul93 on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 02:49PM EDT
    these two break my heart! guys, just talk to each other😪

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 03:02PM EDT
    I hope I won’t screw up their reunion, I’m so nervous. But a lot of talk coming. Mostly arguments but in their case, it’s huge progress 🙂
    Thank you for your feedback!

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    Ukhoehong on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 03:02PM EDT
    I’m so happy for CLC and MB. They so deserve this happiness. And SY is so doubtful of herself. Thank you for this update! I’m very looking forward to the next chapters.

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 04:07PM EDT
    They are making history with that wedding 🙂 I’m happy for them too.
    Thank you for your feedback!

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    Freyja_Lawliet on Chapter 5Thu 29 Jul 2021 08:24PM EDT
    So, their misunderstanding has grown over one year… I really wanted to lock them in the same room so they could talk. very sad for both of them T_T

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 5Fri 30 Jul 2021 01:36PM EDT
    It’s not exactly a misunderstanding. CJ is still confused about who he loves and tries to reconnect to find out for sure but SY is too afraid T_T
    Babysteps, let’s reunite them first and then lock them up lol
    Thank you for the feedback!

  2. stalecupcake June 7, 2023 / 6:52 pm

    Oh, my goodness. Not me crying at work from ~ “But being the third choice after Hwa Jin and then the spirit was too much to bear.”

    “For some bizarre reason, Soyong believes she’s a perfect lady. Like it wasn’t her who sneak into the inner palace and shout at top of her lungs how she wants to see King’s face lol”
    LOLOL. Like how CLC considered her unruly before she got chosen and yet the servants at MG’s said she would never run! I guess SY knows how to keep up with appearances!

    “Also, it might feel like SY doubts herself too much, but I realized SY’s biggest problem is social skills. She’s good at studying and she’s a great ruler and a very smart woman. But she lacks social skills while BH and HJ are good at them, this is why they are so loved by everyone. I might discover this more in future chapters.”
    Oh! Interesting! Though I myself assumed SY and BH had similar personalities, but the way BH came and “did” everything, that must have caused her self-esteem…

    I’m unsure about HJ being good at social skills and if she is loved by everyone. Though, yeah. She seems to have captured the two brothers (YP + CJ). Haha. I look forward to see how this goes as I read through.

    (I have been itching to read more of your stories~~~ I am currently rereading the Meet me series!)

    • orladark June 10, 2023 / 5:37 pm

      Hello, this is so sweet of you to keep commenting on stories on the second read <3 I hope you'll like new chapters <3 Sorry that I'm wasn't posting for so long =(

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