Chapter 21: Screams in the Night

Soyong saw it many times while she was working at the Park estate: Yul Mu coming home from Oktajeong1Oktajeong is a kisaeng house. completely drunk with traces of rouge all over his collar and face. Her spies inside the kisaeng house told Soyong he always stayed longer than the other men, bragging to the women how great his life is going to be after all the misery he had endured. They said he acted as if he wanted to catch up on all his missed opportunities of a life of luxury all at once.

So why is Yul Mu completely sober now? Not only did he return early, but he also noticed the map was missing right away. Why did he choose today out of all other days to break his habits?

Yul Mu takes Hwa Jin away for interrogation while the servants in her home, along with Soyong and Director Hong, are locked up in confinement. Hong is still unconscious but is breathing evenly, which Soyong takes as a good sign.

She looks around her: they are in a storage room with brooms and other cleaning supplies used by the servants. There are some things that could be used as weapons, but she is trapped with mostly old men and innocent young girls. While they have an advantage in numbers, their captors are skilled warriors armed with swords in their hands. Soyong can’t ask these people to risk their lives when fighting against their armed captors would mean almost certain doom for many of them.

The worst part is no one knows they are trapped here. Wonbeom and Prince Yeongpyeong are still out on their mission. And it’s too early in the evening for anyone at the royal villa to raise concern over Soyong’s absence.

She doubts that Yul Mu will stay here for long: he would not want to risk being here when Yeongpyeong returns home. Perhaps he and his men have already left, taking Hwa Jin with them as a hostage? She’s part of the royal family, and they can bargain with her life to save themselves and escape. These thoughts frighten Soyong; despite her complicated relationship with Hwa Jin, she would never wish to see her harmed.

Suddenly, she hears footsteps outside and the lock to the door clicks open. Several of the young maids scream in fright and scamper away from the door, leaving Soyong and Director Hong, who lies on her lap, in full view of their visitor.

Seo Hwi appears in the doorway, looking colder than ever, his hand resting on the handle of his sword. He looks around from one servant to another until his gaze falls on Soyong.

“Master Yul Mu and his friend would like to have drinks while they have a talk with your mistress.” Seo Hwi’s eyes never leave Soyong’s, and she quickly grasps that he wants her to serve the drinks.

“If that’s what the young master would like then I will do it.” Soyong carefully shifts Hong’s head to a young maid who promptly moves to sit by her side. “Please take care of my friend while I am away,” Soyong says, and the maid nods shyly.

The walk to the kitchen is silent. Seo Hwi is one step behind her and the only thing he tells her is to keep quiet. Soyong remembers the kitchen from her first stay at Hwa Jin’s estate, when they had prepared pastry buns to cheer up her father. The secret mission to visit her son feels like it happened ages ago.

In the kitchen, Soyong opens one cupboard after another, trying to find the liquor.

“I’m not familiar with this place,” Soyong says breezily, trying to start a casual conversation. “Where’s all the alcohol? You know, I’m new here…” She laughs nervously.

“I didn’t ask,” Seo Hwi says dryly. “But I do remember asking you not to speak.”

“Oh, I found it!” Soyong ignores his words, finally discovering the bottles. She takes a few of them to the table and begins to pour liquor into the kettles. “Now I need to find cups…” Soyong mutters to herself while stepping around Seo Hwi.

Suddenly, he catches her wrist and forces her to look at him. With terror, Soyong realizes that she is still wearing the braces with knives, and Seo Hwi now knows it too. His brows go up in surprise at first, but then he smirks and lets her go.

“Don’t do anything stupid, Mi-Ah,” is the only remark he offers.

A surge of hope rises in Soyong’s chest. Is it possible to have Seo Hwi as an ally? But he is right: she must be careful with the only weapon she has now. There are only two knives and her throwing skills still need improvement. But in close combat she will be able to use them to stab her enemies.

Two knives. Two chances. She must choose wisely when to use them.

She places two ceramic kettles and four cups on the tray and lets Seo Hwi lead her to where the others are sitting. They enter a hanok2Hanok – a house. separate from the main house and find a long table with several chairs around it. Soyong assumes Yeongpyeong uses the space as an office when he’s home.

At the head of the table sits Hwa Jin, while Yul Mu perches on the nearest corner of the table to her, peering down at her with an intense gaze. Hwa Jin appears tense as her hands clutch her skirts on her knees, but overall she looks unharmed apart from the cut Yul Mu left before. He must have let her tend to her wound as the blood seems to have been cleaned off her skin. Yul Mu’s friend sits far from them, unceremoniously resting his dirty feet on the table. Soyong doesn’t know the man, but just the sight of his evident amusement with this situation makes her irritated.

“Here she is!” Yul Mu raises his voice cheerfully upon seeing Soyong. “Your partner in crime!” He laughs loudly and his friend joins in seconds later.

Soyong lowers her head and silently moves to the table to place two cups and one of the kettles in front of Hwa Jin and Yul Mu. The latter pours the liquor right away and hands a cup to Hwa Jin.

“You need to relax, Lady Jo Hwa Jin. I’m not planning to hurt you… yet.” Yul Mu smiles again. “I just want to know how much the King and your husband know.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Hwa Jin politely answers. “But you’re going to have big trouble on your hands once my husband finds out what you did here.”

Yul Mu laughs again: “You are a tough one, I must admit…”

Soyong takes a deep breath, trying to calm herself down. She feels useless and desperate, but she can’t help Hwa Jin now. And she’s not sure if she will get an opportunity to help at all.

She walks around the table to Yul Mu’s friend. He takes down his feet from the table and follows her with his dark eyes. He annoys her even more with the way he examines her, and she feels goosebumps erupt across her skin under his gaze. She stops in front of him, the tray with the kettle and remaining cups still in her hands. Soyong dares to look into his eyes, and he smirks at her.

Soyong’s body reacts first. She feels the hair stand up on the back of her neck, and only moments later does she realize she is looking into the eyes that have followed her in her nightmares. The eyes of the man who attacked her in the woods.

Her hands go weak for a second and the tray crashes down on the man’s lap. However, he ignores it and rises to his feet, the kettle and cups tumbling to the floor in the process. With a squeak, Soyong turns around in an attempt to escape, but he reacts instantly and catches her braid, yanking her back to him. Soyong lets out a surprised cry that fades into silence when his other hand squeezes her neck. She clutches his hand with her fingers, desperately trying to ease his hold.

“How is your head?” His hot whisper burns her ear.

“How is your shoulder?” Soyong hisses back through clenched teeth. He laughs in return and forces her to turn around to look into her eyes.

“Let her go.” Seo Hwi’s blade appears right at the assassin’s neck. Soyong had not even realized when Seo Hwi moved close to them.

“You are all fools,” the assassin laughs. “Damn fools! No wonder your mission failed!” “Do you even know who she is?”

“What’s going on?” Yul Mu asks, all levity now gone from his voice.

“You are questioning the wrong person,” the assassin says. “That Lady isn’t the mastermind behind all this.” He squeezes Soyong’s neck harder. “This one is. Am I right, Your Highness the Queen?”

He lets her go and Soyong folds over herself, gasping for breath. In the silence of the room, all eyes are on her. She sees disbelief on Seo Hwi’s face and a mocking smirk on the assassin’s. When she slowly turns around to face Yul Mu, he is shocked at first but then lets out a nervous laugh after a few moments. Hwa Jin looks desperate, her calm mask now breaking.

“The girl that served my sister and cleaned her room is the Queen?” Yul Mu wipes at his eyes, which have teared up from laughter. “We found her in the woods!”

“I lost her in the woods,” the assassin explains. “I was chasing her, but she fell down the ravine and found the road. I heard voices and left.”

“Having a member of the royal family in our hands is good.” Yul Mu becomes serious, his expression dark and cold. “But having the Queen is even better.” He steps close to her and lifts her chin with his hand. “Your Highness the Queen is our only way out.”

They leave for the Park estate in a hurry, all three men along with Hwa Jin and Soyong. At the very least, Soyong feels relieved that Hwa Jin isn’t under pressure anymore, as their captors have now shifted their focus onto her. Yul Mu concocts a plan on their way back to his estate: he will demand a free path to the bay so he and his people can leave for Japan. And only then will Soyong and Hwa Jin be released.

But the assassin doesn’t easily agree; he wants to finish his mission. And to Soyong’s horror, Yul Mu considers this possibility. They know the King cannot make a move in Japan in order to find Yul Mu, so they think they will be safe even if Soyong and Hwa Jin are killed.

“You definitely don’t know a thing about His Majesty,” Soyong scoffs at their plans. “He will find you when you are least expecting it. It will be over before you even realize you have fallen into his trap.”

“You had better watch your mouth if you don’t want to get bruises on your royal face.” Yul Mu doesn’t even look her way while they walk.

She’s escorted by the assassin, and he lets her know he will kill her if she tries to escape. Seo Hwi walks by Hwa Jin’s side, but Soyong feels his gaze on her from time to time.

At the Park estate, everything is in total chaos. The servants pack bags under Yul Mee’s command, some of the young maids even tearing up as their mistress barks her orders.

“Sister, pack only what is necessary. We can buy new clothes at the new place!” Yul Mu scolds her.

“If I can’t have it then I’ll burn it,” Yul Mee declares passionately. “Do we really have to run again, brother?”

Soyong may dislike Yul Mee, but she knows that this whole situation must trigger childhood memories from when her family disappeared in just one day. The Park estate became empty and Soyong’s teachers refused to discuss the issue. Later Byeong-In told Soyong in secret what he found out from his father and asked her to never mention that family again.

And now the Parks must escape again, only this time it’s all Yul Mu’s fault. If he had lived by the law, none of this would have happened. He did not even have to support the King; he could have shared another point of view, and Wonbeom would have listened to it. But Park Yul Mu chose another path.

Soyong and Hwa Jin are left in the storage room with the door locked and some male servants on watch. The room is in a state of disorder after the servants have haphazardly packed many of the belongings in here. Soyong is tired of being locked up, but no matter how hard she hits the doors, they won’t open. And trying to negotiate with the servants on guard doesn’t help either. She sits cross-legged on the dusty floor, crossing her arms on her chest, pouting at the injustice of it all.

She must come up with a new plan.

“So how are we going to get out of here?” Hwa Jin asks, taking a seat on the floor as well. “I don’t think we will be saved anytime soon.”

“No one even knows we need rescue,” Soyong says dejectedly.

“Director Hong knows,” Hwa Jin reminds her. “He will raise alarm. I am sure of it.”

“We can’t just sit here and wait for someone to rescue us,” Soyong argues. “Being a hostage is dangerous, but being the one making the decision to save us is even more dangerous. I do not wish for His Majesty to choose between his country and us.”

Wonbeom will choose her, she knows that, but she doesn’t want to be the one who turns the King of the country into just an ordinary man. He is an ordinary man for her, but he must be the King for others. So she must find a way to save the King from that choice. The conspirators must be punished for the sake of peace for future generations. The people must know the King won’t tolerate the aristocracy standing in the way of progress.

“I will find a way,” Soyong hisses angrily. “We will see who wins.”

  • 1
    Oktajeong is a kisaeng house.
  • 2
    Hanok – a house.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 21: Screams in the Night

  1. orladark December 22, 2022 / 11:19 pm

    Rose on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 02:50AM EST
    oh I’m so worried about sy and hj what will happen to them thanks for updating authornim ❤
    always waiting for the next chapter

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 11:53AM EST
    It’s going to be a long night for everyone and no one is safe.

    Thank you for reading and commenting 😘

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    Minerva on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 03:39AM EST
    so happy you updated this ff❤
    thank you author

    I hope SY and HJ are fine
    This chapter is really tense, it makes me even more curious about the next chapter

    Update the next chapter soon,
    don’t take too long, author
    Upz, sorry😍🤗

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 11:56AM EST
    Thank you for the feedback! I always question whatever people actually waiting for updates, so good to know you do ❤

    It’s going to be long and dangerous night for everyone 😬 I’ll try to write faster 😅

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    Ukhoehong on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 03:50PM EST
    You said you can’t write strategy? My heart beats so loud when I read how SY risks herself to find the map. This is so thrilling.

    And the beginning of the story is so sweet. CJ wants to eat SY alive 😅. Now they are apart. Please make SY and HJ will be safe and don’t get hurt. Especially SY, she has gone through a lot 😓

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 05:10PM EST
    Thank you for your high praise, I hope next chapters will be interesting as well because there will be even more action 😅

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    Cotton.Candy on Chapter 22Mon 07 Mar 2022 05:47PM EST
    Uwooo, I’m so curious about the next chapter 🤭

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Wed 09 Mar 2022 06:48AM EST
    And I hope I won’t disappoint you 😊 thank you for reading and commenting ❤

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    Abby on Chapter 22Tue 08 Mar 2022 07:14AM EST
    Wow, this chapter is already intense. I hope Soyong and Hwajin will be’s good to see the improvement of Soyong and Cheoljong’s relationship, and i hope we will get to see more moments between Soyong, Cheoljong and their son as family..thank you for the update author

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Wed 09 Mar 2022 06:48AM EST
    They need some family vacations after that and maybe a therapy session 😅
    No one is safe is all I can say about upcoming chapters.

    Thank you for reading and commenting ❤

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    pearlynose on Chapter 22Thu 10 Mar 2022 04:57AM EST
    Waaahhh just when CJ is victorious and expects to come home to be with his family 🙁
    I hope my babies get through this unscathed : (

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 22Thu 10 Mar 2022 06:01AM EST
    Thank you for reading ❤ will see how CJ saves his wife or maybe she doesn’t need saving 😂

  2. orladark December 22, 2022 / 11:21 pm

    Poohislife on Chapter 23Mon 18 Apr 2022 08:09AM EDT
    Hello author nim!!!!!! Thank you so much for the update! Hope that CJ’s injury is in fact a blessing in disguise!! 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺😄😄😄😄😄😉😉😉😉😉😉

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 23Wed 27 Apr 2022 06:47AM EDT
    Thank you so much for the comment! <3
    I don't know if CJ and SY will find it a blessing, our poor King is badly hurt but he has his wife to take care of him 😉

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    HoneyPooh on Chapter 23Mon 18 Apr 2022 10:38AM EDT
    The chapter is intense, I love it ❤️ kudos writernim 👏

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 23Wed 27 Apr 2022 06:48AM EDT
    It was even harder to write, took me several weeks to write the whole thing! But the battle was supposed to be 5 chapters long, I decided to limit it to 2-3 longer chapters so I can add more pleasant chapters after <3 I hope you will like it!

    Thank you for your comment! <3

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    Ukhoehong on Chapter 23Tue 19 Apr 2022 02:49PM EDT
    Wow…this chapter is so intense. I finally finished reading it after many days. I really love how brave SY is and the fact that she never leaves CJ alone anymore. She won’t run away anymore.

    I hope CJ will receive a lot of love and embrace when he falls sick. He deserves that totally.

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 23Wed 27 Apr 2022 06:51AM EDT
    I didn't wanted for SY just stay there and watch, so she uses everything she can do to fight in her own way. Maybe she should ask CJ to teach her fighting? 😛

    Poor CJ needs a lot of cuddles from his wife <3

    Thank you for reading! <3

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    H on Chapter 23Sun 24 Apr 2022 09:05AM EDT
    Where the rest please

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    OrlaDark on Chapter 23Wed 27 Apr 2022 06:51AM EDT
    Hello, I am so sorry it takes me so long to update, I hope the wait will be worth it. Thank you for your comment! <3

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