Seonjeongjeon Hall1Seonjeongjeon Hall – King’s study. is the sacred place where the Kings of Joseon decided the national affairs and arranged meetings to discuss the political matters.
It’s the place where the history is made.
And because of that Wonbeom can’t bear the thought of his comfortable study being occupied by a bunch of people now. The unfamiliar woman plays on gayageum some calm melody and if Wonbeom see a couple of kisaengs dancing with fans in their hands he wouldn’t be surprised.
His study changed drastically with his bookshelves and his precious collection of volumes about politics and military tactics is now somewhere by the wall, abandoned and forgotten. The big table where he usually has important meetings with his ministers or allies is in the middle of the room. The various food and drinks are available for guests, and they come to the table to fill their plates and go back to the conversation in groups.
The picture before his eyes looks so surreal, he has no doubts about who is responsible for this mess. And he finds his Queen pretty soon, surrounded by men in the biggest group in the room. The male guests, all young or at least under thirty, create a circle around her while she cheerfully shares her thoughts with them.
Wonbeom saw the familiar picture before, Soyong surrounded by his concubines, happy and flirtatious, with young women smitten by her wit and beauty. Since her possession by the womanizer spirit times ended Wonbeom never saw her like that. Until today. Looks like her flirtatious nature didn’t come from spirit alone. Those men are flustered by her, laughing at her jokes inputs even though she’s mainly talking about business. Apparently, the sericulture in Joseon must be improved so they could compete with China on trade offboard.
“The good competition will only help both countries, don’t you all agree?” Soyong asks and all men voice solidarity with her words.
“But we so far behind,” one of the men dares to doubt her plan and everyone else hisses at him.
“Oh, no, please, the young scholar is absolutely right!” Soyong waves her hands to stop the mocking of the shy scholar. “Of course, we are behind China in quality, but we can start with a lower price, and overtime our quality will become better and we can raise the price too. We need to lure specialists and learn from them.”
“Your Highness intelligence is phenomenal,” the other scholar says with adoration.
Everyone starts agreeing, making Soyong lower her gaze in shyness and her cheeks start to color rose, but Wonbeom knows how much she actually likes it. Her attempt to ask them to stop praising her is more flirtatious than before.
Wonbeom had enough of that:
“My Queen!” he calls her out and people around finally notice his presence. They all start greeting him, but his gaze never leaves Soyong. “Can I steal you from this important conversation for a moment?”
“Your Majesty,” Soyong bows respectfully. “I’ll be right back,” she promises to everyone else. They walk towards the doors where no one can hear them.
“Care to explain what is going on here?” Wonbeom asks as soon as he’s sure no one is listening, busy with whatever they are doing.
“Oh, this is a business meeting,” Soyong cheerfully explains. “I was so tired of various separate meetings, so I decided to gather everyone in one place and discuss the future of the manufactory of Joseon. But it turned out to be a party,” she adds with a chuckle.
“But why in Seonjeongjeon Hall?” Wonbeom exclaims desperately. He doesn’t recognize his comfy study anymore and it pains him more than he could imagine. He loves his country and loves the hard work he does in this chamber to change it for the better. This place is like his second home.
“I couldn’t arrange it outdoors because it was so rainy lately. And Daejojeon Hall2Daejojeon Hall – Queen of Joseon residence after the wedding. is the sacred place created specifically for a divine purpose to create an heir to the throne, how could I invite all those men there?” She flaps her eyelashes innocently.
“Two days ago, this very table was sacred enough for that,” he scoffs irritably.
Soyong hits his shoulder, turning red as his Gonryongpo from embarrassment. She wasn’t so shy when they were alone in that study before.
“But what is the meaning of that?” Wonbeom points at the table in question, where people still come by to fill plates.
“Oh, it’s smorgasbord!” Soyong uses the unfamiliar word again. “It’s a type of buffet invented in a country called Sweden,” she explains, seeing his confusion with the word. “The point is that people take the meal they like and how much they like. Bong Hwan oppa used to work on those at the beginning of his career, that’s how I found out.”
“I see…” Wonbeom sighs out.
He wants to say how brilliant that idea is and how he will put it in the Queen’s dictionary later, but he’s too upset to compliment her. He pouts, thinking how easily she charms all those men. He understands that she’s a beautiful and amazing woman, he’s smitten by her himself but she’s only his. Seeing other men praising her makes him upset: his complements should be enough for her!
“Does Your Majesty sulking?” Soyong notices with a smile. “You could have invited me at least,” he grumbles.
“But this is a boring matter at the start, I would definitely share the results with Your Majesty
later!” Soyong laughs it off.
“You could have thrown a party for me as well,” he continues to voice his frustrations. “Just for two of us…”
“Your Majesty, it’s not a party if there are only two people. In that case, it’s a romantic date,” she explains with amusement.
He wants to continue their talk, but someone is calling for Soyong and she waves her hand, signaling she will come soon.
“Your Majesty is so cute when you are pouting like that,” she kisses him on the cheek. “Let’s talk later…”
She leaves and disappears into the big group of men once more. The guests are excitedly loud again, listening to her talking and answering their questions.
“I wouldn’t mind of the romantic date either,” Wonbeom whispers to himself, “whatever it is…”
A few days later Wonbeom is still upset with the party where he wasn’t invited. His study now looks like before, except for one vase that someone broke. Considering how many people were here, it’s a miracle that is the only damage that was done.
As she promised, Soyong shared the results of the meeting in several long scrolls with planned reforms for manufactory and the list of specialists she thinks they could lure with money.
Sometimes he’s upset with how much a workaholic they both are because it means less time with each other. He wished their working areas crossed more often.
Wonbeom is about to finish his work for a day and maybe try to visit his elusive wife at Daejojeon Hall when the servant delivers the message from the Queen.
At our usual place, come alone
A wide smile doesn’t leave Wonbeom’s face all his way back to Huijeongjeon Hall3Huijeongjeon Hall – King’s residence.. He even starts whistling a melody while servants change his outfit to sleepwear. The uprising happiness of the future rendezvous with his Queen makes him so careless he ignores servants’ giggles at his behavior. For that, he has Head Eunuch to scold them properly even though the old man also smiling knowingly.
“I do not need any assistance, you can all go,” Wonbeom commands.
“Your Majesty was so cheerful to be left alone?” Head Eunuch looks bewildered by this turn of events, probably thinking the Queen invited the King to Daejojeon Hall.
“I am so tired from work lately,” Wonbeom stretches his arms and moves his head from side to side. “I just want to sleep tonight.”
But of course, once he is left alone, Wonbeom changes to his best hanbok of purple colors and leaves his residence in secret. The early autumn night greets him with the remaining from hot day warmth and a clear sky with a full moon and the stars. He chooses a path across the gardens to pick a flower for his beloved wife, then goes by the lake’s shore until he sees her from afar. In the pale light of the beautiful moon, Soyong looks magnificent in her pinkish garment. Wonbeom admires her from afar while he walks toward the bridge.
A bright smile shines on Soyong’s pretty face once she sees him approaching her: “Your Majesty is finally here.”
“Did you miss me?” he teases, knowing pretty well how she even forgets to eat sometimes, fully captivated by her work. “I have a gift for you…”
Wonbeom shows her a flower, a simple daisy. He wanted to pick the fanciest flower but then saw a simple daisy survive after gardeners’ hard work of destroying anything that doesn’t belong alongside the far more valuable flowers. Just like his Queen who overcome all hardships and obstacles on her hard path in life.
“Thank you, Your Majesty, it’s so beautiful!” Soyong exclaims excitedly, as always joyful to receive his presents.
Her wide smile fades a bit when she continues: “The thoughts of Your Majesties’ offend been concerning me ever since the party occurred,” she worriedly admits. “I never thought how much it could upset you, please accept my apologies.”
“Just ask me the next time,” he warmly says. “You know I can never say a word against your ideas.”
“You are forgiving me so easily?” she raises her brows in surprise. “Then we don’t need a
romantic date anymore?” Soyong turns to leave but Wonbeom catches her elbow.
“No, no, no, I’m still upset, very upset!” he hastily changes his mind. “How dare you, my Queen, you need to work to make up for that.” He pouts in the pretended offense.
Soyong laughs cheerfully at him: “Then I didn’t prepare everything in vain!”
She leads him to the pavilion, and he sees a bottle and two cups on the floor. Some snacks are also prepared on a few dishes. They sit on the stairs to the pavilion and Soyong opens the bottle, breathing in the scent:
“Your Majesty knows about a pear wine?” Soyong’s eyes twinkle with excitement. “The royal chef doesn’t know I took the last bottle,” she whispers with a giggle.
“How did you manage to steal it?” Wonbeom moves forward, whispering as well.
“I gave him a day off because he worked so hard to prepare everything for smorgasbord and the moment he left the kitchen…” she naughtily confesses, hugging the bottle in her arms.
“O-ho, My Queen is so cruel, left the poor fellow without his favorite drink,” Wonbeom clicks his tongue. The pear season was over for a couple of weeks now, the royal chef now has to wait for the next one to make his favorite wine again.
“Everything in the palace belongs to me and you,” Soyong shrugs casually. “I could have just taken it without any tricks.”
“So this is what a romantic date looks like?” Wonbeom curiously asks, watching her pour the pear wine into his cup.
“Anything is a romantic date if two beloveds are in the right mood,” Soyong gives him a cup with
both hands and starts to fill in her own. “We have a moon, a stolen bottle of wine, and no one breathing down our necks,” she chuckles. “I think the mood is just right.”
Without saying a word, they cross their arms and bottom up their cups. The wine runs down smoothly, and the pear aftertaste is nice. He can perfectly understand why Soyong loves it so much.
Wonbeom licks his lips, wiping away all remaining wine, and sees Soyong doing the same. He raises his hand to wipe the spot she misses but she slaps his hand down:
“Your Majesty, be patient, we just get had one drink!” Soyong gives him a judging look.
“I just wanted to clean the spot you missed,” he blinks innocently. “What kind of man do you think I am, we are in a public place! Anyone can see us!”
“The many servants outside your study didn’t stop you that one time,” she reminds him about the last time they were alone in Seonjeongjeon Hall, finally wiping the last spot of wine in the corner of her mouth. “Sometimes you are so reckless…” she shakes her head.
“You started it first!” Wonbeom shouts at this unfair accusation.
They were discussing their plans to visit the poor provinces of Joseon and think together about how they can change things there. They wanted to bring attention to those places by appearing together. And all of sudden, in the middle of the conversation she kissed him. They didn’t discuss any more plans that day as they were busy tearing apart their clothes and climbing on the table. All the scrolls and cups with a kettle were flying on the floor as he and Soyong cleared space for themselves.
“Lower your voice,” Soyong hisses. “You initiated it, Your Majesty,” she whispers. “Don’t you remember your flirting?”
“We were discussing our trip,” he lowers his voice to whisper himself. “How that was a flirt?”
“Your Majesties voice always has that effect on me,” Soyong lowers her gaze. “You were so excited and I got excited too, in another way…” even in the pale light of the moon Wonbeom can see how her cheeks paint pink.
“So it’s all my fault again,” he concludes with a proud smile. “If it is the case, I’m ready to take the blame.”
In couples, one person usually loves the other more. And Wonbeom feels like he is the one who’s more in love. But in moments like this, he realizes how deep Soyong’s affection towards him is. His voice alone makes her forget her prudence and now all he wants to do is talk until his voice makes its magic again.
“We were so distant lately,” he slides closer to her. “So many things must be arranged, and laws must be taken,” she moves even closer, making her lean on the column behind her. “Don’t you think we must catch up on missing hours, days, weeks…” he connects their foreheads, taking a deep breath before he whispers his final line: “… my Queen.”
Soyong swallows hard, her breath getting heavier under his gaze.
“I thought this place is too public…” she finally whispers. “You should have visited me in Daejojeon Hall more often if you missed me so much.”
“I did,” he pouts moving away. “But you had a game night with Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi at servants hanok! Or anything else as an excuse.”
He tried so many times, but it never worked for him! She was or already sleeping or somewhere else. Wonbeom even wrote her a letter, where, in a poem, he described his loneliness and hope for a meeting. But he never got a response because that day Soyong decided to visit her father and end up staying in her natal home for a couple of days.
“Well, I tried to visit Your Majesty too,” Soyong softly says. “But you always training late at night. I wanted to surprise Your Majesty as your last letter sounded so desperate.”
Of course he was training late at night, he needed to cool himself and distract from constant thoughts about her. If only he knew how much he misses out, those training would be long forgotten.
“We were thinking the same but missed each other again,” he sadly concludes. “We need to find a way to end this unfortunate circle of missing opportunities.”
They sit side by side, frowning in their deep thoughts. Wonbeom can’t bear the thought of missing any more time without Soyong. Their relationships started from misunderstandings, and they missed so much in the beginning. The opportunities they never get back, the proper wedding ceremony, and his courtship since their first meeting. He tries to catch up on it, by giving more and more gifts to her and writing poems when he misses her but it always feels not enough.
“Your Majesty, I know what we can do!” Wonbeom shivers hearing her unexpectedly loud voice. “We can move in!”
“Mooooove iiiin?” He prolongs every letter in a new unfamiliar word.
“Yes, couples in the future do that all the time,” Soyong joyfully explains. “Bong Hwan oppa fear it like an open fire,” she continues intriguing Wonbeom. “That word means that man and woman decide to live together in one place.”
“That means we never going to miss each other,” Wonbeom’s face lights up with realization.
“Our days will start with us side by side and we will end the same way,” Soyong continues excitedly. “It is a perfect solution to our problem! We will be happy in Daejojeon Hall, Your Majesty!”
“Wait, why not in Huijeongjeon Hall?” Wonbeom blinks, thinking how easy she decided for both of them. “It’s much bigger, we can both comfortably live there,” the thought of losing his for the last two years home somehow saddest him. He knows every inch of Huijeongjeon, every secret pathing, and how to avoid servants if he wants to be alone.
“But Daejojeon Hall has a very comfortable position for maids and eunuchs to serve us, your place is too far away. We will double their work. Besides, my place has a better view,” Soyong stubbornly protects her decision. “The sage King must think about his subjects first and must show modesty by choosing the smaller and humbler place.”
Their bickering continues for the rest of the night. At one point in their heated argument, Wonbeom suggests continuing it in his study. There they write down all points to prove which place is better. And even though Huijeongjeon Hall is one positive point above, Soyong still wins. As she always does. Her reasoning to choose Daejojeon Hall was so solid he couldn’t refuse her.
Wonbeom never admits it out loud, but the final point for Daejojeon Hall is Soyong’s winning and proud smile. And as always she was right in everything, Wonbeom will be very happy living with her under one roof, enjoying the magnificent view of his wife every single night.
- 1Seonjeongjeon Hall – King’s study.
- 2Daejojeon Hall – Queen of Joseon residence after the wedding.
- 3Huijeongjeon Hall – King’s residence.