Chapter 4 Not an ordinary lady

There were days in Wonbeom’s life when he avoided his future wife under any excuse he could come up with. The reason did not matter as long as he could be away from the one woman who made him feel so confused about his own feelings.

Being from the Kim clan, Soyong was the incarnation of everything he despised: a corrupt and spoiled woman. Just like her whole family, she didn’t hesitate to bribe the eunuchs to gain more information about the King.

Wonbeom doubted she had ever faced rejection in her life. And he knew his refusal to meet with her probably left her questioning what was wrong with him.

Many things were wrong with Wonbeom: his deceased family, his brokenness and nightmares, his weakness in the eyes of the whole palace… and his dark secret. The one he hid deep down. A secret that could have destroyed him completely: Wonbeom liked that spoiled, cruel woman.

For a long time, Wonbeom couldn’t understand why he was so drawn to her. What made her so special? He already had the kind and noble Jo Hwa Jin as the love of his life. And if his love for her faded, how could it be because of someone like Kim Soyong?

He decided that if he created an invisible wall between them and kept a distance from her, Soyong wouldn’t be able to trample over him as all of her clan intended to do.

But even his cold, rational mind couldn’t stop searching for an answer: why her?

Wonbeom carefully collected any information about her, while simultaneously trying not to appear too interested. He heard endless spiels about Kim Soyong’s various talents and how intelligent she was.

Did she do embroidery? Every single noble lady in Joseon could do it.

Did she play the gayageum? The only special thing about this information was how the Destined Highness arrogantly scolded her own teacher for being slightly out of rhythm. The disrespect she showed to an older and more experienced woman was unbelievably preposterous.

She did what every yangban lady could do and Wonbeom honestly couldn’t understand why she still intrigued him so much. But somehow, even with her cruelty towards the servants, one of the most respected court ladies appointed to the Destined Highness grew fond of her. How did it happen? Maybe the court lady also questioned herself as Wonbeom did.

The mystery of Kim Soyong continued to intrigue Wonbeom. The astonishing ability of that woman to beckon his attention when he tried so hard not to fall into her charms frightened him.

Nonetheless, like poets mesmerized by the mysterious moon writing odes to its beauty, Wonbeom couldn’t stop himself from thinking about Kim Soyong. Unlike the distant moon, his future wife was very much near and reaching out for him, but mentally they were so far away. In his mind, Wonbeom still thought of himself as a woodcutter, unworthy of the affections of ladies like Soyong or Hwa Jin.

Feeling curious, he once decided to listen to her play in secret, and after that it became a habit of his. He visited the pavilion across the lake on the days of her practice, listening to her music while he pretended to study. And if she happened to cancel her practice, he was always grumpy towards his servants as if it was their fault.

Then he came up with an excuse, as if he were forced to spend more time with his future wife, and asked her to play for him. For hours he was delighted not only with the music itself but also with his future wife’s beautiful face looking adorable within all her seriousness. Her fingers skillfully flew over the instrument, and she nodded her head in rhythm with the music, fully consumed in her task.

Something moved in his heart at that time. Something unfamiliar to him. Something he denied for so long.

Wonbeom liked the way she didn’t try to look flirtatious with him. He showed his interest in her for the first time, even though he tried to play it off as an obligation the Grand Queen Dowager required of him. Nevertheless, she took his request to play for him seriously.

“What a horrible, horrible pastime I have to endure.” Wonbeom shook his head afterward, not willing to admit how much he actually liked hearing every single melody from her.

“If my play is so unsatisfying, why didn’t Your Majesty ask me to stop?” Soyong asked, narrowing her eyes as she sniffed out his lie.

“It would have been impolite to ask you to do so.” Wonbeom looked away, feigning an unbothered face. “Besides, you were so consumed in your act that it was hard to interfere.”

“But Your Majesty suggested half of the melodies I played today!” Soyong’s confusion grew stronger in her voice. She caught him: Wonbeom hadn’t wanted their meeting to end and thus requested more and more melodies to play.

“I thought those would be more tolerable to hear,” he quickly burst out after a short pause. That answer didn’t satisfy her as she looked at him strangely, examining him up and down.

“What does Your Majesty like then?” She asked curiously, her big brown eyes shining with sincere interest to know him better.

Wonbeom found it extremely hard to restrain himself from falling into the trap of her charming nature. Especially when she was so innocently adorable in her attempts to find anything common between them to seed something for the future roots of their relationship to grow.

Wonbeom smiled lightly. “I know everything about you, Kim Soyong. Your skills could never impress me.” He sighed dreamily before adding: “But Lady Jo Hwa Jin…”

Oh, Wonbeom is sure he will be punished forever for those days. Now the mere thought of stating he knows everything about Kim Soyong makes him laugh nervously.

He did not know anything back then.

Nothing at all.

And he had had the audacity to bring up Hwa Jin as an example when really they both had similar skills for a typical yangban lady. Wonbeom used to tell himself that the biggest difference was Hwa Jin’s kind heart and truly noble character. But he was tragically mistaken. Her heart was capable of consuming darkness while Soyong’s turned out to be one of the most honest ones he knows.

The talents Soyong possesses might be considered common, but she has dedicated herself to them so much that she has become a professional. He understands it now, more than a year later, when he would do anything to find out more about her.

The drought in Wonbeom’s relationship with Soyong has been so lengthy that he wants more, greedily desiring any attention she would give him. So when she surprised him with her massage skills, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It occurs to Wonbeom that she could “play” him as easily as she does her gayageum. He craves it more and more after each session.

The way her confident fingers ran along the back of his head made him relax under her magical touch. Her palms shifted to his shoulders, firmly pressing enough to warm the muscles and make all the tension go away.

Feeling her hands, sensing her sweet scent, and hearing her concerned voice right beside his ear when she asked if it felt better… It felt more than just better. Magnificent, sensual, delightful, divine, and so many other adjectives could express how amazing what she does to him is.

After so many months of avoiding him at best and being cold and cruel at worst, Soyong had finally shown her softer side that Wonbeom missed so much. He melted under her touch, almost purring in response. He craves that closeness like a dehydrated man finally discovering an oasis in the desert.

Perhaps Wonbeom lacked care when he was growing up because his brother is a socially awkward type who expresses his love in a strange way. Or maybe it is because he yearns for her attention so much that those little moments with the massages felt like heavens.

Wonbeom tells himself that he is really in need of the massages as he is tired and needs to relax. But to his wife, he exaggerates it into a pain that must get professional treatment. It wasn’t a lie at first – he did hurt his shoulder during training. But to his disappointment, under Soyong’s caring hands it healed too quickly.

He just forgot to tell her. It shouldn’t count as a lie, right? Besides, the King never lies. Well, for the most part.

Soon he wouldn’t be able to use his hurt shoulder as a reason to ask for her attention. In desperation, he conspires with his brother to declare he hurt his back pretty badly after falling from a horse. He wants his story to be believable and he needs someone to confirm it if the Queen sends any servants to ask about it, as Wonbeom suspects that Soyong is growing suspicious of his fake injuries.

“My apologies, my Queen. Unfortunately, I had an accident while horseback riding,” Wonbeom complains, pouting his lips. “My back hurts so much.” He winces dramatically, stretching his arm up and flinching as if the movement causes him a great amount of pain in his sides and back.

“Your Majesty must be more careful.” Soyong shakes her head worriedly. “You are so young but somehow already falling apart.”

Wonbeom narrows his eyes in suspicion. Was she just mocking him? But Soyong only smiles widely, as if her tone hadn’t been sarcastic, and offers to give him a back massage later in the day.

After that promise, the second half of the day is a long and boring wait for the evening. Wonbeom can’t focus on anything other than imagining how great the next meeting with his Queen is going to be. He thinks about how they will spend an evening in the dim lighting of the candles, how she will ask how he feels under her touch…

Wonbeom dreamily closes his eyes. One of his most coveted dreams is coming true and the best evening of his life waits for him!

He hums a melody on his way to Daejojeon Hall, happy with the sudden progress in their “no-touching” relationship. Now it feels more like touching is back in their lives.

“My Queen,” he calls for her right away after entering the room. “I’m afraid that my back…” He stops mid-sentence. He had wanted to whine that it hurt even more than it was during the day, but he finds Soyong waiting for him in the company of her shyly smiling maid Hong Yeon. “My apologies. I didn’t know you weren’t alone.”

“Your Majesty shouldn’t apologize.” Soyong brightly smiles, showing her adorable dimples. “Hong Yeon is here to help you.” Soyong’s eyes glint with mischief. For some reason Wonbeom doesn’t like that; he senses trouble in her all too cheerful voice. “She will give you the best massage you have ever experienced. Your Majesty is in good hands!”

O-ho, he knew it! She had agreed to the massage too easily, and she was in fact mocking him earlier today. Good things just can’t last long for him.

“There’s no need.” Wonbeom quickly backs down, raising his hands. “I feel so much better now. Please, my Queen, there’s no need for special treatment.”

“Your Majesty shouldn’t be shy,” Soyong continues her torture with an innocent tone of voice. “Hong Yeon is even better than me.”

“I’m sure she is.” Wonbeom avoids her eyes, thinking about how he can escape from the unwanted touch of someone else.

With a light “Ah” he returns his eyes to her with an idea that will save him from this mess:

“The King’s body is sacred, and I can’t allow a mere servant…” He sees how Soyong’s look changes from joyful to stern and he urgently corrects himself: “I do not wish to bother your lovely maid when I don’t feel any pain anymore.”

“If that is the case…” Soyong nods to her maid to leave the room. “Good night, Your Majesty.” Soyong sweetly smiles before closing the doors, leaving him alone in his part of the chamber.

Wonbeom sighs disappointedly; it was too good to be true anyway.

He rests on his uncomfortable sleep cushion and dives into delightful memories of Soyong’s soft and caring voice. And to those surprisingly strong fingers that made him feel so relaxed and free from worries.

It is Wonbeom’s shift tonight and Hyun-ki wakes him up from time to time. He sings a lullaby to him and sways him in his arms, but the prince refuses to close his eyes and fall asleep. Every time his eyes start closing, the prince rubs them with his small fists and stubbornly looks up at Wonbeom with a wide-open gaze.

“What do I do, son?” Wonbeom sits on the bare floor with his legs crossed and continues swaying the prince in his arms.

Wonbeom feels tired from everything. It was hard to get her to open up for the first time while she still was possessed, but it is getting even harder now.

His father-in-law, Kim Mun-geun, mentioned once that Soyong was a very closed-off child and took care of herself without bothering her father. And she is like that now as well while Wonbeom wants to be a part of her life as much as possible and know everything about her. If only they could spend time together and share a conversation on something other than just their son.

“I love you, my son, but I need your mother to talk about other things as well.” Wonbeom sighs, looking down at him. Hyun-ki looks up at him with his big hazel eyes that Soyong says the prince took from Wonbeom. However, the curious look the prince has now definitely comes from Soyong.

“You can’t give me advice, can you?” The prince only smiles his toothless smile and reaches his hands up to Wonbeom’s face. “If only a smile alone could help me…” Wonbeom kisses the prince’s little hand and sings another lullaby to him.

Nothing notable happens over the next several days to the point that Wonbeom almost forgets they even had any progress in being somehow physical with each other. Soyong plays it off as if nothing happened, and she is always out of his reach apart from the times when they both hover over Hyun-ki watching him make bubbles with his mouth or make a sound so close to a real laugh that they get excited he might start talking soon.

Court Lady Choi tells them that babies usually form their first words when they are at least one year old. But Soyong and her father think that Hyun-ki is a genius and will say his first word before his first birthday. When Soyong and her dad start fussing about it Wonbeom is usually the only one who says it doesn’t matter when Hyun-ki starts talking or whether he will be a genius or not.

“Why are you making us sound as if we will stop loving him if he doesn’t meet expectations?” Soyong says to him one day right after her dad’s departure, clearly annoyed. “We love him regardless, Your Majesty. But abeonim gets upset when he hears you saying that; he just wants to be a good grandfather to Hyun-ki.”

“I wasn’t trying to shame you, my Queen. Or father-in-law.” Wonbeom tries to make amends even though he is annoyed with her accusations as well. “My intention was to not pressure our son into anything.”

Getting a bit more tired of the slight coldness that has appeared between them once again, Wonbeom decides to go hunting the next day to ease his worries. He can focus on finding rabbits instead of dealing with his changeful wife. But alas, when he arrives at the hanoks by the woods where he usually takes his bow and arrows, he sees several court maids. Frowning, he passes them until he finds two familiar faces: Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi.

“Did I miss something? What is the meaning of this?” Wonbeom looks around: there are too many servants for this part of the palace and he has never seen Soyong’s servants without her like this.

“Her Highness the Queen and the Suk-ui’s decided to go on a hunt today,” Court Lady Choi politely informs him.

“It is the first hunt since Her Highness went through labor,” Hong Yeon shyly adds without raising her head.

Wonbeom had wanted to spend time on his own without thinking about Soyong, but it seems as if fate has other plans for him. The forest is huge, and there’s a big chance they won’t cross paths, but knowing the vicissitudes of their fate, Wonbeom has no doubt they will meet.

Nonetheless, Wonbeom decides to continue with his plan for the hunt. He takes his bow and arrows, leaves all his servants waiting among all the other maids, and disappears into the woods.

The hunt leaves him disappointed though, as all the rabbits run away before he even stretches the string of his bow. What smart little animals, Wonbeom thinks.

In his wander through the forest, he finds a stream and goes by its shore. The water is fully free from the winter’s ice but it’s still quite cold. He sees the fish swimming down the stream, and he wonders, will the spawning season start soon?

The weather is sunny and light flows through the tree crowns, warming up Wonbeom’s face. The birds are chirping and the forest looks more and more alive with newly grown leaves.

Wonbeom often goes on a hunt for the scenery of nature more than for the purpose of catching some poor animals. It reminds him of the days when he was a boy, living on Ganghwa as a simple woodcutter and water carrier. He warmly remembers those light days when his mind was clear and hard work was the only thing he concerned himself with. He loved even the heavy feeling in his body once he finished his duties for the day. His shoulders and back had hurt a lot, but he felt happy and satisfied.

Breathing in the fresh air, Wonbeom continues his walk, remembering old times from his past life – until he hears something and freezes on the spot. Wonbeom sees someone he has tried to avoid today: the Queen.

The strange picture unfolds before his eyes: smiling widely, Soyong raises her skirts above her ankles so she can safely step her bare feet on the wet stones as she goes further into the stream. She holds her shoes in her other hand, balancing on the slippery stones while she curiously looks at the fish in the water.

Mesmerized by what he sees, Wonbeom steps closer with a smile, but his foot breaks a little branch and makes a noise that scares Soyong.

The sequence of events happens too fast: Soyong turns sharply and gasps upon seeing him. But it doesn’t end there: her shocked face soon turns into a frightened one as she slips on the stone she was standing on and starts falling back. Wonbeom drops everything and rushes toward Soyong in an attempt to catch her, but he is too far away, and with a loud cry Soyong falls into the water, splashing Wonbeom from head to toe.

“Are you alright?” Wonbeom wades into the stream to help her get up. Soyong gives him a strange look that is a mix of anger and confusion but accepts his outstretched hand. “I am sorry. I didn’t plan to spook you like that…” He pulls her up onto her feet, sighing when he sees how soaked she is from the cold water.

“What is Your Majesty doing here?” she finally raises her voice in an annoyed manner.

“I believe the same thing as you – hunting,” he answers, rolling his eyes. He wants respite from her annoyance at him, but ends up getting annoyed himself.

Soyong lets out a snort that transfers into a sneeze, making Wonbeom close his eyes from the spray.

“Let’s have this conversation once you are out of the cold water, my Queen.” He tries to keep his voice calm as he wipes his face clean.

Soyong sneezes again, this time into her elbow, and nods in agreement. She makes a step forward and lets out a painful cry all of a sudden, catching Wonbeom’s arm for balance.

“What is it? Are you hurt?” Wonbeom’s annoyance disappears completely the moment he sees her flinching in pain. Not waiting for her response, he lifts her into his arms with ease and walks out of the water to carefully place her sitting down on a large stone.

“Let me see,” Wonbeom kneels in front of her and carefully lifts her foot with his hands to place it on his knee. “Tell me if it hurts…”

“I should have been more careful, Your Majesty. It’s really nothing-” She breathes in sharply under his touch without properly finishing her sentence.

Wonbeom clicks his tongue at her attempt to get her foot free and does not let her go. He lifts her skirts to bare her leg more and starts gently examining her joint. His fingers run down her leg and he rolls her foot a bit, making her hiss at him.

“It’s not broken or sprained, but it seems like you pulled a muscle,” Wonbeom concludes. “You need a bandage and rest, my Queen.”

“Since when did you become an expert?” she grumbles, but the blush on her cheeks gives away her shyness.

Wonbeom chuckles at her embarrassment. How can one person be both cruel and so cute? He lets out a deep sigh; she’s truly the one who makes him both happy and sad. No other woman has managed to bring so many contradictory emotions out of him. The seed of doubt that the Queen implanted in him makes his heart and mind argue in agony. And while his heart has made the final choice, his mind still sways from time to time.

“You were out of luck with the rabbits too, my Queen?” He decides to change the topic, secretly happy that they met and can have a casual conversation again. “So you decided to watch the fish?”

Wonbeom looks behind her, noticing her bow and quiver full of arrows placed by a tree trunk.

“Or you didn’t plan to hunt at all?” He raises his brows, shifting his gaze back to her.

Wonbeom immediately realizes he has guessed right, seeing how she avoids looking at him. She hasn’t used a single arrow, instead preferring to strip her shoes and socks to get on the wet rocks and satisfy her curiosity about the fish swimming down the stream.

“I don’t like violence.” Soyong wrinkles her nose cutely. “But the Suk-ui’s like hunting and I didn’t want them to feel left out. They look up at me and get disappointed when our hobbies do not cross. It is my responsibility as the Queen to make them comfortable in the palace.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you, my Queen.” Wonbeom smiles proudly hearing that. “But you are probably the first noblewoman who doesn’t know archery. Why is that?”

That question makes her shift uncomfortably and lower her gaze. Wonbeom feels like he found something that could make her open up – something unique, something that makes Kim Soyong stand out from everyone. Something she hides deep inside…

“When I was a little, my family cruelly locked up a boy in a well.” Soyong lifts her sorrowful gaze at him.

As if it has suddenly grown cold, a shadow falls over Wonbeom’s face and he feels unwell. The memories that haunted him in his nightmares come back with a primal fear he used to feel for so long that it became almost inseparable from him. No matter how much time passed and how well he sleeps now, those scars on his soul will be with him forever.

“After that, I couldn’t imagine, even hypothetically, hurting any living thing,” Soyong continues in a whisper. “My orabeoni tried to teach me when I came to an age when all girls learn archery, but all I could think about was who that pointy end could hurt, and I avoided those lessons until he gave up.” She sighs and continues, “It was probably the first time I didn’t follow fashion among all the noblewomen.”

“Did it really affect you that badly?” Wonbeom lowers his voice to a barely audible whisper.

“Not as much as it scarred Your Majesty.” Soyong doesn’t raise her voice either. “For months I was blaming myself for my mistake. I found peace only when orabeoni told me in secret what he heard from our clan, that you were alive and your older brother was looking after you…”

Wonbeom lifts his gaze to her: “Did it satisfy you?”

“The boy told me he was left all alone in the world. I was relieved to know he has a brother to live with. I thought ‘Thank goodness, he is not lonely anymore…’ My heart had less worries after hearing that.” Soyong shifts uncomfortably, freeing her foot from Wonbeom’s hands. He hadn’t even realized he was still holding her.

“I never told Your Majesty that before, but…” Soyong takes a deep breath in and continues, “I understood your hostility towards me when I found out you were that boy from my past. Nonetheless, arrogantly and out of desperation, I asked for your love to save us both. I was wrong, Your Majesty. I should have come up with another plan…”

“We both were mistaken, but my misjudgment harmed you in a way I never meant to.” Wonbeom says, lowering his head. He still feels a great amount of shame for this.

“My family hurt you so deeply, Your Majesty…” Soyong reminds him, her voice so soothing and soft.

Her other magical ability is to comfort him as no one else ever could. It makes his wrongdoings feel even worse.

“And I lashed out at a person who did nothing wrong,” Wonbeom argues. He had committed a great sin and he will forever remember that. “I hurt someone so vulnerable instead of going after my true enemies.”

“It seems like we both learned valuable lessons along the way,” Soyong reassures him with a soft smile. “Please, Your Majesty must let it go as I already have.”

Wonbeom’s eyes can’t leave hers as if the whole world has slowed down. She makes it so surprisingly easy to communicate as if she never put him in the painful position to choose between her and the spirit. Once his dilemma is forgotten, Wonbeom wonders how ironic it is that the clan that planted a horrible trauma into his mind also gave him the perfect cure for it in Kim Soyong. No one could ever give his heart so much peace. And at the same time, she could hurt his heart as no one else could.

“I think we need to go back.” Soyong breaks their eye contact first, clearing her throat. “Can you find my shoes?”

Wonbeom simply nods, not knowing how to react to their heart-to-heart conversation. He wanted her to be more open with him, but he forgot how he was supposed to do so himself. With so many traumatic experiences, he understands now why it is so hard to show their vulnerable sides to each other.

He silently approaches the stream, looking for her shoes. The shore is clear and he squints his eyes to examine the bottom of the stream near where Soyong had fallen. And there they are, her shoes, both not far away from each other.

“It shouldn’t be far from the shore, Your Majesty…” Wonbeom hears Soyong’s voice and turns to look at her. She straightens her back and neck, trying to see what he’s looking at.

A smirk flits across his lips too quickly for Soyong to notice before Wonbeom makes a serious face:

“I am afraid your shoes were swept away by the strong current, my Queen,” he declares with a sigh.

“That can’t be,” Soyong gasps in surprise. “I wasn’t that far from the shore, and it wasn’t so deep… Can Your Majesty look more attentively again?”

Wonbeom pretends to look into the stream more, clicking his tongue and mumbling where her shoes could possibly have gone and how inconvenient this all is.

“I’m afraid your shoes are really gone, my Queen.” Wonbeom returns to her, shaking his head with feigned disappointment.

“That means…” Soyong’s voice sounds uncertain as she observes her bare feet and the ground, full of branches and slick old leaves from last autumn. “I have to go like this…” She nods to herself more confidently and gets up on her feet.

“Let me assist you. After all, you are in this uncomfortable position because I startled you,” Wonbeom gallantly suggests, but Soyong raises her hand stopping him.

“There’s no need for Your Majesty’s assistance. I can handle it.” She shakes her head before turning around and confidently, yet slowly, starting to leave. But it doesn’t last long, as to Wonbeom’s amusement, she squeaks when she steps on a branch and tries not to show how painful it was.

She’s so stubborn, his Queen. But he finds it so adorable.

In a few large steps, Wonbeom appears right by her side and sweeps her off the ground and up into his arms as if she’s weightless. Her gasp is stuck in her throat in her surprise, and her large beautiful eyes are suddenly so close to his, while her hands circle around his neck for better hold.

“You will hurt your feet, my Queen,” he says confidently. “I cannot allow that to happen.”

“But it’s a long way, Your Majesty,” she tries to argue, her voice sounding breathless. However, she does not make a move to set herself free. Soyong is completely frozen in his arms, and only her gaze wanders from his eyes, across his face, and back to his eyes again, her cheeks starting to grow rosy in color.

“Do not worry. I have enough strength,” he says, confidently smirking, and it seems to break the ice between them when she rolls her eyes.

“These corny pick-up lines… Unbelievable…” she mumbles some unfamiliar words to herself. Actually, he remembers “pick-up line” from before, when she threw a fit when he brought her the bouquet of flowers. What “corny” means is a mystery for him, but he surely will add it to the Queen’s dictionary later.

He carries her in silence for a while, simply enjoying having her in his arms and stealing glances at her from time to time. Her cheeks are still colored rose and she feels tense at first, but Wonbeom senses her slowly relaxing. Soyong looks strictly forward for the most part, but she sometimes glances at him, only to see him smiling at her. He is fascinated by observing her cheeks changing color to a light scarlet.

“If my Queen doesn’t like archery and apparently doesn’t spend as much time in the kitchen as before…” Wonbeom carefully starts a new conversation. He’s too curious, and there are too many things he doesn’t know about her. Since they opened up a bit today, maybe she will share more about herself. “What do you like then? Is it embroidery?” he tries to guess.

“I really love doing embroidery even though it is a dull pastime for many women.” Soyong tilts her head. “But it helps me get rest from my thoughts and worries when I have too many of them.”

“I do the same with training – also an ordinary pastime for a man,” he notes, feeling she’s not fair to herself calling her skills dull.

“I’m not ashamed of my hobby, Your Majesty. It not only helps me but also brings joy to others. I can make a simple blanket for our son into something special. The smiles on Hong Yeon and Court Lady Choi’s faces are really precious to me when they accept a floral ribbon or a handkerchief as gifts.”

“Or a scarf,” Wonbeom reminds her about the one she made a long time ago.

Did she enjoy his grateful smile as well? She always gifts him something to take care of him. She gave him a book, to make him rethink what he wanted when they were little. Later on, she gifted him her red daenggi to tend to his wound. And the red scarf to keep him warm in colder weather once again showed how much she cares about him.

“You never gave it back,” Wonbeom notes when she finally looks up at him. “I want it back.”

“It’s yours. Your Majesty can take it any time.” Soyong’s gaze doesn’t leave his and she has lowered her voice to a whisper again.

“But my Queen, I prefer for you to give it back to me yourself.”

Her words seemingly catch in her throat again, showing him she fully understands he isn’t talking about the scarf alone. She tenses again, looking away.

“Then I will give it back if I am ready,” she whispers.

“I look forward to it, my Queen.” He completely ignores her if, fully confident it has to be when.

Wonbeom isn’t ready to be open to the possibility of it never happening. He still has hope in his heart that they will finally resolve their dilemma. Wonbeom feels it’s going to happen soon for both of them – the final decision that they both have to make. His heart and mind will finally settle. And he hopes her heart and mind will do the same.


Please, let it happen soon.

Author’s notes:

After the last chapter where Cheoljong finds out Soyong can do massages, I kinda can’t stop thinking he would definitely seek more of it from her. And this chapter was born. The next chapter will be Soyong’s pov and it’s kinda steamy.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 4 Not an ordinary lady

  1. Jungchi February 11, 2023 / 7:34 am

    Thanks for your update sis! CJ seems like a second baby after his own baby 🤣 always wanting to be babied by his wife

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