*an excerpt from Lang Leav's Love and Misadventures*
You and I
against a rule,
set for us by time.
A marker drawn
to show our end,
etched into its line.
The briefest moment
shared with you---
in my mind.
I met someone.
She had the most beautiful pair of brown eyes, and her smile was purely etched by genuine joy. She was the perfect mix of both wisdom and insanity; she had a clear judgement on what was just and true, and her mind is as wild as a free horse in the plains.
Her hands were fragile, made to hold the most fragile of things: made to hold my tenuous grasp on my existence.
They were made to hold my delicate heart, and that was how I could tell my feelings are not of fleeting, temporary sparks of interest. I know that it is unassailable.
She was just as how you described, eomeoni: the woman who would unceasingly give warmth in the most frigid of all moonless nights, the girl that would give me an unending list of reasons to live.
However, wouldn't be unfair on her part if I made her mine?
Should I keep her close, then I am nothing but a selfish man. But if I count what I'm feeling as love... then it shall keep me away from her.
Eomeoni, why is it like this for me?
Why am I doomed to love something or someone from afar?
"Our disputes in the eastern province borders have already been cleared out by our soldiers. There were a few minor casualties, but they are nothing serious,"
"Is there a death count?"
The young minister smiled at the news, as he calmly placed down his pen and gave a thumbs-up at his most important soldier, who happened to be his best friend, "Then that means our plans have been executed well. You did a great job, Seo Dae Young. You and your men deserve to spend a week with your families,"
The soldier Dae Young bowed in respect, "I'm not like the other soldiers who are fathers at the same time,"
"Whether you have a family of procreation or one of orientation, you deserve to go home after two weeks of being away,"
"I shall remain on duty, if I have a choice, Yoo Si Jin," Dae Young insisted, now looking at the file of red-tainted papers on the minister's desk, "You've been receiving death threats lately, so you shall need all the security you can get. How many have you received today, four?"
He chuckled in reply, gazing at the life-threatening messages on the sheets of paper, "I actually would like to see the writers of these death threats and ask them if they could take my life in an instant. Just like you, I don't have a family to come home to,"
"Are you not in good terms with Yoo-uichangseong?"
Si Jin sighed. Things have not been well between him and his father these days, if not worsened. "He has been breathing down my neck ever since my mother died. Hence, I've been placed in this position at a very young age, The Minister of Defense, when he never asked me what I wanted to do in my life,"
"To be a soldier like me, is that what it is?"
Si Jin's lips curved into a smile.
"You really are my best friend," Si Jin declared as he hastily tidied up his working table, folding down scrolls and stashing all papers inside a clothbag, "I'll take you somewhere as a prize for guessing it right. Come,"
The minister stood up and exited the doors of his office with the soldier following cluelessly behind. Along the hallway, Si Jin was greeted by a few old ministers of the country with utmost respect as the young man did give them a polite bow as well. Court ladies were sent swooning when they saw him pass by. Commoners adored him.
Everybody beheld his presence.
As Seo Dae Young would observe the expression of the people as they walked by Yoo Si Jin was viewed by everyone as a prodigy; people either loved him or feared him. In his case, Dae Young felt both.
He loved and adored this man for putting his wisdom in the most righteous of principles, leading the army with great prudence and judgement. More so, he admired Si Jin for trusting him too much to even count him as his best friend.
But Dae Young feared him as well, because despite being his friend, the young minister Yoo Si Jin had been betrothed to Yoon Myung Joo, the daughter of the Chief State Councilor, and is Dae Young’s love interest. The young maiden's father took favor of Yoo Si Jin for so many reasons: for being of yangban status, being born in a rich family, for being a genius, and for being a potential chief minister in the coming years.
Despite that, Dae Young could never resent his friend for such reason; Yoo Si Jin was his friend, and even if fate's red string was that of steel, he still played as a matchmaker for Dae Young and Myung Joo to be together—like what Si Jin was up to right now.
Seo Dae Young was made aware of his friend's matchmaking actions when they stopped by the royal clinic, where Yoon Myung Joo was working. Si Jin then asked Dae Young to meet him outside the palace, and as soon as Dae Young sauntered away, the young byeongjo went inside.
"Excuse me, is Lady Yoon here?" The minister asked in the room filled with nurses who were automatically dazed and charmed at his sudden appearance. A few giggles can be heard among the ladies.
"Lady Yoon," one of them called from the back, "Yoo-byeongjo came to visit,"
Everybody knew Yoo Si Jin and Yoon Myung Joo were engaged to be married, but not everyone knew that their state of being two lovebirds was just a façade; both Si Jin and Myung Joo were trying their best to tear their parents' arrangements away.
Well of course, since everyone in the place were oblivious about that, Yoo Si Jin and Yoon Myung Joo made sure their actions were going to make everyone believe they were...a thing.
A woman eventually came out from one of the rooms of the clinic and her face ‘brightened’ when she saw Si Jin, "You came early,"
"I wanted to give you a surprise. Can I excuse you for a moment?"
"If it's for you, then I'm always free," At the back of her mind, Myung Joo resented directing that statement to him, but she went to hold onto his arms anyway. Walking out of the palace’s clinic, Myung Joo waved goodbye to the other female physicians, “The minister and I shall be going out for a date! I’ll be back soon!” She spoke, pulling the man closer to her before eventually leaving the place. Si Jin smiled sheepishly, surprised at her sudden intimate gesture.
Finally freeing themselves out of the palace courts and from the crowd of people, Si Jin lets go of her hand, "I can't believe you could say those words,"
"I was acting. They weren't true," Myung Joo crossed her arms, "I'm sure you knew it wasn't. We're acting, aren't we?"
"Well, I was not merely acting about giving you a surprise," Si Jin said, pointing towards a man who was standing at the corner of a common merchant's house, "There's your present. Alive and well, just the way you like it,"
Seeing Seo Dae Young after a long time sent her jumping in excitement. "You're the best!" She hugged Si Jin before skipping towards the man who stood a few meters away. "Seo Dae Young-ssi!"
Dae Young remained where he stood and waited until she could reach him, while his friend happily welcomed Myung Joo in his arms.
Aigoo... Lovebirds, he chuckled, seeing two of his friends share a sweet reunion together, "I'll leave you two for now. I still have so much work to do,"
"Don't you want to tag along?" Dae Young asked, while Myung Joo slapped his hands in disagreement.
"Aniyo. If you don't want to come home, then at least spend your furlough wisely, and with the woman you like. I'm off,"
"Well... Okay. Arrive safely," Dae Young smiled as he watched his friend turn his back and walk opposite to their direction. Meanwhile, Yoon Myung Joo clasped onto his hands and pulled him to walk on forward.
"So, where do we go?" She smiled asking. "Do we go to the theatre? Or do we go eat downtown?"
"I'm thinking," Dae Young looked up, but somehow at the back of his mind, he felt like he had to look behind, and at that split-second thought crossing his mind, he found out his instincts said right.
He saw Yoo Si Jin, but this time he wasn't walking away.
In fact, he wasn't walking any further; he knelt on the ground, struggling to stand up but slumped back flat.
What could possibly be wrong?
"I think we need to go to the hospital right now," Dae Young sternly said, holding her hand as they both ran to the man, quickly lifting him up, with Myung Joo supporting one arm and Dae Young on the other. With the sense of urgency and carefulness, they carried the unconscious minister to the nearest hospital possible.
"We need to get back. I'm a court physician, so I'll take care of a court minister,"
"It's too far," Dae Young grunted, lifting Si Jin up higher to gain more speed in walking, "The health center for commoners will do. It’s nearer,"
"What happened anyway? Why did he just fall like that?" Myung Joo asked with a troubled expression. "Ya, Seo Dae Young? What's wrong with him?"
There was a pause before the soldier could give Myung Joo an answer, "I...don't know,"
Dae Young actually knew.
But despite the situation, he chose to be silent about it as it was a secret the young minister wanted him to seal, even in circumstances like this when Dae Young saw the urgent need to tell the physician Myung Joo about it.
Dae Young hit their speed up a not