VIII.

with you ; na jaemin

once in a while, jaemin would bring yuri back to the base so that she could see her brother and the other princes train. this can only be done at night so that it won't cause any suspicions. taehee would try her best to avoid anyone from going into yuri's room while they were gone.

this is also an excellent opportunity for yuri to explore the garden. she's been highly interested in plants, especially the beautiful flowers with medicinal benefits. taehee had been providing her information since young about the existence of these incredible creations that quickly intrigued the princess. since taehee is unable to come by and take care of the garden, yuri would ask taehee for advice and became the caretaker instead.

there's one specific plant that yuri would want to take extra care for.

yarrow.

she's aware of how the princes could get hurt from the training. so she thought she could help by at least treating their wounds while learning about what ability she has. what she discovered from taehee was that yarrow could heal battle wounds. as much as she wants to take care of the princes, she also wants to treasure the flowers in the garden. hence, whenever she has to pick flowers to provide for the princes, she would feel bad.

if my ability is healing, that would be great.

while yuri was lost in her thoughts, jaemin was searching for a perfect flower for the princess. he walked around the garden while rubbing his chin and wrinkling his forehead, looking for it. he doesn't even know why he's doing this in the first place. maybe to impress her? but for what? even jaemin's clueless. but he needs to find it anyway.

after some time, he finally found one. one perfect for the princess.

he has no idea what the flower meant, and heck no, he doesn't even know what's the name of the flower. jaemin picked the flower and proceeded to walk towards the princess. he noticed how engrossed she is towards a particular flower, talking to it as though it's her friend. he didn't know how to approach her, mentally thinking of every way to do it. in the end, he just walked behind your, leaning forward and extended his hand to the right of yuri's face with the flower in his grip.

"for you, my princess." he said, hoping to get a proper reaction from her.

"jaemin, wha-" the princess looked at jaemin before realising what the pink-haired prince was holding. her eyes widened.

finally, she's going to fall for m-

he felt a soft slap on his chest.

"what are you doing?! you are not supposed to pick the flower!" she instantly pouted and took the flower from the prince's clutch. she stomped away towards the flower's original location, leaving the pink-haired prince in awe.
____________________________________________

"jeno, renjun, i screwed up. big time."

after the situation with the princess, jaemin wanted to apologise to her, but he thinks that she's too mad at him for picking her flower. instead, he ran to find his best friends, one of which is the princess' brother.

both renjun and jeno stopped their training temporarily and approached the distraught jaemin, sitting at a nearby bench.

"why, what happened? what did you do?" the typically worried renjun asked the diamond prince?

"i made the princess angry. she's going to hate me for life."

jeno hit jaemin's head hard.

"ouch! why would you do that?"

"it's my sister you're talking about. now, what did you do to her?" at that moment, jaemin forgot about jeno being her brother, and of course, he would be siding her instead of him. he pouted and stuttered, "well, i-i may or may not have picked one of the flowers from her garden a-and," jaemin took a glimpse at jeno before looking back down.

"and what?"

"givetheperfectflowerforher." jaemin blurted.

"what? i didn't catch that at all." only renjun caught it. he giggled silently.

"n-nothing!" he said. he doesn't want a second smack from her overly violent brother. again, having renjun there is a blessing, only he could control jeno's feelings.

"there, there, " renjun said as he rubbed jeno's back. "why not we train while waiting for her to calm down? and then you'll ask forgiveness from her." renjun gave a wink to jaemin. he knows how to handle the situation well. jaemin owes renjun later.

"alright, let's go!" the pink-haired prince stood up and place his hands on the emerald and aquamarine princes' shoulders, dragging them back to the training area at the dome.
____________________________________________

the dome is incredibly large as there are different areas for each prince to train their abilities. it's been long since jaemin used jeno's powers, so he thought why not train with him today. jeno's only rival when it comes to his ability is jaemin anyway.

"it's been long, jeno."

"i can feel it. this time around, i will win." it's been the umpteenth time jeno had said that, and all the way, it turned out different from what he said. despite renjun being there to enhance his strength, he's still weak compared to jaemin. maybe, jaemin slightly cheated by using his ability to augment jeno's ability in him or even the other princes' capabilities too.

maybe i'll be more lenient with you today.

they are currently at the arena, of which once in a while, the princes with physical power would battle against each other as part of their training. the other princes heard about the mini-battle between both of them and decided to halt their practise to watch it. yuri and seungcheol are there too.

of course, the arrival of the princess slightly distracted jaemin who has yet to apologise to her. but he needs to win this match. maybe another round of 'impressing the princess'?

jaemin and jeno each had their own warm-up exercise. seungcheol decided to be their referee, so he walked into the middle of the battle area.

"are you both ready?" seungcheol asked. both of them nodded and smirked, each being confident that they will win. jaemin offered a hand to jeno to do their usual friendly handshake before starting the match. jeno returned it and felt the tingling as jaemin took his ability with his touch.

"you may begin." seungcheol said as he ran towards the safe area of the arena.

as usual, jeno would be the one attacking jaemin first. jeno grabbed the nearest boulder and throw at jaemin who is just standing still. of course, with no effort, jaemin can punch through it despite the hardness and the speed it goes.

"easy." jaemin gave his usual eye smile before it turned serious mode. he then ran towards jeno, avoiding every boulder that jeno threw towards him.

"come on, jeno. you can do better than that." jaemin teased jeno. it's one of the ways that he could trigger jeno and use more of his super-strength.

meanwhile, in the safe area.

"it's obvious, it's going to be jaemin again." donghyuck said as he crossed his legs and arms, confident that he's right.

"are we not betting anything?" mark asked, but he got an eye roll from donghyuck.

"the last time we did that, i almost had to be your maid-of-honour for one week. jeno almost win if not for jisung's ability that jaemin secretly has beforehand."

"why not? you can take care of me, and we become better partners. or maybe, something more." donghyuck almost puked when he saw mark smirking as he said that.

"wipe that smile off your face. it's disgusting."

"i know you like it."

"shut up guys, i'm trying to watch this." mark, donghyuck, chenle and renjun turned to face jisung, slightly pissed at his language.

"i-i mean, h-hyung."

"the next time you're rude, I'm going to call all my minion bugs to attack you." the green-haired prince teased the other prince, before receiving a million apologies from him.

renjun wasn't bothered about the other princes' bickering as he is focused towards his partner at the battle area. he could only help jeno by enhancing his strength. only he hopes that jeno would win today.

yuri learnt more about the princes' characters from what she saw and couldn't help but smile. she's glad that she's able to make friends other than people of the castle. scratch that, maybe the people of the castle doesn't even treat her as a friend in the first place, other than taehee.

"what about you, yuri? who do you think will win?" yuri heard renjun spoke, yet his eyes still stayed on jeno. she looked towards the two princes at the battle area too. she has no idea who to root for. it's her brother versus the pink-haired guard aka the diamond prince. both are from the top-tiered kingdoms; it's almost impossible to know.

"i'll root for the both of them." renjun expected that reply from the princess. so he thought, maybe, he should spice it up. knowing the situation between jaemin and yuri, he made up a plan.

renjun closed his eyes and focused his mind towards jaemin. he knew that in his heart and soul, yuri is hidden somewhere. so he decided to make sure of it to cloud his mind with the thought of the princess.

jaemin was in the middle of throwing back another boulder towards jeno, but the sudden thought of the princess hit him. he unconsciously looked towards yuri at the safe area, losing all the focus he had on the battle. that's when jeno used all of his power to throw a boulder towards jaemin. he was thrown off guard, and before he could react, he was already flying along with the rock towards the walls of the arena.

the others stood up in shock as they saw jaemin's body flopped to the ground, leaving a significant dent at the wall. jeno was also stunned at the sight. this has never occurred before. as much as he wants to celebrate his first win, he's way too worried about jaemin's condition. all of them ran towards him, the princess being the fastest one. of course, she's scared. it's her guard after all.

she almost tripped a few times till she sat down right beside the prince who is lying facing down. she violently shakes him. Hopefully, that will wake him up, but to no avail. she felt her eyes started to water, her hands beginning to shiver in fear. seungcheol, with no hesitation, carried the prince, bridal style.

"let's bring him to the nurse's room."
____________________________________________

jaemin woke up from the sting from his head to the rest of his body. He opened his eyes, almost blinded by the light, but slowly recognising where he is. the only odd feeling he had was his right hand.

something warm is touching him.

he tilted his head to the right and noticed the sleeping princess right beside him. her hands wrapped tightly around his right hand as her head rests on the side of the bed. he gleamed at the view of it. he didn't want to wake her up, so he slowly turned his body to the right, eyes still on her. he could feel the aches all over his body disappearing as he stares at her. he could feel his heartbeat rise when the princess shifted slightly. her face got closer to his face. he could feel his blood rushing to his cheeks.

her eyes. her red nose. her squishy cheeks. her plump lips.

her white-silver hair had to cover her lips. jaemin tried to brush off her hair to the side, but that made the princess slowly opened her eyes. jaemin was slightly disappointed when he didn't feel the warmth on his right hand anymore but was admiring her, rubbing her eyes like a baby.

"you're awake, princess."

"you too, jaemin." despite being half asleep, yuri looked at the cuts and bruises that were on jaemin's face. yes, were. yuri also realised that jaemin could already sit down without groaning when that damage could probably lead him to some broken bones. she guessed maybe the princes also able to heal faster as compared to the others.

"wow, you healed pretty fast."

"yeah, usually, us princes, would heal within two days."

"really? i guess it's faster now since it's been a few hours." jaemin wrinkled his forehead. that's weird. he doesn't remember healing that fast.

"alright, i'll need to fix you up a bit before letting you go. and no more training for you. you need rest." yuri saw that there are still some wounds on his arms, so she used the herbs that she picked from the garden to heal the wound.

"it might sting a little, so bear with me." the warning made jaemin shut his eyes, preparing for the sting. yuri chuckled, the prince could fight anything but flinched when being treated. she remembered that whenever yuri got injured, taehee would heal her wounds while blowing on to it. surprisingly, it worked. so she did the same with jaemin.

"w-what are you doing?"

"healing your wounds. taehee did it for me before, so i thought it would work on you too." she said as she slowly blew on to the wound. jaemin blushed, and prayed that the princess is being normal as always, and not notice it.

then, jaemin remembered.

"sorry about picking the flower just now." honestly, yuri has already forgotten about it till jaemin reminded her about it again.

"don't worry about it, jaemin. my mistake too for getting angry. it's just... the garden is now precious to me, you know." jaemin understood, of course. after all, it's one of the ways that she can forget about the things at the palace.

"what were you doing with the white carnation anyway?"

ouh, that's the name of the flower.

"of course, it's for you, my princess." the flirty prince jaemin is out again.

i mean, i was pretty blunt. she should at least know I'm flirting, right?

"for me? ouh! were you curious about what the flower meant?" again, jaemin facepalmed internally. but on the other hand, jaemin also wanted to know what the flower meant.

"umm, yes, sure. can you tell me what it meant?"

"from what i could recall, it represents innocence. it can also be interpreted as pure love, depending on what meaning you want to put into it." jaemin grinned.

he had chosen the perfect flower.

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