A whole band of voices echoed against the walls of the large rooms on the palace, receiving the prince’s family and at least a third part of what his army was turned out on the most chaotic work and planning Hyunjin’s had ever seen since she started working for the princess months behind. Every maid was busy cleaning the rooms inch by inch trying to make it look even more perfect than what it was already. The guard’s eyes followed the princess coming out of the room beside them with a whole new dress, probably the 1000th she tried on that morning and despite she was starting to get bored seating on the room’s floor Hyunjin still found herself out of breath every few dresses.
-Can it be this one? - Heejin asked to the queen with a shy smile hanging on her lips as she played with the yellow fabric of the skirt.
-You don’t like yellow Heejin- The queen said with a frown as she barely looked at her daughter. - Why don’t you try this one better?
-What do you think? - Heejin turned around to meet the guard’s wide eyes at the sudden attention making even the queen to look at her.
-I don’t know anything about dresses princess-Hyunjin said kindly without smiling too much despite she felt her heart jump a little at the thought of the princess caring enough to ask her opinion.
The queen nodded in approbation at the answer as she turned to look at her daughter with an eyebrow lifted almost nagging her without any words, a long sight escaped Heejin’s lips before she took the long dark blue dress from her mother’s hands already tired of the complicate process her mother made just to pick a dress. It was obvious for whoever tried to notice that despite the wedding being only a few months away the princess didn’t seem to be too excited about the idea and the fact that she had to face the prince’s parents as well wasn’t much calming neither, it just added more people to please on her already long list. The new visitors at least gave her parents and the prince a distracting to focus on other than her actions and on the last few days she’s being taking well advantage of it by doing anything that pleased her and her only.
Once the dress was picked Heejin was almost jumping from excitement as she asked to her handmaid to place it on her closet for later, once the first task was over she only had two more things to do before the sun could set and the royal family arrived to their gates. Hyunjin received her to her side with a wide smile once the queen closed the door behind her back leaving them alone inside the room, the guard couldn’t hold her laugh when a groan sounded against her shoulder as the princess pressed her forehead on it making Hyunjin almost instinctively rub the back of her head with a smile.
-If you want my honest opinion…- Hyunjin started looking at the dark hair covering the princess’s face as she still leaned against her- You looked really pretty in all the dresses.
-Do you really think so? - Heejin smiled widely at her making Hyunjin nod as her answer.
-Now let’s go you still have to check the food before the flowers- Hyunjin reminded softly patting the princess’s head making the shorter pout a little- The fastest you start, the quickest you finish.
Heejin found herself walking through the long hallways to the kitchen with a smile on her lips as she greeted every guard or maid she knew on the walk with a kind expression, the fact that she knew so many names never failed to amaze Hyunjin who despite she literally worked almost hand by hand with those people only could remember a few. The kitchen was a chaos just like every other room on the palace that morning as every chef and cook prepared something different on the large clean tables, Heejin felt her stomach twist a little with hunger at the smell of the food being prepared for such an important dinner. Arms wrapped around the princess body carefully as Heejin greeted the palace’s baker, Hyunjin smiled at the warm feeling going between the ruler and the woman whose hair was already starting to turn grey.
-I’m sorry for making you work like this- Heejin smiled looking at the freshly baked bread on the table- How your back is? Does it still ache?
-From time to time princess, I’m not getting any younger- The woman said warmly as she touched the girl’s cheek. - Have you met my daughter? She was just here a second ago…
-Miyeon- Hyunjin suddenly called with a smile as the princess’s eyes reached a girl walking towards them with a tray of hot bread on her hands.
The princess didn’t miss the shy smile creeping to the girl’s lips as she caught Hyunjin’s eyes on her or the way she almost trip with her own feet once she acknowledge the guard’s presence near her. Heejin smiled almost by obligation when Hyunjin wrapped an arm around the baker’s body without any hesitation making the girl blush immediately at the sudden contact only a second after she left the tray on the table with all the others. The smile on the guard’s face was too familiar for Heejin’s like as she forced herself to stay still as an unknown feeling burned her chest at the sight in front of her, suddenly Hyunjin’s uniform was stained with flour there where the baker’s daughter placed her hands to hold her yet she didn’t seem to care much about it.
-I didn’t expect to find you here today- Hyunjin said softly as she walked back to her place next to the princess, the blushed girl opened to answer with a smile only to be interrupted before starting.
-Excuse me, I don’t really remember meeting you-Heejin said suddenly yet with a calm tone, much less warmer than the one used with the older woman.
-This is my older daughter princess, Choi Miyeon- The baker said with a smile that made Hyunjin know just how proud she was of her, the brunette bowed without hesitation under Heejin’s gaze who still refused to erase the little smile on her lips.
-I’m glad to know your mother has some help, now I won’t have to worry too much- The princess said with honesty as she reached for the older woman’s hand to lightly squeeze it- we still have to finish checking other things, Thank you for working so hard.
Hyunjin wanted to remain her that she still had to taste at least one of the dishes yet the princess’s was out of the kitchen before she could even speak a word, the usual light and slow steps becoming heavier as she fastened her pace on the hallway followed by her quiet guard. The dining room was filled with light as every wide window stayed open keeping the place fresh with the wind as they walked across the flower filled floor, Hyunjin looked at the flags with the Jeon’s family shield carefully made on them hanging above her heads as she followed the princess’s way to the well trained florist team. The bouquets placed on already most every table gave the place a joyful look which almost make Heejin feel happy about that evening’s ball.
-Princess Heejin- A young man said with a wide smile the second he spotted the ruler walked towards him, Hyunjin looked in amaze as he held the younger’s hand to kiss it lightly for a second.- I was already wondering when you would come around.
-I had other duties but believe when I said I was looking forward to meet you- Heejin laughed lightly as she looked around to find a generous amount of different flowers- You’ve being really busy this morning must I imagine.
-You have no idea- The florist confirmed as he lifted a flower to hand it to the princess with a gentle gesture- Can you remain me why we should put flowers on the soldiers table? I don’t see why they would like to have them anyways.
-It’s about equality Jonghan- Heejin said looking at the flower on her hands with a light giggle- If we get to have all these beautiful things, why wouldn’t they have it too? After all there’s no happy ruler without happy people, so the least we can do is treat them properly.
Hyunjin felt her heart warm up a little at the words being said knowing that there was almost any possible chance for the prince to treat his soldiers the same way the Jeons treated theirs, her included. For that the monarchist needed to have respect and humility, both things the prince’s has shown to lack of despite he’s constant brags about his wide education. Heejin sat on a table next to her friend showing her guard that helping with the flowers wasn’t a new duty for her as she tied the flowers together with a well-practiced ability.
-Seat down Hyun, you’ll get tired standing there-Heejin asked as she turned to look at the taller only a single step away from her, despite the request she didn’t much an inch at first- Come on, It’ll be just a minute.
The minute turn into a whole hour as even Hyunjin found herself distracted by the activity with the princess gentle voiced explaining her what to do with each flower around them, Heejin giggled when her presence behind the guard made her jump a little after turning around to face her a little too close to be professional in front of the florist despite she knew the right thing to do was to take a few steps backs she stayed still as a gentle smile reached her lips at the sight of the princess’s joyful face.
-You have flour on your uniform- Heejin said softly as she rubbed her hands on the guard’s shoulders trying to push the dust away from the fabric- I’m glad I ordered you a new one for tonight.
-You did?- Hyunjin asked titling her had to a side with a shy smile, Heejin nodded looking at yellow details hanging on the girl’s shoulders to avoid the warm gaze on her face.- You know you can’t talk to me on the ball, right? I’ll be right behind you the whole time.
-What if I see something funny? - Heejin wondered with a smile meeting Hyunjin’s eyes for a quick second without pushing her hand away of the wide shoulder.
-You’ll have to remember it for later-Hyunjin said with a giggle fighting the sudden urge of caressing the princess’s soft hair.
A loud cough sounded on the door of the room making both women turn around to face the prince with a not so pleasing look on his face as he made his way to them followed by his own guard, which was proved to be as stupid as his ruler. Hyunjin took a step back immediately as she remained herself that was her place to be, right behind the princess with enough distance to pull her away of something if needed but also far enough for them not to be even talk without raising their voices for everybody to hear.
-I’ve being looking for you. - The prince said with a fake smile as he hugged Heejin’s body, pulling her against his body too tightly. - Your father wants to talk to us before this evening.
-Sorry, I got a little distracted here- Heejin said softly forcing a smile to her lips, Hyunjin noticed how uncomfortable she was about it only by the tone.
-It’s okay, after all these is where all the women should be- The guard didn’t miss the dark eyes landing on her as the words were spoken still holding Heejin to his body.- Now let’s go, I don’t want your father to wait any longer for us.
Hyunjin looked at them lead the way for a few steps as they walked to the door being followed by her and the other guard in silence, she wondered if the prince knew about his guard and her backstory the day he brought the man inside the castle but yet she was sure it was a well-kept secret for the man. After all no man on the army would like to admit a forty pounds girl won them on several fights on the past. Once of the hallway Hyunjin’s eyes focused on the wide arm around Heejin’s shoulders keeping her trapped against the prince’s side, distracted by the idea of how bad the princess would be feeling at that moment she almost fall to the floor when her arm was roughly pulled to one of the room’s on the large corridor making her face no other than the prince’s guard, her gaze landing on the cut on his eyebrow once made by her own sword.
-You’ve getting stupider with time- The man’s deep voice said with a chuckle.
-I don’t know if you’re the right person to judge intelligence- Hyunjin mocked without hesitation as she lifted an eyebrow- Now if you excuse me I have to go back to work.- Her steps to the door were calm despite her heart was pounding on her chest.
-I’m just trying to be good and tell you to be more careful with your actions- The man warned on her back making her stop her walk outside the room- If not I’m sure the little princess would be sad to hear about a few accidents these days.
Hyunjin felt a shiver run down her spine as she forced herself to finally walk away from the other guard, finding the rulers only a few doors away. That morning watching Heejin being held by the prince felt even bitterer than before when she acknowledge he was the one with her life on his hands.
This chapter and the next one will be much longer than the usual ones because i want to hurry things a little. please look forward for the next update! Happy new year everybody i hope you enjoyed holidays!