The War in our Hearts
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- The Chained Maiden -


Soomi sat in a horse-drawn carriage opposite her new husband, and she hated every second of the ride. The tension in the small space was suffocating. Baekhyun didn’t speak to her; he didn’t even look at her, treating her as if she was invisible. He focused his gaze on the window next to him, his chin propped up on his palm as he glanced outside with dull eyes. The crown resting on his ash-blond hair glinted whenever it caught the sunlight. One of his hands remained on the hilt of his sword, never letting go of it. The gesture was subtle, but it told her he was ready to kill her if she tried anything. Swallowing the lump in , she forced herself to stare out the window instead. Her fear was relentless. The wedding dress felt restricting and uncomfortable; the tiara on her head was growing heavy, and she wanted nothing more than to wake up from this nightmare.

She heard the muffled voices of the eight knights who accompanied them outside and the occasional whinny of a horse. The silence in the carriage was killing her, but she had no idea what to say to Baekhyun. He was a stranger and nothing like the little boy she had met more than ten years ago. Gone was the mischievous smile, gone were the sparkling eyes. Right now, he looked every bit like the man he was rumored to be. She could easily imagine him on the battlefield, not batting an eye as he took the lives of her people. Clenching her hands to fists, she observed a village they passed. They were in Lux already but still close to the border. For the first time in her life, Soomi saw this kingdom with her own eyes, and what she discovered left her speechless with dread.

The wooden houses and barns belonging to the village had been burned down, only parts remaining. She faced a scene of destruction she had never seen before. The homes of many people had been wrecked completely. Her eyes widened increasingly when she realized that her knights were responsible for whatever had happened here. She was exposed to the horrors of war for the first time, and she could hardly take them. Had anyone in this village survived, or had everybody died in the flames? Soomi didn’t want to find out. Her stomach churned at the sight of a dead animal lying on the grass nearby, and she pressed her hand over , bile rising in .

Suddenly, she felt a piercing glare on herself and turned her head. Baekhyun’s dark brown eyes stared right into her gray ones, pinning her down with their intensity. Anger and hate burned in them, directed solely at her. “You’ve never seen war, have you, princess?” he said bitterly, spitting the last word like a terrible curse. She flinched.

“I haven’t,” she answered, her voice not louder than a whisper.

“Then it’s time to wake up from your ignorance. Take a long look at what you missed.” His tone was resentful, and his stern gaze made her want to run away. Baekhyun’s stare was condescending, leaving no doubt of what he thought of her. She knew even before he voiced it. “You are just as naïve as I expected. To think I had to marry someone like you to end this war; it’s ironic.”

She lowered her head to hide the tears shining in her eyes. He was as terrible of a person as she had feared and didn’t make an effort to get along with her. Soomi felt gloomy about her future; it was unlikely she would ever find happiness in Lux if not even her own husband was on her side. How would the rest of the royal family treat her? And what about the people of this kingdom? Soomi hardly believed they would accept her, and to make matters worse, she would one day be crowned queen since she had married the crown prince. She would have to face the scorn of the people, and sooner or later, someone would try to get her out of the way. She would die in an assassination. If she was lucky, she wouldn’t have to suffer long. Since the King of Lux was rumored to be in bad health, the coronation might happen sooner than she would have liked.

Not looking up at Baekhyun, she finally found her voice and spoke in a surprisingly calm tone. “I agreed to this union for the sake of my people and because I want the bloodshed to end,” she said, raising her head. “I’m not as naïve as you think, Prince Baekhyun.”

He huffed, directing his spiteful glare at the window. They had left the burned-down village behind, and Soomi laid eyes on a vast meadow, but the war had left its marks even here. The grass was burnt in some places, smeared with blood and dirt. Discarded weapons and shields lay on the ground, their owners most likely dead and buried. It made her sick to her stomach to imagine the terrible fight that must have raged here not long ago. She understood how important it was to end the war and also began to see why her father had found no other solution than to give away the life of his daughter to do so. Soomi missed him and her brother even though she had seen them mere hours ago.

The ride to the castle of Lux dragged on forever, and the heavy silence made her want to gag. She tried to ignore the hostile presence of the prince, but it was anything but easy. His hate for Caelum seemed to be immeasurable.



When they arrived at the castle, the prince didn’t offer her any help while she climbed out of the carriage. She struggled with her heavy wedding dress and almost stumbled over the fabric, which didn’t make her arrival look particularly elegant. She came off as a klutz, and it flustered her. Baekhyun’s lips curled in a sneer as they ascended the stairs leading to the main building.

The castle of Lux was a mighty structure enclosed by tall walls and a drawbridge leading over a river. All of the buildings were made of sandstone. She spotted a little chapel with stained-glass windows and a stable not far from it. The building they now entered was the royal family’s residence and therefore heavily guarded. Knights opened the wooden doors for them, and Soomi found herself in a grand entrance hall filled with splendor. A banner showing the crest of Lux hung on the wall next to a golden candleholder. The floors were made of marble. She noticed the eight knights from before following her and the prince. Neither of them spoke, and the silence was starting to unnerve her.

Finally, they reached the throne room, and a servant announced their arrival. “His Royal Highness, Prince Byun Baekhyun of Lux. Her Royal Highness, Princess Byun Soomi of Lux.”

Hearing her new name made her feel terrible. She paled considerably, blinking back tears of desperation. As she stepped over the threshold of the throne room, she left a part of herself behind. Her entire body felt numb, but she raised her chin, looking every bit like the proud princess she was supposed to be, and hid her turmoil behind a blank mask.

The throne room was decorated with light yellow flowers, and a long table had been prepared for the banquet that would follow. The King and the Queen got up from their seats at the end of the table and walked closer. When they stood before Soomi and Baekhyun, she curtsied and he bowed as it was expected of them. Reluctantly, Soomi glanced at the Queen, who had the same shade of ash-blonde hair as her son. She wore an elaborate crown and a long flowing dress with Lux’s crest stitched on its fabric. The corners of her eyes crinkled as she met Soomi’s gaze and smiled.

“Welcome to Lux, my dear,” she said, surprising Soomi with her warm attitude. The princess had expected a lot, but not this.

“Thank you, Your Highness,” Soomi answered politely.

The King was pale, his eyes underlined with shadows, and it wasn’t hard to see that he was unwell, but he still possessed an air of authority when he looked at his new daughter-in-law. His black hair was layered with gray streaks, half hidden under his large crown. “You have grown up, Princess Soomi,” he commented, his voice low and strained. “The last time I saw you, you were a small girl.”

He was referring to the day they had visited Caelum many years ago, and she was surprised he still remembered her. His expression wasn’t as warm and welcoming as the Queen’s. He scrutinized her with steely eyes until Soomi had to fight the urge to take a step back. He was the kind of intimidating man she had imagined him to be.

The royals eventually sat down at the table with Lux’s nobles. Soomi attempted to initiate a conversation with those seated close to her, but the prince’s coldness towards her wasn’t only noted by Soomi. The nobles shot her contemptuous looks, some of them already gossiping about her despite only having met her today.

Soomi felt like she was standing in front of a wall. If she wanted to be accept

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730 streak #1

Two kingdoms - will the peace last? Interesting plot. 😉👌

Plot: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Chapter 22: ITS SO CUTE how caelum's and lux's royal guards get along with each other, it's like the war never happened and soomi was the one who connected them together! soomi game changer fr <3
Chapter 11: originally i was going to comment after the first five chapters but i didn't realize i was already far ahead because i'm SOOO HOOKED! i love how kind and selfless soomi is and she doesnt even try to fight for her own character, only fighting back when it comes to her kingdom. T___T she takes every insult of herself but when it comes to her kingdom and family, she doesnt hesitate and i love that about her. especially how baekhyun and the knights see that very clearly -- how selfless she is <3
Chapter 21: The ending of this chap is soooo beautiful😳 Finally he confessed to her!!!! Them endearing each other by SAYING My Queen/My King>>>>>>>>>>>>>😻
Chapter 20: Chapter 20: Oh nooo the king has died 😔 It must be really hard for Baekhyun. He's scared rn about throne & responsibilities. This is normal ig. Soomi is such a wonderful wife. She's trying so hard to comfort him. She's GONNA be a great queen!!
Chapter 19: They are so chaotic 😂 the knights always spread good vibes around her which is great. Baekhyun always find a reason to bring amusement on her face. He's so fond of her now sksjskdjs-
Chapter 18: They are not even safe in their own palace. So much suspense! Lord Wang is still rude asf- this guy is really suspicious.
Chapter 17: well DESERVED! Yoobin should die, there is no forgiveness for traitors. Thanks to lady Yang- I THOUGHT SHE WAS VILLAIN BUT SHE TURNED OUT TO BE AN ANGLE SKSKDKS-
Their mooshiness is so cute. I love the way she's always red whenever Baekhyun kisses her🤗.
Chapter 16: They finally kissed!!!! SHE ADMITTED THAT SHE'S ALREADY IN LOVE WITH HIM-😻 He might also confess later but oh godddd the kiss was so pleasant...😩. The nobles are so jobless, why they are always gossiping about her?! ughh & lady Yang is countiously getting herself embarrassed. That is annoying asf. Looks like Soomi & Lisa's friendship is really sailing!
Chapter 15: The hug was so comforting. THEY HUGGED EACH OTHER THE WHOLE NIGHT! oh my hearttt is exploding 💓🙈 They are perfect for each other.