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[Drama 2012] Faith 신의

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I just found the PERFECT song to make a fan mv of this drama, a song that didn't exist yet back in 2012, but I realized that I miss the files of a few episodes... Now I don't have the raw material to work with. :tired:

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What is the song? just curious!

Currently watching the series for the umteenth time.  I’ve realized that, while I like LMH in other roles, I’m really more of a “LMH as Choi Young in Faith” fan. It’s a wonderful role played very well.  Someone posted an excerpt from the end of Ep 7 on Facebook where there’s no dialog.  He goes through several strong emotions from rage to resignation using those wonderfully expressive eyes.  It will be interesting to see what he does next after leaving his alternative military service.  

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7 hours ago, leeminhosny said:

 

  Hide contents

 

 

Some my favorite scenes. Thanks!

Edited by Jillia
Please do not quote pics! Thanks! :)
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Hi Faithlings, late comers here but better late than never! Just have to stop by to say that I’ve just finished watching Faith and I can now understand why this thread lasted 4500 + pages!  

What an amazing drama and one of LMH’s best ! . Thank you all for contributing to the recaps and comments. 

 

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I felt the same way, SophieH! And didn´t he look great with that long hair! I still watch this series, just love it.

 

LMH´s Soompi Forum recapped Faith about a year ago, so you might be interested in that. I also enjoyed reading Scattered Joonni´s recaps as well as the fan fiction based on Faith. Here are some links  if you´re interested: 

http://m.fanfiction.net/s/8669169

NC-17:

http://dangermousie.livejournal.com/2597376.html

http://dangermousie.livejournal.com/2601821.html

 

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https://www.hellokpop.com/review/k-drama-faith-lee-min-ho/

 

20150104_faith.jpg

 

K-Drama Time Machine: Lee Min Ho Weaves Time Transcending Romance With Kim Hee Sun In “Faith”

By abbyinhallyuland | August 13, 2019
 
 

Seven years ago, Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun gifted fans with a love-affirming drama in Faith.

Striding to a beautiful Goryeo era warrior and modern times plastic surgeon love story, Faith successfully established a connection that will not make it forgettable.

 

Faith.jpg

 

Title: Faith
Network: SBS
Theme: Fantasy, Romance, Historical
Length: 24 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 13 Aug 2012 – 30 Oct 2012
Main Leads: Lee Min Ho, Kim Hee Sun
Overall Rating: 4.5.gif
Re-watch Value: 4.5.gif
Related Dramas: Queen In Hyun’s Man, Deserving of the Name, Rooftop Prince

Highlights

Slowburning yet lingering narrative

Taking a slow-moving approach, Faith moves to a direction where it was making the viewers join the drama characters. Cheering for them, feeling each of the character’s pain and glory is inevitable. It engrosses with the happy moments and draws frustrations with the inability to end the villains vile ways. It successfully established a connection that will not make it forgettable.

The baddies who were at a fight-club mood all the time has brought out the best of the protagonists. They had a firm understanding of their presence that never wavered its proportion all throughout. Even at those times when the narration was at a billowing pace, the interaction of the characters efficiently set the mood of the story.

 

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Clear Conflict Presentation

Focusing on its projected conflict, the series divided the presented problems to the political assertions and the save-the-doctor-struggle in the winding part of the story.  The main character Choi Young, weary but bound to his responsibility to the king was always resolved in prioritizing him. Inevitably, it has pained him that he cannot protect the woman he loves. When his inability to wield his sword struck in the home stretch, I was so worried that they may not get an ever-after. Hence, when he went back to his nothing-fazes-me attitude and went Kenshin Himura to all the people who has been blocking the road to happiness with his woman, it yielded a defining moment highlighting the hero of the story.

 

A drama moving through political governance contention and draped by the traditional settings normally sets a serious tone. However, how the heroes and villains pulled the tricks on their sleeves eased out the ambiance to set an immersing watch.

 

Spoiler

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Engrossing on-screen romance

Adding dynamics to the romance line, Kim Hee Sun as the time-travelling doctor was the source of zest and held the magical twist in the story. At the latter part, I enjoyed immensely the sweet nothings and the lines she shared with Choi Young. Additionally, Faith also showcased the fact that Lee Min Ho has proven that he can carry a drama by himself. In all fairness to Eun Soo, she was able to give justice to the general-in-the-black-and-grey-armor love connection she shared with Choi Young through her vibrant attitude. She was strong and serene, at the same time, she avoided the lead girl theatrics of always wanting to be rescued. Instead, her steadfast love patiently found its way to the man of her life.

 

Spoiler

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Eun Soo, who was actually the wandering doctor they were really looking for in the onset of the series, has traveled through time in the hopes of fulfilling her fated love with the dashing General. She lost her way many times, and in her sojourns prior to her eventual meeting of Choi Young, has left clues for her future self which she was not aware of on the presumed present time.

Choi Young and Eun Soo came from different time and extremely have different personalities. But, they have nailed their romantic scenes so perfectly. The loving gazes, the watching each other while asleep, the cheeky arguments, the no-matter-what-I’ll-protect-you-assurances and the love that was fated to happen – was a convincing and fetching depiction of love that can surpass reasons and beyond reasons.

 

Spoiler

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Recommendation

Assimilating the action plot with the supernatural spices and decorating it with folklore made Faith an astounding drama treat. Having a band of villains equipped with mojos and X-men powers, a sassy and bubbly modern day doctor that was lost cutely to a new world she was forced to live, and of course the Thor-ish General who made Kenshin Himura looked so inferior – were the essentials that made this drama such an enthralling TV experience.

The provocative plot matches the annoying villain assaults and the firm spirited retaliation of the underdogs. I know that goodness will prevail in the end, and I was looking forward to how the protagonists will take their final stand considering how smooth the pounces were of the bad guys.

In the year when most of the things in K-Dramaland involved paranormal activities and strongly portrayed characters, Faith rose to be different. Having Lee Min Ho in this drama would take his fans to a higher level of adoration. But more than that, it was really the effective way of how the drama sweetly chained viewers through an endearingly sketched narrative. The story made sure that the characters shone memorably, while the characters moved in sync to the story.

 

Spoiler

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Why you should watch Faith?

Faith is a remarkable love tale albeit the consistent dawdling and sageuk clichés. It successfully notched the path where it was directing the audience to – hope, holding on faith and feeling real happiness.  Faith’s ability to balance the transcendent elemental nonsense was plausible and cohering to how it mounted to the story’s peak.

Utilizing the back-to-the-future arc linked the primary message and the title of the drama – FAITH.  Every essence of it and how a person should have faith to claim the love he deserves.  “Was I lacking of my yearning to see him or was I lacking faith?”  This was a very strong line I remembered from the drama and has pierced directly to my romantic veins.

Defying time and never giving up on their love, even if the time played with them makes Faith a drama worthy to be added on your watch list.

 

Spoiler

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Quick Plot Roundup

Choi Young, the strong and steamy hot Woodalchi warrior was a General serving the Goryeo King.  His last mission before embarking to his dream of becoming a bummer was to escort the new King and his queen that was held hostage by the Yuan Empire.

The opposing forces tried as much as they can to have the King not reach the palace.  They were unsuccessful with their intention but were able to harm the queen.

Should the queen die, Goryeo will be facing Sauron’s eye because the queen was a Mongolian Yuan empire princess so the King desperate to find a cure to salvage the wounded queen resorted to an urban legend of a famous doctor who just suddenly disappeared.  He commanded the General, Choi Young of the Royal family’s elite soldiers to go to the Heaven’s Door to bring the doctor.

 

Spoiler

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The doctor from Heaven’s door

Choi Young bravely went to the portal and what they thought to be a heavenly place turned out to be modern day Gangnam city in Korea where he found Yoo Eun Soo, a plastic surgeon.

Not realizing and buying the craziness of the whole deal I guess, the general grabbed the doctor to Goryeo period to fulfill the King’s command with a promise that he will return the abducted doctor.

Complications arose when the news of a doctor from heaven swept the Kingdom, the wily Prince Gi Cheol, who has sworn brothers and sisters with supernatural abilities wanted Yoo Eun Soo for his invincibility dreams.

From there, Choi Young promises to protect the doctor. Eventually, falling in love with her in the process.

 

Spoiler

Img0402_20121029164602_1.jpg

 

Photos from SBS

 

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As I mentioned in the Lee Min Ho forum, I've begun writing the story of Faith in detail, following the show relatively closely, with a few changes here and there. To respond to your kind interest in reading this, @gtLmh0622 and @syntyche, here are the first few pages of Episode 1.

 

Chapter 1: 1351 a.d., Borderlands between Yuan and Goryeo (Ep 1)

 

It was raining as the small caravan slowly made its way along the road. The young King of Goryeo was returning to his country after 10 years as a virtual hostage in Yuan [a Mongol dynasty of China]. He rode in a small carriage and occasionally invited others to ride with him for company or to discuss matters of state. The Queen, a Yuan princess, rode in a separate carriage with one or two attendants. Everyone else in the King’s retinue rode horses or walked. The road wound its way through verdant hills and along a river that divided the two countries. Looking at the countryside as he rode, Jo Il-shin, the king’s advisor, noticed an unusual cloud above one of the hills, moving like rising smoke. But unlike smoke it was a peculiar pinkish color.  He muttered to himself, “Could it be…Hwata?” Hwata had been a legendary healer who entered a mystical door to heaven rather than serve a corrupt king. The door to heaven was said to be in that area.

 

Around the same time, Bae Choon-sik, the vice-commander of the Woodalchi, the king’s bodyguards, approached his Commander on horseback. They were both dressed in black, the primary color worn by the troop.

“We’re being followed.” 

The commander of the Woodalchi, Choi Young, sat astride his horse with a blue cowl over his head to ward off the rain. His hair hung over his forehead, dripping wet. He didn’t even look at Choon-sik. He simply said, “I know.” 

“I don’t think they’re just bandits.”

Impatiently, Choi Young replied, “I know”. What he didn’t know was who they were and who was paying them. He only knew what his scout had told him, that there was a sizeable body of men following them who were dressed in plain clothes. Large bodies of armed men on horses didn’t usually travel together without a hostile purpose.

 

Shortly thereafter, Oh Dae-man, the youngest Woodalchi, returned with bad news from the riverside village where they were headed. There were no boats to be had that day to cross the river from Yuan into Goryeo. They’d only be able to cross it the next day. Choi Young pulled his horse to a stop, slid off one side, approached the king’s carriage and spoke to him through the side grill. Il-shin, riding next to the King’s carriage, listened in on the conversation. When he heard what Choi Young was saying, he blustered, “What do mean, stay the night here?! We only have to cross the river. Look, Commander, wait!” 

Choi Young ignored him and focused only on talking to the king. The young voice inside gave him approval to stop in the village for the night. Then the Commander swung himself back onto his horse and the caravan continued to the village.

 

There was only one inn in the village, but it was a good one, with a large common room on the main floor, sleeping rooms upstairs, and a balcony overlooking the common area. The Woodalchi rented the entire inn, telling the owner that their lord had just married, and that he and his wife were hard to please. Their own servants would take care of them. Giving the owner a large purse, they had him turn out the current guests and then go home himself. The king and queen wore cloaks and hats to hide their royal identity. They entered with their retainers and went upstairs to separate rooms. 

 

Tired from the long ride and yawning, Choi Young entered with his men, found a bottle of wine, and took a long swig. 

Choon-sik said to him, “If they want to stop us, they probably took the boats and they’ll be expecting us to stay at this inn.  Do we have to stay here?”

His Commander replied, “Do you want to stay out in the open, with our flag planted in a field?” Choon-sik sighed.

 

The Woodalchi Commander stretched himself out on a bench in the common room. It had been a long day of travel, mostly in the rain, and he thought they were sure to see action as soon as it was dark. They would likely be heavily outnumbered, as he had only 15 of the Woodalchi guards with him, but they had successfully fought long odds in the past. He closed his eyes and pulled his cowl over his face to shut out the light. Choi Young was an expert at sleeping wherever and whenever possible. He directed Choon-sik, a loyal and competent man, to set up their defenses and prepare for an attack. The Woodalchi closed the doors and windows, piled up tables and chairs to further block entrances, and stationed themselves on both floors of the inn.

 

In the king’s room, Il-shin was distrustful of how the Woodalchi were managing the King’s journey. “As soon as we get to Goryeo, you must get rid of Choi Young!  I knew it as soon as they sent him with the excuse to escort you.  This is a conspiracy! It’s taken 10 years for you to return to Goryeo. And now that you’re returning as our king, you should be accompanied by an army with flags raised high. But what is this? You can’t wear the royal robe nor show your face. No one can call you ‘Your Highness.’ It’s disgraceful…!” The king listened with one ear while drawing a picture of a horse with charcoal. He loved to draw and was quite good at it. He often ignored Il-Shin’s overblown speeches, but he kept him as an advisor because he was sometimes right, and he was an expert in protocol.

 

As twilight approached, Choi Young arose from the bench and went upstairs to see the king. Without knocking and still yawning, he entered the king’s room. Il-shin was scandalized. “You dare to enter without asking..!” 

Ignoring the indignant Il-shin, he addressed the king. “Your Highness, we are likely to be attacked tonight, as we have been followed all day by a large group of men. We don’t know who they are or who has sent them, but we need to be ready to defend Your Majesty and the Queen. I have asked the Queen to come to this room. It’s harder to protect you if you stay apart.” 

At the king’s unhappy look, he continued, “I know your relationship with the Queen is not good, but please understand.” 

Il-shin was scandalized anew. “You dare…”

Choi Young turned to Il-shin, interrupting him, and asked,  “Can you fight?” 

“Wh-what?”

The commander took out a knife and handed it to Il-shin, then pointed, “Guard that window.”

“G-Guard that window?”

Choi Young impatiently shoved him toward the window. Il-shin began to shake as he contemplated the knife. 

The Queen and two attendants entered the room and the Commander bowed respectfully. The king gave her only the barest recognition.

 

Once night fell, a Woodalchi lookout spotted men approaching the inn and gave warning. The attackers wore bandanas around their lower faces, with no insignias or other marks to indicate who they served. They attacked the inn in force, and soon pushed their way through the blocked doors and into the inn. As they entered the darkened common room, the Woodalchi cleverly dropped a powder containing phosphorus on them from the second floor. The phosphorus gave off a soft glow wherever it fell, so the defenders could more easily distinguish friend from foe. The Woodalchi fought fiercely with swords and whatever else came to hand on the common room floor, but it soon became apparent that they were heavily outnumbered. 

 

Choi Young went upstairs to the king’s room, saw him sitting at a table and knelt before him. He looked directly at the young king and said earnestly, “It looks like others have joined them so they are more than we thought. You must not run away. Stay close to me. Can you do that?”

The king looked around nervously as the sounds of fighting rose from below, then looked back at him. 

“I will not run away.”

“Good, I will protect you.”

 

Choi Young drew his sword and stationed himself just inside the doorway to the king’s room. Wearing thick leather armor, he stood nearly a head above most people and towered over the small king. He would be the king’s last line of defense. It wasn’t just bravado for him to take that position. He was an outstanding swordsman, a deadly hand-to-hand fighter, and he wielded a wicked knife. 

 

His looks were deceiving. He was 29 years old but looked younger. Most soldiers wore their hair up in a tight bun to give opponents little to grab at, but Choi Young wore his hair carelessly tied at the back of his neck; loose strands fell around his face and forehead. He was very handsome, some would even say beautiful, with a face that was relatively unmarked for a warrior. It only bore some nicks and a short slash mark just below one cheek. His appearance led women to sigh over him and opponents to underestimate him. He ignored the women and made opponents pay dearly for their misjudgment. In serving Goryeo’s kings, he had killed so many men that he had lost count.

 

As the fight below continued, invaders started climbing to the second floor. At the top of the stairs they encountered more Woodalchi with cross bows who drove them back. But as the invaders’ bodies began to pile up, it actually gave the rest of them more cover. Using their comrades’ bodies as shields, they began making their way past the defenders to the King’s room. 

 

There they encountered Choi Young, totally focused, assessing them for the kill. When the attackers first saw the tall warrior, they hesitated, then gathered their courage and went for him as a group. He felled the first two coming through the door in one broad slash of his sword, knocked out a third one by pounding his head with the sword’s pommel, then sliced the throat of a fourth. In a just a few seconds, four men lay at his feet. 

 

A fifth attacker came through the door while another swung through a window to Choi Young’s left. He slammed the one attacker against the wall, crushing his throat with his elbow, then turned to the other and threw him to the floor, stomping on his ribs. Yet another man came through the doorway and went for the King. The commander took him from behind by the scruff of the neck as the man’s sword slashed the air just inches from the King’s face. He pounded the man’s head on the table twice, knocking him senseless.  Meanwhile, other attackers were being engaged by the queen’s two serving women and Dr. Jang, the King’s doctor. One woman was killed, but the other managed to push one of the attackers aside. The doctor stopped one as well. But more kept coming.

 

If you'd like to read more, let me know.

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12 hours ago, MsDot2 said:

If you'd like to read more, let me know.

 

Thank you so much. :kiss_wink:
Reading your words, I felt I like to rewatch Faith immediately.   :P

Yes, please give us more !!!   :)

 

 

 

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we always want more!  It's because of this drama that I actually got REALLY into Korean history!  Loved it!!!!!

 

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8 hours ago, gtLmh0622 said:

 

Thank you so much. :kiss_wink:
Reading your words, I felt I like to rewatch Faith immediately.   :P

Yes, please give us more !!!   :)

 

 

 

 

MsDot2

Yes please I want to read more and then  re-watch each scene after reading it.

I actually review books before they are published for several authors and a publishing company ( they want to know about an glaring errors and also want feedback) so I read loads of books in a year and can quickly pick out good writers - and you are good- honestly. I love the way you take us step by step through the action and the way you have already given us brief but important descriptions of main characters. Honestly even if I hadn’t seen Faith I would still have been able

to picture these opening scenes in my head. Also It had never occurred to me about

Choi Young’s hair and I had no idea how old he was.

please keep writing and letting us see it.

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Thank you for your positive comments. I especially appreciated your feedback, @Lindyloo421 since you have extensive experience with reading books for authors and a publisher!  Here's the rest of Chapter 1, which covers the first half of Episode 1 (I've divided most Episodes into two chapters because of their length). I'll try to post a chapter at a time, spacing them out a little so I have time to keep ahead of the postings with my writing. Again, I appreciate your feedback!

 

[See previous posting for first part of this chapter]

 

One man finally got through. He ran toward the Queen, who was at the back of the room, and to everyone’s horror, slashed open the side of the queen’s neck. Choi Young had seen him from the corner of his eye as he was finishing off another opponent. He turned and threw his sword like a knife at the queen’s attacker, skewering him. But the damage was done. The rest of the attackers immediately ran away. Their primary target hadn’t been the King after all; they wanted the Queen.

 

Choi Young and the doctor ran to the Queen’s side. She had collapsed on the bed, unconscious and bleeding profusely. Dr. Jang immediately got out his acupuncture kit and inserted two needles in order to slow her heart and the bleeding. The Doctor knew that Choi Young had a special inner power, so he said him, “I’ll need your help here,” pointing to the needles he’d used on the Queen. Choi Young nodded, then extended his hand toward one of the needles.  From his fingertips came a line of energy reaching to the needle.  It enhanced the needle’s effectiveness, slowing the bleeding even more. He did the same with the other needle. The doctor placed thick pads on top of the wound and pressed down, but not too hard.  It wouldn’t do to stop all the circulation there; that might kill the Queen by itself. The King asked Dr. Jang if he could heal the wound. The doctor said, “I think a vein has been severed. I’ve slowed the bleeding but I’m afraid I’d rupture it further if I tried to repair it. I’m not a divine healer.”

 

After assuring himself that he could do no more for the queen, Choi Young returned to the front of the room and sat down to rest, closing his eyes. Some of the Woodalchi pursued the retreating attackers and found two wounded men in the street. But they were already dying from poison they’d taken to avoid questioning. The rest escaped.

 

Back at the inn, the king’s retinue was in consternation about what to do. If the Queen died, it was likely that Yuan would directly annex Goryeo in retribution. For the past 80 years Goryeo had been a vassal state of Yuan, sending annual tributes of slaves and goods but still hanging onto its separate identity. The king said, “If that woman dies…our country will die.” Addressing Choi Young, he asked, “Woodalchi Commander, do you also think that?” 

 

Choi Young, without opening his eyes, replied, “I am a mere military officer who does not know anything about politics.” This statement was patently false, as no one survives in a royal court without acquiring political knowledge and skill. But it was true that Choi Young wasn’t interested in politics, or for that matter, much of anything else. He was known to sleep overmuch, and he usually didn’t engage with anyone unless it was in the line of duty, or to protect his own honor or that of his Woodalchi.

 

The King looked down, dejected. His confidence had been shaken by 10 years as a hostage in Yuan. “As soon as I became king, I couldn’t even protect my country. What a great king I am.”

Suddenly Il-shin’s face brightened, and he slammed his fist on the table, saying, “There is a way, Your Majesty! There is a divine healer near here. Er, what I mean is…he is in a land in the sky. There’s a way to the skies!”

At the king’s disbelieving look, Il-shin went on, “It’s there.Our only hope is to pray to the heavens.”

“If we plead to the heavens, will they save her?”

“The fact that we are pleading is what’s important. If you ask the heavens with all your heart, people will say you look so sad and filled with grief. They’ll say, ‘He was fasting for 3 days to pray to the heavens…’ Those are the words that should be spread in Yuan!”

“So, that’s how we should restrain Yuan’s anger?”

“Yes, Your Majesty…for the sake of Goryeo.”

 

The king was skeptical but had no better idea. He told Il-shin to find the location and prepare an altar. Il-shin left to question the villagers and make the preparations. Choi Young went to leave as well, but as he left the room, the king spoke to him.

“Woodalchi. You have traveled with me for the long trip from Yuan. What did you think about on your way here?”

“I don’t normally think too much.” 

“I am asking you what you think of me, as your King.”

 Looking off to the side of the King, he replied, “To have such a wise and kind-hearted king, I thought we were very lucky.” And then, looking at the king, “Do I have to say more?”

 

Knowing the Commander’s answer for the evasion it was, the king walked closer to him, saying, “You…dislike me, right?”

“Me?”

“From the beginning…you’ve disliked me even before you met me, right?”

Choi Young, with an uncomfortable smile, replied, “For me to answer that, I would have to die.”

The king pressed on, “Why do you dislike me? Even when I am your king. Please tell me sincerely from the heart. If I ordered you, will you tell me?”

The Commander’s smile faded and he looked directly at the king. “Your predecessor, Kyung Chung, was only 14 years old. Because he was too young as a King, the Yuan Dynasty had him abdicate.” 

“I know.”

“Your Majesty is 21 years old. Whether 14 or 21, I think they are both young. Also, you have lived in Yuan territory since you were 11 years old. So, you’ll only think in the same way as the Yuan do. To have a king like you is unlucky for the Goryeo people…That’s what I thought.” 

The king paused and then asked, “Everyone thinks that way, right? The Goryeo people.” 

 “In the past 11 years, you are already the fifth king. The people won’t be too interested.”

The king’s struggled to keep his feelings from showing on his face. Then he looked up at the Commander, saying, “Thank you…for speaking your mind.” 

The king turned to go back to his room, then turned back as Choi Young said, “And your Majesty…I don’t particularly dislike you.” 

The king smiled ruefully, then turned away again, thinking that the Commander was right; he could have him killed for such blunt talk. But would anyone else have had the courage to be so honest with him? And that person had also just saved his life.

 

The king’s party, including Choi Young and several of his men, used torches to light their way to what they had been told was Hwata’s door to heaven. It was in the hills next to a grassy meadow, not too far from the village. There, they saw a swirling cloud of energy around a space between two short stone pillars with a stone lintel resting on them. Servants had set up an altar on the lintel and offerings on the ground in front of it. Il-shin greeted the king as he arrived, saying, “I firmly believe this is Heaven’s gate. One thousand years ago, Hwata went up to Heaven right here, through this door. In the kingdom of heaven Hwata had many disciples that he nurtured. I’m told that his disciples still come through Heaven’s gate once every 300 years.”

The king replied, “So, we pray into the opening, is that what you’re saying?”

Il-shin clarified, “This is not just an opening. To get into heaven, you must go throughHeaven’s door.”

 

Suddenly, the swirling cloud grew larger and brighter, accompanied by a loud roaring sound. 

Choi Young immediately moved in front of the king to shield him and deployed his men to protect the King. 

Il-shin excitedly pointed, “The door to heaven is open, Your Majesty! Please order him to go there and bring a divine healer back. Either Hwata or his disciples! Hurry! Before the door to heaven closes, Your Highness!” 

Choon-sik, recognizing that this was a highly risky venture, shouted at Il-shin, “If you know Hwata so well, go there yourself!”  

But Il-shin ignored him and continued talking to the king. “The Doctor of Heaven, the Divine Healer, is right in there, Your Majesty!”

The king thought for a moment, then turned to his Commander. “Even though I can’t believe all those words…”

Choi Young looked at him and replied, “Please give me an order.”

“I think we have to try.”

“I will come back,” said the Commander, bowing deeply to the King. Then he gathered himself, took a big breath and let it out, then set his face toward the pillars. As he walked to the opening, shading his eyes from the intense glow, Choon-sik grabbed his shoulder to stop him. “Commander!” 

He simply replied, “It’s the king’s order. Stay here,” and walked on.

Those who watched Choi Young go into the opening saw him disappear in a twist of dark smoke. The door continued to roar and swirl, but he was gone. 

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@MsDot2 wow i’m so impressed by your writing...your words are very descriptive and full of action packed too. I’ve only just watched Faith for the first time recently , this certainly helped to provide more clarity.  Thanks for the amazing effort, can’t wait for more ! 

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Here is Chapter 2 of my adaptation of Faith (the last part of Episode 1). FYI - It's not an exact copy of the show. I've moved the last two scenes, the fortune teller and Choi Young's introduction to the Woodalchi, to other chapters. I also inserted a few lines about a glass window wall, just for a little variety. 

 

Chapter 2, 21st century Seoul (Episode 1, continued)

 

Choi Young found himself on a sort of platform. Although it was nighttime, the area around him was well lit. And it wasn’t just the immediate area; there was a glow in the lower sky all around him. He slowly stood up and looked around for a few minutes. He saw that he was at the base of a very tall statue of the Buddha. Awed by the statue and the light, he put his hands together and bowed, showing his respect and gratitude for having arrived in heaven. Then, reminding himself of his mission, he saw a path leading down and away from the monument, and he took it. As he began walking away, a woman in emerged from behind a large stone at the monument. She snapped a picture of him, causing him to whirl around with his hand on his sword to see what was making the clicking noise and brief flash of light. She quickly stepped back behind the stone to hide herself. After he left, she nudged her husband and whispered, “Over there! Did you see that man?! He just appeared out of nowhere!” Her husband didn’t believe her, but she showed him the photo, and they both stared after him.

 

He walked along the descending path, stepping back into shadow whenever he saw other people. He wanted a little time to learn more before he showed himself. He saw a tall thin tower rising from an adjoining hill lit with colors brighter than anything he’d ever seen. In fact, there were lights everywhere, along the path in hanging lanterns, and lights at the ends of tall poles here and there. It puzzled him that there were no flames visible in the lanterns, and the tall lights were so bright they hurt his eyes when he looked at them. Heaven was incredibly bright.

 

Soon there was a break in the trees, and he was stunned to see row upon row of extraordinarily tall towers rising into the sky. They seemed endless. Many of them were covered with lights. One even had lights at the top that seemed to show a moving painting. A voice was announcing that there were sunspots and they were causing trouble. He thought heaven was a strange place indeed if the sun had spots.

 

Choi Young finally came to the bottom of the hill with a very wide road just beyond it. Nearing it, he was stunned to see a type of carriage that moved very quickly without horses. There were many of them speeding along with continuous noise and blinding lights. The road was so wide that three of them abreast were going in each direction. He stepped closer to observe and was nearly hit by one of them. People on the street started noticing him. Many of them smiled and began pointing at him, and some held out small boxes that momentarily flashed a bright light. Again he whirled around with his hand on his sword, but soon saw that they didn’t mean him any physical harm. Overwhelmed by the clamor and unwanted attention, he retreated into the shadow of a small shrine nearby and sat down to regroup. After a time he saw a monk passing by, chanting to himself. He approached the monk and bowed, saying earnestly, “Excuse me, I am called Choi Young from the land. I know I came to a place I should not have, but can you please help me.” 

“What can I help you with?”

“I am looking for a divine healer.”

“A divine healer?” 

“I heard Hwata came here.”

The monk looked puzzled. “Hwata…a divine healer?” Then the monk brightened. “Ah! You mean a doctor!” 

“Yes.”

“Well, there are many specialties among doctors: internal medicine, surgeons, OB-Gyn, dentistry…Where is the problem?” 

Choi Young thought for a moment, then moved the edge of his hand alongside his neck in a slicing motion and said, “Here.” 

Misunderstanding, the monk said, “Oh, you want a plastic surgeon. We’re in Gangnam [a wealthy part of Seoul], and there are many of them here. There’s even a big meeting of them at COEX, right across the street. You should go there.” 

He looked where the monk was pointing and saw a large building not far away. But between here and there was that hellish road with speeding carriages, brilliant lights and tremendous noise.  He said to the monk, “How do I go there?”

And the monk replied, “You just go there!”  

Unsure how he would ever survive crossing that space, he repeated, “I…just. . .go?” 

The monk nodded. After a moment of confusion Choi Young brightened with a big smile. “Oh, I understand! It’s a lesson!” 

Bowing to the monk, he thanked him for his help, turned and left, leaving the monk a bit confused himself.

 

Once again approaching the busy road, Choi Young paused and closed his eyes to calm himself and focus on his mission. He opened his eyes and said to himself, “I’m . just . going,” and began to walk across it. Some of the carriages went by him, some almost hitting him, others screeched to a halt and made a very loud sound, and one person yelled, “What do you think you’re doing, you crazy bastard?!”  He continued to walk, looking straight ahead.

 

Approaching the building, he could see people in the lower part of it. He was puzzled by how the rest of the building could stand up with almost nothing between the upper part and the ground. As he stared at it, however, there was a kind of shimmer along the perimeter, so perhaps something was there. He walked over and reached out his hand, and indeed, something hard was there, some kind of transparent stone. He could even see his own reflection in it, somewhat like a reflection in a water pond. Heaven was an amazing place. He saw some people entering and leaving the building not far away, revealing a doorway, so he followed them. 

 

Inside, he went past a line of people, where someone called, “Sir, Sir, you must get in line to register!” When he didn’t stop, the registration person shrugged, assuming he was a performer of some sort, going to demonstrate products for one of the medical companies on the exhibition floor. His costume as an old-time Korean warrior was a bit outlandish, but she’d seen stranger ones. The line of people in front of her was very long, so it was a few minutes before she called security. He still needed to register.

 

He entered a vast hall with hundreds of people in it, as well as many stalls and tables. It was very bright, like daylight. Once again, he quickly became a topic of conversation and stares. He ignored these while still keeping an eye out for a heavenly healer. He was fascinated by more pictures that moved and the many devices, some of them apparently moving on their own. Continuing to move through the hall he finally he spied a sign by door to the side of the large hall. He could read some of the Yuan characters on the sign. Many of the words were meaningless to him, but he could make out enough of it to know that it pointed to a place where people were speaking about healing. Entering, he saw many people sitting in tiers of seats leading down to a large picture at the front of the room depicting a person’s face and neck with some of the skin cut away. The person at the front of the room was saying, “…And here we see a subcutaneous lift, used in the early 90’s… ” She went on to explain how the incisions were made and excess skin removed with little scarring, and then critiqued the technique.

 

Choi Young stood at the back of the room, mesmerized. The speaker was a woman. And she was a beautiful woman with an odd hair color, a sort of rusty red. Since numerous people were in the room listening and taking notes, she must also be a teacher, perhaps one of Hwata’s disciples. He’d never seen anyone like her, nor had he ever seen a woman formally teaching both men and women.

 

Her thoughts were quite different from his. She saw him enter, and almost immediately some of the people in her audience began turning around to stare at the man dressed in odd clothes. She wasn’t happy that he was drawing attention away from her presentation on the history of cosmetic surgery. She was seeking funding to build a new cosmetic surgery clinic, and she wasn’t likely to obtain funders if people were talking about him instead of her presentation.

 

Three security men soon arrived, having finally tracked him down. Choi Young let himself be escorted away from the meeting room while still staring at her. He was taken to the Security office for questioning, and one of the men asked what company he represented. Choi Young didn’t respond; he was looking intently at a bank of windows on the wall. Amazingly, each one showed a different scene.  Eventually he spied the flame-haired doctor in one of them, and he walked over to it. 

 

He began feeling along the edge of the window, trying to find the opening to that place. The window seemed to be made of similar material to the transparent wall of the building. The frustrated guard said, Hey! Can’t you hear? Look here, mister, quit looking at the TV screens…” and approached the warrior. Choi Young asked him, “How can I go in there? Please open this for me. The doctor in here…I have to meet her.” 

The security guard chuckled and said, “Are you joking around with me?! We don’t have time for that stuff.” 

He looked at Choi Young’s clothing, and then spotted one of the dark red stains on his armor. “What is this, ketchup?”  He touched it and held it to his nose. Then, noticing his sword, exclaimed, “And look at this!” He tried to touch the hilt of the sword, but the warrior grabbed his arm, deftly turned him and shoved him away as the guard was saying, “Ah wait…Let’s talk.”

 

Momentum carried the guard across the room and into a counter, where his shocked companions looked on. He shouted, “You…you just assaulted me!” He said to one his comrades, “Call the police! Tell them there’s a crazy man in the building and he has assaulted the staff! And that he has an illegal weapon!” Then he asked for a police baton, which another man gave him. 

 

Choi Young saw the guard hold out a long black club in front of him while saying, “You are in big trouble!” He had been keeping one eye on the woman in the window and one on the guards. When he saw the guard beginning to move toward him, he put his hand on his sword and turned his full attention there. In less than a second of fluid motion, he drew his sword and sliced through the club, lopping off most of its length.

“Gah! Run, run!” shouted the frightened guard, and all three of the guards backed away and ran from the room. Choi Young also left the room. He had recognized the woman’s location as the large hall he had first entered.  

 

The doctor had gone to the exhibition hall after her presentation and was examining a pair of surgical lenses. In addition to magnifying, they also emitted a beam of light to illuminate a surgical area. The salesman talking with her noticed Choi Young as soon as he arrived. “Aish,” he muttered, “People are advertising for their company in strange ways.” 

She looked over her shoulder at Choi Young and sneered, “Oh! He’s working in a costume? He must be an extra or something.”

But the strange young man approached her and said, “There is an urgent patient.”

“So?”

“From what our doctor said, a major vein has been cut. Can you save her?”

“Why are you asking me that?”

He asked her again, louder, “Can you save her?

Ignoring him, she turned to the salesman and said, “Isn’t this person kind of weird?”

The salesman smiled, saying, “I think he’s flirting with you.”

She put down the lenses and tried to walk down the aisle, going around Choi Young, but he moved to block her path. She moved to the other side of the aisle, and he blocked her again.

 

Then Choi Young, the doctor and the salesman all looked up as the previous security guard approached, now accompanied by a police officer. “That’s him over there!” the guard shouted, “And that’s a real sword!”  Not wanting to be taken away again, Choi Young drew his sword. The young police officer drew his gun and pointed it at him, exclaiming, “Look here! Put it down! Put..it..down!” 

 

Most people encountering what Choi Young had been seeing and experiencing would have been completely overwhelmed and distracted. But he possessed the ability to remain calm, rational and persistent in the face of a confusing situation, solving problems one step at a time to complete his mission. And here was another problem that he needed to solve. He saw the metal object pointed toward him, and from the man’s tone of voice he thought it likely it was some type of weapon. He held the sword by his side, not wanting to appear more threatening than necessary, and became very still and alert. He turned his head just enough to ask the doctor, “Is it possible to save that patient?”

Now very frightened, she replied, “I-I’d have to see the patient first, of course. I need to know where and how the patient is hurt…”

He muttered to himself, “How much she’s hurt…you have to see for yourself.” He was furiously thinking of how he could show that to her. Then he knew what he needed to do.

 

He faced the young man again, who repeated, “Put your sword down!” With his left hand holding the scabbard, he darted forward and swung it into the man’s arm, knocking the weapon away. The man staggered back, losing his balance as well as his weapon. With his right hand, Choi Young put the sharp edge of his sword against the side of the guard’s neck, paused momentarily to gauge his blow, and slashed. In a few seconds blood began to flow from the wound, staining first the man’s collar red and then his shirt. People nearby started screaming and began to run away. The wounded guard looked at him in shock and disbelief, then slowly toppled toward him, losing consciousness. He shouldered the man, holding him up, and muttered to him, “Why did you have to keep following me?” Behind Choi Young the doctor and the salesman cowered behind a display table.

 

The police and guards now saw that he had multiple hostages, one of them wounded. They retreated to clear the exhibition hall and call for more backup. The warrior lifted the wounded guard over his shoulder and carried him over to the table next to the doctor.  He laid the man down and pulled back the man’s collar to expose the bleeding wound. He addressed the doctor. “The cut was made just like this, and about as deep… Is it possible to save him?”  

With a look of horror, she turned to the salesman and cried, “Ambulance! Call 911! Hurry!”

Choi Young continued, “If you can’t save him…”, and pointed to the salesman, “I will try again with him.”

The salesman began to beg for his life. The doctor looked up at the warrior and saw the serious expression on his face. She didn’t doubt that he’d do it. 

 

She stood up and said, “You want me to save him? This person…here? Right now?”

He replied, “It is urgent. Please start.” 

She pushed her own emotions aside and assumed the role of doctor, briefly examining the wound. Then she moved out from behind the table, saying, “I need to have tools.” 

The warrior allowed her to brush by him in order to quickly gather tools from the exhibit tables such as a surgical mask, gloves, antiseptic, clamps, bandages and so on. She put on the magnifying lenses she had been viewing earlier. Choi Young blinked at the bright light coming from them. 

 

Meanwhile, more police arrived and began spreading through the building. Security tried calling a nearby phone to try to reason with him, but Choi Young, surprised by its loud ring, smashed it. The guards could see what was happening on closed circuit television, and described the warrior to the arriving police as a crazy man with a sword and hostages.

 

The salesman was now on his knees frantically praying, and Choi Young, seeing that the doctor could use some help, tapped his scabbard on the table in front of him to get his attention. “If this man dies, it will be your turn.” 

Getting the point, the salesman stood up. The doctor reminded him to don a mask and sterilize. She had the salesman pull the wound open with hooks, found the pieces of vein and began stitching it back together. Finally, she stitched the outer wound and placed a large bandage over it. 

 

Observing her at work, Choi Young was impressed with her skill. She worked quickly and confidently. When she had finished, he held his fingers to the guard’s neck. He was surprised to find that the guard was still alive. He had found his Divine Healer. Now he just had to bring her back to the Queen.

 

He told her that she had to come with him, that there was someone she needed to save. He gathered up the tools and equipment she had used, wrapped them in a cloth, tied the ends of the cloth together and hung it over his shoulder. She protested, “Mister! It’s been a while since I stopped being a surgeon…” But he had already seen what she could do. 

He told her, “It may be difficult for you to enter into my world. Please follow closely behind me.” 

Choi Young began to walk toward the building entrance. As soon as he turned his back, she crept in the opposite direction, clutching her large purse to her chest. When he looked back and saw what she was doing, he strode toward her. She saw him coming and began to run, but her high heels slowed her down. He easily caught up, took her by her jacket’s collar and moved toward the building’s entrance. As he dragged her along, he said, “If I tell you to follow me, you should be carefully following me. Why be so difficult?”

She continued to protest, “Where are we going? There are probably policemen everywhere outside. How are you going to get out?”

He turned to her and replied with a slight smile, “Breakthrough,” then took her by the wrist and continued pulling her along.

 

Before the entrance doors, they confronted a small cordon of police with shields and batons. Choi Young stopped, studied the scene briefly, let go of the doctor, and then extended one hand toward the row of police. As he did so, energy that looked like small bits of lightning began crackling around his hand and arm. When he thrust his hand at the police, the energy expanded and leaped into the police line, knocking them down and breaking the wall of glass behind them. Then he did the same thing to another group of police standing just outside the building. Too scared to move, the doctor was crouched down behind him and stared at what he had done to the police line, unable to believe her eyes. He turned to her and bent down, saying, “Please excuse me,” then lifted her up and put her over his shoulder. She cried out in surprise and protest, but his grip on her was very firm. He also picked up one of the large transparent police shields. Then he left the building.

 

The police were slow to reorganize themselves, and the people Choi Young encountered on the street took one look at the expression on his face and the sword he carried and gave him a wide berth. He quickly made his way back up the hill to the monument. He could see that the doorway was still open, roaring and swirling. He set her down on some nearby steps.

She was frantic. She pleaded with him, “Please let me go!”

He could understand her fear, but he had a mission to complete. Looking at the portal, he said to her, “We have to go there.”

The swirling energy terrified her. “Let me go! Please!”

He tried to reassure her, “I won’t kill you. If you save that person, I will bring you back.”

She sat down on the steps and cried, “Liar! I’ve seen your face. I saw in movies that when you’ve seen the kidnapper’s face, you get killed...” She began to sob.

He tried once again to reassure her. He knelt down in front of her, one hand on her shoulder, and looked directly into her eyes. “I am Choi Young, a warrior of Goryeo. For my name and life, I will help you return again. I promise you.”

She didn’t look reassured, but the time for talking was over. The queen’s life was ebbing away. He helped her up, took her by the wrist, and pulled her after him through the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's the next installment of my adaptation of Faith. I hope you enjoy reading it! I'll post the remaining part of Ep. 2 later this week. I don't want to post too much at a time in case that exceeds the allowed length of posts on Soompi.

Chapter 3: Village on the border of Yuan (Ep. 2)

After Choi Young disappeared through the door to heaven, both Choon-sik and Il-shin urged the king to return to the inn where they could better protect him. But the king refused. “We were planning to pray for three days and nights anyway, so I have to at least do that. I shall wait.” As they waited, Woodalchi Vice-Commander Choon-sik thought about how Choi Young had walked through the door with no hesitation or dissembling after receiving the King’s order. He wasn’t surprised by it, he just felt admiration for his Commander’s courage and hoped he would succeed. 

 

He remembered the time when the Commander had first come to the Woodalchi. Choon-sik himself had been next in line to lead the troop, but Choi Young had been appointed instead. Choon-sik had long ago released any resentment about being passed over; he had known he was overmatched. Choi Young had already been the youngest second-in-command of an elite group known as the Red Moon Army. They specialized in attacking and killing Japanese pirates and other enemies of Goryeo that preyed on the populace. But the Red Moon army had abruptly been dissolved by a previous king and its members assigned to the Woodalchi, so the remaining members of that group had joined at the same time Choi Young arrived.

 

At that time the Woodalchi were not regarded highly, so Choi Young’s appointment as their commander was viewed as a demotion. He came with a reputation as a prodigious fighter and one Woodalchi who tried to challenge him was quickly put in his place. Still, Choon-sik was not impressed at their first meeting. Choi Young entered the barracks and asked where a bed was. He immediately went there and slept for most of two days. 

 

However, Choi Young soon proved his mettle. Disputes and harassment of the Woodalchi by the palace guards had become commonplace. In one instance, Choi Young learned of a fight in progress, started by a group of palace guards that regularly harassed the Woodalchi. He immediately went there and waded into the middle of it, quickly felling the instigators. With this and a few other demonstrations, Choi Young served notice that the Woodalchi would no longer be easy targets. Although he took a hands-off approach to leadership, leaving most of the training and direction to Choon-sik, the men drew inspiration from their Commander and the other Red Moon members that had come with him, studying their fighting techniques and strategies and acquiring a more professional attitude. Over the seven years that Choi Young had led the Woodalchi, their skills and reputation had grown considerably.

 

Choon-sik’s musings abruptly ended when he saw Choi Young return through the doorway. He led a woman by the wrist who was dressed in odd, light-colored clothing and carried a large blue leather bag. He approached the king with her in tow and said, “I have escorted her here. She is a doctor of the heavens.” The king frowned as he looked at her. He hadn’t expected a woman doctor, and she looked a bit wild-eyed and fearful. As for her, she only saw a small man surrounded by soldiers. 

 

It quickly became clear to everyone that she wasn’t there by choice. As soon as Choi Young released her wrist, she headed back to the doorway.  He caught up to her and grabbed her wrist, more forcefully this time as his patience was wearing thin. She fought him, crying, “Let go of me!” But he turned and pushed her ahead of him toward the king’s party. They returned to the inn, leaving a small contingent of Woodalchi to keep watch at the portal.

 

Arriving at the inn, Choi Young brought the doctor to the room where Dr. Jang was tending the Queen and told him who she was. The Doctor from heaven looked around, hardly glancing at the Queen. Out of patience, Choi Young said to her, “What are you doing?” And gesturing to the queen, “You have to save her.” Dr. Jang began to explain the queen’s condition to the other Doctor, that they had slowed her heart rate with acupuncture, but she had lost a lot of blood. He thought it best to close the wound but was afraid that qi and blood might clash because the vein was severed between Cheongyi and Yepung.

 

She looked at Dr. Jang with utter incomprehension, saying, “What and what?” As Dr. Jang continued to talk about the Queen’s condition, she suddenly smiled and said to Choi Young, “Ah! I got it! I got it! You’re in the middle of filming some kind of movie, right? And an accident happened while filming. You’re afraid the police will find out, so you kidnapped a doctor to help out…right?” 

Dr. Jang looked at the Commander. “What is she talking about?” Choi Young only shrugged his shoulders. 

 

Getting no little or no response from the warrior, she turned to Dr. Jang and urged him, “Just call 911. If I treat a patient like this and an accident happens, my license will be revoked! Just…think of it as saving both me and this patient, and call 911, okay? Should I do it?” and she began to get her cell phone out of her purse. 

Chagrined, Dr. Jang again spoke to Choi Young. “Is she really a doctor? How could a doctor not even look at a patient right beside her?”

Hearing him, she briefly looked chastened, but then continued in a cheery voice, “I’ll put in a good word for you to the police and the hospital. Seriously! I swear! So then…” Holding her phone above her head she walked toward the doorway, looking for a cell phone signal. But other Woodalchi blocked her way.

 

Choi Young walked over to her, leaned down to put his face in front of her and said, “How many times do I have to tell you so that you can remember the order in which things will happen? First, save that person. Afterwards, I will take you back.” 

All of the air seemed to go out of her as she resigned herself to the situation. She sighed and walked back to where the Queen lay and examined the wound. She prepared to operate and sterilized the instruments. Choi Young had seen the implements she used in the previous operation. He pointed them out to Dr. Jang, who was assisting her, when she called for them. She used the hooks to keep the wound open so she could see, then found the pieces of the vein and sewed them back together. Lastly, she stitched the wound and placed a large bandage over it. Again, he was impressed with her skill and efficiency.

 

Once finished with the surgery, the Doctor from heaven checked the queen’s heart rate. She gave instructions not to move the Queen and to check her vitals regularly. She added that, since she had done the surgery in such a wretched place, they should watch her closely in case of an infection, and to keep sterilizing.  Then the Doctor left the room and went downstairs to leave.  She tried to open the inn’s main door, but once again, Choi Young followed to stop her. She cringed away from him while pleading, “Please let me live! I did the surgery…!” 

He slapped his hand around her wrist and began dragging her back to the interior of the inn while saying, “She hasn’t woken up yet.”

“You have to wait and see!”

“Exactly, so you should be waiting. Where are you going?”

Struggling and trying to break his grip, she cried, “What am I supposed to do? I did everything I could do here!”

 

As they argued, Choi Young looked up and suddenly stopped, turned and bowed.  The doctor also looked up to see the short man she´d seen at the portal. He was standing above them on the second floor landing and was dressed in robes that were more ornate than the men on either side of him. She smiled at him and asked, “Are you her guardian? You just need to watch over the patient carefully now.” 

The King asked, “Will she be able to return to consciousness?”

“Well I can’t answer that. That patient is not my responsibility. I would like you to understand that point clearly. This surgery…I did it because I was forced to. This has nothing to do with my medical license…”

The King interrupted, addressing her, “Person from heaven…”

Me?”

“My country rests on that woman’s life.”

Country?”

“Seeing as heaven has sent you. Believing that heaven is caring for my country … Can I think like that?”

Very confused, she looked away in despair and muttered, “That person is even weirder!” She sat down, put her head in her hands and cried, “Wake up! If this is a dream, please wake up!” 

This woman was so incomprehensible, upset and difficult to deal with that Choi Young thought the sooner they returned this person to heaven, the better.

 

Meanwhile, two other things were happening. First, a servant girl had sneaked out of the inn. She went to a man with a scarred face and reported to him that not only was the Queen still alive, a divine healer from heaven had healed the Queen’s wound. He in turn, attached a small note to a homing pigeon’s leg and sent it off. The girl returned to the inn. Second, at the door to heaven, the Woodalchi stationed there noticed that the swirling cloud was gradually getting smaller. The man in charge of the small group, Ju-seok, was third-in-command of the Woodalchi. He sent one of the men to tell the Commander that they thought the door was beginning to close.

 

The king called Choi Young and Il-shin to his room to discuss what to do with the doctor. Il-shin was firmly against returning the doctor to heaven. “That person shone with light from heaven and saved Her Majesty the Queen. Heaven sent her to us. Why would you return her there?”

Choi Young interjected, “Didn’t I say I promised the healer that if she saved the Queen, I would return her?”

Il-shin continued pressing the king, “Your Highness, right now, there are powerful people in Goryeo who, if they had the chance, would take over Goryeo completely. They would offer Goryeo to Yuan and just wait to grab the prize from that. They will do everything to make that happen. If you return to Goryeo with heaven’s healer, those people would never dare look down on you. And you can promise them that they will do well with you as King. Your Majesty would become a king backed by the heavens! This is the way for Your Majesty to live… and for the country to live! Heaven is giving this to us, Your Majesty!”

 

As Il-shin spoke, Choi Young became increasingly uneasy and impatient. At last he shoved Il-shin aside and approached the king, telling him, “I made the promise as Goryeo’s Warrior.” Il-shin began to speak again, but the king waved him away. Choi Young continued, “You grew up in Yuan so you might not know, but a Goryeo warrior makes that promise with his life.”

But the king said, “Didn’t you just hear? If I can bring that heavenly healer with me to Goryeo, he says it will guarantee my safety.”

“If your safety can only be guaranteed by going that far, that is a bit…”

“A bit…?”

“Pathetic, isn’t it?”

Il shin was outraged for the King, “You bastard!” 

The King calmly replied. “If it is for the sake of the land, it’s more important than one person’s promise, is it not?”

Choi Young, angry now, realized he was fighting for his life. “For the nation, this so-called loyal subject”, referring to Il-shin, “Says to give honorable promises to dogs. And I, as a warrior, have killed people for this country. But you as the king, shouldn’t you be a little different from people like us? Isn’t that right?”

The King and Choi Young stared at each other for a moment. Finally, the king said, “I will take some time to decide. We will talk later.”

 

While they waited for the Queen to regain consciousness, the Doctor from heaven was placed a separate room with guards outside the door, and the servant girl was tending to her. The Doctor couldn’t get a signal on her cell phone to call for help, so she tried offering the girl money to help her leave. The girl ignored her, but before she left the room, she unlocked a door that led outside. The King’s enemies would be all too pleased to encounter the Doctor on the streets of the village.  A short while later, Dae-man went to check on her. He found the door open and the Doctor gone. 

 

The Doctor from heaven was moving away from the inn and down the street as fast as she could. Along the way she asked every so often where a she might find a taxi. No one understood her; most of them only spoke the Yuan language. Finally she tried asking for a telephone in both Chinese and English, but again received no response. A group of children trooped along with her, exclaiming at the fabric of her jacket and pointing to her shoes. She held up her cell phone to see if she could get a signal, and spied Dae-man in the screen´s reflection, following her.  She ducked into a booth selling clothing and hid among some clothes hanging on a rack. Dae-man had seen her go in that direction but couldn’t tell where she had gone. Stymied, he paid a man to go to the inn and tell Choi Young where he was, and then he waited. She slipped out the back of the small stall and began to climb a hill adjacent to the village, thinking she might be able to get a cell phone signal from a higher elevation. When she looked back down at the village, she was astonished. It was really quite large for a movie set.

 

Choi Young was drowsing when the messenger brought the news about the doctor’s escape. Irritated to have his sleep interrupted, but then immediately alert once he was given Dae-man´s message, he hung his new shield over his back, grabbed his sword, and began to leave. Worried for his commander, Choon-sik asked if he wasn’t going to take someone with him. He replied that they had stayed in the village too long and were likely to be attacked again. He wanted as many men at the inn as possible. He turned and addressed them. “Those people have already seen our tactics, so they won’t use the same method again. If I were them, I’d reduce our numbers one by one quietly. Attack one side to attract attention, then make a back assault. Let’s use a triple defense.” 

Choon-sik confirmed, “Then…His Majesty is the most important.” 

Choi Young interrupted him. “No, Her Majesty is the center.” 

“But what about His Majesty?”

Annoyed, Choi Young replied, “Figure it out for yourself! Guard him well.”

Then he left with the messenger to find Dae-man and the Doctor. 

 

Above the village, the Doctor still had no cell phone signal and walked back down the hill, ending up in a different part of the town. She was puzzled, wondering if this was also part of the filming site. No one appeared to be home and no doors opened when she pounded on them and called out. Frustrated and tired, she shouted as loud as she could, “Is anyone here?!” Finally, she saw a blacksmith in his shop pounding on a piece of metal. She approached him, excusing herself and telling him she had a question. He didn’t answer her. Suddenly there were two more men behind her. One of them was the scarred man to whom the servant girl had reported. Still not understanding her danger, she began to ask him how she could go to the COEX in Gangnam. All three of them surrounded her and began closing in. She finally understood that she was in trouble.  She tried to run away but they blocked her. She took off one shoe with its very high heel and tried to fight them off with it. One of them promptly took aim with his fist and hit her, knocking her unconscious. 

 

Choi Young and Dae-man were exploring several directions in order to pick up a clue. At last Choi Young spotted some children playing with something unusual. It was the heel to one of the Doctor’s shoes. A little further on they saw the rest of her shoe. Looking at the ground, the Commander saw drops of fresh blood and several footprints. He told Dae-man, “It was done by three men, and the blood may belong to her. They have to be the same bastards, the ones that attacked us earlier. They blocked the boats at the dock and tied us down, then they attacked the inn. But how could they have known about the Doctor’s identity?” 

Dae-man said, “There’s a leak?”

“There is.” 

Wondering how to find the Doctor, Choi Young thought that whoever had tied the boats up might be able to tell them who arranged that. He asked Dae-man, “Who keeps the boats?”

“The boatman was a Goryeo person, but …”

“Let’s go there.”

 

They found the boatman snoring in his hammock, with an empty bottle of wine on his chest. Choi Young pounded on his chest with the bottle to wake him up. “This wine bottle, with whose money did you buy it?”

The boatman slurred, “Er, there is no boat!”

Choi Young hit him again in the chest with the wine bottle and repeated, “With whose money did you buy this?!”

The boatman shouted, “I said there is no boat! Aish!”

Choi Young violently tipped over the hammock, grabbed the boatman off the floor by his shirt, dragged him over to a full water barrel, and held his head under water. When he let him up again, he gave the boatman a moment to get his breath, and then repeated, “Who is it? Who gave you money to hide the boats?”

“I said there are no boats!”

His head went back under the water and stayed there. Finally, the boatman held up his hand and waved it in surrender. This time, when he could finally breathe again, he directed them to the blacksmith’s workshop.

 

The two Woodalchi were spotted by the scar-faced man as they approached. The Doctor had been bound and gagged, and one of the men stayed upstairs, hidden with her to keep her quiet, while the blacksmith continued at his forge. The scarred man had already sent a homing pigeon asking for instructions on what to do with her. 

 

Walking into the blacksmith’s workshop, Dae-man went upstairs while Choi Young stayed on the ground floor, looking around. When he turned his back on the blacksmith for a moment, the man ran at him with a sword. Choi Young heard him coming, ducked and moved aside. He didn’t even remove his own sword; the other man wasn’t a warrior and moved clumsily. When the man turned to attack him again, he knocked the sword away and hit the blacksmith several times, dropping him to the ground. The man tried one more time to hit the Commander, who used his long legs to kick him back to the floor. Choi Young picked him up by the hair, cuffed him hard as he struggled, and dragged him to the fire. He started to push the man’s face into it. As the man saw what the warrior was going to do, he cried out. Dae-man, who knew the Yuan language, told Choi Young that the man had said he would talk. 

He stopped and leaned down, taking the man’s chin in his hand. “Tell me what?” 

“He says he has nothing to do with it. He doesn’t know anything,” said Dae-man.

“That’s not what I want to hear.” He harshly cuffed the blacksmith again and forced his face toward the fire.

The man screamed and shouted words in panic. Dae-man interpreted, “They are planning to use poison. At the inn.” When Choi Young released his hold, the man threw his arms around the warrior’s legs, begging for mercy. “He will tell you where it is!”

The Commander lifted and shoved the blacksmith in the direction he had indicated, who took them to barrels covered by woven bamboo. When uncovered they saw stacks of small pottery balls, each with a cork stuck in a small hole.  Choi Young careful uncorked one and took a cautious sniff. It was poisonous gas.

The man spoke again. “He says it’s already started! His Majesty is in danger!”

The Commander hesitated for a second and looked back into the workshop. He was sure the Doctor was there somewhere. He hated to leave her, but there was no question of not protecting the King. They shoved the blacksmith aside and started running for the inn. Dae-man was faster and ran ahead. 

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Chapter 4, Frontier Village (Ep 2, continued)

 

The blacksmith had been correct, another attack on the inn had already started. Choon-sik had regularly called out to each group of soldiers stationed around the inn and on the roof.  But the soldier guarding one part of the roof was no longer responding. Choo-sik blew his whistle to signal they were being attacked. Almost immediately attackers began to swing down from the roof, throwing balls of poison gas through windows and doors. And there were three archers on the roof of a nearby building who shot anyone who tried to leave. Dae-man arrived and saw that the archers were a primary problem. He was small but very fast, able to climb and use acrobatic skills to surprise and attack opponents. He climbed to the roof and disabled the three archers, taking them from behind by surprise, then knocked two other men off the roof.  

 

But the gas was spreading inside the inn. People covered their noses and mouths with their cowls and accompanied the king downstairs, heading for the door now that the archers had been disabled. Dr. Jang picked the queen up in his arms and, led by the servant girl, began to follow the king’s party. In the smoke’s haze, he couldn’t see that the servant girl was leading him in a different direction. The King also noticed that Dr. Jang hadn’t come down the stairs with the Queen. Frantic about where the Queen had been taken, he went back up, and the Woodalchi followed, searching for the Queen.

 

The servant girl had taken Dr. Jang and the still-unconscious Queen outside to a low balcony. While the doctor was carefully setting the Queen down and propping her up against a railing, the girl locked the door from the outside, preventing the defenders from reaching them. It was an exposed position, and almost immediately two attackers jumped onto the balcony. Dr. Jang was kept busy fending them off. Behind his back the servant girl was about to stab the Queen. But just then the Queen woke up and glared at her. Momentarily shocked, the girl hesitated. Her pause was just long enough that Choi Young, arriving at that moment, was able to throw his shield at the servant girl, instantly killing her. The other Woodalchi soon broke through the locked door and dealt with the remaining attackers.  Choi Young knelt in front of the Queen to see how she was doing. He stood as the King rushed over and told him that she was awake. The King asked her if she was all right. The Queen groggily replied, “Why is it so noisy here?”

 

Upon hearing the Queen speak, Choi Young asked the King, “Your Majesty, the Doctor from heaven has saved her. If I find her, may I keep my promise to her?” The King said he was still deciding, and that he should go find her. Choi Young and Dae-man returned to the blacksmith’s shop, Dae-man once again running ahead of the Commander. As Choi Young entered, Dae-man reported, “There’s no one here. Even if they caught her here, they would have taken her somewhere else. Let’s get 10 of our warriors, search everywhere in town and in the mountains…”

While Dae-man was talking, Choi Young became increasingly angry and frustrated. There was no time to do a search. He had to get the King to Goryeo before there were more attacks. In times of strong feelings his inner energy surged, and this time it traveled from his heart down his arm and into his hand, where he released it in a line of energy into the ground. He closed his eyes, breathed out to calm himself and said to Dae-man, “I’m going to look around more. You go and report to the Vice-Commander.”

 

Suddenly they heard a high voice say, “Please feed me!” It was coming from upstairs. They heard it again, “Please feed me!” The battery on the doctor’s phone was running out of power and the voice was an automated message informing the phone’s owner that it needed charging. The remaining man guarding the Doctor searched frantically through her purse for what was making the noise but couldn’t stop it even when he found the device. As the two warriors began to climb the stairs, the man dragged the Doctor to the top of the stairs, kept her in front of him, and held a knife to her throat. He spoke and Dae-man interpreted. “He said to move aside. If not…he will kill her.” Choi Young motioned to Dae-man with his eyes. Dae-man climbed over the side railing to distract the man, who obligingly turned just a little to watch him and then turned back, exposing a small part of his chest in the process. That gave Choi Young the opening he needed. In a flash he took his knife from behind him and threw it, piercing the man’s chest. He collapsed.

 

The doctor slowly sat down on the stairs, sobbing. Choi Young knelt in front of her, removed the rope around her hands and reached around her head to remove the gag. While freeing her he scolded, “You really are a troublesome person. Didn’t I tell you to wait? Where do you think this place is, to run out like that? And look at you now!”

She was still crying but looked resentful at his words. He softened a bit, reaching out to take her chin in his hand so he could look at her wounded lip, saying, “Let me see.” She knocked his hand away and got up, still sobbing, limping on one shoe across the room to get her purse. Dae-man had found it and offered it to her, and she grabbed it from him and limped toward the stairs on her one remaining high heel. They approached her as she started down the stairs, but she cried, “Just try to follow me!” She threw her remaining shoe at them, saying, “I’ll hurt you!” 

Choi Young let her go, but called after her, “Her Majesty the Queen has awoken. That’s why I was going to send you back.” She turned and paused, and Choi Young once again approached her. “Let’s go to where you came from.” He bowed to her, “We’ll take you back.” 

He reached for her purse to carry it for her, but she shied away from him. She sobbed, “Just try…putting me on that dirty shoulder again, like I’m a bag of luggage!” She turned away to walk out of the shop, still muttering as she sobbed. 

 

Choi Young sighed. Direct action was called for. He came up behind her and easily picked her up in his arms. Surprised and already traumatized, she fought him, crying, “Killer! Psychopath!” Then she looked up at his face, which was looking back at her calmly. She paused. He didn’t appear to mean her any harm. He told Dae-man to return to the inn and say that he was bringing the Doctor back to heaven’s door.

Then he warned her, “If you fall, you’ll break,” and walked out with her in his arms. As he carried her, he began to smile; he had actually managed to quiet her for once.

 

Once they were out of the village and on grass, he put her down so she could walk in her bare feet. She followed him as he walked toward heaven’s door, saying, “I know this place from earlier! But… I don’t know how I got to here from Gangnam! Wait up, let’s go together!”

Arriving at the portal, Choi Young gestured to it. “Can you see? The door is getting smaller. If that closes, there’s no way to take you back. So please go.”

Hesitating, she asked, “I can just…go through there? Then will some door open?”

“You just have to go through.”

“You mean that I have to get through that? Don’t you have to do a test? Are there any glitches or malfunctions?”

Choi Young came around in front of her. She looked anxious, but he simply bowed deeply to her, saying, “Thank you for the hard work. You did well.” Surprised by this gracious gesture, she bowed back to him. Then she started slowly toward the door as he stayed in a bow to honor her.

 

All at once, they heard a shout, “STOP!” It was Il-shin accompanied by several Woodalchi, including Choon-sik and Dae-man. “Heaven’s Healer, you can’t go!”

The doctor paused and Choi Young stalked over to confront Il-shin.

“I, Goryeo’s Warrior Choi Young, am sending her back in my name.” Then he shouted, “The person who ignores my name! Who is it?” He drew his sword, saying, “Try to stop me!”

Smugly, Il-shin calmly replied, “His Majesty said so, Woodalchi. To stop the person from the heavens.”

Choi Young thrust his sword toward Il-shin. “Lies! I can’t believe that.” Everyone took a step backward, eying his sword.

But Il-shin looked to the other Woodalchi. “Didn’t you hear? Catch her! It’s the King’s order!”

He turned to the Commander again with a smile. “Woodalchi Choi Young, I said it’s a royal order. Will you go against it?”

Choi Young found it hard to believe the King would throw his life away, but there it was. No one was contradicting Il-shin. The other Woodalchi, although reluctant, were beginning to draw their swords at Il-shin’s command. He looked toward the Doctor, who had paused to listen to the discussion. She saw him turn toward her and she began running to the door, but he caught up with her before she could enter the portal. He grabbed her by the wrist and began pulling her back. She shouted, “Let go! Let me go!” and frantically struggled to get away. He was holding his sword in one hand and drove it into the ground point first in order to use both hands to restrain her. He held her arms, pulling her back up against him as she fought to get loose. But something else was happening, too. They both paused to look at the portal. The swirling cloud and roaring noise, which had been decreasing all day, abruptly disappeared. A few dark tendrils remained for a few seconds before they too vanished. The door had closed.

 

Choi Young released the Doctor and she ran to the stones, looking at the space they enclosed and touching them in disbelief. She realized that she would not be able to go home; she was stranded here. 

The Commander left her and returned to Il-shin, saying with great bitterness, “His subject, I, Choi Young…followed the order and caught the person from heaven.”  Il-shin looked very pleased with himself.

The Commander heard, “Hey, you jerk!” from behind him. He turned to see the Doctor, her face twisted with rage. “You promised me!” She pulled his sword out of the ground and pointed it at him, “You said you would help me return! You psycho! Murderer! I’m going to kill you!” And she began running toward him holding the sword in front her. He kept his sword razor sharp; even having just been driven into the ground, it could easily penetrate leather. He saw how he could pay for violating his vow to her. Facing her, he held his arms away from his body as she ran at him, gathering momentum. The sword pierced his abdomen a little to the left of center and above his waist; his body jerked with the blow. The Doctor, suddenly coming back to her right mind, couldn’t believe what she had just done. She let go of the sword’s hilt, staring at it and Choi Young in abhorrence. 

 

But there was worse to come. Everyone’s jaws dropped as Choi Young placed his hands on the hilt and pulled the sword further into him and through the rest of his body, his face twisting in pain. Those behind him saw the point of the sword emerge from his back. His men cried out, and the Doctor also cried, “Wh-why? H-How come? You could have avoided it, so why?!”

He said to her through his shock and pain, “If I do this…” and then whispering, “have I made it right?” And then he fell to his knees. The horrified Doctor also knelt in front of him, trying to decide what to do.

 

At the inn, during the events at the portal, the queen was asking about the king’s decision to prevent the Doctor from returning to heaven. “A Goryeo warrior’s promise is guaranteed by his life. He made a promise, putting his life on the line, but there was an order that went against it. So there were two options. Either to refuse the royal order, or to die. Did you want him to choose one?” The king didn’t answer her.

The queen continued, “That’s not it…That means, either way, Choi Young is to die.”

The king got up from his chair and walked toward her angrily. “Are you criticizing me right now?”

“No, I would not do that. I’m just organizing my thoughts. Did Your Highness really want to kill him? I’m curious about that.”

The king looked discomfited but didn’t say anything.

 

At the portal, there was chaos. Dae-man was filled with rage and grief. He shoved the Doctor away and went to Choi Young, who was collapsing. Il-shin slapped Dae-man, saying, “Crazy bastard! How dare you touch the Doctor that came from the heavens!”  Choon-sik and another Woodachi, Dol-bae, grabbed Choi Young’s shoulders and supported his upper body, keeping his back off the ground so the end of the sword wouldn’t press into it. 

Ignoring Choi Young and smiling, Il-shin went to the Doctor and offered her a hand up, saying, “His Majesty is waiting. I will escort you there.” But the Doctor was having none of it.

Keeping her eyes on Choi Young, she said to Il-shin, “Move aside.”

“Miss, His Majesty…” 

Shoving him away, she cried, “I said move aside!” She rushed to Choi Young, knelt beside him and asked, “Can you hear me? Are you conscious?” She touched his neck to feel his pulse and said to the men holding him, “This sword, be careful not to move it. It’s blocking further bleeding.”

Il-shin tried again, “Look here, we don’t have time. We don’t know when they will come after us again. They are not only after His Majesty. For sure, they are aiming for you, the Doctor from Heaven, as well.”

She wasn’t listening to him. She was saying, almost to herself, “We don’t have blood and we can’t do transfusion.” And then to Choon-sik, “We have to do surgery right away! Is there something like tape?”

“Tape? What is that?”

“We have to keep the sword in place while moving him. Something like strong cloth.” Choon-sik began removing his cowl to give to her.

Still trying to get them moving, Il-shin shouted, “I said we don’t have time for this!” And then more solicitously, “Here…we have to move now.”

She replied, “Where are we going?! What about this person?!” Choi Young was beginning to shake, going into shock.

“We have to leave him,” Il-shin replied. Then he knelt in front of Choi Young and directly addressed him, saying, “Woodalchi, if you are conscious, answer me. If we stay here because of you, His Highness will be in danger. So we have to leave you here. Don’t you agree?”

Choi Young had heard Il-shin and managed to get out, “Go.”

Choon-sik told him, “I will leave some men…” 

His Commander interrupted him. Through gritted teeth, “Don’t have me say it again. It hurts. Take everyone and go!”

But the Doctor disagreed. “I can’t go!”

Il-shin kept trying, “You don’t know the situation…”

“I know the situation! You’re the one that doesn’t know the situation! I stabbed this person, and if he dies, I become a murderer. I’m not losing him!”

“Fine. Then let’s do this.” Il-shin reached down and with a grunt, pulled the sword out from the wounded man’s abdomen. Choi Young writhed in agony and blood began to leak out of his wound. Addressing the Doctor, he said, “Now I am the one who killed him. So don’t worry anymore, and please get up.”

The Woodalchi were outraged, and the Doctor was nearly beside herself. She placed her hands over the wound and pressed down to staunch the flow of blood. She cried, “My tools!  Get them ready!” Choon-sik sent Dae-man for them.

Everyone ignored Il-shin. The Doctor showed the Woodalchi where to keep pressure on the wound to reduce bleeding until she could operate.

Il-shin still wasn’t giving up. In his stentorian voice he shouted, “Everyone, receive my order! Escort the Doctor of the Heavens and ...”

Choon-sik shouted, “The one who came from the heavens has already made an order! To apply pressure!” Il-shin finally understood that he had lost the battle of wills.

 

Running into the inn, Dae-man rushed upstairs toward the king’s room, told the guards he had to get the heavenly tools, and pushed his way into the king’s room. Panting, he said to the King, “I came to get the tools. The person from heaven told me to bring them.” He ran over to the instruments and gathered them up in a cloth.

The King asked, “Why does she need them?”

With tears in his eyes, he replied, “The Commander…was stabbed by a sword!”

“He was stabbed? Then…he disobeyed my orders? Is that why you slew him?”

Dae-man was in a frenzy, nearly sobbing, and responded, “None of us can slay him! Not even all of us together could slay him. Please! The Commander will die…I have to take this to the Doctor.” He went toward the door with the tools wrapped in a cloth. As he did so a small vial fell out of the cloth and rolled onto the floor.

The King shouted, “Didn’t I ask you?! I asked what Woodalchi’s Choi Young did with the order!”

Dae-man turned around and knelt before the king, sobbing out, “Your order…he followed it. That’s why he’s dying. So please!”

The Queen interjected, “Go. I am permitting it.” 

Dae-man stood and ran out the door, inadvertently stepping on the small vial and crushing it as he went. 

The Queen turned to the Royal Doctor. “Jang Bin, go. Choi Young saved my life…in the name of the Queen, I command you, go and save him.” Dr. Jang left with Dae-man.

 

Noticing the King staring at her, the Queen asked him, “Will it be alright for me to give orders like this, Your Majesty?”

He stalked toward her and spoke. His voice was tight with anger. “I won’t say this twice. Listen carefully.”

“I’m listening.”

“From now on, whatever you do, you have to get my permission first. Upon my command, you, the Queen, will follow with each word, each step. Do you understand? I know that the precious Yuan princess, who was handed over to someone like me, is angry. Having to leave your own country and go to a country you are not familiar with. You are being dragged there. You might even want to rebel. But…I’m this country’s one King, and you are one of the people in my country. So please fix your manners.” He paused. “Are you not going to answer?”

The Queen looked at him coolly, “To answer…you haven’t given me the order to do that yet, so I could not answer.”

The King was a bit taken aback by her subtle defiance but didn’t respond. He turned and left the room.

 

They had improvised a litter to carry Choi Young. They kept pressure on the wound and the Doctor from heaven constantly checked on him as they moved as quickly as possible back to the inn. 

She told him, “You have to stay with me! Can you hear me?”

He rasped, “You’re touching me here and there, all over…how would I go unconscious?”

“If your heart rate keeps increasing, you could go into shock. I can’t do a blood transfusion here, so regardless…”

Choi Young was still mindful of Il-shin’s comment and didn’t want to delay the King’s departure for a moment. Using the last of his strength, he reached up and grabbed the front of her collar, raising his head. With great effort he said, “You didn’t kill me.”

“What?!”

“You could never stab me unless I let you. Listen to me carefully. If you really want to save me, leave me and go. I will figure out a way to live so…please, leave me!”

She pushed his hand down from her collar and said, “SHUT UP!”

What?”

“I said, shut up! Listen carefully. The order goes like this. First, I will save you. Then you are free to live or die, but not now!” He stared at her, nonplussed. Then, exhausted and in great pain, fell back on the litter.

 

When they reached the inn, they laid Choi Young on a table and both doctors prepared for surgery. As the Woodalchi gathered around them, she told them to boil water and to get as many clean cloths as possible, the more the better. Looking through what Dae-man had brought her, she asked, “Where’s the antibiotic? It’s a little vial about this big. If we don’t have that and continue in filth like this, he will contract blood poisoning and die.

Dae-man suddenly remembered the little vial he had stepped on. He grabbed his head. “Ai!”

Understanding that he didn’t have it, she put her hands out in front of her and said to the Woodalchi, “You guys go outside. Don’t even come near! You’re filled with bacteria!” They all backed away except for Choon-sik, who was still pressing on the wound. Turning to Dr. Jang, she said, “We need antibiotics and anesthesia. Is there anything similar?” He didn’t understand the words, but he sent an aide to get his medical kit from the king’s room. 

 

After some discussion, it turned out they did have a type of anesthetic, and an aide began dripping the liquid onto a cloth covering the patient’s nose and mouth. After a few minutes, the Doctor anxiously asked Dr. Jang, “Why is he still conscious?”

“How could we block consciousness so quickly? Please wait.”

“We’ve got to do the surgery right now!”

“As he’s the Commander, he can withstand the pain.”

She vehemently disagreed. “It isn’t a matter of him withstanding the pain! I’m about to cut open his abdomen to see the extent of organ damage and proceed accordingly. But if he is straining his belly to withstand pain, his organs will stiffen. Then I won’t have a clear view, and I won’t be able to suture properly.”

The aide cut short the discussion by saying, “He’s lost it.”

“Lost what?”

“His consciousness.” She ran her fingers over Choi Young’s eyelashes to be sure. They didn’t move. 

 

An assistant had already boiled and sterilized the instruments. She asked him to have more boiled water ready, so they could irrigate where bleeding occurred as much as possible. She told Dr. Jang that, since they didn’t have suction, they’d have to sop up the blood with the white cloths continuously. After sterilizing, she put on her gloves, mask and magnifying lenses and then picked up a scalpel. 

Dr. Jang grabbed her wrist. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to cut the abdomen open from the solar plexus to the navel. That’s how we can see where he’s injured. So far it looks to be liver damage. We have to open him up to see for sure. Look here, if I don’t stop the bleeding, he’ll just die. So let go!”

Dr. Jang was skeptical. “And you, who stabbed him, are saying that you will save him…How can I trust you?”

She spoke confidently and sincerely, “Please believe me.”

“How?”

“Since it seems that I am… a person from heaven, …you can believe me.” He reluctantly let go of her wrist, and she began to cut into Choi Young’s abdomen.

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Chapter 5: Frontier Village, Road to Goryeo, and Gae Kyeong, Capital of Goryeo (Ep 3)

 

Ki-chul’s plan to become the most powerful man in Goryeo had been proceeding well up to now. Making Goryeo part of Yuan was part of that plan. His official title was Prince of the Court from Deokseong, and he would be highly favored through his family connection with the current empress of Yuan, his younger sister. So, while the new King’s party was still on their way home, he disposed of the Goryeo court advisors who favored independence. He had sent a secret letter to each of them, saying that the King had been attacked and the Queen had been assassinated. The letter called for an emergency meeting, naming a specific time and place. He had an accomplice among the advisors, Ja-won, who encouraged them to attend. Then, when they were gathered, Ja-won quietly left. The doors and windows were blocked and poison gas thrown into the room. That was end of the loyal advisors except for Il-shin, who had been with the King during his time in Yuan.

 

However, Ki-chul was just learning from a messenger that his men had failed to kill the new Queen. He had been counting on her death as an excuse Yuan could use to end Goryeo’s independence once and for all. He was furious.  

Slamming his hand on a table, he shouted, “How could this happen?!” 

His personal physician and assistant, Yang-sa, knelt and cowered in fear. “We’ll take care of it right away.”

“Right away? Oh, something that’s taken me years to plan, you’ll take care of it right away.” “Forgive my impudence.”

Ki-chul continued to rant, “I have taken down a King, and I have made another King…And now that King was about to wrap up this nation and deliver it to me. I haven’t been able to sleep well or enjoyed a meal waiting for this day. And the princess of Yuan still lives?!”

 

Ki-chul’s pledged brother [close connection but not a blood relative], Cheon Eum-ja, told him, “Pledged sister is running to them. Please wait for one day.” They expected her to find out what had happened and correct the situation. Both Eum-ja and the pledged sister, Hwa-su-in, had inner powers, as did Ki-chul himself. They had all studied under the same teacher and were a potent triad.

Ki-chul growled, “The Yuan princess has to die. That woman cannot live to enter the border. That is not the picture I drew.” 

Then Ki-chul directed Eum-ja to take care of the messenger; he had heard too much. Once the others had left the room, Eum-ja took his special flute and began to play. His inner power was sound, and he could kill with it. It combined a high-pitched sound with other aspects of his inner power that disrupted the brain’s functions. The messenger quickly collapsed, holding his head, and died.

 

The doctor responsible for the Queen still being alive was operating on Choi Young. She found that most of his organs were intact. Miraculously, only the liver was damaged, but it was bleeding profusely. They frequently had to stop to sop up excess blood, and a pile of bloody cloths began to accumulate on the floor. She tied off the bigger blood vessels and heated some of Dr. Jang’s larger acupuncture needles to cauterize the smaller vessels. The pile of bloody cloths continued growing, but now at a smaller pace. After suturing the liver, she stitched the incision closed. Turning him over, they found only muscle damage where the sword point had exited just below his ribs, and closed that wound. Then they applied bandages to both sides and wrapped cloth tightly around his middle to keep pressure on the bandages and minimize further blood loss.

 

Choi Young slowly regained consciousness the morning after his surgery. He found himself in his black underclothes. The top had been left untied and open, exposing his chest and abdomen with a wide cloth wrapped snugly around his middle. Eventually he tried to sit up. He gasped, feeling as if he was being stabbed all over again. But he persisted, and very slowly he was able to sit up, panting with the effort. He tied his top closed, then noticed the doctor sleeping in a chair next to the table where he lay. He gingerly slid off the table to his feet, and nearly fell. Hunched over and gasping with pain, he leaned on the table and moved toward his sword, which was leaning against a wall near the entrance to the room. 

 

He fell against a small table next to the sword, waking the Doctor. She spied him standing there rather unsteadily and initially felt concern for him as a patient. But when she saw him grasping his sword, she picked up a scalpel and threatened him with it. “Don’t move an inch! The sword… put it down! Or else…”

He squinted over at her and rasped, “Or what? What will you do? You stabbed me, then you spent the night treating me. Then stab me again? And then cure me again?” 

She saw that he was actually just using the sword in its scabbard to help prop himself upright. Just then Dae-man came in, pushing the Doctor aside, running to his mentor and helping hold him up. “Commander!” 

“How long was I unconscious?”

“One night. And it’s morning now.”

“What about the King? Did he leave yet?”

“He is still here.”

Choi Young was surprised and dismayed by the danger that meant for the King. “What?!!” As he spoke he automatically tried to stand erect but a sharp stab of pain made him gasp and bend over again. 

He groaned as Dae-man continued, “His Highness said he would wait and depart with you.”

“Damn it!!” Choi Young forced himself to a more upright position and asked Dae-man help him get dressed. There was no time to lose.  He limped out of the room as the Doctor shouted after him, “Where are you going?! You just had surgery!”

 

Dae-man helped him into his clothes and then into the dress armor he had brought with him that he had used in the Yuan court. It was stiff and uncomfortable, but it helped keep him erect. Then he slowly went downstairs, leaning against the railing and panting. He nearly fell over at the bottom but was caught by Choon-sik. 

His Vice-Commander and a few others quickly gathered around him, expressing their concern. “Should you be moving like this?” “We worried so much”, and, “We thought we might lose you.”

Then the Doctor came down the stairs looking for him and shouted, “Didn’t you hear me? You need absolute bed rest! I worked hard to suture, but what if the wound bursts out again?”

Ignoring her, he told the Woodalchi that they were leaving right away, and to prepare the boat. Two of his men nodded and left to follow his order.

But the Doctor continued shouting at him, “I mean, do you think I just stitched up your skin or something? Your liver and veins were cut and they were barely put back together!”

He kept ignoring her and turned to his third man in command. “Ju-seuk, prepare to leave immediately.”

The Doctor placed herself in front of him and grabbed at his arm. “This patient, really! Go back to your bed right now! I’ll watch over your condition until tomorrow and tell you when you can move. And farting. You know what farting is, right? Until you can fart, you have to fast.”

The Commander dropped his head in exasperation as she persisted, “And the stitches, I will take them out in one week. Until then, you have to do whatever I tell you. The problem is…”

Choi Young suddenly fell forward, nearly knocking her down. Choon-sik and Dae-man kept him from falling to the floor. As they supported him, he spoke into her ear, still leaning on her shoulder. “The problem is…if we don’t run away right now, we will all die. I can’t fight in this condition,” he panted.

“Why?”

“You said not to eat until I fart. How could I fight?”

“No, I mean…Why would we be killed?! W-Who…and why us?”

He turned away, as he didn’t have a good answer himself. 

She once again grabbed at his arm, but he turned and spun her around, then put his hands on her shoulders. He decided to give her a short explanation, saying, “They came for you, which means those people now know who you are.”

“Those people?”

“I don’t know how much they know. But before they come again, we have to run away.”

But that only caused her to demand more answers. “Run away?! Where to? Why should I?”

Losing patience, he replied, “Simply answering ‘yes’…I guess you never do that?”

“No, what I’m trying to say is …”

“I promised to help you return… For me to keep that promise, you have to be alive, right? Until then I will protect you. So stay close to my side.”

He turned to go, speaking again to Dae-Man and Choo-seok. “We are going to escort the King and the Queen. Prepare the carriages.”

She called after him again, “Go? Go where?” He turned around, annoyed. She continued, “The door I have to return through is here in this area. Knowing that, how can I leave? I’m not leaving, I won’t!”

He saw that she didn’t understand, and he’d reached the end of his patience and energy. “Dae-man.”

“Yes, Commander.”

Gesturing to her, “Do something about this.” And he turned and left. When she tried to go after him, Dae-man blocked her way.  

 

The King’s retinue did get moving, and by the afternoon the King’s party had finally crossed the river and were on their way to the royal palace in Gae Kyeong, Goryeo’s capital city. Choi Young was astride his horse toward the front of the group with a Woodalchi on either side of him. His head hung down and he could barely stay in the saddle. The two Woodalchi kept a close eye on their Commander, ready to help if needed, although their stoic Commander was known for being stubborn about accepting much in the way of personal assistance, even when he had been wounded in battle.

 

The Doctor from heaven found herself in the Queen’s carriage. The young Queen was drowsing, her body unconsciously moving along with the cart’s jostling. But the Doctor found the experience extremely uncomfortable. The bench she was sitting on was covered in beautiful cushions but the ride was still very harsh. She kept moving around, trying different sitting positions and even laying on the narrow bench across from where the Queen was sitting. But she fell off the bench at a particularly strong jolt. She took the Queen’s pulse from time to time to check on her; the Queen was recovering nicely. The Doctor was still frustrated and angry at Choi Young, muttering to herself, “That psycho! It would serve him right if his wounds break open and he dies. I’ve done enough, so sue me.  It wouldn´t be all my fault!” 

 

Later that same day, Hwa su-in, Ki-chul’s pledged sister, alighted from a boat at the border village and met the scar-faced man. On their way to the inn, he told her that, if she had arrived earlier in the day, they might have been able to stop the King’s party. They had sent the message and waited all night. But now the King was already across the river and on his way to the capital. However, their military commander was apparently seriously wounded. Hwa-su-in, who had delayed her arrival for a private rendezvous the previous night, saw that she was being criticized. This man would eventually tell Ki-chul about her late arrival. Keeping her voice friendly, she approached him where he sat, removed the glove from her right hand and put her arm around his shoulder, as though to draw him closer in order to whisper something to him. 

“How about if I say this? You betrayed us. Perhaps they offered you money or they beat you. So you told them I was coming and they escaped.” As she talked, she placed her hand on the side of his face and began sending her power into him. Her inner power was heat and fire, and she sent burning power into his body until his heart stopped, killing him in moments.

 

Meanwhile, in the Queen’s carriage, the Doctor’s muttering had eventually awakened the Queen, and the Doctor introduced herself. “My name is Yoo Eun-soo. You must be a little younger than I am. Your name is…?”

The Queen answered, “Borsigin Botashri.”

“What?”

“Princess Noguk, the daughter of the Emperor of Yuan.”

“The Emperor’s daughter? A princess?” Eun-soo chuckled briefly, then crossed her arms and frowned, wondering why she couldn’t wake up from this dream. She continued, “Then the one in the carriage in front of us…”

“Is the King.”

“Heh. The King. And the Princess.” She couldn’t believe her ears. “Wait, Yuan? You mean China? Wait a second. That would be when Korea was Goryeo or Shilla?” She looked at the Queen and apologized, “In school I wasn’t that good in history…”

The Queen told her that they had just arrived in Goryeo.

“So I went back in some kind of time machine from Gangnam to Goryeo?! And I traveled from from the 21st century to …When was Goryeo…Hundreds of years… A thousand?!”

The Queen explained, “I heard the warriors talk. They saw you come from the heavenly gate. I have also heard that the Commander forced you to come to save me.  I owe you a debt.”

But Eun-soo only held her head, shook it and cried, “I want to wake up!” 

 

An hour or so later, after Eun-soo had calmed down, something occurred to her. She recalled a recent session she’d had with a fortune teller. She had asked when and where she’d meet her man. She hoped he would be handsome as well as rich, so he could fund her new clinic. But what the fortune teller told her was very odd. After shaking his fortune sticks and consulting a book, he told her that the man would be heaven sent and would be someone she had met in the past. At the time she found that news discouraging; she wasn’t interested in anyone she’d already met; previous relationships hadn’t gone well. One boyfriend had dumped her for a rich woman in order to build his own clinic, and another was rich but repellent to her.  But the fortune teller assured her that the man meant for her was from the past. He even told her that this fortune was very rare; heaven didn´t very often send someone specifically meant for a person. Then he shook the sticks again for another divine sign. This time when he laid them out, he added that she would need to go far away for at least a year, that she would meet him if she went through the door. She thought his predictions were obscure and preposterous and decided to consult a tarot card reader instead of this charlatan. But now she wondered, could he have been speaking about this place and time? If so, when would she meet the man meant for her? Would he come back with her to her time? Would she have to stay here for a year? Or perhaps it was still just hogwash.

 

Later, Choon-sik approached the Queen’s carriage with a message from the King. He asked her to be ready to greet all of the nobles when they arrived at the palace. Messages had been sent ahead, announcing their arrival. The Queen wasn’t happy about that, feeling that she didn’t look her best without a bath and change of clothes, and what’s more, she had a big bandage on her neck.  She looked into her brass mirror with distaste. Eun-soo also looked in the mirror, whose reflection was vague and distorted. “Wha..!” Then she took her own mirror out of her purse and gave it to the Queen.  Looking into it, the Queen was startled by the clear image. The Doctor also took out her own makeup kit and applied a little rouge and lipstick to the Queen’s face to give it more color. The Queen smiled; now she felt better about meeting her new subjects.

 

At his mansion in the capital city, Ki-chul was also discussing the King’s arrival with his blood brother and Yang-sa. He wanted to test the loyalty of the remaining advisors and nobles and put the new King in his place. His nephew’s birthday was coming up, and that was the perfect excuse for a banquet at the same time as the King was expected to arrive. “We must all celebrate that special occasion,” he said, laughing. The party would be in full swing at Ki-chul’s mansion, with all the nobles attending the party rather than greeting the King.

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Chapter 6: Gae Kyeong, The Capital of Goryeo (Ep. 3, continued)

The King and his entourage entered Gae Kyeong, the capital city, and then came to the palace compound. The compound consisted of a large plaza with several highly decorated buildings placed around it. The buildings were trimmed in red with large round columns in that color, but the eaves and other parts of the buildings included blue, green, black and gold. The roofs of the large buildings were high in the center and turned up at the corners, making them look like wings that could ascend at any moment. On the other side of the plaza, directly across from them, was the main palace, the largest and most ornate building of them all. A long staircase led up to its entrance. In this imposing space there was only silence. As they walked further into the plaza, their own noise echoed back at them.  A few guards were stationed here and there, but other than that, the palace was deserted. Il-shin, ever mindful of protocol, began to exclaim in a loud voice, “Never in history has this ever happened! Not even the most wicked nobles failed to welcome their King! How could they treat us this way?! To us who endured hardships for a decade in Yuan?! 

 

The King’s party continued into the main palace. They came to the throne room, richly furnished in red with bamboo hangings, and side doors and windows in a powder blue color. Finely crafted wooden desks and cushions for the King’s advisors lined the center aisle leading to the throne. The King walked in and stared at his throne, with its back and armrests ornately carved and covered in gold leaf. There should have been a welcoming crowd of nobles and advisors here as well. Il-shin was still shouting about how shameful the situation was. The King looked back at the Queen and the others. They all felt embarrassed for him. Choi Young quietly approached one of the guards. “Where are the nobles? I sent messages about the King’s arrival.”

The guard replied, “They have not come,” and told him that they were at Ki-chul’s mansion, celebrating a birthday. 

 

Finally, three women came into the room and fell to all fours with their heads bowed, greeting the King. The middle-aged woman in the center said, “Your Highness. We welcome your return. Does my King remember? You held this servant’s hand when you were taken to Yuan.”

It took the King a moment to recognize her. “Court Lady Choi?”

“Yes, my King. May we stand up? We still have much to do.”

The King smiled, “I remember you and your temperament.  You haven’t changed. Stand up.”

Rising, she said, “My King, you need not linger here. Do come inside and take a rest from the trip.” Turning to his retainers, she scolded them, “What are you waiting for? Tend to your King!” Spurred to action, they showed the King to his quarters. 

Lady Choi then turned to greet the Queen. “My Queen, welcome to your new home. Allow us to serve you. We heard a terrible rumor that you were wounded…I can only thank the heavens for allowing me to see you today looking so well.” The Queen looked straight ahead and did not reply.

Lady Choi’s companions led the Queen to her rooms.  As Lady Choi turned to follow her, she passed by Eun-soo and Choi Young. Eun-soo waved at her with a smile, but Lady Choi ignored her. Instead, she looked up at Choi Young’s face disapprovingly. “Look how pale you are. And you are supposed to guard the King? Tsk.” 

Once Lady Choi had left, Eun-soo turned to look at the tall warrior. “You have a fever, don’t you? You might have an infection. Let me check,” and she reached up to his forehead. He grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back, turning her around, and then, not too harshly, pushed her away from him. Even though he hadn’t been harsh, she still cried out and then held her arm. 

He said to Dr. Jang, “Take care of her.” Dr. Jang was also concerned and reached for Choi Young’s his wrist to take his pulse, but he brushed him aside as well. Leaving them, The Commander walked down a hallway by himself. Once the others were out of sight, he stopped and braced himself against a wall, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. He was very ill, but he told himself he had to stay on his feet. The situation was too dangerous to show weakness. He went to his quarters and sat down. Concentrating, he gathered his inner power to heal himself. He had done this successfully many times, and it was an important part of why he had survived so many battles. But this time, it wasn’t working; he didn’t feel much relief and still felt very hot with fever. He slowly removed his armor and the clothes covering his abdomen, then removed the bandage over his incision. It was raw and painful, leaking blood and pus.  He sighed, discarded the old bandage and gingerly wrapped new cloth around his torso. Getting dressed in the same armor again, he left, leaving bloody cloths behind.

 

The members of the King’s party separated and went to their accustomed residences or workplace. Dr. Jang, for example, showed Eun-soo to the Royal Medical Office. It was a large wooden building with its own inner courtyard and a substantial herb garden. She was impressed with the size of the medical office and the number of people who worked there. She thought that Dr. Jang owned it, but he quickly explained that this was the King’s facility, and they only treated people within the palace. As they continued talking, she told him that she thought Choi Young might have septicemia and explained what it was. “A germ gets into the body and reproduces, producing a toxin that poisons the patient.” Dr. Jang was intrigued with the idea of a germ reproducing inside the body. “So you’re saying that he has that infection?”

“I’m not sure. I’d have to examine him to know for sure. But he wouldn’t even listen to me or let me touch him. The symptoms are fast breathing, and high fever or hypothermia. He might even get mentally deranged, so he must be treated as soon as possible.” She explained that, without antibiotics, there was little treatment for him if he had septicemia. His chance of dying was around 70%. As they talked it was hard for them to understand each other, as their terminology and approach to their practices were very different. She felt totally at sea without her modern tools. He thought she was too fatalistic about a patient’s prospects if she didn’t have the medicines and tools she kept mentioning. He always persisted with a patient, trying different treatments until he found one that worked or until the patient died.

 

In the Queen’s quarters, Lady Choi told the Queen that they’d get her bath ready. She asked the Queen if she would like something to eat. The Queen hadn’t said anything, and Lady Choi assumed she didn’t speak Korean. She told a serving woman to bring the Yuan interpreter. She continued speaking, “They said you were dead but you are very alive. Who would dare to spread such rumors?” Placing tea in front of the Queen, Lady Choi looked at her and said, “Let’s see… you look short-tempered, but you are very beautiful.” The interpreter arrived, and Lady Choi asked her to ask the Queen if she would prefer to eat before having a bath. 

But the Queen interrupted the interpreter, saying in perfectly good Korean, “I will take a bath first.” Lady Choi’s face fell as she realized her impertinent comment had been understood.

 

While soaking in her bath, the Queen recalled the first time she had met the King. She had known she was to marry him long before she met him, so she had been taking lessons in the Korean language. On the day they met, two years ago, he was avoiding his retainers and found her sitting in a little alcove by herself. She was partially veiled, so he couldn’t see all of her face. He told her not to be alarmed; he meant her no harm. He introduced himself and they talked. From her accented Korean, he thought she might be a Goryeo girl that had been brought to Yuan as a young child. He explained that he was hiding because he was supposed to meet a Yuan princess who he was to marry. He spoke disdainfully of having to marry a Yuan woman, not realizing that he was talking with that very person. She tried to persuade him that perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad, that the princess might help him be more powerful in Goryeo.  But he was having none of it. Otherwise, their conversation was congenial, and they arranged to meet from time to time. She listened to him and he was kind to her, telling her he would arrange her return to Goryeo at the same time he did. He even told her that he’d prefer to marry her as his first wife. She always remained partially veiled, so he didn’t realize who she was until they were actually married. Far from being delighted, he felt she had tricked him, and he remained more determined than ever to never love a Yuan woman.

 

Choi Young dragged himself over to the medical office to make sure the Doctor from heaven was all right. He asked Dr. Jang’s assistant, Deo-ki, a mute woman who was an expert in herbs, if the Doctor was there. She used her hands to tell him of her dislike for Eun-Soo, that she was spoiled and demanding. He smiled and said, “I see from your reaction that she is here.” He didn’t have the energy to talk with the Doctor, so he peeked through a shutter to check on her. She had skinned her knee on a stone wall in the hospital’s herb garden and, as he watched, rolled up her pant leg to look at it. Women never showed their legs in Goryeo except to their husbands. He quickly looked away, embarrassed. Then he heard her complaining, “They bring me here and leave me all alone? This is so rude. I want a bath. Where is the bathroom? Where is my lunch? I’m hungry.” He looked again. She had put her leg back on the ground, so he continued to look through the shutter.  Deo-ki came and shoved a plate of rice cakes toward the Doctor. When she also asked for water, the Deo-ki pointed outside to the well and left. Eun-soo made a face. As the mute woman passed by Choi Young, he stopped her. “I’ll send some of my men here to guard her. I know it’s troublesome, but be patient and take care of her.” At her head shake, he added, “Please, I promised her I’ll guard her.” Besides being handsome, he had always been kind to her, so Deo-ki nodded, despite her dislike of Eun-soo. After Deo-ki left, he heard the Doctor coughing. She had yet to get her water and the rice cakes were too dry, but she was eating them anyway. He looked at her again and smiled. Her antics were a short respite from the other very serious business at hand.

 

The King had asked for him, so his next stop was the King’s quarters. As Choi Young entered, the King was listening to the long list of scholars who had suddenly died a few days before. Il-shin noted that all of them were loyal to Goryeo and against Yuan. They would have been loyal to the new King. He told the King that there was only one person who would dare to rebel against him:  Ki-chul. Il Shin turned to Choi Young and ordered, “Commander, take all of your men and go to Ki-chul’s house. Kill all who resist. All those there are Ki-chul’s puppets. Don’t leave any of them alive.” But Choi Young didn’t respond. Offended, Il-shin said, “Why do you stand there? Are you one of his puppets, too?” 

But Choi Young didn’t take his orders from Il-shin.

The King addressed the Commander, “Is that possible?” 

He responded, “It is impossible.”

Il-shin blustered, “What? Your Highness, this man…” But the King motioned him to stop.

Choi Young continued, “The 1,000 men of Eagle army guarding the palace and the 2,000 men of Tiger army are commanded by the Supreme Commander. I just heard that the Supreme Commander is at Ki-chul’s house. As your counselor just said, all those at Ki-chul’s house are his puppets.”

Unmollified, Il-shin said, “Then summon the Sixth Army!”

Again addressing the King, Choi Young replied, “Ki-chul’s army consists of thousands. His men will besiege this palace before that army can be mobilized. And first and foremost, they will want this counselor’s head. Turning to Il-shin, he asked, “Shall I still attack them?” 

That quieted Il-shin, but the King said, “Ki-chul is suspected of killing those who might side with me. Could he have done that?”

“It is a possibility, but I cannot say for certain he did.”

Il-shin once again protested, “Why discuss such matters with a mere warrior like him? Listen to me, your counselor. I served you for 10 years in Yuan, and I have always been by your side, my King.” 

But the King replied, “There is only one person I can trust under the sun.” 

Thinking the King was referring to him, Il-shin grinned broadly, “Your Highness!”

But the King nodded to Choi Young, “You, Commander.” At both of their surprised looks, he continued, “You proved it by giving up your own life to obey my orders. So now I will consider you as a trustworthy friend. Will you consider me likewise?”

Both Il-shin and Choi Young looked chagrined, but for different reasons. Choi Young wiped the sweat from his forehead, took out a piece of folded paper and handed it to the King.

“What is this?”

“A promise that the previous king gave to me.” As the King began to read it, the Commander explained, “Escorting you safely to Goryeo was my last mission. Once the King has safely arrived at the palace, I am allowed to resign and live outside the palace as a commoner. You can see the seal of the former king.” The King just looked at Choi Young, stunned at his request. 

The Commander continued, “My King has safely arrived, thus my mission is accomplished. Allow me to leave the court.” He bowed to the King.

The King replied, “Leave me alone in this place, amid these circumstances? To leave me?!”

Choi Young was exhausted, both in body and in spirit. “Your Highness, please, allow me.” And he bowed his head again.

The King, disappointed and angry, considered his answer. After a moment he said, “One last thing. Finish one last mission and then I’ll think about this.”

Choi Young started to protest, “Your Highness, the former king…”

Curtly interrupting him, the King said, “Who is your King now, me or the former king?” He continued, “Find me the evidence to prove who killed my officials and why. I must know who to fight against. It is my order, your current King.”

 

And that was how Choi Young found himself in the room where 24 of the king’s advisors had died. He had directed the Woodalchi to conduct an intensive search there, looking for any clue that might help them learn why they were killed and who had done it.  Choi Young sat on some stairs while the others searched. He held himself up by sheer willpower. He felt terrible and looked pale and drawn. Choon-sik came over and asked him if he was feeling all right.

He answered tiredly, “I don’t know.” 

Sitting down next to his Commander, Choon-sik spoke louder for emphasis. “Tell us what it is and we will find it! And please, go and take some rest! Let Jang Bin and the heavenly Doctor treat you.”

“Stop.” Putting his hand to his head, Choi Young continued, “Stop raising your voice. My head hurts.”

Just then, Dae-man shouted, “I found it! I think this is it!” He ran over and handed a piece of paper to Choon-sik. The paper had writing on it and was spattered with what looked like drops of blood. 

Handing the paper in turn to Choi Young, Choon-sik exclaimed, “We found the proof.”

Choi Young looked at the paper, read the words on it, and then said, “Why is this a proof?”

“Well, the one dying here must have hidden it. There is blood on it, so someone bleeding hid it. So that’s proof that…”

Trying to be patient, Choi Young asked, “Proving what?”

“Well…” 

Choi Young valued Choon-sik for his knowledge of fighting tactics, his loyalty and hard work, but solving this type of problem wasn’t his strong suit. 

Choi Young looked at Choon-sik and said, “We’re leaving.” 

“Back to the court?”

“No, to the birthday party.”

 

Ki-chul’s banquet was still going strong and would continue well into the night. Choon-sik entered the room with Choi Young right behind him. In a very loud voice, he announced, “The King’s order!” No one paid attention.  He stepped to the middle of the room where Ki-chul sat. “Prince of the Court, Ki-chul! We bring you the King’s order!” The room quieted.

Without rising, an insult in itself, Ki-chul looked at his guests and added another. “Have you all heard him? Our King has come a long way from Yuan and before even taking a rest, has sent his congratulations to this party.” Then he rose from his seat while everyone laughed and clapped. He approached Choon-sik, who was looking around the room with dismay, and asked him with a grin, “What present has the King sent? I can’t wait to see what it is.”

Choon-sik stepped aside while Choi Young came forward and stood in front of Ki-chul. Choi Young paused. His vision had suddenly gone blurry. After a moment his vision cleared and he smiled at Ki-chul, who smiled back. 

“Prince of the Court.”

“I’m listening.”

“This noisy party seems to have deafened you. You are receiving the King’s order. The King has returned to his land after 10 years, and this is his first official order.” The smile disappeared from Choi Young’s lips. “So you should receive the command with respect, get on your knees, bow your head down, and receive your King’s order!” Choi Young’s voice had risen to a shout.

They both stared at each other, Choi Young with a fierce expression on his face and Ki-chul with a look of studied indifference.  The rest of the room went quiet again. Choi Young looked over at Choon-sik, who took out a scroll and gave it to Ki-chul. He snatched it from Choon-sik’s hand and held it up while sneering. 

 

Even sick and barely on his feet, Choi Young was a quick study. Ki-chul wasn’t about to bend a knee, and the Commander couldn’t afford to start a fight. He walked up to Ki-chul and bent down slightly, putting his face close to him. He smiled in a friendly way and in a much quieter voice said, “By the way, I can see you are celebrating. May I give you the annoying King’s order in a quieter place?” Ki-chul smiled and laughed. Choi Young continued looking at him with a slight smile. But it was the cool smile of a killer. He wanted to run this man through for his insult to the King, but none of that showed on his face except that slight smile.

 

The Commander and Ki-chul had gone to a private room and met briefly. Afterward, he and Choon-sik returned to the Woodalchi barracks. In the large common room there was a three-tiered set of wooden benches curved around the room for meetings. Choi Young, not feeling any better, had removed his dress armor and lay on the top tier, resting. Other Woodalchi were in the room too, practicing fighting moves, talking, or just hanging out. Referring to their confrontation with Ki-chul, Choon-sik told his Commander, “You scared me to death. Where did you get that scroll? We never received an order to go to Ki-chul’s house!” Without getting up, Choi Young tossed a scroll over to Choon-sik. It was a list of the murdered advisors, and the scroll he had given Ki-chul held the same information. 

Choon-sik asked, “Is this what you showed Ki-chul in your meeting?”

“No, I showed him something different. A bait.” Sitting at a table with Ki-chul, he had shown him the paper they’d found with blood on it. Playing dumb, Choi Young had told Ki-chul, “I’m not a scholar and I’m not sure what it means, so I came here in search of your wise advice. That is the King’s order: to help me resolve this case. Would you like to copy it in order to study it?” 

Choon-sik said, “So did he believe you?”

“I don’t know,” Choi Young said in a tired voice. He didn’t move, he just wanted to rest.

“Will he take the bait?”

After a short pause he again responded, “I don’t know.” 

Ignoring the warning signals, Choon-sik kept pressing his Commander, “If he doesn’t react to it…”

Choi Young suddenly sat up and threw whatever he had at hand at Choon-sik. “Can’t you let me sleep?! All of you, get out!” He was already known for his foul temper when he was disturbed while resting, and being sick made him even more irritable. The group began to scatter as he sat there, glaring at them.

 

At that very moment Eun-soo entered the barracks with medical supplies in her large purse, which was also serving as a medical bag. She was determined to examine Choi Young’s incision to see how badly it was infected. Dae-man saw her first. She asked him where his Commander was. He gulped, staring at her legs, then pointed down the hallway toward the main room. She had torn her pant leg when she skinned her knee, so she had simply cut off both pant legs above the knee so they’d be around the same length. It also helped her feel cooler in the heat of the day. As she continued into the main room, every man stopped dead in his tracks and ogled her bare legs. When Choi Young caught sight of her, he irritably turned his face away and rolled his eyes. To him, she had walked half-nude into the middle of a group of men, and what’s more, she was going to harass him again. 

 

Spying Choi Young, she said, “Let me see you. Come down and sit.” Setting down her bag and opening it, she continued, “One thing I liked during my years as a resident, was that all patients came to me.  I didn’t have to go to them.” Looking up at him, she ordered matter-of-factly, “Come down here.” But he didn’t even look at her; he just looked very annoyed. Seeing that he wasn’t moving, she climbed up the tiers. As she stood on the tier below him while he sat on the top one, they were almost face-to-face. Still trying to exert a doctor’s authority, she said, “Take off your jacket. Didn’t you hear me? Take it off. I need to check your heart rate and see how the wound is. Do you have a fever?” She reached for his wrist to take a pulse, saying, “Give me your hand,” but he slapped it away. She paused and then gave an exasperated laugh. “I’m not going to hold your hand. I’ll just check your pulse. I won’t hold it, don’t worry.” 

He stared stonily at her for a moment, then called out to the other Woodalchi, “Who’s on sentry duty? Is this a marketplace where anyone can just walk in? Escort her back.” He stood up and strode down the tiers to the main floor.  

Dae-man said to her, “We should go.” 

She looked at Choi Young’s retreating back and, frustrated and angry, stepped down to the floor as well. She threw the supplies at him, yelling, “Hey, you crazy bastard!” Surprised, he turned back to her as he dodged the materials. She continued, with tears starting to run down her face, “What have I done so wrong?! It was you who kidnapped a person that was living well! I barely managed to buy an officetel last year. I still have to pay the mortgage, but I own it. I want to go home and take a nice bath, put on my pajamas and sleep on my own bed. You brought me here!” And in a more pitiable voice she added, “And you don’t even feed me!”

She continued crying, “I hoped it was just a dream, but it isn’t. Which means I really stabbed you! And I want to treat you, but you won’t even let me touch you. What do you expect from me?” Her voice took on an apologetic, almost pleading tone as he stared at her. “Okay, I stabbed you. And I’m sorry. I am very sorry. So let me treat you!”

He continued staring at her for a moment without replying, then strode over to her, took her by the shoulders and pushed her back, up against a large wooden pillar, and held her there. She was taken aback by his intensity, his face just a few inches from hers. He let her go for a moment and turned to his men, staring at them. They got the message and left. He turned back to her. She tried to sidle away, but he slammed his hand on the pillar next to her, blocking her. 

Finally, he spoke in a low voice. “So, what did I tell you before?”

“About what?”

“At heaven’s door. The place where you stabbed me. I told you to leave me and go, right?”

“You think that makes sense?”

“Why did you save me?! Do you know what that has caused me?” He looked down, trying to contain his frustration, and then turned away from her.

She replied, “So, do you want to die? Is that it? Is that what you want? You seem to have an infection, so sooner or later you’ll…”

He turned back to her, very angry. He couldn’t afford for that type of rumor to spread. 

He snarled at her, “Do not open your mouth ever again to say I’m going to die. If you do, I will properly shut those lips of yours.” He turned and began walking away from her, but then stopped to add, “Do not wander around the palace. And don’t come into the barracks which are full of men. My men will take you back. So wait there silently until I finish my work. Have you understood?”

 

Crushed by her guilt for stabbing him and discouraged by his stubbornness, she began to leave. But he still wasn’t done. “One last thing. Cover your lower body.” As she started to go past him, he held out his arm to block her way. “You may dress that way in heaven but on earth…”

Suddenly, she saw a way to gauge his temperature. She quickly grabbed his outstretched hand with both of hers. He tried to pull it away, but she hung on. He would have had to hurt her to get her to let go. Then she used one of her hands to feel her own forehead, comparing its temperature with his, and her eyes grew large with dismay. She cried, “You’re burning up with fever!” She let go as he finally pulled his hand away. She dug into her purse and took out a bottle with a several tablets in it. She held it out to him. “These are my aspirins. They will help alleviate your fever and pain. Take two pills three times a day. It won’t be a great help, but still…” He didn’t reach for the bottle and once again began turning away. 

In a small voice she said to him, “Don’t die.”

He paused. “What?”

“Don’t die. I know that you are a psycho, crazy man… But if you die and leave me here alone…what would become of me?” She ended tearfully, “So please…” She picked up his hand and placed the bottle in it. He didn’t resist this time. Then she left. 

He looked after her and then down at the bottle in his hand. What a perplexing woman she was. But she had touched him with her last words. 

After a moment his illness reasserted itself with dizziness and a disabling stab of pain. He dropped to his knees, holding his stomach and gasping. Dae-man, watching from above, had seen the bloody cloths in his room and was very worried for his mentor.

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