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[Drama 2012] Faith 신의

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MsDot2- thank you- I am so much enjoying reading these excerpts and then watching the dvd- it’s adding a new dimension to the story. 

 

Please keep on writing (if you want to of course!)

 

 

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Chapter 7: Gae Kyeong, Capital of Goryeo (Ep 4)

Ki-chul was signing papers at his mansion while his physician and assistant, Yang-sa, related part of the conversation between the King and Choi Young. One of the eunuchs attending the king was in their pay. “Yes, it’s true, the King told Choi Young that he was the only person the King trusted.” Intrigued, Ki-chul asked for more information about the Commander. He had seen him before in the court but hadn’t met him personally until the party. Yang-sa told him that Choi Young’s father was a descendent of an important contributor to the founding of Goryeo, and his grandfather was a literature scholar who taught a previous king. 

“So why did such a son of fine lineage become a mere swordsman?” asked Ki-chul.

“Well, he was only 16 when his father died, and he went into the military. They say he became the youngest of the commanders in the Red Moon Army, that group of only the top men who used inner powers and sneaked into an enemy’s camp to attack. Because they came and went at night like ghosts, they were also called the Ghost Moon Army. I heard that, just by seeing their flag, the Japanese army would run away and retreat.”

Ki-chul nodded, “Yes, I’ve heard of them and even how that great group was dismantled. But I didn’t know that Choi Young was one of its leaders!” A thought occurred to Ki-chul. “Hm…Was he responsible for the failure to assassinate the Queen?”

“It seems likely. It couldn’t have been the King; he can’t even ride a horse!” chuckled Yang-sa.

Stroking his chin, Ki-chul made a decision. “I must have him.”

“You mean Choi Young?”

“Yes. Why didn’t I think of bringing one of the Red Moon members to my side until now? Offer him whatever he wants, money, power…Just bring him to me.” Without Choi Young at his side, the King would be much weaker.

 

At the same time, the subject of their discussion had dozed off in the common room of the Woodalchi barracks, exhausted from his confrontations with Ki-chul and then the Doctor. He dreamed he was standing on a frozen lake in the dead of winter. Looking around, he saw his father sitting a little way off. He was ice fishing. When he walked up to his father, his father turned and asked him, “Have you still not found it?” He had no answer to give his father.

And then he awoke with tears in his eyes, gasping and in agony. He heard his name called, and quickly wiped his sleeve across his eyes. Choon-sik reported to him that everything had been done to deploy the Woodalchi around the palace. Although they had about 100 Woodalchi, their numbers were small given the size of the palace compound and their need for multiple shifts per day. But Lady Choi had said she would take care of the Queen’s quarters. She maintained her own group of female warriors and attendants. That allowed the Woodalchi to focus solely on protecting the King.

 

As the Commander and a few other Woodalchi walked through the palace compound together, inspecting the deployment of their men, Choon-sik could tell that his Commander was very worried. He said, “Do you really think they would dare to harm the King and Queen here? After all, this is the palace and they are subjects.”

Choi Young replied, “I used to think that way, too, that if I brought them to the palace, they’d be safe. But I stopped thinking that after meeting Ki-chul yesterday. It was extremely…scary.”

“Excuse me?”

“You saw it yourself. At his banquet, when I tried to make him bend his knee in the name of the Royal order.”

Choon-sik still felt indignant about their reception. “Well, that. I was very angry. If we had pushed him further …”

Choi Young interrupted him. “If we had done that, he would have attacked the King. If the situation turns to the matter of killing the King, then the first blood will flow from us, the Woodalchi. I don’t want to die like that.”

Choi Young continued his inspection, ordering more archers on the west building roof.

Choon-sik asked, “Then are we going to leave those traitors alone, who deserve to die?”

Noting Choon-sik’s anger, Choi Young told him, “Save your energy. We don’t know how long we’ll have to be on alert. So save it. West building roof.”

With a resigned sigh, Choon-sik agreed, “Yes, Commander.” He left to handle the roof deployment. Choi Young stopped to lean against a column.

Concerned, Dae-man approached him. “You’re not okay, are you? Earlier, the Doctor said…”

“Shut up. You heard it. We only have 100 men we can trust. And who will lead them if the man in charge falls ill?” Choi Young slid slowly down the column to rest at its base, waving Dae-man away when he tried to help. “Above all, if I collapse now, the enemy will feel emboldened.”

 

Eun-soo, meanwhile, had been taken in hand by Dr. Jang, who, after the debacle in the Woodalchi barracks, had some Goryeo clothes brought for her. She was an outgoing, talkative person, even more so when she was confused, frightened or anxious, and she’d been all of those ever since arriving. She was talking to Dr. Jang while trying on the new clothes behind a screen. “Okay, so this isn’t a dream… what is it then? Did I ride in some kind of time machine? But I didn’t see a machine. Maybe it was a wormhole!” She came out from behind the screen to show Dr. Jang what she was wearing, a top and bottom of smooth silk in a creamy color with a touch of pink. She thought it was lovely. But after one look at her, Dr. Jang turned away, asking her where the rest of the clothes were that he had given to her. When she replied that she’d just as soon not wear all those layers, he informed her that what she was wearing was underwear that other people shouldn’t see. She went back behind the screen to add more clothes, still wondering aloud how she had arrived in Goryeo. Perhaps it was a Star Gate or even a wormhole! She told him that she hated science fiction and fantasy, but she couldn’t explain what had happened otherwise. How could she have come to Goryeo?

 

At last she was dressed in Goryeo clothing, a few layers topped by a heavier silk gown with a high collar that fastened in front. Dr. Jang brought her over to a table where he was consulting with Deo-ki. He explained that Deo-ki was an expert in herbs and medicines and took care of the herbal garden. They were working on some medicines that removed toxins in the body, because Eun-soo had said Choi Young needed it. She examined the jars. One had a round disc in it and she was told it was seom seo. She bit into it to see what it tasted like, just as he went on to explain it was part of a dried toad. “Aii! Pfft!” She quickly spit it out while Dr. Jang smiled. He explained the lengthy process of obtaining just the right part of the toad, wringing out the oil and then drying it through the night. It was used to treat abscess or inflammation. She thought it might be useful if Choi Young would ever let them treat his infection.  

 

As for Choi Young, he was in a palace hallway when he heard a voice calling his name. It was none other than the Queen, accompanied by Lady Choi. She asked him to walk with her as she returned to her quarters. The Queen asked him, “Is it true that the people of this country wish for me and the King to die?”

He smiled to reassure her, “No, it is not.”

“Then, it is only some of them, Commander?”

He wasn’t sure how much he should tell her. “I am only a warrior with no knowledge of politics.”

But she persisted. “I’m asking you.”

“First, could I ask you about one thing?”

“I’m listening.”

“When did you learn Goryeo’s language? It was two years ago that you were wedded to the King. You speak it too well to have learned it in just two years.”

“So are you saying that you’re reluctant to talk about Goryeo’s affairs to a Yuan Dynasty person?”

Apologizing and smiling ruefully, he said, “I overstepped my bounds. I will take back my question.”

She turned to enter her quarters, and Choi Young and Lady Choi followed.

“It was eight years ago. I saw someone. He was from Goryeo. I started learning so that I could talk with him. Does that answer your question?”

She sat down and indicated that he should sit as well. He bowed and sat down. For propriety their chairs were at right angles to each other and they looked straight ahead as they spoke, not looking at the other person. 

The Queen spoke again, “Now it’s your turn. Speak to me as honestly as I’ve spoken to you.”

He said, “There is only one person who would kill my King and Queen.”

She already knew. “The older brother of Empress Ki. Are you talking about him? His power is so strong like a storm. I heard that our strength is like a small flame compared to his.” 

As she spoke, Choi Young was surprised by her knowledge and turned to look at her, then looked ahead again as he replied, “I cannot say it isn’t true.”

Now she faced him. “If he kills us and becomes king, you would be his bodyguard, right? Stay awake at night to protect him, and throw away your life in battle for him.”

He admitted, “If I don’t die before then, that is probably what would happen.”

“Is that why you are trying to kill yourself?” Surprised again, Choi Young looked at her. She continued, “You’re tired of this position you didn’t want and risking your life for this or that king…Is that why you’re thinking to die?” He looked down, unsure what to say. Her arrow had come very close to the mark. 

 

The Queen stood, and when he went to get up as well, she put a graceful hand on his shoulder to keep him seated. Then, breaking all protocol for a Goryeo Queen and a male subject, especially in her own quarters, she moved her hand to his forehead and held it there. His eyes grew wide with alarm, and he started to protest, “Your Highness…”

But she interrupted him, saying, “You’re burning up. I heard you are refusing treatment.”

He pleaded, “Please, do not touch your servant, my Queen.” 

After a few more seconds she did remove her hand, but commanded, “You must not die. That is your Queen’s order.” He looked up at her and she met his eyes firmly. He looked away, still stunned.  Then he arose, bowed, and asked permission to leave, which she granted. Lady Choi had been present for all of this, and she hoped her nephew would obey his very astute Queen.

 

The King had also invited a guest to his chambers, the Doctor from Heaven. There was a large desk on a raised platform at one end of the room, and a long table in the center of the rest of the room for holding meetings. It was decorated beautifully with vases and other art objects, flowers, and paintings on the walls, some done by the King himself. When she entered the room, she spotted a large celadon vase. Goryeo-era celadon was very rare and nearly priceless in modern-day Korea. It occurred to her that, if she could bring one back with her, it might fund her new clinic all by itself. She wondered where she could buy one. 

 

The King entered with Il-shin beside him, and he greeted her warmly. She bowed a bit awkwardly and gave a little curtsy. 

“I heard you are a King…I’m not sure how to bow to you or anything…”

He graciously replied, “This is also my first time meeting someone from Heaven. I’m not sure how to address you politely. Why don’t we talk freely?” She agreed with a nod and smile.

They sat at the table and the King continued, “As soon as I returned to the palace, there were many things that I needed to attend to, so I wasn’t able to talk to you. How is your stay so far?”

Eun-soo was still in her talkative mode. She claimed not to be the complaining type and then went on to complain. The food was too bland, they didn’t have kimchi, she wanted a hot bath… and finally stopped herself. The King looked a little disconcerted but directed one of his men to look into meeting her requests. Then he continued, “Divine Healer.”

“Yes, me?”

“I have a rather big request for you. I am asking you to be the High Doctor, Eui Son, of this country.”

“What is that, Your Highness?” But before he could answer, she went on, “Wait, I have to go back to my place. I was kidnapped and then kidnapped again…and almost died…But I’ll forget about it. Instead, when I go, a Goryeo vase, and some paintings…if you let me take these items, I’ll consider it never happened.” She finished with a smile.

Il-shin smugly asked, “So how do you plan on returning?”

“The door that I came from?”

“Did you not see that door closing?”

“Can’t you just reopen it?”

“A thousand years ago, that door is the same door Hwata used. No one knows when it will reopen.”

Alarmed, she slapped the table. “That can’t be! How can you say that?! Then, what am I supposed to do?” Il-shin had no answer for her.

The King returned to his topic. “Doctor, this country has been under Yuan’s control for many decades.”

“I don’t really know history…”

“I know that people of this country have to work hard to meet Yuan’s demand for tributes every year, so their lives are not much better than death.”

Il-shin added, “It’s not only Yuan. Those who get their power from Yuan…”

Eun-soo jumped in again, saying, “Excuse me, it’s a bit impolite of me to say this, but, well, all politicians say that. That you care about the people. That you are the right one to solve the problem. Well…”

Il-shin stopped her. “Doctor! You’re in front of the King!”

But she was not to be deterred. Pointing to Il-shin, she cried, “You see? They all react like that when a citizen speaks up.” Both the Doctor and Il-shin glared at each other.

The King told Il-shin to be quiet, and continued, “Ever since Goryeo surrendered to Yuan, the previous six kings of this country had to use “Chung” [meaning “loyal”] in front of their posthumous names.” This had been humiliating to Goryeo.

She was thinking about what she had learned in school. “Posthumous names…Chung?”

“Especially, my preceding king, Prince Chung Kyeong or King Chung Mok.”

Talking aloud to herself, she wondered, “Chung Mok? If it’s Chung-something, this is the later era of Goryeo…”

Il-shin asked, “Later era? What later era?”

She asked, “What are the names of your predecessors?”

Il-shin recited, “Before Prince Kyeong Chung who is now exiled, King Chung Mok, then before him, King Chung Hae, and then…”

She clapped her hands, remembering. “Chung Hae! Chung Mok! Even though I was bad at history, I was fairly decent at memorizing the monarchs of Goryeo. Let’s see…” And she began to sing a ditty of the kings’ names to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”: Tae-Hye-Jeong-Gwang-Gyeong-Seong-Mok, Hyeon-Deok-Jeong-Mun-Sun-Seon-Heon. Suk-Ye -[umm]-[umm]- Chungyeol, Seon-Suk-Hae-Mok-Kyeong-Gong... Ok, Chung Mok, Chung Kyeong? Next would be Gong…Oh! You’re King Gongmin?”

Smiling, the King asked, “The People of Heaven call me King Gongmin?”

Excited, she exclaimed, “Yes, after Chung Mok and Chung Kyeong comes King Gongmin. That’s what history says!”

Il-shin was excited too. “Oh! There is no Chung, Your Majesty! Yuan’s posthumous name, Chung, is gone from your name!”

Eun-soo continued remembering, “Then…if she’s the Yuan princess then she’s…Princess Noguk? If it’s true, then this is awesome! King Gongmin and Queen Noguk, you two are very famous!” Both the King and Il-shin were beaming. She pointed to the King and went on, “You draw well, don’t you?”

“Drawings, a little…”

“I saw one! One of your paintings! In your shrine in Mapo [a district of Seoul], they exhibit your paintings. Choi Young’s shrine is next to yours.”

Il-shin was brought up short by her last statement. “Are you talking about the Woodalchi Commander? How would he be known in the heavens?” He scoffed at the very idea.

But she suddenly cried, “Did you say Commander? That…person who kidnapped me… the psycho I stabbed… Who did you say he was?! And they affirmed to her that, yes, the Commander’s name was Choi Young. He had told her his name as they were about to go through the portal, but it hadn't registered in a mind overwhelmed with terror. Now, she was stunned, not quite able to believe her ears. She wondered if it was possible there was more than one Choi Young.

Word quickly spread about the Doctor’s magical knowledge of the Goryeo kings, first among the King and Queen’s attendants, then throughout the palace, and finally to the city. And, of course, to Ki-chul at his mansion.

 

Yang-sa was telling Ki-chul the latest news from the palace while giving him a facial treatment. “A doctor from the heavens came down? That doctor can bring a dead person back to life, and foresee the future of the country, too?” Chuckling, he continued, “A new King who is served by that kind of doctor from the heavens? Even if the people are ignorant, how would they believe such words?!” 

Hwa-su-in came in, having just arrived from the frontier village where the Queen had been attacked. She asked, “What’s this? What are you doing?” Yang-sa explained the treatment he was giving Ki-chul. As a final step, the cloth covering his face needed to be heated to drive the herbal essences into his skin. She volunteered to take care of that and set a small flame atop the cloth with her hand. She teased, “I’m enjoying setting you on fire, Brother!” He didn’t laugh but didn’t seem concerned, either. After a few more seconds, the cloth was removed by a servant. 

 

After Ki-chul´s treatment was finished, they continued talking about the Doctor from heaven. Hwa-su-in verified that she had heard the same information about the Divine Doctor saving the princess when she had gone to the frontier village.

Ki-chul asked her, “You didn’t see this with your own eyes, but only heard?”

“If I had seen that, I would’ve brought her, not left her.”

Yang-sa emphasized, “It’s not possible!”

“It’s not important whether it’s true or not. If ignorant people start to believe that story, it would become bothersome,” noted Ki-chul.

Hwa-su-in asked, “I heard she’s in the palace. Should we bring her here? Or should I burn her?” She giggled at the thought.

“No, but I think I need to re-open the Court tomorrow. Tell the officials that I’ll meet the King. But before that, I have a job for you…” as he looked at Hwa-su-in.

 

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Chapter 8: Gae Kyeong, Captial of Goryeo (Ep 4, continued)

Dr. Jang sat across from Choi Young, looking at the blood-stained paper they had recovered from the room where the advisors had died. 

Choi Young asked him, “If this is the blood of those who were poisoned to death, or if it’s normal blood, could you distinguish between the two?”

“It’s easy to tell if something is poisoned, but… it’s a little…strange.”

“What do you mean, ‘strange’?”

“First, we’ll have to find out if this blood even belongs to a person.”

“You’re saying it might not be human blood?”

“Could I take this to test?”

“Yes, of course.”

 

While talking with Dr. Jang, Choi Young had noticed a few Woodalchi talking together. After the doctor left, he went to see what was so interesting to them.

“Ju-seok. What was that?”

“Excuse me?”

“The thing you were chatting about.”

“Ah, that’s…”

Choi Young insisted, “What is it?”

“Well, they didn’t believe me.”

“What?”

“About Eui Son.”

“Eui Son?”

“We told them you brought her from the heavens. That we saw it with our own two eyes. But they won’t believe it – ooof!”

Choi Young had angrily kicked him. “Have I not told you to keep your mouths shut? Who is it? The person who first talked about her.”

Dol-bae protested, “It wasn’t us. It was from the King’s Quarters.”

“What?!”

“They are all talking about it. By now, this story probably has spread outside.”

Dol-bae added, “Right now, people in the markets are talking about it…That a divine healer from the heavens came down to the earth, and with the Heaven’s medical skill, she saved the Queen and showed the future. We only answered their questions.”

Ju-seuk, still on his knees from the kick, defended his comrades. “People asked if it was true, so we said, ‘Yes.’”

Alarmed, Choi Young left them. He needed to check on the Doctor to ensure her safety.

 

He headed toward the Herbal Medicine House to find her. There, Lady Choi was already showing Eun-soo, now dubbed Eui Son, the High Doctor, her new quarters adjacent to the herbal facility. It was a nicely appointed room with a large window and her own entrance. Eui Son was carrying a large celadon vase that the King had given to her. Lady Choi offered to show her other quarters that were even larger, and Eui Son said yes, she loved to look at houses. Just as they were heading out, Choi Young appeared. She almost ran into him, saying, “Ah, hello!” 

Choi Young turned, put his arm to her back and pushed her down the hall where they could talk privately. Lady Choi protested, “H-Hey! Young!” but didn’t follow them. 

As they walked, Eui Son asked, “Is your name Choi Young?”

He ignored her question but said with urgency, “I cannot leave the court, but my men can take you out…”

“Take me out?”

He spoke urgently, “You must leave now. It is dangerous here. There will be people who will try to take you.” He was thinking about where he could put her so she would be safe.

“Who is? Why?”

Choi Young was sick, worried, and irritable. He told her, “Just do what I say!” 

“Wait!” She broke away from him, still holding her vase. “Why do I have to do what you tell me to do? Someone has my back! Guess who that is? It’s the King himself,” she boasted. “He asked me to become head of the Royal Hospital.” 

She taunted him, “So if I ask ‘Why’, shouldn’t you give me an answer? I heard you’re not even an Army General. Maybe your rank is only as high as a Captain? Or Lieutenant Commander at the most?”

Out of what little patience he had, he called, “Deo-ki.” She came immediately. He asked her, “I need a sack.” She took one out. He continued, “Tie her so I can carry her. She’s very talkative, so close her mouth, too.” Eui Son lost her superior air and began to look worried. Deo-ki was only too happy to do it. 

 

Deo-ki began to restrain Eui Son, but Dr. Jang, having heard loud voices, came and stopped her.

He told the Commander, “It was His Highness’ order. The medical office is in charge of taking care of her.” Eui Son leaned against Dr. Jang, looking at Choi Young with an air of defiance.

Choi Young knew there was no way that she could be sufficiently protected in this medical setting, with many people coming and going at all hours. “Jo Il-shin, this must be his doing.”

Dr. Jang replied, “But still, it was a command.” As if to emphasize the point, Eui Son thrust the vase out to demonstrate the King’s favor.

Standing there, Choi Young’s vision suddenly blurred. He shook his head and tried to take a step. He stumbled, losing consciousness, and fell to the floor. 

Eui Son shouted, “Hello? Choi Young!” and dropped her precious vase, shattering it.

 

Choi Young awoke laying on a table in the Royal Medical Office. Both Dr. Jang and Eui Son were there with him. He started to sit up but gasped from the pain in his abdomen. Dr. Jang said, “Let me help you,” and helped him sit up the rest of the way. Choi Young still felt terrible. 

The Commander asked Dr. Jang, “How long did I sleep?”

“It’s only been about an hour since you fainted.”

Stubbornly, he said, “I didn’t faint.” He pulled his black undershirt closed and began to tie it.

“All right. Nobody knows that you slept as if you fainted, besides Deo-ki, me and that person.” He indicated Eui Son, sitting a few feet from the table. Choi Young looked around at her.

She added, “There was an infection in the place where we did surgery. Because of that infection, you have a fever.” Dr. Jang had applied a herbal concoction to his incision, and she asked him, By the way, do those herbs really help?”

“I thought you already gave up treating him,” responded Dr. Jang.

“Only because there is no medicine here I’m familiar with.”

Dr. Jang addressed Choi Young, “I made more medicine. Please wait.”

Eui Son got up from her chair, picked up the Commander’s outer clothes and gave them to him to put on. She commented, “Your abdominal muscles are really good indeed. I worried a lot when I opened your abdomen, if other organs also got injured. But luckily there was damage only at the liver. It was thanks to your well-developed six pack.”

While he got dressed, she continued, “Your name is Choi Young? There’s no other person named Choi Young in Goryeo, right? Well, you’ll become an Army General later on and you’ll accomplish a lot of things. So if I really went through a time warp, it means those things will happen since the history I know says so. Anyhow, you must remain alive so that you protect Goryeo, go to war, and get remembered by history.”

He turned to her, intrigued. “Is that true? That you can foresee the future?”

“I don’t think I came from heaven. I think I came from the future.”

“From the future?”

“If you die here because of what I did, I feel like something really bad will happen. You can see things like that in movies, where history becomes all screwed up, or - ”

 

Suddenly, the Commander looked up at a nearby window, grabbed her and pushed her to the floor, covering her with his body. Hwa-su-in had come there and had thrown one of her explosive balls into the room, where it blew up.  They didn’t cause much damage, but they were very loud and startling. If they hit someone directly, they would cause burns. He told Eui-son, “Stay here,” then looked over the table to see Hwa-su-in throw another ball at the returning Dr. Jang, who deflected it with his fan.

 

Choi Young immediately reached for his sword and went after Hwa-su-in. She had turned to leave as soon as she saw Choi Young start to follow her. Dr. Jang stayed behind to comfort and protect Eui Son. “Are you all right? Did you get hurt anywhere?”

With her hands over her head and big round eyes, she whispered, “X-men!”

“What?”

“That woman, she’s an X-Man! Supernatural powers!” Then she hugged Dr Jang for support. Just then Deo-ki came in and saw them hugging.  She held a secret fondness for Dr. Jang, so she became even less enamored of Eui Son, if that was possible. 

 

Hwa-su-in was headed for a broad parapet running along one of the palace walls. She had deliberately provoked Choi Young to follow her so she could convey Ki-chul’s offer to him privately. When she saw him closing in on her, she threw another ball at him to keep him coming, which he deflected with his sword. She turned a corner and couldn’t see him when she looked back. But he had climbed onto the roof overhanging the parapet to avoid the explosive balls and get ahead of her. He suddenly dropped down right in front of her.  She was surprised and then pleased. He really was a stunning-looking man, and she enjoyed toying with handsome men. As she backed up to put a little room between them, she said, “Woodalchi’s Choi Young. Right?” 

But he was all business, angry that she had threatened Eui Son. He drew his sword and said, “Leave the greetings for later,” and slashed at her, driving her further backward. 

“Fine,” she smiled while she heated up another ball behind her back. She tossed it at him, hoping to get him to back off a bit. Again he deflected it. They circled, taking each other’s measure.

She smiled flirtatiously, “How scary! I have a message for you…It’s a secret message just for you.”

He decided she must be one of Ki-chul’s minions. He thrust his sword directly toward her throat. “There is nothing I want to hear from you.”

Continuing to back up toward the edge of the parapet, she still teased, “Don’t be so harsh!” 

He thought he had her. “Then, die.” 

To avoid his stroke, she backed to the edge of the parapet, then turned and jumped, saying over her shoulder, “See you soon!” She descended to the ground, her red cloak spreading out while she used her inner power to slow her fall. 

He looked over the edge to see her smile up at him before walking away. He had no energy to pursue her.

 

That night the King went to the medical facility to learn more about what had happened earlier in the day. He had asked Choi Young to come there, and when he arrived, said, “I heard about the attack. Could they have wanted the Doctor?”

The Commander replied, “We know Ki-chul has people that can use fire and sound as weapons. I believe she was one of them.”

“Is the Healer safe?”

Choi Young smiled and said, “Thanks to the King’s protection.”

The King laughed. “It seems like you also tell white lies yourself. How is it thanks to my protection that the Healer is safe? She could have died because of me but you saved her.” They looked at each other in silent acknowledgement.

 

Choi Young also had news for the King about the bloody paper they had found. The Commander showed it to him and said, “We found this hidden in the room where they died. The blood from this secret note seems like someone, attacked by poison, vomited on it.” Choi Young arose from his chair and went to a nearby table with a large piece of paper on it. He continued, “However, Dr. Jang said the result of a test verifies that the blood is not the blood of a human.” He lifted the lid of a box containing several live centipedes, and shook the box over the paper, dropping them onto the white paper. He then took out his knife, turned away, made a small cut in his arm, and dripped a little of his own blood on the paper while the King watched.

“Centipedes usually do not react when they touch human blood.” And indeed the centipedes paid no attention to Choi Young’s fresh blood on the paper. “There’s another blood that centipedes like.” He put the bloody paper they’d found down near the centipedes, and they immediately began crawling toward it. The King stood up, looking in surprise at what they were doing. Choi Young told him, “It’s chicken blood.”

“Then the blood stains on this letter are chicken blood?”

“Yes.”

“Then that means someone planted this after killing the officials. But who and why?”

“It must be someone who wants this to become evidence. You just need to wait. That person will come to you. That was the purpose of this false evidence. ”

“Then I will show this to him and reveal it as false?”

“You could do that or act like you didn’t know. It is my King’s decision.”

“If I reveal the lie, then it means I will fight him. If I pretend I don’t know, that would mean I will surrender to him. And it is up to me to choose?”

“Yes.”

 “So when he comes, and whatever decision I make, you will leave the palace, since you’ve done what I asked you?”

“As my King allows me.” He bowed to the King.

Exasperated, the King asked, “Leave no matter what?” Choi Young didn’t answer but stayed in his bow, confirming his request.

As they talked, Eui Son walked by the room and overheard them. She stayed to listen, their voices carrying through the wooden grill dividing their room from where she was.

The King wanted Choi Young to stay. “Is your reason that I commanded you to kidnap the Doctor and then forced you to break your word? Has that hurt you so much? I needed someone whom I could trust. And I had to find out if you could be that one person. And I wanted to strengthen my position by introducing the Doctor to the people, even though I knew it would put her in danger. Was that such a big disappointment?”

Choi Young had been looking down while the King spoke. “I’ve been wishing to leave the palace for a long time.”

The King said, “Convince me.”

Looking at the King, he said, “It’s not worthy of your concern, Your Highness. A trivial matter.”

But the King pressed him, “If you don’t wish to speak to a king, then talk to me as your friend. I am asking you sincerely.”

 

Choi Young looked down again with a bleak expression on his face. The reason he wanted to leave had a story behind it. He began, “I used to be in the Red Moon army. No class or gender mattered. We all had the best skills. We stood together to protect Goryeo. That was our only passion. To me who had lost a father, they were family. The captain was both master and a father to me. The members were my brothers and sisters. We used to find enemy ships and burn them, or we assassinated their captains by breaking in from the back door. 

 

“Even though we were skilled warriors, there were many of them and few of us. Making our name a terror to throw the enemies into confusion had its limits. We received no supplies or auxiliary troops. At one time there were more than 70 of us. Soon, we lost half of us. The only thing we were given was the next mission. In the beginning, we were given reliable intelligence. I don’t know if the enemies got smarter or we had problems with our allies, but we were entrapped more and more often. 

 

“One spring, the top officers of the Red Moon army were summoned by His Majesty. We were very excited, wondering what reward we would receive for our service, perhaps a horse for each person. It felt…like a dream. They placed us in rooms with fine linens and decorations. After being in the field for so many years, it was amazing. I thought our Captain might even receive a high position in the Court. 

 

“Before we met with the King, the Captain told us, ‘You will meet the Emperor today. He is the King we have protected with our lives. He might not be the king you’ve imagined. So remember our brothers and sisters waiting outside the court. We are going to be representatives, each one of us. So act prudently in front of the king.’ 

 

“The King was having a banquet. There were many women there, some dancing, a great deal of food and wine, and talking and laughing. We walked in and knelt before him. It was a few moments before the King saw us. He was busy with the woman next to him. When he finally noticed us, he said, ‘So who are you?’

Our Captain replied, ‘Your subject, Leader of the Red Moon, Moon Chi-wook. Together with my officers, Your Majesty.’

‘Ahh! Red Moon Army. I remember!’ The King got up from his seat at the banquet table and came toward us. ‘Yes, come on in!’ He appeared to have drunk a great deal of wine. He staggered and almost fell as he came toward us.

 

“He came up to the Captain and laughed. ´I’ve heard you all are so gallant.´ He told us to stand up. He saw the Captain’s sword, pulled it out of its scabbard and looked at it. ‘Let’s see. How many have you killed with this? Ten? A hundred?’ and he swiped it through the air several times. Some of us had to step back to avoid being cut. 

 

“Then he noticed Mae Hee. She and I were…companions. He was surprised there was a woman in our group. He asked about her, wanting to know if she used martial arts. The captain said yes, and that she was especially good at interception. The King commented that this was the first time he’d seen a fighter woman and how interesting that was. He examined her very closely, and said she didn’t look any different from other women on the outside. Then he told her to take off her clothes, that he wanted to see what was in there. When she hesitated, the King threatened her with the sword. She began to remove her clothes, down to her underclothes. Then she stopped. I had started to move to protect her several times, but the Captain put his hand in front of me each time to stop me. The King grew angry, calling her a disloyal subject and began to cut the straps off her remaining clothes.  But the Captain interposed his body between her and the King. The King grew very angry, saying that we were arrogant, and that he had heard that the commoners trusted us more than him, the King. That the Captain had stolen the love and trust of the people from him. The Captain tried to tell him that it wasn’t like that, but he was enraged. He told Mae Hee again to disrobe completely, and when she still hesitated, he tried to run her through with the sword. But the Captain again stepped between them, and the sword stabbed my teacher instead. The King was shocked but not regretful. He only seemed amazed at the sharpness of the sword and how easily it had gone into the Captain’s body.

 

“With his great strength the Captain pulled the sword out of his abdomen. His blood spilled out on the floor. I stepped forward, filled with anger, but the Captain put his sword to my neck. He told me to back off, and to give my word to the King that, from then on, we would be the King’s shadow, that we would protect the King. Then he stepped close to me and whispered that it was the only way we could save the Red Moon. That I must protect my comrades. He demanded my answer and I vowed to do what he asked. Then my Captain knelt and apologized to the king and asked for his forgiveness. He said, ‘They are yours, Your Majesty. Keep them by your side and allow them to protect you.’ And then… my Captain died there, kneeling. The rest of us prostrated ourselves before the King.”

 

After Choi Young finished his story, the King sat silently for a few moments. He couldn’t speak, utterly appalled that a king would treat such dedicated men, heroes really, with such vicious caprice. At last he said, “So that’s how you became the Commander of the Woodalchi. How long has it been?”

“Seven years.”

“How many of the Red Moon are left in the court?”

“Some left. Some died. Now only I remain.”

“So, now that you have no more to protect, you will leave?”

“Yes.”

“The one who killed your teacher must have been the Late King, Chung Hae, my older brother.”

“Yes.”

“You must have hated me from the start, as his younger brother.” Choi Young remained silent. “So, after you leave the palace, what are you going to do?”

“First, I will take Eui Son to the door to heaven. I owe her that. While I wait for the door to open, I am thinking of becoming a fisherman.” For the first time in their conversation a smile crept to Choi Young’s lips as he said, “I am quite good at catching fish.”

“After you repay that debt, what’s next?”

Returning to his bleak expression, the Commander said, “I am still searching for a purpose.”

The King stood up and so did the Commander. He told Choi Young, “But you have not yet done all that I have asked you. Remember that.” 

“Your Majesty, that – “

“You do not need to see me off. Because I do not have the honor to face you right now.” Choi Young bowed as the King left.

 

As soon as the King had left the room, Eui Son watched Choi Young start to collapse. He bent over, gasping and holding his stomach with one arm while trying to stay on his feet by leaning on the table with his other. She thought he must have been in terrible pain the whole time he met with the King. She cried, “Psycho!... Psycho!” and ran to him. Dr. Jang, Choon-sik and Dae-man, who had been leaving with the King, heard her cries and turned back. Choi Young had fallen to the floor and was beginning to convulse. Eui Son put her hand to his cheek to feel his temperature and said to the others, “He’s showing signs of shock. Raise his legs for me. We have to help the blood flow to his brain and heart.” Choon-sik pulled a bench seat over and placed his legs on it. She said to Dr. Jang and Deo-ki, who had also come into the room, “We need some salt and sugar water. And some blankets to keep him warm.” 

They ran to get those things, while Choon-sik stayed and asked, “The Commander, what is wrong with him?” 

“He’s having a seizure. I wish I had oxygen to give him, and a vasopressor.” 

They brought a small cup of water. She raised his head and tipped the cup to his mouth. But he was shaking so badly she could get only a little of it into him. 

Looking at him she lamented, “I can’t believe this. I have nothing to help him.”

Dr. Jang took his pulse and noted that it was fast and very weak. 

 

Choon-sik called to him, “Commander, can you hear me?” But Choi Young didn’t respond. He had returned to his dream of the frozen lake and was sitting next to his father, fishing. Some of his fondest memories were of ice fishing together. He asked, “Father, can I stay here? Just…here…with you.” 

They placed him on a table, warmed him as best they could with blankets, and set special incense around the room to aid his breathing. An assistant brought in the detoxification tonic Dr. Jang had requested. But Dr. Jang could hardly feel a pulse. He sighed, wondering, “Does this person … have thoughts of not returning?”

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On 10/8/2019 at 7:31 AM, Lindyloo421 said:

I am so much enjoying reading these excerpts and then watching the dvd- it’s adding a new dimension to the story. 

Glad you're enjoying the story! Writing it gives more opportunities for talking about what's going on with the characters internally, so it can enhance watching the video.  Thanks for the feedback.

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Chapter 9: Goryeo Royal Palace, Gae Kyeong (Ep. 5)

Eui Son and Dr. Jang reluctantly left Choi Young in the care of other doctors for the time being. They had been summoned to attend the King’s first audience with his advisors and nobles. Lady Choi helped Eui Son dress appropriately and make her way to the throne room, where she waited to be introduced to the court.

The King and Queen were making their way to the court, walking about five feet apart. They were an interesting pair to see, the tall, willowy princess from Yuan with delicate features and an elaborate headdress, and the shorter King with a serious face. He wore his hair in a long pigtail down his back, trimmed with gold cloth that matched the color of his robe. The King suddenly stopped, and that obliged the Queen to stop as well. Both of them remained facing forward, not looking at the other one. 
He said, “I have not made up my mind what to do, but no matter what I choose, you will not like what you see.”
“Of what are you speaking?”
“One, I might choose to be brave, and have the throne snatched away. Then your life will be in danger, too. And the other choice. If I lower my head and become an object of ridicule, I can maintain this throne. Which one will you find more bearable?”
“None of them.”
He nodded, “I thought so.”
She asked, “Where is the Woodalchi Commander?”
“He is unable to come due to an illness.”
“Is it an illness?”
The King turned to her and said, “As he cannot come, we must go with a third plan. It involves the Doctor from Heaven.
Given their relationship, she was surprised that he would confide even this much to her, and she told him so. He replied that whatever he suffered, whether it was ridicule or death, she would suffer it also. They held each other’s eyes for a moment, then faced forward once again and continued down the hall to the throne room.

As the royal couple entered the throne room everyone in the court stood and bowed as they walked to the royal dais. He turned and sat on the golden throne. The Queen sat down in a chair to his left, with Dr. Jang standing by her side. The King invited everyone to be seated.
Once everyone was seated, one of Ki-chul’s minions, Ja-won, spoke, “Your Majesty the King. Your Highness the Queen. Seeing your royal selves in good health, I am very thankful to the Heaven’s protection.” Everyone bowed to the King again. 
The King planted a smile on his face and spoke for the first time to the assembled Court. “Are you? It is so. I am also thankful for Heaven’s protection.” While the King spoke, Il-shin kept nodding his encouragement. The third plan had been his idea. 
The King continued, “I’m not sure if you heard the news, but the path from Yuan to here, this royal palace, was quite perilous. For a moment the Queen almost lost her life. 
He looked around the room and asked, “Why do you look so surprised? You all heard of it. Hwata’s heavenly gate opened and a heavenly healer was sent to save the Queen.” 

The King motioned to his right and a eunuch raised a narrow curtain there.  It revealed Eui Son, seated, with Lady Choi standing next to her. Eui Son, for her part, had been told to get ready for a meeting, but she was surprised at the size of the audience staring at her, all men. She turned to the side, starting to rise to her feet to leave, but Lady Choi firmly but discretely pushed her back down in the chair. 

The King continued his speech. “I have thought about it again and again. What does this mean? Why did heaven choose this Goryeo, of all countries? Why did heaven send a heavenly doctor to this poor King?” And indicating Eui Son, he asked his courtiers, “What do you think?”
“Moreover, this heavenly healer has spoken about the things I will do for this country. The future of Goryeo is written in the books of heaven. Don’t you want to hear what she has to say?” The advisors controlled by Ki-chul looked worried. He was strengthening his hand quite effectively. 

Then Ki-chul made his entrance from the far end of the room, announcing, “This is quite disconcerting.” As he walked up the center aisle toward the King, the advisors bowed to him as low as they had previously bowed to the King. He continued, “Your Majesty, I am Ki-chul, Prince of the Court from Deokseong. I came running here to be in the King’s audience.” Stepping onto the dais, which was disrespectful to the King, he stated, “But I’ve heard a very odd story. A gate to Heaven. A Heavenly Healer. Even a High Doctor.” By the time he finished speaking, he was practically next to the King on the dais. Woodalchi guards had begun to stop him, but the King had waved them back. 
Ki-chul continued, “My King is still very young, and has stayed far from his homeland for a long time. Things might still be confusing. But you are the King.” 
He turned to the court and began to shout, “Who has dared…Who has dared to whisper such drivel to His Highness to confuse his mind?!” He pointed at Eun-soo and shouted, “The wily one there? You…The one in the form of a woman…Answer me!” 
She didn’t know what to do. She turned to the side and started to get up from her chair, and once again Lady Choi restrained her. Dr. Jang urgently whispered from across the dais, “Please don’t run away. If you run, you will die.”
She replied to him, “I don’t think he’d really…”
Ki-chul called again, “You wily thing! Did I not say to answer!” She was shocked at the vehemence in his voice. 

But at that point the King interjected himself in an attempt to reframe the conversation. He smiled and chuckled, “It was predicted.” Arising from his throne and looking at Ki-chul, he continued, “So you are that Prince of the Court from Deokseong. When I was in Yuan, your sister, Empress Ki, told me much about you. I know very well it is thanks to you and your sister that I am here today. 
Looking doubtful, Ki-chul replied, “You know it is thanks to us?”
“Yes. Empress Ki said this as I crossed to here from Yuan. Upon returning to my homeland, Prince of the Court from Deokseong would take care of everything for me. That I need not worry.” 
As the King continued speaking, he walked down off the dais and down the center aisle, addressing the court officials seated on either side. “That I must not be surprised if you seem to show disrespect to me by stepping right up to my throne. To calm the officials if they seem to be astonished at your actions.” 
He looked back at Ki-chul and continued with a friendly smile. “Because your actions are not that you lack loyalty to the crown. In fact, your allegiance is so great that you cannot control your passion.”
The King turned back to the courtiers while pointing to Ki-chul. “See? Look at how he ran here so worried that I might have been in danger. What loyalty!”
But Ki-chul was not to be put off. He came down from the dais, chuckling, “So then, Your Majesty is trying to say that thing is indeed from Heaven? Do you really believe such drivel?”

At that point the Queen spoke up, since she had been the beneficiary of the Doctor’s attention. She addressed Ki-chul and the Court, “I believe it. I am your Queen, the daughter of the King of Yuan. On my journey here, an assassin was sent and my neck was cut by a sword.” She tore the bandage from her neck, exposing the stitches, and continued, “This is the neck that High Doctor attached again. Is there another doctor with such skill on earth?”
Dr. Jang again whispered across the dais to Eui Son, “You must show them that you’re someone from heaven.”
Frustrated, she replied, “So what am I supposed to do?”
Lady Choi leaned down and whispered to her, “Don’t cry and don’t be shaken.”
Dr. Jang added, “Act as you do in Heaven.”

Ki-chul picked up again, saying, “My young and innocent King. And his Queen. Who had you believe that, Woodalchi’s Choi Young? Did he bring that wily one to you, saying that she is from heaven? That is what I have heard. Isn’t that right?”
The King looked away, unsure how to respond. Ki-chul addressed the ministers, “Where is Woodalchi’s Choi Young?” His voice rose to a fevered pitch, “Drag that treacherous and disloyal criminal here at once!” 

At last Eui Son rose to her feet and spoke. “That’s impossible!”
Ki-chul looked at her with a triumphant smile and said, “So the wily thing even talks?”
She continued, “Choi Young, the Commander…he is my patient. No one can take him without my permission.” 
Then she went to sit down again, but Ki-chul took a few steps toward her. “What? You witch!”
She had had to put up with pompous bullies when she was a resident in training, and she wasn’t about to tolerate more of it. Her anger overcoming her fear, she stood up again. “Watch what you say! How dare you curse and use informal language with me!” Gathering steam, she stalked up to him, looking him in the eye. “Oh, seriously! I don’t know how I ended up dragged to this ditch, but at my age, I have to be cursed at?! How old are you?”
Stunned by her nerve, he stuttered, “W-what?”
“I am a cosmetic surgeon in Gangnam. That means I’ve dealt with enough nasty people threatening me all the time, and I know how to deal with them. Do you think I’m being nice because I don’t know how to curse? I’m holding back since we’re in front of the King, so let’s drop it here.” While she spoke, the King, Queen, Lady Choi and Dr. Jang all looked at each other, wondering where this confrontation would go. When she finished speaking to Ki-chul, she turned to the King and asked his permission to leave, saying she had a patient to attend to. With a nervous smile the King quickly gave his permission. 

But Ki-chul wasn’t about to give up. As she went to leave, he stepped in front of her.
Startled, she rebuked him, “You scared me!” 
In a menacing voice he said, “You wicked thing…do you want to die?” 
Instead of responding to him directly, she turned to the King. “You said his name was Ki-chul, right?” The King nodded. Then she pointed at Ki-chul, “Now I remember. Ki-chul, Empress Ki, King Gongmin. That’s right! It was all on the exam!”
She turned back to the King, explaining, “You might not be able to tell, but I was a good student then.” Then she turned back to  Ki-chul, sneering, “Anyway, Yuan’s going to collapse soon…” She started to sing a little ditty reciting the Chinese dynasties to the tune of “Mary had a Little Lamb”, counting them off on her fingers: “Tang, Tang, Liao, Yuan, Ming, Southern Song…”
She announced, “So, it’s Ming Dynasty next.” Everyone in the court looked stunned. This was big news.
She continued, “Soon, the land of Yuan will die and Ming will come in! Yeah, that’s right. I even remember how you will die, Ki-chul. But I won’t tell you. Why? Because you’re a jerk!”
She put her finger in his face and said, “Hey, F…k you, go to hell!” Then she turned away and left Ki-chul standing there, stunned by this feisty woman and her predictions. The King dismissed the Court soon after, all abuzz with the idea of the Yuan Dynasty ending soon and Ki-chul having been cursed by the Heavenly Doctor.
Once she left the throne room through a side door, she nearly collapsed from the tension of the confrontation with Ki-chul.  Dr. Jang caught her. He was smiling and told her, “Well done. You overachieved!” 

The two doctors returned to the Royal Hospital to attend to their patient, who was still unconscious. Dr. Jang asked her if she was going to be Choi Young’s doctor again. She said her involvement was only to ensure that he didn’t die, because if he died, she wasn’t sure who would help her return. Looking at his incision, they found that it was very infected, oozing pus and surrounded by grayish tissue. She opened the incision again in order to clear the pus and remove dead tissue. Then they infused it with a concoction of Dr. Jang’s to sterilize the wound. He said the medicine would also help the living tissue heal. 

While they were operating, Choi Young dreamed again of the frozen lake and his father. This time his father asked him, “Is she…still in your heart?” Choi Young smiled tenderly and answered, “She is still there. I cannot let her go.” His dream changed to a memory of being with May Hee, practicing their fighting skills together and vowing to love and protect the other one. He leaned down to kiss her, but she suddenly disappeared. Then he experienced again the ravaging grief of discovering that she had hung herself from a tree, unable to bear the shame of having been responsible for their leader’s death. His grief was quickly followed by a crushing sense of shame and guilt for not having been able to protect her or his leader. All of these emotions had haunted him for the past seven years. His only relief from them had been when he was sleeping or fighting. He slipped further away. 

After operating on Choi Young, Eui Son had fallen asleep in a chair next to him.  She awoke to Dae-man’s cries of alarm. Choi Young was once again having a seizure. Others ran into the room to hold him down and slip a strip of wood between his teeth. Eui Son was puzzled.  What could be the problem?  They’d removed the source of infection, his fever was down, and he should be recovering. But he wasn’t getting better; in fact, he was worse. She left the room in frustration. Dr. Jang followed her, and they met in the hospital’s garden. Dr. Jang told her that this wasn’t the first time Choi Young had been injured by a sword, and that his inner power was so strong that he had usually healed himself without the need for medical treatment. She asked him why that wasn’t working this time. He replied that she had healed the Commander’s disease but couldn’t heal the person. Her professor had told her the same thing. No matter how well surgery went, if the patient didn’t have a will to live, then recovery was questionable. It was one of the reasons she left the field of thoracic surgery and went into cosmetic surgery. She didn’t have to deal with life and death issues with patients, and besides, it was a much more lucrative field of medicine. Dr. Jang asked her if she had ever had a patient die, and she replied, “Is this some kind of drama? Do you think I suffer from pangs of conscience over a patient who died? No, none of my patients ever died.” He replied that, if Choi Young died, he would be her first. She was brought up short by that, realizing that it might be so.

As for Choi Young, he continued dreaming. On the icy lake it was getting colder and colder. He could feel frost forming over him, in his hair, on his hands, and even on his face. It was getting harder and harder to move, but he didn’t want to move anyway. He just wanted to stay there, where he felt at peace.

Once Ki-chul and his minions had returned home from the court, the talk was all about what had occurred at court.  While Ki-chul was being bathed, Yang-sa and Ki-chul’s brother were talking in an adjacent room. Yang-sa said angrily, “Such nonsense. All those words that wily thing is saying with her snake tongue! Every word is nonsense.”
“Well, I thought you believed in heaven and gods, Yang-sa, something like that. So how come you’re so angry?”
“Because she is confusing the entire country, that’s why. The city is in an uproar. A High Doctor who was sent by Heaven to protect the new King? Ha!”
Ki-chul’s brother was more superstitious. “Well, when I saw her speak, I got a little frightened. She treated my brother like a servant. And Yuan being destroyed…and she knew when my brother will die too.”
“I tell you, it’s all nonsense!”
“But, she even cast a spell, ‘Hey, F…k you…’ and she sent it through her finger into him. Everyone saw and heard it. They believe it brings death!”

Ki-chul finished his bath, which had calmed him and helped him think about his next steps. He decided he had to see that woman again. His men told him that she was so closely guarded by the Woodalchi that it was impossible to bring her to him. Then he inquired about Choi Young. Why hadn’t they brought him into his service yet?
Yang-sa replied that there were rumors that Eui Son had gone to the Woodalchi barracks, and that Choi Young had become ill after that visit. Perhaps he had offended her, and she cursed him. He was said to be very ill, even near death. 
His brother added, “Didn’t I tell you? She is casting spells!”
Ki-chul dismissed all the talk of heaven and spells as nonsense. He decided to go see the King.

The King had agreed to meet with him late that evening. He was sitting on his throne as Ki-chul entered. Several Woodalchi were staying very close to the King with hands near their swords. As Ki-chul knelt on all fours, he said, “I, Prince of the Court from Deokseong, have come to see the King.” 
The King let him stay there for a few moments longer, making it clear who was the King and who was the subject. Then he said, “Ah, this was such a big surprise I’ve forgotten to ask you to stand up. Please sit comfortably. What has brought you here at this late hour?”
Ki-chul took out his copy of the paper that had been found where the advisors had died and placed it on the floor in front of him. “I have come to discuss the secret letter Your Majesty sent me a few days ago. I have found its meaning.”
“Ah, from the place where 24 subjects were poisoned. I sent you a copy of that letter.” Do-chi, one of the King’s attendants, picked up the paper and gave it to the King.
Ki-chul read, “’If the river (Kang) and hill (Reung) find their place, the sun will collapse.’ Here, Kang Reung means…”
“It means me, whose previous name was Prince Kang Reung.”
“And the rest says, ‘Save the sun and stand up for the great cause.’ And this means…”
“It can mean the previous King, Prince Kyeong Chung, my nephew.”
“May I put that meaning together and interpret it?”
“I’m listening.”
“If Prince Kang Reung ascends to the throne, I, Prince Kyeong Chung, will die. Loyal subjects, please save me.”
At that moment the King was thinking that Choi Young had been right, the person who planted the paper would reveal himself. He decided to act as if he believed the message was genuine. “So you’re saying that the advisors gathered to protect the previous King, Prince Kyeong Chung?”
“There is no other way to interpret it, Your Majesty. It had to be on behalf of the exiled Prince.”
“Then who killed all of them?”
Ki-chul paused. Then he said, “It was I, your subject.”
Surprised that he would admit it, the King leaned forward and said, “You did?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Why?”
“For your Majesty, and for this country of Goryeo.”
The King was deciding whether or not to reveal the lie. “What if…this secret letter wasn’t the one those poisoned people had, but a forged letter which was planted by somebody after they were all dead?”
“Who and how would they do something like that?”
The King laughed, deciding to keep playing along. “That’s true. Who and for what reason would they do that?!” Ki-chul joined him in laughter. After a moment the King added, “We can’t just laugh about this. I must reward you for protecting me from rebellious officials.”
“You will reward me, Your Majesty?” Ki-chul was pleased this was going so well.
“What do you want? Tell me. I don’t know well yet what kind of prize is suitable for this kind of great work.”
“Then I will dare to make my request. At our house, there is an illness that no one except Hwata can cure. May I be allowed to take the High Doctor? If that woman is a doctor from the heavens, then of course she will be able to cure that illness. If she cannot, then this subject, on behalf of His Majesty, will clean her up secretly.”
The King arose from his throne, came forward and sat down on one of the steps of the dais, facing Ki-chul for a more informal but serious conversation. “Do you really plan to kill her?”
“Didn’t I say? That it is for Your Majesty’s sake.”
“Are you afraid she will be by my side? I didn’t know you were such a coward as to be afraid of a woman.”
“The person I am afraid of is not that woman. It is you, Your Majesty. Didn’t you know?”
“Enough wordplay. Tell me exactly what you are hoping for.”
“It’s not playing words. What I really want is you, Your Majesty. To win your trust. And I will get rid of everything that comes between us until you do, whether it’s the High Doctor or the Woodalchi Choi Young.”
“To trust you? Does that mean that I should become a toothless King who follows your words obediently? Is that it?”
“It is a bit…different. What I want is your heart. Having the heart of the person I want. The harder the heart is to get, the more I want it. Gathering hearts is the joy of my life.” Ki-chul finished this statement with a large smile on his face.
“Men’s hearts, you say?” and the King chuckled while thinking that he didn’t have the power to keep Eui Son out of Ki-chul’s hands for long. 
“What is so funny?”
“Let’s try it. Who will be able to capture the heart first? Shall we try the High Doctor’s heart?”
“Ah. I understand.”
“How long would you need to take the High Doctor’s heart? Would seven days be enough?”
“Seven days will be enough,” Ki-chul said confidently.
“Take her. Go and, if you can get the High Doctor’s heart within seven days, then she will be yours. But if you fail, you have to bring her back with not even a single hair of hers getting hurt.” Ki-chul was looking down, evidently thinking about the King’s offer. The King asked, “Do you not have the confidence?”
Ki-chul looked up then and said, “I will receive your command,” and bowed to the King.
The King knew this was a gamble, but he hoped it would keep Eui Son safe for the time being, until he could think of a plan to return her safely to the palace.

In the medical office, the person under discussion, Eui Son, was mixing medicinal herbs that Dr. Jang had told her were used to treat inflammation. She was determined to learn what she could about medicine in this era. Deo-ki came into the room, frowning at her, and motioned that she was urgently needed. She followed her to where Choi Young lay. Dae-man had been keeping watch, and he told her that the Commander’s body was too cold and his pulse was hard to detect. She looked at Choi Young, shook her head and sat down. She asked where Dr. Jang was and was told that he had gone to see another patient. Dae-man asked her if she wasn’t going to do something. How could she just stand there? She thought aloud that she’d need a ventilator, a heart monitor and pulse oximeter, but she had none of those. She told Dae-man there was nothing she could do.
He protested, “B-but…you’re the High Doctor!”
“That…is just what you guys call me. I never said I was.” 
Dae-man shook his head in frustration and left with Deo-ki to find Dr. Jang. 

Sitting alone next to Choi Young, Eui Son remembered that even unconscious patients could sometimes hear someone talking to them. So she began, “Hey, I happened to listen to your conversation with the King. And I understand you’ve had a very hard life, having to live in this dog-like world. So that’s why you’ve become like a psycho now. I can understand that. But…you’re not the only one. We all have a hard life. Everyone lives persistently, desperately. Because…because…”
While speaking she looked at his ashen face and suddenly realized he wasn’t breathing. 

She jumped up, felt for a pulse and put her face near his nose to detect any breathing. There was none. Alarmed, she cried, “Arrest!” and went into emergency mode. She removed the pillow from under his head and took the covers off his chest.  She put one hand over the other, interlacing her fingers, and began to pump on his chest. At regular intervals she moved over to his head, pinched his nostrils shut, opened his mouth and breathed into it, giving him artificial respiration. Then she returned to chest pumping. 

In a few minutes Dr. Jang came in with Dae-man. He wasn’t familiar with what Eui Son was doing but it was clear she was trying to save Choi Young’s life. By that time she was soaked in sweat and looking desperate as she continued trying to resuscitate him. Dae-man started sobbing. Dr. Jang took Choi Young’s limp arm in his hands and felt for a pulse; he couldn’t feel one. He grabbed her arms and said to her, “Stop it! He’s not breathing!”
But she shook him off, continued her efforts, and spoke to Choi Young again. “No, you are not leaving me! You can’t leave me here alone! Not because of my sword cut!” She leaned over his face, preparing to breathe into him, and continued, “You can’t die! You can’t! You said you want me to stay by your side. You said that you’ll protect me!” She put her mouth to his lips, breathed into him, and then returned once again to pumping.

Whether it was her tears or drops of sweat that fell on his cheek, he felt them in his dream. And he heard her say that he had promised to protect her. Part of him wanted to live, and his strong sense of duty became a lifeline. He reached for it and felt the ice on his face begin to break apart and then melt. And on the table, he began to breathe again. This time when Dr. Jang stopped Eui Son, it was to say, “His breathing has come back!” She stopped pumping, looked at Choi Young’s face and saw that a little color had returned to it. She was tearful with relief and smiled tenderly at him. She hadn’t killed him after all; in fact, she had just saved him.

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I´m going to stop posting this story here because I re-read the Soompi rules and these posts may be violating them. If you´re interested in reading further, please PM me and I´ll send to you privately. Thanks to those who read a bit of it and commented!

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Did a moderator told you it's against Soompi forum rules? Well then I'd like to thank you for writing and posting them here. I just read this today and felt I was transported back in time years ago. Yours words made me remember so vividly that particular episode and it is really nice to be reminded of how fond I was of that drama. Thank you so much. :wub:

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