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    Fingers were pulled back but not tight enough. The digits began to tremble and the string of the bow threatened to snap. 

    “Pull back harder! You must pull back harder…tighter.” 

    “Tiye eonnie….it’s…it’s hard…” Without warning, the bow snapped, bringing a shriek to the girl. Blood oozed out from her finger and began to drip onto the ground. At once, the older woman pressed the end of her sleeve against the wound, squeezing hard to prevent any more blood flow. The expression of the woman was that of defeat and shame. Smiling down at the girl, Tiye shook her head. 

    “Don’t do that now. It’s a mistake that we all at one point make. Keep going. You’ll improve.” Pouting, the woman nodded, eyes teary.   

    “Tiye-eonnie….can you help me please?” Turning towards another novice, she smiled some. 




    Two men stood by, watching the women as they trained…as they taught. 

    “Sang-Ook has betrayed you pyeha.” Eyes took in two women in particular… expression serious. 

    “Has he?”

    “Somehow the first born has convinced him to forsake our friendship and our camaraderie. That time in Song…”

    “Has he exposed your relationship with Hae-ah?”

    “Not yet…I’m grateful to him for having kept our secret…but that may indeed change.” 


    “Do you not worry pyeha? All around you there exist enemies desiring your end.”

    “It is not my end that I fear Yoo-shik. It is leaving my country knowing that my dream for the people was never realized.” The gravity of his words struck his friend deep in the chest. 

    “And this pyeha? This is a part of your dream?” Smiling softly, eyes took in the little yet fierce brown woman nearest him, demonstrating how to hold a bow. 

    “Yes. It is.” 



    That winter had to have been the coldest winter in her memory… one or two rival to that of when their grandmother died. The second one being after her love had been murdered. That was the coldest yet… and even now… yet again here the winds were like knives, cutting through blood, bone and skin like a blade. Eyes looked down at feet, pressed neatly on the cold concrete. Passioned sounds from within the quarters behind her made her stomach turn. That whore. She howled like a stray cat and barked like a dog. Yet again, on another night when she should be in her quarters she found herself a slave to her lust, pleasured by the great beast that was her brother. Lifting eyes upward, they fell across the horse stables, of which were clothed in a thick blanket of snow. 

    “My darling…can you see the snow? How heavy it is tonight. Surely you’d have made sure the horses were warm and ready for slumber.” She whispered quietly, eyes now misting with tears. Biting her lip, she lifted a hand to her stomach. 

    “Our child would be so big now…”  Lip wobbling, she felt unshed cries rising with each breath in her throat and knew it was time to go. Tonight was a night of sadness and grief. But when she composed herself… there would only be hell to pay. 







Early Spring 


    In place of snow now were lush green trees, cherry blossoms and ripening fruit dangling from the branches. Instead of icy white cold, sometimes chilly wet rain chose to paint the earth in colors of grey, damp and dark. With the change in season brought fruit of yet another kind. Through tedious hard work and long grueling hours the women that called the second born prince’s harem home had finally reached a moment where they could protect what they held dear. Whatever that was for them… they had grown from weak defenseless girls to determined strong willed women. Given agency and voice by their trainers, they felt as though they could do whatever they put their minds to. 

    Their prince, blessed man was he, had gifted their eonnie Hae a newly built quarter where she and the rest of them could live, given gracious luxuries otherwise not afforded to mere gisaeng as them. The once harem had been turned into a school of sorts and he took care to make sure they were educated, learning to read and write. He’d taken the foreign men that guarded his royal concubine and kept them sharp and tough; both in body and spirit. Even they had seen of their might and felt safe in their midst. 

    With the change in season came peace….a rarity that hadn’t been seen for years. It felt nice… made them forget the looming threat that had moved in the shadows, inching closer and closer to Goryeo’s borders. Men moved in secret… stealth and quiet, the overhanging promise of death traveling like black mist out from their nostrils and eyes. In this season of growth, beauty and rebirth, some things too were also underway. 




    “Is the plan coming along?”

    “Yes sire. I’ve made contact with the leader. He has agreed to meet with you.”

    “Very good.”

    “Yes sire.”

    “As for the old fool? Have you gotten in touch with the shaman Yira?”

    “Yes my lord. She has been making serums as soon as you requested it.”

    “Good.” Dark disturbed eyes lifted from their inspection of long clean nail beds. 

    “It looks as though I will have to take what I want by force. God have mercy on the poor souls who shall come under my wrath.”

    “Indeed my lord.”

    “And you? Will you swear to never let this secret reach open air? I won’t have to cut the tongue from your mouth will I?”

    “I’d never betray you sire. You have my word.” Appeasing words but the man didn’t trust him… didn’t trust anyone. 

    “You believe in my vision for this country Young-hwi?”

    “I agree that the old way should be retired pyeha. The way of the present King is ineffective and protects only his wealth and gains. That of the people is of no concern.”

    “Indeed… the people….should be protected at all costs shouldn’t they? After all, hasn’t the Gods charged us leader over them?” 

    “Yes pyeha.” Lips twisted up into evil smirk. 

    “And as the Gods humble servant and vessel, I must do my duty. It’s time for a new era to be born.” The servant only bowed his head lower, inwardly glad at his being dismissed. At his promise of gold, wealth and security he would keep his majesty’s secret. After all, should things go to plan and he successfully overthrow the King, his father…his promised reward was that much closer in sight. He needed no man to be leader over him. He was to be his own leader and his own master. 




    “Your strokes here. They are too harsh. Soften your hand.” Eyes lifted up to find the Crown Prince standing above him, curiously critiquing his work. Eyes grew wide and at the meet of their gazes, the older man smiled. 

    “Young-ho is it?” 

    “Yes…pyeha.” Nodding in a positive manner, the man sighed. 

    “You are as she says. Bright. Stubborn but a quick learner.”

    “She pyeha?”

    “Your sunbae-nim. Tiye.” At the mention of the woman’s name, the young man blushed. Lips pinched, he avert his gaze away, back onto the task he’d been charged with. 

    “Ah. So she speaks highly of me.”

    “Would she not?”

    “I don’t know. I don’t know what to think or what to say. I am after all a lowly rat compared to her.” The man lifted his eyebrow. 

    “You fancy Tiye?” The boy’s cheeks changed in color, going from a soft pastel pink to a angry red. 

    “N-not at all pyeha… don’t put words in my mouth or misunderstand me.” Knowingly, the man smiled and clucked his tongue. 

    “She is enchanting isn’t she? Her way with words, the way she carries herself… even the way she walks. She’s the definition of a true Lady isn’t she?”

    “Ah….I guess so.” Resisting the urge to further tease the poor boy, the man only grinned. 

    “Keep studying. Perhaps she’ll take notice and praise you.” Chuckling to himself at the way the lad’s shoulders tightened and bunched, he drew away from the library. On his way, he spied Mishil up ahead by the horse stalls. Feeling the giddy lightheartedness of before fade, instead a more somber and melancoly emotion drifted into his chest. He’d been so busy as of late that he had yet to really talk to her… sit down and pick apart her brain… should she surrender it up to him. There was something that was gnawing at her, he could see it as a spool of thread, slowly being unraveled. 

    “Since when have you liked horses?” A surprised little breath escaped her and she turned to look up at him. 

    “Oppa-nim…” Lifting his fingers, he gently pinched her nose between his index and second finger. 

    “I apologize for not spending time with you yodongsaeng.” A pretty blush spread into her cheeks. 

    “I-It’s okay…really.” Sighing, she attempted to smile but it looked sad. 

    “Only a couples months back and already you’ve changed things around here for the better.”

    “You think so? I never thought I’d see the day when you’d be praising me.” For a moment, there was a semblance of the girl he knew, big bright haughty eyes and a pouty purse on her lips. 

    “We all have had to grow up haven’t we Oppa-nim? I’m not the same little girl I was before.” And there it went, a solemn distant gaze taking over her as she glanced oft at the horses being prepared for ride. 

    “I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.” She said quietly, intending to be under her breath but he heard every word of it. Clenching his jaw, he lifted a hand and gently laid it atop her hair. 

    “I think it’s time we caught up. I’m sure there is so much you have to tell me hm?” Slowly, they began to leave from the stalls and into the safe confines of his private library. 




    “Who is that boy?” 

    “That boy?” 

    “The one you’ve brought to the school… to be educated.” Curious eyes looked at her friend. 

    “You have interest in him?” Brown cheeks the same color as she flushed a deep pretty red. 

    “I’m not saying that Royal Sister Tiye. I just want to know if I can trust him.” 

    “Trust him you say?”


    “His name is Young-ho. And I’ll let you decide that yourself Anat.”

    “W-what? Why? Your word is enough for me.” Lips smiled as fingers began to unravel her hair, having been stretched with twine and softened by warm honeyed milk and ginger paste.  

    “Sometimes we must be our own judge dearest friend.” Biting the inside of her cheek, she swallowed down a retort and began to help her mistress, combing her ends gently with a wide toothed wooden comb. 



    “We have a student…one who Tiye had taken under her tutelage… one she feels strongly towards. He reminds me a lot of myself as a boy. But yet, what perplexes me most is that he looks identical to another… one I haven’t seen the entire time I’ve been back home. It’s as if he’s disappeared into thin air and no one speaks of him at all.” 

    “Who oppa-nim?” Small hands lifted a kettle and poured fresh tea into his empty cup. 

    “Byung-ho-ah.” Her hands paused, fingers now gripping tighter than before. This of course didn’t go unnoticed by his observant eyes. 

    “Ah.” Is all she offered, having to remind herself of the hot liquid she held and placed the kettle back onto the table. 

    “Given your apparent interest in horses in the time I’ve been away I figured you would have come in contact with him.” She looked pained, her body tight and full of distress. He said nothing yet, watching as a myriad of emotions played on her face, ones too telling to mention. 

    “Mishil.” At his voice, she jumped slightly and blinked teary eyes. 

    “Ah…yes o-oppa-nim…ah…”

    “Calm yourself.” Reaching for her hands, he gently squeezed them. 

    “Take a breath. Center yourself.” She took a shaky breath and bit into her bottom lip. 

    “Now….tell me what holds your spirit in grief.” Lifting eyes that already had began to leak tears, she did as he bade.

    “This lowly creature…this lowly animal of a woman…forgot her station in life. Sold it and her heart to the devil himself for a taste of love. Which he gave her in all its rich glory and reckless abandon.” That was how she started and yet he sat quiet, expression soft but serious. 

    “I didn’t mean to Oppa-nim… I didn’t…didn’t mean to fall in love with him. But….I did. He was the forbidden fruit I knew I shouldn’t ever have come across but gods I wanted it. I wanted him. And I did whatever I had to to get a taste of him.” 

    “And he? Did he share the same sentiments as you?” 

    “…yes. He…he was as taken with me as I was with him. Of course he couldn’t say so openly. But he’d been watching me for years. I had never known of his wandering eyes but soon I began to become sensitive to it… I began to ache and desire it.”

    “What was he like? How did he treat you?” 

    “He was kind. Gentle. Like a soft sapling. A baby bird. Soft in nature, quiet yet observant. Calm. Cautious. Honorable and respectful always. He was also strong. A man who worked best with his hands. He showed his affection most fixing things for me…taking care of my mare the best way he knew how. He had a heart for other living things and desired to see them too prosper.” 

    “What was it about him that drew you?” Lifting hands upward, she bat away stray tears. 

    “He wasn’t like the noblemen. He wasn’t like those who held power and wealth and prestige. He was completely untouched by greed, selfishness and hunger for money. Because of that… I knew that I could be safe with him… I knew that he would see me just as I was. Not the King’s daughter. Not a woman prize to be given along with money and a possible seat on the Throne. B-Byung-ho-ah…he…he didn’t care about any of that. He loved me in all of my imperfection.” Watching his youngest sister break down filled him with a deep sadness, even more so with the next question he asked. For his sake he had to know what had become of the man who would forever hold her heart. 

    “Where is he now?” At that, she crumbled and began to sob uncontrollably, hands lifted to cover her grief. 

    “S-Seo-Jun-oppa-nim….he….he….” Sniffing, she took another shaky breath before swallowing. Her voice though teary hissed the next words with malice, hatred and fury. 

    “He murdered him right before my eyes.” The revelation sent a sharp pain through his heart and he clenched his jaw tightly. He had looked at the boy favorably too. He too could see the boy’s gentle spirit and tender heart.  Woefully, he lamented briefly in the fact that the boy hadn’t been blessed to be of noble birth. A perfect mate he would have made for Mishil and her happiness would have brought him contentment. 

    “He found out that I had conceived.” She hesitated before continuing, looking guilty but for a moment. 

    “Yes… Oppa-nim…I had become with child. In my youth, I…I was such a fool but I didn’t care. I wanted the child as much as I wanted the man. I’d have crossed over hell and frozen the entire world to have them both.” He swallowed on her truth and nodded at her to continue. 

    “Having discovered this ugly abominable secret, our oldest brother began to plot. His desire to see Byung-ho-ah dead became reality and before us all he’d tied his naked body up and commanded the very horses he’d taken care of to tear him apart.” The pain cut into him deeper than ever, forcing tears to mist his vision. 

    “It wasn’t long after that that I suffered yet another heartbreak. It was he that ordered an abortive concoction to be added to my morning tea and it was thanks to him that I lost my baby…the…the only thing left I had of Byung-ho to call my own.” 


    “So….so you see O-Oppa-nim…I thanked the Gods the day you returned. I wept in my chambers when I found out that you have come home. Finally I thought. Finally he comes to make the wrongs right. Finally that which had been taken from me can be avenged.” 

    “I….I can’t…bring him back. I can’t give you what you desire yodongsaeng.” 

    “What I desire I will take of it with my own hands Oppa-nim. And I will gladly suffer the consequences. All I want you to do is continue to be the star of prophecy….the light of this world. Blot out all of his sins. Banish and destroy them until they are permanently removed from our history and our bloodline. That’s the only request I ask of you.” At that, he slowly lifted to his feet. Coming in front of her, he fell to his knees and lifted his hands to cradle her head. Pressing his lips against her forehead, he embraced her, chest tight. 




    He should have turned back but damn his feet they couldn’t move. They seemed to be permanently rooted into the ground and his breath grew shallow as he watched with curiosity. There ahead stood his sunbae-nim…and…and the Crown Prince. He had heard rumors of a relationship between them but he had chosen not to believe it. He thought that she knew better, knew that her place was better suited to be with the likes of one such as he…Idiot….even you are too stupid and lowly to be with a woman like that. You are but a little boy to her… with nothing to offer her. 

    “What vexes you my Lord?” Her sweet voice sent blood to his cheeks and he swore he stopped breathing the moment a response came from the older man. 

    “Mishil. She’s…suffered greatly while we were away.”

    “And you wish to take her burden on your back… like an honorable big brother.” The man…sighed and leaned down, having once dwarfed the woman and laid his head upon her shoulder. 

    “I wish I could fulfill her wishes. But I can’t.” The woman with a strange name, the one who had captured his heart lifted her arms and wrapped them around him. To do such was very bold and forbidden but yet the two of them seemed not to care. In broad daylight they showed their affection openly and very physically. 

    “Perhaps tonight you will leave your worries in a bath I shall draw to calm you. And bury them within me deep enough that you never feel them again.” Her words stirred the observer and his cheeks blazed an even brighter red. So… it was true. They… they did have something going on. The man lifted his head and glanced into her eyes briefly before closing the space between their mouths, lips fully touching hers. His heart felt fresh pain and the sting of it washed across his body. It was then that his feet decided to depart from their rooted spot and they chose to run. Rounding the corner, he smashed into another person, a loud yelp of protest startling him. 

    “You clumsy fool! Watch where you’re-” Words died on the berating tongue and he looked up wide eyed at another such woman, one he’d never seen before. She was beautiful and fresh faced, youth and vitality blessing her. Covered from head to toe in royal apparrel, he pressed his face against the ground and offered a quick yet sincere apology. No answer was given but the stiff tip of a fan pressed against his chin, lifting his face upward. The woman stared down at him with chilling eyes, eyes that made him feel uncomfortable. 

    “What…what is your name boy?” She asked, voice quiet yet firm. 



    “Yes gongju-nim.” 

    “You’re forgiven of your offense. This one time. Don’t let it happen again.”

    “Yes gongju-nim.” Bringing the fan away from his face, she allowed him to get up and watched eerily as he scurried past, eager to get away from her. 

    “Young-ho….Byung-ho…..” She murmured under her breath as she began to walk, her gungnyeo behind her. 





    “They are ready to move pyeha. When you are ready.”

    “Very good. Let the game commence.” 

    “At once.” To those who thought that the season would lull quietly forever were fools and they would be cut down. For this season would bring rebirth unlike anything Goryeo had ever seen. And he’d be the one to take the credit. 



    Feet walked on the dirt roads, blood trailing behind them in thin narrow lines, others in messy splotches. Screaming filled the otherwise unassuming morning air and with it fire and death followed, claiming the foolish men, women and children who tried to escape. It had been a long journey and it was thanks to the future King that he could say it was made easier. For their trouble would come a huge gain… a huge reward. 

    “Monster! What are you?” A dirty faced bitch hissed at him, lifting a vase to throw at he who neared her. Smirking, he licked his lips. The feisty ones always did get his dick hard. Upon entering into the second most sought after country save for Yuan, already she offered them great gifts. Taking the woman by her hair, he lifted eyes to two children who stood behind her, holding each other, eyes and cheeks full of tears. A curt whistle pierced the air and soon one of his brothers came towards them, weapon ready for its first taste of blood. Screaming, the two insects began to run, leaving the woman to beg and cry. But it was for naught, as Qadan cut them down, slicing through them one by one. A hand here fell against the dust. Soon a head of one fell. A beauteous spray of crimson decorated the air yet the hooves of the great beast lifted, crushing the other head into a small lump of blood, bone and brain. The woman screamed louder and began to protest but he only tightened his grip on his first prize of the day. 

    “Qadan, consider this our first gift from the Gods. Enjoy our plunder. Have a woman or two. We’ll be here for quite a while.”  Pulling the struggling woman away, he chuckled. 

    “I will teach you to tame your tongue little woman.” He grinned as he began to drag her off into the nearby house. 

Chapter End Notes:


A/N: IT HAS HAPPENED Y'ALL. THE MONGOLS HAVE FINALLY MADE CONTACT WITH GORYEO. They encroach upon her with each step forward. And already they bring bloodshed and the promise of destruction. Here in this chapter we have so many emotions to sort through don't we? Mishil's grief, sadness, anger and taste for revenge. Seo Jun's blood lust and hunger for power. And Cheol-su's regret at not being able to quell his little sister's pain but hope for the Kingdom he shall build. It's quite explosive. 

I brought back a once minor little character Young-ho. From the previous chapter with his littlest brother? Whom Tiye gave the fruit to in the winter? Yes well Tiye took a liking to him and once Cheol-su changed the harem into a school, Young-ho-ah was one of the first people she suggested be brought. As we can see hehe Young-ho has a wee bit of a crush on our lovely lady hehe. I think the teasing Cheol-su gives out is friendly almost brotherly in nature hehe and is very endearing. 

It seems also that our Anat has developed a slight crush on him in her observing him at the palace lol. I promise you... she did not go to Goryeo thinking she'd fall in love but I desire that for Anat and to a man who will be all of what she wants and needs. I believe Young-ho will be just that. I will include pictures of the two below. 

My heart truly breaks for Mishil. My gut turns at Seo Jun and I too wish to see his end be realized lol. All will come in time friends lol. 

KAY the last chapter of this update is ahead! See you there hehe. 


*just an end note... when I was writing the last part... literal chills went down my spine y'all. 




PSA: I try not to get upset when I find pictures of people I intend to use as visuals and CANNOT FIND THEIR FREAKING NAMES but um lol. It bothers me. Because I feel like I am unintentionally taking away their identity as people. *sigh* anyway here is the beautiful lady I've chosen to be Anat. 


And hehe here is Young-ho. 

lookfamiliar?okayletmeshutupandkeepgoing lol kekekekekeke 

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.