Author Notes: Hello again, everyone! I'm all caught up with the manga now and it's been such a wild, thrilling ride. I can't tell you how many times I've screeched and squealed and screamed over it! There are so many adorable characters to love and ship, and a (thankfully) few dastardly villains to dislike and wish the nastiest of deaths on.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the anime will be continued, it's too good for it not to! Meanwhile, before the talented manga-ka concludes her awesome story in a way that will likely break my heart, here is my Happily Ever After for Sooyonak, my OTP. It starts from manga chapter 166 and goes AU from there.
Warnings: Minimal plot and no war strategies whatsoever, but lots of cliches, drama, dialog, fluff and a happily ever after because Yen refuses to write anything else. Oh and the lovable Five Stars of Xing all survive :)
Disclaimer: Akatsuki No Yona belongs to Mizuho Kusanagi.
Summary: Princess Yona, Yoon, Jae-Ha and Zeno have been kidnapped by Li Hazara and Ying Kuelbo of the Kai Empire, both having joined forces to invade Kouka Kingdom. Hak, Kija and Shin-Ah plan to rescue their comrades. Advisor Kye-Sook who is visiting the Fire Tribe, reluctantly accepts Hak as their ally for now and dispatches a messenger to Hiryuu Castle.
Soo-Won arrives by nightfall the next day with General Joo-Doh leading the Sky Tribe army, General Geun-Tae leading the Earth Tribe army and Princess Kouren as Xing's General with her own soldiers. Meanwhile, the Wind and Water Tribes have been charged with keeping Kouka Kingdom safe from any possible attacks.
- Story Start -
A few hours later at dawn...
The early morning sun peeped over the Northern Mountains, spreading long rays of sunlight over the border of Kouka Kingdom and Kai Empire. Two large troops of armies faced each other on horseback on the desert plain.
King Soo-Won, flanked by Generals Joo-Doh, Geun-Tae, Kyo-Ga and Princess Kouren, appeared calm. There was nothing in his face to show the thoughts that had haunted him from the moment he read Kye-Sook's message yesterday. What his father, General Yu-Hon, had done to the Xing prisoners seventeen years ago was common practice in a war, but the mere thought of it happening to Yona left Soo-Won almost paralysed with fear.
Logically, he knew she would be unharmed; knew that Ying Kuelbo wanted the leverage of hostages. But the heart never thought with logic or reason, did it?
Taking a deep breath, he pushed his fears down. No. He would not lose today. He would not lose Yona or Hak, not when the final stage of his plan was so close to being realised.
"Show me the prisoners!" He called out.
Yona and the others were brought out, led by High Priest Gobi, and forced to kneel in a row on the ground, hands bound behind their backs. Soo-Won's eyes narrowed; the Green Dragon and the boy called Yoon had bruises on their faces, but Yona and the Golden Dragon appeared unharmed.
"You're not the one calling the shots today, Your Majesty!" Gobi shouted, almost cackling in glee. "If you and your generals do not surrender, we will kill the prisoners!"
"Shut up, you're not in charge of this battle either!" Li Hazara barked at him.
Soo-Won made no reply, his attention not on the glowering Gobi, but the half a dozen cloaked and hooded figures behind him, all armed with arrows. He saw the almost imperceptible movement at the far back of the Kai troops and nodded to himself. Hak and his friends were already on the move, and so far, they hadn't been spotted.
- o -
It was Gobi who started the battle, impatient to capture the other two Dragons and desperate to witness their combined power once again. The instant he ordered his men to start firing arrows, any plans for negotiations flew out the proverbial window, and both Li Hazara and Ying Kuelbo cursed in unison.
In moments, the air was filled with the sounds of thundering hooves, shouts and roars, clashing of steel and screams of pain.
Li Hazara and Ying Kuelbo stayed behind their soldiers, but Kouka's King and Generals led their charges, despite Kye-Sook's frantic entreaties for the former to please stay back.
Soo-Won remained focused on the battle, on the allies beside him and the enemies in front. A part of his mind kept track of where Hak and Yona were while another part remained detached, watching the battle as a whole, as if he were Gulfan soaring in the skies above.
He could tell that Hak and the White and Blue Dragons were slowly but surely fighting their way towards the prisoners. General Kyo-Ga had ordered some of his Fire Tribe soldiers to aid them and distract the Kai troops.
It was a while later, when Soo-Won was fighting on foot that he saw Gobi and his men caught up in the war at last. As soon as they were distracted, the Yellow Dragon threw himself on the nearest fallen sword and stood up moments later, one arm growing scales and claws which he used to slash through his ropes before freeing the others.
With nothing more than a quick nod of understanding, the Green Dragon leaped into the sky with Yona on his back.
Soo-Won knew a moment of profound relief, but he wasn't the only one who saw what happened.
"The princess is escaping!" Gobi screamed in fury.
Instinctively, Soo-Won looked across the battlefield at Hak. Despite the chaos around them, their alarmed gazes found each other's, as unerring as when they were at Fort Kushibi, and Lili was about to be hanged.
When Soo-Won next looked up at the sky, his heart lurched. An arrow was streaking towards the Green Dragon and found its target an instant later. He fell with a cry, body twisting under Yona's in a desperate attempt to protect her from the fall.
Yona! Not now, not when I can finally present you with a kingdom fit for a Queen!
Forgetting the battle and all the strategies they had planned earlier, Soo-Won started running.
- o -
Hak swore, ducking the sword aiming to take off his head and spinning around to kick the soldier away. Dropping his glaive, he started a desperate sprint, not knowing in that instant that Kija and Shin-Ah were doing the same thing from where they stood; abandoning their respective fights, driven by the instinctive, powerful urge to protect their master and their fallen brother. Even Zeno and Yoon were running flat out towards them.
Despite his bone crushing contact with the hard ground, Jae-Ha rolled to crouch protectively over Yona, half collapsing on her when another arrow buried itself in his arm. Then Yona gently pushed him to the side and stood up, unarmed and unafraid. Her hair was like a living flame around her head, her eyes burning furious fire as she stared down Gobi and his men.
Even in his wild, desperate rush to be at her side, Hak couldn't help the overwhelming surge of pride and love that almost made him stumble. It terrified him, seeing her in danger like this, but Gods, it also made him so damned proud of her.
Half a dozen huge strides later, he skidded to a stop and flung his arms around her, swinging both of them around and narrowly avoiding stepping on Jae-Ha. He had discarded his glaive to gain speed over weight, and that was just too bad - his body would have to do.
Despite the situation, despite being unarmed, Hak felt his lips twisting in a fierce grin. As long as Yona was in his arms, he felt invincible.
"Good to see you again, Princess," he said.
"Kill them both!" Gobi screamed.
"Hak, look out!" Yona shouted a warning.
Whipping his head around, Hak saw the sword flying end over end towards them. He twisted, shielding Yona with his body, only to see one of Gobi's men advancing towards them, his arrow aimed straight at Yona.
They were caught.
Time slowed down, now measured in heartbeats that thundered in Hak's chest and drummed in his ears, deafening him to the shouts around him. As he watched the arrow leaving its bow, a hard blow on his back sent him and Yona crashing to the ground.
Someone else tumbled in the dirt beside them with the sword in his back and the arrow in his side. Fair hair loose of its gold ornament, half covering a pale face.
Time sped up again.
"Soo-Won!" Hak scrambled up as Yona pressed close to him, one hand over her mouth.
Dazed aqua eyes opened and a faint smile touched the pale lips.
"So scared... I wouldn't make it," Soo-Won murmured, his breath hitching.
"Why? You shouldn't have-" Hak broke off and cursed.
Because if Soo-Won hadn't, then Yona would be the one lying there. Hak barely registered the crowd around them or Jae-Ha telling the other dragons he was fine. Yoon knelt beside him and gently worked the sword free, and then Soo-Won's head was on Hak's lap and that was all that mattered.
"Kouka needs you both." Soo-Won coughed and winced, blood flecking his lips. "Yona will be... a fantastic Queen. Already have Wind... Water... Fire."
"But you were the one who reunited all the Five Tribes," Yona's voice shook. "Despite what you did."
"I had to. Couldn't bear-" Soo-Won coughed again, face contorting in pain.
Hak found himself brushing back a lock of fair hair with a shaking hand, dimly aware that the battle continued to rage around them. The cries and clashing of swords were muted now.
When Soo-Won raised a slender hand, pale and trembling, Yona clasped it with both hands, her knuckles showing white.
"I won't ask you to forgive me," he whispered.
"Soo-Won, I-" Hak broke off again, teeth clenched hard to keep back the rest of his words. Because King Il was her father, not his.
"I wasn't going to," Yona choked out. "I didn't think I could ever, but I... I forgive you."
Hak's head jerked up in surprise. Grabbing both her hands in his, he looked back down at Soo-Won.
"And I forgave you the moment you took that arrow for Yona," he stated.
Soo-Won's eyes shimmered.
"I lied, you know. Love you both," he whispered. "Look after Kouka... and each other."
"Not without you," Yona insisted, eyes filling with tears. "Soo-Won, you-you can't-"
"She's right," Hak said grimly. "I've not even started scolding you yet!"
Soo-Won shook his head slowly and smiled, a small sad smile.
"Better this way," he whispered.
"No!" Hak looked up at the still stunned faces around them. "Get a healer! Quick!"
Where was Ayame when you needed her?
Why was the Wind Tribe guarding Kouka when they should be here?!
"Soo-Won, no! Stay with us!"
Yona's panicked voice made Hak look back down to see Soo-Won's eyes closing, hand going limp in theirs.
"No! Don't you die on us, Soo-Won," he growled, "or so help me, I will kill you!"
- Chapter End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! Phew, that's the pesky bit about the battle done. So not my forte, I know :) Sorry for the cliffhanger. Please leave a review before you go :)