The snows had started falling.
Winter came unusually early.
The crystals were cold and bites deep, yet pure and taintless.
"Look at me, Yona."
Hak cradled her tightly in his arms, desperate.
She was fading soon.
As she lay there in his arms, she remembered some very, very old words, echoing through her ears.
Someone had told her a long time ago that when we die, we go to heaven, a rich place filled with all the sweetest things.
Others say there is no more life after death, and that we cease to exist the moment our breaths cease.
Yet there are some who suppose that we shall be born again, caught in a continuous cycle, unceasing, like the waves that crash against the shore, and the seasons coming and going.
But all those things don't matter anymore to her. For what is the point of living on when she couldn't be with him?
As the shadows of death clutched her feet, she uttered her very last words to him.
"I will wait for you…"
And as her vision was shrouded with mists and fogs, she turned towards the gods, in trust and in faith, waiting for mercy.
The maiden with a crimson hair woke up in the middle of the night, with tears in her eyes.
She buried her face in her hands as she continued sobbing. She didn't know why – it doesn't make sense. All she knows is that she needed to let go of her tears or her heart will explode in tiny pieces. She clutched the fabric of her nightgown, as her chest continued to ache.
She tried to remember her dream before she woke up, hoping to find out what triggered her sudden emotions. But to no avail.
After the pain has passed, she climbed out of her bed. She knew that she won't be able to fall asleep again anyway.
Like how it happens all the time.
As she got out of her room, she was greeted with the cold autumn air, sending small shivers in her delicate skin.
Soon it will be winter.
With her thoughts, she arrived at the place. She let in a long breath as she sat down under a cherry tree. It was her favorite tree, though she liked it better during the spring and summer.
Here she always finds solace, when everything else seemed to fall apart.
The dawn was now approaching. But this time she decided to stay until sunrise.
The sky began lighting up, as the morning sun greeted her with its warmth over the horizon. The surroundings started gaining colors, and the birds began chirping above her.
The smells of the air suddenly filled her being – it was the smell of the earth, calming and comforting.
After all the sorrows and the heartache – here she is now, smiling at the serenity of her resting place.
After all, dawn will always come. And the sun will once more rise and shine down upon the cold earth.
It always did.
And as the sun slowly rose up, she fell asleep.
She fell asleep in that peaceful place, where the warm earth welcomed her.
After all, the gods are still merciful.
She was awakened by the gentle tapping on her shoulder. As she slowly opened her eyes, she saw that the sun has now risen to its peak. And she was greeted by a young man, with eyes looking ever so worried.
"Here you are Lady Yona. I know I can always find you in this place. Your mother has been so worried when you weren't in your room. We've been looking for you all over the place," he said with a worried look as he offered his hand to her.
"I am sorry Min-soo, please do hurry up and tell my mother I'm fine before everything gets worse. I'll follow shortly thereafter," she replied as she grabbed his hand and rose up to her feet. He bowed and hurried to his feet away from the garden.
She let out a yawn as she stretched her whole body, and thanked the gods for that peaceful sleep.
In the heavens, the gods smiled at her.
As soon as she entered the room, her mother began scolding her, telling her how worried she has been.
It can't be helped though. She was an only child, and her parents loved her lavishly.
"I am very sorry mother, it won't happen again. Please don't be angry anymore," she pleaded as she hugged her mother.
Her mother only sighed and patted her back. "At least tell somebody where you're going! Your father would have been so worried too."
Yona pulled back from her mother and sat down on a nearby chair. She misses her father terribly. He has been too busy these past few months, going home after weeks of absence, only to leave on the morrow.
There are times when she would dream of him being murdered before her very eyes, and the murderer chasing her forever so that she will never get to see her father's kind face ever again – it was a very painful dream, and no matter how hard she screams and fight, it always ends the same.
Her mother noticed the change in her daughter's face and sat down beside her. "Your father shall return by the end of this month. It's just that he's really busy helping your uncle in his affairs. However, if you want, we can go and pay him a visit next week."
"Thank you very much, mother." Yona's face brightened a little.
Her mother smiled at her response and placed a kiss on her head. "Before I forget, I received a letter from Soo-Won last night. He intends to visit you tonight. Now let's head over to the dining room," she said as she stood up.
"I'll follow shortly, mother."
"Alright, but don't take too long," her mother replied as she got out of the room.
Yona closed her eyes as she remembered something. It was a voice of a man, telling her the words 'Wait for me.'
I'll wait for you.