A/N: I love the K-drama TV series Queen Seondeok. When I saw Bidam's demise, I knew I had to write something. Let me know your thoughts.
It was endless. The killing was infinite. As I slew them, the numbers of soldiers continued to effortlessly multiply, overwhelming me. They were like moths to a flame, tangible of death. As my sword sliced the air, their bodies fell heavily like timbers of wood while their faces were fixed with unchangeable shock. Half-buried in the mud, the faces of the corpses were unnervingly devilish as they gawked at me, grinning wolfishly in insufferable agony. The blood of the fallen ran like water, dripping from my face, soaking into my clothes, and running down my sword.
I briefly stared at the drops of blood collecting on the ground from the tip of my sword then looked up to challenge the next set of soldiers, but they edged back. They huddled together pathetically, fearfully anticipating their impending death as I observed their quivering forms. I advanced a few steps, and they scurried backwards frantically then stood their ground hesitantly.
Yushin's strong, clear voice rang in the air, and then the whole mass of frightened, tense bodies parted as Yushin stepped forward. For a fleeting moment, I saw Deokman waiting at the other end, surrounded by her high-ranked generals and royal guards, but then the wall of armored soldiers quickly closed the gap, shielding her from my sight.
"Your efforts will be futile, Bidam. Drop your sword and admit defeat," Yushin earnestly advised.
"Yushin…" I trailed off as I lowered my sword a fraction and scoured desperately over the densely packed wall of armored bodies for a glimpse of her. Turning back to him, I asked softly, "Is Her Majesty waiting on the other end?"
He let out an inaudible sigh and averted his eyes. "It's too late, Bidam."
The void in my chest twisted in pain. I closed my eyes, begging the tears to flow back into my eyelids. I tilted my head back and squinted through my watery gaze at the empty gray sky above. From long ago, before her untimely death, I remembered Mishil's words: Only those with weak and fragile devotions have their hearts burdened by such aspiring dreams.
I looked in Her Majesty's direction again, feeling the one I love staring back at me intently. I wonder if she knows about the distance that has always been present between us, physical or not, unbreakable or not.
I could laugh now if the situation wasn't so serious. All my life, I never trusted anyone, but now, the insides of my heart are aching with unendurable regret. I've been a fool, a complete idiot. My very own mother, Lady Mishil, and her previous followers had all agreed that I was a fool. If my dead master knew what I was about to do, he would surely turn in his grave right now. I chuckled to myself, blinking several times to clear my hazy sight. Smiling ruefully, I issued a challenge to Yushin, "I believe that we were never able to determine the winner in one of our previous duels. So I would be honored if you accepted my challenge."
I stared at the impeccable fortress of soldiers protecting her, searching for a weak link. Yushin's watchful gaze followed mine. I smiled candidly at him. His hand rested hesitantly on the sheath of his sword. His fingers flexed reflexively then with lightening speed, he drew his sword and threw its sheath aside. My eyes leveled his as I tightened my grip on my sword. Smirking, I pretended to lunged at him but dodged his blunt aim and somersaulted into the air over the first two rows of soldiers.
"Protect Her Majesty! Capture him!" Yushin bellowed furiously.
The horde of soldiers rushed towards me as I met them head on. I swung my blade erratically and dealt them deadly blows. Many fell to my blade but then they were quickly replaced—twice, three times the previous numbers.
I looked in her direction.
There are seventy steps between Deokman and me.
I closed my eyes and plunged my sword into the nearest breathing object and pushed him into his comrade, killing them both. I pulled out my sword and charged forward.
"Archers! String you bows! FIRE!"
A flock of arrows sprung to life from the archers' bows and flew into the sky, pinpointing me. I dodged them effortlessly with my sword. But then another set of arrows are released, flying towards me at a deadly speed. I picked up a corpse at my feet and used him as a shield but some of the arrows bounced off his armor and pierced my chest. I reeled back and dropped the body. The circle of soldiers surrounding me began to close in. They took advantage of my weak state and hurled themselves at me. I sidestepped a spear and dug my sword viciously into one man's chest. I can feel his heart rip apart as I pull out my sword. Blood gushed from his chest like a fountain, stinging my eyes and splattering on my face. I stared at him curiously, wondering how one can have so much blood. Another man daringly aimed for my back only to find his himself at the mercy of my blade. As my sword pierced his throat, blood gurgled out of his mouth in carmine bubbles. With the expert twist of my hand, his head was easily decapitated.
I slaughtered them effortlessly. I killed without feeling. Blood drenched my hands and dyed my sword a vermillion red. The air was reeking of the coppery smell of blood, and the mangled corpses were strewn all over the ground, trampled and distorted.
Bile rose in my throat, convulsing my chest. I am a bloody mess. I'm sick from killing, but I have to do it. To possess her, to reach her, to be by her side, I have to commit these last sinful acts. Was I born to kill? Did I inherit my disposition from Mishil, my very own mother? I squeezed my eyes shut as I stabbed into a screaming man's abdomen, disemboweling him. My vision is bathed red as blood.
As though it was last night, Misaeng's words filled my head once more: Your master, Munno, raised you for a purpose. My sister, Mishil, gave birth to you for a purpose. But they don't do it out of love. Knowing that, you blame their lack of compassion as a hinder to your love for Her Majesty. To tell you the truth, no one has ever come between your love. It was you, you all along that destroyed your own love out of lack of trust for those who are around you, even the ones that are closest to you. Your mother knew it. SeolWon knew it. Even I knew it. But you're blinded to everything but your ego. I pity you, really. Everyone pities you for killing your own love.
Then why are you telling me all of this belatedly?
But there is one thing that I am sure of, and that is, I want to be forgiven by her. If that's not enough, I want to die at her feet.
There are thirty more steps to Deokman.
I dragged my bloodied sword on the ground as I trudged forward. The soldiers backed away and Her Majesty's generals came forward, each stopping me with their blade, their spear, their saber. Slicing me to pieces. Cutting me open. My movements have become slow, slightly sluggish as I fought my adversaries back. My feet gave away and I fell. With a shaky hand, I used my sword as leverage as I stood up. As our swords clashed again, the impact caused me to stagger back a few steps. I gritted my teeth in pain, feeling every muscle in my body strain itself. I dug my boots into the ground and pushed back, breaking our swords' contact. I stumbled back drunkenly, blinking several times to clear the blood from my eyes.
But still I walked forward, undeterred, determined to reach her. I only have eyes for her, for the one I love. I continued to walk towards her, blind to the look of evident pity in everyone's eyes, immune to this ugly reality, and unfeeling to the pain weighing my body down.
Love is a strange thing. It is a fleeting emotion that propels me towards her, strong yet fragile at the same time. Love has such an abstract definition. But it had sounded entirely evil coming from my mother's vile mouth.
"Love? Define love." Mishil raised her eyebrow as she challenged me.
I opened my mouth to answer her, but she raised her hand for silence. Smiling disarmingly, she continued impassively, "Is it love when you abandon all pretenses for her? Is it love when you're willing to throw away your life just for her? Is it love when you lose yourself in its vice?"
I avoided her intense gaze, feeling foolish and stupid in her eyes. Her hand rested lightly on my shoulder. In a patient, compassionate voice, she demanded, "Tell me, Bidam. What is love? Until you can answer me that question, only then, will I believe you."
Although it's too late, I think I know the answer now. I want to be by her side, even if it means death.
For years, I've played the role of a villain flawlessly. I killed to preserve my own wretched existence and to prove my own worth. Many say I inherited my greed for power from my father and my evil temperament from my mother. I don't want to admit it before, but I'm a hateful person, the kind that no one desires in their life, much less love. But I need her. I love her. Every human has the right to love even if they cannot have it.
There are ten more steps between Deokman and me.
My feet slowly shuffled towards her as I reached for her. Just a few more steps…but those steps feel like ages to complete. I gritted my teeth in pain and forced my body to move. Just a few more steps…that mantra repeated itself in my mind. Only then, when I reach her, I will be able to tell her the words I've been longing to say.
Out of the corner of my eye, there was movement. I turned with my sword raised, stricken. My lips twitched in wry amusement as I stared at Yushin, finding his sword buried in my abdomen. I tried to sidestep him, but he moved as I did, blocking me from her. Ten more steps. I can see her clearly now. But then why is she still so far away?
My heart suddenly feels so heavy, burdened by those three words. I looked at Yushin's face, chuckling enviously. I leveled my eyes with his and smiled at him. A duel wasn't needed to determine the winner. It's obviously apparent who would be by Her Majesty's side to the end. Unlike me, he already has everything. I have nothing, not even the freedom to love Her Majesty.
I can feel the teeth of his blade twisted my insides. I gritted my teeth in pain as I gasped, feeling his sword burying itself deeper into the pit of my stomach. Blood spurted from my mouth as I gripped his shoulder tightly for support.
I can see her clearly now. Her tears are falling ceaselessly down her lovely face. My chest twisted in pain. I opened my mouth to speak but Yushin shook his head slightly, regarding me with pity in his eyes. With my last ounce of strength, I whispered her name. But my words died on my lips as a sharp pain twisted my stomach when Yushin pulled out his sword. Dumbfounded, I stared at him. I stumbled a few steps back then sank to the ground on my knees, defeated.
I've lost. This is a dead end.
I want to laugh and then cry.
My dreams have all perished…
…I don't want to die…
But I can no longer compel my body to move.
All I am able to do is lie here.
Your saddened expression tortures me, Deokman.
There are only ten steps remaining…
I could close that remaining gap if I were to run….
How can you be so near yet so far away?
I've gone so far for you…only to die here. I'm really pathetic.
But even so…I still desire to have you.
I know that it's unworthy of me to ask this…but…
Can I…Can I…still…..