Timeline: When Cheonmyeong got struck by the poison arrow.
"Archeon Rang! What happens?" I demanded. My voice was shaky and I needed to bite done my lips to avoid squeaking.
Archeon Rang cried. I understood what happened, but my mind couldn't form anything coherent. Tears ran done my cheeks.
"What is it! What!" I shouted, running as fast as my wobbly legs could take into the cave.
This couldn't be happening! No! This couldn't…!
Inside, I saw Princess Cheonmyeong's face was covered with a white sheet.
Dropping the packed medicine, I turn to Yushin Rang, who was sitting next to Princess Cheonmyeong, crying.
"Yushin Rang? What is it?" I demanded.
No answer came; he just looked at me with those teary eyes.
"Yushin Rang? I said, what is it!"
Cheonmyeong laid there, unmoving.
"Princess…" I quickly kneeled next to her.
"Deokman…" I felt Yushin Rang's hand, stopping me from reaching her. I shook him off and crawled to her. My hands trembled, my mind was blank. I clasped her hand and brought it to my lips. It was still so warm.
This is just a joke, right, Princess? You're just playing dead, right?
But her hand was limp. There was no life in it. I reached out to the white sheet covering her face, but faltered mid way. I was afraid of the truth. Still, I needed to see her…
I pulled down the sheet.
Her face was pale. Her eyes shut tight.
What…? What is it…Cheonmyeong…? What is it…Sis…? Sis…!
"S-…." My voice cracked. My tears flowed freely. "S-sis…Sis…!"
Four days… had it been four days already?
Yushin Rang said I was down with fever for three days, unconscious. I couldn't remember the pain or the heat in those days. But, I remembered what I had dreamt.
It was about Sis. And about mother.
I could still hear Sis' voice clearly, even from the day I first met her.
"Don't you understand what it means being a bodyguard! You must never leave my side!" She had shouted at me angrily. That time I had thought she was some kind of annoying noble girl, who thought everything could be bought with gold. Despite her attitude, I ended up saving her. And she…she also saved me from drowning in that waterfall.
"I, too, want to help you at least once!"
Sis… Sis, you had saved me that day. So, why do you have to die now? I don't understand it. I don't!
"You must live happily like a woman, live like a normal person. You must. You must!"
Why? Why must I? Why did you say things like mother had said?
"You must survive! You must!"
I was supposed to die years ago. Yet, again and again, my life was preserved; in exchange of the lives of the people I loved. Why? What was the meaning of my life then?
Mishil… was it all because of her? Was it because of her that both of you had to perish? Mother…? Sis..?
Then I'll make her pay! For all the suffering she had done to you…and to mother…!
"Deokman…" I noticed Yushin Rang's voice. He was sitting on the rock, facing me. "The Princess worried about you…until the very end. She was dispirited because you couldn't be by her side." He took out a jade comb; the comb I knew belonged to Sis. I disregarded it.
But he put it in my hand. "She wanted you to live as a woman. She wanted for you to live as a normal person. She mentioned…that you've never lived your life on your own terms."
My own terms? What terms?
"Forget about Shilla…forget about Mishil…and live a normal happy life." Yushin Rang paused. "To make sure you honor the Princess' final words…she made me promised as she repeated the same words over and over again."
To live a normal happy life? Forgetting about Shilla and Mishil? Were you saying I should as well forget about you and mother, Sis?
I smiled awry as I looked at the comb.
"I won't follow her wishes." I said to Yushin Rang.
Yushin Rang frowned. "What?"
"Sis' final words… I said I won't follow them."
I smiled. "It came out easily…so why couldn't I call her Sis before?"
I stood up. Taking another look at the comb, I felt its gilded surface with my thumb. It brought another ironic smile onto my lips.
Sis, you could wish whatever you wished!
I broke the comb into two and threw it into the water.
Yushin Rang sprang to his feet.
"Why are you acting like this?" he demanded angrily.
I turned to him "Her final words…I'm not even going to adhere to a single word. No, wait!" I challenged his angry eyes. "I refuse!"
That's right, Sis! I refuse to do whatever you want me to do! I'll do what I want! And that's to bring down the person who made you suffer!
Mishil, just wait and see!