It's finally over.
All that's left now...is Shilla.
A new light awaits for the whole nation.
A spark of hope to unify the Three Kingdoms is at hand.
A new door opens to reach for that unfeasible dream which I, as well as the past rulers of this nation, were aspiring of to achieve.
As I gave my final words of triumph, everybody shouted for joy. They lifted their voices victoriously. All of Shilla's brave men cried with tears of uttermost delight, raising their hands with cheers, shouting relentlessly for Shilla's victory.
Yes, indeed, we won the battle.
Finally...everything will be well.
Still...I can feel my heart being pierced by a thousand times. My eyes were beet red. Teardrops never ceased falling down to my cheeks.
I tried to be strong; I struggled not to give in with the pain that this war had caused upon Shilla...upon me.
Dead corpses are scattered at Gaya Camp. Those pointed-edged swords are covered with blood. Arrows were sharply stabbed into the bodies.
Most of all...I can't stop myself looking away from him.
I can't help myself glancing at his lifeless body lying stiffly on the hot, dry ground. His face was covered with red; even his eyes cried not just with tears, but with that deep crimson blood too. His hands are also filled with that red liquid. Those hands which slain thousands of lives...but those were the same hands which struggled to reach me.
I longingly stared at his face from my position. As I took a few steps forward, I felt my chest thumping along with mixed emotions.
I can clearly see him now. I tried to flow my tears back in my eyes. However, seeing him like that was...
I remembered him, saying something to me before he fell down before my eyes. It's as if he was trying to tell me something important; yet, I can barely hear him.
All of a sudden, my body started to get heavy. My sight instantly got blurry.
I couldn't remember what happened next.
All I know was that I suddenly got down to the ground, staring at his now peaceful face for the last time. Tears freely flowed down from my eyes. I cannot hold them back now.
I closed my eyes. My once fast-beating heart started to pound slowly.
Everything around me bit by bit started to look pitch black.
Sooner, a blurred light blinded my sight. Gradually, I could see things surrounding me.
It was then that I realized…I was in my room. My frail body was lying on the bed, covered with linen, satin and silk blankets. I can still feel the heaviness of my head, as well as the slow, soft beats of my heart.
I woke up, unsure of how long I have slept on my bed.
As I slowly opened my eyes, I saw Lady Man Myeong sitting beside me. I could see the deep anxiety in her eyes, as she asked me whether I fully regained consciousness or not; and if I'm feeling fine now. Instead, I asked her how many days have passed since the last time I lost consciousness.
She answered me with a firm voice, telling me that I've been unconscious for three days and three nights. Realizing that I truly slept for quite a long span of time, I simply nodded.
I could feel my heart throbbing…it's beginning to beat unexplainably faster…and painful.
This agonizing pain in my chest is getting worse. At this point, I exactly know how I will end up soon. There's no point in denying it.
Lady Man Myeong asked me why did I hid the truth from them...she asked me why did I held my piece about my deteriorating health because of my illness.
I pondered for a while. Afterwards, I answered her straightly.
I am aware that I gave her a harsh...yet a realistic answer. Depressing as my direct reply sounds for Lady Man Myeong, I can't hide it no longer though.
Life and death is the circle of life. There's nothing need to be announced publicly.
Lady Man Myeong hushed, telling me not to say such words.
Still...I know where am I heading to next.
My fate is already taking place. The end is inevitable.
I'm feeling a little better now.
My body seems feeling good...but undeniably, my heart and my mind weren't.
After meeting with Yushin, I was in my room...pondering at everything we talked about.
Now, I knew what did he whispered before giving out his last breath.
My eyes are beginning to moisten with tears again. I felt a lump in my throat, and my heart was beating fast again. My fists were clenched.
I closed my eyes as I let my tears fall down.
He was...calling my name...
I had a dream.
I've been dreaming of this vision for so many nights.
I was walking amidst the crowd at the city when suddenly someone approached me.
It was a lady. She was dressed in white. It was then that she started embracing me tightly for no apparent reason at all.
At first...I don't know who that lady is...
I was left alone, sitting by the ridge at Taebaeksan. I looked at the night sky. The stars were gleaming beautifully, the moon was a beautiful sight to behold, and the air was a little cold. The horizon may seemed bleak, but spring will be coming soon.
Yushin just came here a while ago. I told him many things, including my dream.
I never felt this deeply grateful for Yushin. I am eternally thankful that he never stayed away by my side. He had been so...sincere and true to his words. He never left me ever since from the beginning, until the end. I can't find the words how delightful I am to have him. We've been through journeys, struggles and battles. With him, I was able to achieve my grandiose dreams and aspirations for Shilla. Without his help and his unshaken fealty for me, all of this would be impossible to happen.
And now...I'm leaving everything in his hands.
I'm certain that he'll be having a long way to go before the dream of the unification of the Three Kingdoms will happen. However, I am sure that this will happen in the future, after my passing. Though sad it was for me that I'll never be able to see it...I am sure that IT WILL TAKE PLACE.
The night's getting late. I need to wake up early for the morrow.
I need to go somewhere, wherein there is an exhilirating scenery, and fresh air.
B-But...I couldn't sleep.
My thoughts ran silently as I thought of him again...
I can't stop thinking of him. I can't help myself remembering those times when he was with me.
I remembered the first time that we met. He was nothing but an ordinary man with exceptional fighting skills. I became a witness of it. When he handed me over to the enemies, in exchange for those garlic crates which he intended to give to his master; and the herbs which could cure the epidemic which was spread throughout the village, I never did anything to escape. I thought that he merely did it for the sake of over two hundred people who need to be cured from their terrible sickness. I wasn't but a person like them, despite of me being a person with a sacred lineage in my bones and the royalty flowing through my blood. However, he came back to save me from Mishil's men, along with Yushin and his soldiers.
It was then that our friendly connection started. All the time, he was so kind towards me. He treated me as a normal lady and not as a princess of Shilla. He was the only one who could do that amazing thing to me. One time, he gave me flowers as his "gift" for my "birthday". Although, that day wasn't really my birthday, he still did it. I can't avoid blushing as I let out a smile towards him. I can see that smile on his face too.
He even touched my trembling hands after I took a few lives of a person for the first time. In fact, those people whom I killed daunted me greatly. My palms are shaking dreadfully. He noticed it; I can't hide it away from him. I could see that he worried about me. After he touched my hands, I instantly felt light and relieved somehow.
I recalled all those times when we are in danger, and how did he protect me during those times.
I can't forget when I saw him crying after Mishil took her life out of her love for him as her son. I touched his cheek and then, I comforted him with an embrace. I cannot stop crying because of him. I knew exactly how he felt. I could sense his agony and the burden that he's carrying inside him. How I wanted to take all his pain away instantaneously. It must have been so hard on him...it must have been so hard on him...seeing him like that, mourning for his mother whom never acknowledge him as his own flesh and blood until her death.
As I finally gained the throne as the Queen, he never left me. Instead, he stayed by my side all throughout, thus I was able to have those good times with him. I'll never forget that time when he embraced me tightly, though that action of his indeed shocked me. With clenched fists, I let go from him and rejected him, despite of the fact that what I did gave me regret.
But then...that night...he hugged me again. That time, it was different. It was late for me to discern that I was hugging him back, I wrapped my arms around him as he did the same thing to me. When he wasn't around, I missed that embrace badly...I could remember wrapping my arms around my own self while thinking of him. I can't hide the reality that...he was the only person who could do it. His presence was really comforting that I so wanted to ask him to never left my side.
He was the only one who called me by my name, though he too called me "Her Majesty" at times. I told him that to him one time. I even said that I wanted to be with him. He's the sole person whom I know that I could run to for solace.
All this time, I knew that it was his love for me that brought him to do such things for me. It was his undying devotion towards me that led him to do them.
If only I could tell him straightly how much I feel for him...even though I can't say it straight to his face, or showing it openly to him...I truly care for him. I feel for him. I trust him so much.
I-I...I love him. i do love him.
There's no doubt that I really love him. I love him because of who he is. He's the only man who treated me like this. He treated me not as a female with the highest royal ranks in the nation...he really loved me as woman...a real woman.
I even recalled that moment when I announced that I'll be having marriage ties with him. Aside from important matters, I also knew (indirectly as this sounds) that my feelings for him drove me to come up with this decision.. I knew that I hurted Yushin's feelings because of what I did. But, I told him that he is already married to somebody else, after he was being forced by Mishil to do it.
I can still remember that time when I gave him the ring before asking him to leave the Palace during Shilla's perilous times. I prepared those rings for the two of us, since we haven't had a thing to share with. I implored him to trust me on dealing all things happening inside the Palace. I don't want him to be involved in these conflicts which greatly affects us both. All I wanted was to keep him safe from any harm. When everything's over, I was planning to summon him back. I did these things because I wanted to be with him. I'll never forgive myself if something happens to him.
However...things changed for the two of us. Fate must have been cruel to us...
He rebelled and fought against me; he joined Mishil's men to oust me from the throne. Destiny became so wrathful towards him.
I was gravely upset for what he did...b-but it doesn't mean that I don't love him anymore.
I saw him fighting all the soldiers alone with his sword. The troops were blocking his way, so that he'll never be able to reach me. As he was slashing their bodies swiftly as he got rid of them while trying to get near me, I already felt tense and weak inside.
As he was slowly stepping closer, I was standing firmly on my position, struggling to hold my tears back. I looked at him with grief.
Soldiers aimed their arrows at him. He used one of the soldiers as human shield; nonetheless, he was hit by one of the arrows on the shoulder.
Now, I could see him dying slowly right before my eyes.
He was about ten steps or more closer to me. As he tried to fight for the last time, he was stabbed with those sharp-pointed spears. Blood came out as tears in his eyes. His body was starting to tremble; his hands shaking as he held the sword as firmly as he could.
I can't stand watching him like that...my tears can't hold themselves back anymore.
He reached out his hand to me, as he looked at me with those eyes, asking to reach him back.
I can't move. I mustn't move, thought it hurts.
Then, I barely heard him whispering. He called my name...twice. I closed my eyes for a while and opened them. He gradually passed away in front of me. He was still trying to reach me, to touch me. But it's too late. He stumbled to the ground and gave out his final breath.
I wanted to run towards him, and hold him. I wanted to reach him and touch him, even though he's dead.
I want to be with him for the last time.
But I can't...I mustn't.
I looked at the ring around my finger.
Then, I looked up the sky with tears in my eyes. I could see him, looking down at me up in the clouds, wearing that striking smile on his face. I smiled back, whispering his name.
I am a Queen, but once I stepped into that veil, I'll no longer be called as "Her Majesty".
I often got lonely when I was in my solitary moments; yet, now, I know that I'll never get lonely anymore.
I know that there's no cure for my sickness, but I didn't fear it.
I'm aware that I'm dying; but, I'm not afraid to pass away from this world.
The heavens know that I am desperately longing for him...and I know that in a while, I'll be able to see him again.
I know that he's waiting...so, I'll never have to worry of losing him...again.
I was outside the Palace, breathing for fresh air while taking a good look at the beautiful scenery before me. Yushin was there standing beside me. The two of us stared at the wonder of Nature before us.
Yushin opened the conversation about my dream, and who was the lady whom I'm talking to in that dream, asking me whether it was my mother, Sohwa, or the departed Queen Maya.
We became silent for a short while. Instead of answering his question, I asked him back, telling me if he could still remember the time when we both planned to leave Seorabeol and elope together. Yushin said yes. I asked him again, saying why he didn't continued doing it. He told me that he was too bashful to do it; on the other hand, he asked me why did I brought this matter up.
As I slide back to my chair, resting my arm comfortably, I felt my chest abruptly leaped. Unexplained as it seems, my body started to act odd. The pain's starting to grow bad...then worse...and worse...
I thought of Yushin...I can't endure this pain anymore.
"Yushin...", I thought silently.
I looked at the whole scenery weeping. I closed my eyes, thinking of nothing but him...and my excitement to see him again on that place. I let my tears fall down freely on my face. Slowly, I could saw him vividly, standing at the end of that road, waiting for me with loving arms.
"I'm coming...so please, wait for me...Bidam..."