Disclaimer: I don't own The Great QSD. But I'm saving up for the complete box set of the show in the (far) future. *_*
A/N: Thank you for taking the time to read this. You have my heartfelt gratitude. :)
I was about to create Doekman's POV but changed my mind halfway and came up with this. It is still incomplete, though. I'd really like to put Doekman's side/story out there. .
As always, reviews, corrections, and/or critiques are very much welcome.
*pyeha - king
*hyungnim – older brother (like in gangs)
*hwarang – elite military group – (at least) it evolved as such during Silla era.
*aigoo – 'Oh my god', 'Geez' or something like that. O.O!
Rain kept pouring all morning. The usual summer breeze turned chilly, which wasn't such a bad thing. For weeks, the sun in all its glory shone harder in Seorabeol and the peasants and nobles alike had to go on with their businesses under an extremely hot weather. Tempers flare. Fights broke out more often than usual – signaling more work and headache for officials in the palace.
"It's a nice change of pace, isn't it?" the woman seated in front of the bureaucrat said.
"Yes, your majesty."
"I- I have a favor. Just this once, may we talk casually… Jukbang-hyungnim?"
"Of course, your highess," he couldn't help but smile. Moments like this are priceless. How long has it been since they talked of the weather? Or of anything besides politics, war intelligence and state affairs? Close to nil. Being with her for years, he sensed that she was feeling nostalgic, like him.
'I guess rain has that effect on everyone,' he thought.
"Do you remember the time we were about to be annihilated by Baekje? Wasn't it raining too?"
"Yes, your highness. You were so brave back then standing up against Lord Alcheon to protect our injured comrades. He could've killed you for insubordination."
"Looking back, I think I was too reckless and loud."
"I didn't say your majesty isn't."
Both chuckled at the thought. "But it was also very admirable, your highness. We could've simply followed the protocol. Just kill the injured and flee. Yet, you pushed Lord Alcheon and Lord Yushin to take the nobler, less treaded path. You saved all of us, your highness."
"I guess our captain taught us well," the queen said and he nodded in agreement.
"Speaking of Lord Yushin, how is he faring these days?" she asked as she turned her face to him.
Jukbang's eyes grew wide. He wanted to slap himself right then and there. How could he be stupid enough to mention their former leader in her presence? He tried. Heavens know he tried really hard to avoid mentioning the Y-word every time he was in pyeha's presence. Everyone in Silla knew of the two's shared past. He was even the lucky few to get the inside scoop. To further complicate things, majority of the populace, including him, believed that their reigning sovereign still holds out to her former flame. It just felt so awkward talking to her about him. More importantly, he didn't want to cause further distress to his little sister.
"Ah yes, Lord Yushin … Well uh—"
'She really seems interested to know,' he thought.
He suddenly became quite interested with the woodwork west of him.
"I heard he and Q'ri are uhm– having their fourth child. Well— of course, they are very happy together... Wait no, not very happy… I mean at least Lord Yushin is not very very happy with Q'ri… just enough happy. Unlike, well— scratch that… So yeah, they are doing fine and are happy… So there… I hope I'm making sense, your highness?"
Doekman moved her head downward and stifled a laugh. "Jukbang-hyungnim you are making sense like always," she said grinning.
The noble wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not. But either way, he felt ease that she took it well.
"I just went to their place the other day. Wonsul is Lord Yushin's replica. That kid would make a fine hwarang someday. Who would've thought… Lord Yushin… A father! Back in our days as nangdo, I could never imagine him to be one."
The man opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. What should he say? He couldn't see her expression as she was once again facing luscious foliage ahead, which seemed greener because of the rain.
"Ha! Maybe Lord Bidam is following his footsteps soon," trying to shift the conversation away from he-who-must-not-be-named and lighting up the mood.
"What do you mean by that?"
"It's been the talk of the town recently. Lord Bidam has been spending nights in a woman's house for the past three weeks."
"What? No, it— it can't be," the brunette shaking her head. "Jukbang-hyungnim, did you hear right? What if it was business?"
"Your highness might most certainly be right. But rumors claimed they were always pretty loud, if your majesty know what I mean." the official said laughing. "I wonder how come he never brought his mysterious woman here. Maybe he doesn't want us to know."
"Yeah. Maybe." she whispered forgetting the standard jargon.
"Who knows he'd be a father like Lord Yushin soon, eh?"
'Ooops!' There he goes again. This time he covered his mouth as if stopping himself but he was already many a syllable late. 'Me and my stupid mouth! Just when he thought things were getting better!"
He dropped his hands to speak when the queen suddenly stood up and faced him.
"Thank you for the pleasant conversation, Jukbang-hyungnim. I need to go back to the central palace now. Thank you again."
This time he saw expression. Her lip curved slightly upward but there were obvious traces of hurt in her eyes.
"Yes, your majesty is most gracious," he said bowing and continued to do so as the royal made her exit.
'Aigoo. What is wrong with me?' he wondered.