In The Years Imja Was Gone
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Prompt: Paper

A fourth year, a fourth return with empty hands.

Instead of sitting in his office he walked to his bed and sat, staring at the far wall; he didn't stay there long, but he rested his back on the bed and stared at the ceiling for a longer while.

Was this because of his faith?

Yet he waited four years, he'd trusted her return; why was he left the simple memories of bittersweet fighting, the warmth of her hand against his kisses and the simple knowledge of her return? Didn't he deserve something more? At least a promise of her return, or a kiss?

A simple look?

Anger flared in his body, warming it up; his hand reached forward and grabbing the first thing he could find shattered a vase with flowers against the far wall, then the chair was thrown over and some other pieces of furniture, when he reached for the pillow to rip into pieces, because his anger was yet to be vented and in desperation…

The paper caught his attention.

He'd seen it a hundred times, a million times; to know that her soft fingers had graced such puny item made his heart shrink and his callused fingers reached for it. Unfolding it, he sat on bed, while the door opened and revealed Deok Man and the Vice General, who looked around in surprise at all the destruction done in less than a minute. The numbers were large, some crossed over, only the last number uncovered with the thick cross of ink.

"Sir."

Why was he so desperate? Had she not traced these crossed while waiting for death, marking every hour of very day? Hadn't she cherished every moment because she was by his side? Even while standing before the valley of shadow and death… There was sunlight filtering because he was there… His eyes turned across the room, where the small pots she'd left there were still there, and the bottle of aspiring among them; a small shrine to her existence.

"Sir what happened here?"

Choi Young didn't answer, but turned slightly to the man his mind wild with thought of darkness and desperation. He didn't speak, worrying his men, and lowered his sight to the paper in hand. Only the last number was uncrossed, probably for some unfair reason.

I've cross the bridge of time, I've cross the heart of men with my sword and it took a woman, untamable and fierce, to cross all those same things and with nothing but her words. I have met my match and I have lost utterly and terribly so; then if she is away what must I do to retrieve her?

Even if you are to wait for her forever, do so with a quiet and faithful heart.

The words the Queen had left in his heart echoed loudly, and seemed to open a path unseen for him.

This number is for you to cross. Let it be the last year you return with empty hands. And daring to damage something he cherish so much, and item left as a relic from Hwata, Choi Young reached forward and with the brush, dipped in the ink well he kept over the desk, crossed the number.

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Author's Ramblings: I am aware of people asking for a next chapter: well I'm sad to say this story ends here. Yes I know, many want to read about her return and such… then go on to my next story Less Than A Hundred Years, everything else is there. Thank you for reading, and be sure to review!