Chapter Thirty One- A Lost Soul
The Crown Prince of Eondeog Mun had not uttered one word since that incident.
Rumours spread within the Palace that he was a ‘bad omen child’ who had caused the death of his mother.
The King had tried to find out what happened, but the boy never uttered a word.
In the end, the Crown Prince had been banished.
Tae Jun did not feel anything on his banishment.
In fact, it amused him that he was given a rich compound with servants to leave in.
He maintained his silence.
What people did not know, was that Tae Jun had spoken in the Palace, after he was banished, but before he left.
The night before he left the Palace…
The First Prince, Tae Min had awoken in the middle of the night, to find his little brother standing above his bed, looking down at him, a sword in his hand.
He had wanted to raise alarm, but Tae Jun had shifted the sword, ever so slightly, so it was fully at his throat.
A flick of his wrists could have ended it.
An unbelievable skill for a child.
“Hyeong-nim.” He practically sang the term, a smile on his face. “Raising alarm is no way to greet your dongsaeng, who came to visit.”
He stepped closer, suddenly seriously.
“T- T- Tae- Tae Jun-ah…” Tae Min stuttered in fear.
“Tch! Hyeong-nim is so tense.” Tae Jun said calmly. It sent shivers through Tae Min.
“Are you bothered that I’m looking down on you again?” Tae Jun asked, literally looking down on him.
“It is odd, but I never looked down on you. But now-.” He laughed fully, and Tae Min wondered why the guards had not come.
Tae Jun stopped laughing suddenly.
“Now I will probably look down on you forever. But Hyeong-nim.” He crouched down in front of him, the sword still skillfully held to his neck.
“This position that you want so much, you can have it for as long as you want!” He had been laughing as he spoke.
He drew his face closer to Tae Min’s own.
“A big brother like you was necessary to show a foolish me, what life is truly like in the Palace.” He dropped the sword suddenly and clapped.
“Kamsahabnida! (Thank you) For educating me. Now I don’t want anything to do with this sad life you have here.”
Tae Min made to run, but suddenly, a knife was at his throat. This time, Tae Jun allowed it nick his skin a little, and a little blood flowed. Tae Min whimpered.
“Tch! Hyeong-nim won’t even let me finish. Enjoy the position well.” He picked the sword up, replacing the knife with it.
“I want to kill you. I really want to kill you. I really really really want to kill you!”
He was laughing again, but tears were running down his face now. “But, Appa Mama’s position will be threatened without you. Right? And me?
“Thanks to your education, I never want to live in the Palace again. You are only alive because of Appa Mama, so Hyeong-nim,” he bowed. “Be a good ruler, and be satisfied after getting what you want.”
He stepped away.
“May we never see each other again.”
As silently as he must have come, he had left, and Tae Min collapsed to the bed.
Fear and relief making him weak.
He had just been threatened by a mere boy!
He spent a good few minutes, breathing heavily, wondering if he had been dreaming, but the tiny cut on his neck, proved he was not.
He got up and ran outside to find the guards, and he did.
But they were all strewn across the ground, dead.
Tae Min knew now, that his brother had spoken the truth.
He could have killed him at any time.
The Grand Prince’s residence…
Now alone in the big compound, the little boy still rarely spoke, only opening his mouth to give necessary orders.
The King had sent the son of one of the training masters, Min So Yeon, to live with him.
He was not completely alone, yet the two never spoke.
Just sitting in silence, occasionally looking at each other.
The King, unknown to Tae Jun, had also set strong guards to secretly watch over him, in case there were any assassination attempts.
They never saw any intruders around the young Prince for a very long time.
But Min So Yeon did.
In fact, there were many attempts made on the Prince’s life, but before anyone was even aware of the assassins, the Grand Prince found them.
Afterwards, So Yeon would find him in their midst, usually sitting a little distance from their dead bodies, his white sleeping hanbok splattered with blood.
He would be laughing, or talking to himself.
So Yeon would simply wrap a cloak around him and lead him back to the compound.
This had gone on for years.
He did the same thing, even on their secret trips outside the Capital.
He never went looking for trouble, but he instantly killed anyone who approached him with evil intent.
It was as if the Grand Prince wanted to kill, and was merely waiting for the slightest excuse to do so.
Then it suddenly stopped in his fifteenth year.
That year, Tae Jun and So Yeon had gone to Dong Guk for another ‘exploration’, as So Yeon thought of their trips.
Usually, the Grand Prince would just wake up and suddenly feel like leaving the Capital.
They would go to a random town, disguised, and probably spend most of their time in the town library, as Tae Jun read one book after another.
If thieves or assassins attacked them, then all the better for him.
He and So Yeon merely stepped over their bodies and continued on their way.
Tae Jun constantly tried to stop So Yeon from killing with him, but So Yeon was stubborn.
Tae Jun was his master.
The servant’s hands were the one to be stained with blood, not the master.
Gradually, an unspoken bond was formed.
They still rarely spoke, but it was there.
That year, in Dong Guk, the two were leaving the library, when they saw an interesting sight.
“Do Young-ah!” A young boy, about their age was yelling. He had grabbed an even younger boy by the ears and was pulling him away from a dumpling shop.
“Ah! Hyeong-nim~.” The child whined. “I was only going to have a few-!” So Yeon had lost interest at this point, and was looking around them.
Tae Jun was still staring intently at the two.
“Idiot! Master says no food for you, after the stunt you pulled last night.”
“Ya! He does not have to know…”
Tae Jun was not sure why he was watching them, he simply felt drawn to the scene for some reason.
Then the younger child had turned, and he had sat heavily to the ground immediately.
“Doryeonnim! What’s wrong?” So Yeon, who had run to his side at once, seemed to be asking him, but he was still looking at the child.
The child looked back at him puzzled, then looked away, continuing his whining to the older boy.
Tae Jun felt something open up within him.
Unstoppable tears ran down his face, as his life so far, played before his eyes.
‘Who am I?’ Was the first question he asked himself, and more questions had kept coming.
‘How did I get here?’
‘What am I doing?’
‘what have I done?’
“Is this the life Omma Mama saved?” He asked the last question out loud without knowing.
So Yeon helped him up, and Tae Jun allowed himself to be led away.
That night, for the first time in four years, he cried freely for his mother, in a remote inn in Dong Guk…
The Grand Prince’s residence…
Tae Jun smiled at the new memory. He had almost completely forgotten that memory.
Apparently, Kim Da Yeong had shown up in another strange, unexpected place.
In his past, seeing her had somehow changed him from being a blood hungry demon.
He was beginning to believe Lord Kim’s words: “Fate is exactly what it is.”
He sighed. “Kim Da Yeong. What have you done to me?”
Overcome with the sudden urge to see her, he got up and dressed quickly in a yungbok, throwing a black cloak over himself. He opened his door to see So Yeon, fully dressed, in front of it.
He shook his head.
“Tch! Hyeong is always astute. I guess this is one time when you would not stay back?” He had started calling So Yeon ‘Hyeong’ after that incident.
So Yeon had totally ignored him and called him ‘Daegun’, or ‘Doryeonnim’ when they were in disguise.
“Daegun might get into trouble. I’ve seen Lord Kim’s temporary residence. It is well guarded. You may be the Prince, but it is the middle of the night.”
He glanced over his outfit. “You are dressed to sneak in.” He was not accusing, merely observing. He himself was dressed to sneak in.
“Ahem!” Tae Jun cleared his throat and moved past him. “Lets be on our way then…”