Chapter 9

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The sun rose way earlier than Jia hoped. All her life she had been a morning person, always getting up before dawn to practice with her sword and not once had she slept in. But now the young woman found herself tired, exhausted, almost tempted to turn around and pull her blanket over her head. How long had it been since she went to bed? One hour? Two? And the few sleep she got had been infested with nightmares. Not that she wasn't used to those, but today it had been especially bad. She forced herself to get up and leave her nightmares in bed under the blanked she folded neatly.

"Hmmhhh... Why are you getting up already?" The sleepy voice originated from Hansung. The young man looked just as tired as she was, his eyes weren't even opened.

"The sun is up. We need to get ready."

"But I the bed is so warm... Can't I sleep just a little more?~"

Jia sighted and shook her head. Then she grabbed his blanket and pulled it away.

"Yah! Why are you so cruel to me?," he whined and sat up.

"See, now it's not warm anymore. Now come on and get up."

"You have no mercy, have you?" He rubbed his eyes and slowly got up.

Jia didn't bother to answer and started making his bed too. Around them, their three roommates started to awake as well.

The young woman tried to order her hair, re-tie it, and pull her robe straight as no I se emerged out on the corridor and caught Jia's attention. Great, is there already trouble? Out there, an unexpected sight confused her. A group of Hwarang had formed in front of one of the room right next to her's, mumbling about something and trying to peak through the door. Fighting noise came out of said room.

"Finally, the unending fight has started," one of the young men peaking through the door said, his voice an equal mix of nervousness and interest.

"What do you mean?," Hansung who had followed her out asked.

"It means a proxy war has started between the queen and master Young-shil."

"A proxy war?"

"Look, Master Kim Seub's son, Soo-ho, is on the Queen's side. And Ban-ryu's father ist master Young-shil. Them being in the same room, that's crazy! "

Amazing... They're just as stupid as their parents, like headless chickens, picking a side without even thinking about it. And now they continue the ridiculous fight they started last night.

"Along with them is a crazy half-breed and a random person from the west! Do you get it now?" The young man seemed panicked at this point as if he actually expected the room in from of them to explode any time and kill them all.

That caught her attention again and her eyes widened. 'Crazy half-breed'? He was talking about Sun-woo! So he was in this room full of trouble and tension, caught up between both sides? There was no way he could stay in there all by himself. Heavens, why hadn't she just looked for him last night? The huge fight she would have gotten herself into was nothing to what awaited Sun-woo and she had failed to protect him.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of a stranger. The man who made his way through the crowd wasn't exactly tall, maybe 5 feet, and his scalp was shaved. A rather uncommon sight in the city, especially between all those tall young men. But his grim face made it clear to her what he was capable of. He ignored the complaints and whispers of the Hwarang as he pushed them out of his way and entered the room. A few seconds later he came out of the room again, the two shouting men, Ban-ryu and Soo-ho, he had grabbed by their robes were desperately trying to escape his grip. Without success, of course.

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