Chapter 10

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Jia never had been the one to complain about pain. When she was about 10 years old, she cut her leg on the edges of a specifically sharp stone while playing in the creek. When she returned home to the village at dawn, blood had soaked parts of her garments and was still oozing from that 3 inch long cut. Her guardian scolded her for acting so irresponsible and not coming back right away so he could treat her wounds. Of course, the young girl didn't understand what she was being scolded for. Why should she interrupt her play for such a mundane thing like pain? In that manner, Jia hadn't changed at all in the past 7 years.

"Oh my, you have been messed up quite a bit...," Ah-ro said in a way that strangely almost sounded like she cared about her and started pulling out a set of herbs, needles and bandages. It appeared that the daughter of the city's doctor was the best option available to treat the wounds caused by the fight among the Hwarang.

"Hmm, could be worse." Jia shrugged. She imagined she really must look quite hurt, not really surprising after a fight like this. Blood soaking the fabric of her robe on her arm, cut in her lip, bruises on her skin and her knuckles covered in blood - her own and others equally.

"If everyone looks like this, I won't get home before sundown," she mumbled. "What even caused this fight in the first place?"

"Well, Ban-ryu kept insulting Sun-woo all day and- -"

"Oh him again. I knew he would cause my brother trouble in here. He never lets things go, it's like instilling others is his oxygen. Having him in here is nothing but trouble! But Sun-woo always so calm. I wonder what caused him to snap.." Ah-ro continued her monologue but Jia stopped listening. If Ah-ro just start cleaning her wound instead so she could go and look for Sun-woo...

"I'm story to interrupt your...talking, but could you please take care of my wound? There are others waiting." Jia tried to hide the annoyance in her voice. And Ah-ro seemed to buy it, surprisingly.

"Oh right, I'm sorry." She smiled apologetic and even a bit embarrassed by the fact that she got distracted from her work right away and started to clean of the blood from a cut in her arm, her lip and her hands. Not talking wasn't an option though, even if just to overcome the silence. "How is Sun-woo? Is he hurt as bad as this as well?"

"Last time is saw him? Could be worse. He's tough, you know?"

This actually made Ah-ro go silent for a few seconds while she took out a needle to stitch up the cut. Even though she just knew him for about two weeks, this was something she probably figured out for herself really quick. "Thanks. For taking care of my brother and everything..."

Jia let out a dry laugh. Right. Her 'brother'. And so far I'm doing really good at that or what?
"I'm trying my best"

"I haven't seen him for years. I really missed him... I hope nothing will happen to him in here." Ah-to seemed genuinely concerned and Jia really wanted to assure her that Sun-woo wouldn't be harmed anymore but she didn't want to lie to her...

So Jia chose not to reply at all, something Ah-ro seemed to notice herself, and just clenched her teeth while Ah-ro finished the last stitch and bandaged it. 

"So, you're all stitched up. Try to change the dressing every other day and keep the cut clean so it won't get infected." The tone in Ah-ro's voice had changed back from worried almost personal to plain and somewhat distant.

"Thank you." Jia bowed slightly and made room for the next one to get his wounds treated before she distanced herself from the others waiting on her way to find Sun-woo.

The sun was up lowering over the horizon and the air started to cool down as night approached the kingdom of Silla. The world was getting quieter, birds were retreating to their nests and even the young men inside the Hwarang house started to go back to their rooms. The noise and drama that had been the bigger part of the day was fading and now that every last one of them had their wounds treated, they rested in the safety of their new home to lick their wounds. Though one of them didn't share this suddenly found calmness.

Silent night || HwarangWhere stories live. Discover now