When Hearts Touch

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"It's over."

"Let me go, Taehyung."

He shakes his head. His strength ripples as he continues to pull me back from the balcony, away from the downpour of the rain. His eyes are ringed with red, tinted with tears. His voice is fragmented under his mask.

"No, Mistress. No."

"It's never over, until you choose it to be." He whispers, holding me tighter. I feel his gloved fingers overlap mine. "Isn't that what you taught me? Do you have any idea what it means to say that?"

His words break.

"Did you just try and jump?"

"It's over," I repeat. "You don't understand."

"Then tell me." He pleads, and I see him crying. He cries in a way that a warrior does— jaw tight and gaze burning with a flame as the tears mix with the rain. "Tell me so that I will, Mistress."

"But until you make me understand."

A shocked gasp bursts from my lips when he sweeps me straight off the ground. His arms clasp around my legs, the other wrapping around my shoulders as he pulls me to his chest, soaked dress and all. His footsteps echo harshly against the plated stone, against my cries.

"Let me down this instant!"

My cheeks pale as I twist, both hands clutching the front of his shirt. My eyes flicker rapidly back and forth— if someone saw us, they would talk. Rumors would spread that the Princess was having an affair with the young Taraka soldier that she had bought in a slave aucti—

But this boy.

He has become so damn strong.

So all I can do is bury my face into his chest and hope that no one would recognize me as he briskly covers the halls. I hear the rough sound of the soles of his boots, against the polished wood before it finally comes to a stop.

The door swings open.

He sets me down somewhere. On the edge of a bed. I'm soaked to the bone, and my dress hangs off of me like a wet, expensive piece of a rag. My dark hair is in unattractive, messy strands.

It's my room.

Taehyung closes the door. And I glare at him the entire time, stifling a laugh of disbelief when I hear the lock click in place. He turns again, crimson eyes glowing with resolve.

I scoff.

"How foolish you are. To have the nerve to enter my chambers without my permission and lock the door behind you."

He pauses. Then I see his eyes glint with amusement as he pulls up his loosened mask, up to the bridge of his nose. I see the dark material stretch with a smile underneath.

"I'm glad," He whispers. "To see that you're not completely gone, my feisty Mistress."

My mouth nearly falls open.

And so I'm back to glaring at him as he silently moves around the room. I watch him close the curtains, draw them tightly shut. Then he lights the lavender candle near my bed, before running his fingers through his hair.

Only after all that, does he stand before me. He falls to one knee, bows his head. His voice is low behind his mask.

"Your Majesty the Queen."

A tear escapes the corner of my eyes as he makes me realize. The single tear soon turns into multiple, as I realize. That this really isn't a dream. That I was now the Queen of Asura.

My parents were gone. I had lost.

And as he pledges his life to me— murmurs the oath of subject to Queen— everything hits at once.

Me, sitting weak and vulnerable on the edge of my bed. Soaked down to my skin, wearing a ruined dress bleeding water into the expensive sheets. Eyes swollen with tears. Cheeks gaunt and shadows thick on my face.

The Queen.

He holds my hands when he realizes that I'm crying, head pushed down. Han's face and my father's forged will haunts my mind. The bold shades of the irreversible Royal seal, stamped onto what will bind me to Han for the rest of my life.

I don't know.

I don't know what to do.


There was no way to reverse the will, with my father gone. And the late will was always, always honored. Would I be able to avoid the marriage if I ran away? Ran away to the farthest corners of Asura?

No, no. It had to be much farther away.


My head jerks upwards. I'm shaking uncontrollably. And I really must look like the mess that I feel, because Taehyung's eyes are full of alarm.

It's cold.

But then he suddenly stands. As if he'd read my mind, he unclasps the cloak around his shoulders and throws it over mine. He tightens it firmly over my neck.

And he has always read me so well.

"Something happened." He whispers, looking straight into my shaken expression. "What happened, Mistress? Tell me."

"Tell me, my Queen."

I stare.

It feels like barely last week when he had stood in front of me, tilting his head and yearning for an affectionate touch. It feels like it's been barely days.

But where had that child gone.

The man knelt in front of me emanates warmth and protection. His eyes are steady— firm enough to withstand both my pain and his. The roles have reversed.

And my heart trembles when he lifts my hand to his masked lips, brushing a kiss against the back of it.

"I am here. Only for you."

I am here.

I don't know what about that sentence single-handedly breaks down every stone wall that I'd ever built.

For the first time, I choose to share my pain.

I tell him everything. The only thing I hold back is my reincarnation. Everything else I tell.

How lost I am. The forged will. How trapped I feel, dancing like a puppet on the palm of Han's hand. How I am sure that it is him. How no one will believe me or listen to me if I try to say anything otherwise. The bribes, the poisons. All the things behind my back.

He listens.


By the time I'm done, it feels like I've been talking for an eternity. The tears have dried on my cheeks, and I'm exhausted out of my mind.

But there's this relief.

Something heavy is off of my shoulders. It feels as if I've been carrying it for so long.

My eyes flicker. And I feel him catch me as I crumple forward, too weak to even hold myself upright. He feels like an unbreakable wall. Soft, but firm.


I hear a faint whisper as everything slowly dims into black.

"I see."

"But do not worry, my Queen."

"For it is you who will become his puppeteer."

"And I will make sure that he will be the one dancing on your palm for as long as he lives."

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