To Protect Another

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Today is the day of the coronation.

I look into the mirror. I haven't yet dressed, wanting to delay it until the last second. My eyes are glazed, hair topped in a messy bun. I'm still thinking of running far, far away.

But I remember Taehyung's words. The ones he'd whispered into my ear in a husky voice until I'd fallen asleep in his arms last night.

Hold your ground, Mistress.

You must not give a single inch.

I pull the band from my hair. My locks unravel, and I'm about to undress when I hear the squabbling outside the door. The voices are too familiar for me not to recognize.

"You are not going inside. You're a man!"

"That's why I'm telling you to go in first, Rin. I need to apologize. Take the dress. She'll need it."

I stifle a laugh. Then I turn.

"Just come in, both of you."

The squabble stops in an instant. Then the door slowly creaks open, revealing a silver-eyed Rin and a nervous-looking Jimin, running his fingers anxiously through his soft, amber locks.

They sweep into a bow.

"Your Majesty the Queen."

I wince.

"Don't— Don't call me that. Not just yet." I say. Then I smile, because the two truly look like a pair of lost, uncertain bunnies. "And Jimin, there's nothing for you to apologize. It's me who should say sorry, for running off like that yesterday."

I see a soft blush dust his cheeks.

Smiling deeper, I turn back to the mirror.

"Now will both of you help me look as pretty as possible? I have a certain King to charm and throw away."

Rin nods rapidly. A smile tinges Jimin's lips.

"Of course, my lady."


I feel nauseous as hell, watching the priest place the Asura Crown on Han's head. He smiles, shakes his hand. Suddenly the folds of the silken dress feel too heavy against my body.

The crowd is silent. There is no cheering.

My father and mother had been kind rulers. They didn't accept this newcomer. Just as it should it be.

This isn't a celebration.

The entire coronation feels like a funeral. The crown on my head feels foreign. It's my mother's, not mine. It shouldn't be on my head in the first place.

It's all because of this fucking bastard.

Han slips his hand into mine. He gives one last charming smile towards the audience before the Palace doors close, and the coronation is over. His face, once so handsome, feels fake and ugly.

He bends to look at me.

"My gorgeous Queen. I hope you haven't forgotten the Clan tradition."

First night.

In the corner of my eye, I see Taehyung tense as Han brushes my cheek. His expression is completely twisted with fury, hand on the hilt of his sword and his teeth bared behind his mask.

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