46 His Fleeting Happiness Pt.4

    Upon hearing approaching footsteps, the pair of maids lifted their heads. Seeing that it was Junmyeon, they hurriedly bowed them again so as not to meet his gaze.

    "Greetings, Master Junmyeon," the maids said in unison as they curtsied.

    Junmyeon gave them an acknowledging nod. He surveyed the room he was in and spotting his brother staring out to the deck, he waved his hand dismissively at the maids to instruct them of his desire for privacy. Swiftly, the maids complied, leaving him and Jongin alone in the room.

    When the sliding doors were finally drawn, Junmyeon approached his brother, who was still fixated on the beautiful scenery before him.

    "How are you feeling today, Jongin?"

    Jongin turned at the sound of Junmyeon's voice and gave him a small smile. "Never better, brother."

    Junmyeon sat beside him on the deck which overlooked a hidden part of the courtyard. In front of the pair was a picturesque image of a tranquil garden, filled with exotic flowers and shrubs that were pleasing to the eye. Junmyeon had a similar view of the scenery from his quarters but he never truly appreciated its beauty as much as he did when he was at Jongin's.

    He turned to his younger brother, whose skin was sallow and as translucent as paper. Seeing his brother in better spirits automatically made his day brighter: it gave him hope that his illness was slowly, but surely, receding.

    "I will be leaving for the coronation soon" Junmyeon informed him. "So, I will not be back to visit you until later."

    Jongin nodded. "You will finally get to meet the new emperor" he observed. "Are you excited?"

    "I would not say I am excited" Junmyeon replied, "but I am curious to see what kind of man he is."

    Jongin turned his attention back to looking at the garden. The weather was pleasantly warm with summer already upon them. He eyed the bright, blooming flowers enviously. How he wished the sun could kiss his skin too, like the blossoming plants that beckoned to him. But alas, he could not. When will he be able to walk amongst nature like his brothers? He was afraid that he was bound to his bed forever.

    Junmyeon, noticing his brother's wistful expression, tried to divert his attention. "I do not know how things will turn out at the coronation. Pledging our allegiance to a man the kingdom has never seen has caused quite the stir in court."

    Junmyeon succeeded in interrupting Jongin's thoughts. "I can imagine" he murmured. "There must be some doubt as to his ability to rule."

    "Indeed" Junmyeon agreed.

    The brothers sat in silence as they both contemplated the significance of the imminent coronation. Today was the day that the new emperor will finally reveal himself to the rest of the kingdom, after spending the last decade or so in hiding. It was a momentous occasion as it signified the beginning of a new era-one which everyone hoped would be peaceful and in contrast to the late emperor's reign, which was, towards the end, driven by a sudden interest in expansionism. With the growing unrest amongst the disgruntled working class, his untimely death, for a minute minority, was a blessing in disguise. However, it was lamentable that the late emperor had consequently bequeathed his son with a plethora of problems that could either make or break him.

    Jongin hoped it was the former rather than the latter. He snuck a glance at his brother and tentatively asked, "How are you feeling... about Brother Minseok's wedding?"

    Jongin watched Junmyeon flinch. "It does not matter how I feel." But as Junmyeon said this, Jongin noticed the woe in his dark eyes. "His wedding has nothing to do with me."

    "But his union to Princess Chayoung-"

    "You do not need to concern yourself with that" Junmyeon abruptly intervened.

    Jongin eyed his brother with concern. "But, brother..."

    "Enough, Jongin" Junmyeon snapped. He suddenly got up, his earlier warmth was replaced with an unfamiliar coldness. "I must leave now," he told him with his back turned, "I will visit you when I return."

    Jongin's eyes trailed after Junmyeon's lonely profile as he left his quarters. He sighed. Jongin had always believed that his situation was pitiful but he truly wondered whether that was the case at all. For while he lacked the ability to venture out of his own home, he had never been subjected to the pain that his older brother experienced on a daily basis.

    "I guess true happiness is fleeting" he murmured.
Previous Index Next