63 Where I Belong Pt.2

    Gyuri's eyes fluttered open at the sound of voices overlapping in the background. She groaned. Where am I? A throbbing pain pulsed through her head as she squinted, trying to discern where she was.

    "Gyuri?" she heard someone say tentatively. "Gyuri!" the person repeated, much louder this time. "Cousin, she has woken up!"

    Gyuri's head turned to the direction of the approaching footsteps and vaguely recognised the two figures approaching. She attempted to sit up, only to groan in pain as her upper-body felt sore and heavy with fatigue.

    "Steady!" she heard the person exclaim as he rushed to her side to help her up. It was only when he was right next to her did Gyuri realise it was Taehyung. "How are you feeling?" he gently asked as he offered his arm to her for support.

    "Bloody... fantastic" she managed to croak. Her throat was so dry that it felt like her tongue had turned into sandpaper.

    "Here." Seeing her discomfort, Namjoon offered her a saucer of water which she accepted gladly. Ravenously, Gyuri quickly drank the refreshment to quench her parched throat. Namjoon and Taehyung watched as she drank the water with a voracious appetite. Once she was done, she wiped the water, that had dribbled down her chin, with the back of her hand. She returned the pair's stare.


    Taehyung was the first to speak. "Thank heavens you are okay!" Without warning, he wrapped his arms around her and brought her close to his chest.

    Gyuri blinked in surprise. "Young-Young Master?"

    "Cousin!" Namjoon exclaimed, "You are suffocating her!"

    "Oh!" Taehyung released Gyuri immediately. "I-I apologise" he stuttered, his cheeks flaming. "I-I am just so relieved that-that you are awake" he explained, flustered. "No, I am just so relieved that you are alive!"

    "Please be gentle with her, cousin" Namjoon scolded, "she is still recovering." He addressed Gyuri, "How are you feeling, Gyuri? Does it hurt anywhere?"

    Gyuri was about to shake her head when she suddenly felt a sharp pain shoot down from her left shoulder. She winced.

    "Your body will feel sore for a while" Namjoon informed her.

    "What- what happened?" Gyuri questioned as she massaged her head with her right arm while avoiding moving her left. "How did I get hurt?"

    "Do you not remember?" Namjoon questioned. "You were shot by an arrow."

    Taehyung murmured solemnly, "You got hurt while trying to save me."

    Gyuri's eyes darted from Namjoon to Taehyung like a pendulum. Her mind was still foggy and thinking made her head hurt. But with some effort, the events that had led up to her near death came crashing down on her like an unexpected avalanche.

    Flying arrows; the scruffy peasant; Taehyung; Pain.

    Gyuri remembered how she had witnessed the scruffy peasant aim an arrow at Taehyung and how her legs moved out of their own accord to try and reach him in time. She remembered how she had shielded Taehyung with her embrace and how the razor-sharp arrow pierced through her flesh, rendering her immobile.

    "You have been out cold for five days" Namjoon divulged, "but at last, the worst has passed."

    "I've been asleep... for five days?" She still couldn't comprehend how much time had elapsed since the wedding. It felt like only yesterday.

    "You were one of the lucky ones" Namjoon added. "It is fortunate that you were able to overcome the poison."

    "Poison?" Gyuri anxiously repeated. "The arrows were poisoned?"

    He nodded grimly.

    "Oh, my gosh..." Gyuri uttered in disbelief. Suddenly, she remembered the sound of bodies crashing to the floor and she shuddered. "Is everyone okay?" she rushed to question, alarmed. "Madam Zhou? Pho? Mayu?"

    "They are fine" Taehyung replied, but Gyuri couldn't help noticing his mournful expression. "You should focus on recovering-do not trouble yourself over others."


    "Taehyung is right" Namjoon interjected. "You should focus on your own recovery for now." He inched closer to Gyuri so that he was sitting next to her on the bed. "May I? I need to see your wound."

    Gyuri gulped as she hesitantly let Namjoon peel back the top of her robe so that he could peer down at her exposed shoulder. Even though she should be worrying about other things, she couldn't help feeling self-conscious about her current appearance.

    Oh, God. I've been asleep for five days! My breath must stink, and my hair must be oily and disgusting.

    She averted her gaze, only to find an embarrassed Taehyung, who had turned around. Great, she groaned internally. Even he must find the sight of me repulsive.

    Namjoon leaned back as he finished. "Your wound is healing slowly" he enlightened her. "But unfortunately, it will leave a scar."

    "The most important thing is that she will recover," Taehyung remarked after he had turned around. He gazed at Gyuri with concern. "I was so worried about you" he fussed. But then his expression darkened as he reprimanded her, "Stupid Gyuri! Why did you risk your life for?"

    "To save you, of course."

    Taehyung's face reddened.

    "Did you manage to catch the culprit?" she asked, turning her attention to Namjoon.

    Namjoon shook his head solemnly. "The investigation is still in progress. We did manage to apprehend one of the assassins, but they ended their life before we had the opportunity to interrogate them." He frowned as he continued, "It seems they intended to die if their plan to eliminate us failed."

    "Who would want to do such a thing...?"

    "It must be General Lee" Taehyung contemptuously suggested. "He has always been jealous of Brother Minseok."

    "Hush!" Namjoon castigated Taehyung. "Do not accuse anyone if you have no firm evidence of it, cousin."

    But still, Taehyung continued, "I bet he orchestrated it for revenge-"

    "That is quite enough, Taehyung."

    Everyone looked up at the sound of a curt voice booming from the other side of the room.

    "Cousin Junmyeon!"

    Not too far away from the trio stood a scowling Junmyeon who was standing nearby the entrance. With an arrogant gait, he entered the room as he addressed Taehyung. "You will do well to hold your tongue when it comes to matters such as these" he lectured, before stealing a glance at Gyuri, "especially in the presence of a servant."

    Taehyung bit his bottom lip and Gyuri noticed how his hands balled into fists. He stared at Junmyeon with his brows furrowed in a glower.

    "Cousin," Junmyeon addressed Namjoon, "as the servant girl has woken up, please help her move from this room immediately and send her to the maids' quarters to recover-"

    "No," Taehyung suddenly refused, "you cannot!"

    Everyone turned to face Taehyung, startled by his abrupt outburst. Once Junmyeon had regained his composure, he narrowed his eyes at him. "And why not?"

    "Gyuri is still in no condition to move" Taehyung reasoned, "she can barely sit up. The maids' quarters are far too cramped and too busy, so she will not be able to recover quickly." He briefly glimpsed at Gyuri before decidedly declaring, "Staying here is the better option."

    "I hate to admit it, but Taehyung is right, cousin" Namjoon agreed. "It will be better if Gyuri stayed in his quarters."

    Junmyeon's face contorted into a displeased expression. "Preposterous!" he blurted. "A servant girl resting in a room fit for royalty?" He shook his head in disapproval. "That is absurd!"

    "This servant girl," Taehyung said through gritted teeth, "saved my life. I believe she deserves a reward for her bravery, correct?"

    Taehyung glared at Junmyeon stubbornly, forcing him to engage in a staring contest. At last, Junmyeon pursed his lips and unwillingly yielded, "So be it." With a slight sneer he spoke, "You may reward her as you wish. But remember this, Taehyung, servants and nobles do not mix." He glanced at Gyuri as he added, "We are a different species entirely."

    Junmyeon swiftly departed, leaving the trio staring after him.

    Once he was out of sight, Taehyung's tense body finally relaxed. "I apologise for my idiotic older brother," he told Gyuri with a sigh. "He is very selfish."

    "Do not speak ill of your brother, cousin" Namjoon lightly scolded. "He is not an awful man. His ideas are just... misguided."

    Gyuri could only wonder as she confessed, "I think he hates me."

    "It is not just you" Taehyung reassured her. "He hates everyone" he paused for a moment as he thought, "me most of all."

    "Your brother does not hate you" Namjoon consoled.

    But Taehyung remained unconvinced. "Yes, he does. If he does not hate me, then why does he always treat me so coldly?"

    Namjoon fumbled, "Junmyeon cares for you but just has trouble showing affection..."

    "But he has no trouble showing affection to Brother Jongin?" Taehyung challenged. "Face it, cousin. Brother Junmyeon hates me because I am the son of father's third wife. He does not care for anyone apart from Brother Jongin, who is his real brother." He scoffed as he spoke bitterly, "Brother Minseok and I are just his half-brothers, so we only receive half of his care or even less than that. But that does not matter anymore." He eyed Namjoon resolutely, "I have you and, now, I have a sister too."

    "A sister?" Namjoon echoed, puzzled.

    "Yes," Taehyung affirmed happily, "Gyuri says that she will be my sister from now on."

    Namjoon peered at Gyuri with a surprised expression and she shied away. She couldn't help feeling self-conscious whenever Namjoon's eyes were directed at her.

    "I am glad that you two are getting along" he commented amusedly.

    "Indeed" Taehyung replied, "we will be getting along just fine from now onwards, right, Gyuri?"

    "Erm, yeah, sure" she erred.

    Namjoon arched his brow at her while trying to mask his grin. He turned to Taehyung, "That is all very well, but we should probably leave her to rest." He addressed Gyuri, "I will inform Madam Zhou of your status and ask her to send you a meal filled with nutrients. You are to rest until I instruct you otherwise."

    "When will I be able to move around again?" Gyuri enquired.

    Namjoon was pensive. "I think it will take about two weeks for you to recover completely. You were fortunate that Taehyung was able to find me in time. If the arrow had stayed in your body for longer than an hour, the poison would have spread throughout your organs and you would have been beyond recovery."

    "Seriously?" Gyuri was astonished. She turned to Taehyung gratefully, "Thank you, Young Master. You saved my life."

    Taehyung weakly smiled. "It was the least I could do. You saved my life thrice already."

    Namjoon stood up from the bed and stretched his legs, "Well, I shall go to Madam Zhou now." He faced Taehyung as if beckoning for him to follow.

    "I will leave in a minute" he responded.

    With a small nod, Namjoon left first. Once he was gone, Taehyung bashfully approached Gyuri and perched himself on the edge of the bed. "So... how are you feeling? Are you comfortable?"

    "I guess so" she replied feeling slightly awkward. She was still preoccupied with her bad breath and appearance. Keen to divert her attention she asked, "By the way, is this really your room?"

    Taehyung smirked as he replied, "Yes, I thought that you would be more comfortable here since the maids' quarters are quite noisy."

    Gyuri nodded thankfully. She had to admit that it was a lot quieter. As she admired his room she suddenly noticed something peculiar. "Hang on a sec," she pointed out, "there's only one bed." With a questioning expression, she asked, "If I have been resting in your bed, where have you been sleeping?"

    Taehyung had a small smile. "On my bed too, of course."

    "W-what?" Gyuri was flustered. "You mean-?" She examined the bed and only just realised how spacious it was. "Young Master-"

    "Taehyung" he corrected. "You can call me by my name, remember?"

    Gyuri nodded to show that she remembered. "Yeah, well, Taehyung, we shouldn't be sleeping on the same bed. It's improper-"

    "I did not want to let you out of my sight" he interrupted her. "Not when you were on the verge of death." Gyuri stared into Taehyung's crescent eyes and noticed the haggardness in them. He looked like he hadn't slept properly in ages. "I was really scared, Gyuri. I thought you were going to die."

    Seeing the gravity in Taehyung's expression made Gyuri realise how narrowly she escaped death. Like the sun, it dawned on her that dying in this unknown era would mean her existence potentially being erased from the future too. If she died here, what would happen to her? Would she disappear in the future too? Would she leave behind Yoongi? Her dad?

    No, I can't let that happen, she thought determinedly. No matter what, I must find a way to get back before I end up getting killed in this era.

    With a forced smile, she teased, "Get you, worrying about me!"

    "I am serious, Gyuri. Please, no matter what, do not do that again."

    "Huh?" Gyuri was baffled. It was unlike Taehyung to put her before himself. "But then you could have died!"

    "My life is not important."

    "What? Of course, it's important!" she shouted. Something is really odd about him today. "Unlike you, I'm just a servant. If I die, you could replace me easily but you, you're a noble and me, I'm just one amongst a million-"

    "No," Taehyung interrupted. "Gyuri, you are not." With earnest eyes, he declared, "For me, you are irreplaceable. You are not one amongst a million, you are one in a million." Taehyung held her hand and squeezed it. "And I do not ever want to experience almost losing you ever again."
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