125 She is Beautiful Pt.1

    The door creaked open, flooding the musty room with soft light. Undisturbed dust exploded into the air as Namjoon gently pushed the wooden door. He took a small step inside. "Hello?"

    Scanning the dark vicinity, he inclined his head to search for any sign of life. And when his eyes settled on the figure before him, they rounded in surprise.

    There, in front of him, sat a woman with her face partly concealed by long strands of ebony hair. From where Namjoon stood, the woman looked like a picture ready to be painted. Wearing dull, plain clothes, the woman continued to tend to her patients- bedridden vagabonds- whose eyes carried a look of adoration for the woman before them.

    Who is she?

    Noticing that cool air was drifting inside, the woman glanced over her shoulder, allowing Namjoon to finally see her face. A sharp intake of breath was heard as Namjoon took in the woman's features in a blink of an eye.

    She is beautiful.

    With irises the colour of rosewood, fringed by long eyelashes, the woman gaped at Namjoon from where she sat. But despite her soft features that exuded an aura of attractive elegance, her face was marred by the frown that tugged at her lips.

    It was only when Namjoon met eyes with her did he realise that the frown was aimed at him.

    "Can I help you?" Her voice was silvery and pleasant to the ears-a stark contrast to the cold stare she greeted him with.

    "Erm..." Namjoon floundered as he fully entered the run-down building. "I am here to learn from the local physician." He peered down at the scrap piece of parchment in his hand. "A Physician Leu?" He glanced at the woman and met her intimidating gaze. Eager to avoid her penetrating eyes, he shifted his attention to the vagabonds as if searching the cramped room. "Do you know where I can find him?"

    "You won't find him here," she replied as she stood up.

    Namjoon blinked. "But the locals, they told me-"

    "The locals told you wrong." She walked over to the next bed. "You won't find a Physician Leu here, so please leave."

    Namjoon frowned at her tone.  Had I offended her in some way? Refusing to accept her words, he followed her closely. "Wait, if he is not here, then when will he be back?"

    The woman continued to ignore him as he trailed after her.

    But just as he was about to ask again, she suddenly stopped, forcing Namjoon to an abrupt halt. The woman's frown deepened when she turned and discovered him so near. Namjoon mumbled an apology under his breath as he shuffled backwards.

    "He's... never coming back." At the end of her utterance, her voice suddenly grew sorrowful as she cast her gaze down.

    "Never coming back?"

    Meeting Namjoon's questioning gaze, she explained, "The Physician Leu you're looking for was my husband. He... passed away not so long ago."


    "I apologise for wasting your time," the woman said, "but as you now know, he cannot help you." She turned around while mumbling under his breath, "He dedicated all his life helping others when he should have been helping himself..." With a defeated step, she started walking away.


    Surprisingly, she did. The woman gaped at Namjoon expectantly, her lips still set in a firm frown.

    "Please hear me out," Namjoon begged. "I-I wish to learn medicine- I want to become a physician."

    "I already told you, my husband passed away-"

    "You  can teach me."

    The woman was at a loss for words.

    Eagerly, Namjoon resumed, "You are a physician too, are you not?" He cautiously approached her, closing the distance between them, "Will you teach me?"

    As the woman searched his countenance, Namjoon took the opportunity to do the same. Despite his earlier nervousness, Namjoon's eyes remained fixated on hers, hopefully demonstrating his sincerity. In silence, the pair stared at each other as if trying to measure the trustworthiness of the other's character. But while doing so, Namjoon couldn't help noticing how her eyes seemed a little red and puffy as if she had been crying not too long ago. The woman, while deprived of any luxurious jewels or expensive ornaments, appeared beautiful to him even in her haggard state.


    Namjoon jolted to attention. "No?"

    "No," she affirmed. "First of all, I am but a physician's wife." She sighed as she corrected, "Was. I was a physician's wife." Namjoon opened his mouth to say something but the woman continued, "I am not educated the same way my husband was. I only know what I do from helping him in this clinic."

    "That is alright," Namjoon keenly answered, "I will accept whatever you can teach me."

    The woman glanced Namjoon up and down before arching her brow. "Pray, tell me, why do you wish to learn from a poor physician when you can learn from those royal physicians in the palace?"

    Namjoon blinked. "What- what do you mean-?"

    "Do you take me for a fool?" the woman spoke pointedly. "I know who you are, Sir Namjoon."

    Namjoon's jaw dropped. "How-?"

    "Not only are you a noble but you are a soldier too," she mentioned. "You already hold such a high position even at such a tender age, so why do you wish to occupy yourself with becoming a physician?"

    "Because I-"

    "Do you consider this vocation a leisure activity?" the woman's tone was low and accusing.

    "No, of course not-!"

    "Then why learn from my husband? Why not from the royal physicians?"

    "It-it is complicated..."

    The woman scoffed as she turned away. "I see."

    "Wait!" Namjoon scrambled after her. "Please, I really wish to learn."

    "Tell me one good reason why I should help you."

    "Because I do not wish to see my comrades die anymore!"

    The woman was stunned into silence.

    Namjoon, flustered by his outburst, mumbled an apology before proceeding with his explanation. "You do not know what the battlefield is like," he said, finally regaining his composure. "You do not know what it feels like to see your men, your comrade-in-arms, your friends perish before you and be powerless to prevent it."

    The woman answered him with a knowing stare.

    "I wish to learn for their sake," Namjoon continued. "While this siege persists, who knows how many countless lives will be lost in the name of victory. All I want to do is to reduce that number."

    The woman observed Namjoon's sombre expression, his eyes suddenly unreadable. Despite his youthful appearance, there was something about his dark eyes that seemed aged as if his experience of warfare had somehow made him wiser.

    When Namjoon finally snapped out of his reverie, he was surprised to find the woman smiling at him-a smile so warm that it melted whatever qualms he had stirring in his chest.

    "Then let us get started." Her melodic voice finally matched her alluring visage.

    "Huh? You mean-?"

    The woman nodded. "You've proven your selflessness, Sir Namjoon. And being selfless is one of the most important traits in being a physician." She nodded approvingly, earning a bashful grin from the young soldier.

    "Thank you so much!" His voice was squeaky from both excitement and relief. "I promise to work hard. I will not disappoint you..." His voice trailed off as he mulled over her name. Had she mentioned it?

    Noticing his hesitance, the woman chortled. "Hanae," she replied, her smile much more radiant than before. "You may call me Hanae."
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