DISCLAIMER: I don't own Akatsuki no Yona.
I opened my eyes.
Someone was calling my name. Everything was pitch-black, and I couldn't see a single thing, not even my own skin. I could only feel the soft bed beneath my body, the smooth fabric covering me.
How did I end up here?
I sat from the bed, clutched the blanket toward my body.
Where are the others?
It was that voice again, calling. So low, almost a whisper. Yet I could hear it, as if somewhere near.
A cold chill passed through my bones, shivering my veins.
"Who's there?" I shouted across the room.
I kept my eyes wide-opened, waiting for an answer. My fingers clasped the blanket closer.
"What are you so afraid of?" the voice asked, louder than before.
"Who are you? What do you want?"
The voice laughed across the room, deep and dreadful, seeping through every hole and crevice.
My body shook, from my toes all the way to the ends of my hair. With my heart thumping and thudding inside my ribcage...I held my breath, praying. Praying this is just some random nightmare.
This isn't real.
"Shhh… don't be afraid."
And then a sweet, sweet smell wafted to my nose, like a flower I'd never known has been laid in front of me.
I could feel it. Something was coming. I closed my eyes, trying to calm my breathing.
Fear is a liar.
"What did you dream about?" the voice whispered.
Something cold touched my arm, and I let out a scream.
Something touched my arm, and I let out a scream.
I froze as I recognized the voice. Hak. Touching my arm was Hak himself. There was no mistake...I know his voice very well. Lightning flashed and I saw his face...
"Shh... don't be afraid," he whispered as he embraced me.
He was here. I'm safe.
I sobbed against his chest, still shaking a little. He was warm, I'm in the waking world.
Thunder rumbled, as heavy rain poured outside. As flashes of lightning lit the whole room, I recognized the room.
This was my old room at the castle.
I pulled myself away from him, eyeing my surroundings.
"How did we end up here?"
"How?" Hak returned, confused. "What do you mean?"
What do I mean?
"I mean aren't we back at the castle? What about Soo-won? How – Yoon and the others, where are they?"
Hak moved to hug me again.
I don't understand.
"H-hak?" I tried to push him away but he held me closer. "What's wrong?"
"What did you dream about?" he asked me.
"What? Oh. It was just some nightmare, Hak. Please don't worry about it."
Silence. Hak didn't move a muscle.
"Is something wrong?" I asked him.
His hand moved to rub my back gently. "Don't worry, everything's fine." He laid his hands around my arms and pushed me back to the bed. "You should sleep again."
I looked up at him and he looked back at me. He was not smiling at all. Something was wrong.
I tried to push myself out of the bed, but something heavy was weighing me down. Something heavy was pulling me hard, as if dragging me somewhere else.
The last thing I heard was Hak's voice, telling me everything would be fine, caressing my cheeks gently.
Something warm was rubbing against my cheeks. Something soft, something gentle.
I opened my eyes.
My eyes widened in horror. Staring down at me was Soo-Won himself, looking confused. I shot up from his lap and looked around hard. One of the castle gardens.
"What's wrong, love?" he asked as he moved in front of me.
"What did you just say?" I looked straight into his eyes, tried to comprehend everything.
"Are you feeling ill?" He reached out to touch my hand.
I quickly stood and walked away from him. I couldn't face him. The last thing I remembered was Hak forcing me to sleep...
I nearly jumped when he grabbed my arm and stopped me. "Tell me what's wrong," he pleaded.
"Let go, Soo-Won. I don't understand what's happening right now. How did I end up here? Where's Hak?"
"What are you saying, love? Hak was dead a long time ago…"
I froze. Hak was dead –
I turned around and slapped him on the face. "Stop trying to deceive me – "
"Mother?" A little boy emerged from a tree. "Why did you slap Father?"
The little boy looked as if he was about to cry.
Soo-Won walked over to him. "Your mother was just feeling ill, that's all," he told the boy as he patted his golden hair.
"Really?" The boy looked in my direction, concern written around his purple eyes.
"Yes," Soo-Won said. "You ran away from your nurse again, didn't you?"
The boy ran to me, throwing his arms around my waist. "Are you okay, Mother?" He looked up at me, brows furrowing.
"Your mother will be fine," Soo-Won said as he approached us. "Should we go back now?"
The boy turned to look at him, then clung to my left arm. "Yes, Father."
"Yona, should we walk him to his room?"
I hesitated for a moment, but the boy tightened his grip around my arm.
We walked away from the garden, past the long corridors, until we reached the royal apartments.
Maids strode back and forth the hallways. When they saw us, they bowed so low and apologized deeply.
"See that he doesn't run away again," Soo-Won announced.
The boy looked at me for the last time, and I bent down to kiss him on his forehead.
He seemed very sad.
As soon as he stepped into his room, Soo-Won turned to me. "Should we talk in our room?"
I followed him and stepped into a large bedroom, decorated with golden and scarlet tapestries.
"What's wrong with you?" he said as soon as he locked the door. He stared at me with those piercing eyes, his gentle smile was gone.
I shouldn't have followed him here.
He took steps toward me and I stepped away from him.
All the windows were barred – I should've noticed those earlier. I ran to the bedposts and looked hard for a weapon – anything will do.
"Trying to escape again?" he asked. "You see...I thought the medicine was working well."
"W-what are you saying?"
He stopped in the middle of the room. "When you woke up, you became like that. Hmm...seems like I let my guard down for a moment." He began walking again to my direction, his every step taking him closer, closer. "Tell me Yona, what did you dream about? Did you dream of Hak's dying figure? Or your Father's blood?"
Tears poured down my face. "Please, Soo-Won." My knees gave up and I sobbed on the ground, too afraid to move. There was no escape.
He stooped down and lifted my chin. "You know you could never escape from me." He was smiling – "Stop trying." He enclasped me tight...and I felt a prick on the side of my neck.
The last thing I saw was something golden hovering over me, stroking my hair.
Something golden was hovering over me, stroking my hair. I opened my eyes and the golden tassel took shape, hanging from the black headgear Father was wearing.
"I brought you something to eat," Father said, smiling down at me.
I shot from the bed and looked him in the eyes. "Father?"
Is this real?
A cough escaped my throat.
He moved and patted my back gently as I struggled to relieve myself. "The doctor said it's just a cold. You should be fine soon."
I stared up at him and tears filled my vision. "Is this real?"
I hope this is real.
But Father only laughed as he hugged me in his arms. "Don't worry," he whispered. "I didn't cook this."
I looked at the bedside table. He was referring to the porridge. The memory rushed into my head – a long time ago when I had gotten sick, Father had cooked me a porridge. It had been horrible, but I had eaten every piece of it, until the last spoon.
Porridge...my favorite food. Every bite was heaven, seeing Father's face was more than enough for all my fears to go away.
Even if it was just a dream...I felt so happy.
After I finished my food, Father turned to go away. But I grabbed his arm and stopped him. "Father...please stay with me for a little while."
Please don't leave me yet.
He smiled and nodded. As I lay back on the sickbed, he held my hand.
"Father, how old am I?"
Father laughed at my question. He looked at me, calculating my face, but I looked back at him determined.
Finally, he smiled and said, "Why, you just turned sixteen last spring. You think I'd forget my only daughter's age?"
He turned his eyes to the door, then back to me. "When you woke up and saw me, you seem confused." He lowered his eyes. "Yona, what did you dream about?"
It was that question again.
But perhaps if I tell Father, this series of nightmare would end now.
"You know Father," I began, "I dreamt about scary things. I dreamt about a scary voice, about Hak, about Soo-Won. But they had asked me the same question you just asked me."
Father squeezed my hand gently. "You should rest now." He planted a kiss on my brow lightly.
I sighed and closed my eyes. My body felt so heavy. My body felt so tired.
I woke up with many voices speaking at once. When I opened my eyes, six people was staring down at me.
"The young miss is awake!" Zeno clapped cheerfully.
I sat up and stared at each of them, confused. "What happened?"
"You collapsed earlier," Yoon replied. "But you're fine, you're probably just tired from the journey back."
"Master, does something hurt?" Kija asked me.
"I'm fine, my head just aches a little. Where are we by the way?"
"I told you so!" Yoon sighed. "Let her rest. Now, get away from here."
"Get well soon, Yona!" Jae-ha said as he was pulled by Hak outside. Kija, Zeno and Shin-ah followed.
"To answer your question, we are staying at Ik-Soo's place, remember?" Yoon said as he walked to the door. "Call me if you need anything else." He went out and closed it.
Now I'm back to reality.
I sighed and lay back on the bed again. Dreams always end when morning comes. When I opened my eyes again, the room was dark.
I must have fallen asleep.
I pushed my body from the bed and went outside. Everyone was sleeping peacefully, snuggled warmly against the blankets. The fire had long gone out.
I strode and went further, sat down beside the waterfall, watched the water glisten beneath the moonlight.
Everything has been a mere dream...yet they felt so real.
A cold wind blew past my face. The leaves rustled beneath the trees, the trees swayed, whispering...
"Can I join you?"
I whirled around and saw Ik-soo standing behind me. Relief washed over me.
"Why are you out here too?" I asked him when he had settled himself beside me.
"I had a terrible dream and I can't sleep anymore."
I almost laughed at the irony. "I had a terrible dream earlier too."
His bangs shrouded his eyes, but he was staring above the sky. And then he turned his eyes to me.
"Tell me, Yona. What did you dream about?"