If there was one word to describe Kim Yoohyeon, it would be loyal. For years, the knight had been loyal to her country and its queen she was serving. Lee Yubin, who had tragically lost both of her parents during an ambush, was next in line to rule the kingdom and follow in her father's footsteps.
It took Yoohyeon some time to get used to the princess' new title, especially since Yubin was one of her best friends rather than royalty. Even after becoming queen and grieving for her parents, she didn't look down on anyone or acted differently - towards the people she trusted at least. That's why Yoohyeon made sure to not only protect her and her kingdom on the battlefield but to be a pillar of support and strength for her at all times.
One thing Yubin enjoyed, when she had the time to do so, was to go out into the woods with Yoohyeon. Not only because the woman was the guard she felt best protected by, this was one of the only times of her day where she could relax, laugh, and simply feel human again. Yubin felt warm whenever Yoohyeon was around. They have been friends for as long as she could remember and even though they couldn't be more different in terms of duties and ranks, it never changed anything about the way they treated each other. They had mutual respect for each other, but were playful and teasing most of the time. It made Yubin feel at ease, knowing there was someone who knew who she really was, someone who wasn't intimidated by her.
Yoohyeon wasn't the only person Yubin had a great relationship with. There were a few people she could also call her friends, but there was only one that came close to the bond she had with the knight. And said person also happened to be someone Yoohyeon deeply cared for.
Kim Minji was the epitome of beauty and grace. She wasn't tied to the royal family in any way, yet the entire kingdom lay at her feet. Everyone either wanted to be her or be with her. Minji’s aura intimidated most people and made it hard for them to approach her. Yoohyeon felt the same way for the longest time, settling for admiring Minji from afar until the day things changed.
Yoohyeon was at the training yard, the place where she spent most of her time. Her parents wanted her to show her skills and become a knight they would be proud of. But it wasn't just what they wanted from her, it was her own dream as well. She wanted to prove herself worthy of serving the queen and protecting the kingdom. So she trained every day, worked hard until she almost fainted from exhaustion. She didn't expect the place where she would first see Minji up close to be this one, but there she was, looking as stunning as always.
She didn't deem Minji to be a fighter, mostly because of her rather slim physique. But she was quickly proven wrong as she watched the woman. Minji was skilled at archery, something Yoohyeon had given up after the first few hours of trying. She had perfect aim and the look on her face when she was focusing was very attractive. Yoohyeon was about to stop herself from staring so she could focus on her own training when Minji spotted her. She also started to walk towards her, making the woman gulp. Minji was beautiful beyond words, but something about her scared Yoohyeon as well.
It was the moment Yoohyeon realized she had never heard Minji speak before. Her voice was much softer than she would have imagined it to be. The next realization came right after that. Minji knew her name.
"Yes," Yoohyeon replied and bowed because she thought it was only appropriate to greet someone like Minji with respect.
Minji chuckled at the greeting. "I was told you're a great fighter."
Yoohyeon rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly. She wasn't prepared to see Minji today and definitely not to talk to her.
"I guess," she muttered in response.
One thing led to another and they spent the next few hours training and practicing combat together. Yoohyeon then realized more things:
One - Minji was far more skilled than she thought and two - Minji looked even more beautiful when she smiled.
They met up more often, even outside the training yard. Their attraction to each other was undeniable and eventually, they started dating. They had to keep it secret from their families and couldn't show their affection in public, but as long as they could be together, every bit of it was worth it.
Things seemed to be perfect between them until Yoohyeon heard the news. Minji had been kidnapped.
She remembered it was Kim Bora who told her. They haven't talked much before but Yooyheon knew she was close to Minji.
Some knights tried looking for her the following night, but because she wasn't part of the royal family, they kept it at that one attempt and simply spread the news Minji had died.
Yubin remembered how heartbroken Yoohyeon was during that time. She had begged her father to send out more knights to find Minji, but to no avail. She was mad at him, but she knew it wouldn't change anything.
Yoohyeon eventually was able to move on, although not fully. For her, Minji would always be the love of her life and there was never a day where she didn't think about her.
But the knight gained her happiness back. There would always be something missing, but she was okay with it.
They walked around in the woods for a bit more and were about to return to the castle when Yubin spotted a woman lying on the ground.
Yoohyeon was careful, staring at the motionless body, her hand on the hilt of her sword. She dared to take a few steps toward the body until she was able to see the woman's face.
Yubin was about to open her mouth to speak when Yoohyeon’s voice cut through the silence.