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Seo-bi was not exactly sure how they had managed to escape from the Frozen Valley unscathed. It was all a blur for her : the resurection plant, Beom Pal noticing the chains and suddenly the sounds. Those horrid, monstrous sounds.

Surrounded. Unarmed (almost). Unprepared.

The very presence of the creatures in broad daylight had caught them by surprise and Seo-bi was sure Beom-pal probably would have cried more if fear had not choked and paralysed him before they ran for their lives.

After what had seemed like an eternity, they had taken refuge in what seemed like an abandonned advanced guardpost. They had dully blocked all entrances and had searched for any weapon that had been left behind. Beom-pal had almost tripped on the bow and arrows Seo-bi had thrown at him, stuttering that he was not versed in the arts of war.

Useless, stupid man.

He’ll have to do, though ; she was not left with much of a choice, anyway.

They - she - had established to take turns standing guard for the night until it would be safe to venture out there again. Beom-pal had barely slept and when he actually had, he had mumbled tearful pleas in such an agitated state Seo-bi had feared he had gotten sick.

Pathetic.

Yet, she could not entirely blame him. These were trying times, even for cowards like Cho Beom-pal.

*

This was his turn to stay awake and be alert but Seo-bi did not entirely trust him to do so efficiently and thus, she made no effort to try and fall asleep. However, her project was soon disrupted by Beom-pal’s constant muttering. He sounded like a madman - at times, Seo-bi truly suspected he was. His uncle’s name, Cho Hak-Ju, kept coming back again and again amongst the rest of his incoherent speech.

“Do you ever shut up, sir?” Seo-bi sighed, forgetting all manners of decorum expected for a man of his rank.

“Oh. Sorry.” He had at least the decency to sound remorseful and he did not even called her by her name, which he usually did at an annoying rate.

She heard him grip the bow tighter in his hands and then... Nothing.

Despite her previous desire for silence, it suddenly felt eerie. The only sounds she could hear were the creatures’ cries far in the distance and the blowing of the wind against the trees. It was strange not hearing the magistrate talk.

Whatever.

She had more pressing matters to dwell on than the state of a wimp.

*

The night stretched on, the cold was as biting as ever and Seo-bi was trying not to shiver but there was little she could do to prevent the spasms from taking over her body.

Suddenly, she heard shuffling not far from her. Her mind was foggy and she could not acertain if the sound was far or close, if it was nothing or the sign of danger. She did not have the time to react quickly enough that warmth envelopped her. Soft silk - one of the finest she had ever felt - covered her small body. It felt good. She felt good for the first time in weeks.

It’s only when she heard someone blowing air and rubbing theirs hands quickly together that she understood.

Beom-pal.

Beom-pal had given her his cloak and was now surely freezing in a state of undress that verged on what whould have been thought as improper before. She said nothing and tightened the cloak around her.

Maybe, Cho Beom-pal was not so bad after all.