Title: Throne
Series: 화랑/Hwarang - The Poet Warrior Youth
Characters: Mumyeong/Kim Seonu, Yeowool, Park Banryu, Seok Dansae, mentions of Sammaekjong/Kim Jidwi
Summary: The fight for the throne of Silla turned out not to be as simple as he thought it would be.

---------–----

"Seonu!"

He turned around just as the trio ran up to see him.

Yeowool gasped as he tried to catch his breath. "Seonu, we need to talk. Everything that happened today had been hectic, but there are things that we need to confirm first. You're not going to fight Jidwi—I mean, Sammaekjong, are you? That earlier scene from before, that's not you trying to challenge Jidwi—I mean, the king for the throne, was it?"

Seonu gave him a look of surprise. "Yeowool, I didn't expect you to suddenly react so hard over this..."

Yeowool rolled his eyes at him. "Are you seriously thinking that you're the only one with the Sacred Bone bloodline here? I may not know who my father is, but my mother was one... so I'm at least half. Don't you think this matter would affect me as well? Just because I'm not interested in the throne doesn't mean that I shouldn't be allowed to have my say on this!"

Seonu let out a chuckle. "You say that you had no interest in the throne, so why do you have to care anyway over the things that I want to do?"

"Well, Jidwi is my friend and now he's also my cousin. Of course, I need to support him! But I guess, you're also my cousin in that sense as well—Still, do you have to do this? It's one thing to see the royal family having the fight to claim the throne, but both of you are our friends! Don't you think something like this would affect all of us greatly?" Yeowool frowned as he suddenly recalled his first meeting with Jidwi. Now that he thought of it, Jidwi did seemed to have recognised him back then. Or was he just imagining it? He shook his head suddenly.

And it's strange how one's memory worked. Like earlier when Jidwi's entourage arrived in Hwarang and seeing Jidwi introduced himself as king, his mind had turned blank and was only recalling the image of the cold-hearted queen in Jidwi's place. And even much earlier when he found out about Jidwi's true identity, he couldn't recall any memories of him interacting with Jidwi or even him being nice to the young king. Yet now, as he tried to fight for his friend (and cousin's) sake... suddenly all of the memories started to resurface one by one.

"I used to say that my hobby was watching fights and fires. But to be frank, I have my own limits," Yeowool gave Seonu a stern look. "It's one thing to watch others fight for fun, it's another when those fights lead to death." He sighed, "I have to admit that when Jidwi came here this morning as a king, he felt like a total stranger to me. But then I started to recall all of the things we've done together in this place, I realised... that it's not possible for the person that I had known ever since entering this place to change overnight. The same thing I could say to you, Master Seonu."

Yeowool shrugged. "After that, I started thinking much more clearly. Of course after revealing his true identity, it's not possible for Jidwi to behave like he used to be. It's just not proper. Anyway, if I had considered Jidwi to be a good friend before—it's not right for me to stop considering him as a friend now after knowing who he truly is. So as a friend, I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to him. It's already enough that we have lost Hanseong, I don't want to lose another friend. Or two. Especially not over the throne of Silla."

Banryu placed a hand on Yeowool's shoulder as he gestured for him to calm down. He turned to face Seonu. "I shouldn't have to explain myself anyway, but I thought you were better than this. Aren't you and Jidwi close? Did you want the throne so much that you're willing to sacrifice your friend?"

Seonu snorted. "My relationship with Jidwi was far more complicated than you could ever imagine. How could you three even able to understand any of it?"

"This is just not you, Master Seonu," Dansae finally spoke. "I don't see you as someone who would thirst for power."

"This is a ruse, right?" Banryu spoke again. "Tell me that you're not serious. I know that you—and I guess, your real father—have met my stepfather a few times already. Are you really doing what I think you are doing, or are you just pretending? Please tell us your true intention, I–you can't seriously want to ally with my stepfather now, are you?"

"Don't you trust us?" added Yeowool as Seonu finally let out a sigh. "Can't you even be honest to us? Or are we just pieces of the chess now for you to play around with?"

Seonu flinched as Yeowool's words stung him badly. "That's not what I–Fine, I'll tell you guys what's really going on. But let us talk somewhere less open. I'll tell you everything."

xxx

Yeowool closed the doors to their room tightly as Banryu gave Seonu a long stare.

"Now talk, what was your intention?" he asked right away. "I know that my stepfather and his people had been instigating things behind the scenes these days. That children song that started circulating around town being one. No doubt it's one of his plans to try removing Jidwi from the throne. My stepfather originally wanted to use me as part of his plans, but now I guess he's set his sights on you."

Banryu bit his lips. "So are you actually planning on going along with his scheme? Don't you think that perhaps my stepfather was just using you to get to the throne?"

"Of course..." Seonu answered calmly, as the trio stared at him in surprise. "I know that. That was why I approached him–"

Banryu started to open his mouth to interject before Seonu continued. "–That was the only way I could do to protect Jidwi. In return for protecting Aro, since the enemy would have wanted to use her to really force my hand to fight against Jidwi."

"What?" Banryu and Yeowool exclaimed together in confusion.

"Are you trying to pull our legs?" Banryu exclaimed as Seonu tried to explain.

"Banryu. You of all people should have known what your stepfather was like. Do you think he would stop scheming behind the scenes, just because he's found a fodder to use to fight against the king?" Banryu made a face before closing his mouth again. Seonu continued. "Knowing Park Youngshil, he would've made many other plans to make sure the he reached his goals. I shouldn't disregard that possibility since that old man was capable of doing it. Jidwi is safe at the palace now, but that doesn't mean that no one could hurt him there."

Seonu shrugged. "If those people were already daring enough to try to kill Jidwi when he had been keeping his identity a secret, what would you think they're capable off now... when Jidwi was openly revealing himself to everyone? If I could convince them that using me as a pawn was the only method they needed to force Jidwi to give up the throne, I'll gladly offer myself on the deed even if it meant that I'll be misunderstood."

Yeowool frowned. "Then, what about the incident this morning?"

"That?" Seonu nervously scratched his head. "W-well, that... I thought that it was something I needed to say. While I know that it's important for Jidwi to have everyone here to be supporting him, it's also important to have everyone here doing it out of their own choice. Not because the king ordered them to; not because they had no other choice. That was actually what Jidwi wants too... but I guess, it was hard for him to do that in his position."

He rolled his eyes at them. "I was at my wit's end too. Jidwi told me that I shouldn't try to forcefully make the others swear their loyalties to him, yet I have to also try to achieve that goal. I was never really good at talking fancy stuff and then I have to do this. On the other hand, the earlier charade would have been convincing enough for any spies working with Park Youngshil to believe that I was trying to oppose the king for real."

"Seriously?" Banryu asked again. "Don't you think that you're actually making things much worse instead? Didn't you hear how some of the Hwarangs have started to make fun of the way Jidwi announced himself?"

Seonu laughed nervously. "I thought so too... But then I saw the incident at the canteen earlier. I saw how you guys stood up in Jidwi's defence when some of the boys were talking badly about him. If you guys could believe in him despite what happened this morning, surely the rest could do it as well."

He shrugged. "To be frank, even I doubted that this would work well, but Jidwi insisted for things to be done this way. Even if the risks could be too high for him."

"Risks? What do you mean, Master Seonu?"

Seonu waved his hand at Dansae. "Aish, stop it with the honorifics. You're no longer just an apprentice now, are you? We're equals now," he said, before turning his attention to the other two. "I'm just saying, because the only few people here in Hwarangdo that knew Jidwi very well were just us. And Suho is still at the palace, serving the queen." He sighed. "Not that I don't trust the others as much, but it was only just recently that the truth about Jidwi was let out; and to expect the others to swear allegiance to him so suddenly? I don't really have that much confidence. Even I barely knew the others that well and to expect me to be able to unify everyone to support the king? Well, I'm not sure I could do that by myself."

Banryu laughed. "Of course you can't,"

Yeowool nodded in agreement before adding, "But isn't that why you got us?"

Seonu turned to look at Dansae as his friend looked thoughtful.

"I don't know Master Jidwi that much but I know Paoh thought of him highly," Dansae shrugged before turning to face Seonu. "Surely I should be of some help too..."

Seonu smiled. "Thank you, you three..." he started to say before Banryu and Yeowool began hitting him for acting silly.

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