Watching her leave ignited some spark within Jackson. He was angry, but he knew it was directed at the wrong person. He hated Seunghyun with something fierce in his gut, but perhaps because he knew. No, he’d push that thought from his mind. Ever since he saw Iman, he knew he’d have her. Watching Aster close the door to her pavilion, he knew he’d have some work cut out for him to get her back into his bed, and possibly into her heart.
“Whose there?” Jackson called.
“I am master.” A servant appeared, bowing down low.
“Awake my mother, bring her to me. Alert no one and have everyone carry on as usual, this is not to get back to anyone. Am I understood?” He looked down at the man whose head was touching the bamboo flooring.
“Yes master, of course.” The man rose slowly and fairly ran from the room.
Sitting down on his bed, Jackson held his head in his hands, things were coming apart so quickly. He needed to find an exit quickly.
Taeyeon rolled over on her bed, groaning. “Ji Hye! Bring my tea.” She waited in bed, her hand thrown across her head, as she licked her lips. Fitful sleep, something just didn’t feel right. “Ji Hye!” She practically screamed again as she sat up.
Silence in the room. Taeyeon raised an eyebrow as her feet touched the cold floor, no one warmed it. She better be sick or dead, moving fast she grabbed her robe and snatched open the door to where Ji Hye’s room was connected and saw nothing. No one. The room neatly made up like it was, a panic settled in her heart. Hearing a sound near her front door, Taeyeon rushed to the front of her pavilion, she stopped a servant.
“You! Where is Ji Hye?” She watched the woman, turn towards her with a tea tray.
“I haven’t seen her at all this morning Madam Wang. I was told I would be serving you now. I am on way back to the kitchen, your eggs are cold.” The clearly younger girl smiled at her, hoping to appease her.
“She is gone?” Taeyeon swallowed hard as she remembered how slow Taeyeon had been moving lately, or maybe she was still in that Chef’s room. “You are to serve me now?”
The girl nodded. “Yes Madam, I was told that I am to serve you until further notice. Please wait for me in your room, I will return.” As she watched the girl head back down the steps, Taeyeon took a deep breath.
There was no way that little bitch…closing the door she went out the back entrance from Ji Hye’s apartments. The Chef might be in the kitchen, he had to be this early. Her feet weren’t fast enough, until finally the kitchen door. A cold sweat on her brow when she saw the Chef was cooking and handing out orders.
“Everyone out now.” Taeyeon called loudly as she looked directly at the Chef. As the people filed out, she smiled sweetly at the Chef. “Adam, where is Ji Hye?”
“She went back to you I thought? She was with me but I awoke without her.” He went back to stirring a mix before lifting his head slowly. “She didn’t come back at all?”
“No you fool! I was assigned a new servant. Where is she?” Taeyeon crossed the room quickly, removing the spoon from his hand.
“She went to him.” He spoke quietly. “She’s left me.”
“What do you mean to him? To who?” She bit her bottom lip, eager for answers, as bile crept up her throat, there was no way she went to Jackson. She wouldn’t, she’d have her mother kill her.
“She was pregnant. Didn’t you know? She meant to run away and be that with that tea shop owner. I have to go after her.” He quickly threw off his apron.
“Stop!” Taeyeon grabbed the apron as he tried to pull it over his head. “I’ll send someone for her, and drag her back, until then act normal. She will return. I mean it Adam, act normal, she will return.”
Turning from the kitchen, Adam called after her. “I hope you’re right. I want her Madam Taeyeon, I love her.”
Taeyeon stopped in her tracks, her back still towards Adam. She stiffened, first Ji Hye pregnant and didn’t say anything? This man knew? She would have made her abort that child, this ruined everything, he would want more than Taeyeon was willing to give.
Now she was gone? She turned around, a smile creeping over her lips. “I’ll bring her back. Don’t worry. Your happy little family will be whole.”
As she opened the doors, Taeyeon made her way back to her pavilion, she’d get Ji Hye back here and have her and Adam killed, she couldn’t risk them ruining her plans.
“Tell me mother, why you wanted me with her.” Jackson sat in his planning room, straight backed at his desk as he looked at his mother standing before him.
“So am I on trial now? What is wrong with you Jackson? I am your mother.” Old Madam Zhou Ping looked at the guards at the door. “What is the meaning of all of this?”
Closing his eyes, Jackson knew that his mother must have been innocent, she couldn’t have colluded with Madam Kim. “Mother, please do not lie to me. Taeyeon has committed a grave offense towards me and Iman. I will not allow this to go on any longer. You forced me into this, you made me take that woman into my home, take my name and associate myself with her. Why?”
Old Madam Zhou Ping shifted on her feet. This was her son before her but also the General, he was not to be cuddled and kissed at this time. “Jackson, there are forces at hand, that may have their hands in things we cannot control and-”
His hand slammed onto the table, a sharp echo in the room that caused her to jump. “Tell me the truth! My wife is in her pavilion and refuses to see me because Taeyeon would have drugged me in order for me to sleep with her. Can’t you see what this has caused? I had to send Ji Hye from here, because Chef Adam and Taeyeon colluded against me! Tell me what you know!”
“I had to keep you safe.” Old Madam Zhou Ping whispered. “You are my only son.”
“Why didn’t you come to me?!” Standing up, Jackson felt Mark’s hand on his shoulder. “If this is bigger than this house, then you have conspired against the Emperor and how am I to save my own mother?”
“Punish Taeyeon on her own. Don’t let this leave the mansion. I am your mother! Remember that! I have done everything I can to protect you and keep you strong since your father died. Respect me in that instance alone! I have tried to protect you from them! The conniving minds in the palace!”
“She is your mother, calm yourself.” Mark whispered, as he pushed Jackson’s shoulder forcing him into his seat.
Hanging his head, Jackson knew what this meant. He knew, just as Yifan knew. There was something behind the scenes and they have placed his mother into it, forcing him to protect her against his Emperor. What could he do? “Tell me mother, tell me everything.”
Old Madam Zhou Ping held her head high, as she explained how Madam Kim had come to her with the idea that Crown Prince Yifan life could be in danger. Everyone knew of the strife in the palace between brothers and the blood hat could be spilled. She spoke on shaking breaths, she tried to calm herself down as she explained how Madam Kim knew a little too much about how Yifan had Jackson’s backing with the miltary securing the throne. If one of his brother was desperate enough wouldn’t they eliminate Jackson and place a man loyal to them in the military head? Shouldn’t Jackson marry Taeyeon, to secure her family backing as she was the Empress cousin and therefore make sure Yifan was on the throne?
“I only thought of you. I cannot bear to lose you.” Madam Ping wiped her eyes.
“In the Emperor’s eyes she will have thought have treason, she would have planned ahead for her own sake of the killing of the Crown Prince.” Mark said out loud.
“I know.” Jackson’s voice was harsh as he tried to get his mind to analyze the tale.
“She will probably not be killed, but imprisoned.” Mark reminded him. “This goes too far, you need to meet with Yifan and see what we can know about Madam Kim. What plans does she have?”
“I know.” Jackson stressed as he rubbed his eyes. “Go mother, back to your pavilion and have a nice day I will meet with you later. I will protect you.”
“And Taeyeon? You have no choice but to keep her close until then.”
Clenching his jaw, Jackson’s eyes fell on his mother. “I will deal with her.”
As his mother left, Jackson looked up at Mark. “Send a letter to Yifan for me, tell him I have some thoughts about Madam Kim and that we should meet.”
“What about Adam?” Mark asked as he nodded for the guards to wait outside the doors.
“I’ll speak to him after lunch. Likely, he doesn’t think anything is amiss.”
Taeyeon felt her breath come in a rush, her mouth open as she turned quickly down the side of Jackson’s planning room. He knows, he would know. That damn Chef would give me in an instant! What am I to do? Taeyeon thought as her young maid ran behind her, she moved as fast as her feet would carry her back to her pavilion.
“Madam Wang, why are we-”
“Shut up girl!” Taeyeon hissed as she made her way back to her own pavilion. “He knows, oh god he knows, I need my mother.” She sat down on a bench hard, trying to avoid a panic attack. “Quickly, listen to me. Go to the aviary, there is a white pigeon in there.” Taeyeon scrambled off the bench and raced to her desk like a madwoman.
Pushing boxes around and shuffling through jewelry she found a small slip of paper. “Attach this paper to it’s foot and go to the back of the mansion grounds, in the east corner. Set the bird free and do it now.” She grabbed the girl to her, pushing the small slip of paper into her hands.
“Are you unwell Madam?” The girl asked, trying to wrench her fingers away. “I can call for a phys-”
“Go you idiot! My life is on the line! Send the bird! Send the bird and return here!” She watched as the girl gathered her skirts and ran from the room.
Shock absorbed into Taeyeon, she held her chest and slid down the wall as tears cascaded down her cheek. What would she do? He had no love for her now, how could she work on him and spin this? The Chef, she had to appeal to him. Swallowing vomit, Taeyeon rushed out the back entrance and to the kitchens.
“Have you found her?” Adam asked as he finished preparing for lunch, looking towards Taeyeon. There was no one in the kitchens at this time, he liked this time to himself, planning over menus and thinking of how to ask the General to expand his pavilion for Ji Hye.
“She will be brought soon. She was just overwhelmed silly thing. She thinks it’s all too fast and simply didn’t think she would become pregnant so fast.” Taeyeon tried to calm down her nerves. “However, let us speak in your rooms Adam, I have something to say.”
“There’s no one here.” He replied, looking up at Taeyeon’s pale complexion. “Are you sick?”
Fanning her face, Taeyeon smiled. “It just seems warm today and, I feel a bit off. I was so frightened for Ji Hye. Still, someone might hear us.”
Shaking his head, Adam lead the way, side paths back to his rooms near the kitchen. He opened the door for Taeyeon and wondered what was going on. Why she seemed so jumpy today.
Taeyeon’s shaking hands looked around the room, as Adam turned on a light, she sat down at his desk, a silver letter opened laying near some books. “The General knows. We must plan.”
Turning towards her quickly, Adam went wide eyed. “He knows of the plan? No No No, I will not stay here and let him think. He must be planning something.”
Adam tried to rush from the room, but Taeyeon called out to him. “And he will believe you? I can simply say you acted on your own.”
Adam stopped, his face hard as he turned towards Taeyeon. “You would, wouldn’t you?” Scoffing, he shook his head. “Why didn’t I believe Ji Hye when she said you’d throw us under the bus.”
That betraying bitch, when I find her I’ll make her suffer. Taeyeon thought. “Adam, listen to me and listen well, we can both come out of this fine but giving up Ji Hye…”
“No!” Adam sliced his hand through the air. “You are an evil woman. I should have never listened to you. I will throw myself before the General and beg forgiveness, I will say that you forced me to do this. Why wouldn’t I be forced to obey the Madam of the house! You!” He stalked towards Taeyeon, fists clenched. “I should kill you myself for ruining my life!”
Picking up the letter opener, Tayeon didn’t think she simply slashed at him, a lucky break when his hand went for his throat, and the wet spray of blood hit her face. Open mouthed, she dropped the letter opener. Watching in horror as Adam tried to speak, then a gurgle erupted. His blood running down his hands, his eyes looked confused. Was this happening, was he dying? He reached out for Taeyeon, his hands bloodying her dress, a hand print on her shoes.
Shaking Taeyeon watches as his fingers curl and grip the air, the sound of his blood pouring onto the floor the only sound in the room she breathes quickly, the air turning sour as she looks down at herself, the reality of what she’s done crashing down onto her.
What will she do? What can be done? She’ll hang for this, she’ll face the firing squad for murder, and oh where was her mother, why did she act alone. This was Iman’s fault! This was all her fault, if she only would have married Seunghyun, they’d both be dead soon and she’d have Jackson all to herself.
“You couldn’t wait for instruction could you? It seems as though your mother was smart to send me so soon. Good thing that bird is so fast.” A voice in the room, scared her as she looked up to see a cloaked female figure sitting in the Chef’s open window. “Never killed someone I’m guessing?”
The figure dropped into the room, stepping neatly over Adam. “Who are you?” Taeyeon squeaked out as she stood up, legs wobbling.
“My name is Soo Jung, I was supposed to whisk you away but that cannot be helped now and we must improvise.” She looked around at the dead man, the bloody room and the stationary on the table. “We’ll write a convincing death note of betrayal and suicide. Pin this on him, we will get you cleaned up and remembering a good story.”
“That won’t work.” Taeyeon sobbed. “Jackson will know, and he won’t love me after this, he’ll just…”
“Shhh. Quiet now.” Soo Jung answered, her black clothed body coming in close to Taeyeon. “Trust me, I was sent by your mother after all. She’s coming soon, she has ends to tie up. Until then, let’s get you back in your pavilion, and destroy these clothes hmm?”
“I can trust you?” Taeyeon asked, as Soo Jung lead her to the window. “Of course you can, you mother sent me, and you know she’ll always come for you. Can’t have you messing up her grand plans.”
“Of course.” Taeyeon whispered, slipping out of the window. “Mother’s plans.”
Leading his men into the kitchen, Jackson squared himself to face the Chef. The betrayal of his own people stung too much, but as he opened the door to the few maids cutting vegetables, he looked around for Adam slowly. “Where is Adam?”
The maids bowed deeply, carrots still in their hands. “He is not here my lord, I apologize. Shall we go find him?”
“No, I’ll find him myself.” Closing the door Jackson wondered if perhaps the Chef knew what was going on.
“Well this just took an interesting turn.” Mark jogged up to Jackson’s side shaking his head.
“I really don’t need anything else happening.” Jackson shook his head, as he turned to head to the Chef’s rooms.
“Adam is dead.” Mark announced. “I left everything as it was, but it seems he may have committed suicide, at least the note in the room says that.”
Anger swallowed Jackson’s features. How? When? Why? Taking off into a run he kicked open the door to Adam’s room, the man lying on the desk, a pool of blood beneath him, letter opener on the floor.
Jackson turned around to face Mark, who was leaning against the side of the small shack. “Everyone to the courtyard now. You go and get Taeyeon personally.”
and there ends ACT 14, I truly hope y’all are enjoying the ride and what’s going on so far. there is still plenty more to come trust me! I updated faster this time I think! So please lemme know what you think, I do enjoy the reviews on this story!
So, episodes 4 and 5. There’s a lot of rambling below.
I have a lot to say and I know I’ve probably forgotten a few (or a lot of)
things as well. It feels like I’ll never run out of things to say for this
show. Also, I do have a bit to say about Queen Yoo and Yeon Hwa but I think
I’ll keep that for episodes 6 and 7.