You lay back on your old, lumpy mattress with a smile on your face.
“You’re a monster, you know that?” Heejin said to you. She was still out of breath.
You let out a breathless chuckle. Okay. Maybe you could admit you were a little tired too.
“She isn’t human, we’ve known this,” Steffi said, crawling up her ladder to get into her bunk.
You were also in a top bunk. You turned your head to look at her. Her black tank top was soaked through with sweat, completely sticking to her skin.
“We should probably take showers before we dirty our beds,” Byeol said as she nestled deeper into her pillows.
The four of you were enlisted into the Security Protection Program for the Royal family. You’d all been studying for 3 years at this pristine academy and shared a room with each other that entire time.
You were bonded to these girls more than your own family. It was hard to describe the relationship you formed with them, bonded over your own blood, sweat, and tears.
You were almost at the end of your program when your country, along with the whole world, watched in awe as the King of your nation was attacked at a speech ceremony.
Since then, things set into motion rather quickly. Guards were doubled at the palace so that the king and his children would be safe from the unknown terrorist group that threatened to throw your whole world upside down.
All of the academies students were just put through a rigorous test to discover who was at the top of the class so that they could graduate early and help the cause.
“Well, we know Y/n will pass the test. Let me know if you run into Prince Seokjin. Let him know I love him,” Heejin sighed dramatically.
“We don’t know what will happen,” you said, which was true. You had no idea if you passed or where you would be stationed if you did pass.
“Whatever,” Heejin huffed good naturedly.
“Holy shit did you guys hear?!” came a voice, a male voice, who barged quite loudly into your small room.
“Privacy, Jung! Can’t you knock?” Steffi shrieked, sitting up and tossing her pillow at him with full force. He dodged it and didn’t even give it a second glance.
“I heard that this wasn’t an ordinary test—they’re looking for personal guards for the princes and the princess!”
You sat up quickly, forgetting the fact that your bed was quite close to the ceiling. You bonked your head but kept moving forward like you wouldn’t have a goose egg in a few minutes.
“You’re lying!” you said.
Hoseok looked up at you and smiled.
“I’m so, so serious. I accidentally overheard the headmaster speaking on the phone with someone at the palace! The top four students will be assigned as personal body guards, while the rest of the top 30 will be scattered around the palace grounds.”
Heejin and Steffi started screaming. Byeol put her hands over her mouth in shock. You slowly grinned.
“So when I become a personal Royal Guard, will you finally admit I’m better at you at swordsmanship?” you asked him cockily.
Hoseok only laughed.
“Puh-lease. You’ll be lucky to make it in the top 30, y/l/n.”
You and Hoseok always shared a friendly rivalry, especially considering you came from the same neighborhood and knew each other as children. But you and him both knew what you said was true, even if he wanted to deny it.
You began chewing on your thumb nail, a nervous habit you have when you’re anxious or too excited.
Imagining yourself standing proudly behind a prince had your stomach twisting with excitement. If you had only known earlier today, you would have tried much harder.
“You know, for a girls room, it really stinks in here.”
Hoseok’s comment brought you back down to reality. You laughed as Byeol lunged forward and starting shoving him out the door.
You jumped down from your bed and went to grab a towel.
“I call dibs on the shower first,” you yelled, running into your tiny shared bathroom space.
You closed the door on Steffi’s face just in time and turned the lock in place.
There was barely room in this bathroom to stand. A sink, toilet, and standing shower all crowed together so close it was impossible to have more than one of you in here even if you wanted to attempt to share.
You turned the knob for the shower and let it run while you took off your dirt and sweat covered clothes. Looking in the smudged mirror, you saw that you indeed did have a red mark near the top of your forehead from the ceiling. You probed at it even though you knew it would hurt.
Kicking your dirty clothes in the corner, you entered the hot shower and took more care than normal to scrub the dirt off your body and from under your nails. If what Hoseok was saying is true, you could possibly be meeting a prince tomorrow.
“You’re joking,” Seokjin said, face deadpan.
His father, the king, clasped his mighty hands in front of him on the table.
The king and his children were sitting in his personal library. The sun was still high in the sky, reflecting through the painted windows in a kaleidoscope of colors. The fireplace behind him was roaring to life and had two guards posted. Across the room at the door was another two guards, and Seokjin knew there were about four more guards posted outside of those doors.
“We can’t live our lives in fear forever, Father.”
“I don’t expect that, son. This is merely a precaution until the men who orchestrated the attack are apprehended.”
“We have no idea how long that will take!” the kings youngest son, Taehyung, yelled.
“I am a grown man. I do not need a constant babysitter,” Seokjin said, pouting quite childlike.
“We’ve been followed our entire lives by guards, but a constant bodyguard is too much an invasion of our privacy. How am I supposed to entertain my…friends and find you a future daughter-in-law?” Taehyung asked.
The king snorted.
“That is a positive for me, son. The “Party Prince” isn’t something you should be proud of.”
Taehyung bit his lip and slid further down in his seat, crossing his arms.
“Yeah, if anything, you should have two guards, Taetae,” the kings youngest child and only daughter said, snickering.
“Jihyo, don’t you have studying to do or something?”
“I’m only ten and smarter than you, bird brain.”
“Bird brain! Why you little—”
“Enough,” the King said. All the children stopped and sat still.
“It has already been decided and I will not be swayed otherwise. You’re all dismissed.”
The King waved at his children to leave. Even the most stubborn of them, they knew when to listen. All four bowed their heads and rose from their seats.
As Taehyung pulled on Jihyo’s pigtails as they left the room, Seokjin hung back and grabbed the arm of the middle brother and 2nd prince, Namjoon.
“Why were you so quiet, brother? Do you want a full time babysitter?”
“Of course not,” Namjoon said, shaking his brother off his arm. “But I know a lost cause when I see one. He’s not going to change his mind on this. I heard he’s assigning fresh Academy students as our guards, hoping that because they are young we can relate to them and be less hostile.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard yet! If he’s that concerned with our wellbeing, why wouldn’t he assign the best guards we have? This must all be for political show. He knows we are fine as long as he’s alive. And the old bastard is as strong and healthy as an Ox.”
“Watch your mouth,” Namjoon hissed. “That is not only your King but your father. Honestly, hyung, you’re the next in line. It’s time you grew up.”
Namjoon shouldered past Seokjin whose ears turned pink at the way his brother just spoke to him.
“My first order as king will to have you beheaded!” Seokjin yelled, rushing after him out the door.
You sat in the dining hall for breakfast, chewing more on your thumbnail than eating your scrambled eggs. Any minute now they were going to make the announcement about the top 30 students.
“Come on Jung, just give me your apple you’re not eating it,” you heard Byeol say. She was sitting right across from you but she felt miles away, you were so lost in your own thoughts.
“No! I’m saving it for later, you human dumpster.”
“Dumpster! What a rude thing to say! You know we’re not supposed to hide food anyway so just give it here!”
“Back away, beast. Go get your own apple.”
“I told you, they only have red delicious left and everyone knows those aren’t delicious! Just give me the damn—oh!”
Suddenly, an apple was thumping off your forehead and rolling off the table and onto the floor.
“Uhh…you alright?” Hoseok asked you.
“What the heck was that for?” you said, rubbing the spot on your head. Your face was taking a lot of abuse lately.
Hoseok was about to speak when you heard the loud system chime. You sucked in a gasp and grabbed onto Steffi’s arm, who squeezed you right back. The rest of the dining hall also quieted.
“If your name is called, please report to the outdoor training area,” the voice started. You sent an excited gaze to your group of friends. This was it.
“In no particular order, please head to the outdoor training area…”
The loud speaker continued to rattle off names. About ten names later and you were starting to sweat.
“Yes!” Hoseok shouted, standing up and throwing a fist in the air. He gave you a shit eating grin. He shook his arse at your table and slapped himself on the behind twice before he started to walk away. You couldn’t help but roll your eyes.
Your gaze snapped away from Hoseok and over to Byeol. Her eyes were like saucers.
“You did it!” Heejin said, shaking her shoulder and encouraging her to get up.
She got up on unsteady feet and made her way at the doors. The three of you girls watched in pride and envy. The names kept coming. Spots were running out.
You let out your breath you didn’t even know you were holding.
“Knew it,” Steffi said, patting you on the back.
You grinned at the both of them and stood up.
“I’m sure I’ll see you out there,” you said, giving them a reassuring smile.
You walked quickly out the door, jogging to catch up with Byeol who you saw staggering in the distance.
“Boo,” you said, throwing your arm around her shoulders.
“Y/n! I can’t believe this,” she said. There were tears in her eyes. “I never thought I’d be chosen. It’s such an honor.”
You squeezed her tighter as you continued down the path.
Once you reached the training field, you saw a few professors and other guardsmen milling about along with other classmates of yours.
Hoseok came running over to you both and hugged Byeol tight but stuck his tongue out at you. You kept your eyes peeled behind you for the other girls but they never showed up. They didn’t make the top 30.
Out of over 400 students, it was lucky that even three of you made it from your little group, but it still made you sad at the thought of your group splitting up.
“There’s only six girls here,” Byeol mused.
It was true. Although there were more men in the academy, it was still pretty equal in terms of the sexes. You felt a sour taste at the fact that only six women were selected for the top 30 positions.
Suddenly, you were all being called to attention. You all quickly stood in a line, backs straightened, and put yourselves in position. Both hands closed in fists, your right hand above your heart and your left directly below. It was a few minutes before the headmaster of the academy put his hand up and signaled for you all to be at ease. Everyone’s hands dropped to their sides in unison.
The headmaster started going into a long speech, one of honor and courage and dedication. How he was proud of us to have succeeded so far, how he had no doubts we would all do well.
Finally, Hoseok’s theory was proven true. He began discussing how the top four students would be assigned as the personal bodyguards to the princes and princess. Your heart was racing at the mere idea.
“If I call your name please step forward. The rest of you would be dismissed to collect your things and prepare to leave and be assigned your new duties.”
There was silence, as if the headmaster was making this dramatic pause on purpose.
Your eyebrows raised as an admittedly handsome man walked forward.
“He’s only a second year!” Hoseok hissed.
“He’s so sexy,” Byeol whispered.
“What!?” Hoseok loudly whispered, failing to keep his voice down.
At first, Hoseok thought he was being reprimanded for talking. Until everyone started to stare at him impatiently. His eyes widened and he hurried forward.
“And Y/l/n Y/n.”
Time froze. The world stopped spinning. Was this real? Could this actually be happening? Byeol gave you an encouraging shove forward. You walked on autopilot.
“Congratulations to the four of you. Your skills and intelligence have not gone unnoticed by us here at the academy or at the palace. Normally, we have squads are pairs of two, but you will be placed as personal bodyguards. You must care for the physical and emotion needs of the crowns heirs. This is one of the highest honors we can bestow upon you all.”
You and Hoseok shared a look, beaming at each other.
“I welcome you all to our rankings. My name is Kim Hanbin. I am usually apart of the squadron that watches over the heirs at gatherings. If you would please follow me.”
He was quick to turn on his heel and walk away. The four of you quickly followed behind him. He must have only been in his thirties, but he had an air of someone much older. There was a look about him as though he’d been through many hardships. You found him somewhat handsome.
He quickly began explaining that the four of you had no time to pack your belongings, but they would have them shipped to the palace on a later date. You were all going to be paraded out with the heirs in a public show of toughening defenses.
We are meeting the princes now! Today! Your mind was still spinning. If you were dreaming, you didn’t want to wake up.
You were escorted into a helicopter and it took only 40 minutes to get to the palace. You had no time to gawk at the old, lavish architecture. The pristine white marble floors that practically sparkled as you walked down them. Maids skittering by without even a glance or a whisper. The large artwork that ordained the walls, centuries old and done by only the greats. This was your new home.
Hanbin got you all suited with your very own ID cards, signifying you worked directly in the palace. You had no time to gaze lovingly at it. Your dream was coming true so fast. Almost too fast. You were overwhelmed.
You also had to go through a metal detector and receive a pat down.
Finally, finally you were being led into the room with the royal family. You’ve seen them on TV of course, and in magazines, but you had never actually seen them up close. You could barely breathe as the doors to your new destiny opened wide and welcomed inside.
They were all seated in one of the many sitting rooms in the palace. This particular room was decorated in all red and white. White couches, red rug. White tables, red chairs. White candlesticks, red candles burning bright. It was beautiful and odd and nothing compared to the four faces who all looked over at you in interested.
Seokjin, the eldest and your future king. He was wearing a silky green button up with just enough buttons undone to tease you with a peek at his perfect skin on his perfect chest.
Taehyung, his mouth, famous for his cute boxy grin, turned downwards into a frown.
Jihyo, the nation’s angel, grinning at you all quite devilishly.
And then him…Namjoon. Your eyes drank him in last. He was wearing a sweater with slacks, silver frames matching his many silver rings on his slender fingers. The quiet brother. The smart prince. The one who stood mostly in the background compared to his more public family members. He was also your first love.
“Mommy, don’t you think he’s handsome?” eight year old you said to your mother, showing her a picture of the young prince in a magazine.
“Not everything is about looks, honey,” your mother said. “Is he smart? Is he kind? Will he protect you? Those things are important too.”
Not even two years later, your mother had died. Killed. By your not so smart and not so kind father. He didn’t even mean it. He was just drunk and pushed her too hard, and she fell back and hit her head. It didn’t mean you forgave him. You couldn’t.
You were put into a foster care after your father was imprisoned. You were adopted into a very strict military family. They never really loved you and you never really loved them, but that was okay. They inspired you to pursue a career in becoming a protector. You didn’t need someone smart, strong and kind. You could be that person.
And now, at the young age of 25, you were already a guard to one of the royal family. You believe your mother would have been proud.
“Your Highnesses,” Hanbin bowed and the rest of you followed along. “Allow me to introduce you to your new personal guards.” He gestured for you to all come closer.
He introduced Jungkook first, who was now the guard to Prince Seokjin. The man’s eyes were saucers but he bowed deeply. Seokjin was chewing on the inside of his cheek like there was something he wanted to say but was choosing not to.
Next he introduced Yoongi. Your heart dropped when he said he would be assigned to Namjoon. You felt in your gut they were sticking you with the princess. That was why they choose a girl along. Maybe you didn’t even belong here.
You didn’t let the negative thoughts show through on your face as you patiently waited your turn.
“Y/l/n,” Hanbin beckoned you forward. “You will be assigned to Prince Taehyung. Your Highness, this is Y/l—”
“You must be joking,” Taehyung said, leaning back on the couch and resting his right ankle on his left knee.
“Sorry?” Hanbin said.
“Not only are you giving us these newbies, your assigning me a female guard? This is either a joke or Father really does wish me dead.”
Your back straightened and your shoulders tightened. You kept a neutral face but Hoseok noticed your jaw clench.
“Y/l/n came 3rd in her class. I bared witness to her during the testing, this is no joke, Your Highness.”
“I can’t have a girl guard me! Girl’s shouldn’t even be in the military or security! Just give her to Jihyo if you won’t get rid of her.”
“Princess Jihyo is assigned with Jung Hoseok. These assignments will not be changed by the order of the King, his Royal Highness.”
“Oh, for the love of—” Taehyung let out a loud groan and stood up abruptly.
“I will not be babysat by this little girl.” Taehyung shot you a dirty look before he stormed out of the room.
You did your best to hold in tears.
“Want to play with me?” Jihyo said, running up to Hoseok and tugging on his arm. He looked at Hanbin in a panic, unsure what he was allowed to say and do.
Hanbin sighed, running his hand down his face.
“Sorry about my brother. He can be…difficult,” Namjoon directed at you.
You nearly bit your tongue off in shock.
“Not a problem, Your Highness,” you bowed your head.
“You four come with me now, we will discuss the details to your new job. Sorry for the young Prince, Y/l/n. He can be…difficult.”
“An asshole, you mean,” Seokjin said.
Your eyes widened at the language the eldest prince displayed.
“More like a bastard,” Jihyo said.
Your jaw dropped but you controlled your composure just a second later. But…but she is the nation’s Angel! Way too young to use such language.
“Jihyo, what did I say about that word!” Namjoon scolded her.
“Sorry, Joonie. You’re right. People can misconstrue if a rumor goes around Taetae is a bastard. He’s actually a dumbass.”
“Better,” Namjoon nodded in approval.
The four new recruits all looked at each other, psychically communicating with their eyes what the hell is going on?
You had a lot to learn about your new home and the Royal family. You didn’t quite realize just yet that no amount of training could have prepared you for this. You had no idea what was going to happen now. You could only hope you were ready.