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Being A Prince Is Difficult

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He was thriving in a castle far larger than he would choose for himself. Far larger than any of a neighboring country with the help of obedient companions that the first king served with. Large enough to make a room filled with hundreds of people still feel too empty.

A castle that his sister’s cheery singing would echo through along with a father’s laugh and a mother’s sigh.

A castle where he found himself farther and farther away from his family to make sure they were safe.

He ate little yet kept peak physique. He drank from time to time even if it didn’t affect him in the long run. Preferring juices that a child would partake in at gatherings. Even serving the young when they couldn’t reach it themselves. He attended parties, but he kept his distance like a shadow. Avoided dances ( as scandalous as it was of him ) whenever the opportunity allowed it and only took part in the socialising if his sister forced it upon him.

Even if he was the crown prince, he felt like nothing more than a glorified grand marshal. Even dukes would talk down to him when their majesties were out and he wouldn’t say a word. No matter how many times his sister would defend his position, he saw no point in it.

His place was to lead an army, not an entire kingdom.

His place was to give a glorious death, not watch his people burn.

He lacked social skills, where his family thrived. He lacked empathy, where his family would cry their hearts out.

However, he did not lack skill and that was apparent.

Sung Jin-Woo. Crown prince to the Shadow Monarch’s throne. Said to be the next coming of Ashborn. A shadow to the family that shined as bright as the sun. His family were the stars in his night sky, people would say. He was a blanket that protected them from the world that wanted their end just to steal him for their own military.

He’d rather die by his own hands ( has practiced it so he wouldn’t hesitate in the future ) than let that happen.

People were greedy, and he would rip their hearts out if his family weren’t so faint hearted. Behead those that have already proved to be rats in the garden. Take the tongues of maids or butlers who do nothing but gossip bad words upon his family name. Take the hands of those who write letters. The feet of those who deliver it. The families of those who forced their kin into the life of a criminal.

He knew everything, yet he couldn’t do anything. Instead he sat silently and dealt with what he could without being discovered directly. 

His subordinates learned the ways of the shadow as he has. Their feet as light as his own. Breath vanishing just as quickly as their victim's.

He couldn't have felt prouder standing in front of his true kin. Smiling upon them and gently rejecting their beheaded offerings, “My shadows,” his army raised their heads. Stopped their sparring and kneeled before him when his words came from the silent doors. Stepping out, it felt like ashes were left in his wake as his eyes glowed an unnatural purple, the sunny sky turning into dark clouds with his presence, “we make our move.” Beru's screeching filled the sky. The marshal's slicked back hair spiking at the ends with his call like an aggravated dog. His own soldiers following his lead without shame. To Beru's right, 'Tank' a larger man thumped his chest and gave out what sounded akin to a roar along with his own soldiers. The other groups thumped their feets and weapons on the ground in replacement of their silence.

Sung Jin-Woo distantly thought about the castle's vibrations with how much noise his army was making. Surely somebody would complain later, but he could only smile at the beautiful scene.

Bellion even walked forward with his cliché flag, “Glory to our future king!” He calls out once he turns around to face the army that only grew louder.

Jin-Woo's ears twitched as he heard the distant laughter from his family amongst his army's noise, “Silence.” They were obedient with command and bowed towards him. Heads lowered as Sung Jin-Woo took a moment to compose himself. Basking in the silence for a moment longer, “Positions in two days, noon.” That was all they needed before they all gave a shout, “Return.” And like that, they continued their spars and practiced as if he was never there.

Turning around, he was about to head back inside when the clinking of metal caught his attention. Too lightweight to be anybody else as he bent his neck looking up at the marshal grade knight, “My liege… If I cou-”

“You won't die, but if you insist.” Igris had never taken his helmet off faster as he leaned down to kiss his future king.

Sung Jin-Woo - the future king, rumored Shadow Monarch, the heir treated like a glorified Grand Marshal - was not afraid of being intimate with his army or being caught either. In fact, he advised that if they were to go to anyone, come to him. Thankfully they only craved the simplest of touches. Too cautious to ask for more than a kiss.

A smile played on his lips as his other Marshals looked on jealousy from the corner of Jin-Woo's eye, “Thank you, my liege.” Putting his helmet back on, Igris managed to stuff his worryingly long hair back inside the helmet. Making sure the proud red banner that hung from his head was intact before he returned to training his own personalized section of the army.

Jin-Woo walks back into the doors that close with a soft thump. Black smoke evaporating in his wake.

Inside now, the skies that were grey suddenly became sunny again. He could only sigh in response before he went about his business. The purple glow to his eyes evaporated to an ever striking blue that glowed just as bright. He pondered if they'd ever go back to their original blue for a moment, but shrugged the thought off. He made a deal with death and he shouldn't be caught up on such small consequences. Hands stuffed into his pockets with a casual walk through the halls. He may have been royalty, but he preferred more comfortable outfits over the extravagant silks his sister begged to have tailored to her liking.

“Sung Jin-Woo!” His attention turned towards the sound of the voice. The tension in his body that was ready to take a beating relaxed as soon as he saw who it was. A smile creeped onto his face as the noble Woo Jin-Chul made his appearance. Glad he told the other to stop calling him 'his majesty', “Where have you been?” He raises his brow at the question. Jin-Chul sighs right back, “Your sister wants you to join her. She held a small event and invited other noble ladies and gents.”

“Come with me?” The words that slipped through his lips as his blue eyes glowing in the darkness of the hall seemingly caught the older man in a trap. Taking his breath away.

“But I wasn't invited. It was for your sister to create a social circle. Not invite an old-"

Jin-Woo steps closer and puts a hand on Jin-Chul's shoulder. Looking up at him with a smile, “I invited you. My sister will not decline.” A heavy swallow, and Woo Jin-Chul nodded at the words. Seemingly embarrassed when Sung Jin-Woo took his hand, “Take me to them.” He knew they'd be in the garden already, but it felt nice to be dragged around from time to time even if Jin-Chul was careful with him.

Thankfully his presence didn't make the sky cloudy as Jin-Chul dragged him to the gardens. The flowers were in full bloom, quite alive in his presence which permitted death. Their scent overwhelmed him along with the distant smell of sweetened tea. Jin-Chul let go of his hand just before the hedges stopped and no longer hid them. He was slightly disappointed, but did not question it.

Sung Jin-Woo's sister on the other hand was ecstatic when she spotted him, “Brother! Lord Woo actually found you!” She was running, nearly spilling the tea on the way over to just jump into his arms like a child. He almost avoided it or punched her out of instinct, but instead went tense as he caught her. Listening to her babble about how she missed him before slipping out of his grasp, “Lord Woo, you can leave now!” Sung Jin-Woo looked over at Woo Jin-Chul as the man bowed obediently.

“I will leave-”

“He's my guest.” Jin-Ah's companions that probably have never heard his voice before seemingly sputtered at the sudden interruption. Jin-Chul gave him a look, but Jin-Ah simply nodded and took it as she grabbed Jin-Woo and Jin-Chul's wrist. Dragging them to a conveniently open sofa. That's where Jin-Chul and Jin-Woo would sit in a comfortable silence. Tactfully avoiding conversation like they've always had in real world events. Granted, Jin-Chul was more lenient and actually talked back or danced at parties while Jin-Woo disappeared.

“Your Majesty,” He looks up to eye the boy next to him that seemingly brimmed with anxiety, “I was curious about something…” Jin-Woo took a bite out of a cookie before giving the boy another glance. Good thing that the boy had good instincts about what he meant, “I was curious, since you already entertain the idea of fighting according to the papers, if you would ever join the hunters in the cities and such with their raids in dungeons.” Jin-Woo didn't know why others looked at the boy as if he said something vile, but at least he was determined to hold his ground.

“And if I do?” He was already planning to raid one of the largest with his army soon, and did some others in his free time just for odd loot to give to his family, his loyal army ( more like he gave them to specific members that needed the boost ), or Woo Jin-Chul ( which the noble would attempt to decline, saying it's unbecoming of royalty to treat him. )

He seemed more determined to push now that Jin-Woo gave a verbal response, “Pl-Please let me join you!” Now some looked as if the boy was insane.

Jin-Woo spared Jin-Chul a glance. They met eyes as if they had a quick conversation before nodding at each other. He looks back to the boy, “Tell me your name.”

“My name is Yoo Jin-Ho!” He exclaims proudly. Jin-Woo stopped mid bite.

“A duke's son…” He whispers as memories of the boy's father ( because what other Yoo was there? ) This ' Yoo Jin-Ho ' looked confused at the sudden emptiness across Jin-Woo's face.

Then a voice joined in that brought him out of his deprecating thoughts, “Jin-Woo, why is it that you are hardly with your family?” A bold question and an informal way to address him from a dear friend of his sister's. Han Song-I looked at him with bright eyes as if she was the child, and he was the dog she desperately wanted to pet.

Others around the table glanced nervously at Sung Jin-Woo as if he would snap at Song-I for lacking manners. As if he was like the other petty princes. As if he'd stoop so low . He rubs his chin in thought, “ I don't want to infect them. ” Is what leaves his lips before he could process it. Even he looked surprised by the words that left him, but it didn't last long before he was standing at the screech that startled the other quiet onlookers, “Excuse me.” Ignoring the way his sister's hand tried to reach for him.

He was a few steps away and rearing his arm just in time to make contact with his Marshal's stomach before the man's blades could touch him. The man sputtered before sitting up with teary eyes and proud grin, “My liege! That is win number one-hundred-twenty-seven ( 127 ) for you! My king is so strong!” Wiping away his tears. Sung Jin-Woo rolls his eyes. He didn't even need to say a word before he heard footsteps in sync with his own behind him before they settled to his right just in front of the Marshal. Their hand reaching out to help him pull Beru up.

“Why did you come to interrupt me today?” Jin-Woo narrowed his eyes at the Marshal that fidgeted with his knives before putting them away.

“Ah, my liege, Iron has become heated with your disappearance and he's too dumb to realize you also have to be social with other people sometimes.” At least Beru was honest as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. Beru mimicking him for a moment.

“I'm sorry Jin-Chul…” Looking over to the nobleman that waved his hand.

“If you'll allow it, I'd like to go with you.” A determined look on his face.

Jin-Woo felt something in him warm, but he paid it no mind, “No need to ask. Do as you wish.”

The three of them ran through the trees to the training ground. Jin-Woo found himself impressed that Jin-Chul could keep up at all at their 'jogging' pace. He wasn't even breaking too much of a sweat as if he ran around normally. Maybe he did. He heard Jin-Chul was strong with his hands and frequented the underground boxing ring often enough. He'd have to see it sometime.

Seems Iron wasn't just heated, he was outright having a tantrum like a child. By the time he got there, he saw Iron throw one of the knights before laying down on the ground and pounding his arms and legs. Iron was what… in his early twenties now, right?

“How childish.” Jin-Chul chirps up besides him, making him smirk.

“Indeed.” He walks into the clearing, “Iron! What are you doing?”

The young adult looked up, eyes wide as he saw his liege standing there with a disappointed expression. He quickly kneeled and wiped away his tears, “I-I missed you…” He was honest, but he was also a grown child. Jin-Woo ran a hand through his hair and sighed. About to say something when the knight got up and rushed him for a hug. Toppling them both to the ground, “Please let me know when you'll be leaving next time!”

Jin-Woo looked up at the sky, and attempted to pat Iron's back, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Huffing as he let it just happen before Iron finally got to his senses and roughly pulled Jin-Woo to his feet. Grinning like the big kid he was, Jin-Woo couldn't help but reach into the void. His arm seemingly disappearing into thin air before he pulls out a new giant hammer for Iron, “I got this earlier… thought you might like it… take it as an apology.”

The hammer was thrown aside as Iron pulled him into another hug, “Jin-Woo! Thank you so much!” Throwing him into the air, Jin-Woo snorts.

“Put him down you dumb ape!” Beru cries out. Kicking Iron in the shin.

Iron stuck his tongue out, but did so anyways. Jin-Woo had a slight blush to ears, flustered by how happy Iron was as he started to swing around the hammer.

“You… You really care about them, huh?” A pleasantly amused smile on his lips.

He was surprised as he remembered Jin-Chul being there. The blush spread to his cheeks now, “I-I guess…” Rubbing his neck, “They're family.”

Beru's head almost snapped with how fast it twisted. Now he was crying with joy as he took one of Jin-Woo's hands, “My king! Our king calls us family!” He cries loudly for the whole army to hear. Jin-Woo had to take his hand away, grab Jin-Chul's, and quickly run inside. Locking himself in before his army even had a chance to start cheering with joy.

He could just hear their sobs while he checked the lock, “Family, but they all love me too much.” Rolling his eyes as he looked back at Woo Jin-Chul, “Are you alright?” The man looked like he was trying to adjust to the darkness again before his eyes met Jin-Woo's. The breath caught in his throat at the sight of blue that drowned in worries.

“Y-Yes… I'm fine.” Reaching out without hesitation to push Jin-Woo's hair back, “Are you? The giant out there tackled you."

Jin-Woo was a little stunned by the touch. He hadn't had many touch him in such a kind manner. Not even from his own family by blood. It felt… refreshing. Somebody willing to touch death itself, “I'll be fine. It's a little sore, but I'm used to it.”

Jin-Chul didn't seem to believe him right away, but nodded without any other questions. Pulling away to gesture back towards the sofa, “Sit with me. Let's talk while they calm down, ok?”

The Shadow Monarch stares at the nobleman that had stayed in their kingdom for the past year as a way to get away from the stress thanks to King Go Gun-Hee. Pondering for a moment if the man that had become a clear favorite of his since day one would turn out to be a traitor ( not that Jin-Woo had any right to call a man that wasn't even under their jurisdiction a traitor, but Jin-Woo wished that he was theirs. It made him bitter thinking about Jin-Chul's return home next month ) before nodding. Making his way over since the man always waited for him to make the first move.

He watches Jin-Chul take a seat across from him. Smiling in a way that softened his usually hardened face and brought out the crow's wrinkles along his eyes, “Lets talk.”

Out of all the conversations Sung Jin-Woo has had in his life, he never felt more relaxed.

 

~0o0~

 

Sung Jin-Woo lies awake at night with Igris by his side. The knight couldn't sleep either, so the crown prince had simply asked the knight to join him on the dewy grass. He was grateful for the knight's silence since it helped him think better. The knight had shared with him once that just the presence of another while in deep thought always made them roll smoother.

Glancing at the knight's twitching gauntlet-less fingers and calculative eyes. He figured it worked swimmingly for Igris.

His eyes trailed over the Marshal's face. Uncovered for once without visor that only allowed the glow of his eyes. How it was sharp in all the right places with a slight feminine touch to his eyes with their long lashes and pink lips. It was a wonder that the man would swear his life to him instead of finding a lover to settle with. Would prefer his cold touch over the warmth of somebody that knew what they were doing.

Leaning down, obscuring the Marshal's vision, those silver eyes that came out of their haze met his and his lips covered Igris' before they could let a word slip out.

It was peaceful. Quiet.

Sung Jin-Woo pulls away, “You should get some rest, Igris.” Watching those silver eyes flicker to his lips that curved into an affectionate smile, “It's not good to stay up so late. Leave the unhealthiness to me.”

Igris lifts himself up onto his elbows before returning a rare smile. A smile that could make anyone swoon, “Rest soon, Sung Jin-Woo.” Leaning over to plant a kiss to Jin-Woo's forehead before he left the future king to his devices.

Jin-Woo watched him walk away before turning back to face the moon. Touching his head, his fingers briefly brushing over where Jin-Chul had touched his head as well. He felt heat rush to his cheeks, startling him as he thought about both men's smiles today. Then he looked back to 'Iron' and Beru. His vision flitted across the many soldiers in his army and their faces. His face heated up more just thinking about their riot just from hearing Beru shout out that their liege had thought of them as family.

He couldn't get enough… He felt like he was greedy for wanting more of their attention.

 

~0o0~

 

Sung Jin-Woo longingly stared at Woo Jin-Chul from across the courtyard. He was attending a social party from Duke Goto Ryugi that was sent out to the other royals in kingdoms far and wide. So wide, that people had to bring several translators just to get their point across or even learn manners. Thankfully, Sung Jin-Woo studied many languages beyond the standard English. He preferred the ease of tension… that is if he was going to talk at all.

He peels his eyes off of the man with an ache in his chest. He was alone here. One, because he walked away from his family and two, he couldn't just invite any of his soldiers because they'd get jealous of whoever came with him.

He sighs and leans under the tree, sipping his cup of grape juice when he heard somebody call out to him, “Hey, hey! What's a loner like you hanging around the side for? Come talk!” He looked up and almost choked. He swore this man was almost the size of Iron, just with blue eyes and long shaggy blonde hair… plus he was older. He looks the man in the eyes before going back to his drink, “Eh? You don't speak or something? Come on!” Patting the trunk above Jin-Woo's head, “I ain't gonna bite!” He was rude. It kind of hurt his ears, but he kept his eyes on Jin-Chul in the distance instead even though it hurt a little seeing that the man only noticed him because of the commotion the man was making.

“King Andre, please calm down. You don't want to start anything with another country indirectly…" A small Blonde woman spoke up. Her shaking hand that were hovering over Andre was what had Jin-Woo meeting this King's eyes.

Those sky blue eyes looked satisfied as he leaned in, his hand reaching out to pinch Jin-Woo's chin, “There you go pretty boy. Hey, you know it's rude to ignore others, don't you?

He could feel the grip tighten, but he simply stared on before briefly slapping the hand away. The immediate blood lust was toxic as he finished up his grape juice. Stepping away rather casually to put his glass down on a table. Dusting himself off, he turns back towards Andre just as the other was aggressively charging him with a fist. He could hear distant shouting, and people running, but he found the man's movements rather slow. He hated how easy it was for him to slip to the side and hunch his body enough to throw his arm. Watching it make contact with the large man's abdomen and throw him back towards the tree. Leaves being shaken by the force, even the lady's trembling hands seemed to freeze as she stared at the black hair man that casually turned away and poured himself another glass. Grabbing two more fresh glasses, he walks back towards the man and squats.

“Your reflexes are too slow.” The blonde man's head tilted up when Jin-Woo placed his finger against his forehead, surprised by the words that left Jin-Woo's lips, “And your positioning was awkward. I could've easily ducked all the way and slipped through your legs with how wide they were. If you put any more force behind your arm, you didn't have a stable leg to catch you so you would've spun out of control.” Standing up, he hands one of the glasses to the blonde lady, “For you,” He puts one in the king's hand too, “and you.” Then he was walking away as if he didn't just punch a tank of a man. Sipping at his own glass of grape juice.

He didn't realise till later when he was in the corner watching others dance that King Andre was Thomas Andre. A man from a western kingdom known for their extreme brutality. King Thomas being a merciless avenger that looked down on 'weaklings'... And Jin-Woo just embarrassed him.

He had to take a step outside just to cool down from the grief he felt just thinking about how he had to defend his family in the future if the man decides to take action on his kingdom.

Even when his sister pulled him back in and begged for a dance, she looked at him with surprise when he didn't resist. He'll give her the best dance she'll ever have if war time is going to greet them in the future for his actions.

Though, when the next month came, he didn't expect a brand new pair of blades from the king himself along with a note about how surprised King Thomas Andre was to find out Sung Jin-Woo was a prince.

Beru and Igris looked disgusted by the clear infatuation the king suddenly had for their liege, but they didn't want to ruin this sudden excitement Jin-Woo had when he realized just how lethal the fresh pair was. Of course it was Bellion to rush over when Jin-Woo accidentally cut his hand open. It was like their liege didn't even realise how deep it was with a puddle of blood as evidence since he kept trying to pull away to play with the fresh blades.

“Master, please! You're soaking your shirt with how much blood there is, so please stop trying to-” Bellion was cut off with a brief kick to the chest from Jin-Woo attempting to stretch out for one of the blades that Iron had pulled away with his foot.

“But--" He was silenced by a kiss from his strongest Marshal.

“Please, relax." Jin-Woo stares at the Marshal attending to his hand for some time before nodding. Relaxing as he let Bellion finish his work before getting up to put the blades away, “We'll keep them in your room unless you want to put them in your 'inventory'?" Jin-Woo nods as he gets up and carefully puts his new blades into the void.

“My King, please don't fall for this man… I hear he challenged you just because you ignored him!” Beru cries out, “What kind of asshole would do such a thing?!”

Igris nods in agreement, “Please.”

Jin-Woo chuckles at their words, “I could never… I hardly know him.” Looking at his bandaged hand, “Besides, I have you guys.”

He narrowly avoided Iron's hug, “Jin-Woo!” The younger male cries out.

Jin-Woo smiles as he walks away, “Take care of him." He didn't need to see to know that when they thought he couldn't hear them, the other boys had joined in on Iron's outright happiness at Jin-Woo's words.

Sung Jin-Woo still questions why they want him instead of some fair maiden that would keep their beds warm every night. He would even get them a house on the outskirts of the kingdom so they could live their days peacefully, but they always rejected the offer.

Shaking his head, he closes the doors behind him.

 

~0o0~

 

Sung Jin-Woo felt second hand embarrassment when he was invited to yet another party. This time it was the bastard prince Hwang Dong-Suk that was apparently the more 'suitable' heir in accordance to his father's eyes. The guy's older brother left in the dust.

Said older brother was trying to insult him, and berate him for looking weak without knowing he was a prince… somehow, not many did outside of the noble ring in his own country. Even then, most nobles and dukes had no idea what their prince looked or sounded like. Thinking of him as nothing more than a Grand Marshal till his sister or other family members come rushing in exposing his position to people that thought so lowly of him before.

Jin-Woo rubbed his own hip as Hwang Dong-Suk crossed his arms and looked down at him, “Fetch me some wine, servant boy." Sung Jin-Woo stared at the idiot in front of him and smirked. Seems it really set the guy off as he pulled his arm back to slap Jin-Woo when an arm came in to block it.

Jin-Woo looked up at the owner of said arm and was pleasantly surprised to find it was not a royal. Nor a duke. Not even a noble.

“Liu Zhigang…" He has met the man three times in his life. Twice were intimate moments together one on one. Drinking on rooftops to the point where he actually did get tipsy . Another person he grew fond of rather quickly.

The seven star looked down at him and nodded, “Your Majesty, Sung Jin-Woo.”

Hwang Dong-Suk looked like he was going to shout at Liu before his attention turned towards Sung Jin-Woo, “Wait, Sung? Your… majesty..? Liu… seven star, Liu?"

Jin-Woo ignored him, instead turning to give a gentle push on Liu Zhigang's chest. Even if the man could curl over him twice over, he was obedient. Bowing towards Sung Jin-Woo, “I think this party was a waste of my time. What do you think, Liu Zhigang?” He could already hear the stutter in Hwang Dong-Suk's breath behind him and the murmurs around them.

“I think we should leave too." Offering a hand to Sung Jin-Woo. Jin-Woo's heart stuttered at the offer, but he convinced himself it was simply for show as he took the large hand. Allowing himself to be guided away in silence. Once they were a safe distance away, he heard a sputter before a laugh. Liu's hand adjusted their grip on Sung Jin-Woo's, “Did you see that?! He must feel so embarrassed knowing he talked to you in such a way!" Shaking his head. His long hair flipping around and nearly hitting Jin-Woo, “Why are you here anyways? Don't you hate them?”

Jin-Woo smiles in appreciation towards his friend before shrugging, “I didn't come here on my own.”

Liu Zhigang didn't need to be told about how important social life was to the rest of the Sung family again.  He simply nodded, never much of a socializer himself. He had a temper, and because he was a glorified commoner , it just gave people more reason to avoid him. He still found it funny that princes or kings with similar tempers would still be the rave of the party… but he was a commoner .

The only one that didn't see him for that, was Sung Jin-Woo.

Sung Jin-Woo didn't see anybody for their titles. He simply saw them as who they were. If he didn't like them, that was that. If he did, that was that. He would be spotted talking on his own. Isolated away from the greedy adults. Nobody knew Sung Jin-Woo for his title and never interacted with him either. Mostly because the prince didn't go flaunting it or willingly spread his name. He was a ghost that showed up from time to time.

A ghost that decided to speak to him first.

Liu Zhigang was thankful for Sung Jin-Woo.

“Have you considered leaving?” He could feel Sung Jin-Woo's eyes burn into him, “Leave it all behind and live peacefully.” His eyes finally meet Jin-Woo's as they walk through the streets.

“I can't.” He could feel Jin-Woo's hand tightening and adjusted so the prince was comfortable. Encouraging the antisocial royal to continue with a smile, “I have two families there. My soldiers, and my family by blood. I couldn't live with myself if either of them got hurt.”

Jin-Woo let out a gasp as he was suddenly pulled into an alleyway by Liu Zhigang. Looking up just as the seven star pulled him into a tight hug, “You don't need to worry so much.” Running a hand through Jin-Woo's short hair, “It was only a question. Not a request.” The fox-like smile on Liu Zhigang's lips made Jin-Woo stare on. Tempted by the man's words before leaning in. Guess it was as much if a surprise to Liu as it was to himself.

Pulling away with a blush, he turned his face away, “I'm sorry.” Trying to push away only to have Liu's arms lock around him. Turning back to find the guy's lips on his own again.

“Don't be… the one that should be sorry is me. I'm just a commoner and I-” Jin-Woo's hands covered the seven star's mouth.

“You didn't do anything wrong. You know that, and if anybody tries to say anything, I'll take you in.” Smiling. He's been smiling a lot these past few years. It was nice.

The both of them shared another feverish kiss. Neither willing to leave each other just yet.

 

~0o0~

 

Sung Jin-Woo held his head in his hands. His face flushed just thinking about how many people he has kissed already. It also didn't help when King Go Gun-Hee was sitting across from him with photos of him and Liu. Woo Jin-Chul standing behind said king. Looking down at the photos with a mixed look in his eyes.

Jin-Woo looks up like a kicked puppy and both men seated across from him almost melted. Go Gun-Hee waves his hand, “It isn't anything super serious, but we thought you'd might like a reminder about royal affairs and how they look on you.”

Jin-Woo rubbed his temples before shaking his head, “I-I don't need it… i just…” He blushed again just staring at the photos. Turning his head away with a cough, “I just don't mind if it's from people I care about.” Wishing he could just swish around his daggers.

He turned back and saw King Go looking at Jin-Chul for a moment, and even pointed at himself, “Then you'd kiss us if asked?”

Woo Jin-Chul and Sung Jin-Woo both sputtered at the king's words, but Jin-Woo recovered quicker, “I-If asked… I suppose it'd be alright.” Shrugging. A little intimidated by the light in King Go's eyes.

“Then by all means. I'll allow Jin-Chul the first kiss!” Jin-Woo didn't understand why the king was so excited about it, but Jin-Woo was standing up and strolling towards Jin-Chul, turning around the sofa, he could see Jin-Chul's foot thumping. The noble looked like he was going to shake through the floor.

“May I?” His hands were on Jin-Chul's shoulders. Staring at him with a nervousness of his own. Surprised when Jin-Chul's hands rested on his hips before pulling him right in. The brief kiss was his answer.

Pulling away, Jin-Woo turns towards King Go and leans over the couch. Embarrassed as the King grabbed his face and planted a simple kiss on his cheek instead. Jin-Woo returned the gesture, “I-Is this how I'll greet you both from now on…?” Jin-Chul looked ready to decline, but King Go nodded.

“You can put the kiss where it works best for you on either of us. I just didn't want my first lip kiss with you just yet?” The King winks, and Jin-Woo wanted to crawl in a hole.

“This is blackmail.” He sighs softly while King Go laughs.

“Not really since you don't seem to mind kissing anybody~” Gesturing outside. Jin-Woo gently punches the king's shoulder. Earning another laugh.

“Alright, I get it.” Shaking his head as he leans further to grab one of the photos. Rubbing his chin before nervously holding it up for King Go to see. Covering half his face with it, “C-Can I keep this one…?”

King Go's loud laughter will forever haunt his dreams.

 

~0o0~

 

Jin-Woo felt nervous as shit when he stood with his family to greet everyone that was invited for his sister's coming of age party. Maybe it was because King Go decided to send a message a day in advance to remind Sung Jin-Woo of what he had to do… in front of everyone .

He tempted the idea of running away as soon as he saw how smiley the King was. It felt worse seeing Liu Zhigang and King Andre close behind. Thankfully, Woo Jin-Chul looked just as nervous, so Jin-Woo didn't feel so left out.

He swallows hard when King Go greets everyone else in his family before stopping in front of Jin-Woo with a smirk. The heir felt his soul leave his body seeing King Andre and Liu Zhigang being held up by King Go.

“Are you forgetting something, Prince Jin-Woo?” Even his own family was looking. His sister's eyes were wide seeing how red Jin-Woo's face was before King Go was leaning down. Jin-Woo was going to put a pec on the king's cheek, but the guy was faster with turning his head to steal one from his lips. He felt himself tremble as King Go stepped aside for Jin-Chul.

“I'm so sorry about this, Jin-Woo…” The nobleman look nervous as his hands rested on Jin-Woo's hips. The heir to the throne just shakes his head and leans in to put a brief kiss on Jin-Chul's lips.

“It's my fault." He whispers back.

Watching them both go, he felt a prickle up his spine when he turned to find Liu Zhigang and Thomas Andre pushing each other, “ Can we get a kiss too?! ” They both shouted rather loudly.

Jin-Woo felt himself faint for once in his life.

When he came to ( thankfully it wasn't too long after the initial faint ) he was being fanned by Beru while Igris held him.

He could see Bellion scolding the seven star and the king alongside his father. His mother and sister to his left, but…

“Jin-Woo! When were you gonna tell us that you had lovers?!” Jin-Woo rolled into Igris as Beru stopped fanning.

“I-I don't… I… um… I should go give them th-there… uh-" He was still flushed as he got up and made his way towards the seven star and the king, “I sh-should pay up since thea-asked…” adjusting his attire, he looks up at Bellion as the Marshal completes his shouting, “May I…?" Bellion looked perplexed before sighing. Stepping aside so Jin-Woo can kiss both of the men. Adjusting their clothing as they stared at him with a dazed look, “Please don't make a scene.”

Jin-Woo would later sulk in a corner. He couldn't hide so easily with the two kings, a seven star, and a noble surrounding him and trying to pull him into a conversation.

He put his face in his hands as Liu Zhigang and Thomas Andre openly flirted with him at one point while King Go would tease him. Luckily Jin-Chul was on his side… right?

Nope. Not long after, it was the noble that boldly stole another kiss once he got Jin-Woo comfortable enough to uncover his face and had the two more hot headed men in the bunch trying to push each other off to get to Jin-Woo while King Go proudly patted Jin-Chul's back.

Jin-Woo never felt more betrayed. He had to run away to find Igris on the other side of the dance floor to protect him.

Jin-Woo wanted to run away.