fourteen

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WITH A CALCULATIVE BREATH, JIHYE SQUINTED HER LEFT EYE.

Her fingers, which handled the arrow and string relaxed, releasing the arrow from the bow. With a deafening swoosh through the air, the projectile soared across the archery field and perfectly pierced the red cloth circle of the target.

Jihye lowered her bow and turned to the Rose Guard beside her, a sigh coming out of her mouth. "I don't see why this extra practice is necessary." She resisted the urge to break all the arrows inside her quiver that K held upright by his feet. "You, yourself have seen that using a bow and arrow comes easy to me."

The Princess has been repeating the same process of picking up an arrow and aiming at the target practice in front of her for the past hour or so. Not at all the way Jihye hoped she'd spent her day today.

The reason behind it all- the anticipated Hunter's Festival that was to take place in the month of October, which was weeks away. There was a meaningful history behind the holiday, going as far in time as the foundation of the East Kingdom. It was established by the second King to take the throne, who happened to be a remarkable hunter. During his first reigning year, he threw an enormous banquet from all of his and his servants' huntings and shared it with all who wished to eat.

The holiday has evolved over time of course, after many generations of Monarchs and subjects. Modernly, the entire East Kingdom celebrated the festival no matter where they lived by creating a feast for their families to eat after spending the entire day hunting. However, in Acacia, they take the Hunter's Festival ten times further.

The entire day was spent by having Knights competing in a series of games in which everyone was welcomed to watch. Whoever came out on top was invited to the East Castle's banquet and ball that lasted past midnight as an honorary guest as they were crowned the year's 'Hunter'. Of course many Rose Guards, including K, compete every year but ever since K has participated, he has always been crowned the winner.

Jihye was sure he'd be able to do it again this year as well because he'd be damned if he let someone else take his crown.

"I know that, but have you ever shot an arrow while it was in flames?" K counters, although he already knew Jihye wouldn't be able to say yes.

The Hunter's Festival was always begun with a fire arrow shot through a hoop to signify the ignition of the competition. Usually, Jihye's Father was the one who would do such a ceremonial act but it was passed on to her last minute this year.

"No... then why am I only practicing with normal arrows?" She points at her arrow filled quiver. Maybe if the pointy sticks were caught in flames, she'd be more willing to continue practicing. "We should have started with that since the beginning."

"No can do, Your Highness." K hands her another normal arrow with a malapert smirk.

She reluctantly takes it and places it on the arrow rest. "And why not?"

"Because your Father wants to make sure you're able to shoot an arrow with your eyes closed before even adding fire into the mix." K explained.

Jihye tuts. "It can't possibly be that difficult."

"You tend to underestimate things."

"Actually- I'm just an overachiever." Jihye corrects.

"You've missed a couple of normal shots. Are you sure you've mastered the art of archery?" K bunched his lips to one side in feigned doubtfulness.

Jihye blamed her consistent mistakes on her drooping eyes as they worsened her sight and ability to properly aim the arrows. Of course, that was because she only had two hours of sleep. Her thoughts stole back to last night. From nearly getting caught lingering in the halls to Niki and Jaeyun almost getting at each other's throats.

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now