Chapter 1

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JADE backed away from the sword, a light blush painting itself onto her cheeks.

She kept her eyes on the floor as one of the male servants took the sword and offered it to her husband. 

She bit the inside of her cheek and fiddled with the bracelets on her left wrist. One was a gift from her parents-in-law, at the time of marriage- it was a vibrant turquoise-blue, with a dragon engraved on it.

The other was made of several of her namesake stone- Jade strung onto a silver chain. She unclasped it and walked up to her husband, keeping her eyes on his feet as she lifted the ornament up. "Take this."

He took it after a moment, his fingers clasping around it tightly. With his other hand, he lifted her chin gently, so her eyes met his. Hosun was a tall man, broad and strong, with a fierceness in his face that was only just countered by the softness in his dark eyes. The scar on the left of his face, running down his jaw, made him look even stronger.

"I will bring it back to you," he promised. Jade's lips lifted up into a small smile. It was his way of saying he would come back, to her, no matter what. That was all she needed to know.

"Thank you," she said, taking a step back. She glanced around the room, another flush creeping over her face as she noticed that the servants had left to give them some privacy.

Hosun gave her a sharp nod and turned away. She watched him until he disappeared out the front door, and then her shoulders sank down.

Having a husband who was the General of an army was not easy. She had known it would be hard when she had married him, but now that the Gongjensu were growing even stronger, she could see the effect it was having on him. He had the huge responsibility of protecting Tsuchengko's people, but he was strong enough to bear it.

At the thought of the Gongjensu, her shoulders slumped even more. The rebel army had become so powerful that now they were threatening all the four kingdoms—and Tsuchengko, being the second-smallest, was in great danger.

Being Hosun's wife, she knew a bit more about the Gongjensu than ordinary Tsuchengko women, so she was aware of just how bad the situation was.

She sighed and straightened her shoulders again. With Hosun so busy, all his remaining work fell on her shoulders, like writing letters to all the nobles who were trying to prevent their sons from joining the army. She understood that it was dangerous, but even peasants were joining as soldiers. Surely they could as well.


After she had finished her work, she went outside, into their garden. Though gardening was not the ideal occupation of a lady, she enjoyed it. Seeing things that you had planted, bloom, was a wonderful experience.

She had planted the white roses long ago, and they had bloomed into gorgeous things. She let her hand brush the petals as she walked past them and to the lake.

Tsuchengko was the Island Kingdom, placed as it was in the Islamar Sea, with the other three kingdoms surrounding it. It also had plenty of freshwater, and Jade found particular peace near a river, lake or any other water body. She had been glad to find, after marriage, that Hosun had a large pond in his garden.

She could just see the top of the palace peeking over the trees around her. Of course, she lived in the capital city, Aquana, and Hosun lived so close to the Imperial Palace because he was the General.

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