I will never forget that day. Its still warm in my memory when I came home after play with my friend—Han Nam Il—saw that father and mother are waiting in the yard. When I walked in, they smiled. At first I felt awkward with that smile; there was something strange. Just as I expected, the elders of my family were all present at the house that afternoon. They smiled meaningfully and invited me to sit down in a very polite language.
Im sick of hearing the polite language they use when talking to me. The strangeness didn stop there; my parents no longer called me with my full name. They seem reluctant or afraid to call my name.
My heart hurts. It hurts when they use to call me with your highness. I knew immediately that I had passed the second round of the Crown Princess selection that I had been through some time ago. Fate seems to want to take away my happiness.
At the age of ten, I had to separate from my parents. The palace choosen me to be the consort of Crown Prince Uiyang. Another girl might scream with delight upon learning that she has been chosen to be the Crown Princess of Joseon. But I feel like my happiness is being snatched away by heaven. The selection only stopped at the second stage, all at the wishes of the palace elders. They chose me as the best candidate for the throne of the future queen. I should have felt proud of that assessment, but I wasn the slightest bit proud. I feel burdened.
As if it wasn enough with the burden I had to bear as the Crown Princess, heaven gave an unexpected surprise. That day was the fourth day I stayed at the palace, in Byeolgung to be exact. A Senior Court Lady strives to train and teach court etiquette.
I remember well that the sun was shining brightly when a young court lady ran through the main entrance of Byeolgung. A young palace maid cried and knelt down in front of the sanggung senior who trained me. Haltingly, a young palace maid announced that the King—my father-in-law—passed away.
My heart is broken.
However, my heart broke when I realized another reality that I was about to face. The fact that I will immediately ascend the throne as a Queen
Im scared. Im afraid of the throne Ill sit on in the future.
"See you tomorrow, Brother Nam Il!"
Heo Jung-Eun smiled as she waved her hand before entering the house. The cute girl smiled broadly at her best friend, Han Nam Il, who lived not far from her house. After Nam Il was no longer visible in her vision, Jung Eun entered the house.
Jung Eun entered the house with a smile still on her sweet face. However, that smile faded when she found her parents waiting. Jung Eun felt something strange when she saw the behavior of her parents. They smiled and bowed slightly to him. It made she feel uncomfortable.
"Mother, Father, why are you outside like this?"
Jung Eun asked, frowning at the behavior of her parents, who were clearly very unusual.
Madam Min smiled and stepped closer to her only daughter. Her hands gently smoothed the Jung Euns hair.
"Please. Come on in. Everyone is waiting for you."
Jung Eun did not understand her mothers strange attitude. Inside, the sweet girl wondered.
"Mother, why are you speaking so formally to me? What is this, really? Ho, why are you dressed so neatly on an afternoon like this?"
"Youd better go in first. Inside the room, you will find the answer. Please."
Mr. Heo spoke up. The man did not answer his daughters question. His hands directed Jung Eun to immediately enter the house.
Jung Eun was forced to step up and obey the orders given by her parents. Slowly, the girl directed her steps towards the main building of they house. In her heart, Jung Eun is confused by the attitude shown by her parents. The girl felt that something bad was going on.
Once the door to the main room of her house opened, Jung Eun got another surprise that she never imagined. Inside the main room, there are already ten people who seem to be waiting for Jung Euns presence. Jung Eun recognized the faces, one by one, sitting in the main room of her house as her familys elders. Feelings of discomfort are getting stronger and controlling Jung Euns heart at this time.
Jung Eun turned and found her parents smiling at her. However, the smile that her parents showed was not the usual smile that Jung Eun gets. It was a respectful smile. Jung Eun did not like the smile.
"Congratulations to lady of the Hong family, was selected as Crown Princess. We are very proud and honored. Our family has the honor of being chosen to be a royal family. Once again, congratulations, Lady Hong."
All the elders of the Jung Eun family smiled and bowed respectfully to her, who was still standing in the doorway. Jung Eun was wide-eyed to hear the congratulations that had just been spoken by one of her familys elders. Jung Eun turned back to her parents, who were still standing behind. The girls gaze seemed to beg for an explanation for all the strange events this afternoon.
As if to understand the confusion that was depicted on Jung Euns face, Madam Min returned a smile. The noble lady looked at her daughter gently.
"You have been chosen to be the crown princess, Your Highness. We hope that you can bring blessings and peace to this country in the future."
Jung Euns heart ached when heard her parents speak formally again. However, the most painful thing for Jung Eun is that her mother and father will never call her again by her birth name. Tears fell down her cheeks without stopping. Jung Euns heart was like being torn apart by a knife. It really hurts. Hong Jung Eun had a sad afternoon.
Jung Eun grimaced in pain. Her head could no longer support the weight of the heavy crown she was wearing. This is Jung Euns fourth day staying at the palace. The palace immediately dispatched a stretcher to pick up Jung Eun from her home after she was declared as The Crown Princess.
Jung Eun remembers well that she could not help but cry bitterly because she had to be separated from her parents. With a heavy heart, Jung Eun went onto the stretcher. The young lady had to begin her education and prepare for her royal wedding. Like today, Jung Eun wore a daesu—a crown to be worn at the coronation—and a jeokui—a coronation royal gown—to practice saluting during the wedding ceremony later.
A senior court lady was paying attention to Jung Eun. On the right and left of Jung Eun, there are two palace maids on duty to help her. Again, Jung Eun lost her balance when she was about to look down because she couldn stand the heavy weight on her head.
"You can move like that. You have to lower your head slowly. Lets repeat it one more time. Your Highness, please don make more mistakes."
The senior lady rebuked Jung Eun, who again made a mistake. Jung Eun sighed tiredly. She had been practicing walking and saluting all day. Such an exercise would not be difficult if it were not done using the layers of clothing and the large crown that she was currently wearing. Jung Eun could only nod in resignation, even though she wanted to kick and throw the heavy clothes she was wearing.
Just now, before Jung Eun returned to her original position before saluting, she heard a commotion in the yard. Jung Eun stopped her movements and look to the senior court lady who trained her.
"My lady! My lady!"
The voice of a girls call was heard in the Byeolgung yard, the pavilion where Jung Eun lived while practicing at the palace. The senior court lady who heard the commotion immediately asked for permission to see Jung Eun. Jung Eun just nodded briefly as a sign of her permission.
"Why are you being so reckless in the residence of the Crown Princess, Palace Maid Jang?"
Jung Eun is now hearing questions with an angry tone in her ears.The girl chose to sit down to rest for a while before returning to practice. Jung Eun sharpened her ears to hear the commotion in the courtyard of her pavilion.
"Please pardon my attitude, My Lady. However, I have important news to share with you." The young palace maid replied while kneeling in front of the senior court lady.
"Whats going on? Say it right away!"
Sobs began to be heard from the palace maid Jung, who was now kneeling in front of the senior court lady.
"Your Highness, Your Majesty... Your Majesty The King just passed away." Palace maid Jung cried out once more.
Jung Eun was shocked to hear the news she had just heard. The girl sat limply, holding her chest, which was now throbbing in pain. Her eyes looked empty, as if she had just been given a heavy load of tens of tons. Jung Eun was very surprised to hear the news.
Slowly, fear began to invade her. Jung Eun began to fear all the things that would happen in the future. Jung Eun could not bear the facts like this. Being chosen to be the crown princess has tormented her half to death. The new fact that her father-in-law, King Gwanghyo, had passed away made Jung Eun feel like she was suffocating. Fear was getting stronger and stronger in her heart, until she realized that tears were running down her cheeks.
"Mother, what should I do now?" The burden of being the Crown Princess is too heavy for a girl as small as me. Why? Why did the heavens take the king so soon?" Jung Eun muttered in sad tone.
That night, the wind was blowing hard. The air was very cold. The atmosphere of mourning was so strong at the palace tonight. That night, the Byeolgung pavilion was still brightly lit. Not a single candle has been extinguished. Including in the room where the Crown Princess rested.
Jung Eun has not yet gone to sleep. The girl was looking down with puffy eyes. All day earlier, after news of King Gwanghyos death was spread, Jung Euns training was temporarily suspended. An official palace order regarding the postponement of her marriage has also been conveyed to her. Jung Eun and Crown Prince Uiyang have to postpone the wedding until the mourning period is over. During the delay, Jung Eun remained in the palace.
Jung Eun sighed tiredly. Her chest felt tighter after getting an official order regarding the postponement of her marriage. Still ringing in Jung Euns ears are the words of the senior lady who trained her about the delay.
"Most likely, you will soon ascend the throne. After the mourning period is over, Your Highness will be married and immediately crowned as Queen. Your coronation will no longer be as Crown Princess but as Queen."
The senior court ladys words made Jung Euns heart hurt even more. Now, she must immediately occupy the throne as Queen. Unknowingly, tears fell again from the corners of Jung Euns eyes. The girl is tired. The girl does not want this throne. Her eyes then saw her coronation gown, which were still stored in her room.
Jung Eun sat down crying. The girl was scared. Jung Eun is afraid of everything that will happen in her future. The girl stared blankly at her ceremonial gown.
"Mother, what should I do now? This burden is too heavy for me to bear."