GOT7 Fic #2: Stay
“What’s so joyous about happy endings? Certainly not the goodbyes.”
Jinyoung stood outside the old bookstore he's been visiting for a month now. He closed his eyes&inhaled the scent of old books. Even outside, the smell of decaying paper is strong.

He discovered this place while he was on his way to a relative. He took a detour&ended up there.
He didn't mean to walk through the alley at first, but as he was about to retrace his steps, an old signage fell and it got his attention.

He picked it up just as the door opened. He looked up when he heard the chime of the brass ring. He came face to face with an old woman.
She was wearing a long-sleeved blouse with a high neck collar and a long black skirt. Her eyes were sharp as she looked down on him. She looked like a scary librarian.

Jinyoung stood up and told her her signage fell. He offered to fix it for her out of courtesy. She said okay.
"Do you like books?" she asked while he fix the sign.

"I do," he replied. "I read books every day."

The old woman looked pleased with his answer. She said the shop is actually a bookstore but no one buys books from her anymore.

"It's those damn cellphones' fault!" she spat.
Once the sign was fixed, the woman offered him her books. She told him he can come by anytime he likes&read any book he pleases. Jinyoung didn't show it then, but he was hyperventilating in joy.

The bookstore became his haven. He'd spend all day reading. He's rarely ever home.
Jinyoung greeted the old woman with a smile. "Did you sell any book today?" he asked.

Like all the other days, the old woman shook her head. "You're the only one who comes here."

He wondered why she didn't just close the store, but didn't voice it out because he likes it there.
He went towards the shelves & ran his fingers through the spines. They were old, hardbound books with yellow dusty pages. Maybe that's why no one buys them. But Jinyoung found it charming. Those books already have history inside them.

After going through every book, he frowned.

"What's the matter?" the old woman asked.

"I think I've already read everything."

She raised an eyebrow. "Everything?"

When he nodded, she asked, "Are you sure about that?" and pointed towards s shelf in one corner. On top of it laid a thick book he's never seen before
He should have noticed a book that old. They're his favorite. He felt tingles down his spine as he imagines what story it holds.

As he reached for it, he heard the woman say, "Take care of the store. I just need to go to the market. My granddaughter is visiting today."

After the old woman left, he sat down on the floor and blew on the dust resting on the cover. He coughed as some went through his nose and mouth.

The book was entitled "Once Upon A Time" which made him roll his eyes. He's never liked fairy tales. They all end the same way.
He opened the book and was greeted by the same title on the first page. It gleamed when the light hit the gold letters.

It looked like... real gold.

Amused, he touched it.

The letters melted together until the whole page was gold & then, a glaring light swallowed him whole.
Jinyoung woke up with a nagging headache. He winced when his eyes caught the sunlight outside. "Ugh! Why is it so bright?!"

"Apologies, Your Highness!" he heard a voice reply.

He blinked a few times in confusion. People dressed in funny clothes hurried to the window.
They quickly pulled the heavy drapes to block the sunlight. A man went to the side of his canopy bed and asked what he wants for breakfast.

"Excuse me but where am I & who are you?"

Everyone looked confused. "Your Highness, did you hit your head again?" the man near him asked.
Apparently, he hits his head all the time.

The man named Henry told him that his father, the king--obviously, has tasked him to slay the dragon &rescue a princess of a cursed kingdom. Thinking that he's probably dreaming again, Jinyoung buried himself under the thick blanket.
Henry removed the blanket from him while profusely apologizing, saying that he needs to meet his father for breakfast or else, he--meaning Henry--will be beheaded.

"That's overly dramatic."

"You probably don't remember this but that's what happened to the last guy," he said.
Jinyoung thought Henry was exaggerating so he didn't budge. But the poor man began sweating bullets, it made him worry.

"Are they seriously going to decapitate you if I don't eat breakfast?"

Henry nodded vigorously. Jinyoung sighed and went off the bed. "Okay."
He was already walking towards the door when Henry stopped him.

"Your Highness, you can't eat breakfast with the king wearing THAT." He pointed to his clothes.

Jinyoung looked down on his--'what is this? A dress? Tunic?'. He wasn't sure what it's called but it looked expensive.
He placed his hands on his hips. "I am dreaming. I'm not in control of what I wear," he told Henry.

Henry tilted his head to the right and frowned. "But you are already awake, Your Highness."

Jinyoung shook his head. "No," he said and slapped his face.

He flinched. It hurt.
Henry looked like he was having a heart attack. "Your Highness, please don't do that again. Her Majesty would kill me if she sees a bruise on your cheek!"

Jinyoung groaned and lightly punched his head. His headache won't go away. Why can't he wake up?

"Your Highness, please!"
Jinyoung stopped when the big bedroom door opened. In came 3 women, all of them curtsied and kept their heads bowed as the woman who looked the oldest spoke.

"Your bath is ready, Your Highness."

He scratched the back of his head. "Uh... okay."
He walked past the women, did so while throwing them a discreet glance. One, the youngest-looking, caught his attention. She's pretty.

Her hair was loosely curled and braided on 1 side.

When he noticed Henry frowning, he quickly averted his gaze.

"Uhm... where's the bathroom?"
They looked at one another and then, to Henry.

"He hit his head again," he whispered. It was loud enough for him to hear.

"Right this way, Your Highness."

The 3 were about to lead him when he stopped them & said, "I can go there myself. Just point me in the right direction."
So the oldest woman told him how to get to the bathroom, which sounded like a lot of work. When he asked why they placed his bathroom so far from his bedroom, they told him the whole east wing was his room.

"Okay. I think need someone to take me there," he admitted.
"You." He pointed to the pretty girl. "Take me there. Please."

The girl looked flustered. But she had no choice but to oblige because he's... well... in this surreal, hyper-realistic dream, he's a prince.

"T-This way, Y-Your Highness." She bowed lower than the last time.
He figured it would be a long walk to his bathroom, so he indulged himself in some small talk.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Ella, Y-Your Highness."

She was such a fast walker, he had to take bigger steps just to keep up. He was already sweating from a short walk.
"Is the castle always this big?!" he asked, panting.

He saw the corners of her lips slightly curve up. "Yes, Your Highness."

Finally, after what seemed like hours, they reached the bathroom. The guards at the door opened it for them. It was a big room. Their footsteps echoed.
There was a big--it looked like a tub, but bigger & more rustic. It's almost the same size as a mini pool. The water was steaming. He was about to remove his clothes when he noticed Ella still standing behind him.

"Why are you still here?"

"I have to assist, Your Highness."
His eyes widened. Why would he need assistance? He was practically just going to dip into that tub or pool or whatever it is until he's clean! Plus, he has arms and hands! And why would a woman he doesn't know bathe him?

Exasperated, he pointed to the door. "Just wait outside."
Fortunately, it seems that Ella didn't like the idea as well so she readily obliged and went outside. After making sure that he's alone, he removed his clothes and took a dip. He yelped upon contact. It was too hot!

"DON'T COME IN!" He screamed when the door slightly opened.
"Are you okay, Your Highness? You sounded like you were in pain."

"I'm alright!" He hissed as he tried dipping his foot in the water. Was this really a bath or were they trying to cook him?!

He winced in pain when his whole body was finally submerged in the water.
Eventually, his body adjusted to the temperature. Unfortunately, there was nothing in there to clean himself with. He wanted to call for Ella so she could at least point where everything is, but he'd rather not. So he just took the flat stone, which he assumed was for scrubbing.
By the time he was done bathing, his body was already so red. Seeing no towels or bathrobes around--he assumed that's why Ella said she would assist--he just wore his dirty clothes again.

He pushed the door open (it was really heavy) and told Ella, "I need new clothes. Please."
Ella took him to the garderobe. It was just a few steps away from the bathroom. Inside were rows and rows of clothes and accessories.

"These are all mine?" he asked in shock.

"Yes, Your Highness."

He scratched his nape. "Man... I don't know what I'm supposed to wear."
"Do you want me to call your personal stylist?"

He shook his head. It felt like he's already spent has of his day and he hasn't even had breakfast yet. "Just help me pick something to wear."

"B-But I... I don't know how."

He sighed & just picked stuff he saw on Henry earlier.
The clothes were hideous and uncomfortable, but he had no other clothes to wear. Everything he likes wasn't in that era.

During that long walk from his room (aka the whole east side of the castle), he learned that he has a lot of people that would put idols' glam teams to shame.
Henry was telling the truth. The last guy was beheaded via a guillotine because Prince Jinyoung was being stubborn. 'This world's seriously messed up', he thought to himself.

&apparently, he has to slay a dragon to wake &marry the sleeping princess locked inside a cursed castle.
Ella took him to where the king and queen were. And then, she left because she's needed somewhere else. He wondered if he'll ever see her again, given that the castle was so big and they have no cellphones.

Seriously, how do they communicate?!

But he saw Henry again, thank god.
The dining table could easily seat 25 to 30 people, but there were only 3 of them at that time. The king was saying something so he tried to listen intently but he was just too far away.

"I'M SORRY, WHAT?" he yelled.

The king spoke again. He didn't hear a damn thing.

Henry's eyes were practically bulging. Maybe he shouldn't have yelled. But MAYBE they should have been seated closer to one another? He abruptly got up, making his helpers rush to his side. He picked his heavy plate (God, everything was so heavy!) but they took it from his hands.
He walked to where the King, sat a few seats away, but definitely within earshot.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you over there," he told him. "Why do I have to slay a dragon?"

"Because you're the prince, son. You have to do it to rescue the princess."


The king sighed.
Someone, he assumed it was one of the king's subjects, explained to him that the cursed kingdom holds immeasurable treasures, but only the princess knows where it is. The princess was cursed to sleep forever, guarded by a dragon, only to be awakened by true love's kiss.
The king then told him to eat a lot because he has to travel to the kingdom that day. The food was already inedible, but it tasted worse when he heard it. What it translated as: "Eat your last meal. You're going to die today."

He asked if they can't send anyone else.
"Only a prince can enter the maze," Henry explained.

Seeing his hesitation, the king added, "If you don't want to do it, you will be hanged for treason."

"On what grounds?!"

"For saying no to the king!"

"F-Forgive him, Your Majesty," Henry intervened. "He hit his head today."
"Does he even know what treason means?!" he asked Henry in frustration.

"You have to understand, Your Highness. Your kingdom is small. The king wants to get those treasures so he could rule over the other kingdoms."

He sighed as Henry helps him with his armor.
"Still... sending your son to possibly die just to get richer?"

"Don't feel bad, Your Highness. Three of your brothers are already dead," Henry said nonchalantly. "And three more will die, if necessary."

Jinyoung shuddered. "I have six brothers and 3 of them are already dead?"
Henry nodded as he put on the last piece of armor.

"How does that feel?" he asked.

"I don't know. I've never met them."

"I meant your armor, Your Highness."


He tried lifting his arms. He groaned when he felt their weight. He tried walking and almost stumbled.
Seeing how he couldn't even walk with the armor on, Henry helped him remove it. They traveled with an entire army, with Henry beside him (he insisted on bringing him&promised he will be protected from harm).

For numerous days, they traveled. It felt like forever. It was too long
"How much further?" he asked for the hundredth time.

"We're almost there, Your Highness," Henry told him.

By 'almost there', Henry meant about 3 more days. Jinyoung thought he was going to die right then and there. How can anyone slay a dragon when they're already too tired?
Finally, they reached the entrance of the maze. Henry helped him with his armor again. "This is where you go alone, Your Highness."

He gulped. "I'm going to die, aren't I?"

Henry blinked. His eyes were already moist. "J-Just use your shield and sword as you practiced."
But Jinyoung never practiced. Everyone said he did, but he didn't. He even tried lifting the sword and thought it would be impossible to lift it up since it seemed like it weighs more than he does.

He ended up entering the maze just dragging his sword behind him as he walked.
The maze was eerie. The air above it was thick, almost cloud-like. He couldn't see the sky clearly. The ground was covered in sand and ashes and his armor and sword were making too much noise. If there was any danger inside, it would certainly find him without a problem.
He decided to just do it smartly. He may not have brawn, but he has his brain. He should go with what he's good at.

Deciding with finality, he removed his armor and left his sword. He covered his tracks as he walked and continued as quietly as possible.

"Your Highness."
Jinyoung almost had a heart attack when he heard a woman's voice. Clutching his chest, he turned around to see who it was. Standing there was a cloaked figure.

She removed the hood to reveal who she was. It was Ella, the servant girl.

"Ella? What are you doing here?"
"Helping you get to the castle."

"But how did you get in? I thought only princes are allowed inside?"

Ella smiled. "I know this place better than anyone, Your Highness. When one says the ground is cursed, people easily believe it. So we made the rumors to protect the castle."

He was more confused now. If Ella was a servant in 'his' kingdom, then why did she have to protect this kingdom? It didn't make any sense.

Ella simply smiled and told him, "Follow me, Your Highness. The princess awaits you."

She walked past him.

"Hey!" he called.
Ella didn't stop walking so he had no choice but to follow her. She was still walking briskly, but he was able to keep up this time.

They walked in silence for a while. He followed her closely, afraid he'd get lost if he didn't. She might as well be leading him to his death.
Ella seemed to know where she's going. Unfortunately, he had no means to know if it's safe to trust her. But he didn't have any choice.

She stopped when they reached a dead end. When she turned around, he thought she'd say they have to retrace their steps.

"We're here."
She waved her hand in front of the wall and vines slowly unraveled and untangled by themselves.

Leaves fell as the twigs curl and compress. After a while, they stopped and everything became still.

Ella just willed the wall to open and make a doorway for them.
The place on the other side was the complete opposite of the maze. It looked so picturesque, not at all what Jinyoung was expecting.

He thought things would be burning and/or in ashes since there was an alleged dragon just flying around, waiting to be slain.
"Are you sure it's the right place?"

Ella nodded.

She stepped outside the maze & motioned him to follow. Even the air was fresh. Confused, he followed her.

"How did you do that, by the way?" he asked. "Are you a magician or something? Or is there a sensor hidden in the maze?"
"I'm a witch, Your Highness," she said. "When my father died, he left me the responsibility of protecting this kingdom."

"But why were you working as a servant?"

"To see if you or any of your brothers are worthy of the princess' hand."

He frowned. "Did you kill my brothers?"
They were all given a choice, she told him. They were all given plenty of chances to escape. All of them chose to fight the dragon. Jinyoung didn't feel any remorse for his 'brothers', since he never knew them. He doesn't even know their names.

"So... there's really a dragon?"
Ella's eyes gleamed and her smile became sinister. "I am the dragon, Your Highness."

Jinyoung found himself backing away. But Ella didn't transform completely. She went back to being her human self in a snap.

She gave him a cheeky smile. "Don't worry. You won't die today."
That didn't comfort him. But what can he do against a witch who can turn herself into a dragon at will? Nothing but be on her good side. He kept his guard up, though. Just in case.

She led him inside a tower with a spiral staircase. She said the princess was asleep at the top.
"Don't I have to fight you first?" he asked while they go up.

"Do you want to, Your Highness?"

"I'm just asking."

Ella smiled. "It would be such a waste, Your Highness. You're different from the rest. I wouldn't want to kill you."

It was odd, but he liked what she said.
"How will I wake the princess? I mean, how can it be true love if I will just meet her today?"

"True love isn't something that develops, Your Highness. It's something that is always there. People just take a long time recognizing it."

"What if I'm not her true love? What then?"
"Then you can choose to go or fight the dragon... for glory."

"Do I have to actually fight you?"

"Yes, Your Highness. But you won't win against me," she said with a bright smile. "But I can make a dragon's severed head for you to take home."

"Yeah. I like that better."
When they finally reached the top of the tower, Ella pushed the heavy wooden door open. They were greeted by a blinding light. Four open windows let the sunlight in, which reflected on the glass coffin in the middle of the room. Fresh flowers adorned the closed coffin.
With a flick of a hand, Ella willed the sprouting vines to grow. They covered the windows to block the sunlight. She left enough opening so there will be just enough light inside.

Then she opened the coffin. Jinyoung expected the scent of decay. Instead, it smelled like roses.
A beautiful princess lay sleeping inside. Her hair is brown and curled and perfectly in place. Her cheeks are rosy white, eyelashes are thick and long, and her lips are red and plump.

Jinyoung felt his heartbeat.

"Do you feel something different?"

He shook his head.
"What am I supposed to do now?" Will true love's kiss work if he's not in love with the princess, at the moment?

"Kiss her," she told him.


"Once she wakes up, you two will get married."

"What if I don't want to marry her?"

Ella's eyebrows furrowed. "Why not?"
Why not? Because love, for him, takes time. It doesn't happen in an instant. It doesn't happen at first sight. Even if he's the princess' true love, he doesn't see himself falling in love with her any time soon.

What if she's just a pretty face?

"You are odd, Your Highness."

"There's no one like you here," she told him. "It feels as if you're not even--" She stopped, suddenly in deep thought. Then, her eyes widened with comprehension. "The prophecy!"

She looked at him and frowned.

"Could it be true?" she asked herself.

"What prophecy?"
Ella pulled a loose brick from the wall behind her and retrieved a book inside.

His eyebrows furrowed when he saw it. It looked familiar.

"My father had this since he was a kid. But he never opened it. He said someone from another world will, someday."

She gave it to him.
"Open it, Your Highness."

The letters on the cover gleamed. Jinyoung's heartbeat quickened. Something from the back of his mind slowly resurfaced.

He ran his fingers through the cover. It felt... alive.

He touched its fore edge, felt the pages loosening. And then, it opened.
It felt as though he was pushed violently against something. The entire shelf shook. Something fell on his head. He yelped in pain.


He looked around him, disoriented. Why are there so many books? Where's the princess? Where's Ella?!

'The book!' he thought.
He found it lying open on the floor. He momentarily forgot the pain as he fumbled through the pages. How did it end? Did the prince kiss the princess? Did they live happily ever after?

His face paled when he got to the last page. It was empty. The ending was nowhere to be found.
He leaned back against the wall and massaged the lump on his head. Great. Just great. The last book he read has no ending. How will he be able to sleep at night?

He was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the door open.

"Hello?" came a voice.

It sounded familiar.
When he looked up, he came face to face with Ella. She looks like Ella, but she's wearing an oversized yellow shirt, denim shorts, and white sneakers.

"Who are you?" she asked. Then, seeing the mess surrounding him, added, "What happened here?"

"I... uh..."
He stood up & picked the scattered books.

Clearing his throat, he said, "The owner just took a quick trip to the market, but she'll be back."

He looked at her. Her hair is straight, unlike Ella's. He knew she can't be Ella, but she looks like her.

"Feel free to look around."
"Did grandma hire you?" she asked. "I thought she's already closing the store?"


"I'm her granddaughter. Didn't she say I'm coming to visit?"

"Oh... she did." He offered his hand and introduced himself. "I'm Jinyoung, by the way."

She accepted it.

"I'm Elle."

Thanks for reading!

In case you have not read the first one yet:

GOT7 Fic #1: See The Light
You can follow @jhingness.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: