She watches him sleep. She had already slept so long in the coffin but it seemed he hadn't been able to catch a wink of it. She makes the decision, not for herself, but for him. She can't keep him tied to her with good conscience knowing one of them will die. He can't run away because the Geum Gang Go she placed around him won't allow him to. Seon Mi refuses to be the one to kill him.
It's so heartbreaking. The very man she had hoped to marry, the one person who loved her and she loved back, their fate was a deadly one. Seon Mi should have known it was too good to hope for a Soulmate fate and a happy ending. She was Sam Jang after all. Cursed since birth. A myriad of happy memories with Son Oh Gong hits her and she smiles sadly. She can't have the man in front of her, but he gave her so many happy memories to cherish. If she has to let him go for his own safety, because she has no other way to protect him from herself (from their fate) then she will.
"If it's because of the Geum Gang Go that has brought upon the fate of the death bell, then please run away from me again, Son Oh Gong."
She tears up when the magic bracelet is finally off of his wrist. He’s still asleep and doesn’t realize that she finally set him free. She kisses his hand one last time (a last goodbye, a last I love you), this time not letting go and wanting to hold on to him as long as possible before he inevitably leaves her. She whispers that he should run away once again since it’s the only way she knows how to protect him. He didn’t rest until he found her and brought her back to reality where she could be responsible for his death. His death by her hands is something Jin Seon Mi can’t bear after feeling like her parents and grandmother’s deaths were her fault too.
His breathing shifts and she can tell he’s going to wake up in a few seconds. So, Jin Seon Mi makes a split second decision and fakes being asleep, her hand still in his, the other one holding the Geum Gang Go. She can’t face him. She wants her last memory of him being one where he still loved her. She doesn’t know what she’ll see when he wakes up and she doesn’t think she can stand seeing his eyes which no longer hold affection for her. She tries to even out her breathing, wishing she could actually fall asleep for a few minutes so she doesn’t have to feel his reaction even if she can’t see it. But she can’t fall asleep so she just pretends and waits for his reaction to hit.
Son Oh Gong wakes up to feel something missing. The constant weight around his wrist has been lifted but the weight around his heart hasn’t. He instantly looks down to see the Geum Gang Go no longer in his wrist. It is instead clutched in his bride’s hand. His breath hitches as he realizes that she took it off when he was sleeping despite his refusal to have it removed. He looks to her face, seeing her asleep. Her brows are furrowed. Her eyes are swollen as if she was crying and her mouth is set in a sad downturn curve. He wants to wake her up and demand why she took it off but he already knows. He knows why she took the Geum Gang Go off. She’s afraid she’ll kill him and so she takes it off to protect him. So he could run away… or so he could kill her instead. The very thought of it hurts his heart.
Son Oh Gong feels just how tightly Seon Mi is holding his hand. Her hand is clammy and her grip strong. As if trying to keep him with her and hold on to him as long as possible. She wants him with her, but she wants him to stay safe more. Even if that means letting him kill her or run away from her. The very thought makes his eyes tear up and Son Oh Gong is struck with extreme relief at the fact he still loves her. A burden moves off his heart, once he realizes he doesn’t want to kill her. He indeed does love Jin Seon Mi without the Geum Gang Go just as he had hoped but was too afraid to risk testing.
He loves her. He still wants to marry her, protect her, cherish her. The thought of Ah Sa Nyeo having hidden her away from him still makes him want to murder the witch and the desperation he felt when Seon Mi wouldn’t wake up or call for him still haunts him. The idea of living without her, without knowing she’s safe, for a single day still feels like a crushing weight on his chest just as it did before. He loves her. And he doesn’t think he’ll ever stop.
He loves her. Unconditionally.
Jin Seon Mi waits with baited breath for his reaction once she hears him take a shaky breath and her hand in his lift slightly as he inspects his wrist for the Geum Gang Go. Her heart beat is rapid and she’s trying to keep her breathing even to keep up her pretense of being asleep. Is he going to leave her ? Wake her up roughly and kick her out ? Or will he just kill her then and there in his anger at practically having being her slave for so long ? She wonders if it’s better he eats her now. He would still be the one to kill her but at least she wouldn’t be the one to kill him. He had given her all the things she had desperately longed for all her life: a semblance of normalcy, a friend to talk to, a family to depend on, and the love and affection she had craved so much since childhood. Despite the dread and fear in her heart, she can’t bring herself to regret taking off the Geum Gang Go. But she also can’t muster the courage to open her eyes, fearful of what she’d see reflected in his.
‘It’s best this way,’ she tells herself. 'No confrontation.’ Just a quick death where her last memory doesn’t have to be his eyes looking into hers with betrayal, rage and contempt. She can die with her last memory of his gaze being one of love and concern.
Her thoughts are morbid. She tries not to allow herself to hope he still loves her. So it startles her when Son Oh Gong gently squeezes the hand intertwined with his. He then let’s go and she feels him reach up and brush some of her hair from her face. His touch is gentle and soft. At this point Seon Mi no longer knows what to feel. Her limbs feel weak and her mind is overwhelmed. She can feel his gaze burning into her face. The anticipation, sadness and longing makes her feel like her heart is going to explode. Is he going to eat her and is just examining her like a predator examines it’s prey ? ('Or does he still love me ?’ She wonders, as her foolish hopes surface).
Her heart jolts as she feels him press his palm to her cheek and whisper softly, “You’re pretty…”
Once again his hand finds her but this time he raises it to his lips and kisses her fingers tenderly, specifically where her mini Geum Gang Go engagement ring previously was, “…becuase I love you.”
Her heart skips a beat and in this shock Jin Seon Mi opens her eyes which are now glassy with emotion. Disbelief crosses her face. Son Oh Gong smiles at her, his eyes also red rimmed and teary.
He wants to be mad at her for taking off the Geum Gang Go despite his refusal… but he can’t. Not when he’s so relieved his feelings didn’t change. He still loves her and wants to protect her. Their contract is still valid and he’ll always come to her when she’s in danger. Soon he’s going to marry her which will be yet another contract binding them together. This time it will be for eternity.
Seeing his bride still distressed and disbelieving of his feelings, he gently pulls her closer and touches his forehead against hers, their hands still clasped tightly in between them. It’s a simple action of love and intimacy. A calming balm to both their hearts who feared losing the love they held for the other.
“The Great Sage, Son Oh Gong, still sincerely loves the Human Jin Seon Mi with all his heart.”
And Jin Seon Mi smiles through her tears as she whispers back, this time so he can hear her loud and clear:
“The Human Jin Seon Mi, sincerely loves the Great Sage, Son Oh Gong with all her heart too.”