Chapter 1: Prologue
Years ago trunk placed on a magical current was exposed to the full moon on a night where the current was the strongest and the two realms at it thinnest, it created a blast of magic and the trunk grew into a beautiful tree in the blink of an eye in a forest south of a little village of a werewolf pack. The pack almost didn’t dare to approach it but once they did they found a big beautiful tree that looked ethereal. The once murky, deathlike forest had turned very flourishing, green and healthy.
The High Alpha of the pack was the one to approach it cautiously; it could smell the scent of magic and something that was totally alien. There was yet another scent, a scent that was akin to an omega but sweeter and found the human baby nestled in the opening of the tree’s trunk cooing happily and cheered in delight by the sight of the werewolves massive wolf head. The High Alpha called for the witch covens High Priestess that was in another part of the forest, she was an old and very wise woman and she had to see with her own eyes to believe what they had told her. She knew what this was, what had happened – once every half-century the magical currents underneath was at their most exposed state and if there was a full moon a Tree of Life would grow from the purest and lightest of magic with a baby in the trunk of the tree.
Such a baby was called a Maiden despite gender and this tree of life was to be called MAMA, MAMA would choose who was allowed to near the baby and bestow any who pledged their loyalty and protection to the tree and the baby with great powers. Not only that, a pack or coven etc. would be given great prosperity and their land would be very healthy and the water the purest of all. The baby would smell sweeter than any omega, if one consumed the Maiden blood any wound would heal and if drained completely would give extended life to whoever drained the Maiden and drank it. If one ate the Maiden their body they would gain eternal beauty and youth. If one lay with the Maiden they would get a strong, healthy offspring and they themselves would turn much stronger and get more stamina. It would be a subdued scent but once the Maiden turned eighteen its scent, blood and flesh would call out to supernaturals and would be in grave danger until the Maiden had married and laid with its destined Mate. The Mate was always a Guardian, once having imprinted on the Maiden it was inevitable and were to be fulfilled.
The magical realm hidden within our world would be exposed to the maiden, beasts, demons and other supernaturals glamour would not work on the Maiden and so she/he would be able to see through it from the age of them being babies. The Maiden was exposed and vulnerable as it was as vulnerable and mortal as any other human. The High Alpha considered this greatly before he took one look at the baby and felt a fatherly love towards it, werewolves were natural protective spirits to the humans and this Maiden – as all other Maidens the High Priestess told him – was even more precious to them. So he accepted the pledge and swore to the tree.
MAMA’s branches stretched out, chose twelve wolves who became Guardians of the MAMA and the Maiden – when they got touched on the back of their hands by the branch a tattoo of Tree Of Life would appear on their upper arm. When they turn 13 their powers appear and they will get a full-sleeve of tattoos representing their power, their power symbol would be on the back of their hand. When one of them imprints on the Maiden then the trunk of the tree tattoo will open up and a flower grows in it until it’s fully developed at 18 and will be seen in full bloom, the flowers are different depending on guardian as is the appearances of the tattoos.
The High Alpha shifted then and gathered the Maiden in his arms, cooing at the precious baby. Every fifty years MAMA would give birth to a new Maiden and with the new Maiden it chose new guardians for her/him he was told by the High Priestess before she left them after blessing them of their joy but warned them about the Maiden getting heavy with children which they didn’t understand – but would in the most horrific of ways.
The Maiden had grown up happily, imprinting on her mate from the Guardians and once she had turned eighteen she married and laid with her husband. Once she grew pregnant she became very weak as did her husband, the baby feeding of their magic and energy but they loved it dearly. Also, no one could touch her but her husband as the baby recognized him as its father also the fact that the Guardian was very protective and loving of the Maiden reassured the baby that he meant no harm. When the Maiden gave birth to the child the cut of the cord killed her as her magic had been completely drained by her baby and seeing as she was a being made from primarily magic she died as she gave birth.
It happened always but somehow the records of the births got lost after wars caused in protection of the maidens, it wasn’t always a werewolf pack protecting Mama and getting to have the Maiden on that particular spot but 1847 a werewolf pack once more took control of it but with incomplete records they did not know what the Maiden birthing would bring. The Maiden 1847 survived the birth miraculously because of an off-the-record way but they didn’t repeat it so the Maiden born 1897 died and the Maiden 1947 died under a battle.
1997 they were too late finding the baby as a human family had done so before them which bring a new scenario to them. Seeing as MAMA is only seen and part of the magical realm then how could the two humans find it? How will the Maiden grow up with humans and still be protected by the pack? And this is when the story begins.
Chapter 2: The beginning
In which Chaeyoung is clumsy, Lisa is a bro and why you should always knock before entering.
here's the first chapter and I hope you will enjoy it :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I woke up, stretching out in my bed while yawning. Lisa had once said I reminded her of a puppy whenever I woke up and I hadn’t found a reason to deny it because one, I really acted like a puppy and two, puppies were cute so why not be compared to a puppy? I sat up in bed, rubbing an eye as I tried to wake up and glanced at my blaring alarm. With a pout I took my phone and swiped the little alarm clock on the screen to the right which meant it had worked while to the left had been snoozing. I froze as I noticed the calendar on my phone, seeing the countdown I had put on it. Just five more days then I’ll be rid of Yongsun and the others forever. But five days was still five days too long almost if the lump in my stomach was anything to go by. I was used to ignoring it, which I did as I got out of bed and headed out of my room towards the bathroom to clean up and use the toilet.
As I did my business I started to think how it was unbelievable that in just a few days I would be rid of Yongsun, I wouldn’t have to go to school and share the same air as the horrid woman anymore. She had bullied me for as long as I can remember, at first it had been just because I was able to see demons and other supernatural beings that hid behind glamor. I was born that way but as a kid when I told the other kids whenever I saw a demon or cried because the demons loved to scare me since no one would be able to see them do it, it made the other kids really think that I was a bad kind of weird instead of a funny weird that Lisa fondly said I was.
The kids froze me out, whenever I asked to play they either ignored me or said that the teams were full except I could see that it wasn’t, not that they cared of course as long as I left them alone. Yongsun and her friends though had taken it further and started bullying me, they teased me about my fear for the demons and pushed me a lot and even threw dirt and stones at me at times. I tried to fight back, I told my parents who went to speak to Yongsun and her friends' parents but they were convinced that their kids were such well-behaving angels who would never do that and had told them instead to make me more normal.
Needless to say none of my parents were fond of the other parents that spoke ill of me and they stood by me, doing everything in their power to make sure I was treated right – at least when I was in school because otherwise I liked to stay inside or I was attached to Lisa’s hip. My parents understood but not only that. They knew about my ability, they kept it a secret and made sure that I knew they believed it, believed me and that it didn’t make them love me any less. They were really cool parents but they weren’t home a lot, dad was a surgeon so he was often gone for hours at a time when he had shifts at the hospital in Daegu which was an hour away from the village we lived in and mom was a nurse. Often I had wondered why we just didn’t live in Daegu but they really loved living in the countryside and despite being bullied I had to agree I loved being a country girl.
When I washed my hands I caught a look at myself in the mirror, by habit I looked to the place in my hair where I had a scar. Lisa had moved here when she was 13 before her one could easily think I hadn’t had friends but I and my parents knew otherwise. I didn’t remember the accident I had been in but mom had told me that when I was nine they had found my outside of the house with my head in a puddle of my own blood. They didn’t know how or why it had happened but the repercussions had left me with memory loss of my childhood before that incident. Over the years since that I had gotten back pieces of memories, sometimes it was random ones like when I remembered walking in on my dad shaving his face and pretended to be Santa Claus with a shaving cream beard but I had also remembered important ones of the close friends I had had. I remembered the first time I met my two best friends, Jongin and Sehun, I had been hiding behind a rock crying when they had approached me and asking me if I wanted to play.
I had said yes and that had been the beginning of our friendship. My parents had helped me fill in blanks of memories and even told me of things that I hadn’t remembered but I kept a secret from them. They thought that Jongin and Sehun had been humans, just as well as their older friends or parents but they were wrong. I wondered what they would do if I told them that the two boys had been werewolves, they would’ve probably been shocked then scared for me that I had been close to danger seeing as demons had a real thing against me but that’s also the reason I hadn’t told them. But the other was that I also remembered about having sworn secrecy about them, about the pack and about me going into what they called the magical realm where demons and supernaturals being really lived but some lived in our realm or visited here at times.
In all my memories concerning the boys as well as my other friends that lived in their pack I knew they had been really kind and we had loads of fun, I remember seeing people shift into wolves as well as eating s’mores over an open fire while some kid named Chanyeol told us a scary story with a big grin. In the mirror I saw my cheeks heat up as I recalled the very few as well as the incredibly annoying memories I had of a guy I had referred to as Minnie, crushing big time on him even though it was obvious he had been older than me. He never said much in those memories but apparently, it had been enough for lil me, even I found myself thinking numerous times it would’ve been fine for current me as well but the annoying thing was I never managed to see his face seeing as either the memory ended too abruptly or it was very blurry.
Another annoying thing was that in case I actually found a guy at school that was interested in me I always thought of Minnie and felt ants of discomfort crawl under my skin in case the guy touched me. After a few tries, I eventually gave up but knew that if I ever remembered a way to get to Minnie or a way to find out what happened to him and the others seeing as I never saw them after my accident I would do it without hesitation. I couldn’t explain it but I felt that I needed to find him again, to my very bones I felt like I had to find him as if some part of me was missing and would be whole as long as I got to meet him again. It grew worse over the years and this year I had found it to be horrible.
Lisa who had been in eased into my abilities to see demons and was the only one who knew the truth about Minnie and the others. While she didn’t understand it completely she made an effort which was enough for me. Ever since we met she had accepted my quirky, weird yet shy personality and interests. Sometimes she went along with it or she was there to help me come back to earth if needed but she was never malicious about it. While she found my past and piecing them together to try and find Minnie and the others interesting and thrillings he was the realistic one and putting her foot down when enough was enough. I appreciated it.
“ROSEBUD! BREAKFAST IS READY!” I nearly jumped out of my skin as I heard someone yell all of a sudden and I grabbed a towel on the way to dry my hands as I walked down the staircase carefully. I went for the kitchen, sighing but with a grin in place as Lisa sat by the breakfast table already gulping down a bowl of cereal. “Mornin’, the toasts are in the toaster but make yourself your usual bowl of yogurt.”
“At what point did we become this domestic?” I questioned but did as she said, sitting down in a chair and poured up some vanilla-pear yogurt into a bowl.
“Probably since the time you walked in on me masturbating.” She said casually but wasn’t able to keep a straight face when I threw the lid to the yogurt on her.
“Do you have to be so filthy in the morning?” I questioned, fighting down a blush as I remembered that one time years ago when we had been friends for like three months and she hadn’t heard her mom calling for her that I had come over. I’ve never wanted to pour my eyes in bleach as much as then, screaming I had slammed the door closed after I had seen what she was doing – her hand as a matter of fact. After closing the door behind her though I had heard her laughing which had made me laugh despite how embarrassed I had felt. That’s just how we worked, stuff happened then we laughed and moved on. Though Lisa was a master at bringing up such stuff to tease me seeing as she knew just how embarrassed and shy I got about certain stuff. Especially erotic stuff.
“Please, everyone masturbates but I’ll keep it PG for you sweetheart.” She giggled when I sent her an un-amused glare. “So, nearly two months until you’re legal – any plans?”
“Eating pizza, junk food, and candy while having a Pokémon movie marathon,” I replied with a shrug and whined when she threw a piece of banana on me. “Lalice~”
“Don’t Lalice me, like, okay it’s fine if you really want to celebrate your birthday like that but if there’s something you really want to do instead I need to you tell me, okay? So that we can actually do it.” She pointed her spoon at me after she’d taken a spoonful of cereal that she was currently chewing then swallowing. “I mean it, I’ll do anything you want like you did for my birthday. I’ll even pinky promise on it.” She offered his hand, I pursed my lips as I thought over the suggestion and then figured I should just pinky promise but was pretty sure I wouldn’t change my mind or need it. I hooked my pinky with hers and we shook our hands.
I fought back the tears as Yongsun and her friends encircled me by the lockers. I had just went back to my shoe locker to get a notebook I had forgotten in my hurry to get to class on time seeing as I had slept in as my night had been filled with nightmares and a demon in the nightmare had scared me, saying it would come for me before it had turned to ice and died when a silver-colored wolf with a white muzzle and paws had tipped it over. I had woken up then at 3 am and didn’t manage to fall back asleep so I was exhausted. So naturally I had forgotten my notebook as I hurried to my locker but being very sluggish about it, I hadn’t expected Yongsun and her friends to be skipping classes at that time. At first, I hadn’t noticed them but when I had turned around Yongsun had pushed me against the lockers hard while smirking cruelly.
“Crying already retard? What’s wrong, seen one of your brain monsters again? I mean seriously, what the hell are you smoking or did that hit the head really leave you brain damaged?” I flinched at the insults, curling into myself as her friends laughed as if she had said something really funny. “What? I can’t hear you when someone asks something you should reply carrot head.” She gripped my chin to make me look at her, I slapped her hand away, dropping the notebook in the process and gave Yongsun a watery glare.
“Don’t touch me,” I said, my voice wavered but at least the words came out. I bent down, grabbed my notebook and tried to elbow my way through them. “Leave me alone!” I begged and this time when they threw me to the locker I gasped in pain. My head throbbed but soon that pain was easily forgotten as Yongsun leveled a punch to my face. I held my cheek, trembling with fear, anger, pain. I hated this, I hated to be bullied and I hated Yongsun so much. The lack of sleep had me really cranky too and I just wanted Yongsun to be done with her daily dosage of destroying whatever joy I felt when I was in school.
“Who the fuck do you think you are to speak to an unnie like that huh?” He asked snidely and my mouth worked quicker than my brain;
“You’re no unnie of mine,” I mumbled but loud enough for her to hear and she grabbed the collar of my shirt and pressed against my throat making me gasp for breath. My hands clutched hers, nails digging into her hands hard as I tried to get her to let me go.
“Watch your fucking mouth, freak.” She spat on my face making me flinch in disgust.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!?” I sighed in relief when I heard Lisa’s voice and then Yongsun for some reason let go of me making me crash down to the ground as my legs were too weak to keep me up. I looked up, coughing slightly as the pressure on my neck was gone – my eyes widened when Yongsun fell to the ground holding her nose that was bleeding. Lisa sent a glare to her friends, face set in a snarl. Other students just stood by not saying anything, just spectators to the event but I noticed how some of Lisa’s other friends inched closer in case they needed to intervene. “What? Not going to pick on her when it’s not one against four? You’re disgusting, get out of my sight or I’ll tell the principal everything.”
“Like she’s going to believe you, you don’t have any proof.” One of Yongsun’s friends, Moonbyul stated looking quite proud as he did so but one of Lisa’s friends Bambam spoke up then and waved his phone.
“I think this video will be good enough as proof.” He smirked at Moonbyul that seemed to be at loss of words then looked to Yongsun who got up on her feet. Lisa stood in front of me protectively, clenching her fists.
“Take a hike.” She hissed, Yongsun glared through the tears, spat at Lisa’s shoes before she left with her friends tagging along. “I will have to burn my shoes so I don’t get infected with whatever stupidity she has, great – I actually liked these shoes,” Lisa muttered then turned around to me. “Damn, she clocked you good.” She said with a wince as she looked at my cheek. “Come on, let’s get you up and then to the infirmary seeing as you need to put ice on that.”
“T-thank you Lalice,” I said in a small voice as she helped me up to my feet, looking at me in sympathy and smiled slightly.
“Don’t thank me, I needed a reason to punch her.” She winked, making me giggle but stopped as it pulled on my sore cheek so I cradled it. “Good thinking with the phone Bambam, thanks for the backup guys.” Her friends waved it away, offering me apologies and sympathetic pats on my shoulders while Lisa steered me towards the infirmary. Letting me lean against her as I cried silently, sniffling every now and then trusting Lisa to lead me where I needed to be. “Are you okay? Did she hurt you somewhere else?” She asked gently, putting an arm around my waist so she was hugging me as we walked.
“She just… She just called me bad words.” I choked out between the crying. “I hate her… I hate this… Why can’t she just leave me alone?” I asked and Lisa gave me a sad smile then just said;
“Just three more days then you’ll never have to be in the same room as her ever again.” She was right, that was all I could do and with years of experience I knew I could endure three more days but if I could I would try to limit our time together as much as I could.
I smiled when I remembered once when I was little that Minnie had actually stood up for me once against Yongsun and her friends, making them scared out of their brains then threatened to kick their asses if they didn’t leave me alone, then I had hugged Minnie tightly while he had ruffled my hair saying he would always protect me. I was really thankful for Lalice but as we got to the nurse’s office and she handed me an ice package I thought of the cold hand ruffling my hair and not for the first time I missed Minnie.
”Come on Vaporeon! Use Waterfall, yes just like that! WOOHOO! IN YOUR FACE HAIRBALL!” I cheered, happy I won over my competitor.
“Hey, I thought you said I looked better with a beard?” I turned around from the TV to daddy in the doorway, looking sad but in a funny way – I knew he was joking.
“Not you daddy, my anamy on the game,” I said and turned back to the screen and pressed a few buttons on my N64 game controller as I navigated through the stadium to play another match again a much stronger anamy.
“It’s E-N-E-M-Y, not A-N-A-M-Y.” He corrected me and I shrugged, it sounded the same so what was the harm? Grown Ups were so silly at times. The doorbell chimed, daddy left to open the door and I was just about to press so I could play when daddy yelled for me. “ROSEBUD, JONGINIE AND SEHUNIE ARE HERE!”
“WHAT!?” I screamed excited, dropping the controller and ran to the front door. Sure enough there stood my two bestest friends in the whole wide world and even the yuniverse. “Jojo! Sese!” I squealed happily, running up to them and hugged them tightly.
“Chae!” Sehun giggled and sniffed my neck when he hugged back.
“Mommy said we could have a slumber party so we’re here to invite you, do you want to come to our slumber party tonight?” Jongin asked as he pulled back, grinning a big smile that showed that one of his tooths was missing. I clutched my hands together as I looked up to daddy.
“Please, please, please can I go, daddy? You’ll be the bestest daddy in the world if you let me go!” Daddy scratched his chin in thought.
“Hmm… Bestest daddy in the world you say?” I nodded really fast to show him I was super duper serious. “Well, how can I say no to that.” He grinned. “Come on in boys, let’s go and pack Chaeyoung an overnight bag.” All of us cheered and hurried to my room to pack an overnight bag.
Everything got blurry and vivid with colors and suddenly I wasn’t packing anymore but walking down a slippery path in the forest. Jongin had turned into a wolf, leaving his ripped clothes behind, Sehun called him dumb and said he was going to get in trouble. But it was muted, I just knew he had said it but I didn’t hear it as I looked around – I saw the tree with holes that formed a face on it, it speeds forward I noticed a pile of big rocks that resembled a bunny and lastly a tree with claw marks on the trunk before the sounds returned to my ears and I wasn’t lost in my own head.
“… and then when Jongdae hyung called for Zitao hyung he turned around and screamed like a girl when he saw the cockroach Jongdae hyung held!” Sehun laughed so hard he had to clutch his tummy.
I laughed too and Jongin who was in his puppy wolf form yipped as if he was laughing then continued jumping from place to place. Jongin was a cute puppy with chocolate colored fur, his eyes were a pretty silver color too but he said he would get another color when he turned thirteen and became a teenage wolf. Blue for Beta, purple if you’re an omega and red if you’re an alpha he had told me when I asked what color it would be. He could be any of those, he thought he was going to become an alpha while Sehun always teased him and said he would be an omega.
No matter what I thought it would be cool either way, especially to see what powers they could get – they had told me they were guardians, kind of like Power Rangers but as werewolves with cool superpowers. Jongin’s daddy was an old guardian and he could breathe fire like a dragon! He also played dinosaur really good and made the bestest s’mores. Jongin had said we would do s’mores tonight, my tummy looked forward to it.
“Chaebaby!” I looked up from my shoes, I had been lost in my thoughts and grinned when I saw Kyungsoo oppa. He was two years older than me, he was really nice and really funny too – he was also good at playing T-Rex. I ran up to him and hugged him super duper tightly.
“Jongin, where are your clothes?” I heard him ask as I let go of him, looking up at the big door on an enormous old tree – none of the other kids in the village could see it, even though I have seen them walk past it a lot of times when I hid from them.
I had asked Lu hyung about it, he said it was because of the same reason I could see monsters or them when they didn’t use glamour as they called it. They said it was because I was special, I didn’t understand it but they said they would explain when I was older and for now I just needed to promise not to tell anyone about the tree door or about them to anyone but my mommy and daddy, even then I wasn’t allowed to say that they could turn into wolves. I didn’t like lying but it was really important I kept it a secret so I did; daddy had also said once that if you promise to keep a secret you must keep it no matter what unless it’s dangerous. And this secret wasn’t dangerous for anyone so I didn’t tell anyone ever.
When Jongin whined I looked away from the pretty door that glowed with white glass and looked at Jongin as he put his ears back, looking down at the ground and Sehun even looked a bit guilty too.
“… You shifted with them on didn’t you?” Another whine and Kyungsoo sighed. “Idiot, how many times have we told you to take them off and carry them in your mouth? It’s hard getting clothes and making them.” He put an arm around my shoulders and turned us around towards the door. “Come on, we can’t stand here all day.” He knocked three times on the door then said the password. “Pax.”
The door swung open, on the other side there was another forest, during the summer it was much greener and colorful than the one in the normal realm. At least that’s what I had heard Lu hyung called it and the place they lived in on the other side was called the magical realm. But it was spring now, as I walked over the threshold holding Kyungsoo’s hand I saw much more spring flowers and more animals that were awake – I squealed in delight when a squirfox climbed up a tree, it was a cute animal that was a mix of a squirrel and a fox. It was my fave animal.
We talked about loads of stuff but mostly what we would play when we got to the pack’s village and we invited Kyungsoo who said yes. I looked around with big eyes, it was amazing to see fairies fly around and the strange not-normal animals. I liked the magical realm much more than the normal realm but normal realm was best anyways because that’s where mommy and daddy lived.
I hopped along the path as we walked up to the big doors with high walls around, protecting the village. A guard looked down at us from a tower, I waved my hand to him and he waved back making me grin. I liked waving to people, adults should wave more when they see their friends instead of just saying hi. The doors opened so we walked inside, when we walked inside I was always a tiny bit jealous of everyone who was wearing old clothes – hanboks they were called I think – seeing as I was always wearing normal clothes. Then again, Sehun and Kyungsoo were wearing normal clothes this time too so I wasn’t the only one which was nice. Jongin would have too if he hadn’t ripped them when he transformed into a wolf.
“Minseok, what are you looking at- CHAEYOUNG!” My head snapped to the left and I saw-
“CHAEYOUNG!” My eyes snapped open, I just noticed that a face was way too close to mine so with a scream I scrambled up on my legs but my foot got caught in my chair’s leg and I tipped over to the side. I landed on the floor with a grunt, my side was numb with pain and I let myself lie there for a moment to get my bearings before I sat up. Rubbing my arm I looked up to the culprit, Lisa was standing by the chair I had been sitting on with a raised eyebrow and an amused smile threatening to break loose. “You okay there sleeping beauty?” I pouted in response, groaning a little as I got up on my legs. That’s when I noticed the other applicants for the work position snickering or giving me cold looks – I frowned, looking down at my feet as the embarrassment caught up to me and Lisa seemed to notice the others. “Yah, mind your own damn business.” Some gasped, others said not so nice things under their breath our way but I didn’t really care as I was used to it, yeah, it hurt a lil bit but Lisa was there with an arm around my shoulders so it felt a bit better. “Only I can mess with you.”
“Geez, thanks.” I scoffed lightly but leaned my head against hers. “Did your interview go well?” It’s been nearly two months since we graduated and we were going to Daegu to attend interviews for various jobs every now and then. So far we hadn’t gotten any job but we weren’t too worried, it would come and besides, we had been talking and discussing what we would do for my birthday seeing as it was just a matter of days before I would be eighteen and legal.
“It was okay but hey, what did you dream about by the way? You mumbled a lot, something about a cool wolf.” Lisa began to steer us out of the building, I walked along numbly as I furrowed my eyebrows in thought, suddenly I was onslaught by the dream but the thing that had me grabbing hold of the lapels of Lisa’s interview blazer was the fact that it wasn’t just any dream – it was a memory. I was sure of it as it felt too real not to be. It was the kind of dream I had been waiting for, one that could help me find some answers finally. “Chaeyoung!?”
“Lisa, remember when you said I needed to tell you if I figured out something else I wanted to do for my birthday and that you pinky promised we would do it no matter what?”
“Yeaaaaah? Why? Does it have anything to do with your dream because I’m telling you now that the only wolves nearby are at the zoo in Daegu.” She told me, visibly confused.
“Not really, there are some in the woods, back home.” I lowered my voice, whispering meaningfully and I saw realization dawn on her face. “I just remembered how to get to where they are, so how about we go exploring on my birthday?” Lisa got quiet, thinking it over and I got worried that she would decline but then she sighed and turned her head to the side. She then put her hands on her hips, raising her nose to the air – acting haughty.
“I am a woman of honor Chaeyoung-ssi, I always keep my pinky promises so I guess I have no choice but to follow you on your expedition.” She said as if she was some almighty rich girl. I blinked at her then tilted my head confused.
“So you’ll come along?” I asked and blinked more when she facepalmed.
“Yes, I’ll come along you idiot.” She said with no real irritation in her voice making me grin.
“YAY!” I jumped and hugged her around her neck which sent us both to the ground laughing.
The expedition would come to change my life but at that moment I was unknowing of the hardships before me and the blood which would spill.
So? What are your guys' thoughts so far? :) And don't forget to give it kudos if you like it :D
Chapter 3: A walk to remember
Chaeyoung and Lisa begin the search for the magical door but it isn't as easy as they first thought.
Here's the second chapter ^.^
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
”Minnie, why does everyone say I’m special? Is it because I can see monsters?” I asked Minseok that sat beside me on a bench in the village center of the village. I kicked my legs back and forth, unable to keep still for long – dad said I had ants in my leg which is weird because I couldn’t see them move around under the skin. If there were ants in my legs how did they even get in there?
“Yeah, kind of. And don’t say monsters, you’re nine and you know exactly what they are.” Minseok scoffed, sitting with crossed arms beside me.
“Demons and…” I tried to think of the other word, the word Minseok and the others called themselves. “Supper- No super… supernaturals?” He chuckled.
“Correct.” I raised a fist of victory to the air with a cheer. “Cute.” I blushed, grinning down at my lap at the praise and ruffling of my hair. “But yeah, you’re special because you can see them and us even when we have glamour on in the human realm. But not only because of that.” He explained and furrowed my eyebrows at him.
His face was hidden because of a hat he put on his face as he leaned back on the bench. But I could see his jawline, his throat and my eyes traveled to his left arm so I could see his tattoo. He had the coolest tattoo out of all of them, on the back of his hand he had a big snowflake in black but from the wrist, up to his upper arm, there was really beautiful ice waves and snowflakes. On the upper arm he also had a big tree with frosted leaves and in the trunk, there was a hole and in the hole, there was a flower bud. I loved it, it was really cool and pretty at the same time. It was much prettier than Yifan hyung’s arm with dragons, cooler than Yixing’s arm with flowers in bloom but the unicorn on Yixing’s hand was pretty.
He was just wearing a pair of shorts, while I and the others loved the warmth that had come for the summer Minseok was suffering. The heat wasn’t pleasant for him, it made him easily overheated and he often had to forego at least his shirts in the summer if he wanted to keep himself okay. I felt sad for Minseok since he couldn’t enjoy the summer but right at that moment, I shivered from the cold. Cold!? Looking up from my lap I gaped in awe as snowflakes flew around us as well as crystals that were really cold, they came from Minseok I noticed and caught sight of his eyes that was hidden under the shadow of his hat – glowing ice blue as they did whenever he used his powers instead of the Alpha red he had in wolf form and sometimes when he got really mad in human form. I got a bit cold but it was a nice cold seeing as it was so warm today and I hugged Minseok. He tensed at first but relaxed in my hold as I snuggled my face into his chest, enjoying the rumbling sound he made.
“Chaeyoung-ah, you need to promise me something.” I hummed, close to napping. “When you turn 18 you need to be less clumsy, you can’t cut yourself carelessly outside of your home or our village.”
“Why not? It’s normal for people to trip and get scratches.” I mumbled, curling more into his sides.
“Yeah but… You know what vampires are right?” He asked.
“Yeah, they drink blood and turn into bats.” I yawned.
“… They… Real vampires don’t turn into bats.” My head snapped up and I gaped up at him.
“WHAT!?” I exclaimed completely shocked. “BUT THEY HAVE BAT WINGS AT LEAST RIGHT!?”
“…. Are you serious? Of course, they don’t.” He answered and I blinked repeatedly.
“YOU’RE KIDDING ME!?” I screamed in horror as I just couldn’t believe it.
“YAH! DON’T RAISE YOUR VOICE AT ME, I’M YOUR ELDER!” He yelled right back and we argued for a solid ten minutes before Minseok gave up. “But that’s not important.”I pouted and went back to cuddling him, sighing happily when he curled an arm around me. “Your blood does not only attract vampire-”
“Attract? Is that like the move Chansey used with all the hearts? Will vampires use attract on me? I like hearts but I don’t want theirs. I only like you, Minnie.”
“…No, it’s not some pokémon move.” He sighed but his arm tightened a little bit so I knew he wasn’t mad which made me smile. “Okay… You will smell really good when you’re older but so will your blood too, not only vampires will want to drink your blood but other demons and other supernaturals too. So promise me you’ll try your hardest not to get cut after you’ve turned 18, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt, you’ll be there to protect me.” I must’ve imagined it but it almost felt like he kissed my head.
“Happy birthday to you~, happy birthday to you~, happy birthday dear Rosebud, happy birthday to you~” I blinked my eyes open, trying to understand that I had left my dream-memory and were back in the present. I grinned when I recognized just who was in my room, my parents were dressed in their scrubs but they had evidently made time to celebrate a bit of my birthday with me before they had to leave for work. Mom held a birthday cake with lit candles while dad held gifts in his hands. “Morning Rosebud~” Mom sat down beside me when I sat up, held the cake towards me. “Make a wish.” I licked my lips in contemplation before I knew exactly what to wish, I thought about snowflakes in the summer and a strong tattooed arm around me as I blew out all the candles. Wishing I would get to meet him again. Dad and mom cheered making me grin but I hid it a little.
“Mooooom! Daaaaaad!” I whined but loved being showered with the kisses and having their sole attention on me, it was nice. “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank us yet, open these gifts while your mom cuts up some cake for us.” Dad grinned as he handed over the five gifts.
Eagerly I opened them up, they had gotten me two hoodies – one with a Vaporeon print and the other with the Whitebeard pirate symbol print. They’d gotten me an all year round ticket to the Daegu zoo since they knew how much I loved going there to watch all the animals. I gasped in awe at the newest additions of the One Piece mangas I hadn’t had time to buy but what had me crying and telling them repeatedly how much I loved them was the new materials for the manga I was creating.
After eating some delicious chocolate cake with blueberry cream they said their goodbyes and left for work. I followed them to the door and waved them off, the minute they were out of sight I slammed the door behind me and ran up to my room – only falling once on the stair in my haste to get to my room.
The moment I had gotten into my room I snatched up my phone from my bedside table, quickly navigating through my contacts finding Lisa’s number and pressed call. I tapped my foot while waiting, urging him to pick up faster and when it just went to voicemail I gaped at the phone. How can she not pick up his phone when I’m calling her, on my birthday too? That’s just so rude. I thought with a huff and changed strategy, calling her mom instead. Her mom was really sweet, wishing me happy birthday before doing as I asked and walked up to Lisa’s room – there was a strangled scream of horror that sounded like it belonged to Lisa then her mother re-assured me Lisa would call me in a minute and I thanked her before hanging up.
While I waited for her to call I quickly ran to the bathroom to pee and brush my teeth when I was almost done brushing my teeth I heard my phone ring so I ran to get it while brushing my teeth still. I swiped to accept it then put it on speaker while I took it with me back to the bathroom.
“I’ll have you know you owe me fingering from Taeyang, cuntblocker.” I heard her cuss with a sleepy drawl then she yawned. I choked on the toothpaste foam when she said fingering, face going red and I was quick to fill a glass with water after I spit as much toothpaste as I could before downing the water.
“Do you seriously have to be so crude in the morning!?” I hissed, coughing as I got my throat to work again.
“Happy birthday, I’m withdrawing your present as a replacement for the cuntblocking.” She said and completely ignored me.
“No, you’re not,” I stated knowingly, wiping my mouth with a towel and went back to my room.
“Yes, yes I am.” She huffed and I grinned knowing that was false too. “So? Why did you get my mom to wake me? Which by the way, dudette, was such a low blow. You’re just lucky she didn’t catch me getting off.” I cringed at the picture as well as blushed, knowing she was extra crude since I woke her up – she knew just how shy I was about erotic stuff.
“Well, needed to get your bouncy ass out of bed because we’re going exploring today – remember?” I reminded her as I changed out of my oversized sleeping t-shirt into a white turtleneck sweater with trumpet sleeves. I smiled as the sleeves went past my hands and as it made me feel small and cute. I loved it.
“… Damn it.” I heard her cuss over the phone then there were the tell-tale sounds of her also getting ready for our expedition as she had called it. “Remind me again why we’re doing it now in the middle of the freezing winter instead of in the summer when it’s warm and not slippery outside?”
“Because I’ve been waiting 9 years for this and don’t want to waste more time finding out more about my past and finding Minnie again,” I replied as I jumped and wiggled into my comfy jeans.
“Minnie, eh?” I blushed, halting mid-pulling as I heard that teasing tone in her voice. “I thought his name was Minseok?”
“I-It is! I just dreamt a memory and younger me called him Minnie so I naturally called him that and it’s not because I like him or anything because I don’t even remember his face but then again he was well built for a young teenager and with a cool tattoo BUT NEVER MIND THAT HUSH!” I rambled away and stomped my feet at the embarrassment as my blabbermouth did its trick.
“I didn’t say anything but you said everything~” She chuckled and I glared at my phone.
“Lalice~” I whined making her laugh more. “Asshat,” I grumbled under my breath and finished buttoning my jeans.
“Heard that, brat.” I pointed my tongue at the phone. “Okay, so let’s meet up at the bus stop like we planned in like 5 minutes. ‘kay?”
“Aye, ma'am!” I said clearly and hung up on her.
Brushing through my hair briefly I was quick to put on warm socks then brought my phone with me as I went downstairs. I put on my jacket, my hat with cat ears and a pair of gloves and at last my winter boots. Slipping my phone into my pocket and making sure I had the house keys I was out of the door and locking it before running down the street towards the bus stop. I was the first one to there, I walked around on the spot to keep me warm and hid the lower part of my face with the turtleneck.
Minutes later Lisa came jogging down the streets, she wore the running clothes she had for the winter seeing as she wanted to keep in shape all year around but then again she only ever did run and dance as a way of exercise. She also did some weight lifting in her room so Lisa may be small but she was strong and agile with a great deal of stamina. I hugged her tightly when she got close enough, only letting go when she started laughing and patting my butt as her form of birthday pats then we walked into the forest. We spoke about nothing and everything, she asked me about the gifts I had gotten and told me I would get mine when we got back after our expedition.
I looked around for the tree with a face on it, from there on I would be able to find the rest but it was finding that particular tree that was the hardest. I winced a lot as we walked, looking down once and I noticed I was bleeding from the knee and that it had gotten through my jeans. I realized I must have hurt my knee when I had fallen in the stairs but not noticed it because I was so focused on the expedition. I chose not to tell Lisa as she would make us stop and go back, I tried to focus away from the pain and looked for the special tree.
Two hours later Lisa was complaining non-stop about not finding the tree and that we should just head back home to celebrate my birthday, I had a good mind to just give up myself when I noticed something in the corner of my eye – I turned sharply to the right. I sucked in a breath as I recognized the being that stood by the trees.
“Lisa, run!” I grabbed hold of Lisa’s shoulder and forced her to keep up with me.
“What? Why!?” I just pointed my thumb backward as I run as fast as my legs would take me. She must’ve looked behind us because the next thing she said was; “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?”
“A kumiho, fox demon, really bad, don’t stop running!” I huffed and turned a corner.
“Oh, and I here I was thinking of asking him if he wanted hot cocoa!” I glared at Lisa seeing as her snark was totally not time appropriate.
I didn’t even know where we were running, we could’ve been running around in circles for all that I knew but the instinct to run away from danger easily overpowered my want at wanting to stop and try to come up with a plan for the moment. It was only when we had managed to outrun the kumiho that Lisa forced me behind a rock where we collapsed, legs shaking from the adrenaline and fear as we caught our breath but forced ourselves to do it as quietly as possible. I listened, straining to hear. There was the sound of the wind going through the forest. The soft sound of Lisa panting. Then there were footsteps, that didn’t belong to either of us.
“Come out little Maiden~” It coaxed me, voice chillingly sweet and I clenched my eyes close. “Don’t think I won’t find you, you smell so delicious. Can’t wait to cut you up and drink my fill of your sweet, enticing blood~” My eyes snapped open and I looked down at my bloody knee.
He sighed but his arm tightened a little bit so I knew he wasn’t mad which made me smile. “Okay… You will smell really good when you’re older but so will your blood too, not only vampires will want to drink your blood but demons and other supernaturals too. So promise me you’ll try your hardest not to get cut after you’ve turned 18, I don’t need you to get hurt.”
So this is what he meant… Damn it! I noticed Lisa giving me a look, guiltily I pointed down at my wound which she saw then I pointed at my nose then towards the direction where the sound had come from. Lisa looked confused, then when she realized what it meant she gave me a death glare and I made a pleading motion with my hands for her to forgive me and she just shook her head aggravated towards me. More steps, closer. I had to think of something fast or we would be caught and probably killed – which I really didn’t want. Okay, wait… If he can find me by my blood then I can use it against him but how!? I got an idea after I saw Lisa’s headband, I dragged it off of her as well as my hat and my gloves. Preparing for the pain I pulled up my jean leg until my bloody wound was discovered.
“Oh, it got stronger!” I heard the kumiho say in delight so I worked fast, rubbing the headband and the other items against my wound as much as I could. “When I’m done drinking you dry I’ll eat your tender meat~” It stung really bad and I bit my lip from crying out in pain but then it was over after I managed to soak of all the stuff with my blood. I wiped my bloody hands off on the snow in order to clean them and I pulled down my jeans again. I put snow in the hat so that it was heavy and wouldn’t fly away, then I laid it down beside me. I left the hat on the ground beside me then began to walk in a hunched position in Lisa’s direction and made my way around the rock. Lisa was quick to follow. We walked carefully, keeping an eye on the kumiho and I held up my hand when I spotted something. The tree with a face. I pointed towards it and Lisa followed the direction with her eyes, she gaped but nodded when I motioned that we should run towards it. “Okay, I’m getting tired of this – now we’re done playing.” Lisa and I began to run the moment we heard the kumiho dive down where we had just been.
We ran for the tree then Lisa followed me as I lead us down the path. I threw the items in different directions with enough room of time in hopes it would throw the kumiho off about my scent and blood. I tried to remember the memory, the memory leads me to continue on the path we had been heading all along. We never slowed down, we kept going and I almost squealed at the sight of the bunny shaped rocks but kept quiet. From there on the tree with the three claw marks appeared and we got to an area with loads of trees. I looked around frantically, looking for the tree with the door.
“Chae… What the hell are you doing!? We can’t stop you fucking idiot or that fox freak will find us and kill us!” Lisa hissed at me but I ignored her as I let my feet take control of me. Leading me, my body remembering even if my mind didn’t. “Chaeyoung!”
“Shut up and follow me!” I snapped at her, not looking back at her as my eyes flit around the place- “There it is!” I could’ve cried and kissed the tree, there it was slightly hidden behind another but the door was visible on it. “Do you see the door on this?” I asked as I jogged forward, caressing the door and smiled at the doorknob.
“What door? Did the blood loss finally get to your feeble mind?” Lisa snarked.
“Good, then it means this is the right one okay, let’s go! Once we’re inside the magical realm it takes like 5 minutes to get to the village and there we will be safe com- Ouch!” I twisted the doorknob and ran forward – only to hit my face on the said door with my nose.
“Of all the times you have to walk straight into a tree, this is one of the worst times to do it at!” Lisa hissed as I rubbed my nose.
“Why didn’t it work, I’m missing something…” I mumbled, thinking back to the memory.
“Yeah, your sanity. We can’t just stand here while that kumiho is looking for us, come on!” She took hold of my arm to pull me away but I dug my feet into the ground. “Chaeyoung, I swear to god I will drag you if I have to if you don’t start moving!”
“I walked up to Kyungsoo oppa, gave him a hug,” I mumbled as I recalled the dream. “He berated Jongin…”
“Fuck Chaeyoung, I think I heard him! He’s getting close we need to go now!” Lisa tugged at my arm and I wanted to knock-
“That’s it!” I knocked three times then said the password. “Pax!” The door swung open, revealing the magical realm and I took hold of Lisa’s hand to pull her inside with me. Lisa lost her footing but in we went. Tumbling over the threshold unto the snow-covered ground. Lisa spat out snow that had gotten into her mouth, coughing and despite the pain, I used my bad knee to get up on my shaking feet and closed the door behind us.
“Did we just…Did we just go through a tree?” Lisa asked as she finished coughing and noticed we weren’t standing in front of a tree but were actually in a new forest. Right at that moment, two squirfoxes ran past us, playing in the snow and up a tree making happy noises. “… Okay, how hard did I hit my head?”
“Not hard enough to get through that thick skull of yours.” I joked, making a wide gesture towards the forest and the squirfoxes as I said; “Welcome to the magical realm and those two were squirfoxes. Really cute and friendly creatures.” I announced happily, relieved that we had made it.
“Pinch me.” I did as she asked, pinching her earlobe making her howl in pain and she sent a glare over her shoulder at me. “It was a rhetorical question!”
“You’re welcome.” I grinned, taking a step and winced at the pain coming from my knee. Looking down the blood had really soaked through my knee, the fall to the ground and using it to get up probably made it worse. Lisa noticed where I was looking and got very pale.
“Okay, we really need to find somewhere safe or more freaks like the one before will come for us if you bleed like that. We’re in the magical realm and you said that the pack village wasn’t too far away from here, right?” I nodded, taking a step and grimaced in pain as my knee protested as the adrenaline started to wear off. Lisa got up from the ground, moving her arms and jumping a bit to check so nothing was broken before she made me put an arm around her shoulders so I could lay off the weight on my bad leg.
“Thank you.” I sighed in relief.
“You need to stop eating all of that chocolate, you’re weighing a ton.” I slapped her arm but smiled nonetheless as she tried to light up the dire situation. “Okay, lead the way, Lassie.”
“Whoa, this looks like something out of a drama!” Lisa gaped in awe as she looked up at the high wall that surrounded the pack village to keep enemies out.
Finally, after years of confusion and unresolved feelings, I had finally found the village and would get to meet Minseok again. I was so happy, so relieved and just so many feelings washed over me at once that I felt light-headed. I was excited to see everyone, to see how much they had grown and what had changed. I wanted to meet Jongin and Sehun, wanted to introduce them to Lisa. I wanted to grill s’mores with everyone as we got to know each other all over again. I wanted to meet Minseok, see if he had gotten more handsome over the years – I wanted to hug him again and let the re-assuring cold of his envelope me. I blushed at the thought but out of all the people, it was him I looked forward to the most. But only because wanted to slap his arm for ruining my fantasies about vampires at such an early age, of course. At least that’s what I’ll tell Lisa or I’ll she’ll tease me until my deathbed about the real reason.
“Lalice, hurry to the door, come on!” I begged excitedly, limping quickly as Lisa did as I asked and we went over to the big door. “Guys! It’s me, Chaeyoung! Let us in!” I screamed for the guards and the pack members so they could open the big door. Nothing. No answer. Then I realized that the village that always was filled with sounds whether it was the blacksmiths working on weapons, the people talking or whatever music someone played on old-fashioned instruments but there was nothing but the sound of the forest animals and the wind. It was a haunting feeling. “Anyone!?”
“Chae… T-the door is… It’s open.” My eyes snapped to the door, it was cracked a little bit showing that it indeed was open. My being froze and the sound of our ragged breaths mixed with the cracking sound that followed as Lisa pushed the door gently, making it swing open slowly. Revealing the empty courtyard of the village as well as the destruction of the village. “Chaeyoung…”
“T-t-they… They need to be here… They... They should be here… What happened to their homes… W-w-what is… Attacked?” I rambled incoherently as I let go of Chaeyoung and limped inside. My eyes searched the place for any sign of them, of any living being but it was empty and there were stuff lying around that looked like they hadn’t been used for years. “Jongin!? Sehun!? I am here now! Guys!? COME OUT!” I screamed, not caring for the pain I ran the best I could through the village. I slammed up doors, some in such poor conditions that they fell off of the hinges. Burnt black. Walls were cracked, many roofs had big holes in them or were caved in. A flash of the destroyed village in Mulan came to mind, my stomach churned with the resemblance and the meaning off of it. But I couldn’t stop looking, they had to be here! They just had to! “Kyungsoo oppa!?” I went into his old house and searched through it, finding that nothing had been left behind or the stuff that had was burnt to un-recognition and un-salvable. “Zitao, I’ll protect you from any bugs but I will only do that if you stop hiding because this isn’t funny!” I yelled and went at last into the house where Minseok had lived with his family.
I remembered only a handful of times that I had spent in here, curling up with Minseok on his bed as he helped me with homework or went on about his own studying while I was just happy to be in his presence. I got to his room, standing in the doorway as my whole body started to feel numb. It hurt so much that I felt nothing. The pain was so unbearable that it hurt to breathe, I stopped breathing for a moment when I saw that despite the barren room there was one thing that had been left behind. Minseok’s hat. The one he always wore during the summer to help him keep cool. The one he only ever let me wear when no one else was around to make fun of him. It was dirty but looked well kept, by some mere miracle – as if it was waiting for me to come to it. Choking on a sob I bent down and picked it up with shaky hands, cradling it in my arms. I was too late.
“I was too late.” I said when I got out of the house, still holding the hat while Lisa had been waiting outside. “T-there’s no one here…”
“I’m really sorry Chaeyoung... B-b-but I don’t see any bodies a-a-and it doesn’t look like it happened recently so maybe they survived and moved o-”
“IT DOESN’T MATTER!” I snapped, tears gathering in my eyes and I eyed the hat in my hands. “This… This was Minseok’s hat… He only ever let me wear it, he didn’t trust the others well enough for them to not get it dirty or broken… He… He also made me promise I wouldn’t get hurt after when I turned eighteen because it would be dangerous but I did. I broke his promise and now he ain’t even here so I can apologize… They’re gone…” I hugged the hat to me, at the moment not caring if I wrinkled it or not. “I’m so fucking stupid, if I had just remembered sooner I would’ve not just left them or I could’ve come here before the village was destroyed… Oh my god, what if he has died…”
“Yah, you didn’t leave them! You were in an accident and suffered from memory loss. Don’t you even dare blame yourself or any of the sorts or I will punch some sense into you.” Lisa said strongly, walking up to me and put her hands on my shoulders and shook them. “I never wanted to say this but they never visited you after your accident, which I’ve always thought is an asshole move but… But what if they moved and you just don’t remember it yet, I don’t think they would’ve left without saying anything to you.” That made me just cry even harder.
“Or maybe they all died then… Then this was doomed from the very start.” I cried and hated it, I hated the searing pain in my heart that spread through my body.
“I will… I will never get to see him again… I will… I will not get my answers…” I slumped against Lisa, crying so much that I could feel an impending headache. “I’m lost again, just like after the accident… I…. I don’t know what to do… I lost him… The hat is all I have left of him…”
I felt like Lisa was going to say something but we heard growls instead. Snapping our heads in the direction of the growls my breath got caught in my throat and Lisa let out a noise of fear. Wolves. Six wolves came from every direction, snapping their impressively sharp looking teeth at us and their eyes a mix of blue and red. Alphas and betas my mind sufficed. They were bigger than normal wolves, easily as big as a horse if not a little less as that but I didn’t get much of a chance to get a good look as one of them shifted into a human. A naked human. His eyes glowed red still. A werewolf. There were no normal wolves in the magical realm, just werewolves and this was a pack of them. We were outnumbered and also the lesser race. We were screwed.
I was shaking just as badly as was Lisa, instinctively she pulled me along as we backed away from them but there was nowhere to run as they were quick to encircle us and forced us to stand in the middle of the village center. They were around five wolves guarding us. They snapped their jaws, threatening to bite. They licked their lips, growling and when the shifted werewolf took a long inhale and zeroed in on me I knew exactly what he had smelled. My blood. Probably what the rest of his pack smelled as well. He looked shocked then amazed, I didn’t like it one bit.
“You’re unmarked Maiden.” He said, voice raspy. He licked his lips making me shudder in disgust just at how hungry he looked at me. As if I was some priced meat. “Unfortunate for you but fortunate for me, don’t worry I won’t kill you.”
“T-t-thanks?” I tried, gulping and feeling panic creep under my skin. All of my instincts telling me to flee but I was unable to do so.
“Oh, don’t thank me just yet - you’ll die eventually when I’ve bred a kid out of you.” He stated coldly and I flinched, it was as good as any slap. “But that human, I have no use of it – kill it.” There was no pause, one minute Lisa was by my side then she wasn’t. Two wolves had jumped out from the rest and grabbed hold of each of Lisa’s legs dragging her along the icy, sharp ground. Lisa screamed in utter horror and I threw myself towards her, letting go of the hat in the process and I kicked at the wolves heads. Hard. They whined and I kicked them more until they let go. “Separate them.” The leader commanded.
I pulled Lisa up to her feet, putting her back-to-back with me as we kicked at them if they tried to bite us which were exhausting as they attacked more than one at once. They got in good bites on us, one was too severe making me cry out in pain and then I found myself being dragged away from Lisa. I screamed at the top of my lungs, begging them to let go and I called for help just like Lisa did. I saw that she had gotten hold of some piece of wood that she used to defend her and I cried, trashed and kicked and dug my fingers into the wolves’ eyes and spit them in their faces as I tried my hardest to break free.
Which I did and got up on barely steady legs, I saw long flute lying around and grabbed it then broke it in half so it turned into two sharp weapons. I handed one over to Lisa and we stood once more back to back with our makeshift weapons in our hands. I was bleeding, the wolf that had dragged me away had bit through my skin, his muzzle was dripping with my blood. My whole body was hurting. I must’ve hit my head hard seeing as the world spun around every now and then. Damn it. Damn it. DAMN IT! I cussed in my head and swiped the flute at a wolf.
There became a standstill when the leader howled. The wolves stood still but ready to attack. I counted. There were four wolves and when I looked over Lisa’s shoulder briefly I saw that Lisa’s half of the flute was in the throat of a wolf that lay lifelessly at her feet. She grabbed the flute, pulled it and there was a sucking sound as it released then she kicked away the wolf body. She was panting harshly, it sounded broken and I felt guilty for dragging her into this mess.
“When the rest comes it will be the end of you.” The leader vowed I looked at him but then I saw him looking at something on the ground. I saw the hat. I don’t know what came over me but I grabbed it and hugged it protectively while trying my best to get out of the wolves holds. Flashes of Minseok went through my mind and I hugged the hat even tighter. I couldn’t lose it, I couldn’t lose the last I had of him. “That scent- NO HOSEOK!” One of the wolves, the one that had my blood on his muzzle twitched and lapped at his mouth – lapping up my blood and then all of a sudden he seemed to lose control and caught me off guard. Jumping at me and clamping down on my shoulder as I fell back. Lisa went down under me but I was too busy screaming in pain, too busy holding onto the hat with one hand while the other let go of the flute by accident.
There was a howl that echoed through the village center, my gaze that had been aimed to the sky saw birds fly away frightened and then Lisa screamed.
It was the end.
Cliffhanger -makes jazz hands-
Chapter 4: Wake me up
Rosé wakes up and meet some old friends.
Lisa was screaming underneath my body but I could do nothing about it as the wolf was mauling my shoulder, I tried to kick him off but it was useless. He was too heavy and the blood loss from shoulder and other wounds were starting to get to me as well as the exhaustion from everything but still, I struggled and screamed. Then the wolf raised its head, my own blood dripping from his incisors and then everything went into slow motion as he aimed for my throat. There was not enough time to evade it, not that I could with his body pressing down on me trapping my arms that still held Minseok’s hat. Tears fell as I begged Minseok, Lisa and my parents for forgiveness for ever having been in their lives.
It was so weird. One second the wolf had been close to tearing apart my throat then when I blinked he was nowhere near me. The air re-filled my lungs as the weight had been lifted off of me, Lisa managed to knock me off of her and I fell to the side on my tummy making me groan of the jostling. My head spun for a moment, vision blurry from the blood loss and pain but I could see shapes that suddenly were set on flame – their howls and agonizing whines blocking out any other noise except for the noise of something burning, the fire hissing as it licked its prey and once my vision got a bit clearer I saw that it was the wolves that were burning, desperately rolling on the ground to put it out but if anything the fire got more intense.
“P-PLEASE! WE DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS THE EXO PACK’S MAIDEN!” I heard the leader-figure wail in panic making me use every ounce of willpower to turn my head in that direction. Eyes widening as he was hovering well above the ground, throat exposed in submission and body trembling. My vision got hazy for a moment before getting good again, doing so as I looked at the three naked men standing a bit away, two of them on their way over to me and Lisa while the third held his hand out in the same direction as the levitated leader.
“Doesn’t matter you filthy mutt.” I heard the third figure growl coldly as the screams slowly ebbed out leaving it eerily quiet besides the cackling of the fire. Lisa made a shout of fear as one of the men crouched down beside her, pleading for mercy while the other hushed her comfortingly and the other man hovered above me. He looked vaguely familiar, big elf-like ears and a tall, lanky frame. He was saying something in the low timbre voice of his but I barely listened, hearing bits of something that sounded like he was assessing my wounds and what to do. The name Yoda came to mind but as the third man begun speaking once more, my head lolled in that direction even as my vision begun to fail me with black dots. “You broke one of our holy laws, to never hurt or capture a maiden. The punishment for such an act of treason against your very nature is immediate beheading. I find you guilty of intending to capture this maiden for your own sick pleasure and let your pack members hurt her, therefore, you shall die by the hand of this maiden’s guardian. Rot in hell you piece of shit.” Vision barely working I could still see the rain of blood as the leader’s head was pulled off of his body in a sickening crack and snap from nothing. As the headless body slumped to the ground the murmur of the man who was attending to me became clear as he said this;
“I’m so sorry.” Then there was an agonizing pain to my neck as it burned and I screamed soundlessly as that pain along with the burning wolf bodies came to mind my mind drifted into darkness then there was a flash of light then… Then I remembered.
“Minseok, take Chaeyoung and run!” I clung to Minseok’s arm, crying out of pure fear and panic as the sound of fighting and screams and cries filled the air.
“But what about you guys!?” Minseok questioned his uncle Kangin, I flinched as the roof caved in beside us – Minseok quickly pulled me into his side and away from the mess. Fire licking its way inside of the house, the smoke making me cough and I was picked up by Minseok. My arms and legs encircled him automatically as he ran to the front door of Kangin’s house where we had been in since the fight started to hide as well as plan what to do.
“Pup, take Chae and get her to her parents – don’t look back and only fight if there’s no other way!”Kangin barked out the order as he kicked open the front door. “GO!” He yelled at Minseok who dropped me in favor of shifting into his teen wolf form, it took roughly two minutes for him leaving his clothes in ripped shreds on the ground.
He was gesturing for me to get on while Kangin fought off some fox demons that I think were called kumihos, I was quick to scramble on and held on to the scruff as to not get off balance and fall off. Then he ran, he ran swiftly through the village and I couldn’t help but cry at the sight of the houses burning, destroyed. The sounds of screams, cries and sinister laughter filling the air and I buried my face in Minseok’s scruff as he evaded a flying piece of wood. I opened my eyes as the light behind my eyelids disappeared and when I opened them I saw that Minseok was running through the forest. I relaxed a little, thinking we were finally going to be safe when a kumiho descended from the sky and reached out its hand for me. I screamed, Minseok turned his head and with a ferocious snarl he used his powers to freeze the kumiho. The kumiho screamed from the searing pain of being frozen but it had all been a distraction.
As Minseok was about to run once more two more kumihos appeared, one sent fire at us making Minseok jump to evade it and the other threw a rope around me. With a scream I was forcefully tugged of Minseok, the force of the pull knocking the air out of my lungs and before I could even scream I felt my head hit something sharply as I landed at the ground. The world was spinning, my ears were ringing and my head throbbed immensely and my face felt wet. The unfamiliar face above me with dark fox ears made me want to scream but I couldn’t get my mouth to work, my vision swimming out of reality and utter blackness. The next time I came to Minseok was crying as he looked me over, he had blood on him which made me worry but I couldn’t do anything but watch. I couldn’t move my body, I was trapped within it and as I disappeared into darkness again Minseok was begging for me to stay awake, sorry Minseok.
The next time I came to Minseok was carrying me in his arms while I heard Kangin telling him to hurry, my head lolled from being juggled in Minseok’s arms. Instead of the magical forest, I saw lampposts and modern houses. I was back in the ordinary realm, I didn’t know how much time had passed but when I closed then opened my eyes I was suddenly looking up at the night sky. Instead of ashes falling from the sky like back in the village there was snow, but I didn’t feel cold. I barely felt anything.
“W-We can’t leave her! I can’t leave her!” I heard Minseok say, his face appearing in my vision as he cried, I had never seen him cry before. It made my heart ache.
“We have no choice Minseok, her parents will be out any minute from the sound I was making and they’ll get her sorted. For now, we have to return and help our pack, it’s our duty as guardians.” I heard Kangin say. I didn’t want Minseok to disappear, I wanted him here with me! I tried to say it, I tried to move my hand that only trembled but otherwise didn’t move.
“Chaeyoung… I’ll be back, please survive, you can not die! You’re not allowed to, stupid girl.” Minseok ordered, I blinked and my eyes stayed close as I heard Minseok and Kangin hurry away with curses spoken under their breaths. Then there were noises of running, then the screams of my parents as they found me and them calling the ambulance was the last I heard before my mind went to sleep.
With a gasp, I opened my eyes, hands clinging to my head to wipe away the blood only to find none. I looked around in panic, not recognizing the room I was in nor felt familiar with the bed I laid in. I sat up, wincing as I did because of how sore I felt but I didn’t feel like I was in any immediate pain. Furrowing my eyebrows I carefully felt up the place where the werewolf had bit my neck only to find smooth skin, bewildering I threw off the blanket and saw that I didn’t wear the clothes I had on earlier but a white gown. Lifting up the gown I looked over my legs, free from any bite marks that I knew should’ve been there and my scraped up knee looked like it had never bled. As I looked over my body the memories began to come back, Lisa agreeing to help me search for the door to the magical realm, being chased by the kumiho, finding the abandoned village and being attacked by the werewolves. Being rescued by…
“They’re alive…” I said in awe as I remembered the wolves burning and the man that tended to me had long elf-ish ears meaning it must’ve been Chanyeol. I ransacked my memory, Lu was the one to kill the leader werewolf but I never got a good look as to who went to Lisa’s aid. But they were all guardians, just like Minseok had been and if I’m all healed it must mean that Yixing has done it, no one else could heal someone like this. The memory of the village getting attacked played like a movie in my head, explaining why we had found the village as it was but it didn’t explain why it was void of any people. “Ugh, my head.” I felt a headache coming on from trying to get a grip on everything. Then my lip wobbled as the tears dripped down my cheeks unto my lap. “If-found them… I finally found them… But everything is so weird...” I moved slightly as I sat with my back to the headboard, tensing when I heard something brushing against me and saw that it was Minseok’s old straw hat. “Minnie… Minnie!” I put on the hat, then I got up on wobbly legs and hurried over to the door and threw it open. If Lu, Chanyeol, and Yixing were alive then Minseok might be too! He has to be!
As I hurried down the hallway I couldn’t help but notice how prestige looking it was, my mind sufficed with images of the old palaces you could see on dramas and wondered if I were in such a place. Did it mean that Chanyeol and the others lived here? I had so many questions that needed to be answered, I hurried my steps and took a turn to the left only to run right into a wall with clothing. I bounced back from the collision, would’ve fallen to the floor if not for the arm caught me around the waist and keeping me steady on my feet. As I looked up from the ground I met the big eyes and even bigger grin of none other than:
“CHANYEOL!” I exclaimed, feeling the tears running down my cheeks as my grin answered his.
“You’re awake Maiden!” He cheered, picking me up to spin us around making us both laugh and then we hugged each other tightly. When he let me down on my feet he looked me over from head to toe, curling a finger around my orange hair. I liked my hair, I had been born with it which I remember from a past memory that Yifan explained it was because I was born in the magical realm and that most of us were born with unusual hair. Yongsun and the other kids had loved to bully me for it, calling me carrot head but I didn’t care about it as much when I knew that Minnie and my other friends had loved my hair. “I’m so glad to see you again, you’ve grown up beautifully.”
“As have you, wow, you grew even taller than I thought you would!” I returned with a smile, neck straining with how I had to lean my head back in order to meet his eyes.
“Chanyeol? What’s with all this commotion? I have patients that need peace and quiet.” I leaned to the side to see past Chanyeol, eyes widening as the blond male came out from a room wearing a white hanbok with a light blue coat that had cherry blossoms on it. The male’s eyes shifted to me, blinking and when he smiled his dimples appeared and I remembered who he was.
“Yixing!” I ran to him and hugged him tightly, burrowing my face in his chest as he hugged me back.
“I’m so glad you’re awake, maiden. You had me worried when Chanyeol carried you into the room leaking blood like a faucet.” I grimaced at the imagery, which Yixing noticed and gave me an apologetic look. “Sorry.” He wiped away my tears for me, thumbs gentle and I leaned into the touch.
“It’s okay, I must’ve looked horrible.” I smiled but it dropped as I realized just how much danger my life had been in if it hadn’t been for Chanyeol and the others I and Lisa would’ve most likely been dead. “Lisa!” I gasped and grasped the lapels of Yixing’s coat. “Where’s Lisa!? Did you manage to heal her too!? Is she okay!?”
“Breathe, maiden, breathe. Your friend is okay, I actually just left her in the dining hall to come and check up on you. Would you like me to take you to her?” He smiled gently as I nodded, calming down now that I knew she was okay. “Then, come with me.” He turned around and I followed after him. Chanyeol put his arm around my shoulders as we walked, grinning down at me.
“Can’t believe you’re actually here, we were going to organize a trip to come and get you but you beat us to it.” I blinked up at him.
“You were?” I felt touched but at the same time, my mind was screaming at them, wanting to ask why they hadn’t gotten me beforehand and why they hadn’t contacted me during all these years. I bit my tongue, there would be time to ask such questions but for now, I just leaned into Chanyeol.
“Yeah, that’s actually why me, Lu and Joonmyun managed to get to you guys just in time seeing as we were the ones who were going to get you.” I nodded to show I was listening. “We were just about to go down the trail when we smelled your blood then the sound of commotion and yells from our old village grounds reached us. We shifted and ran as fast as we could, sorry we didn’t get there before they managed to hurt you.” He pouted, looking very dejected and I hugged him to me.
“Don’t say that you guys saved our lives! I don’t know how to express my gratitude honestly.” He smiled then and Yixing looked over his shoulder to us with a dimpled smile.
“It’s our duty to protect you and any human, you don’t need to thank us.” I blinked then I realized something.
“Hey, you guys have kept calling me maiden, why do you do that?” I furrowed my eyebrows as I thought about it. “Is it because I’m special? Like, as in the reason I can see demons even if they’re glamored in the mortal realm?” Yixing stopped walking, looking back at me with a bewildered expression before he clapped his hands as realization dawned on him.
“Right, we never explained to you what being a maiden meant since you were so young.” He said then he shrugged and went on his way again and turned a corner.
“... Yixing? I never got an answer to my question.” I said, smiling awkwardly and Yixing looked back with an embarrassed grin.
“That’s Yixing hyung for you, he’s so lost in the clouds sometimes that he’d greet the patients in his sleepwear.” Chanyeol laughed, grinning impishly when Yixing gave him a bemused glance over his shoulder.
“So….?” I looked at Yixing who shrugged in response.
“The High Alpha will explain everything to you, rest assured of that Maiden,” Yixing said with a gentle smile that eased me ever so slightly and then made a gesture to the big doors. “This is the dining hall, I’m sorry but I have to go and tell the High Alpha, High Beta and High Omega that you’ve awakened.” He bowed deeply, flustered I gaped and shook my hands back and forth to make him stop it.
“T-There’s no need to b-bow! You’re the older person!” I said while Chanyeol laughed.
“Yet, you only call Kyungsoo oppa.” Chanyeol teased, winking as he did so. I blinked, eyebrows furrowing as I recalled through the maze of memories and realized that I indeed had only ever called Kyungsoo oppa as far as I could remember but I had no clue as to why.
“That’s different, his family were the one who was supposed to have adopted Chaeyoung so it’s only natural that Kyungsoo told her to call him oppa since he always has and always will see himself as her big brother.” Yixing explained to Chanyeol who ooh: ed while I caught on to something. I knew I was adopted, my parents had never hidden the fact from me and I never felt the need to look for my birth parents. So to hear that Kyungsoo’s family were supposed to have adopted me but for some reason hadn’t sent a chill down my back, like an omen but I had no clue whether it was a good one or a bad one.
“Why were they supposed to adopt me?” I asked, the two werewolves tensed and I felt a headache coming on with all the events and barely-information thrown at me ever since I woke up from the previous turbulent events. I put my face in my hands, shaking into them slightly before I took a deep breath and counted to ten before I looked up at them once more. “Let me guess, the High Alpha will answer that? Right?” Yixing winced at my exhausted tone whereas Chanyeol gave me an apologetic look. “Okay…. Okay….” I nodded, dragging my hands over my face once more before hugging myself. “Okay, I’ll ask the High Alpha later then… Who’s the High Alpha by the way?”
“You’ll see,” Yixing said ominously, a twinkle in his eye as he bowed deeply. “If you’ll excuse me, maiden, Chanyeol.” With that Yixing left, seemingly floating with how quickly yet elegant he walked down the hall and turned a sharp left. I looked after him until I couldn’t see him anymore, Chanyeol having opened the grande door as I had and when my attention was on me once more he had a gentle, careful expression on his face.
“You must be famished, come with me.” He said, gesturing for me to go inside and I hesitated for a moment, not sure why I did it but only acknowledging that I had. Chanyeol didn’t comment on it, nor did he rush me and once I felt like my legs wouldn’t give out from under me I took a step towards the entryway then another and another until I was walking into the dining hall.
I gaped slightly, it was really big and easily as big as a soccer field. The tables were long with benches on either side of it for people to sit on, at the very end of the hall was another long table but with the benches towards the wall off of it, so that the people sitting there would be overlooking the dining hall and its occupants. My mind sufficed that it must be the seating place of the High Alpha, High Beta and High Omega. There were two sets of doors on either end of the wall to the left, it made me think of the restaurant scenes on tv where the door to the end on the left was for IN while the other was for OUT for the personal. Lanterns were up on the walls and hanging from the ceiling, unlit, and the tables bare.
I froze as I saw the striking blonde hair, Lisa was sitting in the middle of the table in the middle out of the five tables. Across from here were two other people I couldn’t recognize from this distance but they were clearly males. I began to run, needed to hold Lisa and hear from her own lips that she alive and hopefully well. I ran so fast that the hat flew off my head but the string kept it hanging from my neck. Lisa looked up from her meal as she heard the running, looking scared for a moment until she saw it was me.
“Chaeyoung? CHAEYOUNG!” She swallowed down her bite, nearly falling in her haste to get up and she ran up to me in the last few meters.
Arms clung to one another, sounds of sniffling filled the air and I knew we were barely making any sense as she kept babbling in that whereas I was barely able to construct proper words. It was probably a few minutes later that we sat down where she had eaten, the two boys standing a distance away speaking to Chanyeol in order to give us the illusion of space seeing as with their hearing they’d be able to hear us even if we whispered.
“I’m so glad we didn’t end up in their stomachs, I don’t think there are any friendly huntsmen next door who could have cut them up and let us out.” Lisa joked, but it was weak and my hands squeezed hers. The guilt was choking me, making me feel nauseous as I felt so happy that Lisa was sitting beside me, alive and somewhat well after the whole ordeal. She could’ve died because of me and I would never have forgiven myself if it had happened. As if she could read my thoughts she frowned at me. “Don’t do that.”
“Do what?” I asked, attempting to smile but felt it tremble under her knowing gaze and sniffled. “I’m just… I am so, so, so sorry that you got hurt and attacked. I-If I hadn’t asked you to come with me then none of the-” Lisa put her hand on my mouth to stop me from talking, giving me a firm, unwavering look.
“I could’ve said no but I didn’t. I willingly came with you.” She pointed out, I tried to protest but the words didn’t come out because of her hand. “I kind of knew how dangerous it could it be, after your stories about the other world and the monsters you saw and don’t take this the wrong way but a part of me didn’t believe it at all.” I shrugged, not taking it badly as I know I would’ve felt the same the other way around. “So… While I did it because I promised you we’d do whatever you wanted for your birthday I also did it because… A part of me wanted to go to see it with my own eyes… Sorry...” Now it was her turn to look guilty, looking down at our laps and it took me a moment before I smiled behind her hand. She felt it and looked up bemusedly then it was her turn to laugh mutely as I pressed my hand against her lips. She sent me an eye smile which I returned before we lowered our hands. We sat there, in quiet as we gather our thoughts and she broke the silence. “So… Is it like… Is it weird seeing the people of your past like… Did you recognize them and stuff?”
“Yeah… It’s weird, seeing all grown up but at the same time… They’re still them and there are a few significant details that made me recognize them...”
“Like?” She jutted her chin towards Chanyeol, who in turn smiled and waved at us making me smile. Lisa hummed so I turned back to her, she wore a contemplative look. “Let me guess, it’s the ears, right? Bet you called him Yoda as a kid.” My eyes widened, I looked at Chanyeol and then back at Lisa.
“Y-Yes it’s the ears but I didn’t call him Yoda but… I never thought about it but you’re right, he does look like Yoda with those ears a little.” I said in awe, Lisa grinned.
“Knew it.” She blew her nails then the smile dropped as she looked at her nails. “You weren’t joking about them having powers, the one called Yixing explained he had… That he had healed me like some kind of wizard from an RPG.” She put down her hand, looking at me from under her bangs. “What… What happens now?” Then her eyes widened and she whispered loudly to me. “And why do they all call you maiden? Are you some sort of highborn lady or something?”
“Honestly, I don’t know the exact reason why but it has to do with me being able to see glamored supernaturals. As for the other question...” I bit my lip for a moment. “We’re going to meet the High Alpha, High Beta and High Omega who will answer our questions.” Lisa looked at me, blinking then she began laughing and it was my turn to give her a bemused look. “What is it?”
“Oh my fucking god, are they all seriously called High before their birth rank? I mean, if they’re smoking it makes sense how this world came to be.” She laughed, wheezing and in a moment of clarity I realized that not as much as it wasn’t funny it was more of her trying to keep in control of this situation. I realized also she needed this, it was her coping mechanism and I couldn’t deny her off of it.
“Sorry to interrupt but they are ready for you now.” Chanyeol had walked over to us, appearing to be feeling a bit awkward and I couldn’t blame him as Lisa hadn’t calmed down just yet. “Sorry I wasn’t able to provide a proper meal for you but here is a pork kimbap.” He handed it over to me.
I accepted it but I didn’t know if I could stomach it now that I was finally going to meet the three leaders of the pack who would answer everything. Explain to me why I had this weird ability, my relationship to my old friends, Kyungsoo and every other little thing I could think of. But as Chanyeol looked as if he had done a great offense by not bringing me a meal I took a hearty bite out of the kimbap and chewed it slowly. He eased a little at that, then made a gesture for us to follow him. I swallowed the bite, getting up along with Lisa who had finally stopped laughing. She looked nervous, an odd look on the otherwise confident and fearless girl. As she took her hand in mine I squeezed hers, she squeezed back and I felt a bit better knowing I wasn’t alone for this. That I had Lisa with me. When Chanyeol had turned his back to us I put the kimbap on the table, hoping he wouldn’t notice it until it was too late.
We followed after Chanyeol in silence as he lead us, on the way we saw more pack members. They were looking at us in amazement, whispering among themselves and I understood even the slightest how animals kept at the Zoo must feel being watched and scrutinized by strangers. It wasn’t anything mean about it either, simply curiosity and there were a few faces of the older pack members that I could recognize a little. It was strange, it was a new place but the people in it were that of the past. Everything felt out of place but every time I thought I might slip and fall into panic Lisa squeezed my hand and held me grounded. Two guards in old armor, kind of like that you could see on dramas, opened the massive doors for us once they had bared their necks to Chanyeol. It was a greeting and a sign of submission, my mind sufficed.
We walked inside, the doors closing slowly behind us and the sound off of it echoing through the great hall. Chanyeol bared his neck to us before bowing, then he walked off to the left and I noticed that along the aisle leading up a staircase to three thrones stood people. Not just any people, my heart beat wildly as I recognized the faces of my old friends. They were older but I knew who they were, not only the pieces my memories had sufficed me but also the tattoos on their arms. To the left side of the aisle stood Jongin, Sehun, Chanyeol, Kyungsoo, and Baekhyun. To the right stood Yixing, Zitao, Jongdae, and Luhan. It was overwhelming, seeing all of them before me alive and well.
Lisa tugged on my hand frantically, feeling numb I looked at her then up towards the thrones when she juts her chin towards them. My ears were ringing, time going slow and I felt my senses being fuzzy as I saw Yifan sitting on the throne to the right and Joonmyun sitting on the throne to the left but then I saw the man sitting on the throne in the middle. The strap attached to the hat hanging on my back felt heavy as if it was cutting into my throat and I trembled uncontrollably.
”Minnie hyung, why does everyone say I’m special? Is it because I can see monsters?” I asked Minseok that sat beside me on a bench in the village center of the village. I kicked my legs back and forth, unable to keep still for long – dad said I had ants in my leg which is weird because I couldn’t see them move around under the skin. If there were ants in my legs how did they even get in there?
“Yeah, kind of. And don’t say monsters, you’re nine and you know exactly what they are.” Minseok scoffed, sitting with crossed arms beside me.
“Demons and…” I tried to think of the other word, the word Minseok and the others called themselves. “Supper- No super… supernaturals?” He chuckled.
“Correct.” I raised a fist of victory to the air with a cheer. “Cute.” I blushed, grinning down at my lap at the praise and ruffling of my hair.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe as I looked at the man sitting on the throne in the middle. I could hear his voice in my head, I could finally put a face to the shadowed one in my memories and I tried to speak.
“Okay… You will smell really good when you’re older but so will your blood too, not only vampires will want to drink your blood but other demons and other supernaturals too. So promise me you’ll try your hardest not to get cut after you’ve turned 18, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt, you’ll be there to protect me.” I must’ve imagined it but it almost felt like he kissed my head.
“M-Minnie...” I cried and my knees gave out.
Chapter 5: How it all came to be
The girls learn of the past
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“I’m fine, I’m fine!” I assured them as they flocked around me, feeling a bit embarrassed about my knees giving out like that. The minute they had nearly everyone had gathered around me, making me lie down on the floor as I focused on breathing and calming down. Yixing said it was a reaction to everything and considering that Minseok had been very important to me prior the accident it’s understandable if remembering his face and regaining a few more memories would throw me out of the loop. Once I finally calmed down I sat up, leaning into Lisa who was on her knees beside me and holding me to her. “If you don’t mind, I’ll just sit through this.” Yixing and the others gave understanding looks, I risked a glance up to the thrones to see Yifan’s tense shoulders go lax, Junmyun put a hand to his heart as he sighed and Minnie… Minnie sat relaxed in his throne, giving an aura of indifference and it made my heart clench in distress but I said nothing.
“Can we continue, Head Healer?” Minnie asked Yixing straightened up after he bowed deeply to him.
“Yes, High Alpha,” Yixing replied, jerking his head to either side of the aisle. “To your places, this is still an official meeting.” The others did as he said, he took something out of his robes and handed it to me. I blinked as I saw that it was a chocolate bar. “I think you need some sugar.” I returned his smile, watching as he went back to his place and nodded to the High leaders of the pack. Lisa made quick work of opening the chocolate bar, handing me a big piece and glared until I began nibbling on it.
“I, High Alpha Minseok, welcome the maiden and her companion to the Exodus pack.” Minseok’s voice rang out in the great hall, strong yet soft, firm yet gentle. My chest vibrated at the volume but it didn’t bring any discomfort to my hearing. “On behalf of my guardians, I apologize we did not collect you before the attack and give our utmost condolences.” I wanted to say it was okay, that I understood but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. It felt wrong to speak right now as he spoke, his authority evident and to be respected, no talking unless allowed. Instead, I gave him a deep bow of acknowledgment to make up for my lack of talking. “I presume you know nothing of your heritage and will, therefore, explain what you are, your affiliation of our pack and why you have not been contacted for these past years.” I swallowed a piece of the chocolate, stilling in the movement and looking up right at him. Finally, my questions would be answered.
Seeing no inclination whatsoever that I wanted to interrupt him Minseok began to tell of the story of MAMA and the Exodus pack. I and Lisa were silent, in awe as they told of the birth of maidens, the selection of guardians meant to protect MAMA and it’s children, the maidens. When he told me about the maidens dying after giving birth to children I felt Lisa put her arm around me and hug me to her. I rested my head against her shoulder, the information sinking in and my ears ringing yet I heard Minseok’s calm, collected voice through it all. A shadow fell upon his face as he spoke about the maidens deaths, the guardians looking regretful that it was the consequence of their being, never being able to see their children grow up yet it was within their very being to have children.
I’ve always wanted children when asked I always said my dream was to be a mother but I never knew it was something that I had been born to do. To give birth to a powerful child that would ensure the pack’s greatness and create a strong bloodline. All of the High Alphas and their families, relatives were from the bloodline of MAMA as a consequence of the maidens giving birth and their children mating with their mate from the pack. The strong bloodline was one of the reasons for Exodus is such a grand and mighty pack, causing them to become the biggest pack of werewolves within the land. And one day, I would give birth to a child who would continue with the path but I would not be able to see it walk it. Though, I took note of Minseok saying that there was a maiden who had survived giving birth, a bud of hope blossoming in my chest but I did not speak of this hope.
“Then… You came to this world within the trunk of MAMA but unlike your predecessors, you were not found and elected into a family within the pack. You see, our ancestors thought of the grounds within close vicinity of MAMA to be holy and not walked upon by anyone but the guardians and MAMA’s court of spiritualists. So when the High Alpha Leeteuk was notified of your birth he had to wait for the guardians to bring you to him but alas, when they went to retrieve you… You were already gone.” I furrowed my eyebrows, sharing a confused look with Lisa who looked as if she would faint from all of this sooner rather than later. Unlike me, she hadn’t been exposed to this magical realm and it’s inner workings, even if i had been a child I had seen and experienced things no mortal child had. As bewildering as the story was there was something within me that just finally felt at ease, that all my strange feelings and abilities actually had a reason. “We do not know how but as they searched for you they followed your faint scent and discovered you had been brought into the Mortal Realm. There and then they discovered you to have been taking in by two humans, how they found you we don’t know. High Alpha Leeteuk was granted access to walk on MAMA’s grounds, talking with her about this and though there are no records on what was said it was decided it would be for the best to let you reside with them as your family.”
“But...” Minseok tilted his head at me, observing me like the cat did to a mouse, calculating yet at ease. “How did I become involved with you guys then?”
“While you were to stay with your human family, grow up with them as your parents you were to still be part of our pack and the world you came from seeing as you would return to it for finite once you became twenty years old. It was decided to let you grow a few years old before Kangin, previous Guardian of Strength, and father of Kyungsoo to be the one to collect you one day as you played in the forest. It was only a matter of time before you would find the door to our realm, you’d be drawn to it like a moth to the flame as it is the place you came from.” Joonmyun explained gently, smiling at me rather than keeping his lips in a thin line like Minseok had. It made me feel more at ease. “Once you came to our pack which was located under the great hill of MAMA, we had the great Light witch Jisoo cast a spell on you.”
“A spell?” I said bemused, my eyebrows going up to my hairline in surprise.
“It was a simple spell, it was a spell meant to keep you from speaking about the magical realm until you grew old enough in able to keep secrets and keep quiet. Which you did only two years later before...” His face grew solemn and my gut twisted unpleasantly as I realized what was going to be talked about now. Yifan cleared his throat, causing me to look at him and he began talking at once his eyes met mine.
“You were close to all of us but closest to Minseok, your strong bond was very special.” He hissed for some reason, lifting his hand and I thought I saw frost falling from his hand. He gave a glare to Minseok who returned it, Yifan swallowed thickly and cleared his throat once more before speaking again. “You spent many days and nights within the pack, with Kangin and Kyungsoo as they were supposed to have been your family. It was during one of your regular sleepovers at Kangin’s place that… That our pack was attacked by a vicious group of kumihos who wanted you.” I swallowed, twice but it didn’t ease the phantom smoke creeping into my lungs or the phantom feel of the heat from the burning house nearly licking me. I closed my eyes, the scene of that awful night playing in my head as Yifan spoke. “Minseok took you with him, to escape and save you but you got hurt on the way and passed out from your head wound.” I opened my eyes as the scene ended in darkness. Blinking away the tears as Yifan paused for a moment, face growing grim. “Kangin and Minseok took you back to your parents, making it look like an accident before alerting them with the sound of a crash from Kangin slamming his fist into a lamppost in order to make it resemble a hit and run.”
“One of the hardest things my father ever did, was walking away from you that night but it needed to be done in order to protect you,” Kyungsoo spoke then, big eyes solemn as he spoke. “The kumihos only knew of you because of careful planning and estimation. If you were to remain in the mortal realm until that of your twentieth birthday, you’d be safe seeing as they wouldn’t smell you as any different and if you saw them they’d just assume you’re one of the humans blessed with the inner sight to see spirits and beings under glamor.”
“So… You didn’t bring her back in order to protect her?” Lisa asked out loud, gaining a nod from Baekhyun. “So you like, what? Left her on her own here and hoped nobody would figure out who or what she was?” She questioned them, lips becoming a thin line when some of them looked away or at the ground. “For real?”
“We had watchers who ensured that no demon or supernatural would endanger her.” Minseok explained in a cut tone, obviously not liking Lisa questioning their actions and she glared at him.
“But everything else was okay?” She asked and I looked at her in alarm as I realized what she meant. Minseok furrowed his eyebrows at that, narrowing his eyes.
“Everything else?” He asked and before Lisa could answer I put a hand on her mouth.
“They don’t need to know about that, this is not the time for it!” I hissed at her as quietly as I could because if there was one thing I remembered, it was their superior hearing. She looked like she wanted to protest but sighed through her nose and pecked my hand. I let my hand drop, eyeing her warily before looking back up at the three werewolves on the thrones. I gulped, trying not to grimace but failing miserably. “Please, ignore what she just asked and answer this instead, what happened to the pack while I was gone? Why didn’t you restore the village? Where’s High Alpha… High Alpha Le...” I looked for the name but I could not find it.
“High Alpha Leeteuk died during the night of the battle but before he died he appointed Kangin as the High Alpha of Exodus pack until his nephews Jiyong and Minseok were of age and could fight for the title of High Alpha,” Joonmyun explained softly but loudly enough for us on the ground to be able to hear him. “High Alpha Kangin’s decided that while it had been what our ancestors had done it was time for a change regarding the location of the pack village.” His eyes gleamed with pride and adoration. The smile joyous. “I remember the day he told us that our pack should be with MAMA, that the guardians weren’t meant to be divided like they had but gathered in order to protect us all. The spiritualists weren’t happy at first but after receiving a blessing from MAMA herself they accepted the decision. We moved all our salvageable belongings, building a new pack village with far greater walls surrounding the pack village with powerful wards and MAMA in the center of our pack village.” I looked around the room as he spoke, feeling awed that they had built it all from scratch and made it looks so… So magnificent in its rugged glamour. “A few years ago, Minseok and Jiyong had the ceremonial battle and even while not being allowed to use his powers, Minseok emerged from it as victorious and have been our High Alpha ever since.”
“And Jiyong-ssi?” Lisa asked, the air grew cold, the guys tense and Minseok scowled. “N-Never mind,” Lisa muttered, hiding slightly behind me. It got quiet, it was clear that whatever happened to Jiyong afterward had not been good and was a sore subject. I looked at Minseok, the ache in my chest becoming tighter as he stood and walked down the steps. He spared me a glance, a once-over before he continued on his way out of the room.
“Yah, hyung!?” Jongdae exclaimed, looking at the doorway where Minseok had disappeared then up at Joonmyun and Yifan, gesturing with his hands for them to do something.
“... I’m sorry about our High Alpha’s early departure, it’s a… Tense subject.” Yifan said, sighing. “Jiyong… Jiyong didn’t take the loss well and left the pack to become a rogue.” My eyes stayed on the door, the need to run after him great but I hesitated. Would it be right? “We haven’t seen him since and it’s always difficult for Minseok when the subject is up.” Would it be too soon?
“On that note, I think it’s best we end this right now, there’s been a lot of information and I think it would do your girls some good to go and rest in your bedrooms. Any questions that may arise, we’ll only be a holler away.” Joonmyun said, rising from his throne and walking down the steps. “I will escort Lisa-ssi to her bedroom whereas Chanyeol will escort Chaeyoung back to her room, meals will be sent to your rooms by a servant. You’re all dismissed.” They all left but my eyes stayed on the big door where Minseok had left, my legs felt jittery and there was something, something deep inside me that prompted me to leave and I did.
“Go without me, I’ll find my way to the bedroom,” I said to Lisa before she could protest I had already gotten up to my feet and were running towards the door where Minseok had disappeared through. I opened it, running down the hallway and saw Minseok just about to enter a new room. “Wait!” I called out for him, he froze.
He stood completely still with his back turned to me as I jogged up to him, my hands felt restless with nerves as he turned around to face me after a moment. Cool face only breaking with one raised eyebrow, I looked him over properly now that he was close. His light, wild hair was slightly styled, feline-like eyes that were prominently brown but with flecks and swirls of alpha gold within them. Reminding me that the wolf was always present. He was wearing a tight shirt with a vest over it and pants stuffed into a pair of black boots. He looked… He looked…
“Okay, wow...” I said, flushing as my words caught up to my brain and Minseok raised both his eyebrows. “I… I mean… That... Euhm...” It was mortifying, I didn’t know what to say to save this and bit my lip. I backed a step and felt the stroke on my back, eyes widening as I realized how to save myself from explaining my blunder. “Hat!” I exclaimed, hurrying to get it off my neck and held it out to him. “Here!” He looked at the hat with furrowed eyebrows until recognition filled his eyes. “I… I found it back at the pack village… It’s yours and I just… I took it because I thought… I thought it was the last thing I had of you...” I quieted down, clenching my eyes and looked at him with a wince. “But you’re here so now it feels… I don’t know, I just… It’s yours, you should have it.” I handed it to him again, smiling encouragingly. He looked at the hat for a moment longer before his eyes met mine, I was taken aback by the raw hurt in his eyes and something I couldn’t decipher.
“There was a reason I left it.” He said it shocked me to the core because was he implying that… But… It was his hat, he always had it in the memories I had off of him.
“Y-You left it?” I asked bemusedly.
“...” He said nothing but pushed the hat gently back to me. He looked at me, I couldn’t breathe under his focused gaze and heard my heart pounding in my ears. I let out a soft gasp as his hand went up, brushing away my bangs and I felt his cool, cold fingers brushing against the beginning of my scar which was hidden by my hair. His face grew dark, eyes far away.
“M-Minnie?” He took his hand back as if I had struck it, looking at it then at me with a pained expression before it evened out into a blank one. “What’s wr-”
“Go back the same way you came from.” He said, nodding his head to the back of me before turning to leave. “Don’t come after me.” He commanded as he went through the door and slammed it in my face. I turned slowly, backing as my legs weakened dangerously and I leaned against the back of the door.
“What just happened?” I asked no one in particular, heartbeat erratic and the hat hugged to me.
Well, now we know more about Chaeyoung and why the pack village had relocated.
Also, Chaeyoung officially met Minseok in the present now. What do you think of his behavior towards her?
Chapter 6: I feel so cold
Chaeyoung seeks answers but they are not what she desired
Hiya! ;D This chapter really hurt me but I had to write it, I'm so sorry TTATT
Just thought it might be fun for you to know, here are the 5 songs that helped me write this chapter and plan most of the plot to "Love is in Bloom".
1. Monsta X - Destroyer
2. NF - Paralyzed
3. EXO - Sweet Lies
4. iKon - Don't forget
5. Selena Gomez - Back to you
Now, without further ado, hope you enjoy this chapter ^.^
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Minnie!” I looked around, frowning when I couldn’t see him but continued walking. “Minnie! Where are you?” I asked, stopping and put my hands on my hips. “But Kyungsoo oppa said Minnie had just gone for a walk...” I turned around on my spot, looking for Minnie but saw nothing. Frustrated I took a rock and threw it, it felt good but as it flew above a rock there was the sound of thunder before a buzzing sound came. I froze as the buzzing sound continued.
I stopped breathing when a big bumbleboar walked around a giant rock, the bumbleboar was as big as a truck with white, fuzzy fur around its neck like a lion’s mane and the rest of the fur was yellow and black like a bumble bee. It’s massive bumble bee wings trembled as it caught sight of me. The guys had warned me off from several animals here in their forest, one of them being the bumbleboar because not only did it have sharp canine teeth but it could also charge lightning bolts. It stared right at me, snorting agitatedly and it’s blue, black eyes seemingly glaring at me.
I began to back away, too scared to run but too scared to stand still. When it began to walk towards me I quickened my steps as I walked backward and my legs trembled violently as its wings created static between them as the sound of buzzing grew even louder. I tried to get away, turning quickly but my foot got caught on the root of a tree. I fell to the ground, scraping up my bare arms and legs as I did which stung. But I barely registered it as the ground shook as the bumbleboar charged at me and I looked at it horrified as the lightning bolt began to form between its wings.
“H-He…. H-Help me...” I said in a weak voice, tears gathering in my eyes. It was nearly by me and it threw its head back and I began to cry. “MINNIE SAVE ME!” I screamed as it threw the lightning bolt and all I could see was a white light before I closed my eyes. But, nothing happened. Nothing hurt. I opened my eyes, gaping at the ice wall before me, shivering as snowflakes and frost drifted along with the wind and landed on my cheek. The ice wall before me had a massive crack, I realized it had protected me from the lightning bolt and immediately looked around for Minnie.
Minnie stood on a branch of a tree, his hat casting half of his face in a shadow but his eye in the shadow glowed just as alpha golden as the other one. The bumbleboar looked at Minseok, almost sounding as it was growling as it glared at him. Minseok looked down at it with an impassive mask, lifting his hand and the ice formed around it until it looked like one big sharp sword. Before the bumble boar could attack again Minnie jumped down from the tree, struck his ice sword in the neck of the beast and landed on the ground with a swift pull from the sword. The ice wall was painted in red as it sprayed from the beast’s body, the ground shook as the beheaded beast’s body landed on the ground. I stared in shock at it, even as Minseok dissolved the wall and his sword. Minnie walked up to me, helping me sit up as he looked me over and only when put a soothing, cold kiss to my bruised up cheek did I cry and throw myself into his safe embrace.
“I…. I… I w-was so s-scared!” I sobbed into his neck, clinging to him and felt his arms hold me close.
“Stupid girl, I told you to not walk these woods alone.” He scolded me gently, the teenage werewolf sighing when I curled up to him. “I’m just glad I got here in time.” My sobbing ceased after a while, a few sniffles escaping me and I accepted the handkerchief he handed over so I could blow my nose and wipe away the stray tears. “Does it hurt a lot?” He asked, pointing at my scrapes, I nodded because now that I wasn’t scared anymore it stung a lot and my cheeks throbbed. “Let’s get you to Yixing, he’ll fix you right up but for your bruise, this will do.” He kissed my cheek, it got very cold as he used his power but it suited it too and I let out a giggle. My chest grew warm as he smiled at my reaction, the fluttering feeling in my tummy returned as it always did when I was with Minnie. He helped me up and helped me unto his back for a piggyback ride, I held onto him and rested my good cheek on his shoulder as he began to walk. I looked back at the dead beast, thinking back on how strong Minnie had looked like a true prince. I put a shy, gentle kiss on his neck making him stop walking for a moment before he resumed walking.
“T-Thanks for saving me, Minnie,” I said softly, smiling when his chest rumbled as it always did when he was happy.
“I’ll always save you Chaeyoung, you only ever need to call for me.” He said.
“Whenever and wherever?” I asked, looking at him over his shoulder.
“Whenever and wherever.” He vowed, looking at me from the corner of his eye and chuckled when the brim of his hat tickled my nose making me sneeze unexpectedly. I giggled with him, I loved it when he laughed and smiled shyly before I asked my last question.
“Forever and always?” He turned his head to me, smiling as he nuzzled his nose to me in a rare but treasured display of affection that he seemed to only ever show me.
“Forever and always, princess.” He said, using his special nickname for me and laughed when I hugged him tighter and squealed happily.
“You’re the best Minnie!”
It’s been a few weeks since we were rescued and brought to the pack, Lisa and I had visited the pack frequently since then. Lisa had been so fascinated by everything, eager to learn everything there was about the magical realm and surprisingly Joonmyun had been the one to indulge her, he was always the first one to offer escorting her wherever she went and the first to answer any questions she may have had. Lisa wasn’t put off by it if anything she was charmed and only because I knew her so well I could tell she was growing a crush on the older werewolf. As tomboyish as Lisa was she always had a thing for gentler and smart guys opposite to what many thought she would be into.
While she was going on tours with Joonmyun frequently and lowkey flirting with the man I was getting reacquainted with everyone from the pack that I remembered. It was nice getting to know them again, especially Sehun, Jongin and Kyungsoo as they had been the ones I had been the second closest too. I had been devastated to learn Kangin had passed away after having been severely injured in battled and died on the way back to the pack before Yixing could heal his wounds. Kyungsoo had taken me to his and Leeteuk’s graves, joined me as I paid my respect to the men and thanked them for everything they had done for me, MAMA and the pack.
As far as getting reacquainted with the person I had been the closest to, Minseok, it had been a massive failure but not from lack of trying on my part. These past two weeks I had attempted to talk to him but whenever I sought him out he was conveniently in a meeting, working in his study or to and from a place. While I understood that a High Alpha had a lot of duties and work I had the feeling that he was doing his best to avoid me and confirmed it when Zitao had accidentally slipped one day that Minseok didn’t have a meeting even though the High Alpha had told me exactly the exact opposite right to my face. It hurt but more so it frustrated me, it was clear that something had happened during our time apart and the problem had to do with me but as long as he refused to talk to me and ignored me it could never be resolved.
“You look just like when Sehun had the bundeer right in front of him but managed to trip over his own paw and it ran away from him.” Jongin laughed when Sehun lunged at him and began to tickle him in retaliation.
“Something like that.” I sighed and sat down beside Lisa.
Spring had come to both realms, we were sitting outside in the private garden of the guardians enjoying the warm rays of the sun. Lisa and I sat on one of the benches while Baekhyun and Zitao sat on the other one with their backs to one another so they could half lie on the bench. The rest of the guys sat on the ground, it was still a bit too cold for me, Lisa, Zitao, and Baekhyun to sit comfortably on the grass or forego jackets and jeans as we were humans. Meanwhile, Chanyeol, Jongin, Sehun, and Kyungsoo were naturally warmer than us humans with a different body temperature and could’ve sat there naked if they so wanted without even batting an eye if a cold breeze brushed past them. Especially Chanyeol was unaffected by the early cold of the spring as he had the power of a phoenix in his veins, an inner fire that kept him warm and cozy at all times.
“How’s the job hunting going?” Baekhyun asked as he effortlessly stopped Jongin from continuing attacking the fellow
“Job hunting? What is that?” Chanyeol asked, blinking owlishly at us and the other werewolves copied his confused expression.
“It’s an expression that means you’re looking for work,” Zitao explained, smiling when Sehun got to his side on the bench and put his head in his lap. “How did you managed to trip over your own paw?” He said, chuckling when the beta growled at him for the tease but rumbled contently as Zitao scratched him behind his ears soothingly.
Baekhyun, Jongdae, Zitao were humans that had grown up within the pack but had attended the school of our small town, Baekhyun’s mom, Jongdae’s dad, and Zitao’s dad were from the small town and had met their mates of the pack during visits to the forest. Like many other human parents of the pack, they were adamant of children of the pack to be part of the human school, to learn about humans and their ways so that when they took trips into the mortal realm they knew what to do and how to act by the ordinary humans. They had attended our school but when I said I hadn’t seen them once they told me that during the duration of their last years of attending the school they stayed away from me on purpose and made sure to never walk where I frequented and took other ways to the forest as to not bump into me.
To me and Lisa’s surprise Bambam were part of the pack, he was an omega werewolf and were one of their hunters. He had been equally as surprised to run into us before bowing and welcoming me back to the pack. It had been very weird but pleasant no less, especially for Lisa seeing as I knew most of the people here from what I could remember but she knew no one. Now she at least had Bambam as someone she knew very well and whenever she wasn’t with me or Joonmyun she hung out with Bambam whenever we were here.
“The job hunting is going so-so, so far we haven’t been contacted for a third or second interview but we’re going to remain hopeful, right Rosebud?” Lisa nudged my arm and I shook my head free of the thoughts that I had since before I joined them.
“Huh?” I looked at her than the others, thinking back and remembered what they had spoken of. “Oh, yeah, we haven’t gotten a job yet but it will come.” The guys exchanged a look. “What?” I asked, noticing the look on their faces.
“Chaeyoung-ah, why are you looking for a job?” Baekhyun was the one to ask.
“Because I graduated and wanted to work for a year before applying for a university?” I answered but it sounded more like a question to my ears.
“Haven’t High Alpha told you about your duties as a Maiden yet?” Kyungsoo asked carefully and his jaw ticked in annoyance when I gave him a shocked look. “Bastard.” Kyungsoo spits out and gave a glare to Chanyeol who nipped at his neck in a warning. “But he’s acting like one!”
“He’s still your High Alpha.” Chanyeol reminded Kyungsoo, serious and cool like he always was whenever he spoke of pack matters or was working. Kyungsoo glared down at the ground and the atmosphere grew tense.
“Duties as a Maiden… Isn’t one of them to bear children that I’ll have with my mate?” I said out loud and got another realization on top of it. There had been so much going on and trying to acclimate me back into the magical realm that some things haven’t been prioritized, one of them being the fact that one of the guardians were my mate. “Wait… I have a mate right… W-Who’s my mate?” They looked at me with a deadpan look which earned them a bemused one from me as I went through the list of mates in my head. Baekhyun was Jongin’s mate. Zitao was the mate of Sehun. Joonmyun had made a great deal of effort with Lisa so he might be her mate. Jongdae and Lu were mates even if they aggravated each other at times. Kyungsoo and Yifan were mates, he told me so yesterday. Chanyeol and Yixing which left… No way… No, but… “MINSEOK IS MY MATE!?” I screamed in shock.
“THE ASSHOLE IS HER MATE!?” Lisa exclaimed at the same time while Zitao facepalmed at us and Sehun muttered about how slow we were. “No! My baby deserves better!” Lisa hugged me to her, crushing my face into her bosom and my arms waved around as I couldn’t breathe for a moment. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!”
“By killing her?” I heard Kyungsoo snort. Lisa gasped and let go of me, I pulled away immediately to take in a deep breath.
“I CAN BREATHE!” I said and breathed in some precious air before giving her a glare while she put her hands together and rubbed them with a sheepish expression.
“Sorry, rosebud.” I shook my head at her and happened to see some leftover snow. “What will you do now, that you know I mean… He hasn’t exactly been prince charming.” She muttered the last part but we all heard her.
I looked at the snow, sucking in my lip and gnawed on my lower lip when Lisa called him prince as it reminded me of the dream-memory I had the night before where he called me princess. None of it made sense, he had been so kind and protective off of me when we were younger and now… It was like he was an entirely new person, which made sense in a way since it’s been years since we last saw each other but something… Something felt off, there were things I didn’t know which I felt held great importance as to why he was so distant and were deliberately ignoring me. Almost like… Almost like he was afraid, but of what?
“I honestly have no idea,” I replied honestly, hoping that like the snow the barrier around Minseok would melt with time.
“So you and Lisa are going to Seoul for interviews?” Mom asked as I packed my suitcase, she was wearing her scrubs as she would leave soon to go to the hospital.
“Yeah and we’re going to stay at a hotel for a week seeing as the last interview is on Thursday and we figured we could stay two days extra and just do some sightseeing.” I closed my suitcase, struggling with zipping it up and looked at my mom with what Lisa claimed to be my puppy eye look. Mom rolled her eyes but all the same, came over and sat on my suitcase so I could zip it up. “Thanks!”
“You’re welcome, honey.” She cupped my cheeks, smiling at me and sighed fondly. “Can’t believe my little girl is going on interviews, soon you’ll come home with a husband and tell me I’m waiting for grandchildren.” I blushed red and stomped my foot as I whined at her.
“Mom!” She laughed, patting my cheeks before getting up.
“Listen, if you get yourself a boyfriend while in Seoul you better tell dad and me so we can prepare a grave for him if he does something idiotic like breaking your heart, we are after all very good at handling scalpels.” She winked, this time it was my turn to roll my eyes at her.
“Yeah, that really makes me want to tell you when I get a boyfriend,” I said sarcastically, laughing when she flicked my nose while tsk:ing.
“Brat.” Then cussed under her breath when she looked at her wristwatch. “I’m really sorry honey but I need to go now before the rush hour kicks in at Daegu. Have a safe trip and give me a call when you’ve arrived, okay?” She pecked my cheek and hugged me tightly and I returned the hug just as fiercely, feeling bad for lying to her but it was necessary.
“Okay, love you,” I said, smiling when we parted and she stroked my head.
“Love you more.” She pinched my cheek fondly before jogging out of my room and down the stairs. Only when I heard the front door open and close did I relax.
“Sorry for lying,” I said out to the room, chest aching as I realized that I might never be able to introduce her to my boyfriend if Minseok never as much as were in the same room as me. I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to will away the hurt before sighing and took hold of my suitcase. “Well, back to another week of Minseok hunting then,” I said to no one and mentally prepared myself for the week ahead of avoidance.
I walked down the hallway mindlessly, not paying particular attention to where I was going other than making sure I wasn’t walking into a wall. It had been two days since I and Lisa had arrived for our one week stay. And in these two days, Minseok had been like a ghost, you could feel his presence but not see him. After I had moped on my walk to the door to the magical realm Lisa had snapped me out of it, scolding me for giving up before I had even gotten there and asked me if I really wanted Minseok and me to be on good terms again. Of course, I wanted that, I had told her as much especially seeing as I now knew we were mates and she told me to stop sulking and get hunting instead then.
She was right, of course, she was, and I thank her for helping me find my determination again even if it was through anger. I was angry at him, he obviously knew we were mates but still avoided me like I had the plague and the only effort he made was to widen the distance between us rather than reducing it and it began to grate on my nerves. It took a lot for me to get mad, Lisa would know, and this avoidance of his was starting to get me to the point of no return of my irritation. But I wasn’t only mad, I was hurt too which I believe only made things worse in terms of my anger as it made me even angrier that not only did I allow myself to get hurt by it but he was, whether knowingly or unknowingly, hurting me and I didn’t know which one of the two was worse.
So when I had to cover my eyes as I found myself outside, the wind blowing at me which was yet another reason for me to shield my eyes my first thought when I saw a shirtless Minseok standing a few meters away was to stomp up and yell at him until I was out of breath. Then it actually registered in my mind that he was shirtless, and sweaty, the sunlight making the pearls of perspiration glide down his strong, wide back tantalizingly. I stared in awe, standing completely still as I was afraid to let myself known to him as it was the first time in weeks I was in the same vicinity as him. I looked around briefly, seeing various training equipment such as archery targets far away by the wall and dummies made of straw.
My eyes widened as he took a stance and then began to move and as he moved the ice began to form and do as he pleased. I watched as he kicked and sent a flying ice spear at the archery target and hit the bullseye. He followed it up with raising his hand to the sky when his foot landed on the ground and a wall of ice emerged seemingly from the ground and high up to the air. With his hands he separated them which in turn separated the wall, breaking it apart and the shards created hovered in the air before he flicked his wrist and sent them flying like bullets in the air and hit the dummies who imploded from all the ice shards. His chest heaved slightly as he stood back in a relaxed stance, frost swirling around him and evidently cooled him down as the perspiration disappeared from his skin and he put a hand through his silver, blonde hair. I couldn’t help myself any longer and began clapping.
“That was amazing!” I squealed, running up to me and jumped slightly on the spot beside him as he stared at me in horror. “When you sent the ice bullets flying and the dummies exploded I swear I couldn’t breathe because wow!? I’ve never seen anything like that and the wall! The other day, I got a dream memory of the day you saved me from the bumbleboar and you made that wall to protect me! Do you remember that day? You made an ice sword too, can you still make it? Can I see it?” I lost myself in the excitement of seeing him being in his element and effortlessly using the power of frost to make these amazing attacks and defenses.
“No, you can’t!” He growled, upper lip twitching as if he was about to raise it and show a canine at me to warn me off. “What the hell are you doing here!? These are the training grounds, no unauthorized werewolf or human are allowed to be here seeing as you could be attacked unless you know how to announce yourself.” He growled, clearly agitated and I stepped back for a moment before feeling the determination I had before come back.
“Why are you like this?” I asked him, feeling my eyes burn from unshed tears but no one fell or was shown. “Why do you keep pushing me away?” He said nothing, his fists curling and his whole being was tense and rigid. I hesitantly stepped closer, watching him carefully and felt a bit hopeful when he stood still and only narrowed his eyes at me. I took another step until we were nearly just a breath away from each other. Despite the anger, the hurt, I found myself thinking that at the very least he was a handsome mate with his sharp features yet soft cheeks and full lips. His silvery blonde hair ruffled from earlier, bangs slightly hiding his eyes like a veil and from his ears dangled various earrings. My heart ached for him, ached for what it could feel for him as long as he just let me in but I kept it in check as much as I could until I knew he had the heart to return. “Minseok, Minnie,” He looked as if I had struck him as I said my nickname for him. “Please, talk to me, tell me why you’re avoiding me,” I begged, sniffling for a moment as he looked pained. “I-Is it… Is it because… Is it because I’m your mate and you don’t want me as a mate?” I asked, fearing the answer as it was one of the theories I had as to why he was avoiding me.
While it was inevitable that one of the guardians would have the Maiden as a mate according to what Yixing had told me it didn’t mean they wanted the maiden as a mate seeing as when they mated the maiden would get pregnant and die at childbirth. Having one’s mate dying on you broke your heart, many mates died of heartbreak and left their child to the relatives left behind. I understood if that was the reason Minseok feared it even if it hurt but at least that would’ve been a valid reason. Now I didn’t know what his reasoning for avoiding me was but I was determined to find out.
“Who told you?” His eyes grew wide in alarm, I opened my mouth to answer him but he growled at me then and shook his head. “No, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change anything.”
“Why not? What doesn’t it change? Why are you so hellbent on ignoring me if not for that?” I was frustrated, wanting to shake the answers out of him if I could. His lips became a thin line, glaring right at me and I put a hand on his arm. “Please Minnie, what could be so bad that you have to avoid me?” Feeling the anger seep out of me, replaced by agony and confusion.
He froze, looking down at my hand on his arm and I followed his gaze automatically and saw the arm which had the full sleeved guardian tattoo. I remembered the tattoos they had and had been informed by Baekhyun that when the flower in the trunk of the tree in the tattoo blossomed it meant that the guardian had found its mate and the love was growing when it was fully bloomed it would mean the two had mated.
His full sleeve tattoo was of twirling snowflakes, frost and ice with the tree of life, MAMA, being placed on his shoulder and in the trunk of the tree the flower had grown but were not fully blossomed. My heartbeat increased as I saw that the flower while not fully bloomed was nearing it, much nearer than the last time I saw it and bigger to which meant that whether it had been during my absence or my returned his feelings for me had grown. The hope in me which had nearly disappeared these past weeks returned tenfold because it meant that even if he tried his hardest at avoiding me there was still a chance. Before I could look at it more he ripped my arm out of me gentle grip, staring at me in horror and hurriedly walked past me towards the door.
“Minseok! Don’t run away again, please! Minseok!” I begged him, going after him but stopping when he held a hand up at me. “Minseok, please…!”
“Just do us both a favor and stay the hell away from me.” He begged me, almost desperately and it surprised me enough to not go after him as he ran away yet again from me and yet again, I didn’t stop him.
I felt paralyzed as I walked yet again without any point of direction or target, drifting through the hallways and out into the center of the village. I walked until a big shadow loomed over me with the help of the light from the crescent moon, my breath crystalized before me in the cold spring night and I realized belatedly as a breeze brushed me that I hadn’t put on a jacket when I decided to go for a walk. After my interaction with Minseok I had gone back to my room without dinner, telling Jongin I wasn’t hungry when he came for me and tried to fall asleep because I couldn’t sort my feelings there and then but by the time I realized it wasn’t working as I had been staring at Minseok’s hat it was already well into the night and I felt suffocated being in the same room as Minseok’s hat as ridiculous as it sounded.
Which is why I found myself outside in my nightwear consisting of shorts and a full-sleeved old jersey with just my slippers protecting my feet. In a daze I looked up at the looming figure, startling as I realized that I was standing before MAMA. It wasn’t my first time seeing her ever since I returned to the pack weeks ago but it was the first time I stood before her. I looked her over, she was easily higher than any of the rooftops be several feet and so wide that it would take ten to twenty people to reach around and hug the tree. I walked around it, I walked until I found the hole in the trunk near the ground and were amazed to find the chamber within glowing.
Transfixed I got down on my knees before the whole and crawled inside. Inside of the trunk the wood seemingly glowed in a pale, pastel lights coming from the gemstones embedded into the wood of the trunk and sat down in the crater on the ground and thought that it was probably in the crater where the maidens appeared as babies. It was big enough to fit me as I lied down in it and curled up into a fetal position. I looked up and around the inside from where I lied. I lied there, breathing in the soft scent of something that was not wood and unlike anything I had ever smelt before. It was akin to lavender yet it was sweet like cotton candy but warm like the smell of sun rays on the summer. I breathed in the scent, eyes taking in the low glow of the gemstones and now I could see the veins of the wood being of seemingly silver which twirled as if it was streams of sparkling silver water and connected to each of the gems. It wasn’t warm within, not at least for my physical body but it warmed my soul, it warmed something within me. I felt like I had returned home, which wasn’t too strange seeing as it was my birthplace.
Birthplace. I had been birthed by a tree and adopted by humans and my mate was not only a werewolf but also the High Alpha who was dead set on ignoring me. Laughter bubbled up within my throat, I began to laugh hard enough that my body curled into myself and I had to remind myself to breathe as I laughed because everything was insane. My birth, the events leading up to know and Minseok, Minseok who had been my motivation to getting my memories didn’t want me around me which was so ironic that I laughed.
I laughed and laughed but as time went on the laughter turned into a wheezing, wheezing as I couldn’t breathe properly through the sobs I let out. My nose clogging up with snot, eyes were swollen and stinging from all the tears which overflowed and my body curling up even more until I was all but a ball. I cried until there were no more tears left to cry, I let out all my hurt and tears that I had held back ever since the cat and mouse game had begun between me and Minseok. I had swallowed and swallowed my feelings, forcing them back as I tried to ignore them and focused on getting to know the rest all the while the only person I truly wanted to get to know didn’t want anything to do with me. Which was what hurt the most. Not that he was aggressive towards me because at least he saw and talked to me when he did. What hurt was that… Was that...
He didn’t want me but all I had ever wanted was him.
Well, that were a lot of emotional bombs in this chapter and subtle hints.
Please comment down below on what you guys think and don't forget to leave a kudos ;) <3
Chapter 7: Hope
Chaeyoung learns something new and Minseok's mask cracks.
I shuffled, curling into a ball for a moment before stretching and letting a sigh of content escaping my lips as I lied on my back on the soft, warm mattress. I furrowed my eyebrows, not yet opening my eyes, as I thought that something was wrong. My eyes fluttered open, seeing a ceiling instead of- I sat up straight as memories flooded back to me of falling asleep in the trunk of MAMA but how in the world were I in my bed then!?
“You snore.” My head snapped to the left so fast I was momentarily worried if I would get a whiplash. Sitting on a chair in the corner of the room Minseok was holding his old hat, inspecting it with his usual face void of any emotions. “It’s a wonder we didn’t find you earlier with the way you were snoring like an elephant with a cold.” He snorted seemingly in amusement and I blinked, not knowing what to say because sitting before me was not the Minseok of these past weeks but the old Minseok. The introvert with a wry humor, snark, and sarcasm ready at all times and I didn’t dare to say anything to destroy this moment but I had to.
“Find me? You went looking for me?” He looked at me then, glaring and I gulped automatically at the pure anger and disappointment in his eyes.
“I and half of the pack did when Lalisa and Joonmyun went to fetch you for breakfast but couldn’t find you anywhere.” I flinched at the tone he used with me and looked down at my lap in guilt. “They had to fetch me in the end when they couldn’t find you after an hour of looking for you, do you realize how worried you made all of us?” He growled but I focused on the detail that he had said all of us , not them but all meaning he had been worried as well. “And you couldn’t have chosen a better place to fall asleep at, you just had to sleep in the trunk of MAMA in a spring night, no wonder we fucking found you because MAMA masked your scent. Do you realize how cold it is outside!? You were ice cold when I found you and you didn’t respond as I tried to wake you up, you’re lucky Yixing hadn’t gone into his heat yet so he and Chanyeol could warm you up and examine you.”
“You were worried about me?” I asked, looking at him and carefully reading his face. He looked at me in shock, lips twisting into a grimace before he released a short laugh in disbelief and shook his head at me. But the important detail was that he hadn’t denied it at all, not vocally. Rather than answering my questions, his eyes fell upon his hat, he held it up and met my eyes calmly.
“Where did you find this?” He asked and I relaxed for a moment because he hadn’t denied being worried about me. “I asked you a question.” He reminded me when I got lost in my relief and I thought back to his question.
“At the old pack village, underneath rubble in your old house,” I replied after a moment of thought. “I was happy when I found it, because...” I bit my lower lip for a moment, not sure whether to say it or not but something in me told me I needed to be open about this. “You weren’t there like I thought you’d be but at the very least I had your hat, I remembered your hat and was immensely glad because… It meant that you had been real, not just something I might have confused in my jumbled memories and while I was really sad, worried that you might’ve perished or been unreachable I was also glad because I had your hat...” I looked at it, frowning when I saw the blood tainting the straws off of it. “Sorry about the blood, I did my best to protect it when I and Lisa were attacked but it good bloody still...”
“You… Protected it?” He asked, his voice sounded strange as if he was being strangled and was having a difficult time getting the words out. I nodded, looking at him with concern as he lowered his face so I couldn’t see it and his hand tightened on the hat.
“Minnie?” I asked, feeling worried as the silence went on and jumped a little at the growl he emitted before it died.
“You should have left it.” The shot had been fired, my ears ringing at the deafening silence that followed his statement and I had to choose, to flee or fight.
“... You… You asshole!” I gritted out, fingers clenching unto the duvet and I met his glare with one of my own. “How could you say that!? That hat has been with you since you were a child, you never let anyone have the hat beside me and it carries a lot of good as well as bad memories but memories nonetheless which I treasure!” I yelled at him, my anger and frustration being released from weeks of captivity and they were not to be pushed away until I had gotten through that thick skull of his. “What the hell is your problem!? You’ve been nothing but a cold jerk ever since we were reunited and it doesn’t make any sense, you and I had been so close prior to that awful night and for you to become this distant is, is, weird!” He said nothing but his hands were shaking and his claws came out and caused holes in the hat which only made me angrier. “Stop that! You’re ruining it!” I ripped the hat from his hands, tears running down my cheeks as I looked at the poor hat which had claw holes alongside the blood stains. “... Why did you have to ruin our reunion? Why are you adamant about pushing me away?” I asked, my voice losing the sharpness it had taken in my outburst of anger to be replaced with salty, stinging sadness and I patted the hat absentmindedly.
“... Why would you want to have anything to do with the one who left you to bleed out on the street?” He asked, sounding equally as sad yet there was a sharp tone to it, bitterness and something that made me look at him. Something that would strengthen me or break me. I hoped for the former. His eyes were alpha golden, he was clearly distressed if his wolf was that close to the surface but it might also be because of that that he lost it. “How could you be happy to see me or protect that ratty hat of the one who left you to bleed out on the street!? I fucking abandoned you, why would you want anything to do with someone who could do that!? I was supposed to protect you but instead you got hurt and nearly died in my arms, you being here is nothing but a reminder of my greatest failure and yet you keep trying to get closer, why!?” He had stood up in the middle of his rant, clawed hands grasping my arms and shook me as he talked. I stared at him as I dropped the hat, not knowing where to put my hands as he spoke faster and faster, more agitated by the second and there was a sheen to his eyes of unshed tears that broke my heart for him. Even if he hadn’t known it himself he had finally opened up to me and I began to understand his aversion to me, there might’ve been more but this was definitely the main reason. “Why the fuck would you want anything with the one who abandoned you!? And who- Who-” He stopped himself and glared right at me instead. “Are you stupid!?” His claws were digging into my arms, it hurt but not as much as seeing Minseok who was a proud wolf, even back when we were younger he had been prideful and shown great control over his wolf even back then. For him to lose this much control spoke volumes and I wept for him. My hands finally reached up to cup his face, my thumbs gently wiping away the two tears which had fallen unbeknownst to him. He froze, he completely stilled as he hadn’t expected me to do this and his mouth hanging open as he didn’t know what to say.
“Because… You’re my Minnie, my dearest guardian, friend and… My soulmate…” I added the last part shyly, unused to use the term to describe him but were filled with warmth as I did because it felt right. “You didn’t leave me because you wanted to but because you had no choice but to, it was the best of you to do at the moment but I know you probably need to hear this so...” I sniffled, giving him a reassuring smile. “I forgive you,” I said, meaning it.
While I didn’t forgive him because he had left me on the streets for my parents to find me because there hadn’t been anything to forgive regarding that or them keeping their distance from me. But I forgave him for these past weeks, knowing now that as much as it had hurt me it must’ve hurt him, even more, seeing as a werewolf he felt things much stronger than what humans would. I had seen the way the werewolves had interacted with their mates these past weeks, I had seen the other day when Jongin had offended Baekhyun by accident and were brought to tears as he had realized how he had unintentionally hurt his mate and begged for forgiveness which Baekhyun had given him with a hug. If one blunder could bring Jongin to his knees, crying for his mate’s forgiveness I could barely imagine how it must’ve been like for Minseok to keep pushing me away and acting like a jerk while evidently dealing with the guilt eating him away for so many years.
“... You forgive me?” When he blinked another tear fell.
His gold eyes looking into mine seemingly searching for any reason to not believe me as he looked at me in disbelief, fear and an emotion hidden in the depths of gold I could recognize with ease as it had flickered in my heart like a fragile flame. Hope. I barely didn’t let myself blink in order for him to search my eyes to his heart content, having nothing to hide from him. He made the mistake of averting his gaze slowly, staring in horror at my bloodied arms from the claws that had dug into my skin. He stepped back, staring at his bloodied hands in shame and I winced as the claws were retracted. Damn, that stung really bad but I was more worried for Minseok who’s breathing had grown very labored and he wouldn’t stop staring at his hands. I could see the moment he started to retreat into himself once more, away from me but I couldn’t let it happen now.
“Minnie, it’s okay! It was an accident, I’m okay!” I said, getting up from the bed and cautiously approached him. He looked at me with a guilt-stricken face, shaking his head from side to side and his canines dropping fully as he went into a panic attack. “Minnie!?” I couldn’t help but yell out in shock when I went to hold him but before I could take the second step the door opened and Yixing came inside.
“Hi, I hope I’m not inter-” He took in the scene before him, eyes widened and then he stepped away from the door. “High Alpha, get out now!” Yixing commanded, holding the door wide open and Minseok didn’t even look at me as he bounded out of the room and left me standing there by my bed with an ache in my arms. “What the hell happened?” Yixing asked once he was gone, quickly closing the door after yelling at someone to not let anyone in here and to bring water and a towel.
“He… He cares about me...” I said, staring at the door where he had disappeared as Yixing made me sit down on the bed after taking off my bed shirt to look over my arms.
“Always has and always will, even if he hasn’t shown it lately. That fool.” Yixing muttered, hovering a hand on each arm and I felt the pleasant, tingling warmth of his healing began to knit the muscle tissue back together and leaving no scar behind. Just like how my bruised heart was knitting back together after the declaration of one High Alpha.
“Lisa, can we talk?” I opened the door, she was lying sideways on her bed with her head hanging off the edge and looking up at her ceiling.
“Sure.” She said, sounding… Weird. I furrowed my eyebrows as I closed the door behind me and joined her in bed, copying her and looked at the side of her head. Her jaw was a bit tense, all of her looked tense and her eyelashes shadowed her eyes ever so slightly as she looked up mindlessly to the ceiling.
“Okay, my thing can wait because I can tell something has happened so… If you want to talk, I’m all ears and napkins.” I took out my package of napkins from my jeans pocket, smiling when she snorted out a laugh of amusement.
“Nerd.” She lamented but laughed when I dug my elbow into her side - not hard as she would’ve done it.
“I don’t hear you complaining though.” I returned.
“Because it would be stupid to make enemies with the walking pharmacist store.” She blew a raspberry my way when I rolled my eyes at her but couldn’t deny it. I always had painkillers, allergy meds, cough drops and napkins on me whether they be in my pants pocket, jacket pocket or bag. Always ready for whatever a un-expected migraine, period pain or sore throat incident that could occur. “But… I could use a talk...” She twisted her lips a bit.
“Go ahead, I’m listening.” I nudged my head to hers for a moment, then waited. It took maybe two minutes before she decided to open up.
“Junmyun… He told me that I’m his mate, he even showed me the flower which begun to blossom the minute they saved us from the rabid wolves.” I looked at her wide-eyed, not knowing what to say and as she looked at me in the corner of her eyes she nodded. “I know right? It’s insane.” She shook her head. “Kind of glad though, fate gave me one hell of a hot man. Kind too… And funny… It just seems to be good to be true, you know, all the good guys are either taken or gay so like, how did I end up with grade A partner material when I’m like a C plus?” It got quiet, Lisa worrying her hands while I thought about how to respond to it properly.
“First off, you’re clearly a grade A,” I said, slapping her stomach when she shook her head in negative. “You are! You’re open-minded, a really good friend, funny and not that the outside should mean more than the inside but you’re really beautiful.” She got quiet, mulling it over and hesitantly looking over at me. “Yes, I really do mean all of the things I said,” I said before she could begin to question it. She scoffed at me, boxing me lightly as she tried to hide just how happy she got to hear it but I didn’t believe her acting for even one second.
“Yeah, which brings me to...” She paused, sucking in her breath before letting it go along with her words. “Idon’twantoleave.” She said in a rush so I couldn’t make it out.
“What? I couldn’t catch it, say it again but slower.” I urged her, ignoring her groan but she did as I asked.
“I don’t want to leave. I want to stay here, for definite, you know.” She wrung her hands together before resting them on her tummy. “I don’t know if you could tell but I kind of crushed on Junmyun oppa and then he dropped the mate-bomb and that was it for me.” She blew out some breath, meeting my eyes steadily. “I’ve already been offered to become one of their performers if I were to stay… And I were actually interested in learning how to fight since before, as you already know so I figured I could become a hunter and a fighter too like Tao-oppa is.” She looked unsure for a moment before she seemingly challenged me with her eyes. “How’s it going with mister Frost? Has he smiled? And if he did, did his face crack?”
“Oh, he cracked but not like that...” At her look, I told her about Minseok’s outburst from two days ago, from when he had asked me about the hat to the very hand when he had fled from the room. From then on he hadn’t been seen at all but this time I didn’t feel too badly about it seeing as he was most likely hiding from me because of him accidentally hurting me more so than avoiding me for spilling his guts to me. Lisa said nothing as I talked, just nodding every now and then to show that she was listening.
“Okay, he’s not that much of a douche like I originally thought but still he avoided you more than I avoided my chemistry homework, which says a lot.” She tried to joke but it fell flat. “What will you do now?” I only looked at her, not needing to think before I gave her my answer.
“I finally caught you!” I grinned victoriously, closing the door behind me and held the doorknob tightly. Minseok didn’t even look up from the scrolls he was reading, only sighed.
“You caught me? In my own den? You do know I could move you from the door without as much touching you right?” He pointed out.
“But you won’t.” I quipped, smiling when he rolled his eyes for a moment.
“Don’t you have a party to attend, held in you and your friend’s honor?” He asked snarkily, reaching for a brush and dipped it in ink before writing on the scroll.
“I slipped away when everyone’s attention was on Lisa surprising Junmyun with a kiss,” I explained, walking over to his desk when he didn’t make any move to leave the room or force me out of the way. “I will return to it but I needed to talk to you.”
“About?” He said boredly and raised his eyes which swept over my bare arms before they widened as he looked over all of me.
I was wearing a sleeveless, lavender turtleneck dress which reached my knees, luckily the party was kept inside the great hall so I didn’t freeze to death as Lisa had dolled me up for the party, having put on some light makeup on my face and put my hair in a waterfall braid and I used my silver bracelet with amethyst stars. I felt weird and out of place, unlike Lisa I was never one to like dressing up and putting on makeup unless it was for special occasions. So when I did doll up it felt a bit weird and took a while getting used to. Minseok’s wide-eyed look directed at me made me feel more self-conscious than I had been before, I looked over myself worriedly and moved my bangs away from my eyes carefully.
“D-Do I look that weird?” I asked, feeling nervous as I waited for his reply.
I’ve never felt this nervous waiting for a question regarding how I looked, I never really cared much about it or at least not as much as Lisa did. I liked wearing comfortable and cute clothes, I never really liked showing off too much skin and never wore makeup unless for special occasions. Yonsun would call me a frigid nun sometimes with how much I liked being covered up, that hurt but soon I got used to hearing it so it was easier to ignore it as time passed by. I knew I wasn’t sexy like Lisa, if I had to describe myself in a positive light I was at the very least cute and I didn’t try to be anything but me, not bothering to pretend to be seen as otherwise. But as Minseok seemed to be at loss for words, the realization that I wanted to look good for him and the need to hear him approve of how I looked made me equally surprised just as nervous.
“... You look…” I felt my tummy flutter nervously, fingers playing with one another as I waited with a baited breath of his opinion. “You don’t look weird, you look beautiful.” The flush that warmed my cheeks must’ve gone down my neck to my racing heart and I couldn’t have hidden the pleased smile even if I had tried to. Minseok, on the other hand, coughed, looking uncomfortable to have let his opinion known as it put a little crack in his cold, uncaring facade he had insisted on showing me ever since I’ve arrived. “Your arms look well healed.” He said then to change the subject and I let him.
“Yeah, Yixing did a good job,” I said, rubbing my arms partly from the phantom feel of the claws embedded into them but also because of the chilly breeze. Ever since I was a kid he air around Minseok had been cold and it still hadn’t changed. The whole room was cold, not enough for my teeth to clatter just yet but cold enough that I felt goosebumps rise on my exposed limbs. I vaguely remembered Minseok having explained in the past it wasn’t something he had control over and if anything it helped him stay cool and well as he couldn’t handle heat very well. “Which brings me to my first agenda.” I smiled at him, hoping I didn’t scare him or make him more uncomfortable than he already was. “When you grabbed my arms and put your claws in them, it wasn’t your fault nor do I blame you for it. If anything, it was my fault for riling you up that much with all my yelling. So, if you or your wolf feel guilty for accidentally hurting me, please don’t as it was an accident.” He looked at me in shock for a moment before his blank mask came back, this time with narrowed eyes of suspicion but I didn’t let him voice them yet as I continued. “I also wanted to say that I’ll fight for you.” Silence. Complete silence followed my declaration and the flush that came to my cheeks this time was out of embarrassment.
“... What?” He said, looking utterly bemused which didn’t help my growing mortification but my mouth was faster than my brain.
“I’ve decided to fight for you and your heart even more so than before grimace. “That sounded way cooler in my head.”
“... Fight for my heart?” I gaped at him as he was evidently amused if his smirk and snort of withheld laughter was any indication and I puffed out my cheeks for being laughed at.
“Don’t laugh! I’m being serious!” Which only made him truly break out in laughter now and I might have stomped my foot in annoyance. “Yah!”
“T-T-That was so cheesy!” He laughed, clutching his stomach as he laughed harder than before while I crossed my arms. With a disapproving glare, which did nothing to stop him, I watched his laughter slowly but surely ebb away until he was breathing properly and wiped away a tear of mirth.
“Are you done?” I asked sourly.
“Depends, are you done spurting nonsense?” He asked, outright smirking at me and I felt my eye twitch.
“It’s not nonsense!” I defended and he gave me a look as if to say, really now? “You can laugh it away or ignore the matter at hand all you want but I won’t.” The smirk fell into a scowl, eyes darkening in interest and I knew what I said now would play a great deal in how the coming days would play out. It didn’t deter me the slightest. “We’re soulmates, fate has chosen to bring us both together and I’d like to think it wasn’t just a fluke. You were important to me when we were younger, you’ve been important for me ever since I lost some of my memories as I wanted to remember how to get back to you. There was nothing to be forgiven but I forgive you anyway for leaving me to the hands of my parents after getting hurt, so stop using that as an excuse to get to know me once more and actually give us a chance.” He said nothing but he looked conflicted, I gave him what I hoped to be a gentle expression. “You’re so stubborn but it’s okay, I can be stubborn too if I want so I’ve decided to pursue you instead then and make a good effort into getting to know you again. I’ll chase you to the moon and back if I have to.”
“... Was that all?” He asked, swallowing thickly as he looked down at the scroll again and I knew that I had made my point come across him.
“For now.” I said with a teasing grin, giggling when he sent me a suspicious look and I walked backwards to the door. “Hey, Minnie?”
“What?” He asked, still looking at me as I felt for the door knob and twisted it.
“For someone who’s trying to push me away, you seem awfully okay with me calling you Minnie.” I had thought about it just earlier today and added it into my pocket of hope. Seeing his shocked expression, the rising blush to his cheek as he opened and closed his mouth, completely lost for words I smiled so much that my cheeks ached but nothing could overpower the elation I felt in my chest. “Nighty, Minnie! See you tomorrow!” With that, I hurried out of the room and closed the door behind me.
I leaned against it, my hands over my rapidly beating heart and for once a meeting with Minseok hadn’t ended in tears or pain. I called that progress and more would come, I’d do my best to make sure off of it.
Chapter 8: Nest, eggs and flying
She leaves the nest and goes up into the sky.
“I can’t believe the day has finally come for my baby to leave the nest.” I looked up at mom after I closed the last box of my belongings that I would bring with me to Lisa’s and my house at the pack village or, as our parents knew it, our apartment in Seoul to work at a company.
While they had been happy for me they had also cried and told me how much they would miss me, especially seeing as I moved so far away so we wouldn’t be able to see each other very often. My stomach ached from the guilt every time I tried to reassure them that wouldn’t be the case but not able to tell them that I actually just lived 45 minutes away by walking rather than four hours. But it wasn’t like I could tell them I had been born from a tree and would live in a village where people could turn into wolves, let’s not forget the fact that my soulmate, because that is a thing, is the leader of the pack and been treating me not so kindly these past weeks. No, if I told them that they would make me book an appointment with my neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist to determine whether the blow to my head had caused these hallucinations or if I had triggered some sort of mental disease. So even if it felt wrong to lie right to their faces, at least for now, I knew it had to be done.
“I’ll be fine, mom!” I went over to her and stroked her back.
“I was talking about Lisa.” She said with a serious facade, laughing when I scowled at her and kissed my cheek as she pulled me into a hug. “I’ll miss you too.”
“Geez, thanks,” I muttered dryly but smiled all the same as she rubbed her cheek against mine for a moment before letting me go. “So, what are the big plans for this room? Yoga room? Dad’s man cave?”
“An altar to remember our daughter, of course.” She sniffed, grinning when I laughed and ruffled my hair. “I’ll leave it be, for now, I haven’t figured out what we could do with the extra space yet.”
“I really like the idea of the man cave, though,” Dad said as he entered the room to retrieve the last box as he had been kind enough to load it up on the trailer to Lisa’s hand-me-down car from her father.
“Of course you do.” Mom sighed, I and dad exchanged a mischievous look over her shoulder as she looked away. “Have you remembered to bring with you water and fruits? It’s a long journey to Seoul and I’m not sure how many rest stops there are on the way.”
“Yes, we have, doctor Park.” I teased her as dad hosted up the last box.
“Oh, you cheeky little monkey.” She pinched my nose in retaliation.
“Suddenly, doesn’t it feel good that she’s moving, Tzuyu?” Dad asked mom as he moved past us and winced at the slap she delivered to his back.
“No, it doesn’t Jimin!” She scolded him.
“Too soon?” He joked, quickly getting out of the way from another firm pat to the back as mom grumbled under her breath.
“What a troublesome man.” She muttered finally and put an arm around me. The light annoyance and humor gave away for worry and fondness as she looked at me. “Are you ready?”
“No, but I have to go anyway.” I smiled, nose twitching when gave me a firm side hug and lead me out of the room. As we walked I took one last look at my room behind me, quietly saying goodbye before focusing on getting down the staircase without tripping.
“So, have you melted the Wall yet?” Lisa asked as she swept the floor with a broom.
One of the downsides of living in the magical realm was no electricity which had devastated Lisa at first until Jongdae had created a little box which we could use to recharge or computers with, so we kept all our series and movies on DVDs so we could still watch them. And I for one was glad to have a real excuse to be rid off of social media, though she and I ventured out of the realm into the mortal realm to check on our phones so that we didn’t miss any important calls or messages though we had told our parents that during our “office hours the phones” were to be off, so if they wanted to call us they had to do so after 18:00 pm.
“... Game of Thrones?” I asked as I knew she had some sort of reference and just needed to make sure. To her nod, I stilled, then hummed impressed because it was a pretty accurate reference. “I tip my imaginary hat to you.”
“Thank you.” She curtsied with the broom at her side making us both laugh. “Well?”
“Well… It’s going… It’s difficult to say, like, he doesn’t run away or make random excuses anymore. When he speaks to me it’s very… He’s very respectful but distant, there are times though where I can see a glimpse of genuine amusement or even warmth but as soon as he himself noticed his slip-ups he either politely excuses himself or he goes very silent.” I explained as I dusted the trinkets placed on the mantle of the fireplace.
“So, what’s your next course of action?” She asked curiously.
“I thought I’d… Do nothing.” I blinked and looked towards Lisa when I heard a big thump. The broom laid on the floor as Lisa gaped at me. “Are you okay?”
“That’s my line!” She walked up to me with a bewildered look. “What do you mean you’ll do nothing? Isn’t there a saying you should strike while the iron is hot? Okay, this iron was ice cold but you’ve been warming it up these past weeks so you should strike it!”
“Not yet besides, I don’t want to be too pushy and as such, I haven’t sought him out or asked for him these past five days.” She began muttering in thai and went back to her broom as I watched her with a bemused look. Just then I heard knocking, we exchanged confused looks and it was with a silent agreement that I went to the front door to see who had decided to pay us a visit. It was to my great surprise Minseok that stood behind the door with his hands clasped behind his back and he stood there in his usual shirtless glory, exposing the tattoo of MAMA on his right arm. The sun made his pale, silvery blonde hair glow and his sharp eyes appear softer. The way he stood with an air of authority, regalness made me feel underdressed in my jeans and oversized jumper even if he was the one who only wore a pair of leather pants!
“Minnie!? W-What are you doing here?” I couldn’t help but exclaim.
After we had moved here officially I had truly put in a lot of effort into getting to know him once more and get him to warm up to me but I had done with great respect of his privacy and need of lonesome. These past five days though I had deliberately let him be and did my best to not accidentally run into him, while I had told Lisa it had been to leave him alone another reason had been because I had gotten my PMs just four days prior and in two days my period would begin according to Yixing’s estimations. I didn’t feel like meeting anyone really as I had felt very irritable and tired as well as having very bad cramps.
Yixing was the only one who officially knew my current condition but soon many would follow as he had said that because of their keen smelling, anyone would be able to tell I had my period. He told me it would drive the unmated wolves mad from my smell within the pack, comparing me going on my period to an omega going into heat but rather than removing me to a safe location, for the time being, he told me to stay home and put carefully chosen flowers around our house and our pack witch Taeyeon had put wards on our house so that no one could tell by smell alone that I had gotten my period, something she also did for unmated omegas and alphas who went into heat and rut respectively.
The only other way to keep me safe from unmated wolves would be if Minseok had actually mated with me, when I had asked what mating had entailed Yixing hadn’t wanted to tell me as it was an issue between me and Minseok but in his medical opinion it needed to be done sooner rather than later not only to ensure my safety further but also because of the toll it took on Minseok’s wolf to be kept away from its mate. Having heard that I had gotten worried and irritated as I knew there was something else keeping Minseok from me but I had yet to figure out or discover what it was exactly.
“Hello to you too.” He said dryly, raising an eyebrow and I flushed with embarrassment for having greeted him like that.
“S-Sorry, I just didn’t expect you to appear before my front door.” He hummed and I held onto the doorknob a little more out of the nervousness I felt. “Why are you here?” I asked then, not really sure why he was here when he had done so much to keep away and the little flicker of hope grew as he looked uncomfortable, just like he always did whenever he let his cold persona slip ever so slightly after having shown me great care or genuine amusement or affection, even for a moment.
“You haven’t been to any of the meals these past days, the cooks are worried so I took it upon myself to check up on you, maiden.” He had begun to use my title to address me these past weeks, even more so when he was obviously feeling uncomfortable as if it was used as a shield but it fell on deaf ears at the moment as my eyebrows raised at his statement.
“They are? But I’ve eaten all the meals they sent me here, why would they be worried?” I asked bemused, Minseok froze and his eyes widened in alarm. “Wait a minute… They aren’t worried as they had sent me all the meals here...” While I had been out in the village I had taken to eaten all my meals at home as Yixing had said that once my period would begin I wouldn’t be allowed to go outside of my home for my own safety, just in case one would respond to the hormones that had begun to increase within me he had given the cooks explicit orders for me to have all my meals in my home seeing as it would be unwise to be kept during a long duration in a room with little air passage and with my delectable smell. My heart fluttered as my brain put one and one together and I began to smile. “Minnie, were you worried about me because I haven’t been seen in dinner these past days?” His jaw twitched, clearing his throat and I knew I had hit the nail right on the head even as he began to deny it.
“Of course not, I knew you weren’t hurt or hurting otherwise I would’ve been informed.” He sniffed and my smile grew wider which seemed to throw him off.
“Yeah but that doesn’t mean you won’t worry if you haven’t seen me for four days considering the village is not big enough for that. Don’t worry though, in just a few days I’ll be back to follow you around like a little duckling.” I teased towards the end, giggling when he scoffed at me and rolled his eyes.
“Why in a few days?” He asked at last but I felt a bit embarrassed to say I’d have my period so I focused on another fact.
“So you don’t miss me being your little duckling?” I asked, looking at him hopefully.
“No, I just wanted to know the reason for my vacation but never mind that, I’ll just enjoy these precious days of solitude away from the stalker duckling.” He smirked when I blew a raspberry at his mean teasing.
“I’m not a stalker ducking! I’m an imprinted duckling if anything!” I argued and gave him an offended glare when he flicked my nose.
“An imprinted duck who follows along with their imprint whether the imprinted like it or not. Does that not sound stalkerish to you?” I didn’t know what to say because he was kind of right, making me pout and he chuckled in amusement. “I thought so.”
“High Alpha!” We both turned to look at Taeyong who came running up to us, when he stood a bit away from us he bowed to me while exposing his throat to Minseok, both being respectful greetings and shows of submission respectively.
“What is it, Taeyong?” Minseok’s amusement disappeared in an instant before I wasn’t Minnie any longer but the High Alpha of the Exodus pack. His back was even straighter, no signs of smiling on his face and his eyes cool like eyes as he looked at the young alpha who was the leader of one of the military groups of the pack.
“High Beta Yifan and High Omega Junmyun seek you as you need to go over the development of the peace treaty with the Infinite clan,” Taeyong explained.
“Very well, are they in the great hall?” Minseok asked.
“Yes, High Alpha,” Taeyong responded diligently.
“Tell them I’ll be with them shortly,” Minseok ordered and dismissed Taeyong with a jerk of his head.
“Yes, High Alpha.” He exposed his throat to Minseok once more then turned to me. “Sorry for interrupting you two.” He bowed deeply and I returned the bow despite his and everyone else's arguments that I should not bow to anyone as I was the Maiden.
“It’s okay!” I reassured him, giving him a smile which he returned with a shy one and then he ran off to probably inform Yifan and Junmyun that Minseok would join them soon.
“Well, I’ll take my leave then,” Minseok paused, the smirk growing on his face as he turned to walk away and only in a safe distance from me continued over his shoulder. “Duckling.”
“Yah! You make it sound like a bad thing!” I whined, pouting when his back rippled from his low laughter but as I watched him disappear around the corner of the road I began to smile because for once he had not called me maiden but duckling, which was another improvement towards my goal. Even if it was implied I was a stalker, I had to amend that at least it meant I would be a cute stalker. “Did I just try to make me being called a stalker a good thing? Jesus.” I put a hand to my face and closed the door after me.
“Here’s a hard one. Bucky, Steve or Pietro?” Lisa eyed Baekhyun as he pursed his lips in thought.
The two had been engaged in the game marry, fuck, kill from the beginning of our walk in the forest. Both of them weren’t too interested in hiking or in nature and within five minutes of walking, they had been bored so they struck up several games, this one is the one they stuck with. Jongdae had helped me re-learn the names of certain things and forest critters, as well as just enjoying the silence of the forest. I was glad when we had our companionable silences because the cramps I’ve had since the morning had been bad and I was glad that my period would come tomorrow so that it would soon be all over.
“Marry Bucky, fuck Pietro and kill Steve.” He answered, at last, laughing at Lisa’s horrified look. “Oh, come on! I didn’t want to kill any of them but you left me without choice.”
“But Steve!?” She argued, which really wasn’t that much of an argument but I stayed silent and just enjoyed their banter.
“Bucky had been through enough and Pietro is hot.” He shrugged.
“... You chose to kill Steve because you think Pietro is hotter?” Baekhyun shrugged then laughed as Lisa made a faked look of pure disgust. “Dude, that’s so wrong.”
“Says the one who killed Loki.” Making her gasp.
“You couldn’t have expected me to kill Bruce or Peter! They’re precious marshmallows! And I felt bad about it! Unlike you, bastard.” He just smirked right in her face making her attempt to growl at him which only made him laugh outright.
“Children, be nice!” Jongdae called out to them, giving them a grin when they both flipped him off. “Love you too~” He cooed.
“Oh, I thought of a good one. Rocket, Groot or Jongdae?” Baekhyun said innocently but his mirth was evident. I hid my laughter in a cough as Jongdae narrowed his eyes at the two in front of us.
“Marry Rocket, fuck Groot and kill Jongdae of course,” Lisa answered without as much blinking an eye, then ran away with Baekhyun as Jongdae began to chase them and whined at them for being mean.
I watched their play of chase when I felt something wet at the juncture of my legs, I paled as I had an idea as to what it was and went behind a tree. I lifted up my jumper and looked down between my legs. The center of my jeans had a growing spot of deep red and I groaned at the very bad timing then even more so in embarrassment because I would need to explain to the guys why we had to make our outing short.
“I knew I should’ve put on my pads just in case but nooo, trust my body to be punctual and risk it instead,” I muttered annoyed and got out from behind the tree. “Guys! Guys! I need to go home!” The three jogged up to me, all smiles.
“Why?” Baekhyun asked, tilting his head and I wanted to hide my face as my cheeks grew red in mortification.
“Because… Euhm… You know the thing that visits us, ladies, once a month? Well, it’s here one day ear-”
“You got your period!?” Jongdae all but yelled and I frantically hushed him because it was embarrassing enough to tell them, I didn’t need anyone else to hear about my embarrassing situation.
“Having a period is natural, don’t be sissies about it,” Lisa told the guys only to give them a bemused stare as they glared at her and me. “What?”
“Chaeyoung, does Yixing know you went out for a walk with us?” Baekhyun asked me, looking like he was close to panic.
“No? Why would I? I know I’d draw un-mated wolves to me within the pack once my period started but we’re in the woods now far away from any pack member.”
“Trust Yixing hyung to leave out an important fact, that airheaded idiot.” Baekhyun cussed and took my hand in his and started to drag me along with him. Jongdae ushered Lisa to move quickly and the guys had us girls jogging with them on our way back to the village.
“What fact?” I asked but never the less followed along.
“You don’t only attract un-mated werewolves like this but also any other un-mated being not to mention that even if it’s your period it’s still blood which with your hormones will amplify it. Think about that for a second.”
“... Oh, no…. Damn it!” I cursed as I realized just how bad this was and made a note to sternly scold Yixing for not giving me all information and scolded myself for not thinking about it myself. “Will we make it back befo-” I couldn’t even finish my question before something big and feathery landed right in front of us.
Lisa and I screamed as the harpy looking creature smiled at us. Baekhyun was quick to tug me with him as he ran to the side for the moment and Lisa was quick to follow after Jongdae ordered her to follow us before I could hear the sound of crackling electricity. More harpy creatures appeared, trying to catch me as they dove down from the sky only to have Baekhyun bend light and turn it into lasers which burned the harpies when it hit them. As we got surrounded Baekhyun kept me behind me and Lisa huddled close to me. We were outnumbered, we were in real danger and I had no idea how would get out of it.
“At my signal, jump then run for the village and scream as loud as you can. Don’t look back, got it?” Baekhyun whispered lowly.
“O-Okay.” I stuttered as Lisa bent down to pick up a thick branch and held it like a baseball bat.
“Now!” Just as we jumped along with Baekhyun there were a wave of pure electricity over the ground and the harpies seizures from it.
Luckily when we touched the ground again the wave was gone, wasting no time I took Lisa by the arm and began to run as fast as my legs could take me in the direction of the village. We did our best to run in spurts of random directions to throw the harpies off aim as they descended from the sky to get me, I screamed at the top of my lungs for Minnie, for help, for anyone who heard us that we were in danger and just when I caught sight of the high walls of the village I saw the shadow cover me before there was a painful burn in my shoulders and my feets dangled above the ground. The harpy flew us up and up until I was a few meters up into the air, she made a call for her fellow flock and I kicked my legs and thumped my fists against her feet that gripped below my shoulder blades and collarbones with the length of her talons.
“I HAVE THE GIRL! WE NEED TO RETURN TO THE GOLDEN DRAGON BEFORE THE REST OF HER GUARDIANS COME RUNNING!” The harpy yelled and looked down at me, she had human eyes yet her head was bold with strips of feathers and a snake-like tongue slithered through it. “”
“NO! NO! LET ME GO! LET ME- MINNIE! HELP! ANYONE!” I wailed, hitting on the harpy's legs and as a last resort I reached for one and when I managed to get a hold on it I bit down hard.
The harpy cried out in pain, grip faltering on me, the talons sliced up deep wounds along my collarbones to my shoulders and then I was falling through the air. I couldn’t have screamed even if I had wanted to, my hair and shirt rustled and were blowing up as my body felt heavy and the air currents too strong for me to move my arms and legs. I closed my eyes, waiting for the inevitable landing which would most likely break a leg or an arm if not my neck as the ground of the forest was uneven.
The air left my lungs as something tackled me from the side, in the back of my mind I realized that arms and legs encircled me and a hand pushing the back of my head so my face was kept pressed to a hard chest. As we landed we rolled for a while, the person who held me taking the brunt of the landing and didn’t let go until well after we had landed. First I realized how cold the body was, the coldness seeping into my bones and soothed me ever so slightly. Then as I lifted my face I saw the tattoo of MAMA on the muscular person arms and by the time I tilted my head up shakily, I already knew I’d look at Minseok’s face. Minseok’s eyes glowed alpha gold, no hint of brown meaning his wolf was very much in control now. The legs unwinded from me but the arms helped me sit up and I cried out in pain as the hands accidentally pressed into the deep wounds from the talons. He looked as if he wanted to expect them but the sound of wings flapping as they approached directed his attention elsewhere.
“Stay.” Was the only thing he said, he stood up and I looked at him, trembling from the whole ordeal.
I wanted to keep him there with me, I only felt safe with him but I didn’t say anything nor did I hold onto his pants legs as I knew he needed to get rid of the threat. He shifted before my eyes, pants ripping into threads and torn pieces. His wolf was entirely white, he was as big as a horse and eyes glowed in deep gold. The tips of his fur were tipped in frost, the air around him cold and I could see sparkles of frost twirl in it, even more so when he exhaled before setting his face in a snarl and his gleaming canines reflecting the sunlight. He released a howl, it echoed through the forest and then he set off. Uncaring of the pain I turned my body to see him leap into the air and his mouth enclosing around the harpy's thin waist and bit down. The blood sprayed the forest floor in red and a tree snapped in half as he threw the limp body of the harpy into it.
The carnage began. Minseok alternated between using his powers to create icicle arrows which hit our enemies fatally and killing the harpies with his own mouth. I tried to stay awake but it was difficult, I deemed it to be because of the blood loss and knew the adrenaline was wearing off as I began to feel just how much it all hurt. I wanted to look away but I couldn’t, he was doing it all for me, all of them were risking their lives to fight off these enemies and I couldn’t look away when they did their best to protect me because that would mean they had something to be ashamed of, that I felt ashamed off of it.
The world around me went in and out of focus, the sounds disappearing as if I was underwater yet I kept my eyes open, seeing Minseok’s fur go from white to pink to red and felt myself nod off for a moment. When they opened again the scene had grown more gruesome. The blood, organs nearly made me puke as well as the metallic, sweet scent of the blood. Bodies littered across the forest floor, even more so as the rest of the guardians joined us. It was almost beautiful, the way the guardians, both werewolves and humans, swiftly took care of the enemy with their powers and teamwork. Through the fray Lisa came running up to me with Junmyun at her side, the latter used water as a whip to slam the harpies away. Lisa sat down beside me looking worse for wear with blood running down the side of her face and clothing torn and she was trembling as much as I was. Jongin eventually found us through the fray, Junmyun shouted at him to get me and Lisa away from this and he had hugged us to him the minute he poofed right in front of us and then he teleported us right into the infirmary.
When we were in the infirmary Jongin let go of us to teleport right back into the fray, as he let go of me the world spun and I was to weak to keep my body upright. I heard voices but they appeared to be far away even as Yixing’s face hovered right above mine and then everything turned black.
Chapter 9: Little do you know I'm breaking inside
In this chapter, we'll meet wolves of frost and tears of loss.
I'm so, so sorry for the long wait but here's finally the chapter that I've struggled with for one major reason.
It's been so hot here in Sweden that it's not even funny, we've broken a heat record here in Sweden and there are around 40+ forest fires as we speak. So the heat had given me writer's block but today it was less warm so I took my chance and wrote this in nearly one go (I had begun the night before and went to bed to sleep before I continued XD)
But here it finally is and I won't promise that the next chapter will be up before Friday like I planned because apparently it will be warmer than the previous week but I'll do my best so hopefully it will come out Friday like planned or it might be switched to Sunday, just a heads up :D
Now, without further ado, here's the story! :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“How long do I have to stay here?” Yixing looked up from the wound he was healing and looked thoughtful for a moment.
“At least for the night then tomorrow I’ll have two guardians escort you back to your cabin and then you’ll have to remain there until your period is over. Understood?”
“Yeah…” I couldn’t watch him heal, the magic was white and sparkling but seeing my flesh knit together was a bit too much for my stomach to bear. But I couldn’t cope with the silence, I wanted my mind off of the healing so I asked the question that had been in my head ever since I woke up and found Yixing and his healers work on me. “Hey, Yixing?”
“Hmm?” He moved his hands ever so slightly.
“The harpies or whatever they were, they said something as they tried to fly away with me.” At that Yixing looked at me but otherwise kept on healing me.
“What did they say?” He asked, looking me in the eye.
“They said they needed to bring me back to… The Golden dragon I think… Who’s the golden dragon? What is he? Does he want me because of what I am?” I fired off question after question and failed to notice that Yixing had abruptly stopped healing me and looked very pale, on the verge of going a nauseating green. “What’s wrong?”
“Are you absolutely sure that’s what you heard?” He nearly hissed with how low he asked that questions as if he was afraid of saying it out loud and it made my stomach turn into knots.
“Y-Yeah, w-why?” I asked, never having seen or at least remembered to have seen Yixing look this shocked and scared before. Yixing, as I knew him, was the epitome of calmness and were very easy going, going with the flow and adapting to the situation. The Yixing before me looked anything but calm and swayed for a moment making me sit up which aggravate the wound that was left and I fell back against the bedding with a whimper. “Okay, no sudden movements got it.”
“S-Sorry.” He stuttered and continued where he left off. I decided not to ask him again, for one I didn’t want to distract him from healing me again but he had also a faraway look and wherever he visited in his mind, it was not a pleasant place so I kept quiet.
It wasn’t until a half hour later that the wound had not only been healed but I had also received a change of clothes and underwear from a healer and period pads so I wouldn’t stain anything more. I had just finished putting on the underwear, my sweatpants and put my dirty, bloodstained hair in a bun when the door to the examination room slammed open. I jumped very high with a scream, heart nearly pounding out of my chest in fear then relief as Minseok’s head snapped towards me. Minseok stalked forward, I noticed how his eyes were pure gold and I realized that Minseok wasn’t in front of me but his wolf. His clawed hands - another sign of just how much of his wolf was present - touched my chest and raised my arms every which way then made me turn around for him for a moment before directing me back so I faced him once more. He was making distressed sounds, like a whining dog and I instinctively cupped his face in my hands and hushed soothingly.
“Hey, I’m okay… Or, I’m not hurt or anything but I’m still a bit shaken up but nothing a good night sleep can’t fix.” I attempted a small smile to him, it dropped as he sniffed the air then growled. “Minseok?”
“Mine.” My heart forgot to beat for a moment, then it stopped completely as he crowded me up against the wall and insistently began to rub his hands over my upper body.
There wasn’t anything sexual about it as much as it was desperate, he even began to use his head and nose to rub against me and alternated between whining and growling. It wasn’t until he buried his face in my neck, sniffing and licking it that I realized what was happening. He was scenting me. He was literally putting his scent on me, something I had only ever read about in the folklore and myths I’ve read about werewolves over these past years and the meaning behind it made my heart swell but as I felt his canines brush against my neck I knew I had to stop him before he put his claiming mark on me. I wanted to get marked by him but not like this, not now and not when he was a bit more wolf than Minseok and I’m sure Minseok wasn’t anywhere as ready to mark me as his wolf evidently was.
“Stop, don’t bite,” I said gently at first but when he didn’t stop and he kept repeating over that I was his I tried to push him away but he was strong. “Holy- Minseok! Stop it! I don’t want to be claimed like this! Stop!” I got louder and louder as the words went on and I used all of my strength and managed to push him off of me enough for his gold eyes to meet mine. “I’m yours, okay? But I don’t want to get marked like this, so please, stop.” I explained, hoping it got through to the wolf. It felt a bit weird yet also natural to be talking to someone who looked like Minseok but at this moment wasn’t Minseok but his inner wolf. He looked at me, the silence dragged on for a while until he barely nodded and closed his eyes. He slumped against me, I held him and shook him lightly. “M-Minseok!? A-Are you okay? D-Do you need me to call for someone?” He released a breath against my breasts, making me shiver from it then he raised his head and his eyes were brown again. “You okay?”
“Are you?” He retorted, sounding tired but the soft glow in his eyes spoke of his care.
“Y-yeah.” He looked me over once, he stopped at my breast and suddenly it dawned on me that I stood before Minseok half naked. In a weak attempt of salvaging my pride, I put my arms over my breasts and turned my back to him. I could feel my ears going warm with the flush that spread from my cheeks in embarrassment. “S-Sorry but could you please go out so I can finish changing?”
“... I’ll walk you home.” He said and I heard his retreating steps.
“Y-You don’t need t-” I began, looking over my shoulder at him.
“It was not a question.” He said without looking back and closed the door behind him.
“O-oh...” I said lamely to no one in particular, looking to the bed where the shirt lied and knocked my head against the wall a few times. “How embarrassing…” I whined before grabbing my sweater and pulling it over my head as I walked over to the door. “It wasn’t even my good bra...” I mumbled as I opened the door and stepped out.
“... You’re so weird...” I jumped slightly and gaped at Minseok who had chosen to stand right outside the door and gave me an amused look as I flushed even more so than earlier. “If it makes you feel better, I’ve seen worse.” He smirked then put his hand to my lower back and made me walk beside him.
“That… That makes me feel worse actually.” And he laughed which in turn made me scoff at him but smiled nonetheless.
“I assume Yixing has already given you explicit orders about what to do in your current condition?” We were walking up the little trail up to the cabin, coming to stand before the front door and no one made a move to open the door as we looked at one another.
“I am not allowed to step outside until one day after it has officially ended,” I repeated what Yixing had told me earlier. I didn’t need to say what it was as he had discovered it when he rescued me and had smelt it back in the examination room. “Yixing!” I exclaimed as I remembered what we had spoken of.
“... Is this some weird name game I am not aware of or is it just your perpetual weirdness?” He asked with an amused glint in his eyes, making him look his age rather than the cold, dominant High Alpha he usually portrayed himself as.
“It’s not a game and I am not weird all the time.” I defended myself, puffing out my cheeks as he snorted. “A-Anyway, I told Yixing about what the harpies said and he froze in shock.”
“What did they say?” Minseok asked, reverting back to the High Alpha he was and I watched him intently as I told him, not wanting to miss any emotion that crossed his face.
“That they needed to bring me to the Golden Dragon.” If I thought Yixing had looked nauseated before it was nothing compared to Minseok who stepped back as if he had been slapped and his knees wobbled for a moment. “Okay, Yixing reacted no better than that so I assume this is bad?” Minseok surprised us both by grasping my upper arms and looked me directly in the eye.
“Are you absolutely sure you heard them say the name the Golden Dragon?” I nodded dumbly to his question, not finding the words as I was shocked by how frazzled and scared he looked. I had never seen Minseok scared before, not like this at least and his eyes darted every which way before resting on me again with an intense look. “You are not to leave the village, to go outside the walls around the village until I say so, is that clear?” I blinked, furrowing my eyebrows as I thought about the calls to my parents.
“But-” He stopped me before I could argue.
“Please. Please just do as I say, promise me you won’t.” He begged. Minseok Kim, High Alpha of the Exodus pack known for never bending the knee or begging as he took or negotiated for what he wanted. He was begging me. He was asking me for a promise. He looked so vulnerable at the moment, this situation with the Golden Dragon must’ve been more serious or dangerous than I could fathom and for once Minseok wore his feelings on his sleeve. Out in the open for me to see. “Promise me.” Fear. Desperation. Worry. I didn’t know whether to call the last emotion I recognized as love but I knew right there and then for sure that he truly cared about me more than he let on and I cupped his cheeks. To my reverence he actually leaned into the touch, taking a shuddering breath and I made my decision right there and then.
“I promise you I won’t leave the village.” His shoulders sagged with relief, he was trembling and I wanted nothing more than to pull him close and hug him but before I could he took a breath and steeled himself. He nuzzled against my hand one last time before taking two steps back, my hand falling from his face and his gentle, warm hands letting go of my upper arms. He seemed reluctant to leave, his worry and fear made my tummy hurt from all the anxiety I felt from this overall ordeal and feared the Golden dragon even if I had yet to meet or know who the person is. “Minseok, just who exactly is the Golden Dragon?” I asked the question that had been on the tip of my tongue ever since I had told Yixing what the harpies had said.
“... Get some rest and do what Yixing has told you.” He replied instead, shaking his head when I opened my mouth again. “Chaeyoung, don’t. I won’t answer it.”
“Why?” I asked, looking at him in utter frustration. “I deserve to know who the Golden Dragon is since he or she clearly wanted me.”
“Leave it, I’ll take care of it.” He ordered, turning to walk away but I walked up and grasped his arm this time.
“I don’t want you to just take care of it and leave me in the dark in a matter that involves me. I deserve to know everything about this, I don’t know if I can be of help but at least if I know what we’re dealing with I know just how careful I need to be and can make arrangements after that but in order to do that I need, I want to know who the Golden dragon is.” I argued and flinched when his eyes flashed golden as he bared his canines at me with a snarl. For once, I felt scared off of him. The way his face twisted into a fear-inducing snarl, canines gleaming in the sun and eyes swirling in gold and brown. This was the first time he had ever snarled at me. I had really crossed the line this time. As soon as the snarl ended, Minseok reverted back fully to his human exterior and looked at me in disbelief, as if he couldn’t believe it just happened. “S-Sorry… I was out of line...” I backed away from him.
“Chaeyoung.” He began, at loss for words and I tried for a wobbly smile.
“It was my fault, I shouldn’t have pressed the matter. I’ll go and stay in the cabin, don’t worry about me!” The laughter I let out was so fake. I opened the door as soon as my hand made contact with the doorknob and slithered inside. I closed the door right into Minseok’s face as he had walked hurriedly up to it and I locked it. I stood there, hand on the doorknob and willing the tears away but they kept coming. I hadn’t even known I had begun to cry until I had stepped inside and felt a drop land on my hand. My knees wobbled and I sank down to the floor, resting my forehead against the door. “Sorry… I’m sorry...” My voice was barely a whisper. The footsteps that slowly began to walk away after that echoed in my head for a long time after they had ceased to be heard.
“Hey, Mama, are you like Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas?” I asked the tree as I lied inside of it, staring at the veins of the tree, the silver water moving seemingly endlessly and reflecting the light of the glowing gemstones. As the silence dragged on I sighed. “Guess not.” I was a tad disappointed that the tree couldn’t or maybe wouldn’t talk to me, I hoped it was the former. “But, even if you can’t speak you must be listening at the very least… I hope… Sorry, I haven’t been around to visit, I was put in quarantine in my house because I had gotten my period.” I spoke, it felt natural to talk to MAMA even if she couldn’t answer because it felt nice that there was someone there to listen, just listen and let me vent. “It’s over now, so don’t worry… Euhm… Mama, I think I messed up things with Minnie because I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut… I… I was rude, or like, I deserve to know what’s going around me since they’re all tiptoeing around some secret and now the Golden Dragon thing but I could’ve chosen a better time to demand it... I know that… That Minnie is doing his best to ensure my safety but sometimes it would feel nice to be included in the decision making regarding my own life you know?”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” With a scream I swiftly turned around, blinking at Minseok who was kneeling by the entrance to the trunk of the tree. “Can I come in?” I nodded, scooting over to make some more room and he situated himself with his back to the wall opposite of me. He looked over the trunk, obviously in awe and I looked at him bemusedly.
“You act like you’ve never sitten in here,” I said with a wry smile only for it to drop into a gape as looked to me and coughed awkwardly. “Really!? You’ve never sitten in here!?”
“It wasn’t my place to be.” He explained simply, nodding his chin towards me. “At least, not without your permission. No one’s ever been able to enter the trunk of MAMA except for you, that night when you fell asleep here… I couldn’t enter.”
“But… How?” He rested his elbows on his knees and leaned back fully against the trunk, seemingly not minding the gems that dug into him.
“You woke up, just for the briefest of moments and told me you wanted to hold me like how I used to and I was able to enter and get you out.” I looked down at my lap to hide my blush.
“Oh.” Was all I could think of to say.
“You were right.” I looked up from my lap, eyeing him as he looked up at the veins of flowing silver and the glowing gems.
“About?” I hugged my knees, looking at him expectantly as he closed his eyes with a deep sigh.
“About the fact we indeed kept something from you and that you deserve to know who the Golden dragon is.” Hearing that I stilled, staring at him fully and unable to say anything. Luckily I didn’t seem to need to as Minseok continued after a pause. “It’s… It’s why I pushed you away, kept my distance from you… It felt awful but I didn’t feel...” He released a sigh through his nose in frustration, it was hard for him and my heart bled for him. I shuffled closer, carefully and slowly so he could tell me to stop at any time but he didn’t and as such, I ended up sitting beside him. I took one of his hands in both of mine, shivering from how cold it felt but smiled all the same because Minseok was always cold, I’m glad it was one of the few things that hadn’t changed over the years. He looked at me, bemused at my smile but it didn’t deter me.
“Start over and this time talk from the beginning. I’ll listen and won’t interrupt. Just begin when you’re ready.” I said gently but the smile dropped from my face as a tear ran down his cheek. “Oh no! What’s wrong? If you don’t want to talk to me about it it’s okay, I trust you and I won’t make you speak of something if it distresses you so much so please don’t cry.” I rambled on, one of my hands releasing his to wipe away the few tears that had fallen.
“I don’t deserve you.” I blinked, thumb pausing in wiping away the last remaining tear as my breath got caught in my throat at the way he looked at me. “I knew it when we were younger too, you were so pure and warm while I was cold and rude.” His free hand came up to cup my cheek, thumb stroking along the warmth that blossomed on the cheek and he smiled ruefully. “Yet I always wanted you. Needed you by my side. In a family filled with so many charismatic and attention-worthy wolves, I was the odd one out who didn’t fit in and were forgotten most of the time. But it was okay because there was a little girl with pigtails who looked at me as if I was her whole world and that was enough.”
“You still are.” I found myself saying, shyly looking away but he made me look back at him.
“And I still only need you to look at me to know that I have somewhere I truly belong.” I blinked away the tears at his admission, finally, after so long he was finally reincorporating my feelings and being open like I had wished. “But I don’t think I’m worthy off of that anymore, not only because I left you to bleed on the street but...” I said nothing, just squeezing his hand a little tighter to show him I was there, I was listening. “I don’t know if you remember but I had an older brother, Jiyong.” I furrowed my eyebrows, trying to place a face to that name but unable to do so and shook my head in negative to which he nodded. “I figured.” He looked down at our intertwined hands, focusing on them as if he was unable to look me in the eye as he continued to talk. “Jiyong was older than me, taller than me, more handsome than me and more charismatic than me. He was an alpha like me but the beauty of an omega and the swiftness of a beta. But he was narcissistic and mean which was often overlooked in favor of his charm. My uncle knew of it, he tried to teach Jiyong to be more gentle and empathic but it was futile. Apart from you my uncle truly saw me, he took the time to spend it with me and even though he had Jiyong he still liked to discuss pack matters with me which made me feel loved. Back then I thought it was just my uncle being a good uncle but now I know it was preparation for what would come.” He looked up then, out into the thin air and his eyes glow as he used his free hands' fingers to direct the frost he conjured.
I watched as the frost formed three wolves, one of them was really smaller compared to the others but bulkier whereas one of the other ones were the biggest and slimmest. Minseok being the smallest and Leeteuk being the biggest I assumed. There came more frost, looking like a fire made of ice and I saw the smaller one running away from it with a little figure on it’s back to me.
“That awful night of the attack, I ran away with you leaving my uncle and brother to take care of the pack.” The middle wolf, Jiyong, was running along the gems and bit down fox-like frost figures. “Jiyong had fought to his best ability, he was a great warrior but all of us were too late to protect my uncle.” I looked back to the biggest wolf who ran up a hill to a big tree and immediately bit down a frost fox. But it wasn’t alone, more came from the sides and the sky, the group all attacking him at the same time, I realized the foxes were kumihos and stared in horror as they tore the wolf nearly apart. “By the time I had reached him after I had left you to bleed on the streets, there was enough time to speak to him one last time but not enough to save his life.” The smaller wolf froze the foxes, biting their heads off and flinging them away. I was silently crying as I saw the smaller wolf budge the bigger one, the bigger one barely able to lift its head. “My uncle told me that I couldn’t let Jiyong rule the pack, his heart not fit for that of a leader but for that of a general. It was Jiyong’s birthright to become the next High Alpha once he reached the right age but a relative of the same family could challenge it and if the challenger won, the challenger would be the new High Alpha. The last words of my uncle were his wish for me to challenge Jiyong and lead the pack of my uncle and mine’s vision.” Leeteuk the wolf evaporated into thin air and the smallest wolf howled soundlessly. “I didn’t believe it, I was still feeling guilty of having to leave you behind as we tried to make sense on what to do after the attack. Kangin was appointed the new High Alpha until Jiyong reached the age of twenty and here’s where we lied to you.” He looked at me then, eyes brown but with waves of gold swirling in them speaking of the presence of his wolf. “There was never a ceremonial battle nor did my brother go rogue. I wanted to keep the truth from you because I was ashamed and worried you wouldn’t want me anymore but that was wrong of me.” I furrowed my eyebrows as he looked away to the frost once more, jaw ticking and I wanted to soothe him but couldn’t open my mouth to say anything. I listened instead.
“As MAMA allowed us to recreate the pack village surrounding her, Jiyong didn’t cope with our uncle’s death well. Our uncle was the only one we had left of our family, the rest having died since before in battles to protect our territory or of diseases that Yixing nor Ryeowook could heal. If Jiyong was acting superior before it was nothing compared to then, he restlessly asked Kangin to hand over the title as High Alpha to him as it was his birthright but Kangin refused to do so until he was of the right age which infuriated my brother. He began to act out then, defying orders made by Kangin and performed tasks on his own whether they were needed or not or supposed to have been done another way. His reckless and selfish acting disrupted the order and harmony of the pack, he manipulated younger wolves to heed his case and began to start an uprising within the pack.” Jiyong the frostwolf seemingly howled to a group of wolves, all of them looking menacingly at the wolf I thought were Kangin and Minseok the frostwolf stood on the sidelines watching.
“Kangin had just recently forbidden any of us to make any contact with you, all I was informed was that you were alive but suffered from amnesia. I had lost yet another person even though the person was just a portal away, it was horrible and I felt numb, paralyzed for a long while but then I overheard Jiyong speaking ill off of you and I snapped into action there and then.” Frostwolf Minseok jumped on frostwolf Jiyong, the two beginning to fight and frostwolf Minseok was thrown to the ground. “I attacked in anger and lost because of it, Jiyong had told me then that I was not worthy enough to be a guardian if I couldn’t even win against him without the use of my powers. He rubbed it into my face that you’d be better off with him and that once he was the High Alpha and you were of age he’d take you as his and that you could have me as something akin to a concubine if I was that desperate.” I stared in horror at the Jiyong frostwolf that grew larger and scarier with a toothy smile at the little wolf. “I made it my mission then to become stronger for you, for the pack and dethrone Jiyong once he claimed his role as High Alpha. I trained for two years, growing stronger and stronger physically but I also got secret lessons from Kangin regarding pack matters, continuing where our uncle had left off and then came the day of Jiyong’s coronation. He hadn’t even sat down on the throne in the great hall before I challenged his claim on the throne and he had no choice but to accept the challenge. We fought after sundown.”
The frostwolves fought in a whirl of frost, There were no words needed for what played out before me, the frost re-animating the memories Minseok wanted to portray. I saw how the frostwolf Jiyong played dirty against his own brother but unlike the first battle frostwolf Minseok fought smart and fair, they ended up on a mountain and frostwolf Jiyong who was clearly not as strong or as tactic as frostwolf Minseok was about to lose when he kicked dirt, or at least I assumed it was a metaphor for dirt, at frostwolf Minseok who lost his sight and got attacked so he fell to the edge. Frostwolf Jiyong went in for frostwolf Minseok’s neck but the frostwolf rolled out of the way and frostwolf Jiyong fell over the edge. Frostwolf Minseok tried to catch him, he did by biting down on frostwolf Jiyong’s paw and it must’ve hurt because frostwolf Jiyong trashed violently which in turn made his brother lose his grip on him and frostwolf Jiyong fell down. Down into the stream beneath the mountain, I saw Minseok’s frostwolf looking for his brother but ended up not finding him and once he returned he was crowned the high Alpha of the pack.
“Jiyong’s body was never found nor his scent, we could never swim deep enough into lakes to find him so we’ve declared him dead and put up an empty grave in the graveyard with a gravestone for him. While he was a bad leader he was still my brother, and I killed him. It doesn’t matter why I did it because it doesn’t wash away the blood on my hands any less.” Minseok made a violent hand motion and the frost exploded. “I’m not a perfect wolf, I have blood on my hands from my brother and from you, from my inability to protect you and my inability to save my own brother from drowning. I understand if you want nothing but a platonic relationship from me here on or even less than that.”
“... You stupid wolf.” His head snapped to me, eyes wide in disbelief as I cupped his cheeks in both my hands. Tears streaming down my cheeks, chest hurting from withheld sobs as I looked at my bent wolf, not broken but bent. “I don’t like you any less than I did before, never have and never will. I assure you of that.” I looked him directly in the eye, seeing the anguish in them and wanted nothing more than to soothe him, support him and help him. “I never knew how much you had to sacrifice, what you kept bottled inside but I want you to know, once more, that I never blamed you for leaving me on the street because I understand why you did it.” I let that sink into him for a moment before continuing, swallowing the thick lump in my throat. “I’m so, so sorry you lost your uncle and I’m sorry for the loss of your brother but the way I see it you didn’t do anything wrong, it was an accident and you tried to save him. You tried Minseok and sometimes, there’s nothing more you can do but that. You did your best and that’s enough, that’s okay.” Minseok stared at me, lower lip wobbling but he couldn’t form words then there was a weird hitching sound which came from his throat and I worried for a split second something was truly wrong when a tear reached my hand.
Minseok began to cry, not a few tears like before but full on crying and sobbing as if a dam broke and I cradled him to me in a tight hug which he returned as he cried. As I stroked his back, silently crying into his neck as I heard the anguished cries and whines coming from him I feared that he had never allowed himself to grieve before, he probably didn’t feel worthy off of it and had carried it with him all these years. Through the tears and snot, I held onto him, showing him wordlessly I was there to catch his fall and would stay to help him up.
Minseok had stopped crying about five minutes ago but had cried for around two hours, every time he had seemed to stop something new broke his heart all over again and he had cried. I had held him through it all used my sleeves to wipe away his tears and dug out tissues so he could blow his nose. Ever since he stopped crying, asking me again if I really wanted him to which I had sincerely replied yes I found myself sitting in-between his legs with my back to his front. Minseok was an introvert by nature and didn’t like to express his feelings as much or admit weaknesses, so rather than delving right into our relationship, I steered it back to the matter at hand in order for him to calm down a bit.
“The golden dragon… Who is that then?” I asked, playing with his hands that rest on my sweater covered tummy.
“We don’t know.” His voice sounded hoarse from all the crying and he cleared it a little. “As you know our territory is very big, we have smaller sub-packs and other villages which are protected by us and who pledge their allegiance, their resources to us in return of protection and medical help. But around two months before your birthday attacks began to be issued to our villages near the borders of our territory and after every attack there was a golden dragon figurine left behind.” I frowned and stared in awe as his arms held me a little tighter as he continued talking. “The attacks grew more vicious, taunting messages left behind as the Golden Dragon vowed he would come for you and bring the Exodus pack to ashes. We’ve been trying to find out who the Golden Dragon is or who are part of his or her allegiance but they must’ve had a warlock or more who have put various spells in order for them to be undetected. This is the first time since you found us again that they’ve actually attacked, even more so we know that at least whoever the Golden dragon is that they have a harpy flock to their disposal.” He growled the words out towards the end, as much pleased to know something but not happy just what a part of his enemy's army appeared to be.
“And the Golden dragon wants me… Because I’m a Maiden of MAMA?” I asked to clarify, turning in his hold in able to look him in the eye as my hands rest on his chest.
“Yes.” He answered simply making me gulp and I blew out some of my distress of having to be a target just because of what I was. “I won’t let anyone hurt you or take you away from me, I vow to you that you’re safe with me.” I stared at him with a pleasant surprise, tearing up a little as I smiled. Minseok looked a bit disgruntled, his cheeks coloring ever so slightly as he coughed. “What is it?”
“I’m just so happy that I’m not the only one who’s fond,” I admitted, smiling when he cleared his throat and looked away a little but not denying my claim. “Just to be clear, I can call you my boyfriend right?”
“I don’t think it suits us given our situation.” He said with a smirk.
“Situation? Because I’m your mate?” I asked, not minding being his fiancé one bit but I just needed to make sure why we skipped a step.
“No because of the promise we made when you were a child, don’t you remember?” I blinked, having no idea what he was talking about and he groaned. “You don’t remember.”
“Remember what?” I asked and he shook his head. “Come on, tell me please!”
“No, this you have to remember on your own.” He declared making me gape.
“That’s not fair! What if I never remember?” I question and he shrugged.
“That’s that then.” He grinned, chuckling when I glared at him. “I’ll tell you in around two weeks if you can’t remember before then.”
“Promise?” I narrowed my eyes at him, holding up my pinkie to which he rolled his eyes at but hooked his pinkie with mine all the same.
“Promise.” Satisfied I lied down slightly on him and burrowed my face in his chest. “Hey, we should get you home before you turn sick. It’s not exactly warm outside and I aren’t making it any better.”
“Ten more minutes?” I offered.
“... Fine but if you get sick or too cold don’t blame me or ask me for my jacket.”
“You’re so mean,” I commented, whining when he pinched my cheek and shook it a bit.
“And don’t you forget it.” He said with a grunt, shifting a bit to half-lay more comfortably against the wall and the hand which had pinched me stroke the pinched cheek gently.
“I’d never forgotten anything about you.” I declared, hiding my smile against his chest and he stilled for a moment before he resumed what he had done but also let out a soothing, pleased rumble that told me more than words could that he returned the sentiment.
Soooooo, thoughts anyone? :)
Chapter 10: The vow
Chaeyoung discovers more than she'd like and Minseok should learn how to knock.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Since our talk within Mama’s safe womb, which was a weird word for it but considering maidens like me had been born in that space it was actually a very accurate name for it, things and changed and finally for the better. Sure, Minseok was still a grumpy introvert but he hadn’t pushed me away intentionally or gone out of his way to being a jackass like before. If anything, he was a jerk of a boyfriend in the sense that he loved to make me flustered and stuttering like an idiot with his unexpected actions or words like suddenly pulling me into a hug when I least expected it or say something crude enough that could put Lisa’s potty mouth to shame.
But he only ever did those things when we were alone, his playful nature meant in our privacy alone and it made me feel warm all over that he let down his guard whenever we were alone. In public, while he wasn’t into PDA he didn’t step away from me when I wanted to hold his hand or into him for a moment and I took great delight in him always brushing my cheekbone in an act of silent affection whenever he greeted or departed from me and his eyes always swirled with warm gold whenever I smiled at him as he did so. Out of everyone Lisa had been the most happy that Minseok had finally let me inside his cold heart and then proceeded to threaten the safety of his manhood if he ever made me cry again with such a detailed explanation as to exactly what she would do that even Minseok had gulped and looked a bit wary of the person who was my best friend.
While things had progressed well between me and Minseok these past weeks we were not fools enough to forget about the constant threat to my life. While Golden Dragon hadn’t made another attempt to abduct me or attack the pack we were wary of his or her next course of action which had lead Minseok to spend even more time in his den along with Yifan and Joonmyun to discuss on what to do.
It was during one of my outings with Jongin and Sehun that I learned that the sooner Minseok would mark me the better for everyone because not only would his bond with his wolf be more stable as he was fighting against his wolf to mark me as we had planned to wait a while until I had remembered whatever I was supposed to or before the time was up for Minseok who grew more unstable as time went on as his wolf didn’t want to wait to claim me any longer. While I wanted that I felt it was a bit too soon as we had just gotten together but that didn’t mean my feelings for them were any less, just that I wanted to be with him for a while before the claiming. He felt the same so he did his best to put up with the strain of his wolf not cooperating with him, which made me worry but he assured me he could deal with a few weeks more off of it seeing as not only was he an alpha but also a Guardian which meant they were more resilient to these sort of things so I put my trust in him and let it go.
The other reason the two said that the sooner the claiming was the better was that if I was properly claimed and marked, then I would be forbidden fruit to any other supernaturals. Now I was open for the taking even while residing within the pack as I wasn’t even marked or claimed which meant I didn’t belong to anyone, I felt a bit affronted by that information as I wasn’t some sort of prize or figurine that one put on the shelf to which the guys shrugged apologetically as it was the law of their world but seeing as Minseok was my mate there were even less coming after me than what it could’ve been. Apparently, there were clans and tribes which had a tree of life as well but the clans or tribes weren’t necessarily werewolves and imprinted on their mates so the Maiden of such places actually had a much wider choice of choosing which also enabled for suitors of other clans to pursuit the maiden but with the condition of them residing on the ground of the tree of life.
The only other tree of life they knew of that always chose the maiden’s soulmate to be a guardian like Mama did in the Exodus pack, was for the kumiho clan called X but as I had asked them to tell me more about it the guys had grown visibly uncomfortable and said that they didn’t know much. At least not more than anyone else other than that the X clan and Exodus had been allies in the past but something had caused a rift between the two and had been hostile towards one another ever since. After that, we had begun to talk about other things but one thing remained clear to me, I really had no idea what I was.
I mean, I knew I was a maiden and what my body could do depending on what you used it for, which was a horrible way to put it but I had yet to find a better expression so I went with it. But beyond that there wasn’t a lot I exactly knew of myself, my heritage or about Mama so whenever Minseok was being busy performing his duties as a High Alpha and my friends were off doing whatever I spent a lot of time in the pack’s grande library and looking up books and scrolls about everything regarding my kind to learn as much as I could. It had been very enlightening, to say the least, somehow it felt like I was learning about myself in a light I had never seen before but had longed for. My blood could be used for healing not only physical injuries but even illnesses and cleansing of toxins, depending on illness and toxin one would need a routine of receiving a cup of my blood. But as it could drive to the receiver to become addicted to my blood and go into something they called “Blood Craze”, where the affected person wouldn’t stop at anything to have me drained and take my blood which in turn would not only cure them completely but also extend their life, the practice of healing anyone with the maiden’s blood was not performed anymore unless it was an emergency and even then one would need to follow a protocol to ensure that the receiver did not go into a blood craze.
I even read a rather disturbing fact that if someone at my flesh they would gain eternal youth and beauty which had me shuddering for a great while just imagining being eaten alive and disturbed to find that such cases had occurred but not to the maiden of the Exodus pack thankfully so I put my faith in my guardians. Then I read about the maidens being perfect child carriers and that the offspring of a maiden would be very powerful. Not in the sense that they’d get an extraordinary power but that they would be healthier, stronger and more beautiful than their predecessors and children from them would begin a good, healthy line of descendants. Some packs, clans, and tribes of various species liked to keep the line of the maidens and their descendant continuously strong and had arranged marriages between descendants or even descendants and the new maidens to keep the family line continuously well-bred.
I found it disheartening though those maidens didn’t generally survive giving birth to their child as the magic and life force were so intertwined with the maiden seeing as it drained the magic off of the maiden and in turn it’s mate. While the mate was affected it wasn’t as much as the maiden and once the baby was born and you cut the umbilical cord, it caused a magic drain that killed the maiden as maidens essentially were born from ancient magic. I’ve always wanted children, I loved children and had gladly taken any babysitter job that parents in the village offered but it pained me that if I were to get pregnant that I would be able to hold and see my baby once before I’d die. I’d die without watching it grow up and I didn’t know if I could handle going through a pregnancy knowing that I would have to say goodbye before the baby could even tell me hi.
I went through record after record, book after book until I moved over to scrolls and began to read about every maiden that the Exodus pack had. Because of pack wars where Exodus hadn’t always been in charge of the maidens of MAMA, there were scrolls missing, the kumiho attack that had occurred when I was little and gotten amnesia from had resulted in more recent scrolls being burned up to nothing or missing meaning I missed more of the recent scrolls. I got more and more worried as I read but then I found something that gave me hope. The maiden who had been born 1847 gave birth to a baby boy the winter off 1867 and survived the birth. As to how the maiden survived was nowhere to be found, I read the scroll over and over but the only thing that was mentioned, the only clue I had was that a member of the X clan had witnessed the birth and written down the event unto a scroll as had the Exodus pack. I tried to find the Exodus pack scroll but it was nowhere to be found, probably having been lost in the night of the attack from the kumihos years ago so my only clue and hope of survival through childbirth rested in the hands of the X clan.
The same X clan who was enemies with Exodus and I began to thump my head against the table repeatedly in frustration that if I ever wanted to have children and see them grow up I had to speak to Minseok about obtaining that information from the X clan or I’d have to talk to Minseok about adopting stray werewolf pups instead and use birth controls to ensure I wouldn’t get pregnant.
Needless to say that when a servant came to tell me it was dinner I had barely been able to muster a smile and my head was lost in my thoughts throughout the dinner. I knew not only Yifan but also Minseok had tried to talk to me but I hadn’t been able to answer that well and tried to laugh it away whenever I messed up. In the end after having eaten a few bites I had excused myself and walked out of the room with the intention of trying to find out more about the X clan before I would even dare to broach the subject with Minseok.
I had gone to the section of the library dedicated to current packs, clans, and tribes and huffed at their poor organization in that department but also entertained the thought that maybe they had a very good reason for organizing the way they had but I wasn’t just aware off of it. So sucking up I looked for sigils that I thought could be the X clan, I was halfway through the section when something grabbed my shoulder and I turned around with a scream and punched on instinct seeing as the past attacks upon my life had turned me to be even more of a scaredy cat who’d rather punch and apologize later than be sorry and in danger later.
“F-Fuck, w-when did you become s-strong?” Minseok wheezed out, eyes squinting at me as he rubbed his sore stomach from my punch. My eyes nearly bugged out in horror as I realized what I had done. Then I was fussing over him and apologizing over and over in one jumbled breath until I couldn’t speak as much as I moved my lips. “Yah, calm down. It was just a punch if anything I’m glad you can actually throw one.” He smiled, straightening up and ruffled my hair. “See, I’m okay.”
“I’m so, so sorry.” I apologized again, making him sigh and before I could jerk my head back he had already begun to lightly pinch my cheeks and pull on them for a bit making me whine.
“Stop saying sorry, you don’t have to apologize half as much as you do. Got it?”
“Oway! Wemme wo!” I said and he let me go with a smirk as he watched amused as I rubbed my sore cheeks. “You’re such a jerk,” I said with an evident pout to which he snorted.
“Tell me something new, sweet cheeks.” Smirk growing into a smile as I blushed at the nickname. Then he finally took notice of where in the library we were exactly, the playful look exchanging for a bemused one as he looked at the scrolls then at me with a raised eyebrow. When I gulped at having been caught looking through them he crossed his arms. “I take it that this has something to do with your absent mind during dinner?”
“Y-yeah,” I admitted, seeing no point to try to tell a white lie when, for one, he was a werewolf and with his supernatural senses would be able to tell if I lied and he had caught me looking through them so even if I tried to come up with an excuse it wouldn’t compare to the visual proof he had.
“Want to tell me what you’re looking for an why?” I bit my lower lip in thought, hands worrying the fabric of my sweater as I considered this for a moment before letting out an inaudible sigh.
“It’s nothing… It’s nothing bad, I swear it’s just...” He said nothing, simply looking at me with the still bemused look as he let me gather my thoughts and speak without any interruption. “I was curious about what I was, always have been and ever since the latest attack upon my life by the harpies I decided I should actually learn what I am and what I can do… And also… Because euhm...” I tried to stop the onslaught of the blush that grew on my cheeks which Minseok noticed and the bemusement grew even more on his face.
“You okay there?” He asked, letting his amusement show.
“I’m not saying I want them this instant or right now but… I read about having children as a maiden and I want to have children, I really do but I wouldn’t… I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to my child after just having birthed it, it would be far too cruel to both of us… I just…” Minseok’s amusement dropped as I talked further and further, I became a bit surprised to find my eyes getting wet and my heart ached just at the thought of having to leave Minseok alone with our child. “I don’t want that and I read that maiden survived and that an X clan member had witnessed…. S-So maybe they have the scroll as to how it was possible the maiden survived and I didn’t want to tell you about it until I had properly looked it up and… I’m just… I got scared… And worried… I don’t… I just...” I didn’t know what to say but luckily Minseok stepped forward then and guided me into his embrace. For once he wasn’t shirtless but wearing a flowy shirt, as his arms encircled me and he rested his head against mine I succumbed to the cold that he always let out and my hands clutched at his back as the restless anxiety and worry began to roll off of me from his embrace alone.
“Chaeyoung,” I shivered as he said my name, I loved how my name rolled off of his tongue. “It will be okay.”
“How do you know that?” I asked, hiding my face in his chest. “How can you be so sure of that?”
“Because I will make sure off of it.” He vowed, arms tightening around me as he spoke. “I will not let you die in childbirth, I will do everything within my power to prevent it even if I will have to bow down to the X clan and ask them if they have the rumored scroll.”
“You’d do that for me?” I asked in shock, knowing just how much of a deal it was for a High Alpha to bow to anyone seeing as High Alpha’s had an image to withhold and were to only bow down if there was no other choice. People bowed down to High Alphas, clan chief, and tribe chiefs. Never the other way around.
“I know I haven’t been the mate you deserved these past weeks but I will prove myself to you and earn your trust. I’d do anything to keep you safe and well and if that requires me to bow down I will do so as humiliation is nothing compared to losing you.” I sniffled, not expecting the confession and felt my feelings grow even more for the man before me. “I hope you know that me pushing you away was just a way for me to protect you and because I didn’t feel worthy off of you but my feelings for you has never wavered. I’ve always cared a lot about you and now...”
“Now?” I asked, hoping to hear the words I had wanted to hear ever since I came back and began to get to know the man before me once more, even more, these past days.
Instead of answering me verbally he decided to show me, making me gasp as he leaned down slowly enough for me to pull away if I wanted to but that’s the thing… I never wanted to turn away from one of Minseok’s kisses and as such closed my eyes and waited until I felt plush lips press gently against mine. There wasn’t fireworks or sparks rushing from my lips to the rest of my body as I had read in books or fanfictions. Instead, there was a great warmth which spread from deep within me, my body relaxing into his and if a home was a feeling, a taste, it is what I felt and tasted as I kissed Minseok back. He was always so cold yet the cold was a welcome feeling as I felt feverish from the kiss and as he ended the kiss I followed him for a moment before stilling.
He smiled at the action making me smile back at him and this time as leaned in for one more kiss which turned into dozens of small, lingering ones I always met him halfway. Kissing Minseok was everything I had always imagined but also so much more, like the way he cradled my soft body to his hard one as if I was made of glass, treasured yet his mouth was unyielding of its desire to mold itself to mine over and over again until we had to break apart after a final, lingering kiss to breathe.
My hands had gone from his back to his chest, fingers splayed on it and turned into small paws as I looked up at him through my eyelashes. I still couldn’t believe I had lost my first kisses to Minseok but as he smiled at me tenderly, golden flecks in those cocoa-colored eyes and he blew a soothing cold breeze over my face I knew I didn’t regret it one bit.
This was a short and fluffy chapter which actually is a bit of a milestone for more than just the kiss but THEY KISSED OMFG!?!??? FINALLY!?
Chapter 11: I'll be there for you
Chaeyoung meets someone she didn't expect to ever see again and Minseok is a tsundere.
I'm so sorry for the late update but I had to work out the rest of the plot and stuff has happened here at home but now it's sorted and I can get back to writing this story once more.
Heads up though, university starts back up against next week so the updates between the chapters may slow down but don't worry it won't go on hiatus and will be finished before Halloween at the latest :D
Now, without further ado, enjoy :D
“Wow, it’s been a long time!” Baekhyun said as he, Jongin, Sehun, Zitao, and Joonmyun joined me and Lisa in the private garden of the Guardians.
“We saw each other this morning?” I pointed out but with evident confusion before I took a sip of my cup of tea.
“I mean it’s been a long time since you’ve gone more than thirty minutes without Minseok attached to your mouth.” He said so smoothly that I choked on the tea as I sputtered at his claim. Joonmyun patted my back, muttering like the mother hen he was while the others laughed at my reaction. My cheeks were burning red with embarrassment as I gave Baekhyun a glare to which he just sends me a finger heart in response.
“Seriously though, you and Minseok kiss a lot. Which is not a bad thing! Just, we’re happy that you finally worked things out.” Zitao said with a genuine smile as he leaned back against Sehun as he was sitting in the latter’s lap.
I blushed but couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I thought about these past days after our first kiss, which had lead to many kisses in hidden alcoves or in his office as well as me being on the receiving end of small gifts, snacks and this morning he had even surprised me with a bracelet he had created by himself. It was a thin silver chain with amethysts, aquamarines and two charms attached to it; one charm depicted a flower and the other a snowflake, a symbol for me and him respectively.
“Wow, he’s moving fast but considering the promise it’s no wonder,” Sehun noted with his usual passive tone as he nodded towards the bracelet. I blinked at him in confusion and raised the bracelet to eye level as I looked it over.
“This has something to do with the promise?” I mumbled in bewilderment then I gaped at him. “Wait, you know about the promise!? You know what it is!?”
“Of course, all of us guardians do.” He pointed out boredly.
“Come on, tell me what it is and I’ll pretend to be surprised when Minseok tells me.” I tried to persuade Jongin who was the easiest one in the bunch to get information to slip. Before Jongin could open his mouth Baekhyun put his hand to it with a smirk.
“Nice try, maiden. You’ll just have to wait for your memory to catch up or until Minseok tells you.” Baekhyun cooed, laughing when I gave him a half-hearted punch to his arm in frustration.
“This is not fair, I have amnesia.” I pointed out with a pout which grew as Baekhyun gave me a saccharine smile.
“Life isn’t fair sweet cheeks.” He sing-songed and laughed at the gargled growl I gave out and I hugged Lisa to me.
“Lisa!” I whined and she patted my back.
“I wasn’t even there, sorry rosebud.” She pointed out, obviously amused by it all.
“As fun as this is, there’s something even funnier,” Zitao said with a mischievous grin directed towards Junmyun who stilled. “So, have you kissed yet?”
“Zitao! What I and Lalisa do is none of you-” Junmyun said only to be cut off by Lisa.
“Yep, we have multiple of times.” She said with a proud grin, unaffected by the wolf whistles the guys let out and stroked Junmyun’s burning cheek as he grew embarrassed by it all and just like that, my promise to Minseok was put to the back burner as I had to help Junmyun against the ravenous wolves and their humans thirst for gossip.
“Come in.” I opened the door, peeking inside to see that Minseok was sitting alone by his desk and reading a scroll with a frown on his face. I went inside and closed the door behind me, walking up to the desk a bit hesitant.
“Are you busy? I could come back later or not at all, whichever works for you.” He put away the scroll, giving me a small but genuine smile.
“It’s okay, I needed a break anyway.” He motioned for me to come around the desk which I did, walking up to him and blushed when he hugged me to him while he was sitting. But I hugged him back, all the same, smiling when he rumbled in delight and rubbed his face into my sweater, clearly sniffing and scenting me.
“R-Rough day?” I asked, hands stroking his hair as he stopped scenting me and just enjoyed being near.
“Hmm...” He hummed in agreement then took away his face, his arms were still around me even as he leaned back in his chair. “What brought you here by the way?”
“Huh?” I blinked, thinking back for a moment and smiled when I remembered what I had come here for. “Well… Euhm… Okay, so...”
“So?” He questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“Jongin have told me that as long as we through the portal from this realm to the mortal realm he can teleport us anywhere he has been on the mortal realm.” I began to explain.
“Uh, huh.” Minseok regarded me suspiciously and my cheeks began to grow warm.
“And well… I… I’ve always wanted to go to Lotto Wonderland with my boyfriend so I wondered if you would like to go there on a date?” I sucked in my breath, holding it out as I waited for his reply. For some reason he got this really, really amused look on his face which made me suspicious but let it go when he replied;
“Sure, sounds fun.” I let go of my breath and gripped him.
“Really!?” He nodded, laughing when I began to jump on the spot and let out happy squeals.
“Oh my god, oh my god! It’s going to be so much fun! Let’s meet at the front gate at 16:00 today, okay? I mean, if you have time to go on a date today otherwise we can do it any other time-”
“Today is okay.” He agreed, letting go of me and I immediately ran for the door to hurry home and get ready. I was already halfway down the hallway when I remembered I had forgotten something so I ran back.
“I almost forgot,” I said as I ran inside of the den, Minseok looking very confused but responded back to the kiss I gave him. “There we go.”
“You’re so weird.” He said fondly, returning my smile and I left once again to go get ready for our first official date.
“Wow, it’s been so long since the last time I was here.” I gaped as I looked everywhere around us, my petite hand in Minseok’s bigger and rougher one.
“Me too,” Minseok said, looking around with appraising eyes and gave me a half-smirk when I looked at him in surprise. “You seem surprised.”
“I’m sorry but my image of you is that akin to a hoarding dragon who never leaves its cave,” I admitted, smiling cutely when he leveled me with a deadpan stare before he snorted.
“So, is there anything particular you want us to do?” He asked rather than responding to my comment.
He began to walk and I naturally began to as well, looking around for something that seemed fun to do. Lotto Wonderland was really a card and steampunk inspired theme park with lots of interesting steampunk elements such as clocks, airships and really cool card characters and all the employees wore a steampunk uniform but with a different coloring and level of card depending on where in the theme park one were at the theme park was divided into four territories. Heart territory, Diamond territory, Clover territory and the Spade territory which were all “ruled” by a king and queen. Once a month in the theme park center there would be a play of war between the kingdoms best warriors and the winning territory was announced the greatest territory of the month and the statue in the theme park's center would become that of the winning territory for a month.
We were currently in the Spade territory which was where the water-based activities were such as Swan Lake which was an indoor ice rink, Tunnel of Love which was a boat ride for couples just to name a few and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I lead Minseok to the Swan Lake entrance and grinned when he gave me a look but didn’t argue against it. We got our skates sorted when Minseok got a phone call, I had stared at it as if I had expected it to poof into a sparkling dust because I had never seen Minseok with anything remotely modern before but he explained beforehand of our trip that he had a cell phone for when he went into the mortal realm so he could be reached even when Jongin was away or busy with other matters. He excused himself and told me to go ahead and get on the rink, I pouted for a little bit as I watched him leave before shrugging. Dating not only an older man but also one with such an important job was sure to have these sort of things happening more often than not so I didn’t sweat it too much.
I got out on the ice on unsteady legs, not even getting three meters before I fell down on my butt. I was glad I had decided to wear my pastel yellow jeans and a white, trumpet sleeved shirt with a high neckline so that I wouldn’t flash any unnecessary skin. My hair was in a messy bun, I wore my daisy flower earrings and had decided to just put on some light makeup as per Lisa’s insisting. I got up after a bit of struggling and tried to skate once more, it’s been some time since I last skated but once I found my balance it got easier and then my body memory kicked in and it was easy to skate over the ice. I was beginning to enjoy myself when I a body collided into mine from the right, sending both me and the person to the ground.
“Ugh! Watch your surroundings, you idiot!” I froze as I sat up, recognizing the voice with easy and stared horrified at the face of Yongsun. At first, she didn’t look at me as she fixed her blonde locks but then she looked at me with a glare that eased into a look of confusion then recognition. “Well, I’m surprised to see you here, I thought they didn’t let in nutcases.” She said with a pretty smile which was a contrast to her cold, toxic words.
“Me neither, so it makes me wonder why they let you in.” I quipped back as I got back up on my legs only to let out a gasp as I fell back down as my legs disappeared from under me. I groaned as I landed, hitting my head on the ice briefly but not hard enough that I needed to feel worried. I sent a glare to Yoonsung who pretended to look surprised, even as she pulled back the leg she had been using to send me down.
“You’re so clumsy but I guess that’s the case with gingers such as yourself, you are after all the genetic failure of mankind.” She said, smiling and got up and to my surprise, she went down again as she tried to skate a little backward to make some space between us but fell down again with a yelp. I looked at the ice, seeing the bump of ice that had formed and disappeared right before my eyes which alerted me of Minseok even before I felt his hand gently touch the back of my head.
“Are you okay? You don’t feel dizzy or anything, right?” I turned my head to see Minseok kneeling beside me on the ice, looking like the epitome of an ice rebel with his ice blond hair that was brushed back. He had decided to wear a teardrop diamond earring hanging from his right ear with his piercings actually put into his ears for our date. He wore a navy hoodie and a pair of bleach washed, trashed jeans. He looked undeniably good and fitting in the little winter wonderland that made up Swan Lake.
“It aches a bit but other than that I’m fine,” I replied, blushing in delight as he took his hands in mine and pulled me up with him. He pulled me close, resting his hands on my lower black as he gave his patented ice glare to Yonsung who was the one to flinch this time.
“But you won’t be fine if you keep talking to my girlfriend like that,” Minseok vowed to Yonsung who got up on her feet.
“Girlfriend!? You’re seriously the boyfriend to that !?” She said with utter disbelief and disgust.
“If by that you mean a kind, genuine, clever and beautiful woman then yes, I am dating that ,” Minseok said dryly, clearly not impressed by Yonsung being a bitch. Meanwhile, I looked at him in awe, smiling as I felt tears coming to my eyes from the kind words which he noticed so his cold, sharp face softened and he kissed my forehead making me swoon into his embrace. “Now, unless you’re part of the mechanical robots as a frost bitch you can take your foul mouth and get the hell away from us.”
“You can’t speak to me like that, do you have any idea who I am? I’m the stepdaughter of Eric Nam, one of the investors and a council member of this theme park. I can have both of you thrown out of here with a snap of my fingers.” I immediately tugged on Minseok’s arm to get his attention that we should just walk away but he met Yonsung’s gaze steadily with a face void of any emotion which meant he was using his High Alpha face which meant Yonsung had just made a big mistake.
“So you’re the little brat Eric has had troubles with ever since he married his new wife. Now I get why he said that if you were younger he would have sent you off to a boarding school.”
“How do you know that!? Are some paparazzi!?” Yonsung screeched and by now everyone within close range had stopped ice skating simply to look at the spectacle.
“No, I’m the son of the founder of this theme park and the CEO, Minseok Kim. I’m sure you already know my cousin Minhyuk Lee who’s the vice-president and face of Lotto Wonderland.” I gaped at Minseok whereas Yonsung looking nothing short of terrified as she realized that this current twist was not in her favor. “You’re right, we don’t let nutcases or people who disrupt other guest’s enjoyment with ill intent into our theme park so leave this park immediately or I’ll have guards lead you out. It’s your choice.” Yonsung got really red in the face, looking like she wanted to say something but knowing she had already lost the battle. So with nothing to say she simply turned away and hurried down the rink to the opening, all the while being booed by other visitors and other visitors were cheering Minseok on. Minseok nodded with a polite smile to them all. “Sorry for that, I hope you can enjoy the rest of your stay here today.” With that the cheering increased before everyone went back to ice skating, giving me the opportunity to get Minseok’s full attention. “What?” He asked, trying to appear innocent which didn’t fool me one bit.
“You own the park!? You’re cousin is Minhyuk Lee!? When were you going to tell me?” I asked, just as amused as I was surprised by this fact.
“I was hoping you would notice the fact that you received the full amount of your money back along with the tickets when we were first entering the theme park but you didn’t. So I thought you’d notice for sure when we would go for dinner and treats.” He smirked as I coughed a bit in embarrassment as I realized he was right and I hid my face behind my hands. “We needed money that you use in this realm whenever our pack members decide to travel here for different reasons and periods of times. So my father founded the park, then as we couldn’t expose ourselves to the world we let our mortal family, the Lee’s, be the face of the theme park and letting them handle the media and such.” He explained in a hushed tone as to not be overheard, taking my hand in his and we began to skate calmly. “I come here once every month to sign documents and be updated on the theme park’s success and other important information. It’s also a very good place for the pack members, the humans in particular, who want to work a non-threatening job and make their own money without having to apply for money from Yifan who controls all the wealth matters of our pack.”
“Ooh, that’s actually very smart.” I furrowed my eyebrows. “So, if I or Lisa wanted to work here we could?” I asked as I had never considered the possibility of actually working outside of the pack grounds but it was tempting.
“Sure, I don’t see why not as long as it’s something you guys want and you’re willing to go through educational courses.” Minseok easily agreed.
“That’s good to hear, it’s nice to know I have a bit of option within the pack.”
“What would you consider doing?” He asked with genuine interest.
“Hmm, well I’m not sure how valid healer education is but I wouldn’t mind working in the medical bay or as a mascot who entertains the children.” I smacked his arm gently in excitement when I was struck with a thought. “What if I could apply to be the Seal of Spades!? It’s so cute and it gets to play with bubbles and balls and it’s always been my favorite character along with the King of Spades.” I caught the look on his face which threw me off a little. “What is it?”
“I’ve never been to a date before, so I didn’t really know what the difference would be to us going on a date when we spent much of our time together back home. But Lu was right for once, it feels different and...” He reached out to tuck a loose strand behind my ear making my heart stutter from the sweet gesture. “You look really beautiful today.”
“T-Thank you, y-you look very handsome today.” I returned the sentiment albeit nervously, not used to being called beautiful or to have someone look at me the way Minseok looked at me.
“Come on, try to catch me..” Minseok suddenly grinned and set off down the ice with a laugh and I gaped at him for a moment before I laughed.
“Not fair!” I called out and sped up my skating as well as I tried to catch him but he was really good.
“Life’s not fair, sweetheart!” He called out jokingly, laughing when he successfully avoided my attack which nearly sent me into the wall of the rink as I lost control but managed to grab onto it before I crashed. “Let’s make a deal. If you catch me, I’ll go in the love tunnel with you even if it’s cheesy as hell but if I can avoid you for fifteen minutes you’ll have to go on the rollercoaster with me in the Diamond territory.” He smirked at me and I gave him a determined glare.
And just like that we spent the next fifteen minutes with Minseok evading me with ease and would’ve won if not for a child suddenly getting in his way which allowed me to give him a back hug, effectively catching just before the time was up. Minseok jokingly complained all the way to the love tunnel but when inside he ceased his teasing and kissed my head every now and then as I cuddled into him as I listened to the love story about how the king of Spades met the Queen of Spade, previously a Heart card. After that we had traveled throughout the park, trying out various activities and indeed when it was time to eat, we didn’t have to pay for a thing. He was really embarrassed but gave in a few times when I wanted to feed him a bite every now and then.
We had gone into one of the photo booths afterward to take a couple of pictures, keeping half of them each and we had spent some time just strolling around as we enjoyed each other’s presence. That’s when I remembered there was one more place I had wanted to go before closing time and had grabbed Minseok’s hand to pull him along.
“First the love tunnel, then the food feeding followed up with the photo booth and now this, the Ferris wheel?” He looked at me, both of his hands in his hoodie pocket and my arms hugged his arm.
“Yes?” I gave him a bemused smile.
“You’re really living out your typical chick flick movie, aren’t you? You even have the werewolf boyfriend to top it off.” He began to laugh and I joined him because it really was true, as unintentional as it had been.
“Oh my god, let’s never tell Lisa or Baekhyun or Jongdae any of the details of our date or we’ll never hear the end of it.” I proposed.
“Deal.” He agreed and we walked up to the queue. It was late into the night, even if it had begun to turn into a warmer, late spring and early summer the evenings were still dark which dropped the temperature. While Minseok wasn’t a walking heater like Chanyeol was, more like a walking freezer, it felt nice to step into his embrace and rest my head against the shoulders. “You are aware that I can’t provide you any heat right?”
“Yup, it’s still cozy though.” I murmured. “I’m sorry I accidentally took you to your workplace for our first date.” He was about to reply when the line began moving and soon enough we were sitting in one of the cabins. Minseok had his arm around me as the Ferris wheel began moving and I admired the scenery.
“You didn’t know and besides, I enjoyed myself today.” I looked away from the scenery, a bit confused until I remembered our conversation prior to entering the cabin.
“Really? Even the food feeding?” I asked suspiciously.
“Even that.” He smiled, leaning in to kiss me sweetly.
“You’re really affectionate.” I couldn’t help but point out, sounding a bit surprised because I was but at the same time from the memories I had recollected as well as the last two weeks it made sense that he was.
“No, I’m just very selective in who I give my affection to and when.” There was my opportunity and I took it, not wanting to wait any longer.
“Really? Well, I suppose you’re right. You’ve always been like that, you even kept the monsters away from me.” I said seriously, trying to not let my smile break free.
“It’s my duty and privilege.” He smirked, not having picked up on what I was doing yet.
“And you did enjoy the chocolate cake earlier, even if you had to drink coffee to it but I could live with that until death does us apart,” I said wistfully, having to turn away my head in order to hide my smile as I saw Minseok jerk then still with big eyes.
“Chaeyoung, what are you-” I turned back to him, fishing out a lollipop ring from my pocket which I had hidden all day from him and held it up towards him. The ring itself was in white plastic and the lollipop diamond was blue raspberry.
“So, will you keep your last promise and marry me?” I asked, finally breaking out in a gigantic smile as his jaw literally dropped.
“Minnie!” I ran up to the young werewolf who was sitting on a boulder by the lake, he looked down at me with a slight smile and offered his hand. I shyly took the hand, squealing as he pulled me up with ease to sit beside him on the boulder. I sat close to him, hugging his arm and felt really happy that I had found him. He was cold, he always was and it felt nice to be chilled seeing as it was a very warm and sunny day.
“Chaeyoung! Don’t run off like that, it could be dangerous for you.” Lu scolded, looking stern and I hid behind Minseok a little to escape from it. Minseok looked at me with a frown, jerking his head towards Lu and I knew what he wanted me to do.
“Sorry, Lulu.” I apologized and then hid my face in the bicep of Minseok’s arm.
“It’s okay, don’t do it again because next time you could be a monster snack,” Lu said and I looked up from Minseok’s arm in horror.
“Monsters would eat me!?” I squeaked out.
“Lu,” Minseok said with a slight growl to which Lu just shrugged his shoulders before leaving us.
“Minnie, why do monsters want to eat me? Have I done something bad? Why is it so dangerous for me to walk on my own?” I fired off question after question as I felt anxious, scared because it was not the first time I had heard something like that and I had a suspicion it had to do with me being special but I never got it confirmed.
“You haven’t done anything bad.” Minnie took off his hat and put it on my head, muttering about sunlight and sensitive skin. I giggled as the hat was a little too big and it covered my eyes.
“Minnie!” I laughed, adjusting the hat so it protected me from the sun but didn’t cover my eyes anymore. “You’re so silly, this hat is too big for me.”
“It’s better than nothing seeing as the idiots had done nothing to protect you from the sun,” Minseok replied, shaking his head disappointedly then looked right at me. “Chaeyoung,”
“Hmm?” I hummed, looking back at him.
“You’re very special, you could say that you’re like a princess and there are monsters out there who wants you because of it. Got it?”
“I’m a princess!?” I gaped and he made some strangled nose in frustration.
“No, but like...” He looked at me then, sighing a little. “Yes, you’re the princess of our pack.” He said and squealed in joy.
“That’s so cool! Too bad I can’t tell mommy or daddy.” I said then looked up at him again. “Minnie, if I’m the princess doesn’t that mean I’ll have a prince to marry someday?”
“Well, as you know you’re special like a princess and princesses usually have knights right?” I nodded in understanding. “Well, I, Lu and the rest of the boys have tattoos of MAMA, the magical tree which means we’re your knights and one of us will be the one you marry one day when you’re an adult. The princesses before you always found their prince charming to be one of the knights, you will do so too.” I thought about it, looking at Minseok’s arm I was hugging which had MAMA on it as well as snow, snowflakes, and pretty icicles and snuggled my face into it.
“Then you’re my prince charming, I just know it.” I looked up at him shyly, whispering; “Minseok, do you think you’re my prince charming? Will we marry someday?” He looked surprised, he hadn’t been expecting it then he smiled one of the biggest smiles he only showed me.
“You figured it out, huh?” I nodded, giggling when he tapped my nose. “You smart little thing.”
“I won’t be little forever,” I said, remembering that mommy had told me that I would grow bigger and bigger until I became an adult.
“You’re right, and when you’re old enough I’ll marry you.” He promised, laughing when I gasped and began to squeal in happiness.
“You’ll marry me? Really!? You pinky promise?” I held out my pinky finger to him. “Do you pinky swear that when I turn into an adult you’ll marry me and my ring will have a blue stone on it and we’ll have chocolate cake at our wedding and you will keep the monsters away from us?”
“I pinky swear.” He said seriously, hooking his pinky with mine and shook on it.
“You remember!” He exclaimed.
“Yuh-uh!” I nodded, I began to laugh as his cheeks grew a very, very but noticeable shade of pink. “Didn’t see that one coming, did you?”
“I can’t believe you managed to surprise me with it.” He shook his head even as a smile was on his face.
“But I did and you still haven’t answered my question.” I shook the ring a little in front of him, even with the joking atmosphere I felt nervous as he looked at the ring then back at me.
“I promised then and I’m saying it now, yes I’ll marry you.” No one could blame me for throwing my arms around him for a kiss which he returned fully, giggles and chuckles being exchanged as well with our lips moving against one another.
Somehow during it he had actually put on the ring which he wore when we walked out of the cabin, flashing it proudly when people gave him looks and for the remainder of the night, even when Jongin came to get us we kept stealing kisses after kisses with the ring brushing against my cheek whenever we did as he cradled my face to his.
Chapter 12: Tales of the past
The wedding planning is going splendidly but Roseanne miss one certain aspect of it.
Sorry it's been so long but uni was hell, I had some stuff to sort of personally as well and decided to just follow my muse for a while. Two commenters reminded me that this story actually exists and I decided to write finally. Sorry if the characters aren't exactly like the last time you read them but I did my best and hope its good enough ^^'
“Here’s the cake samples and here’s the parchment where you can check of what you would like for the feast of all the things you’ve tried today. There’s also space where you can write any additions you would like that haven’t been offered.” Shindong, the head Chef of the pack, bowed deeply and backed away. “ I’ll leave you to it, maiden.” I looked on the platter with five pieces of cake, almost as quick as Lisa to dive into one of the pieces. I tried out the chocolate cake first which had an oreo crumble cream, ganache icing and cookie crumbles on top of it along with a snowflake of sugar as well as a sugar flower. I moaned around my spoon as the sweet, oreo cream blended perfectly with the bitter, dark chocolate sponge.
“I don’t need to taste any other cake, this is a winner.” I declared, giggling at Lisa’s glare. “Hey! “You need to try this masterpiece first!” She pointed to the cake she had tried, and we switched our plates and moaned as we tried the desserts.
This was easily one of the most enjoyable experiences of all the planning for the wedding. Minseok had, to many people’s surprise, been very involved in the planning but there were some things were we had divided to either of us to deal with. While he had decided what food would be served I was in charge of the wedding cake and desserts, tasks both of us appreciated and he was currently out hunting with the hunters of the pack so we would have meat for it.
Lalisa had loved helping out when she could and just being a supporting beam in this mind whirling mess, one of my friends from the medical hut Chaerin as well as Mino had taken on themselves to teach me rituals and other things on what needed to be done for not only a werewolf marriage but also the marriage between a maiden and her guardian. There was some things that would’ve been part of a normal wedding that wasn’t part of it here but there were also additions, such as the ritual Chase and Minseok hunting for our wedding, as a show that he was capable of looking after his mate.
Which he also showed by working with the others to ensure the safety of the pack for our wedding, putting everyone on rotations and the coven of witches had even decided to send two witches to represent them, show their respects and put on a magical barrier to further ensure the safety. One of them would also hold the ceremony and play the part of vicar, so that was also another thing of the table that we would have to arrange.
“Maiden,” I looked up from my fifth cake to Chaerin who stood with her hands clutched before her. “It’s time for your second fitting.”
“Oh, right!” I quickly jotted down and scribbled on the parchment Shindong had given me. “Give this to Shindong and don’t worry, I added your banana meringue cupcakes.” Lalisa gave me an salute and continued enjoying the desserts. I got up and followed Chaerin through the building and the pack grounds until I got home where Minzy the seamstress was waiting. “You look lovely in that pantsuit Minzy!” She smiled bashfully, murmured a soft thank you before motioning for me to dress down to my underwear then Chaerin helped me put the dress on.
“So everything is going well, maiden?” Chaerin asked, always one for small chit-chat which I appreciated.
“Yeah, I think so, Shindong even managed to make the coffee cake I think Minseok would enjoy as he doesn’t have a big sweet tooth.” I winced as Minzy accidentally pricked me with one of the pins.
“Speaking of High Alpha, the hunt was successful and there was only a minor injuries, none which the High Alpha himself sustained thankfully.” Chaerin chirrup, adjusting the train of my dress for Minzy to inspect.
“That’s good, I always worry when they go out for hunts.” Chaerin came to stand before me.
“There’s something I’d like to ask you, maiden, if I may?”
“Of course, go ahead.” I lifted my arms per Minzy’s guidance.
“I know this is a sensitive matter but me and the staff needs to know if we’ll have to prepare a room for your parents?” Minzy hissed at Chaerin who glared back. “Don’t hiss at me, it needed to be asked as we’re getting visitors from other clans and packs as well to pay their respects and give them blessings.” She turned to me once more, solemn. “You understand, yes?”
“Y-yeah, I do.” I tried for a smile, knowing I didn’t quite succeed in it. “I… My parents...” I shook my head. “I’ll talk to Minnie about it, we’ll notify you soon, if that’s alright?”
“Yes, maiden, of course it is.” Chaerin smiled, bowing deeply and the chit-chat never returned after that during that appointment.
“You wrote?” Minseok smirked as I opened the door to my home, or at least until I moved into Minseok’s quarters after the wedding then this would be Lalisa’s and Junmyun’s home.
“Indeed, I did.” I smiled, letting him in and locked the door after him.
He usually didn’t wear shoes but disliked things getting dirty so he had installed a foot bath by the door in all of the buildings and then he dried them off on a special towel-like carpet. Clean enough he followed me inside to the couch, where he half-lied down and rumbled in delight as I got between his legs and lied down on him. I curled into him, breathing in his scent of pine and something uniquely him and sighing in relief from his cold body that calmed down the heat of mine.
“What’s wrong?” He asked after a moment, nosing my head a little and his eyes met mine as I put my chin on his chest to look at him.
“How do you know something’s wrong?” I asked, not having imagined I would’ve to talk about it yet so soon but Minseok, ironically having learned from me, wanted to deal with any matter concerning us head on rather than drag it out. He raised an eyebrow, giving me a look and I sighed, defeated. “I had my fitting today with Chaerin and Minzy.”
“Told you to cut down on those pastries you enjoy so much.” He laughed as I pinched his cheek for the tease but it made me laugh too.
“Oi, as if you’re one to talk I-hate-anything-sweet-but-ice-cream!” Poking a little bit on his tummy, which was taunt and as well defined as a werewolf’s chest could be but the sentiment was there which was enough. He growled, playfully, and nipped at my finger then tapped it against his lips. “So, what I wanted to say is...” The humor drained from my face, teeth finding my lower lip for a moment and I felt my eyes turning ever so glassy. “I want my parents at our wedding but… I haven’t… How could I? Yet… I really want them there...”
I hadn’t told them about having been proposed to yet, they knew I had gotten a boyfriend but beyond that they were unaware yet here we were in amidst planning for the wedding. It had all gone so fast but my parents presence had always been missing, I just didn’t know how to tell Minseok about it even less on how to break the news to my parents who would surely thing that it would be too fast - not understanding the workings of the supernatural, mortals as they were in all senses of the word.
“... We’ll tell them, together.” He said quietly, nodding as if to further empathize it and I wanted to cry, out of happiness and relief.
“Really? Oh, thank you!” I kissed him, lingering for a moment before I parted from him. “B-But, how? I mean, how will we explain it all to them… What if...” I didn’t need to voice my inner fear as Minseok understood still.
“We will explain it all from the very beginning, if anything they will finally have answers regarding your head injury.” He caressed my head, fingers brushing along the scar hidden by my hair from the injury I had which caused me amnesia and leaned into his touch, bottom lip wobbling for a moment as I was so glad I had Minseok as my mate, who could calm me with his touch alone. “Hey, from what you’ve told me of them I think the chances are slim but if they do then we’ll manage, I know it wouldn’t be the same without them if they choose to refuse but you’ll have me, Lalisa and the others. They might not be your blood family but they’re your chosen family, and knowing the idiots they’d construct an obstacle course competition to fight for the right to walk you down the aisle.” I snorted, being able to picture it all - especially the teatrics and the playful “cheating” that would, obviously, occur. “You call your parents tomorrow and decide when we’ll visit, as soon as I know the date I can work out so Yifan and Junmyun will be prepared to take charge of the pack in my absence.” I gasped at that, looking down at him in surprise to which he raised his eyebrows - whereas mine was acting his was real. “What?”
“The control freak Minnie is willing to let them be in charge of the pack? What next, will you, I almost don’t dare to say it, forego your daily bath as well?” He growled softly, eyes glowing softly which softened the effect of the growl as I knew he wasn’t truly irritated. “Mister sour wolf, as much a wolf in soul that many claim I have having practically grown up partly in the pack, I do not understand your growling.” As I said it my fingers traced his face, a finger tapping his lush lips as I enunciated the last few words and weren’t prepared to suddenly find myself on my back of the couch with a rumbling werewolf above me. “Grr?” I attempted to growl softly, giggling as he huffed a breath at me, not unlike what he would do in wolf form, while looking down fondly at me. I cupped his face in my hands, tutting a little at the dark circles under his eyes as he had clearly not gotten enough rest. “What is it? Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked as he kept looking at me, leaning into my gentle touch.
“I don’t like it when someone touches my face.” He stated, I stopped moving my thumbs to look at him questiongly.
“O-oh?” He rumbled a little, lying down on me ever so slightly and nuzzled into my hands when I lifted them off of his face a little.
“But I like it when you do it, so don’t stop.” He smiled softly, looking more his age now - walls down as he succumbed to my embrace and touch, a sight only I had witnessed and treasured tremendously. I removed my hands, putting them on his shoulders. “What-”
“You need to sleep, so let's get ourselves ready and call it an early night.” I got him off of me and stood up from the couch, holding out a hand to him. “Come on, I’ll even let you sleep on your side of the bed.” He began chuckling but accepted my hand nonetheless and that night both of us slept in peace as the most strenuous of tasks had been resolved.
Or so we thought because with the distance and only contact with my parents being over the phone, I had forgotten the force of Jimin and Tzuyu Park.
“MY BABY!” Mom wailed and hugged me to her tightly, even going as far as to kiss my cheek making me laugh.
“MOM!” Which only made her laugh in return and rocked us side to side in the tight embrace.
“I want my money green and spendable.” Dad commented, grinning as mom turned to pout at him.
“Damn it, I forgot about our bet but how could I not do this!? Our baby has returned!” Mom argued, making dad snort.
“I think the whole neighbourhood knows that by now.” He pointed out, laughing when she smacked his arm. “You should’ve seen her the night before, bragging about how she would not be overly dramatic as some friends of hers had been when their children visited them the first time as she found it cringe worthy and my, my, how the mighty have fallen.” Dad said wistfully towards the end, opening up his arms which I darted into immediately as mom’s hold on me let go of me. “My little trainer, caught any new pokemon recently?”
“Shut up.” Mom told him right before he asked me the question, then she hummed and rather than answering my father I looked to Minseok who stood by our luggage with a small smile on his face, having taking in the exchange quietly. “Oh, you must be Minseok! Sorry for the loss of calm life since being our daughter’s boyfriend, is tiramisu a fair compensation? I made them myself.” Mom walked down the steps, pulling Minseok in for a hug which came as a surprise from Minseok but he hugged her back once he got his bearings.
“Yah! A life with me is more worth than homemade tiramisu!” I whined.
“Of course, which is why I also had your dad buy that oreo cheesecake you adore so much.” She swiftly returned, face somber but the twinkle of mirth unmistaken in her eyes.
“Now, now, behave, we have company.” Dad interjected, kissing my forehead before walking down the steps to shake hands with Minseok. “Jimin and this is my second child Tzuyu.”
“Har har, very funny.” Mom snorted. “Because of that, you’ll take care of their luggage and you two, follow me into our humble lair.” Mom ushered Minseok along and I held his hand as we walked inside. Toeing of our shoes, me just making them be as they were by familiarity which made Minseok stressed as he had to arrange them neatly along with the rest of the haphazardly made shoe rack. “Oh no, he’s one of those people.”
“Indeed, so see, it’s not only him who has to deal with a lot.” I said gravely.
“I’m sorry I like it to be neat.” Minseok scoffed as he followed me and mom through the hallway towards the living room where the coffee, tea and desserts were displayed on the coffee table.
“Apology accepted, dear.” Mom quipped, taking her place on the loveseat while me and Minseok sat down in the couch. Minseok stared at her for a moment before huffing out of a laugh, not ready for my mom’s wit. “I hope the journey wasn’t too tiring.” The guilt simmered in my gut at her concern, not liking having to lie to her but it would all come to an end today, for better or for worse but at least I had Minseok at my side. As if sensing my distress he took my hand in his, thumb stroking along my knuckles as he busied himself with making our beverages.
“It was pretty good, how have you and dad been doing since we last spoke?” And as such idle chatter begun, the mandatory questions one’s parents asked their offsprings paramour delivered and it finally came to the opening we had waited for.
“So, Minseok, what is it that you do for a living? She only told us that you work in management.” Dad asked over the rim of his coffee mug, leaning into mom’s side who was practically inhaling her cheesecake - not that I fared any better as it was just as delicious as I remembered it.
I shared a look with Minseok, squeezing his hand and then he begun to tell them everything. I took over at times or aided him in some more details. We told them about MAMA and the maidens, the guardians and the pack in the other realm. We told them the night of fire, how I get hurt and why they found me at the curb bleeding. We told them about him being my mate, what it entitled and the engagement.
That’s when I took out the necklace out of my cleavage where I had hidden our engagement rings, the real ones Minseok had made before I surprised-proposed to him at the amusement park. They were silver claddagh rings with amethysts and aquamarines - put in the position they were in when in engagement. Mom and dad had been quiet, too quiet through it all and simply nodded at times - until I presented them the rings. Dad begun to cry while mom darted out of her seat to bring us in for a big, choking hug and babbled on how excited she was about it all while dad mourned the “loss” of his daughter.
“You don’t seem all that surprised to learn the truth of the matter.” Minseok said what I had been thinking, the only time they truly reacted was with joy to the news of our engagement. Now it was mom and dad’s turn to exchange glances, then they looked at us with small smiles.
“Because, we aren’t, except for the last one.” Mom clarified then looked to dad for a moment. “Now we know why Kyungsoo said there was a matter of which he couldn’t reveal just yet to us, I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious.”
“Mom!?” She looked to me, slightly apologetic.
“I didn’t mean it like that, I meant as in something that might have hurt you.” She clarified.
“Our cover had been blown the minute he’d said it.” Jimin added, to which mom nodded in agreement.
“Cover? Okay, what is going on?” I looked at the two, those who had loved and raised me since I was but an infant which reminds me. “Wait… How exactly did you end up with me?”
“Okay, I’ll start.” Dad leaned back into the back of the loveseat, that reassuring calm and ease he had remaining which soothed me enough to not panic too much as the truth couldn’t be that bad if dad was this normal. “Your mother and I are hunters, supernatural hunters to be specifically but we are part of the reformed Kard clan. We work with the supernatural society in order to help hiding it from the mortals of this realm but also aid in keeping the general laws in order between the clashing societies that makes up the supernatural realm.”
“You’re the supernatural police Sehun has been talking about from time to time, I’ve heard about what you do.” I murmured in awe.
“When Hyuna said she had two hunters nearby at our service if there’s a level 5 threat, did she mean you?” Minseok asked coolly, one look at him was enough to alert me he had gone into High Alpha mode yet when I leaned into him he put his arm around me which was good, really good.
“She did, it was our agreement.” Dad replied then took his mug to drink some coffee which mom noticed and continued.
“We… We were on a mission to deal with a renegade, rabid werewolf which we successfully dealt with according to our orders when we heard a baby cry.” She looked at me and smiled then, as she often did whenever she told stories of me as young to others. “We followed it and found you in MAMA, we loved you from the moment we held you in our arms and knew you were the child we had been waiting for. You see, Jimin is infertile so we would have to adopt or use a sperm donor. We both wanted to adopt but the process had been long and hard, so finding you and both loving you from the start, it was a miracle. Leeteuk found us with you he organised a deal with Hyuna and us, so all could be happy.”
“We’ve been working as part of the clan these past years, our work as surgeons merely part of our cover and when Leeteuk passed as the rest of the guardians, Kyungsoo was chosen to continue being our informant about you whenever you were in that realm.” Dad explained.
“We know you’ve been at Minseok’s all this time and all that happened in that realm regarding you, which was not good for our hearts sometimes, mind you.” Mom glared softly and I smiled nervously.
“Whoops?” I offered, sinking into Minseok a little as they didn’t look as amused by my reply. “So, you know everything, huh… That’s… Wow… I’m glad but it’s also a lot to take in, all those years with my amnesia and you knew exactly what had happened but didn’t tell me, WHICH I don’t blame you about but just, wow.” I rambled, feeling a bit faint from it all the information.
“Sorry honey, but we weren’t allowed to tell you anything. We were under strict orders to keep our identities hidden until your eighteenth birthday at the very least before we revealed anything to you.” Dad explained to which I nodded in understanding.
“I’m sorry I failed that day as a guardian and leaving her hurt.” Minseok said then, causing all of us to look at him. “I failed as a guardian then.”
“No, Minnie, you were so young and you could-” I tried automatically but he kissed me softly, smiling as we parted.
“I know all of that, thank you but it’s the truth nevertheless but...” He caught my eye, looking into them as he spoke. “I vow to do everything within my power to ensure such a thing doesn’t happen again, to keep you safe where I can and be by your side, I will never leave you again. I might not be the most vocal about my love for you but I hope to show it more in the way I can, by being a better guardian but foremost a good husband.” I sniffled a little, pressing a kiss to his lips and parted to wipe my cheeks a bit.
“Going to pull that one on the wedding too? I might just cry again if you do.” Mom sniffled and wiped her eyes as well, as dad only looked a bit misty eyed.
“Again? You two are coming then?” Minseok asked, looking relieved and I felt like my heart might just burst out of my chest.
“Try to stop us.” Dad said with a grin, mom squealed as I threw myself at them for a group hug and full out crying as they were going to be with me during one of the best occasions of my life.
“Do you have a dress yet?” Mom asked and then the two of us spoke anything and everything about the wedding we had planned so far, glad to have her inputs. As we spoke I smiled as dad was talking to Minseok, doing his paternal part of warning off Minseok from ever treating me badly and for the first time, Minseok actually looked nervous but as he looked at me, meeting my smile he relaxed as well and all was well.