• Chapter XII: Rain



    The young man had walked for days without seeing the least indication that humans had passed by the road he was traveling until he reached a devastated field.

    Humongous iron stakes, pointed at the skies, scarred the bloody earth. A putrid smell emanated from the place without Sungyeol understanding where it came from.

    It was a special and awful scent he had never smelled before.

    What is this foul smell...?

    The cries of crows brought his gaze to the peak of the towering poles where he noticed strange shapes, lumps of something he struggled to distinguish because of the strong sunlight that blinded him.

    ...Are these bodies?Human bodies?

    Sungyeol's empty stomach turned as he struggled not to throw up.

    It was the first time the man had seen such a thing, corpses in Cheon never putrefied because of the freezing cold. There was usually no smell as they laid the deceased in ice coffins to preserve them as they had been in life.

    Sungyeol had to admit it, it was the one thing that was great about his old hometown. He had never had to witness something this awful thanks to the eternal winter.

    The young man hurried up to leave the cursed and smelly place, wondering who could have done such a thing and why. Was the outside world this extreme?

    His mind wandered on the old lady who had saved him before disappearing without leaving a single trace, how could she survive in a world this violent with such a frail body?

    Sungyeol had looked for the elder when she disappeared and called out for her in vain for a few minutes before leaving the cave, she had just faded into thin air. He even wondered if she had been real to begin with but looked back at the now slightly faded sign on his palm that proved that the encounter hadn't been a simple creation of his tired mind.

    A triangle...I think I saw it somewhere in Cheon.

    Sungyeol discovered the ruins of a village a few miles from the site full of death and decided to spend the night there since the sun was slowly setting down.

    The man brushed the dust off the walls carvings and noticed suns with the triangle at its core.

    The woman was right, it was truly everywhere in slightly altered versions.

    Sungyeol wondered what had happened to this place, how could every house be down to the ground?

    War I suppose...The buildings are too old to be from our century.

    Sungyeol sat down on the crumbled down stairs of the destroyed town's temple and deeply sighed.

    It isn't cold here Minhee, just as you said before...” whispered the man, eyeing the shy stars that had started to appear on the celestial vault.

    I'm starting to lose my mind it seems, here I am talking to myself.

    A smile appeared on his lips, a smile full of sadness.

    It was a beautiful night and a beautiful place where time seemed to have frozen.

    A few strands of green grass and flowers shyly grew between the cracked stones that had witnessed the cruelty of the eras.

    A few drops fell from the sky and landed on his skin.

    So this is rain...You were right it is so much better than snow.

    I prefer the rain.” whispered Minhee looking outside her window as it calmly snowed.

    Why?” asked Sungyeol who had been watching her, trying to figure out what she was thinking about.

    Minhee had been in strange mood since the anniversary of her father's passing.

    She would stand there without saying a word for hours, lost in her beautiful mind of hers.

    Because I feel like it's a sign that the skies allow me to be sad and cry. When it rains I can go outside and cry without having to explain my tears ...

    Do you only cry when it rains then...?

    I did before..But it doesn't rain here. So I can't anymore...

    Sungyeol finally noticed the tears locked in the corner of her eyes. Forbidden to ever fall from her eyes.

    You can cry. I will be your rain if you want. I'll make sure that no one sees them.”whispered Sungyeol back hugging her.


    Her hands caressed his as she slowly started crying.

    The young man buried his face in her neck, wishing for nothing but her happiness.

    She sobbed for a long time until she began to be sleepy.

    Sungyeol carried her to her bed and slowly tucked her in, staying by her side until she fell asleep.

    ...You know...Rain is also beautiful...It isn't just sad.” whispered Minhee, hanging on his hand. “I love the scent of nature after a downpour... Each one is like a life-giving breath to our world. I love it and miss it..”

    Let's see it together one day then.” proposed her friend kissing her fingers. “Let's dance in the rain.

    Tears fell down from Sungyeol's eyes who was still staring at the sad but clear evening skies.

    The man buried his hands into his pockets and felt a small thing at the bottom before taking the small foreign object out of them.

    A flower.

    The violet flower he had picked with her.

    I don't remember putting one of them in my pocket...

    Sungyeol wondered a few instant how they could have ended up in them before realizing that Minhee was the one that had placed them there.

    Her words came back to him.

    He remembered what they meant.

    He remembered that they meant an eternal love.

    A painful laugh escaped his lips before his sobs intensified.

    Once again you were ahead of me...

    You should have told me...You should have just told me...You know that I am an idiot...” cried Sungyeol bringing the flower to his heart as if to carve her confession into it.

    Sungyeol had wanted to ask her to marry him in a beautiful place deprived of the cold she hated so much, he planned on taking her away and back to her town where they would have built a family together.

    Another laugh escaped his lips, it was so much like her to surprise him even in this way.

    ..Just wait.” whispered the man as he finally calmed down. “ I'll find you, I'll find you no matter what.”


    Woohyun had come back later that evening and had laid beside her for the first time, silently placing his face in her neck thinking that she was fast asleep before himself going to sleep.

    How could she sleep when her heart was still beating so fast from their kiss that had visibly affected her and her only? She was worried that he didn't want her in the same way that she did, but he had embraced her as they kissed so why...?

    A thousand questions rolled in her mind, questions that ranged from his feeling for hers to her and her unusual actions to how things would evolve now that they had become awkward once again.

    Kami barely slept until morning and woke up when Woohyun discreetly tried to slip away from her side after giving her a small peck on the cheek.

    Woohyun..?” called Kami grabbing his hand as he was about to leave her again.

    She felt him tense up.

    So you really intended on leaving without me.

    Where are you going?” asked the young girl.

    I...I was going out to hunt and gather some food.” explained the man avoiding her eyes.

    Then let me come with you...” almost begged the woman.

    Woohyun finally turned around to see her. Kami had intertwined their hands so that he would not pull away.

    But your wounds...”

    They are fully healed, they have been for a while now and you know it...”

    Hunting isn't fun...You will be bored.” sighed Woohyun

    It's better than staying alone here with nothing to do.”

    And I get to be with you so all the better...

    ...I don't want you to follow my habits just because you stay here, you don't have to change.”

    Kami felt that he would continue on and on until he found an excuse for her not to come.

    Do you really want to push me away?You were the one trying to get closer to me until yesterday...

    Bring me with you.” commanded Kami with her powers.

    Woohyun's tensed shoulders relaxed and he nodded.

    Sorry, you didn't give me any other choice.

    Let's go then.” said Woohyun as he helped her up to her feet.

    Kami quickly dressed and took back his hand in hers as if afraid that he still would leave without her.

    Is it so bad of me to want you? You said that you needed me but do you really?

    They stepped outside, the first time in a long time for Kami who had only been as far outside as the balcony since her arrival at Woohyun's cozy house. It felt strange for her to walk freely in the woods with him who had been strangely silent since the previous night.

    Woohyun was usually always the one joking to break uncomfortable silences, and she was the one rolling her eyes every time he did so, even if she liked his humor.

    But there she was ,doing all the small talk to get him to talk to no use, it was as if he was trying to block her out of his world.

    Let's avoid frogs today ok?” joked Kami as she nervously swung their arms. “I want to find some fruits, something sweet!”

    Hmm...” was the best response she managed to get out of him before his eyes fleeted away from her

    Kami stopped and so did he.

    We have to talk don't you think...?” whispered the young woman.



    ...Alright.” sighed the man she had begun to like.

    Woohyun brought her to the shores of a huge lake and sat down.

    Kami eyed the blue water rock back and forth only to die on the yellow sand on which they sat.

    Sit down...” asked the man looking up to her.

    Kami obeyed and joined him, eyeing him discreetly as the breeze slowly brushed over them.

    She should have focused on the beautiful view he offered her or even the fresh air she was finally able to breathe ,but she saw him and only him.

    It always shocked her to see how handsome he was in everyday's simple moments. She knew that she would have never gotten to be this close to him if he had lived in her town.

    He was the type of man that made every girl dream that she could be his. He was the kind of man that melted every one's heart with his smiles.

    I found you after almost drowning in a lake like this one.” declared Woohyun as he threw a pebble into the bottomless water. “I was thrown in it by Raiders.”

    How did you manage to get out of it?”
    “By using my powers beyond their limits...” added the man

    Kami leaned her head on his shoulder that had been covered in metal when she first met him and that was now back to normal.

    It wasn't the first time I almost died by drowning, I've tried multiple times to kill myself in the one before us.”

    But you did not die.”

    Because I was a coward not even capable of taking his own life, I would swim to the shore every time.”

    The man sighed before running his hand in his hair.

    What I mean to say is...I'm not over my own problems,I still don't know how to get over them and I am scared to drag you into the mess that it is my life.”

    But I want to be part of your life...”

    A sad smile appeared on his lips.

    You will regret it later.”

    ...Sorry for yesterday then.” answered the woman, taking his answer as a rejection.

    You don't have to be..I...I am not rejecting you...I just...I just don't know if I am right for you.”

    Kami hesitated and took him into her arms.

    Do you remember what you told me when I was crying? That I too deserved to live and be happy? It is the same thing for you...You don't have to be alone.”

    Woohyun closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers

    ..I'm scared.” whispered the man

    There was always a childlike side to Woohyun's personality, maybe because he had lost his family at a young age and hadn't really gotten the chance to grow up like other children or because he finally allowed himself to be vulnerable since he was no longer alone.

    They recognized themselves in each other and their dark lonely past.

    Woohyun...!” called out Kami, woken up by the cries of Woohyun who was seemingly having nightmares.

    Kami wondered what they could be about for him to be in this state. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as his body shivered. He was covered in cold sweat beads that glistened every time he frantically breathed.

    Woohyun would always call out foreign names to her during his sleep and would mumble under his breath, but never to this extent.

    The young woman ran to him and caressed his cheek, calling out his name.

    You'll be fine...You are fine...”whispered Kami as he slowly woke up.

    His eyes met hers and she could see how vulnerable and full of despair he was in that instant.

    Kami..?” called Woohyun in a small and shaky voice as he slowly realized that he had only been dreaming.

    Don't cry...it was just a bad dream..”said the woman.

    Woohyun pulled her into a hug and hid his face in her chest. Kami hesitated before gently caressing his head. It was strange for her to see him ,always so strong and full of joy, slowly crumble down into her arms.

    His tears were painful even to her and she too wanted to cry with him.

    Had he felt the same way when she had been crying? Did his heart bleed when he heard her sobs?

    Woohyun...” called Kami once again

    The young woman carefully placed a kiss on his forehead.

    Go back to sleep and forget the painful nightmares...Dream of only happiness and beautiful things...” commanded Kami with her powers. “ And only have good dreams from now on...

    Woohyun's eyes closed again and she felt his body weight on hers.

    Kami carefully laid him down and covered him with her blanket before grabbing a wet towel to wipe off the sweat off of his skin just as he had done for her when she was wounded.

    I'll be there to make sure you are well from now on so sleep peacefully...

    I am too...” said Kami “I am scared of what I...What we'll become but I only know that I like being with you...”

    A smile appeared on her lips as a few drops of rain landed on them.

    I like you Woohyun. Not because you saved me or took care of me but because I like who I am with you.” admitted Kami blushing “ I have never been this bright,I am happy.”

    A sparkling light appeared in his eyes as he slowly brushed her cheek with his hand roughened by the harsh years of his life.

    ...Can I then..? Can I allow myself to like you too?” asked Woohyun.

    Kami nodded and felt his lips against hers.

    The rain slowly turned into a downpour as a smile appeared on his face .

    I like you.


    Minhyun, Seongwu and Minhee were sitting by the fire talking when the young man noticed the absence of his sister and his best friend. The two of them had been leaving more and more often the group as time went by, most of the times missing each other on purpose.

    It was a strange sight for the Holder that had grown used to seeing them together every day of their life.

    Minhee, do you know where they went?” asked Minhyun to their new friend who had fully recovered and that had been closely eyeing the rain fall for the past few minutes.

    I think that she left to train...? She said that she needs to learn how to control her powers.”

    Again?” added Seongwu stretching and yawning before leaning against the cave's wall they had chosen as camp to avoid the approaching rainstorm. “She went out to train yesterday when we were dining too.”

    And Myungsoo?”

    He said that he was going to check the roads ahead.” replied his lover

    A sigh escaped Minhyun's lips, he didn't need all the details to know that things had become complicated between the two of them and felt guilty that he was drowning in happiness with Seongwu on his own.

    These two are idiots.” exhaled Minhyun once again “They clearly like each other so why are they like this?”

    So you call me an idiot when I am not there uh?” laughed Mina who had just come back from her training, drenched.

    Well then how should I call a girl training when it is pouring outside?” pouted Minhyun, eyeing his sister that sat next to him.

    Minhyun saw her advert her eyes.

    I'm fine, don't worry.”reassured Mina warming her hands in front of the fire.

    Are you really fine? Because it doesn't look that way to me.” scolded her brother.

    A bitter expression appeared on her face.

    Minhyun knew that she didn't like the fact that he was almost able to read her thoughts.

    ...Why would you think that?”

    Minhyun rolled his eyes.

    You are lying to yourself, you always do.

    Because you are pushing away Myungsoo that you have liked for the past years? Because you are not sleeping these days? Because you are making yourself busy with training not to think about what you are feeling?”

    ...I'm just changing, I'm moving on.”

    Moving on from him? Really...?”

    I'm taking a break, we need some time apart.”

    ...You are not changing, you are avoiding the issue. You have always acted like this every time you felt conflicted.”

    You always try to bury your feelings instead of facing them.

    What are you doing Mina?” asked Minhyun who had finally found free time to visit his sister.

    Long rolls of paper covered her bedroom's floor, so much that the young man didn't really know where to walk. Minhyun hopped from empty space to empty space until he managed to reach her desk.

    I'm copying the books to learn them better.” said Mina looking up at her brother who had grown a little bit taller since she had last seen him.

    Hmm...Where is Myungsoo?”wondered her sibling who knew who the only person able to make her act this way was .

    Mina froze an instant before putting down her pen.

    Minhyun smiled, he had been right.

    ...He has a date with a girl organized by his parents.” whispered his twin looking outside the window.

    Oh...Again? He has been going to a lot of meeting these days...His family wants him to get married soon I think.

    Minhyun noticed her body tensing up at his declaration meant to tease her.

    ..It had to happen one day anyway.

    The heir wasn't blind to his sister's love for the guard, he knew fully well that she was jealous of the girls he had been meeting.

    Minhyun sat on her bed and patted the empty space next to him so that she would join him.

    Mina let herself down by his side and sighed.

    Why not tell him that you don't like it when he leaves you to go see them?” started Minhyun “You know that he will respect your feelings, you are important to him.

    ...I don't care about what he does during his free time.” mumbled the girl in full denial.

    A small laugh escaped Minhyun's lips before poking the deep frown between her eyebrows.

    Then what's that? Are you imitating the temple's old and grumpy priests?

    Mina weakly punched his shoulder.

    Don't make fun of me! I am already tired of Myungsoo's jokes so don't start too.

    He's making fun of you?” asked Minhyun, raising an eyebrow in surprise.

    All the time! He treats me like a child! I hate it.

    Minhyun remembered how his friend would always talk and compliment her every time they were alone together, it came to him that both of them struggled to express their feelings.

    Then tell him, he will stop.

    ...But what if he gets angry and quit coming to see me...?

    Minhyun patted his twin's head and smiled, knowing that her fears would never come true.

    That will never happen, I promise you.

    How can you be so sure?

    I am sure because I know the two of you...And if he does one day truly hurt you then I'll be sure to punish him.” reassured Minhyun hugging her. “So stop worrying and writing all this alright?

    Minhyun had always wanted to protect his sister from the age he had learned that the way she lived wasn't normal. He had tried his best to see her even when forbidden too.

    He was the one that had found her in the dark temple room after having been abandoned by their mother, he had been the one to comfort her every time her powers snapped until Myungsoo arrived.

    I just...I just need to busy my mind.” sighed Mina, leaning her head on his shoulder

    I know...But avoiding what you feel isn't good.

    Mina sighed and looked at the rainy outside, they never had that much rain in Hwa.

    His town had always faced droughts and high temperatures that most foreigners would have struggled with. He could almost remember that as a child he had liked running and walking under the pouring skies to cool his seemingly burning body but had forgotten why he had stopped.

    Had he been forbidden to or had he just given up on this on his own like many other things he had had to lose to fulfill his role of heir?

    Then what should I do?”

    Anything but what you are doing at the moment.” replied Minhyun, focusing once more on their conversation.

    Minhyun had been daydreaming for the past days, wondering about what had led him to be the adult he was now. He wondered how much of him had been manufactured by others and how much of him was real. He wondered if he was truly free from the grasp of the Temple or if his spirit was still linked to them in any way.

    Minhyun couldn't forget the truth that he had killed his own parents with his own hands.

    He wondered if it had been him as a person or the emotionless monster created by the priests that had severed their life.

    Was he pushing the blame on others to not admit to himself that he was no more the hero he had sought to be as a child?

    Why take a break when you like each other..?” asked Seongwu a bit confused. “I don't know the details but the feelings seem pretty mutual from what I have seen...”

    Minhee handed a handkerchief to Mina so that she would dry herself up.

    The young woman thanked her and proceeded to wiping the water beads off of her cheek.

    This is all I ever wanted, a family that cares for each other...

    But why do I feel so lost?

    If I was you I would spend my every second with my loved one...” said Minhee. “You never know what can happen in this world...”

    Minhyun could see the pain in her eyes as she continued speaking.

    Would he end up like this too if he lost his loved ones? If he was robbed of their presences forever?

    I regret every day not having the courage to confess my love to Sungyeol earlier. I think of what we could have had together if I had told him sooner that I wanted to spend my life with him...It's painful and I hope you never go through this.” explained the purple-haired woman, sadly smiling.

    ...I'm sorry..You have it so much worse than me and here I am bothering you with this...” sighed Mina

    It doesn't bother me.” said Minhee seeing Myungsoo approach the camp and standing up.” Will you come with me? I have more things to tell you.”

    Mina nodded and stood up.

    Where are we going?”
    “Let's walk around and talk ok?”

    Minhyun smiled seeing the two girls leaving and chatting. He had always hoped his sister would find a female friend one day.

    The two of them headed towards the entrance, crossing path with the guard.

    Minhyun saw Myungsoo's hand brush against his sister's whose touch also lingered on his.

    ...Are you ok?” asked Myungsoo stopping for an instant since he hadn't seen her for the past day or two with a worried glance in his eyes.

    Mina slightly smiled and nodded before handing him the handkerchief she had been holding.

    Myungsoo's fingers caressed hers as he reached for her hand instead of the cloth.

    Minhyun caught the look the two of them exchanged in that brief interaction and knew that in one way or another they would be fine.

    And you...?” whispered his sister as her eyes traveled down his drenched hair to his equally wet clothes.

    I'm fine.” reassured Myungsoo in a whisper full of affection. “Be safe..” said the man before taking the handkerchief and walking towards Minhyun.

    The brother had been staring at the two with a huge smile plastered on his face.

    He was proud of them.

    What...?”asked Myungsoo blinking a few times.

    Nothing~” said Minhyun. “What's new?”

    Myungsoo sat down and smiled like a child as he watched the cloth handed to him by Mina with sparkling youthful eyes.

    I found a safer road. We'll reach the Forest in no time if we take it, we are not far from Mok now.”


    Minhyun eyed the fire's flames.


    He had never imagined going to other towns back when he still lived in Hwa. He had always regarded them as almost legendary places that his mind drew and drew again in his bored consciousness. He had always wondered if the air was different there and if the people were too.

    The young man had in his way also been a prisoner of his hometown, he had been tricked into thinking that he had some freedom when his every action had been instructed by the Temple.

    Are you nervous?” asked Seongwu

    Yes I am,

    I am scared that everything is but a dream and that even you are not real.

    No I am fine. I am just a little tired.” smiled Minhyun.

    Myungsoo patted the hair of his cadet, just like he used to do when they were younger.

    You don't have to act strong all the time Minhyun, it's ok to let yourself go sometimes.” said the soldier, smiling. “You don't have to be someone else anymore.”

    You are just the same!” claimed Minhyun exasperated. “You're the one still acting like the old you.”

    Myungsoo laughed before laying down on the hard rock covered by a thin layer of fabric laid by the girls.

    I guess habits are hard to kill, but I am trying my best.” sighed his elder.

    What kind of habits?”

    Myungsoo opened his onyx eyes and stared at the cave's roof.

    Following other's wishes... And always caring for a certain young lady. It is weird to be my own person once again.”

    Minhyun smiled, Myungsoo may have followed orders until recently but his heart had been his own for the past few years.

    So...You should try your best too, you'll get better. We'll all be fine.”

    Would he? Could he truly break away from everything when the Temple and the prospect that they would one day catch up to them never left his mind?

    I don't think I can ever get away from them.

    I am still trapped.

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  • Chapter X: Hesitation



    Kami had been avoiding him after that night as if he was some sort of plague and hadn't really talked to him either. Woohyun may have been an idiot, but he knew that he was obviously to blame for her sudden change in behavior.

    The young woman would glance at him discreetly while slowly stirring the soup of the day (more like a cloudy goo than anything edible) before turning her back to him.

    She would stare at the horizon from his house's window with an indescribable look in her ocean blue eyes that always amazed him and he would stare at her in exchange. He wondered what she could possibly think about, what if her past had come back for her? What if after his words she, instead of feeling better, just wanted to disappear?

    Woohyun knew what it meant to feel alone in this world maybe more than anybody else and knew how quickly dark thoughts could swallow one's self up. He didn't want that for her, she had suffered enough.

    What can I say to you?

    What can I do?

    It was midnight, the house was silent and neither of them were asleep like most nights since she had cried in his arms. They would just sit from the opposite sides of the room, looking at one another.

    He had learned her every feature, how her cheeks were slightly round and cherubic, how pink her lips were, how the lines of her neck were delicate.

    How small she was as a whole, so small that she almost disappeared in the dark corner of his house.

    Kami.” called out the man.

    The young woman didn't reply and instead just buried her face a little more under his blanket.

    A sigh escaped his lips.

    So you really are avoiding me.

    What's wrong? What have I done to make you this angry?”

    Her back straightened as a surprised look took hold of her tiny face.

    I am not mad at you..”whispered his guest

    Then why? Why do you avoid me?” asked Woohyun, slightly hurt. “...Is it because of your past? Are you depressed?”


    What is it then? Let me help you..

    Then why? Why won't you eat with me? Why won't you talk to me?” wondered the man, now looking down at the wooden floor. “I don't know what to do if you start thinking that life isn't worth living...Even if you want to die you have to know that death isn't worth it-”

    The young man was panicking, he couldn't afford to lose her, he had grown attached to her way more than what he wished to admit. He liked knowing that she was there even if she remained silent, he liked catching her small glances. He liked waking in the morning to see her face , he liked the fact that his nights were not so lonely anymore. He liked the fact that the world was no more empty with her in it.

    What if she died too? Just like all the persons he had cherished before?

    He didn't want her to take her own life.

    He wasn't sure that he had enough strength left to bear it.

    Woohyun.” called out the woman. “Calm down, I am fine I just...”

    Her cheeks took the color of the cherry blossoms he used to see during his childhood.


    It's just that I am embarrassed because of the other night...” whispered the girl “I have never cried this much before someone else, I was just scared that I had annoyed you.”

    No...You didn't...I was happy.”

    A small laugh escaped her lips, the first one in days.

    You were happy that I was sad? Are you a sadist?”

    N..No I just meant that I was happy that you were able to confide in me....” corrected a scarlet Woohyun, hiding his face behind his hands.

    He didn't like how easy she made him lose his calm.

    I know, I was just kidding.” smiled Kami before reaching her hands out to him. “Come here...”

    It was unusual, she never asked him to come over to her side of the room.

    Her voice was unsure but daring, soft but loud enough to show him that she really needed him by her side.


    Please.” insisted the woman blushing even more

    Woohyun stood up and carefully walked towards her, she was so close but so far and every step felt like an eternity. He finally stopped before her, afraid to scare her away once more.

    To her he was probably a beast, a wild being while she was nothing but an angel in his eyes, an angel that had fallen from the heavens. He was sometimes afraid that he would scare her away with his habits.

    ...Don't you like it?” asked a slightly sad Woohyun, eyeing his roasted frog.

    He could see that Kami tried her best not to grimace but the frown between her eyebrows was clear and visible from a thousand miles distance.

    It's not that I don't like it....hmmm...Let's just say that it is a new experience?” tried to explain the girl to get the sad and desperate puppy look out of his eyes

    You don't eat frog where you come from?” asked a confused Woohyun that had survived until then on a diet composed of frogs, wild rabbits, plants and fruits.

    Kami couldn't contain her laughter any longer and giggled.

    Woohyun...I don't think that town people eat frogs in general...Sorry.” kindly said the young woman, picking up the fruits he had found for her.

    Oh...Is it weird...?

    A little bit....?

    Woohyun pouted.

    ..Are you mad at me?


    But you are avoiding my eyes Woohyun.”

    The man slowly brought his legs to himself.

    ...Because I wanted to cook something good for you.”murmured Woohyun, sad.


    Will you run away from me if I try to get closer to you?

    Closer...”whispered Kami, taping the empty space next to her.

    Woohyun gulped, nodded, sat down and felt her head carefully lean against his shoulder.

    He could feel her soft hair strands tickle the naked skin of his neck and could hear her soft breathing vibrate through the air.

    I don't dislike you. I can't, how could I when you are the one who saved me? I owe you my life Woohyun and that will never change.”whispered Kami as she closed her eyes.

    The young vagabond slowly brushed the skin of her cheeks with his fingertips. She was so warm and soft that it was almost unreal. He had forgotten how warm a person could be and how pleasant it was to have someone by his side. He could have stayed like this for a whole eternity but couldn't shake her words out of his head, what if she was truly staying with him out of culpability? Out of pity for him?

    He couldn't bear that thought, he preferred to forever be alone rather than trapping her in this small world of his. She deserved better.

    You owe me nothing... You already gave me the only thing that I needed. ” sourly declared Woohyun

    What was it?”

    A reminder of what it feels to not be alone.” smiled the man. “ A reminder that I had a life before all of this.”

    Kami grabbed his face between her hands, forcing him to watch her.

    The young man's breath almost stopped when he met her sapphire blue orbs that seemingly tried to read his soul.

    I want to know what you think about every time you look at me like this...

    You don't have to be alone anymore..I'll be here with you.”

    ...I don't need you to pay me back for saving you. You are free to go, I won't hold you back if that's what you want.” declared the man, carefully taking her hands off of his face

    He couldn't take advantage of her and her kindness, not when she had lost everything, not when she was just seeking companionship. It could have been anyone but him.

    He was sure of it.

    Kami took his face back into her hands with more strength so that he wouldn't push them away this time.

    I don't want to go. I want to stay with you.” whispered the woman. “ It's true that I was scared at first, I was scared that you were a bad person or that I would grow to care for you only to be abandoned when the time comes...But..It's already too late for that, I don't think that I can leave this place without you.” admitted Kami, bringing her face closer to his.

    He could feel her breath against his, she was there, just an inch away from him, in his clothes that were way too big for her.

    What's this...?

    I care for you Woohyun and I know that we haven't known each other for a long time, less than a month but in that time you have given me more than I have ever received in all of my life...” a small bitter laugh escaped her lips. “I know that you probably don't feel the same but-”

    A small smile appeared on his lips.

    If only she knew what she meant to him, how he had decided to protect her until the end from the very moment his eyes had landed on her....

    Woohyun was scared of himself and how quickly he had grown attached to her.

    He wondered if it was friendship ,companionship or love even if he didn't really understand what that special feeling was....He wondered what it was that they shared and if it would even last but simply knew that he wanted it to never end.

    He had been wondering if it was the situation in which they had met, if it was her smile or even if it was simply her eyes that had made these reckless emotions appear in his heart.

    A heart that had been almost dead for years.

    I care Kami, maybe more than you can imagine.” simply answered Woohyun, bringing her closer to him by holding her small waist with his strong hand. “ I would be devastated if you left...You were..You are a blessing to me.”

    He could feel her hands run along his shoulders.


    The young woman leaned in and gently kissed his lips.

    Woohyun closed his eyes and gripped her waist tighter while she slowly brushed her hands against his cheeks.

    There was something almost magical in her touch, something that made his whole body tense up.

    Something that he had never experienced before, it was just too much for him.


    The young man parted from her and buried his face into her neck, sighing.

    I think that I like you.

    I like you a lot.

    Woohyun...?” worriedly asked Kami trying to meet his eyes.

    I'm sorry. I can't give you anything.

    You should sleep...I...I'll go take some fresh air.” said Woohyun, standing up after carefully letting her down from her lap.

    Woohyun..?” called out the young woman once again.

    I'll just take a few minutes don't worry...”

    The man left without giving her a chance to reply and quickly climbed down from his tree house.

    Woohyun wasn't sure if it was the weather or his body too hot in comparison, but the wind was especially cold that night.

    He didn't mind it and in fact enjoyed the feeling of the breeze against his burning skin.

    He liked how it cleared his mind.

    I'm a douche bag. The worst.

    What was that Woohyun..?” said the man to himself, thinking once again about the girl that had been the master of his thoughts for the past month and her confused face as he had left her.

    He couldn't take away the sensation of her in his arms and on his lap from his mind. He couldn't take away the image of her hands traveling down his back and shoulders.

    It all felt like a soft kind of torture he wasn't used to.

    That's not like you... You always face every problem. You don't run away.”sighed the man.

    You don't even know what kind of person you are idiot, what do you mean by that?


    Everything was fine or maybe even too fine.

    Seongwu liked how every one of them were getting closer to each other, even Minhee who had at first been silent had quickly become inseparable from Mina. The young ladies always walked together and even slept side by side, something that even Minhyun hadn't expected his sister to do.

    Myungsoo would still throw some glances at the girl but not as often and for as long as a few days ago, he instead had slowly began enjoying their new-found freedom and sometimes even went ahead to scout for new roads.

    Minhyun probably enjoyed the most the situation they were in, he liked the simple fact that he didn't need to put a mask on in front of them. Seongwu would often catch him smile at him with a gaze full of pure love.

    Seongwu would sometimes wake up to a flower bouquet composed of the area's prettiest specimens. He would always be greeted by his lover's smiling face and a good morning kiss.

    He should have wanted for nothing more but here he was, feeling worse than ever.

    Cheer up idiot.

    Seongwu felt like he didn't belong with them, that he was useless.

    They all had a role except for him.

    Minhyun was in charge of making fires, Mina of setting camp with Minhee and Myungsoo was in charge of leading them and hunting their next meal.

    Seongwu had tried helping them but to no use, they always did better on their own and he only served in slowing them down.

    How are you?” asked Minhyun ,half-awake,back-hugging him.

    The young man caressed his hands and forced a smile upon his lips.

    His lover had just woken up from his nap under a large tree's shade and his messy hair tickled his cheek, just like back in his house during lazy late afternoons.

    I'm fine.” replied Seongwu.

    ...I know when you lie. You aren't a good liar....” yawned Minhyun “What's wrong?”

    Seongwu sighed, he couldn't hide anything from him as always.

    Minhyun faced him without letting go of his hands.

    Minhyun was always beautiful, be it after a nap or a fight, his eyes were always bright and almost shining like his white golden skin. Seongwu often struggled to understand how he had been chosen by him.

    I....I just don't belong with you all...I feel like I should have stayed in the city.” whined Seongwu, quickly looking away from him.

    It is hard to meet your gaze today my love. Maybe because I especially hate myself today.

    His lover froze and stared at him for a long time before replying.

    ...You would have died. Do you know what you are implying...?” answered Minhyun with a hurt look on his face, suddenly more than awake.

    Seongwu knew the weight of his words, he knew that he would have been executed on the spot if he hadn't been rescued but even so, he couldn't help but feel like a mere insect among living gods.

    They were almost perfect, made to survive this harsh world whereas he was just what remained of the ancient human race.

    They would be remembered, they name written somewhere in history but him? People like him didn't even get a certificate at birth.

    They were just workers, fuel for an always burning city.

    Their names faded into the wind as soon as they exhaled their last breath.

    They were nothing.

    ...At least I wouldn't be a burden.” joked Seongwu “Don't you see how long we take to go from a place to the other because of me? I know that you take more breaks because I am always exhausted...”

    I don't even have to see you to know that you disagree, you can't possibly understand …

    You don't know how difficult it is to live knowing that you can never do something for your other half. I can't fight whatever is chasing us, I can't stop outsiders that want to take you from me...

    Minhyun hugged him tightly against his chest.

    He was always so warm whenever he needed it the most.

    ...I know that you are lost with us Holders and that we can be intimidating but...Don't ever say that it would have been better back there for you...” trembled Minhyun. “If you say that I just feel awful you know? It makes me wonder why I didn't think about running away sooner with you...I feel like everything is my fault...Your suffering, my sister's and even mine. It was all my fault.”

    Don't say that. It wasn't your fault...How could you have known?”

    Minhyun knelt before him and kissed his hands before looking up at him.

    He always felt so loved whenever their eyes met that he immediately regretted bringing him his worries to him.

    He had already enough on his mind to begin with.

    It is nothing if you are here, I can withstand everything.

    I am happy because you are here...” smiled his lover. “If I had lost you then I....I would have probably lost myself Seongwu.”

    I am an awful boyfriend... I make you worry about me for something so stupid...

    I just want to be of use....”

    You are. You always give us important information and most of all you try your best to cheer us up. They all like you and I love you.” explained Minhyun “Myungsoo may know the roads but you know the history of our world, the symbols, the cultures...Even if you can't help as much as you want now , you'll be the most useful one when we'll settle down somewhere.”

    Do you truly mean that..?” asked Seongwu, unsure.

    Minhyun leaned in and lovingly kissed him.

    I do and....I need you to begin with, you are my Seongwu.” smiled the man. “The only one that I'll love with all of my soul.”

    I love you too...” declared Seongwu before stealing his lips again.

    The two of them let their bodies fall on the grassy floor and closed their eyes to feel to breeze.

    The day was warmer than the previous ones and the sky was clear, as clear as his heart every time he took his hand in his.

    I just wished I could protect you.” whispered Seongwu. “I wish I too had powers.”

    I thought you disliked Holders?”

    ...I did. But you and the others...You all changed my mind.” explained the young man, kissing his hand.

    You do know that I am probably one of the strongest Holder there is right..? I am strong enough to defend the both of us.” laughed Minhyun

    But what if you reach your limit? What if you end up like the others? Frozen, paralyzed or bleeding from the inside?” replied a worried Seongwu.

    It hasn't happened yet...”

    How come?”

    Minhyun stretched before getting on top of his body.

    I am just stronger than the others, my limits are just more difficult to reach I guess?”


    What if his limits and their side effects are even more extreme than the others?

    Seongwu caressed his face, what if one day he lost him after a fight? What if he was left alone once again?

    But you know Seongwu...I would have liked to be born like you. Just...Normal.” confessed Minhyun

    You are joking I hope...?”

    I am not.”

    Minhyun sat down next to him and stared at the fluttering tree leaves.

    Now that I think about it, I hated every second of being the heir to the Temple. I just covered it up by thinking that I was doing a good thing for the others.” admitted his lover.

    But it has nothing to do with your powers...? You would have been the next High Priest anyway...”

    ..My powers scare me sometimes. I just feel like they'll just explode one day.”

    Seongwu remembered the Temple and how it was swallowed by flames when they were fleeing the city. Mina had later told him that Minhyun had been kind of lost in a trance and had asked him to keep an eye on him to see if there were no side effects.

    It didn't seem impossible for his lover to struggle with his powers.

    He had seen it before.

    I see...”

    You are blessed in this way Seongwu, you'll never feel like a freak of nature.”

    You aren't one.” smiled Seongwu before taking him into his arms. “We are both free now, we can live the way we want.”

    Yes...So stop with the gloomy thoughts alright?”


    Promise me.”

    I promise that I won't”


    There was nothing but a constant buzzing in his ear, and the awful feeling of his flesh slowly being glued back together.

    This can't be heaven.

    Sungyeol remembered the fall but not what had happened after it.

    He remembered Minhee's crying face, how they had run and how he had been pierced by the spears of their enemies.

    I am still alive.


    The Holder managed to bring his hand to his chest that had been carefully wrapped by thick linen bandages.

    It didn't hurt.


    He was fine, maybe too fine for what had happened to him.

    He should have died or at least been paralyzed and succumb to hypothermia not long after that.

    You are awake.” whispered an old voice by the crackling fire that had been warming his cold body.

    Sungyeol jumped to his feet and stepped back until his back violently hit the icy wall behind him.

    A growl escaped his lips, he hadn't recovered as much as he had thought.

    Where am I...???

    Calm down kid...You still need to rest.” told the elderly woman, throwing a small and dry twig in the burning ambers.

    The young man's eyes quickly analyzed his surroundings.

    The two of them were in a small frozen cave probably carved into a glacier's ice at the base of the mountains. It's arched roof was covered by menacing icicles dangling over their heads.

    They won't fall don't worry, these have been here before your or even your parents' birth.” explained the old lady.

    ...Where are we...?” inquired Sungyeol slowly calming down

    Not far from where you fell, you were in a really bad state you know? You were lucky that I was nearby or you would have just died.”

    Lucky isn't the word I would use. I wouldn't have ended up like this if I had chance to begin with.

    How did you heal me...?”

    I am a Holder just like you. I have my own powers.” simply said the woman.

    Healing..? It's quite rare....You must be strong.” stated Sungyeol, checking if his joints still functioned.

    I am not, if you hadn't used yours you would have been nothing but a puddle of blood and bones and my abilities would have been worthless.”

    Powers..? Well they were useful for once.

    I don't remember using them...

    The woman's voice was raspy and low, almost indiscernible from the cracking sound of ice above them. She was covered by a thin tunic that wasn't thick enough to cover the almost charcoal black skin that occupied half of her body.

    It was just as if she had been scorched by the sun itself, Sungyeol couldn't begin to understand how painful it must have been.

    Her long silvery white hair was so long that they almost melted into the ice around them in a perfect harmony.

    Her features had sunken into her skull but her gold eyes still shined brightly from the caves that were her eye sockets just as if they had never aged.

    Speaking of age, Sungyeol struggled to figure hers.

    She could have been a hundred, eighty, fifty or even barely forty.

    There was a special aura to her.

    You know that it is rude to stare this long at a lady?” laughed the woman.

    S...Sorry.” apologized Sungyeol before slowly sitting down again.

    The elder handed him a cup full of hot tea.

    Drink. It'll warm you up.”

    Sungyeol carefully took it into his hands and stared at it.

    Will you tell me your story?” smiled the old lady. “ I'll take it as payment for the tea.”

    Sungyeol nervously scratched the clay engravings.

    ...It isn't really interesting and the end is only tragic.” sighed the man

    What had happened to Minhee was a mystery that was maybe better left undiscovered.

    He had failed at his attempt to give her a good and happy life that was all.

    Thinking more about it would only torture him further than the excruciating pain his heart was already in.

    You must be back in town and wed by now...I'm sorry...

    All stories are interesting when you are my age and travel this world alone.”

    Sungyeol drank the tea and put down the cup.

    I am the son of a worker of Cheon, I am the only one with powers in my family but still...It's almost as if I don't have them as they rarely manifest.” started saying the man “ My life was normal and boring until I met my best friend and lover, we planned on running away and we did but...We got caught and here I am. Young but heartbroken and deprived of dream.” sighed Sungyeol.

    The woman poured tea back into his cup.

    You should leave this area.” advised his life-saver.


    Because the peace has been disrupted, there will be a war. Things have started moving once again.” said the stranger. “It isn't a place for dreams.”

    A war? How could you know?”

    A mysterious smile grazed the lips of the woman.

    When you have lived for as long as I have you start to see some patterns in the journey that is existence. Things that repeat and cycles that come back to a start. Life and Death.”

    But there hasn't been a war for at least a century or two...”

    You'll see. Just don't be here when it happens.”


    It didn't matter.

    He didn't care for a life without Minhee.

    Did he have to start again or just give up on living?

    He could never go back to Cheon.

    ...How can you know that you dream is over? You are so young and have a whole life before you...You should not give up.” cheered up the woman who had seen concern cross the young man's face.

    How can I know?

    I feel so empty without her that it hurts.

    I want to see her face.

    I need her in my arms sound and safe.

    But we'll never be together, not anymore.

    Because she was my dream and she is gone. She is back behind the thick city walls and I am not strong enough to take her back from there.” sourly laughed Sungyeol.

    A small smile appeared on the thin lips of the elder.

    Sungyeol didn't like how her eyes seemed to read him.

    You are stronger than what you think and...Well...She might not be where you think she is.”

    ...Uh? How could you possibly know?”

    Are you underestimating me because of my age?”


    You don't look like you can move a lot.

    Well no but-”

    I went out once to look for some herbs and I met soldiers looking for a young woman with purple hair that has fled the city. It is your girl right?”

    His whole body froze before a smile appeared on his previously exhausted face.


    A laugh of relief escaped his mouth.

    Yes!!! Do you know where she went? Where can I go to find her???” excitedly asked the man.

    I am not sure but she is probably heading towards the Forests from what I heard.”

    The Forests? You mean the lands around the town of Mok?”


    But why not Hwa? It's closer.”

    Hwa has also been a witness to some issues in the last few days. The town was burning when I last heard of it.”

    When was that?”

    The day after I found you. Maybe a few days ago? A week? You lose count of time at my age...”

    Sungyeol sighed. How was he supposed to find her in these vast lands?

    He wasn't a tracker or even a hunter, he would probably get lost before locating even one of her tracks.

    Thank you...I won't bother you any longer. I'm leaving.” said Sungyeol, standing up and dusting off his clothes.

    Wait.” called out the lady.


    A pleading look crossed her eyes.

    Do you believe in the Gods? The rituals of the cities?”

    ...I don't.”

    But I did once.

    Good. Don't believe the cities that still worship the High Priests. Avoid them like the plague itself.”

    “Because what they speak is far from the truth. Their whole belief is based on lies that have been fed to generation after generation.”

    ...How do you know all of this?”

    I am older than what you may think, I have seen empires fall to the ground when others rose.”

    Sungyeol's eyes traveled once more her burns.


    No. An old friend's betrayal that left me for dead.” the woman slowly lowered her head as if slowly sinking into her past memories.

    The hair that had been covering her neck slowly slipped to show a triangular and golden tattoo on her aged ashy skin.

    ...What is this?” asked a curious Sungyeol

    The woman nostalgically laughed but the young man couldn't help but see a distinct bitterness in her eyes.

    A painful reminder of my lost youth, a reminder that I tend to forget.” smiled the elder.

    What does it mean..?”

    The woman froze for a second before once again stirring the burning ashes of the fire.

    ...It was a sign of hope and light for many people.”

    Was it the case for you too? Did you have hope even in a world like this one?”

    Her golden orbs fixed the wall in front of them and the young man could have sworn that she was lost in the flow of time in that single instant, remembering a lost era of her life.

    I did once, a very long time ago...But there was no happy ending for all the ones who carried this mark. It was almost a curse.”

    Then why don't you erase it..?”

    Because it is also a key to understand our world.” told his savior. “ And because it reminds me of the ones I loved and lost along my long life.”

    The woman took Sungyeol's hand and drew the sign on his palm with her finger that she had darkened with a piece of coal.

    Remember it. It may be useful one day.”

    ...I will.”

    Good.” smiled the elder “Good luck young man. I hope you'll find your loved one.”

    Sungyeol packed his few belongings scattered on the ice into his pockets and walked to the exit of the cave.

    Thank you for everything...Thank you.” thanked the young man staring at the horizon.

    Let's meet again Sungyeol.” simply answered the woman.

    ...Uh..? I've never told you my name-” started saying the Holder before looking back at the now empty cave.

    It was as if she had never been there.

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  • Chapter IX


    -Minhee, Green Lands-

    Minhee had finally left the icy mountains when she saw,for the first time in years, fields of wild grasses and flowers. She knelt to feel the earth under her fingers, realizing how much she had missed being surrounded by living things. It was ironical and tragic that she had found back life by losing the only man that had mattered to her, who had been her whole universe.

    She had faced Death but there she was, surrounded by plants that grew without boundaries in a colorful infinite ocean. There she was lost in a plain only shaken by the strong southern winds that were warm and welcoming.

    It feels nice.

    Minhee would have liked to show Sungyeol all the beautiful things in the world, she would've given everything to at least share this one moment with him.

    The young woman would have prayed if she had believed in the higher deities that ruled their societies, but she didn't, it was a godless world where the most innocent people were condemned to die an unfair death.

    There was nobody.

    They lived in a lonely universe, on a lone and cruel Earth.

    There were no gods.

    Even if you exist, damn you all for taking away the one person I loved more than life itself.

    Damn you all.

    Minhee walked and walked, lost and deprived of any goal.

    She didn't have a home anymore.

    She didn't have somewhere to go except for her childhood town that was nothing but a blurry memory in her mind.

    A blue heaven lost under an azure sky, white marble and happy laughs. A town where food never lacked, a paradise where one could have hope.

    She sometimes wondered if it in fact did exist or if she had just dreamed it to escape a hard and cold reality but always found her way back into her small mallet that contained some of her mother's things. Silks, jewels and poems written by her to remember her.

    Do I still have a family there? A family that does miss me?

    Minhee sighed, she didn't remember the way there anyway.

    The wandering soul slowly glanced at her wet arm, the ice had finally started to melt.

    Minhee had almost forgotten about the state in which her body was, her heart was so broken that she felt numb. So numb that she hadn't noticed her bleeding feet.

    Minhee walked for a few days, only stopping to drink, eat a few fruits and sleep for one or two hours at most. It was as if she was floating, seemingly never reaching the end of the World she had so hoped to fall from.

    Her steps led her to a small crossroad under a titanic and old willow tree whose leaves whistled into the night. She could tell that it had been a witness of centuries of war and despair, she could tell that just like her it was lonely and exhausted by a life that had been imposed onto them.

    Minhee sat down against it, on a green patch of new grass, leaning her head against the old and dry bark.

    She had followed the stars, hoping that they would bring her to a better place free of pain and tears if such a thing existed. Even the stars were different here, the ones in Cheon had been bright and cold but these radiated warmth and kindness.

    But what use was there for warmth for a soul that was all but dead? What use was there for it if there was no one to share it with?

    Just come back idiot.

    Minhee could imagine Sungyeol reply to her that he always would and could see herself happy by his side.

    A small smile appeared on her lips as tears whelmed up in her eyes again.

    You were right, you are indeed in my heart. I can still here your voice...But it doesn't feel any better.

    It doesn't change the fact that you are not here anymore.

    Minhee close her eyes as a faint odor of lilac fluttered in the wind.

    Lilac and sunlight.

    I know what kind of flower you are.” smiled Sungyeol as they both watched the dancing fireplace's flames.

    The teenager straightened her back, she had been sleepy for the past few minutes as they had run around all day and stared back at the handsome, long haired adolescent next to her with curiosity.

    Hmm..? Which one?” asked the girl, yawning.

    Lilac. Lilac grown under a blazing spring sun.” smiled the man, warming his hands before the fireplace.

    Oh...Because of the color?”

    Hmm...Yes but mostly because of the sweet and pleasing scent.” explained the man as he looked at her “Because the smell reminds me of how kind and always smiling you are. It's just you in one flower.

    The pink on her cheeks deepened as she admired him.

    He had grown to be taller than her and had put on fine muscles along the years. His once round face was now sharp and attractive and his smile had become so much brighter.

    She almost struggled to recognize the young man before her.

    Where was the boy that was weaker and tinier than her?

    Minhee quickly looked away, discreetly hiding her face with her white fur coat.

    Have you ever seen one before at least...?

    I have.”


    Today.” answered Sungyeol, blushing as he handed her a beautiful violet lilac. “I bought it from a merchant today...”

    Minhee slowly took the flower into her hands and eyed it with sparkling eyes.

    It was a present she had never thought she would receive from him, an act of kindness not hidden between silly jokes.

    It was pure, it was true.

    It's beautiful...”

    It doesn't do you justice.” whispered Sungyeol embarrassed.

    Minhee felt the heat rise to her face.

    What- Why are you saying that? What's wrong with you today...? You usually just tease me...”

    I...I just noticed that I should probably tell you that you are important to me too sometimes.”

    The young woman took her time to admire him before slowly getting closer to him and taking his hand in hers.

    Thank you Sungyeol...I love it.”

    You're welcome.” smiled the teenager as they both stared at the fire.

    Minhee deeply breathed in the sweet scent of the lilac. Was this how he saw her? Did she, like this flower, bring him joy? Or was she to disappear from his side one day as this flower would wither after some time?



    ...You are important to me too.

    Minhee opened her eyes again only to notice approaching figures in the horizon, had she been followed?

    The young woman stood up, readying herself for a possible fight.

    Hey, there's someone there...!” said a man's surprised voice

    Minhee wasn't able to see their face, hidden by the darkness that walked the night under the moon. She could only see the outline of their bodies and long shadows that followed them like stalkers in a silent back-alley.

    She felt observed by the shadows, she felt as if under an endless scrutiny that sought to read the deepest parts of her heart.

    The shadows, it was as if they were alive.

    Don't scare her.” gently reprimanded a woman.“Stay here, I'll go talk to her.”

    Minhee stepped back until her back hit the willow tree's bark.

    She wasn't strong enough to fight or run away.

    She just had to hope they didn't intend to kill her.

    Don't be scared..We don't want to harm you.”said the girl as she walked to her in a slow reassuring pace.

    Why would I believe you...?”

    Because we are four and you are alone. If we really wanted to attack you don't you think we would have already done so?” smiled the woman, finally in front of her.

    Minhee eyed her, she could tell that the stranger standing before her was beautiful even under the poor moonlight and bruises that scarred her white skin.

    She was the kind of pretty that you would see in paintings, the kind of pretty that made all the heads turn when she entered a room, the kind of pretty that neared perfect symmetry so much that it rendered the human eye confused.

    She was a piece of art.

    She had thick long jet-black hair that cascaded down her pale shoulders and faded into the darkness.

    There was also something she had never seen before in her eyes, true black shadows that seemingly moved in her pupils in a restless waltz.

    She was how Minhee had always imagined a night sky to look like if ever in human form.

    She belonged to these lonely hours of the day.

    She was ethereal.

    The woman reach a hand out to her.

    I'm Mina. Han Mina.”

    -Mina, Green Lands-

    Minhyun had gladly made a small fire out of twigs to warm up the group and the newcomer they had just met on their way to the capital of ice.

    Mina had been eyeing the stranger, hoping that she would open up and talk to her but had quickly given up seeing how lost she was.

    She looks exhausted...

    They silently sat there for a while, watching wood turn to ashes as a soup slowly boiled in a small improvised clay pot.

    Mina watched the radish bits float in the cloudy liquid before looking up at the young woman with purple hair who hadn't said a word after she had introduced herself.

    What's your name?” calmly asked Mina , standing up to sit down next to her.

    ...Minhee.” answered the silent girl, eyeing the fire that continuously crackled.

    Mina didn't want to rush her, she knew that she had been through a lot just by looking at the way her eyes were devoid of light or how some parts of her body were frozen.

    You also went through a lot it seems...

    The young woman wasn't sure about how she had to approach her, she still was struggling to get over what had happened to herself and wasn't in the best position to help someone else.

    Mina unconsciously touched her lips with her fingertips, thinking about how Myungsoo had kissed her and how she had been almost happy but mostly hurt to feel them.

    Stop it. Stop thinking about that kiss.

    Happy because it proved to her that he hadn't given up and hurt because of the way her body throbbed in pain, its memory of that day still engraved in her flesh every time he touched her.

    She knew very well that this situation was temporary and that she would one day eventually forgive him, she always did and wanted to do so again.

    She still loved him but couldn't forgive him just yet. Not when her chest still bled, not when awful memories flashed before her eyes every time she saw him.

    She wanted to live with him without being plagued by nightmares in each waking moments of their existence.

    She had to get better first and learn how to embrace him once again.

    Nice to meet you Minhee...” answered Mina, fading out of her thoughts.

    Minhee was taller by a few centimeters and pretty in a way that wasn't usually sought in Hwa.

    The girl's appearance reminded Mina of the flowers in bloom from the Temple's gardens that were ,some winter mornings , covered with small snowflakes.

    She was just like spring after a long slumber during which all things died.

    If Mina was a constant reminder of Death to the people of her town, then Minhee had definitely been a breath of fresh air as pleasant as a May breeze.

    She was beautiful.

    Where are you from?”

    Cheon...” whispered the young woman, silently eyeing each one of them.

    That's where we are heading. Could you show us the way?” asked Myungsoo as he stirred the pot once.

    Minhee grabbed Mina's wrist, tightening her grip around it, surprising her.

    Mina saw a sorry and surprised look in her eyes at her own reaction before finally letting go.


    It's alright.” reassured Mina.

    Don't go there....That place...It is just hell.” warned Minhee as she brought her knees closer to herself.

    Minhyun threw a concerned glance at his sister before almost instinctively taking Seongwu's hand in his to reassure himself.

    Where should they go if even that city wasn't safe?

    Mina just wanted to settle down somewhere where she could peacefully rest for a while without having to worry about anything. She wanted nothing more than a new start to forget all of the pain.

    Then...where are you going?”

    Hwa..? I don't really know...Just the nearest town.” sighed Minhee, hiding her face behind her fur coat.

    You should not go there, the city is rotten to the core. We just escaped it.” explained Seongwu, pouring the simple soup in clay bowls Minhyun had baked with his fire during their travel.

    Mina saw the girl look at her bloody cleavage as she gave the fullest serving to Minhee who was still shaking because of the cold.

    ...I have nothing to give you in exchange. I'm already thankful enough for the fire .”

    This is nothing and you need this more than we do. You are shivering.” insisted Mina

    ...You are hurt.”

    It's only superficial, I will be fine.”

    Mina could see the young woman hesitate, she also would have in her place.

    They didn't know a thing about her and just hoped that like them, she was just a lost soul in need for a warm dinner and some good conversations.

    I can taste it for you if you are scared to be poisoned.” added the brunette.

    No it's just that....I don't remember when my last true meal was.”

    Then even more the reason for you to eat.”

    Minhee gulped down the warm broth and closed her eyes, Mina smiled as some color came back upon her cheeks.

    It's good.” almost whispered the woman, drinking it again this time quicker.

    A scoff escaped Seongwu's lips as he finished his share under the smiling eyes of Minhyun that watched him seemingly lively for the first time in a while.

    Glad to hear it, we are over this...thing, whatever it is. We haven't tasted solid food in days!”

    Just say it if you hate my cooking Seongwu, it'll just be more for the rest of us.”pouted Minhyun , crossing his arms across his chest.

    ...urg.” growled the young man unable to criticize the food happily made by his lover that he had discovered to be less than talented in the culinary arts.

    I'll go hunt something tomorrow since we have reached the green lands.” proposed Myungsoo “We can't keep on just eating radish soup anyway.”

    Mina saw how the man looked at her, how his eyes wandered on her long and now thin legs that had once been toned. He frowned.

    Did I really lose this much weight over the past days..?

    Hunt? You know how to?” asked Seongwu almost fascinated.

    Yes I do..Why?” replied the guard, blinking a few times.

    It's just that I would never be able to, I would just get lost in the woods.”

    That's true. And at that you are quite weak.” laughed Minhyun

    Mina caught the confused look passing through Minhee's eyes and straightened her back before speaking in an almost quiet voice so that the men wouldn't stop to listen to them.

    Awkward right...?”

    Well...Yes, a little bit I guess.” answered in an almost inaudible voice Minhee.

    I am too, I am not used to being with this many persons. They can be quite loud but...It's heartwarming in a way I guess. You'll get used to it.”

    Minhee looked at the boys who were talking among themselves, laughing and joking around.

    You...I'm not that weak!!!” protested Seongwu, throwing feeble punches at his other half as Myungsoo laughed.

    Mina quickly saw tears menacing to fall from the girl's hazel brown eyes.

    She saw how they fixed something far away, not them.

    She was looking at the past.

    Something that was no more.

    ...Did you lose someone...?” worriedly asked the woman in a whisper.

    ...I did. My most loved one.” replied Minhee after swallowing another gulp of the soup and wiping the tears away. “I lost him as we fled the city.”

    The men that had discreetly been listening to them quieted down and watched her.

    I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have asked” apologized the brunette, staring at her feet.

    Mina hated the fact that words easily came out of her mouth. She always struggled to keep her curiosity under control.

    No, it's alright...It was just so sudden...”

    A silence slithered into the night only disrupted by the sound of the hungry owls, ready for their night-hunt, that rested on the willow tree's branches.


    What was his name?” asked Myungsoo in a solemn voice.

    Sungyeol but...Why would you want to know?” sightly sobbed Minhee

    Because names are important, one isn't truly gone if their name is remembered.” whispered Minhyun as he wrote his name in fire.

    Minhee looked at the characters glow in the dark before fading into a line of smoke that flew to the heavens. Mina whispered some prayers under her breath to accompany the fleeing name along its travel to the stars.

    May your soul finally rest.

    So you are Holders...?”

    They are but I am not.” explained Seongwu.

    ...Thank you.”

    Mina smiled and took her hand.

    It was nothing, don't worry about it.”

    ....Do you really believe in gods?”
    “ I personally don't. But I always thought prayers to be relaxing and a way for me to meditate.” explained Mina, bringing her legs closer to her chest.

    It was a dark but beautiful night. The kind of night that made one think about life and it's meaning. The kind of night that kept one awake until dawn.

    ...You should come with us.” kindly proposed the woman

    But...I don't want to burden you.”

    You aren't.” smiled Minhyun “ And the more the merrier right? My sister will never forgive us if we just left you here alone anyway.”


    Me.” said Mina, raising a hand. “He is my twin brother.”

    Doubt crossed Minhee's face.

    Mina knew that what she asked for was a scary thing for a woman lost in such a world of treason, pain and wickedness.

    You don't have to be with us forever if you don't want to, just stay until you feel better.” added Myungsoo standing up and speaking as if reading her mind. “I'll do the first round of guard.”

    ..I'll do the second one then since Minhyun did it last night.” answered Mina.

    His eyes crossed hers as he left, a light promise to meet later in them.

    Mina sighed and closed her eyes.

    She wanted to wake up at dawn in his arms, she wanted to read poem with him by her window at noon, she wanted to feel his strong embrace every time he had to leave her, she wanted everything they had before and more.

    She missed him.

    I can do it if you want...” volunteered Minhee seeing her new friend's pained look.

    No, just rest ok?”

    ...Will you be fine?”

    I have to.”


    People always said that night meant silence but not to Myungsoo. To him night was the loudest time of the day when all things in the universe came clashing together. A sound so minimal that it would have gone unnoticed during the day would forever echo in a deafening sound during the latest hours.

    The cries of the wolves and doves, the wind rattling the emerald leaves of the trees, the silent whisper of the stars or even her approaching foot steps disturbing the virgin grasses of the hills.

    Everything was louder but delicate at night.

    Mina sat down next to him, but not too close. Just far enough so that his arms wouldn't reach hers as she also contemplated the heavenly bodies.

    She was silent but not in a cold way, she was just tasting freedom as much as he was.

    You're early, it's not your time yet.” whispered the man

    I couldn't sleep.” admitted the young woman

    Why?”asked Myungsoo before realizing why she hadn't been able to sleep.

    Idiot. Of course she is having nightmares after what happened.


    Hm....”simply answered the woman before running her hand through her jet black locks that obscured her face.

    ....What kind of nightmares are you having?”

    It's just...Fire, destruction, blood, suffocating and...Abandonment.”

    She had unknowingly emphasized the last word as if it was the worth thing that had happened out of the lot.

    I am just running in those narrow corridors to escape but I never see the light, I am trapped forever.”

    I would come to save you if such a situation happened. You know that right?”

    Would you?”

    She stopped and smiled, a reaction he hadn't expected.

    It wasn't a joyful smile but rather a pained expression hidden behind a stiff grimace.

    So you have already started building walls between us.

    ...Mina I...” he sighed. “ I was just doing my duty, following orders. I would have killed them all if I had known what was going to happen next.”

    But you see that's the difference between you and me... I would have never let them take you away to begin with if I had been in your place. I would have fought for you until the end, even to the death if it meant you being safe. I put you above everything else but you didn't.”

    They would have replaced me and I would have never seen you again, is that what you wanted?”

    Don't you get it? Yes they gave you orders and maybe threatened you but, in the end, I was the one who decided if you were to stay with me or not. Do you really think that they had the ability to restrain me if I ever wanted to destroy their temple? They tried to keep me as happy as possible until the ceremony and I thought they cared for me, that's why I stayed.”

    It dawned on him that she was right, nobody except for Minhyun was able to control her if she ever lost her will to be subordinated to mere clerics. She had been the one that had sent away each previous guard. He had been the exception and had always wondered why.

    Seeking his superiors in someone else than her was a way for him to be reassured.

    If he responded to the orders of the Temple's old men then he only had to protect her to the best of his capacities to satisfy them but what if it was her that decided if he was to go or stay?

    What if she grew bored with him or loved him no more?

    She could make him disappear from her world with a simple sentence and this was a reality that he wasn't ready to accept.

    Myungsoo knew better than anyone else that he wasn't good at expressing his emotions or even loving, he knew that if they ever grew apart it would be because of him and not her and so, to protect himself, he had reverberated to his old profession of soldier.

    A puppet that knowingly but stupidly followed orders but in doing so, had maybe lost her forever.

    Do you remember the time you taught me how to distinguish the constellations out of this ocean of stars?” asked Mina in a soft voice that quickly got lost into the breeze.

    He vividly remembered those nights they had spent by her window, talking about a world that was out of their reach. He remembered how she made the heavens shyly blush and disappear just by how beautiful she was.

    Yes, I could see only you.

    How could I ever forget?” nostalgically smiled the man.

    The young woman breathed in the fresh air that surrounded them and sat closer to him, grazing his fingers with his.

    At that time I thought that you were my whole world Myungsoo.” whispered Mina slowly taking his hand in hers.

    And now?”asked the guard bringing her fingers to his lips.

    The young woman gently pulled his hand towards her to lean her cheek against it.

    It was a thing that she would usually always do out of affection but that evening, it felt more like she was looking for an answer.

    ...I don't know.”


    Because that Mina that saw you in this way was the Mina who only had you to survive. It was the Mina that had nothing and had no chance of seeing the world.”

    Then...You only liked being with me because I was your only friend...? Not because of who I am..?”

    No, I love and loved you because you were you and this truth will never change but..”

    Her eyes watered and soon pearl like tears fell down along her cheeks.

    I feel like when I'm with you...I go back to being the girl locked in her room. Small, dependent on your existence,unable to walk freely.. I...I don't want to be that person anymore.”

    And I will never force you to be this girl...”

    But unknowingly you also go back to your role of guard, always protecting me when in reality I don't need your help. We can't keep on going on like this, it isn't healthy.”

    She wasn't wrong.

    They both had depended on each other for so long that they had almost forgotten who they were to begin with, he to forget the massacres he had done and her to save herself from an eternal loneliness. They had loved each other for who they were but had hanged on a relationship focused on a hate and love circle.

    A circle of miscommunication only worsened by the environment they had been in.

    I want us to be free of our sins and past. I want to start again later, not as a cursed woman and her guard, but as a man and woman that love each other without being swallowed up by the other's passion.” whispered Mina before kissing him slowly and gently. “I'm not giving up on us, I'm trying to save us.”

    Then what should I do?” wondered the man against her lips.

    Grow to be your own self and I'll do so too.”

    I can't stop loving you...” whispered Myungsoo as he kissed her neck

    I am not asking you too.”said the young woman.”And I am not asking you to change.”

    She stood up and stared at the moon.

    I am asking you to let out the real Myungsoo.” she smiled. “I am asking you to just be yourself.”

    You don't understand how hard it is.

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  • Chapter VIII: Tears

    -Kami, Woohyun's house-

    Rain was pouring outside of Woohyun's house in an infinite cadence that should have soothed Kami into a deep sleep instead of keeping her awake.

    The blonde woman had so much on her mind that sleeping was out of the question, she would just have nightmares all over again.

    Nightmares that she wasn't ready to fight yet.

    Nightmares she just wished would disappear once and for all.

    A sigh escaped her lips as she sat up, taking her face into her hands as wind breezes and rain drops breached the half opened window that Woohyun had forgotten to close before going to sleep.

    Stop thinking...Just relax.

    A few days had passed since her first meeting with Woohyun, during that time Kami had learned almost nothing about the man that had kindly taken her in.

    She refused to use her power on him again and already felt guilty enough for having controlled him once before. Kami didn't want to burden her mind with more unnecessary emotions, she only sought rest.

    She had decided to just let things go their way, she just had to get to know him slowly even if it frustrated her.

    Slowly...Yeah, it's not like I know where to go next.

    Woohyun was kind and respected her, there was no doubt about that.

    He had given her more care than her parents ever did in her entire life and payed attention to her.

    The young man would always leave at least a three meters distance between them to make sure that she did not feel uncomfortable except for when he took care of her injuries.

    And even then his touch remained delicate and hesitant, as if he was scared to hurt her more than she already was.

    She felt somehow precious when she was with him.

    Please let me help...” pleaded the man

    No I can do it alone-” asserted Kami before almost tearing her stitches off as she changed the linens around her cuts.

    You'll bleed to death if you continue.”warned Woohyun,staring a the scarlet bandages around her waist.

    Kami watched him, from her small spot in the wooden room's corner.

    She had been avoiding every possible contact with the man, going as far as creating a line between them with various pans and kitchen utensils.

    ...I'm stronger than what you think.”

    It doesn't look that way to me, you are very pale and are shaking.”

    The young woman stopped for an instant, thinking that she indeed probably needed help if she wanted to last until the end of the week. It would have been too pathetic to die this way after surviving an almost certain death.

    Too pathetic even for her.

    ...Just take care of my wounds...Don't be a pervert alright...?”

    The man rolled his eyes before walking to her and lifting her up with his arms to bring her to his warm bed.

    W..What are you doing?!” panicked the young woman as her cheeks reddened. “Why your bed..??!”

    A small smirk appeared on his lips before letting her down carefully on his mattress.

    Because you are wounded and I am a gentleman, I won't let you sleep on the cold hard floor.” explained the man before grinning even more after seeing her face. “Who's the pervert now hmm? Who's the one expecting me to do something to you?”

    Kami blushed even more, hiding her face with his blanket that smelled like him.

    A smell that she had grown to like, the smell of pine trees and nature.

    A smell so different from the nauseating flowery perfume she had grown up accustomed to.

    A smell that strangely felt like home.

    ...Don't tell me that you do want me to do something to you?”

    Shut up and change my bandages.” said the embarrassed young woman.

    Woohyun would share everything with her, his clothes, his food, his water and other supplies...Everything.

    He would sometimes leave during the day to go hunt, most of the times bringing back small games that were just enough for one person that he gladly gave to her.

    Why are you so kind...? You don't even know who I am and where I come from..

    Kami hated admitting it but she liked his presence. She liked the fact that he expected nothing of her but to stay and be his companion in an otherwise lonely life. She liked the fact that he didn't criticize her or force her to be someone she wasn't.

    She liked his annoying jokes and laugh.

    The young woman brought her legs to her chest, watching him silently sleep in a corner of the room, her previous spot that he had taken over.

    He looked so peaceful, and she wondered if she had ever slept that well before.

    Maybe this is the kind of life that I wanted too? Maybe I wanted to be free of all rules, maybe I should have just ran away all along...

    Would she have been happier? Would she have enjoyed being alive if she had done so?

    Kami clenched her knees harder as tears whelmed up in her eyes.

    It's useless to think about this now anyway.

    The young woman tried to avoid thinking about the incident that had changed her life.

    Kami would help Woohyun sew up his old clothes, help him wash vegetables and clean the house...

    She did her very best to forget the pain, the insults, the disgust people felt towards her and most of all, the gaze of her parents as she begged to be spared. However, no amount of distraction could possibly alleviate her mind of the cruel truth.

    She had been discarded so easily that she now knew for sure that she had never mattered to her parents.

    The worst wasn't the fact that they had betrayed their own daughter but the fact that she had expected them to one day do so just by the way they looked at her.

    Their eyes...

    Eyes full of denial, loathing and disappointment.

    Kami had tried believing in them, them who had brought her into this world.

    She had tried to have faith in the bond that united parents and their offspring only to be disappointed and betrayed in the worst way possible.

    They just wanted me to die.

    Sobs escaped her lips that she tried to muffle with the back of her hand.


    Why couldn't they accept her for who she was? Why couldn't they just love her even with all of her flaws?

    Was I really this unlovable..? Didn't I matter even a little?

    Kami's body trembled as she cried, pouring out her feelings just like the skies poured rain onto their cursed world that night. She cried out all the pain she had kept in her heart during all these years ,she cried for the small lonely girl that used to sob in her dark room, she cried because she finely realized that she deserved better.

    She deserved love, she deserved to be accompanied by good people that cared for her, she deserved to be more than a girl destined to die in a puddle of mud.

    Kami..?” called out Woohyun, awake and rubbing his eyes with his hand. “What's wrong? Do your wounds hurt?” asked the worried man, standing up.

    Kami turn her back to him and froze.

    She had never cried this much before someone previous to that moment.

    He'll make fun of me. He'll find me pathetic...Oh god no..

    N...Nothing. Just go back to sleep..” begged the young woman, wiping away her tears between each sob with the back of her sleeves.

    Woohyun walked up to her and sat before her, leaving a small space between them.

    It's not nothing...You are crying...” whispered her new companion, eyeing her with confusion in his eyes.

    What could she possibly say to him?

    She couldn't tell him about her powers.

    And her story... Where to begin with?

    You wouldn't understand...

    When did her misfortune start?

    Her tenth birthday when her parents started noticing how weird it was for her powers to not have manifested? Or the time she had overheard them talk about how she wasn't enough, and they had to have a son?

    No, her misfortune went back to her very first memory and how their eyes were deprived of love from the very first time they saw her.

    She had been alone from the very beginning.

    ..Do you miss your home...Your family?” asked the man, nervously picking at the mat beneath them.

    My parents? Miss them?

    Far from it.

    No..Absolutely not. I am here because of them.” cried the woman both amused and hurt by the thought.

    Oh?...O-Oh sorry...” apologized Woohyun, awkwardly.

    Kami shot a glance at the man who was slightly rocking back and forth next to her as if to help himself think about what to tell her so that she would feel better.

    Unknown to her, a small amused smile appeared on her lips.

    He was so easy to read.

    It was refreshing.

    You didn't know...You don't have to apologize..”

    Then why...?”

    Can I tell him..?

    Not everything but..Just some things?

    Woohyun didn't know her town or where she came from at all, he didn't know what had caused her to be exiled. He just wanted to help.

    Or that's what she wanted to believe for the moment.

    ..I cry because I have been a fool. I've spent years pursuing something that I could never have. A loving home...Loving parents..Everything would have been easier if I had just given up.” whispered Kami. “They all abandoned me, all those I believed in, and left me for dead.”

    The man silently listened to her words and thought about them for a while before answering.

    Well...I may not be good at giving advice but...I think that you just tried to survive in your own way by giving yourself something to fight for? It may have been a bad goal or an impossible one but...It allowed you to stay strong and go on with life am I right? It shows how strong and amazing you are.”

    Kami's sobs calmed down after hearing him.

    He wasn't wrong. She had always felt like she was fighting for her own survival even though not in an imminent danger. She had always lived feeling that she would lose everything one day .

    We hang on life because there is something waiting for us tomorrow. If you stop thinking so..That's when you give up and feel like death is nothing but a sweet remedy to your problems....You and Me, we are not so different.”

    Kami remembered how he had told her that he wasn't good at speaking with others and smiled.

    She found it amusing that he who had lived alone for the longest time was the one able to tell her the words she wanted to hear the most.

    ...You know...You're quite good at listening to others.” admitted Kami as a small laugh escaped her lips.

    The young man crossed his arms and rested them on the knees he had brought to himself, resting his head on them.

    He watched her for a while before smiling with the prettiest smile she had ever seen.

    She blamed the moon for how it bathed him in ethereal silver rays, she blamed the light wind that delicately made his hair strands move along his slightly tanned skin, she blamed the few rare rain drops that glistened on his perfect nose.

    She blamed them all for how her cheeks reddened and how her heart started beating out of rhythm.

    He was beautiful.

    I may not know what happened to you in details but...I want to help you. I want to help you because nobody deserves to be left to die like you were.”almost whispered Woohyun. “And in my eyes, you are amazing. I find it so beautiful that you are still able to smile after everything...”

    And then there was his voice, his beautiful low voice that had been her only grasp onto reality when she was at Death's door.

    His voice that had led her away from an awful existence.

    Tears started whelming up in her eyes once again as a sudden warmth appeared in her chest.

    Stop saying all those perfect things. Stop you'll make me cry again and I hate it when I do.

    I swore to not let you down and be there for you from the very first time you grabbed my hand.” explained the man in a sweet voice as he grabbed her hand, touching her for the very first time outside of when he cared for her wounds.

    Kami looked up at him in confusion, eyes blurred by the water that wouldn't stop falling from them.

    How do you expect me to one day leave if you are this kind to me?

    Why..? You don't even know me...” blurted the young woman averting her gaze.

    ...You're right, I don't ...but I saw your eyes. You had the same ones that I had once...You wanted to be saved, I couldn't just leave you.” explained Woohyun staring at her small hand in his with suddenly a sad look on his face. “I couldn't...I just couldn't because I knew that your face would haunt me forever.”

    Kami unknowingly gripped his hand tighter , and leaned in to sob on his shoulder.

    I'm sorry...I swear that I don't usually cry like this. I..I'll calm down soon so-”

    You don't have to stop.” smiled Woohyun.


    Just cry if you need to...I won't watch you or listen if you are embarrassed.”

    Woohyun slowly closed his eyes and put his hands against his ears.

    I'll stay like this until you are done if you are uncomfortable with me being here...I would have gladly left the house but it is raining way too much outside. Sorry...”

    What are you apologizing for, idiot?

    I'm the one who should be sorry for everything...

    Kami slowly tugged at his night shirt for him to stop covering his ears.

    The young man obeyed, surprised.

    ..Could you just hug me..?” whispered the girl, avoiding his gaze.

    ...Are you sure?” asked Woohyun eyeing her shivering small body.

    What am I doing?

    Yes..I know that we haven't known each other for long but... I just need one.”

    I'll do it.” answered the man, slowly pulling her into his arms.

    Kami closed her eyes, hearing his heartbeats that slowly soothed her as she cried even more.

    How long had it been since she had been embraced by someone? She couldn't even remember.

    Soon, she felt his hand slowly caress her blonde hair.

    Her sobs just kept on growing as she felt how much she had longed for someone's touch.

    So someone's embrace can be this warm and comforting...Or is it just you and your touch?

    Stay like this...Please..” begged the girl

    I will.” gently murmured Woohyun before gently humming a familiar lullaby.

    It was the one he sang as he carried her through the lands.

    It was the song he sang to her each time he healed her.

    It was the melody that had rescued her.

    Thank you.

    -Myungsoo, Green Lands -

    The group had finally left the barren Forbidden Lands and set camp under the first living trees they had seen in days. It was a lovely place with green grass, cold but welcoming weather and berry bushes. It was what they had looked for since leaving the city but Myungsoo didn't like it.

    Each one of them should have been relaxing now that they were out of danger but Myungsoo was more than nervous.

    Where are you?

    Mina had went away as soon as she had been sure that everything was well and in order without even saying a word to him or the others. The guard wasn't used to be away from her and especially in possibly hostile territory.

    Something is off.

    Mina wasn't one to just take off without saying a word, she always tried her best not to worry people close to her.

    It had been almost twenty minutes since she had left and an awful anxiety started to take over Myungsoo along with some thoughts he preferred to not think about too much.

    She must be taking a walk...Right..?

    But what if..?

    What if she had enough of him and just decided to leave definitely?

    Myungsoo clearly knew that she hated him for what had happened and equally felt responsible for the pain and fear she obviously suffered that night.

    He was reminded of it every time he saw her bloody cleavage and the symbol carved into her chest, a repulsing symbol that reminded him of the town that had tried to take her away from him forever.

    Mina had been shutting down any attempt he had done to talk to her or even help her, it was as if she just wanted them to forget everything they had been, to forget years of bond.

    A sigh escaped his lips, the two of them had fought plenty of times before but never to this extent, not to the point where her eyes would be filled with pain every time she heard his voice not to the point where her whole body froze every time his fingers grazed hers .

    Myungsoo feared that he had truly lost her this time and couldn't fully grasp how terrifying this thought was.

    A life without her...?

    He had never thought about it.

    Mina! I'm back!!!” shouted Myungsoo, relieved.

    Minhyun had forced him to take some vacations for himself that he had never asked for. Vacations during which he had been forbidden from entering the palace and seeing the young girl.

    The future High Priest thought him tired from all the days he spent with his sister without even, a reason farther from the truth.

    He could never tell him that he hadn't slept in days, or barely, because of how he wanted her.

    He could never explain how he wanted to strip her of her clothes every time he saw her or when she touched him.

    He wanted her so much that it made him lose his mind and calm.

    He could never tell him.

    Not if he intended to keep on living.

    Myungsoo..!” happily replied the young woman before jumping into his arms.

    Myungsoo caught her and spun, loving feeling her against him.

    The guard slowly let her back on the ground before carefully pushing her against the nearest wall.

    I missed you...” whispered the man, burying his face into her neck.

    I did too...Did you have fun?”asked his love, slowly caressing his hair

    No...It was awful. Never again.”

    Oh why?”

    Because I was bored without you, you're the one that makes my life fun and worth living...Without you it's just an endless cycle of eating and sleeping, I hate it.” explained the guard, letting his fingers graze the waves of her body.

    Me too...I need you...I need you next to me to be happy.” whispered Mina

    Myungsoo felt the heat come back to his face. He couldn't think about this now.

    He had to stop thinking about the soft but firm breasts against his chest and her sweet voice that was a real torture about to break the last piece of mental force he had.

    Are you blushing...?” inquired Mina, oblivious to the thoughts that traveled his mind.

    ..I...I am not.” growled Myungsoo under his breath.

    Then do you have a fever..?” asked Mina, slowly putting her forehead against his.

    I don't...”

    ..I have something for you” whispered the girl for whom he was ready to die.

    The woman slowly let go of him and went to her desk.

    Myungsoo looked at her and smiled, she was so beautiful even when frowning as she looked for his present. After a few seconds of rummaging through her belongings, she finally took out a small notebook out of a tiny red box and gave it to him.

    What is this..?” wondered the guard, running his hand on the hard cover that had been carefully made by her.

    Your birthday present... Since I couldn't celebrate it with you because you were away...

    Myungsoo leaned against the wall,opened the book and immediately noticed drawings of him accompanied by quotes and small messages from her.

    On the first page was a representation of their first meeting and words that represented how important that moment was to her.

    In you I found a companion for life, I found a moon to guide me out of the darkness that has always plagued me.” read out Mina, getting closer to him as he turned another page “ I accept you as my Destiny, and if we indeed are destined, let us always be happy together. Even during the darkest and painful days. Let us go back to each other no matter what.”

    Myungsoo looked up to see tears of joy and pure love in her eyes.

    She quickly hid her reddening face behind her hands.

    Sorry...You must find this embarrassing but...It's nothing but the truth...

    Myungsoo kissed her on top of her hands, wishing for them to disappear so that he could have her lips.

    It's not...It's perfect. Thank you...”murmured her guard, slowly lowering her hands to see her face.

    I'm sorry that I couldn't buy anything else...”

    You offered me the best present there is...How could I ask for more?” smiled the man before kissing her forehead.

    She smiled and pressed the book against his chest.

    This is everything, my heart, my feelings...I don't know yours but..Please take care of mine.”

    Myungsoo slowly grabbed her by her waist and slowly started dancing and spinning in her room.

    ...If I am your moon...Then you are my Earth and I revolve around you for all eternity. Just like this.” showed the man as they spun one more time. “You are my green Earth that is the most beautiful thing in the universe. You are life...You are the only thing that matters to me.

    Minhyun finished creating a fire and looked back at his friend who had been silently sitting down on the emerald grass.

    Myungsoo..? Where's Mina?” asked her twin, arching one of his eyebrow.

    I don't know...” sighed the soldier, rubbing a hand on his face.

    I saw her leave I think?”

    I'll go look for her-” declared the man, standing up.

    No, stay here, I'll go.”

    Minhyun walked up to his friend and handed him an empty gourd.

    Then...Please fill this up if you find some water...And bring Mina back without fighting ok?”


    Myungsoo jumped on his feet and started walking in the same direction she was heading to.

    He felt nothing but pain and emptiness.

    How is it that I just feel like dying when I am not with you?

    Since when I have I relied this much on you?

    The guard crossed a small green hill with a narrow and shallow river at its feet where she was, in her wet undergarments, a few meters away from him.

    There you are love.

    Mina.” called out Myungsoo out of reflex.

    He expected her to turn around and blush seeing him but was instead greeted by her sad gaze that quickly avoided his as she washed off the last bit of blood on her skin.

    You look so tired...

    It's all my fault.

    The soldier finally remarked how much her flesh had been bruised now that her skin was rid off all the dust and dry plasma.

    His eyes traveled from her ankles , knees and thighs that had been cut up by small knives to her cleavage where the bloody triangle was still carved to finally her neck, bruised by the rope that had strangled her.


    I could have lost her there and then if she hadn't been strong enough.

    Myungsoo imagined her fighting for her breath, held down by the old men he knew to be less than honorable. He could hear her cries of pain and despair.

    Had she called out for help?Had she called out for him?

    Oh god, what if they did more to her than torturing her..?

    Why the surprised look?”asked the young woman with a bitter smile on her lips. “Are you disgusted?”

    Myungsoo entered the cold water and took her into his arms.

    I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..” whispered the man

    The guard felt her hesitant hands brush against his back, as if about to embrace his touch only to slowly push him away.

    Don't touch me...Please.” asked the tired girl he loved in a shaky voice, not violently rejecting him like she had been doing for the past days. “Just...Stop it. I can't deal with this anymore.”

    I can't... I miss you so much.”

    Tears started falling from her eyes as he cupped her cheeks.

    Why don't you understand..? Why don't you understand that when I see you the only thing that comes to my mind is how you just gave up on me? I see nothing but you, avoiding my eyes as they take me away.” sobbed Mina slowly taking his hand off her face

    I'll be better I...I'll change...”

    Myungsoo refused to let go of her and intertwined their fingers.

    She stepped back, watching their hands together.

    It feels right, right? You and me like this...” whispered the man, wiping away her tears that were more painful to him than any sword.

    It did once...”

    Past tense.

    Please just look at me...

    It still does..Can't we go back..? Go back to the way we were.?”

    ...How can we ever go back...? I am just Mina now and you are just Myungsoo. I am no longer the young girl locked in a room and you're no longer that girl's guard. The ties that held us together are no more.”


    Just leave me be..It'll be better for the two of us. I don't want to keep on shouting at you and pushing you away, it hurts me to do so but you don't leave me any other choice.” sighed the woman, turning her back to him and putting her robe back on.

    How can you just get over us so easily?

    What about all the promises we made?

    ...Didn't I matter to you? How can you give up on me so easily...?”

    Mina froze, not looking back at him.

    ..I can ask you the same question. Wasn't I important enough for you to fight for me? Wasn't I enough?”

    You were, that's why I couldn't.

    A shaky sigh escaped her lips.

    It doesn't matter anymore anyway... You destroyed my heart Myungsoo and I don't have the strength left to put all the pieces back together. Just...Just let go of me, of us. You'll see ,it will get easier with some time.”

    ...Will it ever?” bitterly answered the man

    Myungsoo's fingers brushed against the naked skin of her back, touching one of her bruises.

    ...Let me at least take care of your wounds...Please.”

    Why should I let you do so..?”

    Because I don't want you to suffer. Because whatever you might think, I care for you.”

    He could feel her hesitate without even seeing her face.

    ..Fine.” sighed the woman as he took a small metallic box out of his pocket.

    Myungsoo stepped closer to her, sliding her clothes off her shoulders to see her cuts.

    He wanted to take them all away, he wanted to soothe her pain, he wanted her to be happy.

    But what if her happiness meant not being together anymore?

    Would he still be able to let her go for her sake?

    ....Does it hurt a lot?” asked the man,pushing her hair out of the way to see her delicate neck.

    It's fine.” answered the girl, flinching in pain under his touch as he applied the ointment.

    The guard leaned closer to her, kissing her neck and shoulders so that she would forget the pain, and she did for an instant.

    Why does this feel like a goodbye ? I much preferred it when you fought me back...It meant that you still felt something for me.

    I don't want to lose you...I need you...” begged the man as tears filled his eyes.

    Mina slowly turned back to see him.

    My love, my Mina...My everything.

    Why is it so hard for me to call you this way out loud?

    Why can't I just tell you how much I love you?

    Myungsoo cupped her face in his hands,bringing her lips to his. Kissing her softly and feeling her return it was the greatest thing he had ever felt.

    He had always longed for this, from the very first time he had realized he loved her.

    He felt whole as he held her against him.

    Soon he felt her tears falling onto his hands, warms tears full of pain.

    You already have Myungsoo...You already have lost me.” explained the woman he loved ,stepping back .

    Then why didn't you push me away?”

    Because you deserved a proper goodbye. Because I don't want what we had to end in tragedy. Because I loved you so much that it is the only way for me to one day get over you.” cried Mina struggling against herself to let go of his hand.

    Myungsoo gripped her hand tighter.

    I like it when you are with me.” whispered the young woman, her head resting on his chest. “I feel so safe and at peace.”

    Then I'll stay as long as you desire with you...” answered the man, kissing her forehead

    A light giggle escaped her lips before she took his hand in hers.

    Myungsoo brought her closer to him, breathing her sweet scent in.

    He was hers even if she didn't know it.

    He was a slave to her very breath and lived for the laugh that escaped her lips.

    He was so in love with her that he had lost sense of what was reality and what was a dream.

    Even after ten years...Even after twenty years...Will you still come to me like this?” asked the woman as she brought his fingers to her lips. “Even if life separate us?

    I will come for you even if life itself tries to stop me.

    And what if you get tired of me? Or come to hate me?

    A laugh escaped his mouth. How could he ever hate her? He loved her more than he loved himself.

    No way. I'll die before that day comes.”

    ...Then...What if it is me that leaves you?”

    I'll suffer...I'll probably want to die but...I know that no matter what you'll come back to me.”

    How can you be so sure?”

    Myungsoo leaned in, kissed her cheek and almost the corner of her mouth.

    I love you.

    Because you adore me, right? ”

    She laughed and buried her blushing happy face into his chest .

    Myungsoo rested his chin on her head, slightly blushing at his own words.

    I do.

    Myungsoo closed his eyes and took some time to hear her calm breathing.

    This was heaven.

    Her and him embracing each other under the warm sun rays that bathed them on her bed.

    They needed nothing else to be happy.

    We are one...You and me.” whispered the man.

    We are.” replied the girl intertwining her legs with his.

    Myungsoo didn't know what pained him the most, their past or their present.

    Their past that was filled with regrets and present that was the cause of their foolish mistakes.

    If only he had been honest from the very beginning, if only she had told him what she felt without hiding her feelings, if only he had been more courageous...If only...

    ...I'll wait.”

    Mina froze, understanding what he meant with those words and silently began crying again.

    I'll wait for you to come back to me, no matter how long it takes.” declared Myungsoo

    A small painful smile appeared on her lips as she finally let go off his hand.

    ...Then hang on until I am able to forgive you, please.” whispered the woman.

    -Minhee, Lost in the mountains' valley-

    Minhee somehow managed to escape the high peaks through a small and almost unnoticeable narrow icy way.

    She had limped for hours as the ice took over more and more of her cold body, she had forgotten how cruel and painful the side effects of her power were. It was as if a thousand needles pierced her flesh, she could feel her blood slow down, she could feel her every joint slowly freezing still, she could feel her heart struggle to keep her alive.

    Come on...” cursed Minhee under her breath as her fingers turned even bluer.

    The snowstorm had only gotten worse as time passed and the young woman feared for her lover.

    If he was still alive he could be dying of hypothermia and if he hadn't then she would probably never find him,lost forever in the white infinite field.

    It's so cold...I can't just abandon you here.

    Tears whelmed up in her eyes as she finally reached the bottom of the valley that was deprived of life and that would only be lightened up by the few unwelcoming sun rays that managed to pierce the thick glaciers. There was nothing but the sound of the wailing wind crossing the empty canal.

    A sound heart wrenching, almost as if the mountains cried with her.

    Sungyeol...!” started to call out Minhee, struggling to advance as the snow now reached her hips.

    Her cry echoed between the giants of ice that almost mockingly towered over her.

    Where are you..?


    The gorge was straight, narrow and seemingly went on forever.

    Minhee looked at the snowy ground, hoping to see something, anything.

    Be it blood or a lifeless bump, just something to prove he had been there.


    It was as if he had disappeared , as if he had never existed.

    Had she been dreaming his existence? All of their smiles and memories together?

    Sungyeol...?” whispered Minhee, breaking down.

    Minhee looked down at her hands covered in his blood, it hadn't been a dream.

    It was all too real and there she was alone all over again.

    The young woman fell to her knees and clenched the cursed snow in her hands.

    Give him back...”begged Minhee

    She wished to at least see him one last time if he was really gone but only felt her heart rip even more apart realizing that even that, the mountain and Cheon had taken away from her.

    If he was no more she wanted to wash him and dress him in the traditional clothes of her town, brush his hair and kiss his forehead for the last time before letting him rest forever in a warm place.

    She couldn't bear the thought of him being lost somewhere without her, she couldn't bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, he was still alive but buried somewhere where she would never be able to help him.

    Sungyeol!!!” yelled Minhee again before digging into the snow with her hands.

    She searched for him for another few hours before sitting down, leaning against a tall ice pillar, exhausted and seemingly out of tears.

    Minhee~” called out Sungyeol laying on the ground of her room as she read a book.

    What~?” replied a laughing young girl still recovering from the overuse of her powers.

    Her friend climbed on the bed and sat next to her, eyeing her still white hands, wondering if they would ever recover their lovely pink color.

    I...I'm sorry. I should have been the one to suffer, not you...”apologized the boy she had been secretly in love with.

    I couldn't just let you die... And if you ever do ,I'll probably join you not long after. ” smiled Minhee, slowly taking his hand into hers.

    He was warm compared to her, so warm that she almost thought that her skin would burn.

    So warm that she didn't notice his face decompose after hearing her hidden declaration.

    ...I'm sorry that I am not stronger...” whispered the boy as tears appeared at the corner of his eyes.

    Minhee hated seeing him cry, she hated seeing him hurt.

    He was the only one in this world she prayed for to be happy.

    It's alright...I'll just have to protect you then-”

    Promise me something.” asked Sungyeol, kissing her fingers.


    If I ever do die before you...Please...Please don't try and follow me ok?”

    Minhee blinked a few times in confusion and ache before frowning, how could he tell her to just hang onto life alone? Without him?

    Why? Don't you want us to meet again in the afterlife? Are you already tired of me-” joked Minhee to hide her anxiety

    He shook his head and called her name.

    Minhee.” started Sungyeol “I want you to join me only after having lived your life to the fullest, enough for the both of us, enough so that when we meet again you'll have no regrets.”

    But...I don't want to forget you if you ever die...”

    The boy blew on her hands to warm them up and smiled.

    Getting over the death of someone you love is not forgetting them...You always carry them somewhere in your heart and after some time, even smile when thinking about them.”

    But still I-”

    Promise me.” insisted the boy, resting his forehead against hers.

    Minhee hesitated an instant before leaning in and kissing his cheek.

    I promise but...Don't die alright?

    I'll try.

    Tears whelmed up again in her irritated eyes as she brought her aching legs closer to herself.

    The young woman hated the fact that Sungyeol had for once correctly foreseen their future out of all the small things he had bet on before.

    It was the one and only promise she had never intended on fulfilling from the very beginning.

    And there she was, about to keep it.

    I really am willing to do anything for you...Even the most painful thing.

    You idiot.” whispered Minhee eyeing the small peck of light far away that indicated the way out of the hell that were those mountains. “You fool, you moron...”

    Minhee was scared, scared about what waited for her out there. She was scared to go on living.

    But she was even more terrified of the thought that one day, she would forget Sungyeol's face.

    She wiped her tears, remembering how he hated seeing her cry and stood up.

    ...Fine.” said Minhee as she headed towards the light.

    I am not beginning a new life, I'm not even living in the past.

    I'm not living at all.

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  • Chapter VII: Oblivion

    -Seongwu, Forbidden Lands-

    Two whole days had passed since they had left the cursed city in a hurry.

    The first one had been focused on losing the troops that intensively looked for them as they ran through the uneven ,dangerous, dead landscape.

    There was nothing but scorched earth with dry vegetation and small yellowy patches of grass here and there that grew in deep craters, always under a sky tinted by all the fine dust.

    It was when seeing these lands that the young man remembered that their whole world had been built on a tragedy that had shaken the Earth itself.

    He had always hoped to see these places with his own eyes and not through some old illustrations in one of his book but there he was, regretting his very own past thoughts.

    Seongwu hated the craters, that were sometimes as deeps as the height of Hwa's tallest buildings.

    He hated how he struggled to follow the three other group members that showed no sign of tiredness.

    One another reason to hate Holders I guess.

    One could have wondered why he had to put this much effort into surviving when his companions were all wounded except Minhyun who was strangely more than alright after almost burning the temple to the ground.

    Seongwu felt a strong feeling of injustice fill his guts as a pout appeared on his lips, dried by the peculiar weather.

    Beasts, they are beasts and I am nothing but a worm at most.

    An ant maybe.

    Seongwu, running the day before, had wondered what would become of his house and all his belongings, he wondered what would happen to what his parents had left him now that he was gone.

    He could already see thieves steal his mother's jewels, cheap in value but that meant a lot to him only to sell them for a bronze coin or two in a small market.

    He couldn't really blame them, surviving wasn't easy, especially for those who weren't special.

    The second day of escaping had consisted mostly of hiding in small caves dug out in the craters he so hated. Seongwu had then realized how much he in fact liked his old, crusty and dusty mattress after spending his night battling the cockroaches and various other insects that found him tasty.

    How long until the mountains?” asked Minhyun, looking at the horizon that faded in the sunset.

    I don't know... Maybe three or four days at least?”answered Myungsoo before reaching the edge of another deep and large crater that scarred the arid floor. “Careful.” warned the man after jumping down into the hole, reaching a helping hand towards Mina. “Jump, I'll catch you.”

    The young woman ignored him, jumped into the hole that was at least as high in depth as his house and lightly landed on her feet before passing by him.

    Not even throwing a glance in his direction.

    I don't need your help.” coldly reminded the girl as a sigh escaped his lips.



    Seongwu was quite confused at the two's relationship. What were they to one another?

    Well, he knew for sure that she was angry at him for an obscure reason and that he was trying his best to be forgiven (even though it only seemed to annoy her more than anything).

    Seongwu didn't really know what to think of the newcomer, he hadn't even been introduced to him yet and had just picked up his name along the trip.

    I'll help you.” said Minhyun grabbing him by his waist before jumping.

    Wait-” screamed Seongwu, closing his eyes, expecting to feel a rough shock as they landed.

    ....Open your eyes.” asked his lover, amused by his reaction.

    Seongwu slowly opened one of them, eyeing him.

    His brown wavy hair flowed along the chilly winter breeze, his foxy amber eyes glistened under the sun and his smile...His smile was just pure bliss and made him forget how much his whole body was sore from the endless walking.

    Damn. You surprise me every day.

    Seongwu, even with all the struggles they faced, felt so happy to finally have Minhyun by his side.

    He had loved waking up in his arms as the mosquitoes bit him.

    The young man thought (quite seriously) that he would still be happy to be locked back into his cell if it meant being with his other half.

    They weren't lying when they said that love make even geniuses go dumb.

    How are you?” asked Minhyun, letting him down on the dark and dry ground.

    I'm tired...”

    We all are tired...” reassured Minhyun, caressing his dark hair.

    ...I don't think that you all are as tired as I am if I may differ.”

    Minhyun started walking again with his hand in his this time.

    Seongwu loved feeling his warmth as the wind kept on growing colder the more they got closer to the mountains that still were far away from the group.

    We'll rest soon don't worry and..I'm sorry for everything. I should take better care of you but right-now”

    Seongwu rolled his eyes, Minhyun had been continuously apologizing for the situation they were in for the past two days as soon as one of them opened his or her mouth.

    It was annoying, especially since no one blamed him for the Temple's crimes.

    I swear that I'll punch you if you apologize another time.”

    ..Sorry-” replied his lover out of habit

    The man punched his shoulder and watched his fist bounce off of it.

    Right. They are stronger and I am not even strong to begin with.

    Hwang Minhyun...!”

    Alright alright I'll stop.”

    Good.” said Seongwu walking and eyeing their two companions that walked ahead of them, separated by an invisible wall.

    Myungsoo's desperate stares were lost in the void between him and Mina as she avoided his eyes.

    Seongwu could have sworn that an almost visible wall was growing between them as the days passed. He could tell that they hadn't always been this way and that they had loved the other at one point. This big of a fallout couldn't have happened if no feelings were involved.

    Mina was so different from the woman he had met in his cell, all of her little smiles had disappeared from her lips.

    Hey...What's with the two of them?” asked Seongwu out of curiosity.

    I'm not sure...It's the first time I see them like this.”

    Are they dating?”

    Hmmm..Not really? It's complicated I guess.... He was her guard before everything happened.”

    I see...”

    The group silently kept on moving forward for a few minutes before arriving at the other end of the crater. They had to climb up again.

    Will it ever stop..??

    I hate this so much.” growled Seongwu under his breath as Mina eyed the huge earthy wall before them.

    Why are these here..? Why so many of them..?” asked the young woman touching it. “It doesn't look like something made by nature.”

    It's because it isn't.” replied Seongwu, also poking at the giant before them.

    Can't one of them just blast the whole thing away or something?

    Myungsoo, feeling his leg hurt again, sat down on a nearby rock.

    Let's rest a bit before continuing.”said the guard, exhausted and pale from the blood he had lost.

    Great idea!” exhaled an excited Seongwu before laying down on a patch of grass.

    So...Who made these? When?” asked Mina ,leaning against a dead tree trunk coughing a little because of all the dust.

    Seongwu stretched, watching the colorful sky that slowly drifted into the night.

    They were made during the First war of the Powerful Ones and the Uprising of the Seven.” whispered Myungsoo, discreetly looking at her longingly as he tightened the bandage around his leg.

    She threw a glance at him that he received with a small and almost silent hopeful gasp.

    What's that..?” asked the girl a little bit confused turning back to her brother's boyfriend.

    Seongwu blinked, how could she not know? The whole town was built upon these historical events!

    Not even their town, the whole world.

    Her confused eyes stared at him and it dawned on him, she had just never been told before.

    So you have a sister?” asked Seongwu, laying down as his fingers drew circles on Minhyun's naked skin. “ A younger sister?

    No, she's my twin.” explained the future High Priest kissing his neck.

    How come have I never heard of her before? Everyone in this town knows you and your family.

    A sigh escaped his lips that were brushing against his defined jaw.

    She's...Well let's just say that she's not loved by my family and the Temple. I can barely see her.

    ...So...She's locked away in the palace?”

    ..She is.

    Seongwu kissed him.

    He didn't like seeing this look on his face.

    A look of culpability.

    What is she like?”asked Seongwu,trying to change the subject.

    She's amazing and even more when you consider how she is living. She's way stronger than I am mentally speaking.” smiled his lover. “ Actually, I'm sure that the two of you would get along pretty well.

    Seongwu smiled at the young woman.

    You know who the Light Bearer was right?” inquired the man as she nodded. “ Not long after the Doom, maybe a few decades or a century after it , we humans- well...Your kind appeared on Earth.”

    Minhyun sat next to him and rested his head on his shoulder, listening to him.

    Their apparition led to conflicts maybe even more dangerous than the Doom itself. People after the catastrophe had managed to create what resembled societies that barely functioned in the world that was then full of calamities. The arrival of the Holders threatened everything as they fought among themselves to take what was left of humanity, often killing and raiding whole villages.” said the man, looking at his audience.

    A smile appeared on his lips as he stared at the twins one by one. They looked totally different but the same in the way they smiled or in the way their eyes shined.

    That's when the Light Bearer made his apparition with a group of other Holders , seven of them ,they were all part of the second generation of Holders.”

    Seongwu looked up at the gray, yellowish sky wondering if it had been the same then or if it had changed over the centuries. What about the mounts? Were they as high as theirs? What about the oceans? Were they as blue?

    Him and the group were different from the other Holders, they were so powerful that they destroyed whole mountains and created whole seas and lakes...Or so it is said. Among them, the Light Bearer was the strongest and was the closest thing to a god Humanity ever witnessed. He was what we call an Absolute Being” explained Seongwu as he caressed Minhyun's hand. “..That's why you were so important to the temple Minhyun. You may not be as powerful as him but..What you represent is enough to rule over this whole world.”

    But that's not all, you're mesmerizing.

    You are a literal light to those who surround you and I don't think you are even aware of it.

    And then..? What did he do?” asked Mina

    Then he and the group waged war on all of those who wanted to break and steal what was left of our world. The war lasted a few years during which the whole peninsula changed shape.”

    So that's why there's so many craters..”

    Yes, but not really. You see after the war most remaining Holders and especially the ones that had helped the group win went ahead and built the first cities.”

    Then Hwa..?”

    Hwa was created by the Light Bearer that then settled down , married and had children with the daughter of a Holder that had helped him win the war.”

    And then the Uprising of the Seven happened right?” added Myungsoo

    Yes...The group that helped the Light Bearer wasn't satisfied with what they got in exchange for their effort in the war ..So they started a rebellion, hoping to take over the cities for themselves but were stopped by the Light Bearer and his army before reaching Hwa.” Seongwu yawned “And we are just right where the biggest battle this Earth has ever known took place.”

    Mina slowly nodded, taking in all the things Seongwu had just told her.

    Seongwu smiled, she looked just like the small children he taught history lessons to in the streets.

    She had the same curiosity in her eyes.

    And that's also because of them that people call you an Aberration.” explained the scholar . “They left such a scar on the world and represented such a great danger that all societies united to destroy them as young as possible. It was all out of fear that they would rise up in rebellion again.”

    But...We still are dangerous and don't control our powers well...We truly are dangers to society they aren't wrong...”

    Seongwu shook his head.

    All regular Holders train from the youngest age to master and control their power but you haven't had any training. How do you expect to be excellent at something you have never practiced before? All Holders can snap when misusing their powers... The only difference is that you are stronger and that the damage you cause is on another different scale.” simply said the man as her eyes grew bigger in realization.

    Mina had never even tried to train, her whole life had been focused on restricting her abilities to their minimum to avoid being a danger.

    ...So I and others like me are paying for crimes that are a thousand years old?” realized Mina, troubled , before looking up at her brother “Minhyun...” her gaze lingered on Myungsoo before coming back to her twin “Why hide this from me? You knew right?”

    Oh no.

    Did I just mess everything up?

    I...I just thought that you would hate knowing that all your suffering was due to such a stupid reason...It was so unjust and you could do nothing about it anyway...I didn't want you to carry this weight with you.”

    He's right, we talked about it and decided that it was what was best for you-” started to say Myungsoo, trying to help his friend.

    Shut up.”ordered the young woman, hurt. “I don't care about one of your other stupid decision or excuse Myungsoo.”

    Mina's face crumbled in disbelief.

    You didn't even let me choose what was good or not for myself. I was controlled and restricted even in this way, not even by the Temple but by the two of you, how could you? Do you realize how awful it is..? ”

    Seongwu made himself smaller as the fight between the three of them grew, feeling somehow responsible for diving too deep into the topic.

    You were already under so much stress, we were scared that you would react badly to it...”

    And snap? And then you and the Temple would have lied to me again telling me that it was because I was unstable and that I had to be contained...” scoffed the young girl feeling betrayed.

    Minhyun grabbed her hand .

    I'm sorry. I didn't meant to hurt you..”

    I know that but...How...How could knowing this have been any worse than growing up thinking that I was a monster because of my lack of control? That I was an error of nature that should have just died in our mother's womb?” almost whispered Mina in a shaky voice. “I grew up hearing that I was lucky to be even alive at all while others like me were killed everywhere else for nothing but crazy superstitions!”

    Let's all calm down alright?” finally said Seongwu, standing up. “It wasn't the fault of anyone but the ancestors and priests, we shouldn't fight among ourselves. Not now when we need to be strong and united.”

    Mina sighed, running a hand in her long brown locks. Tears whelming in the corner of her eyes.

    Yes...Sorry. It's just that I would've liked to know...”

    I'm sorry, I won't lie or hide something from you ever again.” declared Minhyun as he hugged her tightly.

    I know...”whispered Mina.

    Myungsoo stepped towards her, wanting to apologize,delicately grabbing her hand that she immediately pulled away.



    I don't care about your apologies. Keep them for yourself.”

    Myungsoo bit down on his lips and Seongwu could've sworn that the cuts on them opened up again.

    He watched her jump up the wall before sighing again.

    ....We should get going before it gets completely dark. We have to find some place to stay for the night.” exhaled the guard, massaging his temples.

    Let's hurry and get to Cheon.” added Minhyun eyeing the shadow of his sister on top of the crater's edge.

    -Minhee, Somewhere near Cheon-

    Do you hear that..?”asked Minhee ,turning around.

    Minhee and Sungyeol had managed to flee without being seen for about half an hour.

    They had left through the strangely empty room's window, falling in the snow, discreetly walking through the small districts before climbing down the large chains that held the whole city against the mountain's side's glaciers.

    Everything had been quiet and peaceful, maybe too much for their liking.

    What was that?” inquired Sungyeol as a bad feeling whelmed up in his core.

    Another one.

    Both of them recognized the deafening sound of the town's horns that announced that troops had left the city . It was a terrifying wail, similar to the cry of a giant, that echoed throughout the deep , endless gorges and icy valleys that glistened in a blue glow even through the blizzard.

    Run!” shouted Sungyeol at his lover, griping her hand tighter.

    Minhee cursed the ever so thick snow that almost made it impossible for them to advance, each step was exhausting and made it easier for Cheon's troops to gain back the small head start they had as a sole advantage.

    She could already hear their enraged screams from the other side of the mountain's slope.

    The young woman prepared for the worst, they wouldn't be able to avoid them for much longer not when her body was still slow and heavy from the drugs she had been fed.

    Not when they didn't know where to go or which path to take.

    Sungyeol- J...Just let me go and leave first-”

    No way! Never. We are in this together, until the end.” screamed the man, bringing her closer to him and cupping her cold face. “You don't get to give up on me, on us, ever. I won't let you!”

    Minhee brought his hand to her lips that were shaking in fear.

    He was really her everything, the man that had been there for her from the very beginning.

    You were always the most courageous one out of the two of us.

    I love you...I love you so much...” cried Minhee holding onto him

    I love you too.” whispered the man before kissing her.

    She could feel it with touch, he was also terrified by what would happen next if they ever got caught.

    They hurried, racing against the soldiers and the cruel time that refused to stop or slow their enemies. They both glided down a slope before landing down on a small icy plateau deprived of snow in a loud bang.

    Sungyeol growled, feeling an icicle cut open his right arm during the fall, they hadn't seen the deadly weapons from the top.

    No, no no-not this, not now...!

    Are you okay?!” asked Minhee looking for some bandages in her small leather bag as the horns kept on getting closer.” We have to stop the bleeding-”

    Sungyeol stopped her hand and stood up on his feet as his warm blood splattered on the previously immaculate snow.

    She had never seen his eyes so full of determination before, he was going to get them out of that situation. No matter what.

    We don't have the time, I'm fine, let's go!” shouted the man looking back at the troops now only two hundred meters away from them.

    Minhee ran again as soon as she saw their furs peak above the line of the hill behind them.

    She couldn't possibly describe the fear that started growing in her.

    A fear so powerful that it was almost paralyzing.

    So close. Too close.

    She ran without thinking about anything but the hand that held hers.

    She didn't even feel the violent freezing winds that slapped her face.

    She felt nothing but the need to survive with Sungyeol.

    Fuck!” screamed Sungyeol as they both came face to face with another group of soldiers that had taken another route.

    What next? What should we do??

    The young woman looked at the cliff and ravine behind her as they slowly backed up against it.

    There was no going back, there was only death and victory left.

    Why was it always like this with them? Why did they always have to fight to be together?

    Stop!” screamed Minhee as she stared at the teenager that was being beaten up by the clerics

    We warned you! The two of you can't stay together, you aren't kids anymore! What will her future husband think if he ever discovers your relation???

    No sound came out of his mouth, he was so silent that she feared he was dead.

    Losing Sungyeol was the one thing among all horrible scenarios that she refused to think about.

    How could she when losing him meant losing her whole world? The very reason she smiled?

    Nothing! There's nothing going on so please stop!! You're going to kill him!!!” begged Minhee.

    The men let go of the teenager that fell to the floor as Minhee rushed to take him into her arms.

    She sobbed seeing his bruised face and his bloody long hair.

    She hated this town.

    She hated it for harming or taking away everything that mattered to her.

    ....You better leave him alone. For his own good.” warned the cleric

    Haven't you taken enough from me already?” cried the young girl

    ...Not enough apparently, let's go.”

    And leave him here like this...??”

    He got what he deserved for breaking the law.”

    ...Let me take care of him, I beg you. I...I'll marry whoever you want so....Allow me to help him.” begged the teenager, biting down on her lip.

    This cycle of struggle and pain, it never ended.

    She would sacrifice something for him and so would he do the same for her.

    Minhee came back to the current situation, startled by the voice of her lover.

    Stay back!” asked Sungyeol, clumsily pushing away one of the soldier with his power.

    If only we had trained more...

    A commandant emerged out of the crowd, avoiding Minhee's desperate attacks. The man was dressed in expensive furs and a leather armor. He was older than the two of them by maybe five years at most and stood tall.

    He eyed the young woman who was panting, almost at her limit .

    ...Kill him and capture the girl.”

    Soon, spears came flying at Sungyeol that was fighting a little away from her with one piercing his leg. A scream left his lips as he crumbled to the ground.

    Minhee froze.

    It can't be real..All of this...

    They weren't fighters and had never thought themselves so.

    Sungyeol could barely call himself a Holder and was severely injured.

    What can I do? What can I do...?

    Minhee couldn't use more of her powers, not if she intended to live.

    It was as if karma had cornered them itself.

    Minhee!” screamed a ten years old Sungyeol, kneeling besides her.

    Most of her body was covered in ice except for her face that had almost turned purple, a white smoke escaping her blue lips. She was on the verge of death and he didn't know what to do except be by her side.

    Why..? Why would you do this?” asked the boy, bathed in the shadow of a giant ice column that prevented his house from falling on both of them.

    Because you are my best friend...My only friend...I can't lose you.” whispered the girl with her shivering lips.

    Their town had been plagued by a huge-scale earthquake, the biggest one in a few centuries when they were innocently playing in the snow.

    The two of them could hear the cries of pain and wailing of the mothers that had just lost their children in the catastrophe.

    They could both hear the glaciers crack in an awful and unforgettable sound.


    I know but...Don't do this again, ever.” begged Sungyeol, crying as he held her hand in his.

    Don't cry...Please”sobbed Minhee, feeling his tears roll over her skin.

    I'm not crying...You are ,stupid.” shakily replied the young boy, holding her in his arms to warm her up.

    ...If you say so...” smiled his friend

    Minhee had sworn never to overuse her power to its limit ever again after the lesson they had learned the hard way that day.

    Her father, a few priests and Sungyeol had spent hours and days warming her up by her house's fireplace. They made sure her blood kept on flowing until the ice that was killing her disappeared.

    They had prayed day and night for her recovering.

    A recovering that had almost been miraculous.

    Sungyeol..!” screamed the purple haired woman.

    Minhee rushed to Sungyeol's side, helping him up as well as she could .

    The man she loved struggled to stand and started getting dizzy from all the blood he had lost that had turned the snow into a red field beneath their feet.

    It was all because of her, because of that stupid wedding.

    Because she had been rebellious.

    He was hurt because she had been too proud.

    Because she had been egoist and unable to give up on him.

    Minhee...Just go-”

    You idiot...Have you already forgotten what you told me? We are in this together.” reminded Minhee now standing on the very edge of the cliff, holding his face into his hands. “We'll make it out alive”



    Another spear flew through the air before she could even see it, lodging itself in Sungyeol's shoulder ,propelling him into the void.

    Minhee realized too late that her grip on him hadn't been strong enough and watched him fall backwards.

    She watched her slow hand reach out to him.

    She had to catch him, she had to.

    No...!!!!” screamed Minhee as her finger tips grazed his, too late.

    Her voice echoed as she watched him disappear in the deep ,endless dark ravine.

    She fell to her knees.



    Tears began filling her eyes.

    No it can't be...I just felt your hand..?

    You'll appear right back right?

    She stared at the empty space below her, praying that she would see him.

    Alive and well.

    Sungyeol...” called Minhee in a small and shaky voice

    A firm unknown hand grabbed her shoulder.

    It's over. Come with us.” ordered the commandant.

    Minhee's world was frozen, there was no sound.


    Her eyes were still fixed on the void before her.

    She could still see his face.

    She could still see him.

    He can't be.

    He can't be dead.

    It's over. There's no way he survived the fall.”

    This voice.

    So annoying.

    A sudden rage filled her stomach as the cold ran through her veins.

    How dared they talk to her after everything? How dared they, them who had plagued her whole life with loneliness and sadness, stand there breathing and alive?

    How dared they take even Sungyeol away from her?

    She had enough.



    Minhee quickly turned around, impaling the commandant with an ice blade that came out of the ground.

    His blood poured on her face as she stood up.

    A moan of pain and wheezing breathing reached her ears.


    How dare he?

    A sword slowly appeared in her hand that she used to stab him straight into his heart.

    ...It isn't over until I say so. I won't obey this city anymore. Never again.” whispered the girl as she watched the man take his last breath as tears fell down from her eyes.

    The whole army started rushing toward the girl that had just killed their leader.

    I can't fight them all. I can't.

    Slow them down.

    Minhee knelt, hands on the floor and made titanic ice walls appear between her and them.

    The ground violently shook as snowflakes immediately started growing all over her skin.

    She watched the walls thicken to be as wide as a house, they would never reach her.

    Ah-” painfully let out Minhee, clenching her chest .

    She prayed that the ice on her body wouldn't spread too much in her.

    She couldn't die now.

    She had to find Sungyeol, he could be alive.

    He had to, he couldn't just leave her like this.

    Wait for me...Wait...”

    Minhee stood up, struggling as her whole body slowly stiffened by the ice taking over her joints

    She refused to think about what had just happened.

    She had to find him.

    That was all that mattered.

    She had to see him again.

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