I WAS BUSY I AM SO SORRY~!!! D:
I know that nothing will make up for the wait no matter what I say, but honestly, I either had no time, was too tired or simply didn't want to write, because I'm one of those who needs a "feel" or "inspiration" (whatever you call it) to write. I don't plan, I just do it (Honestly, my Vampire PM notes/plan fits into one A4 page, I can make a photo of that). So yeah :( Those who follow my Twitter or Tumblr, know that I'm alive, but you know, tweeting and posting on tumblr takes a lot less time than writing something like this.
I am still in Korea, and all of those, who see exchange students posting their pics of their stay in Korea... If you think that being an exchange student is all partying and no studying well... NOT IN KOREA. Ok, I guess some students do party and travel around, but I can't afford that, because I'm a Master's degree student and I've actually handed in a request for academic leave to my home university so I could extend my stay in Korea and take intensive Korean classes this summer (I was supposed to graduate like... now ㅡ.ㅡ;;). But, if you remember, I also had a job. Like a regular office job, before coming to Korea, and I still do. My company allowed me to work remotely, so what I have is a tight schedule from 9am to 9pm with Korean classes and work. And honestly, I'm a stay-at-home type, but even I go out sometimes on weekends, and so the time to write is dwindling ㅠㅠ
Also, I had some personal crap going on for a few months which, thankfully, dwindled away too. As of now, I have 2 weeks of school break ahead of me, with work only (I totally ignored it today, so I could finish the chapter >..<). Perhaps I'll be able to go on with the story, because I really want to finish it, and plotwise, there's not that much left. Dun dun dun~ Excuse me for not writing a recap. I will do it for the next chapter if necessary. You just have to remember the Shadow (*gasp* what did Chansung do with Amber there *gasp*) and it should be ok... And I'm finally able to use the gifs for this chapter I've saved since August *cries*
Enjoy~! And please do comment. Seeing comments makes me feel the pricks of conscience for not updating in time. Yes, Lady Conscience has been EATING ME since December T.T
Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3 II Part 4 II Part 5 II Part 6 II Part 7 II Part 8 II Part 9 II Part 10 II Part 11 II Part 12 II Part 13 II
Part 14 II Part 15 II Part 16 II Part 17 II Part 18 II Part 19 II Part 20 II Part 21 II Part 22 II Part 23 II Part 24 II
Part 25 II Part 26 II Part 27 II Part 28 II Part 29 II Part 30 II
He stood under a rushing current of water, feeling multiple warm streams flow down his face, neck and back. They separated meeting natural obstacles and curves and then gathered back together, running down his thighs and calves.
Junho knew that technically the water was barely lukewarm, but given his low body temperature he didn’t feel shivery despite the fact that there was still no heating in the apartment. He scoffed slightly, looking up and focusing on white tiles in front of him. Who would’ve thought vampires were that low maintenance. He has been awake for a few days in a row and it finally was taking a toll on him. He felt tired, but this fatigue was different from what he remembered as a human.
Ha, another refutation of the countless allegations one sees in the vampire books – the memories of his human life were crystal clear as if it had been yesterday. With more than half a year away from Korea, he was beginning to feel homesick. He missed his family, and the thing which made it worse was that he couldn’t go back. The 21st century was too technologized to stroll around in the streets after your own “death” unnoticed.
His mind was getting heavy with depressing thoughts so he focused on something else. His fatigue. It was really different. His eyes and head didn’t hurt, and there was no heaviness around the temple area. There was just this weird fluttery feeling in his muscles that sort of was pulling him down, telling him to stop and black out to recharge. It was like his brain still needed time to readjust to the new cycle and it was hard to shake off the nap time habit. Actually, it was rather strange how everything seemed to be concentrated in his head, even though according to the general conception the vampire brain was supposed to be... well… dead.
Junho shook his head, turning on the hot water tap a little bit more. His skin reacted to the change of temperature immediately as a pleasant gooseflesh spread all over his body. He sighed closing his eyes and reclining back his head. He had to stay awake. He was really close to finding out the truth, and he was getting sick of giving negative answers to Jang Wooyoung’s messages (most of them were short and laconic “Are you done yet?”), so Junho was ready to push himself to the limit to get this task off his back.
Not that he didn’t appreciate it. He actually was partially thankful to Wooyoung for putting him through this, because he learned quite a lot by himself. He knew now why Yena preferred to figure things out on her own, instead of looking for the answers in a book. Theory was good, but practice was everything. His presumption was right – everything was in the blood. Instead of trying to find more common things between Wooyoung and Yena’s blood, Junho delved into the vampire blood studies in general. He was fascinated by its composition.
Biologically it was very similar to the human blood except for the fact that the vampire red blood cells’ composition was incomplete. The difference was actually very slight, especially considering the general asymmetric disposition of major lipids, but it was driving him nuts. Obviously, the lack of proteins and lipids was not big enough to make them all die out, but it was significant enough to turn them into something that was not exactly human. And since they haven’t been born with that (because vampirism was acquired), Junho came to a conclusion that the vampire venom was so strong it could change (destroy or unlock – which one to believe in was the person’s own choice) one’s DNA. If that was the case, then the venom was as powerful as radiation.
One thing Junho couldn’t understand though was the connection between the missing protein chains and Wooyoung’s urge to drain Yena dry. He was sure that it had to do something with it, but he couldn’t set a pattern, because even though he went through his, Sunye’s and Wooyoung’s blood composition, none of them had the same set of membrane protein strings missing. What was more; there were billions of blood cells out there and even more possible variables of the incomplete vampire blood composition, so Junho inferred that every single vampire on Earth had a unique blood line, which, eventually, only confirmed the general vampire belief that the blood was your main identification tool, more important than a fingerprint.
Junho hit his head into the tiled wall just below the mounted shower nozzle, letting the water fall straight onto his nape. He knew that the answer was near. It was like searching for a thing one have left in the most obvious place and not finding it. The base of the oil lamp is dark, as a Korean proverb would suggest. Figures. The brightest ideas would never come to you when you needed them the most. Maybe he really should just go and sleep on it.
He certainly heard her enter the bathroom although he wouldn’t have expected her to barge into the shower booth. But she did. Junho turned his head left to see the shower booth door slide open.
Sunye had a terrible slash across her face and her body was set with cuts and bruises – a definite effect of silver and wooden weapons, not to mention the obligatory drape of blood from head to toes. Junho didn’t know why, but his initial thought was that he hoped she hadn’t ruined the carpet. He realized that he was supposed to be worried about her current state, but somehow the absolutely serene look on her face told him it was no time to panic. Instead he just reached his left hand out, gripping at her delicate wrist and pulling her inside the booth right under the current of warm water.
The moment streams of water touched her face, it washed away the upper layer of dried blood and it flowed down into the drain in narrow dirty rivers of brown. He cupped her face with his left hand, brushing with his thumb against her cheek, scraping the remaining blood away. Sunye was looking down. There were water droplets clinging to her eyelashes.
“I told you hunting at daytime was a bad idea,” he uttered in a low soft voice; there was not a single drop of reproach in what he said. “They always target the impatient ones.”
“I got rid of them,” Sunye looked away from him, taking a step towards the nozzle and letting the current fall straight onto her face. Junho stared at her bruised back for a while before taking a loofa, which had been hanging suspended on a faucet, and brushing it lightly against her skin. A layer of dried blood fell down to her feet and flowed down the drain.
If she really had taken care of them all, that explained why she looked like a mess. It was actually easier to run away from the hunters than to confront them. He didn’t need to ask whether she had been careful enough not to expose herself, because Sunye was even more meticulous about that than he was. So he didn’t really need to worry, even though he sometimes caught himself thinking he had no right to do that, because she was older and more experienced. However, Junho couldn’t help it; he must’ve had an oppa-syndrome.
Dropping the loofa down, he ran his hands across her back, brushing softly against her skin and rubbing the last remains of dirt and blood away. There were only cuts and bruises left, but considering the fact that she had obviously fed (a lot) they were bound to close and heal fast.
Water ran down the skin making it glisten as his hands rested on her waist. Junho couldn’t really tell whether his hands were that big or her constitution that small, but her frame suddenly looked so fragile that he involuntarily pulled her close, circling his arms around her. He couldn’t admit it out loud, but he was glad she came back alive. With her constantly on his mind Junho was seriously beginning to wonder whether he was falling in love.
Another question was whether it was really him or simply his blood calling. No one has ever actually told him, but Junho had a hunch that vampires were highly dependable on the way their blood reacted to every little thing. That certainly shrank the importance of free will, and Junho couldn’t help but think that vampires were rather pitiful creatures.
Sunye rested her head on Junho’s left shoulder and gave a soft sigh. Despite the fact that they didn’t really need to breathe, sighs still remained a significant tool to express one’s emotions. Junho closed his eyes and buried his nose in the bend of her neck, taking her in.
“I like it here,” she said.
“I happen to agree,” he breathed against her skin. “I especially appreciate the fact that the floor’s not slippery.”
She chuckled, her shoulders quivering slightly.
“Not the shower, smarty pants,” Sunye countered. “I like it HERE,” she stressed as he felt the tips of her fingers trace down the outline of his hip bone. It was a soft and fleeting touch, but it reverberated within his brain a lot harder than the water stream pelting down on his skin.
She felt him smile into her skin as the rumble of his (surprisingly) low voice rippled through her bones.
“Mr No Pants at the moment though,” he mumbled. For one nanosecond she suddenly saw him as a little kid whom she wanted to smack over his head.
“You’re going to rub it in, aren’t you,” Sunye smiled turning around, wrapping her slick arms around his neck. She had to look up quite a bit to meet his eyes. The expression he was giving her told her that she could have definitely worked on her choice of expression.
“Do you really want me to elaborate on that?” he smirked cocking his eyebrow and leaned down to her, before Sunye decided to punch him in the guts.
He was a hairbreadth away from her moist lips, when it disappeared. It felt like someone suddenly pulled a curtain all over his brain and for a second he thought he lost his eyesight, but just like a person gets used to a dim environment after the lights are turned out, Junho got the hang of this new sensation as well; however, he froze the very same instant. The cello was gone.
Sunye suddenly was fully alert seeing his dazed and confused expression. She frowned, letting go of his neck and cupping his face with her delicate hands, making him focus on her, because Junho was definitely not there.
“What’s wrong?” she asked emphatically, looking him straight in the eye. Junho blinked, finally realizing that he was still in the shower, and the water was streaming down on them. He suddenly wanted to turn it off. It was such a waste.
“It’s gone,” he said, not quite recognizing his own voice. It sounded strange and distant.
“What is?” insisted Sunye, knowing that she had to get it out of him to the fullest. Notwithstanding the fact that he was a very bright vampire, Junho was still a youngling, and she knew the kind of issues one had to go through in the first years. She had to be patient.
“The imprint,” Junho frowned, clasping her hands and pulling them down. He looked away. “Chansung is gone,” he said his voice full of doubt and disbelief. Chansung was… and yet he wasn’t. Sunye frowned.
“If your hyung was really gone, you would be writhing in indescribable pain in this very shower booth,” she said patiently.
“I know,” Junho blinked and turned the tap off, avoiding her eyes. He couldn’t put his finger on it. The shower booth was full of vapour, although none of it was rising from their cool bodies.
“Is he really gone?” she gave a more specific question and Junho concentrated on the peculiar sensation inside his head while Sunye opened the booth’s door and grabbed two big towels from the rack right next to the booth.
“It’s like,” Junho stared at his feet as Sunye covered his shoulders with a thick towel, and pushed him out of the booth, wrapping another towel around herself. “I can tell he’s there somewhere, it’s as if he’s behind a curtain and I can’t reach out for him.”
“I think I know what that is,” Sunye said assuredly.
“You do?” Junho finally perked up to notice that he was being led out of the bathroom, his wet feet sloshing against the wooden floor, as she steered him straight into the living-room with her hands on his shoulders, and pushed him down to sit on the sofa.
“Yes,” she plopped in front of him, the water dripping from her wet hair, but neither of them cared. It was really bright, because it’s been a cloudy day and the curtains were not drawn. Sunye could discern her own reflection in a water drop that lingered suspended at the end of Junho’s nose. “I mean…” she looked him directly in the eye. “It might also be something else, but so far it’s the only thing I know that fits the description.”
“Tell me,” his fingers found her hand and gave it light squeeze as Junho watched her with an intense gaze in his eyes.
We’re so ruining the sofa, Sunye mused before gathering her thoughts in a decent order. It was rather hard to explain for someone who hasn’t been part of the nocturnal world for a long time. For some it was still magic, while Junho definitely believed in science.
“It’s called Shadow,” she swallowed non-existent saliva. “It’s a kind of a state. Like a trance. I suppose it’s like another dimension of consciousness. Two or more minds become one and they relive certain episodes of their lives… Well, at least one side does relive while the other acquires new knowledge.”
“How so?” Junho’s eyebrows knotted in a frown. The idea didn’t seem too far-fetched to him, but he still found it confusing.
“It’s like…” Sunye bit her lower lip thinking of the best way to put it. Rather than trying to describe it in some intangible notions, she decided to give an example. “As far as I’ve heard, Korean vampires have been using the Shadow for training ever since the expansion of Baekje. Let’s say one person trained under a renowned master,” she gestured with her hands to the right. “Another person wanted to train too, but the master passed away or was done away with,” her hands moved to the left, her eyes concentrated on her fingertips. “However, the second person has met the master before, so he has memories of him. Since they have memories of the same master, if both persons meet and enter the Shadow using the wavelength of the common thought, the trainee can channel his memories to the new apprentice, who trains with the master in the Shadow, as if he had done it for real. I’ve heard that sometimes vampire siblings who had been tutored under the same maker would enter the Shadow together to train with the deceased maker, because Shadow reconstructs memories and details a lot better.”
“But if it’s a state of mind,” Junho figured, his hand clasping his chin. “Wouldn’t that be just a mental training?”
“That’s the catch,” Sunye perked up, rapt in the explanation, since she seldom found herself at the giving end. “Let’s say two cardinal points are dream and reality,” she spread her arms wide. “Even though on the outside Shadow seems more like a dream, it’s actually a lot closer to reality,” her right hand cut across the space and halted in front of her left hand (reality) at around 10 cm distance. “Shadow does take place in your head, but… so does everything else. Everything we live through depends on our senses and perception,” she looked him in the eye again. “I’ve never been put through it, but the things Shadow does to you… it’s downright bizarre, especially if you are at the receiving end…”
“Because the other person is just channelling his memories,” Junho remarked thoughtfully.
“Yes,” she nodded. “I’ve seen my master do it a few decades ago, it’s uncanny. They hover suspended like marionettes and it really looks like they’re dreaming, but once it’s over and they land down…” Sunye paused and then uttered in a way it seemed she still couldn’t believe in what her eyes had seen back then. “My master had cuts and bruises from that “mental” spar.”
“That’s why you knew what it felt like when I described it,” Junho said thoughtfully getting up from the sofa and drying his head with the towel. He suddenly wondered who Chansung used to get into this Shadow thing. Was he the receiver or the channeler. And why. Who could he have common memories with. All the other imprint strings were still there, so it wasn’t anyone from their coven. Jang Wooyoung too. He was still too weak to spend his days awake. “Have you ever thought of trying it out yourself?” he asked absent-mindedly, shaking his head and wrapping the towel around his hips.
“No, I…” Sunye thought for a moment. “I've never had an important training I should go through no matter what… and I don’t share memories that would be that important with anyone… Our master has always taught us to avoid getting attached to others,” she focused on her toenails. “He says that relationship makes you vulnerable and dependable.”
“Well, that is true in away, but we are social beings… Even a vampire cannot stay alone for a very long time. It does things to you.”
“We also thought so, but I guess in the end your makers do know best,” Sunye sighed. Junho was quick to catch small inconsistencies in her words.
“We?” he frowned. “What happened?”
Sunye hugged her knees, the towel enveloping her like a tight tube dress.
“I… I had an eonnie. Same maker, same imprint. “Traditional” vampire family connections… That’s why I’m here, actually, to find her killer…”
“And hand him in?” Junho’s voice became a lot softer when he sat down next to her again. All of a sudden it was a lot easier to see why she treated relationship as if it was forever wrapped in a fleeting moment.
“I can’t hand him in,” she shook her head.
“Why? Hunters?” Junho guessed.
“Authorities,” she revealed. Junho’s eyes widened.
“I don’t know who, but it was a high ranking official. They just sliced her and left her to burn in the sun,” dark red tears rimmed Sunye’s eyes like a grotesque eyeliner. “They don’t care, you know? People from high-ranking and royal families sometimes slaughter simple vampires like us just for fun,” she was getting agitated. “Because they can't lash out on humans as much anymore, so they take it out on us…”
Junho leaned forward and embraced her tenderly, before she could say anything else. He didn’t want to see her cry. And he found her way of thinking slightly disturbing. For all he knew, his own coven had a high-ranking official as its head, and if all this imprint business was true, then they should’ve been at least a semi-royal clan of Korean peninsula. But he never heard or witnessed any of his hyungs slaughtering another vampire just for fun. Something didn’t match here, but he wasn’t about to question an upset girl. His hand soothingly stroked her shoulder.
“I know I can’t do anything,” she said into his collarbone. “I’m too young and don’t have influential friends, but my master does. Once I track them down and prove it to be successful, I’ll contact him, and he’ll know what to do. He’ll have to do something. She was his progeny after all. We’re not the chummiest gear train of a family, but even he won’t be able to deny his blood…”
Maybe I should talk about this with Chansung, Junho thought. Sunye being such a good tracker… he wondered how she managed to track down her sister’s killer in the first place. She must’ve been a great tracker in the making. And he found it odd that her maker wasn’t concerned with what was going on with this progenies. He always thought that venomless vampires stayed close with their masters or guardians. It only made sense for them to be supervised by someone more experienced… Even if they’re not the chummiest gear train of a family as she has expressed. That’s a funny expression though, gear train… Heh… Junho smiled to himself. Gear train…
Junho looked up flabbergasted, his mouth gaping open. Why of course…
“Gear train…” he mumbled not being sound of mind.
“M?” Sunye freed herself from his embrace, and blinked surprised, seeing his shocked expression. “Junho?”
“Cogwheels!” he exclaimed gripping at her shoulders, his pupils darting from her left eye to the right. If he were human he would’ve been hyperventilating by now.
“You. Are. Genius!” he declared snatching her face into his hands and giving her a fervent sloppy kiss, before he dashed off to his make-shift laboratory grinning from ear to ear.
“Towel!!” Sunye pointed out, as his garment couldn’t catch up with him.
- Current Location:Seoul, South Korea
- Current Mood: accomplished
- Current Music:JJ Project - BOUNCE