Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Belated Birthday Wish!

A.K.I.K.O—-I.S—-N.O.T——-H.E.R.E—–B.U.T—-L.O.O.K——-W.H.O—–I.S    >:-)

 Ahoye stranger!
where ye be headin’?
‘Tis ship’s been taken. Aye! I are not the Capt’n of ’tis ship. Are ye scared?!

with all that sword clenched in me teeth and that mean look in me eye-sockets?! be ‘fraid not! look at me concerned face… do ye not see love? ?! Heeheehuhuhuhahhah!

 Aye ye maggot! hand over ye precious gold to me,  for I am the sinister creature of the night who —–ok ok, the soap opera’s gone too cliche 😛
i’m just Mahvish, Akiko’s currently-jobless-software engineer buddy! 😀

I’m just here to wish her a HAPPY (belated) birthday!!!!  the theme would be to…SPAM this blog! AHAHAHA 😀
(Arrrgh, the pirate within lives! 😛 )

ON WITH THE SHOW!


Dearest Akiko, with all my heart (filled with thoughts of spamming your blog :P)
i wish you a…

and then here’s for a dear friend i cherish so much!!!! i’m so glad you were born! werna meri enetertainment supply kon leta? 😛
no really, you truly are a closest friend that i’ll always thank ALLAH for blessing me with!
“oh, but you ROCK just the way you are dearie…”
(saying it the Rumpelstiltskin way 😉 but i mean every word in a prince charming way 😀 )

and then here’s to a wise grandma in every bit of  you 😛

oh and this one’s for being so late in posting wishes on your blog and facebook. now you know the message, loud and clear….

its….SPAM! 😀


Which reminds me, you know, that once a wise man once said….

with my last wish on this joyous day,
lets all celebrate and say………….WHAT THE HELL IS THAT GREETING SUPPOSED TO BE?! 😀 dude its plain weird!!!!

hope you live a long happy healthy life so that your cake can burn to ashes under the so many candles that mark your birthday count 😛 😀

i hope you liked the post Akiko ^_^

Birthday Special – Preview “Story II”

Yes, that’s right, this is a birthday special! Since I’m the only writer here at Akiko’s, it’s my birthday we’re talking about and the date for it is the 28th December! (Now I love the number 28!) This is the beginning of a new year for me, and a happy happy day, made happier thanks to my wonderful friends and family! In honor (:P) of this day, I’m posting up a Birthday Special, a special release. It’s a short paragraph from Story II which I am working concurrently on along with three other stories. Story I is already being posted online regularly, thanks to my one and only dedicated fan Mehreen! 🙂

 

So, here goes the preview! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Do remember, it is an unedited and rough version, so please excuse any mistakes…

 

 

In the country of Hanreul, in the village of Kwena, several weeks before the dawn of winter…

Sasha was a normal 16 year old girl who loved going to the northern hills of Kwena and sitting there for hours, talking to herself or the beautiful flowers that grew there. She went there everyday since she was a little girl, sometimes to play or to bring flowers for her sick mother. She had been a jolly child, smiling and caring for others. But that had changed after the death of her mother. The loss of a mother, coupled with the fact that her father had already abandoned her long before in his battle with death, left deep marks on her heart that might have become less visible with time, but their depth and pain was still the same. The one thing that had not changed in her was the love of the flowers and the joy she got in spending time near them. Her only world after her mother’s death and until she met Tara had comprised of her aunt and her pet cat Ariel, whom she had ever since she had been a child, a gift from her father who had died even before she’d been born. Joan was her mother’s younger sister, childless and widowed at an early age but a mother figure to Sasha.

“Be careful.” Joan said as Sasha sipped tea quickly and got ready to go. Ariel sat beside her chair, looking up at her with impatient eyes.

“I’ll be.”

Today was a special day for Sasha. It was her best friend Tara’s birthday which was why she took careful note of her dressing and looked elegant in the light rusty mustard colored dress she was wearing. She had gotten up early, pinned her rusty black hair back with a small leather cord, as was fashion and took out the boots she had just bought three weeks ago, but never once worn.  She wanted to look good for Tara’s sake; she told Joan, and dressing up always made her feel happier. She was a simple child of many moods and had a very small world around her yet she took special care of the few friends and loved ones she had in that world. She and Ariel had rushed straight to the hills after dressing and breakfast and had made it in time to see the beautiful sunrise. She had been seeing the sunrise and sundown from the hills all her life, but for some reason, it always sparked new awe in her, as if she was seeing something different every time. The flowers too, seemed to be in a full bloom today which was surprising considering the fact that winters were approaching. Today, it felt to Sasha as if the whole place had been touched with magic. She settled back comfortably and stared out at the sight ahead, as she lightly stroked Ariel.

“Looks altogether different, doesn’t it, Ariel?” She whispered to her favorite pet. “I feel so happy today. Everything looks so beautiful, so magical.”

The thought of magic brought a smile to her lips. She felt truly happy but didn’t understand the source of it. For whatever reason, she just felt like joys were surrounding her. The morning breeze was a bit cold and brushed against her cheeks softly, freeing some of her hair as it passed. She closed her eyes with a smile, stretched her arms out and turned her face upwards. She drained her mind of anything and everything. All she could feel was the breeze caressing her softly. She suddenly remembered some words from a song she had once heard when the gypsies had come to their village three years ago. The words had touched her heart, the sad song had captured her fantasy and she always carried the words in her heart. The language of the song was foreign, the words were incomprehensive to her, but when she had heard it being sung the first time, she had felt calm and desperate at the same time. She had felt as if the words connected to her, spoke to her and told her a sad tale. At that very moment, the lyrics she had memorized came to her mind and she softly sang them against the breeze.

Inyeon i rago hajyo geobu hal suga eobjyo, Nae saeng e icheoreom areumda un nal, Ddodasi ol su itteul ggayo

 

She opened her eyes with the smile lingering on her lips. She lowered her arms and with a deep sigh, looked around at the beauty one last time before turning to the flowers. The world seemed so different today and her heart was cheerful. If it was up to her, she’d spend all morning near the flowers she loved, but remembering the time and occasion, she moved towards the flowers and started plucking some. She had just touched the fifth rose when her finger was cut by a thorn.

Blood. The rotten stench of it filled her senses and she felt nauseous. The sound of the horses was deafening and the red eyes that stared at her filled her with an unknown cold. They looked more like beasts than horses. The Black cloaks of the men that rode them reminded her of pure evil. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t breathe. The smell was strangling her. No! Her mind screamed at her. Then she heard the noise. It wasn’t very different from a bell, but it stung in the ears. She saw the big necklace made of strange objects, but what horrified here was the single human finger that sat at the very bottom of it. Her house stood in front of her. It was burning. She could hear the screams. People screaming her name. The figure that stood before her. “We’ve come for you!!!” it hissed. Her own limp body on the ground. The pool of blood she was lying dead in. No! Her mind screamed again.

“Stop it!” She was startled as she drew back to reality, then realized she had screamed. She fell to her knees right where she had been standing, too weak to even stand for the moment, the flowers falling from her limp hand, panting for breath, desperate to make the rotten stench leave her. She could still see the vision clearly, could still feel the strangling sensation of the stench, and could still clearly see the fire that raged across the village. She closed her eyes for a moment leaning towards the tree by her side and took deep breaths. She didn’t want to think about it, not today, not on this beautiful day. She remembered Tara’s smiling face; Amdahl’s loving pat and could feel Ariel’s paws scratching at her dress and urged herself to let it go.

“That was quite a scream!” The sudden voice made her jump with a start and she quickly opened her eyes. In front of her, about three to four feet away, an old man stood smiling at her kindly. Surprised at seeing anyone at all, it took her a moment to register the old man was offering her his hand and that she had never seen him before. She stared at his ragged appearance, his rugged features and long black and white hair that fell behind his shoulders and wondered if he was a traveler. He looked old, his wrinkled face seemed worn, yet his dark black eyes seemed as kind as they were dark and there was something in the kindness of his eyes that made her react and before she even realized what she was doing, she had taken the old man’s hand and he pulled her up.

“Thank you.” She muttered, still shaken by his appearance and her own reaction to it.

“Your friends are worried for you. I believe your archer friend is running here in a hurry. Poor chap seems to have heard your scream on the way here.”

Sasha’s eyes turned towards the village. Amdahl was running towards them and even though he was quite far that Sasha could not see his face clearly, she could tell he was worried by his hurried stance as he ran. She flinched and tried to think of a lie to tell him that would sound convincing.

“Take care of yourself, child.” The old man spoke again and she turned back to him.

“Wait. I’ve never seen you before. You are not from the village. Who are you?”

“I am just an old man.” He smiled as he withdrew away from her towards the middle of the flower garden. “Tell your aunt to be prepared. Time has run out. Soon, the village will be overrun. That is what you saw, no? Be prepared, tell her. The time of the Witches Reconvening has arrived.”

“What? How do you know what I saw?”

“That is a conversation best saved for another time, child. For now, I must go. Your friend is approaching. Remember, tell Joan what I told you. She will know how to save the village but must act quickly to do so.”

He took a step backward, raised his hand and flicked two fingers.

“Wait!” She cried out, wanting to ask him more but he had already vanished like a swift wind.

 

 

 

 

For Marlene, Maria and Azka

 

This whole year has been a roller coaster ride of joys and sorrows and Ive been at the extremes of both! What’s kept me going is hope and belief! Hope of a better tomorrow and Belief in Allah (God)!

 

And during these turbulent times, thank you for remembering, keeping me strong and being there for me! Here’s to a lifetime ahead together! 🙂

Happy Holidays!


And Azka, Best of Luck on your exams! hehe! ^_^

 

 

A Special Dedication

You tell friends what you cannot tell the world-your aspirations, your secrets, your fears and your hopes. A friend in need is a friend indeed- if you have a friend who knows when to be silent, when to give you strength, when to help you laugh and when to wipe your tears; you are indeed the luckiest. Friends are what make it worth it to smile on joyous occasions and who help bear the burden of your sorrows. I am lucky to have such wonderful friends in my life. For me, everyday is a lot easier, knowing the moment I need them, they’ll be right there besides me, the moment I cry, they’ll cry with me, the moment I smile, it’ll be because of them! Every moment of everyday, I feel happy and blessed to have these wonderful people by my side! To all my special friends, THANK YOU FOREVER!

Especially

For Marlene and Maria-the friends who constantly gave me a *hug*! Thank you for being there whenever I called out and for helping me stay strong!  We’re a fated M trio! 😉 [N I loved the Video Message! Let’s hound each other and have fun together for the rest of our lives!]

To Azka, I’d be nowhere without my favorite ‘Kiddo!’ Thanks for remembering! 🙂

To Mehwish & Kinza, you two are just so special! We may not know each other’s favorite colors or foods, but our selves are forever connected to one another! 🙂

To the SMS trio, Thanks for giving me a place in your lives!

To Rabia, Oh, tis another day and I still hate you! 😛 And this hate’ll go on for eternity, I’m sure! 😉 (Someday I’ll write up a whole post about hating you so much!)

To Sara, Mona & Sobia, There are a lot of different times ahead for us on our separate paths but these five years that we’ve shared have been so much fun just because we were together! May life have the best in store for all of us in the future! Ill cherish the times we had n really hope that one day all nine of us can get back together and have fun just like old times! Thanks for being my friends!

To Binte, you already got a solo dedication! Got no more to say about you 😛

 

 

Story I – Chapter II [Part II]

Continued from  here

For previous and all parts, go here

 

As luck would have it, all three of them had the same class that morning. As soon as they were all settled in class – she was sitting beside Annie on the table counter and Uther sat across from her; and the teacher was smoothly into his lecture, Su Ae drew her cell phone from her bag and sent a text to Ian asking him to let her know whatever happens. She knew Ian’s reaction when he’d seen Elijah was curious and he had seen something he wasn’t letting on, hence the “interesting” comment he’d made. Whatever it was, she wanted to know especially since she was sure it was Elijah because of whom the effects of the mark on her had dissipated; and more than all that she also wanted to tell Ian about Uther’s presence now. If Uther was here, it meant there must be other hunters as well and more than anyone else, it posed a threat to Ian. She didn’t realize all these worries were pouring out in her expressions until Annie put a hand over hers and she looked up at her friend.

“Are you alright?” she asked in a whisper. “Is it the fever again?”

Su Ae shook her head just as she closed her cell phone and put it back in her sweater pocket. As she turned her attention back to the book in front of her and the teachers words, she saw Annie scribble something on a piece of paper and slyly passed it to her.

Wanna go eat those cakes we missed yesterday if you’re better today?”

Let’s see at the end of the day!” Su Ae scribbled a reply and passed it back. Annie beamed at her after reading it and gave her a thumbs up. Su Ae smiled in return.

 

 

Minutes after he’d bid Su Ae goodbye, Ian had just jumped over the boundary and was headed towards the library where he’d found Su Ae yesterday after the attack when he felt the air around him cool. He was definitely headed in the right direction. With a few short spells and sniffing, he reached the small ground behind the library between it and the boundary wall. The place looked deserted and was totally silent and there were no tracks at all while the whole ground was covered with mud, at some places over grown grass and fallen leaves. It seemed no one had visited the place in ages. But Ian recognized the silence and the handiwork in the area. Someone had recently marked territory here. Without a second thought, he continued forward into the marked area.

He’d just taken a few steps inside the invisible boundary when the owner appeared at the far end of the ground. It was the same boy as last night.

Ian took in his surroundings with one glance. The area wasn’t large, a maximum 60 feet in width and about 200 feet long. Pieces of broken furniture and glass on the ground here and there suggested it might have been used as an unofficial storage ground or even playing ground for students. But no one had accessed the place in a long time, Ian knew, and it wasn’t simply because of the person in front of him. The place had the feeling of being dangerous and eerie even without his presence. Satisfied, Ian turned back to his enemy standing at the far end. There were no easy escape routes. It was a fight he was going to win; no, a fight he had to win.

“You must have great skills to remove the mark without knowing my true form and now coming to find me!” The boy hissed angrily at him. “I took the best precautions to stay hidden.”

“At your level, even the best precautions aren’t enough. Besides, when you let emotions get the best of you,” Ian replied as he pondered the words he’d just heard. Remove the mark? He didn’t have enough powers to do that. But the demon’s manner really was hostile because of losing prey. The question remained; if he wasn’t the one, who removed the mark? “It’s easy to be tracked down. I’m surprised you lasted so long.”

“Tch. If it weren’t for him seeing me yesterday, no one would even know I was here! I got careless then.” The boy taunted. “That’s how pathetic, how silly these humans are; that’s why they are such easy prey.” He bent his head sideward as he continued to look at Ian. “You’re a different sight; haven’t seen your lot in a long while. And you have the same scent; same as that girl’s.”

“Seems you know a lot about scents; how come you don’t have good sense?” Ian replied with a sly smile. “You picked the wrong target this time.”

“Just because you removed the mark this time doesn’t mean anything!” The boy mocked him again as he crouched slightly. Moments later, he disappeared and reappeared by the library’s wall. “Next time, I’ll simply devour.”

“Then I’ll have to make sure you don’t have a next time,” Ian stepped forward and walked ahead ten paces which put the boy into action just as Ian had hoped. By the time the boy disappeared and appeared near the library wall, Ian was already there and took hold of the boy by the neck before he could blink. With a swift punch, Ian destroyed the small glass bottle the boy was holding in his right hand. It was the secret to his disappearing and reappearing. “Relying on such petty tricks to run around unnoticed has a disadvantage. When it’s time for a fight, you’re caught!” With a few quietly whispered words from Ian, a small chain appeared out of nowhere and tied itself around the boy’s feet. “If you’re so adept at sensing smell, how about using that little brain of yours to know what it means?” Ian’s voice was full of menace and foreboding. His anger and true nature were finally unleashing. Su Ae was all that mattered.

“That’s not my only petty trick.” The boy replied gasping for air as Ian’s grip on his neck tightened. A moment later, Ian knew what he meant as he was thrust back with a strong force. Though caught off guard at the onset of the attack, Ian managed his sense well enough and landed on his two feet ten meters away from where the boy stood rather than falling back. The boy was still gasping when he turned back to him and was trying to use a spell to free himself of the chains but with no success. He slowly walked a few steps forward. He was slowly awakening to the realization that Ian had a large advantage over him.

“All this for a petty human?” His tone was reproachful and condemning. “What are you? A slave pet? She is not even a bond to you!” Ian stayed mute as he saw the boys hand move stealthily. The next moment he simply jumped away from where he stood as a large invisible impact seemed to hit the spot where he had previously stood, causing  a visible hole as the ground shook violently.

“The same trick won’t fool me twice!” He was still crouching in the same position as he told the boy who sneered angrily in response, growing more agitated and anxious.

“What is she? What’s so special about that human girl?” The boy was almost shouting now. Soon, Ian thought to himself as he took in the change in the boy’s expressions and mannerism. “You would go against your own kind for someone that pathetic!”

“Killing our own kind is the way we already live!” Ian replied flatly as he sensed a new presence but didn’t turn to see the intruder. “That doesn’t involve anyone else. As for her,” He slightly crouched lower before attacking the boy, again holding a strong grip against his neck and squeezed as the boy gasped. “She’s mine to protect!”

Without relaxing his grip on the boy, Ian turned his gaze back right from where he had come. The boy Su Ae had referred to as ‘the brat’ stood there, followed by an elder guy. Ian recognized the person in the back as a demon – one of his own kind, but still could not get a reading on the boy. There wasn’t any demon aura on him, but nor was there a human aura.

“That’ll be all, Will.” The ‘brat’ said to the man standing behind him without turning back and the older guy responded by slightly bowing before walking away. As soon as he had spoken, Ian felt the boy’s body go stiff and limp under his hand. Fear, Ian thought. The demon feared this boy and it wasn’t simple fear, it was fear for life. Who was he?

“I’ve always wondered how the runaway survived all these years against the Council.” Elijah remarked as he walked forward and approached the two of them, shrugging his shoulder and seeming nonchalant. “A fight is always the best way to find out and it seems I just got the answer to my question.”

“Who are you?” Ian loosened his grip on the demon and pushed him backwards as he turned all his attention to Elijah.

“The name’s Elijah.” He smiled as he answered while approaching the demon boy.

“My question had more meaning than that!” Ian pointed out.

Elijah ignored his remark as he peered into the demon boy’s face; who was literally shivering as he cowered in fear.

“It was stupid to ignore my warning.” Elijah told him. “It was enough that you escaped with your life yesterday, yet you were stupid enough to poke in places you had no business.” He backed away just as casually and turned to stand facing Ian, now addressing him as he spoke. “Do you know the mistake a trapped animal can make? The panic it feels, the way it so desperately thinks of what to do and how to get out of the mess it got into?” Ian turned to look at the boy as Elijah continued. His expressions were one of total fear and panic. “Its panic causes it to make a decision; a blind decision. And that decision is to run. It’s stupid, frankly, to run like that even though it knows it won’t get far; that the more it runs, the more it will be trapped.” Elijah’s voice was totally flat, a matter of fact tone that had a slight undertone of anger.

As if on cue, the boy lashed out towards Ian in an attempt to escape, making a crying noise of pain, much like a trapped animal trying its last to escape; just as Elijah had been speaking. Though Ian prepared to him down, he never got the chance. The boy had barely taken a few steps ahead when he was suddenly thrust backward into the library wall by an invisible force. Ian heard a definite thud as the boy collided against the wall and then fell onto the ground face first, unconscious.

“Hmmm, was that a little too hard?” he heard Elijah mutter as if wondering aloud.

“You’re not just any person. No one with even mild powers would put so much fear in a demon.” Ian turned to him and stated, his voice now hinting at hostility. He wanted to know who Elijah was. Elijah on the other hand, seemed to take it in stride as he smiled in response. “Why was the demon so scared of you?”

“It’s an Agaryon! A relevant spell and a stab should do the deed.” Elijah pointed to the unconscious demon. “People are coming, seems the hit was a little too noticeable.”

Ian cursed inwardly as he sensed the movement too. Now was clearly not the time he would get an answer. Something in his senses told him to be careful of Elijah; a person he could not read was dangerous. This encounter and Elijah’s mannerisms simply reinforced that belief. But when Elijah started to walk back towards the school grounds, Ian cut him off and stood in front of him.

“Don’t lay a hand on her! She’s mine to protect!” For a moment, Ian thought Elijah seemed angry at the interception as he told the younger boy but after a few moments, Elijah smiled a sly and amused smile at him.

“Isn’t it funny how bravery and stupidity sometimes overlap so much you cannot tell one apart from the other? Which one are you, I wonder?”

Though the words spoken sounded harsh, Elijah’s tone was bland and as Ian stared at him, he detected simple amusement and not malice in his eyes. Satisfied, Ian backed away as he turned back to the unconscious demon. For now, he had other matters to take care of, he thought.

 

Two minutes later, as two teachers from the library faculty and a few students walked up to the ground, it was empty.

 

To be continued in Chapter II Part III

The Hobbit

Now the wait till December 2012 will be truly long! Check out the trailer released for the movie “The Hobbit” and look forward to an adventure in Middle Earth!

 

 

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

 

 

Quote of the Week – An Inspirational Thought

Especially for Muslims out there, here’s a thought provoking quote. Find it inspirational and stop fearing what is truly inevitable!

When you have to
depart from this world
and have to meet
death (eventually)
then why wish delay
(why feel nervous)
about death ??
Hazrat Ali [R.A]

 

 

Story I – Chapter II (Part I)

To read Chapter 1 and the parts before, follow the link here

 

She’d run out of tissues and was shivering from the cold by the time she finally reached home. The air had a slight chill, not unusual on a February afternoon but somehow she was feeling worse than before and wanted to simply collapse and go to sleep in bed. More than that, she’d had the constant feeling of being watched and this feeling was different from the one she’d experienced on the ride to the school this morning. Here, she could feel the chills going down her spine and pure animosity. Unlocking the door with her key, she turned back for a final look behind but saw nothing. When she stepped inside, Ian came forward to greet her carrying a large cooking bowl and whisking something.

“Had a fun day?” He asked. “I half expected you and -” Seeing her, he put the bowl on the table and hurried forward. “Are you alright?”

“Someone… Behind…” was all she could manage as she dropped her bag and books.

Somehow, her mind was feeling numb and she couldn’t focus on any thought except the need to sleep. Consequently, she had barely taken off her shoes when she collapsed. Ian caught her just as she was about to fall to the ground. Without breaking stride, he simply carried her into the lounge and put her down on a sofa as he took in the pale color in her face and moved to check her fever. As soon as Ian felt her burning forehead, he realized it wasn’t simply a fever that plagued here. Worry clouded his eyes as he subsequently put blankets over her. His mind brought back the words she had spoken “Someone… Behind…”. Dimming the lights with a flick of his hand, he headed upstairs to the attic.

 

The first thing that struck him as he gazed out the attic window was the silence. He’d experienced this feeling many times. It gave an eerie and dark feeling; a feeling he knew was associated with a certain entity- his kind. There was only one meaning behind the silence and creeping dark outside, he thought, someone had tried a hunt. The thought brought back many memories he’d rather have forgotten and shook his head as he looked up and down the street again. On his second look, he found what he was looking for. As soon as he caught sight of the shadow hiding near the west wall of the house, he sprung into action.

 

Within moments, he was outside the house gate and turned to where he had caught a glimpse of the shadow. Sniffing the air, he tried to make out a scent but couldn’t catch any. A confrontation it was, he thought to himself. He had gone just a few steps towards the west wall when the shadow disappeared. Turning, he found himself face to face with a boy standing nearly a hundred feet away. The distance between them was long and the light from the streetlights was narrow and restricted, making it hard for both of them to see each other perfectly. Yet Ian didn’t need a second glance to know this was the one he’d come out to face. The boy’s appearance was as shabby as could be. He wore old, worn out clothes and there was mud and blackness, probably from the coal smeared all over his clothes and even his face. He wore a broken sandal on one foot that was made of bamboo and his clothes were cut and shredded in many places. Though his appearance was that of a teenager, the getup and manner told a different story. With his brows drawn together over dilated pupils and thin lips, Ian’s face was an expression of anger and hostility.

 

“Are you the one who marked her?” Ian asked him. The boy sneered in response before speaking.

“Who are you?” It was a boy’s voice but Ian could detect a slight rusty edge undertone in it.

“So you are the one!” Ian’s expression involuntarily tightened. His first instinct was to attack. It was his nature, his true form, to simply eradicate without a care for anything else but he controlled himself. This matter was not as simple as that. If he was to take the mark off Su Ae, he needed to know more. He needed the boy’s true form, even the slightest of glimpse would help his cause but he needed to know. “Why?”

“What are you to her?” The boy studied him before repeating his question.

“Who are you and why did you mark her?” Ian didn’t answer. His own questions needed the answers first.

The boy sensed the tightness in the air and even though he couldn’t see Ian’s face clearly, knew there was more to him than a simple guardian. If he were a hunter, he’d have attacked by now. Taking a few steps forward, the boy sniffed the air as he muttered a few words which Ian was unable to hear but guessed were a spell. And as he sniffed, Ian sensed the change in his stance and started forward but was unable to reach in time. By the time he got to where the boy had stood, the boy had vanished. Turning, he saw the boy perched on the house wall.

“What is she to you?” the boy hissed at him.

Before Ian could move, he had vanished again and appeared where Ian had formerly stood.

“There is something about her.” He hissed again. “Something in her blood.”

The words riled Ian. He scowled at the boy as he stepped towards him, only to have him vanish again. This time, the boy appeared on the roof of the house adjacent to theirs.

“It’s alright!” he hissed with a grin. “She’ll be mine to claim soon enough. I’ll bide my time!” With another swift jerk of wind, he disappeared.

 

Ian stood frozen for a few moments. Slowly, he felt the chill and silence drift away. The demon was gone; but not for long he knew. It wasn’t a worrisome thought, not at all. He was a demon too after all, something the other demon had sensed. But while he had sensed Ian’s true nature, Ian had also sensed much of him. Smiling triumphantly, he looked towards the sky and whispered in response to the demon’s parting words but to no one in particular, “We’ll see!”

 

Heading back inside, he found Su Ae where he had left her. Though the lights were dim, he could see her turning agitatedly as if in a nightmare or deep pain and could see the beads of sweat from the pain the fever, or more precisely, the mark was causing her. Dragging a stool, he sat down by her side. He may not be able to remove the mark but could easily make it dormant for a while. Tomorrow, he would work to have the mark removed totally. Putting a hand to her forehead, he started muttering softly. Within minutes, Su Ae stopped turning restlessly and looked peaceful in sleep; even the beads of sweat were no longer there.

“Sleep tight!” Ian whispered to the peaceful Su Ae as he got up and headed back towards the kitchen, turning off the light with a fond smile on his face. She did.

 

 

She felt the sudden stab of light interrupt her sleep and opened her eyes to see Ian standing at the window with the curtains open and looking at her as if expecting her to jump up. She closed her eyes back and dragged the blanket over her eyes.

“Morning!” Ian’s cheerful voice rang in her ears. She covered them with her hand. It didn’t work. “It’s time to get up or you will be majorly late today.”

“Get out! I wanna sleep!” She muttered. She still felt sleepy, like she hadn’t slept for ages while she also got the feeling that somehow she slept well last night. “Why are you in my room anyway?”

“Wake up princess!” Ian mocked her. “And this isn’t your room!”

Slowly opening her eyes and lowering the blanket, Su Ae scanned her surroundings. It took a moment for the changes to register. There was no study table or dressing table around her; rather it was the television and dining table she could see. Behind the dining table counter, Ian was spreading out breakfast into plates. She was in the living room. Confused and shaking her head against the slight headache she felt, she sat up.

“What am I doing here?” She asked Ian. “Why was I asleep in the living room?”

“Not my fault. You’re the one who collapsed at the door yesterday.” Ian replied with a full smile. “Since the living room was the closest, I just dumped you there.”

Su Ae looked down at herself. Her uniform was all wrinkled and she still had her socks on.

“Don’t tell me I didn’t even wash up yesterday?” She asked in true horror as she looked at her.

Ian shrugged with a sarcastic smile as Su Ae made a frustrated face.

“Don’t tell me you don’t even remember?!” Ian asked her.

“Of course I do. I think.” Su Ae started confidently but then got lost in thought. “Yeah, I took the bus home. But I was feeling nauseous and strange. And I was sneezing a lot. And someone else was also there. Or maybe not.” She spread her hands in frustration as Ian took in her words with a serious expression. Although she didn’t seem to realize it herself, the color that had returned to her face last night was slowly turning pale and Ian could sense her falling back towards the fever. He had to act fast, he reminded himself. Su Ae’s next words brought him out of his thoughts. “It’s all because of that brat!”

“Him again?” Ian’s expression softened as he chuckled. “I presume it’s the same one you mentioned yesterday morning.”

“Yeah, there’s no other entity as stuck up as him.” Su Ae replied in a flat but thoughtful tone but with a hint of a smile. “Anyways, annoying or not, he’s a bit of a puzzle!”

“Unfortunately, you’re horrible at puzzles.” Ian pointed out with pleasure.

Su Ae rolled her eyes at him before heading upstairs to get ready for the day. Ian’s voice carried up all the way to her room when he reminded her she had just thirty minutes if she didn’t want to miss the bus. She missed it.

 

The headache was almost full on by the time she came back downstairs more than forty minutes later and could feel the nausea swelling up just under the surface. Even though she knew Ian could see it was bothering her, he didn’t mention it and she didn’t elaborate or question him when he offered to drop her at school. When they reached the parking lot, Ian parked the car and told Su Ae he had “an errand to run.”

“Is this regarding the incident yesterday morning?” Su Ae eyed him suspiciously.

“No.” Ian replied as he opened his door and got out. Su Ae followed suit. As soon as she stepped out of the car, she felt someone’s gaze on her and got the feeling of hostility and animosity.

“Wow!” She said as she looked around but saw people going around their own business.

“What is it?”

“I can swear someone’s looking at me; and really angrily.” Su Ae told him, slinging her bag over her shoulder. “But there’s no one around!”

“That’s the one I’m here to meet!” Ian told her as he came up to her side.

“What do you mean?” She asked him as he put his palm to her forehead, as if checking her temperature. Far away, she caught sight of Elijah lounging against the boundary wall and looking at her. Could it be him? She wondered.

“You’ve had a pest following you around since yesterday, hence the headache and the fever.” Ian told her with a satisfied expression as he drew his hand back. “We need to act before it becomes huge.”

Su Ae pointed to Elijah as she spoke again. Ian’s gaze followed her direction.

“There’s the brat!” Su Ae told him.

“Interesting.” Ian replied as he looked at Elijah. He couldn’t get a read of him. “Who is he exactly?”

“I have no idea. But I do know this much-there is a familiar on campus who claims he owes him” She shook her head in Elijah’s direction before massaging her temple with her fingertips. The headache was getting worse and the feeling of animosity was growing stronger. “His allegiance but they are not bonded. There’s something about him I can’t put my finger to.”

“Indeed there is. But he’s not the one I saw last night.” Ian told her. “The one I saw was different. You need to get going and so do I. The spell’s not going to hold for long. You already look at your wit’s end.” He said the last sentence with a smile and playful mockery which made her smile at him.

“Don’t worry, I can manage! Best of luck and let me know if you need any help!” With those words and a wink, she turned and walked towards the gates.

“Take care kiddo!” he called out after her.

 

Elijah caught up with her a few feet into the compound and blocked her path.

“Are you sick?” He asked as he took in her pale color and gave her a once over look. “Your knight even came to drop you off!”

“No, not-” She started to say when he suddenly leaned in and sniffed the air around her. “What are you doing?”

“Ah, an Agaryon!” he said with an expression of detection before turning back to her. “When and how on earth were you marked?”

“How did you-?” She stopped midway in her sentence. More than his words, her mind was now occupied on other thoughts. As soon as Elijah had approached her, she had felt the headache simply recede to nothing. Even the nausea was gone.

“Is that why he came along?” Elijah continued. “Seriously, you can’t even manage that level on your own?”

“Ian’s the one who takes care of me.” Su Ae replied. Every time Elijah spoke, he never let go of the haughty air- or words of superiority, like an arrogant prince. But since her talk with Will yesterday, she now realized there was no menace beneath his words. It seemed like he was simply stating facts that were somehow inexplicable to him.

“The old man has really gone nuts in your case.” Elijah leaned forward and peered into her face, causing her to slightly lean backwards. “The colors coming back to your face. You looked like a zombie five minutes ago.”

“Yeah, somehow I think I know why but I’m not really sure.” Su Ae replied thoughtfully but it seemed he wasn’t listening to her and was rather lost in his own trail of thoughts.

“An Agaryon!” He exclaimed with a thoughtful pause, his tone taking a matter of fact tone by the end. “It’s stupid to not have heeded my words.”

“Who are you anyway?” Su Ae asked him. She felt her wrist, it wasn’t hot any longer. The fever seemed to have vaporized. What was it about him?

“Hm? Elijah.” He replied offhandedly, still lost in thought as he looked at her. Now she finally knew his name, Su Ae thought. “You really are Igrious’s daughter, right? I heard your mother was exceptional. Her reputation still haunts some. She was brilliant and incomparable amongst our kind. Oh, and word says she was really beautiful!”

His last comment made Su Ae burst out laughing hard. As she looked back at him, his expression had turned quizzical.

“Yeah, she was my mother!” Su Ae replied between hiccups of laughter. “And she was very pretty!”

“You’re weird!” Elijah muttered. “What was funny about that?”

“You’ll know someday, I guess!” was all Su Ae said with a smile.

“And I’m supposed to be depending on you!” Elijah’s tone was flat.

“Excuse me?” His tone was flat but he was serious. It left Su Ae confused. What did he mean depend on her?

“Nothing. You’ll know someday. I guess!” Elijah told her off as he blew a short, low whistle.

“You’re the one who’s weirder.” Su Ae told him. “The prank yesterday was a little too much. I ended up getting marked thanks to you.”

“Oh it was? N how is getting marked my fault? You’re so clueless I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before!” His voice was eager when he mentioned the prank and she felt it was like a bad omen. “By the way, wait till you see what’s coming up!”

“I fell sick, thanks to your prank and that made me easy target.”

Before he could reply to her accusation, Will walked up to them. He was dressed in the same manner as yesterday, except this time, he also wore glasses and looked even more like a teacher. Acknowledging Su Ae with a nod and a small smile, he turned his attention straight to Elijah.

“There’s an Agaryon running around here somewhere.” Elijah turned to him. “Find him.”

“Since the breach was in the back area yesterday, that would be our best bet. I’ll check it out.” Will told him and just as suddenly as he’d appeared, turned back and walked away.

“Okay princess.” Elijah turned back to her just as he backed a step. “Time to have some fun. Bye.”

“Hey, wait! What are you going to do?” Su Ae grabbed Elijah’s arm as he started to walk away.

Smiling, he simply pointed to something behind her and Su Ae turned back to see Annie walk in through the gates. With her preoccupied, he shrugged off her hand and started walking away. But she immediately turned back and decided to follow him. Only two steps ahead, she ran straight into someone. Books and papers spilled on the ground.

“Sorry!” She heard a boy’s voice as he sat down to gather his spilt stuff.

“No, that was my fault!” She muttered as she saw Elijah walking on. It was no use following him, she thought as the bell rang in the distance and sat down to help the boy she had bumped into. She’ll find Elijah later, she vowed as she gathered a few papers and handed them to the boy. He’d already gathered most of his stuff back and muttered an energetic thanks as they both got back up.

“I’m really sorry. I wasn’t paying attention and -” Su Ae began as they were getting up but froze when she looked at him standing in front of her. It was the first time she had been caught so off guard. “Uther?”

“It’s alright; I wasn’t paying much attention either.” He smiled at her and continued as he held out a hand. “Yeah, I’m Uther. How’d you know?”

Su Ae shook his extended hand as she thought of what to say.

“I’m Su Ae; also a freshman. I saw your profile in class yesterday.” She smiled shakily. To actually see him in front of her was so sudden. She’d had visions and knew who he was but never realized their paths would cross. He nodded at her answer. For a few brief seconds, none of them spoke as he looked at her curiously. That gave Su Ae the time to breathe and get her thoughts back on track.

“Do we know each other?” He finally asked her.

“No.” She finally smiled just as Annie caught up to them.

“Heeeyyy!!” Annie greeted her with her usual cheery charm and gave her a look over and smiled in approval. “You’re looking better than yesterday!” She turned to Uther. “Who’s this?”

Uther introduced himself just as the second warning bell rang.

“It’s best to head for class now.” Su Ae told them.

As the trio walked towards classes together, Su Ae looked around but saw no trace of Elijah and turned back to her thoughts. Who was Elijah and how come the mark on her had become ineffective the moment he’d walked up to her? And Uther; he was a hunter’s child destined to be one himself, born into a family of rich lineage. What was he doing here? From what she’d deduced, Will wasn’t an aggressive demon but the presence of demons and a hunter in the same area was bound to raise clashes. Above all, there was also Ian. What was going to happen? She wondered to herself.

 

 

To be continued in Chapter II Part II…

 

 

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