Daily Archives: December 19, 2011
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…