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Chapter 5

“Father!!” she screamed, reaching out towards the chaotic scene, which was receding into void. She was on her hands and knees, frozen still like a statue, still reeling from the feelings inflicted upon her in that vision. She was awash with sadness, confusion and anger. It took her a moment to realise that she wasn’t breathing before she gasped in a lungful of air. After settling down a bit, she stood up to stretch out her cramped up legs. Blood rushed down from her head causing her to feel light headed and unbalanced.

She was back in this dull, expansive world of lifeless water and endless dirty red sky.

“Was that me?” Yoora quietly asked, almost whispering.

A thick black smoke started drifting across the water, swirling up in front of her. The smoke started to take shape, forming legs, then body, arms and head. Then the smoke started to dissipate, revealing a girl with almost the exact likeness her. This new figure however was wearing a beautiful dark green silk hanbok with intricate blue and white decals embroidered across the dress. Her blouse was bright red, with golden embroidery around the hems of the sleeves depicting a phoenix and dragon flying about each other. Her hair was glossy and perfectly plaited, which was wrapped around the top of her head like a crown. A gold and enamel hair pin in the shape of a butterfly held the plaited hair in place. Her eyes though were bright red with a piercing, almost paralysing gaze.

“That was us” the apparition replied, a hint of sadness in her voice. “That was our 12th birthday”.

“By us you mean…” Yoora replied, and then paused, unsure how to continue.

Her other self walked up to her and took hold of both her hands. “Have you ever wondered why the spirits of hundred souls haunt you at night? Do you want to know why you feel the weight of all their deaths? I am all the answers to your questions. I am the other side of you. Together we are one.”

Surprising Yoora, tears started to well up in her eyes and her throat tightened. An overwhelming feeling of acceptance and relief washed over her. She was still confused, but she felt as if this image in front of her was the missing piece of the puzzle she had been searching for.

“How did we become like this?” Yoora croaked.

The figure turned away slightly. “There’s a part of us which is almost uncontrollable. We lost it, and as a result, the monk supressed most of those traits into me and split us apart. I don’t know what it is inside of us, but I think we can control it now, especially if we are together.”

“Can we become one again?” Yoora asked .

“Yes. Only we both truly wish for it. I do, do you?”

“Yes.”

Stepping closer, the figure leaned forward and pressed its forehead against Yoora’s.

“Are you sure? Do you really want to know the past? Are you willing to accept the darkness sealed away inside me?”

“You said that together, we can control the unknown inside of us. I want to do this. I need to know who I am, what I am. I feel so hollow as I am.”

She closed her eyes. All she could feel was the warmth in her hands and forehead. There was no sound, and she started to lose track of time. Then suddenly, she felt the floor she was standing on give way, but she wasn’t falling. Feint voices started echoing around her head. Vague images started creeping into her consciousness. Smells and tastes encroached on her senses. All these sensations started to form scenes.

She recognised them as scenes from her past. Bit by bit, years of memories, experiences and feelings flowed into her, engulfing her and changing her.

She opened her eyes to find herself back at the wondumak, facing at two very alarmed men. She looked down at her hands and clenched her fists.
I’m back
She looked back towards Jumong and gave him a cheeky smile.

“That was interesting” she remarked.

Both men were still on their feet and almost in a fighting stance, as if they were expecting to get attacked.

“What happened to you?!” exclaimed Ahn.

“Oh nothing much really.” She replied with a grin on her face.

Her awakening made her realise that she was completely out of tune with the energy around her. Having been desensitised to the natural magic permeating around her for so long, she had forgotten what it had felt like. She took a deep breath and let her senses reach out past her body. The sensation of the raw mana flowing around her sent her into a state of elation. She felt alive again.

“I met someone I knew a long time ago.” She said calmly, thinly veiling the fact that she was feeling increasingly euphoric as the border between her own energy and the energy about her started to blur.
“I remember what happened back then. I remember the blood, the rage, the pain and sadness.” She locked eyes with Jumong, sensing fear from her master and confusion from the head master.
“I took it all back” she said.

Jumong swiftly stepped back, raising his arms in preparation to strike, either physically or magically. Yoona was quicker however, collecting up the mana around her as soon as he started to move and send a controlled blast of energy towards the men, pushing them back slightly and knocking them off balance. Without giving them time to recuperate, she changed the direction of the mana, slamming them onto the floor. She then suddenly reversed the flow of mana, causing the men to be thrown into the air. She held the energy in that state, suspending them helplessly in mid-air.

The whole scene on the top of the mountain looked as if gravity had ceased to exist. Dust and small rocks were floating in the air, and the drooping branches of the cherry blossom now swung about aimlessly in the air. She walked over to the table which had nearly been pushed off the wondumak during the commotion and picked it up. She placed it back in the center, and picked up the boxes and tea set which had been scattered and knocked around. Amazingly, nothing was broken.

After setting everything back to how it was before the test, she sat down in front of the table and slowly released the spell keeping her master and the headmaster suspended in the air.

“I’m sorry masters.” She said calmly. “I did what I had to do to give me enough time to explain myself.”

She paused for a moment, motioning to the men to sit.

“I realise that I might have been… difficult when I first came here. Frankly my memory of that time is still a little vague, though I remember the faces of all those who died at my hands, and a soul wrenching fear which controlled me.”

She paused again, letting the words sink in.

“I’m not like I was back then.”

She shuffled across from the table in front of Jumong then bowed to him.

“Thank you for support and guidance.” She said.

She then shuffled across to Ahn and bowed to him.

“Please guide me in my future. I have a lot to learn about the world and myself. Please help me to trust myself and protect those around me.”

She remained bowed until she felt the large, warm hand of Ahn pat her head.

“I will to the best of my ability guide you to become someone you truly want to be” Ahn said reassuringly.

She sat back up, facing the 2 men.

“The spell on the box was no test” she said, aiming the remark at the headmaster.

“I know” he replied then paused, his face giving signs of an internal struggle of thoughts. “Being honest here, it’s designed to make high risk students face their inner fears and overcome them. Having a high concentration of emotionally unstable teenage sorcerers and sorceresses is a recipe for disaster. The problem is only made worse when they all suffer from insecurities, mostly inflicted upon them by stupid stories passed down through their families.”

“What would my case be then? I have no known family to pass down freaky stories and misguided thoughts. Why make me face my demons?” Yoona replied in an attempt to see if the headmaster knew anything about her past.

“That’s the problem, we know nothing of your past. Also the fact that you were found half dead and covered in blood in a village in the middle of nowhere doesn’t lend you a credible background” he replied.

A wry smile crept onto her face for a moment before she reverted to her expressionless face.

“Why don’t you just tell people the truth about those boxes?” Yoona asked.

“The truth scares people. It’s easier to let them think it’s a test.” He replied. “I don’t do this will all students though. Only the ones who have the power to influence others, in one way or another”

The headmaster reached over and opened her box and took out one of the small vials of liquid. He popped off the lid and held it out to her.  A sweet but foul smell filled the air around her. She took the opened vial and held it.

“What does this do?” she asked.

“Supress’ bloodlust” the headmaster replied calmly.

She eyed the blackish liquid swirling around in the vile before tipping it down her throat as quickly as possible.

The liquid hit her stomach like a punch to the gut. Her first reaction was to throw up, but the feeling passed before she could, only to be replaced with a paralysing chill spreading through her veins. The cold was stabbing her mind with knives, her vision fading in and out. The feelings subsided and she found herself staring at the floor of the wondumak. Her body ached and she was out of breath.

“That was horrible” she said wryly.

Sitting back up, she felt a change inside of her. She was more relaxed; as if the lid of a pressure cooker had been open slightly, gently letting out the violent and angry steam within.
She noticed that the lid covering the top compartment of the ‘test’ box was sitting slightly askew. She set down the now empty vial with the others and removed the lid. Below was a gold banded ring inscribed with the words ‘Wish to be hidden and let the darkness drown you’ in the old imperial language.

As she picked up the ring, she could feel it drawing in some of her energy. She realised that the ring was meant to supress or hide her power, but the feeling of having her mana drained was uncomfortable.

“Is this ring necessary” she asked the headmaster.

“You don’t have to wear it now, but as we get closer to civilisation, there are people and machines sensitive to a walking mass of concentrated energy. Also you’ll intimidate the other students less” he replied.

Yoona wondered for a moment as to how the headmaster knew that she, according to Jumong, was more powerful than the average person, but that chain of thought answered itself. Jumong had to have told him.

“When do we leave?” she asked.

“As soon as you’re packed!” the headmaster replied.

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Story

 

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Chapter 4

Pain shot through her eyes and head as she started to regain consciousness.
Urrg… my head… my head….
She lay flat on her back for a few minutes waiting for the pain to subside and to regain feeling in her body. She rolled over onto her stomach and slowly pushed herself up. Sitting upright, her head felt heavy and her vision was swimming about.

I’m in that dream again…

The sky looked as if thick black smoke had blended into a blood red background, leaving it black with a tinge of red spread through it. She felt unsettled watching the red and black swirl and mix together in the sky. There were faint sounds of… something drifting across the mirror like water surface surrounding her. Every now and then, a raised voice would wash over her like a gentle pulse of air, but the words were undistinguishable.

She finally got up onto her feet, feeling a little unsteady for a few moments. The feeling of smooth silk sliding against her body drew her attention to what she was wearing. Instead of the rough temple clothing she regularly wore, she was wearing a fine orange silken dress. The dress was embroidered with a minimalist representation of a scene depicting a bird of fire flying over mountain peaks protruding from clouds. The thread used for the embroidery constantly shifted slightly in colour, and even at times seemed to give off light. The hems were finished off with a strange golden metal which seems to be as flexible as the fabric itself, and gave tinges of green and blue when viewed at from different angles. She had wearing around her neck a golden medallion stamped with a mysterious yet familiar symbol.

Instead of feeling alarmed at her sudden change in apparel, she felt comfortable in them as if the clothes she was currently wearing were something she had worn her whole life. She walked over to the water’s edge, and noticed that the cobblestone road dipped slightly below the water line, rather than end abruptly like in her previous dream. The path seemed to extend about an ankles depth for as far as she could see.

She casually waded into the water, making no effort to keep the bottom of her dress dry. Small waves propagated out from around her feet, disturbing the mirror like water surface.
She walked for what seems like hours, slightly hypnotised by the feint voices and the sound of water splashing about her ankles. The submerged path she was walking on looked as if it was leading her towards a golden glow on the horizon, but no matter how long she walked for, it did not seem like she had covered any ground.

Her head started feeling heavy and her eyelids started to droop. Her stomach turned over as hopelessness started taking over. Overcome with weariness, she fell to her knees and let her head slump. Tears streaked down here face as she cradled her head in her hands.

“WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!” she screamed into the sky.

She held her breath for a moment, half expecting a response, but nothing happened.
Exhausted, she leant forward onto all four limbs and looked down at the water. A weary face looked back at her, its eyes a piercing glowing red. Her stomach churned over and fear gripped her heart. Her thoughts immediately turned to the dream she had the previous night.
Please, not again!

She threw herself backwards away from her reflection, falling onto her back in a large splash of water before shuffling backwards a bit, as if trying to escape something trying to chase her.
A few moments passed before her breathing started to ease.

“Why are you following me?!” she moaned under her breath.

No reply came. Her eyes and head felt heavy. Her exhaustion was eating away at her consciousness.

“Why do you bring me here?” she half-heartedly asked her surroundings.

“For you to remember who you are” a familiar, kind female voice said softly.

Floating in the water on her back, it took a few seconds for the words to sink in. Realising that she had finally gotten a response out of the emptiness around her, she sat up… then froze.
Where there was nothing before but an endless horizon, a set of heavy wooden doors illuminated by 2 blue fire torches filled her entire vision. A floating sensation overcame her and her vision wavered and blurred. As she started to settle down, a gut wrenching fear gripped her at the core, causing her breathing to be erratic and her limbs feel weak.

She looked around and saw that she was no longer surrounded by an endless stretch of water. The sky was dark and cloudy, and a thick heavy mist blanketed the area, making it hard to see past a few meters. She was sitting back on a granite path which lead off into the mist. She could see dull blue glows through the mist which were evenly spaced along the path. For some reason, she knew that those glows were lanterns lined up along the path, and that the path lead out to one of the fortress’ walls. She also knew that along either sides of the path grew large majestic maple, cherry blossom and pine trees, though none could be seen through the darkness and haze.

A creepy chill came over her which caused her to start shivering. She noticed that the lamps were beginning to dull even more, and the lamps further out were extinguishing one by one. Her limbs felt like lead but she forced them to bang on the door in front of her.
THUD… Thud…. Thud…..
She was quickly loosing energy whilst fear and panic were chocking her from within. The sounds of footsteps echoed down the path through the darkness. Exhausted and frozen with fear, she turned around and leant against the door, giving up on getting in and mustering the courage to try fight off whatever it was coming down the path. She slowly stood up, her shaking legs nearly giving way a few times before she was completely upright. She clenched her fists as hard as she could and felt a sharp pain in her right hand. She opened her right hand to find herself clutching a small red diamond rose necklace. Some of her blood stained its delicate golden leaves, but traces of deeper blood stains could be seen. The sight of the necklace brought back a memory of a girl sprawled out on the ground, her lifeless body covered in small cuts and grazes and her blank gaze staring unwaveringly into the sky.
He killed her! He killed Ji Na! That MONSTER!
A surge of heat flowed through her body, her rage manifesting as wild uncontrolled energy causing the air around her to violently stir up, picking up small stones and leaves off the ground and hurling them in random directions.

She screamed in rage, inadvertently firing a pulse of compressed air down the pathway, extinguishing all the lamps in pairs as it travelled. Absolute darkness engulfed her as the last of the lanterns were blown out. No longer feeling the heat in her body, the chilling fear returned causing her to lose the last of her strength. She fell against the doors and slumped to the ground. Tired, exhausted, cold and petrified, she could do nothing but stare blankly into the darkness.

“My my my…” a voice mocked in the distance. “Heck of a punch for someone as young as you”
The footsteps were getting closer and closer.
“Such a waste having to kill such potential. But I can’t allow you to mature. Your existence is a threat to us. Too long has the fires of heaven controlled this country. It’s time for a new age! One not bound by the decrepit decrees of your family. One where we are all truly free to choose our own destinies, pave our own paths. For that, you must die here, tonight.”

She could tell that the killer was close now. Her breathing started getting more and more ragged as her mind went blank with fear. Tears streamed down her face, the realisation that she might actually die finally starting to dawn on her.

Mom… Dad… help…..

“No one’s coming to save you. Stop resisting, and I’ll show you mercy”

Completely disheartened, she could no longer find the energy to keep herself alert. Her heavy eyelids drooped and eventually closed. Time seemed to slow down, the echoes of the assailants footsteps grew longer and further apart. Her mind started disconnecting from her body, her limbs numb and heavy.

In her feint consciousness, she could feel the breath of her assailant against her face. A sharp pain stung her neck but she couldn’t muster the energy to escape it. She tried to cry out in pain, but all she managed was a groan. She was paralysed; her body was being drained of all its warmth and energy.

Crack! Whoosh!

She gasped in shock as the door propping her up fell away behind her. In an instant, her eyes flew open to see a huge ceiling of rolling blue fire roar over her head and explode on her assailant in a multitude of colours. Before she could comprehend what was happening, she was hastily picked up and rushed through the doorway. Her head hung backwards unsupported, her state of delirium preventing her from consciously controlling her own body. The world she could see was upside down and blurry. Cursing and shouting emanated from beyond the wall as well as shock waves from the ensuing spell battle.

Lanterns, trees and rock features sped past her in a blur. Her vision started to fade out, eventually leaving her in complete darkness. She could however still feel the bone jarring steps taken by her rescuer. She lost track of time as the repetitive jolting and her fading energy pushed her closer and closer to unconsciousness.

“Yoora! Yoora! Wake up! Wake UP!” a panicked female voice sounded in the darkness. She noticed that the jolting had stopped. She tried to move, but her entire body was cold and numb. She was so weak that she couldn’t even blink, let alone respond.

“Elder!  The Earth clan’s leader is demanding your presence in the main hall!” a panicked voice cried.

“SILENCE!” a deep authoritative voice boomed. “Yoona my angel, wake up” the same voice sounded again, but almost whispered. She could feel warmth spreading throughout her body, and her energy was slowly being built back up.
A face slowly faded into view as she started regaining sight. She body erupted into pain, pins and needles jabbing here everywhere. As suddenly as the pain erupted, it subsided. Realising that she had regained her sense of touch, and could move again, she reached up at the blurred face in front of her. She knew from the voice that the face was her father, but her blurred vision meant that she couldn’t make out the features of his face.

She felt her hand enveloped by another large, warm and reassuring hand. Without warning, her father hugged tightly, drawing her into his chest. Hot tears streamed down from his face as he mumbled
“I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry”.

Her father embraced her for some time before releasing her.

“Yoona. You must live. You are the jewel of my life, and the hope of this nation”, her father said.

Picking her up, he placed her in the arms of someone she couldn’t see. Still unable to see properly or move properly, she struggled to keep her attention on her father.

“This is your birthday present. My gift to you.” Her father said softly.

With a sweeping movement of his arm, a sword materialised into his grasp, which he set down. He drew closer and stopped right in front of her. He propped up her head by the chin, and recited

“I, keeper of the Grand Library, Guardian of the Spirit World and Head of the Fire Clan, bestow upon you the means, the key and the spirit to guard the teachings of old, ferry lost souls to find peace and rule in the stead of your predecessors”.

He leant forward and kissed her on her forehead.

He continued, “I give to you the seed of the heavens. May you nurture and grow this seed, so that you may protect those you treasure most, now and for eternity”.

He leant forward and kissed her on the forehead again, but unlike the previous kiss, her body felt as if it was burning up. Amongst all the energy surging through her body, she felt her mind open up and expand as if no longer confined to the limits of her physical body. She could vaguely feel the emotions of the people around her. She was reading overwhelming sadness and anger from those around her, and a huge amount of regret and possibly pride from her father. Despite the depressing atmosphere, she couldn’t help but feel elated.

The sensation slowly died down leaving her feeling a bit more grounded and subdued by the atmosphere. She looked up only to catch her father turning away. He paused, looked over his shoulder at her and said

“Live Yoora, live…”.

He Scooped up the sword that he placed on the ground then turned to face the few dozen  warriors standing in formation a few meters away.

“My warriors! The council of elders has betrayed us and the people of this nation. We were weary, but in the end, my failure has lead to use being caught off guard and on the verge of being annihilated. I have failed you all.”

He paused for a moment, letting complete silence set in on the room.

“I do not ask your forgiveness for my short comings, but I do have to ask you to forgive me for what I’m about to do, and what I’m about to ask of you all.”

Yoora could sense that the soldiers were starting to feel uneasy. They were all ready and willing to die for their leader, yet they were about to be asked something which seemed above and beyond the sacrifice of their lives.

“In a few moments, I shall face the council alone. I command all of you to flee this place and hide yourselves. Preserve the ways of our clan until we are ready to re-instate our position once again.”

Everyone in the room remained silent and unmoving.

“GO!” her father Roared.

At first, there was a bit of hesitation, but then a flurry of movement started as the people in the room started running out, taking different corridors to each other in order to escape the palace. She lost sight of her father in the chaos. She tried to make it through the moving mass of people but was picked up by one of the soldiers and carried out of the palace, never to see anyone in her family again.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Story

 

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