thaumaturge | ateez ot8
genre: supernatural, fantasy, action, horror
characters: occult!ateez ot8
description: Eight evil and magically supernatural beings have their fair share of fun and violence as they travel through a witchy black market.
word count: 6.6k
warnings: swearing, murder, violence, decapitation, death
author’s note: thanks to ateez’s new song the real, this was created. this is genuinely one my favorite pieces that I’ve ever written, so I hope you all enjoy, even if it’s a bit a lot... dark. extra kudos if you can figure out why hongjoong has a flute...
taglist: @itsapapisongo @mangomingki @irehlevant @blueprint-han
The airy noise of a flute from far off in the distance met the ears of people in the black market. The sound whispered around suspicious potions, illegal trinkets, and unsavory objects, giving the market a blanketing noise that masked the chattering of the merchants and customers. Although it was nothing more than a musical note, the noise was unknowingly synonymous with trouble and evil.
The flute belonged to Hongjoong, a man with frightening amounts of power and evil in his systems. The flute not only announced his arrival before his physical appearance, but it also announced his seven other teammates that were equally as dangerous and versed in unconstrained destruction as him.
On the outskirts of the black market, a small and dirty child played with a pile of rocks in front of his mother's tent. His mother, a woman greased with sweat and exhaustion, shuffled around her tent of potions and gathered what she could of food. She pulled out a small piece of chicken from a bag at her feet and carefully cut it into two unequally sized pieces.
She hastily shoved the smaller piece onto a graying plate near her before placing the larger one onto another plate and pushing it towards her son. But the son was still too busy with rocks to be bothered with eating, so the woman began placing more onto her son's plate - bits of lettuce that were more than a few days old and lumpy potatoes that looked undercooked, overcooked, and expired all at once. The meat was good enough and the potatoes were fine, but the withering lettuce was more than enough for Seonghwa.
Being the only folioric, a controller of plants and vegetation, on a team of mostly corpics made Seonghwa's power unique and highly valuable. While the others made blood boil and toes curl, Seonghwa had the proprietary job of dealing with plants, and more importantly, the poisons and trouble he could cause with them.
Magical black markets were incredibly engaging and amusing to him, so he enjoyed whenever his team made a detour through one. Seonghwa had studied and mulled over the existence plants and toxins for ages. He knew every potion that had plants in it and had even created his own. He was the root that connected botany and humanity. So, strolling through a black market that had false plant advertising, horribly made potions that even a beginner folioric could make to perfection, and toxins that were wildly inappropriate for their listed job, he couldn't help but chuckle at their inferiority. They were pathetic.
He was dressed like he was a regular customer at the black market, something that Hongjoong had strictly enforced whenever they wanted to cause a little bit of fun trouble. "The best place to hide is in plain sight," he'd always say. So, Seonghwa wore a green robe that went down to his knees. The end of the sleeves were embroidered with gold and black thread. A simple brown belt was tied around his midsection, and he wore black pants underneath the robe. His black buckled boots hugged and climbed up his legs.
This entire green ensemble was meant to show off his knowledge and abilities in botany, though in crowds like these, he doubted anyone would notice or realize the significance behind the clothing. Yet, the confidence the clothing gave him because on-goers did ogle the fine fabrics was more than enough to satisfy his hubris. It wasn't unusual to see someone of higher wealth in a slum-like market such as this one. In fact, it was usually good to see someone of that caliber - it meant there was likely something sold that was of worth, hidden between the utter filth that most sold. But Seonghwa wasn't there for buying.
Seonghwa shifted and narrowly avoided a dust cloud from a grimy child playing with rocks on the ground. There were numerous amounts of children like that around the black market. Families stricken with poverty had nowhere to turn except for illegal business, and even then money was tight and squandered. Seonghwa glanced at the boy's mother who ran her stand of sub-par potions, filling a plate of greens and meat for her son. He frowned at the lettuce.
Lettuce was one of the first plants he had to deal with at botany school - back when he was still enrolled and still had a cent of good in his blood. The professors would purposely let the lettuce wilt in the greenhouses and it was up to Seonghwa and the other foliorics to restore them. The memory made him cringe. The school, in his opinion, had suppressed his great powers and used them solely for mundane tasks. He had found it deeply insulting and was still insulted by it today. He had left the school and learned on his own how to harness his plant abilities to the fullest. In school, it had been a challenge to revive the lettuce that the teachers set out in the greenhouse. Now, he could be yards away and completely change the chemical biology of the lettuce with a lazy wave of his hand.
Seonghwa flicked his hand, and the lettuce winked at him.
"Lunch," the mother said to her son and pulled him to his feet, picking the rocks out of his hands and throwing them to the ground. She tried her best to dust him off and wash his hands with water, but most of the grime wouldn't come off. Seonghwa walked away as the mother handed the plate to her son, who began eating like he had never seen food before.
Seonghwa put his hands in his pockets. A glimmer of a smirk appeared on his face when he heard the child thud to the ground behind him, and the mother's subsequent scream.
Wooyoung trailed in behind Seonghwa, but the two acted like they didn't know each other, not sparing any glances or gestures at each other. He slid by the child that Seonghwa had killed while the mother's broken sobs rattled his eardrums. This team of evils, the eight of them, were journeying to a different city to buy rare botanical and medical supplies, the reason why they were cutting through this market.
"Instead of going around, we can cut though this black market," Hongjoong had announced only hours before and was met with joyous hoots and hollers. "Black market" was synonymous with fun - it allowed for the boys to cause behind the scenes trouble to people that they didn't care about or would ever meet again. Jongho had called it a warm-up for their powers and was met with agreement and laughter.
Wooyoung went in a different direction than Seonghwa, who was still strolling through stands of botany and stacks of medical potions. While Seonghwa was a folioric, Wooyoung was a corpic. Corpics, the broad term used to describe people that could manipulate the human body, were by far the most common variety of occult people. No one was truly sure why - but it showed in the fact that six out of eight members of the team were of this variety. Further categorized, Wooyoung, and also Hongjoong, Jongho, Mingi, and San, were spirabics, a subset of corpics that specifically dealt with living human bodies and feelings.
Wooyoung dealt with bones. Bending, breaking, and general manipulation of bones was his talent that had been bestowed to him at birth. Similar to Seonghwa, Wooyoung had been taught at school how to use his power for good, such as repairing fractured bones, but had quickly lost interest and dropped out when he realized his true potential.
Though, dropped out wasn't the correct word. This occult school did everything in their power to keep students from dropping out - they knew the merit and the sheer responsibility of the powers their students had. Using it for unrestrained evil was their worst fear. Wooyoung had deserted the school after two months of enrollment and then broke the spines of the teachers and guards that had gone to retrieve him when they realized he had deserted.
Wooyoung took a different route than Seonghwa not just because they wanted to be separated, but also because he was bored to death with plants. The area he strolled by was far more interesting - a small woman with a tight face manned a stand that claimed to sell human hearts and organs. On the stand next to her, full fingers, hands, and skeletons were on display like jewelry would be in a jewelry store.
He stared at the skeletons with his hands behind his back. He was aware of the stares because like Seonghwa, he was dressed in fine fabrics - blue instead of green - but he elected to ignore them. The stares also could have been for his peculiar interest in the skeletons.
"They're real," the shopkeeper told him flatly, and Wooyoung had to keep a straight face. None of the bones were real.
"They're gorgeous," he said, and then realized how odd that sounded. "For bones, I mean. You keep them cleaned and polished." But Wooyoung knew well that real bones could never be as white as the ones in front of him. He showed off a smile and nodded his head.
"Have a nice day," he said, and as the shopkeeper turned away, Wooyoung clenched his hand and snapped the shopkeeper's tibia. He strolled away with a smile as the man howled with pain, and the customers that were eyeing Wooyoung's clothes dove like hungry piranhas to steal the worthless and fake bones off of the stand. There wasn't any real reason why Wooyoung had broken his bone - it was just a fun activity to do in a market of strangers that had no impact on his life.
The flautist and San entered the black market as a pair soon after. Hongjoong, dressed in a shade of blue similar to Wooyoung's and flute strapped onto his side, strode by the mess of a mother Seonghwa had made and what was left of the bone stand. "I see they've done their job," Hongjoong yawned to his dark-haired friend. San grinned.
"No bones about it," he said, and Hongjoong gave him a look that could cut steel. San was dressed similarly to Hongjoong - a darker blue color, but the same fitted robe and high black boots. Hongjoong and San, like Wooyoung, were spirabics. Many thought that Hongjoong's flute that never left his side was a part of his magical ensemble, but that wasn't the truth. Hongjoong could raise levels of pain so that a paper cut felt like a heart attack. Sometimes his flute was a part of his sorcery - blowing a high note next to someone's ear and raising the pain was fun - but in truth, the flute was an elegant accessory given to him by his mentor before he passed away years ago.
San, in his smoldering and smirking glory, manipulated blood inside of humans. He could make blood clot or stop flowing or flow out of a body like a raging waterfall. He could make it boil like he was preparing a delicious vat of spaghetti. In many ways, he was one of Hongjoong's most coveted teammates, not only for his incredible power, but because of how useful he was when partnered with Hongjoong. So when San proposed the idea of working together to spread trouble throughout the market, Hongjoong couldn't refuse his offer.
"Who should we do?" San asked, hands behind his back and eyes flickering around the market and its sellers. San had been one of the first to accept Hongjoong's offer of making a team, and was therefore one of the most experienced and capable of their group. But he was also one of the most angry and dastardly ones. Hongjoong had seen the full extent of what San could do with years of being around him. Hongjoong knew better than to make him upset and laughed at those that did.
Hongjoong also eyed up some of their potential victims. Many of the sellers looked the same - sunken eyes, old and dirty clothing, and even dirtier intentions hidden in their hands and goods - but one stood out to him. Hongjoong nodded his head to a man that was a few stands down from where they were. "Him."
The man was considerably a different variety than most other sellers in the market. Besides wearing clothing that was close to the pricing of Hongjoong's and San's outfits, he sold considerable botany that even Seonghwa would look at and fine jewelry that both of them knew better than to touch. He was a gem in the midst of trash, and Hongjoong knew nothing would make him happier than to knock him down a few pegs.
San smiled at Hongjoong's choice. "A rich boy," he said, quirking his eyebrows. "Why?"
"I don't like how he carries himself, thinking that he's better than everyone else in this market," Hongjoong said flatly, eyeing him with suspicion. "He reminds me of me."
San chuckled. "Then, let's not hold back." He sauntered over to the seller with alluring eyes and struck up a conversation. Hongjoong couldn't hear exactly of what words were being exchanged, but it was clearly an engaging talk with how the seller's stance turned from tense and alert to relaxed and easy-going. He must have thought San was going to rob him as he approached. He should have been more wise. San was a vampire of the worst kind.
"The king just simply cannot have all of this stuff lying around," the merchant was laughing to San while Hongjoong slid up next to him. "Oh? A friend of yours?" He asked, looking at Hongjoong up and down.
"A friend indeed," Hongjoong said to him. He struggled to read San's face, because now it had changed. San had been engaged in the conversation, Hongjoong could tell even from far away, but now his demeanor had fallen. There was a hint of rage hidden behind his eyes, and Hongjoong knew exactly why.
San had once been a healer of sorts for a royal family. Almost every member, from the queen to her youngest son, were anemic, and it was up to San to regulate their blood at all times. But he quarreled with the king frequently, who thought San was doing a less-than-ideal job at helping his family with their condition. It wasn't until the youngest son died because of his anemia did the king react violently to San and threatened to fire him. But San had reacted back equally as violent - stopping blood flow to his heart and giving the king a heart attack as they fought in the throne room. The palace had revived him with another spirabic, but the damage was done and San's reputation was ruined. San fled the castle before the king could awaken and accuse him of an attempted assassination.
Hongjoong knew of his backstory and had spared no time in recruiting him. After all, the news of a defective royal spirabic spread like fire, and the flames had interested him.
But standing with this merchant, he had to applaud San for his restraint to not blow the head off of the royal merchant. Perhaps the prospect of blowing it off later with Hongjoong is what kept him only simmering. It was another mystery as to how the merchant didn't even recognize San. Hongjoong decided to not complain about the luck they had.
"Ah, the blessed kingdom?" San said, putting on a shining smile that Hongjoong almost believed. "Why must the king go here to sell things? Is he not content with the riches he has?" The merchant was shocked at San's boldness, but San's laugh that came after was so hearty that he joined in.
"I'm not sure why he wants to sell these trinkets here," the merchant said. "But it's what His Highness requests, so I oblige." San nodded his head and gave a soft smile. Hongjoong wasn't sure what rage or anger he had boiling his blood, but he was sure that San was done with being nice to a royal family kiss-ass. He gave a look to San, who was glad to reciprocate it.
Hongjoong shoved the merchant's table forward. All of the contents on the table shuddered and remained on the table, but the table hit the merchant's leg. "Oops," Hongjoong shrugged while the merchant furrowed his brow and rubbed his leg. "You're okay, right?"
"Yes, I'm fine," the merchant said, ruffled, and Hongjoong clenched his fist from inside his pocket. He could immediately see the pain rise like an enormous wave behind the merchant's eyes. He cringed with pain but still managed to stand. It wasn't in Hongjoong's interest to make him scream - he gave that privilege and right to San.
And San was more than ready. San's hand moved and the merchant furrowed his eyebrows even more. "Is everything okay?" San asked with a smile as the merchant's eyes began to twitch. He looked back and forth between Hongjoong and San like they had something to do with his pain, but ultimately focused back to his leg. Hongjoong wasn't sure what San had done, but it seemed slow and painful.
"Not really," the merchant said, wincing. "Excuse me, gentlemen," he said before limping into his stand's back area. San flicked his hand again and the merchant whimpered from behind the stand's back curtain. Almost immediately, a band of small children rushed in front of them and stole the rare plants off of the merchant's now vacant table.
"What did you do?" Hongjoong asked as he helped put the botany into the children's bags.
"I cut off blood flow in his left leg only," San said simply. His mouth quirked upward. "Or you could say, I blocked an artery. If he's fast enough, he might be able to have surgery to fix it. If he doesn't..."
"Death," Hongjoong finished, and San could only nod.
"Or amputation. I'm not sure how good the court spirabics are anymore. I don't care, either way." San gave a smile and waved for Hongjoong to follow him further into the market, his anger now behind him. A third party was hurt, and only half of the team was present in the market.
Another blue-robed man strolled into the market, but he was flanked by a man in grey. Mingi and Yeosang were the next of their group to enter the black market. Yeosang, the one clothed in grey, was a corpic like many of the others on their team. But he wasn't a spirabic, he was a cerebric, a special classification for corpics that dealt with the mind rather than the body. He could manipulate and damage the minds of anyone so long as he touched them. Yeosang's eyes, which had anything but mindlessness in them, flickered back and forth at different merchants in the black market like he was sizing up his victims.
Mingi, the taller and blue-robed one, was a spirabic. But in many ways, he was closer to Yeosang's power than any of the other spirabics in his team. Mingi could manipulate feelings and spike hormones on a switch. And while he didn't directly deal with the mind, he could still make anyone lose their mind if he added enough adrenaline to their body.
But while the two of them had powers that were very similar, they had drastically different backgrounds. Yeosang was a rarer breed of occult that was classified as dangerous by most schools that taught occult students. Hence, he was barred from most schools and didn't bother trying to convince them otherwise. There wasn't a good bone in his body and fellow occultists had made sure of that.
While Mingi, like many of the other spirabics on the team, had tried occult school. Mingi had learned how to lower adrenaline and calm anxiety. He had been the cure for marital problems and the savior for depression. But he had quickly learned it was infinitely more rewarding to cause pain and chaos rather than healing.
"This place is a dump," Yeosang scoffed as they weaved through the endless paths of the market. "Truly, people have lost their minds even without our help. Their products are shit."
"Less of a market and more of a dump," Mingi replied and walked by a little girl standing near a stand. She burst into tears. Yeosang was mildly amused.
Just as Yeosang was about to glance at a stand's contents, a running customer rammed into Yeosang's shoulder without warning. Neither Mingi nor Yeosang seemed too worried - in fact, a smile grew on Yeosang's face. He turned around stared at the customer while he kept running.
Almost immediately, the man stopped running and began screaming, hopping and clutching his feet like he had stepped on a thousand spikes barefoot. "Lava!" He howled before diving directly into a nearby stand, and Yeosang had to bite his lip to not burst into laughter as the stand's owner began yelling and swearing at the man who was saving himself from lava.
"Don't bump into me, next time," Yeosang murmured under his breath as a group of young men started a fist fight as Mingi strolled by them. Mingi held up his hands by his face and circled around the fight like he was surprised by this sudden confrontation.
"I'll say it again, this has got to be one of the most disgusting markets I've ever walked in," Mingi muttered when he and Yeosang were clear of the fight he had evoked. "But I guess that makes things more fun."
Yeosang nodded, side-stepping a man who was moaning for medical help and clutching his ankle. "Who should we really have fun with?"
The two surveyed the crowd of people around them, from dirty merchants to buyers with large inheritances to families with six children. There was a large variety to pick from, and Mingi was going to suggest doing a usual mind warp of a random merchant when Yeosang nudged him and nodded towards a young girl standing by a stand, paying no attention to the objects sold at the stand.
Her focus was only on the boy selling the items at the stand. Any blind person could see that she was madly in love. With how her body was only moments away from turning into a pile of mush and her eyes were physically in the shape of hearts, Yeosang and Mingi almost felt pity for her - the guy that she was in love with gave her no attention. His attention switched from a small amount of cash in his hands to the strange purple and green bottles on the table in front of him, like the girl wasn't even there.
"Playing matchmaker, are we?" Yeosang smirked at Mingi.
"Perhaps at first," Mingi murmured, walking closer to them so he could see his handiwork more clearly. "But you'll make sure that's not the end result." He pulled his hand from his pocket and waved it, a gesture seemingly innocent and regular.
The boy dropped the money in his hands and looked at the girl with a new appreciation, and the girl was startled by the sudden interest. Yeosang had to stifle a laugh as he nudged by the boy and got his own magic to work.
"... you're so beautiful," the guy was saying like he and the girl were alone in the market. "Truly a sight. Forgive my forwardness, but I have a small sum of money. Could I go to dinner with you and spend it all?"
The girl was a frantic and blushing mess. "Of course," she hummed, grabbing his hands and holding them close to her chest.
"They're gonna kiss," Mingi said and hastily put on a pair of sunglasses.
"And those sunglasses will save your sight?" Yeosang murmured as the two lovers locked lips right in front of them. Mingi's eyes weren't visible anymore, but his mouth was in a prominent frown. Public affection was apparently the price to pay for evil deeds.
"What exactly did you do?" Mingi muttered again, only seeing his own magic working. "We're playing Cupid rather than mind-fucking magicians."
"Watch," Yeosang said, and Mingi closed his mouth.
The new couple was now enwrapped in each other's arms like they were puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. The boy stroked the girl's hair while he stared at her face and a few passerbys gagged and swooned.
"I love you," he said, not wasting his time in the relationship. The girl sighed and began pulling her hair tie out of her ponytail.
"Yeosang," Mingi hissed. "I do not want to watch a few teenagers rail-"
But he was cut off by a shriek from the girl. She was clutching the boy's small necklace around his neck with rage in her eyes. Yeosang glimmered.
"You have someone already," she growled and shook the necklace in front of the boy's face. It was just a normal necklace and the boy was sputtering out of genuine confusion. And it was a normal necklace. But Yeosang had made the girl think that there was a couple ring strung onto the chain.
"You're a genius," Mingi said, he himself not entirely sure of what exactly Yeosang had done. He flicked his hand again.
"You asshole!" The girl screamed, flames in her eyes. Mingi raised his eyebrows and admired his handiwork of adrenaline. She yanked the boy's necklace backward so that the chain clung tightly to the boy's neck. "You fucking cunt," she bellowed and pulled the chain as hard as she could. Mingi saw an opportunity and took it. He wasted no time to flick his hand again and the boy's head came off of his shoulders with a superhuman yank of the necklace from the girl.
Shocked bystanders began rushing towards the girl and pulling her away as she began to stomp on his decapitated head and scream swears at his corpse. Some were holding her back and others were trying to soothe her, but Mingi wasn't sure that was possible anymore. He smiled.
"Nice job," Yeosang and Mingi murmured to each other, amused at the scene they had created. Mingi had taken off his sunglasses. This was infinitely more entertaining to pay attention to.
"It'll go into the books," Yeosang said casually and began to walk away from the scene. The girl's yelling and screaming was a noise to behold. He was sure Hongjoong would want to know about it once they were all through the market.
"Decapitated by Cupid's machete," Mingi said, and followed him away from the lovestruck wreckage and further into the black market's depths.
The final pair of occults from the team entered the market. Again, there was another member with a blue robe and big eyes that showed his youth. They sparkled with a child-like glamor, but the glamor was of malice rather than wonder. The tall one beside him was in all black.
Jongho was a spirabic like most of the rest of the team and was their newest recruit. Only two months ago he had been at school and had genuinely enjoyed school, unlike the rest of them that had attempted academia. His power was something Hongjoong had never seen, so he had made it his priority to claim Jongho for his own when he first heard about his power and potential. When part of the team had arrived to meet him disguised as scouters for a more specialized school for talented spirabics, he was lowering the heart rate of a sleeping patient in the school's infirmary.
He had greeted them with bright eyes and a smile that could melt anyone. "You're the recruitment school, are you not?" He said politely, his dark hair fluttering as he nodded his head in greeting.
"Jongho, have you ever killed anyone?" Hongjoong said without preamble. The rest of the spirabics that were with Hongjoong - Mingi, Wooyoung, and San - shuffled in surprise to hear how upfront he was.
Jongho's eyes widened like he had been slapped in the face. "No!" He cried, putting a hand over his mouth. But Hongjoong watched as his eyes began to flicker around the infirmary. They were the only ones there. Incrementally, his body began to lose tension and he stepped backward to feel the consciousness of the sleeping patient.
"No," he had repeated, his eyes darkening. "But I want to."
And now Jongho had killed dozens already as a new member of the team with his power of manipulating bodily vitals. Lowering heart rate for restful sleep had turned into stopping hearts. Healing lungs had turned into snatching the air from them for a quick death. Even when Jongho had just joined their team to make them eight, Yunho had still seen bits of humanity in his eyes. It had made his eyes bright and gave illumination to their group of darkness and treachery. There was no light in them as he twitched his fingers and a nearby merchant was dead before he hit the floor.
"Nice," Yunho murmured.
"He had a bad heart anyway," Jongho said idly, shoving one hand in his long coat pocket and slipping a silver chain from the dead man's stand into another pocket.
Yunho reveled in the sight of dead bodies. His interest in them was not only because he relished in killing, but because he himself was a manipulator of the dead. Being a mortuumic, Yunho was even more rare than Yeosang's brand of corpic. He was also much more feared and despised by other occults of any kind. He had been an obvious choice for Hongjoong's team - no school wanted a boy that could animate their dead loved ones like a mad puppeteer. Hongjoong had looked in his general direction and Yunho was more than happy to be of use and join him.
"I know what we can do," Jongho muttered to Yunho as they slithered through the packed crowds. "I know what would be fun." He nodded to what Yunho thought was the dirtiest and most disheveled homeless man he'd ever seen in his life.
"Him?" Yunho said, raising his eyebrows. The usual plan when Jongho and Yunho were together was to murder and then reanimate a person. They had done it a few times already with success, such as robbing a villager's shop with his deceased brother's body a month back. Yunho didn't need to wonder if that was their plan for this homeless man - it was a given. But he was shocked when Jongho quickened his pace towards the homeless man and knelt down before him in a kind gesture.
"You're probably hungry," he said in a soft voice that was unlike him and took out a piece of bread from his pockets. He held it out to the homeless man and gave him a sweet look. The man's face broke into a smile so large that it cracked the dry skin around his mouth - he had not smiled in a long time. His graying hands stole the bread from Jongho's hands and he was eating it not even a second later. Yunho was surprised to see that the bread wasn't laced with poison and he hadn't dropped dead immediately.
"Why?" The homeless man croaked after he had finished his meal, looking at Jongho with wide eyes. "You are a man of silk and wealth. Are you a God come to aid me?"
Jongho's eyes shimmered, and Yunho wasn't sure with what. "Yes," he said softly, then pulled out the silver chain he had stolen only minutes ago. "Take this, sir. I only wish to see you happy for the rest of your life."
The man burst into tears as his calloused fingers rubbed the fine chains. He couldn't speak, but his body shaking with sobs and how he held the chain was telling of how much he appreciated the gesture. Jongho stood up and dusted off his blue robe, the man sobbing at his feet like he was Jesus. And he almost did look like him; in that moment, his soft and regal eyes reflected the good deed he had just done and his robe yielded a commanding yet gentle presence that did make him seem kingly. But Yunho knew better than to think that this was all Jongho had planned. Yet, he was still confused by his teammate's actions.
Yunho opened his mouth to ask Jongho what his plan was exactly when the sobbing suddenly stopped. Yunho's eyes darted to Jongho's hands immediately and saw they were in a fist shape. The homeless man was writhing on the ground, clutching his chest like his heart was about to burst from his body. Then he was motionless, his eyes devoid of the light that had been brought into them by Jongho's kindness. Jongho's eyes glimmered again, then he locked eyes with Yunho, a smirk dancing across his lips.
"Now, I pass the torch to you," he said softly.
And it now clicked as to why Jongho had done what he had done. Yunho had a fear that even during those first few seconds of the homeless man's death, someone in the busy market would have noticed. But Jongho had turned the focus to himself by being a samaritan for the man, and unless closely inspected, it appeared that the man was too happy over his recent fortune to be able to stand up. His delirious smile was still etched onto his face, commanded by Jongho's statement that he would be happy for the rest of his life.
But it was now Yunho's turn to show off. While Jongho could manipulate the living, Yunho commanded the dead. His eyes flickered with rapture and he lifted his hands in a gesture he had done a thousand times. He acknowledged the presence of the man's still heart, and then, carefully, let it beat.
It was a soft and slow beat, not a rhythm that any human could live by. But it was enough to flood bits of pink to his cheeks, hands, and neck to make him appear a little more alive. Yunho felt the man's legs, arms, and chest, then willed him to rise in a flourish of necromancy. The man stood, his smile now relaxed and natural. He swung his newly acquired silver chain in his hands and gave a wild grin to Jongho like he had just said a humorous joke.
Yunho wasted no more time on showing off his talent of necromancy. He flicked his arms and the homeless man took off running through the market with that joyous grin on his face that Jongho had given him, attracting attention from everyone who passed him. "Stole it!" He proclaimed, lassoing the chain around his head. Yunho whirled his finger and the man did a flying leap before snagging a bottled glass potion from a nearby table and nearly running over a toddler toddling in the street. The salesman shrieked, and soon the homeless man was being chased by multiple shopkeepers as he kept stealing trinkets and trophies off of stands and tables.
Jongho watched the entire spectacle with a bored expression. "Cheer up," Yunho whispered to him and flicked his arm. The man did a pirouette. "I haven't even gotten to the fun part yet."
The scene of the homeless man running gleefully with an armful of black market treasures while a stampede of angry shoplifters on his heels was a sight to behold. A shopkeeper was approaching him rapidly though, so Yunho decreased the homeless man's speed so that he could catch up.
"You thieving fuck," the shopkeeper growled before grabbing a hold of the man's shirt collar. On cue, Yunho dropped his hands and the homeless man dropped to the ground with them, dead as he was when Jongho had first halted his heart.
The shock on the shopkeeper's face was indescribable. "He's dead," he cried, but his voice was swallowed up by the squabbling shopkeepers that had raced close behind him, now circling the dead man to reclaim their belongings. It didn't seem to matter that their thief was a corpse on the ground, not when there were still living customers to be served.
Yunho grinned with pleasure. Jongho nodded to him. "Nice," he said, giving a small clap. "What a scene. A true spectacle. I would have paid money to see that."
"Then what a treat that it was free," Yunho smirked. He straightened himself and yawned. "And now, we can get ourselves out of here."
Yunho and Jongho walked out of the black market and found Hongjoong first, San mulling around behind him with a glimmer of triumph in his eyes. "We had a fun time," Yunho shared, and Jongho nodded his head in agreement.
"I was called a God by a homeless man," Jongho bragged. "Before I killed him, of course."
"We also had our fair share of fun," Hongjoong grinned and looked at San. "We met a royal merchant. San gave him some painful blood clots."
"Sounds absolutely riveting," Yunho smiled.
Seonghwa came up from behind them with a smug look plastered across his face. "I mostly strolled around, but I killed a boy with lettuce," he said casually.
Wooyoung was carving intricate patterns into a suspiciously shiny bone using his fingers. "And I broke someone's leg."
Yeosang and Mingi emerged from the market, smiling like they had just won the lottery. "And we decapitated a guy," Mingi said with cheer, giving a thumbs up to his team.
The eight of them looked at each other for a moment and then burst into laughter, Seonghwa holding onto his stomach and Wooyoung bent over while he howled.
"That was fun," Wooyoung exclaimed. "The most fun at a black market that I've ever had."
"If only causing trouble was ever that easy or entertaining," Yeosang mused. "It's hard to conceal what you're doing to someone out in the open. The crowds made it so easy to go unnoticed."
The eight of them chatted about their experience in the market, from the nonexistent cleanliness to the terrible and fake items being sold. Seonghwa was ready to go onto a long tangent about the utter disrespect he witnessed for many different types of plants when Hongjoong held up his hand and silenced him.
"I must remind you all that our journey isn't over just yet," he said, his eyes hovering over all of them with a look that only leaders possessed. "We're not yet in possession of our medical supplies."
"Or the botany," Seonghwa reminded him.
"Or the botany," Hongjoong added. "And it may sell fast. Therefore, we cannot waste any more time on trivial talks. At least, not just standing here." His hands went to the flute on his side and he slid it out of its case. "You all go forward. I will be right there."
The others knew what Hongjoong was going to do. They parted from him, and Hongjoong put the flute to his lips. He then blew, and a soft, airy note rose out of the instrument, not unlike the one he had played when they had first arrived on the other side of the market. The note was the team's farewell to the market. But it was also a haunting reminder that they would be back at the market on their return trip, obsessed with the science of pain like moths to a flame.
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yuri vlive 180621
start time: 9:30pm kst
“i missed you guys so much!”
“how are you guysssss”
“i’m good, good, i’m you are happy fellow atiny!”
“i could be better, :(( atiny, dont be sad, mood maker yuri is here to the rescue! :D”
“how have you been yuri unnie? i’ve been really good :), i’ve been resting a lot recently 😌, and i’m really relaxed right now :)”
“are you in your room right now? yeah i actually am haha, hongjoong oppa and seonghwa oppa aren’t in here though, so i thought it would be okay if i did a vlive in my room hehe. i’m not gonna give you guys a room tour though, it’s quite messy 🤭”
“have you listen to twice’s new comeback? yes i have actually :D, i haven’t listened to all the b-sides yet though.... i listened to alcohol free, first time and cry for me eng ver! my friend who has the album let me borrow her cd so i could listen to it hehe (sure sure yuri, we all knew you listened to it on youtube 🙄✋). i love cry for me so much, do you all like that song? it came out awhile ago but i wanna do a cover of it :D. i wanna cover alcohol free too, i already know the chorus!!!”
*does the dance in tiny, shes so cute stop it”
“champagne, lime my tequila with lime, sweet mimosa piña colada, i’m drunk on youuuuu ohhhhh, i’m drunk on youuuuu.”
“i love that part so much :D ohhh and dahyun’s and chaeyoung’s part is so addicting too!! i love summer comebacks so much. i wanna do one again, but i’m not sure if the members want to do it again 😐😐. they are so lame :/, they always wanna be sexy and i’m like guys guys, there’s only room enough for one sexy person in this group, and it’s me.”
“just kiddingggggg all the members are sexy. and cute. hehe.”
“yuri give us a tmi pleaseee, 🧐🧐, do you want a gross one or a normal one ☺️☺️”
“a normal one ahhhhhh, you guys are boring :/ jk jk jk :0, recently i’ve been watching loki :0, the show itself is kinda confusing, it barely makes sense. hongjoong oppa was watching it with me and he asked me to explain it to him and i was like 😟😟 i don’t even know dude. and then i was able to explain it to him the next day, he says it still doesn’t make sense :/. i don’t know how to explain stuff to old people 😭😭.”
“hongjoong oppa is only one year older than you why are you calling him old yuri 😭😭😭, one year too old guys, one year too old.”
“where’s wooyoung? hm, i don’t know guys :0, i would look for him but our dorm is kinda messy😭, should i call him??”
“hopefully he picks up....”
*dances to the phone ringing, shes so cute stop it*
“wooyoung :0, atiny wanna say hi!!”
“oh, your on vlive?? i thought you were just home :00”
“yeah hehe, i’m doing it in my room :), i’m gonna put you on speakerphone okay?”
“hi atinyyyyy, i know yuri is so boring :/“
“i’m not boring 😡, what are you talking about sir.”
“sure sure keep telling yourself that.”
“ i’m not boring 😡”
*wooyoung hangs up on her 😭*
“:0, he didn’t even say bye :(“
“he wants me to call him back, i’m not gonna do it :(.”
“yuri i’m so happy your hair is blonde again, you are so pretty!!! awh thank you! i like this hair a lot too, although it’s kinda scary to dye it blonde to be honest 😭😭.”
“what’s your favorite marvel series so far? hmmm i really liked wandavision :D i love wanda so much, the last few episodes literally broke my heart :(. the whole series did actually. wanda deserves better 😡😡”
“hmmmmm, wait atiny you never answered if in should cover cry for me :0, what do you guys think :)))”
“yes yes cover it you’ll look so pretty, awhhhh thank you :)))”
“yes i love cry for me so much, go for it! :D yes okay, thank you hehe.”
“i might just cover the chorus though :0, that’s really the only part i know”
“i’ll dress up fancy though and have someone record me in the practice room :D”
“what do you do if you can’t sleep? hmmm, i normally watch stuff on youtube or just mess around on my phone :) sometimes i get too impatient to sleep and just stay awake if i woke up earlier in the day though.”
“yuri my friend isn’t responding to my texts, what should i do?, they might be busy, they will eventually get back to you! but if they are mad or upset with you, don’t worry, they might just need some space, they’ll talk to you when they are ready!”
“did you hear that soyeon is going to have a solo comeback??? :0 what no i didn’t!!! awh i’m so excited :D. i loved yuqi’s solo comeback so so much, bonnie and clyde is prolly my fav song. and i heard minnie is going to be in a netflix show :0, i’m so excited for both of them! i’ll make sure to check it out :))”
“awhhh song-mi back again, you guys are so cute, hehe thank you! yuqi is so nice and pretty :) i love her, i miss her too :(, yuqi, if you see this, let’s hang out soon! :)).”
“yuri what songs are you currently listening to? hmmmmm, wolfgang by stray kids hehe, wolf gang WOLF WOLF wolfgang WOLF WOLF brrrr we go wild :D..... that was embarssing..... ummm, riBBon by bambam, ohhhh that song is so good :D and alcohol free by twice! absolute bops :), oh and the real, by ateez of course :). i love that song so much omg, it’s so energetic :0.”
“are you close to any of the stray kids members?? yeah, hehe, i talk to chan and jisung sometimes, but i’m closer to changbin. i haven’t really met the other members :(, i want to though. they all seem super cool!”
“ohhhh your friends with changbin? yeah :D, we don’t get to talk often though since we are pretty busy, but we got really close during the mayfly unit :). it was kinda just those things where you like, connect, you know what i mean :0.”
“what was your favorite kingdom stage to perform? i liked all of them so much really :0, but i think my favorite was probably answer or the real, i really liked the story line to the answer performance, and it just gave me such a connection to atiny after awhile, i miss you guys so much :(. and i really liked performing the real because it was something new and different and it was such a happy and upbeat performance to do :D”
“what member would you like to be for a day? i’m guessing i can’t pick myself 😀....ummm i honestly don’t know :0. hongjoong oppa or mingi since both of them are big brained :)).”
“i’ll be right back guys, i have to pee.”
“okayyyy i’m beck guys, and with a snack :D”
*holds up a bag of mini oreos*
“i used to eat these all the time as a kid hehe, i used to eat the creme first and then the cookie, and that’s the best way of eating it :)”
*holds up two oreos in front of her eyes*
“hehe, i’m cute arent i?”
“recommend me a movie! it, i just watched “it“ a few days ago with the members, i hid under a blanket during the scary parts but it was a really good movie!”
“who screamed while watching the movie? hmmm i think we all did at one point 😭.”
“hmmm, well atiny i’m gonna wrap it up so you all can get some rest! i love you <3 byeeeeee”
end time: 10:20 pm kst
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🎭: "Last dance" — 1
crossover! park seonghwa (박성화) & kim chungha (긱청하) - 1,830 words
'I wish i had more time by your side', was all Chungha could think about. Originally so joyful, the kind to cheer up anybody, she was today sadder than she ever had been.
She was very expressive, and her face was the part everybody could look at to guess her feelings. But tonight, the only thing people could see was sadness. In fact, she was more than sad: she was devastated. She was trying her best to hide it, but she was sometimes failing and couldn’t hide it. It was impossible. The secret she was keeping was too much to handle. And this secret was the reason for her broken heart, of her messed up future life.
Her arms on her lover’s chest, her head on his shoulder as they were dancing the slow dance playing in the background. Everybody's eyes were on them. Who would miss a chance to see the princess dancing with her lover?
Her eyes landed on a man. And as soon as their eyes met, the man had a smirk showing off how proud he was: this man knew the secret. This man knew everything. Chungha’s heart broke a little more. She was trying her best to hold her tears back — which was a tough task.
'I can’t believe we’re gonna have the eternity to dance this way together', was all Seonghwa could think about. Nothing was official, but he wasn’t scared to call Chungha his: his girlfriend, his lover, his future wife. She was his. His only.
He was very protective over her. He was also very demonstrative; since he was too shy to tell her directly he loved her, he was demonstrating his feelings with gestures, and other words — they were the opposite of the other, but they say opposites attract.
His hands on her waist, he was leading Chungha through this dance. He couldn't kiss her forehead, even though he would have loved this. His head was simply resting on the top of Chungha's. On his face, everybody would see he was feeling proud. He was proud to call Chungha his, and to show them all she was his.
No doubts about this: they were each other's soulmate.
Slowly, the music stops. The musicians followed the instructions given by the conductor, and they all placed their instruments on their lap or on the ground to take a break.
But shortly after, a sweet melody was heard in the room: a delicate melody, the one created by a few slight tinklings on a crystal glass.
Everybody turned around to face the person who created this melody: a tall man, quite impressive because of his strong aura, well dressed. He was the one who did this.
“Chungha. My daughter. Can you come please?”
The man extended his arm to ask Chungha to come — which she did. She softly grabbed her father's hand, and approached him to stand by his side.
“I've always said that i didn't want this country to see me die. What type of king would i be to let my beloved citizens witness my death? What type of king would i be to die, and leave you with a horrible scene of my body? I want my country to remember me as a king, not as a dead person.”
Chungha was lowering her head, looking at her hands before her lower stomach. She was nervous: she knew a few minutes were left. A few minutes were left before her life became a mess.
What would his reaction be? How would he react towards you? Will he let you explain yourself? And what happened? Will he be so mad he won’t let you talk to him?
“This is why finding a future husband for my daughter, your future queen, was something important to me. And today… i want to let you know that i’ve found the perfect person for Chungha. I believe he’ll be helping her through her reign, and will be the best support for her.”
The people in the room were all clapping and screaming, happy to know there is an heir. Seonghwa was clapping too, and had a big smile one — one of the prettiest Chungha have ever seen.
“Can we please greet him? Chungha’s fiancé, Jongho!”
Everybody was clapping again, screaming, whistling. They all were happy for them both. But Chungha wasn’t happy for them both.
Jongho came by her side, and wrapped an arm around her waist. It was as if he knew what to do to hurt them both: to hurt Chungha and Seonghwa. He was waving his hand to the others, a big smile, and an innocent one. He was faking the happiest fiancé ever. While Seonghwa’s eyes teared up, just as Chungha’s. They were the only ones, here, unhappy about this announcement. The two sad souls lost in the euphoria of the moment. The two souls, sad, mentally devastated and in the dark, in this bright room.
Even Jongho squeezing her waist slightly wasn’t enough to snap her out of her mind.
Seonghwa ran away when he couldn’t look at Jongho and Chungha any longer. The more he was looking at them, the more he was devastated. It was unbearable.
Chungha wasted no more time, and ran after him. Everybody stopped celebrating this news, they were all shocked by what they just witnessed.
Jongho first stayed there, and tried to calm everybody by giving fake excuses. Yet the king quickly cut off Jongho.
“What are you doing, son? Is that how you think she’ll come back? Is that how you think she’s gonna be less sad? Don’t you think it’s your time to run after her?”
Jongho rolled his eyes, and walked to the door Seonghwa, and Chungha ran through.
He cursed when he was all alone. He was nonchalantly walking around to try and find them both.
Chungha screamed after the one she was truly in love with, and Jongho heard it too. He walked towards the spot he heard the scream from. He found Chungha, holding on the man’s waist, crying in his chest, as he was wiping away his own tears. He wasn’t holding back on Chungha, and Jongho guessed it was because of how devastated he was.
He stayed aback, hidden, to listen to them.
“You knew it, didn't you? I’m sure you knew it!”
Seonghwa was looking down at Chungha, holding onto his shirt, not daring to look him in the eyes.
“I did.. but i tried to talk to him multiple times.. I don’t wanna marry him.. You’re the one i love.. you know that, right?”
“Why didn’t you tell me your father was planning to do this? Why didn’t you at least warn me? I thought i was the prince he had chosen! Can you think about the how i felt when i heard his name? How i felt when i saw him standing next to you?”
“And can you think about how i feel knowing i’ll have to kiss him because he’s my husband? And how i feel knowing i’ll have fake happiness by his side?
Seonghwa stayed quiet. He didn’t say anything else. And Jongho was already feeling happy about the moment. He knew he was the problem: and he loved it.
“No matter what’s happening, you’re the one i love.. Trust me, Hwa…”
“Jongho stole everything from me.. He stole MY everything..”
“He didn’t stole me from you. We’re not over. And he won’t steal our family from you.”
Chungha wrapped her arms around Seonghwa’s waist. Jongho was surprised about her words, and Seonghwa seemed to not understand what she was seeing.
“I’m pregnant, Hwa. I’m pregnant with your baby. I’m gonna pretend the baby’s Jongho’s, but i won’t let the baby call him dad. You are the baby’s dad. And no one else.”
“The baby will call me dad. Whether you like it or not.”
Jongho came out from his hiding-place, the same smirk as before on his lips. he was in control, and he loved this situation.
“The baby won’t. I won’t let him, or her, doing so. You won’t ever be someone to the baby.”
Seonghwa wrapped an arm around Chungha’s shoulders, and brought her closer to him. Jongho was acting proud, but Seonghwa knew he already won the fight. The family they built together was enough to trust they were not over.
“You’re gonna tell them it’s my child. But if the child doesn’t call me dad, won’t it be weird?”
Jongho still had his smirk on. He thought he was trapping them.
“Do i call my dad dad ? I don’t. The baby’s gonna call you Jongho. And so will i.”
Seonghwa smiled. He didn’t trap them at all. Chungha was right. And he trusted her: they were not over.
The elder let go of Chungha when he heard footsteps. And the man who entered the room was the king; a good thing Seonghwa let go of Chungha.
“How is it going, Jongho?”
“It’s doing good. Isn’t it, Chungha?”
The woman, taken aback, came by Jongho’s side, and shyly wrapped an arm around Jongho’s.
She was looking down to her feet covered with her dress.
“Chungha announced to me she’s pregnant. Isn’t it good news, his Highness?”
The king was shocked by this sudden announcement. Seonghwa tried to hide the anger he was feeling, and Jongho was showing how proud he was by this big smile.
Chungha waited for the king to say something, to react, while she was tightening her hold around his arm to try and punish him.
“This is amazing, my daughter! I have to tell them!”
The king left, almost running to the main room, while Seonghwa and Chungha were giving a deadly glare at Jongho.
“What? You would’ve told him sooner or later, no? You better thank me.”
Jongho squeezed his arm to be free again. He walked away, happily, ti the main room too. And quickly after, Chungha and Seonghwa heard screams and clappings: the euphoria.
Chungha looked back at Seonghwa. Again, the man looked devastated.
“He’s indeed stealing my family… I should be the one there, under the clappings.”
Seonghwa lowered his head, holding back his tears.
“This won’t last. As soon as i can.. i’ll leave him. I wanna love by your side, and nothing can hold me back.”
“But… and the kingdom? What will they think if you leave him? And i don’t want you to run away either.”
Chungha approached Seonghwa, and took both his arms in hers.
“I don’t care about having a kingdom if you’re not my king.”
Seonghwa passionately kissed Chungha. And she kissed him back. This kiss was full of love and passion: it was everything they were feeling for each other.
Seonghwa picked up Chungha, bridal style, and walked away.
Neither of them were caring about going back there. They wanted to spend some more time together, before everything changed...