Mist of the Realms Chapter 3: Chapter 2

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She walked closer to the sleeping young boy. His face was getting paler and paler each second so she panicked. "I'll save you. I'll save you." She chanted. She reached out to the boy and saw her own shaking hands. She was shivering—she had to save the boy.
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Yujin jerked back to reality when her eyes opened wide. She sat up immediately, her breathing was heavy and she was sweating profusely. What was that dream? She frowned. Upon calming down, she looked around the empty classroom—it was already dark. The cleaners did not bother to wake her up, she concluded. However, judging the fact that the classroom was not very clean, she knew that the cleaners probably escaped after the last bell. She, on the other hand, fell asleep even before the last class ended. It was Friday anyway—there would be no class the next day.

A sense of déjà vu hit her. It reminded her of what happened a few days ago. She had almost forgotten about that since she and Mingyu did not talk to each other again after that. She had also not seen the librarian anymore after that.

She checked the time with the use of her phone and it clearly said that it was almost seven. Great, she could only grunt. She looked around and the total darkness welcomed her. It scared her but she mustered all her courage to stand up. As fast as she could, she took her bag with her and headed out of the room. She had to run down the hallway and the stairs—the fact that she was from the third floor did not help.

Yujin bit her lower lip, seeing that there was a guard outside, sitting on his chair. She did not know how to explain nor did she want to explain herself. Climbing the gates was tempting yet she had no ability of climbing it. She removed her ponytail in attempt to conceal her identity, letting her wavy black hair lose.

Bracing herself, she walked closer to guard and noticed that he was fast asleep, even snoring his head off. Yujin sighed on relief. "Thank goodness I have such a good luck. Heavens must be on my side." She uttered. Taking one last look at the sleeping guard, she ran away.

She would have kept on running if not for her growling stomach. Her mother would not be back home soon and she ran out of instant noodles. "I should buy something." She muttered to herself, pulling up her white sleeves and straightening her navy blue blazer and her red plaid skirt that almost reached her knees. She had to at least look presentable.

She took a sharp turn at the familiar alleyway where she knew she could see a convenient store with not that many people. She had done this many times yet for some reasons, she felt shivers down her spine. She wanted to ignore those shivers but the more she walked, the more she felt it. She froze on her spot upon seeing some teenage boys cornering around ten older men.

Yujin did not want to step up—she was no Wonder Woman nor was she Super girl. Still, she could not find the courage to just leave—no, not when she knew the uniform the teenage boys were wearing and especially not when she finally managed to get a good look at the three teenage boys. She curled her hands into a fist.

It was Kim Mingyu along with his gang, Xu Minghao, and Lee Seokmin. Yujin knew that they were strange but the last thing she assumed was that they were part of some gang.

While she was still pondering if she were to step up or just leave, she almost fainted at the next scene. The old men turned to some huge shadows. Nothing else were seen from them except for their figures. Plus, it was dark so one should look closely in order to see them.

Yujin would like to believe that it was a nightmare of some sort. However, it felt so real to be one.
"Dang it! They're Shadows!" She heard Seokmin exclaim. "I'm going to use my Force Field." He said and in a moment, the three boys were surrounded by a red shield.

Yujin felt like fainting but watched the scene nevertheless. It was almost funny—three men fighting with shadows. She would have laughed except it was happening right in front of her. For some reasons, her chest felt heavy and she could not seem to move from her place. She wished that she would be invisible. She wished that everything would go by without her being noticed.

The shadows joined forces, combining themselves to form a bigger shadow monster—it's a 'monster' for the lack of better terms that Yujin could think of. It seemed to be so ready kill the three boys until it turned to Yujin and met her eyes. Yujin could have snorted because a shadow had no eyes. Nonetheless, she could feel its eyes on hers. She could not move so she resorted to screaming at the top of her lungs—her calm facade was thrown away.

She tried wriggling away from the shadow to no avail. She could feel her body being squashed. She was being dizzy and she found it really hard to breathe. She closed her eyes as she struggled.
Die, die, die! Her mind chanted. Her body froze. In a split second, she was released by the shadow and was caught by someone else. Her mind could not function that well anymore. The last thing that she saw was the decaying body of the old men before everything turned black.

===

"We should have been more careful. She could've died."

"But she did not, not even a bruise, so don't beat yourself up for it."

"Just what is she?"

Yujin stirred from her sleep, rolling on the bed a little. It was a soft bed, softer than hers—that simple fact plus the fact that some boys were arguing made her open her eyes. She frowned a little when she noticed that she was sleeping on an unfamiliar red bed. Slowly, she sat up only to see three guys looking at her. She almost screamed but before she was able to do so, someone already covered her mouth and met her eyes.

Kim Mingyu.

Recollection of the things that happened before she passed out then came into her mind. She would like to believe that it was just a nightmare. However, she was not a fool.

"What are you?" Someone unfamiliar to her asked. Yujin turned to the stranger when Mingyu finally released her. It was a man with a very pale skin which provided a contrast to his black hair and black clothes. He was short—although Yujin herself was not very tall, she had seen enough guys to consider the man as short. Despite that, his eyes were intimidating, making Yujin feel so small.

"She's probably confused, Woozi." Seokmin came to her rescue. "Don't confuse her any further."

If it were under any normal circumstance, she would just keep quiet and pretend to not hear them. It was not a normal circumstance though. She moved a little farther from the boys who she finally noticed were wearing black clothes as if wearing any other colors were a sin. Although very likely, she still glanced at her clothes to make sure that she was still wearing her school uniform—thankfully, she was.

"I asked you a question." The short guy, who Seokmin referred to as 'Woozi'—a strange name that Yujin did not quite catch, sounded so annoyed.

Yujin finally stopped biting her tongue and snarled. "A person, obviously. What are you?"

"You are not a person." Woozi stated through a gritted teeth. "Tell me honestly, are you from the Spheres of Heaven?" He asked.

Yujin would have chortled—it sounded like a lame pick-up line. She held back her chuckle and glared at the man who sounded so serious about whatever he was saying. "Are you out of your mind? Why are you picking on me? What on Earth did I do?"

"Woozi, don't bother her. I already checked her wrist. She does not have it." Mingyu spoke up, seeming to defend Yujin for a moment.

Woozi finally turned his attention away from her, giving it all to Mingyu. "Then, what is she? She's not from our Cavern. She must be a monster then."

"Excuse me?!" Yujin exclaimed.

Seokmin patted Yujin's head. "Don't mind them, don't mind them. They're some insensitive freaks. Would you like to eat? It's already eleven and I'm sure that you have not eaten anything yet because your stomach is grumbling even when you were asleep."

"How can you be so friendly even towards a probable enemy?" Someone else jumped into the conversation. Yujin turned to the owner of the voice and saw Minghao standing by the doorway, hands on his pocket. Like the other three guys, he was also wearing a plain black t-shirt and a pair of black sweatpants.

"She's our classmate." Seokmin reasoned out.

"Still might be our enemy." Woozi joined in once again.

Yujin was just confused, watching how Seokmin, Woozi, and Minghao argued. Mingyu, on the other hand, looked annoyed, massaging his own temple. Confirming that they were distracted, Yujin thought that it was finally the best time to escape. Slowly, she crawled out of the bed but before she was successful, Minghao pinned her down on the bed, one hand was holding both of her hands while his other hand held a sharp knife so close to her neck, grazing her neck in the process.

Before Minghao could do something else, he was thrown to the floor—he looked like he flew except he landed on his back and grunted. "What the hell, Mingyu?!" Minghao shouted.

"No, what the fuck, The8? Are you trying to kill her?" Mingyu's voice sounded calmer yet he did not seem any less annoyed. Despite his soft voice, it was full of venom. Even though Yujin was not sure about where the name 'The8' came from, she was pretty sure that Mingyu was talking to Minghao. "We do not kill humans unless needed. Don't break our principles." Mingyu continued to say.

"She was trying to escape." Minghao retorted, annoyance was clearly written on his face. "I was trying to scare her, not kill her!"

Yujin sat up and watched the four boys in front of her. She was not sure about Woozi—she had never met him before—but she had never seen Seokmin, Minghao, and Mingyu so distressed before. It must have been a really big deal for them that Yujin was not sure how to react. If she were to decide, she would let herself free and go on her life, treating the event as a nightmare—clearly, such a solution would not satisfy the boys.

"Sorry for interrupting but why don't you just drag S.coups' butt in here now and ask him for help already?" Seokmin good-naturedly suggested.

"Have you seen what she can do? She single-handedly killed the Shadows!" Minghao stated, standing up.

"And Jeonghan tried his Subjective Reality ability on her earlier." Woozi said. "There must be something about her."

Before Seokmin or Mingyu could come up with a more rational reasoning, two more figures appeared—both clad in the same outfit as the rest. Yujin was pretty sure that they were both males however one had a long brown hair that stopped right below his shoulders plus he had a very feminine face. Nevertheless, Yujin knew that their appearance was the last thing that she had to worry about.

"I tried manipulating the boundary between her fantasies and reality using Subjective Reality." The long-haired guy explained to the other guy with him. Yujin immediately assumed that it was Jeonghan thanks to the unnecessary chatter of Woozi and the other two.

The other newcomer nodded his head, looking serious as he stared at Yujin. He seemed to be the more mature one in Yujin's opinion. Then, he turned his eyes away from Yujin to look at Mingyu. "Are you sure that she was the one who killed the Shadows?"

"When have I ever made a mistake?" Mingyu snorted. "S.coups, she's not one of us yet she's not one of them either. Just what the hell is she?" He asked with furrowed eyebrows.

I'm right here, you know? Yujin wanted to retort but bit her tongue.

The guy, S.coups, sat on the bed beside her. This action resulted for her to move away a little. The boy remained stoic though—until he smiled at her, ever so angelically. Finally, he showed her his wrist. There was a black tattoo—a fire. It seemed normal until the color started to shift to sky blue ever softly glowing until it shifted to red, blazing like a fire. "Can you see this?"

Yujin stared at the tattoo, wide-eyed. It was her first time seeing a tattoo that was shifting colors. "A tattoo, a fire tattoo. Why is it shifting to red from blue?" She asked, lifting her head to face S.coups. The latter looked dumbfounded. Yujin looked at the other boys and they had the same confused expression.

"You… what are you?" Yujin was really getting tired of hearing such question from Woozi so she grunted. "Do not play with us and tell us what you want from us." The short guy sneered.

Yujin groaned. "I'm a human! Just a human. I don't know what you guys want from me. All I want to do is go home right now. I could not care less about what you guys are or whatever you do, all I want to do is to go home and pretend that everything is just a passing nightmare." She lost her calmness and whined out loud. If they could snap at her all they wanted, she could also complain.

"Stop it now." S.coups instructed. "Serve her something warm, she must still be shocked due to what happened earlier."

"Roger!" Immediately, Seokmin rushed out of the room to follow the orders.

Mingyu nodded his head, his gaze never leaving Yujin. "Jeonghan, contact Seulgi and the others, let Yujin borrow clothes from them."

"Clothes—what?" Yujin echoed. She was ignored though, treated as if she did not exist.

"I'm going to contact my parents and ask them how we should deal with Yujin." Mingyu explained, his eyes finally leaving Yujin. "The8, Woozi, go take a look at some books for reference. S.coups, kindly reread 'The Clash' all over again, we might have missed something."

"No way, you aren't suggesting that…" Minghao trailed off.

Mingyu nodded his head, eyes falling back to Yujin's figure. "The mediator might actually exist."

There was a heavy atmosphere the moment Mingyu had said that. Nonetheless, the three other guys left, leaving Mingyu and Yujin alone in the room. "Stay here and wait for DK—for Seokmin to bring your food. I'll explain everything to you later. For now, I have to make a call."

===

Without a word, Yujin ate the porridge that Seokmin gave her—he said that he let someone else cook but that someone else was not the greatest cook and could only cook porridge. She was all alone inside the room since the boys had a meeting or something like that according to Seokmin. Yujin did not insist on knowing it—she felt like she would be in a deeper trouble if she knew what it was.

She was confused, of course. No one could blame her for being so confused, it was not every day that some old men would turn into some shadows and would try to kill you then they would end up decaying right in front of your eyes. It also was not every day when some guys would bring you somewhere, lock you up in a room, and question what you were—even accusing you of killing some shadows. She was actually quite surprised at her calm reaction despite freaking out inside.

In order to distract herself, she decided to observe the bedroom. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Still, it was overwhelming. It was big, every single furniture looked expensive. The walls were adorned with black and red wallpaper, almost the same color as the bed and the curtains. The furniture were all black and red as if it were a color coding. Looking up, a chandelier was flawlessly hanging on the ceiling.

The knock on the door pulled Yujin back into reality. Yujin's eyes travelled to the black door although she did not utter anything. Nevertheless, the door was opened, revealing Mingyu, his hands on his pockets out of a habit.

"Can you explain to me what's happening now?" Yujin asked, placing the bowl of unfinished porridge on the bedside table right next to her unfinished glass of water.

"You are calmer than expected." Mingyu uttered, standing next to Yujin's bed.

"I've seen some old men turn into shadows, I've seen them decay to death. Of course, I am shaken." Yujin retorted. "But those are shadows only—that's what I tell myself."

Mingyu chuckled, seeming to be much more relaxed. "Those are Shadow Creepers."

"What a lame name." Yujin did not hesitate to snort, making Mingyu chuckle even more. "Continue."

Mingyu nodded his head. "Just so you know, I wasn't the one who named them." Then, his expression turned serious. "As I was saying, those Shadows normally look like people. However, they would turn into shadows during the night. They kill people by squashing them that would result to crashing their bones and internal organs. The same thing that could have happened to you."

Yujin furrowed her eyebrows. "It did not happen though. Why did they decay to death?"

"That's what we wanted to ask you. Shadow Creepers are the lowest form of monsters. It is a bit challenging to kill them because you have to pierce a knife right through their hearts—abilities or what people call 'powers' only slows them down. Yet they die right away." Mingyu explained. "They were not supposed to decay to death though, they were supposed to disappear from the surface of this world. When they decayed, they melted towards the underworld—a slow and painful death."

"If you do not know why that happened then why are you asking me?" Yujin asked, frowning even more.

Mingyu licked his lips, seeming to hesitate—should he tell her about it now? If so, how could he open up to her? "The Shadows held you captive, tried to crash you to death. In order to prevent that from happening, we tried to find a way to kill them without harming you. But they released you on their own will, turning back to their human form. Their body decayed even when they were still alive. None of us had the ability to do that—I bet not even the gods and goddesses from the Spheres of Heaven do."

"Are you implying that I have such an ability?" Yujin was dumbfounded—she barely passed the Gym class, she could not even climb the school gates, she failed in Science once, and she was a helpless cook. Yet there was Mingyu, implying that she did something that others could not. "You must be dreaming."

"I wish I am." Mingyu muttered under his breath but it was loud enough for Yujin to hear. "We did not want you to remember anything so we tried using Jeonghan's ability on you, I also tried controlling your mind to no avail. This means, you can nullify our attack. What are you, Park Yujin? Do you even know?"

Yujin gulped, she could tell that he was serious—the look in his eyes showed her that he meant every word that he said. "I'm a person, a human being. I'm sorry but I am not anything that you are trying to say. I… If you let me go home today, I wouldn't even ask about who you really are. I wouldn't even say a word about it. Just, let me go home and pretend that this is a dream."

"Fine." Mingyu did not bother to argue. Then, he showed her his wrist. There was a black fire tattoo that looked exactly like S.coups'. The tattoo shifted from black to red then it turned to look like an actual fire, blazing more than S.coups' did.

Yujin's eyes widened—she did not know if she was surprised due to the fact that it looked so majestic or due to the fact that someone from her school had a tattoo. "It seems unreal. Its color is a blazing fire—a mix of colors orange, blue, and red." She blurted out. "But how is it possible to have a tattoo like that without getting caught?"

Mingyu shrugged his shoulders, looking indifferent. "Only we can see it. Only people from the Realms. Humans are not supposed to see it."

Yujin froze upon hearing it. "Then, I couldn't see it either." She mumbled, making sure that Mingyu could hear her. "I'm a human so I cannot see it."

"Not just that, you also saw how its color changes despite not having a tattoo yourself." Mingyu added.

"What… are you?" Yujin finally asked, her voice was soft. Both the confusion and the curiosity were eating her up, making it hard for her to endure.

"A demon from the Cavern of Demons…" Mingyu trailed off, watching as Yujin's face changed colors—from the normal to a really pale one. "I scared you off, didn't I?" He sounded bitter asking that.

Yujin, sensing the bitterness on the male's voice, quickly shook her head—her hands held the male's arm. "No, no. I just…" She paused. She had always assumed that Mingyu and the others were different from the rest of their classmates but she did not think that they were anything more than humans. "Are you serious or are you fooling me right now?"

"I know when to joke around and I know when not to." Mingyu said, his voice was firm. "We'll let you go home tomorrow morning, stay here for tonight since it's not exactly safe to go home yet. Whoever sent those creatures might hear of what happened so you have to be careful. I'll send you home tomorrow and you can act like nothing ever happened."

"Don't worry. I already promised you that I won't tell anybody." Yujin muttered, letting go of Mingyu's arm.

"No one would believe you anyway, everything seems unreal that I am quite taken aback because you trusts us. Wait for Jeonghan to bring you some clothes and you can use those." Mingyu told her. "Rest well." With that being said, he turned around and left. All Yujin could do was to watch him walk away.
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