Irene feels a shiver run down her spine even though it’s not even cold outside. She clutches the straps of her backpack and warily looks around.
She has to be cautious at this time of night. There’s no telling what would happen to her, especially when she’s walking home by herself, alone, with her school uniform on.
She’s convinced she’s insane because—who walks alone at night? The streets of Seoul are always potentially dangerous, but she thought she would be fine since she doesn’t live very far from her school.
She’s beginning to think otherwise.
The sudden sound of shuffling feet makes her halt for a brief second. She checks her surroundings frantically as she curses under her breath.
She knew choosing to walk home alone was a bad idea. Her eyes dart left to right, searching for anything suspicious, until she continues walking in a faster pace. Fear spreads inside her as she continues, thinking about how she will never do this ever again.
Her house can be seen just up ahead and she has never been so relieved to finally be able to feel safe.
‘Almost there...almost there…,’
A sudden loud grunt comes from the fence beside Irene. Before she can even react, she feels a heavy weight enveloping her, practically crushing her to the soul due to the force. She lets out a scream at the sudden weight on top of her.
It’s painful, to say the least—not to mention the horrible stench the thing on top of her exudes.
Irene, with all her strength, uses her arms to frantically push what feels very much like a human off of her. Surprisingly, the other person complies and lays on their back beside Irene with a grunt.
A feminine grunt expressing pain.
Irene tries to get up, but is forced back down when two hands roughly grab her shoulders and pulls her down. She soon comes face to face with the stranger, but it’s not the stranger’s face that catches Irene’s attention, but the eyes.
Wide and vibrant silver irises with pupils noticeably dilating and constricting stares back at Irene like a lost wolf. Irene thinks she sees tears starting to form at the rim of those same eyes.
“Where am I?! What is this place?!” a voice full of fear, panic, and wonder yells, startling Irene.
Silver eyes frantically dart side to side, up and down, looking for any danger.
Irene, although frightened and perplexed, pushes aside her emotions and shrugs the hands off before clearing .
“We are in Seoul. South Korea.”
All Irene wanted was to go home, not to bump into some dirty and smelly mad woman with “amnesia”.
“S-Seoul? What?” asks the girl. Her hair is in a very disordered bun. Her face—though Irene can only barely see it—is smudged with mud and filth.
Irene doesn't know what happened to the girl—or why her eyes are the way they are. And she doesn't want to stick around to find out.
Maybe the girl is another weaboo teen that wants to feel the agony of an anime character.
“I-I have to go. Goodbye,” Irene says, frantic as she gets up and tries to make a run for it. She tries to dust her uniform skirt off first, but yet again, she is forced to stop when she feels arms wrap around her right leg tightly.
“Please wait! I really don’t know where I am. I-what is Seoul? What are all these.. these metallic—things with wheels? What are these lights?”
Irene simply stares down at the girl incredulously.
“You're crazy! Let go of me!”
Irene tries her hardest to kick the girl off, but there's no use. The girl’s like a leech.
Irene stares down again, this time, being met by the same silver eyes that sends a chill running down her spine.
“Why are trees so little in number?” the unnamed girl asks like a lost puppy, her pupils still dilating and constricting.
Irene is freaked out at this point. She's terrified, confused, and intrigued all at the same time.
What if this girl is one of those ghost myths where the spirits lure the living into helping them? Irene does not want to risk anything by not being home.
“What the hell do I have to do for you to let go of me?”
Irene regrets asking the question because—she can't trust this girl. No way.
A groaning and whining noise suddenly erupts from the stranger. Irene knows what that sound means, a noise indicating hunger.
“Food?” the girl asks in a quiet and brittle voice as she clutches her stomach.
Irene can’t believe she’s actually contemplating this. Her arms are crossed, showing her vexation.
She can’t go to a shop or anything. It is past her curfew. Of course, only she would follow the curfew even when her parents aren’t around.
Irene sighs out of both exhaustion and frustration. She yanks her leg away, shaking her head and thinking carefully about the situation right now.
“No way, you’re gonna have to find someone else to bother. I’m sorry.”
Without another glance, Irene speed walks off, leaving the helpless girl on the sidewalk.
As Irene continues to walk, her expression softens and she feels just the smallest feeling of guilt. The girl seemed genuinely lost, confused, dazed.
Irene’s insides curl up with a chill. What if the girl had been trafficked from another country and she ran away and really doesn’t know where she is?
She spoke Korean though, even though in a weirdly proper and formal way. Nevermind that—Irene’s stuck in between going back and just going home to sleep.
She slowly stops walking to think, to decide, and then turns around with a grumble.
She’s not that heartless.
Irene walks back to where the girl was and sees her walking away now, down the sidewalk. The streetlights shine down on the girl’s small figure and Irene swears she’s seen something like this in a movie before.
The girl’s head is tilting in all angles that are possible for human beings as she observes her surroundings. Her head turns along with her body and is open in awe of what’s around her as she looks at all the streetlights, buildings, and cars parked.
Irene stops walking when the girl’s silver eyes flit towards her. The girl only stares at her, shoulders slumped, hands at her side, and an expression that mirrors the image of a lost kitten.
Irene walks up to her and grabs her by the wrist before pulling her towards the direction she was walking from.
“Have you come to help?” the girl asks, letting herself be pulled.
“I’m taking you to a store, and then I’m gonna go home to sleep,” Irene replies. Her grip on the girl loosens, until she lets go completely so they can walk beside each other.
As they continue to walk, there are a number of things she feels, but first,
Irene is completely bewildered, but not as bewildered as the girl next to her.
Donned in a blue traditional Korean military uniform that seems a bit too big for such a seemingly small girl, the girl seems terrified of everything.
From passing cars to flickering street lights, to even a slight rustle from the trees.
Irene wonders how someone could be so clueless. It's as if this girl is from another planet.
“Stop flinching at every goddamned thing. They're not gonna hurt you,” Irene says to the girl currently holding onto her shoulder for comfort and life support.
“All these things have been damned by God? All the more reason to destroy them!” the girl yells and much to Irene's shock, pulls out a long sword out of the sheath strapped on her back.
“Where did you get that?!” Irene screams and steps back. “They're not going to hurt you!”
The girl turns and points the dull wooden sword directly at Irene, her pupils rapidly dilating and constricting repeatedly yet again.
“You could be damned too for all I’ve learned! How do I know you are trustworthy?!”
Irene groans at the accusation.
“Let's just say I was sent by God to help you, okay? You're safe.”
Hopefully that would make the other girl put her oh so deadly and threatening wooden sword away.
“I do not believe you until there is food in my stomach.”
Irene rolls her eyes as the other girl slides the sword back the sheath strapped to her back.
“I'm gonna need a name first,” Irene says, crossing her arms with stern eyes as the other person stares in bewilderment.
“You need a name? Do you not have a name? You speak so strangely, stranger,” the most clueless girl on the planet replies.
Irene sighs in exasperation.
“Your name! What's your name?” she rephrases her question.
Irene doesn't know if this is some sort of prank and if it is, the acting deserves a grammy.
“I am Son Seungwan. Wanderer of the Land, Rebel Daughter of the Late King Han, Rogue Criminal of the South, Bearer of the-” Seungwan’s sentence is cut off when Irene puts a finger against her lips.
“I'll just stick with Son Seungwan instead of false titles that you clearly just made up.”
Seungwan huffs as Irene turns to walk away.
“That is disrespectful and a dishonor to my name! I take pride in these titles! Apologize this instant!” Seungwan yells and points a finger at Irene.
Irene ignores the girl and continues walking. She just really wants to get this girl out of her hair as soon as possible.
“Well I guess you won't be eating. Good luck kid.”
Seungwan backs down and puts down her finger before running towards Irene.
“It is only common courtesy to tell me your name after asking for mine! Yah get back here!”
When they reach a store, Seungwan just stands in front of it, the neon red of the store’s sign reflecting in her silver eyes.
“Where in the world…” she mumbles to herself, lips moving lazily, and Irene pulls her towards the door.
“Come on, you’re hungry right?”
When they walk into the store, the cashier looks at them at first with a smile, but then he frowns upon seeing Seungwan, who eyes him suspiciously. The door closes, and a jingle from the bell above it is heard.
She looks, then squints at him threateningly before following Irene into an aisle.
“What a strange man. So bald,” Seungwan says and looks from her left to right. Colorful bags of chips, noodles, and other snacks lay in their designated places. She stops to look at a bag, then another, then another.
Irene turns around to scold the girl, but she falters because it is the strangest sight she’s ever seen. Sword strapped to her back, the armor, the mud on her face, the messy bun, the silver eyes(which have yet to be determined if real or not); Seungwan looks like she came straight out of a historical Korean drama.
Irene nearly laughs. How the hell did she end up in this situation?
“Pick what you want, but make sure it’s cheap,” she says, receiving a confused look from Seungwan.
“These peculiar bags of air have to be bought?” Seungwan asks and holds the bag of chips against her ear before shaking it to hear the content inside. Irene sighs and crosses her arms; frustration is evident