Wendy lowers her sword and it disappears into scattering blue particles. Seulgi stares at her with an intensity of a tiger’s— her sword is still out, ready for her to use if need be. Irene doesn’t do anything and instead stays put, attempting to piece everything together.
Eventually, Seulgi’s menacing glare sinks as her sword disappears— but into golden particles instead of Wendy’s normal blue.
“People will see us, let’s get inside,” she says quietly, walking past a cautious Wendy and a frozen Irene. “Well, are you guys coming or not? We can’t all be slow in this day and age.”
Irene looks as a stranger walks by on the sidewalk, clearly oblivious to the situation that just took place. Irene finds it peculiar but she's also glad no one else saw.
Wendy and Irene turn to follow Seulgi into the house— with questions that would have to be answered immediately.
Seulgi takes a seat on the couch, posture stiff and mind whizzing about how she would explain everything to the two other girls. She’s sure they have questions and she’s not sure if she’s ready for them.
“So, speak now, promiscuous woman,” Wendy says and and sits down on the couch in front of Seulgi. Irene takes a seat beside Wendy and looks at Seulgi, who looks a lot more different now with her eyes a luminous orange.
“Okay look, I know I should’ve told you guys sooner but it’s just...I wanted to tell you right when I found a way to get Wendy back to her time period,” Seulgi explains. She feels Wendy’s disbelief.
“That’s not a good enough reason, Seul. Why did you hide it from us? You could’ve helped us,” Irene says as her eyebrows bunch together. She can’t believe her best friend of so many years hid such a significant secret— but Irene can understand why.
“I just felt that you didn’t need to know about what I can do. And I was scared you would be afraid of me if I told you, but I saw how you are with Wendy and I thought about it… a lot,” Seulgi states and fiddles with her fingers. “I planned to tell sooner, I promise.”
Wendy is clearly angered, but her anger dissipates when she thinks of last night’s bloody fight.
“You're that girl from last night, yes?” she asks.
“Yes. I fought by your side. That was part one of my reveal. I know how perceptive you are, so…” Seulgi doesn't really say anything afterwards. Wendy and Irene’s eyes pierce through her like the harsh tip of a sword, silently scrutinizing her.
“Promiscuous woman,” Wendy says in a low voice, causing Seulgi to look at her.
“Yes?” Seulgi replies, anxious for Wendy's next words. Wendy stands up and takes Seulgi’s hands, kneeling in front of the latter with wide, hopeful eyes.
“Teach me,” Wendy says excitedly as her pupils increase in speed. Seulgi and Irene look at each other in confusion. Wendy's mood just took a complete turn.
“I observed the way you fought. It would be greedy of you to keep those skills all to yourself, hm? Teach me,” Wendy says and her eyes seem to light up even more. Seulgi, although flustered, gives Wendy an unassured smile.
“Sure, I guess.”
Wendy grabs Seulgi's wrist and the both of them stand up.
“Excellent! We can start now,” Wendy says cheerfully as Irene follows closely behind.
Irene can't believe Wendy doesn't have any more questions— the latter should be the person who's most shocked by this.
“Wait! What if--people see?” Irene asks and looks around, looking for people who might see Wendy and Seulgi.
“You worry too much. They’ll just dismiss it as two teenagers who are play fighting,” Seulgi replies and steps onto the grass of Irene’s backyard. Wendy jumps onto the grass eagerly with a grin.
“With real swords? You really want people calling the police on you?” Irene says with crossed arms. She looks as a sword progressively appears in Wendy’s hand again.
“Promiscuous woman is right! You worry too much!” Wendy says and runs straight for Seulgi, who is taken aback for a second.
“Hold on there, Wendy. You can’t lunge straight for your opponent in a fight,” Seulgi says and parries Wendy’s sword off with her own.
Irene sighs at the clashing of the swords and decides to watch instead. She wouldn’t know what to do if the other two girls team up together on things other than just fighting it out.
Irene shudders at the thought. Then she would have to deal with four troublemakers and she isn’t ready for that.
“You can’t always be open, leave no open space for your opponent to attack.”
Her eyes fixate on Wendy, who seems more excited than anything. Seulgi is having a hard time keeping up with the energy exuding from the shorter girl.
She observes how Wendy's blade turns into a silver metal with each contact it makes with Seulgi’s. Irene always wondered how Wendy would fight with a wooden sword, but now that she has a clear visual, she doesn't have anything else to question Wendy on— well, for the time being.
She turns her now repaired phone on and checks the time.
Irene averts her attention back on the other two and how she finds it quite endearing— when Wendy is always excited to be taught what she doesn’t know and manages to be so driven.
Warmth spreads inside Irene like the just slightly cold wind spreading out into the area. It makes her forget just a little bit— that the only reason why Wendy is here is because she was running away from her murderous father.
Brown strands frantically flowing in the wind and exuberant silver eyes distract Irene from all of it.
“Hey hey, don’t be so open! This is why your hand turned into a piece of useless bloody flesh in the first place!”
Irene is fascinated by the exchange and she would love to see more, but being her usual worrisome self, she turns on her phone to check the time again.
Her eyebrows furrow as her eyes rest on her lockscreen. She can swear it was 1:45PM five minutes ago(if she counted anyway.)
Irene is sure a few minutes have passed. After all, the other two have been fighting for a while.
She stares intently at her phone screen or more specifically, the time. She waits for anything to move, shift, change, anything, but she gets nothing.
Dismissing it as a mere mistake, Irene puts her phone down beside her and shifts on the wooden deck. She places an elbow on her thigh and her chin on her palm before slowly shutting her eyes, feeling strange and unnerved.
The chirping of birds, the footsteps of neighbors, the barking of dogs, the rustling of trees, cars rushing by; she can’t hear any of it.
Wendy and Seulgi’s swords clash incessantly; the two are completely oblivious to what Irene is feeling. Irene tilts her head upwards and sees a bird that is in the midst of flapping its wings.
The bird doesn’t move; it is placed right above its fallen feather that, Irene can infer, was going to be blown away by the breeze.
“Guys!” she yells and the other two halt their movements. “Things are weird. It’s like time just...stopped.” Irene is beyond bewildered as she feels the breeze again. It’s like the world seemed to have come back to life.
Wendy and Seulgi’s eyes seem to light up simultaneously, though they are directed in different directions. Wendy looks around in perplexity as she feels the gentle breeze run past the strands of her hair. “Nothing seems unusual.”
Seulgi rubs her nose before looking at Irene in confusion. “There’s nothing wrong, everything seems normal to me.”
Irene stands up and looks at the sky again, but she doesn’t see the bird anymore and the feather slowly floats down on her face. She takes the feather in between her thumb and index finger before observing it closely with squinted eyes.
“...But i could’ve sworn it—.” Irene halts and looks at the other girls.
“Irene, you alright? You going through menopause or something?” Seulgi says and looks Irene up and down.
“Continue what you guys were doing,” Irene says. Seulgi and Wendy stare at each other, wondering just what Irene could be up to. They both shrug and clash again. Irene releases the feather as soon as she hears the metallic sound of blades colliding.
The feather doesn’t fall to the ground and instead stays in place. Irene no longer feels the breeze or the same worldly sounds.
She looks at Wendy and Seulgi as their expressions change. Irene can tell; they sense something too.
The two immediately stop, panting as they observe the area surrounding them. The breeze returns and all earthly noises come back almost immediately; something inside Irene clicks.
“It’s like every time you guys fight, time stops. You get what I mean, right, Seul? I’m not going through menopause after all.”
Wendy falls into deep thought. She is completely dumbfounded by the effects she has on time. “It is most likely because I am not of this time period.”
“Not quite right. Wisps are so powerful they can disrupt time, correct? The moment our weapons clash, time stops. It’s because Wisps being in a time period they don’t belong to overwhelms time. So you’re partially correct. It’s because we’re from a different time, but it’s also because we’re Wisps,” Seulgi explains.
Irene would never know time travelling or even stopping time is possible if she hadn’t met Wendy. Everything feels so surreal to her and she is suddenly aware of Earth; of the universe.
"But wait, why aren't I frozen too?" Irene asks. She is genuinely confused as to how this all works.
Wendy and Seulgi look at each other before shrugging.
"Maybe cause you've made contact with us?" Seulgi replies, unsure.
Maybe there are other things she’s never seen or things scientists have never discovered because they decide to stick to logic.
There are things beyond scientific reasoning; Irene knows now.
“Wisps are that powerful? If they’re so powerful, why didn’t they win against humans? Humans are weaker, right?” she asks, genuinely intrigued.
“We are not many in numbers. The amount of humans is overwhelming...most times, numbers do matter,” Wendy speaks, now realizing that she hasn’t met any other Wisp in this time period except Seulgi and that man they fought.
“Actually...I’m not from the past,” Seulgi says and takes a seat on the wooden deck. Irene and Wendy shoot her a look.
“Does this imply that Wisps still exist?” Wendy asks, excitement slowly painting her face. Seulgi slowly shakes her head, her disappointed expression mirroring Wendy’s. “I mean, yeah, I am from the past, but not from this world’s past.”
Seulgi takes Wendy and Irene’s bewildered expressions as an opportunity to elaborate. “I’m from an alternate universe. I came from that world’s past before travelling to this world. Technically, I’m from Silla too since I can live a long time.”
Irene lays her hands over her temples and shuts her eyes.
“Wait, this is too much to take in. So you’re saying you’re from an alternate universe, but you’re from that alternate universe’s past and then you traveled to this universe’s future, and Wisps are also immortal?” She knows better to not doubt Seulgi; anything supernatural seems possible at the moment.
Seulgi shakes her head slowly once again.
“We’re not immortal, but we can live longer than humans...far longer.”
Irene runs her hand through her hair in frustration or confusion— perhaps both. Ever since Wendy entered her life, it turned into a world of wonder, events that oppose science, and well, danger.
“I’m gonna need an energy drink and more questions from you ASAP, Seul. Inside. Now," Irene commands.
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