v. predicament

kissed and cursed

Joohyun suddenly felt like breathing was such a task, such an effort to do, as she stared—more like gawked at the pair in front of her. She blamed a bit of it for her system’s malfunctioning due to the earlier problem.  

 

            But no matter how many times she goes into a near-death state, no matter how many times she gets hit by the curse, she believed that none of it would match the complete and utter shock she felt then. She couldn’t help it—her mind was blank, frozen before she could process everything.

 

            She just looked at them, her eyes going between Apollo’s carefree smile and Wendy’s troubled gaze.

 

            It was the best she could do.

 

            Her patron goddess hadn’t said a word, either. With the slight shake Joohyun was feeling from the older girl’s hands, she knew she hadn’t expected this as well.

 

            She must admit, seeing the goddess of love in a state of shock and having the inability to articulate any snarky or sarcastic remark was something she’d remember, but not when a huge bomb was just dropped onto them.

 

            Wendy.

 

            Apollo’s ward.

 

            What the hell.

 

            Joohyun didn’t understand if this was just a very detailed plan from the sun god. A prank for the fellow Greek god(dess) and her poor ward just because.

 

            Her eyes settled on the male’s face, who still had his cruelly boyish smile that was too malicious for a mischievous prank, mixed with a pint of pomposity and a tablespoon of that conceited way only a god could have that she couldn’t really explain.

 

            That was what Apollo was.

 

            A perfect recipe for disaster.

 

            There was still silence in the room. Joohyun didn’t know how long it had been since the blonde had introduced his ward.

 

            (What was it with Greek gods and playing with the fluidity of time?)

 

            The dead atmosphere was cut in half by the god, laughing boisterously and nearly doubling over rudely.

 

            “…what?” Wendy blinked again, snapping out of her daze as she began staring at Aphrodite. “Is that…”

 

            “Greet the old hag, Seungwan,” Apollo chastises lowly, leaning to whisper to the shorter girl’s ear but making sure Joohyun and her patron heard it.

 

            She swore she saw the golden eyes of the god flicker towards them, a teasing smirk on his lips.

 

            Wendy nearly dropped the tray when she bowed with an explosion of greetings, “Miss Aphrodite, Ma’am, nice to meet you, Ma’am.”

 

            Oh god, hearing her patron’s name on Wendy’s lips like that made Joohyun’s head go off, and soon she found herself tilting forward, darkness creeping from around her vision.

 

            “Joohyun!” Aphrodite wrapped her arms around her, trying to keep her upright.

 

            But she couldn’t. Not when everything just kept blowing up inside her head, confusion and doubt gnawing the deepest parts of her mind until it’s the only thing her brain can think about.

 

            “Irene!”

 

            “This is so funny.”

 

            Joohyun out.

 

~o~

 

Seungwan was often called a golden child. She was the pride of the Son family—the perfect daughter.

 

            After all, she has been thankful to have such a curious mind, always having this need to learn. To perform. To thrive.

           

            She had the love for learning, for music, and for words.

 

            Her parents were supportive, so proud of the daughter’s achievements. Topping classes, winning contests, being acknowledged by the school for her inherent talent both in the academic and extracurricular realm. The walls of their home had been painted with medals and certificates, recognition from everywhere, all having the same name written in that careful cursive script.

 

            Wendy Son Seungwan

 

            Seungwan was happy, happier when she saw her parents happy.

 

            “A singing contest! So perfect for our little angel,” her mother had gushed, hugging 10-year-old Seungwan.

 

            “We’ll have you tutored to develop your technique,” her father had planned then, already making the calls and confirmation afterwards.

 

            It was supposed to be an important contest.

 

            Why?

 

            Because Seungwan loved to sing, loved composing. Despite being a kid, she had a love for music and words, so she always found herself humming a new tune every now and then, writing parts of a song she wanted to release in the future.

 

            It was supposed to be important.

 

            But on the way to the venue, the family car got into an accident—Seungwan couldn’t remember much from then. It was just a loud horn, being thrown to sharply one side, her body hurting, the windows breaking, and then it was black.

 

            “You’re in a coma.”

 

            Seungwan was on a cold floor, staring at a brightly lit ceiling when a voice spoke to her. She had been in that all-white place for a long time, and that was the first time she’s heard of anything in quite a while.

 

            She scrambled upright, looking for the owner of the voice. There was no one, nothing there. Just the same vast whiteness that looked infinite.

 

            (Infinite. It was a new word she read from one of the many books in her room before the accident. Infinite. She liked how it sounded.)

 

            “Behind you,” the voice chuckled, and Seungwan turned around sharply to see a tall man grinning at her.

 

            He looked like those students she often saw when they drove past the universities. A red jacket atop a black shirt, pants, and loafers. It looked like a casual outfit, just like any other day in university, she guessed.

 

            But when her eyes peeked through his face, she gasped audibly.

 

            What caught her attention weren’t the perfect teeth, the strong nose, the sharp jawline, the angled features, the curly blonde hair—no. It was the color of his eyes.

 

            Bright, burning, and dangerous.

 

            A gold that blazed with otherworldly power. In them, a fire that looked too real, almost searing Seungwan even though there was a good distance between them.

 

            10-year-old Seungwan took a step back, clenching her fists by her side. “Who are you? What are you?” She didn’t need a higher intellect to know that gold eyes weren’t natural.

 

            “Care to sing for me, Seungwan?” The man drawled, unaffected by the accusatory look Seungwan was giving him.

 

            “How do you know my name?”

 

            The man rolled his eyes playfully before waving his hand in front of him. In an instant, they were in a park. He was sitting on a red and white plaid cloth, a picnic basket beside him.

 

            Seungwan was at a loss for words. What just happened?

 

            “Don’t be shy,” he cocked his head towards her, smiling encouragingly.

 

            Seungwan wasn’t, but this was a stranger—probably a kidnapper.

 

            Instead, she looked around nervously, for anything that would anchor her to sanity because she didn’t want to come back to that white place because it had been so close to driving her insane.

 

            There was someone cycling towards her.

 

            “Hey! Hey! Help!”

 

            The cyclist didn’t pay her any attention, just moved forward as if he hadn’t heard anything.

 

            “Help!” Seungwan cried out again before widening her eyes, covering . It was a raw shout, and she was sure it had affected somehow. She had to get back for the contest—

 

            “Seungwan,” the guy called out again, “sing for me.”

 

            Seungwan jumped in front of the bicycle, waving frantically.

 

            She had to get out of here—wherever here was. There’s a creepy guy who knows her name and is also very demanding; who can also, very absurdly, play with her eyes and create an illusion that she was trapped in an all white room that ‘magically changes to a park’. Seungwan was young, but she wasn’t stupid. She knew the differences between fiction and reality, know about the lines that blur in the books. But she knew this was real.

 

            Just when she thought it wouldn’t get any weirder, it did. The bicycle and the person on it went straight through her. It didn’t hurt—actually, she didn’t feel anything.

 

            But that didn’t mean she didn’t freak out.

 

            She staggered backwards, her tiny feet stumbling against each other until she fell down harshly. “W-w-w-w-w-what?!” She erupted, whipping her head so fast that she felt dizzy as she followed the cyclist.

 

            Seungwan wondered if this was how it felt like to partake in illegal substances. She was convinced reality was at the tips of her fingers minutes ago, with an illusionist in her midst that had lots of budget and wit.

 

            But as she stared at the cyclist who seemed so indifferent as he ran through Seungwan… she wondered if her mind had been playing games with her the moment she woke up in a blank space of white with her body feeling lighter than normal.

 

            Her mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, of confusion and doubt… at the same time, thrill. Ideas poured in her brain, words that strung together to form a song of experience and bafflement.

 

            For the nth time since he appeared, the man rose his voice to get her attention again. “Seungwan,” when Seungwan looked at him in horror, he gave her an easy smile, “sing for me.”

 

            Stuck. In her 10 years of living, Seungwan felt like she was stuck with the way he looked at her, invisible chains that held her to the ground, held her soul eerily in place.

 

            She was so bothered, so terribly afraid and yet here he was, grinning like an old friend she hadn’t met for a while.

 

            Seungwan still didn’t sing.

 

            The male’s eyes flashed, dominance and raw power playing between the golden flecks within; and though she was far from him, she thought she could see her reflection from them. His lip curled, crumpling his handsome face with malice and vigor.

 

            She trembled.

 

            “I said,” he glowered at her, his voice dropping several octaves (in her mind, Seungwan marveled at the deepness of it and wondered how it would have been if they sung together), “sing for me.”

 

            It wasn’t a request now, she noticed. It was a demand, from an alpha to a lower level… thing.

 

            Seungwan her lips, staring into the eyes of the man—being—that came from fiction, from all the books she had read before of fantasy worlds and monsters. But this time, she knew she wasn’t in control, couldn’t skip the bad pages and revel on the good ones.

 

            It was similar to a mouse in a presence of a dragon with the way Seungwan felt entirely irrelevant in front of the man.

 

            She cleared , trying to look sheepish even though she was starting to feel the adrenaline pule within her.

 

            The man’s eyes softened, its intensity toned down several notches until they were back to their ‘usual’ gold.

 

            Her lips were shaking, but she merely imagined they were in a concert, just the two of them in a lone theatre. She tested out notes, tried the warm up exercises she had been learning for a couple of days.

 

            The man’s lips twitched in amusement.

 

            “Have yourself a merry little Christmas…” Seungwan closed her eyes and willed her brain to process between reality and illusion, willed her memory that this was her singing to no one, in the comfort of her room in the middle of the night and not in an eccentrically changing place with an obviously peculiar man. But when she finished singing, the last note a haunting sound, she knew she still didn’t understand. Knew she didn’t wake up.

 

            Not when the man began clapping, not when she saw they were in an office when she opened her eyes. It was dull, the office they were in. Just a cramped room with a desk and a couch, its walls a color between blue and gray, its carpeted floors looking untouched. Seungwan found herself standing by the door, wearing a suit that oddly fitted her tiny frame.

 

            She frowned deeply, feeling like she was stuck in a psychologically mind-boggling movie.

 

            (Mind-boggling, another word she learned from one of the books she read. She always liked to use it when she can. If she remembered.)

 

            “Like it?” the stranger spun around the office chair, Seungwan swearing that he popped out of nowhere. “It’s a carbon copy of the typical room you humans slave yourselves to.”

 

            He wrinkled his nose, distaste in his features.

 

            Seungwan found her voice again. “You say that like you’re not human.”

 

            He smiled mysteriously, in away that she can only explain as someone who knew the world’s deepest, darkest secret and wanted to tease you with it. It didn’t help Seungwan’s confusion at all.

 

            “Your voice is wonderful. Some problems here and there, but wonderful nevertheless. A talented child you are,” he praised calmly, a hard gaze not leaving her face.

 

            Seungwan tried to fight the blush rising to her cheeks by tugging at her collar. It stressed the heck out of her how he knew stuff he shouldn’t, can do stuff people normally couldn’t. Scare the living daylights out of her, then say sincere compliments after.

 

            “Thanks,” she grumbled instead.

 

            He grinned at her, pleased with himself. He motioned to the chair across him, winking. “Take a seat.”

 

            Seungwan followed, walking stiffly towards it. The suit she wore was weird—felt like the material of her pajamas. (She knew it wasn’t supposed to be like that. Her father wore suits often. She always found them uncomfortable and straining.)

 

            She sat down, looking at the pen on the table because discomfort hadn’t let her look anywhere else pray something else happened again. She wondered when this… thing, would stop. (Dream? Hallucination? Premonition, maybe? Everything seemed possible.)

 

            “Because you sang for me, and you’ve sung well, I’ll answer your questions.” His eyes twinkled with mischief. “We have a lot of time, anyway.”

 

            Seungwan gripped the edges of the office chair, as much as her tiny hands could hold. Her voice quivered, “Where am I? You said earlier that I was in a coma, but I’m feeling fine.”

 

            He rose a brow. “You are in a coma. Where we are right now—” he waved his hand, “—you could say we’re in your mind. In your consciousness.”

 

            She didn’t buy it. “Then why are you here?” She shot at him, trying to look intimidating. “What are you, even?”

 

            A pause in the air.

 

            Then the room erupted in flames, Seungwan falling off the chair in an effort to save herself.

 

            She’s 10 years old, for heaven’s sake! Just what was happening?!

 

            A wave of fire surrounded her and… was that music?

 

            Sure enough, hums and purrs of emotional music poured from the flames that swallowed her, a lullaby to rock her to sleep forever.

 

            As quick as it had appeared, the blaze vanished, leaving Seungwan on the floor, on the same stupid, impeccably clean carpet. The room looked like what it had been the first time she saw it. She gaped at the male.

 

            “I’m here to give you a choice, Son Seungwan. You are in a coma after a terrible accident. Thing is, the doctors,” he scoffed, “have concluded you’re never waking up. Ever.”

 

            Seungwan couldn’t breathe.

 

            “But, due to my certain… connections, and the talent you have, nothing short of a blessing I would give, I give you a choice. To be my protégé in exchange for a chance to live.”

 

            She felt like she was sinking through the carpet, into an oblivion that would blind her, suffocate her, take her away—

 

            —breathe, Seungwan Breathe, breathe, breathe.

 

            He wasn’t stopping. “Not only will you be a… miracle, per se. But you will save other people as well. What do you say, Seungwan? Would you die now,” he narrowed his gold eyes at her, “or would you live, as my ward?”

 

            She choked, “Who are you?

 

            “I can be your saviour or your reaper, as many people throughout the millennia had seen me. I brought down plagues to those who opposed me, healed cities who worshipped me; I have blessed many oracles to warn catastrophes, showered light to those doomed with the darkness, spread words of beauty and wisdom across the land.” His clothes rippled to ancient-looking ones. Armor, Seungwan thought. A laurel wreath sat atop his blonde hair, a pulse beating from his gold orbs. His muscled arm held a sturdy bow, a quiver of arrows on his back.

 

            Breathe—

 

            Seungwan, breathe—

 

            “My name is Apollo, one of the twelve Olympians,” he finished dramatically, bowing elegantly.

 

            But Seungwan couldn’t see, couldn’t hear—she couldn’t breathe.

           

            “Seungwan…”

 

            A wave of air went into her lungs, healing her—saving her—until she can finally look up to the man—god.

 

            He’d been a god.

 

            A god, from all those stories, those myths from old. She hadn’t learned a lot about Greek mythology, but she knew enough to know that the male standing in front of her was an epitome of beauty and power. One of the many.

 

            And he was planning on making her his protégé?

 

            “Your choice, Seungwan?” he tilted his head to one side, almost looking like an innocent pup. A pup that can destroy her anytime he wanted to.

 

            Her answer was easy.

 

~o~

 

Seungwan woke up again, a breath when she saw blinding white that looked so familiar. She blinked several times, until the color dissolved to a stale, bland dirty white. Then a figure popped up in front of her, with brown hair and large rounded glasses.

 

            “Vitals are normal!”

 

            Seungwan let out the air she’d been holding on to. Let the thick tears fall from her eyes as she took in the truth.

 

            She’s alive.

 

            She saw her parents rushing towards her from the corner of her eye, saw them bandaged and bruised, but with so much happiness and disbelief in their smiles.

 

            She shivered, feeling a gaze on her. She looked to the other side and saw a hazy shadow of Apollo, smiling at her.

 

            She smiled back.

 

            He raised a finger to his lips, a silent request of a secret.

 

            Seungwan nodded and watched as he disappeared.

 

            She closed her eyes and slept again.

 

~o~

 

“Witch.”

 

            “The prodigy—”

 

            “Angel.”

 

            “Sold her soul to the devil, that one.”

 

            Seungwan smiled tightly, for once hating being looked at.

 

            It had been a couple of months since the accident, and with Apollo’s training and blessing, she ventured to help as many people as she can.

 

            A week after being released in the hospital, she healed a bird’s broken wing with a hum from Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

 

            (Apollo had mentioned that his wards’ blessings had different manifestations, and it just so happened that Seungwan can heal with her voice. “Music and healing?” He had said, “An epitome of my powers, almost.”)

 

            However, here Seungwan was, a week before her 11th birthday, feeling the worst case of isolation she’d ever had. Ever since someone saw her heal an unconscious boy’s wounded knee, rumors had spread about her. Both the good and the bad. She didn’t know how to react to it when the parents of the boy gave her dirty looks, holding down their kid’s hand when he tried to wave at her. Or the bribery she got from one of the older students who wanted to have clear skin, and when she declined and said it didn’t work that way, she found herself spiralling down the lower parts of the social hierarchy.

 

            A girl shoved a bible and rosary to her face as she walked down the hallway, tears spilling through her eyes as she prayed for Seungwan’s apparent… ‘sins’.

 

            “Wendy, I never thought—” The girl broke down to incoherent sobs, Seungwan lost on what to do because the bible and rosary were digging to her face, and now everyone was watching, pausing to stare. “You were so—so amazing. So perfect. What has been done will be forgiven if you seek forgiveness, Wendy. Please, beg for forgiveness.”

 

            Seungwan tried to pry her off, turning red as she took in the silence of the hallway and all the eyes that were on her.

 

            She was used to attention—but this kind wasn’t it. She was used to adoration, not fear.

 

            “E-excuse me,” she covered her face as much as she could with her hair, holding the other girl by the wrists and gently—as gently as she can, because that was who she was—moved her away.

 

            A spark went from her fingertips, a current that went through the other girl’s skin and to the bible, which caught on fire seconds after.

 

            There was a collective gasp from all the students as the flaming bible dropped to the ground. Seungwan could feel that everyone was staring at the book, and as one, moved their eyes to stare at her.

 

            The other girl bawled, falling to her knees.

 

            “Let’s go,” Apollo materialized, holding her by her elbows. “Let’s go, Seungwan,” he urged when she didn’t move.

 

            “I’m sorry,” was all she could say to the girl, letting herself be ushered by the god. “What do I do?”

 

            “Go home. We’ll talk then.” The sun god glared at all the other students, standing mighty and proud even though only she can see him. A heated pulse emitted from him, blocking all the whispers and curses for her to hear.

 

            Seungwan felt numb. “How did that happen?”

 

            Apollo looked away. “A blessing isn’t always a blessing. I’m not an entirely benevolent god; I’ve had my share of punishing people… I thought it wouldn’t happen to you—not this quickly. But my wards... it’s always a double-edged sword.”

 

            She made a mental note about that word. Benevolent. She had a guess of what it was (context clues, she learned earlier), but she wasn’t entirely sure.

 

            “Benevolent means good-natured. Unselfish. Charitable.”

 

            Seungwan let the ends of quirk to a small smile.

 

            It was going to be a long day.

 

~o~

 

Seungwan moved to the other side of the world two days later. Everyone from her hometown had their memories wiped, courtesy of the Greek god who also made it his personal mission to take care of her while using a preposterous excuse of being bored.

 

            Her parents weren’t exempted. Any trace of living on another country was forgotten; for all they knew, they’ve been living in the same house for 15 years or so. The neighbors were the same, and Seungwan had to act like they’ve been friends for a long time.

 

            They moved many times and it was almost steady procedure to be removed from a place’s memories and be added to another set.

 

            The latest was when she was 15, and she had to transfer to a town she hadn’t really heard of—only that Apollo said she had to be there. She didn’t know why. All he said was that there was something that had to be done here, a catastrophe of epic proportions in the future that only Seungwan can prevent.

 

~o~

 

Almost 3 years later, as she sang the personal song she’s been writing since before she was 14. She didn’t know why, but Seungwan felt like it was the only song fit enough to heal the unconscious girl on the bed in front of her.

 

            Irene stirred from her sleep, and Seungwan held her breath, trying to find the words for the next verse. When her beautiful eyes fluttered open, she found her lyrics.

 

            “The moment… you looked at me, I started losing feeling in my cheeks,” Seungwan stared into Irene’s, their gazes locked in each other as if there was this connection that couldn’t stop them, “Felt myself moving towards you.”

 

            Irene’s eyes were heavy-lidded, filled with an emotion Seungwan couldn’t decipher. But she knew Irene was looking at her. She found herself moving, stares still challenging one another. “I just wanted to get closer, oh.”

 

            “Wendy?”

 

            She stopped, blinking, as she took in that she was just a few breaths away from Irene’s dazed face. She immediately moved back, grinding her teeth to prevent the rush she’s starting to feel, surging to her ears and cheeks.

 

            Seungwan coughed awkwardly. “Are you okay?”

 

            “What happened?” Irene sat up, holding her head.

 

            Seungwan rushed forward, a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t force yourself. You just passed out… again.”

 

            “Again…?” The younger girl felt like she was going to pass out soon with the way confusion swam in the older one’s features and still look as stunning as she was. A clarity snapped into her eyes, and she wildly looked around in search for something. “Where’s—”

 

            She paused abruptly, looking at Seungwan. It made her frown with the way there was this conflict in Irene’s eyes.

 

            “Where’s what?” Seungwan prompted, trying to look passive with a raise of a brow.

 

            Irene looked down, avoiding her gaze. “Nothing… Must have been a dream. Or a hallucination.”

 

            But Seungwan knew what she was talking about.

 

            “I didn’t think I’d be dismissed as a dream or hallucination by someone else’s ward.”

 

            Seungwan sighed, pitying Irene and her brief time with peace and quiet.

 

            She flinched, and she and Seungwan looked up at the same time to see their patron gods sitting on the ceiling as if they made another source of gravitational pull that’s just for them. Or, you know, trying to defy the laws of man like how they always did.

 

            Apollo had a cheeky smile, as usual, with his forearms crossed across his chest. Aphrodite was in her blank slate, just looking at Irene.

 

            Seungwan wondered if this was how the goddess was, normally, or if she’s only acting like that because Apollo was there.

 

            “Don’t pass out again,” Apollo grunted. Seungwan looked back to see Irene’s eyes lose focus, but when the male snapped his fingers, they’re back to normal.

 

            “Y-you’re—” Irene then turned to Seungwan, who can only give her a shaky smile. “His—”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            Seungwan didn’t know if it was the connection between the patron god and the ward, or maybe pure coincidence, but Irene and Aphrodite scoffed at the same time.

 

            Then Irene pointed at her as Aphrodite pointed at Apollo.

 

            They spoke at the same time, Irene speaking in a breathy voice, and Aphrodite in an extremely annoyed one. “We need to talk.”

 

            Oh dear.

 

            Seungwan and Apollo looked at each other, then to the females in front of them that were part scary but intoxicatingly attractive at the same time, and gulped.

 


 

that's right...... it's not proofread.

this crap was supposed to be finished AND uploaded on halloween but ykno, the students decided to spread some horrible fake news that gave a lot of anxiety n i just blanked, ykno? 

so yeah okay here it is hhhhh kinda intro to seungwan's identity n how it all happened! at least it looked right in my mind map.... ANYWAYS

spread cookies and love <3

(idk i think i read the entire thing just around 4 times and all while nearly hallucinating from fatigue and energy drinks psh)

ps: yall are so cute in the comments omg i wanna reply individually like how i used to but im scared jkahfjkshfjkshf love love love yall!

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wandawanda21 #1
🥺
Riscark #2
Chapter 13: Damnn talk about April's fools there 😬
SEEKER_
#3
Chapter 13: Is that person connected to the princess irene? And I'm curious as to what happened to the ancient seungwan after Princess irene died. Why do i get a feeling that it's all connected. Irene's disappearance and what happened before.
Marina_Leffy
1688 streak #4
Chapter 13: Wow! Happy April fools! What a scary premonition.
Riscark #5
Chapter 12: Holy , I know it's some kinda dream, but goddamn I was so scared that it was happening in real time and seungwan cannot do something to help irene
SEEKER_
#6
Chapter 12: What the did seungwan just had a vision of the past them? As lovers too??? Omg
Aizbox
#7
Chapter 12: NOOOOOOOOO~ but for real, I'm excited for what will happened next. Thank you for writing this! 🩷
mklarisse_ #8
Chapter 12: so intense 😭 thank u so much for the update happy new year author!!!
mklarisse_ #9
Chapter 9: woah the creepy old lady 😭
chantreux
#10
Chapter 12: I just read this in one go and its soo good? Woah.