Chanyeol had lived for hundreds of years and had witnessed thousands of seasons pass by him. He did remember being born during the Joseon dynasty sometime in the early 18th century in a small town that was now a major hub city in the region.
Although technically human, Chanyeol was one of the rare humans who were born with magical affinities and could go on to become wizards, witches or sorcerers depending on which field of magic they decided to pursue. Collectively, they were known as magicians. Among ten thousand humans, at least one would have the magical affinity and Chanyeol was one of them.
The spring of 1828 was the most memorable for him, although in the ways he didn’t wish it to be. It was the same time when the Joseon dynasty began to outlaw magic and those who practiced it.
Elsewhere around the world, other countries were also following suit, whatnot with tensions and discrimination against magical folk being higher than it ever was.
Most people did not understand magic and although magical practitioners often used their powers to aid others, there were also those who abused their powers and invoked fear in the eyes of non-magical practitioners. This invoked fear of magicians among the humans who viewed them as “different, “strange” and “dangerous”.
Initially, magical practitioners like Chanyeol were chased out of their country and stripped of their citizenship whereby they became stateless. Then, as humans made advancement in weaponry and technology to go up against magic practitioners, war and eventually genocide was launched against them.
The genocide was practiced by many countries and nations throughout the world. It was declared on a spring day when the flowers were in full bloom. It was made lawful by governments to publicly drag out a magician from their own homes and slaughter them on the streets in front of everyone else, magician and non-magician alike.
Chanyeol remembered that day vividly, when he had to witness his fellow magicians slaughtered and how their blood splattered on the petals of the flowers that were in full bloom.
On top of that, he could never forget the stench that was the smell of burning hair which reeked in the air for weeks to come, which had came from two different sources. Chanyeol didn’t know which was grimmer; the fact that the smell was coming from the burning dead bodies or the natural repulsive scent that came along with the dark magic from a certain magician, showing that even the frowned upon dark magicians were joining in on the fight to protect the other magicians who would usually scorn them.
By the end of the 19th century, only less than half of the initial number of magical practitioners was still alive. Magic was outlawed almost everywhere around the world.
During the war against magicians, there existed two camps of them; those who chose to hide out from the war against them and those who went out to resist it. Chanyeol was part of the former.
Chanyeol had survived the genocide by hiding in deep forests and living near mountains no human would ever attempt to reach.
Despite living a reclusive life in the deepest forests with harsh landscapes, Chanyeol still caught wind of a powerful magician known as “Camellia” because of the flower’s symbol they chose to identify with. Camellia was said to be a prominent magician in the resistance of their efforts to seek justice.
Some debated if Camellia actually existed as an individual, whether it was a role taken on by several magicians or whether it was just a persona created by the magicians in their fight against the humans. The one thing that was known was that Camellia’s magic had a rather distinctive smell akin to that of burning hair, leading some to believe that they were a dark magician because dark magic tended to have an accompanying horrid smell behind.
In the early 20th century, humans turned their attention to fighting wars against each other instead of against magical practitioners. The genocide against magicians was never declared officially over. It was simply forgotten and sidelined so humans could fight other humans instead.
The world wars were actually a time of peace for the magical folk because they were not being hunted by humans at the time.
After the Second World War, society had forgotten much about magical folks. By then, an entire generation of humans- who never seen magic or those who practiced it- had been born and grown into adults to bear children of a new generation.
Historical records on magic and the existence of magicians had been destroyed during the genocide. Now, they were largely forgotten and had nothing to prove that they really existed.
Although magicians were no longer persecuted and the ban on magic was lifted, magicians were basically non-existent and thought to be mere tales.
Those who still had magical powers like Chanyeol continued to live in hiding and young children who were born with magical affinity were not aware of their powers to know what it was, least to even use it.
Camellia wasn’t heard of again and some even believed that they had died, caught in the crossfire of the war of humans against humans. But still, the camellia flower remained as a symbol of remembrance among magicians against the horrors they had to live through.
Towards the end of the 20th century, magic was considered an urban legend or fantasy. There were those who believed it and those who disapproved it in favor of science and technology.
Like the few magicians left, Chanyeol still remained, unbeaten by the passage of time and the rough days he had been through.
Although it was peaceful for the magicians now, over time, Chanyeol had seen his own fellow magicians fall in love with regular folk or other magicians alike, whom they could not be with sometimes.
After the years of hiding and persecution, they too sought a normal life, which was almost impossible because of their differences and the need to keep magic a secret. There was still a heavy and lingering stigma and fear of being involved with a magical practitioner.
Although magicians were technically immortal, they were not invincible and unrequited love for them was very dangerous, as it meant contracting the Hanahaki disease which had no cure unless their feelings were returned.
First, it would be petals and then as the disease progressed, the victim would eventually be coughing up entire flowers. Then, they would die when the flowers grew roots deep enough in their lungs, as the victim would die painfully and slowly while choking on their own blood and the flowers.
The Hanahaki disease only affected magicians and somehow, it was like a curse to an already persecuted group of people like them. It wasn’t a surprise that magicians began to hide away from the rest of the world even more.
After burying one too many of his fellow magicians and seeing their numbers dwindle down by the passing day, Chanyeol decided that he had enough of it.
In the early 2000s, Chanyeol moved to a small homestead in the German countryside, where he lived alone and continued to practice his magic in secret, choosing to interact with as little people as possible.
By day, he ran an antique shop in downtown Seoul, which was actually a cover for his magic business where he would offer any of his services to those that were interested. Chanyeol was delighted to be able to return to his home country, although they had once followed policies to disown and kill magicians like him.
By night, he would travel back to his home in the German countryside with a magical door that could transport him between the places. There, it would still be daytime while it was already night in Seoul.
In both the shop in Seoul and his home in Germany, Chanyeol kept two walls clocks each; one to tell the time in Seoul and another to tell the time in Germany.
Because of this schedule, Chanyeol hardly if ever slept, using his magic to keep him going past what his body was capable of.
Chanyeol’s clients were mostly superstitious or spiritual people who still believed in magic and a few other magicians themselves who preferred if he did the job for them.
Because Chanyeol was a sorcerer, he was already meddling with the blacker side of the magic spectrum by nature, and most wizards and witches turned to him if they needed to. Often, these other magicians traveled far from different countries just to enlist his help.
His relationship with them was strictly professional and for work-related purposes only. After all the hurt and terror he had been through, Chanyeol wasn’t really intent on forming personal relationships with anyone anymore.
Business wasn’t exactly good. In a busy week, he’d get twelve people at most coming into his shop. And out of those twelve people, more than half of them were there to sell him some vase they found in their deceased grandmother’s attic or whatnot. Hardly anyone came for his magical services. That was if they could even believe in the existence of magic.
There was hardly anyone else who believed in magic and not many witches or wizards wanted to be affiliated with a sorcerer either because they were particularly known for being most likely to stray to the darker side of magic.
With no room to be picky, Chanyeol took almost any job he could get. Although he could be without any money and rely on just magic, he still felt the need to blend in with society and have a job like everyone else too, hence the antique shop front he ran.
Somehow, it also gave him a purpose and some reasons to feel accomplished with his mundane life, even on a small scale.
On one occasion, Chanyeol was hired by some witch to defeat Gremory, a dark wizard, who was practicing necromancy, a field of magic that was frown upon and which involved resurrecting the dead.
Chanyeol took up the job, only to discover that Gremory was way more powerful than he was, especially with his legion of the undead.
Chanyeol lost the duel and had to flee with his tails between his legs, also becoming heavily injured because of it.
He was less worried about not receiving the payment for the completed task and more about the fact that he wasn’t as strong and capable as he thought he was.
In the aftermath of his defeat to Gremory, Chanyeol went through his old sorcery books again and found the outlawed practice of blood magic, which was actually illegal to use because of its potency. Although the general public didn’t believe in magic anymore and thus, there was no more enforcement against using it.
The few remaining sorcerers did frown upon its use and even among them; it was considered a taboo as it was basically selling one’s soul to the devil in exchange for magical prowess’s.
Sorcerers were the only magicians capable of blood magic because their magic revolved around summoning, and unlike wizards and witches who drew their powers from nature and their surroundings, sorcerers expended their own spiritual energy to conjure magic.
Blood magic allowed a sorcerer access to a wide variety of summons which usually involved dangerous creatures thought to come from Hell itself. Blood magic also allowed a sorcerer to use powerful lethal spells that were especially for killing and destruction.
It was said that the moment the first drop of blood was given in exchange to use blood magic; the said sorcerer would be condemning their soul for all of eternity.
Although Chanyeol wouldn’t admit it, he was still very affected by his past trauma of being banished from his home country and later having almost the entire human race try to kill him.
Thus, Chanyeol believed that he if practiced blood magic, he would be strong enough to protect himself from any additional dangers that might come his way, especially this particular dark wizard he wasn’t able to defeat, whom Chanyeol feared would come after him again one day.
But Chanyeol didn’t want to be the one whose soul would be dragged to hell and tormented for eternity in exchange for practicing blood magic. He believed he had suffered enough while being alive and that he shouldn’t need to suffer more even after he was dead.
Chanyeol found a loophole that had been exploited by a few in the past and planned to use the blood of another sorcerer for the blood magic, although he would be the one to draw the powers from it.
Chanyeol had his eyes set on Kyungsoo, an assumedly younger sorcerer who worked in a flower shop just a few blocks down from Chanyeol’s antique shop.
All Kyungsoo used his magic for, was to summon nymphs and plant spirits to make his flowers bloom and grew healthily. The flower shop was owned by a human who was unaware of Kyungsoo’s magical powers and thought that Kyungsoo was just merely good with flowers.
It certainly did help the business to flourish, exponentially greater than what Chanyeol’s business was doing. In the eyes of the regular folk, Kyungsoo just appeared to be a regular florist and gardener with a gift for his occupation.
The strong scent of the flowers also helped to mask the natural scent that came from Kyungsoo’s magic, making it the perfect occupation for him too.
Kyungsoo was aware of Chanyeol being a sorcerer too, and sometimes he’d wave and smile at Chanyeol when the latter passed by his shop.
Sometimes, Kyungsoo would try to strike up a conversation but Chanyeol never stayed long enough to say more than a few sentences before removing himself from the encounter.
Kyungsoo could tell Chanyeol was keeping his distance and Kyungsoo respected that.
Occasionally, Chanyeol would receive flowers sent to his shop as a gift from Kyungsoo. The flowers were arranged intricately and they were the same ones every time; red camellias, which were a favorite among magicians due to it being a symbol of their freedom and resistance from older times.
The red camellias never survived long enough under Chanyeol’s care and he’d throw them out in the trash when they wilted after a few days. Chanyeol didn’t care for flowers and he never fancied them either, because it only served to remind him of how many of his fellow magicians he had buried after dying from Hanahaki.
Chanyeol wasn’t sure but it seemed like Kyungsoo was too young, by magician standards, to have lived through the genocide, and was born in already relatively peaceful times for magic practitioners.
It was the only way Chanyeol could explain why Kyungsoo was always so positive, happy and outgoing. Chanyeol didn’t understand how a magician who had lived through the genocide could be so cheerful and unbothered without being bitter about the past.
Chanyeol had planned it for a while and thought up of a way to use Kyungsoo as his personal “blood bank” to use for the blood magic.
In older times it would have been illegal but they were literally the only two sorcerers left in all of Seoul. There was no one to stop Chanyeol to tell him otherwise or warn him that what he was doing was wrong.
Chanyeol justified it as needing to protect himself against a fast-paced world where magic was dying out, in fear that one day the humans would just finish the job and finally eradicate the world of all magicians.
In mid-April, in the spring when the flowers were beginning to reach their full bloom, Chanyeol closed his shop up early that evening and waited in the park where he knew Kyungsoo would walk past every day to go home.
Chanyeol had been watching and observing Kyungsoo’s movements and routine since fall of last year and by now, he had it all memorized.
It was already dark but the park was adequately lit by the garden lamps at night. The temperature was still a bit cold at night in mid-April and the park was deserted at the time.
The pink blossoms growing on the trees in the park were almost at their full bloom. There was a gentle breeze that blew at times, rustling the branches on the tree, dropping pink petals that fluttered to the ground.
Like Chanyeol had planned, Kyungsoo was walking through the park. Kyungsoo’s hands were tucked in the pockets of his jacket. He was on the way home after the florist had closed up for the day.
Kyungsoo pushed up his glasses on the bridge of his nose with a finger as he walked with his head lowered and his back slightly hunching over, before putting his hand back into the pocket of the brown jacket he was wearing.
Chanyeol had used an invisibility spell to hide as he waited, also using another spell to mask his presence and traces of his magic. It wasn’t easy for an inexperienced magician to be actively using two spells at the same time, but Chanyeol was already considered a trained and seasoned magician for the time.
As Kyungsoo was walking down on the brick walkway between the trees in the park, he stopped to look up at the flowers as another breeze blew and rustled the petals.
Kyungsoo smiled to himself as he watched a petal slowly flutter down and then land on his shoulder. He was smiling but there was something melancholic about it. Kyungsoo closed his eyes and enjoyed the feel of the warm breeze on a cool night, blowing on his face.
But when Kyungsoo opened his eyes again and looked ahead, what he saw was a colossal and monstrous scorpion, easily the size of a stallion.
Kyungsoo knew this creature well from his studies; it was one of the beasts that a sorcerer could learn to summon. The monstrous scorpion was known for its poison properties, as well as having a venomous bite that could cause its victim to hallucinate before dying a painful death.
Kyungsoo, as a magician, would have been able to sense the magic by its scent but he was unable to do so, due to how well Chanyeol was masking it and the overwhelming smell of the blossoming flowers around him.
Kyungsoo loved the flowers and their smell but now it was actually a hindrance to him, as it prevented him from sensing the magic in the air.
On the spot, Kyungsoo summoned the elemental spirit, Hix, to help him against the scorpion summon. Hix was a fire spirit that Kyungsoo usually used to heat up and give light to plants during the winter.
Kyungsoo had not fully mastered Hix’s final form yet and had only learned to conjure up the spirit at its medium form. Kyungsoo was honestly new when it came to summoning friendly spirits. Because it was a friendly spirit too, Hix didn’t really stand a chance against the scorpion spirit whose specialty was in immobilization and killing.
Hix in its medium form appeared to be half as tall as Kyungsoo was, with the form of a humanoid spirit that had fire spouting of its head and limbs.
Hix pelted small fireballs towards the scorpion to halt it as the scorpion was baring its stinging pincers and screeching, attempting to get past Hix and towards Kyungsoo.
With Hix’s powers, Kyungsoo created a protective firewall between him and the scorpion that would last as long as Kyungsoo could keep Hix up.
In exchange for the ability to summon and sustain the spirits, sorcerers expended their own spiritual energy for every second the spirit spent in the material world. Expert sorcerers could sustain simultaneous and more powerful summons for longer times.
Hix continued throwing and pelting small fireballs towards the scorpion, protecting Kyungsoo from it but was injured badly through the process too.
Kyungsoo was very sensitive and receptive to a spirit’s feelings and pain, which was painstakingly fighting on his behalf.
Unable to watch Hix injure itself further, Kyungsoo de-summoned the fire spirit and returned it to the spiritual realm. The fire wall protection that Hix provided for Kyungsoo also vanished when Hix was gone.
Kyungsoo now had to face the scorpion face to face with no barrier between them. Kyungsoo thought of running but he didn’t want anyone else, or an innocent passerby to get injured. So, he knew he had no choice but to deal with it.
Kyungsoo cast a spell on the earth to create a hole in the ground, intending to swallow up the scorpion when it passed above the hole.
Chanyeol saw this happening and came out of hiding to quickly cast another spell on the earth that would temporarily block all ground-based spells for a limited time, including his own.
When Kyungsoo witnessed this, he knew instantly knew that another sorcerer was behind this, although he wasn’t aware of that person being Chanyeol.
Kyungsoo chose to focus on the scorpion first, despite sensing another sorcerer’s presence now.
Kyungsoo cast a spell on his arms to strengthen them to be as hard as a rock, before charging head on and grabbing the massive scorpion by its pincers.
Wrestling with the scorpion that was biting away on Kyungsoo’s arms, reinforced by the magic, Kyungsoo gripped hard enough to detach the scorpion’s pincers from its mouth.
Kyungsoo would rather not hurt any spirit if he could help it but he was forced to do so at the time. He didn’t mind getting hurt but he would never have peace if someone else was, when he could have done something to prevent it.
The scorpion shrieked, wailing like a banshee when Kyungsoo ripped its pincers off from its mouth. That was definitely something a regular scorpion wouldn’t be able to do.
Chanyeol de-summoned the scorpion once it was beyond use and before Kyungsoo could see who it was, he was struck from behind by a spell that pierced clean through his chest.
Chanyeol had another summoned lightning spirit nearby that he used to pierce a lightning rod through Kyungsoo, heavily injuring Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo fell to the ground, grabbing his chest where the lightning rod had made a clean entry in and out of him. Kyungsoo was heavily bleeding and breathing was hard too as blood began to fill in his lungs.
But Kyungsoo was determined to not die that day, not under the wind and the fluttering pink petals that continued to fall everywhere around him. That would such be a cruel way for him to go.
Kyungsoo could barely get up and run to save himself. He was too weak for any more spells or summons, and his mental state slowly became a hindrance too.
Kyungsoo was certain that he didn’t get poisoned by the scorpion summon but yet he began hallucinating that he was surrounded by flowers of all colors in a lush field where they grew prettily and abundantly.
The wind was cool yet warm there in his hallucination. All his friends and family who were long gone and dead were all there smiling, laughing and inviting him to come along with and join them. They held out their warm hands to him and looked happier than ever, a stark contrast to their cold hands and the horror permanently etched on their faces when Kyungsoo last saw them.
Even in a hallucination, Kyungsoo could feel how tired he was, how he was done with everything and how he just wanted to lie his head down in the bed of flowers and give up because it seemed like the easiest thing to do. Everything leading up to that moment in his hallucination had been so difficult.
Kyungsoo wailed in tears, reaching out his hand to them in the hallucination. Somehow, he knew it wasn’t real but yet he felt like it was. This was what could have been if magicians had been allowed to live and co-exist peacefully alongside humans.
In reality, when Kyungsoo reached out his hand, Chanyeol was the one who caught it. But Kyungsoo was too far gone to realize that now.
Kyungsoo only snapped out of his hallucination for a brief moment to see Chanyeol holding his hand, Chanyeol’s dark hair framing his face and swaying in the wind among the fluttering pink blossoms.
“Chanyeol…” Kyungsoo cried out, still holding hands with Chanyeol, now knowing that Chanyeol was responsible for all of this.
Chanyeol did not say anything in return and instead released Kyungsoo’s hand from his so he could remove Kyungsoo’s glasses from his face. Then, suddenly, Chanyeol stabbed Kyungsoo’s eyes with his fingernails, driving his fingertips into Kyungsoo’s eyeballs and into his brain within his skull as he cast the forbidden spell he had been preparing for.
Kyungsoo screamed out in pain, unable to stop Chanyeol as he continued to bleed out of almost every orifice.
Doing so, Chanyeol had stolen Kyungsoo’s memories and implanted fabricated ones into Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo was now all for Chanyeol to use and bend at his will. Chanyeol had violated the magician code of ethics but he couldn’t even start caring about it the slightest now.
That night, Kyungsoo disappeared from the human world he had been living and blending in with. He was missed by those who know him, from the owner of the shop to his apartment neighbors to his regular customers and even the delivery boy who made rounds at the florist.
They held a candlelight vigil for Kyungsoo outside the florists, planted missing posters everywhere and continued to look for him without knowing that he was actually alive in a place far away from there.
Chanyeol saw this and although he wasn’t fond of Kyungsoo too much, he still thought that it was rather ironic for humans to be holding a memorial and putting efforts into finding a magician, whom they had tried so hard to rid the world of just two centuries ago. If only they knew, Chanyeol wondered.
When some of Kyungsoo’s human friends came by Chanyeol’s shop to hand him flyers in an attempt to look for Kyungsoo, Chanyeol only smiled it off and lied that he’d tell them if he knew anything. He obviously knew things but he was not going to let them know at any cost.
Two of Kyungsoo’s sorcerer friends, Baekhyun and Jongdae, who lived a bit far away but still maintained contact with, heard about Kyungsoo’s disappearance and went all the way to Seoul to investigate.
Kyungsoo wasn’t the type of person to just disappear and abruptly cut contact with people, so they believed that foul play was possibly involved.
Even with their magic, they were not able to find Kyungsoo or any traces that could lead them to answer his disappearance. It was as if some other magician was using specialized magic to cover up their tracks regarding Kyungsoo’s disappearance.
In all of South Korea; other than Chanyeol, Kyungsoo, Baekhyun, and Jongdae, the only other magician was a kind old witch who was probably thousands of years old, who lived in a small house by the sea where she cared for many stray animals.
It wasn’t hard to put two and two together when Chanyeol was literally the only other sorcerer living within the next few thousand kilometers. Baekhyun and Jongdae suspected Chanyeol but they had no evidence or proof to back their theory up.
Chanyeol had foreseen Baekhyun and Jongdae, Kyungsoo’s two closest friends, coming after him. Therefore, he had taken the necessary precautions and made sure that they would not be able to trace Kyungsoo back to him, no matter how much they suspected him.