Of all the things Jiwoo had expected when she awoke, it wasn’t to find herself tucked comfortably in her own bed. For a second, she almost thought she had dreamt the events of the past twelve hours. The only thing that told her she hadn’t had some wild fever dream was the unmistakable sounds of life coming from her kitchen.
Back at her own apartment, Jinsol had the distinct feeling she was forgetting something . . . She had remembered to mention the blood bond to Jiwoo, right? Jinsol shrugged. Jiwoo was a smart girl, she’d figure it out sooner or later, surely.
And because the universe sometimes liked to laugh in the face of certain people, as Jinsol was thinking about that, Jiwoo became very confused. She yelped when she felt a searing pain radiate through her hand, and sensory overload was chasing that feeling close behind when she heard a crash and string of cursing from Sooyoung in the kitchen. Hopping out of bed and rushing to check on her friend, Jiwoo discovered Sooyoung knelt on the floor picking up pieces of broken ceramic.
“Sooyoung, are you okay?” Jiwoo asked.
“Oh, sorry. I hope I didn’t wake you,” Sooyoung smiled apologetically. “Just burned my hand.”
“Huh?” Jiwoo was suddenly reminded of the burning sensation in her own hand.
Sooyoung caught Jiwoo looking at her hand and the gears were turning inside her head.
“You . . .” She started carefully. “You felt me burn my hand, right?”
“I guess so,” Jiwoo said, dumbfounded. “Jinsol didn’t mention anything about that.”
“Jinsol?!” Sooyoung cried.
“Oh, Jinsol explained some stuff when you passed out. You told me to call her, don’t you remember?”
“To be honest I don’t remember anything beyond collapsing on your floor and probably drinking your body weight in blood.” Sooyoung shrugged.
“Sooyoung!” Jiwoo slapped her shoulder playfully.
“Anyways, in certain circumstances, when a vampire drinks the blood of a human, they forge a blood bond. Any time I feel extreme emotions, you’ll also feel it.” Sooyoung explained, dumping the broken dish in the trash. “Sorry about your dish by the way. I thought I’d try to make breakfast since I’ve already caused you so much trouble.”
Jiwoo nodded sagely. “It’s okay, it’s not really much trouble. You should probably rest some more anyways; you were quite badly hurt.”
It was another hour after Jiwoo had finally convinced Sooyoung to go home before she was hit with a realization. She had never even bothered to ask Jinsol or Sooyoung how Sooyoung had gotten so badly hurt. Jinsol had specifically said that Sooyoung was quite powerful even with her powers sealed away, so what did that say about whatever had done that kind of damage to her? It also dawned on Jiwoo that in the last twelve to fourteen hours, she had remarkably lost her critical thinking ability. She knew it was probably stupid, but she felt worried for Sooyoung and also Jinsol’s safety. Jiwoo thought it must be difficult for them, living in more than one world. As just a human, she had so much to worry about, but as vampires masquerading as humans, they had a million more things to stress over.
The following few days left Jiwoo in a haze. She had no idea what she was supposed to do; the studio had finished with the film already, so she had to wait for the next project, and she hadn’t heard from Sooyoung or Jinsol either. Even though there was so much for her to think about, she found that 90% of her time was spent staring into space with an empty mind. It had taken less than twenty-four hours for her wrist to heal, and in the time after the incident, Jiwoo hadn’t felt anything from her bond with Sooyoung either. Perhaps it was selfish of her, but after being into a deeper world, she might have mistakenly assumed she would have some kind of part in it.
One week after Jiwoo discovered Sooyoung’s secret, she finally decided that she was going to do something about it. During her time in university, she had taken many random classes to ‘explore’ her options. One of those happened to be a Latin class. While Jiwoo wasn’t terribly taken with the language itself, her professor had spent a lot of time talking about history and folklore. She had spent many hours between classes just talking with that professor about those things outside of class, and they had gotten comfortable with each other as friends. All of this is a long-winded way of saying Jiwoo had decided to pay her former professor a visit; if anyone knew something about vampires, it would be her. So bright and early Monday morning, Jiwoo was back at her university.
“Jiwoo?! What a surprise!”
Jiwoo smiled at her friend. “Hi, Haseul! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” Haseul laughed and sat down at her desk across from Jiwoo.
“Can’t I come to visit an old friend?” Jiwoo said, feigning offense.
“Oh come on, Jiwoo. I know you’re here for a reason.” Haseul smiled.
Jiwoo nodded. “Very well. I’ve come to see you with a strange request.”
“Don’t underestimate me, I have a strange range of knowledge.”
“You have a lot of old books, I know. I was wondering if you had anything on vampires?” Jiwoo was smiling but Haseul couldn’t read her at all.
Haseul just raised her eyebrows. “Sure, they’re mentioned in many of the folklore books I have. How’s your Latin?”
“Rusty?” Jiwoo said sheepishly.
“That’s alright,” Haseul giggled. “Give me a minute, I think I have some translated ones.”
By the time Haseul was giving her first lecture, Jiwoo was nose deep in books that were probably as old as Sooyoung. Most of the books were about as accurate as Jiwoo would’ve expected— garlic and silver and stakes. The last book in the pile, however, was different. She couldn’t quite explain it, but the vibes were different. If there was anything that Jiwoo had started to learn in her time with Sooyoung, it was that coincidences didn’t exist. But alas, she was far too distracted to care at the moment.
To Jiwoo’s delight, there was a section on curses, hexes, and seals. Again, perhaps a coincidence that should’ve been bone-chilling, but that was a worry for another time. According to the book, there were many seals that could’ve been the one plaguing Sooyoung. Jiwoo decided that she would try her best to memorize as many as she could, and then consult with Jinsol. Perhaps her friend would be able to shed more light on the details. In the course of her memorization, Haseul returned from her lecture.
“Any luck?” she asked Jiwoo.
“Yeah! This last one seems to have what I’m looking for!” Jiwoo said, not even looking up to see Haseul give the book a passing glance.
“I’m glad! It’s been a long time since—”
Haseul was interrupted by a strangled gasp from Jiwoo. Turning back to her, she saw Jiwoo double over and clutch her stomach.
“Jiwoo? Are you okay?” Haseul asked, rushing over to the girl.
Jiwoo, who immediately knew there wasn’t anything wrong with her own body, just rushed to her feet and raced for the door. “Sorry, I suddenly feel very sick, I’ll have to go.”
Before Jiwoo was out the door, Haseul said, “Hey, Jiwoo! Remember this: vampire magic is very petty!”
Jiwoo could only blink at her friend before booking it back to her apartment.