How is this helping me?! My unvoiced question hangs in my head as Ms Pink locks the chains around my wrists, ensuring my arms are spread wide open. In case anyone is wondering, I am currently located in Ms Pink’s childhood bedroom. Precise coordinates: Centre of Ms Pink’s pink bed. So much for putting my trust in Ms Pink when all she is really, is a perverted princess vampire disguised as a reformed expressive lover. “Why are you chaining me up?”
“It’s part of your training.”
“This sounds shady to me,” I mutter under my breath but Ms Pink’s vampiric sense of hearing picks up my words anyway. She swoops in, pinches my chin and her eyes are right before mine, big and round and frankly, a little intimidating even though I trust that she is not going to hurt me. Well, not without a very good reason, at least.
“What did you say?”
“I said, this sounds shady.”
Ms Pink frowns. “It isn’t for my pleasure.”
“You should see the pink glowing in your eyes when you put the chains on my wrists.”
“You’re not making sense to me.”
“Stupid human.” Ms Pink straps a gag across my mouth and that is the end of my vocal adventures. Only then does she smile and stroke my face. “Quiet now.”
Like I have a choice?
The gleam of a blade makes spots appear in my eyes as Ms Pink wields it and flips it around her fingers like a ninja. Then again, I suppose vampires trump ninjas too so I shouldn’t be surprised Ms Pink would be agile with her fingers like this. But my heart starts thumping when the blade presses on the hollow of my neck. “Mm mm?”
“Shh . . . don’t speak.”
I tremble as the blade’s tip pricks its way across my shoulder. As much as I trust Ms Pink not to hurt me, it is hard to tell my instincts this blade isn’t dangerous. “Mm mm!”
Ms Pink’s eyes glow luminous pink and her words come out minced. “Don’t. Speak.”
Reduced to blinking rapidly and swallowing the lump of nerves in my throat, I nod slowly and the blade relaxes. But before I can even tell myself it is alright, the blade is running across my skin again and I hear the distinct sound of threads yielding to the sharp edge. I barely have time to blink before the same happens on the other side and cool air meets my skin. “Mm!”
A slap lands on my inner thigh, making me squeal again which in turn earns me another slap on the other thigh.
Okay, okay. I get it now. No squealing. No sounds. Okay.
“Keep your eyes open.”
I obey, blinking as a wave of cold sweeps over my eyes. Funny how the urge to close my eyes is stronger after Ms Pink orders me not to.
“Feel my presence.”
Feel? But you’re not touching me . . .
Ms Pink drops to her knees between my legs and leans forward on her palms so that she is arched over me and her glowing pink eyes are staring into mine. “Feel me.”
I’m about to ask myself what she means when her eyes glow brighter, like approaching headlights on a lonely road in the middle of the night. Then I feel it. Her. Her presence. It’s like I’m trapped between closing walls. Like I’m stuck in a pressure cooker. Flames. Oh my God. Ms Pink is on fire. The flames are dancing behind her, heating up, burning up. I turn away and shut my eyes, reacting to the danger but Ms Pink snarls, “Open your eyes.” My defensive instincts block out Ms Pink’s order and keep my eyes closed. “Open your eyes! Feel me!”
I’m feeling you! I’m feeling you! Ms Pink’s harsh tone shocks me into opening my eyes and I meet her pink ones, burning with intensity. Oh my God.
“I am going to burn you. Defend yourself.”
“Mm!” How am I supposed to defend myself?! “Mm!”
My eyes widen as the heat intensifies and I am trying to lean into the mattress but it is not letting me go anywhere. Help. The heat is overpowering . . .
“Focus. Block me out.”
How? What do you want me to do? I don’t know—
“Mm!” I yelp as my skin is singed by the reddish-pink flames flapping around us. “Mm!” It hurts! It hurts!
“Defend yourself now!”
Desperate to get away from the scary flames, I stare deep into Ms Pink’s eyes, hoping for an answer. I don’t want to hurt Ms Pink but I don’t want to burn either. Will Ms Pink really hurt me? Will she? “Mmm! Mmm!”
The flames vanish and Ms Pink hovers over me with a frown. “Stupid human.”
My gag is pulled off by a disgruntled princess vampire. “You were holding back.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“You can’t care about that.”
“How can I not care about that?”
“You won’t kill me.”
“But what if I do?”
“Do as I say.”
“I’m a dangerous person to be with. I attract attention from all the wrong places. Even Helene got betrayed by her men in black because of me. I bring nothing but trouble to you.” Frustration rises to the surface and is bottled into drops of tears streaming down my temples.
“Stupid human. Stop crying over small matters.” Ms Pink wipes my tears with the gag strip. Then, she bends and covers my mouth with hers, sucking the rest of my frustration out from the depths of my tortured soul. By the time she is done sucking on my lips, my tears have stopped and my mind is in heaven once more. “Try again.”
“What? I—” The gag strip ends my sentence without apology and Ms Pink arches over me again.
“Fight my energy.” With that, the flames are back and Ms Pink’s eyes are glowing bright, almost blinding me. “Fight me.”
Focus. Come on. Try. Don’t let Ms Pink down. My brows knit in concentration as I try my best to sense the boundary of Ms Pink’s energy. I can sense it. It is all around me, pressing in. And so are the flames. They come much closer, more quickly and I am alarmed. My skin is really hurting now. The flames are literally touching me. Ms Pink is not pulling back either. Surely she isn’t going to burn me for real?
Shit. This hurts. Shit, this really, really hurts! Argh! I push. Hard. I push against the flames, trying to put more distance between them and my skin. It is still burning hot. I am practically in a furnace now. No! Go away! AWAY!
The flames flinch back, as though blown away by a gust of wind. I am holding my breath. Holding and staring straight back into Ms Pink’s eyes. The flames come back when I admire the pink and I yelp in pain. Go away! Stay back! Like magic, the flames switch directions, flaring away from me instead of towards. I don’t quite understand how I am doing this but something is happening. And most importantly, Ms Pink is not hurt. But just as that thought passes, Ms Pink groans and she lies over me, her flames gone.
“Mm? Mm!” Ms Pink? Ms Pink! My gag is ripped off and I disregard the slight pain of abrasion as Ms Pink is all I care about. “Ms Pink! What’s wrong?”
“You did it.”
“Did I hurt you?”
“I hurt you.”
I stare at Ms Pink, moved by the concern I see in her eyes as she examines my arms. “Ms Pink . . .”
Like I have a choice? What is up with Ms Pink today?
Ms Pink jumps off the bed and zips to the chest of drawers at the side. Then, she’s back before I can call her name, opening a jar of green goo.
Ms Pink nods. “Mimea will heal your second degree burns.”
“S-Second degree burns?”
“It is superficial. Mimea will heal it before it blisters.”
“So that’s why it hurt so much.”
Ms Pink spreads the green goo on my skin. “Stupid human. Did you think I wouldn’t hurt you?”
I squirm. Ms Pink is using her fingers to apply the green goo and it is ticklish. “I was sure you wouldn’t.”
I freeze the best I can but it is difficult when Ms Pink is touching me everywhere—my sides, abdomen, chest, arms. She reaches under my back and my bra loosens. Then, she grasps the strap with both hands, tears it and renders me topless. Even more mimea is applied on my body and the cooling effect makes me shiver.
Only when Ms Pink is finally done covering me in green goo, does she pick up the scraps of fabric that used to cover me.
“Your bra is burnt.”
“It’s okay.” I point my chin at Ms Pink. “Your clothes are burnt too.”
Ms Pink does not even bother to look at her clothes as she tosses the scraps onto the floor. “Rest. I will be back soon.”
“Can you unchain me? Please?”
“Your training is not over.”
“But I’m burnt. I’ll need to rest for some time.”
“Mimea works fast. Now, rest. Or I will spank you.”
Ms Pink’s threat puts a smile on my face. “Alright. I’ll rest.”
Ms Pink is right. Mimea works fast. The heat dissipates from my skin like magic and by time Ms Pink returns, my skin is back to its pallor. Then, I’m sent back to the solitary confinement room. I’m beginning to call it that because I’m always in there alone. Well, not quite alone since there are captes fizzing all around me. Yes. Fizzing. From what were silent and strange invisible sensations to the fizzing I am capable of hearing now, some progress has been made. I can almost see them now. Almost. But at least, I can hear them.
Right now, there is a cluster of captes hanging around behind me. They hover there for a while, then fizz over to my right. I still can’t see them, but I can see a disturbance in the air. Very slightly, like a tiny fraction of heatwaves in summer, it is possible to see them if you are looking for them specifically. But the fizz stops suddenly and the ‘heatwaves’ disappear too. Where did they go?
“Praneos.” I roll my eyes as the fake man appears from behind. “I know it’s not really you.”
“But I am the only available option out of the triplets.”
“What is the point of appearing as Praneos? If you’re trying to frighten me, it’s not working.”
Praneos turns into what looks like a swarm of bees and reshapes into an alluring female figure.
“Good evening, Ms Kim.”
I giggle despite the sombreness of my environment. “Good evening, Ms Pink.”
‘Ms Pink’ frowns then transforms into a mess of static grey dots before taking on Helene’s appearance. “If you laugh at me, you will be a dead human.”
I raise a brow, not feeling in the least intimidated by the empty threat but unsure if Helene meant it as a joke. “Will you really kill me?”
‘Helene’ rolls her eyes and turns to someone I can’t see. “Your claim is an idiot.”
“She is not my claim anymore.”
“A claim isn’t necessarily bound to you by sharing intimacy. Three hundred years as a vampire and you still don’t know that?”
“We don’t share mindspeak.”
“Mindspeak is not the defining factor of a claim.”
“As far as the Feds are concerned, we are not a threat to them.”
“If that is really the case, why was a vanguard sent to kill your precious baby?”
“You know Charles. He will use the Federation to suit his purpose.”
Do they even realise that I’m still here?
“Or the Federation is using Charles to suss you out.”
“Why would I need to be sussed out?”
“Have you lost your sense of awareness? Spending time with your human is clearly not beneficial for you.”
“Taeyeon can hear us.”
“Name one benefit you have gained from being with her.”
“We are ending the conversation now.”
Ms Pink snarls. Immediately, ‘Helene’ hunches into an offensive stance and snarls too. More snarls are exchanged then ‘Helene’ lunges. It is weird to see only one half of a fight and I would have thought it funny if it weren’t for the topic they are fighting over.
“I was right. You can’t even name one,” ‘Helene’ taunts while holding off who I presume to be Ms Pink.
“It is none of your business,” is Ms Pink’s hostile reply.
“I am your maman.”
The fighting stops. Ms Pink must have ceased her fire out of respect for Helene. Interesting. When did Ms Pink bury the hatchet with Helene? What changed her mind?
“You may have your reasons but I don’t see any. I have been helping you because you are ma fille. But very soon, it will not be enough. One reason. Give me one good reason to convince me to continue helping you.” Silence ensues and the captes display Helene in a confrontational pose, standing with arms akimbo. “Just one. I am not asking for much.”
“She makes me happy.”
My heart thumps hard at Ms Pink’s words and I can’t help but smile. “You make me happy too.”
“You have an empire of fashion, vast amounts of property, literally endless wealth but you need a mere human to make you happy?”
It hurts hearing myself referred to as a mere human but I can’t blame Helene for putting it this way.
“She is not mere human. She has the Erika.”
“Even more troublesome than a mere human.”
“Even more amazing than a mere human,” Ms Pink retorts, making my cheeks warm and the fire in my heart flare.
With this declaration by Ms Pink comes a switch in my mind-set. The ‘training’ I’m undergoing may be mentally exhausting and physically torturing but my determination to get through it all is on. It is a crazy world but Ms Pink is here for me. And if I want to stand by her, I will have to toughen myself up. Just like she did for me.
“Ms Pink,” I say, not caring that I am interrupting two powerful vampires, “I’m ready to be burnt again.”
a/n: This update is early because I will be in Taipei for Phantasia concerts this weekend. It is also a little shorter than I would like it to be but this is a good place to stop and I really need to get to the airport lol. See y’all next week 🙂