FSOP2: 24

What? WHAT?

My mind goes blank. This . . . this mucky, heavy book is Shubbenyiddi? “I-Is this the actual . . .?”

“Yes.”

“But how is something so ancient just sitting here?”

“It is property of the Federation’s archives. The archives are stored here. As the guardian of High Society, I have direct access to the books.”

“Books?”

“Shubbenyiddi isn’t just one book.”

“It isn’t?”

“They are records. How can one book be enough?” Hyo grins.

“So the one that Ms Pink borrowed from Helene is just one of the books?”

“She doesn’t have the original.” Hyo’s grin widens. “It’s a copy.”

“A copy?”

“Yeah.”

“Are there many copies?”

Hyo shrugs. “Who knows how many illegal copies there are.”

“Illegal?”

“It’s illegal if you copy it without registering with the Federation.”

“So is Helene’s copy illegal too?”

Hyo laughs. “Likely. After living for a couple hundred years, you’d get tired of following the rules too.”

“How long have you lived? If you don’t mind answering.”

Hyo leans back with her elbows on the armrests and smiles. “How long do you think?”

“I’m really bad at guessing.”

“I’ll give you two tries.”

“Two hundred years?”

Hyo pulls a shocked expression. “Do I look at old?”

“One hundred years?”

With a shaking head, Hyo says, “Uh uh, wrong again. I’m a new recruit. You’re looking at fifty years of succubus-hood.”

“You’re a succubus too? Like Yuri.”

“Mhm.”

“Is that why you can talk to me in my head?”

Hyo’s grin is cheeky. “We can enter minds, dabble with dreams and control your desires, but I find it a whole lot more fun when I do it while the person is awake.”

“Is Yuri related to you?”

“Our vicists are twins. Cool, right?”

My eyes grow wide. “So Yuri is kind of like your sister? Oh my God.” A thought occurs to me just then. “Who are your vicists?”

“Trungt and Trungn. Twins. They’ve been around since forever.”

“I’ve not heard Ms Pink mention them before.”

“They’re in the mountains of Namve, staying away from all of this mess. They don’t like to hang out in the city. So when they come here, it must be for something very important.”

“Why did they turn you into a succubus?”

For once, there is no smile. “That’s not important.” Hyo pushes Shubbenyiddi to me and flips it open. “The Black Death,” she reads, finger moving down a series of inscriptions, “killed almost everyone in the towns and villages. I rode through fields of black and rot. I rode through a living nightmare.” Looking at me, Hyo says, “The recent mass murder turned the victims blue. But do you know what happened after one victim was zapped with an energy charge?”

I shake my head, not knowing how or why a victim was zapped in the first place.

“He turned black.”

My jaw falls open. “Black?”

“Do you know what that means?”

“It means . . . the Black Death was actually blue?”

“Yes. And?”

“And . . . something happened to turned everyone black.”

“So what does that mean?”

“That means . . . there was a lot of energy zapping them after they died?”

“Put two and two together. The records call it the Black Death. But what if they were not black at first? What if they were blue like the mass murder in Elv?”

“That would mean the Erika did not kill them. The Feds are wrong.” My spirits lift as realization dawns on me. “And if I’m really the Erika, it means I’m not dangerous!”

Hyo’s expression doesn’t agree with my last statement. “I don’t know about the ‘not dangerous’ part. It’s still an unknown.” Hyo points at the next page. “Fingers to toes, all were darkened. All was lost. But he is vanquished.”

“He? Who is he?”

“The records are vague here.”

I stare at Hyo for a bit, finding it fascinating that she can read the inscriptions. “How did you learn to read this language? And what is this language?”

“We call it Nomrom. It’s an ancient language. An ancient super taught me the language and I had to take a Nomrom test before I could become Madam Hyo,” said Hyo, weaving circles in the air with her hands while adding a weird accent to her title.

“But why?”

“As Madam Hyo, I am Keeper of Shubbenyiddi and other ancient books and things. I also have to deal with old, powerful supers who are very old-fashioned and still like to write in Nomrom because they think it’s superior.” Hyo rolls her eyes. “They are my favourite.”

I giggle a little. Hyo is funny. But giggles and funnies aside, I need to know more. “Does the record mention anything about the one who was responsible for the blue murders?”

Hyo leans back and presses her lips into a thin line. Is this an unpleasant topic to discuss?

“The record talks about some events that end in a sea of blue. It was when ancient vampires fought for territory and power. They took over lands where people lived and terrorized them with the blue corpses.”

“But I don’t understand the blue bit. Why do they turn blue?”

Hyo blows a sigh. “Ancient vampires who have lived for more than five hundred years build up so much supernatural essence that they turn their victims blue after drinking their blood.”

“This essence, it’s a bit like what Yuri put into me before . .  .”

“Her essence will not turn you blue. She is a succubus, not a vampire. She doesn’t need to kill humans for food. Only for pleasure, if she pleases.”

I shudder at that thought. “Were there many blue deaths in the past?”

Hyo nods. “According to the records, yes.”

“So how did it end?”

“People tried to fight back. Sometimes they even burnt innocent people at the stake if they suspected them of dealing with the supernatural. Eventually, with enough knowledge and tactical experience, humans were able to repel the vampires. We call them slayers now. They studied the vampires and developed methods of disarming them and fighting back. It became a huge mess. Finally, a truce was agreed on to end the fighting. Both sides signed a peace treaty, a pact agreeing that vampires will not be hunted and killed anymore and they could live in the human world as they wish but not feed on them or terrorize them.” Hyo breaks into a grin. “Supernatural Vampire History 101.”

“That’s quite the same thing as what Ms Pink explained before,” I say with a nod. “And there have been no blue deaths ever since?”

“None. The ancient vampires who didn’t follow the rules of the treaty were slain. The remaining ancients were happy to establish their ‘power’ by ruling over the supernatural world.”

“You mean like the Federation members?”

Hyo nods. “Mhm. The only truly ancient supers we know now are Kharne and Sintix. Olympias was one too but you know what happened to her.”

“Sintix is an ancient too?”

“He is more than five hundred years old. But he’s not as old as Kharne.”

“What about Yuri?”

“Almost three hundred years.

“Around the same as Ms Pink then.”

“Yes, they became supers just a few decades apart.” Hyo leans forward again. “You see, the problem is, Kharne and Sintix are the ancients we know of. Sesgo is almost ancient too. But there is a name in the records that the supers don’t think about enough.”

I lean forward too. “Who is it?”

“Ttrowtos.”

“I’ve heard Kharne talking about Ttrowtos before.”

“Well, if you count Gerant, then that creature is more ancient than any vampire but Gerant is peaceful and lives only in the thickest woods. Ttrowtos however, is anything but peaceful. The record of his deeds includes clashes with a number of ancient supers. The last thing said about him is his venture into Lakkos.”

I nod as memories come flooding back. “Ms Pink and Yuri said something about this before. But what is Lakkos?”

“Lakkos is on an ancient island. It is underground, like a cave that stores water but is manmade. They call it a cistern today.”

“Oh, a cistern.” I frown. “But what’s so dangerous about a cistern?”

“It is what lurks inside Lakkos that is dangerous, not the place itself. It is deep underground. Very deep. Nobody can hear you scream from the outside.”

A shiver climbs up my spine. “What’s inside Lakkos?”

“Evil.”

“Evil?”

“According to books, if one is willing to sacrifice their soul and sanity, they can descend into the pits of Lakkos and immerse themselves in the evil that lurks there. If they manage to emerge from Lakkos, they will possess dark powers that will allow them to dominate through terror.”

“Oh my God.” It sounds terrifying. I did not sign up for this.”

“It is only a legend however. No one can prove its existence. There have been many who entered Lakkos but never returned. Some think they simply got lost and never found their way back out, which is possible since there is no existing map of the cistern. It also captures rainwater and it is on an island that is exposed to the most extreme weather. So another possibility is that the water level rose suddenly and drowned those in it.”

“Ms Pink could have told me about this instead of keeping me guessing. Why didn’t she just tell me?”

Hyo shrugs. “Pan Ni is unfathomable at times. All power vampires and supers are eccentric.”

“Are you?”

Hyo grins. “I’m not old enough. I still think quite like a human.”

“Is that why you’re the only one willing to tell me all these things?”

“Maybe. Or maybe the supers think you’re too dangerous.”

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe Pan Ni and other supers don’t want to tell you too much because of your unknown potential to inflict danger on them.”

“But you’re a super and you’re telling me.”

“As I said, I still think like a human most of the time. And I get bored easily. I need something to happen to shake up the peace.”

“You want war?” I ask in incredulity.

“No, no. Not war. I just want some excitement. Things get boring around here.”

Distrust rises inside me. Fast and furious. Suddenly I’m not sure why Hyo told me all these things. Is it for my benefit or her own? Can she be trusted? But she helped me during the trial. Shaking my head at the conflicting thoughts, I rise from my seat. “I need to go home and digest this. Thanks for telling me so much today.”

Hyo grins and swings her luxurious red leather chair from side to side. “My pleasure. It’ll cost you some blood the next time though.”

The door opens, revealing the handsome valet. He bows and ushers me back to my car. As I get into my car, I wonder one more time how it is possible to drive through a wall. But I guess, I’ve gotten more answers than I can handle today. Enough with the questions for now.

X

Ms Pink is lying on the lounger when I return to what is now my home with her. Her eyes open when I step to her side and sit. I can smell blood and it makes the hairs on my neck rise but I don’t question her about it. By my intuition, I lean over and hug her as she lies there, nestling my head into the mess of curls between her head and shoulder.

Her hands slide over my back and hold me tight. Her head leans into mine. She says nothing. I say nothing. And after some time, the tense in her body ebbs away and her arms relax, sliding down to my waist where they stay loose.

“I love you,” I whisper, the words slipping out naturally on their own.

Her hands slide over my derriere and pat one. “I love you.”

I smile. The moment we just shared might be the most ‘human-like’ in the history of our relationship. No dominance. No supernatural powers. Just two tired, confused souls comforting each other. Although Ms Pink is probably a lot less tired and confused than me.

“Did Madam Hyo treat you well?” she asks quietly.

“Yes,” I reply without missing a beat. “Her valet escorted me to the member’s garage and brought me to Hyo’s office.”

“Hyo. You’re close to her.”

“She insisted on being called Hyo. Doesn’t like her Madam Hyo title.”

Ms Pink snorts. “She’ll take to it in another fifty years’ time.”

“She knows a lot.”

“She only knows information. That’s why supers buy information from her.”

“I got a lot of it for free today.”

“I know.”

“Nothing you couldn’t have told me yourself though.”

“I know.”

Lifting my head up so I can look into her eyes, I ask softly, “So why didn’t you?”

Ms Pink’s eyes hold my gaze, open and straight. “I want you like this. Like a human.”

“So why didn’t you stop me from going to Hyo?”

Ms Pink pulls my head down to her chest. “It was as you wished, Taeyeon.”

My body hums with a warm buzz from head to toe.

“You are the Erika.”

X

12 thoughts on “FSOP2: 24

  1. So, are the blue deaths portent of black deaths to come? I don’t know what to think. Doubtless, there are more puzzles in the offing but one thing is for sure, you’re likely to take my mind on a spin before the pieces fall into place ,AK. Can’t wait for more mind- boggling updates that never cease to tickle my imagination.

  2. If you need ancient vampires to make blue killings and the only few you have are those few, why not start investigating throwtos immediately?

    What does hyo mean when she says they don’t think about him enough?

    Ak, if you ever publish something, be sure, I will buy it. This is quality work, I appreciate it so much!!

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