Emerald green eyes are the first things I see when I open mine. Who is it? Where am I?
The voice connects my brain to my ears. “S-Seo?” Speaking proves to be a pain in the neck, literally, and I groan as a sting runs up and down the back of my neck.
“Don’t move too much. Your bite wound has not healed completely.”
“Bite . . .” I frown, trying to recall being bitten. Then I remember. Helene. Ttrowtos. Ms Pink. Ms Pink. Ms Pink! “Is she okay now?” I ask while attempting to push myself up, ignoring the protest in my neck.
“She’s in the freezer.”
“Why?” I ask as a shard of fear stabs me somewhere deep inside. “Is she—is she—”
Seo shakes her head, setting off a wave of relief in my chest. “She’s not dead. But things didn’t go as planned.”
“What do you mean?” A sinking feeling sets in. Something must be wrong. Something is wrong with the way I’m feeling. Didn’t Helene say I will lose the ability to love Ms Pink? Am I not supposed to have been converted into a vampire? Is this what being a vampire feels like? Is this what not loving Ms Pink feels like? But I’m still worried sick about her. It doesn’t make any sense.
“Did you hear what I said?”
I blink and shake my head. “What did you say?”
“Helene tried to convert you.”
“She didn’t succeed completely.”
“So I’m not a vampire?”
“I’m not sure if you are.”
Looking at my hands and touching my chest, I seek a sign that might indicate what I have turned into. “I don’t understand.”
“Helene infused her essence into your bloodstream. On any other ordinary human, they would have ‘died’ like you did, but they would also have been revived almost immediately once the essence spreads through their blood. You, on the other hand, ‘died’ and didn’t revive. You stayed in a coma.”
“How long has it been?”
“Oh no . . .”
“Helene thought you weren’t revived because of your resistance to supernatural energy. But when we checked, your heart had stopped beating although your blood was still flowing.”
“My heart . . .” With my palm over my chest, I hold my breath and try to sense a heartbeat. There is none. Holy shit. So that’s why I feel a little different. “But am I a vampire?”
“Your blood has been modified by Helene’s essence. But because it is Erika blood, we’re not sure how it has changed exactly.”
“Is that why I can’t stop thinking about Ms Pink?”
Seo looks deep into my eyes suddenly, her eyes widened in surprise. “Your eyes are glowing blue right now. That’s a sign that the usual rules do not apply to you.”
“My eyes are blue?” I get up from the bed and look around for a mirror to check it out. The bite on my neck hurts and I groan again, touching it with my fingers to get a sense of how bad it is. “Why isn’t it healing faster if I’m a vampire?”
“Helene has been trying to infuse her essence repeatedly over the past thirty-nine hours.”
“So she’s been sinking her fangs into the same spot on my neck over and over again?” I wince as the wound stings me again. “No wonder I’m so sore.”
“I can apply mimea if it hurts too much. But it defeats the purpose if Helene is going to bite you again later.”
“I don’t care about the bite. What I really need to do right now is see Ms Pink.”
“But she’s in the freezer. Helene put her in there for fear that your blood might kill her.”
My eyes fly to Seo’s and flash at the thought of Ms Pink dying because of my blood. “I need to see her. Please.”
“Alright. I will bring you to her.”
It is only as I am following Seo through the corridors that I realize we are actually in Ms Pink’s castle. I am instantly relieved to know that and a sense of home sets in. This is Ms Pink’s castle. This is her home. That’s good.
It takes a moment with my distraction but with the cool wind on my face, I come to the realization that I have no trouble keeping up with Seo even though she’s moving rather quickly. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is a pace I would have had trouble with prior to being bitten by Helene. This is cool.
We speed through the dungeon and turn into a spacious room with a huge machine that looks like a futuristic refrigerator lying flat on the floor. It is in the middle and I notice the numerous tubes running from it into the walls.
“What are the tubes for?” I ask as Seo fiddles with the contraption.
“They maintain the freeze.”
My focus moves over to the figure lying inside when Seo lifts the lid. Pale and slightly blue, Ms Pink’s skin and veins have regained their normalcy and her eyes are no longer open wide and stricken with shock. She looks at peace as she lies there on the pink velvety cushion and it calms me down somewhat. There are things I need to say to her but I can’t do it with Seo watching.
“I would like to have a moment alone with Ms Pink.”
Seo looks at me with her cool, green eyes, contemplating something in her mind. “Don’t take too long. There’s something I need to show you after this.”
I nod absently, my mind already fully latched onto Ms Pink and get on my knees to reach for her hand. It’s a cold, cold hand but it warms me up. Weaving my fingers with hers, I grasp her hand and hold it to my lips. Whatever was supposed to stop me loving Ms Pink is obviously not working. If anything, the feelings I have for Ms Pink seem to have deepened and intensified because my heart may not be beating right now, but seeing Ms Pink makes it feel like it’s beating again.
“Is this how you felt when you said you love me?” I ask Ms Pink, my lips moving across the cold skin of her hand. “Is this what you meant when you said I make you feel human again? I think I know what you mean now. This strange feeling in my heart. It’s incredible. It’s so weird but incredible.”
I lean forward and press my lips on Ms Pink’s frozen ones.
“Whatever it is, I’m very happy because I still love you. Even if I don’t know what’s happening to me. Even though my heart has stopped beating.” I laugh to myself. “And you know what? You won’t have to carry me anymore ‘cos I can do supernatural speed now. I can keep up with you now. Hell, I might even be faster than you.”
Trailing my fingers down Ms Pink’s cheek, I kiss her again but it’s not enough so I climb into the freezing box and lie beside her. With my head on her shoulder, I close my eyes and sigh. There is an emptiness in my chest that throws me off but knowing that Ms Pink isn’t dead yet counters that sensation and anchors my soul. Everything will be alright. I believe.
Sitting up in the freezing machine, I grin sheepishly at Seo. “I’m here.”
“I have to close it now or she will begin to thaw.”
With a nod, I climb out of the freezer and stand to the side as Seo lowers the lid and latches it. When it is secured, Seo turns back to me and I wonder why there is burden in her clear, green eyes.
“You said you had something to tell me.”
“I do. Come with me.”
After another speedy walk back to the room I woke up in, Seo sits me down on a chair.
“There are many things I need to tell you. Ms Pink wants you to know these things and she wants you to make a decision.”
My back straightens at this. “What do you mean?”
“Ms Pink knows there are many things you want to know but she kept it all from you because she didn’t want to put you at risk. She tasked me to tell you everything if anything should happen to her, so I will tell you everything now.”
With a heart on the verge of thumping, I nod and lean forward. “Tell me everything.”
“Ms Pink has known for some time that Kharne wanted to rule over the Federation and the realm of supers. But he wasn’t the only one. Olympias too, wanted the power and it was mostly a stroke of luck that Kharne got to kill her without attracting too much suspicion on himself. So with Olympias dead, it became clear in our investigations that Kharne was up to something.”
“Kharne is the one who said Ttrowtos hasn’t been seen in the last thousand years,” I add, the scene from Demortams coming to my mind suddenly.
“Good observation,” Seo remarks with a smile. “He did say that. But he was lying. We have been keeping tabs on him and we know that he had been sailing out to an unknown destination.”
“To meet Ttrowtos?”
“That’s what we suspected. But even now, we are still not too sure about Ttrowtos’s backstory. We know there is a certain truth to the story of him entering Lakkos but we don’t know what happened in that cistern. Rumours have it that he never emerged but we don’t know much more than that. But what we do know, is the fact that Kharne is responsible for bringing Ttrowtos back. We also know that Kharne is the one who fed Ttrowtos the nourishment he needed to come back to power.”
“Do you mean the mass blue murders?”
Seo nods. “Yes. Those were all Ttrowtos’s feasts, supplied by Kharne.”
“But why would Kharne want to bring Ttrowtos back if Ttrowtos is going to become more powerful than him?” I ask, remembering how Ttrowtos lorded over Kharne in the Dark Thicket.
“He probably got the idea from killing Olympias. He would be proclaimed a hero if he killed Ttrowtos too and he could use that to command a leading position on the Federation. But he was too arrogant. Arrogance leads to complacency. Complacency then leads to failure.”
“So Kharne is the real villain.”
“It is likely to be the case. But we don’t have to worry about him for the time being,” Seo says with confidence.
“He has seen what you can do. You killed Ttrowtos. And knowing that Ms Pink is still alive, with Helene on her side, Kharne wouldn’t dare to try anything just yet.”
“What about Sesgo and Tatua?” I ask, remembering how those two stood by Ttrowtos’s side in the battle. “There’s something about Tatua that disturbs me.”
“You killed Sesgo too.”
Seo nods. “She died. As for Tatua, I’ve yet to investigate but I’m definitely looking into it after Ms Pink is nursed back to health.”
“Okay, that sounds like a plan.”
“Now, the secret that Ms Pink wants you to know.”
“What is it?”
“It’s about your blood.”
My eyes follow Seo as she walks to a seemingly ordinary wall. It doesn’t fool me though. I can sense the hollowness behind it and sure enough, a portion of it slides open revealing vials of liquid red-purple.
“This is all your blood.”
“Ms Pink has been collecting your blood. All the 10c.cs you’ve been trading off to Yoona and Hyoyeon were bought back by Ms Pink through proxies.”
“What did she plan to do with my blood?”
“We have been testing the reactions between your blood and Ms Pink’s by fusing them.”
“It was Ms Pink’s project to work out the statistics that would give her immunity to your suppression of her essence.”
“She did it to be with me without getting hurt,” I whisper, as the pieces fall into place. “And it’s because of me. She doesn’t want me to feel bad about hurting her.”
“Whatever her reasons are for doing so are not the most important thing to consider in this moment.” Seo is frowning and her eyes are turning a deep grassy green. “This blood is yours. Ms Pink made it clear that it cannot be used or given away without your consent. But this blood may just help to revive Ms Pink after she is cleansed of Ttrowtos’s evil curse.”
“Then use it. I don’t need the blood. Use it to save Ms Pink.”
Seo nods. “With your consent, I will start the transfusion now.”
“So explain it to me. Why isn’t Helene’s method working on Ms Pink?” I ask as Seo hauls Ms Pink out from the freezer and lays her down on the lush red carpet beside it.
Seo straightens Ms Pink out before looking at me. “She underestimated your blood composition. Although she managed to convert your blood with her essence, it didn’t work the way she thought it would in Ms Pink. Ms Pink went into shock when Helene transfused your converted blood into her body. It did suppress the curse that Ttrowtos cast on Ms Pink but it was also weakening her. In the end, Helene had to get rid of your blood from Ms Pink, transfuse her own blood and freeze Ms Pink to stabilize her condition.”
“This is more complicated than human blood transfusion.”
Seo nods. “It is. Your blood is untried and untested. Helene was desperate to counter Ttrowtos’s curse or she wouldn’t have tried to use your blood. It took a lot out of her to convert you too. But she has been returning every few hours to infuse more of her essence into you, hoping your blood can be used to revive Ms Pink.”
“But will this work?” I ask, thinking about how my blood might harm Ms Pink again.
“These blood samples are hybrids. I managed to find the balance between Ms Pink’s essence and your blood and Ms Pink was on her way to developing resistance to you.” Seo’s cool green eyes meet mine. “It’s worth a try.”
I nod, understanding the unspoken risk. “We have to try.”
Vial after vial of blood is emptied into a blood bag which is then transfused into Ms Pink’s neck through a needle that makes me queasy. My knees grow weak as I watch the bag of blood emptying and end up sitting on the floor beside Ms Pink, holding her hand.
“Don’t worry too much.”
“Huh?” I look to Seo, anxiety overflowing, disabling my mind.
Seo merely smiles. “You will need to learn to control what your eyes show.”
“Blue eyes are new to me but the way they are flashing right now are a dead giveaway of everything going through your mind.”
I’m too anxious to smile at Seo’s little pun. “Will Ms Pink be okay?”
“We shall see.”
My un-beating heart is about to explode as the last bit of blood disappears into the tube leading to Ms Pink’s neck. What will happen now? Will Ms Pink be revived? Will my blood hurt her? And one more nagging question that has been bothering me the entire time. Will Ms Pink still have feelings for me? My blood may have made things a little different for me, but what about Ms Pink?
Seo removes the needle and I cringe at the little dribble of blood that escapes from the hole in Ms Pink’s neck. It’s better to keep my eyes on her face, even if it is a lot paler than usual.
“Now we will let her thaw out.”
“She’s on a heating mat. It will warm her up.”
“It will take a moment.”
The moment seems to take forever and for a while, I wonder if my blood killed Ms Pink. But I feel the slightest of twitches in Ms Pink’s fingers and all my hopes are up. With both my hands clutching Ms Pink’s, I wait for more signs of life. Life is ironic for a vampire but what else can I call it?
Seo is somewhere behind me but I forget all about her when Ms Pink’s eye lids open just a crack. “Ms Pink. Oh my God. Ms Pink. Ms Pink.”
I watch as those eyes open a little wider, then fully. Black eyes stare at me. No pink. My anxiety spikes. I freeze a little.
I blink and stare at Ms Pink’s lips. Did I hear her right?
Tears fly out of my eyes from nowhere and I throw my arms around my princess vampire. “Ms Pink. Ms Pink.” I am reduced to mumbling as arms envelop me. Never mind that I’m not human anymore. Never mind that I don’t even know what I am right now. Ms Pink calling me stupid human again is all that matters. It’s all I need to hear.