fandom: WITCH HUNTERS by CHO JUNG-MAN
writer: DREAMSofdestiny livejournal, ffnet
shameless advertising: More Witch Hunter fanfiction at "witchunterworks" at (if you, like me, are a deprived fan...)
shameless comments: List from 30kisses ; wow--four separate updates all in one day? My grades are selflessly dying for your entertainment. This is part one of six--the other five can be found at "witchunterworks" ^^;;
random pairings: in the order which they appear: VarettexAria, NorthxVarette, LeexYue/Xing, XingxTasha, XingxYuexLee, EdeaxRyuhwan
1. once you have it, never give it back.
Varette is good (no, brilliant) at chess, not because she thinks ahead, but because she takes what matters. North notes this with a smile (albeit a grim one) when her knight is taken, bot literally and figuratively. Tasha really stands no chance, because Varette (and therefore, North), will simply never let Aria go.
2. never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity/profit.
Today I will be Emperor. Today, I will become Emperor. Today--I am Emperor. He thinks this on the steps, thinks this while affixing the princely crown to his head. There is no reason for the White Dragon to choose anyone besides him, he, who has worked so hard. Geniuses do not stand a chance, and--what? Lee stares, cannot believe, because Yue does not want to be Emperor.
He is your brother (you want to be Emperor). He is your dear, dear brother (he is going to be Emperor). The two of you are of one blood (he stole the position from you). Brother, Yue, Genius, Emperor. It is all clear, and it has always been clear. Lee laughs, and it hurts, Yue's chest, that is, not his, because he has known it would come to this all along.
3. a deal is a deal.
Tasha smirks, and then takes the sack of gold coins. An eye for an eye after all, and a couple thousand dollars are nonetheless well-spent. Xing rolls his eyes behind his shades, because who could've imagined a Tasha Godspell that didn't cheat and swindle as if it were running and breathing? He steals a kiss, just for good measure, because where Tasha likes money, he likes power.
Three bullets fired, and a couple minutes later, Xing grins, because really, some things (like a very flustered and out of character Tasha Godspell)are worth a couple bullets through the brain. Later, he thinks that it must've been the gold thinking.
4. war is good for business.
Expand, expand, expand. Those fifty emperors, each with one hundred years of knowledge and wisdom and bitter, bitter hate, stew and simmer inside his body and soul. Xing (who is now Yue, who is now the Emperor of the Bairong Empire) smiles grimly as their twisted souls laugh at the ransacked village and kingdom. They want more land and he simply wants prosperity for the people.
He had written pages upon pages, slaved day and night, when he could have should have been training. All so that the people, his people, could improve. Their conditions are worse than ever, the kings, his father, are laughing: loudly and maddening. He clutches the sides of his head, to no avail, because the borders of the Bairong Empire grow bigger and bigger with each fall (of feet, of minds, of people).
The sound of people dying, the sound of ghosts laughing--none of them die out, even as the castle walls light ablaze, and explode.
Where is the empire I imagined? Xing thinks, as he faces his own mirror reflection, save for a left-eyed scar. A cruel smile alight his own face, he feels the air being choked out of his body. The emperors are screaming, telling him to do something--anything, really. He cannot save himself, cannot save his people, and really, he doesn't want to anymore.
"You were never fit to be emperor," his own reflection tells him, fingers tightening, tightening. The blood is draining to his head, he feels his face heating up, and the White Dragon is rising from the back of the wall. He motions a hand to call it off, it is only his reflection after all; the fact that there are no mirrors in the room mean nothing to him.
Bairong Empire, the greatest of them all, falls to ruin; and even then, its emperors will not rest in peace.
5. the bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
"Ryuhwan, get back," she says, and he obeys immediately. His teacher rarely orders him, and when she does, it is normally with a light and playful air, not like this. He feels someone approaching the castle, opens his mouth to ask. Edea raises a hand, motions for him to move further back. He obeys, feels the very hairs of his neck rise up in fear.
"Why Edea," the approaching witch calls out, with all sincerity and charm of a viper, "It's been so long since I last saw you! I heard from East that you had acquired an adorable apprentice!" And she, the witch, switches her gaze from his teacher onto him. It's been a long time since he's last felt fear like this, and he's almost all-but-grown.
This is shameful.
"Ah, yes," his teacher replies with a smile, a proud one, albeit wary, "This is Ryuhwan, my student," and she motions towards him. Ryuhwan notes how she does not move out of the way for the unknown witch. Selfishly, he is relieved.
"How adorable," the witch murmurs, as if discussing a delicacy of the menu, reaching a covered hand forth. Ryuhwan stiffens, but does not outrightedly flinch, when a black tendril manifests itself from the shadows of his own hair. It curves, teasing, about his cheek, before vanishing altogether. "You should be very proud of him, Edea," what should be a compliment comes out like a sneer.
"I am," the master replies, ever diplomatic. Yet Ryuhwan catches her preparing for a banishment spell. The witch smiles, casting one last glance towards him, before vanishing into the same sort of darkness which had just manifested. Edea lets loose a sigh, undoes the preparation for the spell, but because Ryuhwan never asks, she does not explain.
He will regret his silence for the rest of his life.