Title: Learning To Live
Chapter: 1 /??
Fandom: SS501, U-Kiss, Super Junior, Epic High
Warnings: None atm
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
NOTES: Loosely based on the video game by Namco 'Tales of Symphonia'. This is a long term project and I am overwhelmed. But I am so happy to finally be posting this.
Summary: HyungJoon has spent his entire life training for one moment. The one moment that would save the world from it's imminent destruction in exchange for his own life. The time for regeneration has finally arrived, just as HyungJoon has begun to live.
Hyunjoong walked along the deserted streets of Triet. A small sand storm had provided the perfect cover for this covert mission. All of the sand city’s inhabitants were indoors taking shelter from the dangerous sands, while Hyunjoong boldly walked the streets. His turban flew around his head as he attempted to reach the designated meeting spot. This meeting could mark the end of his long search.
“You’re a crazy man, Hyunjoong. You actually dared to meet me in the middle of a sand storm.” A whisper came from the shadows of an alley.
Hyunjoong looked around, alerted by the man’s voice. He squinted as he tried to make out anything in the sand billowing around him. He continued to walk until he felt someone grab his arm. Hyunjoong pulled out his dagger at a moment’s notice and tried to distinguish his attacker. But his attacker quickly grabbed his arms and placed him in a body lock.
“Looks like you still have a lot to learn, Hyunjoong.” His assailant chuckled.
Hyunjoong’s body relaxed against the assailant’s hold as he recognized the voice of the man. He smirked.
“Not everyone is native to these harsh lands Daniel.”
Daniel released Hyunjoong from the hold and pulled the man into the alley he was previously in. The alley provided enough shelter from the sand and allowed both men to remove their turbans.
“Honestly I didn’t think you would show up. As soon as the sand storm approached, I figured you would wait it out. I’m sure you came without Kyujong’s permission.” Daniel teased.
Hyunjoong rolled his eyes in annoyance. “This is much more important, you know that. Now do you have it? I do hope that this trip is at least worth a few hours of a cranky Kyujong.”
“Of course I have it. It wasn’t easy to get either.” He handed the small metal orb to Hyunjoong who quickly took the curious object and inspected it.
“I had my doubts when you contacted me, but since it’s for Youngjoong, I had to take the risk. What’s it for anyways?”
“This inhibitor ore is the key to making the Exphere work. If I can get this thing working, I can get Youngjoong out of that ranch.” Hyunjoong continued to inspect the curious orb. “Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s the real thing. Kyujong is the only one who can tell the difference from those fake orbs that old man in Hakonesia Peak was selling.”
“I risked my life for that thing. I broke in to the Human Ranch up ahead and got it, so don’t worry about it being a fake.” Daniel reassured.
“Thank you. I won’t let your efforts go to waste. I will get my brother out of those ranches. By the way how did you manage to break into the Ranch? They’re usually heavily guarded.” Hyunjoong asked curiously.
“It is heavily guarded, but it’s different. There are no humans in this ranch. It’s strange considering the other Ranches, but I figure this one is like a lab or something. There were a lot of machines and advanced technology. Who knows what those Desians are doing.”
“Those filthy half-elves are probably just finding ways to deplete the mana faster. Damn Desians.” Hyunjoong muttered angrily, clutching the small orb. Daniel took Hyunjoong’s hand.
“Make those Desians pay. Give them hell.” Daniel offered sincerely. Hyunjoong smirked in response. “Of course, you’ll have your wife back cooking and cleaning for you in no time” Daniel’s eyes lit up and hugged Hyunjoong. He released the younger man and admired how much he had grown.
“The sand storm will be letting up soon, you should get back before Kyujong figures out you’re gone.” Daniel patted Hyunjoong’s back in sympathy.
“He probably already has, but you’re right.”Hyunjoong agreed with him. “Despite what you may think it’s not like that.” An embarrassed flush began to color his face.
Daniel chuckled. “I know. I just like teasing you. You two are like a married couple. It’s fun to watch. I do hope Kyujong will come around.” Hyunjoong frowned.
“Don’t count on it. But thank you so much for your help. You’ll have Youngjoong cleaning and cooking for you very soon.” Hyunjoong wrapped the turban around his head and braved the elements once more, this time with a spring in his step.
Kyujong paced around the small room muttering angrily under his breath. Stupid Hyunjoong left during a sandstorm and that idiot has no sense of self preservation. He could easily get blown away by the sand or worse yet, mugged by a band of sandworms or something. Who knows what these sand storms could unearth. He continued his angry worrying until he heard a key opening the lock to the room. Kyujong stood in front of the door, his arms crossed around his chest.
The man entering the room froze and put on an awkward smile. “Hey…”
“Did you have fun out there in the desert? I hope you got attacked by sand worms.”
“No just Daniel.” He chuckled. Kyujong’s expression darkened. “I’m sorry Kyu, I had to meet him. I knew you wouldn’t have let me otherwise.”
“That man is bad news. He can’t be trusted. He is the reason your brother is in that ranch” Kyujong huffed. Hyunjoong sighed and made his way into the room, taking care to not anger Kyujong further by tracking dirt in.
“I know. But he is the only one crazy enough to actually go and get me this.” He pressed the orb into Kyujong’s hands.
“Is this…?” He unfolded his arms and stared at the small orb in awe. His eyes danced around the orb taking in its beauty.
“Daniel broke in to the Ranch nearby. He got it from one of their labs. Is it real?”
“Hyun, this is exactly what we’ve been looking for. I need to study it though. I need to carve it into some sort of mound and place it on your skin. I need to carve some sort of spell into it.” Kyujong burst out. He ran around the room and gathered the books he had on the subject and sat on the makeshift desk he had fashioned for himself. He quickly immersed himself.
Hyunjoong deflated a little bit. “So even if we have it, we can’t use it?”
Kyujong looked up from his books, “I’m studying it now. Did you not understand anything from the old man in Hakonesia Peak?”
“No I didn’t. I tuned that old asshole out. I worked night and day for that bastard just for that fake orb. We wasted valuable time humoring that old man.” Hyunjoong walked over to the bed and sat down.
“It may have been a complete fake, but the information we gained is valuable. How else would I know so much about Expheres? And we finally have the Inhibitor Ore. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without Kotons’ information.” Kyu defended. Hyunjoong sighed in defeat and rose to a sitting position. He placed his head in his hands.
“Without the spell it’s useless.” He stated, eerily calm. “I don’t think Daniel could break into the Ranch again, it would be too dangerous.”
“And stupid” Kyujong added.
Hyunjoong felt useless. There had to be something he could do. “I think I should break into the Ranch and try to find something. Maybe they have the spell written down somewhere.” He sat up excitedly, looking at Kyujong like a puppy expecting a reward.
“Are you insane? The reason you asked Daniel in the first place was so that you wouldn’t have to.” Kyujong huffed in disbelief. “The Desians know who you are. If they see you, they will execute you on sight.”
Hyunjoong, not expecting this reaction, looked away from Kyujong. “Do you have any better ideas?” He asked calmly, “because I need to rescue my brother as soon as possible and we need the Exphere to do so. I need to break in.”
“And who would rescue your brother if you get caught? Think Hyun! For the love of Martel, think for once in your life. There has to be some other way.” Kyujong shouted.
“Kyu, I can do this. How hard could it be if Daniel managed to do it? I’ll just ask him.”
“Daniel is gone by now Hyun. This is ridiculous; you can’t risk going back in.”
“What are we doing then Kyujong? Aren’t we going to break in to the Asgard ranch anyways? That ranch is the most heavily guarded Ranch in Sylvarant. If we can’t even break into this one, how can we possibly break in to that ranch?” Hyunjoong bit out through gritted teeth.
Kyujong sat down beside Hyunjoong in the bed. Hyunjoong stared passively at the wall. Kyu sighed, “Hyun… just give me some time. This is Dwarven technology… There has to be some text somewhere that we haven’t gone through. Just give me some time. Don’t do anything dangerous… I can’t lose you too.” Kyujong looked down at his lap. He was grasping at straws, desperately trying to get Hyunjoong to see reason.
Hyunjoong stood up from the bed and walked towards the door. Kyu stared at Hyunjoong, praying that he had gotten through. “People are dying. My brother is dying. Those ranches literally suck the life out of humans. He doesn’t have time.” Hyunjoong paused in front of the door. “I’m sorry Kyu.” He walked out of the room and slammed the door.
Kyujong clenched his fists in anger. “Idiot.” He muttered angrily as tears began to sting his eyes.
“Why does it have to be so hot in the desert?” Hyungjoon wined.
“It’s a desert.” Siwon looked up at the sky and began to pick up speed. “The sand storm back there really set us back. If we don’t pick up speed, we won’t make it to Triet by nightfall.” He informed Hyungjoon.
“I know it’s a desert. But WHY does it have to be sooo hot?” he continued to whine as he struggled to keep pace with the older man. He wiped the sweat from his brow. “Could we double back to the House of Salvation we took refuge in?” begged Hyungjoon pathetically.
“I believe that the heat is caused by Efreet, the Summon Spirit. It is part of the journey of regeneration. As for your suggestion, it would be a waste of effort to return. Judging by the map, we are at least an hour or two away from Triet. If we pick up speed, we should be able to make it there before nightfall.”
“You’re right.” Hyungjoon pouted. Siwon chuckled and pulled Hyungjoon along to increase their pace. The heat was beginning to get to Hyungjoon. His vision began to blur as he struggled to keep up with Siwon. The man never tired, he was like a robot, and it made Hyungjoon feel out of shape. He knew that he would have to travel. He just didn’t think that he would feel this exhausted, especially on the first day.
They continued to walk in a steady pace. After a while of walking in relative silence, Siwon spoke up.
“I know that we just met, and I don’t know what your capabilities are. I apologize if I am pushing you too hard.” Hyungjoon’s eyes bulged in surprise. He felt really bad for whining. He fidgeted with his fingers while trying to figure out how to reply. “I don’t mean to push you. During daylight, the desert is scorching. But it get’s below freezing during the night. The drastic temperature change can be overwhelming.” Siwon continued.
He could’ve been stuck with one of the temple elders who had no consideration for his well being, so he felt lucky to have Siwon by his side, even if he had just met the man yesterday. He still didn’t know what to make of the stronger man.
“I understand. And it’s okay to push me… at the temple; the elders disliked me because it would take me a while to understand things. And my brother tells me I whine too much. This journey is important, I understand. So don’t worry about it… okay?” He tried reassuring the older man.
Siwon smiled, his dimples prominent on his handsome face, and Hyungjoon felt his heart race. He needlessly turned away to hide his already flushed face.
“Let’s go then.” Hyungjoon smiled and nodded. Even though the sand had receded a while back, it was making Hyungjoon blind. Siwon held his hand pulling him through the sandy mess, but that didn’t stop Hyungjoon from tripping over something and falling head first into the sand.
“Thelp. There’s something in the ground.” Siwon was taken by surprise and looked back to the source of the fall.
“You’re right. It’s a man.” Siwon rushed to the fallen body.
The man had creamy tanned skin, a turban loosely wrapped around his head. He had several gashes on his arms and legs, but he was breathing.
“He’s alive.” Siwon declared.
Hyungjoon picked himself up hastily, almost falling again. He spit the sand out.
“Siwon we can’t leave him out here.” He picked up the man and draped his arms over his shoulders.
Siwon stood frozen, momentarily surprised by the chosen’s actions. Hyungjoon struggled to drape the man comfortably. Siwon broke out of his stupor and placed the man’s other arm around his shoulder. Together they managed to hold the man comfortably.
“Looks like we won’t be making it before dark after all...” Hyungjoon commented.
“Looks like it.”
It was a rough trek to Triet, but they somehow managed to make it their before the temperature changed drastically. They half-carried the injured man into the nearest inn. Lucky the Inn was located near the entrance of the town. The inn keeper was dozing off in a chair behind the desk. He was awakened by the pants coming from the door way. The man quickly rose to his feet to aid the men once he noticed the dire situation.
“What happened to Kyujong?” the man asked concerned.
“We don’t know,” Hyungjoon answered breathlessly. The man ushered them to a nearby room and they carefully laid the man on the bed. “We found him unconscious as we were making our way here.” He answered.
“Oh my, poor thing, he has been staying here for a couple of days now, and this afternoon he just rushed out.”
“He must have been ambushed by some thieves or sand worms. The monsters in this area can be really unpredictable.” Siwon rationalized.
“If you excuse me, I’ll go summon a medic.”
The man left the room leaving the three men alone. Siwon quickly placed his hands on some of the severe gashes. A bright light emitted from his hands as the cuts slowly closed, leaving them an angry red.
“It’s not much… I can only due basic first aid.” Siwon informed Hyungjoon.
“Better than my healing artes,” Hyungjoon chuckled.
The men sat around waiting for the Inn keeper to return. Hyungjoon observed the man in the bed. He was breathing steadily but his face looked pained. It made him wonder what could possibly possess a man to run into the desert without protection.
“Siwon…can I stay to watch over him?” Hyungjoon asked tentatively. He really didn’t want to leave the man alone.
“If that is what you wish, I don’t see any harm in that, I will get us a room once the Inn Keeper comes back, for now just rest.” Siwon replied.
“That’s the best idea you’ve had all day.” Hyungjoon sat in a chair beside the bed. It wasn’t the least bit comfortable, but the exhaustion was taking over him and felt himself droop into uncomfortable sleep. He didn’t have time to reflect on his day. At the beginning of the day, he was just Hyungjoon. The fact that he had received the oracle still hadn’t hit him. But he was now beginning to understand what it meant to be the Chosen of Regeneration.
AN: Yeye finally posted it. Future updates won't be as slow as this one. I feel like I went through a threshold by finally posting this. I finally got the ball rolling xD I feel really giddy. By the way the turbans mentioned are the face covering kind, not the elaborate ones you see all the time. In the game, I believe the Triet citizens wore them.
Thank you so much for reading! <3
- Learning To Live - Chapter 1