Word Count: 3700
Summary: Warned against wandering in the woods, Luhan does just that and ends up losing his way and stumbling upon an old, seemingly abandoned manor. Yet this manor has one lone occupant with a deadly secret.
Hands smoothed out the scroll. The ink was faded but just barely legible. Grabbing his ink well and a stone, Sehun placed them on the corners of the scroll to keep the page down. He grabbed a fresh piece of parchment and began to transcribe the words. It took longer than he had hoped, some of the words were unfamiliar to him and had taken longer to decipher, but he had copied the entire text. Quickly skimming over the text, he nodded to himself, satisfied, and headed to his storeroom to gather the ingredients. Once all the ingredients were gathered, he went to his small metal pot to begin making the potion.
Luhan studied his map and looked at the road, then back at his map. He glanced back and forth between the two until he sighed and slumped down on a nearby rock. "I am hopelessly lost."
He cursed that old man who had given him the map, telling him he'd find something beyond his wildest dreams. Idiot that he was, he thought the old man had meant treasure and snatched up the map. Now, he knew it was most likely a trick played on unsuspecting tourists.
Other villagers had warned him when they saw him heading into the forest. Legend told of a grand manor residing in these woods with a terrible beast guarding it. Luhan had paid little attention to it but now he wasn't so sure. With the light fading fast, the forest was beginning to look ominous, shadows quickly crowding in. He looked back the way he came but could barely make out the path. He was either stuck where he was, attempt to go back the way he came, or he could attempt to keep going forward. His best bet would be to try and head back.
Taking a sip of water from his water bottle, Luhan made sure everything was put away except for his flashlight and started back the way he came. He walked, following the barely visible path beneath his feet for what felt like hours. By then, the sun had gone down and the moon was just peeking through the trees. The wind was gently blowing, sending a chill down Luhan's spine. He brought his hands up to rub at his arms.
He paused to try and warm himself up and to get his bearings. In the dark forest, everything looked the same. Staring around, he tried not to let the darkness get to him.
There appeared to be a yellow glow ahead of him. Luhan blinked a few times to make sure it wasn't a hallucination. There, in between the tree branches, was a soft yellow glow, most likely light from someone's house.
Smiling to himself, Luhan kept his eyes on the light and walked towards it. He moved around trees and bushes but always kept that glow in his line of sight. Soon, he was no longer hearing the crunch of leaves beneath his feet and noticed he was walking on a cobblestone path. Up ahead, there was a small wooden bridge over a little river. A bit hesitant, Luhan crossed it when he realized he was close to finding the source of that light. Continuing down the stone path, Luhan passed an open iron gate into a large courtyard. Standing before him was a grand manor, ivy creeping up along the walls. It seemed as though a few spots were beginning to decay but overall, it looked well-kept.
Luhan didn’t take any moment to ponder that. Noticing the light coming from the first floor, he hurried to knock on the door. He knocked several times before the door was creaking open. A tall, thin man filled the door frame.
“Yes? May I help you?"
“Hi, I got lost and saw your light. I was wondering if I could stay the night. I don’t think it’s safe for me to spend it out in the woods.” Luhan gave the stranger what he hoped was a pleasant smile as he waited on the doorstep.
“Sure, just for the night. When it’s light out, you shall leave."
“Yes, yes, yes, of course. I’m sorry to impose on you like this and I’ll leave right away when it’s light out.” Luhan flashed him a grateful smile as he stepped into the manor. Everything inside spoke of expensive taste. Many of the furnishings were antiques, dating back to the early 1800s, and kept very clean. He was very surprised given the state of the outside of the house. Luhan couldn’t help admiring everything as he followed the man down a hall only to stop at the first door on his left.
Holding the door open, the man ushered Luhan inside. Luhan's jaw dropped as he took in the elaborate furnishings. There was a large canopied four poster bed with velvet curtains and a down comforter in a rich burgundy tone. The large windows overlooked the courtyard he had just entered from and if he squinted his eyes, he could just about make out the lights of the village where he was staying. It was surprising to see how far yet how close he actually was. The darkness had distorted everything, making him end up here.
Walking around the room, Luhan's hand brushed over the ornate sitting chairs and mahogany table by the windows draped with more velvet curtains. Everything was just so magnificent Luhan was afraid of ruining it.
"Can I really stay here?"
"Yes." The man gestured to a door by the bed. "There's a bathroom through the door to your left. Please make yourself comfortable. If you wish, you're free to explore this wing but do not venture anywhere else in this house. It is quite old and some of the walls are unstable. I wouldn't want an accident to befall you for the one night you're here."
A corner of the man's mouth lifted in a small smile. "Would you care to have dinner now in your room or wait a few minutes and eat in the dining room?"
"Oh, if it's not too much trouble, may I eat in your dining room?"
"Of course." The man inclined his head and started for the door.
"Uh excuse me, but what is your name?"
The man paused. "Sehun."
"Oh, hi Sehun. I'm Luhan. Uh will you lead me to the dining room or -?"
"I will return for you when dinner is ready. It would be best if you stayed in your room until then but as I said before, you are free to explore this wing if you wish."
"Okay, thank you, Sehun."
The door closed with a quiet click. Luhan looked around the room before taking a running start and jumping onto the bed. He laughed and smiled as he rolled around in the sheets. Once he was done, he sat up and hopped off the bed. If this was to be his one night in this lovely manor, he'd best make the most of it and headed out to explore the wing.
The hallway was dimly lit but enough light shown for Luhan to carefully make his way around. In between the large windows were different portraits, probably former residents or family members. The style of dress was very old-fashioned, quite possibly from the 1800s or older. There was no description beneath the portraits so Luhan could only guess. A few seemed to have a resemblance to Sehun but at the end of the hall, there was a family portrait with Sehun smiling brightly as he stood behind his parents and next to who he assumed was his brother. He wasn't sure why Sehun was dressed in such old-fashioned clothing but for sure that had to be Sehun in the portrait. Looking at it carefully, Luhan thought the portrait must be several hundred years old but that couldn't be right if Sehun looked no older than him.
Frowning, Luhan started to check what was behind some of the doors. The first two around his were bedrooms, decorated in the same style, but a bit more dusty. He wondered why his room hadn't been dusty but he figured maybe Sehun kept it clean for when the occasional wanderer made it out to his manor.
Opening the next door, Luhan was surprised to find a large library. Shelves running from floor to ceiling were stacked high with so many books. There were more books stacked on a long table by the window. there was a cabinet with rolls upon rolls of scrolls. Slowly stepping inside, Luhan left the door open a crack as he walked along the shelves, hand running over the leather bound spines. Many titles were written in a language he wasn't very familiar with and had obscure titles. He pulled on out and skimmed through the text. The pages were old, very thin, and yellow, holding that scent of an unopened book. He recognized a few words but most were indecipherable, words not spoken in hundreds of years. Setting the book back, Luhan continued further into the room. From the few titles he could partially understand, they were about very obscure topics. Some alluded to magic, something Luhan had no faith in.
He came to the cabinet of scrolls. He was about to open it when he noticed a scroll sitting on the long table already. Creeping over, Luhan peered at the scroll. He frowned, barely able to read the faded words. Even if he had been able to see the words, he wouldn't have been able to understand them. They were in the same language as the other books he had seen. His eyes caught the notebook and there were words he recognized there. Moving towards it, he started to read.
"Dinner is served."
Luhan looked up to find Sehun standing in the doorway. There was a slight frown on his face when he noticed Luhan by the table but said nothing as he waited for Luhan to walk towards him. "If you'll follow me..."
Sehun headed down the hall and turned left. Luhan got a glimpse of what could be considered the grand hall before passing through a door to his left where the dining room was. A long table stood in the center of the room with enough chairs to seat at least eight people. At the head of the table closest to them, there were two place settings.
Luhan took the one on the side as he let Sehun sit at the head. Lifting the lid, Luhan found a steak cooked medium rare alongside some roasted vegetables. He noticed Sehun had the same thing though his meat seemed to be a bit bloodier than Luhan’s.
They ate their meal in silence, only the sound of their silverware scraping along the plate as they cut their meat.
Once Luhan had finished, he had excused himself to go back to his room. But the text from earlier had caught his interest and he took a detour back to the library. He was just about to open the door when he heard footsteps behind him.
“It’s getting late. I think you should get to bed."
Luhan turned around to see Sehun staring down at him. He bowed his head, feeling chastised. “Ah you’re right. Sorry."
Luhan scurried down the hall back to his room.
“I should warn you that once you go in, you can’t come back out. It’s very late out and I’m sure you’ve heard of the monster that roams the woods."
“Ah yes, okay, okay. I understand.” Luhan nodded his head as he went back into his room. He shut the door and turned the lock before slipping into the four poster bed to sleep. But it was a long while before he could go to sleep. He couldn’t forget what he had read.
As soon as the sun shone on the horizon, Luhan was up and ready to go. Turning the lock, Luhan quietly slipped out of his room. Hoping it was still early enough, he started to head down the hall back to the library but found Sehun walking towards him from what he assumed was his room at the end of the hall.
A small smile was on Sehun’s face as he stopped in front of Luhan. “Good, you’re up. That saves me the trouble of having to wake you."
Luhan arched a brow. “Anxious to get rid of me?"
“I told you that when it’s light out, you’d leave. Come,” Sehun started down the hall. “I’ll give you a little something to eat and then you leave."
“Okay…” Luhan followed behind Sehun.
When Sehun said little, he meant little. Luhan was given some fruits to eat before he was shown the door.
With a frown, Luhan looked at the front doors of the manor before walking across the courtyard. He took one last glance at the house, with its beautiful and decaying exterior, and headed back down the stone path toward the village.
It only took him a few minutes to return to the village. Luhan looked behind him, not sure why it had taken him so long to get to the manor in the first place when it was so close to the village. For that matter, why didn’t he just return to the village if it had been so close to the manor? But given the tales of how dangerous it was at night in the village, it was probably best Luhan hadn’t stayed outside wandering then. He returned to his room at the village and laid down on his bed.
Checking the time, he figured he could take a quick nap before heading into town for some research…and if he was lucky, maybe going back to that manor.
Sehun turned away from the window, glad his unexpected guest had left. He was always polite to whichever wanderer had gotten lost and ended up at his manor but he was always quick to get rid of them for fear they would uncover his secret. Last night, his guest, Luhan, might have gotten a bit too close to comfort. He had forgotten he’d been working in the library before the disturbance and hadn’t put away his notes in time. He’d had to keep calm when he’d see Luhan looking at them.
Sehun unclenched his fists, having unconsciously clench them when he thought of how close someone had been to discovering his secret. Heading back towards the library, Sehun passed by pictures of his ancestors, all long dead before he had been born, and stopped at the last portrait, the last picture remaining of his family back when things had been good.
He turned away from his smiling face, only lingering over his brother’s image for a moment, before returning to the library to search some more.
Luhan stepped into the village library and headed towards the catalog to search. He was able to find some books on what he was looking for but it wasn’t enough. It barely touched on the subject.
Frowning, he knew of only one place that would hold the information he seeked, if he could decipher it. Heading back to his room, he gathered enough stuff for him to survive and headed back towards the manor.
Sehun straightened his back, working out all the knots from behind hunched over so long. He rubbed his eyes and turned towards the window. Staring at the faded text was starting to strain his eyes but he was hopefully getting closer to finding a cure. As he glanced out the window, he froze. Someone, someone very familiar, was making his way over the little wooden bridge.
Growling, Sehun stalked from the library to the front door to stop him in his tracks. “Luhan. What are you doing here?"
Luhan froze right on the other side of the bridge. He looked up with shocked eyes to find Sehun glaring at him. “Uh I was just out for a walk and somehow ended up back here."
He saw Sehun narrow his eyes. “It’s still light out so I suggest you make your way back into the village. I will not be so kind the next time I see you here."
Sehun crossed his arms over his chest, glare rising in intensity as he stared at Luhan.
With a sigh, Luhan turned back around but he was determined to come back…at night.
Making sure he had everything, Luhan quietly crept out of his room and headed towards Sehun’s manor. His flashlight lit the way as he walked through the woods. Although he knew where he was heading, the dark woods were still menacing, making Luhan walk faster.
He heard some rustling beside him and quickened his pace. Soon, the familiar silhouette of Sehun’s manor could be seen and he crossed the bridge and raced across the courtyard. It seemed as if no one was home since there wasn’t a light on so Luhan took it upon himself to quietly open the door.
Remembering the way, Luhan headed towards the library and shut the door. He headed towards the table to see if the notebook was out but found it cleared of everything. Frowning, Luhan looked around and decided to search around the library. He lost track of time as he poured over the different books, taking one out and skimming it before putting it back or placing it aside to read through later.
A growl caused Luhan to freeze in the process of getting another book. Slowly turning around, he could make out a large shadow filling the doorway. As the figure stepped inside, Luhan gasped. Covered in fur from head to toe, a large creature that could only be called a werewolf stood growling and glaring at him.
As he continued to stare, the fur slowly receded and the beast shrank until it became a pale, slim, familiar man.
“What the hell are you doing, trepassing here?” Sehun stalked to Luhan, backing him up against the bookshelf. “Didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t be so nice the next time?"
“You’re…you’re a…” Luhan’s words failed him as he stared into Sehun’s seething face.
Sehun’s hand wrapped around Luhan’s wrist in a vice grip. “Why have you come back?"
“I…I just…I saw what you wrote…about-about finding a cure…and just wanted to…to learn more."
“It was foolish for you to come here, very foolish. Had you been here sooner, you would be dead.” Sehun dragged Luhan over to a chair by the fireplace, pushing him down into it as he went to light a fire. Luhan was too shocked to think about leaving, especially when he was close to getting some answers. He waited for Sehun to finish making the fire before he spoke. “So you’re a werewolf."
“Yes.” Sehun turned around to look at Luhan who looked so small in his chair. “I am a werewolf."
“H-h-how? How is that possible? I thought it was fake, made up."
“Do I look fake or made up to you?” Sehun loomed over Luhan who shook his head.
“Then how did this happen?"
Sehun sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Do you really want to hear this tale?"
Luhan vehemently nodded his head.
With another sigh, Sehun took a seat across from Luhan. “As a boy, I always had a fondness for dabbling with magic, especially when I had a natural gift for it. I loved to be indoors pouring over spells or outside picking ingredients. My parents let me indulge in it and my younger brother took joy and pride in my work."
Running a hand through his hair, Sehun took a breath and saw Luhan listening rapturously. “I had heard of a spell that could make a man strong like a beast. Knowing how valuable strength was and the rumors of war coming, I spent all my time searching for this spell and had found it. After painstakingly transcribing it, I went to great lengths to make it, but unwilling to test it out on someone else, I tried it myself which was my biggest mistake."
Sehun dropped his head into his hands, not liking the next part of his tale. “Only later, did I realize I had gotten the wrong spell. Instead of giving beastlike strength, it would turn the person into a beast. When I had taken the potion, I instantly turned into a beast which took full control of me. When I woke up later as myself, I had down irreparable damage."
Luhan took this chance to ask. “Did you…did you…"
“Yes,” the word was dragged from Sehun’s lips in a harsh, shaking breath. “The beast had destroyed everything dear to me. I was forced to bury them and locked myself in to keep the beast from causing any more damage. Unknown to me, the beast would take over every full moon and if not sated, I would do horrible damage to the village. So over the years, I learned how to placate the beast but it’s still a very tenuous hold I have on him."
“So it’s you who the villagers warn about, it’s you where the tales come from."
Luhan looked at Sehun with wide eyes. “How old are you?"
A corner of Sehun’s mouth lifted in a tiny smile. “Just a little over a thousand years old."
Luhan’s jaw dropped. “I never believed in magic but there’s no other way to explain your situation. So have you been searching for a cure this whole time?"
“Yes, I’m almost there but I’m not sure if this is right."
Luhan stood up on slightly shaky legs. He waited for the shaking to stop before he walked towards Sehun. “If you’re willing, I'd be happy to help you."
Sehun looked warily at Luhan. “Why would you do that?"
“Because I can see the pain in your eyes and want to help get rid of it. I know we barely know each other but I don’t like how long you’ve suffered and want to try and ease it."
Sehun reached out a hand and gently took Luhan’s hand in a gentle grip. He looked up into his eyes with a small sincere smile. “Thank you."
A/N: I hope I ended it okay o.o I could’ve gone on but I was worried about making my deadline so yeah…maybe I can write a sequel? Who knows :P I’m not going to make promises :3
i think i messed with the flow a bit since i was worried about the deadline but had a kind of plan for this but yeah :T