dragon god!au; minkey
pg; 979 words
a/n: this is an answer to a fic war challenge.
pg; 979 words
a/n: this is an answer to a fic war challenge.
Kibum slowly struggled to open his eyes, blinking and shying away from the light shone to his face. Someone outside muttered a curse, then the brightness disappeared, replaced by a soft glow of a single candle.
“Kibum,” a voice persisted; it was what awakened him in the first place. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he recognized the owner of the voice.
“Minho,” Kibum whispered. He sat up and crawled towards the wooden bars caging him. Gripping the bars, he peered through the openings and smiled. “You came.”
Minho wrapped his hands over Kibum’s fingers around the wooden bars. “Taemin, the tourist from the city, told me as he passed me while leaving the village. I immediately returned as soon as I heard from him.” Minho then looked around, then leaned closer, his breath warm against Kibum’s cheek. “Are you seriously…”
“Yes,” Kibum answered breathlessly. “Minho, I was chosen. I’m the village’s sacrifice for the harvest ritual.” He tried to smile, but the cold had dried his lips. He licked over them and smiled once more, only to be met with Minho’s cold stare.
“Do you know…” Minho whispered. “Do you know what a harvest sacrifice is?” He tightened his grip on Kibum’s hands, the friction of skin to skin giving Kibum intense warmth.
“I know.” Kibum leaned his forehead against the wooden bars. “The harvest ritual is to appease the dragon god of the mountain so he will bless our village with a bountiful harvest. The dragon god demanded that a virgin would be sacrificed to him every five years. The chosen one will be sacrificed on the altar, and their spirit will be released from their shell to join the mountain god in his abode.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he finished, the hint of a smile still playing on his lips.
There was silence for a long while before Minho spoke. “Why are you the chosen one? Did you volunteer yourself?”
“Oh, no. The Elders voted on who will be chosen,” Kibum answered, his voice fainter. “The priests said they unanimously chose me.” He breathed out loudly, mist softly wafting out of his mouth. “It is a great honor.”
“If it is such a great honor, they would have volunteered their sons and daughters,” Minho snapped. “They chose you because you’re an orphan.”
Kibum’s eyes widened. He twisted his hands away from Minho’s grasp as he shrunk back into his cell. “No, that’s not true. Everyone in the village knows and loves me. They said that ever since they found me in the forest, I was destined for great things like serving our god. This is the moment wherein I can do a great thing!”
“Kibum.” Minho slid a hand through the bars and gently touched the prisoner’s cheek. Kibum slightly flinched at the warmth, but Minho didn’t remove his hand. “You are truly destined to be great. But getting burned on stake as sacrifice to a god is not one of those great things you must do.” Suddenly, Minho withdrew his hand and started to stand up. “I will talk to the Elders. They shouldn’t endanger someone’s young life for the sake of a sacrifice. I will at least ask them to take me in your stead.”
“No!” Kibum cried as he reached out and pulled at Minho’s trousers. “Don’t be an idiot!” When Minho stopped and turned around, Kibum looked up, eyes teary and cheeks lined with soot. “Don’t do it,” he repeated. “All my life in this village, I have groomed myself for this day. Let me do this right thing for everyone. Please.”
Kibum waited as Minho clenched and unclenched his fists. Slowly, Minho crouched down again and peered into the cell. “Do you really want to be with the dragon god so badly?”
Kibum neither nodded nor shook his head. Instead, he reached out of the cell to touch Minho’s knee. “I just wanted to see you before the ritual, since there wouldn’t be a chance for us to speak again.” He swallowed, wincing as pain shot up his parched throat. “Even if you’ve only been in this village for five years, I feel that we’ve become really good friends,” he told Minho. “Everyone calls you a prodigy and you’re the village pride. I hope that you’ll protect the village and stay even when I’m gone.”
Minho intensely stared at the back of the cell, refusing to meet Kibum’s eyes that tried to bore into his skull. After a few moments, Minho lightly held the hand over his knee. He turned their hands over so he was cradling Kibum’s. Slowly, he raised their hands and pressed his lips against Kibum’s knuckles. “You will not suffer,” Minho whispered against his fingers before letting go.
Kibum watched Minho stand up without another word and walk away from the cell without even a second glance. Sighing, he leaned against the cold stone wall of his prison. He had almost broken down at the sight of Minho—the truth was, he never expected Minho to come back despite his request. It was fortunate that he could still hold his wit and spare Minho the truth.
Minho did not need to know that he was originally the Chosen One. And that Kibum volunteered to take his place.
“Kibum. Kibum, wake up.”
Kibum woke up with a jolt and a sudden rush of panic. He was expecting men marching into the cell, ready to chain him for the ritual, but as he opened his eyes, all he saw was a large piece of bread and a cup of water being shoved into his face.
“W-what….what is going on?” Kibum blearily asked, then recognized his visitor to be Minho once more. “Minho? Is it time for the ritual?” He stared at the food offered to him. “I…I can’t eat anything until the sacrifice, you know that.”
Minho shook his head and tore a piece of bread, offering it to Kibum. “I cannot have you dying of starvation. Not now. Now be a good boy and eat up.”
Kibum wanted to resist, but the sight of food, despite having only bread and water, suddenly sent his stomach rumbling. He had been fasting for 24 hours, his appetite was hard to hold in. He tore at the bread and gulped down the water, occasionally letting Minho pat his back to keep him from choking.
As Kibum finished his food, Minho attended to the shackles around Kibum’s feet. Before Kibum could realize it, the shackles lay broken on the stone floor and Minho was standing up and holding out a hand. “Let’s go.”
Kibum stumblingly walked out of his cell, looking around in confusion as Minho dragged him towards the prison exit. “Wait, where are we going? The ritual is at the back of the prison, in the middle of the village square!”
Minho kept walking, ignoring Kibum’s questions. He gripped one of Kibum’s hands tightly and steadily walked towards the front door.
“Minho!” Kibum cried as they walked faster. “We have to go to the village square!”
“There is no village.”
Kibum stopped walking, his arms falling to his sides as Minho let him go. “What do you mean?” He turned around, but all that was behind them was a long corridor. Right in front of them, however, loomed the large front doors of the prison. “Minho-yah…”
Minho did not speak again, but instead wrapped an arm around Kibum’s shoulders and ushered him out of the door. As soon as they stepped out of the door, Kibum saw what Minho meant. His hands quickly flew up to his mouth as he observed what was happening.
The village was on fire. Flames licked above the roofs of buildings, destroying everything in sight. The orange blaze lit up the still-dark sky, glowing with an ominous light that gripped Kibum’s heart. Amidst the destruction was chaos as people and animals ran here and there, trying to save things and escape the path of fire. There was only pandemonium surrounded by blazing flames and panicked screams.
“Why…” Kibum muttered as he watched the chaos. “We were ready to do the ritual. We were…willing to do anything to appease the god. Why…”
Minho steered Kibum away from the fire, towards the forest where the path was clearer. “I heard it from the guards. You took the role of being a sacrifice in my stead.”
A shudder went through Kibum’s already weak body, yet Minho continued to drag him to the woods. Kibum couldn’t find the energy to resist or even walk by himself.
“I couldn’t accept it,” Minho continued. “The village you loved and cherished all your life was willing to use you for unnecessary means just to fuel their greed. A sacrifice shouldn’t just come from one person.”
They stopped at the edge of the forest, and Minho grabbed Kibum by the waist to keep him steady. Kibum weakly turned back and saw the village still in flames. Soon, everything he had lived for, everything he had loved, everything he had been thankful for would disappear into ashes. He started to weep yet he couldn’t completely feel regret.
He couldn’t admit it at first, but now he could completely feel it.
He was afraid. He was frightened by the idea that he would be burned as sacrifice to a god he had never met, but he was more scared of losing Minho. In the five years Minho had stayed in their village, Kibum had grown dependent on him. Kibum didn’t think he could survive if Minho had been sacrificed. That was why even if he was scared, his mouth opened out of his own accord and immediately volunteered himself.
“I’m sorry,” Kibum muttered as he leaned against Minho. “I had failed as a sacrifice. If it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t have…”
“It wasn’t you.” Minho’s eyes glared at him intensely. “It was never you. It was those greedy villagers who would do anything to protect themselves without losing anything. I’d choose saving you over protecting them any day.” He tightened his hold on Kibum’s waist.
Kibum’s eyes widened. “The fire…you started it?”
Minho averted his gaze. “Hold on tight.”
“Minho! Did you set the village on fire?!”
“Yes, I did!” Minho shouted over the noise of chaos. “And I’d do it a hundred times if it is to save you.” When he saw how Kibum’s eyes widened even more, his voice became softer. “I’d do it no matter how many times, just so I wouldn’t lose you.”
Suddenly, the arms around Kibum grew warmer. Panicked, Kibum looked up and met Minho’s eyes. He almost reeled away as he watched Minho’s eyes glow a golden yellow.
“Fools. I never told them to sacrifice virgins or anyone,” Minho said in a voice deeper than before. “How dare they use the one I hold most precious, too, as bait for their foolish actions?”
There was a loud rumble in the air, and before Kibum knew it, they were aflight, the trees zooming past them as he held tight on Minho’s shoulders. Kibum leaned a bit and discovered on Minho’s back a pair of pale gold wings.
“You need not be burned alive to meet the dragon god,” Minho said as he rested his cheek against Kibum’s. “All you had to do was ask.”
As if he was plunged deep into a hot spring, Kibum felt an indescribably beautiful warmth that gushed from his face down to the tips of his toes. His blood sang and his eyes were filled with bursts of white.
Kibum clung to Minho for his life. Yet, still, he remembered the destroyed village far behind them. He closed his eyes to pray for them, then opened his eyes to meet Minho’s once more. The golden light was gone, yet a steady glowing ember could still be seen in his gaze. Kibum couldn’t understand how such gaze could give him so much comfort. It was like that time, when Minho was a newcomer in the village and the first thing he did was give Kibum a flower, and Kibum assumed it meant Minho had wanted to be his friend.
“I’m Minho. I just arrived in this village.”
“I’m Kibum. I’m…”
“Kibum. You’re destined to do great things, it seems. I have chosen you.”