“Long time no see, slouch,” I heard familiar voice, before I could pay him back.
“Kim Jihun...” I growled and carelessly wiped my face with the sleeve. “Get lost.”
“With pleasure, but I’m not here because I want to.”
“I know WHY you’re here, so get out. I’m staying here.”
My cousin Jihun looked at me with his freaky annoying mismatched eyes (I had them too, unfortunately). His father is my father’s younger brother. Jihun was sitting on the edge of the window and I had strong desire to push him. He was still holding his pen. I clenched fist on my paintbrush.
Another tittle-tattle: to use your element, you need to concentrate its ‘energy’ in some physical object. However, when you do it with particular object once, you can’t change it later. Mine was my favorite paintbrush, and Jihun’s was pen (because he often writes song lyrics, or so I heard later).
And then the war has started. I splashed water on him, this time really trying to push him out, and he attacked me with big wave. When we felt fatigue (using too much element causes that, by the way), we changed strategy and began to use our other powers – Jihun had telekinesis (low level, keke) and I used my teleportation (low level too, *sob, sob*). We were worn out after a few minutes, when Min Ji knocked.
“Na Yeon-ah, do you want some...” She stopped in mid-sentence. “... cookies?”
“Yes,” I panted. I pointed to Jihun. “And some salt too, so I can burn this demon.”
“Hi, Jihun,” Min Ji said slowly, looking at him suspiciously. “How... How did you get here? I didn’t see you downstairs.”
“I flew,” he blurted suddenly. Gosh, I didn’t know if he was too honest or stupid. “I’m amazing, don’t you think?”
Stupidity won. Min Ji made funny face and left us. We were silent for next few seconds.
“You really won’t come back?” Jihun grumbled.
“Why? You don’t even want me there.”
“Who told you that?” I looked at him surprised. “Okay, I hate you, that won’t change, but uncle really missed you.”
“You’re bluffing. Now get out, you’ve ruined my room and work. You’ll pay for it later.”
He didn’t get out, but moved to the corner, while I was tiding up. I glanced at him several times. He was like a lost puppy. So he didn’t change much. He didn’t like me, but wouldn’t survive without me either. I wondered if something happened. Besides my father’s death.
“Okay, spit it out,” I said impatiently. “What’s going on?”
“Things have... changed,” he said quietly. He reminded me of a lost mouse. I wondered what would look lost mouse anyway. “Dad was so furious when uncle died. I know it wasn’t his fault, but... he knew something he shouldn’t have known.”
“What do you mean by that? Was my father some criminal?”
“No! He was researching something and then... went missing. He returned after a year, changed. He was so paranoid. I was scared he got strange sickness, but after a month we found him dead.” He pointed to the letter, that was in my trash can. “Then we found this. It was sealed so only you and the heads of the families would open it. Father send me here to get you back home. Uncle probably said in that letter that you should think about becoming the heir.”
“He didn’t suggest it,” I said, clenching my fists. “He ordered it.”
Jihun’s face turned almost white. He was jealous of me since we were kids and now his (and mine too) nightmare was ready to begin.
“Why?” I asked. “I won’t become the heir, calm down.”
“You don’t have a choice,” he said. “When the heir is announced, you’ve to appear at the House meeting.”
I swore rudely.
“Great Assembly?” When he nodded, I swore much worse.
The assembly of all four heads of the families. If dad was gone, I was appointed as new head automatically. Damn, I forgot about that... Only at the meeting I could negotiate. But that meant that I had to meet those freaky, nasty old funguses.