Hye-jung’s ankle finally healed after three days and she was able to move around properly again. Her father wasn’t home as usual and it was already dark. She put on her boy clothes, tied her hair in a top-knot and went out the door. For the three days that she had been at home, all she could think about was the mysterious stranger who helped her. She wondered if she would see him again if she wandered far enough into the forest. She wasn’t scared of anything, she had her knife and she knew how to fight. Her father had told her that all sorts of scary things lived in the forest but she never believed him. She was not a child that scary stories would terrify, she had been coming into the forest since she was ten years old. Ever since her mother had died and her father had been so consumed by grief he didn’t leave the house for days, she had tried to do everything to survive. She had found out that hunting her own food was eventually less expensive than buying from the marketplace. She had caught a rabbit on her first try and had developed a taste for live game ever since. Hye-jung approached the clearing where she had lost the gazelle a few days before and stopped. She tried to remember which direction he had come from.
Gwi was in his tree, relaxing after having drunk a boar. Hae-soo had gone to the next village on some mystery business he refused to tell Gwi about. Gwi didn’t care, as long as Hae-soo wasn’t around, he didn’t have to cater to the humans. He was fine with that. Suddenly, he caught a scent of blood in the air. He smelt blood all the time since there were so many living things around him, but this was different. It was heady and intoxicating. He felt his fangs pop out and the hair on his skin began to rise. He leapt out of the tree and moved swiftly in the direction of the smell. He approached the edge of the clearing and saw someone standing there and looking around. The person looked familiar to him and on a closer look, he realized it was the girl he had taken home a few days before. He could see she was dressed as a boy again and rolled his eyes. He retracted his fangs and walked quickly to where she was. “What are you doing here?” He asked.
“Oh, that scared me.” She said and almost fell over but Gwi caught her quickly.
“Didn’t I tell you not to come into the forest at night?”
“I came looking for you.” She said, standing straight and removing his hand from her arm.
“For me? Why are you looking for me?”
“I wanted to thank you for the other day.” She answered with a smile.
“It was nothing, just a compensation for losing your gazelle.”
“What are you talking about?” Hye-jung asked.
“The boar. What were you talking about?” Gwi wondered if there was one more thing she was grateful to him for.
“I was talking about you taking me home when I hurt my ankle. You put the boar on my doorstep too?”
“You’re welcome, now go home. It’s dangerous here at night.”
“My father told me the same thing. Just what is so terrible that everyone keeps telling me not to come here?”
“You don’t need to know, just listen to your father.”
“I’m not a child. I’ll keep coming here if I want and when I want.” Hye-jung replied petulantly.
“Fine, whatever then.” Gwi turned and started to walk away.
“Wait a minute!” Hye-jung said, chasing after him. “My name is Hye-jung.”
Gwi looked her up and down and then continued walking away.
“This rude fellow.” She muttered and ran ahead of him. She stopped in front of him and spread her arms out to block his path. “Did you hear what I said?”
“‘Yes’? Well, what’s your name then?”
“I don’t think I need to tell you that. It’s not like we’ll have a reason to meet again.”
“I can keep coming to find you.”
Gwi laughed loudly. Just what kind of girl this? “Why would you do that, if I may know?”
“Well, because I want to. I want to be friends with you.” She replied.
Gwi was amazed at her naivete. “Friends? Do you even know who I am?” or what I am, he added to himself.
“If you hang out in the forest by yourself, then you must not have many friends.” Hye-jung replied. What exactly was his deal? She was just asking to be friends with him.
“I don’t have friends because I don’t need friends, especially not human friends.” Gwi said derisively. He remembered everything Hae-soo ever taught him. He had told him that even though they had a duty as guardian vampires to protect humans, they were never to have any relationship with them because of the inherent nature of man to betray.
“Not human friends?” She wondered what he meant by that. “Why not?”
“Look, what does it matter to you if we are friends or not? Why is this important?”
Hye-jung dropped her arms to her side and thought about it for a minute. She realized she really didn’t know why it was important to her. All she knew was that she wanted to see more of him and get to know him more. When she looked up, Gwi had walked a little ways from her. “Would you at least tell me your name so I can know who I should be grateful to?” She called out.
Gwi stopped and turned towards her, “Gwi!” He called back and was gone.
“Gwi, what sort of name is that?” She said to herself. This wasn’t over, she would find him again. She knew in her heart that she wanted to be close to this person, and she wouldn’t stop until she followed her heart.
Gwi watched her walk out of the forest from the top of a tree and sighed. It seemed like he was the one who needed to be careful of her and not the other way around. He hoped she never came back again, he couldn’t stand being next to her and not sinking his fangs into her neck much longer. More than that, he wanted to believe that maybe Hae-soo wasn’t right about all humans being unable to be loyal. She seemed so earnest in her request for his friendship that he was willing to believe she was different.
“Please don’t come back again. It’s as dangerous for you as it is for me.” He said.