Daos IV ~ Ch5: In the Mirror

Previously ~ Skeleton in the Closet

Dominador Ona
"You're over forty years old?"

"Dominador --"

"You're over forty years old!"

"I can explain if you just let me!"

Dominador Ona looked Daos over, over and over again.  "How is that even possible?" he demanded.  "I mean, after everything we've seen and done, I know there has to be some way it's possible...charm or spell or...something.  What did you do?  Did you strike a deal with someone like Hyun-jun or --"

"My first night out as a rookie detective, I got into it with a perp," Daos shrugged helplessly.  "He ran, I chased.  He wasn't like Hyun-jun; not as a fast, not as strong, and certainly not able to wield Hellfire, otherwise we wouldn't be standing here chatting.  My parents were old at the time; I was their only child and they wanted me to go into medical school or some other bullshit like that.  But I wanted to be a cop, and my first night out...well, you know how that is.  You just can't wait to prove yourself to the higher-ups.

Nicolao Daos
"I wasn't even on duty that night," Daos sighed. "I wasn't even packing heat; I'd stepped out of my apartment to get some cigarettes."

Dominador was appalled.  "You used to smoke???"

Daos closed his eyes briefly, steeling himself against the wave of annoyance.  "My point is, all I should've done was go to the corner store, grab the cigs, and go home, but I didn't. Dude appeared to be harassing a woman.  I stepped in, it got ugly fast, and I ended up chasing him down three blocks and through a portal.

"Needless to say, that particular portal didn't lead to the opposite side of the city."



"So...you're really not interested in men?  Like...at all?"

Trish turned to Hyun-jun, surprised by the randomness of the question. "Where did that come from?"

Hyun-jun Im
Hyun-jun shrugged.  "I'm getting used to things.  Don't get me wrong, I've been in human form before, but it was brief and more in the form of possession.  Like...the body wasn't actually mine."

Trish was intrigued.  "You possessed someone before?"

Hyun-jun nodded, leaning back against his Benz.  Trish followed suit.  "His name was Yiryeon, he was Prince Consort to Yiyang of the Tang.  He made a deal to give me his face if I gave him a life of wealth and privilege."

Trish was confused.  "But if you made the deal to get his face...why did you need to briefly inhabit his body?  Were you just trying it on for size?"

Hyun-jun laughed softly.  "No, not exactly.  See, humans think that when they make a deal with a demon for money or power, we can just magically pull things out of the air - that's not actually how it works.  If, say, a fox demon hands you a bag of gold which she pulls out of the air, trust and believe that gold is an illusion, nothing more."

Trish was still confused.  "So then...how do you fulfill our wishes?"

"We merely show you the way to getting you want," Hyun-jun replied honestly.  "Human sight is limited, demonic sight stretches across worlds.  It's like we can see the bigger picture.  From my world, I could connect the dots in a way Yiryeon never could on his own.  See, Yiryeon's family was of noble blood.  They lived under the reign of King Bojang who was overthrown by the armies of Silla.  Silla was able to pull it off by allying themselves with the Tang."

Trish Flores
Trish blinked and shook her head.  "Sounds like the plot of a K-Drama."

Hyun-jun snorted.  "Might as well be.  Anyway, Yiryeon knew his family would be slaughtered, so he cut a deal with me.  Now, getting this guy what he wanted was no easy task.  At first glance, it seemed like the new King, Munmu, would have no use for someone like Yiryeon - he was young, and for lack of a better adjective, utterly useless.  Except for one thing."

"He had the most beautiful face in Silla," Trish smiled.

"You're catching on," the ex-demon nodded.  "One of the wealthiest royal families in the Tang Dynasty had a daughter named Princess Yiyang who wanted a handsome husband.  No one wanted her though, even though her dowry was huge.  I'm talking, like, a dozen chests of solid gold.  Apparently, she wasn't pretty by human standards.  Upset that he had to marry a foreigner, Yiryeon renamed her Iseul, and the courtiers of Silla later dubbed her 'Iseul the Dreadful'.  Personally, I didn't see what the big deal was, but I knew right off the bat that the only way Yiryeon could keep his new money and title was if he played the role of husband in full."

"He couldn't do it, could he?" Trish grinned.  "You had to step in and perform some of his...duties?"

Hyun-jun shrugged.  "It's a demon's lot.  Really, you humans place way too much value on looks sometimes, okay?  Iseul was always beautiful to me.  Making love to her never bothered me at all; she bore many fat, happy children thanks to me.  Furthermore, she had all these wonderful traits no one ever gave her credit for.  Like, she was this master calligrapher, and extremely talented musician.  In fact, one of my favorite memories of posing as human was listening to her play the geomungo, a very difficult instrument, mind you."  He sighed, letting himself drift off into nostalgia.  "That was my Iseul.  Never hit a false note in her life."

Trish raised an eyebrow.  "Your Iseul?  Sounds like you loved this woman, Hyun-jun."


Dominador's eyes were wide with horror.  "You spent fifteen years in hell?"

"Not exactly," Daos shook his head.  "Time runs differently in different realms.  Sometimes faster, sometimes slower.  I spent what felt like about two years in the court of Mictlantecuhtli, Lord of the Dead. Turns out, the guy I was chasing was some sort of necromancer, and the woman I thought he was harassing actually owed him a kidney - don't ask me why.  Either way, I was a living person stuck in the realm of the dead, until my Consultant pulled some strings to get me out.  When I'd left home it was 1995.  When I got back, it was around 2010.  My parents had died from broken hearts and the world had changed in so many ways.  All that was left for me to do was...this."

"So...your records?" Dominador shook his head.  "Your ID, your badge...your life --"

"Consultant," Daos shrugged, with a tiny smile.  "She rewrote my history, gave me a clean slate, so long as I helped with her 'mission'."

"Why didn't you tell me?  I thought we were past this; I thought we could talk about these things openly now."

Daos smiled again.  "Sometimes, these things just aren't easy to discuss, Dominador.  It's not like I was hoarding the secret; it was simply something I've always had trouble talking about.  It's been almost five years since the Consultant rescued me from an Underworld realm.  I don't want think about the time I've lost or the people I can never speak to again.  I don't want to remember my life before I became...Daos.  All it does is hurt, knowing that world, that time, is gone forever."  He suddenly looked up to where Hyun-jun and Trish were chatting across the parking lot.  "When you've lived more than one life, and have the grave misfortune to remember both lives," Daos murmured, "just thinking about it can drive a man to drink."

Next ~ Crossroads and Crucial Moments


  1. For some reason, I was lmao at this chapter. I think Dominador did it for me.

    "You're over forty years old?"

    "You used to smoke???"

    I be tryna tell folk that smoking's no good for you.

    Yiryeon really ain't shit. Are you gonna go back and finish his part in this story? Like, what happened after Hyun-jun swiped his mug?

    1. You're really into that storyline, aren't you?


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