You know that terrifying feeling before watching the latest episode in your K-drama? That's how I started the latest chapter of Orange Marmalade. I don't know where things will go and how I'll cope with the new events, but that makes it more addictive, right? I hope you enjoy this week's chapter.

Watch episode 8:


Previously on Orange Marmalade: Look At Me

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5


Orange Marmalade: Look At Me
Chapter 6: Darkness


I look at him again realising it’s not Jae Min the one I hate, not really. It’s this fate. This situation. This unfairness. My own powerless situation. I hate that it’s like this and there is no way it can work for both of us. And now Jae Min knows it, too. He knows the girl I was talking about is the same one he was, that we both love the same girl. I don’t even have to see his face to know the frustration he feels because I feel it like my own.

I can’t see a way out of this. I understand Jae Min and why he’s done what he’s done, even if it was reckless and foolish, I understand. I also get it’s futile, all his attempts and plans won’t accomplish what he desires. A part of me wants his happiness, more than anything, but I know it can’t happen and I also know his happiness will mean my own misery and maybe Ma Ri’s life. Whilst he’s busy trying to fulfil his plans, she is in danger, under the threats of everyone who thinks she’s being insolent for even meeting the eyes of a nobleman.

Jae Min can’t protect her.

I can’t protect her.

Then all we can do is to stay away.

I can’t get close to her because of Jae Min, because he’s like my brother, and I can’t bear the thought of stealing the woman he loves. But even if I wanted, what would be the point of it? I’m going to die in battle, as I always hoped for. I joined the forces that will make me face my destiny and Ma Ri isn’t part of it.

I take her to her family, where they can look after her because I can’t do that, either. I have to prepare for the next movement in this war and I have to explain so many things to Jae Min. Her family is frantic when I show up with her still unconscious in my arms, and although I shouldn’t even feel like this, I can’t help it. The love and worry in the faces of her parents is something I’ve never seen in my family, or even the families I know. Noble people can’t show this kind of emotion. But for this family, butchers, this is all they have and they are free to show all their love.

“What happened?” Ma Ri’s mother asks as the father takes the girl from my arms.

“Someone attacked her. She tried to defend herself but that man did something to her I couldn’t see properly. I stopped him from causing more harm, but I couldn’t do more,” I explain, not going into detail as to why she or I were there.

“Thank you so much, my lord. For taking care of her and bringing her home. We are forever grateful,” the mother says, bowing to me and I shake my head.

“Just make sure she’s okay,” I say, dying to stay there until she wakes up, nursing her back into consciousness, but that’s something I can’t afford.

I gave up on her already, the moment I asked her to wish me good luck in war. Even if I left that unfinished promise between us as a faint hope for me to survive, I gave up on her and making her my life companion. Staying here tonight isn’t my place and it will never be.

“Thank you,” the mother repeats, I just bow my head slightly as my way to accept her gratitude.

She finally turns on the ball of her heels, and follows her husband and daughter inside. I just pray Ma Ri will be fine and even if I have no way to know how things will turn out, I hope that at least I get to see her one more time in the future. I just want her safe and sound.

When I talk to Jae Min it’s time to confess. Why I didn’t stop him, why I didn’t challenge him and why I can’t even try to protect her. It’s time to make him realise his plan won’t succeed because he can’t really marry her. He can try, but he won’t succeed. There are things beyond our wishes and control, and marrying a butcher girl is one.

I can’t tell him the kind of force I have joined. This is a secret I need to keep even from Jae Min, but I think I share more than enough, making it even my good-bye. It’s true, I’ve dipped my feet in death already and I can’t do much but serve my oath. That’s all I have left, and praying things will turn out at least well enough for my best friend… my brother.

That is why I throw myself into battle, doing my utmost best to kill all those damn bloodsuckers, hoping to annihilate until the very last before my life ceases. But there’s something no one told us about, a strong one that is even immune to silver. A female that tears our armours and leaves us exposed to the others, and even if I pierce her heart with my sword, nothing stops her.

It’s a bloodbath.

They are too fast, too strong for us and without our silver armours, we are at their mercy. One after one my fellow warriors fall until I’m the last one standing. And even when I have been bitten and deposed of my armour, I will not give up. I’ll fight until there isn’t blood in me, until my heart stops beating. I will fight until the very end.

But then Jae Min shows up, standing by my side, saying that with the lunar eclipse he can’t even see properly whether there’s blood or not. I don’t know if it’s a lie, but he’s here, like he was so long ago, saving my life at his own risk.

What a fool.

And this is why he is more than my friend, he’s my real family.

We fight, side by side, exterminating all those vampires one by one. We are invincible together and I can’t help myself from wishing it were always like this. Vampires would be at loss if Jae Min and I fought together, but his hemophobia keeps him away from the place that needs him the most.

We fight until every bloodsucker is dead… until I pass out. The darkness consuming me and taking me. It’s only pain from then on, a burning pain that starts in my throat, demanding something I don’t know and I can’t supply with. A pain that makes me tremble and beg for the real end. I’m barely conscious of what happens around. I think I’m still alive, with Jae Min around, but then it’s Ma Ri, nursing me, singing to me and asking me to wake up, but then it’s Jae Min again, wiping away the cold sweat.

Pain and agony replace the the little blood left in my veins and I know someone is fighting for me, but I just want to give up. I want this to end because the suffering is too much and I can’t even describe it. Nothing soothes it away, and the thirst… the thirst is so strong but no matter how much water Jae Min gives me, it only burns my throat even more.

I know I’ll die, here and in my dreams where Ma Ri is looking after me. I know it’s the end and even if Jae Min is doing his best to save me, I know better. My life as I know it ends here, and the last thing I want to see is her. The girl I’ll never have, the girl that doesn’t love me. The butcher. Baek Ma Ri.

I’m not sure how I do it, or even what moves me, but I put one foot in front of the other, and after an eternity that feels like a stroll through hell, I get to the place I left her. How long ago was that? For how many days I’ve been at the edge of life?

I knock… over and over again until it opens, until I see her. I don’t know how I knew this was her room, maybe my own heart guided me, but I’m here. Seeing her face, her wide concerned eyes asking what’s wrong. It’s Ma Ri and she is the last thing I see before darkness takes me again.

The fire in my throat will consume me and turn my body into ashes. I can’t endure this any longer.

But then little drops fall to my lips and slide down my tongue, reaching my throat and finally calming the burning feeling deep there. It’s refreshing and it calms down the thirst that was driving me insane. It takes the pain away and gives me strength. It’s sweet and intoxicating, something I’ve never tasted before.

I’m still lost in darkness, but it’s different this time. It’s not terrifying, but it’s foreign… inhuman. And then I wake up, abruptly and the darkness is within me instead of consuming me. I don’t understand what changed but this isn’t me. I feel stronger, my senses sharper, capable and definitely not human…

What happened to me?

“My lord, you’re awake,” a voice asks and I turn around to see Ma Ri, carrying a tray.

“What happened to me?” I demand, knowing there is no way I’m alive after what happened. A vampire bit me, I should be dead, not feeling like… “What happened?”

She doesn’t reply but my mind is spinning, making connections and drawing conclusions.

“You must drink this,” she urges me and I see now what she’s carrying.

Blood.

She’s offering me blood and that hurts me. Like the fangs piercing my skin and my veins, like a sword through my guts. It hurts so much. And I see her, that guilty look in her eyes for what she’s done. What she’s done to me.

I’m not human anymore. I’m a bloodsucker, I want to drink what she’s offering me but how can I? How can I be the monster I hunt? How can she be one of the monsters I’ve vowed to kill? No. This is wrong. This is a nightmare induced by the darkness that it’s killing me. I’m still dying.

“Am I a vampire?!” I shout, throwing away that blood that is tempting me, not knowing what to feel or what to do now. “Are you one?”

She looks away and that’s all the answer I need. She leaves me alone with this new reality.

I’m a vampire now.


This is a work of fiction with no profit intent. All characters and context belong to the rightful writers of the webcomic and drama. This is made by a crazy obsessed fan for other fans who suffer from Second Lead Syndrome.

Bel, xx

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