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With no lights set alight, the only hints of illumination were coming from the frosted glass windows, where Sunghoon could watch as light snow fell from the sky.

Snow. It was a wondrous phenomenon of the North. Nearly every night, each inch was covered with a new fresh layer of snow while it magically respected the borders with precise perfection. Once they saw snow patches on the ground, any traveler could tell they had entered North territory.

It had been months since Sunghoon had last seen snowfall, and it was all thanks to teleportation.

Sunghoon reached up to rub at his eyes for a few seconds, skepticism making him think he's seeing things. But after multiple quiet minutes, Sunghoon realized he was truly back in his room in the North.

"It worked..." Sunghoon whispers breathlessly, as he hadn't thought he would get the spell right after solely one try. Especially since he had only ever seen Jihye do it once in the turret when she teleported herself without the use of physical portals, and he simply read how to cast it upon a brief skim in Jihye's teleportation spell book among her many belongings in her room.

Though, Sunghoon could barely see a thing and he didn't want to end up tripping over one of the countless things left discarded on the floor and ultimately alert any nearby night watch servants.

Inside the satchel he carried, Sunghoon had brought the solution— a new box of matches and a long unused candle. Once he had a burning small match, Sunghoon brought it to the wick, igniting the candle and gifting him with a quite weak light source. But enough to see his surroundings.

His room looked hauntingly deserted. Even with everything still as he had left it, Sunghoon now felt like he was an outsider to his own previous life. It was uncannily quiet, the stillness broken only by the sound of the rustling of his clothes as he slowly swiveled on his heel to take in the nostalgia.

Within his adumbral room, multiple gold frames display some of his artwork he's invested the most time and paint. Sunghoon himself had picked which ones to frame, ones which highlighted his best skill and mastery. But adjacent to the wall resembling an exhibit, Sunghoon kept both his drafting table and easel. His floor beside said fixtures, were littered with painted canvases and some crumpled sketch paper.

Before he had left, Sunghoon had entered a tolling juncture where he kept tearing everything out of his sketchbooks whether he had finished or not, because he couldn't deem it art. He continuously found something missing from his own work, the emotion of the piece too bland and lifeless or even a mere stroke out of place. It was as if Sunghoon could no longer hone the expertise of an artist.

The wall his drafting table leaned against, was no different from the floor as Sunghoon also kept multiple sketches and self-drawn maps arrayed by hanging, pinning and even pasting onto the wall. Quite messy in appearance compared to his sister's and cousin's room.

Sunghoon took five mincing steps into the room, stopped directly in front of his drawings scattered across the surface of his drafting table. Along with a scattering of charcoal pencils, little nubs of erasers, and a sharpener that had a blunt blade from its many uses.

He recalled safely tucking those into a portfolio before leaving for the East Kingdom. No doubt, his sister had gone through his many sketch portfolios while he was gone, she always had the tendency to sneak and observe his drawings.

While she considered it admiring, Sunghoon called it intrusion. Though after months of separation, Sunghoon supposed he didn't mind it this time.

Just thinking about his sister— Sungmi, makes Sunghoon's throat thick with emotion. He knew that if on the other side of the wall, Sungmi lay fast asleep but would be very willing to spend the night chattering away about all that has occurred in his absence.

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now