yoonmin au -
king yoongi is trapped in a mirror by an evil sorcerer in the joseon dynasty. for centuries, yoongi lives isolated in his mirror. when modern day graduate student, park jimin, chooses the mirror as his thesis, he doesn't expect to be able to talk to the man inside.
- this is an original commissioned work by @「 -ㅅ-「 ㄱ -ㅅ-ㄱ, thank you for commissioning me!
- mention of arranged marriage
- parental death
- tags may be updated with future updates
It is the Crown Prince’s twenty-fifth birthday celebration. A night full of festivities such as ample food, copious amounts of alcohol, and the constant beating of drums. People dance in the square of Hanyang in masks, gisaengs tell stories in the teahouses,
and there are fireworks lighting up the sky. The night is lively despite the cool temperature. People know that spring is coming though, that the hardest days of winter are passed when the crown prince’s birthday celebration is held.
“What do you want to go do first?”
Namjoon asks as he weaves through the crowd with the crown prince by his side, “Buy some candy or listen to a story? Perhaps have your fortune read by the psychic?”
Yoongi shakes his head, tipping his satgat down further to conceal his face,
“I heard there’s a special gisaeng performance in one of the tea houses near the square. The musician is highly skilled.”
The two make their way in the direction that Yoongi talks about, Namjoon keeping his hand flexed on his sword as the royal guard meant to protect the prince.
“And how on earth do you know about /that/?” Namjoon prods as they squeeze between bodies, trying to stay together. Yoongi grabs onto Namjoon’s hanbok sleeve just to keep them from getting separated.
“No reason,” Yoongi explains with a casual shrug of his shoulders,
“Just heard it from a little bird is all.”
“So Jimin?” Namjoon asks. Yoongi’s cheeks go pink at the mention, but he doesn’t exactly deny the connection.“You ought to be careful, your imperial majesty. He is only an assistant minister, he shouldn’t be the focus of your attention.
You ought to pay more attention to your future wife.”
Yoongi audibly groans at the mention, “I value Princess Seonhwa plenty.”
“Your words claim to, but your actions do not reflect that,” Namjoon informs, “But Princess Seonhwa is off visiting her kingdom for the time being,
prior to the wedding in the summer. Tonight is for festivities only.” Namjoon hastily tugs Yoongi off towards the teahouse.
The teahouse is a rickety old building, its walls barely standing together. Yoongi can imagine how lively such a place must become during the nights,
clearly loved by the population of the neighborhood. Off in the distance, the sound of fireworks popping in the night intersperse the sound of the gisaeng playing a lively, jovial song on her saenghwang as another sings while a third and fourth dance together.
The patrons of the teahouse watch, clapping their hands to the rhythm of the song.
It is easy to find Jimin in the teahouse, wearing much finer clothes than any of the other customers. Dressed in a hanbok of soft lilac and with his hair coiffed with a perfect curl,
he looks to be almost shining in comparison. He is in the corner of the teahouse, a pot of tea settled on the table in front of his floor cushion, one ceramic cup poured full of brown, steaming tea. He is accompanied by a few friends that Yoongi does not know.
“Oh!” Jimin exclaims as he sets eyes on the crown prince and his body guard, “What are you doing here!?”
Jimin clears a space for Yoongi at the table, pushing his friends out of the way for the 2nd most powerful man in the kingdom. He hastily pours a fresh cup of tea for Yoongi,
as well as one for Namjoon as well. “You said this teahouse had the best entertainment,” Yoongi informs as he takes a seat on a floor cushion. The gisaeng on the saenghwang changes to a new tune, the crowd immediately joining in on the excitement.
“Yeah,” Jimin admits,
“But I didn’t know you were planning on coming here yourself!” Yoongi takes a sip of the tea, realizing that it’s a weak barley tea that has a subtle taste of dirt. It’s certainly nothing like he’s ever served at the palace. “This is no place for someone like you.”
“Someone like me?” Yoongi asks with a cocked eyebrow, “What is that supposed to mean, Jimin-nim?”
A faint blush creeps up on Jimin’s cheeks at being so blatantly called out. “These are my friends,” Jimin introduces, rapidly changing the conversation,
“Seokjin, Taehyung, and Jungkook. How about sharing a bit of soju with everyone?”
The following day, Yoongi wakes up with a pounding headache from his night out. Despite his hearty celebrations for his birthday though, life in the palace does not ease.
He is called to the central court chambers in the late morning following his breakfast. The king, his father, calls court to order. “I think we ought to go ahead with the increase of taxation on Pyeongan and Hamgyong province, as Minister Lee Wang suggested last week.”
Yoongi bites at his bottom lip as his father retakes his seat in the council room. “Abeomama,” Yoongi hisses through his teeth, “Do you think we should have a vote on such a matter? Rather than reduce all of our decision making to one minister?
Perhaps we should ask the delegates from Pyeongan and Hamgyong province about their opinions?” Yoongi keeps his words low, purposely trying to remain respectful of his father’s decision despite the peculiarity behind the situation.
“Not now, Yoongi-ya,” the king says sternly,
turning back to the rest of the council room. The rest of the ministers and councilors present all balk at the sudden decision made by the king, but the old Minister Lee Wang looks pleased with himself. His thin, wire mustache twitches in approval at the decision from the king.
“When, Abeomama?” Yoongi presses, disliking the way that Minister Lee looks like he’s won some sort of elaborate game. What business was it to him if the taxation on the northern most provinces is increased? Especially when the ministers who hail from such lands look forlorn,
worried how their provinces will possibly procure the increase. “You hardly have any time to speak these days. You’re always spending time with Minister Lee in the library.”
The king looks harshly at his son, eyebrows furrowed deep as his wrinkled skin pulls into a frown.
“Yoongi-ya, you must never, ever question my decisions,” he warns in a low voice, but it’s clear that the rest of the ministers have turned their attention from the taxation law to the display before them, “Confucious would be appalled at your behavior this afternoon.”
Yoongi groans and leans back in his chair, hating that he must show the utmost filial piety to his father when there is something strange going on.
In the early evening, Yoongi strolls through the palace gardens, asking the stars what he should possibly do
about his father these days. King Min is a famed ruler for being kind and always ensuring the best for all of Joseon. Yet the past few weeks, his charity has almost vanished overnight, increasing taxation and the necessary offerings from each province in Joseon.
Should the king continue on such a path of blatant greed, it will only be a short while until the average citizen turns on the crown.
As he walks through the gardens, he briefly catches sight of a body a few paces away from him, shuffling quickly along the opposite gravel path.
Barely a moment passes before Yoongi is picking up his feet, rushing to meet the person in the intersection between their two dirt paths. “Jimin-ah!” Yoongi calls out, heart thumping just a fraction harder when the young man looks over at the prince, catching his eye.
“Where are you going?” Jimin is dressed in a poised blue hanbok, carrying a small stack of papers clipped together by his side.
“I’m headed to the king’s library,” Jimin informs casually, “My Minister is meeting with the king tonight.”
“Your boss?” Yoongi questions
as Jimin looks towards the royal estate anxiously.
“Yeah,” Jimin says, “I really should hurry, before he gets mad. Please take care of yourself tonight, Yoongi-jeoha.” Jimin gives Yoongi a gracious bow as he excuses himself for the evening.
“Don’t work too hard, Jimin-ah!”
Yoongi calls back, unable to understand why his heart flips in his chest so much.
Yoongi wakes to find people rushing all over the palace grounds as though they are chickens with their heads cut off. “Hoseok-ah,” he says as his head royal attendant jogs up the steps
to the crown prince’s quarters, “What is the meaning of all this commotion?”
Hoseok grabs at Yoongi’s arm and tugs him down the steps. “Your father is very ill, you need to come see him immediately,” Hoseok informs, the words taking a moment to seep into Yoongi’s head.
He has trouble believing it, despite the frantic nature of the entire palace. His father was perfectly fine yesterday, so how can the king suddenly become so drastically ill overnight? Still, when Yoongi is brought to the king’s quarters,
where a large crowd of servants and various councilmen have gathered.
As the Crown Prince, Yoongi is hurriedly pushed to the front of the group of people before he is allowed entrance into the king’s personal bedchambers. “Abeomama?”Yoongi asks as he approaches his father’s bed,
next to where the royal physician sits, “They said you are ill?”
The king’s skin is yellowed, his eyes hollow and sagging, his face limp and tired. Yoongi has never seen his father like this before. As a young child, Yoongi had never had a great deal of interaction
with his father prior to joining court. The king of Joseon rarely had time for trivial matters like spending much time with his children. Still, Yoongi had always thought of his father as a strong man, with shoulders tough enough to weather even the worst storms.
Now, he looks like simply a deathly sick man.
“He does not have much time left, your royal majesty,” the physician informs, “His liver is not functioning.”
“Yoongi-ya,” the king croaks, voice scratchy and tired. He lifts a hand to gently caress Yoongi’s cheek with his hand,
“You are still young, but it is time for you to take on your duties as the future king of Joseon.”
“No, Abeomama,” Yoongi says, “You can still recover. You can still remain king and teach me how to be a fair and kind ruler.”
The king shakes his head softly with a scoff,
“I know my time is ending, my son. You must promise me to lead Joseon to great glory. My only regret is that I will miss your wedding.”
“You won’t,” Yoongi shoots back, “You’ll still be here. I know you won’t give up so easily.”
Still, the king drops his hand limply from Yoongi’s skin, “My strong Yoongi. You will be a great king. I know you will make me proud.” He points to a small hourglass that is next to his desk, the sand nearly collected on the bottom.
When all of the sand gathers on the bottom,
the king passes on to the next world, Yoongi sitting by his side the entire time. With the king officially declared dead, Joseon is plunged into a state of mourning. Though Yoongi wants to grieve his father’s death properly, the fact of the matter is that
he must take his position as the new king of Joseon quickly. Though the palace and people mourn the late king’s death, life does not stop. Farmers still must work in the fields, things such as academics still continue on daily. A country needs leadership,
even if the king is still experiencing growing pains with his new title.
Yoongi sits in the throne room with the council members, going over the various rites and rituals that must take place upon the death of the king. The head state councilor approaches Yoongi about a week
after his father’s death, on a dreary, grey day. “Prior to your father’s demise, he had enacted a change in the succession of power,” the councilor informs.
Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. “What did he change?” the new king asks, “Until I sire a son,
power shall go from myself, to my elder half-brother Junki, then to our first cousin on my father’s side, Yoonseok.”
The councilor shakes his head looking at his paper a few times to confirm the information to himself. “Should anything happen to you,
the new successor to the throne will be Minister Lee Wang.”
Yoongi’s mouth falls open in agape, barely able to believe that his father signed off on such a decree. “Surely there is a mistake!” Yoongi exclaims,
eyes darting over to Minister Lee whose smile is curled into something sinister.
“I am afraid not, your royal majesty,” the head councilor informs, “But, due to the royal mourning period, we cannot change any of your father’s changes until at least 3 months following his death.”
At the end of court, Yoongi calls for dismissal. “Everyone may leave for the evening, except for Minister Lee Wang.” All of the councilors and ministers nod, everyone still accustomed to Yoongi’s father calling for Minister Lee to join him for many evenings in the library.
The rest of court exits for the evening, leaving only Yoongi and the minister in the vast court chambers. “What did you do to my father?” Yoongi asks once the doors shut, their closing echoing through the chambers.
“I don’t know what you’re referring to,” Minister Lee hisses,
“The late king was a valued friend of mine, his death hurts me as much as it must hurt you.” Though he clutches his chest with feign lament, Yoongi sees right through it.
“He had never mentioned your name to me once before this last winter,” Yoongi counters,
eyes narrowing as he analyzes the minister before him. “Explain how you became such close friends with my father in such a short amount of time.”
“Your most imperial, gracious majesty,” Minister Lee starts, voice turning into something sour despite his revered words,
“I simply lent my services to your father as he required. I would be more than happy to show you for yourself, should you be interested.”
“What kind of services?” Yoongi asks, hair raising on the back of his neck at Minister Lee’s strange offer.
“I am quite knowledgeable on every topic you could ever find yourself interested in,” Minister Lee informs, “in the king’s library next to his bedchambers.”
For long moments, time stretches between them both. Then suddenly, there is a meek knock at the door
before it’s slowly pushed open. A mop of familiar brown hair peeks in, “Minister Lee? Are you still in here?”
“Jimin-ah?” Yoongi says before he can even stop himself. Jimin locks eyes with Yoongi, before he bows in greeting, “What are you doing here?”
“My Minister requires assistance after court is finished,” Jimin informs, motioning to Minister Lee, “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Yoongi shakes his head, “I would be delighted if you met me in the library after dinner this evening, Minister Lee, along with your assistant.”
Yoongi paces in the king’s library, wondering what he’s gotten himself into and why he even accepted such an offer in the first place. There is something innately strange about Minister Lee, something that Yoongi can’t quite put his finger on.
A little after the eight o’clock bell rings out across the palace grounds, there is a small knock at the door. “Come in,” Yoongi calls out.
Minister Lee pushes the door to the side, entering in the library with a small package behind his back.
“I graciously thank you for allowing me in your library,” he says as he procures the small box from behind his back, “I wish to give you a gift to celebrate your ascent to the throne.”
Yoongi takes the box, an uneasy feeling taking over his being at the weight of it in his hand.
It is a small lacquered box, with a cover that fits almost perfectly. He slowly lifts the top of it off, to reveal a beautiful looking hourglass inside. It has a beautiful gold exterior with pristine white sand inside. “I appreciate the gift,” Yoongi informs
as he takes the hourglass into his hand, flipping it back and forth to watch the sand fall from one side to the other, “Do you mind if I place it in my bedchambers quickly?”
Minister Lee takes a step to the side, allowing Yoongi to exit through the door to the king’s library.
Yoongi heads down the hall to the next room where his bedchambers are, walking through the large room to place the hourglass on the desk where it will be most useful in making sure he doesn’t stay up too late. Yet, when he turns around to exit his bedchambers,
he finds Minister Lee standing in the doorway to his room. “I didn’t need your assistance in placing the hourglass,” Yoongi informs as he comes over to the door, expecting for the minister to move to the side.
“No,” he says, taking a step forward into the room,
“but I needed to corner you, and you have fallen perfectly into my trap. Your soul is now trapped in that hourglass, just like your father’s was!”
Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow together when Minister Lee procures a dagger from his jacket sleeve. He thrusts forward,
causing Yoongi to tumble backwards in a quick-footed move to avoid being hit. Still, a burst of painful heat radiates through his cheek, stretching up to his forehead. When he opens his eyes, his right eye is drowning in blood. “What the fuck!?” Yoongi exclaims,
scrambling to try and grab something to use as a weapon, but coming up short.
“I need you out of the way,” Minister Lee says as he chases Yoongi around the room, only for him to truly back Yoongi into a corner of the room. His back is cold against the mirror that hangs
in the corner of the room. “Once you are dead, I will be the King of Joseon.”
“You’ll never take the throne when the rest of the council finds my body bloodied and dismembered!” Yoongi shouts back.
“Ha!” Minister Lee laughs as he steps forward, his dagger held above his head,
“As if you’ll have any say in it once you’re dead.”
Yoongi shuts his eyes as he braces for the end, when there’s a loud shout, startling them both. “Yoongi-jeonha!” Jimin exclaims as he opens the door. Minister Lee’s eyes burn bright with anger as he thrusts the dagger down,
only for Yoongi to feel himself fall backwards. Suddenly, Minister Lee is on the other side of the mirror, his dagger point stopped just where the mirror is. All that surrounds Yoongi is the same exact setting as before, as though he’s still in his old room, just without company.
Minister Lee looks in horror at the sight of Yoongi on the other side of the glass. He whips around to face Jimin, whose fingers still glow brightly with the remnants of his magic. “You stupid assistant!! Look at what you’ve done; you’ve enchanted the mirror!”
Minister Lee screeches as he uses a tendril of magic to violently toss Jimin to the side of the room.
“Don’t fucking touch him!” Yoongi screams as he rushes forward to bang at the mirror, but it seems as though Minister Lee can’t hear him.
Jimin stands up on wobbly legs from the impact as Minister Lee approaches him with the dagger now aimed at Jimin. “Jimin-ah!!! Save yourself!”
Jimin, though it doesn’t seem like he hears Yoongi’s cries, dashes out of the king’s bedchambers, with Minister Lee following him.
From there, nothing in the king’s bedchambers change. Yoongi tries to get out of the room he’s been placed in, but the doors do not budge. The windows do not open. There is nobody who comes when he calls. He does not hear birds, nor the sound of crickets chirping.
It seems as though it is permanently daylight in this room, with the only indication of time passing the hourglass on the desk.
For many days, nobody comes to save Yoongi. It is not until a few weeks later that Minister Lee returns to the bedchambers, carrying a piece of cloth.
The hourglass on the table falls slowly, a singular grain of sand falling each day in the real world. With a singular piece of fabric, Minister Lee stops Yoongi from seeing anything back in his world.
“So, you’re going to do your thesis on the flower painting or the dancer painting?” Taehyung asks as he takes a piece of tteokbokki with his chopsticks and piles an ample amount of cheese on top to go along with it.
The hum of the bar around them is loud enough that Jimin feels like nobody else will be able to spy in on their conversation; especially with how loudly the table next to them is laughing about whatever conversation they’re having.
Jimin rolls his eyes dramatically
as he takes a fish cake from the still bubbling pot in between them and places it on his personal plate to cool a bit. “This is the one with the long-lost Prince of Joseon,” Jimin clarifies. Taehyung looks up at his best friend with a cocked eyebrow in confusion,
“You know? Prince Yoongi who disappeared and his body was never recovered?”
“I’m a sorcerer,” Taehyung says, “Not a mind reader. Are you sure you told me about this?”
“I know I did,” Jimin defends as he plops the fish cake into his mouth, savoring the bite from the gochujang,
“I’ve only been working on my thesis proposal for the past month straight.”
“Yeah, but you had like four different options depending on whatever you thought your advisor would like more,” Taehyung explains, “I’ve got five clients a day asking for me to use my magic on them,
I can’t remember all of your potential theses on top of that.”
Jimin lets out a long sigh as he relegates himself to having to explain his now-official thesis project once again. “This is a royal painting from the year 1525 when Prince Min Yoongi was said to have disappeared.
It’s famous because it was believed to have magical properties and those who looked upon it had the potential for a wish. If the Prince moved his position in the painting, it was said that the wish would be granted. There are no formal depictions of the changes in the painting,
such as if it’s the prince’s eyes or his posture or what though. So I’m going to do my research on the painting to prove if it really has magic and if it does, if we can uncover what the original painting looked like.”
Taehyung nods as he follows along with Jimin’s explanation,
almost seeming like this is his first time actually paying attention to his best friend’s inane rantings. “And why couldn’t you ask someone who possesses magic ability, such as myself or any other of the various sorcerers in the city, to verify if it has magic?
It’d take me approximately three seconds to tell you if there’s spiritual energy or not.”
Jimin huffs at Taehyung’s question, bangs fluttering with the gust of air that he blows out, “Because we need to prove it using science.
You have to admit that just saying ‘a sorcerer pinky-promised he wasn’t lying about this’ won’t really fly in art history. Plus, it’s been sealed away by the government for like a hundred years; normal people can’t just waltz up to it.”
“Too many conmen out there,
making people wary to trust other sorcerers,” Taehyung muses as he takes another piece of tteok.
“That’s why you work hard,” Jimin reminds, “And you don’t hide that you’re a sorcerer because it’s about time that people learn that having magic isn’t a horrible thing
that you should shield away from the world.”
“Are you the one with magic here, or am I?” Taehyung asks with an amused eyebrow raised at Jimin’s passionate defense.
With a dramatic eyeroll, Jimin sighs, “Whatever.”
The next day, Jimin rolls out of bed actually excited to head to school for once. He feels like a kid getting ready for the first day of school again, packing everything in his new briefcase in careful fashion. He double checks that he has ample amount of residue testing kits,
fresh notebooks, mechanical pencils with an extra set of lead, ballpoint pens, and a backup pair of glasses, just in case. Donning a professional-looking button-up shirt and a pair of black slacks, he grabs his briefcase and heads out for the day.
The subway jostles him back and forth as he stands in the corner of the car. Today though, he doesn’t get off at his university entrance’s station, instead heading further into the city where the National Art Archives are. He watches as the train empties of passengers,
a small tingling in the back of his brain reminding him that this is his stop too; where he’s gotten off for the past six years. Yet he remains, heading off to the new destination that has a mixture of excitement and fear churning in his stomach.
The National Art Archive is a large building, but it isn’t like a skyscraper. Instead, the architecture is more spread out and sprawling in nature, housing various, countless pieces of priceless art. Finding the entrance is more difficult than Jimin had initially expected,
finding himself winding through gardens in an attempt to follow sparsely placed wooden arrow signs. When he finally makes it through the front door, the sense of adventure has almost worn off.
The concierge looks up at him with expectation.
“Um, uh, I’m a graduate student from Seoul National University,” Jimin says, “I’m supposed to start research on my thesis project here.”
The concierge sighs at Jimin’s introduction, before he turns to his computer and types something briefly, “What is your contact’s name?”
“Oh!” Jimin hurriedly digs his phone out of his pocket and pulls up his email, searching desperately for the conversation that he’d had with one of the curators of Joseon art at the archive.
Every ticking second that Jimin passes advertisement for skincare, food delivery, and dating sites makes embarrassment flush at the back of his neck. “Um, Kim Seokjin?”
The concierge types the name into his computer and makes a small noise of affirmation.
He takes a piece of paper from his desk and writes down the man’s office number on it, “He’s in Suite B613. That means B wing,” he explains with a hand waving down some vague hallway, which must be the aforementioned wing, “on the 6th floor.
Once you exit the elevators, the signs will tell you which direction office number 13 is.”
The concierge returns to his phone, where it looks like he’s very busy scrolling on Instagram. Jimin takes the piece of paper and holds it in the same hand as his phone,
setting off in the direction that the concierge had directed him towards. The halls are eerily quiet, Jimin’s shoes clicking on the concrete floors loudly in the absence of anyone else. While the Archives are not a museum open to the public,
it feels like there might as well not be any sort of life in this building beyond Jimin.
When the doors to the elevator open on the 6th floor, Jimin finds a sign pointing him in the direction of the various office suites.
The hallway is brightly lit with tall ceilings and cream colors, but very little else. It almost looks like any other non-descriptive office, rather than the home of the most valuable works of art in the entirety of South Korea. When he’s finally standing in front of office B613,
he takes one big breath in before he knocks at the door.
Approximately half a second passes before the door to the office opens up, showing a man who’s significantly younger and drastically more handsome than Jimin had initially expected. “Park Jimin?” Jimin gives a head nod
as Seokjin motions him into the office, “Welcome. It’s great to finally meet you.”
“Likewise,” Jimin says as he enters the office. It’s small, but there are a few trinkets on Seokjin’s desk, along with a number of pictures,
“I thought maybe I had the wrong place since there’s nobody else in the building.”
Seokjin laughs at Jimin’s comment, “Probably just holed up in their offices. Anyways, so I think you were interested in The Lost Prince, right?”
Seokjin grabs a folder from the collection of binders on his desk, opening up to the place where Jimin’s thesis is printed with some comments on the margins, “Let’s go over your intentions and what you hope to find out with your research before I let you back into the archives.”
For the next two hours, they go over in depth all of Jimin’s research goals in his proposal, almost feeling like a second round of evaluations. Seokjin seems overall impressed with Jimin’s prior research on magically endued items though,
nodding along and making small sounds of appreciation at some of the newer pieces of technology. “I think that about wraps it up?” Jimin asks as Seokjin closes the multi-page document.
“Yep,” Seokjin says as he pulls out a badge that features Jimin’s name
and a very unflattering ID photo of himself from his first year on campus at SNU. It must have been provided by the school coordinator who set up the research project in the first place. “This will let you into the building via any of the entrances around the B wing
and the hall where The Lost Prince is stored. It’ll only work on certain doors that you need to complete your research though, so don’t bother trying to get into T or S wing; it won’t work.” Jimin takes the badge with reverence as Seokjin stands up and moves to the door,
“Let’s get you back to the archives.”
Jimin follows along as they walk through the hallway, until they reach the seeming end of the hall. There’s a very non-descriptive door that Seokjin tests Jimin’s new badge at,
the entire thing opening with the sound of a heavy deadbolt retracting. The Archives are equally quiet as the hallways, but instead it is rather dark inside. Regardless, Seokjin doesn’t seem to have much of a problem at all finding his way around,
until they’re faced with a painting that looks far less intimidating in real life than Jimin had ever expected.
He's researched the entire history of the piece, learned about the story that goes along with it, zoomed into 2500x on his laptop,
but nothing truly prepares him for standing right in front of the painting. “I have a lot of work to do, so I’ll leave you to it,” Seokjin says as he turns around, “The Archives close at six, so be out of here before then.”
“That’s it?” Jimin says
as he turns to watch his supervisor leaving, “You’re just going to trust me in here like that?”
Seokjin shrugs his shoulders, “We’re connected to the central government and we have your information from the school. If you damage the painting, we’ll find you one way or another.”
With the very casually-spoken threat, the curator leaves Jimin alone in the Archives.
Jimin takes a step closer to the painting, looking at all of the intricate details. It looks almost like a photograph, rather than anything done with a brush.
Even the finest paintings from the Joseon era didn’t focus on such lifelike appearances. The style of detail is almost too perfect, like the painter was trying to capture the perfect shadows and the exact curve of the prince’s nose rather than a distinctive style.
In fact, the painting has never actually had an artist’s name attached to the piece; with how unique the picture was from all other methods of art at the time, nobody has ever been linked to the piece.
With a small thud, Jimin drops his bag onto the ground
and extracts a pair of cloth gloves from one of the pockets. He follows up with a few tester kits for different materials, such as certain oil pigments and the detection of lead. He’s done art conservation before during undergrad,
but usually there was some sort of teacher to guide him through the process. This is his first time truly being entirely and utterly on his own.
He brings the few kits over to the painting, crouching down to kneel before it, amazed at how lifelike the painting is.
Such a famous painting with an intricate story behind it feels like it should be larger than life; but this is simply the same size as Jimin’s bathroom mirror. The first step for Jimin’s test is to find somewhere safe to test the outer rim of the painting.
Over the past five hundred years or so, the gold leaf has long flaked off, leaving a dark-stained metal in its place.
Along the under edge of the frame, Jimin swabs a bit for magical residue, pouring a bit of tester on a cotton swab and rubbing it into the frame.
As he works, he watches the cotton tip for any signs of color change. Before his very eyes, the yellow pigmented dye turns bright pink, indicating with certainty that there is spiritual energy embedded into the frame. When he pulls back from his inconspicuous spot,
he barely casts a glance up when he locks eyes with the painting.
“Holy fuck!” Jimin shouts as he takes a step back, tripping over his briefcase and landing square on his butt in front of the painting.
Yet, the painting’s eyes move as they watch Jimin tumble to the ground in the most unflattering way possible.
No stranger to art galleries, Jimin has heard multiple stories from people swearing that the paintings’ eyes are following him.
However, never in all of his years working with art has he ever felt that sensation before today. Then, as Jimin is staring back at the painting with wide eyes, very slowly, the prince in the painting arches an eyebrow,
as if questioning what exactly Jimin is doing still on the ground. “A-Are you moving!?”
“And if I am?” the painting asks, shocking Jimin to his very core. Jimin feels himself fall backwards as the world turns to black.
Jimin blinks into the dark, brain racing as he tries to figure out where he is. The back of his head pounds with each thump of his heart, before he remembers that he’d passed out and likely hit his head on the concrete.
His only saving grace had been that he’d still been seated in front of the famous painting before his memories finally come rushing back to him. With a start, Jimin thrusts himself upwards back into a seated position, before he dares to cast a glance at the painting once again.
Min Yoongi is staring back at him with the same, bored expression that he always has. His head cocked to one side, resting on the tips of his fingers. The scar still looks almost fresh over his eye, as though it’s only been a handful of days since it was inflicted.
Perhaps Jimin had just been going crazy when he thought that he’d seen the painting move or heard it talk. Maybe he’d just been too isolated in the Archives that he was already losing his marbles.
“You going to get up?” Yoongi says from the painting.
Jimin turns white. “Y-You talked!”
“I did,” Yoongi affirms with an eye roll, “Quite the genius, aren’t you?”
“H-How can you talk!?” Jimin demands, “You’re a painting!”
“I am not,” Yoongi informs as Jimin realizes that he is here to do research.
He needs to be recording everything that’s happening, if for nothing more than evidence later that he is not actually insane. He hurriedly grabs his phone and flips to the video setting, before he angles it to record.
It doesn’t seem like the prince in the painting is one to readily accept being recorded.
“If you’re not a painting,” Jimin says, trying to speak loudly enough that the video can capture the sound of his voice. He can only pray that the man on the canvas cooperates.
“Then what are you?”
“It’s a mirror,” Yoongi corrects with an annoyed huff, “It’s always been a mirror.”
Jimin blinks at the prince. “You’re a mirror!?” he exclaims, clambering for his notebook even though he has the camera rolling.
Too many times he’s been let down by a full memory notification or a low battery to trust technology fully. “How come nobody else has ever noticed such?”
“I don’t know,” Yoongi scoffs, “Most people are too busy asking for inane wishes or killing each other to check.”
Jimin hurriedly scribbles down the information into his notebook. “I have to admit; I never thought I’d see you again,” Yoongi chides, “I thought you’d run off for good after what you’d done to me.”
Jimin’s pencil stops in the middle of the page, midstroke, as his head snaps up.
The prince is giving him such an evil glare, eyebrows furrowed together with his jaw tight. Jimin swallows hard, sweat beading along the back of his shirt collar from the scorn that Yoongi is showing him. “I’m sorry, what?”
“You heard me,” Yoongi barks,
“You ruined my life and you have the audacity to come back here. If I could kill you right now, I would.”
Jimin’s grip on his pencil tightens at how raw and pained the words are. Despite Yoongi’s tough threat,
it seems as though there is something still very deep and personal that nags at his mind. “I don’t know what you’re talking about...” Jimin stammers, inching back just a bit, even though he knows that the painting, or mirror as Yoongi insists, can’t hurt him.
“You pushed me in here!” Yoongi explodes, standing up from his seat sharply, “You locked me in here for years! Doomed me to watch as people start wars just for a simple glance at the mirror! You have stolen peoples’ lives just to breathe life into this wretched prison!
This is all your fault!”
Jimin scoots back further, watching as Yoongi begins to pace in front of the mirror, finally displaying the gorgeous throne that has been a mystery to art historians for centuries. As Yoongi passes by the mirror,
Jimin watches as he clenches his hands into fists, before he flexes his long fingers. Very vaguely, Jimin wants to hurriedly take a picture, just so he can accurately describe it in his thesis paper. “I didn’t do anything!” Jimin argues back, voice wavering,
“I’m only 24 years old, I haven’t even had a real job yet.”
Yoongi stops pacing just in front of the mirror, staring hard at Jimin. “What happened to Minister Lee?”
“Who?” Jimin asks, blinking rapidly at the way Yoongi waits, demanding an answer that Jimin doesn’t know.
“I-I really, really don’t know who that is.”
Yoongi analyzes Jimin’s face for a long moment, before he gently lifts his hand into the view of the mirror and beckons Jimin over with a stout wave. With a shaky breath,
Jimin slowly climbs back up to his feet before he takes a wobbly step towards the mirror. When he finally stands in front of Yoongi, just as though they were casually talking without a pane of magic glass between them, he’s awestruck by the prince’s innate beauty.
Despite being in a mirror for almost 500 years, the prince’s skin is immaculate, as though he’d applied a dewy face mask just hours ago. His hair is tied up in a regal topknot, not so much as a strand out of place. His eyes are so full of life,
shining in the light on the other side of the mirror, that Jimin hardly can believe he thought that the prince had been a mere painting before. “You look exactly like him,” Yoongi mutters to himself, but with how close they are, Jimin picks up the words easily.
Yoongi lifts his hand up, as though to caress Jimin’s jaw when he bumps right into the glass of the mirror. He almost looks surprised by the deterrent. “Who?” Jimin asks, unable to stop himself from murmuring the question.
“My Jimin,” Yoongi says.
The answer sends Jimin’s heart racing at frantic speed, confused by too intrigued to stop himself. “Could you really be him in another life?”
“I don’t know,” Jimin admits, “but my name is also Jimin. Park Jimin.”
“Are you a sorcerer too?” Yoongi questions quietly.
Jimin’s mind goes blank at the question, “Me? A sorcerer? No!”
Yoongi frowns at the response, but he examines Jimin nonetheless. “But you can see me move fluidly?” Jimin gives a nod. “And you can hear my voice.”
Jimin tries to recall if anyone has ever noted such a phenomenon
from the painting-really-mirror before, before he realizes that nobody has ever even mentioned such a thing. The rare few documented differences in the painting before had always been a simple shift of the eyes. A change in the angle that the king’s head tilts.
A finger added or removed from against his temple. “I don’t think I’m a sorcerer?” Jimin corrects after a moment of deliberation, “I’m just an art history student.”
Yoongi seems to think about Jimin’s answer for a moment before he nods and heads back to his seat on the throne.
He assumes the same position as before. “I will allow you to work uninterrupted,” Yoongi says.
The rest of the day, Jimin conducts his necessary work before dismissing himself a little after 5. He walks out of the Archives before he heads straight to his best friend’s apartment,
arriving with little more than a singular text that reads /Are you home? I’m coming over./ A little thumbs up emoji is the only response he needs.
Jimin knocks on the door to Taehyung’s apartment, waiting approximately two seconds before the door is being shoved open for him.
“Hey, I ordered some jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk for us both.”
Jimin’s stomach growls loudly at the reminder of food. “Thanks,” he says as he drops his briefcase off in the entryway and proceeds to toe off his shoes.
Taehyung’s apartment is warm with the bright sunlight filtering in through the large window in his living room. According to Taehyung, it’s helpful in giving the proper atmosphere for magic work. The rest of the apartment is sparsely furnished though,
with a large sofa in the center of the room, covered in too many spills from years of eating dinners on it together. “So you’re never going to believe what I discovered today.”
“The painting has magic,” Taehyung guesses, “like I predicted.”
“I thought you said you weren’t a mind reader,” Jimin prods to Taehyung’s immediate eyeroll. Jimin flings himself onto the sofa while Taehyung cleans up the potion brewing materials on the coffee table in front of the sofa. “So it is indeed magical, but like, extra magical.”
Taehyung looks up at Jimin with an arched eyebrow. “What does that even mean?”
Jimin takes a deep breath in, trying to figure out how to possibly explain the entire situation without sounding like he’s making the entire thing up. Then, he remembers the video on his phone.
Taehyung takes a seat on the sofa next to Jimin, leaning in to get a better look at the tiny screen. On the video, Jimin has managed to capture both the mirror and himself just in front of it. For a moment, there is nothing on the video of note,
long enough that Taehyung pulls away to begin questioning if Jimin is being serious when Jimin says on the video, “If you’re not a painting, then what are you?”
He waits for Yoongi’s response, only to realize that the painting hasn’t even moved at all on the video.
After a short pause, on screen Jimin exclaims, “You’re a mirror?”
Jimin tears the phone away from Taehyung’s vision, staring hard at the screen as he continues talking to an unmoving painting. Even the brief moments that he clearly remembers Yoongi talking are completely silent.
When he’d so clearly been pacing back and forth, the mirror is unmoving. “But,” Jimin stutters, “I talked to him. I saw him.”
“You saw him moving?” Taehyung clarifies, “Like you’re really sure that he was moving?”
“We had a whole conversation,” Jimin says in a low voice,
rewinding and fast forwarding through the video repeatedly, praying for any part of his encounter to be captured on film. “He told me he’s actually a mirror and that there was some stuff about a minister and something about how I look like some sorcerer he used to know.”
Taehyung studies Jimin’s face before him, searching for any sign of misremembering. When Jimin finally admits defeat with his failed video capture, Taehyung gently grabs onto Jimin’s upper arm and shakes him gently, “You know, magic isn’t really captured well with technology.
That’s why I can only help people who live in Seoul; even a video call can’t replicate the same energy that I get from physically being with someone.”
“So you at least believe me?” Jimin verifies.
“I don’t doubt it happened and I’ve even heard a thing or two about reincarnations before,” he starts, lips pressing together in thought, “but those who don’t have magic shouldn’t be able to interact with anything endued with magic. That’s the strange part of it to me at least.”
chapter tw //
- brief mention of torture
The next morning, Jimin finds himself plopping down on the sofa in his former roommate’s research office after a long night of thinking about Yoongi. “Have you ever heard of a magic mirror?” Jimin asks unhelpfully as Hoseok is hunched over the computer,
searching for some sort of magical primer on an online science website. On the other side of the miniscule cubicle, the frantic typing stops.
“A magic mirror?” Namjoon chimes in, “That’s the oldest piece of magic in the books. Are you trying to find one and ask it a question?”
“That’s not what I meant. Not like Snow White-esque magic mirror,” Jimin clarifies after he realizes that such a vague question couldn’t possibly interpreted the correct way, “I meant like one that’s the kind of magic where people can see it moving fluidly,
but it can’t be captured on film.”
Hoseok looks up from his computer where he has some agent up on the screen, the price of such nearly making Jimin’s eyes bulge out of his head. “You’re going to have to be a bit clearer,” Hoseok explains, “I can see that you have a story,
but you’re trying to come up with some cute way of spinning it.”
Jimin sticks his tongue out at Hoseok, but his former roommate knows him far too well. “So don’t think I’m crazy or anything,” Jimin forewarns.
“I’ve seen the shit you do when you’re drunk,”
Namjoon adds with Hoseok barking out a sharp laugh.
Jimin scrunches his nose in retaliation. “Anyways! So I started work on my thesis and have you guys heard of the painting The Lost Prince?”
“Oh!” Hoseok pipes up, “The painting that grants a wish to those who catch it moving?
I’ve heard the stories about it before!” Hoseok’s mention seems to jog the memory of Namjoon, who nods along with the memory of the piece now.
“I just went to go see it yesterday,” Jimin tells as he pulls out a few color-changing tests out of his bag
and puts them on top of Hoseok’s desk, “This one shows that there is definitely magic in it, but this one doesn’t seem to indicate if it’s dark magic or light magic. I don’t understand how it could flag with clear magic markers but be unidentifiable in its origin.”
Namjoon peers into the little plastic bottles that house the thin pieces of paper, eyebrows furrowed. “It’s possible that the magic was new magic,” Namjoon explains to Jimin’s blank stare,
“Typically, a sorcerer’s 1st magic doesn’t align with dark or light magic since it’s still new. While new magic is typically weak,” he holds up the bright magical-presence test up for emphasis, “occasionally new magic comes out in a very strong burst, such as in times of terror.”
Jimin looks at the tests before he looks at his two friends, “So you’re saying that the person who enchanted the mirr- the painting was a new sorcerer who didn’t have magic before?” Namjoon nods at Jimin’s guess.
“In the lab, we can run more thorough tests that can detect lower levels of dark or light magic than these little color changing strips,” Namjoon offers, “I don’t really have much going on since I finished my last research assignment. If you get me another few samples,
I can get you a test running numbers down to the hundredths place.”
Jimin nods excitedly at the proposal, grateful that Namjoon is willing to run complicated tests on his research assignment for free. “I’m still curious what you mean by the painting moves fluidly,
but can’t be seen on film,” Hoseok comments, “because your little paper tests don’t really answer that part of your question.”
Jimin sighs as he realizes he will have to reveal his story that makes him sound entirely insane. “As magical researchers,
you guys have seen some pretty wild magic before, right?” Jimin asks to a round of head nods, “I was in the Archives yesterday and I swear to you on my life that I had a whole conversation with the prince in the painting, but when I checked my phone recording later,
the painting didn’t move at all and it looked like I was just talking to a brick wall. Or I guess, an unmoving painting.”
Both researchers look at one another with intrigued expressions before they begin inundating Jimin with questions.
“What do you mean you had a whole conversation with him?” “What did he say in the conversation?” “Was anyone else with you in the Archives who also saw the painting move?” “Are you sure you didn’t just hit your head or go crazy?”
“I really had a whole conversation with him,”
Jimin swears, “and he told me that he’s actually a mirror and that he was trapped in there by someone who looked just like me.”
Hoseok and Namjoon exchange a glance. “Magic done by someone who looked just like you?” Hoseok breathes out, “Namjoon-ah, could it be...?”
“Reincarnations tend to happen when there’s a problem with the timeline,” Namjoon notes with seriousness. Jimin cocks his head in confusion at the explanation. “To put it in words that someone who isn’t a sorcerer or a scholar of magic can understand,
there’s a popular hypothesis that says nature follows a general timeline. It’s not really clear to magical scientists what exactly that timeline entails or what its purpose is, but when magic is used to disrupt that timeline, reincarnations tend to show up in clusters.
While there are some vague examples over history, it’s something that’s difficult to prove concretely, so that’s why it’s still a hypothesis.”
Jimin tries to follow along, but Hoseok quickly fills in for him, “If history was disrupted by your mirror friend being trapped,
the likeliness of there being reincarnations is very high. According to the hypothesis, at least.”
After a long moment of thinking, Jimin finally tries the question he’s been dredging up the courage to ask. “I kind of came here today to ask if you guys think you can figure out
if there’s a way to undo the magic on it?” Jimin asks, “Like, if I let you into the Archives, do you think you could research what kind of magic it is and if there’s a way to undo it?”
“You want to undo it!?” Hoseok exclaims far too loudly,
someone from the other side of the room in another cubicle shushing him. “Why on earth would you want to undo it? Then your whole thesis would be ruined.”
“I just,” Jimin fiddles with his thumbs nervously,
“I’ve been thinking about how I would feel if I was trapped in a mirror for almost five hundred years and it would really suck. I bet if I talked to the prince, he probably would be happy to be free again.”
Hoseok and Namjoon take in deep breaths as they think. “I mean,”
Namjoon starts slowly, “I guess there’s nothing that says we couldn’t at least try. It might be cool to see what the National Art Archives look like too.”
Hoseok nods in agreement before he adds, “I think you should ask the prince in the mirror if he wants to be freed first.
And maybe get us clearance from the government first.”
Jimin bites his bottom lip in thought before he hastily rises from the sofa, “You’re right. Do you mind if I go ask and text you guys?”
Jimin makes it to the National Art Archives about two hours later,
letting himself in through a side door using his badge. He pops his head into Seokjin’s office, “Hey, I was wondering how I can go about letting in some fellow researchers in from the department of magical studies to run some more thorough tests on the painting?
I did some preliminary testing on it using some color-changing paper and it came up positive so-”
“Just don’t tell anyone they’re here and I won’t say a word either,” Seokjin says as he barely looks up from his computer at all.
“Just, sneak them in here?” Jimin clarifies with horror.
“You seem shocked,” Seokjin notes, “but have you seen a single security guard in this place?” Jimin shakes his head. “Plus, there’s a lot of paperwork that goes into allowing outsiders into the Archives
and if you just happened to let them in on your own and didn’t mention it to me, I have significantly less work to do. So, for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to delete the memory of this conversation from my brain.”
Jimin stares at Seokjin for a long moment before he slowly backs out of the doorway, “Um, okay, well, have a good day then, Seokjin-ssi.”
“Nice to see you too, Jimin-ssi,” Seokjin calls back as Jimin heads down the hallway to the Archive room that houses his magical mirror.
Just before he makes his way into the Archives, he sends a quick message to Namjoon and Hoseok who confirm they’ll stop by around lunchtime.
Jimin walks up to the mirror, greeting the prince with a deep bow that’s fitting of royalty. “Good morning.”
“It’s always daytime for me,” Yoongi comments icily.
“Listen,” Jimin starts, pulling out his laptop to open a new document to take notes in. Now that he knows he’ll have to transcribe everything that the prince says rather than rely on a recording,
he’s suddenly thrust back into frantically typing up his lectures as his professor drones on at the speed of light. “What would you say if I could find a way to get out of the mirror?”
Suddenly, Yoongi looks interested.
He cocks an eyebrow in question as he gives Jimin a onceover on the other side of the glass. “I thought you said you weren’t a sorcerer.”
“I’m not,” Jimin quickly defends, “but I have some friends who are magical scientists.
They study items with magic and they said that they’d be willing to figure out what kind of magic is in your mirror and if they can undo it.”
Yoongi gives Jimin a long stare, clearly weighing the options in his head. After a few moments of silence, he sighs heavily,
almost as in defeat. “I suppose being free of this hell would be preferred to being stuck here for the rest of eternity.”
Jimin settles in with his laptop perched on his lap as he sits cross-legged in front of the mirror, “To help my friends research better,
can you explain to me exactly what happened in order for you to get locked into this mirror? Don’t spare any detail at all.” While Yoongi recalls the event that happened nearly five hundred years ago, Jimin’s fingers fly across the keyboard,
hastily writing down everything that the prince says.
“So you were trapped in the mirror by accident,” Jimin recounts after the entire story has been relayed. Yoongi gives an affirmative noise. “And this all happened a week before your coronation?” Another nod.
“And the scar that’s over your eye now is the result of the fight that ensued in bedroom? That would explain why it never was mentioned in any of the historical records before.”
“Why not just read the entire thing back to me instead?” Yoongi bites back with a sour tone,
“I already told you everything I know. The only thing I never found out afterwards was what happened to Jimin after Minister Lee chased him out of the bedroom.”
“Okay, so you’ve seen some stuff happen while you were in the mirror right?” Jimin questions,
quickly typing up his question and poising himself for the answer, “How was the mirror transported from the royal palace all the way to the cave just north of Busan?”
“The first time I could see out of the mirror was when the palace caught on fire,” Yoongi informs,
Jimin’s fingers diligently taking notes as he marvels at the previously-unknown information, “There was a great fire that happened that ate away the cloth covering the mirror, but despite everything burning in the real world, the mirror was fine.”
“Yes,” Jimin agrees,
“that would match with the great rebellion that happened in 1527 where the peasant classes revolted against King Lee for increased taxation and a harsh regime.”
“He’s not a fucking king,” Yoongi spits out vilely,
“That man deserves to have his fingernails ripped out and then his fingers cut off one by one-“
“Okay, I get it,” Jimin cringes at the description, “how about I just call him Evil Sorcerer instead?” Yoongi seems to agree with the title.
“Anyways, he was not a good ruler and everyone hated him, so in 1527, a coup took place that burned the entire palace to the ground in an attempt to oust him from the throne. It was never clear from the historical records if he was killed or not though.”
“A simple death would be far too merciful for that heinous man,” Yoongi comments, “I am glad the people of Joseon did not endure his suffering for long. Who rose to the throne after his removal?”
“Your older half-brother Junki became the king
after being found living a simple life in Hanyang during Evil Sorcerer’s reign. He restored the Min family name to royalty and he continued the royal blood line for centuries until the end of the Joseon dynasty in the late 1800s,” Jimin informs to Yoongi’s clear relief.
Then, Yoongi looks at Jimin tentatively with a clear question written on his face, but something is holding him back. “What’s your next question?”
“Are there any records about my Jimin?” Yoongi asks slowly.
“I don’t think so,” Jimin admits,
“but I can do some research tonight for you.” Jimin can almost see the words of appreciation on the prince’s tongue, even though they refuse to be uttered aloud. “You always call him, your Jimin? Were you lovers?”
“Absolutely not!” Yoongi ferociously exclaims,
“Relations between men is forbidden!”
“Not anymore,” Jimin informs, “It’s not quite as accepted as relationships between men and women, but nowadays two men loving each other isn’t taboo like it used to be.” Yoongi looks both forlorn and hopeful at the same time,
as though he doesn’t truly believe Jimin’s claim. “If you had feelings for him, then that’s okay.”
After a long moment of silence, Yoongi simply says, “He was so beautiful and kind.” In his chest, Jimin’s heart thumps harder at the way the prince looks at him,
clearly projecting his memories of Joseon-era Jimin onto himself. “Very smart. I never understood why he was working for Minister Lee until he suddenly locked me in this mirror and then it was all clear. He must have had unawaken magic in his lineage.”
“And that would be enough for him to be an assistant to an evil minister?” Jimin prods.
Yoongi shakes his head softly, “Most ministers hired young assistants at the behest of the assistant’s father. Likely, if Jimin had magic in his bloodline,
his father wanted him to further that study and arranged for Jimin to work under Minister Lee. The presence of magic tends to stain a family’s name, so most sorcerers work together to minimize risk of being exposed.”
Jimin takes frantic notes on the nature of magic in the sixteenth century, amazed at the fact that he has a primary source telling him blatantly about life in the Joseon era. As Jimin is finishing up his phone buzzes with a text from Hoseok that they’re about five minutes away.
“Remember my magical scholar friends I told you about earlier?” Jimin checks to a stout headnod from the king, “Hoseok just said he and Namjoon are almost here. I’m going to go get them.”
A surprised look blossoms on Yoongi’s face at the mention, “It couldn’t be...”
“Hmm?” Jimin asks as he gathers his phone and badge, but doesn’t bother cleaning up his laptop or other belongings.
“Jung Hoseok and Kim Namjoon? My attendant and bodyguard?” Yoongi asks as Jimin goes rigid in shock.
Hoseok and Namjoon carry their bags through the Archives with awed faces, their mouths dropped open in surprise at being in such an exclusive place. “Just be quiet and don’t tell a soul you’re here,” Jimin warns as he leads them through the corridors,
“I just hope that you guys will be able to talk to Yoongi-hyung too.”
“Hyung?” Hoseok latches on immediately, “That sounds like a pretty intimate title to call a king.”
“He was never technically the king,” Namjoon quickly corrects,
“He went missing, or rather was trapped inside the mirror, a week prior to his coronation.”
Hoseok shrugs his shoulders as they all make their way through the inconspicuous door that separates the heart of the Archives from the hallway, “History class was right after lunch,
I must have fallen asleep during that lecture.”
“I took thorough notes on everything that Yoongi told me about the events leading up to the entrapment,” Jimin informs as the door shuts heavily behind them, the sound echoing throughout the giant hall of the Archives,
“I’ll send it over to you both. He isn’t well versed on magic himself, so his perspective of the situation is fairly superficial. Hopefully it’ll still be helpful though.”
The two scientists nod as they walk around a wall full of art before finally coming to the mirror itself.
Both marvel at the beauty of the mirror, walking up with bright eyes and their mouths slightly open. “By the gods,” Yoongi says, “Is it really you Namjoon? Hoseok?”
Jimin waits for the two to answer, but they simply stare at the mirror with awe. After a long moment passes,
Jimin leans forward on his toes, “Are you guys going to answer?”
At the same time, both Namjoon and Hoseok turn back to look at Jimin with bewildered expressions. “Did he ask a question?” Hoseok answers as he turns to look at the painting,
clearly unaware of the words Yoongi had mentioned, “Hi! I’m Jung Hoseok, I’ve heard a lot of stories about you!”
“It’s been five hundred years since I’ve seen that heart-shaped smile,” Yoongi reminisces, but Hoseok clearly doesn’t hear the comment,
“I’ve missed you dearly Hoseok-ah.”
Jimin takes a deep breath in as he looks at the way that Yoongi is so clearly moving for him, yet apparently motionless for both Hoseok and Namjoon. “Yoongi-hyung, I don’t think they can hear you,” Jimin says,
head spinning as he tries to understand how the image can be so fluid and moving for him, yet static for his friends, “I don’t know why I can.”
“Is he talking?” Namjoon questions as Hoseok inspects the mirror thoroughly, barely centimeters away from the glass,
“I haven’t seen him move either.”
“So why can I talk to him and hear him then? Yoongi-hyung, can you see and hear them talking?” Jimin asks, feeling like his brain is racing as he tries to understand how such a thing can occur. He’s nothing special;
simply a regular art history student who’s never had a reckoning with some superpower-giving deity like in the movies. There’s no reason why he should be the one to be able to talk to Yoongi.
“I can hear them,” Yoongi says, sighing heavily to himself, sounding defeated,
“but they cannot hear me.”
“He can hear you guys,” Jimin relays the message. He looks over at Yoongi with forlorn eyes as Yoongi’s shoulders droop and he heads back to his throne, taking his seat as he’s done for so many hundred of years.
Even with the pane of magical glass between them, he can almost feel how disappointed and heartbroken the prince feels.
“Let’s take some samples for the lab,” Hoseok suggests to Namjoon, who open their bags and begin pulling out multiple pieces of scientific equipment.
While the two scientists set off to work, Jimin begins researching online to see if he can find an answer to why he’s the only one who can see Yoongi’s movements.
After an hour of taking samples and swabbing all of the parts that they need to run tests with the lab equipment.
Though Jimin’s online search didn’t come up with anything conclusive, he’s got his own hypothesis. “I was thinking,” Jimin announces as both friends begin packing up their belongings, “What if the reason you guys can’t see him moving is you can’t do magic?”
“So how come you can see him moving, then?” Namjoon prods to Jimin’s immediate shoulder shrug.
“I don’t have an answer to that, but I was thinking maybe Taehyung would be able to see him moving since he’s a sorcerer,” Jimin proposes.
Both Namjoon and Hoseok give each other a look, clearly contemplating the theory, “I already asked and he said that he’s not busy this afternoon. You guys all want to get lunch together?”
“I guess you can pay in exchange for us running these tests,” Hoseok says with a sly grin
as Jimin rolls his eyes and motions for the two to follow along.
About an hour later, the three return to the Archives, but this time with Taehyung in tow. After having the entire situation explained to him, he knows what difficulties the group is facing
and the questions that are still lingering. Taehyung marches up to the mirror, eyebrow arched as he peers into it with ferocity. “Well, can he say anything?” he asks Jimin.
“I don’t know, can I?” Yoongi quips back.
“Oh, he’s a fiery one,” Taehyung comments almost immediately.
A rush of relief settles into Jimin’s chest at the knowledge that Taehyung can also interact with the mirror, but it also raises other questions. Particularly, how Jimin can interact with it, despite not being a sorcerer himself. “So, Mister Prince Min Yoongi,”
Taehyung starts dramatically, drawing an immediate eyeroll from his best friend, “Tell me all about your experience with this mirror.”
As Yoongi explains what he knows about the magic that trapped him in this mirror, which is very little,
Namjoon and Hoseok both watch with fascination as Taehyung and Jimin listen. “Is he really talking right now?” Hoseok asks after a moment, with both Taehyung and Jimin nodding at the question, “Oh man, I wish we could be listening too. That’s so cool.
I have so many questions to ask him.”
“If we do our jobs right,” Namjoon notes, “then we’ll be able to get him out of the mirror and talk to him ourselves.”
After about five minutes of Taehyung listening to Yoongi explain the story behind being trapped in the mirror,
Jimin can tell that the prince is starting to get agitated. Taehyung continues to ask him questions and further prompts about parts that Yoongi doesn’t know. “I have good news and bad news,” Taehyung informs upon completion of his interview with Yoongi.
He motions to Jimin to take notes for Hoseok and Namjoon to review later while doing their testing. “I sense two magic signatures on the mirror, the superficial one and the one that’s buried.”
“Two magic signatures?” Namjoon echoes, eyebrows furrowing as he tries to understand.
“Yes,” Taehyung confirms resolutely, without any sort of doubt in his mind, “One of them is the magic that trapped him in the mirror but there’s also a magic signature that’s bound the prince’s soul.”
“What do you mean?” Yoongi asks on the other side of the glass,
“Only my Jimin pushed me into the mirror.” Taehyung quickly turns around to face the prince as Jimin relays the answer to Namjoon and Hoseok.
“Yes, but there’s another magic signature,” Taehyung says, “It’s the magic that’s keeping you alive,
rather than freezing you into place forever, which would turn you into an actual painting. It’s very faint, but it’s there and it’s connected to the real world still.”
“And how does that impact being able to take Yoongi-hyung out of the mirror?” Jimin probes,
“Does that mean we need to find two ways to break the curse?”
“Well,” Taehyung cradles his head in his hand in thought, “I’m going to be honest. I don’t sense a real-world connection with the magic that trapped Yoongi in the mirror, meaning that the original Jimin is dead.
But there’s still a very dark magic that’s bound to Yoongi in the real world by a sorcerer who is still alive. Since the link is weak, the sorcerer can’t find Yoongi and hasn’t been able to track the mirror’s location. However, if we separate Yoongi from the mirror,
that sorcerer will definitely feel its presence and be able to track Yoongi wherever he is. Running would be useless since the sorcerer would be able to find him anywhere in this world.”
“Okay,” Jimin says, trying to wrap his head around what exactly Taehyung is saying.
He tries to recap, watching closely for every bob of Taehyung’s head, “So Yoongi is somehow still connected to someone in the real world.” A head nod. “And that person will be able to find Yoongi once he’s out in this world?” Another nod. “And that person wants to hurt him?”
Taehyung shrugs, “Assuming everything that Yoongi told me, I have reason to believe it’s likely Minister Lee who’s still around. He sounded pretty nasty to me.”
“And how would Minister Lee still be alive!?” Jimin asks, “He’d be well over five hundred years old!”
Taehyung sighs heavily, “It’s kind of complicated but essentially, dark magic can tie one’s lifespan to certain time objects. I’ve heard of some sorcerers tying it to slow moving clocks and just rewinding the hands every time it almost hits twelve.
The problem comes when they forget to reset it one day and suddenly they wither away into dust. I’ve also heard of 1 instance where a sorcerer tied it to a water clock which they then took to a waterfall so it’d have a constant supply of water, elongating their life for eternity.
But, if the object breaks or stops working, their lives end almost immediately.”
On the other side of the mirror, Yoongi lets out an audible gasp, immediately calling both Jimin and Taehyung to attention. He scurries off to some unseen part of his room
before returning with a small object in his hand, before holding it up for both of them to see. “The hourglass,” Yoongi shows a small hourglass that has sand in almost equal portions on both sides, but is completely standstill, “The sand only falls one grain a day.”
“I can almost guarantee that’s it,” Taehyung says, as Yoongi eyes the timer in his hand.
“So why not break it?” Jimin asks, looking up from his computer where he’s been writing out all of the instructions. Yoongi slowly turns the hourglass in his hand.
“I’ve tried,” Yoongi admits, “but even smashing it against the ground with all of my might doesn’t do anything to it. Even when I place the hourglass upside down, the sand always falls from this side to the other, even if that means it falls up.”
“That sounds strange, but I can’t investigate what type of magic the hourglass holds from out here,” Taehyung admits, everyone sighing at the information, “so I won’t be able to figure it out until we get him, and the hourglass, out of the mirror.”
“Do you guys think you can figure out how to free him?” Jimin asks Namjoon and Hoseok.
“We can certainly try,” Namjoon resolves.
“Come on,” Hoseok prods with a bright smile, “The Namjoon I know can solve any puzzle. Together, I know we’ll figure it out.
Plus, I want to ask the prince so many things.”
“There’s nothing stopping you now,” Yoongi says with Jimin quickly relaying the message to Hoseok.
“Hey, do you want out of the mirror or not?” Hoseok asks as the two researchers compile all of their testing materials together,
“Namjoon and I have work to do at the lab!”
“And I’ve got a client at three,” Taehyung informs as he gathers up his own things, “Let me know what you guys figure out, okay?” Jimin nods as the group slowly begins to get ready to leave,
but Jimin wants to talk with Yoongi a bit more. “Jimin-ah,” Taehyung says on his way out of the door, “Try not to fall in love with Yoongi too much, okay?” Jimin bites down on his bottom lip at the amused look from Yoongi.
For over a week, Jimin simply spends his days talking to Yoongi about almost everything under the sun. He shows Yoongi what a cell phone is, explains what exactly he can do with his laptop,
and even tell him about all the interesting bits of history after his imprisonment that fascinate the young prince. There’s only so much that Jimin can do with a large pane of glass separating them though, wanting so badly to give Yoongi the pieces of technology himself to
toy around with himself. Quickly, the prospect of Jimin’s actual thesis falls to the wayside, not caring much about what exactly he’s supposed to be researching. Now that he knows he can talk with the man inside of the mirror, he’s learning things that he never dreamed about.
He gets a text from Hoseok on an early Wednesday morning that Jimin needs to head to the magical research lab as soon as he’s able. Jimin barely even throws decent clothes on before he’s heading out the door, a spring in his step as he bounds down the stairs towards the bus stop.
Approximately forty-five minutes later and he’s plopping his bag down onto the little sofa in Hoseok and Namjoon’s research cubicle. “So, lay it on me.”
Hoseok pulls up a file named ‘Project Min’ and opens up a huge spreadsheet full of information that swims before Jimin’s eyes.
“We’ve determined that there is about 0.52% of light magic, 0.36% dark magic, which leaves 99.12% of unidentified magic. The burst of magic was very strong, 982 Merlin units worth, which for reference, a typical potion spell takes 10 Merlin units.”
Jimin slowly begins to feel his head fill with numbers, percentages, and figures that he hasn’t even heard about as Hoseok explains. “As Taehyung mentioned too, there is another magical signature, but it was so weak that we could only get a very faint reading on it.
Somehow, based on what you and Taehyung spoke to Yoongi about though, I think it’s accurate because it reads as 100% dark magic. I think it’s gotta be the hourglass Yoongi mentioned.”
“Okay,” Jimin says after Hoseok finishes explaining all of the scientific findings, “But did you guys figure out how to undo the spell?”
Namjoon purses his lips together in disappointment at the question, a look that Jimin doesn’t particularly like seeing.
“Yes, but it’s difficult because it will take a significant amount of magic to break the spell,” Namjoon says, “at least 1000 Merlin units, if not more. It’ll take more than one sorcerer to break the spell.
Even Taehyung’s magic tops out at about 600 Merlins, which means that the original sorcerer, uh, your old self?, must have been extremely powerful.”
“Well,” Jimin bites down on his bottom lip as he tries to think, “Maybe Taehyung knows someone?” That afternoon, Jimin calls Taehyung once his friend is finished with his morning clients. It seems to be fate clicking into place because Taehyung quickly relays that he has heard
about a new sorcerer on the scene trying to make a name for himself.
Jimin meets Jungkook in a small coffee shop just outside of the Archives on an otherwise boring Monday afternoon. “I’m so grateful you’re willing to take a chance on me,”
Jungkook greets as he shakes Jimin’s hand with a bit too much energy, “I know that I have literally no references in Seoul, but I just moved here from Busan and I haven’t-”
Jimin cuts Jungkook off before the poor boy drains himself of all breath before even sitting down.
“I’m glad to meet you too, Jungkook-ssi,” Jimin says resolutely as he motions to the chair, “What kind of magic do you specialize in?”
“Um, I just kind of dabble,” Jungkook admits
as he sets the little table tent down for the worker to bring his drink in a few moments. “I can do potions, spiritual stuff, fun card tricks, etc.”
“Have you ever been had your magic output measured?” Jimin probes immediately as he swirls his iced americano with his straw, “And have you ever tried doing any sort of reverse spell work before?”
Jungkook’s big eyes go even wider at Jimin’s question,
“Um, so I did get tested like a year ago, but I’ve been practicing a lot, so I bet it’s even higher than it was back then.” Jimin arches an eyebrow at the answer, taking a sip of his bitter drink while the worker brings Jungkook a tall, bubbling lemonade
with a sprig of mint perched on top. “I measured at about 400 Merlin units.”
“Perfect!” Jimin exclaims, “And you said you’ve been practicing? So maybe you could even stretch to 500 Merlins?”
Jungkook blinks at the question, almost surprised that Jimin is actually somewhat knowledgeable about the subject of magic. “I guess?” Jungkook shrugs his shoulders and unwraps the straw before
plunging it in and swirling the lemon curd together with the cider, “but I’ve never tried doing reverse spell work before. I didn’t even know that was a magic field specialty, honestly.”
“But you’re willing to try as long as you have a mentor, right?” Jimin prods.
Jungkook looks almost cornered as he nods, “I guess it would be something nice to put on my resume.”
“Wonderful!” Jimin beams with a bright smile as he begins explaining the task at hand.
With each passing sentence, it seems that Jungkook is growing more and more nervous at the proposition. “And of course, in exchange for even attempting to reverse the spell, I’d be willing to pay you well over triple your asking rate.
Even if the spell reversal fails, I’ll still pay you what you’re owed for your expertise.”
Immediately, Jungkook’s entire demeanor changes, “You have yourself a deal! When do you want to start working together?”
Jimin calls everyone together that Thursday in the Archives to try and figure out logistics before attempting to carry out the spell reversal on Friday. “We have to address the potential side effects that could happen during the spell reversal,” Taehyung announces as the group,
including Yoongi, “While it’s probably unlikely, there is the potential for temporary loss of vision, inability to breath, feeling particularly winded, dismemberment, death-“
“Yes yes, it’s very dangerous,” Jimin hurries along,
rolling his eyes a bit at the dramatic nature of his best friend, “But you’re both very powerful and you definitely have enough magical power together to go through with the spell reversal?”
Namjoon gives a small nod as he looks down at his paper where he’s scribbled
a bit of notes after a few miniature tests. “I can confirm after today’s experiments that Taehyung can reach a maximum Merlin unit of 616 and Jungkook can reach 484 Merlin units, so we should be in the clear for the power levels.”
“And I already told them exactly what to do, based on the information I found in the past research papers,” Hoseok informs with a bright smile, “I think all that we have left to do is actually go through with the whole thing.”
“And I’m about to be rich enough to afford a new game!” Jungkook beams happily with a bright smile plastered over his face, “All courtesy of Jimin-hyung!”
“Remember who put you two in contact,” Taehyung reminds, “If there are no more objections,
then I say let’s meet here tomorrow to conduct the reversal at 10am.”
“Wait!” A low voice calls as Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook turn to face the mirror, “If I’m freed from the mirror, won’t that cause problems for Jimin?”
“Aren’t you researching my mirror for your schooling?” Yoongi reminds, “If you free me from the mirror, you won’t be able to finish your assignment.” Both sorcerers turn their eyes to Jimin who blinks helplessly at the information.
He hadn’t really thought much about the consequences to his own life if he went through with such a feat; he’d been solely concerned about Yoongi’s wellbeing. “I don’t mind waiting around for a bit more until you finish. What is another few months or a year to me?”
Jimin takes a sharp breath in through his nose as Jungkook quickly relays the question raised by Yoongi to both Hoseok and Namjoon. “Hyung,” he says, stepping up to the mirror, raising a hand up to gently press against the cold glass,
“I don’t care about my thesis anymore. I want to be with you instead.”
“You’ve worked hard for this, Jimin-ah,” Yoongi says, raising a hand up to match Jimin’s, “You deserve to be awarded properly.”
Behind Jimin, there’s the sound of someone gagging before Taehyung calls out, “Can you two be gross when we’re not here?” Jimin whips around with his tongue stuck out at his best friend who groans in return. “Can you just decide if we need to show up tomorrow or not?”
“Yes,” Jimin says resolutely, “Be here tomorrow at 10am. We’ll free Yoongi-hyung from the mirror and figure out what to do about the rest of it later.” He turns back away from the mirror, taking a few steps to gently rest his hands on Taehyung and Jungkook’s shoulders,
“Make sure that you guys rest really well tonight and eat a good breakfast tomorrow.” He turns to face Namjoon and Hoseok, giving a serious nod, “You as well. I need everyone here in prime condition if we’re going to free Yoongi from the mirror.”
A round of understanding nods goes around before a snicker rises from next to Jimin. Half a moment passes before Hoseok is laughing softly to himself, “You make it sound like we’re going to battle or something.”
“Well, based on Taehyung’s assessment, it's only
a matter of time before Minister Lee can sense the magic from his hourglass,” Jimin sighs, “We don’t know how strong his dark magic is after all this time, we can just hope is that our light magic is enough to beat him. We’ll have to be ready for anything he throws at us.”
Jimin’s shoes click on the concrete floors of the Archives as he lets himself in on Friday morning, followed by Namjoon, Hoseok, Taehyung and Jungkook. “So everyone knows what they’re doing?” Jimin checks while Hoseok and Namjoon pull up the necessary notes
to help guide Taehyung and Jungkook through the spell reversal.
“Yes, mister Park-manager sir,” Taehyung says as he rolls his eyes and pulls his jacket off and sets his bag down on the floor.
“I just want to be sure,” Jimin shoots back as the rest of the group gets prepared.
Jimin has heard a hundred times what each person will be doing during the different parts of the spell reversal, but since he doesn’t actually have much input in it, it still seems like a foreign language to him. Hoseok and Namjoon give him each a thumbs up. “Yoongi-hyung,”
Jimin says as he walks up to the mirror, “Are you ready to be out of the mirror?”
“I’ve been ready for almost five hundred years,” Yoongi quips as he takes a seat on his throne in front of the mirror.
“You’ll have to sit perfectly still for Taehyung and Jungkook,”
Jimin reminds as Yoongi gives a firm nod in understanding. “I can’t wait to really meet you in person,” Jimin says softly.
“Alright you two lovebirds, I’ve got a client at noon,” Taehyung interjects, “So if you want this spell to be reversed, you’ll need to hurry it up a bit.”
Jimin steps away from the mirror. He watches from the side of the room, purposely trying to remain completely out of the way as much as possible. Being so helpless isn’t something that he enjoys, but watching as Taehyung and Jungkook both take a small potion
meant to reinvigorate ones’ mana, there’s nothing he can do.
“We’re ready whenever you two are,” Namjoon says as he slides a pair of light-protective glasses on. Hoseok and Jimin do the same. “You two need to charge your magic as much as you can and once we pass 1000 Merlins,
we’ll tell you to reverse the spell.”
Taehyung and Jungkook both give an understanding nod as they grip hands with one another, pulling on one another’s mana to strengthen their own. The magic in the room begins to grow with force as the two sorcerers draw upon
all of their reserves. Between their fingers grows a bright light as they begin to reach critical levels of magic, a gust of wind coming from almost nowhere that whips their hair around everyone’s faces.
Jimin watches with fascination as the light continues to grow,
turning so bright that Jimin averts his gaze even with the sunglasses on. After a few moments of shielding his eyes, he hears Namjoon shout, “Now!”
There’s a small boom that shakes everyone in the room, some of the other paintings in the Archives rattling around
as the magic comes to a peak. When Jimin finally looks up at his friends, he finds one more person now standing in the room with them. In all of his fineries, Yoongi stands in one piece, without even a single strand of hair out of place.
The dust and air settle in the Archives as elation floods throughout Jimin’s body. “You did it!!” Jimin shouts as he tosses the sunglasses off and runs full speed at Yoongi and Taehyung and Jungkook. “You really did it!”
“Do you feel fine, hyung?” Taehyung evaluates Yoongi,
checking him over for any sign of misaligned magic.
Yoongi shrugs his shoulders, “Can’t complain.”
“Well his humor hasn’t changed,” Taehyung notes as he moves to take a step back, immediately swaying and barely being caught by Jimin before toppling to the floor.
“Clearly you are not,” Yoongi comments as Jimin helps Taehyung to take a seat on the floor, Hoseok and Namjoon helping Jungkook to sit down as well, “You have exerted quite a lot of magic.”
“I brought you a sports drink for afterwards,” Jimin remembers as he fumbles for his bag,
grabbing two blue bottles and thrusting them into Taehyung and Jungkook’s hands, “I’m not sure if you feel the same kind of tired like after running a race, but you should drink it anyways.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung breathes out, winded from the physical exhaustion of exerting
almost all of his magic at once, “I didn’t realize how tired I’d be after either.”
“Just rest for a bit,” Jimin urges as Namjoon and Hoseok attend to Jungkook, “You guys are really amazing, getting Yoongi out safely like you did.” Taehyung nods, likely too tired to argue much.
For a few moments, everyone attends to the two sorcerers who eventually regain their stamina before slowly rising to their feet. “I owe you all my utmost gratitude,” Yoongi says as he gives a deep bow that means quite a lot coming from a grand prince,
“Without everyone here, I wouldn’t be able to stand and talk to you all.”
“Woah!” Hoseok exclaims, “I didn’t expect your voice to sound like that.” Yoongi lifts an eyebrow as Hoseok tries to quickly explain himself,
“Just, you always looked so pretty in the paint- mirror, but angry so I thought-”
“Hoseok-ah,” Namjoon says to stop Hoseok from rambling too much before continuing, “I’m glad that we could help. If you don’t mind, whenever you have time,
I’d like to ask you about what life was like in the Joseon dynasty.”
“You should at least offer to buy him a coffee if you’re going to be interviewing him,” Jimin comments to Yoongi raising an eyebrow in question.
“I forgot you don’t know what coffee is,” Jimin says,
“I’ll show you.” Taehyung pulls Jimin off to the side once Hoseok starts asking him every question under the sun, to which Yoongi happily responds like they’ve been old friends.
“Jimin-ah,” Taehyung says seriously, “I have to warn you that the hourglass Yoongi has
is emitting serious dark magic vibes.” Jimin’s gaze flashes to Yoongi, holding the hourglass that Jimin hadn’t even paid attention to in his fit of excitement. “It’s genuinely only a matter of time before the sorcerer finds the hourglass and inevitably, him.”
“So ditch it,”
Jimin counters, “What if we just left it somewhere and went far away?”
“I don’t think that’ll solve your problem,” Taehyung notes as they both look at the hourglass in Yoongi’s hand, sand flowing freely through the glass, quickly collecting on the bottom,
“Yoongi-hyung’s soul is bound to that hourglass. Your best option is to simply minimize the damage to the outside world at this point.”
Jimin flounders as he looks at the hourglass, at Yoongi, and then at Taehyung, “Well, you’ll stay and help, right?”
Jimin’s heart drops into his stomach as Taehyung sadly shakes his head, “I’m completely drained of magic, even if I stayed, I’d be nothing more than a liability. Same with Jungkook. I don’t think Hoseok or Namjoon would be any help either.
As it is, I’ll have to cancel my clients today.”
“But what will we do!?” Jimin exclaims, almost a bit too loud, fear settling into his body at the idea of some evil, grand sorcerer coming to find them, “We don’t know how to fight against an evil minister!”
“Trust in yourself,”
Taehyung implores, “I know that you studied Kendo and Taekwondo, maybe you could use those. Yoongi-hyung is skilled in swordsmanship too.”
Jimin’s chest hollows as he stares at his friends, realizing that despite his selfish desires to keep them around,
he also can’t bring himself to let them get in harm’s way. The idea of any of his friends being hurt after they’d all gone to such lengths to help Jimin free Yoongi from the mirror is too cruel for him to entertain. “Everyone!” He cries out loudly, “You all have to go.”
“What?” Hoseok whines, in the middle of asking Yoongi about what his favorite food was from the Joseon dynasty, “I was just getting friendly with hyung here.”
“It’s not safe,” Jimin explains, pointing at Yoongi, “Minister Lee’s magic is leaking out of the hourglass;
it’s only a matter of time before he finds us.”
“Well we’ll stay too,” Hoseok immediately says, Jimin’s heart clenching tight in his chest at the idea of his friend so willing to put his life on the line for Jimin.
But Jimin can’t bring himself to allow it. “I won’t let you,”
Jimin resolves, “Even if you stay, how would you help?” Hoseok’s lack of answer is all that Jimin needs to prove his point. “Please, go and I’ll find you once we’ve taken care of the Minister.”
Slowly, everyone else filters out, leaving only Jimin and Yoongi in the Archives.
Though the parting is particularly tough, Jimin remains strong as he bids his friends goodbye, promising that he and Yoongi will make it out safely. “Why don’t you tell me more about this Minister Lee?” Jimin asks to kill time.
True to Taehyung’s prediction,
barely two hours pass before there’s a small jolting to the building, causing all of the paintings on the walls to rattle loudly. “He’s here,” Yoongi says as the frames shake on the walls once again. Jimin forces himself to be brave, refusing to cower or hide.
He takes Yoongi’s hand into his own, using the prince’s strong grip as reinforcement.
“Min Yoongi!!” a thin, scrawny voice screams as a burst shakes the room violently, the previously-locked metal door flinging open as if it were made of plastic.
The blood freezes in Jimin’s veins as the two turn to face the door where the old Minister Lee stands, chest heaving. Behind him, tendrils of dark magic twirl behind him in fury, so dark they’re almost black. The scene reminds Jimin of a movie that he’s seen a million times,
but the sight before him still has fear trembling throughout his body. Without any thought, Jimin hurries to stand in front of Yoongi, protecting him with his body. “What do you want!?”
Minister Lee walks into the Archives, as though fire is burning in his eyes.
“I will finally fix history,” he promises, “I will kill Min Yoongi, like I should have five hundred years ago!”
“How have you even been alive for so long?” Jimin probes as Yoongi steps out proudly from behind Jimin, as though presenting himself to the minister,
“Aren’t you over five hundred years old!?”
Minister Lee steps into the light of the Archives finally. The image that Jimin had crafted of him in his head both matches and is different. He is not a particularly tall man, nor large. He looks to be perhaps forty or fifty years old,
similar to Jimin’s father or uncles. His clothing is more akin to other middle-aged men in this day and age, rather than wearing the traditional clothing Jimin had always pictured in his head. Though the thin, wiry mustache that Yoongi had described is still there.
“I should ask him the same thing!” Minister Lee yells as he points at Yoongi, “How did you escape my grasp?”
“My mirror was taken after the people threw you out of the government,” Yoongi explains, almost goading in his tone at Minister Lee’s loss,
“Before being transported to a safe house in Seoul.”
Minister Lee breathes out harshly, almost as if smoke escapes his lips, “I will fix my mistake now!” He procures a dagger out of his pocket, immediately dashing towards Yoongi and lifting it high above his head.
Jimin is shoved out of the way, crashing to the floor harshly, his shoulder taking the brunt of his fall. Yoongi fights against the Minister’s grasp, hand wrapped tight around Minister Lee’s wrist as he fights against the Minister’s strength.
The two slowly back up until Yoongi’s back is pressed up against the mirror, with Minister Lee crowding up against him. Jimin looks up, watching as the dagger slowly inches closer to Yoongi’s face.
“Yoongi-hyung!!!” Jimin yells as he reaches forward as though to grasp,
hand turning almost searing hot as he watches the tip of the dagger closes in on its target. A bright light bursts out of Jimin’s hand, immediately squeezing his eyes shut out of instinct when a great power escapes from his palm.
The sound of a piece of metal clattering to the floor makes Jimin blink as he opens his eyes, looking at Yoongi with his back pressed up against the mirror. Minister Lee is suddenly gone, his dagger laying on the floor at Yoongi’s feet.
“H-Hyung?” Jimin asks as the two evaluate what’s left in the Archives.
A loud shout from behind Yoongi draws both of their glances to the mirror, where Minister Lee now stands behind the glass, almost in the same exact position that Yoongi had been earlier this morning.
“Jimin-ah,” Yoongi breathes out, relieved, as the two stare at Minister Lee fuming on the other side of the mirror, “You trapped /him/ in the mirror this time...”
Jimin stares at the mirror, unbelieving that he’s actually managed to trap Minister Lee on the other side. “I knew your face was too familiar!” Minister Lee screams as he pounds fruitlessly against the mirror,
“I should have killed you when I could have all those years ago!”
Despite the pane of glass between them, fear slowly creeps into Jimin’s mind at the hostility of the threat. Yet, Yoongi doesn’t seem to miss the minister’s words. “You didn’t kill Jimin before?”
“That little, sniveling snake managed to escape my grasp,” Minister Lee informs harshly, his disappointment evident in his explanation, “Ran right out of the palace like a coward. Now I see you’ve been hiding in wait for my return, just as I have been waiting for you both.
You were such a lousy assistant!” Minister Lee begins berating Jimin for his lack of attention to detail as an assistant minister among other complaints that may not be true.
“I don’t think he knows that was my ancestor,” Jimin whispers to Yoongi. Yoongi nods in agreement.
“What will you do now?” Jimin asks as Minister Lee finishes his tirade, “Your magic isn’t strong enough to break out of the mirror, even if you try.” While Jimin doesn’t quite know how strong Minister Lee’s magic is, if Taehyung and Jungkook had to work together to free Yoongi,
the likeliness of him being that powerful was low.
“I’ll exact my revenge on you, Park Jimin,” Minister Lee sneers, before turning to Yoongi, “And I’ll make you watch as I take his life with my blade.”
Jimin rolls his eyes as he turns on his heel,
surveying the damage before him from Minister Lee’s magic. Just as Jimin goes to pack up his bag for the day, a body suddenly appears in the doorway.
“Ya!” Seokjin yells as he walks into the Archives, “What happened here!?”
The color drains from Jimin’s face as he realizes he has no excuse for why the door to the Archives is blown straight off of its hinges. “Um,” Jimin stutters as Seokjin walks further into the Archives, close enough that he’ll be able to see what’s happened, “I can explain...”
“Park Jimin!” Seokjin yells as he catches sight of Yoongi standing in the room, adorned in all of his royal fineries, “And you! You had better be able to talk quickly!”
It takes over an hour for Jimin to explain everything to Seokjin once they get back to his office.
At first, it starts out relatively simple with Jimin telling him about how he’d come to the Archives daily to work on his studies. Then, once he mentions being able to talk to Yoongi, the reveal that the painting had actually been a mirror, and the addition of an evil sorcerer,
Seokjin quickly starts to lose his composure. He rubs his fingers over his eyes exhaustedly every ten minutes or so, barely asking questions as Jimin tries to tell him everything without leaving out key details.
When Jimin is finally done talking,
Seokjin looks like he’s the one who’d drained himself of all stamina this morning. “I’ve seen your face enough times to recognize it,” Seokjin says as he points at Yoongi, “You confirm everything he said?”
“He’s telling the truth,” Yoongi informs simply.
Seokjin looks between the two men sitting in his office for a long minute, simply evaluating. “I don’t get paid enough for this,” he mutters beneath his breath, before he slowly turns to his computer, “So the important parts that we’ll need to relay to the higher ups are
why the door is blown off and why the painting has changed.”
“It’s a mirror,” Yoongi corrects. Seokjin simply glares at him hard enough that even the crown prince doesn’t dare say another word.
“Maybe if I can just...” Seokjin trails off as he speaks to himself,
typing rapidly on his computer without any semblance of what he’s doing. “Ha! I got in. Should have guessed they wouldn’t have changed the password...”
“Got into what?” Jimin asks, unable to stand the silence of wondering what exactly will happen to them,
“I just really need to know if I should think about moving to a remote jungle or something.”
A few clicks of a button and Seokjin turns back to Jimin, “Well the cameras in the entire building seem to have suddenly, magically suffered from some crazy glitch
that erased all footage from the past eighteen hours and twenty-six minutes.”
“Twenty-six minutes?” Yoongi asks.
“Has to be believable,” Seokjin explains, “So as far as you know, you left the Archives yesterday at 6:12pm last night and it was like this when you got here.”
Jimin immediately nods, turning to Yoongi to ensure that he understands the situation. “As for the painting changing, well, you just had a wish granted which was your imaginary boyfriend becoming real.” Seokjin points at Yoongi. “You’re the proof.”
“Understood!” Jimin says.
“Now,” Seokjin says, both relieved and exhausted, “I’ll submit the work order for a new door to upper management, but if I have to do anymore paperwork on your behalf, I’m making you two fill it out in triplicate. Now get out of here and if you get into any more trouble,
I will have both of your skins. That is not an exaggeration.”
Jimin immediately drags Yoongi outside, watching as Yoongi takes in everything about his freedom. He drops down to the grass, digging his fingers between the blades, dirt collecting in his fingernails.
“Hyung,” Jimin urges, “I know you’re really happy, but people are looking and Seokjin said not to get into any more trouble.”
“The smell,” Yoongi says, “I can’t believe I’m finally free. I forgot what the world sounded like. What it felt like to have the sun shine on my face.
To actually breathe properly.”
“What if I showed you what samgyeopsal is?” Jimin offers as Yoongi slowly rises from the grass that explicitly says not to touch. “And maybe we can buy you some new clothes so you don’t have to walk around in hanbok anymore.”
Meeting with the gang that evening brings on a whole new set of questions. Everyone inundates the two with questions about how Yoongi was adjusting to all of the new things in modern life, how Jimin had managed to conjure up his magic,
what Jimin was going to do about his thesis now. Of course, as the expert on all things magic, Taehyung is the one who proposes the idea that “Perhaps your magic was locked in the mirror with Yoongi? Because this morning, I didn’t get any magic signature from you,
but now there’s a really strong presence.” Hoseok and Jungkook are busy asking Yoongi about his opinion on every bottle of soju they’ve bought. “Luckily, Yoongi’s hourglass is completely devoid of dark magic so I think his soul is free from Minister Lee finally.”
“Untapped magic being released isn’t unheard of,” Namjoon agrees, “especially if that burst of magic from past-Jimin was his first as well. But it could have been the exposure to magic during your spell reversal too.”
Jimin shrugs his shoulders slightly,
“I mean, I don’t think we’ll ever fully know, right?” Both Taehyung and Namjoon seem to agree with the assessment. “I haven’t really thought about what I’d do if I was a sorcerer,” Jimin admits, “I never thought it’d be something I’d have happen to me.”
“Well,” Taehyung says, “The field of magical potions is always booming.”
“Maybe after I finish school.”
Finishing Jimin’s master’s thesis is considerably harder when Minister Lee is constantly complaining at him the entire time that he’s gathering research on the mirror.
However, the “change” in the painting ends up being a blessing in disguise as the media outlets are quick to jump on this being the potential original portrait of the painting. Jimin only extrapolates a little bit using a mixture of the new research being done on the painting
and the magical readings he takes for scientific evidence.
“I should feel offended that people are mistaking that evil sorcerer for myself,” Yoongi says as he takes a piece of garlic fried chicken and dips it into spicy sauce.
Fried chicken, of all dishes, had been Yoongi’s favorite food upon release from the mirror. “But I’m more proud of you for finishing your degree.”
Jimin takes a piece of chicken from Yoongi’s plate on his way to grab them two cans of cold beer,
listening to the way that Yoongi huffs at his “lavish feast” being stolen from him. When Jimin sits back down at the table with his own plate of yangnyeom chicken, Yoongi doesn’t waste a moment before he leans over to kiss gently at Jimin’s cheek.
“I’m proud of you too,” Jimin beams as he accepts a kiss full of spicy sauce, laughing softly at the way that Yoongi looks absolutely nothing like the pinnacle of Joseon royalty right now, “Starting your school isn’t easy either.”
“Pupils will learn the art of swordsmanship as it ought to be,” Yoongi explains diligently, like he does every single time Jimin brings the topic up. Jimin turns on the drama on the tv to low as they dig into their dinner. “I will not be an easy teacher for them,
but discipline is a significant part of being talented at wielding the blade.”
“Nobody knows about discipline better than you,” Jimin says, “They are lucky to learn from such a master. Waiting for five hundred years isn’t something that most people would be able to do.”
Yoongi nods solemnly, thinking back to the time he’d spent locked away. “Yes, but it was worth it for all of this.”
“Was it?” Jimin questions, hands covered in chicken sauce and a bit of beer foam still poised on his upper lip, “I didn’t think that fried chicken was that good.”
Yoongi smiles softly, shaking his head gently, “I meant being with you. I couldn’t have dreamed of such happiness in the Joseon era. To finally call you my husband is the greatest blessing that I could have ever asked for.
I’d suffer through another five hundred years if it meant I could love you once again.”
Jimin wipes his hands on his pants, smearing the back of his arm over his mouth before he dives in to pepper Yoongi with ample kisses.
“You’re so cheesy and romantic, you’re basically out of a k-drama!”
“According to the story that you told the public, I am, aren’t I?”
love hung on the wall master thread—
yoongi is trapped in a mirror by an evil sorcerer in the joseon era. for years, he lives isolated in his mirror. when modern day graduate student jimin chooses the mirror as his thesis, he doesn't expect to be able to talk to the man inside