King & Queen is a Kpop fan fiction drama that is released in an episodic format exclusively at Critical Kpop. Enjoy and keep tuning in for the continuing story! Catch up on previous episodes here!
Rap Monster presses his back against the wall. He holds his breath, willing his heartbeat to quiet. Ailee is frozen next to him, both of them listening to the soft sound of footsteps retreating around the corner.
Once the footsteps fade, Rap Monster relaxes. “What are we doing here,” he whispers to Ailee. He checks his phone. Still no service, but the clock works. 1:15 am. He’s too tired to try and make sense of everything that’s happened since the dance began. He’d like to find his bed and shut out the world for eleven hours, but they’re out past curfew, hiding from police officers and members of a secret Kpop High cult alike. When did life get so complicated?
Ailee shushes him, though he’s sure he didn’t say any of that aloud. And then he hears it too. Footsteps around the same corner, but this time growing louder. Ailee grasps his forearm, and the warmth of her hand momentarily distracts him from the danger. She peeks her head around the corner.
“It’s Zico,” she whispers, and Rap Monster can see the expression on her face turn from fear to anger.
“Should we run?” Rap Monster asks, uncertain. Zico was part of The Nameless, he knew. He even suspected Zico had a gun. But was he dangerous?
“No,” Ailee says. “We’re going to fix this.”
And as the footsteps get louder and louder, Rap Monster begins to wonder what is expected of him. Is he supposed to fight Zico? Of course he is. Isn’t he? What if he loses? What if Zico has a gun?
But there’s no time to answer these questions. Zico’s footsteps are almost upon them. Rap Monster balls his hands into fists and takes a deep breath. As soon as Zico’s face appears around the corner, he’s going to pummel him into the ground. He’s going to defend Ailee, and show her the man he is. He’s ready, when he hears Ailee scream as she attacks a terrified-looking Zico.
Ailee jumps him, and Zico stumbles, falls to the ground. Rap Monster watches, helpless, as Ailee claws and slaps at Zico’s head. “Stupid! Idiot!” she says. “How could you!” Zico lifts his hands to protect his face, but Ailee doesn’t let up. She straddles his chest, clobbering him without mercy.
“Ow!” Zico screams, and Rap Monster can’t help but feel pity for him. He gives Ailee another five seconds before he takes mercy and pulls her away. Ailee fights him, throwing elbows to try and get at Zico again.
“Calm down,” he says. “It’s okay, you got him.” Ailee doesn’t stop fighting until she’s out of breath.
“Stay down!” she yells at Zico, who makes no motion to rise.
“Okay,” he says, wiping the blood from his nose. “But I’m not the one you should hate.”
“Shut up!” Ailee yells, and Rap Monster holds her back from attacking again. “I know what you’ve done. You and your cult. You shot JYP, and now you want to kill IU too.”
Zico shakes his head.
“Don’t try and deny it!”
Rap Monster looks back and forth, from the fuming Ailee to the resigned Zico. Something feels off, he notices. Why wasn’t Zico denying any of it?
“I just want to know one thing,” Ailee says. “Why?”
Zico looks up then, at Ailee only, and Rap Monster feels again like he is caught in the middle of something. “Why’d you do it?” he says, if only to remind them of his presence.
“I didn’t do anything.” Zico sits up, leans his elbows onto his knees. “I know you don’t believe me. But I had no idea they were going to shoot JYP. It was supposed to be a simple switch. Steal the envelope, write our own winners, change history. I never wanted anyone to be hurt.”
“You think I’m going to believe you?”
Zico shakes his head. “No. But I want to fix this.”
“Fix what?” Rap Monster says. “Are you going to un-shoot JYP?”
But there’s something about his words that echoes in Rap Monster’s head. The same phrase Ailee had used. Both of them trying to fix something beyond repair.
“Help me find Jonghyun,” Zico says, looking up at both of them, begging for their support. “He’s the leader of The Nameless. Help me find him and turn him in.”
Rap Monster wants to believe him. Even though Zico has been standing in his way at every turn, even though he bristles as the very thought of teaming up with him, Rap Monster believes he is innocent. But he’s not so sure what Ailee is feeling. There’s a long silence while they await her judgment.
“No,” she says. “No. I don’t ever want to see your face again. You stay down until we’re gone.”
And Rap Monster can’t help but feel bad for him.
HyunA snorts. “IU? Shoot JYP? You can’t be serious.” She’s never liked Krystal. She always found her to be a snob. Worse, an insecure snob. But until now she hasn’t realized that this girl was also completely out of her mind. HyunA can’t judge her too harshly on this, as she herself has her own eccentricities. But accusing someone of attempted murder? That’s low.
Krystal ignores her again. She hates that about her too. Krystal motions with her flashlight for Amber to follow her down the hallway, where she came. “We can’t go out this way. Since you guys brought the police,” Krystal says, shaking her head. She walks down the lime green hall without looking back.
Amber gives an apologetic shrug, but then follows her. And why wouldn’t she? Wasn’t finding Krystal the whole reason Amber snuck out with her to begin with? And why did HyunA sneak out? Yes, the rest of 4Minute had abandoned her. But what was she going to do if she actually found them? She imagines telling them, “You hurt my feelings.” Boo hoo. Get over it already.
For the first time in maybe all of her life, HyunA doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t trust Krystal. She could easily call it a night, even go back to that police officer, who may just be discovering now that they’ve snuck away. But Amber. Could she really leave her alone with Krystal now? HyunA screams down the hall, “Wait up!” She scurries close behind, hearing bits of Krystal’s ramblings.
“We have to find her before she tries to kill anyone else.”
“I don’t understand,” Amber tells her. “Slow down.”
“No time,” Krystal says.
“How did you get involved with all of this anyway?” Amber asks. Smart. HyunA thought Amber would just gobble up anything that Krystal fed her. She’s underestimated her again. She won’t admit it to her though.
This must have surprised Krystal too because she stops, Amber almost bumping right into her. “You don’t trust me?” Krystal asks her.
Amber looks back at HyunA. HyunA shakes her head. Don’t fall for this, she wants to tell her.
“Of course I do,” Amber tells her.
“Just trust me on this,” Krystal tells her. “You trusted her, didn’t you?” She shines the flashlight at HyunA’s face. HyunA could slug her. “What game are you playing here?” Krystal asks her.
“I don’t have to answer to you.”
Krystal laughs. “You think it’s funny to manipulate people, don’t you? You think we’re all a bunch of idiots and liars. You might even be getting a kick out of getting Amber to follow you around tonight. But this is life and death we’re talking about here, HyunA. It’s not funny anymore.”
“Tell me how you really feel,” HyunA responds, mostly because she doesn’t know how else to. She not letting Krystal get to her, is she?
“Okay,” Krystal answers. “You hate everyone and everyone hates you. I think you’re a parasite. And I think you should stay away from my friend.”
HyunA takes a swing at Krystal but Krystal ducks, and HyunA’s right hand hits against the wall. It’s like punching concrete. Is her hand broken? She collapses to the ground, clutching her right hand.
“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” Krystal walks away from her, keeps going down the hallway. Amber doesn’t move.
“What are you waiting for?” HyunA says, her right hand feeling as if it were set on fire. “Why don’t you follow your best friend? Save the school?”
Amber grabs HyunA by her left arm and sets her up. “Was she right?”
“Do you think this is funny? Was this all a joke for you?”
HyunA can’t believe it. Amber’s taking her side? “Leave me alone,” HyunA says, and she leaves Amber, not meaning to be as mean as she sounds, following Krystal as she reaches a doorway at the end of the hall, Amber’s footsteps tapping softly behind.
Krystal looks back at HyunA. “Control yourself,” she says, as if she’s fearing retaliation.
“Just open the door,” HyunA tells her. She just wants to be away. From all of this. Goodnight. She’s done.
Krystal opens the door. They are greeted to the girl’s bathroom on the other side with a shriek. Gayoon is holding her face, Sohyun patting her on the back, saying, “You’ll be okay.” Jiyoon and Jihyun have IU by the arms, and IU is wailing, kicking in the air, like some wild animal. “Don’t just stand there!” Krystal screams at HyunA. “We have to help them!”
4Minute. Right here. Her supposed friends. With the suspected shooter.
Now what? What exactly is she supposed to do now?
Where nobody sees you.
The auditorium is completely dark. The only light comes from the door that Gary walks through. He pauses, there in the light, listening for the sound of another’s presence, but hears nothing. Is he too late? Too early? In the wrong place entirely?
Gary lets the door close behind him, sending the whole place into pitch black. He switches on his flashlight and walks up the long center aisle. He swings the light from side to side, but sees nothing except for empty seats. No one watching.
When he reaches the orchestra pit, Gary turns and walks to his right until he finds stairs that lead to the stage. Someone was here.
In the small circle of light, Gary sees several sets of black robes on the floor of the stage. Candles. What was this? A ritual ceremony?
Gary kneels down to feel the warmth of a recently extinguished candle. He hadn’t missed them by much. He inspects one set of robes, holding it up to judge its size. Short and slim. Probably belonging to a girl.
There’s an uncanny feeling of being watched, and the hairs rise on the back of his neck. And like a scene in a movie, Gary hears a thud and hits the ground. He watches his flashlight roll away. And then there’s black. And then nothing.
To Be Continued...