Jiu's Bizarre Adventure: Chasing the Sapphire Dragon

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ec.li.ps.e.138

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DRAGON AU - NOT WHAT YOU THOUGHT HAHA

Summary:
An act of desperation drives Siyeon to the headquarters of Happy Face Private Investigators and under the employment of the sweet yet strange Jiu. It's a bad idea that drops her in the parking lot of a jewelry store headed by one of the more dangerous gangs of Seoul, but just when she thinks it can't get any worse, she watches her new boss disappear into thin air, a hole open cleanly into a wall, and a windshield spontaneously shatter. Jiu promises an explanation, but what could possibly explain that?

Meanwhile, Sua has a plan - rob SM Jewelry and use the funds to never have to steal again. She's sick of the life of crime she and her closest friends, Dami and Gahyeon, have had to deal with since the fire ten years ago, and is determined to find a way out, no matter what the cost is. What she doesn't count on is them being watched, but who? And why?

Then, Jiu's roommate, Yoohyeon, uncovers hidden among her paperwork the location of the fabled Sapphire Dragon, and everything changes. The dragon is the stuff of legend, and more than just them have their eyes on it. They'll have to face off against rival gangs, robots, and each other in order to survive.

Who will find the dragon? And who will die horribly?
Click here to read on Archive of Our Own.

Posting begins next post!
Note: I've been working on this story for a year or more I've lost track oh help me god i cantt stop now
 

ec.li.ps.e.138

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chpt 1 - polaris
The mailbox reads Happy Face Private Investigators . The address number matches the one on her phone. And Siyeon is facing a small house.

She looks down at her screen again, then up at the mailbox, then back down. This isn’t what she expects a detective agency to look like. In fact, it reminds her of the house she walked here from, where her sister is working away at her schoolwork, and her mother is taking a nap, and her dog is chasing butterflies in the garden. And yet Waze is telling her that this tiny house is the Happy Face Private Investigation Company, Trademarked. Or, at least, it’s one of them, but the only other thing that comes up when she looks up the name of the company is somewhere in Japan.

T his better not be a scam , she thinks, slipping her phone in the pocket of her black cargo pants. Mom’s counting on this .

She walks up the rocky steps towards the house and rings the doorbell, taking a deep breath to settle the worry in her stomach. At least, if this is an adventure in futility, it’s a nice day for it. The sun shines brilliantly over the city, there’s a gentle breeze, the air isn’t too humid or too dry. She got a nice walk out of this.

“Yoohyeon! Get the door!” someone calls from within the house, snapping Siyeon out of her reverie. She looks down at her turtleneck shirt and smooths it, just in case it’s not a scam.

“Coming, coming!” says a different voice - Yoohyeon, probably. The presumable owner of it tumbles towards the door. Siyeon half expects a toddler, or maybe a sentient dog or something, when the door opens and a young woman peeks her head from around it. “Hi,” she says. “Can I help you?” She’s wearing a pair of white sweatpants and a frog hoodie. She doesn’t look like a detective, either.

Siyeon blinks. “Hi,” she says, stuffing her hands in her pockets. “Lee Siyeon. Is this… Happy Face Private Investigators?” She pops up on her tiptoes to look over the taller woman’s shoulder and only sees an entry hallway and what might be a couch in the ugliest shade of lime green she’s ever seen.

The woman nods excitedly. “Oh, you’re the new employee! Jiu told me about you,” she chirps. She steps aside and beckons Siyeon in the house. “Here, come on in. You can keep your shoes on. Hungry? Thirsty? Vaguely uncomfortable?

Siyeon shakes her head. “Not- Not really, no,” she says, slipping past the door. “Sorry, who are you? Isn’t there an interview?”

The woman doesn’t appear to have heard her. “Oh, this is so exciting! Last time the guy didn’t even show up.” She grins and hurries back towards the hall. “Jojo! It’s the new girl!”

“Wait!” Siyeon says, scrambling to catch up. She hurries into the sitting area, where the woman’s set herself down on the floor in front of a low coffee table scattered with papers and soda cans. In front of her is a huge entertainment console, with books and DVD cases and a blank TV. “Wait, who-”

“I told you not to call me that!” says the very first person who spoke. She steps around a corner, wiping her hands on a plush green hand towel. “Not when we have guests, anyway.” She clears her throat. Despite the embarrassed tinge to her cheeks, Siyeon recognizes her right away as the woman on the Happy Face website. She also doesn’t look like a detective, with her black bomber jacket and skinny jeans and vibrant purple hair. “You’re Siyeon, right?”

Siyeon bows slightly. “Yes. You’re Minji?”

Minji cringes and tosses the hand towel back into the bathroom behind her. “Please just call me Jiu. Everyone does.” She walks around towards the back of the hideous green couch, leans over, smacks the other woman’s head gently. “Except for that one.”

“That one has a name,” the victim whines. “Kim Yoohyeon.” She grins and picks up a crinkly snack bag. “Want some?”

Siyeon holds her hand up in declination. “Yoohyeonie’s my roommate,” Minji - Jiu - says. “She’s not important.” She pushes off the couch.

“Hey!” Yoohyeon says. “Who cooks for you?” She tilts her head back and tracks Jiu’s movement with her eyes.

Roommates.

J iu waves her hand and laughs out loud.

Oh God, they’re roommates.

“Come here, so we can talk,” she says, motioning Siyeon towards her. She steps up into the dining room - though it’s barely even a room, it’s just a raised platform with a hightop table and some barstools. There’s a thin laptop on the table. She hops onto one of the stools and taps the seat across from her. “I’ll try not to be boring.”

Siyeon eases her way around the couch - she doubts she’ll ever get used to the color - and steps into the dining quadrant. Behind the seat she slips into is a countertop covered in small succulents and weird glass art pieces. Immediately to her left is a tiny kitchenette. “So this is a… detective agency?” she asks, folding her hands professionally in front of her.

Jiu opens her laptop and shrugs. “Yeah. It’s also technically illegal.” She taps a few buttons on her keyboard. “What? Don’t worry. As long as we don’t, like, step on anyone’s toes, we’re fine.” She pauses, leaning back. “Quick question before we go any further. Why were you looking for a job on CraigsList , of all places?”

Siyeon winces, dropping her gaze to her hands. “Desperation,” she says. “None of the other places were gonna hire a college dropout, after all.”

She holds her breath, waiting to see if Jiu prods any further. Thankfully, she doesn’t, and she just nods sympathetically. “Me too, dude,” she says with a smile. “That’s why I’m here. Gotta get that coin.” She clicks something. “As long as you’re not like, a sex offender or something. Because that would be weird.”

“Oh, god, no!” Siyeon covers her mouth with her hand and laughs reflexively. “Why would a sex offender join a private investigator?”

“Man, I dunno.” Jiu shrugs. “My dad’s got a couple of stories.”

“Has he ever dealt with a weirdo like that ?” Yoohyeon chimes in. She’s half dangling off the top of the couch.

“Don’t you have work to be doing?”

“It’s just sorting paperwork. I can do that in my sleep .”

Jiu rolls her eyes to Siyeon. “Can you get me a soda, Yoohyeonie?” she asks.

“ Fine .” Yoohyeon sticks her tongue out, slips off the couch, and walks around behind Jiu towards the fridge.

“Does she work here?” Siyeon asks, her voice dropping so Yoohyeon can’t hear her.
 

ec.li.ps.e.138

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Jiu shakes her head. “She just lives here.” She reaches around to take the can from her roommate. “Thank you.” She pops the tab and takes a sip.

“I’m an assistant at the museum.” Yoohyeon loops her arm around Jiu’s shoulder. “And also her live-in maid, apparently.” She pokes her arm. “Pay me.”

“Get off .” Jiu wiggles until Yoohyeon steps away. Siyeon can’t help but laugh. She can feel herself loosening just a bit. “Sorry- Sorry about that,” Jiu says when Yoohyeon’s slunk back to the hideous couch.

Siyeon shakes her head. “It’s okay,” she says.

“Right.” Jiu returns her attention to her laptop. “Okay, so working for HFPI isn’t like, super hard, but you gotta be prepared for some weird hours.” She spins the laptop around so that Siyeon can see the screen. “Some cases take more time than others, some cases require like, staying up at night, sometimes there’s a week without anything.” There’s a Slides presentation, bright yellow background with black text. Happy Face Private Investigators! On the bottom of the slide is a picture collage - there’s Jiu with a man with a strange haircut, Jiu holding a black and white cat, Jiu shaking hands with a girl with blonde and blue hair.

“How are we getting paid?”

“We’ll get to that.” Jiu taps the spacebar and the next slide pops up. Hours: ??? “It’s gonna depend on the case. The last one we did, we were trying to find this lost cat- that’s a really common type of case, by the way - anyway, it took three days of running up and down Seoul and checking every single animal shelter and alleyway and then finally finding the thing, but I got paid three hundred thousand won, so that was a nice bonus.” She smiles tiredly. “Oh, yeah, fun fact, it’s just the two of us. Which is why I’m so glad that you wanna join me , oh my god.” She stretches out on the table - it’s the least professional thing she’s done so far - and reaches for one of Siyeon's hands. “Seriously, it’ll be so much easier as the two of us.”

Si yeon pulls away. “Is it really that busy?” she asks, curling her fingers into her palm.

Jiu sinks a little, and Siyeon wonders if she hurt her. “Only sometimes. It depends on the case. There was another one, which I think is next-” she taps the spacebar and the little blonde girl comes up again- “yeah, this one, where I got hired by this guy to figure out if his girlfriend was cheating on him. And she was, but she was also confused and gay and didn’t know how to tell him. And that time we got paid like, a ton of money by both parties.” She jerks her thumb towards the couch, where Yoohyeon’s popped her head up. “She helped with that one.”

“Is this about the gay bar?” Yoohyeon calls. Jiu flashes her a thumbs up. “That one was fun. I got a cool pin!” She crawls up onto the couch. “Wait, if you’re gonna stay, does this mean I can show you the pins?”

“Don’t scare her off!”

Siyeon rolls her eyes playfully. There’s a part of her that feels like she should find another job elsewhere, but there’s an even louder part that wants to stay and befriend these people.

Perhaps she can do both. She leans on her hand and listens as Jiu starts talking again.

“We tend to do some pretty petty - like, the legal term - stuff. Y’know, rescuing lost pets, tracking down boyfriends, that sort of thing. Nothing that gets the police on your toes. But!” She claps her hands and hits the button. “Because this is a limited, exclusive service, prices run kinda expensive, y’know?” She grins. “It’s per day of labor with some extra fees if I gotta do something like, sneak into someplace, or I have to pay for legal documents-”

“Or dress in drag-” Yoohyeon chirps.

Jiu’s smile shrinks and she once again turns pink. “Yoohyeonie, please ,” she stammers.

Siyeon cocks an eyebrow. “Drag?” she echoes.

“It’s a really long story and I’ll explain it later!” Jiu waves one of her hands as if swatting the subject away. “I’ve done some weird stuff, but it’s all okay, because look at that.” She taps the button and a whole lot of zeroes pop up on the screen.

Siyeon’s eyes widen. “Damn,” she says.

“That’s the average ,” Jiu says. “It’s already not cheap to hire me, but people like giving tips when you find their cats. Or their soulmates.” She grins again. “Course, you’ll be getting like, half that, but it’ll be even. We’re partners, not like, I’m your manager. Or, we would be partners.”

Siyeon barely understands the last thing Jiu says. She reads the number over and over and over again. The average payout is three hundred thousand won. Between this and her father’s job, they’ll be able to afford the treatment in no time. Just as long as no weird expenses occur.

But she brushes the last thought aside. The funds from this job are going directly into her mother’s account. There’s no room for weird expenses.

Jiu hits the spacebar again and more pictures pop on the screen, but Siyeon pays them no mind. She leans forward on the table, fixes her face into a professionally enthusiastic expression, and asks, “Where do I need to sign to get this job?”

Jiu leans back, a little startled but the sudden intensity. “Um, I haven’t even told you the benefits yet,” she says. She smiles, but she looks a little concerned. “You sure?”

“Absolutely,” Siyeon says. “That much money could literally save someone’s life.” She straightens up and looks around. There are no papers in sight. “So where do I sign?”

Jiu mouths, “Oh,” and then spins her laptop back to face her. “Okay. Gimme just a moment to print something out.” She giggles. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to get this far. The last guy didn’t even bother to show up, so.” She pushes her barstool away from her seat and slips off. There’s an attempt being made at professionalism. “One moment.” It doesn’t last long. She skips on her way out the other door to fetch the papers.

“Oo, you’re making a mistake,” Yoohyeon sings from the couch. She’s dangling off the back, with her frog hood flopping over her eyes and her chip bag barely held in her hands. “Jojo’s never gonna let you go now. State mandated friendship.” She grins. “It’s how she got me.”

“ Stop calling me that !” Jiu shouts. Yoohyeon rolls back onto the couch proper. The last thing Siyeon sees is a single chip flying in the air and then a muffled swear word. She rolls her eyes and turns back around to see Jiu walking back into the kitchen with two sheets of paper and a ballpoint pen with a bank logo on it. “Okay. This is the contract, you can just sign here and here. Everything I just said is just here, and also there’s a couple more details.” She slides the papers across the table. “Any questions?”

Siyeon picks up the paper and scans the text. There doesn’t appear to be a catch. It’s just a weird, slightly illegal job that pays a decent amount of money.

She clicks the pen and signs her name. “Done,” she says, pushing the page back.

Jiu finishes her soda and wipes her mouth. “Wow! That’s great!” she says. “Welcome to Happy Face Private Investigators, Siyeon!” She gathers the pages up, taps them on the desk to straighten them, then puts her hand out to shake.

“Thank you,” Siyeon says. Jiu’s hand is rough and freezing cold to the touch. “When do I start?”

The other woman laughs awkwardly. “Well. About that. Can you meet back here at like, nine PM?” She starts to collect her things, stacking the papers on top of the laptop.

Siyeon slips off her barstool. “Probably?” she says, raising an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Excellent. Bring your energy drink of choice and some warm clothing.” There’s a mischievous twinkle in Jiu’s eyes. “We have a stakeout to do.”
 

ec.li.ps.e.138

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"She seems nice," Yoohyeon says, after Siyeon's left. She balls her chip bag up and throws it at the trash can that's by the door. It misses and sails lazily to the floor in the middle of the walkway.

Jiu rolls her eyes and hops off the platform, just as her roommate rolls back onto the couch. She crosses over and picks the bag up. "Yeah, she does," she says, tossing the trash, successfully this time, into the receptacle. "I'm amazed she signed on that fast. I wonder what's up with her." Chase Me runs around her feet, a fluffy white blur against the floorboards.

Yoohyeon makes an I-don't-know noise. "You'll find out eventually. Want some theories?"

"I guess," Jiu says, turning around and heading back to the couch. "What do you think?" She drops on the cushion and grins. "Mafia boss?"

"Oo, that's a good one." Her roommate picks up a sheet of paper and scans it flippantly. "But she's too quiet. I'm thinking contract killer." She drops the paper on one of the many stacks on the table. "She's got too many pockets. Her cargo pants are full of secrets."

Jiu giggles. "Secrets? Like butterfly knives and shit?"

"That would be kinda cool," Yoohyeon says. She picks up another page. "Maybe she's a vampire."

"Vampires don't exist, dude," Jiu says, gently swatting her on the head.

Yoohyeon grins. "Who else wears a turtleneck in the middle of summer?" she chirps. "Maybe she's luring you in to bite you later. And you're gonna fucking die. Oh, god." She presses the page to her chest, leans back, and stares with mock sincerity in Jiu's eyes. "If you get turned into a vampire tonight, can you promise to come back and turn me too, so we can be vampire buddies?"

She lifts her hand in a pinky swear. Jiu laughs. "You- I mean, sure," she says, accepting the pinky swear. "This is gonna be an easy promise to keep. Because vampires don't exist ."

"Oh, I'm holding you to your word , Jojo," Yoohyeon says. She slips back off the couch to sit at eye level with her paperwork.

Jiu lifts the collar of her jacket to hide her face. " Stop ," she whines, sinking into the couch.

Yoohyeon appears to ignore her. "Speaking of tonight, what do you think's gonna happen?" she asks.

"To be honest, I don't really know." Jiu sighs and leans on her hand. "Everything the guy's told me, about like, the other incidents and what he's worried about suggests stand fuckery. And, I'm pretty sure Siyeon's not a stand user-" Chase Me runs around the couch and jumps onto her lap, pressing its little white head into her hand- "since she didn't comment once about Chase Me. No what a cute little dog or nothing." She sighs. "I dunno if that's gonna help or hurt, but if it is stand fuckery, then we might have a problem."

"I wish I had a stand," Yoohyeon mumbles. "I wanna see your cute little dog."

Jiu smiles. "You have your own cute little dog."

"Yeah, and the last time Dad texted me, said cute little dog was tearing the house up." Deep sigh. "At least I can bring her home today. Hopefully for good, unless you're gonna hire someone else anytime soon, right?"

"I think we'll be fine for now. Any bigger and we might start stepping on people's toes, and I really don't want to get arrested before existing for a year." Jiu scratches her stand behind the ears lazily. "Or, at all, actually."

Yoohyeon doesn't respond to that, no comment or nothing. She's staring at the paper in her hand with a strange intensity. "Oh, shit," she breathes, and Jiu's not sure what she's talking about. "Oh, shit !" She pushes herself to her feet, clutching the paper tight enough that it looks like it's gonna rip, and grins fanatically.

"What?" Jiu asks, blinking at her roommate. "What is it?" She leans around to try and read the page and only manages to make out the word dragon .

Yoohyeon shakes her head, holds one of her hands out to silence Jiu, and squeaks. "Shh!" she says. "I- I have to make a phone call. Now." She fishes her phone out of the pocket of her hoodie. "Oh, my God, oh my God, oh my God…"

She hurries back towards the staircase and practically sprints up the steps, leaving Jiu to sit and stare in her wake.

"...Okay, then?" she says. She looks down at her stand, as if seeking answers, but Chase Me's only staring at her with beady black eyes. "Yeah. Me too." She pets its head. "She'll tell me later. She always does. Let's go get some energy drinks, hm?" She nudges it off of her lap and stands up.
 

ec.li.ps.e.138

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The sun is setting, sending broad orange beams across the cityscape, when Gahyeon leaves the restaurant.

"Shit," she says, clutching a greasy paper bag to her chest.

That took longer than expected.

Granted, most things today have been running late; she only woke up a few hours ago, and then Dami had left to go fetch something of importance for tonight's plans, and Sua had sent Gahyeon off to get dinner, now, at seven PM, solely because they have to look normal , whatever the fuck that means.

She takes a hurried step onto the sidewalk, which is thankfully not very crowded. She'll be able to get the food home, they'll be able to eat, and everything will go according to plan, despite Sua's constant worrying that's starting to wear her down. There's a lot weighing on tonight. Their rent, their futures, hell, their entire lives are being kept in the safe of the SM Jewelry Shop. If they fuck up at any point , they're screwed.

Gahyeon can almost hear the clatter of a jail cell door swinging shut now. She forces herself to think of something else. The food in the bag is hot, and it burns against her skin. There. That's something to focus on.

Until it hurts, and then she squeaks and pulls the bag away from her.

"Christ," she mutters, shaking her head. She can't wait to eat this. Maybe that's gonna ground her. She sighs to herself and pauses at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn green.

It's almost funny that Sua was telling her earlier to stay calm and quiet, when it's Sua's nervous energy that's been getting to her. It's even started to infect Dami; before she left earlier, Gahyeon had caught a glimpse of the typically relaxed girl losing her cool in the bathroom. It's not clear how much sleep the eldest managed to get last night, but it was clearly not enough. Gahyeon's grateful that she was let out of the house, just to get away from her. She hopes that Sua'll calm down some after dinner. She can't be too sure.

The light turns green, and Gahyeon finds herself crossing the street in a mini crowd. Their apartment is only another five minutes away. The point of no return is five minutes away.

It feels like someone is staring at her. She turns around to try and catch them, but finds nothing but what might have been a flicker of white fabric, or just a figment of her imagination. She needs to get home before paranoia sets in or else she'll never make it. She takes a deep breath and continues forward, only to smack into someone coming the other direction. Her food drops from her hand. So does whatever the other person's holding.

"Hey!" Gahyeon says, as she stoops to pick up her dinner. She's beaten to it.

"Oh, no," the other person says. "I'm so sorry, here." They straighten up and hand the greasy brown paper bag to Gahyeon. "I must've just zoned out completely. Is everything alright?"

Gahyeon blinks at them, slowly taking the bag back. "Yeah, everything's fine." The most noticeable thing about them is that they're wearing a black turtleneck in the middle of summer. "Thanks. You're good, too, right?"

They nod. "Sorry about that. Um, have a nice day." They smile, awkwardly wave, and dip off back down the road, leaving Gahyeon clutching her food once again.

"You too?" she tries to say, but the other person makes no recognition of having heard her. No matter. She's got food to deliver and a heist to pull off. She picks up the pace as she continues towards the apartment.

The sun is starting to dip below the horizon when she hits the steps.

Two hours to go.
 
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