Pairing: ninja pairings (you might find KaiSoo and some more if you want to read it that way)
Word count: ~12000
Summary: Kyungsoo wants to become the best potter in the world. With the help of his best friends and some local deities he creates something truly unrivalled. But with great power also comes great responsibility. (Inspired by ancient Korean pottery as well as stories of golems)
A/N: I made some slight revisions but there are no major changes.
In a small village by the sea lived a boy named Do Kyungsoo. He came from a long line of talented potters and would one day inherit his father's pottery. His older brother had yielded the spot to him and had instead become a fisherman when it became clear that Kyungsoo had an extraordinary talent in pottery. Kyungsoo's days were spent in his father's workshop, learning the long process in which clay was turned to pottery.
Even at his young age of fifteen, the boy already knew how to prepare clay, shape it either by hand or on the potter's wheel. He could tell how long the plates, cups, pitchers, vases and figurines had to dry and how long they had to burn in the kiln behind the house. He could burnish and glaze, his crafty hands leaving beautiful decorations on the finished products. But his biggest talent was revealed one day when he accompanied his father on the two-day trip to the clay pit where father and son dug out new raw material from the earth and brought it home. Kyungsoo had a perfect intuitive sense for clay, impressing his father with finding the best suitable to pottery.
It was rumoured that in Kyungsoo's family the blood of an earth god ran. Many, many thousand years even before Kyungsoo's great-great-great-grandfather was born, Tosoo, as the earth god was called, settled down in this village by the sea and took up pottery. He fell in love with a local girl and they married and had many children. That is how the Do family started and the talent in pottery was handed down from one generation to the next. In young Kyungsoo, it is said, the power of the old earth god has reincarnated the strongest so far.
Kyungsoo feels like a very normal boy, spending his days between helping his father in his workshop, running errands for his mother, and taking his little dog Tonggu and his friends Jongdae and Baekhyun down to the beach to play in their spare time.
"Guess what happened to my father today!" Baekhyun beams at his friends before bending down and picking up a stick to throw for Tonggu who keeps capering around their legs, tongue lolling and little tail wagging excitedly. He sprints off the moment Baekhyun throws the stick. "They were thatching the roof of the new barn as the Jungs came by with a cart laden high with rice bags. They stopped for a chat and while they were talking, the horse took two steps to the house, clip clop – and ate a bundle of fresh straw right off the roof!" The boys burst out in laughter.
They spend the afternoon playing with Kyungsoo's dog and telling stories. "My father will travel to the capital soon. There's a competition at court looking for the best potter in the whole kingdom," Kyungsoo says.
"You should take part, too." Baekhyun nudges him but Kyungsoo shakes his head.
"I still have too much to learn. Besides, I need a really great idea. Everyone makes beautiful vases and finest porcelain, and those are great. But I want to make something special, something no one has ever made before!"
"If only there were a pumpkin competition," Jongdae laughs and buries his toes in the sand. "I swear, this year's pumpkins just keep growing and growing. It's not even autumn yet and they're already bigger than the henhous- oh no! Speaking of which, I have to run home before it gets dark and lock the chicken in the henhouse lest the fox eats them!" With that, he runs off back towards the village, Baekhyun and Kyungsoo's laughter behind him. As the sun nears the horizon, the two remaining friends decide to make their way back home, too.
Kyungsoo returns home just in time for dinner and his mother asks him to fetch his father from the workshop as she scoops rice into bowls and arranges them with many plates of side dishes on a tablet. It is warm enough to sit outside on the porch to eat. Kyungsoo's mouth waters at the sight and he steals a little bite of kimchi before running to the back of the house. Heat emanates from the stone bricks of the big kiln and a flood of orange light spills out into the night as Kyungsoo's father shovels more coal into it to nourish the flames that burn the shaped clay on shelves in the belly of the kiln.
"Dad, dinner is ready," Kyungsoo calls and his father looks up. He has the same big eyes as Kyungsoo, giving his weathered face a youthful charm. Nodding, he closes the furnace door and pulls a cloth from his belt to wipe sweat off his brows. His fingers are, as always, coated with a dried layer of clay and he washes them before he joins his family on the porch for dinner.
Around them, crickets chirp in the falling twilight and bats flutter through the air. It is a balmy summer night, the type that makes Kyungsoo feel like he might just be able to grab one of the stars in the sky that seem so close on clear nights like this. He only listens to his parents' conversation with half an ear – his mother asking when his father will leave for the capital. "In three days," comes his answer – and daydreams of making something special out of clay, something no one has ever made before.
Kyungsoo rises early the next morning and the first thing he does, as every morning on those days when pottery is being fired in the kiln, is checking that there's still enough coal and the heat is still right. He wonders if this time the pieces his father plans to take to the competition are in there, clay hardening and maturing to the right degree of vitreosity.
After dutifully checking the fire, he walks down to the shore. Tonggu, awakened by the sounds of his footsteps, comes running after him, falling into step beside him with his head turned proudly up at Kyungsoo as if waiting for a praise for his good behaviour and earns a loving pat on the soft fur on the crown of his head. Kyungsoo begins humming a song as he wanders down the dunes. Before him, the sea stretches out in a silvery grey, melting into wisps of morning mist at the horizon over which the sun has not climbed yet.
In Kyungsoo, yesterday's sudden resolve to make something no one has ever made before is still simmering, making his fingertips itch to dig into a fresh batch of clay and shape it to something extraordinary. But what, he isn't sure yet.
Inhaling the salty air deeply, he fills his lungs as much as he can to call out into the waves. "Suho!" His voice startles a seagull that had been napping on a nearby rock. It pulls its head out from under its wings and cries as if to complain about the noise before it takes off into the air. Tonggu barks after it. Not long after, the water rises around Kyungsoo's bare feet and waves pile upon each other, higher and higher, washing ashore with more and more white foam. It always amazes Kyungsoo, how the sea shows its powerful, majestic nature when Suho arrives, billowing as if it's not Suho's little form that breaks through the surface but an enormous whale.
"Good morning," the sea god greets Kyungsoo brightly when he has waded close enough to the waterline. A stream of water curls around his leg and flows up his pale body. Kyungsoo is never sure if the sea doesn't want to let go of Suho or if it's the other way around. "I heard you at the beach with Baekhyun and Jongdae yesterday, why did you not come and say hello?"
"W- well," Kyungsoo stutters, hard pressed for an answer. Sometimes, when he is with his mortal friends, normal humans who lead ordinary lives just like him, it is difficult to remember that wherever there is the sea, he only has to call out Suho's name and the small god will appear in a matter of minutes.
"Nevermind," Suho laughs and the water bubbles around him. "Tell me, what are the news from the land?" He sits down cross-legged and as soon as he does so, two columns of water rise and dance and twirl with constant splashing sounds around his lower body. Kyungsoo gingerly sits on the dry rock beside him that Suho offers him as a seat and begins to tell a recap of Baekhyun's gossip. Tonggu just lies down in the sand and dozes but Kyungsoo impatiently jiggles his leg while he speaks and a pale rose coloured sun rises. He did not come here to make idle conversation.
"Suho, I wanted to ask you something," he says as soon as he gets the feeling that Suho's curiosity is satisfied.
"Sure, go ahead," Suho prompts, smiling up at him. Whenever there is something he wants to know, Kyungsoo comes to Suho because no matter how difficult the question, if there is one who can find the answer, it is Suho. Kyungsoo had asked him once how Suho got so wise but he had only smiled a smile as mysterious as the endless ocean and left Kyungsoo guessing for a good while. Having teased him so, he had bubbled up with laughter and explained that he often listened to the whales, for it was in their songs that all knowledge of the earth was carried. No one travelled further and wider than wales and they had an infallible memory, too. Everything they heard on their long journeys, they weaved into their songs and you only had to listen to know everything there was to know.
"What are the greatest works of pottery in the world?"
"Oh?" Suho tilts his head, curiosity piqued. "Do tell me what brought about such a question while I think about what the whales have sung about the greatest works of pottery."
And so Kyungsoo tells his friend about last night, about that feeling of standing on the edge of something. It had been an urge, an itch in his fingertips and an unrest in his toes, to leap into an adventure.
"I want to become the greatest potter in the world!" he concludes.
Suho smiles his mysterious smile again. "If anyone can do it, it's you," he says and looks earnestly at Kyungsoo. In that moment, a little silver-pink fish jumps into the water swirling in his lap and Suho cups it in his palms together with a handful of water. "Hello, little friend. Aren't you supposed to join your school out in the cliffs?" The fish flicks its tail fin and leaps over Suho's shoulder back into the sea behind him, gleaming scales catching the light of the rising morning sun.
"You have strong competition, though," Suho says, turning back to Kyungsoo who listens intently, his wide eyes seeming eager to pull words out of Suho's mouth faster, but the sea god does everything at his own time. He hums, a clear note that flows into a melody when he finds the right tune, and then he sings. "A vase was made of clay in a country far, far in the West which can hold lightning. A house was made of clay in a country far, far in the South which neither shaking earth can crack nor pouring rain can flood. A bead was made of clay in a country far, far in the East so beautiful that it has to be kept in a box away from the eyes of the people lest they become insane. An army was made of clay in a country far, far in the North, some six thousand warriors to be buried with their king and protect him in the afterlife. This is what the whales sing."
Kyungsoo sits stunned for a while, gaze lowered to the hands in his lap. The skin on them is as dry as the skin on his father's hands, they're potter's hands, dehydrated from the constant handling of clay. He wonders if he can make something even greater with these hands than the things in the whales' songs. The blooming morning light gives them a rosy glow, soft light and softer shadows playing on them, and Kyungsoo's chest swells with a deep determination.
It is with this sure feeling that he looks up at Suho to thank him for his help, the image of how light and shadows fall on his skin fresh in his mind, that Kyungsoo notices something that pulls a startled yelp from him and he jumps up. At his sudden movement, Tonggu jolts awake and starts barking loudly.
"Suho, your shadow, is it always like this? It looks all wrong!"
The sea god looks up from where he had been contently immersed in painting sweeps of pastel colours over a seashell in his hands, silent confusion in his deep blue eyes. With his head tilted up to Kyungsoo like this, the boy can confirm it even better. Something isn't right about Suho's shadow. The morning sun is in his back and the shadows should fall across his face and his whole front. But they don't. Instead, they spread in long tendrils out behind him, swaying in the gentle motions of the water like sea grass.
"Is that normal for you? Does your shadow prefer to stay in the water?" Kyungsoo asks. With a sea god, something like this wouldn't be too far off, he thinks. But Suho turns around and in the way his eyebrows knit together, Kyungsoo can read that his friend is just as mystified as him. Even Tonggu is spooked by the weird shadow, his paws are dug firmly into the moist sand and he barks at the shadow so incessantly that it shakes his little form.
Having intimidated his supposed enemy enough, the little dog charges at Suho's shadow which is floating in the water like a grey sheet, and bites into its arm. Growling, Tonggu throws his head this way and that, shaking the shadow as if it were his prey. Over the incredible realization that the shadow was a thing of substance, Suho shouts in surprise while Kyungsoo runs to his dog who's trying with all the strength in his small body to pull the grey thing out of the water. "Stop, Tonggu! Let go, let go!" Tonggu only listens when he realizes his struggles are in vain. He backs off growling and barking, never taking an eye off the mysterious thing.
Kyungsoo pets his head calmingly and says to Suho. "What shall we do now? Do you have any idea what that is?"
"I do not know but I'd like to find out. And I want my shadow back, this doesn't feel right. Not that I use it often deep under water where all is twilight but what's mine is mine."
"Maybe we can trap it somehow. I'll go and get a pot. And you stay here and protect Suho, alright?" Kyungsoo speaks to Tonggu who sits down beside Suho obediently, looking up at Kyungsoo with his tongue hanging out, panting from the earlier exertion. Suho scratches him behind his ears while Kyungsoo takes off sprinting back up the dunes as fast as the sand slipping underneath the soles of his feet allows. He runs to his house and enters the workshop, taking a simple but large earthenware pot with a lid with him and runs back to the beach.
"I wonder if this will work," he muses as he places the opened pot on the water behind Suho, scooping his shadow in. To all of their great surprise, the shadow flows into the pot and Kyungsoo keeps scooping and stuffing it in until the pot is full and nothing is left outside except for two thin strips of grey where the shadow is connected to Suho's ankles. Then Kyungsoo puts the lid on, holds it close and pulls.
But the shadow won't come off. Instead, Suho lets out a moan of pain and stumbles in Kyungsoo's direction as if he had pulled on a rope binding Suho's legs. Kyungsoo stops quickly so as not to bring his friend pain.
"This isn't working, it won't come off," Kyungsoo says with a frown, voicing his thoughts as they come. "We have to find another way to disconnect you and your shadow. If only it were cloudy..." He and Suho squint up at the clear cerulean of the sky. There's not a single cloud in sight. "Or if I were taller, I could stand behind you and block the sun. You couldn't maybe..." He scans the beach and a few yards to his right, he finds what he is looking for: a huge rock, bigger than himself, which throws a long shadow onto the sand. He points it out to Suho. "Look, let's move over there."
Kyungsoo strides towards the rock, nearly stumbling when Suho following only slowly almost tears the pot out of his hands since the last strings of shadow it contains are still connected to Suho. Kyungsoo throws him a glare.
"I'm sorry. It is just that I am bound to the sea." Stopping completely now that they have almost reached their goal, Suho glances regrettably from his toes to the boulder. There are still a few feet of dry sand between them that he can't cross. Kyungsoo eyes the large stone apprehensively. "Can't you make the water rise until there?"
"That is something only the moon can do. The water is receding right now. Even I cannot go against the tide." The sea god shakes his head, some droplets flying from the tips of his sun-bleached hair. How it is still wet after all this time he has spent ashore talking to Kyungsoo, the boy doesn't know. But right now, he doesn't care. All he wants to know is how to get Suho into the shade of the rock so that they could maybe solve the mystery of his solid shadow. And he has an idea.
"Here, hold this." He presses his pot into Suho's arms, then crosses the few steps over to the rock and leans his shoulder against it. Suho watches him dig his heels into the sand and his eyes widen when he pieces together what Kyungsoo is trying to do. "You can't-" Before he is even able too finish his shout, Kyungsoo lets out a loud groan and pushes against the rock with all his might. His feet slip in the sand and his face turns red as he pushes and then, miraculously, the boulder shakes, one edge lifts slowly off the ground. And as if in slow motion, it overbalances with one more huge shove from Kyungsoo and topples over into the shallow water with a splash that drenches Tonggu so that he leaps back and shakes out his fur.
"I've always been pretty strong," Kyungsoo says with a smile and a shrug and rubs the back of his neck as Suho still stares at him in disbelief. Then the sea god just shakes his head, laughing, and moves behind the rock, keeping his feet in the shallow water that now surrounds it. Kyungsoo who keeps his eyes on Suho's feet waiting for the moment the shadow of the rock covers his completely, sees a little starfish sticking to his ankle but Suho doesn't seem to notice. He takes one more step and as he pulls his leg behind the stone, the shadows merge centimeter by centimeter, and after the last hair's breadth which makes Kyungsoo hold his breath and pray for his plan to work, suddenly the earthenware pot in Suho's hands explodes with a sharp bang. Tonggu yelps, Suho shouts and falls with a splash, Kyungsoo throws his arms up to shield his face from the flying shards.
When he dares to lower his arms again, Kyungsoo squints into the sunlight and can't believe what he's seeing. Lying half on top of Suho where they both have fallen to the ground is a tall man with flaming orange hair, his gangly limbs spread out in every direction. Kyungsoo's little dog approaches him carefully and sniffs at his side, and then, deeming his scent likable, puts his two front paws up on the man's midriff and wags his tail expectantly. The man sits up and blinks at the little animal with big eyes, a smile spreading widely on his youthful face before he lifts the dog up and yells happily in a voice that is surprisingly deep for his boyish features. "I'm free!"
After setting Tonggu back down on the sand, he extends a hand to Suho to help him up. "I'm very, very sorry for all the trouble I caused!" From their clasped palms, steam rises and as soon as the man lets go, Suho retracts his hand and cradles it against his chest. He keeps looking at the man silently, eyes round and the sunlight setting his cheeks aglow.
The man turns half to Kyungsoo as he addresses both of them and introduces himself. "My name is Chanyeol, I'm a fire god! Thanks for setting me free! I was trapped in Suho's shadow by an evil sorcerer for not granting his dragon everlasting fire breath. A sea god's always in the water, so I couldn't free myself, 'cause it blocks my fire powers. But now I'm- Hey, why are you so tiny?"
Kyungsoo gasps and draws himself up to his full height to glare at Chanyeol. Baekhyun always cowers when Kyungsoo does this because Kyungsoo's glares are scary (even if he usually glares up at others). "I am not tiny!" Kyungsoo says, emphasizing every word to get it through the fire god's apparently very thick skull. "I'm perfectly normal-sized. You are just… unnecessarily tall. I'm going back to the village. Good bye." To Suho, he waves and smiles warmly, promising to come visit again soon.
"Hey, wait!" Chanyeol runs after Kyungsoo who has turned around and is stomping away across the beach. Behind them, Suho is watching and stifling laughter with a hand pressed to his mouth, water dancing merrily around his feet. "Hey," Chanyeol shouts, a hand stretched out in Kyungsoo's direction as if he can hold him across the distance. "I didn't even catch your name! I really wanted to thank you!"
Kyungsoo stops and turns around, arms crossed in front of his chest and an angry gleam still in his eyes. Chanyeol actually bends his knees and looks up at Kyungsoo with a pout and apologetic eyes. For a fire god, he doesn't look intimidating at all, the way he is half-crouching and pleading Kyungsoo not to be mad anymore with his eyes. He's still cradling Tonggu in his arms, too. The fluffy little dog is happily licking Chanyeol's big palms. Kyungsoo has to press his lips together so they don't betray his amusement at the whole scene in front of him. "It's Do Kyungsoo. Now give me my dog back and let me go."
"Do? Are you a Do from the potter family?" Chanyeol sets the dog down and looks up at Kyungsoo with big, wide eyes.
"Yes, what about it?" Kyungsoo frowns.
"Can I see your pottery oven? I love them! They're so big and fiery!" Chanyeol jumps up, clapping his hands in excitement. His orange hair bounces on the top of his head.
Chanyeol stops mid clap and blinks at Kyungsoo, a picture of puzzlement. Tonggu barks happily at him and leaps between his legs, pulling on the seam of his pants to animate him to play. Chanyeol almost loses his balance.
"It's not called pottery oven, it's called kiln," Kyungsoo explains, calmly watching Chanyeol trying to regain his balance without accidentally stepping on the excited little dog. "Shouldn't you know that as a fire god? Tonggu, be quiet."
"Oh, right!" Chanyeol laughs. "But I was trapped under the sea for months, you know! Hey, can we be friends?"
Kyungsoo shrugs. "Sure, why not."
Chanyeol whoops and lifts him up, twirling him around with total disregard to the smaller boy's protests. Kyungsoo looks a bit dishevelled when he is set down but he is silently pleased. He likes Chanyeol.
"Kyungsoo! Good morning." At the sound of his friend's voice, Kyungsoo stops in the middle of the path and looks around, seeing Jongdae running towards him through a field on the side of the road, parting the high grass with both arms. "Where are you going?"
"Good morning," Kyungsoo greets and holds up the empty basket he is carrying. "I'm headed to the market, buying fish for my mum. How are the pumpkins?"
"Still growing like crazy. You know, like the Oh kid, what's his name again?"
"Yeah, him. Last time I saw him he was just this tall and now he's like this." Jongdae motions with his hand, holding it palm down in front of his chest and then high above his head. "Wonder what they feed him. So, already thought of how to become the best potter in the world?"
Kyungsoo sighs and shakes his head. But Jongdae keeps talking as he accompanies him to the market and cheers him up, sprouting increasingly ridiculous ideas. Kyungsoo lets Jongdae infect him with his good mood and does his grocery shopping arms linked with Jongdae's and a happy smile on his face.
"Let's go back to your place and take a look around your father's workshop, maybe we'll find something that inspires you," Jongdae suggests, bumping his shoulder against Kyungsoo's. When they return to Kyungsoo's house, they find lined up on the shelves in the workshop all the new pottery that Kyungsoo's father made for the king's contest. He must have taken them out of the kiln just this morning. Slowly walking along the shelves of beautiful vases, they admire the craftsmanship. The center piece of the collection is a vase of porcelain so thin that it is almost see-through, with faint veins of a jade colour. Delicate grey and gold inlays portraying cranes in flight glint in the morning light.
"Wow, I think your father can win with this!" Jongdae says. "By the way, what's this?"
Kyungsoo takes the black, cubic box from the shelf that Jongdae had pointed at. "This? It's always been here in the workshop. It's sort of a family heirloom, I think. Father says it brings good luck but it just contains sand." He runs his fingers along the top edge of the box and pushes his nail into a certain spot that Jongdae would have never noticed in the gleaming blackness of the box, flawless like expensive lacquer. A lid pops open and reveals the content of the box. "I spilled it once when I was a kid," Kyungsoo tells him. "Father put it all back in, every single grain, and when I asked him why, he said that it isn't normal sand, it's very special soil, dry clay that the old earth god left here. But when I asked him why he doesn't just mix it with water and uses it, he said it's impossible. Look." Kyungsoo dips his hands into the bucket of water his father always keeps next to his potter's wheel to wet his hands and the clay he's working with and scoops up a handful, pouring it into the box. It vanishes into thin air, leaving the contents just as dry as before. Jongdae watches in astonishment.
"Well, he said when the time is right, someone in our family will know what to do with it." Kyungsoo shrugs and puts the box back on the shelf. "This here doesn't give me any ideas, though… I don't want to try to make even more beautiful vases. I want to make something great."
"I wish you could make me a girl," Jongdae whines half-jokingly and even stomps his feet. "I'm getting really sick of seeing pumpkins all day. Baekhyun never comes to visit me anymore since he got his girl. Why am I even friends with him?"
"Oh, that reminds me," Kyungsoo begins. "I, uhm, made a new friend yesterday?"
Jongdae laughs, forgetting about his complaint instantly. "Why do you say it like you're not sure? Either you did or you didn't."
"He's… weird." Kyungsoo puts some logs in the furnace of the kiln and lights a fire. Kneeling in front of the open furnace door, he cups his palms around his mouth and calls Chanyeol's name into the flames. Not even a heartbeat later, the fire god tumbles out of it and picks up his long limbs, standing up and brushing ashes off his clothes and out of his orange hair.
"Kyungsoo!" He beams.
"Good morning. Chanyeol, this is my friend Jongdae. Jongdae, meet Chanyeol. He's a fire god."
After exchanging greetings, Chanyeol and Kyungsoo tell Jongdae how they met, and suddenly Chanyeol pulls something out of his pocket and hands it to Kyungsoo. The boy finds a glowing stone lying in his palm, about the size of a common pebble but a translucent red like a gem.
"What is this?" Kyungsoo whispers, transfixed by the flickering orange light that emanates from his cupped palms as if he were holding a firefly or a little candle. It seems to originate from the inside of the stone.
"That's the Heart of Eternal Fire! The thing the evil sorcerer wanted from me."
"Why are you giving me this?" Kyungsoo is in awe. If this stone has the power to grant a dragon everlasting fire breath, he doubts it should be handled by ordinary humans. But Chanyeol just grins widely at him.
"Because I know you'll need it! And you should also talk to Suho when you'll have a question you won't know the answer to! I can't tell you more than that, but you'll know when the time is right." He puts his large, warm hands around Kyungsoo's and closes his palms safely around the stone. It, too, feels very warm against Kyungsoo's skin. But he supposes it is due to him being a fire god.
As expected, Jongdae and Chanyeol hit it off really well, both having high levels of energy and a matching sense of humour (a propensity for practical jokes) and Kyungsoo has to escort them out of the workshop before they break the precious vases in their excitement. Chanyeol already bumped his elbow against one shelf and almost stumbled over the potter's wheel, sheepishly apologizing for his clumsiness which he blames on his large form being trapped in the confines of a rather small-sized shadow for so long. Jongdae and Chanyeol hatched some plan that involves pumpkins that Kyungsoo didn't listen to as he tried to keep the chaos in the workshop in check. With mischief sparkling in their eyes, the two take off in the direction of Jongdae's father's farm now, Jongdae winking at Kyungsoo when they say their goodbyes, calling over his shoulder. "Don't forget to make me a pretty clay girl!"
"That's stupid," Kyungsoo grumbles. "You can't make living things out of clay." He returns to the workshop to tidy things up, putting out the fire in the kiln and placing the black box back on its shelf. "…Can you?"
Falling deep into thought, Kyungsoo stares at the red bricks that make the pear-shaped wall of the kiln. It would be possible to make a nearly life-like figure out of clay. But the figure wouldn't be able to walk and speak and breathe… and love, would it? It would just be a porcelain doll. Should he go and ask Suho again? He had sung about the army of clay warriors that a king in the North had gotten as a burial gift. But those only came alive in stories of the afterlife. If Kyungsoo could make a living being out of clay, he would surely be the greatest potter in the world. The idea doesn't let go of him and he has trouble falling asleep that night. He sits on the porch and watches the stars glimmering up in the night sky, looking so close as if within reach, and wonders how in the world it would be possible to make a clay figure come alive. If there's a way, any way at all, he will find it. With this resolve, he finally turns off the little lantern next to him on the dark wood planks of the porch and goes to sleep.