Hiatus

Hi all, this is Watermelon (Strawberry) ICE.
I apologize for this, but The La-Iin Series has to go on hiatus. You may have noticed the low quality of the prior three chapters, or the complicated muddle that is some of the character plotlines…and it only gets worse from here and there is no quick way to fix this without putting the entire series on hiatus.
It breaks my heart to do this, especially as I prided myself on actually putting up chapters for every day starting back in 2016. I was very happy, it felt like an accomplishment, but I cannot go forward putting up chapters of such shoddy quality and be happy. So unfortunately, it stops here.
Some of you may not remember, but this story actually ran back in 2015, and went on hiatus then, too, and didn’t come back until 2016….this story is very long as you might see, so I wonder how smart it might be to put it up day by day as I have been if I start again in 2018 (assuming all the problems are resolved by then).
Part of this is liberating as I don’t need to stress over this anymore, as I’ll have plenty of time to finish it, but the other part makes me sad. But I know this is what I must do, for this series to be something I can be happy with. Individual opinion varies, so I cannot say that it would be something more like what other people would like, but I would hope people would notice that my fixed version would be done with more love.
To all of you reading, though it may not be many, I thank you. That anyone would read my work brings me so much happiness. If when the story re-runs you would like to just read the rest, I’ll make sure there is a way you can do that instead of having to start from the beginning, be that hosting it on another site, or getting you the whole story in another way…but for now, you’ll have to wait.
I’m not sure when all the problems with the series will be revised. Honestly, I’m not even happy with all the chapters that are on here (I personally view Chapter 100 as an incomplete chapter, for instance, and two chapters were posted out of order) so some chapters may be missing or changed drastically from the version I’ll put up next year, or year after next, or whenever all the problems are fixed and I feel like revisiting this series…writing in general has been hard for me lately so it might take a while.
Ah, there’s no point in dragging this note out any longer. Thank you, everyone who read up to this point, everyone who didn’t, everyone who will whether it’ll be tomorrow or years in the future from now. I owe it as much to you as I do to me to present my story as it’s meant to be, and I hope you all will enjoy it when it returns in its proper form! But until I am as happy with it as I can be, the story will be on hiatus.
If any of you would like me to archive this blog’s contents, I’ll do so but I plan on using this blog again to re-run the series when it is proper.
Until we meet again:
Watermelon (Strawberry) ICE

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15.653.Prologue

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 653
“Prologue”

La-Iin flew across Bledger to the area she had designated as her headquarters, carrying supplies along with her. She landed and placed the supplies inside the base.
It was early in the morning, and La-Iin wasn’t too pleased by how cold it was. But she was set on the idea.
‘Today is the day I start this.’ She was certain of that now. Noticing that the sun looked higher in the sky than it had when she left, she spread her wings and flew back home as quickly as possible.

***

La-Iin took school quite seriously that Thursday–or that was as it seemed to her fellow students. In reality she was lost in thought about the plan she was ready to enact, looking for even the smallest flaw that might destroy all she had planned.
In that time, she only found one–and for it, a simple solution.
Today people’s eyes all seemed to be on her. Mit-Sun had seemed concerned that morning, asking about what Fer-Shi had told her, while Fer-Shi kept a close eye on her but didn’t talk to her. During recess, La-Iin noticed that Shuu-Kena was watching her as well, but didn’t speak to her, presumably because she had been so quiet that day.
Even the teachers had their eyes on her, though only briefly.
After classes, La-Iin walked over to San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina.
“What do you want?”
“Your attention.”
“If this is for something like the other day, then no,” San-Kyung said.
“You misunderstand. It’s not for anything like that. I found out some information you two might like. Especially you, San-Kyung, but I thought rival-boy might like it for the species information it would give him.”
“What’s this?”
“Come with me and I’ll tell you. I’m sure you don’t want the rest of the class to overhear, after all.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina looked wary, but they stood up and followed her. La-Iin walked past Malicerie.
“You’re not going to tell us at school?”
“No, this is information that needs to be said away from other people. That being said…” She glanced around. “I don’t see anyone nearby. So I guess it would be okay to tell you it’s about San-Kyung’s transformation.”
“Huh!?”
“I asked my source about another method of transforming San-Kyung. And he gave me an interesting answer…one I think both of you will like.”
“How are we supposed to know you’re telling the truth?”
“Why not just come and see? After all, you know you can overpower me if I’m lying.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina shot each other uncertain glances, but they continued to follow her anyway.
La-Iin led the two boys to her base, then reached for some papers.
“Whoa, that’s a lot.”
“Yes, you might want to take it home, actually.”
“Hm…” Dosa-Mina reached for the files.
“But first, I want something from you.”
“Huh?”
La-Iin bit into her finger.
“Can’t we just see the papers already?”
“No. I need to do this first.”
She beckoned to the two boys as she bit into her other finger. When they came close, La-Iin scratched their chins.
“Ow!”
“Perfect.” She pressed her bloody finger to their chins, holding it in place for a while. Both boys seemed agitated at first, but quickly a dreamlike expression came over their faces, and they fell to the ground.
La-Iin smirked.
“Boys, it’s time for Hypotheory,” she said.

—–
La-Iin walked to the main streets of Bledger, looking over them still with her same smirk from earlier.
“It’s time.”

14.652.My Best Friend

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 652
“My Best Friend”

Wednesday on the path to school, Fer-Shi was quick to notice that her friend smelled faintly of smoke.
“La-Iin?”
“Yes?”
“Were you around a fire recently?”
La-Iin didn’t respond. Fer-Shi’s words only reminded her of Mit-Sun’s behavior earlier in the day. She had been keeping a close eye on La-Iin ever since she woke up, as if she were suspicious of her.
‘This could throw a bone into my plan,’ she thought. ‘There has to be some way I can convince her otherwise…’
“La-Iin?”
La-Iin smirked. “Fer-Shi, would you like to go on a walk after school today?”
“Huh? Where’s this coming from?”
“Oh, it’s just something I wanted to do.”
“Uh, sure, why not?”
La-Iin nodded and walked ahead of Fer-Shi.

***

School that day was fairly uneventful; La-Iin and Fer-Shi didn’t talk much. On the playground they played a game they had played in the past, then Fer-Shi played with Cae-Bougen and La-Iin talked to Shuu-Kena for a while. La-Iin did notice San-Kyung glance in her direction once or twice, but other than that nothing stuck out as memorable to her.
When La-Iin and Fer-Shi left school, they walked together on the path to Fer-Shi’s home.
“Are we just going to your house?”
“No, I figured we’d just stop by there so I could call Miss Cahongyun and ask if it’s okay for us to take a longer walk!”
“Hm. Well, since nobody’s around right now, maybe I could talk to you about something.”
“What’s that?”
“…I’ve been scared to tell Mama, but I got home late yesterday. She knows that, but she doesn’t know it’s because I almost got caught in a fire.”
“What!?”
La-Iin nodded. “There was a fire burning. I took an alternative path to talk to San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina, but after I was done talking to them I ran into something burning. It almost set me on fire too.”
“Wha–you shouldn’t be scared to tell Miss Cahongyun that!”
La-Iin glared. “I wouldn’t be, but even with Mama being nicer to me recently I doubt she’d believe me.”
“La-Iin, I don’t think you give Miss Cahongyun enough credit. She loves you! She might actually be more suspicious since you didn’t tell her right away.”
“And that’s the problem.”
“Do you want me to tell her?”
“You do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter to me. Now I want to ask you something else.”
“Hm?”
“That hobo slave of yours. Ask him if he wants to meet me. And also, I’ll be busy tomorrow and the day after so we can’t walk together.”
“Okay…?”
“There’s so much to think about,” La-Iin sighed.
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that, La-Iin! What’s been up with you lately? You’ve seemed kind of off. Like you’re excited about something but it’s also stressing you out…”
“That’s none of your business.”
“So is there something going on?”
La-Iin didn’t respond.
“La-Iin…I really feel like you don’t trust me sometimes.”
“You’ve told me this before. Besides, I’ve only told you about the fire.”
“I know…but I just, I don’t feel like I should hold my problems from you, so if you’re having a problem you’re welcome to tell me about it…”
“Oh, there’s no problem, Fer-Shi,” La-Iin told her. “In fact, it’s the opposite.”
“Hm?”
“Something good is about to happen, I can feel it. So don’t worry. All I want is for you to ask that hobo slave if he wants to meet me, and do what you want about telling Mama about the fire. And know this. The good thing that will happen soon, I think it will be a good thing for you too.”
“Huh?”
“You’ll see.” La-Iin spread her wings. “I’d love to keep talking, but you reminded me of something I need to do. I’m heading home now.”
“La-Iin, wait!”
“What do you want?”
“Um…why are you leaving so soon?”
“I just told you why. Don’t worry about it.”
Before Fer-Shi could say anything else, La-Iin took off.

—–
As soon as she arrived home, La-Iin sighed.
“I guess it’s time to begin, then.”

13.651.Battle Between Breeds

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 651
“Battle Between Breeds”

When she arrived home from the Astineth house, the first thing La-Iin did was let Choungetsu out of her closet. She thought the action would go unnoticed, and so was startled to see that Mit-Sun was standing outside her bedroom with a curious expression on her face.
“Why was Choungetsu in your room? I thought you took him on a walk.”
“I did. It’s not my fault he followed me upstairs. I didn’t even notice.”
“Hm.” Mit-Sun looked as if she didn’t quite believe her, but didn’t press the subject any further.

Sale-Dessu’s blood still in her system, La-Iin studied up on as many Witch resources as she could find in the house. She hoped that the powers did not kick in until she knew enough in order for them to be helpful. ‘I doubt I’ll be welcome at the Astineth house again anytime soon.’
To check, La-Iin kept a thin stick with her at all times, waving it around on occasion. Nothing happened for a while, until quite late at night. Mit-Sun was upstairs preparing for bed and the stick gave off a small spark.
La-Iin was intrigued, but frustrated due to the time. After Mit-Sun had put her to bed, and once she had gone to bed herself, La-Iin snuck out, Bes-Isa in tow, and head to the kitchen. She put a pot on the stove and filled it with liquid and some supplies around the house–that and a small amount of the potion she had stolen from Sale-Dessu.
She didn’t know much about potion-making, but she was going to try. The “potion” began to bubble, and La-Iin waved the stick above it. While it was bubbling, impatient she went to reference the books that mentioned anything about Witches. That information made her pay closer attention to the “potion”. She waved the stick over it, and the liquid started to become a strange color.
Once she felt it was done, she let it cool off and put it into a container and stuck it in the fridge. When she closed the fridge, she turned and nearly jumped when she saw Mit-Sun standing behind her.
“What are you doing up so late?” She asked. “And were you baking something?”
“No. Just messing with the stove.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh. Get back to bed and don’t do things that could start fires!”
La-Iin huffed, spread her wings and head back to bed, clutching Bes-Isa and the stolen potion. She was frustrated, but was happy that she had at least finished the potion.
‘I might not know much about Witch powers, but I know that potion is a good one. After all, it should be a…’

***

The next day, La-Iin felt restless. Her plans felt like they were going wild in her head. When she picked up the stick, it still sparked.
She felt incredibly powerful.
Restraining her feelings had been difficult, especially around Mit-Sun who still watched her with a curious expression. Occasionally she couldn’t keep from making a comment that frustrated her mother.
“When I rule the world, you won’t be allowed to make crappy breakfasts, you know.”
Mit-Sun had rolled her eyes in response.
The restless and powerful feeling had continued even after she left the house, and on the path to school Fer-Shi was quick to notice that her friend was giggling to herself.
“La-Iin? Are you okay?”
“Better,” she said. “Don’t worry, Fer-Shi. It annoys me when you worry. Besides, I have a feeling that soon, I’m going to have a bunch to be happy about.”
“Huh?”
“You’ll see soon enough,” she said with a smirk. “But for now, just don’t worry about me.”
“That makes me more worried…but I guess if something good is gonna happen, I shouldn’t be…but wait, is this good regular or evil good?”
“Now that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself, isn’t it?”

Students and faculty were also quick to notice La-Iin’s odd behavior. Even to those who had noticed how she was acting recently, it was still strange.
But even despite this, La-Iin spent most of her time lost in thought. Even at the recess area she mostly stayed to herself; Shuu-Kena found that nothing she said got through to her, and after she would only respond vaguely to Fer-Shi’s suggestions for games, she went off to play with Shan-Zetsu and some Class B students instead.
It was only once classes were done for the day that she really talked to anyone else.
“You two.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina blinked at her.
“I want to talk to you two about something. Come with me.”
“Why should we?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“Because I know where you live.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina glanced at each other.
“Do you have anything better to do?” La-Iin asked.
“Good point. What about you, San-Kyung?”
“I guess not…” He sighed. “Fine, but if this ends up being a waste of my time, I’m going home.”
With a confident smirk, La-Iin left the classroom ahead of the two boys. They stayed close behind her as she walked through the hallway and along the path that led out of Malicerie.
She led them away from Malicerie and searched around for a while.
“Do you think she knows where she’s going?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“No.”
“I heard that.” La-Iin glared at them, then head over to an empty field. “Here.”
Dosa-Mina crossed his arms. “So what’s this about, little Vampire girl?”
“I thought you were done calling me that.”
“Some things never go away completely,” he said with a smug smile. La-Iin huffed.
“I want to talk to both of you. Individually, then together.”
The two blinked at each other. “San-Kyung first.”
“What do you want?”
“Are you still planning to rule the world?”
“Why do you ask?”
“…I just think you’ll get an opening really soon.”
“You know nothing about my plans.”
“Maybe. Okay, maybe the world is going a little far, but I think a good opportunity is coming up for you and me. And I just wanted to tell you in advance, so you could be prepared when the day comes. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you again when that happens.”
San-Kyung scoffed.
“You scoff now, but you’ll see. And besides, it’s October. The best time to take advantage of a chance like that, right?”
She winked and walked over to Dosa-Mina.
“What do you want from me?”
She glared. “To ask about a certain nightmare.”
“Huh?”
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you and your fantasies about my suicide.”
Dosa-Mina flinched.
“I don’t understand you, rival-boy. You hated your species. Yet now you’re flaunting it. You apparently have nightmares about me shooting myself. But there’s no explanation for it. And you know I can’t stand you, yet you don’t feel the same way about me.”
“Who says?”
“You’re weird to me. You and I remind me of my Mama and Dami. Mama so obviously hates Dami, yet he keeps being nice to her even though she’s such a jerk.”
“So you’re saying our relationship reminds you of exes? Sicko.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. “That’s not what I meant! I can’t stand you, but I think you’ll be helpful.”
“Huh?”
She turned away from him. “And now, for both of you…I want to fight you two!”
“…what.”
“Where’s this coming from?”
“I want to see what you two can do with San-Kyung being in October and you not holding back. Except for your singing. That’s just a cheat.”
“You probably wouldn’t call it a cheat if you could use it!” Dosa-Mina huffed.
“I want to see the extent of what you do!”
“So basically you’re saying you want to die,” San-Kyung said.
“Personally, I’d rather not be convicted of murder.”
“Don’t kill me then,” La-Iin said. “But it doesn’t matter if you two resist. I’ll take that as an opening!”
La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at them. It still sparked, and both boys flinched.
“What the–!? That’s a Witch power!”
San-Kyung seemed to take this as incentive enough, for he rose vines from the ground and tried to tie her up with them. La-Iin flew past them and bit into her arm. When her transformation completed, she flew at Dosa-Mina and bit into his neck, but she was pushed off by Dosa-Mina before she could suck any of his blood.
“How do you have a Witch power?”
“This is a fight, not a time for questions.” La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at Dosa-Mina. It only sparked slightly, and then San-Kyung’s vine grabbed her ankle. La-Iin freed her ankle with the stick, then flew at San-Kyung, hitting him with the stick. She tried to suck his blood as well, but he struck his hands and she flew a distance away from them.
While she was away, La-Iin noticed that San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina had begun to levitate. “Taking the coward’s way out!?” She flew at them and headbutted Dosa-Mina in the stomach, then landed on the ground and pointed the stick in their direction.
She tried to remember an offensive spell, and once she did she pointed the stick in their direction and canted; but the wand only responded by sparking slightly before dying out altogether. La-Iin tried again, but the same thing happened.
“No!”
‘It doesn’t matter! I can still attack them! I can’t stop here.’
“Should we leave while she’s fumbling, or do you want to keep going?”
“She said she wanted to see what we could do. Why not show her?”
“Oh dear,” Dosa-Mina sighed. San-Kyung brought them to the ground, then, Dosa-Mina grabbed him and jumped into the air.
“Hm!?”
San-Kyung lifted his right hand and bit hard into the skin on his palm. A massive amount of flames engulfed his hand. At one of the highest points in Dosa-Mina’s jump, he fired off a beam of fire. La-Iin only barely made it out of the way, but it set a large area nearby her on fire.
“Oh no,” Dosa-Mina said. “We can’t just leave this! It’ll start a forest fire!”
“Yeah, this is too close to home.” San-Kyung glanced over his shoulder. “But now you know the answer. So get out of here.”
La-Iin didn’t move, however. She watched the flames as the two boys tried to stop them, in shock.

—–
When La-Iin arrived home, Mit-Sun noticed that her eyes were wide open and she smelled of smoke.
“La-Iin! Is everything okay!?”
La-Iin walked past Mit-Sun. She thought back on the fight they had, the intensity of San-Kyung’s flamethrower, and a smirk crossed her lips.
Mit-Sun only barely noticed it, but the sight filled her with dread.

12.650.To Utilize a Warlock’s Ability

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 650
“To Utilize a Warlock’s Ability”

Monday after school, La-Iin head into her room, emptied her backpack, and levitated Bes-Isa to her side. Checking that Mit-Sun was still on the computer, she then head downstairs and shook Choungetsu’s leash. Choungetsu jumped up in excitement, but La-Iin did not leash him. Instead, she led him upstairs, then locked him in her closet. Choungetsu began to whimper, so she pressed her mini table against the closet and closed her door. Then she left the house.
“Wow. Amazing. I can’t believe you did that to the furball. I always thought he hit your Normal little kiddy sweet spot.”
“I don’t have something like that. I never had something like that!”
“Say what you will, but it does make me curious. Why did you do that? What do you gain from locking him in a closet?”
“I have my reasons. Bes-Isa, can you tell where we’re going today?”
“You’re heading to Sale-Dessu’s house.”
“Yes.”
“But why does that matter? Far be it from me to question you breaking that woman’s rules, but I still don’t understand. She knows you go to see him sometimes. I’m so confused…”
“What I’m doing today, it’s imperative that Mama thinks I’m doing something else. Thankfully, she’s looking into Vibrator and Makeshire play showings, so she’ll probably be busy. And her stupid boss always gives her papers to look through anyway.”
“That makes me more curious.”
“All will become obvious once we go inside. I just hope that the only ones who think it’s obvious is you and me.”
Noticing that Sale-Dessu’s door was locked, she knocked on the door. Sale-Dessu quickly peeked his head out.
“Hello, La-Iin. Come inside.”
Almost as soon as she walked inside, a confusing scent hit her nose. There was something enticing about the sour smell, but it also made her want to vomit. She couldn’t resist gagging.
“Ugh, what’s this smell?”
“Eul-Bok and I were working on something when you came in. Sorry about the smell.”
“Guh…” La-Iin shook her head.
“So how have you liked the research I gave you, La-Iin? Would I be right to guess that what interested you most was the part about–”
“I was interested by all of it.” La-Iin smirked. “In fact, speaking of things you did for me, there’s something else I want you to do for me today.”
A muted voice yelled something. Sale-Dessu head in the direction of the voice, and La-Iin followed him.
“Did I just hear who I thought I heard?” The voice was Eul-Bok’s, and he was glaring at Sale-Dessu as he churned liquid in a pot. La-Iin gagged. Up close, the smell wasn’t enticing in the slightest.
“Yeah, you did,” Bes-Isa said, her tone mocking. Eul-Bok glared. “Aw, come on, Father!”
“I could say the same to you, Eul-Bok. You know La-Iin and I are allies.”
“Yes. And in fact, I’ve come to ask my ally for something today.”
“Oh no…” Eul-Bok sighed. “Father, I know what you’re going to say. I just want you to know that it’s my opinion that you shouldn’t do it.”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “What is it now, La-Iin?”
“I’m going to ask you about certain things and I want you to answer honestly and as much as you know.”
“Alright.”
“Seriously, what’s going on?”
“All will be revealed soon enough. Be patient and at least whisper!” La-Iin whispered. Sale-Dessu watched them with confusion.
“Do you still have the ability to make reality warping devices?”
“Y-yes? It’s been a while, but I could probably still do it. I’m not really looking into that right now, though.”
“Is there a way to mass-use potions?”
“I…it seems likely, but I’m not sure of how you would do that.”
“Is there such a thing as a sedation potion?”
“Yes?”
La-Iin nodded. “I need your help with some things. I don’t really mind about being able to mass-use potions, and the sedation one was more curiosity. But reality warping could be helpful.”
Sale-Dessu blinked.
“Why?”
“Why what?”
“Why do you want to reality warp?”
“I know how powerful reality warping can be. And I think it would help in a little project of mine.”
Sale-Dessu gave her an uncertain look.
“This is starting to get interesting.”
“Don’t do it, Father!”
“…” Sale-Dessu sighed. He beckoned to La-Iin, and walked away from Eul-Bok before his expression hardened.
“What?”
“I have a bad feeling about your intentions, La-Iin.”
“Why? Doesn’t it make sense for me to be curious in reality warping? I was a victim, after all.”
“You’re asking about mass use of potions, sedation potions and reality warping…it all seems nefarious.”
“So?”
‘This is bad.’ La-Iin tried to keep her voice from wavering. Sale-Dessu looked angry. ‘He’s caught on, hasn’t he?’
Sale-Dessu gave another sigh. “I don’t know what you’re planning, La-Iin, but I’m not going to help you with it. I’ll only help you with things that won’t harm the world.”
“What makes you think it will?”
“Reality warping is powerful. Its range is somewhat limited, but it can manipulate the minds of people and “destroy” the world around us.”
“Who said I wanted a reality warp like that? You randomized the world. You glitched it up. You didn’t destroy it.”
Sale-Dessu cringed. “Yes, that’s true, but it makes me uncomfortable, especially since you asked about sedation potions too. I’m sorry, La-Iin, but I can’t help you with this unless you have some sort of proof that it won’t be used for anything bad.”
La-Iin tried to keep her frustration under wraps, but she couldn’t keep her wings from flapping.
“That’s fine, ally. I don’t need your help anyway. You were helpful enough with the research you provided.”
“La-Iin–”
La-Iin scoffed. “It doesn’t matter. I thought you were the type to think that allies are supposed to trust each other. I guess I was stupid there.”
“La-Iin, please!”
“And apparently you don’t trust yourself if you think the reality warp would be violent.”
“When did I say that?”
La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. “It doesn’t matter. I got the help from you I need. Oh, except for one thing…”
La-Iin walked up close to Sale-Dessu, and before he could react, she bit into his arm. She wasn’t able to suck much blood before she backed off, noticing that he was reaching for his wand.
“I’ll be seeing you soon, Sale-Dessu.”
Bes-Isa in tow, she head to leave the Astineth house. On her way out, she spotted a black potion. She could remember what Sale-Dessu had said about such potions: that often Witches and Warlocks were wary of them.
Purely out of spite, she reached for the potion. ‘I don’t need Sale-Dessu anyway. Whoever said Warlocks are the only ones who can make potions? If I take a look at this, with his blood I’ll probably be able to make my own sedation potion. And maybe even my own reality warp…’

A few moments later, Eul-Bok came running up to Sale-Dessu.
“What went on here?”
“…I don’t know what La-Iin’s planning. I just got a bad feeling about it. She was asking about weird things…and then she sucked my blood…”
He showed Eul-Bok the bite wound and began to hiccup. “Father, are you okay? D-don’t cry, Father!”
“I…I’m sorry,” he said. “I just don’t know what to believe. La-Iin’s just a little girl. I doubt she would do anything that would destroy the world or anything like that. But I know where her morals lie. And that scares me a bit…”
He sighed. “I guess I don’t trust people as much as I thought I did.”
“Father, you have all right to be suspicious of La-Iin. Even a little girl could do a lot with a reality warp device and mass-use sedation potions. And she bit you! Why should you trust her after that!? Maybe next time if you’re so worried about it you can talk with her about it.”
“I guess,” he sighed.
“Let’s clean this off. I know it isn’t that big, but it probably hurts. You aren’t feeling light-headed, are you?”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you, Eul-Bok.”
‘Just what are you planning, La-Iin? Did I really make the right call just then?’

***

“Now will you explain what’s going on to me? I feel so left in the dark.”
“I was thinking over some things and I realized it would be helpful if I had certain things from Sale-Dessu. But I guess I made my intentions too obvious.”
“Well I think most people would be suspicious when you ask about sedation potions. And you sucked his blood right after that.”
“It doesn’t matter. He gave me what I need, so if he decides he wants nothing more to do with me that’s good enough. And it reminds me of something else I need to do.”
“Are you going to tell me why you need these things though?”
“I can give you a hint.”
“How disappointing.”
“I guess you don’t want that hint then.”
“Hey, when did I say that!?”
“Don’t worry, Bes-Isa. You’ll see soon enough.”

—–
“La-Iin…”
Baal-Mist screwed up his face. “I know I’ve heard that name before over the bug. But this conversation…sedation potions, reality warping…just who is she?”
Baal-Mist’s expression hardened. “This could be harder than I thought if this La-Iin girl is allied with him. And she hardly seems like the good type, or even neutral…my goal is Eir-Tyuj, but Sale-Dessu being her grandson, depending on who this La-Iin is it could be a problem there too…”
Baal-Mist groaned. “Just as I thought I had it, it slipped away from me…”

11.649.The Blood of Your Bloodline

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 649
“The Blood of your Bloodline”

La-Iin spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday collecting blood boxes.
With her recent confidence, La-Iin’s initial plan had been to steal the blood boxes from the local store Mit-Sun went to. But when circumstances changed, she used vuyong found around the house, and vuyong found on walks with Choungetsu. When she stopped by the graveyard where Imagination lived, the girl wasn’t there, but she noticed that there was a lot of scattered vuyong in the abandoned houses nearby.
She also obtained vuyong from other sources, too.
“Why do you need to borrow vuyong? I don’t have much, and anyway, you can just suck my blood.”
“I feel a blood craving coming on, that’s why. Do you want to siphon…I think it’s siphon….do you want to do that to your blood and give it to me in a blood box!?”
“Eek! N-no!” She gave her a small amount of vuyong. “Fine, La-Iin, but you owe me!”
“Heh heh. Don’t worry, Fer-Shi, soon I’ll be more than able to pay you back! If I feel like it, that is…”
Fer-Shi rolled her eyes. “Hey, that sounds like you’re going to be selling something.”
She had made quite a bit of vuyong from searching around on walks, but she couldn’t help the pull of taking vuyong from others. Had circumstances not changed so drastically, she might have even stolen it. But instead she went around asking at a few places for vuyong, preparing threats in advance.
They didn’t always work.
“Do you honestly think I’d give vuyong to a little girl who hates me? Sorry, La-Iin, but the answer’s no!” Dosa-Mina said.
“Why are you even bothering me about this?” San-Kyung snapped.
“Oh, vuyong? I don’t have much, but here you go.” Shuu-Kena dropped some coins into La-Iin’s hand.
“Hm.”
“Something wrong?”
“No.” She held the vuyong close. “Oh, how are you?”
“Me?” Shuu-Kena smiled. “I’m fine, thank you. I’ve been painting a lot this weekend. And my family stole a lot of chocolate ice cream because my mom started bleeding all over the place. And I got to have some of it too.”
“Chocolate ice cream?” La-Iin was intrigued. “Maybe one of these days I should rip my arm open and see if that works.”
“Her arm wasn’t ripped open, though. But I wonder if that would really work? Maybe I should try it too. Oh, I think she was bleeding from her leg.”
“Good information. …although something seems disgustingly familiar about this information…” She shook her head. “I have a mission to finish! Continue painting, Shuu-Kena.”
“Um, okay?” Shuu-Kena sounded genuinely confused, but she waved to La-Iin as she took off.

After she felt she had enough vuyong, La-Iin had forced Mit-Sun to lead her to the store so she could buy blood boxes.
“Where did you get all that vuyong from?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Off the ground when I was out with Choungetsu. There’s a lot of vuyong to find because people are stupid.”
“…what.”
“You should look closely when you walk Choungetsu next. But I might have gotten all the stray vuyong.” La-Iin giggled as she took several blood boxes from the shelf. She struggled slightly under their weight. Mit-Sun helped balance her, and she also helped her take the many blood boxes to the register.
When the Lizardfoot cashier rung them up, La-Iin gave an empty chuckle. The blood boxes were slightly more than what she had.
She turned around and began to curse under her breath.
“Stupid stupid stupid vuyong, this is what happens when you do things legally, someday I’ll show you, someday you’ll see…”
“Don’t worry about it, La-Iin. I can spot you.” She took the pouch of vuyong La-Iin was carrying, handed it to the cashier, and handed him a little extra from her. The cashier sighed in frustration as he went over La-Iin’s scattered vuyong, but in the end it was enough, and La-Iin and Mit-Sun walked home carrying many blood boxes.
“What are all these blood boxes for anyway?”
“I feel a blood craving coming on. And I don’t want to rely on other people to satiate it.”
“That’s strange. I thought you liked drinking from the source.”
“I do, but some of the tastiest people don’t let me. And I’m under certain circumstances right now.”
“What circumstances?”
La-Iin didn’t answer her and instead said, “Mama, can we invite Dami and Granddami over tomorrow?”
“Why?”
“I want to see both of them. You could say I have a…present for them.”
“Uh, sure. In fact, I could probably get them both to come over at the same time. They might be happy to talk again.”
“Good.”
Even with the weight of the blood boxes in her arms, La-Iin walked with confidence. ‘Though it didn’t matter that you said yes,’ she said to herself, ‘I would have invited them over anyway.’

***

The blood boxes were placed in their own part of the refrigerator, and the next day, as promised, Mit-Sun called Asul-Zenza and Beht-Soh.
When La-Iin heard a knock at the door, she came running. Asul-Zenza arrived first, and she leaped into his arms.
“Hello, La-Iin!” Asul-Zenza cooed. La-Iin hugged him tight, then flew away from him.
“To what do I owe the visit?”
“She said she has–”
“Nothing! You’ll find out later.”
“Oh, Asul-Zenza!”
Asul-Zenza turned around. Beht-Soh was behind him, walking up the path to the Cahongyun house. “Hello, Asul-Zenza.”
“Hello, Mr. Cahongyun! I’m glad to see you’re looking better.”
“I’m feeling better too. Though Mit-Sun’s still worried about me. When she called earlier today she said ‘Papa, if you can’t make it, you don’t have to come, alright?'”
“Papa! I mean–Father! Our conversation was private!” Mit-Sun’s face turned bright red. Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza chuckled as they entered the house. La-Iin noticed they quickly lapsed into a conversation with each other.
Just as she was about to head upstairs, one thing in their conversation piqued her curiosity.
“Sometimes I forget you’re only a bit younger than me, Asul-Zenza. It’s kind of weird.”
“It does feel weird. Ah, I go between feeling like an old Vampire around La-Iin to feeling like a young one around other people.”
“Well, in terms of Vampire years, you’re still younger than me and Mit-Sun. It really is strange.”
“How much older than Dami are you, Granddami?” La-Iin asked.
“Oh, only one or two years. I forget my age sometimes.”
“Really? I thought it was three.”
“Well, it could be. But I’m not seventy yet, so…” Beht-Soh’s face screwed up as he started to calculate his age. La-Iin quickly lost her patience and head upstairs to prepare.

“Why did La-Iin call us here, I wonder?”
“I don’t know, but she’s taking a long time. I don’t mind making dinner while you’re here, Father, but as for Asul-Zenza…”
Asul-Zenza glared. “Oh, come now, Mit-Sun. Stop denying that the animosity between us has decreased recently.”
“Maybe for you, but I still feel it strongly. I’m just better at repressing it now.”
Asul-Zenza scoffed. “I swear, she flip-flops so often on this!”
“That’s Mit-Sun for you.”
“Papa, don’t goad him on! I mean–damn it! Father!”
Asul-Zenza giggled. Mit-Sun threatened him with a fist, but La-Iin arrived before it made contact. Mit-Sun put it down slowly, but La-Iin noticed and narrowed her eyes. She cleared her throat.
“I have gifts for you.”
“Gifts?”
“Really?”
“…not exactly.”
“Hm? Then what do you have for us?”
“For Granddami, here.” La-Iin handed him a crude paper book. When Beht-Soh opened the book, he saw several pages of crayon-drawn clothing. “You said you were learning how to sew, right? Try sewing these.”
“Oh….um.” Beht-Soh flipped through the book with a troubled expression on his face, but he smiled when he caught La-Iin’s eye. “I’ll certainly try, La-Iin. Thank you.”
“And for Dami!”
“Hm?”
“I used Mama’s computer and–”
“You used my computer?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin ignored her.
“In a Manemican Vampire society they’re welcoming Vampires from all over the place to come by and visit. Apparently they’re holding a special Festival of Blood over there.”
“Really? Oh, but I would have to prepare for something that far.”
“You should go with your Mama and Dami, too.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Why not? They’re Vampires.”
Asul-Zenza blinked. “I guess I could always ask them. I only hope they have time off….it would be fun.”
“And go ahead and tell Ei-Tio’s family too, and tell Ei-Tio that I’m preparing something special for her and I won’t be able to see her until later. I don’t want her seeing it before it’s done.”
“Alright, then, I will.”
“How do you know this is even true?”
“I’ll look into it. I actually have a Vaelis-Enlash dictionary in my house, so I think I’ll be fine if any resources happen to be in Enlash.”
“That’s what I have for you.”
“Thank you, La-Iin,” Beht-Soh said, though he still cast a troubled look at the book.
“Yes. If this is true, and my parents have off time, it ! But what about you?”
“I have school,” she grumbled. “But don’t worry. I got several blood boxes yesterday. I don’t think I’ll be able to go to the Festival of Blood in Vaelyn anyway. They’re having it too far away from Bledger.”
“How do you know this?” Mit-Sun asked. She sounded genuinely confused. Again La-Iin ignored her as she talked with Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza about what she had just given them.
‘Not bad,’ she thought. ‘A lot easier than Ai-Reia, anyway.’

—–
“Oh, Mama.”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“I was thinking about you, too. Have you ever heard of a place called Vibrator?”
“…vibrator? No, and I’m not sure I want to.”
“They have vibrating furniture inside so you can relax. I saw the prices and I asked around.”
“How do you know about this place?” Mit-Sun sounded uncertain.
“Me and Fer-Shi were…considering going to it once, but we didn’t have the vuyong. And I thought you could use a break, so I also thought I’d tell you about it.”
“What’s the catch?”
“Nothing.”
“Why are you telling me about this?”
“So you can relax. You could even invite…ugh…Haner if you wanted to. In fact, he likes Makeshire, doesn’t he? There’s also a Makeshire play.”
“…”
“…so can I sleep over with Fer-Shi sometime soon?”
“That’s it?” Mit-Sun said with a chuckle. “I honestly thought it was something nefarious…geez, you’ve been pretty nice lately, huh? But how much do you want to sleep over with Fer-Shi that you’re even okay with me inviting Uil-Cur?”
“Very. She mentioned something to me at school that I have to see in person.”
“Alright then, La-Iin, just tell me when you want to go. I’ll look into these things you mentioned.”
She turned around, but then asked, “Hey, why did you give that book to Father, and tell Asul-Zenza about that festival anyway?”
“I want more clothes, and I’m hoping Dami will bring me blood. So don’t you worry, Mama. My “kindness” is all out of selfishness.”
Mit-Sun chuckled. “It’s nice all the same. It still feels a little unsettling, though…”
‘Now how to get rid of her unsettled feeling. There has to be something I’m overlooking…’
Throughout Sunday night, La-Iin continued to think on what ways she could make her “kind” deeds seem more selfish.

10.648.Confronted Once More

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 648
“Confronted Once More”

La-Iin had had a thought, Friday after classes.
As she watched the students head out the classroom, some chatting with friends before and as they left, her eyes were focused on Ai-Reia, who waved to Im-Dei and Shuera-Kaizima as they departed.
La-Iin sighed to herself. After her disastrous encounters with Ai-Reia earlier in the year, she had given up on the girl. It seemed her plan to ignite evil feelings in her had backfired, and that if she had any such feelings they were now directed towards her instead of working in her favor. Still, as she thought on her plans for Hypotheory, she found Ai-Reia popping into her head more than once.
‘She almost seems a little goody-goody now. That wouldn’t be surprising. Fyuori and Kokohara are goody-goodies, I think. I wonder if I can do something with that…’
Ai-Reia’s smarts were always one of the things La-Iin figured would be most helpful on her side. Now that it seemed quite likely she was permanently against her, it seemed more like a significant problem.
So La-Iin had made a decision. She was going to approach Ai-Reia for the first time in a while. She watched Ai-Reia closely as she waved to Kim-Koou, then stalked over to her.
“Where’re you going, La-Iin?”
La-Iin turned around and glared. Fer-Shi had been the one to speak up.
“Ahead of you,” she said coolly. “See you Monday, Fer-Shi. At the latest.”
“Um, okay? See you Monday, I guess?”
La-Iin shook her head. She walked up behind Ai-Reia and tapped her on the back.
“Eek!” Ai-Reia turned around, her eyes wide.
“A student told me he wanted to talk to you before you go,” La-Iin said. “I know you don’t like me, but he seemed shy about speaking up and turned to me for help.”
Ai-Reia glared. “What the…are you serious…” She scoffed. “La-Iin, you seem only smart enough to remember I don’t like you, La-Iin. Why should I believe you? You wouldn’t do this, I can guarantee it. You don’t care enough about others to do so.”
“How do you know? I have friends in school. But okay. You don’t want to do it. I guess I could always tell him about you trying to kill me, then.”
Ai-Reia’s eyes widened. “What–! I–”
La-Iin smirked. “Come with me, Ai-Reia. I’m sure he’s getting impatient.”
“Ho–how do I know this mystery boy even exists?”
“Oh, he does, but if you want me to raise the stakes I could tell the entire class as well as him. Oh Class D~–”
“Fine, fine, I’ll come with you! Geez, who even said that the class would believe you…”
Her common sense was telling her that even if La-Iin told the class she wouldn’t be believed, but on the inside she was terrified. La-Iin’s words only reminded her of the dark time in her life, and she didn’t want to think on that even if other students chalked La-Iin’s words up to a silly rumor.
As far as she was concerned, all that could stay in the past.
La-Iin led her outside and a short distance away from the crowd leaving Malicerie. She faced Ai-Reia with her usual expression.
“So? Where’s this boy?”
“He doesn’t exist.”
Ai-Reia scoffed. “I should have known! I shouldn’t have let your threat get the better of me. Forget you! I have to head home.” She turned away from La-Iin.
“I’ll still tell Class D, you know.”
Ai-Reia froze.
“Why are you so concerned? Who even says they’ll believe me?”
“Exactly. The problem is…I’ll remember.” Ai-Reia turned around. “Fine, you win, La-Iin. What do you want?”
“Oh, to talk. It’s been so long.”
Ai-Reia huffed. “Let me guess. This is about me ‘assisting’ you. That’s not happening.”
“I thought you would say that. You’ve gone soft, Ai-Reia.”
“Are you serious? This is the way I prefer to live life. Admittedly having friends wasn’t in my initial plan, but I’d prefer this than being miserable.”
“I see.”
“If you’re done here, then I’m heading home.”
“But the thing is, it’s not about you assisting me, Ai-Reia.”
Ai-Reia turned around.
“It’s about earlier this year. I gave up on you assisting me. But it certainly seems like you don’t want to oppose me anymore. I was curious about that.”
“You must be deluded. I don’t want to, I just will if it’s necessary. But the police would likely do a better job of that than I could.”
La-Iin snickered. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure. In case you don’t remember, they have power suppressants on their side. Suppressants for powers which are basically all that is keeping you from being the weakling you really are.”
“Oh, it sounds like I heard the real Ai-Reia.”
Ai-Reia huffed. “Don’t talk to me, La-Iin. I want nothing to do with you. I will fight you if necessary but our rivalry, if you could call it something as simple as that, is a thing of the past. I am happier without you bothering me and I’m certain you’ve found other people to use. I almost feel sorry for that poor Sara girl–I’ve seen you talk to her a few times.”
“…how?”
Ai-Reia only answered with another huff. She turned away from La-Iin once again.
“Fine then, Ai-Reia, I understand. You just want to do your goody-goody stuff now. Then you can do that. I don’t need you. But remember to stay consistent.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Don’t slip up,” she said. “Those with evil hearts are always evil at heart.”
“I think you’ve forgotten I don’t prescribe to the morality scale?”
“I know. I’m just telling you, if you want to keep your life the way it is, then work for it. Otherwise everyone will know how you really are.”
La-Iin spread her wings and flew off. Ai-Reia watched her.
“What was that all about?”
As she joined the other students on the path out of Malicerie, it nagged at her.
‘She’s just trying to get to me, saying I have an evil heart. But still…why did she say that? Is she going to tell the school what I tried to do anyway? Did she notice I had a monster in me? Just why did she say that?’
Ai-Reia sighed. ‘Oh, what’s the point in thinking on what that idiot says! Calm down, Ai-Reia. You’re fine.’

—–
‘I hope that worked.’
As La-Iin flew back home, she felt both confident and uncertain.
‘Ai-Reia was thrown off by my behavior once before. Maybe now she’ll get thrown off again. I hope so…’
She shook her head. ‘There’s always plenty of time to plan.’ She picked up her pace.

9.647.A Reason to Trust You

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 647
“A Reason to Trust You”

It was dinner time at the Sara house, and all in the family were sitting at the table–all except for Nim-Ghini.
“Your father has been letting himself get arrested too much lately, I swear.”
That, as it happened, was the source of the conversation at the table.
“Certainly, I wonder if he’s losing his finesse.”
“That’s why we, the next generation, should take his place!”
“In due time, Kyu-Aseri. You two lack the physical strength needed to take over completely.”
“What about me? I’m nearly a major. Of course, that’s going by law…which I don’t.”
“Hm, true…”
“I think you don’t deserve to head the Saras right now, Ther-Aoughin.”
“And what would make you say that, Kyu-Nhogo?”
“What you have over Kyu-Aseri and I in physical strength, you lack in mental torture.”
“I do prefer to just assault people and end it.”
“That’s your problem. You lack the finesse of mental torture. That and manipulation.”
“Oh, sweet, sweet, manipulation! I have to say that is my favorite of all the mental tortures. Have you manipulated anyone before, Mama?”
“Aha ha. What a stupid question to ask, Kyu-Aseri, of course I have. I’ve manipulated Ther-Aoughin, and I’ve manipulated Shuu-Kena, and I manipulated your father into getting me pregnant with her, speaking of…I’ve even manipulated you and Kyu-Nhogo.”
“Ooh!”
“Manipulation is a staple of an evil person. You should learn it in due time, Ther-Aoughin. You can ask Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo about it. It seems to be their field of expertise.”
“I see. And I suppose in turn I could help them bulk up to do physical damage. All in the interest of the supremacy of the Saras.”
Shuu-Kena poked at her food.
“Is it really a staple of an evil person, manipulation?”
“Why do you ask, Shuu-Kena?”
“A neutral such as herself apparently does not understand the goings-on of the evil mind.”
“Even with an evil ‘friend’ herself.”
“I would say it is, Shuu-Kena. In fact, I just did. Manipulation is very important to evil people, and knowing how to do it well even moreso. We live in a world where sometimes it’s easier to use people than it is to just mindlessly beat them out of your way. Any evil person worth their salt is a manipulator whether good or bad, and if they aren’t thinking of it they’re either ignorant or they might as well be neutral.”
“True, if you’re evil you’ll likely manipulate others in some way or another!”
“Especially if one has lofty political goals such as domination over an area. Manipulation is a trick of the trade for politicians as well!”
Her family began to laugh raucously, but their talk only made Shuu-Kena feel uncomfortable. She could remember why she and La-Iin had become friends–she had only opened up to her once she knew her family was evil.
Was it possible La-Iin was manipulating her?

***

The next day at school, Shuu-Kena couldn’t help but heave a sigh.
Science class had just ended, and now she sat on the bench in the recess area, watching La-Iin and Fer-Shi play. She wasn’t one to believe what her family said, but it did make her wonder.
It was impossible to know if La-Iin was manipulating her unless she did something to outright prove it. But with the circumstances of their friendship, she felt there was reason to be concerned.
She watched as Cae-Bougen flew up behind Fer-Shi, who was falling off the monkey bars. La-Iin began to laugh, and Fer-Shi growled at her. Cae-Bougen said something that she couldn’t understand, and Fer-Shi smiled in response. She turned back to La-Iin, again said something that couldn’t be understood, and went off with him.
La-Iin seemed frustrated. She flew over Shuu-Kena’s head. Shuu-Kena waved to her.
“Oh, hello, Sara.”
“Hi, La-Iin.”
‘Wait. Fer-Shi’s off with Veiner right now. Maybe this is my chance to get an idea of where I stand…’
Shuu-Kena knew she didn’t want to stop being friends with La-Iin, but perhaps it would at least be reassuring to know whether she was being manipulated or not.
“Good timing. Can I talk to you about something?”
La-Iin landed and stood in front of her. “What?”
“I wanted to ask your opinion on something my family told me about yesterday.” La-Iin rolled her eyes. “You know how they’re evil. Well, my mom and my siblings said that they think that manipulation is a defining trait in every evil person, and evil people who don’t manipulate others might as well be neutral. Basically. I wanted to know what you thought.”
“Manipulation is a helpful skill for an evil person,” La-Iin said. Shuu-Kena lowered her head. “I don’t know about evil people who don’t know manipulation being neutrals, though.”
“I see…well, I guess it would be. It makes sense…manipulation seems like one of those ‘evil’ actions. Of course evil people would like it.”
‘Don’t get so upset!’ She chided herself. ‘You knew this was probably coming. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about you. Although it probably says something about her priorities…’
Shuu-Kena couldn’t help but feel immensely disappointed in La-Iin. And La-Iin could tell by the look on her face.
‘Damn it! No! Not so close! Now she believes I think the same way as those Sara idiots. What now…’
La-Iin bit into her finger.
“…of course, not every evil person uses that manipulation, or at least, not constantly,” she said casually. Shuu-Kena looked up.
“You don’t have to reassure me, La-Iin.”
“I was just saying the truth. Besides…” La-Iin pondered her next words carefully. “Not everyone I associate with needs to be manipulated. Like you, for example.”
“Huh?”
“If I were to manipulate you it would probably be for information on your family…which I don’t need because in my opinion, your family is nothing but evil failures! No, I keep you as a friend for different reasons.”
“Like what?”
“You’re enjoyable to be around.”
“Really?”
“Yes. I don’t like to associate with people who annoy me constantly. Such as your family.”
Shuu-Kena’s dejected expression slowly brightened, though La-Iin could see she still wasn’t completely happy.
“You really don’t like them, huh. I always thought that was kind of strange.”
“Evil people don’t always get along, Sara. I think we get along even worse than goody-goodies do.”
“Maybe. That sounds like it would make sense.”
“Sara, you need to learn a lesson.”
“Hm?”
“I’m not the same as your family just because I’m evil. You said it yourself, you see me as different. So quit it.”
Shuu-Kena nodded. “Yeah, sorry, Cahongyun. You’re right. Sometimes even though I know you better than that, I can’t help but find my mind slipping back into that mindset. I guess I just have a hard time trusting evil people. I have nothing against them, but my family tends to make me think they’re all the same…but they’re just like good people and neutral people, all doing things for different reasons. I’m sorry I compared you two.”
“You should be, and I don’t like accepting apologies, but being compared to those failures is horrible.”
Shuu-Kena nodded. La-Iin smirked. ‘Good. This should be good enough for now. But she seems easy enough to appease. Convincing her entirely will be another story…but I can’t let her stupid family make her turn against me. I need her on my side.’
La-Iin sighed. ‘That reminds me of someone else I thought that about…’

—–
“Oh, I wanted to ask you something about manipulation, Mama.”
“What’s that, Kyu-Aseri?”
“Do you think Shuu-Kena’s friend manipulates her?” She said with a yawn.
“If she’s truly evil, then yes, she does. But that’s not important. Rest now so that tomorrow you have the energy to do what is necessary.”
Kyu-Aseri nodded and closed her eyes.

8.646.October Reboot

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 646
“October Reboot”

“It’s finally come to that time again, San-Kyung.”
“Yeah, it has, hasn’t it?”
“Mm-hm. Finally, after all these months, October is here again.”
San-Kyung breathed in. “…it was here a week ago.”
“Aw, come on, San-Kyung! You know what I mean. October can properly begin now that I’m feeling a bit better about myself. But it won’t unless you cheer up, too.”
“Hm…” San-Kyung looked uncertain. Dosa-Mina sighed. “Come on. Take a cue from me and smile!”
San-Kyung’s mouth didn’t twitch, although to Dosa-Mina’s relief he didn’t seem angry. “Good enough!”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“Still, good enough!” He growled. “Oh, come on, San-Kyung! October is your month! The month where you are most powerful, the month where you make Bledger pay and you still haven’t gotten arrested for it! And besides, this November might be a crapshoot in terms of true forms, but there’s still Operation Reboot~”
San-Kyung blinked. “Yeah, speaking of that. I’ve been looking through that notebook you gave me. Geez, I wish you were a Warlock sometimes.”
“Aha. I don’t need another species to keep track of, thank you very much. I already tend to mistake myself for a Pureblood Normal. And sometimes I forget part of my species!”
“What’s wrong with you?”
Dosa-Mina shrugged. “But anyway, point stands. October is the month where you gain power and start planning for what dastardly way you’re going to scar Bledger next. And it’s also what I want to see.”
San-Kyung smiled. “Finally!”
“Yeah, you’re right. It just hasn’t crossed my mind enough recently. What with the whole species debacle…by the way, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”
“About what?”
“Why you keep coming to school like that. I thought you didn’t like your true form.”
“I don’t. I’m just trying to. And I admit, there’s something a little liberating about not having to hide it anymore. Also I figured it was better than coming to school all depressed. I’d rather people know me as “Dslellular Dosa-Mina, Werewolf-Siren and clingy best friend” than “Dslellular Dosa-Mina, Werewolf-Siren and depressing eleventh-grader”. And it hides my left arm cuts. It was pretty spur of the moment, but I have lots of reasons for doing it.”
“Well, that’s fine. I don’t have any objections. I’m the one who kept asking you to just reveal it already.”
“Yup, you were. Oh, and also, if I’m open about it, people probably won’t think I’m like…Dereni, was it? From Class B. I’d rather not have that sort of reputation, either. Not to mention, people started getting on Lirako’s case after I did this! …okay, I’ll shut up about reasons why. There are just a lot.”
San-Kyung chuckled. Dosa-Mina lowered his head.
“It feels like it’s been so long since I last got this feeling…”
“Is something wrong?”
“No. Actually, it’s great.” Dosa-Mina looked up with a wide smile and leaped at San-Kyung, pulling him close. With a giggle, he said, “I’m definitely cheering up now!”
“Good for you,” San-Kyung grunted. “Now could you let go of me!?”
Dosa-Mina pulled San-Kyung backwards, but let go of him soon after. San-Kyung flailed his arms in an attempt to keep from falling on Dosa-Mina; in his desperation he lifted himself above the bed.
San-Kyung gasped.
“Cool! Looks like your levitation just came in!”
San-Kyung laughed and began to levitate around Dosa-Mina’s room.
“Hey! Don’t break anything!”
San-Kyung continued his levitation for a short while longer before landing on Dosa-Mina’s bed.
“This is how October should be.”
“It’s how it’s gonna be, from here on out. No species bullies, no, um…whatever your problem is–nothing’s gonna stand in the way of our October!”
San-Kyung huffed. “Well, it’s not going to stand in my way, but it’s definitely something I need to think about. As much as I’d like to pretend this October is like all the others, there are some things that changed this year. Namely, you usually accompany me in your true form. This year, that won’t be so easy.”
“Oh…”
“But still! October is my month! I don’t want to waste this one even if things get in my way. There’s always time to think on these things later. I mean my problem, of course. I’ll have to come up with some sort of excuse for you. Guess I should start thinking…”
“How about I wear my hoodie on Halloween? That covers my face pretty good.”
“Yeah, I guess that could work. And then once October’s done, maybe we can finally make some more headway in Operation Reboot.”
“Yeah, um, speaking of that. What did you think about the notes I gave you? Aside from wishing I was a Warlock, I mean?”
“It definitely made me think that I’m going to have to swallow my pride in a worst-case scenario. But then again, it’s not that surprising. After all, I’ve heard what they say about Animated Pumpkins coming about because of Witches.”
“Yeah. …actually, I don’t know if I should say this, but–”
“Did you say something?”
Dosa-Mina blinked. “N-no, it’s nothing. Hey, San-Kyung, since your levitation came in, why don’t we go for a…would you call something like that a stroll? Well, anyway, we could levitate all over Bledger and you could make some cool vine art along the way. That’s what I was thinking.”
“Sounds fine. I would like to do something else with my time aside from talking.” He stood up, stretched, and levitated Dosa-Mina into the air. The two boys head out the house and above Dosa-Mina’s neighborhood. He couldn’t suppress an amused giggle as his neighborhood grew smaller and smaller.
He also couldn’t suppress his uncertainty.
‘That’s really what San-Kyung took away from that, huh? Well, I hope he’s right. I really don’t understand this transformation after all, it seems…but if my assumptions are right, and the power surge needs to be simulated to cause the transformation outside of October…how could you make that permanent? Or, forget that–if drugs don’t seem likely to successfully simulate the transformation, then are we sure that anything will?’
Dosa-Mina sighed. ‘Maybe I’m just looking at this too pessimistic. I hope my impression’s wrong. I don’t want San-Kyung to be sad again…’

—–
“You know what, Riya?”
“What am I supposed to know?”
“Look.”
Orlin-Aesth pointed in the direction of San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina. Dosa-Mina was holding tight to a protesting San-Kyung, still in his Werewolf-Siren form.
“Huh?”
“I’m happy. Our son is cheering up, and he’s in his true form!” Orlin-Aesth grinned. “This is too much. I’m too happy!”
He hugged Elai-Riya close. Elai-Riya was tempted to protest herself, but instead, she giggled.
“Stop teasing me!” Dosa-Mina yelled, and in their surprise, they let go of each other.

7.645.Think Positive

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 645
“Think Positive”

As soon as she woke up, La-Iin could smell food cooking. Without getting dressed or even checking the time, she got out of bed and head downstairs, yawning. Choungetsu, who was sitting in front of her door, followed her downstairs with his tongue lolling.
When she arrived downstairs, Mit-Sun was setting down plates, a wide smile on her face. She continued to smile when she noticed La-Iin, though her tone sounded contrary to her expression.
“How come you’re still in pajamas? Don’t you usually get dressed before you come downstairs?”
“What time is it?” La-Iin yawned.
“It’s pretty early. Earlier than we normally get up. I felt energetic, so I decided to make breakfast now. We’ll probably have plenty of time before we have to leave, but I’m sure even if we stay home a little later than we should you’ll still make it to school on time. You have the benefit of wings and legs on your side. So I don’t think it matters.”
Mit-Sun’s smile deeply unsettled La-Iin. “Why are you so happy?”
“Oh, just things that have happened.”
“Like what things?
“Hey, you’ve been happy lately too. Why am I getting interrogated about my happiness?”
“Because mine makes clear sense. Yours doesn’t.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes, but her smile persisted. It only made the unsettled feeling in La-Iin stronger. “Well, my Papa–I mean Father–Father got out of the hospital recently. And also I’ve just been feeling pretty happy lately. Things have been going good for me, it seems. And that’s good. I really thought I was going to become one of those ‘dedicate your life to your kid’-type parents. I’m glad to see I can enjoy my own life as well as take care of you.”
La-Iin gagged. “Your happiness is astoundingly sickening, Mama. Somehow it’s even more intolerable than your half-assed goody-goodyness…”
“Oh, be quiet. I’ve been trying to think positive. Things have been great for me. You’re happy, even though you’ve been acting up, our life at home is fine, my Father is fine, even Asul-Zenza’s been less annoying lately.”
“You, complimenting Dami!?”
“Well, he’s trying his best, and he does love you, so I’ll give him that. But not to mention, Mrs. Eteibreit gave me a raise! It isn’t much, but it just seems really weird, because she’s been so grouchy lately! But you know what, I’ll take any goodness I can get. If even Mrs. Eteibreit is being nicer to me, then I’ve got to have some sort of luck on my side. That’s definitely reason to think positive in my book. And if I do, maybe if things start going downhill again, I’ll know how to handle them better.”
La-Iin nearly vomited. ‘It’s intolerable! A happy Mama is one thing. This is a whole nother! I need to knock her down soon. I don’t know how long I can take this!’
The two finished their breakfast, Mit-Sun quicker than La-Iin, who continued to gag throughout the meal.
“What, you don’t like it? Am I really that bad a cook?”
“No, this is one of your better meals. Unfortunately you brought something to the table that destroyed my appetite…”
Mit-Sun checked all of what was on the table and the floor. The only thing she could assume La-Iin was talking about was Choungetsu, who stared at her intently. She beckoned to Choungetsu and he ran over to her, though La-Iin continued to gag even after he had left.
The two got ready for school and work. They were ready long before they had to leave, as Mit-Sun had said.
“Now what?”
“I don’t know about you, but I have a little something to do.”
As if on cue, someone knocked at the door. Mit-Sun ran to answer it.
“Papa!” She hugged him close.
“Hi, Mit-Sun.” He hugged her back.
“I’m so glad to see you. Are you sure you’re feeling okay, though? I know it wasn’t that bad, but–”
“Don’t worry about me, Mit-Sun. I know I’m older now, but I’m not that old. I’m not even seventy yet. And I was able to walk all this way, see?”
“I see,” she chuckled, relief evident in her tone. “Still, it’s good to see you. I’m glad you came over. I’ll have to go to work soon, though.”
“That’s alright. Remember what you said?”
“Yes. It’ll be good for La-Iin if someone else is home when she gets back from school. Who gets home first isn’t consistent.”
“Speaking of, hi, La-Iin!” Beht-Soh waved at her. La-Iin blinked up at him.
“Hello, Granddami. Tell Mama to stop being so cheerful for me, okay?”
“Huh?”
“I think she’s a little annoyed by me being in such a good mood. I’ve been trying to tell her it’s not fair, but well, that’s La-Iin for you.”
“You do look pretty happy. You’ve been smiling almost nonstop since I got here.”
“You just got here,” La-Iin said. “I’ve had to see her doofy smile for longer.”
“What has you so happy? Did something good happen?”
“Oh, not particularly, I’m just trying to think positive like I told La-Iin. And there’s a lot for me to be grateful for. I may not have many friends, but the friends I do have are good friends. I may not like Asul-Zenza, but as annoying as he is he’s not a bad man, and he does love La-Iin. I have things to look forward to, my boss gave me a raise, I’m able to take care of La-Iin and she’s been happy…I have a lot to be grateful for, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with my life from here on out. I still haven’t decided.”
Mit-Sun glanced at La-Iin. “It’s weird. I used to think life would work better with your plans. And now I’m having to replan what I expected. It might be weird, but it is an interesting experience. I guess you could just say I’ve enjoyed the past few months and the future seems bright.”
La-Iin gagged.
“Oh, cut that out.”
“Not until you cut out your obnoxious cheerfulness. And you obviously know nothing of planning and replanning judging by your talk!”
Mit-Sun’s face twitched in agitation. “You just don’t want me to be happy, do you?” The words were said with an odd cheer, and they sent a shiver up Beht-Soh’s spine.
“Not like this, I don’t.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I guess I’m not going to change your mind. Well, we’ll have to leave soon, Father, but would you like some breakfast?”
“Alright. Thank you, Mit-Sun!”
“It’s no problem.”

***

At work, Mit-Sun’s cheerful mood was still obvious. Her coworkers noticed her carry out work she normally hated with a smile, greeting some of them as she went along her way. It stirred up quite a bit of confusion.
At least, among the coworkers that didn’t know her as well.
“I still can’t believe Mrs. Eteibreit gave you a raise! I wish she’d do that for me,” Leirhyn sighed.
“It’s something that probably only happens once in a decade,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Well, I think you deserved it. As much as I would have liked that raise, you’re the one with a child to think about.” Uil-Cur said.
“I don’t know why she gave me a raise, but I’m glad for it. I have been in a good mood recently. Maybe all that rubbed off on my work.”
“Maybe!” Leirhyn said.
Focused on talking to her two friends, Mit-Sun was oblivious to Eteibreit’s presence behind her until her boss stroked her with her tail.
“Eek!”
“Cahongyun,” she said, her tone taciturn. “It looks like you’ve completed work for the day. How perfect that you haven’t gone home yet.”
“It is?”
“Yes. I was going to ask you if you’d come to my office.” She glared at Leirhyn and Uil-Cur, though her gaze lingered on the latter as she said, “Don’t you still have work to do?”
“I actually finished that and then some, Mrs. Eteibreit. Mit-Sun has been here for a while.”
Eteibreit huffed. Mit-Sun waved to her two friends, then followed Eteibreit to her office. Despite her resolution to think positively, she couldn’t help but get a bad feeling.
‘Mrs. Eteibreit calling me to her office is never anything good…I just wonder if it’s the disturbing kind of bad or the detrimental kind of bad.’
Eteibreit sat down.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been in a good mood lately, Cahongyun. Care to explain?”
Mit-Sun was confused.
“Well, yes. There’s been a lot for me to enjoy lately. A lot I’m grateful for.”
Eteibreit’s nose wrinkled. “I see.”
“Is something wrong, Mrs. Eteibreit? You don’t look all that happy.”
Eteibreit closed her eyes for a short while; then, she said, “Of course I’m not.”
“Hm?”
“The person I just gave a raise made a grave mistake, after all.”
“What!?”
“Yes, you messed up something important while doing your job yesterday, Cahongyun. How disappointing.”
“B–but I was paying close attention! What did I mess up!?”
“Tsk tsk. You don’t even know the fatal mistake you made.”
“What is that!?”
“Go and find it yourself, Cahongyun. Prove your competence to me.” By now Eteibreit was smiling. To Mit-Sun, it seemed a sadistic smile. “Prove you are worthy of your raise by finding out what your mistake is by yourself!”
Mit-Sun had a bad feeling. She rushed out Eteibreit’s office and passed by Leirhyn and Uil-Cur.
“Cahongyun?”
“Sorry, something urgent came up!”
She checked the records of all she had done yesterday. Then, she checked the papers on her desk, the papers for tomorrow, and even went to the extent of checking all the papers she had sorted, all she had gone over and certified. Nothing seemed out of order, and she was starting to feel frazzled.
She returned to Eteibreit’s office.
“Mrs. Eteibreit? I looked through everything I did yesterday and I couldn’t find the mistake you were talking about. I don’t think I made a mistake, but if there’s something I messed up, you have to tell me! You can’t just threaten me and not even give me a hint as to…wait a second…”
Eteibreit was smiling. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, as if she was holding back laughter.
“You tricked me, didn’t you!?”
“Ah, I said it would prove your competency. I should have said your incompetency. You never fail to disappoint me, Cahongyun. At least in how disappointing you are, that is.”
“What!?”
“Just for that display of stupidity, I’m docking your pay.”
Mit-Sun gaped.
“Try thinking positively about that.”
“Is this what this is all about? Why is that making you so angry? In fact, why have you been so angry lately, Mrs. Eteibreit?”
“This is how I always am, Cahongyun. Say what you will, but you already know that.”
“I–”
From the look in Eteibreit’s eyes, Mit-Sun could see there was no further room for complaint. Frustrated, she left Eteibreit’s office and stomped back to her friends.
“What happened, Mit-Sun? You seem frazzled.”
She sighed. “It’s nothing. Nothing bad enough to get me down, anyway. I just really need to look for another job. But no matter what Eteibreit tries to do, or what La-Iin says, I’m not going to stop trying to think positively. Things have been looking up for me. And if I keep thinking positively, I’m sure there will be a better payoff than if I stopped!”
“She’s certainly fired up about this whole positive thinking thing,” Leirhyn said.
“She is. I should take her advice. I could have used it some months back…”
“Still, makes you wonder what happened with Mrs. Eteibreit to get her more fired up like this!”

—–
“Hi, Mit-Sun.”
“Oh. Mama.”
“Hello, La-Iin. Father.” Mit-Sun stretched. “Would you two like to go out somewhere?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Because my pay got docked for Thursday and Friday and it’ll throw a bone into my shopping budget,” she sighed. “We might as well do something fun while I still have the extra vuyong.”
“What are you planning?” La-Iin asked, her tone almost accusatory.
“Nothing, really. I was hoping you two had suggestions.”
Beht-Soh raised his hand. “Well, how about we go to the enigmatic part of town? I’ve heard there are whole parts of Bledger that are on the border of other cities that have some really interesting places to go.”
“Hm….as long as it’s not near Iecation.”
“Why not that one?” Mit-Sun asked. “But sure, that sounds like fun. But let’s plan it out a little more first, alright?”