18.18.Mutation of the World

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 18
“Mutation of the World”

“They say it should snow on the 20th,” Mit-Sun told her daughter as they walked down a slope. La-Iin and her mother were going on a walk together with Choungetsu. La-Iin had wanted to bring Bes-Isa, but she remembered the many times Choungetsu had attempted to rip her, and opted against it.
“Cool. Maybe there’ll be a snow day. Wait, that wouldn’t be good at all. That would be four days in a row with you.” La-Iin took the leash from Mit-Sun. Choungetsu tried to dash away during the exchange, but La-Iin gave his leash a rough tug. “Unless, of course, you let me stay with Dami–”
“La-Iin, I’m not letting you stay with Asul-Zenza. He’ll have no–er, minimal–involvement in your upbringing. You can bond with him when you’re older.”
La-Iin scoffed. “How nice of you.”
The temperature was low that day, and though La-Iin’s wings felt as cold as a rock that had been buried under snow, the rest of her was warm enough to let it go. ‘Although….’ She glared at her mother, jealous of her lack of wings.
As they reached the bottom of the slope, they could hear loud laughter. La-Iin hardly payed any attention to it and tugged on Choungetsu’s leash once again as he tried to eat a moldy ice cream cone.
“We should be careful around here, La-Iin.” Mit-Sun said. “There might be shady people nearby.”
“Shady as in wearing shades?” La-Iin replied, giving her mother as evil a grin as she could muster. She fully understood what her mother meant, but she didn’t want to pass up the opportunity.
“No, La-Iin. Shady as in ‘I don’t think we should deviate from the path because my daughter is insane when it comes to things like this and I don’t trust her.'”
“Mama, you ruin every joke with your detailed explanations.” Choungetsu attempted to eat a banana peel with gum stuck to it, and once again, La-Iin tugged on his leash.
“I have to try and get the point across, right?” Mit-Sun’s tone didn’t sound irritated at all.
“But you ruined what normally works for a joke.” La-Iin told her as she tugged on Choungetsu’s leash a third time as he started to use the bathroom.
“Don’t do that!” Mit-Sun snapped. La-Iin stuck her tongue out at her.
“Hey, hey, let the girl do what she’s gonna do.”
La-Iin kept her tongue out as she turned in the direction of the voice. Peeking out from behind a tall tree was a Minomix wearing fancy clothing that seemed out-of-place compared to the area around him.
“Aha, very funny. But listen up. I’m the parent here and you are not. So keep your nose out of our business.” Mit-Sun flashed the Minomix a glare, but he just laughed it off.
“Yeah, yeah, I know! I jus’ like messin’ with foks!”
“What did you just call me!?” Mit-Sun snapped. Choungetsu returned to La-Iin’s side, seeming as happy as ever and completely oblivious to Mit-Sun’s mood. La-Iin pinched her mother’s arm.
“We should just leave them alone. And I’m pretty sure he said folks,” La-Iin told her. Mit-Sun didn’t even turn to face her daughter. ‘Mama, now’s not the time to be getting infuriated over a comment!’
“Lassie, do you wanna fi’? You wouldn’t win.” The Minomix’s cheerful attitude had been abandoned. Mit-Sun planted her foot firmly into the ground. “Says you.”
“You wouldn’t win ’cause you’d be outnumbad!” The Minomix snapped his fingers, as if it was a signal to start the fight. Mit-Sun looked ready to jump him, but she sighed and instead stepped back. “I wouldn’t win because I would be upset that my daughter was watching. I’d be distracted, and I’d know I wasn’t teaching her anything valuable by fighting strangers.”
“But I would have loved to see you fight! It would’ve been awesome!” Mit-Sun gave her daughter a small smile at the comment.
“Too bad. You order a fi’, you get it.” As the Minomix spoke, La-Iin noticed a few other people join him–two Birdmixes, a Wingyrm, a Vampire, a Siren… ‘They’re all winged species!’
“Go ahead!” The Minomix yelled. At his words, all of the people behind him flapped their wings as hard as they could. While on their own the gusts weren’t too strong, together it was enough to send Mit-Sun, La-Iin and Choungetsu flying backwards.
The group gave a laugh and walked off. La-Iin sat up not long after. “Choungetsu, are you alright?” She called. The dog was sitting as still as a statue a small distance away from La-Iin, seeming surprised but not unhappy.
What startled La-Iin–and what she was trying to avoid looking at–was the heavy breathing that came from Mit-Sun’s direction. Despite her attempts to resist, she went to her mother’s side.
Mit-Sun didn’t look injured on the outside, but her eyes were slightly unfocused. La-Iin closed her eyes. “Mama, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Mit-Sun groaned. She let out a breath and sat up. “When that Minomix said I’d be outnumbered, I had a bad feeling he’d have backup. I didn’t think he was gonna go for a blowback.”
La-Iin wanted to make a mean comment, but she saw no point in it. She picked up Choungetsu’s leash and tugged on it, and he joined them while Mit-Sun stood up and dusted herself off.
“We should probably go back now. Choungetsu doesn’t seem as happy anyway, and I don’t want to risk running into his group again.”
“Are you kidding me?” La-Iin said quietly. “They could’ve killed us. Besides, I’ve always wanted to fight someone bigger than me.”
Mit-Sun looked at her daughter with an expression that seemed to read, “We’re not doing this, La-Iin.” ‘But then again, how do I know what she’s thinking?’
“Come on! Even if we don’t try to get back at them, we should at least continue this way. I want to see what the shady part of town is like.”
Mit-Sun sighed, but she took the leash from Choungetsu and let him lead the way. “Fine. But if anything bad happens, we’re going home.”
“Deal.”
They were still close by the area where the Minomix and his group had appeared, so La-Iin felt nervous. ‘I shouldn’t be nervous! If they wanted to fight me I could take them on, and I want to make sure Mama knows that. What’s the point of a Maniac of Evil if she doesn’t know how to fight?’
La-Iin could see the group out the corner of her eye. She was tempted to run up to one of them and bite their neck with her fangs, but she held back. Mit-Sun didn’t even pay attention to them; if she saw them out the corner of her eye as well, she was pretending they weren’t there.
They were almost out of the group’s line of sight when someone called, “Hey! Catch!”
Neither Mit-Sun nor La-Iin reacted fast enough to move out the way, and they were splashed with a ball of water.
“See? I told you being Dualbreed has benefits. You get powers from two species, ‘less you have Normal in you.” The one who spoke appeared to be a mix of a Wingyrm and a Narwhaltae.
“Guess you gotta point.” The Minomix said. “Hey, lady! Nice clothes ya got there! D’you want me to take them off?” The comment caused an uproar of laughter from the group.
“We’re going home.” Mit-Sun said, her tone as calm as possible, though La-Iin had a feeling that she was furious. La-Iin bit her lip.
“Better watch out for cradle-robbers! They might take that baby from ya!”
“I wish they’d be quiet…” Mit-Sun muttered. She tugged on Choungetsu’s leash to get him to face the opposite direction.
“Hey! Stop insulting us!” La-Iin yelled.
“Ooh, look, the little kid is trynna be a hero,” one of the Birdmixes said.
La-Iin felt her wings begin to flap furiously. “I am not a hero!”
The group gave each other confused looks before again bursting into laughter. “Da kid is stupid!” The Vampire said. La-Iin gave a growl and ran over to the group.
“Do you think it’s funny to be so petty with your evil?” La-Iin asked them. The Minomix gave her a look as if he still thought she was crazy. “You’re the petty one. If you’re trying to be evil yourself, you should try putting petty in front of that.”
“I’m not petty!”
The Minomix huffed. “Prove it.”
La-Iin gave up trying to control herself and lunged at the Minomix, managing to scrape her teeth against his neck before he flung her off of him and into the dirt.
“What’s a vampy-kid doin’ with a Normal?” La-Iin managed to get to her feet again, though she felt achy. The Minomix and his group were staring at La-Iin, and glancing at her mother, before the Minomix put a hand over his mouth.
“Don’t tell me! This kid’s a Dualbreed! A half-Normal!” The group started to laugh again. “How useless! What’s the point of being Dual if you don’t even have two powers?”
“Man, just call yourself a Normal! What’s the point of pretending you’re two different things?” The Pureblood Wingyrm said.
“La-Iin! Let’s just go home! Don’t try and stand up to them! They’ll hurt you!” Mit-Sun’s yell was edged with distress.
“I’m fine.” She said under her breath. “What I want is to show these people that I can fight.”
La-Iin turned back to them. “So you think you’re so great? Tell me, what do you gain from fighting a little kid?”
“Nothin’. And what do you gain from fightin’ us full-grown foks?” The Minomix said. “It’s pointless on both sides.”
‘They have a point, but at least I have a personal reason.’
“These parts weren’t meant for kiddies, so go on home with your Mama.”
La-Iin tried to appear strong, though she still felt a little nervous. “All I want to do is prove I’m strong. Nobody will take me seriously if I don’t look strong. And if nobody takes me seriously, how am I supposed to make this world a dystopia?”
She stopped there, finding herself at a loss for words.
“You’re one of those kids who thinks it’s cool to rule the world because one of your fav’rite characters is a villain, right? One with the typical ‘rule the world’ goal?” The Siren said with a sigh. “I can’t take kids like you who don’t have their own opinions.”
La-Iin flapped her wings furiously once again. “I don’t want you saying that.”
Although she was pretty sure she wasn’t doing anything different, La-Iin felt strange when she ran up to the group the second time. She felt as if her wings were stronger and bigger, her fangs were sharper and sturdier, that her Vampire traits were all sharpened, and that her Normal traits were virtually gone.
All she knew was that when she ran up to the group the second time, they looked startled. La-Iin jumped into the air as high as she could and grabbed onto the Siren.
“Get off of me!” He screamed. La-Iin covered his eye with one hand.
The Siren let out a scream that sounded like gibberish. “Her hand’s all slimy! It’s gross!” La-Iin disregarded the Siren’s words and instead bit his shoulder, using all her teeth and tugging as hard as she could. In this moment, she heard an odd noise, and fell of of the Siren, who let out another scream.
La-Iin felt dazed for a little bit after falling, but otherwise, she felt fine. ‘That was awesome. I don’t know what that was, but it was awesome.’
When she looked up, she saw the Siren panicking and holding a piece of flesh to the area around his shoulder.
“Oh my gosh, I am so so sorry about that,” Mit-Sun called to them before dropping Choungetsu’s leash and running across the dirt over to her daughter. “You should get him to the hospital. I’d call an ambulance, but–”
“No worries, lady, we’ll get him there ourselves.” One of the Birdmixes said. “C’mon, hang in there, Eu-Caeth!”
Mit-Sun picked up La-Iin and ran back across the dirt, grabbed Choungetsu’s leash from off the ground, and gave Choungetsu a signal that he took as ‘dash’. The small dog ran as fast as he could back up the slope, and Mit-Sun seemed to try and match his speed.

—–
“Mama, do you think that Eu-Caeth guy will die?” La-Iin asked as innocently as she could.
“Possibly!” Mit-Sun slammed a hand down on the table. “La-Iin, why’d you do that!?”
“Do what?”
“Rip off his skin!”
“I didn’t rip it all off.”
“La-Iin, do you know how scared I was?” Mit-Sun said. “You looked like your father, only more threatening. You didn’t look Dualbreed at all!”
“I looked like a Pureblood Vampire?” La-Iin asked with a smile.
“Yes. But I don’t know why. Something like that doesn’t seem like it can be anything good. Was it just the situation? Why would your appearance do a 180 randomly like that?”
“Oh, Mama, you worry too much. This is something good for me.” La-Iin told her, kicking her feet back and forth in the chair and giving a small happy noise.
‘I hope that happens again!’

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