The La-Iin Series
“The Mind Does Its Own Thing”
“I can read your mind.”
La-Iin blinked at the boy in front of her. “No, you can’t. You’re a lame Normal.”
“Says you. I have abilities you would never dream of having. V-Puppetry? Ha. A joke. Any shmuck can make a dolly or two come to life. Bloodsucking? Don’t make me laugh. It’s a survival method, not a power. Those fangs of yours? Little holes in the bottom that suck up the blood and send it to the stomach. Nothing powerful about that. Just basic biology.”
“How do you know biology? You’re in first grade.”
“First graders can go to biology class too. Also, I’m second grade. Required attendance. Get your student facts right.”
“That still doesn’t mean you can read my mind. If you’re so confident in your abilities, prove it.”
‘Like a lame Normal could read minds! What a liar.’
“‘Like a lame Normal could read minds! What a liar’. Am I on, or am I on?”
La-Iin froze. “Looks like I win this round, La-Iin Cahongyun.”
“I never said you were right.”
“But you froze. Like you were scared. Of course, if you tell a little kid, or anyone actually, that you can read their mind and give them proof, they’ll be scared. But you know what that means, La-Iin?” He leaned over his chair and faced her. “I can read your every thought.”
La-Iin almost threw over her desk. The teacher cleared his throat.
“Miss Cahongyun! Mr. Gyurkang! SHUT UP! No conversation is worth interrupting class for!”
“Best not to think anything horrible. I can just tell the teacher you thought it.”
La-Iin laid her head down on her desk. Her brain wasn’t functioning anymore. It was like Gyurkang had shut it down.
“What? Shan-Zetsu said he could read your mind?”
“Yes. And it could’ve just ended at me proving him wrong. But instead, he proved me wrong. He said what I thought, word for word. And he said that if I think anything horrible, he’ll tell the teacher.”
“Well, you don’t need to worry about that last part. The teachers won’t believe he can read minds…wait a second, that won’t work.”
“Exactly! This is an enemy I don’t know what to do with. He has all sorts of ways to counteract me. If the teachers think he’s lying, all he has to do is read their minds. I can get in trouble just for thinking!”
“Maybe the teachers won’t get as mad as we think. Maybe they’ll be more mad at him for using his power.”
“Tch. I can’t believe a Normal has a power. If he has a power, then obviously he’s not a Normal. But then again, he looks just like a Normal.” She groaned. “I have no idea what to do!”
“Well, the next class is about to start. For now, try to think about innocent things. Maybe he’ll be bored and read someone else’s mind instead.”
“Maybe he’ll read that Catori’s mind. After all, she’s always jabbering about something.”
La-Iin followed Fer-Shi back to the classroom. ‘Math class and Shan-Zetsu. Great.’ Shan-Zetsu was staring at her from a distance with a mischievous look. ‘I really don’t need more snarky rivals!
‘No, wait, don’t think that! He’ll get mad.’
La-Iin started to get angry as she took her seat. ‘I shouldn’t be getting in trouble! I shouldn’t have to be watching what I think! I’m a future Maniac of Evil! Maniacs of Evil don’t listen to anyone! But wait, if he listens to my thoughts, I might never get to be a Maniac of Evil. Dammit! So many times this year I have to stay low-down just so I can achieve my dream! This is ridiculous!’
Shan-Zetsu turned around. La-Iin flinched. He smirked, then turned away. The teacher entered the room. La-Iin was still stewing in her thoughts as the lesson began.
‘He’ll be the first one to become my slave when I rule the world. No, wait, that’s too generous. In any event, he’ll read my mind if I do that! Wait a second, I’m thinking right now. He might be listening in on my plans! He did turn around to look at me. He knows everything! Nothing I think I can keep a secret from him. If I think all the curse words, he’ll know! If I think about San-Kyung, he’ll know! Oh no! Oooh, I hate this boy! I’ve sucked blood three times before. I can certainly suck someone dry. And he’ll be the first one I kill!’
In her anger, her wings began to flap rapidly. The teacher cleared her throat. “Miss Cahongyun, what are you doing? Pay attention in class!”
La-Iin didn’t respond, although she tried to calm her wings. ‘Stupid Shan-Zetsu! He’s getting me in trouble without even saying anything! I hate this! I hate him!’
She punched him in the back of the head. The teacher gasped. “Miss Cahongyun!”
“It was an accident, Ma’am,” she forced through grit teeth.
“Oh, she definitely did it on purpose, teacher. If it was an accident, it wouldn’t have hurt so badly. Oww! Why are you so mean, Cahongyun?”
“Stop acting like you’re a victim!”
“I am a victim. Of Cahongyun violence.”
“Says the boy who’s made my day miserable!”
“Whatever did I do to you?”
“Miss Cahongyun! Mr. Gyurkang! Cease this conversation at once! And Miss Cahongyun?”
“I want to see you after class.”
Shan-Zetsu looked coy. It took all La-Iin’s resistance not to punch him so hard his nose bled.
“Miss Cahongyun, we have many students throughout the school of various different alignments. And at Malicerie, we don’t care whether you want world peace or world domination. But because of that, we’ve come to adopt a neutral stance on the good vs. evil debate. And also because of that, we don’t condone evil actions in our school. Excuse my repetition, but we have many different students of various alignments. Some students are raised in families opposed to evil. We are not going to get sued because a student who aligns with evil did something bad. Do you understand?”
“No. I should be able to do whatever I want. And anyway, Shan-Zetsu was already mean to me before I was mean to him. So why isn’t he in trouble?”
“All you told me was that he was a ‘jerky jerk-jerk’. You never said what he did. As far as I can tell, I can chalk this up to zeroth grader nonsense.”
“Do you want to know what he did? He’s been reading my mind! All sorts of evil thoughts are in my mind! It’s an invasion of my personal space! He’s making thinking a crime for me!”
“….Miss Cahongyun, have you gone mad? Mr. Gyurkang is a Normal. As you yourself have said many times, Normals possess only rational powers–that is, nothing that was seen as fantasy back in the middle ages. And besides, no species, Normal or not, possesses the ability to read minds.”
“But he said what I was thinking word for word. He’s trying to pry into my head to find my plan for world domination. And I know everyone in Class D already knows I’m going to take over the world when I grow up, but I don’t want them to know how I’m going to do it!”
The teacher sighed. “Miss Cahongyun, have you ever wondered if he was able to do that because your thought pattern is so predictable?”
“How dare you!”
“Miss Cahongyun, you only just had your sixth birthday. I’ve been working at Malicerie for a few years now, and I’ve met many children around your age. Their thought patterns are incredibly predictable. Only a few have been different. So he likely thought, given that your thought pattern would be predictable at your young age, he could tease you by saying he could read your mind. Thus, how he managed to repeat your thoughts word for word. Go ahead, think something complicated that he wouldn’t expect, like a math problem. I’m sure he’ll be stumped.”
“I don’t get it.”
The teacher gave another sigh. “Think up something he wouldn’t expect, then ask him to read your mind. I assure you, he’ll get it wrong, and you can be all friendly with him again.”
“Friendly with him!? I hate him!” La-Iin screamed.
“Yes, yes, now run along. I want to catch my break.”
La-Iin waited patiently through biology class for Shan-Zetsu to arrive at the recess area. She tried doing many things to distract herself. She looked at the few children outside and thought about their species. She pondered powers. She stretched her wings. She daydreamed about San-Kyung. But nothing kept her attention for long. All she wanted to do was prove Shan-Zetsu wrong and be done with it.
Normally, it didn’t feel like biology class took so long–in fact, it seemed to her like Fer-Shi was in and out, playing with her in the recess area after only a few minutes. But today, the waiting time was agonizing, and La-Iin began to wonder if he’d come to the recess area at all.
Just as she was about to start plucking out her eyelashes, Fer-Shi stood over her. “Wow, you look bored. You should count yourself lucky. Biology class was brutal today, and not in a hard way. Miss Hyungdarou was explaining the most basic of biology. I learned that all the way back when I entered the second grade. I didn’t need to be reminded.”
“Miss Hyungdarou is an idiot. She only talks about one organ at a time.” La-Iin took a glance around. “Did Shan-Zetsu come with you?”
“No, but I saw him on the way out here. Why?”
“I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind.” She slammed her fist into her palm. Fer-Shi shook her head. “No violence!”
“For once, there really will be no violence. I just want to show him up. He humiliated me for the early day. I’m not going to suffer through the last class.”
Shan-Zetsu was playing on the monkey bars. La-Iin wanted to knock him over, but she felt like Fer-Shi’s eyes were boring holes into her back. So instead, she stared at him just as intensely.
“Oh, hi La-Iin.” He got off the monkey bars. “Did you want something?”
‘Let’s hope this works.’ “What am I thinking about right now?”
“You said you could read minds. What am I thinking about right now?”
Shan-Zetsu blinked. La-Iin tried to dwell on her math teacher’s advice. ‘A slave to me, he shall be. A slave to me, he shall be….’
“‘I bet he can’t guess what I’m thinking! He’s lying about being a mind reader!’ So? How on am I? I may have fudged the wording a little, but–”
“You’re completely off.”
“I knew it. You’re nothing more than a lame Normal! You put me through agony earlier today for your own pleasure! Well, guess what! Now I’m getting that pleasure back! You should see the look on your face!”
Shan-Zetsu glared at her. “Well, it only works occasionally, anyways.”
“Don’t try and pull a fast one on me! What am I thinking right now?”
Shan-Zetsu blinked. ‘Maybe I’ll make this one easy for him. Not like he can read my mind anyway.’
“Uhm….you know what, never mind, La-Iin! This game isn’t fun anymore. You’re not fun. No wonder nobody likes you!”
“Fer-Shi likes me.”
“And I have no idea why! She’s one of our best in Class D!” Shan-Zetsu sighed. “Just go away. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”
La-Iin felt triumphant. She gave her wings a conceited flap.
‘….how do you do that?’
“I have something for you to think about, Fer-Shi.”
“If someone told you not to think about something, don’t you think that would make you want to think about it a lot? Shan-Zetsu told me not to think anything mean or else he’d tell the teachers, and I kept thinking about hurting him.”
“You can be such a jerk sometimes….”
“I’m not finished. If I told you not to think about me, don’t you think you would start to maybe get worried, and then think about me a lot?”
Fer-Shi blinked. “Probably. If you said not to think about you, I think I’d get a little worried, yeah.”
“So maybe, the whole reason why Shan-Zetsu told me not to think those things, was so I would think those things and he’d be able to get more correct answers.”
“That’s probably it.”
“I wonder why that happens?”
“Species nature, I suppose.”