The La-Iin Series
“Species Celebration Day”
“I still cannot believe you can fly!” Asul-Zenza sobbed. “I still remember the days I carried you in my arms and took you wherever you needed to go. To think of you being so independent at only six years old….!”
“Dami…I can’t even fly that high.” The two were flying together on their way to school. Although she wanted her to get better soon, La-Iin was taking advantage of the time Mit-Sun was sick to spend some time with her father. They weren’t flying anywhere near as high as Asul-Zenza could fly–only a decent way off the ground. La-Iin still had to dodge trees every now-and-then.
“Yes, but your wingspan will only grow from here on out. Soon you may have wings as large as mine. Who knows, perhaps they will grow that big even before you reach my age….how will you navigate with a body so tiny yet wings so large?”
“Dami, you’re jumping to conclusions!” La-Iin bet that if she lived with Asul-Zenza, his words would annoy her, but right now she was enjoying seeing another side to him. ‘….okay, it’s a little irritating.’
“I suppose I am. I simply….I enjoy this time with you, La-Iin. And I noticed on your calendar that your school trip is scheduled for tomorrow. By the time you are back, Mit-Sun will likely have recovered, and I will have to leave….I must take today to spend as much time with you as possible.” Asul-Zenza’s head drooped. “Ohh, but it’s Species Celebration Day. Likely your school will have a special event going on….”
“Species Celebration Day?” La-Iin asked.
“Have you never heard of it? Species Celebration Day is an annual day dedicated to celebrating all species. It only happens in places where multiple species live, so for example, we don’t observe where I live, while they’ve celebrated it for ages in places like Manemica. Many schools take as much time to celebrate it as possible. Sometimes they even forgo normal classes! Oh, perhaps if your school does, I might be able to follow you inside!”
“I’ve been going to Malicerie for a year now! I don’t think anything happens.”
“But it was on a Monday last year….perhaps you were sick?”
“I don’t remember getting sick….at least not in April.”
“Hmm….perhaps your school doesn’t have an extravagant way of going about it. Well, it does depend on the school, in the end. I’m only surprised you didn’t know what it was. It was getting popular in Vaelyn around the time you were born. I figured it wouldn’t decline in popularity after only six years….”
“Well it sounds stupid.”
“Perhaps it is a little silly. But I can see why it would be a big deal in a world such as ours…” Asul-Zenza sighed. The two flew to the entrance of the school. La-Iin was surprised to see that there were no students outside except one–Fer-Shi, who was standing at the entrance to the school. ‘Am I late or something?’
“La-Iin! La-Iin!” Fer-Shi yelled. She waved her arms wildly. La-Iin landed softly in front of her; her father quickly followed suit. Fer-Shi wrapped her in a hug as soon as she landed.
“Happy Species Celebration Day!”
“Is that all you wanted!?”
“No. But I figured, best to start off the day good, you know? Eheh heh….” Fer-Shi let go of her friend and an uncertain smile crossed her lips.
“Something’s wrong, isn’t it?”
“Well–” Fer-Shi glanced at Asul-Zenza and gasped. “M-Mr. Ghneckdo! What are you doing here!?”
“I came with La-Iin to school. Hello again, Fer-Shi.”
“Oh, uh, hello! I-it wasn’t that you came with La-Iin to school, that wasn’t what….no, what am I talking about, that’s exactly what it is! How come you came with her? I thought her Mom wouldn’t let her see you!”
“Her mother is sick right now.”
“O-oh….” Fer-Shi glanced at La-Iin. “Is it serious?”
“It’s just a fever!”
“Oh. Phew. Sorry about how I reacted, Mr. Ghneckdo! It’s not every day you see La-Iin with her Dad and all…”
“Ah, no trouble. It’s unusual for me as well….especially because we…..flew to school together….and she flew on her own….without me helping….” Asul-Zenza glanced away from Fer-Shi, the disappointment evident in his tone.
“This is new.” Fer-Shi whispered. “Oh, uhh, wait! I had something else to say to you! La-Iin, it’s serious! We’re having a schoolwide debate again!”
“Is this like the bathroom thing?” La-Iin sighed.
“Bathroom thing?” Asul-Zenza asked.
“Oh, uh! In this school we’ve got a trouble-making class called Class A. They like to teach weird stuff and bully the other classes….they act all high-and-mighty all the time. One time they complained about the bathrooms in our school.”
“I see. Sort of reminds me of a clique back when I went to junior high….they disbanded once I got to high school, though.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Say, La-Iin, do these schoolwide debates happen often?”
“No. Let me guess, Class A started it again, isn’t it?”
“What’s it about this time?”
“Species Celebration Day. The teachers were gonna celebrate it by teaching a whole bunch of species-related things and putting up fact sheets and everything about all the species! You should’ve seen when it was announced in class, Dosa-Mina’s face just lit up!”
“Why were you looking at him!?”
“I just saw his face! Anyway, a few moments later some Class A students bust into the classroom and started saying it meant something different, then Class B started saying something else too, and now Class C is saying something different as well….”
“That sounds like a predicament. At its core, Species Celebration Day is about celebrating the unique aspects of all the species and how all of them can live together in harmony….at least, that’s what I read in a book. What are the classes trying to say it’s about?”
“Maybe it’s best if you come inside…I’m sure the teachers won’t mind.”
Fer-Shi walked into the school building, La-Iin and Asul-Zenza close behind her. Instead of leading them to a classroom, she lead them to the auditorium.
For a normal day at school, the auditorium was crowded. Students took up several of the seats, teachers stood nearby, and small groups of students from all four classes stood up on the stadium, microphones in front of them.
“This place is awfully crowded….is it normally like this?”
“No,” La-Iin sighed.
“Yeah, usually it’s only crowded on graduation day or things like that.”
“Students of Malicerie!” A student from Class A yelled. “Today is a day to be treasured–Species Celebration Day. A day for celebrating your species. Accepting yourself! Being true to yourself. Yet I’ve noticed something irritating. Normals, who have all the days of the year to accept themselves and be true to themselves, are trying to hijack this day!”
Booing came from the Class A students.
“Species Celebration Day is for non-Normals. Particularly non-Normals of the Multibreed variety–and I’m not counting if you have Normal in you! We have hardly any days to accept ourselves and be true to ourselves and the one day we get Normals try to hijack! Well I won’t stand for it any longer! Normals, if you have any shred of deceny, you’ll back off and stop claiming this day as yours!”
The Class A students cheered. Once the cheering died down, San-Kyung yelled from the audience, “Aren’t you a frickin’ Normal!?”
“I-I-I-I’m like you, imbecile inner Normal! You appear with the body of a Normal despite being an Animated Pumpkin! The same applies to me. I am a Narwhaltae-Vampire-Werewolf Tribreed.”
“Um, can I say something?” Dosa-Mina called.
“No. You are a Normal. You have no right to speak.”
“I might be a Normal, but I’m also studying species!”
“Stop that! You’re invading our privacy.”
“Listen! It’s possible for some species to appear as Normals, yes. But it’d be impossible for that particular combination. Even if you masked two of the species traits, it would still be obvious that you’re not a Normal.”
“I have to look this way for my safety!”
“Don’t bother arguing with her!” San-Kyung yelled.
“Is….is that how they always are!?” Asul-Zenza exclaimed.
“Sorry, Class A, but we’ll have to disagree with you,” a student from Class B said. “Species Celebration Day is all about learning about species and celebrating their awesomeness. And Normals can be awesome too, even if they don’t have any powers. So can part-Normals!”
“May we interject?” A Class C student said. “I do not think that is what Species Celebration Day is for….is it not for a celebration of one’s own species and the species of their friends? To throw parties and such due to our own pride? I believe that is what the day is intended for.”
“That doesn’t sound right….”
“Guys, guys, guys! I don’t think it really has any meaning aside from being some day where people get all happy because of species or whatever.” Gen-Reiya sighed. “This is ridiculous.”
“Can you all just get down and let us resume classes?” A Class C teacher yelled.
“If you can’t get it through your imbecile student’s heads what the meaning of Species Celebration Day is, obviously you’re not a very good teacher.”
“I cannot stand this! This is a school! You should be learning about the species, not debating which ones can or can’t celebrate it, or what way you should celebrate the species!”
“I think I should just leave school.” La-Iin sighed.
“There’s got to be something we can do! Mr. Ghneckdo, do you think you can make them stop?”
“Why should I do anything?”
“They won’t listen to the teachers. Maybe they’ll listen to you!”
“Hey….how long has this been going on?” La-Iin whispered to Fer-Shi.
“Since History. Now it’s almost time for biology and they’re still at it….”
“No classes for us I guess,” La-Iin sighed, rolling her eyes.
“Do you want me to try?”
“Convincing them to stop.”
“You can try if you want, Dami. As far as I’m concerned, if they don’t stop you can suck their blood.”
“I’m sure that would get me in trouble!”
“It’d be worth it!”
“It’s up to you what you do, Mr. Ghneckdo, just don’t suck anyone’s blood!”
“I wasn’t planning to in the first place…” He sighed. “Alright then, I suppose I can try…..for La-Iin’s education!”
Asul-Zenza flew to the middle of the room. As soon as he did, most of the onlookers noticed him, although the four classes quickly continued their debate.
“Hello?” Asul-Zenza called.
“Fly down, intruder! We have security at the ready!” Theasis yelled. The teachers got into defensive positions.
“Oh, no, I’m not an intruder. I am the father of a student who attends this school. Cahongyun La-Iin.”
“Yes. Ghneckdo Asul-Zenza. A pleasure to meet you. I have never been to her school before.”
“Wait a second. How do we know you’re actually her father?”
“I am a Vampire and we share eye colors. I may have a differing surname than my daughter, but I can assure you we are related. What proof do you need?”
“Oh, I don’t have any of those on me….perhaps if you look at the two of us, you will notice it in our appearances. La-Iin?”
La-Iin flew over to Asul-Zenza.
“Now do you see it?”
“They do look alike,” one of the teachers said with a shrug.
“Fine. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, especially because Miss Cahongyun did respond to you calling her by her given name….but you cannot fly inside the auditorium without permission.”
“My apologies.” Asul-Zenza landed on the floor. “I simply wished to talk with your students. I notice they’re causing trouble. I wanted to see if I could help. I do want La-Iin to be able to attend her classes after all.”
“She only has one more class,” Theasis sighed.
“That is good enough for me. If you’ll excuse me…” Asul-Zenza walked up to the stage. Many of the students on the podium turned to look at him. La-Iin walked closer to the stage to hear him.
“Hello, students. My name is Ghneckdo Asul-Zenza and I am–”
“Yes, we heard it already. You’re Cahongyun’s father.”
“You needn’t be rude.”
“Anyway….I came up here to explain something.”
“Species Celebration Day is only about celebrating the species. That is all. There’s no true way to celebrate or limitation on which species can celebrate it. It’s only about celebrating the species. You should take advantage of it. Where I live, everyone is a Vampire or half-Vampire, so there we don’t celebrate Species Celebration Day. Have fun! Learn about the species, celebrate the species, talk about how amazing it is to fly or bring things to life or use all sorts of powers!”
“I think I’m a bit more qualified to speak on this as a Tribreed woman, and as far as I’m concerned, Normals should have no part in today.”
Asul-Zenza groaned. “You know what? I don’t care if you think everyone has to celebrate the day a specific way. I don’t care if you don’t listen to me. But my daughter goes to this school, and I want her to be able to actually learn, not be forced to listen on to useless prattle dictating rules for a day that only ever had one!”
“I have been alive for many more years than you, and chances are good that long after you are dead, I will still be living and learning more about the world. The day only has one rule. But if you truly wish to stick by your definition of it, fine! Just return to your class so my daughter can learn!”
“I’ve never seen Dami get so angry before.” La-Iin said. She felt the starts of a wide smile.
“It’s kinda scary….”
“Teachers, you should return to your classrooms and teach your students! Students, you should return to your classrooms and learn! Celebrate the species once school is over and have a good day!”
“Would you shut up, inner Normal!? No wonder your daughter’s half-Normal–you’re a Normal apologist! I knew it!”
“Listen, child. As I said, I will likely live long past you. Do not talk back to me.” As if to prove a point, Asul-Zenza exposed his fangs. He opened his mouth wide and drew closer to the girl, who screeched and ran away, her clique following close behind.
“You too, La-Iin. Return to class.”
“But I don’t have to go to biology.”
Asul-Zenza glared at her. To her surprise, she found herself scared and running to her classroom.
“La-Iin!” Asul-Zenza caught her. “Did you have a good time in class today?”
La-Iin sighed. ‘How can I have a fun time if I’m scared into attending optional classes!?’ She kept this opinion to herself and hugged him tighter.
“Hi, Mr. Ghneckdo! Are you going to take La-Iin home?”
“Actually, I had another plan in mind.”
“You do?” La-Iin asked.
“I figured we could go out and get a treat together, like ice cream. If you’d like, we could take Fer-Shi with us.”
“Can we go now!?” La-Iin asked.
“Sure! But can you fly on your own all the way?”
“I flew on my own on the way to school! I’ll be fine, Dami.”
“Do you have everything you need?”
“I think so.”
“I’m going to miss you so….” Asul-Zenza wrapped her in a hug. ‘He’s been in a hugging mood today….’
“Have a good time.”
Both La-Iin and Asul-Zenza turned around. Mit-Sun was standing at La-Iin’s door, wrapped in a robe.
“Mit-Sun! You should get back in bed.”
“I might not get a chance to see her off. I wanted to make sure to say something.”
As much as La-Iin tried to suppress the feeling, seeing both of her parents in the house made her happy–happier than she should be. She wiped away the tears building in her eyes. “Thank you, Mama.”
“You should get back to bed now,” Asul-Zenza said.
“Hey! I can go back to bed on my own! Leave me alone!”