23.143.The Chronicles of Graduates–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 143
“The Chronicles of Graduates–Part 1”

Lishe-Ashyo scribbled away in a study book. He was on the verge of a headache as he tried to write down his answers as fast as possible. His alarm rung and he screamed, then leaped off his chair and onto his bed, which bounced him away and crashed him into the wall.
“Ugh….I hate studying…it was one thing at Malicerie, but it’s even worse now…man, if college is gonna be this difficult, I’m not sure I wanna go…”
‘But Mom and Dad want you to go. Your whole family does. They’d be disappointed if you didn’t,’ he reminded himself. ‘College is something you should shoot for. After all, the Shensatas probably want Reyunis-Raeta to get into college, but with her mentality she probably won’t. And the same with the Fasoucies. With how determined Cou-Riette is to handle this mother thing all on her own, what’s the chances of her getting into college? While others your age are struggling, you have the chance! I mean, you would if you put more effort in and weren’t so stupid….’
He sighed. ‘I miss Malicerie. Back then I didn’t have to think as much about all these things. I should have prepared myself in 2013, but I didn’t. I was just so used to the Malicerie atmosphere, it was like a second home…and ever since I’ve graduated so many things have changed. Especially among my friends. I’ve lost contact with some of them. Gen-Reiya’s been talking to me a lot, but only over the phone, and now Xhen-Wu’s his girlfriend and they talk about each other a lot. Cou-Riette is a mom now and she’s still in her teens, and Mali-Ana’s almost been sort of a little nicer to me….although when she packs a punch it hurts more than before. I always thought I was okay with change, but I guess it’s finally hitting me just how much it is….I’m basically a man now, I have to handle this.’
He stared out his window. He couldn’t see Malicerie from his house, but he almost felt like he could see the shadow of his old school building as if it were welcoming him. ‘Maybe for a little head-break, Mom and Dad wouldn’t mind if I went out. Especially if I invite a friend….I mean, I can’t ask Cou-Riette, but I could ask Xhen-Wu…’

Koshi-Rhesta soared through the skies, her mind a muddle of thoughts. She had long since gotten adjusted to not going to Malicerie, even though for nearly all of March she had tried to head out on Weekdays and always had to be reminded by her family that she no longer had to go. She was used to staying home now and helping around the house, going to her part-time job four days a week, and generally doing the things expected of someone with basically nothing to do.
But all that caused the nagging feeling of wasting her time. She felt like there was something more she needed to do. As if she wasn’t contributing nearly enough as she could have been. It made her think about all the studying she had done while in Malicerie, and if any of it was even worth it. Usually those thoughts only snuck their way into her mind at night when she couldn’t get to sleep, but today they were nagging at her constantly, disrupting her flight. A few times she almost crashed into electrical poles, and after one incredibly close call she had to land for her own safety.
‘This isn’t going to help me think! I fly practically every day. I need something else. What helped me think I was contributing before?’
The answer dawned on her immediately. ‘….Malicerie.’
Without thinking it through, she spread her wings and head off for the familiar building.

Xhen-Wu was relaxing in her room when the phone rang. She picked it up.
“Saoning Xhen-Wu speaking.”
“Hey, Xhen-Wu!”
“Yo, Lishe-Ashyo! What’s up?”
“I had a dumb idea and wanted to know if you’d be okay with going along with it.”
“Depends on what kind of dumb idea it is. Is it some sort of daredevil stunt that will get us killed, or something more along the lines of sending Cou-Riette embarrassing presents?”
“Neither of those. ….wait, were you planning to do that to her?”
“Maaaaaybe.”
“Ugh….well, I actually wanted to stop by Malicerie for good ol’ times sakes. I figured we could meet Gen-Reiya and Mali-Ana outside too….”
“That’s not a dumb idea!”
“Yeah, it is! We’re gonna seem like stalkers watching the school from outside. If Mali-Ana notices us, we’ll be toast!”
“And I’m a Birdmix, remember? Birdmixes have powers. I can use a little feather tornado and knock her off her feet….”
“Please don’t do that.”
“Fine, fine, I won’t. But that sounds just fine to me. I say let’s do it. It might be a pleasant surprise for them!”
“I was hoping you’d say that! Alright, let’s meet at school. Sound alright?”
“Sounds great. See you then! Oh, wait!”
“Huh?”
“Is…is Cou-Riette coming too? Is it gonna be all five of us?”
“Nah. I’d love to ask her, but last time I saw her she was so tired out by An-Tois that she could barely stand. And that was just two days ago. I doubt she’s much better today. I’d love to invite her, but I think she needs her rest.”
“I get you…I wish she could do more things than just baby things. She has more to her than that, but I guess babies need a lot of care….alright, let’s meet up then.”
“A’ight. See you in a little!”

***

Xhen-Wu started to land as soon as she saw the familiar Malicerie building, though she kept herself in the air until she was a little closer to the actual building. Out the corner of her eye, she noticed someone else flying alongside her.
“Jhuhara!?”
“Hello, Saoning! Looks like we got the same idea!” She giggled.
“This wasn’t even my idea–it was Lishe-Ashyo’s!”
“Oh, so Coulmeta’s here too? Is Fasoucie?”
“Er, no. She had something to take care of…”
“Too bad.”
‘Wonder why Jhuhara decided to come…’ Xhen-Wu questioned as she landed nearby a window. Lishe-Ashyo noticed her and waved. She started to wave back, only to notice a familiar face standing next to him.
“Eeeeek!” She almost crashed to the ground.
“Xhen-Wu!” Lishe-Ashyo reached out to catch her. He steadied her and she landed neatly on the ground. She heard Koshi-Rhesta giggle behind her and grumbled.
“It’s nice to see you, Reyunis-Raeta,” Koshi-Rhesta said.
“Nice tu see yu to!”
“Me and Reyunis-Raeta were talkin’ while you two were flying over here. Apparently she got the idea before any of us. She was talking to me about the things she’s done since graduation. Your relationship with your little sister sounds like it’s improved by leaps and bounds!”
“It has!” She said.
“Wow, that was….oddly clear.”
“…”
“If only Fasoucie were here, then it could be a graduation reunion,” she sighed. “So, why’d all you–”
“THAT’S IT! We should do a graduation reunion! I could call Cou-Riette and ask her what day’s best for her and we can have a reunion! That might help take my mind off the doldrums of college!”
“You’re in college?” Koshi-Rhesta asked.
“Er, no. Just studying for it. My Mom and Dad really want me to get into this prestigious one, but it’s really hard and you pretty much have to be bilingual. Wouldn’t be much of a problem if I wasn’t a Normal….most languages are Normal languages, including Vaelis, so I don’t really have a natural talent of learning specific ones like you three…”
“And it seems like it wants to teach you everything too, like it wants you to know as much as possible to cover all the bases for what you might do. You guys might not know it, but my family has really high expectations for me. They want me to go to college, make a lot of money doing whatever job I have, find a nice wife at a young age and give them lots of grandchildren, that sort of stuff. I won’t say my family is anywhere near as bad as the Fasoucie’s, but it’s pretty obvious what they want of me. And of course they want the harder thing more…”
“Finding a wife?” Xhen-Wu asked.
“No, no, if I wanted that I could just ask Mali-Ana, ha ha! College. If I never gave them grandchildren, never got married, that wouldn’t be a problem if I would just go to college….they’re expecting something they really want out of me. They love me but they’re kind of a pain in the ass….aw, dammit! I didn’t mean to get into a whole spiel about me….I just felt comfortable all of a sudden. But yeah, nice to see you girls again. How’s things been for you?”
“What do you expect? I do pretty normal teenage things. I’ve been hanging out with Gen-Reiya a lot after…” Noticing Reyunis-Raeta and Koshi-Rhesta, Xhen-Wu felt her face flush.
“Oh yeah, you confessed to him during graduation, didn’t you? How’d that go?”
“Er…”
“They’re dating now,” Lishe-Ashyo said. Xhen-Wu hid her face.
“Good for you!” Koshi-Rhesta said.
“Yey!”
“Guys, stop it! Lishe-Ashyo, you could have kept that a secret…”
“Why? What if he kisses you when he leaves school? Everyone will know~”
“Shut up.”
“How about you, Koshi-Rhesta? How’s it all been?”
“…I feel like I’m wasting my life. I actually came here to see if I could find out what made me think I was contributing anything to the world when I went to school….”
“She’s been straglin wit dat letly,” Reyunis-Raeta said. Lishe-Ashyo and Xhen-Wu blinked at each other.
“Don’t worry! I’m sure you’ll find something.”
“I hope you’re right, Saoning.”
“Hey, I don’t mean to interrupt, but what class do you think they’re on?”
“Well….looks like everyone’s in there, so it should be the last class. We should wait nearby the front.”
“Sounds good!”

Students poured out the school not long after it ended. Lishe-Ashyo, Koshi-Rhesta, Reyunis-Raeta and Xhen-Wu waited at the side, glancing all around the crowd for Gen-Reiya and Mali-Ana. They saw several familiar faces, such as La-Iin, San-Kyung and his friend, Deki-Tyunri and Lirako, among new faces such as a tall Groundiser boy and a tiny Catori who walked alongside Im-Dei.
“There they are!” Lishe-Ashyo hissed. The crowd started to thin a bit, so all four of them ran up to the two.
“HELLO!”
“AGH!” Mali-Ana dropped her bag and ran behind Gen-Reiya. Lishe-Ashyo noticed her eyes fall on him. Her expression turned to one of rage and she launched herself at him, only to be stopped in her tracks by a flurry of feathers and a small ball of water.
“That was a bad reaction, Mali-Ana,” Xhen-Wu said.
“Lishe-Ashyo! Xhen-Wu! You came to see us! And is that Jhuhara and Shensata? Hi!”
“Hi Gen-Reiya!” Koshi-Rhesta said.
“You didn’t need to scream at us!” Mali-Ana yelled.
“Yeah, but I thought it would catch your attention, and apparently the girls thought so too!”
“You idiot,” Mali-Ana huffed. Lishe-Ashyo noticed the starts of a smile.
“Aww, you’re happy to see me anyway, aren’t you, Mali-Ana? I know you are! You’re always happy to see me and you’re awfully nice over the phone!” He started to tickle her.
“That’s….because….” She giggled.
“Because whaaaat? ‘Cause we’re such good friends?”
“Because….I….DON’T HAVE TO SEE YOUR UGLY FACE OVER THE PHONE!” She reached out to punch him. He moved out the way. “Your violent responses are getting predictable, Mali-Ana! You need to do something about that.”
“Get some training?”
“No! Please! It already hurts enough when you hit me!”
“I guess she hasn’t changed at all since I graduated…” Koshi-Rhesta sighed.
“Nope, not at all. Hey, Gen-Reiya! Nice to see you!”
“Nice to see you too, Xhen-Wu.”
“Hey, Mali-Ana!” Lishe-Ashyo said, dodging another punch. Mali-Ana scowled at him. “What do you want now?”
“Us graduates were talking about doing a graduation reunion, where we all get together and have fun and catch up. You may not be a graduate, but I thought maybe you’d like to help out, seeing as three of your friends graduated and all.”
“How are you gonna do a reunion if Cou-Riette’s so busy?”
“We’ll pick the day she can come. It’ll be a surprise for her since the rest of us planned it already.”
“Ohhh. That sounds like it might be nice…”
“Yeah, and maybe it’ll give us all an idea of what to do with our life, even if we might be able to kinda guess what Cou-Riette’s gotta do with hers,” Xhen-Wu said. She ran her claws through Gen-Reiya’s hair.
“Is Cou-Riette studying for college too?” Koshi-Rhesta asked. The four friends glanced at each other, each understanding just by their expressions what they had to say.
“It’s complicated….yeah.”
“I wunder what’s goin’ on…” Reyunis-Raeta whispered.
“Yeah, me too.”
“But yeah! I say we plan it all out tonight, call Cou-Riette, and ask her what the best day would be. Then we set everything up at whoever’s house is most convenient.”
“Uh, can we do it tomorrow instead?” Gen-Reiya asked.
“Why?”
“Mi-Yagi has something going on tonight. My family wants to go support her…”
“Oh?”
“Hey, what if Cou-Riette says the most convenient day is tomorrow, then? What do we do?”
“Well, I’m sure Gen-Reiya wouldn’t mind us doing some of the planning without him….and we’re six people strong. We can set it all up fairly quickly if we put our minds to it. After all, it’s just a reunion! We’re not gonna need much. But if there’s one thing I’d like to decide with you here, it’s whose house we’ll be holding it at.”
“Then I don’t think we should do it at mine. We’ve been sort of busy lately and going in and out. People could randomly intrude….” Koshi-Rhesta said.
“Yeah. Mine is bad too. Edaes-Thirri wo’ be dere….” Reyunis-Raeta said.
“Then it’s the same for me. Mi-Yagi just intrudes into pretty much any business of mine. The day she found out I was dating Xhen-Wu was a nightmarish day the likes of which I wouldn’t want to relive…” Gen-Reiya sighed.
“That leaves us three, then. So whose house is it gonna be?”
“Um!”
“Yes?”
“I guess I don’t mind if we hold it at my house….because….I’ve sort of, kind of, only a smidgen missed you all being at school. But not in my room! And also, I’ve got the least family at home, I think.”
“Do you?”
“Well, all three of the ones who declined have siblings. And Xhen-Wu, you have a brother, don’t you?”
“Yeah.”
“That leaves just me and Lishe-Ashyo without siblings, and he has both of his parents. I only have my dad, and he’s not that intrusive. He leaves me alone when I want to be left alone, so if I say some friends of mine are coming over he’ll probably leave us be. I think mine would be the best.”
“She’s got a point,” Lishe-Ashyo said. “Alright! The Reusung house it is. Thanks, Mali-Ana.”
“Don’t thank me!” She balled her hand into a fist, but kept herself from hitting him.
“I should probably get going now, guys. Make sure you have a lot of things thought through when I can join the discussion!”
“Alright!”
Lishe-Ashyo stuck his hand out. “Come on, you guys, do it too!”
Gen-Reiya stuck out his hand, and Xhen-Wu quickly followed with her claw. Reyunis-Raeta stuck out her flipper, and Koshi-Rhesta stuck out her wing. Mali-Ana scowled, but she stuck out her hand, which was still balled in a fist.
“Let’s do this!” He yelled. After their entire discussion, it was only that that brought attention to them.

—–
“Hey, Mali-Ana?”
“What?”
“Thanks for offering up your house. I really didn’t want people to come by mine and see how messy my room is…”
“You should clean up more! Let me come by and tidy it!”
“Wh–what? No, you don’t have to do that. I can handle it.”
“Ugh, I bet you’ve got porn everywhere, don’t you?”
“Actually, no. It’d just be embarrassing for you to see how messy everything really is….also, I don’t let other people into my room, soooo….”
“So even you have emotions outside the range of a generic protagonist.”
“Hey! But I guess I should say something similar. It’s nice to see that you can be selfless sometimes…I thought that was admirable and well thought-out, the way you offered your house. Thanks again, Mali-Ana.”
Mali-Ana’s cheeks went bright pink. “You’re…you’re welcome…”
“Not gonna call me an idiot?”
Mali-Ana didn’t respond and lowered her head.

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