28.179.La-Iin and San-Kyung–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 179
“La-Iin and San-Kyung–Part 1”

“My days lately have been filled with happiness,” La-Iin said.
“Because of that dumb friendship, let me guess? You said he got pissed off with you anyway. Are you sure he’s not just doing it begrudgingly?”
“I think he’s tempted to show off hatred in front of others, and I don’t blame him. Sometimes a friendship can make you look weak. It’s why I picked on Fer-Shi so much.”
“Might it be why you said he rejected his friend’s advances? Perhaps he enjoys them outside the public eye….”
“Shut up, Bes-Isa.”
La-Iin looked up at the sky. The sun was still shining bright, and she had no idea what to do with the day. She sighed. ‘I hate boring days like this. They come too often….’
She focused on the clouds and her thoughts, trying to make something out of them. She heard footsteps, but chose to ignore them. She tried to see a moving cloud as the children she imagined she’d have one day.
“La-Iin.”
‘Did I imagine that?’ La-Iin rubbed her eyes and glanced up. She met a familiar set of green eyes.
“Whoa, what the hell? Hey, La-Iin, did you–“ La-Iin snapped her fingers and Bes-Isa fell silent. San-Kyung kept a blank expression on his face, but La-Iin could not keep hers still. She could feel herself start to smile.
“I–”
“I can’t believe you came to visit me,” she cooed, hugging onto his leg. “How’d you even know where I live?”
“I’ve just been walking around the area you come from since morning…”
“Were you looking for me? Or was it just coincidence?”
“It’s not coincidence,” he sighed. La-Iin squealed internally. “I came here to ask if you’d come with me somewhere.”
“You don’t even need to ask. Of course I’ll go with you.”
“That won’t be a problem with your mother, will it?”
“I don’t care if it is!”
“I’m not going to get in trouble as an extension of you getting in trouble.”
“I thought you liked getting in trouble.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, La-Iin…can you just tell her so I don’t have to worry about an angry mom chasing me down?”
“But San-Kyung, you have powers and my Mama doesn’t. If she chases you down you can stop her!”
“Can you be reasonable for once!?” He snapped. La-Iin flinched. “I like that assertiveness. Okay, I’ll tell her. But this is mostly for me.”
Suppressing her excitement felt like it would be hard, but she felt relatively calm as she flew up to her house and opened the door. She maneuvered Bes-Isa over to her before quickly snapping her back to sleep and carrying her as a Normal would.
“Mama?” She called.
“Yes, La-Iin, is there something you need?”
“I’m going to go somewhere with…Fer-Shi,” she said.
“Are you? Did you call her recently? I don’t remember any calls…”
“She just stopped by now. I don’t know how long we’ll be out.”
“You can hang out with her if she’s there. No point in wasting her trip. But don’t stay out too late!” She called.
“Okay,” she said. She left the house and closed the door.
“We’re safe!” She said. “We should go now!”
“Alright. I’ll lead the way. You follow. And stay quiet until we get out of the neighborhood. Also, does that dress have a hood?”
“No, it does not.”
“Ugh…then take out your headband.”
“Why?”
“Because I asked you to.”
“Will you have a good explanation for this later?”
“Yes.”
La-Iin took off her headband. Her bangs flopped in front of her eyes. “If I crash into things, it’s not my fault!”
Through her obscured vision parts of San-Kyung were still visible. She followed him closely. Her bangs made it impossible for her to see where she was going, but where she might have been on her guard weeks ago, now she felt perfectly safe. San-Kyung continued on in silence; La-Iin wondered what was going through his mind.
“If you want to run your mouth, we’re in the clear now. But you’re going to have to be quiet again eventually. So listen close for my signal.”
“San-Kyung, can I ask some questions about you?”
San-Kyung scoffed. “Why?”
“Because earlier you said there’s a lot I don’t know about you. I’ve been focused on you for a year, San-Kyung. If we’re going to be friends, then I want to know more.”
San-Kyung was silent at first, then said, “Fine. What do you want to know?”
“Well, what sort of things do you like to eat?”
“I prefer to drink water over eating anything.”
“Um, um, how strong are your powers? Have you mastered them all?”
“I at least know all of them. They’re strong right now, but they’ll get stronger soon enough….”
“You haven’t changed your feelings towards rival-boy, have you?”
“Why, you don’t want me to hate him?”
“No, I mean, you don’t love him, right?”
“I love him as a friend. Stop worrying about that!”
“You’re right.”
The path San-Kyung was leading her down was starting to look unfamiliar. La-Iin moved her bangs out of her eyes and glanced around. San-Kyung kept focused on their path. He seemed to know the path well.
“So have you been this way before?”
“Many times.”
“And I want to make sure of something, San-Kyung, you consider yourself evil, right?”
“Yes. Miles more than you’d ever be.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that~”
“Someone like me doesn’t let himself get swayed by his emotions as easily as you do. Completely devoting yourself to someone is the path to failure. Even if you love someone and consider yourself devoted, you can never make them your whole life. That’s the perfect set-up for betrayal. The way that you become weak. You need to learn that if you really want to be evil, La-Iin. Loving people is…..fine, I guess….but you can’t let yourself get too wrapped up in it. You have to be prepared for the potential day that you might need to throw them to the side. You have to be prepared to lose them.”
“You act like I don’t know that already,” La-Iin sighed. “You realize how long people with Vampire blood live, right? I know that I’ll outlive almost everyone, even my Dami someday. Someday all I’ll have is Bes-Isa….and my children, if I get to have them.”
“Children?”
“Pretend you never heard that.”
“….riiight.”
La-Iin glanced up at the sky. The sun had started to set, and her legs ached. She switched to flying. “This is a long walk, isn’t it?”
“It takes more than half an hour normally. From your house and with the time I wasted looking for it…yeah, it’s a long walk.”
“Will it take that long to get back home?”
“Worst comes to worse, we can camp out. Your Mom might just believe that we’re sleeping over. All you have to do is tell her that’s the case.”
“Do you say that to your Mama?”
“….I have other ways of letting her know where I am. You know, La-Iin, you asked about me, now it’s my turn to ask about you. Who’s your father? And is he evil like you?”
“My Dami isn’t evil, unfortunately, but he’s that tolerable level of good.”
“What’s a tolerable level of good….?” San-Kyung sighed.
“I’ve learned to deal with it after spending lots of time with Fer-Shi. He doesn’t live with us because my Mama hates him. What about you? You live with your Dami, right?”
“Is that some sort of Vampiric word for Dad?”
“I’ll never understand why more people don’t call their fathers Dami.”
“Yeah, I live with my Dad. ….I guess my parents are that ‘tolerable’ level of good you were talking about.”
La-Iin lifted up her bangs again. San-Kyung was starting to slow down as they entered a hidden part of a nearby city. La-Iin recognized the area as somewhere San-Kyung had been with Dosa-Mina–somewhere she had followed them to. The area looked badly worn and hardly cared for. It looked abandoned.
“Does anyone live here?” She asked.
“Yeah, but not many people. I come here with Dosa-Mina on occasion to blow off steam.”
“You set fire to their houses!?”
“Shh! Quiet!” San-Kyung pulled up his hood. “Look, the whole reason why I wear a hooded shirt here is because I’ve done things here that could get me arrested. Or at least, arrested by the crazy authorities who patrol this area. They’re not that active, but when they are, they’ll stop at nothing to catch me. They already know I’m AP. I’m not going to tell you to coat your wings, but try to keep the flying to a minimum.”
La-Iin dropped to the ground more abruptly than she expected. San-Kyung picked her up and started to run off. Through her bangs La-Iin had a feeling she saw a tall Ferreniao run by.
San-Kyung ducked into a clearing filled with rocks. He put La-Iin down and glanced through the trees.
“What’d you do that for?”
“Because you’re too loud, and we almost got caught! I’m sure there might be wanted signs somewhere for an orange-skinned adolescent male….”
“Huh?”
“Teenage boy.”
“Oh.”
“Besides, it’s safer to wait anyway. Once everyone’s calmer, then we can cause havoc, if you want to.”
“Of course I’d love to cause havoc with you,” she said. Her tone made San-Kyung feel uncomfortable.
“Geez.”
“Why do you care so much about the police finding you anyway? You could probably get away from them, or bust out of jail…”
“There are so many reasons why. So many. For starters, if they figure out my identity, they might follow me out of here and keep attacking me. I might have to move away from Bledger, possibly Dosa-Mina by extension, not to mention our parents. As for jail, species with powers that might allow them to escape jail–which is almost every species, mind you–are given a drug to suppress their powers. How could I get out of jail then?”
“Does it wear off?”
“Eventually, I think…but they probably dose you up with it again once it does.”
“Hm…”
“This would be no problem if it was October, but it’s not.”
“What’s so great about October?”
San-Kyung gave her a look that seemed to be saying ‘Are you an idiot?’ “You know about the AP birthday situation and you don’t know about this?”
“Know about what?”
“If whoever told you didn’t, Animated Pumpkins only assume our true form when born anytime in October. Other months make us look like…well, this.”
“What? But if that’s the case, then how come there aren’t more Aesthetically Normal ones?”
“AP Breeding season is in October. We’re also a lot more fertile in October…the chances we’ll impregnate, or get pregnant, go up significantly. As do the strength of our powers. The ancestors of Animated Pumpkins were created by significant surges of power in the month of October. Because of this, all people with AP blood experience a significant power surge–enough to turn even the weakest AP into a fiery monster.”
“Wow! So you must be really powerful in October!”
“Yeah….my powers increase in strength gradually until October, when they finally go into overdrive. The power surge is enough to cause a change in the bodies of Aesthetically Normals. I love October because it’s the month I’m strongest. The month my body starts to genuinely feel like mine….and then, of course,” he sighed before continuing, “there are times when Animated Pumpkins aren’t born in October. Like me. People whose parents were lustful or whatever. Who thought that was how they have to express their love or they wanted a child that bad….so bad they never thought of the consequences.”
“Hm…”
“The best day, hands-down, is Halloween. It’s the last day of October–the last and the best. The day when my powers are in full-blast. The day where my body changes to the point I’m unrecognizable. That’s when it’s safe to go around without a care of what happens to me. Nobody can touch me that day.”
“I’d love to see that!”
“You’ve been going to Malicerie since last year, same as me. How did you not notice any changes in my body?”
“Your body changed?”
“….you’re stupider than I thought.” He looked out through the trees. “Unless you want to forgo messing around with this village, this could end up being a night to camp.”
“I’m okay with that!”
“Of course you are…fine, then, find a comfortable area and I’ll make camp. I’ll find something to drink and you can have blood or whatever.”
“From where?” She grinned. “You?”
“….there are plenty of animals around that you could suck from. Or you could take the risk and suck from a resident…just go find an area to camp!”
La-Iin scoffed at him before walking away. She glanced over her shoulder one more time. San-Kyung was further away now. She grinned. ‘Tonight is going to be so fun!’

—–
“Have you done this a lot before, San-Kyung?” La-Iin asked as she curled up under a makeshift blanket.
“Not a lot. Only sometimes….and I didn’t want to. Being this close to hungry animals is a problem for me…also, I’d rather be home. But I told my parents this might happen. This is more convenient than coming here and doing nothing.”
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow!” She squeaked. San-Kyung seemed to glare, but she couldn’t tell in the darkness.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Good night, San-Kyung~” She hummed.
“Yeah, whatever. I’m not going to sleep right away anyway…I have things to think over.”
“Go ahead and think over them. I’ll get lots of sleep for the havoc tomorrow.”
“Yeah, you do that. Good night, La-Iin.”
San-Kyung stared out at the cluster of houses. He sighed. ‘He was right. I should have planned this out a bit better. Still, it’ll be worth it if I’m right. Worst comes to worse, I can leave her to be ambushed by the people here.’
He stared at the stars through the trees. ‘I wish you were here to help me right now….’

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