The La-Iin Series
“This is a great party, isn’t it, Cyar-Hee? Nearly all of Ardia must be here!”
“Well, nothing much’s happening right now, is it?” He sighed. “I hope things pick up soon….”
“I’m sure they will! This isn’t like a fancy party or anything, it’s just a kick-back-and-relax type. Ignore the people wearing fancy clothes! C’mon, whaddya say we attack the refreshments while we wait for something to happen?”
Cyar-Hee’s friend ran giggling ahead of him, but the Siren felt uncertain about the party still. Nothing much was happening. It hardly seemed like a party. He almost regretted coming, but he would never tell his friend that. He walked over to her as she started on samples of cheese.
“These are specialized, creation-approved and verified “Person Cheeses”,” a nearby Goathoof said. Cyar-Hee didn’t recognize his accent. “This one right here is from the milk of a Normal. This one is from the milk of a Siren. This one was made from the milk of a rare breed of Catori.”
“Oh my gosh, so good,” his friend moaned. “Try one, Cyar-Hee! Which cheese do you think sounds the most interesting?”
Cyar-Hee felt uncertain. The idea of eating cheese from a person’s milk made him imagine things he felt horrible for imagining.
“I…I think I’ll take the safe route and say Siren,” he mumbled.
“Yay!” She popped a piece of cheese into his mouth. “So, whaddya say? Good?”
“Mmm….” Cyar-Hee had to admit, it was a good piece of cheese. When he remembered it was made from Siren milk, he was flooded with a feeling of embarrassment. “It was good, but I wouldn’t eat it again…”
“You seemed like you liked it more than that. Oh well, more for me!” His enthusiastic friend set to work on the cheese again.
‘She’s still the most happening at this party…’ Cyar-Hee gave a mental sigh. He could only hope something happened soon.
“That cheese was so good….”
“You keep saying that.”
“It bears repeating.” His friend sat up and glanced at her face. Her expression became more concerned. “What’s the matter, Cyar-Hee? Not enjoying the party?”
“I, well….that is…you….not exact….ugh, I can’t lie to you. I was hoping something more would happen! So far this party has been, well….boring.”
“…I guess you have a point,” she said. “I just like parties. Sorry I didn’t notice.”
“Oh, it isn’t your fault. Actually, seeing you devour all that cheese was been the best part of this all so far.”
“Is that so?” She said with a smile. “Well, my sisters always said I was the life of the party!”
While the two giggled off in a corner, music started in the large room.
“Now that our final guests have arrived, it’s time for a dance! Our music tonight is provided by a group and a soloist–popular singer-guitarist Marko-Nathen from the borders of Manemica, and local group Seventeen Heaven!”
“Music?” Cyar-Hee questioned.
“Must be dance time! Maybe things will start looking up for you now! Come on, let’s dance!” His friend pulled him off the seat and towards the dance floor. Many people were finding partners to dance with while they waited for the band to set up. Cyar-Hee’s friend clung tight to his arm as they awaited the music.
Cyar-Hee tried to lead the dance, but his best friend was quicker. She held him tight as she spun him around. It was quickly obvious to Cyar-Hee that she had no idea what she was doing.
‘Well….neither do I.’ He let his friend lead and let himself enjoy the dance. Compared to the slow dances and skilled dances nearby them, his dance with his friend was just fun. They kept dancing even a short while after the music ended.
“We’ll take one quick break! Feel free to refresh and socialize as we do!” An announcer said.
“Ooh, I’m getting hungry again,” his friend said.
“After all that cheese?” Cyar-Hee giggled.
“We were just dancing! Besides, it was those tiny, fancy-type cheeses. Those are really good but not filling at all!”
At the table with various different snacks, a Narwhaltae was looking through the cheeses curiously. Cyar-Hee’s friend didn’t seem to notice him and started to eat more cheese, while Cyar-Hee reached for a drink.
“A Siren, huh…” The Narwhaltae murmured.
“Were you talking to me?” Cyar-Hee asked.
“You aren’t gonna get int the music, right?” The Narwhaltae asked, a sour look on his face.
“I mean you aren’t gonna start singing along, right?” He asked. Cyar-Hee viewed his expression as antagonistic, but in truth fear was crossing the man’s face.
The Narwhaltae still glared at him as he continued to drink. Cyar-Hee felt uneasy.
“You sure you don’t want any more cheese?” His friend asked.
“No thank you. I’m not really hungry or thirsty anymore…”
Cyar-Hee glanced around the party. “….are there any more Sirens here?”
“Why? Looking for looooove?” She asked.
“No, I was just….curious.”
“Dunno. There’s too many people here to gauge who’s what. Mostly. Besides, Sirens have cloaking abilities, right? Could be that there are some here, but–”
“Cloaking abilities?” The Narwhaltae asked. Cyar-Hee wanted to deny it, but his friend spoke first. “You didn’t know? The song of a Siren has different effects on the singer. Certain songs can change the appearance of a Siren, sometimes to a different species! But they always retain their powers.”
The Narwhaltae clenched his teeth. “So, is that it? So hypothetically, a Siren could hide ‘imself and sing and kill us all without us ever knowing it.”
“Only an evil Siren would do that. The evil population is already low in Ardia. Pureblood Sirens aren’t exactly the most common species….”
“It still could happen, couldn’t it!?”
“What Cyar-Hee’s trying to say is that it’d be a really low possibility,” his friend said before stuffing more cheese into her mouth. She swallowed before continuing. “Not really something we need to worry about. If you don’t care about missing music, if you’re that worried, plug your ears!”
“How?” He asked, showing his flippers.
“Well, Narwhaltae flippers are kinda handy-like….but I guess with earplugs?”
“….it’s not as easy on a Narwhaltae body.” The Narwhaltae man stroked his tusk. Cyar-Hee glanced away from him.
“I don’t know why you’re scared of Sirens, but it’s okay! Even though Sirens have a scary power, they’re pretty good friends! Cyar-Hee is living, breathing proof of that fact. He would never sing.”
“…how do you know he’ll never turn on you?”
“What if some day, he snaps!” The Narwhaltae yelled. Up on stage, the band prepared to perform their next song. The man’s eyes were crazed and wide. Cyar-Hee wondered if he was insane. “He could sing to you and there would be nothing you could do! Tell me, why were Sirens born with this power, huh? All the rest of us got our powers from something that could help our species, but what does singing do!?”
“Um, uh…” His friend seemed cornered. “I think it’s some hunting thing or whatever….”
“Hunting.” He glared at Cyar-Hee. “Hunting! Hunting! Ha! If a Siren’s singing is for hunting, then how come they hunt people!? The rest of us are all smart enough to know better, but Sirens, oh no!”
“It’s not really a common practice anymore…I don’t hunt people. It’s against the law.” Cyar-Hee mumbled.
“I’ve done the research. Even the most well-meaning person could completely snap. And then, then, he sings!” The Narwhaltae tackled Cyar-Hee to the floor. He held him down and pointed his tusk at his neck. Some attendants to the party, including the performers, were startled by the sound of someone crashing to the ground and stared in his direction.
“What are you doing!?” Cyar-Hee’s friend yelled. She tried to pull the man off of Cyar-Hee, but he only mumbled, “If you do that, I’ll really jab it in him.”
His friend took a step back.
“You were just accusing me of snapping and committing a murder!” He said. “If you puncture my neck, you’ll be a murderer!”
“There’s such a thing as justified murder. Death penalty for criminals. Killing people in the thick of war. Self-defense. Oh, but the murder of a Pureblood Siren would be–DON’T COME NEAR ME OR I’LL KILL HIM!” He yelled. Nearby attendees started to panic.
“Get security,” someone said. A person ran off.
“Be quiet.” The Narwhaltae said. He kept his tusk pointed straight at his neck, ready to jab it in. As the attendees continued to panic, Cyar-Hee could feel the tusk’s tip pressed up against his fragile neck skin.
Just a little further. Just a little further was all his assailant needed, and he would be dead. There was nothing anyone could do. Security likely wouldn’t arrive quick enough, and there was no way he could try and force the man off him without dying in the process.
Cyar-Hee, in his moment of fear, was reduced to his instincts.
Please let me go, please let me go, please let me go, please let me go….
As Cyar-Hee repeated the mantra, the Narwhaltae’s expression became one of surprise. He staggered backwards and dropped onto Cyar-Hee’s legs. Cyar-Hee hardly noticed.
Attendees of the party started to drop all around him. Some dropped to the ground and were automatically deceased. Others staggered and struggled as he sang, unable to deny what was happening to their body. As he repeated the mantra, the effects became more great.
Cyar-Hee’s friend tried to struggle against the sound of the song, but even she knew she was done for. Even if somehow, she survived his song, before the day ended she would be lying somewhere dead. She wanted to try and stop him, try to prevent any further deaths. Despite the fact that her breathing grew labored and she began to feel like her body was shutting down, she crawled as far as she could over to Cyar-Hee.
She tried to struggle longer, but it was agony to try and keep herself alive any longer. She gave up trying to fight it, and let her body shut down. She flopped onto Cyar-Hee’s arm.
Cyar-Hee gasped when he felt hair brush his arm. He looked to his side. His friend lay there, drool streaming from her mouth, her eyes closed and a relatively peaceful expression on her face. She appeared asleep at first, but it only took a matter of seconds for Cyar-Hee to realize what had happened.
“No, no, no no no no!” He cried. His throat choked up. He tried to look for any signs of life, but there weren’t any. As he cradled his friend close, he glanced around the room.
There were numerous corpses all around. Almost everyone who had attended the party was dead. There was no sign of life in the room, no movement, no breathing. No longer was anyone trying to fight the effects of Cyar-Hee’s song. They were all dead. The band, the Manemican singer, the Goathoof describing the cheeses, the aristocrats who came in fancy clothing, his assailant Narwhaltae, and his friend. Every single last person was dead.
It was the worst moment in Cyar-Hee’s life. And all these deaths were his fault. As he lay there, he realized that the injuries he may have sustained, or the death the Narwhaltae may have caused, were nothing in comparison to what he had done.
The moment broke Cyar-Hee.
Security arrived a moment later, and they glanced around at the corpses.
“What’s going on here!?” One of them yelled. One pointed towards Cyar-Hee.
He gave them no reaction. He didn’t care what it was they wanted to do.
“Did he–?” One of them questioned. Terrified expressions showed on their faces as they glanced around at the chaos.
“….please kill me,” Cyar-Hee mumbled.
“Please, kill me,” he said. “Please.”
“Are all these corpses your fault?” The man asked. Other members of security spoke to each other in hushed voices. He could hear what they were saying. “Take precautionary measures. He may be planning to sing again.” Members began to plug their ears with earplugs.
“…I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Cyar-Hee repeated. “I want to go with my friend. Please send me to her. Please. I want….”
He couldn’t speak any longer. The members of security saw that as enough of a sign. They tackled him to the ground and restrained him. His friend’s body fell out of reach.
“…” La-Iin stared at her mother in awe.
“After that, he was given a life sentence. They also performed forceful vocal chord removal surgery. They say even to his last day, he begged to be killed.”
“How did he die?”
“He got sick from an infection. He begged to die. A member of the security force who took him down decided to go to the prison he was being held in and do the job for him. ….that guy got charged afterwards.”
“Why do you enjoy hearing about this anyway? Ardia hasn’t had nearly as many residents since then.”
“Because I like suffering stories. …well, it also sounds like a made-up story too. A good one.”
“It’s really sad one…and sadly, it’s true,” Mit-Sun sighed.
‘What might’ve happened if he didn’t sing, I wonder?’
Mit-Sun couldn’t deny her curiosity on the case as well. She ended up wondering how it all would have gone down if just one thing had changed.
What if the Narwhaltae was allowed to kill Cyar-Hee?
What if Cyar-Hee had escaped?
What else could have gone differently?
Yet still, no matter what alternate situations came to mind, it never changed the fact that in the end, Cyar-Hee had caused numerous deaths.