The La-Iin Series
San-Kyung had studied a book closely the prior night, analyzing closely what it told him to do. He read over the needed information several times, trying to make sure it was burned into his brain. Once he could no longer stand to read the words over again, he closed the book and went to sleep.
The next day, after saying good-bye to his parents, he head out with a backpack strapped tightly to his back. He kept his mind clear save for the information he had forced into it and kept focused on his path and on his goal. Every now and then, he would shift the backpack to make sure it was still there.
Nothing would get in his way today, he was convinced of it. He carried himself with confidence as he walked down a familiar path.
What San-Kyung didn’t notice was the person he had following him.
La-Iin kept herself mostly hidden and made sure to take as light footsteps as she could manage so as not to be heard by San-Kyung. She felt a thrill she hadn’t felt in a while as she followed him–the thrill she used to feel as she trailed behind San-Kyung in school, watched him from a distance or waited for him in a specific area.
Thinking on those times, it was weird for her to imagine that next month, when school started again, instead of the love and hate relationship they had had since she was still a fairly new student, they would be friends. Still, it put a smile on her face, and made her wonder if she could manage to get a seat next to him this time. ‘Though Fer-Shi would complain. Maybe I could accommodate that too….’
La-Iin had many things on her mind at a given time, but she tended to be one-track when obsessed. Ever since she and San-Kyung had become friends, she couldn’t remember a day he hadn’t crossed her mind. So when she had noticed him walking by, confidence in his gait, while on a walk with Choungetsu, she ended the walk abruptly and went on to follow him.
With not many people on the streets, it felt strangely personal.
“I hope those eyes are fixed on his back and not his butt.”
La-Iin flinched. She turned around abruptly, almost crashing into the pole she was hiding behind. Her worst fears came true when she saw the familiar face of Dosa-Mina, though she wasn’t expecting to see Fer-Shi standing next to him.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“None of your business. And Fer-Shi, why are you with him?”
“I told him I saw you come this way,” she said. “I don’t remember you ever going this way, and you didn’t have Choungetsu or Bes-Isa or Miss Cahongyun with you. I was going to tell your Mom, but I saw Dosa-Mina and–”
“I get it,” La-Iin said. Fer-Shi’s shoulders slumped.
“Back to your stalkery ways, little Vampire girl?” La-Iin flinched at the nickname. “Malicerie’s still closed, you know. And he invites you over to talk and play quite a bit now. You could lay off on these creepy ways.”
“What about you?” La-Iin snapped. “You still cling to him like glue. Malicerie’s still closed, you know,” she said in a mocking tone.
“He knows what to expect with me, but I really doubt he’s expecting you to be stalking him on a non-school day, and during Summer break no less!”
“La-Iin, isn’t he your friend now? You know, you could just talk to him if that’s the case…” Fer-Shi said.
“I–” La-Iin turned around. San-Kyung was a speck in the distance now; she could only tell it was him by his odd hair color. Desperate, she went into flight to catch up, and landed gently on the ground when she was sure she was within a radius he could hear her.
‘Fer-Shi would be no good for following San-Kyung with. She’s too scared of him. And Dosa-Mina will just ruin everything. I have to keep ahead of them.’
La-Iin tried to be as stealthy as possible as she continued to follow San-Kyung. She was sure that he must have been walking for quite a while now, but he still kept his same confident gait. The path she was following him down felt familiar, and La-Iin tried to recall why it did.
“You don’t learn, do you?”
La-Iin flinched. She glared over her shoulder. “You two will not ruin my mission!”
“La-Iin, really….no, never mind, I won’t even ask that.”
La-Iin focused on Fer-Shi. “You’re just trying to stall me so I can’t get near him. Then you don’t have to get near him. You’re such a scaredy-cat.”
“I just don’t think you should be stalking him if you’re friends….or at all,” she said. “And even if you two are friends, I know you think it’s cowardly, but San-Kyung can be dangerous. He’s got fire powers and he’s a teenager.”
“Fer-Shi has a little bit of a point. Depending on wherever he’s going or whatever he’s going to do, if he realizes you’re following him, he might burn you to a crisp before seeing who you are. Not to mention, before June it’s not like you two had the best of relationships. He might still burn you to a crisp even if he realizes it’s you.”
“I won’t get caught if you two stop following me.” She spread her wings once again and flew ahead of them. She could hear the sound of footsteps behind her. She picked up speed. San-Kyung was close. She kept a few paces behind him, but he suddenly got closer. La-Iin soon realized he had stopped in place and dropped to the ground. She hid in some nearby foliage.
San-Kyung glanced around, his eyes narrowed. He inspected a few nearby places where someone might be able to hide. The foliage La-Iin was hiding in seemed to be out of his location of consideration. He continued on, quickly resuming his confident walk.
“You know, if you keep doing this, we’ll keep following you.” Dosa-Mina started. La-Iin nearly fell over as he and Fer-Shi appeared behind her. “If we keep following you, you’ll start to get mad most likely. San-Kyung will inevitably notice that people are following him and lash out if he’s going somewhere confidential. Because I wouldn’t want someone to get hurt by San-Kyung–trust me, I know what his blows feel like, both his fists, and his fire. Anyway, I would quickly protect you girls, but get badly injured in the process. This, in turn, would make him turn his anger on you girls. And you would get even more hurt than you would if I had just let his attack hit.”
“If you know all that, then why would you protect us!?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Consider it instinct.”
“Rival-boy is stupid, Fer-Shi,” La-Iin said. “Now stop following me.”
“But I’m worried about you…” Fer-Shi whimpered.
“I don’t care.”
“If it were another situation, maybe I would. But this is San-Kyung we’re talking about.”
“So you like San-Kyung even better than me? We’ve been friends for years but he hated you up until recently…”
La-Iin was silent as she kept her eyes on San-Kyung. He had almost disappeared from her sight, and she inched out the foliage to keep him within it. “San-Kyung is the greatest,” she said. “But of all the goody-goodies, you’re the greatest.”
“How sweet,” Dosa-Mina said. La-Iin glared at him. Fer-Shi smiled.
La-Iin continued along, trying her hardest to ignore Fer-Shi and Dosa-Mina as the path started to ignite a feeling of déjà vu in her. She was sure she had followed this same path before.
“Wait, is this…” Dosa-Mina started to glance around.
“Is it what?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Fer-Shi, you should probably go,” he said.
“This area is more than a little dangerous, or it would be for you,” Dosa-Mina said. “I don’t want you to get hurt, so let me take you home.”
“Is it?” Fer-Shi looked at La-Iin. “You should take her home too, then.”
“I think she can manage for a short while, but I’ll do something about her,” he said. “I want to take you home first. It won’t take long and I’ll be able to do something about La-Iin. Please?”
“Okay,” Fer-Shi said. “But, La-Iin…”
“She’ll be fine, I promise.”
La-Iin ignored the rest of the exchange between the two, save for Fer-Shi’s call of “See you later, La-Iin!” before Dosa-Mina took off into the sky holding her tight. She watched for the first few leaps, worried about Fer-Shi, but shook those thoughts from her head once she was so far in the distance that she could only see Dosa-Mina. She continued to follow San-Kyung.
The reason the path seemed familiar soon became clear to her. She recognized the path from the times she had followed San-Kyung to Hledshess. The memories were pleasant, and she was certain he was going there now. She picked up her pace slightly.
Hledshess came into view a short distance away. Once San-Kyung reached the entrance, he glanced around. Then, he took the backpack off his back and pulled a small shovel out of it, and started to dig. La-Iin was confused.
“Did I miss anything?” Dosa-Mina asked. He landed on the ground as he spoke. His landing startled San-Kyung, who turned around abruptly, gaping.
“What are you two doing here?” San-Kyung’s expression soon turned from surprise to anger.
“She was stalking you. I was tailing her.” Dosa-Mina said.
“He was being just as much of a stalker,” La-Iin said. San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “I’ll do something about you two later. Be quiet.”
“Better listen to him,” Dosa-Mina said. He put his hands over La-Iin’s mouth. La-Iin pushed his hands away.
San-Kyung had pulled something out of the ground and pulled out various tools. La-Iin couldn’t see what he was doing; his back blocked his actions. Whatever he was doing, it took a few minutes before he sighed and put the supplies away.
“What was that?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“A bomb, I think,” San-Kyung said. “It didn’t look like the bombs in the book. I heard the people here say something about planting a bomb for me next time I came here…I don’t know how they’d get bomb supplies on their budget, but I wasn’t taking any chances. Whatever it was, I broke it, so bomb or not, it’s useless now.”
“They’re starting to get feisty,” Dosa-Mina said. “Thank goodness you’re safe.”
“I’m not going to listen to that until you tell me why you’re here.” He glared at La-Iin as he spoke.
“La-Iin will just give excuses. Here’s the story. Her little friend, Fer-Shi, noticed her tailing you–as well as noticing that neither her doll, dog or mom with with her. She told me because I was the closest person and she figured it would be relevant given she was following you. So we caught up with her and tried to distract and dissuade her from following you in case you lashed out with violence. But if there’s one thing I’ll give her, it’s that she’s stubborn. A trait that works simultaneously for and against her.”
San-Kyung’s glare intensified. La-Iin glared back at him.
“Given that the bomb seems to be taken care of, I have to ask, do you have any other plans for today, San-Kyung? I’m not in the mood for carnage but I wouldn’t mind going somewhere. I’m bored.”
“No, not really. But I wouldn’t know where to go either…”
“Can I come?”
“No,” San-Kyung said. “Count yourself lucky that this is the most I’m doing. If we weren’t friends, I would’ve stuffed the bomb inside you instead.”
“No you wouldn’t have.”
“Don’t underestimate me,” San-Kyung hissed. “Dosa-Mina, take her home. Then we can hang out.”
“Sure thing, San-Kyung!”
“I refuse to be taken home by the likes of him!”
“Too late.” Dosa-Mina picked her up. “Alright, I’ll be back! Meet you at your house!”
La-Iin struggled against Dosa-Mina’s grasp, but when she did he only held tighter to her. She let out a yell as he leaped into the sky.
“You know, Dosa-Mina, making a bomb might be a good idea.”
“Not if it blows up in your face.”
“Good point….still, you and I are good at remembering things. Maybe we should study up on it.”
“And maybe we can talk about this later,” Dosa-Mina said, resting his head on San-Kyung’s shoulder.
“….fine. …..geez, I’m bored….”
“Me too. But this is a little better, I think.”