The La-Iin Series
“The Dark Side of the World”
“Mama, don’t you ever wonder what it would be like if we lived in Dasdoria?” La-Iin asked.
“La-Iin, I know you know about what sort of place Dasdoria is. Every day there would be miserable. There wouldn’t be any guarantee you’d live long enough to live out the thousands of years in your lifespan.”
“That might be a good thing.”
“Besides, we’re Vaelis. If we were dropped into Dasdoria tomorrow we wouldn’t understand a word they said.”
“But if we lived in Dasdoria from the start, we’d be Dasdorian and understand Dasdoria. I already know a Dasdorian word, in fact.”
“And what’s that?”
“You would know that one….anyway, no, I don’t wonder what it would be like if we lived in Dasdoria. Because I know it would be horrible.”
La-Iin sighed. “What do you think we’d eat in Dasdoria?”
“Nothing. Stop talking about this and eat your dinner, La-Iin. And consider yourself lucky.”
“Maybe when you make something better for dinner,” she said. Mit-Sun glared.
“Look what I found, La-Iin!”
Fer-Shi came running towards her. La-Iin blinked. “I found a new dress to wear buried over there! Do you think there’s lots of dresses buried here?”
“Did you rip it off a corpse?” She asked.
“No! It was just a stray dress! I’d never do that!”
“Have you been able to find anything to eat, La-Iin? We haven’t, except for some berries…but we heard they’re poisonous.”
La-Iin felt dirty all over and starving. Around her things seemed bleak with various species of people all asleep on the ground. ‘Are they even asleep?’ The smell of mud was all around her. It drowned out all other smells, which she was grateful for given the hygiene of the people in the area. When she was younger, she disliked the smell, but she had gotten used to it in recent years.
Dasdoria was ripe for her to perform evil actions, yet despite having lived here all her six years, she hadn’t been able to do anything evil. Oftentimes she was too concerned with surviving to put a second thought to the idea of doing anything evil. She glanced behind her. Mit-Sun was sleeping on the ground, her hair matted.
“La-Iin, is something the matter?”
“No, not anything aside from what’s always the matter,” she muttered.
“Well, um….oh! I wanted to tell you something else you might like! Mr. Chensu is going to tell us a tale of the history of Dasdoria. I thought you might be happy to see….that boy again.”
Fer-Shi’s expression soured. La-Iin, however, couldn’t help a smile.
“That’s good news.”
“I guess….and I’ll be happy to see Shan-Zetsu. I hope he’ll be as happy to see me…”
“What are you two talking about….?”
“Oh, Mama. You’re awake?”
“Good….something, Miss Cahongyun. I was just telling La-Iin that Mr. Chensu was going to tell a tale of the history of Dasdoria. Oh! Is it okay if she goes?”
Mit-Sun looked up at her daughter, her eyes bleary with sleep. La-Iin stared back. “…of course I’ll let her go…she could use a break from all the stress…just don’t let her get too close to that Molshei boy, alright…?”
“I won’t let her….get too close, of course!” Fer-Shi said before breaking out in nervous laughter. “Anyway, will you be okay, Miss Cahongyun?”
“I’m just so exhausted….my energy will return to me, I’m sure….”
“Just make sure not to sleep too much, okay, Miss Cahongyun? Lots of people talk about their parents or kids going to sleep and never waking up again. You never know what dangers lurk in Dasdoria, and I wouldn’t want La-Iin to be without her mother.”
“I won’t sleep too much,” she said. “I guess in a worst-case scenario, I could hope that Asul-Zenza will come back…” Tears welled up in her eyes. “I hate him, but he could have taken care of La-Iin better than I am…”
“It’s okay, Miss Cahongyun. I think you’re doing a good enough job. Stay safe, okay? My parents are worried about you too.”
“I will. Thanks for being friends with La-Iin, Fer-Shi.”
“Not a problem.”
Mit-Sun smiled up at the two girls. Then, her eyelids started to droop, and within a matter of seconds, she was fast asleep once again.
“When is this history tale?” La-Iin asked.
“Later on today.”
“…how do you know when?”
“Mr. Chensu told us to meet up with him when the moon was in the sky, or at least when it’s darker than it already is. I can stay with you until then, if you’d like. Maybe if we look around together we’ll find something both of our families can eat.”
“I’m not too worried about eating. I can always have blood!” She said.
“Not mine! I’d probably taste terrible and malnu….malnuwhatever. Anyway, I think we should do something together before the history story. Come on!”
Fer-Shi and La-Iin head for a desolate plot of land near a Dasdorian forest. The moon was visible through the treetops, and in the distance they could see numerous children sitting around the man who had called them here.
La-Iin didn’t know too much about him, but he liked to tell the children of Dasdoria tales of its history. He was incredibly skinny, moreso than any of the children were, to the point where, to La-Iin, he looked like skin stretched over a skeleton. The children who listened to him were always convinced that there wouldn’t be a next time that they saw him, but he always returned to tell them more tales. It was a reprieve from life in Dasdoria.
La-Iin smiled when she noticed San-Kyung among the children sitting around the man. She didn’t get to talk with him all that often, but she had heard tales of the evil deeds he had done. She admired him due to those tales.
Whenever he came to one of the history tales, he almost always came with a chestnut-haired Normal boy. La-Iin wasn’t sure of his name, but he was often quiet and stayed close to San-Kyung–sometimes so close that La-Iin wondered if he had a sense of personal space.
The normal boy usually looked starving to her, but today he looked even more starving, somthing she hadn’t thought was possible. She kept her eye on San-Kyung and his friend as they sat down.
“I think everyone who said they would come is here…” The man murmured.
“Are you alright, Dosa-Mina?” La-Iin heard San-Kyung whisper.
“Yeah, just fine, mostly….”
“Are you hungry? I don’t mind cutting off a finger or two for you. I’m fine with just a thumb on my right hand.”
“No, I wouldn’t force you to do that, it sounds painful…”
“Pay attention, Mr. Molshei, Mr. Dslellullar,” the man said. He gave an uncertain look in San-Kyung’s direction.
“Dasdoria was one of the first places in the world to be an intermixed society. Many of you know that. However, it being the first, our founders weren’t exactly sure what to do. Various other societies had made accommodations for the species who lived there, such as how Groundisers lived in sandy areas. Having many species there, they needed accommodations for all of them–and as you also know, there are a lot of species. Dasdoria soon fell into chaos because of this, quickly becoming the society you all know today. The decision of the founders, in the end, was to make accommodations for no species, save for one–the creation of the Dasdorian language.”
“What did they speak before Dasdorian came about?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Nobody knows. There aren’t any history books about that in Dasdoria. I don’t know what they spoke beforehand, but I’ve heard that Dasdorian came about almost on its own as the people of Dasdoria communicated.”
“Hey, Mr. Chensu,” San-Kyung said.
“Yes, Mr. Molshei?”
“You know so much about the history of Dasdoria, but do you know anything about the current situation?”
“Not anything that’s not already common knowledge,” he sighed. “Things won’t improve here for a while. So I hope you all can find ways to ignore the horrible reality around you for a little bit and enjoy life. They’ve amped up security so there’s no real point in trying to leave Dasdoria, because the only path where security shouldn’t be is too dangerous for people in such bad condition….”
“Um, Mr. Chensu? I think I should go home soon….my family will probably be wondering where I am…” A small Birdmix girl said.
“I understand. I’m sorry I didn’t have much to talk about today. History is limited in a place like this. Perhaps next time I’ll find something else to talk with you all about. Well, I’ll be seeing you. Be safe.”
The man stood up and walked away.
“Do you think there’ll be a next time?” A child asked.
San-Kyung turned around. La-Iin looked up at him expectantly. His expression soured. “What?”
“Are the rumors true?”
“What rumors?” There was an edge to his tone.
“That you commit atrocities under the cover of night.”
San-Kyung scoffed. “Find out yourself.”
“I admire that about you,” she said. San-Kyung glanced back at her.
“….it’s a Dasdorian way of living.”
“It truly is,” she said. “Maybe someday you can give me advice on how to live that way myself. I’m always stuck in the same location with nothing to do. I’d love to follow in your footsteps.”
“I prefer to work solo,” he said.
“You work with me,” his friend said. San-Kyung rolled his eyes.
“Maybe someday if I get desperate. Otherwise, no.”
“You should at least thank her for looking up to you. That was some high praise.”
“I don’t need thanks,” she said. “I only wanted to tell you. I look forward to seeing you again, Molshei.”
“…hmph. Let’s go, Dosa-Mina. There’s nothing else to see here.”
“And….whatever your name is.”
“Just so you know, I don’t like to branch out of my three people. That’s it.”
“….what does that mean?”
“Don’t expect us to become friends.”
San-Kyung walked away, his friend close behind. The two started to talk, but by then they were so far away that La-Iin couldn’t hear anything either of them said.
“You talked to him?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Yes. He seemed a lot more calm than I was expecting. But that’s okay.”
“Huh…you know, even though he seems scary and mean to me, I bet things are hard for him too…”
“We should get back to our parents. If we stay too long, they might worry.”
La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. She could still see San-Kyung, far off in the distance.
‘Maybe someday that will change…’
“Do you ever wonder what it would be like if we lived somewhere else in the world? Like Vaelyn or Aena or something?”
“All the time…” She sighed.
La-Iin glanced out at the scene around her. Still there were various people sleeping all over the ground. The scent of mud was still strong as it always was.
“….I wonder if those places look nicer.”