17.260.Catori

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 260
“Catori”

“Hey, Deki-Tyunri, how much do you really know about San-Kyung, anyways? I mean, I know you like him, but do you know all that much about what makes him tick? You’ve told me before, but refresh my memory–what sorts of things attract you to him?”
“Y-you’re asking that in front of this crowd?” Deki-Tyunri sighed. Almost immediately his face turned a bright pink, but he continued to speak even hiding his face with his wings. “Well…I-I told you before, I developed a crush because of the stupidest reason, but I…I guess I kind of like his loner attitude…”
“…”
“What?”
“You don’t really know all that much about him, do you?” Lirako asked.
“No, I really don’t! Look, Lirako, I never get to talk to him. He doesn’t like me. How can you expect me to know all that much about him? I can hear rumors or make observations but I’d never really know unless I was his friend. And I don’t think that’ll be happening any time soon…”
Lirako stared ahead at San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina. As always the two were engaged in conversation. Dosa-Mina wore his perpetually cheery smile as he talked, while San-Kyung’s expression was more casual but nowhere near the cold gaze he gave his other classmates.
Lirako strained to hear.
“….some new flavor of fruit smoothie, called the ‘Everyspecies’. I don’t get that. How do you know every fruit is in there? It’s like the species, you never really know!”
“How do you learn about these things?”
“Lots of different places.”
“Deki-Tyunri, mind if I go ahead of you?” Lirako asked.
“That’s not a problem,” he sighed.
“Sorry to leave you behind. See you in class!”
Lirako ran ahead of Deki-Tyunri and towards the two boys, nearly crashing into them. San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina backed away from each other and stared at Lirako.
“Oopsy.”
“Watch where you’re going!” San-Kyung yelled.
“I was watching. I guess I just don’t know my own speed sometimes. Hee hee!” She steadied herself and stood between the boys.
“Um…can we get going?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“Yes, don’t mind me,” Lirako said. San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina gave uncertain glances in her direction, and when they continued to walk Lirako stood between them.
“Leave us alone,” San-Kyung snapped.
“I just wanted to ask you a question, Molshei. Then I’ll leave you alone.”
“Why didn’t you ask your question earlier?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“I can be flighty like that sometimes. Anyways, I heard you two talking about food.”
“We were actually talking about drink,” Dosa-Mina said.
“What were you doing eavesdropping!?”
“I just overheard it. My hearing is pretty good. So yeah, when I heard that I wanted to ask you a question, Molshei.”
“…”
“There’s no guarantee he’ll answer you,” Dosa-Mina said, dropping his voice down to a whisper. Lirako shrugged. “I wanted to know if you’ve ever drunk a pumpkin-flavored product. I mean, I think it’d be pretty weird, an Animated Pumpkin drinking or eating pumpkin, so I wanted to know.”
During Lirako’s question, San-Kyung had paled. Dosa-Mina glared at Lirako, though she didn’t notice it. “Er, Molshei, you alright?”
“…you’re sick,” he growled. He started to take off, only to stumble shortly after.
“San-Kyung, if you’re feeling sick, you shouldn’t run!” Dosa-Mina called. He glanced back at Lirako. “I think it’s better if you don’t bother him, Sanyaow. You may not realize it, but you touched a nerve.”
“Ugh…” San-Kyung groaned. Dosa-Mina supported him as the two continued to walk into the school. Lirako watched them off. Her tail started to swish eagerly.
“Lirako?” Deki-Tyunri called. “Why did you slow down?”
“Oh, Deki-Tyunri.” Lirako glanced at him only for a moment before putting her focus back on the staggering San-Kyung. She was surprised that he had reacted so badly to her words.
Surprised and intrigued.
“San-Kyung seems pretty interesting,” Lirako said. “I mean, he’s not my type, but I can see why you go for him.”
“Huh?”
‘Now I want to know more!’ A mischievous feeling had started to bubble inside her.

***

Once history ended, Lirako stood up from her seat and walked over to San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina’s. Behind her she could hear Deki-Tyunri making squeaks of protest. She ignored them.
“Do you get bored by my random school conversations? I feel like I only talk about the same kinds of things.”
“I don’t really care. You know I don’t keep up with things as much as you do. At least it’s new information. Sometimes it’s even helpful.”
“Well, that’s good. Although I’m sure talking about Usl-Thaehey ringtones isn’t–”
Both boys looked up when Lirako stopped in front of their desks. She noticed that San-Kyung flinched slightly when he noticed her and grinned.
“Hello Molshei, Dslellullallalala…”
“Dslellullar,” Dosa-Mina corrected. “What do you want, Sanyaow?”
“I’m not going to talk to you, FYI,” San-Kyung said.
“Ya just did, doofus!” Lirako said, flicking San-Kyung’s forehead. San-Kyung barely reacted, but Lirako could tell he was frustrated with her. “See, after we talked earlier, I started thinking about how fascinating you are.”
“Every time someone gets interested in me it ends in stalking,” San-Kyung said.
“Hey, I didn’t stalk you when I got interested in you,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Yeah, but you followed me to gym class like a baby duck.”
“But then I hated your guts, and I didn’t follow you around then!”
“PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” Lirako yelled. She caught the attention of nearby students, some who stared at her wide-eyed. Lirako flashed a smile to dissuade any fears they might have about her. ‘Last thing I need is to lose any popularity because of this guy.’
“So.”
“Get the hell away from me.”
“You’re evil, right?”
“I can give you an idea of what hell’s like,” he said. “Go away.”
“I think that answers my question enough…so why are you so creeped out by eating pumpkins?”
San-Kyung paled again. Dosa-Mina glared and lightly pat San-Kyung on the back.
“I mean, it’s not even like it is with some other species. If I ate a cat, I can see where some people might consider that sick. If a Vampire ate a Vampire bat, I can see that too. But your case is like if a Snowliv ate snow. Not every pumpkin’s an Animated Pumpkin, you know. Once they’re ripped from their roots, they’re dead! So I wanted to know why–”
San-Kyung had covered his ears. Lirako noticed him shaking slightly. Dosa-Mina had a concerned expression on his face as he tried to soothe him, but turned to Lirako when he noticed she had stopped talking.
“Just go away,” he snapped. “The first time I can understand that you didn’t know, but you know now how he feels about this subject, so stop talking to him about it!” He turned back to San-Kyung. “Are you going to be sick? Should I take you to the bathroom?”
“I’m good,” he groaned. “Get out of my face, Catori. I don’t want to talk to you.”
“You can’t make me. Only Miss Theasis can make me go back to my seat now. And maybe Deki-Tyunri. Look, now that I know how he feels about this, all I wanna know is why he feels like this! Is it the loyalty virtue of being a Pureblood Animated Pumpkin? Is there some traumatic history he has with eating pumpkins? Look, I’m not like everyone else. If someone gave me a tasty grilled cat, I’d have no qualms about eating it! So I’m asking to understand.”
“I don’t want to talk to you! I don’t like you!”
“You don’t like anyone, you loner!”
“Hey, Elyshen,” Dosa-Mina called. Deki-Tyunri glanced up. Dosa-Mina nodded at him. He walked over to Lirako, shuffling slightly and avoiding San-Kyung’s gaze.
“Di–did you need something, Dslellullar?”
“Can you take your friend away from here, pretty please? She’s bothering San-Kyung. I’m sure you don’t want her to do that, riiiiight?”
Deki-Tyunri stiffened. ‘He does know, doesn’t he….’
“C-come on, Lirako, et’s uff go,” he said, grabbing Lirako by the collar of her shirt. He dragged her back to her seat.
“I swear, San-Kyung, I’ll find out if it’s the last thing I do!”
“Yeah right,” San-Kyung scoffed. “Bitch.”

After math class, Lirako got up from her seat.
“Lirako, please!” Deki-Tyunri begged.
“I’m not going to harass him, don’t worry! I just want to ask him a few things. Trust me, you’ll know if I do something bad. Dslellullar’ll…..probably call for you again.”
“Lirako….” Deki-Tyunri sighed. He stood up as well. “I’m going to the next classroom.” He walked out the classroom, his expression one of irritation.
“I said I was sorry!” Lirako called.
“Move out the way, Catori,” San-Kyung snapped. “And don’t forget you have to go to biology class as well.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have said that,” Dosa-Mina whispered.
“It’s not gonna make a difference.”
“Oh, come on, Molshei. You’re just so fun to tease.” She tried to tickle him with her tail. San-Kyung squeezed it hard and flicked it away from him.
“Ow!”
“I understand where you’re coming from, Sanyaow, but you’re not teasing him in a good way,” Dosa-Mina said. “Just leave him alone. If you want to talk about this later, maybe when you’re being nicer I’ll talk to you, but don’t bother San-Kyung, he doesn’t like it.”
“So it’s okay if I tease him by sexually harassing him?” Lirako huffed.
“What? I don’t sexually harass him!”
“So he enjoys it, huh?” She glared at San-Kyung. ‘Hm, this could be a shot at seeing exactly how much of a chance Deki-Tyunri has with him…him hating me has no effect on how he feels towards him, or at least it shouldn’t….’
“I guess that means you prefer the company of guys?”
“I prefer the company of Dosa-Mina and not some loony Catori.”
“But I’ve seen you push Cahongyun away too.” Lirako wrapped her tail as far as it could go around his chest and clung on to him. Dosa-Mina glared and San-Kyung pushed her away.
“HOW DARE YOU DO THAT!” A student yelled. They looked ready to fly at San-Kyung, but backed down when he glared at them.
“You’ve only seen me push away girls because I guess they’re more likely to not get a hint,” San-Kyung sneered.
“So you hate girls?”
“I hate girls like you,” he said.
“If Dosa-Mina was a girl, would you still like him?”
“Yes.”
Lirako stood up. “So you prefer the company of Dosa-Mina?”
“How thick is your skull!?”
“San-Kyung, let’s just go before this explodes…”
“You can’t stay ‘mysterious’ forever! Sooner or later you’ll slip up somewhere!”
“Yeah right.” Dosa-Mina pushed San-Kyung ahead of him out the classroom. San-Kyung glared at him, but Dosa-Mina went on until the two had left the classroom.
Lirako gave an indignant snort and followed after them.
“That Catori girl keeps following San-Kyung,” La-Iin said.
“I noticed. I wonder why? She seems like she wants to ask him something.”
“Whatever she wants, I don’t like her.”
“I don’t think you ever liked Sanyaow…anyway, I have to get going to biology. See you at the recess area later, La-Iin!”
La-Iin nodded. Fer-Shi dashed out the classroom and joined the other students who were late in leaving. She walked out the door and noticed Lirako’s blue-gray tail swishing in irritation.
‘What does she want from San-Kyung?’ La-Iin wondered.

Over the course of the next classes, San-Kyung felt he couldn’t catch a break, for nearly every break-time Lirako would walk up to him and begin to talk and bother him.
“You know, you’re not the type of guy to seemingly have moral reasons as to why you wouldn’t eat pumpkins. I’d expect you to be a cannibal before me but well, here we are. So dish, what’s the reason?”
“Get the f@%k out of my face,” San-Kyung whispered.
On another break time, she again bothered him about Dosa-Mina.
“So let’s put aside pumpkins eating pumpkins for now. You and I could possibly have things in common. No matter how much you hate people in general, I’m sure there’s people you’ve gotten crushes on before in your life. So if you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine!”
“….go away, Catori.”
“Aw, don’t be embarrassed. Here, I’ll admit my first one. I was just the tender age of eight–”
“I’ve never gotten a crush before, and I never will!” San-Kyung said.
“You can’t know that,” Lirako said.
“I won’t be getting any crushes so long as the world’s full of shitty people like you!” San-Kyung sounded exasperated to Lirako. He relaxed in his seat.
“Go away.”
Lirako turned to Dosa-Mina. “I’ll stop bothering him if you tell me your crushes, Dslellu–”
“I don’t talk about my crushes, thank you very much,” Dosa-Mina said. “That’s private.”
“Hmph.” Lirako had then stalked back to her desk.
“I’m so sick of her!” San-Kyung groaned later on. “I wish she’d leave me alone just once today!”
“Don’t jinx it!” Dosa-Mina whispered. “She’s not bothering you right now. In fact, I don’t even see her. She might’ve gone to the bathroom, so we can catch a lucky break for a little bit.”
“Why do you need to catch a break!? She’s bothering me!” San-Kyung groaned. “And just when I’ve gotten rid of La-Iin….”
“I guess L-named girls like you lots. Hey, did that girl from Deatrou have an L-name too?”
“How am I supposed to remember that? I had almost forgotten her, you know!”
“Sorry.”
The teacher arrived, and San-Kyung relaxed. Lirako had not come to bother him the entire break time. He put her out of his mind and started to focus.
“Miss Sanyaow, why weren’t you in class?” The teacher asked.
“I was doing something during break time, teach. Speaking of that, do you mind if I show the class my project before we start? I’m sure you’ll be pleased.”
“Project?”
“Yup! I think you’ll like it! Can I please show everyone?”
“….can it wait for after class?”
“I guess,” Lirako said with a shrug. She sat at her desk.
“I think she’s planning something!” San-Kyung whispered to Dosa-Mina.
“Would you be surprised?” Dosa-Mina whispered back.

After class, Lirako led the students and the teacher to the Weekend’s EC room. She opened the door and spread her arms.
“Ta-da!”
The students behind her gasped. A large pumpkin pie sat on the table. Lirako put a paw to its side. “Hm, still feels warm! Good.”
San-Kyung gagged.
“Ah, no no no, San-Kyung! Please wait, I can get you to the bathroom!”
The students and the teacher ignored San-Kyung’s dilemma for their curiosity.
“Miss Sanyaow! How did you do this so quickly?”
“We Catori have fast reflexes. I had to wait for the baking time though, which is why I came back to class late. But it’s easy enough for me to put my mind to something and finish it quickly. That’s why I won the race back in January!”
The students were in awe, but their attention was taken off the pumpkin pie when San-Kyung dropped to the ground.
“Damn it,” Dosa-Mina muttered under his breath. “Does somebody have a bag or something here!?”
“Heerf one,” Deki-Tyunri said, running over with a plastic bag in his mouth. “Thanks,” Dosa-Mina said. He gave the bag to San-Kyung and covered his eyes.
“Come on, Molshei, it’s a pumpkin pie.
“That’s the pro–” San-Kyung cut himself off and continued to vomit.
“Is he okay?” Gen-Reiya asked. Deki-Tyunri watched on with concern in his eyes.
Once San-Kyung had finished, he took deep breaths and tried to calm himself. The scent of pumpkin pie was still in the air, but he could barely smell it over the stench of vomit. He stood up on shaky legs and stared down Lirako.
Without warning he jumped at her. Lirako moved out the way and began to leap around the room. The students backed away from the scene. San-Kyung leapt for Lirako. She jumped away and crashed into a wall. San-Kyung slammed into the table and his face into the pumpkin pie.
“Oh shit,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Don’t try and attack me, you jerk,” Lirako said. “Fine, fine, you don’t like pumpkin. But you don’t need to attack me ’cause of that.”
“Out of the way!” Dosa-Mina yelled. He shoved Lirako to the ground and grabbed San-Kyung, who looked dazed to the students. He ran off at a high speed towards the bathroom and slammed the door.
“….”
“Miss Sanyaow?”
“Er, yes?”
“I’m sure the Principal would like to see you later to talk about this,” the teacher said. Lirako folded her ears to her head.
“Yes, ma’am…”

***

“I hate that Catori!” La-Iin yelled.
“Why!? And….which one?”
“That stupid teenage one!” La-Iin yelled. “I heard she made San-Kyung sick earlier. I’ll never forgive her for that!”
“Please stop yelling,” Fer-Shi asked.
“Never! I demand justice!”
“….justice?”
La-Iin smacked her forehead.

—–
“Are you gonna be alright, San-Kyung?” Dosa-Mina asked. He held onto him, worried about the possibility of him getting sick again.
“Damn, feels like it’s November…”
“That’s not good. We need to get you home right away, then.”
“Thanks, Dosa-Mina…”
“It’s not a problem! I can put up with a lot for your sake.”
San-Kyung flinched. Dosa-Mina glanced behind him. Lirako was standing there, whacking San-Kyung with her tail.
“Go away,” Dosa-Mina said.
“He’s gonna be okay, right? I don’t wanna kill him or anything…”
“Yeah, no thanks to you,” San-Kyung said.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to go that far, really. I won’t bother you about it any more.”
“I don’t care if you won’t bother him about it any more!” Dosa-Mina yelled. Letting go of San-Kyung, he stared her down. “This isn’t over, Sanyaow. Come near San-Kyung again and I’ll give you a fight!”
“Don’t act like that, Dslellullar,” she said. “Besides, I would have the upper hand~” She turned to San-Kyung. “Sorry about the pumpkin pie. See you tomorrow!”
San-Kyung scoffed.
“Deki-Tyunri!”
“Lirako, I’d really rather not talk to you right now…”
She ran her paw through his hair. “If you’re mad, I won’t force you to talk to me, or even walk home with me. Just let me say one thing.”
“What?”
“I learned some things about San-Kyung. And with that new knowledge, I’m sure I can give you tips to win his heart!”

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