The La-Iin Series
“Shipping Day with a Vengeance”
“Look, Fer-Shi!” La-Iin called out. Fer-Shi glanced over her shoulder.
“Whoa! You can fly again?”
La-Iin flew over to Fer-Shi and landed next to her. “Last night I managed to fly up the stairs. It still hurts a little bit but I can do it without falling again. My stupid wingspan fluctuates too much, but I’m glad to have my flying back.”
“I’m still surpised you can fly at all at six!” Fer-Shi said. “Still, I’m glad you can fly again too. Even though it was weird to see you doing it at first, now it’s weird to imagine you being grounded!” Fer-Shi stopped in place. “And also a little scary….”
“Why’s it scary?”
“Because a sad La-Iin is just not right,” she said. “Now come on! Let’s get going!”
La-Iin nodded, spread her wings and flew above the crowd. Fer-Shi ran after her, keeping a close eye on her until she crashed into the leg of a Class B student.
The Class D classroom filled up with students quickly. La-Iin flew in first, followed closely by Fer-Shi, and the two took their seats almost as soon as they arrived. Lirako had a skip in her step as she talked to friends, while Deki-Tyunri followed behind her with his head bowed. Gen-Reiya chatted with Mali-Ana, who proceeded to give him a light slap on the head. San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina were not locked in conversation but still came in together.
“Some days at school are fun, but some are so boring,” La-Iin said.
“Do you mean today? Because school hasn’t even really started yet…”
“I just feel like today will be a boring one. It just has that mundane vibe.” She sighed. “I feel like a lot of days this year have been boring.”
“But I’m sure there have been lots of fun days for you too,” Fer-Shi said. “I mean, you met Usl-Thaehey earlier this year! That had to be a fun day.”
“It was. But it was all the way back in January.” She focused on San-Kyung. “Still, I guess I am looking forward to October.”
“Me too! I can’t wait for Halloween! And of course you’d like October, La-Iin. Did you know they call it “The Month of the Evil”? Depending on the culture they say the reason why is always different!”
“There are lots of reasons to look forward to October….”
“I’m excited for December too. But maybe that’s just because of Christmas, or because it’s been so hot even though it’s almost fall….”
“Of course you’d be excited for Christmas. You’re a Normal. It’s trite for you.”
Fer-Shi growled. “I thought you were done with those sorts of things.”
“I’ll never be done, so long as I have ideas.”
Fer-Shi shook her head. “Sometimes, La-Iin, you just seem so–”
“EVERYBODY SHUT UP!”
The students flinched and fell silent. Their history teacher stood at the front of the class. “Class, I’ve been thinking about something lately. Something most of the students in this class should remember. Something that could be considered a historical event for Class D–how many of you remember Shipping Day?”
Several of the students groaned.
“Shipping Day?” Ai-Reia questioned.
“In-Dei, what is Shipping Day?” Shuera-Kaizima whispered.
“You’re probably about to find out…” He sighed.
“For you students who weren’t around last year, Shipping Day was a once-in-a-lifetime event. i came to school in a bad mood once and decided to punish the students by doing it. Basically, it was a day where every student was supposed to enter a romantic relationship with another for the duration of the day. Of course, it didn’t go over so well, and I ended up taking a leave from being the history teacher because I got in trouble….”
“Shut up and get on with the history lesson!” San-Kyung yelled.
“I wasn’t finished, Mr. Molshei,” the teacher grumbled. “In any event, I was thinking about how I could have handled that day better. Granted, it was a stupid idea for a day anyway, but I was thinking, it could have its benefits in the classroom. Last time there was a Shipping Day, there was no history period. In fact, a lot of periods were missed out on because of the Shipping Day nonsense. So this time, I had an idea. If I were to do Shipping Day nowadays, the students could study and take notes together. They could benefit and support each other just like people in an actual relationship are supposed to.”
“Your point!?” Lirako yelled.
“I think we should do Shipping Day again, in the way I just described.”
“Are you mad!?” San-Kyung yelled. The teacher’s eye twitched. “Maybe a little bit. But I think it could have its educational benefits, so long as the students don’t act all dotingly like Mr. Dslellullar does towards you.”
“There’s no need for digs, Mr. Chensu,” Dosa-Mina said.
“It’s not a dig. It’s just distracting, Mr. Dslellullar. So, students, pick the person you’d like to have as your partner. Unlike the last Shipping Day, there’s no need to be affectionate, as I just said. Just pick someone and study together with them. ….by the way, if they don’t sit next to you, you’ll need to move to another desk so that they can.”
“Again, I already have my partner,” Dosa-Mina said. He lifted up San-Kyung’s hand; all students in the direct vicinity could tell he was irritated.
“Since he’s picked already, want to go with me?” Lirako asked Deki-Tyunri. “I know you’re still upset about yesterday, but–”
“Fine,” Deki-Tyunri sighed.
“I would appreciate your help, In-Dei,” Shuera-Kaizima said.
“Everyone’s going in such predictable ways,” La-Iin said. Her glare was focused on San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina.
“May I study with you, Mr. Chensu?” Rini-Futo asked. He shook his head. “I won’t be here all day. Besides, I’m the teacher. I can’t do that.”
Rini-Futo’s shoulders slumped.
“Well of course they’re going off in predictable ways. If you have to study with someone, of course you want it to be someone you know and like, right?” Fer-Shi said.
“Xhephe! Let’s study together!”
“What’s the face for?”
“Shouldn’t we be picking girls to study with?”
“Good point…still, are there any girls who’d want to study with us…?”
“Yes, but the teacher said pretending to be in a ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP,” La-Iin yelled, focusing her glare on Dosa-Mina even more intently. He seemed to notice as he turned around and stuck out his tongue at La-Iin.
“Mali-Ana, please help me.” Gen-Reiya begged
“I know he did. But he’s treating it like a study-together. And a lot of the people who paired off have desks next to each other. Look, Sanyaow and Elyshen are together and their desks are next to each other. Makes sense, right? Maybe we should pair off.”
Fer-Shi looked devestated. “Why not?”
“….because I don’t want to be predictable.”
“That’s it?” Fer-Shi sighed. “Fine then. I guess I’ll just ask Shan-Zetsu if he’s free…”
La-Iin walked over to Ai-Reia’s desk.
“Study with me.”
“I have nobody else.”
“Ask Sanhuun. You two are friends, aren’t you?”
“She’s going to ask Shan-Zetsu,” La-Iin said. “Study with me or I’ll kill you.”
“I’ll kill you first,” she said. “Leave me alone.”
La-Iin rolled her eyes and walked in front of San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina’s desks. The desks were pushed together and already set up for the two to study together.
“Silly La-Iin, you can’t pick either of us!” Dosa-Mina said.
“Let’s do a threesome like last time,” La-Iin said.
“No,” San-Kyung said.
“Besides, that would just be inconvenient. And you don’t even go to every class!”
“Just find someone else for now.”
La-Iin stomped the floor. She walked back over to Ai-Reia.
“Study with me!”
“No! La-Iin, you do understand that someone like me could get anyone I want to study with me? Who wouldn’t want to!? Just find someone who’s as unlucky as you are and leave me alone!”
“Sorry, Vampiris, but I think you and Cahongyun are the only ones who haven’t picked anyone yet,” the teacher said.
“Mr. Chensu, you can’t do this to me! There has to be someone else available.”
“I think everyone else is paired up. Let’s see…Moshlellular–”
“I prefer Dslellushei, myself,” Dosa-Mina said. San-Kyung gave him a side glance.
“Kerusung, Sanyshen, Sankang, Ferisrry, Fyuhara, Xhephedang, Fheyuein, Bustongie, Oulndul, Konkarna…..oh, Pinyon, you don’t have a partner?”
“There isn’t really anyone left for me,” he said.
“You can join our group,” Tenha-Gumo said. Ai-Reia gaped.
“Is that okay, Mr. Chensu?”
“I don’t see how we have any other choice,” he sighed. “The number of students is uneven and like I said to Miss Shaejaein, I can’t exactly fill in…”
“Mr. Chensu! I’ll gladly take on Pinyon as my partner!”
“You don’t need to do that, Vampiris,” he said. “I’ll go with Ferister and Sherry.”
“That leaves just you and Miss Cahongyun, Miss Vampiris,” the teacher said. “I’m sorry.”
The students reorganized desks slightly to sit next to their study partner. Ai-Reia sat there in disbelief as La-Iin pushed a desk close to her.
“Why do you torment me, La-Iin!? What did I ever do!?”
“Miss Vampiris, shut up,” the teacher said. Ai-Reia grit her teeth.
“Sorry, Mr. Chensu,” she grumbled, her agitation evident. She dropped her voice to a whisper and bowed her head to make it seem as though she was intently focused on her studies.
“I told you, I was waiting for something to happen. It happened somewhat. I was trying to see if I could get it to happen more. Plus, I needed someone who would accept after I turned down Fer-Shi, and San-Kyung was already taken….but had I known they would pull this threesome crap, I would have tried harder to get my harling.”
“…” Ai-Reia glared at La-Iin from under her bangs and gave a quiet sigh. “Look, just…don’t talk to me, don’t ask me any questions, just let me get through today without having to interact with you. Then I won’t bother you and you won’t bother me. We can get this over with and never talk again.”
“Yes, but you know a lot more than I do,” La-Iin whispered. Her expression was smug. “So why shouldn’t I ask you questions?”
“Because I’ll kill you if you do!” She hissed. La-Iin rolled her eyes.
“I could kill you first,” she said.
“Oh, I’d like to see you try.”
“Please don’t call us that, Mr. Chensu,” Ai-Reia sighed.
“Whatever. It’s good to see you two studying so intently, but if you keep it up, you won’t hear any of the lesson, and that’s against the point,” he said.
“Ugh…Mr. Chensu, a question before we continue? A quick one?”
“La-Iin never stays for all the classes while I do,” she said. “What am I supposed to do then?”
“I guess you’ll have to study alone,” the teacher said.
“Yes!” Ai-Reia whispered. She focused on her notebook and kept her ears alert as she jotted down every word the teacher spoke.
“You’re stupid, Ai-Reia,” La-Iin said.
“Look who’s talking…”
“No, I don’t mean in that way. And I’m smart, thank you very much. But you obviously aren’t because why would you ask that question in front of the class, where I can hear you ask it?” She sneered.
“Maybe I should stay with you the entire time,” she said.
Ai-Reia slammed her face into her notebook.
Throughout the classes, Ai-Reia felt as though her time in Shipping Day was a living hell. All around her students helped each other study, and though the initial romantic connotations had been ignored by the students in favor of friendly assistance, Ai-Reia still felt miserable.
La-Iin was silent during break times, staring blankly at the wall or walking over to talk to Fer-Shi or San-Kyung. They were brief moments of peace for her, but the short times of the breaks did not matter in the long run. La-Iin had kept up with her promise to follow Ai-Reia to all the classes, and during classes, she distracted her endlessly.
She had distracted her during math.
“I’m not good at this. Mind ‘helping me out’?”
“Why are you saying it like that? And yes, I do mind! Figure it out yourself! If you can’t do simple addition and subtraction then you’re hopeless and I hope you never have to deal with vuyong without assistance. Oh wait. You will have to. Then again, you were always a lost cause.”
“You know, I can tell the class that you tried to kill me,” she said.
“They wouldn’t believe you. Despite my obvious hatred of you I play the part of the calmer party around you at almost all times. Besides, I’m mature past my age. Why would I make a petty death threat?”
“Because you’re petty,” La-Iin huffed. Ai-Reia scoffed. “Look who’s talking.”
She had distracted her during biology.
“Does she always focus on only one body part like this?”
“Find out when you have to go to biology all the time,” Ai-Reia mocked. La-Iin glared.
“For a prodigy you’re not all that giving with information.”
“Why in the hell would I want to give information to the girl I hate most? Besides, I’m not a facts source. To truly learn you need to find out yourself. Which is why I say to you, you’ll find out more about Miss Hyungdarou’s character when you have to attend biology yourself.”
“Tell me or I won’t stop asking you.”
“Does she always do this? Does she always do this?”
“Argh! Look, La-Iin, maybe if you try focusing, you’ll learn something!”
“You’re supposed to be helping me, ‘partner’,” La-Iin said, speaking the last word with an edge to her tone.
“You called me petty but you should take a look in a mirror.”
When finally the break arrived in which Fer-Shi left the classroom, La-Iin followed after her. Ai-Reia slammed her head onto her desk and let out a long sigh.
‘When is the day I get to be freed from you, La-Iin?’ She wondered. ‘She’s leaving for now but is that any guarantee that she won’t be back? Even if she does leave for these classes, it’s not going to change the fact that I still have to suffer through the last class with her…’
“I can’t believe Mr. Chensu returned Shipping Day,” Lirako sighed.
“Me too. Still, at least it’s more controlled this time.”
“He’s only doing that so he won’t get in trouble!”
Overhearing their conversation, Ai-Reia’s curiosity was stoked.
“Excuse me!” She called from her desk. “Sanyaow, Elyshen?” She walked over to their desks. “May I ask you two a question?”
“Yeah, sure.” Lirako said.
“Are you sure you need to?” Deki-Tyunri giggled.
“Yes, I do. Last year’s Shipping Day–you said Mr. Chensu got in trouble for it?”
“He made us basically ignore studies in favor of cultivating fake romances,” Lirako said. “He got in trouble. For a little bit we had a different history teacher after that.”
“Do you think he might get in trouble for this Shipping Day?” She asked.
“No,” Lirako grumbled. “Unfortunately, he’s pretty much doing it on the down-low asking us to treat it like study sessions. There’s nothing really bad about it even if he is calling it Shipping Day.”
Ai-Reia’s shoulders slumped.
“Something wrong, Vampiris?”
“No, it’s nothing,” she said. She returned to her desk. As soon as she sat down, she opened her notebook to the last page and started to furiously jot down notes on ideas of how to finally dispose of La-Iin.
Ai-Reia was grateful that Fer-Shi and Shan-Zetsu were in the same grade. Because of it, Fer-Shi had not felt compelled to stay behind with him during the classes required for higher grades. La-Iin had followed her out, though she had returned to the classroom on occasion and stared at Ai-Reia. Ai-Reia felt as though she saw her staring at her from outside as well.
They were welcome reprieves, but as the students trudged back to their primary classroom, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed. La-Iin, along with the other students under Grade 5, were waiting in the classroom when the older students returned. By now Ai-Reia had given up and took her seat next to La-Iin. She focused on her notebook and ignored La-Iin. La-Iin tried to peek at the notebook.
“Go away,” she hissed.
“I want to see though.”
“Stop trying to cheat!”
All the students looked up as their history teacher strolled into the classroom.
“What’re you doing here, Mr. Chensu?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“I wanted to see how things were going for you students,” he said. “Have you all been having luck?”
“It’s nothing different from the usual,” San-Kyung scoffed.
“That’s because you always sit next to Mr. Dslellullar. But never mind that. I wanted to give you all one more assignment for Shipping Day, and then I’ll leave you alone.”
“Why, don’t wanna risk your job, you hack?” Lirako sneered.
“Be quiet, Miss Sanyaow. The task I have for you is to write a short paper of how you feel about your Shipping Day partner. Go ahead and give it to your partner. Also, I got these for all of you.”
He went around the classroom and handed small keychain hearts to each pair of students. Ai-Reia was horrified to notice one bearing both her name and La-Iin’s.
“Why can’t I have this with San-Kyung?” La-Iin sighed.
“I know you all paired up with friends. It doesn’t matter. Take it as a sign of friendship anyway. Your last teacher should be arriving soon. I’ll see you all tomorrow, then!”
“Pretty nice,” Dosa-Mina commented.
“What’s the point in writing a paper?” San-Kyung groaned.
“There’s no point. We already know how we feel for each other. ….geez, that does sound romantic, doesn’t it?”
“I wish we could each have our own,” Shan-Zetsu sighed.
“It’s okay. It might be fun to share it!” Fer-Shi exclaimed.
“Writing a paper would be a waste of my time,” Ai-Reia said, “but I could write a novel-length paper on why I hate you.”
“You don’t actually have all that many reasons,” La-Iin sighed.
“I do so. Oh, and as for this piece of garbage?” She grabbed the heart keychain.
“It belongs in the trash. Know this, La-Iin. I will never like you. And I will certainly never be your friend.” She threw the heart keychain as hard as she could.
The keychain had slammed into the teacher’s forehead. The teacher’s eyes started to water and she glared at Ai-Reia.
“You’re gonna get in trouble~” La-Iin singsonged.
Again, that feeling of deep hatred for La-Iin took over Ai-Reia’s emotions.
“Um, Mr. Chensu, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, Miss Shaejaein. Anything you want.”
“Do you really ship all of the students?” She asked.
He started to laugh. “Of course not. It was just a joke.”
“Why would you do that, Mr. Chensu?”
“Sometimes, Miss Shaejaein,” he said, giving a smile that scared even her, “I get really mad at my students. You should consider yourselves lucky Shipping Day was all that happened.”
Rini-Futo flinched. She backed away from the history teacher.