The La-Iin Series
“Hex Change Operation”
Sale-Dessu focused himself as he gently moved Eul-Bok around. His nervousness was starting to affect him; his hands became jittery and Eul-Bok would occasionally jerk to the side. La-Iin, who was sitting behind him and watching intently, only served to make him feel worse.
He lost his focus, and Eul-Bok flopped on the table.
“This is going worse than I expected,” Sale-Dessu sighed.
“You won’t be able to do it, Sale-Dessu. You’ll just fail!” La-Iin squeaked.
“I won’t!” Sale-Dessu said. “I’m going to succeed. I want Eul-Bok to be able to move on his own. I have to try…”
“Isn’t there something you haven’t tried yet? Because it looks like you’re just doing the same thing over and over again even though it’s already failed.”
“Stop saying fail…” Sale-Dessu groaned. He slammed his face on the table. “I’m sure there’s something else I can try. I just can’t figure out what…”
“Father, you know so much about Warlock powers, I’m sure something you know might work.”
“You altered reality, yet you can’t find something to make a V-Puppet move on his own. Actually, other Warlocks altered reality and they couldn’t find it!” La-Iin started to pout. “That’s just stupid.”
“Altered reality…” Sale-Dessu sighed. “Hm…alter….Hex Change Operation?”
“What’s a Hex Change Operation, Father?” Eul-Bok asked.
“Sounds medical,” La-Iin said.
“Hex Change Operation!” He gasped.
“Oh, sorry,” Sale-Dessu said. He cleared his throat. “When La-Iin mentioned altering reality, it made me think of some of the harder-to-perform Warlock spells. One of those is Hex Change Operation.”
“What does that do?” La-Iin asked.
“Well, it completely or almost completely alters the makeup of, well anything, really. There’s a simpler version of it which changes items into food and things like that….but Hex Change Operation is powerful and…failure-prone.”
“You need to explain a little more clearly, Father, especially since given the last conversation it sounds like I’d be the subject of this spell!”
“You would be,” Sale-Dessu said. “Hex Change Operations are long, hard, and prone to failure. They’re an immense strain on the given Warlock. I only successfully performed it once on a dead animal. I can’t bring animals back to life, but the animal was in bad condition….I couldn’t even tell what it was at first. So I undamaged its body by using Hex Change Operation. I tried it before, when I was younger, but it failed back then. I’ve used the simpler version a lot though.”
“What’s the simpler version called?”
“Existence Change….which sounds a lot more dramatic than Hex Change Operation,” he said. “The difference is, with Existence Change, you have to completely change whatever you’re transforming, and it only works on objects or things that are not living. I couldn’t make a pig out of a tissue with Existence Change, or vice-versa, for example….Hex Change Operation lets you change what you want at your discretion, and it works on living beings, but that’s why it’s so prone to failure. You have to have a good knowledge of the various “hexes” inside whatever you’re changing…”
“Think of it this way. Existence Change gives you a machine. This machine gives you a set of options to change an item you drop into it into something else. You press a button and then, so long as the machine didn’t backfire, you have something new. With Hex Change, you get a high-end machine which gives you a ton of individual options…which means it’s a lot for the machine to process, so it’s more likely to mess up somewhere and give you something, er….different.”
“I sort of get it?”
“Since you can do so much with Hex Change, I thought maybe it would be possible for me to change Eul-Bok from a doll into a Normal, since it works on living beings….but it’s a lot more risky. The usual type of Hex Change backfire is that it just resets and goes back to normal, so nothing happens….but if you change things wrong, you can get some strange results. Also, Hex Change isn’t unlimited–I, if I knew how, could probably make you look like a Siren. But that base voice that causes people to die, you could never get that….it’s too complicated even for Hex Change.”
“Father, this sounds dangerous….I’m not sure I want to try it….besides, what if I change, but you still have to move me around? Then I’ll be messed up and you’ll have to take care of me in…horrible, horrible ways…”
“I’m not going to try Hex Change Operation on you if you’re not up for it, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu said. “To tell the truth it’d be a nightmare for me to deal with too, so I would prefer not to do it. My only successful Hex Change left me with a headache and I could feel the effects for a few days…besides, it’s risky and I could hurt you. So…whatever you want to do.”
“Do it!” La-Iin said. “You want to make V-Puppets autonomous. So do the Hex Change!”
“This is Eul-Bok’s decision,” Sale-Dessu said. “It’s dangerous, potentially useless, and would be hard for both my and his body to handle. You can’t make that decision for him.”
“But I want to see it.”
“To repair that dead animal, I spent almost seven hours,” Sale-Dessu said. “This is trying to change a V-Puppet into a Normal. That would probably take much longer. Do you really want to stand around, watching as I do basically nothing? You won’t be seeing much.”
“…” La-Iin glared at Sale-Dessu.
“Whatever you want to do is fine, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu said. “If you’d like to, I’ll be as cautious as possible…but if you don’t want to, that’s fine as well.”
“….I don’t know, Father.”
“Stop waffling!” La-Iin yelled. Sale-Dessu glared at her.
“I’m just sort of scared. I trust you, Father, I really do, but…”
“That’s fine, Eul-Bok. I understand. There are other ways I can try…”
“Bes-Isa has a point. You’re stupid sometimes, Eul-Bok,” La-Iin said. Sale-Dessu sighed.
Eul-Bok was starting to feel guilty. Sale-Dessu’s words had initially reassured him that even if he declined, nothing would change–but guilt had started to gnaw at him, especially given La-Iin’s words. Within that moment of silence, his guilt overcame his fear, and he spoke up despite his better judgment.
“I…I think I will try Hex Change Operation.”
Sale-Dessu’s eyes widened. “You’re not just saying this because La-Iin complained, are you?”
“No…I just had a few moments to think. When you brought me to life, you wanted me to be able to move on my own. I was created for your experiment…so, what’s the point if I back away from something that might help you reach the goal you want?”
“Eul-Bok…don’t talk like that,” Sale-Dessu sighed. “To me you’re more than just an experiment, so when you say that, it…it hurts.”
Behind him, La-Iin rolled her eyes.
“Think of it this way, Father. You wanted to experiment with making V-Puppets autonomous, so you made me. But you didn’t make me just out of morbid curiosity. You made me, wanting to experiment with making me autonomous, because you wanted me to be able to move on my own! You wanted your son to be just like any other kid, and he could do that if he was autonomous. So you may be experimenting with me, but in the end, you’re doing it because you want the best for your son.”
Sale-Dessu lowered his head. “…that’s a good point, Eul-Bok. I guess I really can be transparent sometimes…”
“Does that mean you’re going to do the Hex Change Operation?”
“If Eul-Bok really wants to…”
“I know it’s dangerous, and I am scared…I am…but I trust you, Father…I’ll take that chance, for you.”
Sale-Dessu still looked uncertain, but he stood up and grasped Eul-Bok. “Alright….if you really want to, then I’ll do Hex Change Operation. But…no guarantees it will work, okay?”
“I understand, Father. But I want to do it.”
“You’re better than I thought, Eul-Bok,” La-Iin said.
“…you should go home now, La-Iin,” Sale-Dessu said.
“I told you about the risks of Hex Change Operation…and how long it takes to pull off. I can’t have you here while I do this. You’d be here all night, and you might distract me…”
“You’ll get to know the results tomorrow, but…I need peace. Please?”
La-Iin glared. “…I guess it wouldn’t be much fun to watch anyway.”
“Exactly. But you’ll be the first to know how it goes. So please?”
“Thank you,” Sale-Dessu said. He put a hand on La-Iin’s back and led her towards the door.
“I can go myself,” La-Iin said. She spread her wings and flew out his house.
When La-Iin had returned home, Mit-Sun had commented on her sour mood. She ignored her and continued on with her day.
La-Iin had several things on her mind, including the Hex Change Operation. She was curious about what the results might be if Sale-Dessu succeeded, or if he failed.
“If there was a way you could maybe become autonomous, but there were chances that you’d die, would you take it? I was curious.”
“That depends. Why do you ask? Is there really something out there like that?”
“Sale-Dessu was going to perform a Hex Change Operation on Eul-Bok. He thought it might work, but he also said it might backfire.”
“It might be nice for it to backfire on Eul-Bok….then again, if he does it right, I might be able to become autonomous….I don’t know how to feel about this.”
“Know what? How I should feel about this? No you don’t!”
“No, I mean that I know how we can find out whether he did it right or not.”
“….ask him tomorrow?”
“No.” She grabbed Bes-Isa and stared at her intensely. “You go ask him now.”
Bes-Isa was barely able to respond. La-Iin quickly checked the time, then sent Bes-Isa flying at one of Sale-Dessu’s windows. She knocked against it a few more times before the window opened.
“Be…Bes-Isa?” Sale-Dessu said.
“Why are you…?”
“La-Iin sent me. She said she wanted me to ask you how the Hex Change Operation went.”
“Why couldn’t she wait for morning, damn her…” Sale-Dessu yawned. “It didn’t go well.”
“Is Euly dead?”
“Euly….? No, Eul-Bok is fine. I’m just drained and nothing has happened to him. Either I don’t know the correct way to Hex Change a V-Puppet into a Normal, or…but seeing all the hexes, I don’t think it would have worked correctly…”
“I think even if I had changed him, he would have still needed to be moved around just like a normal V-Puppet…” Sale-Dessu said. His eyelids started to droop and he started to yawn in the middle of his sentences. “So he….he would look like a Normal, but that’s it….he’d be a V-Puppet still, maybe with a few Normal disadvantages such as hunger so….it would have been pointlessly painful.”
“I’ll keep looking for a way to make him move, though,” Sale-Dessu said. He put his hands on the window. “Good night, Bes-Isa.”
“Er, okay. You definitely need sleep. See ya. Bring me back, La-Iin!”
La-Iin flung Bes-Isa back into her bedroom.
“Stop hurting me so much.”
“Never. What did he say?”
“It was a failure and nothing’s changed for Eul-Bok. He’s not changed for the better nor the worse, and Sale-Dessu learned that using Hex Change on him might have produced…undesirable results, anyway.”
La-Iin started to glare.
“I wanted something to happen.”
“…of course you did.”
“Lights out, La-Iin!” Mit-Sun yelled. La-Iin rolled her eyes.
“Today was useless.”
“Sure felt that way, didn’t it?”
“…I wonder, Bes-Isa.”
“If there’s really even any way for V-Puppets to move on their own. Why V-Puppets exist at all. V-Puppets confuse me.”
“You’re confusing me. ….but I hope there is a way I can move on my own someday. I mean, after all, I don’t want to still be reliant on you during everything…I’d hate it if you really followed through on having those children you want and I had to watch them be conceived…”
“I wouldn’t let you watch that.”
“I don’t know, La-Iin, you can be pretty sadistic when mad…”
La-Iin rolled her eyes. “Good night, Bes-Isa,” she said with a snap of her fingers.