2.306.Tallies

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 306
“Tallies”

That day at breakfast, Mit-Sun noticed that La-Iin seemed much more cheerful than she had yesterday. It was a relief to her, as she had worried that La-Iin’s bad mood would persist longer than just one day. ‘I guess I have to thank Asul-Zenza for that…not like I’d do that aloud, though.’
“Mama, last night after I stopped thinking about Dami, I started thinking about something else.”
“What’s that?” She asked. Asul-Zenza’s advice rang in her head.
“There’s been lots of deadly conflicts, right? I’ve been seeing a lot about incidents where lots of people get hurt and die.” The smile that started on La-Iin’s face was off-putting to Mit-Sun. “I want to know what the conflicts with the highest deaths are!”
“….of course you’d want to know that,” Mit-Sun sighed. “There’s definitely record-books about it that exist. And there’s always the internet, though I know they sometimes have images I wouldn’t want you to see…”
“Why not?” La-Iin asked.
“Because no matter how violent you like things to be, you’re still just six.”
“When you think about it, I’m nearly seven,” she said. Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. ‘Crap, we’re getting to that time of the year again….’
“Not many people want to see pictures of corpses, and not many six-year-olds can handle pictures of corpses,” she said.
“I could.”
“So you say, but you’ve never even seen a clean corpse, or any corpse as far as I know!” Uncertainty about the Halloween incident prompted her to add on the last words. “So would you really want to see one in…worse condition?”
“Yes,” La-Iin said bluntly.
“…you’re a sick little girl,” she said. “I can’t help but wonder what made you end up this way…fine, we’ll look for the highest death tolls, but not on the internet. The library’s still open today, right? We’ll take out a book on it and look through that.”
“Okay,” she said. “After all, maybe the book will have pictures too.”
Mit-Sun sighed. ‘Well, those pictures would probably be in black-and-white, at least…a little bit of a lesser evil if you ask me…’

***

After breakfast, La-Iin forced Mit-Sun out of her seat so that they could get to the library as quick as possible. Mit-Sun hadn’t gotten dressed yet, and so almost got dragged outside by her daughter while still in her pajamas. As she left the living room to get dressed, she glanced over her shoulder at a pouting La-Iin whose wings were twitching as though she were agitated.
Mit-Sun put on the first shirt and skirt that looked good togehter, then locked her bedroom door, head downstairs, got her bag and took off with La-Iin. In truth La-Iin took off ahead of her, flying over to the sidewalk before she really had a chance to react.
‘She’s much faster than me in the air…’ She gave a mental sigh at the thought. Just as she had always believed, La-Iin being able to fly was a pain to her. She didn’t plan on voicing that aloud however; La-Iin was in a normal mood right now, and she didn’t want to sour it nor to be chewed out or called names by her. Discipline was one of the things that became harder once she could fly.
They arrived at the library soon enough. La-Iin had begun to walk shortly before they entered, and now she stood at the entrance glancing around at the tall bookshelves.
“…where do we even begin to look?” La-Iin asked.
“I don’t know,” she sighed. She turned to a bored librarian at the front desk, who was filing her claws.
“Do you know where record-books or books on mass fatalities are?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin peeked up at the librarian, who glanced at the two as she pushed up her glasses.
“…you’d be lookin’ ova theya, in da ninth section,” she said. Mit-Sun nodded. “Thanks.” She grabbed La-Iin’s hand and walked quickly over to the ninth section, which even with guidance was a pain to find.
“Why is this library so big? It’s not even like anyone cares about Bledger.” La-Iin said. “I don’t even care about Bledger.”
“I don’t know either. It’d be a lot more convenient if they had a second floor that was more than ‘Oh, books for the avians!'” She scoffed. La-Iin grinned at her. ‘So we share the same rages sometimes, don’t we, Mama….’
“Here,” Mit-Sun said, pulling out a heavy book that sent her crashing to the floor. La-Iin was able to read the title, Records of Wars and Disasters, And Such Things Like Them.
“This is probably what we’re looking for,” Mit-Sun said. “Come on, let’s check it out and look.”
“Okay. I don’t want to be in this library too long…”

On the way back home from the library, Mit-Sun was the one who carried the large record book. La-Iin walked ahead in a confident stride, and on occasion it made Mit-Sun want to pass off holding it to her daughter. The book was so heavy that Mit-Sun was sure she was going to fall over with it and break her back.
Just carrying it from the library and home was enough to make her exhausted, and she flopped it down on the living room floor, then fell down after it. Choungetsu ran over to the book and sniffed it, then sniffed at Mit-Sun.
“Okay, let’s look at this book,” La-Iin said. She opened it to a random page, and her head started to swim.
The book opened to a page detailing World War III, and all the details and artist’s renditions of various people filled the large pages with several details. La-Iin could barely stare at the page for two seconds before she felt as though her head were spinning. Vaelis almost looked like a foreign language to her.
Mit-Sun sat up, Choungetsu licking her cheek as she did. He sat down in front of the book as Mit-Sun closed the door and looked at the page.
“It has details of all the major disasters,” she said. “But I’m sure a book like this has a chart.”
“Then find the chart!”
Mit-Sun scoffed and flipped to the front of the book. Just flipping one page took slightly more effort than a page in a normal book. She read the table of contents to check for a chart, and her own head started to spin at how many pages there were.
“…um…there,” she said, pointing at a chapter entitled Charts of Statistics. She flipped the book all the way to the end, landing a few chapters before the Charts of Statistics, and from there it was simple enough for her to reach it.
“Here. Here’s the lists by…how many participants in beginning the conflict, total mass injuries, number of species involved…here. Death toll. Happy?”
“Very.” La-Iin stared down at the numbers as they crawled up higher and higher until they reached an estimate number that made her head spin.
“How do you say that, Mama!?” She asked.
“Say what?”
“That number!”
Mit-Sun glanced at the highest death toll number and her face paled. ‘I’m really glad I wasn’t alive for that….’
“…that has to be something million….like ninety million…”
“So that’s how many people died?”
“That’s really just an estimate,” she sighed. “But it’s pretty high…”
“Lots of people died back then….so there’s never been a time where billions of people died?”
“I think there would be a population crisis if there was…”
“World War I was really deadly, huh.”
“Well, it was the War of the Species. Nobody had any restraint back then. That explains the casualties and why there’s no recorded population crisis afterwards…they say Sirens didn’t participate actively in the war, and they’re one of the species who’d probably have to worry about that…”
“World War III had a lot of deaths too, but nobody ever talks about that.”
“All the World Wars had a lot of deaths. That’s why I hope there’s never a fifth one….”
‘I wonder if I could outdo World War I,’ she wondered. ‘…hm, but it does seem like more fun to torture people instead of just kill them.’
“Lots of people have died because of disasters, huh?” She asked.
“They’re called disasters for a reason…”

—–
While waiting for Mit-Sun to say goodnight, La-Iin read through the book as much as she could manage–which was only part of the first chapter before her head started spinning and she felt forced to throw the book onto the ground.
“There’s too much to read in that book,” she sighed.
“I wonder if it has information on all the disasters that have ever happened,” Bes-Isa said.
“You’re being stupid. I don’t remember seeing anything about Magica Cavintus…” La-Iin’s head started to spin again when she tried to recall what she had read in the book. “But, I don’t remember seeing anything except the death tolls…”
By the time Mit-Sun ran into her room, slamming her door open, La-Iin was dazed from all the information and stared blankly at the ceiling. Her only question left remaining at that point was whether Ai-Reia would be able to read the whole book without becoming confused as she had.

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