The La-Iin Series
“How Bad Things Are”
When science class ended, Fer-Shi and Shan-Zetsu stood up and head for the door.
Though she didn’t mind the extra class, Fer-Shi still had trouble making sense of everything that went on during science class. And despite her friend’s attitude at times, she always looked forward to playing with La-Iin whether at class or at one of their houses.
On her way out, she couldn’t resist a glance in San-Kyung’s direction. Today, like yesterday, he had Dosa-Mina helping him sit straight, and Fer-Shi was pretty sure she had seen him taking over San-Kyung’s science experiment. Today, however, he seemed to be having a slightly easier time balancing himself.
‘It’s sad that San-Kyung’s like that….’ Despite her thought, Fer-Shi couldn’t help but feel relieved. Her fears about that boy had dissipated now that he was weak. Once she was out the classroom, noticing nobody else was in the hallway, she broke into a run.
And before she had even made it near the door outside, she crashed into someone.
Glancing up, Fer-Shi almost immediately remembered the face from a day she would have rather forgotten. The cold glare was exactly the same.
Fer-Shi stood up and began to bolt for the door, only to be caught by the collar of her dress before she could make it there.
“It’s you,” the girl said. Fer-Shi tried to break free of her grip, but the girl only tightened it.
“Let me gooooo!”
“No,” she said, picking her up and turning her around. Fer-Shi flailed in the air. “I’ve been wanting to talk to you again ever since that day you invaded our classroom. I noted your innocence. I thought perhaps, you’d hear me out on a subject I love to talk about.”
“Nooooo!” Fer-Shi tried to yell as loud as possible so that someone would spot her with the Class A student. But nobody arrived.
‘I must not be yelling loud enough!’
“You’ll regret it if you do that again,” the girl snapped, covering Fer-Shi’s mouth with her hand. Fer-Shi began to flail again.
“Now, hear me out, girl. You don’t like injustices in the world, yes? Nobody does, that’s what lots of people say, yet they commit injustices each day just by existing.”
Behind the girl’s hand, Fer-Shi made a quizzical noise.
“Would you do anything to combat those injustices?” Before Fer-Shi could respond, the girl continued on. “Because if the answer to that is yes, then there are a few things you need to learn before you go out to do it. Evidently you’ve never had to fight those things ever before in your life–I mean had to fight them, not just wanted to. In any event, if you truly want to become the type of person who talks over–I mean, speaks for the oppressed, then you need to take lessons from me. Now, I’m going to remove my hand from your mouth. Scream and we’re going outside.”
Fer-Shi whimpered as the girl removed her hand from her mouth. “…my dad does a lot of work helping people,” she said quietly. “It’s his job. I want to help people too, but….I think you and the rest of Class A are doing it all wrong!”
“Us in Class A all understand what it feels like to have injustices committed against you!” The girl yelled. Fer-Shi flinched. “We understand better than you do, in any event! If you truly wish to learn how you could help people, we are the people you would go to to learn, not some pathetic man such as your father!”
“My father’s not pathetic!”
It wasn’t often that Fer-Shi felt as angry as she did in that instant. Even recalling the incident where she had been trapped in the Class A classroom didn’t make her nearly as angry as dealing with the girl who stood in front of her now.
In Fer-Shi’s eyes, anyone who insulted a man as kind-hearted and selfless as her father for no good reason was petty.
“He’s likely only doing it because it makes him feel righteous,” the girl said. “He doesn’t actually care about the people he’s ‘helping’. He just cares that it makes him feel good, and like a hero. So he can show off to his daughter, whom he then tries to corrupt into having the same mindset as he does.”
Fer-Shi prepared to retort, but then thought back on words her father had spoken to her once before.
“Really, the main reason I want to do this is because it would make me feel better.”
A cold shudder went up her spine at the memory.
“…hm, I believe my judgment was right in this regard…you may be stupid, but you have the potential to become one of the greats. One of those who truly understands, despite your evidently privileged upbringing,” she said. “So, maybe now that you’ve thought on things a little, you’ll hear me out?”
Fer-Shi remained silent. She didn’t believe that her father was trying to corrupt her into having the same mindset as him. She knew he had called himself selfish before, but she believed that being able to notice that would redeem him. She knew he was a good man.
But the fact that the girl in front of her had been so on-point kept her from making any noise.
“So, listen up. I’m sure what your father does is limited to some sort of ‘charity event’ which only benefits Normals. Meanwhile, other species are left in the dust. That he could make a job out of that makes me sick!”
She glared down. “You know Normals have caused lots of problems in the world before, yes? Or has he been blinding you and trying to tell you it was only certain Normals? It drives me mad when Normals try to pretend to understand those of other species. Having them as Species Studiers, for example….it’s infuriating! But maybe you can see, Normal though you may be. See that until things are improved, Normals will only continue causing problems every single day for everyone else. Normals might say those of other species are more dangerous because of their powers. I say the only reason they say that? Is because they feel the need to use their powers to defend themselves from Normals!”
She grabbed Fer-Shi’s shoulders. “You never know when a Normal might try to pull on your wings, or your tail, or your ears. When they might try to goad you into using a power for them. We’re all just a show to them, those of us non-Normals, so understand your place, girl. Stand down when you’re asked to. And assist with permission. That is the law for all Class A Normals. Repeat that to me, now.”
Fer-Shi gave a light shake of her head. The girl huffed. “….evidently you need more proof. Well, I can provide! Normals are the main reason there was a World War I in the first place! Without them I’m sure the other societies would have come together without bloodshed! The other species cared more for each other. Segregated though they may have been, they held respect towards their neighbors. It was Normals who turned everyone against each other, Normals who made them fight each other, Normals who instigated that horrible war–and the chances are good you are a descendant of one of those instigators! How does that make you feel, knowing your ancestors did such things? How are you going to atone for that!? Now, sa–”
The door outside opened with a large creak. Fer-Shi turned around. La-Iin walked in through the door and over to Fer-Shi.
“Your last class ended a while ago, didn’t it?” La-Iin asked, an edge to her voice. “Why you aren’t outside yet?”
Fer-Shi hugged La-Iin close. “It’s so good to see you!”
“Turning to a non-Normal friend when you feel threatened, huh?” The girl scoffed. “…you, girl. How could you be friends with an oppressor?”
“…” La-Iin stared up at the girl blankly. “Fer-Shi, are you talking to idiots?”
“Um…” Hearing La-Iin put it that way embarrassed her. She felt her face warm. “…yes.”
La-Iin let go of Fer-Shi. “Let’s just go,” she said.
“Oh no you don’t!” The girl grabbed La-Iin by the collar of her dress. “I wasn’t finished with her.”
La-Iin glared over her shoulder. “I need her now. She’s my friend, not yours.”
“Why are you friends with an oppressor, a Normal!?” The girl shrieked. “Have you been corrupted!?”
“…I’m the oppressor,” La-Iin said with a smirk.
“I shall oppress all the peoples so that they are below me! Fer-Shi could never oppress; she’s too weak for that. That you’d insinuate she could do better at it than me is an insult!” La-Iin knew she was being slightly over-the-top, but she couldn’t help it. This girl didn’t seem like a threat at all, and she was agitated and bored.
Fer-Shi couldn’t suppress a giggle at La-Iin’s act.
“You can’t do that in this society. You’re a Vampire. This society thinks of Vampires as lesser.”
“How come you have a problem with me being friends with a Normal when you’re a Normal too? Normals are dumb, but that’s ’cause they’re powerless. Not because of whatever stupid reason you said.” La-Iin flew away from the girl.
“I’m not a Normal. I’m a Narwhaltae-Siren-Ferreniao….Witch.”
“If you are then you should be able to transform with a song,” La-Iin said, thinking back on Dosa-Mina’s transformation. “So show me.”
“You can’t, can you?” La-Iin said cheerfully. “So stupid. Her Normal stupid gene is showing through her brain. Come on, Fer-Shi, let’s go.”
“Hold it!” The girl snapped, grabbing the collar of La-Iin’s dress once again. La-Iin glared.
“You’re so annoying,” she snapped. ‘And stubborn.’ Seeing it as the easiest out, La-Iin bit into her arm and sucked some of the blood. Fer-Shi kept her eyes on La-Iin as she transformed, broke free from the girl’s grip, and stared her down.
“Leave me alone. I’m sick of you,” La-Iin said. “Come on, Fer-Shi.”
“Okay!” La-Iin flew outside. Fer-Shi followed after her, but before she stepped out the door, she turned back at the girl, who stood there in disbelief.
When her eyes focused on Fer-Shi, Fer-Shi stuck out her tongue at her, then giggled and ran outside after La-Iin.
“You know, La-Iin…”
“I can really count on you, can’t I?”
“I need to become stronger like you. I shouldn’t have let myself get pushed around by that girl. Next time, I’ll deal with people like that myself!”
“Yeah, it was pretty stupid how you let her boss you around. That’s my job.”