The La-Iin Series
“The Adventures of Asul-Zenza in Dasdoria–Part 2”
“Hey, wake up, sleepy. Th’ drug’s probably worn off mostly by now.”
Someone was shaking him awake. It startled him and he turned to face Keings-Alsze, who seemed concerned.
“Somethin’ wrong? Still ain’t feelin’ up ta snuff? Maybe it hasn’t worn out jus’ quite yet…”
“No, it’s just….”
‘What am I supposed to say to her? ‘Nobody’s done that for me in years?’ I barely know her!’
He shook his head. “No, I feel fine, mostly…”
“Well, there’s one easy way ta find out if yer really okay. Les do some wing exercise!”
Keings-Alsze stood up and stretched her wings. Asul-Zenza followed her. He found that the ache he felt earlier was mostly gone.
Keings-Alsze began to flap her wings. Asul-Zenza copied her.
“Now fer the true test!” She said, almost yelling. She flapped her wings and jumped, then started to fly around. She flew over to a tree, stood on one of its branches, and hung upside down.
“Now yer turn.”
Asul-Zenza took a deep breath and went straight into flying. He found he flew slightly lopsided, but he was able to keep himself in the air. Keings-Alsze flew away from the branch and over to him.
“Whoa. Ya got big wings. Must be good fer flyin’ with.”
“I suppose,” he said. “They work for me, anyway. Big wings run in my family.”
“That’s nice,” she said, flying away from him. “Well, ya pass my test. I think yer gonna be jus’ fine. I mean, I dunno what bloodsuckin’ would do much good fer, unless ya get hungry…but I don’t think I’d be a good meal, so don’t try me,” she said with a chuckle.
Asul-Zenza decided to hide his hunger from her then and there. “I doubt it too. People with Vampire blood just aren’t satisfying at all.”
“No kiddin’. An’ that stuff tastes like…weird.”
Asul-Zenza blinked at her. “You’ve tried it before?”
“I’m sure I must have, but I can’t remember what it tasted like.”
“Ya get desperate fer anythin’ sometimes in Dasdoria,” she said. “Vampy blood ain’t satisfyin’ but it can fill yer belly a little sometimes. I try ta get anythin’ I can here…’n I’ll admit, I’ve drunk people ‘gainst their will b’fore. ‘Cause a that though I ain’t never had th’ neck experience.”
She started to scratch near her neck. “I dunno how long yer gonna be here, but, uh…ya get desperate, I’ll find someone willin’ ta letcha suck…worse comes to worst, I can always letcha suck from me…”
“No, thank you. I drink most of my blood from external sources.”
“….ya mean like lickin’ up stray blood?”
“No, from bloodboxes or the like.”
Keings-Alsze shook her head. “Never heard ova bloodbox before, but it sounds good…anyways, I can help ya with whatever ya need. So, now that ya can fly…whatcha wanna do?”
“You said some people in the area might have escape stories? I’d love to hear them…”
“Sure, I’ll go an’ see if I can find anyone wit’ one ta tell. Though we gotta be on the down-low–we get caught talkin’ about escape stories, we’ll be suspects of escape, an’ you could get all drugged up again.”
“Then we should talk quietly,” he said, dropping his voice to a whisper.
“Might not work aroun’ guards wit’ Werewolf blood. But I guess we could. Les jus’ be careful ’bout how we go about this. One slip-up, an’ it could be anotha day here…”
Asul-Zenza swallowed hard and nodded. He followed Keings-Alsze as she flew around the area, keeping relatively low. Asul-Zenza didn’t notice any guards, but he saw something glimmer between the trees.
“Found one. Now, ya let me handle this, ‘kay?”
Keings-Alsze flew over to a small group of Multibreeds who were sitting nearby the forest. A guard stood a distance away from them. Feeling uncertain, Asul-Zenza decided to land, keeping his eye on the guard in case he reacted. Keings-Alsze was his best way out of here, and if she was drugged he’d have to wait longer than he wanted to.
When Keings-Alsze returned to him, she said something he couldn’t understand.
“Oh, sorry! I was still in th’ mindset fer Dasdorian. They said they got a few people who made it out a here before.”
“Do they know how?”
“They tol’ me. Said it’s quicker fer avians but more risky, slower for non-avians but less risky. ‘s easier to be heard when ya fly but quicker ta get away. Since yer an avian, I figure we could take th’ risk…”
“Do you want to wait until tomorrow to do anything?”
“Yeah, tha…that mi’ be good,” she said, yawning a second time. “Pretty tired myself. Kept an eye on ya for a long time…”
“Let’s get some sleep then.”
“We don’ have ta, tho,” she said, flying away from him. “Don’tcha wanna see yer family ASAP?”
He looked away from her. “…my family is used to these sorts of disappearances,” he sighed.
“That’s why I’m so scared! What if I die here? They might never know! And even if they figure out that something happened to me, who would think to look in Dasdoria? I said I’d never come here, and….”
He sighed and wiped at his eyes, just in case.
“Don’ cry,” she said.
“I’ll getcha back to them as soon as I get som’ sleep. I told ya I’d do anythin’ it takes, ri?”
“I don’t need ta sleep if you wanna get back home soon,” she said.
“No. If you get sleep, there’s less chance of us getting caught, isn’t there? I’ll wait. So long as I’m careful, I won’t die, right?”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t think so,” she said. “There’s a lotta bad things in Dasdoria, but ya won’t usually die ’cause someone killed ya. It’s usually like sickness er hunger that takes ya out. An’ I can help yer hunger.”
“Thank you. Hopefully that won’t be necessary…” Feeling self-conscious about his growing hunger, he covered his stomach with his cloak.
“Yeah, but if ya need ta, ya need ta. ….and don’ get me wron’ when it comes ta dyin’ here. Jus’ ’cause yer more likely ta starve or somethin’ doesn’t change anythin’….it’s jus’ people here are usually too weak ta kill ya themselves. So if they hurt ya, ya usually die ’cause yer wound got infected…’course there’s still a lotta crime here an’ all, an’ there’s like, no actual houses anywhere in si’. So I don’ blame anyone who wants ta leave this hellhole. Ain’t the type a place I wanted ta grow up in.”
“Do you think you’ll ever try to leave?”
“…I dunno. Never thought a it, but…i’s crossed my mind a little since ya came….i’s really bad here, yanno? But I only know what it’s like ta live here, so it’s like, where’d I go if I left? Ya know where ya’d go, bu’ I don’t. I might go someplace jus’ as bad as here. I dunno much ’bout otha places in th’ world…”
“If you want, you can leave with me,” Asul-Zenza offered. “I live in a Vampire society, so you’d be able to speak the language there. They don’t have anything against Dualbreeds there either, so you wouldn’t have to worry about that. Do you have a family who could come with you?”
“Um…n-no, not any that I know a,” she said. “If there are, they prolly don’t know I even exist…”
“So you can come with me.”
Keings-Alsze lowered her head. “I dunno, Ghneckdo. We’ll see. ‘member, I’m coverin’ fer ya, so I get caught it’s kinda a moot point.”
“Well, we’ll just have to make sure you don’t get caught, won’t we?” The two landed and laid down on the ground a short distance away from each other.
“Sweet dreams, Aeshen,” he said.
“…yeah, same back to ya, Ghneckdo.”
As soon as the two woke the next day, they started planning out how Asul-Zenza might escape.
“So’s we gotta do this at night, othawise we face a higher chance a bein’ spotted. In tha dark, they might notice us, but not ’til it’s too late.”
“That seems fairly obvious.”
“Well, sorry,” Keings-Alsze huffed.
“I wasn’t trying to upset you.”
“Yeah, I know. So I should be th’ one sayin’ sorry…jus’ really wanna getcha back t’ yer family an outta here.”
“I want that too, so badly…”
“If yer lucky, you’ll make it tanight. Othawise, we’ll have ta keep plannin’ ta see what went wron. Th’ group I talked ta said avians’re at a higher risk a bein’ caught, so it could end up jus’ bein’ try ‘n try ’til ya nail it.”
“Say, Ghneckdo…where’s yer home at? Like, how far from Dasdoria?”
“Quite a ways away. I’d been traveling for four or five days before I got here, maybe six…but I travel consistently, so that’s not counting multiple stops.”
“If you notice a place full of Vampires with a cobblestone street, you’ve probably made it. It’s all the way to the right…why do you ask, anyway?”
“No particular reason,” she said. “Anyways, I hope it all works out fer ya.”
“I hope it works out for you too! I want you to come with me.”
“Ya still want that?”
“You don’t want to leave Dasdoria anymore?”
“…just ain’t sure is all,” she sighed. “We’ll see. Jus’ plan fer yerself fer now, ‘kay?”
“Alright,” he sighed, though he decided to keep escaping with her in mind. “…what do we do while we wait for it to be night?”
“I dunno. Not much ta do in Dasdoria. Got any plans?”
“…well, how about some stories?”
“Ain’t got much in th’ way a that, n’less ya like tragedy….’course, that also depends on yer definition a tragedy…”
“I can tell you stories instead,” he said.
“…got any good ones?”
“I have a few,” he said. “And I’ll take any chance I can to talk about my daughter.”
“Ya got a daughter?”
“Yes,” he said with a smile. “She’s adorable. And she’s a Dualbreed just like you, although she’s not half-Animated Pumpkin…”
“Molshei makes me think he comes from a family descendant of a Dasdorian refugee. I dunno, jus’ my feelin’, could be wrong…”
“I know nothing about him, so it frustrates me,” Asul-Zenza said through grit teeth. “Well, not nothing, but not enough….”
“Hey, ain’t nobody blamin’ ya fer bein’ an overprotective dad. Well, I ain’t, anyway…” Keings-Alsze looked up at the sky.
“Stars’re startin’ ta come out. Ya wanna try now?”
“Whenever you think it’s best.”
“I think now is. ‘less ya wanna wait ’till a li’l later?”
“The sooner the better for me,” he said, standing. “Lead the way then, Aeshen.”
“‘kay. Ya said yer home is to the right, yeah?”
“Yes.” ‘Is that why she asked?’
“Okey-doke.” She spread her wings and started to fly into the trees. A deep yell sounded almost right after he followed after her.
“Shit, I think they found us!” She yelled. “Move quick, Ghneckdo! I gotsa plan ta get outta here, but ya gotta follow me!”
Keings-Alsze picked up speed and began to dart through the trees. Asul-Zenza tried to follow her, but she was quick and he was having trouble not crashing into each one that stood in his way. His cape snagged on a branch and he was having trouble pulling himself loose.
Something fired at him and missed only narrowly.
“They’re firing, Aeshen!” He yelled. Keings-Alsze turned around and tore his cape from the branch, then grabbed his hand and flew with him through the trees.
With her help Asul-Zenza managed to make more efficient dodges, but whatever the Dasdorian guards fired was bouncing all over. One nicked Asul-Zenza’s arm, and a couple nicked Keings-Alsze’s tail.
“What are you planning on doing!?” He yelled.
“Ain’t really got nothin’,” she said, starting to sound worried. She glanced up and gasped.
“Gots an idea, but yer gonna have ta work with me real quick!” She yelled. Asul-Zenza only gave a nod.
Vines began to rise from the ground and block some of the bullets from hitting them, though some tore their way through.
“Dammit! I can’t pumpkify too fast, so that’s a moot point! One last shot, so bear with me, Ghneckdo!”
A moment later, Asul-Zenza found he could barely control his body. When he tried to fly, he wasn’t making it anywhere. He flew high into the air and then regained control of his body, quickly flapping to keep himself up.
Keings-Alsze burst through the top of the trees, panting and sputtering.
“Gimme just a moment!” She yelled, then turned back to the forest. Vines began to rise up past the trees. Asul-Zenza was taken aback.
“Sorry, I can’t use seed bomb, othawise you’d a prolly been safe long ago…” She sighed.
“It’s not a problem. This looks good enough!”
“Yeah, got a lot ta make up fer it…”
A small bullet fired its way through the vines and hit Keings-Alsze’s wing. She started to unbalance.
“Don’ worry, I can levitate too!” She folded her wings to her back and began to levitate, then turned to Asul-Zenza with a serious look on her face.
“I’m gonna follow you fer now. But if I drop off, don’t come back fer me. Get back ta yer daughter and tell her yer alright. Ain’t gonna make her lose her father just ’cause I failed.”
“At this point, you’re not going to be left behind,” he said.
“Jus’ sayin’ as a precaution. Don’t come back fer me. Just go ta yer daughter.”
Asul-Zenza nodded, though he personally had no plans to leave Keings-Alsze behind. “…alright.”
The two continued on at a high speed, Asul-Zenza flying and Keings-Alsze levitating. Asul-Zenza found himself feeling worn out before he usually did, but he kept on flying.
He had to, until he was away from Dasdoria and its dead trees and rancid stench. Until that died away, he kept flying.
The air smelled like forestry, but the foul smell was gone. Asul-Zenza took in a deep breath and began to smile, turning behind him.
“Look, Aeshen, we made it!”
But when he looked behind him, she was no longer there.
“Keep goin’, Ghneckdo…”
Keings-Alsze stared up at the night sky as she was hauled away by Dasdorian guards.
‘Maybe someday I can join ya….’
A few days later, La-Iin received a call.
“La-Iin, I see you’re not home right now…I just wanted to tell you that, well….I was in another bad situation, but I’m safe now. I’d like to see you again soon, so please call and tell me when would be best. I love you and we’ll talk soon.”
That day, Asul-Zenza decided to look more into the device he had heard of earlier that year.
‘If I can protect La-Iin from something like that, it’s all I need.’