The La-Iin Series
“A Common Goal”
“It’s starting to get pretty cold outside,” Bes-Isa said. “But I think I like cold fabric a lot better than hot fabric.”
“When it’s cold it seeps into my wings and makes me cold all over,” La-Iin replied. “December can be an evil month.”
“I don’t remember saying anything about YOUR birthday month, so you could be quiet about mine.”
La-Iin huffed. “You should take that as a compliment. I called your birthday month evil. And anyway, your birthday isn’t all that important.”
“Well, excuuuuse me! I seem to remember a certain someone getting all excited about the birthdays of people she cared about! I’m your best friend, the doll who supports your evil the most!”
“San-Kyung supports my evil the most,” La-Iin sighed.
“He didn’t even like you until earlier this year.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“But I’m your one and only evil buddy.”
La-Iin stretched in place. “I know you are. I’ll celebrate your dumb birthday, but I don’t know how I can do that without you getting mad at someone.”
“Keep me away from the furball, Eul-Bok, and as far from that woman as possible. I’d love it if you could get some….entertainment ladies…but I know that probably won’t happen.”
“I didn’t have San-Kyung as entertainment on my birthday, so why should you get what you want?”
“For a six-year-old you’re awfully horny.”
“What’s horny?” La-Iin asked. Bes-Isa sighed. “And we’ve been walking in circles.”
“I noticed. I was going to ask you about that eventually.”
“Were you really?” La-Iin scoffed. “We should get to Sale-Dessu’s house already.”
Before she had gone to school that day, she sent Bes-Isa over to Sale-Dessu’s window and had her tell him she and La-Iin wanted to hear any news he had on V-Puppetry.
“I do have a little news, actually,” he had said. “If you want, you could come over after school. I can make us a little something and we can talk about it.”
La-Iin was starting to wonder if Sale-Dessu might be done with his autonomy project before Bes-Isa’s birthday. She still didn’t like the idea of her doll becoming autonomous, but after her disastrous birthday and her decision to withhold from interfering with other’s, she wondered if she might actually be alright with it if she could give it to her as a birthday present of sorts.
“Aaaand now we’re not going anywhere,” Bes-Isa sighed. “I hope you know this is really annoying!”
La-Iin blinked and tried to bring herself out of her thoughts. She started to fly over to Sale-Dessu’s door, knocking on it with the hand she was using to control Bes-Isa. For that moment Bes-Isa briefly fell from the sky, but La-Iin caught her before she could land on the ground.
“You should consider yourself lucky I’m a doll with all the shit you put me through,” Bes-Isa grumbled. “And what’s with that knocking the door, goody-goody?”
“It’s locked,” La-Iin said, pointing at the doorknob.
“How can you tell?”
She jiggled the doorknob.
“Don’t tell me he’s out….he’s like a total shut-in, so why would he leave? AND he was expecting company!”
“I don’t know,” La-Iin said.
The two waited at the door regardless. It started to unlock not too long afterwards, and Sale-Dessu peeked out at them, smiling.
“Hey, Sale-Dessu! Care to explain why the door was locked!?”
“Oh, this?” He said. “…I get a little startled when you just barge in,” he said. Sale-Dessu felt like shrinking away at the irritation in La-Iin’s gaze as she walked in past him. Sale-Dessu closed the door and locked it.
“I hope you know she’s inside now,” Bes-Isa said.
“It’s instinct. And my studies are….well, they would be big if everyone else found out about them. It’s better I keep the door locked…”
“Do you plan on telling the world what you’re doing anytime soon?”
Sale-Dessu shook his head. “This is our secret for now,” he said. “Even if it gets out…that’s up to you, not me. I don’t want any sort of infamy.”
“Humble, aren’t we,” Bes-Isa said sarcastically.
“More like shy,” La-Iin said.
“La-Iin’s not exactly wrong,” Sale-Dessu said. “But I have my reasons….”
La-Iin started to grin.
Sale-Dessu led La-Iin into a dark room. He pointed toward a table.
“What’s with the dark mood in here? This definitely feels like witchcraft, but not like Sale-Dessu,” Bes-Isa said.
“I keep some of my experiments in here. Some work better in the dark, and there are some things it’s good to keep in the dark around you and La-Iin…”
La-Iin wondered what that meant as she sat at the table. “Is there a way to light up the room?”
Sale-Dessu chuckled. “Even if there was, I wouldn’t fall for that, La-Iin. This room’s lighting is completely powered by me. I use my powers to light it whenever I need it to be lit….or sometimes a candle,” he admitted, turning away from them.
“So, where’s the something you were making for us?”
“Sitting in front of you?” He said quizzically. La-Iin looked down.
“I can’t see what you’re talking about.”
“Because you can barely see in the dark,” La-Iin said.
“You can barely see in the dark too!”
“But I’m half-Vampire,” La-Iin said proudly. “I’m supposed to have better dark vision.”
“…dark vision,” Bes-Isa scoffed.
“I hear it gets even better when you transform into a bat,” Sale-Dessu said. La-Iin flinched. Even having her other transformation, she still felt self-conscious about her lack of that power. Ei-Tio and Ai-Reia came to mind and she instantly felt jealous, trying to chase away her thoughts of the two girls.
“What is this stuff?”
“It’s a Warlock dish. It has a texture like jelly. Try it.”
La-Iin poked it, then tried to suck it up with her fangs. She recoiled at the texture.
“Do you like it?”
Sale-Dessu seemed slightly dejected. “Oh. Alright.”
“There’s goop coming out my teeth!” She whined, poking them. Sale-Dessu sighed.
“You’re not supposed to suck it up like blood,” he said. “Try it again, but this time, don’t suck it.”
La-Iin glared at Sale-Dessu, but she lifted the plate up and slid the stuff into her mouth. The texture still made her shudder, but not nearly as bad as earlier.
“I don’t like its texture,” La-Iin said.
“That’s alright. It takes getting used to.”
‘I don’t want to get used to it…’
“Are we going to get to the V-Puppetry news anytime soon?” Bes-Isa said.
“Oh, yes!” Sale-Dessu said. He cleared his throat. “From what I’ve been finding out about V-Puppetry, I think in order to make someone autonomous, they need to have a separate vessel.”
“A separate vessel?”
“You wouldn’t be able to become autonomous in that form,” Sale-Dessu said. “You’d have to get a new body. If I’m right, then making a V-Puppet autonomous could be a really high-risk procedure…and I’m not completely sure yet if I’m right, or if I am right, what kind of vessel would you need? Would you just need a brand-new one? Would we need to use people’s corpses?” Sale-Dessu paled. “If I have to use corpses you and Eul-Bok might end up staying like this forever…”
“Yeah, I guess already-rotting flesh isn’t exactly my idea of fun. And I don’t mind about getting a new vessel. I like my fabric, but I’ve always wanted to be a little taller. Taller than La-Iin would be a good start.”
“If you were in a growing vessel I think you’d probably get taller than La-Iin quickly,” he said, sounding cheerful.
“Why?” La-Iin asked, an edge to her tone.
“You’re pretty small…but you’re only six, so you still have time to grow.”
“I’m almost seven,” she said proudly.
“She always does this at this time of year,” Bes-Isa said.
“Maybe for your seventh birthday I can do something for you,” Sale-Dessu said. “It’s been nice, having someone who listens to all my V-Puppetry study reports.”
“Don’t I count as well? My birthday is sooner,” she said.
“When is it?”
“Too bad I probably won’t be done by then…” He said with a sigh. “Maybe I can do something else for you, though…”
“You know, thinking about it, it’s kind of sad that your only friends are a little girl and her doll.”
“Maybe it is…” Sale-Dessu started. “But I’m fine with things the way they are. I’m not really all that good with people. V-Puppets are a lot easier.”
“Friends?” La-Iin asked.
“Well, I guess maybe not friends,” Sale-Dessu said. “I guess I thought that, though…I’ll be honest with you about one thing, La-Iin, I’m…I don’t have all that much experience with friendship….so I don’t really know what makes two people friends or anything like that. I have my own ideas about it, which is why…” He sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. That’s just annoying.”
Sale-Dessu prepared himself to apologize again, and tugged on a mat in order to keep himself from doing so.
“Maybe we’re not friends, but I consider you an ally. …of sorts.”
“Because you have so many powers. You could do a lot for me.”
“I’m not going to help you do anything evil,” Sale-Dessu said.
“How could you call someone like him your ally?” Bes-Isa asked.
“Because I think it’s better if we stay close.”
La-Iin began to think back on her daydreams. Depending on the day how she felt about Sale-Dessu varied–somedays she found him incredibly annoying, while others she almost liked him. But ever since the two had started to get to know each other, he had become a key part of her daydreams of the future.
She didn’t need Sale-Dessu to give her any powers, or even help her directly. But he could still help her, and not only for her plans for the future.
“Really?” Sale-Dessu said, sounding meek.
“Really. I think you can help me out. …and not for evil things. You don’t even need to get worried about that. I’m handling all the world-ruling myself. But you can make potions and glitch the world. And you might be able to make Bes-Isa autonomous. You can help me. So you’re my ally. And I already have goody-goody allies anyway.” She turned to Bes-Isa. “Fer-Shi, remember?”
“I suppose you have a point there,” she said. “I can see you as an ally of sorts too, Sale-Dessu. No matter how annoying you might be, you could be the key to helping me get something I’ve always wanted. If you can do that for me, then I might just owe you.”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “Allies…that’s good enough for me. I’ll help you two so long as it’s not something crazy.”
“It might be sometimes,” La-Iin said.
“Well, I like crazy too…”
“Then we’re allies.” La-Iin held out her hand. Sale-Dessu stared at it as if it were a foreign object, then reached out his own and shook it. La-Iin moved Bes-Isa over with her free hand.
“Now it’s official.”
“Okay,” Sale-Dessu said, feeling slightly amused as he let go of La-Iin’s hand.
“Now I want to ask you for something!”
“Make me mincemeat pie!”
Sale-Dessu smiled and nodded. “Alright!”
“You have a stupid look on your face,” La-Iin said after swallowing a mouthful of mincemeat pie. Sale-Dessu blinked.
“She’s right, you look dumb right now.”
Sale-Dessu sighed and smiled at them. “Neither of you have any emotion on your faces,” he said.
“I’m just joking,” he said. “Do you like the mincemeat pie?”
La-Iin didn’t respond and continued to eat. Sale-Dessu decided to take it as a yes.
‘I think us being allies could be good for me too,’ Sale-Dessu wanted to say. He decided to keep silent, almost certain that La-Iin would tell him that statement was stupid.