27.361.Nothing But the Snow

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 361
“Nothing But the Snow”

When La-Iin woke up, Choungetsu was sitting in her bed, tail wagging and mouth wide open as usual.
La-Iin glared at him, got up, and led him downstairs. When she got to the living room, she put on Choungetsu’s leash and opened the door.
Snow blew onto her face almost immediately. Staring outside, she noticed that her entire neighborhood was covered in a thick layer of snow, and more was still coming down. She scoffed and opted to walk through it.
The snow was so hard that she couldn’t dent it.
Choungetsu started to walk into the snow as if trying to push his way through. He clawed at the snow curiously, then gave a whimper.
La-Iin knew she would have normally been infuriated, but right now she just felt mildly irritated.
“Mama, are you awake?” She called out. “I think we’re snowed in.”
When she didn’t get a response, she assumed Mit-Sun was still asleep and started to close the door. Choungetsu then gave a random yip, and La-Iin noticed Mit-Sun running for the door. She re-opened it and stared out at the expanse of snow with wide eyes.
It took her a few minutes before she responded.
“…I am so glad we don’t have work and school today,” she said.
“I don’t think I’d have school if it’s this snowy even if school was open right now.”
Mit-Sun’s expression was a mixture of concern and frustration as she closed the door. “I guess this isn’t the worst thing. It’s better to have a snowstorm than Magica Cavintus or something like that…but I hope this all melts soon.”
“Me too. I don’t want to have to be stuck inside for too many days. I’ll go insane.”
“We’ll need to find something to do while we’re snowed in. We can’t just sit around and do nothing…”
“Don’t you normally have papers to mess with? I, on the other hand, have lots I can do. Drawing and planning and daydreaming and I could call Dami, and talk to Bes-Isa, maybe I can even get in touch with Sale-Dessu too…and Fer-Shi. I wonder if it’s only snowy in our neighborhood, or is it snowy in hers too?”
La-Iin walked past Mit-Sun, Choungetsu still leashed. He followed after her, seemingly confused but also impatient. When she stopped beside the phone he started to pace and whine.
“Hello?”
“Hi, Fer-Shi. I want to ask you something.”
“Oh, La-Iin!? Hello! Is it badly snowy over in your neighborhood too?”
‘I guess I have my answer.’ “Yes. We’re snowed in.”
“We’re snowed in over here too…I’m worried.”
“It’ll probably melt soon.”
“I know, but…actually, why I’m worried is something you wouldn’t understand, La-Iin.”
La-Iin gave an indignant huff. “Do you think I’m stupid?”
“I’ve said I don’t! Geez….anyway, what did you want to ask?”
“If it’s snowy over there.”
“Well, um…yes.”
“Okay,” she said. “Well, there’s no point in talking about it then.”
“Yeah, I guess not…anything else you wanted to talk about?”
“No. But maybe we should go somewhere after the snowstorm is over and we can actually go outside again. You figure out a place and then call me.”
“Okay…”
“Bye, Fer-Shi.”
“Bye, La-Iin…stay safe, okay?”
“I have to whether I want to or not,” she said, then hung up the phone. She took off Choungetsu’s leash and put it back in the living room. Choungetsu began to leap around the kitchen, yipping frequently as if happy to be free.
La-Iin sighed. ‘Today is going to be boring. Being forced to be inside always makes it boring.’
She sat at the table and rested her head. She heard Mit-Sun say to her, “La-Iin, aren’t you going to draw or something? You should at least preoccupy yourself. You complain to me about staying in the kitchen all the time, but here you are, in the kitchen….”
By the time Mit-Sun had started talking however, her mind was starting to drift off into a daydream.

***

“Look at all this snow!”
“It’s everywhere! It must be seeping through the cages!”
“It’s called snow? Mama, is it called snow?”
La-Iin watched as her children stared out at the expanse of snow. Save for Chung-Ae, all of them had been asking several questions about the snow. La-Iin would have been endeared if her wings hadn’t felt frozen.
“Imagine how cold all the slaves are,” Song-Ii said. “Snow melts, right Mama?”
“Sure it does,” Chung-Ae said, joining the conversation. La-Iin was grateful that it didn’t seem like she’d have to answer any questions. She was too busy warming up her wings. ‘If only San-Kyung wasn’t busy, I’d have him light a fire right now….’
“It’s like frozen water. So all the slaves will be covered in snow. They might even freeze to death. And when all that snow melts, they’ll be all wet.” He grinned. “I’m looking forward to that.”
“It’s probably not much fun to be wet all the time,” Hun-Seuth sniffed. “Even when I just get out of the bath my wings feel disgusting when wet. Imagine feeling that constantly!”
“Well, they’re slaves, so does it matter?” Chung-Ae said.
“I don’t care about the slaves, but it still probably isn’t much fun to be wet. Being a slave does not change that, I wouldn’t think,” Song-Ii said.
“There are very few slaves you should feel even the slightest sliver of sympathy for, Song-Ii,” La-Iin said. “You too, Hun-Seuth.”
“Mmm….” Hun-Seuth gave his mother an uncertain glance, but La-Iin barely noticed the agitation.
“May we play in the ‘snow’, Mama?” Sou-Yu asked.
“Do you think that would be a good idea?” La-Iin said.
“Um…”
“Weigh the benefits and disadvantages,” she said.
“Benefits might be getting some exercise and a lighter mind so when we need to go back to fighting we feel clear,” Hun-Seuth said.
“Disadvantages could be that it’s freezing and in this sort of weather, our wings could become so cold and stiff we can’t fly back home for hours,” Chung-Ae said.
“Benefits could be harming the slaves should we opt to check on them. Chucking snow at them could make their miserable existences worse, I’m sure,” Song-Ii said.
“Disadvantages could be slave waste lurking in the snow who-knows-where,” Chung-Ae scoffed.
“Benefits could be learning better battle strategies! You know so much more than I, Song-Ii, or Sou-Yu do. And I know quite a lot, so I could teach Song-Ii and Sou-Yu what I know. And Sou-Yu barely knows anything about fighting, so he would get a lot of knowledge from us.”
“Disadvantages could be Sou-Yu himself,” Chung-Ae said. “He’s the weakest and youngest of us all. His immune system is weak–perhaps him flying out here in the snow is already dangerous enough. Mama, what would you say?”
“Disadvantages outweigh the benefits. And in this weather some slaves might go crazy. Our stock of power-suppresant drugs is quite low right now, so some of them might be able to attack you…I trust in you older three, but I know Sou-Yu is still a weakling.” Sou-Yu glanced down at the ground, dejected. “We’ll have to head home. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I am not losing one of my children to a lowly slave, or to lowly snow. So let’s go.”
Save for Chung-Ae, La-Iin’s children all seemed dejected as they flew off after their mother.

Late in the night, Hun-Seuth woke Song-Ii.
“Mama and Darseen are asleep,” he said as she blinked her eyes open. “So is Chung-Ae. Let’s take this chance to play in the snow now.”
“I’m exhausted,” Song-Ii yawned.
“You’ll wake up in the cold,” he assured. “Come on!”
Song-Ii grumbled as if frustrated, but she soon sat up and stared at her brother with excitement in her gaze. The two snuck outside and started to fly across the expanse of snow. It was no longer coming down from the sky and all that was on the ground glittered in the moonlight.
It looked perfect and beautiful. It was just the thing that pushed Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii to want to destroy it.
Both dove down at the snow and began to play in it, throwing snowballs all around. The night was silent save for their cries of joy.
Or it was, until they heard someone else’s footsteps.
“What are you two doing outside?” Chung-Ae snapped.
“We wanted to play in the snow! Mama and Darseen would never let us, so we had to do it now.” Hun-Seuth said simply.
“Do you want to join, Chung-Ae?” Song-Ii asked. “Sou-Yu isn’t here to bog us down.”
“Well…” Hope sparked in both Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii’s chests. “I suppose you two need someone adult to watch over you, just in case something happens. I’m sure Mama will be proud of me for doing such a thing.”
Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii smiled at each other, and returned to playing in the snow. The peaceful scene was now broken by snow scattered everywhere as all three tossed up piles upon piles of snow.
Though none of them noticed it, La-Iin and San-Kyung kept an eye on them from a window at home, Sou-Yu wrapped in a warm blanket and also watching, longing to join his siblings.

***

“La-Iin, get out of your head for a moment,” Mit-Sun snapped. La-Iin looked up abruptly.
“Geez. I know you said daydreaming is one of the things you could do to pass the time, but how lazy…” La-Iin heard her mutter and scoffed. “It’s still snowing outside, but it’s starting to calm down. Do you want to do something with me? Because Choungetsu’s asleep and I know Bes-Isa doesn’t like me, so I’ve only got you.”
“Alright….so long as it’s fun.”
“What would be the point if it wasn’t?”
“Should we draw?”
Mit-Sun started to look embarrassed. She rubbed the back of her neck. “I’m not all that good at drawing.”
“I can show you how to do it. Follow me.” She led the way to the staircase, Mit-Sun close behind.
“Can we play in the snow if we can ever get past it?” La-Iin asked.
“I thought you didn’t like the snow. Doesn’t it make your wings too cold?”
“Yes, but we live close to the ground. And there’s something I want to do….”
“Sure,” Mit-Sun said casually, as if she hadn’t noticed the malice in La-Iin’s tone. La-Iin gave a confident chuckle as she head upstairs.

—–
“Are you snowed in over there too?”
“Yeah. This snowstorm’s pretty bad. I hope it clears up soon. Are you staying warm?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Mom and Dad are alright too.”
“Good. We’re fine over here too. My Mom and Dad don’t even need to go to work today because of all this snow.”
“Alright.”
“Well, it can’t be as bad as Magica Cavintus was,” Dosa-Mina said. “Fingers crossed it’s over soon. I think it’d be nice to be there with you to welcome 2015.”
“Maybe.”
“Well, that’s only maybe because of the snow…bye for now, San-Kyung. And I hope I can see you again soon.”

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