The La-Iin Series
“Asul-Zenza and Choungetsu”
It was a misty Saturday morning, Asul-Zenza noticed as soon as he woke up. He stared out the window of the miscellaneous room, barely able to see outside around all the objects that were piled nearby the window.
“It looks so nice outside right now…” He mused to himself.
Enraptured by the sight, he almost didn’t notice Choungetsu sitting next to him. The dog sat still and stared out the window with wide, curious eyes.
“Hello there, Choungetsu,” he said, giving him a scratch behind the ears. Choungetsu gave a contented growl and curled up next to him.
‘This has been a nice few days.’ Even with Mit-Sun’s cold attitude, Asul-Zenza had been enjoying the days he was spending at the Cahongyun house, and the idea of leaving tomorrow made him sigh. He enjoyed spending quality time with La-Iin and Choungetsu, and talking to Bes-Isa was always interesting. He got to see things about La-Iin’s daily life that he wouldn’t have been able to had he not stayed over these days.
It almost made him wish his and Mit-Sun’s relationship had worked out, save for the sick feeling he got at the idea of actually marrying her now. He sighed and started to stroke Choungetsu’s head, putting the thoughts out of mind for now.
“Mit-Sun, may I take Choungetsu on a walk?”
The idea had come to him while staring outside. Mit-Sun was at her computer typing something, and she turned to face him with a blank expression on her face. She seemed drained.
“Are you alright, Mit-Sun?”
“Alright as you can be when your ex forces his way into your house. Only thing I’m grateful for is that you’re not one of the murderous or crazy types…” She sighed. “It’s not my place to tell you whether or not you can walk Choungetsu. You brought him here. If there’s anyone you should ask, it’s La-Iin. I keep her in charge of taking care of him most of the time.”
“Is she even awake?”
“That I don’t know….now stop talking to me so I can get back to work. The sooner you leave the happier I’ll be.”
Asul-Zenza stared down at his feet. “I’ll be leaving soon, so I suppose your happiness isn’t too far away.”
He closed her door and walked over to La-Iin’s. He knocked on it two times before opening the door.
“Are you awake, La-Iin?” He said quietly.
“What is it, Dami?”
La-Iin was sitting at the table in the middle of her bedroom, pieces of paper scattered everywhere and a red crayon in her hand. Asul-Zenza only then noticed Choungetsu whimpering and attempting to push past him into the bedroom.
“Stay here. I don’t know if she wants you in there,” he whispered, then cleared his throat. “La-Iin, would you mind if I took Choungetsu for a walk?”
“I don’t care. You can take him for a walk anytime, Dami. I think he’s been mad at me because I don’t like to take him on walks in Winter. It’s just so cold…he has fur, he’d never understand! Someday maybe I’ll shave off all his fur and make him play in the snow.”
“I….see. Well, then, I’ll be going now.”
“Dami, when are you leaving?” La-Iin asked just as he put his hand on the doorknob.
“Tomorrow. I have work then but that’s the last day of it. I’ll be heading back to Feratus after work that day. Why?” He smiled. “Are you as ready as Mit-Sun is for me to leave?”
“No, I was just wondering,” she said. “Go ahead and walk Choungetsu. I’m busy right now.” Asul-Zenza closed the door; the last thing he heard from her was, “Maybe I should turn on some music…”
“Ready to go for a walk?” Asul-Zenza said to Choungetsu. Choungetsu yipped in response. Glancing around once to make sure Mit-Sun was still in her room, Asul-Zenza flew downstairs, Choungetsu close behind him, and head for the living room. Choungetsu’s leash was in plain sight, and he picked it up and fastened it to Choungetsu’s collar.
Then, the two of them head out the Cahongyun house, Choungetsu in the lead.
The morning was still misty as Asul-Zenza and Choungetsu walked through the neighborhood. Asul-Zenza felt this was one of his first good looks at it. Several people were outside today, and it was easy to hear as well as see them.
Choungetsu kept a steady lead, and Asul-Zenza almost felt like he was the one being walked. Choungetsu would jerk him around to look at the ground, sniff the grass for what seemed like nothing, stare up at the sky and then sneeze, or simply stop and shake droplets of water off of him.
Asul-Zenza was a bit frustrated, but he was mostly amused. Usually he didn’t spend any time with Choungetsu when he visited the Cahongyun house, what with his attention usually being focused entirely on La-Iin and occasionally Bes-Isa or Mit-Sun. Looking at him now reminded him of the small puppy he had met at the shelter. Despite the whimpering, whining dogs all around him and the dreary cage he was stuck in, Choungetsu still seemed happy, even more so when Asul-Zenza decided to take him home.
‘And it looks like he hasn’t changed much since then,’ he thought to himself. Choungetsu seemed to be in a cheerful mood as he pranced along the sidewalk, pausing momentarily to nip at a pole.
Choungetsu had been much smaller back when he had brought him to the Cahongyun house. Now he seemed to have grown to his full size, and while he was still fairly tiny, he was no longer puppy-sized and he seemed well-fed and healthy.
“Ah, I wonder if I shouldn’t have kept you for myself,” Asul-Zenza said aloud. Choungetsu stopped and glanced at him, but then continued on. “But then, I wouldn’t always be able to be there for you. I’m gone a lot for work and travel. You’d be all alone a lot–I know I couldn’t bring you everywhere with me, and I also know dogs can easily get lonely…so perhaps it’s better you live with La-Iin. You love her after all, don’t you?”
Choungetsu yipped. Asul-Zenza checked ahead to see if there was something in front of him, but there didn’t seem to be. His tail was wagging and he seemed energetic.
“Do you love me?”
Choungetsu gave a cheerful yip. Asul-Zenza smiled. ‘Let’s hope that means something good.’ “I’m glad to hear it. I love you too, Choungetsu. I’ll try and pay more attention to you the next time I can come over. Fingers crossed that it’s sometime this year…”
As the walk continued and Choungetsu led him to somewhere he was sure was no longer in the neighborhood, Asul-Zenza dwelled on his memories of Choungetsu as a puppy. ‘He was good on the flight home, and on the flight to the Cahongyun house. But I suppose things can always change, and he was a small puppy back then, not a full-grown dog….still, I wonder what sort of differences my life would have if I had kept him.’
He thought back on La-Iin’s reaction to meeting Choungetsu. She had been excited, moreso than he had expected. ‘I wonder if it was just because I had brought him, or because she actually wanted a dog.’ He realized he had never asked about those earlier days and decided he would as soon as he got home.
‘No…the Cahongyun house isn’t my home. My home in Feratus is.’
“Choungetsu, would you mind if held you on the way home?”
Choungetsu turned around and cocked his head. Asul-Zenza picked him up. Choungetsu reached out to lick his face and Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Is that a plea for me to let you down?”
Choungetsu whimpered and stopped licking his face. He relaxed into Asul-Zenza’s arms. “I suppose you’re alright with it, then….”
Asul-Zenza walked home with Choungetsu in his arms. Memories of Choungetsu as a puppy filled his mind, along with them daydreams of what his life would have been like if he had kept Choungetsu. And as they approached the Cahongyun house, both felt closer to eachother than they had at any point before then.
“Tomorrow’s the last day I’ll be here,” Asul-Zenza said to La-Iin later on. “So if there’s anything you’d like to do with me while I’m here, tell me now so we’ll have the time to do it.”
“I don’t know…I would introduce you to San-Kyung, but I can’t even contact him, not to mention there are other problems with that….” She gave a huff as if frustrated.
“Well, that’s alright. I’m sure we could find something else to do. Say, I’ve noticed you’ve been drawing a lot today. Would you mind showing me some of those drawings before I go?”
“Only some of them. Some of them have to do with things you’re not supposed to know yet.”
Asul-Zenza could guess what that meant, but it didn’t stop him from feeling a little curious. “I see. Well, I’d be glad to see whatever you’re willing to show me.”
A squeaky yawn startled him and he turned to his left. Choungetsu was comfortably splayed out next to him, and when he caught his eye he started to pant and wag his tail, tongue lolling onto the couch.
“Choungetsu likes you,” La-Iin said. “But then, he likes everyone, so….”
“I can imagine there are a lot of people Choungetsu likes, but I can also imagine that you and I have a special connection with him.”
“I’m not sure I want to have a special connection with him.”
“A special connection with Choungetsu is a good thing to have. He’s so sweet.” Asul-Zenza smiled at him. “Aren’t you?”
Choungetsu gave a yip. La-Iin blinked in confusion. ‘Did he always like Choungetsu this much?’