24.389.Re-Acknowledged–Part 2

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 389
“Re-Acknowledged–Part 2”

When La-Iin woke up that day, immediately she was overcome with a rush of excitement. The events of last night flooded back into her mind, and she leaped out of bed, Bes-Isa in tow, and ran to the miscellaneous room.
Mit-Sun had agreed to let Usl-Thaehey and Namgung stay at the Cahongyun house that night due to their situation. Since all four of them were exhausted after the long run, she hadn’t gotten the chance to talk to Usl-Thaehey once they arrived home; all four of them had almost instantly gone to bed.
She opened the door to the miscellaneous room, holding Bes-Isa to her chest now, and peeked inside. Both Usl-Thaehey and Namgung were sleeping on the bed in the room. Namgung slept with his arms outstretched, while Usl-Thaehey was curled up to him, her expression peaceful. Knowing their personalities, La-Iin couldn’t help but feel it should be reversed.
“Are you going to wake them up?” Bes-Isa asked.
“I want to wake Usl-Thaehey up,” La-Iin told her. Soon after saying that, she noticed both Usl-Thaehey and Namgung had begun to stir. They opened their eyes within seconds of each other.
“Huh…?” Usl-Thaehey mumbled. Then, she glanced up at Namgung and leaped out the bed. “What the–”
“What’s the surprise for?”
Usl-Thaehey stared in La-Iin’s direction for a few moments before her eyes widened. “Ohh,” she said. “We’re at the Cahongyun house…”
“You forgot?” Namgung grunted as he rolled over. He sat up and yawned.
“I just woke up,” she said. “Wasn’t expectin’ to be here, or curled up next to you, fer that matter…”
“I guess you got comfortable,” Namgung chuckled.
La-Iin stared blankly at both of them.
“Good mornin’ there, evil dork!” Usl-Thaehey said cheerfully. “Came ta wake me up?”
“Since she seems too stunned to reply, yes, she did,” Bes-Isa answered. Usl-Thaehey’s expression became curious, and she stared down at Bes-Isa.
“Do I remember you?” She asked.
“You SHOULD. I’m a little offended you don’t. I remember YOU.”
“Guess I should…haven’t really met many V-Puppets in my career, after all.” Usl-Thaehey said. Then, she focused on La-Iin once again.
“Sooo, since we’re up early and I feel like it…wanna hear a song?”
La-Iin gaped.
“She’s just going to ask you for Sweet Inevitable Death.”
“S’okay, I like that one. That what ya want?”
“I–I–I–” La-Iin stammered. “…I never expected you to sleep over in my house or anything like this.”
Her excitement was much higher than last time. She was almost angry at herself for her behavior, but the positivity she felt far outweighed it.
“If she’s not going to respond, can I make a request?” Namgung asked.
“Sure, I don’t see why not.”
“I bet you get to hear her songs all the time. Isn’t it a little unfair to request one yourself?”
“I do hear her songs a lot,” he said. “But even I want to make requests sometimes. Our schedule doesn’t always allow for that.”
“Mr. Namgung, I’m on edge enough as it is. Please don’t remind me of our schedule…”
“Sorry, Miss Gyunerr.”
“Anyway, if she’s fine with you suggestin’ one, I don’t care if you do.”
“I don’t mind!” La-Iin said, a little louder than she had expected to. “But I have one condition.”
“What’s that?” Namgung asked.
“It has to be a song I’ve never heard before,” she said. “And I’ve heard lots of Usl-Thaehey’s songs before.”
“You heard Tippin’ Scales?” Usl-Thaehey asked. La-Iin began to pout. “No.”
“Well, that’s your collaboration song, so would you really want to sing it on your own?” Namgung asked.
“I could, but…yeah, not really.”
“I’ve got one you can sing for her that she’ll definitely have never heard,” he said. “Bloody Jolly.
“That one’s a big work-in-progress, though!” Usl-Thaehey protested. But when she turned back to La-Iin, she was staring up at her wide-eyed and looking anxious. Usl-Thaehey sighed.
“Fine, I will, but if you don’t like it, well I warned ya.”

OH! Bloody Jolly!
OH! Bloody Jolly!

There’s a kinda joy you can’t feel
Unless you’re someone with evil inside
When that joy comes, you can’t tuck it away

And when that joy arrives
You find yourself just needing to have more
As I said, you can’t tuck it away

Try as you might, but those efforts’ll just be futile
And others might just look at you through different goggles
But, that joy, that I chose to warn you about
Is the joy an evil person feels from taking a life!

Aaah, it’s the feeling of being
Bloo-dy Jo-o-olly
Being coated in someone else’s blood!

Watch as their life drains out
Along with anything else you could think about!
Aaah, it’s all over, and now that person’s gone
Bloody Jolly’s just a feeling way too strong–

Usl-Thaehey flinched and the song came to a halt when the door to the miscellaneous room slammed open. Mit-Sun stood at the doorway, yawning.
“Good morning, Miss Gyunerr,” Mit-Sun said. “…I’m glad you’re enjoying singing, but shouldn’t you get ready to deal with your problem?”
Usl-Thaehey’s ears folded to her head. “I’d just about forgotten it…”
“It’s alright, Miss Gyunerr. She has a point. The sooner we deal with this, the better.”
“I’ll make breakfast.” Mit-Sun said. “Then you can get in contact with whoever it is you need to and do what you need to do.”
“Okay,” Usl-Thaehey said. “Thanks, Cahongyun.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said, then left the room. Namgung followed after her, and Usl-Thaehey started to leave the room when La-Iin pulled on her nightgown.
“I thought Bloody Jolly was pretty good,” she said. “I hope you release it soon.”
Usl-Thaehey smiled. “Thanks, La-Iin.”

After they ate breakfast, Namgung set out to contact Usl-Thaehey’s company to inform them of what was going on. Usl-Thaehey stayed at the table even after she had finished eating, her expression one of dejection.
“Just feels so weird that I’m dealin’ with this now,” she said. “You’d think it woulda happened already. Think what scares me most is that I don’t know what this person wants from me. Do they wanna hurt me ’cause of the collaboration? ‘Cause of a song I wrote? What did I do? Are they just a crazy stalker?”
“Well, hopefully it’ll all get settled soon,” she said.
“I know ya want me out of here,” Usl-Thaehey said. “…that’s not meant to be guilt-trippy, hope ya know.”
“I figured.”
“La-Iin’s actually been makin’ me feel a lot better ’bout dealin’ with this, ’cause she hasn’t been bringin’ it up to me. Just bein’ a fan. I owe ya, La-Iin. You’ve calmed me down a lot. Also, if I hadn’t asked you two to run away with me, if that person had come by in the middle of the night, I don’t know where me and Mr. Namgung woulda stayed…”
She turned to La-Iin. “So thanks.”
La-Iin froze.
“You’re going to break her if you compliment her so much,” Mit-Sun said. “She idolizes you.”
Usl-Thaehey smiled. “Hey, speakin’ of, La-Iin, mind doin’ me one favor while we’re waitin’ for this to blow over?”
La-Iin stared up at her, wide-eyed.
“I know ya might not like this, but would ya mind comin’ with me while I do somethin’ a little goody-goody?”
La-Iin stared up at her blankly. “…do I have to do anything goody-goody?”
“Nah, I’d just like it if you came with me.” She glanced at Mit-Sun. “If yer worried about how safe she’ll be goin’ with me, you can always come with too. Or we could wait for Mr. Namgung. He’d protect us.”
“Please let us come with you,” Mit-Sun said. “I worry about La-Iin enough on a daily basis without having to worry about her getting wrapped up in something like this…”
“Sure, I can wait,” she said. “Guess that means we’re goin’, then.”
At the same time La-Iin was excited to go somewhere with Usl-Thaehey, she felt incredibly conflicted.

***

Usl-Thaehey and Namgung both wore disguises as they walked around Bledger with La-Iin and Mit-Sun. La-Iin had continued to feel conflicted even as they went out, even moreso as she had to pretend she wasn’t walking with Usl-Thaehey.
Occasionally, Usl-Thaehey would ask for directions. At those times, either Mit-Sun or Namgung would respond. La-Iin was always too nervous to–and at a certain point, she barely recognized the part of Bledger they were in.
“I wish you’d tell us where we’re going,” Mit-Sun told her. “It’s a little frustrating not knowing. I could be giving you the wrong directions.”
“I don’t know how much you know about it,” she said. “But, well…there’s a Werewolf village nearby Bledger that I’ve heard’s fallen on hard times lately. They’re the main reason I wanted to come to Bledger this time around. I wanted ta stop by an’ give ’em a little somethin’.” She turned away from Mit-Sun. “‘Cos, well, some of my Mom’s relatives live there. And I barely know them, but it’s kinda hard to just stand back and do nothin’ when ya know about it already. My Mom’s close to my Aunt, and I know she lives there. And whatever they’re havin’ trouble with, I probably have the vuyong to cover.”
“I can understand,” Mit-Sun said. “I’ve never been in your position myself, but if my Father called me and told me he needed help, I’d do everything I could to help him.”
“That’s what I meant by goody-goody. Figured if La-Iin’s evil she wouldn’t be a big fan of goin’ to help virtual strangers,” she chuckled. “But I’m glad she came along.”
Aside from one final time Usl-Thaehey asked for directions, the group fell silent, and La-Iin was left to her thoughts. She tried to put herself in Usl-Thaehey’s situation to see what she might do. Already she could imagine it.
“They say Bledger’s falling on hard times,” Fer-Shi said. “What are you going to do, La-Iin? Bledger’s your home.”
“The people who matter can survive with me,” she said. “Although it’ll be a little difficult to watch them before I can rule the world. But seeing how much power I have…well, it can’t be that far away.”

“Think we’re almost there. Thanks again for comin’ with me, La-Iin. You too, Cahongyun.”
La-Iin just nodded. Usl-Thaehey smiled and picked up her pace. La-Iin stayed behind the three adults, still partially lost in a fantasy, when she noticed the sound of footsteps behind her.
‘They’re all in front of me,’ she realized. That was enough incentive to make her turn around. Standing behind her was a tall Bunety man, his fur a dark brown. His gaze seemed to be focused on Usl-Thaehey, but it quickly switched to La-Iin.
“Ah…” He stared past at Usl-Thaehey once more before focusing on La-Iin. “Who are you walking with?”
La-Iin didn’t respond.
“Little girl, you wouldn’t happen to be walking with Gyunerr Usl-Thaehey, would you?” He asked. “Because there was something I wanted to ask her about, and if so, I would like to talk to her now.”
“What?” La-Iin asked.
“What do you mean, what? It is private. I won’t tell.”
La-Iin took a good look at the Bunety man. His clothes lay flat for the most part, save for his pockets; one pocket, she noticed, seemed to be bulging slightly.
‘Is he going to try to do something to Usl-Thaehey?’
“Kid, I need to know,” he said, his expression growing agitated.
La-Iin didn’t intend on telling the man that Usl-Thaehey was walking with her, but she wondered what sort of effect her silence might have. Flashes of hypothetical scenarios went through her mind, of Usl-Thaehey being hurt by the man, Namgung going down with her, and Mit-Sun trying to protect her and ultimately getting hurt herself…
La-Iin had decided that this man was a potential threat to the future she wanted to have.
“If you won’t tell me,” he said, “I’ll find out for myself.”
‘No you won’t.’ La-Iin kept the words silent. The Bunety man had begun to run toward Usl-Thaehey, but La-Iin kept a lead on him. She flew after him and bit into her arm. Her transformation finished when the Bunety man had begun to close in on Usl-Thaehey. That gave her the speed to catch up with him, and she knocked him to the ground before biting into his back. The man let out a shrill shriek.
“What jus’ happened!?” Usl-Thaehey exclaimed. She, Namgung, and Mit-Sun all turned around as La-Iin lifted up her head and stared at them, her fangs dripping with blood.
“You’ll thank me later,” she told Usl-Thaehey.

—–
Police had arrived later on that day and identified the man as Soisai Kier-Juul. They discovered a gun in his possession soon after taking him away.
“We’re getting word that his motive was fame,” one officer said. “Supposedly he wanted to kill someone famous so he could get the thrill of killing and the fame from the victim being a celebrity. A real sociopath, that one.”
“I can’t believe La-Iin saved my life,” Usl-Thaehey said, her tone still thick with disbelief.
“I can’t either,” Mit-Sun said.
“Do you call that a good thing or an evil thing that she nearly killed a man trying to save you?” Namgung asked.
“I did it for my own interests,” she said. “Everything I do is evil, even if some people might say it seems good.”
“Either way…” Usl-Thaehey breathed. “Thank you so much, La-Iin. I really owe ya one.”
“When you release Bloody Jolly, will you send me a CD with it and some other songs on it?” She asked.
“If that’s what ya want, then sure!”
La-Iin grinned. ‘These last two days have definitely made up for what San-Kyung did to me.’

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