The La-Iin Series
Sale-Dessu was sitting outside with a big red button in front of him and glitch blobs on all sides. He barely seemed to notice them however, instead squinting his eyes almost shut at the button as if contemplating something about it.
Still glaring, he pressed down on the button, and not long after he did, the world began to return to to its normal state. Once it had, he levitated Eul-Bok close to him, giving a sigh of relief when he noticed he was no longer a glitch blob.
“Father, far be it from me to judge you about any of your projects, but what exactly are you doing?”
“Oh, just looking at an old project,” he said. “Something reminded me of it recently and I’ve been trying to figure out why I made this button in the first place. And how did I get it to work the way it does? I can’t figure it out.”
“What does that button do again?”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “Didn’t you see?”
“Um, no? I was asleep just a little bit ago.”
Sale-Dessu was about to question him again when he remembered, ‘Oh…La-Iin said she pressed this button before. And I’m sure I would have remembered the world glitching out without me pressing the button first…is it possible that the only one who’s aware of what happens after you press the button and it glitches is the person who presses the button?’ He shook his head. ‘No, that doesn’t make any sense! When the world randomizes, everyone’s aware. So why would glitching be different?’
“Father, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t understand this button at all,” he sighed. “Why it does what it does, how it does what it does, why I made it…I’m not sure of any of that. And it’s bothering me. I want to know!”
“Maybe you should focus on something else for now, Father. Your texture project was going really well. And, um, I wouldn’t mind a little extra focus on the V-Puppetry project…I felt like last time, you were really close to a breakthrough!”
Normally Eul-Bok’s words would have made him smile, but at the moment they prompted no reaction from him. “Thank you, Eul-Bok. I’ll get back to my other projects tomorrow, I promise. I just want to work on this button for now.”
“I know you’re worried. But this button isn’t going to kill anybody, and stress won’t kill me either. If it would, you wouldn’t even be here today.”
“That’s not very reassuring.”
“Don’t worry about me for now, Eul-Bok. I just want to find out the reason why this button exists and does what it does. Once I find that out, I’ll do something else to take my mind off of it. But I’m sure as soon as I find out what it does, I’ll feel like there’s a weight off my shoulders already.”
“Well, what will I do while you’re working on that button?”
“I think you should sleep for now,” Sale-Dessu said. “If I decide to get back to work on the V-Puppetry project after this, you might be up for a while.”
“I suppose you’re right. Alright, I’ll try and get some sleep. It might help if you put me someplace comfortable, though?”
“All right, all right,” Sale-Dessu chuckled. He started to head for his back door until he remembered the bolts sitting in front of it. He sighed and went back around to the front.
“I can’t find anything on this stupid button,” Sale-Dessu huffed.
After sending Eul-Bok to sleep, Sale-Dessu had decided to pull out all the stops and look for anything that might lead him to understand why he had created the button. But there were so many things in his house to look through that he had quickly become frustrated, and by now he was contemplating opening up the button to see if there was anything noteworthy inside.
‘It probably wouldn’t be anything useful, though,’ he told himself. ‘I could always try, but…’
As he walked back outside, he tried to contemplate reasons he might have made the button. ‘I’m forgetting my curiosity. Pretty much everything I’ve done has been because of it. So I guess making a button so that I could alter the world in some way makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?’
The memory of the glitched world and randomized world flickered in his mind. ‘Although it could work better…’
He was tempted to press it again to see whether it would glitch the world or randomize it, but he fought the urge and began to use a spell to see inside it. The button was filled with just what he would have expected–wiring he barely understood and the signs of Warlock magic.
“That was probably it,” he sighed. “I guess this button did give me a lot of interesting information, though. Like how our world can turn those strange colors or randomize itself…I wonder why it can do that. Well, I guess I shouldn’t underestimate my own power.”
He stretched and stood up. ‘I bet my Apeta can make it so she knows how the world will be altered. Maybe I’ll stop by her house soon and ask her about. I wonder what she’d think of that button.’
Satisfied, Sale-Dessu head back into the house.
Sale-Dessu didn’t return to his V-Puppetry studies immediately after dealing with the button. Instead, he decided to work on minor, miscellaneous projects that he felt like doing at the time. He felt the desire to have his curiosity sated, and those small projects, he felt, did help to sate some of his smaller ones.
Besides, he thought, Eul-Bok could use the extra sleep if he was as close to his breakthrough as he thought he was.
‘I’m so happy with Eul-Bok,’ he started thinking to himself while waiting for fabric to boil. ‘It’s so hard to imagine life without him. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t really remember why I made the button. It came before Eul-Bok. Maybe someday I should tell him more about what I found out with that button.’
He gave the fabric a quick check. ‘Eul-Bok’s been good for me too. He definitely deserves to become autonomous. Even when I’ve gotten sad, it’s been so much better than before. Back then, I was just left to my thoughts…’
When his mind began to trail off back to when he was alone, something clicked in his mind. He remembered a piece of wood forming into a big red button. He recalled setting the button with all sorts of spells and changing the wiring several times. He remembered pushing the button and watching as the world around him randomized and set things any way it so desired.
But more than that, he could strongly remember his feelings almost each moment he dealt with that button.
‘If I can alter the world like my Apeta, that’s a way we’re connected,’ he had thought.
‘Maybe I’ll see the world in a better light if I change it,’ he had thought.
‘If I can alter the world, maybe I won’t have to deal with the bad things in it at all,’ he had thought.
Those feelings and thoughts came back to him, the feelings of no longer caring about the world. That point that had dipped so close to his lowest point, a time where he felt lonelier than usual. Those disgusting feelings that he had tried to bury were resurfacing, and now he understood completely why he had made the button.
In that instant, he forgot about the boiling fabric and let those feelings wash over him.
“Father, you’re being awfully quiet. Is something wrong?”
“I’m very grateful for you, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu said absent-mindedly.
“You’ve said that before, Father. What’s wrong? Does it have something to do with that button?”
Sale-Dessu flinched. “There really is no hiding anything from you, is there…”
“Out with it, Father.”
“….I remembered why I made the button. I couldn’t really figure out why it does exactly what it does, but I remembered why I decided to make it. You know that button alters the world, right?”
“Of course I do. You’ve told me that before, too.”
“I made it because…” He paused. “Partially because I was curious and I wanted to see if I could alter the world, but also because I just didn’t care anymore.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’ve had a lot of low points in life, Eul-Bok. I was incredibly lonely when I made that button. I don’t know if I cared what happened to the world anymore by then. Warlocks alter the world mostly for their own curiosity, but I think in my mindset, I might’ve just left the world the way it was after pressing the button….that is, if it wasn’t for La-Iin.”
“She came by when I had messed up the world because she couldn’t get home,” he explained. “And because of that, I told her I was only doing temporary research. And I know how things turned out, but I have to wonder, what would I have done if she hadn’t come over here?
“But I’m still even more grateful to you, Eul-Bok,” he said. “La-Iin helped pave the way for me to be happier. You’re the one who’s kept me happy since then. So thank you. And if you feel rested enough, I’ll gladly continue on with the V-Puppet project.”
“I feel rested enough. And I definitely want to continue on. When I’m autonomous, I bet I can help you even more than I do now. I don’t know what I’ll want to do with my life when I can move around, but first things first, I’m going to make it so you’re happy and you won’t get sad like this again. And you SHOULD be happy! Grepeta is alive, and you’ve been having a lot of project successes. So smile, okay?”
Sale-Dessu forced a small smile. “Okay.”
A shudder went up La-Iin’s spine and she flinched.
‘Did I just glitch again?’ She thought. ‘No, probably not…’
Still, she glanced out her window at Sale-Dessu’s house, just to make sure.