The La-Iin Series
“Things that are a Strain on a Warlock”
Since Eul-Bok had become autonomous, Sale-Dessu felt as though life in the Astineth house had become a lot different.
Now Eul-Bok would wake him on some days he slept in late, and he often asked to help with tasks around the house. And not once had he seemed to be in a bad mood–ever since the day he had become autonomous, Sale-Dessu felt like he always saw him with a smile on his face. He even kept that smile on as Sale-Dessu performed check-ups to make sure his body was in working order.
“Is something wrong with me, Father?”
“No, everything’s fine. All your organs are in working order,” he said. “Although some of them aren’t working exactly how I thought they would. I mean, you haven’t had to use the bathroom at all, have you?”
“Nope, not at all. I have no idea what having to go to the bathroom even feels like. …that kinda worries me…”
“I hope it doesn’t cause a problem.”
“Well, I don’t get hungry either, so…”
‘I thought I had put everything together correctly,’ he thought. He shuddered at the memory of putting together Eul-Bok’s new body and tried to push it away. ‘Everything I did back then was for this moment. I can’t regret that one bit.’
“Something good happen, Father?”
“Well, even though everything doesn’t work completely right yet, you seem healthy enough and you should still be able to survive. But I’ll keep doing check-ups and making sure everything’s in working order. You’re probably going to be having these check-ups for a long time, Eul-Bok.”
“That’s okay. Whatever keeps me healthy. I’d rather take a few hours out of my day to have check-ups than just drop dead out of nowhere someday.”
“Giving you check-ups is a bit of a strain for me, though…” He sighed. “I have to check everything about you inside and out thoroughly because otherwise I don’t know if I’m overlooking one problem or mistake. All my years of experience have definitely taught me that one small error can sometimes lead into many, many more…”
“You sure are powerful, huh, Father.”
“I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my Apeta,” he said with a smile. “She taught me well and I think a lot of my powers come from her. Of course, Mamun passed down a lot of her skill as well.”
“So when you say it’s a strain to give me check-ups, do you mean because there’s so much to look at, or does just using that power make you exhausted?”
“A little bit of both,” he said. “Some powers I’m not as experienced with because I didn’t use them as often beforehand. What reason would I have to use a check-up power when I didn’t live with or know anyone? And no, I couldn’t use it on myself. It wouldn’t work right.”
“But it’s alright. Checking up on you makes me feel better too. I don’t think you know how worried I was when I thought I had killed you. I don’t want to ever have to feel that again.”
“Is that all you wanted to say, Father?”
“I guess, unless you wanted to hear more about your check-ups.”
“No, actually, I wanted to ask you for a favor.”
Sale-Dessu tipped his head. “What sort of favor?”
“A, um…big favor. Like, kind of out of your way favor. But I wanted to know if you could do it for me.”
“Does it have to do with going out in public?” He asked. Eul-Bok shook his head. “No, it just has to do with your powers.”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “Don’t worry, Eul-Bok. Unless you’re going to ask me to perform a Hex Change Operation or something like that, it should be fine.”
“Well, it’s not a Hex Change Operation…and I don’t really know much about it, so I might just be thinking it’s hard when it’s actually not. But it sounded hard to me…” He looked up at Sale-Dessu.
“Could you give me Warlock powers!?”
Sale-Dessu’s eyes widened and Eul-Bok started to feel embarrassed. “Like I said, it’s kind of out of your way…”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “I knew this was coming, I knew it…actually, I planned on giving you Warlock powers as soon as you became autonomous. And maybe it’s because of what happened during that, but I’m a little apprehensive about the idea of doing it now. I’m pretty sure I could do it properly because I’ve studied it so often, and the spell’s been perfected enough so that you shouldn’t die because of it, but…you’re finally getting to be autonomous. One of the biggest risks of the power transfer is that the receiver could become crippled. Would you really want that?”
“I’m your son, Father,” Eul-Bok said. “I know we’re not related by blood, and I’d feel a little better about that if I could use the same powers as you. I understand if you don’t want to do it. I know why you’d be nervous and I trust your judgment. But if you decide to, I’ll be ready. I’d love to have the same powers as you and to be trained by you.”
Sale-Dessu blinked hard at Eul-Bok. ‘I wonder what he’s thinking about…’
“You make it really hard to refuse you, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu said calmly. Eul-Bok’s spirits dropped. “I think I need advice from someone else on this subject.”
“Who would you go to for that, though? La-Iin? I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Er, no. I meant my Apeta.”
“She’s a very skilled Witch. If she wasn’t as old as she is, I might ask her to do it for you. But I’m sure if I decided you should get powers, you’d prefer it if I did it, wouldn’t you?”
“Do you mind watching the house while I’m gone?”
“I’ll be fine, Father. You have a lot of books for me to look through. And maybe I should look through some of those spellbooks of yours just in case.”
“Go ahead, I don’t mind.”
“But one thing, before you go!”
“Shouldn’t you take me with you?” Eul-Bok asked. “I mean, wouldn’t Grepeta want to see what you’ve done? Don’t you think she’d be so proud?”
“I don’t want to gloat…and I’m a little scared to take you out in public,” he admitted. “I really would love for you to be able to walk around outside and go wherever you want, but you’re the first V-Puppet I know of that’s autonomous. Even if there is another one, they’re obviously as sheltered as you are. I don’t want to risk people coming after you…”
“Is that because you’d be scared of all the fame?”
“No, I’d just be worried about you.”
“Well, you could always teleport inside of Grepeta’s house though, couldn’t you?”
“I guess I could…I just feel like that would be rude.” He sighed. “Why didn’t I tell her the day after I made you autonomous…”
“Well, whatever you want to do, Father.”
“No, you’re right. Let’s go. Apeta will want to see you, and I know she can keep a secret. I think it’s partially thanks to her that I’m able to keep ones as well as I am.”
“Do you keep any secrets from me, Father?”
“Not really,” he said. “I wouldn’t call them secrets, anyway.”
After that, Sale-Dessu began to mutter the teleportation spell, and within the span of a mintue, he and Eul-Bok disappeared from the house.
“I can’t believe you were able to do this, Sale-Dessu,” Eir-Tyuj gasped. “You really have come far.”
“Please, Apeta, you don’t need to say such things…”
“I know of no one, Witch, Warlock or not, who has been able to do as you have done. You must tell me more of how you did it.”
The memory of assembling Eul-Bok’s new body flashed in his mind. “I’d rather tell you later.”
“We actually came here to ask you something, Grepeta,” Eul-Bok said.
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to give you a proper answer with how surprised I am right now!” She cackled. “But what is it?”
“Eul-Bok wants me to give him Warlock powers,” he said. “I’m just worried about it because of his death scare after the autonomy operation.”
“Sale-Dessu, if you are skilled enough to make a V-Puppet autonomous, you are skilled enough to grant that same V-Puppet powers,” she said curtly. “I would actually be less worried about your skill and more if a V-Puppet could possess such powers in the first place. Do you not have powers of your own, boy?”
“Not that I know of,” Eul-Bok said.
“I say go for it, then,” she said. “Unless you came here to ask me to do it?”
“No, I couldn’t!” He said. “I know it probably puts a lot of strain on the body. I’m not going to do that to you.”
“I’d like to think I’m hardy enough to handle such a thing,” she huffed. “But Eul-Bok is your V-Puppet, Sale-Dessu. And you should have more faith in yourself, especially after being able to perform such a feat as this.”
“Thank you, Apeta. I’ll try.”
“Do you think someday I’ll be able to walk around outside without having to worry about it, Father?”
“Maybe someday,” he said. “Although if you did, I’d want you to use a different last name in public…not everyone has a positive opinion of the Astineth family.”
“That’s not fair.”
“I know it isn’t. But I can’t exactly change that with my powers, unfortunately. Well, if you were able to walk around outside, I think you’d have to wait until someone who wants the publicity finds out how to make a V-Puppet autonomous.”
“I hope that day comes soon. I’d just like to see what it’s like to take a nice long walk. But you know, I’m fine staying in here all the time too, Father. So I won’t really mind if I have to.”
“Don’t say such sad things, Eul-Bok…”
“Don’t be sad, Father! You stay in here all the time already, and I like my life like this. It’s a lot more fun now that I can actually move around.”
“I can imagine….alright, are you ready?”
“Ready when you are, Father!”
Sale-Dessu took a deep breath, then began to perform the power transfer. He had steeled himself for this long before he had gotten it in him to start, and now though Eul-Bok’s squeaks of pain hurt him, they didn’t stop him from continuing on until he was finished.
“Look, Eul-Bok. This is one of the easiest spells I know. All you have to do is change the cloth’s color. Try.”
Eul-Bok took a deep breath and concentrated on the spell. A sudden strain almost overwhelmed him, but that it was there at all made him feel hopeful. Once the strain eased, he opened his eyes and gasped.
The cloth had changed its color.
“It worked,” Sale-Dessu breathed. “It worked! You have Warlock powers now!”
Eul-Bok was too excited to say anything. Instead he just sat in place shaking wildly. Sale-Dessu held tight to his shoulders to try and stabilize him. Both stayed like that for a while smiling wide, unable to say anything in the midst of their joy and surprise.