26.422.Whatever’s Your Goal

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 422
“Whatever’s Your Goal”

“Damn it, why send me out to do the shopping?” San-Kyung grumbled. “I get Dad is busy and all, but Mom could’ve come with me!”
“Griping, San-Kyung?”
When he heard the voice, San-Kyung instantly feared the worst. His instincts soon proved to be right–standing behind him was Kai-Rin, a wide smile on her face.
San-Kyung suppressed his urge to scream and started to stomp away.
“Hey, wait a second!” Kai-Rin called out. “Today I have no untoward intentions towards you! Not like I did on Valentine’s Day, but you see my point, don’t you? I heard your complaints, San-Kyung, and I know they’re about shopping. Remember, they say girls are natural shoppers, and I am one girl for whom that is true. …if you’re shopping for necessities, that is.”
San-Kyung glared. “I don’t care if you’re the shopping master of the world. Get out of my sight, Yukkini.”
“Kai-Rin, Kai-Rin. I told you, you can call me Kai-Rin. Isn’t that hard, I call you San-Kyung.”
“I call you Yukkini because you want me to call you Ka….that, if it wasn’t obvious.”
“It was, a little. But whatever. Come on, San-Kyung, let me help! I know what I’m doing, and if you’re having difficulty I can fix that. Hm, speaking of, is Dosa-Mina anywhere nearby today? He also strikes me as the type to be good at shopping. You could always ask–”
“No, he isn’t here,” San-Kyung snapped.
Kai-Rin sighed. “Oh, give me that.” She snatched the shopping list from him and began to look around. “Do your parents dislike downtown, San-Kyung? I get that it can be noisy most days but it’s pretty empty on Thursday from what I’ve seen, except during the night sometimes.”
“Shut up and give that back to me!”
“No way. You haven’t learned to treat anyone who’s not Dosa-Mina with kindness. Not asking you to, but if all you’re going to do is snap at me and try to hurt me, I feel that I can do the same!”
San-Kyung chased after Kai-Rin, who dashed off and began to head for a stall containing one of the items San-Kyung’s parents had wanted him to purchase. He only stopped chasing after her when he noticed the crowd watching him on all sides. At first he wanted to ignore them and keep chasing her, but he could already see curious looks in their eyes.
‘What if they call the police?’ He thought. ‘Shit, I think I might be stuck with her…’
“Catch up if you want, San-Kyung, but I’m going on ahead!” Kai-Rin called out. Growling and running his hands through his hair, he then near-ran after her, if only to make sure she wasn’t purchasing anything wrong.
“Glad to see you caught up with me,” she said cheerfully. “Don’t worry, San-Kyung, I’ll try and make this as painless as possible.”
“Your idea of painless isn’t painless at all!”
Kai-Rin grinned at him. While most others might have seen it as a normal, lighthearted grin, San-Kyung could only see it as one filled with malice.

“Well, that’s about everything on your parents’ list,” Kai-Rin said. “Say, San-Kyung, I don’t really remember, so enlighten me–are your parents Aesthetically Normal like you? Normal appearance? Perhaps a “Mixed Pumpkin” type of couple?”
“They look normal,” he snapped.
“I’m surprised they didn’t wait to have you until you would have been born in October,” she said. “Most couples of Pureblood Animated Pumpkins do, at least, that’s what I’ve heard at school. But you were born in…March, correct? That is nowhere near October.”
“Don’t. Remind. Me.” He growled.
“I’m not sure what’s better, the cold shoulder or the angered acknowledgement,” Kai-Rin sighed. “Sorry if I hit a bone of contention for you, San-Kyung. But, well, at least you have Halloween to look forward to, eh? Unless you like being Aesthetically Normal. Although, from watching you all the time, I never got that impression.”
Throughout the whole time he had been with Kai-Rin, San-Kyung found his patience was steadily decreasing. The comments she had begun to make about his appearance only drained it faster. In his rage he grabbed her shoulders and began to yell so loud he nearly spat in her face.
“Shut up, you disgusting stalker! Talk about whatever you want, but do it away from me! If you haven’t noticed already, I hate you! Why do you still even care that I exist!? I don’t care that you exist! What’s your problem!? What kind of idiot still likes someone who wishes she was dead!?”
Kai-Rin blinked hard at San-Kyung, and he was certain she was going to cry. That thought only made him tighten his grip around her shoulders. Kai-Rin glared and managed to wrestle free from his grasp, handed him most of the groceries, then stood a distance away from him.
“Give me that,” he snapped.
“No. ….San-Kyung, I don’t know if you cared to remember this, but I currently go to Hendoh High. Also known as, a species study school. I know you’re not exactly in peak strength in February. Once Spring hits that’s when your powers start to come back and grow strong again until they reach their peak in October. I’m not the strongest girl in the world, but I could probably fight you off right now. I’ve got your last grocery here, I hope you know. I want to say something to you on the subject of what you just said to me.”
“I don’t care. Give it here.”
“No, you’re going to hear me out or I’ll stomp a hoof in your eye. You won’t be able to get home then, will you?”
He struck his hand. “Just try to.”
Kai-Rin narrowed her eyes and blew out his hand-fire. San-Kyung gaped.
“I’m surprised that worked,” she said. “Something else I observed, San-Kyung, you were chasing me like a madman down downtown….ugh, that sounds off….up until you noticed a crowd was focused on you. At first I thought you might be showing a little shyness, until I remembered I don’t remember you being shy at all. If you’re a normal person, seeing someone chasing after someone at a high speed with an angry expression on their face and no regard for the fact that there’s a crowd nearby, well, it kind of gives off the wrong impression. As in, a really bad impression. Perhaps you were worried one of them would raise a ruckus and summon the police?”
He flinched.
“I’m right, aren’t I? You’re scared of the police, San-Kyung. It’s only natural. You never know what array of powers the police may have on their side. If they overtake you it’s jail, and I’ve noticed sentences are getting longer even for smaller crimes. You may wonder what’s the point of this observation. Well, simply put, a crowd’s not the only one who can raise a ruckus and summon the police!”
“What–”
“Hear me out, San-Kyung, or I will,” she said. “I’ve seen a very powerful and burly Minomix man on the force before. I wouldn’t try it. In any event, you asked why I would like, and still like, a boy who doesn’t like me, in fact hates me and wants me dead. There’s a simple reason for this. Many might say looks. Many women are attracted to height, for instance. And I can definitely say you are the tallest boy I know, with Dosa-Mina in second. But that’s not it. Maybe it’s your bad-boy factor. Lots of girls go for that nowadays too. But that still isn’t it. No, it’s something else entirely, San-Kyung.
“It’s that feeling I get from you.”
“What the…? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Hear me out some more, then. San-Kyung, you are a young man who is highly intelligent, at least going off your grades from junior high. There are many things you can do, but you seem to devote your life to hatred. I might have chalked it up to you having a case of psychopathy, except for one thing–I can tell you love Dosa-Mina, and that is something a psychopath cannot do.”
San-Kyung glared.
“Obviously, below all that hatred is genuine love. You feel things, San-Kyung, even with all that hatred covering it up. And I believe below there, there is a part of you who wants something more from this world. I can’t tell what it is. I may know lots about you, but even I can’t get into your mind and heart. All I know is that you have emotions, whether weak or strong, that you’re hiding, and you give off this feeling that makes me think you want something, something perhaps not as malicious as one observing you might think.”
San-Kyung blinked in surprise.
“Well, you seem put-off. Ah, but, well, that’s just my observation. I could be wrong, but San-Kyung, if it’s true that there is more you want from this world, then reach for it yourself. If you have a dream you wish to pursue, do it. And I don’t mean something evil like ruling the world. I mean something more normal. Find that more you want from the world and make your life a happier one. I may want you as my boyfriend with every fiber of my being, but seeing you happy I want even more. A typical line, but it’s true in this case.”
San-Kyung did not respond.
“Well, here you go, the rest of your groceries. I know I threatened you into it, but I’m glad you heard me out, San-Kyung. It was something I wanted to get off my chest. If not for that feeling I feel from you, I don’t think I would be in love with you. Don’t get me wrong, I do think you are adorable. But that is not enough for me to fall for someone. Whatever makes you happy, San-Kyung, pursue. Don’t hold yourself back because of appearances or the opinions of other people. Make it so that you can smile. I’m going to be doing that someday, so why not you, too?”
She turned around. “Perhaps someday, Dosa-Mina will be able to find out what that feeling inside you really is. I wouldn’t put it past him. Keep him as your friend, San-Kyung. I think he’s good for you. Well, I should get back home before I piss you off more. Arrivaderci, San-Kyung! Until the day we meet again!”
Kai-Rin then trotted off. San-Kyung stared blankly after her.
Kai-Rin’s words had begun to stir a dormant sadness inside him. ‘She’s making things up. Stupid idiot. At least she’s gone now.’
One of the grocery bags felt abnormal. San-Kyung was certain that his parents had not asked for anything that heavy. He checked inside.
Inside was a small box and a note.

To San-Kyung:
This is to make up for Valentine’s Day. I hope you like it. Share it with Dosa-Mina if you feel so inclined!
With much love,
Yukkini Kai-Rin

San-Kyung grimaced. “What an idiot…”

—–
“San-Kyung, you still have chocolate? I thought you ate all of it!” Del-Kyuus asked.
“I did,” he groaned.
“If you don’t like it, you could give it to me. I don’t mind.”
“No, I’ll eat it…”
Del-Kyuus grinned. “Why, is it chocolate from a crush?”
San-Kyung glared. “Aw, I was just messing with you, San-Kyung. I know, it’s because you secretly like chocolate.”
San-Kyung gave another groan. ‘I really should give the rest of this to Dosa-Mina…but whatever’s inside this is pretty good.’
He wouldn’t be able to admit such a sentiment out loud, of course.

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