28.424.Truth and Lie

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 424
“Truth and Lie”

“Hm….”
“Something wrong, Dosa-Mina?”
“Yes, actually…I’m not sure if I should tell you what it is, though,” he sighed. “You’ve been in a bad enough mood lately.”
San-Kyung narrowed his eyes. “Well, not telling me’s gonna put me in an even worse mood.”
Dosa-Mina flashed him a wry smile. “I suppose you have a point. Alright, then. Remember the studies on you transforming like La-Iin does? I haven’t been able to make any progress in a while. I’ve seen her transform a few times before, I’ve studied as much as I can when it comes to transformation in people, but I’m still stumped. At this rate, the plan is going to go nowhere, and there won’t be any clear answer one way or the other.”
San-Kyung grit his teeth.
“Are you upset? I told you, I wasn’t sure if I should tell you.”
“Not really, it just made me think…you said you haven’t been able to make progress in a while. And it’s been a while since the day La-Iin found out I still hate her…she was fine with me on her birthday but she hasn’t really come up to me since then. I can’t tell if she’s still mad.”
Dosa-Mina grinned. “You sound like you’re more concerned about keeping her friendship than about losing her as a research subject.”
“I am concerned about keeping her friendship, because if I don’t we lose her as a research subject,” he said.
“Good point.”
“La-Iin is gullible, so I don’t think it’ll be all that hard to get her back. I should’ve done it earlier in the month, but I kind of liked not having her latch on to me all the time. But after meeting up with Yukkini again, I’m beginning to wonder who’s less annoying.”
“Well, Yukkini didn’t steal a kiss from you as far as I know,” Dosa-Mina said, sounding slightly bitter. San-Kyung shuddered.
“Don’t remind me. …you know, it would be easier to wait for the school week to start and talk to her then, but who knows if I’ll get the chance? She’s always with that little girl now that she’s not stalking me around. And I…I’d kind of like to have her back before March…”
“So you can spend a birthday in your true form?” Dosa-Mina asked. San-Kyung said nothing, though Dosa-Mina felt sure he was exactly right.
“I know the way to her house. So maybe I should go over there today and get this over with.”
“Whatever you want to do. Should I go with you?”
“No, if she’s still mad in any way about what happened, you coming isn’t going to help that. I would rather take you with me, don’t get me wrong. But I know what will happen.”
“Alright, fair enough,” Dosa-Mina said. “I guess there are some things I could still study here. Well, whether you come back here or go home after you’re done, I don’t care, but give me a call if you go home, alright?”
“Alright. See you later either way, Dosa-Mina.”
“See ya, San-Kyung. Don’t worry, I’ll try my hardest to find the way you can use this power too.”

***

San-Kyung somewhat regretted his choice by the time he was close to La-Iin’s neighborhood. Though he remembered the path, he hadn’t remembered the exact distance, and walking from Dosa-Mina’s neighborhood to La-Iin’s was putting a strain on his legs. He felt exhausted and dehydrated by the time he passed by the house of La-Iin’s next door neighbor.
Nobody was outside La-Iin’s house, and San-Kyung was slightly disappointed. He had half been hoping La-Iin would already be outside for him to talk to. ‘If I have to deal with her mother, I swear I’m going to break something.’
Keeping the sentiment to himself, he knocked on the door to the Cahongyun house.
“Hello…?” He couldn’t hide a quiet sigh when he heard the voice. It clearly wasn’t La-Iin’s. ‘Put up with it. The payoff in the end will be a lot better than this little run-in could be worse.’
“Hello,” he said, trying to keep himself calm.
“Oh–” Mit-Sun blinked rapidly when she saw him. “San-Kyung, right? You haven’t been by in a while.”
“I haven’t had to be,” he said. “I don’t want to make this a long visit. I think you know who I’m here for.”
“Of course I do,” she said. “She’s upstairs.”
“Th–” He bit his tongue.
“Something wrong?”
“….can I have some water? It’s cold outside and it’s drying me out.”
Mit-Sun nodded. Digging his nails into the palms of his hands, he followed Mit-Sun into the kitchen. She began to pour him a cup from a pitcher of cold water.
While waiting for her to do this, San-Kyung was nearly thrown over by a dog slamming himself into his leg. Choungetsu stared up at him bright-eyed and with his tongue lolling, and began to try and lick his hands.
“Get off of me!” San-Kyung yelled, kicking Choungetsu away. Choungetsu gave a loud whimper and began to cower in the corner of the kitchen.
“What just happened?” She asked.
“Um…” San-Kyung wasn’t sure how to handle the situation, so he decided to accept the first scenario his mind presented to him: that if he admitted he had kicked Choungetsu, Mit-Sun would kick him out of the house before he could see La-Iin.
“That dog was trying to lick me, so I pushed him away,” he said quickly.
Mit-Sun sighed as she handed the cup of water to San-Kyung. “Choungetsu licks a lot of people. Although he also likes food. I don’t know what he was thinking right then.” She narrowed her eyes. “Actually, I barely know what he’s thinking.”
‘If he’s even thinking anything at all,’ he thought, glaring at the cowering dog. He kept the retort to himself.
“I’m living, though,” he said bitterly, putting the cup down on the table. “I’m going to see her now.”
“Alright then.”
Although Mit-Sun seemed indifferent to him wanting to see La-Iin, he noticed that she watched him the entire time until he could no longer see her. He heaved a loud sigh of relief once he felt he was out her radius of hearing.
“Damn it, dealing with people is annoying,” he said.
All the doors upstairs were closed, but San-Kyung was sure he knew which one was La-Iin’s. From where he was he could hear something from inside the room. Noticing it was locked, he knocked on the door.
“I’M CREATING A MASTERPIECE, MAMA! GO AWAY!”
“What the?” San-Kyung muttered. From behind the door, he heard La-Iin talk, though he couldn’t make out any of it. The doorknob began to jiggle, and San-Kyung stood back as La-Iin opened the door.
She stared up wide-eyed at him.
“San-Kyung?”
“Look who finally decided to open the door,” he said bitterly. “Let me in.”
La-Iin blinked and didn’t respond. San-Kyung walked in and La-Iin closed the door behind them.
“Did something happen, La-Iin? I–WHOA!”
San-Kyung flinched. La-Iin snapped her fingers. “What’s wrong, San-Kyung? Have you never met a V-Puppet before?”
“I have,” he said.
“Okay, Bes-Isa’s asleep, why are you here?”
“I–” Out the corner of his eye, he noticed a picture lying on La-Iin’s table. The picture seemed to be an in-progress one of him and La-Iin eating Dosa-Mina’s organs.
San-Kyung glared.
“You weren’t supposed to look!”
“You’re so annoying,” he whispered as he sat down.
“Why are you here?” La-Iin repeated, sounding slightly irritated this time.
“I wanted to talk to you about what happened a month or so ago,” he said. “…when I said I still hated you. That was a lie because I was mad at you. Look, La-Iin, you should know by now that Dosa-Mina and I have been friends for a long time, actual years instead of some months. He’s important to me because he’s my first actual friend. So when you do things like that, it gets under my skin as well.”
He sighed. “But…I still…want you as a friend. So…I came to apologize.”
La-Iin stared at him, and San-Kyung waited for her to smile and say how overdue the apology was. But instead, her eyebrows lowered slightly.
“You think it’s that easy, don’t you,” she said.
“What?”
“You think just because I was so happy to be friends with you, and because I like you, I’m going to go and accept your apology that easily. Do you know what rival-boy did to Fer-Shi!? He might be important to you, but Fer-Shi is important to me. She’s a push-over goody-goody who I can do anything with. She’s someone like who you said, who let love make her weak to me. And I happen to actually like her for those qualities and the fact that even though she’s good, she defends me and sticks by me. Not many good people would do that for me.”
“…”
“Rival-boy spat in Fer-Shi’s face because she said something he didn’t like. I already don’t like him as it is. You’re not happy if I do something to him, so you should understand.”
“I get it. We both care about our best friends. Why should that affect our friendship?”
“I want to stay friends with you, San-Kyung,” she said. “I really do. I think it’s a stepping stone towards reaching the future I want. But you made one mistake when you came here to tell me you still want to be friends. You have to figure it out first.”
“What did I do wrong!?” He snapped. “What do you want me to do, bow down to you?”
“That would be nice, but no.”
“You’re not going to ask me to get in a relationship with you, are you!?”
“Not right now, no.”
“What’s this for, then!? Are you trying to tell me it won’t be that easy!?”
“It isn’t always, San-Kyung. Sometimes people are still mad. And I’m not really mad at you, you know. I just really hate your friendship with rival-boy. It makes you do things I don’t like. And I don’t really believe you when you say caring about him hasn’t made you weak. But it’s not that.”
“What is it then!?”
“Think about what you said.”
“Are you upset because I said I hated you back then?”
“I was. I believed you at until my birthday happened. But no.”
“Because things you do to him get under my skin?” San-Kyung agitation was growing, but his desperation was as well, and his desperation to get La-Iin back for research squashed his anger at her.
“No? What he did to Fer-Shi got under all of me.”
San-Kyung gave her a confused glance before going back to thinking. Nothing struck him as something that would bother her.
‘What is it she–wait a second….’
“Don’t tell me it’s because I apologized!?”
La-Iin nodded. San-Kyung gaped. “What the hell! That’s so dumb!”
“I don’t like apologies, especially not from somebody I consider so evil.” She smiled at him. “Take it back.”
“Fine, I’ll gladly take it back!”
“Good!” La-Iin smiled so wide her fangs were visible. “Welcome back to my side, San-Kyung!”
“Ugh…” He slammed his head on her table. “When it comes to evil, you fall into the “petty” variety. But I guess….I’m glad to have you back, too.”
“Not as glad as I am, San-Kyung!”

—–
“By the way…”
“What now?”
“I’m wondering…did you have any nefarious intentions when it came to visiting me?” La-Iin asked. “I don’t mind. You probably know more about what you might want than I do~”
“Say shit like that and our friendship will last two more seconds.”
La-Iin flashed another smile. “I’m kidding, don’t worry.”

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