The La-Iin Series
Mit-Sun had made breakfast for her and La-Iin that morning, and La-Iin was surprised to find out she actually enjoyed the meal she had made.
“For once you did something right,” she said.
“As if you haven’t said that before? For once,” Mit-Sun grumbled.
“Stop being so particular,” La-Iin said. As she continued to eat, she noticed that Choungetsu was staring at her food wide-eyed, his nose twitching.
“Go away,” she said, pushing his face. Choungetsu whimpered and continued to stare at his food.
“Choungetsu’s so stupid,” she sighed. “I think he’s even stupider than other stupid dogs. He’s always happy, he always begs for food and he always runs if someone leaves the door open too long. He never does anything different.”
“I’ve wondered about that before too…” Mit-Sun mumbled.
“So there’s actually something else we agree on? Mama, you’re surprising me today,” she said. “Maybe I put too little faith in you.”
“No kidding,” she huffed. “Although, speaking of judging people unfairly, maybe we’re doing the same to Choungetsu. He’s a dog, and it’s hard to tell with dogs if they’re below-average intelligence or not. Who knows what the average intelligence for a dog is? Who cares?”
Choungetsu cocked his head to one side and stared at Mit-Sun curiously.
“Choungetsu seems really stupid, though. Nothing I say registers.”
“Maybe dogs speak their own language and not Vaelis.”
La-Iin glared. “You said just a little bit ago you wonder if Choungetsu is stupid too. Now you’re saying we’re being mean for saying he’s stupid.”
“It’s just because we can’t really tell with a dog. But the reason why I said that is because I’ve seen other dogs catch on when it comes to teaching them the meaning of a word before. You tell them to do something, and when they do it right, you give them a treat, that sort of thing. It’s never worked with Choungetsu, and there are sometimes he does things I think is stupid even for a dog…”
La-Iin giggled. ‘It would be so nice if Mama always acted like this.’ “Well, I think he’s stupid. Even stupid people aren’t always happy like he is. What’s wrong with him?”
“Well, maybe he’s just an ‘eternal optimist’ like they say some people are,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“I think he’s just stupid.”
Choungetsu gave a cheerful yip.
Choungetsu had to wonder what the conversation La-Iin and Mit-Sun had been having was about. He knew he had definitely heard them say his name a few times.
He had to wonder if they might talk about it again when they came back from wherever it was they went somedays. The waiting made him impatient, but he was just so curious.
He lifted his head and pricked his ears when the door opened.
“How long were you waiting for me?”
“Too long. You owe me now. I think mincemeat pie would be a suitable enough recom…recom…um…giveback. That or blood.”
“It’s always the same few things with you, isn’t it, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“I know what I like well enough and I’m only seven. You should be happy.”
Closing the door behind them, both walked into the living room, catching sight of Choungetsu eagerly watching them as they passed by.
“What?” La-Iin asked.
“Maybe he needs food,” Mit-Sun suggested. La-Iin ran ahead of her and went to check both his food and water bowl. Both were filled.
“No he doesn’t!”
“Maybe he was lonely?”
La-Iin ran back into the living room, sat on the couch and cuddled up next to Choungetsu, who returned her affection with a nuzzle and licks.
“I don’t know…” La-Iin blinked at Choungetsu. “Do you think we’ll ever find out if Choungetsu is stupider than most dogs, Mama?”
“Like I said, there’s no real way for us to know, so no,” she said. “Maybe he is, or maybe he isn’t. Either way, does it really matter? Choungetsu’s very sweet and friendly. I have to admit, his coming here was one of the better times Asul-Zenza came over.”
She pet Choungetsu on the head. He shut his eyes and gave a contented growl. La-Iin glanced at him.
“I still want to know, though.”
“Don’t worry so much about it. It’s ridiculous to. Why, did you want to teach him how to do something?” Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “Knowing you, that something would probably be evil…”
“You give me a ton of ideas without even meaning to, Mama,” La-Iin said. Mit-Sun slapped her forehead. “But that wasn’t the case. I just wanted to know if I was right.”
“Maybe to you,” she said. She let go of Choungetsu and hopped off the couch. “I’m going to take him for a walk.”
“Alright. I should probably get started on dinner. What I want to eat tonight will take a while to make.”
La-Iin fastened Choungetsu’s leash to his collar, opened the door and let him lead the way. She watched him as he cheerfully walked ahead of her, following the sidewalk.
‘Choungetsu is so simple,’ she thought. ‘I guess that’s a good thing about him. He’s someone who would never hate me, no matter what I do. He’s barely ever unhappy. And he doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. So his being stupid is a good thing…’
Choungetsu turned to look at her. ‘…it would be if he wouldn’t live such a short time.’
La-Iin sighed. The walk with Choungetsu brought Bes-Isa’s words to mind, but she couldn’t deny that she cared for Choungetsu. He was someone she was happy to have in her life, no matter how stupid she saw him to be.
“‘Your Normal side is showing, La-Iin.'”
“‘You can’t let love make you weak. Otherwise you’ll only end up failing.'”
“I think I care too much about people,” she said to herself. Choungetsu glanced back at her. “But it’s hard not to when you know you shouldn’t…”
After dinner that night, Mit-Sun caught La-Iin in the living room, dangling a piece of food and Bes-Isa above Choungetsu’s head, the door wide open behind her. Her expression was unusually serious.
Choungetsu stared at the food, then at Bes-Isa, then at the door. His eyes darted between all three before he staggered backwards and fell onto the floor.
“Choungetsu!?” La-Iin shrieked. She ran to his side.
“Is he alright?”
La-Iin was silent for a short while, then said, her tone agitated, “I think he just got overwhelmed. Now I know for sure. Choungetsu is definitely dumb, Mama. He could have just grabbed Bes-Isa and the food as fast as he could and dashed out the door, but instead he gave up.”
“Why were you doing this anyway?”
“Because I wanted to know for sure,” she said, nodding.
Choungetsu’s ears pricked at La-Iin’s idea, but as he couldn’t understand what that sequence of words meant he should do, he gave up and whimpered, covering his ears with his paws.
“Definitely stupid,” she sighed. “But I guess that’s fine.”