The La-Iin Series
“Delusions of Illogic”
A public fixture had been set on fire. The smoke coming from it, rising into the sky until it was too dark to see past it, was visible from distances away.
Once Ai-Reia had seen it, she stopped what she was doing and ran to find the source. Whatever the fixture had been at one point it was no longer–now it was melting to the ground at a rapid pace.
Nobody else had come to see the fixture except for her. But someone had been there already, someone whom Ai-Reia was certain was the arsonist.
She turned around, a box of matches in her hand, and smiled.
“Now I understand,” she said. “Now I understand why San-Kyung likes fire so much. He’s lucky to be an Animated Pumpkin, getting to light things on fire any time he wants. But I think this is just as good.”
“What do you think you’re doing!? Look at all that smoke! It’s going to choke everyone in Vaelyn!”
“You made one mistake, “child prodigy”,” she said with a sneer. “What have I done.”
Anger and fear bubbled inside Ai-Reia. She knew La-Iin’s face to be expressionless, but today she felt that it was a sign. Today she could not consider it simply the way her face was–today it was because she simply didn’t care about the gravity of what she had done.
Ai-Reia knew something had to be done. If she was at the point where she felt no emotion for what she had done, she was not salvageable. She cursed herself for not realizing earlier–even if someone cared about others, they were already past the point of return when they wanted to decimate the world.
It angered her more.
The smoke all around sent her senses into overdrive and transformed her into a Vampire bat. La-Iin grinned, her face still looking devoid of emotion regardless.
“What are you going to do, Ai-Reia?” She asked. “Because there’s nothing you can do, really. I may be younger than you, but I am far more powerful. I’ll be able to take you out regardless of whether you’re a bat or not.”
“So you say,” she hissed. “But I finally have control of my power! And even if I didn’t, I would still do everything in my power to stop you!”
She flew above La-Iin and dove down to her, noticing the startled expression on her face as they collided. The top of La-Iin’s head crashed into the flaming structure and her hair caught fire. La-Iin shrieked and tossed off her headband before trying to put out the fire lighting her hair. It was such a pathetic display it made Ai-Reia laugh.
She grabbed some dirt and put it over the fire. With a little work, the fire was quickly out.
“You…you helped me?” La-Iin said in disbelief. “But I–”
“Don’t get the wrong idea, La-Iin,” she said. “That display was only so I could take care of you myself.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened again, wider this time as Ai-Reia grabbed the collar of her dress and pulled her into the air. She flew around for a little bit, relishing the feeling of spreading her wings and flying. She flew close to the smoke but felt no effects; La-Iin, however, began to cough violently. The sight spurred a grin on her face, though she hardly noticed in her glee. The two of them flew above a sidewalk, and finally Ai-Reia decided to land.
Putting La-Iin in front of her, she plunged downwards as fast as she could go. La-Iin’s face became strangely expressive as she glanced down and noticed she was plummeting towards the sidewalk. With a growl she broke free of Ai-Reia’s grasp and flew above her.
“Not bad, not bad at all,” Ai-Reia said. “It’s nice to have a victim who fights back!”
Then, her face twisted in an angry scowl. “Think of all the destruction you’ve caused with your arson act, La-Iin. Look at that smoke, it’s covering the sky! So many people will likely die as a result of smoke inhalation! People trying to put out the fire you set might be burned alive themselves, if civilians aren’t killed first by that structure melting to the ground! So many lives in Bledger will likely be lost, including the ones of those you love! Do you care at all!?”
La-Iin’s expression became one of horror, as if she had just finally realized the weight of what she had done. But Ai-Reia felt it was put-upon. Truly La-Iin felt no remorse for what she had done–and even if she had, the amount of lives that were likely to be lost was enough for Ai-Reia to know in her heart that she should pay.
“Never mind. There’s no point in even asking that question. I know you don’t. No person who could do something so heinous without a thought for even her loved ones has any heart at all!”
La-Iin backed away, but she was too slow. Ai-Reia knocked her hard against the sidewalk. Already she seemed dazed and confused; blood was rolling down her head and her eyes were glazing over as if already she was being lost to death.
Ai-Reia wasn’t going to allow her to go that easily.
Baring her fangs, she tore away at La-Iin’s stomach until her dress and flesh had been completely torn away. She glanced up at La-Iin to see her reaction. She hadn’t screamed at all, but she was breathing in an odd way Ai-Reia had never heard before, and her expression was one of agonizing pain, tears mixing with the blood on her face. It was a far cry from the emotionless face she normally saw, but it stirred no reaction in her.
‘How to prolong this?’ She wondered. La-Iin was already showing signs of slipping away even in her agony. She barely moved and her breathing was slowing at a rapid pace. Evidently no matter what she did, La-Iin would likely die on her next attack.
So she had to plan it carefully.
Still, looking down at her, stomach exposed to the world, made her chuckle.
“You know, I could have simply smashed your head against the sidewalk and been done with it,” she said, sitting down next to La-Iin. La-Iin showed no signs of recognizing that she was talking to her, and Ai-Reia could care less. “That would have been a painful death I’m sure, but what’s important was that it would have been quick. But you had to fight me and give me time to think. And I don’t need all that much time to think. What you did was incredibly callous. Death from smoke inhalation, death from burning alive…I’m sure those are painful and prolonged deaths, especially in the case of the second one. So this is honestly what you deserve.”
La-Iin still didn’t respond. For the briefest of moments, something stirred in Ai-Reia–something that screamed and cried and told her she had made a grave mistake. But she quickly forgot it when she noticed La-Iin was finally slipping completely away. While still breathing any spasms in her body had completely ceased and when Ai-Reia felt her heart it was beating so slowly that she doubted it was of any use to her.
“Oh no you won’t. You need one more punishment.”
Raising a foot, she slammed it down on her stomach. La-Iin finally gave a pained screech, took a few final deep gulps of air, then ceased to move at all, her face permanently twisted in agony.
“I suppose she’s gone,” Ai-Reia said casually, checking for any signs of life. There were none. La-Iin was most certainly dead, her agony forever reflected in her facial expression. Ai-Reia grinned a malicious grin.
“Oh, this isn’t over yet,” she said. “There’s one final act to this.”
Anyone who might have seen the sight would have seen it as the work of someone with a truly sick mind. Ai-Reia thought it should be viewed as a work of comedy, for the people who passed by it to laugh at the fact that someone so horrible had been so badly torn apart.
Ai-Reia decimated La-Iin’s organs to the best of her ability until they were hardly recognizable as anything but mush. It was bad enough to look at that even Ai-Reia gagged glancing back at it after the deed was done. Figuring she was finished here, she decided to clean her hands.
She brought her hands across a nearby railing, covering them with La-Iin’s blood. The rest that wouldn’t come off she wiped on the remains of La-Iin’s dress. She stared back at the sight, a young girl dead on the sidewalk with her expression one of pure agony, her stomach torn open presenting a sight that made even her murderer gag, her blood painted upon the railings.
Ai-Reia stared at it for a while, her feelings conflicted, before walking off. The world around her seemed to fall apart until she was walking through a black-and-blue void, completely lacking any conscience or consciousness.
Ai-Reia let out a screech of horror at the dream. Already when she woke up she was crying.
Her thoughts and emotions were jumbled and messy, and she herself was obviously frazzled, not that she could tell. Through her walls she could faintly hear the sounds of her family saying something she couldn’t make out from her room.
All she was able to say as all the dream slipped away from her save for La-Iin’s murder was,
“I’m not a monster. I-I’m not–not a monster. Not a monster, not a monster…”