21.445.Hypothetical Realities

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 445
“Hypothetical Realities”

La-Iin opened the door to her house and walked inside.
“Welcome home, La-Iin. How was school today?”
“It would be better if we hadn’t had a flying exam today,” she said bitterly. “I already have to fly enough to get there.”
“Sorry, La-Iin. Would you rather I start flying you to school again? I’m alright with it if you are.”
She put her backpack down. “No, it’s fine, Dami. I can manage.”

Life with La-Iin had been one of the greatest things to happen in Asul-Zenza’s life. It had also been one of the greatest challenges in his life.
Asul-Zenza still remembered clearly the day Mit-Sun had kicked him out of the house, reluctantly leaving La-Iin with him until her financial situation cleared up. La-Iin had stayed with Asul-Zenza ever since that day, though Mit-Sun occasionally came to visit La-Iin and always stated her intentions of taking her back to live with her–something that so far had not come true.
Now La-Iin was seven years old, and Asul-Zenza found himself a little worried about the rate at which she was growing up. Already she was in school and could use the majority of her powers, including one he wasn’t sure quite how it worked. She was far more advanced than he would expect even a half-Vampire to be at age seven, yet according to Mit-Sun, aside from a few fields she did well in she was progressing as usual for a Normal.
And he had to admit, aside from both those things life with La-Iin still wasn’t perfect.
“Dami, you didn’t put any blood in dinner tonight?”
“Well, I’ve only been able to get the same kinds of blood lately. They haven’t been selling things like Siren blood or Narwhaltae blood. So I figured we could have a dinner without blood. Trust me, I miss it too.”
“Maybe I should start cooking dinner,” she sighed.
“Come now, La-Iin. I know we Vampires thrive on blood, but it’s nice to have a change of pace every now and then, right?”
“With mincemeat pie, maybe.”
Asul-Zenza groaned. “Why are you so picky?”
“I’m picky because a lot of things taste like crap.” She shook her head. “I’ll eat it anyway, Dami. But I won’t like it.”
“Thank you for at least eating it?” He said. He felt uncertain as he sounded as La-Iin started to eat and wrinkled her nose.
La-Iin’s pickiness wasn’t his only dilemma.
“You want to rule the world? Now where did that one come from?” Asul-Zenza asked. “When you say rule the world, do you mean in the storybook villain fashion, or as in becoming President or suchlike? Because the last thing I want is for you to become a corrupt politician.”
“Corrupt politicians are petty evil. What I want is a destruction on the level of a world war!”
“A world war!?” Asul-Zenza exclaimed. “La-Iin, please!”
“Please what?”
“What will you gain from being that way? Nothing, that’s what. I understand our morals are different, and I’ve adjusted to that. But I draw the line when something you want might result in the death of others!”
“Would you be fine if I kept people as slaves, then?” La-Iin asked. “Actually, that would be a good idea. Then I’d have never-ending blood banks and an endless supply of people to do the things I don’t want to do. So long as they didn’t rebel, I might need some cages to keep them from doing that…”
“La-Iin!”
“What? Fine, Dami, I won’t kill anybody. But I like the idea of slaves, what’s so wrong with that?”
Asul-Zenza sighed. “I suppose there’s no convincing you while you’re being this stubborn. Fine, then. Try and rule the world. But I believe you’ll realize that such a thing can leave even someone as malicious as you apparently are feeling empty and as if they’ve messed up.”
“Dami?” Asul-Zenza walked away from her. “Dami, are you mad at me? Dami?”
It hurt Asul-Zenza to think of upsetting La-Iin, but La-Iin’s ideals had infuriated him to the point where he could no longer keep his mouth shut.
‘Maybe Mit-Sun should consider herself lucky she couldn’t take care of La-Iin,’ he thought. ‘She’d probably go mad within two seconds!’
Still, despite the trials he faced in raising La-Iin, Asul-Zenza always tried to do his best. When La-Iin smiled on the trip back from an overnight vacation, or talked about something good that had happened at school, he felt all the more better.
‘Moments like these are inevitable in parenthood,’ he thought. ‘Weather it, Asul-Zenza. It might not be the same as what my Darseen and Floma went through, but it has to be similar, right?’

***

“So, La-Iin, how was school today?”
“It was fine. But it’s annoying.” She screwed up her face. “I wish I could have gone to school with Fer-Shi. But of course, she’s a Normal, she can’t go to avian schools.”
“Sorry, La-Iin, but the school Fer-Shi was attending is too far away from home. I wasn’t going to make you fly all that distance.”
“When I started going to Hellfang, I couldn’t fly yet,” she said, narrowing her eyes.
“Well, um, that is…it’s still just too far out, La-Iin! It doesn’t need to be a trip to school.”
“I think you just didn’t wanna send me there,” she said. “We travel lots. You said you traveled even more before I was born.”
“You should actually put that as before I went with your mother,” Asul-Zenza said. “I didn’t actually travel much with her. Though don’t think I didn’t!”
La-Iin didn’t respond, though Asul-Zenza noticed her eyes had widened slightly. “Hm? Is something the matter, La-Iin?”
“No,” she said. “I’m going to go and draw.”
“Oh, well, if you say so…”
La-Iin head off to her room and closed the door.
‘Something’s definitely wrong. Her face may not give much away, but the way she acts and talks certainly does. Something’s upsetting her. She seemed fine when she came home from school today. Maybe talk of Fer-Shi got her upset? Perhaps I should offer to call her over. Although I’m sure that would be difficult for a Normal family to reach our house…well, if Mit-Sun can reach it, so can the Sanhuuns!’
If something was upsetting La-Iin, Asul-Zenza wasn’t going to let it pass him by. He knocked on La-Iin’s door. When she didn’t respond, he opened the door and glanced around. La-Iin was sitting at the table in the middle of her room, drawing something intensely.
“La-Iin?” Asul-Zenza called out. La-Iin jumped, then hissed at him.
“Please, La-Iin, don’t be so hostile.” He sat down next to her. La-Iin covered up her drawing. “I’m not looking, La-Iin. I just came to ask you something.”
“What?”
“I noticed that you seemed pretty upset after our talk earlier, and I was wondering if it had to do with Fer-Shi? I know it’s difficult for Normals to reach our house, but I’m sure they could manage. Your mother can, after all.”
La-Iin flinched. Asul-Zenza blinked. “I don’t care if you do. Who knows, maybe Fer-Shi has other better friends now. After all, she is a goody-goody. She probably wants to make more goody-goody friends instead of have me.”
“I’m sure she still cares about you, though. Remember, I love you even though you’re evil. My being good hasn’t changed that.”
“That’s just you though, Dami!” She yelled. “You live with me. You see me every day. You took care of me when I was a baby! Someone who didn’t do that probably doesn’t care. Not even if she’s my parent too.”
“La-Iin, are you upset because of your mother?”
“What are you talking about!?” La-Iin snapped.
“Don’t think I didn’t hear what you said, La-Iin. There’s no point in trying to hide anything from me. I’ll find out.”
“That’s annoying about you, Dami. But fine. Mama obviously doesn’t love me. She just gave me away to you, and she hates you. If she hates you and she gave me to you, she probably hates me too. And I don’t care, except for the fact that she keeps saying she wants to take me with her so I can live with her.”
“La-Iin, do you really think that?”
“It’s obvious.”
“Didn’t I tell you the reason why she left you with me? She didn’t want to, trust me. She just thought I could provide for you better than she could.”
“Why did she kick you out in the first place, then? You were right there with her. She could have kept you around.”
“You do have a point, La-Iin. But would you have really wanted us to be fighting all the time?”
“So?”
“It’s something you’d probably understand better if you were in that situation,” he sighed. “But in any event, La-Iin, she does love you, trust me on that. She felt she would not be able to properly provide for you on her own, which is why she left you with me.”
“I don’t care what you say, Dami. She doesn’t love me. Either that or she’s stupid.”
“Then why not just call her stupid?”
“Because I think it’s more likely that she doesn’t love me.”
“You must think highly of her, then.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Well, you didn’t call her stupid.”
“She might just be both.”
Asul-Zenza sighed. “La-Iin, if she didn’t love you, she wouldn’t have come back for you.”
“She just wants to torture me.”
“La-Iin, I want you to think about this for a moment. She left me to take care of you, but comes back and says she wants to take you back and raise you herself, while she kicked me out of the house and does not want me back at all. What does that say to you, if the same woman did both things? Don’t you think if she didn’t care and wanted to keep you to torture you, she would have kept you, poorness be damned?”
La-Iin blinked at her.
“Don’t get so upset about it, La-Iin. If there’s one thing I can tell you with utmost certainty, it’s that Mit-Sun loves you. She did what she thought would be best for you instead of what she wanted to do. That proves a lot in my eyes.”
“…well, if you’re going to put it that way, she must be really stupid,” La-Iin said. “Because the best thing for me probably would have been you two just staying together.”
“Did you want us to?”
“No!”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Sometimes I feel I can see right through you, La-Iin.”
“No you can’t.”
“Well, it sure feels that way sometimes.”
La-Iin went back to drawing intensely, but this time, she seemed a little more at peace.

—–
“Say, La-Iin, would you mind telling me about something?”
“Telling you about something what?”
“I’ve noticed you’re a big fan of Usl-Thaehey’s. So let’s say you actually did get to rule the world. What would you do with her?”
“Lock her up and make her sing for me.”
“What if she wouldn’t?”
“I’d find a way to make her. Maybe bribe her with the false hope of being let out!”
Asul-Zenza shook his head. “What about me, then? What would you do with me?”
“I haven’t decided on that yet. We’ll see in a few years.”
“Well, I’d best try to be on my best behavior, then!”
‘Ah, I say that as if her future will come to fruition…’ Despite his objections to La-Iin’s goal, he couldn’t help but find it hilarious to hear of her plans for the future, though he always kept his amusement silent.

“I wonder what would happen if I lived with Dami?” La-Iin said at dinner that night.
“Your life would be a lot different, that’s for sure.”
“Well, duh. It would be better.”
Mit-Sun glared. La-Iin went back to eating her dinner, trying to think more on the idea.

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