The La-Iin Series
“The Power of Inspiration”
“Say, San-Kyung, I don’t particularly mind, but what inspired you to start practicing your powers in my backyard?”
Vines tangled up the grass in the Dslellullar backyard. There didn’t seem to be any art in San-Kyung’s work today. San-Kyung himself wore a frustrated expression as he practiced, gritting his teeth and tangling the vines more.
“Did I ever tell you about what happened the other day?”
“I’m not sure. What happened the other day?”
“La-Iin strong-armed me into going to the park with her and we had a fight.”
“Ooh boy. She’s not mad at you again, is she?”
“No, it’s not that bad. It’s just that she transformed before the battle. And I won, but she was pretty strong. It’s frustrating me that I can’t be like that!”
The vines tangled further. ‘Mom and Dad are not gonna like this,’ Dosa-Mina thought.
“You know, a few days before that, I had a dream where my true form became permanent. And it’s been driving me crazy ever since. I want that power back! I want it now!”
“No need to whine about it,” Dosa-Mina said, patting him on the back. “It’ll come, permanently mind you, in due time.”
“Due time is not soon enough!” He tangled the vines further.
“Geez, you’re impatient. Can’t wait for your powers, can’t wait for the legal age to drive….although I guess I understand.”
San-Kyung killed the vines. “It’s just frustrating. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I want this.”
“I think I have a pretty good idea.”
“Feeling like I’m inferior to La-Iin right now sucks. If she takes that form, I have to rely on my vines in order to stop her. I can do it now, but what if she had challenged me in November? Heck, that one is obvious. What if she had done it in December? Even if it was no holds barred and I was allowed to burn her to a crisp, she’d probably still beat me. She’s pretty fast in the air for someone whose wings look like they only just keep her up.”
“Hm.” Dosa-Mina pat San-Kyung’s shoulders. “Let me ask you something, San-Kyung. If I suggested something power-related that we could do, would doing that frustrate you more, or do you think it’d let you release some of that pent-up rage?”
“How am I supposed to know? What do you have in mind? What, do you want to fight me now? You have one of the most unfair powers ever.”
“Do I ever use that unless I feel threatened?” He asked. “Anyway, that wasn’t what I was suggesting. I was thinking of finding ways you could use your weakened powers to your advantage. Perhaps if you find new and creative ways to use them, it won’t matter how fast La-Iin flies or how strong she hits, because you’ll still be able to get the drop on her first.”
“How do you plan on having me do that? What, should I try vine art when fighting her so she’ll be distracted instead of just chase her with a vine?”
“Don’t be sarcastic, San-Kyung, I’m trying to help. Trust me on this. Now, I need two things first. A little time to myself to think about it, and a clear area where we can practice this away from my neighborhood. I’m not taking any chances, I hope you know. If you accidentally set a fire I don’t want it anywhere near my house!”
“Works for me,” San-Kyung said. “If you have any good ideas, that is…”
“If I don’t get any, I’m not going to even try. But if I do, we’re going to give this a shot. Don’t worry, San-Kyung. I always have your best interests in mind. …well, almost always. I’m sure I’ll come up with something!”
“I trust you on that,” he said. “Do your best.”
It hadn’t taken long for Dosa-Mina to come running out of his house, yelling that he had an idea. Now, as they searched for a desolate area, to San-Kyung it seemed like Dosa-Mina was more excited about the situation than he was.
‘I know he probably came up with something decent, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to make me feel any better,’ he thought. ‘I’d rather he spend that energy on trying to figure out how I can keep my true form all the time. Although that looks like it’s hitting a hard rock right now.’
“San-Kyung, is something wrong?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You look upset. Still doubting that I came up with anything good?”
“No, it’s not that,” He sighed. “I’m just still frustrated, that’s all.”
“Huh. Well, you seem a lot calmer than earlier, so that’s a plus.” Soon after saying that, Dosa-Mina came to an abrupt stop. He looked around the area.
“Well, this place looks barren enough. Are you ready, San-Kyung?”
“I’m ready, so long as your ideas aren’t flaming seed bombs or vines or something like that!”
“No, nothing like that. Anywho, let me introduce you to the first of my ideas. Usually, when you try to ensnare someone with a vine, you chase after them with it or rise them up abruptly from underneath them. But I was wondering, what if you encircled them in vines?”
“I’d have to have a pretty quick reaction time for that,” he said.
“I think your reaction time is plenty good. And I had another idea, too. What if you slightly rose vine nubs, hid them in the grass, and then encircled the person you’re fighting? It wouldn’t work if there wasn’t much grass, but if there was you might be able to afford to have a slower reaction time, though not by much. And you’ve got to make sure that the vines are tight enough to trap the person inside. If you want, you can try it on me!”
“How’s it going to work if you already know what I’m going to do? Besides, you can jump high.”
“Think of it this way. If it works on me, someone who knows what you’re going to do, then it’ll really take someone who’s not expecting it off-guard. And even if it doesn’t work because I know already, it’s valuable practice and something you can try in the future. After all, it can’t possibly cost you that much in the fight, right? Even if they break through you still have time to react!”
Dosa-Mina began to run around the space. San-Kyung lifted vine nubs from the ground, then watched Dosa-Mina’s movements for an opening. He continued to run steadily, seeming to check the ground every now-and-then.
‘He’s checking for the vine nubs.’ San-Kyung watched Dosa-Mina run around in circles for a while, and his concentration waned the longer he watched. But once he noticed Dosa-Mina trip slightly, he reacted immediately, raising vines and trapping him within them.
“Um, San-Kyung, could you let me out?” Dosa-Mina asked. San-Kyung killed the vines and Dosa-Mina walked through them with a shudder. “Okay, that was a little creepy. But hey, you did it!”
“I doubt anyone in battle’s going to be running in circles,” he said. “But I was wondering, are you sure I haven’t done any of the things you want me to do before? I’ve tried a lot of things in the past.”
“If you have, I don’t remember it. Now, onto the second one! Fire is basically one of your core powers. You can use it even in December. But you tend to be pretty cautious with it. So I was thinking about a way you could use it to your advantage.”
“My fire powers? I think I’ve done everything I can with those. I’ve used it as a threat, I’ve set people’s clothes on fire, or vines on fire…”
“I know, you’ve done a lot with it before. But I want you to try this. Your fire is activated by a strong strike igniting the blood that comes from the injury, right? You always do this on your hand, though. Think of how scared the opponent would be if you did that to your legs or something!”
“…you’ve lost your mind.”
“No, my mind’s just fine, today at least. Go on, try it!”
“Why would I try something like that!? Do you really want me to bend down and scratch my legs open in the middle of a battle!?”
“No, but I thought you might think it was an interesting idea…”
San-Kyung sighed. “Fine, I’ll try it. But if it ends up being useless, you’ll pay.”
Dosa-Mina shrugged. San-Kyung rolled up his pant legs, and, squeezing his eyes shut, struck his legs.
Dosa-Mina blinked. San-Kyung opened his eyes.
“Um…I think I’d definitely be scared if I was the enemy, but I’m not sure if it’s for the right reason.”
San-Kyung quickly put the fires out. “I’m never doing that again! It doesn’t help and now my legs hurt. Got anything better!?”
“Yup! I was actually thinking about another thing, San-Kyung. Sometimes the two of us work together, and sometimes we both need a little assistance.”
“Great, something that requires help,” he scoffed.
“Don’t scoff at it just yet, San-Kyung. There are a lot of advantages you could have with my help. And I’m not even talking about anything big either. I mostly mean I could jump up high and give you the height advantage in battle!”
San-Kyung opened his mouth to protest, but Dosa-Mina ran at him and jumped into the air.
“Now! Try something now!” He said. San-Kyung hastily rose vines and constructed a platform below them before Dosa-Mina started to land. Once he landed, the platform wobbled slightly under the pressure, but did not fall.
“Pretty good,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Yeah, we work together well. But I thought the whole point of this was finding ways to make my weak powers feel stronger.”
“This still counts, you know. You could probably construct a quick platform below you and rise it into the sky all on your own, too. It just works a little bit better with the height I give you first.”
“See, there’s plenty you can do, San-Kyung. And someday, you won’t even have to worry about this, because then you’ll have all your powers, all the time. But hey, knowing the extra strategies won’t hurt. And when you have all your powers, you can try new strategies with things like pumpkifying and flamethrowers!”
“Yeah, I guess. Thanks, Dosa-Mina.”
“Sure, anytime. Actually, I can’t think of much I want or need to do tonight, so maybe I’ll think up more and we’ll practice them another time?”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Okay! Now, before we head back, there’s one last thing I want to try.”
He grabbed San-Kyung and leaped into the air. San-Kyung didn’t wait for him to say what his idea had been. He raised vines that chased after them, striking his hand on fire and holding it to the sky. Dosa-Mina gave a quiet chuckle.
‘You sure like to show off, don’t you, San-Kyung?’
When San-Kyung head off to bed that night, Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus noticed he was smiling.
“I wonder what’s made San-Kyung so happy?” Del-Kyuus said.
“Well, he did go to see Dosa-Mina today. Maybe they did something fun together?” Salsh-Era said.
“Well, good for them, but I sure hope it was something innocent!”