The La-Iin Series
“Ai Need to See Fer-Shi”
“I don’t think Ai-Reia and I are ever going to get along, Fer-Shi,” La-Iin whispered.
“You don’t know that for sure.”
“I don’t know, Fer-Shi. I think I understand pretty well what the meaning of ‘I hate you’ is. She wants me dead. And if that’s the case, then I want her out of my way.”
“La-Iin, I’m sorry, but Vampiris seems a little more mature than you. Why would she want you dead for what you did to her? You haven’t treated her that badly.”
“Ai-Reia and I might not be friends, companions or even acquaintances, but my many encounters with her have taught me a lot,” La-Iin hissed. “She wants me dead by any costs. She despises me. If it meant getting me out of the way, she’d kill you, too!”
“She would. You underestimate her fire, Fer-Shi. Although her powers leave a lot to be determined, there’s no telling what sort of underhanded ways she might use to take me out. Unless she gives up on me, she’s going to be a pain in my side. And that’s unfortunate. I thought she had potential.”
Fer-Shi caught a flicker of sadness in La-Iin’s eyes. “But it doesn’t matter. I’ll just stick with who I have. I was looking for more of a confidant in her, anyway. You and San-Kyung will still be plenty useful.”
“Um, thanks,” Fer-Shi said.
Not long after their conversation ended, biology began, but Fer-Shi had a hard time beginning to focus.
‘Ai-Reia probably doesn’t want her dead. She must have misunderstood something. And anyway, even if she did, it couldn’t possibly be that bad, right?’
Whatever the case, it was evident that La-Iin and Ai-Reia simply did not get along, so Fer-Shi decided it would be best to avoid the subject in her conversations with La-Iin.
La-Iin had gone ahead of Fer-Shi, and so she was left behind after class, wading through the crowd of students. She waved to Shan-Zetsu and Shuu-Kena, and waved back to a few students who did the same to her. On her way out she spotted Airy-Aekok bothering Tenha-Gumo about something she couldn’t hear over the noise of the crowd.
‘Maybe if I move fast enough, I can still catch up with La-Iin.’ Fer-Shi tried to maneuver her way through the crowd quickly, but it wasn’t an easy task. She eventually made her way ahead of the crowd and on the path out of Malicerie.
‘I guess La-Iin’s too far ahead,’ she thought. She didn’t see her friend anywhere in the crowd. Sighing, she decided to press on by herself, only to spot La-Iin out the corner of her eye within the crowd.
La-Iin and Ai-Reia were facing each other, both glaring intensely. From her distance Fer-Shi couldn’t make out what they were saying, but the sight gave her a bad feeling. She ran up to the duo, and the closer she got the more she could make out.
“–it would be a bad idea to go against me, Ai-Reia. You’re just willing to become evil if it means you can kill me. Meanwhile, I am already evil! Nothing stops me from fighting someone. I even fight the people I love. And I’m far more powerful than you are.”
“Ha! Just because you have power and malice on your side doesn’t mean you have the smarts to wield them. Brute strength may be a reliable force–that is, if it hits. Someone with a more strategical mind always has the upper hand. And never underestimate the extent of my hatred for you. It runs far and deep.”
“La-Iin!” Fer-Shi called out. “You didn’t go home?”
La-Iin turned to face her. “Someone decided she needed to bother me.”
“Says the girl who started this whole mess in the first place. Go on, go home. I’m wasting valuable breath talking to you.”
La-Iin glared at her. “Fine then, I’ll go. I have better things to do too. Do you still want to go home together, Fer-Shi?”
“Oh, uh…y-you can go ahead. I have to take a little detour on my way back, heh heh…”
La-Iin gave her a quizzical look before walking ahead. Ai-Reia gave a huff and began to continue on, but Fer-Shi reached out to her.
“What do you want?”
“Just to talk,” she said. After witnessing her and La-Iin’s confrontation, she couldn’t help but think back on their earlier conversation. ‘I need to know for sure how she feels about her. If it’s really that bad, then I need to tell someone.’
“About what? Look, I’m not in a good mood right now, Sanhuun. Your friend happens to have just picked a fight with me. So just go on ahead, alright? This can wait.”
“I’m not sure if I’ll remember tomorrow,” she said hurriedly. “Please, let me talk to you right now. I won’t keep you long, and I won’t be mean, I promise.”
Ai-Reia sighed. “Fine. What do you want? Let me guess, there’s some sort of knowledge you want me to impart.”
“No, it’s not that. I was wondering, how come you and La-Iin get along so badly? And do you really…well, do you really hate her?”
Ai-Reia glared. “If you’re supposedly so close to her, you should know the answer to this. You know how she stalked me and otherwise harassed me. And yes, I do hate her. It might seem strong, but I know her true nature. I’d suspect you would too, which makes you immediately suspect in my eyes.”
“I know La-Iin isn’t always the nicest, and I know she’s pretty evil, but don’t you think hating her is a little strong? I know she wronged you, but she’s done much worse in the past.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Ai-Reia scoffed. “It makes me wonder if your friendship with her isn’t a case of SS.”
“Look it up.”
“I’m friends with her because I want to be. Actually, I’m the one who reached out to her. La-Iin does have a lot of bad parts, but I choose to see her for the good parts. She can be a pretty good friend when you really get to know her.”
“Are you trying to force me into a friendship with her?” Disgust was evident in Ai-Reia’s tone. “Because I will not stand for that. There is no way you can get me to like that girl in any sort of capacity. Even if tomorrow she became the nicest person on the face of this planet, and truly felt sorry for her misdeeds, I would remember them. I would remember the malice that was in her heart at one point. And I might not hate her, that’s true. But I would never forget the way she wronged me. The intentions she had for me. I will never forgive her. Besides, I wouldn’t believe it was true. Nobody would change their morals in the span of one night.”
Fer-Shi grimaced. ‘She really doesn’t like La-Iin, does she…’
“Now, if you’re about done, I have to get home.”
“Just a second, Vampiris! I wanted to ask you one more question. No, it has nothing to do with why you hate La-Iin. I understand that now. I just want to hear something else from your perspective, ’cause I’ve heard it from La-Iin’s.”
“…I’ll give you this, Sanhuun, you may have terrible taste in friends, but your heart seems to be pure,” she said.
“I’m not sure I’d agree with that, but anyway…La-Iin told me that you wanted her dead. That to you, it didn’t matter what you had to do, who you had to kill, what got in your way–you’d do anything or hurt anyone just as long as you could kill her. And I told her she was crazy. So now I want to hear what you have to say about that. Is La-Iin making you sound bad?”
Ai-Reia’s expression became blank. She stared at Fer-Shi, but was silent for a few moments.
‘Why’s she taking so long to think this over? Don’t tell me she really feels that way!?’
Ai-Reia made a sound that to Fer-Shi, sounded as though it could be either a huff or a chuckle. “You know, that’s a difficult question to answer, Sanhuun. I’m certainly not as crazy as La-Iin makes me out to be. But my hatred for her does run deep. And there is a part of me I can’t control. Not because I don’t want to control it, but simply because I cannot. And I cannot be held responsible for what this side of me does.”
“What do you mean?” Fer-Shi asked.
“I’m sure you know enough about transformation to know that it’s not always perfect,” she said. “And that people sometimes lose themselves when the power is in its early stages. For all I know, there are some things I simply cannot prevent. That is one of them. In my right mind, no, I am nowhere near that crazy. …but then, I have to wonder when nowadays I am in my right mind…”
“Forget what I said. It was ridiculous. Anyway, I gained my transformation power early. I’ve apparently tried to hurt La-Iin with it before because I cannot control my mental state when I’m like that. No, I would not murder La-Iin, or kill other people so that I could kill her as well, or turn against the people I love for the sole purpose of being able to kill her. But I don’t know if I can keep myself from hurting her when I’m like that. That’s all. Someday I will gain control, and you will be certain in her safety. But for now, if that power activates, there is nothing I can do. And that’s what I meant. I’m sorry it was so drawn-out. But I have to go home now, regardless of whether you wish to talk more or not. Well, be seeing you, Sanhuun. And one bit of advice–you people who believe in the alignment scale should honestly take it to heart when it comes to your friends. Morals are far different than opinions. They truly can make or break a friendship.”
Ai-Reia walked off. Fer-Shi couldn’t help but be put-off by their conversation. She decided to head home as well, but Ai-Reia’s words repeated in her mind, and she felt incredibly confused by their meaning.
“Fer-Shi? Are you alright?”
“Huh? I’m fine, Dad. Just kind of sleepy.”
“You seem down. Remember, if you need to talk, your mother and I are here to talk with you, alright?”
“Alright,” she said. Den-Matsu nodded and left her room.
‘I know I told myself I should tell someone about this, but how am I supposed to tell anyone? They’d never believe me…’