27.482.La-Iin in my Life

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 482
“La-Iin in my Life”

La-Iin scarfed down breakfast that morning, checking the clock closely. If she didn’t rush, she would be late for school–and if she was late for school, she would stoke Mit-Sun’s ire. As she ate she tried to figure out how much time she would have left to get to school on time.
“You can be so lazy sometimes,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Whaff id oo ey!?” La-Iin protested.
“Swallow first.”
La-Iin swallowed. “How dare you! I’m always doing something! Someone like me always has to be. I go on walks with Choungetsu and I spend time with my friends at school and at their houses and at my house, sometimes…I do a whole bunch of things!”
“I know there’s a lot you do. That’s why I said ‘sometimes’. When you’re not doing anything you end up in your room looking like you fell asleep with your eyes open.”
“It’s how I plan for things.” She turned her nose up at Mit-Sun. “Fine then! You think I’m lazy? I’ll show you otherwise.”
“I never said you’re lazy all the time–”
“I’ll show you, Mama!” She finished the rest of her food, then rushed out the door at a speed Mit-Sun hadn’t expected her to have. Beside her, Choungetsu looked up with a concerned expression.
“I guess I made her mad,” Mit-Sun mused.

***

“I’ll show Mama, that rotten Normal. She thinks she’s better than me because she gave birth to me, she has another thing coming, I’ll show her thirty years from now, I will, maybe even less than that…”
“Whatcha mumbling about, La-Iin?”
“Nothing.” She glanced at Fer-Shi. “We’re friends, right, Fer-Shi?”
“Yeah, of course!”
“Because of that, I know you like me, but what do you think of me aside from that? What kind of opinion do you have of me as a person?”
“…well, this is pretty random,” she said. “Well, if you want me to be really honest…”
“Yes, I do.”
“Sometimes you can be really mean. You hate Normals because they don’t have any powers and you talk about wanting to rule the world and own slaves. You can be creepy too because you stalk San-Kyung around.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes, but she listened closely to all of what Fer-Shi had to say. “Even though you have those aspects of your personality, I wouldn’t change them…well, maybe except the stalking thing…because they make you La-Iin. And when you’re not being evil, you can be pretty fun. You know a lot of ways to really entertain people and you’re a great friend even though you pick on me sometimes. So I think, if you’re like me and you can overlook what you don’t like, you’ll find what you do like is far more important!”
La-Iin nodded.
“Why’d you ask, anyway?”
“Morbid curiosity. I plan on asking other people too.”
“Okay. Well, actually, I don’t think you should ask Ai-Reia!”
“I’m going to, if I get the chance,” she said, running ahead of Fer-Shi. “But…thank you for telling me that.”
“You’re welcome!”

La-Iin had written down what Fer-Shi had told her to the best of her memory, then decided on who she should talk to next.
‘Most of these students mean nothing to me and I don’t care about their opinion. I know Ai-Reia’s pretty well, so maybe I should ask her next. Get her over with.’
“Ai-Reia.”
“Leave me alone, Cahongyun. It never gets through your head when I tell you how much I despise you, does it? You’d think with one as big as yours, it would.”
“I don’t want to bother you for long. I just want you to let it all out. I want you to tell me how much you hate me. Maybe then I’ll get it in my head. Or maybe I won’t. Would you rather take the chance or not take the chance?”
“Not, because I doubt it will change anything.”
“Well, if you don’t tell me, I think I’ll have to try and rush so I can sit next to you through the next classes.”
Ai-Reia narrowed her eyes. She walked away from her desk, beckoned to La-Iin, then slammed her against the wall.
“I hate you,” she spat. “I despise you. If I heard that you died I don’t think I’d care. In fact, I might even laugh in joy about being able to be free! You’ve caused a lot of confused feelings within me, La-Iin. Feelings I never wanted to deal with. Now I’m left wondering if I’m a monster because you drew out such hatred in me. But I’ll always know I’m better than you, if by nothing else of virtue that while I’m of sound mind, I will never kill you. I cannot guarantee such a thing the other way around. But then,” she let go of La-Iin, “I’m not even sure when exactly I am of sound mind. And there. That is my opinion of you.”
She stalked back to the classroom, looking somewhat relieved. La-Iin jot down her words immediately.

“Huh? You wanted to ask my opinion of what I think about you?”
“Yes. I remember that we worked together to find out about a Santa organization. I figured I needed to ask more people than I was going to, so I added you.”
“Huh, well, there’s not much I can say about my opinion on you,” Zae-Mia sighed. “I don’t really know you. But I guess if I had to talk about impressions, you remind me of one of those people who’s going to be a lot different as a kid than you are as an adult. I think how you grow up is going to be something very interesting to watch. You’re not too bad a kid, in short.”
“I see.”
“Well, that’s about all I have to say. Hey, do you have Molshei on the list of people you plan on asking?”
“Of course I do.”
Zae-Mia grinned. “Of course.”

“Rival-boy! I need you for something!”
“What do you need me for? If this is some sort of rivalry competition, I’m not interested.”
“It has nothing to do with that. I want to know your opinion on me.”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“Actually, with you, it’s the least obvious of everyone else I know.”
“I guess it isn’t that obvious, but you should still know what it is. Well, I think you’re incredibly annoying when it comes to this whole rivalry business. You’ve treated me pretty badly because of your kiddie crush on San-Kyung.”
“It’s not a kiddie crush!” La-Iin hissed.
“Go ahead and keep saying that. Anyway, even though you can be annoying, sometimes I think hanging out with you can be a little fun. I think we had the potential to be friends, and I’m a little ashamed of you for preventing that.”
“I wouldn’t be,” La-Iin scoffed.
“In short terms, you are one of the most annoying people I’ve ever met. But at the same time, I don’t feel like hanging out with you is wasting my time, except when you force me into rival battles. But that barely happens nowadays, so I’ve felt pretty good around you! Now if only you wouldn’t be so verbally abusive, I think I could take you any day. Happy? Because I have to get back to class and you don’t.”
“I’m never happy around you, rival-boy.”
“What about when San-Kyung’s there?” He waved. “See you later, La-Iin!”

La-Iin waited patiently for her chance to ask San-Kyung how he felt about her. Though she was certain the answer wouldn’t be anything surprising, she still anticipated it.
“While you’re waiting for Sanhuun, would you like to play with me?” Shuu-Kena asked.
“Why should I? I have other things I can do. Like wait for my last class. Besides, aren’t you shy?”
“A little. But I wouldn’t mind playing with you.”
La-Iin huffed. “No.”
“O-okay then. Well, talk to you later, Cahongyun!”
‘As if,’ La-Iin thought. ‘She really does think I’ll want to become her friend. She must be deluded. Or maybe she has potential…no, she has to be deluded.’

The moment La-Iin had been waiting for had come.
“San-Kyuuuung~ Tell me, how do you feel about me?”
“What.”
“I want your honest opinion of me. Don’t hold anything back. I want to hear it!”
“You just want to hear what you want to hear….ugh,” he groaned. “No.”
“Come on. When I say your honest opinion, I mean that. I listened to everyone else’s honest opinion of me. Didn’t I, rival-boy?”
“Sure you did, but you complained at me the entire time.”
“P…please?”
San-Kyung grimaced.
“Okay then. Fine! I take back my please.”
“That doesn’t work on me like it works on you. But fine, I’ll tell you. You’re my….friend, so I don’t hate you like I used to. I see you as very valuable to my future.”
The look of excitement on La-Iin’s face made him shudder. “But you annoy me a lot of the time. The sooner you drop the crush nonsense, the better.”
“That’s sad, San-Kyung. It’s not nonsense, and I’m never dropping it.”
“Then I’ll perpetually be irritated by you. But we’re still….ugh…friends, so whatever.”
La-Iin smiled.

On her way back home, while considering her options, La-Iin decided to stop by the graveyard.
“What do I think of you? Well, I think you’re one of my best friends. You and Fer-Shi and Choungetsu. And I really want to prove to you that I’m a ghost. You fill me with a determination I never had when I was alive. That’s kind of nice. I’m happy whenever you come to see me. You’re a good friend even if you’re evil.”
“You still have to give me definite proof, you know,” La-Iin told her.
“I’m working on it, when I’m not lost,” she chuckled. “I’ll try and figure something out, so you do it too, okay?”

‘The last place before home.’ La-Iin knocked on the door to the Astineth house after noticing it was locked. Once Sale-Dessu opened the door, she yelled, “Stop locking your door!”
“It’s security, La-Iin,” he said. “What if someone opens the door and sees Eul-Bok? You’re one thing, but strangers are another.”
“Most people would expect your door to be locked,” she said. “Anyway, I’m only coming in for something short. Where’s Eul-Bok?”
“Right here,” he called before running into the living room. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to ask you two’s opinion of me,” she said. “What do you two think of me as a person?”
Both gave each other confused glances. Sale-Dessu spoke first.
“You’re my ally. …and I would say a bit of a friend, but I don’t know if you would. I enjoy most of the times you come over. I’m glad that you’re someone who’s in my life. I don’t agree with all of your ideas, but I can overlook it.”
“I find you annoying, and I think you hinder my Father. The only compliment I can give you is that at least you’re better than Bes-Isa.”
La-Iin jotted down their words immediately. “You’re–you’re writing what I said down?”
“Yes. This was all for a project, after all.” She nodded to them. “Go back to your Warlocky stuff. We’ll probably see each other again soon, Sale-Dessu.”
“I guess so,” he said, sounding uncertain.

***

“Mama?”
“Yes, La-Iin? What took you so long to get back from school? Was there something going on?”
“You could say that,” she said, looking away from Mit-Sun. “Anyway, here’s proof that I can do something productive with my day! Opinions of me from anonymous sources.”
Mit-Sun picked up the notebook and began to squint at it. “I can’t read all of this,” she said.
“You’re impossible, Mama.”
“You know, I was just saying you’re lazy sometimes, right?”
“I know. But I won’t stand for that. So I did this. Are you happy?”
“I don’t really care,” she said. La-Iin pouted. “But I’m sure it took effort to ask these many people, so it’s quite an accomplishment. I can at least say you did something.”
“Good,” she said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a game to finish.”
Mit-Sun chuckled as she glanced through the notebook. ‘All to prove something to me…’

—–
“By the way, Mama, what do you think about me?”
“I think you know that already. Even though you can be annoying and almost impossible to deal with, I still love you. If I didn’t I would have given you away to Asul-Zenza.”
“You’re not that nice. You probably would have abandoned me.”
“Count yourself lucky I’m your mother and would never do that under any circumstance.”
“I’m not so sure I should,” La-Iin mused. Mit-Sun glared at her. “You know, sometimes I wonder what you think about me, too.”
“Now that should be obvious.”
“No, it really isn’t.”

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