9.494.Advancing Disasters

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 494
“Advancing Disasters”

“Have you been listening to the radio, La-Iin?”
“No. I wasn’t the one who left it on all night, if that’s what you think!”
“No, I didn’t ask because of that. Have you heard what they’ve been saying?”
“If it has anything to do with politics, I don’t want to know.”
“It doesn’t have to do with politics, otherwise I wouldn’t be bringing it up. They say Bledger’s becoming a more dangerous place to live. That people are uneasy because there are so many strange cases popping up.”
“Like what?”
“Well, there haven’t been any notable murders since that guy who got killed back in March, but they say there have been a lot of stalking cases, and a lot of cases of people fighting each other using their powers. It isn’t really anything big, but it’s making some people feel unsettled.”
‘That sounds like the kind of stuff I’ve done,’ La-Iin thought. “I don’t feel unsettled at all. It must be happening downtown.”
“Maybe, but downtown is still a part of Bledger.” Mit-Sun sighed. “I hope it’s just contained to a specific area of Bledger. If cases like this hit the neighborhood where the Sanhuuns live, or maybe even this neighborhood, I don’t know what I’d do. My job is here, and we don’t really have the money to move.”
“We could always go and live with Dami if people in our neighborhood start dropping dead,” La-Iin said innocently.
“Yeah, no.” Mit-Sun gave another sigh. “Although I guess in a worst-case scenario, he probably would take us in, the sap.”
“Dami’s nice like that, unlike you. But I hope we don’t have to move either. First off, moving just because there’s a little crime? That’s silly.”
Mit-Sun glared. “And second off, this is my base of operations! I know the lay of the land! Fer-Shi and San-Kyung live here! And my allies, too.”
“Allies?”
“Oh, you know them, Mama.”
“No, I don’t.”
“It would be disappointing if something like that happened,” Bes-Isa said. La-Iin flinched. “You didn’t say you were awake.”
“Does a girl have to? But anyway, in said worst-case scenario, at least you’d still have me.”
“I guess,” she sighed.
“What, I’m not good enough?”
“You’re fine, Bes-Isa. But our ally is a great help. Fer-Shi, I need by my side, and the same goes for San-Kyung. If we moved, I’d never succeed. Rival-boy would take that as his chance to advance on him!”
She smirked. “If he wasn’t dead from all the crime.”
“La-Iin, I get that you’re evil, but that’s horrible.”
“You non-evils are so stupid. That’s the point.”

***

“It feels like it’s been a while since you came to see me, Sale-Dessu. I’m glad to see you again. Though if I’m being honest, I can barely see you.”
“Are you alright, Apeta?”
Eir-Tyuj leaned back in her chair. “I’m old, Sale-Dessu. And after my long life I’ve resigned myself to the fact that death isn’t many years away from me, if it’s even years away. I suppose my body took that as a sign that it didn’t have to work as hard as it used to. But if you think I’m completely blind, you have another thing coming.”
“Is it scary to lose your sight, Grepeta?”
“I suppose slightly so. But so long as it doesn’t cause me to die a humiliating death, I’ve learned I can deal. Perhaps Sale-Dessu can figure something out with his powers that would help me be able to see better. Glasses aren’t helping at all, heh!”
“Your powers are stronger than mine, Apeta. If anyone could figure that out, it would be you.”
“Meh, in the grand scheme of things. But at the point we are at now, you are the stronger one by virtue of your youth. And I would bet that when you reach my age, Eul-Bok will have surpassed you as well.”
“Thank you, Grepeta!”
“So, did you just feel like visiting your Apeta, or did you have something you wanted to talk to me about? I feel as if you did, by the tone of your voice.”
“You could tell? Well, I guess I shouldn’t have thought otherwise…from what Eul-Bok, and a neighbor of mine say, I think it’s pretty obvious to others when I have something on my mind.”
“A neighbor of yours, eh? A ladyfriend, perhaps?”
“Apeta, please.”
“Yeah, Grepeta. Father’s so shy that he’d never be able to get a ladyfriend. He’d just explode in front of her and run back to his house!”
Sale-Dessu felt his face warm. “That isn’t funny…and besides, I’m more concerned about honing my powers and teaching Eul-Bok than romance.”
“I figured. Ah well, it doesn’t matter anyway. The Astineth line is still going on, somewhere. And you’ve contributed Eul-Bok in your own way. Now, with that aside, what was it you needed?”
“I’ve felt unsettled recently,” he said. “Every now and then, I think back on my childhood and to the days where you and I, and Mamun as well…I think back to those days where we were constantly being pursued by the people who hated you. I’ve been nervous a lot recently because of it. I wanted to know what you did to keep yourself calm.”
“I’m naturally a calmer person than you are, Sale-Dessu,” she said. Sale-Dessu’s shoulders slumped. “But, I also reminded myself that these people are petty. They blamed us, and chased after us, because their parents were terrified by what I had done. After Maie-Jussa’s death, I realized they were more of a threat, and you saw the sort of depression I fell into. But I reminded myself then that there was something far more important than grieving for Maie-Jussa and fearing what they might do next. And that was taking care of you. You had lost your mother. You were thrown into this by virtue of being my grandson. There was no good reason for that.”
Sale-Dessu remained silent.
“Another thing that helped me was the fact of how powerful I am. So you needn’t worry about those sorts of things. Just remind yourself, these people are petty. Most probably don’t care anymore anyway, given that most in my old hometowns likely believe I am dead by now. I have lived a long time even by Witch standards. That and that you have your powers to protect you–you and Eul-Bok.”
“Thank you, Apeta.”
“Are you sure you’re just worried about this because you’ve been thinking on the past, Sale-Dessu?” Eir-Tyuj asked. “Have you run into any of these people lately?”
“No, I haven’t. You would have known immediately if I had, Apeta.”
“I think Father’s worried because of something that happened recently. You see, he left the window open the other day and it was pretty windy that day, so it was making crashing noises. Father thought there was someone inside the house, but we checked, and we made it there quickly too. I think we would have seen if there was someone there.”
“You are a nervous sort, aren’t you?” Eir-Tyuj said. Sale-Dessu shied away. “I know it’s pathetic. But especially with Eul-Bok being the way he is, I’d rather not take my chances…”
“I understand, Sale-Dessu. I wasn’t trying to tease you, despite what it may seem. Those sorts are dangerous, some of them. But if you’ve been keeping as low a profile as you seem to be, I don’t think you need to worry.”
“I know. That part always sticks out in my memories, is all.”
“Ah, speaking of memories, you’re reminding me of those days way back when. How unpleasant they were…I sometimes wish I could find a way to go back in time and prevent myself from ever doing such things to cause their ire. Not for my sake, but for the sake of my family. But enough about all that. You two should have some fun while you’re over here. Especially you, Eul-Bok. I’m sure that conversation bored you.”
“No, it’s fine! I don’t mind conversations like that. I’ve actually been trying to get Father to tell me his whole childhood story, but he doesn’t want to.”
“Don’t badger him about it. It was a painful time for him, and I don’t know what sort of things happened to him after I disappeared from his life.”
“Those times were rough…”
“Let’s not focus on the past and instead focus on the now. Eul-Bok, mind displaying some of your powers for me? If I see enough progress perhaps I’ll be inspired to help you as I did Sale-Dessu!”
“Really, Grepeta!?”
“Apeta is a rough teacher, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu whispered.
“I certainly am!” She proclaimed. “My sight may be failing me, but my hearing is sharp as ever, Sale-Dessu. And you have your warning, Eul-Bok. Should you decide to accept my assistance, I won’t go easy on you!”
“I’m ready for a challenge!” Eul-Bok said.
“I like your spunk, boy!” She cackled. “How did someone like you end up with a son this determined?”
“I don’t know.” Sale-Dessu said. “But I’m happy he is this way.”

—–
“Baal-Mist, what’s the summoning for this time?”
“I have a new plan I’d like to share with all of you that I want to enact as soon as possible. Take a look at the print-outs I left at your seats.”
The Witches and Warlocks around him began to read the print-outs.
“Don’t you think this is a sudden move, Baal-Mist? I think this could be dangerous!”
“Perhaps. But I think it’s the logical next move. And we have numbers if you’re worried about him retaliating.”
“Just how personal is this to you that you want to do something like this?”
“Very personal. I will find out the secrets behind this man and his son. I will find out if he is really Sale-Dessu. I’ll find that all out, and then I will go straight to Eir-Tyuj. And then, I’ll make her pay for what she did to my mother!”

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