11.496.Attack on Astineth

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 496
“Attack on Astineth”

“So we enact the plan today, Baal-Mist?”
“I wanted to enact it as soon as possible, and waiting a day to enact a plan isn’t all that long to wait. Today we make our move.”
“Aren’t you at all worried about the possibility of retaliation? Let’s say that he really is Sale-Dessu, and that child is his son, created or naturally born. Astineth Eir-Tyuj is an incredibly powerful Witch. Don’t you think it stands to reason that her grandson and great-grandson would be the same?”
“I understand all of your concerns. But I’ve been thinking about our chances lately. We’re taking things fairly slow. I want to figure out what’s going on as soon as possible, even if it means being a little impulsive.”
“I think you’re getting a bit too rash about this though, Baal-Mist. You started off thinking things through more–what happened?”
“Is it really too rash when something that woman did caused me a personal tragedy? Perhaps I’m not thinking things through, but I need answers. If we break into his house, we may find out what we need to. Is he Astineth Sale-Dessu? Is that his son, a stolen child? Was the child perhaps somehow created? If so, how? We Witches and Warlocks possess the same power of V-Puppetry that other non-Normal species do, and we can create various moving things, but how did he make something than can move on its own, or at least, seems to be able to? Why is he meeting up with Astineth Eir-Tyuj regardless of relation?” Baal-Mist grit his teeth. “What are they planning?”
“Baal-Mist…”
“We will exercise utmost caution on this mission of ours. And even should something happen, we have numbers on our side. In the event that he does lash out at us, that is our advantage!”

***

The temperature outside was fairly neutral that day, though Sale-Dessu felt as though he was sweating all over. He glanced around at his neighbors–none of them seemed to be outside at the moment.
“Do I look like a normal kid to you, Father?”
Sale-Dessu was snapped out of his thoughts by Eul-Bok’s voice. As opposed to his usual lighter garb, today he was wearing one that covered all his ball joints. “Um, yes, covered up like that, you do. But we have to be careful. I don’t want to be out for too long just in case.”
“I know you don’t. But you’re the one who said I could use a little sunning, so don’t blame me!” Eul-Bok stretched. “Hey, did I tell you I turned a pile of rocks into crayons the other day? Actual crayons! It was so exciting!”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “Good job, Eul-Bok! You’re improving so fast, it’s startling.”
“Between you, my own practice, and the practice that Grepeta gave me the other day, there’s a lot I understand about using my powers now. I think I really will become better than you someday!”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “I’m glad you have that confidence, Eul-Bok.”
“Well, it’s not because I’m conceited or anything. It’s just, I’m related to two of the greatest powerhouses of the Astineth family! Well, technically, I’m just your V-Puppet, but I forget that sometimes nowadays, you know?”
“Do you remember that you’re only one year old? A one year old Warlock would still be in a crib. You can sleep in your own bed.”
“Yeah, I know. Hey, speaking of, do you think with my powers I could have my very own V-Puppet?”
Sale-Dessu’s eyes widened. “I don’t know.” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “I suppose hypothetically, but you’re still a V-Puppet even in that form. Would it really be possible? Now that’s something I might like to look into, actually.”
“I don’t think I’d want to even if I could. I’m curious to try, but I don’t want to take the risk. I mean, I remember what it was like before I could move my body on my own. And I definitely like now a lot better. If I had a V-Puppet, I’d want him or her to become just like me, but I don’t know if that would be so convenient for you. Besides, I like having this time with just you and me, Father!”
“Thank you, Eul-Bok. I know you said you don’t want to try, but I think you would make a very good–”
Sale-Dessu flinched at the sight of a group of people walking down the street.
“This is inconvenient,” one of them said. “If you hadn’t forgotten the exact location we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“We were rushing that last time, though,” another said. “I was so scared I didn’t have time to think about where we were.”
Sale-Dessu froze in place. The group, two Witches and three Warlocks, were on the same sidewalk he and Eul-Bok were, and heading in the direction of his house. There didn’t seem to be any way he could make it back without being spotted by them.
‘Eul-Bok is covered, though. But they’re Witches and Warlocks too…’
Nervous about the possibility of being spotted, he grabbed Eul-Bok’s hand and walked slowly back towards his house, his eye on the newcomers ahead of him. He was grateful to Eul-Bok for staying silent.
He froze back in place when the group turned around. At the front of the group, a white-garbed Warlock began to smirk.
“Well, what do we have here,” he said quietly. “Be on guard. There’s no guarantees as to what he might do.”
Sale-Dessu’s mind drew a blank before spiraling into fearful imaginations. ‘Do they know me? Are these the same kinds of people who followed Apeta around!? No, they couldn’t be! There’s no way they could know where I live now!’
“What do we do? He’s making no move,” one whispered.
“Wait and see. There isn’t anything we can do right now.”
Beside him, Eul-Bok looked up, his expression one of confusion and concern.
“Father, what’s going on?”
“Quiet, Eul-Bok!” He snapped. Eul-Bok backed away.
“Oh, this seems like it’ll be even more of a lucky day than I thought!”
The assailants each reached for their wands. Sale-Dessu reacted before they could, grabbing his wand and blasting them with a dazzling light. He grabbed Eul-Bok and glanced around wildly, searching for someplace to hide him.
“Father, what’s–”
“Stay as quiet as possible and don’t move at all,” he whispered. “Prepare your wand just in case.”
“Father–”
Sale-Dessu covered his mouth. ‘I need to think calmly. I can’t take him back home or else they’ll know exactly where I live. And if I react wildly, they’ll overpower me. What would my Apeta do!? What did she do in the past? Think, Sale-Dessu!’
“Catch him while his guard’s down!” The white-garbed Warlock yelled, rubbing at his eyes. The other assailants still seemed stunned, but two of them had come to action. Sale-Dessu flashed the beam of light at them again just as an idea came to mind.
‘When that Witch assaulted my Mamun, Apeta put her under mind control. But I don’t have the time to do that! That group won’t stay stunned for long. I need a quicker solution!’
Sale-Dessu swallowed hard. He tried to think back to the offensive spells he had been taught by his grandmother and retaliated against the assailants with rapid beams of light and dizzying spells. Two fell to the ground, holding their heads, while the others staggered on their feet, looking disoriented. Sale-Dessu tried to think on another spell he could use, oblivious to the white-garbed Warlock’s recovery.
“That won’t work forever, Warlock!” The white-garbed Warlock yelled. He fired a stun shot at Sale-Dessu and sent him falling to the ground, his mind whirling and his thoughts in a panicked frenzy as he looked up at his assailant.
“This is perfect. Going better than I thought. But, no need to waste time with wasting breath.” He pointed his wand in Sale-Dessu’s direction, a confident smirk on his face.
Before he could fire his intended spell, Sale-Dessu finished his canting of a spell. The spell wasn’t having exactly his intended effect, but it was working well enough–the white-garbed Warlock had been brought to his knees, cringing in pain. It gave Sale-Dessu enough of a timeframe to recover and hit him with another dizzying spell. The Warlock gasped in pain and held tight to his knees.
Sale-Dessu gasped and began to look for Eul-Bok, fearing the worst, and was surprised to see him standing in front of the other assailants, who had collapsed to the ground and had begun to groan.
“Di–did you do that?”
“I did, Father! I wasn’t going to let you get taken down by these people ’cause you were panicking. Besides, I had to do something.”
Sale-Dessu bit his lip. “I’m sorry I wasn’t more help…”
“Don’t be. The only reason I was able to take care of those others is because I was studying an experiment you did last year. I had no guarantee it would work. I guess that was pretty reckless of me.”
Eul-Bok’s expression became serious. He pulled Sale-Dessu a distance away from the dazed assailants. “Father, this isn’t a permanent solution. Who knows what these people want? If they’re desperate enough and really powerful, they’re going to come back to this neighborhood sooner or later. So you and I need to figure out what to do about them.”
Sale-Dessu noticed the white-garbed Warlock reaching for his wand. “You’re right, Eul-Bok. We need to hurry and come up with a solution. But give me a moment.” Sale-Dessu grabbed the wand away from the white-garbed Warlock, then cast his spell again. The Warlock doubled over in pain, his eyes glazing.
“Is he going to be alright, Father?”
“He’ll be fine…” Sale-Dessu trailed off as he glanced back at the Warlock. Tears began to stream down his face.
“Father!?”
“We’re going to have to leave this place, aren’t we? They probably know we live in this neighborhood now. How much longer will it be until they figure out which house we live in?”
“But where would we live if we leave here? Father, there has to be something we can do!”
Sale-Dessu didn’t respond. Eul-Bok growled. “If you won’t handle the situation, then I will! We are powerful, Father. There has to be a memory loss spell we can use on them.”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “Eul-Bok, something on that scale would wipe someone’s entire memory!”
“Well, there has to be something we can do! You told me about mind control–do you know how to do it? If you do, we can keep them under control until we figure out how to handle this situation.”
“I–I do, but…”
“You have to, Father. It’s our best shot!”
Sale-Dessu nodded. ‘I have the chance to think things through now. If I can keep them under mind control, not only could I deal with them, but I could visit Apeta for help.’
“Hurry!”
Sale-Dessu nodded and walked over to each of the assailants, placing a hand on their heads. Eul-Bok watched on in awe as Sale-Dessu began to chant a spell under his breath for each one. Once the spell was finished, cautiously, he commanded one of the assailants to move.
The white-garbed Warlock moved his arm.
“As soon as we’re done with these five, we need to talk to Apeta,” Sale-Dessu said. Eul-Bok nodded.

—–
“I can’t believe this has happened to you, Sale-Dessu,” Eir-Tyuj sighed. “What did you do to get yourself in such a situation?”
“That’s just the issue, Apeta! If they weren’t Witches and Warlocks, I might think there was something else going on, but I can’t help but wonder if these are the same types of people. But I don’t know what to do! You said people know your identity in this neighborhood, didn’t you? I can’t stay here either!”
“It’s simply not feasible. And you are right in your assumption that memory erasure spells erase all of one’s memory. Not even I was able to find a way to perfect them to a point where they discarded of a particular one, partially because you cannot figure out exactly how a given person remembers a memory.”
“What do I do, Apeta? I barely have any vuyong on my person. I paid off my house! I’ve been living there for years! It was all so perfect!”
“There’s got to be something we can do to keep on living there!”
“You two sure are desperate, aren’t you? And I can understand why. But remember, they don’t know which house you live in, do they? I can provide you with a cover plan, but believe me when I say your best plan of action would be to eventually find a new residence if this keeps up.”
“I…I understand, Apeta.”
“There are security spells that exist, those of which that I used on my house. These will protect you from some of their attacks. I’d also advise that you begin living pseudonymously from here on out. If you change your appearance and assume new names, after a period of time they may believe you do not actually live in the neighborhood. But remember, they too are Witches and Warlocks–you will have to exercise utmost caution when it comes to doing this. The plan could fall through. Continue on like that until you dissuade them or you can find a new place to live–a safer place.”
“I…I understand, Apeta.”
“If you need my help, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“That will only prove our relation, Apeta.”
“You have a point. But Sale-Dessu, this is your only shot. Do what you can to avoid provoking these intruders any further. Who knows? Perhaps you will be lucky and your pseudonymous identity will help you keep that house. But never let down your guard.”
Eir-Tyuj went on about further details, but Sale-Dessu barely heard them. ‘This is all my fault. I had to pick today to go out with Eul-Bok, and now we’re in this situation. I had a decade and so of freedom. I thought I was finally free of everything that happened. But every time I think life is going right, something like this happens. There’s no escape for me, is there? So long as I’m an Astineth, they’ll always be after me.’
He glanced at Eul-Bok. ‘And if I keep him an Astineth, they’ll be after him, too.’

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