29.545.The Adventure in Bledger–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 545
“The Adventure in Bledger–Part 1”

“Hey, La-Iin. Whatcha up to? Not hanging out with Sara for once?”
La-Iin and Fer-Shi’s longest period of break time had arrived, and La-Iin had soon found she had nothing to do. She wasn’t unhappy, however. The memory of her mother’s rejection of Uil-Cur kept her from becoming unhappy, though she was immensely bored as she observed students utilizing their weak powers in the recess area. When Fer-Shi approached her, she felt as though she had been snapped out of something.
“Huh?”
“I said, not hanging out with Sara for once? In fact, you look pretty bored, so I asked, what’s up?”
“Does it look like anything’s up? Nothing’s up. I’m just happy about something that happened recently.”
“Really? What?”
“You wouldn’t understand. There’s too much background I’d have to give you so you don’t get the wrong idea.”
Fer-Shi sighed. “It feels like you say that a ton recently.”
“Getting jealous again?”
“No, just sad. You see, well, maybe this will sound petty to you, but I remember the times we always hung out together. Not only that, but we are a friendship between good and evil, and you have other friends who understand you better now. I guess I just feel inadequate compared to back then.”
“Do you think our friendship is so weak that it will break because we haven’t talked as much recently? I still talk to you every week. When was the last week I didn’t?”
“I know, I know,” Fer-Shi sighed. “It’s just me being petty. You used to be concerned about our friendship. Now it’s my turn.”
“Well, don’t be. Lately I’ve been concerned with my goals and other people are helping me discover more about my goals than you are. If I had nobody I would be talking to nobody. It’s just a matter of that. So stop feeling inadequate.”
“Easier said than done,” she siad, then gasped. “Hey, wait a second, I’ve got an idea.”
“What?”
“Didn’t we talk about going on an adventure earlier this year? Like an adventure throughout all of Bledger!”
“Maybe that came up once. We talk about a lot of things, Fer-Shi.”
“Well, do you have anything to do with your time?”
“No, not particularly. Though you never know when something will come up. Why? Did you want to go on an adventure now? Fer-Shi, you’re a goody-goody. Aren’t you worried about missing school?”
Fer-Shi shook her head. “School ends on Wednesday, and anyway if we just stay within Bledger we should be alright. Maybe we should test ourselves to see how much ground we can cover in one day! We’ve been lots of places in Bledger, but I want to see if we can find a new place all by ourselves! So what do you say?”
“It sounds like a good idea. Although I’m not going unless blood and snacks are part of the deal.”
“Ooh, all right…but if you have to suck my blood, can you do it in my arm or something like that and not my shoulder? It hurts there…”
“I didn’t mean your blood, I meant like blood packs, and I can get those from home. Though I’ll accept your blood too,” she said with a wink.
“Why do I never try and predict what you’re going to say…” Fer-Shi sighed. “Well, whatever. Alright, I’ll get some snacks from home and you can get some snacks from home, bring whatever else you might need for a day, and we’ll go on an adventure! Boy, I sure hope I don’t worry my Mom and Dad too much.”
“They know what to expect from me.”
Fer-Shi giggled. “Yeah, I guess you’re right!”

***

“What are you packing for, La-Iin?”
“Me and Fer-Shi are going to walk around…the park area near Bledger because there’s something she wanted to show me. I don’t know how far it is so I wanted snacks.”
“Do I get to go on this little escapade of yours?”
“Maybe. I’m still tossing the idea around.”
“I see. Well, don’t stay out too late because I’m making a dinner you like. Also it worries me when you’re out too late.”
“It should.”
“It doesn’t worry me because of how you act, you know. A lot of the times you’ve been out too late something happened to you. Granted, some of the time it has been just that you’ve been acting up, but I know that’s not always the case. I want to play it safe.”
“If you say so, Mama.”
Choungetsu stood on his hind legs and sniffed at La-Iin’s backpack. She snatched the backpack away from him.
“I hope you’re not still thinking about Haner.”
“I wasn’t, not right now anyway. Just about you. Maybe sometime soon you and I should go somewhere. It’s hard to feel close to you when you’re so antagonistic.”
“Antagonism is in my nature. But don’t worry, Mama. Now that you turned down Haner, a lot of my anger towards you has dissipated. I need to get over the rest and then you can read me silly books again if you want.” She fastened her backpack. “I’m going to go now.”
“Be safe. See you soon.”
La-Iin gave no response. She head out the door and began to fly almost as soon as she was outside, heading for the meeting place she and Fer-Shi had decided on–the park area she had told Mit-Sun about.
Once she reached the park area, she spotted Fer-Shi sitting on a bench. She waved to La-Iin, and La-Iin landed next to her.
“Hi there, La-Iin.”
“Hello.”
Fer-Shi glanced around the park. A few families were out playing with their children. “Let’s go over to the bushes,” she whispered. La-Iin nodded and followed her.
“Which direction should we head in first?”
“The most foresty, the better. The most foresty areas I’ve been to is the one nearby the school and a few other places I don’t remember as well.”
“Well, that works! We’re already in a foresty area!” Fer-Shi giggled. “Come on, let’s go!”
Fer-Shi led the way through the bushes and the trees. La-Iin followed behind her and found herself becoming quickly bored by the same repetitive sight of trees and bushes. Soon enough, however, Fer-Shi pushed her way through a tall bush and the two found themselves in a dilapidated area that seemed almost abandoned. Fer-Shi gave a squeal and walked closer to La-Iin’s side.
“This kind of reminds me of the place we meet up with Imagination at,” La-Iin said.
“Yeah, it kinda does…still, it seems different somehow…”
“Maybe it’s the same place and just the main part.”
Fer-Shi swallowed hard. “Well, wherever we are, we should try and find our way out soon! Who knew going through the park could lead you here….maybe we should go back the way we came.”
“No way. We might find something interesting here. I’ve explored nearby that park, but I’ve never gone too far in this neighborhood. And that’s if this is even the same neighborhood with the graveyard!”
Fer-Shi took a deep breath. “Guess you’re right,” she said. “I can’t always be such a scaredy-catori, especially when I’ve got a friend who’s way too overconfident. But I’m sure you’re scared of something!”
“False bravery.”
“See!? I got–” Fer-Shi blinked. “Hey!”
La-Iin took the lead as they walked through the area. Though the blue sky shone above them, the area itself seemed relatively dark. Houses around them were in bad condition and some were boarded up, but none seemed to be inhabited except by a few animals.
“Wow, look at all the Vampire animals.”
“I’ve never seen this many in one area,” Fer-Shi said. “I guess with all the people gone, the animals must have taken control of this area.”
“I wonder if they like sucking people blood. Animals are so lucky. If they’re evil other animals don’t get on their case for it unless they’re trying to eat them. It’s people who end up hurting the evil animals in the end.”
“I guess you like animals, huh, La-Iin?”
“Not anymore than I like people, but I have more respect for the goody-goody animals than I do for goody-goody people.”
Fer-Shi chuckled, though she sounded nervous. La-Iin smirked. She ran ahead of Fer-Shi.
“Hey, wait! Don’t leave me behind!”
“Don’t worry! Look up ahead!”
Fer-Shi tilted her head to see past La-Iin. Up ahead was a field of dead grass intermixed with living grass. Curious, she picked up speed and stopped by La-Iin’s side to examine the grass.
“Wow.”
“This place is amazing,” La-Iin squealed, sitting down on the ground. “Nobody’s here to bother you, and it’s got a perfect feeling. It makes me happy!”
“I guess it is pretty nice once you get past the scary part.”
“I’ve been to other dirty neighborhoods before, but they always have evil failures lurking about. Like that stupid druggy neighborhood!”
“Um, maybe we shouldn’t talk about things like that right now.”
“Speaking of, I wonder where we would end up if we traveled past there?”
“Er–”
“I’m hungry.” La-Iin opened up her backpack and took out a package of beondegi. Nearby, Fer-Shi spotted a Vampire ferret watching her from afar.
“Looks like someone’s curious about your food,” Fer-Shi giggled.
“It’s like the predecessor of the Vampire-Ferreniao. I wonder if Vampire ferrets live as long as Vampire-anyings live.”
“I heard Vampire animals do live longer, but most of them rely on blood unlike Vampires.”
“What are you talking about? We people Vampires need blood to retain our sanity.”
“In your case that sounds about accurate…”
Once La-Iin had her fill of beondegi, the two pushed on and head into a dark forest. Fer-Shi held tight to La-Iin’s sleeve, glancing around for some other source of light aside from the small amounts of sunlight that made their ways through the trees.
“Scared?”
“Y-yes.”
“Hm.”
“Animals are nice, but who knows when one will want to eat you…”
“If you wouldn’t be scared of a Bearperson you shouldn’t be scared of a bear.”
“Mmn…what about Siren animals?”
“I thought I heard they only paralyze people. But with their voices instead of song!”
“Eep! Don’t use that kind of tone here!”
“You screeching is more dangerous than me growling!”
Throughout the forest the girls could hear many chirping noises. La-Iin felt slightly off-put, but she could tell Fer-Shi was in a worse position–her friend’s hands were shaking as she held tight to La-Iin’s sleeve. In response, La-Iin picked up the pace to make it quickly through the forest.
The further the girls made it through the forest, the more light they could spot up ahead. They entered a brighter area with a few small huts all around. Fer-Shi glanced around the area curiously.
“Where are we now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ooh, precious snake,” a woman cooed. The two girls glanced in her direction. “You are so gorgeous with your scales. No Lizardfoot could compare.”
“Are we in a species society?”
La-Iin walked ahead of Fer-Shi and peered into the huts. Fer-Shi froze. Inside the huts La-Iin could spot a Lizardfoot, in another a Bunety, and in yet another a Warlock. La-Iin felt as though she recognized the Warlock from somewhere. ‘Was he the one at–‘
“Who are you?” La-Iin nearly jumped up in surprise, until she realized that the woman was speaking to Fer-Shi.
“Um, I’m just passing by with my friend…we wanted to know where we were.”
“The nature society is where you would be. We believe in returning to our roots. Look around you at the diversity of animals! We evolved from such beings. Lizardfeet from lizards, Catori from cats, it’s beautiful. So we intend on returning to that period of time by living in harmony with our animal friends.”
“Yet you set up people tents,” La-Iin said. The woman’s eyes widened. “Come on, Fer-Shi, let’s go.”
“Um, okay. Good luck with your society!” Fer-Shi called as La-Iin dragged her away.
“…I can’t believe we’ve been such hypocrites. People, there needs to be a change made to our means of operation!”

Since leaving the nature society, La-Iin and Fer-Shi had mostly trudged through abandoned neighborhoods and forests. La-Iin couldn’t help but feel that the part of Bledger they were currently in was badly-cared for–that and that it would be a perfect place to set up a base if she ever felt inclined to. Fer-Shi, meanwhile, was enjoying the sights and spending time with La-Iin, but she felt nervous almost every step, and as the sky grew darker she began to miss her family.
At one point the sky grew too dark for the two to navigate well enough, and though La-Iin didn’t see it as an impediment she stopped for Fer-Shi’s sake inside a house. The two girls began to eat snacks.
“How do you think we can head home from here?” Fer-Shi asked.
“I don’t think we can. But don’t worry. I have experience with this type of situation.”
“What!?”
“We’re going to have to stay here,” La-Iin said simply. “You can’t navigate in the dark like I can, and without two people navigating in the dark we will get lost. Would you rather camp our or never see your Mama and Dami again?”
Fer-Shi whimpered. “Are you sure that’s the case, La-Iin? I’m sure we can make it back…”
“I don’t have as much trouble navigating in the dark as some other people and I have no idea where we are. So take my advice for once. We’ll be safer this way. And isn’t that what you want?”
“I guess…”
“Can I ask a favor before we sleep?”
Fer-Shi blinked. “I’m surprised you would…but go ahead.”
“I’d like a drink of your blood now.”
Fer-Shi whimpered. “Can you see well enough?”
“I can see you just fine.”
“Your night eyesight must be really good…okay, La-Iin, I’ll let you…”
Fer-Shi outstretched her arm. La-Iin pulled it toward her and took a drink of blood, letting go before she got carried away. She dabbed at Fer-Shi’s arm with her dress.
“That was good. Your blood has a nice taste.”
“Mm…”
Both girls laid down.
“Do you think we’ll make it back to our parents tomorrow, La-Iin?”
“Maybe. But don’t you see what a perfect advantage this is? Maybe we’re close to Malicerie, but if we aren’t we aren’t going to change anything by looking for it. We can take more of this time to adventure.”
“What about heading home!?”
“Oh, we can look for a way home, too, but we can also adventure. That’s my point. It’s been a lot of fun adventuring with you, Fer-Shi. A nice break for me. So the longer this goes on, the better.”
“…yeah, I guess it has been pretty fun even though it’s been scary,” Fer-Shi said. “Let’s do it, then.”
“Alright…but once we get some sleep,” La-Iin yawned.
“That’s for sure…good night, La-Iin…”
“Bad night,” La-Iin giggled. Noticing Fer-Shi’s glare, she said, “Oh, whatever. Good night.”

—–
Mit-Sun and the Sanhuuns were concerned.
“Our daughters aren’t back yet, and it’s almost time for school. They’ve been gone since the afternoon. They said they were just going down to the park!”
“As much as I don’t trust La-Iin, I don’t think she would keep Fer-Shi out this late…”
“Do you think something’s happened?” Tei-Sheu asked.
“I don’t know, but I’m worried that’s the case. Why else would they be gone for so long when they were just going to the park? I think we need to take actions into our own hands!”
“You want to look for our daughters ourselves? But they could be anywhere in Bledger!”
“I do want to do that, but I actually meant contact the authorities.”
“Oh. Right.”
Den-Matsu sighed. ‘Fer-Shi, I hope you’re alright, wherever you are…’ A worst-case scenario crossed his mind, but he pushed it away as he dialed the number for the police.

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