The La-Iin Series
“Scour of Nature”
“Here you go, Fer-Shi! I packed some healthier snacks this time. Getting exercise doesn’t make up for eating choco pies all the time, after all.”
“As long as they’re good.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll like them.”
“Yeah, La-Iin. After all, your least-favorite food is a sweet, isn’t it?”
“There’s nothing sweet about chocolate malt balls in the slightest. They taste like poop!”
Fer-Shi and Tei-Sheu cringed. “Um, anyway…you girls are going to stay safe, right? After what happened at the end of June I can’t help but be a little wary.”
“Don’t worry, Mom. We’re not going to do anything like that this time. La-Iin even has Choungetsu with her this time! Hey, I never did ask, why did you bring Choungetsu, anyway?”
La-Iin sighed. “I’ll tell you later.”
“Are you going to be okay, Mom? You’ll be all on your own for a little bit.”
“That’s sweet of you to think about me, Fer-Shi, but I’ll be fine. I’ve been on my own plenty in the past and besides, this gives me time to actually pursue my hobby of video games–er, I mean…”
La-Iin smirked at Tei-Sheu. “While you’re usually one of the last people I would talk to, and this something I wouldn’t normally say, video games are a better pursuit than some other mundane thing you could consider.”
“Maybe I should give her some recommendations,” La-Iin said.
“But you barely get to play video games at all. And besides, I think the system Mom has is an old one.”
The two girls head out the door. La-Iin picked up the sound of a game starting up before they were outside. ‘Fer-Shi must be right about it being an old system.’
“Now that we’re outside, I’ll tell you about why I brought Choungetsu. It’s simple.” She narrowed her eyes. “I’ve used you as an excuse to go other places before and Mama was suspicious of me. She told me to bring Choungetsu because he’s a ninety-nine percent guarantee I’ll come home safe.”
“What’s the one percent she’s worried about?”
“Speaking of meth neighborhoods–” La-Iin glanced around Fer-Shi’s neighborhood. “Yours doesn’t seem very friendly.”
Looking around, La-Iin spotted suspicious men peeking at her from a window; they closed the blinds after laying eyes on her. A woman sitting on a chair stroked a rifle, and nearby a young boy bolted ahead of his mother after spotting Choungetsu, who gave a playful growl at the sight of him.
“Let’s not talk about that,” Fer-Shi said uncertainly. “After all, it might not be the friendliest place, but it is home!”
“You’d think it would be friendlier with how clean it looks.”
Fer-Shi’s shoulders slumped. “Yeah, you would.”
The two walked out of the neighborhood and nearly as soon as they did, Fer-Shi began to look through the trees intently, sometimes wandering into forestry. She did so often enough that La-Iin quickly began to wonder if they were actually going on a walk, and Choungetsu was quickly becoming antsy.
Once when Fer-Shi stumbled into the forestry, La-Iin followed after her and spotted squirrels up in a tree. Curious, she flew up to see if they had any traits indicating a subspecies of squirrel, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the squirrel was somewhat skeletal.
“I guess Dualbreeds can happen in squirrels too,” she said.
“Did you say something, La-Iin?” Fer-Shi asked. La-Iin noticed she was slightly ahead of her.
“No!” She landed on the ground. Choungetsu gave her an expression that seemed to be one of jealousy.
“Don’t make that face. You have nothing to be jealous about. Yet. Unless you’re upset about the fact that my wings work and yours are just fake plastic.”
Choungetsu barked at her. With a sigh, La-Iin followed after Fer-Shi.
The forest was abuzz with noise, and La-Iin couldn’t keep herself from glancing around to look at the scenery. Each time she spotted an animal she stared intently at it. She doubted she would easily spot a Vampire animal out in the sunlight, but she checked around anyway. Choungetsu, meanwhile, was more focused on sniffing the ground and glancing up at trees. La-Iin thought he looked suspicious, and so tugged on his leash. Choungetsu yelped and began to growl at her.
As Fer-Shi poked her head through some bushes, Choungetsu bolted for a tree and began to try and climb up it, his tongue lolling. La-Iin was knocked to the ground with the force of his bolt, and she switched to flight to keep herself from falling over a second time. Choungetsu was staring up at a strange animal La-Iin had never seen before, though its looks reminded her somewhat of a Werewolf and she began to wonder if it was of that variety.
Choungetsu seemed quite intrigued by the animal and continued to try and climb up to reach it. La-Iin flew above him to get a closer look. The animal glanced between both of them quickly, then bared sharp teeth. La-Iin gave a giggle of delight, but Choungetsu appeared to be startled and dropped off the tree. Still holding onto the leash, La-Iin was pulled to the ground with him.
La-Iin had made the decision to fly up and grab the animal, but by the time she recovered it was nowhere to be found. With a huff, she smacked Choungetsu’s ear and followed after Fer-Shi, who by now was a distance ahead of her and Choungetsu but still far closer than she would have expected, even knowing she was stopping to check the scenery.
‘Just what is she looking for?’
La-Iin’s stomach began to growl and she reached for the snack Tei-Sheu had given her and Fer-Shi. Choungetsu stared up at it anxiously, and La-Iin narrowed her eyes. He sat down, then began to pace around her, as if waiting for her to drop some. La-Iin ate it in front of Choungetsu, smirking at him. Choungetsu seemed oblivious to her taunting and continued to watch. Finally, once she had neared the end of the snack, she threw the small remnants onto the nearby grass, and Choungetsu chased after them and chomped the ground, ending up with a mouthful of grass, though he seemed content with the taste.
Distracted once again, La-Iin began to follow the trails of a curious noise coming from a nearby bush. Choungetsu ran ahead of her and began to sniff at it, and La-Iin felt certain he had picked up on its trail, but instead he began to go to the bathroom.
“Choungetsu–!” La-Iin kept her frustration contained to rapid wing-flaps and, tying Choungetsu’s leash to a tree, followed after the noise by herself. She continued on and the noise grew louder until it felt like it was right on top of her; only then did she spot a glint of yellow eyes and a flash of brown fur. For a moment she feared she had run into Dosa-Mina in his true form, then became excited at the thought that she might have run into Usl-Thaehey once again, before realizing that whoever this was, he was taller than Dosa-Mina, a fact that startled her.
The mysterious figure walked forward and into her line of sight; finally La-Iin could see that it was a tall Bearperson man. The Bearperson man looked at her, and La-Iin stared up at him. She could see that he appeared to be wearing hiking clothes, but that was the only impression she was able to get from him, for after that his eyes widened, he shrieked, then ran off in the opposite direction. With a sigh, La-Iin head back.
Choungetsu was staring at his tied-up leash when she came back, and La-Iin undid it and glared at him. Choungetsu didn’t seem to notice or care, as he walked ahead of her with his same cheerful gait. Checking to make sure she could still spot Fer-Shi up ahead–if she had heard the man’s scream, she had no reaction to it–she looked around to see if there was anything else interesting to look at or chase after, but not even Choungetsu seemed intrigued with the scenery. Running up closer to Fer-Shi and turning back did not change the situation.
La-Iin kept up looking for something else to do until she was certain she would not be able to find anything of worth. After that she and Choungetsu ran up to Fer-Shi, who had just pulled her head out of a bush.
“What are you looking for anyway?”
“Why do you ask?”
“This forest is getting boring and I want to leave.”
“Oh…um, nothing really all that important. I found out pretty early on I probably wouldn’t find it. I just wanted to keep looking ’cause…well, I guess it really isn’t all that important.” She stood up. “I’m sorry you got bored, La-Iin. We can go home now. I’ve got a little bit of vuyong from helping my Mom with chores, so would you like to get ice cream?”
“I would, but I also want to know what you were looking for. You wasted some of my time, you know.”
“That’s why I’m offering to get you ice cream!” She said. “C’mon, let’s get out of here. And really, La-Iin, don’t worry about what I was looking for. It’s ‘goody-goody’ stuff that wouldn’t even interest you anyway.”
‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do. What’s better–if I find a Werewolf society or if I don’t? Forget what would be better for me, what would be better for Hei-Maj? Would he really even want to leave that home he’s known for so long?’
“What has you distracted now?”
“H-huh? Nothing, La-Iin. Really, don’t worry about it.”
Fer-Shi gave another sigh. La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance, but she did not notice it.