13.651.Battle Between Breeds

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 651
“Battle Between Breeds”

When she arrived home from the Astineth house, the first thing La-Iin did was let Choungetsu out of her closet. She thought the action would go unnoticed, and so was startled to see that Mit-Sun was standing outside her bedroom with a curious expression on her face.
“Why was Choungetsu in your room? I thought you took him on a walk.”
“I did. It’s not my fault he followed me upstairs. I didn’t even notice.”
“Hm.” Mit-Sun looked as if she didn’t quite believe her, but didn’t press the subject any further.

Sale-Dessu’s blood still in her system, La-Iin studied up on as many Witch resources as she could find in the house. She hoped that the powers did not kick in until she knew enough in order for them to be helpful. ‘I doubt I’ll be welcome at the Astineth house again anytime soon.’
To check, La-Iin kept a thin stick with her at all times, waving it around on occasion. Nothing happened for a while, until quite late at night. Mit-Sun was upstairs preparing for bed and the stick gave off a small spark.
La-Iin was intrigued, but frustrated due to the time. After Mit-Sun had put her to bed, and once she had gone to bed herself, La-Iin snuck out, Bes-Isa in tow, and head to the kitchen. She put a pot on the stove and filled it with liquid and some supplies around the house–that and a small amount of the potion she had stolen from Sale-Dessu.
She didn’t know much about potion-making, but she was going to try. The “potion” began to bubble, and La-Iin waved the stick above it. While it was bubbling, impatient she went to reference the books that mentioned anything about Witches. That information made her pay closer attention to the “potion”. She waved the stick over it, and the liquid started to become a strange color.
Once she felt it was done, she let it cool off and put it into a container and stuck it in the fridge. When she closed the fridge, she turned and nearly jumped when she saw Mit-Sun standing behind her.
“What are you doing up so late?” She asked. “And were you baking something?”
“No. Just messing with the stove.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh. Get back to bed and don’t do things that could start fires!”
La-Iin huffed, spread her wings and head back to bed, clutching Bes-Isa and the stolen potion. She was frustrated, but was happy that she had at least finished the potion.
‘I might not know much about Witch powers, but I know that potion is a good one. After all, it should be a…’

***

The next day, La-Iin felt restless. Her plans felt like they were going wild in her head. When she picked up the stick, it still sparked.
She felt incredibly powerful.
Restraining her feelings had been difficult, especially around Mit-Sun who still watched her with a curious expression. Occasionally she couldn’t keep from making a comment that frustrated her mother.
“When I rule the world, you won’t be allowed to make crappy breakfasts, you know.”
Mit-Sun had rolled her eyes in response.
The restless and powerful feeling had continued even after she left the house, and on the path to school Fer-Shi was quick to notice that her friend was giggling to herself.
“La-Iin? Are you okay?”
“Better,” she said. “Don’t worry, Fer-Shi. It annoys me when you worry. Besides, I have a feeling that soon, I’m going to have a bunch to be happy about.”
“Huh?”
“You’ll see soon enough,” she said with a smirk. “But for now, just don’t worry about me.”
“That makes me more worried…but I guess if something good is gonna happen, I shouldn’t be…but wait, is this good regular or evil good?”
“Now that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself, isn’t it?”

Students and faculty were also quick to notice La-Iin’s odd behavior. Even to those who had noticed how she was acting recently, it was still strange.
But even despite this, La-Iin spent most of her time lost in thought. Even at the recess area she mostly stayed to herself; Shuu-Kena found that nothing she said got through to her, and after she would only respond vaguely to Fer-Shi’s suggestions for games, she went off to play with Shan-Zetsu and some Class B students instead.
It was only once classes were done for the day that she really talked to anyone else.
“You two.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina blinked at her.
“I want to talk to you two about something. Come with me.”
“Why should we?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“Because I know where you live.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina glanced at each other.
“Do you have anything better to do?” La-Iin asked.
“Good point. What about you, San-Kyung?”
“I guess not…” He sighed. “Fine, but if this ends up being a waste of my time, I’m going home.”
With a confident smirk, La-Iin left the classroom ahead of the two boys. They stayed close behind her as she walked through the hallway and along the path that led out of Malicerie.
She led them away from Malicerie and searched around for a while.
“Do you think she knows where she’s going?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“No.”
“I heard that.” La-Iin glared at them, then head over to an empty field. “Here.”
Dosa-Mina crossed his arms. “So what’s this about, little Vampire girl?”
“I thought you were done calling me that.”
“Some things never go away completely,” he said with a smug smile. La-Iin huffed.
“I want to talk to both of you. Individually, then together.”
The two blinked at each other. “San-Kyung first.”
“What do you want?”
“Are you still planning to rule the world?”
“Why do you ask?”
“…I just think you’ll get an opening really soon.”
“You know nothing about my plans.”
“Maybe. Okay, maybe the world is going a little far, but I think a good opportunity is coming up for you and me. And I just wanted to tell you in advance, so you could be prepared when the day comes. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you again when that happens.”
San-Kyung scoffed.
“You scoff now, but you’ll see. And besides, it’s October. The best time to take advantage of a chance like that, right?”
She winked and walked over to Dosa-Mina.
“What do you want from me?”
She glared. “To ask about a certain nightmare.”
“Huh?”
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you and your fantasies about my suicide.”
Dosa-Mina flinched.
“I don’t understand you, rival-boy. You hated your species. Yet now you’re flaunting it. You apparently have nightmares about me shooting myself. But there’s no explanation for it. And you know I can’t stand you, yet you don’t feel the same way about me.”
“Who says?”
“You’re weird to me. You and I remind me of my Mama and Dami. Mama so obviously hates Dami, yet he keeps being nice to her even though she’s such a jerk.”
“So you’re saying our relationship reminds you of exes? Sicko.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. “That’s not what I meant! I can’t stand you, but I think you’ll be helpful.”
“Huh?”
She turned away from him. “And now, for both of you…I want to fight you two!”
“…what.”
“Where’s this coming from?”
“I want to see what you two can do with San-Kyung being in October and you not holding back. Except for your singing. That’s just a cheat.”
“You probably wouldn’t call it a cheat if you could use it!” Dosa-Mina huffed.
“I want to see the extent of what you do!”
“So basically you’re saying you want to die,” San-Kyung said.
“Personally, I’d rather not be convicted of murder.”
“Don’t kill me then,” La-Iin said. “But it doesn’t matter if you two resist. I’ll take that as an opening!”
La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at them. It still sparked, and both boys flinched.
“What the–!? That’s a Witch power!”
San-Kyung seemed to take this as incentive enough, for he rose vines from the ground and tried to tie her up with them. La-Iin flew past them and bit into her arm. When her transformation completed, she flew at Dosa-Mina and bit into his neck, but she was pushed off by Dosa-Mina before she could suck any of his blood.
“How do you have a Witch power?”
“This is a fight, not a time for questions.” La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at Dosa-Mina. It only sparked slightly, and then San-Kyung’s vine grabbed her ankle. La-Iin freed her ankle with the stick, then flew at San-Kyung, hitting him with the stick. She tried to suck his blood as well, but he struck his hands and she flew a distance away from them.
While she was away, La-Iin noticed that San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina had begun to levitate. “Taking the coward’s way out!?” She flew at them and headbutted Dosa-Mina in the stomach, then landed on the ground and pointed the stick in their direction.
She tried to remember an offensive spell, and once she did she pointed the stick in their direction and canted; but the wand only responded by sparking slightly before dying out altogether. La-Iin tried again, but the same thing happened.
“No!”
‘It doesn’t matter! I can still attack them! I can’t stop here.’
“Should we leave while she’s fumbling, or do you want to keep going?”
“She said she wanted to see what we could do. Why not show her?”
“Oh dear,” Dosa-Mina sighed. San-Kyung brought them to the ground, then, Dosa-Mina grabbed him and jumped into the air.
“Hm!?”
San-Kyung lifted his right hand and bit hard into the skin on his palm. A massive amount of flames engulfed his hand. At one of the highest points in Dosa-Mina’s jump, he fired off a beam of fire. La-Iin only barely made it out of the way, but it set a large area nearby her on fire.
“Oh no,” Dosa-Mina said. “We can’t just leave this! It’ll start a forest fire!”
“Yeah, this is too close to home.” San-Kyung glanced over his shoulder. “But now you know the answer. So get out of here.”
La-Iin didn’t move, however. She watched the flames as the two boys tried to stop them, in shock.

—–
When La-Iin arrived home, Mit-Sun noticed that her eyes were wide open and she smelled of smoke.
“La-Iin! Is everything okay!?”
La-Iin walked past Mit-Sun. She thought back on the fight they had, the intensity of San-Kyung’s flamethrower, and a smirk crossed her lips.
Mit-Sun only barely noticed it, but the sight filled her with dread.

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12.650.To Utilize a Warlock’s Ability

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 650
“To Utilize a Warlock’s Ability”

Monday after school, La-Iin head into her room, emptied her backpack, and levitated Bes-Isa to her side. Checking that Mit-Sun was still on the computer, she then head downstairs and shook Choungetsu’s leash. Choungetsu jumped up in excitement, but La-Iin did not leash him. Instead, she led him upstairs, then locked him in her closet. Choungetsu began to whimper, so she pressed her mini table against the closet and closed her door. Then she left the house.
“Wow. Amazing. I can’t believe you did that to the furball. I always thought he hit your Normal little kiddy sweet spot.”
“I don’t have something like that. I never had something like that!”
“Say what you will, but it does make me curious. Why did you do that? What do you gain from locking him in a closet?”
“I have my reasons. Bes-Isa, can you tell where we’re going today?”
“You’re heading to Sale-Dessu’s house.”
“Yes.”
“But why does that matter? Far be it from me to question you breaking that woman’s rules, but I still don’t understand. She knows you go to see him sometimes. I’m so confused…”
“What I’m doing today, it’s imperative that Mama thinks I’m doing something else. Thankfully, she’s looking into Vibrator and Makeshire play showings, so she’ll probably be busy. And her stupid boss always gives her papers to look through anyway.”
“That makes me more curious.”
“All will become obvious once we go inside. I just hope that the only ones who think it’s obvious is you and me.”
Noticing that Sale-Dessu’s door was locked, she knocked on the door. Sale-Dessu quickly peeked his head out.
“Hello, La-Iin. Come inside.”
Almost as soon as she walked inside, a confusing scent hit her nose. There was something enticing about the sour smell, but it also made her want to vomit. She couldn’t resist gagging.
“Ugh, what’s this smell?”
“Eul-Bok and I were working on something when you came in. Sorry about the smell.”
“Guh…” La-Iin shook her head.
“So how have you liked the research I gave you, La-Iin? Would I be right to guess that what interested you most was the part about–”
“I was interested by all of it.” La-Iin smirked. “In fact, speaking of things you did for me, there’s something else I want you to do for me today.”
A muted voice yelled something. Sale-Dessu head in the direction of the voice, and La-Iin followed him.
“Did I just hear who I thought I heard?” The voice was Eul-Bok’s, and he was glaring at Sale-Dessu as he churned liquid in a pot. La-Iin gagged. Up close, the smell wasn’t enticing in the slightest.
“Yeah, you did,” Bes-Isa said, her tone mocking. Eul-Bok glared. “Aw, come on, Father!”
“I could say the same to you, Eul-Bok. You know La-Iin and I are allies.”
“Yes. And in fact, I’ve come to ask my ally for something today.”
“Oh no…” Eul-Bok sighed. “Father, I know what you’re going to say. I just want you to know that it’s my opinion that you shouldn’t do it.”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “What is it now, La-Iin?”
“I’m going to ask you about certain things and I want you to answer honestly and as much as you know.”
“Alright.”
“Seriously, what’s going on?”
“All will be revealed soon enough. Be patient and at least whisper!” La-Iin whispered. Sale-Dessu watched them with confusion.
“Do you still have the ability to make reality warping devices?”
“Y-yes? It’s been a while, but I could probably still do it. I’m not really looking into that right now, though.”
“Is there a way to mass-use potions?”
“I…it seems likely, but I’m not sure of how you would do that.”
“Is there such a thing as a sedation potion?”
“Yes?”
La-Iin nodded. “I need your help with some things. I don’t really mind about being able to mass-use potions, and the sedation one was more curiosity. But reality warping could be helpful.”
Sale-Dessu blinked.
“Why?”
“Why what?”
“Why do you want to reality warp?”
“I know how powerful reality warping can be. And I think it would help in a little project of mine.”
Sale-Dessu gave her an uncertain look.
“This is starting to get interesting.”
“Don’t do it, Father!”
“…” Sale-Dessu sighed. He beckoned to La-Iin, and walked away from Eul-Bok before his expression hardened.
“What?”
“I have a bad feeling about your intentions, La-Iin.”
“Why? Doesn’t it make sense for me to be curious in reality warping? I was a victim, after all.”
“You’re asking about mass use of potions, sedation potions and reality warping…it all seems nefarious.”
“So?”
‘This is bad.’ La-Iin tried to keep her voice from wavering. Sale-Dessu looked angry. ‘He’s caught on, hasn’t he?’
Sale-Dessu gave another sigh. “I don’t know what you’re planning, La-Iin, but I’m not going to help you with it. I’ll only help you with things that won’t harm the world.”
“What makes you think it will?”
“Reality warping is powerful. Its range is somewhat limited, but it can manipulate the minds of people and “destroy” the world around us.”
“Who said I wanted a reality warp like that? You randomized the world. You glitched it up. You didn’t destroy it.”
Sale-Dessu cringed. “Yes, that’s true, but it makes me uncomfortable, especially since you asked about sedation potions too. I’m sorry, La-Iin, but I can’t help you with this unless you have some sort of proof that it won’t be used for anything bad.”
La-Iin tried to keep her frustration under wraps, but she couldn’t keep her wings from flapping.
“That’s fine, ally. I don’t need your help anyway. You were helpful enough with the research you provided.”
“La-Iin–”
La-Iin scoffed. “It doesn’t matter. I thought you were the type to think that allies are supposed to trust each other. I guess I was stupid there.”
“La-Iin, please!”
“And apparently you don’t trust yourself if you think the reality warp would be violent.”
“When did I say that?”
La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. “It doesn’t matter. I got the help from you I need. Oh, except for one thing…”
La-Iin walked up close to Sale-Dessu, and before he could react, she bit into his arm. She wasn’t able to suck much blood before she backed off, noticing that he was reaching for his wand.
“I’ll be seeing you soon, Sale-Dessu.”
Bes-Isa in tow, she head to leave the Astineth house. On her way out, she spotted a black potion. She could remember what Sale-Dessu had said about such potions: that often Witches and Warlocks were wary of them.
Purely out of spite, she reached for the potion. ‘I don’t need Sale-Dessu anyway. Whoever said Warlocks are the only ones who can make potions? If I take a look at this, with his blood I’ll probably be able to make my own sedation potion. And maybe even my own reality warp…’

A few moments later, Eul-Bok came running up to Sale-Dessu.
“What went on here?”
“…I don’t know what La-Iin’s planning. I just got a bad feeling about it. She was asking about weird things…and then she sucked my blood…”
He showed Eul-Bok the bite wound and began to hiccup. “Father, are you okay? D-don’t cry, Father!”
“I…I’m sorry,” he said. “I just don’t know what to believe. La-Iin’s just a little girl. I doubt she would do anything that would destroy the world or anything like that. But I know where her morals lie. And that scares me a bit…”
He sighed. “I guess I don’t trust people as much as I thought I did.”
“Father, you have all right to be suspicious of La-Iin. Even a little girl could do a lot with a reality warp device and mass-use sedation potions. And she bit you! Why should you trust her after that!? Maybe next time if you’re so worried about it you can talk with her about it.”
“I guess,” he sighed.
“Let’s clean this off. I know it isn’t that big, but it probably hurts. You aren’t feeling light-headed, are you?”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you, Eul-Bok.”
‘Just what are you planning, La-Iin? Did I really make the right call just then?’

***

“Now will you explain what’s going on to me? I feel so left in the dark.”
“I was thinking over some things and I realized it would be helpful if I had certain things from Sale-Dessu. But I guess I made my intentions too obvious.”
“Well I think most people would be suspicious when you ask about sedation potions. And you sucked his blood right after that.”
“It doesn’t matter. He gave me what I need, so if he decides he wants nothing more to do with me that’s good enough. And it reminds me of something else I need to do.”
“Are you going to tell me why you need these things though?”
“I can give you a hint.”
“How disappointing.”
“I guess you don’t want that hint then.”
“Hey, when did I say that!?”
“Don’t worry, Bes-Isa. You’ll see soon enough.”

—–
“La-Iin…”
Baal-Mist screwed up his face. “I know I’ve heard that name before over the bug. But this conversation…sedation potions, reality warping…just who is she?”
Baal-Mist’s expression hardened. “This could be harder than I thought if this La-Iin girl is allied with him. And she hardly seems like the good type, or even neutral…my goal is Eir-Tyuj, but Sale-Dessu being her grandson, depending on who this La-Iin is it could be a problem there too…”
Baal-Mist groaned. “Just as I thought I had it, it slipped away from me…”

11.649.The Blood of Your Bloodline

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 649
“The Blood of your Bloodline”

La-Iin spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday collecting blood boxes.
With her recent confidence, La-Iin’s initial plan had been to steal the blood boxes from the local store Mit-Sun went to. But when circumstances changed, she used vuyong found around the house, and vuyong found on walks with Choungetsu. When she stopped by the graveyard where Imagination lived, the girl wasn’t there, but she noticed that there was a lot of scattered vuyong in the abandoned houses nearby.
She also obtained vuyong from other sources, too.
“Why do you need to borrow vuyong? I don’t have much, and anyway, you can just suck my blood.”
“I feel a blood craving coming on, that’s why. Do you want to siphon…I think it’s siphon….do you want to do that to your blood and give it to me in a blood box!?”
“Eek! N-no!” She gave her a small amount of vuyong. “Fine, La-Iin, but you owe me!”
“Heh heh. Don’t worry, Fer-Shi, soon I’ll be more than able to pay you back! If I feel like it, that is…”
Fer-Shi rolled her eyes. “Hey, that sounds like you’re going to be selling something.”
She had made quite a bit of vuyong from searching around on walks, but she couldn’t help the pull of taking vuyong from others. Had circumstances not changed so drastically, she might have even stolen it. But instead she went around asking at a few places for vuyong, preparing threats in advance.
They didn’t always work.
“Do you honestly think I’d give vuyong to a little girl who hates me? Sorry, La-Iin, but the answer’s no!” Dosa-Mina said.
“Why are you even bothering me about this?” San-Kyung snapped.
“Oh, vuyong? I don’t have much, but here you go.” Shuu-Kena dropped some coins into La-Iin’s hand.
“Hm.”
“Something wrong?”
“No.” She held the vuyong close. “Oh, how are you?”
“Me?” Shuu-Kena smiled. “I’m fine, thank you. I’ve been painting a lot this weekend. And my family stole a lot of chocolate ice cream because my mom started bleeding all over the place. And I got to have some of it too.”
“Chocolate ice cream?” La-Iin was intrigued. “Maybe one of these days I should rip my arm open and see if that works.”
“Her arm wasn’t ripped open, though. But I wonder if that would really work? Maybe I should try it too. Oh, I think she was bleeding from her leg.”
“Good information. …although something seems disgustingly familiar about this information…” She shook her head. “I have a mission to finish! Continue painting, Shuu-Kena.”
“Um, okay?” Shuu-Kena sounded genuinely confused, but she waved to La-Iin as she took off.

After she felt she had enough vuyong, La-Iin had forced Mit-Sun to lead her to the store so she could buy blood boxes.
“Where did you get all that vuyong from?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Off the ground when I was out with Choungetsu. There’s a lot of vuyong to find because people are stupid.”
“…what.”
“You should look closely when you walk Choungetsu next. But I might have gotten all the stray vuyong.” La-Iin giggled as she took several blood boxes from the shelf. She struggled slightly under their weight. Mit-Sun helped balance her, and she also helped her take the many blood boxes to the register.
When the Lizardfoot cashier rung them up, La-Iin gave an empty chuckle. The blood boxes were slightly more than what she had.
She turned around and began to curse under her breath.
“Stupid stupid stupid vuyong, this is what happens when you do things legally, someday I’ll show you, someday you’ll see…”
“Don’t worry about it, La-Iin. I can spot you.” She took the pouch of vuyong La-Iin was carrying, handed it to the cashier, and handed him a little extra from her. The cashier sighed in frustration as he went over La-Iin’s scattered vuyong, but in the end it was enough, and La-Iin and Mit-Sun walked home carrying many blood boxes.
“What are all these blood boxes for anyway?”
“I feel a blood craving coming on. And I don’t want to rely on other people to satiate it.”
“That’s strange. I thought you liked drinking from the source.”
“I do, but some of the tastiest people don’t let me. And I’m under certain circumstances right now.”
“What circumstances?”
La-Iin didn’t answer her and instead said, “Mama, can we invite Dami and Granddami over tomorrow?”
“Why?”
“I want to see both of them. You could say I have a…present for them.”
“Uh, sure. In fact, I could probably get them both to come over at the same time. They might be happy to talk again.”
“Good.”
Even with the weight of the blood boxes in her arms, La-Iin walked with confidence. ‘Though it didn’t matter that you said yes,’ she said to herself, ‘I would have invited them over anyway.’

***

The blood boxes were placed in their own part of the refrigerator, and the next day, as promised, Mit-Sun called Asul-Zenza and Beht-Soh.
When La-Iin heard a knock at the door, she came running. Asul-Zenza arrived first, and she leaped into his arms.
“Hello, La-Iin!” Asul-Zenza cooed. La-Iin hugged him tight, then flew away from him.
“To what do I owe the visit?”
“She said she has–”
“Nothing! You’ll find out later.”
“Oh, Asul-Zenza!”
Asul-Zenza turned around. Beht-Soh was behind him, walking up the path to the Cahongyun house. “Hello, Asul-Zenza.”
“Hello, Mr. Cahongyun! I’m glad to see you’re looking better.”
“I’m feeling better too. Though Mit-Sun’s still worried about me. When she called earlier today she said ‘Papa, if you can’t make it, you don’t have to come, alright?'”
“Papa! I mean–Father! Our conversation was private!” Mit-Sun’s face turned bright red. Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza chuckled as they entered the house. La-Iin noticed they quickly lapsed into a conversation with each other.
Just as she was about to head upstairs, one thing in their conversation piqued her curiosity.
“Sometimes I forget you’re only a bit younger than me, Asul-Zenza. It’s kind of weird.”
“It does feel weird. Ah, I go between feeling like an old Vampire around La-Iin to feeling like a young one around other people.”
“Well, in terms of Vampire years, you’re still younger than me and Mit-Sun. It really is strange.”
“How much older than Dami are you, Granddami?” La-Iin asked.
“Oh, only one or two years. I forget my age sometimes.”
“Really? I thought it was three.”
“Well, it could be. But I’m not seventy yet, so…” Beht-Soh’s face screwed up as he started to calculate his age. La-Iin quickly lost her patience and head upstairs to prepare.

“Why did La-Iin call us here, I wonder?”
“I don’t know, but she’s taking a long time. I don’t mind making dinner while you’re here, Father, but as for Asul-Zenza…”
Asul-Zenza glared. “Oh, come now, Mit-Sun. Stop denying that the animosity between us has decreased recently.”
“Maybe for you, but I still feel it strongly. I’m just better at repressing it now.”
Asul-Zenza scoffed. “I swear, she flip-flops so often on this!”
“That’s Mit-Sun for you.”
“Papa, don’t goad him on! I mean–damn it! Father!”
Asul-Zenza giggled. Mit-Sun threatened him with a fist, but La-Iin arrived before it made contact. Mit-Sun put it down slowly, but La-Iin noticed and narrowed her eyes. She cleared her throat.
“I have gifts for you.”
“Gifts?”
“Really?”
“…not exactly.”
“Hm? Then what do you have for us?”
“For Granddami, here.” La-Iin handed him a crude paper book. When Beht-Soh opened the book, he saw several pages of crayon-drawn clothing. “You said you were learning how to sew, right? Try sewing these.”
“Oh….um.” Beht-Soh flipped through the book with a troubled expression on his face, but he smiled when he caught La-Iin’s eye. “I’ll certainly try, La-Iin. Thank you.”
“And for Dami!”
“Hm?”
“I used Mama’s computer and–”
“You used my computer?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin ignored her.
“In a Manemican Vampire society they’re welcoming Vampires from all over the place to come by and visit. Apparently they’re holding a special Festival of Blood over there.”
“Really? Oh, but I would have to prepare for something that far.”
“You should go with your Mama and Dami, too.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Why not? They’re Vampires.”
Asul-Zenza blinked. “I guess I could always ask them. I only hope they have time off….it would be fun.”
“And go ahead and tell Ei-Tio’s family too, and tell Ei-Tio that I’m preparing something special for her and I won’t be able to see her until later. I don’t want her seeing it before it’s done.”
“Alright, then, I will.”
“How do you know this is even true?”
“I’ll look into it. I actually have a Vaelis-Enlash dictionary in my house, so I think I’ll be fine if any resources happen to be in Enlash.”
“That’s what I have for you.”
“Thank you, La-Iin,” Beht-Soh said, though he still cast a troubled look at the book.
“Yes. If this is true, and my parents have off time, it ! But what about you?”
“I have school,” she grumbled. “But don’t worry. I got several blood boxes yesterday. I don’t think I’ll be able to go to the Festival of Blood in Vaelyn anyway. They’re having it too far away from Bledger.”
“How do you know this?” Mit-Sun asked. She sounded genuinely confused. Again La-Iin ignored her as she talked with Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza about what she had just given them.
‘Not bad,’ she thought. ‘A lot easier than Ai-Reia, anyway.’

—–
“Oh, Mama.”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“I was thinking about you, too. Have you ever heard of a place called Vibrator?”
“…vibrator? No, and I’m not sure I want to.”
“They have vibrating furniture inside so you can relax. I saw the prices and I asked around.”
“How do you know about this place?” Mit-Sun sounded uncertain.
“Me and Fer-Shi were…considering going to it once, but we didn’t have the vuyong. And I thought you could use a break, so I also thought I’d tell you about it.”
“What’s the catch?”
“Nothing.”
“Why are you telling me about this?”
“So you can relax. You could even invite…ugh…Haner if you wanted to. In fact, he likes Makeshire, doesn’t he? There’s also a Makeshire play.”
“…”
“…so can I sleep over with Fer-Shi sometime soon?”
“That’s it?” Mit-Sun said with a chuckle. “I honestly thought it was something nefarious…geez, you’ve been pretty nice lately, huh? But how much do you want to sleep over with Fer-Shi that you’re even okay with me inviting Uil-Cur?”
“Very. She mentioned something to me at school that I have to see in person.”
“Alright then, La-Iin, just tell me when you want to go. I’ll look into these things you mentioned.”
She turned around, but then asked, “Hey, why did you give that book to Father, and tell Asul-Zenza about that festival anyway?”
“I want more clothes, and I’m hoping Dami will bring me blood. So don’t you worry, Mama. My “kindness” is all out of selfishness.”
Mit-Sun chuckled. “It’s nice all the same. It still feels a little unsettling, though…”
‘Now how to get rid of her unsettled feeling. There has to be something I’m overlooking…’
Throughout Sunday night, La-Iin continued to think on what ways she could make her “kind” deeds seem more selfish.

10.648.Confronted Once More

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 648
“Confronted Once More”

La-Iin had had a thought, Friday after classes.
As she watched the students head out the classroom, some chatting with friends before and as they left, her eyes were focused on Ai-Reia, who waved to Im-Dei and Shuera-Kaizima as they departed.
La-Iin sighed to herself. After her disastrous encounters with Ai-Reia earlier in the year, she had given up on the girl. It seemed her plan to ignite evil feelings in her had backfired, and that if she had any such feelings they were now directed towards her instead of working in her favor. Still, as she thought on her plans for Hypotheory, she found Ai-Reia popping into her head more than once.
‘She almost seems a little goody-goody now. That wouldn’t be surprising. Fyuori and Kokohara are goody-goodies, I think. I wonder if I can do something with that…’
Ai-Reia’s smarts were always one of the things La-Iin figured would be most helpful on her side. Now that it seemed quite likely she was permanently against her, it seemed more like a significant problem.
So La-Iin had made a decision. She was going to approach Ai-Reia for the first time in a while. She watched Ai-Reia closely as she waved to Kim-Koou, then stalked over to her.
“Where’re you going, La-Iin?”
La-Iin turned around and glared. Fer-Shi had been the one to speak up.
“Ahead of you,” she said coolly. “See you Monday, Fer-Shi. At the latest.”
“Um, okay? See you Monday, I guess?”
La-Iin shook her head. She walked up behind Ai-Reia and tapped her on the back.
“Eek!” Ai-Reia turned around, her eyes wide.
“A student told me he wanted to talk to you before you go,” La-Iin said. “I know you don’t like me, but he seemed shy about speaking up and turned to me for help.”
Ai-Reia glared. “What the…are you serious…” She scoffed. “La-Iin, you seem only smart enough to remember I don’t like you, La-Iin. Why should I believe you? You wouldn’t do this, I can guarantee it. You don’t care enough about others to do so.”
“How do you know? I have friends in school. But okay. You don’t want to do it. I guess I could always tell him about you trying to kill me, then.”
Ai-Reia’s eyes widened. “What–! I–”
La-Iin smirked. “Come with me, Ai-Reia. I’m sure he’s getting impatient.”
“Ho–how do I know this mystery boy even exists?”
“Oh, he does, but if you want me to raise the stakes I could tell the entire class as well as him. Oh Class D~–”
“Fine, fine, I’ll come with you! Geez, who even said that the class would believe you…”
Her common sense was telling her that even if La-Iin told the class she wouldn’t be believed, but on the inside she was terrified. La-Iin’s words only reminded her of the dark time in her life, and she didn’t want to think on that even if other students chalked La-Iin’s words up to a silly rumor.
As far as she was concerned, all that could stay in the past.
La-Iin led her outside and a short distance away from the crowd leaving Malicerie. She faced Ai-Reia with her usual expression.
“So? Where’s this boy?”
“He doesn’t exist.”
Ai-Reia scoffed. “I should have known! I shouldn’t have let your threat get the better of me. Forget you! I have to head home.” She turned away from La-Iin.
“I’ll still tell Class D, you know.”
Ai-Reia froze.
“Why are you so concerned? Who even says they’ll believe me?”
“Exactly. The problem is…I’ll remember.” Ai-Reia turned around. “Fine, you win, La-Iin. What do you want?”
“Oh, to talk. It’s been so long.”
Ai-Reia huffed. “Let me guess. This is about me ‘assisting’ you. That’s not happening.”
“I thought you would say that. You’ve gone soft, Ai-Reia.”
“Are you serious? This is the way I prefer to live life. Admittedly having friends wasn’t in my initial plan, but I’d prefer this than being miserable.”
“I see.”
“If you’re done here, then I’m heading home.”
“But the thing is, it’s not about you assisting me, Ai-Reia.”
Ai-Reia turned around.
“It’s about earlier this year. I gave up on you assisting me. But it certainly seems like you don’t want to oppose me anymore. I was curious about that.”
“You must be deluded. I don’t want to, I just will if it’s necessary. But the police would likely do a better job of that than I could.”
La-Iin snickered. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure. In case you don’t remember, they have power suppressants on their side. Suppressants for powers which are basically all that is keeping you from being the weakling you really are.”
“Oh, it sounds like I heard the real Ai-Reia.”
Ai-Reia huffed. “Don’t talk to me, La-Iin. I want nothing to do with you. I will fight you if necessary but our rivalry, if you could call it something as simple as that, is a thing of the past. I am happier without you bothering me and I’m certain you’ve found other people to use. I almost feel sorry for that poor Sara girl–I’ve seen you talk to her a few times.”
“…how?”
Ai-Reia only answered with another huff. She turned away from La-Iin once again.
“Fine then, Ai-Reia, I understand. You just want to do your goody-goody stuff now. Then you can do that. I don’t need you. But remember to stay consistent.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Don’t slip up,” she said. “Those with evil hearts are always evil at heart.”
“I think you’ve forgotten I don’t prescribe to the morality scale?”
“I know. I’m just telling you, if you want to keep your life the way it is, then work for it. Otherwise everyone will know how you really are.”
La-Iin spread her wings and flew off. Ai-Reia watched her.
“What was that all about?”
As she joined the other students on the path out of Malicerie, it nagged at her.
‘She’s just trying to get to me, saying I have an evil heart. But still…why did she say that? Is she going to tell the school what I tried to do anyway? Did she notice I had a monster in me? Just why did she say that?’
Ai-Reia sighed. ‘Oh, what’s the point in thinking on what that idiot says! Calm down, Ai-Reia. You’re fine.’

—–
‘I hope that worked.’
As La-Iin flew back home, she felt both confident and uncertain.
‘Ai-Reia was thrown off by my behavior once before. Maybe now she’ll get thrown off again. I hope so…’
She shook her head. ‘There’s always plenty of time to plan.’ She picked up her pace.

9.647.A Reason to Trust You

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 647
“A Reason to Trust You”

It was dinner time at the Sara house, and all in the family were sitting at the table–all except for Nim-Ghini.
“Your father has been letting himself get arrested too much lately, I swear.”
That, as it happened, was the source of the conversation at the table.
“Certainly, I wonder if he’s losing his finesse.”
“That’s why we, the next generation, should take his place!”
“In due time, Kyu-Aseri. You two lack the physical strength needed to take over completely.”
“What about me? I’m nearly a major. Of course, that’s going by law…which I don’t.”
“Hm, true…”
“I think you don’t deserve to head the Saras right now, Ther-Aoughin.”
“And what would make you say that, Kyu-Nhogo?”
“What you have over Kyu-Aseri and I in physical strength, you lack in mental torture.”
“I do prefer to just assault people and end it.”
“That’s your problem. You lack the finesse of mental torture. That and manipulation.”
“Oh, sweet, sweet, manipulation! I have to say that is my favorite of all the mental tortures. Have you manipulated anyone before, Mama?”
“Aha ha. What a stupid question to ask, Kyu-Aseri, of course I have. I’ve manipulated Ther-Aoughin, and I’ve manipulated Shuu-Kena, and I manipulated your father into getting me pregnant with her, speaking of…I’ve even manipulated you and Kyu-Nhogo.”
“Ooh!”
“Manipulation is a staple of an evil person. You should learn it in due time, Ther-Aoughin. You can ask Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo about it. It seems to be their field of expertise.”
“I see. And I suppose in turn I could help them bulk up to do physical damage. All in the interest of the supremacy of the Saras.”
Shuu-Kena poked at her food.
“Is it really a staple of an evil person, manipulation?”
“Why do you ask, Shuu-Kena?”
“A neutral such as herself apparently does not understand the goings-on of the evil mind.”
“Even with an evil ‘friend’ herself.”
“I would say it is, Shuu-Kena. In fact, I just did. Manipulation is very important to evil people, and knowing how to do it well even moreso. We live in a world where sometimes it’s easier to use people than it is to just mindlessly beat them out of your way. Any evil person worth their salt is a manipulator whether good or bad, and if they aren’t thinking of it they’re either ignorant or they might as well be neutral.”
“True, if you’re evil you’ll likely manipulate others in some way or another!”
“Especially if one has lofty political goals such as domination over an area. Manipulation is a trick of the trade for politicians as well!”
Her family began to laugh raucously, but their talk only made Shuu-Kena feel uncomfortable. She could remember why she and La-Iin had become friends–she had only opened up to her once she knew her family was evil.
Was it possible La-Iin was manipulating her?

***

The next day at school, Shuu-Kena couldn’t help but heave a sigh.
Science class had just ended, and now she sat on the bench in the recess area, watching La-Iin and Fer-Shi play. She wasn’t one to believe what her family said, but it did make her wonder.
It was impossible to know if La-Iin was manipulating her unless she did something to outright prove it. But with the circumstances of their friendship, she felt there was reason to be concerned.
She watched as Cae-Bougen flew up behind Fer-Shi, who was falling off the monkey bars. La-Iin began to laugh, and Fer-Shi growled at her. Cae-Bougen said something that she couldn’t understand, and Fer-Shi smiled in response. She turned back to La-Iin, again said something that couldn’t be understood, and went off with him.
La-Iin seemed frustrated. She flew over Shuu-Kena’s head. Shuu-Kena waved to her.
“Oh, hello, Sara.”
“Hi, La-Iin.”
‘Wait. Fer-Shi’s off with Veiner right now. Maybe this is my chance to get an idea of where I stand…’
Shuu-Kena knew she didn’t want to stop being friends with La-Iin, but perhaps it would at least be reassuring to know whether she was being manipulated or not.
“Good timing. Can I talk to you about something?”
La-Iin landed and stood in front of her. “What?”
“I wanted to ask your opinion on something my family told me about yesterday.” La-Iin rolled her eyes. “You know how they’re evil. Well, my mom and my siblings said that they think that manipulation is a defining trait in every evil person, and evil people who don’t manipulate others might as well be neutral. Basically. I wanted to know what you thought.”
“Manipulation is a helpful skill for an evil person,” La-Iin said. Shuu-Kena lowered her head. “I don’t know about evil people who don’t know manipulation being neutrals, though.”
“I see…well, I guess it would be. It makes sense…manipulation seems like one of those ‘evil’ actions. Of course evil people would like it.”
‘Don’t get so upset!’ She chided herself. ‘You knew this was probably coming. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about you. Although it probably says something about her priorities…’
Shuu-Kena couldn’t help but feel immensely disappointed in La-Iin. And La-Iin could tell by the look on her face.
‘Damn it! No! Not so close! Now she believes I think the same way as those Sara idiots. What now…’
La-Iin bit into her finger.
“…of course, not every evil person uses that manipulation, or at least, not constantly,” she said casually. Shuu-Kena looked up.
“You don’t have to reassure me, La-Iin.”
“I was just saying the truth. Besides…” La-Iin pondered her next words carefully. “Not everyone I associate with needs to be manipulated. Like you, for example.”
“Huh?”
“If I were to manipulate you it would probably be for information on your family…which I don’t need because in my opinion, your family is nothing but evil failures! No, I keep you as a friend for different reasons.”
“Like what?”
“You’re enjoyable to be around.”
“Really?”
“Yes. I don’t like to associate with people who annoy me constantly. Such as your family.”
Shuu-Kena’s dejected expression slowly brightened, though La-Iin could see she still wasn’t completely happy.
“You really don’t like them, huh. I always thought that was kind of strange.”
“Evil people don’t always get along, Sara. I think we get along even worse than goody-goodies do.”
“Maybe. That sounds like it would make sense.”
“Sara, you need to learn a lesson.”
“Hm?”
“I’m not the same as your family just because I’m evil. You said it yourself, you see me as different. So quit it.”
Shuu-Kena nodded. “Yeah, sorry, Cahongyun. You’re right. Sometimes even though I know you better than that, I can’t help but find my mind slipping back into that mindset. I guess I just have a hard time trusting evil people. I have nothing against them, but my family tends to make me think they’re all the same…but they’re just like good people and neutral people, all doing things for different reasons. I’m sorry I compared you two.”
“You should be, and I don’t like accepting apologies, but being compared to those failures is horrible.”
Shuu-Kena nodded. La-Iin smirked. ‘Good. This should be good enough for now. But she seems easy enough to appease. Convincing her entirely will be another story…but I can’t let her stupid family make her turn against me. I need her on my side.’
La-Iin sighed. ‘That reminds me of someone else I thought that about…’

—–
“Oh, I wanted to ask you something about manipulation, Mama.”
“What’s that, Kyu-Aseri?”
“Do you think Shuu-Kena’s friend manipulates her?” She said with a yawn.
“If she’s truly evil, then yes, she does. But that’s not important. Rest now so that tomorrow you have the energy to do what is necessary.”
Kyu-Aseri nodded and closed her eyes.

8.646.October Reboot

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 646
“October Reboot”

“It’s finally come to that time again, San-Kyung.”
“Yeah, it has, hasn’t it?”
“Mm-hm. Finally, after all these months, October is here again.”
San-Kyung breathed in. “…it was here a week ago.”
“Aw, come on, San-Kyung! You know what I mean. October can properly begin now that I’m feeling a bit better about myself. But it won’t unless you cheer up, too.”
“Hm…” San-Kyung looked uncertain. Dosa-Mina sighed. “Come on. Take a cue from me and smile!”
San-Kyung’s mouth didn’t twitch, although to Dosa-Mina’s relief he didn’t seem angry. “Good enough!”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“Still, good enough!” He growled. “Oh, come on, San-Kyung! October is your month! The month where you are most powerful, the month where you make Bledger pay and you still haven’t gotten arrested for it! And besides, this November might be a crapshoot in terms of true forms, but there’s still Operation Reboot~”
San-Kyung blinked. “Yeah, speaking of that. I’ve been looking through that notebook you gave me. Geez, I wish you were a Warlock sometimes.”
“Aha. I don’t need another species to keep track of, thank you very much. I already tend to mistake myself for a Pureblood Normal. And sometimes I forget part of my species!”
“What’s wrong with you?”
Dosa-Mina shrugged. “But anyway, point stands. October is the month where you gain power and start planning for what dastardly way you’re going to scar Bledger next. And it’s also what I want to see.”
San-Kyung smiled. “Finally!”
“Yeah, you’re right. It just hasn’t crossed my mind enough recently. What with the whole species debacle…by the way, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”
“About what?”
“Why you keep coming to school like that. I thought you didn’t like your true form.”
“I don’t. I’m just trying to. And I admit, there’s something a little liberating about not having to hide it anymore. Also I figured it was better than coming to school all depressed. I’d rather people know me as “Dslellular Dosa-Mina, Werewolf-Siren and clingy best friend” than “Dslellular Dosa-Mina, Werewolf-Siren and depressing eleventh-grader”. And it hides my left arm cuts. It was pretty spur of the moment, but I have lots of reasons for doing it.”
“Well, that’s fine. I don’t have any objections. I’m the one who kept asking you to just reveal it already.”
“Yup, you were. Oh, and also, if I’m open about it, people probably won’t think I’m like…Dereni, was it? From Class B. I’d rather not have that sort of reputation, either. Not to mention, people started getting on Lirako’s case after I did this! …okay, I’ll shut up about reasons why. There are just a lot.”
San-Kyung chuckled. Dosa-Mina lowered his head.
“It feels like it’s been so long since I last got this feeling…”
“Is something wrong?”
“No. Actually, it’s great.” Dosa-Mina looked up with a wide smile and leaped at San-Kyung, pulling him close. With a giggle, he said, “I’m definitely cheering up now!”
“Good for you,” San-Kyung grunted. “Now could you let go of me!?”
Dosa-Mina pulled San-Kyung backwards, but let go of him soon after. San-Kyung flailed his arms in an attempt to keep from falling on Dosa-Mina; in his desperation he lifted himself above the bed.
San-Kyung gasped.
“Cool! Looks like your levitation just came in!”
San-Kyung laughed and began to levitate around Dosa-Mina’s room.
“Hey! Don’t break anything!”
San-Kyung continued his levitation for a short while longer before landing on Dosa-Mina’s bed.
“This is how October should be.”
“It’s how it’s gonna be, from here on out. No species bullies, no, um…whatever your problem is–nothing’s gonna stand in the way of our October!”
San-Kyung huffed. “Well, it’s not going to stand in my way, but it’s definitely something I need to think about. As much as I’d like to pretend this October is like all the others, there are some things that changed this year. Namely, you usually accompany me in your true form. This year, that won’t be so easy.”
“Oh…”
“But still! October is my month! I don’t want to waste this one even if things get in my way. There’s always time to think on these things later. I mean my problem, of course. I’ll have to come up with some sort of excuse for you. Guess I should start thinking…”
“How about I wear my hoodie on Halloween? That covers my face pretty good.”
“Yeah, I guess that could work. And then once October’s done, maybe we can finally make some more headway in Operation Reboot.”
“Yeah, um, speaking of that. What did you think about the notes I gave you? Aside from wishing I was a Warlock, I mean?”
“It definitely made me think that I’m going to have to swallow my pride in a worst-case scenario. But then again, it’s not that surprising. After all, I’ve heard what they say about Animated Pumpkins coming about because of Witches.”
“Yeah. …actually, I don’t know if I should say this, but–”
“Did you say something?”
Dosa-Mina blinked. “N-no, it’s nothing. Hey, San-Kyung, since your levitation came in, why don’t we go for a…would you call something like that a stroll? Well, anyway, we could levitate all over Bledger and you could make some cool vine art along the way. That’s what I was thinking.”
“Sounds fine. I would like to do something else with my time aside from talking.” He stood up, stretched, and levitated Dosa-Mina into the air. The two boys head out the house and above Dosa-Mina’s neighborhood. He couldn’t suppress an amused giggle as his neighborhood grew smaller and smaller.
He also couldn’t suppress his uncertainty.
‘That’s really what San-Kyung took away from that, huh? Well, I hope he’s right. I really don’t understand this transformation after all, it seems…but if my assumptions are right, and the power surge needs to be simulated to cause the transformation outside of October…how could you make that permanent? Or, forget that–if drugs don’t seem likely to successfully simulate the transformation, then are we sure that anything will?’
Dosa-Mina sighed. ‘Maybe I’m just looking at this too pessimistic. I hope my impression’s wrong. I don’t want San-Kyung to be sad again…’

—–
“You know what, Riya?”
“What am I supposed to know?”
“Look.”
Orlin-Aesth pointed in the direction of San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina. Dosa-Mina was holding tight to a protesting San-Kyung, still in his Werewolf-Siren form.
“Huh?”
“I’m happy. Our son is cheering up, and he’s in his true form!” Orlin-Aesth grinned. “This is too much. I’m too happy!”
He hugged Elai-Riya close. Elai-Riya was tempted to protest herself, but instead, she giggled.
“Stop teasing me!” Dosa-Mina yelled, and in their surprise, they let go of each other.

7.645.Think Positive

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 645
“Think Positive”

As soon as she woke up, La-Iin could smell food cooking. Without getting dressed or even checking the time, she got out of bed and head downstairs, yawning. Choungetsu, who was sitting in front of her door, followed her downstairs with his tongue lolling.
When she arrived downstairs, Mit-Sun was setting down plates, a wide smile on her face. She continued to smile when she noticed La-Iin, though her tone sounded contrary to her expression.
“How come you’re still in pajamas? Don’t you usually get dressed before you come downstairs?”
“What time is it?” La-Iin yawned.
“It’s pretty early. Earlier than we normally get up. I felt energetic, so I decided to make breakfast now. We’ll probably have plenty of time before we have to leave, but I’m sure even if we stay home a little later than we should you’ll still make it to school on time. You have the benefit of wings and legs on your side. So I don’t think it matters.”
Mit-Sun’s smile deeply unsettled La-Iin. “Why are you so happy?”
“Oh, just things that have happened.”
“Like what things?
“Hey, you’ve been happy lately too. Why am I getting interrogated about my happiness?”
“Because mine makes clear sense. Yours doesn’t.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes, but her smile persisted. It only made the unsettled feeling in La-Iin stronger. “Well, my Papa–I mean Father–Father got out of the hospital recently. And also I’ve just been feeling pretty happy lately. Things have been going good for me, it seems. And that’s good. I really thought I was going to become one of those ‘dedicate your life to your kid’-type parents. I’m glad to see I can enjoy my own life as well as take care of you.”
La-Iin gagged. “Your happiness is astoundingly sickening, Mama. Somehow it’s even more intolerable than your half-assed goody-goodyness…”
“Oh, be quiet. I’ve been trying to think positive. Things have been great for me. You’re happy, even though you’ve been acting up, our life at home is fine, my Father is fine, even Asul-Zenza’s been less annoying lately.”
“You, complimenting Dami!?”
“Well, he’s trying his best, and he does love you, so I’ll give him that. But not to mention, Mrs. Eteibreit gave me a raise! It isn’t much, but it just seems really weird, because she’s been so grouchy lately! But you know what, I’ll take any goodness I can get. If even Mrs. Eteibreit is being nicer to me, then I’ve got to have some sort of luck on my side. That’s definitely reason to think positive in my book. And if I do, maybe if things start going downhill again, I’ll know how to handle them better.”
La-Iin nearly vomited. ‘It’s intolerable! A happy Mama is one thing. This is a whole nother! I need to knock her down soon. I don’t know how long I can take this!’
The two finished their breakfast, Mit-Sun quicker than La-Iin, who continued to gag throughout the meal.
“What, you don’t like it? Am I really that bad a cook?”
“No, this is one of your better meals. Unfortunately you brought something to the table that destroyed my appetite…”
Mit-Sun checked all of what was on the table and the floor. The only thing she could assume La-Iin was talking about was Choungetsu, who stared at her intently. She beckoned to Choungetsu and he ran over to her, though La-Iin continued to gag even after he had left.
The two got ready for school and work. They were ready long before they had to leave, as Mit-Sun had said.
“Now what?”
“I don’t know about you, but I have a little something to do.”
As if on cue, someone knocked at the door. Mit-Sun ran to answer it.
“Papa!” She hugged him close.
“Hi, Mit-Sun.” He hugged her back.
“I’m so glad to see you. Are you sure you’re feeling okay, though? I know it wasn’t that bad, but–”
“Don’t worry about me, Mit-Sun. I know I’m older now, but I’m not that old. I’m not even seventy yet. And I was able to walk all this way, see?”
“I see,” she chuckled, relief evident in her tone. “Still, it’s good to see you. I’m glad you came over. I’ll have to go to work soon, though.”
“That’s alright. Remember what you said?”
“Yes. It’ll be good for La-Iin if someone else is home when she gets back from school. Who gets home first isn’t consistent.”
“Speaking of, hi, La-Iin!” Beht-Soh waved at her. La-Iin blinked up at him.
“Hello, Granddami. Tell Mama to stop being so cheerful for me, okay?”
“Huh?”
“I think she’s a little annoyed by me being in such a good mood. I’ve been trying to tell her it’s not fair, but well, that’s La-Iin for you.”
“You do look pretty happy. You’ve been smiling almost nonstop since I got here.”
“You just got here,” La-Iin said. “I’ve had to see her doofy smile for longer.”
“What has you so happy? Did something good happen?”
“Oh, not particularly, I’m just trying to think positive like I told La-Iin. And there’s a lot for me to be grateful for. I may not have many friends, but the friends I do have are good friends. I may not like Asul-Zenza, but as annoying as he is he’s not a bad man, and he does love La-Iin. I have things to look forward to, my boss gave me a raise, I’m able to take care of La-Iin and she’s been happy…I have a lot to be grateful for, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with my life from here on out. I still haven’t decided.”
Mit-Sun glanced at La-Iin. “It’s weird. I used to think life would work better with your plans. And now I’m having to replan what I expected. It might be weird, but it is an interesting experience. I guess you could just say I’ve enjoyed the past few months and the future seems bright.”
La-Iin gagged.
“Oh, cut that out.”
“Not until you cut out your obnoxious cheerfulness. And you obviously know nothing of planning and replanning judging by your talk!”
Mit-Sun’s face twitched in agitation. “You just don’t want me to be happy, do you?” The words were said with an odd cheer, and they sent a shiver up Beht-Soh’s spine.
“Not like this, I don’t.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I guess I’m not going to change your mind. Well, we’ll have to leave soon, Father, but would you like some breakfast?”
“Alright. Thank you, Mit-Sun!”
“It’s no problem.”

***

At work, Mit-Sun’s cheerful mood was still obvious. Her coworkers noticed her carry out work she normally hated with a smile, greeting some of them as she went along her way. It stirred up quite a bit of confusion.
At least, among the coworkers that didn’t know her as well.
“I still can’t believe Mrs. Eteibreit gave you a raise! I wish she’d do that for me,” Leirhyn sighed.
“It’s something that probably only happens once in a decade,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Well, I think you deserved it. As much as I would have liked that raise, you’re the one with a child to think about.” Uil-Cur said.
“I don’t know why she gave me a raise, but I’m glad for it. I have been in a good mood recently. Maybe all that rubbed off on my work.”
“Maybe!” Leirhyn said.
Focused on talking to her two friends, Mit-Sun was oblivious to Eteibreit’s presence behind her until her boss stroked her with her tail.
“Eek!”
“Cahongyun,” she said, her tone taciturn. “It looks like you’ve completed work for the day. How perfect that you haven’t gone home yet.”
“It is?”
“Yes. I was going to ask you if you’d come to my office.” She glared at Leirhyn and Uil-Cur, though her gaze lingered on the latter as she said, “Don’t you still have work to do?”
“I actually finished that and then some, Mrs. Eteibreit. Mit-Sun has been here for a while.”
Eteibreit huffed. Mit-Sun waved to her two friends, then followed Eteibreit to her office. Despite her resolution to think positively, she couldn’t help but get a bad feeling.
‘Mrs. Eteibreit calling me to her office is never anything good…I just wonder if it’s the disturbing kind of bad or the detrimental kind of bad.’
Eteibreit sat down.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been in a good mood lately, Cahongyun. Care to explain?”
Mit-Sun was confused.
“Well, yes. There’s been a lot for me to enjoy lately. A lot I’m grateful for.”
Eteibreit’s nose wrinkled. “I see.”
“Is something wrong, Mrs. Eteibreit? You don’t look all that happy.”
Eteibreit closed her eyes for a short while; then, she said, “Of course I’m not.”
“Hm?”
“The person I just gave a raise made a grave mistake, after all.”
“What!?”
“Yes, you messed up something important while doing your job yesterday, Cahongyun. How disappointing.”
“B–but I was paying close attention! What did I mess up!?”
“Tsk tsk. You don’t even know the fatal mistake you made.”
“What is that!?”
“Go and find it yourself, Cahongyun. Prove your competence to me.” By now Eteibreit was smiling. To Mit-Sun, it seemed a sadistic smile. “Prove you are worthy of your raise by finding out what your mistake is by yourself!”
Mit-Sun had a bad feeling. She rushed out Eteibreit’s office and passed by Leirhyn and Uil-Cur.
“Cahongyun?”
“Sorry, something urgent came up!”
She checked the records of all she had done yesterday. Then, she checked the papers on her desk, the papers for tomorrow, and even went to the extent of checking all the papers she had sorted, all she had gone over and certified. Nothing seemed out of order, and she was starting to feel frazzled.
She returned to Eteibreit’s office.
“Mrs. Eteibreit? I looked through everything I did yesterday and I couldn’t find the mistake you were talking about. I don’t think I made a mistake, but if there’s something I messed up, you have to tell me! You can’t just threaten me and not even give me a hint as to…wait a second…”
Eteibreit was smiling. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, as if she was holding back laughter.
“You tricked me, didn’t you!?”
“Ah, I said it would prove your competency. I should have said your incompetency. You never fail to disappoint me, Cahongyun. At least in how disappointing you are, that is.”
“What!?”
“Just for that display of stupidity, I’m docking your pay.”
Mit-Sun gaped.
“Try thinking positively about that.”
“Is this what this is all about? Why is that making you so angry? In fact, why have you been so angry lately, Mrs. Eteibreit?”
“This is how I always am, Cahongyun. Say what you will, but you already know that.”
“I–”
From the look in Eteibreit’s eyes, Mit-Sun could see there was no further room for complaint. Frustrated, she left Eteibreit’s office and stomped back to her friends.
“What happened, Mit-Sun? You seem frazzled.”
She sighed. “It’s nothing. Nothing bad enough to get me down, anyway. I just really need to look for another job. But no matter what Eteibreit tries to do, or what La-Iin says, I’m not going to stop trying to think positively. Things have been looking up for me. And if I keep thinking positively, I’m sure there will be a better payoff than if I stopped!”
“She’s certainly fired up about this whole positive thinking thing,” Leirhyn said.
“She is. I should take her advice. I could have used it some months back…”
“Still, makes you wonder what happened with Mrs. Eteibreit to get her more fired up like this!”

—–
“Hi, Mit-Sun.”
“Oh. Mama.”
“Hello, La-Iin. Father.” Mit-Sun stretched. “Would you two like to go out somewhere?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Because my pay got docked for Thursday and Friday and it’ll throw a bone into my shopping budget,” she sighed. “We might as well do something fun while I still have the extra vuyong.”
“What are you planning?” La-Iin asked, her tone almost accusatory.
“Nothing, really. I was hoping you two had suggestions.”
Beht-Soh raised his hand. “Well, how about we go to the enigmatic part of town? I’ve heard there are whole parts of Bledger that are on the border of other cities that have some really interesting places to go.”
“Hm….as long as it’s not near Iecation.”
“Why not that one?” Mit-Sun asked. “But sure, that sounds like fun. But let’s plan it out a little more first, alright?”

6.644.Backlash

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 644
“Backlash”

Students walking to school on Tuesday were quick to notice that Dosa-Mina was, as yesterday, assuming his Werewolf-Siren form.
He was ahead of most of the crowd, talking quietly with San-Kyung. To some he looked slightly happier than yesterday; others thought his smile seemed fake.
Lirako in particular kept a close eye on him. ‘Wow. I expected a big reaction out of him, but this has just been weird. First he stops coming to school, then he’s all depressed, and now he’s coming here in his true form. Which is pretty weird…I wonder what changed? It all seems kinda drastic.’
As much as Lirako wanted to approach him and ask him about it, she knew it wouldn’t work. Even if the school wasn’t actively preventing her from talking to him, he would have never told her.

After the first class, Lirako found herself quickly becoming bored just waiting for math class to start. Noticing that Deki-Tyunri didn’t appear to be talking to anyone nor doing anything, she decided to talk to him.
“Hey, Deki-Tyunri!”
Deki-Tyunri said nothing.
“Don’t give me the cold shoulder, Deks.”
“I don’t have a shoulder.”
“Aw, come on.” Lirako stood in front of his desk. “I know we haven’t been talking as much recently, but we’ve been friends for ages. Me having to sit away from you shouldn’t change that.”
Lirako flinched when she noticed the expression on Deki-Tyunri’s face. He looked quite angry.
“Deks?”
“Lirako, I don’t think our friendship is going to be broken by you not talking to me, or even by what I’m mad at you for. But…I just don’t want to talk to you right now!”
“Why not!?”
“Don’t you realize what you did!? Even if Dslellular is okay with it now, you revealed his species to the class against his will. And he was clearly very upset when you did. There must have been a good reason he was keeping it a secret.”
“How do you know!? Do you have any guarantee that it was for a good reason?”
“No, but do you have any guarantee it was for a pointless reason?”
“Er…”
“What you did wasn’t right, Lirako, and it made me really disappointed in you. I just…I need time to calm down before we talk to each other again.”
“I–”
“Sorry, Sanyaow, but I’d have to agree,” Xhen-Bei said. “I don’t think Dslellular should have hid his species either, but you went about it wrong. So I think you should just let Elyshen cool out for now.”
“Is everyone mad at me for this?”
Many of the students began to look uncomfortable.
“It sounded like there was blackmail involved. It’s definitely changed my perception of you,” Mi-Kou said.
“I think it’s awfully immature what you did, even though I cannot understand why someone would hide their species like that,” Ai-Reia said.
“I don’t understand the whole situation, but you hadn’t been treating Dslellular well for a while before that. You should have tried to reason with him to explain it instead of do what you did, that’s what I think,” Song-Jpinne said.
Lirako was dumbfounded. She folded her ears to her head. Out the corner of her eye, she noticed San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina were staring her way.
Only briefly, she caught a glimpse of them wearing satisfied smiles.

***

“Llanni, can I talk to you before we get to biology?”
“Sure.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” Lirako sighed. “I really thought you weren’t gonna talk to me.”
“Hey, I’d, like, have no right to avoid you. I was in on it too. But people usually don’t talk to me, so I haven’t noticed anything different.”
Lirako scratched her face. “Let’s talk away from the crowd.”
The two girls head outside. Airy-Aekok peeked into an open faculty door on their way out.
“I just don’t get it! I know I wasn’t that nice to Dosa-Mina before, but he wasn’t nice to me either! And it’s not like I revealed some sort of horribly embarrassing secret about him. It’s his species! Sooner or later someone would’ve found out. I bet San-Kyung already knew!”
“I think we can pretty much guarantee that,” Airy-Aekok said.
“And it’s not even the most uncommon species in the world! Both those species happen more often with Normal, and yeah, it is kind of weird that he’s a male half-Siren. But isn’t that infamous kid in Class B one too?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Lirako sighed. “I guess you wouldn’t…but yeah! It’s not like he’s a Werewolf-Lizardfoot or something like that! He’s not a Tribreed! His species may not be a Cahongyun, but it certainly isn’t a Ferister!”
Airy-Aekok smirked.
“So–so what am I gonna do? I know I’m being selfish here, but I don’t wanna lose my friends! Deki-Tyunri is one thing. I believe him when he says that we’ll probably stay friends even if he’s mad at me right now. But what about everyone else? They’re just school friends!”
Lirako sobbed. “If I had known this was gonna happen, I would have never opened my big mouth!”
“Me too.”
Lirako focused on Airy-Aekok. “In fact, I’m gonna, like, tell you a secret, Lirako. Well, it’s not much of a secret, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I was startin’ to think this was a mistake as soon as Dosa-Mina found out we knew. He seemed really upset.”
“He did,” Lirako sighed.
“But instead of thinking about it, we got caught up in the excitement of the secret. It’s both of our faults. You wanted to find this out so badly, you were doing everything to, like, figure it out. I actually went lookin’ for it. And then we told him. And then the school. We just kept messin’ up. And then after we told him, I didn’t tell you I thought it was a bad idea. But yanno, maybe it would’ve been too late by then too.”
“Why?”
“Then he’d be all upset! Wonderin’ when we might, like, tell the whole school what he really is…but it wasn’t our business, Lirako. We should’ve just left him alone. For his sake and ours.”
Lirako sighed. “But what the other students don’t seem to get is, maybe it is a good thing we said it. I know I was mean to him and sure, he was really upset at first, but now look at him. He came here yesterday and today in his true form like he’s proud of it, and even though he cried yesterday it didn’t seem like he was really breaking down.”
“I dunno about that.”
Lirako sighed. “You’re right. There’s no way we can make an excuse for this. I’ll just have to face it: we f@%ked up. And now nobody wants to have anything to do with me.”
“That isn’t true, Lirako! I’ll talk to you at least. I messed up too. We’ll have each other while you’re waitin’ for the school to stop bein’ mad at you.”
“Thanks, Llanni. But what if after all this, I’m not popular anymore? I like having all those friends and that attention. If I messed up in Grade 12 there’s no going back!”
“I’ll teach ya how to deal with that.”
Lirako blinked. “How are you taking this so easily?”
“I dunno. But I think it’s the way we should go about this. I mean after all, Dosa-Mina was all upset when his species was found out and like you said, now he seems happy. So maybe we should just take this as a lesson.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Or we could apologize.”
Lirako’s eyes widened. “I think I’ll leave it at lesson. As much as I would like everyone to forgive me, I can’t apologize to him. I feel bad, but not because of him. I still can’t stand him.”
“Oh, Sanyaow.” Airy-Aekok shook her head. “Maybe we should go back inside. It’s probably almost biology.”
“Yeah.”
As the two girls walked back inside, Airy-Aekok said, “Hey, if we’re gonna talk, it’s okay to call me Airy-Aekok. My Dad is called Officer Llanni so it’s like, kinda weird bein’ called Llanni.”
“Alright. Then I guess you can call me Sanyaow.”
“Cool!”
Lirako chuckled.

—–
After classes that day, Lirako sighed.
“I can’t believe a thirteen year old is more mature than me. I need to work on my maturity.”
“I’m fourteen now, Lirako.”
“What!? Since when!?”
“Since Saturday.”
“Really?”
Airy-Aekok nodded.
“Well…that doesn’t change anything! I can’t believe someone younger than me is more mature than me. Or, rather, that you are. After what you did earlier this year…no offense, of course.”
“Don’t worry. I’m just tryin’ to learn lessons from what I do. That incident was the start of it all. So I’m glad you notice my efforts!”
“Heh, you could definitely give me a few pointers, then.”
Deki-Tyunri, who had overheard the girls’ conversation, smiled from his seat. ‘I know you’re not a bad person, Lirako. I would agree you need to work on your maturity, though…’

5.643.Break Out

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 643
“Break Out”

Break out and show the real world,
I’ll be the one to follow you
Don’t turn away by this point
Keep going, just keep on going…

When he heard the sound of footsteps, Dosa-Mina stopped singing and turned to the door. Elai-Riya opened it seconds later.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know you were up. And you’re already dressed, too!”
“Well, it’s Monday.” He pulled his hair out the collar of his shirt. “I need to go to school.”
Elai-Riya nodded. “Orlin-Aesth made some breakfast steak. You have time, so come eat with us before you go.”
Dosa-Mina nodded.
He was still feeling as bad as he had in recent days, but ever since October had started, he had started to try and cheer himself up, if for nobody else’s sake, for San-Kyung’s.
‘I don’t want him to keep being worried about me.’ That determination had kept him from giving into the worst of the negative feelings that had surfaced in him.
Dosa-Mina joined Orlin-Aesth and Elai-Riya at the table. A steak with an egg on top of it was sitting there for him.
“What, no vegetables?” Dosa-Mina said with a chuckle.
“Hey, come on. Vegetables would just ruin breakfast steak!”
“Ha ha.” Dosa-Mina began to poke at the steak. He cut it and began to eat.
“Hey, Dosa-Mina?”
“Hm?”
Orlin-Aesth scratched the back of his neck. “You look like you’ve been doing a little better lately. And I’m glad, I don’t want to see you unhappy, after all. But I’m just worried.”
“About what?”
“Well, San-Kyung told us about a Catori girl and he also mentioned a Llamaki and kind of hinted that they were bullying you,” he said. “And me and Elai-Riya were thinking, if those girls are still going to Malicerie, who’s to say they won’t bully you again?”
“I’m worried they might see your cuts,” Elai-Riya said.
Dosa-Mina was starting to feel dejected. He knew his parents meant well, but their words only made him feel worse about the situation.
“One of them is in Grade 12, and her grades aren’t horrible,” he said quietly, poking at the steak again. “So I don’t have to worry about her.”
“What about the other girl?”
Dosa-Mina didn’t respond.
“If you can get over it, then that’s good and that’s what we want. But just know this, Dosa-Mina. If it gets bad enough, we are willing to pull you out of Malicerie. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”
“Whatever works for you. We just want to see you happy again.”
Dosa-Mina sighed. ‘And yet it’s your fault I’m not right now.’ He couldn’t bring himself to say that to his parents, however. So instead, he finished his steak and head off for school.

Dosa-Mina sighed.
‘I’m worrying everyone around me. And that’s only making everything worse! I don’t want to feel this way either. I’d rather everything go back to normal! But how am I supposed to!? Nothing’s been making me happy. And if I can’t cheer up, the people around me won’t, either. And the longer they keep worrying about me, the worse it makes everything! Am I really going to overcome this?’
He sighed. ‘Other people have actual problems, but mine is just oh wow, I had to be an oversensitive baby about the way I look. Amazing…’
He was snapped out of his thoughts when something smacked him in the face. San-Kyung turned around abruptly, looking startled.
“Oh…looks like your tail grew in, huh?” He said, trying to force a smile.
“Yeah, just this morning. It’s nice to have it back.” He wiggled it slightly. “I think I’ll probably be able to levitate again soon as well. I was able to stay off the ground for a while today.”
“That’s good! It looks like everything’s happening a little earlier than it did last year, too. Maybe you’ll be in your true form on October thirtieth instead of Halloween!”
“That’s wishful thinking.”
“Heh, nothing wrong with that.”
‘Maybe I should try taking that advice too,’ he thought. ‘Maybe something else will cheer up San-Kyung and my parents. And then I’ll be able to take part in that cheer, too. I can only hope…’
He started to feel that wouldn’t be the case when he noticed the expression on San-Kyung’s face become somber.
“Is something wrong?”
“Not anything that wasn’t wrong the last time we talked.”
“Oh…”
“Don’t worry about it, Dosa-Mina. And don’t bother trying to do anything about it either. It’s not a problem you can fix.”
“How do you know?”
“If there’s a fix, it’s probably more impossible than getting my true form permanently. So don’t bother.”
Dosa-Mina grit his teeth. ‘Of course. Even if something else could cheer up San-Kyung and my parents, there’s still me. Every time I talk to them, they’ll just be reminded of this stupid incident. There’s no out of that, is there?’
Dosa-Mina gasped.
‘Unless…’
“Something up?”
“Go ahead of me, San-Kyung. I just remembered something I have to do.”
“What?”
“Just go ahead. I’ll catch up with you!”
Dosa-Mina ran in the direction opposite of him. He kept running until he was certain San-Kyung wouldn’t be able to follow him anymore.
Then, he started to sing.

***

“Ooh, it looks like rival-boy isn’t sitting here today.”
“Don’t take that as an invitation,” San-Kyung spat.
“Malicerie doesn’t care what seat you sit in. And even if they did, it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s fun to break the rules. Fer-Shi’s kind of mad at me today anyway.”
“You know, I wouldn’t be if you’d just say that was uncalled for!” Fer-Shi snapped.
“Never. For you see, Fer-Shi, I have more power than you. Why should I have to say it was uncalled for?”
“Because! There’s no reason you should have done that! It’s not like you were crazy from a blood craving! Veiner might have forgiven you, but I haven’t!”
“And that’s how I like it, so why will I say it was uncalled for now?”
“Oh come on!”
“Damn it, why isn’t he here yet?” San-Kyung was starting to feel as though he had made a mistake leaving Dosa-Mina to go off on his own. He twitched in his seat, wondering if he should go back and look for him.
And just then, someone entered the classroom.
Almost all the students turned to see the boy standing at the entrance to the classroom. He was half-covered in fur, with a single pointed ear on his head and one wing.
He was smiling, but those in the front noticed he looked immensely uncomfortable.
“H-hello, San-Kyung,” he said. “Sorry it took me so long to get here. I had to do something first.”
Chatter rose among the students as he took his seat next to San-Kyung, nearly all of it centered around his true form.
“Damn it!”
“Wow…so that’s what Dosa-Mina really looks like.”
“Pretty rude to stare, isn’t it, goody-goody?” La-Iin sneered.
“Oh–! You know what, let’s just get back to our seats!”
As the two girls stomped back to their seats, San-Kyung whispered to Dosa-Mina,
“What are you doing!?”
“Well, everyone knows now, don’t they? Why not start to try and accept myself? Why? Would you rather I just keep hiding my true form? That’s contrary to what you’ve said to me in the past, you know.”
“But I thought–”
“That I still wanted to try and hide it anyway? There’s no point, San-Kyung. And who knows? Maybe this is good for me! If I start coming to school in my true form, maybe I can accept myself for sure. It’d be nice.”
Dosa-Mina sounded genuinely happy, but San-Kyung couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. Something about his friend’s smile seemed off.
When Mr. Chensu walked into the room, he took a deep breath, but before he could yell, his eyes rested on Dosa-Mina.
“Mr. Dslellular?”
“Hi, Mr. Chensu. I’m sure you’ve heard the news about my species?”
“I–I did, but I didn’t expect you to start coming here like that.”
“Well, I am! So don’t go mistaking me for someone else now, okay?”
“I don’t think I could,” he mumbled. With one last wary glance in Dosa-Mina’s direction, he started the history lesson for the day.

Throughout classes that day, students and teachers were greatly confused by Dosa-Mina’s appearance–or in La-Iin’s case, why he had decided to come to school that way.
San-Kyung had a different subject on his mind, however. Dosa-Mina seemed incredibly happy all throughout the day, except when Airy-Aekok had approached him to get a closer look. It seemed abnormal, especially since right before they had come to school Dosa-Mina’s mood had seemed much the same as it had been recently.
‘But then he was still in his Normal form…’
Was it possible that doing this was what Dosa-Mina really wanted? Would it make him happier?
San-Kyung could only wonder.

As the classes came to a close, Dosa-Mina started to put away his supplies.
“Rival-boy.”
La-Iin had walked over to his desk.
“Huh? Whatcha want, La-Iin?”
“Why are you coming here in that form?”
“Because I’m going to make a change. Dslellular Dosa-Mina is a Werewolf-Siren. The sooner I can be happier this way, the sooner my life will make an improvement.”
“Hm.”
“Why? Is something wrong with me trying to accept myself? I guess that’s just because you prefer to see me unhappy, isn’t it?” He ruffled her hair. “You little sadist!”
“You’re getting on my nerves.”
“Says the girl who’s been zipping out the classroom at high speed the last few school days. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that, speaking of.”
“Hey, Dslellular!”
Dosa-Mina turned to see who was calling him. Xhen-Bei was staring at him, a curious expression on his face.
“What is it, Yuuldang?”
“So you’re half-Werewolf, just like me!” He said. “Or, well, I’m a Pureblood, but still!”
“Yup.”
He folded his ears to his head. “Sorry, I don’t mean to stare. I’ve just never seen anyone with your kind of appearance before.”
“The one wing must look pretty weird,” Dosa-Mina chuckled.
“No, it wasn’t really that. I’ve just never seen a half-and-half Dualbreed before. Sorry, that was probably pretty rude of me to say. It’s just, I didn’t expect that.”
Dosa-Mina continued to smile, but his expression became warped, as if something was wrong. He began to chuckle.
“Yeah, not many Dualbreeds are half-and-half, are they? I guess you could say I’m a weirdo in that regard! Ha ha!”
Dosa-Mina began to cry.
“Dslellular!?”
“Aha, i–it’s nothing, Yuuldang,” he said. “I–I need to go home now. My parents will be really worried if I stay out too long! See you all tomorrow!”
He rushed out the classroom. San-Kyung followed after him. Once again, the classroom burst out into conversation about Dosa-Mina.

—–
“Are you alright?”
“I–I will be. I just didn’t expect to start crying.”
Dosa-Mina breathed. “I really thought it would be a liberating experience. And it was, at first…but I just can’t seem to get over that stupid half-and-half part.”
He shook his head. “But I’ll get better. I’m gonna try, for my sake, and for yours, too. I just don’t know what way I’ll get better yet.”

La-Iin gave a frustrated huff.
‘Rival-boy can never make things easy for me, can he…’

4.642.Warp of Reality

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 642
“Warp of Reality”

“Father, can I make a request?”
“What is it, Eul-Bok?”
“Can we go see Grepeta soon? It’s been a while since we last saw her, and I’ve been wanting to practice spells with her lately.”
“I don’t mind doing that. You’re right, it has been a while. And I’m sure you’d like to go someplace aside from this house.”
“I don’t hate our house! Although it is nice to get out every now-and-then.”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “I don’t mind. I’ve managed to get some sleep after doing all that research for La-Iin, and the last few days have been lazy. So why not go someplace? Although can we do your check-up first?”
“Alright! I just hope Grepeta’s willing to see us.”
“I’m sure she will be, Eul-Bok. Even though Apeta can be rough sometimes, I know she’s a good Witch.”
‘Despite what so many other people would say,’ Sale-Dessu thought. He decided it would be better if he left that thought unvoiced.

***

Sale-Dessu and Eul-Bok teleported into Eir-Tyuj’s house. They didn’t spot her right away, but were able to find her by the sound of coughing.
“Apeta, are you alright?” Sale-Dessu asked. Eir-Tyuj was sitting at a table, coughing somewhat violently. Eul-Bok was taken aback.
When her coughing died down, Eir-Tyuj took a breath.
“Excuse me, Sale-Dessu. What did you say?”
“Are you alright?”
“Alright enough as you can be after hacking up a lung,” she said. “But truly, I’m fine. Just a cough. The remnants of a sickness I had a few days before you two decided to invade.”
“Sorry, Grepeta. But how else are we supposed to get here?”
“I don’t mean ill by it, Eul-Bok. I’m well-aware of your situation, and of your father’s nervousness.”
“Apeta, please…”
“Anyway, I’m old! This stuff stays with me longer now that I’m of advanced age. For a Witch I’ve lived quite a time, and Witches already live longer than most others! I wonder if they would consider me a super-centenarian. I forget what age qualifies you for that.”
“Well, we’re glad you’re okay, Grepeta!”
“Are you really sure you’re okay? That coughing sounded rough…”
“I’m certain. I could be asking the same to you, Mr. Eyebags.”
Sale-Dessu touched his face. “There’s nothing wrong with me being worried about you, Apeta.” He hadn’t expected his tone to take an edge, but he didn’t notice until after he had already spoken. To his relief, Eir-Tyuj didn’t seem upset.
“Of course there isn’t. Now, you two–why are you here? Simply here to see ol’ Apeta, or, in your case, Grepeta?”
“We came at Eul-Bok’s request,” Sale-Dessu explained.
“I see. What made you want to come and visit me?”
“Remember how you and Father said I have potential?”
“Yes. I don’t forget the potential of my descendants, after all.”
“Well, I’ve been wanting to practice more with you! Practicing with Father is fine, but it’s nice to practice with you, too. I get a different kind of education with you.”
“I’m sure Sale-Dessu is more gentle. But what could you want to learn from me that Sale-Dessu could not teach you? My age has made it harder for me to pull off certain powers, and I’m sure Sale-Dessu knows most of mine.”
“Well, do you think it could be possible for me to try another unfinished spell?”
“Definitely not!” Sale-Dessu exclaimed.
“Absolutely not!” Eir-Tyuj exclaimed. “I understand your faith in your abilities, but such things are dangerous, Eul-Bok.”
Sale-Dessu was half-expecting Eul-Bok to look dejected, but instead he smiled. “I was expecting that response. Don’t worry, I haven’t been thinking about unfinished spells much recently. Although I did see a few interesting ones while Father was doing his research.”
“What research?” Eir-Tyuj asked.
“Research on a supposed Vampire ability,” Sale-Dessu said. “I learned some interesting things. Maybe I’ll tell you about them after you’re done with Eul-Bok.”
“Hm. So what did you really come here to learn?”
“Reality warping!” Sale-Dessu flinched. “Father knows how to reality warp, but I’ve heard you know how to control your warp better than he does.”
“You would have heard right, then. But what brings this on?”
“I was thinking, reality warping could be a good ability to have. Even though it can be dangerous, if you use it in the right way it could be helpful. But since Father isn’t all that good at controlling his, I thought I’d go to the master.”
Eir-Tyuj smiled, though Eul-Bok felt that it was a sad smile. “I’d be more than happy to teach you, but it has been ages since my last warp. Not only am I elderly, but I mostly gave up practicing the power after the retaliation I got from using it. If I had never experimented with that power, I could have avoided some tragedy, and so could have Sale-Dessu…”
Sale-Dessu lowered his head.
“Don’t feel sad, Grepeta! I think your only problem was that since you were still working on it, you didn’t keep it contained. And I know you can keep warps contained. So teach me how to reality warp, and how to keep it contained, too!”
“Are you sure about this, Eul-Bok?” Sale-Dessu asked.
“Yes!”
Eir-Tyuj stood up. “There’s one other problem to my teaching you how to reality warp, however.”
“Hm?”
“Yours will be unstable at first, that is almost guaranteed, unless you are more of a prodigy than I believe. Sale-Dessu and I may not be able to detect that reality has been warped. It will be up to you to bring the warp to an end.”
“I understand, Grepeta. But I really think reality warping would be a helpful skill to have!”
“Well, if you’re that certain, than I can’t turn you down! But there’s a lot for you to learn before you try it. So prepare yourself!”
“I’m ready, Grepeta!”
“This all gives me a bad feeling…”
“Ah, don’t be so concerned, Sale-Dessu. I’ll make sure nothing goes out of control.”

Over the next few hours, Eul-Bok learned several things. He learned how much concentration it took to make a proper reality warp, and how to end it too. Eir-Tyuj mostly taught him necessary details, like the focus one needed for a proper warp or warning him about the damage it could cause to his psyche, but she also told him about less important details such as how he could make the reality look cartoonish, or how to create an activator for it as opposed to initiating it himself.
“I could have told him about making an activator,” Sale-Dessu said.
“I’m sure you could have, but I’m the one he asked to explain this,” Eir-Tyuj said playfully. “Well, then, now that we’ve gone over all that, how would you like me to show you how it’s done? Then you may try it for yourself.”
“Okay!”
Eir-Tyuj retrieved her wand and a small book. “For backup,” she told them. “It certainly has been a while since I last used this power…exercise caution, boys. I do know how to keep it from sucking you in, but it has been so long that I make no guarantees.”
“You’ll make an innocent one then, right, Apeta?” Sale-Dessu said.
“If that’s your request. Though I always was better with the more violent ones. Ha!”
She held out her wand, and Sale-Dessu and Eul-Bok watched as the world around them began to change. Sale-Dessu was quick to notice that the area around him looked like an etheral version of the house he had initially lived in with his mother and grandmother. A wave of nostalgia washed over him.
“Wow, this looks like an actual location!”
“It is an actual location, in a way,” Eir-Tyuj panted. She seemed worn out. “I inspired it off of someplace I lived once. I was lazy this time.”
“Apeta…this is the house we lived in with Mamun.”
“I see someone noticed the inspiration,” Eir-Tyuj said with a smile. “But I also see another someone is eager to try using this power for himself.”
Eir-Tyuj began to return reality to normal. “Now you may try it. But remember what I told you. And as Sale-Dessu warned me, your reality should most likely be an innocent one. It is likely at least Sale-Dessu will be caught up in the reality.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, Father, you did tell me that when La-Iin hit your reality activator you didn’t notice anything changed until later,” Eul-Bok said. Sale-Dessu’s face flushed.
“I suppose you have a point…”
“What is this about some “La-Iin” hitting a reality activator?” Eir-Tyuj asked.
“It’s a long story, Apeta. And I’m sure that Eul-Bok is impatient.”
“I’d let you tell her, but I can’t stand La-Iin myself. Alright, I think I understand now. I’m going to do my best!”
“Don’t be nervous, boy. It can interfere with the reality.”
“Gotcha.”
“And after this is done, you have a story to tell me.”
“Agh…”
Eul-Bok took a deep breath, then began to focus on an image in his head. He grasped his wand and began to try and bring the image to life. With his eyes closed, Eul-Bok couldn’t tell if he was succeeding or not, and even though he had understood Eir-Tyuj’s words he still felt uncertain. Curious, he opened one eye, and gasped.
The scene around him had changed, but it was far from what he had imagined.
Instead, he, Sale-Dessu, and Eir-Tyuj were in a flower field. Sale-Dessu was picking flowers and handing them to Eir-Tyuj, who spoke in a high-pitched voice.
“Why, thank you, my grandson!”
She then burst into coughing. Eul-Bok was dumbfounded. He tried to move, but found he couldn’t. Not a single part of him would move, leaving him stuck in place watching his family play with flowers in the field.
To his relief, after what felt like two hours at the least, the reality wore off. Eir-Tyuj and Sale-Dessu closed their eyes, then opened them and blinked them.
“Wha?”
“Did…did you do a reality warp, Eul-Bok? I feel like I was just holding something.”
“I can remember a flower field, but only vaguely…”
“I didn’t do anything!” Eul-Bok said. “All of a sudden while I was working on my reality warp, everything changed to a flower field and you and Father started picking flowers and talking in high-pitched voices!”
“It sounds like you really went for an innocent reality warp,” Sale-Dessu chuckled.
“But–but Father, you don’t understand! I didn’t warp reality! All of a sudden a reality warp just happened! When it happened I couldn’t move! Aren’t you supposed to be able to move in your own warp?”
“That is true, but it can take a lot out of someone to perform a reality warp,” Eir-Tyuj explained. “And you are a V-Puppet. It’s possible that is why you were not able to move, because it took so much out of you and your species of origin cannot move without a power’s assistance.”
“But I wasn’t even imagining a flower field!”
Eir-Tyuj shook her head. “I know you believe you didn’t warp reality, Eul-Bok, but that is simply not possible. My house is under high defenses right now. No outside reality warp should be able to get in. It was your first reality warp. Perhaps it didn’t go as you expect, but that is to be expected, and at least it sounds like it went better than Maie-Jussa’s first.”
“Mamun warped reality?” Sale-Dessu asked.
“Yes, but only once when she was young. It was a bit of a disaster, so she never tried again. But it wasn’t so much of a disaster that it warranted mentioning.”
“Seriously Grepeta, I didn’t do it!”
“He seems pretty convinced,” Sale-Dessu said. Eir-Tyuj shook her head. “Conviction or not, my house is under high security. Even with my sickness, I know that security has not wavered.”
“Grepeta!”
“Um–ah–why don’t we all calm down for now with some stories?” Sale-Dessu suggested. He could hear the desperation in Eul-Bok’s tone, and the agitation starting in Eir-Tyuj’s. ‘I really don’t want them to fight!’
“I’ll tell you an embarrassing one from when I was five. A–and didn’t you want to learn about La-Iin and the reality activator, Apeta?”
“I do.”
“Um…okay, Father,” Eul-Bok sighed. Sale-Dessu bit his lip.
‘Who do I believe? I don’t want to believe that another reality warp penetrated Apeta’s defenses, but at the same time Eul-Bok seems really convinced. And with his ability, I’m sure he would have been able to move around. What really happened just now?’
The whole incident left Sale-Dessu with a sick, uncertain feeling even as he worked to try and calm Eir-Tyuj and Eul-Bok.

—–
“Ciuthia…I’ll admit it, I’m scared.”
“Do not worry, Baal-Mist. I have told you all that you need to know. And if it will reassure you further, I know a way to counteract a reality warp.”
“You do?”
Ire-Salin nodded.
“That will be a helpful ability in the future…alright, then, here goes…”
Baal-Mist took a deep breath. Just pulling off a reality warp of his own sounded like a terrifying concept. But it was something he knew he had to try.
He focused on an image in his mind and set to work creating it in the way described by Ire-Salin, moving his wand around. He didn’t open his eyes until he had finished, and when he did he noticed he was surrounded by a vast flower field instead of a room in Ire-Salin’s house.
Ire-Salin was picking flowers and she handed them to Baal-Mist. “For you, my dearest,” she said.
Baal-Mist accepted the flowers and looked around. “I really did it…but it looks like Ciuthia is lost in the warp.”
“I will go and pick more,” she said cheerfully, then ran off to do just that.
Baal-Mist explored the reality warp for a while, but it seemed that he had pulled it off as simplistically as it had appeared in his mind, a vast flower field that went on for what seemed like eternity. Once he felt he had had enough of that–and of Ire-Salin’s strange behavior–he set to ending the reality warp.
Ire-Salin closed her eyes and dropped a glass sculpture. She gasped when it hit the ground.
“How was it?”
“It seemed to be successful, but it was simplistic. I suppose that’s good enough.”
“I see…” Ire-Salin’s cheeks flushed. “Well, perhaps we have had enough practicing for today. Are you still nervous, Baal-Mist?”
“A little less so, now,” he sighed. “As long as I have you helping me, I think I might be okay. But that reminds me, I would love to see one of your reality warps someday, Ciuthia, just to get a better idea of how to work mine.”
“If that is what you want, then I sheall give it to you at your request. Say the word, Baal-Mist.”
“Well, that can wait. I’m still a little nervous from the warp. Why don’t I fix that glass sculpture of yours for now?”
“It does not matter, but if you wish to do so, then do so, Baal-Mist.”