25.541.A New Light to the Situation

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 541
“A New Light to the Situation”

“So, we’re actually visiting Sale-Dessu for once? Color me surprised.”
“We just visited him the other day,” La-Iin reminded her.
“Yeah, but we stayed for like two seconds. You sound as if you have something you actually want to talk to him about this time.”
“I do. All this romance around me has had me wondering about something.”
“So you figured the best person to go to would be the reclusive Warlock whose friends are a little girl and a doll. And who considers a glorified doll to be his son.”
“Sale-Dessu is pathetic, but the reason I’m visiting him for this has nothing to do with his patheticness. Besides, he’s my ally.”
“I suppose he’s mine as well. What do you plan on saying to him, exactly?”
“You’ll see.”
La-Iin knocked on Sale-Dessu’s door. It wasn’t long before the door opened and out peeked Sale-Dessu, his hair still maroon and his face still bespectacled.
“Really, what experiment are you doing that makes you look like that?”
“I’ll explain later,” Sale-Dessu said. “Hello, La-Iin. Is that all you came here to say?”
“No. I have another reason for being here, too.” She walked in, Bes-Isa in tow.
“Hey, Father, do you want me to clean out your test tu–” Eul-Bok glanced in La-Iin and Bes-Isa’s direction and sighed. “Oh, it’s you two.”
“They’re guests, Eul-Bok. Besides, we haven’t been getting many visits from them this year.”
“That’s been fairly pleasant. You two are nothing but nuisances and wastes of Father’s time.”
Sale-Dessu glared at Eul-Bok, who cowered away from him. “I’m sorry, Father, but they have caused you a lot of trouble!”
“I’m sure you’ve caused him even more trouble before and after you got your autonomy, you little dickhead.”
“Can we not have any fighting?” Sale-Dessu sighed. “Um, La-Iin, what did you need?”
“I’ve been having some strange situations lately, and it made me want to ask you about something. You have and can make a lot of potions for all sorts of things, right, Sale-Dessu?”
Sale-Dessu nodded. “Though I can’t always guarantee they come out right. I also know a good place to buy potions, but I don’t really like going there…”
“Well, you’ve got me now if you need someone to fetch it, but do we have the vuyong?”
“That’s a subject for another time. Why do you ask? Is there a specific type of potion you wanted to know about?”
“Yes. I wanted to know if you can make love potions.”
Sale-Dessu blinked.
“What?”
“Why would you want a love potion at your age, La-Iin?” Sale-Dessu asked.
“Morbid curiosity. And I don’t exactly want it. What I want would be better off happening naturally, eh heh heh…but I was curious as to whether or not it actually existed.”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “Not in the flowery way you might see in some books, no. It’s not a potion that makes you fall in love, but it can simulate the feelings. You’ll know consciously it’s a lie, and a lot of the time it can cause other problems as well. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I’ve never had any use for a love potion nor has anyone I’ve known, so I’ve never made one. But in my potion books, they say that’s what it’s supposed to do, is simulate the feelings of being in love.”
“Hm.”
“Also, I’ve heard that the feeling of being in love is dubious as to who it’s towards. Sometimes it happens to the potion-maker. Sometimes it happens to the first person they see. But most of the time it isn’t contained and the effects are present constantly, or at least towards every person the person affected lays eyes on.”
“That would not be helpful,” La-Iin said dryly.
“I heard of attempts to make a love potion that actually makes the drinker fall in love, but I heard the person used for the experiment suffered a degree of brain damage not long after drinking it. Since that is unethical in most places, it probably won’t happen any time soon.” Sale-Dessu blinked. “Err, was there anything else you wanted to know?”
“You know an awful lot about love potions, Father.”
“Well, I got curious about them after my Mamun told me they’re nothing like in the books…”
“I doubt it’s anything suspicious with someone who’s as much of a shut-in as Sale-Dessu.”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “Was there something else?”
“Yes. This was the most important part. Negative potions exist too, don’t they?”
“Certainly. Potions that give you diarrhea or destroy your organs…there are probably more than these than there are of ones that work properly because negative effects often happen when a potion isn’t made properly. Although destroying your organs is a fairly rare side-effect.”
“Luckily that never happened to you, Father!”
“Well, I hardly ever drink my potions, so–”
“But are there potions with effects that are negative of the normal effect?”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “What do you mean by that?”
“I think she means like an anti-potion.”
“Exactly. Love potions are fine and all and I might be tempted to use one if they worked, but they don’t and I don’t care. What I really came here for was an anti-love potion. I need one desperately, so tell me they exist!”
“Anti-love potion? I don’t think anything like that exists!”
“Well, what about a hate potion!?”
“Hate potion!?” Sale-Dessu sighed. “La-Iin, I wouldn’t know for sure, but I’m certain that if an anti-love potion exists out there it has the same kind of effect as the love potion. It’s either the potion maker, the first person they see, or everyone. Besides, potions usually wash out of a person’s system after some hours. That’s what they’re designed to do. So even if there was an anti-love potion, it wouldn’t last forever.”
La-Iin glared at Sale-Dessu, biting her lip. Sale-Dessu was surprised to see tears building in her eyes.
“Why do you feel so strongly about this!?”
“I suppose her rival in love must be getting their feelings reciprocated.”
“It’s not that. It’s nothing like that. It’s just a bad and stupid situation and…” La-Iin dug her fingers into her hair.
“She’s frustrated because there’s a man who most likely is in love with her mother.”
“Is that all? Why would that be so bad, La-Iin?”
“That man is not my Dami, and if Mama falls in love with him I won’t acknowledge him! My Dami is my Dami and no other man is!” She took a breath. “Fine then. If there’s no anti-love potion, then if Mama falls in love with Haner I want to live with you from now on.”
“What!?”
“Didn’t you just say your, er, “Dami is your Dami”? Why not stay with him?”
“It would be so hard with Mama watching me. Although maybe I could through a loophole in staying with you.” La-Iin’s shoulders slumped. “But if she was with Haner, she might not care anyway. She might just have a new daughter with Haner and replace me.”
Seeing La-Iin so dejected, Sale-Dessu felt conflicted. He had never seen La-Iin in such a state.
“It’s alright, La-Iin. I’ve seen you and your mother before. I don’t think she’d want to replace you.”
“Maybe not, but even if she didn’t that doesn’t change the Haner problem. Maybe he wouldn’t pretend to be my Dami. Maybe it would all be fine, but I would still have to live with that horrible man!”
“Whatever did he do wrong to you?”
“I pick my enemies as much as I pick my allies! And anyone who’s a threat to any of my plans is automatically my enemy!”
“She feels quite strongly about this.”
“I can tell,” Sale-Dessu mused.
“I don’t know what to do. Maybe everything would work out, but if there’s one interference in my plans, who’s to say the rest won’t go toppling down with it? I already have enough stupid romantic problems as it is.”
“At seven?” Eul-Bok questioned.
“Well, I don’t know how to help, La-Iin. But maybe this will make you feel better. Just because one plan doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean they’ll all go toppling down. I know that from personal experience. All too well, in fact… But you do have both of your parents, and I don’t think they would stop loving you. Especially not your Mamun–I mean, mother.”
“Dami is more especially than she is. She already gets annoyed with me all the time.”
“I get annoyed with Father too,” Eul-Bok said.
“I also get pretty annoyed by you. Not that we have a mother-daughter relationship, anyway.”
“And there’s something else as well. When plans don’t go right, that’s when you learn to adapt. Sometimes your life plans will have to change. Things might work out for you and maybe your mother won’t feel the same way. But if she does, then you just adapt.”
“I have changed my plans before.”
“And you have alternative options for others.”
“I never expected a big change like this, though. I was prepared for other things.”
“Just try your best to prepare yourself for whatever happens. It might work out. And if it doesn’t, you have a backup plan.”
“That won’t keep me from hating Haner,” La-Iin growled. “Even if I went to live with Dami, what would I do about that? Mama would be with Haner if I wanted to see her.”
“Well, maybe you could find something to like–” Noticing the glare La-Iin was giving him, Sale-Dessu backpedaled. “Err, well, maybe you could learn to tolerate him. Maybe you and your mother could agree to keep him out of the scene. I don’t know what to do about that, La-Iin.”
“Geez, you said you’re evil, didn’t you? Just plan to give him an extra layer of torture.”
La-Iin’s expression became blank, but soon a wicked grin spread across her lips.
“Great, now look what you’ve done.”
“That is true,” La-Iin said. “I hate thanking people, but I’ll have to thank you two anyway. You’ve given me a fairly obvious perspective on this situation. I’ll try and prevent it at all costs, but there has to be another way to manage it. If I dwell on something stupid like this all my other plans will be worthless.”
“It’s good to view things in a positive light,” Sale-Dessu told her.
“Still, I don’t want to be around Mama right now, so…”
“You’d stay whether or not I told you to leave,” Sale-Dessu sighed. “So go ahead and stay.”
“Good. Because now that you’ve told me all about those potions and the negative potions, I want to hear a lot more!”

—–
“It’s getting fairly late. You should head home now, La-Iin.”
“I guess.”
As La-Iin stood up to leave, Sale-Dessu slid a small item towards her.
“What’s this?”
“Consider it a Warlock charm. We use these for good luck over in Witch and Warlock societies.” He smiled. “Best of luck to you, La-Iin.”
La-Iin grabbed the charm. “You make for a good ally, Sale-Dessu. You’ll be very useful in the future.”
Sale-Dessu breathed. “I’ll be seeing you, La-Iin. Best of luck to you always.”

Baal-Mist smirked to himself.
“I don’t think this plan is completely down the drain just yet. Hopefully next time he’ll move closer to that room. That yelling was pretty curious….”

21.537.Evil and Logic

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 537
“Evil and Logic”

“Someone seems pretty happy. Was the school trip better than you thought it would be?”
“It has nothing to do with the school trip. That was fine enough, but it has to do with what happened after the school trip. That was truly amazing!”
“What happened after it? All I know is that woman was really pissed with you when you got back and now you’re in trouble.”
“I don’t care that Mama’s pissed with me because I’m even more pissed with her. And anyway it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy because San-Kyung has been in such a bad mood lately I almost forgot how fun it could be to spend time with him!”
“I’m surprised you thought, for a moment, that spending time with San-Kyung wasn’t worth it. You’ve certainly thought a lot about spending time with him in the future, down to spending so much time with him you end up with FOUR children…and I’ve never asked, what would you do if, say, you ended up with two sets of triplets?”
“I would jump that hurdle if it happened,” La-Iin said confidently. “But anyway, Bes-Isa, do you want to know about what happened or not?”
“Sure, why not? It isn’t as if I have anything better to do anyway. Even if I DID, you being grounded puts several dents into that hypothetical plan.”
“Well, then, I’ll tell you all about it. As you know we were on a school trip and we came back in the afternoon. And…”

***

As soon as the bus stopped in front of Malicerie Public School, the teachers set to work on waking all the students who had fallen asleep on the way back. It was a difficult task, for not every student took so kindly to being woken up. When Mr. Chensu tapped San-Kyung awake, he was shoved away in response.
La-Iin was woken by the sound of Fer-Shi being woken, and she got out her seat immediately. The students started to crowd out of the bus and made it nearly impossible for La-Iin to get out. Once the path was more clear, she hopped out the bus and nearly landed on her face.
“That was idiotic,” San-Kyung said.
“I can fly, you know. If I was really going to hurt myself, I would have just flown.”
“You could’ve, but I know you, La-Iin. You’re not exactly known for having the best laid plans.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. “At least I plan out how to rule the world! You never do!”
La-Iin’s shriek caught the attention of nearby students, who looked on curiously all except for Fer-Shi and Dosa-Mina, who seemed slightly embarrassed by her outburst.
“What are you two talking about?” Questioned Mr. Chensu.
“None of your business!” Snapped San-Kyung. La-Iin smirked. “Ooh, look who’s getting in trouble now.”
San-Kyung turned around, dropped to his knees and whispered in La-Iin’s ear, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your ideas don’t tend to be on the logical side. You could have fallen from the bus so fast you didn’t have time to start flying. I might not be able to fly but I’ve read up a lot on it.”
“Well, like you said, you aren’t able to fly, so you don’t know that for sure. And my plans are just fine.”
“Says you.”
“Do you want to prove me wrong?”
San-Kyung seemed ready to say no. “Unless you don’t think you can.”
“Challenge accepted!”
“Pff. You’re so easy sometimes.”
Never call me easy. Our friendship doesn’t mean I don’t still find you annoying, La-Iin. Let’s get our stuff off the bus before we do this.”
La-Iin nodded. The two head over to Hyungdarou to retrieve what they had brought on the trip.
“Arguing with La-Iin?”
“What did it look like?”
“Arguing. You know, maybe this fake friendship will end up falling apart on its own as opposed to you admitting it was fake.”
“Don’t say that so loudly!”
“I can’t believe you were arguing with San-Kyung.”
“Our relationship isn’t peachy-keen all the time, Fer-Shi. But that’s what makes it interesting. Besides, that argument gave way to something I’ve been wanting for a long time now, heh heh heh…”
Fer-Shi backed away. “…oookay. Well, I think I’m just gonna head home immediately after I get my stuff.”
“You do that. I, on the other hand, have a mission to complete!”

La-Iin and San-Kyung head off Malicerie school grounds and to the closest place they could find that was devoid of people. La-Iin noticed that San-Kyung checked behind himself several times.
“Why do you keep doing that?”
“I was checking to see if anyone’s following us. It does help to check behind yourself sometimes.”
“I have good hearing on my side, San-Kyung.”
San-Kyung huffed. “You know, for a little girl, you can be pretty arrogant.”
“You can be arrogant too! It’s a sign of our compatibility.”
“We’re not here so you can be disgusting. The second you say anything more about the two of us together we’re quitting this little experiment and I’m heading home.”
“My mouth is shut.”
San-Kyung came to a stop underneath a roofed clearing.
“You know, San-Kyung, if there’s anyone I trust with my plans for world domination, it’s you. After all, in the future, we’ll–err, never mind…”
“Hmph. Well, your plans don’t matter if they’re not going to work. What did you have in mind?”
“Well, I can’t tell you all the most intimate details just yet because they’re not completely planned out. But tell me how this sounds. For a little while I’ve been tossing around the idea of creating an army of V-Puppets to assist me in taking over the world!”
“…you want to take over the world with an army of dolls.”
“V-Puppets can be more than just dolls! I made a clay doll into a V-Puppet once. I wonder what happened to her?”
“Tell me, La-Iin, does this sound smart to you: a whole bunch of soft or easily breakable items flying at a group of people with powers on their side and potentially armed. Sure, you’d stay safe, you probably wouldn’t be hurt from the venture but what makes you think that’s a smart idea?”
“…”
“I thought so.”
“Good call, San-Kyung. But I have more ideas than that babyish one I came up with when I was a toddler.”
“A lot of your ideas sound like they lack an army that isn’t comprised of yourself and I’m guessing me as well.”
La-Iin looked away. “That’s where you’re wrong, San-Kyung. I have ideas for armies of people. I would trap the people first of Bledger, and then of all of Vaelyn in cages and when it came the time to take over more of the world, I would use them as my army! They’re expendable anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if they died. Everyone who needed to live would stay at home or next to me on the front lines.”
“An army of people who are probably weakened from disease and lack of food? And if too many of them die you don’t have an army anymore.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. “Since when do you plan world domination that doesn’t involve the only perpetrator being you!?”
“My plans are a little different than yours, La-Iin. I’m not interested in discussing them right now, but it’s not the kind of world domination you’re looking for. In your case you might need an army. I strive for different things because I’d rather handle it all myself.”
“It’s the same here. I want to cause suffering by my own hands!”
“And you want me there too.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes.
“People who rule entire portions of the world usually have some sort of army to handle most of the violent and bloody battles for them. You, on your own, would face a massive opposition.”
“That is again where you’re wrong. I have the most overpowered ability any species could ever have. If I drink the blood of another species, I can use their powers for a short amount of time. And I can increase that time by drinking even more blood! And it might even make the powers stronger! With enough blood I could probably handle them all on my own.”
“Where would you get enough blood to make it last long enough to take over the world, or at least a portion of it? What species’ powers would most benefit you for a given area? Would the powers be strong enough to handle the opposition? Would you take into account which species most populates the area you’re going to so you can expect which powers will be used against you? And can you fly high enough to avoid anything they might fire at you? Your plan could work, but it requires a lot of thought that judging by your expression, you didn’t put into it.”
“I put lots of thought into my plans,” La-Iin said, her tone emotionless. San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “Apparently that wasn’t one of them. Look, that sounds like it could work better than using an army of weaklings or V-Puppets, but you still need to put into account also where you would get the blood and you’d need to know how much you need in order to handle the situation. If you make one misstep, then it could cost you.”
“That is good advice. Luckily for you I was putting plenty of thought into it. I just haven’t been able to test it out so much. Maybe you’d be willing to loan me some blood–”
“No.”
“Damn it.”
“Your goal of world domination is large-scale, La-Iin. It does require a lot of thought. Have you ever considered that historical and modern-day dictators put a lot of thought into what they were doing?”
“No, I never considered that. And you know why? Because they failed badly. They stopped at one area of the world!”
“Not all of them did. Just the ones that didn’t often died, at least in the modern day.”
“You know, I have been looking for holes in my plans, San-Kyung. You act like I don’t think, but I’m thinking about these things almost each time I get free time.”
“Yeah, well it’s not my fault you didn’t realize they would fall apart before they started.”
“Even you have to admit the blood one is pretty good.”
“I wouldn’t know. I don’t have an unfair ability like that. Wish I did.”
La-Iin sighed. “I wish Vampires could transfer their Vampirism like the Normals of the olden days thought. Then I would do that for you.”
“What good would that do me?”
“Well…I’d have to put more thought into that.”
San-Kyung sighed.
“Alright, then, San-Kyung, one more thing. What do you think about the plan of keeping it contained to Vaelyn until another country shows a sign of weakness?”
“It could be a false flag. You might live a thousand years but it might not happen. There could be a mutiny within Vaelyn–ever consider that? Would you really have enough power suppressant to keep so many people sedated long enough to prevent them from fighting back?”
“I would suck their blood too!”
“That doesn’t mean it would work. And some of the stuff I’ve heard about power suppressants leads me to believe that wouldn’t do you any good. In fact, it’d be the reverse. And have you ever considered what would happen if multiple countries or hell, even one country invaded your Vaelyn? Populated by weaklings in cages with only one person at the fighting helm? You’d be overtaken. Especially since your plan doesn’t involve any weaponry whatsoever.”
“Does yours!?”
“That’s none of your business. Also, one other thing: you’d probably have to use power suppressants to keep the people of Bledger from rising against you, but what would you do if you needed them as an army or to suck their blood like I said before? That would only mess you up. It’s the biggest flaw I’ve found.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. San-Kyung was both confusing her and frustrating her. “Well, nobody’s really gone over to North Vaelyn!” La-Iin gasped. “I know. I’ll use nuclear weaponry! Along with my powers it would mean that nobody could stop me! There has to be something! North Vaelyn is full of weaklings! Come on, San-Kyung! It’s worked before! What about Dasdoria?”
“You’re just scrambling now. But you have a point about Dasdoria. The issue is, who really knows what’s going on in their government? First go and find out if it’s run by only one person. Oh wait. There are powerful guards who keep people from escaping. They might not always succeed but I heard their success rate is pretty high. Besides, those are still only contained to one area…”
San-Kyung began to walk off. “You do have a point about it being hard, San-Kyung. But I have a long lifespan! I have been putting thought into it and studying evil history. And with your tips I think I’ll have an even better chance. But you told me how stupid all my plans are–how come you never told me yours? What makes you think your plans will work?”
“I told you, my plans are a little different than your ideal of total and complete rule over the world all by yourself. But I’m not interested in discussing them with you. I’m not going to have you stealing my ideas.”
La-Iin giggled. “You think I would steal your ideas.”
“I wouldn’t put it past you.”
“Even though you berated me a lot, this was fun, San-Kyung. But I’ll show you that my plans can work.”
“Not that V-Puppetry plan, though. Never that V-Puppetry plan.”
“I know that one was stupid.”
“Yeah, well, you do your worst. I plan on one-upping you, but I’m not going to be alive forever. If you keep messing up the world past my death then good on you. The world doesn’t deserve to be treated well.”
La-Iin blushed. “Ooh. Every time I wonder how I could be such an idiot to think about sharing part of the world with you you remind me why I like you.”
San-Kyung grimaced and took off at a high speed. “See you tomorrow, San-Kyung!”

—–
“It sounds like a lot of it was San-Kyung telling you you’re an idiot. And I kind of have to agree, your little world domination plan has a lot of holes.”
“Hearing it from you makes it sound bad. But I don’t care. He gave me a little inspiration and I like spending time with him. Mama yelling at me felt like nothing compared to that joy.”
“You’re sickening.”
“You can say whatever you want, but at least I’m not stupid.”
“So you say…”
“And I have matured. When I was five you heard how I talked about San-Kyung. Now I realize I went about it a little wrong. Though even I can’t resist a good chase every now and then.”
Bes-Isa sighed. “I guess that is one thing I’ll have to give you…you do seem more genuinely in love with him than you did when you were five.”
“I’m glad to hear you say so, Bes-Isa!”

18.534.Animosity from Suspicion

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 534
“Animosity from Suspicion”

“Mit-Sun, you look awfully happy today. What’s the occasion? Or, are you just happy because you are?”
Mit-Sun giggled. “It’s nothing, really. Just, I forgot how much fun going out could be. Having to take care of La-Iin, I haven’t been able to do much for myself lately. When we hang out together I get to go places La-Iin probably would never agree to go. Keeping her under wraps is hard.”
Uil-Cur scratched the back of his neck. “Always happy to be of assistance, Mit-Sun. My siblings told me I could be refreshing, but I never thought that would extend to another adult!”
“You can be pretty fun, Haner. So I want to ask: would you like to come over for dinner again tonight? I know La-Iin will hate it, but she’s been resisting all my attempts to bond with her lately. I really don’t think inviting you over again is going to make things any worse.”
“A-are you sure about that, Mit-Sun? She was pretty harsh towards me last time I came over.”
“La-Iin’s like that, but damn it, she can’t control who I make friends with as much as I can’t control who she makes friends with. I seriously don’t know what she has against you. She said something about male Sirens once, but I doubt she’s met another. I know you guys can be pretty rare.”
“It’s hard to think I’m technically somewhat rare. But I suppose that also comes from being an individual!”
“So, what do you say? Want to come over again? I could use a break from all her animosity and there’s not been much to do around the house lately.”
Uil-Cur gave a small smile. “Almost anything you ask me I would accept, Mit-Sun. I enjoy my time with you. I think you are…well, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
“That’s sweet, Haner. Thanks. You’re a pretty great friend too.”
Uil-Cur began to flap his wings rapidly to calm him down. ‘Just because she smiles at you so much, it doesn’t mean anything! Quit getting your hopes up!’ Still, he couldn’t help but feel slightly excited at the sight of Mit-Sun’s casual smile.

***

“You seem pretty steamed up, La-Iin.”
“I am steamed up! I can’t stand it when Mama goes to spend time with Haner! Either she’s stupid or slowly she’s falling for his wiles. Well, either way she must be stupid, because if she’s falling for his wiles she’s delusional! If his wiles were so great I would be in love with him!”
“That’s….disturbing, to say the least. And that begs the question: if another man had really good wiles, would you like him better than San-Kyung?”
“No way, Bes-Isa. San-Kyung is my one and only. Mama is a fool. If she’s looking for what true love looks like, she should be looking in my direction.”
“Nobody who was in their right mind would take love tips from a stalkerish little kid…don’t look at me like that, La-Iin! I’m not saying your little thing for San-Kyung is little kiddy, I’m just saying you’re creepy.”
“I’ve heard what you’ve said about keeping girl slaves before. If anyone is creepy, it’s you!”
“Well, doesn’t that make me more evil!? I want girl slaves for my own use…heh heh….but you want San-Kyung to reciprocate your feelings and work equally by your side! What the hell’s with that!?”
“You should understand by now if you know me any, Bes-Isa. Besides, I would be in a higher position of power over San-Kyung anyway. But this wasn’t about him! I haven’t been able to make any progress with that depressio lately anyways. I’m getting burned up about Haner! Someday I’ll suck that guy’s blood and sing his own song back to him!”
“Tell me, do you think that would work?”
“It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?”
Before Bes-Isa could speak again, the door opened. La-Iin narrowed her eyes at Mit-Sun, then gasped when she noticed that Uil-Cur was right behind her.
“No!”
Mit-Sun scoffed. “Please, La-Iin.”
“H-hello there, La-Iin,” Uil-Cur said, sounding uncertain.
“No. Don’t even talk to me. Mama, you said you wanted to repair our bond. You’re on the wrong path. Continue to show me your stupidity and I’ll lock you in a high-security cage when the time comes, if there’s even any of you left to lock in a cage!”
She stomped off, Bes-Isa in tow. She could hear a faint conversation between Mit-Sun and Uil-Cur, but she couldn’t be bothered to listen in to hear what it was. She was infuriated that Mit-Sun would even bring Uil-Cur over in the first place.

“I had a feeling this would happen,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Sorry about that, Haner.”
“No, there’s no trouble, Mit-Sun. Just as you had that feeling, so did I. She didn’t take well to me last time I was over either.”
“Well, she can go off and do her own thing if she wants to. Is there something you’d like to do?”
“Much as I’d like to spend time with you right at this moment, I want to try something, Mit-Sun. I’m going to see if I can get through to La-Iin.”
“Why?”
“The two of us are friends! I know it’s not all that important, but I don’t want to strain your relationship with your daughter just because she doesn’t like me. We can spend time together after this–after all, we do have plenty of time!”
“I suppose so,” Mit-Sun said. “Just don’t take too long, alright?”
‘She really does want to spend time with me,’ Uil-Cur thought. ‘Now I really do have to do this. With how she’s acting perhaps La-Iin may someday really be my step-daught…no, don’t think that, Uil-Cur! Stop it!’
He pushed the idea away as he fluttered after La-Iin.
“No flying in my house, Haner,” Mit-Sun said. Uil-Cur landed. “Sorry about that, Mit-Sun.”
“Just don’t do it again.”

“Haner won’t get to Mama first, I’ll show her, if anyone’s going to harm her bodily, it’ll be me, just wait and see….”
“I get that you’re angry, but do you have to pull on me like this!? I can feel pain, you know!”
“Heh heh heh…” The dark look in La-Iin’s eyes told Bes-Isa she wasn’t likely to be released soon.
From behind her La-Iin could hear footsteps. She glared over her shoulder. “Don’t bother reasoning with me, Mama. I will always and forever hate Haner. I–”
La-Iin’s eyes widened when she caught sight of Uil-Cur. “I know you’re not all that fond of me, La-Iin, and I respect that. But I don’t think you should get all so mad at Mit-Sun because of this.”
“Don’t you even dare talk to me, fool!” La-Iin hissed. Uil-Cur sighed. “Please, La-Iin, make this easy on me. If it makes you feel better, this friendship started because of me.”
“Take advantage of my Mama’s stupidity, will you!? Well, I’m not as stupid as she is!”
“Mit-Sun is not stupid! You shouldn’t say such things about your own mother.”
“Why should I listen to you!? You don’t matter to me. You’re just trash.”
Uil-Cur flinched. “I don’t know what I did to earn your ire, La-Iin, but I don’t want this to be how it is. I don’t want you to hate Mit-Sun because you hate me.”
“Quit referring to me by name. You don’t have the permission to do so.” La-Iin’s wings began to flap wildly. “I know your aim, Haner. I know what plans you have for my Mama. I can see them from a mile away. For you see, I’m an expert when it comes to planning things.”
Uil-Cur blinked at her. “What do you mean? I don’t have any plans for Mit-Sun.”
“Do you think I’m stupid!? I know wiles better than most others! You can only have two possible plans for Mama. Either way I won’t accept you!”
“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You won’t fool me, Haner! Until the moment she proves otherwise, I’ll hope that Mama’s not so stupid to let her emotions fall victim to your plans!”
Uil-Cur blinked. ‘What is she talking about?’ As La-Iin bared her fangs, it clicked in his mind, and his face turned a dark red.
“I–it isn’t–it’s not–look, I think you have the wrong idea, La-Iin…”
“Your reaction only proves to me I have the right idea! Stop it, Haner! Or I’ll give you a reason to regret it!”
Uil-Cur felt completely embarrassed. “I…it’s…there’s nothing to worry about on that front, La-Iin. And if that’s making you angry at Mit-Sun, then you’re being irrational. Be angry at me all you want, but this has nothing to do with her…”
La-Iin’s nose wrinkled.
“Haner? La-Iin?”
Mit-Sun’s voice broke into the argument. “Haner, I heard arguing. If you can’t get through to her, there’s no reason to argue with her.”
“All the arguing was coming from her side, though.”
“La-Iin, cut Haner some slack. I get it–you don’t like him. You’ve made that painfully clear.”
“Apparently not clear enough to get through your thick skull!” La-Iin yelled. She stomped off, Bes-Isa in tow.
“I swear, one of these days you’re going to kill me.”
“I’m sorry, Mit-Sun. I didn’t mean to fight with her. She hates me more than I’d expect a seven-year-old to…and now I think I understand why.”
“Why?”
Uil-Cur’s face flushed. “I–I think I just remind her of someone she doesn’t like at her school.”
“Huh?”
“That’s the impression I got, anyway,” he sighed. “So, um, Mit-Sun–about that hanging out?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, there’s plenty I can show you around the house. We have time until dinner to just look around, so tell me where you want to go. Although obviously La-Iin’s room is off-limits.”
“I figured. Well, anywhere you want to show me is fine.”
“Well then, we might as well stop by the miscellaneous room, then,” Mit-Sun said. “Come on!”
From her bedroom La-Iin could hear their conversation. She grit her teeth.
‘What can I do now? Maybe I should turn to Dami for advice on this…’

—–
Dinner came and went, and no matter how hard she tried Mit-Sun simply could not manage to get La-Iin to sit at the table while Uil-Cur was there. Even sending him away didn’t seem to work–La-Iin still refused to sit anywhere near him and instead took her food away and into her room. Mit-Sun lacked the energy to fight with her over it, and so opted against it.
“Thank you for the dinner, Mit-Sun. You are an excellent cook.”
“Not a problem. It was nice to have you over, even though La-Iin was acting up. Maybe next time, we should hang out at your house.”
“Maybe. I hope you can make up with her.”
“Me too. Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, Uil-Cur. Good night.”
Uil-Cur froze and blinked at Mit-Sun. “What? Did I say something wrong?”
“Er, um, no, not at all!” He flustered. “Did I give you a weird look? I’m sorry, I’m just used to you saying Haner…”
“Oh…well, you keep telling me I can call you Uil-Cur, so I suppose it just came out.”
“Well, I am okay with you calling me that,” he said. “Er, I have to go now. See you, Mit-Sun.”
“See you, Haner. Er, Uil-Cur.”
As Uil-Cur walked out the house, he smiled to himself. ‘I wonder if I might just have a chance after all…maybe, just maybe.’
Remembering Leirhyn’s words, he began to feel confident as he fluttered off towards home.

14.530.A Dark Sadness in a Young Heart

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 530
“A Dark Sadness in a Young Heart”

“This stinks.”
“What now? I know you got in trouble for all the damage you caused yesterday, but is it worse than I thought?”
“It actually has nothing to do with my blood tests. Those are perfect. It’s something else entirely.” She growled. “Why is everyone else in such a stupid place!?”
“What?”
“Mama keeps hanging out with that Haner guy and she was feeling bad about her parenting, and it’s just so annoying and I have a bad feeling about what it could mean. Fer-Shi’s getting more irritated with my evil than she used to and she’s down about not having a dream! San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina are still looking sad even though I gave them an inspirational speech! I haven’t even seen Dami, Ai-Reia always hates me, and I haven’t seen Sale-Dessu either. I hate it. Every time it seems like something’s going right lately, something else goes wrong.”
“My, that’s a lot of pent-up frustration.”
“I may complain about you a lot, but you’re a saving grace, Bes-Isa. You’re not as annoying as the others are being right now. There’s even a girl at school who I agreed to be somewhat-friends with called Sara, but she doesn’t have any confidence at all.”
“I’m flattered that I’m the saving grace in this whole situation.”
“I need to see someone who isn’t like all those others. I need some advice, but you can’t give me the advice I need.”
“I’d protest, but point taken. I’m not the biggest fan of all those people you mentioned. Hey, wait a second. I’ve got an idea. If you need to talk to someone who’s not me and who’s not being a total idiot or depressia, what about that girl–you know, the one who claims she’s a ghost?”
“Imagination?”
“Yeah, her. That woman wouldn’t mind because you’d be taking Choungetsu off on a walk. That’d give you time to cool off. And after that you could always stop by the Astineth house. Complain about Sale-Dessu all you like, but he’s just been locked in his house recently. He might not be as depressed or annoying as all the others.”
“Maybe, but he has Eul-Bok there, too. I think Imagination is my best bet. Good idea, Bes-Isa.”
“Why, thank you, La-Iin. And since I’m such a genius as to have suggested that idea, may I come along? I haven’t gotten to see much of this little ghost-girl as you, the furball and Fer-Shi. And I have my own curiosities about her.”
La-Iin nodded. She head downstairs, put Choungetsu on a leash and head out.

***

“This part of town is pretty spooky. You know, you should come by here more often. It’d make for a perfect base or home away from home.”
“Maybe. You know, it’s times like these I wonder how I could ever get irritated with you, Bes-Isa. Then I remember the irritating things you can say.”
“Huh!”
“But you’re still not as irritating as Choungetsu can be,” she said. Choungetsu turned around and cocked his head. “And even he’s still not as irritating as everyone else is being.”
La-Iin turned into the graveyard and was surprised to see that there was no sign of Imagination.
“Maybe she was smart enough to leave for once.”
“Aw, damn. I was really betting on meeting up with her.”
“Why? You barely know her.”
“I have my reasons.”
“Well, I’d like to know–”
Choungetsu stiffened, his eyes widening. La-Iin turned in the direction he was staring.
“La-Iin!” Imagination called out. “I didn’t expect to see you here! Why’d you come to the graveyard? Did you bring Fer-Shi?”
“No, I didn’t. But I didn’t come here to play.”
“We never play, though, so why would you? That makes sense. Why’d you come here, then?”
“I want to talk.”
“What about? If it’s about me being a ghost, that’s boring me. I already told you several times I’m a ghost, and even if you don’t believe me I know it’s true and that’s all that matters.”
La-Iin shook her head. “It’s not about you being a ghost, it’s a stupid problem I have.”
“Aw, your problems probably aren’t stupid,” Imagination said. “What’s wrong, La-Iin?”
“Bes-Isa wanted to talk to you first.” She levitated Bes-Isa up to Imagination’s face. Imagination flinched away slightly.
“Hi, Bes-Isa. You’re a V-Puppet. I remember you a little. I never had a V-Puppet. What’s it like being a V-Puppet?”
“Can you focus on one subject?”
“I am. V-Puppetry.”
“It’s all I know, so how am I supposed to explain it? What’s it like being autonomous?”
“It’s a little different depending on whether you’re dead or alive. Is that what you wanted to talk about?”
“Nope. It was just a little morbid curiosity about what your life was like before you claim to have died. Was the world a darker place back then?”
“I guess a little. Back when I was alive there were a lot of things different. When I left the graveyard today I wandered around Bledger and I saw a lot of Dualbreeds. It’s weird because back when I was alive, if you saw a Dualbreed they probably had Normal in them just like me. But I saw a Minomix-Birdmix and a Lizardfoot-Snowliv! Sheesh, how can you be a Snowliv when it’s getting so hot outside?”
“I wonder that too.”
“But yeah, there are some things different. Though if we lived in Manemica, I could probably tell you even more things that were different. Manemica and Vaelyn are pretty different places. Though I saw a few Manemican influences here in the modern-day, heh heh.” Imagination smiled. “Well, I can tell you more, Bes-Isa, but I’m worried about La-Iin. What’s wrong, my friend?”
La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. “Except for Bes-Isa, everyone in my life is being annoying. I wanted to come to you because I figured you wouldn’t be annoying me, or at least not as much as they are..”
“…thank you,” Imagination said. “But I don’t know how I can help…”
“Recently I got something that’s really great for me. An amazing power I wasn’t supposed to get until I was older.”
Imagination clapped. “Good for you, La-Iin!”
“But then everything went to shit!” Imagination flinched. “Everyone either started being depressing or annoying. And I can’t stand it! This power is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m sick of everyone ruining it!”
“Why are they so sad? Is it because of the power?”
“No.”
“Have you tried making them happy?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Hm…” Imagination paced around the graveyard. “That sounds pretty annoying, La-Iin. I don’t think it would make me angry, but I can see why it makes you angry. And you can’t solve it, hm…”
“It’s not fair,” La-Iin huffed. “I’m evil. Sometimes I wish I was more like San-Kyung and I didn’t care about people as much. But I don’t want to be like he is now.”
“Aw, that’s okay, La-Iin. Caring about people is a good thing. It makes you feel better if nothing else. At least it did for me. You’re lucky because you have friends. I didn’t really. But now I have you and Fer-Shi and Choungetsu, and maybe Bes-Isa?”
“We’ll see about that, ghosty girl.”
Choungetsu looked up at her with a smile.
“Well, whatever happens, don’t let them get you down. You should enjoy your brand-new power to the fullest. And don’t feel sad about liking people. I think everyone likes someone!”
“Huh.”
“You like me and Bes-Isa and Choungetsu. And you have me, and Bes-Isa, and Choungetsu! So while these people are being all sad, I say you focus on the people who aren’t, and then also focus on yourself. You don’t always have to focus on other people, you know?”
“I know that.”
“I knew you did. You’re pretty smart for a little kid.”
“It was good to get that off my chest,” La-Iin breathed.
“Yeah, you look a lot more relieved now.”
“You really do. That’s good.”
“Maybe I should show you my new power. After all, you don’t talk to anyone else.” La-Iin grinned.
“GIVE ME YOUR BLOOOOD!”
“Eek! La-Iin, I don’t have any blood!” Imagination said, dashing away. La-Iin chased after her in the air. Soon enough, Imagination’s shrieks turned into giggles, and La-Iin found herself having genuine fun for what felt like the first time in a while.

—–
“Let’s see if he’s being a depressio.” La-Iin knocked on Sale-Dessu’s door. No response.
“Maybe he’s asleep.”
“We’ll see about that!” La-Iin banged herself against the door. “SALE-DESSU! OPEN UP!”
As she did that, memories of her time in the graveyard flashed in her mind–she was certain her fangs had met Imagination’s skin, but they had sunk into nowhere. Perhaps she imagined it in the speed of the moment, but it made her feel a mixture of unease and excitement.
La-Iin waited there so long she was ready to leave, but soon enough the door opened and out peeked a familiar face, though now wearing casual clothes, glasses and with maroon-colored hair, La-Iin could still recognize it as Sale-Dessu.
“La-Iin,” he said quietly. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Why do you look like that?”
“An experiment,” he said. “What brings you here?”
“You know what does.”
“Just give me a moment and you can come on in, alright?”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes, but to her surprise it took shorter for Sale-Dessu to set up than it did for him to open the door. “Come on in, then.”
La-Iin smiled to herself as she and Bes-Isa went inside.

13.529.The Blood Tests

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 529
“The Blood Tests”

“Today is the day. Mama can’t stop me now! I will discover the extent of my blood powers!”
“That’s nice and all, but I just have one question: where are you going to get any worthwhile blood? The ones most likely to give you blood are both Normals. And that isn’t going to get you any results. Not to mention, would anyone else who cares about you want to? Sale-Dessu might be squeamish, San-Kyung would probably say no–“
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “It may sound difficult to you, Bes-Isa, but I have the perfect idea. You and Mama might think my memory is bad for a Vampire, but I don’t forget everything. I know exactly what I should do.”
“And what might that be? Mind cluing me in?”
“You’ll see, don’t worry.”

***

Mit-Sun rushed to the store, La-Iin in her hands. Her daughter was twitching and grey, her mouth wide open. She looked in terrible condition, and Mit-Sun cursed herself for not noticing earlier. ‘She developed that blood power not long ago. Of course she might start craving more blood!’
Once at the store, Mit-Sun picked up a few packs of blood boxes and took them to checkout. The woman behind the counter seemed surprised to see La-Iin, but she scanned the blood boxes regardless. Mit-Sun thanked her, walked a short distance from the store, then opened a package of Birdmix blood and gave it to her. La-Iin snatched the blood box away, drank it down with a speed that surprised Mit-Sun, then gave a wicked cackle.
“Huh?”
“Oh, Mama, you poor fool. The blood box run was pretty fun though.”
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened. “I–what?” Her shocked expression soon turned to a glare. “YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT WAS COMPLETELY USELESS!? YOU DUPED ME!?”
“Mama, there are people inside the store who can hear you,” she said, pointing at the building. Mit-Sun picked up La-Iin and the blood boxes and they returned home, Mit-Sun remaining silent the entire time. La-Iin had a bad feeling about what would happen once they arrived home.

Needless to say, Mit-Sun was none too pleased.
“Don’t ever dupe me like that again, La-Iin! What if someday you actually do get another bad blood craving!? Do you think I’ll believe you knowing you did something like this!? You could have just asked! We have a little extra vuyong!”
“It was more fun that way.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “Well, your fun’s come to an end. Get in your room and don’t come out until I say so. You hardly face any punishment for the things you do, well, not today!”
This had left La-Iin locked in her room, with Choungetsu sitting guard at her door. He seemed as happy as ever, and completely oblivious to what he was helping with.
“Mama is a fool. She thinks she’s trapped me in here. Well, I’m more powerful than I usually am. The lock is on the inside of my room. And I have my window! There’s nothing she can do to truly stop me.”
“I don’t care about how you got yourself in trouble. I want to hear about these blood tests. Did you succeed?”
“Yes, I got in trouble because it was a success.”
“Wha–so you didn’t let me see!?”
La-Iin sighed. “You don’t get it. I made Mama think I was having a bad blood craving and she rushed me to the store. Then she found out I was faking it when I finally got some blood. But I saw what type of blood it was–it was Birdmix! I only drank a small blood box’s worth instead of however much I drank from San-Kyung, but that’s good enough for me!”
“All of that made you miss the first part of the test: how long does it take for the power to kick in?”
“I think I know the answer to that already. When I drank San-Kyung’s blood it kicked in really fast. Therefore it must always kick in really fast! As in less than a minute fast, or maybe a minute…”
“Wow, I guess you really are taking this seriously. You know, this is the sort of thing Sale-Dessu might be all over.”
“Yeah, we should visit him again, but I want to do my own experiments first.” La-Iin began to write down on a piece of paper the few details of the power that she understood so far. Then she stood up and stared at her closet.
“What happens now?”
“You’ll see.”
La-Iin drew back on her memories of the powers she knew Birdmixes learned–the feather tornado, the speedbursters, the branch-balls. She focused and attempted to use a feather tornado, but instead ended up in a speedburster which sent her closet doors flying open.
“Oops. Well, it works!”
“What’s oops for? That looked pretty intentional.”
“Birdmixes have a power with feathers, but I guess I can’t use that.” La-Iin stared at her wings and sighed. “Oh well! I’ve seen that their power of speedbursting is one I can use to my advantage! So if I don’t have the means to use a feather tornado or a branch-ball, I’ll just keep speedbursting!”
“Would that really be such a good idea!?”
La-Iin didn’t listen. She began to speedburst around her bedroom, knocking over much of her furniture and sending papers flying. Bes-Isa was certain that if she could move on her own, she would have left the room at that moment.
La-Iin was in the midst of a rush, and was unable to notice the damage she was causing. ‘This power! It’s amazing! Who might have thought that a Vampire could use a Birdmix’s power with such ability!?’
Just as she was ready to stop speedbursting, the door opened and Mit-Sun stared on in horror as she watched La-Iin flip up her table and send papers flying all around the room, including into her face. La-Iin crashed into the wall, stood up, checked behind her and gasped at the sight.
“Where’s my research paper!?”
“La-Iin….”
Mit-Sun’s voice almost sounded like a growl. La-Iin was tempted to speedburst again, but she saw no way to escape even if she did.

“Mama wanted me to give her a chaaaance,” La-Iin grumbled. “She wanted to try and become a better mother, so she read me all that Makeshire stuff. But she’s just as shitty a mother as she’s always been!”
“Seriously, La-Iin, why did you expect anything better from her? Oh right–that Normal side of yours.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. She set a stray piece of paper on the table. “Oh, here’s the research paper!”
Grabbing a nearby pen, she began to scrawl down her newest findings. “My power kicks in quickly and seems to be fairly powerful even on just a blood box’s worth of blood. But I don’t know yet if that’s because the powers are supposed to be powerful.”
“Well, there’s some food for thought.”
“And there’s one other important thing I need to know–how long it lasts…I’ve been on the effects of the blood for two hours. I’m not going to speedburst inside the house again, but I should find out if it still works. I only know that it lasts for a little bit based on when I drank San-Kyung’s blood, but that was a lot of blood…”
“You’re putting an awful lot of thought into this, huh? Makes me almost want to take back all those times I called you stupid.”
“You know, I do think about things that matter to me. You think I’m a brainless little kid, well, I’ll show you!”
“Sheesh, La-Iin.”
La-Iin continued to tidy her room until she felt it was tidy enough. Then she opened the window and flew outside, heading for the backyard. Checking quickly to see if Sale-Dessu was in his, she took a deep breath, then began to speedburst.
She still was going incredibly fast and had trouble keeping herself stable, but she felt much slower than she had earlier. Grinding to a halt, she flew back up to her bedroom and jotted down the notes.
“There’s still so much more I need to learn about this power,” sighed La-Iin. “It would probably be good to find out how I do with all the species blood.”
“Now that sounds utterly impossible. Aren’t some species not so common here in Vaelyn? I’ve barely heard you talk about Bearpeople and I think I can count Goathoofs you’ve mentioned on two hands.”
“It might be difficult, but I’ll manage. And not all the rare species are going to be hard! At Malicerie there’s a stupid new girl who’s a Llamaki, and I barely saw any of them before her. I can suck that bitch and get revenge for her inconveniencing San-Kyung!”
“If San-Kyung actually accepted your feelings, I’d be scared for any girl who came within a five-inch radius of him.”
“Soon I’ll know all I need to. But for today, I have enough information. Now, I can go back to formulating my plans. That, and drawing.”
“Yeah, once you clean your room more.”
La-Iin snapped her fingers.

—–
The sun was beginning to set, and La-Iin had stepped outside once again to practice speedbursting. This time it had barely any effect and more or less propelled her forward a short distance before causing her to plummet to the ground.
‘Five hours. Not too bad. I wonder if drinking more blood counts as an extension. I bet it does.’
Even with the small amount of research she was allowed to do, La-Iin was immensely pleased. She had good feelings for the power’s potential off of what little she had learned and already ideas of how to apply it were building in her head.
La-Iin was barely able to keep her mind from wandering off in a daydream during dinner.
“…La-Iin? Hello? La-Iin?”

28.513.Spacebound

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 513
“Spacebound”

It was freezing cold outside, to the point where La-Iin felt as though her skin would harden from the exposure, and yet despite that, all the people around her were thoroughly enjoying themselves, seemingly oblivious to the cold.
Fer-Shi was playing with moondust, and Mit-Sun, Asul-Zenza, and Sale-Dessu were dancing to a melody Sale-Dessu had created using his powers. Nearby Fer-Shi, Ai-Reia was tracing mathematics into the moondust, and Choungetsu leaped around, looking more excited than ever. What surprised La-Iin most was the sight of San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina, who were wearing sunglasses and nothing else save for their underwear.
The sight and the sound of such cheerful people made her wonder how parts of the moon could ever become so desolate as to strand her away from family and potential friends. Now that part of her past didn’t matter–all around her were cheerful people who were enjoying their time on the moon thoroughly, without a care in the world.
“Whoa, aren’t those boys cold? Isn’t that orange one a pumpkin?”
“He is,” La-Iin said. She had her own questions about why they would be laying there almost naked, but before she could approach them, Ai-Reia growled at her.
“Watch where you’re walking! You stepped on my studies!”
“Why do you study in moondust?” La-Iin asked.
“What else is there to study on? Argh. Now I have to start all over.” She turned away from La-Iin and began to trace a new problem.
“Moondust sure is fun, but it doesn’t hold up very well!” Fer-Shi said. She was covered in moondust from nearly head to toe. “Wanna play with me, La-Iin? You can make some pretty amazing moondust castles!”
“Maybe later,” she said. Fer-Shi nodded. “Alright then! I’ll be waiting!” She went back to work on her moondust castle, shaping in small windows and soon adding small clumps of moondust inside of them that La-Iin was unsure of whether or not they were supposed to be people.
La-Iin stopped next to San-Kyung, who lowered his sunglasses. Dosa-Mina soon did the same. “Hello there, little Vampire girl! What’s up?”
“Why are you lying there naked?”
“We’re not naked. We have our underwear on.” San-Kyung said. “Now scram.”
“It’s too hot to be walking around in all of our clothes, don’t you think?”
“It’s always cold here! Are you crazy!?”
“Nope. It’s plenty hot here.” And with that, both boys lifted their sunglasses back up.
“Am I the only one here who thinks it’s cold?”
“It has been getting pretty hot lately,” Fer-Shi said.
“You must over-sensitive to any cold, then,” Ai-Reia sniffed.
“It feels plenty warm, La-Iin, sweetie. Maybe you’re just too adjusted to the cold?” Asul-Zenza suggested.
“I can’t tell the difference much. I spend all my time stuffed into your dress so I always feel your body heat.”
“I’m surprised that someone who’s wearing more clothes than most of us is cold,” Dosa-Mina sighed.
“…there sure aren’t many people here to give an opinion, are there,” La-Iin grumbled.
“Not since most people moved to Planet Jiunan, no,” Dosa-Mina said. “Say, that could become a problem soon. All of us on the moon could end up dying out. We might have to start repopulating soon. I’d do that with San-Kyung, but unfortunately two males aren’t compatible ninety-nine percent of the time.”
San-Kyung’s face went bright pink. “What!?”
“That could be a problem, considering most of you here are children,” Asul-Zenza said. “Mit-Sun, what about–”
“No.”
“I wasn’t going to suggest myself!”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “That you had to say that makes me think you were going to.”
“I–I don’t know if I could do that,” Sale-Dessu mumbled, twiddling his thumbs. “Maybe there’s something I could use to help that along, though…”
“I’m too young to do that,” Fer-Shi said. “And I think Ai-Reia is, too.”
“Hm.” La-Iin stared at San-Kyung. “Well, the day that I’m able to breed, I’ll gladly do that with you, San-Kyung.”
San-Kyung’s face turned red. “Why does everyone want to breed with me!?”
“Your genes must be irresistible!” Dosa-Mina said.
“What’s wrong with you!? You know, I’ve got a few questions to ask about that behavior of yours…”
Bored by the conversation, La-Iin walked over to Fer-Shi. “Let’s make that moondust castle now.”
“Alright!”
The two set to work on a large moondust castle, per La-Iin’s suggestion. While the two girls began to construct it, Ai-Reia gave them tips on how to hold up the construction.
“You know, if you were looking for help with constructing that, you should have come to me,” Mit-Sun said. “I used to work in construction.”
“How am I supposed to know that? You did that before I was born. And it’s not like you’ve been here for me the entire time.”
“What happened to you was not my fault!”
La-Iin huffed and went back to work on the moondust castle, with Ai-Reia and now Mit-Sun also coaching her. As the castle took shape, Choungetsu leaped over a few times to play around inside, and was always shooed out, running over to Asul-Zenza’s side.
The further along construction got, the more curious La-Iin was as to if whether or not San-Kyung might help, but after he had complained to Dosa-Mina, he had gone back to relaxing, though she noticed he was now wearing his shirt as well. Meanwhile, Asul-Zenza was now playing with Choungetsu, who was dirtied with moondust, and Sale-Dessu was casting aesthetic spells that enamored even Ai-Reia and Mit-Sun for a moment before they went back to work on the castle.
“I think we might be almost done! Thanks, La-Iin! This has been a lot of fun!” Fer-Shi said.
“That’s fine. You know, I’ve always wanted to rule over a planet with an iron fist. A moondust castle might be the perfect place to start. I can see it now–all of you, becoming my loyal servants, and in return I would help to produce more by utilizing San-Kyung’s DNA. Wow, it would be amazing.”
“Uh…? Well, I guess it might be pretty cool to be a Princess, but I think it’d also be really hard. Though I guess there aren’t many people on the moon.”
La-Iin gave Fer-Shi a quizzical look. “What made you think I wanted to be a Moon Princess?”
“Er, um…”
“Never mind.” She peeked out one of the windows of the moondust castle. “Life here has never been better, though. Everyone is always relaxed. It’s a lot better than spending your time alone on the moon.”
“La-Iin…”
She stared up, and recoiled at the bright light of the sun. “Was the sun always so close to the moon?”
“I wasn’t paying attention,” Fer-Shi said. She too flinched away. “But wow, it is really close now, isn’t it?”
“This must be why it’s so hot lately,” Sale-Dessu said. La-Iin noticed he had begun to make small decorations that he was sticking onto the moondust castle. “How have you not noticed this? Aren’t Vampires sensitive to the sun?”
“Aren’t Warlocks supposed to be blue?” La-Iin sneered.
“U-um, no…”
“I’ve heard of this before!” Dosa-Mina said, sitting up. “They say that over all planets, the sun is the true ruler–the place from which everything will return to. There’s been legends about the moon absorbing the sun for thousands and thousands of years!”
“I’ve heard of those before,” Ai-Reia said. “Didn’t those legends say that in the nine-thousandth-and-somethingth year of the moon, the sun would ultimately destroy it and be tamed for another nine-thousand and some years until it was again hungry for more?”
All of them fell silent.
“B-but that’s just an urban legend, isn’t it?” Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Come now, we’re the only people on the moon. We ought to make our own little legends instead of keep believing in old ones…”
“Yeah, that sounds ridiculous. The sun’s a big ball of fire. If that were the case it’d be totally unfair because pumpkin boy is immune to that stuff.”
“I’ve never seen any Animated Pumpkins living on the sun,” he scoffed. “In fact, I’ve barely met any others. Just those traitors who fled to Planet Jiunan…”
“I wouldn’t hold your breath,” Ai-Reia said. “Look! Doesn’t it look like the sun is progressively getting closer?”
“Maybe it’s our planet that’s getting closer,” Dosa-Mina said. “And it’s getting really hot!”
Sale-Dessu and Asul-Zenza lifted off the ground, and in an instant the planet exploded in screaming as they tried to keep their hold on the planet.
“Come into the moondust castle!” Fer-Shi cried out. Choungetsu dashed inside, followed by Ai-Reia, Mit-Sun, Sale-Dessu, Asul-Zenza, and then Dosa-Mina and San-Kyung, who had some difficulty fitting inside.
“This feels far too cramped.”
“What are we supposed to do!?” La-Iin hissed.
The sun began to hurtle towards the moon, and each of them closed their eyes shut, some praying that they would be safe and others preparing for the seemingly inevitable fate. When the sun reached close enough that even La-Iin could finally feel its heat, something dusty landed all around them.
It was the remnants of the moondust castle.
“Oh shit,” La-Iin said.

—–
La-Iin woke with a jolt. It was already a half-hour before she had to be at school, so running on fearful adrenaline, she dressed herself quickly and packed her supplies.
As she passed through the kitchen, she noticed that Mit-Sun had left a small meal for her. “You should have something to eat at school, you know.”
“Okay,” she said. “Mama, do you think that theory that the sun will eat the moon is true?”
“I’m chalking it up to crackpot. This planet will be eaten by the sun before the moon is. Besides, you never know what the world has to offer. We could all die tomorrow, or if that was the case, we could find a way to stop it way before it happens. Sorry, I just don’t like all these doomsday predictions. But even if it will happen, why does it matter to us? We’ll all be dead before then.”
La-Iin flapped her wings rapidly. ‘Says you!’ She kept the thought to herself and dashed off to school.

24.509.A Better Mother

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 509
“A Better Mother”

“Mit-Sun, let me just preface what I’m about to say with I love talking to you about this. It is a lot of fun to actually do something in the day aside from stay at home and work, even if it’s just walking and talking. But there’s something I’m a little concerned about.”
“I have a feeling I know what you’re going to say, Haner. But tell me. What is it?”
Uil-Cur’s wings twitched. “You’ve been talking to me a lot about La-Iin, and all the worries you have about her hating you, or fighting or harming you, or growing distant or power-hungry….you’ve basically told me everything that’s on your mind, or at least, it feels that way. And I’m glad you’ve felt comfortable enough with me to tell me all these things. But what concerns me is that you haven’t told me about any progress you’ve made with her. Didn’t I tell you that you should be trying to open up to her? I know I’m no authority on parenting and I barely know her, but it doesn’t seem like you’re trying at all.” He flinched. “Sorry if that sounded harsh.”
“No, something like that is exactly what I needed to hear. I haven’t been trying at all. Each time I have an idea, I take a backseat to someone else. It always feels like whenever something pops into my head, someone else comes along who wants to spend time with her and I end up passing her off onto them. I’m just worried.”
“What about now?”
“How La-Iin feels about me. I know we’ve had our close moments. But…I’m just worried about what she might say if I ask her. She’ll probably get pissed off or say I’m a bad mother just to spite me. I’m trying my hardest, but it feels like it isn’t enough.”
“You aren’t trying your hardest until you talk to her about this,” Uil-Cur said. “A-at least, that’s what I think. Well, you definitely have to try something!”
“I will. I’ll find it in me to talk to her, or at least do something with her. I have to try and better myself.”
Uil-Cur pat her on the back. “Just make sure to do it, Mit-Sun. Things won’t get a chance to work out if you don’t put in the effort.”
“I suppose you’re right, Haner.”

***

“Playing with your toys for the first time since when? This is a surprise.”
“Even someone like me needs a break from the everyday. Sometimes evil gets monotonous when you’re constantly thinking of fiery cities and people crying and screaming. But it’s still better than good. Everything good people like is the same and it’s so boring. Meanwhile, I’m just bored because I can’t do it yet and because I need a more creative suffering method.”
“…I just asked you a simple question.”
“I’m not always aware of when your questions have other questions behind them. Alright then, yes I am. I’m bored out of my mind and Mama went out with probably that stupid Haner. Someday I’ll show her. Maybe, just maybe, I could use him in my blood power tests.”
“Hoo boy, here we go again…”
“You shut up, Bes-Is–”
La-Iin flinched when her bedroom door opened. “Hello, La-Iin, I’m back.”
“Oh.” La-Iin glared at Choungetsu. “Keep him out of my bedroom!”
“Back away, Choungetsu. She doesn’t want you in her bedroom, and I don’t either.”
Choungetsu’s ears flattened to his head, but for once he seemed to listen, and walked away from the bedroom door with his tail drooping. Mit-Sun walked in.
“What do you mean, you don’t want him in here either? What are you planning, Mama!?”
“I’m coming in to talk to you.” She closed the door. “I’ve been meaning to talk with you about this for some time, but I kept putting it off because, well…I didn’t know how you’d feel about it.”
“If you have to say that, it’s probably bad. Leave me alone, Mama! I’m already bored enough to resort to these baby toys. Although they are pretty fun to act out things with. Maybe I should use them more.”
“You have a ton of time to keep playing with your toys, so hear me out this once, okay?” She sat down next to La-Iin’s table.
“Watch out, La-Iin! She has a serious look in her eyes! Here comes the dissuading of your evil!”
“No way, Mama! If you dare try to do that, I’ll show you my true might!”
“La-Iin, calm down! I’m not here to do anything like that. And what I want to talk about doesn’t have much to do with you. It has to do with me.”
“You?” La-Iin questioned. “What do you want?”
“You’re going to humor her?”
“I’m curious,” she whispered to her. “What?”
“I’ve been thinking about how I’ve done as a mother lately. I don’t think I do the best job I can sometimes, and–”
“That’s an understatement,” La-Iin scoffed.
“La-Iin! Could you be quiet and hear me out? I want to try and become a better mother, but I’m well aware there are people you like better. Why would you want to walk downtown with me when you have Asul-Zenza to fly you anywhere your heart desires? Why would you want to species study with me when you could go over to the Sanhuuns’ house and have fun with Fer-Shi? What’s so fun about window-shopping for dresses when you can do whatever it is you did with San-Kyung and Dslellular? I keep being passive like that, and I feel like that’s damaging our relationship. But at the same time, would you really be grateful to spend time with me when it took time out of the day that you could spend with somebody else?”
She glanced down at her knees. “I want to know how you feel, La-Iin. How do you think I’m doing as a mother? Do you think it was right of me to do what I did and take a backseat? If there’s something you want to tell me, please do. To be honest, when I had you, and I think you know this, but I wasn’t ready yet, and I was in the middle of a breakup with Asul-Zenza. I was panicking because I couldn’t take a job because I needed to take care of you, I didn’t want Asul-Zenza in your life, and my Father lives too far away. I didn’t know Leirhyn or Haner back then. And, well, at least in Haner’s case, back then it barely would have mattered…
“But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. You’re opinionated and smarter than I’d expect for a seven-year-old half-Vampire, or a seven-year-old at all. So tell me, what do you think? How do you think I can improve? And what would you like to do?”
La-Iin’s stare was blank, though Mit-Sun couldn’t tell if it was her natural expression or if there was something else on your mind.
“It’s pretty stupid to come to me for advice on this, Mama. You’re the Mama in this situation so you shouldn’t be asking me.”
“I know I shouldn’t. But if there’s something I’m doing wrong, I want to know what it is. And I figure the best person to hear that from is you.”
“Hmph. You say you try to be a good Mama, but I disagree. It’s not just because you’re a goody-goody and I’m evil. I think everyone messes up with that stupid combination. No, you didn’t hear me out early enough. You sent me to stupid Desutrap. And it’s a good thing because I met Fer-Shi, but other than that, it was horrible. And I don’t think you know how much time you spend doing work around the house or stupid at-home work-work instead of actually talking to me.”
Mit-Sun glanced away from her. “I think it’s a good thing that you don’t always intrude. But when you do, it’s in the most annoying ways possible. I don’t care about going to the store. You trust me enough to send me off with just Choungetsu and to leave me home alone to go out with Haner, but the store is different for some reason. And I’m a good flier now, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to fly in the house.”
“I don’t think even avian families let their children fly in the house,” Mit-Sun said. La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “Go on.”
“You say you’re trying your best, but I don’t see it that way.” La-Iin’s shoulders slumped. “If you’re upset that we’re not close, take a good look at yourself. For a long time, all I had was you, Bes-Isa, Choungetsu, and for some of that time I had Fer-Shi, too. I didn’t have many friends when I was littler. But now I have more friends, better friends, friends who are evil just like me. I have people who are helping me strive towards my goal. And when I had to rely on you, you wasted those chances, and only now you’re starting to warm up to Dami. You have to face facts, Mama. You messed up early.”
Hearing La-Iin’s words felt like a sting to Mit-Sun’s heart, and she tried her hardest to keep from crying and to stop her voice from wavering.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, La-Iin,” she said quietly.
“Instead of saying sorry, fix it, then. You’re the one who has limited time to do that, not me. I don’t hate you, Mama. But I’m not going to be the one to give you a chance. Do that yourself.”
“I will, then,” she said. “Thank you for talking to me. I’m going to put what you said into mind. With that being said, is there any place you’d like to go?”
“For now it will be better if you just leave me to play with my toys,” La-Iin said.
“I will. But I’m going to try harder from now on, La-Iin. You’ll see it soon enough.”
“Huh.”
Mit-Sun stood up and walked out her room, closing the door behind her. “I wonder if she’ll actually keep up with that, or if she’s just lying.”
“Do you trust her to?”
“No. But there’s a stupid part of me that wants her to.”

—–
“So, how did it go?”
“It was painful, like I thought. La-Iin really doesn’t have the most positive opinion of me. But instead of let it get me down, I figured I just have to try. There are people she loves that are more good than I am. If they can manage that, then I can, too. I just have to put in the extra effort.”
“That’s the spirit, Mit-Sun. I’m glad you finally made a move forward.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Me too.”

Mit-Sun’s words were still on La-Iin’s mind even later in the day.
“So, about that stupid part of you that wants to trust her…”
“Be quiet, Bes-Isa.”
“No, really, I’m curious. Why?”
“It would be nice to have another ally, you know. And I have to live with Mama. It might be better to do that if I liked her better.”
“Sure that isn’t your half-Normal side talking?”
“I knew you were going to say something like that,” La-Iin hissed. “Be quiet, Bes-Isa!” She snapped her fingers, and Bes-Isa fell to the ground.
‘I’ll give Mama a chance. We’ll see if she can redeem herself.’

23.508.The Despair Surrounding You

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 508
“The Despair Surrounding You”

“I’m so sick of Mama hanging out with Haner!” La-Iin complained. “I don’t think she notices that stupid guy has ulterior motives. Well, I do, and I don’t like them!”
“What exactly are you talking about? What’s a ‘Haner’?”
“He’s a stupid Siren guy who works at the same place Mama does,” La-Iin grumbled. “I’ve seen the way he talks to her and interacts with her. Either he’s in love with her, or he’s trying to kill her so he can eat her. Either one is bad for me, so it doesn’t matter even if Haner is evil, I can’t stand him!”
“A Pureblood male Siren? Aren’t those kind of rare?”
“Focus on that more than the important part, why don’t you.”
“I don’t care about things that have to do with that woman all that much, in case you hadn’t noticed. And I couldn’t care less if she ends up with some other guy or gets eaten by him, although I question this guy’s taste either way. Why would this affect you anyway?”
“Nobody lays hands on Mama except me. I haven’t gotten my payback for the things she did to me yet. But that’s only if he wants to eat her. If he’s in love with her, the last thing I need is for him to try and take Dami’s place. I hate him already. If he’s evil, he’s good at hiding it, and he’s super-annoying just live rival-boy.”
“Didn’t you say that boy was a half-Siren? Geez, you don’t have any luck with male Sirens, do you?”
“I’m gradually becoming convinced that male Sirens are as bad as Normals. Or maybe it’s just all Sirens. Their whole species is built off of being petty evil or acting like victims because they can’t sing. They’re so overdramatic. Either way, I–”
“La-Iin?” Mit-Sun called. La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “Fer-Shi’s here to see you!”
“Fer-Shi? Why’s she here? She usually tells me if she’s coming over.”
“Maybe for a friendly weekend get-together. Maybe she’ll cool your head after your rantings about Haner.”
La-Iin head downstairs, flying part the way, until she had reached the door. Fer-Shi was standing there with a smiel on her face.
“Hi, La-Iin,” she said.
“Hello, Fer-Shi. Why did you come here?”
“I wanted to talk to you, but I thought this was important and I should say it to you in person instead of over the phone. So I asked my parents for permission to come over! Sorry for dropping by uninvited.”
“You’re good, Fer-Shi. At least you called me.”
“I know, but I should have called La-Iin, too.”
“You knew about this? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You seemed busy upstairs yelling at Bes-Isa and I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t.” La-Iin beckoned to Fer-Shi. “Fine, you can come inside. But I’m starving. Letting out your anger can be pretty exhausting.”
“What are you so angry about?”
“I’ll tell you later.” She stared at Mit-Sun. “Make us a snack, wench!”
“Try talking to me nicer and maybe I will.”
“Never!”
“Then no deal.”
“May we please have a snack, Miss Cahongyun?” Fer-Shi asked.
“I know you probably want that snack, Fer-Shi, but it’s not going to mean anything unless I hear it from La-Iin.”
“What, ‘May we please have a snack, Miss Cahongyun?'” She said in a mocking tone. Fer-Shi glared at her.
“…no. But that might be the best I’m getting out of you.”
“It is now that you’ve said that.”
Mit-Sun groaned and rolled her eyes. “Fine, I’ll make the stupid snack. But you have to quit treating me like garbage.”
“I’ll do that when you quit letting yourself be treated like food!”
Both Mit-Sun and Fer-Shi looked entirely confused, but La-Iin was too furious about the thought of Haner to care.

***

La-Iin led the way upstairs, a bowl of cut bananas in her arms. Fer-Shi followed close behind her.
“Fer-Shi, I’ve been meaning to ask you something about food.”
“What’s that?”
“Do you like druggy mushrooms too?”
“What!?”
“Mushrooms are your favorite, right? Do you like druggy mushrooms?”
“Would you like a mincemeat pie with dog poop in it? Of course not!”
“Druggy mushrooms and pooped-in mincemeat pie are two different beasts.”
She opened the door to her bedroom and set down the bowl of bananas, popping a chunk in her mouth. Fer-Shi did likewise.
“Fer-Shi, while it’s nice to see you, I don’t have any blood to drink to show off my new power if that’s what you wanted to see. And anyway, I have to make plans with that power first, so I wouldn’t have anything to show you anyway.”
“Plans with…your power?” Fer-Shi looked genuinely confused. “Um, anyway, that’s not why I wanted to come by today. It has nothing to do with your new power. It just has to do with talking.”
La-Iin blinked. “What’s so important that you had to come over here for it?”
“Well, I’ve been worried about you. Did I tell you that when you were over at my house? You focus a lot of time on the same few things, La-Iin. And I’ve seen how San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina act sometimes.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, you focus a lot of time on ruling the world and evil, and on San-Kyung and getting him to love you, and you spend a lot of time with him and Dosa-Mina.”
“Not as much time as you think.”
“It’s still a lot of time. You spend time around them and around Ai-Reia. Are you gonna be okay? Or are you gonna let all this negative stuff destroy you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You focus on ruling the world and making it like hell and keeping slaves. You spend time around a boy who’s very angry, a boy who seems sad, and a girl who can’t stand you. Sometimes, anyway. And I’m worried that you’re gonna end up getting depressed. That’s why I wanted to talk to you today, because I’m worried about that happening to you.”
“It’s fine that you’re worried, Fer-Shi, but I’m okay,” La-Iin said. “These are the things that sustain me. If I couldn’t strive towards ruling the world, or towards getting San-Kyung’s love, what else would I strive for? You know how many years I’m going to live. I’m evil and I need a goal that will last me all that time, and what’s better than ruling the world?”
“I don’t know, something a little less…large-scale?”
“You’re not going to live as long as me and you’re not evil, so maybe you don’t see it that way. But I’ve wanted to rule the world for a long time. Not only that, but it’s something I can keep doing for a long time. I can encompass every aspect of the evil I want to unleash on this world by ruling it. So why wouldn’t I take this chance?”
“Um…”
“I could keep up everything without wanting to rule the world or without San-Kyung, or without you and Bes-Isa and even this new power. But the more important things you take away from me, the less happy I am. So it’s not that I’m going to become negative because I spend a lot of time around these people or I focus on my powers. It’s the opposite. This power has made me happier than a lot of things recently, and anyway everyone has days where they’re upset for no reason. I had a bad one, once…but this keeps me going past those. I like striving for this, because it makes the victory sweeter.”
“…”
“What about you? Don’t you want to strive for something?”
“…I do, I really do, I just don’t know what I should,” she said. “I came here wanting to help you from getting too negative about all the things that were going on around you, but all it did was remind me that you have all this conviction about your dreams, and I don’t…I don’t know what I should do or what I would have the talent to do. And I know you could never help me with this, but it just reminded me of how I feel. I’m really jealous of you when it comes to that, La-Iin.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be unless you want to rule the world.”
“It’s how certain you are about it, not your actual goal.”
“I’m certain because I know it’s what I want to do. And maybe some people say it’s unrealistic, but I’m going to be alive in a hundred years and further on than that, even longer than most Vampires since I’m half-Normal. I have the time, and with this new power and my transformation, I know I can do it. Maybe think about that instead of worrying about me getting upset.”
“I don’t know if I can…”
“But all I can tell you is, I’m not going to be upset. If I get San-Kyung to reciprocate, that’s all the better for me. When I finally rule the world, I’ll be on top of it. And this new power, once I figure out the ins and outs of it, will be one of my best assets.”
La-Iin popped another banana into her mouth.
“If you say so, La-Iin. I’m glad to hear that I didn’t really need to worry. But the moment you prove me wrong, I’m going to do everything I can to help you, okay?”
“You only need to worry about that if San-Kyung starts dating Dosa-Mina. If you can keep that from happening, I will be okay.”

—–
“You know, I suppose I should have figured another driving reason behind your wanting to rule the world was because of your lifespan, but I never really consciously figured it.”
“Well, you should have. I thought it was obvious.”
“It is, now that I think about it. When you’ve lost most of the people you love, you have something to focus on. Keep making the world suck more. You have big aspirations, La-Iin. And whatever you say, they are pretty unrealistic. You sound like you plan to either go one-woman against the world or with San-Kyung in tow. It sounds doomed to fail. Don’t you think you’ll need more people on your side?”
“I’ll get more people on my side if I need them or if I seek them out. Ai-Reia was actually supposed to be one of them, before she ended up the way that she did. But right now, while I figure out my new power, I don’t have an actual plan. So only time will tell.”
“Just make sure you don’t try to rule the world in this plan-less state of yours.”
“Do you think I’m stupid?”
“Yeah, well, sometimes.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes before sticking Bes-Isa into what remained of the banana chunks.

22.507.Witness to Darkness

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 507
“Witness to Darkness”

“My new power is amazing, Dami. When you tried to use it the other day, it didn’t really look strong. But even if I haven’t mastered it yet, I have a ton of time to master it. It already seems really strong already. I have a good feeling about this power.”
“You just can’t shut up about your new power for two seconds, can you?” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Shut up, Mama!” La-Iin hissed. “Anyway, I’ve been thinking of ways to…incorporate it. No, Dami, I’m not gonna tell you how.”
Mit-Sun felt slightly concerned as she listened to La-Iin talk to Asul-Zenza over the phone. Ever since her blood power had developed, she had been talking about it nonstop, pestering Mit-Sun to go out and buy blood and attempting to use what remained of the effects San-Kyung’s blood had had on her. And though she was excited and happy for her, she felt concerned about its effects.
‘She’s developed her powers so early now. Are there even any other major powers she needs to develop? She had V-Puppetry before she was one year old! Okay, so it’s possible some of these are developing earlier because she’s half-Normal. I get that. So why are they still so early? Should she really have this power at seven even if she is progressing quickly?’
“I’ll talk to you again soon, Dami. And next time you see me, I’ll show you something really amazing!” She hung up the phone. “Mama, why’d you have to butt your way into the conversation? Nobody told you you could be a part of it!”
“I wasn’t trying to make myself a part of it,” she said. “I didn’t even say that to you.”
“Well, why were you watching me the whole time!?”
“I’m just out here.”
“Mama, you can be really annoying sometimes,” she hissed. “And besides, this is my biggest power yet. Flying is amazing, and so is bloodsucking, and I was too young to care about V-Puppetry. Think about what I can do with this power! Just by drinking the blood of another species I can wield their powers! Werewolves and Bearpeople are known for being strong, and I just love the powers of an Animated Pumpkin, it’s so thrilling to be able to use those powers. And that’s not to mention that there’s always the blood of a Witch I could drink.”
Mit-Sun flinched at the dark look in La-Iin’s eyes. “Sale-Dessu has shown me some amazing things while I’ve been over at his house. Witches can do a lot. With those powers, who knows what I might be able to do? I might be able to make some of these temporary powers permanent! But even if I can’t, the abilities that Witches have are so massive and so immensive that my plans for the future are going to have to be totally reworked.”
She grinned. “I knew this power was coming and I knew of its ability. I figured it would find its way into my future some way or another, and I would plan for it when it came. But I never imagined that I might need to totally rework my plans for the future just to accommodate this power. I need to plan my intakes carefully and what I do with the limited time. And I also need to check how long it takes the powers to wear off. But this might be just thing I was missing. The thing that fills in all those holes in my plans!”
‘She’s really determined to use this.’ Mit-Sun was startled. The tone in La-Iin’s voice, the look in her eyes–they all seemed much more serious and confident than usual. She was used to the confidence with which La-Iin would speak of her plans for the future, but the chill her certainty sent up her spine was new.
“You really are excited about this, aren’t you,” Mit-Sun said.
“If you hadn’t noticed that until now, you must be blind. I’m more than excited. And I’ll look for every last bit of vuyong so I can buy my own blood! Better yet, I’ll threaten them with my transformation and steal the blood! Although, San-Kyung trusts me. I’m sure he would get me blood if I begged enough. Or if not him, I could find someone else. Agh, why even bother about thinking things over in a goody-goody way? I have this power now! I’m unstoppable!”
“La-Iin, you’re letting this get to your head,” Mit-Sun snapped. “Even with that power, you’re not unstoppable. If you do something risky with that power, or if you use it on someone dangerous and it wears off, what are you going to do? Didn’t you mention something once about wanting to put thought into your plans? This isn’t thought–this is rushing into things.”
La-Iin’s eyes narrowed. “While you make a good point, Mama, my excitement comes from more than just the fact that I got this power, I hope you know. There’s also the fact that with this power, a lot of my limits have been removed. I may need blood to activate it, but after that it activates pretty much immediately. Lately what’s been on my mind is the fact that I have these limitations. It gets in my way! But now I have something to help me. And that excites me.”
“I understand that, but don’t you think you’re going a little overboard? That power’s only temporary, and you seem to need a lot of blood to actually get a good effect! There may be a lot of blood in the world, but it would cost a lot of vuyong to get it. Not to mention, if you really did steal it, you would be in a lot of trouble. You’re not all-powerful because of this, La-Iin.”
“You just want to find any reason to bring me down from my high. I know you don’t like the fact that I’m evil, but you’ll have to live with it. If it bothers you so much, I’ll go on about it to someone who will actually listen! But mark my words, Mama. I will show you once and for all that this power isn’t to be underestimated! If there’s something you doubt, tell me and I will show you this is the reason I’m proud I’m a Vampire!”
La-IIn flew off. Mit-Sun felt no need to call after her. “You mean half-Vampire,” she muttered.
‘This will all wear off though, right? Maybe I am being unfair. It would be pretty exciting to develop a power you thought you’d get later early, or at least I’d figure it would be. So I guess I can understand her excitement there. But then, what if that’s the wrong way to think about it? She’s still so young, and with the way her morals are skewed, what if she really does let this power go to her head? All I can think of is that it would be a bad thing for her, or a bad thing for other people!’
She held onto her head. ‘All the other problems I’ve had with La-Iin are ones I could talk to other people about. But would anyone understand the worries I have with this one?’

***

“Mama may not think this power is anything special, but I know it might just patch up the holes in some of my plans. Already I’m having to work on a brand-new one just to think of what I could do with these powers. After all, with what I can do with it, why wait to use it until after I’ve ruled the world?”
“Don’t you think if you applied this new power to your old plans, it might do a better job of patching up holes?”
“Like I said, why leave it alone that long? Besides, with all the changes I could envision, coming up with a brand-new plan was just the simpler idea. Now here’s the question I want to ask you–do you think Sale-Dessu would give me a can of his blood if I asked?”
“With the way he acts, I doubt it, and not just because you have nefarious plans in mind.”
“Damn it.”
“This power does sound pretty amazing, though. I’ve got to hand it to Vampires, they’ve got a really overpowered ability.”
“It’s the greatest power I can think of. Witches and Warlocks might think they’re great, but we can copy their powers too. The only thing is, it lasts for such a short time, and I drank a lot of San-Kyung’s blood yesterday. I can’t really come up with these plans until I know how long it lasts for, and how much blood I need. I need to start building a blood stock, but doing that sounds like it would be difficult.”
“Blood DOES sour after time…”
“And with Mama being the way she is right now, I can’t rely on her. I can’t rely on Fer-Shi ’cause she doesn’t have any powers. And as much as I’d like to suck San-Kyung again, I don’t want to suck him dry. He’s too delicious for me to want to stop at a little, but I’m not going to be his killer. Nobody is on my watch. Hm. I wonder if I could get rival-boy to help me, then? His powers sound pretty okay. Actually pretty good, but that stays between you and me.”
“How exactly could it get out?”
“And he does like species study. He considers me useless right now, but I could give him a good reason to use me for research. Only, I’m not sure how conscious he would be after how much I would suck from him, and it might be difficult to get him to agree. He’s really tall and powerful. He could push me off easily. And if San-Kyung got all light-headed like that when I sucked him, how much could I do to rival-boy before he becomes totally useless? He’s smaller than San-Kyung.”
“Just height-wise, or weight-wise too?”
“I’m not paying attention to his weight.”
“I suppose you wouldn’t. Just one little tip I wanted to give you, after listening to all this.”
“What’s that?”
“Plan carefully. Like you said, this power could very well be the thing that enables you to take over the world like you planned, but you have to plan for its shortcomings, and you sound ready to rush into things. If you handle things like that, then you’ll end up failing. I’m not telling you this to try and dissuade you, if that’s what you think. I would honestly rather see you succeed. Your world might be an interesting one and besides, with you so busy with your family life, maybe you’d finally let me become autonomous–after all, nobody would be able to care about the fact that a V-Puppet’s walking the streets.”
“We’ll see about that, Bes-Isa. After all, you can be pretty pushy about these sorts of things. But you are right. It will take time to figure out all the things I need to know about my blood power. I have to take it slowly and figure out these sorts of things one at a time. …it really sounds annoying to wait, though.”
“It will pay off. And I know you hate hearing this, but you DO have a ton of time to figure it all out. You’re just seven. If you take it one day at a time, hell, maybe even one week, you’d probably have it by the time you’re eight if not before that.”
“You’re right,” she sighed. “But now I need to plan what to figure out first.”
“The way you plan makes me wonder if you have OCD.”
‘Still….what Bes-Isa said, that was a lot like what Mama said, wasn’t it?’

—–
“I’m sorry to break into your day for this, Haner. I just needed to get it off my chest. I thought about talking to my Father or Leirhyn, but they don’t get how La-Iin is sometimes…I couldn’t even bring myself to tell you all of what’s going on, so I wouldn’t be able to tell them anything. I’m sure this is an inconvenience…”
“You’re never an inconvenience to me, Mit-Sun! You are my dearest friend, at least in my eyes. You could tell me anything and I’d listen to it all the way through. So never say that again.”
“I’ll try,” she sighed. “Haner, you really are a good person to talk to. I’m glad you were so pushy about becoming friends. I think your friendship has been a good thing for me this year.”
Uil-Cur looked away from her. “I’m glad to hear that. If I can do even the littlest thing for you, that makes me more happy than…well, it just makes me happy.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks.”

10.495.Manic Plans for World Domination

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 495
“Manic Plans for World Domination”

“Bes-Isa, how involved do you want to be when I rule the world?”
“I want to be autonomous and take your women slaves for myself. But that’s just me.”
La-Iin glared. “Aside from that?”
“Do you mean how much input I want to have? A lot, duh. I’m a better friend to you than that San-Kyung boy and yet you plan on instating him as your second-in-command. I don’t think that’s fair. And anyway, why are you asking me this?”
“Lately I’ve been thinking about my plans for world domination.”
“Aren’t you always?”
“They’re the only thing I’ve thought about every day for as long as I can remember. Not even Fer-Shi or San-Kyung has reached that point. Not even you.”
“Hey!”
“I’ve been searching for holes to patch up. I try to put as much time into thinking about it as possible so that I can have the ultimate plan when I finally get to rule the world. I’ve been studying what worked and what didn’t in the past. I’ve been looking for what has worked. And I’ve been trying to make sure my plans have no holes, but I find new ones all the time!”
“Like what? And didn’t you say you were searching for holes?”
“I’m searching for holes, but that doesn’t mean I like finding them,” La-Iin said. “And who said I would tell you about the holes I found?”
“I thought I was going to get to hear your awesome new plan for world domination. It’s not like I can blab it anyway. If I tried, you could just send me straight to sleep, simple as that.”
“That is a good point,” La-Iin mused. “Alright then. I won’t tell you the holes I found in my own plans, but I’m going to tell you some of the problems I have. And you can tell me a plan you think could work and I’ll tell you the holes in that plan.”
“This sounds too complicated. I’m going to sleep. Night.”
“It’s daytime,” La-Iin said bitterly.
“I’m well-aware.”
She scoffed. “Give me your plan.”
“Okay, what about if you become the leader of Vaelyn. The leader of Vaelyn may have restrictions, but she also has a lot of control over ALL Vaelyn. Well, except for the Northern part, anyway.”
“I’ll control them eventually. Go on.”
“You could probably easily cheat your way there, not to mention you’d have the genuine support of Fer-Shi, and maybe that woman and San-Kyung. Something tells me Sale-Dessu doesn’t care about who is the leader of Vaelyn.”
“I don’t either. Unless it’s me. Go on.”
“Once you’re at that position of power, all you need to do is take down the people whose power over Vaelyn rivals yours. Then voila! You have control over all Vaelyn. You could start wars with the other countries and take them for your own!”
La-Iin could almost see herself as ruler of Vaelyn, discarding papers from her desk and flying out a window to lead troops into battle. It was an intriguing idea, but La-Iin shook her head.
“There are some glaring flaws with that plan, Bes-Isa.”
“What!?”
“First off, I don’t have the patience to wait for stupid people to make me leader of Vaelyn. I would want to cheat like you said. But if they found out I cheated, it would be that much harder to try and become leader of Vaelyn again. And I also don’t know what species the people who would have power like me might be. Even if they were all Normals, they might overtake me in sheer numbers.”
“Then you have your army of friends.”
“I doubt Mama or Fer-Shi or Sale-Dessu would help me. San-Kyung maybe, but depending on when I went against them how much help he would be would vary. And anyway, the people of Vaelyn are little weaklings for the most part. Some people might boycott my war. And I don’t know how many people other countries have.” She huffed. “Besides, I think politics are stupid.”
“Ugh.”
“But in exchange for your useless suggestion, I’ll tell you a problem I have. Someday, San-Kyung and I will have children, and–”
“It still astounds me how much confidence you have in that idea.”
La-Iin glared at her. “Anyway, I’ve seen how attached he is to rival-boy. At first I thought my wiles would send him away from his side and he’d leave him behind even if he still wanted to be his friend. But now I know that’s not the case. He and rival-boy are far too attached. If I couldn’t do anything because I was gonna have a baby, he might instate rival-boy in a high place of power! I’m always higher than him, but I don’t want to get in a stupid fight that slows down our takeover of the world just because he did something stupid. And who’s to say he won’t have an affair?”
“Why…why do you care about all this?”
“I’ve put a lot of thought into this plan, Bes-Isa. If he had an affair, I’d–I’d cut off his genitals!”
“…ouch.”
“I don’t care.”
“How are you going to get more babies, then?”
La-Iin blinked. “He doesn’t need his genitals to make babies.”
“For some reason, I thought you knew how this worked already. But then again, you ARE seven. So what you know already is pretty astounding…”
“What are you talking about?”
“Nothing. Anyway, I have another plan.”
“Yes?”
“Perhaps instead of being blatantly evil, you should put on a good act so that people will trust you. They trust you, then you turn against them once you have their approval. Use them to help you conquer the world, in the process of telling them that what they are doing is for the better good. Vaelyn has a higher good count than it does evil, doesn’t it?”
“I think Mama said there are mostly neutrals. But evil is always in rare supply…besides, there’s holes with that plan too, and not just that I’d never be able to keep up a good act.”
“Are you SURE that isn’t the only hole?”
“Yes. Ai-Reia doesn’t trust me at all. If I put on a good act, she’d turn people against me and she’d never believe me even if she didn’t. She’s a problem I have too. She’ll try as hard as she can to keep me from ruling the world. It’s a shame because I really thought she was going to be a great ally. But I have Sale-Dessu for that now.”
“Are you sure about that? You always made it sound like they would serve vastly different roles.”
“They would, but they are–or would be–allies all the same. Do you have anything else? Your plans are bad, Bes-Isa! You’d fail at ruling the world automatically!”
“Hey, you shut up! I’m evil in a different way than you are. My ambitions are lower because I’m trying to be realistic. Too many evil people were affected by the conquering ambitions of the early evil people and the evil people in fiction. I think you’re one of them!”
La-Iin gasped. “How could you say that!? So you think I should waste my thousand years on doing petty deeds!? No! The one good thing about all these years I have is that it gives me plenty of time to try–and once I succeed, plenty of time to rule!”
“Yes, but what does it matter? The world was rebuilt after the World Wars. Things have gone back to normal. A hundred-some-odd year rule would probably be fixed up by the goody-goodies of the future world as well, once you dropped dead.”
“My children will rule in my stead.”
“Assuming they don’t end up goody-goodies themselves.”
“Shut up! What’s wrong with having high ambitions anyway!? If you and I were goody-goodies and I wanted to be just like Usl-Thaehey, would you say that’s out of reach and I should be more realistic!?”
“There’s nothing wrong with having high ambitions. The only people who usually say such things are ironically goody-goodies. I’m just saying, becoming a singer-idol-model whatever thing that Usl-Thaehey is has GOT to be easier than ruling an entire planet, and that’s your goal, isn’t it? Not just to rule Vaelyn?”
“Yes, that is my goal. And I am being realistic, you know. I know some of my allies are going to die on me and I also know that I have a thousand years to put towards the pursuit of ruling the world. If I don’t succeed in the first hundred, I’ll focus on building my family with San-Kyung instead. But I think San-Kyung wants to rule the world too. He has to be even more realistic than me, though, because he won’t live that long.” She sighed. “Unfortunately.”
“You know, while you were talking about San-Kyung’s lifespan I was thinking about something. What if you DID become like Usl-Thaehey?”
“Now you’re trying to tell me to change my dream! It won’t work, Bes-Isa! I will rule the world someday!”
“No, you don’t get it! What if you become like Usl-Thaehey, loved by many? She had a manager who was with her when she came to the house, right?”
“I think that manager guy is always with her.”
“Yeah! So what you do is, you make Sale-Dessu your manager. And he’s a powerful Warlock. He could probably brainwash the masses into being your mindless slaves. Usl-Thaehey is so popular she travels the whole world round! By the time they snapped out of the brainwash, if they ever did, there would be nothing they could do to stop you!”
“I think that’s the best idea you’ve had so far,” La-Iin said with a smirk. “But there’s still problems with it, and do you know what those are?”
“What now?”
“Sale-Dessu is so stupidly shy that he’d never go along with it, and even then he said he wouldn’t be willing to do anything evil for me. And the goody-goodies of the world aren’t all stupid. They’d probably notice what we were doing before we conquered all of the world. Not to mention the ones who wouldn’t be my fans.”
“I suppose you have a point.”
“But I’ll give you something. This last idea of yours is making me think more on Sale-Dessu’s role in my world domination plans. He will be a helpful asset if I can find the right way to make use of him, and a way to get him to be willing to do all this. I’m sure I’ll find something. Perhaps Sale-Dessu is the key I’ve been searching for to fill those holes.”
“I’m glad to have helped you come up with an idea, but I’ve got a question. What’s gonna happen to Eul-Bok?”
“As far as I’m concerned, you can have him.”

—–
The city was a cesspool of destruction–people were crammed into cages and buildings had collapsed in on themselves no matter where one looked. The streets were cracked, the smell of blood and charred buildings was overpowering, and the cries of scared young children created an ear-splitting cacophony.
Night had fallen over the streets of Bledger, and La-Iin had finished her rounds for the night and was ready to turn in, tired from the afternoon and early night spent sowing more destruction and taking care of her and San-Kyung’s baby, Chung-Ae. San-Kyung had already fallen fast asleep, and La-Iin took that chance to leave the bedroom and head for Sale-Dessu’s chambers.
“How are you, Sale-Dessu?”
“I had better days before you ruled the world,” he rasped. “But I’m managing. La-Iin, may I please see Eul-Bok again?”
“He’s down in the torture chambers with Dosa-Mina. You’ll have to wait until his punishment has been served.”
Sale-Dessu bowed his head.
“Your powers thoroughly impress me though, Sale-Dessu,” she said. “And I enjoy seeing how you’ve progressed. I know there’s not much for you to work with in this castle. You have been such a help to me when it comes to ruling the world, and I’m sure you’d be willing to help if I asked you to watch Chung-Ae as well.”
Sale-Dessu didn’t respond.
“I don’t like pardoning people, but you almost deserve it, I think,” she said with a smile. “So if you keep up the good work, you’ll get good things coming your way. If that keeps you assisting me, I’ll do anything you ask.”
“Please return Eul-Bok to me,” he pleaded.
“Someday soon, you’ll see him again. But that day isn’t today. I will cut you this deal, however. I’ll talk with Bes-Isa tomorrow about lessening his sentence. It’s not as if he was as much of a pain to me as Dosa-Mina was, anyway.”
“Please.”
“Don’t beg so much. I don’t like begging.” She waved. “Well, be seeing you, Sale-Dessu. Keep up the good work.”
“…I will.” La-Iin barely caught his quiet voice over the squeak of the door as she shut it tight.