12.650.To Utilize a Warlock’s Ability

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

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

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

***

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

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

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29.637.Research Results

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 637
“Research Results”

After La-Iin arrived home from school on Tuesday, she heard something tapping against her window.
“What’s that annoying noise?” Bes-Isa moaned. Curious herself, La-Iin peeked out the window. She opened it up once she noticed Eul-Bok, covered from head-to-toe in thick clothing, holding a wand out of a window.
“What do you want?” La-Iin called out.
“Not so loud!” He said, his voice hushed but not in a whisper. “Father wants you for something. He says it’s important. He asked me to tell you about it. He’s really exhausted.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened and she gasped.
“What is it?”
“Sale-Dessu has something for me.” She levitated Bes-Isa to her side. ‘Could it be…?’
She smiled to herself, a wicked smile.
“Someone’s looking evil.”
“I feel evil,” La-Iin said. She dashed down the stairs, flying only briefly to keep herself from falling when she tripped. She caught Choungetsu’s attention on her way down, and he barked at her.
“Quiet, Choungetsu!” She hissed. Choungetsu whimpered and cowered. She ignored him and dashed past the kitchen.
“What’s the hurry, La-Iin?” Mit-Sun asked. But La-Iin didn’t pay attention to her either. She continued onward until she was outside, and then until she was in front of the door to the Astineth house. She tried to open the door, and when it didn’t budge she started to bang wildly on it, catching the attention of one of her neighbors.
“Not so loud!” Eul-Bok hissed. La-Iin was surprised to see him answer the door. “Father’s really exhausted right now. Have a little decency!”
“Decency and I are not on speaking terms,” she said. “Where is Sale-Dessu?” She let herself in, and Eul-Bok closed the door behind them.
“He’s where you two always meet. He might be napping, so please be quiet.”
“Geez, something’s got you all riled up.”
“You don’t understand why yet, Bes-Isa. But depending on what happens here today, you might soon…”
La-Iin wasn’t subtle in her excitement, and Eul-Bok found himself cringing quite a few times as she crashed through his and Sale-Dessu’s house on her way to their normal meeting area. Any reservation she normally had while visiting them was obviously gone.
She plopped herself down once she reached the meeting area. Sale-Dessu was fast asleep, resting his head on the table.
“WAKE UP!”
“Ah!” Sale-Dessu lifted his head abruptly and began to pant wildly. His visible eye darted around until it landed on La-Iin.
“Oh….please don’t scare me like that!” He sounded angry.
“I told her you didn’t get much sleep, Father. She wouldn’t listen! She’s really excited about this.”
“Did you tell her what I called her here for?”
“No, but something tells me she guessed.”
“Have you finished your research into that thing I asked you about!?”
Sale-Dessu looked confused, though only briefly. “Y-yes. In fact, some of the things I found out near the end were startling. That and having to compile all I learned is why I’m not running on much sleep…” He yawned. “So please, let’s make this quick. I could use some rest.”
He pushed the files La-Iin’s way. “Here you are, the results of my research. I may have written things a little bit confusingly. I was tired when I finished this.”
“Confusingly isn’t much of a word, Father,” Eul-Bok whispered. Sale-Dessu sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m really exhausted…”
La-Iin began to check over the files. “It would be better if you did that at your own house. I’m really exhausted, La-Iin. Unless there’s something else you actually need–”
“Father, no! She’ll just ask you to do more pointless research!”
“Eul-Bok, please. Even if she asked that, I wouldn’t do it right now. And in any event, I just meant if she has any queries. Questions. …whatever word will make you understand.”
“This isn’t pointless,” La-Iin hissed. “Oh….ooh…”
“La-Iin?”
La-Iin’s mouth turned up once again in a wicked smirk. “Amazing, Sale-Dessu. I’ll have to read the rest of this at home, but it looks like my hope was right.”
“Mind letting me in on it? Right now I don’t understand why I was dragged out here!”
“Oh, you’ll learn soon enough. It’s the proper result.” La-Iin organized the files. “I’ll let you sleep for now, my ally. You deserve it after what you’ve done for me. This is amazing. Do you want to know just how amazing?”
“How amazing?” Sale-Dessu asked, feeling a little uncertain. ‘I’m glad she likes it. She seems really enamored. Did she want to know about this that badly? I suppose it does have to do with a part of her species.’
“Amazing enough that even someone evil like me is considering calling it justice!” She cackled. “Thank you for the help, Sale-Dessu. I might even say I owe you.”
“How big is that stuff that you of all people are talking about owing!?”
“For now, I’m just happy that you’re happy,” Sale-Dessu said. “But maybe I’ll ask Eul-Bok if there’s something he wants from you.”
La-Iin stared at Eul-Bok. Aside from her wicked smile, she looked as emotionless as always, and to Eul-Bok it felt incredibly unnerving at that moment.
“I have to read the rest of this over. Sleep well, Sale-Dessu…”
With those words, La-Iin left the Astineth house.
“She certainly seemed quite happy,” Sale-Dessu said.
“Just what was in that research that she reacted that way to it?”
“Well, there was a lot, and I have to admit some of what I found out was quite interesting. I’m not a genius so I don’t know if there were a few details I got wrong, but from what I saw…” Sale-Dessu’s expression changed to one of concern.
“Father?”
“I’m sorry, Eul-Bok, the fatigue is coming back to me…” He yawned. “Would you be willing to wait for your answer until morning?”
“I’m willing to wait, Father. But just how long do you plan on sleeping?”

***

Mit-Sun was used to receiving assignments from Eteibreit that necessitated her to look over or sort papers. She knew she spent much more time than she would like going over papers in the kitchen, and she also knew that on more than one occasion that had caused La-Iin to become mad at her.
So it greatly surprised her to spot La-Iin in the kitchen, looking over several papers.
“Where did you get all that from?”
“Sale-Dessu,” she said.
“What is it?”
“Research.”
“Research? I didn’t think you liked to do research all that much.”
“I love research when it comes to the things I like,” La-Iin said. “Heh heh heh…”
“Huh.”
“I’d really like to know what the research is too, La-Iin.”
“You have to let me finish going over it, Bes-Isa. It’s a lot to read, but as I go on it only becomes better and better. I’m loving this!”
“Just how great is this? You thanked Sale-Dessu, talked about owing him…and that is the most wicked smile I’ve seen on your face in a while. I love it, I just wish I knew what was causing it!”
“It’s these papers, obviously,” La-Iin said simply. “But now I know. Now that I have these, Hypotheory will be perfect.”
“Hypotheory? What the hell is that?”
“What’s a Hypotheory?”
La-Iin hissed. Both Mit-Sun and Bes-Isa assumed that meant they weren’t getting an answer, though in Bes-Isa’s case it didn’t stop her from pestering La-Iin, at least until La-Iin put her to sleep.
Frustrated, La-Iin carried the papers with her upstairs and began to read them in her room. Her smirk only grew wider.
‘Amazing. Simply amazing. Now that I have this, I can move on with Hypotheory!’

—–
Bes-Isa woke to the sight of La-Iin staring out her bedroom window. It was open and a cold breeze had blown into the bedroom, soaking into Bes-Isa’s fabric.
“What are you still doing up?”
“I can’t sleep. I keep feeling that something amazing is going to happen. No, I know something amazing is going to happen. I can feel it. I’m so happy right now…”
“Does this have to do with that research, or “Hypotheory” or whatever it was you were going on about?”
“That doesn’t matter right now, Bes-Isa. I’ll tell you about it later. …you know, there are a lot of reasons I do what I do. Many, many reasons, so many that even if you took one away I’d still want to do it.”
“Huh?”
“But one of the primary reasons is that it makes me happy.” La-Iin backed away from the window and glanced at Bes-Isa. “And if goody-goodies are allowed to do what makes them happy, then I see no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to, either.”

20.628.Friendship from a Year Ago

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 628
“Friendship from a Year Ago”

“You know who you haven’t seen in a while?”
“Who? And do I care?”
“You will. It seems like it’s been a while since you last saw Sale-Dessu.” La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Have you even seen him this month?”
“I ate the mincemeat pie I made for him myself.”
“Yes, I thought I remembered you asking him for something.”
La-Iin smirked. “That’s right, I did!”
“Are you talking to me?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Why would I ever talk to you, wench?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Talking to me or not, that reminds me. La-Iin brought up Sale-Dessu the other day. And even though we bonded, we never really kept up a friendship.”
“So?”
“Maybe I should go and see him.”
Hearing that made La-Iin almost toss herself out of her chair.
“What’s with the big reaction?”
“Nothing,” she said through grit teeth. “But who says Sale-Dessu will want to see you after all this time?”
“Well, it’s worth a try to see, isn’t it? I don’t dislike him.”
“It seems her Normal stupidity gene is kicking into full force.”
“You must have a little of it too if you hadn’t noticed it’s been active all this time. It’s the only part of her brain that’s been active, speaking of.”
“You shut up!”
Mit-Sun huffed. “Never mind.”
She walked out of the room. “Was that never mind for seeing Sale-Dessu, or never mind for dealing with me?”
“Perhaps yours isn’t active right now like I initially thought. Anyway. I hate to ask the same thing as that woman, but what was the big reaction for anyway? I’m aware we don’t want Sale-Dessu being dumbed down by an idiot, but I didn’t expect a reaction so strong.”
“Eul-Bok is autonomous. Mama doesn’t know this. And even if she doesn’t tell everyone all over Bledger about Eul-Bok, her seeing Eul-Bok might make Sale-Dessu more nervous than he already is. Which disadvantages me.”
“Is that so? How?”
“If he’s nervous, he might lock himself up and he’ll never complete the research I need,” she said. “And if he doesn’t, my plan–”
“What plan?”
“That’s not any of your business!”

***

When La-Iin took Choungetsu on a walk, Mit-Sun decided that it was a perfect time to visit Sale-Dessu.
‘Things have been going well for me recently. And he is a friend of La-Iin’s as well, at least it seems that way…I wonder if he’s been doing alright.’
Meanwhile, in the Astineth house, experiments were underway.
“So you’re telling me you don’t name your experiments?”
“I just use the names that they already have.”
“What if you’re coming up with something brand-new, though?”
“Do you mean like mixing a water-powered engine with an air conditioner or something like that?”
“Well, yeah, I guess, but–”
Eul-Bok was interrupted by a knock at the door. He groaned. “I bet I know who that is.”
Sale-Dessu answered the door, and immediately he recoiled in shock.
“Ca–Ca–Cahongyun elder? I mean, Mit-Sun?”
“Hi, Astineth. Er, Sale-Dessu. It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? …er, Sale-Dessu? Are you okay?”
“Ah, i-it’s just been a while since I last saw you, is all!”
‘Damn it!’ Sale-Dessu shot one quick glance back at Eul-Bok, who now looked startled. ‘She can’t come inside! La-Iin hasn’t told her about Eul-Bok being autonomous! …or has she? Either way, I can’t risk it! She wasn’t in on the plan.’
“O-oh, I’d love to, but I’m busy with an experiment right now,” he said quietly. “If I take my attention off of it it could explode…”
“Er, I guess you’d better get back to that, then!”
“D-don’t worry, even if it does explode it will only explode inside my…living room….okay, good-bye, Mit-Sun!”
He closed the door and sighed.
“What just happened, Father?”
“Cahongyun elder–er, Mit-Sun–she was at the door!”
“La-Iin’s mother?” Eul-Bok stared down at his hands. “I had a bad feeling about that.”
“But I was able to turn her away, thankfully. I mean no offense to La-Iin but unlike her, she’s at least somewhat reasonable. Now, let’s get back to our experiment…”
“You should mean offense to La-Iin.”
He turned back to the door. When he had first seen Mit-Sun she had been smiling and looked happy to see him.
‘We did bond, back when La-Iin drunk that potion, or no, after that…’ He could remember a conversation he had had with her about being a parent.
‘Maybe she misses me.’
“Father, what are you smiling like that for?”
“It’s just nice to be loved, Eul-Bok…”

“I’m so glad I took Choungetsu on a walk,” La-Iin said, tone deadpan, after she had returned home. “There was so much poop…if all that was in the house…”
Mit-Sun sighed.
“You didn’t have to deal with it, so why do you look upset?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m not really upset, La-Iin. Just thinking.”
“Your face gives away more than mine does.”
“Even if that’s the case I’m sure my face gives away less than you being super-obvious.”
“What does that mean?”
“Normal stupidity gene.”
Mit-Sun glared at Bes-Isa. “You were created to be a Normal, you….oh, forget it.”
“I’m a V-Puppet though. Not a Normal. Gotcha.”
“So ridiculous…”
A knock sounded at the door. “Huh?”
“I don’t remember inviting anyone over,” Mit-Sun said. “La-Iin, did you invite someone over?”
“As much as I’d like to, no.”
“Hm…” She walked over to the door and opened it. Nobody was standing there, not at first–Sale-Dessu peeked his head in moments later.
“Hello, Mit-Sun.”
“Hello,” she said. “I thought you were busy with an exploding experiment?”
“Sale-Dessu?” La-Iin called. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was thinking after I finished the spell, I might visit you. You seemed like you had something to say to me before you left earlier. And it didn’t explode, so don’t worry.”
“So you did visit him,” La-Iin said, her tone accusatory. Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“Not really. Actually, it’s just been a while since I last saw you. I know we were never really close, but I was just thinking back on it.”
“I see….well, I shouldn’t stay too long. Eul-Bok will be lonely without me. But I wanted to share a little something with you first.”
He handed her a box. “What is this?”
“La-Iin, why are you glaring at me like that?”
“You’re my ally, not Mama’s.”
“What I gave her just now has nothing to do with being an ally,” Sale-Dessu said, his tone strangely playful. Now even more curious, Mit-Sun pried open the box.
Out from it came a bright burst of colorful lights that changed the color of everything it exploded around. La-Iin was quick to notice that once it died down, Sale-Dessu was almost entirely violet, from his skin to his clothes and his eyes, except for his hair which had turned a dark silver. She was also quick to notice that her hands were now the same green that Sale-Dessu usually was. She recoiled.
Sale-Dessu began to laugh. “You two always were the most interesting for my experiments to affect,” he said between giggles. “I’m sorry if I ever inconvenienced you with them.”
Mit-Sun didn’t respond. She just seemed to be trying to hold back a giggle.
Sale-Dessu remained at the door a while longer, still laughing hard, and Mit-Sun stayed put as well, suppressing giggles.
La-Iin, on the other hand, was horrified. When she caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror, she realized that her color scheme was now that of Sale-Dessu’s.

—–
Sale-Dessu had left not long after he stopped laughing, but before that, he gave them some instructions.
“That “Colorburst Palette Swap”….” His cheeks flushed red. “That name was Eul-Bok’s idea. Anyway, it naturally wears off after about forty-five hours. Your colors will start reverting at about thirty-two hours, and after forty-five they’ll be almost back to normal. But if you really want it to revert early, you’ll have to take a bath in hot water for about two hours.”
“This is true evil…perhaps I should consider it for the future.”
“Thanks, Sale-Dessu. I’m sure La-Iin would like to go back to her normal colors now.”
Sale-Dessu nodded. “Alright, then, I’ll be seeing you two.”
“Oh, wait, Sale-Dessu! One thing I wanted to ask you!”
“Huh?”
“How’s Eul-Bok doing?”
It took Sale-Dessu’s all not to break out into a cold sweat. “Er…better than ever, thanks for asking. Well, see you!”

“Father! You used Colorburst Palette Swap on yourself!?”
“It was an accident. But don’t worry, it’ll wear off soon enough.”
“If by soon enough you mean forty-five hours…”

10.618.Cooking for You!

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 618
“Cooking for You!”

La-Iin watched Mit-Sun intently as she cooked dinner that night. Her eyes were narrowed and followed her hands at all times. Mit-Sun couldn’t help but feel unnerved by it.
“What’s got you so interested in dinner all of a sudden?”
“It isn’t what you’re making, Mama. Milkfeed isn’t my favorite. I was watching you cook and I–”
“Oh no, I’m not letting you near the stove.”
“You misunderstand, Mama. I have a reason to be interested in cooking.” She balled her hand into a fist. “I was thinking and I realized the precarious position I’d be in if I allowed someone to cook for me when I am ruler of the world. Everyone would want me dead. So I realized, I need to be able to cook for my plan of ruling the world to come to fruition!”
“…uh-huh. Are you sure this isn’t just because of what I told you about having other talents? It is good to know how to cook for yourself.”
“It is a helpful skill. If I rely on other people to cook for me, they’ll make shit like you do.”
“La-Iin!!”
“So once you’re done with dinner, I have the perfect plan.”
“Oh no.”
“I want to use the stove so I can make meals for certain people. I’m going to be too full after dinner, so why not give away my experiments? It’ll be practice for the future when I experiment on people with other things, heh heh…”
“Are you sure that isn’t your Normal side speaking?”
“Can it, Bes-Isa.”
“It does sound a little weird, for you.”
“You misunderstand my reasoning for this. Anyway, I demand to use the stove after dinner!”
“…” Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes.
“I’m not going to set the house on fire.”
“…”
“And I won’t intentionally make anything bad. I’m trying to learn to cook for myself, after all.”
“…”
“And you can watch me.”
“…”
“What do I need to do for you to say yes!?”
“Why do you care about me saying yes?”
“If you don’t I know you’ll just stop me.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “We’ll see. But I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on you if I agree.”
“As I suspected. But that’s fine. I can deal with that.”

La-Iin scarfed down dinner as fast as she could manage–the texture of milkfeed always gave her a gag reflex, so it was slower than she would have liked–so that she could set to work on making food as soon as possible.
‘The easiest people to use would be Fer-Shi, Shuu-Kena and San-Kyung. Ai-Reia would never eat something I made, so she’s worthless. Hm, maybe I could sneak something in there for Sale-Dessu. I could make lots, but maybe I should narrow it somehow….’
The idea that gave her was to cook based on what she could imagine the people she was going to give food to might eat. ‘If it’s something they might eat, they’re more likely to actually go along with the experiment!’
She could imagine something to make for Fer-Shi, and had a feeling that Shuu-Kena would be grateful for anything she made, but San-Kyung utterly stumped her. ‘Have I ever seen him eat? Animated Pumpkins don’t even really need to eat. Oh, he’ll be a challenge. I like a challenge…’
While Mit-Sun finished what was left of her dinner, La-Iin looked through a cookbook she had found in the kitchen. “Hey! How’d you get that!?”
“So this is why you make these dinners,” La-Iin sighed. “I noticed you also have a Shitosh one with mincemeat pie in it.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “You really are serious about this, aren’t you?”
“I take my profession of future ‘Queen Maniac of Evil’ very seriously.”
“And the name changes once more…”
La-Iin set down the cookbook. “I have some ideas. Watch me closely if you want, Mama, but know that you will not stop me from making what I will!”
“Yeah, sure. Just tell me if you need any help.”
“What a terrible good mother, letting her seven-year-old use a stove and potentially a knife with little supervision when she KNOWS she’s evil…”
“You be quiet.”
La-Iin retrieved all the supplies she felt she’d need from the fridge, freezer and the cabinets in the kitchen and put them on the table.
“Do you really need this much for simple meals?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Yes, probably.” ‘I guess I should start with Fer-Shi.’
She grabbed some vanilla extract and some vegetables, head over to the stove and retrieved a frying pan. She covered the bottom with vanilla extract and put it on a low heat. Then, she started to cut up the vegetables. As she head back to the stove, Mit-Sun sniffed at the air.
“Wait a second, what are you doing!?”
“Considering what Fer-Shi likes, I had a perfect idea for a new recipe she might eat. But, hm, it doesn’t look edible so far…”
She retrieved some seasonings and a can of whipped topping. Mit-Sun’s eyes widened and she tried to dissuade La-Iin, but by the time her voice came to her, it was too late.
Though even La-Iin seemed horrified by the mess she had made.
“It’s under cooked, it’s covered in expired whipped topping from who knows when, all sorts of seasonings that don’t go with vanilla extract…”
“It makes me glad I can’t eat just looking at it.”
“So the first attempt was a failure! I’ve successfully cooked before, so this was just a road bump.”
“Since when?”
“Think this month last year.”
This time she decided she should be more reasonable. She looked through the cookbook and found a recipe that sounded interesting, and set to work on making it.
“What do you need sardines for?”
“I saw a recipe in your book called a ‘sweet sardine sandwich’. I thought I would make it.”
“I’m not sure that would be a good idea. I’ve never made it but I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste.”
“Well, I’m making it, so if I don’t do what I did before it’ll be fine.”
She began to make the sweet topping for the sandwich and put together the sardines, bread and lettuce. She tasted the topping before putting it on the sandwich, then wrapping it up in plastic wrap.
“There.”
“That came out looking good. But like I said, I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste…”
“That doesn’t matter. I made it taste fine, so she’ll like it anyway. Now let’s see…”
She flipped to the desserts section. Thinking back on the Sara family, she couldn’t imagine Shuu-Kena got anything sweet to eat there. ‘I’ve always wanted to experiment with Demon paste.’
“Do we have Demon paste, Mama?”
“Only a little. Why? Are you going to make a Fairydevil cake?”
La-Iin nodded and set to work, preparing Fairy frosting and Demon paste and starting work on the cake itself. Mit-Sun had to help her part the way through, as she soon found some of the words she couldn’t read. But she tasted things along the way, and was quite intrigued by the spice of the Demon paste on its own.
“Fairydevil cakes are the epitome of evil dessert,” she said.
“What does that even mean?”
“You think you’ll get an overly-sweet Fairy frosting cake, then the Demon paste kicks in and overwhelms the senses! Just like how evil triumphs over good, always!”
“…you realize there are good Demons and evil Fairies, right? And that that metaphor makes no sense?”
She made the Fairydevil cake small, partially because of Shuu-Kena’s small frame but also because of the lack of Demon paste. ‘I don’t want it to be just a Fairy frosting cake with a little demon paste.’
When the cake was done, she wrapped it too in plastic wrap.
“Knowing this recipe will be good knowledge for the future…”
“You’d think you’d want to learn how to make mincemeat pie before anything else.”
“I do. In fact, I’ll make it now!”
“What!? But I barely have any supplies!”
“That didn’t faze me with the Fairydevil cake. You’re the one who suggested it too. Your lack of supplies is not my fault.”
“Actually, it is. If you wouldn’t act up at the store, I’d be able to focus better on what I need!”
La-Iin ignored Mit-Sun’s complaints and set to making a mincemeat pie. ‘I can eat some with Sale-Dessu. I wonder if San-Kyung would like it, too…’
She lowered her head.
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“Mama, if you were going to make food for someone who never eats, what would you make?”
“I’d think anything would be good for someone who doesn’t eat!”
“No, but I mean someone who doesn’t need to eat.”
“Huh?”
Mit-Sun caught a glimpse of her daughter’s expression. By that alone it was evident that she was thinking quite seriously about this–perhaps more so than her entire cooking venture thus far.
“Well, I guess I’d make something that tastes like a drink.”
“Hm.”
La-Iin’s face steeled and she continued to make the mincemeat pie. She ended up with a small one, and cut it into three pieces, which she wrapped separately. She then grabbed some fruits and sweet seasonings.
“Help me blend these!”
“Um, okay!”
After the fruits and seasonings were blended, she began to prepare a cake and mixed the two together. Then, she put it in the oven, and from then on was constantly checking it.
“What are you trying to make?”
“Shh.” She took the cake out of the oven. “I thought that sometimes people make fruit drinks, like fruit milkshakes. So I thought I’d make a fruit milkshake cake.”
“I see. Well, it looks like you did a pretty good job, just going by the seat of your pants.”
“I’m not wearing pants.”
“I know, it’s an expression.”
As La-Iin set to work wrapping the milkshake cake, Mit-Sun caught sight of the look in her eyes.
“You know, it creeps me out sometimes.”
“What?”
“You’re too young to act like a girl in love. That’s all.”
“…I have nothing to say to that.”

“Soooo, what are you going to do about this monstrosity?”
La-Iin stared at the strange lump of food that made up her first attempt. A malicious grin crossed her face. She began to douse it in all the seasonings she could find.
“Ahahahahahahaha!”

—–
La-Iin came to school the next day with a basket slung over her shoulder.
“Hi, La-Iin! Whoa! What’s that?”
“I have something for you.” She took out the sweet sardine sandwich. “Eat the labors of my experiments!”
“Um…thank you?”
“I don’t need or want thanks. This was only to help build up my own skill.”
She then ran up to Shuu-Kena and handed her the Fairydevil cake.
“Huh?”
“This is for you. From my experiment. And what a helpful experiment it was…”
“This is for me?” She beamed. “Thank you, Cahongyun!”
La-Iin nodded and ran up to San-Kyung.
“And for you–”
“What do you want?”
She handed him the mincemeat pie slice and the milkshake cake. “I heard Aesthetically Normal Animated Pumpkins start to look malnourished if they only drink.”
“Looks like someone’s been doing her research!” Dosa-Mina chirped.
“Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t because of that. I wanted to try my hand at cooking. I recently discovered it’s a necessary skill for me.”
“…”
“I can always hold onto it until after class, though.”
“Hmph.” San-Kyung didn’t seem fazed in the slightest.
“What spurred the sudden kindness?”
La-Iin’s eyes went blank. “Oh, it isn’t kindness. But speaking of my attempts, I did make one for you too, rival-boy…”
She pulled out of the basket a large, unidentifiable blob wrapped shoddily in plastic wrap. “Here you go….heh heh heh…”
Dosa-Mina stared at the “food” for only a few seconds before running off.

5.613.Cahongyun Headquarters

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 613
“Cahongyun Headquarters”

La-Iin cleared her throat.
“You may be wondering why I summoned you here today, ladies.”
“‘Summoned’? You didn’t summon me. I’m always here.”
“Quiet, you. Is anyone else wondering?”
Fer-Shi raised her hand. “Yes. All you told me over the phone is that you had something important to do and that you needed me right away.”
“Good question. Unlike the other one that was just asked.” La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa.
“I don’t have to put up with this, I hope you know.”
“Well, you will.” She cleared her throat once more. “For seven years now there’s been an important fixture in my life that I’ve been missing!”
“What’s that?”
“A base!” She yelled. “I’ve gone from place to place. I’ve said I’d set up one and yet never done it! You understand now. I don’t have a proper base, a headquarters for my plans. And sooner or later lying in bed daydreaming them is not going to be enough. That’s why I’ve enlisted you two to help me!”
“Me I can understand, but why the girl?”
“Fer-Shi has been with me on escapades where I said I would make a base but didn’t. I think she understands my tastes well enough.”
“Thanks, La-Iin!” Fer-Shi said. “Although I kinda agree with Bes-Isa. Aren’t there other people you trust more with this?”
“If you mean San-Kyung, that’s impossible. Working him into my current plan would be difficult. But I can’t explain why…”
“She means she has no idea what she’s talking about.”
“In any event! That is the reason I’ve summoned you here today! Aid me in finding a base.”
“Okay! But what kind of base do you want?”
“Well, probably close to home,” La-Iin said. “And someplace I can make cozy like my bed.”
“So you can fall asleep outside as the weather gets cold and catch pneumonia…”
“What’s with you and your snarky comments lately?”
“Try asking that to yourself, Miss ‘stuff-me-in-a-hole’!”
“H-hey…” Fer-Shi sighed. “Anyway, what else?”
“The less likely I am to catch pneumonia, the better. Oh, and also, I need room to move around.”
“Okay!” Fer-Shi nodded. “Well, let’s go looking!”
“Sounds like it’s going to be tough to narrow it down to your requests. I wonder if we’ll be able to find a place like that.”
“I’ll put my faith in Fer-Shi. Her and I have trouble sometimes, but I have to say she is the most reliable person I know.”
“Huh!”
“I’d explain why in detail but that would take too long.”

La-Iin let Fer-Shi lead the way, though she maneuvered Bes-Isa over to her friend so that she could also give an opinion. Not long after leaving her bedroom, Fer-Shi had requested to look inside the miscellaneous room.
“Sure, go ahead. But the sooner you’re done, the better.”
“I agree.”
For that time, La-Iin was stuck waiting in the upstairs hallway.
“What are you doing sitting there? Didn’t you invite Fer-Shi over?”
“Yes, and we’re going to go somewhere. I’m just waiting for her to finish something.”
“Hm. Just don’t go on another ‘adventure’, all right?”
“Of course not,” La-Iin said, her tone thick with false sweetness. Mit-Sun gave her a look before going into a room. At about that moment, Fer-Shi came running out of the miscellaneous room with a wide smile on her face.
“Are we ready?”
Fer-Shi nodded. “Follow me!”
“Follow you?”
Fer-Shi seemed eager, so La-Iin opted to followed her, but something about the situation gave her a bad feeling.
Fer-Shi led her to a small spot in the miscellaneous room, made from garbage stacked atop itself. It was small, and a blanket had been placed on the floor. The sight was all too familiar to La-Iin–it was the place she had intended on keeping Dosa-Mina, before that plan had badly fallen through.
“What do you think? It was almost set up like a perfect base when I found it!”
“Fer-Shi….this isn’t going to work.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“I wanted a base close to home, not a base that is my home!”
Fer-Shi flinched. “Oh….sorry.”
La-Iin sighed. “We need to go outside. Outside there are probably plenty of places to make a base. The place where you keep the hobo-slave would make a good base, although it’s a little far…”
“He’s not my hobo-slave!”
“Say what you will. I don’t remember his name well enough to call him anything else.”

With that minor ordeal dealt with, La-Iin, Fer-Shi, and Bes-Isa head outside to search for a base. As before La-Iin let Fer-Shi lead the way, but at the moment she was feeling a bit wary.
‘I hope she actually finds a good base this time!’ She thought. ‘Fer-Shi doesn’t seem to care that it’s obvious what I want to use it for, so I’m not worried about that. But her taste in bases seems a little skewed…’
“You know, if you had a little tent tarp, you could probably make your base somewhere nearby your house. Like as close as your backyard.”
“Tent tarp?”
“Have you ever seen the cloth tents they use in species societies sometimes?”
“Oh, those?”
“Yeah, those could probably make a good base. But I’ll still keep looking! ….hey, am I going to be invited into your base?”
“If I need you. For now it’s important that the only ones who know about my base are myself, you, and Bes-Isa. And the base will be mostly used by me alone.”
“But if your base is outside and away from home, won’t Miss Cahongyun keep you from going to it all by yourself?”
La-Iin sighed. “Make that me and Bes-Isa. And Choungetsu if I absolutely have to…”
“I’m glad you’re actually thinking of me, for once. After all, I’ve helped you out with your plans on more than one occasion.”
“Yet the last plan I had you just told me was nothing but worthless…” La-Iin grumbled.
“What are you talking about, ‘last plan’? Oh, wait a second, La-Iin! Bes-Isa, does that place look good?”
“What place? I can’t see what you’re talking about.”
Fer-Shi ran ahead of La-Iin. All La-Iin could see nearby were trees–that and the outline of the library off in the distance. She wasn’t sure of whether or not to follow Fer-Shi, but she didn’t have to make the decision–shortly after, Fer-Shi beckoned to her, and so La-Iin spread her wings and caught up with her.
“Nearby the library, I found some place you might like, although you’d need to bring a few things from home to make it cozy.”
“What’s that?”
“I still don’t think her giant head is going to fit in there, girlie.”
“We have to give it a try!” Fer-Shi led La-Iin to a hole a distance behind the library. It was half embedded into a cliff; the other half was a hole in the ground.
“Wow.”
“It’s nice and dark and looks good to think in. Although it might not be all that good in the rain. The trees are covering it but trees always splash on my head when it rains.”
La-Iin leaped into the hole. Right away she could tell it would be a tight fit–she could barely stretch her wings once inside. Fer-Shi followed her, but that only led to the two girls getting stuck.
“I told you her giant head wouldn’t fit in here.”
“W-well, you could probably make more room if you turn it into mud.”
“And then how long would I have to wait for it to dry?”
“Dang it…” Fer-Shi sighed and pulled herself out of the hole. She held out a hand to La-Iin, but La-Iin flew above her instead. She landed just as Fer-Shi slammed her hands onto the ground, which almost made La-Iin fall backwards into the hole.
“Give me one more shot, La-Iin!”
“I wasn’t going to ask you to stop. Just because your ideas haven’t been good so far doesn’t mean that. Looking for a base on my own has been a pain. And at least a hole is a better idea than garbage.”
“Well, I know I can find something better. This hole’s pretty far away anyway.”
“She’s desperate to please you, La-Iin. Evidently you didn’t give her enough attention over the Summer.”
“Hey!”
“It’s not a problem. This is something I know I can trust Fer-Shi on. After all, finding special little places is a specialty of ours.”
Fer-Shi smiled. “Would you really say that?”
“I already did. Now let’s keep looking. Mama gets mad when I come back after it gets dark outside.”

Fer-Shi had seemingly decided to look closer to home after the hole ordeal, and though her immediate next idea–an opening in thick bushes–had proven to be a bad one, she was still determined to find a place, begging La-Iin to give her just one more chance.
Since then, Bes-Isa had stopped looking around with her, and now La-Iin was holding her as Fer-Shi led the way.
“I’m surprised you trust her with finding your base.”
“If you’re surprised, then you’re silly.”
“Yeah, I suppose I shouldn’t be. After all, no matter how much you love San-Kyung, your first flesh and blood friend is her, I suppose.”
“San-Kyung isn’t flesh and blood. He’s rind and blood.”
“….ew. Hey wait, isn’t he Aesthetically Normal?”
“That’s not–”
“La-Iin! La-Iin!” Fer-Shi was running up to her, her eyes wide and excited. “La-Iin! I think I just found a good base!”
“Really?”
Fer-Shi nodded. “Come on, I’ll show you!”
La-Iin took a look at the area they were in. It seemed familiar to her. She recognized it as an area nearby her neighborhood that she barely ever ventured to, though she remembered coming here a few times with Choungetsu when she was too bored to go much of anywhere.
Fer-Shi led the way until she reached a fixture that looked somewhat like a small house.
“It looks like it would fit both you and me. I guess if you wanted someone taller in here it would be inconvenient, but you’re so small it’ll probably take you a while to outgrow it. There’s a moldy blanket in there, but once you get rid of it it’ll probably be a lot more comfy. And look! It’s rainproof!”
La-Iin took a look inside. She tossed aside the moldy blanket and sat down. Fer-Shi joined her. She peeked out of one of the windows.
“…good job, Fer-Shi.”
“Will it work?”
“Yes. In fact, I could come here pretending I’m walking Choungetsu then tie him up somewhere. And this place is great! It doesn’t look like anyone lives here until you walk a bit further.”
“I’m surprised you picked a base in such a ‘spooky’ location.”
“I’m surprised I found this base at all!” She laughed. “But I’m glad you like it, La-Iin. I knew I could find you something!”
“It’s perfect. From today on, this place is Cahongyun Headquarters!”

—–
“You two took a while to get back. …why are you so dirty?”
“We went someplace that was a little dustier than we expected,” Fer-Shi giggled.
“But the experience was all worth it.”
“Well, I’m glad you had fun. You’re almost making me want to go somewhere with a friend…”
“It had better not be Haner you’re considering,” La-Iin hissed. Mit-Sun shook her head. “Hey, I don’t judge you for hanging out with Fer-Shi.”
“Fer-Shi isn’t in love with me, though.”
“That would be pretty weird to be in a friendship like that. I wonder how San-Kyung feels.”
“The same as I do.”
“No, I don’t think that’s the case…”

San-Kyung shuddered.
“What’s wrong son? Are you getting sick too?”
“I had better not be.”

“Now that I have a base, Hypotheory is looking more and more realistic every day.”
La-Iin smirked to herself. “Thanks, Fer-Shi. I’ll make sure you benefit from Hypotheory too.”

2.610.One Siren’s Illness

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 610
“One Siren’s Illness”

“How’s your chest feel, Dosa-Mina?”
“Feels like you’re running a bit of a fever. What happened? At the end of August you were fine.”
Dosa-Mina coughed. “I don’t know,” he rasped. “I just started feeling kind of wheezy on Monday. Then it just got worse and worse…”
“Riya, do you know what he’s sick with? I can’t figure it out…” Orlin-Aesth’s ears folded to his head.
“I’m not sure. Bronchitis, maybe? Or he could have feather flu. That’s something only us avians can get. Your chest feels all scratchy and your body aches where your feathers are. I’ve had it before.”
“It does kind of feel like that,” he said with a cough, then sighed. “Heh, funny to think that not even disguising myself as a Normal keeps me from getting species-specific diseases…”
“You should have known that already,” Elai-Riya said. “Anyway, it’s likely you caught it from some passerby. What you need is rest and a little medicine to clear out your chest. I think we might have a little blockade breaker medicine in the house…”
“Are you sure you’re not just thinking of the stuff for the drains?”
“I’m pretty sure I’m not,” Elai-Riya said indignantly. “But anyway. Sorry about this, Dosa-Mina. Hey, at least it happened before school started again, right?”
“I guess,” he coughed. “It’s bad timing though. The end of Summer break and I get to waste it sick in bed, woop-de-doo…!”
“Aw, look at this through positive lens and stop being so sarcastic. We’re going to see if we can’t find you any medicine. In the meantime, lay down for now. It’s not going to do you any good if you’re up so late while sick.”
“Okay, Mom.”

***

After giving him some medicine, Orlin-Aesth and Elai-Riya had retired to bed, and Dosa-Mina fell into a somewhat fitful sleep, his chest bothering him but his exhaustion winning out.
Some time after he fell asleep, someone flew over the neighborhood, breathing hard.
“The path to his house…is too far…!”
“How’d you even know how to find his place? I can understand San-Kyung but this just seems stalkerish on different levels.”
“I remember it because something significant happened here.”
“What? What significant thing happened here? How come I haven’t heard of it?”
“If it makes you sleep better, nobody knows about it. Not you, not Fer-Shi, not Mama or San-Kyung or Dami either, not even Sale-Dessu. Well, definitely not him. Nobody knows about it except me.”
‘And rival-boy…’ She grit her teeth. ‘We never were able to have a proper conversation about that nightmare he mentioned. Maybe once I capture him, my opportunity to question him about it will be in plain sight!’
She flew around the neighborhood until she found a house she recognized. She checked all the windows until through one she was able to spot a familiar room, and from what little she could see of the bed, a familiar face.
“There he is.”
“I still think this is a terrible plan.”
“Of course you do. And that’s why you need to sleep.” La-Iin snapped her fingers and stuffed Bes-Isa back into her dress. She rubbed her hands together and tried to open the window. At first it didn’t budge, but to her surprise it came up, though at the same time a strange, loud noise sounded, and Dosa-Mina’s eyes fluttered open.
“Uh-oh.” She tried to fly into his room before he could notice her, but when she made it inside, he sat up abruptly as if startled and crashed his head into her side. La-Iin fell onto his bed.
“Huh…? Wha–La-Iin? What the heck are you–” He began to cough.
“You’re dreaming,” she said sarcastically. Strangely enough, Dosa-Mina’s expression barely changed.
“Are….are you Kkumneok? I thought you said you weren’t coming back for a while.”
“What are you–” La-Iin covered her mouth. “Yeeees, I am Kkumneok. And I need to do a little something dreamy, you know.”
Dosa-Mina narrowed his eyes. La-Iin broke into a cold sweat as he pinched his arm tight. He looked thoroughly annoyed.
“La-Iin, there’s being a follower, there’s being a stalker, and then there’s this. No, wait a moment, this is just like being a stalker at their worst possible form,” he coughed. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“You see nothing!”
“If you’re gonna try and make yourself disappear, you’d better take some lessons from professionals,” he coughed. “Never mind. I don’t need an explanation. Just get out of here so I can get back to sleep…”
“That sounds stupid. Most people would wonder why someone’s in their house this late at night. Especially a weak little girl.”
“I know better than to underestimate you when you’re desperate,” he wheezed. “But then again, why pick my house? If you were going to intrude anyone’s….arrgh, just cut me some slack, okay!? You should be in bed by now too.”
“Vampires work on different times!” She yelled. Dosa-Mina looked startled for a moment, but then his face went back to the same glare. “Uh-huh. I’m gonna go get my parents.”
“No!”
La-Iin leaped at Dosa-Mina and grabbed onto his back, covering his mouth with one hand and securing her ear plugs with the other. She could feel Dosa-Mina’s mouth moving, but wasn’t able to tell if he was singing or not. She tried to reach her teeth to his flesh, but to no avail; instead she kicked him down to the ground.
Dosa-Mina had lapsed into a fit of coughing by now, and La-Iin decided to try and take her chance. She held him down as best as possible and smirked.
“Cry if you want. My plan will not be foiled now.”
“He–hey, you don’t want to suck me!” He coughed. “I have feather flu! You don’t want to get sick too, do you?”
“Feather flu?”
“It’s an avian sickness,” he coughed. “You couldn’t tell?”
La-Iin sat there in a bit of shock, contemplating the new information. Now that she realized it, Dosa-Mina’s skin did feel abnormally warm.
‘Taking care of rival-boy so he’s not discovered is one thing, but nursing him back from feather flu is another. And he said it’s an avian sickness!?’ La-Iin flapped her wings. ‘I’m not sure I want to take that risk…’
“Get off of me!” Dosa-Mina tried to shake La-Iin off, but she held tight to him. “Never! If your blood is no good, it doesn’t matter because that’s not what I came here for anyway.”
She bit her lip. ‘I’d better stop saying these things out loud…’ She pinned down Dosa-Mina once more, then tried to lift him up herself. Dosa-Mina squeaked and screamed and tried to fight, but to no avail–the position La-Iin had him in put him at a severe disadvantage.
Dosa-Mina was beginning to come off the ground, and his flailing intensified. La-Iin was beginning to feel satisfied. ‘His sickness will wear off eventually. All I need to do is wash off once I bring him home! I’m not leaving without him. My plan will come to fruition!’
“Give up! If you don’t stop, I have means of–” La-Iin gasped. ‘Never mind, threats can wait!’
Dosa-Mina was lifting higher off the ground, and though La-Iin was struggling greatly, he was now high enough that the sound of his feet hitting the ground in his attempts to flee could no longer be heard.
Or rather, that’s how it should have been. La-Iin still heard something similar. With a jolt, she realized it must be his parents.
La-Iin didn’t have time to think about what she should do. She dropped Dosa-Mina and flew out the window as fast as she could. She kept flying until her wings gave out from the strain, then she stopped on the grass, caught her breath and began to run home.

“Dosa-Mina, what’s the matter!?”
“Did you have a nightmare? Eek! What are you doing on the floor!?”
Dosa-Mina propped himself up. “I’m fine…don’t worry.”
“What are you doing on the floor, son!?”
“I…” The memory of La-Iin lifting him above the floor was still strong in his mind. It all seemed so real, and yet it was just so unbelievable. Even knowing her stubbornness he could hardly buy into her being able to lift him above the ground–that much seemed certain.
So what he felt: was it real, or was he dreaming it?
“…I don’t know.”
“He might have had a fever nightmare,” Elai-Riya said. “You are pretty warm…let’s get you back in bed. You can’t stay on the floor like this at all.”
“Yeah, you definitely need your bed rest!”
“Yeah,” he coughed. “I really do…”
‘But I don’t remember having a nightmare! Just what happened?’
Either way, even if what he remembered was the truth, how could he tell that to his parents? ‘If it makes no sense to me, it’ll make even less to them!’
“Hey, son?”
“What, Dad?” He coughed.
“Why’s your window open?”
‘It happened, didn’t it,’ he thought bitterly.

—–
Later on in the day, Dosa-Mina’s cough still persisted.
“You haven’t shaken that cough yet?” Elai-Riya asked.
“I don’t think I’ve shook the flu either…”
“That’s probably because you were on the floor,” Orlin-Aesth said. Dosa-Mina grit his teeth. “Damn that La-Iin. I’d really rather not be sick right now!”
“Huh?”
“Did you say something…weird, Dosa-Mina?”
“Huh? N-no, it’s nothing.”
‘What did she want from me?’ Now that it seemed likely that his memory hadn’t failed him, it was one of the questions he wanted an answer to most.

“I can’t believe it failed!”
“I can.”
“Damn his parents! Next time I have to plan for them.”
“If there is a next time.”
La-Iin gnashed her teeth. “There’s a difference between ‘realistic’ and ‘jerkass’, you know!”

1.609.Plans to Capture a Young Man

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 609
“Plans to Capture a Young Man”

“…”
“Why do you keep staring at the calendar? Thinking about school? I doubt you’re thinking about my birthday.”
“No, I’m…just thinking about a plan.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Is that all you do nowadays?”
“Mama, if you realized the extent of my plans, you’d understand why I think so much about them.”
“…no, I don’t think I’d get it.”
“Simple-minded peons such as yourself don’t often understand these sorts of things.”
Mit-Sun glared.
“Be quiet, Bes-Isa. I haven’t let you in on my plan just yet either.”
“You almost never do, so why do I care?”
“Because this one I plan on carrying through.”
“Huh?” Mit-Sun gave her a quizzical look. “What is this plan that’s got you so dazed?”
“I’m still planning it, that’s why I’m dazed.” She said. “Also, I’m thinking about San-Kyung…”
“…”
“Never mind. This plan is probably something stupid.”
‘So you think. If you only knew!’ La-Iin kept that thought to herself.

***

While Mit-Sun was at work, La-Iin was engrossed in drawing a picture.
“That’s an awful lot of scratching for a crayon.”
“Mind your own business.”
“Hey, I AM minding my own business! It’s not my fault I can’t hear my thoughts over your chicken scratching.”
La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa. She stuffed her into a tight area before continuing on the drawing.
“You realize you’ve been awfully mean to me lately, right?”
“I don’t care. You might be my friend, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy with you all the time. Besides, you were created to be my toy.”
“Hey, that might be so, but I’m a living being! You can’t treat me that way!”
“Evil has no rules, Bes-Isa.”
Bes-Isa sighed. “Touche. …hey, whatcha drawing?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“You’re actually going to let me know?”
“Sure. After all, it doesn’t matter if you know. I doubt you’d oppose it and there’s nothing anyone can do now. I plan on carrying this plan through at midnight.”
“Whoa, midnight? You sure you can stay up that late?”
La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa. “Positive. This plan is no necessity to my overall plan, but it will definitely be a benefit if I can carry it through!”
La-Iin finished the drawing, organized it with other drawings, then held them in front of Bes-Isa.
“Watch closely, because if you miss my explanation, you’ll need to see the pictures.”
“Sure.”
La-Iin flipped a paper. Bes-Isa spotted two crudely-drawn boys, one of which looked like his existence was encroaching upon the other’s. “You know how I’ve complained about rival-boy before? How he gets in my way around San-Kyung!?”
“I’ve heard so many complaints about ‘Dslellu-whatever Rival-boy’ that I could never count them.”
La-Iin flipped the page. Next was a picture of herself, drawing. “Well, I got the perfect idea just recently.” She flipped to the next page, which was a picture of her breaking into a house through the window. One of the crudely-drawn boys from earlier was cowering in the picture, clutching his bed sheets.
“Rival-boy is always in my way because he has freedom. One of my plans for the future is to cage up several people except a select few so they cannot use that freedom to oppose me.”
“Yeah?”
“So I figured, why not start early?” She flipped the page. The next picture was one of her carrying off a misshapen bag. “I plan on capturing rival-boy, imprisoning him and taking him out of the picture!”
“Wait a second! La-Iin, are you sure you’ve thought this one through? This sounds like it has so many holes I just–“
“What holes do you think there are then, Bes-Isa?” La-Iin asked. Her expression was surprisingly cocky. “Tell me, because I can guarantee to you that any ‘holes’ you think there might be are probably patched. Go ahead. Lay them all on me.”
“Well, what about his powers?”
“Accommodated for. I plan on dosing up on blood before I leave and putting in earbuds in case he sings.”
“….ooo-kay, what about the fact that he lives with his parents?”
“His parents are of no concern to me; I’ve dealt with them in other hole-patching ventures.”
“Well, what about school!? He goes to school with you–I’m sure some people would find it strange if he up and disappeared! And what about San-Kyung? Aren’t those two close friends? You might be able to keep a secret with your facial expression but aside from that you’re not the best at it. How do you plan to carry him here? Where are you going to put him? What are you going to do to take care of him, assuming you’re planning that? How are you going to make Mit-Sun not see him? Are you sure you thought any of this through!?”
La-Iin cleared her throat. “He’ll still be allowed to go to school, just under my terms. Wherein he’ll meet with San-Kyung and I’ll blackmail him into saying he ran away from home for some reason. That’s one hurdle I’m currently crossing, I’ll tell you that. And remember what I said about dosing up on blood–a good dose of Minomix and Werewolf should give me enough power to carry him here, and even if it doesn’t I have other avenues…I know his weaknesses, after all.”
“How!?”
“I’ll explain later. But you should know some of them too! Anyway, I plan on keeping him in a place Mama will never look–a little compartment in the miscellaneous room you could say is made up of garbage. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll pretend I filled my closet with garbage and stuff him in there.”
“What!?”
“And as for taking care of him, I don’t want him complaining or stinking so bad that Mama notices his smell. I plan on ‘taking care’ of my future slaves too. I’ll feed him covertly and in small portions so Mama doesn’t notice, have him clean himself while Mama’s at work or out with a friend, although when it comes to the bathroom I haven’t figured out a not-gross alternative yet.”
“Um, ew. And anyway! What about when the house is left alone? You do have to go to school!”
La-Iin tapped Bes-Isa’s head. “Don’t forget that I don’t intend on leaving him home when I go to school. Most of my plan is perfect, Bes-Isa. It just revolves around timing, being able to stay awake, upkeeping and watching him like a hawk! But I can do it. He will be my training, because someday I will have several slaves just like him.”
“…except your idea for those several slaves was that nobody would be able to do anything because EVERYONE was a slave! This is just one boy who has the strength to overpower you by himself! I don’t understand how you can possibly think it will work!”
“I’ve been planning this for longer than you might think, Bes-Isa. It will work–it has to! After yesterday I know this might be one of my only avenues to getting more time with San-Kyung!”
“Wha? But you’re bringing him to school! If you leave him home without you, he might start crying for that woman!”
“Oh, you’ll see. Besides, we have thick tape in the miscellaneous room. I can use that to silence any opposition, heh heh heh…”
“Seriously, do you plan on hiding him, torturing him, or killing him!?”
“Just the first two. I prefer keeping people alive to suffer rather than giving them temporary suffering. Why not extend it all!? They’ll suffer in death anyway!”
“…you’re not making any sense today.”
“Maybe you don’t understand, Bes-Isa.” When La-Iin turned around, Bes-Isa was a bit surprised by the expression of malice on her face. “I believe in my newfound strength. And I don’t think this plan will fail, not at all. I know what I have to do. The future I envision will become a reality with the assistance of my powers–you have my word!”
‘Ah, she’s gone completely off the deep end…I admire her passion, but I probably shouldn’t tell her that she sounds about insane right now.’
La-Iin cackled. “Soon, Dosa-Mina, you’ll be a prisoner in my closet!”

—–
When Mit-Sun arrived home, she was quick to notice that La-Iin was acting strangely as she had been that morning. But something seemed different now, as if instead of being distracted La-Iin was now energetic and ready to commit mischief.
It made her keep an eye on her for the entire day, but despite her strange behavior, La-Iin did not act out. Mit-Sun couldn’t help but feel perturbed by it all.
‘Is something going on with her? Maybe I should ask before I go to work tomorrow…’
But now was the time for bed, and so Mit-Sun put aside the thought for now. She checked in on La-Iin, then head off to bed herself.

When La-Iin woke up, her clock read 12:10. She pulled herself out of bed, stuffed the still-sleeping Bes-Isa into her dress, then head downstairs and checked the supply of blood.
‘Good.’ She had been concerned about running out of Werewolf and Minomix blood, and was thrilled to see that there was still some waiting for her in the fridge. She downed both blood boxes, then head upstairs, opened her window, flew out, closed it, then head off towards Dosa-Mina’s neighborhood with an unusual strength and confidence.

28.605.The Pervert Challenge

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 605
“The Pervert Challenge”

“Remind me why you’re coming to bother me right now?”
“Well, I figured you wouldn’t have the homework excuse seeing as school’s going to start again soon, so now’s the perfect time to take the opportunity to see you! After all, I haven’t seen Fer-Shi much this Summer, so I’m going to want to be with her, and rival-boy will cling all over you regardless of whether I like it or not, so–”
“I get it, I get it, you don’t need to over explain. So, why’d you bring the V-Puppet?”
“Bes-Isa demanded to come. And anyway, Mama would have hunted me down if I went all by myself.”
San-Kyung narrowed his eyes. “Uh-huh. Well, you know, I really don’t like you taking advantage of my Mom’s goodness! She’s too easily swayed by small things.”
“Something about hearing that from you is sickening.”
San-Kyung sighed. “Is the only reason you came over to see me? Because if that’s the case spare yourself and get out of here before I tie you up in vines.”
“I don’t mind that at all. Mostly.”
San-Kyung gave her a quizzical look and sighed.
“You don’t have much in your room, do you?”
“Some of it belongs to my parents. I don’t care if they keep stuff in my room.”
“You’re a real pushover when it comes to your parents, you know that? I would never let Mama push me around like that. I fight back!”
“Maybe that’s the case for that woman, but you obviously kowtow to Asul-Zenza.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened and she squished Bes-Isa into her dress pocket.
“Huh?”
“You heard nothing!” La-Iin hissed. San-Kyung sighed. “And I’m unhappy with a certain change that’s gone on in you, San-Kyung. I didn’t like you being a depressio, but something about the way you’re acting right now is very…place-fitting?”
“Hm?”
“Maybe it was place-caging.”
“Placating?”
“…maybe.” La-Iin began to look indignant. “What happened to the San-Kyung I love!? Why does he keep burying himself?”
“I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, La-Iin. Figuring out I wasted a bunch of time on a dead end isn’t all that easy to recover from. Though I have a little bit of hope now that I–”
“Yes, well, while you’ve been acting strange, I’ve been finding the perfect way to use my new power.”
“Yeah, rub it in, why don’t you.”
“Rub what in?”
“You seem to be conveniently stupid whenever it suits you.”
La-Iin’s wings began to flap wildly. “This play-cating attitude of yours is going to turn you against me. Well, I won’t stand for that!”
La-Iin flew towards him, but San-Kyung reacted faster, tying her up with vines. The glare he gave her reminded her of the days in which he hated her with its coldness.
“…your vines are soothing me, San-Kyung. There’s something very intimate about them…”
San-Kyung’s eyes widened and he killed the vines. “Get. Out.”
“Hm?”
“GET OUT!”
“Why? I haven’t even gotten to spend any time with you!”
San-Kyung struck his hands. “Get. Out.”
“I think you’d better, La-Iin. Those flames are awfully tall!”
“Coward!” La-Iin spat. Noticing the intensity in San-Kyung’s glare, she added, “I meant Bes-Isa, not you. I’ll leave, but don’t think this will be the last time you see me this month!”
She flew off, only hearing a sigh from San-Kyung afterwards.
“Oh, you’re leaving already?” Del-Kyuus asked. “See you, I suppose?”
La-Iin flew out the door without giving her a response. She continued flying on her path back home.
“Angry, are we?”
“No, just upset. What a jip! I walk and fly all this way only for him to get angry at me!”
“You realize he got angry at you because you were being a pervert, right?”
“What are you talking about?”
“‘There’s something intimate about your vines’? Sounds perverted to me.”
“That’s only because you’re far more of a pervert than anyone else I’ve known could be. Except maybe rival-boy…”
“You’re calling ME a pervert, but you’re a pervert at seven when you don’t even completely know how babies are made yet. Given you have a thousand year lifespan, I wonder about the future.”
“So you say, but you’ve been much more of a pervert than I have, and I can prove it!”
“Can you?”
La-Iin nodded. “You’ll see, Bes-Isa…”

***

When La-Iin and Bes-Isa arrived home, La-Iin sat herself across from Bes-Isa at the table, propping her up with an old toy she had found in the miscellaneous room. She glared at her.
“The law is the word of La-Iin. And I remember you saying things about wanting harems of girls several times in the past!”
“Ha! But you don’t have any evidence!”
“Do you have any evidence about me being a pervert!?” She yelled, slamming a fist down on the table.
“W–well no, but–“
“See!? This whole challenge relies on nothing but witness testimony!”
“Oh yeah!? I’ve got a better idea. Imagine a naked San-Kyung, La-Iin, and I’ll imagine a naked woman. We’ll see who reacts!”
“Giving yourself an unfair advantage, hm?”
“Your face is so expressionless nobody can tell what you’re thinking half the time.”
“And besides, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to imagine a naked San-Kyung because I’ve already seen a half-naked San-Kyung!”
“…I rest my case.”
“But that was an accident! I didn’t mean to pull down his underwear!”
“Point stands that you did, and you probably enjoyed the view. Wait, what the hell!? You’ve seen a guy’s private parts before and you still don’t…never mind.”
“I have proof that you’re a pervert though, Bes-Isa. You keep mentioning how babies are made. The subject everyone wants to avoid with me…well it’s too bad, because I already know it’s something perverted. But there was something else interesting I heard a little about in school once…”
“Oh?”
“You’d want to try and make babies with a lady too, wouldn’t you? Except two girls can’t make babies. I want to have four kids with San-Kyung, but all you want to do is do something perverted that wouldn’t get you babies!”
“Urgh, touche…but still! If it was two girl Animated Pumpkins, they could have a baby!”
La-Iin’s smile became smug. “But you’re not an Animated Pumpkin. And what they do for babies isn’t perverted. I even know that.”
“They can be perverts too, you know!”
“I was told Animated Pumpkins have low sexy drives!”
“…I cannot believe what I’m hearing!”
“What are you talking about?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin nearly jumped. “We’re having a private discussion that has nothing to do with you!”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. “Well, keep it down. I have to make dinner and you’re very distracting.”
La-Iin grumbled under her breath. “I heard that.”
“Now where were we. Oh yes. I bet the first thing you do whenever you see a girl is mentally take off her clothes!”
“Hey, that’s rude! Besides if that were the case, that would happen with you and ugh…that woman! Besides, at least I’m not chasing after an age gap love like you are.”
“And what’s the problem there!? Are you going to end up as one of those evil people, Bes-Isa!?”
“What are you talking about!? I just think what you’re doing is futile considering your situation.” La-Iin’s face fell. “Hey, wait a second…”
“Why should I? You’re just going to say something you shouldn’t again.”
“No, it has nothing to do with that. All this time, we’ve been calling each other perverts, but we haven’t even had any evidence. All we have is our word, and besides it’s not like being a pervert is goody-goody. It’s not the worst thing to be accused of…”
“Your point?”
“We should have been looking towards someone else this whole time. Someone with actual proof…someone like….CAHONGYUN MIT-SUN!”
Mit-Sun turned around. “What’s going on now?”
“Think about it! She has you, which means she did what needs to be done for babies. She was never married to Asul-Zenza, and though this is just testimony, Asul-Zenza has said before that she did what she did NOT intending to have you! In fact, she’s told you before herself that you were unplanned!”
Mit-Sun’s face flushed. “What the–! What are you talking about!?”
La-Iin looked almost sickened, but she held Mit-Sun’s gaze. “You can’t back down from the accusations, Mama. Bes-Isa makes a good point. She and I might be perverts, but you’re the biggest pervert of all!”
La-Iin and Bes-Isa noticed Mit-Sun’s blush extend to her shoulders. “Why are you two even having this discussion!? La-Iin, what’s been going on? I–I–”
“Ooh, looks like someone’s been caught guilty!”
“I would admire that about her if she wasn’t so gross…”
Mit-Sun grit her teeth. “Stop talking about this!”

—–
“…San-Kyung, we give you a lot of pardons, but I don’t think there’s any way we can pardon breaking the floor and nearly setting the roof on fire!
San-Kyung glared. “If you were there when she said that, you’d understand why this happened.”

“You two called me a pervert, but I know a bigger pervert than anything you can dream of.”
“Don’t you dare say Dami.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard you coaxed him into unintentionally making La-Iin.”
“I didn’t coax him! We both–ugh, never mind! Anyway, if you want a real pervert, you should be looking to Mrs. Eteibreit.”
“Your stupid boss?”
“Yes. Of all the people I’ve had the misfortune of meeting, she’s the most perverted. And if it’s evidence you want, I’m sure I’d be able to get it for you easily.”
“I think I’m a little done with this pervert talk, personally.”
“Yeah, it’s starting to get on my nerves.”

20.597.To See the Future–Part 5

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 597
“To See the Future–Part 5”

“I think the most annoying part about life is having ideas that you can’t do anything about because you can’t move on your own.”
La-Iin put down her crayon and glared. “If I agree with those ideas and you’d tell me what they were, I might help you with them.”
“I seriously doubt you would help me build a harem of women.”
“And you would be right.”
“When it comes to the subject of my autonomy, you have a fickleness that you obviously got from that woman.” La-Iin’s glare became more intense. “In the past it seemed like the idea of me becoming autonomous was a little appealing to you, and now you obviously hate it. I suppose I can at least give you that you’re more consistent than the woman who gave you that trait…”
“Hm…well, you wouldn’t understand, Bes-Isa. I’m thinking over my plans every single day so I don’t know what would be best for me. Maybe someday I’ll find out it really will be better for me if you are autonomous. But for now there’s one big problem.”
“What? Your half-Normal side dominating your brain?”
La-Iin hissed. “You realize I live with Mama, right!? Someone who doesn’t know about what Sale-Dessu found out!? You didn’t like the idea of not being able to go outside, but what you didn’t think about is that it goes a step further than that. If you became autonomous right now, not only would you not be able to go outside, you’d be stuck in my bedroom and Mama would always be asking ‘Where’s Bes-Isa? Where’s Bes-Isa!?’ and I’d have to come up with some dumbass excuse just to cover for you!”
La-Iin began to pant. “Wow, you really thought this over.”
“I needed an excu–err, rebuttal for you next time you brought this up.”
“Ah huh.”
“The future is a work in progress, Bes-Isa. We’ll see how things turn out. For now I need to keep on planning. …though Mama helping me with my blood studies has certainly paid off a little bit, heh heh heh…”
‘A work in progress, huh. Ah, it would be so nice if I could become autonomous. My future won’t be much if I can’t. But if I can…’

***

Bes-Isa cackled as she brought her whip down on Mit-Sun and Eul-Bok.
“Scream, scream! Oh, how I’ve waited for this day!”
“P-P-Please, stop…” Eul-Bok begged. Mit-Sun didn’t say anything–she was cowering a short distance behind Eul-Bok, her hands on her head.
“What would it say about me if I gave you mercy when La-Iin doesn’t?” She brought the whip down again and gave another cackle.
“This feels so good….”
“Bes-Isa.”
Bes-Isa turned around. La-Iin landed behind her, San-Kyung right behind. Bes-Isa grinned.
“Hello there, La-Iin, pumpkin boy.”
“I have a name.”
“What are you here for? Want to take over whipping that woman and the brat?”
“Actually, no. I was going to ask if you could stop for now. I need Mama–err–Mit-Sun for something. Also, Sale-Dessu wants to see you. Something about a check-up.”
“Aw, damn. Well, I’d love to go and all, but ah, how am I going to get there?”
“Mind giving her a little assistance, San-Kyung?”
“Yes, I do.”
La-Iin rolled her eyes. “If you do this for me, I’ll let you see rival-boy outside of his cage for a little bit. He can even….ugh…come to dinner. I wouldn’t make you do this, but I don’t want Bes-Isa falling apart. Ever since she gained her autonomy, she has been a useful fixture in my army, especially ever since some of my planned people fell through.”
Bes-Isa grinned. Before she could say anything in response, however, she was lifted into the air. San-Kyung levitated off at a speed that surprised her. ‘You’d think without wings moving through the sky would be a lot slower…’
They landed at the castle. “You know where Sale-Dessu is. I don’t need to be your guide.”
“I wouldn’t want you to be. To be honest, I don’t know what La-Iin sees in you.”
San-Kyung did not respond; as Bes-Isa walked inside, she could have sworn she heard him mumble “Dosa-Mina”, but the rest of what he said was incomprehensible.
Bes-Isa navigated her way through the castle, meeting up with Fer-Shi on the way.
“It’s so boring in here sometimes,” she had said. “Although I guess I shouldn’t say that. Some people have it really bad in La-Iin’s world. I’m one of the lucky ones…”
When she reached Sale-Dessu’s room, she was surprised to see bags under his visible eye. He looked incredibly stressed. He beckoned for her to stand on a small metal circle, then set to work.
“So, uh, hello, Sale-Dessu.”
“Hello.”
“I hear you’re the one who summoned me here.”
“Yes, I-I checked the schedules a-a-and you are scheduled for a…for an experiment. I mean examination.”
“Geez, have you been getting any sleep?”
“Not much, no.”
“La-Iin working you that hard? She really is a sadist.”
“No, it’s my own stresses…” Sale-Dessu sighed. “Everything looks fine to me…have you been feeling strange?”
“Nope, better than ever.”
“Okay.” Sale-Dessu sighed. “I guess you are an improvement over Eul-Bok. I…I mean physically…”
“Heh.”
“How is….how is Eul-Bok?”
“Oh, well, he’s surviving. Still a blabbermouth. But lately I’ve been appreciating the way he blabbers when I show up…”
Bes-Isa couldn’t tell if the look on Sale-Dessu’s face was one of anger or one of sadness. “I was worried you might over-exert yourself, but I guess you’re fine…”
“Yeah, that’s good. Hey, um, Sale-Dessu?”
“Yes?”
“Try not to lose so much sleep, alright?”
“I’ve always been an insomniac, though…” He yawned.
“If it makes you feel better, I’ll make sure things are a little more lenient on Eul-Bok. Maybe I’ll even barter with La-Iin to let you see him again if you do something in return for me.”
“Really…?” A smile crossed Sale-Dessu’s lips.
“Yeah, sure. Anyway, I should get going!”
She ran out the room. ‘I wonder…should I use that as sadistic torture, or a way to get something I want? Still, it is pretty weird to see him so sleep-deprived. Maybe he deserves a little leniency. It’ll be less uncomfortable that way!’

“Done with all your tasks today, Bes-Isa?”
The voice was all too familiar. “Koko-Reni!”
Koko-Reni smiled. Their meeting felt all too fresh in Bes-Isa’s mind–Koko-Reni had been one of the many slaves La-Iin had kept, and one of the first to be locked up at the start of her conquest. Bes-Isa quickly took a shine to her, and had since managed to barter with La-Iin to keep her out of her cage.
“If you’re going to keep that girl out of the cage, you had better find a use for her. If I don’t see any use, she’s going back in with extra punishment.” La-Iin had told her that, and since then Bes-Isa did her best to involve Koko-Reni in her activities whenever possible.
“Yeah, I’m done. But I could’ve been finished whenever.”
“Good. I’d say I’d like to hang out with you, but there’s really no place to outside, and I’m not allowed inside the castle, am I?”
“Unfortunately not. La-Iin calls me a pervert every time I ask if you’re allowed to come in.”
Koko-Reni giggled. “I wonder how true that is…anyway, Bes-Isa, I wanted to ask, are you really happy living in this world? I mean, I’m happy that I have you, but aside from that it’s pretty shitty here, don’t you think?”
“It is pretty shitty, but when you’re guaranteed benefits in return for helping out you come to like it. Also I’m evil, so all the chaos delights me. I’ve gotten a lot of what I wanted, except for a harem, anyway. But that’s alright, because you make up for having seven girls at my side.”
Koko-Reni laughed. “Bes-Isa, you sap. But anyway, doesn’t it get boring sometimes?”
“Boring? I like this. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but I was a V-Puppet before I met you. So getting to do things like this, it’s nothing at all like it was for me for around thirty years. I’m happy because I can move and do what I want.”
“I guess.”
“Well, I am pretty good at bartering with La-Iin, you know,” she said. “We’re longtime friends and all. Maybe I can barter to have her set up a little something you’d like more.”
“Like ice cream?”
“I’ll see, but it might be blood ice cream.”
“Ah, that’s fine.”
“If there’s one good thing about being a former V-Puppet, it’s that the moment you get what you want, it’s so satisfying you become simple. …well, that’s what stupid Euly said to me before I locked him up, anyway. And a benefit to this world is that I can go wherever I want! I’m free!”
Bes-Isa gave a wild laugh. Koko-Reni joined in. “Well, if you’re happy, then I’m happy too.”
“And I am happy. This is the best future I could have asked for. I’m sure I could have made something out of the other ones, but hey, I got what I wanted, so who cares about what might have happened!?”
Bes-Isa pulled Koko-Reni close and kissed her. ‘Oh yeah, this is the good stuff.’

—–
“Ahahahaha…..”
“What’s with the creepy giggle? And you call me creepy…”
“I was just thinking about how nice freedom is.”
“Hm. Not like you have any.”
“Yeah, I guess not. …you know, La-Iin, while I like your slave idea, I can see why goody-goodies wouldn’t. Everyone likes to be free to do what they want. Well, except maybe weirdos. I know I would be happy if I was free…”
“What?”
“I hope your future gives me the freedom I want. And I damn well hope that Koko-Reni actually exists, or at least someone like her…”
“Start making sense or I’m not waking you up again until school starts!”

19.596.To Where Do You Head?

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 596
“To Where Do You Head?”

Eul-Bok sighed as he tidied around the house. “Father may be good at keeping the house clean, but he really doesn’t pay attention to when things gather dust, does he?”
“…not that a particular color of liquid can tell you whether you have a good potion or a bad potion, but typically people are dubious of black potions…oh, well, I actually meant we Witches and Warlocks are, I wouldn’t know about the general population…”
“Hm?” Curious, Eul-Bok followed Sale-Dessu’s voice. “What’s up, Father? Are you talking to yourself?”
“Why would I do that, Eul-Bok?” When Sale-Dessu turned to face him, he caught sight of the real reason he had heard his voice–La-Iin, sitting across from Sale-Dessu, with Bes-Isa sitting on the table propped up by a book stand.
“You didn’t hear them come in?”
“No.” Eul-Bok narrowed his eyes. “Why must you two come here almost every single month!?”
“Because Sale-Dessu is our ally and we exchange information.”
“Do we?”
“I’m not sure I’d call that an exchange, seeing how one-sided it is,” Eul-Bok scoffed.
“Eul-Bok, be nice to them. I wouldn’t have let them in if I wanted them to go away.”
Eul-Bok sighed. “There’s no arguing with you on this subject…” He sat down next to him. “You do realize you haven’t given Father nearly enough time to finish looking into that thing you wanted from him, right?”
“Our trip here today was for different purposes.”
“Yes, she was asking me about potions,” Sale-Dessu said with a smile. “I was telling her about potions, but I somehow got sidetracked onto Warlocks not trusting black-colored potions. But it isn’t just black-colored potions. Grey potions aren’t usually trusted either.”
“Hm.”
“Didn’t you already talk to them about potions?”
“Some things need repeating. Besides, he didn’t tell me everything.”
“Potions do have a lot of unique properties, so there’s a lot to go over. And some aren’t made perfectly. They can backfire even if the Warlock’s intentions were good. La-Iin, do you remember that potion I brought back with me last year?”
“Huh?”
“The one I had to dilute?”
“Certainly you remember near-threatening him for a sip of that potion.”
“Oh. I don’t really remember what happened after that, though…”
“I’m not surprised.”
“Where did you get that potion, anyway?”
A curious expression crossed Sale-Dessu’s face. “…on my way back home…”
“What?”
La-Iin’s forehead wrinkled. “I don’t get it. You don’t seem like you like going outside, but you used to go places. If you don’t like leaving, then why did you?”
“I had…things I needed to do.”
“Things?”
“La-Iin, I know we’re allies, but you don’t tell me everything about what you do, do you?”
“…” La-Iin narrowed her eyes.
“Please don’t look at me like that…I don’t want to tell you everything about what I do. I might not have much experience with people, but I know most people don’t go around telling their allies all of what they do every day.”
“But when you got that potion, you made me watch Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok shuddered. “I had almost forgotten those horrible days…”
“Speaking of…! Maybe you can convince her, Eul-Bok. Something tells me she won’t listen to me no matter how much I protest.”
“Why don’t you just threaten her right back, then?”
“I couldn’t do that!”
“I’d love to, Father, but I don’t have any rebuttal. Also, you weren’t all that clear on what you were doing when you talked to me about it, either.”
“That’s strange. I’d at least think that if he didn’t want to tell us, he would tell you. He trusts you so much, after all.”
A cocky smile crossed Eul-Bok’s lips and he puffed his chest out slightly. “It does seem rather suspicious that you want to keep it a secret so badly…from what I’ve seen you’re not good at hiding these sorts of things. After all, me and La-Iin might not know what happened to you when you were a kid, but we have a good idea that it wasn’t pleasant.”
“Please stop…”
“So if you’re hiding this, what sort of dark secret is behind it?”
“Dark secret…” La-Iin grinned. “Sale-Dessu, you don’t need to hide dark secrets from me. Hiding your evil from your ally is stupid. I’m evil, after all. You just need to say the word and I promise I won’t tell anyone you killed anybody. And I don’t like to make promises.”
“What!?”
“You really think poorly of Father, don’t you!?”
“On the contrary, Eul-Bok. I may have mixed feelings about murder, but that’s only because I think keeping people alive to suffer is much worse, and therefore, preferable.”
“And also because she has the sappiness of a half-Normal.”
La-Iin flicked Bes-Isa’s forehead.
“You’re sick, you know that!? Father, why do you associate yourself with someone like her!?”
Sale-Dessu’s head was lowered. Both La-Iin and Eul-Bok stared at him in confusion as he began to mumble to himself.
“What?”
“Father, are you okay?”
“I think he’s officially lost it. Hey, maybe this is the part where we pushed him so much to his breaking point that he’ll come out and spill everything!”
“Really!?”
“If you two did that to him, I…I….I’m not going to be held responsible for what I do to you in return!” Eul-Bok’s tone was thick with rage.
“Please, Eul-Bok, don’t threaten them.” Sale-Dessu sighed and faced them again. “Fine. I’ll tell you where I went off to. It wasn’t anything like what La-Iin said…I would never go away and kill someone. That’s awful.”
“Damn. It would have been excellent blackmail, now that I think about it.”
The look Sale-Dessu gave Bes-Isa in response terrified her. “I just didn’t want to explain it because I feel it will require more explanation than just saying ‘I went here’….”
“What do you mean, Father?”
“La-Iin’s right, I have gone out despite my reluctance to do so. I don’t like doing it–you can ask Eul-Bok, it makes me very uncomfortable…but I’ve done it before. Once I had planned on taking Eul-Bok with me to various places that specialized in V-Puppets to see if I could learn more about them. When I brought Eul-Bok to life, I didn’t know as much as V-Puppets as I should have.”
“But what about when you got the potion? I don’t even think La-Iin remembers what you’re talking about. That all happened so close to Magica Cavintus.”
“Huh?”
“See?”
“I–I know. I was just trying to prepare myself…I was looking for something when I went out that time.”
“And what would that be?”
“Something important to me…a relic from my past, you could say. Some things happened in the area I went to, so I was unable to use my powers and I had to be careful about even navigating that place…but in the end, the trip was worth it, at least for me.”
“That doesn’t explain anything.”
“This is why I didn’t want to tell you about it,” he groaned. “You won’t be happy unless I tell you exactly what it was I was looking for. It’s a part of my past. If I brought it up to you, I would have to go into that, too.”
“For someone who hangs as open as a book you’re sure tight-lipped on the exact details of your past.”
“You’d understand, if you knew…” He shook his head. “Anyway, the place is far away and it wasn’t feasible to just teleport there. That’s why it took me so long, and I went there to see something from my past. That’s all.”
“We’ll never get to hear about your past, will we?”
“It’s best if you don’t. Really. Aside from the fact that I don’t want to tell you, it’s better off if you don’t know…a-anyway, why don’t we get back to talking about potions instead?”
“You two bother Father too much. He’s doing his best to move past all that stuff, and all you two do is dredge up painful memories!”
“Eul-Bok, please.”
“I can’t stand it though, Father! It’s not fair, the way they’re treating you!”
“You might say that, but what wouldn’t be fair is what I would do to you if I had bodily autonomy.”
“Please, Bes-Isa,” Sale-Dessu sighed. “Let’s just go back to potions…there are actually some black-colored potions that aren’t harmful, but a lot of them were used for “curses” in the past.”
“Why did you say curses like that?”
“There really isn’t anything exactly like the curses you hear about in books. It’s more like an….infection.”
Sale-Dessu began to look dejected after those words. Eul-Bok glared at La-Iin and Bes-Isa. Neither of their expressions made it possible for him to tell what they thought about his reaction, but to him it didn’t matter.
‘Father, somehow I have to get you to realize that having La-Iin and Bes-Isa as your allies is a bad thing. All they do is bring you pain…’

—–
“Um, Father…”
“Yes, what is it, Eul-Bok? Do you want to try eating again today?”
“No, I’d rather not, really. I just wanted to ask you something.”
“What’s that?”
“Well…I feel like kind of a hypocrite asking this, but I don’t really remember what you were going there to see….what was it again?”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “It’s fine. You know already some of what happened, anyway. I went there to see my Mamun. Or if you prefer to hear it this way, your Apeta.”
“O–oh….”
“Unfortunately, me and Apeta couldn’t take her remains with us, but perhaps that’s for the better, considering what happened afterwards. We would have lost her. She’s safer back there, where they don’t allow powers. When I went, they were even going so far as to give everyone power suppressants.”
“Why don’t they allow powers?”
“In part due to my Mamun’s murder. The other part….well, I don’t know the other part. I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make you think about something so painful.”
“I wish I could have brought you with me that time, but they’re very staunch on the rules,” he sighed. “Maybe someday now, if we can disguise you well enough…”
Sale-Dessu turned back to his soup. “Oh, I burned it…”
“I’m really sorry, Father.”
“Don’t be. It’s in the past now. And the past is something I’m still trying to leave behind…but I’m trying, and that’s what important.”