9.586.Fightercise

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 586
“Fightercise”

“I bet you want the toy, don’t you?”
Choungetsu stared up at La-Iin, sitting patiently and eyes on the toy. La-Iin glanced at his tail. It was twitching slightly.
“Well, that’s too bad! You didn’t get the toy first, and now I have it, so you’ll never get it–”
Choungetsu jumped up and ran off with the toy. “Hey!” La-Iin chased after him, but by the time she caught up with him, he was hiding in an area too crowded for her and him to be in it at the same time.
“Damn you, Choungetsu! You’ll taste my revenge soon enough!”
“La-Iin, what are you doing on the floor? And don’t think I didn’t hear you curse.” Mit-Sun walked past, holding a basket of laundry.
“You act like you enforce punishments for me cursing, when the reality is that you don’t,” La-Iin sighed, standing up. “And I was trying to play keep-away with Choungetsu, but he took advantage of my momentary distraction.”
“Hm.”
“At least it’s more than you’ve been doing!”
“Actually, I’ve been doing a lot, but since you’ve been off in your own world lately, you probably haven’t noticed. I’ll admit that most of the stuff I’ve been doing lately is things I used to do, but so what? At least it’s something. Besides, it’s been nice to pick sewing back up again.”
“Ooh.”
“Of course you’d ‘ooh’ at that. Anyway, speaking of that, let me ask you a question, La-Iin. I’ve been taking up exercising lately, what about you?”
“You don’t even need to ask that question. I take Choungetsu on walks! I fly almost everywhere, and it would be everywhere if you’d let me fly in the house. And most of the time, when I go places, I have to walk a long way to get there. One of my favorite places to go is almost two hours away, and it’s worth the whole walk. Or flight. I guess flying makes it take less than almost two hours.”
“Uh huh.” La-Iin sounded confident. “I guess you do get a lot of exercise, more than I do, anyway. Still, your methods are…questionable. And have you done any of those things lately?”
La-Iin stared blankly at Mit-Sun. “I took Choungetsu on a walk recently.”
“I guess so,” she sighed. “And I can’t exactly call you out on not doing much. You might spend a lot of time in your head, but you’ve been drawing, dancing, playing with Choungetsu and Bes-Isa…everything short of doing any chores.”
La-Iin scoffed. “Oh, poor, poor Mama. Getting competitive with her daughter, how sad.”
“I wasn’t getting competitive!”
La-Iin smirked. Mit-Sun sighed. “Obviously you aren’t going to believe me no matter how many times I deny it, so I’m ending this here.”
“So you admit defeat, and the fact that you were getting competitive!”
“Now look who’s getting competitive! Besides, I know it’s impossible to manage you. If I had continued going on, you only would have said that because I kept going on, that meant that I was denying becoming competitive!” Mit-Sun sighed and slammed her face into the laundry; her words slightly muffled, she said, “Some days I don’t understand myself how I deal with you every day…”
“Cahongyuns don’t admit defeat! And even if you will, I shall continue on that legacy! For someday the Cahongyun family will be my name!”
Mit-Sun lifted her face out of the laundry and stared at La-Iin. “What the hell are you talking about? Oops!”
La-Iin’s smirk only widened. “It doesn’t matter, Mama. If you want me to exercise, for once I’ll actually listen to you. Because you’ve given me a great idea.”
She spread her wings and flew for the door. “Hey, where are you going!?”
“To go and meet with Fer-Shi! If you don’t believe me, call her in an hour.” Before Mit-Sun could say any more, La-Iin flew out the door and slammed it shut.

***

“You want to do what!?
La-Iin punched the air and twitched her wings as she explained her idea to Fer-Shi. “Mama tried to tell me that I don’t exercise, and I proved her wrong spectacularly. But when she said that, she gave me a burning desire to fight someone!”
La-Iin stopped the motions and faced Fer-Shi. “It’s been a while since I had a good fight, and for as much as I like to pull out over someone more powerful than me, right now I feel like taking down a weakling!”
“Hey, who says I’m a weakling! And um…what do you mean by a while since you had a good fight?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“I actually would,” Fer-Shi said.
“Some people are more accommodating of my desires than others,” she said. “Certain people who have powers even I struggle dealing with. Though, this last fight happened before I developed my blood powers. So I suppose that now, it doesn’t matter. I can go and meet up with a certain someone and we’ll be on even ground. Somewhat.”
Fer-Shi had a feeling she knew who La-Iin was referring to right away. She could see it now–San-Kyung raising vines from the ground and wrapping them around La-Iin’s arms and legs, walking towards her with his hands lit with flames. It was a horrifying sight, and though La-Iin looked ready enough to take off, Fer-Shi couldn’t stand the idea.
“Okay, okay, I’ll fight you!”
“Really?” La-Iin smiled, though it quickly dropped. “Oh no. You’re not becoming a major doormat like Granddami, are you!?”
“No, I’m not becoming a doormat. I’ve actually gotten better at not being that than I used to be.”
“Fair enough.”
“I just don’t want you to get killed. And I feel like there’s a better chance of avoiding that if I’m the one who fights you…”
“I won’t get killed. Not before fulfilling my purpose, anyway.” La-Iin looked around. “We should probably do this somewhere where your Mama and Dami can’t see. I don’t want them interrupting our fight!”
When La-Iin mentioned Den-Matsu and Tei-Sheu, Fer-Shi felt a sudden wave of remorse. ‘I’m sorry, Mom and Dad. But this is the better, safer option, right? It’s better than just sending her to her death…’
The two walked away from her house and across the street. Fer-Shi wanted to avoid Hei-Maj’s cove, and so walked a short distance further before they went into the forestry.
“Bushes near your house are too prickly,” La-Iin complained.
“Bushes are always prickly,” Fer-Shi told her. The two stretched and stood in the middle of a small clearing.
“Okay, since I agreed to this, I just want to say a few things. Please don’t suck my blood as part of the fight, and let’s not do anything too dangerous, oka–”
La-Iin flew at Fer-Shi before she could finish, then flew above her and dove for her once more. Fer-Shi tried to run away, but La-Iin was faster, caught her, and pinned her to the ground.
“Too easy.”
Terrified, Fer-Shi scooped up some dirt and tossed it in La-Iin’s face. La-Iin staggered off of her, trying to pick the dirt out of her eyes. The sight made Fer-Shi feel terrible. She didn’t dare try and take advantage of the situation, which was why just moments later, she ended up in a much similar situation.
“Take that!” La-Iin yelled. Fer-Shi backed into a tree and La-Iin pinned her against it. She blinked dirt out of her eyes and met La-Iin’s–they were alight with the thrill of the fight. The sight made her shudder.
She wiggled free from La-Iin’s grasp and tried to run. La-Iin flew up behind her and tried to carry her off into the sky, only to drop her soon after. Fer-Shi was stunned by the fall, and so didn’t retaliate. When La-Iin came flying for her once more, she grabbed her arms and the two became locked in a tussle.
“Let’s just stop this before it gets too violent!” Fer-Shi yelled.
“Never! I’m enjoying this thrill!”
The two rolled around in the upturned dirt. Fer-Shi only managed to keep La-Iin below her for a few minutes more, as after that La-Iin turned them over, pinned Fer-Shi’s dress down with a rock, and stood on her legs.
She gave a cackle of delight.
“STOOOOOP!”
La-Iin flinched and backed off of Fer-Shi, who sat up, shook her hair out, and stared La-Iin down.
“Look, I’m only going to say this once. I get it, you like violent stuff and fighting and things like that, but if we keep going this way I’m going to end up furious with you! There has to be a limit to these sorts of things. You’re too competitive!”
“I am not,” she said.
“You are so!”
“I am–actually, you have a good point. I’m very competitive.” La-Iin shook her head. “You’re right. Fighting isn’t for us two. And besides, against you I barely got any exercise.”
“Hey!”
La-Iin smirked. “I’ll stick to fighting teenage boys from now on. How’s that sound?”
Fer-Shi gasped. “No! You’ll get killed!”
“But maybe not right now.”
“Not ever again if I have anything to say about it!”
“But will you, Fer-Shi? Will you?”

—–
The two girls head back to Fer-Shi’s home to tidy themselves up. La-Iin managed to make it to the bathroom before being spotted, but Tei-Sheu quickly caught sight of her daughter’s disheveled state.
“What the–! Fer-Shi, how did you get so dirty?”
“Um, there’s a good explanation for it, Mom! You see–”
“Really, Fer-Shi, you need to be less rambunctious,” La-Iin said. “Look at you. All dirty.”
“You frikkin’ hypocrite! You were dirty just a moment before!”
Tei-Sheu sighed. She decided to call Mit-Sun; just as she did, the phone rang.
“Hello?”
“Hello, Tei-Sheu. Is La-Iin over there?”
“Yes. Yes she is.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Oh shit.”

24.570.The Rivalry of Bes-Isa and Choungetsu

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 570
“The Rivalry of Bes-Isa and Choungetsu”

“This is it, Choungetsu. This is the day you are going down. You thought you could get away with biting me all those times scot-free. You thought there’d be no consequence for your actions. Well guess what: I’m autonomous now, and do you know what that means?”
Choungetsu began to growl.
“There’s no point in trying to look intimidating. It won’t help you now!”
Bes-Isa grabbed Choungetsu and began to squeeze him. His eyes were nearly bulging with fear. Bes-Isa grinned to herself.
‘Finally, finally, I will have my revenge!’
Just as she was about to grind her fist into his head, she was forced backwards. Her body began to shrink until she was once again her V-Puppet size. Finally, she turned back to her V-Puppet form and the scene around her changed from the Cahongyun house kitchen to La-Iin’s bedroom.
“What the hell, La-Iin! I was having the most wonderful dream!”
“What, about a whole bunch of girls acting like rival-boy does?”
“No! I was having a dream about revenge! Damn it, it was just getting to the good part!”
“Ooh, revenge? Tell me more!”
“I’d be able to if I hadn’t been so rudely forced awake!”
“Well excuse me for wanting to take you to lunch!”
“Why would you do that? Didn’t you stop taking me because of that woman and Choungetsu? Why are you making me face them now!?”
“I needed a more trustworthy companion while I eat. Besides, you don’t get in trouble for anything you say towards Mama. I think she’s finally one-hundred-percent convinced that you speak on your own with no influence from me. And since she doesn’t punish you, it seemed like a great combination!”
“To you maybe, but if her thinking that you’re controlling all I say can change, who’s to say her punishing me won’t change!?”
“You are my V-Puppet, you know. I can just move you away from her.”
“Are you talking to Bes-Isa, La-Iin?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin entered the kitchen. “Why did you bring her here for lunch? I thought she didn’t like being brought down here.”
“I have my reasons.”
“I wasn’t thrilled about having to see your ugly mug after such a nice dream either, so we feel the same for once.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes.
“Bes-Isa said it, not me. Don’t worry, Mama, I don’t think you look all ugly. After all, our eyes look a lot alike.”
“You’re so conceited.”
“So?” La-Iin began to eat her lunch, laying Bes-Isa on the table next to her. As usual, Choungetsu was walking under the table between both Mit-Sun and La-Iin, waiting for them to drop a scrap of food, but when he noticed Bes-Isa his tail began to wag.
It had been a while since La-Iin had brought with her that strange and tasty doll. Though he could also remember her retaliation, a thought which made him shudder, he also knew he was beginning to get quite fast. He could remember La-Iin stumbling while he ran. With that in mind he reached up to grab the doll.
“Bes-Isa!” La-Iin yelled.
La-Iin threw herself at Choungetsu and bit into his back. Though the bite was shallow, it sent Choungetsu running off into a corner, whimpering.
“Ow ow ow ow ow….”
“It looks like he didn’t bite too hard,” La-Iin said.
“La-Iin, you really shouldn’t leave Bes-Isa dangling off the table like that. You knew Choungetsu likes her as well.”
“Blaming me, are you, Mama? Well, how come you haven’t made Choungetsu his very own Bes-Isa!? You know, if you did that I probably wouldn’t have to worry at all about him biting her!”
By the look on Mit-Sun’s face, La-Iin felt she was going to argue with her, but it softened before she spoke. “You know, you make a good point. Maybe I should do that.”
She took her and La-Iin’s plates, put them in the sink and head upstairs.
“For once Mama thought an idea of mine was a good one. Astounding.”
“La-Iin, I’m furious.”
“At me?”
“No, at that stupid little furball. I can’t stand him. This is the last straw! It doesn’t matter if that woman makes him a doll of his own and even if it somehow came to life, I don’t care about some other doll’s pain, I care about the fact that he’ll probably still go after me! This dog is impossible!”
“He seems pretty cowardly right now.”
“That’s why I’m making this request. Help me fight him, La-Iin! I don’t have autonomy like I do in my dreams. So I’m requesting your help! Slam me against him until he’s traumatized!”
“That might be pretty funny,” La-Iin mused. “After all, you wouldn’t hurt him so bad he dies, and he would be upset and all. I’m pretty mad at him myself. He went to the bathroom in the house and he bit you!”
“Precisely!”
“I just want you to answer one question for me first.”
“What?”
“Were you a Normal in your dream?” La-Iin narrowed her eyes.
“Er, um, half-Normal, at least! Now come on, La-Iin! Let me at him!”
La-Iin took a fighting position and began to fling Bes-Isa at Choungetsu, who looked startled and hurt. She twirled Bes-Isa in a circle to slap him rapidly and whacked her against his face and back. When she slammed against his bite injury, however, Choungetsu’s expression changed to one of anger, and he took a defensive position.
Choungetsu reached out to nip Bes-Isa, but La-Iin’s maneuvers were faster than him. Evidently angry, he continued to try and nip her, but La-Iin always seemed to be one step ahead.
‘It’s weird to see Choungetsu so mad…’
While in the midst of that thought, he caught Bes-Isa’s leg, and she began to shriek. Cautious, La-Iin moved her to smack Choungetsu in the face, and managed to free her leg. Noticing that Choungetsu was startled, she began a rapid attack, slamming Bes-Isa against Choungetsu with such a force that he cowered to the floor and began to give a shriek-like whimper.
“La-Iin, I heard someone yell, is everything–what are you doing!”
Mit-Sun picked up La-Iin and grabbed her hand. Bes-Isa fell to the floor, and Choungetsu went back to cowering in the corner of the kitchen.
“What were you doing!?”
“Getting revenge on Choungetsu for all the times he’s bitten Bes-Isa!”
“By abusing him!?”
“It was revenge!”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. La-Iin was startled. She recognized the anger in her mother’s eyes. Frozen in place, she was carried off by Mit-Sun, leaving Bes-Isa on the floor and Choungetsu cowering in the corner.

—–
“OW OW OW OW! What was that for!?”
“As nice as it was to get revenge on Choungetsu, I already got it when I bit him! The way he reacted to you hitting him was the same way he reacted to my bite!” She sniffled. “Now I can feel the pain of Mama’s hand and it’s all your fault!”
“You didn’t have to go along with it, idiot!”
“You would have just badgered me until I did, I know it! It’s your fault, Bes-Isa, and nothing you say will convince me otherwise!”
Though the two were arguing in La-Iin’s room, Mit-Sun could hear them from her room. She sighed. ‘Any time I doubt how immature La-Iin is, I’ll make sure to remember this argument…’

23.569.Scour of Nature

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 569
“Scour of Nature”

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

—–
Fer-Shi sighed.
‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do. What’s better–if I find a Werewolf society or if I don’t? Forget what would be better for me, what would be better for Hei-Maj? Would he really even want to leave that home he’s known for so long?’
“What has you distracted now?”
“H-huh? Nothing, La-Iin. Really, don’t worry about it.”
Fer-Shi gave another sigh. La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance, but she did not notice it.

13.559.To Find Enjoyment

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 559
“To Find Enjoyment”

“La-Iin, why are you huffing like that?”
“Mama, I’ve realized something. You never did experience true love, did you?”
“What!? I don’t want to hear that coming from your mouth.”
“Why not?”
“Because I know who you’re talking about. Besides, you’re seven. It’s just weird.”
“Age doesn’t matter to me, Mama.”
Mit-Sun’s expression became one of concern.
“Fine, I won’t talk about it. But you asked why I was huffing like that, and that’s why! Also it’s too hot in here! Why’d you have to go and make something so hot for breakfast when it’s so hot outside?”
“I had a taste for it!” Mit-Sun groaned. She continued to grumble as she finished her breakfast.
“I have to go to work today.”
“I know. I certainly am lucky, having a school break.”
“You could bother doing your homework, I hope you know. Asking you to be good is like asking you to do something horrible, but don’t set the house on fire, alright?”
“I’m not an Animated Pumpkin, Mama. Besides, have I ever done anything like that?”
“No, not really, and you’ve been fairly good during Summer break–don’t look at me like that, you know what I mean. But having certain conversations with you makes me wary sometimes.”
“Don’t be wary. Of course I’ll be one-hundred-percent innocent. I’ll just talk with Bes-Isa and play with Choungetsu and his toys, maybe listen to some music and draw! Perfectly innocent.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “That tone you’re using makes me think you’re lying. But I’m gonna have to give you the benefit of the doubt, since I’ve gotta get going. Just don’t hurt yourself, alright?”
“Now you don’t have to worry about that, Mama. I’m powerful. I’ll be fine.”
“Uh-huh.” Mit-Sun slipped on her shoes. “See you later, La-Iin.” She head out the door.
La-Iin sat there, a mischievous grin on her face. Choungetsu walked over to her with a toy in his mouth.
“There’s no time to play, Choungetsu. But how would you like to accompany me on a little journey again?”
Choungetsu gave a confused whimper. “I know I saw him just yesterday, but San-Kyung’s been on my mind lately. After all, I had luck with Mama turning down Haner. Maybe soon enough, I’ll have luck with San-Kyung finally realizing my true charms!”

***

“Finished your homework early, huh, San-Kyung?”
“I finished most of it.”
“He’s been working hard since Summer started! Though he did play with Dosa-Mina a bit yesterday.”
“Huh. Good for you, balancing fun and work. Wish I knew how to do that better!” Salsh-Era tightened his tie. “Well, I suppose I should be going. I’ll see you two later!” He pat San-Kyung on the head and gave Del-Kyuus a kiss on the cheek.
“Do you have to do that, Dad?”
“The kiss or the pat?” He asked coyly. “Either way, yes. Well, I’ll see you two later!”
Del-Kyuus waved as Salsh-Era head out the door. “So, San-Kyung, what are you planning on doing today?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“I hope you don’t plan on just lying around doing nothing! Maybe you’d like to play with me?”
“I’m not really in the mood for playing…maybe I’ll just finish my homework and study a bit. School’s not all that hard for me but I think they were giving me Grade 12 sheets starting this year…they really overestimate me.”
“I don’t think they overestimate you, San-Kyung. You’re a self-made smart boy, and I’m sure you’ll put those smarts to use.”
‘If you only knew in what way,’ he wanted to say, but he bit his tongue and kept from saying it. ‘Not like that’s gonna help me with what I really want, anyway…’
“I think I will study a bit more,” he said. “Maybe we’ll do something later, Mom.”
“Alright! Maybe later we can go out and get something special to drink! Just me and you, San-Kyung.”
“Yeah right.”
Even having cheered up since that fateful day in May, it was often that San-Kyung would dwell back on the paper that seemed to mark his dream as impossible. As desperate as he was to search for some other method, he was scared that it would all be in vain just like his previous idea, that nothing would come of it. In his deepest moments of desperation he had considered using the power drugs he had heard about, but had been thoroughly turned away by the idea of finding dealers and the after-effects of weakness.
So he studied in silence, looking for something new to read over, when something slammed against his window.
“Agh!”
“Something wrong, San-Kyung?”
“Er–” Narrowing his eyes, he yelled, “No!”
“You sure?”
“Yes!” He stood up and head for the door. “I’m going to go and check something, Mom.”
“Are you sure nothing’s wrong? You seem frazzled.”
“I’m sure.” He head out the door and stomped over to his window.
“What the hell are you doing here!?”
“I wanted to see you again,” La-Iin said. San-Kyung noticed she seemed well-prepared for visiting him. Her dog’s leash tied tightly around her waist, she was holding a CD Player and the script for Isle of the Sirens was under her arm. Over her shoulder she was wearing a bag that seemed to be stuffed full of things he couldn’t see.
“What’d you bring all the stuff for!?”
“Well, yesterday your only option of something to do was to act in Isle of the Sirens. I wanted to give you more options and show you a good time!”
San-Kyung slapped his forehead. “Go away.”
“No. I lugged all of this all this way and I even brought Choungetsu because he seemed like he wanted to go. And this CD Player was heavy! I know you can dance well, so maybe you can show me again how well you can dance! After all, I’ve gotten taller since the Malicerie School Dance.”
“I’ve gotten taller as well, I hope you know.”
“Oh, I noticed~ But not as much as I would have if I hadn’t gained any height.”
San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “I don’t have time for this.”
“Liar! You have plenty of time, I know it! You’re just trying to avoid me!”
“So what if I am? La-Iin, I get annoyed with Dosa-Mina at times. And you tend to be incredibly annoying when you’re trying to get my attention. Not to mention I know you have ulterior motives.”
“But–!”
“No.”
He walked back over to the door, but was only able to put his hand on the doorknob before La-Iin spoke.
“You know, I saw you inside and you looked sad. It reminded me of that time after I showed you that paper. I regret that, you know. You said it made you feel like all you did was a waste of time. I’m a master at finding things to do with my time!”
Choungetsu barked at her. “Stop trying to lie, Choungetsu! Anyway, all you were doing was sitting there and reading some study book! Maybe you don’t like me as much as Dosa-Mina, but I understand you well. And if you’re anything like me, breaks are a necessity. You never know how long it will take for you to accomplish your goal. So taking a break and not thinking about it is helpful.”
San-Kyung sighed. “You think this way because you have longer to live than me, La-Iin. So don’t act like you understand how it works for me.”
“Maybe I do, but San-Kyung, weren’t you doing more before? It seemed like before I gave you that paper, even though you didn’t like to do much, you still did more than you do now. I don’t plan on letting my mistake dominate your life!”
San-Kyung didn’t respond.
“San-Kyung–”
“Oh, shut up. Look, as I said I don’t have as much time as you do to what I need to do.” He gave another sigh. “But maybe you have a point. I’m not finding out anything the way I’m going. Dosa-Mina’s not finding out anything. I’m not doing anything worth my time.”
“See? I knew it! Accept my activities, San-Kyung!”
“Who said I was going to do that!?”
“You admitted I was right.”
“I said you have a point!”
La-Iin smiled. “San-Kyung, you shouldn’t be surprised that this is the case. Remember we had that talk before? Even though we’re evil, we still have our flaws. There’s evil things that we don’t like and we care about people. Compared to those two things, what’s wrong with wanting to do something fun once in a while? After all, with how well you can dance, you could do a great dance on the graves of your enemies!”
San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “How corny. But if it gets you to leave me alone, then fine.”
La-Iin beamed. She set down the CD Player and turned it on, then began to dance. San-Kyung groaned and began to dance as well.

I’m a downtown, downtown la-dy-girl
I’ve got you right where I want you!
I’m a downtown, downtown la-dy-girl
You have fallen into my trap!

—–
“I don’t know what it is,” said Salsh-Era, “but something’s making you look a bit happier today, San-Kyung. What’s up?”
“Nothing is!”
“Did you have a good conversation with Dosa-Mina? I heard you talking to him over the phone.”
“It was just a normal conversation.”
Salsh-Era chuckled. “Who’d have thought my son would be the easily embarrassed type?”
“I thought. Have you seen the way he reacts to certain things? Oh, but he was really cute earlier today when we went out to get drinks. I actually saw him smile for the first time in a while!”
“Oh, be quiet, Mom,” San-Kyung sighed.
“Oh, but you did look really cute, San-Kyung.”
“It’s good to see you happy though. You haven’t seemed yourself for almost two months and I’ve been getting worried. And I know, being happy like this isn’t necessarily acting like yourself. But it’s better than whatever was going on before.”
“Yeah, well, maybe it’s not too bad to have a distraction every now and then.”
“Definitely not!” Del-Kyuus said.
“I’d agree with you there.”
‘I hate feeling like she’s right!’ San-Kyung grit his teeth at the thought. ‘But apparently it’s not just me. Dosa-Mina’s always had good advice. Maybe they’re right…’
“I do agree with La-Iin in this case, San-Kyung. You’ve been depressed lately. There have been a few times when I’ve been depressed that I turn to you to distract myself.”
“Really?”
“Yup! So I think La-Iin has a good point. I told you yesterday anyway. If there’s something you enjoy, don’t just give it up. Take it as your hobby, and use it to your advantage.”

12.558.Makeshire-Kyung

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 558
“Makeshire-Kyung”

Early Sunday morning at the Dslellular house, a knock sounded at the door.
“I wonder who that is?” Orlin-Aesth said. “Dosa-Mina, can you get the door?”
“Fine, fine,” he sighed, putting his book down. When he opened the door, his eyes widened in surprise at the sight of La-Iin standing there, her expression serious. Close behind her was Choungetsu, who watched Dosa-Mina while lolling his tongue.
“Before you ask any questions, rival-boy, know that I’m not here for any other reason other than having you help me with a…project of mine will benefit me. I need your help for something!”
“How do you remember the way here?”
“Like I said, I retain any information I consider useful. Besides, I’ve been here more than once. Now, you need to listen up. I have a plan for something I want San-Kyung to do, but I don’t think he’ll do it without your goading…”
She beckoned to Dosa-Mina to crouch down. He decided to oblige. “Huh? …oh, that does sound interesting. Well, you definitely came to the right person, La-Iin! If anyone has a chance of convincing San-Kyung to do something, it’s me. Though I can’t guarantee he’ll go along with that.”
“Any extra percentage I gain from you is a good thing. But don’t think I like this arrangement one bit!”
“I know, I know. If you keep denying it it makes it sound like you actually do like this arrangement.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. Letting Choungetsu lead the way, she and Dosa-Mina walked away from his house to discuss their plan.
“Oh, if I’m going to go somewhere, I better tell my Dad first. He’s used to me leaving without notice but I’d rather he knows I’m going off.”
La-Iin scoffed, but didn’t protest. Dosa-Mina head back to his house. Choungetsu tried to follow him, but Dosa-Mina quickly outran the leash’s length and he was pulled backwards.

***

After the recent dispute La-Iin had had with Mit-Sun, a feeling had stirred inside of her and prompted her to leave the house that Sunday morning under the guise of visiting Sale-Dessu for some advice.
“Sale-Dessu, I need you to do something for me, ally to ally.”
“What’s that, La-Iin?”
“I need you to pretend that I’m here if Mama comes over,” she said. “I need to do something important, but Mama doesn’t like me going off on my own unless I’m going to see someone. And I am, but I don’t think she’ll agree.”
Sale-Dessu’s stare gave no indication of how he would respond. “Are you sure you should be doing this?”
“You’re not my Dami. You’re my ally, so cover for me!”
“I might not be your father, but I am a father, so I can understand some of your mother’s concern,” he said. “Besides, I really don’t know how I would cover for you. What if Mit-Sun comes inside and starts looking for you? Eventually she’ll find out you’re not in here.”
“Disguise Eul-Bok as me, then. You’re a Warlock. You can do things like that. Don’t tell me you can’t, if you can glitch the world you can do that!”
“Eul-Bok doesn’t act anything like you, La-Iin, and I’m pretty sure she’d be able to tell something was off. Besides, I can’t risk her looking around and finding Eul-Bok in his state. I trust your mother, but not that much.”
La-Iin huffed. “You’re a shitty ally sometimes, you know!?”
“What!?”
“Fine, I’ll go with Choungetsu! At least he’s stupid enough not to care.”
“I-I’m sorry, La-Iin! It’s really only because I’m worried about messing up! I’ll owe you, I promise!”
“How funny to see this powerful man cowering to a little girl. I must be stronger than I thought. Fine, you’ll owe me, and you’ll owe me big time. But I understand, I guess. Mama can be violent sometimes and I wouldn’t want her kicking you in the crotch.”
Sale-Dessu paled. “She would do that? La-Iin, I’m sorry, I really am going to have to owe you…”
La-Iin snickered. “Oh, she probably wouldn’t do it to you, but we shouldn’t take those chances. Prepare yourself, my ally!” She closed the door and head back to her house, then beckoned to Choungetsu.
“Oh, so you’re taking him on a walk yourself for once?” Mit-Sun asked, looking up from her book.
“Yes, I am. Mama, you’re fine to spend time with and all, but it’s constantly, day after day and after what you did yesterday I’m still mad at you! So, I figured since Choungetsu hasn’t been bothering me I both owed him and he would be the least annoying to spend time with.”
“Don’t walk into any suspicious neighborhoods. Or go adventuring across Bledger on your own.” Mit-Sun said with narrowed eyes.
“I might not do either of those things but you won’t stop my path! Let’s go, Choungetsu!”
“What does that mean?” Mit-Sun asked, though she got no response as La-Iin and Choungetsu head outside right afterwards.
“It’s good that you’re stupid, Choungetsu. You’re the best dog to keep a secret for me.”
Choungetsu didn’t respond. He walked ahead cheerfully, his tongue lolling.
La-Iin found that it was often after Uil-Cur came up that she had a desire to see San-Kyung not long afterwards. This time was no exception, though she had some concerns about her plan for what to do.
‘Fer-Shi finding out I did one of our special things with someone else is one thing, but will there even be an incident for her to find out about?’
La-Iin had her doubts that San-Kyung would agree to act out a Makeshire play script for more reasons than one–the primary one being that San-Kyung generally seemed to dislike doing far more things than she did.
“It’s because he’s a teenager!” She could hear Fer-Shi saying those words, but she knew there was another explanation, simply that it was in San-Kyung’s nature.
Still, she was desperate both to see San-Kyung and to see him acting out the play script and could find no other excuse for going to visit him. She had stewed on the idea until walking outside with Choungetsu, but once she was outside she was certain she knew what her best chance at having him accept once.
‘I really am just going to have to swallow my pride and ask rival-boy for help.’
The idea disgusted her, but the thought of having her wish fulfilled was more pleasant than the disgust she felt from the former. With that in mind, she thought back on the path she had taken in the past to Dosa-Mina’s house, then ran ahead of Choungetsu, who was hot on her heels and eventually overtook her; after that point, she let him take the lead, only pulling him back when he tried to send her down the wrong path.

***

On the way to the neighborhood, La-Iin, Choungetsu, and Dosa-Mina were silent, though La-Iin scoffed at Choungetsu when he would stop to sniff something or for a quick bathroom break. Only once they entered the neighborhood did Dosa-Mina speak.
“What’s it like, having a dog?”
“Don’t talk to me.”
“I was just curious.”
“Aren’t you basically part dog?”
“Part Werewolf, La-Iin. Some Werewolves might act dog-ish, but that’s just their personality. We’re descended from wolves, not dogs.”
Dosa-Mina knocked on the door to the Molshei house. Unsettled, La-Iin opted to stand outside the line of sight of the door.
She gave a sigh of relief when she noticed that Del-Kyuus had answered the door.
“Hello? Oh, hello, Dosa-Mina! Are you here to see San-Kyung?”
“Yeah, I wanted to ask him if he was up for doing something. It’s perfectly innocent though, Mrs. Molshei.”
Del-Kyuus gave a wry smile. “What made you think I thought it wasn’t?”
“That’s just how you are sometimes, Mrs. Molshei!”
“Well, I’ll ask him if he’s up for it, but he’s busy doing his Summer homework right now.”
Dosa-Mina slapped his forehead. “He’s got a head start, then…”
“Ah, don’t worry. School doesn’t start again until September, right? You have time to catch up! In the meantime, would you like to come inside?”
“Nah, I think I’ll wait out here. Thanks, Mrs. Molshei!”
Del-Kyuus nodded and head back inside.
“He’s doing his homework?”
“I’d be surprised too, but it’s like San-Kyung to do that. He doesn’t have much to do most of the time. Makes it easy to get him for something.”
“He really does spend a lot of his time doing nothing, doesn’t he?”
“Oh, he doesn’t spend it doing nothing.”
“Does he fantasize?”
Dosa-Mina shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. If he does he doesn’t share those fantasies with me. But he mostly preoccupies himself with things he has to do. So sometimes he does errands for his parents or chores around the house, things like that just to keep himself preoccupied.”
“Hm…”
“I think your dog likes the way I smell,” Dosa-Mina said, glancing at Choungetsu.
“He likes the way San-Kyung smells better. And I mean this legitimately.”
“How does he know what San-Kyung smells like?”
Having begun to talk among each other about mundane topics, both La-Iin and Dosa-Mina almost failed to notice San-Kyung come outside.
“And besides, I don’t think you should let–oh, hello, San-Kyung! It’s good to see you.” He walked over to him and hugged him. La-Iin narrowed her eyes.
“It’s good to see you too, but it’s too sweaty for your affection,” he said, gently pushing Dosa-Mina away. “Mom told me it was you at the door. She didn’t mention La-Iin.”
“For all her bluster I think La-Iin is more wary around strangers than you are! The stranger-danger mentality probably would be stronger in a seven-year-old than a sixteen-year-old anyway.”
“Hey! San-Kyung’s Mama just reeks of goody-goody, that’s all. She’s nothing like you, and it disgusts me.”
“You knew that already. Besides, haven’t you complained about your own mother being good?”
“At least she has a jackass factor.”
“Jackass factor?” Dosa-Mina questioned.
“What are you two here for anyway?” Before Dosa-Mina could respond, an unreadable look crossed San-Kyung’s face. “You’re not here to recreate that date from last year, are you?”
“No way. That was fun but I’m not looking to do it again anytime soon, especially not with how annoying La-Iin’s been lately.”
“Try looking in a mirror, rival-boy.”
Choungetsu walked up to San-Kyung and began to sniff him intensely. “And you brought your dog, too…” He groaned.
“You know, being caught up in the moment of there being more people here than you expected distracted me. We’re here because there’s something I want you to do.”
“What’s that? And what does La-Iin and her dog have to do with it?”
“I had to bring Choungetsu or else Mama wouldn’t let me go.”
“You could sort of say it was her idea…she provided the supplies we needed. San-Kyung, how’d you like to do a play?”
“No.”
“Aw, come on, San-Kyung, it might be fun.”
“No. I have better things to do with my time.”
“Do you really?” La-Iin asked. “Or are you just going to keep doing your homework until it’s done and then do chores and errands for your parents!? What sort of future world ruler does that with his time!?”
San-Kyung was surprised to see that La-Iin’s wings were flapping rapidly.
“Sorry. I kind of told her you spend a lot of time doing…well, that.”
“So? Why should I do this stupid play? Let me guess, it’s some romance and La-Iin wants to play one role in the couple and for me to play the other.”
“Actually it’s a violent play about Sirens. I actually was considering bringing Varinis et Sol-Kiut, but I knew you wouldn’t go along with it.”
“Aw, just give it a shot, San-Kyung. We could only do one act. I don’t know much about Makeshire’s plays but I’m sure one act isn’t three hours.”
“Three hours is the full length of some of his plays. But not one act.”
“What has you two so desperate?”
“We want to see you act.” Was the response both of them gave.
“This play has lots of evil roles! You get to do violent things! But you also have to sing.”
“Remember when we were younger we used to act out violent scenarios? Come on, it’ll be just like that, except you kind of have to follow a script.”
San-Kyung had begun to look uncertain.
“Aw, come on.”
San-Kyung sighed. “Fine. I’ll do it. You have a point that I don’t have much to do. But I’m not doing any good role.”
“I told you, this play has lots of evil roles. So long as you’re one of the Sirens you’ll be okay.”
“Aren’t Sirens usually female in fiction?”
“Yes. That’s the case here too. But that’s where modification comes in!”
San-Kyung looked uncertain. ‘Fer-Shi would be so mad if she found out I was doing this with San-Kyung. I’ll just have to act out another play with her instead!’

“‘What you fail to realize, fair Lien, is for the world of Sirens, the rules are doled differently. All the rules are that survival of the species is key. Accept this, escape it, but do not try to change it! Your methods of survival vary from ours, Lien, and that I will grant respect, but oppose me and I shall make of you my next meal. I am, after all, a lover of rabbit’s meat…'”
La-Iin had expected to enjoy watching San-Kyung act, though she had been concerned about his acting ability. Soon enough she found that there was no need to be concerned, all except for the behavior of one Siren towards a character of Dosa-Mina’s.
‘I wish I had a camera. I would record all this. I’d let rival-boy do all the other parts if I could just record this.’
“La-Iin, it’s your line next,” Dosa-Mina said.
La-Iin snapped out of her daydreams and began to read the script. “‘Mes-Iri, why spare the rabbit at all? Why give him a chance at life when his would better benefit our own kind?'”
“‘It’s simple enough, isn’t it, to have just killed him then and there with my song as opposed to letting him go, but I enjoy the thrill of the hunt as much as the spoils. So I anxiously await Lien’s return to our island. I’ll chase him for as long as need be until the moment his sanity is shattered, till the moment I see its effects reflected upon his physical body. Any names you might call me as a result are acceptable, Niciera. Young Sirens are told not to play with their prey. But where’s the harm in playing with it before it is, officially, prey?'”
What made her even more anxious was hearing San-Kyung’s singing voice. Though she knew a song for his character Mes-Iri was in the script, it did not occur until the end of the first act. Perhaps because she was both enjoying her time and feeling anxious, it felt like it had both taken forever and just a short time before they reached the end of the script.

Watch the empire front of me fall,
watch the place so civilized show all its flaws
Say your prayers just one more night
For tomorrow, the worth of those prayers will be lesser than nothing!

After the song, San-Kyung lowered his head as if embarrassed.
“Can’t we do another act!? Please!?”
“No!” San-Kyung snapped. Lifting his head up briefly, La-Iin felt she could see him blushing. His yell caught Choungetsu’s attention, and he turned away from the butterfly he was watching to bark at San-Kyung.
“You did pretty good there, San-Kyung. You seemed like you were getting pretty into it.”
“Well, it was nice to do that and all, but I should probably finish my homework.”
“We have until Septemberrrr!” La-Iin whined.
“Yeah, well, I’d rather get it over with early!”
“Don’t worry, San-Kyung, I won’t bother you anymore. But there is something I’ve been meaning to ask. Watching you act and after having a conversation with La-Iin earlier, there’s something I’ve been wondering about.”
“What now?”
“You seemed to enjoy doing that a bit. I’ve seen you enjoy doing certain things but you don’t do them often. You don’t even go out and use your car as much as you used to.”
“…”
“The car’s another thing, but San-Kyung, if there are things you enjoy don’t just bury them because they came about because of the world or people. You might not like either, but where’s the sin in enjoying them? Well, rather, if there is a sin why aren’t you embracing that?”
“I draw, San-Kyung. Creative outlets can be good for evil.”
“What makes you think I enjoy any of this stuff?”
“Just watching you. Besides, it’s a waste. Your acting’s good and all, but I’ve seen you dance. You have a natural talent for that. I’m not saying give up on your main goals, but what’s wrong with having a hobby?”
San-Kyung blinked. “I think you’re misunderstanding.”
“If you don’t want to talk about this in front of San-Kyung then we can talk over the phone later. But really, San-Kyung, if you enjoy other things don’t just stop yourself from doing them. Go on and do them. But, well, that’s enough for now, and I should be getting home. It was fun you two! I’ll be seeing you!” He gave San-Kyung a kiss on the cheek, waved, then began to head home.
“I hate to agree with rival-boy, but creative outlets really are good for evil. But you do your homework, then. Choungetsu looks like he’s getting antsy.” She pulled on Choungetsu’s leash.
“I’ll show you, San-Kyung. Sooner or later I’ll get you to do the rest of this script! See you!”
She flew off, Choungetsu for once unable to catch up to her. San-Kyung sighed. He head back inside.
“What took you so long?”
“Nothing important. Not really, anyway.”

—–
As he came to the end of his homework, San-Kyung found himself thinking back on La-Iin and Dosa-Mina’s words from earlier.
‘What makes them think I like any of this stuff? Wishful thinking?’ The thought made him let out a sigh. ‘I don’t know about La-Iin, but Dosa-Mina knows me well. Maybe he’s seeing something I’m not seeing in myself…’

14.530.A Dark Sadness in a Young Heart

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

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

***

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

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

28.513.Spacebound

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 513
“Spacebound”

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

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

27.512.Baby-Voiced Over the Phone

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 512
“Baby-Voiced Over the Phone”

“Choungetsu, you are so stupid. I bet you’d eat anything.”
Choungetsu stared up wide-eyed at La-Iin, his tail wagging wildly across the floor.
“You’d probably eat some of the nastiest stuff out there. I bet you’d eat poison, or fire, or even chocolate malt balls!” She said with a shudder. “And that’s why you’re stupid.”
Choungetsu tipped his head to one side. La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “That and you don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?”
“La-Iin, stop berating Choungetsu.”
“I’m not berating him. I’m just trying to see if I can get through that thick skull of his. So far, all of my attempts have ended in failure.” She stared closely at Choungetsu, who licked her face.
“He’s too friendly, Mama. One day he’s gonna get himself killed.”
“You say that, but if something happened to Choungetsu you’d be devastated.”
“All I said was he was gonna get himself killed. Why’d you even bother answering with–”
Before La-Iin could finish her sentence, the phone began to ring.
“I wonder who’s calling?” Mit-Sun said as she head for the phone. La-Iin turned her attention back to Choungetsu, staring him down. Choungetsu stared at her, his expression still one of confusion, but he soon gave a soft yap, his nose wrinkling.
“You’re being really stupid. If I wanted to, I could suck all your blood and there would be nothing you could do about it. Biting me wouldn’t stop your inevitable fate.”
Choungetsu stared at her wide-eyed, backing away from her and folding his ears to his head. La-Iin stroked his head, but it did nothing to change the look of shock and hurt on Choungetsu’s face.
“It’s for you, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said.
“Is it Dami!?”
“No, it’s not Asul-Zenza. But it’s someone you’ll want to talk to anyway.”
Mit-Sun handed the phone to La-Iin. She put it up to her ear, curious as to who was on the other side.
“Big sister!”
“Ei-Tio?”
“Hi, big sister! It’s been a really long time!”
“It has,” La-Iin said.
“I wanned to call you to talk about some stuff! I’m four now! How old are you now?”
“Seven.”
“Wow, isn’t it just…um…five and six, then? I’m closer to you, big sister!”
“You are.” La-Iin couldn’t stop her smile. “What did you want to talk about, Ei-Tio?”
“Do you have something cool happening in Bledger? Dami and Floma said Bledger’s getting scary, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Bledger isn’t going to harm me. Oh! Ei-Tio, you want to hear something that happened to me?”
“What, what!?”
“I got a brand-new power. When I drink someone’s blood now, I can use their powers, too.”
“Wow! If you did that with me could you turn into a bat too?”
“Probably not,” La-Iin sighed, “but I’m trying to find out just how strong this power is. When I do, I can tell you all about it, if you like.”
“Okay!”
“What about you? Why did you want to call? Was there something you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Uh-huh! Something really cool happened to me recently too and I thought you would wanna hear about it! I don’t remember all of it, but I’m gonna tell you everything of what I remember!”

***

It was a bright, sunny day out, and Ei-Tio buried her face into her father’s chest. The bright sunlight stung her eyes more than she could bear, and even though she was excited about where they were going, she wished it didn’t have to be quite as sunny as it was.
“It’s alright, Ei-Tio. The carnival itself has a huge tent over it to block out the sun, so you won’t have to deal with it for much longer.”
“It hurts…”
“Do you think she has an allergy to sun rays, Jul-Ense?”
“No, she’s been fine out in the sunlight other days. It’s just particularly strong today. Even I’m feeling it strong. You Ghneckdos sure are hardy, Shi-Bara.”
“You and Ei-Tio are Ghneckdos too, you know.”
“I know, I know.”
As the trio passed under the tent, Ei-Tio felt as though her pain had been relieved somewhat. Curious, she glanced around, and soon broke out into smiles.
The carnival looked amazing. All around her there were various games, small rides and all sorts of confectionery all around. Several Vampires were there at the event, many of them families–she even spotted a few non-Vampires along with them.
“Wow!”
“Wow indeed,” Jul-Ense said. “It’s amazing. Makes me wonder what we should do first!”
The trio looked around the area, searching for what to do first, when Shi-Bara asked, “Hey, isn’t that Asul-Zenza over there?”
“Who’s Mr. Asool-Zenzah?”
“That’s La-Iin’s Dami,” Jul-Ense said. “Hey, Asul-Zenza! Good to see you here!”
“Hm?” Ei-Tio felt as though she didn’t recognize the man at all, though a few of his features reminded her of La-Iin. “Oh, hello there, Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense! And you too, Ei-Tio,” he said, reaching out to pinch her cheek. Ei-Tio giggled when he did.
“What brings you to the carnival? Aren’t you usually traveling the world?”
“This does count as travel, you know. It may still be in Vampire society boundaries, but I don’t live here. All that said, it’s good to see you. I’ve been in a good mood recently, so I wanted to do something fun! I do wish I could have La-Iin here with me, though.”
“I wish you had big sister too,” Ei-Tio whimpered. “Floma, Dami, can we play with Mr. Asool-Zenzah?”
“Well, bringing him along does still count as a family outing,” Jul-Ense said. “What do you say, Asul-Zenza? Want to join us?”
“Certainly!”
Asul-Zenza’s mention of La-Iin had made her miss her relative, but as she, her parents and Asul-Zenza went to get a small treat and played on one of the small rides–which, by the looks on her family’s faces, she was certain that she was the only one who had enjoyed it–the thought was put out of her mind for now as she was thoroughly enjoying this time spent with her family.
“What do you say we try the hall of mirrors? I never got to try those things when I was a young Vampire.”
“What are you talking about, Jul-Ense? You’re still a young Vampire.”
“Says the Vampire who’s still in his sixties. I think you forget that sometimes, Asul-Zenza.”
Asul-Zenza smiled. “I believe I do forget it.”
“Can I walk again, Dami?”
“Sure, Ei-Tio.” He put her down, and Ei-Tio ran ahead clumsily into the hall of mirrors. All around her were distorted visions of herself, and for a moment she was scared enough to cry, until she saw that her family looked much the same when they entered.
“You look so funny, Mr. Asool-Zenzah! Look, Floma, your head is really swelly!”
Shi-Bara chuckled. “It is pretty funny to see yourself all stretched out, isn’t it?”
“Mm-hm! Wow, if you got a pumpkiny-person, would they look really weird? Aren’t they super-tall?”
“They can be,” Jul-Ense said.
“I can only imagine how silly one of them would look,” Shi-Bara chuckled. “Their round little heads all swelling and their arms and legs and their tail all stretched…”
“Hee hee! It’d look so funny!”
Ei-Tio walked closer to the mirror, curious to see how that would distort the reflection of herself, when the light from outside began to quickly dim.
“Huh?”
“I wonder if clouds are passing over the sun?” Asul-Zenza suggested.
“Muahahaha!”
Ei-Tio flinched. She ran over to Shi-Bara’s side and buried herself in her leg. All of them remained frozen in place until Jul-Ense grit his teeth.
“All of you, stay back. I’m going to check what’s going on.”
“Jul-Ense, what if something’s happening out there?”
“That’s exactly why I’m going to do it! I have seniority over all of you, so if anyone should check, it should be me!”
Jul-Ense’s defensive anger did nothing to calm down Ei-Tio. As he walked out the hall of mirrors, Ei-Tio was too worried not to follow him.
“Ei-Tio!” Asul-Zenza and Shi-Bara hissed. They followed after her and out of the hall of mirrors, directly into the crowd of Vampires who were staring up at a masked figure with large bat wings.
“All you Vampires came here for a good time, didn’t you? Well, I’m no different from all of you! But my idea of a good time is a lot different. I…”
“What are you three doing out here!?” Jul-Ense hissed.
“Damiiii….”
“Ei-Tio, I told you and them to stay behind! Why’d you follow me?”
“I think you scared her when you got angry like that, Jul-Ense,” Asul-Zenza said. “What’s going on, anyway?”
“Now, brace yourselves all ye who have entered, for the overload of your senses I am about to dish out!”
Loud noises and bright lights flooded the area, and the crowd began to groan and shriek at the sudden burst of color and noise. Ei-Tio felt like dropping to the ground, but she couldn’t bring herself to.
All around the Vampires in the crowd began to change appearance. Their faces became fuzzy, their ears wider and larger, and their noses flatter. By the time the noise died down and the color faded away, nearly every Vampire in the crowd had turned into their bat form, and the man who gave the announcement broke out into laughter.
“You should see the lot of you!” He chuckled. He pulled out a camera and began to take many photos of the crowd. “Not to worry, though, I’ll make sure to send you all these pictures of what’s happened to you. But for now, Eclipsian is out!”
He flew off with the camera in tow. Some of the crowd members tried to chase after him, but none were able to catch him.
Ei-Tio still felt dazed by the noise and colors, but she couldn’t keep herself from laughing. All the Vampires around her looked ridiculous transformed into bats. Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense, and Asul-Zenza soon began to join in, giving soft chuckles at the situation.

***

“I can’t believe you ran into Dami!”
“Your Dami is really nice, big sister. But wasn’t it funny? Everyone transformed!”
“It sounds painful.”
“It was! But did you think it was funny, big sister? Even your Dami transformed!”
“I guess,” La-Iin sighed.
“I should probably get off soon. Floma and Dami are gonna take me to the park, and we’re gonna have a pickynick dinner there! I wish you could come over, big sister! I want to see you soon!”
“Me too. And next time we do, I’ll show you my newest power. Someday you’ll be able to use it too. Maybe I should train you early!”
Ei-Tio giggled. “Maybe! Bye-bye, big sister! Talk again soon!”
“Alright.”
La-Iin hung up the phone.

—–
“Damn it! Eclipsian is heading for the park! What do we do?”
“Brace yourself!”
Eclipsian flew up into a tree and cackled.
“Glad to see all you happy peppy little Vampires! I feel happy and peppy tonight as well! But I know something that will make me feel even more happy and peppy! Now, brace yourselves, all ye who have entered, for the overload of your senses I am about to dish out!”

21.476.Choungetsu the Werewolf

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 476
“Choungetsu the Werewolf”

La-Iin sat down at her table and began to relax. After school that day, she felt drained. After a short while, she made the hand motions to wake Bes-Isa.
“Hello, La-Iin. What has you so tired?”
“Hello, Bes-Isa,” she sighed. “School.”
“Ah, I see.”
Although she was glad to relax after school, La-Iin quickly found herself becoming bored, so she retrieved a piece of paper and some crayons and started to draw.
“This one is coming out good,” she said.
“I have to agree. Nice use of orange there. Didn’t know your kids were different shades than San-Kyung.”
“You need to pay more attention when I draw them, then,” La-Iin told her, then returned to drawing. She focused intently on finishing the picture, but found herself slightly distracted by a noise in the background. The noise quickly became louder, and as it did La-Iin felt as if the floor had begun to vibrate.
Her door slammed open suddenly.
“Hello, big sister!” Choungetsu said, his tail wagging. He ran over to her table and stared at her picture. “Nice drawing! Is that fire?”
“Choungetsu, I told you not to come into my room!” La-Iin snapped.
“Lock your door next time. Words aren’t going to stop him.”
“Is that Bes-Isa!?” He shrieked. He grabbed her out of the air and stuck her in his mouth. La-Iin gaped.
“Choungetsu! Bes-Isa’s–not–food!” She tugged on Bes-Isa, but Choungetsu bit down harder.
“En why oes e ase o ood?” Choungetsu said through his mouthful.
Both tugged hard on Bes-Isa, and La-Iin was soon able to free her from Choungetsu’s mouth.
“Aw man,” Choungetsu whimpered.
“It feels like my organs were smashed!” Bes-Isa yelled.
“Choungetsu, stay out of my room!” She yelled. Choungetsu’s ears folded to his head, but his tail continued to wag.
“You’re always so mad at me, big sister, it’s not fair. You always yell at Mama but you hang out with her anyway. Why am I different?”
“You’re annoying. And a goody-goody. Annoying goody-goodies are my least favorite kind of people.”
Choungetsu gave a frustrated growl. “Fine, I’ll go downstairs. You can finish your stupid fire picture. But you’ll pay for this someday, big sister! I’ll show you!”
La-Iin rolled her eyes as Choungetsu slammed the door behind him. “No, you’ll be the one who pays.” She huffed. “I’m not giving that idiot any freedom when I rule the world.”
“That would probably be for the better,” Bes-Isa panted.
La-Iin went back to work on her drawing, trying to push Choungetsu’s intrusion from her mind. Just as her picture was almost done, from downstairs she heard,
“LA-IIN! FER-SHI’S HERE TO SEE YOU!”
La-Iin blinked. “TELL HER TO COME UPSTAIRS!” She yelled back, then went to work on her drawing.
“Who told Fer-Shi she could come over?”
“I dunno. But after dealing with Choungetsu, I’m looking forward to seeing her.”
As La-Iin put the finishing touches on her drawing, she thought back to when Choungetsu first joined the family as a baby Werewolf, left on their doorstep. “If only Mama hadn’t taken him in,” she sighed.
“Who? Choungetsu?”
“Who else?” She scoffed. She finished her drawing, sat back and waited for Fer-Shi to arrive. Soon enough she heard the sound of footsteps, and the door slammed open.
“Hello, big sister! Is this your best friend? Hello, best friend!”
“Fer-Shi, what are you doing with Choungetsu?”
“He followed me upstairs. But that’s okay. I don’t mind him being here. Hello, La-Iin!”
I mind him being here,” La-Iin hissed. “Choungetsu, get out of my room!”
But Choungetsu ignored her, instead hopping on her bed and curling up. “Your bed is so nice, big sister,” he sighed contentedly.
“It looks like he’s just gonna take a nap,” Fer-Shi said.
“Don’t even give him the benefit of the doubt. Whenever Choungetsu’s in my room, he’s here to interfere.”
“He’s not in the way, though. He’s just being cute. Aw…” She pet him on the head, and Choungetsu gave a content grunt in response.
“No, he’s not! Choungetsu has absolutely nothing going for him! He’s not even a very good Werewolf! He acts more like a dog.”
“So? Werewolves are all different.”
La-Iin rolled her eyes. “If you’re going to defend Choungetsu, then I don’t want you over.”
“I-I’m sorry, La-Iin!” Fer-Shi said, raising her hands and backing away.
“And as for you–” She grabbed Choungetsu by the arm and began to tug. Choungetsu gave a loud whimper. “You have your own stinking bed, so go sleep in that and leave me and Fer-Shi in peace!”
“LA-IIN!” Mit-Sun’s voice threw her off and sent her tumbling into her table. Fer-Shi and Choungetsu flinched. “SAN-KYUNG IS HERE TO SEE YOU!”
“San-Kyung?”
“Oh no, not him!” Fer-Shi said.
“Who’s that, who’s that?” Choungetsu asked before heading downstairs. Frustrated, La-Iin flew after him as he nearly tumbled down the stairs and into the living room. La-Iin arrived first to the door, and standing there was San-Kyung.
“San-Kyung!” She exclaimed. “What a surprise. I didn’t think you were the type to pay me a visit. I thought I’d always have to force you.”
“I do what I want,” he said.
“So what you wanted is to come over and see me?” San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “I know, it’s probably something else. But you still came over here because I’m–”
“Is this your boyfriend, big sister?” Choungetsu asked, grabbing on to San-Kyung. San-Kyung glared at him and backed away, but Choungetsu held on tight, staring up at him. “Hello, boyfriend!”
“Choungetsu!” She snapped, reaching out to pull him off. “Of course he is. You have no place here, so get out–”
“I’m not your boyfriend,” San-Kyung snapped.
“Humor me for a little so I can get him off of you!”
San-Kyung only glared, evidently not amused as La-Iin attempted to pull Choungetsu off of him. When Choungetsu finally came off, San-Kyung’s vest went with him, and he stared up at La-Iin with an innocent expression.
“I can’t stand you!” She yelled, her wings flapping rapidly. “You are the most annoying person I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. All you ever do is get in the way! You’re not even tiny enough to just hide somewhere while I do what I want! Why do you have to be this way!?”
“I just like my freedom, big sister,” he said. “I’m sorry. I’ll go away.”
“No, you won’t. You’ve wronged me for the last time.”
La-Iin pinned down Choungetsu and bit into his neck. Choungetsu gave a shrill whimper in response that didn’t quiet until she drew away from his neck, licking the last remnants of blood from her fangs.
“Why don’t you spend more time with me, big sister?” Choungetsu said weakly. “I just like spending time with you. Remember when we used to all the time? Remember when we were together lots?”
“Bes-Isa is my one and true young companion. I have others now, and no need for you.”
“I just want to feel like I’m part of your life again,” he said. “But if you don’t want me to be, then I’ll just go.”
Choungetsu’s eyes closed and his head tilted away from La-Iin. La-Iin reached out to touch him, but never made contact–before she could, darkness surrounded her and forced the scene to fade away.

—–
La-Iin woke with a strong craving for blood and feeling on-edge. She hopped out of her bed and head downstairs. Mit-Sun was making dinner. She walked past her and into the living room, where Choungetsu was lazing on the couch, looking content.
Choungetsu lifted up his head when she walked into the living room and sat up, his tail wagging and his eyes wide and bright. La-Iin sat on the couch and hugged him close.
“You may be annoying, but at least you’re not that stupid Werewolf,” she said. Choungetsu grunted as he tried to pull away from her hug.
La-Iin held close to him for a short while longer before letting go and running into the kitchen. Choungetsu followed close behind her, and she was happy to hear the clicking of his nails as she and he walked into the kitchen.
La-Iin peeked at what Mit-Sun was making.
“Looks like she put something nasty with dinner,” she whispered to Choungetsu. “When she’s not looking, I’ll slip it to you, so eat it quickly.”
Choungetsu gave a cheerful yap. Mit-Sun turned around briefly, then went back to focusing on dinner. La-Iin smiled to herself.

22.446.Multiplicity Scenario

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 446
“Multiplicity Scenario”

“I can’t believe I let you strong-arm me into coming to the park,” San-Kyung groaned.
“I can’t believe you were gullible enough to go along with it. But this is perfect. I was right, nobody’s here today!” La-Iin said.
San-Kyung glared. “You know, I just came by to talk.”
“Talk about what, harling~?”
“Call me harling and this will be your final resting place.”
“Oh, come on. The h stands for horrible.”
San-Kyung rolled his eyes.
“Actually, there’s something I wanted from you too, San-Kyung.”
“What now?”
“I was just thinking I feel pretty powerful in my other form,” she said as innocently as she could manage. “And I was wondering when was the last time we fought.”
“That was a while ago,” he said. “And it’d be a bad idea to challenge, La-Iin. It might be March, but I can still easily best you.”
“Can you?” She asked, biting into her arm.
“Of course I can. I’ve always had the upper hand. Not just in powers, but in height, too.”
“You do for now,” she said. “But with my power, I think we’re on even terms.”
La-Iin’s transformation begun and ended fairly quickly, or at least it felt that way to San-Kyung. She came flying at him immediately, to which he responded with vines. La-Iin began to fly past his vines at a fast speed.
‘Geez, she is getting good,’ he thought. ‘But that’s a good sign.’
He continued to try and ensnare her with the vines, but La-Iin was always slightly ahead of them. She dove down and head for his neck, but he moved out the way before she could get close and lit as strong a hand fire as he could manage to dissuade her from coming closer. La-Iin began to look agitated, but she continued to fly around him as if waiting for him to put out the hand-fire.
‘Got her.’
He rose vines from the ground from underneath her. She flew above him, almost completely missing the vines except for one that snared around her ankle. She hissed and tried to break free, but San-Kyung was able to maneuver the vines in his direction and bring her down closer to him.
To his surprise, La-Iin broke free before she was close enough to him and began to circle around him again, faster this time. San-Kyung held his hand-fire up as high as possible, but she seemed unfazed and flew higher. San-Kyung’s frustration was growing, and it took his all to focus on the fight at hand instead of randomly attacking her.
He frantically searched for an opening, but was unable to find one. She dove down close to him and knocked him down. San-Kyung gasped.
‘She might be a little too good!’ He thought. ‘Damn it, I’m not losing to a little girl!’
He looked up, this time checking for her next move, but noticed that she seemed to be tiring. He took that as his opening and rose vines underneath her again. This time he succeeded and ensnared her too tightly for her to escape.
“Surprised your transformation didn’t run out,” he said, walking up to her.
“Are you really surprised? Rival-boy said it seems to activate because of fear. And I’ll admit, I’m a little scared.”
“I guess if we’re being honest, I was a little surprised by your ability,” he said. “I guess you’ve learned how to handle that power well.”
“You were so going to say you were scared,” La-Iin said.
“No, I wasn’t.”
“You were too! Now let me down!”

***

Fer-Shi sighed.
“What’s wrong, Fer-Shi? You sound down.” Tei-Sheu asked.
“It’s nothing, Mom. Well, nothing much. I was just really wishing I could have a dream in life. I want something that I know I want to do, something that I know is my calling. I want to be as certain about what I’m going to do as La-Iin is. Except, you know, without the evil.”
“Well, you’re only eight years old, Fer-Shi. You still have plenty of time to figure it all out.”
“I know I do…but I can’t help but be jealous of La-Iin. And for more reasons than one. I always thought she was going to be just a little bit behind me since she’s half-Vampire, you know? But it seems like she has so much more figured out about herself than I do. And I really thought I at least knew what sort of field I wanted to work in when I grew up, I just didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do there. Now I’m not sure at all.”
“I may not understand your jealousy myself, but I can certainly see where it comes from. And people have had much worse feelings throughout all of time. I can imagine it’s tough to see someone younger than you having something you wish you did too or being someone you wish you were.”
“She’s just so confident. It kinda gets to me sometimes. It also makes me worry she’s going to want to leave me for a more evil friend.”
“That you two have been friends this long while being good and evil is a feat in and of itself, I think,” Tei-Sheu said. “I’m sure your friendship wouldn’t go down that easily.”
“Well, that’s not what I’m most worried about, anyway. I’m just jealous because she’s so certain about herself. But I feel so lost. What if I find something that I really really want to do, but I can’t because I’m just no good at it? What if I find something I’m good at but I don’t want to devote my life to?”
“Not all dreams are ones you need to devote your life to, Fer-Shi,” Tei-Sheu said. “And if you’re no good at something you really want to do, you keep practicing until you become good at it.”
“I just feel stuck.”
“Your problem is that you’re trying to rush things. You need to take this easy. You can start worrying about it if you get to be my age and you’re going nowhere in life because of this.”
“I know I shouldn’t rush things, but I just can’t help it! I’m more confused than I ever was before and I just want to have this all figured out. It’s upsetting me.”
“Then you definitely need to take a break from all this. Why not try doing things that you should know for the future, like cooking? You should know how to cook for yourself. I can teach you a few snack recipes at first and then you can help with bigger meals, and I’m sure Den-Matsu has a lot he can teach you too. And you could focus on school subjects you’re falling behind in or your friendship with La-Iin. Just don’t go and bring up dreams.”
“But if I do that, then when I start thinking about it again, I’ll just feel the same way,” Fer-Shi said bitterly.
“And if you don’t do it, you won’t do anything,” Tei-Sheu huffed. “Come on, Fer-Shi. I can teach you how to make cornpop or Fairydevil cake. And next year you’ll be in the fifth grade. It might be a good thing to get a head start, don’t you think? Take things easy is what I’m saying, Fer-Shi. Focus the majority of your attention on something else, and put the whole figuring out a dream thing as a secondary task for now. Then you won’t be using so much energy up on figuring it out.”
“All right,” Fer-Shi sighed.
“Come on, Fer-Shi. Look up. You’ll figure it out someday.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” she sighed. ‘I just hope that someday is soon.’

***

“I know you want to get to talking right away, Mit-Sun, but I was wondering, where is La-Iin today? Is she not home?”
“She’s out with a friend,” Mit-Sun said.
“Fer-Shi?”
“No, San-Kyung,” she said. “He said he was taking her to the park. Apparently he passed by the house and she muscled him into it.”
“That makes me feel uncomfortable…”
“It makes me feel uncomfortable too, but I bet our reasons are different,” Mit-Sun said. “Now, back on topic.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Look, I’m not comfortable with the idea of letting you take La-Iin for any designated day. I’m used to having her here and I still don’t like you, no matter how many privileges I’ve been giving you.”
“That’s a shame. I’ve really been thinking we could go back to being friends lately.” When Mit-Sun glared at him, he fumbled a bit before saying, “Of course, I knew you wouldn’t want to be.”
“Huh! Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, you can take her out on days I have something important to do or if she’s being a pain or she’s desperate to see you. Maybe I’ll even let you take her someplace on your birthday. If I do that, then you’re happy, she’s happy, I don’t have to see you, it’s a winning situation for everyone.”
“It certainly sounds like fun,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my birthday now.”
“La-Iin will stay with me most days, and you still need to call before coming over under any circumstances. And leaving a message saying ‘I’m coming’ doesn’t count. This is still my house before anything else. Forget La-Iin for a second, I don’t always want you on my property.”
“You say that as if I wasn’t already aware of that.”
“It certainly feels like you conveniently forget things at the perfect times,” Mit-Sun sneered. “Anyway, that’s my terms. Sorry if they seem complicated to you, but I don’t necessarily want the man I hate most hanging around my daughter all that often.”
“She’s still my daughter as well, and she can evidently make her own choices.”
“She can, but she’s also seven years old and still dependent on me. I’m still the one who’s taking care of her most of the time. Besides, now that statement’s more because I don’t want to see you than because I think you’ll be a bad influence. I still think you will be. But I’m sure there are other, much worse influences she can have. Her doll for one,” Mit-Sun muttered.
“Bes-Isa’s quite a nice doll…well, maybe nice is not the way to put it, but she’s polite at least.”
“At least,” Mit-Sun scoffed. “Honestly, with the way she talks I was convinced La-Iin was faking it for the longest time. Anyway, that’s it. That’s all I have to say to you. Now you know. I’ll try and keep consistent with what I said to you today, but don’t always expect for me to remember.”
“Oh, I’m certainly not expecting it,” Asul-Zenza said, a chuckle to his tone. “You seem to have an awfully convenient memory as well, Mit-Sun, at least when it comes to me and La-Iin. Honestly, you’re so contradictory I have to wonder if you retain any information from any of our talks ever.”
“If I don’t it’s because I can’t stand the sound of your voice,” she snapped.
“Well, sometimes I don’t like hearing that dry tone in yours either. I heard much more casual tones from you before, but now you constantly sound miffed. It’s not a good voice for you.”
“Oh shut up,” Mit-Sun scoffed. “And get out before I lose my patience, because after those comments you should be glad I didn’t lose it all just then.”
“Most definitely. I don’t want to be kicked anyplace important again, after all,” he said. “See you, Mit-Sun! Until the day we speak again!”
With that, Asul-Zenza went speeding out the door, wings spread before he had left the house.
“Moron. If it were up to me we’d never speak again…”

***

Choungetsu felt so confused nowadays. It seemed like so much was going on around him yet he could barely understand any of it.
Asul-Zenza had been coming by a lot lately and he wasn’t sure why. Mit-Sun still seemed angry with him a lot and he didn’t seem to be coming over for him. And even though he had come over for La-Iin last time, this time he had just gone into the kitchen with Mit-Sun and talked too fast for him to understand.
Choungetsu didn’t usually try to focus his attention on these sorts of things, but he couldn’t help his feelings of confusion and being left out. He wished that La-Iin and Mit-Sun would talk to him more often to help him understand, and he wished he could understand them better in the first place. Already he thought they didn’t understand each other well enough.
La-Iin had been acting a little strange lately too, he thought, and she didn’t take him on long walks that much anymore. In fact, some days Mit-Sun took him on walks and La-Iin barely paid him any attention. The thought made him a little angry. If only La-Iin would bring down that tasty doll again. It may have made her angry when he tried to play with her, but at least he could catch her attention!
Right now, however, instead of feel confused, he couldn’t help but feel lonely for Asul-Zenza as he dashed out the door. He felt a special bond with him and wished he would take him on a walk. He always seemed to be the most understanding out of everyone he met more than once. He was sure that if Asul-Zenza sat down to talk to him, he would be able to understand what he was talking about, and maybe, just maybe, Asul-Zenza would understand him, too.
More than anything, Choungetsu just wished he was more involved.

***

‘My worst fears are all coming true. Lirako’s suspicious about my being a Normal. La-Iin knows all about my dream about her. San-Kyung seems to think there’s something wrong with me more than he used to nowadays. What next, everyone at school’s going to find out about Kkumneok?’
He sighed. ‘I used to do such a good job of keeping up my demeanor. I liked things that way. The nightmares are horrible, but at least I felt like I was doing a good job of keeping what happens in them stuck in the dream. Now I’m just constantly miserable.
‘There has to be some way to make this work again….’
He tried to imagine what he might do if San-Kyung were here just then.
“San-Kyung, I know Spring just started, but you wanna wear my scarf? It’s still pretty cold outside, after all! ….no, that’s stupid. Hey, San-Kyung, I found out something interesting about Lizardfeet! Well, only a specific type of Lizardfeet, but hey, maybe if you run into one, you’ll know how to deal with them! Oh, would he even care about my studies anymore? Aww, San-Kyung, you look so adorable like that! Hm…”
“Dosa-Mina, are you talking to yourself?” Elai-Riya asked from behind the door.
“No, Mom! I’m just reading aloud!” He said hurriedly. It seemed to have worked, for Elai-Riya said nothing more.
‘I just want to focus on stopping my nightmares, not all this other shit. It’s like the world wants to punish me for something.’
He glanced out his window. ‘Maybe it does. But what did I do wrong?’

***

Lately Ai-Reia had been stuck in a perpetual state of melancholy. She would go to school, study for a short while, occasionally talk to her siblings or parents at dinner time, and then head off into her bedroom, lay on her bed, and think. On Weekends like today, it was even worse–she would stay in her bedroom for hours on end until summoned by a family member or natural function.
‘This isn’t right.’ She thought to herself. ‘La-Iin is an absolutely abhorrent person. This world would probably be better off if she died or disappeared from the face of the planet. But there is no reason I should be letting just the mere sight of her turn me into an animal.’
She clutched her pillow. ‘But I can’t control that if there’s some sort of monster inside of me. No, I have to find a way to tame her if that’s the case. But in what way? Do I do in La-Iin? I’m young enough so that I can’t really be arrested. But I’m also a prodigy. I’m sure they consider me smart enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. And that is true, I do understand it…
‘But then, what do I do? I don’t want to do something that horrible, at least I don’t think I do! Oh, I can only imagine how my family might feel if I killed someone with my own two hands. But if I got rid of La-Iin, finally this monster inside of me will be quieted.
‘….or I hope it will be. What if it doesn’t stop even after her death? Do I need the satisfaction of murder, or would her dying of other causes be enough? Would her leaving Malicerie be enough? What is it I need?’
Ai-Reia groaned. ‘I don’t understand what that monster wants! And the worst part is…I’ll never understand. Not until whatever it wants is satisfied. I know that who I think I am wishes La-Iin were dead, but I no longer wish to dirty my hands with her blood. But that’s only what I think. That’s only my reasoning to stray me away from killing her in the first place.
‘Damn it! Why did she need to come into my life!? Everything would be that much better if she had never come to Malicerie! If I had never come to Malicerie! All I want is some peace! I can’t deal with this monster nagging me for hundreds of years! I’ll go mad long before then!’
Ai-Reia stared down at her hands. ‘Do I sate her, or do I resist her? Which one will make me feel better? Which will be better for me? I’ve attempted to kill La-Iin before. I’m not all that scared of the idea, more of my family’s reaction to it. But that might not be what she wants at all. Who knows. Maybe she wants Ca-Miela dead. The idea wouldn’t be too far-fetched. But so long as I don’t know, all I can do is try or resist. And I don’t know which one is right.’
She buried her face into her knees. ‘I wish someone would help me…I wish there would be someone who could try and pull me out of this pit…and I wish I could ask my family. But I no longer have the faith I need to do that.’
Again her thoughts swirled in circles, and she flopped backwards onto her bed, confused and upset. Eventually her thoughts stopped going in any direction at all and she grew drowsy from resting on her bed, and fell asleep, a sleep she would be in until she was summoned at dinner time by her mother.

***

“I’m a little surprised La-Iin left you here, Bes-Isa,” Sale-Dessu said. “Wouldn’t she just normally leave you at home in her bedroom?”
“She probably did it to piss us off,” Eul-Bok said bitterly. Sale-Dessu glared at him.
“I’m not the most thrilled about this arrangement either, but at least it gives me a little more to do than just think.”
“Well, is there anything in particular you’d like to talk about?”
“Plenty. Namely, I want to ask a little bit about Eul-Bok’s inner workings.”
“Don’t tell her, Father!” Eul-Bok said.
“Sure, what do you want to know? Come on, Eul-Bok, it’s not going to change anything if she knows or not. At most she’ll tell La-Iin. What can she do about this information?”
“Yeah, you idiot. Anyway, I wanted to know, does Eul-Bok go to the bathroom? Does he eat? I’m sure he sleeps, but does he sleep like a V-Puppet or more normally?”
“What are you talking about?” Eul-Bok said. “I sleep the same way I always did!”
“He just goes to sleep, Bes-Isa. Were you asking if I still need to snap my fingers for him to rest? Because the answer is no.”
“I figured that. Though I see the two of you still have some sort of connection. That makes me wonder what would happen if you kicked the bucket, Sale-Dessu. Would he be left to the same horrible fate we non-autonomous V-Puppets are, or would he be able to walk around like he is now?”
“I’d like to think I did a good enough job that he wouldn’t be stuck like that,” Sale-Dessu said. “But there’s no way of knowing. He’s the first V-Puppet to end up this way….and as for your other questions, he doesn’t go to the bathroom. He doesn’t accumulate waste like I do.”
“Ew, Father!” Eul-Bok exclaimed. Sale-Dessu’s face flushed. “I was only trying to explain it to her.”
“Honestly, the idea of you pooping is kind of disturbing.”
“That’s not what this is about!” Sale-Dessu yelled. “Anyway, he doesn’t have to eat, although he can.”
“I tried to eat once. I could only taste it a little bit. And that might have just been me mistaking the texture. But I’m pretty sure I got some of its flavor.”
“I think you did too,” Sale-Dessu said. “Anything else you wanted to know, Bes-Isa?”
“Yeah. Were you nasty enough to put genitalia on him?”
“I didn’t put anything like that on him!”
“Yeah, I’ve got nothing down there,” Eul-Bok said. “Makes me wonder sometimes. Feels a little like something’s missing. It’s kinda weird.”
“I wonder if my chest would feel that way if I was autonomous.”
“Probably not,” Eul-Bok scoffed under his breath.
“Can we not talk about this right now?” Sale-Dessu said. “I didn’t have to put something like that on him. He’d have no use for it. I was just weighing options.”
“So you considered it.”
“What’s wrong with that!? It’s part of a man’s biology. But he has no use for it. So please stop talking about this.”
“If you say so. Honestly, I don’t care one way or the other. I was just curious if you were nasty enough to do it.”
Sale-Dessu glared.
“Ah, I still hope I can become autonomous someday. But, you know, putting that aside, I think I should thank La-Iin for leaving me here. If I can at least have a little bit more to do, life like this should be more tolerable. Hey, one more question.”
“I’m not answering if it’s anything indecent.”
“It’s not, and the question’s not really for you. Hey, Eulie, have you been let out at all yet, or have you been rotting away in here for almost two months?”
“I’m not rotting away in here,” Eul-Bok said. “And I can’t leave just yet. So I’ve stayed in here.”
“Yeah, things definitely need to be improved before I can even consider becoming autonomous.”
“Well, maybe someday,” Sale-Dessu sighed. “La-Iin should live for a thousand years or so. I’m sure something will happen in that time.”
“Normally I’d say otherwise, given that other Vampires have lived and died without getting anywhere, but if you figured it out, maybe there’s a little bit of hope for me.”

—–
“San-Kyung, you never told me what you wanted to talk about!”
“It’s not actually all that important, you know.”
“You made the effort to come over to my house, follow me to the park and then fight me. I think I deserve to know what you wanted to say!”
“I already got my answer,” he said.
“How!?”
“Figure it out yourself,” he called, then walked off. La-Iin’s wings began flapping involuntarily.
“Well, I guess I at least got to see him…”