The La-Iin Series
“La-Iin’s Future–Part 2”
Bes-Isa’s sudden yell startled La-Iin. She had just gotten home from school and head up to her bedroom. She sat on the bed and glared at Bes-Isa.
“What? If this is about autonomy again–”
“It’s not. I wanted to ask you for something.”
“So, you know how yesterday you told me of your domestic life with your kids and San-Kyung?”
“What about my future?”
“Well, that was nice and interesting and all. And as you know, I had comments.”
“The only things that will probably be different is maybe the order they’re born in and that I bet Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii will be evil,” she said. “Them being good in my daydreams is only because I’m trying to prepare myself just in case.”
“What would you do if they were ALL good?”
“Parents can sometimes have a lot of influence over their children. Anyway–”
“That woman obviously doesn’t have that over you,” she said.
“Yes, but me and Mama are gonna be different kinds of mothers,” she said. “Where are you going with this, Bes-Isa?”
“I had a problem with how “everyday life style” it was. I want to hear about the more dramatic aspects of your future. I remember back when you told me things about siblings going against siblings and drinking each other dry and fighting each other in some battle against good and evil. I remember when you talked about you and your children ravaging the world, setting everything on fire! Well, anyway, I remember when you’d tell me about the action parts of your future! I want to hear that, not some namby story about Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii trying to convince Sou-Yu that it’s good to be good! That just makes me think you’re secretly a goody-goody!”
La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa, grabbed her by the neck, and began to shake her until she made choking noises. Then, she dropped her on the bed.
“I retract my statement.”
“My future is not going to be perfect. The world will be hell, so of course there will be dramatic and actiony things that happen.”
“And that’s what I want to hear about. Although, with you phrasing it like that, it makes these stories sound less like your plans for your life in the future and more like a story you’re coming up with.”
“I just try to plan for every possible situation,” she said. “So, of my children, who did you enjoy hearing about the most?”
“Chung-Ae, because he’s the only one who’s stayed completely evil throughout all your little stori–I mean, daydreams.”
“Okay. Then I’ll tell you a dramatic story that Chung-Ae takes the lead in!”
“Darseen, do you think I’ll ever amount to anything?” Sou-Yu asked.
“You’re weak, but I struggle with weakness too and I make it just fine,” San-Kyung said. “Your issue is your immune system.”
Sou-Yu glanced down, dejected.
“My weakness is something I can’t control either,” he said. “But I make the best of it except in November. I know your Vampire traits are much stronger than your Animated Pumpkin ones, but perhaps you should try using your powers around the October Power Surge.”
“That’s when you’re really strong, isn’t it, Darseen?”
“Yes, it is,” he said. “In any event, though weakness is a horrible thing to have, if you make the efforts to push through it, you can manage just fine. Not to mention, in this world, it’s not like you need to worry so much about getting ambushed. La-Iin and I handle things quite well. So work through your weaknesses so you can join us more often.”
“Okay, Darseen. I’ll try.”
“Impressive work, Chung-Ae,” La-Iin said. “You almost do as well as San-Kyung and I when it comes to decimating the world.”
“Thank you, Mother. Your praise is the best reward. Although, seeing people suffer and buildings collapse is a pretty good one too.” He wrinkled his nose. “The only thing I don’t like about decimating is the smell…”
La-Iin broke out into laughter. “You’ll get used to it,” she chuckled, giving him two rough pats on the head. “In any event, we should get back home. Sou-Yu needed medicine and we got that.”
“Damn Sou-Yu, always holding us back…”
“At least he has the power potential and malice to make up for it,” La-Iin said. “Hey, want to race back home?”
“Are you sure? That sounds awfully immature…”
“It’s good practice. You never know in what way it might benefit you or what day you might need to make a quick break.” La-Iin flapped her wings. “Ready?”
La-Iin took off at a high speed. Chung-Ae gave his wings a quick flap and followed after her. La-Iin kept the lead for a long while, but Chung-Ae found himself catching up after some time, eventually keeping neck-and-neck with his mother.
“Not bad,” she said. “But I still have a lot more practice over you!”
She sped up and began to widen the distance between them. Chung-Ae found he didn’t really care about losing to her, but remembering her words he tried to think of something that would make him want to fly faster.
He thought about what he might do if he knew he needed to rush to his mother’s side in order to save her life. He imagined what he would do if a dangerous slave–or perhaps just a slave in general–escaped and was running amok in their homelands.
That gave him enough motivation to close the gap between him and La-Iin, and by the time they made it home they were so closely neck-and-neck that they were unable to tell exactly who had won.
“It was definitely me. I have years of experience over you!” She protested.
“Did you see that burst of speed I had, though? I definitely had the lead over you. You probably exhumed all your speed when you made that second dash. I, on the other hand, had not used up as much of my speed beforehand, therefore–”
“Sometimes you don’t need a long logical explanation for everything, Chung-Ae,” she said, pinching his ear. Chung-Ae recoiled. “Don’t forget that.”
“And sometimes you–”
“You two are home?” San-Kyung called. Both La-Iin and Chung-Ae turned to greet him. He was running toward them with Hun-Seuth and Song-Ii at his side and sounded out of breath. “Finally!”
“Is something the matter? Has Sou-Yu’s condition deteriorated?” La-Iin asked.
“It’s worse,” Hun-Seuth breathed.
“He’s not dead, is he?” Chung-Ae asked.
“Not that bad, but…” Song-Ii’s voice began to waver. “He’s, um, he’s…”
“He got taken by slaves,” San-Kyung said.
“It’s all my fault!” Song-Ii cried.
“What happened!?” La-Iin asked.
“Song-Ii didn’t tell us the whole story,” Hun-Seuth said. “She went out with Sou-Yu and came back and he was gone!”
“Why did you take Sou-Yu out when you knew he was sick!?” La-Iin snapped. Song-Ii had begun to cry by now and could barely face her mother.
“Just tell me what happened and stop crying so much!” La-Iin yelled.
Chung-Ae stood there as Hun-Seuth tried to calm his sister. He was feeling several emotions at once–anger, confusion, concern–but most of all, he was downright terrified for Sou-Yu.
‘He was sick and we were getting him medicine! Why would she take him out?’
It took Song-Ii a while to calm down enough to speak in coherent sentences, and even when she had, she still tripped over her words and her voice warbled as if she would break out into tears at any moment.
“I–I was talking to Sou-Yu, and he said he wished he wasn’t always holding us back. So I said…” She swallowed hard. “I said, ‘Do you wanna sneak out with me while I deal with slaves?’ And he said yes, so I took him.”
“The slaves are always in their cages though,” La-Iin said.
“Not every single slave,” San-Kyung said, glaring at his wife.
“But I don’t think any of the slaves who get let out on occasion would kidnap Sou-Yu.”
“That’s the thing,” she hiccuped. “It wasn’t one of them.”
“Did a slave break out?” Chung-Ae said. “But I thought they were all properly medicated!”
“And aren’t the cages reinforced more than they were in the early days?” La-Iin asked.
“They are, but there are still ways to–”
“It’s not because of powers at all!” Song-Ii shrieked. She sounded exasperated with her family. “I mistook a bad slave for a good one. I was gonna take one of them out for a little bit so….so Sou-Yu could talk to them,” she said. “And then it turned out it was the wrong slave and she ran off with Sou-Yu!”
“Why would you let a slave out so Sou-Yu could talk to them!?” La-Iin snapped. “He could talk to a slave perfectly fine while they’re still in the cage! Something tells me you’re lying, Song-Ii!”
“Okay, okay, I admit it! I was gonna wash off your favorite slaves so they didn’t stink so much. And then it turned out it was a bad one and she ran away with Sou….”
Song-Ii trailed off and dropped to the ground, hiccuping and sobbing.
“What did she look like?” La-Iin demanded.
“She…she looked like Grandmama–I-I mean, Mit-Sun, Mama!”
“It wasn’t actaully Mit-Sun though,” she hiccuped. “Jus’ someone who looked a lot like her…”
“And you’re sure you’re not covering? Because Sou-Yu is much more important to me than she is.”
“I’m nooooot! Go see her for yourself!”
La-Iin sighed. “This is awful…alright, Hun-Seuth, stay home with Song-Ii and watch her so she doesn’t go crazy. She’s had enough stupid ideas today and we don’t need her getting any more.”
“A-alright,” he said.
“San-Kyung, Chung-Ae, let’s fan out and search for Sou-Yu!”
Both nodded. They walked out of the house, leaving Hun-Seuth to comfort a sobbing Song-Ii lying in the middle of the entryway.
“Here, before we go,” La-Iin said. She handed San-Kyung small pills. “Sale-Dessu made these. You should be able to levitate for a bit while they’re in your system.”
He gulped down the pills and the trio waited at the entrance to their house for a short while. Once San-Kyung levitated into the air, La-Iin and Chung-Ae spread their wings and prepared to take off after him.
“Are we doing this together or separately?” San-Kyung asked.
“Go wherever you feel, San-Kyung. Chung-Ae and I will go and make sure Mit-Sun is still in her cage and then we’ll split up. When you find Sou-Yu, take him back home and then come and alert the rest of us. No going home until he’s found, and if necessary, revenge is enacted on the slaves.”
Chung-Ae normally wasn’t all that intimidated by his mother, but the intensity in her eyes and her tone made him feel smaller than usual. San-Kyung nodded in response and then took off to the left. La-Iin beckoned to Chung-Ae before they took off to the right.
Chung-Ae always found the smell oppressive around the slaves, and while today was no exception, whenever he reminded himself why they needed to fly by them today he felt he could tolerate it a little more. He followed after his mother as she started to land nearby a cage separate from the others.
Inside was a woman with long, matted hair. She was fast asleep, and La-Iin knocked on her cage to wake her up.
“She’s still in her cage, so that’s something,” she mumbled to herself.
“Wha…? What is it, La-Iin?”
“Do you know anything about the slaves who took Sou-Yu?”
“Something happened to Sou-Yu!?” Chung-Ae saw genuine concern in his grandmother’s eyes, and he had to wonder why she would care. ‘It’s not like she sees us all that much. She doesn’t know what kind of person Sou-Yu is. She probably wouldn’t care…then again, she is a goody-goody, so–‘
“I know how tempting it is to daydream, but we need to find Sou-Yu, so get out of your head,” La-Iin said to him, pushing his shoulder. “Mama–I mean, Mit-Sun, obviously does not know what happened to Sou-Yu. That clears her then, well, with one exception…”
La-Iin sighed and a distant look entered her eyes. She shook her head. “I’m going home to fetch Song-Ii. Go on ahead and look for someone who looks like Mit-Sun, Chung-Ae!”
“Right, Mother!” He said. La-Iin flew away.
“I hope you can find Sou-Yu…” Mit-Sun rasped behind him. He shot her a look of disgust.
“Why do you care?”
“He’s my grandson, that’s why,” she said. “And he’s a good kid.”
“Sou-Yu is not good. He’s just weak. Quit wasting my time! I need to find my brother.”
“I’m glad you care about your family, Chung-Ae,” Mit-Sun sighed. “I only wish you’d extend that love to me.”
“I would turn against them all if I had to, I hope you know,” he said. “So don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t trust you at all.”
‘Just like a slave to waste my time,’ he thought as he took off. He took his mind off of Mit-Sun and focused on Sou-Yu instead. Once he had, he felt a surge of concern for his younger brother. He felt Sou-Yu had the most potential of all his siblings to be as malicious as he was–and he knew how upset he and the rest of his family would be if Sou-Yu was found dead.
His concern translated itself into power as he felt his senses sharpen and his body’s features change slightly. Now he was certain he could find Sou-Yu so long as he listened closely. Pushing himself to fly faster, he dashed around the broken city searching for his brother.
And then, while flying over broken buildings, he heard it–the sound of a familiar voice crying out, and several others around it.
Chung-Ae shot down to the ground in the direction he had heard the voice, only slowing to secure himself a safe landing. His senses had proven right–Sou-Yu was restrained and sitting in the mdidle of a group of escaped slaves, all of whom were staring at him with malice in their eyes.
“Another one of the Cahongyun kids, eh?” One of them, a Catori-Goathoof with an odd face, said.
“Careful, Suig-Vel. That’s the oldest one, Chung-Ae. They say his physical prowress and power prowress rivals that of his parents.” Said another one, a Ferreniao whose fur was sticking out at all angles.
“I understand,” Suig-Vel said. “I also know that Chung-Ae here is outnumbered. He might be the scion of the Cahongyun family, but he’s one kid going against a whole buncha people with the power to destroy him.”
“I have more power than you weaklings could ever have,” Chung-Ae spat. Had his opponents been stronger people, he might have been intimidated by the number of them, but all of them were dirty, scrawny and wearing their own filth. Whatever powers they could use, he imagined, would not be enough to hurt him too badly.
“Tryin’ ta intimidate us, are ye!?” Spat back a Birdmix.
“I don’t need to. You know, if I were my brother or sister, I might be saying now that if you gave back Sou-Yu peacefully, I wouldn’t fight with you. But I’m not like that. I am more like my Mother and Father.” He flew above the ragged group, unable to take their smell being right on top of them anymore.
“I’ll give you one break, though. Tell me why you took Sou-Yu from us.”
“Without ‘im, yer just that much weaker!” The Birdmix cackled. Suig-Vel slammed him on the head. “Idiot!”
Chung-Ae did not react. He lit his hands on fire and then flew into the crowd, spinning around wildly. He tried to dodge Sou-Yu in the midst of the frenzy.
The group was startled, but they began to retaliate as soon as Chung-Ae flew back into the air. Feathers, water and fire shot at him, but he dodged them all and then spun into the crowd once more. He was thoroughly enjoying the fight against this group.
It was the thrill of watching them hope for only a moment before realizing just who they were up against.
“Oh, that’s it!” Suig-Vel shrieked. The power usage became more intense after his cry, and Chung-Ae found himself having more difficulty avoiding their attacks. ‘Not as weak as I thought, huh?’
While in the midst of his fun, however, he remembered Sou-Yu, still restrained in the middle of all this fighting. He recalled Sou-Yu’s weakness and dove back into the crowd to rescue him.
“Hold tight,” he said, grabbing on to Sou-Yu. Before he could take off with him in hand, a vine wrapped around his leg and water was fired at his wings. When he tried to escape, his wings flapped almost uselessly and he couldn’t break free from the vine. The group walked up behind him and a few landed blows.
Remembering Sou-Yu, he tugged hard enough to break free from the vine and fly lopsided in the air above them, but he was feeling the effects from their attacks and the weight of Sou-Yu. He grit his teeth.
“Are you okay!?” Sou-Yu asked.
“Be quiet until we get home!”
Evidently this group wasn’t ready to end their barrage of attacks, and as he tried to avoid them in order to get a good perspective he was pummeled with many more. A few water balls hit Sou-Yu in the face, though he was never hit with fire, which hit Chung-Ae a few times.
Once he had made it a sufficient distance from the crowd, Chung-Ae dug as deep into his free hand as possible, then pointed his palm at the crowd. Flames burst forth and the crowd began to screech as they were engulfed.
Chung-Ae gasped. Waiting in place so long made the pain hit him. Sou-Yu stared up at him with concern as he flew in the direction he had come, bobbing up and down unsteadily.
La-Iin continued to fly around the area in desperate search for Sou-Yu when she smelled burning flesh and noticed several people screaming and running around on fire.
“Was someone here?” She thought. Though she wanted to deal with the people, she felt there was a good chance they would die from their burn wounds soon enough. She took off straight ahead.
Before long, she spotted two people flying away erratically. By their orange skin and large wings she recognized them as her children and flew over to them as fast as she could.
Chung-Ae was holding tight to Sou-Yu, who was clinging to him for dear life. Chung-Ae had several wounds and a few burns and was bleeding mildly. His eyes were glazed slightly as if he couldn’t see the entire path ahead of him and he was breathing heavily. He looked in no condition to continue flying, especially while holding his younger brother, but still he pushed on, never falling despite how erratic and slow he flew.
“Chung-Ae, are you alright?” She asked. Chung-Ae turned to face her and nearly dropped out the sky.
“I’m fine, Mother,” he said, his tone deadpan. “Look. I found Sou-Yu. Give me some time and I’ll be home with him.”
La-Iin couldn’t believe him, not seeing how much he was struggling. So she grabbed onto Chung-Ae and began to fly with him.
To her surprise, Sou-Yu broke free of Chung-Ae’s grasp and began to help her take him home.
Chung-Ae seemed oblivious to the help. La-Iin would have expected him to complain, but he said nothing.
That night, it was Chung-Ae who laid up in bed.
“Are you gonna be alright, Chung-Ae?” Song-Ii asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” he said. “But my body hurts all over…”
His gaze rested on Sou-Yu. Sou-Yu flinched in response.
“Thanks, Sou-Yu,” he said, cracking a small smile. “I pick on you a lot for being the weakest one, but I guess in this situation, we’re reversed, aren’t we?”
Sou-Yu blinked in confusion before cracking a small smile of his own.
“Is it just me, or is Chung-Ae being strangely nice?” Hun-Seuth whispered to Song-Ii.
“Maybe all those attacks damaged his brain too,” she whispered back.
“I can hear you, you know,” Chung-Ae snapped. Both of them flinched.
“So that’s it?”
“You know, you seem to daydream a lot about your children getting brutally mauled…it seems like a lot of this happens to Chung-Ae, too. He’s the one who seems the most heartless. You’d think someone like Song-Ii would get beaten on more.”
“I planned on telling you a story where one of my children got hurt as soon as you said dramatic,” she said. “You mentioned something about Chung-Ae. So this is your fault. And I daydream about these things because I need to plan for them, just in case. The more I’m prepared, the better a job I’ll do. I’m already prepared for the day I take over the world. So I should be prepared for what happens after that, too.”
“Well, whatever. I guess I got what I wanted. There’s just one thing bothering me now.”
“What’s that? It better not be about autonomy.”
“No, it’s not that, for once. Where was I in all this!?”