23.539.Dami’s Advice

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 539
“Dami’s Advice”

As soon as she arrived home from school on Tuesday, La-Iin set her mind to calling Asul-Zenza. After both the delivery of the mincemeat buns and the strange person she had seen before heading off to Neigghed, she felt as though a talk with him was both necessary and long overdue.
Before heading to the phone, she checked around the house to make sure that Mit-Sun was still inside. She spotted her reading a book in the kitchen, and she glanced up and waved at La-Iin before turning back to the book.
“Mama?”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“Do we still have any more mincemeat buns?”
“I think we might have one left over. You can have it with dinner if you want.”
La-Iin nodded. “Wouldn’t it be easier to read that book in your bedroom?”
“Hm? Why? I figured you were going to go upstairs and talk to Bes-Isa, and I’m not sure how well I could focus if I overheard you two talking.”
La-Iin gave a quiet growl. “Well, I’m not going to go upstairs. I actually planned on playing out here. And you being out here ruins that.”
“Then I’m going to counteract: why can’t you play in your room?”
“You won’t win, Mama. Even I get bored of playing in my room all the time.”
“I have another counteract as well: since when do you care about disturbing me while I’m reading?”
La-Iin froze. She wracked her brain for an excuse. “Since I get in trouble a lot when I annoy you.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “If you ask me, you haven’t been getting enough punishments for all the trouble you’ve been getting into.”
“Why don’t you just go and read in your room!?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “There’s no reason to get so angry at me for reading out here, La-Iin. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Besides, with the way you’re acting it makes me think you’re up to something suspicious. That only gives me more reason to stay out here.”
La-Iin stared at her blankly. ‘How do I get her out of the room? If I call Dami she’ll just stay so she can listen in on our conversation. And with what I want to talk about, that could be bad…’
A third reason nagged at La-Iin and pressed her to try harder. She began to try and think of something that would convince Mit-Sun to relocate to her room.
“You think it’s suspicious, but not everything I talk about is. I wanted to call Fer-Shi and discuss a secret with her. And you know Fer-Shi–she’s a goody-goody. But I just couldn’t get rid of you even for that.”
“A secret? Are you sure it’s nothing nefarious?”
“You know Fer-Shi, Mama. If it was really bad, it wouldn’t be a secret.”
“I won’t tell.”
La-Iin growled. “Fer-Shi really wants it to be kept a secret…even if you say you can keep a secret, what do you think I’ll do if Fer-Shi finds out that you found out anyway!? Haven’t you ever really wanted to keep a secret for a friend!?”
Mit-Sun blinked. “Maybe?”
“So you should understand where I’m coming from, Mama.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Fine, I’ll go upstairs. But the moment I hear something crashing or burning down here, I’m coming down.”
“You obviously don’t think very highly of me.”
“You haven’t exactly given me much reason to. Look, I know you aren’t as bad as you could be, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about what you’re going to do next. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and go upstairs.”
Holding the page of her book, she stood up and head out the kitchen. Once La-Iin heard a door upstairs close, she dialed Asul-Zenza’s number and hoped for him to pick up.
“Hello? Might this be La-Iin or Mit-Sun?”
“Hello, Dami.”
“Oh, hello, La-Iin! How nice to talk to you! I’m glad you called, actually. There has been a lot for me to go over. Oh, but maybe I should keep some of it a secret.”
“You can tell me if you want to, Dami, but I have a few things I want to talk to you about first.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do. Go ahead and we’ll talk. I have plenty of time. I just got back from my only commitment for today.”
“Well, the first thing I want to say is, did you make those mincemeat buns yourself?”
“You got the mincemeat buns? Did you like them?”
“What do you think?”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Glad to hear it, La-Iin. Yes, I did make them myself. They’re based on a recipe I tried on one of my travels. And I know it likely would have been a smarter idea to come over and personally deliver the buns myself, but I figured Mit-Sun wouldn’t allow me to come over just to give you a small snack. I hope they were all in good condition.”
“They were fine and delicious, Dami. They have me craving mincemeat once again when I had been focusing on blood…but I also wanted to ask, were you there when I was going to Neigghed?”
“Hm? Oh, did you see me? I arrived a little late because I head out later than expected, but I saw you off when you head on the bus. By the time I caught sight of you you were already heading on to the bus, and I didn’t want to call out to you and interrupt all that was going on. I’m sorry we missed each other.”
“I just wanted to make sure. I wish I had seen you before I got on the bus.”
“I do too, but well, it’s happened already. Did you have fun in Neigghed?”
“It was fine, but what was more fun was what happened afterward, heh heh…but that’s not what I wanted to talk about!”
“A shame. I’m curious about what happened afterwards now.”
“Well, I’ll have to tell you later. Because I have a…situation.”
“Hm?”
‘Do I tell him it’s Mama or should I pretend it’s a stranger?’ La-Iin felt conflicted as to whether or not she should face the situation head-on; she wasn’t sure what kind of reaction Asul-Zenza might have if she broached her darker suspicions about Uil-Cur’s motives. ‘Would Dami confront him himself? Maybe not, but I shouldn’t take the chances.’
“I know someone who’s in a stupid situation. A really stupid one. They have a friend who’s obviously suspicious. I think he either wants to kill her or he’s in love with her!”
“…huh?”
“It’s complicated, Dami. But this person I know is really stupid and doesn’t notice either one. And I’m worried about both options. If that other person wants to kill her then that’s bad for me, but it’s also bad for me if he’s just in love with her because what if she falls in love back?”
“I can understand where it might seem like a problem if he wanted to kill your friend, but how is it a problem if he is in love with her?”
“It’s an interference in my life!”
“Is this Fer-Shi you’re talking about, La-Iin?”
“I’m bound to confidentiality for now, Dami, since I don’t know all the situation. But either option seems feasible. He’s super-suspicious so I think he might want to kill her. But when I talked to him the other day he started blushing like he was in love.”
“People can also act suspicious when they are in love. I’ve seen this first-hand. It could be he is just in love with her.”
La-Iin sighed. “That’s still bad for me. So what do I do?”
“Why not let things take their course? I see how it could be an interference in your life but there is no guarantee that she would like him back. And after all, maybe he doesn’t want to kill her or is in love with her. Perhaps he’s just shy.”
“I really seriously doubt that, Dami.” La-Iin sniffled. “I just don’t know what to do. I really hate this guy!”
“La-Iin, that’s all the advice I can give you for now. I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry you’re upset about the situation, but it might work out, and really, there isn’t anything you can do.”
“There has to be! Dami, this man is staking out Mama! Do you see how this could be a problem!?”
“What? Someone is attracted to Mit-Sun?”
“Probably!”
Asul-Zenza was silent for a short while. “I…I don’t know what to say, La-Iin. I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation either…really, Mit-Sun can do what she wishes, but I can certainly see your concern.”
“If he kills her or marries her it’s still a problem for me either way! So what do I do!?”
“Um…well…”
“La-Iin, I hear yelling. What’s going on?”
La-Iin gasped. “I’ll have to talk to you later, Dami. Mama will overhear us if I keep talking!”
“What? Wait a second, La-Ii–“
La-Iin slammed the phone down.
“None of your business, Mama.”
Mit-Sun huffed. “I just want to know why you started yelling. Were you fighting with Fer-Shi?”
La-Iin shook her head. “No. It was just an intense debate. But now I know more than ever that…”
She stopped herself from continuing on. “Read out here if you want to. I’m going to plan in my bedroom.”
As La-Iin walked off, her wings flapping in anger, Mit-Sun couldn’t help but wonder what had gotten her so riled up. She tried to sit down and concentrate on the book, but all that kept coming back to her mind was the memory of La-Iin in such a bad mood.

—–
“Dami? Mama took Choungetsu out, so I have one more chance to talk to you about earlier.”
“La-Iin, I really don’t know what to say. If he shows signs of wanting to kill her, you’ll have to put aside your pride and call the police on him. But if he’s merely in love with her, I’m not sure what you can do about her reciprocating or not.”
“Mmnh…”
“I’m as unhappy as you are.”
“Why?”
“If Mit-Sun did reciprocate this man’s feelings, they could potentially get married. You would become his step-daughter. The idea of another man playing a part in your upbringing makes me furious. But I really don’t see what either of us can do about the situation. For now, you will have to watch from the shadows.”
“…I don’t want to stand by idly though, Dami. If I can, I’m going to find a way to stop either outcome from happening. I’m in control of my own future. And I’m with you–I’m not going to let another man pretend to be my Dami!”

16.532.Persona of the Saras

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 532
“Persona of the Saras”

“Hey, La-Iin, I noticed you’ve been hanging out with Sara quite a bit.”
“Yes. Why? Are you getting jealous?”
Fer-Shi shook her head. “It’d take more than that to get me jealous.”
“You got jealous over a piece of paper once.”
Fer-Shi glanced away from her. “It just surprises me. You really seemed like you didn’t like her at first.”
“I told you already, she has something I want to know. It’s a mutual deal. I play with her, and she tells me what I want to know. Besides, you’ve been playing with Veiner a lot lately and I haven’t gotten on your case.”
“He’s a pretty creative boy!”
“I don’t care. I don’t find him interesting in the slightest.”
“It’s just strange to me. Though I guess if you can be friends with me, you can be friends with Sara.”
“Cahongyun!” La-Iin and Fer-Shi’s conversation was interrupted by Shuu-Kena’s voice. She ran up to La-Iin with a smile on her face.
“Cahongyun, I wanted to ask you something. How would you like to come over to my house tonight? I got permission from my parents yesterday and I thought you might like to meet them.”
“Hm?”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but the offer’s there. Don’t worry, I won’t let them hurt you. I think they’d like you better than me, anyway…but yeah! If you want to come over, meet me after school!”
Shuu-Kena walked off after that, climbing onto the monkey bars.
“She’s inviting you to her house already? And what does she mean by she won’t let them hurt you? La-Iin, do you know?”
“I have a feeling I know, but I don’t think they’d hurt me, and even if they tried, I could overpower a family of Normals.”
“You’d be outnumbered, though…”
“It doesn’t matter. I have a lot more power than I used to, that and confidence. And I think I will accept Sara’s offer. That will give me a chance to see firsthand what it is I want to learn. Fer-Shi, tell Mama I’ll be coming home late!”
“Can’t you tell her yourself!?”
La-Iin shook her head. ‘This should be good.’
“You really are getting excited, La-Iin,” Fer-Shi sighed. “I guess you do like Sara.”
“She’s useful. And I feel like someone’s getting jealous again.”
“Wha–ohh, I guess I am…well, I just hope you have fun over at Sara’s house, okay? Make sure to tell me all about it!”
“I make no promises on that front, Fer-Shi. What I see there might be confidential. But probably not.”
Fer-Shi blinked. ‘I wonder if she’s part of some sort of detective family…’
“Sara looks busy and so does Veiner. Why don’t we play together and get rid of your jealousy?”
“Um, okay!”

***

As soon as school that day came to an end, La-Iin approached Shuu-Kena’s seat and the two head off together out of the school. La-Iin waved to Fer-Shi, who judging by her facial expression was still feeling slightly jealous.
La-Iin let Shuu-Kena lead the way to her house, curious about the path she was taking. It was not a path La-Iin remembered taking or seeing any other student take.
“Will your Mom be okay with this? Did you call her?”
“I’m having someone else call her for me. And I think she’s used to it. Why do you care? Would your Mama care?”
Shuu-Kena gave a sad smile. “No, I guess not. I’ll let you spend a lot of time with my family, but if you get bored of hanging around them, I could always show you my paintings. They’re not very good but they’re all I have.”
“Hm. Well, unless your family is nothing but evil failures I don’t think I’ll get bored of hanging around them.”
“Heh heh, probably not.”
The path to Shuu-Kena’s house seemed even darker than the path to Imagination’s graveyard, and La-Iin found the spooky atmosphere endearing. The neighborhood Shuu-Kena lived in was past a row of alleyways in a dark and small neighborhood; the house she led La-Iin to stood on its own, shaded by tall trees. It seemed like the type of house that would be seen as haunted, and it excited her.
Shuu-Kena opened the door and she and La-Iin were immediately greeted by two young girls.
“Hello there,” said one.
“You must be Shuu-Kena’s ‘friend’.” Said the other.
“She has the face of a psychopath.”
“I know. Endearing, isn’t it?”
“These are my little sisters Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo,” Shuu-Kena said. “This one is Kyu-Aseri, and that one is Kyu-Nhogo.”
“We can introduce ourselves,” said Kyu-Aseri.
“And we can be told apart easily,” said Kyu-Nhogo.
“I know. I just–”
“What is your name, newcomer?” Interrupted Kyu-Nhogo.
“Cahongyun La-Iin.”
“Ahh, Cahongyun. Aeness, are we?”
“No.”
“Hm, that’s strange. We must consult in Ther-Aoughin about this phenomena.” Kyu-Aseri waved. “We hope you have a terrible time at the Sara house, Cahongyun!”
The two young girls walked off.
“They like to overblow their evil,” Shuu-Kena said with a chuckle. La-Iin narrowed her eyes, then asked, “Who is Ther-Aoughin?”
“That’s my older brother. Speaking of, do you have any siblings, Cahongyun?”
“No, and I better not get any.”
“Huh? What do you mean by that?”
La-Iin looked away. “Show me someplace else.”
“Okay.”
All of the Sara house was decorated in a dark, gothic style, and it excited La-Iin further. Pictures of the family and violent scenes hung on the wall, and the house had little furniture and no electronics as far as La-Iin could see. All the windows were covered with dark red curtains; the only light was that which made it through the curtains and a dim one hanging in the living room.
Shuu-Kena led La-Iin into the kitchen, which was decorated a bit brighter than the rest of the house. Inside the kitchen Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo sat next to a boy who appeared to be only slightly older than San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina–La-Iin assumed he must be Ther-Aoughin. Chopping up a bloody piece of meat was a tall woman La-Iin assumed was their mother. The sight and scent of the blood made La-Iin’s mouth water.
“Hello, Mom. I’m home.”
“Hello,” her mother said dryly. She laid eyes on La-Iin. “Hello…a Vampire, hmm?”
“This is Cahongyun,” Shuu-Kena said. “She’s a classmate.”
“I was interested in meeting the family,” La-Iin said.
“I see….I also assume word gets out easy, hence your curiosity,” she said, glaring at Shuu-Kena. Shuu-Kena flinched away, then forced a smile. La-Iin gave her a curious glance.
“Mom, where is Dad?”
“Out doing his ‘job’….assuming all goes well, he’ll be back a little bit before dinner. Say, little fangster–I hear your kind like blood. How would you like a cup of some?”
La-Iin nodded wildly. Shuu-Kena’s mother grinned and poured the blood into a cup, handing it to La-Iin. La-Iin downed the blood so quickly that some of it splashed on her face. Shuu-Kena’s family, along with Shuu-Kena herself, watched in awe.
“Interesting…well, feel free to stay until dinner. Listen to yourself when it comes to leaving.”
“Though when we want you out,” piped in Ther-Aoughin, “you’ll know.”
Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo giggled.
“Why don’t we go to my room for now?”
“It’s our room too,” said Kyu-Aseri.
“I know. I’ll keep to my side of the room. Would you like to go there, Cahongyun?”
“There’s so much blood coming off that meat…”
Shuu-Kena’s mother glanced over her shoulder and smirked at La-Iin.
“There is, but there’s plenty of other blood and I bet you have better blood at home. Come on!”
La-Iin sighed as Shuu-Kena dragged her out the kitchen. She could overhear the starts of a conversation between Shuu-Kena’s siblings that seemed to be their predictions of who might die soon. La-Iin couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
“Why’d you drag me away?”
“I’m so sorry, Cahongyun. I just…I don’t usually get to have people over here, so my family was really…well, they try their hardest to seem evil in everything they do…and I worried that if you stayed there and kept drinking the blood from that meat they’d keep asking you to do things for them. And I guess I was a little embarrassed.”
“I came here for observation.”
“My room is perfect for that,” Shuu-Kena sighed. “Just look.”
The room was split apart by two sides that were painted slightly different shades of dark red. One had a bunk-bed and several violent decorations such as gory dolls, pictures of bleeding characters from animations, and books with VIOLENCE stamped as their genre. It would be a disturbing sight to most others, but it made La-Iin even more curious.
“That part of the room belongs to Kyu-Aseri and Kyu-Nhogo,” Shuu-Kena said.
“They really like violence.”
“Too much. Like I said, my family really is evil, but they think if you’re evil it should be your whole personality. That’s something else I like about you, La-Iin. Even though you’re evil, there’s more to you than just that.”
“Evil is an important part of me.”
“I know.”
La-Iin glanced at Shuu-Kena’s part of the room. A stack of white canvas sat near a night desk. “Are those your paintings?”
Shuu-Kena nodded. “I like to paint a lot of things, the things I like, so I’ve painted nature and my family…I even painted you once.”
“What?”
“I haven’t finished it yet though, so don’t ask to see it! But I’ll show it to you when I’m finished. Really, La-Iin, even if you just wanted to see things about my family, I’m grateful you’re playing with me now.”
“It’s a mutual deal,” La-Iin said. Shuu-Kena nodded. “Well, if you want to see the rest of the house, so long as we’re careful we shouldn’t get in too much trouble.”
“I like getting in trouble.”
“You wouldn’t want to around my parents. When I get in trouble it’s horrible. Even though you’re evil, would you really want someone doing something evil to you?”
La-Iin pondered the idea for a moment. “I guess most of the time, no.”
As Shuu-Kena showed her around the house, La-Iin was able to see the extent of the Sara’s evil. Clippings of crime stories, pictures of violence and books filled with violence and tips for crimes, and dark colors were all around the house. Inside her brother Ther-Aoughin’s room, pictures of actual corpses abound, and even La-Iin found herself slightly put-off by the sight. Weapons could be found in some of the rooms, and in one rooms there was a radio, television and computer. La-Iin noticed the computer was on a page on how best to torture someone via poisoning without killing them.
“We got stuck with the wrong families,” La-Iin said.
“I don’t think so. I like my family for the most part. Don’t you like yours?”
La-Iin sighed. “I suppose so. I just wish mine was as evil as yours.”
“You don’t really. Er, well, I guess I don’t actually know, but they can be pretty annoying sometimes. I think even you might get annoyed by how hard they try. They try too hard, let me tell you.”
“But do they succeed?”
“Dad does sometimes,” she said. “We’ll have to wait until he comes back home this time, but–”
Shuu-Kena flinched at the sound of a large slam. Curious, La-Iin headed in the direction of the noise and noticed a police officer at the door. Shuu-Kena’s mother stood there, the expression on her face far more innocent than the one she had had on earlier.
“Are you Sara Hei-Yhunni?”
“Yes? What is it?” Even her tone of voice was far more innocent than earlier.
“We came to tell you that your husband has been arrested. Again. Miss, you need to keep tabs on what he’s doing. Who knows when his crimes will escalate from this into murder!”
“Now now, calm down. The woman’s already shocked enough that he got arrested again! Don’t worry, ma’am. He’ll be out soon enough.”
“I hope so…”
“I guess he failed,” Shuu-Kena whispered.
“What was he doing?”
“I think he said today he was going to set a small pipe bomb nearby some place called ‘Hledshess’….”
“Hm.”
The police officers left and Hei-Yhunni breathed a sigh of relief before stomping out of La-Iin’s line of sight. “Well, I guess you can’t talk to Dad today. But if you want, you can talk to the rest of my family before you go.”
“I will. But there’s one other thing I want to do first.”
“What?”
“Show me your paintings. I’m curious about some of them.”
Shuu-Kena’s mouth turned up in a wide smile. This time, La-Iin could tell it was genuine. She ran off towards her and her sisters’ rooms, and La-Iin followed close behind.

***

Dinner that night at the Saras, La-Iin could understand Shuu-Kena’s frustration.
“I always say that people who pardon others are failures at evil. You should be open to any kind of betrayal.”
“I’ll give my husband that he tries. And I bet he would take us out too if he found the inclination. We’re just too useful to him for that to happen.”
“Yeah, I’d rather die because of Papa than because of some weakling illness.”
“It’s so pathetic how some evil people will say that they have standards. The whole point of evil is to be negative of good. Good people are the ones who have standards!”
“See what I mean?” Shuu-Kena whispered.
“Yes.”
‘You all are just a bunch of try-hards!’ Thought La-Iin. ‘Only Sara’s Dami carries through with his evil, doesn’t he? The rest of them just sit here and talk. They’ll witness true evil when I rule the world…although I suppose they’re a good example of ‘how not to be evil’.’
Thinking that made La-Iin feel slightly embarrassed when herself, but when Ther-Aoughin mentioned that he too would rather be taken out by his father than natural causes, she felt slightly better.

—–
When La-Iin arrived home that night, Mit-Sun was glaring at her through narrowed eyes.
“Mama, I went over to…an acquaintance’s.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I just wish you would have told me yourself, La-Iin. That’s all.”
“Fer-Shi told you, didn’t she?”
“Yes, she did.”
“Normally I might be mad at you, Mama, but tonight I’m not. I found out I could have a much worse family than having two goody-goodies as my parents.”
“Huh?”
‘How humiliating that I find Sara herself to be more tolerable than her family!’ Thought La-Iin. ‘But I’ll give her one thing. She’s surprisingly more open to better evil ideas than her family…’
The idea that the Saras felt better off being killed by each other made her cringe. ‘They claim we should have no sympathy yet look at them. Sniveling hypocritical fools!’

15.531.Mental Breakdown

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 531
“Mental Breakdown”

Ai-Reia felt as though she was once again on the path to despair.
She desperately wanted to write down her thoughts in her notebook, but she felt that Zih-Amo would get her hands on it again and read it and tell the whole family of its contents. She felt she could fix Ca-Miela, but for the effects to show it would take a while–and she had no idea if her influence on her baby sister would be vastly outweighed by the influence of her family.
Shuera-Kaizima and Im-Dei had also reached out to her as friends, but a constant reminder of their limited lifespan was always on her mind whenever she talked to them. It made ,any conversations she had with them unenjoyable, and in the end only served to depress her further when she arrived home from school.
There was no out. No matter how hard she tried, it would always find her. This was how it was even before she had encountered La-Iin. Nothing would ever go her way the way she wanted it to. Her family would never think of her in the same way they thought of her siblings. It was an endless loop that would never cease.
The idea of continuing on the way she was for hundreds of years was maddening. Living was becoming a chore, and she wasn’t quite sure what it was she wanted anymore.
If Shuera-Kaizima and Im-Dei somehow extended their lifespans, would that fix the problem?
If La-Iin died, would that fix the problem?
Would she recover once Ca-Miela grew up and proved her wrong?
Was it something with her family? Was she waiting for them to reach out to her?
Or was the only option her own death? Perhaps all along it had nothing to do with the fault of the world and it was just her, herself. Whatever monsters lie inside of her manifested themselves in the form of a violent dream, and if that and daydreams of La-Iin’s murder were capable of nagging at her, perhaps the truth was all along that there was no fix for her. It wasn’t as if
Maybe she really was insane, just as she was certain her family thought she was.
Whatever the case, Ai-Reia desperately wanted the night to be over. In the darkness she was left alone with her thoughts which had begun to barrage her with ideas that all along there was no cure to her sadness.

***

“Ai-Reia, aren’t you going to have breakfast?” Her mother asked.
“Hey, Ai-Reia, you don’t look so good. Get enough sleep last night?” Reuf-Bu asked.
“Ai-Reia, you okay? Your clothes are on backwards.” Zih-Amo asked.
Ai-Reia responded to none of them and head outside and on the path to Malicerie. The door opened behind her.
“Ai-Reia! You’re not ready for school yet! Come back inside!”
Her mother’s voice barely registered, but the angered tone hurt Ai-Reia. She continued on in a run, hoping to outrun the voice and make it to school.
Though her mother started to fly after her, she soon noticed that Ai-Reia was in a desperate run, going much faster than she had ever seen her daughter go. She was certain she could catch up with her, but she was momentarily stunned.
What could have happened to Ai-Reia to make her break out in that sort of run?
Ai-Reia continued on the path, her eyes bleary. She couldn’t tell with what, but either way, she continued on, occasionally tripping on the path there. She felt she could hear the sound of wings flapping behind her, but couldn’t tell if there was actually someone flying behind her or if she was just imagining it.
Something told her it was both. Ai-Reia continued on running.
The path to school was filled with students from all four classes as Ai-Reia dashed into the crowd.
“Is that girl okay?” A Class B student asked.
“She seems upset. Maybe we should do something.” Said one from Class C.
“Probably nervous that some boy’s gonna do something to her!” Said a student from Class A.
“Vampiris!” Shuera-Kaizima called. “Vampiris, are you okay?”
“Is everything alright?” Im-Dei asked.
When Ai-Reia closed in on them, the two noticed that her clothes were put on improperly; her shirt was on backwards and so her wings were underneath the fabric, and her skirt was not properly fastened and was slipping down. Her hair didn’t seem to be brushed and her normal wing hair clip was gone. Most notably to them, her face was streaked with tears and she seemed desperate to reach the school as if being pursued. While Shuera-Kaizima chased after her, Im-Dei checked the crowd to see if anyone was pursuing her, and noticed a Vampire woman flying above the crowd.
The woman spotted him and landed next to him.
“Excuse me,” she panted, “have you…did you see a Vampire girl running by?”
“I did.”
“Where did she go?”
“Into the school?”
“Thank you.”
Now on ground, she ran past the crowd. Im-Dei was confused, and hoped that the woman was Ai-Reia’s mother.
Ai-Reia scrambled into the classroom and into a random seat.
“What are you doing?” La-Iin asked as she walked by.
“Are you okay, Vampiris?”
Ai-Reia shrieked. She ducked under the seat.
“…okay…”
“I don’t think Vampiris is okay,” Fer-Shi said. “Did you notice she had her shirt on backwards? The wing-slots were in the front!”
La-Iin peeked under the desk. Ai-Reia was holding her head and shaking slightly.
‘This has nothing to do with her. It’s all because I’m a monster. There’s no escape. I wish I hadn’t been born with this stupid brain!’
“She seems messed up.”
“We should tell one of the faculty members!”
“Who? I don’t think the school faculty has anyone who deals with crazy people.”
“Well, I think anyone on the faculty would call her family to deal with this!” Fer-Shi dashed out the classroom, nearly crashing into other students who were heading in.
Ai-Reia’s strange behavior soon caught the attention of most of the Class D students, who peeked at her under the desk or watched from a distance. Shuera-Kaizima and Im-Dei remained at a distance, both looking horrified at the sight of their friend shaking under the desk.
“…go away…”
“No. This is too amusing.”
Ai-Reia’s eyes widened. She crawled out from under the desk and grabbed onto La-Iin’s shirt. She said nothing further, and La-Iin wondered if she should break from her grip before she reacted any further. The other students watched on in fear and curiosity, wondering what she might do to La-Iin next.
“You really are crazy,” La-Iin sighed. ‘It’s a shame. I could have used this to my advantage.’
Ai-Reia’s grip on her shirt became stronger, and La-Iin flinched, ready to break away, when a Vampire woman walked into the classroom, heading for Ai-Reia. She seemed oblivious to what she was doing and scooped her up, hugging her close.
“Ai-Reia, are you okay?” She asked. Ai-Reia didn’t respond. The woman blinked and looked at La-Iin. “Are you okay?”
La-Iin stared curiously at the Vampire woman, who seemed to lose interest in La-Iin’s response in favor of comforting Ai-Reia, who had started to sob.
While the students were distracted, Xhuzsha walked into the classroom and over to Ai-Reia’s mother. The two conversed for a short while before leaving the classroom. Fer-Shi ran over to La-Iin’s side.
“Did you get Xhuzsha?”
“Mm-hm. He sounded pretty worried when I told him about how she was acting. I hope she’s okay…”
La-Iin felt conflicted about Ai-Reia’s behavior. She chose not to dwell on it and head for her seat.

***

“I hesitate to say whether or not she had a mental breakdown, but it could be possible. Has Ai-Reia been under any particular stress lately, Mrs. Vampiris?”
“I don’t know…” She sighed. “She hasn’t been talking to us much lately…”
“Hm.” Xhuzsha glanced at Ai-Reia, who laid silent on the office’s bed. “We’ll let you take her home for today. I don’t think she’s in any condition to stay at school. I can’t claim to know her stressors and I am not a mental health professional, Mrs. Vampiris, but I did dabble in the subject before focusing on physical health. And even had I not I would recommend finding out if there is something wrong with her. With young children, especially Vampires, it can be hard to tell if it’s an actual mental illness or some other cause, but you should get her checked out regardless.”
Ai-Reia’s mother gave an absent nod. “We will, Mr. Xhuzsha.”
‘Just as I thought. It’s all a problem with me. They think I’m crazy.’
“Ai-Reia, are you okay?”
“Take her home, Mrs. Vampiris. She’ll be better off home than at school forcing herself to manage this.”
Her mother picked her up, waved to Xhuzsha, and left the room.
Ai-Reia couldn’t help but feel deeply embarrassed, and more depressed than she had been feeling just moments before.
‘Everyone witnessed that, didn’t they? Now there is no secret. Everyone knows I’m a monster. There’s no out. But no matter how much I prepared myself, I still wasn’t ready…’

—–
“Oh, the Principal wanted me to relay a message to the students of Class D–Miss Vampiris won’t be joining us for classes for a little while she recovers. We don’t know exactly what’s wrong with her, but she will be staying home for a short while.”
“If Ai-Reia needs to recover from being crazy, then why don’t I get to?” La-Iin grumbled.
“You’re not crazy. And I don’t think Ai-Reia is either, but there’s definitely something wrong with her.”
“Huh. Say whatever you want, Fer-Shi. This is all overblown.”
“You should be more considerate, La-Iin. You wanted Ai-Reia to be your friend.”
“She proved to me that she doesn’t want that in a violent way. I don’t owe her my concern.”
La-Iin still felt conflicted as she left the classroom. Although she genuinely felt no sympathy for Ai-Reia, she did find herself slightly concerned about what had happened.

9.525.Shuu-Kena’s Reason

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 525
“Shuu-Kena’s Reason”

“I dare you to hang on the monkey bars upside-down with your panties showing!”
“I’m not going to do that!”
“So you’re not up to the challenge?”
“That’s just embarrassing, La-Iin. But something tells me you don’t care about that.”
“I don’t. But if you’re really so prissy as to reject my dare, then I have another one for you. How about instead you ask Veiner to fly you around the recess area? I’m sure he has the strength to hold you up.”
Cae-Bougen turned around and pointed at himself.
“Isn’t that kinda rude? He looks like he’s having a lot of fun with Shan-Zetsu.”
“Shan-Zetsu’s your friend though, isn’t he? Would you rather do this or the panty dare!?”
“This one! Geez, La-Iin, you can be so pushy sometimes! When I’m done with your dare, I’m gonna dare you the biggest dare of your life!”
La-Iin relaxed on the bench and smirked as Fer-Shi approached Cae-Bougen. The two seemed uncertain at first, but he soon wrapped his arms around her waist and began to fly off with her with relative ease. Seeing that sight made her feel just the slightest bit jealous that she didn’t share his strength.
‘But with my new power, I might,’ she reminded herself. ‘After all, they call the strength of a Minomix a power!’
“Wow, Cae-Bougen’s really strong!” Shuu-Kena said. La-Iin groaned. The young girl was sitting nearby her, though on the ground instead of on the bench.
“Do you always have to stalk me?”
“I’m not stalking you, Cahongyun.”
“That’s what you say, but I’m a stalking expert. I know when someone’s stalking me as well as I know how to stalk.”
“That’s a little weird.”
“Says you, goody-goody.”
“Hmm. Do I really annoy you that much, Cahongyun?”
“Yes, you do! I don’t want to be friends with you, Sara. I’ve said so already. Besides, I’m sure Veiner is going to let Fer-Shi down soon enough. I have someone to play with.”
She glanced back up at Fer-Shi and Cae-Bougen, who by now were both smiling as they flew above the recess area. La-Iin narrowed her eyes.
“It looks like they’re having lots of fun.”
“You know, I think Fer-Shi would like you. Why don’t you try befriending her, hm? Anything to get you to leave me alone. Unless you’re using me to get to Fer-Shi?”
“No, I’m not. I like Sanhuun too, but I get kind of shy around her. She’s so nice she probably has lots of friends.”
“You must not be looking hard enough.”
“But you really interest me. You made friends with two teenagers even though you’re younger than me. I could never do that. I have a hard time even making friends with people my own age.”
La-Iin rolled her eyes. “I made friends with one teenager.”
“Actually, Cahongyun, there’s one other thing that interests me about you aside from all that. You see, my family is evil, just like you. I’m kind of weird compared to them, because I’ve been told I’m more neutral. But my Dad has been arrested lots of times before. In fact, just at the end of last month he got out of jail.”
La-Iin gave a curious glance in her direction. “Is your family evil too, La-Iin? You’ve done a better job of not disappointing them then I have if so…”
“…” La-Iin was stunned. Of all she had been expecting Shuu-Kena to say, the admission that her family was evil came as a surprise.
“Your parents get arrested?”
“Them and my big brother. My sisters are still too little to get arrested, but they’re as evil as everyone else. My family wants to make Bledger scarier. They’re doing their best to make sure that people see Bledger as a place to fear. They want it to be that way so that nobody will come here, nobody will do anything about it, and they can make this the crime hub of Vaelyn. That’s what they said to me.” Shuu-Kena covered up her mouth. “Oops! I shouldn’t have said that! Please don’t tell them, Cahongyun. I’ll be in a lot of trouble if they find out!”
“I can’t tell them,” La-Iin reminded her. Shuu-Kena breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh yes, right.”
Cae-Bougen landed, and Fer-Shi ran over to La-Iin. “Now I’ve got a big dare for you! I want you to fly around the recess area until your wings are exhausted! That’ll show you!”
“What a mistake, Fer-Shi! Flying is one of my passions! You’ve only given me something to enjoy!” She spread her wings. “You have fun on the recess area, Fer-Shi. I won’t be coming back to play with you.”
“Don’t fly away from Malicerie! It can’t be too long before the last class!”
La-Iin flew above the recess area, then glanced below her. Shuu-Kena watched her with a smile. She flew closer to the ground and above Shuu-Kena.
“Tell me more about this evil family of yours, Sara. My curiosity has been piqued.”
Shuu-Kena’s eyes widened. “Well, my parents aren’t murderers, but they do as many bad things as possible. They believe that you should keep torturing people until the last moment. They made a rule that they would only kill old people because young people have so much potential for torment. My brother and sisters believe that too.”
“Hmm.”
“My parents commit a lot of crime, and my big brother does too. My sisters have this notebook where they keep a record of all of their ideas. They kind of think I’m a disappointment. They even gave me my name because they thought I was going to be a great force in their fight to make Bledger a crime hub. Maybe you don’t know this, but the name Shuu-Kena comes from two meanings. One meaning is water lily, but the other one is more like blood stream…but nobody uses that meaning except my parents.”
“Hm.”
“You know, you’re the first person I really got to talk to about this. Everyone else would try and arrest my parents, but I’m so scared of going to live with a new family, and I still love my family even though they’re evil. I don’t know if they love me, though. I would rather become a painter than do all those crimes, and I don’t really care if they do crimes so long as anyone isn’t too badly hurt, but they just seem kind of disappointed with me. If I was your daughter, do you think you’d be disappointed with me?”
“I am the wrong person to ask. Sara, living with an evil family perhaps you realize the whole reason I’m so curious is because I’m evil myself.”
“I figured. But it’s still all nice to talk about. I really do want to be your friend. You’re friends with Sanhuun, so I thought even if you’re evil, you might be okay with being friends with a failure like me.”
“Perhaps we can make a deal then.”
“Huh?”
“I’ll play with you in exchange for hearing about the doings of your family. I’m always interested in getting a different perspective. I want to hear about these things to see what works and what doesn’t. So maybe you can help me.”
Shuu-Kena nodded. “Okay then.”
“Tell me more!”
“Um, well, I think my little sisters killed a dog once, actually…”
La-Iin blinked. “I’m kind of scared that one day when I get older, they’ll find where my family lives and arrest all of us including me. Dad makes jail sound really scary. He says they don’t monitor the main jail as closely as they used to, so now the criminals are free to be really dangerous, but they still can’t escape because they use power suppressants on non-Normal criminals. I know a lot about jail. My Dad tells me and my sisters jail stories like bedtime stories. Does your family hear bedtime stories?”
‘She’s chatty about this. I wonder…’ “No.”
“Too bad. I was hoping you could tell me some.”
La-Iin opened her mouth to speak, only to notice a sharp pain in her wings. She landed and gasped, then walked back over to the bench.
“I saw you talking with Sara,” Fer-Shi said. “Are you two becoming friends? She seems like a weird choice. I thought you didn’t like her.”
“I don’t really. But she has some endearing qualities. And she has something I want, I figured out. You might like her too, but I think you’d like her for a different reason.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. So, you got tired before recess ended, huh?”
“I flapped my wings harder than I expected to, is all.”
“Mm-hm. Well, I think the last class is in a few minutes. Why don’t we head in early?”
“Because we’ll have to wait longer.”
From the recess area the students could hear the sound of many footsteps as classrooms were exchanged. “I think we won’t have to wait too long.”
La-Iin sighed. “Fine.”
As she and Fer-Shi head inside, Shuu-Kena smiled at her. La-Iin flashed a smirk back.

—–
“Sister, what are you painting?”
“Is it a painting of an enemy?”
“It’s a painting of my new friend at Malicerie,” Shuu-Kena said. Her sisters sighed.
“You would have thought a school called Malicerie would be more evil than that.”
“How disappointing.”
Shuu-Kena lowered her head, but when she looked at her crude painting of La-Iin, she felt a bit better. She continued to work on the painting as her family discussed at the dinner table what their next course of action should be.

5.521.Pumpkin Psychology

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 521
“Pumpkin Psychology”

“Hm…”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this,” she said, her eyes narrowing.
“How much longer you can stand what? You’ve been acting kind of weird lately, La-Iin.”
“You say that about me, but there’s someone in this class who has been acting even weirder.”
“Um…San-Kyung? Oh no. Never mind!”
“This behavior of his is nothing like the fire he normally has,” La-Iin said. “And I’m fine with San-Kyung almost all of the time, but this is irritating. At this rate he’ll randomly give up just because of what, being sad?”
“Huh?”
“I understand the place San-Kyung is in because I was just in there. But now I know the truth. It’s time I got through to him, once and for all.”
“Good for you?”
“You don’t need to understand any of it, Fer-Shi. Just know that I know that San-Kyung isn’t acting right and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to get his fire back! For that is the San-Kyung I love the most!”
“Miss Cahongyun, SHUT UP!!!”
La-Iin slumped in her seat, but not before raising her middle finger at Mr. Chensu, who failed to notice it.
“La-Iin!”
“What? It’s not like he saw it.”

***

“As soon as San-Kyung gets home, we’ll try everything we can to get through to him,” Salsh-Era said.
“I’ve seen San-Kyung through a lot of points in time, but he seems really bad at this one,” Del-Kyuus sighed. “Even in November he hasn’t seem this sad…”
Salsh-Era grabbed his wife’s hands. “Don’t worry, Kyuusie. We’ve thought long and hard on this. Obviously a professional would never get through to San-Kyung. He’d just try to incinerate them. But even when he hated everyone else in the world, he still loved us. And with that said, what makes you think he won’t hear us out at all? We just have to appeal to what he likes in the world. And that may not be much, but I do know a few things he likes.”
“This has nothing to do with those, um, well…”
“That depends on how desperate the situation gets. But it’s a last resort only, okay!?”
“Okay, Salsh-Era, you don’t need to yell. And you don’t need to keep holding onto my hands, either.”
“Well, I want to take my chances while he’s gone, too…ever since he turned thirteen he’s been getting mad at any little display of affection we show for each other. I want to be able to call you Kyuusie again without getting screamed at.”
“You have right now to be able to do that,” Del-Kyuus said with a smile. Salsh-Era smiled back. “I know I do. And I’m going to take advantage of that as best as possible. But our focus is still on our son. If we can’t break him out of this, who knows what might happen in a few days, a few weeks? We need to keep trying until we succeed.”
“I know. And we will!”
The door opened and Salsh-Era let go of Del-Kyuus’ hands. “Hello there, San-Kyung. How was school today?”
“Why do you care?” He asked. “It was the same as always.”
“I wonder sometimes if we should have sent you to a different school. It feels like a lot of your potential is being wasted at Malicerie.”
“Yeah, San-Kyung. You know, we’re really proud of you for getting the grades you have.”
San-Kyung scratched at his head. “I just study so I won’t get yelled at.”
“Well, it’s definitely paid off.”
“I think you might even be smarter than me!” Del-Kyuus giggled.
“What’s with all the sudden compliments?”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus froze. “U-uh, we had nothing to do while you were gone, so our minds just went to the first thing there was to think about, ha ha…”
“Speaking of, San-Kyung, is there anything you’d like to do today? We could go levitating around downtown, and have lots of tasty–”
Del-Kyuus stopped herself when she noticed the dark expression on San-Kyung’s face. “You two can do whatever you want. I won’t get in your way.”
He head off to his bedroom and closed the door.
“Well, that didn’t work,” Salsh-Era sighed.
“I had a bad feeling it wouldn’t be that easy. But that’s alright! We promised we would find a way to cheer him up, and we’re not going to stop here.”
“Yeah, I guess when he’s feeling down, mentioning levitation wasn’t the best idea.”
Del-Kyuus lowered her head. “B-but it’s alright! You were just trying to be kind, and your intentions mean more than what you said. We’ll get through to him, we have to!”
“You’re right, we have to, but I think we’d be best off bringing out the big guns.”
“Aren’t you the one who was worried about doing that!?”
“I was, but what you said made me think. San-Kyung seems to be in a bad place right now because something’s bothering him mentally. So perhaps if we have him do the things that make him feel in a good place mentally, we’ll get through to him that way!”
“Or distract him from the thoughts in his mind…you’re right, Del-Kyuus! That might just work. And I’ve got plenty of ideas on how to carry it through!”

San-Kyung laid down in his bed, his mood still stuck in the negative. He felt as though he should be getting up, at least heading off to Hledshess to wreak some havoc, before he remembered the recent incident and the dangers he might face if he did so. He contemplated calling Dosa-Mina, but figured he would be better off dealing with a problem he had away from the company of someone in as bad a mood as he was. He considered practicing his powers outside his house, but all he remembered was just how limited they were.
‘Just like my thoughts. Stupid and limited…’
“San-Kyung, dear?” Del-Kyuus’ voice and the creak of his bedroom door snapped him out of his self-deprecating thoughts.
“Sorry to bother you, San-Kyung, but we wanted to show you a little something.”
“What?”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus glanced at each other. “We think that you aren’t doing enough with your time! So we want to give you a special task to distract you!”
“…”
“See this book? We picked it up from the bookstore and when we noticed there was a warning for violence on the cover, we thought it might suit you. We want for you to read this book, then act out for us the violent scenes in it.”
“We’re going to go and buy some fake blood packs and a plush body so you can show it to us in all its gory detail!”
“And that’s not all. We want you to message Dosa-Mina with your blunt opinion on him and his affection. Blunt, and honest. See how he responds, then maybe let him show you a little more affection, alright?”
“And one other thing, San-Kyung? We want you to think long and hard on the things that are important to you, and the things that don’t matter. We want you to write them down, look them over and think even more. Don’t think too long, or you’ll burn yourself out, but think as long and hard as you can manage. Then when you’ve finished doing that, do something else like build up some muscle outside!”
“Why are you making me do all this?”
“Just figured you need something to do, and we’ve been pretty passive lately in letting you do what you want. But if you aren’t going to do what you want, then we’re going to give you something to do. We’re off now, but make sure to read that book, send that message and think, think, think!”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus left the room, and San-Kyung heard Del-Kyuus giggle. He stared at the book, its cover adorned with a female Narwhaltae running away from a Demon-winged shadow, blood spatter behind them both. It looked utterly ridiculous, but he felt he recognized the title from somewhere.
“This isn’t…” He shook his head. “No, they don’t know about that, do they?”
He was reluctant to follow through on what his parents asked of him, especially since some of it sounded so ridiculous. But they were right: he truly did have nothing better to do. San-Kyung opened the book and relaxed in his bed, scoffing at the cheesy opening line.

***

I was asked to write this message to you by my parents. Don’t get on my case if it sounds stupid.
As far as I what I think of you: you are my only best friend, and I trust you probably even more than I trust my parents. Don’t tell them that, though. But you’re too secretive. You can be annoying sometimes, but it’s forgivable. And it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like now if I had continued hating you back in Elementary school.
They also asked me to write about this as well. Your affection can be f@%king annoying sometimes! Especially when you do stupid stuff like kiss me or squeeze me so hard I feel like I’m going to die. But I don’t mind all of it, I suppose. If you stopped being affectionate I think it would seem weird. So don’t stop doing it, but for the love of specites don’t do stuff that makes us seem like we’re a couple!
Sorry to send you the random message, but my parents insisted and I had nothing better to do. So there you go. They want you to respond, but respond if you want to.

San-Kyung sighed. ‘That’s two things down. It’s been two hours and they aren’t back yet. Probably got sidetracked by Dad calling Mom Kyuusie…’
The last project they had asked him to do he was dreading, and he chided himself for not getting it out of the way first. Regardless he pulled a piece of paper out of an empty notebook and began to write his thoughts down.

My parents and Dosa-Mina: because they are the only people who matter in this world.
World domination: because paying back the world and its people will be so satisfying.
My true form: because that is who I truly am, with all my powers and my true appearance.
My powers: because without them I would lack a lot of capability.

After those four he felt stuck at a halt, but eventually more came to him.

La-Iin: necessary for my plans.
Hledshess Street: see above.
Certain books: reason not specified here.
Studying: learning more about the world and such gives me a better understanding of things, which I need.
Freedom: without it I would go mad from having nothing of worth in this world.
Smarts: without them I would be at a loss and unable to plan in the way I do. These have served me well.
Love: mostly worthless but helped me garner more strength. Also helped me to develop:
Ability of detachment: because you never know when someone will betray you.
October: without it I would never have true power or my true form at any point in time.

Once he turned over the paper, he began to write furiously.

The world: does nothing to protect itself.
People: two-faced assholes.
Sanyaow Lirako: major obstacle and annoyance.
Goodness: empty goal that nobody seems to truthfully pursue. (Exception: parents.)
Police: terrifying to someone like me. (Immature, I realize.)
November: torture device masquerading as a month.

San-Kyung took a breath and looked at the paper. He stashed it away inside a book, then glanced back at the small shelf of books.
‘It’s out of place! They couldn’t have…could they?’ Glancing back at the book he just read, he wasn’t sure.
He decided to take his mind off of it and see if Dosa-Mina had responded.

I owe your parents a favor if they made you write this! Thanks, San-Kyung. I haven’t been in a good mood lately so it was nice to see this! No guarantees I’ll stop being ‘annoyingly affectionate’ as you put it, though~

San-Kyung chuckled to himself. ‘Maybe my parents didn’t have too bad of an idea. I guess it’s better than laying in bed all day.’

***

When his parents arrived home with the body plush and the fake blood packets, San-Kyung instantly went to work recreating the book’s violence as best as he could, though he faced some limitations due to his species his parents still seemed impressed, that and shocked. San-Kyung felt slightly exhilarated once the whole ordeal was over.
“Now, we know you don’t eat often, but we also remember that one time you did eat, you liked this,” Del-Kyuus said. She set on the table a platter of animal organs.
“…you guys are trying too hard.”
“Maybe we are, but hey, seeing you destroy that body plush is a lot better than seeing you lie in bed all day.”
“I guess.” He started to eat the animal organ platter. Seeing his parents’ smiles, he was almost tempted to smile himself.

***

Darkness had covered the small neighborhood, and most houses had all their lights out for the night. In the midst of all this, a small shadow walked over to the Molshei house and opened one of the windows.
She moved quietly through the house, over to San-Kyung’s bedroom, and took a close look at him.
“San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung grumbled in his sleep.
“It’s a shame I missed seeing you awake. But I bet if you were awake, you’d appreciate what I did to get here. Sooner or later, I’ll make you feel a lot better than you have been recently.”
La-Iin’s heart thud hard in her chest at the idea that San-Kyung might wake, but when he didn’t, she continued on. “Someday I know you’ll achieve world domination, San-Kyung. And if you still can’t be in your true form, you can still help me out.”
“Stupid…” He mumbled. La-Iin blinked. She couldn’t tell if she was imagining things but it almost looked as if San-Kyung was smiling.
With a smile of her own, she kissed him on the forehead before leaving the house.

—–
“Why is this window open? Didn’t we close it?”
“Did you open a window last night, San-Kyung?”
“I didn’t…” His face paled. “No, that was just a dream, right? I didn’t actually hear her…”
“San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung’s eyes rolled into his head. His parents gasped and reached out to catch him.

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!”

24.509.A Better Mother

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

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

***

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

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

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

17.502.Device of Choice

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 502
“Device of Choice”

Mit-Sun sat in the living room, stroking Choungetsu, who rolled over and made contented grunts. She stared at the door curiously. Above the house she heard the sound of wings flapping.
Just yesterday Asul-Zenza had contacted Mit-Sun about something he wanted to show her. Since she was in a good mood, she had decided to let him come over. That hadn’t been her only reason for accepting, however–since Friday, she had noticed that La-Iin had seemed incredibly sad.
‘She never told me what happened with those boys, but they looked pretty upset too. Maybe after Asul-Zenza shows me whatever it is he wants to show me, I’ll let him take her out. That might make her happier.’
Mit-Sun sighed. ‘What am I thinking? I should be able to make her happier, not rely on Asul-Zenza to do that. But he can make her happier. I should still contribute in my own way, though! I know, I’ll make a dinner she likes tonight, and then I’ll do an activity with her. I wonder what she might be in the mood for. Well, there are plenty of things I can do with her, and if she doesn’t like one, I’ll just try another!’
A knock sounded at the door. “Come in!”
Asul-Zenza walked in, a small box in his hands and a smile on his face. “Hello there, Mit-Sun. How have you been today?”
“Fine. Alright, Asul-Zenza, let’s see what you have there.”
Asul-Zenza nodded. He set the box down in front of her and opened it up.
“What is that clunky thing?”
“This is a prototype of that device I told you about all the way last year, remember?” Asul-Zenza said. “I’ve been keeping close tabs on it, as you know. San-Kyung seems like a good boy, so I’m not as worried about him anymore, but don’t think I haven’t heard the reports that Bledger is becoming a more dangerous place to live. I mostly have faith in La-Iin, but I’m not sure I trust the world.”
“You’re sure keeping up with current events.”
“It’s something to do when you’re bored. And if it has to do with my daughter, I want to know about it.” He handed her a round device. “This is where you set the settings for when you want the alarm to go off. As you can see, some of the settings are obviously designed for overprotective parents.”
“Geez, I worry about what La-Iin does sometimes, but this is ridiculous,” she said as she looked through the settings. After checking them, she pointed to the other items in the box. “Now, what about those other things?”
“Those are for alerting you. So when you have La-Iin wear it, if something happens that is counted as dangerous by your settings, it should alert you. Of course, since it’s a prototype, it will just give an alert sound that varies depending on the type of danger she’s in, and won’t actually give you an idea of where she might be. This device isn’t designed for tracking so they’re still working out that sort of situation. But who knows, this could save a lot of young lives….or lead to mass surveillance depending on the country it’s used in. I have some hope for this product, anyway.”
“You don’t have to keep running your mouth about it, I get it. So what’s the reason for giving me a prototype?”
“They’re releasing prototypes to some devoted followers of the product so that it can be tested out. Of course, since you’re La-Iin’s primary caretaker, I figured you would be the best person to test it out. You’d have to tell me how it works so I could tell the company what I thought of it. At least, they’ll think it’s what I thought of it.”
“I see.” She examined the device. “What do you say we take it for a test run now?”
“Hm?”
“You could take La-Iin out and put her in simulation dangerous situations. Like….high power usage. I think this one’s a little overprotective, but who knows? People have killed with powers before. Still, how exactly can they track this?”
“I suppose if I transformed into a bat and used my blood power, that might count.”
“Then we can test it out and La-Iin gets to spend time with you. When was the last time she did, anyway?”
“I think it was last month,” he said. “She did invite me over to meet San-Kyung. But definitely, I’ve been neglecting my chances. Ironic given you’re finally being more forgiving.”
“That’s not my fault,” she said. “Anyway, in order for us to test this out, we need La-Iin. HEY, LA-IIN! COME DOWNSTAIRS, I NEED YOU TO DO SOMETHING!”
Mit-Sun and Asul-Zenza waited for La-Iin; once she came downstairs, Mit-Sun was surprised to see how depressed she looked.
“What do you want?” She said, then glanced at Asul-Zenza. “Dami?”
“Hello there, La-Iin! Are you feeling alright? You look a little sleep-deprived.”
“I just made a stupid mistake recently, that’s all,” La-Iin said. “I thought you were gonna ask me to do something annoying, but if Dami’s here, it can’t be all that bad. So what is it?”
“Your father got a prototype product he wants you and me to try out, but I figured since he’s the one who got it, all three of us could try it out.”
“What is it? It looks clunky.”
“It’s for tracking danger.”
“Tracking danger?” La-Iin’s eyes widened. “I don’t like the sound of that.”
“You probably don’t, knowing you. But we’re just testing it out.”
“This product is still in the prototype stages, although we repeated that enough already for you to figure that out,” Asul-Zenza said.
“He has to report back to the company his opinion on it. So what I want you to do is put this on–” She handed the round part of the device to La-Iin. “Then, I want you to go out with Asul-Zenza and try and set off all the security warnings. That includes the overprotective ones I’d never use.”
“Are you sure you’d never use overprotective settings? You don’t trust me.”
“I don’t trust you in some cases, but I trust you enough to go out so long as you’re with someone, and that someone has even been Choungetsu before. If I didn’t trust you at all, I would take you to school and I wouldn’t let you go outside without me. Interacting with San-Kyung outside of school, which I’m sure you’ve done before, wouldn’t even be possible. So say what you want, but I trust you more than you think.”
La-Iin looked down at the device. Mit-Sun noticed that she was starting to smile a bit. “So we have to make the alarm go off for all the dangers?”
“If we do that, then we can examine whether or not it works at all. It would be helpful to report back to the company if only some dangers are setting off alarms.”
“This could be fun.”
“Take the instruction manual. It lists all the dangers. You’re only going to simulate these dangers. Oh, and take this too.” Mit-Sun tossed Asul-Zenza the backup alarm.
“You know, I don’t want this to break.” Asul-Zenza said.
“I know. I figured you would catch it. It’ll also help if you find out if some work in closer proximity than others.”
“Proximity?” La-Iin questioned.
“She means if only the close alarm sets off and not her’s,” she said.
“So you’re not coming with us, Mama?”
“Why, did you want me to? I figured you’d want to spend one-on-one time with Asul-Zenza.”
“I do, I just thought you wanted to come.”
Mit-Sun shook her head and smiled. “No, I’m fine. This is the best way we’re going to get a report for Asul-Zenza, and anyway he’s the one with powers. Tipping off power-related signals would be easier with him.”
“Of course.” La-Iin affixed the device. “Come on, Dami! Let’s get in trouble!”
“It will be simulated danger, alright?”
“So you say.”
As Mit-Sun wrote down the signals on a piece of paper, La-Iin and Asul-Zenza checked the various ways to tip off the alarm. Once Mit-Sun had them all written down, they left the house, flying high into the sky.
“So what should we try first!?” La-Iin exclaimed.
“First we should head far away, for that’s one of the ways to tip off the signal–heading far off.”
The two flew over downtown and a forest, looking for an area neither of them recognized. Before they made it there, La-Iin became tired and Asul-Zenza held tight to her. They landed, and Asul-Zenza checked his signal.
“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t be giving off a signal if it’s so close by the main device,” Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I’ll ask them about it, though. In the meantime, let’s try something else. Are there any blood vendors nearby?”
“I don’t know where blood vendors are.”
“Well, we can look for some. One of the things that tips this alarm off is injury, but I’m not sure how to simulate that…”
La-Iin bit into her arm. “La-Iin!?”
“Don’t worry Dami, I’m used to this by now. In case you hadn’t noticed–” La-Iin shut her eyes tight as the transformation completed. “–I’ve found a use for doing this.
The two heard a rapid beeping noise. Asul-Zenza checked his device. “Seems to go off for that,” he said. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“With the power I gain through this ability, I always feel one hundred percent,” she said with a smile. “What do we try next?”
Asul-Zenza checked the manual. “Apparently, the lack of presence of other people is also something that can tip off the alarm. Will you be alright by yourself for a little bit?”
“Dami, is this stupid alarm making you overprotective? I’ve been fine in the past. I will be fine now.”
“I just wasn’t sure if you felt like being alone right now is all,” he said with a smirk. “I’ll be right back, La-Iin!”
La-Iin nodded and watched as Asul-Zenza soared into the sky. ‘Dami not only can fly a lot higher than me, but he has a lot of stamina. I should try flying even more than I already do. If only Mama didn’t call on me for flying in the house, I could practice all the time!’
As she waited for Asul-Zenza to return, her transformation wore off. She checked the device. ‘This thing is really clunky. Do Mama and Dami really want me to use something like this? Does Dami want it for something else? He does live on his own.’
Asul-Zenza returned a moment later. “That was a great fly. I feel refreshed.” He stretched. “So, what shall we tip off next? Want to look for a blood stand?”
“Okay. They also sell blood at the store.”
“Good idea. I hope there’s a store nearby.”
“Dami, can I ask a question?”
“Hm?”
“Do you want this for me, or do you want this for yourself? Since you live on your own, I mean. Did you want us to know if you’re okay?”
Asul-Zenza’s eyes widened. “I didn’t even think of that being a possible usage. But that’s a great idea!” He started to smile. “You know, La-Iin, something I always worried about in the past was the possibility of something happening to me and nobody knowing. When I heard about this device, I thought it could come in handy for keeping tabs on you since you had just become friends with San-Kyung.”
“San-Kyung’s fine, you know.”
“But you saying that has lightened some of my fears. I could give one of those to you, and to Mit-Sun and my parents and my friends at the book club! Then I wouldn’t have to worry if something happened to me. If the people developing this product can make it work, then you all will know if something happened. I won’t have to worry about dying alone.”
“…”
“Oh look, there’s a blood stand over there!”
“Are you gonna use your blood power, Dami!?”
“I’ll try. Remember, I’ve only used this once in the past before. I don’t know what will happen now. Say, what power would you like me to try?”
“Animated Pumpkin!”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I should have known you’d suggest that. Two cartons of Animated Pumpkin, please.”
The man happily handed Asul-Zenza the cartons, and Asul-Zenza gave him his vuyong. “Now, let’s see if we can get this to work.”
Excitement coursed through La-Iin as Asul-Zenza began to down the blood.

—–
Mit-Sun relaxed at home, waiting for Asul-Zenza and La-Iin to come back. ‘They’ve been gone a long time, and dinner’s almost done. This is ridiculous. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s taking advantage!’
As if on cue, both entered the house.
“Hello, Mit-Sun! How were your results? Mine went off a few times, but not for everything. I wonder if it had to do with proximity.”
Mit-Sun huffed when she noticed La-Iin was holding a carton of blood. “Terrible. It barely went off for anything, and it only went off for one thing I’d be worried about with her. Everything else it went off for is something I’d never set it for.”
“I’m sorry, Mit-Sun. But the product is still in development. I’ll contact the company tomorrow.” He sniffed the air. “What smells so good?”
“Dinner, doofus.”
“Hey, there’s no need to resort to insults. You and I have been on more amicable terms lately.” Asul-Zenza sighed. “Mit-Sun, if I bought one of those devices for myself, would you hold on to one of the alarms?”
“Huh?”
“Er, never mind, I’ll talk with you about it later,” he said. “I suppose I should be going now. I’ll see you, La-Iin.”
“See you, Dami.”
Asul-Zenza collected the pieces of the device, waved, then opened the door and flew off.
“If only you two had arrived earlier. I planned on taking you for a walk downtown.”
“You suck, Mama! Why don’t you tell me about this stuff earlier!?”
Mit-Sun chuckled. “I didn’t want to break into your time with Asul-Zenza. Even I have my better days. Especially now that I’ve got a person who’ll lend an ear for me at work.”
‘Haner!?’ La-Iin kept the sentiment to herself.
“What do you say we have dinner? It’s got to be done by now.”
“What did you make? Something nasty?”
“Actually, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
‘Well, whatever that device did, La-Iin certainly seems a lot happier.’ Mit-Sun felt light as she walked into the kitchen with La-Iin.

7.492.Wishing Upon a Star

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 492
“Wishing Upon a Star”

Mit-Sun found herself incredibly distracted that day at work. Though she felt that Eteibreit would likely call her out on her sloppy job, she couldn’t find it in her to care all that much.
‘La-Iin feels so distant recently. Is it because of me? I haven’t been taking her anywhere. I did treat her to a little something on Children’s Day, and she seemed fine with me, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t distant…’
She sighed. ‘Maybe I should talk to Papa about this. I wonder if he’s ever felt I’m growing distant from him?’
“Cahongyun, something wrong?”
Mit-Sun glanced behind her; Leirhyn was standing there. “You look kind of down. I’m on a break right now, so I figured I’d ask.”
“Oh, it’s nothing really,” she sighed. “Just, thinking about my daughter is all.”
“I see. Is everything alright? We haven’t really talked much outside of work lately.”
“Everything’s fine. Perfect. Almost,” she sighed. “Anyway, I should probably get back to work.”
“Yeah, I guess so. But before you do, remember what I said: the two of us have got to get together sometime soon and talk about you and a certain someone.”
“Who?”
“You know who~”
“I really don’t.”
“You’ll figure it out, then. See you, Cahongyun!” Leirhyn walked off, a skip in her step.
“I wish I could share in that cheerfulness,” Mit-Sun sighed.

***

After work that day, Mit-Sun said good-bye to Leirhyn and reported in to Eteibreit.
“Your job’s sloppy today,” Eteibreit had said.
“I know.”
“…you know, I consider stronger punishments for my workers when they do a sloppy job and they know they’ve done a sloppy job.”
“That’s actually you being fair, for once.”
Eteibreit huffed. “I’ll let you off easy today and tell you just to do a better job tomorrow. But listen closely, Cahongyun. There will be consequences if this consciously sloppy work continues.”
“I understand, Mrs. Eteibreit,” Mit-Sun sighed. “I’ll do my best tomorrow.”
“Make sure that you do.”
Mit-Sun turned to leave the room; as she closed the door she heard Eteibreit giggling to herself and shuddered.
“Oh, there’s someone else I should say good-bye to, too…”
She head off to Uil-Cur’s division. Uil-Cur was setting down a stack of papers, but he soon noticed her and ran to greet her.
“Why, hello, Mit-Sun! How are you today?”
“Fine, I guess,” she sighed. “And it’s not hello. I just came to say bye.”
“Oh, alright.” Uil-Cur squinted. “Are you sure nothing’s wrong, Cahongyun?”
“Why? Do I look upset?”
“Yes, you do.” Uil-Cur’s brow furrowed with concern. “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
“Well, not really…I was actually thinking of talking to my Pap–I mean, Father–about it. It’s nothing.”
“I don’t mind hearing you out too,” he said.
“You can be really forceful sometimes, can’t you?” Uil-Cur drew away. “Anyway, I don’t even think you’d understand it all that well anyway. I don’t want to bother you with it.”
“Mit-Sun, you could never bother me. You’re my dearest friend. Go ahead and tell me. Well, if you want to.”
Mit-Sun was about to decline when a thought came to mind. ‘Uil-Cur is a good friend of mine. And he might not have experience with raising children of his own, but maybe it would be good to talk to someone who doesn’t…I might get an answer from him that’s not ‘this is something that happens’.’
“Mit-Sun?”
“I’m sorry, I was just throwing something around in my head,” she said. “…are you sure you’d be okay with hearing me out? It’s not really a problem that matters anything to you…”
“Mit-Sun, I would hear out any problem you had, even if it was with me!” Uil-Cur said. “But do you mind if I finish work first? I’d really rather not get on Mrs. Eteibreit’s bad side.”
Mit-Sun gave a chuckle. “I can hear you there. Hey, I have to get home to La-Iin, though. Would you mind coming by for just a bit so I can at least tell her dinner might be late?”
Uil-Cur’s expression went blank. “Uh–um, certainly, Mit-Sun.”
“Alright. I’ll be waiting for you in front of the building.”

Mit-Sun had planned on staying silent until she and Uil-Cur reached their home, but halfway through the walk back she couldn’t hold herself back.
“I feel like me and my daughter are growing distant,” she said.
“O-oh? How so?”
“We haven’t been talking as much as we used to. La-Iin’s always treated me like she thinks I’m a bad parent, but she’s never really been distant like this. She talks to me at dinner. We have been spending time together. It just feels like she’s heading away from me, you know? If she was a teenager, I might be able to understand and pass it off as something that would pass with time. But she’s only seven. Have I been doing something wrong? Maybe I’m really not doing as good a job as I thought I was.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s just because of the way she is. Our opinions are pretty different. But I don’t want to think that way. She has a friend and they don’t agree on a lot of things, but they still get along. It might not be that.” She sighed. “She and her father also don’t agree on a lot of things. But she loves him unconditionally. I get treated a lot differently than he does. And that makes me wonder even more if I’m doing something wrong.”
“Does she get to see her father often? Maybe she treats him so well because they don’t see each other often. And her friend is around her age, so it could always be that. Maybe she’s going through an early rebellious phase.”
“Maybe. I’m just worried. I really don’t want to grow distant from her. I’ve been trying my hardest ever since she was born! I had to survive off the vuyong I made from my old job and what my ex brought in when she was a baby before he left the house. I think she resents me for sending her to the preschool I sent her to, but I had to get a job! There was no way we could keep going with the vuyong I had left. We wouldn’t have made it.”
“Explain that to her, then! Little kids don’t always understand these sorts of things.”
“La-Iin wouldn’t believe me. She’s a very opinionated seven-year-old. She believes what she wants to.”
“Mit-Sun, you shouldn’t let yourself get discouraged. If you do that you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Maybe you’re just at a rough patch. You could always try and bond with her. What sorts of things did you do in the past that you haven’t done recently? What sort of things do you think she would want to do, or would like if you let her do them?”
“I don’t even want to begin to get into that last one,” Mit-Sun groaned. “….but we did go for walks downtown sometimes, and we haven’t done that in a while. And I used to teach her about species history and species study after school sometimes. And I haven’t been talking to her myself much lately. Maybe it’s not La-Iin’s fault. Maybe it’s because of me.”
“You just have to make an effort, Mit-Sun. I made an effort to get closer to you. You jumped to the worst conclusions, but maybe it’s nothing all as bad as that. Maybe she just needs a little space. And maybe both of you aren’t making the effort. Just try, Mit-Sun.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Haner. Talking to you really helped. I’m going to try now. You know, I was worried about whether I was being a good mother or not, and I was overlooking the fact that maybe I haven’t been putting enough effort towards interacting with her lately. I spend a lot of time on the ‘homework’ Mrs. Eteibreit gives me. So maybe it is my fault.”
“I’m glad to have helped any, Mit-Sun. It just didn’t do to see you so upset.”
Mit-Sun continued to smile. Uil-Cur began to feel immensely flustered and looked away. “So, um…shall I head home now that I helped you, or do you still want me to…?”
“Why not come by for dinner tonight?”
“D–don’t you want to try and build up your relationship with your daughter? I’d only get in the way of that!”
“I don’t think you coming over for dinner one night is going to sour our relationship. Besides, we have the whole weekend ahead of us. But I can’t force you to come over if you don’t want to. The offer’s there anyway.”
“…what time do you usually have dinner?”
“Six to seven, depending on what I make and how late I make it. Why?”
“Oh, just wondering…I think I will take you up on that offer, Mit-Sun. Though really, how would your daughter feel about it?”
Mit-Sun pondered his question. “She probably wouldn’t like it. But I said so already, Haner. It’s not going to make us enemies if you come over one night.”
“If you say so.”
Although Uil-Cur felt quite timid, he also had to hold himself back from screaming out in joy. ‘Mit-Sun invited me to dinner! I can’t believe this!’

—–
“Who is this?”
“Don’t act so hostile, La-Iin. This is my coworker, Haner. He helped me out with something earlier today, so I invited him over for dinner.”
“I’ve heard a bit about you, La-Iin.” He waved. “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Haner!?” La-Iin jumped back. “And he’s a Siren!? Male Sirens are bad news, Mama.”
“Oh, don’t be like that. If you can put up with him for one night, we’ll do something special tomorrow. How about that?”
La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance. “Mama, you could never understand the reason why I object this so strongly, and you wouldn’t listen if I told you anyway!” She stomped out of the living room.
“Are….are you sure she’s seven years old? She acts like a rebellious teenager…”
“That’s La-Iin for you,” Mit-Sun sighed.

‘Haner. Haner! Mama may be oblivious to what you want, but I can see it from a mile away!’
Throughout the night La-Iin kept a close eye on Haner, and the longer she focused the more she felt her suspicions had proven true. ‘If this guy is in love with Mama….then that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard!’
Barely a moment went by that night in which La-Iin’s wings weren’t flapping wildly in anger.

4.489.Ai Horror

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 489
“Ai Horror”

“I’m home!” Zih-Amo announced.
“Welcome home, Zih-Amo,” her mother said. “Did you have a good day at school…?”
“Mm-hm, it was good enough. But I think my classmates take school way too seriously. I know we need to take it seriously, but there should be some sort of cap for just how serious that seriousness is!”
Her mother chuckled. “Well, go ahead and get comfortable now, Zih-Amo. And again, welcome back…”
Zih-Amo head off to her room to unpack her school supplies when out the corner of her eye she caught sight of Ca-Miela, playing with something in Ai-Reia’s room.
“Hey, Ca-Miela!” She called, running into the room and swiftly picking her up. Ca-Miela looked up at her, her expression one of confusion.
“You can’t play around in Ai-Reia’s room. She’s already mad at you enough. You don’t want to make her angrier, do you?”
Ca-Miela still looked confused. Zih-Amo sighed. “You should go and play with your own toys. Ai-Reia’s toys wouldn’t even be safe for you!”
Before she put down Ca-Miela, Zih-Amo noticed that a notebook was sitting open on Ai-Reia’s bed. After she put down her sister, her curiosity got the better of her and she peeked at the page the book was open to.

Tuesday, May 4th, 2015

“It’s dated today?” She said aloud. ‘I wonder what this is. Is it a diary?’ She gasped. ‘If it’s a diary, I really shouldn’t look. But, hm, I wonder what kind of stuff Ai-Reia would write in her diary?’
Though she knew of her sister’s stresses, she couldn’t imagine her diary being filled with anything but a summary of the day and perhaps a few tidbits of information. The curiosity was overwhelming.
‘Ah, it can’t be anything big. Just a peek and Ai-Reia won’t even know I looked.’
She felt guilty, but her curiosity got the better of her and she opened the diary to the first page.

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The dilemma that I, Vampiris Ai-Reia am facing right now has gotten to the point where I don’t know how to handle myself better. For the purposes of figuring that out I am going to write the following problems I have had since I entered Malicerie almost one year ago.
-A student at my new school, named Cahongyun La-Iin, became my stalker almost immediately after I entered. She would follow me about silently and mock me. It still confuses me to this day why she decided on ME particularly, aside from her explanation as to her needing another Vampire to help her rule the world in order to stave off loneliness. As if that isn’t the biggest load of bullshit! We have fought since then and it is her stalking of me, and continued mistreatment and vaguery around me, that has led to me having violent thoughts and various issues. Once recently I had a dream in which she destroyed Bledger; in response I murdered her in a brutal way. This will be the focus of a subject I will get to later.
-The birth of my younger sister Ca-Miela. That little brat has potential, but my family utterly spoils her as opposed to how they treated me. For a comparison, my smarts they attempted to hide out of fear of what response the public would have, seeing as I set a new world record for the youngest known Pureblood Vampire child prodigy–an astounding accomplishment for a Vampire in single digits. Meanwhile, Ca-Miela gets all that she needs and more. I have no doubt that if she showed smarts tomorrow, it would be encouraged by family. Perhaps because they’ve dealt with me before? Maybe they love her more? I wouldn’t know the answer because I don’t think it’s likely to happen, though I have doubted my own certainties before….in any event, my negative opinion and half-attempts to show Ca-Miela life isn’t all good have been failures and have strained my relationship with my family somewhat, all close members of it. To this day even though we get along much as we used to, I feel things are not the same as they were before any of these Ca-Miela events happened.
-The nightmare I mentioned above–the nightmare in which I brutally murdered my hated enemy La-Iin. That night made me feel like a monster, and I realized something from it. There is some part inside of me, though I’m unaware of what, that truly embodies that monstrous personality. I don’t know if it’s a manifestation of my hatred for La-Iin, a manifestation of my frustration, some sort of hurdle…or perhaps, who I really am? I struggle with that thought and this is one of my strongest reasonings for creating this diary.
I’m hoping to figure out potential solutions for my problems in life or at least explanations for what is going on. Perhaps I really can change Ca-Miela, divert her away from the spoiled persona I’m almost certain she’ll develop at this point. Perhaps I will be free of La-Iin someday, whether by her death, her or my transferring schools or some other means, or she will change and will no longer be one of my problems. Perhaps this ‘monster’ is something imagined. But I will not rest until I find out the truth. As a note to myself on how effective I believe this treatment will be–I feel already more positive just writing down my issues for myself to see.

Zih-Amo was stunned by the diary entry. ‘I had no idea Ai-Reia felt like this.’ Her reluctance to search her diary abandoned, she began to flip through further pages.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Today I’ve only been reminded how much I despise the month of April. I can’t wait until this month passes. All the strongest memories I have from this month are bad ones. Just it being this month is making me furious, and it’s giving me more reason to feel there is some credence to my theory of that monster being part of my personality. Who else would get so irrationally angry at it being a certain month? And yet, still, I don’t want to believe that…

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Today I had a talk with my enemy’s close friend, Sanhuun Fer-Shi. Their friendship completely and utterly baffles me. I give no credence to that sham of a morality scale that people choose to prescribe themselves by, but if you truly do wish to believe in it, then why befriend people whose morals do not align with yours? If you believe in the goodness of people, and want the world to improve, why would you call someone who wishes to take it over and destroy it your best friend? She is a young child as I am, though, so perhaps that explains some of it. She’s smart enough and perhaps she will realize later on that she shouldn’t be friends with such a monster.
That talk made me think on something else as well. I fear my inner monster, but perhaps it’s a manifestation of my unstable powers. I’ve learned in school that some major powers can cause changes in one’s mind for the duration of its use that can be unhealthy for the user’s mental health. Perhaps my early development of my bat transformation power is the reason I believe in that monster. It’s a comforting thought to me–both because it means it’s something I could get a hold on, and because it completely absolves me of anything I might do to La-Iin while in that mindset…I truly mean that except in cases of self-defense or the defense of the people around me I would not harm La-Iin while within my right mind. But I cannot vouch for my wrong mind, and in such a case nobody can blame me. I would hold SOME regret over doing such a thing…but if I’m telling the truth, it really wouldn’t be much.

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

An encounter with a man who used to go to my school has me thinking. There’s another problem I have in life. I feel alienated and alone at times because my family will jump to Ca-Miela’s defense–their excuse being that ‘she’s just a baby’ while they ignore their damaging smothering of her–and do not understand me. They believe I am truly and genuinely insane at all moments and capable of snapping, or at least that’s the impression they give off to me, while meanwhile the truth is I only know I am really losing myself when I transform into a bat. I have people in my life who would understand me. That man and his friend–although I am convinced they are actually boyfriend and girlfriend, despite his claims–and two dear students of mine, Fyuori Im-Dei and Kokohara Shuera-Kaizima. Those four would hear me out and care about me, especially Fyuori and Kokohara. If I told them of my problems they would try to help me back on the right track. And that leaves me wondering, ‘why don’t I ask them for help with my problems?’
That man is a Normal. His friend and Fyuori are Birdmixes. Kokohara is a Catori. I am a Vampire. The differences in our lifespans are vast. Even putting that aside, I am seven years old. That man and his friend are most likely grown adults, though they can’t be that old. Fyuori is a teenager and Kokohara is very nearly at that point herself. Even if I put aside our lifespan differences, the fact remains that we have a large age gap already. I desperately WANT to reach out to these people. I know they would understand, and I can easily talk to Fyuori and Kokohara. We go to school together. We get along. But that is one place where I can understand La-Iin. She wanted me to help her rule the world because we are Vampires of similar age and thus would live for about the same time, with her perhaps exceeding me by only a hundred years–nothing to a Vampire who got to spend nearly a thousand with a cohort. For as much as I want to reach out to them, they will not be there with me for all my life. I will lose them early on and they will be only memories for the majority of my life excepting the possibility that something happens to me. The closer I become to them, the more painful that would be.
And yet people such as my untrusting family, that spoiled brat Ca-Miela, that malice La-Iin–they all will be around with me for a long time. It simply isn’t fair. Why can’t those four be of long-lived species like I am? Why can’t I be a short-lived species? Why can’t La-Iin at the very least be a Pureblood Normal so I won’t have to deal with her all my life? It simply isn’t fair. Writing this down has only just nearly prevented me from falling into a depression, but I’m sad enough just thinking back on it.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

The violent imaginations are getting stronger. I’m getting a little distracted in class imagining disembowling La-Iin. And the frightening part is, such thoughts used to be things that would disturb me despite my hatred of La-Iin. Now I don’t really care all that much. I’ve finally started to believe that this monster isn’t who I truly am, and now I have to face this question–is it possible that I could lose to the monster in the battle for domination over my personality?

Zih-Amo gasped.
“Ugh, it smells like Ca-Miela soiled her diaper in here.”
Zih-Amo flinched. Ai-Reia had walked into her room. There was no time to put down the notebook, and already she could see a smoldering anger starting in her eyes.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing in my room!?” She shrieked, taking the notebook from her. “How much did you read? What page were you on!?”
“I–I didn’t read much, I swear! Just a little bit about…um…how you were scared to get close to your classmates.”
Ai-Reia’s expression softened somewhat, but her glare remained. “You had no reason to be in my room, nor to be looking through a personal notebook. Regardless of how little you saw, I–I don’t want to talk to you right now. This is a private journal, Zih-Amo. I’d think you could get that through your head!”
Zih-Amo bowed her head and head for the door, but she couldn’t resist a glance back at Ai-Reia before she left.
“If you need to talk to anyone, you can talk to me, okay? Ai-Reia, I’m really worried about you. And I don’t think you’re insane.”
“Evidently you read more than you let on,” Ai-Reia said through grit teeth. “Leave, Zih-Amo! If I had ever considered talking to you about this before, I’m abandoning that thought now.”
Zih-Amo’s vision blurred over as she left the room, almost running away from it.

—–
Monday, May 4th, 2015

I don’t know how safe it is to keep writing in here anymore. I don’t know how much Zih-Amo knows. She’s very close to our whole family, particularly our father; I have no guarantees she won’t tell anyone of the violent thoughts I’ve had and that they won’t just ship me off to therapy in the hopes that I’ll ‘reform’, thus leaving me alone with my thoughts and them alone to continuously ruin Ca-Miela.
I may need to take a break from writing in here. This may have helped my sanity in the past, but the reason I put you down now–that is also for the sake of my sanity.