The La-Iin Series
“Who You Are, is Who You Are”
Mit-Sun sat down at the table and sighed. ‘Another day of work. If only Mrs. Eteibreit wasn’t so much of a sadist. Maybe I could find a way to enjoy work if she’d leave me alone…’
She was still tired, but she remembered that she needed to make breakfast. ‘La-Iin has been enjoying it lately, after all.’ Just as that thought crossed her mind, however, she realized that she could already smell food. She glanced over her shoulder and noticed La-Iin at the stove, wearing an apron, though it was on backwards.
La-Iin carried a plate with her to the table and set it down in front of Mit-Sun, and set down a glass of orange juice next to that. She put a smaller plate in front of her seat along with a blood box and began to eat.
“You made breakfast?”
“Of course I did, Mama,” she said with a wide smile. “I know you think I’ll hurt myself if I use the stove, but I wanted to show you my gratitude for taking such good care of me.”
La-Iin resumed eating. Mit-Sun was confused. “What do you mean? You’re never grateful for this sort of thing.”
La-Iin giggled. It sounded alarmingly innocent. “Oh, Mama! I always am. I know I act out sometimes. I’m sorry. But I really am grateful.”
La-Iin’s face still wasn’t all that expressive, but even Mit-Sun could see the genuine remorse on her face. It startled her.
“This all seems so strange…”
“I know I wasn’t being really good yesterday. I’m sorry,” she sighed. “But I’m going to try harder. I won’t let Fer-Shi outdo me!”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the both of us are good. But obviously she’s better at it than I am. I want to show her that I can be plenty good too!”
“What!? Good!?” Mit-Sun shrieked. She stood up from her chair.
“Ahem.” Mit-Sun sat back down in the chair. “…you mean this?”
“Yes, of course I do! I’m one-hundred percent good, just like you and Dami. Although I love the thrill of competition! If only Bes-Isa agreed with me on this…”
Mit-Sun’s eye twitched. She felt uncomfortable, incredibly uncomfortable. Seeing the food that La-Iin had made as gratitude, the innocent smile on her daughter’s face–
‘There’s no way this is La-Iin, no way in hell!’
But though the impulse was strong, she couldn’t bring herself to throw the food, not when La-Iin looked so happy. So she finished the food and head off to work. As soon as she stepped outside, the world around her went dark.
Mit-Sun woke abruptly.
‘What was that!?’ She took a deep breath. ‘It wasn’t a nightmare at all! Why am I getting so worked up over it? It’s just a ridiculous dream.’
Thinking back on it made her shudder.
‘But why? Wouldn’t it be more pleasant for me if La-Iin was good? She’d probably be better behaved, at least she wouldn’t say such violent things about other people…’
Still, the idea bothered her, no matter how beneficial it seemed. And as the seconds ticked by, the reason why became obvious in Mit-Sun’s mind.
Something had been unnerving La-Iin all throughout the day–namely, Mit-Sun’s behavior towards her.
It had started at breakfast.
“You know, La-Iin, I just wanted to tell you, I know I get mad at you sometimes, but don’t let that make you think I don’t love you, alright?”
“As if that were the truth. Your love for me is only born from obligation. I accepted that ages ago.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. “No you didn’t. And anyway I’m telling you this so that if that is what you believe, you’ll stop believing it. You’re my daughter; of course I love you, evil and all.”
The tone she had taken with her particularly bothered her, but she chalked it up to some randomness that had sprouted in Mit-Sun’s mind to say. So she let it slide.
But it didn’t stop there.
“I have to get to work now. Don’t hurt yourself, alright?”
“What, no ‘don’t blow up the house?'”
“Don’t do that either, but I care more about you not getting hurt. Maybe one of these days I should ask Father to watch you, just in case.”
That too La-Iin was willing to chalk up to randomness–for the most part, anyway.
“So Miss Cahongyun’s been really nice to you today? Isn’t that a good thing?”
“It’s fine enough, but I can’t help but feel that something’s wrong. The tone she’s taking with me is unusual.”
“Maybe something happened. But shouldn’t this make you happy? I mean, doesn’t her being nice make her seem like an easier target to take advantage of?”
“You’re saying that?” La-Iin chuckled. “Why don’t you admit your dark side already, Fer-Shi? If you do I’ll bump you up from ‘slave’ to ‘army member’. Though your fighting skills would need some work first.”
“Hey! I don’t have a dark side! How many times do I have to tell you this! I just understand a lot of how you think now, that’s all. Anyway, I don’t think you should be creeped out by your own mom being nice to you. That just sounds silly.”
“So you think. Mama has been nice to me before, but I’m telling you, this is unusual.”
“On the phone, La-Iin?”
La-Iin startled and nearly dropped the phone. “Yes!” She hissed. “What are you doing back so early!?”
“It’s not early, it’s the time I always get back from work.”
La-Iin had expected Mit-Sun to say more, but she did not and instead walked off.
“I can feel that something is definitely going on,” she whispered. “And I’m thinking the best chance I have of learning what that ‘something’ is is to confront Mama about it myself.”
Throughout the rest of the day, Mit-Sun continued to say things that unnerved La-Iin.
“You know, your drawings aren’t so good yet, but I think you’re definitely getting better. And imagine, you have so many years to improve! Oh, sorry…
“La-Iin, if you feel like calling Asul-Zenza, just make sure to tell me if you’re going to ask him to come over. You don’t have to feel like you’re doing something bad just because you want to call him anymore.
“Your wingspan really is impressive.
“Let me guess–that vacant look means you’re planning something, doesn’t it?”
Frankly, La-Iin had had enough.
“Stop this!” She hissed. “I don’t understand. Why do you keep acting this way?”
“Why are you upset?”
“Because it seems like you’re trying to appeal to me for something! There’s something you want from me, I can feel it!”
“No, there’s nothing I want from you. Except for you to keep being the same La-Iin. That’s all.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’ll explain once dinner is done.”
La-Iin wanted to protest, but decided to keep her mouth shut. ‘Something strange is going on. But I think this time I should be the appeaser and wait for her to say something…’
And as promised, once dinner was set on the table, Mit-Sun cleared her throat.
“La-Iin, I think you know well by now that our difference in morals has always been a bit of a problem. I don’t want you to do evil things. And you don’t care for my morality affecting the way I act.”
“So you say, but you change all that around Dami,” La-Iin hissed. “What is it?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Well, I was thinking. I was wondering what it might be like for me if you were good. And I realized I didn’t like it all that much.”
“Our difference in morals is hard for me, but I like you the way you are! And I’m sure if you asked Fer-Shi, or Asul-Zenza, or most of the people you care about, they’d say the same. It’s hard for me that you aren’t good sometimes, but the La-Iin I love is evil.”
“I’ll get frustrated with you for as long as we’re alive, but who you are is who you are. Change only if you want to. That’s basically what I’m saying.”
La-Iin shivered. Mit-Sun’s smile and words set her on-edge, and at the same time, they filled her with a feeling of certainty. What she had said made something click in her mind.
“…it took you long enough.”
“I’ve always cared about you, though. You don’t seem to believe that.”
“You make it hard to. But…thank you.”
“You, thanking me!?”
La-Iin smirked. “I’m not thanking you for saying you care about me. I already knew that…I guess…but you saying what you did gave me an idea.”
“It’s nothing you need to know, though.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Well, I guess this is part of what I asked for as well…”
‘Now I know for sure. Your role’s going to need a little re-planning.’ La-Iin’s smirk slowly eased into a smile.
Mit-Sun held out a gown.
“What do you think, La-Iin?”
“…if there’s one thing I can give you credit for, it’s your sewing skills,” La-Iin said. “This will work.”
“Good. I worked on this for a long time, you know.”
La-Iin chuckled. “I figured you did.”
Mit-Sun smiled. ‘To think that I would find another role for you. Even a position like this can have its surprises, I suppose.’