14.652.My Best Friend

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 652
“My Best Friend”

Wednesday on the path to school, Fer-Shi was quick to notice that her friend smelled faintly of smoke.
“La-Iin?”
“Yes?”
“Were you around a fire recently?”
La-Iin didn’t respond. Fer-Shi’s words only reminded her of Mit-Sun’s behavior earlier in the day. She had been keeping a close eye on La-Iin ever since she woke up, as if she were suspicious of her.
‘This could throw a bone into my plan,’ she thought. ‘There has to be some way I can convince her otherwise…’
“La-Iin?”
La-Iin smirked. “Fer-Shi, would you like to go on a walk after school today?”
“Huh? Where’s this coming from?”
“Oh, it’s just something I wanted to do.”
“Uh, sure, why not?”
La-Iin nodded and walked ahead of Fer-Shi.

***

School that day was fairly uneventful; La-Iin and Fer-Shi didn’t talk much. On the playground they played a game they had played in the past, then Fer-Shi played with Cae-Bougen and La-Iin talked to Shuu-Kena for a while. La-Iin did notice San-Kyung glance in her direction once or twice, but other than that nothing stuck out as memorable to her.
When La-Iin and Fer-Shi left school, they walked together on the path to Fer-Shi’s home.
“Are we just going to your house?”
“No, I figured we’d just stop by there so I could call Miss Cahongyun and ask if it’s okay for us to take a longer walk!”
“Hm. Well, since nobody’s around right now, maybe I could talk to you about something.”
“What’s that?”
“…I’ve been scared to tell Mama, but I got home late yesterday. She knows that, but she doesn’t know it’s because I almost got caught in a fire.”
“What!?”
La-Iin nodded. “There was a fire burning. I took an alternative path to talk to San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina, but after I was done talking to them I ran into something burning. It almost set me on fire too.”
“Wha–you shouldn’t be scared to tell Miss Cahongyun that!”
La-Iin glared. “I wouldn’t be, but even with Mama being nicer to me recently I doubt she’d believe me.”
“La-Iin, I don’t think you give Miss Cahongyun enough credit. She loves you! She might actually be more suspicious since you didn’t tell her right away.”
“And that’s the problem.”
“Do you want me to tell her?”
“You do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter to me. Now I want to ask you something else.”
“Hm?”
“That hobo slave of yours. Ask him if he wants to meet me. And also, I’ll be busy tomorrow and the day after so we can’t walk together.”
“Okay…?”
“There’s so much to think about,” La-Iin sighed.
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that, La-Iin! What’s been up with you lately? You’ve seemed kind of off. Like you’re excited about something but it’s also stressing you out…”
“That’s none of your business.”
“So is there something going on?”
La-Iin didn’t respond.
“La-Iin…I really feel like you don’t trust me sometimes.”
“You’ve told me this before. Besides, I’ve only told you about the fire.”
“I know…but I just, I don’t feel like I should hold my problems from you, so if you’re having a problem you’re welcome to tell me about it…”
“Oh, there’s no problem, Fer-Shi,” La-Iin told her. “In fact, it’s the opposite.”
“Hm?”
“Something good is about to happen, I can feel it. So don’t worry. All I want is for you to ask that hobo slave if he wants to meet me, and do what you want about telling Mama about the fire. And know this. The good thing that will happen soon, I think it will be a good thing for you too.”
“Huh?”
“You’ll see.” La-Iin spread her wings. “I’d love to keep talking, but you reminded me of something I need to do. I’m heading home now.”
“La-Iin, wait!”
“What do you want?”
“Um…why are you leaving so soon?”
“I just told you why. Don’t worry about it.”
Before Fer-Shi could say anything else, La-Iin took off.

—–
As soon as she arrived home, La-Iin sighed.
“I guess it’s time to begin, then.”

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11.649.The Blood of Your Bloodline

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 649
“The Blood of your Bloodline”

La-Iin spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday collecting blood boxes.
With her recent confidence, La-Iin’s initial plan had been to steal the blood boxes from the local store Mit-Sun went to. But when circumstances changed, she used vuyong found around the house, and vuyong found on walks with Choungetsu. When she stopped by the graveyard where Imagination lived, the girl wasn’t there, but she noticed that there was a lot of scattered vuyong in the abandoned houses nearby.
She also obtained vuyong from other sources, too.
“Why do you need to borrow vuyong? I don’t have much, and anyway, you can just suck my blood.”
“I feel a blood craving coming on, that’s why. Do you want to siphon…I think it’s siphon….do you want to do that to your blood and give it to me in a blood box!?”
“Eek! N-no!” She gave her a small amount of vuyong. “Fine, La-Iin, but you owe me!”
“Heh heh. Don’t worry, Fer-Shi, soon I’ll be more than able to pay you back! If I feel like it, that is…”
Fer-Shi rolled her eyes. “Hey, that sounds like you’re going to be selling something.”
She had made quite a bit of vuyong from searching around on walks, but she couldn’t help the pull of taking vuyong from others. Had circumstances not changed so drastically, she might have even stolen it. But instead she went around asking at a few places for vuyong, preparing threats in advance.
They didn’t always work.
“Do you honestly think I’d give vuyong to a little girl who hates me? Sorry, La-Iin, but the answer’s no!” Dosa-Mina said.
“Why are you even bothering me about this?” San-Kyung snapped.
“Oh, vuyong? I don’t have much, but here you go.” Shuu-Kena dropped some coins into La-Iin’s hand.
“Hm.”
“Something wrong?”
“No.” She held the vuyong close. “Oh, how are you?”
“Me?” Shuu-Kena smiled. “I’m fine, thank you. I’ve been painting a lot this weekend. And my family stole a lot of chocolate ice cream because my mom started bleeding all over the place. And I got to have some of it too.”
“Chocolate ice cream?” La-Iin was intrigued. “Maybe one of these days I should rip my arm open and see if that works.”
“Her arm wasn’t ripped open, though. But I wonder if that would really work? Maybe I should try it too. Oh, I think she was bleeding from her leg.”
“Good information. …although something seems disgustingly familiar about this information…” She shook her head. “I have a mission to finish! Continue painting, Shuu-Kena.”
“Um, okay?” Shuu-Kena sounded genuinely confused, but she waved to La-Iin as she took off.

After she felt she had enough vuyong, La-Iin had forced Mit-Sun to lead her to the store so she could buy blood boxes.
“Where did you get all that vuyong from?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Off the ground when I was out with Choungetsu. There’s a lot of vuyong to find because people are stupid.”
“…what.”
“You should look closely when you walk Choungetsu next. But I might have gotten all the stray vuyong.” La-Iin giggled as she took several blood boxes from the shelf. She struggled slightly under their weight. Mit-Sun helped balance her, and she also helped her take the many blood boxes to the register.
When the Lizardfoot cashier rung them up, La-Iin gave an empty chuckle. The blood boxes were slightly more than what she had.
She turned around and began to curse under her breath.
“Stupid stupid stupid vuyong, this is what happens when you do things legally, someday I’ll show you, someday you’ll see…”
“Don’t worry about it, La-Iin. I can spot you.” She took the pouch of vuyong La-Iin was carrying, handed it to the cashier, and handed him a little extra from her. The cashier sighed in frustration as he went over La-Iin’s scattered vuyong, but in the end it was enough, and La-Iin and Mit-Sun walked home carrying many blood boxes.
“What are all these blood boxes for anyway?”
“I feel a blood craving coming on. And I don’t want to rely on other people to satiate it.”
“That’s strange. I thought you liked drinking from the source.”
“I do, but some of the tastiest people don’t let me. And I’m under certain circumstances right now.”
“What circumstances?”
La-Iin didn’t answer her and instead said, “Mama, can we invite Dami and Granddami over tomorrow?”
“Why?”
“I want to see both of them. You could say I have a…present for them.”
“Uh, sure. In fact, I could probably get them both to come over at the same time. They might be happy to talk again.”
“Good.”
Even with the weight of the blood boxes in her arms, La-Iin walked with confidence. ‘Though it didn’t matter that you said yes,’ she said to herself, ‘I would have invited them over anyway.’

***

The blood boxes were placed in their own part of the refrigerator, and the next day, as promised, Mit-Sun called Asul-Zenza and Beht-Soh.
When La-Iin heard a knock at the door, she came running. Asul-Zenza arrived first, and she leaped into his arms.
“Hello, La-Iin!” Asul-Zenza cooed. La-Iin hugged him tight, then flew away from him.
“To what do I owe the visit?”
“She said she has–”
“Nothing! You’ll find out later.”
“Oh, Asul-Zenza!”
Asul-Zenza turned around. Beht-Soh was behind him, walking up the path to the Cahongyun house. “Hello, Asul-Zenza.”
“Hello, Mr. Cahongyun! I’m glad to see you’re looking better.”
“I’m feeling better too. Though Mit-Sun’s still worried about me. When she called earlier today she said ‘Papa, if you can’t make it, you don’t have to come, alright?'”
“Papa! I mean–Father! Our conversation was private!” Mit-Sun’s face turned bright red. Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza chuckled as they entered the house. La-Iin noticed they quickly lapsed into a conversation with each other.
Just as she was about to head upstairs, one thing in their conversation piqued her curiosity.
“Sometimes I forget you’re only a bit younger than me, Asul-Zenza. It’s kind of weird.”
“It does feel weird. Ah, I go between feeling like an old Vampire around La-Iin to feeling like a young one around other people.”
“Well, in terms of Vampire years, you’re still younger than me and Mit-Sun. It really is strange.”
“How much older than Dami are you, Granddami?” La-Iin asked.
“Oh, only one or two years. I forget my age sometimes.”
“Really? I thought it was three.”
“Well, it could be. But I’m not seventy yet, so…” Beht-Soh’s face screwed up as he started to calculate his age. La-Iin quickly lost her patience and head upstairs to prepare.

“Why did La-Iin call us here, I wonder?”
“I don’t know, but she’s taking a long time. I don’t mind making dinner while you’re here, Father, but as for Asul-Zenza…”
Asul-Zenza glared. “Oh, come now, Mit-Sun. Stop denying that the animosity between us has decreased recently.”
“Maybe for you, but I still feel it strongly. I’m just better at repressing it now.”
Asul-Zenza scoffed. “I swear, she flip-flops so often on this!”
“That’s Mit-Sun for you.”
“Papa, don’t goad him on! I mean–damn it! Father!”
Asul-Zenza giggled. Mit-Sun threatened him with a fist, but La-Iin arrived before it made contact. Mit-Sun put it down slowly, but La-Iin noticed and narrowed her eyes. She cleared her throat.
“I have gifts for you.”
“Gifts?”
“Really?”
“…not exactly.”
“Hm? Then what do you have for us?”
“For Granddami, here.” La-Iin handed him a crude paper book. When Beht-Soh opened the book, he saw several pages of crayon-drawn clothing. “You said you were learning how to sew, right? Try sewing these.”
“Oh….um.” Beht-Soh flipped through the book with a troubled expression on his face, but he smiled when he caught La-Iin’s eye. “I’ll certainly try, La-Iin. Thank you.”
“And for Dami!”
“Hm?”
“I used Mama’s computer and–”
“You used my computer?” Mit-Sun asked. La-Iin ignored her.
“In a Manemican Vampire society they’re welcoming Vampires from all over the place to come by and visit. Apparently they’re holding a special Festival of Blood over there.”
“Really? Oh, but I would have to prepare for something that far.”
“You should go with your Mama and Dami, too.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Why not? They’re Vampires.”
Asul-Zenza blinked. “I guess I could always ask them. I only hope they have time off….it would be fun.”
“And go ahead and tell Ei-Tio’s family too, and tell Ei-Tio that I’m preparing something special for her and I won’t be able to see her until later. I don’t want her seeing it before it’s done.”
“Alright, then, I will.”
“How do you know this is even true?”
“I’ll look into it. I actually have a Vaelis-Enlash dictionary in my house, so I think I’ll be fine if any resources happen to be in Enlash.”
“That’s what I have for you.”
“Thank you, La-Iin,” Beht-Soh said, though he still cast a troubled look at the book.
“Yes. If this is true, and my parents have off time, it ! But what about you?”
“I have school,” she grumbled. “But don’t worry. I got several blood boxes yesterday. I don’t think I’ll be able to go to the Festival of Blood in Vaelyn anyway. They’re having it too far away from Bledger.”
“How do you know this?” Mit-Sun asked. She sounded genuinely confused. Again La-Iin ignored her as she talked with Beht-Soh and Asul-Zenza about what she had just given them.
‘Not bad,’ she thought. ‘A lot easier than Ai-Reia, anyway.’

—–
“Oh, Mama.”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“I was thinking about you, too. Have you ever heard of a place called Vibrator?”
“…vibrator? No, and I’m not sure I want to.”
“They have vibrating furniture inside so you can relax. I saw the prices and I asked around.”
“How do you know about this place?” Mit-Sun sounded uncertain.
“Me and Fer-Shi were…considering going to it once, but we didn’t have the vuyong. And I thought you could use a break, so I also thought I’d tell you about it.”
“What’s the catch?”
“Nothing.”
“Why are you telling me about this?”
“So you can relax. You could even invite…ugh…Haner if you wanted to. In fact, he likes Makeshire, doesn’t he? There’s also a Makeshire play.”
“…”
“…so can I sleep over with Fer-Shi sometime soon?”
“That’s it?” Mit-Sun said with a chuckle. “I honestly thought it was something nefarious…geez, you’ve been pretty nice lately, huh? But how much do you want to sleep over with Fer-Shi that you’re even okay with me inviting Uil-Cur?”
“Very. She mentioned something to me at school that I have to see in person.”
“Alright then, La-Iin, just tell me when you want to go. I’ll look into these things you mentioned.”
She turned around, but then asked, “Hey, why did you give that book to Father, and tell Asul-Zenza about that festival anyway?”
“I want more clothes, and I’m hoping Dami will bring me blood. So don’t you worry, Mama. My “kindness” is all out of selfishness.”
Mit-Sun chuckled. “It’s nice all the same. It still feels a little unsettling, though…”
‘Now how to get rid of her unsettled feeling. There has to be something I’m overlooking…’
Throughout Sunday night, La-Iin continued to think on what ways she could make her “kind” deeds seem more selfish.

30.638.Stand Up to the Opposition

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 638
“Stand Up to the Opposition”

La-Iin felt like she was on top of the world.
Throughout that Wednesday, she continued to read through the files that Sale-Dessu had given her. She hadn’t gotten much sleep the prior night as it had been difficult to stay down and away from the files, but she felt as if she had slept the whole night through. She got dressed, ate Mit-Sun’s breakfast, and head to school.
Her fellow students were quick to notice her change in attitude.
“What’s with her today?” San-Kyung said.
“Wow, Cahongyun looks really happy,” Shuu-Kena said.
“La-Iin!” Fer-Shi called out. La-Iin landed next to her. “What’s got you so happy, La-Iin? Did something good happen?”
“No. Something bad happened.”
“Huh…? Oh.”
La-Iin smirked. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, Fer-Shi. I think there are only a few things that could make me happier than this. And they’re all very similar to what’s happening right now, incidentally…”
“Calm down, La-Iin. I really don’t understand why you’re so happy. What happened?”
“You’ll find out soon enough, Fer-Shi. Not incredibly soon, not today, but soon enough.”
La-Iin’s smirk at that moment sent a chill down Fer-Shi’s spine. She felt that whatever had happened, something about it wasn’t good.

***

Having to sit through school only ended up making La-Iin feel more antsy than she already was. During break time, she took out her frustration and activity on the children at the playground.
“Eeeeek!”
“La-Iin, what are you doing!?”
La-Iin tipped her head back to look at Fer-Shi. “I’ve been waiting for you, my friend!”
When she noticed that La-Iin was heading for her, Fer-Shi let out a screech and began to dash around the recess area. La-Iin did not tire once during that time, though Fer-Shi eventually did and La-Iin began to threaten to suck her blood or fly her off school grounds several times.
“Something tells me La-Iin got into her mom’s coffee!” Shan-Zetsu said to her on their way back inside.
“I’m not sure Miss Cahongyun drinks coffee.”
Once the final class ended, La-Iin couldn’t restrain herself. She flew out the classroom at as high a speed as she could manage.
“What’s wrong with her?” San-Kyung scoffed.
“Are you sure Miss Cahongyun doesn’t drink coffee?”
“Well, I was pretty sure,” Fer-Shi sighed.

La-Iin could barely keep herself restrained. She hadn’t finished reading the files in their entirety, but what she had read already proved to her what she wanted to know, and now she couldn’t find it in herself to want to stay inside for even a second.
‘No! I can’t act like this! I have to finish planning!’ But right now, she wanted to live in the moment. The planning could wait–that what she wanted was possible at all was what she was focused on right now.
She couldn’t even find it in herself to head back home. Instead she flew around Bledger at her fastest speed, cackling and slamming into several things on her flight across.
“It sure has been pretty quiet in Bledger lately, huh, Harliou?” A Llamaki man asked.
“That concerns me after the influx of evil that happened earlier this year. It’s possible they’re just inactive right now to plan.”
“Can’t we be optimistic for once? I don’t want to think about that. This year keeps making me worried. I just want Airy-Aekok to be safe.”
“As long as we do our job properly, she will be. So don’t worry.”
The two men fell silent for a short while, but their silence was broken not by either of them, but by the sound of something crashing into a nearby pole. They watched as it flew away from the pole, rolled in the air and landed hard onto the grass nearby. In their horror they realized it was a young child.
“Are you okay!?” Llanni exclaimed as he ran up to her.
La-Iin’s whole body ached. The blow had been harder than she had expected. Her eyesight was slightly blurry. When it cleared up she noticed a Llamaki and a Snowliv were staring down at her. Both of them were wearing uniforms.
“Oh thank goodness, it looks like she’s alright,” Llanni breathed.
“I’m glad she seems conscious, but I’d hardly call blood dripping from her head alright!”
“I know. I should call a hospital!”
La-Iin recognized the uniforms the two men were wearing. They were police uniforms. The sight of them made something stir in her.
For La-Iin, everything felt perfect right now. She felt like nothing could stop her. Now she recognized the feeling stirring inside of her. It was desire.
“Hello? Yes, I’ve just found a young girl, and she’s bleeding from the forehead.”
“He’s not taking this all that seriously. You’d think someone with a daughter of his own would be more worried…”
La-Iin bit into her arm. Harliou caught a glimpse of it out the corner of his eye, but he wasn’t certain he had seen it. As her transformation began, La-Iin took off her headband, stuffed it in her bag, and shook her head around. Blood splashed on her hair and into Harliou’s snow. The transformation was almost done.
“Hm?”
La-Iin flew at Harliou and began to attack him. Once Harliou seemed stunned enough, she flew for Llanni, who seemed to be taken even more aback than Harliou. He gasped when she headbutted him in the stomach, and continued to gasp for air when he fell to the ground.
La-Iin was satisfied. She was tempted to take a drink of blood, but decided against it. Instead she attacked both men one more time, then flew off when she noticed that Harliou was about to use a power.
His freeze-ray was too slow to hit La-Iin.
“What the hell was that!?”
“I-I don’t know! I honestly thought it was a little girl!”
“It did look like a little girl…”
“That was terrifying…why did she do that?”
Both men had no answer for what had just happened, so they sat there in silence, save for Llanni hanging up the phone.

La-Iin cackled wildly.
‘Even without blood on my side I could take them down. But that was without blood, without utilizing my new information, while they were distracted. If I could do that then, who’s to say what I could do with my new information on my side?’
She cackled wildly once more. ‘No opposition will stand against me! My Hypotheory will become a reality!’

—–
“Um….La-Iin?”
“What is it, Mama?” La-Iin asked, her tone sly.
“Why do you look like that? Where’s your headband?”
“Oh, Mama.” La-Iin tidied her hair slightly and stuck the headband back in. “You don’t understand. I’ve been in ecstasy all day…”
Mit-Sun flinched. “I really need to teach you the meaning of more words.”
‘No you don’t. I know full well what I mean. But now I know two important things–one, that my Hypotheory is a reality, and two, that I have power without blood and without the new information. Certainly I used my other form, but I always do. Certainly they were distracted, but I have a feeling that they only would have outmatched me with power suppressant guns had they noticed.’
La-Iin smirked. ‘Oh, I need to calm myself. Everything will happen in due time, and it won’t happen if I don’t plan. But now I know. Now I know, Hypotheory will become a reality, and no opposition will be able to stop that!’

28.636.And We Run Again

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 636
“And We Run Again”

“Hey, look, it’s Dslellular!”
La-Iin turned around. To her surprise, her classmates were right. Dosa-Mina was walking along the path to school with his head bowed. When San-Kyung noticed him, he ran to his side and said something to him that La-Iin couldn’t make out.
“I’m glad he’s not sick anymore,” Fer-Shi said. “But I wonder if he’ll be okay?”
‘I bet being sick was just a lie,’ La-Iin thought. ‘Maybe I should try that sometime. Or I would if I could get around Mama…’
As San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina walked past La-Iin, she overheard what they were talking about.
“The 28th Running Event is today. They told us about it on Friday. I would have told you about it then, but there was a lot happening that day.”
“I understand. It doesn’t really matter anyway. I don’t think I can do it.” Glancing at the other students, he added, “I don’t think I’ve completely gotten over that fever.”
“I’m just telling you.”
“The 28th Running Event is today?” Fer-Shi said.
“They said that on Friday. Were you not paying attention?”
Fer-Shi blushed. “I might have been half asleep…”
The students head for the back of the building. They were surprised to see a slightly more elaborate set up than in prior years. Most of the faculty was back there, setting things up and chatting among each other.
“Heyyy, students! Looks like you all got here at the same time! I’m surprised to see you, Class A. I thought the event was offensive because you need to run.”
“It still is,” a Class A student said. “But I happened to overhear about the special prize.”
“Oh…that…ahaha….” Sharai began to sweat.
“What’s the special prize?” Rini-Futo asked.
“You want to know? Well, the prizes we’ve given out the last years have always been something the top winners could decide, but they’ve always been simple objects, little prizes like chocolate and paper, but we thought we’d make it a little special this year. So this year, the first place winner of the 28th Running Event gets to pick something of their own decision. Nothing unreasonable is allowed, although I’m sure Class A is looking for a loophole…”
“I heard that!”
“Heh heh.”
“What about the other places?”
“They still have to pick simple items. It’d be too complicated and not very special if the other places could pick anything too, wouldn’t it?”
“You get to pick anything as a prize!?” La-Iin gasped.
“Wow, that sounds really cool! I bet I wouldn’t be able to win that, though. I’ve never won the running event.”
‘Think of what I could demand of them! That idiot Sharai mentioned something about loopholes. I wonder if there’s something I can use there!’
“Last year Lirako won the event…” Dosa-Mina sighed.
“Yeah, that’s right…”
“I really don’t have it in me to do it this year, San-Kyung.”
“Tell them that, then. But don’t worry. The event’s in September this year. So that means I have some extra strength to use. And I know just what I would ask for if I do manage to win…”
“The students certainly seem excited by your prize, Mr. Sharai,” the Principal said.
“What can I say? It’s a good prize. I can already imagine what I would ask for. Let’s just hope that Class A is as out of shape as the nurses make them sound so we don’t have to add all sorts of bathrooms!”
“I HEARD THAT!”
“No seriously, we’re screwed if they win.”
“I’m aware. But I don’t think it will be much of a problem. After all, your only rule was that the prize couldn’t be unreasonable. And really, what’s unreasonable is our determination, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is!”
The students began to prepare for the race.
‘Think of all the prizes I could win!’ La-Iin thought. ‘It would be amazing. But then, first I have to win the race! Maybe there’s a way I can assist myself.’
She spotted Shuera-Kaizima dressing into exercise clothes nearby. Desperate, she bit down into her arm and sucked a small amount of her blood, only as much as she could before Shuera-Kaizima noticed her. After she had finished, she ran up to Ai-Reia and smeared blood on her teeth.
“What the–!?”
“Who did that!?” Shuera-Kaizima asked, scanning the area frantically. “Someone sucked my blood!”
“I’m pretty sure La-Iin did!” Ai-Reia said. Shuera-Kaizima stared at her blood-stained teeth.
“Are you certain you’re not getting blood cravings, Ai-Reia?”
“I’m not! Listen, Kokohara, La-Iin just…”
La-Iin started to stretch. When she spotted San-Kyung doing the same, she ran to his side.
“So rival-boy’s not running?”
“No.”
“Good. We all know the prize he’d want would be a kiss from you or something.”
“He takes those if he wants to. Why would he need to ask for it as a prize?”
“Who knows?”
“I know. But he’s not racing.”
“Why not?”
“He was just sick.”
“He was sick earlier this month. I never get sick that close together. In fact, I haven’t been sick once this year! …I think.”
San-Kyung sighed. Then, he stopped stretching and glared at La-Iin.
“What do you mean, he was sick earlier this month? How would you know that?”
“Um…”
“Alright, students, the race is about to start!”
“You obviously have something you need to confess.”
“Now what kind of evil person would I be if I confessed about my evil deeds?”
San-Kyung sighed. “Well, at least I know I won’t have to worry about fighting you for ruling the world.”
“What!?”
La-Iin had wanted to continue the banter, but the race started almost immediately afterwards, and she was determined to win the race no matter what.
She propelled herself forward with her wings, gaining a quick burst of speed and passing many other students, including San-Kyung and Lirako. She felt confident, and not long after it felt as though something within her had changed. As if she had more stamina, more ability to move faster. She continued to press on, quickly outpacing the others.
“Since when was La-Iin so fast?” Dosa-Mina said.
“It does seem odd,” said Wei-Men. He was checking Dosa-Mina over. “You seem to have made a full recovery. I’m glad.”
“…”
‘But what to do about his mental state?’ Wei-Men wondered.
La-Iin continued on at top speed, but some other students began to catch up with her, namely Catori students–though La-Iin didn’t notice Shuera-Kaizima among them–avian students, and San-Kyung. San-Kyung glared down at her, then started to run ahead of her. La-Iin broke into a faster run.
Even with San-Kyung keeping pace with her, La-Iin felt confident that she could still win, even if just by a hair. The sudden burst of stamina in her legs kept her going, and the flapping of her wings propelled her forward nicely. She could see the end of the course up ahead.
“This is an outrage!” She heard Class A students yell from a distance. She chuckled to herself; when she did, she spotted Xhen-Bei, who had gained on them.
“You’re not the only two who can go really fast!” He panted. He started to keep pace with San-Kyung, and both boys overtook La-Iin.
“Not fair!”
The end of the course was steadily approaching, and with it La-Iin’s determination was increasing. She didn’t feel fatigued, but her legs were throbbing and sending her slightly off-balance. With flashes of all the things she wanted going through her head, she decided to give it her all and go for one last burst of speed.
“And the winner of the 28th Running Event is…”
La-Iin took a deep breath and collapsed.
“MOLSHEI SAN-KYUNG!”
San-Kyung gasped. La-Iin looked up at him. He looked genuinely surprised.
“Damn, I really thought I got it there. Good jo–ah, er…never mind…” Xhen-Bei backed away from San-Kyung.
“So, Mr. Molshei! As the winner of the 28th Running Event, what do you want as your prize?” Sharai asked. The faculty crowded around him–and soon too did the students who had finished the race. San-Kyung looked uncomfortable, that and angry.
“Expel Sanyaow Lirako.”
“Ah…ahaha…sorry, Mr. Molshei, but we can’t do that,” Sharai said. “Limitations, you know?”
San-Kyung huffed. “Fine then. …”
“…”
“Well!?”
“Allow me to….no….” His gaze went past the students. “Sanyaow Lirako is not allowed to have contact with Dosa-Mina until he says so. I don’t care how you enforce this. This is what I want.”
“Huh? Why?”
“Anyone in the school could tell you she’s been harassing him lately.” San-Kyung said, his tone scathing.
Sharai seemed slightly confused, but he gave a shrug and said, “Well, I guess we can give you that…it’s kind of inconvenient, but it is reasonable, especially if what you say is the truth. Well, then! Sorry, Miss Sanyaow, but looks like you’re going to have to keep your distance from Mr. Dslellular!”
“I’d say myself too but I bet you’re sticking to a stupid ‘one prize’ rule,” he hissed.
“San-Kyung won…” La-Iin smiled. “It’s a disappointment, but at least I’m in third place!”
“Actually, you’re in nothing place,” Sharai said.
“What!?”
“We heard you sucked Miss Kokohara’s blood and used her speed to make it as far as you did. Voluntary use of powers is against the rules.”
La-Iin began to shake. Then she let out a wild scream. The students and faculty members flinched.

—–
“I hate that stupid 28th Running Event!”
“Aw, it’s just for fun. And it is good exercise. But you really shouldn’t have sucked Kokohara’s blood. Then you could have gotten a cool piece of chocolate!”
“I wouldn’t have made it that far without that stupid blood,” she grumbled. “Oh, but they’ll see. Come 2016, the 28th Running Event will be no more…”
“What makes you say that?”
La-Iin flinched. “Just a hunch.”
‘But if it’s up to me, I’ll make it a certainty!’

26.634.Changes

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 634
“Changes”

“Your Granddad is in the hospital!?”
“Yes. Mama told me. Apparently he had surgery too.”
“Wow…I mean, not wow that he had to have surgery, I just don’t understand how you’re so calm about it. I’d be really scared.”
“Mama and I visited him recently and he seemed just fine.”
“Oh, okay.”
La-Iin relaxed against her bed. The now-and-then visits she had with Fer-Shi were nice, but this time she found herself without much to say. They had been talking about several things when she first arrived, but the morning was almost over and she now had no more ideas for what to talk about.
Except for one.
“Did you ever find a dream?”
“Huh?”
“You were going on about it a lot earlier this year. How you were jealous because I want to rule the world and I have big plans for it…heh heh….and you were upset because you don’t have something like that.”
Fer-Shi began to look slightly upset. “Um, no. I actually haven’t been thinking about it much, or I’m trying not to. I have other things to focus on right now, and besides I want to try and be more mature about this. You didn’t figure out you wanted to rule the world just by thinking about it, did you?”
“I do a lot of thinking about ruling the world, but that idea to actually do it in the first place is as old as I am.”
“I’m not sure it’s that old…”
“You’re acting weird, Fer-Shi. Your maturity is strange. You were playful and you got offended by my Normal jokes and whined about dreams. Now you get flustered because an evil failure said he likes you.”
“Why does everyone keep bringing up the Dereni incident? Is he really that notable? Although he does seem kind of lonely…um! I do still want to have fun, La-Iin. I’m not even ten yet, so of course I do. But what’s wrong with becoming a little mature?”
“It’s because of your precocious puberty, isn’t it.”
Fer-Shi blushed. “He–hey! Besides, I’m not the only one who’s changed a little! You’re basically the same as you always were, but the way you talk about your plans for ruling the world now…I don’t know, they seem a little different.”
“Hm?”
“Like you talk about it a little less now, but when you do it always seems super unsettling.”
“You might be right about my changes there, Fer-Shi. My plans are far more developed and amazing nowadays, heh heh heh…”
“It’s kind of scary,” she said.
“Why? You never seemed to believe I’d actually be able to rule the world. If you believe that, then why are you scared?”
“No, it’s not that. I don’t know if you can or can’t, and I guess you’d be a better ruler than what I’ve heard about North Vaelyn, it’s just your attitude about it.”
“Hm?”
“It’s like you care less about the consequences.”
“I make my plans thorough, Fer-Shi. I know the consequences and accept them. …unless they’re detrimental, then I replan. Besides, you’re complaining about this, but wanting to rule the world has always been a part of me. Your maturity has not.”
“Isn’t maturity a good thing?” Fer-Shi asked.
“If it is then I’m never going to be mature.”
“Um, that’s not what that means.”
“I miss the Fer-Shi who would cry at Normal jokes. And I certainly hope you keep being grossed out by romance after seeing how you acted about stupid Dereni.”
“La-Iin…if I change you’re not going to stop liking me, are you?”
“Hm.”
Fer-Shi winced, then she glared. “You can’t even give me an answer! Well, I could say the same! If you really get to rule the world and you become a dictator, who says I’ll like you anymore!?”
“Hm!?”
“Yeah! Dictators tend to be some of the biggest jerks around! It’s one thing to be evil and want to rule the world, it’s a whole nother to actually do it!”
“Well who says I want a stereotypical goody-goody as my best friend!? We’re friends because you have a good personality aside the goody-goody goop! If that changes it could become a problem.”
“And I have to say the same about your evil! If you become so evil that it messes more with your personality and you don’t even care about the people you liked before, how could I ever like you!?”
The two stared each other down.
“…”
“…”
“Do you think a friendship between good and evil can keep working at this rate, Fer-Shi?”
Fer-Shi’s eyes widened.
“Why would you say that?”
“Because of what just happened.”
“But we’ve been friends for a long time…I don’t want to think we’d stop being friends because of something like this.”
“Hm.” La-Iin tapped her fingers on her table. “What do you like about me?”
“Well, you’re really fun to be around, and even though you’re evil it’s in this way that’s kind of tolerable. Like you don’t want to kill anyone, you just want to torture them. Which is maybe worse, actually…but despite that you can be really nice sometimes anyway. What about you?”
“You are a goody-goody, but you have a personality that works with me. I really do like your personality, Fer-Shi.”
Fer-Shi smiled. “Thank you.”
La-Iin sighed. “I don’t want to stop being friends.”
“I don’t either!”
“But, if you do become stereotypically goody-goody, I might have to torture you into going back to how you were before.”
“Why!? Well, then, if you become an evil dictator, I’ll take you down! W-without killing anyone, of course.”
La-Iin smirked.
“Well, I think it can work anyway. After all, I find some things about San-Kyung annoying.”
“Really!?”
“Yes. And I still care about him. So there.”
“I guess so. And, well, we also don’t know if we’ll actually change. So I guess we should just see what the future’s like instead of fighting. After all, plenty of people have stayed friends after their friends have changed, so I’m sure there will be some way for us to stay friends even if we do change in annoying ways.”
“We’ll see. But don’t change in an annoying way.”
Fer-Shi giggled. “By the way, what do you find annoying about San-Kyung?”
“Rival-boy.”
“But that isn’t something about him…”

—–
Later that night, La-Iin was thinking on what she might do if Fer-Shi changed in a way that she did not like, or if Fer-Shi turned away from her because of how she changed.
“I guess I don’t have everything about this planned just yet,” she said. “But that’s okay, I can start at any time.”

21.629.Betrayal and Desire

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 629
“Betrayal and Desire”

“I’m glad that it’s getting cooler. Summer is always too hot!”
“I agree, but Winter is still waiting,” La-Iin said. “In Summer the sun beats down on me and in Winter my wings freeze down to the bone. Extreme weather is not my ally…”
“Is it anyone’s?”
“Snowlivs, maybe.” A Snowliv child from Class A looked up at her words.
“Yeah, but even they don’t do very well with extremely hot weather.”
“Yes. I’ve always wondered how Snowlivs survived to this day with the way their species works.”
The two girls sat there in silence after that, both trying to think up a game they could play.
‘We’ve done so many things at the recess area!’ Fer-Shi thought. ‘How can we do something new?’
‘I wonder if that would even be a good idea for a game…’
After a while of thinking, longer than it normally took for the two to start playing, Fer-Shi finally had an idea. But before she could voice it, a group of small children walked up to her.
“Hello!” The child at the front said.
“Hi!”
La-Iin stared at the children indignantly.
“Um, are you Sanhuun from Class D? The one who Dereni tried to eat?”
Fer-Shi looked slightly disturbed. “Y-yes, that’s me. Although he didn’t really try to eat me.”
“He was tryna basically tenderize you! That’s eaty enough!”
“Can you tell us about what happened? The grown-ups and the more grown-up kids won’t tell us because Dereni keeps glaring at them.”
La-Iin noticed Daal-Dan sitting a short distance away, glaring. ‘If he’s so mad, why doesn’t he just sing and knock out the whole school?’
“Weren’t you there?”
“Dereni is scary!” One of them said.
“Besides, we’re not as brave as most of the boys were.”
“So we mostly tried to hide from him.”
“Can you pleeease tell us?”
Fer-Shi sighed.
“You really want me to, don’t you?”
The children nodded.
“What about our recess area game?”
“It can wait. What happened with Dereni isn’t a long story. Besides, I’ve got the perfect idea for a game we can play! So once I tell them, we can start right away!”
La-Iin was astounded. She watched Fer-Shi go off with the children and start to tell them the story of what had happened with her and Daal-Dan. She gave a huff of anger.
“Jealous?”
La-Iin hadn’t noticed that Shuu-Kena was sitting nearby. She startled, but quickly recovered.
“What does it seem like?”
“Don’t worry. While she talks to the littler kids, you can always talk to me.”
“Those kids are probably my age,” she grumbled.
“You’re probably even younger since you’re half-Vampire.”
“I am the age I am. If I concede defeat to my species, then a certain….situation could become more of a problem for me.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s not important.”
“Hm.” Shuu-Kena looked away from her briefly; then she turned back to her. “So, how was your Summer?”
La-Iin thought back on all that had happened. “I suppose it was okay,” she said. When she recalled one particular event, however, she began to smirk. “No, more than that. I almost forgot that something amazing happened last month.”
“I see. Well, um, my Summer wasn’t the greatest. My family’s been a little more active lately. Once they all went out together on a raid. It was my little sisters’ first raid. But they left me home. I guess that’s a good thing, but I just feel so confused about it.”
“Raid? Raid for what?”
Shuu-Kena shook her head. “I have no idea.”
“Whatever the raid was for, it sounds idiotic.”
“Would you do a raid if you could, La-Iin? I know you and my family do things differently, but I was curious.”
“There are better things to be doing than a raid. If I could, I’d do one of those instead!” La-Iin said. “Sara, your family is all evil failures in my eyes. They have potential, but they fail to use it. Also they have the notable handicap of being Pureblood Normals. And I’m sure they plan almost nothing through before they carry it out. Not like I do, heh heh heh…”
La-Iin balled a hand into a fist. Shuu-Kena gave her an uncertain glance. “You do seem to be thinking a lot.”
“Always. My plans require a lot of thought, after all. Without it they would fall apart. And I’m no fool.”
“I guess it is good to plan things in advance. So, um, what’s the good thing that happened over the Summer?”
“It isn’t your business, Sara, though I suppose I could give you a hint. We were just talking about something related to it, after all. …you know, Sara, I truly think my plans will succeed. Unlike those of your family. I have the power and the means; I just need some things to bring it all to fruition…”
When La-Iin snapped out of her mini daydream, she noticed that Shuu-Kena’s expression was uncertain. “Why are you making that face?” ‘I shouldn’t go into too much detail. Sara shouldn’t know about this.’
Shuu-Kena sighed. “No reason, really. Well, I don’t know. What you said just there though, the way you said it reminded me a lot of my family…sorry, I guess sometimes I forget you’re evil because you act so differently from them. They try to ingrain it into every aspect of their life.”
“I might do that too. Unfortunately I have other things to focus on right now.”
La-Iin focused on Shuu-Kena’s expression as she spoke. It only became more uncertain, and somewhat upset. It seemed obvious to her now–she was upset by her behavior.
‘Damn it. It’s too obvious.’ Shuu-Kena seemed to be a somewhat helpful ally–she would rather have her on her side than against her. There had to be something she could say to wipe the uncertain expression off her face.
‘Got it.’
“But those other things are important. I am evil, and it is a big part of me. But I’m not going to be doing evil sitting because that sounds silly.”
In actuality it brought to La-Iin’s mind images of sitting atop a stack of people, but she kept the imagination to herself. Shuu-Kena’s expression seemed to ease a bit.
“Oh, I wasn’t trying to say anything about your evil, Cahongyun.”
“I didn’t say that because of what you said.”
“Hehe, I guess I read too much into it, then.”
“I was just saying it randomly. Your family astounds me with how stupid their evilness seems. Evil people don’t often agree, after all. They seem to not plan and to do the most petty things. And they’re ignoring one important thing.”
“Are they?”
“You can have bonds with non-evil people and still be evil. In fact, people say friendships are good, but they’re actually a helpful evil asset and for a different reason than you might think.”
“Really?”
La-Iin was reminded of San-Kyung’s words. “Yes. Your family may be close to the rest of each other, but there’s something that seems off. I don’t know, they annoy me.”
Shuu-Kena smiled. “You know, La-Iin, I’m really glad you actually became friends with me.”
La-Iin was going to respond, but just then Fer-Shi walked up to her. “Sorry, they kept me a little long. But now I can tell you about that perfect idea!” Her eyes dritfted to Shuu-Kena. “Well, if you still want to play…”
“I do.” La-Iin stood up. “Tell me what it is. But Sara.”
“Hm?”
“Even by the most petty evil standard, your family is made up of idiots.”
Shuu-Kena giggled. “They really are, aren’t they?”
She almost sounded sad, but the smile on her face seemed to be one of genuine happiness. After that, La-Iin turned back to Fer-Shi, who began to explain her game of Witches and their powers. As she listened to her describe it, only one more thought about Shuu-Kena crossed her mind.
‘How could I be betrayed when I know the perfect way to prevent it?’

—–
That night, as the Saras ate dinner, Shuu-Kena was reminded of La-Iin’s earlier words.
“Even by the most petty evil standard, your family is made up of idiots.”
Against her better judgment she began to laugh wildly.
“Why are you laughing?” Ther-Aoughin asked.
“Perhaps she’s finally gone off the deep end,” Kyu-Aseri said.
“Come, sister, come join the dark side!” Kyu-Nhogo said.
“I have an inkling it’s not as great as all that,” Hei-Yhunni sighed.

15.623.Fer-Shi’s Peculiar Harem

The La-Iin Series
Capter 623
“Fer-Shi’s Peculiar Harem”

“La-Iin, I can’t wait until you have to come to science class. I didn’t really like it at first, but it’s a lot of fun now! I think you’ll really enjoy it.”
“By the time I have to come to science class…” La-Iin’s face wrinkled. “San-Kyung will be graduated, won’t he?”
“Um, I think so? But you’ll still have me, and you’ll still have Sara!”
“Yes, but San-Kyung…”
Fer-Shi sighed. “Well, don’t worry for now. He’s still here for a little longer. But yeah! Science class is over now, so let’s play!”
La-Iin leaped for the monkey bars and scrambled up them. Fer-Shi chased after her. She could hear Shuu-Kena giggling behind them. La-Iin hopped off the monkey bars and began to chase after her, and Fer-Shi gave a shriek of delight and began to move quickly. The two were soon caught in a loop of chasing each other across the monkey bars.
Fer-Shi finally found an opportunity to catch La-Iin, reaching for her as she stumbled across the monkey bars. She was about to reach her, but she fell and crashed onto the monkey bars.
“Ow…”
“Are you alright?”
A young Normal boy was staring up at her.
“I–I’m fine…” She pushed herself up and hopped off the monkey bars, though her hop was a little lopsided. The boy caught her and steadied her.
“Um, thanks.”
“Not a problem, Sanhuun.”
“You know my name? I don’t recognize you.”
“We aren’t in the same letter. I’m from Class B, Dereni Daal-Dan. I’ve seen you several times on this playground, Sanhuun.”
“Really? Well, I am here a lot. I’ve never really noticed you before!”
“That’s alright. Oh! I never explained why I know your name. I had to find it out so I looked at the school roster.”
“Why’d you have to?”
“Fer-Shi, why are you playing with that boring boy?” La-Iin called.
“I’m just talking to him! I’ll play with you again in a minute!” Fer-Shi called back.
“Cahongyun, right?”
“Yeah. She’s my best friend!”
“I thought so. You two always play on this playground. Anyway, I had to find it out because otherwise I wouldn’t know the name of the girl I like so much.”
“You like me?”
“If it were up to me I’d make you my wife right now!”
“What!?” Fer-Shi’s face flushed.
“Yes! I’m going to marry you! That’s my decision. But I have my own way of doing things. I’m not just going to make you marry me. No, I’m going to make you love me, and then you’ll marry me, and I’ll only feel true satisfaction then!”
By now Daal-Dan was holding on to Fer-Shi’s shoulders. Her face felt incredibly warm and she drew away from him.
“I, um…I didn’t know!”
“You’ll see, Sanhuun. Someday I’ll make you love me, and then we’ll be married and have a happy family! And if possible that’ll be when we’re nineteen!”
“Um, uh, well, I should…probably get back to playing with La-Iin…” Fer-Shi ran back to La-Iin’s side. La-Iin was propped against the monkey bars, glaring at Fer-Shi and oblivious to the glare a young Class C student was giving her for blocking the monkey bars.
“I see.”
“I’ve never even meet Dereni before. I don’t know why he likes me so much!”
“…”
“What’s wrong, La-Iin? Don’t tell me you’re mad at me just because he likes me! I don’t even know him! I’m so confused. I don’t understand how love can seem so normal to you, La-Iin.”
“My love for San-Kyung and the love he’ll have for me someday is in a league nobody but us could understand. But I think I understand why he said what he did.”
“Huh? What? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I need to think on it more first, Fer-Shi. But I’m not mad at you. Something’s bothering me.”
“Huh…”
Fer-Shi turned to see Daal-Dan again. He was talking to two other children about something she couldn’t hear. Standing nearby him was Shan-Zetsu and Cae-Bougen, but Fer-Shi was startled when she noticed that their eyes were narrowed and their gazes fixed on her.
“Um…Shan-Zetsu? Veiner? Are you mad at me?”
“Did Dereni just talk to you?” Shan-Zetsu asked.
“Yeah, he did. And he said something really embarrassing…”
“Did he say he wanted to marry you?” Cae-Bougen asked. Fer-Shi’s face flushed. “Yeah…geez, love is so confusing! I don’t know why teenagers and adults like it so much.”
“It’s just nasty. But it’s actually more than that with Dereni. Fer-Shi, you shouldn’t talk to Dereni again!”
“Huh? Why not?”
“You can’t trust Dereni, that’s why,” Cae-Bougen said. “So you should try and pretend he never said that to you.”
“Huh? But why?”
“We’ll tell you in a little bit. We need to do something first.” And the two boys walked off.
“Wow, those two really don’t like Dereni,” Shuu-Kena said. Fer-Shi flinched.
“O-oh, Sara! You saw that?”
“Um, yes. They seemed really angry about Dereni.”
“Yeah, I wonder why.”
“They said you couldn’t trust him. I wonder.”
“Or maybe they want to marry you too,” La-Iin said. Fer-Shi became flustered.
“Really!? You really think that they would want to marry me too!?”
“Don’t sound so indignant. Lots of people want to marry San-Kyung as well. Or it feels like a lot. …too bad those fools are bound by their ‘law’ and aren’t able to do so…” La-Iin began to giggle. “So it’s possible you have a harem.”
“What!? I think you’re being ridiculous.”
“Sanhuun! Is it true that Dereni said he wanted to marry you?”
This time Fer-Shi didn’t recognize the voice that called out for her. Behind her was a small group of boys who looked quite concerned.
“Um, yeah, he did.” ‘It’s really spreading across the recess area, isn’t it?’
“Oh no! Sanhuun, watch out for Dereni, okay!?”
“Yeah, you can’t trust him!”
“I can’t? Veiner said that too.”
“Don’t worry, Sanhuun!” The boys crowded around her. “We’ll protect you!”
“I don’t think I need to be protected,” Fer-Shi chuckled. “I don’t see what’s so bad about Dereni. Did he do something wrong?”
The boys began to look wary, and reluctant to speak up.
“Hey, Veiner! I think classes just ended! We should go inside and get Azei’s brother!”
Cae-Bougen nodded, and he and Shan-Zetsu head inside.
“Really, what’s going on? Dereni said he wanted to marry me and all of a sudden all the boys want to protect me from him.”
“It’s not just the boys who are worried,” a young girl from Class C said. “But they’re right, you shouldn’t trust Dereni at all! You don’t have a crush on Dereni, do you?”
“I never even met him before today.”
The girl breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, that’s good. You need to be careful around Dereni, okay?”
“Seriously, what’s going on!?”
“Dereni probably did something bad,” Shuu-Kena said.
“Or it’s just a harem. Maybe all the boys under Grade 5 want to marry you too.”
“I seriously doubt that’s the case, La-Iin…”
Shan-Zetsu and Cae-Bougen returned to the recess area not long after leaving, behind them a lanky Skeletaltype boy. A younger Skeletaltype boy stared up at him with a smile.
“Gim-Karr! Why are you at the recess area?”
“These two boys told me that Daal-Dan told a girl called Sanhuun he liked her,” Gim-Karr said. “And they said that I could explain better than anyone else why she shouldn’t trust him.”
“Are you gonna tell me why all the boys are worried about Dereni?” Fer-Shi asked. Gim-Karr nodded. He looked around the recess area. Fer-Shi followed his gaze, and noticed it rest on Daal-Dan, who was standing near the edge of the recess area. A girl from his class was talking to him, but Fer-Shi could tell that he seemed slightly distracted.
“Daal-Dan comes from the dangerous Dereni family,” Gim-Karr said. “Before he came to Malicerie, his brother Dereni Far-Hee was in Class B. This was a while back. I was a little kid when it happened. I left Malicerie for a while, though…but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, everyone really liked Far-Hee because he was so gentlemanly. And then one day, he said he wanted to marry another student in our class called Kanhin Teri-Ui, a transfer student who came all the way from Aena.”
Gim-Karr dropped his voice. “Teri-Ui really liked Far-Hee so he was so happy when he said that. So they started dating, but one day Teri-Ui didn’t make it to school. His parents called the cops when he didn’t show up for three days in a row. And when they inspected the Dereni house…they found out that Far-Hee had cannibalized him. You see, Far-Hee and Daal-Dan are half-Sirens and they are raised by a staunchly traditionalist family. Far-Hee was arrested and he’s in jail for life now. And then last year, Daal-Dan joined Malicerie. He’s tried to do the same thing Far-Hee did, except he’s never succeeded.”
“I heard that.”
Gim-Karr flinched. “Sorry kiddos, gotta go!” He dashed back inside. Daal-Dan approached Fer-Shi and made an innocent expression.
“Dereni, is it true that your brother did all that?”
“My brother is my brother. I’m me, and I really do want to marry you, Fer-Shi. Don’t you believe me? We’ll have such a happy family, you and I….”
Fer-Shi cringed. “I don’t know if I can. I don’t even know you for one thing…tell me, are you really half-Siren?”
Daal-Dan’s face contorted. He took a deep breath. The children in the recess area began to panic, and they screamed at the top of their lungs. Daal-Dan bit his tongue and closed his mouth.
“You lied to me…”
“Tch. Stupid Azei!”
“Dereni!” Fer-Shi yelled. “You don’t have to be the same as your big brother. You can always get meat another way. Please, society’s changed, and I don’t want you to get in trouble. Even if you really want to eat me, I don’t care. You don’t seem like you’re that bad a person…”
“You wouldn’t understand, Sanhuun. But since my secret’s out now, I guess that means I won’t be finding an easy meal here. Fine then, nobody dies…here, at least.”
Daal-Dan head back into the school. Fer-Shi sighed.
“I should have known that was the bad feeling I was getting,” La-Iin said. “It reminded me of how I felt when Haner was flirting with Mama. Except I was wrong that time.”
“He seemed like such a nice boy before his secret came out. I bet the only reason he’s like that is because he was raised like that.”
“But maybe he doesn’t have the strength to change,” Shuu-Kena said.
“As long as he doesn’t kill you.” La-Iin said. “Otherwise I’ll have to make his death quick instead of a long drawn-out torture.”
Fer-Shi sighed. “Today was so stressful….”

—–
Daal-Dan grit his teeth.
‘Stupid Azei. Stupid, stupid, stupid…! If only you weren’t a Skeletaltype I’d eat you!’
He threw a ball of paper at Azei’s head. Azei turned around, his expression one of shock.
“Dereni! Why, you’re normally so well-behaved! What brought that on!?”
“Er–it’s–nothing, ha ha,” Daal-Dan said. “Nothing at all, Mr. Yuanar…”

11.619.Mama’s Party

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 619
“Mama’s Party”

Mit-Sun started the day with a plan.
“Geez, am I crazy, or does it feel like Mrs. Eteibreit has been harder on us than usual?” Leirhyn sighed.
“She has seemed pretty snippy lately.”
“Wonder if something’s goin’ on with the hubbo?”
“I really doubt that. Although I guess it would make sense why she’s this irritable.” Mit-Sun sighed. “Hey, Leirhyn, would you like to come to my house today after work?”
“Huh? Sure, I guess! It’s been a while since I’ve been over. Is La-Iin bigger now?”
“Her wings are still as abnormal-sized as ever, but her body seems to be trying to even itself out a bit,” Mit-Sun chuckled. “Well, thanks. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!”
After talking to Leirhyn, Mit-Sun went over to Uil-Cur’s department and waited for him to finish his shift.
“Mrs. Eteibreit, please–o-oh, Mit-Sun?”
“Hi, Uil-Cur. Looks like Mrs. Eteibreit hasn’t been cutting you any slack either, huh?”
“No, I don’t think she’s been going easy on anyone lately,” he said. “What brings you to my department?”
“I wanted to know if you’d like to come over to my house today. I have plans and I’d love for you to be there.”
“Really? I’d love to, Mit-Sun.”
“Great! Oh, Leirhyn will be there too, hope you don’t mind.”
“No…no, I don’t.” Uil-Cur glanced away from her. Mit-Sun blinked in confusion. “I’d be happy to go, although is La-Iin going to be there?”
“Yeah. But I have a plan to keep her from starting trouble with you, so don’t worry. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you!”
Uil-Cur nodded. Mit-Sun walked away from him and head for the entrance of Eteibreit Data Storage.

***

“Yeah. Thanks, Papa. Er, father. Hope you make it here early!” She hung up the phone, then almost immediately dialed another number.
“Who are you calling, Mama?”
Mit-Sun startled. “Nobody in particular.”
“Prank calls, Mama? Even I never thought of those. But using your own number seems like a bad idea.”
“It’s not prank calls,” Mit-Sun snapped. Before she could say anything further, someone picked up.
“Hello!”
“Oh, is this Miss Cahongyun? Hello! I thought I recognized the number, heh. What makes you call?”
“I wanted to ask if you three would like to come over to my house today. I figured Ei-Tio could see La-Iin, and you two could come over to relax.”
“Ei-Tio!?”
“Sure, we’d love to! Although you’ll have to wait a bit, we’re having a little trouble with Ei-Tio. Her hair got all matted up and brushing it out has been a nightmare! Jul-Ense’s been working on it for almost two hours!”
“Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.”
“He looks ready to start cursing. You know, I’ve always wondered if it’s some sort of Vampire gene that makes our hair grow ridiculously long. I’ve seen long hair on other species, but it feels like all the Vampires I meet have a ton of hair! Even Asul-Zenza has more hair than I see on people of other species.”
“I wonder,” she chuckled. “I’ve also seen a lot of pictures with Witches and Warlocks who have long hair though, so maybe Vampires aren’t alone.”
“Maybe. Ha ha. Anyway, sure, we’ll come over! See you soon then, Mit-Sun!”
“See you.” Mit-Sun hung up.
“Did you invite Ei-Tio over!?”
“Yes, Ei-Tio is coming over.”
“Why’d you invite her over?”
“You know what today is, right, La-Iin?”
“Yes. Your birthday. I remember because the date sounds perfect for a major evil event.”
“Uh-huh….anyway, I decided that this year, I wanted to spend some time with people. So I’m inviting Leirhyn–you should remember her, the woman who had the same first name as me?”
La-Iin shuddered.
“Uil-Cur–”
“You mean Haner. Not him,” she groaned.
“He’s my friend, and we did make up recently. Anyway. Ei-Tio and her family, my father and the Sanhuuns are also coming over.”
“Don’t you have other friends?”
“Well, Sale-Dessu seems a little shy. Also we haven’t exactly talked recently….”
‘That’s probably for the better,’ La-Iin thought, remembering Eul-Bok.
“And if you’re going to suggest Asul-Zenza, being on better terms does not make me consider him a friend again. That isn’t happening.”
“Huh!”
“You’re welcome to go off and play with Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio. I figure if we don’t get to spend time together during the day, we’ll have after everyone leaves to do that.”
“You’re going to kick everyone out?”
“Uil-Cur has work tomorrow, father is elderly, Ei-Tio is little, and if I remember correctly, Fer-Shi has somewhere to be tomorrow. They all shouldn’t be staying up too late. Leirhyn is a different story, but still, I don’t think it’s fair to kick everyone else out and keep her over.”
“They’ll probably leave on their own.”
“That’s true,” Mit-Sun said with a shrug. “Ah, but well, now we just wait. They’ll be here in time, and then I can get everything started.”
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” La-Iin sighed.
“Why do you say that?”
“Haner.”
“Oh, geez, La-Iin.”

***

After a short while, the guests gradually arrived.
“It’s good to see you in person again, Mit-Sun. It seems like lately we’ve been only talking over the phone.”
“Yeah. I hope you don’t mind, there will be a lot of other people over today.”
“I don’t mind!” Fer-Shi said. “I’ll just be with La-Iin, unless she wants to be with you instead?”
“No. As soon as stupid Haner arrives, I don’t want to be anywhere near her.”
“Haner? Who’s Haner?”
La-Iin opened her mouth to speak, but Mit-Sun interrupted her with “It’s a long story.” La-Iin glared at her.
“Well, I guess we’ll have to wait to find out!”
The next one to arrive was Leirhyn.
“Hi hi, Cahongyun! Oh, you don’t have the house all dolled up? Didn’t you mention something about inviting multiple people?”
“Did I mention that to you?”
“Even if you didn’t, I overheard you talking to Haner about it,” she said with a wink. “So, inviting him over too? You two are such good friends.”
“Yeah, we are. But that doesn’t diminish our friendship, don’t worry.”
Leirhyn giggled. “Aw, Mit-Sun!” She hugged her close.
Beht-Soh arrived next.
“It’s good to see you, Mit-Sun. When was the last time we spent one of your birthdays together?”
“Was it when La-Iin was a baby?”
“Oh yeah, that might’ve been it. I feel like I remember hearing crying. I’m not sure! Oh, but here.”
He handed her a silky dress. “I made that for you. I hope it came out good. I thought maybe you could wear it tonight, or maybe to some sort of formal event.”
“Thanks, Papa.” She examined the dress. “Nicely done! You’ve definitely improved a bit. Although, it’s a little…well…revealing, isn’t it?”
“It is?” He sighed. “Sorry, Mit-Sun.”
“No, don’t worry about it. It looks nice anyway. I think I’ll change into it now.”
Beht-Soh beamed. Mit-Sun head upstairs to change into the dress. Just as she had finished putting it on, she heard someone calling for her.
“What’s wrong?”
“Someone’s knocking at the door,” Beht-Soh said. “Another guest?”
“Oh!” She ran over to the door and nearly flung it open. Uil-Cur was standing there, his eyes wide. He opened his mouth to speak, but Mit-Sun noticed that his eyes glanced at her dress. He recoiled.
“What’s wrong?”
“I…I wasn’t expecting you to be wearing something like that,” he said.
“What, does it look bad?”
“No, it’s, um…”
“Revealing?”
Uil-Cur didn’t respond.
“Damn. Knew I should’ve put something on underneath it.”
“It is a nice dress, though,” he said. “What’s the occasion?”
“It’s my birthday today.”
Uil-Cur’s eyes widened once more; his expression steeled moments later. “Mit-Sun, do you mind if I go and do something quickly?”
“Um, I guess not?”
Uil-Cur flew off. Mit-Sun stared down at her dress. “Well, I suppose I had better change out of this. Or at least put something under it…”

Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense, and Ei-Tio arrived moments after Uil-Cur’s sudden departure; soon after that, Uil-Cur returned with a small cake.
“How did you know I like tea cake?”
“A lucky guess,” he admitted. “But I’m glad.”
The amount of people in the tiny house was overwhelming to La-Iin, so she beckoned to Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio and head upstairs. As the chatter died down, her head began to clear and she gave a sigh of relief.
“There sure are a lot of people in your house right now.”
“Big sister, who’s this?” Ei-Tio asked, pointing to Fer-Shi.
“She’s Fer-Shi. A friend of mine.”
“Hi, Fer-Shi! I’m Ei-Tio!”
“Hi, Ei-Tio! I’ve heard about you before! So, you call La-Iin big sister?”
Ei-Tio nodded. “Me an’ big sister aren’t sisters, but to me we are!”
Fer-Shi giggled. “Well, you’d certainly be contrasting sisters. Oh, hey, La-Iin? Which one of those people was Haner?”
“The stupid Siren guy.”
“Oh. Pureblood male Sirens are pretty rare, aren’t they?”
“Who cares? I’m not looking forward to what goes on down there. I’m looking forward to what might happen soon.”
“What’s gonna happen, big sister?”
La-Iin smirked. “I just had an idea of a little ‘surprise’ I could give Mama. With all the people in the way, doing anything for her would be impossible. And I don’t care about doing anything special for her since I had a good birthday this year, but I figured I might as well give her a surprise.”
“What kind of surprise is it?” Fer-Shi asked.
“It’s better if you hear it for yourself.”
“Hear it?” Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio asked in unison. La-Iin chuckled and dashed into her room.
Downstairs, though the kitchen was crowded, people were enjoying themselves.
“Mit-Sun, who is this man?” Beht-Soh asked.
“This is Haner Uil-Cur. Uil-Cur, this is my father.”
“Your father?” Uil-Cur smiled and bowed. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cahongyun. I am Haner Uil-Cur. A coworker and friend of your daughter’s.”
“Oh, really? Nice to meet you. Is it bad if for a moment there I thought he was your new boyfriend?”
“I think I would have told you already if that were the case, Father.”
“I guess so.”
“Ahaha…ha…” Uil-Cur glanced away from the two.
“So you two are the parents of that little Vampire girl who walked by here?”
“Yes! I’m Ghneckdo Shi-Bara.”
“And I’m Ghneckdo Jul-Ense.”
“That was our daughter Ei-Tio. La-Iin’s become like a big sister to her, so we and Mit-Sun have stayed in touch. We became friends through our daughters, but we’re not the closest.”
“That’s why I was so surprised when Shi-Bara told me she invited us over.”
“We met through our daughters too,” Den-Matsu said. “Small world, huh?”
“Not really, but it does feel like that sometimes, huh?”
“How can you guys say that? I get that the world is big, but not only did you two meet through your daughters, she invited me!”
The Ghneckdos and Sanhuuns startled when Leirhyn popped up next to them. “Um–and who might you be?”
“Leirhyn Mit-Sun!”
Their eyes widened.
“Wow, it’s very crowded in here,” Beht-Soh said.
“It is, but that’s just because our kitchen isn’t used to having eight people in it,” she chuckled. “But I guess we should actually do something, huh? Is anyone hungry?”
“I am, a little,” Uil-Cur admitted. A few others raised their hands.
“Well, I guess we could eat dinner now. I don’t really have much of a plan of what to do today, sorry…I’m just happy to be here with all of you and be able to talk to all of you.”
“That’s fine!” Shi-Bara said.
“Not a problem,” Beht-Soh said.
“That’s cool!” Leirhyn said.
Mit-Sun nodded and went to the fridge to retrieve dinner. “Oh, can one of you get the girls? I think they went upstairs.”
“I’ll go,” Tei-Sheu offered. Den-Matsu followed behind her.
Mit-Sun retrieved the dinners and put them on the table. In the midst of setting them down, she heard a knock at the door.
“Is there another guest, Mit-Sun?” Uil-Cur asked.
“Not that I know of. I wonder what that’s for?”
She went to answer the door, but startled when she heard a shriek from outside. Once it died down, she opened the door.
She caught sight of Asul-Zenza, Eteibreit holding tight to him and looking furious. Her tail was lashing, her wings were flapping, and her claws were out. Mit-Sun had no idea what to make of the sight.
“Finally, you’ve come to the door!” Eteibreit snapped. She got off of Asul-Zenza, who rubbed at his injuries.
“Why did you pounce me?” He asked.
“I’m frustrated and you were the first target.”
“What the hell are you two doing here!? I didn’t invite you!”
“La-Iin told me you wanted me to come to your birthday party,” Asul-Zenza said.
“I came here of my own volition. Don’t think I didn’t overhear what you were talking about at work.”
“Neither of you were invited!”
“Why did La-Iin tell me I was, then?”
“You know how La-Iin is! Do you honestly think I’d want you at my party!?”
“That’s awfully harsh to be to the father of your child,” Eteibreit said.
Mit-Sun let out a frustrated yell. “Are you two going to go away?”
“I’ll go away, if you want your pay docked.”
“What even benefits you to be here!?”
“Oh, I would have left if you had asked me nicely. I was just curious as to why I wasn’t invited, is all. But I don’t like being treated like shit by a sub-par worker.”
Mit-Sun gaped.
“I understand if you don’t want me here, Mit-Sun. I can go.”
“Never mind,” she sighed. “If Mrs. Eteibreit’s staying, you might as well stay too. But I’m going to cut a deal with you two. You’re only staying for dinner. Anything more than that and there’ll be problems.”
“Funny you’re the one saying that,” Eteibreit said.
Mit-Sun turned around to head back to the kitchen when she spotted La-Iin, Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio close behind her. La-Iin was failing to suppress her laughter.
‘Oh, you aren’t going to get away with this.’

Dinner was almost nightmarish to Mit-Sun–mostly due to Asul-Zenza and Eteibreit’s presence, but the amount of people at the table was also confusing to her. La-Iin and Beht-Soh sat closest to her, and both of them seemed to notice her confusion–though their feelings on it were obviously different, as Beht-Soh looked concerned while La-Iin was still struggling to hold back laughter.
“This is a good dinner, Mit-Sun,” Asul-Zenza said.
“Yeah, thanks.” Mit-Sun said dryly.
“It’s sub-par, at least,” Eteibreit said.
“Thanks for the compliment.”
“I think it’s pretty good, Miss Cahongyun!” Fer-Shi said. Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Fer-Shi.”
“It’s better than the poop you usually make,” La-Iin said. Mit-Sun’s eye twitched. “And I’m only saying it that way for your sake.”
“How nice of you,” Mit-Sun said.
“So–Ghneckdo, was it?” Uil-Cur asked.
“Are you talking to me?” Asked Asul-Zenza, Shi-Bara and Jul-Ense. Uil-Cur motioned to Asul-Zenza.
“Oh, yes, what did you need?”
“So, you’re La-Iin’s father?”
“Yes, I am. Or more properly, her Dami,” he said cheerfully. “I don’t come by Bledger often, but whenever I do, it’s usually for her.”
“I see.”
“Why do you ask? Hasn’t Mit-Sun told you about me?”
“I don’t go talking about things like that to everyone I meet, I hope you know,” Mit-Sun said.
“I didn’t figure. But I was wondering. I’ve heard of you before after all, Haner, is it?”
“Me? How?”
“La-Iin told me about you.”
“La-Iin?” Uil-Cur seemed to break into a cold sweat–at least it seemed it should be that way to Mit-Sun. “Ahaha, what a sweet girl…”
“I’d love to converse more with you about this subject, but I highly doubt the dinner table is appropriate for things like this. Especially considering Ei-Tio is here.”
Ei-Tio didn’t seem to notice even when her name was brought up; she was focused on her food.
“It’s really good!” She said. Mit-Sun smiled. “Thank you, Ei-Tio. At least some people are grateful.”
“I was one of the grateful ones and you didn’t care!” Asul-Zenza said.
“Yeah, because I didn’t need you to be grateful.”
“You know,” Tei-Sheu whispered, “they do seem to be pretty close. I wonder why they broke up?”
“I think it’s just playful banter, Tei-Sheu,” Den-Matsu said. Tei-Sheu blushed and went back to eating.

“Alright, dinner’s over. You two remember the deal.”
“What, we aren’t allowed to stay for cake?” Asul-Zenza said.
“Hm.” Eteibreit seemed more concerned with cleaning the fur around her mouth.
“My intention wasn’t to let you two stay this long. Dinner hasn’t even just ended. You two took advantage.”
“Aw, it’s got more of a party feel with them here though!” Leirhyn said. “Oh, but it is your party, so you’re in charge.”
Mit-Sun sighed.
“I’m willing to go, but first I’d like to give you this.”
Asul-Zenza handed her a small box. Mit-Sun opened it. “What’s this for?”
“I don’t know how many pictures you’ve been taking of La-Iin, but I figured you might need a new photo album sooner or later.”
“Huh…”
“Actually, we have a little something for you too,” Shi-Bara said.
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened. After Asul-Zenza’s gift, Shi-Bara and Jul-Ense set down a present, followed by Den-Matsu and Tei-Sheu. Even Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio put presents on the table.
“I don’t have anything for you, though,” Eteibreit said.
“I figured. But, wow! I don’t need all this, you guys. I was just happy having you over.”
“Aw, come on, Mit-Sun. You’ve been a good friend to us over the years.” Tei-Sheu said.
“And we might not be the closest, but you were really consoling a month and so ago,” Shi-Bara said.
“An’ you take good care of big sister!” Ei-Tio said.
“Don’t go making assumptions, Ei-Tio.”
“You’re really nice to me, Miss Cahongyun. I just had to make you a little something!” Fer-Shi said.
“You might treat me poorly, but at least La-Iin isn’t suffering.” Asul-Zenza said.
“Why are you all praising Mama? You must be crazy.”
“Looks like you have a lot of friends, Mit-Sun,” Beht-Soh said. “I’m glad. You really do deserve it.”
Mit-Sun’s face flushed slightly. “Thanks, everyone. It’s been a good day.”

Despite her earlier reservations, Mit-Sun allowed Asul-Zenza and Eteibreit to stay for the cake. Though some people had to take smaller slices due to the extra two attendants–the small slices of which went to them and the children–the cake was still enjoyed by all.
Except for Jul-Ense and La-Iin, in any event. Mit-Sun noticed that La-Iin was scraping off the frosting and that Jul-Ense’s nose was wrinkling as he ate the cake.
But it was enjoyable all the same. ‘I really am loved.’

—–
“I’ll be seeing you on Monday,” Eteibreit said.
“We hope we’ll see you again soon!” Shi-Bara said.
“See you soon, Miss Cahongyun!” Fer-Shi said.
“Stay safe, Mit-Sun.” Asul-Zenza said.
“Asul-Zenza makes a good point. Talk to me again soon though, okay?” Beht-Soh said.
“Happy thirty-six, Mit-Sun. I’ll see you Tuesday.” Uil-Cur said.
“See ya, Cahongyun! We’ve gotta get in touch again soon.”
Once everyone was gone, Mit-Sun relaxed on the couch. La-Iin joined her.
“I don’t appreciate you inviting Asul-Zenza over, you know.”
“He made the party more fun.”
“What, it wasn’t fun with father and Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio?”
“Haner reduces the quality of any party by a significant amount.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“Was it a good birthday?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Damn.”
“La-Iin…”
“No, that’s fine. I guess it’s fine if you have a good birthday. Oh, by the way.”
La-Iin handed her a picture. Mit-Sun was surrounded by the attendants of the party–most of them, anyway. “Me and Fer-Shi took this picture while you weren’t looking. She said I should give you something.”
“Thanks, La-Iin.”
“Thank Fer-Shi. I need no thanks. Happy old-day, Mama.”
“Geez, La-Iin…” Still, Mit-Sun couldn’t stop her smile.

8.616.Fer-Shi’s Puberty

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 618
“Fer-Shi’s Puberty”

La-Iin flew as fast as she could along the path to Malicerie. Her heart was beating fast and her wings felt strained from the force she was putting on them, but as soon as Malicerie came into sight, she began to ease up.
When she landed, she was surprised to see Fer-Shi, staggering behind the rest of the crowd. There were few people left on the path to Malicerie, and Fer-Shi was far behind everyone else. She ran up to her.
“Looks like I’m not the only late one.”
“You…you’re late? I thought you already went in.”
“No. Stupid Mama sometimes makes a large breakfast. And every time Summer comes around it’s hard to want to leave the house…”
La-Iin could see that Fer-Shi was trying to smile at her, but her hunched back and arms clutching her chest were obvious. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Huh?”
“Why are you doing that? If you’re sick don’t come to school.”
“No….no, I’m not sick.” She stood up straight, though her arms were still held tight to her chest. “My chest hurts. And it doesn’t really hurt all that bad, but it was really surprising so I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”
“If you’re sick, don’t come to school,” La-Iin repeated.
“I’m not sick. I know what that feels like. It’s something else….er, let’s talk about this when we have our big break time, okay?”
“Sure…”

***

“I’m sure many of you have had a lesson on puberty. I recall that Mr. Chensu once delivered a class on puberty….when that’s not his field and I should have been the one doing that…ahem, in any event, there are many differences in puberty between the species, but some things remain the same throughout most or all species.”
“Surprising that she’s not focusing on one organ,” San-Kyung muttered. Dosa-Mina giggled.
“No talking, Mr. Molshei! Ahem, in any event, some things remain the same throughout most or all species even when there are differences. Most species grow more body hair. Males in particular may grow facial hair. Females will begin breast development…”
Fer-Shi clutched her chest and blushed.
“Puberty is boring.”
“Says the girl who wanted to go through puberty at five.”
“Oh, I still do. I know all about how it could be beneficial for me. But lessons on it are boring and gross.”
“Yeah…I agree.”
“No talking, Miss Cahongyun,” Hyungdarou called. “Now if people would stop interrupting me, I could continue my lesson! At the root of all puberty is hormones, which every species of course has, but they are different for males and females and the species in general in certain ways….”

“You always look so bored without Sanhuun.”
“I am bored without Fer-Shi. The other kids are boring. You’re fine I guess, but Fer-Shi’s more fun.”
“That’s okay. I don’t think I’d be much fun to play with. I’m not so good at playing the games most of the other kids like.”
The door to the recess area opened, and Fer-Shi, Shan-Zetsu, and Cae-Bougen ran outside.
“Hi, La-Iin!”
“Hello.”
“Um….now that it’s recess time, I guess I can show you what’s up with me,” she said.
“It’s something to see?”
“Well, not really, but I’m not sure you’ll believe me if you don’t see it for yourself. But, um, let’s get away from the other kids first, okay?”
La-Iin nodded and stood up. Shuu-Kena waved to her, then stood up to talk to Cae-Bougen.
Fer-Shi continued onward until she reached an area shaded by trees and further away from the other students. She looked away from La-Iin, who couldn’t help but feel that she looked incredibly embarrassed.
“When I woke up today, my chest hurt pretty bad,” she said. “So I showed Mom, since Dad got embarrassed…at first I thought I had a rash or I was getting sick or something, but then Mom told me it wasn’t that. And I already had a feeling it wasn’t…”
“Did you rip open your chest in the middle of the night?”
“No! If that happened I wouldn’t have even been able to come to school! It’s just, well…you know how Miss Hyungdarou was talking about puberty today?”
“Yes? Didn’t you say there was something to see?”
“I…I don’t really want to show you anymore.”
“Then what is it?”
Fer-Shi’s face flushed dark pink, and she glanced around the area, her eyes lingering for a long while on the children at the recess area. Then, she gently lifted up her shirt.
La-Iin caught sight of a small pink bra.
“I think I started puberty,” Fer-Shi said. “I know nine’s not super young, but it feels kind of young to me…Mom gave me a training bra to try on. It’s itchy and my chest still hurts, so it all feels really weird.”
“…”
“La-Iin?”
“You have to wear that?”
“Well, not really yet, but Mom said I should ’cause when they get bigger I’m going to have to,” she said. “Why?”
“That looks annoying!”
“It’s really itchy. But I think it’s an old one that was hanging around the house, so maybe that’s why…”
“Is there other puberty stuff that’s happening to you?”
“No, just this, but it’s only the start. It won’t be long before I get all hairy and start bleeding!” Fer-Shi shuddered. “…hey, don’t make that face! Do you know where that blood comes from!?”
“No. I didn’t look into puberty like you did. Except for Vampire puberty.”
“Yeah, I guess you’ll have more to go through than I will.”
“Poor Fer-Shi, still so tiny and already going through puberty.”
Fer-Shi glared at her. “I’m sure puberty will make me taller,” she said indignantly. “Anyway, yeah, that’s what’s wrong with me. Promise you won’t tell anyone?”
“Why would I? Do you think San-Kyung or Sara would care? But it sounds gross and now I hope I never have it. Although bleeding sounds interesting…”
“Now I hope you don’t go through puberty too,” Fer-Shi whimpered. “Let’s get back to the recess area! I don’t want to think about this and the other kids might think it’s weird that we’ve been gone so long.”
The two girls head back, though for La-Iin what Fer-Shi had told her lingered on her mind for a while past that point.

—–
On their way out of school, Fer-Shi seemed to be in a much happier mood.
“You know, my Dad said there’s going to be an event at one of the places he works where they set up all sorts of fun things to play on and there’ll be food! I hope he can bring me and Mom along too.”
“Mama never gets things like that.”
“Well, all jobs are different!”
Above them, avian students flew by. One in particular flew fast enough to stir up a bit of a breeze. Fer-Shi gasped when she realized her shirt had flown up in the breeze.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Erm, nothing!”
She began to walk faster on the path back, hoping nobody had noticed.
“…was Sanhuun wearing a bra!?”

7.615.Once More to School

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 615
“Once More to School”

The path to Malicerie was filled with students, greeting each other and chatting on their ways to school.
“And they say we’re supposed to get a new teacher!” A student from Class A said. “How will we cope if this new teacher tries to change the doctrine?”
“Shh! You’ll give the other classes the wrong idea!”
“Same old Class A,” Lirako sighed. “This Summer doesn’t seem to have changed them either.”
“I, like, don’t get what’s Class A’s problem.”
“I dunno either. They were pretty much weirdos when I first came to Malicerie, though.”
But though the mood around the students of Classes A, B, and C was similar to what it had been when they left, the Class D students felt a significantly different mood–something seemed to have changed for some of the students.
“I can only imagine what kind of hell Hyungdarou will put us through,” La-Iin said.
“You really don’t like Hyungdarou’s class, do you?”
“As if that wasn’t obvious. But maybe I don’t need to worry. After all, someday she won’t be a concern anymore.”
“Um, are you okay, La-Iin?”
“Y’know, Llanni, I still haven’t figured out what to do with that ‘information’,” Lirako whispered.
“We’ll figure something out,” Airy-Aekok whispered back. “But for now, can’t we just, like, enjoy watching him, completely oblivious to what we know?”
“I guess. Hey, maybe we can keep it that way, if it’s fun enough!”
“Hello, Ai-Reia!” Im-Dei greeted. “How was Summer?”
“Oh, Im-Dei, you already have an idea of what my Summer was like. You don’t need to ask!”
“You certainly look happy, Ai-Reia!” Shuera-Kaizima said.
“And I am. I think this school year might be my best one yet. …well, this part of it, anyway.”

***

“Hello hello, Malicerie students! How goes all of you? Hope you had great Summers, and thanks kiddos for doing your Summer homework. Most of you anyway.”
“Why…why is he in drag?” Dosa-Mina said.
“I don’t even want to know…”
“Mr. Sharai, please refrain from taking the microphone while you’re dressed like that. That wouldn’t look good on you even if you were a female.”
“You’re mean, Principal. I think it looks fine on me.” He walked away from the microphone and sat with the teachers. A few students chuckled at the exchange.
“Welcome back, students of Malicerie. There aren’t really any announcements to make this year, except to welcome you all back. We’ve been working hard to improve Malicerie so that all of you can have an enjoyable school experience. We hope you’ll all continue to study hard, especially those of you who are in Grade 12.”
Lirako folded her ears to her head. “I always forget that includes me now…”
“Well, you remembered this time. That’s a start?” Deki-Tyunri said, uncertainty in his tone.
“So welcome back, dear students, and here’s to the rest of our year in Malicerie.”

“It’s good to see you again, Cahongyun,” Shuu-Kena said. “We should find some way to contact each other aside from school.”
“Maybe.”
“Me and La-Iin are able to call each other. Maybe you two can do that?” Fer-Shi suggested. Shuu-Kena began to look uneasy. “I’m not sure my family really likes it when people call them. I think our phone lines might be bugged.”
“…”
“…”
“Interesting,” La-Iin said.
“Are you tired, La-Iin? You seem kind of dreamy.”
“I’m thinking. If you want to talk to me more, it would probably be better to do at the recess area.”
“Alright,” Shuu-Kena said with a nod. “I’ll do that then!”
She took off back to her seat.
“Thinking about anything in particular? Does this have to do with San-Kyung again?”
“No. …well maybe a little…”
Fer-Shi’s comments had her focus her sights on San-Kyung. As usual, he was talking with Dosa-Mina. ‘Even as friends you never smile that way for me…’
“La-Iin?”
“What now?”
“You seem kind of angry now. Did I say something wrong?”
“No. I’m just thinking.”
‘It won’t matter much forever. Rival-boy has nothing to do with taking over the world. But San-Kyung is a different story. Soon enough things will start going my way…’
When she smirked to herself, a few nearby students found themselves unnerved.

Lirako and Airy-Aekok caught a glance of Dosa-Mina and began to giggle.
“There’s something that’s just, like, so fun about the secret itself!” Airy-Aekok said. “It was, like, pretty funny when we weren’t going to school, but it’s, like, even better now!”
“Yeah, you kind of have a point,” Lirako giggled. “Just seeing him there, all cheerful and oblivious to what we know…”
“What are you two talking about?” Deki-Tyunri asked. Both flinched.
“Nothing!” They said in unison. Deki-Tyunri gave them a suspicious glance before turning back to his notebook.
“But, like, also at the same time, it kind of feels like a shame not to tell anyone, you know?”
“Yeah. It’s so conflicting…”
“Sometimes I wonder if we should have even looked into it,” Airy-Aekok sighed.
“Hey, it was our little extra Summer homework. And you and I both know how much he hates us. We have a little something to use against him just in case.”
“I guess, but…”
Lirako glanced over her shoulder at Dosa-Mina. “But what?”
She had expected Airy-Aekok to answer, but Dosa-Mina instead looked away from San-Kyung and snapped, “Stop eavesdropping!”
“I wasn’t eavesdropping! I was talking to Llanni!”
Dosa-Mina narrowed his eyes. “Stop eavesdropping.” He turned back to San-Kyung.
“He makes it really hard not to just blurt it out right in the middle of class.”
“Yeah, he isn’t really all that nice to you, is he?”
“Now what are you two talking about?” Deki-Tyunri asked.
“Nothing! Nothing at all!”
“Yeah, like, stop eavesdropping!”

“You sure seem a lot happier, Vampiris,” Xhen-Bei said.
“Yeah. You were seeming pretty down recently,” Mi-Kou said.
“And then there was that incident…I’m glad to see you look a lot better,” Kim-Koou said. “But are you really okay?”
“I’m more than okay. After that incident I knew I had to resolve to prevent something like that from happening ever again. So I have. There were just some things going on at the time, and I let my stress get the better of me. But now I am definitely better. Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank us!” Xhen-Bei said. “We were just worried. That incident…sorry to bring it up again, but it was scary,” he said, folding his ears to his head.
“Don’t worry at all. I’m okay now. I promise.”
“Alright,” Mi-Kou said. “Well, we should get back to our seats.”
Once the trio had left, Ai-Reia sighed. “That’s the third group who bothered me today…”
“They’re just worried about you, Ai-Reia,” Shuera-Kaizima said. Ai-Reia nearly jumped out of her seat.
“Please don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“S-sorry. But yeah, people were just worried about you. Me and In-Dei were too.”
“I know. I just didn’t think it had attracted that much attention.”
“Well, it was pretty scary! But you really do seem a lot better, Ai-Reia, and that is most important.”
“Well, I feel a lot better, too.” She glanced behind her at La-Iin, who was staring at the wall with an absent look on her face. “Not even the face of my enemy is enough to bring me down…”
“Hm?”
“Ah, it’s nothing important. You should get back to your seat. The last class is about to start.”
“Oh, okay!”

“Hey, La-Iin, class is over!” Fer-Shi said. She snapped her fingers in front of La-Iin’s face, and she flinched.
“I really have figured out how to do this!” Fer-Shi said, staring at her fingers.
“Snapping your fingers is easy.”
“You only say that because you have Bes-Isa.”
“Maybe, but I think that stands for something. Non-Normals, who can use V-Puppetry, can snap perfectly well, while the Normal who was never able to is so excited to learn how.”
“…” Fer-Shi glared at her.
“Making Normal jokes is no fun with you anymore.”
“I’ve grown up, La-Iin. I kind of think you need to as well…”
La-Iin hissed. “I’ll still be making Normal jokes even at nine-hundred-and-fifty. I’ll be making them to your ghost! ….if there are ghosts…”
“Oh La-Iin…”
“It doesn’t matter. I have a good feeling about this school term…”
“Hm? Why?”
La-Iin smirked. “I just think something great is going to happen during it…”
“Ooo-kay? Well, I hope it does! I’m kinda looking forward to it to.”
The two girls continued to chat as they left the school building.

—–
“Did something seem….different to you about Class D’s atmosphere?”
“What do you mean, Milge?”
“I don’t know…something seemed odd to me. Maybe I’m overthinking it.”
“Yeah, you probably are, knowing you!”
“Hey!”