13.651.Battle Between Breeds

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 651
“Battle Between Breeds”

When she arrived home from the Astineth house, the first thing La-Iin did was let Choungetsu out of her closet. She thought the action would go unnoticed, and so was startled to see that Mit-Sun was standing outside her bedroom with a curious expression on her face.
“Why was Choungetsu in your room? I thought you took him on a walk.”
“I did. It’s not my fault he followed me upstairs. I didn’t even notice.”
“Hm.” Mit-Sun looked as if she didn’t quite believe her, but didn’t press the subject any further.

Sale-Dessu’s blood still in her system, La-Iin studied up on as many Witch resources as she could find in the house. She hoped that the powers did not kick in until she knew enough in order for them to be helpful. ‘I doubt I’ll be welcome at the Astineth house again anytime soon.’
To check, La-Iin kept a thin stick with her at all times, waving it around on occasion. Nothing happened for a while, until quite late at night. Mit-Sun was upstairs preparing for bed and the stick gave off a small spark.
La-Iin was intrigued, but frustrated due to the time. After Mit-Sun had put her to bed, and once she had gone to bed herself, La-Iin snuck out, Bes-Isa in tow, and head to the kitchen. She put a pot on the stove and filled it with liquid and some supplies around the house–that and a small amount of the potion she had stolen from Sale-Dessu.
She didn’t know much about potion-making, but she was going to try. The “potion” began to bubble, and La-Iin waved the stick above it. While it was bubbling, impatient she went to reference the books that mentioned anything about Witches. That information made her pay closer attention to the “potion”. She waved the stick over it, and the liquid started to become a strange color.
Once she felt it was done, she let it cool off and put it into a container and stuck it in the fridge. When she closed the fridge, she turned and nearly jumped when she saw Mit-Sun standing behind her.
“What are you doing up so late?” She asked. “And were you baking something?”
“No. Just messing with the stove.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh. Get back to bed and don’t do things that could start fires!”
La-Iin huffed, spread her wings and head back to bed, clutching Bes-Isa and the stolen potion. She was frustrated, but was happy that she had at least finished the potion.
‘I might not know much about Witch powers, but I know that potion is a good one. After all, it should be a…’

***

The next day, La-Iin felt restless. Her plans felt like they were going wild in her head. When she picked up the stick, it still sparked.
She felt incredibly powerful.
Restraining her feelings had been difficult, especially around Mit-Sun who still watched her with a curious expression. Occasionally she couldn’t keep from making a comment that frustrated her mother.
“When I rule the world, you won’t be allowed to make crappy breakfasts, you know.”
Mit-Sun had rolled her eyes in response.
The restless and powerful feeling had continued even after she left the house, and on the path to school Fer-Shi was quick to notice that her friend was giggling to herself.
“La-Iin? Are you okay?”
“Better,” she said. “Don’t worry, Fer-Shi. It annoys me when you worry. Besides, I have a feeling that soon, I’m going to have a bunch to be happy about.”
“Huh?”
“You’ll see soon enough,” she said with a smirk. “But for now, just don’t worry about me.”
“That makes me more worried…but I guess if something good is gonna happen, I shouldn’t be…but wait, is this good regular or evil good?”
“Now that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself, isn’t it?”

Students and faculty were also quick to notice La-Iin’s odd behavior. Even to those who had noticed how she was acting recently, it was still strange.
But even despite this, La-Iin spent most of her time lost in thought. Even at the recess area she mostly stayed to herself; Shuu-Kena found that nothing she said got through to her, and after she would only respond vaguely to Fer-Shi’s suggestions for games, she went off to play with Shan-Zetsu and some Class B students instead.
It was only once classes were done for the day that she really talked to anyone else.
“You two.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina blinked at her.
“I want to talk to you two about something. Come with me.”
“Why should we?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“Because I know where you live.”
San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina glanced at each other.
“Do you have anything better to do?” La-Iin asked.
“Good point. What about you, San-Kyung?”
“I guess not…” He sighed. “Fine, but if this ends up being a waste of my time, I’m going home.”
With a confident smirk, La-Iin left the classroom ahead of the two boys. They stayed close behind her as she walked through the hallway and along the path that led out of Malicerie.
She led them away from Malicerie and searched around for a while.
“Do you think she knows where she’s going?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“No.”
“I heard that.” La-Iin glared at them, then head over to an empty field. “Here.”
Dosa-Mina crossed his arms. “So what’s this about, little Vampire girl?”
“I thought you were done calling me that.”
“Some things never go away completely,” he said with a smug smile. La-Iin huffed.
“I want to talk to both of you. Individually, then together.”
The two blinked at each other. “San-Kyung first.”
“What do you want?”
“Are you still planning to rule the world?”
“Why do you ask?”
“…I just think you’ll get an opening really soon.”
“You know nothing about my plans.”
“Maybe. Okay, maybe the world is going a little far, but I think a good opportunity is coming up for you and me. And I just wanted to tell you in advance, so you could be prepared when the day comes. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you again when that happens.”
San-Kyung scoffed.
“You scoff now, but you’ll see. And besides, it’s October. The best time to take advantage of a chance like that, right?”
She winked and walked over to Dosa-Mina.
“What do you want from me?”
She glared. “To ask about a certain nightmare.”
“Huh?”
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you and your fantasies about my suicide.”
Dosa-Mina flinched.
“I don’t understand you, rival-boy. You hated your species. Yet now you’re flaunting it. You apparently have nightmares about me shooting myself. But there’s no explanation for it. And you know I can’t stand you, yet you don’t feel the same way about me.”
“Who says?”
“You’re weird to me. You and I remind me of my Mama and Dami. Mama so obviously hates Dami, yet he keeps being nice to her even though she’s such a jerk.”
“So you’re saying our relationship reminds you of exes? Sicko.”
La-Iin’s wings flapped rapidly. “That’s not what I meant! I can’t stand you, but I think you’ll be helpful.”
“Huh?”
She turned away from him. “And now, for both of you…I want to fight you two!”
“…what.”
“Where’s this coming from?”
“I want to see what you two can do with San-Kyung being in October and you not holding back. Except for your singing. That’s just a cheat.”
“You probably wouldn’t call it a cheat if you could use it!” Dosa-Mina huffed.
“I want to see the extent of what you do!”
“So basically you’re saying you want to die,” San-Kyung said.
“Personally, I’d rather not be convicted of murder.”
“Don’t kill me then,” La-Iin said. “But it doesn’t matter if you two resist. I’ll take that as an opening!”
La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at them. It still sparked, and both boys flinched.
“What the–!? That’s a Witch power!”
San-Kyung seemed to take this as incentive enough, for he rose vines from the ground and tried to tie her up with them. La-Iin flew past them and bit into her arm. When her transformation completed, she flew at Dosa-Mina and bit into his neck, but she was pushed off by Dosa-Mina before she could suck any of his blood.
“How do you have a Witch power?”
“This is a fight, not a time for questions.” La-Iin pulled out the stick and pointed it at Dosa-Mina. It only sparked slightly, and then San-Kyung’s vine grabbed her ankle. La-Iin freed her ankle with the stick, then flew at San-Kyung, hitting him with the stick. She tried to suck his blood as well, but he struck his hands and she flew a distance away from them.
While she was away, La-Iin noticed that San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina had begun to levitate. “Taking the coward’s way out!?” She flew at them and headbutted Dosa-Mina in the stomach, then landed on the ground and pointed the stick in their direction.
She tried to remember an offensive spell, and once she did she pointed the stick in their direction and canted; but the wand only responded by sparking slightly before dying out altogether. La-Iin tried again, but the same thing happened.
“No!”
‘It doesn’t matter! I can still attack them! I can’t stop here.’
“Should we leave while she’s fumbling, or do you want to keep going?”
“She said she wanted to see what we could do. Why not show her?”
“Oh dear,” Dosa-Mina sighed. San-Kyung brought them to the ground, then, Dosa-Mina grabbed him and jumped into the air.
“Hm!?”
San-Kyung lifted his right hand and bit hard into the skin on his palm. A massive amount of flames engulfed his hand. At one of the highest points in Dosa-Mina’s jump, he fired off a beam of fire. La-Iin only barely made it out of the way, but it set a large area nearby her on fire.
“Oh no,” Dosa-Mina said. “We can’t just leave this! It’ll start a forest fire!”
“Yeah, this is too close to home.” San-Kyung glanced over his shoulder. “But now you know the answer. So get out of here.”
La-Iin didn’t move, however. She watched the flames as the two boys tried to stop them, in shock.

—–
When La-Iin arrived home, Mit-Sun noticed that her eyes were wide open and she smelled of smoke.
“La-Iin! Is everything okay!?”
La-Iin walked past Mit-Sun. She thought back on the fight they had, the intensity of San-Kyung’s flamethrower, and a smirk crossed her lips.
Mit-Sun only barely noticed it, but the sight filled her with dread.

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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.”

25.633.Reach Out

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 633
“Reach Out”

San-Kyung walked into the neighborhood where Dosa-Mina lived. That week, it was his third visit. What had happened on Tuesday, the way Dosa-Mina acted after it, none of it would leave his head. He couldn’t stop thinking about it even if he tried. Even worse, Dosa-Mina hadn’t been to school the past two days–and listening to the students’ gossip about him just made him think back on Deatrou, except he felt that this was somewhat worse.
At least during that time at Deatrou, he could get Dosa-Mina to crack a smile every now and then.
It had stirred up some thoughts in his head about his priorities. No matter what he was focusing on, he was always passionate about his plans for world domination or regaining his true form. He knew which one he would take if he could only pick one. He knew where his priorities lie, and he was convinced that he would be ready to drop his loved ones if they betrayed him.
Where did his loved ones fall, though? It was the question on his mind. If he had to pick between them, his true form or ruling the world, which would he pick? Could he really recover if he was betrayed by one of them?
Dosa-Mina was important to him. He already knew he was going to lose his parents some day. It was difficult to think of what was more important when he could barely see the future without the things he wanted.
But just perhaps, he would pick Dosa-Mina. That was what he had been thinking recently.
“Damn it, maybe La-Iin’s right…”
He knocked on the door to the Dslellular house.
“Oh….hi, San-Kyung.”
Orlin-Aesth answered the door. His exhaustion was obvious. San-Kyung hated to admit it, but he could sympathize with his concern for Dosa-Mina.
“You don’t have to ask any questions. He hasn’t come out of his room. There’s no fresh blood on his bed, so I don’t think he’s cut anytime recently. …oh, and come inside.”
San-Kyung walked inside and head for Dosa-Mina’s bedroom door.
“Hey, San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung glanced at him over his shoulder.
“Does the school know what that Catori and Llamaki did?”
“Not exactly.”
“Aren’t you going to tell them?”
San-Kyung sighed. “That’s what I don’t know.” He ignored Orlin-Aesth’s confusion and walked into Dosa-Mina’s room.
“Oh. It’s you again.”
San-Kyung scratched his head. It was obvious from his prior two visits that Dosa-Mina wasn’t going to respond to him just staying in there quietly. He would have to take action.
“So, you’re not really sick, are you.”
Dosa-Mina glared at him. “Awfully stupid for someone with such high grades to say. Obviously not. But I feel horrible anyway. I haven’t been able to do much of anything the last few days. People might say I’m over-reacting, but I’m stressed out.”
San-Kyung joined him on the bed. “Have you talked to the Demon girl?”
“Oh, so I should tell Sirlie I’m cutting too? Great idea, San-Kyung! Really, great.”
“Listen to what I’m saying, why don’t you?”
“Ha ha. Antagonism doesn’t just belong to you and you alone, San-Kyung. I’m well within my rights to be antagonistic. So when are you going to leave me alone?”
“I’m not.”
“Ha ha, just concerned about Operation Reboot, then? I suppose it’s easy to expect someone evil to be so self-centered.”
San-Kyung grit his teeth. Dosa-Mina was making him angry, but he didn’t want to start a fight, not while he was in the state he was in.
“No. I haven’t even thought about Operation Reboot recently. Besides, if I needed to I could do all that research on my own.”
“So, are you going to say you’ve been thinking about nothing but me? I don’t buy it.”
“I didn’t get to say anything. Besides, it would be the truth. That and flaying Lirako, but that’s beside the point.”
San-Kyung sighed.
“What do you want?”
“Don’t try to appeal to me.”
“Do you want Lirako to win, then?”
“Lirako’s already won.”
San-Kyung groaned.
“Go ahead. Get frustrated. This is what I am. Once my secrets are revealed, I give up. Because emotionally I’m as weak as you are in November. I have my disgusting sides too, San-Kyung. And apparently they’re too much for you to deal with. So go ahead! Go focus on Operation Reboot!”
Dosa-Mina pulled a notebook from his shelf and tossed it at San-Kyung’s face. “Here are my notes on it. Focus on it. Forget about me. Use me when you need something.” He huffed. “Oh, that reminds me.”
He stood up and retrieved a CD, then tossed that at San-Kyung as well. “In case you can’t sleep. I don’t know if you have a CD player, but I’m sure your parents wouldn’t mind getting you one, the poor fools.”
San-Kyung sighed. “Are you going to let me talk anytime soon?”
“No. I’ve given you what you want, so you can go home now.”
Evidently just words weren’t going to work on Dosa-Mina either. So San-Kyung stood up and hugged Dosa-Mina.
“So, going for the nuclear option?”
“Oh, just shut up.”
“Hmph.”
“You’re seriously making me wish I was a psychopath. Then this would be so easy. I could kill you and shut you up that way. No loss of sleep. I’d feel the same towards you as I do towards Lirako. Unfortunately, that’s not who I am. I’m worried about you.”
Dosa-Mina rolled his eyes.
“Get mad all you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll find what it is that makes you go back to normal. Don’t be scared to rely on me if you need to. I’ve dumped my problems on you before. And I know what’s going on. Until you stop acting like this, I’m not leaving you alone.”
“I–bu…”
Dosa-Mina couldn’t come up with another retort. What San-Kyung had just said reminded him of his own feelings. Whenever San-Kyung would get upset, he would be desperate to remedy it. It made sense that San-Kyung would feel likewise.
Part of him still wanted to resist, but at this point that side was quickly diminishing.
He hugged him back briefly, then pulled away from the hug.
“I really am willing to off Lirako if it makes you happy.”
“Thanks, San-Kyung. The sentiment is enough.”
“Finally cheering up?”
“No, but I shouldn’t have been such a jerk. I’m sorry.”
San-Kyung didn’t respond.
“Have I really been stressing you out all that much?”
“This has been on my mind.”
Dosa-Mina sighed. “Sorry. It’s just been hard. I don’t know how to bounce back from this.”
“I’ll figure something out if you can’t. …well, you could always drop out of Malicerie, then come back as another species, something that doesn’t have many powers like Ferreniao or Llamaki. Then you probably won’t be questioned about powers.”
“That wouldn’t work. I’d still be…” San-Kyung was smiling. “Oh, you were joking…geez, my sense of humor is going to be shot after this.”
“Well, like you kept saying, it’s just a little more time before we graduate. 2017 is the last year we’re in school, and that’s just until March. Past that we’ll have plenty of time to decide what to do from then on. That includes you fixing up your situations. We did it before with Deatrou. It could be possible here too.”
For the first time in a few days, Dosa-Mina smiled. “…thanks for not giving up on me, San-Kyung.”
San-Kyung wasn’t sure of how to respond, so he didn’t.

—–
“San-Kyung?”
‘You know what you would do. You’d pick Dosa-Mina over your true form. How stupid.’
“San-Kyung?”
‘But there’s a reason for that. I can still ruin the world without ruling it. And I can still have my true form once a year. But Dosa-Mina is different.’
“I think he’s thinking about something.”
‘I hate this. I wish I was a psychopath. Or at least all alone. Then caring about people wouldn’t be a problem. I wouldn’t even know how because I’d have been all alone, with no parents to teach me how that feels. Being a person sucks. I hate so many things in this world that what I love I love too much…’
“It must be pretty important. Maybe we shouldn’t bother him for now.”
‘How do other people put up with this!?’
“Still, I’m really curious as to what’s on his mind. I’ve never seen him look this intense before.”
San-Kyung groaned. He could imagine La-Iin gloating, saying that she was right and that his love had made him weak.

4.612.Sirlie and San

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 612
“Sirlie and San”

“It’s great to have you over again, San-Kyung!” Dosa-Mina chirped.
“You visited me when I was sick. I don’t mind doing the same. Especially since you have an avian sickness.”
“Yeah. But don’t worry! I don’t feel as sick as I have the past few days. My chest feels a lot better and I’m not coughing nearly as much! You could have just called, but I do appreciate the visit lots.”
“It is good that you came over, San-Kyung. I had to work recently and Elai-Riya’s been a little…germaphobic since he has an avian sickness.”
“She’s been watching me plenty though. Say, San-Kyung? Are you wanting to do something while you’re over, or are you just going to stare at me until I get better?”
“I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m not sure what I came over for aside from ‘You’re sick’. I don’t usually come over for these sorts of things.”
“That’s a perfectly valid reason, you know.”
A knock sounded at the door.
“I’ll get it!” Orlin-Aesth said. He walked over to the door. Dosa-Mina’s eyes began to glance around the room.
“Soooo….any chance you had ulterior motives?”
“Huh?”
“I mean, you wanted to know anything about Operation Reboot. I’ve been bedridden after all, so I’ve had a lot of time to sit down with a book. And of course I’ve been looking into our main field of study.”
“Actually, no. But if you were looking into it–”
“Aw!” Dosa-Mina pulled San-Kyung close. “That’s so nice of you, San-Kyung.”
“I–”
San-Kyung’s response was cut short by a sudden blur zipping a short distance past the two. The blur turned back and stopped in front of them.
“Hey, Dosa-Mina! Why didn’t you tell me you had feather flu!? My family’s basically got the perfect remedy for that, I thought you knew!”
“Sirlie-Baecho?”
“You could’ve come to us and–” Sirlie-Baecho’s eyes fell on San-Kyung. “Oh. I see.”
San-Kyung grit his teeth.
“Sorry to interrupt! I’ll be out of here purr-onto.”
“Hey, wait a second, Sirlie!”
Sirlie-Baecho turned around. “What, I’m needed in your little tizzy?”
“No, it’s just nice to see you! How’d you know I have feather flu?”
“Yer Mom told me on her way to work today. And so I came here! We Xartas have the perfect family remedy for feather flu. Clears it up in ten hours! Most ‘a the time, anyway.”
“I wish I had known. I would’ve gone to you right away. It was really bad two days ago, but now I feel a lot better!”
“Well, at least you’re recoverin’.” Sirlie-Baecho narrowed her eyes at San-Kyung. “What’s with the glare, pumpkin-boy?”
“Oh, I thought I told you, San-Kyung’s not all that friendly with people.”
“Hypocrite. Stop glaring at me, then.”
Sirlie-Baecho scoffed. “No kidding. And I remember, you told me that. But hey, we’re both here for the same reason, right? At least I was assuming up until I saw that display…”
“You’re here for the same reason,” Dosa-Mina giggled.
“Hey, is she staying?” San-Kyung asked, his tone one of disbelief.
“Well, me and Sirlie don’t see each other all that often any more. And besides, since you two both have simple reasons for visiting me, I’m sure it won’t be that much of a problem if you’re both in here at the same time!”
“I wouldn’t think so!” Sirlie-Baecho said. “Although I think pumpkin-boy might think otherwise.”
San-Kyung huffed and turned his glare on Dosa-Mina. “Aw, come on, just give it a shot. I’m not asking you to make friends with her. And besides, you put up with my parents.”
San-Kyung sighed. “Fine. But don’t expect me to stay long.”
‘Ah…in hindsight, this was probably a terrible idea.’ He could already see it from the contrasting expressions on his friends’ faces–a happy one on Sirlie-Baecho’s and one of agitation on San-Kyung’s.

***

Even knowing it hadn’t been the best idea to welcome both of his close friends to stay, Dosa-Mina had already decided he wasn’t going to back down from it. ‘If either Sirlie or San-Kyung wants to leave, they’re welcome to! I can’t stop them!’
So after the initial surprise of Sirlie-Baecho’s invitation to stay had worn off, Dosa-Mina turned instead to making drinks. From the kitchen, he could hear Sirlie-Baecho and San-Kyung talking. Curiosity stayed his hand and he stopped making the drinks to listen.
“So, pumpkin-boy. I get that you aren’t the biggest fan of people–”
“If you get that much, then you should be able to get that that also includes you.”
Sirlie-Baecho sighed. “You didn’t let me finish. I get that you aren’t the biggest fan of people, but you seem to really care about Dosa-Mina.”
“And that’s important because?”
“Well, it’s sweet,” she chuckled, “and also, you’d think you wouldn’t mind so much if he had another friend over. It’s not like he invited me over to your house or anything.”
“I don’t know your aim, demon, but I don’t want to talk to you.”
Sirlie-Baecho huffed. “You could at least have the deceny to call me Xarta.”
“This, coming from the girl who’s been calling me pumpkin-boy all day?”
“You’ve got me there. Fine then, I won’t bother you! But now that I’ve met you I can definitely say I don’t understand how Dosa-Mina and you became friends.”
“I could say the same.”
“At least I understand him better. I’ve been there for him for more years than you have.”
“So you say, but I heard him say that you don’t see each other all that often anymore.”
“That might be true, but whose fault is that!?”
The expression that showed on San-Kyung’s face after that looked almost smug. Sirlie-Baecho was becoming quickly agitated.
“I’ve seen sides to Dosa-Mina I doubt you’ve ever seen.”
“You’re still going on about this? I could say the same. Just be quiet, demon.”
“Not when you’re the one saying that to me. Dosa-Mina is one of my best friends! I’d jump right to his aid if I could, whenever he needed the help. You, on the other hand? You look like you’re just taking advantage of him.”
San-Kyung’s face twitched.
“All I wanted to do was ask you a stupid little question and you’re getting all huffy.”
“I could’ve been a lot harsher towards you. Consider yourself lucky we’re in the Dslellular house. And look at yourself! You’re pissed off because you’re jealous.”
“How!? So Dosa-Mina showers you in affection, I know him well! It’s not jealousy at all. It’s frustration. He always talks about you so fondly, but if all you’re doing is taking advantage of him, then it just–!”
San-Kyung struck his hands. “I’ve heard enough from you!”
“I think that’s one thing I’d have to agree with you on.”
Dosa-Mina gasped. He ran over, drinks in arm.
“Stop!”
San-Kyung put out his hand fire, and Sirlie-Baecho’s expression eased. “Geez, I’m gone for a little bit and you two can’t keep from fighting.”
“You can blame her. I told her a few times I didn’t want to talk. …I went easy on you, by the way.”
“You didn’t have to be so rude about it! You know, you’re the San-Kyung. The boy Dosa-Mina talks about so fondly. You’re his best friend, better than I could ever be. I was curious, that’s all.”
Dosa-Mina sighed. “Well, at least it didn’t escalate as far as it could have. My parents would have been pissed if they came back to a scorched and cursed house.”
“…curse?” San-Kyung asked cautiously.
“That’s right, pumpkin-boy. Better call yourself lucky that he stopped me before I could do anything.”
“Don’t fight, please. Don’t force yourself to talk to each other. I can interact with you both individually and give you an equal amount of time.”
“I know…” Sirlie-Baecho sighed.
“Besides, you’re just going to aggravate my flu. I’m not expecting my friends to get along. Just expecting you two not to kill each other.” He handed them drinks. “Why don’t we enjoy ourselves? I’ll go get my drink and we can sit down together! And you two don’t have to talk to each other.”
Dosa-Mina ran back to the kitchen.
“…he’s too nice for his own good.”
“I’d agree with you on that one.”
“You’ve never seen him when he’s really pissed at someone, though.”
Sirlie-Baecho huffed. “Guess not. You’ve never seen him act shy, though.”
“That sounds impossible.”
“…I don’t like you, pumpkin-boy.”
“Ditto.”
“But you know what? Because I love Dosa-Mina so much, I’m not gonna fight with you about it!”
“Just don’t provoke me.”
“Pretty tame for evil, ain’t you?”
“If we weren’t around Dosa-Mina, you wouldn’t be saying the same thing.”
Dosa-Mina returned with his drink, and beckoned the two to sit at the table with him. Somehow, to Dosa-Mina, the tension in the air felt just a bit easier than it had a few moments ago.

—–
“You know, pumpkin-boy, I’ll give you one thing.”
“What?”
“I guess you care about Dosa-Mina well enough…you were pretty nice to him today.”
“I don’t need your kudos.”
“Why’d you ask what, then? You know, I think you and I could maybe get along, if you’d just open–”
“Can it, demon girl. I put up with you for Dosa-Mina’s sake. I thought you knew that already.”
“You want a face-ful of curse, pumpkin boy?”
“I’d get you with fire first!”
“They certainly seem to have a….how do I put this…”
“They seem like they’d make perfect rivals, if they weren’t so violent,” Dosa-Mina giggled.
“How’d you put up with it?”
“Drinks. Alcoholic.”
“What!?”
“Just kidding.”
“What was with the surprise, Orlin-Aesth?” Elai-Riya asked.
“You used to drink alcohol. I was scared you had some left over.”
“Don’t worry, those days are over after the drunk disaster of 2009…”
Elai-Riya’s eyes wandered to Dosa-Mina’s wrist.
“Dosa-Mina? Do you have a scar or something on your wrist?” She asked. “Where did you get it?”
Dosa-Mina covered his wrist. “Ah–um–just an accident a while ago. Cut myself on a branch while you guys were gone, heh heh!”
“How come we never knew about it?”
Dosa-Mina began to look uneasy. “Well, it was better by the time you got back, so I didn’t think to mention it…”
“Buh-bye, Dosa-Mina! Hopefully I’ll see you again soon! Without pumpkin-boy, that is.”
“You’re going already, Sirlie?”
“Yeah, I’d better before the urge to curse him overtakes me. We Demons are pretty sensitive to our urges. Anyhow, see ya!”
She ran over to Dosa-Mina, hugged him, then took off. “And feel better, okay!?”
“I’m feeling a lot better already! Thank you!”
“Good riddance.”
“You really found her annoying, San-Kyung?”
“What do you think?”
“I guess that’s to be expected. I’ll try not to have you both over at the same time anymore. Although it might be fun to see what happens!”
“Sadist.”
“Aw, don’t be mean.”

9.586.Fightercise

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 586
“Fightercise”

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

***

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

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

24.570.The Rivalry of Bes-Isa and Choungetsu

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

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

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

9.555.Revolution in Dasdoria

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 555
“Revolution in Dasdoria”

“Mama, do you think there’ll be an evil revolution soon?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I don’t know, La-Iin. I know you’d love for something like that to happen, but you realize other evil people are typically against their own, right? Evil people disagree on what’s the right way to be evil more than any other group I’ve seen.”
“Of course we do. Some of them are just closeted goody-goodies. Others are just stupid and do things that would obviously get them caught or dead. And a lot of the ones who aren’t don’t strive high enough.”
She grinned. “That’s why I love San-Kyung so much! He might have a few questionable opinions, but he’s striving high and has the means to do some serious damage! Other evil people can be questionable. I met some just recently who are incredibly stupid.”
“Well, I hope there aren’t any revolutions. But if there is, I hope it’s a revolution against the evil. I know you don’t like good, La-Iin, but it does keep you safer. Which version of Bledger would you prefer?”
“A neutral one because then I don’t have to deal with goody-goodies and I won’t be killed by an evil failure. Other evil people think it’s honorable to die at the hands of someone evil, I disagree! I go at my own hands or death comes and takes me! Nobody else will steal my life.”
“You’re feeling pretty passionate about this.”
“Evil people might be evil, but we are all different, Mama. The biggest difference being that some of us are wrong and some of us are right.”
Mit-Sun gave another sigh. “Well, I guess at least you aren’t falling in with a gang….even if I wonder about San-Kyung sometimes. Are you sure he’s evil?”
La-Iin opened her mouth to respond but opted to keep it shut. ‘Maybe San-Kyung would rather keep up appearances around Mama…’

***

La-Iin was startled awake by loud noises and screaming. She didn’t even have time to open her eyes–nearly as soon as she woke up she was pulled aside by Mit-Sun.
As soon as her eyes were wide-open, La-Iin caught sight of an explosion and heard the screaming of people as they ran off in the direction opposite of them. Fire split the air and La-Iin heard someone caterwaul.
“We have to get out of here.” Mit-Sun stood up, shaky on her legs, and began to run along with the rest of the crowd. La-Iin spotted Dasdorian officials facing off against the source of the fire and the explosions, but still, from her view, she could not catch sight of the perpetrators.
“Stop what you’re doing unless you want to face the full might of Dasdoria!”
“You idiots! Using your full might against me!? Do you know how much room that opens up for escapees? By the time you finish me off, Dasdoria will be an empty hellhole as opposed to a full one!”
“You’re being awfully corny, you know.”
“Shut up,” the first voice hissed. “I don’t need them knowing who I am.”
“Then why talk to them?”
“I’m disguising my voice the best I can! Besides–well, I’ll tell you when it’s safer!”
Hidden under the shadows of night and beneath trees was San-Kyung, covered from head-to-toe in mud and stolen clothes. He was so thoroughly covered that he felt certain that even if the officials caught sight of him, they wouldn’t recognize him if he needed to repeat the spectacle. Still, he wanted to be cautious about coming into the moonlight. Dosa-Mina stood at his side similarly covered.
“He won’t listen to reason! The leader didn’t tell us we needed to wait for him to be violent either! Go!”
Before anything was shot in his direction, he shot seed bombs in their direction and began to lift vines. Hiding under shade gave him the significant disadvantage of being unable to see the exact location of his opposition, but he saw it as a small price to pay.
‘How fitting that you bastards are the first one who pay.’ While giving himself a chance to recover, he recalled a scene of his mother, lying on the ground and screaming as black-clad men advanced upon her. Sedated with power suppressants, there was nothing he could do to stop the sight.
San-Kyung grit his teeth and increased the intensity of his attack. ‘Sorry, Dosa-Mina, but the promise of keeping them alive might be off. These assholes need to fry!’
The residents of Dasdoria huddled into a crowd, watching as bursts of fire and explosions bombarded the stunned authorities who backed away for one moment and attempted to attack the next, always overwhelmed by the suddenness of the attack.
“Why is this happening?” Fer-Shi cried.
La-Iin had no response. She watched on in awe. Each time the authorities were exploded or had fire shot at them, La-Iin found herself cheering on whoever was opposing them. They were doing what she had always wanted to do.
She found herself hoping they were successful, whoever they were.
“You guys!” Hissed a Catori. “Look at the situation! This is a perfect time to make a break for it! Instead of panicking, why don’t we leave this hellhole!?”
“We might not be able to!” A Llamaki said. “They’re in, like, kill mode! If they catch us tryin’ to leave, we’re gonna die for sure!”
“Mama, what are we gonna do?” La-Iin asked. Mit-Sun didn’t respond. Her gaze was kept squarely on the sight ahead of her, her facial expression revealing nothing.
“San-Kyung, they could overpower you at any moment!” Dosa-Mina hissed. “What are we gonna do!?”
San-Kyung fired off a flamethrower at them and gasped. His hands stung with the many injuries he had caused them, but he still didn’t feel deterred. “If I keep going like this, they might break through, but if I make a break for it, we’ll be pursued and killed for sure…shit. This situation doesn’t leave many outs.”
“What do we do!?”
“You can leave! I’m not going to risk your life. As for me, I’ll keep going. If I run away I’ll definitely be killed. But if I keep going, I might get them first.”
“I thought you promised you wouldn’t kill anyone!”
“I only said that because I wanted to torture these f@%kers,” San-Kyung said through grit teeth. “But the situation doesn’t really allow for that anymore.”
A waterball head for him. He rose vines as fast as he could manage and was ultimately only splashed with a small amount of the water. He retaliated immediately by swirling vines around his assailants and wrapping them tightly, followed by another seed bomb.
“San-Kyung, your hands!” Dosa-Mina gasped.
“This is a small price,” he grunted. “I’m fine! Dosa-Mina, how far out would I need to go in order to scout their current situation?”
“I can do that for you.”
“No, you can–!” Dosa-Mina peeked his head out before San-Kyung could finish, and he bit his tongue to keep from yelling too loud. Dosa-Mina retreated back into the shade not long after.
“They’re tied up good, San-Kyung. I don’t think they’ll be getting down anytime soon.”
“Good. Then that leaves me with one more thing to do.” He walked out of the shadows, seed bombs in his hands. He placed them inside the vines, then lit the vines and stood back with Dosa-Mina as they exploded and engulfed their assailants in fire.
“DAD!” The Llamaki yelled.
“What…what does this mean? Didn’t they say they were using the full force of the Dasdorian authorities? Are we free?”
“Certainly not.” The crowd was startled by a voice from nearby, and spotted a stern-looking Catori-Werewolf glaring at them. “Dasdorians do not leave Dasdoria. We might be hampered, but these revolutionaries will not stop us from carrying on as usual.”
“They’ll never stop me!” Yelled a Cicadin. He began to try and take off, only to be shot down by the Catori.
“The same fate awaits the rest of you who try to leave!”
“I guess not,” Fer-Shi whimpered quietly.
La-Iin glanced up at Mit-Sun. She looked disappointed. La-Iin couldn’t deny she felt similar–but at the same time, watching as so many guards and authority members went up in flame, remembering all that had happened, she felt as if there was just a bit of hope.
And she certainly wanted to meet the perpetrator behind the crime.

—–
La-Iin wandered through Dasdoria, checking the outskirts. New guards now stood post, most seeming to be of strong species such as Minomix, though La-Iin noticed that some of them seemed malnourished and dazed, same as many of the Dasdorian residents. ‘Did they take residents for the new guards?’
On her walk, she spotted another interesting sight among the underfed guards–San-Kyung lying on the ground, covered in mud and hands scabbed over and scarlet red. Dosa-Mina sat nearby him, putting a hand on his forehead.
La-Iin thought back to the display of powers during the earlier incident: fire, seed bombs, and vines. She felt as though someplace she had heard something about Animated Pumpkins, fire and vines.
“Were you the perpetrator!?”
Dosa-Mina shused her. La-Iin walked closer and got down on her knees.
“Molshei, did you do all of that?”
“I can’t say,” he panted.
“Please, we’re busy right now. You should head back to wherever you stay.”
La-Iin noticed fear in Dosa-Mina’s eyes, and felt certain that she had the right people. Still, keeping her voice low, she asked, “That display earlier certainly was something, wasn’t it?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah…guess it kinda was.”
‘How amazing,’ La-Iin thought. ‘Molshei had the strength to do something I could never do. I think I like him even more now…’
“Do you want my help with his hands?”
Dosa-Mina looked confused for a moment, but then gave a slight nod. “I’d appreciate it.”
La-Iin assisted Dosa-Mina in patching up San-Kyung’s wounds. She watched as San-Kyung fell into an uneasy sleep, twitching and groaning as if he was having a nightmare. Dosa-Mina seemed grateful for her help, but she payed no attention to him.
“I hope he’s alright,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Me too.”

18.534.Animosity from Suspicion

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 534
“Animosity from Suspicion”

“Mit-Sun, you look awfully happy today. What’s the occasion? Or, are you just happy because you are?”
Mit-Sun giggled. “It’s nothing, really. Just, I forgot how much fun going out could be. Having to take care of La-Iin, I haven’t been able to do much for myself lately. When we hang out together I get to go places La-Iin probably would never agree to go. Keeping her under wraps is hard.”
Uil-Cur scratched the back of his neck. “Always happy to be of assistance, Mit-Sun. My siblings told me I could be refreshing, but I never thought that would extend to another adult!”
“You can be pretty fun, Haner. So I want to ask: would you like to come over for dinner again tonight? I know La-Iin will hate it, but she’s been resisting all my attempts to bond with her lately. I really don’t think inviting you over again is going to make things any worse.”
“A-are you sure about that, Mit-Sun? She was pretty harsh towards me last time I came over.”
“La-Iin’s like that, but damn it, she can’t control who I make friends with as much as I can’t control who she makes friends with. I seriously don’t know what she has against you. She said something about male Sirens once, but I doubt she’s met another. I know you guys can be pretty rare.”
“It’s hard to think I’m technically somewhat rare. But I suppose that also comes from being an individual!”
“So, what do you say? Want to come over again? I could use a break from all her animosity and there’s not been much to do around the house lately.”
Uil-Cur gave a small smile. “Almost anything you ask me I would accept, Mit-Sun. I enjoy my time with you. I think you are…well, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
“That’s sweet, Haner. Thanks. You’re a pretty great friend too.”
Uil-Cur began to flap his wings rapidly to calm him down. ‘Just because she smiles at you so much, it doesn’t mean anything! Quit getting your hopes up!’ Still, he couldn’t help but feel slightly excited at the sight of Mit-Sun’s casual smile.

***

“You seem pretty steamed up, La-Iin.”
“I am steamed up! I can’t stand it when Mama goes to spend time with Haner! Either she’s stupid or slowly she’s falling for his wiles. Well, either way she must be stupid, because if she’s falling for his wiles she’s delusional! If his wiles were so great I would be in love with him!”
“That’s….disturbing, to say the least. And that begs the question: if another man had really good wiles, would you like him better than San-Kyung?”
“No way, Bes-Isa. San-Kyung is my one and only. Mama is a fool. If she’s looking for what true love looks like, she should be looking in my direction.”
“Nobody who was in their right mind would take love tips from a stalkerish little kid…don’t look at me like that, La-Iin! I’m not saying your little thing for San-Kyung is little kiddy, I’m just saying you’re creepy.”
“I’ve heard what you’ve said about keeping girl slaves before. If anyone is creepy, it’s you!”
“Well, doesn’t that make me more evil!? I want girl slaves for my own use…heh heh….but you want San-Kyung to reciprocate your feelings and work equally by your side! What the hell’s with that!?”
“You should understand by now if you know me any, Bes-Isa. Besides, I would be in a higher position of power over San-Kyung anyway. But this wasn’t about him! I haven’t been able to make any progress with that depressio lately anyways. I’m getting burned up about Haner! Someday I’ll suck that guy’s blood and sing his own song back to him!”
“Tell me, do you think that would work?”
“It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?”
Before Bes-Isa could speak again, the door opened. La-Iin narrowed her eyes at Mit-Sun, then gasped when she noticed that Uil-Cur was right behind her.
“No!”
Mit-Sun scoffed. “Please, La-Iin.”
“H-hello there, La-Iin,” Uil-Cur said, sounding uncertain.
“No. Don’t even talk to me. Mama, you said you wanted to repair our bond. You’re on the wrong path. Continue to show me your stupidity and I’ll lock you in a high-security cage when the time comes, if there’s even any of you left to lock in a cage!”
She stomped off, Bes-Isa in tow. She could hear a faint conversation between Mit-Sun and Uil-Cur, but she couldn’t be bothered to listen in to hear what it was. She was infuriated that Mit-Sun would even bring Uil-Cur over in the first place.

“I had a feeling this would happen,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Sorry about that, Haner.”
“No, there’s no trouble, Mit-Sun. Just as you had that feeling, so did I. She didn’t take well to me last time I was over either.”
“Well, she can go off and do her own thing if she wants to. Is there something you’d like to do?”
“Much as I’d like to spend time with you right at this moment, I want to try something, Mit-Sun. I’m going to see if I can get through to La-Iin.”
“Why?”
“The two of us are friends! I know it’s not all that important, but I don’t want to strain your relationship with your daughter just because she doesn’t like me. We can spend time together after this–after all, we do have plenty of time!”
“I suppose so,” Mit-Sun said. “Just don’t take too long, alright?”
‘She really does want to spend time with me,’ Uil-Cur thought. ‘Now I really do have to do this. With how she’s acting perhaps La-Iin may someday really be my step-daught…no, don’t think that, Uil-Cur! Stop it!’
He pushed the idea away as he fluttered after La-Iin.
“No flying in my house, Haner,” Mit-Sun said. Uil-Cur landed. “Sorry about that, Mit-Sun.”
“Just don’t do it again.”

“Haner won’t get to Mama first, I’ll show her, if anyone’s going to harm her bodily, it’ll be me, just wait and see….”
“I get that you’re angry, but do you have to pull on me like this!? I can feel pain, you know!”
“Heh heh heh…” The dark look in La-Iin’s eyes told Bes-Isa she wasn’t likely to be released soon.
From behind her La-Iin could hear footsteps. She glared over her shoulder. “Don’t bother reasoning with me, Mama. I will always and forever hate Haner. I–”
La-Iin’s eyes widened when she caught sight of Uil-Cur. “I know you’re not all that fond of me, La-Iin, and I respect that. But I don’t think you should get all so mad at Mit-Sun because of this.”
“Don’t you even dare talk to me, fool!” La-Iin hissed. Uil-Cur sighed. “Please, La-Iin, make this easy on me. If it makes you feel better, this friendship started because of me.”
“Take advantage of my Mama’s stupidity, will you!? Well, I’m not as stupid as she is!”
“Mit-Sun is not stupid! You shouldn’t say such things about your own mother.”
“Why should I listen to you!? You don’t matter to me. You’re just trash.”
Uil-Cur flinched. “I don’t know what I did to earn your ire, La-Iin, but I don’t want this to be how it is. I don’t want you to hate Mit-Sun because you hate me.”
“Quit referring to me by name. You don’t have the permission to do so.” La-Iin’s wings began to flap wildly. “I know your aim, Haner. I know what plans you have for my Mama. I can see them from a mile away. For you see, I’m an expert when it comes to planning things.”
Uil-Cur blinked at her. “What do you mean? I don’t have any plans for Mit-Sun.”
“Do you think I’m stupid!? I know wiles better than most others! You can only have two possible plans for Mama. Either way I won’t accept you!”
“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You won’t fool me, Haner! Until the moment she proves otherwise, I’ll hope that Mama’s not so stupid to let her emotions fall victim to your plans!”
Uil-Cur blinked. ‘What is she talking about?’ As La-Iin bared her fangs, it clicked in his mind, and his face turned a dark red.
“I–it isn’t–it’s not–look, I think you have the wrong idea, La-Iin…”
“Your reaction only proves to me I have the right idea! Stop it, Haner! Or I’ll give you a reason to regret it!”
Uil-Cur felt completely embarrassed. “I…it’s…there’s nothing to worry about on that front, La-Iin. And if that’s making you angry at Mit-Sun, then you’re being irrational. Be angry at me all you want, but this has nothing to do with her…”
La-Iin’s nose wrinkled.
“Haner? La-Iin?”
Mit-Sun’s voice broke into the argument. “Haner, I heard arguing. If you can’t get through to her, there’s no reason to argue with her.”
“All the arguing was coming from her side, though.”
“La-Iin, cut Haner some slack. I get it–you don’t like him. You’ve made that painfully clear.”
“Apparently not clear enough to get through your thick skull!” La-Iin yelled. She stomped off, Bes-Isa in tow.
“I swear, one of these days you’re going to kill me.”
“I’m sorry, Mit-Sun. I didn’t mean to fight with her. She hates me more than I’d expect a seven-year-old to…and now I think I understand why.”
“Why?”
Uil-Cur’s face flushed. “I–I think I just remind her of someone she doesn’t like at her school.”
“Huh?”
“That’s the impression I got, anyway,” he sighed. “So, um, Mit-Sun–about that hanging out?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, there’s plenty I can show you around the house. We have time until dinner to just look around, so tell me where you want to go. Although obviously La-Iin’s room is off-limits.”
“I figured. Well, anywhere you want to show me is fine.”
“Well then, we might as well stop by the miscellaneous room, then,” Mit-Sun said. “Come on!”
From her bedroom La-Iin could hear their conversation. She grit her teeth.
‘What can I do now? Maybe I should turn to Dami for advice on this…’

—–
Dinner came and went, and no matter how hard she tried Mit-Sun simply could not manage to get La-Iin to sit at the table while Uil-Cur was there. Even sending him away didn’t seem to work–La-Iin still refused to sit anywhere near him and instead took her food away and into her room. Mit-Sun lacked the energy to fight with her over it, and so opted against it.
“Thank you for the dinner, Mit-Sun. You are an excellent cook.”
“Not a problem. It was nice to have you over, even though La-Iin was acting up. Maybe next time, we should hang out at your house.”
“Maybe. I hope you can make up with her.”
“Me too. Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, Uil-Cur. Good night.”
Uil-Cur froze and blinked at Mit-Sun. “What? Did I say something wrong?”
“Er, um, no, not at all!” He flustered. “Did I give you a weird look? I’m sorry, I’m just used to you saying Haner…”
“Oh…well, you keep telling me I can call you Uil-Cur, so I suppose it just came out.”
“Well, I am okay with you calling me that,” he said. “Er, I have to go now. See you, Mit-Sun.”
“See you, Haner. Er, Uil-Cur.”
As Uil-Cur walked out the house, he smiled to himself. ‘I wonder if I might just have a chance after all…maybe, just maybe.’
Remembering Leirhyn’s words, he began to feel confident as he fluttered off towards home.

20.505.Occurrences of Fer-Shi

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 505
“Occurrences of Fer-Shi”

“You know, it’s been a long time since you’ve been over to my house, La-Iin,” Fer-Shi said. “So how come you don’t look happy?”
“It’s hard to be happy when you did something you thought would help, but ended up making things worse.”
“What?”
La-Iin sighed. “Remember when I told you San-Kyung was coming over to my house the other day? He came over, saw what I had, and realized he’s been making a giant mistake.”
“Is he going good?”
“Hell no! If he was doing that I’d be even more depressed! No, it’s something so personal that if I told you he’d probably kill me and stuff me in a shallow and watery grave. I’d tell you but I don’t want that to happen.”
“Um, okay.” ‘Just what sort of secrets is San-Kyung hiding!?’ “Well, I can make it all better. My Mom and Dad will be back in an hour or so, but until then, we have the house to ourselves! There has to be something you want to do.”
“Not particularly.”
Fer-Shi huffed. “Well, I’ll find something for us, then!” She head off into the kitchen and looked at the snacks that her parents kept. She put some snacks into a bowl and carried them to the table. La-Iin took one almost immediately.
“We need to make good on our promise to go on an adventure,” Fer-Shi said.
“You still remember that? I’ve been meaning to, but I’m lacking ideas. If you have a good one, go ahead and say what it is.”
“I don’t,” Fer-Shi said. “Hey, speaking of adventures, when do you think they’ll do the school trip this year? They usually do it in Spring, right? And Sanyaow and Sherry and…there’s one other, I think, they’re all twelfth graders this year, so we’ll have to go on one soon.”
“Hm.”
Fer-Shi glared. “La-Iin, you’re being boring!”
“And you’re being forceful! Since when did you become this way?”
“I don’t want to see you like this, La-Iin. Sometimes I worry you spend so much of your time focusing on evil and San-Kyung that you end up disliking anything else. You need to clear your head and find something fun to do. We used to play together all the time and now we only play in the recess are!”
“Hm.”
“I’ve got an idea. Come on, I know a place I can show you.”
“I want to eat the rest of the snacks.”
“That can wait! Come on.”
La-Iin sighed. Fer-Shi ignored it and led her out the house. ‘I understand how she’s feeling, though. It’s easy to get caught up in what you want or what you lack. But you need to find a way to enjoy the parts of life that aren’t focused on that, too!’
“Do you know a secret place, Fer-Shi? I didn’t think you had it in you. What sort of secrets are you hiding?”
Fer-Shi dashed over to a bush and blocked La-Iin. “This is a big one. If I’m really gonna show you this secret, you have to promise to keep your mouth shut. If you tell Miss Cahongyun, she might tell my Mom and Dad, and I’d be in a lot of trouble if they found out about this.”
La-Iin smirked. “I hate making promises, but I’ll have to make an exception here. Whatever you’re hiding–” La-Iin tried to glance behind Fer-Shi, but she outstretched her arms to cover the forest behind her. “–has got to be something interesting if you’re going to get in trouble if I tell. Almost makes me tempted to break the promise.”
“Come on, La-Iin! I need a pinky swear.”
“You don’t get a pinky swear from a Vampire. You get a blood pact!”
“B-blood pact!? Well, alright, if you really promise you’ll keep the secret!”
La-Iin’s smirk deepened, and Fer-Shi felt wary as she nicked her finger and La-Iin did likewise. The two pressed the injuries together, then Fer-Shi led the way to Hei-Maj’s small cave.
‘I hope he doesn’t have a bad reaction to La-Iin,’ she thought. ‘If he lashes out at her this could be trouble.’
“My excitement grows with every scrape of my knee, but so does my impatience,” La-Iin said.
“Be quiet! We’re almost there.”
‘I hope he’s not expecting anything from me!’ Fer-Shi pulled herself out from underneath the bushes, only to realize that Hei-Maj was not there. Garbage she was sure he had left behind was lying all around, but he was not there at all.
“Where did he go?”
“Where did who go?” La-Iin asked. Fer-Shi flinched. “Is this the secret? This is a pretty cool hideout, Fer-Shi, and I’m glad you told me about it. Something like this deserves to be kept a secret. Though you leave a lot of garbage here, and it’s pretty close to your neighborhood. If you want to keep a secret this big, you should have made your base further in the forest.”
“This isn’t my base.”
“I should have known when you said ‘where did he go’,” La-Iin said. “So who is he?”
“A friend who lives here,” she said. “He’s kind of, well…homeless. So I take care of him. That’s where all the garbage comes from.”
“You have a hobo slave!?” La-Iin exclaimed. “Now I’m really jealous. Sometimes I think you’re even more evil than me, Fer-Shi. You just haven’t tapped into your full potential yet. That both excites and terrifies me.”
“I’m not evil!” Fer-Shi exclaimed. “And he’s not a hobo slave, he’s my friend!”
“Well, where is he? Did he curl up to die somewhere?”
Fer-Shi shuddered. “Don’t say things like that! He’s probably nearby, and even if he isn’t, well, he has his own problems to deal with, so I’m sure he’s doing, well, something.”
“Hm.”
Fer-Shi hadn’t wanted to venture further into the forest, but La-Iin’s words had worried her. She pushed on, La-Iin close behind her, and began to call for Hei-Maj.
“Hei-Maj? What sort of name is that? That doesn’t sound Vaelis.”
“I don’t know if it is. I don’t know much about Hei-Maj at all. And neither does he. But he’s a good friend of mine.”
“A better friend than me?”
“I only have one best friend, La-Iin, and that’s you. But he is a good friend, and I would like you to meet him. But not to make him a hobo slave, just to meet him!”
“You read my mind, huh.”
“Why do you see people as nothing but potential slaves?”
“I don’t see all people that way. I see San-Kyung as my future husband, and Bes-Isa as a close advisor. My next-door neighbor, Sale-Dessu, I see him as a close and trusted ally.”
“So how come I’m different?” Fer-Shi asked. “I’ve heard you say what a good slave I’ll be someday, but we’re good friends, right? So why am I a slave when other people are more useful to you? Why do they get to assist you in taking over the world? Is it because they’re evil?”
“Sale-Dessu isn’t evil, unfortunately. To get him to help me will be jumping through hoops, but I’ve found my loopholes. And it has nothing to do with not caring about you, Fer-Shi. I just don’t think your influence would be any good to me. Because you’re…well, you’re a goody-goody, you know?”
“Yeah, I know. And because of that, you see me as lesser than you.”
Fer-Shi heard La-Iin’s wings begin to flap. “Fer-Shi, you’re being an idiot! Nobody is as good as me when it comes to being evil. And you never considered the reason why I wanted to make you a slave anyway. It’s because why would you want to help me ruling the world behind the scenes!? Besides, you’d be a trusted slave who I would let take care of my children, although there’s no way I’d let you teach them.”
“Even if you have good intentions…well, for you anyway–it doesn’t change the fact that hearing that your friend wants to make you a slave still hurts.”
“You rejected my earlier positions, which if you ask me were a lot more influential than slave. I think you have potential, Fer-Shi. But until you tap into that, I can’t find a higher position of power for you. It has nothing to do with bias against or for you, otherwise I wouldn’t be planning Sale-Dessu in the position he’s in.”
“Yeah, you say that…” Fer-Shi shook her head. “Why are we even arguing about this? We need to find Hei-Maj, or at least our way back!”
“I like this forest. This Hei-Maj’s guy home or not, it could make for a pretty great base.”
“Do you think about anything that’s not ruling the world?”
La-Iin glared. “I wasn’t thinking about it being a base of operations for my ruling the world plans. I don’t need a place for that yet. I thought it could be a base you and I could use for fun. But apparently, you don’t like that idea.”
That was your plan?” Fer-Shi said. “That’s pretty sweet, La-Iin. Thank you.”
“Huh?”
“I hope Hei-Maj is alright,” she sighed. “But we should get back. My Mom and Dad might get suspicious about what I do when I leave the house suddenly, but I always have you as an excuse. If we’re out when they come back, I think they’ll be pretty…”
Fer-Shi staggered backwards. Her sight had begun to blur slightly and she felt disoriented.
“Fer-Shi? Is something wrong?”
Though she could make out La-Iin’s words, her voice sounded slightly muted. “Uh, yeah, I think so…can you lead the way back, La-Iin? I can barely see…”
“Fer-Shi?”
Fer-Shi wasn’t able to respond past that; she felt too nauseated to. She was aware of someone pulling on her arm and leading her through the forest, but all the colors had begun to blur together, and eventually the greens and browns of the forest covered the purple of La-Iin’s dress and the yellow of her hair and left Fer-Shi in a nauseous daze that made her wish she had never taken La-Iin out to the forest.

—–
“Is Fer-Shi alright?”
“She seems fine,” Den-Matsu said, checking over his daughter. “She doesn’t feel warm or clammy, and her eyes look fine. She doesn’t look injured and I don’t see a rash. So I wonder what happened?”
“Let’s ask her how she feels when she wakes up,” Tei-Sheu said. “Oh, but do you think we should take her to the hospital before then?”
“Maybe we should. Come with us, La-Iin, and we’ll get you home. Don’t worry, we’ll call and tell you how Fer-Shi’s doing.”
“I’m sure by then she’ll be able to tell you herself,” Tei-Sheu said with a smile, though La-Iin noticed a waver in her tone.
‘Mr. and Mrs. Sanhuun probably think something’s badly wrong with Fer-Shi. They probably think she’s going to die or something. I’m smarter than that. Fer-Shi can’t be too sick.’
She glanced back at her friend. ‘Still, what was wrong with her?’

11.496.Attack on Astineth

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 496
“Attack on Astineth”

“So we enact the plan today, Baal-Mist?”
“I wanted to enact it as soon as possible, and waiting a day to enact a plan isn’t all that long to wait. Today we make our move.”
“Aren’t you at all worried about the possibility of retaliation? Let’s say that he really is Sale-Dessu, and that child is his son, created or naturally born. Astineth Eir-Tyuj is an incredibly powerful Witch. Don’t you think it stands to reason that her grandson and great-grandson would be the same?”
“I understand all of your concerns. But I’ve been thinking about our chances lately. We’re taking things fairly slow. I want to figure out what’s going on as soon as possible, even if it means being a little impulsive.”
“I think you’re getting a bit too rash about this though, Baal-Mist. You started off thinking things through more–what happened?”
“Is it really too rash when something that woman did caused me a personal tragedy? Perhaps I’m not thinking things through, but I need answers. If we break into his house, we may find out what we need to. Is he Astineth Sale-Dessu? Is that his son, a stolen child? Was the child perhaps somehow created? If so, how? We Witches and Warlocks possess the same power of V-Puppetry that other non-Normal species do, and we can create various moving things, but how did he make something than can move on its own, or at least, seems to be able to? Why is he meeting up with Astineth Eir-Tyuj regardless of relation?” Baal-Mist grit his teeth. “What are they planning?”
“Baal-Mist…”
“We will exercise utmost caution on this mission of ours. And even should something happen, we have numbers on our side. In the event that he does lash out at us, that is our advantage!”

***

The temperature outside was fairly neutral that day, though Sale-Dessu felt as though he was sweating all over. He glanced around at his neighbors–none of them seemed to be outside at the moment.
“Do I look like a normal kid to you, Father?”
Sale-Dessu was snapped out of his thoughts by Eul-Bok’s voice. As opposed to his usual lighter garb, today he was wearing one that covered all his ball joints. “Um, yes, covered up like that, you do. But we have to be careful. I don’t want to be out for too long just in case.”
“I know you don’t. But you’re the one who said I could use a little sunning, so don’t blame me!” Eul-Bok stretched. “Hey, did I tell you I turned a pile of rocks into crayons the other day? Actual crayons! It was so exciting!”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “Good job, Eul-Bok! You’re improving so fast, it’s startling.”
“Between you, my own practice, and the practice that Grepeta gave me the other day, there’s a lot I understand about using my powers now. I think I really will become better than you someday!”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “I’m glad you have that confidence, Eul-Bok.”
“Well, it’s not because I’m conceited or anything. It’s just, I’m related to two of the greatest powerhouses of the Astineth family! Well, technically, I’m just your V-Puppet, but I forget that sometimes nowadays, you know?”
“Do you remember that you’re only one year old? A one year old Warlock would still be in a crib. You can sleep in your own bed.”
“Yeah, I know. Hey, speaking of, do you think with my powers I could have my very own V-Puppet?”
Sale-Dessu’s eyes widened. “I don’t know.” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “I suppose hypothetically, but you’re still a V-Puppet even in that form. Would it really be possible? Now that’s something I might like to look into, actually.”
“I don’t think I’d want to even if I could. I’m curious to try, but I don’t want to take the risk. I mean, I remember what it was like before I could move my body on my own. And I definitely like now a lot better. If I had a V-Puppet, I’d want him or her to become just like me, but I don’t know if that would be so convenient for you. Besides, I like having this time with just you and me, Father!”
“Thank you, Eul-Bok. I know you said you don’t want to try, but I think you would make a very good–”
Sale-Dessu flinched at the sight of a group of people walking down the street.
“This is inconvenient,” one of them said. “If you hadn’t forgotten the exact location we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“We were rushing that last time, though,” another said. “I was so scared I didn’t have time to think about where we were.”
Sale-Dessu froze in place. The group, two Witches and three Warlocks, were on the same sidewalk he and Eul-Bok were, and heading in the direction of his house. There didn’t seem to be any way he could make it back without being spotted by them.
‘Eul-Bok is covered, though. But they’re Witches and Warlocks too…’
Nervous about the possibility of being spotted, he grabbed Eul-Bok’s hand and walked slowly back towards his house, his eye on the newcomers ahead of him. He was grateful to Eul-Bok for staying silent.
He froze back in place when the group turned around. At the front of the group, a white-garbed Warlock began to smirk.
“Well, what do we have here,” he said quietly. “Be on guard. There’s no guarantees as to what he might do.”
Sale-Dessu’s mind drew a blank before spiraling into fearful imaginations. ‘Do they know me? Are these the same kinds of people who followed Apeta around!? No, they couldn’t be! There’s no way they could know where I live now!’
“What do we do? He’s making no move,” one whispered.
“Wait and see. There isn’t anything we can do right now.”
Beside him, Eul-Bok looked up, his expression one of confusion and concern.
“Father, what’s going on?”
“Quiet, Eul-Bok!” He snapped. Eul-Bok backed away.
“Oh, this seems like it’ll be even more of a lucky day than I thought!”
The assailants each reached for their wands. Sale-Dessu reacted before they could, grabbing his wand and blasting them with a dazzling light. He grabbed Eul-Bok and glanced around wildly, searching for someplace to hide him.
“Father, what’s–”
“Stay as quiet as possible and don’t move at all,” he whispered. “Prepare your wand just in case.”
“Father–”
Sale-Dessu covered his mouth. ‘I need to think calmly. I can’t take him back home or else they’ll know exactly where I live. And if I react wildly, they’ll overpower me. What would my Apeta do!? What did she do in the past? Think, Sale-Dessu!’
“Catch him while his guard’s down!” The white-garbed Warlock yelled, rubbing at his eyes. The other assailants still seemed stunned, but two of them had come to action. Sale-Dessu flashed the beam of light at them again just as an idea came to mind.
‘When that Witch assaulted my Mamun, Apeta put her under mind control. But I don’t have the time to do that! That group won’t stay stunned for long. I need a quicker solution!’
Sale-Dessu swallowed hard. He tried to think back to the offensive spells he had been taught by his grandmother and retaliated against the assailants with rapid beams of light and dizzying spells. Two fell to the ground, holding their heads, while the others staggered on their feet, looking disoriented. Sale-Dessu tried to think on another spell he could use, oblivious to the white-garbed Warlock’s recovery.
“That won’t work forever, Warlock!” The white-garbed Warlock yelled. He fired a stun shot at Sale-Dessu and sent him falling to the ground, his mind whirling and his thoughts in a panicked frenzy as he looked up at his assailant.
“This is perfect. Going better than I thought. But, no need to waste time with wasting breath.” He pointed his wand in Sale-Dessu’s direction, a confident smirk on his face.
Before he could fire his intended spell, Sale-Dessu finished his canting of a spell. The spell wasn’t having exactly his intended effect, but it was working well enough–the white-garbed Warlock had been brought to his knees, cringing in pain. It gave Sale-Dessu enough of a timeframe to recover and hit him with another dizzying spell. The Warlock gasped in pain and held tight to his knees.
Sale-Dessu gasped and began to look for Eul-Bok, fearing the worst, and was surprised to see him standing in front of the other assailants, who had collapsed to the ground and had begun to groan.
“Di–did you do that?”
“I did, Father! I wasn’t going to let you get taken down by these people ’cause you were panicking. Besides, I had to do something.”
Sale-Dessu bit his lip. “I’m sorry I wasn’t more help…”
“Don’t be. The only reason I was able to take care of those others is because I was studying an experiment you did last year. I had no guarantee it would work. I guess that was pretty reckless of me.”
Eul-Bok’s expression became serious. He pulled Sale-Dessu a distance away from the dazed assailants. “Father, this isn’t a permanent solution. Who knows what these people want? If they’re desperate enough and really powerful, they’re going to come back to this neighborhood sooner or later. So you and I need to figure out what to do about them.”
Sale-Dessu noticed the white-garbed Warlock reaching for his wand. “You’re right, Eul-Bok. We need to hurry and come up with a solution. But give me a moment.” Sale-Dessu grabbed the wand away from the white-garbed Warlock, then cast his spell again. The Warlock doubled over in pain, his eyes glazing.
“Is he going to be alright, Father?”
“He’ll be fine…” Sale-Dessu trailed off as he glanced back at the Warlock. Tears began to stream down his face.
“Father!?”
“We’re going to have to leave this place, aren’t we? They probably know we live in this neighborhood now. How much longer will it be until they figure out which house we live in?”
“But where would we live if we leave here? Father, there has to be something we can do!”
Sale-Dessu didn’t respond. Eul-Bok growled. “If you won’t handle the situation, then I will! We are powerful, Father. There has to be a memory loss spell we can use on them.”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “Eul-Bok, something on that scale would wipe someone’s entire memory!”
“Well, there has to be something we can do! You told me about mind control–do you know how to do it? If you do, we can keep them under control until we figure out how to handle this situation.”
“I–I do, but…”
“You have to, Father. It’s our best shot!”
Sale-Dessu nodded. ‘I have the chance to think things through now. If I can keep them under mind control, not only could I deal with them, but I could visit Apeta for help.’
“Hurry!”
Sale-Dessu nodded and walked over to each of the assailants, placing a hand on their heads. Eul-Bok watched on in awe as Sale-Dessu began to chant a spell under his breath for each one. Once the spell was finished, cautiously, he commanded one of the assailants to move.
The white-garbed Warlock moved his arm.
“As soon as we’re done with these five, we need to talk to Apeta,” Sale-Dessu said. Eul-Bok nodded.

—–
“I can’t believe this has happened to you, Sale-Dessu,” Eir-Tyuj sighed. “What did you do to get yourself in such a situation?”
“That’s just the issue, Apeta! If they weren’t Witches and Warlocks, I might think there was something else going on, but I can’t help but wonder if these are the same types of people. But I don’t know what to do! You said people know your identity in this neighborhood, didn’t you? I can’t stay here either!”
“It’s simply not feasible. And you are right in your assumption that memory erasure spells erase all of one’s memory. Not even I was able to find a way to perfect them to a point where they discarded of a particular one, partially because you cannot figure out exactly how a given person remembers a memory.”
“What do I do, Apeta? I barely have any vuyong on my person. I paid off my house! I’ve been living there for years! It was all so perfect!”
“There’s got to be something we can do to keep on living there!”
“You two sure are desperate, aren’t you? And I can understand why. But remember, they don’t know which house you live in, do they? I can provide you with a cover plan, but believe me when I say your best plan of action would be to eventually find a new residence if this keeps up.”
“I…I understand, Apeta.”
“There are security spells that exist, those of which that I used on my house. These will protect you from some of their attacks. I’d also advise that you begin living pseudonymously from here on out. If you change your appearance and assume new names, after a period of time they may believe you do not actually live in the neighborhood. But remember, they too are Witches and Warlocks–you will have to exercise utmost caution when it comes to doing this. The plan could fall through. Continue on like that until you dissuade them or you can find a new place to live–a safer place.”
“I…I understand, Apeta.”
“If you need my help, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“That will only prove our relation, Apeta.”
“You have a point. But Sale-Dessu, this is your only shot. Do what you can to avoid provoking these intruders any further. Who knows? Perhaps you will be lucky and your pseudonymous identity will help you keep that house. But never let down your guard.”
Eir-Tyuj went on about further details, but Sale-Dessu barely heard them. ‘This is all my fault. I had to pick today to go out with Eul-Bok, and now we’re in this situation. I had a decade and so of freedom. I thought I was finally free of everything that happened. But every time I think life is going right, something like this happens. There’s no escape for me, is there? So long as I’m an Astineth, they’ll always be after me.’
He glanced at Eul-Bok. ‘And if I keep him an Astineth, they’ll be after him, too.’