6.644.Backlash

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 644
“Backlash”

Students walking to school on Tuesday were quick to notice that Dosa-Mina was, as yesterday, assuming his Werewolf-Siren form.
He was ahead of most of the crowd, talking quietly with San-Kyung. To some he looked slightly happier than yesterday; others thought his smile seemed fake.
Lirako in particular kept a close eye on him. ‘Wow. I expected a big reaction out of him, but this has just been weird. First he stops coming to school, then he’s all depressed, and now he’s coming here in his true form. Which is pretty weird…I wonder what changed? It all seems kinda drastic.’
As much as Lirako wanted to approach him and ask him about it, she knew it wouldn’t work. Even if the school wasn’t actively preventing her from talking to him, he would have never told her.

After the first class, Lirako found herself quickly becoming bored just waiting for math class to start. Noticing that Deki-Tyunri didn’t appear to be talking to anyone nor doing anything, she decided to talk to him.
“Hey, Deki-Tyunri!”
Deki-Tyunri said nothing.
“Don’t give me the cold shoulder, Deks.”
“I don’t have a shoulder.”
“Aw, come on.” Lirako stood in front of his desk. “I know we haven’t been talking as much recently, but we’ve been friends for ages. Me having to sit away from you shouldn’t change that.”
Lirako flinched when she noticed the expression on Deki-Tyunri’s face. He looked quite angry.
“Deks?”
“Lirako, I don’t think our friendship is going to be broken by you not talking to me, or even by what I’m mad at you for. But…I just don’t want to talk to you right now!”
“Why not!?”
“Don’t you realize what you did!? Even if Dslellular is okay with it now, you revealed his species to the class against his will. And he was clearly very upset when you did. There must have been a good reason he was keeping it a secret.”
“How do you know!? Do you have any guarantee that it was for a good reason?”
“No, but do you have any guarantee it was for a pointless reason?”
“Er…”
“What you did wasn’t right, Lirako, and it made me really disappointed in you. I just…I need time to calm down before we talk to each other again.”
“I–”
“Sorry, Sanyaow, but I’d have to agree,” Xhen-Bei said. “I don’t think Dslellular should have hid his species either, but you went about it wrong. So I think you should just let Elyshen cool out for now.”
“Is everyone mad at me for this?”
Many of the students began to look uncomfortable.
“It sounded like there was blackmail involved. It’s definitely changed my perception of you,” Mi-Kou said.
“I think it’s awfully immature what you did, even though I cannot understand why someone would hide their species like that,” Ai-Reia said.
“I don’t understand the whole situation, but you hadn’t been treating Dslellular well for a while before that. You should have tried to reason with him to explain it instead of do what you did, that’s what I think,” Song-Jpinne said.
Lirako was dumbfounded. She folded her ears to her head. Out the corner of her eye, she noticed San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina were staring her way.
Only briefly, she caught a glimpse of them wearing satisfied smiles.

***

“Llanni, can I talk to you before we get to biology?”
“Sure.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” Lirako sighed. “I really thought you weren’t gonna talk to me.”
“Hey, I’d, like, have no right to avoid you. I was in on it too. But people usually don’t talk to me, so I haven’t noticed anything different.”
Lirako scratched her face. “Let’s talk away from the crowd.”
The two girls head outside. Airy-Aekok peeked into an open faculty door on their way out.
“I just don’t get it! I know I wasn’t that nice to Dosa-Mina before, but he wasn’t nice to me either! And it’s not like I revealed some sort of horribly embarrassing secret about him. It’s his species! Sooner or later someone would’ve found out. I bet San-Kyung already knew!”
“I think we can pretty much guarantee that,” Airy-Aekok said.
“And it’s not even the most uncommon species in the world! Both those species happen more often with Normal, and yeah, it is kind of weird that he’s a male half-Siren. But isn’t that infamous kid in Class B one too?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Lirako sighed. “I guess you wouldn’t…but yeah! It’s not like he’s a Werewolf-Lizardfoot or something like that! He’s not a Tribreed! His species may not be a Cahongyun, but it certainly isn’t a Ferister!”
Airy-Aekok smirked.
“So–so what am I gonna do? I know I’m being selfish here, but I don’t wanna lose my friends! Deki-Tyunri is one thing. I believe him when he says that we’ll probably stay friends even if he’s mad at me right now. But what about everyone else? They’re just school friends!”
Lirako sobbed. “If I had known this was gonna happen, I would have never opened my big mouth!”
“Me too.”
Lirako focused on Airy-Aekok. “In fact, I’m gonna, like, tell you a secret, Lirako. Well, it’s not much of a secret, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I was startin’ to think this was a mistake as soon as Dosa-Mina found out we knew. He seemed really upset.”
“He did,” Lirako sighed.
“But instead of thinking about it, we got caught up in the excitement of the secret. It’s both of our faults. You wanted to find this out so badly, you were doing everything to, like, figure it out. I actually went lookin’ for it. And then we told him. And then the school. We just kept messin’ up. And then after we told him, I didn’t tell you I thought it was a bad idea. But yanno, maybe it would’ve been too late by then too.”
“Why?”
“Then he’d be all upset! Wonderin’ when we might, like, tell the whole school what he really is…but it wasn’t our business, Lirako. We should’ve just left him alone. For his sake and ours.”
Lirako sighed. “But what the other students don’t seem to get is, maybe it is a good thing we said it. I know I was mean to him and sure, he was really upset at first, but now look at him. He came here yesterday and today in his true form like he’s proud of it, and even though he cried yesterday it didn’t seem like he was really breaking down.”
“I dunno about that.”
Lirako sighed. “You’re right. There’s no way we can make an excuse for this. I’ll just have to face it: we f@%ked up. And now nobody wants to have anything to do with me.”
“That isn’t true, Lirako! I’ll talk to you at least. I messed up too. We’ll have each other while you’re waitin’ for the school to stop bein’ mad at you.”
“Thanks, Llanni. But what if after all this, I’m not popular anymore? I like having all those friends and that attention. If I messed up in Grade 12 there’s no going back!”
“I’ll teach ya how to deal with that.”
Lirako blinked. “How are you taking this so easily?”
“I dunno. But I think it’s the way we should go about this. I mean after all, Dosa-Mina was all upset when his species was found out and like you said, now he seems happy. So maybe we should just take this as a lesson.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Or we could apologize.”
Lirako’s eyes widened. “I think I’ll leave it at lesson. As much as I would like everyone to forgive me, I can’t apologize to him. I feel bad, but not because of him. I still can’t stand him.”
“Oh, Sanyaow.” Airy-Aekok shook her head. “Maybe we should go back inside. It’s probably almost biology.”
“Yeah.”
As the two girls walked back inside, Airy-Aekok said, “Hey, if we’re gonna talk, it’s okay to call me Airy-Aekok. My Dad is called Officer Llanni so it’s like, kinda weird bein’ called Llanni.”
“Alright. Then I guess you can call me Sanyaow.”
“Cool!”
Lirako chuckled.

—–
After classes that day, Lirako sighed.
“I can’t believe a thirteen year old is more mature than me. I need to work on my maturity.”
“I’m fourteen now, Lirako.”
“What!? Since when!?”
“Since Saturday.”
“Really?”
Airy-Aekok nodded.
“Well…that doesn’t change anything! I can’t believe someone younger than me is more mature than me. Or, rather, that you are. After what you did earlier this year…no offense, of course.”
“Don’t worry. I’m just tryin’ to learn lessons from what I do. That incident was the start of it all. So I’m glad you notice my efforts!”
“Heh, you could definitely give me a few pointers, then.”
Deki-Tyunri, who had overheard the girls’ conversation, smiled from his seat. ‘I know you’re not a bad person, Lirako. I would agree you need to work on your maturity, though…’

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22.630.The Reveal

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 630
“The Reveal”

‘Shit shit shit!’
Lirako had arrived at school late that day. After a health emergency at home–which turned out to be a false alarm–getting to school was the last thing on her mind. But if she was not going to the hospital, there was no excuse to not be going to school, and now that she was in Grade 12 she didn’t plan on missing school.
When she arrived in Class D, all the other students were already there, including Deki-Tyunri, who she took her seat next to. She was quick to notice that his head was bowed.
“Yo, Deks, what’s wrong?”
“No…nothing,” he sighed.
“How long do you think I’ve known you? I know something’s wrong. Tell me what’s up! Were you lonely for me?”
“I was…but…that’s not the problem.”
“So there is something wrong.”
Deki-Tyunri sighed once more. “It’s a ridiculous problem, though.”
“What’s wrong?”
“…” He glanced at San-Kyung. “…I just wish I could get over Molshei already, that’s all. I know it will never happen. He hates everyone who’s not Dslellular. I don’t even know if he loves his own parents. I don’t know how Dslellular got into his heart, but I really doubt I have what he does. We’re far too different in personality. And he’s neutral, isn’t he?”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“I thought you would since you bother him often. But neutral is probably better to someone who’s evil than good is. And since our morals don’t align, even if I did get what I want, would it even matter? They say couples with differing morals have a lot of problems.”
Deki-Tyunri looked genuinely upset. Seeing his expression broke her heart.
‘But what could I do to help him there? I’ve gone up to San-Kyung before. He’s rough stuff. I don’t know how Dslellular puts up with him. …but then, I don’t know how he puts up with Dslellular, either.’
Just as she was about to let out a sigh of her own, an idea popped into her head. ‘Or maybe there’s a little something I can do to nudge them in the right direction…’

***

Lirako waited until the break time before Science class to enact her plan. She could remember La-Iin intervening in a past altercation she had had with both him and Dosa-Mina, and considering that her plan dealt with trying to get San-Kyung to take romantic interest in someone, she had a feeling it was the best course of action.
So once La-Iin left the classroom, she walked over to San-Kyung.
“Yo.”
San-Kyung glared at her. To Lirako, the glare looked far more malicious than usual.
“Don’t talk to me, Catori. It’s September. It might not be October yet, but you’ll still regret speaking to me.”
“C’mon.” She sat on his desk. “Besides, it’s not me I want to talk about. It’s someone else.”
Lirako noticed that Dosa-Mina was also glaring at her, but his expression seemed uncertain as opposed to San-Kyung’s.
“You know my friend, Elyshen Deki-Tyunri?”
“I don’t care.”
“Lirako…!” Deki-Tyunri’s wings had started to unfold. Lirako winked at Deki-Tyunri, but he still looked flustered and upset.
“Don’t just shut me down. Look, he’s a nice kid. I think you and him could probably be good friends if you’d open up.”
“No.”
Lirako sighed. “Yet you’ll be friends with Dslellular?”
“My life is none of your business. Now back off unless you want to be someone’s meal.”
“I kind of don’t want to. But I’m not going to back off either.” She hopped off the desk and put her face close to San-Kyung’s.
“You know I know, right?”
“Know what?”
“Dosa-Mina’s species.”
San-Kyung’s eyes twitched. Lirako could tell that he was trying to hold a straight face.
“Everyone does.”
“Really? I thought it was a well-kept secret.”
“He’s very blatantly a Normal.”
“Trying to cover for him, eh?”
“Catori, I think I know what you’re getting at. Cut it out. I’m more than willing to lie to you and I’m telling you the truth here. So back off.”
“How am I supposed to believe you, then?”
“San-Kyung, please!” Dosa-Mina said.
San-Kyung glanced at him. “Just get away from me.”
“Oh, alright. If you’re so certain that Dosa-Mina is a Normal, I guess I’ll just tell the class what I suspect, then.”
Students nearby started to turn in their direction. Dosa-Mina’s eyes widened.
“San-Kyung–!”
San-Kyung grit his teeth. He seemed to be having a crisis.
Lirako was more than ready to continue on with her current line, until she caught sight of Deki-Tyunri out the corner of her eye. He was obviously quite upset.
‘Damn, if Deki-Tyunri finds out I’m trying to blackmail San-Kyung into liking him, he’ll probably be furious with me.’ Lirako’s ears flattened to her head. ‘I’d love to see them squirm more, but I think I’ll have to let it go.’
“Ah, well, it’s just a rumor anyway. Stirring up class would be a little more fun if everyone was here. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything.”
Finally.” San-Kyung sounded genuinely relieved.
Lirako turned to head back to her seat. She could already see that Deki-Tyunri was obviously less than pleased by what she had done. ‘That was a mistake. I should’ve known it’d make him mad…’
“…I should have known that bitch wouldn’t leave me alone…”
It was said so quietly, obviously intended for only one person to hear–but Lirako had picked up on it quite easily.
And she was pissed.
She turned around, stared down Dosa-Mina, and yelled at the top of her lungs,
“Says you, Weresiren!!
Dosa-Mina gaped. San-Kyung arguably looked even more surprised than he did.
“Weresiren?” Xhen-Bei said.
“Weresiren?” Zae-Mia said.
“As in, a Werewolf-Siren?” Ai-Reia asked. “Sanyaow, what are you doing calling him that for?”
“This guy always had us believing he was a Normal. But the truth is, what I called him is what he is. If you don’t believe me, you’re always welcome to go and talk to his parents about it.”
“How do you know that for sure?” Xhen-Bei sounded as if he didn’t believe her. “I mean, like, did he tell you or something?”
“I have irrefutable proof. And their expressions should say more than I ever could.”
Dosa-Mina covered his mouth and San-Kyung began to try and look stoic.
“So? What say you, students of Class D? Feel free to ask him to jump as high as he can or sing for you. I can assure you he’ll do neither.”
“But…how can that be? Wouldn’t we know if he was a Werewolf-Siren?” Zae-Mia said.
“Yeah! And why would he hide something like that?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Unless he’s like Dereni and he wants to cannibalize us,” Shan-Zetsu said, his expression one of fury.
“Well, Dosa-Mina? What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I…I’m a Normal…she’s just lying because I wouldn’t sing for her.”
“Does choking really help your situation?”
“Lirako!” Deki-Tyunri exclaimed. “Normal or Werewolf-Siren, why are you bothering him?”
“Because this jerk and I had a promise. I’d keep his secret in exchange for him not badmouthing me. And I don’t know if you heard it, but we Catoris can pick up on things even like whispered bitches. If you want proof, ask Llanni.”
Students turned to see Airy-Aekok.
“U-uh, um…like, I guess I could show you proof, yeah…”
“But are we sure that it’s concrete proof? Sanyaow and Llanni’s claims alone cannot just make us believe that that is the truth. Refusing to sing is suspicious, but there is nothing in his appearance that indicates he is anything other than Normal.”
“Have you ever heard of the Dereni brothers, Vampiris?” Cae-Bougen asked. “The younger brother attends this school right now, disguised as a Normal. I don’t know if I believe this claim, but it’s certainly possible…”
“Well, I know that, but–”
“Stop.”
The students turned to Dosa-Mina.
Dosa-Mina had had enough of their debating by now. He already knew there was no getting out of this one. It was a fight that had been lost the moment Lirako found out. Inevitably something was going to happen. A school event or something of the such. He could already imagine, his mother arriving disguised as a Normal, his father wearing several cloaks–and Lirako pulling off those cloaks, or another curious student reaching under them and feeling fur.
Even if Airy-Aekok was bluffing and she didn’t have any proof, sooner or later they would find out, and if he kept retaliating at this point, they were going to be even more curious when the truth came out. He was so close to leaving school without it ever being found out.
But that was just a dead pipe dream now.
“…Lirako, I understand our deal, but when I said that I wasn’t talking to you.”
“So? I heard it anyway.”
“Dslellular, does this mean that Sanyaow’s words are true? Are you a Werewolf-Siren?”
Dosa-Mina lowered his head. “I give up. I’m not going to deny it anymore. Sooner or later one of you is going to get too curious for your own good and go prying into my business. So there. Now you know. Now leave me alone.”
The classroom erupted into conversation instead. Dosa-Mina cringed.
“Why did you tell them!?” San-Kyung whispered.
“There’s no point in hiding it anymore, San-Kyung. It was a losing battle. I weighed my options and this was the situation with the more favorable outcome. Besides, if she really does have proof, I’m screwed either way.”
“Dosa-Mina…”
“There’s no out,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve been on a downward spiral for a long while now. Everything’s going to come out about me. Soon enough there won’t be any secrets I can hide anymore.”
Tears rolled down his face. “Nothing…”

—–
“La-Iin, did you hear!?”
“Hear what?”
“Apparently, Dosa-Mina’s a Werewolf-Siren!”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. “How do you know that?”
“H-huh? You already knew?”
“Isn’t that obvious? But how do you know?”
“He just told the whole class!”
“Why would he do that?”
“I don’t know!”
La-Iin huffed. “Something seems off…”

12.620.Catastrophic Coincidences

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 620
“Catastrophic Coincidences”

The last class had just ended, and students were heading out of the classroom fairly quickly. Most who hadn’t were getting ready to, all except for Lirako. After talking with Deki-Tyunri for a bit, she head over to Airy-Aekok’s seat.
“Hey, Llanni, you like pumpkins?”
“Yeah, they’re like, super tasty! My dad can usually only get some ’round this time of year. Ooh, now I’ve got a taste for one!”
San-Kyung covered his ears.
“There’s a certain point where you can tell if someone’s saying something to talk about it, and when someone’s saying it to get a reaction,” Dosa-Mina said. Lirako turned to face him.
“Hey, don’t butt in on our conversation.”
“I wasn’t. Everyone in the classroom can tell that you’re just saying that to get attention.”
Most remaining students started to pack up faster, except for Fei-Zhust and Shan-Zetsu, who were morbidly curious to see how things turned out.
“So I can’t just have a conversation with Llanni about pumpkins?”
Dosa-Mina glared at her. “Seeing San-Kyung squirm is just a nice side-effect of these conversations. I actually was curious about her opinion on pumpkins!”
“Hmph.” Dosa-Mina put away the rest of his supplies and stood up. Lirako relaxed on Airy-Aekok’s desk.
“You know, for someone who presents himself as so tough, he’s such a pussy when it comes to eating pumpkins.”
Lirako’s eyes widened and she giggled.
“What’s so funny about that?”
“No, it’s not that, just a joke I wanted to make…you know how when people die, we just bury their bodies? Well, with an Animated Pumpkin, we could mourn them and then make their body into all sorts of tasty treats! It sure would be sad, but then we’d always have a part of them with us!”
Airy-Aekok began to giggle.
“Just imagine, San-Kyung pumpkin pie!” Lirako chortled.
Lirako was so caught up in her laughter, she didn’t notice that Dosa-Mina had approached her. She only noticed when she felt a hand smack her right in the face.
“Now I know you’re just doing it on purpose.”
“What the…that was uncalled for!”
“If it makes you shut up, I don’t care.” He then walked out of the classroom, San-Kyung behind him. Lirako rubbed her cheek.
“You alright?”
“Physically, yeah. But emotionally, I’m pissed!”

‘It’s so nice to just take a walk sometimes!’
Dosa-Mina had been having a boring day. Both his parents had been called in to work to cover for someone, and his two closest friends San-Kyung and Sirlie-Baecho were unavailable. He had tried to do some species study, but found himself bored by either things he already knew well, or that he didn’t understand to the point that it nearly gave him a headache.
So instead, he decided to take a walk, and only a little bit into it he felt like all his cares were melting away. There was no concern of Operation Reboot, no concern of La-Iin or Lirako or Airy-Aekok, no concern of his cuts or nightmares or species or any such thing that caused him agony to think about. Instead, he could just walk and sight-see around Bledger.
It was a liberating experience.

“What’d you want me to come out with you for, Llanni?”
“Like, I just thought it’d be fun to hang out, Sanyaow. And maybe it’d cheer you up after yesterday. I know you’ve got, like, lots of other things you could be doing, but my Dad has work tonight so like, I just–”
“I get it, I get it, you don’t have to keep saying ‘like’,” Lirako chuckled. “I like spending time with my friends, so don’t worry about it.”
“Yeah, so I like, figured I’d take you to one of my favorite areas! Downtown has this huge place where they have a ton of musical stuff, and some of my favorite groups they have merchandise for! I have a little vuyong so I thought it’d be fun!”
“I don’t really pay attention to groups much anymore, but it might be nice, if I knew what their music sounded like.”
“I can give you some ideas. One of my favorite groups has a song that goes like this: hmm-hmm-hmm hmm-hmm-hmm hmm hmm hmm….
“I…see.” ‘She sure can chat. Poor girl’s probably lonely. Well, I’m sure this’ll be a fun outing!’
Airy-Aekok led the way to the part of downtown that had the musical merchandise. Once they reached it, Airy-Aekok gasped and ran ahead of her.
“Oh my goooosh! They have my favorite one here! This is the one! This is the one I was singin’ for you just now!”
“Really? Hm, The Multispecies Melody…
“Yeah, they like, called it that ’cause the members just happened to all be different species, but they sing sooo good. I can only imagine that’s what Sirens sound like!”
Lirako giggled. “You think Dosa-Mina sounds like that?”
“How would I know? But I bet he doesn’t sound as good as they do!”
“Probably not as good as a Pureblood Siren either!”
The two giggled before Airy-Aekok showed Lirako the songs on the CD and pointed out her favorites.

***

Unfortunately, at around that time, someone else had entered the area.
Wandering into that part of downtown had been completely arbitrary–he was just walking anywhere he recognized. Downtown was close by, and so he head over there. He was thinking of visiting the stall plaza when he overheard voices–familiar voices.
It wasn’t the voices that bothered him, though. It was what they said.
‘There’s no way they could actually know that!’ He thought. ‘Almost nobody in Bledger knows about my true species, and I’m pretty sure I’d know if someone I know told somebody else! Who would even care to do that!? No, it’s got to be a coincidence.’
He wanted to confront them, to ask them how they could have possibly come to that conclusion, but he felt that if he did that, they would only have their theory confirmed–if it was a theory at all.
“So like yeah, this is by far my favorite song by them. I’d totally recommend this CD.”
“Maybe I’ll look into it, then.”
When Lirako looked up, she caught sight of Dosa-Mina, standing there with his head bowed.
“Hey, look who it is!”
Dosa-Mina flinched. There seemed to be only one option for him right then–run away and pretend he had never heard them. So he dashed off, starting slow at first and hoping they didn’t notice.
“Hey, he ran away!”
“I wonder why? …hey, wait a second…”
“What’s up?”
“Do you think he heard the joke we made about him?” She asked.
“What joke?”
“You know, the thing about him not sounding as good as a Pureblood Siren?”
“Maybe he just didn’t wanna, like, see us…”
“I wonder…maybe we should follow him.”
“Huh?”
“Come on!”

The rest of the walk was agony after what he had heard.
All it brought back were memories of the prior semester, the suspicions Airy-Aekok and Lirako had had that they voiced in front of the whole class. He could definitely tell that a few of his classmates had given the possibility some thought.
‘But they couldn’t know. And they only suspected the Siren part. Male Sirens are rare. It’s not all that far-fetched to think that they might just be continuing on with that assumption and coming to the natural conclusion that I’m only half-Siren. It’s the correct conclusion, but it’s still just their conjecture…and there’s no way they could know. They don’t know where I live, and my species is only in sensitive documents. It should be, anyway…’
Dosa-Mina sighed. ‘I need to stop panicking! There’s no way they could know for sure!’
He picked up his pace. Some distance behind him was Lirako and Airy-Aekok, their eyes focused in his direction.
“What’d you wanna follow him for?” Airy-Aekok whispered.
“We know the truth now, Llanni. Why not tell him?”
“Huh? Why?”
“I’d love to see his reaction, that’s why. And I’d also like to see if he fights back…besides, did we ever agree on keeping it our secret alone forever?”
Dosa-Mina glanced back at them. He hadn’t noticed they were following him until he heard their voices, but what they said made him more uncomfortable than he already was.
‘Calm down! It’s their stupid conclusion. You have no reason to be afraid.’
Dosa-Mina continued onwards, not once looking back–at least not until a paw tapped him on the back.
“Huh?” He decided to play dumb. “…oh. It’s you.” He pushed her paw away and continued to walk on.
“You sure about this, Sanyaow?” He heard Airy-Aekok ask.
“Yeah, I’m sure. And after yesterday, now’s as good a time as ever. Maybe even better than that.”
Lirako took a deep breath. “HEY! WERESIREN!”
Dosa-Mina flinched. ‘There’s no way…’
Lirako ran over to him, Airy-Aekok right behind her.
“We know already.”
“Know what? The obvious? That I’m a Normal?”
Lirako shook her head. “And if you’re jumping to defend your species, that means you already know, too.”
“I figure I know what Weresiren is supposed to mean,” he said. “Stop accusing me of being something I’m not.”
“Ooh, he’s fighting,” Lirako said.
Dosa-Mina grit his teeth. “Just stop, okay? I don’t need you spreading rumors about me being something I’m not. Especially since people tend to be wary around Sirens.”
“Nobody’s wary around Melongie,” Airy-Aekok said. “And she’s, like, a Pureblood. Sanyaow just called you a half-Siren.”
“Besides, you might say that, but some people are more “adventurous” than us. Are you sure spreading ‘rumors’ would make people believe something untrue, or is it possible they’d find out without a doubt?”
“It’s not true!”
Lirako sighed. “Your jumping. You not wanting to sing. Your strength. All those things align with Werewolf-Siren. So does you being able to transform into a Normal. And yellow is an unusual eye color for a Normal. Not so much for a Werewolf.”
“It doesn’t matter what you say. It’s not true.”
“Dslellular, we like, saw an official document that had your species on it.”
“All my official documents say Normal!”
“The one at school says N/A. And the one Llanni saw said differently.”
“You know other people are named Dosa-Mina, right?”
“I’m pretty sure you’re the only Dslellular Dosa-Mina in Bledger.”
“I haven’t been keeping in touch with my Dad’s side of the family.”
Lirako’s eyes widened and her ears twitched. “That’s it!”
“What’s it?”
Lirako smirked. “Hey, Dosa-Mina. If you’re so adamant on being a Normal, then it doesn’t matter if I tell everyone at school my suspicions, does it? After all, even if they go to see your parents, they won’t see a Werewolf and a Siren.”
“Or two Werewolf-Sirens,” Airy-Aekok added.
“They’ll instead see two Normals and then my theory will be proven wrong. Isn’t that right? So don’t worry. Nobody’ll believe me. It’ll just be like every other false rumor that ever–”
“Stop!”
Dosa-Mina lowered his head. He felt backed into a corner. Now it was obvious he couldn’t escape this–even if he ran now, that might only encourage her more.
There was only one option left to him to reduce the damage as much as possible.
“Please don’t tell anyone what you know,” he said. “Please…”
“So it’s true?”
Dosa-Mina didn’t respond.
“Alright, we won’t. Right, Llanni?”
“I won’t, like, ever unless you let me.”
“But in exchange you have to promise you won’t mess up. By that I mean don’t screw up and make me want to tell everyone, and you’re good.”
Dosa-Mina looked up at her. “…you really are a bitch.”
“If you don’t want all of Malicerie calling you Weresiren, then you’re not gonna call me a bitch ever again. We have a deal, so long as you behave.”

—–
“Hey, Sanyaow…”
“Yeah?”
“Don’t you think it was a little, like, excessive what you did?”
“What, am I supposed to just take him calling me a bitch?”
“No, I just didn’t think you were really all that nice to him.”
“He hasn’t been nice to me either.”
“I guess…”
“I don’t intend on suppressing him, only keeping him from being mean to you and me. That’s all.”
“If you say so.”

“Hey, Dosa-Mina! Where were–huh?” Orlin-Aesth sighed. “What’s gotten into him?”
Dosa-Mina ran into his room, all intents to call San-Kyung and tell him what had happened. He picked up the phone, he dialed his number, and waited for him to pick up.
“What’s up, Dosa-Mina?”
But when he heard his voice, he couldn’t bring himself to say it.
“…it’s nothing.” Before he could respond, Dosa-Mina hung up. He felt like he was choking up. Today had already been bad enough, and he definitely did not want to cry to San-Kyung over the phone.

9.617.The Flaws in His Evil

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 617
“The Flaws in His Evil”

“You know, October’s right around the corner!” Lirako said cheerfully.
“It’ll be great to have cooler weather again,” Deki-Tyunri replied.
“Yup! But not only that, it’ll be great to eat specialized, imported pumpkin product again!” San-Kyung glanced in her direction. “Ah, the Manemicans were smart when they came up with fall pumpkin goodies. I’m glad they came to Vaelyn.”
“Lirako…are you saying this because you’re looking forward to eating pumpkin, or are you just saying it to pick on San-Kyung?”
“Can’t it be both?” She said cheerfully. San-Kyung groaned.
“But seriously. The kid calls himself evil and he can’t even stand the idea of eating a pumpkin from the ground. It doesn’t make sense to me.” Noticing the expression on Deki-Tyunri’s face, she added, “Well, um, not that it needs to!”
“La-Iin, is something wrong? You look kind of distracted.”
“Nothing’s wrong. Not for me anyway. But I was getting an idea.”
“What kind of idea?”
“A San-Kyung idea,” she said. Fer-Shi paled. “O-oh…well, um, good luck with that, then.”

***

Since San-Kyung had to attend every class–and from prior experience, La-Iin knew he didn’t like to break that–La-Iin decided that the best time for her plan would have to be after school had ended. Still, she couldn’t help from dropping hints to San-Kyung in between classes, even during the break times before classes she didn’t attend. Then, she would always run off just before the teacher entered the classroom.
“San-Kyung, why put up with what stupid Sanyaow says? I would burn her to crisp if I were you.”
“As much as I’d love to, I’d rather not get in trouble bad enough that people would call the police.”
“Hm…”
“What are you looking at me like that for?”
“Oh, no particular reason,” she said nonchalantly. “Anyway, I was going to ask you if you would hear me out on something after school today.”
“Is that why you keep coming by?”
“Yes. It’s incredibly important and if you don’t listen to it I’ll follow you to your house, drink your blood and roast Sanyaow myself.”
“You’re only going to tempt me not to go.”
“Then I’ll do it if you do go,” she said with a smirk. San-Kyung’s expression was unreadable after that and he did not respond, so she decided to leave before the teacher arrived.

La-Iin was prepared to leave her seat as soon as classes finished, but Fer-Shi grabbed her before she could.
“Did you do your San-Kyung thing?” She asked.
“No. Why?”
“Oh, I just thought it would be nice if we could go and play after school. But if you have to do something, then I guess it can wait…”
“This is of the utmost importance, Fer-Shi. The longer I wait to do this, the worse my future will be. Maybe we’ll play later.”
“Okay. It looks like it means a lot to you…good luck! Unless you’re confessing to him. I don’t think any luck would work for that…”
“I’ve already done that, Fer-Shi. But I won’t want to be with him if things go wrong here.”
Fer-Shi was confused, but La-Iin did not answer her question and flew off. She grabbed San-Kyung by the shirt.
“Huh?”
“You’ve got a bat on your back. A half-Normal bat,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Quiet, rival-boy! I have something of utmost importance to discuss with San-Kyung.”
“I doubt it.”
“Do I get to be a part of this important discussion?”
“It has nothing to do with you, so I don’t see why you’d want to be part of it,” she said. She dropped off of San-Kyung’s back and grabbed his hand. “Come on. Let’s go.”
San-Kyung pulled his hand away from her, but he followed her anyway as she darted ahead of the crowd and out of the school.
“By the way, San-Kyung, what made you decide to humor me?”
“Humor you?”
“Yes, humor me. This is a serious discussion, but I can’t help but feel that’s what you were thinking.”
“Because I know how you are. And if you really are willing to burn that bitchy Catori to a crisp with your power, I’ll gladly let you suck my blood.”
La-Iin smirked, but only for a moment. “You should be doing that sort of thing yourself, though.”
“Huh?”
La-Iin fell silent and continued to lead the way. San-Kyung had almost failed to realize that the path she was leading him down was quite familiar.
“What are we doing over here?”
“I need to get something from home, but you don’t have to go inside. Just wait for me in our backyard.”
“And if I don’t…?”
“No crispy Catoris for you, obviously.”
When they reached her home, La-Iin flew inside and upstairs.
“How many times am I going to have to ask you before you stop flying in the house?”
“I don’t listen to requests like that, Mama. Besides, I placate you enough. I only fly twenty percent of the time.”
“Hm…”
She continued to fly upstairs. She retrieved some crayons and flew out of her window and into the backyard.
“I’m glad to see you waited,” La-Iin said. “But that’s part of the problem!”
“What?”
La-Iin took her notebook out of her backpack and began to scrawl furiously in it. “This is something best explained with pictures as well as words,” she grunted. “I have a problem, San-Kyung. I acknowledge and accept that you are not the sort of evil person who will participate in cannibalism. Bats don’t sound very good to me either. I don’t respect your reluctance to be with me, but I understand you are afraid of the police. And as ridiculous as it sounds to me, considering your November situation, I can see why. But there is having some reservations, having a reason for them, and just downright treading into neutral territory!”
“What are you talking about?”
“The idea of eating a pumpkin isn’t just gross to you, it makes you sick. You always make sure to attend school on time and you seem to be upset if you miss it! You have some flaws, San-Kyung, and I am here to remedy them! You need a better explanation for some of your issues or I’ll have to consider you a neutral!”
“You’re calling me a neutral because of my reservations, but I’ve done far worse damage than you ever could. And I can go against the police in my true form.”
“I don’t have a problem with your silly police fear. I think it’s stupid, but it’s not stopping you from being evil. I have a problem with your reasoning and the way you act. You’re far too concerned about other people’s impressions of you for someone who’s openly evil.”
She lifted up her notebook to him. On the page was a crude drawing of a mashed-up pumpkin. “I’m not asking you to become a cannibal, I’m asking for you to look for a better explanation. I want the San-Kyung who is evil to his core! And if you are evil to your core you can’t just dislike cannibalism. You need an explanation!”
“…”
“Well!?”
“You realize eating pumpkins makes me physically ill, right?” San-Kyung said. “In case you haven’t noticed, just the idea makes me sick to my stomach.”
“But that’s not good enough, San-Kyung.”
“I just told you it makes me physically ill. I have eaten pumpkin product before. I can’t stomach it. So it makes me sick to my stomach because I know what it does to me. Happy? Can we be done with this?”
“No. Because that’s only one problem. You need to have a reason for being against being with me.”
“Because I don’t like you that way, and even if I did that’s something that can get you arrested?”
“Hm.” La-Iin began to scribble furiously in the notebook once again. “Even with those excuses, why do you care about missing school? It’s not going to get you arrested to miss school.”
“Missing school for me isn’t as much of a concern as you seem to think it is,” he said. “I prefer to go because of my parents. But I don’t actually care about missing it or not.”
“Well there’s that, but then–”
“Stop right there. I don’t care for what you’re doing right now. I have reservations, but that doesn’t change me from being evil. So what if I don’t do everything considered evil?”
“I wasn’t saying that’s the problem. I’m saying that the problem was your reasons.”
“Well, I gave you better reasons. And besides, you should realize the actual reason I have problems with some of these things…”
“What’s this excuse for?”
“I’m not a psychopath,” he said. “Unfortunately I’m suspect to some of the stupid problems people get. You should know this by now. I do my best to keep stupid weaknesses like not wanting to eat pumpkin at bay. But things like that are irrational.”
“…”
“And at my core, I am evil. So stop questioning me.”
“…” La-Iin sighed. “I was just concerned, that’s all. You haven’t been acting as evil as you used to.”
“Are good people constantly donating to charities? No, they aren’t. Just because I’m not wreaking havoc doesn’t mean I suddenly want to apologize for everything I’ve done in the past. This was a wasted trip.”
“Strange that that’s what I walk in on.”
La-Iin flinched.
“Dosa-Mina?”
“Who’s the stalker now, rival-boy!?”
“I wasn’t trying to stalk. I was concerned. I heard San-Kyung saying something about letting you suck his blood so you could set Lirako on fire. As much as I’d like to see that too, I remember what happened the last time you sucked his blood. At least Miss Cahongyun was nice, though! She perfectly understood my concerns of leaving San-Kyung alone with you.”
“Yeah, well, she brought me over here for no reason. Just to question whether I’m evil or not.”
“If you’re going to question him, why don’t you question yourself? You’ve got a few less-than-evil attributes too.”
La-Iin glared. “Fine then, San-Kyung. Side with rival-boy. Go. But you aren’t getting any crispy Catoris.”
“If I’m being honest, I never trusted you would do that in the first place.”
La-Iin smiled. She handed him the notebook. “Well, before you go, take this. You might as well not have wasted my time either.”
San-Kyung glared at her, but he held onto the notebook as he walked off with Dosa-Mina. Once he was out of sight, La-Iin couldn’t help but giggle.
“Oh, don’t worry, San-Kyung, I know you’re evil alright. And I also know that I’m one of the people who makes you act more like you ought to.”

—–
San-Kyung flipped through the notebook when he got home.
“What’s that, San-Kyung?”
“Someone gave me her notebook.”
“Huh? Who’s this someone?”
“Just a little girl at school.”
Salsh-Era glanced at the notebook. “Ah, I can tell.”
The notebook was filled with several crude drawings that, in San-Kyung’s opinion, were far cruder than the one La-Iin had given him for his fifteenth birthday. They seemed to be drawn in a frenzy and while they would have seemed completely random to anyone else, he could tell they all had to do with the concerns La-Iin had had about his evil.
“So ridiculous,” he sighed.
‘There’s no need to placate her any more. I should drop her as a friend and go back to the way things were, otherwise she’ll just keep bothering me like this. But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something else I need from her…’

7.615.Once More to School

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

25.602.To See the Future–Part 7

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 602
“To See the Future–Part 7”

“Deki-Tyunri dear, is something wrong?”
“Oh…grandmother.” Deki-Tyunri sighed. “I was just thinking about the future.”
“What about? You aren’t graduating for two, three more years. You have plenty of time.”
“Oh, I know, but I figured I should start thinking about it. Lirako’s been forced to think about it lately, so I didn’t want to end up in the same situation as her.”
“Well, what’s the problem? Why do you look so sad about it?”
“It’s just one thing…”
“Do you not have an idea?”
“No, I have an idea to work with. I think I’d like to work with children. And since I don’t have arms, I figured maybe I could be a flight instructor. …that and, well, being in the Weekend music class has given me an appreciation for music, so I’m thinking of focusing on those two things right now. I’m fine there.”
“Are you worried about me? Don’t worry, Deki-Tyunri, I’ll be fine.”
“I am worried about you, but I believe you when you say that. You aren’t the oldest grandmother in the world and you can take care of yourself.”
His grandmother smiled. Deki-Tyunri couldn’t help but feel that it looked immensely conceited. “What’s the problem, then?”
“Well….I told you, I have some things I’m planning to look into. I think you’ll be fine, although I’ll still keep an eye on you. I think I’ll be able to retain my friendships if I do good enough. So long as I have Lirako and Shin-Rei….oh, you don’t know her by her first name. I used to call her Murana, but she started calling me Deki-Tyunri, so I decided to call her by her first name too.”
“I see.”
“Anyway, so long as I have them, I don’t really mind if I lose some of my other friends. And I’m not really looking at colleges, but like I said, I know something I want to pursue, so I have that, at least. And there are some things I figure I don’t need any planning for. …but there is one thing that’s bothering me.”
“What’s bothering you?”
Deki-Tyunri lowered his head. “I want to get married,” he said quietly, “but same-sex marriage is illegal in Vaelyn!”
“Oh.”
“I just really like the idea of marriage, but how do I know it’s going to become legal anytime soon? And I was thinking about making a plan to go to Manemica, but Vaelyn is my home. I love this place. And there’s no guarantee I’ll find someone I want to marry. So I don’t know what to do…”
“Well, you’re here thinking that it won’t become legal, but who’s to say it won’t?”
“You’re right, who’s to say. Though it sometimes feels like the people in charge of laws in Vaelyn don’t take their job very seriously…”
“Well, what the future holds is a mystery.”
“I know you want me to be hopeful, but it’s legal in so many other places! Why not here?”
His grandmother shrugged. Deki-Tyunri sighed. “I may have to just settle for a pretend ceremony at this rate…”

***

“When you’re flying, you have to make sure to keep flapping your wings at all times. Like this!”
Deki-Tyunri flew above his students, who watched him with wide eyes. “Always know your limits, though. If you don’t have the strength to fly a long distance, don’t do it! Or, if you have to, at least be in an area where you can land safely. And never let yourself plummet to the ground.”
“Question!” Asked a Siren student. “Is it hard for you to fly with wing-arms?”
“No. Actually, it’s very easy for me! Anyway, to build up wing strength, you should take some time to fly around every day if you can manage it. But make sure not to fly in buildings that don’t have a “Fly Zone” marker on them. Now, let’s all fly together!”
The students flew up to reach him, save for a Birdmix girl who seemed to be struggling.
“I…I’m sorry!” She said. “I’ll make it, I promise!”
“Remember what I said about knowing your limits. You shouldn’t strain yourself to fly a certain height if you can’t yet, just keep trying every day. If you force yourself, and keep forcing yourself, you might hurt yourself. And wing injuries can be very painful and hard to heal.”
His students flinched.
“Now, watch me and we’ll all do a safe landing together.”
Deki-Tyunri gently fluttered to the ground. “You should always make sure you have a clear spot to land. Check around you just like you would check the street.”
The students landed. “Well, I think that’s all for today! I’ll see you in a week, then!”
“Bye, Mr. Elyshen!” Deki-Tyunri’s students called out as he flew off.

“Hello, Deki-Tyunri. How did the flight classes go?”
“Lots of people know how to fly, so I’m not teaching much there. But at least I can teach them how to fly safely. There are a lot of people who don’t know how!”
“I bet….well, then, what song do you want to practice today?”
“How about Snowflake Medley?”
Shin-Rei nodded. “Oh…”
“What is it?”
“Didn’t you say some people were coming over to see us today?”
“Well, we’re at my house so of course a certain someone is going to be here.”
Shin-Rei giggled. “And Lirako and my grandmother asked if they could hear us play too.”
“That’s bigger than our usual crowd…”
“Well, if you want your career to go places, you’re going to get some pretty big crowds. At least I’d hope so.”
“Mm-hm. And both of us need to get more used to the idea of strangers watching us.”
“I guess we do.”
The two practiced randomly on their instruments while they waited for their crowd to arrive.
“Hey there, Deks! What’s that song? Sounds catchy.”
“Oh, hello, Lirako!”
“Hey! Looks like I came just in time for the big show.”
“No, not at all. My grandmother isn’t here and neither is…oh….”
When he glanced behind Lirako, he noticed the both of them. “They were on their way here too when I got here.”
“I see! Well, that means we can start right away, then!”
“What, you don’t want to talk with me about how things have been going lately?” Lirako said with a nudge.
“What’s there to say? Teaching children how to fly safely really doesn’t leave much to tell. But don’t worry, everything you want to hear I’ll tell you after the song.”
“Great!”
The three members of the crowd sat down in chairs. “Hello, everyone! We’re Muranashen–”
“Name a work in progress,” Shin-Rei said, so quietly that Deki-Tyunri wondered if the crowd had heard it.
“–and tonight we’re going to perform for you our song “Snowflake Medley”! It’s a bit of a work in progress though, so bear with us!”
Shin-Rei leaned over to whisper into his ear. “Awfully energetic for someone so shy…”
“Well, I’m around family and friends. How could I be shy?”
“That would make one of us.”
The two began to play their instruments. Deki-Tyunri felt that it sounded better than normal, but the absence of a flute still bothered him. He and Shin-Rei had tried to get Xao-Bu to collaborate, but their old teacher hadn’t had the time.
“I still have many music classes to attend to,” he had said. “But best of luck to you both.”
When they finished, Lirako began to clap wildly. Deki-Tyunri blushed. “Thank you all.”
“They only care about you in this group,” Shin-Rei said. Deki-Tyunri wasn’t sure of what to make of her smile. “I fell completely under the radar…”
“I’m sure they were paying attention to you too.”
“It’s amazing that a Wingyrm can do this,” his grandmother said. “Perhaps I should take up music!”
“I’d love to hear it if you do, grandmother,” Deki-Tyunri said. “We have to put this away for now, but I wouldn’t mind talking to you now, Lirako. Though trust me, I don’t have much to say.”
“That’s a-okay, ’cause I’ve got plenty to say to you!”
‘I’d better not tell her about my other plan, at least not right now.’ Deki-Tyunri glanced over at the third person, who hadn’t yet moved from his seat. ‘She’ll probably care more about hearing the results rather than the plan anyway.’

“Are you ready for this, San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung didn’t respond. “San-Kyung?”
“…fine.”
The two left the house and head off to their destination. On their way, many things were on his mind.
‘I don’t think San-Kyung cares as much as I do about this,’ he thought. ‘Well, that’s okay. As long as he supports me, I can do this!’
Even seven years later, same-sex marriage was still illegal in Vaelyn. And it was only now that Deki-Tyunri had decided to say something about it.
A few of the people in charge of the law in Vaelyn had agreed to meet him that day, and so he head to court with San-Kyung close behind him. He entered the courtroom and braced himself.
“Mr. Elyshen, welcome,” a bespectacled Birdmix man said. “I’m not one to bend the law a bit, but considering the nature of what we’re discussing, I didn’t think a proper court was in order. Don’t worry–I have permission to do this. As I would of course being in charge of legalities here in Vaelyn.”
“…” Deki-Tyunri nodded. “Well, I think you already know what I’m here to discuss. Many other places in the world have legalized same-sex marriage, Mr. Fgui. And I don’t see any reason why it should be illegal here. I just want to get married like other people do…I’m not asking for anything special, at least I don’t think so…”
Mr. Fgui sighed. “You do make a good point, Mr. Elyshen. And that’s what a good chunk of the world would say. ‘Why keep same-sex marriage illegal? All they want to do is get married.’ True that, the situation is fairly simple, but me and my coworkers have a reason for keeping the law the way it is.”
“Do I need to convince you with something else?” Deki-Tyunri was beginning to feel desperate. Mr. Fgui shook his head.
“There’s nothing to convince me with, Mr. Elyshen. The law is already decided. Besides, here in Vaelyn we honestly couldn’t care less if you’re gay. Legally, anyway: we can’t do something about people harassing you. …well, the police can, but you need proof you were harassed. Anyway, seeing as we don’t care, tell me, what reason is it so important to you to get married? You can do whatever else you want.”
“Well…just as you don’t understand why it would be so important for me to get married if I can do whatever else I want, I don’t understand why, if you’re not enforcing some other law, I’m not allowed to…”
Mr. Fgui sighed. “I suppose I should tell you, then. There is indeed a reason why same-sex marriage is illegal. And do you want to know why?”
“Yes.”
Mr. Fgui grinned. “Because.”
“Because…?”
“That’s it, because. Because we feel like it. There’s no real reason for why it’s illegal. We don’t have anything against gay people. We just find this all very amusing.”
“What!?”
“Sorry, Mr. Elyshen. You’ll probably have to wait until my successors are in the office of law. Well, toodles!”
Mr. Fgui walked off.
“That’s it? That’s the whole reason why it’s illegal…?”
Deki-Tyunri screamed.

—–
Curiosity had gotten the better of Deki-Tyunri after his imagination had run away with him, and so he decided to look into the real reason why it was illegal.
‘I bet I know already. It really wouldn’t be something as silly as ‘it’s amusing’, after all…’
He looked through a thick book at the library for the answer. Moving the pages was difficult, but he finally came to the page he was looking for.
‘”Same-sex marriage is illegal in Vaelyn. This was officially enforced in 1952 by proponents of traditional marriage. In 2013, it was proposed that the law be repealed after it was pointed out that homosexuality itself was no longer illegal in Vaelyn. The law was attacked by the AMA, ‘Anti-Marriage Organization’, an organization dedicated to repealing marriage entirely, who stated that ‘Legalizing same-sex marriage is the last step towards a permanent state of marriage in Vaelyn!’ The AMA describe themselves as vigilantes who want to keep the government out of their relationships’…?’
Deki-Tyunri slammed his head into the book. ‘It might not be as bad as ‘because we felt like it’, but that really doesn’t make it much better!’

13.590.Hiding in the Records

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 590
“Hiding in the Records”

“Dad, do you think I’m, like, worthless?”
Her father’s eyes widened. “What made you think you’re worthless, Airy-Aekok!? Has everything been okay over the Summer? I’m really sorry I haven’t been able to spend as much time with you as we wanted to, it’s just that there’s a lot of things going on at work–”
“I know, Dad,” she said, smiling at him. It didn’t seem to ease his concern. “It’s not your fault. I just feel bad. Remember that pet project I wanted to do with you?”
“Yeah?”
“Well, it didn’t have, like, the results I was lookin’ for, you know? Just made me think…you’re so good at your job and I can’t even do something I want to do for fun right.”
“Don’t say that about yourself, Airy-Aekok. So what if you don’t get something done the right way the first time? I wasn’t always good at being a cop. There were times nobody wanted to rely on Llanni for a job…but I kept going and I improved, and if I could do that, you can too.”
“You’re just saying that because you’re my Dad.”
“No, I’m just saying it because you’re Airy-Aekok and even if you weren’t my daughter, I’d still like you,” he said. “Besides, I really do believe that. So I don’t want to hear you saying anything bad about yourself. Gush about teenage boys instead!”
“I wasn’t really, like, saying anything bad about myself, though…but I’m always willing to gush about teenage boys! I haven’t, like, seen any good ones in a while, though.”
Her father smiled. “Oh! Airy-Aekok, there was some information you wanted to look into, right? Did you ever find out what it was?”
“Not exactly? I mean like I have a pretty good idea, but I don’t have any definitive proof.”
“Proof can mean a lot,” he told her. “So I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you stop by the library? I do have a library card, and you’re welcome to use it.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, really!”
“I’m not sure how I’d find what I’m lookin’ for at a library…”
“You’d be surprised by what you can find at the library.” He handed her a small green card. “Just use that whenever you decide to go. But since I’m home, I figure we can do something to pass the time for now, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so. Maybe we can see if any of the boy bands have come out with a cool new song!”
Her father began to look uncertain. “That’s not exactly what I meant…but if you want to sweetie, then we’ll look.”

***

Airy-Aekok had always greatly admired her father, ever since she was little. She saw him as an ideal of strength and fortitude that everyone should strive for–that and a smart man who searched for true justice and the facts about a situation. She found it hard to doubt him with his display of honesty, something he had proven conclusively she could trust him on, time and time again. So she head to the library after he left for his shift to see if he was right, and if there was a resource in the library she could look to.
‘Yeah, like a birth certificate book,’ she thought. ‘My Dad’s honest, but he doesn’t always have the right idea about things. I doubt I’d find information specifically on Dslellular Dosa-Mina here.’
But school was scheduled to start in less than a month. What did she have to lose?
When she entered the local library, she was astounded by its size. Just by walking in she saw shelves upon shelves of books that stretched up high. Tall bookshelves stood even higher than that, on floors only avians could reach without assistance.
It was an amazing sight. “Who knew that this close library was like, this grandiose?”
“Please be a little quieter in the library,” a librarian said. Airy-Aekok nodded and went running through the library. Other patrons gave her quizzical looks, but Airy-Aekok payed them no mind and instead went looking through the many shelves to see what each one held. The shelves nearby mostly had informative books, all on an array of different subjects. A sudden desire stirred in her, and Airy-Aekok couldn’t help but start scanning the shelves closely, looking for books focusing on a subject near and dear to her heart.

“Dad made a good point. You really can find a lotta stuff in the library!”
Someone shushed her, but the sound barely registered. Airy-Aekok walked, arms full of books focusing on boys, to the back of the library. A sign had stated that in the back there was a reading nook, and while Airy-Aekok felt it would be easier to simply take the books back home with her, she was too curious not to see what the nook looked like.
On her way there, she spotted an area that was filled with desks. Distracted, she head that way instead and spotted row upon row of computers, many with people staring intently at them but still a fair amount of ones that were unoccupied.
“I wonder.” Setting the books down on one of the desks, Airy-Aekok sat down and opened up a search engine.
‘Like I’ll get many results, hah.’ She typed in ‘Dslellular Dosa-Mina’. As she had expected, not many results came up, and what results did mostly surrounded other people who were also called Dosa-Mina, though by what she could see, not a one of the results had to do with someone who had Dslellular as their last name.
Upon scrolling further down the results, however, she spotted a curious link: “Dslellular Dosa-Mina–list of Vaelyn Residents”
“Huh.” Curious, she clicked on it, and up came a website with several names on it. Airy-Aekok was startled to see that her’s, her father’s and even Lirako’s name was on the list, although it seemed to be an older list as Airy-Aekok noted that when she clicked Dosa-Mina’s name, the age it listed there was thirteen as opposed to sixteen.
That only caught her mind for a short amount of time, however–what caught her eye after that was the rest of the details. The page was skimpy, but what was written in the species section clearly did not read “Normal”.
Airy-Aekok gasped. Nearby people stared in her direction.
‘This is it! This is the proof me and Lirako need, isn’t it!?’ Airy-Aekok began to check her pockets. On occasion she would bring along a small digital camera–a habit she had picked up from her father–and she was pleased to see that it was in her pocket. She took a picture of the page, closed it out, then ran off to the front of the library with the books about boys in her arms.
But she could barely think about teenage boys right now, save for one: Dosa-Mina.
‘I really need to thank my dad,’ she thought. ‘Without him I’d have never found this out!’

***

“WHAT!?”
“Yeah, look! I think the page was, like, illegal but still! That only proves it even more if it’s illegal!”
“So I suppose we were half right…”
“Now that we have this though, we really need to think about what we’re gonna do. School’s gonna start in September again. Should we, like, keep it to ourselves, or tease him with it? Think’a all the things we could blackmail him into!”
“I’m not so sure we have the same idea here, Llanni,” Lirako said.
“What makes ya say that?”
“I’ve got something else in mind,” she said. “I just don’t know if it would be safe for us to do. I mean after all, he’s a Dualbreed with Siren powers on his side…nullified ones, but Siren powers nonetheless.”
“What is it?”
Lirako shook her head. “I’m not sure I should say…”
“Aw, c’mon!”
“Airy-Aekok, I’m home! Where are you?”
“Oh, hi Dad!” Airy-Aekok called. Her father walked into the room and smiled; then, his eyes fell on Lirako. “So you invited a friend over, huh?”
“Uh, yeah,” Lirako said, covering up Airy-Aekok’s camera.
“Did you go to the library?”
“I sure did,” Airy-Aekok said. She flashed her father a wide grin. “By the way, Dad–thanks.”
“Not a problem. Feel free to check out books on my card whenever, but make sure you return them on time, okay?”
“I will!” Airy-Aekok said.
“I’m going to make dinner now. Unless you’ve already eaten?”
“Nah, I’m too excited to eat!”
“I guess you got out a good book, then!” He chuckled. “And miss, you’re welcome to stay for dinner with us.”
“Oh, uh, sure!”
He walked out of the room. Airy-Aekok dropped her volume before speaking.
“Whatever we do, there’s this I know. We have the information now, and that’s a success. It means we succeeded, and even if we never do anything about it, that’s something to be happy about!”
Lirako giggled. “I guess you’re right. After all, even if we do keep it a secret, it’s our dirty little secret, and there’s something kind of fun about the idea of never telling him we know!”
She stared out the window. “Still, I’m not sure I want to keep it a secret…”

—–
Dosa-Mina shuddered.
“You alright, son? You’re not catching a cold or anything, are you?”
“No, I think I’m fine. Just a shiver.”
Dosa-Mina shuddered again. “Ugh, I feel uncomfortable…”

11.588.To See the Future–Part 3

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 588
“To See the Future–Part 3”

“Hey sis, is something wrong?”
“What’s up, sis? Why do you look so sad?”
“Hey sis, are you in heat?”
Lirako’s face clenched and she smacked Aeisho’s ear with her tail. “Ow! You didn’t need to hit me!”
“Lirako, don’t hit your brothers. But boys, maybe I should talk to Lirako instead. You can go and play with your toys, okay?”
“We’re just worried about big sis,” Haekshi said.
“I know you are, but I don’t think you’re helping.”
“Aw, mom,” Jiushi whined. Their mother flashed them a sympathetic look, and the boys left the room, most looking dejected–though Lirako noticed that Baekihg seemed ready to play and skipped alongside his brothers.
“What’s wrong, Lirako?”
“…I don’t know if I wanna tell you.”
“Come on, Lirako. Would you rather talk to Aekvi about it?”
“I feel the same way about telling Dad that I do about telling you.”
Her mother sighed. “What’s wrong?”
Lirako lowered her head. ‘She isn’t gonna stop badgering me, is she? Might as well humor her.’ “Well…I was thinking, I’m gonna graduate next year. And I really don’t have any plans for what I’m gonna do when I graduate. I don’t have a job, I have no idea what my goal is, and I just…I don’t know. I keep worrying about the fact that I haven’t kept in touch with some of my friends from school who graduated this year and last year. And I don’t think that would happen with Deki-Tyunri, but what about everyone else? Will I just lose touch with them?”
“Graduation can be a confusing time, Lirako. It’s one of the big changes in your life and pretty much the last one before you become an adult. It’s not something you should feel like you should keep a secret. I’m sure most of the other students who are close to graduating don’t have much of a plan either.”
“I know.” She flattened her ears. “I don’t think I’d be so upset if it wasn’t for the fact that I really like my life the way it is right now. I can’t imagine some major change happening.”
“Well, I’m not going to tell you that you have to have a whole bunch of ideas right away. But you should at least start to plan for things a little. Why don’t you focus on what you think you should do first? You have to get ready to live on your own and start your adult life. Do you want a family? Is there some sort of career you want to pursue? How much time are you going to devote to the things you want to do?”
Lirako held her head. “I don’t know, Mom…”
Her mother sighed. “You don’t need to have all the ideas for your future right away. But don’t just run into it without a single one. I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you, though.”
“Thanks, Mom. I guess it’s at least something.”
Lirako sat there for a moment longer, her ears still flattened to her head, when they suddenly shot right up and a look of surprise crossed her face. “Hey Mom, do you mind if I go somewhere for a little bit? I just got an idea.”
“Sure, where are you going?”
“I’m gonna stop by school. I think our teachers have a little bit of work to do over the Summer. Maybe I’ll be lucky and one of them will be there!”
“You can go to school, sure, but why do you–”
Before she could finish asking the question, Lirako dashed out the room. “Lirako sure is a girl who runs on the spur of the moment…”

Lirako dashed to Malicerie, hoping she was right–that and that the school’s doors weren’t locked. Luckily enough, the second one was at least right, and so Lirako opened them and wandered inside and began to take a look around.
Malicerie seemed empty at first glance, but up ahead she could hear the sound of voices. Cautiously, she slunk ahead and listened in to hear the conversation.
“You do realize the Malicerie budget would be shot if we did such a thing, Mr. Sharai?”
“I know it would be. That’s why we need to do a fundraiser! C’mon, other schools do it, don’t they!?”
“Your ideas are impossible, Mr. Sharai.”
“Says you! You’ve thought some of them were pretty good in the past!”
“That doesn’t change the majority of them being duds.”
“While you two discuss that, I’ll go get us something to eat.”
Just as she was beginning to get comfortable, the door opened and sent her reeling backwards. She met the eyes of Theasis, whose eyes widened in turn when she saw her.
“Miss Sanyaow?”
“Shh,” Lirako folded her ears back, hoping it would help garner her sympathy. Theasis closed the door behind her. “What are you doing at Malicerie? You know as well as most of the other students that Summer is school break.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Are you here for a Weekend class? You do realize it’s Tuesday, right?”
“No, I don’t go to the Weekend classes.” She lowered her head. “I wanted someone to talk to. And since you’re here, I think you’d be perfect…but if you can’t, can you please promise me you won’t tell the rest of the faculty I was here? I don’t want to get in trouble because of something like this.”
Theasis sighed. “Come with me, Miss Sanyaow.” She took her paw and led her to one of the empty Weekend classrooms. Lirako took a seat and Theasis took her seat nearby her.
“What is it you wanted to talk about? By the way you worded what you wanted to say, I’m assuming that means anyone would go, so that must mean it isn’t about math.”
“No, it’s not. Y’see, I’m just having a bit of trouble deciding what to do after school. I wanted some advice, and maybe a little bit of perspective.”
Theasis gave another sigh. “There are plenty of things you’ll have to focus on first before you get down to what you want to do. Like where will you go for college? Most Vaelis people go to college, so there are plenty of options. What are you going to do to sustain yourself? Those sorts of things. Sometimes you can incorporate your goals too. I went to college to study mathematics and also took on a part-time job that dealt with math. I was trying to become a mathematics professor, but where I ended up isn’t too bad, I guess.”
Lirako’s eyes widened. “Miss Sanyaow? What is it?”
“What I want, huh…”

***

“Principal Sharai, I’ve got the greatest idea ever! You know how the students have seemed pretty lazy nowadays? Well I thought, remember back when we did the 28th Running Event?”
“Oh yeah, we haven’t done that in five years!”
“I was thinking, why don’t we make it a monthly thing!? No, maybe even biweekly! Although we’d have to change its name…oh! And it can count for extra credit! The students will get more exercise and they’ll have more fun doing it, especially if we offer prizes!”
Sharai slammed his hands down on the table. “You’re a genius, Sanyaow! Ah, it’s so nice to have someone working under me who understands my ideas. Your old Principal, bless her soul, just didn’t get it.”
“Well, I’m sure she’s somewhere watching us and silently disapproving. But hey, Malicerie’s never been better, if you ask me! Class A’s even become slightly less radical, though I still question what some of the teachers are teaching them.”
Sharai sighed. “Yeah, I should probably fire Neowang. Her name’s just so funny though!”
A bang sounded against the door. “Hey, careful, Deks. Don’t just slam your head against the door like that.”
“Come in!”
The door opened, and Deki-Tyunri peeked his head in. “Am I intruding?”
“Nope, Mr. Elyshen, you’re fine! But what are you here for? Weren’t you sent home for the day?”
“I was, but I wanted to see Lirako–er, Miss Sanyaow.”
“Hopefully someday Mrs.,” Lirako said with an empty laugh. “It’s beyond me how you ended up married before me, Deki-Tyunri.”
“Loopholes,” he said cheerfully. “I really am sorry to intrude, I just wanted to see you. We don’t see each other as often as we used to.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re Malicerie’s flight instructor and I’m its vice principal! You call that not seeing each other often?”
“Sanyaow has a point, you do see each other a lot,” Sharai said.
“I guess so. But usually only during work, when we can’t really talk…Shu-Taka is taking up a lot of my home time.”
“He’s a baby, what’d you expect?” Lirako’s face became blank. “I’ll never forget the day my little brothers were born. The days they were babies…I don’t think my parents have gotten over that trauma even years later.”
“How are they now, by the way?”
“They plan on buying a multi-family house so they and their girlfriends can all live in the same place! Most of their girlfriends are Pureblood Catori, so I’m kind of scared to see how many grandchildren our Mom and Dad end up with…” Lirako shook her head. “Ooh, that’s not the point here! It’s nice to see you, Deki-Tyunri. We should meet up more outside of school. But I have a little bit of work to do right now.”
“I understand. Maybe we’ll meet up this Saturday?”
“Sounds like a plan!”
“I’ll discuss it with Cea-Va, then.” He smiled. “I’ll see you soon, Lirako.”
“Me too! See ya soon!”
Lirako turned back to Sharai.
“A lot of your old friends came back to work at Malicerie, huh? Or were they all your old friends?”
“You’re right, most of the people who used to come here are my old friends. Though Miss Murana was Deki-Tyunri’s–I mean, Mr. Elyshen’s.”
Sharai giggled. “It’s okay. Back when I was the vice principal, it took my all not to call your old Principal Miss Priya or Miss Maa-Gu. I even sometimes just wanted to call her Maa-Gu without the miss…anyway, I don’t mind so long as you do it around me and not around the students.”
“I try not to.”
“Still, it’s been nice to have you around again. You’ve definitely mellowed out over the years.”
“That’s because I have a purpose now. I realized something while I was in school, Mr. Sharai. I really like going to school. And maybe I’m not here for the same reason I used to be, but I just…I like things staying the same as much as possible.” The insides of her ears turned bright red. “Of course I still wanted to grow up, of course I did! But I mean, um…you know what I mean?”
“I think I do! And I’m glad to have you here. Most of the students like you too.”
“Yeah, except for Dslellular’s little brat. He always tells me his dad says I harassed him so he doesn’t like me either. But that’s not the point here.”
“I wonder if you’d like it so much if your old friends didn’t work here, though?”
“I think I would have. You wanna know why? Because I’ve gotten to make new friends here too. I don’t mind making new friends at all. You used to be more of a weirdo who I sort of had to respect, but now you’re like my boss, so…” She chuckled.
“Yeah. Well, anyway, we should get back to ideas.”
“Yeah, we should. Hey, have you ever considered a multi-class competition of some sort?”
Sharai’s eyes widened. “Ooh, elaborate!”

—–
“Miss Sanyaow!”
Lirako flinched.
“Miss Sanyaow, please, don’t space out on me like that.”
“Sorry, Miss Theasis. But thank you, Miss Theasis!”
“Huh?”
“I think I have a little bit of an idea of what I want to do now. I know I need to think about college, but you can’t really go to college unless you know what you want to study, can you?”
“Um…I suppose not.”
“Well, now I think I have a bit of an idea. And you know what? I think talking to you helped me a lot.” She hugged her. “Thank you, Miss Theasis!”
“Er, you’re welcome!”
Lirako dashed out the Weekend classroom. When she stopped by the faculty room, she spotted Sharai talking with the Principal.
“I look forward to maybe working with you in the future, Mr. Sharai!”
“Huh?” Lirako dashed off. “Was that Miss Sanyaow? What’s she doing here, and what was she talking about?”
The Principal sighed. Theasis returned to the room. “What took you so long?”
“Didn’t you say you were bringing snacks?” Yukhoe said, sounding dejected.
“I was going to, but I guess I forgot. Sorry.”
“Did you see Miss Sanyaow just now?” Sharai asked.
“I did, actually.”
“What was she doing here?”
Theasis smiled. “Oh, just trying to figure some things out. There are a lot of things to contemplate when you’re a teenager, after all…”

1.547.Plan Dosa-Mina

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 547
“Plan Dosa-Mina”

“As you all know by now, today is a half day. We’ll only be doing the classes that all of our students must attend. While because of higher grade numbers this year this means that biology will be one of the classes this year, otherwise it is exactly the same as last year. We of the faculty are very grateful that Miss Cahongyun and Miss Sanhuun are here today for this half-day…”
“I’m not,” La-Iin whispered to Fer-Shi. “I hate Hyungdarou. She’s so stupid.”
“That’s pretty mean, La-Iin,” Fer-Shi whispered back.
“Miss Cahongyun? Look, I know you just had an incident, but can you please shut up? Now, anyway…”

***

“Those girls took away precious time with my Dad yesterday. I had to be home alone for a while thanks to them. It’s already hard enough t’get any time with him with how much work he’s had to do lately, so I don’t appreciate it, like, one bit.” Airy-Aekok blinked. “Hey, Sanyaow, am I bothering you with my rambles?”
“Huh? No, you aren’t. Sorry your Dad’s been busy.”
“Nah, no reason to say sorry. I’m mad at the criminals who’re makin’ his life harder. Still, uh, sorry if it sounds pryin’, but if it isn’t my ramblin’, what’s makin’ you upset?”
Lirako sighed. “I figure you’re just going to keep asking until I tell you, aren’t you…”
“Yeah, that was kinda the intention.”
Lirako beckoned her close. Airy-Aekok leaned in. “It’s the last day of school for a while. I really thought we’d have a better idea of Dosa-Mina’s species by this time. I know we have an idea, it’s just, we don’t have any concrete proof, which is kinda what I wanted…”
“Well, the fact that he doesn’t wanna sing to prove otherwise is pretty damning if ya ask me,” Airy-Aekok said sympathetically. “Maybe we can just pretend that’s the case and leave it at that.”
“No. I don’t want to. Llanni, police work as hard as they can to find concrete evidence, don’t they? That’s what I want to do. I want concrete proof that he’s a Siren or something else.”
“I want that too, Sanyaow, but I’m really not sure anymore how we could find what we’re lookin’ for. Like, we’ve got his suspicious behavior, but what’re we s’pposed to do next? Follow him home? Look for a birth certificate or somethin’?”
“I don’t know. I just want it figured out. It’s the perfect revenge for how he treated me. Besides, I…I don’t really have all that much time left here at Malicerie. It’s still a pretty long ways away, but come March 2016 I’ll be graduating. It’s not as if I can really do anything about it then. I don’t even know where he lives, and I bet if we tried to follow him he’d notice.”
Lirako sighed. ‘Geez, never thought I’d see the day where someone’s getting depressed over something like this…’
“Class’ll probably start again like, soon, but I’ll try and figure somethin’ out, alright? After all, I’m the daughter of a cop!”
Lirako smiled. “Well, I look forward to seeing what you come up with, then.”

‘How could I get her concrete proof that he’s a Siren or whatever? Geez, I’m good at tying up teenage boys but apparently figuring out the truth behind these kinds of things is a talent I didn’t get from my Dad…so what could I do…well, he talks pretty quietly to Molshei, so maybe his species comes up in their conversations sometimes!’
Airy-Aekok strained to hear their voices over the din of other students.
“You know what I think you need, San-Kyung? A good old-fashioned day off for the both of us!”
“What are you talking about? After today pretty much every day is going to be a day off.”
“I know! That’s why we should take advantage of the opportunity at hand! I think it would be great for you!”
“That’s what you say, but your intentions mostly have to do with visiting my house, making me visit yours, go out a few places close by and shower me in affection. Is that it?”
Dosa-Mina looked away. “I never said that, so stop kidding yourself.”
‘Dangit, they aren’t talking about anything damning, that’s for sure. Unless it’s a sign of their sordid relationship…but even so, it’s barely even that.’ Airy-Aekok sighed. ‘Sanyaow would’ve been better off asking someone else to help her with this. I’m going to be completely useless obviously…’

When the last class ended for the day, the students were invited to a small event in the reception room. The students seemed fairly high-energy, and most of their teachers watched them with smiles.
“Sanyaow?”
“Yeah, Llanni? What’s up?”
“Hey, uh…I’m sorry about this whole situation. I literally have no idea how to handle this. I thought I picked up a lotta skills from my Dad, but I guess this isn’t one of them.”
“Don’t worry about it. I guess there is still plenty of time before March to figure it out. And I’m not completely sure how we’d get the right evidence anyway. We can’t exactly follow him home.”
“Yeah…if we were cops, we could. ‘nfortunately this isn’t a piece of fiction where we could dress up as cops.”
“Well, instead of stressing over it, why don’t we just kick back and enjoy the free time that’s coming up? I’m gonna have plenty of time to spend with my brothers. They always dogpile me in the Summer. It’s so sweaty under all that fur. Or should I say Catoripile?”
“I’m not all that looking forward to it. Like, my Dad, he’s probably still gonna be busy, especially if the school-aged active evils decide to participate in this sudden crime surge. I always look forward to any time I can spend with him, but he’s so busy nowadays…”
“Well, I certainly don’t mind spending time with you over the Summer. Though my first priority is to get in a good visit with Deki-Tyunri. You and I have been talking so much I think he’s kinda jealous!”
Airy-Aekok smiled. “Yeah, I could see how that could, like, happen. You two were close before me, after all.”
The two girls officially joined the reception. Airy-Aekok went around bidding farewells to the teenage boys of her class, to mixed responses. Meanwhile Lirako went off for the time being with other friends including Deki-Tyunri.
During the reception a few special events occurred.
“The top grade this year in Class D goes to Mr. Molshei! Good job, Mr. Molshei! Last year you didn’t make it over Miss Vampiris, but this year you certainly did! Miss Vampiris made it to second place, however. Mr. Dslellular in third, and Miss Sherry in fourth, along with Miss Hangdul in fifth! Good job, all of you!”
“Congrants, San-Kyung!” Dosa-Mina said. He pulled San-Kyung close and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“I wish I could have made it above Molshei this year. Damn. Well, it’s something to strive for in the coming school year.”
After the grades were read, Xao-Bu called up his students in the Weekend class, and the teacher of the normal music class did likewise, and both began to perform a song for the students.
“Everyone wants to celebrate the fact that we don’t have any school for the Summer, but they forget that all this celebrating is taking time out of our free time,” La-Iin said bitterly.
“Well, we won’t see each other for a while! Not all of the students are like you and me, La-Iin. They don’t all have contact with each other during the break.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t care because I have contact with everyone I need to, even Sara a little bit. Besides, isn’t getting to leave right away celebration enough?”
“Why are you here if you’re going to complain? It’s an optional event.”
“I came here because I thought there would be worthwhile snacks, but apparently not and we can’t even eat them here. That wouldn’t be a problem if they were good snacks…”
“Huh?”
“If they were good snacks I could sneak them right now, but they aren’t.” La-Iin sighed. “All this celebrating is going to take as long as a normal school day if not longer.”
After the music ended, Sharai gave one last speech, then stomped his foot and opened his mouth wide.
“Now, my students! Say it with me! –”
Before he could even say “Ma”, he was dragged off the stage.

***

Airy-Aekok felt dejected as she joined the crowd on their way out of school. ‘Everyone’s all looking forward to spending time with their family and friends, but who do I have? My Dad’s gonna be busy, Sanyaow’s got other friends too, and no teenage boys actually like me. Summer’s gonna be a crapshoot this year.’
In one last desperate attempt, Airy-Aekok strained her ears to listen in on San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina’s conversation.
“Are you going to try wearing short sleeves this year?”
“San-Kyung, you know I can’t do that.”
San-Kyung sighed. “I guess not…you know, if you’d go into your true form, you wouldn’t have to worry about it, at least on one side.”
Airy-Aekok gasped. “Yes, but I’m covered in fur on that side. I think that would be more of a disadvantage in the Summer. I’ve dealt with this for years now, San-Kyung. It won’t be a problem.”
“It’ll be a problem for me once you get too sweaty.”
Dosa-Mina gave a half-hearted chuckle. “Don’t worry, I won’t cling to you as much this Summer. Or I’ll try not to, anyway.”
Airy-Aekok was stunned. She glanced around the crowd for any sign of Lirako. Spotting her chatting with Deki-Tyunri on their way out, she ran over to her.
“I need to talk to you like, right now!” She exclaimed.
“Whoa! Um, Deki-Tyunri, could you give me a moment?”
“Certainly,” Deki-Tyunri said, although judging by his expression he was less than pleased. Airy-Aekok pulled Lirako away and dropped her voice to a whisper.
“Okay, I don’t, like, have definite proof yet, but I overheard Molshei and Dosa-Mina talking, and I heard him say something about a true form and being covered in fur on one side!” She squealed. “I think he might be a Dualbreed, Lirako!”
“Covered in fur on one side? There are a lot of species with fur, but that definitely narrows it down! Let’s see, Bearperson, Werewolf, ugh…Catori….I certainly hope it’s not that. But if he is a Dualbreed, that makes me wonder if he’s even a Siren at all!”
“Siren songs still do bad things when they’re not Pureblood, just not as bad. Least that’s what my Dad told me.” Airy-Aekok grinned. “This is a big breakthrough! Hey, you know, now that I think about it, when my Dad gets time off maybe we’ll look for this together!”
“That’s the spirit, Llanni!”
“Thanks, Sanyaow, for not givin’ up on me. Completely, anyway,” she said with a nudge.
“No problem! If we can figure this one out, I don’t care how long it takes!” Lirako blinked. “Actually, that’s a lie.”
“And don’t I know it!”

—–
“Dad! Welcome home!”
“Hello, Airy-Aekok.” He pat her on the head. “Sorry I’ve been so busy lately. I just don’t understand why the evil in this world sees 2015 as its year…”
“Aw, that’s alright. It makes the time I get to spend with you sweeter. And now that you’re home, I wanted to talk about a little pet-project I wanna do over the Summer.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah. It’s a little like this….”

19.535.The Weekend School Trip–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 535
“The Weekend School Trip–Part 1”

“I thank you all for taking the time out of your day to come for this discussion.”
“Not a problem. I don’t really do much outside of school.” Mr. Chensu said.
“What did you need from us?” Asked Theasis.
“Mr. Sharai, loathsome as he can act sometimes, has been informing me of recent tensions within Class D. Tensions between students who do not get along and students who have grown suspicious of another due to her recent actions. He also mentioned something else to me that I want to talk with you all about.
“Each year that there is at least one student in Grade 12, the class with the students will go on a school trip. That is a rule here at Malicerie that is often enforced and the trip can happen at most any time in the year. In Class D I noticed there are three students who have reached Grade 12–Miss Sanyaow, Miss Sherry, and Miss Hangdul. Given the tensions and the fact of this rule, I wanted to suggest that you of Class D go on a school trip to alleviate these tensions and to fulfill the rule.”
“That does sound pretty nice,” Mr. Chensu said. “Things have been weird in Class D lately.”
“As nice as an idea as it sounds, where do you think we could go, Principal? And when would we go?”
“It would probably be best to go this month or as soon as school starts again. School trips aren’t intended for the students to all have some random fun–they are supposed to learn on these trips as well, and I don’t know that many students would appreciate that during their Summer break.”
“Well, it sounds kind of cumbersome in September,” Mr. Chensu sighed. “And you mentioned part of the reason it sounded like a good idea to you now is because of the student tensions. By September they could have blown over.”
“That’s true, but then that doesn’t leave us with much time to plan a location and head off for it. We’d have to do it before July, and we’re already a decent way into June.”
The Principal’s gaze fell on all the teachers. “Then let me propose this idea. If you have no ideas, then why not visit Neigghed? It has been referred to as one of the more peaceful places in Vaelyn, and it has a history to it as well, one that’s much more violent than one might expect given their recent history all has to do with peace. It could be something for the students to learn about, and give all of you a chance to head off to someplace more peaceful.”
“Neigghed, huh? I’ve never been there, but I heard my cousin lives there,” Mr. Chensu said.
“When would we go, Principal?”
“Why must you turn to me for every decision? Am I just going to plan this entire school trip? Fine then. Head off to Neigghed on June 19th and return on June 21st. Make sure to relax and learn. And tell the students soon enough, otherwise you’ll be forcing them into a sudden school trip.”
“We’ll make sure to tell them, Principal.”
“Are you sure this is a smart idea?” Denbek asked. “This is all pretty sudden–even if we inform the students they could still be caught off-guard. And part of this dips into their Weekend.”
“I was asked to provide a schedule, and I did. Besides, it wouldn’t be the only time they’ve done school work on the Weekend, and they will have a trip to go along with it. They don’t have to go in the end. Work with what I gave you. If you have a better idea then discuss it among yourselves. But this is what I give you for now.” The Principal stood up. “I’m heading home. You all debate the matter among yourselves.”
The Principal stepped out of the room, leaving the Class D teachers to themselves.
“What do you all think?” Theasis asked.
“I think it sounds like a fine idea. We’ll tell the students and go when she said. After all, if we head home early enough they’ll still have some of their Sunday. Maybe we can even give them Monday off.”
“It still sounds so sudden,” sighed Denbek.
“Well, Neigghed isn’t too big a place. There’s a lot of history on it but there isn’t much to learn aside from that. The students would have plenty of time especially if we do the brunt of our teaching on Friday. Then on Saturday all of us could have some fun!” Haebochi said.
“That sounds like a plan,” Hyungdarou said.
“Mr. Denbek, are you still having concerns?” Theasis asked.
“Yes, but that’s all about the suddenness. You all practically give me no reason to say no–all the rest of it does sound pretty appealing. I’ve kind of been wanting a vacation myself.”
“Then it’s settled. We’re going with the Principal’s plan, and next week we are going to Neigghed!”

***

“This school trip really happened fast!” Fer-Shi said. “It feels like one day we were being told we’re going on a school trip, and then the next day we’re going on that school trip!”
“Yeah, Mama didn’t like it much that it happened so randomly,” La-Iin said. “I have one problem with the school trip, myself.”
“What’s that?”
“I want to be away from Mama right now, but I don’t trust her to be on her own!”
Fer-Shi looked confused. “What?”
“You would never understand the evil that is Haner, and I wouldn’t want you to.”
“If Haner is evil, shouldn’t you like it?”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Haner is that fake brand of evil that even we evil people despise. Except for idiots like the Saras, probably.”
La-Iin glanced behind her. Shuu-Kena was glancing around the crowd of students and parents. La-Iin walked up to her.
“Sara?”
“Eep! Y-yes, Cahongyun?”
“They didn’t come, did they.”
“No,” she sighed. “They said they didn’t want to encourage this venture. I told them about how they said it was also to get away from the bad in Bledger, and then they told me they’re trying to cause bad in Bledger and that it’s stupid for me to want to go. But then they said they don’t care…I really wonder if they even love me sometimes, La-Iin.”
La-Iin felt conflicted. A part of her wanted to reassure Shuu-Kena, but the other part told her to hold back from it.
“Your family is stupid. Did you tell them we’re going to Neigghed?”
“Yeah, that just made them more angry.”
“Mama told me that Neigghed has a long and violent history,” La-Iin said proudly. “So they’re stupid. Don’t worry about it.”
Shuu-Kena smiled. “Okay, I’ll try not to.”
“I think this school trip will be good for you, sweetie,” Del-Kyuus said.
“Maybe.”
“Personally, I’m looking forward to it!” Dosa-Mina said. “Think about it, San-Kyung. It’s a chance to get away from this place where all the things that are on our mind happened. And last year’s school trip was pretty fun, wasn’t it?”
“I guess so.”
“I think this trip will be a lot of fun, Mr. and Mrs. Molshei. We might even come back changed men!”
“I sure hope you’re right, Dosa-Mina,” Salsh-Era said. “But I think your little comment upset Del-Kyuus.”
“Ohh, I know San-Kyung isn’t going to be a minor forever, but it’s hard to imagine him becoming a man,” she sighed.
“He’s gotta graduate school before he can graduate to adulthood, so don’t worry!”
“I guess you really are excited about this school trip.”
“Sure I am! I love school trips.”
“Well, have fun, you two!” Salsh-Era said.
“We will!”
“We’ll try.”
“Hm…”
“Somethin’ up, Sanyaow?”
“I’m just thinking about our little deal, that’s all. We still haven’t found out what’s going on. We started up some suspicion but we still don’t know for ourselves what’s the truth. July isn’t too far off–would we even be able to figure out the truth while we’re not at school?”
“Like, I’m concerned about that too, but don’t let it worry you,” Airy-Aekok said. “We’re going on a school trip not to worry about this? Bledger’s been getting more dangerous, and my Dad’s super-busy ’cause of it. I’d rather just have fun.”
“I guess you’re right. I do kinda need to cut loose. Between this and college plans I’ve just been stressing myself out!” She stretched. “Hey, Deki-Tyunri, want to sit next to me on the ride there?”
“Really? You’re asking me? I thought you were going to ask Llanni.”
“I’d rather find a cute teenage boy to sit next to,” she cooed.
“You know, that’s one thing you two have in common–your love of teenage boys.”
“I–”
“Weird that someone like me isn’t as interested as you two.”
“You’re becoming a woman, Lirako. You have, like, a more mature taste.”
“Can we just stop this conversation…?”
As Rini-Futo head off, leaving her family behind her, she caught sight of Mr. Chensu standing there in the crowd with the rest of the Class D teachers.
“Mr. Chensu!”
The teachers stared at her for a short while before all of them except for Mr. Chensu took a step backwards.
“What is it, Miss Shaejaein?”
“Um….even though I said what I did earlier this year…do you think we could have fun on this trip like we did last year?”
“Oh? Sure! There’s a lot of history to learn in Neigghed, so that’s still possible.” He furrowed his brow. “You do actually like history, right?”
“Mm-hm!”
“Then it won’t be a problem.”
Rini-Futo breathed a sigh of relief.
“Ai-Reia, they gave you a choice,” Reuf-Bu said. “Do you want to go on this school trip, or do you think you need to stay home and recover more? I’m worried about you after what happened.”
“…I’m not sure,” she said quietly.
“You need to make your decision soon. The other students are getting onto the bus.”
“…”
“Vampiris?”
Ai-Reia looked up and caught sight of Shuera-Kaizima and Im-Dei.
“Are you coming on the school trip, too?”
“…I don’t know.”
“We’d love to spend time with you in Neigghed,” Im-Dei said. “But if you need to stay home and recover, you should do that instead.”
Ai-Reia felt conflicted, but only for a moment. She had two choices–recover at home and be surrounded by the people who caused her so much stress, or go off with her friends and perhaps alleviate some of it. The thought that La-Iin would also be on the trip bothered her, but she felt as though ultimately, this was the right choice.
She reached out to her friends. “I want to go…”
Shuera-Kaizima grinned. “Good! We’re happy to have you!”
“All students of Class D! We’re heading off to Neigghed in a few minutes! If you aren’t ready for some reason, hurry it up or you’ll miss the bus!”
“We have to go,” Shuera-Kaizima said. “Brother Vampiris, thank you for bringing her.”
“Not a problem. Call if anything goes wrong, alright, Ai-Reia?”
“I will.”
The students head onto the bus and took their seats, followed by the teachers. With a majority of their parents watching, the bus took off. Glancing out the window, La-Iin gasped.
“What’s wrong, La-Iin?”
“Did I just see Dami? But I didn’t see him in the crowd before!”
“Maybe you just mistook him for someone else,” Fer-Shi said. “I think Ai-Reia came on the trip. Maybe it’s her dad?”
“No, I would never mistake anyone else’s Dami for my Dami. I either hallucinated him or he’s actually there!”
She glanced out the window once again. “I sure hope I hallucinated him.”

La-Iin’s concern didn’t take long for her to lose.
“San-Kyung, a trip is just what you needed, I think.”
“My parents said so too.”
“Wow, she’s obviously flirting with you and you’re just sitting there and taking it.”
“I don’t have the energy to fight right now. Trust me, she’ll get her payback.”
“You’re saying that right in front of me,” La-Iin said, cuddling up close to San-Kyung. “Well, if you don’t have the energy to fight, I should take my chances while you don’t. Be my boyfriend, San-Kyung. We’ll be so–”
“No.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “Not having the energy to fight doesn’t make me gullible.”
“Well, if you can still fight back with words, I know one way you can’t fight back!”
“I’ll strike my hand if you try anything, so don’t.”
“If you do that you’ll cause a panic on the whole bus!” La-Iin blinked. “Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun. Do your worst!”
San-Kyung rolled his eyes.
“Well, at least this is entertaining,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Maybe to you!”
“We’re about to arrive in Neigghed, students,” Theasis called out. “Once we arrive we’re going to take a look at the history of Neigghed. Today is a day fully devoted to studying, so I hope you all are ready!”
“Well, at least it’s not science study,” Xhen-Bei sighed.
“Do you have trouble with science, Yuuldang?” Kim-Koou asked.
“Yeah, it’s not my strong suit.”
“It seems like a lot of our classmates like science,” Mi-Kou said.
“Yeah, well, I’m not one of them.”
The bus came to a stop, and the students prepared for the day ahead of them. Dosa-Mina tapped Theasis on the back.
“How’s the room situation going to work this year, Miss Theasis?”
“I’m not sure yet. That depends on how this hotel is set up. I’m sure if it’s two to a room you’ll want to room with Mr. Molshei, Mr. Dslellular. You two are pretty close, aren’t you?”
“Yup. We’re inseparable.”
“That’s good. It’s nice to see such a healthy friendship…for the most part. Mr. Dslellular, I can’t claim to know the more intimate details about your friendship, but please, it’s embarrassing the way you act in public.”
“Sorry about that. But I just can’t resist a chance to shower him in affection!”
“Hm.” Theasis turned around and met face-to-face with Hyungdarou.
“Two to a room.”
“Looks like you’re in luck, Mr. Dslellular.”
Dosa-Mina smiled. He walked off and joined the rest of the students.
“What a sweet boy. I think he has to be one of my favorite students.”
“You really shouldn’t play favorites, Miss Hyungdarou…”

***

“Neigghed, Vaelyn. A pinnacle of peace–this place is full of good people. Neutral people and evil people are definite minorities here.”
“I’m so happy Class A isn’t here,” La-Iin said. Fer-Shi gave her a quizzical look.
“Thing is, about Neigghed, that wasn’t always the way things were. Long ago, before Vaelyn was even really Vaelyn, Neigghed was ruled by a dictator. Many of you, having studied Vaelyn’s history, will know that Vaelyn’s primary species changed several times over the years. Places like Nyappon were consistent Catori societies, for instance, but in Vaelyn which species reigned in dominance changed. All around the place soon to be called Vaelyn there were dictators who wanted complete rule over these lands. Neigghed’s dictator, a Minomix called Ghurheng, was known for being notoriously violent and for ordering the deaths of his enemies over their capture. In the event he did order for their capture…well, it’s said they were tortured in ways the populace had no idea about.”
La-Iin soaked in every word. She was enamored.
“This nature of Neigghed didn’t stop when Vaelyn became Vaelyn, either. You see, Neigghed is a bit closer to Aena than other places in Vaelyn. So Aena wanted to take this land for themselves, and there were some bloody battles fought over it. When Neigghed became Neigghed, this is where the evil of Vaelyn converged. There are a few tales of violent crimes going on here–they say the evil of other parts of Vaelyn would take their soon-to-be victims out to Neigghed to kill them and hide the body. They say some of those cases still haven’t been solved.”
“Scary…” Fer-Shi mumbled.
“Even other evil people were scared of Neigghed because they knew that it was easy to get killed here. The culmination of Neigghed happened sometime after the Vaelyn War. People from Vaelyn who sympathized with the rulers of North Vaelyn essentially made Neigghed a copy of it–for a place like Vaelyn, this was a big deal. People in Neigghed were miserable. Once the extent of the situation got out, it was dealt with and it ended in the death of the man who was ruling over Neigghed.”
“Hm…”
“Intrigued, San-Kyung?”
“Neigghed after that basically was populated by newcomers and people who had lived under that man’s rule. They decided they would make up for the darkness in Neigghed’s past by making it a place of peace and goodness–don’t give me that look, Mr. Molshei. Anyway, to the surprise of the people in Neigghed, their attempts to make this place a peaceful one succeeded greatly. After all, now barely anybody thinks of Neigghed as the dark place it was before–now it’s truly lauded as a place of peace.”
“And boringness,” La-Iin sighed.
“You were right, Cahongyun. If only my family knew about Neigghed’s past.”
“Now, there are a few historical sights we can see in Neigghed, but who feels like stopping for something to eat?”
“I do!” Xhen-Bei called out. “I’m starving!”
Mr. Chensu chuckled. “Then’s let go get something to eat!”

***

After dinner that night, Class D saw a few sights including the grave of the man who ruled over Neigghed years before. They retired to the hotel after that, where the students debated over rooming.
“Of course I’m rooming with San-Kyung. Who else would I go with?”
“We know, Mr. Dslellular,” Mr. Chensu sighed. “Well, we want to try and put together combinations of people who will get along. So I suppose Miss Cahongyun and Miss Sanhuun would be good together.”
“What about me?” Shuu-Kena asked.
“Miss Sara, why don’t you room with Mr. Veiner?”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Fer-Shi whispered to La-Iin. “They might be able to get along.”
“I wonder…”
“Did you want to room with Sara, La-Iin?”
“Hm…I’d actually want to room with San-Kyung, but…”
La-Iin glanced at Shuu-Kena, who looked dejected as the rooms were doled out, with most ending up in pairs of friends such as Yefu-Shenhao and Zae-Mia.
“Hey, I’ve got an objection.”
“What’s that, Miss Sanyaow?”
“I think some of us would be better off in pairs of three,” she said. “It’d take up less rooms and besides, I kind of want to room with both Deki-Tyunri and Llanni.”
“That might be cool,” Airy-Aekok said.
“It would save on space, but we did say two to a room.”
“I think it is a great idea,” Shuera-Kaizima said. “Then I can be with In-Dei and Vampiris.”
Ai-Reia remained silent, while Im-Dei smiled.
“Well, if you all are insisting…but does that end in consistent pairs? We kind of wanted to avoid anyone getting left with a teacher.”
“Why don’t we just stick with two to a room? We have twenty-four students; it should be even that way. Besides, I don’t want to room with anyone aside from San-Kyung.”
“Mr. Dslellular does have a point. Perhaps we should just assign rooms ourselves. After all, I do know a lot about who you all are friends with.”
“Then I want to make a request. I want to room with Sara instead.”
Fer-Shi bowed her head. “What? Aren’t you friends with Sanhuun?”
“I am. But I have my reasons for doing this.”
“And I can room with Veiner, I guess…” Fer-Shi sighed.
“Now this is strange…”
“Well, I’m fine just rooming with Deki-Tyunri, but Llanni isn’t exactly what I’d call popular. And same goes for Deki-Tyunri if I room with Llanni.”
“I don’t want to leave Vampiris alone,” Im-Dei said.
Mi-Kou sighed. “This is so frustrating…”
A chatter rose among the students about the situation of the rooms.
“EVERYONE SHUT UP!” Mr. Chensu yelled. “Look, while we’ll put your suggestions into consideration, we’re just pairing you with whoever we feel like, alright!? Except for you two. You two are staying paired up.”
“As it should be!” Dosa-Mina said.
“We’ll get back to you in a few minutes.” The teachers walked off and began to discuss the rooms.
“I hope I end up with you or Veiner,” Fer-Shi said.
“…”
Fer-Shi bowed her head. ‘I guess she really does like Sara, now…’

—–
Although it took longer than expected for all parties involved, the rooms were eventually decided, and students head off to bed and began to chat.
“Yo, Llanni,” Lirako said, peeking her head into her and Mi-Kou’s room. “There’s something I wanna do.”
“You two really shouldn’t be leaving the room at this time,” Mi-Kou said.
“I’ll be, like, back soon. Then you can tell me a bit more about that boy.”
Mi-Kou sighed. “It isn’t anything big, Llanni.”
“Aw, come on. I’m always interested in teenage boys! Now, what are we getting up to?”
“Most of the doors are going to be locked soon. Some already are. But I think San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina’s isn’t. Maybe we’ll catch Dosa-Mina in a different form if we open the door!”
“Are you so sure about that?”
“Maybe they’ll be talking about his true species?”
“Guess it’s worth a shot. Alright, let’s do it!”
Lirako opened the door and pushed her way into the room. The two stared blankly at the sight of San-Kyung, who looked both agitated and embarrassed, being almost smothered by Dosa-Mina, who was smiling wide.
The two turned in the direction of Lirako and Airy-Aekok, who closed the door and silently went back to their own rooms.