11.649.The Blood of Your Bloodline

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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7.645.Think Positive

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 645
“Think Positive”

As soon as she woke up, La-Iin could smell food cooking. Without getting dressed or even checking the time, she got out of bed and head downstairs, yawning. Choungetsu, who was sitting in front of her door, followed her downstairs with his tongue lolling.
When she arrived downstairs, Mit-Sun was setting down plates, a wide smile on her face. She continued to smile when she noticed La-Iin, though her tone sounded contrary to her expression.
“How come you’re still in pajamas? Don’t you usually get dressed before you come downstairs?”
“What time is it?” La-Iin yawned.
“It’s pretty early. Earlier than we normally get up. I felt energetic, so I decided to make breakfast now. We’ll probably have plenty of time before we have to leave, but I’m sure even if we stay home a little later than we should you’ll still make it to school on time. You have the benefit of wings and legs on your side. So I don’t think it matters.”
Mit-Sun’s smile deeply unsettled La-Iin. “Why are you so happy?”
“Oh, just things that have happened.”
“Like what things?
“Hey, you’ve been happy lately too. Why am I getting interrogated about my happiness?”
“Because mine makes clear sense. Yours doesn’t.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes, but her smile persisted. It only made the unsettled feeling in La-Iin stronger. “Well, my Papa–I mean Father–Father got out of the hospital recently. And also I’ve just been feeling pretty happy lately. Things have been going good for me, it seems. And that’s good. I really thought I was going to become one of those ‘dedicate your life to your kid’-type parents. I’m glad to see I can enjoy my own life as well as take care of you.”
La-Iin gagged. “Your happiness is astoundingly sickening, Mama. Somehow it’s even more intolerable than your half-assed goody-goodyness…”
“Oh, be quiet. I’ve been trying to think positive. Things have been great for me. You’re happy, even though you’ve been acting up, our life at home is fine, my Father is fine, even Asul-Zenza’s been less annoying lately.”
“You, complimenting Dami!?”
“Well, he’s trying his best, and he does love you, so I’ll give him that. But not to mention, Mrs. Eteibreit gave me a raise! It isn’t much, but it just seems really weird, because she’s been so grouchy lately! But you know what, I’ll take any goodness I can get. If even Mrs. Eteibreit is being nicer to me, then I’ve got to have some sort of luck on my side. That’s definitely reason to think positive in my book. And if I do, maybe if things start going downhill again, I’ll know how to handle them better.”
La-Iin nearly vomited. ‘It’s intolerable! A happy Mama is one thing. This is a whole nother! I need to knock her down soon. I don’t know how long I can take this!’
The two finished their breakfast, Mit-Sun quicker than La-Iin, who continued to gag throughout the meal.
“What, you don’t like it? Am I really that bad a cook?”
“No, this is one of your better meals. Unfortunately you brought something to the table that destroyed my appetite…”
Mit-Sun checked all of what was on the table and the floor. The only thing she could assume La-Iin was talking about was Choungetsu, who stared at her intently. She beckoned to Choungetsu and he ran over to her, though La-Iin continued to gag even after he had left.
The two got ready for school and work. They were ready long before they had to leave, as Mit-Sun had said.
“Now what?”
“I don’t know about you, but I have a little something to do.”
As if on cue, someone knocked at the door. Mit-Sun ran to answer it.
“Papa!” She hugged him close.
“Hi, Mit-Sun.” He hugged her back.
“I’m so glad to see you. Are you sure you’re feeling okay, though? I know it wasn’t that bad, but–”
“Don’t worry about me, Mit-Sun. I know I’m older now, but I’m not that old. I’m not even seventy yet. And I was able to walk all this way, see?”
“I see,” she chuckled, relief evident in her tone. “Still, it’s good to see you. I’m glad you came over. I’ll have to go to work soon, though.”
“That’s alright. Remember what you said?”
“Yes. It’ll be good for La-Iin if someone else is home when she gets back from school. Who gets home first isn’t consistent.”
“Speaking of, hi, La-Iin!” Beht-Soh waved at her. La-Iin blinked up at him.
“Hello, Granddami. Tell Mama to stop being so cheerful for me, okay?”
“Huh?”
“I think she’s a little annoyed by me being in such a good mood. I’ve been trying to tell her it’s not fair, but well, that’s La-Iin for you.”
“You do look pretty happy. You’ve been smiling almost nonstop since I got here.”
“You just got here,” La-Iin said. “I’ve had to see her doofy smile for longer.”
“What has you so happy? Did something good happen?”
“Oh, not particularly, I’m just trying to think positive like I told La-Iin. And there’s a lot for me to be grateful for. I may not have many friends, but the friends I do have are good friends. I may not like Asul-Zenza, but as annoying as he is he’s not a bad man, and he does love La-Iin. I have things to look forward to, my boss gave me a raise, I’m able to take care of La-Iin and she’s been happy…I have a lot to be grateful for, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with my life from here on out. I still haven’t decided.”
Mit-Sun glanced at La-Iin. “It’s weird. I used to think life would work better with your plans. And now I’m having to replan what I expected. It might be weird, but it is an interesting experience. I guess you could just say I’ve enjoyed the past few months and the future seems bright.”
La-Iin gagged.
“Oh, cut that out.”
“Not until you cut out your obnoxious cheerfulness. And you obviously know nothing of planning and replanning judging by your talk!”
Mit-Sun’s face twitched in agitation. “You just don’t want me to be happy, do you?” The words were said with an odd cheer, and they sent a shiver up Beht-Soh’s spine.
“Not like this, I don’t.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I guess I’m not going to change your mind. Well, we’ll have to leave soon, Father, but would you like some breakfast?”
“Alright. Thank you, Mit-Sun!”
“It’s no problem.”

***

At work, Mit-Sun’s cheerful mood was still obvious. Her coworkers noticed her carry out work she normally hated with a smile, greeting some of them as she went along her way. It stirred up quite a bit of confusion.
At least, among the coworkers that didn’t know her as well.
“I still can’t believe Mrs. Eteibreit gave you a raise! I wish she’d do that for me,” Leirhyn sighed.
“It’s something that probably only happens once in a decade,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Well, I think you deserved it. As much as I would have liked that raise, you’re the one with a child to think about.” Uil-Cur said.
“I don’t know why she gave me a raise, but I’m glad for it. I have been in a good mood recently. Maybe all that rubbed off on my work.”
“Maybe!” Leirhyn said.
Focused on talking to her two friends, Mit-Sun was oblivious to Eteibreit’s presence behind her until her boss stroked her with her tail.
“Eek!”
“Cahongyun,” she said, her tone taciturn. “It looks like you’ve completed work for the day. How perfect that you haven’t gone home yet.”
“It is?”
“Yes. I was going to ask you if you’d come to my office.” She glared at Leirhyn and Uil-Cur, though her gaze lingered on the latter as she said, “Don’t you still have work to do?”
“I actually finished that and then some, Mrs. Eteibreit. Mit-Sun has been here for a while.”
Eteibreit huffed. Mit-Sun waved to her two friends, then followed Eteibreit to her office. Despite her resolution to think positively, she couldn’t help but get a bad feeling.
‘Mrs. Eteibreit calling me to her office is never anything good…I just wonder if it’s the disturbing kind of bad or the detrimental kind of bad.’
Eteibreit sat down.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been in a good mood lately, Cahongyun. Care to explain?”
Mit-Sun was confused.
“Well, yes. There’s been a lot for me to enjoy lately. A lot I’m grateful for.”
Eteibreit’s nose wrinkled. “I see.”
“Is something wrong, Mrs. Eteibreit? You don’t look all that happy.”
Eteibreit closed her eyes for a short while; then, she said, “Of course I’m not.”
“Hm?”
“The person I just gave a raise made a grave mistake, after all.”
“What!?”
“Yes, you messed up something important while doing your job yesterday, Cahongyun. How disappointing.”
“B–but I was paying close attention! What did I mess up!?”
“Tsk tsk. You don’t even know the fatal mistake you made.”
“What is that!?”
“Go and find it yourself, Cahongyun. Prove your competence to me.” By now Eteibreit was smiling. To Mit-Sun, it seemed a sadistic smile. “Prove you are worthy of your raise by finding out what your mistake is by yourself!”
Mit-Sun had a bad feeling. She rushed out Eteibreit’s office and passed by Leirhyn and Uil-Cur.
“Cahongyun?”
“Sorry, something urgent came up!”
She checked the records of all she had done yesterday. Then, she checked the papers on her desk, the papers for tomorrow, and even went to the extent of checking all the papers she had sorted, all she had gone over and certified. Nothing seemed out of order, and she was starting to feel frazzled.
She returned to Eteibreit’s office.
“Mrs. Eteibreit? I looked through everything I did yesterday and I couldn’t find the mistake you were talking about. I don’t think I made a mistake, but if there’s something I messed up, you have to tell me! You can’t just threaten me and not even give me a hint as to…wait a second…”
Eteibreit was smiling. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, as if she was holding back laughter.
“You tricked me, didn’t you!?”
“Ah, I said it would prove your competency. I should have said your incompetency. You never fail to disappoint me, Cahongyun. At least in how disappointing you are, that is.”
“What!?”
“Just for that display of stupidity, I’m docking your pay.”
Mit-Sun gaped.
“Try thinking positively about that.”
“Is this what this is all about? Why is that making you so angry? In fact, why have you been so angry lately, Mrs. Eteibreit?”
“This is how I always am, Cahongyun. Say what you will, but you already know that.”
“I–”
From the look in Eteibreit’s eyes, Mit-Sun could see there was no further room for complaint. Frustrated, she left Eteibreit’s office and stomped back to her friends.
“What happened, Mit-Sun? You seem frazzled.”
She sighed. “It’s nothing. Nothing bad enough to get me down, anyway. I just really need to look for another job. But no matter what Eteibreit tries to do, or what La-Iin says, I’m not going to stop trying to think positively. Things have been looking up for me. And if I keep thinking positively, I’m sure there will be a better payoff than if I stopped!”
“She’s certainly fired up about this whole positive thinking thing,” Leirhyn said.
“She is. I should take her advice. I could have used it some months back…”
“Still, makes you wonder what happened with Mrs. Eteibreit to get her more fired up like this!”

—–
“Hi, Mit-Sun.”
“Oh. Mama.”
“Hello, La-Iin. Father.” Mit-Sun stretched. “Would you two like to go out somewhere?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Because my pay got docked for Thursday and Friday and it’ll throw a bone into my shopping budget,” she sighed. “We might as well do something fun while I still have the extra vuyong.”
“What are you planning?” La-Iin asked, her tone almost accusatory.
“Nothing, really. I was hoping you two had suggestions.”
Beht-Soh raised his hand. “Well, how about we go to the enigmatic part of town? I’ve heard there are whole parts of Bledger that are on the border of other cities that have some really interesting places to go.”
“Hm….as long as it’s not near Iecation.”
“Why not that one?” Mit-Sun asked. “But sure, that sounds like fun. But let’s plan it out a little more first, alright?”

2.640.History Lesson for Evil

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 640
“History Lesson for Evil”

“La-Iin!”
La-Iin sat in silence on her bed. Plans were running through her head, and she had achieved perfect concentration on the image in her mind.
Even when her door was opened, she barely noticed the sound. Still she focused on the image in her mind.
At least, until that person let a dog in.
“Arf!”
“Choungetsu, what are you doing on my bed!?” La-Iin hissed. “Get off!” She pushed him off the bed. Choungetsu landed hard on the floor and whimpered, cowering away from La-Iin who glared down at him as if he were an enemy.
“Mama, what’s wrong with you!? I was concentrating!”
“Well, sorry,” Mit-Sun said. She sounded agitated.
“What do you want?”
“I was figuring, since you seemed to be so interested in studying whatever was in Sale-Dessu’s files, maybe I could help you study something else too.”
“Your studies becomes boring the moment you’re the one doing it.”
Mit-Sun’s face twitched. “Uh huh. Anyway, if there’s anything you’re curious about learning, I can help you with it. Well, almost anything. I was thinking of leading you through a history of dictators, but I wasn’t sure about that.”
‘Wait a second.’ Mit-Sun’s words brought new plans to La-Iin’s mind. ‘I’ve always looked into the history of evil people to help my own ideas. But it’s been a while. Maybe now’s the time to brush up on it. I do have that new information and Hypotheory, after all.’
Mit-Sun had turned to leave the room. La-Iin flew up behind her and tapped her back. “Maybe I’ll let you help me study after all.”
“What a sudden change of mind.”
“I never said no, did I?” La-Iin hissed. To her surprise, Mit-Sun smiled in response.
“No, I guess you didn’t. Alright then, what would you like me to teach you about?”
“I want to know about the history of evil. As much of it as you can tell me without it getting too long.”
“I guess I should have expected that. But geez, that’s gonna be a lot even if I do cut it short.”
“I’d also like you to tell me some history of the world. Like what the world was like when that evil thing happened.”
“You’re making high demands for someone who apparently doesn’t like my study style,” Mit-Sun said. “But that’s fine with me, though it might take a while. Let me get the books I need and then we’ll get started.”
“Alright. And anyway, I have something to finish concentrating on and a certain dog to deal with.”
When Choungetsu noticed her gaze was on him, he gave a loud whimper and ran past Mit-Sun and down the stairs. La-Iin chuckled to herself and returned to her bed to concentrate as she waited for Mit-Sun.

***

“You should count yourself lucky, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said. She had called La-Iin downstairs and was waiting for her in the kitchen, surrounded by several books. “What you asked for is a high order, and even though I have lots of books I didn’t know if I’d be able to cover it all for you. But I should have just enough to give you a good outline. I’ve read through these books and even though I think I might need them for reference, I think I can give you what you want.”
“Alright. It was a surprise, you having a good idea for once. But I can use anything people will give me. I’m that thorough, after all.”
Mit-Sun gave La-Iin a questioning look. “Anyway–hey, what’s the crayon and paper for?”
“Writing down notes. You never know when research might give you ideas.”
“Turn into a dictator and I’m disowning you.”
“We might have to put that to the test.” La-Iin straightened herself out. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“As you know, evil has of course existed for as long as our planet’s been around. Before there were proper languages, even. People have always been capable of evil deeds. Back then people were still learning about the world and there wasn’t a defined morality system like there is nowadays. It was only as time went on that the world evil came to be associated with the horrible deeds and mindset it is today.”
La-Iin fake-wrote onto the paper. She did actually want to keep notes, but nothing she had said yet felt noteworthy. Still, she wanted to show Mit-Sun she was listening, if for nothing else so that she wouldn’t call her out on not doing so.
‘After all, it’s not like I’m not listening!’
“Evil was considered a detriment back then too. Of course, many notable “good” people did evil things back in the day. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say most historical figures you come across in positions of power, and even some who weren’t, did something evil no matter how noble they tried to come off as. I’m not talking about killing to survive a war, mind you. I mean things like torture.”
“I see.”
“For an example, you could look into the royalty of ancient Grougyp and Shitosh’s royalty. Royalty in particular is a good place to look, as royalty often tried to establish complete dominion over its people, and kings and queens could be vicious people. They had people executed for silly things sometimes. Once in Shitosh’s history, they had someone executed because it was not immediately obvious that the person executed was a Dualbreed. When they found out the other species was Vampire, well, that was that.”
La-Iin nodded.
“But even though there are those historical evil actions, most people tried to present themselves as neutral and eventually, good. Evil was seen as, well, evil. Even those who committed heinous actions usually cared at least about their family and didn’t want them hurt, and evil often hurts other people, as I’m sure you know. The first world war only further established this standpoint because while most people fought for what they believed in evil people sought to take advantage of what was going on for their own gains. They say evil Sirens often tried to provide “comfort” to those fighting in the war…I can’t tell you all about it as it’s a mature subject, but you know how historical Sirens operated.”
“Hm.”
“Things did change in due time. There are a lot of heinous actions that happened all over history. Several mass and serial murders, crimes against the people, several wars…evil people are involved in the majority of those. Even those who didn’t call themselves evil often actually were. There are very few heinous incidents in history which were genuinely done by someone who believed they were doing the right thing through and through, or even by people who have a neutral view on things. For that you might want to look into the Dementia Cult. But as time passed, the world leaders such as the presidents and heads of the countries came together to prevent more world wars by talking among each other–though this happened after World War III, I think, and as you know, World War IV did end up happening. Though it might have happened after World War II…I’m not completely sure. But I can tell you not every place in the world participates. I know Dasdoria doesn’t. In fact, they’re another case of good intentions gone wrong, although nowadays the country’s run by evil people.”
La-Iin nodded.
“One of the things they were thinking about was how to combat evil. Places like Dasdoria and North Vaelyn exist, not to mention even your developed country like Manemica has high crime rates in some areas. Usually, no matter where you go, at least one area does. When a good amount of the population is capable of evil acts, and the majority of said population possesses powers, what do you do? This is how things such as power suppressants came to be, as a consideration of these things. But suppressing powers won’t stop Normals, and it won’t stop someone with powers who’s determined. They say power suppressants make you weak, but I’ve heard that on species with not many powers it doesn’t make them quite as weak as it would if you, for example, used them on Sale-Dessu.”
‘Sale-Dessu without powers would be a weird Sale-Dessu,’ La-Iin thought.
“None of their solutions worked in the long run, but one of their solutions was to recognize evil people. This happened after they looked into the instigator of World War II and after a man, along with his cult, killed thousands of people. Both of those people had started off with artistic pursuits, and so the leaders wondered if they recognized evil people, penalizing evil actions still but allowing them to express their viewpoints–if just possibly, that might work. Because before evil was not tolerated, at least not among civilians, anyway.”
“Hm.”
“Well, it hasn’t worked overall, but they left it intact because it didn’t harm their intentions either. It has prevented some evil people from acting on their desires most likely. And that’s why you’re welcome to say you want to rule the world. In the past that would have gotten you in more trouble, probably me and Asul-Zenza too. But yes, our history is filled with heinous deeds. Because it is detrimental and negatively affects people, we search for ways to reduce these evil actions. But in a world like this, I don’t think it’s possible. Witches and Warlocks have so many abilities the total number is higher than one-hundred and we have species like Sirens who can kill people by singing and Vampires who need blood for physical and mental stability. And people tend to be selfish. Even people who mean well probably don’t want evil in the world because it could harm them, or someone important to them. And of course evil people are almost unanimously motivated by selfish desires. So…”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Well, if you’re curious about all sorts of evil events that have gone on over history, here are some books on them. These are books about all four World Wars, about serial and mass killings, about crime in general and civil wars…all sorts of things that have happened over history. As much as I would have loved to go over them with you right now, there’s just so much to cover and more often than not there’s a lot to read related to it. So for now you can read up on it on your own. By the way, here are some books which talk more about the incidents I mentioned to you.”
“Okay.” La-Iin tried to take some of the books, but struggled under their weight. Mit-Sun gave an amused huff and helped her carry the books to her room.

—–
“You’ve certainly been reading a lot lately.”
“Hm.”
“It’s kind of annoying. But I seriously wonder how a seven-year-old could be such a voracious reader, especially of such complicated-looking books. I understand you read well because you were taught on Makeshire plays, but I don’t understand it. Especially considering you can barely write Vaelis from what I’ve heard.”
“Shut up, Bes-Isa. And besides, I’ve been struggling plenty. By the way.”
“What?”
“Do you know what this word is?”
“…I guess I have no place to speak. After all, even though your reading isn’t great, it might be better than mine.”
“Just admit you can’t read,” La-Iin hissed. “Fine then. I’ll ask Mama.”

29.637.Research Results

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 637
“Research Results”

After La-Iin arrived home from school on Tuesday, she heard something tapping against her window.
“What’s that annoying noise?” Bes-Isa moaned. Curious herself, La-Iin peeked out the window. She opened it up once she noticed Eul-Bok, covered from head-to-toe in thick clothing, holding a wand out of a window.
“What do you want?” La-Iin called out.
“Not so loud!” He said, his voice hushed but not in a whisper. “Father wants you for something. He says it’s important. He asked me to tell you about it. He’s really exhausted.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened and she gasped.
“What is it?”
“Sale-Dessu has something for me.” She levitated Bes-Isa to her side. ‘Could it be…?’
She smiled to herself, a wicked smile.
“Someone’s looking evil.”
“I feel evil,” La-Iin said. She dashed down the stairs, flying only briefly to keep herself from falling when she tripped. She caught Choungetsu’s attention on her way down, and he barked at her.
“Quiet, Choungetsu!” She hissed. Choungetsu whimpered and cowered. She ignored him and dashed past the kitchen.
“What’s the hurry, La-Iin?” Mit-Sun asked. But La-Iin didn’t pay attention to her either. She continued onward until she was outside, and then until she was in front of the door to the Astineth house. She tried to open the door, and when it didn’t budge she started to bang wildly on it, catching the attention of one of her neighbors.
“Not so loud!” Eul-Bok hissed. La-Iin was surprised to see him answer the door. “Father’s really exhausted right now. Have a little decency!”
“Decency and I are not on speaking terms,” she said. “Where is Sale-Dessu?” She let herself in, and Eul-Bok closed the door behind them.
“He’s where you two always meet. He might be napping, so please be quiet.”
“Geez, something’s got you all riled up.”
“You don’t understand why yet, Bes-Isa. But depending on what happens here today, you might soon…”
La-Iin wasn’t subtle in her excitement, and Eul-Bok found himself cringing quite a few times as she crashed through his and Sale-Dessu’s house on her way to their normal meeting area. Any reservation she normally had while visiting them was obviously gone.
She plopped herself down once she reached the meeting area. Sale-Dessu was fast asleep, resting his head on the table.
“WAKE UP!”
“Ah!” Sale-Dessu lifted his head abruptly and began to pant wildly. His visible eye darted around until it landed on La-Iin.
“Oh….please don’t scare me like that!” He sounded angry.
“I told her you didn’t get much sleep, Father. She wouldn’t listen! She’s really excited about this.”
“Did you tell her what I called her here for?”
“No, but something tells me she guessed.”
“Have you finished your research into that thing I asked you about!?”
Sale-Dessu looked confused, though only briefly. “Y-yes. In fact, some of the things I found out near the end were startling. That and having to compile all I learned is why I’m not running on much sleep…” He yawned. “So please, let’s make this quick. I could use some rest.”
He pushed the files La-Iin’s way. “Here you are, the results of my research. I may have written things a little bit confusingly. I was tired when I finished this.”
“Confusingly isn’t much of a word, Father,” Eul-Bok whispered. Sale-Dessu sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m really exhausted…”
La-Iin began to check over the files. “It would be better if you did that at your own house. I’m really exhausted, La-Iin. Unless there’s something else you actually need–”
“Father, no! She’ll just ask you to do more pointless research!”
“Eul-Bok, please. Even if she asked that, I wouldn’t do it right now. And in any event, I just meant if she has any queries. Questions. …whatever word will make you understand.”
“This isn’t pointless,” La-Iin hissed. “Oh….ooh…”
“La-Iin?”
La-Iin’s mouth turned up once again in a wicked smirk. “Amazing, Sale-Dessu. I’ll have to read the rest of this at home, but it looks like my hope was right.”
“Mind letting me in on it? Right now I don’t understand why I was dragged out here!”
“Oh, you’ll learn soon enough. It’s the proper result.” La-Iin organized the files. “I’ll let you sleep for now, my ally. You deserve it after what you’ve done for me. This is amazing. Do you want to know just how amazing?”
“How amazing?” Sale-Dessu asked, feeling a little uncertain. ‘I’m glad she likes it. She seems really enamored. Did she want to know about this that badly? I suppose it does have to do with a part of her species.’
“Amazing enough that even someone evil like me is considering calling it justice!” She cackled. “Thank you for the help, Sale-Dessu. I might even say I owe you.”
“How big is that stuff that you of all people are talking about owing!?”
“For now, I’m just happy that you’re happy,” Sale-Dessu said. “But maybe I’ll ask Eul-Bok if there’s something he wants from you.”
La-Iin stared at Eul-Bok. Aside from her wicked smile, she looked as emotionless as always, and to Eul-Bok it felt incredibly unnerving at that moment.
“I have to read the rest of this over. Sleep well, Sale-Dessu…”
With those words, La-Iin left the Astineth house.
“She certainly seemed quite happy,” Sale-Dessu said.
“Just what was in that research that she reacted that way to it?”
“Well, there was a lot, and I have to admit some of what I found out was quite interesting. I’m not a genius so I don’t know if there were a few details I got wrong, but from what I saw…” Sale-Dessu’s expression changed to one of concern.
“Father?”
“I’m sorry, Eul-Bok, the fatigue is coming back to me…” He yawned. “Would you be willing to wait for your answer until morning?”
“I’m willing to wait, Father. But just how long do you plan on sleeping?”

***

Mit-Sun was used to receiving assignments from Eteibreit that necessitated her to look over or sort papers. She knew she spent much more time than she would like going over papers in the kitchen, and she also knew that on more than one occasion that had caused La-Iin to become mad at her.
So it greatly surprised her to spot La-Iin in the kitchen, looking over several papers.
“Where did you get all that from?”
“Sale-Dessu,” she said.
“What is it?”
“Research.”
“Research? I didn’t think you liked to do research all that much.”
“I love research when it comes to the things I like,” La-Iin said. “Heh heh heh…”
“Huh.”
“I’d really like to know what the research is too, La-Iin.”
“You have to let me finish going over it, Bes-Isa. It’s a lot to read, but as I go on it only becomes better and better. I’m loving this!”
“Just how great is this? You thanked Sale-Dessu, talked about owing him…and that is the most wicked smile I’ve seen on your face in a while. I love it, I just wish I knew what was causing it!”
“It’s these papers, obviously,” La-Iin said simply. “But now I know. Now that I have these, Hypotheory will be perfect.”
“Hypotheory? What the hell is that?”
“What’s a Hypotheory?”
La-Iin hissed. Both Mit-Sun and Bes-Isa assumed that meant they weren’t getting an answer, though in Bes-Isa’s case it didn’t stop her from pestering La-Iin, at least until La-Iin put her to sleep.
Frustrated, La-Iin carried the papers with her upstairs and began to read them in her room. Her smirk only grew wider.
‘Amazing. Simply amazing. Now that I have this, I can move on with Hypotheory!’

—–
Bes-Isa woke to the sight of La-Iin staring out her bedroom window. It was open and a cold breeze had blown into the bedroom, soaking into Bes-Isa’s fabric.
“What are you still doing up?”
“I can’t sleep. I keep feeling that something amazing is going to happen. No, I know something amazing is going to happen. I can feel it. I’m so happy right now…”
“Does this have to do with that research, or “Hypotheory” or whatever it was you were going on about?”
“That doesn’t matter right now, Bes-Isa. I’ll tell you about it later. …you know, there are a lot of reasons I do what I do. Many, many reasons, so many that even if you took one away I’d still want to do it.”
“Huh?”
“But one of the primary reasons is that it makes me happy.” La-Iin backed away from the window and glanced at Bes-Isa. “And if goody-goodies are allowed to do what makes them happy, then I see no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to, either.”

24.632.Reasoning

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 632
“Reasoning”

Asul-Zenza flew above Vaelyn, enjoying the feel of the wind.
‘It’s cooled down fairly quickly, hasn’t it?’ He always loved the way autumn flights felt. They relaxed him.
While flying, he noticed that he was in Bledger. He even spotted the neighborhood where La-Iin and Mit-Sun lived a short distance away.
‘I wonder…’
September had been somewhat of a strange month. Mit-Sun had invited Asul-Zenza and his parents, along with other members of La-Iin’s family, out to spend time with her, and he had been receiving calls from La-Iin with what felt like more frequency than usual.
‘I suppose we’ve been getting on better terms ever since 2014, but it does seem really strange. I only seem to feel complacent when there’s no reason to be…’
A sudden curiosity overtaking him, he decided to head down and visit the Cahongyun house. Once he spotted it he landed.
He knocked on the door. Mit-Sun answered it fairly quickly.
“I thought I asked you to warn before you visited.”
“Sorry, but this was slightly spur of the moment. I had a sudden curiosity and I figured it would be easier to stop here briefly rather than head home and call you.”
“Call me?” She asked. “Why? You’re here for me?”
Her expression suddenly hardened.
“I am, but as usual whenever I visit you, it isn’t for you, it’s somewhat about La-Iin.”
“Of course. …somewhat?” Mit-Sun stared up at him. “Hurry it up. I’m a little busy right now…”
Asul-Zenza noticed that Mit-Sun was holding tight to one arm. “Is something wrong?”
“Er–that’s none of your business.”
“It could be my business. Does it have to do with La-Iin!?”
Mit-Sun’s face relaxed. “No. She’s upstairs doing…something to Choungetsu. I’m not exactly sure what. If you want I can call her down here.”
“No, that won’t be necessary. If you’re busy it’s best I leave as soon as possible, and if I see her I won’t want to.”
Mit-Sun nodded. “Well?”
“You’ve seemed very kind lately, Mit-Sun.”
“Is this some sort of attempt to butter me up?”
“Not at all! I was just wondering what spurred the sudden kindness? Even as you were becoming more at ease with me being a part of La-Iin’s life you still had your contradictions. You would go between wanting La-Iin to bond with me and wanting me to disappear completely from your life.”
“I still don’t like you, in case you were wondering.”
“I figured…” Asul-Zenza sighed. “A-anyway, but yes, lately you’ve been seeming just completely alright with it. And it’s not just me either it seems, seeing as you invited my parents over to see her as well. So I was wondering, why the change? It seems so sudden to me…or perhaps there’s something I’ve missed?”
“Because–”
Before Mit-Sun finished, her eyes widened and she turned and ran back into her house. Asul-Zenza was tempted to follow her inside, but he was certain she would get mad at him for doing that. Still, the temptation remained, so he peeked his head in, only for Mit-Sun to run right past him seconds later.
“Mit-Sun? Is something the matter?”
“I’ll tell you later, Asul-Zenza,” Mit-Sun said, fixing her jacket. “I need to get to the hospital.”
“The hospital!?”
“Yes! Do me a favor and watch La-Iin for me, alright?”
“Th–the hospital? Mit-Sun, is everything alright?”
“It will be if I make it there in enough time….damn it, when are visiting hours over again?”
“Mit-Sun, you know how much I would love to watch La-Iin, but I think I need to help you here!”
“Help me? How?” Mit-Sun sounded genuinely confused.
“You need to get to a hospital? I can fly you there!”
Mit-Sun looked uncertain.
“It’s faster than going on foot, isn’t it!?”
“I–I suppose,” she sighed. “Fine, then. But at least tell La-Iin where we’re going…”
“You didn’t tell her yourself?” Mit-Sun glared. “Er, yes, certainly!”
Asul-Zenza ran into the house and up the stairs. La-Iin’s door was open, and he could hear Bes-Isa laughing before he saw La-Iin trying to fit a dress onto Choungetsu. When La-Iin looked up, Choungetsu broke free and hid behind Asul-Zenza, the dress still on him.
“Dami!”
“I’m sorry, La-Iin, but there’s a little emergency. Your mother and I are going to the hospital.”
“What? Why?”
“I don’t know, honestly,” he said, “but I’ll call you as soon as we get there! And I’ll be back, I promise. She will be too. But we need to go right now, so please stay here and don’t leave the house.”
“Huh?”
It broke his heart to leave her behind, but Asul-Zenza turned away, flew out the house, closed the door and grabbed hold of Mit-Sun.

***

Mit-Sun was anxious the entire time. As soon as they had arrived at the hospital, she started frantically asking about visiting hours. It reminded Asul-Zenza somewhat of his visits to Blooudine, and he started to feel as anxious as she seemed.
‘What’s going on? And is La-Iin going to be okay at home all by herself…’
“Come on.” Mit-Sun grabbed Asul-Zenza’s hand and dragged him over to a hospital room. She opened the door and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mr. Cahongyun?”
“Asul-Zenza?”
Beht-Soh looked up from a book. “Mit-Sun I expected, but why is Asul-Zenza here too?”
Mit-Sun’s words came in between pants. “He helped me get here. Oh, Papa, I’m so glad you’re alright…”
“Mit-Sun, I told you, it wasn’t anything all that bad.”
“Seriously!? I heard that you fell and you were going to need surgery! Do you think I’ve been sitting still this entire time just thinking ‘oh, Papa’ll be okay’!? You’re elderly! And surgery can go wrong! I’ve been on edge this entire time waiting for them to say you’re awake so I can visit you!”
Mit-Sun started to cry, but she frantically wiped the tears on her shirt sleeve and took a seat next to Beht-Soh’s bed.
“It’s alright.”
“You don’t even know how scared I was…”
“It’s alright. I understand.”
“I…I thought I was going to lose you too…”
“I’m okay, I promise. They said everything’s going to be alright.”
Mit-Sun wailed.
“In fact, I’ll be out of the hospital soon! Don’t worry, Mit-Sun. It was only as bad as it was because it was a really hard fall. I fell off a ladder and I hit the ground at a speed that would hurt anybody. At least I didn’t break anything!”
“But you needed surgery…are you sure you didn’t break anything?”
“Certain! And I’m okay. So please don’t cry.”
Just watching the two was making Asul-Zenza tear up. He stepped out the room and took a deep breath.

“…thank you for flying me here, Asul-Zenza.”
“Not a problem. I’m glad you made it here safe.”
“Y-yeah…” Mit-Sun’s face screwed up. “Geez, you saw me cry…”
“I’ve seen you cry before,” Asul-Zenza said. Mit-Sun glared.
“I suppose I know the answer to my question now, though.”
“Huh?”
“It’s because of Mr. Cahongyun, isn’t it? He’s elderly now. La-Iin will live a long life. Even if most of her living family is Vampires, he’s still a part of it, and anyway most of her living family is older than she is and she has the extra years from being half-Normal. It’s a concern of mine too. It’s such an obvious answer now that I think on it…”
Mit-Sun shook her head. “That’s not it, Asul-Zenza. Well, I guess maybe a little…but it’s not the reason why I started doing this.”
“Hm?”
“La-Iin’s evil. I don’t want to change her. If she decides to become good or neutral in the future that’s her choice, but I’m not going to change who she is. That being said…I don’t want who she is to be a cold, heartless dictator. So I’m trying to let her bond with her family, just…give her that little nudge in the right direction, you know?”
“Ah, I see.”
“So go ahead and call her as often as you like. Around me she’s the same as always, but around family she always mellows out a bit. And if I can go without hearing that she took over some place like Neigghed or Caucas in the future, I’ll be happy. So…that’s it.”
Asul-Zenza nodded. “Well, that makes sense. Good luck, then.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “You called me kind, but I don’t understand how you could be so nice to someone who dislikes you as much as I do.”
“Because I’ve never disliked you. Is that so hard to grasp? I’m pretty sure I was the only one crying over our breakup.”
“Yeah, you’d be right there.”
Mit-Sun smiled.
“Hey, mind flying me back home too? This hospital is far from our house.”
“I don’t mind at all.”

—–
When the two arrived home, La-Iin was waiting at the door, holding Choungetsu, who was still wearing a dress.
“Why didn’t you take me?”
“I’m sorry, La-Iin. But it’s alright.”
“Who’s in the hospital? If it’s Haner, I guess I understand why I didn’t go.”
“Your Granddami’s in the hospital. But he’s fine.”
“…doormat Granddami, right?”
“Don’t call him that.”
“I’m sorry if we worried you, La-Iin,” Asul-Zenza said.
“I was fine.”
Asul-Zenza noticed that La-Iin’s eyes were slightly red. He smiled.
“Ah, I’d love to stay a little longer, but I was just reminded of something I should probably do. But La-Iin, let’s stay in touch, alright?”
“Okay?”
Asul-Zenza tapped Mit-Sun on the shoulder. “Looks like you’re doing a good job.”
He spread his wings and flew off.
“Are you and Dami getting back together?” La-Iin asked, her tone accusatory.
“If that’s what you think then you need more school.”

20.628.Friendship from a Year Ago

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 628
“Friendship from a Year Ago”

“You know who you haven’t seen in a while?”
“Who? And do I care?”
“You will. It seems like it’s been a while since you last saw Sale-Dessu.” La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Have you even seen him this month?”
“I ate the mincemeat pie I made for him myself.”
“Yes, I thought I remembered you asking him for something.”
La-Iin smirked. “That’s right, I did!”
“Are you talking to me?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Why would I ever talk to you, wench?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Talking to me or not, that reminds me. La-Iin brought up Sale-Dessu the other day. And even though we bonded, we never really kept up a friendship.”
“So?”
“Maybe I should go and see him.”
Hearing that made La-Iin almost toss herself out of her chair.
“What’s with the big reaction?”
“Nothing,” she said through grit teeth. “But who says Sale-Dessu will want to see you after all this time?”
“Well, it’s worth a try to see, isn’t it? I don’t dislike him.”
“It seems her Normal stupidity gene is kicking into full force.”
“You must have a little of it too if you hadn’t noticed it’s been active all this time. It’s the only part of her brain that’s been active, speaking of.”
“You shut up!”
Mit-Sun huffed. “Never mind.”
She walked out of the room. “Was that never mind for seeing Sale-Dessu, or never mind for dealing with me?”
“Perhaps yours isn’t active right now like I initially thought. Anyway. I hate to ask the same thing as that woman, but what was the big reaction for anyway? I’m aware we don’t want Sale-Dessu being dumbed down by an idiot, but I didn’t expect a reaction so strong.”
“Eul-Bok is autonomous. Mama doesn’t know this. And even if she doesn’t tell everyone all over Bledger about Eul-Bok, her seeing Eul-Bok might make Sale-Dessu more nervous than he already is. Which disadvantages me.”
“Is that so? How?”
“If he’s nervous, he might lock himself up and he’ll never complete the research I need,” she said. “And if he doesn’t, my plan–”
“What plan?”
“That’s not any of your business!”

***

When La-Iin took Choungetsu on a walk, Mit-Sun decided that it was a perfect time to visit Sale-Dessu.
‘Things have been going well for me recently. And he is a friend of La-Iin’s as well, at least it seems that way…I wonder if he’s been doing alright.’
Meanwhile, in the Astineth house, experiments were underway.
“So you’re telling me you don’t name your experiments?”
“I just use the names that they already have.”
“What if you’re coming up with something brand-new, though?”
“Do you mean like mixing a water-powered engine with an air conditioner or something like that?”
“Well, yeah, I guess, but–”
Eul-Bok was interrupted by a knock at the door. He groaned. “I bet I know who that is.”
Sale-Dessu answered the door, and immediately he recoiled in shock.
“Ca–Ca–Cahongyun elder? I mean, Mit-Sun?”
“Hi, Astineth. Er, Sale-Dessu. It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? …er, Sale-Dessu? Are you okay?”
“Ah, i-it’s just been a while since I last saw you, is all!”
‘Damn it!’ Sale-Dessu shot one quick glance back at Eul-Bok, who now looked startled. ‘She can’t come inside! La-Iin hasn’t told her about Eul-Bok being autonomous! …or has she? Either way, I can’t risk it! She wasn’t in on the plan.’
“O-oh, I’d love to, but I’m busy with an experiment right now,” he said quietly. “If I take my attention off of it it could explode…”
“Er, I guess you’d better get back to that, then!”
“D-don’t worry, even if it does explode it will only explode inside my…living room….okay, good-bye, Mit-Sun!”
He closed the door and sighed.
“What just happened, Father?”
“Cahongyun elder–er, Mit-Sun–she was at the door!”
“La-Iin’s mother?” Eul-Bok stared down at his hands. “I had a bad feeling about that.”
“But I was able to turn her away, thankfully. I mean no offense to La-Iin but unlike her, she’s at least somewhat reasonable. Now, let’s get back to our experiment…”
“You should mean offense to La-Iin.”
He turned back to the door. When he had first seen Mit-Sun she had been smiling and looked happy to see him.
‘We did bond, back when La-Iin drunk that potion, or no, after that…’ He could remember a conversation he had had with her about being a parent.
‘Maybe she misses me.’
“Father, what are you smiling like that for?”
“It’s just nice to be loved, Eul-Bok…”

“I’m so glad I took Choungetsu on a walk,” La-Iin said, tone deadpan, after she had returned home. “There was so much poop…if all that was in the house…”
Mit-Sun sighed.
“You didn’t have to deal with it, so why do you look upset?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m not really upset, La-Iin. Just thinking.”
“Your face gives away more than mine does.”
“Even if that’s the case I’m sure my face gives away less than you being super-obvious.”
“What does that mean?”
“Normal stupidity gene.”
Mit-Sun glared at Bes-Isa. “You were created to be a Normal, you….oh, forget it.”
“I’m a V-Puppet though. Not a Normal. Gotcha.”
“So ridiculous…”
A knock sounded at the door. “Huh?”
“I don’t remember inviting anyone over,” Mit-Sun said. “La-Iin, did you invite someone over?”
“As much as I’d like to, no.”
“Hm…” She walked over to the door and opened it. Nobody was standing there, not at first–Sale-Dessu peeked his head in moments later.
“Hello, Mit-Sun.”
“Hello,” she said. “I thought you were busy with an exploding experiment?”
“Sale-Dessu?” La-Iin called. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was thinking after I finished the spell, I might visit you. You seemed like you had something to say to me before you left earlier. And it didn’t explode, so don’t worry.”
“So you did visit him,” La-Iin said, her tone accusatory. Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“Not really. Actually, it’s just been a while since I last saw you. I know we were never really close, but I was just thinking back on it.”
“I see….well, I shouldn’t stay too long. Eul-Bok will be lonely without me. But I wanted to share a little something with you first.”
He handed her a box. “What is this?”
“La-Iin, why are you glaring at me like that?”
“You’re my ally, not Mama’s.”
“What I gave her just now has nothing to do with being an ally,” Sale-Dessu said, his tone strangely playful. Now even more curious, Mit-Sun pried open the box.
Out from it came a bright burst of colorful lights that changed the color of everything it exploded around. La-Iin was quick to notice that once it died down, Sale-Dessu was almost entirely violet, from his skin to his clothes and his eyes, except for his hair which had turned a dark silver. She was also quick to notice that her hands were now the same green that Sale-Dessu usually was. She recoiled.
Sale-Dessu began to laugh. “You two always were the most interesting for my experiments to affect,” he said between giggles. “I’m sorry if I ever inconvenienced you with them.”
Mit-Sun didn’t respond. She just seemed to be trying to hold back a giggle.
Sale-Dessu remained at the door a while longer, still laughing hard, and Mit-Sun stayed put as well, suppressing giggles.
La-Iin, on the other hand, was horrified. When she caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror, she realized that her color scheme was now that of Sale-Dessu’s.

—–
Sale-Dessu had left not long after he stopped laughing, but before that, he gave them some instructions.
“That “Colorburst Palette Swap”….” His cheeks flushed red. “That name was Eul-Bok’s idea. Anyway, it naturally wears off after about forty-five hours. Your colors will start reverting at about thirty-two hours, and after forty-five they’ll be almost back to normal. But if you really want it to revert early, you’ll have to take a bath in hot water for about two hours.”
“This is true evil…perhaps I should consider it for the future.”
“Thanks, Sale-Dessu. I’m sure La-Iin would like to go back to her normal colors now.”
Sale-Dessu nodded. “Alright, then, I’ll be seeing you two.”
“Oh, wait, Sale-Dessu! One thing I wanted to ask you!”
“Huh?”
“How’s Eul-Bok doing?”
It took Sale-Dessu’s all not to break out into a cold sweat. “Er…better than ever, thanks for asking. Well, see you!”

“Father! You used Colorburst Palette Swap on yourself!?”
“It was an accident. But don’t worry, it’ll wear off soon enough.”
“If by soon enough you mean forty-five hours…”

13.621.Family Bonding

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 621
“Family Bonding”

Mit-Sun sighed as she hung up the phone.
“You sure have been making a lot of phone calls recently,” La-Iin said. “But your birthday is already over. So what’s the point?”
“I have other reasons to be making phone calls aside from it being my birthday, you know.”
“I know that. But why are you?”
“It’s not your business, La-Iin.”
La-Iin’s eyes narrowed. “…you wouldn’t happen to know Haner’s phone number, would you?”
“I do–” La-Iin hissed at her. “But I haven’t talked to him since my birthday, whether over the phone or in person. So quit being like that.”
“Hmph.”
“Anyway, what these phone calls are for is my business and not yours.”
“You always eavesdrop on my phone calls…”
“I don’t always, so calm down, alright? After all, this’ll be good payoff for…”
“For…?”
“It’s nothing,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Just get out of the kitchen, alright?”
La-Iin huffed. She left the kitchen, but as she did continuously glared over her shoulder at Mit-Sun, up until she crashed into a wall.

***

“What do you need to buy downtown now, Mama?”
“Why do you ask?”
“We mostly go downtown when you need to buy something. You’d better tell me. You woke me up before I was ready.”
“You wouldn’t be tired if you hadn’t stayed up all night singing Usl-Thaehey songs at the top of your lungs,” Mit-Sun said. La-Iin’s eyes widened and her face flushed. “That’s right, I heard you. Now, look up ahead.”
La-Iin bit back her retort for the time being and looked ahead, and the sight she saw made her gasp. Waiting in a group, waving to her, were several people she recognized.
Namely, Asul-Zenza, her grandparents, and Ei-Tio’s family.
“Wha–?”
“While you were so bound and determined to interrupt my phone calls yesterday, I was calling all of them out here,” she said. “It’s mostly Asul-Zenza’s family though. You have more family on my side, but they don’t live in Bledger.”
“Ah….”
“Mit-Sun, I think you broke La-Iin,” Asul-Zenza said. “How are we supposed to have a family outing if she’s in that state?”
“Snap out of it, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Anyway, it’s good to see all of you–er…”
The crowd was all smiles–almost. Asul-Zenza’s parents Verde-Nenda and Anil-Kosha were obviously glaring at her.
“Uh…”
“What is it, Mit-Sun?” Beht-Soh asked.
“Asul-Zenza, your parents–why are they glaring at me like that?”
“Oh, that, well…”
“We’re only here because of La-Iin, I hope you know,” Anil-Kosha said.
“If it weren’t for her, all the persuasion in the world wouldn’t have brought us out.” Verde-Nenda said. Mit-Sun grit her teeth. ‘Damn, I guess I can’t expect them to like me after I broke up with Asul-Zenza the way I did…’
“You two are amazing,” La-Iin sighed. Almost immediately Verde-Nenda and Anil-Kosha’s glares turned to warm smiles. Mit-Sun was dumbfounded.
“Let’s just get going, alright?” Mit-Sun said. The group nodded and they set out across downtown.

The size of their group caught the attention of some people downtown, but to Mit-Sun’s relief, it wasn’t enough to prompt people to walk up to them, at least not yet. Mit-Sun’s mind was more focused on another problem, that being that the Ghneckdo side of La-Iin’s family seemed to be taking up all her time.
“How has school been, La-Iin? I hear you’re in it already.” Verde-Nenda asked.
“It’s fine.”
“Seven years old and in school. Seems you have a prodigy on your hands!” Anil-Kosha said. Asul-Zenza smiled.
“Nobody ever calls me that.”
“They must be foolish, then.”
“I don’t want to be called the same thing as Ai-Reia.”
“‘Ai-Reia’?” Shi-Bara asked. “You mean like Vampiris Ai-Reia?”
“Yes. She goes to my school.”
“Vaelyn’s child prodigy!?” All her family suddenly seemed quite excited–even Asul-Zenza’s eyes widened a bit, though La-Iin could have sworn she had already told him. “You go to school with her!?”
“Yes? Who cares? She’s annoying.”
“It’s amazing, that’s all,” Anil-Kosha said. “I knew she had flown under the radar recently, but to think she went to our own granddaughter’s school…”
“Though it sounds like you two don’t get along, huh?” Jul-Ense asked.
“No. Unfortunately.”
‘Does that mean it’s Vampiris’ fault?’ That was the thought on a few of their minds.
Behind the chatter, Mit-Sun sighed.
“Is something wrong, Mit-Sun?”
“No, not really. After all, Ghneckdos make up most of La-Iin’s family, so it’s not really a surprise that they’re taking up all her time. I have to face facts that we Cahongyuns aren’t a big family, although we’re the ones who live closest to her.”
“It’s probably because of that, Mit-Sun. The Ghneckdos don’t live very close to La-Iin so of course they want to monopolize her time. You live with her and it’s not too out of my way to visit her, but it takes them quite a while even with that amazing wingspan.”
“I guess.”
“Though I admit I’m still surprised you invited Asul-Zenza,” he chuckled. “What made you do that?”
“I have a reason,” she sighed, “but I’d rather tell you later, away from this crowd. But don’t go thinking it’s anything like ‘wanting to get back together’. I still don’t like that guy.”
“I didn’t think so.”
“Big sister, you still drawin’?”
“Yes. But if I brought my drawings to downtown, it would have been a mistake. That’ll have to wait for a more personal visit.”
“Okay!”
“No matter how much closer you and I want to be to La-Iin, there is no denying her bias to Asul-Zenza and Ei-Tio,” Verde-Nenda said.
“I suppose there isn’t, but that’s alright. She doesn’t know us as well.”
Anil-Kosha glanced over her shoulder. “And you must be Mr. Cahongyun.”
“M-me? Yes, that’s right. I’m Cahongyun Beht-Soh, Mit-Sun’s father.”
“Nice to meet you, sir. I am Ghneckdo Verde-Nenda.”
“And I am Ghneckdo Anil-Kosha. We’re Asul-Zenza’s parents.”
“I figured. I can kind of see where he got some of his features.”
“You seem much more pleasant than your daughter,” Anil-Kosha said.
“Some people have said that to me before. But my wife used to tell me that I was a doormat, so I always thought people would find me annoying. You just have to give her a chance.”
“Maybe someday, seeing as she was kind enough to plan this outing, but it’ll have to wait for now. La-Iin is here, after all!”
Beht-Soh sighed. “Well, I did my best to put in a good word for you.”
“Thanks, Papa. But I really doubt those two are ever going to forgive me for breaking up with Asul-Zenza the way I did.”

“This is boring! I don’t want to keep walking around downtown like this. I want to do something more!”
La-Iin ran ahead of the crowd. “La-Iin! Does anyone see where she ran off to?”
“She just went up there, Mit-Sun,” Asul-Zenza said, pointing to the musical district. Mit-Sun sighed and chased after her.
“Harsh as she might be sometimes, you have to give her points for caring about her daughter,” Asul-Zenza said. Verde-Nenda and Anil-Kosha huffed.
“Wait, big sister!”
“Careful, Ei-Tio! The ground has straight cracks in it!”
“…straight cracks?” Beht-Soh questioned.
“We’ve learned to speak Ei-Tio,” Shi-Bara explained.
Mit-Sun and Ei-Tio caught up with La-Iin in the musical district, where she was dancing along to an Usl-Thaehey song that was playing.
“I could tell an Usl-Thaehey song from a mile away.”
Mit-Sun covered Ei-Tio’s ears. “Isn’t this song a little…racy?”
“Mama, come on. Ei-Tio won’t understand it. And she will someday, so who cares?”
“Can I dance too, big sister!?”
La-Iin nodded, and Ei-Tio began to do a wild dance next to her. Mit-Sun couldn’t help but chuckle at the odd sight.
Once the song had ended, Mit-Sun said, “Please don’t run ahead of the group like that.”
“I heard you saying you set up this group for me. I’ll do what I want.”
“La-Iin,” Mit-Sun forced through grit teeth, “Please.”
“I don’t accept pleases!” La-Iin screamed, running ahead of her once again–almost. This time she stopped in place before getting too far off.
“But I will accept food.”
“Fine, fine…”

Mit-Sun had quite seriously contemplated leaving downtown to take everyone to Sunday Daily, but she had decided against it after remembering her prior experience there. ‘Nobody is going to take that away from me. The day I go back I’ll be alone…or maybe I’ll take Papa with me.’
So she instead took them to a restaurant that was fairly out of sight.
“This seems slightly shady,” Asul-Zenza said.
“It was advertising international food. Why shouldn’t we give something non-Vaelis a chance?”
“I already have,” La-Iin said proudly.
“Wow! What is it?” Ei-Tio asked.
“It’s mincemeat pie,” Mit-Sun said before La-Iin could open her mouth. La-Iin glared. “And it happens to be her favorite food.”
“A Vaelis girl with the heart of a Shitosh one,” Verde-Nenda said, ruffling her hair. “How strange!”
“My dominion spreads far past Vaelyn and Shitosh,” La-Iin said. Most of the crowd was confused, but Asul-Zenza just sighed, and Mit-Sun groaned.

The restaurant was fairly tiny, and judging from the reactions of the staff, they had never gotten a group nine people strong. But it was soon evident that they were more than a little excited to serve the large group, though at ordering time there was a little trouble.
“What’s that say?” Ei-Tio asked Jul-Ense.
“Depoisonberry Soup.”
“An’ that?”
“Bloodsauce Spaghetti.”
“What about that!?”
“Stotche…you don’t want that, Ei-Tio.”
“Why not?”
The group sighed. Though Ei-Tio wasn’t the only problem.
“No mincemeat pie? And I only see bloodsauce spaghetti.”
“There are plenty of other blood-related meals on the list, La-Iin. Where are you looking?”
“You realize La-Iin’s reading isn’t perfect, right?”
“She’s lying to you!” La-Iin hissed.
“Do you want me to read the menu for you too, La-Iin?” Jul-Ense offered. La-Iin responded with a hiss.
It did take a while, but sooner or later the group had all ordered. Their food took a while, and most of the time spent waiting for it was used for La-Iin’s family to ask her questions.
“So La-Iin, you like to draw?”
“Yes.”
“What are your friends like?”
“They wouldn’t be my friends if they were bad. And I don’t mean evil.”
“Did you talk to the pumpkiny boy?”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. Mit-Sun could tell she was getting quickly agitated.
“How about you tell them about wanting to rule the world?” Mit-Sun suggested. La-Iin looked downright offended.
“Those plans are private!”
Mit-Sun sighed. Thankfully enough, the food didn’t take much longer to arrive.
“I’ve always found middle eastern food very interesting,” Asul-Zenza said. “There’s a certain way they season it that makes it delicious. And I love their species-based foods.”
“I heard in the middle east they still cook people!” La-Iin said excitedly.
“Where!?”
“At school. But they only said one place…”
‘Why did she sound so excited about that!?’ Her family wondered.

After eating, the group began to wind down a bit, though it was obvious they still wanted to be out–and Mit-Sun would have agreed, for it felt like they hadn’t done much so far.
‘What can we do to really end this day off on a high note?’ She wondered. ‘Hm…’
“I want to go back to the music district.”
‘I guess that works.’
So Mit-Sun led the way to the music district, though La-Iin several times tried to take the lead from her.
“Why are we going here again?” Asul-Zenza asked.
“La-Iin asked. And anyway, there are some things that can be done there…namely burning all this food off.”
“Hm?”
“I think I know what she wants to do.”
La-Iin smirked. A song by Chehata-Merni had just gone off, and one by Usl-Thaehey had come on.

Day in, day out
Nothing’s ever good enough
Your expectations, set them too high
Keep on trudging, keep on trudging through
It’ll never be good enough for you

New things, old things
Put them all together now
Nothing’s working, better erase it all
And how you put up with yourself
Is something you never ever figured out

What you try, you cannot defy your
Expectations, you set them far too
High, and you wouldn’t give yourself a chance
To just let it go and let yourself f@%k up!

Oh, it needed to be perfect
That’s what you said, that’s what you said
So why aren’t you giving it your all!?

You made your own never ending hell
Your limiters have made you fall
And that’s the inevitable fate of us aaaaaallll!

Day in, day out
Always trying harder
That’s what you tell yourslef
Even if it is a lie

Over, over, over and over again
You never tried doing things your own way!

What you try, you cannot defy your
Expectations, you set them far too
High, and now it’s not the same
The same as failure in your eyes!

Oh, it needed to be perfect
That’s what you said, that’s what you said
So why do you always just slap somethin’ together

You made your own never ending hell
Your limiters have made you fall
And that’s the inevitable fate of us aaaaaallll!

All….

Remove the limiters, remove the feeling
Remove the expectations, remove the result
Thinkin’ in black-and-white
Keepin’ yourself up all night

I realized the errors of my ways
I’m givin’ you a chance to too
But if you choose to stay that way
I’ve only got one thing to say to YOU!

Ah, it’s never good enough!
It’s always never good enough!
You scream about this every night!

What you try, you cannot defy your
Expectations, you set them far too
High, and you wouldn’t give yourself a chance
To just let it go and let yourself f@%k up!

Oh, it needed to be perfect
That’s what you said, that’s what you said
So why aren’t you giving it your all!?

You made your own never ending hell
Your limiters have made you fall
And that’s the inevitable fate of us aaaaaallll!

You live forever, that’s the inevitable fate of us all!

La-Iin started clapping lightly as the song went off. Her family was pleased.
“That was adorable,” Asul-Zenza said.
“You voiced my very same thoughts,” Beht-Soh laughed.
“It was a good exercise, though! That song is intense!” Verde-Nenda said.
“I’m not sure it was the best thing for Ei-Tio to listen to, though,” Jul-Ense said.
“Well, she wanted to. And now she’ll probably want to look around this part of downtown too, if I know my La-Iin.”
“I would be willing to do that. I don’t seem to have given this ‘Usl-Thaehey’ a fair chance. I was always much more intrigued by Sulaet-Defka.”
“Though even we are older than her, hah!”
As expected, La-Iin had taken the lead from her family, but she stopped in place when a new song started.
“Sweet Inevitable Death….” La-Iin smiled.
“She’s going to make us do it again,” Mit-Sun said.
“I’m up for it if she is!” Verde-Nenda said. And the group broke into dancing once more.
“Weirdos!” A Minomix man called out.

—–
After their dance session, La-Iin had introduced everyone in the group–save for her parents, that is–to Usl-Thaehey, to mostly positive but ultimately mixed reception.
“What do some of those words mean?” Ei-Tio had asked.
“La-Iin, I’m not as intense as Jul-Ense is when it comes to….keeping things secret from Ei-Tio, but I’m just not a big fan,” Shi-Bara said.
“Why should I care?”
After eating a large dinner and dancing, however, they were quite exhausted by the time night was high in the sky, and so decided to head back once they reached the front of downtown.
“Did I ever tell you I met Usl-Thaehey once?”
“WHAT!?”
“Actually twice!”
Though that story kept them from leaving when expected.

“Goodbye, La-Iin! We’ll hopefully be seeing you once more soon!” Verde-Nenda said.
“Bye-bye, big sister!” Ei-Tio said.
“Be seeing you, La-Iin. Remember, you’re always welcome to call me!” Asul-Zenza said.
Beht-Soh walked home with Mit-Sun and La-Iin. When La-Iin ran ahead of the two, he took his chance to speak.
“So what brought on the outing?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I’m alright with La-Iin being evil. A non-evil La-Iin is a disturbing idea to me. But I don’t want her to ruin her life because of that. There are plenty of evil people who live respectable lives for the most part. And I doubt I can keep La-Iin out of trouble on my own. But if I can at least keep her caring for people, then I won’t think I did a completely horrible job.”
“I see.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “And so far, I don’t think I’ve done the worst.”

11.619.Mama’s Party

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.618.Cooking for You!

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 618
“Cooking for You!”

La-Iin watched Mit-Sun intently as she cooked dinner that night. Her eyes were narrowed and followed her hands at all times. Mit-Sun couldn’t help but feel unnerved by it.
“What’s got you so interested in dinner all of a sudden?”
“It isn’t what you’re making, Mama. Milkfeed isn’t my favorite. I was watching you cook and I–”
“Oh no, I’m not letting you near the stove.”
“You misunderstand, Mama. I have a reason to be interested in cooking.” She balled her hand into a fist. “I was thinking and I realized the precarious position I’d be in if I allowed someone to cook for me when I am ruler of the world. Everyone would want me dead. So I realized, I need to be able to cook for my plan of ruling the world to come to fruition!”
“…uh-huh. Are you sure this isn’t just because of what I told you about having other talents? It is good to know how to cook for yourself.”
“It is a helpful skill. If I rely on other people to cook for me, they’ll make shit like you do.”
“La-Iin!!”
“So once you’re done with dinner, I have the perfect plan.”
“Oh no.”
“I want to use the stove so I can make meals for certain people. I’m going to be too full after dinner, so why not give away my experiments? It’ll be practice for the future when I experiment on people with other things, heh heh…”
“Are you sure that isn’t your Normal side speaking?”
“Can it, Bes-Isa.”
“It does sound a little weird, for you.”
“You misunderstand my reasoning for this. Anyway, I demand to use the stove after dinner!”
“…” Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes.
“I’m not going to set the house on fire.”
“…”
“And I won’t intentionally make anything bad. I’m trying to learn to cook for myself, after all.”
“…”
“And you can watch me.”
“…”
“What do I need to do for you to say yes!?”
“Why do you care about me saying yes?”
“If you don’t I know you’ll just stop me.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “We’ll see. But I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on you if I agree.”
“As I suspected. But that’s fine. I can deal with that.”

La-Iin scarfed down dinner as fast as she could manage–the texture of milkfeed always gave her a gag reflex, so it was slower than she would have liked–so that she could set to work on making food as soon as possible.
‘The easiest people to use would be Fer-Shi, Shuu-Kena and San-Kyung. Ai-Reia would never eat something I made, so she’s worthless. Hm, maybe I could sneak something in there for Sale-Dessu. I could make lots, but maybe I should narrow it somehow….’
The idea that gave her was to cook based on what she could imagine the people she was going to give food to might eat. ‘If it’s something they might eat, they’re more likely to actually go along with the experiment!’
She could imagine something to make for Fer-Shi, and had a feeling that Shuu-Kena would be grateful for anything she made, but San-Kyung utterly stumped her. ‘Have I ever seen him eat? Animated Pumpkins don’t even really need to eat. Oh, he’ll be a challenge. I like a challenge…’
While Mit-Sun finished what was left of her dinner, La-Iin looked through a cookbook she had found in the kitchen. “Hey! How’d you get that!?”
“So this is why you make these dinners,” La-Iin sighed. “I noticed you also have a Shitosh one with mincemeat pie in it.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “You really are serious about this, aren’t you?”
“I take my profession of future ‘Queen Maniac of Evil’ very seriously.”
“And the name changes once more…”
La-Iin set down the cookbook. “I have some ideas. Watch me closely if you want, Mama, but know that you will not stop me from making what I will!”
“Yeah, sure. Just tell me if you need any help.”
“What a terrible good mother, letting her seven-year-old use a stove and potentially a knife with little supervision when she KNOWS she’s evil…”
“You be quiet.”
La-Iin retrieved all the supplies she felt she’d need from the fridge, freezer and the cabinets in the kitchen and put them on the table.
“Do you really need this much for simple meals?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Yes, probably.” ‘I guess I should start with Fer-Shi.’
She grabbed some vanilla extract and some vegetables, head over to the stove and retrieved a frying pan. She covered the bottom with vanilla extract and put it on a low heat. Then, she started to cut up the vegetables. As she head back to the stove, Mit-Sun sniffed at the air.
“Wait a second, what are you doing!?”
“Considering what Fer-Shi likes, I had a perfect idea for a new recipe she might eat. But, hm, it doesn’t look edible so far…”
She retrieved some seasonings and a can of whipped topping. Mit-Sun’s eyes widened and she tried to dissuade La-Iin, but by the time her voice came to her, it was too late.
Though even La-Iin seemed horrified by the mess she had made.
“It’s under cooked, it’s covered in expired whipped topping from who knows when, all sorts of seasonings that don’t go with vanilla extract…”
“It makes me glad I can’t eat just looking at it.”
“So the first attempt was a failure! I’ve successfully cooked before, so this was just a road bump.”
“Since when?”
“Think this month last year.”
This time she decided she should be more reasonable. She looked through the cookbook and found a recipe that sounded interesting, and set to work on making it.
“What do you need sardines for?”
“I saw a recipe in your book called a ‘sweet sardine sandwich’. I thought I would make it.”
“I’m not sure that would be a good idea. I’ve never made it but I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste.”
“Well, I’m making it, so if I don’t do what I did before it’ll be fine.”
She began to make the sweet topping for the sandwich and put together the sardines, bread and lettuce. She tasted the topping before putting it on the sandwich, then wrapping it up in plastic wrap.
“There.”
“That came out looking good. But like I said, I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste…”
“That doesn’t matter. I made it taste fine, so she’ll like it anyway. Now let’s see…”
She flipped to the desserts section. Thinking back on the Sara family, she couldn’t imagine Shuu-Kena got anything sweet to eat there. ‘I’ve always wanted to experiment with Demon paste.’
“Do we have Demon paste, Mama?”
“Only a little. Why? Are you going to make a Fairydevil cake?”
La-Iin nodded and set to work, preparing Fairy frosting and Demon paste and starting work on the cake itself. Mit-Sun had to help her part the way through, as she soon found some of the words she couldn’t read. But she tasted things along the way, and was quite intrigued by the spice of the Demon paste on its own.
“Fairydevil cakes are the epitome of evil dessert,” she said.
“What does that even mean?”
“You think you’ll get an overly-sweet Fairy frosting cake, then the Demon paste kicks in and overwhelms the senses! Just like how evil triumphs over good, always!”
“…you realize there are good Demons and evil Fairies, right? And that that metaphor makes no sense?”
She made the Fairydevil cake small, partially because of Shuu-Kena’s small frame but also because of the lack of Demon paste. ‘I don’t want it to be just a Fairy frosting cake with a little demon paste.’
When the cake was done, she wrapped it too in plastic wrap.
“Knowing this recipe will be good knowledge for the future…”
“You’d think you’d want to learn how to make mincemeat pie before anything else.”
“I do. In fact, I’ll make it now!”
“What!? But I barely have any supplies!”
“That didn’t faze me with the Fairydevil cake. You’re the one who suggested it too. Your lack of supplies is not my fault.”
“Actually, it is. If you wouldn’t act up at the store, I’d be able to focus better on what I need!”
La-Iin ignored Mit-Sun’s complaints and set to making a mincemeat pie. ‘I can eat some with Sale-Dessu. I wonder if San-Kyung would like it, too…’
She lowered her head.
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“Mama, if you were going to make food for someone who never eats, what would you make?”
“I’d think anything would be good for someone who doesn’t eat!”
“No, but I mean someone who doesn’t need to eat.”
“Huh?”
Mit-Sun caught a glimpse of her daughter’s expression. By that alone it was evident that she was thinking quite seriously about this–perhaps more so than her entire cooking venture thus far.
“Well, I guess I’d make something that tastes like a drink.”
“Hm.”
La-Iin’s face steeled and she continued to make the mincemeat pie. She ended up with a small one, and cut it into three pieces, which she wrapped separately. She then grabbed some fruits and sweet seasonings.
“Help me blend these!”
“Um, okay!”
After the fruits and seasonings were blended, she began to prepare a cake and mixed the two together. Then, she put it in the oven, and from then on was constantly checking it.
“What are you trying to make?”
“Shh.” She took the cake out of the oven. “I thought that sometimes people make fruit drinks, like fruit milkshakes. So I thought I’d make a fruit milkshake cake.”
“I see. Well, it looks like you did a pretty good job, just going by the seat of your pants.”
“I’m not wearing pants.”
“I know, it’s an expression.”
As La-Iin set to work wrapping the milkshake cake, Mit-Sun caught sight of the look in her eyes.
“You know, it creeps me out sometimes.”
“What?”
“You’re too young to act like a girl in love. That’s all.”
“…I have nothing to say to that.”

“Soooo, what are you going to do about this monstrosity?”
La-Iin stared at the strange lump of food that made up her first attempt. A malicious grin crossed her face. She began to douse it in all the seasonings she could find.
“Ahahahahahahaha!”

—–
La-Iin came to school the next day with a basket slung over her shoulder.
“Hi, La-Iin! Whoa! What’s that?”
“I have something for you.” She took out the sweet sardine sandwich. “Eat the labors of my experiments!”
“Um…thank you?”
“I don’t need or want thanks. This was only to help build up my own skill.”
She then ran up to Shuu-Kena and handed her the Fairydevil cake.
“Huh?”
“This is for you. From my experiment. And what a helpful experiment it was…”
“This is for me?” She beamed. “Thank you, Cahongyun!”
La-Iin nodded and ran up to San-Kyung.
“And for you–”
“What do you want?”
She handed him the mincemeat pie slice and the milkshake cake. “I heard Aesthetically Normal Animated Pumpkins start to look malnourished if they only drink.”
“Looks like someone’s been doing her research!” Dosa-Mina chirped.
“Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t because of that. I wanted to try my hand at cooking. I recently discovered it’s a necessary skill for me.”
“…”
“I can always hold onto it until after class, though.”
“Hmph.” San-Kyung didn’t seem fazed in the slightest.
“What spurred the sudden kindness?”
La-Iin’s eyes went blank. “Oh, it isn’t kindness. But speaking of my attempts, I did make one for you too, rival-boy…”
She pulled out of the basket a large, unidentifiable blob wrapped shoddily in plastic wrap. “Here you go….heh heh heh…”
Dosa-Mina stared at the “food” for only a few seconds before running off.

5.613.Cahongyun Headquarters

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 613
“Cahongyun Headquarters”

La-Iin cleared her throat.
“You may be wondering why I summoned you here today, ladies.”
“‘Summoned’? You didn’t summon me. I’m always here.”
“Quiet, you. Is anyone else wondering?”
Fer-Shi raised her hand. “Yes. All you told me over the phone is that you had something important to do and that you needed me right away.”
“Good question. Unlike the other one that was just asked.” La-Iin glared at Bes-Isa.
“I don’t have to put up with this, I hope you know.”
“Well, you will.” She cleared her throat once more. “For seven years now there’s been an important fixture in my life that I’ve been missing!”
“What’s that?”
“A base!” She yelled. “I’ve gone from place to place. I’ve said I’d set up one and yet never done it! You understand now. I don’t have a proper base, a headquarters for my plans. And sooner or later lying in bed daydreaming them is not going to be enough. That’s why I’ve enlisted you two to help me!”
“Me I can understand, but why the girl?”
“Fer-Shi has been with me on escapades where I said I would make a base but didn’t. I think she understands my tastes well enough.”
“Thanks, La-Iin!” Fer-Shi said. “Although I kinda agree with Bes-Isa. Aren’t there other people you trust more with this?”
“If you mean San-Kyung, that’s impossible. Working him into my current plan would be difficult. But I can’t explain why…”
“She means she has no idea what she’s talking about.”
“In any event! That is the reason I’ve summoned you here today! Aid me in finding a base.”
“Okay! But what kind of base do you want?”
“Well, probably close to home,” La-Iin said. “And someplace I can make cozy like my bed.”
“So you can fall asleep outside as the weather gets cold and catch pneumonia…”
“What’s with you and your snarky comments lately?”
“Try asking that to yourself, Miss ‘stuff-me-in-a-hole’!”
“H-hey…” Fer-Shi sighed. “Anyway, what else?”
“The less likely I am to catch pneumonia, the better. Oh, and also, I need room to move around.”
“Okay!” Fer-Shi nodded. “Well, let’s go looking!”
“Sounds like it’s going to be tough to narrow it down to your requests. I wonder if we’ll be able to find a place like that.”
“I’ll put my faith in Fer-Shi. Her and I have trouble sometimes, but I have to say she is the most reliable person I know.”
“Huh!”
“I’d explain why in detail but that would take too long.”

La-Iin let Fer-Shi lead the way, though she maneuvered Bes-Isa over to her friend so that she could also give an opinion. Not long after leaving her bedroom, Fer-Shi had requested to look inside the miscellaneous room.
“Sure, go ahead. But the sooner you’re done, the better.”
“I agree.”
For that time, La-Iin was stuck waiting in the upstairs hallway.
“What are you doing sitting there? Didn’t you invite Fer-Shi over?”
“Yes, and we’re going to go somewhere. I’m just waiting for her to finish something.”
“Hm. Just don’t go on another ‘adventure’, all right?”
“Of course not,” La-Iin said, her tone thick with false sweetness. Mit-Sun gave her a look before going into a room. At about that moment, Fer-Shi came running out of the miscellaneous room with a wide smile on her face.
“Are we ready?”
Fer-Shi nodded. “Follow me!”
“Follow you?”
Fer-Shi seemed eager, so La-Iin opted to followed her, but something about the situation gave her a bad feeling.
Fer-Shi led her to a small spot in the miscellaneous room, made from garbage stacked atop itself. It was small, and a blanket had been placed on the floor. The sight was all too familiar to La-Iin–it was the place she had intended on keeping Dosa-Mina, before that plan had badly fallen through.
“What do you think? It was almost set up like a perfect base when I found it!”
“Fer-Shi….this isn’t going to work.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“I wanted a base close to home, not a base that is my home!”
Fer-Shi flinched. “Oh….sorry.”
La-Iin sighed. “We need to go outside. Outside there are probably plenty of places to make a base. The place where you keep the hobo-slave would make a good base, although it’s a little far…”
“He’s not my hobo-slave!”
“Say what you will. I don’t remember his name well enough to call him anything else.”

With that minor ordeal dealt with, La-Iin, Fer-Shi, and Bes-Isa head outside to search for a base. As before La-Iin let Fer-Shi lead the way, but at the moment she was feeling a bit wary.
‘I hope she actually finds a good base this time!’ She thought. ‘Fer-Shi doesn’t seem to care that it’s obvious what I want to use it for, so I’m not worried about that. But her taste in bases seems a little skewed…’
“You know, if you had a little tent tarp, you could probably make your base somewhere nearby your house. Like as close as your backyard.”
“Tent tarp?”
“Have you ever seen the cloth tents they use in species societies sometimes?”
“Oh, those?”
“Yeah, those could probably make a good base. But I’ll still keep looking! ….hey, am I going to be invited into your base?”
“If I need you. For now it’s important that the only ones who know about my base are myself, you, and Bes-Isa. And the base will be mostly used by me alone.”
“But if your base is outside and away from home, won’t Miss Cahongyun keep you from going to it all by yourself?”
La-Iin sighed. “Make that me and Bes-Isa. And Choungetsu if I absolutely have to…”
“I’m glad you’re actually thinking of me, for once. After all, I’ve helped you out with your plans on more than one occasion.”
“Yet the last plan I had you just told me was nothing but worthless…” La-Iin grumbled.
“What are you talking about, ‘last plan’? Oh, wait a second, La-Iin! Bes-Isa, does that place look good?”
“What place? I can’t see what you’re talking about.”
Fer-Shi ran ahead of La-Iin. All La-Iin could see nearby were trees–that and the outline of the library off in the distance. She wasn’t sure of whether or not to follow Fer-Shi, but she didn’t have to make the decision–shortly after, Fer-Shi beckoned to her, and so La-Iin spread her wings and caught up with her.
“Nearby the library, I found some place you might like, although you’d need to bring a few things from home to make it cozy.”
“What’s that?”
“I still don’t think her giant head is going to fit in there, girlie.”
“We have to give it a try!” Fer-Shi led La-Iin to a hole a distance behind the library. It was half embedded into a cliff; the other half was a hole in the ground.
“Wow.”
“It’s nice and dark and looks good to think in. Although it might not be all that good in the rain. The trees are covering it but trees always splash on my head when it rains.”
La-Iin leaped into the hole. Right away she could tell it would be a tight fit–she could barely stretch her wings once inside. Fer-Shi followed her, but that only led to the two girls getting stuck.
“I told you her giant head wouldn’t fit in here.”
“W-well, you could probably make more room if you turn it into mud.”
“And then how long would I have to wait for it to dry?”
“Dang it…” Fer-Shi sighed and pulled herself out of the hole. She held out a hand to La-Iin, but La-Iin flew above her instead. She landed just as Fer-Shi slammed her hands onto the ground, which almost made La-Iin fall backwards into the hole.
“Give me one more shot, La-Iin!”
“I wasn’t going to ask you to stop. Just because your ideas haven’t been good so far doesn’t mean that. Looking for a base on my own has been a pain. And at least a hole is a better idea than garbage.”
“Well, I know I can find something better. This hole’s pretty far away anyway.”
“She’s desperate to please you, La-Iin. Evidently you didn’t give her enough attention over the Summer.”
“Hey!”
“It’s not a problem. This is something I know I can trust Fer-Shi on. After all, finding special little places is a specialty of ours.”
Fer-Shi smiled. “Would you really say that?”
“I already did. Now let’s keep looking. Mama gets mad when I come back after it gets dark outside.”

Fer-Shi had seemingly decided to look closer to home after the hole ordeal, and though her immediate next idea–an opening in thick bushes–had proven to be a bad one, she was still determined to find a place, begging La-Iin to give her just one more chance.
Since then, Bes-Isa had stopped looking around with her, and now La-Iin was holding her as Fer-Shi led the way.
“I’m surprised you trust her with finding your base.”
“If you’re surprised, then you’re silly.”
“Yeah, I suppose I shouldn’t be. After all, no matter how much you love San-Kyung, your first flesh and blood friend is her, I suppose.”
“San-Kyung isn’t flesh and blood. He’s rind and blood.”
“….ew. Hey wait, isn’t he Aesthetically Normal?”
“That’s not–”
“La-Iin! La-Iin!” Fer-Shi was running up to her, her eyes wide and excited. “La-Iin! I think I just found a good base!”
“Really?”
Fer-Shi nodded. “Come on, I’ll show you!”
La-Iin took a look at the area they were in. It seemed familiar to her. She recognized it as an area nearby her neighborhood that she barely ever ventured to, though she remembered coming here a few times with Choungetsu when she was too bored to go much of anywhere.
Fer-Shi led the way until she reached a fixture that looked somewhat like a small house.
“It looks like it would fit both you and me. I guess if you wanted someone taller in here it would be inconvenient, but you’re so small it’ll probably take you a while to outgrow it. There’s a moldy blanket in there, but once you get rid of it it’ll probably be a lot more comfy. And look! It’s rainproof!”
La-Iin took a look inside. She tossed aside the moldy blanket and sat down. Fer-Shi joined her. She peeked out of one of the windows.
“…good job, Fer-Shi.”
“Will it work?”
“Yes. In fact, I could come here pretending I’m walking Choungetsu then tie him up somewhere. And this place is great! It doesn’t look like anyone lives here until you walk a bit further.”
“I’m surprised you picked a base in such a ‘spooky’ location.”
“I’m surprised I found this base at all!” She laughed. “But I’m glad you like it, La-Iin. I knew I could find you something!”
“It’s perfect. From today on, this place is Cahongyun Headquarters!”

—–
“You two took a while to get back. …why are you so dirty?”
“We went someplace that was a little dustier than we expected,” Fer-Shi giggled.
“But the experience was all worth it.”
“Well, I’m glad you had fun. You’re almost making me want to go somewhere with a friend…”
“It had better not be Haner you’re considering,” La-Iin hissed. Mit-Sun shook her head. “Hey, I don’t judge you for hanging out with Fer-Shi.”
“Fer-Shi isn’t in love with me, though.”
“That would be pretty weird to be in a friendship like that. I wonder how San-Kyung feels.”
“The same as I do.”
“No, I don’t think that’s the case…”

San-Kyung shuddered.
“What’s wrong son? Are you getting sick too?”
“I had better not be.”

“Now that I have a base, Hypotheory is looking more and more realistic every day.”
La-Iin smirked to herself. “Thanks, Fer-Shi. I’ll make sure you benefit from Hypotheory too.”