23.539.Dami’s Advice

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 539
“Dami’s Advice”

As soon as she arrived home from school on Tuesday, La-Iin set her mind to calling Asul-Zenza. After both the delivery of the mincemeat buns and the strange person she had seen before heading off to Neigghed, she felt as though a talk with him was both necessary and long overdue.
Before heading to the phone, she checked around the house to make sure that Mit-Sun was still inside. She spotted her reading a book in the kitchen, and she glanced up and waved at La-Iin before turning back to the book.
“Mama?”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“Do we still have any more mincemeat buns?”
“I think we might have one left over. You can have it with dinner if you want.”
La-Iin nodded. “Wouldn’t it be easier to read that book in your bedroom?”
“Hm? Why? I figured you were going to go upstairs and talk to Bes-Isa, and I’m not sure how well I could focus if I overheard you two talking.”
La-Iin gave a quiet growl. “Well, I’m not going to go upstairs. I actually planned on playing out here. And you being out here ruins that.”
“Then I’m going to counteract: why can’t you play in your room?”
“You won’t win, Mama. Even I get bored of playing in my room all the time.”
“I have another counteract as well: since when do you care about disturbing me while I’m reading?”
La-Iin froze. She wracked her brain for an excuse. “Since I get in trouble a lot when I annoy you.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “If you ask me, you haven’t been getting enough punishments for all the trouble you’ve been getting into.”
“Why don’t you just go and read in your room!?”
Mit-Sun sighed. “There’s no reason to get so angry at me for reading out here, La-Iin. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Besides, with the way you’re acting it makes me think you’re up to something suspicious. That only gives me more reason to stay out here.”
La-Iin stared at her blankly. ‘How do I get her out of the room? If I call Dami she’ll just stay so she can listen in on our conversation. And with what I want to talk about, that could be bad…’
A third reason nagged at La-Iin and pressed her to try harder. She began to try and think of something that would convince Mit-Sun to relocate to her room.
“You think it’s suspicious, but not everything I talk about is. I wanted to call Fer-Shi and discuss a secret with her. And you know Fer-Shi–she’s a goody-goody. But I just couldn’t get rid of you even for that.”
“A secret? Are you sure it’s nothing nefarious?”
“You know Fer-Shi, Mama. If it was really bad, it wouldn’t be a secret.”
“I won’t tell.”
La-Iin growled. “Fer-Shi really wants it to be kept a secret…even if you say you can keep a secret, what do you think I’ll do if Fer-Shi finds out that you found out anyway!? Haven’t you ever really wanted to keep a secret for a friend!?”
Mit-Sun blinked. “Maybe?”
“So you should understand where I’m coming from, Mama.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Fine, I’ll go upstairs. But the moment I hear something crashing or burning down here, I’m coming down.”
“You obviously don’t think very highly of me.”
“You haven’t exactly given me much reason to. Look, I know you aren’t as bad as you could be, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about what you’re going to do next. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and go upstairs.”
Holding the page of her book, she stood up and head out the kitchen. Once La-Iin heard a door upstairs close, she dialed Asul-Zenza’s number and hoped for him to pick up.
“Hello? Might this be La-Iin or Mit-Sun?”
“Hello, Dami.”
“Oh, hello, La-Iin! How nice to talk to you! I’m glad you called, actually. There has been a lot for me to go over. Oh, but maybe I should keep some of it a secret.”
“You can tell me if you want to, Dami, but I have a few things I want to talk to you about first.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do. Go ahead and we’ll talk. I have plenty of time. I just got back from my only commitment for today.”
“Well, the first thing I want to say is, did you make those mincemeat buns yourself?”
“You got the mincemeat buns? Did you like them?”
“What do you think?”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Glad to hear it, La-Iin. Yes, I did make them myself. They’re based on a recipe I tried on one of my travels. And I know it likely would have been a smarter idea to come over and personally deliver the buns myself, but I figured Mit-Sun wouldn’t allow me to come over just to give you a small snack. I hope they were all in good condition.”
“They were fine and delicious, Dami. They have me craving mincemeat once again when I had been focusing on blood…but I also wanted to ask, were you there when I was going to Neigghed?”
“Hm? Oh, did you see me? I arrived a little late because I head out later than expected, but I saw you off when you head on the bus. By the time I caught sight of you you were already heading on to the bus, and I didn’t want to call out to you and interrupt all that was going on. I’m sorry we missed each other.”
“I just wanted to make sure. I wish I had seen you before I got on the bus.”
“I do too, but well, it’s happened already. Did you have fun in Neigghed?”
“It was fine, but what was more fun was what happened afterward, heh heh…but that’s not what I wanted to talk about!”
“A shame. I’m curious about what happened afterwards now.”
“Well, I’ll have to tell you later. Because I have a…situation.”
“Hm?”
‘Do I tell him it’s Mama or should I pretend it’s a stranger?’ La-Iin felt conflicted as to whether or not she should face the situation head-on; she wasn’t sure what kind of reaction Asul-Zenza might have if she broached her darker suspicions about Uil-Cur’s motives. ‘Would Dami confront him himself? Maybe not, but I shouldn’t take the chances.’
“I know someone who’s in a stupid situation. A really stupid one. They have a friend who’s obviously suspicious. I think he either wants to kill her or he’s in love with her!”
“…huh?”
“It’s complicated, Dami. But this person I know is really stupid and doesn’t notice either one. And I’m worried about both options. If that other person wants to kill her then that’s bad for me, but it’s also bad for me if he’s just in love with her because what if she falls in love back?”
“I can understand where it might seem like a problem if he wanted to kill your friend, but how is it a problem if he is in love with her?”
“It’s an interference in my life!”
“Is this Fer-Shi you’re talking about, La-Iin?”
“I’m bound to confidentiality for now, Dami, since I don’t know all the situation. But either option seems feasible. He’s super-suspicious so I think he might want to kill her. But when I talked to him the other day he started blushing like he was in love.”
“People can also act suspicious when they are in love. I’ve seen this first-hand. It could be he is just in love with her.”
La-Iin sighed. “That’s still bad for me. So what do I do?”
“Why not let things take their course? I see how it could be an interference in your life but there is no guarantee that she would like him back. And after all, maybe he doesn’t want to kill her or is in love with her. Perhaps he’s just shy.”
“I really seriously doubt that, Dami.” La-Iin sniffled. “I just don’t know what to do. I really hate this guy!”
“La-Iin, that’s all the advice I can give you for now. I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry you’re upset about the situation, but it might work out, and really, there isn’t anything you can do.”
“There has to be! Dami, this man is staking out Mama! Do you see how this could be a problem!?”
“What? Someone is attracted to Mit-Sun?”
“Probably!”
Asul-Zenza was silent for a short while. “I…I don’t know what to say, La-Iin. I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation either…really, Mit-Sun can do what she wishes, but I can certainly see your concern.”
“If he kills her or marries her it’s still a problem for me either way! So what do I do!?”
“Um…well…”
“La-Iin, I hear yelling. What’s going on?”
La-Iin gasped. “I’ll have to talk to you later, Dami. Mama will overhear us if I keep talking!”
“What? Wait a second, La-Ii–“
La-Iin slammed the phone down.
“None of your business, Mama.”
Mit-Sun huffed. “I just want to know why you started yelling. Were you fighting with Fer-Shi?”
La-Iin shook her head. “No. It was just an intense debate. But now I know more than ever that…”
She stopped herself from continuing on. “Read out here if you want to. I’m going to plan in my bedroom.”
As La-Iin walked off, her wings flapping in anger, Mit-Sun couldn’t help but wonder what had gotten her so riled up. She tried to sit down and concentrate on the book, but all that kept coming back to her mind was the memory of La-Iin in such a bad mood.

—–
“Dami? Mama took Choungetsu out, so I have one more chance to talk to you about earlier.”
“La-Iin, I really don’t know what to say. If he shows signs of wanting to kill her, you’ll have to put aside your pride and call the police on him. But if he’s merely in love with her, I’m not sure what you can do about her reciprocating or not.”
“Mmnh…”
“I’m as unhappy as you are.”
“Why?”
“If Mit-Sun did reciprocate this man’s feelings, they could potentially get married. You would become his step-daughter. The idea of another man playing a part in your upbringing makes me furious. But I really don’t see what either of us can do about the situation. For now, you will have to watch from the shadows.”
“…I don’t want to stand by idly though, Dami. If I can, I’m going to find a way to stop either outcome from happening. I’m in control of my own future. And I’m with you–I’m not going to let another man pretend to be my Dami!”

18.534.Animosity from Suspicion

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

13.529.The Blood Tests

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 529
“The Blood Tests”

“Today is the day. Mama can’t stop me now! I will discover the extent of my blood powers!”
“That’s nice and all, but I just have one question: where are you going to get any worthwhile blood? The ones most likely to give you blood are both Normals. And that isn’t going to get you any results. Not to mention, would anyone else who cares about you want to? Sale-Dessu might be squeamish, San-Kyung would probably say no–“
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “It may sound difficult to you, Bes-Isa, but I have the perfect idea. You and Mama might think my memory is bad for a Vampire, but I don’t forget everything. I know exactly what I should do.”
“And what might that be? Mind cluing me in?”
“You’ll see, don’t worry.”

***

Mit-Sun rushed to the store, La-Iin in her hands. Her daughter was twitching and grey, her mouth wide open. She looked in terrible condition, and Mit-Sun cursed herself for not noticing earlier. ‘She developed that blood power not long ago. Of course she might start craving more blood!’
Once at the store, Mit-Sun picked up a few packs of blood boxes and took them to checkout. The woman behind the counter seemed surprised to see La-Iin, but she scanned the blood boxes regardless. Mit-Sun thanked her, walked a short distance from the store, then opened a package of Birdmix blood and gave it to her. La-Iin snatched the blood box away, drank it down with a speed that surprised Mit-Sun, then gave a wicked cackle.
“Huh?”
“Oh, Mama, you poor fool. The blood box run was pretty fun though.”
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened. “I–what?” Her shocked expression soon turned to a glare. “YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT WAS COMPLETELY USELESS!? YOU DUPED ME!?”
“Mama, there are people inside the store who can hear you,” she said, pointing at the building. Mit-Sun picked up La-Iin and the blood boxes and they returned home, Mit-Sun remaining silent the entire time. La-Iin had a bad feeling about what would happen once they arrived home.

Needless to say, Mit-Sun was none too pleased.
“Don’t ever dupe me like that again, La-Iin! What if someday you actually do get another bad blood craving!? Do you think I’ll believe you knowing you did something like this!? You could have just asked! We have a little extra vuyong!”
“It was more fun that way.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “Well, your fun’s come to an end. Get in your room and don’t come out until I say so. You hardly face any punishment for the things you do, well, not today!”
This had left La-Iin locked in her room, with Choungetsu sitting guard at her door. He seemed as happy as ever, and completely oblivious to what he was helping with.
“Mama is a fool. She thinks she’s trapped me in here. Well, I’m more powerful than I usually am. The lock is on the inside of my room. And I have my window! There’s nothing she can do to truly stop me.”
“I don’t care about how you got yourself in trouble. I want to hear about these blood tests. Did you succeed?”
“Yes, I got in trouble because it was a success.”
“Wha–so you didn’t let me see!?”
La-Iin sighed. “You don’t get it. I made Mama think I was having a bad blood craving and she rushed me to the store. Then she found out I was faking it when I finally got some blood. But I saw what type of blood it was–it was Birdmix! I only drank a small blood box’s worth instead of however much I drank from San-Kyung, but that’s good enough for me!”
“All of that made you miss the first part of the test: how long does it take for the power to kick in?”
“I think I know the answer to that already. When I drank San-Kyung’s blood it kicked in really fast. Therefore it must always kick in really fast! As in less than a minute fast, or maybe a minute…”
“Wow, I guess you really are taking this seriously. You know, this is the sort of thing Sale-Dessu might be all over.”
“Yeah, we should visit him again, but I want to do my own experiments first.” La-Iin began to write down on a piece of paper the few details of the power that she understood so far. Then she stood up and stared at her closet.
“What happens now?”
“You’ll see.”
La-Iin drew back on her memories of the powers she knew Birdmixes learned–the feather tornado, the speedbursters, the branch-balls. She focused and attempted to use a feather tornado, but instead ended up in a speedburster which sent her closet doors flying open.
“Oops. Well, it works!”
“What’s oops for? That looked pretty intentional.”
“Birdmixes have a power with feathers, but I guess I can’t use that.” La-Iin stared at her wings and sighed. “Oh well! I’ve seen that their power of speedbursting is one I can use to my advantage! So if I don’t have the means to use a feather tornado or a branch-ball, I’ll just keep speedbursting!”
“Would that really be such a good idea!?”
La-Iin didn’t listen. She began to speedburst around her bedroom, knocking over much of her furniture and sending papers flying. Bes-Isa was certain that if she could move on her own, she would have left the room at that moment.
La-Iin was in the midst of a rush, and was unable to notice the damage she was causing. ‘This power! It’s amazing! Who might have thought that a Vampire could use a Birdmix’s power with such ability!?’
Just as she was ready to stop speedbursting, the door opened and Mit-Sun stared on in horror as she watched La-Iin flip up her table and send papers flying all around the room, including into her face. La-Iin crashed into the wall, stood up, checked behind her and gasped at the sight.
“Where’s my research paper!?”
“La-Iin….”
Mit-Sun’s voice almost sounded like a growl. La-Iin was tempted to speedburst again, but she saw no way to escape even if she did.

“Mama wanted me to give her a chaaaance,” La-Iin grumbled. “She wanted to try and become a better mother, so she read me all that Makeshire stuff. But she’s just as shitty a mother as she’s always been!”
“Seriously, La-Iin, why did you expect anything better from her? Oh right–that Normal side of yours.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes. She set a stray piece of paper on the table. “Oh, here’s the research paper!”
Grabbing a nearby pen, she began to scrawl down her newest findings. “My power kicks in quickly and seems to be fairly powerful even on just a blood box’s worth of blood. But I don’t know yet if that’s because the powers are supposed to be powerful.”
“Well, there’s some food for thought.”
“And there’s one other important thing I need to know–how long it lasts…I’ve been on the effects of the blood for two hours. I’m not going to speedburst inside the house again, but I should find out if it still works. I only know that it lasts for a little bit based on when I drank San-Kyung’s blood, but that was a lot of blood…”
“You’re putting an awful lot of thought into this, huh? Makes me almost want to take back all those times I called you stupid.”
“You know, I do think about things that matter to me. You think I’m a brainless little kid, well, I’ll show you!”
“Sheesh, La-Iin.”
La-Iin continued to tidy her room until she felt it was tidy enough. Then she opened the window and flew outside, heading for the backyard. Checking quickly to see if Sale-Dessu was in his, she took a deep breath, then began to speedburst.
She still was going incredibly fast and had trouble keeping herself stable, but she felt much slower than she had earlier. Grinding to a halt, she flew back up to her bedroom and jotted down the notes.
“There’s still so much more I need to learn about this power,” sighed La-Iin. “It would probably be good to find out how I do with all the species blood.”
“Now that sounds utterly impossible. Aren’t some species not so common here in Vaelyn? I’ve barely heard you talk about Bearpeople and I think I can count Goathoofs you’ve mentioned on two hands.”
“It might be difficult, but I’ll manage. And not all the rare species are going to be hard! At Malicerie there’s a stupid new girl who’s a Llamaki, and I barely saw any of them before her. I can suck that bitch and get revenge for her inconveniencing San-Kyung!”
“If San-Kyung actually accepted your feelings, I’d be scared for any girl who came within a five-inch radius of him.”
“Soon I’ll know all I need to. But for today, I have enough information. Now, I can go back to formulating my plans. That, and drawing.”
“Yeah, once you clean your room more.”
La-Iin snapped her fingers.

—–
The sun was beginning to set, and La-Iin had stepped outside once again to practice speedbursting. This time it had barely any effect and more or less propelled her forward a short distance before causing her to plummet to the ground.
‘Five hours. Not too bad. I wonder if drinking more blood counts as an extension. I bet it does.’
Even with the small amount of research she was allowed to do, La-Iin was immensely pleased. She had good feelings for the power’s potential off of what little she had learned and already ideas of how to apply it were building in her head.
La-Iin was barely able to keep her mind from wandering off in a daydream during dinner.
“…La-Iin? Hello? La-Iin?”

12.528.The Days of Makeshire–Part 3

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 528
“The Days of Makeshire–Part 3”

La-Iin opened the door cautiously and quietly, and closed it just the same.
‘It’s just the end of Makeshire’s story. I heard all about his success and a lot about his plays. I know more things now, and what I really want to know I’ll never know. Today has to be the day I conduct my blood tests, it has to! Of course Mama would never understand that, so…’
She tip-toed through the house, hiding and trying to keep her breathing, footsteps and occasional wing-flaps as quiet as possible. Once she made it to the kitchen, she immediately noticed Mit-Sun sitting there, the book open to a late page. Cautiously she began to sneak through the kitchen, thus far going unnoticed by Mit-Sun.
But this time, someone else noticed her.
Choungetsu began to bark happily and ran up to her, wagging his tail and pressing against her. “Damn it, Choungetsu!”
“La-Iin? What are you doing under the table?”
La-Iin stood next to Mit-Sun. “Mama, I like Makeshire. I really do. But this is the end of the book. He’s an old man who’s almost dead. I want to do something else! Don’t make me listen to your droll reading another day!”
“Droll?” Mit-Sun questioned. “Come on, La-Iin. Look at how few pages there are! You’ll definitely have time to do whatever it is you want to do.” She narrowed her eyes. “And if it’s nefarious I don’t want you doing it in the first place.”
“You’ll never stop me! And I don’t believe you! You took too long two days in a row! There’s a definite trend here, Mama.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Let’s just finish it, alright?”
Choungetsu whimpered. La-Iin glared at her, then shook her head. “Fine, but Mama, if I don’t have any time to do what I want, there’ll be hell to pay!”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes further. “Well, at least you’re listening, for once. Aaaaanyway, as you said, this is near the end of Makeshire’s life. He had his big burst of success, he’s still popular, but the man is an elderly Vampire, and his prime is long past, though still more present than some other notable people…”

***

Centuries had passed since the beginning of Makeshire’s career, even moreso since the beginning of his delve into stage plays. His parents, as well as his siblings Nillion and Aletta, had been dead for so many years living without them felt normal now. And Makeshire had written several plays which had been produced several times and translated into many different languages.
He had lived through nearly all of the 1000s, and soon the 2000s would begin. Still he went to showings of his plays. He could remember much from his career, both good and bad–and even today he was still working, writing what he suspected would be his final play: The Angels and a Conundrum.
The play had been inspired by thoughts of his siblings Nillion and Aletta, and the two main characters shared many personality traits with them. Even after so many years he could still remember clearly Nillion’s strict yet fair behavior, the kindness he had shown him when he was having trouble making his way in the world. He could remember Aletta’s gentleness–his sister had continued working and making treats for him even as she deteriorated in health. Thinking on Aletta was particularly painful–she had never even known that he had begun to write stage plays in the first place.
Still, Makeshire was determined to see through his final work. And he had already written a dedication to his family as the first page. ‘Writing has certainly improved over these years,’ he thought. ‘Before I was stuck using just paper, but now I can use a typewriter, and computers are on the horizon…’
Makeshire was happy for his success. He was happy that he was able to spend so much time doing what he loved, to the point he could make a living off of it. But he was done. He was ready to join his siblings and be nothing more than part of the world’s history.

“Mr. Makeshire? Is it true that The Angels and a Conundrum is going to be your last play?”
“Yes, it is true,” Makeshire sighed. “I’m an old Vampire. Even with the means of writing having improved–and not a moment too soon, those hand cramps of the past were a pain! But I am an old Vampire. It’s time the young people of the world took the helm from me and made their own stage plays that everyone will remember.”
“Nobody can make the kind of stage plays you do, Mr. Makeshire. You have a talent no other will share.”
“True. But so do those young people. And if I were to write a stage play that is similar to one of theirs, they would be accused of copying me when in truth neither of us would be copying, most likely. And I am not as well-inclined with the new happenings of the world as I was with the old. You must realize I have outlived much of my family. Vampires do not often do so by such a large margin of centuries.”
“I suppose I understand in a way, Mr. Makeshire. It has been a long career.”
“Indeed. But, I do not regret a single moment of it.” Makeshire smiled. “I know this is what I was meant to do–this was my purpose in life. I contributed to the world. I will be considered a part of history. And even moreso I have made people happy. I never expected this sort of outcome when I was a young man. I’ve done what I love for so many years. But death no longer scares me. I’m ready to embrace it whenever it comes. But be it tomorrow or in fifty years, this shall most likely be my last play. So I do hope you all enjoy it.”
“I’m sure all of us are hoping that as well, Mr. Makeshire. Thank you for the hundreds of years of plays. We hope that the rest of your life is filled with peace and relaxation.”
“I do too. I’d hate to be witness to the fifth World War when I don’t have the means to fight.”
“We’re looking forward to your last play.”
Makeshire gave another smile. This time, he said nothing further.

The seasons of that year passed. Halloween came and went, and Animated Pumpkins everywhere celebrated. Makeshire visited Manemica during Thanksgiving. Christmas came and went and Makeshire was showered with gifts. The Angels and a Conundrum opened to wildly positive reviews, with some saying it was Makeshire’s saddest play but also one of his best.
Makeshire completely retreated from the public eye after that. Many more people wondered about him after his last play, but Makeshire opted to spend his days in silence and peace, reading the works of others and his older plays. He felt lonely. All these years he had spent his time writing plays, watching as he garnered fame–and all of it had helped to bury the sadness he felt.
He missed his parents. He missed his siblings. He missed his niece and nephew. He longed for the simpler days of his youth. He was ready to die. But passing the time reading the various writings of the world and of his own wasn’t too bad.
‘Soon enough, my family, I will join you.’
His career had been an exciting one. He had never expected it to happen.
A few days into the new year, Makeshire checked into the hospital. The doctors warned him that if he wasn’t cautious, he could easily die–his organs had grown fragile over the years and could shut down at any moment. They warned him to come by if anything at all felt strange.
He was glad he had gotten to write all that he did. He wished Nillion and Aletta could have read the works and come to the showings. They would have had such fun, and would have been so proud. He could imagine Aletta, a kindly mother raising her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and further on. He could imagine Nillion, a successful businessman. They should have been able to pursue their goals as well. It wasn’t fair.
Makeshire was dismissed from the hospital, though he could tell the nurses were still concerned about him. They gave him medication. Makeshire put it on a shelf someplace in his house and forgot about it immediately after arriving home. Not two days later, one of the nurses called him and asked how he was doing, and if he wanted to be moved to senior care.
All those people he had touched over the years, many of them were gone too. Perhaps he would have more confidence, be more social when he met them in the afterlife. He had always wondered if writing so many plays had made him a bit of a recluse.
Pain wracked his body to the point where he couldn’t stand. It was laboring to breathe, and even an involuntary twitch felt like agony.
He hoped that even after he was gone, his plays still made people happy.
Makeshire opened his eyes. The pain was subsiding. At the edges of his vision, he felt he could see Nillion and Aletta. They looked at him with smiles, the perfect picture of health. They seemed all dressed up for a fancy event, and Makeshire wondered where they might be going.
“I think he can see us,” Nillion said to Aletta. “Hello, Makeshire.”
“Would you like to come to a special showing of your play? We helped direct it!” Aletta said cheerfully.
“My children will be there as well,” Nillion said. “It’ll be like a family reunion. Come on. Let’s go.”
“You helped with one of my plays?” Makeshire rasped. His siblings nodded. Makeshire smiled.
“Certainly. I’d love to go…”
Makeshire closed his eyes, yet the vision of Nillion and Aletta did not seem to disappear. No matter how much darkness flooded his vision, they were always standing right there at the corner of his vision, reaching out their hands and waiting for him to join them.

Not more than ten hours later, the headlines sent shock through several people around the world.
FAMOUS PLAYWRIGHT MAKESHIRE FOUND DEAD INSIDE HOME

—–
“And that’s the end of the book.” Mit-Sun slammed it shut. “…La-Iin, are you crying?”
“…”
“It was a big surprise when Makeshire died. I didn’t know much about him, but seeing those headlines was so weird…”
La-Iin shook her head. She checked the time.
“Mama, you took too long. Again.”
“I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Is that why you’re upset? Because you didn’t get to do what you wanted to? It’s earlier than yesterday! You have more time!”
La-Iin ignored her. She was lost in thought.
‘Now I know why Dami wanted to get that thing. It all makes sense now. And now I know for sure. I need San-Kyung at my side.’
Hearing of Makeshire’s death had made her sad, but she had known the man was dead since she first saw a Makeshire play. The thought of being found like him, dead alone inside her house, was unbearable.
She was even more determined than before to finish her blood tests as soon as possible.

11.527.The Days of Makeshire–Part 2

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 527
“The Days of Makeshire–Part 2”

“Today is certainly the day,” La-Iin announced to herself as she opened the door. “Today of all days I will begin my blood experiments! And I know just where I could get some blood from, eh heh heh…”
‘Yesterday may have been interrupted by Mama, but no longer will I wait! Today I discover the truth about this new power!’
She strode into the kitchen with a confident gait, and once again failed to notice Mit-Sun sitting there with a book.
“La-Iin?”
La-Iin stopped in place, grimaced, and sighed.
“Yes, Mama.”
“There’s still more to Makeshire’s story.”
“Mama, I learn enough stuff at school. Can’t I do my own thing today!?”
“Didn’t you enjoy hearing about him yesterday?”
“I did, but then you took so long it was dinner time when you finished and you still weren’t done! If Makeshire hid so much about himself then why is there all this information on him!?”
“He wrote a lot of plays. That’s what a lot of this information is on. And you noticed some of it is speculation, right? Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll reach the end of the book today. Why don’t we finish?”
“It looks like you aren’t even halfway through the book,” grumbled La-Iin.
“Oh, come on. At least you like Makeshire.”
“I know you’re just gonna take so long that I have to go to bed after you’re done. If you take that long, heed my warning Mama, I will follow through with my task whether you like it or not!”
“Hm.” Mit-Sun looked down at the book. “Don’t worry, La-Iin. Most of Makeshire’s notability comes from the time where he started garnering success. And that’s exactly where we’re at right now…”

***

After the success of his play The King of Marmotts, Makeshire found himself writing more plays than expected for the small performance group. He enjoyed taking the time out of his day to write, and even when he had no inspiration, the sheer number of scripts he had written meant that he could quickly revise any problems he had with one before getting the script out to the group. So far, only one of his scripts had been rejected, and each night he came to a showing, it seemed as if there were a fair few people who enjoyed his work.
“You have a true talent for words, Makeshire. Your work is the kind of which payment would be well deserved.”
“I am fine working for free.”
“Nonsense! Say such things and people will take advantage of you. Here.” He handed Makeshire payment, and though he felt reluctant to accept it, he did so without another word.
Makeshire had barely expected this performance group to like his writings so much, but he was quite pleased. Watching the performances, seeing people who enjoyed his writing and even getting paid for it–it was all a surreal experience. Back when he had been living with his brother Nillion, he had certainly never expected that his cathartic hobby would take off in such a way.
Needless to say, he was incredibly happy.

What would surprise him even more than the performance group’s acceptance of his scripts was an event that happened months after the last performance of his play June in the Meadows. He had recently delivered another script to the performance group and was working on another one he had recently come up with based upon a local story he had heard of a woman who jumped out a window and was currently recovering in a nearby hospital.
A knock sounded at the door, and though Makeshire tried to return his concentration to his work, he failed to do so when the knock sounded a second time. He stood up and head for the door, and was greeted by a tall Vampire man in fancy clothing.
“You must be Makeshire.”
“I am Makeshire,” he said, quieter than he had expected. “To what do I owe the visit?”
“Makeshire as in the writer of the stage plays performed by the Blood Aerial Troupe?”
“I have written stage plays for the Blood Aerial Troupe, yes.”
For a moment, Makeshire worried that the man would begin to yell at him, criticizing his works for overtaking the prior works the Blood Aerial Troupe had performed, but instead the man smiled. “Wonderful, just wonderful! I was hoping I would find you soon. Many a Vampire’s house I stopped by was confused by my mention of Makeshire. You could consider me intrigued by your works, especially your focus on half-breeds. What sparks such interest?”
Makeshire gaped. He tried to regain his composure as quickly as possible. “I find them fascinating,” he said. “particularly because in my childhood, it was thought impossible for two of separate species to birth a child…”
“Ah, many Vampires remember those days, but those of other species don’t tend to, hm?” He said, his smile turning to more of a grin. “Ahem. In this day and age stage plays have taken on some fame as a medium for those who are rich. Troupes such as the Blood Aerial perform in the streets, but I am a man who owns a theatre.”
“A theatre?” Makeshire was stunned. He had heard of how prestigious theatres could be–to find he was meeting someone who owned his own was even more surprising.
“Yes, indeed! And we have been fairly dry on ideas for performances–a rule of ours is never to repeat the same show except on special occasions. So I was wondering, perhaps you would loan a script we at my theatre could use for one of our productions? Naturally, you would be paid handsomely for your assistance, moreso if the show were to end up a success–though most proceeds would, of course, go to the theatre.”
Keeping his composure seemed to be getting harder with each word out of the man’s mouth. “Sir, I am but a humble playwright. Certainly there are other scripts out there ‘twould be more deserving than mine…”
“Nonsense! Makeshire, if you do not wish to turn over a script, that is your call. But my offer stands long as I stand at your door. I have read many a stage play script. I know quality when I see it. Should you be so concerned merely turn over June in the Meadows! I might say that is one of exceptional quality.”
“You would truly wish to perform a script of mine?”
The man nodded. “Your humbleness is endearing, Makeshire, but you must step out of your boundaries. You could achieve great success with your talent!”
‘Great success….’ Makeshire felt as though he could almost hear Nillion goading him on, telling him it was his chance to finally give all his play writing a meaning. After that, his deliberation on the matter was only a moment of seconds.
He extended his hand. “A deal it is, sir. My gratefulness is more than you could know.”
“Fantastic!” He chuckled. “I assure you, Makeshire, you will see: you are bound for success!”

Makeshire had been incredibly nervous about the idea of a theatre performing his works, but the performers of the Blood Aerial Troupe were supportive of his decision and a few even told him they would agree with what the man had said–his talents made him seem bound for success.
Makeshire couldn’t believe their words, but if he could do something with all the writings he produced on his spare time, it would be worth it. He continued writing as the theatre practiced his play, and the owner even invited him to a showing free of charge.
Makeshire had never been in a theatre before, and he was awestruck. He sat near the back and watched as the actors performed his play.
“‘Do you believe that someday we may all live in peace, Caeri? That someday all strife in this world will end and finally we will be left with nothing to pursue aside our dreams?'”
“‘Such words are nonsense. No, I do not believe that someday we may all live in peace. That is why we must keep stable what little peace we have, for the reverse may someday be possible. Our world did not make it here on peace. As we learn from mistakes as children, so do all people who bear witness to events of discord. That is what we must do to preserve this peace, is learn.'”
When the play came to an end, Makeshire readied himself to leave. He was surprised by the sheer number of people who gave applause at the end. Never had he seen so many at any of the Blood Aerial Troupe’s performances.
Normally, he was sure he would be nervous. But today he was just happy. He was reaching out to these people and giving them enjoyment. And to him, that was more wonderful than receiving payment for his works.

As it would turn out years later, the man’s prediction was right.
That theatre’s performance of June in the Meadows had sparked a sudden rush of demand for Makeshire’s scripts. As time went on more troupes performed his works, the theatre performed more of his plays, and a second theatre went on to produce both June in the Meadows and his early work The King of Marmotts.
Makeshire was dumbstruck, but he continued to work as hard as he could. He still had plenty of ideas for plays, after all, and as long as he did he would keep writing, but now he did so not only for himself. Not all of his plays received glowing admiration–he could remember one called Greenery Jubilee that many had not cared for–but the vast amount people were thrilled to see his works. They loved his take especially on the subject of intermixed societies and half-breeds, and after some time it wasn’t only other Vampires who watched his plays.
Makeshire’s popularity was spreading.
“Mr. Makeshire, what is your next play going to be about?” Some would ask him.
“I don’t know.”
“Mr. Makeshire, do you have a wife? Is she an inspiration?”
“No, I do not have a wife.”
“Mr. Makeshire, do you want to have children?”
Makeshire was unable to respond. His popularity had naturally given way to people who wanted to learn more about him. When he would go out in public and be recognized it was overwhelming, and hiding his identity didn’t seem to be working–people would recognize him anyway and it would cause the same trouble.
Makeshire was happy, but he was also overwhelmed. All this caused him to stay inside his house the majority of the time writing play scripts or going about his day–that and the fact that he didn’t much care for being out in the daylight in the first place, anyway. He was better off staying inside as far as he was concerned, though at times he would still grant the wishes of the people who wanted to talk to him.
“Thank you for agreeing to this, Mr. Makeshire. We know you don’t come outside much anymore.”
“I figured it was long overdue. Many have wanted to know more about me, so I decided to give in.”
“Alright then, a question some want to know, have you written anything that is not a stage play script?”
“I initially dabbled in novels, but my interest lies in stage plays first and foremost. I have adapted some of those old novels into stage plays.”
“I see. Have an example?”
“Vampire’s Stabmist…”
“Ah, okay. Here’s another question, then: what is your family like?”
“I would prefer not to go much into it, but I did have siblings. They are both passed on, but they are an inspiration to me.”
“I see. Mr. Makeshire, you have written several play scripts over your career, and as a Vampire though you are now fairly middle-aged, you still have hundreds of years left to go. Just how do you do it? How do you produce so much writing within this amount of time and never lose your ideas? How do you keep yourself interested in it?”
Makeshire had to ponder over the question for a long while; it hadn’t been something he had exactly given much thought to. He mostly enjoyed sitting down to write a play script and didn’t think about why he got so much enjoyment from it.
But that question had made him think, and now he believed he had a response.
“Well…as you know, we Vampires lead long lives, so to find something that keeps us enraptured for a long time can be quite difficult. However, I was lucky enough to be one who is interested in many things in this world, the way they work and why they happen, the bad and the good…when my interest in something is high I develop a desire to make a stage play based around said interest. Therefore, so long as the world keeps turning, I think my inspiration will continue.”
“I see. Quite interesting!” The man scrawled down his words. “Now, mind telling us a little bit more?”
“Certainly. I figured you had more questions to ask, anyway.”
Makeshire found his popularity quite overwhelming, but in the end, when he thought on it, he was doing something that made him happy that in turn, made other people happy and entertained. He had no regrets for following this path, none at all.

—–
“Ohh…”
“What’s wrong, La-Iin? We’re getting closer to the end.”
“I’m starving….again. Mama, you failed me!”
“I’m sorry!” Mit-Sun closed the book. “Come on, we’re not on a time limit. We can finish this book anytime we like. Maybe tomorrow.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. She wanted to protest, but no words would come. All she knew was that it was very likely that Mit-Sun was going to put her through the same thing tomorrow, and despite her interest in Makeshire La-Iin was desperate for the book to be over with and for her to have the freedom to finally conduct her blood tests.

10.526.The Days of Makeshire–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 526
“The Days of Makeshire–Part 1”

After arriving home from school that day, La-Iin strode into her house with confidence. ‘Today is certainly the day! Now I know what way would be the best to determine the true extent of my blood powers. I’ll head out today and finally begin the true work on my plan towards world domination!’
She walked past the kitchen, failing to notice Mit-Sun beckoning to her. When she realized she wasn’t getting her attention, she called, “La-Iin, come over here.”
La-Iin turned around. “I’m busy, Mama.”
“You don’t look very busy to me. And if you’re going to get busy, maybe it can wait? There’s something I want to tell you about.”
The look in La-Iin’s eyes grew dark. “I certainly hope it has nothing to do with a Siren named Haner…
“Why would Haner be a part of this? Although, he did–never mind, you don’t need to hear that.”
La-Iin’s wings began to flap rapidly in agitation. She turned to leave the kitchen.
“Wait, La-Iin! Don’t you remember when I would teach you details about species study after school?”
“I learn lots about species study now at school! Though not as much as I would if Hyungdarou wasn’t such a hack. So what could you possibly want to tell me that I don’t already know?”
“For starters, there’s always lots to learn about the species. For instance, I barely know anything about Seahorsemen or Groundisers, and they’re not the only ones. Skeletaltypes don’t make much sense to me either, but aside from that, it also has nothing to do with species study. It has to do with the history of a Vampire I know you’re quite interested in.”
“Dami?”
“No, not Asul-Zenza. I don’t know nor care enough about him to give you a history lesson, and besides it probably wouldn’t be all that interesting. No, I was going to talk to you about Makeshire. Not only is he notable, he lived for over nine-hundred years, you like him, and you did tell me once your school doesn’t often talk about him.”
“More like they get interrupted if they try.”
“Huh.” Mit-Sun opened a book. “Well, his story is a long one, and like you know there isn’t a lot known about him since he wasn’t all that social. But I thought I’d tell you some about his plays, and perhaps both of us can gleam some details from there.”
“How could we? His plays don’t always make sense.”
“This is a history book on Makeshire, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said, pressing her hand down on the book in front of her. “Makeshire’s notoriety began hundreds of years ago, back when he was still a fairly young Vampire. Though he wasn’t too young a Vampire–I really doubt he could have done everything he did back in the 1100s…”

***

“What might ye be writing, fair brother?”
When his brother’s voice broke into his silence, Makeshire felt as though he had lost some of his concentration. He heaved a sigh and attempted to return to his work, writing slowly and carefully and trying to achieve the concentration he had before.
His brother seemed to have other ideas. “Makeshire, in times where parchment is scarce, ‘twould be courteous to speak of your reason for its usage.”
Makeshire was reluctant to answer. His brother sighed. “This silence leads me to believe the reason is nefarious or otherwise frivolous.”
“…I will replenish our store of parchment,” Makeshire responded quietly.
“And so we learn the reason truly is frivolous. Makeshire, you will not be able to escape to the realm of parchment forever. War looms constantly on the horizon and ye are an adult Vampyre. Understand, my reasons for my judgment.”
“That I do,” sighed Makeshire. “My sincerest apologies, Nillion.”
Nillion gave no further response, and Makeshire could only assume that he had left the room. He breathed a sigh of relief and went back to work on his play.
‘Whatever Nillion might say,’ Makeshire thought, ‘these writings of mine are a cathartic exercise.’

“Makeshire, the count of these writings is fantastic, though my meaning is nowhere near the positive sense.”
“I could imagine, Nillion…” sighed Makeshire.
“How much free time must a Vampire have in order to accumulate such a large number of writings? What all are they about? How could you manage it all? Does your hand not cramp?”
“Nillion, are ye upset, or intrigued?”
“The combination of both, be there a word for it! How does one make all these? A waste of parchment, but the tales told upon them are lost otherwise. A conundrum of the highest order you have created.”
“I do enjoy writing stage plays,” admitted Makeshire. “I have writings of other types, but the stage play format fascinates me.”
“Stage plays?” Questioned Nillion. “Why Makeshire, you’ve barely seen any! Why would your fascination lie with them?”
“I…I am not sure.”
“This is all not meant to judge ye, Makeshire. But the paper excess is astounding. To utilize more of this parchment in my care, ye must earn it first. I will then support your pursuits in such a case.”
“Truly, Nillion? Your judgments seemed stronger in the beforehand.”
“Who am I not to support my younger brother? Though I still question your choices, if it has you doing something, then pursue it. But use less parchment, and focus on other aspects of life. Taking a spouse is uncommon within our family. You would do well to join the ranks of those who have. Young though you may be, no longer are you in a Vampire’s prime, so do not wait it out forever.”
“…” Makeshire could give no respond, but when he noticed Nillion was smiling, he felt slightly more confident about his works.

Years of living had left Makeshire feeling as though he was wasting his many years. While the few people of other species he met worked as hard as possible and made the most of their life, Makeshire felt he barely contributed anything to the world. Always he was anxious, the world always feeling like it was on the precipice of war–and what felt like constant deaths in his family only heightened that anxiety.
So much went wrong in this world that was still learning to stand–Makeshire had heard tales of great conflicts that he was grateful to have never been alive for. In hindsight he had many things to be grateful for, but as he stood at Nillion’s grave that day, he hardly felt as though the world had anything in it that was worth forgiving.
All except his writings. All there was in the world gave him many ideas. When he made something horrible into a story, it felt as though it was slightly less horrible, because he could sense the hope that his characters had, could give them a happy ending as opposed to one filled with mass death. Perhaps Nillion would not have found the idea comforting, but aside from his brother his plays were all he had to think about.
‘Perhaps I shall do something about them,’ thought Makeshire. ‘Stage play performances have been going on in the nearby city. Would a submission from an unknown be accepted?’
His tales were filled with so many grim events up until their ends, and sometimes, he realized, even past their ends if he felt the tale he was telling could not, under any circumstances, reach a happier conclusion. The people who performed stage plays nearby often performed them for the rich and more well-off. Makeshire was nowhere in their league. Would anyone really want to perform his plays if he suggested them?
The idea itself made him feel anxious. But what did he have to lose from trying?

“You say that this writing was produced by ye alone?”
“Written,” Makeshire said.
“Ah, understandable. The writings of outsiders we had not considered, but perhaps we will review this and see if it fits within our guidelines. May we hold it for this time? It shall be returned in pristine condition, God as our witness.”
“I have faith it will be,” Makeshire said, spreading his wings. “So be a good day to ye all, and gracious thanks for your acknowledgement of my work.”
“Gracious thanks for your assistance!” Called back the man. “Return to this area in two morning’s eves and we shall deliver a final opinion!”

And he did return, his curiosity too strong to stay away for long. To his surprise, the performers had graciously accepted his writings, and invited him to a showing of the performance. Makeshire had felt a mixture of anxious and timid at their acceptance. He tried to imagine how Nillion might react to this news, though the thought only made him feel sad.
The performance, held for five nights, was of his play The King of Marmotts, a play about a king presiding over a kingdom of “Marmotts”, mixed-breed people who were outcast and shunned by all societies. Few people had shown up to the performance on the night he had come, and he was slightly distracted throughout the showing both of thoughts on his family and of the opinions of the other people, especially as he knew “Marmotts” were often thought of negatively, contrary to his script.
But as well as his concerns he was also entranced by the performance of something he had written. Reading it had been one thing, but to see actors performing his roles and speaking lines he had written amazed him.
After the end of the play, one Vampire woman approached him.
“I heard from an actor that you are the author behind this script,” she began. Makeshire tried to remain collected.
“Your perspective intrigues me. I look forward to seeing further works out of you.”
Makeshire was stunned. The last thing he had expected was to hear that someone had liked his work. It gave him a thrill.
If he could interest this woman, perhaps he could put a foot in the world that way–by giving people some entertainment.
After all was said and done, he approached the man behind the performers once more.
“I do not mean to be imposing myself upon you. But in any time you may need a script to perform, I am willing to provide.”
“How strange you would bring this up! I was wishing to talk with you about your scripts as well. Why don’t we speak over tea?”
Makeshire nodded. “I would like that.
It felt like the start of something big–though Makeshire didn’t dare get his hopes up.

—–
“Mama, all this about Makeshire is fine, but I’m staaarving.”
Mit-Sun checked the time. “Oh, it is getting pretty late. I suppose we could leave the rest for tomorrow.”
La-Iin sighed. “How long is that book?”
“Pretty long. Why?”
La-Iin rolled her eyes. “Never mind.”

30.515.Darkness Swallows You

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 515
“Darkness Swallows You”

La-Iin had always known that her reputation within Malicerie Public School had not been a positive one, and had enjoyed that. She knew that she had worsened that opinion when she sucked San-Kyung’s blood in the school hallway in front of so many students, and had been fine with that. It garnered her some unwanted attention, but she was happy to feed off of the negativity and fear of other students. It made her feel as though she had control over the school.
But as the school week progressed, she had begun to feel as though her power over the students was diminishing. The Principal seemed to be breathing down her neck, always watching her for even the slightest sign of a misstep and being wary of every rumor she was fed. The students spread ridiculous rumors and seemed to become defensive around her, and she had barely talked to any of her friends–San-Kyung seemed reluctant to say anything to anyone and Fer-Shi had deliberately avoided her up until yesterday. Only Shuu-Kena had bothered talking to her, but as far as La-Iin was concerned that was the same as talking to nobody.
She felt as if the power she had garnered from gaining her blood power was now facing a powerful opposition–the people who would now be wary of her as a result of what she had done to San-Kyung. Her power high had ended almost as soon as it had started, and she was left to be frustrated. If the students became defensive, it wasn’t just Ai-Reia she might have to worry about in the future–it was an entire resistance of people who now knew she was dangerous.
On the last day of school that week, she had finally snapped.
“You all think this will protect you, spreading rumors like this. But nothing will. All the powers you have are powers I have, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me, not a single damn thing!”
It had taken all her resistance to keep from doing anything further than yelling, but it had already done enough. After her last class, La-Iin paid another visit to the Principal, and then listened to the crowd chatter about her as she head back home with Fer-Shi by her side.
“Don’t worry, La-Iin. I’m sure all of this will die down. Remember how everyone was talking about San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina after they had just come to the school, and how everyone wouldn’t stop talking about Saoning and Kerushao last year? Don’t worry, I’m sure this’ll blow over!”
‘Even if it does, the damage has already been done,’ thought La-Iin, though she couldn’t bring herself to speak those thoughts. ‘I figured I would only have to re-plan strategies to accommodate for my new power. Now I have to re-plan strategies to accommodate for a potential resistance.’
She tried to remind herself that the possibility had always existed and she should have prepare for it in any event, but it did nothing to lessen her anger and helplessness. At that moment, La-Iin knew that if she could have her way, each and every one of the students who dared to spread rumors about her would have sustained a severe injury at that moment.

***

“La-Iin, are you alright? You look a little down.”
Mit-Sun’s question at dinner time brought her feelings of helplessness back to the surface and in full force. She glared at Mit-Sun without a response.
“Sorry, sorry! I just wanted to know if something happened at school. You know, with each day that passed this week you looked more upset when you came back home. Don’t think I didn’t notice. I’m worried.”
“Well, stop being worried. I can handle my problems myself. But this is one problem even I’m stopped on. So what makes you think you’d be able to help!?”
Mit-Sun’s expression became one of surprise. “I don’t know what has you so angry, but you don’t need to take it out on me, alright?”
“I’ve had to bottle up my rage all day, Mama. My letting it out at you isn’t anything personal, but you seem to want to make it that way.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “La-Iin, when you’ve started to cheer up a bit, come back to talk to me.”
“Hmph. For someone who wanted to improve my opinion of her, you’re being awfully lazy when it comes to trying.”
“I was trying! I asked you if you were alright! But I can’t help you if I don’t know what the problem is!”
“It isn’t something you would ever care about, Mama! Even if I told you and you really truly wanted to help, there would be nothing you could do and you would probably just make it worse! So just shut up and leave me alone!”
La-Iin sunk back into her seat and scarfed down the rest of her dinner. Mit-Sun’s expression gradually changed from one of fury to one of concern.
“Y–you know, La-Iin, you can talk to me anytime you need to, right? I’m always here for you.”
“Huh. Yeah right. Don’t bother, Mama. If I can’t even overcome this problem on my own, then I don’t need to be having this problem in the first place. I’m going to bed.”
As she head upstairs, La-Iin felt as though a dark cloud were hanging over her. ‘Bes-Isa told me I should aim lower. But where’s the advantage in that? That’s basically nothing to strive for. It’s nothing to me.’

***

A swarm of Malicerie students watched her on all sides, seemingly waiting for the moment she made a wrong move so they could retaliate. La-Iin herself sat on a chair in the middle of this circle, making absolutely no move.
Avian students flew above the crowd, watching her with a close eye, but the students on the ground seemed even more prepared–some of them seemed ready to take her down personally. Weapons were prepared, students practiced their powers. It was a thorough resistance, and they were giving her one chance to reform, or otherwise rebel and face the might of so many people.
It drove La-Iin mad. If she had ultimate power, none of this would be a problem. Even the blood power or her flight or transformation was not enough to save her now. But if her power had been supreme, she would be able to take them all out.
There was nothing she could do. It built up her rage until she was seething and could no longer hold herself back. She bit into her arm with a force that made her wince in pain for the first time in a long while. That seemed to be incentive enough for the students around her, who swarmed her immediately. But she was able to break through with the force of her power, flying high above the other students.
It wasn’t as if these people deserved any form of salvation. La-Iin felt it in her heart–even if she was as good as could be and had never wanted world domination, she knew that this would have pushed her over the edge. It was all too much, this feeling of powerlessness. Power was hers; power NEEDED to be hers. Without power, all her dreams of ruling the world would go to waste and be buried by people who sought to oppose her, leaving her empty and worthless. It didn’t matter what stood in her way, the true measure of her strength would come from whether or not she could succeed even with so much opposition in her way. And in her heart, La-Iin felt certain she could so long as she kept pushing forward and making active progress.
La-Iin began to soar in an arc around the students before tossing them all off balance with the quickest flight she had ever managed.
Power and the world could be hers. She had the power, the potential, and the drive. And all the time in the world to figure out the perfect way to do it.

When La-Iin woke up, she felt a renewed sense of purpose.
‘That’s right. I shouldn’t have let myself get down. I have the power. No resistance can stand in my way. I’ll use this power to the best of my ability. I’ll find out a new way for San-Kyung to transform like he wants to. I have the drive and willpower! I will rule the world!’
It was far earlier than she should normally be awake, but La-Iin felt too energized to attempt going back to sleep. Instead she plotted and planned revenge for the students, new ways to utilize her power and to rule the world, and even small tasks she could do that would assist in bringing the world to its ruin.
The dark cloud that had been hanging over her felt as though it had finally lessened. Now, instead of serving to remind her of how her evil would ultimately be pointless, it was under her command and was helping her plot her plans for world domination.

—–
“I’m sorry to come over so suddenly, La-Iin. But I wanted to make sure you’re alright. I’m really, really sorry for not talking to you all this time.”
“It doesn’t matter, Fer-Shi. I think I needed that rough patch to remind me of something very important. All these difficulties I will use to my advantage.”
“Well, um, I guess I’m glad you’re happy now?”
“I wouldn’t care even if you weren’t. I know now what I must do. This darkness swallowing me–I’ll change this darkness that wants to turn me away into a darkness that serves me as a loyal slave in my plans of world domination!”
La-Iin gave a wicked cackle, and Fer-Shi took a few steps backwards. La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. “Is that hotteok?”
“Um, yes!”
“Give me.”
Fer-Shi grinned. She set the hotteok down on the coffee table and began to share them with La-Iin.

28.513.Spacebound

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 513
“Spacebound”

It was freezing cold outside, to the point where La-Iin felt as though her skin would harden from the exposure, and yet despite that, all the people around her were thoroughly enjoying themselves, seemingly oblivious to the cold.
Fer-Shi was playing with moondust, and Mit-Sun, Asul-Zenza, and Sale-Dessu were dancing to a melody Sale-Dessu had created using his powers. Nearby Fer-Shi, Ai-Reia was tracing mathematics into the moondust, and Choungetsu leaped around, looking more excited than ever. What surprised La-Iin most was the sight of San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina, who were wearing sunglasses and nothing else save for their underwear.
The sight and the sound of such cheerful people made her wonder how parts of the moon could ever become so desolate as to strand her away from family and potential friends. Now that part of her past didn’t matter–all around her were cheerful people who were enjoying their time on the moon thoroughly, without a care in the world.
“Whoa, aren’t those boys cold? Isn’t that orange one a pumpkin?”
“He is,” La-Iin said. She had her own questions about why they would be laying there almost naked, but before she could approach them, Ai-Reia growled at her.
“Watch where you’re walking! You stepped on my studies!”
“Why do you study in moondust?” La-Iin asked.
“What else is there to study on? Argh. Now I have to start all over.” She turned away from La-Iin and began to trace a new problem.
“Moondust sure is fun, but it doesn’t hold up very well!” Fer-Shi said. She was covered in moondust from nearly head to toe. “Wanna play with me, La-Iin? You can make some pretty amazing moondust castles!”
“Maybe later,” she said. Fer-Shi nodded. “Alright then! I’ll be waiting!” She went back to work on her moondust castle, shaping in small windows and soon adding small clumps of moondust inside of them that La-Iin was unsure of whether or not they were supposed to be people.
La-Iin stopped next to San-Kyung, who lowered his sunglasses. Dosa-Mina soon did the same. “Hello there, little Vampire girl! What’s up?”
“Why are you lying there naked?”
“We’re not naked. We have our underwear on.” San-Kyung said. “Now scram.”
“It’s too hot to be walking around in all of our clothes, don’t you think?”
“It’s always cold here! Are you crazy!?”
“Nope. It’s plenty hot here.” And with that, both boys lifted their sunglasses back up.
“Am I the only one here who thinks it’s cold?”
“It has been getting pretty hot lately,” Fer-Shi said.
“You must over-sensitive to any cold, then,” Ai-Reia sniffed.
“It feels plenty warm, La-Iin, sweetie. Maybe you’re just too adjusted to the cold?” Asul-Zenza suggested.
“I can’t tell the difference much. I spend all my time stuffed into your dress so I always feel your body heat.”
“I’m surprised that someone who’s wearing more clothes than most of us is cold,” Dosa-Mina sighed.
“…there sure aren’t many people here to give an opinion, are there,” La-Iin grumbled.
“Not since most people moved to Planet Jiunan, no,” Dosa-Mina said. “Say, that could become a problem soon. All of us on the moon could end up dying out. We might have to start repopulating soon. I’d do that with San-Kyung, but unfortunately two males aren’t compatible ninety-nine percent of the time.”
San-Kyung’s face went bright pink. “What!?”
“That could be a problem, considering most of you here are children,” Asul-Zenza said. “Mit-Sun, what about–”
“No.”
“I wasn’t going to suggest myself!”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “That you had to say that makes me think you were going to.”
“I–I don’t know if I could do that,” Sale-Dessu mumbled, twiddling his thumbs. “Maybe there’s something I could use to help that along, though…”
“I’m too young to do that,” Fer-Shi said. “And I think Ai-Reia is, too.”
“Hm.” La-Iin stared at San-Kyung. “Well, the day that I’m able to breed, I’ll gladly do that with you, San-Kyung.”
San-Kyung’s face turned red. “Why does everyone want to breed with me!?”
“Your genes must be irresistible!” Dosa-Mina said.
“What’s wrong with you!? You know, I’ve got a few questions to ask about that behavior of yours…”
Bored by the conversation, La-Iin walked over to Fer-Shi. “Let’s make that moondust castle now.”
“Alright!”
The two set to work on a large moondust castle, per La-Iin’s suggestion. While the two girls began to construct it, Ai-Reia gave them tips on how to hold up the construction.
“You know, if you were looking for help with constructing that, you should have come to me,” Mit-Sun said. “I used to work in construction.”
“How am I supposed to know that? You did that before I was born. And it’s not like you’ve been here for me the entire time.”
“What happened to you was not my fault!”
La-Iin huffed and went back to work on the moondust castle, with Ai-Reia and now Mit-Sun also coaching her. As the castle took shape, Choungetsu leaped over a few times to play around inside, and was always shooed out, running over to Asul-Zenza’s side.
The further along construction got, the more curious La-Iin was as to if whether or not San-Kyung might help, but after he had complained to Dosa-Mina, he had gone back to relaxing, though she noticed he was now wearing his shirt as well. Meanwhile, Asul-Zenza was now playing with Choungetsu, who was dirtied with moondust, and Sale-Dessu was casting aesthetic spells that enamored even Ai-Reia and Mit-Sun for a moment before they went back to work on the castle.
“I think we might be almost done! Thanks, La-Iin! This has been a lot of fun!” Fer-Shi said.
“That’s fine. You know, I’ve always wanted to rule over a planet with an iron fist. A moondust castle might be the perfect place to start. I can see it now–all of you, becoming my loyal servants, and in return I would help to produce more by utilizing San-Kyung’s DNA. Wow, it would be amazing.”
“Uh…? Well, I guess it might be pretty cool to be a Princess, but I think it’d also be really hard. Though I guess there aren’t many people on the moon.”
La-Iin gave Fer-Shi a quizzical look. “What made you think I wanted to be a Moon Princess?”
“Er, um…”
“Never mind.” She peeked out one of the windows of the moondust castle. “Life here has never been better, though. Everyone is always relaxed. It’s a lot better than spending your time alone on the moon.”
“La-Iin…”
She stared up, and recoiled at the bright light of the sun. “Was the sun always so close to the moon?”
“I wasn’t paying attention,” Fer-Shi said. She too flinched away. “But wow, it is really close now, isn’t it?”
“This must be why it’s so hot lately,” Sale-Dessu said. La-Iin noticed he had begun to make small decorations that he was sticking onto the moondust castle. “How have you not noticed this? Aren’t Vampires sensitive to the sun?”
“Aren’t Warlocks supposed to be blue?” La-Iin sneered.
“U-um, no…”
“I’ve heard of this before!” Dosa-Mina said, sitting up. “They say that over all planets, the sun is the true ruler–the place from which everything will return to. There’s been legends about the moon absorbing the sun for thousands and thousands of years!”
“I’ve heard of those before,” Ai-Reia said. “Didn’t those legends say that in the nine-thousandth-and-somethingth year of the moon, the sun would ultimately destroy it and be tamed for another nine-thousand and some years until it was again hungry for more?”
All of them fell silent.
“B-but that’s just an urban legend, isn’t it?” Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Come now, we’re the only people on the moon. We ought to make our own little legends instead of keep believing in old ones…”
“Yeah, that sounds ridiculous. The sun’s a big ball of fire. If that were the case it’d be totally unfair because pumpkin boy is immune to that stuff.”
“I’ve never seen any Animated Pumpkins living on the sun,” he scoffed. “In fact, I’ve barely met any others. Just those traitors who fled to Planet Jiunan…”
“I wouldn’t hold your breath,” Ai-Reia said. “Look! Doesn’t it look like the sun is progressively getting closer?”
“Maybe it’s our planet that’s getting closer,” Dosa-Mina said. “And it’s getting really hot!”
Sale-Dessu and Asul-Zenza lifted off the ground, and in an instant the planet exploded in screaming as they tried to keep their hold on the planet.
“Come into the moondust castle!” Fer-Shi cried out. Choungetsu dashed inside, followed by Ai-Reia, Mit-Sun, Sale-Dessu, Asul-Zenza, and then Dosa-Mina and San-Kyung, who had some difficulty fitting inside.
“This feels far too cramped.”
“What are we supposed to do!?” La-Iin hissed.
The sun began to hurtle towards the moon, and each of them closed their eyes shut, some praying that they would be safe and others preparing for the seemingly inevitable fate. When the sun reached close enough that even La-Iin could finally feel its heat, something dusty landed all around them.
It was the remnants of the moondust castle.
“Oh shit,” La-Iin said.

—–
La-Iin woke with a jolt. It was already a half-hour before she had to be at school, so running on fearful adrenaline, she dressed herself quickly and packed her supplies.
As she passed through the kitchen, she noticed that Mit-Sun had left a small meal for her. “You should have something to eat at school, you know.”
“Okay,” she said. “Mama, do you think that theory that the sun will eat the moon is true?”
“I’m chalking it up to crackpot. This planet will be eaten by the sun before the moon is. Besides, you never know what the world has to offer. We could all die tomorrow, or if that was the case, we could find a way to stop it way before it happens. Sorry, I just don’t like all these doomsday predictions. But even if it will happen, why does it matter to us? We’ll all be dead before then.”
La-Iin flapped her wings rapidly. ‘Says you!’ She kept the thought to herself and dashed off to school.

26.511.From One Friend to Another

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 511
“From One Friend to Another”

As Uil-Cur finished up his work for the day, his anticipation grew and he began to work faster. Recently, most days after his shift, Mit-Sun would approach him and talk with him for a short while. Even on the days she wouldn’t, she would usually say good-bye before taking off.
Uil-Cur always looked forward to her stops by his department. He was enjoying the time they spent together and the friendship they had built. Even though he still felt nervous around her at times, he was happy.
Lost in though, he almost missed Mit-Sun pass by.
“Hello, Haner,” Mit-Sun called.
“Hello there, Mit-Sun. And you know, you’re allowed to call me Uil-Cur.”
“I know I am, but I’m not used to that at all,” she said. “Anyway, what’s up? How have you been?”
“My Weekend was pretty eventful I guess. I spent a lot of time going out with my younger siblings. It’s a lot of fun to see how much they still rely on me. Apparently I have enough of an age difference with them to be mistaken for their father, though.”
“Sounds weird. Anyway, I can’t talk long. I promised La-Iin we would do something today. If my first plan falls through, I want to make sure we can get out early enough so I can go on with my second.”
“I’m not keeping you here, you know,” he chuckled.
“I know you aren’t. I just wanted to say, see you tomorrow, Haner.”
“See you tomorrow, Mit-Sun!” He said with a wave. Mit-Sun waved back before taking off.
His talk with Mit-Sun today, even though it was brief, reminded him of his earliest days at Eteibreit Data Storage, hearing tales of the woman whom people couldn’t tell if she meant what she said about her daughter’s inconveniences or if she was making up excuses. Back then he had been enamored by the tales of her, and had wanted to meet her desperately, but he hadn’t expected what came after that–not the friendship or his own feelings.
Either way, it didn’t matter much to him. He was happy with where things were. With his shift over for the day, he readied himself to head home, thinking now instead of his siblings and what he might do with them today to stave off boredom.
“Haner!”
Uil-Cur stopped in place. The voice calling out to him wasn’t Eteibreit’s or Mit-Sun’s, nor did it sound like someone in his department. Curious, he took a look around the area for the source of the voice.
“Hey, Haner!”
A distance away from him sat a Normal woman, who waved towards him. He was confused, but Uil-Cur opted to walk up to her.
“Yes?”
“Hello, Haner!”
“Um, hello. To what do I owe the sudden summoning?”
“I guess you wouldn’t know me all that well, so I’ll give you a bit of background. My name is Leirhyn. Leirhyn Mit-Sun, actually.”
Uil-Cur blinked.
“I’m friends with your friend, Mit-Sun. Or Cahongyun, like I call her. And I’ve noticed you two talking quite a bit lately. Trying to talk to Cahongyun hasn’t gotten me many answers and I don’t think she intends on telling me much about your friendship. So, I wanted to talk to you about it!”
“Huh?”
“Wanna have a chat?”
“Um, I don’t know…”
“Why not start the chat then? I don’t see Cahongyun around anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about her overhearing. And I’m not gonna ask you the super intimate details. Just a few things, from a friend of Cahongyun’s to another friend of Cahongyun’s. I could probably tell you things about her you don’t know yet,” Leirhyn said with a wink.
“Er, alright. What did you want to talk about?”
“So, how’d you two meet?”
“We met here. It was just an accidental meeting, but I had heard of her before and I wanted to be her friend. We were just acquaintances for a bit, but we’ve really been getting close lately.”
“I see. I’m sure you two hang out a lot together.”
“Not really,” he said, glancing away. ‘Why’s Leirhyn so curious about this, I wonder? Is she jealous?’
“Cahongyun’s a pretty nice girl though, isn’t she? She’s got this kind of humble attitude around her. She says these things that’d make you think she’s a lot more feisty than she actually seems to be. But you kind of want to pick on her with how she acts, right?”
“I might agree with you, except for the picking on part. …to a degree.”
Leirhyn smirked. “She’s a sweet gal. I’m surprised she hasn’t gone crazy raising her daughter, from what I’ve heard and seen. She seems crazy.”
“She does,” Uil-Cur chuckled.
“I can understand why you wanted to be friends with her. We pretty much met by accident too, well, sort of. Mrs. Eteibreit was talkin’ to me about a worker with my same name, so I just had to see if she really worked here. Sounds a bit like you were curious about things you heard about her too, huh?”
“Well, she sounded like the type of girl I could really get along with. I didn’t go looking to meet her like you did, though.”
“Maybe I’m just more outgoing.”
“I’m pretty outgoing myself.”
“You seem pretty outgoing, although it also seems like you clam up when it comes to talking about Cahongyun. You know what, I just want to get to the point. Cahongyun isn’t telling me anything and I don’t think she even knows what I’m talking about when I ask her about this, but I’m just going to be blunt with you. Is there anything going on between you and Cahongyun?”
Uil-Cur’s face flushed. “Why would you–of course there isn’t! Me and her are just friends.”
Leirhyn’s expression became curious. “Okay, so I wanna ask another question, then. So you two aren’t together, but do you like her?”
“Of course I like her. She’s my friend.”
“Don’t dodge the subject, Haner. Either you do, or you don’t.” Leirhyn blinked and slumped in her seat. “Sorry, that sounded a little jerky. But I was just curious. I can’t get any answers out of Cahongyun, and, well, I don’t think I’m ever going to have a boyfriend myself. She already had someone, and now it seems like you and her have something going on, but maybe I’m just reading too much into it.”
“Why are you so curious about your friend’s love life, anyway?” Uil-Cur tried to keep his tone steady.
“I’m always curious about people’s love lives. It’s one of those things that interests me, you know? Lots of people are curious about that kind of romantic stuff, especially someone like me who can’t even bother to get a boyfriend. Even if I did, I never would. But unlike some other people, I’m interested in seeing things go good. So I was wondering if she might have some luck after what happened with her kid’s dad.”
“I see.”
“I’m not gonna press you anymore, though. It is kinda rude.”
Uil-Cur looked down at his knees. “Can you keep a secret?”
Leirhyn smirked. “Sure I can. What’s up?”
“…I don’t know about her, but if you noticed anything about me, you were right. I was interested in her since before I met her, but I didn’t think it would actually end up that way. I just expected it to be one of those things where someone sounds like your type of person, you know?”
“Do I ever.”
“I wouldn’t know what to tell you about how things would work out between her and me. We have a large age gap, she has her daughter to worry about, and Sirens have an age edge over Normals, even if it isn’t too ridiculous like Vampires…but I’m worried she’s not interested. I don’t want to bother wasting her time or ruining this friendship. I’m happy enough with things the way they are.”
“That sounds reasonable. And I can’t tell you what to do or what not to do. All I can tell you is, from the time we’ve been friends, I got the impression she probably isn’t the type to ditch you because you said ‘I love you’. That’s jackasses who do that. Might be a bit awkward, but I think if you weren’t forcing yourself down her throat she’d probably be fine going back to normal. Of course, that’s up to you. I don’t have much experience with romance but I’ve heard things can get awkward on that front.”
“And then there’s her daughter…even if she did like me back, I don’t think her daughter does.”
“That’s where warming up to people comes into play.” Leirhyn sighed. “The choice is yours, Haner. I was just curious to know if there was anything going on. But let me tell you, if you decide to say anything, I’m definitely on your team. I think you and Cahongyun would be good together.”
“You do?”
“Mm-hm! So just stay friends or try and take things to the next level, you’ve got one supporter. We might not be friends, but we’ve got a common friend, and I like to see my friends happy. I’ll be watching to see what sort of juicy developments happen, though.”
“Please don’t.”
Leirhyn giggled. “In all honesty, though, I wish you the best, Haner. Here’s hoping you and her have something on the horizon.”
Uil-Cur smiled. “Here’s hoping.”

—–
“I wonder about Haner sometimes. Somedays he seems so outgoing, and other times he seems really shy.”
“Haner?” La-Iin’s tone was dark.
“You shouldn’t be so hostile when I bring him up, La-Iin. He’s one of my friends. I don’t get on your case about San-Kyung anymore, do I?”
“Y–you comparing San-Kyung and Haner is one of the worst evils I’ve ever heard of! And I normally like evil!”
“What?”
“Someday soon, you’ll see the error of your ways, Mama. I just want that to be before it’s too late!”
La-Iin stomped out of the living room, her wings flapping wildly.
“Why is she so hostile about Haner?” Mit-Sun sighed. “Well, it’s par for the course with La-Iin, I suppose…”

24.509.A Better Mother

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 509
“A Better Mother”

“Mit-Sun, let me just preface what I’m about to say with I love talking to you about this. It is a lot of fun to actually do something in the day aside from stay at home and work, even if it’s just walking and talking. But there’s something I’m a little concerned about.”
“I have a feeling I know what you’re going to say, Haner. But tell me. What is it?”
Uil-Cur’s wings twitched. “You’ve been talking to me a lot about La-Iin, and all the worries you have about her hating you, or fighting or harming you, or growing distant or power-hungry….you’ve basically told me everything that’s on your mind, or at least, it feels that way. And I’m glad you’ve felt comfortable enough with me to tell me all these things. But what concerns me is that you haven’t told me about any progress you’ve made with her. Didn’t I tell you that you should be trying to open up to her? I know I’m no authority on parenting and I barely know her, but it doesn’t seem like you’re trying at all.” He flinched. “Sorry if that sounded harsh.”
“No, something like that is exactly what I needed to hear. I haven’t been trying at all. Each time I have an idea, I take a backseat to someone else. It always feels like whenever something pops into my head, someone else comes along who wants to spend time with her and I end up passing her off onto them. I’m just worried.”
“What about now?”
“How La-Iin feels about me. I know we’ve had our close moments. But…I’m just worried about what she might say if I ask her. She’ll probably get pissed off or say I’m a bad mother just to spite me. I’m trying my hardest, but it feels like it isn’t enough.”
“You aren’t trying your hardest until you talk to her about this,” Uil-Cur said. “A-at least, that’s what I think. Well, you definitely have to try something!”
“I will. I’ll find it in me to talk to her, or at least do something with her. I have to try and better myself.”
Uil-Cur pat her on the back. “Just make sure to do it, Mit-Sun. Things won’t get a chance to work out if you don’t put in the effort.”
“I suppose you’re right, Haner.”

***

“Playing with your toys for the first time since when? This is a surprise.”
“Even someone like me needs a break from the everyday. Sometimes evil gets monotonous when you’re constantly thinking of fiery cities and people crying and screaming. But it’s still better than good. Everything good people like is the same and it’s so boring. Meanwhile, I’m just bored because I can’t do it yet and because I need a more creative suffering method.”
“…I just asked you a simple question.”
“I’m not always aware of when your questions have other questions behind them. Alright then, yes I am. I’m bored out of my mind and Mama went out with probably that stupid Haner. Someday I’ll show her. Maybe, just maybe, I could use him in my blood power tests.”
“Hoo boy, here we go again…”
“You shut up, Bes-Is–”
La-Iin flinched when her bedroom door opened. “Hello, La-Iin, I’m back.”
“Oh.” La-Iin glared at Choungetsu. “Keep him out of my bedroom!”
“Back away, Choungetsu. She doesn’t want you in her bedroom, and I don’t either.”
Choungetsu’s ears flattened to his head, but for once he seemed to listen, and walked away from the bedroom door with his tail drooping. Mit-Sun walked in.
“What do you mean, you don’t want him in here either? What are you planning, Mama!?”
“I’m coming in to talk to you.” She closed the door. “I’ve been meaning to talk with you about this for some time, but I kept putting it off because, well…I didn’t know how you’d feel about it.”
“If you have to say that, it’s probably bad. Leave me alone, Mama! I’m already bored enough to resort to these baby toys. Although they are pretty fun to act out things with. Maybe I should use them more.”
“You have a ton of time to keep playing with your toys, so hear me out this once, okay?” She sat down next to La-Iin’s table.
“Watch out, La-Iin! She has a serious look in her eyes! Here comes the dissuading of your evil!”
“No way, Mama! If you dare try to do that, I’ll show you my true might!”
“La-Iin, calm down! I’m not here to do anything like that. And what I want to talk about doesn’t have much to do with you. It has to do with me.”
“You?” La-Iin questioned. “What do you want?”
“You’re going to humor her?”
“I’m curious,” she whispered to her. “What?”
“I’ve been thinking about how I’ve done as a mother lately. I don’t think I do the best job I can sometimes, and–”
“That’s an understatement,” La-Iin scoffed.
“La-Iin! Could you be quiet and hear me out? I want to try and become a better mother, but I’m well aware there are people you like better. Why would you want to walk downtown with me when you have Asul-Zenza to fly you anywhere your heart desires? Why would you want to species study with me when you could go over to the Sanhuuns’ house and have fun with Fer-Shi? What’s so fun about window-shopping for dresses when you can do whatever it is you did with San-Kyung and Dslellular? I keep being passive like that, and I feel like that’s damaging our relationship. But at the same time, would you really be grateful to spend time with me when it took time out of the day that you could spend with somebody else?”
She glanced down at her knees. “I want to know how you feel, La-Iin. How do you think I’m doing as a mother? Do you think it was right of me to do what I did and take a backseat? If there’s something you want to tell me, please do. To be honest, when I had you, and I think you know this, but I wasn’t ready yet, and I was in the middle of a breakup with Asul-Zenza. I was panicking because I couldn’t take a job because I needed to take care of you, I didn’t want Asul-Zenza in your life, and my Father lives too far away. I didn’t know Leirhyn or Haner back then. And, well, at least in Haner’s case, back then it barely would have mattered…
“But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. You’re opinionated and smarter than I’d expect for a seven-year-old half-Vampire, or a seven-year-old at all. So tell me, what do you think? How do you think I can improve? And what would you like to do?”
La-Iin’s stare was blank, though Mit-Sun couldn’t tell if it was her natural expression or if there was something else on your mind.
“It’s pretty stupid to come to me for advice on this, Mama. You’re the Mama in this situation so you shouldn’t be asking me.”
“I know I shouldn’t. But if there’s something I’m doing wrong, I want to know what it is. And I figure the best person to hear that from is you.”
“Hmph. You say you try to be a good Mama, but I disagree. It’s not just because you’re a goody-goody and I’m evil. I think everyone messes up with that stupid combination. No, you didn’t hear me out early enough. You sent me to stupid Desutrap. And it’s a good thing because I met Fer-Shi, but other than that, it was horrible. And I don’t think you know how much time you spend doing work around the house or stupid at-home work-work instead of actually talking to me.”
Mit-Sun glanced away from her. “I think it’s a good thing that you don’t always intrude. But when you do, it’s in the most annoying ways possible. I don’t care about going to the store. You trust me enough to send me off with just Choungetsu and to leave me home alone to go out with Haner, but the store is different for some reason. And I’m a good flier now, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to fly in the house.”
“I don’t think even avian families let their children fly in the house,” Mit-Sun said. La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “Go on.”
“You say you’re trying your best, but I don’t see it that way.” La-Iin’s shoulders slumped. “If you’re upset that we’re not close, take a good look at yourself. For a long time, all I had was you, Bes-Isa, Choungetsu, and for some of that time I had Fer-Shi, too. I didn’t have many friends when I was littler. But now I have more friends, better friends, friends who are evil just like me. I have people who are helping me strive towards my goal. And when I had to rely on you, you wasted those chances, and only now you’re starting to warm up to Dami. You have to face facts, Mama. You messed up early.”
Hearing La-Iin’s words felt like a sting to Mit-Sun’s heart, and she tried her hardest to keep from crying and to stop her voice from wavering.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, La-Iin,” she said quietly.
“Instead of saying sorry, fix it, then. You’re the one who has limited time to do that, not me. I don’t hate you, Mama. But I’m not going to be the one to give you a chance. Do that yourself.”
“I will, then,” she said. “Thank you for talking to me. I’m going to put what you said into mind. With that being said, is there any place you’d like to go?”
“For now it will be better if you just leave me to play with my toys,” La-Iin said.
“I will. But I’m going to try harder from now on, La-Iin. You’ll see it soon enough.”
“Huh.”
Mit-Sun stood up and walked out her room, closing the door behind her. “I wonder if she’ll actually keep up with that, or if she’s just lying.”
“Do you trust her to?”
“No. But there’s a stupid part of me that wants her to.”

—–
“So, how did it go?”
“It was painful, like I thought. La-Iin really doesn’t have the most positive opinion of me. But instead of let it get me down, I figured I just have to try. There are people she loves that are more good than I am. If they can manage that, then I can, too. I just have to put in the extra effort.”
“That’s the spirit, Mit-Sun. I’m glad you finally made a move forward.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Me too.”

Mit-Sun’s words were still on La-Iin’s mind even later in the day.
“So, about that stupid part of you that wants to trust her…”
“Be quiet, Bes-Isa.”
“No, really, I’m curious. Why?”
“It would be nice to have another ally, you know. And I have to live with Mama. It might be better to do that if I liked her better.”
“Sure that isn’t your half-Normal side talking?”
“I knew you were going to say something like that,” La-Iin hissed. “Be quiet, Bes-Isa!” She snapped her fingers, and Bes-Isa fell to the ground.
‘I’ll give Mama a chance. We’ll see if she can redeem herself.’