16.593.The Sewmaster

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 593
“The Sewmaster”

“Ah huh…she’s coming out nicely.”
Mit-Sun pulled the needle through the fabric once more. Finally, the project she was working on was beginning to take shape. She still felt iffy about the eyes, but figured it was fitting enough for a simple doll for a baby.
Nearby her, La-Iin was still fast asleep in her crib. Even if she hadn’t been, Mit-Sun knew she wouldn’t have been able to see the work-in-progress doll even so.
“I wonder if I should give her a name, or let La-Iin give her one…” Mit-Sun shook her head. “That can wait. For now, I just need to focus on completing her.”
The doll was beginning to come to life, and Mit-Sun could only hope that La-Iin would take well to her.

***

“My last name is too complicated!”
“Why are you complaining about this now?”
“I was thinking about what I might do if I could get married in the future. Do I end up tacking another last name onto Haunsum-Cahongyun or do I just give it to the lucky lady? What kind of screwy last name is that anyway!?”
“Your last name, dummy. Besides, I mostly just call you Haunsum Bes-Isa. Haunsum-Cahongyun Bes-Isa is only your legal full name!”
“Who cares about legality!?”
“Why do you care so much about your last name all of a sudden!? You can’t even get married! First, you’re a doll, and second, same-sex marriage is ille…”
“La-Iin’s certainly energetic today,” Beht-Soh said.
“Yeah, she’s been arguing with Bes-Isa all morning. …um, anyway, let’s not focus on her for now. I don’t think we could get through to her if we tried.”
Beht-Soh chuckled. “You’re the La-Iin expert. Oh, so, I’m sorry it took me so long to finish these, but I don’t think they would fit her anymore anyway. I forgot to ask you for her measurements, and even then it looks like she’s grown since the last time I saw her.”
“Yeah, she’s been getting taller lately. That’s a good thing, though. For a little bit I was worried she was going to stay that small her whole life. Or at least for several years…”
“There’s nothing wrong with that. It would have made it possible for her to fit these dresses. Well, here they are.”
Beht-Soh laid his dresses on the coffee table. Mit-Sun’s eye twitched. Though the dresses were well-constructed, she could tell that they definitely wouldn’t fit La-Iin–in fact, she found it hard to see how they would fit anyone bigger than a small baby.
“Um, Papa…”
“Papa?” La-Iin questioned. Mit-Sun’s face flushed. “I meant, Father…
“You’re welcome to call me Papa, you know?”
“Can we just drop this? A-anyway, these are very nice dresses, but how did you even begin to think these would fit La-Iin?”
“I told you, I didn’t get her measurements. And even though I know what she looks like now, I still can’t forget those pictures you sent me of her when she was a little baby.”
“This one doesn’t even have wing holes!”
“I….sorry….”
“Father, it’s just constructive criticism. You don’t need to apologize for it.”
“I shouldn’t have wasted any time making these, though.” Beht-Soh’s eyes were clear, but to Mit-Sun, his expression looked as if he was about to cry. Before she could console him, however, his attention turned to La-Iin, or rather, her clothes.
“Are those store-bought or did you sew those yourself?”
“Those? I made them.”
“Wow…”
“Father, it isn’t that you’re bad at sewing. These are well-constructed and all, they’re just too small for what you wanted them to be used for. It’s not that big a deal. Lots of the clothes I made for La-Iin when she was younger don’t fit her anymore. I guess I should probably do something about them someday…”
“Can I see some of the other outfits you’ve made for La-Iin?”
“Um, sure, I guess.”
“Granddami, you shouldn’t take Mama’s criticisms sitting down! Stand up to her! Oh, that would be so satisfying…”
“No, your Mama is right, I did make them too small for you to fit them.”
The conversation continued, but Mit-Sun didn’t hear the rest of it. She head upstairs, into La-Iin’s closet, and pulled out various outfits she had made for her; then she head downstairs and laid them on the coffee table.
“You’re welcome to look at all of them as long as you like. And if you want, I can let you take one home.”
“That was in my closet!” La-Iin shrieked. “You went into my room!?”
“I do all the time,” Mit-Sun said, an edge to her tone.
“La-Iin certainly seems like a handful sometimes,” Beht-Soh said absently. He was staring closely at a dress that was purple, orange and black; Mit-Sun noticed that La-Iin was also staring closely at it.
“Wow, this is really well-made. Your sewing skills are amazing, Mit-Sun! How did you get them to be so good?”
Mit-Sun began to feel shy. “Well, I had a lot of spare time when La-Iin was a baby…after Asul-Zenza left, well, La-Iin was just a baby. So I was up a lot, and I didn’t have a job to go to, and of course she wasn’t awake all the time. I wanted to be cautious with funds, so I figured it would just be easier to make her clothes myself. Also, I had been sewing before that.”
“Wow.”
“I haven’t been sewing as much lately, but I was working on a new dress for La-Iin since she’s getting taller. In fact, that dress you’re wearing right now is getting a little short.”
“No it isn’t!”
‘Why is she so indignant about that?’ “I do enjoy sewing.”
“Some of these use different materials too.”
“I try to not try and make the same type of dress over and over again. If I buy enough, the overall cost of supplies usually ends up as less than the cost of buying her store bought dresses. Although I do still get her store bought ones sometimes.”
“So La-IIn, which dresses do you like better? Mit-Sun’s or the store bought ones?”
La-Iin blinked. “My favorite dress is one Mama made…”
Beht-Soh smiled. “Even La-Iin likes your sewing skills.”
“Come on…there are people better than me.”
“You made her little doll Bes-Isa too, didn’t you?”
Mit-Sun felt her face flush. “Now you’re just complimenting me for the sake of complimenting me.”
“No, I’m really impressed. Besides, we’re family, and you gave me criticisms, so why shouldn’t I? But I can’t find anything to criticize. You really are good at sewing, Mit-Sun. You might even be able to make a business of it if you wanted to!”
“Y–you think so?”
“No. Mama’s sewing skills are for me only.”
“Well, maybe she’d like to keep it that way. I’m just saying, if you ever wanted to, you probably could make a business of sewing. Your skills are very near professional.”
“Thank you…wait, near professional? What do you mean by that?”
Beht-Soh began to look flustered. “Well, there are a few parts where the fabric clashes a little on some of the dresses…but it isn’t anything all that bad. I’m sure it doesn’t bother La-Iin.”
“Actually this dress is a little itchy.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Well, of course these things aren’t always going to end up perfect. Thanks, Papa. I never thought of it that way. It is something for me to think about, though. Maybe if I can, I can actually quit Eteibreit Data Storage!”
“No!”
“But I’d need to think on it more.”
“Oh, of course. But I’ll definitely be taking cues from you from now on. Maybe I can make La-Iin a dress the same quality of one of yours.”
“Granddami, except for a select few dresses you’d probably make better dresses than Mama.”
“Hey!”
“Nah, I doubt that’s the case. Mit-Sun’s good at this. And I’m very proud of that.”
“Thank you, Papa,” she said quietly.
“You should keep your sewing only for me,” La-Iin grumbled.
“Maybe if I do decide to start sewing professionally, I’ll do stuffed toys instead,” she said. “But don’t worry, La-Iin. For now, my sewing skills are still for you. I do have to think on this more, after all.”
“Yes, you do. And so do I…”
“Huh?”
‘I never did think of that part of Mama’s skills, did I?’ La-Iin realized. ‘I could use her for more than just a slave to torture. Even though she’s been mean to me, she does have good sewing skills. She could make something nice for me, San-Kyung and our children. Maybe even a wedding dress…’
“Are…are you smiling?”
“See, I told you, even La-Iin likes your skills.”
Mit-Sun’s face flushed a deep shade of red. “You two are flattering me too much.”

—–
“Now that the doormat’s left, I demand answers! Who the hell gave me this stupid name Haunsum-Cahongyun!? How come it isn’t just Cahongyun!?”
“Because it isn’t.”
“Who did call you Haunsum-Cahongyun? I honestly don’t remember. I feel like Bes-Isa was my idea…”
“I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Haunsum-Cahongyun sounds familiar to me, and not just because I know Bes-Isa.”
“I guess we’ll never know, unless we can find some proof from the past.”
“If I find out that woman named me, I want you to do one of two things, La-Iin. One, change my name, or two, burn me.”
La-Iin gave no response; to Bes-Isa, her quietness was unsettling.

7.584.That First Friend

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 584
“That First Friend”

The central of the neighborhood was abuzz with noise that afternoon as children played together. Their raucous noise was infectious to their nearby parents, who instead of chatting mundanely like they normally did, had begun to play with each other, running around and giving hearty laughs.
Despite the cheerful mood of most other people there, Dosa-Mina couldn’t find it in him to share in it. He had believed that once he and his parents had moved to Bledger, the knowledge of him being a Werewolf-Siren would disappear. Everyone except his parents would see him as a Normal from then on.
Those hopes had been quickly dashed. Once they saw his parents nearly everyone knew, and those who didn’t were quickly corrected in that Dosa-Mina was their biological son and not adopted. He did want to play with the other children, but a pervasive fear that someone would question him on his species kept him from doing so. More than not wanting his species to be known, he didn’t want the other children to know that he was half and half.
“Hi, Dslellular!”
Dosa-Mina looked up. The girl who had approached him was called Xarta Sirlie-Baecho–Dosa-Mina had met her soon after moving to the neighborhood along with the rest of her family. She seemed nice enough, but he was still reluctant to approach anyone.
“Hi, Xarta.”
“Why’re you so down? Everyone else is playing. Why, nobody want to play with you? I can play with you. The tag kids were getting bored of me anyway. It’s not my fault I’m so great at tag!”
“I’m just…never mind, it’s not important.”
“Yeah it is. You’re sad and you’re leaving yourself out. What’s wrong?”
“…” Dosa-Mina wasn’t sure how to respond. Something gave him the feeling that Sirlie-Baecho wasn’t going to leave him alone unless she got a response. “I’m just kind of sad. I didn’t want anyone in the neighborhood to know about my species.”
“Why not?”
“Just…’cause.”
Sirlie-Baecho sighed. “It is pretty weird that you always look like a Normal, but why should that keep you from playing with everyone else?”
“I thought the other kids would just ask me about it, so I didn’t want to risk it.”
“Most of us will play with you anyway. We live in Vaelyn, Dslellular! Remember, we care more about if you came from overseas than if you’re a Werewolf-Siren! Besides, that’s a fun combination!”
“…”
“But I don’t care if you want to be a Werewolf-Siren or a Normal. I just want you to smile. You’re breaking the mood here! So let’s play! I still feel like playing tag, after all!”
“…” Dosa-Mina sighed. “I guess we can play for a little bit.”
“Okay! But I’ll show you, I really am a tag master!”
Sirlie-Baecho clapped her hands, and wings sprouted from her back. Dosa-Mina felt slightly at ease. Perhaps he was letting his worry get to him a bit too much. Even if the people in the neighborhood knew his species, that was still just the people in the neighborhood. And so long as people didn’t see him in his true form, maybe things wouldn’t be so bad.
After all, it wasn’t as if there was anything he could do about it now that it was common knowledge.

***

Dosa-Mina head out to the neighborhood central. It had been a while since he had been out there, and today the central was fairly empty–most of the time children or teenagers would be hanging out around there, but today only one person was there ahead of him, and that was Sirlie-Baecho.
Dosa-Mina wasn’t sure why his old friend had summoned him so suddenly, but with nothing better to do he figured it wouldn’t hurt to meet with her. He sat down on the bench next to her.
“Hi, Sirlie,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Hey. I’m glad you actually came. I really thought you were gonna ditch.”
“Why would I do that? You’re my longtime friend.”
“Yeah, but we haven’t really been getting together much lately, have we? After all, you’re with that San-Kyung boy a lot now. I’ve seen he makes you happy. That makes me happy.”
“Yeah, we are pretty close. But you’re still a good friend of mine too.”
“I know that. And I wouldn’t have called you out here if I wasn’t a little concerned.”
Now that was unexpected. “What about?”
“Well, you haven’t been coming outside often, but I’ve seen the looks on your face when you do. You don’t seem as happy lately. What’s up? You know I’m gonna be the first to question you when you’re sad. ….okay, maybe more like the fourth, but I’d be the first if I had my way.”
“Oh….well, it’s nothing really. Just a couple of minor things. San-Kyung’s a little down, and before Summer break, there were two girls who were bothering us.”
“Like at Deatrou?”
“No, not like that. I can handle that. It’s a lot different…they’re suspicious about my true species.”
“Oh man. Geez, Dosa-Mina, I don’t think that’s gonna stay a secret forever. You do pull it off pretty flawlessly, but it isn’t even completely a secret now.”
“I’ll keep trying to keep it hidden anyway. Hopefully they’ll guess wrong and I can prove otherwise. But they kept asking me to sing, so I’m really worried…you can’t just pass that one off with incompetence, after all. I can’t sing badly, and even if I could it wouldn’t change the effects.”
“Yeah…well, you know you’re always welcome to come to me with your problems, right? I’ll lend an ear. I actually wish you would rely on me more when it comes to your problems. I feel kind of overshadowed by San-Kyung sometimes.”
“Sorry.”
Sirlie-Baecho shook her head. “‘s fine, I know you two are close. And it’s not like you’re the only one with other friends. I’ve got a few friends at my school. I just can’t help but remember playing with you when we were younger. We’d come up with games that lasted us so long they’d go into a week before we were done! Remember the pirate adventure game?”
Dosa-Mina giggled. “Yeah, I remember that one. I think that took us longer than a week, though!”
“Maybe, but point stands, it took a long time for us to finish that one!”
Dosa-Mina sighed. “I’m really sorry we haven’t gotten together much lately, Sirlie. Things have been weird ever since I became a teenager.”
“What doesn’t become weird after you hit the big one-three? But quit apologizing. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay, that’s all. Seeing you happy is my top priority. And hey, we haven’t talked for months, and this conversation wasn’t awkward at all.”
Dosa-Mina smiled, and Sirlie-Baecho pulled him into a hug. “Geez, Dosa-Mina, you’re such a cutie now! No wonder that San-Kyung boy likes you so much. Sometimes I feel less like your best friend and more like yer doting big sister!”
“You’re younger than me though, aren’t you?”
“Hey!” She ruffled his hair and let him go. “But seriously. If there’s one thing I have over this San-Kyung boy, it’s that I get to see the shy and awkward side of you. That in and of itself makes me happy. And there’s one thing I can do for you that he can’t.”
“What’s that?”
Sirlie-Baecho clapped her hands and grabbed him from the waist. “Show you what it’s like to fly!” She took off into the sky, only struggling slightly with Dosa-Mina’s weight–it was his height that she was having a harder time of managing.
“Geez, why are you so tall now!?”
‘I guess now would be a bad time to tell her about the levitation,’ he thought. ‘Oh well, I can enjoy this for now…’

—–
When Dosa-Mina returned home, Sirlie-Baecho accompanied him. Elai-Riya greeted the two, and she smiled when she spotted Sirlie-Baecho.
“Hello there, Sirlie-Baecho,” Elai-Riya said. “It sure has been a while since you’ve come by here.”
“Yeah. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of the pumpkin boy, though. I ain’t gonna stay long. Just reconnecting with Dosa-Mina.”
She hugged him again. “You come to me if anything’s wrong, a’ight? Even if we spend three years apart, we’ll still be friends. I ain’t gonna judge you.”
“Thanks, Sirlie.” He hugged back. “Not sure I’ll take you up on that, though. You know I don’t like talking about myself.”
“I know, I know. Well then, come over if you need someone to cheer you up, then?”
“Sounds good. I think I’ll take you up on that offer.”
Sirlie-Baecho let him go and waved to Elai-Riya. “Bye bye, Dslellulars! And see you soon or later, doesn’t matter–I look forward to our next meeting anyway, Dosa-Mina.”
She clapped her hands and flew off. Dosa-Mina closed the door.
“It’s nice to see that you still get along with her after all these years,” Elai-Riya said. “Especially considering she’s a lot nicer than San-Kyung is.”
“Well, San-Kyung is San-Kyung and Sirlie is Sirlie. And they’re both very important to me, just for different reasons.”
‘I never consider her when I think about my and San-Kyung’s plan,’ he realized. ‘Demons are long-lived, but maybe, just maybe…maybe he and I can wait for her. I’ll have to look into something to help extend the lifespans of Animated Pumpkins along with Operation Reboot, just in case.’

31.577.Motivated Towards Destruction

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 577
“Motivated Towards Destruction”

Sand rose from the ground and began to shape itself–or that was how it might have looked to an outsider. Behind the wall of sand stood Baal-Mist, who moved his wand methodically to create a large sandcastle. Halfway through the completion of the castle, he began to create small dolls from debris nearby, and fit them into the castle. As he was putting on the finishing touches, he heard someone walk up behind him.
“Wow, Baal-Mist! This is amazing!”
“Thanks, Mamil! I’ve been thinking about doing it for days, but I only just got down the whole thing about transforming garbage into actual objects.”
“Well, it’s great! But I’m not sure we can keep it. How many feet high is this thing?”
“I dunno, fifteen?”
“It looks like a lot more than that.” She smiled. “You’re quite the talented Warlock, you know that?”
“You’re just saying that because you’re my Mamil!”
“Well, maybe I am, but I think I’d still think it if I wasn’t, and I’m sure your Falun would agree.”
“Mamil, I don’t call him Falun anymore.”
“I know, I know.” She sighed. “With this level of talent though, you could do anything, I’d bet. Have you decided what you’re going to make your focus yet?”
“No, not yet. There’s just so many things to do, it’s hard to imagine finding one thing to focus on.”
“You don’t have to focus on it all the time, Baal-Mist. It’s just the thing you’re best at. Like how I’m best at making toys.”
“You do make pretty great toys.”
His mother stared at the sandcastle for a while in silence. “Hey, maybe you’ll find out in a few weeks! They say the powerful Witch Astineth Eir-Tyuj is going to be stopping by our little village for a short while. She knows a ton about powers. She might be able to give you some advice, although I’ve heard she’s a bit prickly!”
“Why do I need some old Witch to tell me what I should do?”
“I said advice, not make a decision for you.” She gave another sigh. “You know, Baal-Mist, I’m glad I have you.”
“Why’d you say that? I know you’re glad.”
“You do, but when I was younger like you, I was sad a lot. But I’m never that badly sad anymore now that I have you, so I’m looking forward to whatever you do, although I’d prefer it if you stay close to home while you do it!”
“What if I get famous?”
“I’ll follow you.”
“You’re not gonna make me stay at home all the time though, are you?”
She giggled. “Of course not. I’m just happy for you and your Falun. I just wanted to tell you that. You two make my life brighter.”
“You can be really corny sometimes, Mamil.”
“I know, I know.”

***

As his mother had told him, the powerful Witch Astineth Eir-Tyuj landed in their village a few weeks later, and was the center of attention for many who had heard about her. Baal-Mist didn’t end up seeing much of her, but he knew his mother was excited to meet her.
“She really is a prickly one, though!” She told them later that day. “I suppose that comes from hearing so many amateurs ask you questions all the time.”
“Professionals don’t need to be prickly,” her husband said. “By the way, Selie-Fougie, how much longer does she plan on staying here?”
“She said she was going to stay here until she figured something out, but no matter how much the crowd asked her what that was, she wouldn’t answer. I guess she’s trying to keep it top-secret.”
“She sounds like a crotchety old lady.”
“She may be a little crotchety, but she isn’t all that old yet. Anyway, it was great to meet her. Maybe I’ll take you to see her tomorrow!”
“I’m not sure I wanna meet her!”
“Aw, give her a chance.”
‘Mamil really wants me to meet her. It’s weird. She’s always talked about me having a singular purpose, but isn’t this Miss Astineth a multi-purpose Witch? Sometimes Mamil makes no sense.’
He half hoped he would find an excuse to get out of it somehow, for he didn’t like the way his mother described Eir-Tyuj. But she seemed so excited about it that he doubted he would find that excuse.

When Baal-Mist woke up, he expected to see sunlight filtering into his room and his mother waiting for him to get ready so that he could go and meet Eir-Tyuj. He didn’t expect to see the last remnants of what appeared to be blood and dust before it faded into his room.
Baal-Mist chalked it up to the leftovers of his dream, at least, until he heard the sound of crying coming from a nearby room. He was curious and concerned, but wasn’t sure if he should get out of bed. Still, he never usually heard crying, and why would anyone be crying?
His concern gave way, so he got out of bed and head in the direction of the crying. It began to get louder and louder, until he heard a strange sound and the crying stopped altogether. Without a guide, Baal-Mist felt lost within the dark house. He groped around for a light switch, then remembered about his wand. He ran back to his room, got his wand and lit up his path.
‘Nobody’s crying anymore. Maybe everything’s alright? Who was crying anyway? Was it Mamil or Father?’
He checked in his parents’ bedroom, and noticed quickly that Selie-Fougie was not in the bed, only his father. And anyway, he hadn’t heard the crying coming from that direction. Slightly concerned, he checked all the rooms he could find until finally he stumbled across an open closet. Something appeared to be inside. He hovered his wand in front of it.
Something was hanging in there. Dread filled him as he followed the rope to what it was tied to–his mother, dangling in mid-air with her eyes closed.
Baal-Mist shrieked and went running for his father.
“Father! Father! Something’s wrong with Mamil!” He shook him. “Wake up, Father! Something’s wrong with Mamil!”
“Huh?” His father looked confused when he noticed nobody was in bed beside him. “Selie-Fougie?”
“Something’s wrong with Mamil!” He cried. His father seemed to instantly snap to the alert and got out of bed and followed his son to the closet. When Baal-Mist held his lit wand in front of it, his father let out a wail, and contrary to Baal-Mist’s expectations, stood there crying violently.
It was only when he saw the look on his father’s face that he realized there was nothing that could be done for his mother.

The village had been deeply affected by Selie-Fougie’s death, less because of her notoriety within the village, but more because of her method of death. Before her death had been announced, Baal-Mist and his father had found what appeared to be the start of a suicide note, but the handwriting was nearly illegible and it made no sense to him–what little was readable in the note seemed to imply that she believed that he and his father were dead.
‘What caused Mamil to do this?’ He wondered. ‘Why would she believe that we were dead?’ He felt like blaming his mother, but he couldn’t find it in him to do it. He more just wanted her back at his side, alive and talking to him about the purpose he might someday pursue. He didn’t want to see her dead body prettied up, that ugly rope wound visible even despite the best efforts made to conceal it.
Briefly he thought back on the blood and dust he had seen when he woke up, but he had chalked that up to the remnants of his dream. It wasn’t until after her funeral that his suspicions began to shift away from that theory.
“Were you awake when that thing happened?”
“Huh?”
“I think someone may have reality-warped our neighborhood,” he overheard one Witch say. “I swear that I saw all my family dead, and I was so terrified, but then it felt like a dream, and they were all alive….I don’t know, maybe I was just having a strange dream, but it seemed so real.”
‘Who would do such a thing!?’ Baal-Mist had heard of reality-warping before, but he hadn’t believed that any Witch or Warlock in their neighborhood had the ability to pull it off. The idea that a Witch’s whimsy might have caused his mother to kill herself infuriated him, and from then on he waited patiently as an investigation into the possibility arose.

“People of our humble village, many of you report having dreams or visions of your family being deceased. One of our own, the Spaeic family, reported that the recently-deceased Selie-Fougie Spaeic wrote a suicide note implying she saw something similar as well. We believe that today we have found the cause.”
The officer held up a piece of paper. “Astineth Eir-Tyuj recently issued an apology over in her own village to all who might have been affected by her reality warping. We believe this may have been an experiment gone awry conducted by her before she left. She apologizes but states her relief at the fact that it caused no fatalities.”
Baal-Mist couldn’t believe it. ‘No fatalities!? How could she say that! She was in the village the night Mamil killed herself! Isn’t that a fatality!?’
As the officer continued on, rage bubbled inside of Baal-Mist. ‘I can’t believe this. She just ran away after she did that. And now she thinks she thinks she caused no fatalities. My Mamil would prove otherwise!’
With that thought on his mind, Eir-Tyuj’s actual apology felt like nothing. Throughout the rest of the officer’s report he was just thinking of how mad he was at Eir-Tyuj.

“Father, you’re not going to kill yourself too, are you?”
“No, I won’t. I have to take care of you, Baal-Mist, and I can keep on going. I don’t understand how anyone could commit suicide…” He began to sound choked. “You already had to deal with losing one parent that way, so don’t worry, buddy, I’m not gonna abandon you. I’ll stop grieving so much. I just need some time…we were married for a while after all….”
“Okay, that’s good. Thanks, Father.”
His father didn’t respond; he had begun to cry, though he was covering his face and mouth as if trying to hide it from Baal-Mist.
‘I bet that woman doesn’t understand what it’s like for us. We had to see Mamil hanging. Mamil never realized we weren’t dead. She killed herself thinking we were gone when she didn’t even know that we were still here. If she hadn’t died, she probably would have tried again from the grief. I bet she would have. Father told me Mamil was a little suicidal beforehand too….but Eir-Tyuj probably never had to see this or deal with it.’
He grit his teeth. ‘It’s not fair! She’s just getting away with doing this to Mamil! And nobody will ever know or care. They’ll just accept her apology because nobody else killed themselves. Well, she doesn’t deserve that. Not at all! If she can warp reality and make my Mamil sad enough to kill herself, I’ll just have to do the same. I’ll show her.’
Baal-Mist was set on this feeling. He was sure his grief would ease with time, but getting revenge on Eir-Tyuj seemed to be the only way he would truly move past his mother’s suicide. When he finally saw the expression on her face that he had seen on his father’s face the night of his mother’s suicide, only then would he feel at peace, feel that justice had been served.
Someday, he would get back at Eir-Tyuj, he felt it–and if he was going to do that, he needed to start training as soon as possible.

—–
Baal-Mist was beginning to feel dejected listening through the recordings he had of the bug he had placed in Sale-Dessu’s house, and was starting to feel hopeless. ‘I’ll never get my revenge if I can’t even get any leads…’
That was, until he heard something strange.
“I really should talk to Apeta about Eul-Bok’s powers. I’m sure she’d have some helpful advice.”
Baal-Mist smirked. ‘Now I wonder, that Apeta, would she happen to be Eir-Tyuj? I should keep an eye on her house in the coming days.’

28.574.Life Unto Another World

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 575
“Life Unto Another World”

Sale-Dessu yawned.
“Father, it’s still light outside! Why are you so tired?”
“Sometimes I have a bit of trouble getting to sleep,” he said, rubbing his eye. “But don’t worry about me, Eul-Bok. I’ve had worse nights.”
“You haven’t been having nightmares again, have you? If you want, I can go back to sleeping in your room.”
“No, Eul-Bok, you deserve your own room. Please don’t worry about me. I have all the time in the world to sleep, and sooner or later the exhaustion will give way to a full nine or so hours of sleep…”
“Wow, that’s long!”
“After restless nights, it feels short.”
“I guess it would. I never really feel all that exhausted anymore, though. I used to feel more exhausted when I was a normal V-Puppet–” Eul-Bok sighed. “Really, Father, if there’s anything I can do for you…”
“Don’t worry. That will make things a lot better. If you’re worried it will only worry me. And it will pass, it always does. It’s only that it’s coming to August and I have an unpleasant memory from that month…”
“So it is nightmares.”
“No, not particularly.” He yawned. “Anyway, let’s get back to work. Want to take the lead, Eul-Bok?”
“Oh, um, I guess so.”

***

Eul-Bok searched through several books looking for some sort of answer to Sale-Dessu’s plight. ‘Think, think! There’s got to be something I can use to help him sleep and prevent nightmares.’
Looking in more modern books had already failed to give him an answer, so Eul-Bok turned to looking at older books written in the Warlock language. Managing through it was difficult, but he could still make out that so far, none of the spells, potions or items were things that would help Sale-Dessu–either they were entirely useless or were only good for putting him to sleep, and Eul-Bok saw no use in doing that if Sale-Dessu was only going to have a nightmare.
‘So after all these years of Warlocks doing amazing things, not a single one has found something to prevent nightmares!? It sounds so simple! So we can reality warp but no, nightmares are out of our league? Why don’t we have something to stop nightmares!?’
He continued to flip through the book, becoming progressively more frustrated at the lack of spells that would help Sale-Dessu with his nightmares. When finally he was about ready to shut the book, one of the pages tore slightly.
“Oh no! If Father sees this, he’ll be upset!”
Already he could imagine Sale-Dessu trying to suppress his sadness as he examined the tear. Eul-Bok looked at it closely. “….w-well, it isn’t actually that big…hm?”
When he caught sight of the words on the page, Eul-Bok’s attention was piqued. Curious, he read on.
…the theory of a power to enter another’s dreams: the power of “Subconscious Shift” or “Scenarial Change”. In this theory the power would grant access to an individual’s dreams or thoughts and grant them henceforth the ability to modify such things. Due to the invasive nature of the idea, research on the potential spell or ability was canceled, though the following was retrieved from experiments, it is not recommended for attempt by a Witch or Warlock not only due to the invasive nature but due to the possibility of irreversible injury to the Witch or Warlock’s body if attempted, assuming the effects would not be much worse.
Eul-Bok read over the spell. ‘Wow, it sounds dangerous…but it talked about modifying dreams! Maybe it’s worth a shot for Father’s sake. I survived switching bodies and assuming physical harm is the worst-case scenario, I don’t need to worry about that too much! But is it really worth it in the end?’
Eul-Bok thought it over. ‘Maybe, just maybe it is.’
He was concerned, but also immensely curious, and when he thought back on the things Sale-Dessu had done, or told him he’d done that could have harmed him, entering his dreams seemed harmless in comparison.
He decided to try it, whatever the cost.

Eul-Bok began to perform the spell as outlined in the book. He wasn’t sure whether he needed to be close by Sale-Dessu or not, and decided to be as cautious as possible. He stood right outside Sale-Dessu’s bedroom as he performed the spell as quietly as he could manage.
As he got further into the spell, he felt almost light-headed and his vision was blurring over. Still, he saw the spell through to the end–he was far more concerned about what might happen to him if he didn’t finish it than the potential side-effects he might face from finishing it.
Once he had completed the last part, his vision steadily went black, and he briefly felt himself drop to the floor.
When he opened his eyes, Eul-Bok was in a place he didn’t recognize. “Did I make it?”
“Eir-Tyuj is only concerned with her own curiosity. And that’s how you are too, isn’t it? You only care about learning how you could rule the world. That’s all it is with you Astineths. You disgust me.”
The voice came as a surprise to him, and Eul-Bok looked in its direction. A Warlock man was cornering a teenager to his right. When he got closer to the two, he realized that the cowering teenager was Sale-Dessu.
“I–I don’t want…rule the world…I just…practice my powers.”
Eul-Bok was both confused and terrified, but he realized his priorities were getting Sale-Dessu out of the situation. He ran past the Warlock man and pulled Sale-Dessu away from him. He tried to think back on the words in the book as he teleported himself and Sale-Dessu away.
Sale-Dessu looked terrified. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to save you.”
“Save me?”
“You don’t have to believe me off of my words. I’ll let you see it for yourself.”
“Would Father even recognize me right now? He doesn’t seem to. Probably not while he’s in a teenage mindset. But if I’m here, that means my spell succeeded, right? So maybe…”
“What are you talking about?”
Eul-Bok startled. “Er, nothing important! Um, hey, how’d you like to go someplace better than this? Geez, are my thoughts not my own anymore?”
“Why do you keep saying this stuff out loud?”
Eul-Bok sighed. “Just be patient with me, alright?”
Sale-Dessu gasped. “My Apeta! That man is still nearby our house! He might be going for my Apeta!”
“Father, wait!” Eul-Bok grit his teeth. He shut his eyes and imagined a different scenario. When he opened his eyes, he was inside Eir-Tyuj’s house, and Sale-Dessu was gradually becoming bigger. His eyes had teared up.
“Father!”
“Eul-Bok? What’s going on?”
“Um, we’re just visiting Grepeta! Isn’t it nice to visit her? I’m sure she’s got something great to show us today, heh heh. So we should probably go and see her!”
“Eul-Bok–”
“La la la la la~”
“Eul-Bok, just a moment ago, something seemed off…”
“Hey, Father, did I tell you I could reality-warp now? Yeahh, that’s probably it. I’ve been practicing, after all!”
“Something’s wrong, Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok shut his eyes. When he opened them, the scenario around them had changed once more.
“What!?”
Now the two were in the center they had been in during Magica Cavintus, except this time it was devoid of any people.
“What is this…”
“Why, I thought it might be nice to visit this place after all that reality-warping!”
“You didn’t use a teleportation spell.”
“Yeah, well–” Eul-Bok tried to look cocky. “I am getting better.”
“You don’t have that much practice!”
“So it’s possible? Er, I mean, geez Father, stop being so nervous!”
He went over to hug Sale-Dessu, but tripped on his robe on the way there. When he looked up, an unfamiliar Witch woman, half-translucent, was staring at Sale-Dessu with a smile.
“Mamun…”
Eul-Bok began to feel guilty. “All I wanted to do was prevent that nightmare, but I’m just making it worse…”
Sale-Dessu turned around as if to remark, but he never got to. The scene around Eul-Bok became blurry, all save for a strange tube. Eul-Bok felt he had to go through the tube, and so followed his instincts.

—–
Sale-Dessu woke with a start.
“Mamun…”
The dream was soon no longer his top priority, as he quickly noticed that his bedroom door was open, and saw part of Eul-Bok slumped against it. He ran for the door and tapped Eul-Bok.
“Eul-Bok? Eul-Bok, are you alright!?”
Eul-Bok didn’t respond at first, and Sale-Dessu felt cold. But soon enough, Eul-Bok opened his eyes, glanced at Sale-Dessu, and startled.
“Whoa!”
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Uh, I don’t know.” Eul-Bok looked up at Sale-Dessu. His expression seemed almost ashamed. “Hey, um, Father, what kind of dream did you have last night?”
“Last night?” The sight of his mother came to mind. “Mamun…”
“Was I in it?”
“You were. Why do you ask?”
Eul-Bok sighed. “There’s no point in keeping this secret from you. I wanted to try and keep you from getting a nightmare, so I tried a spell in this book. I guess I made it into your dreams, but I still messed them up. Sorry.”
“You what?”
“Geez, I feel fatigued.”
Sale-Dessu checked the book lying nearby Eul-Bok. It detailed a spell whose research had been cut after worries about invasions of privacy caused by its usage. Sale-Dessu gasped.
“Something wrong?”
“No, not particularly,” he said. “Um–Eul-Bok, you seem tired. Why don’t you go and rest?”
“Are you up to something, Father?”
“…” Sale-Dessu shook his head. “Never mind. Why don’t we start the day?”
“You sure? It’s a little early for that.”
“It’s never too early when you’re passionate. Besides, I got a better sleep last night than I have most nights recently. Thank you, Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok beamed. “You’re welcome!”
‘He managed to pull off a spell that was never officially pulled off. It could be an easy one, granted, but it doesn’t look that way…maybe Apeta really did pass on her potential to Eul-Bok too. But how? He isn’t her biological Apegrenneson.’
Sale-Dessu wasn’t sure if he should be proud or concerned as Eul-Bok returned with a different spell book.

26.572.Reminiscing on Childhood–Part 8

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 572
“Reminiscing on Childhood–Part 8”

“San-Kyung, is something the matter? You look a little down right now.”
“It’s nothing you’d care about.”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus glanced at each other. “If our son’s upset of course it’s something we’d care about.”
“…”
“Come on, San-Kyung, please tell us what’s wrong.”
San-Kyung glared at them. “I don’t think you two would understand how hard it is when you’re evil and your parents are not.”
“Oh, is that all?” Salsh-Era asked.
“See, you don’t care.”
“We do care, San-Kyung. And we do understand. After all, we’re good and you’re evil. But this isn’t something we can change about ourselves. Isn’t it good enough that we let you be evil?”
“Yeah, that’s fine, but…” San-Kyung pressed his lips together. “I don’t get it. If I’m being raised by good parents, then according to school I should’ve ended up at least neutral. But I understand why I’m evil. And knowing that, I don’t understand why you two aren’t.”
“Well, all three of us are different people. And no matter what you learn at school, remember this: there are lots of families with good parents and evil children, and evil parents with good children!”
“It does depend, yes,” Salsh-Era said. “But maybe you shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, we are the Molsheis, and aside from that, your mother and I aren’t any strangers to evil…”
“What does that mean?”
“Salsh-Era, I don’t think that’s necessary to tell him,” Del-Kyuus said.
“Nah, I think he should hear it. But for your sake, Kyuusie, I’ll leave your story out of it. When I was a kid I actually had some trouble with my morality. Mostly because of circumstances at school.”
“How come I’ve never heard about this?”
“I didn’t think it was necessary to bring up.” He gave a nervous chuckle. “But now seems like the right time. Also, you didn’t seem interested in hearing about our past after you heard a few stories.”
“I would be interested in hearing something that has to do with you two being evil.”
“My story isn’t exactly about that,” Salsh-Era sighed. “But I think you might find it interesting anyway. But it was a long time ago. Back when this happened, I was younger than you are now. I think I was about nine years old…”

***

“Isn’t Molshei Dasdorian for evil?”
Salsh-Era had been worried he would hear that question. His parents had warned him before he started school about the possibility of the meaning of his name coming up. He had hoped against it, but now a young Catori boy approached him with the question.
“Um…yes,” he said. “Why?”
“Does that mean you’re evil?”
“No. The Molsheis are a good family, promise.”
“Are you sure?” Asked a Skeletaltype with hair in messy ponytails. “You’re Dasdorian, right?”
“I’m descended from Dasdorians.”
“My mom told me that Dasdoria is where evil comes from!” She said. “So are you really really sure?”
“Yeah! I’m good, not evil. Evil people are just horrible.”
His classmates glanced among each other. “Okay, Molshei, we believe you. Well, see you tomorrow!”
“See you!” Salsh-Era gave a content sigh. ‘That wasn’t too bad!’ Happy, he head home with a skip in his gait.

That calm would not last forever.
“I didn’t take your stupid dolly! Why are you even bringing dollies to school anyway!? You’re nine! And besides, when you’re nine, you barely even call them dollies anymore. You call them dolls.
“Why did I see my dolly’s dress in your book, then?”
“Ugh! It’s a bookmark, stupid! Just because it looks like your dolly’s dress doesn’t mean it is your dolly’s dress!”
Watching the two girls fight, Salsh-Era couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. ‘I don’t think Jiheni took Ygori’s doll, but how could I show that without them getting the wrong idea’
He watched their fight closely, thinking up something he could do to help them, when he spotted Ygori reaching up a hand. Panicked, he ran for her and reached for her hands. His hand scraped against one of her claws and he recoiled.
“Molshei, don’t butt in!” Moments after she said that, Jiheni screamed. From Salsh-Era’s injured hand, flames were spurting forth. Jiheni and Ygori, along with their classmates nearby them, recoiled. They began to yell and shriek and cry while Salsh-Era set to work putting his hand-fire out.
“What’s going on in here!?” A teacher yelled, then gasped. “Molshei! What did I tell you all about using powers in school?”
“I hurt myself!” He said.
“That’s not true! I saw him! He struck his hand when he was tryin’ to stop Ygori from hitting me!”
The teacher narrowed her eyes. “Molshei, you don’t stop violence with more violence. That’s ridiculous.”
“But I wasn’t–”
Under her breath, Salsh-Era caught the teacher mumble, “What was I expecting from a Dasdorian, though…”
Salsh-Era put his hand flame out and head back to his seat with his head lowered. The gazes of his classmates meant nothing to him–they couldn’t send his mood lower than it already was.

The whole incident gave Salsh-Era a new reputation at school.
“Molshei really means something!” One student said. “Did you know it’s Dasdorian for evil? And that’s just what Molshei is!”
“I heard he tried to set Ygori on fire!”
“What!? I heard he was trying to set the desk on fire!”
“I heard he was trying to set them both on fire!”
“Those are the kinds of things they keep saying!” Salsh-Era complained. “And…and I don’t know how to prove it otherwise. I just don’t know…I don’t want them to think I’m evil.”
“You might be able to get away with them thinking you’re evil.”
“What!?”
“Er, what Nienie Kigyuk is trying to say is, sometimes they won’t care if you’re evil or not.”
“Not at this school! And I’m not evil!”
“You know, that gives me an idea, now that you’ve said it,” Kigyuk said. “Salsh-Era, if you really want to be seen as good, why don’t you show that you can embrace the evil?”
“How’s that going to help!?”
“I think Nienie Kigyuk means by showing that you love even evil people.”
“People will only think I’m even more evil if I do that. You have bad ideas.”
“Salsh-Era, I don’t know if you realized, but a lot of evil people don’t actually like each other.”
“How would you know?”
“I grew up in the evil part of town,” his mother said with a grin. “Well, anyway, you’re not going to prove that you’re not evil by getting hot-headed about it. Give those kids some proof otherwise. But really, you shouldn’t feel pressured to do this.”
“I wouldn’t if they would believe me,” he sighed. “I told them I was good. I told them…they’re just two-faced and stupid. I bet they’re the actually evil ones.”
“People can be two-faced sometimes, Salsh-Era, but you need to give them a chance. Don’t let this incident make you think everyone is like this.”
“Even the teachers don’t believe me, though. So what am I supposed to think? Nobody gives me a chance, so why should I give them a chance?”
“Do you want us to pull you out of that school?” His mother asked. Salsh-Era deliberated the idea. He could imagine starting anew in a different school where the students didn’t care about his last name–but at the same time, he could imagine the situation being worse, in which they cared about his last name so much it wouldn’t matter what he did, they would never believe that he was not evil.
“No. You know what? I am going to prove to them that I’m good. If I transfer, they’ll just think that I’m evil and that’s why I left. But I’m going to show them. And maybe I’ll use a bit of Nienie Kigyuk’s idea.”
Kigyuk smiled.
‘But what should I do? What could I do that would make them believe I’m good without a doubt?’

School was abuzz with noise when Salsh-Era arrived, and before entering the classroom he listened out to hear if any of it was about him. He was unsure of whether to be relieved or worried when he discovered that with so many voices contributing to the noise he could barely understand what they were talking about.
The teacher was nowhere to be seen in the hallway, so when Salsh-Era entered the classroom he took his place behind the teacher’s desk and cleared his throat.
“Molshei’s tryin’ to be our teacher!” One student yelled.
“No, I’m not. I wanted to tell everyone here something.”
The students watched him with mostly blank expressions, though Salsh-Era spotted a few who looked uneasy.
“Everyone at this school seems to think I’m evil, at least in this class. And I can tell you, just ’cause my name’s Molshei it doesn’t make me evil, and I just hurt my hand that time when the flames came out. But I realized there’s no way you can believe me. After all, people do things for their own reasons, and you never do actually know if an evil person would do something good for their own gains, or if someone good would do something evil when they’re desperate.”
“So you are evil?” A student asked.
“I’m not. I’m good. But I understand there’s no way you can believe me. So believe what you want, just don’t hurt me, okay?”
“Molshei?” The teacher asked. “What are you doing behind my desk?”
“Um, nothing!” Salsh-Era head back to his seat. The teacher gave him a curious look.
“Sorry I was mean to you before, Molshei,” Jiheni said. “I understand now. You’re neutral and that’s okay.”
“But I’m not…” Salsh-Era sighed. “Oh, well, whatever you think.”

***

“…”
“Er, why are you looking at me like that?”
“So…you thought people were two-faced too…”
“For a time, yes. But not everyone’s that way.”
San-Kyung huffed. “That Nienie-Kigyuk sounds like an idiot.”
“Hey, don’t insult my Nienie! And it doesn’t have a hyphen.”
“Maybe I should tell you my story,” Del-Kyuus said. “I think you’ll find that one interesting.”
“What, mine wasn’t?”
“It was disappointing. And I find it hard to believe that Mom would have any evil in her. You didn’t really.”
“Actually, mine is a lot different than Salsh-Era’s. When mine happened I was a bit closer to your age, but I wasn’t a teenager just yet. Almost, but not yet. And twelve-year-old me, she would have loved to have been a Molshei back then, trust me!”

***

“Zahelahe sure is demure, isn’t she?”
Del-Kyuus overheard the comment while preparing treats in Home EC. She smiled to herself and continued to work.
“Yeah, sure is. It’s kinda weird. I never really expected an Animated Pumpkin to be like that. What with their faces and all…”
‘I wonder why they’re talking about me?’ Del-Kyuus didn’t mind the attention, but the conversation piqued her interest. She couldn’t remember having done something to garner attention.
It didn’t matter moments later: her treat was finished and the conversation had changed. The teacher took a bite of her cookies.
“Hm, those are pretty good. I’m surprised. Did you taste these?”
“I always taste them!”
He smiled. “Zahelahe, you’re one of the most talented Home EC students. It’s weird, because, ah…excuse my indelicacy, but Animated Pumpkins don’t eat, do they?”
“That’s not indelicate! We don’t have to eat, but we always can!” She said cheerfully. “And you never know when you’re going to marry that special someone and they’re a different species than you!”
The teacher chuckled. “I suppose you have a point there. Though that isn’t all that common.”
“Well, it’s a possibility, isn’t it?”
He nodded, then went to check on the other students. Del-Kyuus was beaming. ‘Maybe I don’t need to eat, but if I did marry someone who does, that would be so nice. I love cooking so much, it’d be so fun!’
She could almost imagine herself serving a Werewolf man a large meal. ‘Of course, I wouldn’t want to gorge him…’

That day, when Del-Kyuus was heading home from school, her friend Bigyore accompanied her. Del-Kyuus wondered if she was concerned about something–the look on her face seemed to imply as much.
“How do you put up with all this demure stuff, Zahelahe?”
“What are you talking about, demure stuff?”
“You’re the epitome of demure when you don’t need to be! You cook, you clean, you talk about marriage, you’re super-demure, everyone’s noticed! Haven’t you realized that the time Huufa asked you to help with his homework he was taking advantage of you?”
“He was just asking for help.”
“No, I saw him cheating on the answers. Look, I’m worried about you! Sure, I guess it’s okay to like dresses and all that stuff, but you’re gonna get taken advantage of! And you don’t need to eat in the first place, so why do you cook so damn much!?”
“You really shouldn’t say damn, Bigyore.” Del-Kyuus covered her mouth. “Oops!”
“Girly and demure is a stupid thing to be. All it is is a detriment. Be yourself, Zahelahe, but I’m tellin’ you, sooner or later someone’s gonna use your behavior as a loophole in order to take advantage of you. Maybe even your future husband!”
“I’m smart enough to notice when someone’s taking advantage of me, Bigyore!”
“Yeah, you say,” she sighed. “Just take my word. Demure is a detriment. So try and toughen up a little, alright?”
“I think I’m fine the way I am.”
“If you say so…”

Ultimately, Del-Kyuus was unswayed by Bigyore’s concerns. ‘I’m smart enough to know if someone’s taking advantage of me. i’m not stupid! She just thinks that demure equals stupid, I bet! Just because she’s a tomboy…’
“Hey, Zahelahe!”
“Mm? What is it, Huufa?”
“Home EC is soon, an’ I need your help,” he said. “Could you show me how to make those cookies you’re always making? I’d like to make some cookies and put my own spin on them, but I don’t even know where to start! I thought you’d be a big help.”
“Sure, I’d love to help you!”
Huufa smiled. “Thanks, Zahelahe!”

“So, I like to use chocolate in my cookies, but you might also like to use vanilla. Ooh, vanilla cookies are so good!”
“I see,” he said. “Can I watch you make them? I learn a little better watching than doing, eheh.”
“Okay!”
Del-Kyuus set to work on making the cookies. “Remember to taste them. Otherwise they sometimes end up tasting a little strange!”
“You taste them while they’re still uncooked like that?”
“Yes.”
“Isn’t it bad for Animated Pumpkins to eat?”
“No, it’s just unnecessary.”
Del-Kyuus began to cook the cookies. “Even if you set a timer, you should always watch them, even when you get really good at making cookies. You never know when you’ll need to adjust the timing!”
“I see!”
When the cookies were finished, Huufa took one and bit out of it.
“Wow, that’s good! Thanks, Zahelahe! Hey, um…can I use these?”
Del-Kyuus blinked. “Why?”
“I’m kinda out of supplies…”
“It’s cheating to use someone else’s cookies, you know,” she scolded. “You won’t win any points for that!”
“Is everyone done with their Home EC projects?”
“I am!” Huufa said. He took the vanilla cookies from Del-Kyuus. Del-Kyuus watched as the teacher bit into them and smiled.
“He just took them….”
“Haven’t you realized that the time Huufa asked you to help with his homework he was taking advantage of you?”
“Demure is a detriment.”

Del-Kyuus lowered her head. ‘Maybe Bigyore had a point. Maybe I really am easy to take advantage of…maybe, I need to change that.’
As she watched the teacher compliment Huufa on her cookies, a dull rage began to stir in her.

“Who is that!? Is that Zahelahe?”
Del-Kyuus had come to school the next day wearing torn-up black clothes. She had decorated her face with paint. The students around her were confused by her new look, but they were even more confused by her new behavior.
“Zahelahe, you shouldn’t wear torn-up clothes to school!”
“Suck on yourself!”
“Wh-what!?”
“Um, Zahelahe–” Bigyore whispered. “This is not what I meant by toughening up!”
“Shut up, Bigyore. I didn’t do this for you.”
While thinking on what she could do to keep herself from being taken advantage of, she thought of giving herself a tough look and acting tough. She had figured it would be enough initially, but just before she went to school she had decided to add in a new, evil behavior.
‘Evil people are the people who take advantage, not those who get taken advantage of,’ she thought. ‘It’s perfect.’
She knew her classmates wouldn’t believe her without actions, however. That was something she quickly set to work with. She created grass knots using her vines, picked fights with other students, destroyed parts of the school and nearly set Home EC on fire with the power of her flames.
At the end of the day Del-Kyuus felt satisfied. She could see that her classmates were terrified of her.
‘Bigyore was right, but she had the wrong idea. This power over the other students is pretty amazing.’
She chuckled to herself. ‘I bet I could even control them. No wonder people go evil sometimes! It’s such a rush.’

Del-Kyuus wouldn’t feel so positively about her new behavior forever.
Ever since becoming evil, she felt as though she had a new power over her classmates–the look she saw on Huufa’s face each time she entered the classroom excited her. Her parents would kowtow to her and she could get what she wanted. Even her teachers, who were more stern with her, were starting to let up, and she felt she could get away with nearly anything.
Yet despite the rush of power, there was another feeling that had come along with the transition. She felt as though she were behaving artificially. Occasionally she would find herself daydreaming back on the days she was baking cookies in Home EC and creating small trinkets for her family. She always tried to push the thoughts away, but they were somewhat pervasive.
‘What’s the point in going back to that way of acting? I can have anything I want now! …I guess that’s not exactly true if I can’t do what I used to anymore…’
Del-Kyuus tried to translate the feeling into something else. It gave her a taste for something sweet, and she prepared to cut in line for a stand that advertised ‘hotteok-like waffles’.
“You know, it’s so weird. I know this neutral girl who got married recently. She’s all untrusting of her husband and stuff. And I’m thinkin’, why marry him if yer not gonna trust him?”
“Yeah.”
“I seen it a bit with those types,” the man sighed. “Weird. You’d think two evil people would be the first not to trust each other.”
“We’re different from goody-goodies and neutrals. We’re careful about who we put our trust in. You should know that.”
“I would, if I put my trust in more people than just you.”
When Del-Kyuus overheard the last part of the conversation, she stopped herself from cutting in line and felt as though something had clicked.
‘Those men over there are evil, aren’t they? Yet they’re conversing like friends and…oh my gosh, they actually paid for the waffle!’
It seemed to be a revelation. ‘Just because they’re evil they don’t give up on friendship. They’re just careful about who they put their trust in. Evil didn’t make them all different. They’re still normal. I bet even they get taken advantage of sometimes…’
Del-Kyuus smiled to herself. ‘Boy, I’ve been acting pretty silly, huh?’

“Huh? Zahelahe’s not wearing torn up clothes?”
“Hi,” Del-Kyuus said shyly. “S-sorry about recently. I was kind of going through a phase…”
The students gave her an uncertain glance.
“Attention-grabbing phase?”
“Y-yeah, you could say it’s like that.”
Near the edge of the crowd Del-Kyuus noticed Huufa staring at her with wide eyes. He bolted off towards the school. “I would’ve kept going like that, but I realized I need to be my authentic self. Evil people are. Not all of them put on acts just because they’re evil. And I realize my authentic self is pretty goody-goody, but it’s who I like to be!”
Bigyore sighed. “I guess I shouldn’t have given you so much trouble, either. You acting like that made me think…being demure’s definitely a lot better than being evil. I’ll take demure Zahelahe over evil Zahelahe any day.”
“So will I!”

—–
“…”
“And that’s my story. So maybe now you understand. Even though I do wish sometimes you were born good, I’m okay with you being evil so long as you’re being your authentic self. …and not murdering anybody. I draw the line there.”
“I can’t believe it…”
“Well, I guess we are the Molsheis,” Salsh-Era sighed. “Kid me would have killed me for saying this, but it’s not too surprising we’ve had brushes with evil.”
“I was still Zahelahe Del-Kyuus when that happened!”
“Geez…”
“What is it, San-Kyung?”
“Nothing. Just…”
“Are you smiling?” Del-Kyuus said.
San-Kyung looked away from them. “Just…it made me a bit happy to hear that story, that’s all. I wish you had stayed evil, Mom.”
“Well, I’m more me this way,” she said. “And you know what? That’s fine. Like I said, I wish sometimes you had been born good. But we can’t change who we are!”
“Yeah, I guess not.”
“Although you can try, you two,” he said. “I’m not trying to say anything bad. Just saying, you should be who you want to be, but if you aren’t already, there’s always room to try and become that person!”
“Yeah…I guess it can go both ways, huh?” San-Kyung cracked a smile. To him, their advice almost sounded as if it were directed at his primary problem. He kept this thought silent, however.

5.551.Memento to Blooudine

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 551
“Memento to Blooudine”

Asul-Zenza walked outside. The sunlight was bright and harsh, and he recoiled slightly underneath its strength. He tried covering his face with a cloak, but it barely helped.
“The sun’s easy to feel today, isn’t it, Asul-Zenza?”
Asul-Zenza opened his eyes slightly. Through the blur he saw his neighbor, Blooudine Sae-Ah, standing close by, holding a parasol and waving at him. Asul-Zenza waved back.
“Hello, Mrs. Blooudine,” he grunted. “Yes, the heat’s pretty oppressive today…”
“We Vampires aren’t adjusted to deal with the Summer weather. Why are you outside? You’re still young.”
“Other young Vampires were saying that taking the sunlight was a sign of strength. And they set up a daylight event…my parents gave me permission to go, but I–I don’t think I can do it.”
Blooudine sighed. She walked over to him and let him share her parasol. “Thank you,” he breathed.
“Not a problem, Asul-Zenza.”
“Hm.” Taking a good look at Blooudine, Asul-Zenza noticed she was sweating slightly just as he was, even under the parasol. “Mrs. Blooudine, you asked me why I’m outside, well, what about you?”
“My family is asleep right now and I wanted some time alone to my thoughts. I figured going outside would be best for that.”
“I see.”
“It’s more of an excuse than what you had, anyway.”
Asul-Zenza sighed. “Do you think Vampires will ever be able to take the sun?”
“Some Vampires can. But it’s in our nature to be a little resistant to it. We’re nocturnal! I think the resistance some other Vampires have has to do with the fact that the species have integrated for the most part now and most other species are diurnal. They’ve set up their society around that, and we fall behind because we’re not like them.”
“We aren’t like the other species in a lot of ways,” Asul-Zenza sighed. “Why are we so different from them?”
“We aren’t really. We have a similar skeleton and set-up. There are other avian species aside from Vampire as well. And if you’re worried about the whole bloodsucking thing, it’s just a special talent of ours like how Groundisers can traverse the sand or how Sirens have such beautiful but deadly singing voices.”
“But we also live a lot longer than most of the other species.”
“A trait we share with Groundisers.”
He sighed. “It’s easy for you to see the positivities in this, isn’t it, Mrs. Blooudine?”
“Well, yes. Even if we’re Vampires, we’re as much people as all the other species. We do live a long time, admittedly, but that’s just because our bodies hold up better throughout the years than other species’. And if you see it in the way of being all built off the same base of a Normal, then we’re certainly one of the more Normalesque species out there by looks alone.”
“Not when we go into bat form, we aren’t.”
“That’s a different ballpark. Besides, you’re so worried about our differences–did you know that it’s said back many years ago, Vampires were always in bat form? We are the descendants of Vampire bats, after all.”
“It’s not really that I’m worried about being different from all the others. That’s okay, although I guess I like to be more normal, you know?”
“Hence why you were forcing yourself out into the daylight when your Darseen and Floma are most likely asleep?”
He sighed. “Yes. But it’s not really the way I look. It’s my lifespan. When I grow up, I’d like to travel and see more of the world. I like Vampira and all, but I want to see the world beyond Vampires. I’m just worried about making a friend over in another society. So I’ve been wondering if maybe I should wait until I’m an old man. But when I’m an old man, it’ll be harder to travel, and what will I do before I set out? You’re not really an old Vampire until sometime through the seven-hundreds, aren’t you?”
“Seven-hundreds or eight-hundreds, I forget. But definitely by the eight-hundreds you’re quite elderly. And you shouldn’t split hairs about this sort of thing, Asul-Zenza. You’re still just a child, after all. And you know, it’s fully possible for a Vampire friend to die on you years before you’re an old man. It’s also possible you might die before you ever reach the elderly Vampire ages.”
“I don’t want to think about that, though…and besides, that can happen to us Vampires, who’s to say that if I made a friend of another species that they wouldn’t die before their time?”
Blooudine sighed. “Asul-Zenza, I’ve grown up my whole life in Vampire societies. I’m not good with the goings-on of other species. I spend most of my time around Vampires. I had to get over some prejudices when I was younger. But you need to realize something. We live in times where most societies will inevitably become intermixed-species societies. As it stands right now, the majority of species societies are outlier societies connected to a bigger country such as this one. Nyappon used to be the Catori hub of the world, and now even it is letting other species in through its doors. Life among the other species is going to be a part of daily life in some years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s during your lifetime. You have to learn to not worry about this sort of thing! You’re your own Vampire!”
“I, I know…”
“Besides, we all worry so much about dying we’ve never stopped to consider enjoying the time we have with those who won’t live as long. And you never know what may come after death. But, with all this advice I’m giving you, I might as well give you one more bit that I think you should hear.”
“What’s that?”
“If you’re so worried, befriend someone of another species. Acquaint yourself with one. But never marry one. If you had a ladyfriend of a short-lived species with your mindset I fear what might happen. She might become convinced you didn’t like her. And besides, half-Vampire children can live into the thousands. We Vampires can too, but we usually don’t make it past the nine-hundreds.”
“…”
“But really, don’t worry about your differences with others, Asul-Zenza. If you weren’t any different from any other person you wouldn’t be Ghneckdo Asul-Zenza. And besides, what business do you have worrying about how different you are when you’re a Vampire just like everyone else in Vampira?”
She pat him on the back. “Go on, now. Get back inside and out of this sunlight. A young Vampire like yourself needs to take care of his skin!”
Asul-Zenza smiled. “Thank you for your advice, Mrs. Blooudine! You’re the best.”
Blooudine smiled. “Always the best to you, Asul-Zenza.”

***

Asul-Zenza took a deep breath as he knocked on the hospital room door.
“Come in.”
Peeking inside, he spotted Blooudine, sitting up but looking much worse than she had the last time he had seen her.
His parents had recently sent word that Blooudine had been sent to the hospital. He was told she had cut herself, contracted an infection and become sick as a result of it. Despite her weary state, she still smiled at Asul-Zenza with all the warmth he remembered.
“Mrs. Blooudine, how do you feel?”
“I’ve felt better before,” she sighed, “but this is what happens when you age. I’m not so much as worried about myself as I am about my husband. He has been ill since 2013, worse since 2014 and I might dare say he’s knocking on death’s door now. He fell into a coma yesterday.”
Asul-Zenza gasped.
“I’m not too concerned. We’re both elderly Vampires, and if we go at similar times that’s all the better for me. Still, I want to make sure that you will be alright. After all, you aren’t even one-hundred yet and I might leave you soon.”
“I-I’ve been…managing on my own, Mrs. Blooudine. My child self might have relied a lot on the advice you had for me, but I have plenty of people now. I still have…my parents, and Shi-Bara and her family contact me on occasion. I…I have my book club friends, and Perule-Cheuse, and La-Iin and even Mit-Sun, to a degree….”
He swallowed hard. “So I won’t be alone…”
“I know you’re a grown Vampire, Asul-Zenza. But you have a soft heart. You may still have family and friends around you but that won’t keep you from missing me.”
“…”
“I’ll probably live for a while longer. But I also don’t care if this sickness takes me out. Ideally I’d like for myself and my husband to go on the same day. Though I know the pain that it would bring my family, it would also mean I don’t have to live without him. He doesn’t have to live without me. And our children don’t have to just get over grieving only to deal with another’s death months later. And I’m not scared. I’ve lived a full life and continued on my family line. So I am happy.”
“Please don’t talk about such sad things….per–perhaps both of you will pull through. Just for a bit longer…”
“Asul-Zenza, this happens sometimes. And I’m an old lady. I was when you were a child as well. My closest family is not the youngest, heh. Don’t focus on me. Focus on yourself. Don’t let me bog down your happiness.”
“Then please stop saying such sad things! …you know, it’s ironic in a way. You’re the one who told me that sometimes Vampires lose their other Vampire loved ones before they are too old. And before I met up with you again last year, I figured you were just a relic of my childhood. And soon that might be for the most part accurate…”
“It likely will be, you silly child.”
“I’m not a child.”
“In my eyes, you are. A child who got in over his head and tried to become an adult before he was ready. But you are quite mature in other ways, Asul-Zenza. You do deserve the title of adult in those regards. I’m sure you handle yourself much better around others than around me. But around me, isn’t it that you remember the child you were, hanging on my every word and taking my advice soundly in heart?”
“Hm…”
“So it’s possible that’s the case. But enough about that. Thank you for visiting me.”
“I–I brought a flower,” he said. “A Vampiric Carnation.”
“How lovely…I’ve always loved this shade of red.” She sighed. “Well, I thank you again for the visit. My time or not it’s always a pleasure to see you.”
“The pleasure isn’t just yours, Mrs. Blooudine.” Asul-Zenza sucked in a breath to keep himself from crying. “It’s mine as well.”

—–
“Oh, Asul-Zenza! To what do we owe the visit?”
Asul-Zenza opened his mouth to speak, only for tears to come rolling down his face. He tried to wipe them away, but eventually gave up and hung his head.
“Oh, Asul-Zenza…”
His parents came close to him and held him close. Though Asul-Zenza could no longer keep himself from crying, he bit his tongue to keep himself from wailing even though a part of him was fighting to do so.

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.”

7.523.Reminiscing on Childhood–Part 7

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 523
“Reminiscing on Childhood–Part 7”

“Yong-Hin, take a look at this. I managed to recover some details about this ‘Startimatum’. I even nabbed a picture. Take a look at this face. I have no doubt in my mind that this is Mr. Hyusen. Our science teacher is a part-time pornographer.”
Yong-Hin giggled. “How devastating it would be if such information was leaked to the world!”
Yul-Hiis relaxed in his seat. “‘Twould be, but I think it will be all the more satisfying to watch him out himself. It’s not like we’re kids, exactly. I wouldn’t call adolescents children. We’ll understand what he’s done.”
“We’re only barely adolescents, though.”
“We’re adolescents nonetheless,” Yul-Hiis said. “Whatever the occasion, I look forward to seeing the look on his face when they all learn that Startimatum and Mr. Hyusen are the same person. Heh!”
Yong-Hin giggled. “My oh my do people love to hide the parts of themselves they’re ashamed of.”
“That can be said without a doubt!”

***

Yong-Hin had found herself with an insatiable curiosity for all things in the world ever since she was young. Her parents interchangeably described her as a treasure hunter, investigator and just a nosy young girl. In her early life, many of the facts she sought after were subjects that would help her in school or taught her tidbits she personally found quite interesting.
However, as she grew older and after having met the equally-curious Yul-Hiis, Yong-Hin’s curiosity extended past that and she focused most of her energy on finding out far darker things about the world–and the tidbit she and Yul-Hiis had found on their science teacher being a pornographer made her want to laugh each time she remembered it during class.
“Ah, I hope the discovery of information becomes even easier in the future,” Yong-Hin said. “Already you almost had to pay for a bimbo in order to find out that tidbit about ‘Startimatum’.”
“What did you say?” Mr. Hyusen asked. Yong-Hin and Yul-Hiis giggled. “Absolutely nothing, Mr. Hyusen!”
Mr. Hyusen gaved them a concerned expression. He pushed his glasses up and stared down at a book.
“Oh, he’s so blatant it can’t be long now.”
“The risk was far higher than paying for a bimbo, fair Yong-Hin,” Yul-Hiis sighed. “Had I gone any farther it would have been more of a man-bo I was paying for. That district is truly curious. I might have to visit it again someday.”
“The idea of you getting with a man-bo isn’t all that unappealing,” Yong-Hin giggled. Yul-Hiis gave her a wry look. “Your idea of entertainment confuses me, Yong-Hin. Now, what say we go looking for another piece of information today?” Yul-Hiis blinked. “Damn it!”
“What’s wrong?”
“I’d love to go searching the murky depths of downtown with you today, but I just remembered I and my parents have an obligation to some stupid butcher Narwhaltae family. We promised them we would go fishing and talk on something or another. My parents truly want me to befriend their young son, but he is simply so boring!”
“Oh, what a shame,” Yong-Hin sighed. “Well, I have plenty of time, so I’ll make sure to go and look for plenty of juicy tidbits to share with you when you come back from your boring obligations.” She kissed him on the cheek.
“You always find the best ones,” Yul-Hiis sighed.
“Well then, tomorrow we’ll meet again?”
Yul-Hiis squeezed her hand. “Tomorrow for certain, Yong-Hin. Find something delicious, alright?”
“I’ll never find anything half as delicious as your Startimatum,” Yong-Hin giggled. Glancing over her shoulder, she noticed that Hyusen was staring in their direction, again looking perturbed as if he had overheard what she had said.

Downtown was fairly sparse that day, but to Yong-Hin it felt as though people were everywhere. She spotted a man rustling through garbage. A woman handing out pastries, dark circles under her eyes. A Normal walking by wearing a bulky shirt through which she could see the bulge of wings. Everywhere she looked seemed to be a treasure-trove of people with new stories for her to learn, but she had no idea where to start, nor knew which people she could approach and successfully learn the stories of.
‘Yul-Hiis has a better way of going about this. He actually goes to the place these sorts of people inhabit. Meanwhile I have no idea how I might learn about these people in any way, nor any guarantee that they are actually anyone interesting.’
She strained to listen for any sort of conversation that might be going on nearby her. Only a minute passed before she heard a voice off to her left.
“…and they act like, ‘Oh, because you’re a celebrity, you must be infallible!’ but the truth is, most celebrities have a dark secret to hide. It pretty much goes hand-in-hand with being a celebrity, having some dark disgusting part of you that you want to lock away.”
“Do you have one, then?”
“No way! I’m open about myself because this kind of behavior pisses me off! But you wanna know what? Don’t go blabbing it to the public just yet, but I found out that Veu-Nil keeps a fetish diary. And they say that Bes-Kaal beats on her family behind the scenes for dragging down her fame!”
“Whoa!”
“No duh. You might hear a lot of things as fans, but we hear even more within the industry–dark secrets they want to be kept secret…”
Yong-Hin smirked. The story interested her, not just because of the tidbits being exchanged but the mere fact of the celebrities gossiping about each other to fans. She jot down the notes, then sighed.
‘But this isn’t enough. Maybe Yul-Hiis would think it’s a tasty tidbit, but he always lets me off easy because he likes me. This isn’t enough. After Startimatum, I need to outdo him. And in order to outdo him, I’ll have to head off to a darker side of the world and do some serious investigation.’
She stood behind to listen to the rest of the conversation, then clapped her hands and flew off in search of a story.
‘One of these places has got to be less bright than the others.’ She checked around for any sign of someone familiar or someone interesting for her to watch. Flying over an alleyway, she caught scent of a strange smell that made her retch, and at the same time enticed her. Curious, she landed and folded her wings, taking a check around.
The alleyway was filled with dumpsters and strange powders lying on the ground, but the scent got stronger the more she walked on. Yong-Hin took her chances and walked out of the alleyway, only to be greeted by the sight of many more. She wanted to remark aloud, but reminded herself she had no idea what was awaiting her in this strange place.
She checked down each of the alleyways, and each one held a surprise–down one was a group of people who appeared to be doing drugs, while down another a Vampire man chewed from an Animated Pumpkin’s arm. Down one even further along, she spotted two people in what appeared to be just prior to intercourse–and it took a lot of resistance for her to look away.
Each alleyway held a curious secret and seemed to have its own tale, and the people down one seemed to be oblivious to what went down the other, even when a group of children chatting casually was right across from a Goathoof man being beaten by a furious Minomix yelling curses. Yong-Hin made sure to jot down a note on each alleyway, though even she felt a little off-put by the strange place and made sure not to stay close to one for two long.
The alleyway strip seemed to come to its end, a small stone path leading into a slightly forested area. Yong-Hin followed the path and found herself in a small neighborhood, the houses fairly symmetrical yet all showing some significant sign of damage that differentiated each one from the other.
Yelling sounded from one of the houses, and Yong-Hin peeked in through a murky window. A Minomix man was yelling at his wife and children, looking just as furious as the one she had spotted earlier. In another house she could hear faint sounds of nervous mumbling, but in yet another despite the poor condition of their house a small family was eating dinner and laughing.
The sight of it all was fascinating to Yong-Hin, who made sure to write down every bit of what she saw. ‘Anyone who says this world doesn’t have more to offer is lying. This neighborhood is proof of it!’

***

When Yong-Hin arrived home, she was surprised to see Yul-Hiis sitting on her bed.
“Hello there, Yongie,” he said. “You look even fairer now than at school.”
“What are you doing here, Yul-Hiis? I thought you had obligations. And who said you could come into my room?”
“That is something you’ll have to take up with your mother,” he sighed. “But the obligations ended faster than expected because my father decided to pick a bit of a….fight would sound better, admittedly, but it was more of a disagreement. So I figured I’d come here and wait for you.” He laid down on his stomach. “So, do you have juicy tidbits for me to hear? I’m curious about what’s in that notebook of yours.”
Yong-Hin hopped onto her bed. “I did find quite a bit. I felt adventurous today. I think I worried my parents a bit with how late I came home. But, not much. Now, take a look.” She opened the notebook.
“Celebrities are apparently gossiping about how one or the other has a dark secret they prefer to keep from the world. Apparently Banta Veu-Nil keeps a fetish diary. And when I went a little further into a dark area near downtown, I found a whole little alleyway strip that held all sorts of nefarious doings. Go past that alleyway strip, and you find a small neighborhood. In this neighborhood you’ll find the occasional nuclear family, but most of the families here are abusive drug-addicts. My curiosity made me wonder if that was a connection to the fact that most there were Dualbreeds, but, being one myself and my best friend being one I should be the last to judge. Either way, it’s a true showing of the dark underbelly of the world, don’t you think?”
“The dark underbelly of the world has existed for a long time, Yong-Hin, long as good and neutral have been around. We on the more neutral side of the spectrum are lucky. We benefit from the good and avoid arrest in this good-dominated society, and yet we are open to the evil and are able to see it without becoming disgusted or sick. Merely, curious. But what prompted you to head off to such a dangerous part of town anyway? Weren’t you scared?”
“Not at all. A Demon’s powers, even a half-Demon’s, are made for combat, for the most part. And I’m a succubus-type Demon–I could always use my virginity to my advantage.”
“I suppose you could,” chuckled Yul-Hiis.
“Seeing all this made me wonder. Do you think someday when I’m older, I should open a business dedicated to collecting information?”
“They have something like that already. It’s called the government.”
“I don’t mean like that. I mean for my personal use, and there would be nothing the government could do about it.”
“Sounds like a fairly far-fetched dream, my dear Yong-Hin. But if anyone could do it, it would be you. Just make sure you have your head screwed on straight if you do pursue it.”
“You should know better by now that it just doesn’t do to underestimate me, Yul-Hiis,” Yong-Hin said with a wink.

—–
Eteibreit relaxed in her chair at her office, dwelling back on her earliest discoveries. Her business had flourished since its opening and now she had access to several bits of information. She couldn’t suppress her smirk at the memory of the small investigations she had used to do.
‘Now I have far more power,’ she thought. ‘The old me would have been overwhelmed if she knew her musing had become a reality!’