4.642.Warp of Reality

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 642
“Warp of Reality”

“Father, can I make a request?”
“What is it, Eul-Bok?”
“Can we go see Grepeta soon? It’s been a while since we last saw her, and I’ve been wanting to practice spells with her lately.”
“I don’t mind doing that. You’re right, it has been a while. And I’m sure you’d like to go someplace aside from this house.”
“I don’t hate our house! Although it is nice to get out every now-and-then.”
Sale-Dessu smiled. “I don’t mind. I’ve managed to get some sleep after doing all that research for La-Iin, and the last few days have been lazy. So why not go someplace? Although can we do your check-up first?”
“Alright! I just hope Grepeta’s willing to see us.”
“I’m sure she will be, Eul-Bok. Even though Apeta can be rough sometimes, I know she’s a good Witch.”
‘Despite what so many other people would say,’ Sale-Dessu thought. He decided it would be better if he left that thought unvoiced.

***

Sale-Dessu and Eul-Bok teleported into Eir-Tyuj’s house. They didn’t spot her right away, but were able to find her by the sound of coughing.
“Apeta, are you alright?” Sale-Dessu asked. Eir-Tyuj was sitting at a table, coughing somewhat violently. Eul-Bok was taken aback.
When her coughing died down, Eir-Tyuj took a breath.
“Excuse me, Sale-Dessu. What did you say?”
“Are you alright?”
“Alright enough as you can be after hacking up a lung,” she said. “But truly, I’m fine. Just a cough. The remnants of a sickness I had a few days before you two decided to invade.”
“Sorry, Grepeta. But how else are we supposed to get here?”
“I don’t mean ill by it, Eul-Bok. I’m well-aware of your situation, and of your father’s nervousness.”
“Apeta, please…”
“Anyway, I’m old! This stuff stays with me longer now that I’m of advanced age. For a Witch I’ve lived quite a time, and Witches already live longer than most others! I wonder if they would consider me a super-centenarian. I forget what age qualifies you for that.”
“Well, we’re glad you’re okay, Grepeta!”
“Are you really sure you’re okay? That coughing sounded rough…”
“I’m certain. I could be asking the same to you, Mr. Eyebags.”
Sale-Dessu touched his face. “There’s nothing wrong with me being worried about you, Apeta.” He hadn’t expected his tone to take an edge, but he didn’t notice until after he had already spoken. To his relief, Eir-Tyuj didn’t seem upset.
“Of course there isn’t. Now, you two–why are you here? Simply here to see ol’ Apeta, or, in your case, Grepeta?”
“We came at Eul-Bok’s request,” Sale-Dessu explained.
“I see. What made you want to come and visit me?”
“Remember how you and Father said I have potential?”
“Yes. I don’t forget the potential of my descendants, after all.”
“Well, I’ve been wanting to practice more with you! Practicing with Father is fine, but it’s nice to practice with you, too. I get a different kind of education with you.”
“I’m sure Sale-Dessu is more gentle. But what could you want to learn from me that Sale-Dessu could not teach you? My age has made it harder for me to pull off certain powers, and I’m sure Sale-Dessu knows most of mine.”
“Well, do you think it could be possible for me to try another unfinished spell?”
“Definitely not!” Sale-Dessu exclaimed.
“Absolutely not!” Eir-Tyuj exclaimed. “I understand your faith in your abilities, but such things are dangerous, Eul-Bok.”
Sale-Dessu was half-expecting Eul-Bok to look dejected, but instead he smiled. “I was expecting that response. Don’t worry, I haven’t been thinking about unfinished spells much recently. Although I did see a few interesting ones while Father was doing his research.”
“What research?” Eir-Tyuj asked.
“Research on a supposed Vampire ability,” Sale-Dessu said. “I learned some interesting things. Maybe I’ll tell you about them after you’re done with Eul-Bok.”
“Hm. So what did you really come here to learn?”
“Reality warping!” Sale-Dessu flinched. “Father knows how to reality warp, but I’ve heard you know how to control your warp better than he does.”
“You would have heard right, then. But what brings this on?”
“I was thinking, reality warping could be a good ability to have. Even though it can be dangerous, if you use it in the right way it could be helpful. But since Father isn’t all that good at controlling his, I thought I’d go to the master.”
Eir-Tyuj smiled, though Eul-Bok felt that it was a sad smile. “I’d be more than happy to teach you, but it has been ages since my last warp. Not only am I elderly, but I mostly gave up practicing the power after the retaliation I got from using it. If I had never experimented with that power, I could have avoided some tragedy, and so could have Sale-Dessu…”
Sale-Dessu lowered his head.
“Don’t feel sad, Grepeta! I think your only problem was that since you were still working on it, you didn’t keep it contained. And I know you can keep warps contained. So teach me how to reality warp, and how to keep it contained, too!”
“Are you sure about this, Eul-Bok?” Sale-Dessu asked.
“Yes!”
Eir-Tyuj stood up. “There’s one other problem to my teaching you how to reality warp, however.”
“Hm?”
“Yours will be unstable at first, that is almost guaranteed, unless you are more of a prodigy than I believe. Sale-Dessu and I may not be able to detect that reality has been warped. It will be up to you to bring the warp to an end.”
“I understand, Grepeta. But I really think reality warping would be a helpful skill to have!”
“Well, if you’re that certain, than I can’t turn you down! But there’s a lot for you to learn before you try it. So prepare yourself!”
“I’m ready, Grepeta!”
“This all gives me a bad feeling…”
“Ah, don’t be so concerned, Sale-Dessu. I’ll make sure nothing goes out of control.”

Over the next few hours, Eul-Bok learned several things. He learned how much concentration it took to make a proper reality warp, and how to end it too. Eir-Tyuj mostly taught him necessary details, like the focus one needed for a proper warp or warning him about the damage it could cause to his psyche, but she also told him about less important details such as how he could make the reality look cartoonish, or how to create an activator for it as opposed to initiating it himself.
“I could have told him about making an activator,” Sale-Dessu said.
“I’m sure you could have, but I’m the one he asked to explain this,” Eir-Tyuj said playfully. “Well, then, now that we’ve gone over all that, how would you like me to show you how it’s done? Then you may try it for yourself.”
“Okay!”
Eir-Tyuj retrieved her wand and a small book. “For backup,” she told them. “It certainly has been a while since I last used this power…exercise caution, boys. I do know how to keep it from sucking you in, but it has been so long that I make no guarantees.”
“You’ll make an innocent one then, right, Apeta?” Sale-Dessu said.
“If that’s your request. Though I always was better with the more violent ones. Ha!”
She held out her wand, and Sale-Dessu and Eul-Bok watched as the world around them began to change. Sale-Dessu was quick to notice that the area around him looked like an etheral version of the house he had initially lived in with his mother and grandmother. A wave of nostalgia washed over him.
“Wow, this looks like an actual location!”
“It is an actual location, in a way,” Eir-Tyuj panted. She seemed worn out. “I inspired it off of someplace I lived once. I was lazy this time.”
“Apeta…this is the house we lived in with Mamun.”
“I see someone noticed the inspiration,” Eir-Tyuj said with a smile. “But I also see another someone is eager to try using this power for himself.”
Eir-Tyuj began to return reality to normal. “Now you may try it. But remember what I told you. And as Sale-Dessu warned me, your reality should most likely be an innocent one. It is likely at least Sale-Dessu will be caught up in the reality.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, Father, you did tell me that when La-Iin hit your reality activator you didn’t notice anything changed until later,” Eul-Bok said. Sale-Dessu’s face flushed.
“I suppose you have a point…”
“What is this about some “La-Iin” hitting a reality activator?” Eir-Tyuj asked.
“It’s a long story, Apeta. And I’m sure that Eul-Bok is impatient.”
“I’d let you tell her, but I can’t stand La-Iin myself. Alright, I think I understand now. I’m going to do my best!”
“Don’t be nervous, boy. It can interfere with the reality.”
“Gotcha.”
“And after this is done, you have a story to tell me.”
“Agh…”
Eul-Bok took a deep breath, then began to focus on an image in his head. He grasped his wand and began to try and bring the image to life. With his eyes closed, Eul-Bok couldn’t tell if he was succeeding or not, and even though he had understood Eir-Tyuj’s words he still felt uncertain. Curious, he opened one eye, and gasped.
The scene around him had changed, but it was far from what he had imagined.
Instead, he, Sale-Dessu, and Eir-Tyuj were in a flower field. Sale-Dessu was picking flowers and handing them to Eir-Tyuj, who spoke in a high-pitched voice.
“Why, thank you, my grandson!”
She then burst into coughing. Eul-Bok was dumbfounded. He tried to move, but found he couldn’t. Not a single part of him would move, leaving him stuck in place watching his family play with flowers in the field.
To his relief, after what felt like two hours at the least, the reality wore off. Eir-Tyuj and Sale-Dessu closed their eyes, then opened them and blinked them.
“Wha?”
“Did…did you do a reality warp, Eul-Bok? I feel like I was just holding something.”
“I can remember a flower field, but only vaguely…”
“I didn’t do anything!” Eul-Bok said. “All of a sudden while I was working on my reality warp, everything changed to a flower field and you and Father started picking flowers and talking in high-pitched voices!”
“It sounds like you really went for an innocent reality warp,” Sale-Dessu chuckled.
“But–but Father, you don’t understand! I didn’t warp reality! All of a sudden a reality warp just happened! When it happened I couldn’t move! Aren’t you supposed to be able to move in your own warp?”
“That is true, but it can take a lot out of someone to perform a reality warp,” Eir-Tyuj explained. “And you are a V-Puppet. It’s possible that is why you were not able to move, because it took so much out of you and your species of origin cannot move without a power’s assistance.”
“But I wasn’t even imagining a flower field!”
Eir-Tyuj shook her head. “I know you believe you didn’t warp reality, Eul-Bok, but that is simply not possible. My house is under high defenses right now. No outside reality warp should be able to get in. It was your first reality warp. Perhaps it didn’t go as you expect, but that is to be expected, and at least it sounds like it went better than Maie-Jussa’s first.”
“Mamun warped reality?” Sale-Dessu asked.
“Yes, but only once when she was young. It was a bit of a disaster, so she never tried again. But it wasn’t so much of a disaster that it warranted mentioning.”
“Seriously Grepeta, I didn’t do it!”
“He seems pretty convinced,” Sale-Dessu said. Eir-Tyuj shook her head. “Conviction or not, my house is under high security. Even with my sickness, I know that security has not wavered.”
“Grepeta!”
“Um–ah–why don’t we all calm down for now with some stories?” Sale-Dessu suggested. He could hear the desperation in Eul-Bok’s tone, and the agitation starting in Eir-Tyuj’s. ‘I really don’t want them to fight!’
“I’ll tell you an embarrassing one from when I was five. A–and didn’t you want to learn about La-Iin and the reality activator, Apeta?”
“I do.”
“Um…okay, Father,” Eul-Bok sighed. Sale-Dessu bit his lip.
‘Who do I believe? I don’t want to believe that another reality warp penetrated Apeta’s defenses, but at the same time Eul-Bok seems really convinced. And with his ability, I’m sure he would have been able to move around. What really happened just now?’
The whole incident left Sale-Dessu with a sick, uncertain feeling even as he worked to try and calm Eir-Tyuj and Eul-Bok.

—–
“Ciuthia…I’ll admit it, I’m scared.”
“Do not worry, Baal-Mist. I have told you all that you need to know. And if it will reassure you further, I know a way to counteract a reality warp.”
“You do?”
Ire-Salin nodded.
“That will be a helpful ability in the future…alright, then, here goes…”
Baal-Mist took a deep breath. Just pulling off a reality warp of his own sounded like a terrifying concept. But it was something he knew he had to try.
He focused on an image in his mind and set to work creating it in the way described by Ire-Salin, moving his wand around. He didn’t open his eyes until he had finished, and when he did he noticed he was surrounded by a vast flower field instead of a room in Ire-Salin’s house.
Ire-Salin was picking flowers and she handed them to Baal-Mist. “For you, my dearest,” she said.
Baal-Mist accepted the flowers and looked around. “I really did it…but it looks like Ciuthia is lost in the warp.”
“I will go and pick more,” she said cheerfully, then ran off to do just that.
Baal-Mist explored the reality warp for a while, but it seemed that he had pulled it off as simplistically as it had appeared in his mind, a vast flower field that went on for what seemed like eternity. Once he felt he had had enough of that–and of Ire-Salin’s strange behavior–he set to ending the reality warp.
Ire-Salin closed her eyes and dropped a glass sculpture. She gasped when it hit the ground.
“How was it?”
“It seemed to be successful, but it was simplistic. I suppose that’s good enough.”
“I see…” Ire-Salin’s cheeks flushed. “Well, perhaps we have had enough practicing for today. Are you still nervous, Baal-Mist?”
“A little less so, now,” he sighed. “As long as I have you helping me, I think I might be okay. But that reminds me, I would love to see one of your reality warps someday, Ciuthia, just to get a better idea of how to work mine.”
“If that is what you want, then I sheall give it to you at your request. Say the word, Baal-Mist.”
“Well, that can wait. I’m still a little nervous from the warp. Why don’t I fix that glass sculpture of yours for now?”
“It does not matter, but if you wish to do so, then do so, Baal-Mist.”

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30.638.Stand Up to the Opposition

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 638
“Stand Up to the Opposition”

La-Iin felt like she was on top of the world.
Throughout that Wednesday, she continued to read through the files that Sale-Dessu had given her. She hadn’t gotten much sleep the prior night as it had been difficult to stay down and away from the files, but she felt as if she had slept the whole night through. She got dressed, ate Mit-Sun’s breakfast, and head to school.
Her fellow students were quick to notice her change in attitude.
“What’s with her today?” San-Kyung said.
“Wow, Cahongyun looks really happy,” Shuu-Kena said.
“La-Iin!” Fer-Shi called out. La-Iin landed next to her. “What’s got you so happy, La-Iin? Did something good happen?”
“No. Something bad happened.”
“Huh…? Oh.”
La-Iin smirked. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, Fer-Shi. I think there are only a few things that could make me happier than this. And they’re all very similar to what’s happening right now, incidentally…”
“Calm down, La-Iin. I really don’t understand why you’re so happy. What happened?”
“You’ll find out soon enough, Fer-Shi. Not incredibly soon, not today, but soon enough.”
La-Iin’s smirk at that moment sent a chill down Fer-Shi’s spine. She felt that whatever had happened, something about it wasn’t good.

***

Having to sit through school only ended up making La-Iin feel more antsy than she already was. During break time, she took out her frustration and activity on the children at the playground.
“Eeeeek!”
“La-Iin, what are you doing!?”
La-Iin tipped her head back to look at Fer-Shi. “I’ve been waiting for you, my friend!”
When she noticed that La-Iin was heading for her, Fer-Shi let out a screech and began to dash around the recess area. La-Iin did not tire once during that time, though Fer-Shi eventually did and La-Iin began to threaten to suck her blood or fly her off school grounds several times.
“Something tells me La-Iin got into her mom’s coffee!” Shan-Zetsu said to her on their way back inside.
“I’m not sure Miss Cahongyun drinks coffee.”
Once the final class ended, La-Iin couldn’t restrain herself. She flew out the classroom at as high a speed as she could manage.
“What’s wrong with her?” San-Kyung scoffed.
“Are you sure Miss Cahongyun doesn’t drink coffee?”
“Well, I was pretty sure,” Fer-Shi sighed.

La-Iin could barely keep herself restrained. She hadn’t finished reading the files in their entirety, but what she had read already proved to her what she wanted to know, and now she couldn’t find it in herself to want to stay inside for even a second.
‘No! I can’t act like this! I have to finish planning!’ But right now, she wanted to live in the moment. The planning could wait–that what she wanted was possible at all was what she was focused on right now.
She couldn’t even find it in herself to head back home. Instead she flew around Bledger at her fastest speed, cackling and slamming into several things on her flight across.
“It sure has been pretty quiet in Bledger lately, huh, Harliou?” A Llamaki man asked.
“That concerns me after the influx of evil that happened earlier this year. It’s possible they’re just inactive right now to plan.”
“Can’t we be optimistic for once? I don’t want to think about that. This year keeps making me worried. I just want Airy-Aekok to be safe.”
“As long as we do our job properly, she will be. So don’t worry.”
The two men fell silent for a short while, but their silence was broken not by either of them, but by the sound of something crashing into a nearby pole. They watched as it flew away from the pole, rolled in the air and landed hard onto the grass nearby. In their horror they realized it was a young child.
“Are you okay!?” Llanni exclaimed as he ran up to her.
La-Iin’s whole body ached. The blow had been harder than she had expected. Her eyesight was slightly blurry. When it cleared up she noticed a Llamaki and a Snowliv were staring down at her. Both of them were wearing uniforms.
“Oh thank goodness, it looks like she’s alright,” Llanni breathed.
“I’m glad she seems conscious, but I’d hardly call blood dripping from her head alright!”
“I know. I should call a hospital!”
La-Iin recognized the uniforms the two men were wearing. They were police uniforms. The sight of them made something stir in her.
For La-Iin, everything felt perfect right now. She felt like nothing could stop her. Now she recognized the feeling stirring inside of her. It was desire.
“Hello? Yes, I’ve just found a young girl, and she’s bleeding from the forehead.”
“He’s not taking this all that seriously. You’d think someone with a daughter of his own would be more worried…”
La-Iin bit into her arm. Harliou caught a glimpse of it out the corner of his eye, but he wasn’t certain he had seen it. As her transformation began, La-Iin took off her headband, stuffed it in her bag, and shook her head around. Blood splashed on her hair and into Harliou’s snow. The transformation was almost done.
“Hm?”
La-Iin flew at Harliou and began to attack him. Once Harliou seemed stunned enough, she flew for Llanni, who seemed to be taken even more aback than Harliou. He gasped when she headbutted him in the stomach, and continued to gasp for air when he fell to the ground.
La-Iin was satisfied. She was tempted to take a drink of blood, but decided against it. Instead she attacked both men one more time, then flew off when she noticed that Harliou was about to use a power.
His freeze-ray was too slow to hit La-Iin.
“What the hell was that!?”
“I-I don’t know! I honestly thought it was a little girl!”
“It did look like a little girl…”
“That was terrifying…why did she do that?”
Both men had no answer for what had just happened, so they sat there in silence, save for Llanni hanging up the phone.

La-Iin cackled wildly.
‘Even without blood on my side I could take them down. But that was without blood, without utilizing my new information, while they were distracted. If I could do that then, who’s to say what I could do with my new information on my side?’
She cackled wildly once more. ‘No opposition will stand against me! My Hypotheory will become a reality!’

—–
“Um….La-Iin?”
“What is it, Mama?” La-Iin asked, her tone sly.
“Why do you look like that? Where’s your headband?”
“Oh, Mama.” La-Iin tidied her hair slightly and stuck the headband back in. “You don’t understand. I’ve been in ecstasy all day…”
Mit-Sun flinched. “I really need to teach you the meaning of more words.”
‘No you don’t. I know full well what I mean. But now I know two important things–one, that my Hypotheory is a reality, and two, that I have power without blood and without the new information. Certainly I used my other form, but I always do. Certainly they were distracted, but I have a feeling that they only would have outmatched me with power suppressant guns had they noticed.’
La-Iin smirked. ‘Oh, I need to calm myself. Everything will happen in due time, and it won’t happen if I don’t plan. But now I know. Now I know, Hypotheory will become a reality, and no opposition will be able to stop that!’

28.636.And We Run Again

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 636
“And We Run Again”

“Hey, look, it’s Dslellular!”
La-Iin turned around. To her surprise, her classmates were right. Dosa-Mina was walking along the path to school with his head bowed. When San-Kyung noticed him, he ran to his side and said something to him that La-Iin couldn’t make out.
“I’m glad he’s not sick anymore,” Fer-Shi said. “But I wonder if he’ll be okay?”
‘I bet being sick was just a lie,’ La-Iin thought. ‘Maybe I should try that sometime. Or I would if I could get around Mama…’
As San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina walked past La-Iin, she overheard what they were talking about.
“The 28th Running Event is today. They told us about it on Friday. I would have told you about it then, but there was a lot happening that day.”
“I understand. It doesn’t really matter anyway. I don’t think I can do it.” Glancing at the other students, he added, “I don’t think I’ve completely gotten over that fever.”
“I’m just telling you.”
“The 28th Running Event is today?” Fer-Shi said.
“They said that on Friday. Were you not paying attention?”
Fer-Shi blushed. “I might have been half asleep…”
The students head for the back of the building. They were surprised to see a slightly more elaborate set up than in prior years. Most of the faculty was back there, setting things up and chatting among each other.
“Heyyy, students! Looks like you all got here at the same time! I’m surprised to see you, Class A. I thought the event was offensive because you need to run.”
“It still is,” a Class A student said. “But I happened to overhear about the special prize.”
“Oh…that…ahaha….” Sharai began to sweat.
“What’s the special prize?” Rini-Futo asked.
“You want to know? Well, the prizes we’ve given out the last years have always been something the top winners could decide, but they’ve always been simple objects, little prizes like chocolate and paper, but we thought we’d make it a little special this year. So this year, the first place winner of the 28th Running Event gets to pick something of their own decision. Nothing unreasonable is allowed, although I’m sure Class A is looking for a loophole…”
“I heard that!”
“Heh heh.”
“What about the other places?”
“They still have to pick simple items. It’d be too complicated and not very special if the other places could pick anything too, wouldn’t it?”
“You get to pick anything as a prize!?” La-Iin gasped.
“Wow, that sounds really cool! I bet I wouldn’t be able to win that, though. I’ve never won the running event.”
‘Think of what I could demand of them! That idiot Sharai mentioned something about loopholes. I wonder if there’s something I can use there!’
“Last year Lirako won the event…” Dosa-Mina sighed.
“Yeah, that’s right…”
“I really don’t have it in me to do it this year, San-Kyung.”
“Tell them that, then. But don’t worry. The event’s in September this year. So that means I have some extra strength to use. And I know just what I would ask for if I do manage to win…”
“The students certainly seem excited by your prize, Mr. Sharai,” the Principal said.
“What can I say? It’s a good prize. I can already imagine what I would ask for. Let’s just hope that Class A is as out of shape as the nurses make them sound so we don’t have to add all sorts of bathrooms!”
“I HEARD THAT!”
“No seriously, we’re screwed if they win.”
“I’m aware. But I don’t think it will be much of a problem. After all, your only rule was that the prize couldn’t be unreasonable. And really, what’s unreasonable is our determination, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is!”
The students began to prepare for the race.
‘Think of all the prizes I could win!’ La-Iin thought. ‘It would be amazing. But then, first I have to win the race! Maybe there’s a way I can assist myself.’
She spotted Shuera-Kaizima dressing into exercise clothes nearby. Desperate, she bit down into her arm and sucked a small amount of her blood, only as much as she could before Shuera-Kaizima noticed her. After she had finished, she ran up to Ai-Reia and smeared blood on her teeth.
“What the–!?”
“Who did that!?” Shuera-Kaizima asked, scanning the area frantically. “Someone sucked my blood!”
“I’m pretty sure La-Iin did!” Ai-Reia said. Shuera-Kaizima stared at her blood-stained teeth.
“Are you certain you’re not getting blood cravings, Ai-Reia?”
“I’m not! Listen, Kokohara, La-Iin just…”
La-Iin started to stretch. When she spotted San-Kyung doing the same, she ran to his side.
“So rival-boy’s not running?”
“No.”
“Good. We all know the prize he’d want would be a kiss from you or something.”
“He takes those if he wants to. Why would he need to ask for it as a prize?”
“Who knows?”
“I know. But he’s not racing.”
“Why not?”
“He was just sick.”
“He was sick earlier this month. I never get sick that close together. In fact, I haven’t been sick once this year! …I think.”
San-Kyung sighed. Then, he stopped stretching and glared at La-Iin.
“What do you mean, he was sick earlier this month? How would you know that?”
“Um…”
“Alright, students, the race is about to start!”
“You obviously have something you need to confess.”
“Now what kind of evil person would I be if I confessed about my evil deeds?”
San-Kyung sighed. “Well, at least I know I won’t have to worry about fighting you for ruling the world.”
“What!?”
La-Iin had wanted to continue the banter, but the race started almost immediately afterwards, and she was determined to win the race no matter what.
She propelled herself forward with her wings, gaining a quick burst of speed and passing many other students, including San-Kyung and Lirako. She felt confident, and not long after it felt as though something within her had changed. As if she had more stamina, more ability to move faster. She continued to press on, quickly outpacing the others.
“Since when was La-Iin so fast?” Dosa-Mina said.
“It does seem odd,” said Wei-Men. He was checking Dosa-Mina over. “You seem to have made a full recovery. I’m glad.”
“…”
‘But what to do about his mental state?’ Wei-Men wondered.
La-Iin continued on at top speed, but some other students began to catch up with her, namely Catori students–though La-Iin didn’t notice Shuera-Kaizima among them–avian students, and San-Kyung. San-Kyung glared down at her, then started to run ahead of her. La-Iin broke into a faster run.
Even with San-Kyung keeping pace with her, La-Iin felt confident that she could still win, even if just by a hair. The sudden burst of stamina in her legs kept her going, and the flapping of her wings propelled her forward nicely. She could see the end of the course up ahead.
“This is an outrage!” She heard Class A students yell from a distance. She chuckled to herself; when she did, she spotted Xhen-Bei, who had gained on them.
“You’re not the only two who can go really fast!” He panted. He started to keep pace with San-Kyung, and both boys overtook La-Iin.
“Not fair!”
The end of the course was steadily approaching, and with it La-Iin’s determination was increasing. She didn’t feel fatigued, but her legs were throbbing and sending her slightly off-balance. With flashes of all the things she wanted going through her head, she decided to give it her all and go for one last burst of speed.
“And the winner of the 28th Running Event is…”
La-Iin took a deep breath and collapsed.
“MOLSHEI SAN-KYUNG!”
San-Kyung gasped. La-Iin looked up at him. He looked genuinely surprised.
“Damn, I really thought I got it there. Good jo–ah, er…never mind…” Xhen-Bei backed away from San-Kyung.
“So, Mr. Molshei! As the winner of the 28th Running Event, what do you want as your prize?” Sharai asked. The faculty crowded around him–and soon too did the students who had finished the race. San-Kyung looked uncomfortable, that and angry.
“Expel Sanyaow Lirako.”
“Ah…ahaha…sorry, Mr. Molshei, but we can’t do that,” Sharai said. “Limitations, you know?”
San-Kyung huffed. “Fine then. …”
“…”
“Well!?”
“Allow me to….no….” His gaze went past the students. “Sanyaow Lirako is not allowed to have contact with Dosa-Mina until he says so. I don’t care how you enforce this. This is what I want.”
“Huh? Why?”
“Anyone in the school could tell you she’s been harassing him lately.” San-Kyung said, his tone scathing.
Sharai seemed slightly confused, but he gave a shrug and said, “Well, I guess we can give you that…it’s kind of inconvenient, but it is reasonable, especially if what you say is the truth. Well, then! Sorry, Miss Sanyaow, but looks like you’re going to have to keep your distance from Mr. Dslellular!”
“I’d say myself too but I bet you’re sticking to a stupid ‘one prize’ rule,” he hissed.
“San-Kyung won…” La-Iin smiled. “It’s a disappointment, but at least I’m in third place!”
“Actually, you’re in nothing place,” Sharai said.
“What!?”
“We heard you sucked Miss Kokohara’s blood and used her speed to make it as far as you did. Voluntary use of powers is against the rules.”
La-Iin began to shake. Then she let out a wild scream. The students and faculty members flinched.

—–
“I hate that stupid 28th Running Event!”
“Aw, it’s just for fun. And it is good exercise. But you really shouldn’t have sucked Kokohara’s blood. Then you could have gotten a cool piece of chocolate!”
“I wouldn’t have made it that far without that stupid blood,” she grumbled. “Oh, but they’ll see. Come 2016, the 28th Running Event will be no more…”
“What makes you say that?”
La-Iin flinched. “Just a hunch.”
‘But if it’s up to me, I’ll make it a certainty!’

17.594.Operation Reboot in Action

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 594
“Operation Reboot in Action”

A woman set up her stall near the plaza of Bledger. ‘I wonder if I’ll get any attention?’ She did her best to make the stall look neat and tidy.
Out the corner of her eye she spotted two hooded figures walking up to the stall. “Why, hello there! What can I get for–eek!”
“Something wrong, ma’am?”
“Ah, er, no, not particularly….is he…glaring at me?”
“Don’t worry about it. That’s his natural look.”
Two boys had approached her stall. Both were wearing hoodies that made it slightly hard for her to see their faces, but she could see their eyes, and noticed that one of them was slightly smaller than the other. Nevertheless they both seemed to be taller than her. She felt a little nervous as the smaller once glanced through her inventory.
“Ma’am, can you tell us a little bit about the potions you’re selling? We’re not all that well-versed in potions, you see.”
“Oh…certainly.” She swallowed hard. “I sell potions that mostly help people. They’re like medicine, but I’d like to hope they’re more effective than even the best medicine.”
“Mm-hm…” The smaller one had started to jot down notes in a notepad. “Tell me, would you compare potions to drugs? After all, you did just compare them to medicine.”
“Heavens no! Well, I guess some potions, but not mine! Potions should be designed to do good for you, that’s what I think! And their effects do wear off!”
“Hm.” The smaller one turned to his companion. “I’m not sure this is a good idea. I don’t care what you say, I’m still wary about potions!”
“I’m surprised, considering this seems more like something I’d be wary about,” his companion hissed. “I don’t care what you say. I don’t think this is anything like that drug.”
“What…what are you two talking about?”
“Oh, nothing. Pretend you didn’t hear that.” The smaller one glanced around her inventory. “You said your potions are for helping people, right? What would you give to someone who’s feeling weak?”
“Well, I made this potion,” she said, showing them a bottle of purple liquid. “This is designed to give you a bit of stamina. It might work.”
“How much?”
“Um, well, 2000.000 vuyong…”
The shorter one rummaged through his pocket and handed her exact change. “Thanks!”
The two walked away. She gave a nervous smile. ‘What weird people…’

Once they were a decent distance away from the Witch woman, San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina pulled down their hoods. Dosa-Mina stared at the purple liquid with a concerned look.
“I don’t see why you’re so worried about it. You’re okay with medicine, aren’t you? Vaccines? You’re a species studier. How is this worse than drugs if those other things aren’t?”
“It’s not potions in general that worry me, really. I just heard that some Witches are less than honest about the contents of their potions.” He sighed. “Besides, giving you a potion to temporarily heighten your powers? I don’t know if such a thing exists, but it sounds exactly like that drug.”
“But there’s a difference, isn’t there? You said that potions can be washed out of the system anyway.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Dosa-Mina sighed. “Can you blame me for being worried about you, though? You’ve been pretty desperate about getting what you want. But we’re here now, so do you want to try it, or not?”
“I’ll try it.” He took the liquid from him. “Any chance is a chance I’ll take. And it’ll be better than the dead-ends we’ve hit recently. If this stuff really works, and we can find a potion that does what I need….”
Dosa-Mina had mixed feelings about the ordeal. ‘Look at him. He’s so happy. If this all works out, it would really be great. He’d just have to take a potion and he could look like he wants…you need to stop feeling so wary! This is for his sake…’
San-Kyung drank the liquid. “He–hey, if you’re going to drink that now, can I try some, too?”
“Why?”
“Oh, no reason. Just curious. We’re in this together, after all.”
San-Kyung opened his mouth as if about to protest, but sighed and handed the rest of the potion to Dosa-Mina. There was only a small amount left on the bottom, and Dosa-Mina downed it in one go.
“Phew! What a bad aftertaste…”
“If only we hadn’t been so focused on La-Iin all that time. Witches and Warlocks might just be what I need. Damn it, why can’t I be half-Warlock?”
“I’ve never heard you lamenting your species before,” Dosa-Mina said playfully.
“Animated Pumpkin is fine. Aesthetically Normal is not. That’s how I feel. And if I was half-Warlock, we wouldn’t need to buy potions.”
“Mm-hm.” Dosa-Mina lowered his head. “Well, as long as you’re happy, that’s good enough for me. But maybe next time, we’ll look into potions some more before we go to creepy stalls. That lady did seem trustworthy, though.”
“If you say so…”
The two stood around in silence for a short while, waiting for the effects to kick in.
“I’m getting bored.”
“Me too. But what can we do while we wait for this to kick in?”
“Run? Running sounds like a good idea.”
“Yeah, it does. We could run to Hledshess and back to here. That’s not exactly close, after all.”
“Yeah.” Right after saying that, San-Kyung took off ahead of Dosa-Mina. Dosa-Mina quickly caught up with him, and the two kept an even pace as they dashed across Bledger. The competition itself didn’t matter; they were enjoying running for running’s sake. As they passed by areas with more people, they caught a bit of attention, but at their speeds, it barely mattered. They were soon out of their line of sight.
The two kept running until they neared Hledshess, not once feeling slightly drained. Even when they made it to their stop, San-Kyung began to pace as if restless.
“Now what?”
“I have no idea.” He pulled up his hood. “Just be careful. Hey, there’s a stream near here, isn’t there? We can run past that and see what’s there.”
“Yeah. But only quickly, and then we get the hell out of here. Hledshess isn’t really the best place for us to be anymore…”
The two ran over to the stream, then bolted off past it. A path of stones was ahead of them, and they were able to hear voices. Looking around, they noticed a small Fairy society to their left.
“I didn’t even know any Fairies lived in Bledger,” Dosa-Mina said. “Wow!”
“Do you want to get caught!?”
“No. But I bet you want to wreak havoc on their little peace, don’t you?”
“I’m more concerned with getting this energy out of my system!”
The two continued to run. All sorts of winding paths were ahead of that small stream, along with some forest fixtures that Dosa-Mina was convinced were put there by the Fairy society. Once they had reached the top of a small hill, only then did they start to feel tired.
“I think we’ve run enough,” San-Kyung breathed.
“Yeah. Hey, you think that energy…you think that was the potion?”
“I bet you it was.”
“She said it was supposed to give you stamina, right? She must not have diluted it any, because I only drank a little and that was powerful!”
San-Kyung grinned. “If that’s the case, maybe I have a trump card for November…” He began to gasp and wheeze, but despite his labored breathing, he looked happy. “You should’ve looked into this earlier!”
“Sorry, there’s just a lot on Witches and Warlocks. I always get overwhelmed.” Dosa-Mina took deep breaths. “Alright, we should probably head back before we get lost here.”
“Yeah…”
“Got enough energy to keep going, or do I have to jump you there?”
“I can go on my own!” Despite San-Kyung’s protest, Dosa-Mina wrapped his arms around him and then jumped up. The jump was weak, so Dosa-Mina went into a second jump, this time holding San-Kyung in a way that was much more convenient for him. They jumped until they reached the stream, at which point San-Kyung pushed him away and continued on without him.
As soon as they peeked their heads out, they were greeted by the wild faces of a Catori and a Bearperson.
“Looks like what they say in copper school is true,” the Catori giggled. “Criminals really do come back to the scene of the crime!”
Dosa-Mina felt petrified, but noticed that San-Kyung seemed unusually confident. The duo in front of them looked ready to pounce, and yet he looked collected. When the two of them did make their leap, San-Kyung tied them up with vines, pulling them tight enough that they began to gasp and wheeze for breath.
“That should do it,” he said. “Come on! Let’s run!” He grabbed Dosa-Mina’s hand and the two ran out of Hledshess.
“You know, I’m fully capable of taking care of myself!”
“I know, I just wanted to get out of there faster! Didn’t think we’d run into those hacky “authority” people again. Think they saw our faces?”
The two came to a stop. “I wonder…”
“Hledshess is probably a bad idea. The people there already hate us enough to set bombs and traps. We have the power to fend them off, but if they riot again…”
“You have to wonder why we kept trying in the first place.”
“That place is significant, that’s why.”
San-Kyung began to walk off. “By the way, why were you so calm dealing with that duo back then? I know they’re not exactly police, but they’re still kind of authority. And they are pretty brawny…”
“I could predict their moves from miles away. Besides,” he flashed Dosa-Mina a smile. “I’m feeling confident after that potion. When I was younger, I wouldn’t have even thought about this. But this is a way I can get what I want without having to rely on someone else.”
“You do, though. The Witches and Warlocks who make them.”
“I don’t need to pretend to befriend them though, do I?”
“Yeah, guess not.”
“Lately I’ve just been a little happier,” he said. “…things started looking up for me in July, mostly anyway.”
“That’s good!”
“I’ll find my way. I’m still determined to give the world its comeuppance. Are you holding in there?”
“Huh?”
“Are you alright. You don’t talk about yourself, you know.”
“Oh, I–I know.” Dosa-Mina smiled. “Don’t worry, San-Kyung, I’m fine. And I’m even better seeing you happy. Trust me, the best thing for me is to see you act like you did back there!”

—–
“I know the real reason you’ve been happier lately, San-Kyung.”
“You know the real reason why already.”
“Nope, that’s not it. You’re happier because you’ve finally embraced your natural talent for dancing! Think about it: the best way to mock the people you’re damning to life in hell is to dance in front of them.”
“…”
“You don’t agree, huh.”
“No, I don’t. That just sounds stupid.”
“Ah well. It sounded like a good idea in my head.”

6.583.Eul-Bok’s Potential

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 583
“Eul-Bok’s Potential”

Baal-Mist watched Eir-Tyuj’s house closely. A sudden flash of light illuminated the windows. He smirked.

Sale-Dessu opened his eyes. He was in Eir-Tyuj’s house. Eir-Tyuj herself was sitting nearby, and she seemed a bit startled by his sudden appearance.
“Why hello, Sale-Dessu,” she said. “Hello to you too, Eul-Bok.”
“Hello, Grepeta! You sound awfully cheerful today.”
“Ah, old age can do that to ya. Don’t go thinking I’ve lost my vigor, though, or you’ll be sorely disappointed!” She let out a cackle. “What brings you here today?”
“Yeah Father, you never did tell me why we were coming here.”
“It’s something I’d like to discuss with Apeta alone,” he said. “Apeta, would you mind if Eul-Bok went off to do something else while we speak?”
“Why?”
“I have my reasons.”
Eir-Tyuj huffed. “Well, I know your boy has more sense than to go around messing things up. Go on and do what you will, Eul-Bok. We’ll call you back later.”
“How come I can’t be involved in this discussion?” He huffed.
“There’s a reason for it, Eul-Bok. Please, go off and do your own thing for now.”
“Listen to your father, Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok pouted slightly, but soon head off, though Sale-Dessu could tell by his gait that he wasn’t happy.
“What is it you want to talk to me about? Your expression and tone tell me it’s serious, and considering you sent Eul-Bok away, I’m assuming it has something to do with him?”
“It does,” he said. “Apeta, both you and me know of Eul-Bok’s potential. He has the same innate potential other Warlocks have, and he seems to have a natural talent for these sorts of powers. But something’s concerning me. You and I are skilled in our powers too, but we struggled a bit, didn’t we?”
“I’ve always told you that I was one who had to work for her ability,” Eir-Tyuj said. “You likely could have been more skilled earlier on, had you not gone through the trauma you had. Eul-Bok having a natural talent for it does mean that he might be able to pull off more skilled spells earlier, especially if that’s what you’ve been teaching him.”
“But that’s the problem. Not everything he’s been able to do I’ve been teaching him. Apeta, have you ever heard of Subconscious Shift?”
“Yes, I have. There were plans to bring back the initial experiments when I was a young girl, but it was still deemed too intrusive to toy with. I would agree–such a power is really beyond what we should be using.” Eir-Tyuj scoffed. “Sale-Dessu, you’re not going to tell me Eul-Bok was able to pull off such a spell.”
“I have reason to believe that he was. I had a strange, rapidly changing dream recently, and I found Eul-Bok collapsed outside my bedroom door with a spellbook open to that page when I woke up. All the signs point to him having successfully completed the Subconscious Shift spell. I had never told him about this spell prior to him using it.”
Eir-Tyuj gave him an uncertain look. “Are you certain?”
“Apeta, would I lie to you? I already know how you can get when I do. Would I risk that?”
Eir-Tyuj sighed. “Fair enough. But if that is true, that really is beyond what I was expecting of him. I knew he was talented, that much is obvious, but that’s going above and beyond for such a young and inexperienced Warlock. Still, I may have a theory as to why he has this ability.”
“What’s that?”
Sale-Dessu gave Eir-Tyuj a curious look, but it soon became obvious it was not her who had spoken. Eul-Bok was standing a short distance away from them, watching intently.
“Weren’t you told to listen to your father?” Eir-Tyuj scolded. “Goodness.”
“How much did you hear, Eul-Bok?”
“I heard a little,” he admitted. “Well, actually, everything except the beginning of the conversation. Father, I can tell when you want to talk about me. No matter how hard you try, you’re not all that good at hiding your emotions.”
“I used to be good at that,” he sighed. “Becoming a father has made me softer…”
“That’s strange. It was fairly contrary with my husband and your father,” she said coyly. Sale-Dessu glared at her. “In any event, it was not your place to listen in.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. But I really want to know, you two think I’m really talented because I pulled off that spell?”
“Research on it was cancelled, so it counts as an incomplete spell. Performing an incomplete spell or finding your own is indicative of talent. …Apeta told me that, anyway.”
“And it’s certainly true.”
“Geez, you two are too nice.”
“We aren’t saying all this to be nice, Eul-Bok. After all, I don’t believe it’s because you were naturally blessed with such talent. I think there’s an explanation for it.”
“What’s that?”
“You, Eul-Bok, came into this world as the result of a power. You were reliant on a power to move around for a long time. You became autonomous because of powers. Well, putting aside your other exposures, you are a V-Puppet! V-Puppetry is a power. Owing your existence to power, that is likely the reason why you have such skill. Aside from being somewhat related to people such as Sale-Dessu and myself, of course.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Eul-Bok said. “If that’s the case, that’s pretty cool!”
“You have a troublemaker on your hands, Sale-Dessu,” Eir-Tyuj sighed. “In any event, of course you’ll still have to hone such power–you can’t just expect everything to work perfectly the first time. Even assuming you have such a talent for power thanks to the means of your birth, even those whose power is immense need to practice.”
“I know that.”
“And please, don’t try unfinished spells like that again,” Sale-Dessu said.
“Why not?”
“They still pose a risk,” Eir-Tyuj said. “And seeing as Sale-Dessu here has become far more nervous in the years I’ve been gone–”
“Apeta, please!”
“Don’t I know that,” Eul-Bok giggled. “But that is really cool. It has me wondering though, are you sure it’s ’cause I’m a V-Puppet and not just because of how Father gave me powers? He’s powerful, so couldn’t that be why I am, too?”
“It could be both. But remember, your case is currently one-of-a-kind, and your other case rare. Who knows? I do sincerely doubt that it’s just natural talent, however. There is a cause for this.”
Eul-Bok nodded.
“Perhaps you should teleport us back this time, Eul-Bok,” Sale-Dessu said.
“I guess I could try. Though the teleportation spell is so easy to trip up on!”
“It certainly is, isn’t it? But it’s one every Astineth should know.”
“Why’s that?”
“…” Sale-Dessu fell silent. “Oh.”
“Ah, it was meant to be humorous, Sale-Dessu.”
“Sorry, Apeta, I know. It just reminded me of those Witches and Warlocks who nearly found out where we lived. It still unsettles me.”
“Well, don’t worry about it! You haven’t had trouble with them in a while, have you? And with Eul-Bok on your side, there’s nothing to worry about.”
“She’s right, Father!”
Sale-Dessu cracked a small smile. “I suppose she is. Just as she is oftentimes…”
Still, Sale-Dessu couldn’t shake his unsettled feeling.

—–
“Baal-Mist, what did you call us here for?”
“No particular reason. Aside from sharing my message of hope with you all. I really do think we’ll have a breakthrough. We were just too hasty the first time we tried things. Timing is still everything, though. Too early and we risk sabotaging the mission; too late and we might not have a chance to do everything as intended. I need to plan things carefully, however…I do think things might be working in my favor.”
“What makes you say that?”
He smirked. “Oh, nothing in particular. Maybe wishful thinking. I suppose you could say I’ve been living in the past lately. Thinking on how much I want this goal to come true…”
“I honestly don’t understand you sometimes, Baal-Mist. You’re a handsome Warlock and your ability isn’t half bad. Why waste your time on this project?”
“True, it might seem useless to you. But to me it’s more than a mere ‘project’. I need closure. Without it, good looks and powers are useless to me. So quiet down and let me handle this. Trust in me. I give you my guarantee that now, I know what I’m doing.”

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.

15.561.A Little Something

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 561
“A Little Something”

Eul-Bok took a deep breath. Focusing as intensely as he could, he set to work on changing the scrap of cloth in front of him into a present for Sale-Dessu.
He tried to clear his mind of all distracting thoughts, and though he focused solely on the image of what he was trying to change, he was gradually becoming more excited as if the thought nudging him at the corners of his mind was all that was on it.
Just as he could see the results of his efforts, a knock sounded at his door.
“Eul-Bok?”
Eul-Bok startled. The cloth, half-changed into fluff, fell back down onto his night desk limply, and Eul-Bok recoiled at a shooting pain in his head.
“Is everything alright?”
Eul-Bok turned around. “Everything’s fine, Father! Just practicing my powers a bit before bed! Wh-what are you doing up? It’s pretty late isn’t it?”
“I could say the same to you. I was just making myself a little warm milk. I’ve been having a taste for milk lately.”
Eul-Bok’s eyes widened. “I could tell…”
“We should both get some sleep. There’s a few things I want to do tomorrow. After all, well, I think you know what tomorrow is, right?”
“Of course I do. How could I forget? Heh heh, last year at the Cahongyun’s house…”
Sale-Dessu’s face flushed. “This year we’re not going there. I felt so ashamed, falling asleep on them like that. This year we’re spending the day at our house. I’m looking forward to it.”
“Well, I’ll make sure it’s a great day! We’ll do whatever you want to do, Father, so just say the word and we’ll be doing it!”
“Thank you, Eul-Bok.” He yawned. “Well, I should head off to bed now…good night…”
“Good night, Father. And sweet dreams.”
‘And of course we’ll do the things you want to. But where’s the harm in a little bit of surprise?’
Recently Eul-Bok had been listening closely to all Sale-Dessu said. Even the smallest thing he had implied an interest in Eul-Bok had considered. He wanted to go along with what Sale-Dessu wanted to do, but he also wanted to surprise him with the things he would like.
He turned back to the half-cloth half-fluff and set to work on finishing it, before that keeping in mind Sale-Dessu’s taste for milk. Once he had successfully transformed the cloth-fluff, he set to work on finishing the rest of the tasks he had set for himself.

***

When Sale-Dessu opened his eyes that morning, the first thing he caught sight of was Eul-Bok sitting on a stool in his room, watching him with a smile. He startled for only a moment before taking a breath and calming down.
“You scared me, Eul-Bok.”
“Sorry, Father. But I was just so excited! I can’t wait to see how you–I mean, what you want to do!”
Sale-Dessu chuckled. “I wonder if you’re more excited for my birthday than I am. I’ll get ready and then we’ll get to work.”
“Don’t call it work! It’s your birthday! You want to do these things because you enjoy them, right?”
“Of course.”
‘He really is excited today. I wonder why?’ In recent years Sale-Dessu hadn’t seen his birthday as anything special, even forgetting it some years, and though last year had been more than the usual it had still been fairly relaxed.
‘I was excited for my birthdays when I was young. I guess with a child in the house I should expect this kind of thing.’
Sale-Dessu head off to take a shower and put on his clothes.
“Eul-Bok! I’m ready!” He called.
“Alright!”
Eul-Bok ran out from Sale-Dessu’s room and stopped next to him. “Why were you still in my room?”
“Nowhere else to go. Now what’s first!?”
“Well, I haven’t used my water-powered train much recently, and there was something interesting I was pursuing there…”
Sale-Dessu noticed Eul-Bok’s face drop. “That’s outside, isn’t it? Isn’t there anything you want to do inside?”
“The rest of it is inside. Don’t worry, Eul-Bok. I’ll take care of the train later. I can see you’re eager to do something right now.”
“That’s an understatement!”
“Well, then, why don’t we start with potion making? Have I ever helped you make a potion?”
Eul-Bok shrugged. The two head to the main area. On their way there, something smacked Sale-Dessu in the face.
“Ow…”
“You alright, Father?”
“I’m fine. Something hanging off the wall hit me in the face…”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing big. Here, I can lead the way!”
“Thank you, Eul-Bok. But I’ll be fine.”
After uncovering his eye, Sale-Dessu caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a colorful setup right at the entrance to his home. In front of him he could see that Eul-Bok looked anxious.
‘So that’s why he’s so eager. I should have known…’ “Actually, if you want to lead the way, you can. We are doing this for me, but this is a good chance for me to teach you a few more things.”
“Yeah! Hey, anything you have planned for today wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with those more complicated procedures you know, right? I’m so curious about how you learned to do some of the things you can do!”
“Like what?”
“Oh, hex change operation?”
Sale-Dessu flinched. “Maybe one of those more complicated procedures is in my plans, but hex change operation is not one of them…”

Eul-Bok’s eagerness made Sale-Dessu’s day fairly enjoyable. As they mixed potions together Eul-Bok did so with such a force and glee that it made Sale-Dessu chuckle just to watch. In general he seemed fairly cheerful, and it was a bit infectious. Sale-Dessu couldn’t help but wonder what he had done that had him so excited and eager to finish what he wanted to do.
“You seem to be having a lot of fun mixing potions,” Sale-Dessu said. “Maybe I should have you do it for me more often.”
“Aw, come on, Father, you barely make potions for any good reason. Although it would be a good arm exercise.”
“You don’t need arm exercise, Eul-Bok.”
“I know, I know, but it’s fun to pretend I do. But you know what, I’m wrong. Even though you make a lot of pretty worthless potions, these ones we’re making now are all for medicinal reasons, right?”
“Yes. Just in case something happens to you or me, that’s why I’m making these potions. I just felt like making potions today, so I figured that I might as well make some that are helpful in nature.”
“It’s a good idea!”
Eul-Bok continued to stir vigorously. Sale-Dessu couldn’t stifle another chuckle.
Potion-making wasn’t all they did either. Sale-Dessu did eventually set to work on his water-powered train after Eul-Bok had strained his mind during a joint transformation spell.
“I had a feeling that wouldn’t work,” Sale-Dessu had sighed. “Eul-Bok, are you alright?”
“Yeah, probably….but I need to lay down for a little bit…”
Most of their activities were simple things however, such as making small treats or performing simple and ridiculous spells, such as an ‘instant hair dye’ spell that both Sale-Dessu and Eul-Bok had used to change the color of Sale-Dessu’s hair into a multitude of colors; once, Eul-Bok even turned it rainbow.
“How did you manage that!?” Sale-Dessu asked. Eul-Bok giggled. “Oh, just with the strength of wanting to see something totally ridiculous.”
Even though it was simple, Sale-Dessu was happy. He was excited to see what it was that Eul-Bok was planning, and Eul-Bok’s own excitement made the day quite enjoyable. But it wasn’t until the sun started to set that they reached the end of all Sale-Dessu had wanted to do.
“That was pretty fun, Father. I realized something from today, you can do a lot of the stuff that I can do at incredible speeds!”
“That’s because I’ve been practicing for years. You know that. But I’m certain that soon enough you and I will have a similar level of ability.”
“Yeah, if by soon enough you mean years!”
“Well, we have more than some other species. And it won’t be so long that I’m an old man by that point.”
“Geez, it feels like both you and Grepeta are trying too hard to flatter me.”
“We can’t help but be proud of you, Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok smiled. “Hey, Father? Now that we’re done with all you wanted to do, can you do me a favor?”
‘Here it comes.’ “What’s that?”
“I want you to cover your eyes. Both of them, and not with your hair! With this.” He handed him a blindfold. Sale-Dessu put it on. “I’ll lead the way, so don’t worry about bumping into anything.”
“Ow!”
“Oops, sorry.”
Sale-Dessu was excited as Eul-Bok led the way through some part of the house he wasn’t sure of–though he had a good feeling he knew where he was going.
“Now sit down, and don’t peek!”
He could hear Eul-Bok crashing around the house and various things opening and closing. From behind him he thought he heard the refrigerator open. ‘Am I in the kitchen? I thought for sure he’d take me to the main area.’
“You can look now!”
Sale-Dessu reached for the blindfold and pulled it off. Eul-Bok stood in front of him, and behind him the table was decorated in a fancy style. A plate of dinner sat behind him as well as a large white cake behind the plate. Eul-Bok appeared to be holding something, and he soon draped it over him.
“Happy Birthday, Father!”
“Eul-Bok…”
“Don’t look so surprised, Father. It’s just a little something.”
“How can you say that? You went above and beyond!”
Eul-Bok grinned. “Thanks for the compliments, Father. I’ve been planning this for a while now. Last year all I could do was get the Cahongyun’s help, but this year I was able to do it all on my own! I had a lot of trouble with the blanket, though.” He lowered his head. “I hope you like it.”
“I love it, Eul-Bok. This is the most comfortable blanket I’ve felt in a while. I wonder why I never thought to make more comfortable ones for my bed. I think I’ll sleep quite well with this.”
Eul-Bok’s grin widened. “Well, you can start dinner now, then! But I have to clean up. I made a bit of a mess in the main area.”
He ran off. ‘So that’s what that was. I’d better not say anything, though.’ Even having expected it, it was still a pleasant surprise. Sale-Dessu started to eat, and was surprised by how good the gravy tasted.

—–
Night had fallen, and after a long and cheerful celebration with the milk cake Eul-Bok had made, Sale-Dessu tidied a few things around the house before deciding to retire for the night. Already Eul-Bok seemed exhausted, but he still stayed by Sale-Dessu’s side, smiling wide.
Just as he had changed into pajamas and was almost ready to retire, something slammed against his window. When he opened it, he spotted Bes-Isa, a piece of paper taped to her. He took the paper off and took a look at it. It was a crude picture of him and Eul-Bok around a cake that was set on fire.
Good job allie, not freelowding this year. Have a happy birthday not! -La-Iin
Sale-Dessu stifled a chuckle as Bes-Isa went flying backwards through the air with a screech.
“Geez, she really can’t draw all that well.”
“She can’t,” he admitted. “But that’s alright. It’s a nice picture.”
He hung it up in his room.

9.555.Revolution in Dasdoria

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

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

***

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

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

8.554.Vampiric Visitation

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 554
“Vampiric Visitation”

Ever since hearing that Mit-Sun had rejected Uil-Cur’s affections, Asul-Zenza had set to work on a celebratory plan.
‘Now, at least for the time being, I don’t have to worry about another man getting to take my place in La-Iin’s upbringing. I should take this chance! Who knows if it might change in the future–it’s fully likely. I should show that I too am going to play a part in La-Iin’s upbringing!’
That was the thought he worked off of through the end of June and into July. Initially he had no idea for what he could do save for flying around Bledger with La-Iin, but he quickly axed the idea, figuring he could find something far more interesting. And come the first of July, he had an idea.
‘Around Mit-Sun I’m sure La-Iin hasn’t gotten to do anything that is traditional for Vampires. No events, no holidays or anything of the sort. July might be here now but it’s still Summer. And that reminds me of a specific event some societies do…’
He went to work as soon as all the pieces fell into place, calling his parents and Shi-Bara and inviting them to help along.
“If it means seeing our granddaughter again we’ll gladly participate! Your Floma’s been saying things about participating in that event anyway this year. And we’d deserve it after all the work we’ve been doing!”
“Oh, you want us to participate in that event? Sure! And you said La-Iin will be there? Ei-Tio will be happy to hear that! O-of course, even if she wasn’t there we’d still be fully willing to help you with this!”

Asul-Zenza felt accomplished as he set to work on the project. He planned with his parents, Shi-Bara and Jul-Ense, and asked his book club for advice on how to go about his plans. He felt as if everything was falling into place neatly: it was the perfect celebration of the fact that for now, he was still La-Iin’s only fatherly figure even if he lived far away from her.
“This plan sounds real nice, Asul-Zenza. There’s just one question I have for you.”
“What’s that, Niser-Zanta?”
“Have you actually asked La-Iin if she wants to do this yet?”
It was the last step in his plan, but Asul-Zenza knew it should have been one of the first. Even Mit-Sun was less of a concern to him. If La-Iin didn’t want to participate, all of his preparations would be almost useless.
‘Certainly I’d still be able to do this all with my family aside from her. It would be nice and I’m sure we’d have a great time. But damn it, this is for La-Iin’s sake, and if I can’t get her I’ll feel as if I wasted an awful lot of time!’
He dialed the number, waited for one of them to pick up and hoped for the best.

***

“Are you sure about this, La-Iin?”
“Mama, Dami’s going to be there. I’ll get to meet his Mama and Dami in person. I only talked to them over the phone once before. And Ei-Tio will be there. And it has to do with being a Vampire! Why wouldn’t I?”
“It has nothing to do with that. I know you’ll be surrounded by people you like and I know how conceited you are when it comes to your Vampire heritage. Sheesh, I don’t understand you, being so conceited about being a Vampire that you forget you’re a Dualbreed, which you’re equally as proud of.”
“I’d show my pride in being a Dualbreed more often if I wasn’t ashamed of that useless Normal half,” La-Iin said. Mit-Sun huffed. “The power of a Vampire is massive. Compared to that my Normal half has only made me mature faster. It’s helpful for having met some people, but it’s nothing compared to what my Vampire half has done.”
“I wasn’t finished, you know. My thing was, as far as I know the Ghneckdo family is mostly good-aligned. Asul-Zenza is. His parents are. Ei-Tio’s mother certainly struck me as good-aligned. You’ll be surrounded by people who are good, even if you love them, doing an event that has nothing at all to do with evil.”
La-Iin sighed. “Mama, I don’t plan to be torturing people all the time in my future. That would be fun, eh heh heh….but I am still fully evil even if I’m not harming or torturing or loitering. Besides, I’m not doing anything goody-goody. I’m not going to donate to a charity or something like that. You think I’m so one-track.”
“You act like it sometimes. Besides, you’ve been very focused on your evil pursuits lately.”
“I have been. Thank you for noticing.” La-Iin checked her backpack. “I think I’m ready, so I hope Dami arrives soon. We might even be out late. Maybe even so late I won’t be able to come back until tomorrow!”
“That would be taking advantage on his part,” she growled.
“No it wouldn’t be. It would be taking advantage on my part.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “Just enjoy yourself, alright?”
“I will. As for you you’ll probably be bored.”
Mit-Sun opened her mouth as if to complain, then gave another sigh. “Yeah. You’re probably right. I might’ve hung out with Uil-Cur, but things are awkward between us…maybe I’ll talk to my Pa–I mean, father. We haven’t talked in a little bit.”
“Maybe I should talk to him soon too.”
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened in surprise, but before she could speak again a knock sounded at the door.
“That is my cue.” La-Iin waved to Mit-Sun and head for the door. Choungetsu was on her heels and she shooed him away, but when she opened the door he was sitting next to her and staring up at Asul-Zenza.
“Dami!”
“Hello, La-Iin. Looks like someone’s a lot more ready than I expected her to be! Or did I just take a long while? The weather near my home was a little turbulent, I suppose.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. I had Mama to talk to while I was waiting for you anyway.” La-Iin spread her wings. “But now I’m ready to go!”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Alright, if you say so.” He began to close the door, and Choungetsu whimpered. “I’m sorry, Choungetsu, but I don’t think you’d have the patience to accompany us all the way. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of fun with Mit-Sun at home.”
Choungetsu gave another whimper. Asul-Zenza pet him on the head and closed the door.
“I’m ready to fly!” La-Iin spread her wings.
“I’m not so sure you should. La-Iin, your wingspan is impressive, don’t get me wrong. I’m certain you could fly a long way without much issue, but you don’t have as much experience flying as I do, you don’t know the path, and when you’re young heights can be a bit of an issue.”
“Heights aren’t an issue.” She flew a distance above him. “I’ve had experience with flying since before I could fly. I’ve always used my wings. And I’ll just stay behind you.”
“You also don’t have as much stamina as someone who’s been flying for as long as I have, or someone with my build. Your body also puts you at a disadvantage, I hope you know.”
La-Iin snorted. “I’ll show you, Dami! I can fly there, you just watch me!”
Asul-Zenza sighed. “Fine. I’ll let you fly. But the moment you start losing altitude I will fly you there. It’s for your own safety.”
“Come on, Dami, you’re better than that.”
“I’m still your father, La-Iin. I have a right to worry about you.” He spread his wings. “Let’s go!”

La-Iin kept a steady flight behind Asul-Zenza for much more of the trip than Asul-Zenza had expected. But also as he expected, she began to lose altitude once they entered the Vampire society, and Asul-Zenza began to fly her the rest of the way.
“Why were you so indignant about flying there yourself, anyway? It wasn’t all that long ago that I would fly you around when I got the chance to visit and you’ve let me even considering you can fly now. You aren’t all that old a Vampire, La-Iin. I was older than you when I learned to fly, both years-wise and in Vampire aging terms.”
“I’ll need the stamina when I’m older,” La-Iin said. “And I am good at flying. You just knew me when my wings weren’t big enough for me to show this. I don’t want you to think I always need help just because you know I used to not be able to fly.”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I don’t think lesser of your flying ability, La-Iin. More or less, I know you don’t have the experience I have. That, and I miss having to fly you all over the place…oh, we’re almost there. Hold tight, La-Iin!”
Asul-Zenza picked up speed as he head for a small cave off the edge of the main part of the society’s civilization. Looking down at it, La-Iin found herself surprised that this species society was so advanced: she was used to seeing the ones that lived among the trees and were more in-tune with nature, whereas this society looked traditional but not nearly as connected to nature.
Asul-Zenza landed inside the cave and set La-Iin down. The duo was almost immediately greeted by a group of Vampires who head their way.
“Big sister!” Ei-Tio said, running up to La-Iin and hugging her close. “It’s too long!”
“I’m here now, so it’s not so long anymore,” she said.
“It still felt long,” she said. “It’s been…um…a long time since I told you the story!”
“Not really.”
“Ei-Tio sees a lot of things as taking a long time,” Shi-Bara said. “She’s going to see her life as a lot longer than some of us might!”
“That’s harsh, Shi-Bara,” Asul-Zenza said, though La-Iin could tell he was being slightly playful. “And Darseen, Floma. It’s so nice to see you.”
“Yes, it’s nice to see you too, Asul-Zenza. Last time we saw you in person wasn’t exactly the most pleasant of circumstances.”
Verde-Nenda’s words piqued her interest. “What happened?”
“Oh, a…an old mentor, you could say, lost her husband,” he said. “It was a rough time.”
“But let’s not dwell on that for now. We’re here to have a good time as a family! And now that you’re here, things can get started.”
“What are we doing, anyway?”
“The Summerbat Venture,” Asul-Zenza said. “It’s a Vampiric tradition that originated several years ago, further back than a Vampire’s lifespan. In the earliest days Vampires were far more vulnerable to the sun than we are now. We could barely take it without sustaining injuries. In the Summer this was obviously worse. Not only were the days long and brutally hot but this was usually when fatalities from sun exposure would usually occur. We were susceptible to heat stroke. Being nocturnal through the Summer was difficult, so the Summerbat Venture was created.”
“I see….what are we doing, anyway?”
“During the Summerbat Venture, Vampires venture into a dark place to retreat away from the sunlight. Since it could be difficult for the Vampires of olden times when daylight hours stretched into what was usually night, they decided to keep awake with merrymaking. When night would arrive a final celebration was made with blood. Now that Vampires are more resistant to the sun as a whole, not many Vampires do the Summerbat Venture. But it’s a part of Vampire history, and I wanted you to be involved.”
La-Iin smiled.
“Further down the cave is where the celebration starts!” Asul-Zenza said. “Come on, all!”
The group, headed by Asul-Zenza, head down into the darker portion of the cave.
“It’s really dark,” Ei-Tio said. “I like it! It’s too light lately.”
“Even though the days are longer now, they’re only going to get shorter from here. So soon enough you’ll have the darkness you like so much for most of the day, Ei-Tio!”
Ei-Tio giggled.
Asul-Zenza stopped. “Here we are! Even reading those books I wasn’t as in-tune as to what celebrations Vampires did during the Summerbat Venture. But what I did figure out I turned into something that I think all of us will like. So come on!”
The setup was a simple one that seemed to take advantage of the powers each of them could use, such as a noise-hearing game for those of them who could transform into bats or a monkey bar-like fixture which hung off the ceiling of the cave. La-Iin went for that one first and began to show off.
“Well done, La-Iin!” Verde-Nenda said.
“Well done indeed, though she’s using her wings to keep from falling after the flip,” Anil-Kosha whispered to him. La-Iin growled and attempted to make a flip from one to the other without keeping herself steady. It resulted in her nearly falling to the ground and she had to make a quick swoop to save herself.
Nearby the noise-hearing game stood Ei-Tio and her parents, who had transformed into bats and had their eyes closed in concentration.
“I think I can hear water.”
“I feel like I can hear a bit of civilization. But maybe that’s not what it is?”
“I hear animals!”
The group flinched.
Another game involved simulating bloodsucking with various drinks. “The goal here is to find which one tastes the most like blood. Of course, none of them are blood. That’s for the final celebration!”
La-Iin and Verde-Nenda tried the game first. The first drink La-Iin drank from made her recoil in horror. Verde-Nenda smacked his lips. “Definitely not blood. But tasty!”
Feeling competitive, La-Iin decided to try each of the drinks as fast as she could so as to win out over Verde-Nenda, who was trying only the darkest red of the drinks. “Tomato. Is this the one, Asul-Zenza?”
“No, it isn’t,” he said. “Keep looking!”
La-Iin reached for the drink Verde-Nenda glanced at and drank a good half of it. “This is it! Isn’t it?”
Asul-Zenza sniffed the drink. “Good job, La-Iin!”
“That first one didn’t even taste like blood.”
Asul-Zenza giggled. “I know. But looking like blood’s close enough, huh?”
A festive mood was inside the cave as the family played together and, as the events Asul-Zenza set up became repetitive, made some of their own such as a flying race, of which Asul-Zenza managed to win.
“It’s not fair! ‘Twould have been more balanced if you haven’t been flying with us!”
“My wings have a lot of training from all the flying I do,” Asul-Zenza said cheerfully. “…please don’t be mad at me, Darseen.”
Verde-Nenda broke out in laughter. “Nah, I’m not such a grouchy old man as to get on you for that!”
“You aren’t an old man at all, dear.”
“Hard to remember that when I already have a granddaughter!” Verde-Nenda said, petting La-Iin’s head. “Especially a granddaughter who’s acting far more mature than Asul-Zenza did at seven years old.”
La-Iin puffed out her chest with pride.
“Hey, big sister, I wanna show you something!” Ei-Tio said. She spread her wings, bared her fangs and narrowed her eyes.
“I’ve been trying to make a villainy look!” Ei-Tio said. La-Iin gaped. “What’s wrong?”
La-Iin shook her head. “Nothing. It needs work, but keep on working on it!”
Anil-Kosha sighed. “Looking at her now you can barely tell she’s evil. She just seems like a normal little girl.”
“If you hit her sweet spot it doesn’t matter that she’s evil. La-Iin might have that in her heart, but she also has a genuine love for others. Someday I hope that will be the thing that turns her away from her goal…”
La-Iin shot a glance in Asul-Zenza’s direction, curious as to what he had said, but she soon turned back to Ei-Tio, who was smiling wide.
“I think nightfall is coming,” Asul-Zenza said.
“How can you tell?”
“I brought a watch with me. Around these parts sunset is typically at seven-forty. It’s seven-fifty-two now.”
“I see! So does that mean we finally get blood?”
Asul-Zenza nodded. “Well, except Ei-Tio, who gets a blood substitute.”
The family head for the mouth of the cave, and Asul-Zenza passed to each of them a large bloodbox, and to Ei-Tio tomato juice. They began to drink as the sun set far enough to be barely visible.
“Have you had a good time today, La-Iin?”
“Good?”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “You know what I mean.”
She nodded and continued to suck from her bloodbox. “Good, good…I had a great time with you all as well. It’s been a while since I’ve been around so much of the family.”
“It’s been a while since Verde-Nenda and I have done something this fun,” Anil-Kosha said. “Thank you, Asul-Zenza.”
“Not a problem. I did it mostly for La-Iin, admittedly, but I also did it for you. I’m glad you had an enjoyable time.”
“Can we play a little more?” Ei-Tio asked. Asul-Zenza nodded. “Sure, why not! But let’s finish our blood first. After all, the sunset won’t be going on forever!”

—–
Asul-Zenza arrived in Bledger when it was completely dark and the lights in other houses had gone out. He knocked gently on the door to the Cahongyun house, hoping Mit-Sun would respond.
When she opened the door, he let out a sigh of relief. “What is it? Why’d you take so long?”
“Sorry. La-Iin and Ei-Tio were having a lot of fun playing some strange game near the end.” He handed a sleeping La-Iin over to Mit-Sun. “Here. And when she wakes up, would you give her this?”
He handed her a book. “Why?”
“Oh, I figured it would be something nice for her to read, either that or you can read it to her.” He waved and spread his wings. “She’s exhausted, but don’t worry, I made her brush her teeth before bringing her here.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “Farewell, Mit-Sun! Until we meet again!”
“Yeah, knowing you, that won’t be too far off in the future.”
Though La-Iin didn’t wake during their exchange, she twitched slightly and cuddled up close to Mit-Sun.

7.553.Moments with Grepeta

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 553
“Moments with Grepeta”

“Eul-Bok, before we go, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“I don’t mind. Fire away, Father!”
“What made you want to visit Apeta today? Is it because we’ve had to stay so down-low recently?”
“Well, you could say that’s part of it. We’ve spent most of our time around each other lately and the only other people who came here recently were La-Iin and Bes-Isa, and I don’t know about you but I can’t stand them!”
“They’re my allies, Eul-Bok. I’m fond of them. You know this.”
“Anyway, Grepeta is someone I actually like who we can go and see. And besides, maybe it hasn’t been the longest time, but it’s been a good amount of time since those people were by the neighborhood. I think we’ll be safe.”
Sale-Dessu seemed uncertain. “Well, hopefully Apeta will be willing to see us,” he said with a sigh. “Hold on tight, Eul-Bok.”
Eul-Bok listened closely as Sale-Dessu canted the teleportation spell. ‘Father really is so powerful. It’s almost a shame that he’s so shy. If he wanted to, he could do great things for the scientific world, figuring out all sorts of things…even how to make me autonomous. But at the same time, it wouldn’t have been very smart to reveal that, would it have been? And anyway, I like my life the way it is!’
While lost in thought he hadn’t noticed that they had already made it to Eir-Tyuj’s house. He only snapped out of his thoughts when he heard her voice.
“–Eul-Bok seems awfully lost in thought.”
“I wonder what he’s thinking about?” Sale-Dessu said, glancing at Eul-Bok. “We’re here, Eul-Bok.”
“Oh! Hello, Grepeta!”
“Hello, Eul-Bok. How have you been?”
“Fine, mostly. I got a little injury the other day, but it was nothing big! Father patched it up quickly!”
“And I’m sure he used his powers for this?” Questioned Eir-Tyuj with a mischievous glance in his direction. Sale-Dessu scratched the back of his neck.
“Hey, Father, what are you going to do now that we’re here, anyway?”
“Oh, actually since we’re here, I wanted to ask if I could take a look at some of your books, Apeta. You have some that I don’t own.”
“Certainly, Sale-Dessu. I myself barely have any use for them anymore. In my old age my sight’s started to fail me as well. So if you feel so inclined as to take one, do not hesitate to do so.”
Sale-Dessu nodded. “Thank you, Apeta. But I don’t think I’ll be taking any of your books. Just looking around.”
He wandered off towards her bookshelf, and as he did Eir-Tyuj turned her attention to Eul-Bok.
“So, my great-grandson,” Eir-Tyuj started, before wrinkling her nose. “No, that’s too much of a mouthful. Eul-Bok! What is it you wanted to visit me for?”
“Well, um, first off I just wanted to see you,” he said shyly. “I don’t have many people to talk to aside from Father. And it’s been fine staying inside all the time. But maybe because we’ve had to stay inside, I feel a bit antsy lately.”
“A feeling I can understand,” she sighed.
“That and, well…don’t tell Father, and you probably knew this already, but it’s going to be his birthday soon. Last year I couldn’t do anything for him because I was still just a normal V-Puppet. But this year, things are going to be different. Father is very powerful, and as his son I think I might be able to achieve a similar level of power. If I can do that then I can do anything I want for him.”
Eir-Tyuj smiled. “A noble goal. I really do love your fire, Eul-Bok. I wish Sale-Dessu had shared in your enthusiasm when he was a boy.”
“I know you taught me a few things before in the past, but I want to learn more. I don’t care how hard you push me. I’m aiming to do my best, and I could use a hard nudge or two!”
“I imagine you don’t get many of those from my grandson!” She cackled. “Very well then. I’ll teach you some more. Come with me, away from Sale-Dessu. He’ll only get nosy and inquire about what we’re doing.”
Eul-Bok smiled. ‘Grepeta’s the best!’

***

“Eul-Bok, if you’re looking to transform an item of this size, the best thing to do is to make sure it functions like the item you’re transforming,” Eir-Tyuj chided. “A pear is no good if it tastes like wood, and a blanket is useless if it’s completely hard. What need would Sale-Dessu have for a blanket anyway? The boy’s much more interested in spell books at least as far as our last interactions have shown me.”
Eul-Bok sighed. ‘Grepeta’s great, but she really is harsh when she gets down to it.’ Eir-Tyuj’s criticisms hadn’t gotten him down, however–instead they only prompted him to try harder and show her otherwise. He focused on the stiff blanket and attempted to change it further. The blanket began to flop. Eir-Tyuj felt it.
“Hm…it’s gained some softness but it still isn’t perfect. But this is definitely better than this board blanket.”
“You know, you’re so critical but I bet you had trouble using your powers at first.”
“That I did. It isn’t many a Witch or Warlock who is born with a natural talent for their powers; most need to learn the proper skills. That being said I don’t appreciate your little snide comment. That might be the case but it was several decades ago.”
“I know. I’m just saying.” He felt the blanket himself. ‘Definitely too hard…’ “Hey, Grepeta, I know we have to get back to practice and all, but I want to hear a little bit about you. Especially since you’ve lived for so long.”
“Hm? Such as what? Are you wanting to hear embarrassing childhood stories about your father? Tsk, how shameful.”
“No, nothing like that! I meant more about you. You’re the only relative I have aside from Father, so I want to know more. Also, I’d like to concentrate without worrying about your criticism for once.”
“You asked for it, Eul-Bok, and I deliver criticism without cutting corners. But if you want to hear about me first, then I will tell you. I was part of a family of four. I had one younger sister who went on to have her own family in some Witch society far off in Wiencei or someplace. I haven’t seen her in years, and I can’t exactly do so now. I am mother to three daughters, one deceased–that’s your father’s mother–and the others whereabouts unknown. Except for you and Sale-Dessu, I’m not exactly inclined to the location of my non-deceased relatives. I know my parents and my daughter Maie-Jussa are one with the earth now but I’m not sure of many others.”
“That must be hard, losing your family like that. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Father.”
“Move on, of course. Easier said than done, but it will occur naturally. I am of the belief that the spirits of my loved ones watch over me even today. I’m certain they would love to speak with me once again, and I feel likewise…”
A far-off look entered Eir-Tyuj’s eyes, but when she blinked it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “In any event, it isn’t anything you’ll have to deal with anytime soon hopefully, and with Sale-Dessu taking so many precautions I’m not worried about it in the slightest.”
“Yeah, I think we’ll be fine for now.” Listening closely for what Eir-Tyuj might say next, Eul-Bok returned his focus to the blanket and tried to imagine its texture better. ‘I know I’ve felt a nice, soft, knitted texture like this before…hm….’
“I was an avid studier of powers and somewhat distanced myself from my family at times. Mostly my family of origin rather than the family I built with my late husband. Because I studied so strictly and so often I became rather skilled. My skills earned me ire not just because of jealousy but also in the way I practiced some of those skills. I regret some of what I did, though certain people make me feel as though I shouldn’t. And I helped raise Sale-Dessu during his childhood because Maie-Jussa fell into a difficult situation and had not the experience to deal with all that was going on.”
“Mmnh…”
Eul-Bok opened his eyes. Eir-Tyuj was heading over to the blanket to feel it. “That’s amazing of you, Grepeta. That you could deal with all of this…is that why you ended up so strict?”
“Certainly not! If my sister still lives out there, should you ever encounter her she knew me before I had any brushes with death. She could tell you, I have been strict my entire life. It’s necessary for success in my opinion. A lackadaisical attitude will lead you to not take your work seriously. Even if you enjoy it, you do need a modicum of seriousness in my opinion.”
Eul-Bok felt like his head was spinning. ‘Listening to Grepeta talk can be like looking through a wordy book…’
Eir-Tyuj stroked the blanket. “Very good, Eul-Bok. This is some quick improvement. You’re fast to overcome mistakes, hm?”
“Am I?”
She nodded. “I think you have a talent for it. You can recover from mistakes easier, perhaps because you’re stubborn like I am,” she said playfully. “It’s a good skill, and the stubbornness helps as well. Stubbornness can be an impediment, but I’d certainly say otherwise when it comes to the study of powers. It does keep you working, though you’ll need breaks.”
“My body’s artificial, Grepeta! I won’t get strained like you and Father.”
“I’m sure you’ll become strained another way,” Eir-Tyuj said with a roll of her eyes. “You have a mind, don’t you?”
Eul-bok felt the blanket. It had exactly the texture he was looking for. “It’s good that I can recover, but I really need to find something Father would like. I’m sure he’d appreciate the blanket, but…”
“Sale-Dessu’s simple to please, Eul-Bok. He’s happy when people show him a gesture of kindness. Anything you do for him will likely please him even if you present him with a wooden blanket.”
Eul-Bok narrowed his eyes. “I wouldn’t do that!”
“Sure you wouldn’t. But you must understand how people have treated him. When I knew him as a young child beforehand he was timid, but this level of shyness and caution is new. He might be used to your displays of kindness but it will touch him all the same.”
“I guess so…”
“Still, if you want to show him that you’ve improved or to give him a quality item, you need improvement. And I have the perfect idea to deal with this, and that is to practice as hard as you can manage. I have plenty of stray items for you to try out if you’d like to continue on.”
“Of course I want to!”
“Then now is the time to set to work!”

Eul-Bok transformed after that item after item, changing wood into wordless books and useless baubles, or tissue into clothing or accessories. Eir-Tyuj graded him harshly, but each time she had a severe criticism it only served to make him want to try harder. When she would give him a kind compliment, he would work harder as well so that the compliments would become consistent.
He tripped up a few times as he worked, however, lost in thought about his conversation with Eir-Tyuj.
‘Grepeta and Father really are strong people to have dealt with all they’ve gone through. This whole thing with those mysterious people is the worst thing I’ve had to do. They might as well barely trust people with how they’ve been treated. And yet they’re still so strong. I have to work harder!’
Glimpsing at Eir-Tyuj out the corner of his eye, he smiled. ‘Grepeta really is great. She’s so smart. I’m glad she’s a part of my life.’
Eul-Bok didn’t stop transforming items until he was thoroughly exhausted. But that would prove not to be the end of his practice, for once he had recovered, Eir-Tyuj immediately set to having him practice spell recitations.
‘She really is overly strict, though.’ But it only pushed him to want to try harder.

—–
“I’m sorry if we overstayed our welcome, Apeta.”
“Not at all. I got in some valuable bonding time with Eul-Bok.” She stroked him on the head. “You have a great boy with a lot of potential, Sale-Dessu. He might as well have had potential since the moment he became autonomous. Eul-Bok will be an amazing Warlock.”
“Geez, that’s pretty contrary to everything you said while I was practicing.”
“I am like that. Ask Sale-Dessu. But yes, keep him at your side, Sale-Dessu. I think he is good for you. He will give you more confidence. He can inspire a change in you, I feel it. Bringing him to life was a great decision as was making him autonomous. So remain close, you two. You’ll need it especially when I’m…”
Eir-Tyuj’s expression became far-off once again.
“When you’re what?” Eul-Bok asked.
“Never mind.”
“I know all that, Apeta. Eul-Bok’s already inspired me in so many ways. Besides, he is my son, even if we’re not related by blood. And I wouldn’t just turn away my son. I’ll keep working hard for my sake and his. After all…I’m a father now, I suppose.”
“Strange to hear that from your lips,” Eir-Tyuj said quietly. “Well, I look forward to seeing you boys again. And keep up the good work, both of you. But especially you, Eul-Bok. I expect to see some significant improvement next time we meet!”
“Oh, I won’t disappoint you,” he said. “Goodbye for now, Grepeta!”
“Be seeing you, my dear boys.”