14.530.A Dark Sadness in a Young Heart

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 530
“A Dark Sadness in a Young Heart”

“This stinks.”
“What now? I know you got in trouble for all the damage you caused yesterday, but is it worse than I thought?”
“It actually has nothing to do with my blood tests. Those are perfect. It’s something else entirely.” She growled. “Why is everyone else in such a stupid place!?”
“What?”
“Mama keeps hanging out with that Haner guy and she was feeling bad about her parenting, and it’s just so annoying and I have a bad feeling about what it could mean. Fer-Shi’s getting more irritated with my evil than she used to and she’s down about not having a dream! San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina are still looking sad even though I gave them an inspirational speech! I haven’t even seen Dami, Ai-Reia always hates me, and I haven’t seen Sale-Dessu either. I hate it. Every time it seems like something’s going right lately, something else goes wrong.”
“My, that’s a lot of pent-up frustration.”
“I may complain about you a lot, but you’re a saving grace, Bes-Isa. You’re not as annoying as the others are being right now. There’s even a girl at school who I agreed to be somewhat-friends with called Sara, but she doesn’t have any confidence at all.”
“I’m flattered that I’m the saving grace in this whole situation.”
“I need to see someone who isn’t like all those others. I need some advice, but you can’t give me the advice I need.”
“I’d protest, but point taken. I’m not the biggest fan of all those people you mentioned. Hey, wait a second. I’ve got an idea. If you need to talk to someone who’s not me and who’s not being a total idiot or depressia, what about that girl–you know, the one who claims she’s a ghost?”
“Imagination?”
“Yeah, her. That woman wouldn’t mind because you’d be taking Choungetsu off on a walk. That’d give you time to cool off. And after that you could always stop by the Astineth house. Complain about Sale-Dessu all you like, but he’s just been locked in his house recently. He might not be as depressed or annoying as all the others.”
“Maybe, but he has Eul-Bok there, too. I think Imagination is my best bet. Good idea, Bes-Isa.”
“Why, thank you, La-Iin. And since I’m such a genius as to have suggested that idea, may I come along? I haven’t gotten to see much of this little ghost-girl as you, the furball and Fer-Shi. And I have my own curiosities about her.”
La-Iin nodded. She head downstairs, put Choungetsu on a leash and head out.

***

“This part of town is pretty spooky. You know, you should come by here more often. It’d make for a perfect base or home away from home.”
“Maybe. You know, it’s times like these I wonder how I could ever get irritated with you, Bes-Isa. Then I remember the irritating things you can say.”
“Huh!”
“But you’re still not as irritating as Choungetsu can be,” she said. Choungetsu turned around and cocked his head. “And even he’s still not as irritating as everyone else is being.”
La-Iin turned into the graveyard and was surprised to see that there was no sign of Imagination.
“Maybe she was smart enough to leave for once.”
“Aw, damn. I was really betting on meeting up with her.”
“Why? You barely know her.”
“I have my reasons.”
“Well, I’d like to know–”
Choungetsu stiffened, his eyes widening. La-Iin turned in the direction he was staring.
“La-Iin!” Imagination called out. “I didn’t expect to see you here! Why’d you come to the graveyard? Did you bring Fer-Shi?”
“No, I didn’t. But I didn’t come here to play.”
“We never play, though, so why would you? That makes sense. Why’d you come here, then?”
“I want to talk.”
“What about? If it’s about me being a ghost, that’s boring me. I already told you several times I’m a ghost, and even if you don’t believe me I know it’s true and that’s all that matters.”
La-Iin shook her head. “It’s not about you being a ghost, it’s a stupid problem I have.”
“Aw, your problems probably aren’t stupid,” Imagination said. “What’s wrong, La-Iin?”
“Bes-Isa wanted to talk to you first.” She levitated Bes-Isa up to Imagination’s face. Imagination flinched away slightly.
“Hi, Bes-Isa. You’re a V-Puppet. I remember you a little. I never had a V-Puppet. What’s it like being a V-Puppet?”
“Can you focus on one subject?”
“I am. V-Puppetry.”
“It’s all I know, so how am I supposed to explain it? What’s it like being autonomous?”
“It’s a little different depending on whether you’re dead or alive. Is that what you wanted to talk about?”
“Nope. It was just a little morbid curiosity about what your life was like before you claim to have died. Was the world a darker place back then?”
“I guess a little. Back when I was alive there were a lot of things different. When I left the graveyard today I wandered around Bledger and I saw a lot of Dualbreeds. It’s weird because back when I was alive, if you saw a Dualbreed they probably had Normal in them just like me. But I saw a Minomix-Birdmix and a Lizardfoot-Snowliv! Sheesh, how can you be a Snowliv when it’s getting so hot outside?”
“I wonder that too.”
“But yeah, there are some things different. Though if we lived in Manemica, I could probably tell you even more things that were different. Manemica and Vaelyn are pretty different places. Though I saw a few Manemican influences here in the modern-day, heh heh.” Imagination smiled. “Well, I can tell you more, Bes-Isa, but I’m worried about La-Iin. What’s wrong, my friend?”
La-Iin glanced over her shoulder. “Except for Bes-Isa, everyone in my life is being annoying. I wanted to come to you because I figured you wouldn’t be annoying me, or at least not as much as they are..”
“…thank you,” Imagination said. “But I don’t know how I can help…”
“Recently I got something that’s really great for me. An amazing power I wasn’t supposed to get until I was older.”
Imagination clapped. “Good for you, La-Iin!”
“But then everything went to shit!” Imagination flinched. “Everyone either started being depressing or annoying. And I can’t stand it! This power is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m sick of everyone ruining it!”
“Why are they so sad? Is it because of the power?”
“No.”
“Have you tried making them happy?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Hm…” Imagination paced around the graveyard. “That sounds pretty annoying, La-Iin. I don’t think it would make me angry, but I can see why it makes you angry. And you can’t solve it, hm…”
“It’s not fair,” La-Iin huffed. “I’m evil. Sometimes I wish I was more like San-Kyung and I didn’t care about people as much. But I don’t want to be like he is now.”
“Aw, that’s okay, La-Iin. Caring about people is a good thing. It makes you feel better if nothing else. At least it did for me. You’re lucky because you have friends. I didn’t really. But now I have you and Fer-Shi and Choungetsu, and maybe Bes-Isa?”
“We’ll see about that, ghosty girl.”
Choungetsu looked up at her with a smile.
“Well, whatever happens, don’t let them get you down. You should enjoy your brand-new power to the fullest. And don’t feel sad about liking people. I think everyone likes someone!”
“Huh.”
“You like me and Bes-Isa and Choungetsu. And you have me, and Bes-Isa, and Choungetsu! So while these people are being all sad, I say you focus on the people who aren’t, and then also focus on yourself. You don’t always have to focus on other people, you know?”
“I know that.”
“I knew you did. You’re pretty smart for a little kid.”
“It was good to get that off my chest,” La-Iin breathed.
“Yeah, you look a lot more relieved now.”
“You really do. That’s good.”
“Maybe I should show you my new power. After all, you don’t talk to anyone else.” La-Iin grinned.
“GIVE ME YOUR BLOOOOD!”
“Eek! La-Iin, I don’t have any blood!” Imagination said, dashing away. La-Iin chased after her in the air. Soon enough, Imagination’s shrieks turned into giggles, and La-Iin found herself having genuine fun for what felt like the first time in a while.

—–
“Let’s see if he’s being a depressio.” La-Iin knocked on Sale-Dessu’s door. No response.
“Maybe he’s asleep.”
“We’ll see about that!” La-Iin banged herself against the door. “SALE-DESSU! OPEN UP!”
As she did that, memories of her time in the graveyard flashed in her mind–she was certain her fangs had met Imagination’s skin, but they had sunk into nowhere. Perhaps she imagined it in the speed of the moment, but it made her feel a mixture of unease and excitement.
La-Iin waited there so long she was ready to leave, but soon enough the door opened and out peeked a familiar face, though now wearing casual clothes, glasses and with maroon-colored hair, La-Iin could still recognize it as Sale-Dessu.
“La-Iin,” he said quietly. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Why do you look like that?”
“An experiment,” he said. “What brings you here?”
“You know what does.”
“Just give me a moment and you can come on in, alright?”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes, but to her surprise it took shorter for Sale-Dessu to set up than it did for him to open the door. “Come on in, then.”
La-Iin smiled to herself as she and Bes-Isa went inside.

5.521.Pumpkin Psychology

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 521
“Pumpkin Psychology”

“Hm…”
“What is it, La-Iin?”
“I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this,” she said, her eyes narrowing.
“How much longer you can stand what? You’ve been acting kind of weird lately, La-Iin.”
“You say that about me, but there’s someone in this class who has been acting even weirder.”
“Um…San-Kyung? Oh no. Never mind!”
“This behavior of his is nothing like the fire he normally has,” La-Iin said. “And I’m fine with San-Kyung almost all of the time, but this is irritating. At this rate he’ll randomly give up just because of what, being sad?”
“Huh?”
“I understand the place San-Kyung is in because I was just in there. But now I know the truth. It’s time I got through to him, once and for all.”
“Good for you?”
“You don’t need to understand any of it, Fer-Shi. Just know that I know that San-Kyung isn’t acting right and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to get his fire back! For that is the San-Kyung I love the most!”
“Miss Cahongyun, SHUT UP!!!”
La-Iin slumped in her seat, but not before raising her middle finger at Mr. Chensu, who failed to notice it.
“La-Iin!”
“What? It’s not like he saw it.”

***

“As soon as San-Kyung gets home, we’ll try everything we can to get through to him,” Salsh-Era said.
“I’ve seen San-Kyung through a lot of points in time, but he seems really bad at this one,” Del-Kyuus sighed. “Even in November he hasn’t seem this sad…”
Salsh-Era grabbed his wife’s hands. “Don’t worry, Kyuusie. We’ve thought long and hard on this. Obviously a professional would never get through to San-Kyung. He’d just try to incinerate them. But even when he hated everyone else in the world, he still loved us. And with that said, what makes you think he won’t hear us out at all? We just have to appeal to what he likes in the world. And that may not be much, but I do know a few things he likes.”
“This has nothing to do with those, um, well…”
“That depends on how desperate the situation gets. But it’s a last resort only, okay!?”
“Okay, Salsh-Era, you don’t need to yell. And you don’t need to keep holding onto my hands, either.”
“Well, I want to take my chances while he’s gone, too…ever since he turned thirteen he’s been getting mad at any little display of affection we show for each other. I want to be able to call you Kyuusie again without getting screamed at.”
“You have right now to be able to do that,” Del-Kyuus said with a smile. Salsh-Era smiled back. “I know I do. And I’m going to take advantage of that as best as possible. But our focus is still on our son. If we can’t break him out of this, who knows what might happen in a few days, a few weeks? We need to keep trying until we succeed.”
“I know. And we will!”
The door opened and Salsh-Era let go of Del-Kyuus’ hands. “Hello there, San-Kyung. How was school today?”
“Why do you care?” He asked. “It was the same as always.”
“I wonder sometimes if we should have sent you to a different school. It feels like a lot of your potential is being wasted at Malicerie.”
“Yeah, San-Kyung. You know, we’re really proud of you for getting the grades you have.”
San-Kyung scratched at his head. “I just study so I won’t get yelled at.”
“Well, it’s definitely paid off.”
“I think you might even be smarter than me!” Del-Kyuus giggled.
“What’s with all the sudden compliments?”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus froze. “U-uh, we had nothing to do while you were gone, so our minds just went to the first thing there was to think about, ha ha…”
“Speaking of, San-Kyung, is there anything you’d like to do today? We could go levitating around downtown, and have lots of tasty–”
Del-Kyuus stopped herself when she noticed the dark expression on San-Kyung’s face. “You two can do whatever you want. I won’t get in your way.”
He head off to his bedroom and closed the door.
“Well, that didn’t work,” Salsh-Era sighed.
“I had a bad feeling it wouldn’t be that easy. But that’s alright! We promised we would find a way to cheer him up, and we’re not going to stop here.”
“Yeah, I guess when he’s feeling down, mentioning levitation wasn’t the best idea.”
Del-Kyuus lowered her head. “B-but it’s alright! You were just trying to be kind, and your intentions mean more than what you said. We’ll get through to him, we have to!”
“You’re right, we have to, but I think we’d be best off bringing out the big guns.”
“Aren’t you the one who was worried about doing that!?”
“I was, but what you said made me think. San-Kyung seems to be in a bad place right now because something’s bothering him mentally. So perhaps if we have him do the things that make him feel in a good place mentally, we’ll get through to him that way!”
“Or distract him from the thoughts in his mind…you’re right, Del-Kyuus! That might just work. And I’ve got plenty of ideas on how to carry it through!”

San-Kyung laid down in his bed, his mood still stuck in the negative. He felt as though he should be getting up, at least heading off to Hledshess to wreak some havoc, before he remembered the recent incident and the dangers he might face if he did so. He contemplated calling Dosa-Mina, but figured he would be better off dealing with a problem he had away from the company of someone in as bad a mood as he was. He considered practicing his powers outside his house, but all he remembered was just how limited they were.
‘Just like my thoughts. Stupid and limited…’
“San-Kyung, dear?” Del-Kyuus’ voice and the creak of his bedroom door snapped him out of his self-deprecating thoughts.
“Sorry to bother you, San-Kyung, but we wanted to show you a little something.”
“What?”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus glanced at each other. “We think that you aren’t doing enough with your time! So we want to give you a special task to distract you!”
“…”
“See this book? We picked it up from the bookstore and when we noticed there was a warning for violence on the cover, we thought it might suit you. We want for you to read this book, then act out for us the violent scenes in it.”
“We’re going to go and buy some fake blood packs and a plush body so you can show it to us in all its gory detail!”
“And that’s not all. We want you to message Dosa-Mina with your blunt opinion on him and his affection. Blunt, and honest. See how he responds, then maybe let him show you a little more affection, alright?”
“And one other thing, San-Kyung? We want you to think long and hard on the things that are important to you, and the things that don’t matter. We want you to write them down, look them over and think even more. Don’t think too long, or you’ll burn yourself out, but think as long and hard as you can manage. Then when you’ve finished doing that, do something else like build up some muscle outside!”
“Why are you making me do all this?”
“Just figured you need something to do, and we’ve been pretty passive lately in letting you do what you want. But if you aren’t going to do what you want, then we’re going to give you something to do. We’re off now, but make sure to read that book, send that message and think, think, think!”
Salsh-Era and Del-Kyuus left the room, and San-Kyung heard Del-Kyuus giggle. He stared at the book, its cover adorned with a female Narwhaltae running away from a Demon-winged shadow, blood spatter behind them both. It looked utterly ridiculous, but he felt he recognized the title from somewhere.
“This isn’t…” He shook his head. “No, they don’t know about that, do they?”
He was reluctant to follow through on what his parents asked of him, especially since some of it sounded so ridiculous. But they were right: he truly did have nothing better to do. San-Kyung opened the book and relaxed in his bed, scoffing at the cheesy opening line.

***

I was asked to write this message to you by my parents. Don’t get on my case if it sounds stupid.
As far as I what I think of you: you are my only best friend, and I trust you probably even more than I trust my parents. Don’t tell them that, though. But you’re too secretive. You can be annoying sometimes, but it’s forgivable. And it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like now if I had continued hating you back in Elementary school.
They also asked me to write about this as well. Your affection can be f@%king annoying sometimes! Especially when you do stupid stuff like kiss me or squeeze me so hard I feel like I’m going to die. But I don’t mind all of it, I suppose. If you stopped being affectionate I think it would seem weird. So don’t stop doing it, but for the love of specites don’t do stuff that makes us seem like we’re a couple!
Sorry to send you the random message, but my parents insisted and I had nothing better to do. So there you go. They want you to respond, but respond if you want to.

San-Kyung sighed. ‘That’s two things down. It’s been two hours and they aren’t back yet. Probably got sidetracked by Dad calling Mom Kyuusie…’
The last project they had asked him to do he was dreading, and he chided himself for not getting it out of the way first. Regardless he pulled a piece of paper out of an empty notebook and began to write his thoughts down.

My parents and Dosa-Mina: because they are the only people who matter in this world.
World domination: because paying back the world and its people will be so satisfying.
My true form: because that is who I truly am, with all my powers and my true appearance.
My powers: because without them I would lack a lot of capability.

After those four he felt stuck at a halt, but eventually more came to him.

La-Iin: necessary for my plans.
Hledshess Street: see above.
Certain books: reason not specified here.
Studying: learning more about the world and such gives me a better understanding of things, which I need.
Freedom: without it I would go mad from having nothing of worth in this world.
Smarts: without them I would be at a loss and unable to plan in the way I do. These have served me well.
Love: mostly worthless but helped me garner more strength. Also helped me to develop:
Ability of detachment: because you never know when someone will betray you.
October: without it I would never have true power or my true form at any point in time.

Once he turned over the paper, he began to write furiously.

The world: does nothing to protect itself.
People: two-faced assholes.
Sanyaow Lirako: major obstacle and annoyance.
Goodness: empty goal that nobody seems to truthfully pursue. (Exception: parents.)
Police: terrifying to someone like me. (Immature, I realize.)
November: torture device masquerading as a month.

San-Kyung took a breath and looked at the paper. He stashed it away inside a book, then glanced back at the small shelf of books.
‘It’s out of place! They couldn’t have…could they?’ Glancing back at the book he just read, he wasn’t sure.
He decided to take his mind off of it and see if Dosa-Mina had responded.

I owe your parents a favor if they made you write this! Thanks, San-Kyung. I haven’t been in a good mood lately so it was nice to see this! No guarantees I’ll stop being ‘annoyingly affectionate’ as you put it, though~

San-Kyung chuckled to himself. ‘Maybe my parents didn’t have too bad of an idea. I guess it’s better than laying in bed all day.’

***

When his parents arrived home with the body plush and the fake blood packets, San-Kyung instantly went to work recreating the book’s violence as best as he could, though he faced some limitations due to his species his parents still seemed impressed, that and shocked. San-Kyung felt slightly exhilarated once the whole ordeal was over.
“Now, we know you don’t eat often, but we also remember that one time you did eat, you liked this,” Del-Kyuus said. She set on the table a platter of animal organs.
“…you guys are trying too hard.”
“Maybe we are, but hey, seeing you destroy that body plush is a lot better than seeing you lie in bed all day.”
“I guess.” He started to eat the animal organ platter. Seeing his parents’ smiles, he was almost tempted to smile himself.

***

Darkness had covered the small neighborhood, and most houses had all their lights out for the night. In the midst of all this, a small shadow walked over to the Molshei house and opened one of the windows.
She moved quietly through the house, over to San-Kyung’s bedroom, and took a close look at him.
“San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung grumbled in his sleep.
“It’s a shame I missed seeing you awake. But I bet if you were awake, you’d appreciate what I did to get here. Sooner or later, I’ll make you feel a lot better than you have been recently.”
La-Iin’s heart thud hard in her chest at the idea that San-Kyung might wake, but when he didn’t, she continued on. “Someday I know you’ll achieve world domination, San-Kyung. And if you still can’t be in your true form, you can still help me out.”
“Stupid…” He mumbled. La-Iin blinked. She couldn’t tell if she was imagining things but it almost looked as if San-Kyung was smiling.
With a smile of her own, she kissed him on the forehead before leaving the house.

—–
“Why is this window open? Didn’t we close it?”
“Did you open a window last night, San-Kyung?”
“I didn’t…” His face paled. “No, that was just a dream, right? I didn’t actually hear her…”
“San-Kyung?”
San-Kyung’s eyes rolled into his head. His parents gasped and reached out to catch him.

28.513.Spacebound

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 513
“Spacebound”

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

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

27.512.Baby-Voiced Over the Phone

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 512
“Baby-Voiced Over the Phone”

“Choungetsu, you are so stupid. I bet you’d eat anything.”
Choungetsu stared up wide-eyed at La-Iin, his tail wagging wildly across the floor.
“You’d probably eat some of the nastiest stuff out there. I bet you’d eat poison, or fire, or even chocolate malt balls!” She said with a shudder. “And that’s why you’re stupid.”
Choungetsu tipped his head to one side. La-Iin narrowed her eyes. “That and you don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?”
“La-Iin, stop berating Choungetsu.”
“I’m not berating him. I’m just trying to see if I can get through that thick skull of his. So far, all of my attempts have ended in failure.” She stared closely at Choungetsu, who licked her face.
“He’s too friendly, Mama. One day he’s gonna get himself killed.”
“You say that, but if something happened to Choungetsu you’d be devastated.”
“All I said was he was gonna get himself killed. Why’d you even bother answering with–”
Before La-Iin could finish her sentence, the phone began to ring.
“I wonder who’s calling?” Mit-Sun said as she head for the phone. La-Iin turned her attention back to Choungetsu, staring him down. Choungetsu stared at her, his expression still one of confusion, but he soon gave a soft yap, his nose wrinkling.
“You’re being really stupid. If I wanted to, I could suck all your blood and there would be nothing you could do about it. Biting me wouldn’t stop your inevitable fate.”
Choungetsu stared at her wide-eyed, backing away from her and folding his ears to his head. La-Iin stroked his head, but it did nothing to change the look of shock and hurt on Choungetsu’s face.
“It’s for you, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said.
“Is it Dami!?”
“No, it’s not Asul-Zenza. But it’s someone you’ll want to talk to anyway.”
Mit-Sun handed the phone to La-Iin. She put it up to her ear, curious as to who was on the other side.
“Big sister!”
“Ei-Tio?”
“Hi, big sister! It’s been a really long time!”
“It has,” La-Iin said.
“I wanned to call you to talk about some stuff! I’m four now! How old are you now?”
“Seven.”
“Wow, isn’t it just…um…five and six, then? I’m closer to you, big sister!”
“You are.” La-Iin couldn’t stop her smile. “What did you want to talk about, Ei-Tio?”
“Do you have something cool happening in Bledger? Dami and Floma said Bledger’s getting scary, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Bledger isn’t going to harm me. Oh! Ei-Tio, you want to hear something that happened to me?”
“What, what!?”
“I got a brand-new power. When I drink someone’s blood now, I can use their powers, too.”
“Wow! If you did that with me could you turn into a bat too?”
“Probably not,” La-Iin sighed, “but I’m trying to find out just how strong this power is. When I do, I can tell you all about it, if you like.”
“Okay!”
“What about you? Why did you want to call? Was there something you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Uh-huh! Something really cool happened to me recently too and I thought you would wanna hear about it! I don’t remember all of it, but I’m gonna tell you everything of what I remember!”

***

It was a bright, sunny day out, and Ei-Tio buried her face into her father’s chest. The bright sunlight stung her eyes more than she could bear, and even though she was excited about where they were going, she wished it didn’t have to be quite as sunny as it was.
“It’s alright, Ei-Tio. The carnival itself has a huge tent over it to block out the sun, so you won’t have to deal with it for much longer.”
“It hurts…”
“Do you think she has an allergy to sun rays, Jul-Ense?”
“No, she’s been fine out in the sunlight other days. It’s just particularly strong today. Even I’m feeling it strong. You Ghneckdos sure are hardy, Shi-Bara.”
“You and Ei-Tio are Ghneckdos too, you know.”
“I know, I know.”
As the trio passed under the tent, Ei-Tio felt as though her pain had been relieved somewhat. Curious, she glanced around, and soon broke out into smiles.
The carnival looked amazing. All around her there were various games, small rides and all sorts of confectionery all around. Several Vampires were there at the event, many of them families–she even spotted a few non-Vampires along with them.
“Wow!”
“Wow indeed,” Jul-Ense said. “It’s amazing. Makes me wonder what we should do first!”
The trio looked around the area, searching for what to do first, when Shi-Bara asked, “Hey, isn’t that Asul-Zenza over there?”
“Who’s Mr. Asool-Zenzah?”
“That’s La-Iin’s Dami,” Jul-Ense said. “Hey, Asul-Zenza! Good to see you here!”
“Hm?” Ei-Tio felt as though she didn’t recognize the man at all, though a few of his features reminded her of La-Iin. “Oh, hello there, Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense! And you too, Ei-Tio,” he said, reaching out to pinch her cheek. Ei-Tio giggled when he did.
“What brings you to the carnival? Aren’t you usually traveling the world?”
“This does count as travel, you know. It may still be in Vampire society boundaries, but I don’t live here. All that said, it’s good to see you. I’ve been in a good mood recently, so I wanted to do something fun! I do wish I could have La-Iin here with me, though.”
“I wish you had big sister too,” Ei-Tio whimpered. “Floma, Dami, can we play with Mr. Asool-Zenzah?”
“Well, bringing him along does still count as a family outing,” Jul-Ense said. “What do you say, Asul-Zenza? Want to join us?”
“Certainly!”
Asul-Zenza’s mention of La-Iin had made her miss her relative, but as she, her parents and Asul-Zenza went to get a small treat and played on one of the small rides–which, by the looks on her family’s faces, she was certain that she was the only one who had enjoyed it–the thought was put out of her mind for now as she was thoroughly enjoying this time spent with her family.
“What do you say we try the hall of mirrors? I never got to try those things when I was a young Vampire.”
“What are you talking about, Jul-Ense? You’re still a young Vampire.”
“Says the Vampire who’s still in his sixties. I think you forget that sometimes, Asul-Zenza.”
Asul-Zenza smiled. “I believe I do forget it.”
“Can I walk again, Dami?”
“Sure, Ei-Tio.” He put her down, and Ei-Tio ran ahead clumsily into the hall of mirrors. All around her were distorted visions of herself, and for a moment she was scared enough to cry, until she saw that her family looked much the same when they entered.
“You look so funny, Mr. Asool-Zenzah! Look, Floma, your head is really swelly!”
Shi-Bara chuckled. “It is pretty funny to see yourself all stretched out, isn’t it?”
“Mm-hm! Wow, if you got a pumpkiny-person, would they look really weird? Aren’t they super-tall?”
“They can be,” Jul-Ense said.
“I can only imagine how silly one of them would look,” Shi-Bara chuckled. “Their round little heads all swelling and their arms and legs and their tail all stretched…”
“Hee hee! It’d look so funny!”
Ei-Tio walked closer to the mirror, curious to see how that would distort the reflection of herself, when the light from outside began to quickly dim.
“Huh?”
“I wonder if clouds are passing over the sun?” Asul-Zenza suggested.
“Muahahaha!”
Ei-Tio flinched. She ran over to Shi-Bara’s side and buried herself in her leg. All of them remained frozen in place until Jul-Ense grit his teeth.
“All of you, stay back. I’m going to check what’s going on.”
“Jul-Ense, what if something’s happening out there?”
“That’s exactly why I’m going to do it! I have seniority over all of you, so if anyone should check, it should be me!”
Jul-Ense’s defensive anger did nothing to calm down Ei-Tio. As he walked out the hall of mirrors, Ei-Tio was too worried not to follow him.
“Ei-Tio!” Asul-Zenza and Shi-Bara hissed. They followed after her and out of the hall of mirrors, directly into the crowd of Vampires who were staring up at a masked figure with large bat wings.
“All you Vampires came here for a good time, didn’t you? Well, I’m no different from all of you! But my idea of a good time is a lot different. I…”
“What are you three doing out here!?” Jul-Ense hissed.
“Damiiii….”
“Ei-Tio, I told you and them to stay behind! Why’d you follow me?”
“I think you scared her when you got angry like that, Jul-Ense,” Asul-Zenza said. “What’s going on, anyway?”
“Now, brace yourselves all ye who have entered, for the overload of your senses I am about to dish out!”
Loud noises and bright lights flooded the area, and the crowd began to groan and shriek at the sudden burst of color and noise. Ei-Tio felt like dropping to the ground, but she couldn’t bring herself to.
All around the Vampires in the crowd began to change appearance. Their faces became fuzzy, their ears wider and larger, and their noses flatter. By the time the noise died down and the color faded away, nearly every Vampire in the crowd had turned into their bat form, and the man who gave the announcement broke out into laughter.
“You should see the lot of you!” He chuckled. He pulled out a camera and began to take many photos of the crowd. “Not to worry, though, I’ll make sure to send you all these pictures of what’s happened to you. But for now, Eclipsian is out!”
He flew off with the camera in tow. Some of the crowd members tried to chase after him, but none were able to catch him.
Ei-Tio still felt dazed by the noise and colors, but she couldn’t keep herself from laughing. All the Vampires around her looked ridiculous transformed into bats. Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense, and Asul-Zenza soon began to join in, giving soft chuckles at the situation.

***

“I can’t believe you ran into Dami!”
“Your Dami is really nice, big sister. But wasn’t it funny? Everyone transformed!”
“It sounds painful.”
“It was! But did you think it was funny, big sister? Even your Dami transformed!”
“I guess,” La-Iin sighed.
“I should probably get off soon. Floma and Dami are gonna take me to the park, and we’re gonna have a pickynick dinner there! I wish you could come over, big sister! I want to see you soon!”
“Me too. And next time we do, I’ll show you my newest power. Someday you’ll be able to use it too. Maybe I should train you early!”
Ei-Tio giggled. “Maybe! Bye-bye, big sister! Talk again soon!”
“Alright.”
La-Iin hung up the phone.

—–
“Damn it! Eclipsian is heading for the park! What do we do?”
“Brace yourself!”
Eclipsian flew up into a tree and cackled.
“Glad to see all you happy peppy little Vampires! I feel happy and peppy tonight as well! But I know something that will make me feel even more happy and peppy! Now, brace yourselves, all ye who have entered, for the overload of your senses I am about to dish out!”

21.506.A Blood Revelation

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 506
“A Blood Revelation”

La-Iin sucked in a breath. She started to bite at her fingers. She felt impatient and frustrated, but more than that, she felt thirsty.
“Looks like someone’s having a nervous breakdown,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Shut up, rival-boy,” La-Iin said.
“I think she’s getting a blood craving,” Fer-Shi said. La-Iin was glad she had made it to school; nothing had been found wrong with her at the hospital, which had confused both her parents and the doctors there.
“If you really need to, you can suck my blood after school,” Fer-Shi whispered. “Just make sure to do it somewhere away from the students.”
“I appreciate the offer, Fer-Shi,” La-Iin said through grit teeth. “But I’m not sure if I can hold off that long…”
‘Damn it! Why did you have to come at school!? Who’s the idiot who banned bloodsucking in school? I’d like to find them and suck their blood!’

***

The classes felt like agony to La-Iin that day. She was constantly focused on her blood craving. On occasion the desperation was bad enough that she sucked her own blood, but it never helped–it simply wasn’t satisfying like the blood of other people.
In the recess area, keeping herself under control was difficult–the young children playing on the equipment, she knew, would most likely report to a teacher if she sucked one of them. As time went on, she wasn’t sure what was worse–the blood craving or the idea of getting in trouble with Mit-Sun. Both seemed equally as bad.
“Cahongyun, is something wrong?” Shuu-Kena asked.
“You’d never understand, you peon,” she muttered. “Never…”
“Can I help you?”
La-Iin glanced up. “You can….they can’t get me in that much trouble if you’re going to let me do it…”
“Let you do what?” Shuu-Kena asked, tipping her head to one side.
“Let me driiiink!” She grabbed onto Shuu-Kena, who shrieked and ran away, breaking free from La-Iin’s grasp with a strength that sent her falling to the ground. The other children began to hide away from La-Iin, cowering in a corner.
La-Iin was tempted to walk over to them and drink, but with the amount of children crowded in the corner she was sure that even in their fear they would be able to take her down. At the same time, she felt unsure of her own deduction. Unconsciously she began to bite into her arm again.

“Wow, La-Iin, you made it all the way through the classes! I’m surprised!”
“Not-as-surprised-as-I-am,” La-Iin said.
“Um, La-Iin? Are you gonna be okay?”
“No!” She snapped. “No, I’m not gonna be okay! I need blood and I need it now!” She flew above her seat and went zipping down the hallway.
“Wait, La-Iin! What about my offer!? La-Iin!”
By now she couldn’t even think clearly; she wasn’t aware of what exactly she was doing, save for seeking out blood. All around her there were people leaving the school, people who were filled with the blood she so desperately needed to drink. All the people were tempting her, but one in particular she was gravitating to. She wasn’t sure who it was anymore, just that she was certain this one had the most delicious blood.
She stuck her fangs in and began to drink.
La-Iin was oblivious to the sound of San-Kyung’s shriek, as well as Dosa-Mina’s attempts to pull her off of him. The more she drank, the more clear her mind felt. Once she had drunk a good amount, she let go and looked at the person she had been drinking from.
She recoiled in surprise when she saw San-Kyung, looking slightly unsteady. Dosa-Mina helped to support him.
“La-Iin!” The level of fury in Fer-Shi’s tone was startling. “I thought you did a good job, keeping yourself under control, but then you go and–San-Kyung!?”
Fer-Shi flinched away from him, but she blinked in surprise at the unsteady condition he was in. “Is something wrong with San-Kyung?”
“I guess I drank a lot from him,” she said simply. “He was delicious. I probably drank more than I should have.”
“What!?”
“Come on, San-Kyung, let me help you get home. Is your wound still bleeding?”
“It’s fine…” San-Kyung’s tone sounded dazed. Concerned, La-Iin followed after the two boys.
“San-Kyung, do you have enough blood in you?”
“No thanks to you,” he croaked, leaning on Dosa-Mina heavier.
“Do you need me to carry you, San-Kyung?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine! We need to get you home, now.” Dosa-Mina checked the puncture wounds. “Well, at least it’s not bleeding much. If you need me to carry you, tell me.”
San-Kyung nodded. La-Iin’s concern only grew when she noticed how pale San-Kyung was.
“San-Kyung? If you want, you can drink some of my blood.”
“That isn’t going to help,” he snapped, though his tone was still weak.
“La-Iin, just back off. San-Kyung will be fine, but not because of you. So lay off.”
“Don’t tell me what to do, rival-boy! I almost wish I sucked your blood instead!” Desperate, La-Iin brought her fangs across her arm and thrust it in front of San-Kyung’s face.
“Here!”
“What!?”
La-Iin blinked. She hadn’t been expecting San-Kyung to exclaim that way. Curious, she checked her arm, wondering if she had opened too deep a wound–and was surprised to see that her arm was engulfed in flames. She took a step backwards.
“I didn’t know you could use the blood power yet,” Dosa-Mina said.
“Blood power?” La-Iin gasped. “I can use the blood power!?”
Dosa-Mina gave a small nod before picking up San-Kyung and glaring at her. He ran out the school.
La-Iin tried to put out the fire for fear of what would happen if the flames hit her sleeve, but her excitement kept her from noticing even Dosa-Mina’s agitation.
‘If I can use the blood power, then my potential is unlimited! If I could make that much fire with San-Kyung’s blood, then who knows what else I can do with this!’
“La-Iin!” Fer-Shi called. “What’s going on? Why’d you go after San-Kyung again? Why couldn’t you wait for me!? W-what’s with the scar?”
“Fer-Shi, I think I might know why I had that bad blood craving. My body was trying to tell me something incredibly important, and I owe it for doing that.”
Fer-Shi flinched. “Um, what was it trying to tell you?”
“Take a look.” La-Iin was reluctant to harm herself again, so instead she walked over to the grass nearby the school and lifted up her hand. ‘I wonder if this is how San-Kyung really does it.’ She tried to envision what she might make with the vines.
She glanced down at the grass. Small vines had begun to sprout up and wiggle, though they didn’t go any further.
“What!?”
“I think that’s proof enough,” La-Iin said. “Fer-Shi, I can use my blood power now. You know about the blood power, don’t you?”
Fer-Shi nodded.
“Now I’m glad I sucked San-Kyung! If I had sucked from you, I wouldn’t have known I could do this!” She flew above Fer-Shi. “I have to show Mama before it wears off. See you tomorrow, Fer-Shi!”
Fer-Shi didn’t respond. She stood there, frozen in place, watching La-Iin fly off.

***

La-Iin burst into her house as soon as she arrived home, her excitement still strong as well as her anxiousness. She could only hope the effects of San-Kyung’s blood hadn’t yet worn off.
Mit-Sun and Choungetsu, who had been sitting on the couch, startled when she bust open the door. “What happened to you that made you try and break down the door!?”
“Mama, first off, why are you always with Choungetsu now? And second, I have to show you something before it’s too late. I know you’ll want to see it.”
“I’ve been spending time with Choungetsu because we’re bonding and you’re off on your own a lot now,” she said. “And what is it you want to show me?”
“Watch closely, and don’t try and stop me. I know what I’m doing.” Baring her fangs, she slashed a small wound across her arm. Mit-Sun stood up abruptly and almost lunged for her, but froze in place when she noticed the flames starting from the wound.
“At school today, I got a bad blood craving and I ended up sucking from San-Kyung. And I found out I can do this. I have my blood power now.”
La-Iin couldn’t stop her grin. “Just think, Mama. With this power, and the right species to drink from, I will be unstoppable!”

—–
The cities laid to ruin were in a particularly bad condition today. Vines covered the abandoned buildings and flames licked the top of the sky. Feathers scattered about and added to the flames, and the impoverished people lying on the ground were fast asleep, for once free from the pain that plagued them in their everyday life.
It kept them from seeing the sight of several other people, lined up in a row in front of La-Iin. She sucked a decent amount from each one that approached her and tested out their powers. A ball of water fired off at the buildings, setting out a fire while also collapsing the top of the building. La-Iin smirked as she sucked from a Snowliv. The Snowliv flinched and tried to pull away, but La-Iin didn’t let her go until she had finished. She froze part of the chair she was sitting on, and her smirk widened.
“If before there was any hope of stopping me, I can see none of you have it anymore. And there’s good reason for that. This day belongs to me; this WORLD belongs to me!”

17.502.Device of Choice

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 502
“Device of Choice”

Mit-Sun sat in the living room, stroking Choungetsu, who rolled over and made contented grunts. She stared at the door curiously. Above the house she heard the sound of wings flapping.
Just yesterday Asul-Zenza had contacted Mit-Sun about something he wanted to show her. Since she was in a good mood, she had decided to let him come over. That hadn’t been her only reason for accepting, however–since Friday, she had noticed that La-Iin had seemed incredibly sad.
‘She never told me what happened with those boys, but they looked pretty upset too. Maybe after Asul-Zenza shows me whatever it is he wants to show me, I’ll let him take her out. That might make her happier.’
Mit-Sun sighed. ‘What am I thinking? I should be able to make her happier, not rely on Asul-Zenza to do that. But he can make her happier. I should still contribute in my own way, though! I know, I’ll make a dinner she likes tonight, and then I’ll do an activity with her. I wonder what she might be in the mood for. Well, there are plenty of things I can do with her, and if she doesn’t like one, I’ll just try another!’
A knock sounded at the door. “Come in!”
Asul-Zenza walked in, a small box in his hands and a smile on his face. “Hello there, Mit-Sun. How have you been today?”
“Fine. Alright, Asul-Zenza, let’s see what you have there.”
Asul-Zenza nodded. He set the box down in front of her and opened it up.
“What is that clunky thing?”
“This is a prototype of that device I told you about all the way last year, remember?” Asul-Zenza said. “I’ve been keeping close tabs on it, as you know. San-Kyung seems like a good boy, so I’m not as worried about him anymore, but don’t think I haven’t heard the reports that Bledger is becoming a more dangerous place to live. I mostly have faith in La-Iin, but I’m not sure I trust the world.”
“You’re sure keeping up with current events.”
“It’s something to do when you’re bored. And if it has to do with my daughter, I want to know about it.” He handed her a round device. “This is where you set the settings for when you want the alarm to go off. As you can see, some of the settings are obviously designed for overprotective parents.”
“Geez, I worry about what La-Iin does sometimes, but this is ridiculous,” she said as she looked through the settings. After checking them, she pointed to the other items in the box. “Now, what about those other things?”
“Those are for alerting you. So when you have La-Iin wear it, if something happens that is counted as dangerous by your settings, it should alert you. Of course, since it’s a prototype, it will just give an alert sound that varies depending on the type of danger she’s in, and won’t actually give you an idea of where she might be. This device isn’t designed for tracking so they’re still working out that sort of situation. But who knows, this could save a lot of young lives….or lead to mass surveillance depending on the country it’s used in. I have some hope for this product, anyway.”
“You don’t have to keep running your mouth about it, I get it. So what’s the reason for giving me a prototype?”
“They’re releasing prototypes to some devoted followers of the product so that it can be tested out. Of course, since you’re La-Iin’s primary caretaker, I figured you would be the best person to test it out. You’d have to tell me how it works so I could tell the company what I thought of it. At least, they’ll think it’s what I thought of it.”
“I see.” She examined the device. “What do you say we take it for a test run now?”
“Hm?”
“You could take La-Iin out and put her in simulation dangerous situations. Like….high power usage. I think this one’s a little overprotective, but who knows? People have killed with powers before. Still, how exactly can they track this?”
“I suppose if I transformed into a bat and used my blood power, that might count.”
“Then we can test it out and La-Iin gets to spend time with you. When was the last time she did, anyway?”
“I think it was last month,” he said. “She did invite me over to meet San-Kyung. But definitely, I’ve been neglecting my chances. Ironic given you’re finally being more forgiving.”
“That’s not my fault,” she said. “Anyway, in order for us to test this out, we need La-Iin. HEY, LA-IIN! COME DOWNSTAIRS, I NEED YOU TO DO SOMETHING!”
Mit-Sun and Asul-Zenza waited for La-Iin; once she came downstairs, Mit-Sun was surprised to see how depressed she looked.
“What do you want?” She said, then glanced at Asul-Zenza. “Dami?”
“Hello there, La-Iin! Are you feeling alright? You look a little sleep-deprived.”
“I just made a stupid mistake recently, that’s all,” La-Iin said. “I thought you were gonna ask me to do something annoying, but if Dami’s here, it can’t be all that bad. So what is it?”
“Your father got a prototype product he wants you and me to try out, but I figured since he’s the one who got it, all three of us could try it out.”
“What is it? It looks clunky.”
“It’s for tracking danger.”
“Tracking danger?” La-Iin’s eyes widened. “I don’t like the sound of that.”
“You probably don’t, knowing you. But we’re just testing it out.”
“This product is still in the prototype stages, although we repeated that enough already for you to figure that out,” Asul-Zenza said.
“He has to report back to the company his opinion on it. So what I want you to do is put this on–” She handed the round part of the device to La-Iin. “Then, I want you to go out with Asul-Zenza and try and set off all the security warnings. That includes the overprotective ones I’d never use.”
“Are you sure you’d never use overprotective settings? You don’t trust me.”
“I don’t trust you in some cases, but I trust you enough to go out so long as you’re with someone, and that someone has even been Choungetsu before. If I didn’t trust you at all, I would take you to school and I wouldn’t let you go outside without me. Interacting with San-Kyung outside of school, which I’m sure you’ve done before, wouldn’t even be possible. So say what you want, but I trust you more than you think.”
La-Iin looked down at the device. Mit-Sun noticed that she was starting to smile a bit. “So we have to make the alarm go off for all the dangers?”
“If we do that, then we can examine whether or not it works at all. It would be helpful to report back to the company if only some dangers are setting off alarms.”
“This could be fun.”
“Take the instruction manual. It lists all the dangers. You’re only going to simulate these dangers. Oh, and take this too.” Mit-Sun tossed Asul-Zenza the backup alarm.
“You know, I don’t want this to break.” Asul-Zenza said.
“I know. I figured you would catch it. It’ll also help if you find out if some work in closer proximity than others.”
“Proximity?” La-Iin questioned.
“She means if only the close alarm sets off and not her’s,” she said.
“So you’re not coming with us, Mama?”
“Why, did you want me to? I figured you’d want to spend one-on-one time with Asul-Zenza.”
“I do, I just thought you wanted to come.”
Mit-Sun shook her head and smiled. “No, I’m fine. This is the best way we’re going to get a report for Asul-Zenza, and anyway he’s the one with powers. Tipping off power-related signals would be easier with him.”
“Of course.” La-Iin affixed the device. “Come on, Dami! Let’s get in trouble!”
“It will be simulated danger, alright?”
“So you say.”
As Mit-Sun wrote down the signals on a piece of paper, La-Iin and Asul-Zenza checked the various ways to tip off the alarm. Once Mit-Sun had them all written down, they left the house, flying high into the sky.
“So what should we try first!?” La-Iin exclaimed.
“First we should head far away, for that’s one of the ways to tip off the signal–heading far off.”
The two flew over downtown and a forest, looking for an area neither of them recognized. Before they made it there, La-Iin became tired and Asul-Zenza held tight to her. They landed, and Asul-Zenza checked his signal.
“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t be giving off a signal if it’s so close by the main device,” Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I’ll ask them about it, though. In the meantime, let’s try something else. Are there any blood vendors nearby?”
“I don’t know where blood vendors are.”
“Well, we can look for some. One of the things that tips this alarm off is injury, but I’m not sure how to simulate that…”
La-Iin bit into her arm. “La-Iin!?”
“Don’t worry Dami, I’m used to this by now. In case you hadn’t noticed–” La-Iin shut her eyes tight as the transformation completed. “–I’ve found a use for doing this.
The two heard a rapid beeping noise. Asul-Zenza checked his device. “Seems to go off for that,” he said. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“With the power I gain through this ability, I always feel one hundred percent,” she said with a smile. “What do we try next?”
Asul-Zenza checked the manual. “Apparently, the lack of presence of other people is also something that can tip off the alarm. Will you be alright by yourself for a little bit?”
“Dami, is this stupid alarm making you overprotective? I’ve been fine in the past. I will be fine now.”
“I just wasn’t sure if you felt like being alone right now is all,” he said with a smirk. “I’ll be right back, La-Iin!”
La-Iin nodded and watched as Asul-Zenza soared into the sky. ‘Dami not only can fly a lot higher than me, but he has a lot of stamina. I should try flying even more than I already do. If only Mama didn’t call on me for flying in the house, I could practice all the time!’
As she waited for Asul-Zenza to return, her transformation wore off. She checked the device. ‘This thing is really clunky. Do Mama and Dami really want me to use something like this? Does Dami want it for something else? He does live on his own.’
Asul-Zenza returned a moment later. “That was a great fly. I feel refreshed.” He stretched. “So, what shall we tip off next? Want to look for a blood stand?”
“Okay. They also sell blood at the store.”
“Good idea. I hope there’s a store nearby.”
“Dami, can I ask a question?”
“Hm?”
“Do you want this for me, or do you want this for yourself? Since you live on your own, I mean. Did you want us to know if you’re okay?”
Asul-Zenza’s eyes widened. “I didn’t even think of that being a possible usage. But that’s a great idea!” He started to smile. “You know, La-Iin, something I always worried about in the past was the possibility of something happening to me and nobody knowing. When I heard about this device, I thought it could come in handy for keeping tabs on you since you had just become friends with San-Kyung.”
“San-Kyung’s fine, you know.”
“But you saying that has lightened some of my fears. I could give one of those to you, and to Mit-Sun and my parents and my friends at the book club! Then I wouldn’t have to worry if something happened to me. If the people developing this product can make it work, then you all will know if something happened. I won’t have to worry about dying alone.”
“…”
“Oh look, there’s a blood stand over there!”
“Are you gonna use your blood power, Dami!?”
“I’ll try. Remember, I’ve only used this once in the past before. I don’t know what will happen now. Say, what power would you like me to try?”
“Animated Pumpkin!”
Asul-Zenza chuckled. “I should have known you’d suggest that. Two cartons of Animated Pumpkin, please.”
The man happily handed Asul-Zenza the cartons, and Asul-Zenza gave him his vuyong. “Now, let’s see if we can get this to work.”
Excitement coursed through La-Iin as Asul-Zenza began to down the blood.

—–
Mit-Sun relaxed at home, waiting for Asul-Zenza and La-Iin to come back. ‘They’ve been gone a long time, and dinner’s almost done. This is ridiculous. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s taking advantage!’
As if on cue, both entered the house.
“Hello, Mit-Sun! How were your results? Mine went off a few times, but not for everything. I wonder if it had to do with proximity.”
Mit-Sun huffed when she noticed La-Iin was holding a carton of blood. “Terrible. It barely went off for anything, and it only went off for one thing I’d be worried about with her. Everything else it went off for is something I’d never set it for.”
“I’m sorry, Mit-Sun. But the product is still in development. I’ll contact the company tomorrow.” He sniffed the air. “What smells so good?”
“Dinner, doofus.”
“Hey, there’s no need to resort to insults. You and I have been on more amicable terms lately.” Asul-Zenza sighed. “Mit-Sun, if I bought one of those devices for myself, would you hold on to one of the alarms?”
“Huh?”
“Er, never mind, I’ll talk with you about it later,” he said. “I suppose I should be going now. I’ll see you, La-Iin.”
“See you, Dami.”
Asul-Zenza collected the pieces of the device, waved, then opened the door and flew off.
“If only you two had arrived earlier. I planned on taking you for a walk downtown.”
“You suck, Mama! Why don’t you tell me about this stuff earlier!?”
Mit-Sun chuckled. “I didn’t want to break into your time with Asul-Zenza. Even I have my better days. Especially now that I’ve got a person who’ll lend an ear for me at work.”
‘Haner!?’ La-Iin kept the sentiment to herself.
“What do you say we have dinner? It’s got to be done by now.”
“What did you make? Something nasty?”
“Actually, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
‘Well, whatever that device did, La-Iin certainly seems a lot happier.’ Mit-Sun felt light as she walked into the kitchen with La-Iin.

27.482.La-Iin in my Life

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 482
“La-Iin in my Life”

La-Iin scarfed down breakfast that morning, checking the clock closely. If she didn’t rush, she would be late for school–and if she was late for school, she would stoke Mit-Sun’s ire. As she ate she tried to figure out how much time she would have left to get to school on time.
“You can be so lazy sometimes,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Whaff id oo ey!?” La-Iin protested.
“Swallow first.”
La-Iin swallowed. “How dare you! I’m always doing something! Someone like me always has to be. I go on walks with Choungetsu and I spend time with my friends at school and at their houses and at my house, sometimes…I do a whole bunch of things!”
“I know there’s a lot you do. That’s why I said ‘sometimes’. When you’re not doing anything you end up in your room looking like you fell asleep with your eyes open.”
“It’s how I plan for things.” She turned her nose up at Mit-Sun. “Fine then! You think I’m lazy? I’ll show you otherwise.”
“I never said you’re lazy all the time–”
“I’ll show you, Mama!” She finished the rest of her food, then rushed out the door at a speed Mit-Sun hadn’t expected her to have. Beside her, Choungetsu looked up with a concerned expression.
“I guess I made her mad,” Mit-Sun mused.

***

“I’ll show Mama, that rotten Normal. She thinks she’s better than me because she gave birth to me, she has another thing coming, I’ll show her thirty years from now, I will, maybe even less than that…”
“Whatcha mumbling about, La-Iin?”
“Nothing.” She glanced at Fer-Shi. “We’re friends, right, Fer-Shi?”
“Yeah, of course!”
“Because of that, I know you like me, but what do you think of me aside from that? What kind of opinion do you have of me as a person?”
“…well, this is pretty random,” she said. “Well, if you want me to be really honest…”
“Yes, I do.”
“Sometimes you can be really mean. You hate Normals because they don’t have any powers and you talk about wanting to rule the world and own slaves. You can be creepy too because you stalk San-Kyung around.”
La-Iin narrowed her eyes, but she listened closely to all of what Fer-Shi had to say. “Even though you have those aspects of your personality, I wouldn’t change them…well, maybe except the stalking thing…because they make you La-Iin. And when you’re not being evil, you can be pretty fun. You know a lot of ways to really entertain people and you’re a great friend even though you pick on me sometimes. So I think, if you’re like me and you can overlook what you don’t like, you’ll find what you do like is far more important!”
La-Iin nodded.
“Why’d you ask, anyway?”
“Morbid curiosity. I plan on asking other people too.”
“Okay. Well, actually, I don’t think you should ask Ai-Reia!”
“I’m going to, if I get the chance,” she said, running ahead of Fer-Shi. “But…thank you for telling me that.”
“You’re welcome!”

La-Iin had written down what Fer-Shi had told her to the best of her memory, then decided on who she should talk to next.
‘Most of these students mean nothing to me and I don’t care about their opinion. I know Ai-Reia’s pretty well, so maybe I should ask her next. Get her over with.’
“Ai-Reia.”
“Leave me alone, Cahongyun. It never gets through your head when I tell you how much I despise you, does it? You’d think with one as big as yours, it would.”
“I don’t want to bother you for long. I just want you to let it all out. I want you to tell me how much you hate me. Maybe then I’ll get it in my head. Or maybe I won’t. Would you rather take the chance or not take the chance?”
“Not, because I doubt it will change anything.”
“Well, if you don’t tell me, I think I’ll have to try and rush so I can sit next to you through the next classes.”
Ai-Reia narrowed her eyes. She walked away from her desk, beckoned to La-Iin, then slammed her against the wall.
“I hate you,” she spat. “I despise you. If I heard that you died I don’t think I’d care. In fact, I might even laugh in joy about being able to be free! You’ve caused a lot of confused feelings within me, La-Iin. Feelings I never wanted to deal with. Now I’m left wondering if I’m a monster because you drew out such hatred in me. But I’ll always know I’m better than you, if by nothing else of virtue that while I’m of sound mind, I will never kill you. I cannot guarantee such a thing the other way around. But then,” she let go of La-Iin, “I’m not even sure when exactly I am of sound mind. And there. That is my opinion of you.”
She stalked back to the classroom, looking somewhat relieved. La-Iin jot down her words immediately.

“Huh? You wanted to ask my opinion of what I think about you?”
“Yes. I remember that we worked together to find out about a Santa organization. I figured I needed to ask more people than I was going to, so I added you.”
“Huh, well, there’s not much I can say about my opinion on you,” Zae-Mia sighed. “I don’t really know you. But I guess if I had to talk about impressions, you remind me of one of those people who’s going to be a lot different as a kid than you are as an adult. I think how you grow up is going to be something very interesting to watch. You’re not too bad a kid, in short.”
“I see.”
“Well, that’s about all I have to say. Hey, do you have Molshei on the list of people you plan on asking?”
“Of course I do.”
Zae-Mia grinned. “Of course.”

“Rival-boy! I need you for something!”
“What do you need me for? If this is some sort of rivalry competition, I’m not interested.”
“It has nothing to do with that. I want to know your opinion on me.”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“Actually, with you, it’s the least obvious of everyone else I know.”
“I guess it isn’t that obvious, but you should still know what it is. Well, I think you’re incredibly annoying when it comes to this whole rivalry business. You’ve treated me pretty badly because of your kiddie crush on San-Kyung.”
“It’s not a kiddie crush!” La-Iin hissed.
“Go ahead and keep saying that. Anyway, even though you can be annoying, sometimes I think hanging out with you can be a little fun. I think we had the potential to be friends, and I’m a little ashamed of you for preventing that.”
“I wouldn’t be,” La-Iin scoffed.
“In short terms, you are one of the most annoying people I’ve ever met. But at the same time, I don’t feel like hanging out with you is wasting my time, except when you force me into rival battles. But that barely happens nowadays, so I’ve felt pretty good around you! Now if only you wouldn’t be so verbally abusive, I think I could take you any day. Happy? Because I have to get back to class and you don’t.”
“I’m never happy around you, rival-boy.”
“What about when San-Kyung’s there?” He waved. “See you later, La-Iin!”

La-Iin waited patiently for her chance to ask San-Kyung how he felt about her. Though she was certain the answer wouldn’t be anything surprising, she still anticipated it.
“While you’re waiting for Sanhuun, would you like to play with me?” Shuu-Kena asked.
“Why should I? I have other things I can do. Like wait for my last class. Besides, aren’t you shy?”
“A little. But I wouldn’t mind playing with you.”
La-Iin huffed. “No.”
“O-okay then. Well, talk to you later, Cahongyun!”
‘As if,’ La-Iin thought. ‘She really does think I’ll want to become her friend. She must be deluded. Or maybe she has potential…no, she has to be deluded.’

The moment La-Iin had been waiting for had come.
“San-Kyuuuung~ Tell me, how do you feel about me?”
“What.”
“I want your honest opinion of me. Don’t hold anything back. I want to hear it!”
“You just want to hear what you want to hear….ugh,” he groaned. “No.”
“Come on. When I say your honest opinion, I mean that. I listened to everyone else’s honest opinion of me. Didn’t I, rival-boy?”
“Sure you did, but you complained at me the entire time.”
“P…please?”
San-Kyung grimaced.
“Okay then. Fine! I take back my please.”
“That doesn’t work on me like it works on you. But fine, I’ll tell you. You’re my….friend, so I don’t hate you like I used to. I see you as very valuable to my future.”
The look of excitement on La-Iin’s face made him shudder. “But you annoy me a lot of the time. The sooner you drop the crush nonsense, the better.”
“That’s sad, San-Kyung. It’s not nonsense, and I’m never dropping it.”
“Then I’ll perpetually be irritated by you. But we’re still….ugh…friends, so whatever.”
La-Iin smiled.

On her way back home, while considering her options, La-Iin decided to stop by the graveyard.
“What do I think of you? Well, I think you’re one of my best friends. You and Fer-Shi and Choungetsu. And I really want to prove to you that I’m a ghost. You fill me with a determination I never had when I was alive. That’s kind of nice. I’m happy whenever you come to see me. You’re a good friend even if you’re evil.”
“You still have to give me definite proof, you know,” La-Iin told her.
“I’m working on it, when I’m not lost,” she chuckled. “I’ll try and figure something out, so you do it too, okay?”

‘The last place before home.’ La-Iin knocked on the door to the Astineth house after noticing it was locked. Once Sale-Dessu opened the door, she yelled, “Stop locking your door!”
“It’s security, La-Iin,” he said. “What if someone opens the door and sees Eul-Bok? You’re one thing, but strangers are another.”
“Most people would expect your door to be locked,” she said. “Anyway, I’m only coming in for something short. Where’s Eul-Bok?”
“Right here,” he called before running into the living room. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to ask you two’s opinion of me,” she said. “What do you two think of me as a person?”
Both gave each other confused glances. Sale-Dessu spoke first.
“You’re my ally. …and I would say a bit of a friend, but I don’t know if you would. I enjoy most of the times you come over. I’m glad that you’re someone who’s in my life. I don’t agree with all of your ideas, but I can overlook it.”
“I find you annoying, and I think you hinder my Father. The only compliment I can give you is that at least you’re better than Bes-Isa.”
La-Iin jotted down their words immediately. “You’re–you’re writing what I said down?”
“Yes. This was all for a project, after all.” She nodded to them. “Go back to your Warlocky stuff. We’ll probably see each other again soon, Sale-Dessu.”
“I guess so,” he said, sounding uncertain.

***

“Mama?”
“Yes, La-Iin? What took you so long to get back from school? Was there something going on?”
“You could say that,” she said, looking away from Mit-Sun. “Anyway, here’s proof that I can do something productive with my day! Opinions of me from anonymous sources.”
Mit-Sun picked up the notebook and began to squint at it. “I can’t read all of this,” she said.
“You’re impossible, Mama.”
“You know, I was just saying you’re lazy sometimes, right?”
“I know. But I won’t stand for that. So I did this. Are you happy?”
“I don’t really care,” she said. La-Iin pouted. “But I’m sure it took effort to ask these many people, so it’s quite an accomplishment. I can at least say you did something.”
“Good,” she said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a game to finish.”
Mit-Sun chuckled as she glanced through the notebook. ‘All to prove something to me…’

—–
“By the way, Mama, what do you think about me?”
“I think you know that already. Even though you can be annoying and almost impossible to deal with, I still love you. If I didn’t I would have given you away to Asul-Zenza.”
“You’re not that nice. You probably would have abandoned me.”
“Count yourself lucky I’m your mother and would never do that under any circumstance.”
“I’m not so sure I should,” La-Iin mused. Mit-Sun glared at her. “You know, sometimes I wonder what you think about me, too.”
“Now that should be obvious.”
“No, it really isn’t.”

22.477.Rainbow Fantasies

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 477
“Rainbow Fantasies”

At the back of Malicerie Public School, Deki-Tyunri stood a short distance away from San-Kyung. Nervousness had frozen his whole body, and though the situation was obvious he found himself wondering why exactly he was here.
“Elyshen, we need to talk,” San-Kyung said. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed how you act around me. Even if it had gone completely over my head, Dosa-Mina knew. He would have told me sooner or later.”
“I–I’m sorry,” Deki-Tyunri mumbled. “I know it’s ridiculous. I’ll leave you alone and we can pretend none of this ever happened, okay?”
“That’s not what I want, though.” Deki-Tyunri stiffened. ‘He’s going to kill me. I should fly away before he can reach me! Fly away as fast as I can!’
Yet he couldn’t bring himself to spread his wings. And now it was too late–he was face-to-face with San-Kyung.
“P-please don’t hurt me.”
“I’m not going to. Elyshen, I think you’ve got the wrong idea about what I want. All along you’ve been fearing what sort of response I might have if I found out about how you feel, but the truth is, now that I know I can safely say I….”

Before he could finish the sentence, Deki-Tyunri woke up.
“Deki-Tyunri, is everything all right?”
He was so nervous it took him a short while to realize that his grandmother was in his bedroom. He took a few deep gulps of air. “I’m fine, grandmother,” he said. “I just had a…strange dream.”
“Oh, well, I suppose that happens to boys your age sometimes,” she sighed. “Just clean yourself off and get ready for school.”
‘Clean myself off?’ Once he realized what his grandmother was implying, he almost threw himself back into bed in his embarrassment.

***

“Deki-Tyunri, you seem pretty jittery today. Something happen?”
“No,” he sighed. “I wish it was that. Then at least it would make more sense.”
“Upset about nothing?”
“No, not exactly that. I just had a…dream.”
“Ooh. Uh, I’m not gonna ask then.”
Deki-Tyunri pressed his lips together. ‘Lirako’s lucky she doesn’t have to deal with this. Or maybe she does and I just haven’t noticed. No, I’m sure she would have told me by now if that was the case.’
Deki-Tyunri’s memory of the dream was still fairly vivid, as if he had just woken up from it. When he spotted San-Kyung on the path to school, unconsciously he moved away from him, the dream replaying in his mind.
‘I know I promised I wouldn’t ask, but I’m so curious,’ Lirako thought.

San-Kyung watched as Deki-Tyunri walked over to Lirako’s left, shooting a quick, nervous glance in his direction before walking on, staring down at his feet. San-Kyung narrowed his eyes.
“What are you so angry about?” Dosa-Mina asked.
“Nothing,” he said. “I’m just thinking.”
“About what? Is it serious?”
“No. It’s stupid.” He said, shaking his head. “So, do you think the lessons today are going to be anything new, or more of the same?”
“More of the same. They tend to do this a lot when new students arrive. Sure makes things easy for us though, doesn’t it?”

***

‘I can’t get it out of my head. The dream’s passed already! All the others fade away, so why is this one staying?’
Though it only made his nervousness worse, throughout that day Deki-Tyunri couldn’t help but glance San-Kyung’s way. Each time it reminded him of the dream and made him feel immensely uncomfortable, yet he couldn’t resist the urge.
“Deki-Tyunri, are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” he sighed. “Just…lovesick as always, I guess.”
“Ah.”
A few desks away from him, San-Kyung tapped Dosa-Mina’s shoulder.
“Huh? What is it, San-Kyung?”
“I’ve been wondering about something,” he whispered. “Why the heck does that guy keep looking my way? None of the other students do that.”
“La-Iin does that,” he said.
“She’s at the back of the class. And I expect that of her. Why’s he doing it?”
“I’m pretty sure I know why. But that’s for him to tell you. You’ll have to ask him if you want the truth.”
“No.”
“Then don’t get huffy about it.”
“I’m not!”
“Yes, you are.”
‘I wonder what they’re talking about,’ Deki-Tyunri wondered. ‘Oh, Dslellular’s so lucky. He gets to talk to him all the time. One day I should try asking him about how they got so close in the first place. Maybe…’
He shook his head. ‘No, that would never happen! I need to stop getting my hopes up. I wish today would be over already…’

San-Kyung wasn’t sure of why Deki-Tyunri kept glancing in his direction, but he found himself quickly becoming agitated by it. An idea of why he might be doing so had wormed its way into his mind, and he couldn’t stand it.
He was caught between a reluctance to talk to the boy and a desire to confront him about his suspicions, and throughout his classes he was unable to decide which one he should follow through with. But his agitation only grew each time he spotted him glancing in his direction, and by his second-to-last class he had finally reached a decision.
“Lirako, I need something to distract me. Do you have any ideas?”
“My little brothers are the perfect distraction. You wanna come over after school?”
“I guess that would be okay.”
“If that doesn’t work, then you still need to do something that commands full attention of your senses. If you sit down with a book, you’re just going to keep thinking about the same thing over and over. At least, that’s how it is for me.”
“You’re right,” he sighed. “I think I’ll accept your offer to come over, Lirako. I hope your parents won’t mind.”
“They like you, Deki-Tyunri. They’ll be cool with it.”
“Alright. …you know, I wish this stupid crush would just go away.”
“This has been going on for over a year, Deki-Tyunri. It’s pretty serious. I don’t know what you can do about it really, save for get a crush on some other guy.”
“Which could help,” he said. “Or it could leave me as a wishy-washy idiot with crushes on two boys. This is pointless, Lirako. I just don’t want to think about it anymore.”
“Well, try not to. You kinda have to focus during school. Don’t want your grades to slip any, do ya?”
“No, I suppose not.” As they walked into the classroom, Deki-Tyunri couldn’t help another glance in San-Kyung’s direction. ‘This is so pathetic,’ he thought.
The last class started and ended, and both San-Kyung and Deki-Tyunri failed to give their full attention to the lesson. Almost as soon as the teacher had left the room, San-Kyung stood up from his seat.
“Hey, you forgot to pack your notebooks,” Dosa-Mina said.
“I’ll get them in a little. I have something I need to do first.”
Deki-Tyunri helped Lirako as she packed away her school supplies, picking up one of her notebooks in his mouth. He dropped the notebook when he noticed San-Kyung standing in front of his desk, his gaze focused on him.
Lirako looked as surprised as Deki-Tyunri felt.
“Quit glancing in my direction. You’re a distraction.”
“I–I’m sorry,” Deki-Tyunri choked out.
“And are you–” San-Kyung shook his head. “Never mind. Just quit glancing in my direction.”
“Hey, it’s your fault you’re getting distracted. Stop blaming him.”
“You know, if he’s glancing in my direction, he’s obviously pretty distracted himself. So stop it.”
Before San-Kyung walked away, his expression changed to one Deki-Tyunri couldn’t quite read. He watched on in confusion as San-Kyung left the classroom, Dosa-Mina chasing after him.
“I wonder what he was going to ask me?” Deki-Tyunri mumbled.
“Deki-Tyunri, he may be an idiot when it comes to relationships, but he’s still one of the smartest students in Class D. He’s gonna pick up on how you feel eventually.”
“Is he…?”
“I think so. You should be careful. I don’t wanna know how he’d react to knowing that. Maybe he’ll cut you some slack, though. He’s not as mean to Cahongyun as he used to be.”
La-Iin glared at Lirako before leaving the classroom.
“He is right, though. I’m just getting distracted.” Deki-Tyunri stood up from his desk. “I think the sooner I get to see your brothers, the better.”
“If that’s the case, let’s get going, then!”

—–
“What were you talking to Elyshen about?”
“I just told him to stop staring my way. It’s annoying.”
“I didn’t think you were so easily distracted by stuff like that.”
“I’m not usually. He just had me wondering…”
“About what?”
“Nothing important.”
San-Kyung grimaced. ‘That had better not be the case. Yukkini was bad enough, and La-Iin’s annoying. He may be out of the way, but I’m not dealing with a third of them!’
San-Kyung tried to put his speculation out of mind as he head home with Dosa-Mina, who began to complain about Hyungdarou’s lesson from that day.

19.474.Bes-Isa and Asul-Zenza

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 474
“Bes-Isa and Asul-Zenza”

“Hey, La-Iin.”
“What do you want? I have to study tonight or else stupid Hyungdarou’s gonna yell at me at school tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry, this won’t consume much of your time. I was wondering if you could put me on the phone with Asul-Zenza.”
La-Iin stared at her. “Why?”
“There are some things I’d like to talk with him about, and if I ask you to ask him to come over, that woman will be mad and you’ll be all over him before I can get to him. So I’m asking.”
“What do you want to talk with Dami about?”
“Adult stuff.”
La-Iin glared. “How can you? You’re younger than me, you know.”
“So is Eul-Bok, but he’s got a mentality about the same age as you. Age doesn’t really matter to us V-Puppets, in case you hadn’t noticed. I thought age didn’t matter much to you either.”
“If it doesn’t matter to you, then why do you always try to act like you’re superior to me?” La-Iin grumbled.
“Look, can I talk to him or not?”
“Fine, you can. But I’m gonna ask Dami what you talked about later. And if Mama catches you on the phone, it’s not my fault.”
“…that would be annoying if she did. And anyway, wouldn’t that get YOU in trouble?”
With a huff, La-Iin lifted Bes-Isa into the air and took her with her downstairs and into the kitchen. Mit-Sun was not in the kitchen, something Bes-Isa was happy to see. La-Iin dialed Asul-Zenza’s number.
“Hello, Dami. I’m fine. No, I didn’t call to talk to you. I wish I did, but I have to study. I called so that someone else could talk to you. ….no, it’s not San-Kyung. I’ll put her on the phone now. We can talk again later, okay Dami?”
She put Bes-Isa up against the phone and left the kitchen.
“Hello.”
“Bes-Isa? You wanted to call me?”
“Yes.”
“What for? I can understand La-Iin or Mit-Sun, but I can’t understand why you would want to do such a thing.”
“Because I have things to talk with you about. When it comes to the people I know, not all of them I’d trust with talking about everything. La-Iin wouldn’t get some of it, or she’d get angry. We may be the best of friends, but we don’t talk about everything anymore. I’ve got another….’friend’, but I’d rather not let him in on all that’s going on in my head. The rest of the people I know are acquaintances, and of those acquaintances I figured you’d be the one who’d be most suited to listening to me.”
“If there’s something wrong, I’d be glad to talk with you about it. I have the time, although I’, leaving for a short trip at about nine.”
“It won’t take THAT long. Alright, well, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things, mostly about what I’d do with my life if I could move my body. I know, after so many years of nobody discovering anything it’s probably ridiculous to think that V-Puppets could ever gain autonomy. But hey, I’m stuck with a girl who has a lifespan of a thousand years. Maybe someone will figure something out within that time.”
“I suppose it would be possible. Witches and Warlocks are always making new discoveries, not to mention the countless other people who work to find out these sorts of things.”
“Yeah…anyway, I’m going to ask you a little bit about your experiences with being autonomous.”
“Alright. What do you want to know?”
“What did you do to court that woman? I hate to bring that up since it involves her, but I’m curious. It might be helpful information for the future.”
“T-to court her? Well, I, um…didn’t.”
“You what?”
“I didn’t! The both of us were completely unaware of the other’s feelings until the confession. I did not act on my feelings until we were already committed. So I wouldn’t know much about the process of courtship.”
“Damn. And here I was hoping you could give me some tips.”
“Why is that something you want to know, anyway?”
“I wanted tips in case my dream of autonomy ever comes true. But whatever. Tell me, Asul-Zenza, is it freeing to be able to fly through the sky, travel wherever you like? Is it nice to not be tied down and have the freedom to go wherever you want?”
“It’s lovely, Bes-Isa. But you do need to work in order to reach that point. The only reason I can travel as freely as I do is because I have the vuyong to do so. Believe me when I say I was not traveling everywhere I could when I first left my parents’ house. You need to secure yourself before you can have true freedom.”
“Before I can have true freedom, I need to be free of La-Iin. By that time, if she’s taken over the world, I won’t have much of that. Though she’s talked about giving bargains to people she cares about, so who knows.”
“Erm…is there anything else you wanted to know about?”
“Yes, of course. Did you feel tied down by Mit-Sun and La-Iin? Just curious.”
“No, not particularly. I enjoyed my time in my relationship with her, for the most part, and I was far more excited for La-Iin than she was, as you may have heard. I only ever felt tied down when she would refuse my offers to travel with her. There were many things I wanted to do with Mit-Sun that I never got to, yet we did do a lot of the things that she wanted to do…you may know that’s the reason La-Iin came about.”
“TMI, Asul-Zenza!”
“Sorry, sorry! In any event, to answer your question quickly–sometimes.”
“Huh.”
“I would figure that feeling tied down depends on the person you are with. My parents seem perfectly free with each other.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Okay, I want to get off soon ’cause this is inconvenient, but there’s something else that’s been nagging at my mind.”
“Yes?”
“With all the freedom you have, how do you know what to do with yourself? I can imagine having some sort of plan laid out ahead of time, but when you have the ability to do anything you want, don’t you get overwhelmed?”

Asul-Zenza chuckled. “Maybe a little at first. But you figure it out. Sometimes you just need to let things take their course. Of course, when you have an interest such as traveling, every day can be an adventure. It can be hard to plan when narrowing it down to places you haven’t been still leaves you with many choices!”
“I can imagine.”
“You do figure it out in due time, however. I always try to plan where I’m going ahead of time, either that or I go on an aimless flight. Sometimes that happens. But, Bes-Isa, while we’re on this subject…”
“Hm?”
“I’m sure there are things you can find to do while you’re like this. I’m certain hearing about all the adventures the people around you can have distresses you at times. You must feel restless, stuck in one place.”
“I do. But at the same time, I’m used to it. I don’t know anymore…”
“I say find something else to do with your time as well. La-Iin is not the only one who will be living that long life. She has you as well–something I’m grateful for given she doesn’t have many others. But I’m sure she will spend a good amount of that time away from you. Try and take advantage of the chances you get with her. Ask her to take you somewhere, or to help you do something. Have you ever considered writing? It might work for someone in your situation.”
“Yeah, but I have no inspiration whatsoever.”
“If you ever find some, I’d be glad to help you pen your story. If La-Iin isn’t willing to, anyway.”
“I doubt she would be. …it was nice to talk to you, Asul-Zenza. Now scram!”
“That I will! Until the next time we meet, Bes-Isa. I hope your days until then are good ones.”
“I do too. And you know, lately I’ve been feeling like life’s been just a little bit more fun. Maybe things are looking up for me, who knows?”

—–
“I’m not gonna let you do that again, you know.”
“Hey, what if I WANT to talk to him again?”
La-Iin glared. “You don’t like goody-goodies. You said it yourself. Even I put up with goody-goodies better than you do. Dami is a goody-goody. So what’s with this?”
“Asul-Zenza may be an annoying goody-goody, but he’s very calming. I have to say, he’s a good person to talk to when you have to get something off your chest. You should try it sometime.”
“I talk to Dami plenty.” She turned away from Bes-Isa. “But not nearly as much as I’d like to.”
“He’s a good person to talk to, goody-goody or not. One thing that’s good about goody-goodies is that the really good ones aren’t judgmental. They’re so easy to manipulate, and so easy to talk to, too.”
“You’re not manipulating my Dami.”
“How could I? Ah, but I guess whether I call him again or not depends on you. So I should count myself lucky I got to talk with him today in the first place.”
“We’ll see how things go, Bes-Isa,” La-Iin said.

18.473.Treasures of the Astineth House

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 473
“Treasures of the Astineth House”

“Well, La-Iin, I did as much research as I possibly could,” Sale-Dessu said, presenting La-Iin with a stack of papers. La-Iin glanced up at him.
“I have a bit of difficulty figuring out things if I don’t have the ability to research them up close and personal, but I do have a lot of reference books. I looked in to most everything about Animated Pumpkins, transformations and…’affective energies’, well, most everything I could find anyway. All these papers detail it quite well I think, but I could go over it with you. I just figured you’d rather read it yourself.”
“This is good enough,” she said. “But I bet you wrote them boring.”
“What would you expect? They’re research papers.”
“Boring works,” she said. “It’s what I need, anyway.”
“Why did you want me to look into all of this, anyway? Is there some particular reason, or were you just curious?”
“I have my reasons, but I’m not telling you. And don’t get on my case. It has nothing to do with world domination, this time.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means what I said.”
“You know, La-Iin, you could be a bit more grateful,” Eul-Bok said. “Father worked day and night looking into all this for you. He was super-determined and he ended up skipping projects he planned on working on just so he could look into all this stuff you asked him to peek at.”
While Eul-Bok complained, La-Iin’s eye caught a potion sitting on a shelf nearby her. It was an interesting shade of green, and she couldn’t help but wonder about its contents.
“…not to mention that Father’s sleep-deprived enough without forcing himself to work for you!”
“That’s enough, Eul-Bok. My straining myself wasn’t La-Iin’s fault at all. It’s just my own stubbornness. I learned a few interesting things while looking into it. I don’t think it was a lost cause at all.” Sale-Dessu blinked. “What are you looking at, La-Iin?”
“That potion,” she said, pointing at it. “What does it do?”
“Oh, I haven’t used that one yet,” he said. “But it’s intended to be a growth potion. Issue is, I wasn’t paying attention to what I made it grow. So I don’t know what sort of effect it might have. That’s why I leave it up there.”
“Your house is just a treasure trove of completely useless junk, isn’t it?”
“It’s not useless!” Eul-Bok protested.
“Calm down, Eul-Bok. And I don’t think it’s all useless.”
“It does make your house an interesting place to look at, I will admit. Just by walking into your living room you can see all sorts of bookshelves. Around the house there are all sorts of gadgets and some potions. Not to mention the garbage you have in your backyard.”
Sale-Dessu gave her an uncertain look.
“I wonder what sort of treasures we could find if we looked around for a while? La-Iin, mind walking me around the house?”
“No,” she said, standing up. La-Iin walked away from the meeting room and into Sale-Dessu’s living room. Feeling slightly panicked, he stood up and chased after them, Eul-Bok on his heels.
“Tell me, Sale-Dessu, I’m curious. The books in these shelves–are all of them spell books, or are some of them books for some other purpose?”
“I keep my spell books upstairs,” he said. “All these books are for other purposes.”
“Say, do they make unusable books to teach Warlocks how to use their powers?”
Sale-Dessu panted, but did not respond.
“Ah well, it doesn’t matter. Why don’t we take a look around somewhere it’s a little more interesting?”
“Okay,” La-Iin said. “Sale-Dessu, you can be like a guide. Tell us what we want to know.”
“I didn’t agree to this!” He complained.
La-Iin walked into the kitchen. “Hey, you know how to make mincemeat pie. Can you make anything you want to make? What do you use?”
“If I tell you, will that make you stop this sooner?”
“Yes,” La-Iin said. “Why do you want me to stop, though? I love finding out the extent of your powers.”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “I just didn’t expect you to start running around my house, is all….well, I can’t make things I don’t know exist, but I can make most anything. I keep my supplies for making food inside of here…”
Sale-Dessu opened a cabinet and a drawer. Both were filled with what La-Iin and Bes-Isa could only consider junk.
“It may look weird to you, but this is what I persist off of,” he said.
“Yeah, he needs it being as shy as he is,” Eul-Bok said.
“Eul-Bok, please.”
“Sorry, Father. But I can’t help but pick on that part of you! It’s so funny!”
“That little brat snapped at me about not having respect for the person who brought me to life, and yet look at him! I think I have more respect for you than Eul-Bok does.”
“I’m not so sure I’d agree…”
“You didn’t make the mincemeat pie out of garbage, did you?”
“Not garbage, no. Just…random items. La-Iin, didn’t you know I did that already?”
“I forgot,” she said. “Okay, what about these potions? What do these potions do?”
“These five? This is also for food-related purposes. Helps with the flavoring when I get it a little off. The rest are liquid condiments.”
“Sounds disgusting.”
“I’m going somewhere else.” La-Iin dashed out the kitchen and head upstairs. Sale-Dessu followed close after her.
“Tell me about the garbage in your closet.”
“I don’t even know where to begin sorting through that stuff,” he said. “It’s all early stuff. Both from when I first moved here, and from…from my childhood, as well.”
“Not that again. Say, got any other neat potions for us to look at? Anything more substantial in its effects?”
“Can you show us some spell books?”
Sale-Dessu sighed. “I guess if you’re asking for that, there’s one room that has it all. But you’ve been in there before.”
“I haven’t been in there in a while. Show me!”
Sale-Dessu led the way into a room covered with shelves, all with books and potions and various items stacked neatly into every shelf. The floor was slightly dirty, but the room itself was well-organized.
“I suppose there’s such a thing as organized hoarding,” Bes-Isa said.
“If you want to see potions, then I’ll show you this one,” Sale-Dessu said, pulling from the shelf a potion that was a whitish pink. “This potion I’ve never used, but I just had to make it. It’s a potion that’s supposed to help with old age.”
“Did you make it for when you get old and grey?”
Sale-Dessu looked surprised for a moment, but then smiled. “I…guess so.”
“What about spell books?”
“Showing you spell books would be useless, La-Iin. You wouldn’t be able to read them, and even if you could it’s not like there would be any point in you doing that.”
“Why not?”
“Well, first off it’s written in the Warlock language. And second, Vampires don’t need spell books to activate their powers.”
“Can you show me what one does?”
“Spell books can do a lot of things, La-Iin. I could show you, but what would I show you?”
“Something.”
“While La-Iin thinks on that, mind telling me what those other potions do?”
“I don’t mind. This blue one here is supposed to be medicinal, but I made it when I was young and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since. I don’t remember what it was supposed to help with. And these ones right here are supposed to induce certain emotions. This one is for happiness, if I remember correctly.”
“Now you’ve got Father going off on a tangent,” Eul-Bok sighed. “I hope you’re happy.”
“I’m happy every time you’re not. Hey, Sale-Dessu, how many of these potions have you actually used or intend on using? You seem to have a lot of ones that you made when you were younger that have been stagnating.”
“I mostly make potions for the fun of it, I will admit,” he said. “Though recently I’ve been making a lot of medicinal potions. Both for Eul-Bok, and for my Ap–”
“Your what? Who’s this other person, Sale-Dessu?”
“Ah–”
“I know!” La-Iin said. “Show me the most powerful thing you can do with a spell book without destroying your room.”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “Um…alright, then.” He grabbed a spell book from the shelf and began to chant, his eyes slowly closing. La-Iin watched closely as the light in the room began to brighten. Sale-Dessu’s face twitched and it began to flicker before going out altogether.
“Er, I suppose I should have told you what this might do to my house first,” he said.
“Father…”
“Well, I guess that puts an end to our little treasure hunt. The most interesting room in your house has gone dark!”
“Yes, it has…I power this room with that ability, you see. I messed up and now the light is out. I’ll have to fix that…”
“Your house is quite a veritable treasure trove.”
“And it proves you have a lot of power, too. Useless powers, but also interesting powers. You are certainly a great ally.”
“Thank you, La-Iin.”
“I think you’ll be very helpful in the future,” she said. “But I guess I should go home now. I wanna look over those papers before I use them for what I need them for.”
“Are you going to tell me what that is anytime soon?”
“There will be a day I’ll fill you in on everything, Sale-Dessu. But for now, we still have to keep secrets from each other.”
“I…suppose we do.”
“Like this ‘Ap’ person?”
“But I look forward to our continued assistance of our causes. I have great plans for you, Sale-Dessu.”
“You make me wonder with the things you say sometimes.”
“One day, Sale-Dessu. One day….now can you help me get out of this room?”

—–
“La-Iin, you seem to have taken quite a genuine liking to Sale-Dessu. I thought he was just a means to an end.”
“He is,” La-Iin said, her eyes scanning the papers Sale-Dessu had given her. “But after the disappointment of Ai-Reia, it’s nice to have someone who actually works with me. Even when he gets irritated, he still does what I ask like the spineless fool he is.”
“Heh, I like that nickname.”
“His goodness reminds me of Fer-Shi’s, too,” she said. “And I might have a bit of a weak spot for her brand of goodness.”
“Weakling.”
“I won’t let it bog me down. You’ll see.”