14.622.Events of a Dslellular Monday

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 622
“Events of a Dslellular Monday”

Dosa-Mina sat at the dinner table, trying his best to focus on the book he was reading. It was quite difficult. Though he was interested in the book, he couldn’t erase what had happened just two days ago from his mind.
“WERESIREN!”
He hadn’t been able to talk to San-Kyung about it at first, but he should have known that he wasn’t going to get off just hanging up on him. San-Kyung had discovered the truth earlier that day after school, and though he did his best to calm him down, it was still on his mind.
‘But she kept her promise….right?’ Nobody else at school had shown any signs of knowing the truth about his species, and though Lirako shot several sly smirks in his direction during class she never spoke to or about him, not even to Airy-Aekok. In that sense he wanted to trust her and feel that everything would be alright, but a part of him felt that even if she did keep his species a secret he’d never feel quite as comfortable as he had before.
It seemed like each time he finished something interesting those thoughts raced through his head and such memories replayed in his mind.
He only got a break from the mental war when a knock sounded at the door. He was expecting to see San-Kyung, especially as he had seemed as though he was still concerned when he head home that day, but instead who greeted him was Sirlie-Baecho, a wide smile on her face.
“Yo, Dosa-Mina! Good to see ya.” Her smile lessened. “You don’t look so good. Get enough sleep?”
“Aha, not really. What brings you here again, Sirlie?”
“Can’t a girl visit her best friend? You might have San-Kyung too, but I’m still here, remember!”
“Yeah, I know.” Her words made him contemplate talking to her about what happened, but he was reluctant to. He could imagine Sirlie-Baecho cursing Lirako and Airy-Aekok, and he didn’t want them to hold that against him and tell the entire school. ‘That can wait, then…’
“Actually, though, it’s a little more than that.” Her expression became serious. “I finally met pumpkin-boy last week, and he was kind of a jerk.”
“That’s San-Kyung for you,” he chuckled.
“Ever since then, I’ve been feeling super-competitive! What does a jerk like him have over me when it comes to the friend department!? So I’ve decided on two things: either I’m gonna confront him myself again, or I’m gonna show him up when it comes to being your friend!”
Dosa-Mina’s eyes widened. “Why!?”
“Well, he does understand you, yeah. Least it seems that way. I’m jealous, okay!? I don’t get what makes him so reliable! He seems like a big jerk! Didn’t you say you two started out hating each other?”
“Yeah, we did.”
“So why? Why are you so close now?” Sirlie-Baecho sighed.
“We just are. I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ve told you, Sirlie, that doesn’t devalue our friendship at all. It’s just different.”
Sirlie-Baecho gave him a blank stare. “…if you’d tell me if it was that for certain, at least I’d understand…”
“Huh?”
“It’s nothing. I just…I just wanna be as important to you as he is,” Sirlie-Baecho said. “And that’s why now I’ve decided for sure. I’m gonna go confront him myself and we’ll see who’s the better friend!”
She spread her wings and head for the door. “What the–!? Hey, Sirlie!”
“C’mon, Dosa-Mina! Tell me where ‘e lives!”
“No! I don’t want you confronting him! You two are both pretty powerful. I don’t want you hurting each other!”
“I ain’t gonna hurt him unless he does something to hurt me first!”
‘And he probably will!’ Dosa-Mina bit back that retort.
“My only purpose is t’ go and see if one of us cares for you more. It’s morbid curiosity!”
“Oh, seriously, Sirlie! I get that you’re jealous, but I’ve told you before, you two are both very important to me. Just for different reasons!”
“I…I know that, but sometimes it just feels like…”
“San-Kyung and I trust each other a lot. We are very close, but we could never have the same kind of relationship I have with you. You’re like a sister to me. And you two are both important to me, so I don’t want you two hurting each other because you don’t like each other. You don’t have to like him just because I do.”
Sirlie-Baecho sighed. “I hear ya…I’m tellin’ ya, though, I wasn’t planning on starting trouble with him. Just seeing if one of us cared about you more.”
Dosa-Mina shook his head. “That’s silly.”
“Maybe it sounds silly to you, but I keep thinkin’ about it…”
Dosa-Mina gave a sigh of his own. “Sirlie, maybe you’ll believe me if I tell you about a little problem I have right now.”
“Huh?”
“But you have to promise me that you won’t go hunting these people down to curse them. It’s really important that you hear me out all the way on this.”
“Uh…if it’s that important to you, then sure. I’m always willin’ to lend an ear, but are you sure you want to tell me? I know ya don’t really like talking about your problems…”
“I’m sure. But let’s go to my bedroom just in case my parents get back while we’re talking. I don’t want them knowing for now.”

As Dosa-Mina expected, Sirlie-Baecho was utterly furious to learn of the incident, but she held to her promise that she wouldn’t go hunting down Lirako and Airy-Aekok.
“But the moment they tell everyone in the school,” she said, “you call me and I’ll curse ’em with the worst one I know.”
Still, Sirlie-Baecho seemed to believe him now that he valued both her and San-Kyung, so at least that situation was resolved. ‘And I guess I was able to get that off of my shoulders…’
Though it concerned him that Sirlie-Baecho had left his house yelling that she was going to learn more curses.

***

“Hi, Dosa-Mina!”
“We got home at around the same time today. What a coincidence, huh?”
“Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.” Dosa-Mina said.
“Have you been reading this entire time?”
“Almost the entire time. There’s a lot to learn about Witches, so it’s best to get started early!”
“I guess.”
“Witches are really confusing to me. Their powers sometimes seem to defy logic. But at least most of them have a reasonable explanation. The ones that nobody knows how they work, those bother me.”
He turned back to the book. Elai-Riya relaxed in a chair next to him. When she glanced in his direction, she noticed his wrist. A scar was visible on it.
‘Something’s just not right about those scars.’ Ever since she had first spotted one on Dosa-Mina’s wrist, she had been concerned, and she knew Orlin-Aesth was too, though he didn’t bring it up as much in front of Dosa-Mina.
“Hey, Dosa-Mina, is there anything you wanted to do today?”
“Hm? I’m not sure. Why do you ask?”
“Well, you and Sirlie-Baecho seem to be getting along lately. Why don’t you go and see her?”
“Actually, she was over here just earlier. And I think she’s practicing curses right now.”
“How much do you know about curses?”
“I know a bit. I know they’re not the kind of curses you hear about in fiction, for one. Why do you ask?”
“No reason. I was just thinking you should get out. You seemed really down over the Weekend. Maybe you need some fresh air.”
“Um…? Well, I guess I could read my book outside.”
“That sounds like a good idea.”
Dosa-Mina smirked. “Are you trying to set up some sort of surprise for me?”
“No, of course not!”
Dosa-Mina’s smirk turned into a grin. “I see. I guess I will go read outside then!” He took the book and head outside.
“Perfect.”
“Why’d you send him outside, Elai-Riya?”
Elai-Riya sighed. “I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, Orlin-Aesth. Dosa-Mina’s behavior sometimes, those scars on his wrists, and that time we found blood on his bed…I’m worried I know what it all means, and I just need to either…prove or disprove those fears, you know?”
Orlin-Aesth’s face steeled. “I…I understand. We should look quickly, though. There’s no telling when he’ll come back inside.”
The two head into Dosa-Mina’s room and began to check his books, pictures and anything that might be hiding an item they hoped they wouldn’t find. Orlin-Aesth had just moved aside a picture when he heard Elai-Riya gasp behind him.
She was staring blankly at a kitchen knife.
Both of them had no idea of how to react to what they had just found. The knife didn’t appear to be clean and had obviously been hidden. Orlin-Aesth noticed that Elai-Riya had started to cry, and he pulled her close.
“…we have to talk to him about this,” Elai-Riya said.

—–
Dosa-Mina came back inside, feeling in a surprisingly good mood. ‘Maybe going outside was what I needed. Mom had a good idea! Speaking of, I wonder if there’s something she wants to surprise me with.’
He spotted both his parents sitting at the table, though their expressions were more serious than he was expecting. He took a seat across from them.
“Is something wrong? ….hey, is Auntie Tebi-Miya alright?”
“Auntie Tebi-Miya’s been fine for a while now, Dosa-Mina. She’d tell me if something changed.” Elai-Riya said.
Orlin-Aesth motioned to the table. Dosa-Mina looked down.
The blade that was sitting there was startlingly familiar.
“Wha–”
“Dosa-Mina, you need to talk to us about this!” Elai-Riya said.
“Wha….what?” He tried to force a chuckle. “This isn’t…you’ve got the…”
‘There’s no weaseling out off this one.’
Dosa-Mina lowered his head. He wasn’t sure what to say. There wasn’t even the right kind of fear to prompt some sort of response from him. His parents were some of the last people he wanted to know about this.
How could he possibly reduce the damage done here? There was nothing he could do. They knew now, and they weren’t going to leave him alone until he explained himself.
All he could offer in this situation was an excuse.

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4.612.Sirlie and San

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 612
“Sirlie and San”

“It’s great to have you over again, San-Kyung!” Dosa-Mina chirped.
“You visited me when I was sick. I don’t mind doing the same. Especially since you have an avian sickness.”
“Yeah. But don’t worry! I don’t feel as sick as I have the past few days. My chest feels a lot better and I’m not coughing nearly as much! You could have just called, but I do appreciate the visit lots.”
“It is good that you came over, San-Kyung. I had to work recently and Elai-Riya’s been a little…germaphobic since he has an avian sickness.”
“She’s been watching me plenty though. Say, San-Kyung? Are you wanting to do something while you’re over, or are you just going to stare at me until I get better?”
“I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m not sure what I came over for aside from ‘You’re sick’. I don’t usually come over for these sorts of things.”
“That’s a perfectly valid reason, you know.”
A knock sounded at the door.
“I’ll get it!” Orlin-Aesth said. He walked over to the door. Dosa-Mina’s eyes began to glance around the room.
“Soooo….any chance you had ulterior motives?”
“Huh?”
“I mean, you wanted to know anything about Operation Reboot. I’ve been bedridden after all, so I’ve had a lot of time to sit down with a book. And of course I’ve been looking into our main field of study.”
“Actually, no. But if you were looking into it–”
“Aw!” Dosa-Mina pulled San-Kyung close. “That’s so nice of you, San-Kyung.”
“I–”
San-Kyung’s response was cut short by a sudden blur zipping a short distance past the two. The blur turned back and stopped in front of them.
“Hey, Dosa-Mina! Why didn’t you tell me you had feather flu!? My family’s basically got the perfect remedy for that, I thought you knew!”
“Sirlie-Baecho?”
“You could’ve come to us and–” Sirlie-Baecho’s eyes fell on San-Kyung. “Oh. I see.”
San-Kyung grit his teeth.
“Sorry to interrupt! I’ll be out of here purr-onto.”
“Hey, wait a second, Sirlie!”
Sirlie-Baecho turned around. “What, I’m needed in your little tizzy?”
“No, it’s just nice to see you! How’d you know I have feather flu?”
“Yer Mom told me on her way to work today. And so I came here! We Xartas have the perfect family remedy for feather flu. Clears it up in ten hours! Most ‘a the time, anyway.”
“I wish I had known. I would’ve gone to you right away. It was really bad two days ago, but now I feel a lot better!”
“Well, at least you’re recoverin’.” Sirlie-Baecho narrowed her eyes at San-Kyung. “What’s with the glare, pumpkin-boy?”
“Oh, I thought I told you, San-Kyung’s not all that friendly with people.”
“Hypocrite. Stop glaring at me, then.”
Sirlie-Baecho scoffed. “No kidding. And I remember, you told me that. But hey, we’re both here for the same reason, right? At least I was assuming up until I saw that display…”
“You’re here for the same reason,” Dosa-Mina giggled.
“Hey, is she staying?” San-Kyung asked, his tone one of disbelief.
“Well, me and Sirlie don’t see each other all that often any more. And besides, since you two both have simple reasons for visiting me, I’m sure it won’t be that much of a problem if you’re both in here at the same time!”
“I wouldn’t think so!” Sirlie-Baecho said. “Although I think pumpkin-boy might think otherwise.”
San-Kyung huffed and turned his glare on Dosa-Mina. “Aw, come on, just give it a shot. I’m not asking you to make friends with her. And besides, you put up with my parents.”
San-Kyung sighed. “Fine. But don’t expect me to stay long.”
‘Ah…in hindsight, this was probably a terrible idea.’ He could already see it from the contrasting expressions on his friends’ faces–a happy one on Sirlie-Baecho’s and one of agitation on San-Kyung’s.

***

Even knowing it hadn’t been the best idea to welcome both of his close friends to stay, Dosa-Mina had already decided he wasn’t going to back down from it. ‘If either Sirlie or San-Kyung wants to leave, they’re welcome to! I can’t stop them!’
So after the initial surprise of Sirlie-Baecho’s invitation to stay had worn off, Dosa-Mina turned instead to making drinks. From the kitchen, he could hear Sirlie-Baecho and San-Kyung talking. Curiosity stayed his hand and he stopped making the drinks to listen.
“So, pumpkin-boy. I get that you aren’t the biggest fan of people–”
“If you get that much, then you should be able to get that that also includes you.”
Sirlie-Baecho sighed. “You didn’t let me finish. I get that you aren’t the biggest fan of people, but you seem to really care about Dosa-Mina.”
“And that’s important because?”
“Well, it’s sweet,” she chuckled, “and also, you’d think you wouldn’t mind so much if he had another friend over. It’s not like he invited me over to your house or anything.”
“I don’t know your aim, demon, but I don’t want to talk to you.”
Sirlie-Baecho huffed. “You could at least have the deceny to call me Xarta.”
“This, coming from the girl who’s been calling me pumpkin-boy all day?”
“You’ve got me there. Fine then, I won’t bother you! But now that I’ve met you I can definitely say I don’t understand how Dosa-Mina and you became friends.”
“I could say the same.”
“At least I understand him better. I’ve been there for him for more years than you have.”
“So you say, but I heard him say that you don’t see each other all that often anymore.”
“That might be true, but whose fault is that!?”
The expression that showed on San-Kyung’s face after that looked almost smug. Sirlie-Baecho was becoming quickly agitated.
“I’ve seen sides to Dosa-Mina I doubt you’ve ever seen.”
“You’re still going on about this? I could say the same. Just be quiet, demon.”
“Not when you’re the one saying that to me. Dosa-Mina is one of my best friends! I’d jump right to his aid if I could, whenever he needed the help. You, on the other hand? You look like you’re just taking advantage of him.”
San-Kyung’s face twitched.
“All I wanted to do was ask you a stupid little question and you’re getting all huffy.”
“I could’ve been a lot harsher towards you. Consider yourself lucky we’re in the Dslellular house. And look at yourself! You’re pissed off because you’re jealous.”
“How!? So Dosa-Mina showers you in affection, I know him well! It’s not jealousy at all. It’s frustration. He always talks about you so fondly, but if all you’re doing is taking advantage of him, then it just–!”
San-Kyung struck his hands. “I’ve heard enough from you!”
“I think that’s one thing I’d have to agree with you on.”
Dosa-Mina gasped. He ran over, drinks in arm.
“Stop!”
San-Kyung put out his hand fire, and Sirlie-Baecho’s expression eased. “Geez, I’m gone for a little bit and you two can’t keep from fighting.”
“You can blame her. I told her a few times I didn’t want to talk. …I went easy on you, by the way.”
“You didn’t have to be so rude about it! You know, you’re the San-Kyung. The boy Dosa-Mina talks about so fondly. You’re his best friend, better than I could ever be. I was curious, that’s all.”
Dosa-Mina sighed. “Well, at least it didn’t escalate as far as it could have. My parents would have been pissed if they came back to a scorched and cursed house.”
“…curse?” San-Kyung asked cautiously.
“That’s right, pumpkin-boy. Better call yourself lucky that he stopped me before I could do anything.”
“Don’t fight, please. Don’t force yourself to talk to each other. I can interact with you both individually and give you an equal amount of time.”
“I know…” Sirlie-Baecho sighed.
“Besides, you’re just going to aggravate my flu. I’m not expecting my friends to get along. Just expecting you two not to kill each other.” He handed them drinks. “Why don’t we enjoy ourselves? I’ll go get my drink and we can sit down together! And you two don’t have to talk to each other.”
Dosa-Mina ran back to the kitchen.
“…he’s too nice for his own good.”
“I’d agree with you on that one.”
“You’ve never seen him when he’s really pissed at someone, though.”
Sirlie-Baecho huffed. “Guess not. You’ve never seen him act shy, though.”
“That sounds impossible.”
“…I don’t like you, pumpkin-boy.”
“Ditto.”
“But you know what? Because I love Dosa-Mina so much, I’m not gonna fight with you about it!”
“Just don’t provoke me.”
“Pretty tame for evil, ain’t you?”
“If we weren’t around Dosa-Mina, you wouldn’t be saying the same thing.”
Dosa-Mina returned with his drink, and beckoned the two to sit at the table with him. Somehow, to Dosa-Mina, the tension in the air felt just a bit easier than it had a few moments ago.

—–
“You know, pumpkin-boy, I’ll give you one thing.”
“What?”
“I guess you care about Dosa-Mina well enough…you were pretty nice to him today.”
“I don’t need your kudos.”
“Why’d you ask what, then? You know, I think you and I could maybe get along, if you’d just open–”
“Can it, demon girl. I put up with you for Dosa-Mina’s sake. I thought you knew that already.”
“You want a face-ful of curse, pumpkin boy?”
“I’d get you with fire first!”
“They certainly seem to have a….how do I put this…”
“They seem like they’d make perfect rivals, if they weren’t so violent,” Dosa-Mina giggled.
“How’d you put up with it?”
“Drinks. Alcoholic.”
“What!?”
“Just kidding.”
“What was with the surprise, Orlin-Aesth?” Elai-Riya asked.
“You used to drink alcohol. I was scared you had some left over.”
“Don’t worry, those days are over after the drunk disaster of 2009…”
Elai-Riya’s eyes wandered to Dosa-Mina’s wrist.
“Dosa-Mina? Do you have a scar or something on your wrist?” She asked. “Where did you get it?”
Dosa-Mina covered his wrist. “Ah–um–just an accident a while ago. Cut myself on a branch while you guys were gone, heh heh!”
“How come we never knew about it?”
Dosa-Mina began to look uneasy. “Well, it was better by the time you got back, so I didn’t think to mention it…”
“Buh-bye, Dosa-Mina! Hopefully I’ll see you again soon! Without pumpkin-boy, that is.”
“You’re going already, Sirlie?”
“Yeah, I’d better before the urge to curse him overtakes me. We Demons are pretty sensitive to our urges. Anyhow, see ya!”
She ran over to Dosa-Mina, hugged him, then took off. “And feel better, okay!?”
“I’m feeling a lot better already! Thank you!”
“Good riddance.”
“You really found her annoying, San-Kyung?”
“What do you think?”
“I guess that’s to be expected. I’ll try not to have you both over at the same time anymore. Although it might be fun to see what happens!”
“Sadist.”
“Aw, don’t be mean.”

7.584.That First Friend

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

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

***

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

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