11.619.Mama’s Party

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 619
“Mama’s Party”

Mit-Sun started the day with a plan.
“Geez, am I crazy, or does it feel like Mrs. Eteibreit has been harder on us than usual?” Leirhyn sighed.
“She has seemed pretty snippy lately.”
“Wonder if something’s goin’ on with the hubbo?”
“I really doubt that. Although I guess it would make sense why she’s this irritable.” Mit-Sun sighed. “Hey, Leirhyn, would you like to come to my house today after work?”
“Huh? Sure, I guess! It’s been a while since I’ve been over. Is La-Iin bigger now?”
“Her wings are still as abnormal-sized as ever, but her body seems to be trying to even itself out a bit,” Mit-Sun chuckled. “Well, thanks. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!”
After talking to Leirhyn, Mit-Sun went over to Uil-Cur’s department and waited for him to finish his shift.
“Mrs. Eteibreit, please–o-oh, Mit-Sun?”
“Hi, Uil-Cur. Looks like Mrs. Eteibreit hasn’t been cutting you any slack either, huh?”
“No, I don’t think she’s been going easy on anyone lately,” he said. “What brings you to my department?”
“I wanted to know if you’d like to come over to my house today. I have plans and I’d love for you to be there.”
“Really? I’d love to, Mit-Sun.”
“Great! Oh, Leirhyn will be there too, hope you don’t mind.”
“No…no, I don’t.” Uil-Cur glanced away from her. Mit-Sun blinked in confusion. “I’d be happy to go, although is La-Iin going to be there?”
“Yeah. But I have a plan to keep her from starting trouble with you, so don’t worry. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you!”
Uil-Cur nodded. Mit-Sun walked away from him and head for the entrance of Eteibreit Data Storage.

***

“Yeah. Thanks, Papa. Er, father. Hope you make it here early!” She hung up the phone, then almost immediately dialed another number.
“Who are you calling, Mama?”
Mit-Sun startled. “Nobody in particular.”
“Prank calls, Mama? Even I never thought of those. But using your own number seems like a bad idea.”
“It’s not prank calls,” Mit-Sun snapped. Before she could say anything further, someone picked up.
“Hello!”
“Oh, is this Miss Cahongyun? Hello! I thought I recognized the number, heh. What makes you call?”
“I wanted to ask if you three would like to come over to my house today. I figured Ei-Tio could see La-Iin, and you two could come over to relax.”
“Ei-Tio!?”
“Sure, we’d love to! Although you’ll have to wait a bit, we’re having a little trouble with Ei-Tio. Her hair got all matted up and brushing it out has been a nightmare! Jul-Ense’s been working on it for almost two hours!”
“Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.”
“He looks ready to start cursing. You know, I’ve always wondered if it’s some sort of Vampire gene that makes our hair grow ridiculously long. I’ve seen long hair on other species, but it feels like all the Vampires I meet have a ton of hair! Even Asul-Zenza has more hair than I see on people of other species.”
“I wonder,” she chuckled. “I’ve also seen a lot of pictures with Witches and Warlocks who have long hair though, so maybe Vampires aren’t alone.”
“Maybe. Ha ha. Anyway, sure, we’ll come over! See you soon then, Mit-Sun!”
“See you.” Mit-Sun hung up.
“Did you invite Ei-Tio over!?”
“Yes, Ei-Tio is coming over.”
“Why’d you invite her over?”
“You know what today is, right, La-Iin?”
“Yes. Your birthday. I remember because the date sounds perfect for a major evil event.”
“Uh-huh….anyway, I decided that this year, I wanted to spend some time with people. So I’m inviting Leirhyn–you should remember her, the woman who had the same first name as me?”
La-Iin shuddered.
“Uil-Cur–”
“You mean Haner. Not him,” she groaned.
“He’s my friend, and we did make up recently. Anyway. Ei-Tio and her family, my father and the Sanhuuns are also coming over.”
“Don’t you have other friends?”
“Well, Sale-Dessu seems a little shy. Also we haven’t exactly talked recently….”
‘That’s probably for the better,’ La-Iin thought, remembering Eul-Bok.
“And if you’re going to suggest Asul-Zenza, being on better terms does not make me consider him a friend again. That isn’t happening.”
“Huh!”
“You’re welcome to go off and play with Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio. I figure if we don’t get to spend time together during the day, we’ll have after everyone leaves to do that.”
“You’re going to kick everyone out?”
“Uil-Cur has work tomorrow, father is elderly, Ei-Tio is little, and if I remember correctly, Fer-Shi has somewhere to be tomorrow. They all shouldn’t be staying up too late. Leirhyn is a different story, but still, I don’t think it’s fair to kick everyone else out and keep her over.”
“They’ll probably leave on their own.”
“That’s true,” Mit-Sun said with a shrug. “Ah, but well, now we just wait. They’ll be here in time, and then I can get everything started.”
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” La-Iin sighed.
“Why do you say that?”
“Haner.”
“Oh, geez, La-Iin.”

***

After a short while, the guests gradually arrived.
“It’s good to see you in person again, Mit-Sun. It seems like lately we’ve been only talking over the phone.”
“Yeah. I hope you don’t mind, there will be a lot of other people over today.”
“I don’t mind!” Fer-Shi said. “I’ll just be with La-Iin, unless she wants to be with you instead?”
“No. As soon as stupid Haner arrives, I don’t want to be anywhere near her.”
“Haner? Who’s Haner?”
La-Iin opened her mouth to speak, but Mit-Sun interrupted her with “It’s a long story.” La-Iin glared at her.
“Well, I guess we’ll have to wait to find out!”
The next one to arrive was Leirhyn.
“Hi hi, Cahongyun! Oh, you don’t have the house all dolled up? Didn’t you mention something about inviting multiple people?”
“Did I mention that to you?”
“Even if you didn’t, I overheard you talking to Haner about it,” she said with a wink. “So, inviting him over too? You two are such good friends.”
“Yeah, we are. But that doesn’t diminish our friendship, don’t worry.”
Leirhyn giggled. “Aw, Mit-Sun!” She hugged her close.
Beht-Soh arrived next.
“It’s good to see you, Mit-Sun. When was the last time we spent one of your birthdays together?”
“Was it when La-Iin was a baby?”
“Oh yeah, that might’ve been it. I feel like I remember hearing crying. I’m not sure! Oh, but here.”
He handed her a silky dress. “I made that for you. I hope it came out good. I thought maybe you could wear it tonight, or maybe to some sort of formal event.”
“Thanks, Papa.” She examined the dress. “Nicely done! You’ve definitely improved a bit. Although, it’s a little…well…revealing, isn’t it?”
“It is?” He sighed. “Sorry, Mit-Sun.”
“No, don’t worry about it. It looks nice anyway. I think I’ll change into it now.”
Beht-Soh beamed. Mit-Sun head upstairs to change into the dress. Just as she had finished putting it on, she heard someone calling for her.
“What’s wrong?”
“Someone’s knocking at the door,” Beht-Soh said. “Another guest?”
“Oh!” She ran over to the door and nearly flung it open. Uil-Cur was standing there, his eyes wide. He opened his mouth to speak, but Mit-Sun noticed that his eyes glanced at her dress. He recoiled.
“What’s wrong?”
“I…I wasn’t expecting you to be wearing something like that,” he said.
“What, does it look bad?”
“No, it’s, um…”
“Revealing?”
Uil-Cur didn’t respond.
“Damn. Knew I should’ve put something on underneath it.”
“It is a nice dress, though,” he said. “What’s the occasion?”
“It’s my birthday today.”
Uil-Cur’s eyes widened once more; his expression steeled moments later. “Mit-Sun, do you mind if I go and do something quickly?”
“Um, I guess not?”
Uil-Cur flew off. Mit-Sun stared down at her dress. “Well, I suppose I had better change out of this. Or at least put something under it…”

Shi-Bara, Jul-Ense, and Ei-Tio arrived moments after Uil-Cur’s sudden departure; soon after that, Uil-Cur returned with a small cake.
“How did you know I like tea cake?”
“A lucky guess,” he admitted. “But I’m glad.”
The amount of people in the tiny house was overwhelming to La-Iin, so she beckoned to Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio and head upstairs. As the chatter died down, her head began to clear and she gave a sigh of relief.
“There sure are a lot of people in your house right now.”
“Big sister, who’s this?” Ei-Tio asked, pointing to Fer-Shi.
“She’s Fer-Shi. A friend of mine.”
“Hi, Fer-Shi! I’m Ei-Tio!”
“Hi, Ei-Tio! I’ve heard about you before! So, you call La-Iin big sister?”
Ei-Tio nodded. “Me an’ big sister aren’t sisters, but to me we are!”
Fer-Shi giggled. “Well, you’d certainly be contrasting sisters. Oh, hey, La-Iin? Which one of those people was Haner?”
“The stupid Siren guy.”
“Oh. Pureblood male Sirens are pretty rare, aren’t they?”
“Who cares? I’m not looking forward to what goes on down there. I’m looking forward to what might happen soon.”
“What’s gonna happen, big sister?”
La-Iin smirked. “I just had an idea of a little ‘surprise’ I could give Mama. With all the people in the way, doing anything for her would be impossible. And I don’t care about doing anything special for her since I had a good birthday this year, but I figured I might as well give her a surprise.”
“What kind of surprise is it?” Fer-Shi asked.
“It’s better if you hear it for yourself.”
“Hear it?” Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio asked in unison. La-Iin chuckled and dashed into her room.
Downstairs, though the kitchen was crowded, people were enjoying themselves.
“Mit-Sun, who is this man?” Beht-Soh asked.
“This is Haner Uil-Cur. Uil-Cur, this is my father.”
“Your father?” Uil-Cur smiled and bowed. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cahongyun. I am Haner Uil-Cur. A coworker and friend of your daughter’s.”
“Oh, really? Nice to meet you. Is it bad if for a moment there I thought he was your new boyfriend?”
“I think I would have told you already if that were the case, Father.”
“I guess so.”
“Ahaha…ha…” Uil-Cur glanced away from the two.
“So you two are the parents of that little Vampire girl who walked by here?”
“Yes! I’m Ghneckdo Shi-Bara.”
“And I’m Ghneckdo Jul-Ense.”
“That was our daughter Ei-Tio. La-Iin’s become like a big sister to her, so we and Mit-Sun have stayed in touch. We became friends through our daughters, but we’re not the closest.”
“That’s why I was so surprised when Shi-Bara told me she invited us over.”
“We met through our daughters too,” Den-Matsu said. “Small world, huh?”
“Not really, but it does feel like that sometimes, huh?”
“How can you guys say that? I get that the world is big, but not only did you two meet through your daughters, she invited me!”
The Ghneckdos and Sanhuuns startled when Leirhyn popped up next to them. “Um–and who might you be?”
“Leirhyn Mit-Sun!”
Their eyes widened.
“Wow, it’s very crowded in here,” Beht-Soh said.
“It is, but that’s just because our kitchen isn’t used to having eight people in it,” she chuckled. “But I guess we should actually do something, huh? Is anyone hungry?”
“I am, a little,” Uil-Cur admitted. A few others raised their hands.
“Well, I guess we could eat dinner now. I don’t really have much of a plan of what to do today, sorry…I’m just happy to be here with all of you and be able to talk to all of you.”
“That’s fine!” Shi-Bara said.
“Not a problem,” Beht-Soh said.
“That’s cool!” Leirhyn said.
Mit-Sun nodded and went to the fridge to retrieve dinner. “Oh, can one of you get the girls? I think they went upstairs.”
“I’ll go,” Tei-Sheu offered. Den-Matsu followed behind her.
Mit-Sun retrieved the dinners and put them on the table. In the midst of setting them down, she heard a knock at the door.
“Is there another guest, Mit-Sun?” Uil-Cur asked.
“Not that I know of. I wonder what that’s for?”
She went to answer the door, but startled when she heard a shriek from outside. Once it died down, she opened the door.
She caught sight of Asul-Zenza, Eteibreit holding tight to him and looking furious. Her tail was lashing, her wings were flapping, and her claws were out. Mit-Sun had no idea what to make of the sight.
“Finally, you’ve come to the door!” Eteibreit snapped. She got off of Asul-Zenza, who rubbed at his injuries.
“Why did you pounce me?” He asked.
“I’m frustrated and you were the first target.”
“What the hell are you two doing here!? I didn’t invite you!”
“La-Iin told me you wanted me to come to your birthday party,” Asul-Zenza said.
“I came here of my own volition. Don’t think I didn’t overhear what you were talking about at work.”
“Neither of you were invited!”
“Why did La-Iin tell me I was, then?”
“You know how La-Iin is! Do you honestly think I’d want you at my party!?”
“That’s awfully harsh to be to the father of your child,” Eteibreit said.
Mit-Sun let out a frustrated yell. “Are you two going to go away?”
“I’ll go away, if you want your pay docked.”
“What even benefits you to be here!?”
“Oh, I would have left if you had asked me nicely. I was just curious as to why I wasn’t invited, is all. But I don’t like being treated like shit by a sub-par worker.”
Mit-Sun gaped.
“I understand if you don’t want me here, Mit-Sun. I can go.”
“Never mind,” she sighed. “If Mrs. Eteibreit’s staying, you might as well stay too. But I’m going to cut a deal with you two. You’re only staying for dinner. Anything more than that and there’ll be problems.”
“Funny you’re the one saying that,” Eteibreit said.
Mit-Sun turned around to head back to the kitchen when she spotted La-Iin, Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio close behind her. La-Iin was failing to suppress her laughter.
‘Oh, you aren’t going to get away with this.’

Dinner was almost nightmarish to Mit-Sun–mostly due to Asul-Zenza and Eteibreit’s presence, but the amount of people at the table was also confusing to her. La-Iin and Beht-Soh sat closest to her, and both of them seemed to notice her confusion–though their feelings on it were obviously different, as Beht-Soh looked concerned while La-Iin was still struggling to hold back laughter.
“This is a good dinner, Mit-Sun,” Asul-Zenza said.
“Yeah, thanks.” Mit-Sun said dryly.
“It’s sub-par, at least,” Eteibreit said.
“Thanks for the compliment.”
“I think it’s pretty good, Miss Cahongyun!” Fer-Shi said. Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Fer-Shi.”
“It’s better than the poop you usually make,” La-Iin said. Mit-Sun’s eye twitched. “And I’m only saying it that way for your sake.”
“How nice of you,” Mit-Sun said.
“So–Ghneckdo, was it?” Uil-Cur asked.
“Are you talking to me?” Asked Asul-Zenza, Shi-Bara and Jul-Ense. Uil-Cur motioned to Asul-Zenza.
“Oh, yes, what did you need?”
“So, you’re La-Iin’s father?”
“Yes, I am. Or more properly, her Dami,” he said cheerfully. “I don’t come by Bledger often, but whenever I do, it’s usually for her.”
“I see.”
“Why do you ask? Hasn’t Mit-Sun told you about me?”
“I don’t go talking about things like that to everyone I meet, I hope you know,” Mit-Sun said.
“I didn’t figure. But I was wondering. I’ve heard of you before after all, Haner, is it?”
“Me? How?”
“La-Iin told me about you.”
“La-Iin?” Uil-Cur seemed to break into a cold sweat–at least it seemed it should be that way to Mit-Sun. “Ahaha, what a sweet girl…”
“I’d love to converse more with you about this subject, but I highly doubt the dinner table is appropriate for things like this. Especially considering Ei-Tio is here.”
Ei-Tio didn’t seem to notice even when her name was brought up; she was focused on her food.
“It’s really good!” She said. Mit-Sun smiled. “Thank you, Ei-Tio. At least some people are grateful.”
“I was one of the grateful ones and you didn’t care!” Asul-Zenza said.
“Yeah, because I didn’t need you to be grateful.”
“You know,” Tei-Sheu whispered, “they do seem to be pretty close. I wonder why they broke up?”
“I think it’s just playful banter, Tei-Sheu,” Den-Matsu said. Tei-Sheu blushed and went back to eating.

“Alright, dinner’s over. You two remember the deal.”
“What, we aren’t allowed to stay for cake?” Asul-Zenza said.
“Hm.” Eteibreit seemed more concerned with cleaning the fur around her mouth.
“My intention wasn’t to let you two stay this long. Dinner hasn’t even just ended. You two took advantage.”
“Aw, it’s got more of a party feel with them here though!” Leirhyn said. “Oh, but it is your party, so you’re in charge.”
Mit-Sun sighed.
“I’m willing to go, but first I’d like to give you this.”
Asul-Zenza handed her a small box. Mit-Sun opened it. “What’s this for?”
“I don’t know how many pictures you’ve been taking of La-Iin, but I figured you might need a new photo album sooner or later.”
“Huh…”
“Actually, we have a little something for you too,” Shi-Bara said.
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened. After Asul-Zenza’s gift, Shi-Bara and Jul-Ense set down a present, followed by Den-Matsu and Tei-Sheu. Even Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio put presents on the table.
“I don’t have anything for you, though,” Eteibreit said.
“I figured. But, wow! I don’t need all this, you guys. I was just happy having you over.”
“Aw, come on, Mit-Sun. You’ve been a good friend to us over the years.” Tei-Sheu said.
“And we might not be the closest, but you were really consoling a month and so ago,” Shi-Bara said.
“An’ you take good care of big sister!” Ei-Tio said.
“Don’t go making assumptions, Ei-Tio.”
“You’re really nice to me, Miss Cahongyun. I just had to make you a little something!” Fer-Shi said.
“You might treat me poorly, but at least La-Iin isn’t suffering.” Asul-Zenza said.
“Why are you all praising Mama? You must be crazy.”
“Looks like you have a lot of friends, Mit-Sun,” Beht-Soh said. “I’m glad. You really do deserve it.”
Mit-Sun’s face flushed slightly. “Thanks, everyone. It’s been a good day.”

Despite her earlier reservations, Mit-Sun allowed Asul-Zenza and Eteibreit to stay for the cake. Though some people had to take smaller slices due to the extra two attendants–the small slices of which went to them and the children–the cake was still enjoyed by all.
Except for Jul-Ense and La-Iin, in any event. Mit-Sun noticed that La-Iin was scraping off the frosting and that Jul-Ense’s nose was wrinkling as he ate the cake.
But it was enjoyable all the same. ‘I really am loved.’

—–
“I’ll be seeing you on Monday,” Eteibreit said.
“We hope we’ll see you again soon!” Shi-Bara said.
“See you soon, Miss Cahongyun!” Fer-Shi said.
“Stay safe, Mit-Sun.” Asul-Zenza said.
“Asul-Zenza makes a good point. Talk to me again soon though, okay?” Beht-Soh said.
“Happy thirty-six, Mit-Sun. I’ll see you Tuesday.” Uil-Cur said.
“See ya, Cahongyun! We’ve gotta get in touch again soon.”
Once everyone was gone, Mit-Sun relaxed on the couch. La-Iin joined her.
“I don’t appreciate you inviting Asul-Zenza over, you know.”
“He made the party more fun.”
“What, it wasn’t fun with father and Fer-Shi and Ei-Tio?”
“Haner reduces the quality of any party by a significant amount.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“Was it a good birthday?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Damn.”
“La-Iin…”
“No, that’s fine. I guess it’s fine if you have a good birthday. Oh, by the way.”
La-Iin handed her a picture. Mit-Sun was surrounded by the attendants of the party–most of them, anyway. “Me and Fer-Shi took this picture while you weren’t looking. She said I should give you something.”
“Thanks, La-Iin.”
“Thank Fer-Shi. I need no thanks. Happy old-day, Mama.”
“Geez, La-Iin…” Still, Mit-Sun couldn’t stop her smile.

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18.595.The One Who Brings my Enjoyment

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 593
“The One Who Brings my Enjoyment”

“So did you hear the rumors about Mrs. Eteibreit and her husband? Like how they’re in an open relationship!?”
“I think I already knew that was the case…”
“Guess you’re not much of a gossip type, huh, Cahongyun?”
“Not really. I guess I’m curious about a few people, but when it comes to Mrs. Eteibreit, I’d rather not hear about her.”
Leirhyn chuckled. “Yeah, I guess you’d rather not. Ooh! Ooh! But did you hear that apparently they have threesomes?”
“Not surprised.”
“How about if I told you they did things way more extreme than that?”
Mit-Sun’s face flushed and her mouth hung wide open.
“Certain people shouldn’t be gossiping about their employers if they want to keep their job.”
“Eek! M-M-Mrs. Eteibreit! Ahaha! Sorry if it seemed gossipy! I just wanted to bring it up! I totally support your decision to be in an open relationship and all that weird shit!”
Eteibreit smacked Leirhyn with her tail. “I can tell when someone’s being genuine and when they’re being disingenuous. You have to learn it when you’re a Succubi, after all…anyway! I don’t appreciate that kind of talk!”
Eteibreit clapped her hands and flew off. Leirhyn rubbed the back of her head. “Damn it…why do you look so surprised, Cahongyun?”
Nearby the two women, Uil-Cur sighed. ‘Oh, just some time ago that would have been us talking together after work about their strange relationship. Why did I have to go and mess it up? But maybe this is for the better. After all, this pain will subside, in due time…’
“Having love troubles, are we?”
Uil-Cur flinched. “Uh–uhm–y-you misunderstand, Mrs. Eteibreit! Ha ha, I was just going to work overtime…”
“God, my employees are such liars!” Eteibreit yelled. Uil-Cur flinched. “Be honest with yourselves for once, will you!?”
“Um, Mrs. Eteibreit? Are you in a worse mood than usual?”
“If I am it’s due to the incompetence of my workers!” She smacked him on the head with her tail. Uil-Cur groaned. “Please, Haner. Your desperation is painfully obvious. I’ll cut you some slack and tell you this: I certainly don’t speak for all women, however…I do know that there are quite a few women who don’t go for men who act the way you are right now. There is a niche for it, I’ll give you…but Cahongyun can be painfully average at times, so I’d doubt she’s like that.”
Uil-Cur lowered his head. “I already know she doesn’t feel the same way I do.”
“That’s true. And maybe it’ll stay that way. Perhaps things are worthless. But if you’re wanting to try again with her, instead of acting like a wimp do something about it. Cahongyun might not feel the same way as you do romantically, but I would be incredibly surprised if that applied likewise for how she feels towards you platonically. If you were willing to throw caution to the wind to confess, why can’t you do the same for trying to rekindle a friendship?”
“…”
“You have no experience.” Eteibreit walked up to him and placed her tail on his chin. “Mask that fact by acting like you do.”
Eteibreit flew off, her tail and ears twitching as if she were angry. Uil-Cur turned his attention back to Mit-Sun and Leirhyn, who were now talking about a much more mundane topic.
‘It’s been over a month. That’s not that much time. Maybe I should try again, but what if it ends out that she doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore? After the way I treated her last time we spoke, I wouldn’t blame her…’
Watching Mit-Sun was almost too painful for him to bear. ‘What do I do…’

***

Mit-Sun stretched. “It was nice talking to you again, Leirhyn. You and I have a really sporadic meet-up schedule.”
“Ah, it doesn’t matter if we do! We’re that kind of friend where we can not meet up for ages and still have something to talk about!”
“Yeah, you did say something like that before, didn’t you?” She stretched again. “I’ve been feeling good lately, though. Meeting up with you just adds to that.”
“I’m glad!”
“I should probably get home now, though. It’s still August after all, and I’m always wary about leaving La-Iin home alone. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, Leirhyn.”
“See ya, Cahongyun!”
‘It sure was nice to talk to Leirhyn again,’ she thought. ‘She definitely has a more active life than I do. But that’s not a bad thing! I do plenty in life!’
When she passed by Eteibreit’s office, Mit-Sun picked up her pace. As soon as she was almost out the building, someone landed in front of her.
“Eek!”
“I’m sorry!” Uil-Cur said, evidently flustered. “I didn’t mean to scare you!”
“Uil-Cur?” Mit-Sun took a deep breath. “You almost scared my soul out of me…”
“I’m really sorry, Mit-Sun. I just had to catch you before you left.”
“Why? You didn’t want to talk to me last time I approached you.”
Uil-Cur’s face twitched. “Yes, that’s true. And I know I probably hurt your feelings with that behavior….but I had to approach you now, because, well….I want to be friends again, Mit-Sun!” He grabbed her shoulders.
“What? I thought we were still friends.”
“I…I wasn’t sure if you felt that way or not,” he said. With a nervous chuckle, he let go of her shoulders. “I saw you talking with Leirhyn and I just remembered all those fun times we used to have together…it’s my fault we’ve been distant lately. I should have taken your words to heart and not let it affect me, your rejection I mean, but I did, and we missed time together because of that. I’m sorry. But I do still want to be friends with you.”
“Uil-Cur…” Mit-Sun sighed. “It’s fine. I was a little upset at the time, but it’s kind of unreasonable to expect you to go back to normal after I told you I didn’t feel the same way. So it’s no big deal. If you want to go back to the way we used to be, I’d be glad to do that. I’ve missed you lately, anyway.”
Mit-Sun smiled wide. Uil-Cur almost couldn’t bear to face it. ‘Mrs. Eteibreit is right on one thing, I really have no experience here…’ “W-well, with that settled, what would you say to going out someplace sometime soon? A theater nearby is going to be performing Vampire’s Stabmist. I can get us tickets to see it.”
“Sure, why not? Although if it falls through, La-Iin and her friend Fer-Shi probably wouldn’t mind putting it on for us.”
“I think La-Iin would definitely mind putting it on for me…” He cleared his throat. “Well then, see you tomorrow?”
“See you tomorrow, Uil-Cur! And thank you! I’m looking forward to hanging out together again!”
As soon as Mit-Sun ran out the building, Uil-Cur clutched his chest tight. ‘No, don’t start regretting it now, Uil-Cur. The pain of seeing her smile is a lot less than the pain from being apart from her….’
“What are you doing, Haner?” Eteibreit asked. Uil-Cur spread his wings.
“Heading home!” He flew out the building. Eteibreit shook her head and sighed.

—–
When Mit-Sun came home from work, La-Iin was sitting on the couch, Choungetsu next to her and lying on his back. Her glare was evident right away.
“Don’t look so angry.” Mit-Sun smiled. “Hey, La-Iin, what’s something you’d like to do?”
“Huh? World domination.”
“That’s not world domination.”
“Play a brand new video game.”
“…anything that wouldn’t be impossible right now?”
La-Iin pouted. “Continue my blood tests…”
“Want to go out and get some blood boxes, then?”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Has something snapped in your brain, Mama?”
“No, I’m just happy.” She smiled. “I realize there’s a lot in life for me to be grateful for. I’m just trying to look on the positive side, and it seems to be working for me.”
“Okay?”
“Let’s go get some blood boxes, then. Get dressed first.”
La-Iin flew off the couch and into the kitchen. Mit-Sun was too happy to call her out on it.

10.556.Recovery from Rejection

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 556
“Recovery from Rejection”

Since the day of her rejection, Mit-Sun had found that her conversations with Uil-Cur, which were formerly fairly common, hadn’t happened in the week since then. Some days they had greeted each other, but Mit-Sun was always too uncomfortable to continue a conversation, and Uil-Cur always sprinted away right after as if he didn’t want to see Mit-Sun.
‘This isn’t right. I know the situation’s awkward, but my intentions weren’t to ruin our whole friendship over this. At this rate we’ll end up drifting apart because we don’t know how to talk to each other anymore. Gahh, it can’t be that hard! I can chastise Asul-Zenza as much as I want now without feeling awkward about it! Though maybe that’s because I don’t like him anymore….geez, why does this have to be so hard…’
“Stewing over something, Cahongyun?”
Leirhyn’s voice snapped her out of her thoughts and also startled her. “Oh…hello, Leirhyn. You don’t usually approach me yourself anymore, do you?”
“No, not usually. Geez, you sound depressed. Judging by the way you and Haner are flitting around each other I’m gonna take a wild guess and say things aren’t all that well between you.”
“It’s not exactly that things aren’t going well, it’s just that they’re….awkward. I’d talk to you about it, but it’s a little personal.”
“That’s alright. But it’s really weird to see you two like this. You were gettin’ pretty chummy there, after all.” Leirhyn’s mouth turned to a wide smile, and Mit-Sun couldn’t help but feel that she looked incredibly suspicious.
“Yeah, we were. No offense, but I think I was starting to get closer to him than I am to you.”
“Absolutely none taken,” Leirhyn said. “I could see that you two had something there. I know you don’t want to talk about it, but I hope everything clears up. I’d like to see you two hanging out again!”
“I’d like to hang out again…maybe I should talk to him. It just feels so strange…”
“Well, if you want to hang out with him again talking to him is the reasonable next option. Otherwise you won’t get anywhere. Oops, I should get back to my post. All the best, Cahongyun! Hope things work out with Haner!”
“Me too,” Mit-Sun sighed. ‘I really do need to talk with Uil-Cur. But even if I can get over how I feel to talk to him, will he be able to?’

***

“While it isn’t usual for me to bother an employee without bringing them first to my office, I figured this warranted the change in protocol. Haner, you’re one of my better employees most of the time. You’re efficient and do your work accurately and quickly. I admire you, but lately some of your work has been sloppy. Your Saturday work is still fine, I have no problems there. But if this sloppy display continues for another week I’m docking your next paycheck!”
“I’ll try and improve!” Uil-Cur flustered. “I have been working hard, trust me, Mrs. Eteibreit. It’s just that I’ve been having a few mishaps lately. I don’t know what’s wrong…”
Eteibreit narrowed her eyes. “Don’t let other employees distract you, Uil-Cur. And it’s best to try and empty your mind before you work here. I will not pay decent vuyong to employees whose jobs would be better done by a three-year-old!”
Eteibreit clapped her hands and flew off.
“Decent vuyong, my ass,” Uil-Cur muttered. He sighed. “Like I could’ve told her the real reason anyway. Pretty difficult to work when you’re crying all the time….oh, my sister will be mad at me if my pay gets docked. But what does it affect her!? She doesn’t live with me anymore!”
“Uil-Cur?”
“Yipe!” Uil-Cur flew above the tallest shelf in the room. “M-M-Mit-Sun! Er, I’m sorry, but I’m still on my shift, I can’t talk now!”
“That’s alright. I can wait. I’ve waited before.”
“N-no, you have La-Iin to think about, don’t waste your time on me! Besides, if you really need to talk we can talk over the phone!”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I’m waiting for you whether you like it or not, Uil-Cur. Don’t try and avoid me. We have a problem and we need to discuss it.”
Uil-Cur sighed. ‘That’s easy for her to say! She is the rejector, not the rejectee. Oh, I can’t stay mad at Mit-Sun, but does she have any idea of how I’m feeling? I need to avoid her for my own safety, damn it!’
Uil-Cur zipped around the room as he finished his work for the day, fueled by conflicting feelings and thoughts. Once he was done, he left the room and tried to bolt past Mit-Sun, only to be grabbed by the collar before he could make it too far ahead of her.
“Please don’t avoid me, Uil-Cur. I really want to talk to you.”
“I know you do,” he sighed. “And I figure I know what about. But it’s not been easy for me, Mit-Sun. I need some time alone.”
“It’s been awkward for both of us, Uil-Cur. But I miss hanging out with you all the time. I don’t want our friendship to disappear because we don’t know how to talk to each other any more. Since having La-Iin friendships haven’t come easy to me. I’m social enough, but I don’t bond easily. You’re one of the most fun people I’ve met and, and I really liked hanging out with you. I understand what happened. I know I hurt you. But I don’t want us to lose what we have because it didn’t go any further than that.”
“Do you think our friendship is so fragile it will break from spending time apart from each other?”
“No! That’s not what I thought at all! I was worried about how awkward we’ve been between each other, not the amount of time we’ve spent apart! And I’m worried about you, too. I still want to be your friend. But what if I hurt you enough to make you not want to be mine?”
“I do still want to be your friend, Mit-Sun! But I got my hopes up too far. I was really thinking that by your attitude you would reciprocate the way I felt about you and that didn’t end up happening. I’m disappointed, I’m frustrated! I got chewed out by Mrs. Eteibreit for doing a sloppy job! I haven’t been able to handle myself!”
Mit-Sun flinched. “I’m sorry…”
“It isn’t that easy, Mit-Sun. I do still want to be your friend. I don’t want to lose what we had before either because it’s all we had. But I don’t know what’s better for me! Maybe avoiding you will only make me miss you along with being burned, but how do I know that spending time with you won’t make me feel worse? I’m too scared to try. I…I’ve had feelings for other women before, but you’re the first I actually said anything to, because I got in over my head and thought you would reciprocate. I was an idiot.”
“What’s idiotic about taking a chance?”
“It was idiotic to not see that you obviously didn’t feel the same way. Look, Mit-Sun, I hope we can go back to normal someday soon, but I don’t think today is the day.” He took off, breaking free from Mit-Sun’s grasp on his collar.
“Someone’s having romance troubles, I see.”
Mit-Sun jumped. “Mrs. Eteibreit?”
“I hope he didn’t honestly think I wasn’t hovering over him. I was curious to find out what was causing him to do such a poor job and see if I could beat him into shape. And what do I find but he’s taken an interest in my most poor worker?”
“You had no right to eavesdrop on us.”
“No right? This is my building. That’s like telling someone in their own house they didn’t have the right to overhear you moaning in their bedroom. Ridiculous. But it sounds like quite the drama went down between you two.”
“I’m not going to talk about it with you. I’m sorry, Mrs. Eteibreit, but it’s personal.”
“Oh, that’s fine. I overheard enough to form my own opinions about it anyway. You really should stop badgering the poor man about what happened. People all handle rejection differently. And you can promise as much as you want that it won’t change things but that isn’t always the case. You two might end up drifting apart regardless.”
“…”
“The poor man is so devastated. Who knows how he’ll react from there? He could stay fixated on you or turn to the next woman who makes him feel loved. He could end up going back to normal….or he could become bitter at you for your rejection regardless of how logical it is. Don’t cringe at me, Cahongyun. It’s fully possible things won’t work out anymore. You should have prepared yourself for that when you told him you didn’t love him back. But if you’re so worried, you could always start a relationship of convenience. He gets “love” and you get to spend time with him again.”
“I couldn’t do that!”
“Oh? Sometimes it does help people actually reciprocate another’s feelings. Of course it could also show you another side of him you don’t care for.”
“Look, our morals and beliefs are different, Mrs. Eteibreit. And I’ll keep being hopeful that we can go back to normal.”
“Fine, fine, believe what you want. Maybe you’ll be lucky and it all will work out the way you want. But I’ll give you some less-blunt advice: try if you want to to repair your friendship, but don’t keep badgering him when he’s obviously upset. That will only make him really bitter towards you. And accept the fact that he’s having a hard time staying just friends with you. Even if your relationship can repair, it will never be exactly the same.”
Eteibreit flew off.
‘Is it possible our relationship won’t repair?’ Mit-Sun wondered. ‘Ohh, I can’t stand this. Why did you have to go and confess, Uil-Cur…’

—–
“What’s the face for, Mama? It’s annoying.”
“Ha ha, how funny,” Mit-Sun said dryly.
“It wasn’t supposed to be funny.”
“I wasn’t talking about your words. You’re the one who didn’t want me to be friends with Uil-Cur, well guess what, maybe we won’t be any more! Are you happy now, La-Iin!? I’ve had to make a ton of sacrifices for your sake and now it seems like I won’t get that friendship back! So are you happy with yourself!?”
La-Iin flinched. “You don’t need to take it out on me, Mama.”
“You’re the one who kept badgering him! Who knows, maybe it was you who gave him the wrong idea! I wouldn’t have had to defend him so much if it weren’t for you! I hope you’re happy with yourself.”
La-Iin’s face contorted. “Well, I’m not happy with your stupid dinner, that’s for sure!” She left the table. Choungetsu stared after her, whimpering.
“And now you see another reason I despise that woman: blaming her problems on you.”
La-Iin didn’t respond. She ran to her room mired in fury.

28.544.My Darling, Mit-Sun–Part 2

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 544
“My Darling, Mit-Sun–Part 2”

Mit-Sun sighed. Ever since Uil-Cur had confessed his feelings for her, his confession had been replaying on repeat in her head.
“I knew this from almost the start, Mama. I figured Haner either wanted to kill you or was in love with you. Why do you think I hated him so much?”
“I guess it makes sense now,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Now that you know, I hope you plan on telling him no soon.”
Mit-Sun didn’t respond. La-Iin began to glare.
“Well!?”
“I don’t know, La-Iin. Besides, this isn’t any of your business.”
“It is my business! If you say yes to Haner, you might marry him! If you marry him and he becomes my step-Dami…”
La-Iin’s wings were flapping wildly. Mit-Sun was startled. She wasn’t used to seeing such emotion on La-Iin’s face. ‘If even her face is giving away how she feels, she must be pretty angry…’
“I’m sorry, La-Iin. There’s nothing I can tell you.”
La-Iin gave no further response after that; instead, she stormed off.
Mit-Sun was in shock at the idea that Uil-Cur had feelings for her, but also felt as though she should have seen it coming. Each time she thought back on his flirtatious nature she felt stupid for not realizing it.
‘But that’s not the issue here! Uil-Cur feels that way towards me, but what do I feel towards him?’
Mit-Sun realized that in truth, she had never exactly figured that one out. She knew she liked Uil-Cur and found him to be fun to hang around, but were those feelings potentially romantic or completely platonic? Was she trying to deny her feelings for him for La-Iin’s sake, or was it possible she was trying to contemplate having feelings for him for his sake?
Mit-Sun heaved a sigh. Whatever her answer was, it still flustered her to think that Uil-Cur loved her.

***

Since confessing his feelings to Mit-Sun, Uil-Cur had felt anxious. Each moment that passed by his feelings seemed to change within a second. At one moment he felt that Mit-Sun was trying to prolong the time before her answer to spare his feelings, while another he wondered if she was simply feeling shy about the idea of him sharing her feelings.
“Brother, you can’t keep shaking like that. If you do that there won’t be many girls who like you.”
“What?”
“There are a lot of girls in Bledger who like guys whose personality is consistent. Although there are some who go for the whole hidden-side thing. Anyway, normally you exude an air of confidence. Don’t stop that or you might turn some girls away.”
“Oh, come on, I’m only around you. I’m better at controlling myself in public. I just feel very comfortable with my sister, is all.”
“That’s good. Just givin’ you advice.”
As his sister turned to leave, the phone began to ring. Groaning, she went to pick it up. “Yeah? Hello? ….hey bro, I think it’s for you!”
She didn’t need to say anything further–Uil-Cur rushed to the phone and snatched it out of her hand. She sneered at him before walking away.
“Hello?”
“Hello, Uil-Cur? This is you, right?”
“Yes, it is. I’m surprised you called.”
“How else was I supposed to reach you? Listen, I want to talk with you. Let’s go down by the park to do this. It’ll feel tacky over the phone.”
“Er, alright.”
‘Good luck, big brother,’ his sister thought.

***

Uil-Cur took several deep breaths on his way to the park. By the time he arrived there, Mit-Sun was already standing there and waiting for him, a distant expression on her face. She waved to him as he landed.
“I suppose this is it,” Uil-Cur sighed. “I’m ready for whatever response you give me, Mit-Sun. So say what you will.”
“Since when did I say this had anything to do with your confession?” Mit-Sun asked. Uil-Cur’s eyes widened, but he let out a sigh when he noticed Mit-Sun start to giggle. “Just kidding. It’s a little humor before my answer.”
“Sorry, Mit-Sun, I’m just so anxious to hear your response…”
“I’m sure you are,” she sighed. “Well…I had to give it a lot of thought. I realized I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about your confession. Well, aside from obviously being flustered…that’s why I left you yesterday instead of giving you an answer right on the spot. Also, I haven’t been sure about how to feel about the idea of getting into another relationship. After La-Iin’s father and having to raise her, I’ve been reluctant about the idea of dating anyone else, so I had to think over a lot of things relating to both of those. I’m sure if I had been more certain, you would have gotten an answer right then and there.”
“I see,” Uil-Cur said. “…not to be a bother, but could you give me your answer already? Waiting to hear all you have to say is just making me more nervous…”
Mit-Sun glanced down at her feet. “I really do like you, Uil-Cur. You’re one of my best friends, and goodness knows I don’t have enough of those lately…but…I’m going to have to say that I don’t feel the same. I can’t envision going out with you and getting married or any of that stuff. All the things that made me know I liked La-Iin’s father–back when I liked him, anyway–I just don’t have them with you.”
Uil-Cur’s head dropped. “I don’t want this to be the end of our friendship, though! Even though I’m not in love with you, you still mean a lot to me. Without you I’d be in a much worse place right now. And I might have other people in my life who’ll stand by me but I think you’re definitely the most loyal. I know this isn’t the response you wanted to hear, but please, can you stay by me anyway?”
“…I wasn’t going to leave even if you did say no. I never intended on it. I’ll take any chances I can to spend time with you.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “And it’s not the answer I wanted to hear, but, well, I expected it. The closer we got, the more hopeful I was that you might like me back. And I know nothing of how you act while in love. I just assumed it was similar to my own behavior, which led me to believe you didn’t feel the same way. But now that I know, I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sure someday you’ll meet someone who’s good for you.”
Uil-Cur smiled. “Niceties like that aren’t going to work at this point, Mit-Sun. Still, if you’ll allow me to be optimistic…do you think your feelings will ever change? Do you think it could be possible this is just for now? No, that’s being too hopeful…”
“I don’t know, Uil-Cur. The future is the future. If I ever start feeling differently about you, I’ll let you know. Hopefully if that day ever comes you’ll still feel the same way about me.”
“I bet I will.”
“But for now, this is my answer. Still, let’s stay friends, alright?”
Mit-Sun grabbed Uil-Cur’s hand. Uil-Cur sighed.
“I didn’t intend that to be any other way.”

***

“So, bro, how’d it go? …yo?”
Uil-Cur didn’t respond.
“…ouch. Sorry, bro.”
Uil-Cur began to tear up.
“Whoa, you don’t need to get teary-eyed on me! Hey, please don’t cry! I’m not good with crying people!”
His sister sighed. ‘He isn’t going to stop…geez, who’s the adult here?’ She reached up and pat him on the back. No words came to her to say to him, so she kept silent and let her brother cry.

When Mit-Sun arrived home, La-Iin was sitting on the couch with Choungetsu, a glare on her face.
“Oh, stop being antagonistic. I told him I didn’t feel the same way. Don’t you think if I said otherwise, he’d be here with me right now?”
“You made the right decision, Mama.”
“I know I did. Still, I felt bad for him. I’ve never actually been in the turning-down situation…I’ve never been in a situation like that before at all. I’m sure it hurt.”
“He can take the pain. He was an idiot to think you’d say yes. Besides, it’s not all that painful to hear a no. I hear them all the time.”
La-Iin’s eyes widened. “Don’t get any ideas!”
“Yeah, like I would.” Mit-Sun sighed. “I hope he cheers up soon. And I hope we can really stay friends even after all of this…”

—–
“To what to do I owe the phone call?”
“I wanted to tell you that she said no, Dami. You don’t have to worry about some other man becoming my step-Dami.”
“He confessed? Oh, well, I’m pleased! Still, I have to feel bad for him. I understand how painful it can be if someone tells you they don’t feel the same way. Especially if they’re someone with Mit-Sun’s bluntly harsh way of going about things.”
“…Dami, I have a question. You won’t get in a relationship with anyone else, will you?”
“I don’t plan on it, no. But a lot of things can happen in nine-hundred years, that’s for certain. Why do you ask? …you don’t want Mit-Sun and I to get back together, do you?”
“No!”
“Well good, because that is not happening.”
“Hm…”
“Something the matter, La-Iin?”
“It’s nothing. That’s all. Goodbye, Dami.” She hung up the phone.
‘I hope neither Mama or Dami ever gets in another relationship,’ La-Iin thought. ‘Maybe they’re annoying, but nobody else gets to pretend to be my Mama or Dami.’

27.543.My Darling, Mit-Sun–Part 1

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 543
“My Darling, Mit-Sun–Part 1”

‘What do I do if Mit-Sun accepts that man’s feelings?’
Since his phone call with La-Iin, Asul-Zenza had been lost in the thought of what might happen if Mit-Sun reciprocated Uil-Cur’s feelings. Even days later the idea still upset him. He could imagine him marrying Mit-Sun and getting to play an active part in her upbringing–even the reminder of La-Iin’s hatred towards the man barely made him feel better.
‘Even with Mit-Sun’s leniency, if a new man could play the role of La-Iin’s father, would she let him? Might she want to keep La-Iin around if she gave her a younger sibling? What will I do if she accepts his feelings and allows him to help raise La-Iin?’
He felt hopeless about the situation, yet he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He awaited eagerly for La-Iin’s next phone call, in which he hoped she would say that nothing had happened and that Mit-Sun was not getting married.

***

“Mit-Sun, I feel blessed this month. Why, earlier this year I never thought that just months later the two of us would be such good friends that we could hang out so many days in a month! It’s amazing to me. Long gone are the days where I admired you from afar–now, we spend lots of time together.”
“It’s been fun. Before I started spending more time with you I never even knew there were so many places to go in Bledger. Though I already knew about Sunday Daily.”
“Of course you did. When you live near this part of town, who doesn’t?”
“It’s also been nice to have someone who understands how I feel about Mrs. Eteibreit. I swear, I think she gets some sort of sick kick off of torturing us. You seem to handle her a little better, Uil-Cur. That’s something I kind of admire about you. Your personality, the way you act…it’s very fun. It’s kind of weird when you start acting more meek.”
“Aha ha, well, it happens sometimes. I get slightly embarrassed by the way I act sometimes. I’ve been called conceited a lot throughout my lifetime, but as I said, there’s nothing conceited about loving yourself. And it’s not like I’m putting myself on a pedestal above all others.”
“Yeah.” Mit-Sun sighed. “I wish La-Iin wouldn’t be so harsh towards you. She’s turning some of her anger towards you onto me. And that’s not the only reason I’m upset, not by a long shot, it’s just, I don’t know what made her hate you so much! And I know what you said about it seeming like you reminded her of someone she didn’t like, but that’s no excuse. I wouldn’t start mouthing off at a Catori-Demon on the street just because she’s the same species as Mrs. Eteibreit.”
“Well, she’s young. Young children can be irrational a lot of the time.”
“Yeah, I suppose so. I guess I should be more understanding of that–since the year I turned nineteen I haven’t really dealt with many young children, and she’s the only one I deal with on a daily basis. Still, it’s hard to deal with her. I know young children aren’t always as badly-behaved as she is. I met her best friend when she was younger than this and she’s one of the sweetest little girls I know. What happened with La-Iin? I treated her with kindness and what happened between me and her father happened when she was little.” Mit-Sun sighed. “Sorry to pile this on you, Uil-Cur…”
“It’s fine, Mit-Sun. It isn’t something I haven’t heard before. La-Iin is her own person. She might be at odds with you, but I don’t think she’ll ever hate you.”
“I must not be as confident as you are, then.”
“Like I said, she’s a young child. I may not have any experience when it comes to parenting, but I’ve dealt with my younger siblings for many years. They’ve stopped talking to me because I ate something they wanted to eat, or fought with me because I did something wrong that they never told me what it was. It happens. Don’t get down on yourself. You try your best and that is what matters. So have more confidence in your mothering–you don’t want a lack of confidence to bog you down, do you?”
“I suppose not,” Mit-Sun sighed. “Thank you, Uil-Cur. You know, I think you’ll be a great father if you ever decide to become one. I’m sure I’ll still be taking care of La-Iin for years to come–maybe you can give me some tips if you have a kid who ends up better behaved than her.”
Uil-Cur scratched the back of his neck. Seeing Mit-Sun’s innocent smile, hearing what she had to say, he was only reminded of his most recent visit to her house. ‘Should I try? Should I say something to her? I think I might have a chance. I suppose the worst is that she could say no…that or she could cut me off as a friend…’ Uil-Cur shook his head. ‘No. Mit-Sun is a kind woman. She would never do such a thing. I have to take my chances. After all, things don’t look so hopeless anymore. Maybe she likes me back…’
Uil-Cur glanced around him and took a deep breath. There were no people around him or Mit-Sun. He let out the breath.
“Mit-Sun, actually, there’s something I’ve been meaning to speak with you about.”
“Hm?”
“It was something your comment about me as a father reminded me of. And this is something I’ve wanted to bring up for a while, but I didn’t think there would be any benefit to either of us if I did so before. Now I feel confident that no matter what, the outcome will be fine, even if it’s not what I wanted.”
“What are you talking about, Uil-Cur? Can you get to the point?”
Uil-Cur sighed. “Well, I’ve wanted to be your friend for a long while, Mit-Sun, but there’s something else I’ve wanted for almost as long. After I got to know you better, I started to really like you. I had a high opinion of you since before we officially met, but once I really got to know you I knew that opinion was more well-founded than I expected. You’re a wonderful woman, Mit-Sun. Even when there are things you aren’t perfect at, you keep working hard at them anyway. It makes me sad when you say you have no confidence in some aspect of your mothering because I think it’s not a matter of you being a bad mother, it’s a matter of you don’t have it down perfect yet. And really, who ever would?”
“What are you trying to get at, Uil-Cur?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Well…as I got to know you and see how wonderful you are first-hand, I felt a little…differently about you…I was shy to admit it, but recently I thought to myself, with how kind you are I have nothing to worry about no matter what the outcome is. And, that is…I….I’m in love with you, Mit-Sun!”
Mit-Sun gave no response. She simply stared at Uil-Cur with wide eyes.
“I have been for a while. Perhaps even before I officially met you. You always sounded like the type of woman I would like, but the more I got to know you the more I knew that was true. I won’t ask you to give a specific answer, and you don’t have to answer now. I will still be your friend if you say no. And I would be glad to stay by you if you say yes. Well, I will either way, but you understand, right?”
Mit-Sun still didn’t respond. “Mit-Sun? I won’t be upset no matter what answer you give me, so please don’t just stand there. At least tell me if you don’t have an answer yet.”
“I…I…” Mit-Sun’s face flushed red. “I don’t know what to say, Uil-Cur. I can’t believe that flew over my head, how you felt…I always got this feeling you were flirting with me, but I thought it was just in your nature…”
“It is just in my nature. I’m as outgoing as they come and I still whimper like an introvert when I like a woman. I’d only be flirting with you if we were together, and that isn’t the case…right now,” he whispered to himself.
“You’re going to have to wait for me to think on this more, Uil-Cur. I–I just…”
Uil-Cur smiled. “I’ll wait as long as it takes, Mit-Sun. But don’t keep me waiting too long. I’ll get my hopes up and down and basically on a roller-coaster until you give me an answer. Oh, I feel much better having said all that!”
Mit-Sun shook her head. “I–I think I should go home!” She took off ahead of Uil-Cur.
“Be seeing you, Mit-Sun. I look forward to whatever response you give me.”

—–
“Hey, bro, you look kinda melancholy. Did something happen?”
“Ah, not really,” Uil-Cur sighed. “I’ve just been having hopeless fantasies about getting married and staring a family…”
“Who says they’re hopeless? You are pretty nice, bro. Some lady will like you someday, I bet.”
“You think so?”
“Mm-hm.”
Uil-Cur smiled. “I’m actually wondering if there’s some lady who likes me now…”
“Hm?”
“If she does, I think I’ll be a very happy man. Happier than I’ve ever been in my life.”
“Well, I hope she likes you back. But as payment for having this conversation, if she likes you and she marries you and you have kids I want to name your first one!”
“Aha ha, we’ll see about that one.”
His sister’s words sent Uil-Cur into a daydream about a life with Mit-Sun. Already he could imagine the two taking care of La-Iin and a further two children and living a happy life within the Cahongyun house. This time, he was so lost within the fantasy that he never chided himself for how ridiculous it might sound.
‘Perhaps this will come true soon…oh, Mit-Sun, I hope you feel the same as I do.’

18.534.Animosity from Suspicion

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

26.511.From One Friend to Another

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

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

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

24.509.A Better Mother

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

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

***

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

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

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

7.492.Wishing Upon a Star

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 492
“Wishing Upon a Star”

Mit-Sun found herself incredibly distracted that day at work. Though she felt that Eteibreit would likely call her out on her sloppy job, she couldn’t find it in her to care all that much.
‘La-Iin feels so distant recently. Is it because of me? I haven’t been taking her anywhere. I did treat her to a little something on Children’s Day, and she seemed fine with me, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t distant…’
She sighed. ‘Maybe I should talk to Papa about this. I wonder if he’s ever felt I’m growing distant from him?’
“Cahongyun, something wrong?”
Mit-Sun glanced behind her; Leirhyn was standing there. “You look kind of down. I’m on a break right now, so I figured I’d ask.”
“Oh, it’s nothing really,” she sighed. “Just, thinking about my daughter is all.”
“I see. Is everything alright? We haven’t really talked much outside of work lately.”
“Everything’s fine. Perfect. Almost,” she sighed. “Anyway, I should probably get back to work.”
“Yeah, I guess so. But before you do, remember what I said: the two of us have got to get together sometime soon and talk about you and a certain someone.”
“Who?”
“You know who~”
“I really don’t.”
“You’ll figure it out, then. See you, Cahongyun!” Leirhyn walked off, a skip in her step.
“I wish I could share in that cheerfulness,” Mit-Sun sighed.

***

After work that day, Mit-Sun said good-bye to Leirhyn and reported in to Eteibreit.
“Your job’s sloppy today,” Eteibreit had said.
“I know.”
“…you know, I consider stronger punishments for my workers when they do a sloppy job and they know they’ve done a sloppy job.”
“That’s actually you being fair, for once.”
Eteibreit huffed. “I’ll let you off easy today and tell you just to do a better job tomorrow. But listen closely, Cahongyun. There will be consequences if this consciously sloppy work continues.”
“I understand, Mrs. Eteibreit,” Mit-Sun sighed. “I’ll do my best tomorrow.”
“Make sure that you do.”
Mit-Sun turned to leave the room; as she closed the door she heard Eteibreit giggling to herself and shuddered.
“Oh, there’s someone else I should say good-bye to, too…”
She head off to Uil-Cur’s division. Uil-Cur was setting down a stack of papers, but he soon noticed her and ran to greet her.
“Why, hello, Mit-Sun! How are you today?”
“Fine, I guess,” she sighed. “And it’s not hello. I just came to say bye.”
“Oh, alright.” Uil-Cur squinted. “Are you sure nothing’s wrong, Cahongyun?”
“Why? Do I look upset?”
“Yes, you do.” Uil-Cur’s brow furrowed with concern. “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
“Well, not really…I was actually thinking of talking to my Pap–I mean, Father–about it. It’s nothing.”
“I don’t mind hearing you out too,” he said.
“You can be really forceful sometimes, can’t you?” Uil-Cur drew away. “Anyway, I don’t even think you’d understand it all that well anyway. I don’t want to bother you with it.”
“Mit-Sun, you could never bother me. You’re my dearest friend. Go ahead and tell me. Well, if you want to.”
Mit-Sun was about to decline when a thought came to mind. ‘Uil-Cur is a good friend of mine. And he might not have experience with raising children of his own, but maybe it would be good to talk to someone who doesn’t…I might get an answer from him that’s not ‘this is something that happens’.’
“Mit-Sun?”
“I’m sorry, I was just throwing something around in my head,” she said. “…are you sure you’d be okay with hearing me out? It’s not really a problem that matters anything to you…”
“Mit-Sun, I would hear out any problem you had, even if it was with me!” Uil-Cur said. “But do you mind if I finish work first? I’d really rather not get on Mrs. Eteibreit’s bad side.”
Mit-Sun gave a chuckle. “I can hear you there. Hey, I have to get home to La-Iin, though. Would you mind coming by for just a bit so I can at least tell her dinner might be late?”
Uil-Cur’s expression went blank. “Uh–um, certainly, Mit-Sun.”
“Alright. I’ll be waiting for you in front of the building.”

Mit-Sun had planned on staying silent until she and Uil-Cur reached their home, but halfway through the walk back she couldn’t hold herself back.
“I feel like me and my daughter are growing distant,” she said.
“O-oh? How so?”
“We haven’t been talking as much as we used to. La-Iin’s always treated me like she thinks I’m a bad parent, but she’s never really been distant like this. She talks to me at dinner. We have been spending time together. It just feels like she’s heading away from me, you know? If she was a teenager, I might be able to understand and pass it off as something that would pass with time. But she’s only seven. Have I been doing something wrong? Maybe I’m really not doing as good a job as I thought I was.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s just because of the way she is. Our opinions are pretty different. But I don’t want to think that way. She has a friend and they don’t agree on a lot of things, but they still get along. It might not be that.” She sighed. “She and her father also don’t agree on a lot of things. But she loves him unconditionally. I get treated a lot differently than he does. And that makes me wonder even more if I’m doing something wrong.”
“Does she get to see her father often? Maybe she treats him so well because they don’t see each other often. And her friend is around her age, so it could always be that. Maybe she’s going through an early rebellious phase.”
“Maybe. I’m just worried. I really don’t want to grow distant from her. I’ve been trying my hardest ever since she was born! I had to survive off the vuyong I made from my old job and what my ex brought in when she was a baby before he left the house. I think she resents me for sending her to the preschool I sent her to, but I had to get a job! There was no way we could keep going with the vuyong I had left. We wouldn’t have made it.”
“Explain that to her, then! Little kids don’t always understand these sorts of things.”
“La-Iin wouldn’t believe me. She’s a very opinionated seven-year-old. She believes what she wants to.”
“Mit-Sun, you shouldn’t let yourself get discouraged. If you do that you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Maybe you’re just at a rough patch. You could always try and bond with her. What sorts of things did you do in the past that you haven’t done recently? What sort of things do you think she would want to do, or would like if you let her do them?”
“I don’t even want to begin to get into that last one,” Mit-Sun groaned. “….but we did go for walks downtown sometimes, and we haven’t done that in a while. And I used to teach her about species history and species study after school sometimes. And I haven’t been talking to her myself much lately. Maybe it’s not La-Iin’s fault. Maybe it’s because of me.”
“You just have to make an effort, Mit-Sun. I made an effort to get closer to you. You jumped to the worst conclusions, but maybe it’s nothing all as bad as that. Maybe she just needs a little space. And maybe both of you aren’t making the effort. Just try, Mit-Sun.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Haner. Talking to you really helped. I’m going to try now. You know, I was worried about whether I was being a good mother or not, and I was overlooking the fact that maybe I haven’t been putting enough effort towards interacting with her lately. I spend a lot of time on the ‘homework’ Mrs. Eteibreit gives me. So maybe it is my fault.”
“I’m glad to have helped any, Mit-Sun. It just didn’t do to see you so upset.”
Mit-Sun continued to smile. Uil-Cur began to feel immensely flustered and looked away. “So, um…shall I head home now that I helped you, or do you still want me to…?”
“Why not come by for dinner tonight?”
“D–don’t you want to try and build up your relationship with your daughter? I’d only get in the way of that!”
“I don’t think you coming over for dinner one night is going to sour our relationship. Besides, we have the whole weekend ahead of us. But I can’t force you to come over if you don’t want to. The offer’s there anyway.”
“…what time do you usually have dinner?”
“Six to seven, depending on what I make and how late I make it. Why?”
“Oh, just wondering…I think I will take you up on that offer, Mit-Sun. Though really, how would your daughter feel about it?”
Mit-Sun pondered his question. “She probably wouldn’t like it. But I said so already, Haner. It’s not going to make us enemies if you come over one night.”
“If you say so.”
Although Uil-Cur felt quite timid, he also had to hold himself back from screaming out in joy. ‘Mit-Sun invited me to dinner! I can’t believe this!’

—–
“Who is this?”
“Don’t act so hostile, La-Iin. This is my coworker, Haner. He helped me out with something earlier today, so I invited him over for dinner.”
“I’ve heard a bit about you, La-Iin.” He waved. “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Haner!?” La-Iin jumped back. “And he’s a Siren!? Male Sirens are bad news, Mama.”
“Oh, don’t be like that. If you can put up with him for one night, we’ll do something special tomorrow. How about that?”
La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance. “Mama, you could never understand the reason why I object this so strongly, and you wouldn’t listen if I told you anyway!” She stomped out of the living room.
“Are….are you sure she’s seven years old? She acts like a rebellious teenager…”
“That’s La-Iin for you,” Mit-Sun sighed.

‘Haner. Haner! Mama may be oblivious to what you want, but I can see it from a mile away!’
Throughout the night La-Iin kept a close eye on Haner, and the longer she focused the more she felt her suspicions had proven true. ‘If this guy is in love with Mama….then that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard!’
Barely a moment went by that night in which La-Iin’s wings weren’t flapping wildly in anger.

9.433.Eternal Desperation

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 433
“Eternal Desperation”

Uil-Cur was in a state of lovesickness.
“Oh, how I wish it was easier to build a relationship with a work acquaintance,” he sighed aloud.
Uil-Cur had thought highly of Mit-Sun since before having met her, and had been interested in her even then, but ever since the day he had walked home with her he was completely smitten and felt conflicted as a result of it.
Many times recently he had found himself daydreaming of what his life might be like if he and Mit-Sun ended up in a relationship, but then he would feel conflicted because the two had not known each other for long.
‘There has to be something I can do to get closer to her, at the very least,’ he thought. ‘I want to see her so badly, but tomorrow’s Monday. I don’t work on Mondays…but she does. Maybe she won’t mind if I go and see her tomorrow. …but she might think that’s creepy, who knows…’
He groaned. ‘If love’s supposed to be such a wonderful feeling, then why does it hurt so damn much!?’

***

Uil-Cur took a deep breath as he walked into work Monday morning, passing by Eteibreit’s office on his way in. He tried to move quickly, but just as his workplace came into view he felt claws dig into his shoulder.
“Haner, would you mind telling me what you’re doing here on a Monday?” Eteibreit said quietly. “I thought you didn’t work Mondays.”
“I, er, remembered something I left here. I wanted to get to it before it was too late to.”
“Oh? I don’t believe you. But if that’s the truth, that’s fine. …just be prepared to work while you’re looking for it.”
Uil-Cur sighed. “Yes, Mrs. Eteibreit…say, will I get payed extra for putting in the work?”
Eteibreit’s tail swished. “That depends on whether you do a good job or not. Though you asking has me tempted to say no.”
She stomped her foot. “Get to work anyway, Haner. You won’t like what happens if you don’t.”
“Yes, ma’am, of course!” He turned away and fluttered his wings, tempted to fly to his workplace but scared of what might happen if he did.
‘I guess I should have been more discreet….or not come here at all. I’ll see Cahongyun tomorrow, anyway! There was no need to come here on a Monday…besides, just because we’re both here doesn’t mean we’re going to run into each other…’
“Haner?”
Uil-Cur flinched.
“What are you doing here today? I thought you said you didn’t work on Mondays.”
Uil-Cur glanced back to make sure he had heard correctly. Sure enough, Mit-Sun was standing there holding a stack of papers to her chest, looking at him with a confused expression.
He was stunned for only a moment before regaining his senses.
“Oh, um, I came here to get something I forgot, and Mrs. Eteibreit caught me and put me to work,” he said, his voice gradually becoming quieter. Mit-Sun sighed.
“Mrs. Eteibreit takes any chance to screw her workers over. Trust me, I’ve dealt with her far more times than you probably have.”
“I don’t doubt that,” he chuckled. “Still, it’s good to see you. You’re the only person at Eteibreit Data Storage I have any sort of meaningful relationship with, after all.”
Mit-Sun blinked as she placed the papers inside a locker. “Really?”
“Well, we might not be much of friends, but we’ve actually talked before. And I gave you those Makeshire tickets!”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thank you for that. It was a nice night.”
“Your thanks are welcome, Cahongyun. In any event, I suppose we should get back to work. If this extra day can net me any extra pay, I’ll gladly take it. Work here is so painless I’d probably be alright with coming in every day. I wonder why Mrs. Eteibreit doesn’t ask that of me?”
“Who’d want to deal with her seven days a week? I wouldn’t.” Mit-Sun said. “Anyway, see you, Haner.”
A thought popped into Uil-Cur’s mind, and he was desperate to voice it. “Um, Cahongyun, I know we’re busy right now and you have your daughter to think about and all, but do you think we might be able to do something sometime soon? You know, like walking home together…”
Mit-Sun gave him a quizzical look. “Er, I’ll see. Anyways, bye, Haner.”
Uil-Cur waved, feeling as though he had made a grave mistake.

***

Uil-Cur tried to focus on his work, but today he couldn’t find it in him. He kept thinking of Mit-Sun and his last words to her.
‘What if I came on too strongly? I don’t know if Cahongyun likes that….oh, what’s the point in worrying about how strong I’m coming on? Even my confidence isn’t enough for me to trell her how I feel. She’s too far out of my league…’
“Haner?”
Uil-Cur flinched. Mit-Sun was standing a short distance away from him. “Sorry, are you still on your shift? I can go.”
“N-no, it’s fine! There’s only a couple minutes left and I’ve done all my work. Mrs. Eteibreit won’t notice if I spend the end of it talking, will she?” He said.
“Well, that depends. She is in her office right now, I guess.”
“What did you come here to talk about?”
“What you asked for earlier. What’s with your fascination with me? When we first met you wanted to walk home with me and talk to me, then you gave me the tickets soon after…what’s spurring this?”
Uil-Cur could see a suspicious look in Mit-Sun’s eyes. ‘Oh, she’s caught on,’ he thought to himself. ‘There’s got to be something else I can tell her aside from that, though…’
“Well, being honest,” he sighed, “I just…I’ve taken an…interest in you. As a friend. I don’t actually have all that much in the way of friends, and what I do have I wouldn’t say we’re so close. I guess what I’m saying is, I saw a potential friend in you. And I don’t know if you could tell, but I do like to have friends, heh heh.”
“Is that it? I thought it was something else.”
“Did you…” He said, glancing away from her.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind being friends with you, Haner,” she said. “But it’d be a little hard to keep up. I have La-Iin to think about after all, and it’d be nearly impossible to leave her alone…and I don’t know you well enough to want to invite you over.”
“That’s fine. Perhaps we will cultivate a friendship through work chats alone!”
“Maybe, but that doesn’t give us much time. Maybe I should ask someone to watch La-Iin soon. I know someone who’d take good care of her if I was out. But who knows.”
“…you’re really okay with taking time out of your day for me?”
“Why not? You seem nice enough. A little desperate though,” she said. “But I could always use a break from the same old thing every day. Lately I’ve been looking for other things to do aside from watching La-Iin and going to work. Maybe this will be a good chance for that.”
“Maybe,” he said.
“Well, whatever happens, I should get home now. Tell me if you have any ideas for something we could do, and we’ll see what happens. See you tomorrow, Haner!”
“See you, Cahongyun…er, Cahongyun?”
“What?”
“You know, I would be perfectly fine with you calling me Uil-Cur,” he said. “Sorry if I seem pushy about this, but I’m used to others calling me that. I don’t always react to Haner right away.”
“You seemed to react fine to me…well, if I remember we’ll see. See you tomorrow then, Uil-Cur.”
As Mit-Sun walked off, Uil-Cur was left in a daze, thinking over the last words she had said to him.
‘Maybe things will start going my way,’ he thought. A wide grin spread across his face and he couldn’t help but feel a little foolish.

Mit-Sun passed by Leirhyn on her way out the building.
“See you, Cahongyun!” Leirhyn called. Mit-Sun waved.
“See you, Leirhyn.”
“Hey, I just wanted to say something to you before you go.”
“What?”
“You and I should talk together again soon,” she said. “Maybe you could tell me a little more about that guy you keep hanging out with.”
“Who, Haner?”
“You know who~” She hummed. “Anyway, see you tomorrow, Cahongyun!”
“See you, Leirhyn?”

—–
The next day at work, Mit-Sun was greeted by flowers being thrust into her face.
“What are these for?” She asked Uil-Cur.
“Consider them thanks,” he said. “Many people before have been annoyed by my pursuing of them in friendship. Also, you have no idea how worried I was you would take my desire for friendship the wrong way. Now that I know you understand, I feel my old confidence is back. So here.”
“Um, thanks?”
“No need to thank me. These flowers are meant in thanks. Thank-yous lose a little of their point if they’re returned with more thanks.”
“If you say so,” she said. “Well, I have to get back to work, but Haner?”
“Yes?”
“Go ahead and call me Mit-Sun if you want,” she said. “Just don’t do it at work or Leirhyn might think you’re talking to her.”
Uil-Cur smiled. “Certainly.”
As he head back to his workplace, his heart felt light. ‘Maybe this is why they call love such a great feeling. Moments like these are wonderful!’