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!’

31.396.Tickets to Makeshire

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 396
“Tickets to Makeshire”

Mit-Sun sighed. Work was coming to a close for the week, and she was ready to be done.
‘Not like La-Iin will want to do anything fun over the Weekend,’ she thought to herself. ‘Well, at least I don’t have to be here…’
“Cahongyun!”
Mit-Sun startled. Uil-Cur was half-running, half-fluttering over to her, his expression one of excitement.
‘What does he want now?’ Mit-Sun wondered. Though he hadn’t come up to her since that day they walked together, he always said good-bye to her and seemed to watch her from afar. She had to admit, his behavior was confusing her.
“Hello, Haner,” Mit-Sun said.
“Please, Mit-Sun! You can call me Uil-Cur! Trust me, once you get used to it it feels as natural as breathing.”
“Uh…yeah?”
“Now, you might be wondering why I came up to you today. Well, that’s because I have something to give you!” Before Mit-Sun could ask what it was, Uil-Cur thrust two tickets in her face. “Here.”
“Huh?” She took the tickets. “Summer and Winter Fantasies…”
“I hope you like Makeshire. That is one of his greatest works, if you ask me. People know it quite well although it does feel like sometimes other plays get more time in the spotlight despite this being the second-best Makeshire play. …in my eyes, I mean.”
“Why are you giving this to me?”
“After hearing your story I felt you needed something to take your mind off the stresses of work and motherhood. So I say go see Summer and Winter Fantasies, take your parents, daughter, just a friend, and have fun!”
Mit-Sun stared at him in disbelief. Uil-Cur’s cheeks turned a dark shade of pink. “Wh-what?”
“Don’t you want to see this?”
Uil-Cur seemed to nearly freeze in place. He started to flail about and shiver. “Ahaha, no, I’m fine! I love that play but you should go see it with someone you care about. Although, I don’t mind going if you don’t know anyone else who’s interested in Makeshire…in that case, I wholeheartedly accept.”
“La-Iin is into Makeshire,” Mit-Sun mused. “Maybe I’ll take her.”
“Ahaha….good choice. Either way, I just hope you enjoy your time. If I have alleviated your stresses any by sending you off to see that play, I will be happy. So tell me if I have next time we see each other!”
“Monday then?” Mit-Sun asked.
“Oh no, I don’t work on Mondays. You’ll have to get me on Tuesday.” Looking both disappointed and happy, Uil-Cur waved to Mit-Sun. “See you, Cahongyun!”
“Um…see you?”
She watched him walk off, then turned back to the tickets.
‘That was really nice of him,’ she thought. ‘I hope La-Iin will be willing to come with me….’

***

Mit-Sun talked to La-Iin that night about the tickets.
“I’ve never seen that one before,” La-Iin said. “But I don’t like going to see plays. That’s boring. I like acting them out instead.”
“If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to,” she said. “I could always have my father or someone else watch you for the night….but then, who would I take?”
“You could also have Dami watch me,” she said.
“No. But, really, who would I take…? I’m not sure a play would be up Leirhyn’s alley…I’d have to ask, but I don’t think I could ask her tomorrow. I guess Haner did offer, so I could take him up on that. It is his ticket, after all.”
“Is Haner that guy who gave you the tickets?” La-Iin asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Yes. He works with me at Eteibreit Data Storage, though he works a different shift. He’s a nice guy, though he’s a little….flirtatious,” she said. “I think that’s just in his nature, though.”
The idea of this man being interested in her mother made La-Iin’s stomach turn. Though Mit-Sun seemed unconcerned by what she had just said, La-Iin felt uncertain, and at that moment she decided on her answer.
“Take me with you!”
“Why? I thought you didn’t want to go.”
“I was just thinking, maybe if I see this one, me and Fer-Shi can act it out later,” she said. “That’s always fun.”
“Are you sure that’s why?” She asked. “Because you sound pretty angry.”
“Yes, it is. I’ll go with you.”
Mit-Sun felt that there was another reason for La-Iin’s sudden change of mind, but she decided not to continue pressing.
‘Why mess up this chance to spend time with her?’ She thought.

And so the next day, La-Iin and Mit-Sun left the house early to head to the theatre where Summer and Winter Fantasies was playing. La-Iin was shivering almost the whole way, and looked irritated as if she didn’t want to be outside.
On the inside, however, she was much more furious.
‘How long is this gonna be? How long am I gonna be stuck in the same seat? How many hours? How much of my time am I gonna be wasting? Valuable time I could spend doing something much better than just sit there and watch a play. I could act out this play and let Mama watch it that way instead of going because some stupid guy gave her tickets.’
Remembering Mit-Sun’s description of ‘Haner’ made her even more furious. Her wings started to flap wildly; Mit-Sun gave a curious glance in her direction when she heard them.
‘Who is that guy anyway!?’ She thought as she and Mit-Sun approached the theatre. They entered it and Mit-Sun presented the tickets. ‘Mama said he was flirtatious. And he gave her tickets even though she said he hadn’t even been working there all that long. I bet he just wants to marry Mama.’
That one thought made her incredibly nauseous, and she staggered into the theatre, her stomach churning wildly. ‘But wait, she said he was a Siren, didn’t she? Maybe he’s just doing what ancient Sirens do. He’s going to entice Mama, then sing to her and eat her. I can’t let that happen! If anyone kills Mama, it should be me! But even I wouldn’t do that, because it would just be cheap. Killing her to eat her…Mama wouldn’t taste good….’
La-Iin tried to suppress the thoughts that were horrified by the idea for a different reason as she and Mit-Sun took their seats in the middle of the rows. Mit-Sun glanced at her as her expression changed mildly, first from anger, then to sickness, and then to sadness.
‘What’s going on? Is she alright?’
‘Mama shouldn’t trust that Haner guy. He’s one of those useless evil people like San-Kyung said. He’s only evil because he wants to eat Mama and not because he’s actually evil. Maybe he’s not even evil and he’s just neutral. Actually, he probably is! Someone like him doesn’t even deserve to be called evil!’
“La-Iin?” Mit-Sun’s voice broke through her frenzied thoughts. “Are you alright? The play’s about to start, so calm down a little.”
“Why should I?” She snapped. Mit-Sun glared. She leaned closer to her and whispered, “If you didn’t want to come, you didn’t have to.”
“I couldn’t let you go with that Haner guy!” La-Iin snapped. She then covered her mouth.
“Is that what this is all about? You didn’t want me to go with Haner? That’s so–”
Before she could finish, a Cicadin man tapped a microphone and glanced around at the sparse crowd. He sighed, then put on a smile and stared upward.
“Welcome all to the Dreamin’ Stories theatre. My name is Geu Shin-Kah, and I am the director of this theatre’s production of Makeshire’s Summer and Winter Fantasies I see the Winter weather must have kept a lot of people from showing up…but that’s alright! The actors will put on their best performances for those of you who actually attended. Now, let me tell you, I am a huge fan of Makeshire’s work. This one is particularly near and dear to my heart because of a fond memory I have of it….so I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I do! Now, Dreamin’ Stories Theatre Productions presents, Makeshire’s Summer and Winter Fantasies!”

“Dearest Beizu, why do you treat destruction the same as play between children? These such events are disastrous for I and the people I love. I feel at times that all this is my fault. To see you, treating all this so lightly…”
“There is good reason for that, my dear! Because if you take each event smiling, your life will be infinitely less stressful and infinitely more fun. I have learned this from all my years experience dealing with such events, and thus my faith in this method is strong!”
“Have you too dealt with immense tragedy before then, Beizu? Having heard your standpoint I am wondering now if that is the case…in such a case, though you say to take each event, good or bad, with a smile, I do wonder, do you not understand why I feel the way I do about the strife in my fair land?”
“A…ahahaha….what would make you think I’ve felt any negative feelings in my life, Ija? I am nothing more than a happy sprite. Take offense to my smiles if you will, but perhaps this time you will take my stance into consideration next time you feel as if you are to be crushed by sadness, hm?”
Summer and Winter Fantasies was a play about the challenges of marriages in a land called Kirsce, a society where all species lived together in peace. A major character in the play so far had been Beizu, a Fairy who lived on the outskirts of the land. Having observed the situation, Beizu had decided to make a game out of it; Ija, a young village girl working towards the goal of marriage being for all, took notice of his behavior and began to try and drive him out of Kirsce, seeing him as an obstacle in the way of her goal.
La-Iin wasn’t a fan of sitting and watching the play be acted out by people she had never met before, but she was intrigued by Beizu’s character, and could already imagine herself in his role and Fer-Shi in Ija’s role. Mit-Sun seemed to be thoroughly captivated by the play, as she hadn’t taken her eyes off it once.
‘I wonder if we can get a script for this one too,’ she thought. Still, despite her thoughts that the play would be fun to act out with Fer-Shi, there was still one thing that was bothering her.
‘That Haner guy gave her tickets to a play that’s all about marriage,’ she thought. ‘He’s up to something! I can feel it! You can never trick a Maniac of Evil, Haner! We’re all about plans!’
Those thoughts about what this Haner’s ulterior motives behind giving Mit-Sun tickets to a play about marriage might have occasionally distracted her from the play, but nevertheless La-IIn felt like she saw all that was important.
“You don’t understand, Ija, and you never have, not since the moment you tried to drive me from Kirsce. My smiles to avoid all stressors are because I cannot deal with the sadness in life. Others are capable of moving past it, capable of using it to make them stronger, but I, I see sadness as what it truly is. How one could take that I cannot imagine…so when my mother told me to see each life’s event as play, to take all lightly, I tried it. And she was right, it alleviated my stressors quite well. So I continued to do it so I could live out my natural lifespan. Should anything happen to me that ended it before it was due up, I was certan that whatever it was would not be in any way a fault of mine. I feel differently now, Ija. Because you have helped resurface all sorts of emotions I never wanted to experience again. And now, I…now, I don’t see any way to return to the way I was before.”
“Beizu, I never intended for it to reach this point! I had wanted you to respect why I felt the way I did about Kirsce’s situation. Understand this, Beizu, that if you do what you intend to do now, it will be something you can no longer take back!”
“I no longer care. For you see, Ija, I simply cannot cope with sadness like everyone else can. It’s impossible for me. And I believe that somewhere, somewhere out there, be it in the sky or in a space separate from ours, contained within the Earth or not, no matter where it is, I believe there is a Heaven out there. And, for what reason would I, who has lived a fair and honest life, not make it there…?”
“Beizu! NO!”
‘That’s Makeshire for you,’ La-Iin thought as she stared wide-eyed at the stage. The actor playing Beizu promptly flung himself off the top of a prop shaped to look like a cliff. He disappeared from sight before landing.
Despite Beizu’s suicide, however, the play’s ending was fairly hopeful, and La-Iin couldn’t help but be bored by it as Ija’s goal for marriage equality was met and the land of Kirsce became one of ideals.
“Beizu, if somehow you survived that fall, it would be my hope that you would find the desire to fly by Kirsce again. For this is a place now like Heaven, but contained within life. I think you would very much like it here.”
The play then came to a close.

—–
“That was quite a dramatic play, wasn’t it?” Mit-Sun asked. “I thought it was going to be a comedy the whole way through because of the way it started, but once Ija appeared it got pretty serious.”
“I wish they’d shown Beizu’s corpse.”
“Makeshire probably didn’t write that into the script,” she said. “Still, it’s a pretty old play to deal with suicide.”
“Makeshire’s plays have all sorts of violent stuff in them.”
“I guess…still, it was nice to see a mixture of tragic and hopeful like that. Usually he seems to just stick with one or the other.”
“I wish the ending had been tragic.”
“You would, wouldn’t you?” Mit-Sun sighed. “Still, I’m glad you came with me, La-Iin.”
‘I’m glad I came too,’ she thought. ‘Who knows what Haner would be doing to you right now if I didn’t?’

28.393.The Man with the Plan

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 393
“The Man with the Plan”

Mit-Sun carried a thick stack of papers with her to the storage room, checking them one more time to make sure she had all she needed. She tried to keep her mind focused on the job instead of letting herself get distracted by idle thoughts that attempted to sneak their way in.
She found the first location for her papers and began to neatly file them into the drawer. Just as she was down to the last nine papers, something crashed against the locker and she flinched.
“Agh! Damn it!” A voice groaned. Startled, Mit-Sun realized that whatever had crashed into the drawer was a person. Forgetting about the papers, she closed the drawer and went to check on the person. Kneeling on the ground, holding his head and groaning, was a Siren man.
“Are you alright?” She asked. The man groaned, still holding on to his head. He stayed like that for a minute before sighing and looking up.
“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for your concern.”
‘How polite,’ she thought. “I’m sorry you got hurt.”
“Ah, no, it’s fine. I used to get hurt more at my old job, heh heh…” He met Mit-Sun’s eyes, and his own widened.
“So…”
“So?”
He cleared his throat. “Pleased to meet you, madam! I don’t believe the two of us have ever met. I would remember someone like you.”
“Um…”
“I am sure you want something to call me by. My name is Haner Uil-Cur. You may call me Haner if you please, but I won’t take offense to being called Uil-Cur. What is your name?”
“Er, it’s Cahongyun Mit-Sun.”
“Cahongyun Mit-Sun!?” Uil-Cur exclaimed. “Now I know why my soul reacted the way it did! I’ve heard of you before! Mrs. Eteibreit’s least-favorite? The woman who works here to take care of her daughter?”
“Yes, that’s me,” Mit-Sun said, an edge to her tone. ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’
“Oh, I’ve always wanted to meet you! I’ve heard of you since I first started working here. Granted, that hasn’t been all that long, but I was always fascinated by what I heard. I wanted to know you personally! And now that I do, why, I could just serenade you! …you know, if you wouldn’t die because of it.”
Mit-Sun gave him a blank stare.
“Is something wrong, Cahongyun? Not used to so much praise and love? I know, you’re treated like shit here. It’s the last thing a wonderful woman like you deserves.”
“I need to get back to work,” she said.
“As do I, as do I, but dear, I want to know more about you, and I want you to know more about me! Now that I have met you I must learn more.”
“You’re a weird one,” she said.
“Ah, what a compliment…often I’m told I’m conceited. Is it really so conceited to think highly of yourself, though, I wonder? Or is it just an excuse used by those who have no confidence in themselves and want all the rest of the world to feel the way they do? But no matter how highly I think of myself, I think even more highly of you, Cahongyun.”
“What’s with your obsession with me!?” Mit-Sun yelled, only to cover her mouth seconds later out of embarrassment. ‘Pay attention next time to what you want to say and what you’re thinking!’
“I just liked what I heard, so I wanted to know more about you,” Uil-Cur said. As opposed to looking sad, dejected or offended, as Mit-Sun had been expecting, he instead looked pleased. “You sounded like the type of woman I would get along with swimmingly. And I take any chances I can get to meet kind women like yourself.”
“…I don’t know what to say.”
“Please, Cahongyun, tell me one thing: will you placate me after work and talk with me? Perhaps we could walk around a bit in the surrounding area?”
‘Feels like a come-on,’ Mit-Sun thought. ‘I’m not that gullible!’
Uil-Cur did seem desperate–it was obvious. She had to wonder if placating him would make him leave her alone, or if it would only make her situation worse.
‘Well, I’ll give him one thing, no matter how conceited and desperate he seems, he doesn’t seem like a necessarily bad person,’ she thought. So, turning away from him, she said, “Sure, I guess. But let me finish work first.”
“Yes!” He cheered. “Thank you, Cahongyun! I am most pleased. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to get back to tooooo!”
And with those words, Uil-Cur ran off, propelling himself forward with his wings. Mit-Sun blinked hard.
“There sure are a lot of people I don’t know all that well working here,” she said to herself.

***

Mit-Sun held to her promise and waited outside the Eteibreit Data Storage building for Uil-Cur after she had finished her shift. She had become impatient not long after starting to wait, however, and checked the time and for Uil-Cur frequently.
‘If he doesn’t arrive in a half-hour, I’m leaving,’ she thought to herself. As if he had heard her thoughts, Uil-Cur came running out the front doors of Eteibreit Data Storage, breathing heavily.
“Sorry it took me so long!” He breathed. He took a few gulps of air before sighing and turning to face Mit-Sun. “I only just realized our shifts end at different times! And I had started to take overtime when I remembered my promise with you….but I am much happier to be out here with you rather than inside Eteibreit Data Storage.”
Uil-Cur’s eyes almost seemed to sparkle. Mit-Sun sighed. “Um, yeah, right. Anyway, what did you want to do?”
“Oh, walk around and learn more about you,” he said with a smile. “I told you that already, didn’t I? Mind if I ask a few questions, or would you rather go on about yourself yourself? And you’re welcome to ask me questions about myself too if you feel so inclined,” he said with a giggle.
Mit-Sun blinked at him. The two started to walk away from the Eteibreit Data Storage building. “So what do you want to know?”
“So many things it’s hard to choose,” he sighed. “I’ve heard a lot about how you have a daughter. They say you make excuses when you come into work late, saying that she held you up.” Mit-Sun’s face twitched. “I, however, do not believe they are necessarily excuses, especially depending on how young your child is. Tell me more about her?”
“Oh, well, um, her name is La-Iin,” she said. “She’s a handful, let me tell you. She says she wants to rule the world when she grows up…”
“My.”
“She’s six years old but pushing seven.”
“Well, that explains the problems you have with her then.”
“That and the flying,” Mit-Sun said. Uil-Cur stopped in place and stared at her, his eyes wide.
“Wait a second. Your daughter’s an avian?”
“Yes?”
“Adopted child or Dualbreed?”
“Dualbreed. Half-Vampire.”
“…she must be even more of a handful than I initially imagined,” he said.
“You could never imagine how much of a handful she is,” Mit-Sun groaned.
“Perhaps not. I have zero experience with children, after all.”
“Hey, since you said I could ask you questions too, what’s your family like?”
“Glad you asked. I’m part of a somewhat large family. Only children ran in the Haner bloodline for many years and though my mother has a twin sister, her sister only has one child of her own. I, however, am different. I am the only child of my mother and father, but I have quite a few younger half-siblings from her second marriage–six, to be precise. So I suppose my claim about not having all that much experience with children isn’t too precise.”
“You have that many siblings? I don’t have any,” she said.
“Yes, I have quite a few younger siblings. All of them Dualbreeds like your daughter. They’re half-Normals.”
“Normal-Siren seems pretty common nowadays,” she said.
“It’s the most common Siren Dualbreed combination. I always supposed there was an inherent interest in Normals in us Sirens. Nearly every woman I’ve liked has been a Normal, save for a Goathoof girl I had a crush on in High School. I have to wonder sometimes if there will be any Pureblood Sirens in a few years.”
“I’m sure there will be. Siren societies still exist, after all. Oh, um, how old are you, exactly? And how old’s your youngest sibling?”
“I am twenty-two, in the prime of my life!” He said proudly. “And my younger sibling is only a couple years older than your daughter. She’ll be nine come this May.”
“Twenty-two? Wow, I thought we had less of an age difference.”
“Do we really have that big an age difference?” Uil-Cur said. For a moment, Mit-Sun was distracted by his expression; it was incredibly innocent in stark contrast to the confident one he had been wearing all this time. She shook her head to refocus.
“Um, yeah. I’m over ten years older than you.”
“How old?”
“Thirty-five.”
“Really!? I had thought us closer in age than that! And you barely look it. Most parents at age thirty-five look much older, but you look quite young. I’d assumed you were older than me, twenty-five I thought, but it turns out I was off by ten years!”
“…”
“I mean no offense by it, though. There’s nothing wrong with your age.”
“There’s older that look younger…have you seen Vampires?”
“Yes, I have. In fact, my mother’s best friend is a Vampire, and she’s two-hundred-and-seventy, remembers wars people only hear about in history books and knows things we of other species don’t, and she looks around your age. Not like you, I mean! I mean about thirty-five.”
“I got that,” Mit-Sun chuckled.
“Ahem. Anyway, I’d like to ask then, what made you come to Eteibreit Data Storage?”
“I wanted a job I could work that wasn’t too much strain on my body and that worked on a good enough schedule so that I wouldn’t be away from La-Iin for too long. I really wish I could get back to a full-time job, though. Before I worked here, I worked a construction job that payed really well. It made my body hurt like hell but it was worth it. I quit when I got pregnant, though.”
“You’d have to, I suppose. It’d be hard to do construction while heavy with child,” he said.
“That’s what they told me, but I never figured out if they were right. I quit soon after I found out. But I think, given their reaction, that they would have fired me once it became obvious. I carried pretty heavy near the end.”
“I see…”
“So, what about you? What made you want to work here?”
“I worked a full-time job, but it didn’t pay well, it made me hurt, and I got treated like crap. I figured if I was going to get paid and treated like shit, I’d rather have to spend less time there and put less effort into the job. Also, I think filing is my special talent. That and finding out the sort of useless and not-so-useless details Eteibreit Data Storage wants to know. I have a small amount of hacking skills, going on from that.”
“Hacking?”
“Yes. B-but not bad hacking, I promise! I’ve only ever tried it on things I’ve programmed before. I suppose you could say I have a bit of talent in that field too, but I don’t mean to brag about it.”
“I’m surprised, because you seem like the type of man who takes any chance he could to brag about himself,” she said playfully. Uil-Cur laughed.
“Really? I come off that way to you? I suppose it’s not entirely untrue. But what’s so wrong about loving yourself? Nothing, that’s what. People should. If you do, you can love other people that much better, is what I say.”
His smile became small. “We’re getting close to my home. We can keep walking, but I have at least one more question I want to ask.”
“What’s that?”
“Do you….do you, by any chance, have a husband or something of the sort…? I couldn’t figure it out, you know, from what you said. And I wondered if there was someone to help you while you were pregnant with your daughter…”
Mit-Sun’s eyes narrowed, and for a moment Uil-Cur felt that she was going to blow up at him. But instead, she simply turned away.
“I’ve never been married, but I was in a pretty longstanding relationship with La-Iin’s father. We even got engaged, and he was with me while I was pregnant. But I ditched him after she was born. As far as I’m concerned, he and I didn’t belong together, and I’m happier to have him gone. ….sorry if I seemed mad, it’s just a sensitive subject.”
“I see.”
“What about you? Are you in any sort of committed relationship?”
“Oh no, not at all.” His wings gave a nervous twitch. “Though I suppose there’s a girl I’m interested in…”
“I see. Well, I hope that all works out for you, then. Just make sure you know whether she’s a jerk or not before you try anything. I may not have married that bastard, but I still regret even getting engaged to him. …though, I don’t regret that La-Iin came out of that at all.”
“Yeah, that does sound like a benefit. And, well, I don’t think I’d like her if I didn’t think she wasn’t nice. Bitches are not my type. …pardon the language.”
“It’s fine.” Mit-Sun walked away from him. “Well, it’s been nice talking to you, Uil-Cur. See you tomorrow, I guess.”
“Yes, see you tomorrow, Cahongyun!” He said, waving. “And good luck!”
“Um…” She was confused, but she decided to smile. “Thanks.”

—–
Uil-Cur smiled.
“Mit-Sun is so wonderful,” he sighed. “I need to do something for her. I wonder what sort of something she’d like done for her?”
He glanced at his table. “I wonder….”