Monday, May 7, 2018

Chapter 144: Resentment

Holland's mother encourages him to take up painting.

It's nice to be praised instead of scolded, even if his attempts fall short of perfection.

"Do you think Hollie is mad at me?" Olive still uses her brother's nickname, oblivious to his hatred of it because he never protests it when she's around.

"What'cha mean, little sis?" Apollo catches the disc that glides through the air towards her.

Olive frowns, searching for the right words to describe her brother's misery and their father's overprotective, controlling behavior. "I think... Hollie thinks... Dad hates him, and not us."

"Haha, what?" Apollo tosses the disc back, aiming carefully and gently so she doesn't end up bonking the kid in the face. "How could Holland ever think Dad hates him? Dad spends more time with him than us."

"I never thought of it like that." Olive almost misses the disc.

"Aw, don't make that face!" Apollo laughs.

"Dad, what does meat taste like?"

"What?" Dysen glances at the tofu burger Olive is munching on and remembers there hasn't been meat served in the household since Ceth left. "Uhm, it's hard to describe. Chicken tastes kind of like my tofu crab cakes."

"Why don't you call them tofu cakes?"

"Because then it wouldn't be obvious what ingredient tofu is standing in for?"

"Oh. That makes sense."

"Feel free to order steaks and bacon next time we go out. Your mom and I just aren't going to bother cooking food she can't eat."

"No... that's okay." Olive doesn't think she could eat an animal. "Dad, do you like sons or daughters best?"

"That's a weird and arbitrary division between my children whom I love equally."

"Answer the question."

"I did!" Dysen scans his daughter's thoughts for some clue as to why she'd ask such a question. "Polly said what?!"

"Daaaad! Stay out of there!" Olive holds her head for emphasis.

"Apollo is grounded for the rest of her life..."


"No. I cannot legally do that."


"You kids have the strangest ideas, you know that?" Dysen frowns. "I have to spend extra time with Hol because there are extra things he needs to learn. Just be happy your powers turn off when you don't want anyone to see them."

Olive winks. "I want everyone to see them."

"Don't get cheeky."

Holland would be punished for such a comment, but as usual, Dysen lets things slide when it comes to Olive. The truth is Dysen trusts Olive because he's psychic, and despite his initial fears when he learned about the witchcraft, a glance at her thoughts shows she understands the importance of hiding her magic... even when she's trying to break her parents' rules and practice it.

All Dysen senses from Holland is resentment. He can't trust resentment.

Though maybe if he used his telepathic powers for more than a cursory glance with his own family, he'd be able to see how his behavior is perceived by them.

And so, some father-daughter time is scheduled.

Molly never liked this ramshackle arcade, but Olive loves it.

Father-daughter time with Apollo involves sim fu.

"I'll get you this time, old man!" she taunts.

 "You'll have to be faster than that," he replies.

Apollo has never bested her father in a spar.

"Grrrarhr!" she growls convincingly.

Dysen is just an amateur with the arts of sim fu, but enough practice has ensured his heightened reflexes come through even when he isn't in the twisted werewolf form. Apollo is just a teenager, and has no chance of winning the match.

She still gets a high five and a "good job!"

Dysen has never had real problems with his daughters, but his relationship with his son remains rocky. He envies Molly, gets along easily with all three of the children.

"I don't know what to do, Dad," he admits to the struggling garden plants. "I'm trying to parent like you did, but I must be screwing it up." A quarter of the garden might survive the coming winter. Of course they have no advice for him.

"It's not fair you're the only one who has to take care of Larry," Olive comments, as she takes it upon herself to wipe the terrarium clean. "I mean, he's Daddy's turtle, not yours."

"Larry's a tortoise," Holland grunts.

"Oh. What's the difference?"

"I don't know. More letters?"

Olive giggles.

"Don't tell Mom and Dad I'm practicing magic in here, okay?"

"Why would I? It's not like you'll get in trouble even if they find out."

"You want me in trouble, Hollie?"

"Well, no." Holland pauses, swirling red and yellow paint together on the palette until an orange glob forms. "I, um, I wanted to ask... do you think you could use magic to cure lycanthropy?"

"Maybe..." Olive stares at Izalee's wand.

Holland frowns, taking the uncertain tone as a 'no'. "I guess someone would have cured every werewolf by now if it could be done."

"No! I'll do it! I'll figure it out." Olive puffs up with confidence, partially feigned for her brother's sake and partially real because she's a naive little child still prone to delusions of grandeur.

Cat picture.

The school's buddy system program pairs Holland with Akari Lee.

This proves to be awkward... since Akari is still upset Dysen saved every woman except her mother from the fire in chapter 140.

"It's his fault I'm an orphan and nobody cares about me!" All of the anger Akari has been holding in is suddenly out in the open.

Holland may not always be happy with how his father acts, but in this case he feels he must defend him. Obviously Dysen didn't want Angelita to die, and it's unfair to insinuate otherwise.

Akari apologies and tries to leave. Holland stops her.

"Don't be sad, Akari. People care about you."

"No they don't. My foster parents just want to say 'oh look at me, I'm such a great person, looking after this kid that isn't mine'. They don't even like me!"

"I care about you."

Making friends hasn't been easy for Holland, but this time, things just kind of fall into place.

"You have a turtle in your room?! That's so cool!"

"Yeah, Larry's great."

The twins play with their blocks before bedtime, as is customary.

"You had a girl in your bedroom," Olive teases.

"Yeah, I'm so bad. I showed her my tortoise."

"Wahaha!" Olive nearly chokes on her laughter. "I'm crying."

Etc.:  I ate some AMAZING tofu crab cakes at a small cafe several years ago, and I've been wanting more ever since, but this small cafe was sixty miles away from where I live, so the significant other has not been very sympathetic to my tofu craving.

All of Molly's kids have vegetarian-friendly favorite meals (tri tip tofu steak, veggie spaghetti, etc) despite none of them being born with the vegetarian trait. So I wonder if Molly being a vegetarian influenced this, or if it's just random? It would be cute if it wasn't random... like, their favorite meals are meals their mom could have made as they grew up... but I know, I know, it's probably totally random.

This is the last of the chapters I was forced to re-write after blogger destroyed all of my in-progress ones. I'm not happy with the narrative's flow, and that's partially because of the methods used to reconstruct these chapters... but anyway... that's done now, I can get back to my usual process.

Also! We are workshopping some new rules over at the thread on MTS, so if you're playing this random legacy challenge and would like to make some suggestions about changes or additions, now is an excellent time.


  1. The kids behaviours here are so realistic. No matter what Dysen does, they think it says something about them. Does Holland really want to stop beeing a werewolf, or is it more a kids frustration?

    What's going on with Molly there though? She looks like someone said no to driving 60 miles to get some tofu crabcakes.

    1. Holland does not want to be a werewolf.

      Molly overheard the twins' conversation. There are some things parents don't want to hear. xD

  2. Aw, I feel bad for criticizing Dysen's parenting in the last chapter. He really is trying his best, and it's too easy to backseat-parent when you're not actually in the family. My apologies, Dysen!

    I like how cheeky Olive is XD And she's so genuinely sweet to Holland. I almost wish she was a werewolf too, simply because she'd somehow manage to make the lycanthropy seem less terrible to him. Then again, Dysen would probably lose it if he had to worry about two were-pups!

    1. No need to feel bad. There are things he could do to improve the situation, those things just haven't occurred to him (or he can't trust they'd work) for a variety of reasons.

      The dynamic would certainly have changed if both twins were werewolves! Maybe it would be easier for Holland to deal with. We'll never know!

  3. The one-on-one bonding was a great idea. Dysen really is trying.

    "I showed her my tortoise." :O Holland!

  4. Holland! Don't show a lady your tortoise until at least the fourth date.

    I want tofu crab cakes! That sounds amazing.