Mirrored from Sythyry.
Villain’s Welcome, reprise
Lithia: “You brought Nangbang? Here?”
Me: “Yes. He is Treacle-Eyes’s father, and has as much right to be at your wedding as I do.”
Lithia: “He wants to take her back to Oorah Thrassen! He wants to break her and Dorze up!”
Me: “Actually, he wants to break her and you up too.”
Lithia: “You told him?”
Me: “Zascalle told him.”
Lithia: “Oh, no! We have to stop him before he tells her!”
Me: “You should have told her yourself, long ago.” Which was not a bit helpful of me, I will admit.
Lithia: “Don’t be a fool! No, I should not have!”
I didn’t understand. But we were too late anyhow.
The Master Plan
In another parlor, sitting on a suicidal couch, Nangbang was doing his best to wreck his daughter’s impending marriage.
Nangbang: “Treacle-Eyes, child, there’s something you need to know about Lithia. She is not as she appears to be.”
Treacle-Eyes: “Father, don’t say any more.”
Nangbang: “What, do you suspect something?”
Treacle-Eyes: “What, me, suspect something? When my wife-to-be has hourly cramps? When, in alternate hours, she is glad to go swimming like a proper Orren, and prefers not to? When, at times, she is tall enough to reach the mantlepiece without stretching, and at times prefers to climb on a footstool, despite always appearing to be the same height? When she discusses our future plans, and in ten years’ time she plans to be dead — of ‘oh, nothing in particular’?”
Nangbang: “All these things, and she has not told you her deepest secret?”
Treacle-Eyes: “I am not a fool, father, and I am not a child. I suspect something … something quite dire.”
Nangbang: “And she has not told you! She has lied to you!”
Treacle-Eyes: “Exactly. I will discover the precise and horrible truth from her corpse. In the meantime, I will remain ignorant. We will be as any other married Orren couple, wife and wife, with nothing the least bit remarkable or dubious about us … outside of Strayway and Castle Wrong, at least, where wicked people will keep the secret from me. Only when it is too late will the awful truth emerge. I shall have been tricked! Wronged! Betrayed! Befooled! But my wife-to-be and I shall have had a decade of an ordinary peaceful conventional life together. She wants that more than anything, and I will admit that I rather wish it as well. Indeed, you may tell your friends and colleagues at home a simple and straightforward story about me while I am married, and, if the story gets out at the end, it will probably not reflect too badly on you. Save that your daughter can be fooled at length.”
Nangbang: “You know?”
Treacle-Eyes: “I have certain suspicions, but officially I do not know. I could even say, ‘Nobody ever told me about Lithia’s true nature, and, despite certain suspicions, I never confirmed it’ under a truth-spell, and, if I word it carefully, it will be true. Misleading, but true. I would appreciate if you did not spoil that, by the way. For the sake of the family reputation, if nothing else.”
Nangbang: “It is odd to see you so concerned for the family reputation, considering that you ran off with Dorze. What is to become of Dorze?”
Treacle-Eyes: “Dorze will be my factotum and body-servant. Nobody outside of the household need know precisely what totum he will fac, nor how he will service my body.”
Nangbang: “Where on wood did you get your concept of a “typical Orren marriage”? Where you raised by Sleeth, girl?”
Conference of the Parents
A rather disturbed Nangbang came to my parlor to confer with me, and told me of that conversation.
Me: “Bold as brassica, is Treacle-Eyes. I wish she hadn’t stowed away … but she has somewhat of a deceptive side, even a criminal one. Her plan to deceive everyone possible about Lithia is of a piece with her stowing away.”
Nangbang: “Nothing of the sort! It is Lithia’s plan! Lithia, not my daughter, is a sneaksome and insidious girl! The upcoming nuptials do not please me for this reason!”
Me: “Treacle-Eyes, not Lithia, stowed away on my skyboat! She, not my adopted daughter, has a history of sneakage and insidiation! The upcoming nuptials do not please me for this reason!”
Nangbang: “H’m. Perhaps they are, in fact, a good match.”
Me: “Unacceptable! You are supposed to break them up, so I don’t have to.”
Nangbang: “Which is unlikely to occur, as the terrible secret which your sneaky daughter conceals will not be the devastating surprise I had hoped.”
Me: “I suppose we had better start planning the celebration, then.”
Nangbang: “Alas! I have not completely given up hope of preventing this wedding. Nor must you — I demand that you admonish your daughter at least once! I shall try mine as well. But, on the whole, yes, we might as well start to learn our parts in the ceremony. Ah — and please be aware that Pulla-and-my objection is to having a shifter hybrid in the family. Having a Zi Ri wizard, even a traff one, as an in-law is neither a social nor an intellectual disaster.”
There is little more distressing than an Evil Sorcerer being reasonable.