Before resuming with their lives, the Sim Deity asked Amaranth to pose as she came down the stairs one fine morning. She kind of laughed and did something like this.
Amaranth: "I know. It's kind of exciting!"
Oliver: "I bet it is."
Amaranth: "...Hey, Toof. What were your teenage years like?"
Oliver: "Well, uh...you know mine were quite long ago. But they were good. I remember they were enjoyable."
Amaranth: "I'm kind of excited for school, actually."
Oliver: "Cough! You? Excited for school?"
Amaranth: "Well, not the actual learning part of it. But...I kind of have a crush on someone..."
Oliver: "Oh...that. Well, don't get too caught up in that. Your teen years are all about adventures and discovering who you are. Don't waste all your energies on some guy."
Amaranth: "Yeah, yeah."
School goes well for Amaranth. She can hardly pay attention in class, as her heart flutters every time she passes by her crush (not that she ever paid attention in class anyway). It's funny - they were just barely friends in elementary school, and now she suddenly feels a whole rush of emotions for him. Is this all part of teenagehood? It's a bit weird and confusing for her, but she's certain she likes the feeling.
After school, Amaranth changes back into her pajamas and sips on some juice next to her mother.
Midnight: "They taste like chicken."
Midnight: "Honestly, Amaranth, this is no time for you to be worrying about boys. They'll only get in the way. You're going to be a young adult soon, and this castle and the Overlord legacy will be under your care. Your focus needs to be going strictly into that."
Amaranth: "I know, I know. But...there's a guy I really like at school--"
Midnight: "Amaranth. Priorities. You need to reorder your priorities. After you finish that juice cup, I want you to head to the library and do some research. Your grandfather established general power over Moonlight Falls and after much work I have finally taken control of the military. Those are great assets in our favor, but much more needs to be done. You need to look at which areas you want to take charge of. Moonlight Falls will be ours little by little, but you need to be prepared for that."
Amaranth: "Alright. I'm going."
Amaranth heads to the library, picking up a couple of books and thumbing through them. She doesn't quite know what she's good at. Nothing in school makes sense to her, she doesn't have a knack for instruments, and she's not particularly athletic. The only thing she recognizes about herself is that she's nosy. She likes knowing the latest gossip about everybody, and she'll admit it too. In fact, after twenty frustrating minutes of flipping through pages, Amaranth plops down at a computer to log onto the chat room. She doesn't realize she's been staring at the screen for two hours until her mother steps into the library.
Amaranth: "Catching up with friends. There's this guy in my class named Peanut Ivy - I know, funny name, right? - and he just dyed his hair blue today, and his dad got sooooo mad at him, and--"
Midnight: "What does any of this have to do with your world domination ambitions?"
Amaranth: "Well, you know, it's...it's..."
Midnight: "Did you do any research at all?"
Amaranth: "I'm....uh...see, I want to be, um...I want to be a private investigator. Yeah, a private investigator!"
Midnight: "How the heck is being a private investigator going to help with our reign? It's a profession where you help people. Surely you find that just as disgusting as I do."
Amaranth: "Well, um...well, I get to peek into people's private lives and get the details of everyone in town."
Midnight: "What. Does. That. Have. To. Do. With. Anything?"
Amaranth: "Well...the more I know about people, the more I know how to influence and control them, you know? I can learn what they're susceptible to, so maybe mind games could work with them. If I can control most of the citizens of Moonlight Falls, that's a big boon in our favor."
Midnight: "......You know, I like that actually."
Amaranth: "I will, Mom. I'll make you proud of me."
Midnight: "....I hope you will. Do some more research. The more prepared you are, the better."
Midnight walks out of the library, her heart a little warmer than when she came. Her daughter actually has a splendid plan. After taking general control and control of the military, influencing the little people is a great gain for their legacy. She hopes her daughter can pull it off, though. Amaranth is not as maniacal as Midnight would like. She hopes her soft heart doesn't distract her from what's truly important.
Amaranth sits down at the table, letting out a small sigh. In a way, she's a bit relieved. In her stumbling of words and thoughts, she actually came out with something that she could possibly do. She's great at keeping up with the latest gossip and fishing stories out of people. Perhaps the private investigator profession would be great for her! On the other hand, though, she's not sure how she'll be able to live up to her mother's legacy. She never knew her grandfather, but she's heard he was just as tyrannical as her mother. Will she be able to make her mother proud of her?
So deep in thought, Amaranth almost doesn't notice when Zack Durwood sits down next to her and starts working on his homework. Amaranth glances over and as soon as she sees him, her heart starts flying off the handle.
Amaranth: "Um...hey. You working on homework?"
Zack: "Ugh, yes. Our history teacher is insane. We have to know ALL this material for the test on Tuesday. I feel like I'm never going to get it all."
Amaranth: "Oh. I, uh...haven't studied for that at all."
Zack: "Yeah. I wish I had your ability to just not care about grades. Well, I mean, I really don't, but my parents do. They keep getting onto me about it."
Amaranth: "My mom is more concerned about other things than to worry about my grades."
Zack: "...What's it like to be an Overlord? I mean...I've seen you in class. You don't seem that evil."
Amaranth: "Ha! It's pretty interesting..."
And just like that, Amaranth and Zack launch into a three-hour chat. By the end of the night, Amaranth's heart is all aflutter. The way Zack smiled at her...how she loves his smile! She really feels like they could be friends at this point. She'd only really talked to him today, but she feels like she knows him so well now. Could there be something for them in her future? She swears she can hear angels sing as she skips back home.
The next day, after selling his fruits and vegetables and consigning his honey and beeswax, Phantom decides to float into the salon. He knows Oliver works there sometimes (although more often he works at individual people's houses now), but he's never actually seen the inside of a salon. He's heard there are tons of things to play with though. Clothes, makeup, hair dryers and rollers and gels! But before Phantom can even touch one, something catches his eye. It's a small white floating ball of light. A fairy! Excitedly, Phantom turns into his ball of light form and chases after the white fairy.
Phantom: "Oh...who are you?"
Delia: "I'm...I'm Delia. I just moved here a couple of days ago. I hardly know anyone. I heard that there were other fairies who lived here, but I hadn't met any yet."
Phantom: "I'm Phantom. I've lived here for a long time. I used to live in the fairy houses by the arboretum, but I live in a castle now."
Delia: "A castle?! Oh wow! You must be...wait, is there royalty in this town?"
Phantom: "Oh, no, it's not my castle. It's Midnight Overlord's castle. She's mean and evil and nasty, but I like being around her."
Delia: "Ah. So...you must be a Pixie, I'm guessing? That's how you look, anyway."
Phantom: "I'm a Pixie. Are you a Brownie?"
Delia: "Yeah, pretty obvious, huh? I just got hired at the bistro in town...haven't gotten out of my work clothes. I feel most comfortable in them, but I guess that just goes with being a Brownie."
Phantom: "Ooh! So you cook a lot? I can cook too, and I garden and keep bees."
Delia: "That's exciting. I, uh...I really don't feel like I can do much of anything. I feel like cooking's the only thing I can do well, so I'm...I'm not that great of a Brownie, actually. I felt like I didn't belong in the community with the other Brownies back across the ocean..."
Delia: "I don't have a lot of talents, though. Brownies are supposed to be able to serve in many areas."
Phantom: "Don't feel sad. I don't like when people feel sad. To be honest, I only learned how to garden and keep bees. They didn't come naturally for me. I got stung a lot for a while. I still get stung sometimes. I hate bees a lot."
Delia: "...So you don't think I'm a bad Brownie?"
Phantom: "No. I think you're a good Brownie, and a pretty Brownie too."
Delia is slightly taken aback by Phantom's blatant honesty. Phantom simply smiles at her, not knowing any other way to be. Delia smiles back warmly. A fairy that actually accepts her? None of the fairies back home accepted her. She likes Phantom's face, how it looks so joyful and innocent...and so concerned for her.
Phantom can't believe all the emotions that are pounding in his stomach right now. Mama Pixie told him once that when he looked at someone and immediately believed he could be with her forever, and he thought she was prettier than anyone else, and he wasn't even grossed out at the thought of showing physical affection, then he would know that it was love at first sight. Now he's sure of all these things, and even more. He's never felt so tingly and bubbly inside, not even after pulling the best pranks. This Delia makes him feel so happy.
Phantom knows. He just knows. This must be what Mama Pixie called love. She told him love at first sight almost never, never happens, but it does sometimes.
With their tossing and turning emotions (coming on in such a short period of time), Phantom and Delia slowly back away from each other without going any further. After a few more words (and playing around, and pranks, and tricks), they go their separate ways. Phantom's sure he'll see her again soon. He's sure of a lot of things now.
Zack: "I, uh...I just thought I'd stop by. You know, see what you were up to. I didn't think you were serious when you said you actually lived in a castle."
Amaranth: "Oh, yeah, this old thing. You should come inside! Have you met any of my family yet?"
Zack: "Ah, no, I haven't. See, Amaranth, I actually wanted to talk to you out here..."
Amaranth: "Come in! Come in!"
Amaranth practically drags Zack into the castle. She's excited to show it to him. She never thinks about living in a castle, but now she realizes it must be pretty cool. Everyone else in Moonlight Falls lives in a regular house. Zack will be so impressed when he sees where she lives! She can't wait to introduce him to Toof, Woofie, and Bizzie too. If something's going to happen between them, it'd be best if everyone knew him, after all!
Zack: "Haha! I guess I do. This is really neat. But, hey, Am, I want to talk to you--"
Amaranth: "Oh! Zack, this is Woofie."
Amaranth: "He's a werewolf."
Jakkson: "You can just call me Jakk if you want."
Zack: "A werewolf?!"
Amaranth: "Yeah, he's probably the coolest werewolf you'll ever meet. He's great at collecting stuff. He's even found me a diamond."
Jakkson: "...Are you going to introduce me to your...friend here?"
Amaranth: "Oh! Yes, how silly of me. Woof, this is Zack. He's a guy from my school."
Jakkson: "Pleased to meet you, Zack."
Zack: "Uh...n-nice to meet you too, I guess..."
Amaranth: "Oh, hey, is that mom coming down the stairs? Hey, mom!"
Amaranth: "Hang on, I gotta go talk to my mom! And get Toof, he should be around here somewhere."
Zack: "But....sigh. Okay."
Jakkson: "....Zack, you said your name was?"
Jakkson: "You seem like a nice kid. I understand you probably have the best of intentions with our little Amaranth...right?"
Zack: "Well, y-yes, I do--"
Jakkson: "I'm a dude. I know how we dudes think. If you have anything to tell her, I would suggest you tell her here. In the castle. In front of me. Capiche?"
Jakkson: "There. I'm sure we'll be great friends."
Amaranth: "Don't panic, mom. That's Zack. He's one of my friends. He's safe, don't worry."
Amaranth: "Oh, no, Zack, don't worry about it. Mom just gets overprotective about the castle sometime."
Midnight: "Do you consider yourself to be a hero, Billy Bob?"
Zack: "My, uh...my name is Zack."
Midnight: "Answer the question, Billy Bob."
Zack: "N-no, I don't. I'm just a teenage guy."
Midnight: "...I'll have my werewolf keep an eye on you. Jakk!"
Jakkson: "I got it."
Zack: "Listen, Miss, I don't mean any trouble. I-I think I should be headed home now--"
Amaranth: "Oh! Zack! Here's Toof. He's actually a top-rated stylist here in town."
Zack: "Well, it's...it's--"
Oliver: "Are you a hillbilly, son?"
Amaranth: "Well, mom did call him Billy Bob."
Zack: "This is just how I like to--"
Oliver: "We've got to fix this. You'll burn out people's retinas dressed like that. Chop-chop, into the bedroom. I've got all sorts of clothes in there. Designed most of them myself. Go pick out something. Anything's better than that."
As Oliver shoos Zack into the master bedroom where the wardrobe is, Phantom comes zooming in the door. Before Amaranth can realize he's headed for her, he slams into her and wraps her up in a tight hug.
Phantom: "I'm in love, Am!"
Amaranth: "You are?"
Phantom: "Yes! I found a Brownie today, and her name is Delia, and she's really pretty and she cooks really well and she works at the bistro in town and she just moved here and I saw her at the salon and did I mention she was really pretty? And--"
Oliver: "Meh. It'll do. Much better than that crap you had earlier. You left your old clothes in the bedroom, right? I'll tell Phantom to light them on fire later."
Jakkson: "Phantom's pretty talented."
Phantom: "And I just knew, Amaranth, I knew that I loved her right away, and I think she loves me too, and I think everything's just going to be super dandy and--"
Zack: "You know, it's getting late. I mean, it's only a couple hours till curfew, and I really should be headed--"
Oliver: "Ohhhh no. Not with that haircut, you're not. A mullet? Are you serious?"
Zack: "I like my mullet!"
Oliver: "No, no, no, back to the bedroom. Let me work with this."
Zack: "But I like my mullet!"
Zack: "I liked my mullet..."
Jakkson: "Oh, hey! Nice haircut. I liked it better than the mullet you had going on earlier."
Oliver: "See? I'm a professional. I see you better than you see yourself."
Zack: "...Why do you have fangs?"
Oliver: "They're more attractive than your mullet."
Zack: "Uh, yeah...that sounds...just fine, heh."
Amaranth: "Bye, Zack! Be safe going home!"
Zack trots out and makes his way back home. Amaranth watches him outside the front window, unable to hide the smile from her face. He's so dreamy. He looks even dreamier since Toof got a hold of him, if that were possible! She can't wait to see him again. The weekend will seem so long. She hopes maybe he'll invite her over to his house. Or maybe even out on a date...
Amaranth: "I think he liked you guys."
Oliver: "Mm. Phantom might've scared him a little."
The next morning is a hard morning for Midnight to wake up to. It's her birthday. By the end of tonight, she will be old. She still doesn't want to think about it. Seems like just yesterday that she was a teenager - now she has a teenage daughter. She has to prepare her to take over the legacy just like her father prepared her. Midnight hopes Amaranth doesn't get too wrapped up in that Zack kid. She doesn't like inviting any strangers into her home unless they're to become minions.
Midnight heads out to the dining room and is nearly collided with by Phantom.
Midnight: "You're in love?"
Phantom: "Yes! There's a Brownie named Delia who just moved into town, and you know, I thought love was only true in fairy tales, meant for someone else but not for me. Love was out to get me, or that's the way it seemed. Disappointment haunted all my dreams. And then I saw her face!"
Midnight: "Now you're a believer?"
Phantom: "Not a trace of doubt in my mind! I'm in love!"
Phantom: "I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her if I tried."
Midnight: "Well, that's...that's nice, I guess..."
Midnight: "Oh, Phantom, blech. When was the last time you brushed your teeth?"
As Amaranth gets ready to greet the day, she hears a knock on the bathroom door. She's decent - she's only doing her hair - so she opens it up to find Jakkson.
Amaranth: "Yeah, I know. I can't believe...I can't believe she's going to be an elder. I mean...I don't know. She's my mom. It's hard to picture her that way."
Jakkson: "....Yeah, I know. And I know she won't want a huge fuss or celebration, especially if that means inviting other people. But I think it'd be nice if we went to the market and bought a cake for her. Let her celebrate her life with something sweet."
Amaranth: "That sounds like a good idea. Let's do it."
As Jakkson and Amaranth take the taxi to the market, Amaranth stops Jakkson before they can walk in. There's a question she's been dying to know the answer to. She'd asked her mother some time ago who her father was. Her mother didn't answer her really, only told her it was someone Amaranth knew.
Amaranth: "I talked to mom about it when I was younger. She only said my father was someone I knew. And...I mean, I don't really know any other adults other than you and Toof and Bizzie. And I doubt Bizzie...well...I mean..."
Jakkson: "...I am."
Amaranth: "You are?"
Jakkson: "...I'm your father, Amaranth. I...I always wanted to tell you. I feel like I should've a long time ago. But...in a lot of ways, it was just awkward. Phantom and Oliver took care of you just as much as I did. We all love you greatly."
Amaranth: "...I know. I just wanted to know for sure. I thought it might've been you. I tried looking in the mirror and then looking at pictures of you and Toof, and...I thought it was you."
Jakkson: "...How do you feel about that?"
Amaranth: "Oh, Woofie..."
Jakkson: "And that's what I really want you to know. Not to sound mushy or anything but...you'll always be in my heart, Amaranth. And you'll always be in Toof's and Bizzie's too. Never forget that."
Amaranth: "I won't, Woofie...dad. I won't."
Jakkson: "There, now. Let's go get us a cake."
As evening rolls around, Jakkson and Amaranth get out the cake. The surprise, however, ends up being on Amaranth.
Amaranth: "Aaaagh! Mom!"
Midnight: "Hahaha. Have to enjoy my last moments as an adult, you know. What's this, anyway?....Cake?"
It isn't long before everyone's gathered around, celebrating Midnight's final birthday. Even Midnight feels a little bit better, surrounded by people cheering for her.
Amaranth, trying not to choke up at seeing her mother this way, quickly straightens up and gives her a salute as she turns around.
Already tired, Midnight retreats into the bedroom. She finds Jakkson gathering up the laundry and putting it in the laundry basket.
Midnight: "Ha! You'll still be an adult, not an elder like me."
Jakkson: "Age shouldn't matter, should it?"
Midnight: "...I suppose not. Jakk...when Amaranth has her next birthday, the castle will be hers. She needs to learn how to handle it by herself. That's what my father expected of me. So I will have to leave...and once I leave, you and Oliver and Phantom will no longer be under any obligation to stay with me. I'll let you guys go."
Midnight: "....But....if you....if you want to..."
Jakkson: "I will go with you, if you will let me."
Midnight: "....Thank you, Jakk."
Author's notes: Chapter title is based off the Frank Sinatra song "Love Is The Tender Trap." There's two little love stories going on here, so I thought it was fitting. (Well, two new ones anyway, not counting Midnight's and Jakkson's.)
I considered not keeping the pic of elder Midnight looking at her old hands, because of Oliver's absolutely dorky expression in the background (I just look at it and all I see is him screaming, "LOLZ!!!"), but it just makes me laugh so much that I can't get rid of it.
I'm thinking it will be two or three more chapters and then Amaranth officially takes over and her generation begins. I'm quite excited to play, now that I'm formulating my ideas for her. Yes, she's looking at being paired up with Zack Durwood for now - she met him first, so why not. But, for anyone who reads Cece's legacy (and if you don't, you truly should) and is wondering, Gator Wolff will be making an appearance in my legacy at some point. Keep an eye out for him! :)
Lastly, there may be some concern about how well Amaranth is going to do at fulfilling the role of an evil Overlord. True, right now her personality is nothing like Rufus' or Midnight's. She doesn't have the Evil trait. But rest assured, she will become an Overlord like her ancestors in her own right. Hers is just more gradual...
If you leave a comment, I will personally smile at it. Think of it! Smiles! They make the world happier little by little! :D