Midnight wakes up starving. No one is yet awake with her. But she must have something to eat. She stumbles into the kitchen, growling and hissing, until she reaches the fridge.
Her food is cold and unsatisfying. She wants brains - this tastes like strawberry ice cream! When the front door suddenly opens, she licks her lips. More food has arrived. She gets up and tries to stumble as quickly as she can towards her breakfast.
Jakkson finds Phantom in the upstairs bathroom and begins to drag him downstairs. "What is going on here?!" Jakkson looks back in horror as he finds Oliver has entered the house and Midnight is now seeking his brains for breakfast.
Oliver: "Listen, I'm sure that's great, but how do you fix it?!"
Phantom: "Oh, just a little bit of fairy dust, like this..."
Jakkson: "Phantom, you need to give me some of that. Right now."
Jakkson: "I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Oliver swerves out of the way, sending Midnight tripping and stumbling toward the door. Jakkson approaches her, trying to swallow some of the fear, then blows the fairy dust onto her, praying to high heavens that Phantom is right and it works.
Midnight: "Ugh...what happened to me?"
Jakkson: "Well, you were a zombie for a little while."
Midnight: "That stupid fairy...I was even minding my own business and--..."
Midnight stops when she hears a peculiar sound. It's a high-pitched squeaky sound, but very musical and....
It's singing. In fact, it sounds like a tiny little girl singing. Midnight rushes upstairs, hoping to put a stop to such an annoying sound, only to notice her baby daughter isn't just a baby anymore.
Midnight: "But...why the heck do you have blonde hair? I don't have blonde hair, the vampire and the werewolf don't have blonde hair...that just leaves..."
Hearing his name screamed, Phantom flutters up the stairs and nearly runs smack into Midnight holding Amaranth.
Phantom: "...Well, I mean....to me, it looks like a baby, but I guess I could be wr--"
Midnight: "No, you idiot. Why does she have blonde hair? Did you stir fairy dust in my drink?! Someone told me fairies could impregnate people by stirring fairy dust in their drinks!"
Phantom: "If that were true, there'd be a vast overpopulation of Pixie babies."
Midnight: "...So she can't possibly be yours?"
Phantom: "No. My hair isn't even blonde. It's white with black tips."
Midnight: "...I mean, my mother was blonde. So maybe...maybe a recessive gene. Alright. Carry on."
Phantom: "I didn't know human babies had bunny rabbit tails..."
The discovery of toddler Amaranth brings a world of disgust to Midnight, but warmth and simple joy to the three men of the house. Phantom occasionally has some fun with her...
Again, Jakkson looks closely at Amaranth, trying his best to see if she could possibly be his child. But even now it's of no use. Amaranth has inherited her grandmother's hair color and her mother's eye color. It's practically impossible to find any features that could be his own...or Oliver's.
Oliver approaches Amaranth with hesitation. He's eager to know if she could possibly his daughter as well, but he also wonders how she'll react to him. Around the house he relaxes and doesn't hide his fangs. With Amaranth being a human child, will she be scared of him? Will she hide from him because of his fangs and cold skin?
Like he suspects, Amaranth looks straight at his mouth, noticing his gleaming fangs. Slowly and cautiously, Oliver holds the little girl, expecting her to start shrieking and whimpering to get away from him. Sharp teeth belong to monsters, and vampires are certainly monsters.
Oliver: "...Yes, I have sharp teeth, Amaranth. But you don't have to worry. I don't bite anyone."
Oliver glances at Amaranth's face, then smiles. She's not afraid of his teeth at all. By her curious smile, she's fascinated by them.
Oliver: "You're a cute little one, Amaranth....I just kind of wish...."
I wish I knew you were mine...
Alone, furthering her plans of dominating the military (which are coming along nicely), Midnight suddenly realizes it's her birthday.
Immediately Midnight goes to look at herself in the mirror. She frowns, trying not to punch the glass. She's an adult now, one life stage closer to elderhood, the days drawing closer to the end of her life. There is much she needs to do yet. The world feared the name of Rufus Overlord and they will fear the name of Midnight Overlord even more. The wrinkles already forming on her face will not detract from her intimidation. In a huff, she reapplies her makeup.
Midnight: "It is...for now."
The afternoon winds down. Jakkson has come back from hunting, noticing Amaranth playing with a dragon toy all by herself. Midnight and Oliver should be getting back from work at any time, and Phantom is probably...well, he's probably playing with Amaranth's dollhouse, if Jakkson had to guess.
With Jakkson's extra money, however, he decided to buy Amaranth a fun new toy. Picking her up, he takes her outside. At first she pouts, hating the outdoors, but then her eyes brighten as she notices a ship in the middle of the yard. Jakkson places her on, pushes a button, and the ship starts to move.
Delighted, Amaranth forgets all about being outside and squeals with glee as the ship goes around and around. There's even music coming out of it too! How she loves sailing. This boat is the best thing in the world! She rides and rides, more and more excited as each minute goes by....until...
Jakkson: "Amaranth. It's time to go inside. There's more toys inside."
Secretly, Jakkson knows it's a full moon night, and the sun is setting. He doesn't want to transform in front of the little girl. She hasn't seen him in his werewolf form. Jakkson knows how ugly and horrific he looks in werewolf form.
Amaranth continues to pout, but can't hold it. She bursts into giggles at Jakkson's goofy smile. Jakkson lifts her off the ship...then notices the moon in the horizon. Lurching, he quickly and gently sets Amaranth on the ground, feeling his skin sprout hair. No, not in front of Amaranth...
Amaranth: "Woof woof!"
Jakkson: "Ohh...you think I look like a doggie now."
Midnight walks outside. She's just noticed someone walking towards the garden...someone she doesn't immediately recognize at first. Anyone on her property that she doesn't recognize will be annihilated.
Midnight: "You. What are you doing--......do I know you?"
Midnight: "...Dungeon?! What happened to you?"
Dungeon: "I wanted a new look."
Midnight: "You wanted your hair that color?"
Dungeon: "Enough, Midnight. We need to go inside. I have to talk to you."
Midnight: "Ah. I know him."
Dungeon: "I'm sure you do. I noticed him a bit reluctant to work with me, being an Overlord. I managed to weasel enough information out of him to realize he was staying here with you...and it didn't appear it was a willing decision on his part."
Midnight: "Depends on how you define 'willing', of course."
Dungeon: "Midnight, are you keeping slaves in your house? That is beyond disgusting and beyond wrong. I'm already frightened at the state of our world after you take over the military, and now you're already enslaving people? I don't know that I can stand by and watch this. You need to stop now, before everything goes wrong."
Midnight: "...Dungeon, you're my older brother and I like you. I'll give you one warning to leave my castle and never come back. Do not get in my way or I will have no sympathy for whatever happens to you."
Dungeon: "...Someone needs to stop you. Someone should have stopped our father before he began this."
Midnight: "Get out."
With a scowl, Dungeon leaves the castle. Midnight is agitated. So many potential distractions that she doesn't need right now. Needing to breathe and think through things, she goes outside for a walk.
Oliver has been entertaining Amaranth for quite some time. The week has flown by fast, but the men have all tried to spend quality time with Amaranth. They try to play with her toys with her and have fun, but none of them really know how to teach her to walk or talk. In fact, she only knows four words so far - Mama, Woofie (for Jakkson), Toof (for Oliver), and Bizzie (for Phantom, after he tried to get her to say Pixie). Midnight has barely even looked at her all week.
As Oliver plays with Amaranth, Jakkson sits nearby, pondering and watching.
Oliver, also, has a rough time 'sharing' Amaranth with Jakkson. He appreciates Jakk's input on Amaranth's life, but Oliver can definitely see him claiming her as his own. Oliver still can't stand her mother, but he thinks Amaranth's a little darling. He wonders if maybe the globe in the Vault of Antiquity would give him any clues as to who's the father.
Oliver finishes up playing and prepares to put the bunny-bear doll away, then hears a tapping on the window. Outside the kitchen window he sees Phantom peeking through, his eyes clearly fixated on the doll. Sighing, Oliver goes outside with it.
Oliver: "...Sure. Sure it does, Phantom. See? 'I'm Bunny Bear. You look like Amaranth's friend.'"
After a few more minutes of playing with Phantom, Oliver decides that's enough goes back inside...just to notice Midnight interacting with Amaranth. He pauses to watch. This doesn't happen often.
Midnight: "Yeah, Amaranth, you wanna come to Mama? Come here..."
Then with one push, Midnight topples Amaranth over, sending her sprawling. Midnight laughs, then begins to walk away, happy with her accomplishment. Amaranth wails, then toughens up and crawls over to a toy on the other side of the room.
Oliver is livid.
Midnight: "She needs to toughen up."
Oliver: "Toughen up? She's a toddler, Midnight!"
Oliver: "I will not sit here and watch you torment your own daughter. You don't even know what she's like. She's the sweetest--"
Midnight: "Oliver, I'm warning you now. Shut your mouth before I shut it for you."
Oliver: "I will shut my mouth when you start treating your daughter with dignity."
Midnight: "You will shut your mouth when I get the duct tape out of the closet!"
Suddenly Oliver lunges for Midnight's face, sending her stumbling backwards. Oliver's sharp fangs are on perfect display.
Oliver: "If you think I'm afraid to fight you, Midnight, you're painfully wrong."
But Oliver has forgotten one thing - the device. Midnight whips it out and presses the button, sending excruciating pain all over Oliver's body. He tries to stay strong, but the pain is too deep. He begins to sink to the floor. Midnight holds the button...and holds it...and holds it, until Oliver has crumpled at her feet. She releases, and he tries to stumble back up.
Oliver: "...You are insane. You are completely out of your mind."
Midnight: "Isn't it wonderful?"
Midnight leaves the castle, headed to the gym to sucker her boss into a promotion. She's climbing the ranks quickly, and the sooner the better. The military is crumbling under her grip. She just needs to push a little farther.
Oliver finds Jakkson cleaning the toilet in the bathroom. It's a kind deed, knowing that it's actually Oliver's job.
Oliver: "Jakk, I need to talk to you."
Jakkson: "Alright, I'm listening."
Much to Jakkson's surprise, Oliver gets close to his ear. Jakkson decides it must be pretty important.
Jakkson: "Look, Oliver, I know you hate her. I know you're trying to get out."
Oliver: "It's not just for my sake, Jakkson. We both care about Amaranth. Whether she's your child, my child, doesn't matter, we both want the best for her. Midnight doesn't care about her at all. When she's not completely ignoring her, she's tormenting her. If we plan an escape, and if we take Amaranth with us..."
Oliver: "Misguided?! Get your head out of the clouds, Jakk! You're not seeing her clearly!"
Jakkson: "I don't think you are either. You're still bitter and hateful about what happened, and your thinking is affected by it. Besides, how would we get away anyway? You know the pain devices installed in our skin. We can't get them out. We'd run and she'd put us in pain and keep us in pain until she found us."
Oliver: "That's why we think of a way to get around that. There must be a way."
Jakkson: "I think running away would be more dangerous than Amaranth than staying, Oliver."
Oliver: "You're weak!"
Jakkson: "You're reckless!"
Oliver: "I will get away from this place. Sometime I will get away, and when I go, I'm taking Amaranth with me."
Jakkson: "No, you're not. When you're positive she's yours, then you might have the right to that, but you will not take her away from me unless that happens."
Oliver: "You are too blind to see you are keeping her in danger."
Jakkson: "She's not in as much danger as you think, Oliver. Yes, Midnight largely ignores her, but perhaps that's a good thing. She looks to us as her examples, and she might not choose the path of her mother."
Oliver: "Or she'll turn out dysfunctional and ill-behaved because she lives in a dysfunctional family! How is a girl ever supposed to be normal with an evil overlord mother who has three slave men running around to do her bidding? Do you not want Amaranth to have the best childhood she can have?"
Jakkson: "I do. And I think right now is as good as it's going to get, Oliver. I think you need to accept that."
Oliver storms out of the room, frustrated that Jakkson just will not see what he sees. Does he not realize Amaranth is in danger? Pah! If Jakkson is the father, he's certainly a lousy one. He's too chicken-hearted, still trying to make a romance work with a sadistic woman who will never return his affections.
Jakkson breathes a deep sigh, hoping the best for Oliver. He knows Oliver's unhappy and ready to bolt, but he can't imagine anything good coming from his escape. He fears soon Oliver's claim of "You'll either free me or kill me" will come true, and not in a good way. Oliver launching anarchy against Midnight will only make things worse. Midnight's behavior will only get more harsh the more Oliver fights. Can't Oliver see that? Can't he see he's making the home a more dangerous place for Amaranth?
Midnight schmoozes up to her boss, getting closer, getting closer. Just as the word 'promotion' rolls off her tongue, her boss chokes.
Midnight: "Hey, what's wrong with you?"
Boss: "I...I can't....breathe..."
Midnight: "What?....Oh, come on! Don't tell me you're croaking now!"
Midnight: "But what about my promotion?!"
Boss: "There's...more important....gah!!"
Midnight: "You think your death is more important than my promotion?!"
The Reaper: "...Old soul. Prepare for the Netherworld. We have a place for you."
Boss: "Oh please, Mister Reaper! Please! I...I have a family! I have so much left to live for! Please, just a few more days...just a chance to say goodbye..."
The Reaper: "......"
Midnight: "Grim. If I have no pity on him and I'm a human being, surely you as the bringer of death will have even less pity."
Boss: "...You wicked..."
Midnight: "He's of no use to me now. Take him."
The Reaper: "Welcome to the Netherworld, old soul."
Midnight: "Who? I'm Midnight Overlord. You'll know my name soon enough. I'll expect it when the town is mine and you line up to lick my boots."
Author's notes: So this is my "epic" chapter, as I've used about 40 pics in this one chapter where I normally use about 25. I was planning on doing Amaranth's toddlerhood in one chapter, but so much happened that I had to stop here.
Meanwhile, I was completely surprised by Amaranth's blonde hair. I doubt the hair would've been a factor in revealing who the father was anyway, but I was not expecting blonde! But basically, I decided I would wait to reveal the father when Amaranth's appearance revealed it. If she were born a werewolf or a vampire, then it would've been right away. If she had a particular eye color (Oliver's white eyes or Jakkson's golden eyes), that would've revealed her at toddlerhood. But she has her mother's eyes, so we'll have to wait even longer! >:)
I think Amaranth is completely adorable. And, true to the Deadbeat Parents roll, nobody's been teaching her any skills, nor does she have any toys to help her learn. But her daddies care about her, so she had plenty of fun and playtime with other toys. I had to incorporate some words into her vocabulary though, even though she hasn't learned to talk otherwise. The nicknames (Toof, Woofie, and Bizzie) are basically what she's going to know them as in the story. :)
Midnight is getting more insane and more brutal with her world domination plans. That Insane trait has to shine through sometime. Lots of plot twists to come up. It's going to be an exciting (and tension-filled) time.
Leave a comment! I loves comments! :DDD