Book 5, Chapter 58

Since I was in the front passenger seat, Jamie took the backseat behind Fumiko. He continued to watch me warily — he had shifted into a masculine version of her… his? …punky party girl form — which, okay, whatever. What made me a little uncomfortable wasn’t the constant swapping of gender, I realized: it wasn’t my favorite genre, but gender bender manga was usually fun. No, what was bothering me was the way he was scrunched against the door, as far away from me as he could get. Had I actually been that horrible to him when he’d inadvertently siphoned off my aura, that he had to look at me like that?

Well… yes. Probably.

Finally, after chewing on my lip for a while, I managed to get over my usual fear of conversing in a moving vehicle in order to address him. It would be okay, I figured, as long as I wasn’t distracting Fumiko. And if we did all end up in some sort of horrible accident, I could still do the bite-heal thing. As long as no one died outright.

“So,” I said. “Um, Jamie… I appreciate that you helped find the church.”

He squinted at me as though he was trying to see if I was laying a trap for him. “I did it for Kels, not you,” he replied. “But I’m glad it worked out for everyone concerned.” He glanced nervously at Fumiko, and then back at me. “Does Fumiko usually run into dangerous situations without any kind of backup like that?” Jamie asked. “Because it is going to be really hard to pay off my debt to her if that’s the case,” he added.

Fumiko smirked.

“Uh… It usually doesn’t come up,” I answered. I wondered if that was going to hold true, though. After all, Fumiko hadn’t even been aware of the supernatural world for as long as I had, and she’d already gone toe-to-toe with a ghoul, a vampire, a vampire’s blood donors, a faerie lord and a werewolf. And so far the score was Fumiko five, faerie lord one.

That was actually kind of scary. Not because she was just as super-competent as I’d always expected her to be, but because I had no idea what she was going to go after next, when the sane solution would actually be to run away. Hell, for all I knew she was thinking of going after Megan’s faerie dad for a faerie lord rematch. I kind of suspected I shouldn’t put that past her.

The conversation had died while I thought about that, and I still hadn’t gotten to bring up what I’d wanted to, so I tried again. “Um. Anyway,” I said, “I wanted to make sure you knew that I don’t have full control of myself when my aura is depleted. When I went after you at the club… I wouldn’t have done that, if I’d been in control of myself. I mean: I wanted to catch you, and confront you, because I thought you were one of Archarel’s faeries. But I would’ve listened when you explained, if I’d been able to.” Jamie didn’t look like he believed me. I squirmed, and finally blurted: “Look, Fumiko is my friend, and I get that you’re her familiar now and you’re going to be around a lot, and I’d really rather you not feel like you have to be afraid of me.”

Jamie frowned as he listened to me. “That would be nice,” he finally said, “except you are scary. I mean: out and out terrifying.” Fumiko snorted, and Jamie shot her a glare. “Well she is!” Jamie protested.

“I am,” I agreed. I was more than a little worried that Fumiko would underestimate how dangerous I could be when I was blood-crazed because of how easily she’d handled me while I was trapped in the church’s wards. Worried enough that I was willing to confront her about it even though she was driving. “I really am, Fumiko.”

“You’re a pushover,” Fumiko replied with a grin. “Always have been; always will be. That’s why you need people like Megan and I to watch out for you.” She glanced at me briefly, and her grin blossomed into a smile. “Now, vampire-mode Abigail is a psycho bitch that everyone should worry about — but that’s not you and you know it, Abby.”

I flushed. “Okay,” I said. I looked back and forth between Fumiko and Jamie. “The point is, Jamie,” I tried to explain again, “I really hope we can get along better than we have. And not just for Fumiko. Megan has this idea… she wants to let some faeries into our world. Faeries who can feed, you know, ethically. And I thought that you would probably be someone good to talk to about that. So… yeah. Even if I’m too creepy, I hope you’re willing to help her. Valerie is backing her on the whole idea, and if it works out then this world would be a safer place for decent faeries like you.”

Jamie continued to look at me, but now his expression was unreadable. Finally he took a deep breath and said: “I know. Kels mentioned it. He’s thinking of hiring someone to take my place, now that I’m not going to be helping out around the club so much.” He sounded a little down about that part, actually.

Fumiko glanced at Jamie in her rear view mirror. “You know,” Fumiko said, “You don’t have to be like surgically attached to my hip, Jamie. I appreciate the help warding my place, but if you want to keep hanging out around the club, that’s fine. I mean: I’m not a witch. Aside from the occasional glamour, what do I actually need a familiar for?”

Jamie shifted uncomfortably. Knowing how geases worked, I figured that not being around Fumiko might not actually be an option for him unless he was doing something on Fumiko’s behalf, or knew he would be soon. “Actually,” I chimed in, “I’m going to need to spend a fair amount of time around there, on account of those people I sort of enthralled when we were there last. And I’d really appreciate it if you could be there sometimes, too, Fumiko, to make sure I don’t go off the rails again.”

Fumiko pursed her lips thoughtfully. “It’s not usually my scene,” she said. “But I guess I wouldn’t mind.” Her lips twitched. “If nothing else, it might be fun to wrestle that big one again. And maybe I can get some pointers on having a familiar and casting glamours from Kels. I have some awesome ideas for cosplays, but I don’t want to push it if there’s a chance that someone might disbelieve some of the more physically impossible outfits.”

Oh god. I was going to have to apologize to Kelson so much if Fumiko broke his bouncers more. Or if she got him sucked into cosplaying.

Although, he would make a pretty cute Tanaka-sama.

No. No, I was not going to help Fumiko trap someone else in her hobby. At least, not unless I needed to distract her from insisting I dress as someone ridiculously scantily clad for the convention next month.

This time, the conversation petered out and stayed out. I still didn’t feel like I’d said what I needed to say to Jamie — probably because I hadn’t actually apologized to him. But I had a sneaking suspicion that if I tried right now, I’d end up side-tracking and asking what the hell pronouns I should use for him, instead, since he kept flipping genders on us.

Instead I looked out the window and just tried to keep calm while Fumiko drove us to Megan’s place. Before we got there, I got a text from Megan. It read: “Delayed. They skipped half our order.” I repeated it to Fumiko and sent a quick reply to let Megan know not to worry about it and that we’d just wait. When we did reach Mrs. Butterson’s house we only had to wait for a couple of awkward minutes more before a taxi pulled up to disgorge Megan, Emma, and a whole bunch of paper takeout bags.

Right. I need to see if Megan’s car got impounded, I reminded myself. If it had, that was my fault for abandoning it when I was kidnapped by Mister Salvatore.

We got out and went to help with the bags: it looked like maybe they’d brought enough for everyone. Megan didn’t bother handing any off, though. She just threw her arms around me and squeezed me in a tight hug, then hugged Fumiko, too. Emma took care of the taxi fee, and the cab drove off after letting her grab her takeout bags from the backseat. She looked seriously grumpy, which wound me up after Megan’s hug had helped me relax. Emma didn’t offer anyone hugs, either.

I followed at the very back of everyone when they went up the stairs to Megan’s level of the house. I was suddenly a lot more nervous about talking to Emma than I had been while I was in the car — in the car I was too busy trying to not be anxious about Melvin or Benny or werewolves or anything else to worry too much about how mad at me Emma had to be. But clearly I had not been prioritizing my worries correctly.

Inside, Emma and Megan dropped everything off on the coffee table. Then Megan turned to the rest of us. “Make yourselves at home,” she said. “Can I get drinks for anyone? Water? Juice? Snacks?”

“Sure,” I said. “Um. Do you have juice boxes? No, never mind. Juice would be nice though. Maybe just water?”

Megan’s laughter was like music. I just blushed and shut up.

“I’ll get mine,” Fumiko offered after rolling her eyes at me. She went into the kitchenette after Megan, and Jamie followed. I blushed a little harder and looked over all the paper bags strewn across the coffee table. If that wasn’t for everyone then apparently Emma was really hungry.

And she noticed my wandering gaze.

“What?” Emma growled. She looked like she was mad enough to stake me — although, I guessed that since I could come back from it, brutally murdering me wasn’t as inappropriate a response to being mad at me as it used to be. “I’m hungry, okay?! Do you know how long I went without eating anything? Lunch was just a tease! My stomach couldn’t hold enough to make up for skipping so many meals in just one go!”

I held my hands up defensively. “Whoa,” I protested. “I was just wondering which sack was Megan’s, so I could steal a crouton or something while we waited.” It wasn’t like Megan wasn’t always stealing my fries or anything. “Real, solid food sounds really good to me right now, too.”

From the kitchenette, Megan laughed. “I have a whole bag of them in the cupboard,” she offered. “Or I could just throw together some sandwiches and bring out the chips.”

“Yes, please,” I agreed. Emma continued to glare at me as though I’d said something insulting about her weight. Then, once she was certain she knew that I knew that she was miffed with me, Emma dug a burger out of one of the bags, folded back the wrapper, and took a huge bite out of it.

Chewing seemed to help Emma relax. Or maybe she was just hangry and getting something in her stomach helped. In either case, a moment later she apologized. “I’m sorry,” she said around her mouthful of burger. It didn’t seem to make any impact against the weight of the thank you I’d given her the day before, so our leyline didn’t change from the admission. “I’ve just been so hungry all freaking day, and then they screwed up our order and now I’ve got this headache…” She swallowed and didn’t even wait to take another enormous bite. “I think it’s because of the storms, maybe? Mom used to get horrible migraines from pressure changes when a storm front rolled through.”

I just nodded in relief. After what Melvin had told me about how angry with me Emma had been, I’d half-expected her to come after me for real. If being growled at was the worst I got, I’d take it! After all, I wasn’t one to criticize. I mean, it wasn’t like I’d never ordered some ridiculous amount of meat — like the number three with extra bacon. And Emma had every reason to be ravenous: she had been unconscious, or imprisoned, or on the run pretty much ever since I’d drained her too much three days ago — or was it four? — and been forced to keep her alive by pushing H….

I froze mid-nod.

“Abby?” Emma asked around another mouthful of burger. She swallowed, tossed the wrapper back in the bag and started on a second one. “Is something wrong?”

I continued to stare. I was unable to respond. My brain was turning in inexorable circles, spitting up thoughts one at a time, leading directly to an inevitability that I wanted nothing more than to deny.

Kill, I thought. Because Emma had been angry all day. Furious, even.

Eat, my brain added on the next pass. Because she’d been so hungry all day that she’d been gorging every chance she got.

Fuck, it concluded. But it wasn’t because I was mentally swearing. It was because Emma had definitely fucked me earlier — and because I could tell, because I knew the signs and she was glowing, that Megan had gotten laid at some point, too.

Because Emma had been unconscious, or imprisoned, or on the run ever since I’d drained her too much and been forced to feed her Hans’ aura to save her life.

No, I tried to deny it. No, no, no! How had I been so fucking blind? I’d been so focused on the fact that the aura I’d pushed into Emma had been tainted by my curse — that she might turn into a ghoul! — that I hadn’t thought once about whose aura I’d pushed into her in the first place!

Hans’.

Except that I’d taken it from the blood of Hans’ human form. And when I fed on a werewolf in his human form, I didn’t feed on the human’s soul. I fed on the wolf’s. And I’d been so desperate to save Emma that I hadn’t even waited for the wolf’s aura to be subsumed into my own before I’d pushed it into hers.

“Abby?” Emma asked again. She sounded agitated: angry that I hadn’t responded the first time. She tossed aside the wrapper of another slain burger and squared her shoulders. Her spine straightened as she glared at me, and her brow furrowed angrily. “What is it,” she snarled.

But I was barely paying attention to her. Instead, I was psychically pushing myself, reaching for awareness of that place between worlds: that place where faeries and ghosts and angels hid.

And that’s where I saw it. Seated on the floor in front of her — but with its front paws braced on the coffee table as though in preparation to leap across and rip out my throat — with its ears laid back and its fangs bared, a spectral wolf snarled at me in perfect sync with Emma.

End of Book 5

Midnight Moonlight, Book 5

42 responses to Book 5, Chapter 58


  1. Where is ominous thunder and lightning when you need it?

    • Also shouldn’t Jamie have been able to see the wolf?

      • Eren Reverie

        If they had been between worlds or been looking into that space, Jamie might’ve seen the wolf. But Jamie was fully in this world, and either wasn’t stretching themself to look between worlds, or didn’t think there was anything strange about Emma havng a wolf — after all, they had only just met the night before. ;D

    • Eren Reverie

      I probably used it all during the storms in the last book. 😉

  2. Lightefender

    Oh . . . My . . . God.

    • Eren Reverie

      😀 And that was about the reaction I was looking for. I hope you enjoyed this little twist! And that it isn’t too brutal of a cliffhanger to leave everyone on while I prep for Book 6. ;D

      • Syndic

        Well, you got it. Oh. My. God. o_O

        Another perfectly executed “in hindsight it makes perfect sense, but I did not see this coming!” moment.

        And this cliff is actually kinda nice, with easy handholds and a good view on the sunset. I think I can stay here until you’re done prepping ^_^

  3. No,,
    ^Extra ,^

    Oh good, a vampire that can spread lycanthropy. That won’t be regarded as another world-shattering thing by the Center.

    If it had, that was my fault for abandoning it when I was kidnapped by Mister Salvatore.
    ^I know /that/ feels, irrational as it may be.^

    • Eren Reverie

      Fixed, thank you. 🙂

      Muahhaha. Yes. Abby keeps stirring that pot…

      I know, too: and Abby is so the sort to irrationally take blame on herself. I hope that some day she realizes when it isn’t aft ally her fault.

      *Hugs* to anyone who feels that way themselves (and wants hugs). It sucks to be afflicted by guilt for thngs you had no control over.

  4. Oh my god I didn’t even think about this.

    • Eren Reverie

      As long as it had the clues in place before the reveal and makes sense after the reveal… That, in my opinon, iw the best sort of twist. XD I hope you enjoyed this one.

  5. Micha

    Oh, gods, a witch / werewolf! We’re in trouble now.

  6. So now we have a witchy wolf, a ghoul wolf and fairy(ish) vampire. Just out of interest have anyone ever tried turning a werewolf into a vampire?

    • Eren Reverie

      Haha. Wouldn’t that be something?

      • Actually thinking about it, where does the wolf curse draw its power(life force) from? Because if it comes from an external source(like the moon or somehting) and not directly from the cursed, assuming a transforming a wolf into a vampire is viable, the vampire curse could feed directly from the wolf curse and if the curseds first blood is human you could make a self sustaining vampire. (If what the vampire curse feeds from the wolf curse does not cause the vampire to count as one drawing from werewolf blood first of course)

  7. ah this makes sense! the whole issue with how the director put her to sleep. i wondered if the director ( i cant spell that name off the top of my head) knew that she was harboring a vampire and lycanthrophy curse at the same time and just wanted to study her.

    … i wonder if Megan has noticed. she should have the same ability as abby right?

    oh and jumping aboard the reaction train. mine was:

    FUCK YES!!!!! Hans is going to be SOOO PISSED lmao! Emma was the first to go to him to ask to be turned to be of more use to Abby. Well now she has it.

    Hans also wanted to keep his curse in check and be responsible about it ( since the first few chapters of him explaining it) . With new wolves turning up. that just shattered down the drain as well. I just cant wait to see his reaction hahaha!

    i very much look forward to book 6.

    • WsntHere

      So, uh, like, uh, WHO is gonna kill Emma to test that theory…? I mean, so far death has been required to fire up a new vampire. Ya think werepires may be different? Only the goddess knows! BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

      • WsntHere

        OH, BTW, how fast would Megan jump in to be first blood? Emma would be a triple threat and Abby would kinda be way outclassed power-wise. On the other hand, she has a really good handle on the vampire thing with the serious psycho-paranoid thing going on.

        • if Emma dies i think shes dead permanently. she doesn’t have the vampire curse anymore since Megan expelled it and is currently mending Emma’s soul. similar to how Abby stitches hers.

          and i think regarding lycanthropy. they can heal almost any fatal wound so as long as they are alive enough to shift. i think the curse only prevents them from dieing of old age or something.

          silver will 1hit KO their wolf soul and even force a shift and the wounds wont heal either. we saw what it did with Daniel. Matt had to head shot him a few times to turn him dormant because he was so wounded he was going to start chewing on Abby.

  8. danniel73

    I don’t know how you can keep pulling these twists. I look for them now and try to anticipate what happens from what we know of magic but you keep managing to have a twist that makes perfect sense and we had all the info to put together 😀
    Really nice way to end the book. A cliffhanger that’s not all that tense is nice.

  9. Actually thinking about it, where does the wolf curse draw its power(life force) from? Because if it comes from an external source(like the moon or somehting) and not directly from the cursed, assuming a transforming a wolf into a vampire is viable, the vampire curse could feed directly from the wolf curse and if the curseds first blood is human you could make a self sustaining vampire. (If what the vampire curse feeds from the wolf curse does not cause the vampire to count as one drawing from werewolf blood first of course)

  10. fangfan

    And there I was thinking Emma had snapped out of the dependant submissive role and became stronger on her own. Didn’t like that twist very much. Spreading lycanthropy by pushing around spirit energies feels a little far fetched to me, though I have to admit that there has not been any hint in your world that it couldn’t work that way.

    Did you really plan that already since the second book or did you just come up with it while writing the last 2 books? I vaguely remember some conversation in book 2 where it was stated that a werewolf soul – in contrast to Emma – would be strong enough to push the vampire curse out and regenerate by itself, though to be fair that probably was more a theory than a solidly proven fact.

    • Eren Reverie

      Emma becoming a wolf was planned since her introduction in Book 1, though I had a few scenarios in mind by which it could happen — and I’ll admit that I conscidered scrapping this one and going with one ofthe others on occasion while writing Book 5.

      As with Abby’s fear of stopped time, a personality change like “snapping out of” the dependant/submissive role isn’t something I’m likely to have my characters do without some sort of major event taking place (like the incidents where Abby got her fear of stopped time to begin with, or Emma being influenced by a wolf of her own). I prefer to portray personality growth outside of those situations as a more gradual and organic thing.

      However, I, personally, think that Emma has shown some fairly switchy behaviour all on her own — she stood up to Abby about being allowed to give blood, after all, and she was the driving force behind getting Abby and Hans to discuss limits and boundaries. She’s also shown herself to be really outgoing in a lot of situations — but we’ve also heard enough about her pre-Salvatore relationship that it might well be that she was always on the more submissive side of the relationship spectrum, and anything else is just Abby making assumptions because Abby finds her occasionally intimidating. In which case, a sudden shift would be even more out of character (unless there were a significant reason).

      In any event, I’m sorry this twist didn’t go over well for you — I tried to make sure it was adequately foreshadowed across multiple books, but I get what you’re saying about it seeming non-intuitive in regards to the method of transmitting the curse. After all, the lack of a physical bite makes this a good bit more out of step with the traditional werewolf mythos than most of what has been portrayed — even if it is in keeping with the broader system of magic as described in Midnight Moonlight so far.

      Anyway, I hope that, at the very least, seeing how Emma grows and adapts as a result of this will be a fun and interesting trip. 🙂

    • Eren Reverie

      Oh, and I’m pretty sure that it was stated that even a human soul could push out the vampire curse, provided it was undamaged enough. A werewolf soul would be that much stronger and more resiliant, theeoretically. A tattered, almost empty shell of a human soul, though… Well, it wouldn’t be able to replenish itself faster than the curse consumed any new essence — making survival a question of what happens first: the curse adapts to the soul (ie, she becomes a ghoul) or the soul gives out (ie: death). The witches dumping their auras was an attempt to bolster the soul so that it had enough resources to mend itself before either of those eventualities came about, as was the idea of having Megan ‘wash out’ the curse by flooding Emma’s soul with new aura.

      Interestingly, if Emma had gone ghoul fast enough she, like John, probably wouldn’t have been able to contract lycanthropy. All the efforts spent to save her from becoming a ghoul were likely what allowed Hans’ curse the time to take root and turn her into a werewolf, instead.

  11. fangfan

    Wow, that was an in depth answer. Develop your chacracter’s however you like, it is your story :-). Also, I still like the overall story very much, I don’t have to like every aspect of it to keep on voting. Maybe part of the reason I didn’t like that twist very much is that I’m not a very big fan of werewolfs to begin with – you know, those rude aggressive fur carpets all about their primal instincts and ever on the brinck of losing control ;-). You do a very good job in describing Hans’ conflict with his wolfish nature and Hans is an interesting character, but I personally would have liked a non-werewolf witch in Abby’s life as a contrast better than another character with essentially Hans’ problems, though from a female point of few.

    As for my previous comment about “snapping out of the submissive and dependant role on her own” – I had noticed that Emma also can be a quite strong personality from time to time, so she is not a totally submissive person to begin with, and assumed that her dependant insecure side is for the most part induced or at least strongly augmented by her trauma of being enthralled and then abandoned by Salvatore, so it would not have been that unnatural that Megan’s fairy energy helped her to overcome this and enabled her to take a stronger role in her relationship with Abby. But of course, the werewolf curse is in retrospect an even better explanation for her sudden confidence boost and sexually “aggressive” behaviour.

    • Eren Reverie

      Haha. I like interacting with my readers and that means the occasional in depth answer. I also want to respond to criticism and questions in more depth than compliments, usually, so I can take the time to reflect on it and see how to improve as a story teller and writer.

      As for the rest… Well, I think Emma’s issues stemming from lycanthropy will be different than Hans’ — maybe not entirely so in the specifics, but certainly in how she adapts and grows as a person.

      And there are still a lot of witches and warlocks out there who may wind up joining the story. ;D

  12. MrNobody

    Between you and wild bow, it’s been a freaking emotional roller coaster…
    Good job! Thanks for taking the time to make this!

    • Eren Reverie

      Holy smokes! I never thought I’d see myself compared to Wildbow like that. o.O I think you made my day. 😀

  13. John Neisser

    Erin,
    I have finished writing a 2400 page story. I am looking for someone that can read it and maybe help with finding the errors. (and maybe tell me if it is any good – I think it is but) I wonder if you can suggest someone that can help. Thank you

    • Eren Reverie

      Wow! That is a hefty document, heh. Well, most of my editing is done by peer review — specifically, my readers and my wife who are a tremendous help to me. I do know that there are writer’s groups and circles around the web that you could look up and possibly find someone to help with all of that; you might even be able to find one that’s local in your RL — I’d think that checking with your local library would be a pretty good bet there. (If nothing else, every reference librarian I’ve ever known has always been up for the challenge of finding out what needs to be known when a question is posed!)

      And if you want to send me a copy and/or sample segment (you can send it to ErenReverie@gmail.com), I can at least give some feedback on style and any really glaring errors — I think we all know that I occasionally miss things like spelling mistakes and typos in my own work, but I have an okay eye for catching them when I’m not mentally glossing past because I know what I meant to type. :p I wouldn’t be a good choice for a dedicated editor and I can’t in good conscience offer to help to that extent — I’ve got way too much stuff on my plate at the moment. But I am a pretty voracious reader, and I can certainly give you some examples of things I’ve found that you should look out for in your own editing passes, and my opinions on the story’s quality and stylistic execution as I’m reading through it. I may even be able to convince someone else in the polycule to take a look at it, depending on the genre and such — Jae and Arr are pretty big readers, too.

      Anyway, I hope that helps some. And since my readers are my number one source of help for editing advice, does anyone else have any? (Actually, I probably should’ve asked this for my own sake ages ago, haha!) If anybody knows of any good places to submit for quality and editing reviews, please let us know. 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Undead Plebble

    I don’t like this plot twist. It feels pointless and forced. It seems to serve no purpose other than shocking the reader while providing nothing to the story in general.

    I seem to be the only one feeling this way though, so maybe I’m just tired of plot twists.

    Did anyone else have the same feeling?

    • John Neisser

      No because with no twists and cliffhangers the story would not be nearly as interesting

    • Eren Reverie

      That’s fair — and I did worry (as I do at the end of every book, actually) that I was pushing it (whatever ‘it’ is) a little too far with this scene.

      I have a question, though: If the issue might be ‘plot twist over saturation,’ do you think that adjusting the pacing by placing the scene at the start of book 6 instead of the end of book 5 would make a difference to how you feel about it? (That’s the other thing I seriously debated about this chapter — how it would fall in terms of pacing, and I was afraid that ending on a ‘cliff hanger note’ might be detrimental to the sense of satisffaction you usually expect from the wrap up of a book.)

      I did conscider that if book 5 ended a couple chapters ago we’d have a nice resolutionary note with the wrap up at the church, and if this was an early chapter in the book 6 it would take away some of that ‘what?!’ factor because you would know that there was a full book ahead in which the ‘twist’ could develop and be shown to be relevant to the overarching plot lines… instead of, as it is, being left hanging.

      Ultimately, I decided to keep the scene at the end of book 5 because it kept the reveal in the same volume as many of the clues highlighting that it is a thing that has happened (rather than just the information necessary to logic it out, that was introduced in earlier volumes), it kept with the thematic component of ‘who contracted Hans’ lycanthropy?!’ that is prevalent through this book, and because, frankly, my writing style has always emphasized a trailing hook and I have a reputation for cliffhangers which made it hard to resist as a tease to the readers (and because this series is established enough that there’s little concern thata a next volume will be written — and since this is an online serial work I figured I wouldn’t be leaving anyone hanging on that cliff for terribly long).

      However, the really important thing is telling the story well — and if adjusting the placement of this chapter in terms of pacing (I do assure you, it’s relevant to the plot!) would improve on that then I’m not just willing but eager to do it.

      Your thoughts, Undead Pebble? Anyone else’s? So far it seems like this might be the plot point that has generated the most dislike among readers, so I’m really interested in seeing how I can improve it, and right now I’m thinking that adjusting the placement of the reveal so as to reduce the impact (by putting it at the start of a book rather than the end) might be the way to go.

      Thanks!

      • WsntHere

        If this was a print book with a major length of time before release of book 6 I MIGHT understand wanting to tie up each release in a manner that at least leaves things tidy. That helps when an author ‘goes away’ for whatever reason.

        On the other hand, this is a long drawn out story, a serial, I believe. Heh. The only thing I find book separation useful for is trying to track down a specific situation. I will never read just one book of Abby’s adventures, so end of book 5 or start of book 6 makes no difference to me.

        Breaking it into books does make for smaller download files and is definitely the only way to go for sales.

        The whole issue is a wash to me.

        Bob

      • Undead Pebble

        Thank you for the reply, Eren.

        The fact that this twist is at the end of the book as opposed to the beginning does not really make much of a difference since this is, as you said, a serial.

        Maybe my problem is more to do with the fact that this twist in particular does not feel like a big deal. Every other important human character has become some kind of supernatural creature (with the exception of Fumiko, who has become a cosplay vigilante, which still counts in my mind), so why would Emma becoming a werewolf even really change anything?

        The tone of the chapter sets the reader up to expect something truly earth shattering, at least from Abby’s perspective, but to me it did not feel all that.

        From the other comments, I can see that many readers did get that shocked/excited feeling that you intended.

        What I really am worried about, is that we will soon have no humans left in the story. But then I ask myself why that would be a bad thing, and I can’t think of a single reason. I just somehow feel it would be.

        Also, when I mentioned plot twist overload, I was not talking just about Midnight Moonlight. I read 20 or so web serials concurrently with various levels of quality and vastly differing update schedules (This one is definitely top 3 at the moment), and you might just have caught me at a bad time where a lot of plot twists happened to line up.

        Something I would like to see, is a bit more down time. I have always been a firm believer that in order for the reader to really appreciate the building suspense and climax, it is important to relieve the suspense once in a while with some more mundane events.

        If you have read Worm, you might know what I mean. It is a great book, but the suspense just keeps building for about a thousand pages and eventually suspense fatigue sets in and I just stopped caring. I had to stop reading for a few months before I could enjoy it again.

        Sorry for the wall of scattered thoughts, I know my arguments don’t always seem very coherent.

        • Eren Reverie

          It’s okay; I appreciate your input and the time you put into explaining it. I can assure you that there will always be normal humans in the story (at least, if you’re counting witches and warlocks which it seems you were). Whether or not they’ll be in the main cast/harem I can’t say because it gets into spoilerdom, but we do have lots of sources of non-cursed individuals running around, and not all of the ones who come in as side characters are necessarily going to remain as such — a lot of my writing methodology is fluid, so I don’t even have all the details, anyway. 😉

          I do want to avoid the uber-suspence of Worm — I had to take a break in those end chapters, too. I will admit that I’m really bad at letting time pass, though. I mean: the books have an incredibly dense timeframe, and that wasn’t something I’d thought about in advance — it was just something that came about of this particular story. However, since I’ve been trying to write it as rather ‘slice of life’-y (for an extremely unusual slice of life, but still) it should calm down as all of the immediate emergencies are addressed — and then go into a more relaxed ramping into new events.

          I think.

          I suppose when I start getting to those points I’m really going to have to figure out how to handle down time, like you say. Abby’s had a hell of a week, and one of the facets of a major anxiety issue (at least it was in my case) is that you don’t really get much down time — whatever it is that you have to worry about (and there’s always something) will become dire to the ultimate degree — so something that might not seem like too big of a deal outside of Abby’s head is definately going to be, inside her head, heh.

          Well, anyway… I think I’m starting to ramble now (I didn’t sleep all that great last night, so I’m up early and killing time before work) so I’m going to wrap up here. I hope the next arcs of the story don’t disappoint. 🙂

      • Syndic

        Hmm, but placing it at the start of the next book would’ve left us with “why is Emma angry with Abby are they gonna have relationship troubles oh noez” at the end of this one.

        I prefer the drastic reveal at the end making me look forward to how they’ll deal with it to having to worry anxiously about what will happen, as far as “feelings at the end of one book and waiting for the next one”

        But then again, I’m in the “didn’t mind the twist” faction 😉

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