Christopher: Camp NaNoWriMo was quite the nightmare. I learned all sorts of things about myself I didn’t know, things I’d rather not know. (He shudders.) Here I was certain some of my darker tendencies came from being a shadow.
Dyvian: The you in My Tool, My Treasure is an arachnocrat. Boys treated as rare blossoms in Arachne’s Gardens are just as predatory as the ladies whose hunger they serve. (He smiles, showing a hint of sharp teeth.) We just rarely have the opportunity to explore it, since our Marriage Feasts nip that potential in the bud. Perhaps that’s a wise move on our ladies’ part.
Christopher: I didn’t notice your Feast stopping you…Once Upon a Time. Even in your still state, you appear to be discovering your potential beyond the Door.
Dyvian: As are you…Happily Ever After.
Christopher: Somehow that title seems more like a cruel joke than anything I can achieve.
Dyvian: I’m certain you will do all you can to accomplish whatever is possible for all poor shadows seeking happiness. You have a kind heart, after all, ready to check your predatory instincts.
Christopher: Heart and instincts being at odds is not a happy way to live or end.
Dyvian: Ah, but isn’t it interesting? I look forward to exploring our powers and true natures in My Tool, My Treasure, as well as the books that follow it.
Christopher: I’m dreading it myself. (He shudders again.)
Dyvian: How can you dread discovering the truth about yourself? Just what do you want?
Christopher: Not to hurt anyone. To live without harming others.
Dyvian: I’m beginning to see why Damian offered you his life at the Navel in return for the Shadow Forest. Perhaps he was trying to grant your wish, to give you that simple, blameless life you craved.
Christopher: He did it at the expense of his own!
Dyvian: Look at it this way. You have a chance to save your beloved Damian if you take your life back. If you become Happily Ever After, you can become Damian’s Happily Ever After, rescuing him from the tragedy his choices being upon him.
Christopher: You’re a very manipulative man, as I’m sure you know. And yes, I say “man”, even though I’m not sure how you managed to age after your Marriage Feast.
Dyvian: Every Ashelocke has his secrets, my dear. You’ll have to wait for the answers along with the readers. As for my manipulations, I’ve suggested nothing you haven’t thought of yourself or acted upon.
Christopher: No spoilers, Dyvian, please. We’ve dropped too many as it is.
Dyvian: I wouldn’t dream of it. I, for one, am enjoying keeping up a little mystery.
Christopher: More than a little…(sighs)
Dyvian: Come, come, it’s not like you don’t have your secrets, too.
Christopher: Even I’m not sure what they are. You seem to know far more about yours than I do mine.
Dyvian: Well, I am assuming the mantle of Once Upon a Time. You wouldn’t wish to know everyone’s Happily Ever After, would you? Not that you won’t manipulate events to achieve the endings you wish.
Christopher: You’re verging close to a spoiler again. Don’t think I didn’t notice how you avoided the subject of secrets.
(Dyvian says nothing, only offers an enigmatic smile.)