Volume 3 Afterword.

Tiana will have to wait for Volume 4 to figure it out. This volume is ending in the middle of an arc, and I suspect Volume 4 will mostly be filled with the rest of it.

Once again, ’tis I, your storyteller Fushigi, Dear Readers! Volume 3 is complete with chapter 124. Thank you so much for sticking with me this far.

I want to say, my poor story plan is in shambles right now.

The volume 3 I wrote on the first rough draft looked nothing like this. The events that you have been reading about, after the entrance ceremony arc, were supposed to happen later, and the story was mostly going to involve the beginning stages of the war as seen from school.

Two things happened. First, I read my draft and decided it was boring and predictable. And second, I realized that war preparations needed to take more time.

So I looked at my plan, realized the guts of volume 4 would be better if they happened right out of the blue from the beginning (and actually made more sense to me. If they happened after the original events of volume 3, too many students would have a favorable impression of Tiana, and the dramatic success of the ‘Fate magic’ would have been less credible.)

Did I swap V3 and V4 and that’s all? No. First of all, this arc isn’t finished. And in the larger scheme of things, the story plan is now much more scrambled up than that. But I have a clear idea of an ending, and I’ve largely put the pieces back together. And as long as I have a clear idea of where I’m driving, I generally get there. Much of what was originally going to happen in volume three will be spread out over upcoming volumes.

So, what new clichés did I plug? Yeah, several obvious ones were central to the plot, right? All the otome game reincarnation stuff. And they remain unexplained, because you’ve only seen a couple hints of what was actually going on at this point. I’m calling this the Fate Magic arc, and it will take the next volume before Tiana and the readers will really know what’s going on. So who is behind the mysterious magics? Any guesses? One thing I will say; the angels and Grandmother are right. Poor Tiana is getting caught in the crossfire of multiple unknown magics.

So the standard ‘otome game reincarnation’ plot started and then got wildly derailed. We don’t know what Rod is up to, so he might be team Tiana or team Mireia, or it looks like they could perhaps be the same team? Or maybe it’s just that Rod and Mireia are both team Tiana?

Of course the student council with clout and overpowered students like Ged the student commander are standards. I did work a lucky pervert moment in, but Rod’s no jerk MC. I know a lot of readers don’t like him, for good reasons, but in his defense, he handled that moment like a gentleman, which is a bit off trope. I worked in a cursed sword, a holy sword named Durandal, a lady of the lake, a hot spring bath, an ancient temple ruin (okay that’s not really a trope, but it was a cool location) and a cute little pixie girl (who is not out of the picture yet, by the way.) I suppose I leaned a little too hard on the embarrassed nude female thing. I apologize to my female readers for that.

So, onward to volume 4. I hope it doesn’t get even longer than Volume 3. Volume 1 was 36 chapters, Volume 2 was 42, Volume 3 was 46. If the exponential curve continues, I should be at about 49 for volume 4 (with a limit line somewhere around 51 or  52 chaps that I will approach somewhere around volume 7?)

I’m really going to try to avoid that. I eventually want to reach a conclusion for this story!

In volume 4, we will have a few new characters coming in, and a few old ones rejoining us. Look forward to it!

# # #

Q & A session!

Several weeks back I asked readers to contribute questions. I also went back and mined the comments for some, to give them more carefully written responses.

Q: How can Tiana be so straight laced with a mother like hers?

A: There’s two factors at play. First factor is that half of her ancestry is vampiric, and vampires in this world are actually very conservative, reserved types. Her father was actually a bedrock of stability and order for the kingdom for over a millennium. Only later in his life he became twisted and evil.

Elianora is an excellent example of a vampire. For example, when she did have to bring up sex with Tiana in their conversation, she had to speak metaphorically.

So Tiana doesn’t have the same instinctive wiring as a true fairy. In temperament, she is much more like a vampire. 

Second factor, she wasn’t actually raised by Mother. Her closeness to the Royals is because she was, frankly, raised as if she were one of Owen’s children. He acted as the father, but Mother was more like Dad’s girlfriend who dropped in for visits often. So Tiana’s (and the royal kids’) mother figures were the Palace ladies that looked after them after the queen died giving birth to Amelia.

Q: So has Mother slept with Dana (the courtesan) or not?

A: Did I not hint that hard enough? Do I really have to come out and say it?

Q: Is Robert’s wishes and needs completely of no consequence to the current Tiana? Isn’t she just doing whatever the old Tiana would?

A: Robert cannot betray the principles Tiana grew up with, because the current person has assimilated those principles as their own. In Tiana’s mind, a noble is not their own person; they are first and foremost their position and their job. If they don’t protect their people, their house and the king that they serve, before thinking about their own desires, they are dishonorable. And if that means doing as their house and their king require, then that’s what it means. But she is still trying to find some way to accept what those principles say she has to accept while still doing it on her own terms.

In that sense, it is true that she is making the same decisions up to that point. But things have already diverged. For one example, the highly spartan old Tiana would probably have suffered in silence in the jail cell and meekly allowed Parna to haul her away, not questioning his motives. This process is going to grow more prominent going forward. Basically, at this point she is beginning to stand up for herself a little more, and that is going to continue.

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Q: Is Tiana’s ancestry going to get even more weird? Perhaps she’s got a dragon or something mixed in there too?

A: Well, I hinted the most extreme member of her ancestry in the last chapter. Although not everything about that is quite what it seems, her great-grandmother is the biggest factor in what makes Grandmother, Mother and Tiana so strong.

Q: Are we going to get another school arc? It went away too fast!

A: Now that I tore everything up and reorganized, I am actually still piecing the rest of the outline back together. I have things that were going to happen at that school, which may still happen there, or may be moved to another setting. All I know for sure is that the events themselves have to happen. So, basically, I don’t know the answer to this question yet.

One thing I can tell you though. Several of the characters I briefly introduced at the school, who were originally going to be players in that longer school arc I ditched, will not be one time appearances. They should still be part of the bigger story in the end.

# # #

Again, feel free to go on Discord and DM me (you can find me at the Creative Novels server, https://discord.gg/Savbewm ask for Fushigi!), or use the #chapter-discussion channel there, or just go right ahead and write a comment here in the chapters. I do read and often answer comments, and I would love it if people posted a lot more of them.

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I have a big favor to ask of anyone who has stuck with me all the way to the end of this afterword! Every week, Vote For Substitute Hero! to get our Tiana on the list at Top Web Fiction!

When you vote at that site, it is only good for seven days, then you need to vote again. It is a weekly popularity poll. So give that link a tap every now and then, so more people will see us and give it a read.

Most weeks, I am low on the fantasy genre list, but I have only made the main list briefly, a couple times. I suspect a lot of eyes only see the main list, so I hope she can show up there on a regular basis in the future!

This Afterword has been posted without upsetting the schedule. The first chapter of Volume 4, will post on the normally scheduled time. 

Thanks again for reading!

– Fushigi

- my thoughts:

Volume 4 will begin with the next regular posting.

Vote For Substitute Hero Weekly to get Tiana on the list at Top Web Fiction!

Check out my other novels: My new web serial, Sword Of The King and the completed Tales of the ESDF

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