Nothing Lasts Forever
I have made my way through most of the zodiac now, with only four gods left whose stories I haven’t read. Since it is December, I thought it fitting to choose Tauxolouve, called “Lou” by his friends (“Louie” by his mother), as the next one. From his interactions with everyone else, I must deduce that he falls in the “Smooth Operator”, womanizer category. These are not necessarily my favorites, but they do tend to turn out quite a lot tamer than what we were led to believe. Also, so far, almost every god has had some sort of dark-ish secret, so I’m looking forward to finding out what that might be.
The MC chooses Tauxolouve because not only does he come across as generally nice, he is also quite relaxed and not pushy. Obviously, as soon as she decides on him, the other gods immediately sow doubts about his character – as they tend to do no matter who you pick. In this case, the concern is that he is the greatest playboy the heavens have ever seen.
Again, the MC has to fight to be allowed to continue working despite the looming danger of the Dark King’s minions, but Lou is on her side and promises to guard her 24/7. Which of course means that he’s hanging around her apartment first, and then, once he’s changed into a moderately more acceptable outfit (he got it from a boy band on TV), he follows her to work. Much like Teorus, he attracts a great deal of attention from the female population of the city, and just like Teo, he does nothing to discourage it.
On the way home from the planetarium, it happens: the servants of the King of the Underrealm attack the MC. We’ve seen this before, and Lou defeats them easily. What is shocking, though, is that the Dark King is with them. Nobody expected his resurrection to be so far along that he can manifest on earth. Yet he is still weak, and while Lou takes quite some damage, the Dark King withdraws. Two things are worrisome, however: first, it is obvious that Lou takes extreme risks and seems to disregard any concerns for his own survival. The other is that the Dark King obviously recognizes Lou, and seems delighted to encounter him. Not a good omen.
Back at the mansion, it is decided that Lou and the MC are to withdraw to the heavens for everybody’s safety. Nobody anticipated that the Dark King would already be able to manifest on earth. In heaven, the first order of the day is a report to the King. The MC notes that Lou seems very comfortable talking to the all-powerful being. He explains that he has known the King since he was a little boy, as his parents also work in the administration. And as if fate had willed it, they run into Lou’s father not much later. The jovial man is delighted to meet the MC and invites the both of them to dinner, where we also meet Lou’s mother. The parents are overjoyed; Lou has never introduced them to any of his women before. He is quick to inform them of the real reason he is with the MC, though. When he mentions his battle with the Dark King, his parents seem to panic; they want him to avoid meeting with this entity again at all costs. Lou, however, is bound by the orders of the King of Heaven, so he quickly changes the subject. Their behavior does seem odd, though.
As a departure from every other story, the MC is assigned guest quarters in the palace, as opposed to the guardian god’s own room. When Lou walks her there, she suddenly has an epiphany that, despite his relentless teasing, he has actually been exceedingly polite and thoughtful with her. She comes to the conclusion that maybe he is not, in fact, a playboy at all.
She is, however, disabused of this notion the very next day, when they happen to run into Karno and Teorus. Teorus blithely points out to Lou that his two-week window is just about up. Apparently, Lou’s relationships usually last for two weeks, and he has now been looking after the MC for pretty much that amount of time, so Teorus expects him to grow bored any moment now. It is, of course, when she hears Teo’s careless words that the MC realizes how much she’s already grown fond of Lou. She flees the scene.
Later, Lou seeks her out to explain why he is so reluctant to form relationships. But just then, all hell breaks loose on earth, because the Dark King (remember him?) is on the move again.
The epilogue is super meh. It’s the usual fretting about the first real date, the MC planning things that might or might not pan out, and a lot of internal monologue where she wants sex, but can obviously not even admit to herself that she wants sex. It’s rather tedious and not very interesting. Big revelation: Lou is actually clumsy. Also, there’s matching jewelry. There, I just saved you $2.
Lou has the reputation of a scoundrel, and he likes to insinuate things constantly. He teases the MC at every opportunity, and she is often suitably flustered. His demeanor in general, though, is that of a very considerate person, making sure the MC is as comfortable as she can be, and that her needs are met. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that he’s not actually doing the playboy thing with her. There are a few curious moments when it seems that Lou is, in fact, pursuing her, but he always cloaks it in plausible deniability. It all becomes very clear once his secret is revealed, and then it’s smooth sailing. Except for the mortal danger they’re in, that is.
The Love Meter
Blessed. The ending is very dramatic. As usual, it involves the King, who here is on the decidedly benevolent side, forgiving an almost unforgivable thing. It’s like he has perspective and all. I don’t know why he’s always such an asshole when it comes to Scorpio.
This is an example of a well-crafted story. Unfortunately, it didn’t really grip me. You see, I’m the kind of person who cries over a commercial. Here, there is potential, and there have been mild tuggings on my heartstrings, but they really were very, very mild. In comparison, I was bawling my eyes out for the last two chapters of Ichthys‘ story, and after any story featuring Zyglavis, I must usually abstain from reading for a solid three days. I can’t even put my finger on it. Lou’s plight is severe and understandable, and I’m feeling him, but I’m not feeling him, you feel me?
I do appreciate it when characters have nice parents. Lou has super nice parents and a great relationship with them. They’re also instrumental for the plot.
What did bother me was the writing of the Dark King situation, which is really just used as a plot device here, and not a plot. He showing up again is really of no relevance for the world, which he is supposedly attempting to destroy. His defeat is too easy, even if he does provide one last twist by proxy.
So. Not bad, I guess, just not really good, either.