Some things crossing my mind on re-read.
1. Justin has stated he’s been in some crazy relationships before. Not normal crazy, but werewolves wanting to screw him while she’s changing sort of crazy.
– 1a. Phix has stated to Shelly that. “The predator in you went after him.”
– 1b. Supposition: This may be an indication of predatory creatures in general being drawn to Justin.
2. Shelly’s sphinx side was exposed after her relationship with Justin began.
– 2a. Shelly is trapped in the forest for 80k + years.
– 2b. Supposition: Shelly watches 50+ iterations of herself die in one way or another.
– 2c. The only other interaction she’s exposed to are Conscience, and the other Sphinx that Conscience kept at bay.
– 2d. Supposition: She’s more in tune with the predatory nature of her Sphinx side by the time she escapes the forest.
3. Supposition (all): Given the time stamps, someone knew Shelly was sphinx material before the forest arc ever happened, and therefore set up the scenario for her and Justin to meet.
– 3a. This may have been done in forethought to Shelly’s predatory nature being closer to the surface upon her return.
– 3b. It was done to ensure she had a ‘punching bag’ until she got better control of herself.
– 3c. It was done without regard to any emotional attachments forming.
– 3d. Shelly was never informed before, during, nor after the forest.
4. Now to reference a comment by Dave; Phix stated, “But, if you could help someone… by not telling them something, would you do it?”
– 4a. This was in response to a conversation with Monica.
– 4b. Supposition: This could also be applied to any/many other designs that Phix may/may not be a part of. (as noted also by Dave).
– 4c. Supposition: Phix was aware of Shelly’s fate beforehand, and for whatever reason, maintained silence.
So, do I personally think Shelly has a right to feel manipulated? Yes, because indications point to a manipulation in general. Do I think Justin is meant to be her soulmate? Inconclusive and irrelevant at this point; the manipulation does not appear to factor in anything on an emotional level at this time. Do I think Shelly has the right to ‘take it out on Phix’? Again, inconclusive; no concrete evidence to either confirm nor deny Phix’s involvement, only moderately circumstantial. As for Shelly making Phix cry, inconclusive as well; could be her own guilty conscious.
I suppose I just don’t see the reason to label Shelly as a bratty, uppity, spoilt b*tch, when she may have a good reason for any accusations at this point. And there’s no guarantee that Justin wouldn’t feel similarly manipulated upon finding out the current situation. Frankly, I think Phix should have kept her mouth shut on that. She could have just explained who Justin was without mentioning anything to indicate it was ‘setup’. However, I will simply wait for Paul to continue as he will eventually explain a character’s motive not only in their actions, but their emotions and reactions as well.
Nicely summarized and nicely reasoned, LN!
I think I agree most strongly with your final conclusion: suspend judgement for now. There’s still a very great deal we don’t know about what has previously been done, by whom, or why, and we (like Shelly) are likely to find out about it only a bit at a time.
After all, as we know from The Phantom Tollbooth, it’s very easy to jump to Conclusions… but you usually have to swim back, the hard way 🙂
But Dave, jumping to conclusions with incomplete information is practicaly a sport here. God knows I’m guilty of it. By the by, its been awhile since a weekend cliffhanger caused the comments to top 200
My Bacon Sandwich alarm is going off. Manipulating a persons life, even for there own benefit as you see it, carries a giant responsibility to be right. Not kind of right, damn right. I don’t care if you are the grandmother.
Yes, that’s a big part of the issue. You have to take responsibility not only for what you “manipulated into being” (e.g. Shelly’s relationship with Justin) but for the loss of the possibilities that your manipulation has prevented (e.g. whomever else Shelly might have met, whatever she might have learned or experienced along the way, etc.).
Life being what it is, you’d have to be a god to really understand all of the implications of such manipulation in advance… and so, for the rest of us, that sort of manipulation is always going to be an ethical gamble, I think. Especially so, if the person doing the manipulation stands to gain, directly or indirectly.
OK, one more time — manipulated, HOW? No mention has been made that their emotions or thoughts were twisted, reality wasn’t shifted …
***They were just endured to meet at some point***
Shelly is the one who decided to blow up a friggin barbecue grill so she could see “officer tight buns” again. And did so in collusion with Justin’s boss because he thought Justin could use a date.
So if you want to be pissed at Shelly and Justin’s boss for manipulation, I am not seeing that here, too. In fact most of the posts I saw at the time everyone seemed to think it was hilarious.
Sorry, but I just can’t see how they were “manipulated”. They were free to make their own choices, there were simply those betting on their own knowledge of what sort of choices these two would likely make – but they were still free to choose.
In fact, for those who have forgotten … JUSTIN DID.
He told Shelly to get the hell away from him, and walked away. They stayed together only because Shelly *chose* to chase after him.
Again … how can anyone call that manipulation? By any definition of the word, it does not fit.
Dangit, thought I had that spell-checked pretty well.
endured = ensured
Direct manipulation of emotions is the stuff of rank amateurs, children if you will. A creature thousands of years old manipulates by first reading a person’s desires and internal nature. Then they move things into place so their target does the desired deed, exerting themselves vigorously if need be, because they think it was their Idea.
She made Phix cry. I didn’t think anyone here could do that…
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