Oh, so this is a corporeal form…
Cowplants are actually native to the fifth underworld, though their presence has become ubiquitous throughout all seven of the underworlds. This makes them very easy to summon. Like literally, you can get them on your first try. Someone should have mentioned this sooner. —The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition
Ben tried to stop Alice’s body from slumping forward but it had been over a millennia since he last had a corporeal form. It wasn’t that he was unfamiliar with bodies, though admittedly he hadn’t ever been in a 29-year-old woman. Still, maneuvering limbs and legs and hands was difficult and he couldn’t quite put his metaphysical finger on why.
Alice’s body continued drop to the ground and despite Ben flailing her arms around, the best he could do was tilt her slightly more towards the grass.
Even with these efforts, part of her slammed into the pavement with a force that knocked the wind out of her body. Ben panicked, gulping in air like a fish and writhing around.
He laid there for a moment but the crick in Alice’s neck told him that this was not the optimal position.
Slowly, he got up, touching a hand to her forehead. He winced and then he remembered: It was the weight of the body. That’s why it was so hard to control.
He stumbled a bit and then steadied himself. Alice wasn’t dead, he could still feel her spark of a soul. But she was unused to the outlay of power that magic required and so, summoning a few cowplants and one small fire was enough to knock her out cold.
He supposed it was his fault. When the first use of magic freaked her out, he didn’t push. Instead, he let her dole it out in fits and starts, small expenditures that she didn’t even notice. He shouldered most of the big magic: raising the dead, manipulating nature…harnessing lightning. He should have been preparing her, forcing her to take his training seriously! Especially if she was going to—
Ben silenced the thought by force. Alice was unconscious but they still shared a mind. He had to be careful.
Slowly, in a shambling sort of fashion, he hauled Alice into the backyard.
The trailer was so close. He could make it with just one more burst of energy. And it was a good thing too, after just a few yards of walking he was already exhausted.
Alice did this every day? How did she not simply collapse under the sheer force of gravity?
He stumbled towards the door.
“Alice? Alice is that you? Why don’t you come in for dinner if you’re home?” a voice called.
Ben kept shuffling toward the door of the trailer and reached for the handle.
“Alice? Are you drunk?”
Of all the things! Why would Alice be drunk this early on a Friday evening? Honestly.
“Alice, correct these people. Your family has an incorrect assessment of your person. We don’t get drunk until after the final rose ceremony. We need our wits about us to assess which sim is the best match for Alistair.”
There was no answer.
Was Alice ignoring him?
Oh no oh no oh no!
There was no Alice at the moment. Or rather, he was Alice. Who was calling her? Ben whirled around, which was not the most prudent move because it caused her head to spin.
“Alice doesn’t get drunk until the end of the TV show!” he announced.
Wait, that was wrong.
“Er…I mean, I…who is Alice…doesn’t get drunk until the end of the TV show.”
Valeria Martin stood, arms folded and tapping her foot. She did not look amused.
“Alice Levitica Martin, that is enough. I told you Mayra would be home from school for cousin Betsy’s engagement party. And now it turns out you’re home and you didn’t even come in to say hello to your family?!”
Cousin Betsy’s Mayra Whatsa Who? Ben let Alice’s mouth fall open in shock but Valeria gave him an ice cold, possibly dangerous look, he promptly shut it. So it wasn’t just the body, he was expected to be in charge of Alice’s facial expressions too?
This was madness.
He rearranged Alice’s face into a more pleasant mask. Valeria needed charming. He could be very charming! He smiled wide.
“Of course! Just going to freshen up and then I will be in presently!” he used the same cheerful tone that Alice used on customers who asked about items being on sale.
“Hmph. Don’t be too long, your dad just took the casserole out of the oven,” Valeria said.
She gave Alice a long look. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Does a reaper’s scythe slice? Of course! Never better!” Ben promised.
There was another “hmph” and then Valeria walked back into the house.