Chapter 32, Part 1: Trips and Manuscripts

Hey, so just a heads up, things get gruesome in this chapter. I mean, to me gruesome = fun (if you’re at Chapter 31, you know exactly what kind of person I am). But ya know, be forewarned.

Oh and yes, I forgot the cc that gives Akira his elf ears but I was not going to go back and reshoot the whole thing so use your imagination please 🙂

Britechester University

Alice

“The god war is a long term problem. The Owl of Undoing is a short term problem. And we are the unfortunate bastards who must deal with both.”

Caleb had summed things up pretty succinctly at breakfast that morning—a breakfast Alice had prepared in an attempt to get back on William’s good side. She had never seen the vampire lose his cool like that.

Caleb and Vlad called her a suck-up but she noticed that Caleb promised their next location would have a hot tub.

And Vlad had volunteered—volunteered!—to work on baking after he and Alice finished their mission. 

That mission being to get someone to teach Alice what she didn’t know about her power. 

And that someone, llamas help her, was the Grim Reaper.

Grim spread his arms out wide, his smarmy expression making her skin crawl. “Alice, long time no see. Like never see ya. Like literally, you avoid me. Which I get, I mean, I seen you naked. Great tits, by the way.” 

The Grim Reaper was expected to be a terrifying figure—ominous, full of cryptic statements and dark stares. The Grim Reaper was not expected to be what he was: a gross creeper with too much spray tan and a wardrobe straight out of 2009.  

Alice grimaced, “Nice tits is not a compliment.”

Grim ignored her. “And you, Phobos…” he paused leaning in to study Vlad, “Holy netherworld, what kind of creature are you now?”

“One who appreciates manners, and has a very clear understanding of how to strip a being down to its fundamental parts. By hand.”

Grim took a step back. “Phobos 2.0 is more terrifying than the original model. I like it!” He winked at Alice, “Is he stayin’ the whole time or—”

“Yes,” Vlad and Alice answered at the same time.

Britechester University Library

William

William slid past a few students as they rushed to and from the library. Ever since he had gotten a whiff of the impending doom heading their way, he couldn’t help but look at everyone differently. He didn’t view them with the same disdain as Vlad and Caleb but he did marvel at how they could be so deeply present in the small joys, so sure that the future was a result of their efforts and action.

He missed feeling that way—young…mortal

Smiling at the librarian staffing the reference desk, he handed over the fake library card Caleb had made up when they first arrived on campus.

“Oh, Professor Snugglebottom, it says here in the system that you’re working on your research on the mating habits of potted plants?” she gave him a serious, if empathetic look.

Caleb was dead. William didn’t care if they needed him to stave off the end of the world or how nice the next safe house was, he was going to kill him. “Yes, well, very important research,” William replied through gritted teeth. 

“They said you’ll need access to the archives and our rare books. Our curator will meet you in the Reading Room and go over the rules. I took the liberty of asking them to pull a few books that might be of…ahem…interest.”

Somehow William managed to remain pleasant as he thanked her. He checked his watch outside of the Reading Room. He had the perfect research companion: the romantic interest he should be putting his time into.

“Are you ready?” Dylan asked. “I’ve brought a few dictionaries that might be helpful…” he paused to push his glasses up on his nose. “I wasn’t sure about your proficiency with languages.”

There would be no apologies for the nefarious methods used to get Dylan’s help. William knew from their first meeting that the sim was an expert in linguistics. And best of all, he was not an all-powerful magical being with constantly-shifting loyalties.

Just managing to keep the predatory growl out of his voice, William grinned. “Thank you, Dylan, I very much appreciate you taking the time to help me with my work.” 

    10 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    August 23, 2020

    Oh hey! It’s Cliché Shu! And OH SHIT VLAD’S DATING HIS BOSS.

    I’m addicted to the trope where a dirtbag guy hits on a girl, her boyfriend shows up, and the dirtbag’s totally unperturbed and also hits on the boyfriend. I will wait patiently for Grim to pull this move because hey, it could still happen. You know Bernard has done this.

    (Don’t think I missed “grim reaper”/”gross creeper” either. Or his design sense, including the painfully tacky decal in the kitchen. Or his title drop for the previous chapter.)

    There’s one thing that can break me out of the “step on me hot evil lady” cognitive-dissonance loop, and that’s intentionally bad writing. MY GOD, BJORN. Yeah, there’s “beautiful” and “beautiful,” but I could also write an entire essay on how little sense those similes make. I think that illustrates a key difference between our senses of humor: Penny has to remind herself how totally inconvenient it would be if she killed this guy, rather than having to ask him what the hell a “guiding ship” is and where the fuck he thinks the terminal ends of her eyebrows are. Ohoho, or she could just be saving a snide remark for a later conversation. Why stop at telling a man his life means nothing when you could tell him his life means nothing AND his imagery is nonsensical?

    Oh, look, Dylan’s exhibiting behavior that suggests he has supernatural secrets right after Grim tells us Alice has six more charges whose identities we don’t know, but who we’ve almost certainly met. Eh, it’s probably nothing. Just the wind playing tricks.

    That last exchange was sketch af. Responding to “Is Ben gone?” with “I don’t know where he is,” is already enough to set off warning signs—Grim, phrasing it like that means you’ve already answered Vlad’s question, c’mon man—and following that up with the totally unsolicited defenses “I ain’t seen him in forever! We don’t even talk anymore!” is just red flag after red flag that Ben shouldn’t have trusted this guy. Very sneaky execution there. It’s like an Easter egg for people who know what lying looks like. Very sneaky.

    The control thing: damn, yes. There are so many will-they-or-won’t-theys and slow-burns because it’s an easy way to create tension, but I’ll always applaud the effort of setting up a situation where both leads are like “nice shoes wanna fuck” from day 1 and the actual tension comes from setting it up so that there’s some fundamental reason they shouldn’t be together. Or something that appears like a fundamental reason they shouldn’t be together. And that level of power imbalance is pretty damn fundamental from where I’m standing. I guess the question is, how does one make sure they don’t abuse that level of power?

    So I’m beginning to feel like the strategy for approaching this story should be divide-and-conquer among the readers: I totally forget about Miko and Akira until ThePlumbbob brings them up and am going to just keep doing that. Just like, everyone gets a character. So it’s pretty useless to have a Bernard fixation, eh? Trying very hard not to let myself get distracted by Caleb and Zombie Deacon (the phrase ‘Zay-Deeks’ popped into my head on a walk today and it makes no sense but I’m keeping it) and oh god is Caleb Anxiety? Okay I’m going back at some point to check if there are characters with personality traits related to—let’s see, Grief, Anxiety, Hunger, Agony, Discord, and Disease—but whose descriptions tellingly exclude those exact words. Oh god, is there Hell in the basement and we’re gonna get to see Hell and it looks like this fucking motel room?

    I can’t get over it. “Your eyes are like meadows”—god, what the fuck are you trying to invoke there, buddy? Hahaha.

    Ending with my first thought when Vlad ripped out Grim’s eye: “Oh no! Now he’ll only be able to look at one of her tits!”

    (Heads up. This isn’t showing up correctly on my WordPress feed for whatever reason, so if it seems like fewer people are finding this, that might be why. The last time that happened to me, it was because WordPress decided to change the publication date to some random date in the past.)

    • feroshgirl
      August 23, 2020

      THANK YOU!

      I WAITED SO MANY CHAPTERS FOR THE REVEAL THAT VLAD IS DATING HIS BOSS. This is one of my favorite romance tropes lol. Delight! Delight!

      I really wanted Grim to have that Jersey Shore at the height of its popularity on MTV vibe. I would love for him and Shu to have an AU adventure. It’d be the worst. But also the best. And weirdly, given where Grim’s character ends up going, I think they’d get along.

      I so enjoy decorating the worst locations. Alarmingly, I did not have to dig deep in build mode to create this aesthetic ::looks directly into the camera at EA::

      Yes! Thank you for catching Grim’s terrible lies! And it’s not by accident. Sometimes an obvious lie is not about deception, it’s about loyalty. There are lots of red flags, you’re right, but are they for Ben? I don’t know if you’re saying this having looked at what’s going on in the window behind Alice and Vlad in that scene but if you haven’t, you might wanna take a look 😉

      How does one make sure they don’t abuse that level of power? DING DING DING DING DING!!!!!!!

      I hate a slow burn too. I want character development and I don’t mind if its moving slowly because that’s what’s going on. But there is only so much tension I can take before I start to feel manipulated. Vlad and Alice were def DTF from Day One and I always knew I wanted a power imbalance between them but given that they are both powerful supernatural creatures, it had to be big. This is definitely something they are going to have to navigate in their relationship. Asyou pointed out, Alice’s central struggle is loss of control. But now in her relationship, she effectively has all the power and all the control (if she wanted to abuse it). What’s that going to require?

      Ooohh boy, we are gonna GET INTO IT.

      (for weird nerd reasons I feel required to point out to you that this plot point was inspired by all my victorian era thesis/geeking out stuff about relationship dynamics and how do you have feminism and a equal relationship when moving through society requires one person to hold all the power. Even if you are the chillest person on the planet, how do you give that partner room to grow and to be when you’ve got vouch for them leaving the house? okay done but not quite and I could talk about this forever).

      I cannot comment on your theories but goddamn.

      I will say that I am THRILLED by the fact that everyone has different characters they adore/root for. It helps keep me honest and make sure I’m giving them their due. I do the same thing–like I just love Morgyn in general so I’m obsessed with ThePlumbbob’s Morgyn just like I’m obsessed with your Bernard. I am going to see how long “not getting distracted by Caleb/Zombie Deacon” given the upcoming chapters ::Evil laughter::

      And now onto Penny/Bjorn. God, writing those similes was painful and I died laughing so thank you for noticing. Your eyebrows are like guiding ships? Like WTF? But also, Bjorn changed tact pretty quickly from hapless dude who writes bad poetry to asshole who immediately starts trying to neg her (as if you can neg Penny fucking Pizzazz). And if I say anymore about him I will ruin things so I’m going to shut up now.

      Yes! there is definitely a version of this where Penny digs into him. Haha I would read the hell out of that! I actually think that’s one of the best things about simlit, people bring a completely different style even with the same dark, squishy middle.

      Ah! okay I have to brew my tea and do my simlit reading for the week (hehe). Thanks for the heads up about wordpress. Ugh, some days this platform is so irritating. I’m going to check the publication dates because I wrote these like a over a month ago and then scheduled them so maybe it’s trying to betray me for having the audacity to be somewhat ahead.

      • Dolly Llama
        August 24, 2020

        Interesting—I was going to address the Victorian relationship dynamics in Haunted and late Book III. Of course you’ve already gotten around to it! I’m taking the position that any sex within an arranged marriage is fundamentally coercive, but Bernard didn’t want to get married either, so coercive to whom? Both parties?

        Oh—oh hey the picture. Ohoho. This is fascinating. We both recently decided to exploit the medium by leaving clues in both the pictures and the writing that steer the reader toward a hidden plot point. Here, I totally missed the visual detail but came to the desired conclusion from the writing alone—and the hint you picked out was one of the visual ones.

        Yeah and it’s cool that we get to talk directly to the authors, and we have have maybe a dozen followers at best, so we got time. It does make it hard to float theories, but recently I’ve picked up a literary-minded commenter with… insider knowledge… who keeps taking out her bullhorn to yell HEYYYYY FELLOW READERS REMEMBER THIS RECURRING METAPHOR OR VITAL CONTEXT?! If one of those pops up for BBD I will kiss their feet.

        Oh and here’s another great thing about SimLit: I can’t recall the last time a story wasted a single fucking word describing a female character’s attractiveness. You all have spoiled me to where my bullshit detector is pinging too hard for me to read most “literature.”

        I can’t tell whether negging is more Agony or Discord. Say, has anyone seen William and Agony in the same room? That would be juicy and also super fucked up, but William has a beard and Agony has those chin glowies, so I’m not totally sold yet. Trying to remember if I forgot anyone. But that’s the juiciest option. And why’s Grim in a motel anyway?

        (I choose to believe Alice’s athleisure look includes boots because Ben forgot to pack sneakers)

  • theplumbob
    August 27, 2020

    Right, I am fonally here and ready to cleanse my palate after this Star Wars announcement debacle!

    I mean, I don’t blame William and Caleb for being out of sorts over all this. They’ve been outting up with Vlad’s crap for centuries, and now they bet thrown for a loop with this insane god chick and savimg the world and Vlad just expects them to get on with it. If Caleb’s way of lashing out against all that is just registering William’s fake professor identity under a funny name and with questionable research, I say that’s tame.

    Haha of course Grim Repears is bloody Don 😂 I feel like we probably knew this already, bit I swiftly forgot – means I get to appreciate it all over again, though!

    Oh, Penny’s makeover is on point. We’ve seen very little of Bjorn, but just with the little we did get to see… suffice to say I’m not surprised Penny’s not jumping at the chance to get into any kind of meaningful relationship with him. Brows like ships? Not getting any younger? Gee, thanks Bjorn, now that you put it that way, I bet she’s madly in love with you.

    Queue next Penny scene. Ah, I see, sleeping with Bjorn was merely her being on the job to gain access to – Wait, Akora and Miko! *drops everything* Squeaaaal! 🥰🥰🥰

    I did enjoy Penny yelling her head off at Akira. I equally enjoyed that he didn’t give two fucks. And Miko blushing like a school girl at the presence of her crush (who happens to be her ex-husband) while they were all chatting about the iminent end of the world. Aww. (I know I sound snarky here but I genuinely found it lovely!)

    Oh, you weren’t lying about gruesome there, yikes. Doesn’t really seemed like they ended up gettimg that mich informatiom from Don, I mean grim, in the end. Hopefully William’s library research will wield more useful information.

    • feroshgirl
      August 29, 2020

      Sigh, I hear you. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and for like 5 seconds, I was really excited by the idea that my Reylo dreams could finally come true. But I know the Sims and I can foresee it being a small vacation world with rabbit holes and a story that isn’t quite rich enough to be enjoyable and feel like a mini-adventure. Kind of like StrangerVille, only with stuff that’s less useable in the rest of the other worlds. I can also imagine a lot of recycled animations.

      But alas, I may have to buy it for Reylo reasons and because I’ve got some plans for this story that might make good use of alien stuff depending on what comes with the pack.

      But if the team ever wanted to get around to say, fixing the emotions system, or fleshing out relationships, giving us more traits, adding the laundry list of gameplay items people have asked about, fixing skin tones, etc. etc., I think that might go over well. Then you can give me a Star Wars pack lol.

      But onto the story!

      Yes, Caleb and William have been in this for the long haul and a lot is getting thrown their way at a time when they had begun to think about what kind of life they might want to carve out for themselves. I will confess that Professor Snugglebottom came from a random name generator that I use to create NPC names for my D&D campaign hahahaha

      Don Lothario. I just love the idea of putting him ridiculous situations. He’s another pre-made that I’ve never actually done anything with in game.

      Penny Pizzazz needed a makeover. I feel like she is such a queen but I do not love her look in-game. She is definitely using Bjorn and he is 100% a dick. Like, he thinks he can run Penny Pizzazz? No way, my dude. You will be seeing more of him.

      Penny is very suspicious of Akira because she just knows of him from Miko’s perspective. I feel like I’m constantly asking myself if something is too silly for characters to be doing given that a god war is imminent, but I’m glad its enjoyable and funny and not making you think “wtf is wrong with these people?”

      Second chance at love is one of my fave romance tropes so Akira and Miko are fun to write. Whew. stay tuned though. They’ve got a journey.

      We shall have to see what the Book of Longings can bring. Though that scene quietly signals the return of Ben (easter egg in one of the pics), so the real question is: what is he now? And where’s he been all this time…?

      • theplumbob
        August 29, 2020

        I’ve actually only seen Star Wars for the first time this year, thanks to lockdown. I don’t mind it and understand why people like those films (them duel scenes are sick!), though I’m not crazy about it.

        I think my issue with it in the Sims is that it’s too established – a new generic alien world would be cool, because you could put your own spin on it (like how you can make up your own lore for the Magic realm, or to a degree even with Strangerville), but the Star Wars Universe is so set in stone already, making it anything else feels like it would be a lot of work. The Reylo thing I do get though, I’d probably also do that as a one-off if I was to ever get the pack 🙂 And I can’t wait to see how you use the items/world in your story!

        It’s definitely looking like both Caleb and William may go off on arcs of their own, and I’m here for it.

        Oh yeah I totally get why Penny isn’t Akira’s fan, I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t encourage my friend to get back with a toxic ex either. But I totally have my love goggles on when it comes to Akira and Miko, so I don’t care. I’m so excited for what you have in store for them.

        I do hope Ben is still out there somewhere, he was one of my faves. Fingers crossed. Maybe he’s just binge-watching Game of Thrones for the first time or something 😛 (I realise this is not the case, but I will cope with the pain of missing him through humour!)

      • feroshgirl
        August 29, 2020

        This! Yes! The things I enjoy the most are the ones inspired by pop culture (like an homage or a easter egg) but not an exact replica. But Reylo has made me weak so I’ll probably succumb and if you write a one-off I will be ALL OVER IT.

        The duel scenes are wild, but again, I don’t think we’ll be getting anything that cool.

        Hahaha love goggles! That’s how I feel about Morgyn in your story. They can do no wrong in my heart, which is dangerous lol.

        Alright. Ben binge-watching Game of Thrones is cannon now. I don’t know how I’m going to work it in but it must happen now. lololololol

      • theplumbob
        August 29, 2020

        Haha no, keep the love goggles! I need at least one reader that doesn’t hate Morgyn LMAO

        That is promising – hopefully the GoT ending will propel Ben back into reality (or whatever we’re calling the BBD Universe, not quite sure if reality is the right way to describe the realm of gods, vampires, witches, threads and fae… but you know what I mean haha!)

  • Yimiki
    February 25, 2021

    BWAHAHA DON LOTHARIO IS THE GRIM REAPER AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA 😂😂😂 Oh. Ouch. My sides. Gah.

    So that is who that weird mat hatter-like creature was way back when! Agony. And Alice has a bunch of others like him that she can summon at the drop of a hat. Oh, dear.

    • feroshgirl
      February 25, 2021

      MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IS LOTHARIO REAPER.

      Because of course he is.

      Yes!! Alice has an entire crew of super-powered highly volatile murder creatures at her beck and call and this is going to work out totally fine and not cause the end of the world at all 🙂

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