Chapter 33, Part 2: Into the Belly of the Beast

notes

Myself: [opens mouth]

Me: It’s half a scene! Barely a scene! [intelligible sounds, shrieking] Content warning, this is a romance and sometimes characters have sex!

Myself:

Myself: I was just going say that you forgot the cc for Deacon’s zombie stiches.

Me: Oh. Yeah. I umm…I didn’t realize the file wasn’t in the mods folder. Sorry.

Granite Falls

Akira

Akira stamped the snow from off his boots as he stepped inside the cabin. The mirror portal spat them out in the lodge bathroom, but they still had to trek through the woods for five miles before they got to their cabin. Even as he knew the snowstorm would cover their tracks, he took to the trees every mile, doubling back to make sure.

“A-are y-you s-s-sure that’s enough?” Miko asked, teeth chattering as he set down a cordon of wood.

It wasn’t that he didn’t feel cold, he wasn’t a vampire, but winter in the Fae Realm was a brutal affair so he was used to it.

He smirked, “Why? You plannin’ on goin’ out there to get some more?”

She scowled, and he chuckled as he crouched down to build a fire. “I’ll go out and get some more whenever we need it.”

It was hard to know how many days they’d be here. The gnomes hadn’t even agreed to see them, and negotiations with them were long, raucous affairs. He’d need some sort of boon to get their attention. It was always difficult to tell what the little buggers wanted: Coffee? Toys? Expensive electronics?

He shoved the coffee table out of the way and pulled over a padded bench. Miko’s teeth chattered even more violently.

“Take off that jacket and gloves, they’re fuckin’ soaked through,” he coaxed.

She nodded but watched him warily as he stripped his coat off too. Ignoring her look, he swept her into his arms and took a seat on the bench. For a brief moment, she relaxed, bringing a hand to gently cup his face.

He smiled at her, and her cheeks burned.

“Stop it! I’m just cold!” she squeaked. “We should…um…uh…sit back to back.”

He agreed, but only because he was wearing her down. He was going to be his best behaved, most charming self. The fire roared and crackled as Miko inched even closer to him.

“Well, it is some kind of blizzard,” she admitted. “Maybe…maybe we could share the bed. For warmth.”

“Clothes on!” she added after a moment.

“Maybe we could,” Akira agreed, not letting his voice betray any excitement.

“Do you think Mikel and Penny made contact with the dryads? Should we let them know we got here safe?” she wondered, “Not that I wouldn’t be safe with you because we’re um a-acquainted,” she replied quickly.

“Yeah, sure,” he shrugged, continuing to keep his voice light.

Ex-husband indeed.

Iussit Industries

Penny

It was hard to keep a pleasant look on her face while staring at James. Given the number of times Penny had walked through this lobby with Bjorn, it must be giving the poor man a heart attack to see Bjorn standing there with his wife.

James’s smile was genuine, though. “So nice of you to ask after the children. The kids are great! In fact, we thought they could get together for another playdate. Jenny and I think it does them good to play with someone like Gwendolyn. You know,” he dropped his voice, “Covenless orphan. It reminds the kids to be grateful for what they have.”

Penny tried very hard not to grimace even though the word stung. She knew all about Bjorn’s attitude towards his adopted daughter, but it wasn’t something she could do anything about. She was trying to find missing witches, not look after some kid. Penny had survived being a “covenless orphan,” Gwendolyn would too.

“Oh, Clara, it’s nice to see you,” James simpered. “You never come by the office! What’s the occasion?”

“Who?” Mikel asked, looking around. Penny coughed and discreetly stepped on his foot. “Oh! I mean, yes, Janice…er…James, nice to see you. Do I need an excuse to visit my husband?”

“No, no, not at all, I was just…surprised to see you. I thought you all were taking a family vacation? Bjorn’s calendar says—”

Shit.

“That’s right,” Penny intervened, “We decided to leave tomorrow…at the last minute. I’m just going to pick up a few items.” She began walking away briskly, pulling Mikel behind her.

“Oh well, in that case, you should know that you already have a—”

“Hold my calls!” Penny snapped and yanked Mikel through the doors.


“You are shit at being covert, which is shocking because your whole fucking deal is being covert!” Penny fumed when they were finally upstairs.

Mikel looked embarrassed. “Sorry, it’s difficult to keep multiple stories going at once. I’ve got to pretend to be a sim and then pretend to be a sim being another sim. It’s confusing!”

“Well, try harder!” Penny commanded. She stiffened and waved at an employee passing by.

“So why?” Mikel asked as they continued walking towards Bjorn’s office.

“Why what?”

“Why…keep searching? For your family. It’s been years. Don’t you think they’re…” Mikel didn’t finish the sentence, but Penny knew the word he was looking for.

Dead.

“It’s not about them,” Penny revealed, surprising herself with how candid she was willing to be, “I mean it is, but not because I think I can save them. I’m sure they’re dead. I just know something is seriously wrong. Witches have gone missing for centuries, and there’s an entire system saying it’s no big deal, and worse, you shouldn’t even risk asking questions because it could happen to you. Meanwhile, someone is benefitting from all that power.”

“Like the Great Sixam Games,” Mikel muttered.

“The what?”

“Nothing,” he said with a shake of his head. “I’m sorry I brought that up about your family. I…I get it.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Penny assured him as they turned the corner. “I brought you into this shit. You have a right to ask—” she snapped her mouth shut.

Of course, Simeon Silversweater was waiting outside of Bjorn’s office. Of. Fucking. Course.  

    11 comments
  • theplumbob
    September 13, 2020

    Haha I love how Penny and Mikel are still recogniseable somehow as Bjorn and Clara. Is Penny actually being nice to Mikel for a moment there? Especially while he’s being crappy at being covert? Impressive. I wonder what the Sixam Games are!

    Good job Simeon is L Faba’s errand boy and she’s not actually there to address the business of the new sage selection herself – I doubt Penny would have convinced her.

    OMG Gwendolyn as a sage??? Oooh! I realise this is only Bjorn’s ploy to get in a position of power himself (also, I like how you’ve made sure that thanks to Penny, we underestimate him ourselves too! Nicely done!). Bit you know what, Gwendolyn is badass and she totally could rock it and dispose of her adoptive father accordingly. Maybe with the help of a certain vampirical father figure. And she does know how to use a sword now, after all… Oh man, my head is flooding with posisbilities!

    Good save, Mikel. That was close. Also, look at all this bonding Penny and Mikel have done. Who would have thought they’d have it in them.

    “Some babes were born wicked, and full of bad luck.” The way this whole part is written is hauntingly beautiful. So here we are, getting to see Penny’s layers. Her past makes a lot of sense. I didn’t really like her much up till now, but this really makes her grow on me. Also, I feel like with Penny and Vlad in her corner, Gwen will be just fine. Jumping ahead here, but aww, how adorable was her little chat about godhood with Alice?

    Oh my word, this laundrette gets better and better! The mermaid grotto is amazing! Loved how Caleb went from smouldering to lost puppy to smouldering again. We haven’t really experienced him as either of those in the story up till now. Wonder what his therapist will have to say about that 😀

    Deacon continues to surprise me by always actually being useful in his nonchalant way. What an underrated dude… Wait, I wrote this before Deacon even commanded the zombie army! Just take everything I said about him and multiply it by a bagillion!

    “Is this foreplay?” Lol! I mean for these two, it certainly can be. Also, the absurdity of Vlad returning and asking about ice cream really pleased me.

    I really need to stop myself from squealing every time Akira and Miko pop up. So far, I have not managed 😀 Loved both of their segments, just wish there was more. I’m happy that Akira is starting to succeed in getting through to her a little bit, but I’m equally liking that she’s not giving in. Good for her – as much as I’m rooting for him to win her back. Titania and Oberon crashing the part eh? Can’t wait for the next chapter already!

    • feroshgirl
      September 14, 2020

      LOLOLOL! Trying to make sure Bjorn and Clara still had Penny and Mikel’s mannerisms was a hilarious adventure. I have some good outtakes I may post later.

      I will remain silent on the Sixam Games…for now…

      I have really enjoyed writing women who are running circles around these dudes, but Penny underestimating Bjorn sort reflects my own shock. I was pretty deep in the story before I realized how sinister I’d made him!

      You’ve probably seen me and Dolly Llama yelling STEAL THE CHILD, but yeah. Gwendoyln is a boss but she is danger, y’all. It is a good thing she’s got so many strong creatures on her side. A witch, an alien, a god, the living embodiement of Fear itself. I guess the only thing they gotta do is get the timing right.

      ::laughs maniacally::

      Thank you! The number of times I rewrote that section is crazy so I’m glad it came out. Yeah, Penny comes in really hot and she pretty…er…prickly at first. But she’s got a lot going on there. She’s generated a pretty thick skin because she has to.

      Vlad, Gwendolyn, and Alice are like some of my favorite scenes to write. I’m trying to get myself under control but I CANNOT.

      Deacon and Calen’s laundry adventures! LOL! Oh, Caleb’s therapist has A LOT to say. Stay tuned. And Deacon leading a zombie army is just a thing that has to happen in my story no matter what. As soon as he became a zombie, it was cannon.

      HAHA only Vlad would be like: “are you trying to flirt with me?” after getting electrocuted. Alice’s disappointment about the ice cream thing was palpable.

      Oh man, there is a lot of Akira and Miko coming up in the next few chapters. They are about to get a big arc. I’m still trying to figure out how much backstory to get into with them before Underworld Summer Vacation. Also, Titania and Oberon are just chef’s kiss. Like, of course these two lunatics crashed the party hahahahaha.

      • theplumbob
        September 15, 2020

        Haha yes I have seen you guys yelling steal the child and encrypting it into comments 😀 Yes, she’s in trouble, but she’s got a lot of powerful entities in her corner and is epic in her own right, so I will cling on to my fantasy that this scheme will blow up in Bjorn’s face and work in Gwen’s favour and she will somehow overtake both Simeon and L Faba and just become a singular sage of all magic. In my delusional head that’s totally a possibility 😀

  • Dolly Llama
    September 14, 2020

    Although his fists kept going through the banshees, the zombie’s enthusiasm never dulled.

    This is the most Deacon thing ever. Have I stolen the phrase “human flip-flop” from CXG to describe him yet? It’s second to his blunt ordering of sandwiches and reasoning behind that action. Come to think of it, everything that comes out of Deacon’s mouth is the most Deacon thing ever.

    I’m going to take completely in stride that binding a banshee produces grilled cheese sandwiches. Of course it does. DUH DOLLY. And these gnomes, do they accept ayahuasca? Rippin’ roots and shootin’ shoots, like Brazil levels of not giving a fuck?

    Bjorn’s knowledge of Gwendolyn’s potential, especially her potential compared to the others in her coven, is… troubling. Nah. I definitely smell a conspiracy here. Though killing a child’s family to get control over her powers and then shaming her for having no family is BBD!Bernard levels of bastard.

    “I’ve decided I like ice cream,” Vlad proclaimed, but there was an edge to his voice that made Alice’s heart rate kick up a notch.

    TOO. REAL. GOD DAMN WHY DO THEY ALWAYS DO THIS.

    AlmoSt disTracted mE from the time loop messiness hAppening a coupLe paragraphs laTer. Hmm. Hmm. Having said tHat, I’m glad GwEndolyn’s own little Curse of empatHy on Vlad seems to be workIng, and that they have a Locational aDvantage over Penny w/r/t the child-stealing thing. Damn, everyone’s character just shines so well in this scene and I’d run out of space (on the internet) trying to describe how. Maybe part of it is Vlad’s attitude like, “this is the most dangerous and manipulative kid ever, I’m keeping her.” Freaking delightful.

    Thank you for the links, because I actually had forgotten about that time the mermaids stripped an alien spaceship for parts. And, oh wow, I just deadass missed a whole chapter—but I think I’d better not say anything there, lest I spoil it all.

    • feroshgirl
      September 14, 2020

      Human flip-flop is such a perfect distillation of Deacon’s chracter omg. Of course, he’d fist fight an incorpreal being. OF COURSE.

      I have no idea why I wanted to link zombies and banshees together, I think it was an idea that white wine started and then I was like: yes, this is legit. In my defense, the Sims does have some crazy grilled cheese lore lol.

      I would actually understand if the gnomes were like: no ayahuasca, no deal. It would be less insane then what they demand in game which is an endless spinning wheel of random objects until they make the Harvest Day holiday virtually unplayable lol. Still, my gnomes are not gnome dome level gnomes. They aspire to it, but they will not reach it.

      Bjorn is 100% BBD Bernard levels of bastard. Thinking of them in the same sentence makes sense in more ways than one…

      I’ll say it: Ice cream shop was my favorite scene to write in this chapter. Vlad is 5 seconds away from kidnapping this kid and I am so deeply invested in a plot point that I created, it’s ridiculous. That is A+ 100% how I would describe his philosophy on Gwendolyn. I also confess to having an entire story for a teenage Gwendolyn in my head. I think it will come after Underworld Summer Vacation.

      Yay! I’m glad the links were helpful (sometimes I need to remind myself what I wrote lol). Oh yeah, that alien spaceship…we’re about to coast down the last ten chapters and I feel like I set up all these things and shit is about to get so insane. Like Chekhov’s spaceship.

      Alright, I am wiped. Worked late hosting an event for work and many jokes were made about regression analysis and pizza, which I feel like you would appreciate.

      • Dolly Llama
        September 15, 2020

        I, TOO, AM DEEPLY INVESTED IN THIS PLOT LINE

        Yeah, I—wait, ten chapters?! Ten?! But we haven’t even gotten to Bread Week yet. We’ve seen zero labor-intensive but inedible British recipes (mmm, ham, chicken, and apricots). How? How?! Guess we should all buckle up, then.

        Ah, man, the time loop thing… wow. I can’t even begin to guess at the order of events here. But this time loop better end with a kidnapping. I mean it.

        (Please tell me it’s evo psych regression analysis)

      • feroshgirl
        September 17, 2020

        Yep, 10. Though to be fair, a lot of storylines will continue into the next “book.”

        Oh my friend, we still have “Chapter 34: Pie-Related Schemes”, “Chapter 35: So Long, and Thanks for the Cupcakes,” and “Chapter 41: A Calvacade of Desserts.” We are gonna get into it (actually for boring game mechanics reasons, I saved a lot of the intense baking scenes for the final “three” competitors. It was too much headache trying to get that shit to work with so many sims in the room).

        End with a kidnapping. Begin with a kidnapping. What even is time? (I’m just kidding, you know where my heart is LOL. I’ve reached that point where I can’t even be coy about it.)

        LOLOLOLOL HOW DID I KNOW ABOUT THIS TWEET?

      • Dolly Llama
        September 17, 2020

        Why am I not surprised by Chapter 35’s title? And oh, whew, back to BBD’s roots.

        I swear to god, every evo psych diagram is like that. Best twitter account ever.

    • feroshgirl
      September 14, 2020

      Gah. I forgot to say that I would never try to distract anyone from time loop messiness. I mean…::laughs awkardly::…what? Haha. I would never do that. ::looks around suspiciously:: I mean this story is all taking place now…in chronological order…::coughs, looks away, pretends to take a phone call::

  • lonecat82
    October 15, 2020

    Haha! I loved that Penny disguised herself and Mikel as Bjorn and Clara to get information. And that was a good save by Mikel. I am really liking Mikel and Penny. I like that Mikel is a lot more observant than Penny realizes, and she sort of overlooked him up til this point. So Bjorn had evil plans to make Gwendolyn a sage. Was Bjorn’s plan eventually to kill her off and take her spot? Or keep her in that position and have control over her? Don’t know which is worse, Bjorn is pretty evil. Gwendolyn is a little badass and that plan will probably backfire on him, and now she has the backing of a powerful vampire, a god of death, a witch and an alien.

    I love how in order to get grilled cheese, Caleb and Deacon needed to bind a bunch of banshees. This was just so random that it’s hilarious. I also love how Caleb completely underestimates Deacon and then he does something that is very helpful. I think Deacon is now my favorite character (I know I keep switching, lol).

    I totally thought the Miko/Akiro ship was going to end in some romance. But of course Titania and Oberon had to crash the party, lol. I am rooting for these two getting together eventually, but I am liking this slow-burn type of thing they have going on.

    • feroshgirl
      October 16, 2020

      My love of grilled cheese sims lore and that cool as lightning eye effect have finally come together!! Deacon should definitely be your favorite character, he is the best lol. Oh man, Caleb does not appreciate his zombie friend enough! That dude is saving his ass and Caleb should really learn how to say thank you. But also, Deacon is intimidated by Caleb in any way and he will just relentlessly keep being the best friend, even if Caleb has no idea what that even means.

      Mikel and Penny have such a fun dynamic. He is lovesick over her and she has never been interested in giving him the time of day, but Mikel has hidden depths.

      Bjorn is the worst! Yes, he basically intends to get the position by offering to be a Sage in Gwendolyn’s stead until she comes of age. Sort of like when a guardian is appointed for an underaged king or queen. He has no intention of giving up that power, in fact, he’s spent a ton of time making Gwendolyn think she is nothing. I don’t think the depth of his evil plans has even been revealed yet, but yeah, HUGE asshole.

      He did pick the wrong kid to fuck with, though. Not only is Gwendolyn a little badass, but she’s also got so many powerful creatures on her side. It’s going to be war! Oops, I mean, it’s going to be good conflict.

      Oh, just you wait. Miko and Akira really do have an epic love story, it’s just that they’ve got a few…er…issues standing in their way. I generally hate a slow burn, I can only stand it because Vlad/Alice were DTF immediately. I intend to reward all this patience though!

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