Sunset Bistro, Windenburg
Miss Hell did not intend to be chasing anything, though it was her fault that she was being forced to act like she was considering it. Somnus told her to get close to Vladislaus, and in the process, she became so embedded in the politics and plotting that she lost sight of the big picture. Her schemes became complicated, needlessly so.
Scheming, however, was not the work.
Down that road lie folly, and as far as Miss Hell could tell, it was a road that everyone was on. Assuming a baking contest really was the only way to obtain The Owl, it was wild to watch the gods twisting themselves into knots. They seemed to avoid the most direct path purposely. Why not just send a servant to the contest and make sure they out-baked and out-charmed everyone else?
And it wasn’t just the Gods. The Sages were scrambling and plotting as if they weren’t the three most dominant beings in this Realm. Powerful supernatural creatures were eschewing centuries of conflicts to put their energy into hunting and killing the God of Death’s conduit.
To what end?
That’s all anything had been these past few months: untamed, unmitigated mayhem.
“I’m not your enemy, I work for you, of course,” Jimena purred, “I just want to ensure that you are rewarded. Elmyra is a generous goddess.”
Miss Hell arched an eyebrow and took another sip of her nectar. “I see, and I suppose I shall want for nothing in her service.”
Jimena tittered, and Miss Hell suppressed the urge to roll her eyes.
At first, the fact that Vladislaus had not bothered to respond to the burning of Straud Manor was maddening. He should have lashed out, should have embroiled himself in some kind of fight to the death with the Sage of Untamed Magic. But he had laser focus. As a result, the vampire had two direct paths to The Owl: Alice and himself.
That’s why Miss Hell was going back to basics: Get The Owl. And since she couldn’t enter the contest or win Alice’s heart, force the little conduit to turn it over.
Because Alice would win, that much Miss Hell was sure of. Whatever madness touched the rest of the gods, the God of Death did not seem to have it. Alice was focused on baking and (infuriatingly) staying alive.
“So that’s my amendment,” Jimena explained, “We let them win pie week handily. Take cupcake week too. I’ll play my part, so they suspect nothing. Then we spring the trap.”
She sat back satisfied, blithely unaware that she had suggested another needless complication.
Miss Hell gave her an understanding smile. “Well, the Goddess Elmyra, your…” she paused, allowing Jimena to fill in the blanks.
“Mother,” the vain creature finally admitted, barely keeping malice out of her voice.
“Yes, your mother, I imagine she will be forced to applaud your efforts,” Miss Hell simpered, taking care not lay it on too thick.
Gods in the Elder Realms, she was stuck with a fucking demigod! It was just her luck. Spoiled, half-crazed brats, every single one of them.
“Mother is obsessed with The Owl,” Jimena scowled. “Do I matter? No. Everything is about me finding that little bitch and bringing her home. And don’t get me started on the Fates. Running this contest like a bunch of assholes! Rory is—” She glanced up, a shocked look on her face, “I mean…I…”
Instantly, a few things clicked into place. The story of The Owl never made sense before, but now…The Owl was not a what, but a who.
She took Jimena’s hand, gently tracing a pattern over top of her skin, ignoring the urge to sink her claws into the marrow. She needed the little demigod, at least until she could get The Owl and get the hell off this planet.
“Yes, that sounds awful, dear, just awful. But do you always do what your mother says?”
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
The Day After Judging…
Alice rolled over, face pulled into a grimace, “I will die in this house. I will die, become a god ghost, and then haunt it for eternity.”
Vlad arched an eyebrow, “Am I living in this house, or have I become a ghost too?”
“No, you can’t be near me. It’s too hot.” She paused and then launched herself at him, wrapping her limbs around him like an octopus. “You’re so cold! I take it back; you can live here. If you don’t want me to die, don’t move.”
Standing still was not a hardship for a vampire, though her skin was damp with sweat.
“Don’t think this means I’ve forgotten about judging yesterday either,” she mumbled into his shoulder.
He was under no such misapprehension.
“Is this…”—he stopped himself from using the word normal—”a thing that usually happens to you?”
“No!” she complained, sliding back down to the floor. “I’m from the desert but do you understand how hot it is right now?”
Vlad did not; he felt no cold or heat. But he had just seen sims walking around the woods, and nothing about their mode of dress indicated a heatwave. Yesterday, Gwendolyn had on a sweater.
He added this to his list of concerns, which had grown exponentially since their conversation about her dream. Why were they both having visions? Were the Good Order Monks in his head? Was this overheating a sign that Alice was closer to death or farther away? How much longer could her body contain her powers?
“How do you feel?” he asked, studying her closely. It was hard not to get distracted. He liked her hair wild, eyes full of flames, but he liked this too—strands gathered into two buns, eyes sleepy, tank top askew.
“Hot but not sick,” she laughed and then softened her voice, “We have time. I’m not dying just yet. This is probably just some mortal shit you forgot about because you’re like a million years old.”
“A million?” he scoffed.
“According to Gwendolyn.”
“I would not count on a nine-year-old as a reliable source of facts.”
“Eh, her facts seem legit,” Alice shrugged, giving him a taunting look as she reached for a towel, “She runs circles around you.”
Vlad threw back his head and laughed. “She is rather manipulative. A small, cookie-wielding tyrant. She will be glorious, won’t she?”
Alice didn’t join in the laughter. “Who the hell are these witches who adopted Gwendolyn? No kid has that much free range if their parents give a shit about them. I mean, you’re a glorified warlord who literally eats witches. Who would let their kid within five feet of you?”
He thought back to his first encounter with Gwendolyn. He had been alarmed by her lack of supervision and proximity to him too. “Yes, I am persona non grata as far as witches are concerned, not to mention you have a record.”
“Whoa, whoa, hold up,” Alice exclaimed, “There’s no need to cast aspersions. First of all, StrangerVille’s jurisdiction doesn’t even go out this far! Maybe she was better off—”
“You would not want to know what happens in a witch’s orphanage,” Vlad answered, all the warmth gone from his voice, “Witches never talk about the Barrister family, though they were incredibly powerful right up until they disappeared. And before you ask, no, I did not kill them. Gwendolyn has no training, no protection. It’s egregious, even for an orphan—a status those magical sycophants consider worse than cursed.”
He growled, unable to tamp down his frustration, “Gwendolyn is a singular child. Not a one of them deserves her!”
He watched Alice swallow nervously. He knew they had now officially moved into territory they had not yet discussed. The chaos of The Owl and everything else meant they lived in a perpetual state of right now—the details of their current moment in sharp relief, the things down the road considerably more blurry and undefined.
She took a deep breath. “What are you saying?”
“I do not wish to be parted from her,” he confessed with a vehemence that was not directed at her, but poured out all the same.
“You want to kidnap a child?”
He was quiet, but Alice narrowed her eyes. She had his number.
“Yes,” he bit out.
“Of course you do,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder with a sigh. “It’s like my destiny to keep doing things that might get me arrested.”
Vlad chuckled, grabbing her hand to lead her down the hall to the shower. She did not make him choose and he could not have loved her more for it.
“You sound so grave,” he tutted, “We will collect The Owl, find out more about these Bjersten witches and then collect Gwendolyn too.”
“And stop a god war?”
He opened a shampoo bottle and sniffed it. Apricot Apple? Appalling. Vlad tossed it over his shoulder.
“Hello!” Alice waved, “Quit destroying the bathroom. Who is supervising Gwendolyn while we do all of this?”
He gave her a lazy smile, feeling calm now that everything was in hand. Growing up in a castle was a misery, but after so many weeks of living with two vampires, a zombie, and a god, Vlad was reminded of what a loud, unruly household could bring. Joy, certainly, but also security…protection. 512 years ago, he had been a fool. He took his family to an isolated location, tried to watch over them by himself, tried to do everything alone, and failed.
William tried to tell him then, but Vlad had not listened. He was older now, though, wiser. He would not make the same mistake again.
“We seek to stop a war amongst gods and monsters. Ergo, among gods and monsters is the safest place for Gwendolyn to be. William adores children, Caleb is a master of weapons, Deacon is virtually a child himself, and Phobos is the greatest monster of them all. We are an excellent choice of guardians.”
Alice snorted. “And me?”
“Your stance on sword-fighting notwithstanding, I am sure you are perfectly adequate.”
“Adequate my ass,” she smirked, shoving past him to turn on the water. “I’m a god, Phobos, and don’t you forget it.”
He smiled, tugging down the straps of her tank top to kiss her shoulder. “Of course.”
“Slow your roll,” she laughed, “We don’t have time for that. Her Majesty is waiting.”
Accessory Masterpack by Neutral Sim Supply
Table Manners Poses by Something-Wicked-Sims
Male Stand Poses 5 by Natalia-Auditore
Emotions 6 by Simmerberlin
Female Stand Poses 2 by Natalia-Auditore
Emotions 4 by Simmerberlin
Arguing Poses by Radioactive
Emotions for Kiddos by Simmerberlin
Male Stand 04 by Natalia-Auditore
Bored in Bed Poses by Katverse
Love Me 14 by Cassandra Grusel
Cute Poses No. 1 by Atashi77
Couple Poses #25 by Rinvalee
Tank Top at Darte77 by Darte77
Emotions 3 by Simmerberlin
Male Posepack 2 by Natalia-Auditore
From the Sims 4 Gallery
Bistrot Parisiene by LouCvz
1800s homestead by 241maxi0
Modern Eco Family Home by ashbatch16
RABBIT FACTS! They’re fastest when they’re doing something they’re not supposed to and you’re trying to catch them before you miss the bus. Sneaky bastards, too: you find a chewed-through plastic bag of cashews in the kitchen, yards away from any surface their furry little paws can get traction on, and weeks later you find a half-eaten cashew in a totally different room and you’re like what the fuck. Their diet consists of hay, treats, yoga mats, my couch, and half a cashew. They will play with the $80 toy you got them but not immediately. They’re gonna build up to it. Rabbits don’t have much body language, being burrowing animals and all, but the body language they do have is eight increasing levels of throwing shade. As a rabbit owner, you are expected to both never pick them up for any reason ever and to brush them at least once a week. Rabbits can learn to recognize their names. For example, Grace Hopper is a good name for a rabbit, but it is difficult to get a rabbit to respond to that name if they hate everyone and everything.
Shoved his pie off of the table: I LOVE IT. Is she a cat? (Another rabbit fact: while cats shove things off the table, rabbits pull things off the table with their lil’ teeth.) Major TAKE IT OFF MY FORK vibes.
Dylan getting all telekinetic at the ingredients and … is Vlad wearing Docs
is Vlad wearing fucking Docs
ok I know Alice is causing the apocalypse or w/e but Vlad’s shoes omg
Ok, I’m the last person to prevent Vlad from stealing this kid, I’m noticing a ‘we’ in ‘we collect Gwendolyn.’ Dang. The mortal vessel of fear moves fast.
About the owl thing: I had to go back and and check because I remember Ben and Vlad both referencing a sculpture. Red herring? Who could’ve planted that? Guess I’ll think about it once I calm the eff down about being in the Von Haunt Estate again. And while trying to draw fluff because fluff keeps us all going. Kind of.
Okay I know I said the Moschino jacket was the last Vlad clothing thing but like, I can’t stop. He lost all his clothes in a fire! Some Britechester student is missing a pair of Docs and Vlad is not going to return them.
Hahahahaha fucking rabbits. A friend of mine has them and this is 100% inspired by her rants. Like cats, Rabbits are straight up rude. (Ugh Grace Hopper is such a good name, how could they not appreciate it?)
Vlad is on the “we” train. The amount of chill he has is zero. He knows it. Alice knows it. Everyone knows it. There was a version of this scene where they really get into that conflict but I jettisoned it because fluff and the heart wants what it wants right now.
It’s not just Alice, tho, as far as Vlad is concerned, Caleb and Deacon and William are on this train too. Which should interesting given Caleb’s plans to move out…
Honestly, I’m just having fun writing him as a literal ball of fluff who will also eat a man’s heart.
Speaking of fluff, yes, yes, the drawinnnngggggg I wants it!!! Really though, the world is very hard right now and we should all just make and do the thing that keeps us going.
Hehe. The Owl. I mean…Alice says it’s a statue and Ben is like: “uh…yeah…a powerful object that you really need. Also, don’t worry about all the things I’m not telling you.”
These characters are all doing a lot of assuming. They’ve all got like, 1/8th of the picture. Soon, they are going to have to put all those pieces together so they can know what the fuck is going on.
If only they would just stop getting distracted! ::shrug:: long lived supernaturals, they’re just like us.
I guess I’ll have to give them something to really focus their attention. 😌🧐😉
Ohhh the bunbuns. I hope your friend’s bunnies will at least sniff and nudge you. In our pandemic bubble, we’ve got one stormcloud who would eat dark matter out of Jeffrey Dahmer’s hand and one misanthrophic princess who only eats 3%-moisture-content food that a choir of angels sang to under a full moon. But that’s what she gets because she’s SOOOO FLUFFY-WUFFY ADORABLE.
I got over Vlad’s Docs long enough to realize that Gwendolyn got that ultra-sparkly super special awesome pie before Akira and Miko got to make their ultra-sparkly super special awesome pie, and now I’m wondering whether there are two ultra-sparkly super special awesome pies in play here or if Gwendolyn’s doing weird time shit. And I’m leaning toward the latter. Or maybe I missed some timestamps. Or the story itself is nonlinear. Nice that Vlad’s including Deacon in the gang, too, as he should.
We should all just make and do the thing that keeps us going—true. Realizing that my OTP and my college bestie’s OTP symbolize the four classical elements completely on accident gave me enough energy to contact my senators twice, so, yeah. But I’ve also gotten it into my head that a young woman having a Sims blog would be more damaging to her credibility than a man owning 12 pedophile islands, and have to get over that shame.
At first, I was aghast but I’m starting to come around to the rabbit’s point of view. I mean…is that 2% moisture content you’re trying to feed me? TWO? And where the fuck is the heavenly choir?
Hehe. Nonlinear. I mean, someone is doing some weird time shit. That’s for sure.
I have not been able to muster up the wherewithal, but I will. Fucking kudos!
You could have just said, “being a young woman is damaging to her credibility,” and it still would have been true. Ugh, some days I’m not sure what fucking planet I’m on.
I almost forgot about Jimena, and the baking contest, with everything going on, wow. Testament to how packed Baking by Death is, that I forgot about… baking 😀
Jimena likes to play all plotty, but what’s her end game here? She must realise that Miss Hell will just dispose of her once she’s served her purpose. Hopefully she has some kind of backup up her sleeve. Not that I’m rooting for Jimena, hah. Also, I suppose it’s those we underestimate that we need to watch out for the most, so who knows, for all I know Jimena may be the last one standing when Alice gets near the owl…
“A small, cookie-wielding tyrant.” Love it 😀 And aww, Alice and Vlad talking future. They would make a lovely murder monster family with Gwen, yes. And William and Caleb can be the deranged god parents haha.
Not sure if I agree with Titania here – even if her and Oberon do really “make Akira look good,” without alone time for Akira and Miko to actually address their past, all this may do is stick a temporary bandaid on and ignore the issue, not really mending anything at all. But perhaps that’s what Titania wants. I can’t say I’m mas that she’s there, she is fabulous. I’m just hoping Akira and Miko do wind up getting that crucial time to air out things in private a bit, otherwise there will be no Akira and Miko beyond the here and now. And that’s just too upsetting! (I mean, I’d deal. But I’d rather see them try and fail than not even properly have a go.)
Hahaha I know! I wrote a baking scene and I was like: oh damn, there is a baking contest, remember?
It is packed! I’m trying to learn my lesson and pare down Underworld Summer Vacation. I love complex, meaty stories, but my lore has even gotten a bit much for me to handle lol.
Miss Hell does not play around! Jimena’s end game will be revealed very soon. But as with most things in BBD, it’s not what she wants, it is how she goes about doing it.
Hehe. Last one standing. Hehe.
I am forever referring to Vlad/Alice/Gwendolyn as murder monster family omg perfect. Deranged god parents! I love it!
Characters are sometimes adamant about things, but that doesn’t mean they are right! I can say, you and Akira want the same thing. He’s…er…working on it.
But you know, addressing issues means telling the truth…about everything…so Miko is going to have to meet him half way.
::maniacal author laughter::
Oh wait, the owl is a person? I completely forgot that was mentioned in a previous chapter. And Jimena seemed to refer to the owl as a her, unless I was misreading that. And how would that work when someone wins the owl? Now I’m super confused, and have lots of questions. I suppose Jimena could by lying and manipulating Miss Hell. And the fates are running the contest. But then, that would mean that Miko would have a hand in the contest, yet, I don’t think she’s really said much about it, but I could be forgetting a part of the puzzle.
Vlad and Alice should totally steal Gwendolyn. She’d have a way better life than with her current set of adopted parents.
Hehe, oh you caught that, huh? The Owl is a magical creature of some kind. Morgyn can be magic in a human form, why not The Owl (which, coincidentally, is made from untamed magic)? Caleb and Deacon confirm this when they go to visit the professor way back in like Chapter 10. He tells them The Owl is not an object, it may manifest that way but it is a creature of some sort. It’s not 100% clear how it would work to win The Owl…but all will be revealed, I promise.
Um, GOOD EYE! THE FATES ARE RUNNING THE CONTEST. Miko knows, they are her family after all. Though to be clear, Miko is junior to the Fates so it’s not like she can stop them from doing…well…whatever they want.
Thank you for joining the club Dolly and I started called STEAL THE KID!!!!!!!!!!
I could have sworn I commented on this chapter yesterday night. Did WP eat my comment? Dangit, it was a long one, too.
Anyway. I loved the fluff. Gimme all the fluff. It’s been a rough time here too and the fluff this chapter (especially the banter between Vlad and Gwen, man I love those two together) was a great distraction. I am officially getting on the “STEAL THE KID” bandwagon, haha 😁
YES!!! ANOTHER STEAL THE KID CONVERT!!!!!!! I really love writing Vlad and Gwen, they just bring me joy. Whenever I’m having a rough time, I write one of their scenes.
I read both pie scheme chapters, so this might be semi jumbled. I find Jimena annoying. I don’t hate her like her bitch mom, but she’s the kinda sim I’d like to see turned into a cockroach and have Miss Hell squish with something strappy and spikey on foot. She’s so much flash and no substance, and her Mommy issues are just …. yikes. At first, I thought she was doing the bidding of her mom b/c Elymra cherished Jimena. Uh, no. She might share blood but she’s just…. well, it’s not much different than Miss Hell collecting vampires to overthrow Vlad. She’s just…. cannon fodder. 0.o So uh…. I hope there’s a squish.
Miko. Hahaha. Oh yay…. unexpected guests. God, I feel you, Miko. “She doesn’t deserve you. She’s selfish and manipulative and always thinks about herself.” Daaaamn. I’m kinda curious what is selfish and manipulative about Miko (she manipulates time, sure, is that what Titania means?). Because I haven’t seen Miko be either of those things (to Akira at least).
“I am a king, I don’t answer to you,” he lied.
Like Alice, the power Gwendolyn wielded over him was immense.
It *seems* like this is to insinuate that he would do anything for Gwen because he *cares* for her as he *cares* for Alice, but I am reading MORE into it than just that flaky layer of pie crust. The filling. The FILLING. What IS the hold that Gwen has? Hmmm.
Lol Alice faking a potty break so she can harvest apples from a freshly made tree.
Looks like Vlad is set to be a dad and pull a “Three Men and a Baby (child/hell spawn),” with himself, Caleb, and William. Kinda seems like Alice is an afterthought in that fantasy.
“Because I haven’t seen Miko be either of those things (to Akira at least)” – just you wait. There’s a reason why Titania HATES her.
What is the hold Gwendolyn has? HAHAHAHAH I mean listen, Gwendolyn is magical. But Vlad is also just a family-oriented sim. Even this very of the Vlad (the most rough around the edges) loved his family before he lost them. Gwendolyn and Alice quite literally have his heart.
(dang, why didn’t I write Three Men and a Baby Hell Spawn? Is it too late?)