Chapter 36, Part 1: A Minute Too Late

Notes:

Was this chapter late because I was too busy watching It’s Okay to Not Be Okay and gushing over an antisocial female lead who gets to stab dudes in the chest? I mean, maybe. All I can say is once you fall down the K-drama rabbit hole, you’ll never come back out.

Also, shout out to Dolly Llama for marking one of today’s reveals as suspect wayyyyyyy back in like chapter three.

Ancient Ruins, Formerly Straud Castle

MIKO

The weight of Rory’s hold threatened to crush her. Here was the guardian who taught her time-weaving, raised her, took the form of a lion to scare off her nightmares. But this knowledge, this deep abiding love, did not stop Miko from struggling. For here too was a creature who would pluck out your eyes and stop your heart and not think twice about it.

“P-Please,” she finally gasped, “I can do it this time!”

Rory waved his hand, and she dropped to the ground. With great heaving breaths, she struggled to her feet. Her family had always laughed at her antics, but maybe a thousand times was a bridge too far.

“I know this is a lot, but I’m gonna tell you right now, I have excellent reasons for looping this timeline,” she argued. It seemed better to take a preemptive stand and project confidence.

“Not timeline,” Rory said, his silver suit gleaming in the darkness, “Timelines.”

Miko felt a chill climb up her spine.

Windenburg Island, Bjersten Residence

ALICE

“I’d explain it to him if I didn’t think he’d stab me again,” Vlad called out over his shoulder as they approached the house.

Alice shook her head, “Don’t be so dramatic, you’re not worried about getting stabbed.”

She stopped, self-consciously tucking back a stray piece of hair, “For what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing. Caleb needs to figure out who and what he is without you.” 

“Like you’ve done with Ben?” he replied, turning to face her with a knowing smile.

Alice sprinted up the steps and grabbed his wrist, pressing him back against the window. “I…I didn’t think you were paying attention. You were being weird as fuck during the contest.”

She started to step back, but Vlad stopped her. “I quite enjoy being caged in by you. And technically, it was the golem that was being weird,” he made a funny face as his mouth formed around that word. “I was in my right mind and watching you from the window. You were glorious.” 

“You watched me?” Alice gasped, her hold on him tightening.

“Unabashedly.”

She was just raising up on her tippy-toes for a kiss when the first part of his sentence finally sunk in. “Wait. Golem? What do you mean by golem?”

“You needn’t worry,” he retorted, waving a dismissive hand, “It was an amateur effort, so it’s quite dissolved now. Gwendolyn and I had a long discussion about hiring other baby witches to do dark workings.”

“Dark workings? Oh, so she hired a kid to make a clay copy of you, and you had a talk about it, so it’s fine? That’s like level ten grounding! You can’t keep shit like that a secret! You and I are on a team…together…” she trailed off as something in the window caught her attention. 

Later, Alice would be hard-pressed to explain exactly how she knew.

Or exactly what she saw.

Death called to her. Stretching out her arm, she let the whispers of it curl around her fingers, trying to determine its point of origin.

“Stay there,” Vlad called out, “There’s a dead body in the back bedroom; I can smell it.”

Alice didn’t answer. Everything in her body felt wrong. Her plasma was too slow, her heartbeat too fast, her skin felt stretched out and inflated, like she had suddenly become a balloon.

“But I’m not a balloon,” she muttered absently, walking further into the house.

Vlad growled, misting into her path, “Aren’t you listening? Stay here! I won’t lose both of you to the—”

He broke off abruptly. “Alice…can you…hear me?”

Her skin didn’t just feel inflated; it was on fire.

“Nod if you can hear me,” Vlad repeated, his voice a command.

Alice bristled, clenching her fists. She was the god here! He didn’t rule her. She would tell him to…

To…

To what? 

All she could think about was Gwendolyn and how she felt too full of power. She couldn’t keep it all in her body; she had to find a way to get it out!

“No,” Vlad said firmly, “We need you to stay inside this body. Gwendolyn and I require it, so you have to try.”

“Help me,” Alice cried, but it came out as incoherent shrieking. She didn’t even know she was falling forward until he caught her.

“It’s alright,” he murmured, “I’ve got you. Take a deep breath. Just breathe.” 

    6 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    November 23, 2020

    Ooof—the big reveal! Dammit, Miko, why you gotta do such a thing? And though I loved the embroidery metaphor (and the ‘I’m afraid’/’I’m Fear’ bit. Very neat), a certain word popped out and it is now time for

    RABBIT FACTS!

    Rabbits have three eyelids! One is clear so that they can sleep with their eyes open, like a lizard! Rabbit tails are called scuts! Rabbits are probably pooping on someone’s floor right now! Maybe it’s yours! Rabbits can only have a little oat hay as a treat because it’s higher in fat than most grasses, but they’ll stare at you until they get it! If a rabbit nudges your foot and you fail to give it a treat, the police will send a small child to kick you in the gonads! The common house rabbit’s favorite chew toy is the collapsible laundry hamper! Was.

    Other than that, I have very little speculation to contribute on this chapter because so many old mysteries have been resolved and the ones remaining are brand-spanking new. Maybe I’ll sit with it and see if anything squirts in the old mind grapes. Was the third-chapter thing… was Summer the lady in the evening gown in the convenience store? And of course it was Rory! Damn.

    I’ll admit here to having an easier time with relatable conflicts than supernatural politics, which has informed my take on Somnus. Rather, prevented me from forming any useful take. It’s mostly along the lines of “King of the Gods? Not with that mustache you’re not.” Have we seen him somewhere else? I seriously don’t know. If it was supposed to be a distraction to mortals, it’s working.

    FREAKING. GOOD. ORDER. MONKS. YOU. EVIL. BASTARDS. DO. NOT. STEAL. THE. CHILD.

    Now small things!

    – When Alice just gets her full powers back and makes the red thing, I spent a full minute staring at it trying to figure out if that was the Lorenz attractor. I’m going to say no. But I can’t go on two different rants about the Lorenz attractor on two different SimLit blogs in the same week, so let’s stop there.

    – “We’re having a girl, I can feel it! Bob, get the…”: My brain ended it with ‘camera’ and I’m not sure what’s wrong with me?

    – “… and as William pointed out back at Britechester, someone in their merry band of lunatics had to hold it together.” I.e., ‘whose turn is it for the brain cell?’ One of the best noteworthy memes to come out of Tumblr.

    Our child?! My heart. It’s full.

    – Oh my god look at you two in your little matching safari outfits oh my god

    Okay, okay. I’ll try one guess. Before Somnus drags Miko along to Selvadorada to presumably also do some light reading at the Library, they stop at CVS and get whatever disposable razor is on sale.

    • feroshgirl
      November 23, 2020

      Honestly, the police do need to be called because how could you deprive that rabbit?!?!?!!?

      Lol one day I gotta figure out how to get these rabbit facts into my actual story.

      Gah! Embroidery hoops! I’m glad this worked. In truth, this chapter was a struggle. I was like: how do I explain how time works and how Miko fucked up without completely making everyone’s eyes glaze over?

      Yes! Summer was! Though to be 100% fair, I aged her up for lazy reasons when I first started the story and it was so weird and hilarious, it helped inspire the Fates.

      Yeah. I always think of politics in stories as a reason to get people into terrible (great) social situations. But alas, it requires some set-up.

      One I give him his eyeballs back, I’m sure you’ll recognize Diego Lobo, that prick. Gah, that mustache. For reasons that are just I’m a weirdo, him dying that mustache is a future pivotal plot point. Why am I like this?

      Hahahahahhaah Lorenz attractor hahahahahhaa

      God, I’m not that good.

      The Monks are the worst. I’ve been slowly filming and editing a machinima confrontation with them that is Chapter 37. It is taking all my brain cells.

      Damn, now I wish I would have written “bob get the camera.”

      • Dolly Llama
        November 24, 2020

        Uh-oh! This comment had a specific keyword and it is now time for

        RABBIT FACTS!

        Like most prey animals, rabbits have no binocular vision! They move their heads up and down to gauge depth, which is super precious if you know to look for it! Rabbits invented the concept of disapproval! The Guinness Book of World Records 2007 named rabbits as Mother Nature’s judgiest creation! Rabbits can get tangles on their ears if they are really fluffy! Rabbits do not like having their ears detangled! Some rabbits are such divas that they can throw a tantrum for 16 hours every day despite being one of the most pampered rabbits in the history of the species! Rabbits are very social and require the company of other rabbits, but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t be assholes to each other! Rabbits do not understand VR! Rabbits like to sleep in enclosed spaces, but they can also memorize your schedule and place themselves somewhere you need to access during the day, like your bedroom doorway or in front of your pants drawer!

        Wow, I—wow, that’s Diego Lobo? I was thinking, am I blind or does EA Diego have that fucking rat broom? And apparently I’m blind. Holy. Everything. Oh, this changes one of my chapters. The Shallot-Lius now have 2318 additional opinions on him. Still zero positive. Wow. EA. What.

        WHAT’S BOB GONNA TAKE A PICTURE OF, DOLLY? EH? That was from the same brain cell that thought “oh no! Now Grim can only see one of her tits!” Doubtless.

  • theplumbob
    December 2, 2020

    Ah, is this how it went down with the other vessels? Too much power for the body, so it eventually left and the body was left behind with no life force? Let’s hope Vlad and Gwendolynn can hold Alice inside her body for a bit longer.

    Haha, so it really was Miko’s messing with timelines that caused that brought the war about, or at least heavily influenced it coming about. Oh boy, she’s a mess. Three timelines left. Oof. That’s tense. Which will prevail?

    “There are no do-overs.” Ah, such a burn. Hopefully the lesson will stick now. And the fates have a point about chance. There’s always an element of chance, something that Miko clearly refused to allow for, hence her attemts to loop a new timeline yet again and again. But the irony of it all is that by trying to control everything so much, she’s created an uncontrollable situation. A thousand timelines, yeesh. Even if you just consider her original intent, that’s a thousand Akiras wollowing in pain and regret. Perhaps she may just be done punishing him now, lol. Oh, and you know, impedning god war.

    …wait. Was she STILL trying to loop time even after they’ve told her she’s not been looping time? *facepalm* Oh Miko, I hereby pronounce you the most frustrating character in BBD, and that’s a feat considering Caleb’s constant whining 😀

    Ah and more people heading to Selvadorada. Is that the third timeline then? I so want to know who will run into who in Library, or if no-one will run into anyone because they’re each in an individual timeline, haha. I suppose the threads may pop by all timelines there and eliminate one or the other, huh? Oh dear.

    Poor Penny. She’s felt like a badass throughout the story so it’s interesting to come here and realise how little he actually knows.

    Ok, so is what Morgyn’s feeling with their powers returning a result of the fates getting rid of most of the other timelines? Or is it because this, Selvadorada and the library, is where they and Aurelius often end up, so the timelines are coming back together, in a sense? Ugh, my brain 😀

    • feroshgirl
      December 3, 2020

      Haha! Oh man, so much twistiness when the Fates are involved.

      Yeah, Miko is at the beginning of her journey, and she is frustrating! I mean, just because you have these incredible powers doesn’t mean you use them responsibly. And yes, you said it exactly–trying to control everything has created an uncontrollable situation! She is definitely inspired by my own struggles with perfectionism. I think that is why I have such a soft spot for her character and I can’t wait to put her through her paces so she can evolve and grow. I mean, how can she be with Akira when her default response to any conflict is: welp, I’ll just erase it and do it all over again so it works out the way I want? I mean, Akira has work to do too. Much like Cordelia in your story, he’s set up everything in his life to revolve around Miko.

      So basically, these two will have to do some growing before they get to have their epic reunion. On the plus side, I get to do all their backstory about how they fell in love and OMFG I have so much cc saved up for that, it’s crazy.

      Penny is also at the beginning of her journey! And whew, what a doozy I have planned for her. I just hope I can pull it off.

      Yes, a bunch of people storylines and timelines are about to converge. It will be interesting to see what happens. My lips are sealed

      Hehe, which timeline indeed?

      • theplumbob
        December 3, 2020

        Oh yes, for sure Akira and Miko both have a lot of work to do on themselves. Up until this season, I assumed Akira was the one that needed to do more though, but I now definitely think it’s the other way around. Which is not to say he’s got it all together. Only that she’s an even bigger mess. LOL

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