Chapter 3, Part 1: How to Play Pretend

Notes:

Notes go here. [Hi, hello, Ferosh here. I definitely published this chapter with “notes go here” as a placeholder because I’m very sleep deprived and clearly not master of proof-reading at the moment. I was going to write about it being my birthday but then I got the chapter out late anyways so no need. Anyways, hope it brings you a laugh!]

Magic HQ

“And for a price, I will pretend absolutely nothing.”

— Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen

Penny

“It’s a bed,” Transmutation explained, patting it gently as if to demonstrate its safety.

“I know what it is,” Penny snapped, but there was no heat in it. When he asked to make something with her jacket, she hadn’t expected anything to come of it. And now she was standing here shocked and—possibly worst of all—pleased?

“You couldn’t sleep. And because you couldn’t sleep, you couldn’t think, and because you couldn’t think, you couldn’t—”

“I remember,” she said, cutting him off. Her embarrassing breakdown had already been replaying on a loop. 

“It’s soft, and the sheets are smooth. You’re hard, but you like soft things.”

“We agreed you wouldn’t read my mind.”

“I didn’t,” he said quickly, arms held out to soothe as if she were a skittish cat, “Your emotions are on your face. Or rather, your thoughts are. Not that there’s a difference; it’s all inside your head.” 

“Sort of,” she hedged, trying not to get too annoyed. Was she going to have to explain every basic concept to him? “Emotions and thoughts aren’t really the same thing.” 

“I know. I was being imprecise. Some emotions are objects or creatures.”

“O-kay…that’s a whole separate tangent that I’m sure means something to you, and maybe, if we weren’t trapped in a binding spell, I could be assed to ask about it. But we are trapped, and I don’t really have time to get into it because there’s work to do.”

He crossed his arms and stared at her until she began to feel uncomfortable. 

“What are you doing?” 

“You said there’s work to do,” he answered, “I’m waiting for you to start.”

Brindleton Bay – Somnus’s Realm

Miko

“I’ve brought you a gift,” Somnus called from somewhere on the second floor. Miko heard multiple feet shuffling, which was strange because they never had guests. 

Shit. “Give me a minute!” she cried, jumping up to find something other than her towel. With a screech, she backed into the wall as Somnus appeared in front of her.

“I know you can walk,” she accused, her cheeks hot. But as Miko said it, she had to work to tamp down a flutter of excitement.

He gazed at her, refusing to hide his interest. Maybe it was age or godhood, but he had a possessive intensity that really worked for her. She’d used her influence to make him less hostile—a girl had to survive—but not for anything else. Somnus was this wild about her all on his own.

He wanted to be tamed, unlike Akira, and to do a whole host of things Miko only ever dreamed about. And he was changing in subtle ways—adapting her penchant for casual clothing, letting his hair grow dark instead of bleaching it.

“If I had known you were waiting for me like this, I would not have gone to such great lengths to bring you a gift,” Somnus said, a playful arch to his brow.

Miko bristled and pushed past him. “I wasn’t waiting for you; I was merely taking a shower. I have plenty of other things to keep me busy!”

But she didn’t, not really. Alice had gone to ground with The Owl, and Omar was off with the other gods licking his wounds. She and Somnus had fallen into a pattern. Exquisite dinners, long talks by the fire, and days spent doing…other things

She felt free, freer than she ever did with Akira or her aunts.

Somnus grabbed her, pulling her hips flush against his pelvis. “You have bewitched me, Miko, but I have not forgotten. I think it’s high time we got started on our plan.”

    3 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    October 19, 2021

    Happy birthday!!

    There are a bunch of fall birthdays in my family, so I’m taking inspiration from yours and baking sweet potato pies. Ok; baking sweet potato pies and injecting a ton of vegan bullshit into them because I don’t understand these recipes yet. Why are they adding sugar and spices instead of letting a slow-roasted, properly caramelized sweet potato stand on its own? Why do none of these recipes clarify that garnet yams are the best ones for pie? Where’s the lemon juice? Getting off my soapbox. That’s enough yelling at the cloud.

    “Do you really need all these rabbits?” Omar, I think you meant to say “Dear sister, you have a fantastic amount of rabbits! Now pass that Dutch!”

    (thanks for giving her that particular rabbit; “pass that broken black” wouldn’t have worked)

    Rabbits as messengers is certainly an idea Elmyra had. But it does make more sense in her universe. In the Sims 4, rabbits are timid creatures who, when befriended, become adorable little minions who do exactly what you want, not like in real life where spoiling a bunny turns them into a tiny, fluffy, judgmental Veruca Salt, GRACE. (EA also sidestepped my number one pet peeve about rabbits in media: they don’t have paw pads!) And for maximal privacy, they can even eat the message before it gets to the recipient. Off-camera: one of Elmyra’s minions is constantly sweeping up hay from around the 20 litterboxes in her realm.

    What’s up with this faceless Norman dude? I think I recall Jimena being a clone, or at least identical to her mother, so that’s a place for wild speculation. And hmm, we got confirmation that supernaturals can die—but gods and anthropomorphized concepts can’t—right after William sustained an injury he thought was fatal. I’m sure it’s nothing.

    Digging the thematic shots of Omar where he’s standing on a big sun mural or in front of a lamp. Yesss!!! Visual Easter egg!

    I took fewer notes on the scenes without rabbits but let me take a shot at commenting anyway. Now this is Plumbob’s domain, but Miko sure has a type, eh? That type is “hard pass.” True to BBD form, it’s not clear which half of a couple is more dangerous to the other half. That said, I have to give you credit for making Somnus less tacky, and I freaking love his Fourier-transform-ass house.

    Is Transmutation weird? Uh. Does not catching that imply something about me? Whatever Penny does to get out, I hope she keeps at least some of her clothes. Plus also all these shots in the void look hella annoying to put together, so I also hope she escapes soon for the sake of your free time.

    Lastly, THAT MUSICAL CHAIRS REFERENCE. Sims. Can you just stay where we tell you to?

    • feroshgirl
      October 20, 2021

      YASSSSS!!! BAKE THAT PIE. Listen, if I’ve learned anything about baking sweet potato pie over the years, it is that no one—and I mean no one—should be able to make sense of your recipe. It’s key to your success. Also molasses. Definitely molasses. And they must use lemon juice and just not say it because otherwise HOW?

      In other news, I’m glad you agree that Elmyra has the exact perfect number of rabbits. I painstakingly placed all of them as objects and then, true to Sims 4 form, they kept hopping out of the shot every time I got the rest of the room set up. What I’m saying is some of those rabbits are statues. Shhh.

      HAHAHAH PASS THAT DUTCH YES. I won’t tell Grace about your traitorous comments against the empire, but I will note that the rabbits in cottage living only become your minions after you buy them a billion really odd presents (that you would never even guess unless you cheated) and then petted them but like, not too much, and oh my god do not make a rabbit joke.

      Oh sweeping the hay is definitely faceless Norman’s job.

      Yeah, he’s…a thing. According the stories, Elmyra had Jimena made in her exact image, almost like a clone and keeps her father faceless as a punishment so he’ll never stray. I say, according to the story, because you know…it seems like a weird reason to erase Norman’s face. And after hundreds of years, still?

      Anyways, I’m sure it’s *fine* Just like William is *fine* and his very close call with death is totally nothing to worry about!

      Thank you for spotting my homage to Omar. The Pious God of the Sun would never miss an opportunity to strategically place himself by a light source to remind you who the eff he is.

      Oh my, yes, generally Plumbob is the Miko scholar but you’ve got it. Somnus and Miko are both horrible, horrible creatures—toxic with or without each other. Though, who is more dangerous to the other half…hmmm…we shall have to see. OMG Somnus’s house is the Dune House build from The Sims Stream. It’s INCREDIBLE. He barely deserves it.

      Hahaha, listen, maybe Transmutation is the sane one and we’re all just weirdos. I cannot wait to write them out of this binding spell for that exact reason. In fact, you’ll see me writing a new bed into the plot specifically because removing the background around that fancy bed was AGONIZING.

      Sims. Can’t make them have a conversation standing up, can’t trust that won’t randomly get up and switch seats just because you asked one them to “have a deep conversation.” LOL.

      • Dolly Llama
        October 20, 2021

        Scribbling ‘molasses’ into the notebook! Haven’t found that perfect online recipe yet, the one where instead of the poster’s life story, there are 14 paragraphs about how sweet potatoes are not “just basically pumpkins,” they are MAGIC, and I want to feel ashamed of myself by the end of it.

        Faceless Norman confuses me. What’s the point of having a significant other if you can’t make up parody song lyrics about your pets together?

        Haha, yes, I knew that framing was intentional! You’ve been doing Omar more of a favor than I’ve been doing Windyboi these days. Yuan’s been like: where’s my magical indoor breeze?! Just dropped the ball.

        (The following sentence is not sarcastic.) Thanks for your take on the gifting system, because you know I haven’t actually played the game in months, if not years. From the game guides, it looks baffling. Where are they getting the paintings from? Is this a regifting-type deal? And don’t worry about Grace. There are like, 5 humans total who aren’t wanted by the Rabbit Empire for crimes against rabbithood, and I’m already on their shit list for brushings and nail trimmings.

        (oops, I forgot to speculate on the Netherworld and Mr. Aurelius, better save it for next time)

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