CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, and references to sex (mostly sex jokes, but still).
Sims InTouch Magazine, San Myshuno
“Evil Chickens with Flaming Eyes?” Billie flashed a flirtatious smile. “Who wants to take that one?”
Penny tried hard not to roll her eyes. How had she ever dated this woman? She was a terrible sim.
“Mermaid Multi-level Marketing Scheme?”
And a terrible editor.
Tom raised his hand for that story. He smirked at Penny as if he’d won the lottery, visions of interviewing half-naked sims with silk “tails” probably swimming through his head. The joke was him; the crazies that submitted those stories were never that attractive. Penny should know. After she and Billie broke up, she accepted any assignment that came with the promise of a beautiful woman. Every single one turned out to be a borderline catfish situation.
“Loch Ness roams the Windenburg Sea. This one involves travel!”
A new reporter raised her hand, but Penny stopped her. “You think travel means luxury hotel and a per diem, but it’s actually a cash-only motel and discount coupon to whatever diner is nearby.”
Billie gave her a look of censure. “Penny, this story could work for you. Don’t you have a friend who just moved to Windenburg?”
“Nope.” Penny took a seat on a nearby stool. This was why they didn’t work out. Billie could never separate business from personal. Once, Penny confessed her fear that this job would never get her a Starlight Accolade in journalism. Corporate called a meeting to discuss her commitment to the paper the very next day.
“I know for a fact that your best friend is Alice and—”
Billie didn’t buy it, but Penny didn’t care. Tuning out the story assignments, she sent Alice a text.
“Celebrity profile: Anastasia Barrister. Bonus points if you can dig up something scandalous.”
Penny looked up from her texting. It was the best of the options so far, and if she held out any longer, she could foresee another meeting with corporate in her future. “Fine, I’ll take that one.”
Elixirs and Brews, Glimmerbrook
Akira bit into his pizza with gusto. “I know what you’re saying, but my original point still stands. Who the hell could fuck up a bunch of werewolves on a full moon, let alone take their teeth?” He made a face at Caleb’s bowl.
He motioned at the salad, “Are you seriously going to eat that?”
“I like salad,” he insisted, perhaps a little too vehemently.
“Sure you do,” Akira laughed. “Vampires ain’t the boogeyman, regardless of what these Glimmerbrook fucks think. That’s offensive to the actual boogeyman.”
“Yes, but there’s only one boogeyman left,” Caleb countered. “There’s plenty of us. Not to mention witches think occult energy is an abomination.”
“Salad ain’t really gonna help with that,” Akira replied, “Besides, there are plenty of fae too. You don’t see them coming after me with pitchforks, and I dare you to say Titania is less bloodthirsty than old Vlad-y.”
“Did Titania convince the Aarbyville wizards to go to war with the dryads only to support the dryads because it was more fun and they had more gold?” Caleb hadn’t been alive during that war, but he heard about it. Wizards still referred to it as the “Great Betrayal.”
“Titania wishes she had pulled that off. Listen,” he tossed a piece of crust at Caleb’s head, “It wasn’t them.”
Caleb avoided his gaze. “You don’t know that.” Tearing out teeth seemed like his father’s brand of sadistic glee. And his mother could have pulled the whole thing off while holding a glass of nectar.
“I do know,” Akira said, “And so do you. There were no other creatures detected at the scene, a fact you yourself confirmed. We are not looking for a vampire; we are looking for a strong werewolf who had beef with the other packs.”
Growling almost drowned out the end of Akira’s statement. On the other side of the tavern, four werewolves were squaring off.
“Well,” Caleb whispered, “I think we found our first suspect.”