Chapter 28, Part 2: Who Broke It?




Heists required a lot of favors. And if you wanted to hack a military database, cover your tracks, and create a diplomatic relations nightmare on your way out of town? Well, the cost of those favors would be high—the “rarefied plasma of three ancient monks and 100 shares of stock in one of Sim Nation’s top manufacturing companies” kind of high. Such was the price of the Tartosian government’s cooperation and the hacking skills of former Rainy Day Entertainment wunderkind Cecilia Kang. 

And creatures had the nerve to call Vlad unreasonable.

Now, however, he was tasked with securing one more favor. He dialed the number from memory, unsurprised when his ex-husband answered immediately. 

“Hello, carissime.”

“We’ve been divorced for ages; why do you insist on calling me by a pet name?” 

“I show affection for you, carissime, because I care.”

That was expressly false, but Vlad didn’t have time to get into it. “I need a favor. You may ask for something in return, but that something cannot be sex.”

“Must be a big favor for you to be putting sex on the table. Lucky for you, I need something pressing handled for me in Moonwood Mill.”

Vlad should’ve guessed that Ethren would need something; usually, when they had some sort of explosive confrontation like they did at the conference, his ex made himself unavailable as punishment. “Again, sex is not on the table. And before you get carried away, I’m not even sure if what I am asking is possible or if you are capable of it.”

“I’m capable,” Ethren snapped. “Name one thing you’ve asked me for that I’ve been unable to do.”


The thought was automatic and filled Vlad with shame. He had no reason to want Ethren’s acknowledgment or apology, and yet he hungered for it. “I’m going on a long trip. I’ve made travel arrangements, but I need you to make something disappear.”

“Disappear,” Ehtren repeated, sounding uneasy. “What do you want gone?”

Vlad looked out on the pool, catching the reflection of the house, the lemon tree grove, and even himself. Of all the places he had lived—and there were many—this was by far his favorite. He used to think every detail was lovingly selected to please Betty, but now he could see it was to please himself. That was the plan all along. Betty knew he needed to learn to live again. And it worked.

“My life,” he said, ignoring Ethren’s sharp intake of breath. “You have 24 hours.”




Tracking Salim was the most exciting thing Bella had done in years. Whether it was ducking behind trees, following him two cars behind, or pulling on a gown so she could sit by him in a restaurant—she did it with a spring in her step.

He’d transformed. The former San Myshuno hustler cut his hair and donned expensive suits. He spent his days typing on a laptop and talking on the phone in languages she didn’t understand. No one questioned or bothered him, and she watched as he effortlessly took advantage of that fact by scooping up all sorts of information.

Two could play that game. Bella hid behind the veneer of “bored socialite.” And as she did it, she used her time to look up everything she could about Caleb’s father. He wasn’t hiding either. The vampire had a Sims Tok account, for llama’s sake! Though from what she could see, it wasn’t so much sinister as filled with sexy men lacing up corsets and, inexplicably, fan videos from the TV show Of Tea and Treachery

Vampires were a mystery. 

Eventually, Salim left the restaurant and changed again, emerging from a gas station bathroom dressed in fatigues. Bella changed her clothing, too, and followed him to a rundown cottage on the outskirts of Windenburg. 

It had to be Alice’s place, though she was betting he didn’t know it was empty.

Quietly, she made her way around the back, intending to cut him off, when she heard the telltale click behind her.

Quick as a whip, she drew her pistol and turned around. “Police! Put your hands up!”

Salim didn’t flinch. “Even if I didn’t know you got fired and that you’ve been tailing me since San Myshuno, I’d still say covert ops trumps cop any day.”

“Then call me a concerned citizen who intends to report a breaking and entering.”

“You think I’m worried about some country cops?” he cracked a smile that made her plasma run cold. “Call them.”

“I don’t think you want any unnecessary attention.” At least, she hoped that was true. Salim just smirked and kept his weapon raised.  

“Or maybe you don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to Alice,” Bella continued, warming up to her tactic, “Hard to murder someone in cold blood when everyone is watching.” 

His jaw tightened. “You don’t know anything about Alice.”

“I know she’s not here,” Bella sneered to cover how intensely her heart was pounding. “Surprised to find your ex-girlfriend already packed up her house?” 

His eyes narrowed. “Since you’re so knowledgeable, why don’t you help me out?”

“I don’t help men that hurt women,” Bella growled. Salim’s eyes widened, and he took a step back. 

“I don’t want to hurt Alice! Listen, why don’t we both lower our weapons? I’ll go first.”

Even though trusting him was stupid, Bella knew she wouldn’t make a lick of progress if she didn’t take some risks, so she tucked her gun into her holster. “What are you doing skulking around if your goal isn’t hurting Alice? Oh, sorry, I mean, what are you doing framing her for murder and now hunting her down if your goal isn’t to hurt her?”

Salim winced. “I didn’t frame her! I was just…it was…I…” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, his expression softening. “I was involved with Alice for a case, and no matter what you’ve seen, she and I are friends. Or we were. She’s in over her head, and I only let her getting arrested go that far because I thought it would keep her out of the line of fire.”

It was a convenient explanation, though he looked genuine. Bella bit her lip and stayed quiet.

“If you know where she is, you need to tell me. She’s the mother of my kid, and she’s in danger! I know you want details, but the only thing that really matters right now is whether you want to help me save her or not.”

“I do.” 

He let out a relieved breath. “Great. Then tell me what you know, and I’ll be on my way.”

“Not so fast,” Bella raised a brow, “How about you tell me more about this danger, and I’ll drive.”

  • jolene_jolene
    Oct 1, 2023

    I haven’t read this chapter yet but I got an email saying “Feroshgirl posted a new chapter” AT 1:01 AM ADELAIDE TIME! It’s a good thing that I have this silenced.

    • jolene_jolene
      Oct 1, 2023

      Ok, comment time! Strap yourself in, because I have a feeling that this is going to be loooong.

      Let me just throw this out there: DRAMAAA! Ethren cares and Vlad doesn’t see it that way. (“I’m capable,” Ethren snapped. “Name one thing you’ve asked me for that I’ve been unable to do.” Love.) Look, Vlad, you had *years* to enjoy life with Ethren, and now you disrespect him. Aaaannnnd you call him incapable of love, then you ask him to *disappear* your life. That… that’s hard, that’s what. I’m sorry, Ethren. Also, 24 hours to hunt Vlad down and kill him. Unreasonable.

      You changed Salim’s face too, of course you did. And Vlad’s SimsTok account. *pinches bridge of nose* VLAD MUST YOU SHARE THAT WITH ALL OF SIMSNATION??? But when Bella is stalking Salim, I legit thought her eyes were white. I had to zoom in to appease myself. OoOoOo betrayalllll! And Salim has caught on, so obviously Bella wasn’t that subtle. And cue jaw twitch when playing the Alice card. He is soooo freaked out. “I didn’t frame her!” Yeah, right. BELLA’S MAKING A BARGAIN BELLA’S MAKING A BARGAIN! *red alert*

      Akira be like: “nahhhh it’s crap absolutely nothing to the Fae libraries.” Wait, the grandma throwing incident was still today? That’s grim, Lilith. Joking about draining this poor idiot who knew nothing about the supernatural world while everyone was in matching clothes. AKIRA’S MAKING A BARGAIN AKIRA’S MAKING A BARGAIN! *red alert*

      Oh, god, Biffington again. But nice burn, Mortimer. HAHA BIFFINGTON HAS INSECURITIES! But just punch Jacques or Bjorn yourself, don’t beat up innocent supernaturals. I will repeat my comment on the ascension chamber: Hold up… netherwand? Ooooooooo (and what’s this about it not being hidden… BIFFINGTON WHAT DO YOU KNOW)

      Ok, Grim and Ben have their bodies back. When did hunger exist? And Grim is obviously dumb because it’s common knowledge that Vlad is Fear. And Hunger eats everything because of course. Hold up, that means Hunger is missing on the Embodiments page…

      Is it weird if I think Akira and Lilith would be kinda cute together? *reads* I did not expect to call that. This is written while I’m reading everything for the first time. And didn’t think that Akira was… half-vampire, I guess? And in a library no less…

      Me legit thinking that Mortimer had somehow gotten mind control powers. And… cue godhood ascension.

      And you’ve made over the bar in Moonwood Mill. Is nothing untouched? Aaand Celene too. And Janus. And Janus is being creepy. And telling us how to destroy the multiverse?

      Sooo… all I have to say about the machinima is: family holiday, Tartosa, teleporting to Sulani, new family holiday, NEW SEASON?! NOOOOOOOO

  • SirianaSims
    Oct 2, 2023

    SEASON FINALE, BABY! I am so, so very proud of you and how you’ve clawed your way here through double COVID and other bullshit. I am so happy the finale is here and so sad the finale is ending, and if I didn’t know Season 2 was coming, I’d be verklempt! ❤️😭

    I love how this tense conversation-slash-negotiation is happening during a beautiful sunset, Vlad hanging out barefoot by the pool in what seems to be his most comfortable clothes. Can’t handle dealing with Ethren while also wearing starched cotton.

    [“I’m capable,” Ethren snapped.]

    [Tracking Salim was the most exciting thing Bella had done in years.]
    Ouch, don’t let Caleb hear that. Although I guess he’s beyond caring now, trying to navigate Fae dating rules.

    VLAD HAS A SIMSTOK WITH CORSETS? Wait, of course he does. Why am I even surprised? (Honestly, you should link your TikTok videos somewhere on your website, I feel weird about stalking you there. Doooo iiiit.)

    Oh god Bella, you are just the worst cop. Your delusions are clouding your judgment, get your shit together.



    OK, I’m done.



    AM DEAD 💀

    Yes, Salim, go first. So brave. Almost like you’re just not too worried about getting shot. IT’S SUS I SAY. Good thing you’re kinda hot so you get another chance. Also, whenever you get to drive the car, please take Bella to therapy immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 simoleons, just go straight the fuck to therapy.

    I do want to see Akira climb off his high horse, but only after seeing him on it, luscious hair flowing in the wind, riding across… ahem. Anyway.
    I love these two, honestly, their sexual tension is amazing, even if Akira needs to get thrown out another window for his ageist/sexist comments, but I guess defenestration hasn’t helped this far so there’s little hope it would do any good. Try something else, Lilith!

    Goddamn Biffington. I want to hate him, but I can’t. He’s just too… pathetic. But he’s also a bit of an asshole so I can’t quite feel sorry for him. I hope he dies and relieves me of this conundrum. Also oh god Mortimer jumpscare. How? These pictures aren’t moving. ARE YOU A WIZARD? YOU HAVE TO TELL ME IF YOU’RE A WIZARD

    Oh Grim. My heart aches for him, I just want him to get Deacon back. I have no idea how well Deacon is gonna respond to the actual Reaper rolling up in his snazzy green shoes and hitting on him, but hopefully it’s not going to be too hard. We’ve got an apocalypse to stop!

    Lilith. Lilith. I know you’re really smart and all, but did you just question the DEXTERITY of a Fae archer? Seriously? Oh, girl, you are gonna learn.

    I would write a million paragraphs of appreciation for this scene but I am too busy fanning myself because jfc. Please do both, Akira. Thoroughly. Repeatedly. Jesus.

    OK I have now mostly recovered from the Lilith/Akira stuff, which is good, because simply seeing Biffington immediately makes me whatever the opposite of turned on is.

    Mortimer is outright scary. There’s the unhinged Kubrick stare we know and love/hate/fear. He’s talking about blood instead of plasma, he’s got mind control powers, he’s clearly been up to something in those fancy shoes of his, he heals without scars… BIFFINGTON WILL YOU PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER ALREADY. Gods, he’s like the slowest vampire expert. I vote Biffington for “entrails of a mortal man”.

    I love what you did with her, she’s so cute.

    I reluctantly love Janus too. Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In His Lane. Focused. Flourishing. And also a goddamn menace and quite possibly the fucking reason for the apocalypse or something, oh god. DID JANUS BREAK IT?? I need next season immediately!

    Oh my god I was cackling at the vibes of this unhinged heist prep and then I got to Gwen’s tiny sunglasses, I’m dead.
    I love all the airport shenanigans, it’s so much fun and chaos!
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clive and associates need to die horribly.
    Yaaaaay, beach vibes! I love the house (and that the portraits of Morgyn and William are there, because this is a story about FAMILY even when FAMILY is COMPLICATED AS FUCK!)

    I need to watch the machinima a million more times to catch even half the details but for now I can only say CONGRATULATIONS, you fucking rock, and I am so proud of you and beyond excited for next season ❤️😭💕🥵🤯🔥

  • Yimiki
    Oct 5, 2023

    Every time I see Vlad’s pool I think of green algae. Clean that place, Vlad! Make it gleam! Sparkle! Doesn’t matter that you’re about to permanently abandon the place and have 1.000 things that are more important than pool hygiene! Do it! 😂

    Why do I get the feeling that Ethren’s definition of love is very different from Vlad’s definition of love, and that Lilith may have inherted Ethren’s view instead of Vlad’s?

    Oh gods, she’s following him to a deserted place with no one else around, isn’t she? What are the chances that he’s very well aware of her and is planning to- ah. Well. Omg the heads on the crates in the background XD Bella’s smart not to tell him where Alice is. Driving him over (or pretending to) keeps her important and keeps him from shooting her.

    Oh bother. So Vlad has a monster made of nightmare stuff stuffed inside him in this universe too, huh. Guy just can’t catch a break.

    Akira and Lilith is… well, it’s better than Miko, at least 😅

    Oooooh dear. I have all kinds of thoughts about Mortimer but for now I’ll stick with that.

    PENNY! She’s finally snapped out of it and woken up as herself. Aaaaand running away again from her problems. Though I can’t blame her; I’d need time to process what happened, too. Wait a minute… don’t we know that guy?

    Gwendolyn throwing a tantrum at the airport is on-point 😂 that heist machinima is amazing! I especially love Latimer pretending to have a heart attack and Gwen ruining the cabinet in the background. Oooh and the end destination is Sulani! I love that world. Good job pulling off a heist and escape plan all in one, guys! Now LAY LOW ALREADY! 🤣

  • Snow ~
    Oct 15, 2023

    I might be misunderstanding, but ‘He had no reason to want Ethren’s acknowledgment or apology, and yet he hungered for it’ really resonated for some reason. Like sometimes you have no reason to want someone to show you extra love or attention, you just want it, so you can feel important or safe for a while I guess. Good on Bella telling Salim to fuck off.

    OH SALIM EAT A FUCKING DOG DICK! THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN A SLIMY MAN IS A SLIMY MAN WHO DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT HIS KIDS UNTIL HE CAN USE THEM FOR HIS OWN BENEFIT OR TO GET OUT OF SOMETHING. FUCK! OFF! If you gave a single fuck about your kid you’d have actually played a part in her life! Glad Bella made said she’d him talk first, at least, but I don’t feel like this is going to go well for Bella at all…
    Ah, yes, Biffington, middle-aged privileged man who feels powerless AND MAKES IT EVERY OTHER FUCKER’S PROBLEM. The thing is that so many people think they’re above wanting people to be completely subservient to them, but deep down most people want nothing more than subservience. They almost fantasise about it. Go to therapy old man.

    Wow, Janus’s overshare game is better than mine! XD Welcome to Woof Town Penny. I was going to say I hope she can find some people to help her with this life change here, and then Janus comes along and her something all us readers are familiar with in your stories- the universe is much more complicated, and much more capable of shitting down your throat on an already bad day, than it seems : P

    I always love your machinimas < 3 And it was cool to see the whole heist taking place. I love the soldier yammering on and Vlad just being like 'damn that's crazy *thumbs up*' and Gwendolyn being the perfect distraction XD I want to say they'll have fun in Sulani, but we all know they won't. Can't wait to see what island gods and goddesses fuck with them XD Latimer deserves to have fun on a beach! Look at him. Bless.

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