A smirk climbs up his face as the man takes position behind an ancient oak tree. The gnarled trunk conceals him from the house, a sea-blue villa fringed by a light smattering of woodland. With this lucky combination of dark greenery and the oncoming dusk, the man can observe the home in total secrecy.
There she is; Briar Kingston, a low-ranking police officer who he has been keeping tabs on for a while. Well, not him personally- he has much more important things to do, and his two minions have been doing just fine. He watches the girl silently as she swings gently back and forth. It’s obvious she’s deep in thought. She must be musing about the recent events in Sunset Valley. Which is too bad. The man hadn’t been counting on anyone in the soft, silly police force -especially with a woman stationed inside to ward off any suspicions- to stumble upon his plans.
Oh well. While Briar Kingston is still alive, he might as well use her for a little experiment.
Today has been a simultaneously happy and scary day for Briar. Firstly, at ten in the morning, the boss had called her to his office and given her a promotion! She will no longer spend her work hours buried under a mountain of paper, but can now go out in town, although most of it will be spent just watching for any speeding or illegal driving. Still, it made her very happy.
On the other hand…
The lunar light machine. Briar has already noticed the effects on Sunset Valley. It appears as if Sims are beginning to notice the supernaturals. This afternoon, she heard someone asking a vampire ‘are you sick? You look awfully pale’ and others veer around fairies, looking confused and glancing at their backs. And the supernaturals themselves. They seem agitated. It’s like… It’s like the machine had increased the strength of lunar light in the valley.
There’s a sudden flash of red in the woodlands and Briar jolts out of her thoughts. She squints into the trees nervously, but before she can investigate, her phone rings. It’s Max, asking if she wants to go out to dinner at Le Corsican Bistro. “Sure. I’ll meet you there in five minutes.” Briar replies happily. It will be nice to get her mind off things for a bit.
She walks down into town since Ash has the car (wherever he is…) and her bicycle is broken. A cool wind blows through the bustling, twinkling downtown, bringing the taste of summer along. Briar decides to take a shortcut through the woods behind the library, her mind still distracted. It’s quiet in here.
She realises her mistake too late.
Briar inwardly curses herself. Two people appear out of the trees in front of her. Briar knows instantly that they are supernaturals, and that means possible danger. Certainly, their glowing eyes aren’t friendly. She stops in her tracks, nervously running through the defensive moves one of the top officers had taught her.
As they get closer, Briar notes which type of supernatural they are. The woman is obviously a vampire, with the pale skin and a cold beauty. The other, standing a little behind, is a man with brutal features, ripped clothes and glowing yellow eyes. Probably a werewolf.
“Hello, Briar.” The vampire smiles at her, revealing pointed white fangs. Her voice is as dead as she is. Almost… robotic. Briar decides to take this the friendly way. “Good evening, fellow Sims.” She says brightly. “Now, if you excuse me, I have a date to attend.” She tries to step around the vampire, but she blocks her way.
“Nice try. But we have been ordered to teach you a lesson about interfering.” The werewolf growls. An intense orange light begins burning around him, and Briar sees him growing sharp claws and his face mutating. A werewolf transformation in action. Once the flames die down, the werewolf howls eerily into the night and leaps at her.
Briar barely has time to grab the nearest weapon- a rolled-up newspaper, as always. She whacks him in the head with all her strength, while the vampire stands to the side with an almost amused yet blank expression. Weird. However, she concentrates on beating the werewolf back as he yelps in pain. “Silly, bad doggie!” She scolds, hitting him again. “Back to your kennel!”
The werewolf is about to attack again until the vampire suddenly snaps out of her strange reverie and hauls him back. “No. Not until we receive instructions.” She says in a monotone. Briar frowns at that. Why is the vampire holding back so much, and so… robotic? Usually the bloodsuckers are aggressive and will jump into any fight. And who is giving the instructions?
The experiment is going well. They are following all his commands. Satisfied, he sends out another instruction, and they follow it without question, without resistance. It works… but will it for a much bigger population?
“Oww!” Briar whimpers, trying not to cry. Her newly learned judo moves had been little use against the vampire’s superior speed and strength, and vaguely she wonders why they had incited and then stopped the attack so suddenly. “Next time, we won’t be so lenient. Stay out of our business.” Even though the threat comes from the vampire’s lips, it has a weird quality to it. As if… she had spoken someone else’s thoughts.
She has no time to brood about it, because the next second Briar is sprinting away as fast as she can. Tears pool in her eyes and begin falling. However ‘lenient’ the vampire had been, she has been hit hard and her ribs feel bruised. Briar can also feel blood welling up on her arm. It brings back memories of her first fight, against Shania Goth. She had lost a bit of blood on that too.
Gritting her teeth, Briar wipes her eyes on her dress as she runs, and the blood too. It’s not so deep. She wants to enjoy her date with Max before having to go home to treat her wounds.
Max greets her cheerfully, completely oblivious of the attack just minutes ago. Briar plasters on a fake smile for her boyfriend and answers all his chattering as normally as she can. No need to stress him out with her problem- he probably can’t see supernaturals anyway. Though that may change as the days pass. Let him have the gorgeous smile for a little longer.
Pretending to be happy for Max is hard. He is untouched by all this supernatural shenanigan going on, while Briar is constantly worrying about it. Being knocked out and kidnapped, being attacked ten minutes ago. Why is Ash working with her evil father, and what is that evil woman in that blurry lab planning for Sunset Valley?
Her worry must have shown on her face because Max takes her hands. “Is anything wrong, Briar? You look upset.” Max asks gently. Briar is trying to think of an answer when she feels a familiar tingling feeling on her neck. Someone is watching her.
She turns her head and there she is; the vampire, standing behind shrubs and watching them. The vampire winks and licks her lips menacingly. A shiver runs through Briar when she realises it’s not really her that the vampire is looking at, but Max.
No way. No way is that vampire lady going to touch Max! He’s in danger…
…As long as I am around. Briar realises this with a sickening jolt. Of course. Trouble follows her around everywhere; hasn’t the last few weeks proven this? It will only get worse, as she heads deeper into trying to find out what Ash is doing. And if she stays with Max… she’s dragging him in too.
She slowly turns around, conflicting emotions rising up inside her. Briar understands what she has to do. But she doesn’t want to do it. She hasn’t really thought openly about her relationship with Max in the past year because of all the crazy events which have happened. However, she knows in her heart that Max is the bestest best friend/boyfriend she could ever had. Most Sims think she’s insane and she’s never had any friend apart from her brother and Max. So why is she forcing him away now?
Because you need to keep him safe, a voice pipes up in her mind. Unfortunately, that beats all the emotions raging inside Briar.
“Max…” She forces the trembling words out. “Yeah?” Max gives her the smile he’s given her a million times before, and it’s making this a hundred times harder. “I… I have to break up with you!”
Max stares at her in disbelief. “What…?” He asks quietly. “No, Briar, what am I doing wrong?” He takes her hands again pleadingly. “You’re doing nothing wrong!” Briar spills out the words. “Then… what?” She can tell he is getting increasingly frustrated, despite him being usually calm and upbeat. “It’s work… it’s getting too much.” Briar lies, even though it’s breaking her.
“Work?!” Max finally snaps. “I thought what we had is much stronger than a job, Briar.” He takes a deep breath and calms down. “I thought we had everything… I thought you loved me more than your ambition.”
She can’t say it. It’s for the best… but that doesn’t stop the pain of Briar’s heart breaking for the first time in her life.
On that ending note, I will proceed on an update about the family so far. Briar and Ash earned promotions at the same time, so both are at Level 3 in their careers; Traffic Cop and Useless Contraption Manipulator. It’s cool because Briar now wears a proper police uniform and she can beat up burglers if they ever decide to call by her house! Also, Christopher is a Line Cook right now, which is halfway to completing his Lifetime Wish. Fern topped her part-time book shop job ages ago and also finished her LTW, so she spends most of her time gardening or writing in her studio 😊
I have more exciting news to share as well; today I was switching households in Edit Town for renovating the Oliver-Green loft and arrived just in time for Kelsey’s labour. She gave birth to a super cute baby girl named Rosanna! Doesn’t she look so sweet?
Also you maybe/probably have noticed that I’ve been on a downloading spree since Kelsey & Will’s wedding (I know you have Xinxin 😝) and I have gotten a whole lot of new clothes and hairstyles (saying that, I’m never downloading Skysim’s hairs again). Recently I discovered Simcredible’s furniture and decor sets and that they are awesome!
I’ve just been testing them out on the Oliver-Green house and they look great, especially with the help of the moveObjects on cheat! All of the amazing sets have inspired me for a big rebuild of the Kingston villa (to make it into manor status!) which will involve many hours and me tearing down the entire thing. I’ve even drawn plans for it, but it will only start after end of year exams, so that will mean after Generation Two ends. Can’t wait to see Briar have children 🐶