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The Vetinari Dualegacy Chapter 22


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In which there are birthdays, dates, the making of friends, and another surprising demise.

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The Vetinari Dualegacy Chapter 22

  1. 1. Welcome back to the Vetinari Dualegacy! This is Chapter 22: Sleight of Hand. Long ago, before they were dead...
  2. 2. “Right. One for you, and one for your brother.”
  3. 3. “Wobot.” “Yes, Cory. Robot.” “Big wobot.” “The big one's for Grandpa.”
  4. 4. *boop*
  5. 5. *bzzzt*
  6. 6. “What is my name?” “You are LarchBot.” “What is my function?” “You know what you're supposed to do.” “Stop Cypress.” “That would be it.”
  7. 7. “...How do I already know what I'm supposed to do?” “You're a clone of me, metalhead. You want what I want, you know what I know.” “I don't suppose I could take that toddler with me when I leave.” “Get your own childrinions. This'un is mine. Well, my grandchildrinion, anyway. And since I'm gonna die, it's your job to make sure his family stays safe.” “Gotcha. Too bad about the childrinion, though.”
  8. 8. “You know what you have to do and where you have to go. Leave now before anyone else sees you. And remember how important it is to stay hidden.” “And the modifications?” “You can make them yourself. Now go. And keep that eye firmly fixed on my family.” “Sure thing, Q-Tip.”
  9. 9. “I have big wobot?” “No, Cory. The big robot can't play with you. He has to go keep you safe. And you're too young to remember he was ever here, so you won't be able to tell anyone about him.” “Li'l wobot.” “You can play with the little robots as much as you want. They'll be a reminder of the big one, even if no one knows it.” “Yay!”
  10. 10. At the Uglacy, first things first. Time for Tess to clean her brother out of Brunhilde and lock the gate again. Not that that stopped Creepy Gardener, but it's the look of the thing.
  11. 11. “Gosh! It's so tingly it feels like an extra week of life!” Marco, if you remember, is very much alive and unzombified, so this is a guilt-free five days of youth for Tess.
  12. 12. “Brad! I'm the same age you are again! And we've got six days before we get old!” “All right, man! Everything's copacetic!”
  13. 13. “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida baby, don't you know that I luh-huve you-hoo, Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida honey, don't you know that I'll always be true-hoo...” “Do I have to stand here for the drum solo?” “Yes!” “It's a good thing I love you.”
  14. 14. The boys, meanwhile, continue to get along alarmingly well. These three have thirty Nice points between them, and appear to be friendly and well-adjusted. I still don't quite know what to make of them.
  15. 15. Howie's getting close to having to leave for college, where he will get an inevitable makeover and free LTW re- roll. Stevie's just content to hang around his big brother until that happens. Howie, of course, is the mean one, with only 6 Nice points.
  16. 16. The visitors are pretty frequent, and despite Lindsay's sour expression, are always treated very well. No one in the house is mean enough to cheat at chess, punch hard, or any of the other stuff that is normally associated with Vetinaris. Lindsay's also too nice to punch Stevie hard, so they make friends pretty quickly.
  17. 17. “Grandpa? Are you up there?”
  18. 18. Vex might be looking to the stars in search of his grandfather, but the other one is still on Earth, much to Abel's dismay. I believe this is the first time Xander has scared anyone who wasn't a visitor.
  19. 19. “What's your problem?” “Your damn brother killed me.” “He does that.” “Why the hell didn't you kill him when you had the chance?” “Wasn't my job.” “Piss off.” “I think I like you.”
  20. 20. “Okay, Vex. You can do this. You can conquer your spaghetti demons.”
  21. 21. “...Or not.”
  22. 22. “Hey, little dude, have you seen Howie?” “Uh... He's certainly not Sneaking Out with Edmund Fitzgerald.” “It would be totally cool if he was. Gotta stand up to authority, Vex, remember that. Don't give The Man the satisfaction of following his rules.” “Aren't they your rules, Dad?” “I make rules?”
  23. 23. It was not a good night for Howie.
  24. 24. “I got caught by The Man and now Dad's going to hate me forever and ever!”
  25. 25. “Dad? I sort of snuck out with Edmund Fitzgerald last night and we sort of got caught by the cops and they sort of brought me home in a black-and-white.” “Weak. What were you doing, dude?” “Spraypainting 'Save the Whales' on the side of Rodney's Hangout.” “Oh, well, that's fine. The Man doesn't care about the whales.”
  26. 26. Sadly, Howie was very close to having to go to college or age up, and getting brought home in a police car meant that he was going to Grow Up Badly no matter what, so drastic action was called for. And by “drastic action” I mean Ben Long Nose Bowl Cut Guy, whose actual name is Dominic Hanby.
  27. 27. They had two dates, actually. And Howie, being a Pleasure Sim of the frustrating variety, refused to roll date- related Wants on his actual dates, no matter how hard I tried, but I at least managed to push him into the green before letting him have one last kiss with Ben Long Nose Bowl Cut Guy.
  28. 28. “Bye, Mom. I'm going to college before something else horrible happens and my Aspiration tanks again.”
  29. 29. “Okay! Have fun, and be good, and meet lots of fun people, and tell Naked Lady I said Hi!” “Sure thing!”
  30. 30. And with a pair of waves from his parents, the first member of Gen 8 heads off to college! Now for a brief interlude...
  31. 31. “Del! Delirium! Help!” “Why the panic? You don't appear to be on fire, so what's up?” “I think I might have a date!” “You think you might have a date? How do you not know?” “I don't know! I met this guy at lunch, and he asked me to dinner, and he said it didn't have to be a date, but it kind of feels date-ish, and I don't know what to do!”
  32. 32. “Hold on, this isn't with that jerk you just dumped, is it? Because if it is, you can get off my couch!” “No, it's not with Jake. It's some guy named Gilbert Jacquet.”
  33. 33. “Gilbert Jacquet the guy who lives with his mom and makes good wedding cakes?” “Yeah.” “Huh. I didn't know he was gay.” “What if he's not? What if this isn't a date and I think it is, and really he's just being nice? Or what if he's not being nice and just wanted to ask me out to be mean to me?” “That last one's a little too convoluted to be likely.”
  34. 34. “So what do I do, Del? It's been forever since I've been on a date! Or a maybe-not-date!” “Where are you going?” “Londoste.” “You'll need a suit, then. I'll loan you the money to pick one up. And definitely no talking about Dad, Mom, Spider Jerusalem, Mr. Big, or anything that happened in your life before you moved in with me. At least, not if you think you might want to see him again.”
  35. 35. “So, what does that leave to talk about, exactly?” “Um... sports and the weather?” “I already kinda mentioned Dad and Mom and Spider and Jake.” “Why would you do something crazy like that? Okay, damage control—just don't elaborate.” “He said I could call and cancel if I wanted to. Should I? Would that be good?” “It's just dinner, Cass. You don't have to marry the guy. Go out and make a friend. We can all use friends, right?”
  36. 36. “I don't really have friends, Del. Just guys I haven't slept with yet.” “So don't sleep with him.” “I don't know how to do that! I can't remember the last time I went out with a guy I didn't sleep with at the end of the night.” “Are you asking me for suggestions on that? Because I don't have any. I guess just don't get into a bed, or a hot tub, or a photobooth, or a car, or an elevator.” “I don't think they have that stuff at Londoste.”
  37. 37. “You should be fine, then. I'd tell you to exercise self-control, but neither of us is particularly good at that. Probably best if you don't have to.” “That's my thinking as well.” “Do you think this is what normal siblings do, Cass?” “I have no idea. I mean, I’m half-alien; I don’t think anyone’s ever accused me of being ‘normal’ even without the whole ‘personal history’ aspect of my life.” “I’m NOT half-alien and I wouldn’t consider myself normal.” “Dad really messed us up, didn’t he?”
  38. 38. “It coulda been worse, Cass. If it hadn’t been for you, Spider and I would have had it a lot rougher.” “Dad would have had to step up, though, right? I mean, he couldn’t risk Spider getting taken by the Social Worker.” “If you hadn’t done what you did, it would have been you in that attic with a sack of trash. And then me next, I suppose. We know what you gave up for us. We just weren’t always good at showing it. You really aren’t a bad person. You didn’t deserve what Dad did to you, or what Mr. Big did to you. I know you can have a nice evening with Gilbert, and one that doesn’t end with photobooth contortionism. Just go, and have a nice time, and try not to scare him off.” “Okay.”
  39. 39. “So, uh... Thanks for inviting me out, Gil.” “De rien. I like to get out and meet new people. Thank you for coming with me.” “I'm a little nervous, to be honest.” “I promise I won't turn into a tiger and maul you.” “Heh. That's a weight off my shoulders.” “See? Things are looking up already.”
  40. 40. “Hiya, Gil. Specials today are the stew and the porkchops. Whatcha want?” “I'll have the stew.” “And your friend?” “Oh. Uh, the porkchops, I guess.” “Fab! I'll get those in for you! I'm sure Chef's already got 'em lined up, since it's Gil Orders the Special Day.” “Merci.”
  41. 41. “So, my sister made a list of things I'm not supposed to talk about.” “What was on it?” “Everything but sports and the weather.” “That bad, huh?” “Yeah, kinda.”
  42. 42. “Well then, I'll talk about me! I was born and raised in Bluewater Village. I've been friends with Malcolm Landgraab IV since we were both in diapers. My father started J'Adore bakery before I was born, and I grew up elbows-deep in dough. All I ever wanted to do was follow in his footsteps. I went to culinary school in New York when I graduated from high school, and then got the opportunity to study pastry in Paris. When I was abroad, my father died. I moved back home, and my mother moved into my house. I am currently the go-to baker for amazing wedding cakes, which my dad would have loved.”
  43. 43. “That sounds really great. The living in Paris part and the doing what you always wanted to do part. Not the living with your mother part.” “She wasn't so bad when Dad was alive. Now she's determined to have grandchildren, and I'm an only child, so there's a lot of pressure on me, and I'm not sure it's something I even want for myself. I'm certainly not going to let her bully me into marriage and fatherhood, even if it means putting up with her haranguing me about it.” “Does anyone have an uncomplicated life?” “No one I know.”
  44. 44. “All right, boys, here you go. One porkchop special, one stew special. Chef says enjoy!” “Thanks. Smells good.” “Merci beaucoup.”
  45. 45. “Gil? Can I ask you something that's maybe a little weird? Or maybe not?” “Sure.” “Um... Are you gay? Because my sister said she didn't think so.” “I'm attracted to people. It's not always a concern for me whether they're men or women.” “Oh. Because I'm gay.” “I gathered that from when you talked about your ex-boyfriend. How did your family take it?”
  46. 46. “Well, it's not like I ever pretended to be straight. My little brother was the first one to find out, and he just accepted it. My sister was mad because she was trying to flirt with my friends, only to find out they didn’t swing that way. I never told my dad, really. I guess he knows, but I don’t care what he thinks about it. I haven’t spoken to him since he kicked me out when I was a teenager.”
  47. 47. “It sounds like things were really rough for you.”
  48. 48. “I grew up with my father threatening me, I raised my little brother pretty much by myself, my sister was angry with me for paying attention to him since her mother died so Dad could get Reaper-pregnant with him, and she hated Spider for existing, and it all just got to be too much. I still feel bad about leaving like I did, especially with what happened to Spider. I know I couldn’t have changed anything if I’d been there, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty about it.”
  49. 49. “It must be hard.” “Nothing in my life’s ever been easy. I remember when Spider was a toddler, he had these little panda bear pajamas, and these big blue eyes, and this mop of black hair, and he grinned every time he saw me.” “That sounds really cute.”
  50. 50. “It should have been, you know? But it wasn’t. Not really. More bittersweet than anything else. Because when he was this little kid in his panda jammies, I could make all his problems better. When he was hungry, I was there with a bottle. When he was tired, I was there to put him in his crib. When Del was teasing him, I was there to make her stop. When he was lonely, I was there to hug him and talk to him and play with him. But I knew it wasn’t going to last. I knew when he grew up, he was going to realize what kind of family he’d been born into. And I couldn’t make that better. I couldn’t protect him from The Badness. I wasn’t going to be the perfect person anymore, and that made it harder.”
  51. 51. “Do you think he expected you to be perfect?”
  52. 52. “I don’t know. But he deserved it. I guess that contributed to some of my baggage. After I left, I had the chance to make good choices, but I didn’t have what I needed to be able to make them, you know? No one ever taught me how to balance responsibility with happiness, so I ended up trading one kind of misery for another. I guess I was just living down to my father’s expectations of me. I spent a really long time in a really bad place doing really stupid things, and now I’m trying to come back from all of that. It’s not easy.”
  53. 53. “Seems like other people’s expectations of us have led us down some very strange roads.” “Tell me about it.”
  54. 54. “Maybe it’s time we stopped listening to what other people expect of us and start figuring out what we want for ourselves.”
  55. 55. “You know what? That sounds like a really great idea to me.”
  56. 56. At the Prettacy, Whitney's taking the deaths of her parents pretty hard, as one might imagine. Clearly, there was only one thing to do...
  57. 57. ...locate the children, who are conveniently torturing each other in the adjacent bathroom...
  58. 58. ...and join them until they decide to pay some attention to you.
  59. 59. And this is why I try to make bathrooms a minimum of 3x3. You can fit several people into a 3x3 bathroom without a lot of footstomping.
  60. 60. Aurie, meanwhile, was getting her groove on. No, I still have not decided on the Prettacy heir. Lindsay and Aurie are both still in the running, they both have pros and cons, and I am still making up my mind. So sue me.
  61. 61. I am officially on the third attempted mate for the cat, Mr. Trick. I wish I could adopt the penguin, because I have no doubt that it would be easier to get kittens from it than the Prettacy cats.
  62. 62. At least in this house, noogies are freely given, so at least I remember that they're Vetinaris.
  63. 63. Most of the time, though, they all get along really well, and patiently wait their turn to interact with each other. At least no one here does the Creepy Nice Point Smile.
  64. 64. As usual, friends are made. Lindsay and Kaylee...
  65. 65. ...Sawchuk and Brett...
  66. 66. ...Lindsay and Inara...
  67. 67. ...Aurie and Brett...
  68. 68. ...and Sawchuk and Brett again. Sawchuk might be a bit of a prude, but you shouldn't mess with his baby sister. Trufax.
  69. 69. Snowball fights are common in the winter, and water balloon fights the rest of the year. The three Prettacy kids are at the top and right. The one on the far left appears to be Ellie Landgraab, the white-haired kid is Didi's son Daniel, and I believe that's Kaylee at the bottom.
  70. 70. Rizzo's ghost makes its first appearance. He's still quite the looker. I haven't seen Zoe's ghost yet. That doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of hauntings on any given night, though.
  71. 71. Poor Sawchuk gets the worst of it. I think his ancestors disagree with his 'tude. This is Jeannie getting him here, despite Lindsay being just as close.
  72. 72. It's Raven who really brings the hurt, though. Noooo, he didn't really need those Aspiration points. *Buys Expensive Crap for Sawchuk*
  73. 73. “Hi honey!” “Hi baby!” “We're getting old today!” “After I change my turnons, I might have more bolts for you than for Brittany!” “And I'll be able to stop saying goodbye to her every time she follows me home!”
  74. 74. “You looking forward to being old and incontinent?” “Not when you put it that way.”
  75. 75. They are very cute together. And Artie might have more bolts with Brittany, but he's never so much as put a toe out of place where Whitney is concerned.
  76. 76. The goggles do nothing.
  77. 77. “Your hair went away.” “At least I didn't pair a mauve-and-salmon striped shirt with minty green shorts.”
  78. 78. Whitney makes a pretty good Elder, I must say.
  79. 79. And Artie still looks like Artie, but at least his clothes don't make my eyes ow anymore.
  80. 80. Heh. Old or not, Whitney is still Whitney. “Wake up me hearties yo ho yo ho, yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for meeee!”
  81. 81. Amusingly, they have even fewer bolts now than they did before, but they don't seem to mind.
  82. 82. “Mother, enough Expensive Crap has been Bought, and I am off to the Academie.” “Okay. Tell Scotty to leave you the pizza and leftover birthday cake. It's good to throw out on a countertop during a party.” “I will certainly keep that in mind.”
  83. 83. Everyone sees Sawchuk off to college. Possibly Lindsay and Aurie are just glad to get rid of the black hole of fun that is Sawchuk. Moving on...
  84. 84. I decided to play the spare-types through until they were ready to go to college, to give them extra chances to bring the Legacy kids home from school and make friends. I started at my SimSelf's house, with Joyce SimSelf-Goodytwoshoes. Joyce's father is Ulysses Goodytwoshoes, from profbutters's Squeaky Clean Legacy.
  85. 85. “So, your dad's a vampire, huh?” “Yeah, and now's the portion of the evening where they just stand around and congratulate each other on how hot they are for, like, three hours straight.” “Parents are sooooo embarrassing.” “Totally.”
  86. 86. This was the meeting I was really looking forward to—Joyce and River and Baz's son Brett, a neat, mean little Vetinari Fortune Sim.
  87. 87. It went about as well as you'd expect.
  88. 88. Admittedly, they are very stalky. Joyce has every right to be embarrassed. Brett, on the other hand, totally approved.
  89. 89. The next house was Stacie and Connor's, where the stalkiness never fails to make shy Inara wish she were somewhere—anywhere--else. Poor kid. There's a lot that goes on that she just does not want to know about. Stacielee writes Whedonberry.
  90. 90. The girls are plenty popular, though. Kaylee's determined to befriend everyone in the neighborhood and Inara likes to have fun, so there are a lot of Teen gatherings in the house. On the left, it's Abel, Stevie, Lindsay, Vex, and Aurie. On the right, it's Brett, Ellie, Joyce, and Six.
  91. 91. The constant parade of guests does make for some interesting moments. For instance, Abel hasn't been cheated at chess by anyone since Uncle Marco moved out of the house. Connor finds his naivete amusing.
  92. 92. Brett, on the other hand, pranked Stacie and made her cry. I wish I could say that it didn't make me laugh, but it totally did. It was such a “Vetinari” thing to do, plus the sight of a Criminal Mastermind in full-on Evil Spandex Suit of Evil crying because she got poked in the nose is pretty funny.
  93. 93. Or possibly the tears were just a clever ploy to get some lovin' from the hot hubby. If that's the case, then she definitely earned the Evil Spandex Suit of Evil.
  94. 94. Things are pretty hot over at Bell and PB's, too. Just in a way more literal sense, but equally frequently. They like setting the kitchen on fire, is what I'm sayin'. PurpleBunny writes the Piratical Legacy and the Sim Spade stories.
  95. 95. In between the arson, Wydah and Edmund Fitzgerald do bring people home from school, like Stevie and Ellie .
  96. 96. Mostly, though, the most frequent visitor is the firefighter.
  97. 97. Just showing off that I managed to find sorta-matching jammies for Wydah and Edmund Fitzgerald. Purple and plaid!
  98. 98. “Hooray! I lost my job! Who wants to come give Mommy a hug?”
  99. 99. “I lost my job. I need a hug.” “Okay, just let me put some pants on.” “That is in every way unnecessary.” “Alrighty then.”
  100. 100. Edmund Fitzgerald's Aspiration had dropped quite a bit, since PB and Bell don't have the cash to Buy Him Expensive Crap, so I had him go Wish for Friends. Not-Rose Goss got dropped, as well as Channon and Mitch, the last two kids from Spider's Imaginary Bachelor Challenge.
  101. 101. Edmund Fitzgerald and Channon have two bolts without even trying. I have the room, so I may as well send Channon and Mitch along to college, if Edmund Fitzgerald so desires.
  102. 102. He very well may desire. Anyway, I think these two would have astonishingly cute kids.
  103. 103. Romancer Wydah is not to be outdone by her brother, and wastes little time putting the moves on Mitch.
  104. 104. More Insta-bolts means that this is in no way difficult. And Wydah will be nicely platinum for growing up.
  105. 105. Over at La Casa Landgraab, Mal and Max are still far too adorable together. He makes a mess, she cleans it up, then they make out for a while.
  106. 106. Max also loves hanging out with his kids. The whole family is pretty tightly-knit.
  107. 107. Ellie's a bit competitive, though. She takes her Smustle very seriously.
  108. 108. Six was friends with Inara, and I detected a desire to be “friends” with Inara.
  109. 109. Inara had no problems with that either. Unlike Uncle Eddie, Six doesn't hot-tub naked.
  110. 110. These two are super-cute together. And their common ancestor is about six generations back, so they're pretty much unrelated.
  111. 111. Besides, you can't argue with the Big Red Hearts, right?
  112. 112. Last up was Brooke, River, and Baz's house. Mostly, River and Baz stalk each other, Brooke paints sad clowns, and Brett cheats at chess.
  113. 113. They also get the parade of teenage guests. Some visits are more successful than others. Stevie, for instance, tends to do the Creepy Nice Point Smile and try to escape noogies.
  114. 114. However, Six did not take River's water balloon prank all that calmly. He was most aggravated.
  115. 115. Unlike her brother, Ellie was smart enough to stick with Red Hands and jokes.
  116. 116. Brooke has still not learned that playing punching games with her family is a really bad idea. Baz still finds it totally amusing to watch her get pummeled.
  117. 117. Between themselves, Baz and River prefer nonstop pillow fights. I don't mind them as long as they're not having one at the top of the stairs, preventing Brooke from getting to bed.
  118. 118. Brett, meanwhile, takes advantage of his ability to dole out noogies.
  119. 119. Joyce can't complain too much, though, since she's just as likely to give him one as the other way around.
  120. 120. They finally go on a date. This was never not going to happen. It was just a matter of time.
  121. 121. Joyce likes the meanness, and the neatness, and the fauxhawk. Brett likes the fact that his girlfriend has Smite privileges. And you better believe she has Smite privileges. I could end up with some more dead NPCs hanging around college if I'm not careful.
  122. 122. These two are really looking forward to getting to college. So many Cow Mascots to traumatize, so little time...
  123. 123. Gratuitous groping shot is gratuitous. I love them together. They're just so MEAN AND AWESOME. Moving on to the last point of business before the end of the chapter...
  124. 124. “How could be betray me? How could he dare?” “Calm down, Cy. He was just holding you back.” “I will not calm down!”
  125. 125. “You're better than he was. You don't need him. You never did.” “He was mine! He should have obeyed me without question!” “He wasn't smart enough to see your vision. He was foolish, and he paid for it, exactly like he should have. But I'm still here. I'm still behind you, whatever you want to do.”
  126. 126. “I will have answers! I will know why!” “If you wanted answers, you probably shouldn't have killed him.” “Then I'll get them from his corpse.”
  127. 127. “This? This is why? Them?”
  128. 128. “How dare you betray me for them? I would have given you everything! All you had to do was follow me!”
  129. 129. “Them. Him. Was it worth it? Was he worth it?”
  130. 130. “They made him weak, Cy. You didn't need anyone like that by your side.” “But why? I don't understand why.” “You're too smart to follow his flawed logic.” “He was made to be clever. I couldn't have made such a mistake.”
  131. 131. “It doesn't matter. I'm still here. I'm still with you. And I won't let you down.” “...Get out, Tiffany. If I see you again, I'll kill you.” “But Cy--” “I said get out.”
  132. 132. “The biggest mistake I made was not killing you when I had the chance. I could have gotten another Reaper Child and hedged my bets.”
  133. 133. “I do love a good fire, Cy.” “I thought I told you to go away.” “You were angry. I know you didn't mean it. Besides, with Spider out of the way, there's nothing to stop us from ruling this town. Just you and me, all the way.” “There's just one problem with that.” “What?”
  134. 134. “There is no 'us'.”
  135. 135. “This is not over, do you hear me? This is not over!”