Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 207164 times)

Offline Lisa46

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: Trip's PSA
« Reply #525 on: December 28, 2014, 11:14:39 PM »
We wish you luck!

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: Trip's PSA
« Reply #526 on: December 29, 2014, 07:55:35 PM »
Finally, some good news:

1. Ordered my first batch of parts for my new desktop. I got the list finalized; it's looking like a fine build.

2. As it turns out, my old hard drive lived after all! I'm currently trying to transfer my important simming documents over to a safe place as we speak. I had to take apart one of my dad's external hard drives to do this (NOTE: Not entirely recommended for the average layperson) and it's over 37GB for my active simming stuff alone, but I can do it.

3. I reviewed the chapter outlines I have for the story, and I can get away with holding off the Roaring Heights updates for a few more chapters. One of them is all shot; it's just the other that still has some screenshots to go and I'm not subjecting any of the household's laptops to simming. My old one was barely up to the task. O____O

So you might get some updates in the meantime after all.

I also went with the Chromebook for school (it's what I'm using now) and I most definitely recommend.

Your hardware is in my thoughts.
Coffee is evil, that's why I stick with tea.  On a separate table.  In the next room even sometimes.

One of my co-workers was considering that setup (guy has a beautiful computer he built himself in his dorm), but he went with a MacBook Air as his portable option instead. Considering that an Air would actually cost more than my desktop, I'll pass. :P I've worked on some Chromebooks as part of my job and they're generally good options.

I once destroyed one of my dad's work laptops with tea, so that's pretty dang evil too. Coffee, even black coffee (like I take it) tends to leave more of a sticky residue, which is probably what killed my machine.

Oh no Trip!  I'm so sorry to hear that!  My mom just had the same kind of mishap happen with her laptop as well.  Had to replace the motherboard.  I'm so sorry I haven't commented in forever.  I am severely behind, unfortunately.  Hoping now that the holidays are over with I'll have some more time to get caught up ^^

Motherboards are so awful to replace. The only time it's worth it is if you have a Mac, and I've never replaced a Mac's logic board, but some of my co-workers have and they say it sucks because there are so many parts.

Don't worry about it. I hope you have fun catching up!

That is terrible. I hope you manage to salvage the data.

At least I could do that! I'm so thrilled. I was worried it was dead when my dad's laptop wouldn't boot from it, but I think it's a rift between his old laptop and the Windows 8.1 installed on the drive.

We wish you luck!

I'll be sure to keep you updated on my status. :)
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 112, 12/29)
« Reply #527 on: December 29, 2014, 11:39:29 PM »
Kind of making this a two-parter with the next chapter. Stay tuned! I just wanted something here before the new year.

Chapter 112: Androids, Automatons, and Nihilists

Tegan was pretty familiar with making new life after Phil came into the world. She spent her days caring for that handsome, screaming mixture of her and her husband, changing nappies and warming up bottles of formula. Unlike some of us, she geniunely enjoyed the trials and triumphs of being a mother to a darling (hah) little human.

So what if she was given the chance to have another child that was nothing like that?

This isn’t what you might think.

Hephaestus was a father of two and that was enough, even with one of them grown up and on the other side of the world. Phil loved to cry and fuss, though the loving touch of his father’s leather gloves soothed that little teal worm for up to five minutes and 47 seconds at a time. Both of the parents found it to be an endearing experience. However, just one Phil was enough for two older, exhausted parents, even with an army of family members to pitch in with the little monster.

Plus, Hephaestus had a lot of time to be a doting father. Tegan was plainly busy. She honed her skills, in between handling that parenting thing.

Years later, I interviewed Tegan for the sake of writing her memoirs. Among the collection of Waverlys I had to interview, I’d describe Tegan as the most pleasant. She didn’t come to it inebriated, and had only one person to insult during the whole process (and I had to turn to the others to get the true perspective on Bryant’s nastiness). But we all had regrets in that long life, and Tegan had hers. “I almost hated inventing, after a while. Once I was considered a master of it, I put the blowtorch away and hugged one of the deathflower vines.”

As for those upgrades she did, the reaction was the same. “I didn’t want to know about the inner workings of those scanners that the med students used. I mean, maybe I’m better off now for knowing, but I spent so long trying to make those unbreakable and selling the design back to someone.” She toiled while the indoor garden beckoned to her, at least until Annette watered the plants.

Oh, what she would give to be the other gardener. However, there was one last task. Tegan wanted to put it off, or just call herself a master already. Her gracious self smiled and told the people from International Robotics that she would sit on the idea.

“Sure you can Tegan,” the representative said. “But you might be one of the best minds for the task. Robotics is a booming industry, and we could use bots for a variety of tasks to benefit mankind. Would you rather task poor humans with disposing medical waste and disarming our nukes?”

“No, no I wouldn’t,” said Tegan. “I’m very busy right now. I’ll sit on it.” She hung up and then took Phil out of his crib for a snuggle. Even with his half-green face pink with tears and straining, he was so perfect to the new mother.

Annette came in to ask what the phone call was about. “And if you don’t tell me, screw it, I have access to the phone records,” she said.

“Oh fine. International Robotics wants me to build an android. I doubt I’m the best they could find for this,” said Tegan, as she put Phil back in his crib for a nap. “And really, I just want to raise Phil and join you in the garden.”

“Now, now, you’ve done so much for inventing,” said Annette. “It’s just physics.” Soon, she got a thump on the foot from Tegan, who made sure to wear a pair of heels that day.

“What the hell, Peapod?” Annette asked, shaking the pain off her foot.

“I didn’t want to have to do that, but I’m so tired of that line!” she cried. “I wish I never listened to Hephaestus when he said that. I’ve trudged through this for so long, but I can barely look at that bench now.”

“But why? You’re a natural at this, and I’m sure you are in the garden too, but I’ve spent years perfecting my craft there. You might have an equal but you’ll never be the best.”

“I don’t care, gram.”

“Then why not just do this one last thing?”

“It’s...fine, it’s because of Bryant. I hate those things that I liked that he likes too.”

“Honey, you dumped his flabby butt,” Annette said. “I wish you’d let it go. I mean, I was fine with having more computer time to myself, but you won’t even touch the telly or play video games with us, you never answer your phone, and now you make grouchy faces when you repair our stuff and you won’t take on the invention that will change the world. It’s pretty pathetic for me to watch.”

“So, you don’t like how I cope?” Tegan asked. Annette shrugged and nodded.

Tegan took her key to the kitchen lock and found Annette’s secret stash of juice, nectar, and other intoxicating liquids. She gathered an armful of bottles and marched outside with them.

“Tegan, TEGAN! What are you doing to my nooboos?” Annette asked, running as fast as her old legs would take her in order to catch up with Tegan.

“Well, you don’t like how I cope, but I don’t think any of us like how you do,” Tegan said.

“I need those more. I have to spend generations and generations as a single old hag. I need some cheer, and for that, I need my beer!”

“Well, you might have an iron liver, but you embarrass us all an awful lot, and I think you’d be happier taking up...knitting, perhaps. Why not knitting? You get something to do, you keep your dignity, and we all get cute scarves. I think it’s a fair deal.” Annette snatched a bottle of cheap nectar, one of the most recent batches from Belizaire Vineyards, and guzzled half of it straight from the bottle. Some of the rose-colored liquid stained the white stripes on her top.

“Let me have my own problems, okay?” Annette asked. “I’ll even stay inside tonight.”

“As long as I get to cope in my way,” said Tegan.

“Just so this last thing for them? We’ll help!”

“Like how? You couldn’t be bothered to upgrade your laptop by yourself.”

“I mean, collecting scrap and screws and whatnot? I can do that, and the other elders are bored out of their skulls. Maybe collecting can help them cope with life.”

“That’s not what I’m tired of,” Tegan said. “You know what, I’m telling mum that you’re acting this way. That’s right, I’m tattling!”

During that conversation, Lily found her grandson fussing again and took him in for grandmotherly love while he was still young enough to not be traumatized by her short athletic shorts. Tegan approached her. “Mum, we need to talk about Annette.”

“She acted drunk again, didn’t she?” asked Lily.

“Yes, and she’s trying to make me do something I don’t wanna do!”

“I mean, that is how she operates. It sucks, though. What is it?”

“First she wanted me to upgrade an old telly for one of her friends, and now she wants me to build an android for International Robotics. I don’t want any of that, okay?”

“She has a point. We all had to dedicate our life to something unique to us, and that something for you were all of those inventions. You’ve done so well, and Annette’s already done so much gardening duty, so why take that on? It’s not unique to you, and you’ll never feel like the queen of the plants with another queen right by your side.”

“That’s really profound, mum,” said Tegan.

“Thanks, I got it from gram’s rulebook! So you really have no choice with this, I’m afraid. But this is the last thing you’ll ever have to do,” Lily said.

“So, this is for us?”

“For us and everyone that has mattered to us.”

“And for what end?” asked Tegan. Lily froze. “Is this some sort of immortal secret?” Tegan asked again.

“I wish. I don’t know what that drunk old bat has us doing this for. I doubt she even knows. I spent a long time hoping for an answer, but I just shut up and ate my ambrosia,” said Lily. “Maybe one day?”

“Maybe one day.”

“So you’ll do this?”

“Fine, for you and everyone who has mattered. Even if Annette reveals that she did this to get out of cleaning duty or something absurd like that.”

“That’s the spirit, Peapod. And we’ll help all we can!”

Lily then turned to Phil, who briefly fell asleep in her arms, but was ready to burst with more of his hellish cries. He was a little drama king back then, but Lily pulled him close again.

“You’re a devil,” she whispered. “But a cute one, and grandma still loves you. I don’t know how I couldn’t!”

Oh Lily, you poor naive soul you.

Tegan was happy to finish the job on both the scanner and the television without smashing either of them in a rage that not even Lily had seen. Maybe she could go back to plumbing, which she didn’t outright hate. In fact, engineering an irrigation system to the household garden would be a fun plumbing project! Tightening pipes while the peppers and pomegranates watched.

Annette kept the garden in an enclosed, greenhouse-like room near the breakfast nook and the kitchen. Tegan looked longing at it, past the glass doors, and into the heart of the fruit the family’s garden bore. One day it would be hers.

Later that night, an inebriated Annette stumbled into the nursery and picked up Phil without dropping him, which was a miracle of its own. The fussy little boy received a multitude of snuggles before he got too gangly and awkward to pick up (too big was never an issue for a skinny little thing), and Annette was never too drunk to not contribute. She breathed her alcoholic breath on him as she muttered to the little one.

“Love awaits for you too,” she said to him. Phil cooed in her ear. “Heck, I bet you love her already.”

“You’ll know all of the right words for her when you can say them. And hopefully, you’ll have a toned stomach that can turn her at least bisexual. I bet you’ll be a pretty handsome man, like your dad, and the grandpa that wasn’t an unfortunate swamp mutant. And you won’t be fat like my son, but come to think of it, he’s had a lot of successes. He was able to get his exes back! Even if Carmen was no Piper. Dang I hated her cheekbones.”

Oh yes, she continued her free-association trainwreck. I’d feel bad for Phil if I didn’t hate him.

“See, you can get her out of that phase. She’ll climb out of your bed glowing with either all of those candles you set up, and you know, with the touch of a male Waverly. None of us women could do that! And she’ll get over her tokophobia nonsense once she sees you, and how you could put a darling little nooboo in her. I mean, I had to squeeze out ten pounds of Franco and I didn’t even cry, so what’s her problem? I’ve met Kylie and she’s cute, well, like her grandpa Julian. But you’ll be better and you can give us an heir much better than Ky can. For sure, little nooboo.”

“I bet she’s waiting upstairs right now, waiting for you to grow up into something attractive. One day, my little man, one day.” She put Phil to bed and then passed out over his crib. It let Piper, who overheard that monologue, dump the rest of that blasted Belizaire Vineyards nectar down the shower drain. She left a note in its place.

Juice makes you a homophobe, I knew it! - Piper

Well, she was able to say some similar garbage while sober. It was a good attempt, Piper. She wrote a longer note when she heard Annette crying over her nectar stores being temporarily decimated.

Okay, fine. I like Phil, but I can’t see us as more than a teacher and a student. Strike that, we’ll be co-workers. I hope he loves the blood and guts of Twinbrook Foundation Hospital. I’m not touching that field, so he better. We’ll make a fantastic team, but he ain’t touching me. For all you know, he could be gay too! What do you say to that, Nettie? - Piper

I love Piper. She was a keen young lady, though not even she saw the twists that Philip Athol Waverly would bend and create for her, and for everyone else too.

Ah, the facade of innocence was so easy for Phil to keep as a wriggly nooboo. He cooed and cried and stole hearts from the start. Unfortunately, he was also smarter than all of us.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,188
Word Count so far: 236,074
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Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 112, 12/29)
« Reply #528 on: December 30, 2014, 01:50:37 AM »
Oh, thank goodness for another chapter!  I'm loving the post-it war between Piper and Annette, and the pictures in the nursery are a lovely touch.

Good luck with your IT-adventures, I hope all goes well for you.

Offline dontmindme

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 112, 12/29)
« Reply #529 on: December 30, 2014, 04:05:58 PM »
Dear Annette,

I thought my founder became an evil pain in the neck. He has nothing on you. Thank you for some perspective. [apologies on the language!]

Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 113, 1/2)
« Reply #530 on: January 02, 2015, 09:15:18 PM »
Oh, thank goodness for another chapter!  I'm loving the post-it war between Piper and Annette, and the pictures in the nursery are a lovely touch.

Good luck with your IT-adventures, I hope all goes well for you.

Parts are ordered and I'm definitely feeling good about this new computer!

Dear Annette,

I thought my founder became an evil pain in the neck. He has nothing on you. Thank you for some perspective. [apologies on the language!]

Thanks for editing. :)

I actually had a few founders worse than Annette. I failed with them because there is a limit to how much badness a founder can have but still run a dynasty on.

And the subtext for one of them got way too dark, though I thankfully pulled the plug on that dynasty before my writing could take me there. Not that Annette isn't, and I'm pushing the rules I'm supposed to enforce with a character who's a criminal-turned-widow-turned-rude, maybe bigoted drunkard.

Chapter 113: Dōmo Arigatō, Mr. Roboto

Lily pulled Tegan aside late one afternoon.

“Bryant is free.”

“Oh my god, are you okay?” Tegan said, reaching out to feel her mother’s cheek for any obvious bruises. “I thought our plan was foolproof, to be honest.”

“I thought so too.”

Let’s go back a bit.

Tegan called International Robotics to say that she sat on the decision to build a robot, and thought it was a nice final project for her. She wore her comfiest nightshift and grit her fangs through a crowded teleconference to discuss the plans that the engineers at IR devised beforehand, and this invention needed something more than recycled scrap. Tegan jotted down the materials. Palladium was a key component of the electrodes in the bot’s inner workings. Hard, fine parts were best worked with pink diamond. The family had none of that.

“Sounds good, guys,” Tegan said, before hanging up. “Mum, where do you find palladium?”

France had rich deposits, but Twinbrook was bare of palladium. “Don’t worry Peapod, you can always make a deal with grandpa Franco about that,” Lily said, “Plus, that old grouch is bored out of his skull. I think he needs a job. Anyways, Phil is crying right now, and I think it’s your turn to take him.”

“It’s my pleasure, mum,” Tegan said. “And he needs a lot of love and support, lest he be some problem child.”

“Point taken, but you don’t need to be so uptight about it. You two are the sweetest parents ever, so how could you raise a hellion?”

I blame that Racket blood.

Placated by the promise of raising a normal son (oh Tegan, you poor girl) once the crying thing stopped, Tegan lumbered downstairs and into the nursery. Sometimes Phil cried because of an actual problem, but he probably felt alone. She took note of a guest in the house and bent over to pick Phil up.

As noted earlier, Piper sometimes invited Kylie’s uncle Horace over to help her with her homework. It was a lazy day for everyone, especially for Horace, because he dragged himself over to the Waverly mansion, fought off Annette who drank at 10AM, and still considered helping his niece’s girlfriend the best way to spend a day. He limped with some half-dead slump and insulted Piper with a lazy collection on insults that didn’t even get homophobic.

“Are you okay, Mr. Coddle?” Piper asked.

“No. I’d rather die right here, blondie,” he mumbled.

Whether divine intervention, fate, or cyanide pills did it, Horace kept true to that promise.

And Piper mourned for a loss for her in-laws.

Tegan barely knew Horace, but she gave Lily the news and dug up nostalgic feelings about Julian. “It wasn’t really that long ago when Julian died,” Tegan said. “And now his kids are. Like, of natural causes. It’s sad, and Horace reminds me of Julian a bit anyways.”

“It’s in the eyes,” said Lily. “Horace wasn’t a nice guy, but it’s tough to think about Julian’s own dying off. He was older than me, but by what? Twenty years? Okay, honey, I just feel old about it, that’s all.”

“That’s awful sweet of you, mum.”

“And I just want to kick aging in the family jewels and finish this dynasty for good!”

“You do that. Anyways, death will give way to life, or an artificial one. Time to build a bot.”

“Bug your grandpa about the palladium first. This thirty day squat challenge won’t do itself,” said Lily.

Sometimes, I wonder who the most sane of us was. Often, it had to be a relative thing, as we all had issues that made us a bunch of loonies to the public eye. I loathed that. I didn't do much to counter those claims either. Franco might have done a better job on most days. It made sense. He dressed well and had an old-fashioned charm, and an angsty, melancholic air that a lot of women seemed to regard as a turn-on. Was Franco sane? Maybe sometimes.

This is not a tale of that sanity.

In fact, it's pretty silly.

One funny thing I learned is that "Franco" is an Italian name meaning "French." Naturally, then, he held the Visa to France and signed his name on the deed to the cottage we owned. He knew the landscape well and took it upon himself to comb the idyllic French countryside for the poor man's platinum. The tablet app to do that helped too.

He ran and ran for a few days, collecting ore along the way. Any ore that stuck out enough for him not get dirt under his impeccably manicured fingernails was there for Franco’s picking, though most of it ended up being cheap iron. After a few generations, he was finally tired of Champs Les Sims! He did a few laps around each side of the river bank and saw all of the soft grass and butterflies he needed to. And he had half a suitcase full of palladium ore.

Franco called Tegan, and waited a long time for her to pick up. But she did.

“Yeah, gramps?” she said.

“How much palladium do you need, honey?” he asked.

“However much ore will make 10 bars. I bet you’ve done great!” Franco hung up without saying good-bye, and uttered an ungentlemanly “well, crap” upon looking at his half-empty suitcase. All of the surface ore was exhausted from the town, and he didn’t have much good karma built up in the next one over.

He decided to paint in the garden to decompress, only to notice a large yellow machine sitting idle near the clothesline. A drill hovered close to the ground. Annette used one of those at home, and got police citations for disturbing public property, wildlife, and peace for it. As long as he wouldn’t lose his Visa over it, it was worth a shot. As Annette said, nothing weird lived underground anyways.

The lawn hated him after that, and Franco hated it too. He prided himself on a lot of material things, including a nice lawn no matter what home it was. The gaping hole was for his granddaughter.

As were the dirty clothes, and the fear of what could be beyond. If it wasn’t underground civilizations, it could be a collapsing tunnel, or an underwater ocean that would engulf him whole.

Actually, that is what I would worry about. I think Franco really, really didn’t want his nice vest scuffed up by the earth.

In short, he learned that his mum was wrong, or just had a different experience. He came across what he called “a comely cave-lady. In order to woo her, I took on the garb of her people. Listen, honey, it had been about four whole days since I had last been with another woman and it was getting to a bad point.”

“So did you get lucky that day?” I asked him.

“It wasn’t as good as I expected, but yes. And I got to keep the clothing she gave me too. Oh, and some more of Tegan’s palladium in the next cavern over.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the first to hear that story. He recounted it as soon as he returned to Twinbrook to Kraig, his grandson. From what I heard, Kraig just awkwardly nodded and wondered why his overweight and fashion-savvy grandpa thought that the cavesuit was in good taste.

Franco's temporary insanity went on in Twinbrook too. Maybe a friend told him that the fur wrap was sexy? They sound like a crummy hypothetical friend, especially because it led Franco to go public with his new habit. He mined in front of City Hall. He really needed to burn those furs.

His own descendents could only watch in horror. Benjamin Knack’s big eyes stared off into the distance. Rachael teased him about how embarrassing it was.

It turned out to be embarrassing enough for even Annette to drag Franco home by the ear and have a stern talk with her elderly son. “You’re acting like a fool. That’s my job!” she said.

“I need to get laid, okay?” he muttered. “Not getting that is driving me crazy.”

“Get your nice clothes back on and smile for once. You haven’t fathered a child in over a generation, so be happy about that!”

“It is pretty nice not to be nooboo-crazy.”

“So stop being a Negative Nancy, or a Crazy Cathy. However I’d describe going out like that. Really, I enjoy having a technically sane household, and if Heph is able to not be crazy, why can’t you?”

I dunno, Annette. I found the story hilarious when it was recounted to me years later.

But really, it was a blessing that Hephaestus took a permanent turn for the better. He spent most of his days doting on Phil and battling the other elders for that privilege. “You have all the time in the world later,” he said. “I wish I did, but I know that the world doesn’t work that way.” He said that to Lily, who was waiting for her turn with the little larva.

“Hey, sometime down the road, things will be done with for us, and maybe we can bring you back to life,” said Lily.

“You guys still have a while to go, right?” he asked. “Eight generations?”

“It’s good to think ahead, and I’m glad that you’re doing so well with Phil. He’ll be a fine young man with a father like you. After all of the drama with Tegan, I want a low-maintenance immortal.”

“He’ll be fine, Lily. And even if he isn’t, it will probably come with some horrible narcissism that makes him follow your rules anyways so he can preserve his awesomeness for eternity.” He handed Phil to her. “But he needs a wonderful grandmother too, and you’re just the woman for the job.”

Tegan counted her palladium bars up and had more than enough. After giving her grandfather a bear hug for all of his work, she immediately ran up to Lily to ask her about procuring a pink diamond.

“Don’t worry Peapod, you can spend time with Phil. He’s only a nooboo once,” said Lily. “And I’m on good terms with Elizabeth over at the consignment shop. I think she can help me scout for one. They were commonly used in jewelry back in the 2040’s, unless Annette is lying.”

“Apparently Liz just retired,” said Tegan. “I bet that the new clerk will like you, though.”

Lily, clean and showered and out of any morning haze, took a jog down to the consignment shop one afternoon, before doing her squats for day 21 that evening. She expected to greet a fresh-faced newcomer forced into retail, or a seasoned elder not quite ready for retirement from the business (unlike Liz, I guess).

She opened the door, which rung a bell attached to it and drew the attention of the man in front of the cash register. The first thing most customers noticed was his jet-black hair that was messy in the front, but all Lily saw were two green eyes that she wanted to claw out, and a face that unfortunately healed well.

“Hag,” he mumbled under his breath. It was Bryant, somehow out of prison and/or the psychiatric ward.

“Can’t even grow a neckbeard,” she retorted. “Look, I need a pink diamond. They’re pretty common in charms and necklaces from the 2040’s.”

“You’d know better than I do,” he said.

“Okay, I can’t do this any more. I thought you were locked up.”

“Got out on good behavior, and with a cocktail of meds too! And no, I don’t have any necklaces. Is that nutcase you have at home dead yet?” Bryant asked.

“He’s hoping that he has many more years in him,” said Lily. “You probably wouldn’t even sell me a diamond if you had it, right?”

“Correct you are.”

“It looks like my work here is done. Rot in hell!”

“Same to you!”

After that, she came home to Tegan to deliver the dreadful news that could have been more dreadful. “I survived without a scratch, which I think is great! And don’t worry, love, I can find a pink diamond the same way your grandpa found all of that palladium.”

“You’d look a lot better in a skimpy fur wrap,” said Tegan. “Especially after those squats.”

“That’s exactly the point. And hell, maybe after you build this robot, you can get an android of your own to protect you from this guy. Law enforcement was a good idea, but I guess it didn’t work.”

Lily chose to dig at the elixir consignment shop, with her cousin Emma there as an emergency helper in case things went dreadfully wrong. To be fair, it was probably a bad idea to bring a pregnant woman along for that job. Lily congratulated her on the incoming nooboo, until she remembered Emma’s partner was none other than Horace, the dead one.

I think Lily got a slap for that, and no guarantee of getting help if she met a hostile cave society instead of a hot caveman that looked like Bronson if she squinted right.

She got none of that, but the fifth cavern down had a shining ore sitting in a crevice. It shimmered with a pale pink reflection when Lily shone a light on it. If it wasn’t a pink diamond, it would probably still look good inside of a ring.

She got it cut into a shiny hunk of gem, which she didn’t need to do, but it was more presentable to Tegan that way. After bearing the bad news about Bryant’s freedom, Lily needed to send any bit of happiness she could to her daughter. Even if Tegan was still aglow with new parent bliss and bags under her eyes.

“Ta-da!” said Lily. handing Tegan a box with the diamond inside. “I’ll leave you alone to build this now.”

“Aww, thanks mum,” said Tegan. “Hopefully I can get it done before Phil’s birthday. That creeped up on me so fast!”

Tegan became one of those hard workers who devoted more energy into creativity than getting dressed. It got to “getting meals delivered to her” levels. The vague promise of having a robot army to remotely beat up Bryant drove her. However, the robot had to be delivered to International Robotics, put into production, and only then could she order a personal bodyguard. But it was a step in the most radical direction, especially because no one expected Bryant to reform or for his meds to work.

It was probably the evilest Tegan had ever been, and she still had justification for it.

It got her to the point of successfully assembling a leg and its twin, and then an arm. The most delicate electronic parts went into the torso. Tegan strained her eyes. The magnifying glass was a good invention for its time, perhaps, but it made her eyes hurt. However, it put life in the diodes and tiny wire ends as she let her fingers meet technology yet again. It pained her a bit. Bryant liked taking apart computer hardware when he was young. He did that over lunch. Tegan sometimes watched from afar.

This was the last thing she needed to do, so she stuck through it. Tegan put together delicate machinery right through putting in a long-lasting battery into the belly of the electronic beast.

Once the battery snapped in, her last creation was jolted to life.

“Ah, finally!” she cheered. “I’m free of this darn business!”

“Hello International Robotics, I am Ginger Snap 3500, built by Tegan Stoneham Curious.” She programmed phrases into him so he could present his case to International Robotics themselves. “However, my choice in words in programmable, and this is just a demo recording.”

“Let’s just get you off the bench,” Tegan said, using a remote to get her android on its feet.

“As you can see, I have a human range of motion,” Ginger Snap continued. “This means that I can take on human tasks with ease.”

“Maybe he can find his way to the institute, too,” Tegan said, in a whisper to himself. “It’s within his capabilities, and it sure would save me some time. Yeah, let’s just use the location ability.” She pressed a button on Snap’s torso compartment to enter in the coordinates of International Robotics’ headquarters, somewhere on the west coast. He had a long journey ahead of him, but the battery was designed to last for a year of constant use.

“And please, stay out,” were her last words to him before he left the room, but she regretted that. Ginger Snap 3500 was the reason she cleared off her workbench for the last time and sold her power tools to a second-hand seller, where they likely got a nice home. She turned off her phone for the night and turned off the lights in her workroom. And that is when she went downstairs into the indoors garden, kneeling down in front of the closest vine and giving it and its supporting post a hug.

“Nothing can separate us now,” she whispered to the plant. “It’s over, and all because of Ginger Snap.”

He still made a face at the mess in the front garden. And no, Tegan didn’t have a robot army to defeat Bryant with either. But she had her freedom as Ginger Snap 3500 jetted across the country.

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto. He deserved the thanks.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,919
Word Count so far: 238,993


- Oh man I really wanted to use that as a chapter title ever, anyone who read the Ironstars probably remembers Alhena. I wanted to use that chapter title since I decided that she would supermax inventing. And this was back in April 2013, if I remember correctly.

For anyone who missed the reference, I lifted it from "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. And the line translates to "thank you, Mr. Robot."

- Ginger Snap's name is either a reference to how I'm naming all of my devices now ("Toffee Crunch" and "Butter Pecan"), or to the names for Android's operating systems (Ice Cream Sandwich, Kit-Kat, etc.). Either way, it's some lame joke about naming technology after desserts.

The game named him Chris, which was fine but it wouldn't do with another minor character named Chris who featured in Tegan's lifetime.

- Palladium really is, sort of, the poor man's platinum. It sells at a lower price, and it's in the same family of metals.

- Franco's caveman suit was actually lost in a game crash. :( But that tidbit was too funny to me not to include.

- Bryant running the consignment shop was originally going to be a gag about him being angry about the breakup and not selling Lily the diamond because of it (a joke I would have ripped off from Turoskel anyways, because she had a bit in her dynasty about not getting a camera because the clerk at the time was on bad terms with Dallas the dynasty husband. Also, read her dynasty if you haven't because it's good, and actually finished!). Then I came up with the darker saga over Bryant, but he wouldn't sell her the diamond then either.

My guess for the story on why he's out is really just parole and therapy. You still haven't seen the last of him!
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 114, 1/5)
« Reply #531 on: January 05, 2015, 10:19:24 PM »
Chapter 114: Sharp Teeth, Sharp Heels

Something had to exorcise that screaming demon from the house.

Lily stuffed her head under the pillow to try and soften the noise. Phil needed to stop crying. She raised a child before that, and her step-brother too, and even put a hand into raising Piper. They all behaved in comparison. Phil would scream and work his tiny lungs into overdrive over nothing. He was impeccably clean and fed half an hour beforehand. How could he go on?

Fast-forward fifty years, and that became Philip’s most trivial problem. I’d have sympathy for him under different circumstances, but that is not the case. As for Lily, she wasn’t a psychic. A third-generation immortal as a psychic would be an odd placement, wouldn’t it?

She woke up at 5:30AM to snuggle Phil, which wasn’t too different from waking up at five to snuggle with Bronson before he started his morning routine before doing upkeep on the tanks. It happened often enough so that Lily didn't see anything different about the days. Phil’s first birthday? Same morning as usual. Lily woke up early to be beat to the nursery by someone else, and she tried to get back to sleep, even knowing that birthdays were generally a morning affair for the Waverlys. For god’s sake, the first birthday of her only daughter was an afternote to her own adult birthday party!

Somehow Tegan remembered. That morning, she beat Lily to the race to spend time with the household’s tiny banshee, and still had the mental clarity to talk to her mother.

“Just remember that today’s his birthday,” said Tegan. “Gram baked the cake yesterday and it just needs to be frosted. Should I wake her up for that?”

“Sure, and maybe your husband too. He shouldn’t miss this,” said Lily.

“Why of course! And you can have Phil now.” Tegan made a delivery into Lily’s arms, one swaddled in a soft blue blanket and smelling sickly like nooboo powder. It was 5:37, and Lily remembered that she was indeed Phil’s grandmother, and that she always swore that he had her dead husband’s eyes. He calmed down for a moment, enough for Lily to concentrate. He really did have those eyes; on the smaller side, with the apex closer to the outside. The color was ambiguous.

“I can’t wait for you to be older and do interesting things,” Lily said. Like running off on business trips to Bridgeport and elsewhere? Surely, Lily loved once chasing after him on one of those, and by that, I mean she didn’t. In fact, she failed to see the permanent hellion in front of her. Tegan’s “I can raise a good son!” rhetoric spread to the entire household. They really believed it, even as he kept them up for his own amusement each night.

“Yeah, hopefully it all changes today. Why be sad anyways? You have two lovely parents, and of course, me! You have a lovely dynasty to live in now, as long as you follow the rules.”

Hephaestus snatched the infant from her, but in a playful way. “Come on now, I’m too far in my 80’s to wait,” he said.

“Point taken, you nutcase,” Lily said. “Doing well?”

“Feeling like a spry 75 year-old, that’s what. I don’t think you should worry.”

“Well, I’m not. Do your thing with the nooboo, and I’ll worry about my life. Which means I won’t at all.”

Hephaestus gave Phil a quick tickle on the nose and watched Annette frost the cake. She always used white frosting. Lily ended up watching too, and didn’t bother to get dressed. It was a casual affair, and her grandma had a point about the virtue of pajamas. The house had a brief moment of quiet with Phil close to his father, nestled in his bony arms and against the fabric of Hephaestus’ thick coat.

“You have a good touch with him,” Lily said. “Funny how I’ve just noticed that. Like how I just noticed that watching Gram work with her Wilton tips is pretty relaxing.”

“I’ll just say that it’s a dad thing, how about that? Oh, and did you see her make that rose on top? I never knew how they did that.”

Everyone woke up for having a slice of Annette’s cake for breakfast. It was one of those simple pleasures in life. Getting dressed was optional, though Piper and Franco opted for it anyways. They then remembered that Phil was a part of the morning cake too.

Hephaestus lowered Phil towards the cake without much fanfare, and blew out the lone candle for his nooboo.

He put the wrapped-up infant on the floor, and gave him a pat on the head. “Now, now, you better look cute for those lovely ladies over there.” He pointed towards the breakfast nook, where Lily and Piper were hiding. Annette wandered off to get plastered.

The two women cheered for him. They’d have to take up some of the childcare anyways, even if Phil turned out to be the spitting image of his grandpa Tay (god forbid!), but Lily knew that she’d have a bit more of a role in Phil’s early life. Tegan didn’t marry the young, dashing Keon, who probably would be around for a lot of Phil’s life, so the alternative would likely be being the Waverly’s youngest half-orphan. God forbid that too.

Lily kept those intrusive thoughts out of her head. If Tegan could do it (only way to keep sane), she could too. It was a morbid thing to consider. Plus, Piper could always be a surrogate if she needed to be. Lily didn’t need to forsee a change in her life after all.

But the most important was to have a grandchild that communicated in ways other than waking up the entire family well past midnight, though that was always a possibility.

So, was Phil cute?

This isn’t entirely from Lily’s perspective, because it was in everyone’s inner monologue at the time: of course he was. While it made sense for the grandson of one of the military’s greatest minds to like green, camouflage didn’t get as good of a reaction from Phil as simple stripes did. His coloring, aside from the teal skin, was a mystery to Lily for a long time. About no one in the family had grey eyes, and Phil’s family tree was full of black hair and brown hair that was pretty close to black.

The reason it took a few days was because Lily had to ask Annette about the features, Surely she knew more people that went into the family tree than anyone else did. However, Annette was plastered for most of Phil’s birthday. She kept a cocktail close-by for the whole day, and lounged in the hot tub too. After a few days, she had a sober moment and then Lily’s questions tackled her.

“Did anyone have grey eyes?” Lily asked.

“Are you stupid, honey?” Annette responded. “They’re your grandpa’s eyes!”

“But mum told me that my grandpa Phoenix had brown eyes. Try again with your insults before I hit you.”

“The other one. Don’t hit me. Did...did I forget to tell you that about him?” Lily nodded. “Well, dang, sorry love. Your grandpa Bill had the world’s most handsome grey eyes. They run in the Racket family like evil does. Surprised it took that long for them to come again.”

“That cool. But who’s that sort of brunette? You have very dark hair, and black and blond don’t combine like that,” said Lily. “Is this from your family?”

“Goodness no! I mean, not like I know, but wouldn’t it make sense for them to mostly be dark like me? And honestly, I have enough of my color shining through anyways. Never thought that would last this long.”

“So you’re stumped?”

“Pretty much,” said Annette.

She ended up not thinking about Phil’s hair because most of it was hidden under a cap, and it was so much better for her and everyone to focus on how downright adorable Phil was instead. He had all of Tegan’s charm without being snot-green in color, and the cutest laugh (when he wasn’t being less fussy but still fussy). Everyone loved toddlers and there was no reason to be upset with a brand new one in the house.

Lily found that most of whatever time she could spend with Phil was instead spent with Phil and a lilac-clad gentleman, and Lily instead taking a run or watching some post-run television.

Why yes, Hephaestus took a large burden of childcare upon himself. Lily missed out on the chance of directly influencing Phil's first words, though he probably didn't need the intricacies of bar fights told to him at that age.

Did she wish it was her in front of him? At the cutest of times, everyone did.

Phil was still a fussy, screaming, newly sharp-toothed monster, but only a few times each day. Lily got a better sleep schedule, and the bags under her eyes receded enough so that she looked 70 again. Sculptures were finished, and Lily enjoyed getting back into her old life. That was, until she had an idea.

It was some time into Phil’s toddler life, when Piper was close to coming of age. Being legal. Old enough to apply to medical school, as she wished to do. Lily never did enough for the clone of one of her best friends, in her opinion. Piper needed the family that biology couldn’t give her. It didn’t seem to harm the teenager, though she welcomed Lily one evening when she sat on the side of her bed and on the hot pink comforter for a chat.

“I was thinking that I could spend some quality time with you, after your birthday,” Lily said. “My mum was part-Egyptian, but I’ve never been there, so I was thinking that maybe we could spend some time in Egypt and just have fun.”

“Your treat?” Piper asked.

“Definitely mine. But grow up first, darling. I want to compare you to your, well, I guess you could say that she’s your mother. Anyways, we were the best of friends.”

“So, aunt Lily, what do you think of me?” Piper asked.

“In what way?”

“Well, you know the ways.”

“Ah, those things. I don’t care about them much, to be honest. I just want to see you do something. If science or minds progress so that you and Kylie can safely have a kid, then so be it. If not, I think you’re a kid with a bright future anyways. You can give someone hell, but you still have a heart. Not everyone can boast of that.”

“Yeah, we’ll see how long it lasts. They say doctors are pretty morbid,” said Piper. “Do I get to throw a birthday party?”

“Why of course,” said Lily.

“Formal dress code?”

“Good luck relaying that to Annette, but definitely.”

Piper got that wish. She left the invitation open to anyone who needed some cake and music for the night, which just meant that the Waverlys and other, more peaceful small-town folk behaved themselves.

Mostly. No one expected Annette to care about the dress code anyways.

Lily didn’t bug Piper about the wish. Instead, Piper told it to Lily later on. “I want to lead one of the greatest pharmaceutical companies, even when I’m your age,” she said. Lily nodded along and hoped that the bit about jinxing wishes by saying them out loud was a rumor. But during the party, Piper leaned over the cake in thought, letting the wax drip down onto Annette’s flawless fondant.

However, what Lily first thought was the case was that Piper wished for unspeakable beauty, mostly because it was guaranteed to come true.

Lily knew dear old Lilith so well, and her beauty was unforgettable and unsurpassable. That was until Piper walked out of the closet after finding new clothes and letting her hair down. Maybe Lilith would again be a contender if she had the same sense of style, but Lily forgot about her old friend from that moment on. Jaws dropped all around the room, as Piper strutted in heels that accentuated her thin, long legs. Kylie nearly fainted. Piper picked her up and started to lead her girlfriend out the door.

“But Piper, you said that you’d play juice pong with me,” said Annette, running up to them at the door.

“Play it with your great-granddaughter. You have two of them here tonight,” said Piper.

“Yeah, but which one?” Annette cried. She was desperate for a game that involved her favorite habit. Tegan was there, of course, as was Rachael, Nellie’s daughter. Both could drink if they really wanted to.

“I dunno, your problem.”

Annette still took a drink, and before they left, she started to drunkenly monologue.

"Crap, I know it now! He got that hair color from his grandpa Tay. So glad it wasn't something else." Annette thought it was striking wisdom. I guess it was; no one knew him before he went grey.

"What?" Kylie asked.

"Meet your in-laws, I guess," said Piper. "Whoever the hell Tay was."

"I think we'll just stay unmarried, how about that?"

They left for downtown. There was still a festival at the park in the center of town. Kylie scooped out two cones, one for her and one for Piper. Piper got a blue raspberry one, which tasted artificially good.

“Thanks, babe,” Piper said, as she licked the first bits of ice off the treat.

“Anything for the best birthday girl,” said Kylie. “So, how did the application to med school go?”

“I’m in.”

“That’s good. As long as you don’t deal what you make on the streets.”

“Only when the times get tough, how about that?”

“Please, Piper, it’s not like you’re Walter White,” said Kylie. “It was a joke.”

“This isn’t a joke: play chess with me. They say it helps you in med school.”

Kylie was more receptive to that.

She was also receptive to the idea of sleeping in the park that night. Piper had a better night than her face said to the world. The disappointment came from an early morning lab she had to attend.

Meanwhile, Tegan was doing the filthy work of motherhood.

Phil behaved for the first time and peed in the toilet with cleanliness and aim that put most adult men to shame. It gained him privileges for his favorite stuffed rabbit (a gift from his great-grandma Bunny; apparently she had a sense of humor) instead.

Normally, Tegan would watch him and think it’s adorable, because it was.

However, she got so wrapped up in raising Phil that she almost forgot to finish her degree. It seemed like a good time to; all she needed was one term and just a few classes in it, and Phil had five other adults to wait on him. Still, maybe she could have done it earlier.

She called the registrar right there, while Phil played on the bathroom floor. They kept it clean enough. “I’d like to resume my studies,” she said. When she mentioned that she was able to pay tuition in full, the deal was set, and Phil would still be a precious toddler when she returned.

During that, Lily poked Piper and handed her a plane ticket to Egypt.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,558
Word Count so far: 241,551


- Yes, grey eyes do run in the Racket family! Over half of the original Rackets have them. It doesn’t run in their blood like evil does because Dudley and Lolly have grey eyes while being decently good people.

As you might notice, those grey eyes lasted in the family for a long time. Jo has them too, as did her daughter.

- I think I've mentioned this to some of you, but Phil got a dye job as a toddler. He was born with black hair, and not even an interesting shade of black. Naturally, I was so beyond done with that after three generations of it (and Annette's hair wasn't much different), so I went into a fresh Twinbrook to retrieve Tay's hair color. For an ugly guy, he has some really nice colors to pass down. I was hoping for those indigo eyes, but Heph was the last to get them.

- I'm well-aware that Piper is gorgeous. Drool away!

- Building my computer is...I got screwed over on shipping, but I'm hoping that the last parts I need come in tomorrow. I got my new graphics card though, and it's so lovely. At least lovelier than anything else I've had.
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 115, 1/11)
« Reply #532 on: January 11, 2015, 01:31:55 AM »
Trip is enjoying her new computer right now, and squeezing in an update is hard when your TS3 games finally run as smooth as butter.

Chapter 115: A Cold Embrace

Tegan knew the place well.

Such as, if there was one way to strike fear into the hearts of students, it was to put on the police sirens. Tegan actually chose it because the seats supported her back the best, and it had a good fuel economy. Of course, she did put her sirens on when she approached the fraternity house, just for laughs. The brothers came swarming out.

“What do you mean? There’s no drinking here,” one redheaded man in a blazer and an infinity scarf said.

“Cole, it’s me,” said Tegan, exiting the car. “I know that you’re plenty old enough.”

“Oh yeah, it’s you!” he said. “I thought that you’d never come back. It’s pretty hard to forget a greenie like you.”

“Gotta be known for something.” She locked the cruiser and shivered. She kept her long sundress for her time at university, but the skies were grey and the dirt was frozen solid. Some icy puddles lingered from a recent rainstorm. Oh, it was that infamous time for New Simland. Too bad she packed her coat away. The frat house still had the same siding it always did, and it still smelled like spilled juice and bro sweat. Tegan wasn’t complaining; the guys there made for some fantastic friends.

“You remember our old cheer, right?” Cole asked, as they walked into the heated inside of the house.

“I wouldn’t come back here if I didn’t,” said Tegan. She got into the position for the cheer. “Go Llamas, we will fight.”

“Because those blasted Gnomes are none too bright,” Cole continued.

“Go, go Llamas!”

“Liking that Massimchusetts winter yet?” Cole asked, after the cheer. “It’s not like the south over here.”

“I’ll get used to it,” said Tegan. “Still living here, though? I mean, I drove here expecting it, but come to think of it, that’s kind of strange.”

“We’re brothers in college and we’re brothers for life here. I can’t leave, and I think you’ll remember some faces.”

“I’ll appreciate them during the year. I just want to make sure that the furniture is still in my rental house, though. Who knows what freshmen could have ruined it while I was gone?”

She blasted the siren once when she pulled up to the curb, to get any mischievous students off her property. Someone ran from the hot tub, but Tegan didn’t pursue them further. The lights work and nothing died in the fridge, so she could take a night to settle into New Simland once more. Even in the cold of winter, she could go down to that odd little “package store” to get a six-pack and lounge on the deck. Or in the hot tub if the intruder left it clean.

Tegan walked out to the deck, still in her summer dress. The heat of the hot tub would make it all better. They left the heats and jets on, so no waiting. However, something stared back at her as she stared longingly at the 100+ degree water.

The skeleton turned its skull towards her, with its permanent, toothy smile.

“Huh. Hey there Mr. Bones. So we meet again,” said Tegan. She used a similar model skeleton with that name back in her other undergrad days. But she passed all of her required anatomy classes! And the skeleton she rented out was returned to the department to benefit some other student down the line.

She noticed a note on the control box.

Welcome back, Tegan! - The Department of Science and Medicine

At least they still cared. Tegan never cared for Mr. Bones, though. The bones themselves were alright and sustainably harvested from a kind, charitable morgue, but the control box both baffled and enraged her. It remembered her input, so there had to be a RAM stick in there. How awful. However, they didn’t drop off a skeleton on her deck for it to go unused, so she put in one of her old inputs, affectionately known as “the jolt.”

Usually, the jolted shocked students due to how erratically it made the skeleton move. Tegan had enough experience with it, with two semesters of Human Anatomy under her belt. It still caused her to jump even on the last day of classes. But she told herself a lot of things; she was a more mature woman who bravely squeezed a seven-pound nooboo out of her, and who no longer wore a bow in her hair.

She sent the jolt in.

“Jesus, not again,” Tegan said, jumping back. “Mr. Bones, you haven’t changed a bit.”

Tegan was there to study and prove to the science lab in Twinbrook that she had credentials beyond “my grandpa Lincoln and my aunt Lea have done so much for you, so I can too!” So she stuck her wide nose into the books again, and even more than she did the first time around. She wasn’t a slacker by nature, just by necessity for one semester.

So at first, she didn’t concern herself with too many of her old friends, or even her relatives. Uncle Nik was taking a class with her. She didn’t even call him, and tried to run away whenever he wanted small talk. After stopping at the fraternity house on the first day, Tegan turned down the invitations to their parties. Of course, Cole and the others called, but she ignored all her calls anyways.

It was just that grind to run to class and back. Heck, living in the frigid New Simland winter was enough of a challenge without school on top of it. Lily never told her about that. However, the sidewalks were dirty and salty to break down the ice on them, or too thick with snow to easily dart through. The whole town was a white blur. Whether the snow or the white pages of her new textbooks (remember, we were always rich), Tegan slogged through a world of white and neutral feelings.

Yes, aside from the stress of university, the semester put Tegan in a decent mood. On a scale of discomfort ranging from one to “dating Bryant,” the experience was a mild annoyance at best. Plus. she also got access to the university greenhouse after hours for research! Truly, the whole thing was going well.

Uncle Nik started to become an issue, though. He asked for help with notes. “Come on, Peapod, this botany thing is in your blood,” he whispered to her during class, staring anxiously at his notes.

“Uncle, I’m not doing this. It’s bad enough that I’m here again to graduate,” she said.

“Oh fine, but can you do one thing for me?”

“I have research all the rest of this week. I’m not using my off-day on another party!”

The professor whispered at them to quiet down. After five minutes, old man Nik spoke to Tegan again.

“It’s not a party. I need someone to look at my fireplace. It’s been smelling like burning tires lately, and honestly, we’d all freeze there without it. Do you want me freezing?”

“No, not really.”

“Just come over for an hour. I’ll feed you.”

With the promise of homemade lasagna on the horizon, instead of the microwave ramen that Tegan was used to, she hammered away at the old sorority’s fireplace, to try and loosen a large amount of buildup that accumulated close to the opening. It was caked in there, but chunks fell down and smelled as dangerous and rubbery as Nik described. The whole parlor smelled of it. Someone gagged at it.

“Yep, we let you in again, and this is what happens,” someone said. Tegan turned around to the cross stare of her cousin Jerri.

“Talk to your dad about it,” Tegan said.

“Look, my order was indefinite,” said Jerri, with a look of disgust on her face. “And I don’t want to see you sleeping with that blond guy in my bed again. It’s for our safety.”

“Just give me another chance, Jerri!” Tegan begged. “He’s not with me right now. I mean, we’re married, but he’s done his work here. It’s just me, and I’m just helping my dear uncle Nik with this fireplace issue you guys have been having.”

Jerri pointed towards the door. Tegan walked out immediately, as if she was an obedient dog. She was stuck in a blizzard, but home was just down the road. Or, she could risk going across town to the fraternity house and seeing if there were still actual friends over there.

Tegan took the latter option. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by none other than Kaz the old vampire. He still looked as shimmering and mildly aged as he did ten years prior, and his hands were still deathly cold when she shook them. However, he braved detonation fires and kegger parties with her, which probably forged some sort of true friendship. He was thrilled to see her and they both immediately melted into a conversation about how life went. Tegan might have been too ambiguous about the state of Hephaestus and her marriage to him.

Kaz looked at her with utmost interest when she simply said “I married him, yes.” She didn’t further clarify anything else.

“So, uh, Tegan, I know you don’t like this,” he said to her, “But can I take a selfie with you?”

“Oh, alright,” said Tegan. “Old friends’ privilege, you know?”

She put an arm around his shoulder, and his went around her waist. Suggestive, but Tegan didn’t think anything of it. But as the flash was about to go off, Kaz leaned in towards her cheek. That was an odd place to draw blood from, but Tegan didn’t feel the cool twinge of pain from a fang bite. Instead it was the gentle brush of two cold lips against her cheek.

“Hey, buddy, not a good idea,” said Tegan, with a chuckle. The flash went off before he could pull away. “I mean, I said it just earlier. I’m married!”

“I thought he was dead!” Kaz said, pulling away instantly. “Well, it will be soon, right?”

Word Count for this chapter: 1,684
Word Count so far: 243,235
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Offline Rikki8528

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 115, 1/11)
« Reply #533 on: January 11, 2015, 03:45:44 AM »
Uh...not the best pick-up line ever, Kaz.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 115, 1/11)
« Reply #534 on: January 12, 2015, 12:38:27 AM »

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 116, 1/16)
« Reply #535 on: January 16, 2015, 10:04:16 AM »
Uh...not the best pick-up line ever, Kaz.

Not at all!


I'm not even going to edit the all-caps, because you kind of need them to properly squee over how cute Phil was.

Funny enough, I found the last three immortals to be even cuter as toddlers. Especially #7.

Chapter 116: The Doctor's Note

“Dang it Kaz, you can’t just make a girl cry like that!”

Tegan sat out in the backyard. It did make her cry, even if she had a feeling that Kaz meant better than that. He supported her throughout her explosive rampage throughout campus the last time she was there, and she helped him with some keg stands in return. Being undead wouldn’t make him turn on her so quickly either. It was just a mistake, but a bad one to Tegan. She buried her face in her hands and tried to forget about what he said. That wasn’t working. Heck, even not having Kaz around wasn’t making the future any more palatable.

The whole thought of what Kaz said actually happening was enough for Tegan to bring her old stuffed bear with her for the trip. Somehow, it was easier for her to deal with while in Twinbrook. She still saw the face of her husband every day, whether when they woke up, or when he came home from work with open arms that ached for a hug. Tegan had daily confirmation that Hephaestus was alive and well.

However, just before she left for university, he got a woefully ambiguous message from his doctor. “You’re doing well for your age, Mr. Waverly,” his general practitioner said. “But let’s face it, you’re also very old. To the point where that statement might not mean much.”

Hephaestus took it a lot better than his wife did, even if he was getting to the age that the men in his family tended to die at. Still, he was high on the bliss of life, and he called Tegan every day while she was at university to spread whatever good news the day brought. He saw a beautiful wildflower at the park, Piper made progress in her newest research and had a fantastic time in Egypt with Lily, and Phil didn’t make a mess on the rug. In fact, he didn’t understand her worry at all.

Kaz found Tegan in the backyard as she was trapped in her own awful thoughts. “Yeah, Cole was right, that was a jerk move on my part,” he said.

“At least you admit it,” said Tegan. “I mean, that’s what counts for me. I can’t really be your best option, can I?”

“Maybe...maybe I just thought you were easy. I mean, I’ve never had a girlfriend. Never really wanted to for a while, but a lot of them see me as a creep,” he said. “It’s the whole being old thing.”

“Shucks, you’re younger than my grandpa, and he still gets dates left and right!”

“Tegan, I can’t be. I’m very, very old.”

“He is too. Ever meet a Franco Waverly?”

“Come to think of it, yes,” said Kaz. “God, he was such a buzzkill at our parties. That uptight prick is still alive?”

“Alive and as uptight as ever,” Tegan said. “It’s a family secret, though yours seems pretty nice too.”

“Good for him, then. But you seemed like the only one who wouldn’t find it creepy. You married a guy much older than you, after all.”

“It wasn’t like that, though. Not like that at all. I would have married him if I was some old cougar and he was barely an undergrad. But, if I had to do this again, I’d go for someone my own age. I mean, the first thing I would hope is that Heph and I were born in the same generation, but I don’t know. I just want to see what the other side is like. My parents were high school sweethearts and stuff. I’m too young to worry about this.”

“Death?” Kaz asked.

“You bet. I never have to face it. He could be facing it right now, for all I know.” Tegan’s phone vibrated once, indicating a text message.

“Answer it,” Kaz said. “If you say that it could be happening right now.”

She read the message. It was from Hephaestus.

Guess what? I love you.

“He’s fine,” Tegan said. “Listen, Kaz, I didn’t want to have to burden you with that. How about a movie? Just as friends?”

“That will have to do,” he said. “You think there’s hope for me?”

“You’re at a university with plenty of girls around. I think you’ll do fine.”

“So, you like sim-fu movies? I really wanted to see Mother of Dragons vs. The Emperor.”

They spent two hours in the theatre and had plenty of buttered popcorn between them. Tegan tried to mimic one of the moves, but her martial arts knowledge was shoddy.

“Did you like it?” Kaz asked.

“Um, it was a great bonding experience.” In reality, the special effects were done by an amateur and the writing needed work. But she and Kaz shared a good time, and he bought her an extra box of candy at theatre markup prices as an added apology.

The next morning, Tegan hand-wrote a letter to Hephaestus, a stunning gesture in a technological dystopia. Ink slid across the page, and wrapped in stationary was the best way Tegan could think of for sending love from afar.

Okay, Tegan’s gift was making the life fruit flourish and fixing bathtubs. Writing wasn’t among those gifts. So she could have been more eloquent. Oh well. The letter was saved:

Dear Hephaestus, my darling,

I remember the bed at our rental house when it was full. You always have a way of making the sheets feel so cozy and warm, but I’m all alone here. It hurts, honey! I have some friends, but I don’t feel like that’s enough at all. It hurts to not have any close family here, and especially to be away from our son.

Please give Phil an extra snuggle for me. I want this family life back. But until then, I’m stuck with my textbooks.



She licked the envelope and sealed it shut. The mail center charged her a fee to send it within three days and it was sent. In spite of the cliched yearning she felt, Tegan had a job to do for the rest of the semester. From what I heard, passing college is indeed its own job.

Not that I’d know, but we’ll get to that story later, considering that it had nothing to do with Tegan the student.

Semesters flew by, as is their nature. Again, that’s more of a second-hand thing. They fly by more when you’re actually focused on passing, like Tegan was. She rejected any of Annette’s offers to take some bribe money to make the term easier, so it was spent sitting on a pile of expensive textbooks and once falling asleep in the research greenhouse.

Those days where Tegan had a full load of lectures and labs to attend and when the best food option was microwave ramen with half a boiled egg did not make for good narrative material.

I could perhaps include the ways she de-stressed after those long days of lectures? The New Simland winter raged on as her lab work did too, and the fluffy white powder coated the Quad six inches deep or even more. Her long coat often dragged across the snow. It got caught in the fur trimming, clumping up in balls.

However, the snow was a fun thing for Tegan. She fell back into the cushioning blanket of snow and made a snow angel right near what was probably the footpath underneath all the snow. It took the edge off observing coffee berries in the greenhouse.

Besides that and taking apart the telly in the house to get the tubes inside for a friend, Tegan didn’t have much fun by herself. The strange thing was that she made a lot of friends that semester. That, coming from a woman who had a bad habit of ignoring hers back in Twinbrook when faced with her own problems. Aside from feeling sore after making the bad choice of wearing high heels to a long lab session, Tegan didn’t have too many problems. Or, perhaps, she made friends because of a problem.

First, it was doing the impossible. Tegan’s cousin Jerri was her age, and had plenty of life left in her. And maybe Jerri forgot about her distant connection to the noble, prestigious (okay) Waverlys, enough to shun Tegan so coldly. So Tegan called up her uncle, over the landline, to see what Jerri might have liked.

“The gym,” he said, flatly. Tegan observed her soft frame again, giving her ample hips a squeeze.

“Well, I guess I don’t. Surely she likes something else,” said Tegan.

“Maybe the paranormal? Lily called me once and mentioned that you worked in that back at home. Everyone loves a good ghost story.”

“Yeah, but where can I approach her at?”

Apparently inviting Jerri over one night did the trick. She arrived with a scowl on her face and all of her rippling muscles tensed up, ready to make sure that Tegan didn’t bother her again. Tegan waved a flashlight around.

“What the hell?” Jerri asked.

“I heard that you like ghost stories. Or that everyone does. Anyways, I have a bunch,” said Tegan.

“Oh yeah, weren’t you the ghost hunter? I always thought that was a junk job.”

“I’ve seen some real things, or am I just a good storyteller? Look, I know we got off on the wrong foot, but I want to make things right before I graduate.”

“How many cousins do I have?” Jerri asked. “I mean, you live with grandpa. Surely you might know more.”

“Just four, including me, and cousin Marshall is missing in action. I thought it would be more too.”

“So it’s you or nothing?” Jerri asked.


“I’ll give it a try. Give me your best story.”

Tegan put on her best ghost story face. “It all started with...with the house my grandmother lived in.” She was referring to the old Prudence house, which scared a newcomer after they found something unknown messing with the swings in the front yard. After a frantic call to the Paranormal Profiteers, they sent Tegan on the job without knowing her family background (don’t blame them; the Prudences were hardly a footnote in Twinbrook’s history).

“Apparently a few people died in that house years beforehand. I didn’t know who they could be, and why just assume that they were related at all?” Tegan continued. “I still tiptoed in and listened around, until it felt like something tapped me on the shoulder. That happens, and I turned around to find nothing behind me, nothing in front. But for a split second, maybe half an hour later, an old man looked like he was sitting on the couch and inviting me for a chat. I didn’t hear much of what he said at first, and I didn’t sit down with him, I felt like I had a job to do.”

“Then he said something I understood. How’s Pansy’s daughter doing? He must have recognized me from my skin color. And my mum always made sure to tell me about grandmother. I whipped out my weapon and prepared to suck him up, but he asked me for something. Does she have my class ring? Pansy and I got into a fight and she took it from me. I then realized that I was sent to banish the ghost of my great-uncle, Parker. I couldn’t fight him.”

Jerri shuddered in her seat on the floor. “Did you fear for your life?” she asked, whispering.

“Oh, no I didn’t. I called my mum and she found the ring hidden away in a drawer. I threw it into the house and he was gone forever after that. I then told my boss that some hooligan was messing with the house instead, considering that I didn’t come back with anything for him to dispose of.”

“Was that the only one?” Jerri asked. “The only one with family, that is.”

“My husband’s father’s old home was haunted once too, but I was a little more ruthless there,” said Tegan. “I didn’t know them anyways. Well, that was fun. You want to stay longer?”

“Only if I have to.”

“We have a trampoline in the yard.”

And that was all Tegan needed to win her cousin over.

Other friends came easier than Jerri did, and didn’t try to kiss her during a selfie either. As for the alien man (apparently another guy named Cole), Tegan probably bonded over the woes of being off-colored. Other guys and girls implored for her tutoring help. Some made for great partners for doing the crossword puzzles over coffee. But Tegan had a batch of good friends for the first time in a long time, which, for some, would be indicative of academic slouching.

For Tegan, she had the 3.7 average for the semester that she dreamed of, even after making friends. The piece of parchment paper that she was handed at the late graduation ceremony proved that she really did have it all. She needed a college degree no matter what, but while writing this, I wondered: why the friends at university? Twinbrook always had newcomers coming and going, as well as those native to the area.

Her new need for friendship was an untold part of the story at first, taking a backseat to Tegan telling me “don’t worry, the point is that I graduated and it was the fourth-best day of my life.”

I goaded her into telling me this. She found a letter that she always kept under her bed for safe keeping. “Because you won’t stop bugging me about this,” she said. “This is why I decided to get a lot more social.”

The handwriting was illegible. I handed it back to her with a discontented scowl.

“It’s not that bad,” she said.

“Then read it to me. It was written by your husband, after all.”

“Fine there, grumpy-pants. And this is only because you’re the only one we can find to do this job.”

Dear Tegan, my lovely Peapod,

I’m sad to hear that you miss me. Shouldn’t life be full of people, with spouses just being a bonus? I don’t feel that way either, and I dearly miss you for that reason. But I think I should be honest.

I’m not dying, or at least I don’t think I am. What will the future hold, though? The doctor’s note said that I’m on borrowed time no matter how well I’m doing because, quite simply, I’m old. I want you to enjoy your eternal life, with or without me, and I think the key is friends. You used to have so many! And sometimes I saw you at home, seeming empty with a life just revolving around a few people. DO I want to haunt the world after I die and see you like that? No! I’d love to see you remarried and a star party hostess, and the most beloved scientist at the lab and at work outings.

That’s right, I’d rather see you remarried than lonely. Twinbrook has a lot of bachelors, and the university does as well. Do your best to find those people.

But until then, I’m at home and missing you. Phil does too.



“It depressed me to read at first, but as you know, it left an impact on me,” said Tegan. “And all of us, in the long run. I haven’t even told your father about it. He’d hate me for it, as if he doesn’t for a lot of things.”

“Just another secret to keep,” I said. “Whatever. No guarantees that I even publish this book.”

I thought about it later, especially in regards to the linear narrative I had so far for her. It was the progression of a shy, lovesick young woman into something of a social butterfly who could out-dance quite a few of us at the club.

Who would lead her into that but friends?

Surely, she needed them, even just as something to look forward to.

Word Count for this chapter: 2,690
Word Count so far: 245,235

So I've been delaying far more than I wanted to. Playing on my new computer is so, so much fun. Much more than writing. However, the next chapter is the first one of the story to be shot on my new machine!

For those two new projects I did teasers for around Christmas time, having to do a move to a new computer has delayed them, but one of them is making progress. Keep your eyes peeled.
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 116, 1/16)
« Reply #536 on: January 22, 2015, 08:53:46 PM »
Yes, nearly a week without updates with none immediately in sight.

Do I have reasons? Sure.

1. I complained about some horrible neck pain in May/June. It comes back a lot, and this past weekend was one of those times. I don't want to do anything when I'm in pain.

2. In the mean time, I was playing a 4x4...where the file corrupted. So I started it broke before I could even make it useful. That brought me down.

3. January is always a bad time of the year for me, as it tends to bring up some bad thoughts/memories. Whining about it to my girlfriend helps, but it has its limits.

4. Some chapters are just plain difficult to write, and Chapter 117 is one of the harder ones. New characters are introduced, and the plot takes a sharp swerve into "you definitely didn't play this during the dynasty, Trip" territory.
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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 116, 1/16)
« Reply #537 on: January 27, 2015, 06:19:32 AM »
That evil Phil was such a cute toddler and I'm going to be like everyone else when I say Piper is stunning. Sorry to hear about your problems and hope you feel better soon, this is such an epic dynasty so I'll read whenever you feel like updating  :D
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Offline Tiamet

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 116, 1/16)
« Reply #538 on: January 27, 2015, 09:20:55 AM »
Hang in there, Trip.  We're all behind you!

Offline Turoskel

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 116, 1/16)
« Reply #539 on: January 28, 2015, 01:56:15 PM »
Just caught up on this, thank you for the mention I have to admit when I saw Bryant that very scene with Laurel came to mind  :D

I'm glad your new computer is working out, and that your hard drive survived the coffee incident, and I hope you feel better in yourself soon too.