|Beautiful sunset and moonrise over the city.|
It was also known for some of the better nightlife along the Simpacific Northwest coast ... and Nate, our budding teenage social networker, has just discovered how much fun it can be when you're on the VIP list!
|Nate discovers he has some mad DJ skillz!|
The regular DJ even asked him if he wanted to come back a couple nights a week and spin records while he's off. Nate readily accepts. He might be developing the party animal trait!
|"Awww-yeaaah, I could get used to this!"|
He and Coco hit it off immediately. She thought he was really funny, in a childish way.
|"You're a crack up Nate. This is the most fun I've had in a long time"|
Isabel's so wrapped up in her online chess competition, she doesn't really pay attention to how late it is or even when Nate got home.
|"You're going DOWN buddy ... four more moves at most ..."|
They discuss the next trip over a late night bowl of cereal and some online chatting. Nate casually suggests he might be better off staying behind in St. Claire this trip.
|"What do you mean you don't want to go with me to France? Seriously?"|
Nate explains how being onsite with her may not be the safest tactic for their operations. If he remains here, he can more easily connect with their business clients and the networks are far more secure.
|"It's like ... living under a microscope in the computer world. You have to really be cautious and cover your tracks."|
Isabel gives this some serious thought, and of course, it makes logical sense to her, so she agrees.
|"Hmm... ok. I can see your point. Plus, you could meet with people here more easily as we upload the relic files."|
Naturally, Isabel has some concerns about her little brother staying here alone. (She clearly has no idea just how much trouble Nate's intending to get into) Nate smoothly reassures her he can handle himself and that he's got everything covered.
|"No worries sis, I can take care of myself and hold down the fort while you're gone."|
Of course, there's the ever casually mentioned new nightlife hobby motivating Nate to want to stay behind as well. Careful wording helps downplay things a bit.
|"Besides, I've got a new gig making some digital music and I need a better computer setup here for sound mixing."|
Smooth moves Nate.
Plans made and reassured Nate can handle himself fine, Isabel takes off immediately for her next big job. She meets with her Mom for coffee, and asks her to keep an eye on the house (and Nate). Emma also sets Isabel up with some Parisian fashion for her trip as a "bon voyage" gift.
|Emma holding her new kitten "Pudding" and wishing Isabel bon voyage.|
Arriving in Champs Les Sims, Isabel feels quite sophisticated in the travel outfit her Mom picked out. She's thankful her Mother is up on the latest Euro-sim fashions as she herself is clueless.
The weather in France is much cooler than St. Claire, and the seasons were now changing. Isabel was thankful for matching hat, scarf, gloves and boots.
|"What a pleasant and inviting town. So different from Egypt!"|
Excited to get to work immediately, Isabel agrees to meet her new French 'contact' for relic operations at a nearby park to begin.
France also had really cute little scooters to ride around town.
|(Some weird graphical glitch caused this one to have a neon green shine to it.)|
|Careful introductions and job negotiations are required. The French are a much more uptight lot overall.|
Beatrice instructs Isabel on how to enter the catacombs beneath the nectary to retrieve a very important item she has left there and to recover any unknown relics deeper inside. Word of Isabel's success in Egypt had reached the French team and they were eager to get their hands on ancient artifacts.
Isabel's counting on getting her own hands on a lot more than they'll know exist.
|"Lets get busy!"|
The object Beatrice wants her to find is easily located on the first floor of the cellars. A baseball.
Isabel inspects it carefully and decides there is definitely something odd about this baseball. So, she leaves it behind in a small sack by the steps to retrieve on her way out as she delves deeper into the lower levels.
While definitely easier to navigate and less dirty, back-breaking work, the french catacombs are darker and somehow a lot more sinister feeling than the pyramids of Egypt.
|"This is an easy one ..."|
Isabel isn't quite sure how to describe the feeling of cold, dark silence here - but the sense of wonderment at uncovering a new hidden passageway and secret rooms full of treasure never ceases to amaze her sense of adventure and wonderment.
The sense of cold uneasiness gives way to curiosity and reflection as Isabel unlocks a hidden room by reconstructing a heart shaped keystone most unobservant explorers would have missed.
The words reflected in the blue glow read:
"L'amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie."
Her french is somewhat rudimentary at best, but Isabel is able to translate it to roughly mean:
"Love is responsible for the greatest pleasures and the worst problems in life."
|"I will definitely take that advice to heart and remember it."|
Long passageways and dark musty rooms provide many more treasures for Isabel to collect.
|This statue seems to be peering over his shoulder and saying "Hey that's MY LOOT! Hands off lady!"|
Crates upon crates of ancient Euro-sim pottery and artifacts are revealed stored in the silent cold crypts. Isabel catalogs as much as she can for later retrieval and takes the best examples for her inventory.
The next level holds a very curious tomb. Strangely realistic but obviously artificial shrubbery is designed in a maze of some sort. Throughout the maze are found various ancient relics and even more strangely, super rare bottles of nectar are scattered about. The connection to the Nectary is obvious, but who is the stranger this tomb belongs to?
|"Hmmm... this is curious!"|
Not a relic, but seemingly left here so invitingly. Isabel wants this bottle of nectar!
|One of those brief moments where your Sim seems aware of your presence, and says ... "What. are. you. looking at??"|
Upon reaching the gravestone at the center of the maze, Isabel reads the inscription and is suddenly overcome by a moment of both guilt for what she's doing for a living as well as sorrow for the loss of her Father.
The tomb reads:
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
|"Oh, I'm so sorry!"|
Crying over the tombstone mysteriously opens a hidden switch location!!
|"That was unexpected."|
Isabel regains her composure and brushes off the predictable creepy crawlies inside the hole to locate the switch.
|"Ugh. Come up with something better than bugs!"|
Descending into a very creepy hidden tomb ...
|"Did you die for this gem brave ancient Sim?"|
And through yet another series of secret hidden panels to the final tomb beyond ...
Isabel gasps in awe at the dazzling display of mystical lights and treasure near the graves.
|"This is epic!"|
She retrieves more treasure and another conspicuously placed ancient bottle of nectar.
|Our "Tomb Raider" gains many rewards and riches.|
Her inventory of treasure grows and grows ...
|"You, my fine friend, are going into my personal collection"|
Isabel thanks the ancient keepers for their treasures and concludes her exploration. On her way out she pauses to reflect and wonder if what she's doing isn't somehow just as bad as Morcucorp plundering these riches for themselves.
|"Moral obligation seems a fleeting concern in the face of great adventure, and science of course!"|
Returning to town late that evening, Isabel meets with Mademoiselle Bonnet, who is anxious to hear about more than the recovery of her baseball it seems.
And her shop seems weirdly eerie and green after the dark depths of the catacombs.
|"I don't know ... there seemed to be little else further below but some musty old crypts and a few bottles of nectar ..."|
Isabel hands over the oddly precious baseball and casually asks what such a seemingly worthless item would be doing down there and why.
|"Give me the ball please ..."|
Isabel shrugs and is about to leave when Beatrice says something that makes Isabel stop in her tracks.
"Yes, its just a baseball. A very ... special baseball. Thank you."
Hadn't she just heard Monsieur Duval the underground relic dealer say that same thing about those weird color changing jellybeans?!
Coincidence. It had to just be coincidence, right?
|"Thank you and now your extended Visa level will allow you a longer stay. There is much work to be done Ms. Twist."|
It seems she has passed her 'test' phase of the operation and will now be sent on more intriguing missions over the coming weeks or months even. Isabel hopes Nate can take care of himself this long, but that only worries her for a brief moment. There's so much to do in preparation for her next assignment here.
Isabel has some time on her hands between now and then, so she decides she'll get to know the locals, the countryside, and meet with the man Cyriaque Duval sent her to see while here as well.
There's also lots of time for some side projects. Digging for relics in the fresh air and scenic countryside is a nice change of pace.
|"This batch of relics will take weeks of work to analyze and reconstruct."|
Meanwhile, back in St. Claire. The other half of the Twist enterprise business duo is busy managing his own... affairs.
|Yeah ... we didn't see this one coming, did we Nate? =)|
HERE! (Chapter 2.9 - "Nectar Comes in at the Mouth")
Another fun tomb exploration chapter! I mixed up the sequence of events in the french catacombs so as not to be a 'walkthrough' of how it's done. There was only one minor spoiler in there, sorry!
The idea behind this chapter was to convey a sense of diversion between Nate and Isabel now that Nate has grown older and starting to find his own way in the world and test the limits of that world. It's often hard to convey a sense of time passing when in reality Sims lives play out over days instead of years!
Nate and Izzy remain close, don't worry. They will re relying on one another for a long time to come yet and things for both of them are soon to get very interesting. I know I hinted at romance, but I had to get through some of these setup scenes and tomb exploration first. Romance (and other surprises) are in next chapter, I promise!