77. Bitter Sweet Symphony

Content warning: Artie has a bit of a potty mouth; brace yoself, kk.

Last chapter…

Marketa said some real mean stuff about Deshret while free-ballin (boobin?) in a pool and giving Sabit a Stern Dressing Down about slacking off mystic spymaster duties (or some shit); later Sabit showed up at Desh’s breezy digs and said hi in a creepy kind of way.

Desh got the heebie jeebies (understandable).

Also, Kebechet walked through the jungle in an unsafe way and got scolded by a (naked) Anubis who was just trying to be a good guy in his own way…it kind of got weird, though, when she told him about the boom boom plan. Faces were made. Incredulity was had.

Onward!


Balsam

“Excuse me, Mistress, but is now an inconvenient time to speak with you about an important matter?”

Balsam waited for Madame Pennyroyal to be done using her mouth so that she might answer him; he was, if nothing else, a very patient man…

…Though she certainly did take her time with her captive satyr.

“Prim! Is that my offspring?” Gasped the creature, when at last she released him.

“No, Cornelius, as I have already told you, our Perseus is no longer among the living; this is my Familiar, Balsam Reed.”

“Are you certain? He looks a great deal like me–”

“He really doesn’t,” for all that the Mistress seemed to have been enjoying her paramour’s company only moments earlier, Balsam recognized her tone of Long Suffering Disapproval.

Cornelius would do well not to persist; that was a tone that had previously led to at least two other beings having been turned into amphibians.

“Perseus is just there, over the mantle, if you wish to see his portrait,” she added.

Many would think her stiff, or perhaps unfeeling, but Balsam could hear the deep sorrow etched on her words; it continued to pain his heart that she suffered so.

“Oh no,” huffed the creature, “that can’t be right! He doesn’t resemble me at all–”

“You had a question for me, pet?” The Mistress asked, rather sharply.

“Not a question, I’m afraid,” if only it were that, “regretfully, I must inform you that I am with child–”

“Again?!”

That was her Flustered and/or Disappointed Surprise; it had yet to lead to anyone’s direct demise, but you never knew if it were going to morph into Irrevocably Incensed.

“My most profound apologies, Mistress, I assure you it was not intentional–”

“Remind me, once more, why we decided not to have you spayed?”

“I-I do believe it would actually be neutered, Mistress,” he considered for a moment, “well, most likely? In any case, I had promised to be more careful in the future–”

“Yes, and that seems to have worked out terribly well, hasn’t it?”

“You’re so beautiful when you’re angry, my verdant succubus–”

“Cornelius, I do believe it that may be time for you to leave.”

“But we didn’t even get to make boom boom–!”


“Er–never mind, you are correct, I should go,” ah, so the creature did have some instincts of self-preservation after all.

“Let me know if you’d like to play catch sometime, son!”


“It’s like this big, ok.”

“For your sake, Mistress, I hope so.”

“Yes, well, let’s go mix you some prenatal potions then, you troublesome creature,” she huffed, “and you can tell me who the father is, and how this happened, and then I can decide whether or not I need to go turn someone into a toad.”

For all her gruff complaints, Balsam knew he was fortunate to serve a witch who cared so much for his well being; truth be told, he wasn’t certain that she did not think of him as a secondary child, in the way one does, sometimes, with pets.

“I am certain toading will not be necessary this time, Mistress,” it would not be fair to lay the blame for these circumstances at the Osiris boy’s feet, “unless, of course, you are very cross with me.”

“Your doing, was it?  Explain.”

And so he did, in the most sensitive manner possible, considering the late Mastress Oly’s involvement in the situation.

And when he had recounted the tale as faithfully, and carefully, as possible, Madame Pennyroyal gave him one of her Very Stern Glares, and said simply; “I see.”

“I do hope you will forgive me, Mistress, for not disclosing this to you earlier; I had thought it, ultimately, inconsequential,” he sighed, “until it became apparent that there were indeed, consequences.”

“Yes, well; you will take your potions as I prescribe, and avoid performing any dangerous experiments for the remaining term, do I make myself clear?”

“As a scrying bucket, my lady,” relief washed over him, though he had not truly expected her to react especially poorly.

“And I do apologize for interrupting your private time with Master Cornelius; that was rather thoughtless of me–”

“Never mind that, it was a foolish notion to begin with,” she grumbled, “I am not immune to ill conceived spontaneity when in distress.”

“I know that I cannot replace my son, truly…or perhaps it was only a desire to escape reality for a few moments, but I–”

“There is no need to explain, Mistress; grief leads us down many strange paths, at times, and you are free to plunder as many idiotic but well-endowed satyrs as you require, if it helps you get through the day.”

“Thank you Balsam,” she murmured, “I know I do not say it often, but you are the finest Familiar a witch could ask for…repeat accidental pregnancies aside, truly.”

Madame Pennyroyal let him pull her into a tight embrace; sometimes even very powerful ancient sorceresses just needed a nice hug.


Artemis

“Still abed?” Sighed Selene. Artemis wondered why she even asked, because duh; pretty clearly still in bed, yeah. “I was hoping to have a sisterly discussion with you–”

“I’m not in the mood.”

Obviously.

“But you are never in the mood!” Huffing this time, or at least a pretty aggressive sigh.

“Apparently I’m grieving; it’s what people do.”

Can’t a girl just wallow in peace?

“I do understand what it is to grieve–”

“You sure about that? Because it seems like you’ve been MIA mostly,” okay, maybe that was insensitive, Selene loved Oly too, right? People grieved in different ways, or something; some folks flopped around in bed eternally others, apparently, like to tart up and disappear for days on end. Whatever.

The older girl was quiet for a moment, did she finally fuck off? Artemis felt a slight pang of guilt; she wasn’t looking to be an ass, but damn.

The bed sank a little as Selene planted her rump.

‘Apparently not fleeing after all,’ the pang of guilt made way for a hint of relief. Weird.

“Artemis–”

“Look, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a bitch, okay? Just want to be left alone–”

Why was that so hard to understand?

“I certainly never wished for you to end up so sad, little sister,” crooned Selene, “I am sorry that your witch-lover died; I suppose it is best not to get attached to people that are not your family.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Nothing ever would again; not one goddess-damned thing ever again…

“Family is forever, Artemis; you should feel better knowing that your family–”

The younger woman felt a spark of irritation, and roused herself to sit up; clearly this chick wasn’t going to take a hint anyway.

“That my family what?” Artemis growled at her, “dad disappeared years ago, Mosi’s been stolen by a vampire, mom is going bonkers, and you’re acting like a massive weirdo! My family is fucked.”

“I am not a weirdo!” Grumbled the weirdo.

“Piss on that, Lena, you’ve been acting like a nut job ever since the morning of…”

Artemis took a steadying breath, “well, you know…”

Why was this so hard.  Stupid Oly.  Stupid feelings; no one needed this shit.

“Once again, I am sorry for that,” Lena offered, sympathetically, “I do not enjoy seeing you suffer.”

“It’s not your fault.”

‘It’s my fault for letting that idiot get under my skin–‘

“…indeed.”

“Do you even miss Oly? I mean I know you guys had some awkwardness going on–”

“We did, yes, a great deal of awkwardness–”

“I mean, look at you! No hate, because that top is bangin’, but you went from mouse to peacock overnight, and I know I’ve been dealing with my own shit lately, but it’s not like I don’t notice how you’re never home now.”

“I simply feel pleased to be alive, I suppose it’s manifesting itself in the way I–”

“And I can’t remember the last time I heard you use a contraction, and wearing sunglasses all the time…are you having a mental break?”

Shit, was she an asshole who didn’t realize her sister was crying out for help?

“I…have no explanation for those things, perhaps–”

“Holy fuck, you are having a mental break! And here I am all ‘go away Lena’,” great, asshole sister of the year! “Oly was your best friend, awkward shit or not!”

Should she offer her a hug or something?

“Crap, Lena, I’m so sorry, I’ve been all wrapped up in my own–”

“I appreciate your concern, Artemis, but that is not why I came to speak with you.”

“Oh, do you want me to like, find you a therapist, or…?”

“I do not need therapy, sister, I wanted to ask if I could help you with your necromancy project–”

“Um, fuck what?”

Artemis’s thoughts jumbled together, and a fresh wave of sorrow hit her in the chest as she remembered what she and Oly had been working on together.  But why the hell would Lena–

“I know it may seem like a peculiar thing to offer, considering I am not a witch myself–”

Fucking A it was ‘peculiar’.  A weird sort of feeling settled in her gut, out of the blue.

Looking back later, she couldn’t say exactly what prompted the lie in that moment, it just seemed to slip out from nowhere.

“Well, I’m not doing that shit anymore, sorry; burned my notes, gave the books back to the witches, etc.”

“Why would you do such a foolish thing?!”

Selene’s sudden anger unearthed a mass of unhappy butterflies in Artie’s stomach, and the weird feeling expanded.

“Wow, you’re super mad about that, huh?”

“Of course I am angry!”

“I–wanted to share this work with you, Artemis!”  For the first time in her life, Selene seemed to shake with rage, “for us to work on something together that was meaningful to our mutual friend!”

The older girl stood up suddenly and flew from the room, “I cannot speak with you any longer, you have sullied her memory!”

‘…her?’

That was some Grade A Fuckery right there; Selene should know better!  Was this some kind of spontaneous personality disorder?

A sudden urge to check on her research notes surfaced.

It occurred to Artie, on the way to her father’s old storage room, that she hadn’t heard her sister say Oly’s name ever since the incident.  Was it relevant?  It sure as hell felt relevant…but why?  Was some messed up crap being allowed to go on while she was busy being all hung up over her friend’s death?

Maybe…but what kind of crap even?  Seriously, what harm could someone with a personality disorder even do that trumped all the crazy shit that had just gone down?

‘Feels like I’m freaking out over nothing…’

It was possible logical thinking wasn’t going to be thing until she was over this grief bullshit.

‘Whatever, I’ll check on the notes and then have a nap,’ maybe more sleep would sort out this random queasiness.

Artie hadn’t so much hidden them as she had stashed them away; looking at the work she and Oly had done together had been too painful, or something, but she’d also lacked the courage to get rid of it entirely.

A quick glance at her grandmother’s portrait sent all thoughts of research skittering away like a herd of startled rabbits.

“Oh my shit…Lena…” suddenly everything, and nothing, started to make sense.

In the worst possible way.


Footnotes:

Oh that Artemis, being all vague and stuff; luckily there’s pictures!  Looks like she has a real pickle on her hands now, though…enjoy that, Artie 😉

In case anyone was wondering (probably not, but you never know); the witches wear fancy, white clothes during a mourning period, so that’s why they’re all looking like they’re about to get weirdly married.

HAPPY SIMMING!!

25 thoughts on “77. Bitter Sweet Symphony

  1. LOL, poor long-suffering Prim. “It’s like this big.” ROFL. Hung like a satyr! Can’t blame a woman in mourning. Cornelius’s antics cracked me up…aww, denying his own son (and thinking Balsam is his son instead).

    Also cracking me up: the fact that this apparently isn’t Balsam’s first pregnancy. What I wouldn’t do to find out about the others, LOL. At least he’s a good familiar in other ways? Looking forward to the kittens. 😉

    Artie and not-Lena’s conversation was entertaining too–well, when I wasn’t feeling bad for Artie, if only she could see bb-Oly–because yes, Lena’s acting like a giant weirdo. Excited for Artie’s eureka moment–and curious how she’ll handle it… Save Lena (and bb-Oly)!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The things we do for satyr bits, eh Prim? (I know I would 😀 ) Cornelius is a special boy, lol; is he really that dumb? Or maybe just in denial, but I’d claim Balsam as my kiddo too, he super cute, and alive!

      I love the idea of Balsam being like an unfixed pet who constantly gets out and ends up preggo, and then they have to adopt the bab(ies) out just like you would if you had a frisky barn cat 😮

      If anyone can figure some shit out and possible save folks, it’s our Artie! She may be potty mouthish, but she’s a smart cookie! There’s hope for Lena and Oly yet ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Omg Balsam you naughty lil thing! Getting knocked up more than once 😂❤️ (obviously the Mosi babies will be superior tho ❤️❤️❤️) Poor Prim. It was sad to see her going through this (but fun to see that satyr in action hehe love that cc 😉 ). But such a sweet little moment between her and Balsam at the end

    But even moreso… poor Artie! it really struck me when she pointed out how broken and messed up her family has become. And then she lost her love on top of that. Poor girl probably feels like she has nothing anymore 😢

    I was so excited to see her have that little discovery at the end though! I have faith in her detective skills. Please help right all of this madness, Artie! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OFC Mosi bab(ies) will be superior!
      Best bab(ies) ever ❤
      I knew you'd enjoy that Balsam/Prim moment, aww; family hugs are the best hugs! Prim is a tough lady, she'll pull through, but I like to think it'll be a kinder journey with Balsam by her side ❤

      Man, I know, I hadn't realized how hard I'd been on this family until I had to spell it all out like that… yerg!
      Stuff can still be fixed though! There's time! Mabye…
      Well, if anyone can pull her shit together and go fix a thing, it's Artie; she's made of stern stuff (and swear words).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Balsam interrupted Prim getting some giant boom boom.. shame on him. Wonder who his other “kids” were? Hmmmm…..but it’s sweet she wants to take care of him and not turn Mosi into a toad.

    But Artemis does have a royally fucked up family now. Even more so than she realized….it really is sad. 😢. Then that picture at the end….dun dun dunnnn. Now what is she going to do and who will she get to help her?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s unlikely we’ll ever talk about the ‘other kids’ again, so I’ll just straight up tell you that they were rando mortals who died long ago, but like a naughty barn cat, sometimes Balsam gets out and finds himself in a pickle that results in a new babby (tsk).

      Never fear, Artie got dis, and she’s not one to take any chances when something important is on the line or she’s in way over her head; I think it’s likely she’ll do the right thing here 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it!!
      Omg, it took me forever to do it, because unlike a smart person, I don’t look up photoshop tutorials, I just go in, guns blazing, and click on stuff (while frantically spamming ‘undo’)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Loved it, so totally worth the undo spam!

        Meh, I’m even lazier than that and just purchase photoshop actions to do it all for me in the push of a button… and a few brush strokes.

        Apart from the lens flare thingees from the explodey chapters, I got that shit down pat! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Prim! How could you say no to your delectable satyr! Well, I guess he’ll be waiting for you in the bedroom after you’ve had your sweet moment with your son…I mean, familiar. 😏

    I love how she evokes fear and sympathy with Balsam. Some of those faces! Rofl! The ancient witch sure is fierce! No one mess with her! Seriously. 🤬

    And Selene is too weird for words. But what will Artie do with her newfound knowledge? Loved the twist painting at the end. Dun…dun…DUUUUN!

    Get Oly back (oh yeah, and Selene!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have faith that our Primmy will get right back on that wagon (satyr) in no time; she’s a champ 😉
      You know how it is, kids walk in just as things are heating up, instant mood kill, but you sort out their little issue and then you go find that mood again 😈

      Silly Balsam, he’s wise to be wary of her, but he doesn’t realize he’s exempt from all toadings, seeing as he’s her baby too; even Irrevocably Incensed wouldn’t induce her to toad him ❤

      Believe you me, #1 on Artie's list rn is sorting out this weirdness… tho she don't know about Oly yet 😮 but won't that be a fun surprise!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nooboos WitcHazard: Yay! Nooboos! No matter how unique the situation!

    Dark WitcHazard: So Mosi knocked up the familiar well I guess he lucked out of child support with the whole kidnapping thing! Also see Artie your sister has been body snatched and nobody noticed talk about easy prey!

    Lover WitcHazard: She may not be the real Selene but she knows how to dress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Balsam is pleased that someone is happy about his oopsie nooboo! ❤
      (I pleased too; I love this nooboo)

      It's true, wow, bonus there Mosi, on the child support!
      All this crap going on, and stuff is falling by the way side; not cool guys… at least we get to enjoy Selene dressed up in tall boots and short skirts tho 😀

      Like

  6. Holy BALLS, gaaaaaaah! This was a funny, yet chilling chapter. You are getting really good at the creepy factor, my friend! I loved that Artie noted that Lena doesn’t use contractions, first and foremost, that made me snort. 😀 It’s almost like she’s talking to a prehistoric human instead of her triplet…!

    Balsam, BAD KITTY!! Now we have t set up a box for you under the stairs or…whatever. How do pregnant familiars give birth? Hmm. I guess we will find out. And is it a girl kitten or a boy kitten? Or lots of kittens? And how will Mosi Blue feel about being a father?! Or is it mother? Again, I’m new at this!

    ‘Eyyyyyyyyy, white-wearing mourners, I dig! I did think that Pam–um, Prim was rather fancied up, but then again, she’s a fancy-dancy old witch, it didn’t even occur to me that she was wearing anything unusual!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I mean, Artie would’ve noticed some shit sooner but she was so sad and stuff and it’s so easy to not notice things like a lack of contractions when ur all sad and flopping around in bed (poor kiddo).

      LOL, Balsam sitting in a giant box; that’s a fun visual… he’d look super sad ofc (bc he knows he’s a naughty kitty), like those doggos that pose in front of the ripped up couches.

      Prim is super fancy. The fanciest. ❤
      And all the balls are holy, yes, 'tis true!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry for the late comment!

    Prim’s looking gorgeous, as always!
    Also I really love how you always get the right facial expressions. It’s impressive!

    I kinda fear for Artie… she’s onto something, let’s hope, possessed Lena won’t find out? I watched too many horror/thriller movies, probably, but I hope Artie’s not your next victim!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries! Comments are not obligatory (but I do lubs dems ❤ )

      Prim IS looking pretty fine (if I do say so myself)! And me taking screenshots is akin to a lioness stalking her prey in the tall grass with her finger poised over the pause button 😀

      Oh man, I'm pretty sure I would not be forgiven if 'Selene' offed Artie… which means I should totally do it? Eh…
      We'll see 😀

      ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Madame Pennyroyal is mourning alright but it’s over not getting that hairy satyr dick and Balsam being a slutty, slutty son. Where art thou abortion potions.

    Like

    1. Also Artie is acting like me whenever a lesbian dies in fiction and I catch wind of it. But knowing the shenanigans in Lena’s head and Spud’s cucumber patches, she might perk up.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So man kitteh finally admitted to being preggers. I’m kinda proud of Prim for not freaking out and going kinda mama bear on him. In a sort of demeaning way, but there was affection.
    Poor, awesome Artie. She’s gonna get this. Or she’s gonna be up to her eyes in shit too. I never know with you. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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