What happens when one is raised by two medieval history fanatics? A lot of things, really. Especially when those two fanatics tend to delight in bringing up all the famous warriors-male and female- in their family tree. Of course, if half of what they say is true, their family tree is quite diverse and most likely impossible…
But be that as it may, they instill a sense of pride in their only offspring. That offspring grew into a fairly self-assured young woman, but with an almost unhealthy obsession with the past, specifically with the heroes and- in particular- the heroines of history. After all, being named after a nearly mythical female figure of Chinese history might make one fairly curious.
This is Mulan Rampart.
As much as she loved her parents, when it was time for her to leave home, she got as far away from them as it was possible to be. But when one has their heads so far into the past, they don’t realize what living in the modern era entails. So after spending most of the money her parents gave her to get to Willow Creek, Mulan arrived at the plot of land she’d purchased. She’d thought for sure that the ad in the paper had said there was at least a small shack on the property… except, when she got there, there was nothing. Just an empty lot.
Mulan rubbed a hand over the back of her neck. “Well, this isn’t quite what I thought it would be…”
The voice: This is why you shouldn’t buy a home or land off a website like SimsList.
The girl froze. “Who said that?” She whirled around, trying to find who the voice belonged to.
The voice: I did. Don’t worry, you won’t find me there. You can call me… Wolf. Or Watcher, though Watcher is just too formal.
“Wait… Watcher? As in the one that supposedly controls all our lives?”
Wolf: In a manner of speaking, yeah.
“Huh… well, then.” She pursed her lips. “I mean, I’ve read enough about the Watcher to know that various cultures across the board have acknowledged your existence, but…”
Wolf: Don’t worry, you aren’t crazy. Or at least not any crazier than any other Sim. You guys are a bit nuts, after all.
“Gee, thanks… So uh… why are you talking to me, exactly?”
Wolf: You have been chosen from among many different Sims. Don’t ask why. Then we’re really getting into fourth-wall territory and we’re already milking that pretty heavily now. Suffice it to say that you’re just that lucky.
Wolf: You’ll get used to it. Or you’ll go bat-mad crazy… either way, should be entertaining for me.
That was met with absolute silence.
Wolf: *long sigh* That was a joke… really.
“Why doesn’t that reassure me?”
Wolf: Because maybe you are the world’s first sensible Sim?
“Can you at least make yourself useful? What am I supposed to do about this? It’s a field!”
Wolf: Well, if you don’t want to go through what little money ya got left, think ya should get a job first.
“A job? What kind of a job?”
Wolf: Well, according to my sources, you like to write, don’t ya? Here’s someone asking for a Writing Assistant. Says here that you get a free computer out of the deal on your first day.
“Free computer? Sold!”
The girl brought out the cell phone that her parents had agreed to keep paying for and dialed the number the voice gave her. “Hello? Hi, my name is Mulan. Mulan Rampart. You’re still looking for a writing assistant, right? Uh huh, yup. Oh, only that much? Well, that’s fine. I can start tomorrow. Great! See ya then!”
She hung up and then sighed. “Seriously, only $25 an hour?”
Wolf: Beggars can’t be choosers, there dear.
“Yeah, yeah. Hm… so, now what?”
Wolf: Oh c’mon, I’m here to help, not do everything for you!
“Yeesh, touchy… ok then. Off to the library!” Mulan sauntered off and after a short jaunt, soon found herself in front of the Willow Creek Library.
A huge smile lit her face. Books were some of her favorite things in the whole world. And the smell of old books, that mix of vanilla and slight acidity, ink and old leather. It was heaven for her. She pulled a book off the shelf, and sat down, letting out a satisfied sigh.
Several hours had gone by, though Mulan didn’t notice it. Not until she felt a rumbling in her stomach. She looked up. “Hey, uh… Wolf, right? What am I supposed to do for food?”
Wolf: There’s a bar, club-thing just down the street. Go grab some of their chips for now. I’m working on getting things set up at your home, sweet home.
She thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, I’ll do that. But first, need to check my email. Since I won’t get this computer until I actually go to work, might as well use the computers here while I can, right?” She didn’t wait for the voice to answer her. She slid over to the empty computer next to her and booted up the machine.
A few people came and went as she hammered away on the keys.
Wolf: What are you actually working on, anyway?
“Nothing much. Just working off some writing prompts. A bit rusty. Haven’t written much in the last few months. Need to get back into it.”
Wolf: Ok, then. Hey, uh… see any guys you like by any chance?
“What? Guys? What are you talking about?”
Wolf: Oh nothing… Just thinking that you might want to keep an eye out. Ya never know. I’m not insinuating anything, really…
“Ooo-k… I’m not going to ask,” Mulan decided.
Wolf: Probably for the best.
Mulan was working on one of her prompts when someone took the vacant computer next to her. She’d done a little bit of chatting during her time there so far, but had mostly kept to herself. After all, even Sims found it odd when one talked to themselves. And when she wasn’t talking to Wolf, she was talking to herself and grumbling about a verb or a subordinate clause every so often. “Hi there.”
She looked up at the sound of the voice, blinking. “Hi. Sorry, was I being loud?”
The man who had sat down smiled at her. “No, not at all.” He offered his hand. “I’m Camron, Camron Kirk. I’m new in the area.”
“I’m Mulan, Mulan Rampart. Nice to meet you Camron. What brings you to Willow Creek?”
“Needed a change of scenery. You?”
“The same. Where are you staying?”
“With a few friends. Temporary arrangements, though. How about you?”
Mulan hesitated. “I uh… I have my own place, actually. It’s not much at the moment-“ More like it was a field, but he didn’t need to know that. Wolf had said that she was taking care of that, right? “-but it’s home right now.”
“That’s great!” He looked at his watch. “Oh crap! I gotta go!” He stood up. “Hey, hope to see ya around?”
She grinned, one corner of her mouth going up in a goofy expression. “Sure, yeah.”
He waved as he left. Wolf: He seemed nice. And he’s awfully cute too.
The blush crept up Mulan’s cheeks before she could stop it. “Oh, was he? Hardly noticed. He was nice, though.” She went back to typing.
Wolf: Uh huh, sure you didn’t notice. Weren’t you going to get food?
“Oh yeah, that’s right! I was, wasn’t I?” She stood up and shoved her seat under the table. She went out the library door then stopped. Her eyes lit up when she saw a now familiar figure standing outside of the bar. “Camron?”
He turned. He had changed, it seemed. Mulan couldn’t help but think about how good he looked in that cowboy hat.
“Hey there! Fancy meeting you here. Decided to go out on the town?”
Mulan wasn’t about to admit that she had no other way to eat, so she just laughed. “Yeah, thought I’d see what the town has to offer.”
Camron smiled at her. “Well, I have to go meet my friend. Maybe I’ll see you inside?”
“Sure!” Mulan winced as he turned away, hoping she didn’t sound overly eager. She made her own escape inside where the noise and the smell of slightly stale beer and cheap bar food washed over her. She managed to snag a seat at the bar and ordered a thing of chips right away, seeing as how that was the cheapest thing there. As she nibbled on them, the guy next to her leaned over a bit.
“Well, aren’t you a breath of fresh air,” he murmured, his voice a soft purr. “I’m J. You are?”
Mulan wasn’t completely naïve. She knew a line when she heard it. Still, he was cute, in a debonair, but slightly unreliable way. Couldn’t hurt to talk with him and it’s not like she had many friends in Willow Creek. “I’m Mulan. Mulan Rampart. Nice to meet you, J.”
Someone called his name and he turned away. Mulan shrugged and finished eating her chips. She really hoped that Wolf was as good as her word. Deciding that she’d give her a bit more time, Mulan wandered out to the outer room where someone was playing some blues on the piano. She suddenly found herself between two male figures. J and Camron!
Camron waved at her. “She’s pretty good, isn’t she?” he mentioned, indicating the singer/pianist.
Mulan grinned. “She is!”
J butted in a bit. “You like the blues, Mulan?”
“Yeah, mostly,” she conceded. She didn’t miss the look he was giving Camron. And she couldn’t stop the blush as it warmed her cheeks. But just as before, J’s name got called and he wandered off, leaving her with Camron. It didn’t seem to bother Camron one little bit, since he’d been giving J a look of his own.
“Wanna have a seat?”
“Sure.” Mulan tried a nonchalant shrug, but she noticed the pitter-patter of her heart as she took a seat at the table with Camron.
“How were the chips?” he asked her.
She looked surprised. Then she laughed. “A bit stale and certainly over-salted but not bad over-all.”
He laughed. “Yeah, well… this isn’t exactly fine cuisine, ya know?”
“No, it certainly isn’t. You like to cook?”
He nodded. “Yes, I do.”
“Yeah, I’m a chef, or training to be one, anyway.” He grimaced. “At the moment, I’m a dishwasher. But gotta start somewhere, right?”
That started their conversation done a fairly creative vein with Mulan telling him that she hoped to become a published author someday. Before she knew it, hours had gone by. She almost jumped out of her seat when Wolf’s voice was suddenly filling her head.
Wolf: Ho, ho! What’s this? You look like you’re having a good time. Mulan had all she could do to keep the blush to a minimum.
“You scared me half to death,” she muttered under her breath.
Wolf: Uh huh. Don’t worry, that’s not a death in this g- You’ll be fine. Oh what’s this? What kind of look is Camron giving to J there?
“What are you talking about?” Mulan muttered. It was good that the music was fairly loud so Camron didn’t hear her essentially talking to herself.
Wolf: Oh, I think you know. Anyway, you must be exhausted. If you can pull yourself away from those two handsome men… your little field is no longer empty!
Mulan stood up, stretching and trying to stifle a yawn. “It’s been great talking to you, Camron. I should get home, get to bed. Gotta work in the morning.”
He looked disappointed, but he covered it up with a grin. “Of course. I’ll talk to you later? Maybe we can hang out again sometime?”
Mulan grinned, ridiculously happy that he wanted to see her again. Thinking that Wolf had given her at least a half-way decent domicile, she nodded. “You bet!” She sauntered off, waving. And he couldn’t keep his eyes off her.
On the way home, Mulan couldn’t stop humming happily to herself. But it abruptly stopped and she let out a shriek. “WOLF! What is this!? Where’s my house?!”