I shout at my incompetent minion. “Why did you fail to rearrange the plasma fruit stock in the fridge? A WHOLE BATCH HAS SPOILED!”
“I’m sorry, Doc!” Preston cowers with fear, making that awful noise with his armor again. “I didn’t understand what you meant by ‘arranging the fruits in FIFO’!”
“And what did you think it meant?” I cross my arms, giving Preston a piercing look.
“…that I’d arrange the fruits in the fridge to look like the letters ‘FIFO’ in order?”
“It means ‘First In, First Out,’ you blunderbuss! Put the older plasma fruit up front and the newer ones at the back! Imagine my face when I opened the fridge door with the letters ‘FIFO’ greeting me!” I slam my fist on the folding table set up for the meeting that we have tonight. I almost forgot what we were going to discuss for the meeting since my daughter had to take a shower first. Tonio and Park laugh at Preston for being a fool.
“Sorry I’m late, Papa.” Dominica enters the big room, tossing a wet towel on a vacant chair in one corner. “I wanted to feel clean. I’m still getting used to the dingy conditions here.”
“You really take after your mother.” I just shake my head and focus on the task at hand. “Anyway, let’s begin while the night is still young.”
I clear my throat.
“As you all know, San Myshuno has always been ruled by the Feng Clan from the underground. Recently however, they’ve started attacking vampire hideouts and have bought out most of the Guild there.” I point to an area on the map of San Myshuno on the table.
“The Fengs.” Antonio says with a tone of anger.
“The Fengs didn’t bother with us vampires before, but it appears that they now know of our existence. We’ve heard reports of vampires being captured and burned to death by sunlight as well as Feng gangsters scouring almost every part of the city, indiscriminately targeting any person whom they suspect is a vampire. Whoever is behind this must be a Feng of great influence and has knowledge of our kind.” Preston yawns as I speak.
“Both the League and the Association have grown concerned over the issue, so they’ve issued a travel warning for all vampires not to go to San Myshuno unless they have essential business.” I continue and permit my daughter to ask a question.
“What about our friends there?”
“They will have to fend for themselves until the League can provide assistance.” I tell her. “My old friend Archon Salvatore does not give up without a fight.”
“I find it interesting that even the League has grown concerned. This whole mess in San Myshuno must be that bad.” Antonio speaks as I notice Preston just fiddling with his ghostly fingers and muttering.
“Yes, Grand Master Vladislaus wanted to look into the matter personally, but he is more focused on affairs in hometown of Forgotten Hollow.” I explain, thinking that the old lecher probably just wants to play his beloved pipe organ all night and just delegate the matter to Associations under the League.
“We have to go to San Myshuno, Doctor. I have unfinished business with the Fengs.” Antonio says as I slightly frown on his plan to get revenge.
“What kind of unfinished business?” Dominica asks Antonio.
Antonio sighs and speaks after a moment, looking at my daughter and then at me.
“The Fengs took away everything from me. My job, my home, and even my social status.” Antonio says with sadness as I remember how he saved me from a powerful hunter two years ago.
“Why did they do that?” Dominica grows intrigued and leans a bit closer.
“Did you do something so bad that they started ruining your life?” I ask him.
“He probably wrote something nasty when he used to write for that magazine of his!” Preston chuckles.
“Maybe Mr. Antonio did not pay rent of condo on time?” Park adds.
“Worse.” Antonio does not speak for a moment, seeming hesitant to say what comes next.
“I dumped the Fengs’ youngest daughter.”
Before coming to Newcrest, I was originally a native of San Myshuno’s Fashion District. People here always competed to look their best, and even though it didn’t have a real sense of community, it was home. Being one of the best food reviewers for “Scrumptious!” certainly had its perks even though it was a soul-crushing job. I got to eat at many places for free, receive new things every month, and a fat paycheck. Thankfully, it was only my wallet that got fat.
I was also very popular in the district; getting requests from random people for selfies or autographs. I was a familiar face in almost every restaurant, food kiosk, and food truck. I also had a lot of followers on my SimBook and Simstagram.
This also made me full of myself, however. I felt like I lorded over almost every food place. It was so wonderful. I felt like royalty. That was also probably because some of my followers started calling me “The Foodie Prince.” I did not like the idea at first, but the title stuck, and I started using that title to refer to myself as well.
Little did I know about the people who were plotting things behind my back. One night, my boss Mr. Nobuya invited me to eat out with him and a coworker at this place that apparently serves the best banh mi in town. His treat. I could not resist, having only heard good reviews about the dish. It was time for the Foodie Prince to take action.
I did my routine like usual; take photos of the food, take note of its taste, and most of all, take down notes to pass judgment. It felt good to do that. And then, my boss drops the bad news after we finish eating.
You’re fired, he said. I thought it was just a joke at first, but that look in his eyes told me that it was not. For reasons that he couldn’t give out, he told me that I can no longer show up at work.
My coworker tried to comfort me, but I just couldn’t believe it. It was probably a prank, but my boss just apologized. It looked sincere as there were tears in his eyes as he got up and walked away.
I lurched back home after that. I asked myself what I did to deserve this. This must be some sort of bad dream, I thought. Was someone pulling the strings? Did I not perform well enough?
I had trouble sleeping that night. Many thoughts were running through my head. How would I pay the rent? How would I buy Mr. Puddles cat food? Mr. Puddles slept by the bedside soundly, but I could not.
I woke up the next morning filled with both sadness and anger. Who would do such a thing to me? Why did they suddenly decide to fire the best writer of the magazine? Then, I heard footsteps coming from the living room. Who entered my flat without permission?
I got dressed first and went out to see my ex, Cherry Feng, checking herself out in the mirror as I entered. She was behind all this, I assumed, looking all high and mighty.
The first thing she told me was that she was going to take away my home. The Fengs just bought my uncle’s building, so she now had the power to kick me out and claim all of my possessions. She then said that she will take away my life.
I protested of course, but before I could even move, two Feng goons came in and blocked the door. Cherry then told me that I only had thirty minutes to pack my clothes and go.
After a humiliating half hour, Cherry just watched me cry in the middle of the living room, grinning as she dropped a bloodied baseball bat. She killed Mr. Puddles while I was packing. As if this wasn’t enough, she leaned in close to my ear, saying “You are now nothing.” She also commented about how she dislikes weak men like me.
Frustrated, I hurled an insult at her, and she went nuts, summoning her henchmen and shouting random profanities.
Her goons then grabbed me, threw me into a blind van, and I ended up somewhere in the city limits of Willow Creek several hours later with nothing more than a few simoleons and clothes in my bag. I then stayed with Byron for a while before coming to Newcrest and running into the Doc one night.
“You did not explain one thing, however.” I tell Antonio after he told us his interesting story. “Why did you dump her?”
I notice that Dominica, Park, and even Preston have leaned in, curious to know why.
“I thought she was becoming crazy. Talking about finding a way to preserve her youth and using vampires to do it. I didn’t believe in the existence of vampires at that time. She also prioritized looking at herself in the mirror over spending time together.” Antonio explains as we all just nod.
“Well, she is crazy for thinking that she can use us vampires to gain immortality!” I laugh at the thought. “The only way to do that is if she becomes a vampire herself.”
“That woman’s personality is too volatile. She’d probably go feral if turned.” Antonio suggests as I chuckle. “We were also set up as an arranged marriage to begin with, so…”
“Ah, that make sense.” Park comments, surprisingly. “In my part of the world, arranged marriages very common. And Feng lady is Simchuanese. I also had to escape from one.” I recall reading somewhere that the Simchuan and Koguryeon people cling to old traditions.
“At least you dodged a bullet there, Tony.” Preston speaks to Antonio. “Imagine if you actually got married with that woman!”
“And she killed Mr. Puddles!” My cat-loving daughter adds. “A woman like that should not exist.”
“Thanks for listening, everyone.” Antonio looks at all of us. “I just want payback. Payback on both the Fengs and that woman.”
I clear my throat to get everyone’s attention. “And that, you shall have eventually. But for now, we must find out which Feng we’re supposed to mark as our target. The Feng Clan is huge and has many divisions, and we are not certain if this Cherry Feng is the one we’re looking for.”
“Spoiled brats like that only have petty goals.” Preston comments. “Like video game villains!” Park laughs as I raise a hand for silence.
“Remember, we need to stop the Fengs.” I address everyone again. “Dominica received a threat last night from whom we assume might be the Fengs. That gang threatens us more than the Guild and their guildspawn!”
“So what do we do now, Papa?” Dominica asks me as I think for a moment. I then receive a text message from an informant, telling me that he spotted a large group of Feng gangsters heading for our hideout. Probably enough to clear out a whole neighborhood, he adds.
“We’ll pack our things.” I eventually say. “Park, prepare all of the plasma fruit kimchi that we have! NOW!” I order Park as he quickly goes to the kitchen.
“All of a sudden, Doc?” Preston complains as my daughter looks at the message in my phone.
“We have no time!” I answer back. “Preston, bring my daughter to the crypt and open the escape passage that leads to the old subway. Antonio, activate our traps and tell our men outside to buy us some time.” I order.
“We’re going to San Myshuno!”