Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Journal of Penny Grant - May 14 - Our trip to China

I've been encouraging Nick to do most of baby care at the moment. He'll be back to work all too soon, and I'm hoping to get him more comfortable around Buddy.

Who would believe an adult could be intimidated by the presence of a such an adorable baby?  And yet, Buddy does make his dad uncomfortable.

"Nick, honey, let's go to China!"

He spluttered for a moment. "Are you mad? We can't possibly take Buddy on a trip like that."

"I didn't think we'd take him. It's just that you still have a little leave, and I'd like to improve my martial arts skills."

"What on earth would your parents say about you leaving overseas and Buddy is still so tiny?"

"My parents? Probably ask me something about why it took me so long to take a trip. Grant's are born with itchy feet.  What do you think your parents would say?"

"Hmm, good question. A very good question. Guess I'll have to find out."

"I'd like to book a flight for two. To Shang Simla, China please."

"If we can get to the airport in an hour, we can leave today? Wonderful, save those seats."

It was a long flight but I was quite anxious to get my holiday started. I fear that Nick didn't share my enthusiasm.

"You are mad, Penny. Do you know what this has done to our meager savings account?"

"Don't worry Nick. Travel is the secret to my family's fortune. Dad swears that even a half decent trip, you'll have more cash when you get home then when you left. And that includes buying souvenirs, meals and the cost of base camp."

"I suppose it is too late now to worry. What are you planning on doing?"

"I'm off to the academy. I hope to train for awhile and then have a tournament bout with someone. I have yet to gain any tournament ranks. What about you?"

"I think I might just scout around for adventure. See what happens."

Nick examined the board for requests. Not much on it today, he'll have to take whatever.

No cars allowed this close to the Forbidden City. It's pedal power all the way.

At least that makes it very quiet around here. You don't notice traffic noise until there is none.

Nick bought a few supplies in case he ended up staying longer then intended in a cave or tomb somewhere. I've heard enough about going into caves and tombs from my family to know you have to prepare to stay for awhile. You may not need to be there for a day or more, but don't get caught unprepared.

He also ordered the board breaker trainer and the martial arts training dummy for me. Those were shipped home, no need to set them up here.

There's plenty of opportunities in town to train.

The Academy is the best known but the Scholar's Garden and at least one of the monk's retreats have the basic martial arts training equipment.

My first priority was to warm up a bit with some board breaking. It feels good to stretch after having Buddy.

Nick's first adventure was the set of rooms just under the Hall of Lost Army.

From his description later, someone had opened the tomb before. After putting the keystone in the hole, everything in the area was open. While I can't be sure, I think the last name of the earlier explorer would have been Grant. A bit hard to say who in my family, but daddy has always said most of the tombs were pretty easy when he arrived.

I'd had my warm up, now for a bit of sparring. My first opponent was just someone else training today.

She wasn't bad, but not nearly at my level. I handily defeated her in two bouts.

My second opponent was my first ranked match this trip.

She was good, very good. Her reflexes are fast and she's been regularly training. I hadn't touched any equipment since before the wedding.

In fact, she was so good she had someone writing up a story about her for a local magazine. The photographer did ask before the match if taking photographs would be ok.

It didn't disturb either of us in the least during our bout. But I think I might have put a new slant on the story - I won our match. It took three bouts to decide, neither of us had an easy time defeating the other.

I still don't have any ranking in the tournament though. Guess I'll have to take on a few more opponents first.

Nick got a bit bored after finding the relic he'd been looking for. So he started using the training dummy.

"Nick, sweety, you don't slap at them."

"Penny, now is not the time."

"Nick, I can help."

"Not now."

Idiot male pride. I could actually train him to use the dummy more effectively, but not if he takes that attitude.

"So, Nick, good day?"

"Not bad, Pen. Explored my first tomb, earned my first degree martial arts belt. How about you?"

"I spent the day at the academy. Most of the time was spent training and I won my matches today."

"Wait, what level are you?"

"I think it's six. I could be wrong, it's not that important."

"Not important? Pen, you were serious that you could teach me?"

"Nick, you know I don't do jokes."

Being overseas makes me feel like the day we got married. Once we started cuddling in bed, nothing mattered beyond being with the man I love.

There is a little extra thrill in making love in a room at base camp. The doors have no locks so you can't be positive that no one will walk in.

The next morning, I had a mysterious phone call asking me to explore the Dragon's cave.

My god, it's so big. A couple of those teeth are three times my height.

Daddy definitely mentioned these. He always told me that you have to poke your hand in, there might be a vital lever or treasure in. But many of them are homes to swarms of creepy crawlies.

Deep breath, Penny. You have to find out. I stuck my hand in and found some ancient coins. No bugs, thank heavens.

Right after this, there was a ghostly display of some sort of battle. Was that what I was meant to find?

Daddy didn't have to tell me about these. A treasure chest is always a welcome sight.

"Open, open. Damn this lid is so heavy." With a final heave, the lid finally swung upwards.

This one wasn't as full as I might have hoped, however a few raw gems are definitely appreciated.

It was time to check in with the person who rang me. I told him about everything I'd seen from the start.

He was very patient, given that it was the description of the battle that he wanted and that was the last place I'd visited.  He promptly asked me to go find some platinum for a statue that he needed to make.

Nick was spending the day at the Scholar's Garden. He practiced his chess skills.

And spent some time working on a new belt.

While I was out gathering the metals that guy requested but anything else that looked interesting. Not bad exercise either, I was running all over the district grabbing metals and unpolished gems.

It helps that I have a gadget to detect stuff that daddy gave me on the last family trip. Otherwise it could be hard to spot precious metals disguised as just plain rocks.

Nick's skills are coming along very nicely. He's earned another belt and can work with the block breaker now.

Still, when we get home, I'm showing him my skills. A couple of sparring defeats ought to remind Nick that you shouldn't assume how good someone is at any skill.

"Thanks to you, young lady, I can build a miniature statue of the Buddha. The platinum and the gems you gathered will be perfect."

"Glad to help. You pay very well. Got any more jobs?"

"Not at the moment. Perhaps later?"

"We'll be going home soon, but you can be sure that I'll return."

That night, I happened to look up at the Dragon Cave. If I had a good look at that place at night, I never would have ventured in there during the day. Those glowing red eyes are the spookiest thing ever. You can see them from quite a long way off, I was way down at base camp when I saw it.

All too soon, we had to return home.

"Thanks for the job, Mr and Mrs Grant. Buddy was a complete angel." We paid her and she was on her way.


"Yes, Nick?"

"You were right. We do have more money now then when we started that holiday. Nearly a thousand simoleons more."

"And we haven't even sold all the extra rocks and gems yet. Hey Nick, care to spar?"


  1. Awww, lovely little trip to France! I agree, Penny desperately needed some time away... the girls got adventure in her blood, staying home too much is probably not good for her!

    lol @ Nick's manly pride--tut tut, not realizing his wife is good at martial arts! At least he asked for help, in the end. ^^

    The sure were productive, even on vacation--but those Grants always are. They aren't 'World Adventures' without some actual adventures!

    Great chapter!

  2. Hey Kaleeko. A lovely trip to where? LOL - you must have been on the Shrimp mental wave cause he will be going to France.

    I should have sent this family on a vacation before but I have an odd thing about holidays - I prefer doing them only if I can finish the trip before I have to save. Which means I only send them if playing this save on the weekend.

    Nick is a wee bit of a bastard. Not the worst in the world but it does show up sometimes. LOL He'll learn though. Penny may be a hopeless romantic but she'll show him a thing or three.

    Yep, you gotta travel sometimes if you are going to call it 'world adventures' and now was one. Besides, it is a family tradition that at least one parent heads off after the birth of a baby. The family does it quite regularly.

    BTW - Nick wants a baby with Penny. :)

    Nice that you've had a chance to catch up!

  3. LOL Whoops.. that's what I get for commenting when I'm tired. x_x

    *snickers* Nick may be a bastard, but it's kinda a nice change of pace! And I'm sure she'll smooth over his rough heart eventually. ;)

    S'interesting you plan trips exclusively on the weekend--makes sense, though.

    Ya! I'm glad I'm finally getting caught up--I just figured it'd be easier on myself if I got caught up on each blog as a new update for it went up. Keeps me from having to read my entire feed reader at once. x_x

  4. LOL - It was an interesting mistake since I had been also writing the main body of a different text and they will be going to France.

    It is good to have a change of pace and letting Nick be a bit of a bastard is definitely not normal in my blogs.

    Yeah, I just have a thing about wanting not to save while they are on holiday if I can help it. Just in case things ever do go really weird when they get back.

    Caught up on two more important blogs. Never behind on the short story blog. Only one post back on Art. And no one is expected to ever care about The SV Times. :)

  5. Adventure is in the Grant's blood definitely! Very cool pictures and you always manage to write details about the adventures. Very good job on those. Coming back home with more cash was definitely a thrill, but I'm not sure about having sweet romance with the door was being unlock :D

    So the two are now sparring together. Cool!

    Very good writing too and I'm looking forward to see you finish your novel too.

  6. Hey MJ,
    Yes, this particular set of Grants now have adventure carved into their very bones. Penny's life want even requires it - mastering the martial arts requires being top ranked in the tournament which has to be done in China.

    We'll get back to them sparring the next time around. But I'm confident that Nick is not going to do well, she has a lot more practice and he wasn't entirely kind. He will learn though.

    :) I'm glad you enjoy. I'll try and knock over another few pages from the novel but I must warn you, Shrimp is really trying to take over my story telling time.


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