Sparkling Sands Resort, Isla Paradiso.
“I can’t believe we’re actually here!” Victoria cried. “Three luxury rooms, please!”
“Actually,” Edmund pointed out. “Winston is still a minor. I don’t believe he can rent a room on his own.”
Winston scowled. “Thanks, big brother. Like would have even checked if you didn’t say anything.”
“He can share a room with me,” Victoria said quickly. “It won’t be so bad.”
So they rented two rooms instead.
“Wow, I guess I thought they’d be larger,” Victoria said when she got her first look at their room.
“The point isn’t to spend a lot of time in the room anyway,” Winston pointed out. “I think we’ll be all right.”
Edmund, on the other hand, found his lodgings to be just to his taste.
On the first day, Victoria eased herself into life on a tropical beach.
The turquoise water stretched as far as the eye could see. It was heady.
Winston preferred to look at the beauty through the picture windows of the resort gym.
During the entire vacation, he didn’t once leave the resort grounds. Instead, he milked it for every bit of pleasure and relaxation he could find.
It took Edmund the longest time to find his stride. He wasn’t really used to relaxing. Spending a lot of time doing nothing except enjoy himself seemed sort of like…. well, cheating.
But he did eventually come around.
On the second day, Victoria took an introductory scuba class.
A whole new world opened before her.
Deep beneath the waves was an alien place that she had never imagined existed.
She was struck by a sense of belonging stronger than she’d ever known. When her tank of air was empty, all she wanted was to go back.
The required delay between dives was hard to take, but she was enthusiastic, not self-destructive.
Winston, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so clear on whether he was self-destructive or not. High from a great workout, he decided to take on the fire walk.
Ha! He turned out to be a natural at it! He walked off without the slightest hint of a burn.
Edmund took in the local art.
And discovered that he was a bit of an attraction himself.
“I’m sorry if I’m forward,” the ghost said. “I just have never seen an Avalonian before. You’re such a beautiful people!”
“I’m not sure how to respond to that,” Edmund said. “I don’t think I have ever spoken to a sentient ghost before either.”
She grinned “Let’s discuss it over lunch.”
They did, and other than their supernatural nature, didn’t turn out to have much in common.
Winston was right about one thing. The size of the room wasn’t much of a problem. Each night, he and Victoria dropped into bed and slept soundly.
They fell into a routine for the rest of the week.
Victoria rose early and reserved a boat to take out diving.
Sometimes she made it to the beach by sunrise and could watch the wildlife in the morning stillness.
Then it was on the boat and out to a dive site.
There was so much to explore.
And, it turned out, diving was absurdly profitable as well. Collectors paid high fees for exotic fish. And there was the occasional valuable relic.
Edmund discovered that extended relaxation stimulated all sorts of new ideas for spells to attempt.
Winston balanced hard exercise
With hard relaxation.
One morning, Victoria made an amazing acquaintance.
She wiped her hand over her face mask to try to clear her vision. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
But the figure didn’t resolve into a pair of legs. She really did have a tail.
Victoria tried to communicated.
And to her surprise, the woman seemed to understand her.
And then her air ran out. She had to leave or suffocate. Victoria had never been so frustrated by the fact that she needed a bunch of equipment to explore under the sea.
She met up with her brothers at dinner that evening.
“You would believe it!” she told Edmund. “She was part fish and part human, and she was completely at home in the ocean. It was amazing.”
“I don’t have any trouble believing you,” Edmund said. “Did I mention that I had lunch with a ghost?”
Later: “Have you ever considered the propriety of the way you dress? You show so much skin, it’s inappropriate!”
“Edmund, you’re positive medieval. It’s hot here. I don’t see anyone wearing as many clothes as you do.”
“I cover myself for propriety, not comfort.”
“You go with that.”
She was still haunted by the experience at bedtime. “Have you ever heard of a living, breathing mermaid?” she asked Winston.
“No, but we’ve seen wilder things by now,” Winston agreed. “In fact, I think they’re attracted to us.”
On their last day on Isla Paradise, Victoria took a day off from diving to just enjoy the beach.
And there she was again, rising out of the water.
Victoria jumped to her feet. “You!” she cried. “You have legs now! Who are you?”
“I had to find you again where we could understand each other,” she said. “My name is Maya. I’m one of a colony of Merfolk living in the reef of Isla Paradiso.”
“Why did you come to me?” Victoria asked. “Does everyone know you’re here?” She looked around to see that they were already attracting a crowd of astonished observers.
“We’re not exactly trying to keep ourselves secret, but we don’t talk with humans often,” Maya said. “You’re different. We’re not exactly sure why yet.”
“It might have something to do with magic,” Victoria said. “You see, I’m not exactly human either…”
They talked for hours. Victoria could feel a fast friendship forming.
Then they cut loose and had a little fun.
Eventually the sun began to set. Victoria’s flight was in a few hours.
“I’m sorry I have to leave,” she said.
“Come back and see us again,” Maya said. She pressed a conch shell into Victoria’s hands. “This will help you find me when you return.”
She returned to Sparkling Sands after dark.
This was her last chance to give it a try. Now or never!
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
“I don’t know how Winston DOES that!”
And then, to everyone’s regret, it was time to return to frigid Avalon.
Not my most inspired piece of fiction, but enjoy the picspam! OMG, scuba diving is gorgeous. The scenery and the fish are so detailed and colorful!
As I mentioned earlier, I was hoping that Vickie would meet a Merman, since she’s quite straight, but no such luck. The only Mermaid she met was female. They became great friends. Maybe she’ll meet a male on a future trip.
I added a couple of dive sites to Avalon. It took a lot of reading and a few tries, but they work all right. I wish more people put dive sites up for download, but it got around that it was impossible to install them in other worlds. That’s not true. You just have to use constrainfloorelevation with a large negative number (maybe -15 to -20 to lower the sea floor deep enough. I can totally help folks if they want to try it. I’m considering installing a couple of custom worlds with dive lots just so that I can copy the lots onto Avalon.
I love the pics! I really enjoy the scuba diving, too. 🙂
Thanks! And thanks so much for reading!
I’m so glad you were able to figure out how to make dive sites work in Avalon so Vickie can dive there. Is there any way to extend the amount of oxygen, maybe a reward trait or something?? But I thought this was a fascinating update, and I can look at tropical picspam all day long. The tropics are my love, green, humid, lush, and lots of warm water everywhere.
Edmund is having a terrible time finding a love interest, it seems. I thought it would be cool if the ghost had worked out. And a merman would be great for Vickie, maybe she’ll meet one later. Are they only in Isla Paradiso, or might they be connected with the new dive sites you’ve added in Avalon? That’s really neat that she made friends with the mermaid, though.
I’m really blown away at how gorgeous and detailed the underwater scenery is. And the tropical ocean. It’s just breathtaking. Sunlit Tides, where I’m theoretically running a Nothing Is Free challenge that’s been on hiatus for over a year, is at least as beautiful. Eventually, I’ll get back to that, but it was kind of psycho to think I could keep up three challenges :).
Truth be told, I was focusing so much on Vickie that I didn’t give Edmund enough chance to figure out if he had chemistry with the ghost. She’s certainly pretty. Perhaps I’ll send him with her on her next trip and see if there’s any possibility there.
The game generates at least one mermaid for any world that has dive lots. One was created for Avalon when I added them. Unfortunately, she’s also female. I know Isla Paradiso has several premade merfolk; Vickie only met the one that time. So as of gameplay, she’s met two mermaids, both female. Argh.
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Wow, that holiday was just like I had imagined it to be for Victoria. It was a beautiful landscape, and she surely looked like she belonged there. I haven’t come across merpeople before, and it was exciting to see her interact with one 🙂 hopefully she’ll go back there soon.
I love Island Paradise! It’s so colorful and fun! When it first came out I’ve spent so much time playing in Isla Paradiso. Discovering the uncharted islands and fighting sharks was simply amazing. All these beautiful pictures made me want to play there again 🙂
Also I’ve tried placing the dive lots in other towns, but I never managed… Isla Paradiso as a vacation destination works perfectly for me 😉