Chapter 3.14

It was day two of Caleb, Jet and Isla’s three day visit to Shang Simla in China.

They started out early to do some sight seeing.

Screenshot-1526After visiting the Terracotta Army, they roasted their lunch over a campfire and enjoyed the scenic view from the campsite.

Screenshot-1530Caleb dropped the two teens of in town then headed off on some mysterious business. Jet and Isla did some shopping for souvenirs and gifts for rest of the family back home.

Screenshot-78 Screenshot-81After their shopping they played some chess while they waited for Caleb to return.

Screenshot-1531It was mid afternoon when Caleb came to collect them.

“Quickly finish up that game and let’s head back to the base camp,” he said, checking his watch, “We need to talk.”

Screenshot-1535Back at their accommodation, Caleb made sure there was no one else around before turning to Jet and Isla.

“You two know that I’m here to do a job right?”

Jet and Isla nodded. They hadn’t been told anything about it, but given that Caleb was training under Esmerelda in the thief branch of the family business they’d guessed is was a robbery of some kind.

Screenshot-227“Have you heard of Chen Zuoyi?” Caleb asked. When the teens shook their heads he went on, “Well he’s dead now, but Chen Zuoyi was a famous relic collector. His collection of rare artifacts was famous and rumored to be worth millions. But when Chen Zuoyi died they only found a few items in his house, but the vast majority of his collection was nowhere to be found.”

“Let me guess,” said Jet, “We know where this famed collection is?”

“We do,” Caleb confirmed, “Or we think we do anyway. It’s taken us a long time and a lot of resources to get to this point. Through threats, bribes and blackmail over several years, we finally got the tip off we’ve been waiting for last month. We had already pieced together all the information we’d received and we knew the collection was kept underground and knew it was in Shang Simla, but only now do we know where the entrance is and how to open it. Have you kids heard of The Dragons Maw?”

Screenshot-226“Seriously? Dragons Maw?” Jet asked in surprise. They had of course heard of it. It was one of the biggest tourist attractions in Shang Simla. A huge dragons head carved from stone set high up on a hilltop. They had a great view of it from their balcony. “Isn’t that a bit conspicuous for a secret entrance?”

Caleb shrugged, “I guess that was the point. To have it in plain view –  well no one would ever suspect. Not to mention you have to know how to open it. Since there’s always so many tourists, we’re going to go there tomorrow morning early, before anyone is out and about.”

“We?” said Jet, “Do you mean us?”

Screenshot-225“Yes, it’s been decided that it’s time you two became more involved in the family business. You’re both coming with me. Make sure you go to bed early tonight, tomorrow is going to be a big day.

After dinner, Jet and Isla went straight to bed to get as much sleep as possible as Caleb had suggested.

Screenshot-222Jet tossed and turned for the first few hours, unable to get to sleep. Just after midnight, he heard soft footsteps as Isla walked around the wall that separated their sleeping areas.

“Are you awake,” she whispered.

“Yes,” Jet replied, sitting up and turning on his lamp, “I can’t sleep.”

“Me neither,” she said, walking over to relax on his bed, “I’m too nervous.”

Screenshot-195“You didn’t say much earlier, when Uncle Caleb told us about the job,” Jet said.

“It’s a big test, isn’t it?” she said, “I mean if we screw this up they won’t trust us with anything again.”

“I know,” he said, “How do you think I feel? I supposed to run the whole operation one day. What if I’m no good at the whole criminal thing?”

“I feel the same,” she replied, “It’s a lot of pressure. I know Caleb is going to report back to Dad about how I do tomorrow and I really don’t want to disappoint him.”

Jet smiled wryly at her, “There’s no way you’re going to screw anything up. I mean you’re a genius and you’re pretty much a natural at everything you do. Remember when you worked out how to get into the secret room in the study?”

Screenshot-187Isla blushed a little, “I do remember that. That’s when we realized what our family did.”

“When you worked it out you mean, ” Jet said, “I had no idea what was going on. And don’t worry about tomorrow, you’ll be perfect, you always are.”

Isla sat up.

“Thanks Jet. I knew you’d make me feel better about tomorrow. I better go back to bed, we really need to get some sleep.”

She leaned forward to give him a hug – just a friendly hug to say thank you and goodnight as they’d hugged a hundred times before growing up together. But this time it was different. As she leaned towards him, Jet was suddenly aware of her closeness and their skin touching. She abruptly froze, halfway towards hugging him, with a sharp intake of breath, as though she too suddenly noticed the intimacy between them.  Without even knowing what he was doing, Jet put his hand under her chin to raise her face to his and kissed her.

Screenshot-198 Screenshot-202The feeling of her lips against his was like a jolt of electricity that brought the reality of the situation screaming back and he jerked away from her. His heart was thudding painfully fast in his chest as he jumped off the bed. He pressed his hand and his forehead against the cool wall, trying to catch his breath and steady himself. What the hell just happened?

Screenshot-211“Jet,” Isla said softly. She was also breathing more quickly that usual, “Please say something…”

“We… I shouldn’t have done that,” he said, “It was wrong.”

“It didn’t feel wrong,” Isla said tentatively, “And… you know it’s not against the law or anything, and we’re cousins once removed so…”

He voice faltered off as though waiting for an answer, but Jet’s mind was in turmoil and he couldn’t get his thoughts straight enough to say anything at all.

“I’ve loved you forever Jet,” Isla said so quietly he almost didn’t hear her.

Screenshot-214She stood up off the bed as he turned to her in shock.

Two short steps brought her to where he stood and she gently laced her fingers through his. Their eyes locked and he found himself leaning in to her as she moved closer. Their lips met just briefly in a kiss before she pulled away and whispered, “Goodnight.”

Screenshot-217Jet stood frozen as she turned away and walked back to her own bed.

Screenshot-220

Caleb woke the two teenagers up in the early hours of the morning. There was no chance to talk about the night before as they hurriedly got dressed and ate a quick snack.

They crossed the river by boat to avoid being seen on the roads, and headed up the long winding path to The Dragon’s Maw.

Screenshot-228Screenshot-231Standing at the back of the dragon’s mouth, Caleb studied the seemingly solid wall.

Jet and Isla watched him closely as he ran his fingers along the stone feeling for the trigger that would release the hidden door.

Screenshot-236“Ah huh,” he said suddenly and stepped back as the ground began to rumble beneath them.

The old, unused mechanism creaked loudly and the stone wall began to lower into the ground. The three robbers were coated in dust as the opening grew larger.

Screenshot-239 Screenshot-241 The door lowered fully into the ground in front of them, and as the dust cleared, they saw an overgrown path and a narrow set of stairs leading underground.

“Let’s go,” said Caleb. After they  had walked through, he activated the mechanism from the other side and the wall closed behind them.

Screenshot-242Screenshot-246They descended the stairs to a vast underground room. At first it seemed like there was no other ways in or out, but after carefully surveying the room, Caleb pointed out some large stone statues.

“I think we’ll try behind these,” he said.

Screenshot-251Sure enough, behind the statues there was a narrow gap for them to walk down, although it didn’t seem to lead anywhere.

“There’s something different about this part of the wall,” Isla murmured.

“Well done,” Caleb said as Isla carefully ran her hands over the wall.

Jet stared hard at the wall, but it looked just like any other part to him.

Screenshot-252Soon Isla found the trigger and the hidden door swung open to reveal a small room beyond.

The next room appeared to have nothing but a pile of rubble.

Screenshot-256“Do you really think there’s something under all that?” Isla asked as Caleb worked to break down the pile.

Caleb stood back to reveal a small hole in the floor.

“Your Ma told you something about these kinds of switches Jet?” Caleb asked his nephew.

Jet nodded as he knelt by the hole and gingerly reached his hand in. If he did this wrong some kind of alarm or booby trap would be triggered – if he did it right, the next doorway would be revealed.

Screenshot-257Behind Isla and Caleb, another hidden door swung open.

Screenshot-258This room seemed to be some kind of library.

“This is it,” said Caleb, “This is what we came for! Have a look around carefully, we can’t take everything. Let’s work out what’s going to have the highest market value.”

Screenshot-259“Some of these books are really rare,” Isla said, gazing at one of the bookshelves in awe while Caleb searched through a decorative chest.

Screenshot-260Jet was looking at some oddly positioned bookcases in the back corner of the room. Remembering how Isla had found the hidden door earlier, he began to scrutinize the wall behind the bookcases.

Screenshot-263 Screenshot-265It wasn’t long before he felt it, just a slight bump in the wallpaper along the edge of the wooden panel. With a sense of triumph, he pressed the button and activated the mechanism causing the wall to swing open.

Screenshot-267Through this door was another set of stairs, leading even further underground.

At the center of the room below was an impressive bronze statue and Caleb, Jet and Isla stopped to admire it.

“If only we could take this with us,” Isla said with a sigh, “It must be worth a fortune.”

“A bit heavy I think,” Caleb said, “Come on, let’s see what else we can find.”

Screenshot-271There was a dark shadowy room beyond. Large wall safes enclosed in stone lined the walls.

The trio set to work clearing away the stones and getting the safes open.

Screenshot-273 Screenshot-276

“Help me with these statues Jet,” Caleb said.

“Lucky I work out,” Jet muttered and he strained to drag the heavy stone statue.

Screenshot-280Yet another room was revealed through a door behind the statues.

Screenshot-286“Look at these gold coins!” Isla said excitedly, “Can we take these Caleb?”

“Spoken like a true thief,” he replied, “Pack them up, we’ll take them.”

Screenshot-288

“I think there’s another door here,” Jet said.

Screenshot-290

“Careful, it’s booby trapped,” Caleb called over, “Isla, help me disable these and we’ll get that door open.”

Screenshot-291 Screenshot-293After a long moment, the door cracked down the middle and Jet was able to push it open.

Caleb opened the chest in the next room to reveal a collection of the most valuable artifacts they had come across so far.

“Well kids, we’ve done it,” Caleb said, with a satisfied smile, “Let’s get all of this packed up and go home.”

Screenshot-297With the robbery a success, they spent the rest of the day sorting through the relics they had acquired from Chen Zuoyi’s collection. It was their last day in China before their flight home late that night.

Caleb went to visit his Shang Simla contact to arrange to get their stash of stolen artifacts smuggled out of the country and back to the Maldini headquarters in Twinbrook. He took Jet and Isla along to introduce them, but then gave them the rest of the evening off.

Screenshot-301Jet and Isla had previously talked about visiting the Dragon Springs, so they decided to head there to spend the last few hours of their visit.

They were silent until they reached the springs.

Screenshot-302“It’s beautiful here,” Isla said softly as she looked around. Turning to Jet, she smiled tentatively, “We did well today.”

“Yeah we did,” he replied. “Look, Isla about last night…”

Screenshot-304

“We can just forget about – we’ll pretend it never happened,” she said quickly, “If that’s what you want.”

Jet stared at her for a long moment.

“Did you mean it?” he asked, “What you said last night about… about how you’d always loved me?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

Jet reached out and took her hand.

Screenshot-318“Then I don’t want to forget about it. I don’t think I could if I tried,” he told her, “I think I love you too.”

Isla took a deep breath, “How are we ever going to break this to our family?”

Screenshot-317

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8 Responses to Chapter 3.14

  1. Great chapter I really enjoyed it 🙂
    I wonder how much money all the stolen artifacts are worth. Probably a fortune. Traveling abroad and completing challenges (or randomly stealing stuff) can make any Sim rich in a quick&easy way 😉
    I wonder what will be the reaction of the family… if Jet and Isla are really going to tell them. LOL

  2. cynanyx says:

    Just here to tell you that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. In a nutshell, it’s an award for bloggers, given by bloggers to show their support. For a job well done!
    Oh, and if you’ve already gotten one… tell me and I’ll fix it! 🙂

    More info here:

    https://cynanyx.wordpress.com/the-liebster-award/

  3. I think these two are amazing – Jet and Isla and I bet they could conquer the world together. Their flurries of romance were believable and Isla’s line about loving him made me catch my breath and my heart skipped a beat. It was a sweet line. It is a little strange about their cousin connection, and I’m trying to remember the family connection in the first place since it’s been awhile since I’ve read this but I couldn’t believe I left off with four chapters to go and I’m trying to get caught up. Great chapter!

    • LauraEliza says:

      You can’t help who you fall in love with right? 😀 I really like these two and they work so well together as a couple. They have a lot in common and had such a lonely childhood with nobody but eachother so it made sense to me that they could fall in love. The family tree is a bit convoluted, but basically Isla’s father and Jet’s grandmother were half-siblings, so not that closely related and also totally legal and safe genetically speaking lol (yes I did my reasearch!).

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