Welcome to the true story of the Villareal family of Windenburg, a family that Definitely Does Not Have Any Secrets.
(Ok, ok, so this story is only 82.81% true. I took screenshots as I was playing just for fun, letting the game drive the plot, then took some pick-up shots to fill in the gaps.)
It was a gorgeous day at the Von Haunt Estate and nobody wanted to be there.
Jacques Villareal stood in front of his children, gesturing around the fancy grounds. “This is it, offspring – the cherished tourist destination that is the Von Haunt Estate.”
“We are having a Family Fun Day. Now smile.” He glanced around, not smiling.
His teenaged kids Hugo and Luna groaned, thinking about what had happened last time.
“Max, you were too young to remember, but at our last Family Fun Day, someone died under mysterious circumstances,” Hugo explained to his brother.
The boy’s eyes widened. “Does that mean someone’s gonna die? Cool.”
Jacques sniffed, not answering the question.
“All right. Now bugger off, my pedestrian offspring. I don’t care what you do all day, as long as you meet me at the secret location after nightfall for some family-friendly and definitely not criminal activities.”
He said the last part loudly, just in case anyone was listening in on them.
Wait, total freedom to roam the Von Haunt Estate? Heck yeah! The kids peeled off in different directions, finally excited for the day.
Luna strolled through the gardens – so lush, green, and romantic. “All I’m missing is my Prince Charming,” she sighed dreamily.
That’s when someone jumped out of the bushes at her.
“Hello, child!” said a ghostly figure. “Are you looking for love? I can help you.”
“Uh…” Luna stared in shock.
“Apologies, let me introduce myself: Lady Mimsy Alcorn Shallot. That is, her ghost!”
“I overheard you pining for a prince. But I would like to tell you the story of a young woman who was married for money and at first felt resentful, but then grew to fall in love. And then her husband killed her in an accidental fire.”
“So what I’m saying is, keep an open mind, because your future love may not seem like a prince at first! You never know when your knight in shining armor might appear!”
Knights in shining armor? Those didn’t exist anymore! But, regardless, Luna decided that Mimsy was cool.
“Sooo,” she grinned. “You wanna look at cute boys’ Simstas with me?”
“Uh…” said the ghost.
Luna whipped out her cell. “See, you can look up the cute boys on your phone here. But we only follow the cute, nice ones. The uggos and mean ones, we unfollow.”
Mimsy frowned. “But… how do they get out of there? You’ve trapped them in your device…”
Hugo was the only one of the family who actually cared about learning things, he claimed, so he made it his mission to read every informational plaque scattered across the estate.
He learned that the estate had been occupied by a wealthy Victorian couple: ill-tempered artist Lord Bernard Escargot Shallot IV and Lady Mimsy Alcorn Shallot. Some history, nice. Hugo could feel his brain growing with knowledge.
Their portraits hung in the museum, next to the very fireplace that may have killed them both. According to the plaque, Lord Shallot was so displeased with one of his pieces, he tossed it into the fireplace, starting a fire that killed him and his wife. Hugo nodded solemnly. History do be like that sometimes.
He spotted another plaque, proud of how much he was learning, and checked his Voidcritter Go! app on his phone. Hold up, was that a Dicoatl up ahead?? That Voidcritter is like super rare!
The plaque stood forgotten as Hugo blazed ahead headfirst, eyes down, into the dense green shrubbery.
The littlest Villareal, however, did not care for plaques. Max didn’t even know how to read.
Beautifully tended gardens? Boring.
But wait! Who was that up ahead? A ghost!? Now this was something interesting.
And it just so happened that Max had but one major wish in his young life.