ZeldaQueen: When we last left off, Shannon was swallowed by a flaming ball in her car. We're now going to find out what that meant. I recommend having chocolate on hand.
The chapter starts off with a long, drawn-out description of Shannon feeling tired, having a weird dream about birthing a Twinkie, lampshading this dream in a way similar to how Zoey would laugh about how she has such quirky thoughts...
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 51
...partially wakes up, passes out again, and then wakes up for real to feel all achy and horrible. I just saved you guys a lot of stupid. You're welcome.
Someone familiar-sounding (to Shannon at least, since she's the only person we met outside of the auction) refers to her as “my Lady” and promises that everything will be fine and to stay calm. Shannon manages to wake up enough to realize that this person is apparently Suzanne, that BFF of hers who she kept referring to as “stuck-up”. Yeah. Her. And I say “apparently”, because of course we're going to find out that it's not actually her. But for now, Shannon thinks she is.
As Shannon wakes up, “Suzanne” lets go of her hand, which she was apparently squeezing comfortingly. Okay then. Shannon thinks that this is weird, and I'm sure we'd agree if we knew anything about her and Suzanne's relationship. Thus far, all we know is that Shannon likes her but thinks she's stuck-up and makes fun of her for owning two cell phones. Going off of that, I'm not sure why it'd be strange for Suzanne to pull away from Shannon. I'd be surprised she'd want to touch her at all, frankly.
Shannon tries to ask what's going on, and describes her voice as sounding like a possum, which leads to an unfunny and needless story about how a possum scared her once when she pulled over while driving at night to go take a pee in the woods.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 52
“Suzanne” continues to talk in a faux-Olde Time speeche and tells Shannon that she's been through a lot but will feel better after she's rested. She then hands Shannon a gold goblet of something and helps her choke it down.
The presence of a goblet starts to clue Shannon into the fact that she's not in a hospital. I'm going to be kind and assume that her lack of awareness of her surroundings was caused by delirium upon awakening in a new world, because not only does the entire room look as unlike a hospital as you can get (the architecture in this world is Greco-Roman/Celtic/whatever else PC likes) but “Suzanne” and everyone else dresses like they're LARPing. And sure enough, when Shannon is finally able to focus on a “nurse” standing nearby, she notes that the girl is wearing a flowing outfit and looks like she ought to be frolicking in a meadow.
Yeah, you guys know the stock vision of someone fantasizing about relaxing while a group of beautiful women in fetishy period outfits fawn over them and feed them grapes or whatever? That's pretty much how everyone around here dresses. And yes, Shannon will remind us about how transparent all their clothes are. A lot. Which will be really unpleasant when we hear more about Rhiannon, but that's for later.
Shannon finally gets down the medicine and describes it as having the “sweet, cough-syrupy taste of medicine”. Erm, I'm fairly certain that medicine made in the vague time period this is set in wouldn't taste like the medicine we have today, if only because the sweeteners wouldn't be the same. But, hey! To hell with historic accuracy! This is PC Cast's Ultimate Fantasy World
TAILOR-FIT SUEOPIA: 1
This will only get worse, folks.
After drinking the medicine, Shannon pukes her guts out. “Suzanne” holds her hair back, which causes Shannon to mentally feel bad about calling her stuck-up earlier. After she's finished vomiting, Shannon leans back and feels all horrible and shaky and helpless. As someone who ends up the same way, I really do sympathize. Unfortunately, I'm distracted from this brief bit of understanding as Shannon croaks that she'd like some water. “Suzanne” has another goblet brought in and Shannon eagerly gulps it down, only to spit it back up and sputter that it's weak wine. She tells us that, “I adore wine, but not after puking”.
I'm going to start a count now that may seem unnecessary, but trust me on this. Similar to her constantly mentioning that she's a teacher, Shannon will make it quite clear that she loves wine. She'll do little but ask for it, think about having some, or tell us how great it is when she's actually drinking it. So, yeah. Let's see how much, shall we?
BOOZE IT UP: 1
Shannon repeats her request for water, while death glaring at “Suzanne”. While I can understand being confused about a hospital serving wine instead of water to patients, by this point she ought to be coherent enough to realize that she's not in a damned hospital. For starters, she should have noticed that there's been no mention of getting an actual doctor. In any case, “Suzanne” freaks out and orders the maiden in the corner to bring water. She then apologizes profusely, insists that it's her fault, and begs Shannon not to blame the maiden for the mistake.
You know, I think both are justified in being confused here. People drank wine so often in the time period this is loosely based on because water really wasn't safe to drink. There was no concept of sanitizing water, after all. So by all rights, Shannon should get some sort of illness or at least feel sick from her drink. Of course, that never happens. And no, it's not just a lucky coincidence this one time. Shannon will repeatedly drink water and have nothing happen, not even an upset stomach. So, yeah.
TAILOR-FIT SUEOPIA: 2
Shannon is freaked out by this behavior and grabs “Suzanne”'s hand, only to realize that her “friend”'s hair is now waist-length and thus brushing their hands. She somehow has still not noticed her surroundings or “Suzanne's” clothing.
You know, I almost wish there'd be a movie of this, if only so people would point out how mind-blowingly stupid this scene is when it's actually happening.
Shannon freaks out because this change in hairstyle is the strangest thing ever! And yes, I know that she just went through a traumatic ordeal and in times like that anything can set a person off, but she really does seem more concerned that her “friend” now has a hairstyle that's less flattering than the normal short cut that Suzanne normally sports (and which is sexy on her, natch).
“How could it possibly have grown down to her waist? Oh, great. Had I been in some kind of coma? Perhaps I’d been 'out' for a gazillion years, and out of grief she’d descended into some unfortunate Lady Godiva phase while I was unconscious, and without my astute girlfriend-telling-her-what-looks-right fashion sense she had grown her hair down to her butt.
Nope, she didn’t look any older. The bitch.”
ZeldaQueen: I... I just...no. I have no words, save for that Shannon now sounds almost exactly like Erin and Shaunee, the incredibly annoying “twins” who make it their business to do nothing but criticize people who don't dress or look the way they think is best.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 53
Yeah, Shannon? There are plenty of people who find long hair attractive. It depends on the person, the way their hair grows out, and whether or not they're willing to put in the time and effort to maintain it.
I'm not even touching how, in the midst of this supposedly confusing and tense scene, Shannon stops to complain that her friend still is young and hawt.
Speaking of which, we get an infodump paragraph on how Suzanne/this person looks, which basically describes her in the prettiest and most flattering light possible. Long story short, she's petite, freckled, has “perfect” ears (really), and has high cheekbones. I just summed up far too much text to have devoted here.
Shannon tries to get “Suzanne” to explain what's going on, but then the maid shows up with the water. PC, incidentally, makes the very unfortunate mistake of referring to this lithe, young, alluring girl as a “nymphet”. Someone used that term rather infamously, PC. Let's just say you don't want the things it's associated with within a ten-mile radius of your work.
So Shannon grabs the goblet of water (do these people not have pitchers, or do they just intend to go running for more water if Shannon needs more?) and chokes it down. She raspily thanks the room in general for it and falls back, exhausted once more. We then get the rather... subtext-rich scene of “Suzanne” stroking Shannon's forehead and telling her to rest, before humming some tune.
Finally, Shannon realizes that “Suzanne” is dressed weirdly (“And just what the hell was she wearing…?). Just keep in mind how casual she is when we find out what the outfits actually look like around here. I mean, beyond "frolicking in a meadow" as a descriptor.
And the chapter ends abruptly, as Shannon passes out again. At this point, are you even surprised?
HAVE I MENTIONED I'M A TEACHER - 8
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES - 53
MY OWN LITTLE FANTASY - 1
BOOZE IT UP - 1
TAILOR-FIT SUETOPIA - 2