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Oddly Prismatic Shards

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Oddly Prismatic Shards 

Chapter 1: Decisions 

"Alright, I've gotta go. Dew's already started packing, so I'm gonna make sure supper doesn't burn while she's preoccupied." The stressed voice of my daughter crackled through the phone as she shifted, "I'll talk to you guys later to relay the details as soon as I know them. Love you." 

"We love you too, honey. We'll always be here for you." 

I could hear Star's smile as a little laugh spilled from her lips, barely caught by the phone before the call cut off as she hung up. Loud beeps signaled the fact that we were no longer connected to our daughter's voice and after a moment of stillness, my wife reached over slowly and placed the phone back on it's receiver. 

"What in the world are they thinking, Jack?" Her voice trembled slightly as a small hand reached up to rub her temple in an effort to ease her worry, but as the crease on her brow grew, I could only imagine that it didn't help as much as she wished it did. 

It seemed like a worrisome situation, after all. 

Star had never been the one to make such an important decision without thinking it all the way through. While the details she had given us over the phone were few and far between, she seemed resolute in her choice – as she did with everything. While my oldest daughter did tend to get hung up on the smaller issues, her final decisions would usually be more sound than Dew's. The problem with Star's slow approach was that on the off-chance she made a poor judgement, it was harder for her to get herself back on track – she'd slowly analyze her new situation, passing up many opportunities to change it in favour of finding the right one. 

Dew, my youngest daughter, made decisions at a rapid-fire pace compared to Star. Normally, this resulted in a lot of errors and misguided intentions when she realized that her decision didn't lead her to where she thought it would. Not to say her quick decision-making was solely a bad trait – Dew was also able to move on a lot faster from her poorer choices to better ones. The former always told Dew what she needed to know about making better ones, and she hardly hesitated in pursuing a different route when she found one available. 

While the two might not agree on everything one another did, but I never worried about the two when they were together. Star helped Dew consider all her options instead of leaping at the first one, and Dew helped Star see the benefits in the options she had now rather than the ones she would have later. While news of their decision was completely unexpected, I certainly didn’t think it was a mistake. 

"...I think they needed a change, Claire." My words were slow, trying to make sense of all the thoughts that raced through my mind. 

If their decision wasn't a mistake, what was it? What caused it to come out of the blue like that? 

Were they that unhappy at Joja? Did their lives in the city need such a radical change that they felt like they needed to throw away everything that they had in Zuzu just for the chance of something different? Somewhere different – far away from the buzz of the city life that I had once pursued. 

Something... like Pa's old farm? 

The memories I haven't thought of in a long time resurfaced at the image of Star and Dew taking over Snowdrop Farm. I was a lot smaller, then. I remembered how Pa used to wrap his large hands around mine and lead me through the fields of wheat he sowed, and tended, himself. The warm hand at my back as he eased me onto ol' Blue, the friendliest horse that Pa had ever had in his barn. The flutter of both fear and excitement in the pit of my stomach as I directed Blue into a trot. 

I remembered R.R., who I built a treehouse in the mountains with. I usually just supervised and brought the snacks, but the majority of the scrapes we got trying to push our way through the trees north of the farm belonged to me. It had taken months before R.R. and I came up with the smart idea to trim down some of the branches and create our own little secret trail... 

The memories brought a smile to my face, but soon the smile fell.  

I grew up on that farm, and yet, I couldn't remember taking Star and Dew to see it except for when Pa passed away. It had also been the last time I had been there since I dropped out of high school and moved into the city. 

"But what if it doesn't work out? What if they can't slip into the country life? The farm life? You've told me several stories of what it was like in your house when the harvest failed or when animals died of disease or-!" She cut herself off, and deflated into the worn cushions of the old couch we were sitting on. 

She curled into me and I wrapped my arm around her, squeezing her shoulder gently as she continued, "I just don't want our girls to have to go through that kind of uncertainty – when there's simply nothing you can do..." 

It was true. There were a lot of things that could go wrong with running a farm that even experienced farmers might not be able to deal with. Just one drought, one bad storm, one sick animal... it could mean that food or money was tight until the next good harvest. When I was a teenager, I could remember a bad drought that ruined not only one harvest, but two. And before the old man could even get his hands back in the dirt, one of the worst storms I'd ever seen passed by and ripped through most of his savings just to repair all the damaged buildings. 

It had been devastating for Pa's farm. 

He recovered, with a lot of hard work and a lot of saving whatever money he could make doing odd jobs on the side... But he saved it. With his toughened dirt-caked hands that even now probably dwarfed my own. He worked hard every day, working long nights and enduring many early mornings. But eventually the farm recovered and it did even better than before. 

He saved it. 

Whatever state the farm was in now, untended for decades, I'm sure my daughters had the strength to see it through the hard times and into the good ones. They would look out for each other, and where one would fall the other would be there to help them up. 

Everything was going to be okay, because they were in this together 

"Our girl's will be okay no matter what happens." I smiled down at her as her blue eyes sought out mine at the sound of my voice, "We've raised them to become beautiful young women who can overcome anything they put their minds to. They'll be okay." 

I kissed the top of her head, chuckling silently as I did so. 

"They'll be okay, because we'll be here for them no matter what happens." 

She smiled at that, and the tension that filled her body since the moment we heard Star's apprehensive voice on the phone slowly slipped away. 

"Yeah. We will." 

Chapter Text

Oddly Prismatic Shards

Chapter 2: Inheritance

 

“… I never thought I’d get that call.”

The silence of the old manor echoed around him as the mayor allowed himself to sink into his armchair, much like how his newfound information sunk into his brain. The girl’s words echoed endlessly as a weird sense of nostalgia overcame him. His fingers still felt flat from holding onto the smooth receiver of the phone too tightly as he struggled to gather a comprehensive sentence during the conversation he just had.

He hasn’t thought about that old farm in years. He figured by now that his old friend’s granddaughters had gathered their lives together and forgot about that old place. While it was far from his mind most days, with more pressing matters of festivals, budgets, and that bloody superstore trying to ruin the local economy, the run-down farm was never too far from his heart.

To think, that almost two decades after Pete’s passing, the granddaughters would be taking up the mantle and possibly bringing Snowdrop Farm back to life…

Mayor Lewis shook his head, finding that his hands were trembling slightly. He felt nervous somehow; he hadn’t trekked that farm since he stopped visiting the grave after it became too difficult years ago.

A sense of disbelief was stilled him, even though there was much to be done. He already promised the girl – Star, he believed her name was – that it will be ready in a week’s time. Lewis didn’t even know the state of the farm, but yet he was promising something that he shouldn’t have, although he found that he wasn’t worried.

In fact, he was ecstatic. While he only met the girls once during the funeral, their grandfather would always boast that they were the most beautiful twins on this planet. Many nights at the saloon when there was nothing to worry about – the harvest was good, the droughts staved off, the bitter winds drifted around the valley – Pete would recount to Lewis the stories his son would tell him about the adventures of his granddaughters: the adventures of Star and Dew.

A sad smile accompanied the thoughts of a simpler time where the world was younger. Where he was the mayor for only a few years, not twenty. Where they were just younger lads having a good time at the saloon, not owned by Gus at the time. Where Pete Drop was a happy, hardworking man and not lying in dirt, stilled forever.

With the last thought, Lewis stood up from the comfort of his chair. He walked towards the birch dresser across from him and dove into the bottom drawer. It was mostly full of clothes he stopped wearing years ago, but didn’t have the heart to throw out. He sifted through it all until he reached the top right corner of the drawer, feeling for the crinkled envelope he knew was in there. His fingers gently caressed the fragile brown envelope, feeling for the coin he knew was inside.

As part of Pete’s will, Lewis was instructed to keep this envelope to repair the farmhouse if either of the girls decided to come and take over the farm. It was left long forgotten until now, unseen by the light since the day it was first put in there. The untold amount of Gold inside made it tempting to open at first, especially when the town’s financial health plummeted after the closure of Snowdrop Farm, but Lewis could never find the guts to open it so carelessly.

The brittle envelope crinkled under the old man’s fingers as he stood up, not caring about the mess he made of the bottom drawer. He had to calm himself before he jumped out the door to enlist Robin with restoring the farmhouse. Lewis caught a sideways glance at the window to his left, noticing that it was far too dark and late for him to be bugging the local carpenter about this. His heart still pounded at the idea that his late friend’s farm was coming back to life, but he had to wait on restorations until tomorrow, when it was an appropriate time to be knocking on someone’s door. With a heavy heart, the mayor walked into his kitchen to put on the kettle, hoping that if he forced himself to have a cup of tea, that his rapid pulse would calm down.

OoO

Lewis found himself not taking the usual path to Robin’s Carpentry. At Harvey’s Clinic, the mayor opted to turn left instead of right and head up towards the bus stop and the scarcely used snowy path. He had traveled it many times before, and he hurried towards the old farmhouse he knew still rested. He waded around the dead overgrown grass and leafless shrubs that grew onto the path just past the bus stop, making a mental note that the town was going to have to start paying for the maintenance of the path again.

Upon entering the overgrown, snow-covered Snowdrop Farm, Lewis couldn’t help but feel the melancholy creep up on him. Many days and nights were spent on this farm, now reclaimed by the forest once more. He could barely remember where Pete would have his crops when the season was right, and where the old barn was. Lewis was certain that the stable he had was farther to the south – that is, if it even still exists; he could remember Pete’s son riding their horse around Pelican Town, and being a general menace.

The last thought came with a small smile, wondering if the girls would be anything like their father or grandfather. Jack was known to be a huge nuisance in town, along with his best friend and partner in crime, much like how Sam and Sebastian were today. On the other hand, their grandfather was a hard worker who rarely took breaks while doing anything anyone asked of him. Lewis could recall often telling the late Drop to stop his work to relax for a bit before going at it again.

With a sigh, Lewis moved his gaze to the red-shingled roof of the shack. It was tinier than he remembered, and definitely more rundown than it used to be. He was beginning to worry about the cost of the work, the time it would take, and whether or not it would have to be redone completely. The roof was surely leaking, the porch needed to be redone, there were panels falling off the sides…

The envelope of inheritance money clinked in his fingers, bringing Lewis out from his worrying thoughts. Surely Pete would’ve thought of everything, and would have more than enough to cover the cost to repair it. If it came down to it, Lewis pledged that he would help pay for it out of his pocket – an ode to his long-time friend.

With defiant strides through the ankle-deep snow, Lewis left the safety of the relatively tamed grass that managed to sprout through the snow in front of the house, and to the forest that now claimed the land. He knew the girls would have their feet deep in the mud with this mess, but figured that if Robin would fix the house, she could use the lumber and stone from the land that collected over the years, rather than just using her own supply. It would be a small solace for the new farmers, but they would still be left with a lot of work.

Lewis was amazed he was able to find the beaten path that led up north towards the mountain. He supposed that it was ingrained into his memory by now, even years later as he waded through white bushes and onto the cleared path that Pete created himself years ago.

It was very wide, and very well kept despite hardly being used in a long time, although the amount of snow was to be desired. There were a few shrubs and stray stones littering the path but since the ground was so rocky near the middle, trees found it hard to firmly plant their roots into the bedrock. To his right, Lewis could see the only main road that led in and out of Pelican Town – a road he was quite familiar with. He supposed that he would have to become even closer with it now that the girls coming to town, as they would need their stock shipped out and sold. With no real deliverer in town, that duty fell to him, the mayor. It wouldn’t be much more work, as he already heads out of town everyday for Pierre and Marnie. The former to have fresh and proper stock and the latter who frequently demanded fresh supply and medicine for her animals… although, he would proudly admit that JojaMart had to ship in their own stock.

He used to do runs for Pete as well, in his later years, after Jack left the farm for the city. There were times that Lewis even helped on the farm as well, earning a chuckle from the mayor as he thought back to his mishaps due to his inexperience with farming.

The steep path opened up to a more familiar sight with a yellow tent and a crackling fire in the distance. The mayor paused briefly, looking at the landslide that still separated the town from the railroad. There was no money in the budget to clear it since it happened several years ago, but it wasn’t something he could dwell on now. Perhaps the revival of Snowdrop Farm will help with the town financially.

Lewis made his way down to the handmade log cabin, seeing its chimney spitting out smoke. He was careful to not slip down the slope, feeling his knees weaken with the stress being placed on his joints, but ignored it as he grew closer. Lewis passed the snow-covered fence and approached the front door which was thankfully shoveled. He stomped his feet hard into the frozen ground, ridding his shoes of any of the melting snow that decided to cling to him and potentially make his skin burn. With a free hand, Lewis grabbed the freezing doorknob and opened the door, allowing the blast of hot air rom inside to warm him.

Robin brightened up when she saw him, offering a warm smile as she brushed some strands of orange hair from her face.

“Good morning, Lewis!”

Mayor Lewis stepped into the log cabin and towards the woman in yellow, the envelope in his fingers. “Robin,” he greeted.

Lewis placed the inheritance on the counter, the Gold inside clinking against one another as they fell together.

“How do you feel about doing a little restoration project for an old friend?”