Mineral Town has been in peace for years, until the arrival of a certain someone who will turn their town upside down. AnnxCliff, PopurixKai and others.
I originally posted this as a one shot in my Mineral Moon collection, but I'm having fun with this idea and decided to take it out of the collection and turn it into a chaptered story. Opinions, comments and suggestions are very welcomed and appreciated.
Trouble Knocks Twice
Bargain 01: She Came in the Morning
It all began one morning at the Mineral Town Inn, Ann was humming a tune as she cleaned the counter and Cliff had not yet left for work. Their son sat idly leaning on the counter, still half asleep until Ann cleared her throat and called his name several times shaking her head at how easily her son spaced out, but he was adorable none the less, and he did get his elbows off the counter when he finally got the message.
Ann's father was talking to Cliff, he had taken to him quickly and welcomed him to the family with open arms from the start, though it had been several years since then, they still kept a good father-son-like relationship. Aside from the two quiet voices, all was silent and all was calm at the inn. It was very early in the morning and the guests were sleeping, with the restaurant still not open for business.
Then there was a knock on the closed door, followed by another knock soon after and finally there was silence. Ann paused the circular movements of the cloth atop the counter, Cliff and Doug ceased their relaxed chat and the youngest of the four, the son of Ann and Cliff, finally woke up. The boy looked at his mother, father and grandfather and neither of the three moved, thus he resolved to go open the door himself. Sure they were not yet open for business, but it would be mean to leave whoever was there waiting outside. Maybe the other three meant to open the door but they were so surprised by the early visit they didn't even move.
Mineral Town was a small and predictable place. The guests at the inn were mostly family members of the town's residents who came to visit now and then. Those visits were expected and came as no surprise given how fast gossip traveled in the small town, but no one at the inn had heard anything about the coming of a visitor.
"Trouble knocks twice..." Doug muttered under his breath. It was an old saying to signify that one should heed warnings. But in this case it reflected his worry at the unusual occurrence of an early visitor combined with an odd feeling of foreboding. Yet if this was a neighbor bearing an emergency, he or she would not have bothered to knock and wait for a response, resorting simply to calling the names of Doug or his family at the top of their lungs.
Doug's grandson paused, his hand inches away from the doorknob. "I don't think it's bad news..." Then he opened the door without waiting for a response from his grandfather or any comments from his parents.
Upon opening the door, the boy found a girl. She was wearing a violet Chinese style dress with pink cherry blossom decorations, her long black hair falling elegantly to her waist, eyes sparkling with a mixture of mischief and cunning wit. "Hello," she smiled brightly holding out her basket full of shiny red apples. "Would you like to buy an apple?"
The boy just stood there dumb stuck, "huh?"
The girl giggled, "would you like to buy an apple?"
"Oh sure..." Needless to say he was surprised. Why in the world would someone be selling apples door to door so early in the morning?
"How wonderful! Please choose the one you like best."
The boy nodded and picked one of the apples from the basket, watching as the girl gained an uneasy expression. "What's wrong? Should I pick a different one?"
"Oh no, that's fine. It's just that... well... I take really good care of these apples, and selling apples is my job, something my father taught me, but the apples... they're a bit expensive, some would say. But they're very delicious! You should try it, did you eat breakfast today? An apple is great in the morning! By the way, what's your name if you don't mind me asking?"
The boy blinked, she had said a mouthful with her tone changing from unsure to cheerful. "Um... Nate..."
"Nice to meet you Nate, I'm Lei!" The apple seller girl offered her delicate hand for a shake.
Nate, son of Cliff and Ann and heir to his father's shyness, blushed and timidly accepted the handshake. "Nice to meet you too."
"Will you tell me if the apple tastes good?" Lei continued to smile.
"Sure!" Then Nate took a bite of the apple. "It's delicious!" He sincerely replied. All of this occurred at the door with him inside and her outside, the doorframe in-between and an audience of three other people.
Ann, Cliff and Doug watched without a word. Cliff was reminded of himself with the way Nate acted so shy, and Ann was happy at the possibility of a girl taking interest in her son so quickly, he was adorable after all with his father's long brown hair and his mother's bright blue eyes.
Then the girl dropped the bomb, "that would be one thousand gold please."
Nate's jaw hung open and the expression was shared by Ann, Cliff and Doug. "One... thousand..." The boy shook his head, "you're joking, right?"
"No I'm not, I'm totally serious. That apple you just ate is the Lovely Luxury Lucky Apple, it will bring you good luck! I did say the apples are expensive..." Sure Lei looked innocent enough, but she was far more cunning than anyone ever imagined.
"But I..." Nate stammered, unable to find the words to properly express whatever he wanted to express, because he wasn't sure of it himself.
"Are you... Would you really... Please don't steal from me, that's so mean!" Lei dramatically cried.
"I won't! I'm not! I'll pay!" With that said, Nate dashed to his room and returned in record breaking time, tumbling down the stairs. He got up and rushed to the door with an apologetic expression and paid his debt. "Here you go, these are all my savings..."
Ann shook her head, "I can't believe this," she rounded the counter and glared at Lei. "Listen young lady you can't go around doing things like this, tricking others. That apple isn't even worth a hundred gold let alone a thousand!"
"You're so mean! After I took such good care of my apples!" Lei gave Nate a sad look.
"Mom, don't yell at her!" The boy went to the rescue and the inn was filled with gasps because Nate had always been a good boy who never raised his voice, and he just did, though he apologized soon after, "um... sorry..." He paused and took a deep breath, "it's okay Lei don't feel bad, I'll make it up to you." Thus an unusual friendship began.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Disclaimer, I don't own Harvest Moon. Nate and Lei are OCs. I'll post the next part soon. Let me know what you think so far in a review.