Categories > Games > Harvest Moon > Mineral Moon

Harvest 19

by Mikari 0 reviews

Harvest 19: Rumors

Category: Harvest Moon - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Published: 2009-09-12 - Updated: 2009-09-13 - 7009 words - Complete

Mineral Moon

Harvest 19: Rumors

"I apologize," judging by the realtor's chosen way to begin his sentence and his guilty tone of voice; Clair knew it was bad news.

There was a brown haired young man wearing overalls and a cap present at the mayor's house. The mayor himself was also there. The mayor was a short man with a big mustache and a little red top hat. The realtor, a professional looking man in his early thirties, with formal clothing and well groomed blonde hair, pushed up his glasses and cleared his throat.

With a sigh, the realtor began his explanation. "This young man is Jack, the real owner of the farm. His grandfather clearly stated in his will that Jack would inherit the farm. However, his parents mistakenly assumed that he wouldn't want to work on it since he grew up in the city. At that time Jack was only sixteen, but now that he is legally an adult, he has decided to claim the farm."

The young man in with overalls and cap smiled sheepishly. "Sorry," he voiced with a hand behind his back.

"It's not your fault," Clair sighed in disappointment before she could stop herself. It's not like Jack intended for this to happen, but Clair was still in a predicament. "What about my apartment?"

"It has already been resold." The realtor replied with growing guilt.

"Did you have a chance to see the state the farm is in?" Jack asked. "The last few years have not been kind to it."

"I haven't seen it yet." Clair wasn't sure if Jack was trying to console her by saying she didn't miss out on much, or if the conversation was actually going somewhere.

"It's going to take a lot of work to restore it. I might not be able to handle it on my own..." Jack paused and observed Clair's reaction.

Clair caught the hint and asked, just to be sure. "Are you offering me a job?"

Jack nodded. "That way you can work on a farm too, just like you planned."

Clair smiled; maybe things were not turning out so badly after all. "That would be great!" Though she still didn't know where she would live.

As if on cue, the realtor answered Clair's silent question. "There is a plot of land for sale in this town."

"We also have a good carpenter who could build a house," the mayor added.

"Sounds like a plan to me, I saw that there's an inn too, I'll live there until my house is done and work at the farm." It was settled and it wasn't too different from Clair's original plan, except for not owning the farm.

xoxox xox xoxox

On that very same day, Clair headed to see Gotz to build her house. Though she had only spent a few hours in town so far, she knew right away that rumors traveled fast. People were talking about a guy named Kai and how he upset Gotz by painting his shop white. Everyone who walked by as Clair and Jack headed to Gotz's house, was taking about Kai and his white shop at the beach. Clair learned that Kai only came to Mineral Town during the summer and upset a guy named Rick, but most importantly she leaned not to paint her house white. She wasn't sure what was wrong with that color, but she might as well try to fit in.

Upon arriving at the farm, Clair was suddenly glad she didn't own it. It was a huge mess of rocks, branches and weeds, so many weeds! "This is..."

"It's in pretty bad shape, isn't it?" It didn't seem to take away any of Jack's energy, he was ready to get to work. "The mayor said we should get to know the town's people first, so I think we should start working tomorrow, and you'll probably be busy today anyway arranging things for your house and all."

"I think it's best that way," Clair agreed. "I'll be here to work bright and early tomorrow, and maybe we can get this weed farm to look like an actual farm." Clair and Jack both laughed as they walked across the farm towards the bridge. Gotz's house was just south of the farm across the river.

xoxox xox xoxox

Even if buying all that lumber was expensive, in the end it was a pretty good deal since Gotz would not only build the house, but also provide basic furniture, and Clair was in no position to be too picky.

After everything was arranged, Clair and Jack went their separate ways for the day, going around Mineral Town and meeting new people. Clair was getting registered for a room at the inn when she first saw him. He looked cute and a little shy; he caught her attention right away. Clair decided that it was as good a time as ever to greet her neighbor, since it looked like he was staying at the inn too.

After dropping off what little luggage she brought in her room, she started walking towards the next door and stopped. She couldn't just barge into a stranger's room and say 'hi, you look like a nice guy so I want to get to know you.' It was a bit too straightforward, especially for someone who appeared to be so shy.

"Want to meet your neighbors?" Ann cheerfully asked. Clair had been so focused on her thoughts, that she didn't even hear Ann chatting away as she walked next to her.

"Um... yeah," Clair's reply, tone and expression revealed that she hasn't been paying attention. She thought she saw Ann roll her eyes before knocking on the door.

A young man with blond hair and blue eyes opened the door. "Hi Ann, did you need anything?"

"No, I just wanted to introduce your new neighbor." Ann introduced the two. His name was Gray and he was working to become a blacksmith.

Gray then called his roommate. "Cliff, come meet our new neighbor." Ann had looked as if she was fine introducing Gray to Clair, but had no intentions of introducing Cliff, so Gray did. "This is Cliff, he's new here too."

"Hello, nice to meet you," Cliff quietly voiced. Clair instantly thought he was adorable.

xoxox xox xoxox

Much to Ann's dismay, Gray, Cliff and Clair ended up having dinner together that night. Cliff was quiet and hardly responded when Clair tried to make friendly conversation, but he did smile a little. After dinner, Cliff returned to his room leaving Clair alone with Gray. "It must be what they call love at first sight."

Gray's voice got Clair out of her thoughts. "What?"

He laughed in good humor. "You and Cliff, I mean."

Gray had noticed the way Clair looked at Cliff, curious to get to know him. "That's going a little too far. Besides, he doesn't seem to like me. I don't think he's even interested in being my friend."

Gray shook his head. "It's not like that, he's just really shy. I thought he was dreading the day he got stuck with me for a roommate so I just asked him. He said he didn't mean to look as if he found me unpleasant, and that he thought I was a good friend. Then he avoided me for a week but made it a point to make himself smile whenever he couldn't avoid me. It took a while for us to talk more or less normally. If he's that shy with me, I can only imagine how much more shy he'll be to a girl. Just take things slowly and try to let him get to know you. He usually hangs out at the church when he's not here."

Clair understood right away and smiled. It seemed that Gray thought Cliff should try to make more friends and maybe Clair could be his friend. The message was clear, if Gray was telling Clair where to find Cliff, that was like telling her to go talk to him, and that she would do.

xoxox xox xoxox

As time passed, Clair and Cliff became closer friends and she started to like him more and more. Clair had developed a friendship with Gray and Mary as all; she knew they liked each other too. Ann was not very fond of Clair, at least Gotz finished her house in record time and she was able to move into it soon. Clair had developed a sibling relationship with Jack, though due to the fact that she spent most of her time with him, people started to get the wrong idea.

Clair didn't have too much work to do really. At first she was quite busy with the farm and only had a little free time to spend with Cliff. Then, everything seemed to flow and the farm practically ran itself, with some help from the Harvest Sprites. Clair finished her chores pretty early and didn't need to do too much farm work.

Every week she would go to the super market, buy groceries and plenty of flour. Deliver the flour to the Harvest Sprites, making sure to alternate between which three she hired every week. Jack and the sprites took care of the farm and Clair did random little tasks here and there. In all honesty, she could finish all her daily chores in the morning alone and still have time to spare. Clair didn't really have any complaints about it, since that meant she could spend the afternoon with Cliff.

When summer came, Cliff was starting to become a little distant towards Clair, and she didn't know why. She decided that maybe he just needed some space and she was trying too hard to get him to talk a little more about himself. It seemed Jack was also having troubles with Ann. He sat on the grass next to Clair, in front of the fishpond looking disappointed. She immediately noticed the big, red, handprint on his cheek. "What happened to you?"

"I asked Ann over to dinner and she said she didn't like me. She said she..." Jack paused, unsure if he should continue.

"What did she say?" Clair asked in a gentle tone, trying to console her fellow farmer.

"She said she likes Cliff, she said she doesn't like players like you and me." Jack stared at the fishpond as he spoke.

Clair was in shock, not because of Ann liking Cliff, she already knew that, but because of what she said. Obviously Ann must have been very upset. "Players like us?" Clair questioned.

"There have been a lot of rumors going around. Ann mentioned that someone told her we were a couple, but cheated on each other all the time. I don't know why she believed it, people seemed to understand we're simply working together before. Why did this happen now?" The entire rumor felt as wrong to Jack as it did to Clair.

True that the two farmers were not actually related, but they had come to think of each other as siblings. "I'm going to straighten out this mess." Clair got up and walked out of the farm, past the mailbox and dog house. Jack's puppy ran to his owner, a bit frightened, as if sensing her angered aura.

Whoever it was that started the rumor, this person was ruining Clair's relationship with Cliff and Jack's relationship with Ann. Just when Clair thought Ann was beginning to like Jack and would finally leave her Cliff alone.

xoxox xox xoxox

"It's golden service hour!" In her haste, Clair nearly ran into Won, a merchant who often visited the farm to sell his overpriced apples to Jack. Though she was rather fond of him and his golden service hour, she was not in the mood right now.

"Later Won, I need to have a word with Ann and track down an evil rumor starter of doom, who will be doomed!" Clair walked past Won and stomped her way to the inn.

"Oh, oh..." Won gulped and bolted out of there, Clair wasn't sure why.

xoxox xox xoxox

Ann wasn't really in the mood to talk and Doug didn't look too happy that Clair was there. The general atmosphere was not very nice. "There's nothing to talk about." Ann had said nothing more than that.

"Please make your purchase quickly and if you don't need anything, I'll have to ask you to leave." Clair was surprised by Doug's words; that was no way to treat customers. She turned around and left without even replying, she had to see Cliff.

xoxox xox xoxox

When Clair arrived at the church, Cliff was in his usual seat. He shifted uncomfortably and avoided her gaze. "Cliff, don't tell me you've heard the rumors too? It's not true!"

"I... um..." Cliff looked away clearly uncomfortable. "You've been very nice to me... I just..."

"I'm going to fix this," Clair assured him with solid determination, but where to start? Clair noticed that Carter wasn't in his usual place at the church, that's when she remembered, she had arrived just in time to confess. Maybe Carter could offer some advice about the situation. Clair took a deep breath and entered the confessionary.

"What do you wish to repent for?" It was as if Carter knew right away, or rather he expected her to say she wanted to confess. Of course, with all the rumors going around, she couldn't just be there to say hi.

"The townspeople don't like me," Clair confessed. Before Carter could reply, she continued, "and I know why. It's because someone started a rumor about Jack and me. I tried to ask Ann about it and she refused to talk. Why did they believe it so easily? Jack and I have been working together on the farm since spring and it wasn't until now that the rumor stated. I want to clear this up, any advice?"

Carter paused; he was taken by surprise by Clair's elaborate confession. He took a deep breath, "If the townspeople don't like you, there must be a reason. Maybe the person who started the rumor had a reason to do it as well. Either way, if you don't do things that are misleading, then the rumors will not last. I'm sorry to say that the Harvest Goddess has not forgiven you. That's all for now, have a nice day."

"But you haven't told me what I should do!" Clair insisted.

Carter sighed and repeated himself. "Please understand; the Harvest Goddess has not forgiven you."

Clair remained rooted to the spot, waiting for a straight answer. "I was getting along so well with Cliff. I really like him and I thought he was starting to like me too. Jack seemed to finally be making a little progress with Ann as well. I don't want to lose Cliff and I'm not letting some rumor take him away from me."

"You have a lot of determination but the Harvest Goddess has not forgiven you. Have a nice day." Carter spoke slowly, emphasizing every word.

Grumbling about the terrible fate the one who started the rumor would suffer, Clair left the confessionary. Cliff was there, looking a little embarrassed. "I... I'm not going to believe the rumors..."

"Thank you Cliff." As long as Cliff believed her, Clair felt that everything would be okay. She had no idea he heard every word she said in the confessionary.

xoxox xox xoxox

Clair decided to go to the library to try to relax and clear her head. Mary was in her own little world writing her novel. It took a few minutes for her to realize that there was someone else in the library looking at the books. "Hello, sorry I didn't see you." Mary seemed surprised that Clair didn't greet her on your way in, as she usually did.

"It's okay; I didn't want to disturb you. You heard, didn't you?" Clair was pretty sure Mary heard; rumors traveled fast in that town.

Mary nodded, "I didn't believe it." At least Mary knew Clair well enough. "Gray doesn't believe it either."

Clair smiled; she could still count on Mary and Gray. "I'm going to find out who started that rumor and do something about it. I don't know why it happened so suddenly. We were fine during the spring, then suddenly, this rumors starts, right in the middle of summer."

Clair paused, as did Mary. "Kai!" They both exclaimed at same time. He was only in town during the summer so he was the most obvious suspect. With no time to waste, Clair headed for the beach.

xoxox xox xoxox

Jack was sitting at the docks fishing, while his puppy played by himself at the beach. The farmer was so lost in thought he didn't notice the line being pulled. Clair went over there and took the fishing rod from him. She reeled in a big fish and gave it to Jack. "Don't forget to real them in or they'll get away."

"Huh? Oh yeah, fish." Jack was really out of it. "Everyone's mad at me."

"Don't worry, I'll fix this." Clair marched to Kai's shop.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Do you think that's why he left?" Zack asked.

"He has been telling crazy stories lately." Kai replied.

"Who are you talking about?" They both jumped at Clair's sudden voice. "Is this about the person who started the rumors about me and Jack?"

Kai and Zack looked at each other. Maybe Kai was innocent after all. "Let's not jump to conclusions, the stories he was telling were nothing like the rumors," Zack stated.

"Yeah, the rumors could be true, but the stories Won was telling? No way!" Kai agreed.

"Won!" Clair remembered what happened when she bumped into him earlier and rushed out of the shop. She would find Won and get the truth out of him, in any way needed.

xoxox xox xoxox

Clair's search for Won proved fruitless. She had no idea where he went but she didn't give up, she was just tired from running around so much. Her face was turning blue, but she didn't care. Clair had lost count of how many times she walked around town in circles, hoping to see the merchant trying to sell apples door to door, but she had no luck.

Then she saw Cliff walking from the church back to the inn. "Cliff..." Clair smiled at him; maybe talking to him would make her feel better. Clair thought she heard Cliff call her name, before the world faded into darkness.

xoxox xox xoxox

When she woke up, Clair realized that she was not in her room. She slowly sat up and tried to recognize her surroundings, she was in the hospital. Elli quietly came in and saw that Clair was awake. "Are you feeling better? I'll get the doctor." Before Clair could say anything, Elli was out of the room.

Clair tried to get up and noticed that there was something on her hand, it was another hand. She blinked and stared in disbelief, there was Cliff, sleeping in a chair while holding her hand. "Cliff!" She couldn't stop herself and gave him a hug.

Doctor and Elli soon entered the room. "Yes, it was Cliff who found you and brought you here," Doctor explained. "He also told us not to believe those rumors..."

Elli nodded. "Earlier I went to the library to borrow some books for grandma, Mary and Gray said the same thing."

Clair was happy that she could count on her friends to help her clear up those crazy rumors. She hugged Cliff so much he started to turn blue. Clair immediately loosened her grip when she saw the unnatural color and watched as his face changed from blue to red. "Thank you Cliff, you saved my life."

"I only brought you here," Cliff shyly replied.

"I appreciate it a lot. Not just for bringing me here, but for choosing to believe me." Now Clair loved Cliff even more.

Elli pulled Doctor out of the room. He kept saying something about Clair's examination, but Elli told him it could wait.

xoxox xox xoxox

After Clair had rested and recovered, it was time to continue her search for Won. However, she deiced to go see the Harvest Goddess first. It was clear that Clair would need all the luck she could get if she was going to solve this mystery any time soon. Clair was quite surprised to see that Won was right there, next to the Goddess' pond. "Won!" She gave him a threatening glare. "Were you the one who started the rumors about me and Jack?"

"I didn't do it!" Won backed away.

"I heard Zack and Kai talking about a story you made up. You could be the one spreading the rumors too." It all made sense. Won liked Clair, even if she had made it clear that she liked Cliff and could only offer him a friendship.

"It wasn't me!" Won continued to back away from Clair, fearing for his life, until he fell into the pond and in a flash the Harvest Goddess appeared with a soaking wet Won in her arms. "Thank you for making an offering, and a big offering it was! I'm afraid, I cannot accept this offering, but I appreciate the thought. Is there someone you like?"

"Yes, and the rumors Won started are getting in the way!" Clair pointed an accusing finger at Won, who seemed to have forgotten about her existence.

"I heard about that and I know who started them," The Harvest Goddess revealed.

"It was Won, right?" Clair asked.

The Harvest Goddess shook her head and put Won down. "No, the story he's been telling people is a different one. I heard him walking around and talking to himself, wondering what kind of offering he should make. I guess he wanted my help in clearing his name."

Won nodded eagerly. "That's it! The story I've been telling is completely true! I saw the Kappa in town!"

"You see, it was the Kappa who started the rumors because he has a crush on you." The Harvest Goddess explained.

Clair stood there, wide eyed and open mouthed. "The Kappa likes me? But he's not even human! Carter said so when I was joking about wanting to marry the Kappa." Carter, he knew! He knew about the Kappa and he knew that the Harvest Goddess knew. The Kappa must have confessed that he liked Clair, but Carter couldn't tell her. He was trying to tell her to go ask the Harvest Goddess instead. "It was only a joke; I'm in love with Cliff!" As Clair declared her affection at the top of her lungs, Cliff had just arrived. "Cliff!" She blushed as much as he did.

"Um... I... I wanted to give the Harvest Goddess an offering. I thought she could help clear things up. I was trying to help... er... I'll just go wait over there." Distracted, embarrassed, yet smiling, Cliff absentmindedly backed away and fell into the hot spring.

"Cliff!" Clair rushed to help him get out.

"Hey, offerings go over here!" The Harvest Goddess pointed at her pond.

There was no way Clair would give up Cliff, not even to the Harvest Goddess. "Cliff is not an offering!" Clair lost her footing on the wet rocks around the hot spring and instead of helping Cliff get out, she fell in.

The Harvest Goddess laughed. "I'm only kidding, but honestly, making me laugh this much was a great offering. Anyway, I have to go now, bye." She disappeared and her amused laughter faded.

"What about me? Why can't you accept me as an offering?" Won threw himself into the Harvest Goddess' pond but she didn't appear again. Feeling frustrated, Won got out. Clair knew that would be the end of golden service hour, after the Harvest Goddess stole Won's heart. By then, she and Cliff had also managed to get out of the hot spring. So it had been the Kappa who started the rumors. It was time to pay him a visit.

xoxox xox xoxox

After telling Jack the story, he gladly gave Clair some cucumbers to summon the Kappa and offered to tag along. However, he did advice that Clair and Cliff, should change into some dry clothes before they caught a cold. Needless to say, people would come up with all sorts of crazy rumors to explain why Clair and Cliff were wet in the first place. Clair had to admit, the truth was a little hard to believe.

xoxox xox xoxox

Clair and Cliff both changed into dry clothes and went with Jack to see the Kappa. After throwing a few cucumbers in the Kappa's pond, the green creature came out of hiding. "It's nice to see you've finally come to visit me, but why did you bring so many friends?" Cliff had to hold Clair back, to stop her from strangling the Kappa, while Jack tried to talk some sense into him. It seemed that the Kappa finally understood and confessed he was originally in love with the Harvest Goddess but she didn't return his feelings.

"I heard that!" Everyone turned to see Won. He was standing a little far from the group, but still within earshot. "She wouldn't accept me as an offering either..."

Kappa gave Won a look of understanding. "I guess we're both the same. Why don't we go to the inn and drown away our broken hearts? I heard they have some really good local wine. I prefer cucumbers, but maybe Ann can put some cucumbers in my drink, she's such a nice girl."

Won accepted the invitation. "Count me in, I prefer my wine without cucumbers, but you're right, Ann is so nice. It's almost time for the bar to open."

As Clair, Cliff and Jack, watched Won and Kappa walk away, Jack suddenly came to a realization. "That's my Ann you're talking about!" He wasn't going to give up on winning her heart and not an apple merchant or a kappa would stand in his way.

xoxox xox xoxox

When the fall season came, Jack had already won Ann's heart and Mary and Gray were still together. Doctor and Elli appeared to be getting along pretty well too. The Kappa seemed to have given up on falling in love with humans, and decided to wait until he met a girl kappa. Won was still love sick, he claimed he would love the Harvest Goddess forever, and never give up. Other than that, everything was alright in the world, until one day Cliff told Clair he might be leaving soon. He was running out of money and couldn't continue staying at the inn. She didn't want him to leave, there had to be something she could do.

That morning, Clair went to see the Harvest Goddess. By some miracle she actually managed to get there before Won. Getting up so early was worth it after all, she threw some flowers into the pond and waited for the Harvest Goddess to appear. Nothing happened. Good thing Clair brought some extra flowers, just in case. She threw in some more flowers but still nothing happened. "Come out already!" That did it, the Harvest Goddess finally appeared after hearing her voice.

"Sorry it took so long, I thought it was Won. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy, but a little too insistent." The Harvest Goddess explained. A detail that caught Clair's attention was that she was not floating above her pond but instead had landed next to her. "I need a vacation."

"Cliff needs a job, the world is ironic." Clair sighed and sat on the grass.

She was surprised when the Harvest Goddess sat down next to her. "Ironic indeed, I would let him have my job while I'm on vacation, but for the job of Harvest Goddess being a woman is required."

"And a goddess," Clair added.

"Not necessarily. A human woman once filled in for me years ago. I think it's been about a thousand years since that time. I'm long overdo for a vacation. Either way, Cliff's problem isn't hard to solve. He should just marry you," the Harvest Goddess suggested.

As much as Clair liked the idea, she knew it wouldn't work. "I don't think he's ready" and quite frankly ,neither was Clair. She didn't exactly make a fortune, but you she still felt guilty because she knew Jack was better off hiring the Harvest Sprites, they worked for flour and it was far more economical to hire them than Clair. True that, they couldn't go to the grocery store, the shelves were too high for them, but Clair always finished those chores in the morning. As much as she liked having some extra time to spend with Cliff, she felt like she wasn't giving Jack a fair deal, even if he would never say such a thing. Clair was contemplating getting a part time job in the afternoons.

"I have an idea." The Harvest Goddess announced. "It looks like you always finish your work in the mornings and don't really do much in the afternoons, except spend time with Cliff." The Harvest Goddess certainly knew a lot of things, but then again, this was something that most people in Mineral Town knew.

"That's true," Clair admitted. "I was thinking about getting a part time job in the afternoons." Clair couldn't just quit her job at the farm, there were still those little chores that the Harvest Sprites couldn't handle. Besides, Jack would think she was mad at him or something.

"Excellent, I was thinking about giving you a job." Clair couldn't believe the words that the Harvest Goddess had spoken. "I take it your shocked, yet happy expression means you accept?"

"Yes!" Clair cheered, then remembered why she really came, it was for Cliff, so he could stay. "Wait, I would rather find a job for Cliff, that way he'll agree to staying in Mineral Town."

"No problem, yesterday after Won left, Duke came by and offered a wine bottle with a flier attached." The Harvest Goddess seemed to produce the flier out of thin air. "Take a look."

Clair received the flier and smiled, Aja Winery needed some help. With any luck, they would be convinced to keep Cliff as a full time worker and he would stay in town. In fact, Clair might as well take the goddess job too. "Thank you! This is great and if you haven't changed your mind about that goddess job, I'll take it too!"

"Great, in that case, come back later after Won leaves and I'll explain all the details." So it was settled, Cliff would work at the winery and Clair would work for the Harvest Goddess.

xoxox xox xoxox

After telling Cliff the good news and finishing all her farm chores, Clair went back to the Harvest Goddess' pond but Won was still there. He was trying to serenade the Harvest Goddess and singing quite horribly. Karen would kick him for being so off key. Clair left and came back later, but he was still there. Clearly, Won had no intentions of leaving.

Clair returned to the farm and paced around until Zack arrived to pick up the farm's products. Jack had gone to see Ann. "Are you alright?" Zack asked.

"I'm fine, Won isn't and neither is the Harvest Goddess. Can a goddess suffer a nervous breakdown?" Clair was beginning to wonder and if she didn't do something about it soon, she was going to find out the hard way.

Zack knew what this was about right away. "Won's singing can drive anyone to insanity. He asked me to listen to him rehearse. I tried to tell him singing to the Harvest Goddess was a bad idea, but he wouldn't listen. I guess my advice doesn't count since I never won her heart. But that wasn't my fault, I was so young and she... never mind." Clair was sure that Zack wasn't talking about the Harvest Goddess, but she wasn't sure about who he was talking about. She had a feeling it was someone from town. "Anyway, I need to get going now."

"See you tomorrow." After Zack left, Clair got an idea. If Won wouldn't listen to Zack, maybe he would listen to someone who had been more successful in love, but she didn't really feel great about asking Jack or Gray to lecture Won, that's when Cliff arrived, Clair adored him and everyone knew that.

"Hi, I finished work and came to see you; you're always coming to see me so I thought I should come too." Cliff was so cute blushing like that and being all shy. "I didn't find you at your house, so I was wondering if you were still working. Are you too busy?"

"I'm not busy," Clair should be busy, but she couldn't go to goddess training with Won unintentionally insulting the fine art of music. "I do have a favor to ask," It was rather embarrassing, but she needed to have mercy on that poor goddess.

"Sure, anything!" Clair was happy that Cliff was so eager to help, but it still felt like an odd thing to ask.

"I was thinking we could rescue the Harvest Goddess." Just as Clair expected, Cliff gave her a puzzled look and she explained. "Won still has a crush on her and right now he's over by her pond singing horribly off key. Zack tried to talk him out of it, but Won went through with his serenade anyway. The truth is I haven't been able to talk to her about my part time job yet. I thought, maybe, we could give her a hand. Maybe if you talk to Won, you know, man to man, he'll listen."

"I understand, I'll try my best, but heartbreak must be so hard to deal with." Cliff agreed to help but he did have a point.

Clair nodded, "yes but isn't it best to help him understand now, instead of letting him continue like that?"

"You're right," Cliff agreed.

xoxox xox xoxox

After Cliff got Won to leave, the Harvest Goddess finally came out. "I have the worse headache! Let's get the explanations out of the way; being the Harvest Goddess isn't really all that hard. The crops will grow by themselves so even if you're the Harvest Goddess, you don't really need to do much for the harvest to take place. People will occasionally come to you with offerings. You must accept those offerings and sincerely say if you liked the offering or not, you can also be neutral about it. After receiving about ten or so offerings, ask people if there's someone they like. You can't really make people fall in love, but rather awaken their feelings if they are already there. I enjoy playing rock, paper, scissors, so I will continue broadcasting my show while I'm on vacation, you don't need to worry about that. I'm going to let you borrow this magic mirror." The Harvest Goddess handed Clair a golden mirror, with flower designs in the back made of precious jewels. "All you have to do is look into it and concentrate in looking like a goddess, then you will. This is also a convenient way to get changed after your morning work and get your hair done really fast. I will make the announcement that I'm leaving you in charge. I'll be back next spring. Any questions?"

"Yes, the part about helping people with the one they like, how do I do that?" If Clair knew, she could have started by helping herself, but her relationship with Cliff was slowly making progress so she couldn't really complain. It seemed that Carter, Duke and Manna thought Clair and Cliff made a cute couple and they played matchmaker every chance they got lately.

"Rumors, my dear, rumors are the key!" Clair stared at the Harvest Goddess and she couldn't help it but to be amused. "Let me explain, I can't really make people fall in love, I can only make them realize they like each other if the feelings are already there. To do this I spread rumors. For example if Mary told me she likes Gray I would spread rumors that Mary likes Gray. He will hear about it and if he likes her back, he'll be happy and like her more. Also if people think they are a good match, they might join in and try to help them get together. There's no secret to it, just rumors."

The sheer shock of Clair's expression was priceless. "Rumors? That's it? I never thought... That was... I... I can't believe this." It was hard to speak coherently after finding out that the Harvest Goddess wasn't so godly after all. Well she could appear out of a pond, float, and make items appear and disappear, but to rely on rumors? "Is your entire information network based on rumors? How you know people's names, and all those things?"

"Yes," The Harvest Goddess admitted. "To be honest, I don't think magical powers should be used to achieve something that can be achieved by other means. Besides, this way it's a lot easier to find a replacement when I'm going on vacation."

"What about coming out of the pond and all of that? I don't think I can do it, unless there's another trick to it that no one knows about." If there was a trick, Clair missed it, because at least that part looked like magic to her.

"There's no trick to that, it's magic. You can skip the floating around, it's just for show. I think that pretty much covers it. Anything else?" The Harvest Goddess was anxious to leave on her vacation.

Clair thought about it for a moment, "I guess that's all."

"Good, then don't forget to come by tomorrow afternoon. It's about time I got a schedule and it will start with you. Even the Harvest Sprites have a schedule and close their hut during holidays."

xoxox xox xoxox

After rescuing Cliff from Won's rambles and leaving Won at Zack's house, although she felt sorry for Won, and most of all for Zack, Clair and Cliff went for a walk along the beach. She was telling him about her new part time job and made sure to remind him to keep the Harvest Goddess' methods a secret. She figured it was as good a time as any to test the mirror. Clair looked into it and thought goddess, but her mind was more on Cliff than it was in looking like a goddess so she couldn't focus enough to activate the mirror. "It didn't work."

"I think it did," Cliff smiled.

"I look the same," Clair noticed no changes in her reflection. She was still wearing the same clothes and her hair was the same as well.

"You've always been a goddess to me," Cliff replied.

Clair's heart beat faster hearing those words. "I love you Cliff!"

"I love you too." That night they kissed under the stars, staying out late and Cliff ended up getting locked out of the inn, who knows, maybe it was done on purpose to see if he would stay over at Clair's house and he did.

xoxox xox xoxox

By the time winter arrived, the town's people had finally assimilated the idea of the Harvest Goddess taking a vacation and leaving a replacement to do her job. Clair never knew spreading rumors was so useful; of course she had to be careful to spread the right kind of rumors.

Going to the town square every other afternoon proved to be a useful source of information, and new people hardly ever visited the town, so there weren't that many people to work for. All in all, things were going great.

Clair and Cliff went to Jack and Ann's wedding near winter's end. Doctor had thought about leaving town, but later changed his mind and decided to stay; he and Elli still liked each other. Gray and Mary were now engaged and would be married in the spring.

Won eventually recovered and was once again cheerfully selling his apples and other merchandise. Clair and Cliff had grown closer and were very much in love. They still saw each other everyday, in the morning before work, they had lunch together, and spent every moment together after work. Clair even got him to stay over a few times.

When spring returned, Gray and Mary got married. The Harvest Goddess came back and decided to keep Clair as her assistant. Cliff still worked full time at Aja Winery and Clair worked at the farm in the morning and for the Harvest Goddess in the afternoon, with plenty of time in between to see Cliff.

Being so well informed about the rumors of Mineral Town, Clair knew that the supermarket operated in a similar fashion in terms of blue feathers. They knew when to put a feather for sale and they knew who would come to buy it. Clair knew when they put a feather out for Jack to give Ann, she knew when the next feather was for Gray to give Mary, and she knew that new blue feather that had recently arrived was for Cliff, or maybe more for Clair than for Cliff, he was the shy one and she was the one who usually took the first step.

Clair had a strong feeling that he would accept, it seemed that everyone somehow knew. She purchased the blue feather and later presented it to Cliff, he happily accepted and just as summer had begun, Clair and Cliff got married.

xoxox xox xoxox

Fall was now ending and rumors were still flying. They say that the girl who became a goddess and the boy who makes fine wine worthy of one, are expecting a baby.

End of Harvest 19

Disclaimer, I don't own Harvest Moon.
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