A Guide to Dealing with Perfection
Summary: It is an old tale, oft told. New girl takes over old farm. Townspeople take notice. Crops are planted. Cows are milked. Chickens are picked up. Chickens are put over there. Hearts are won. Minds are lost.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon. Heck, I don't even own a farm.
In the beginning, there was a farm. In that farm, one could argue about which came first: the chicken or the egg, but that was, and remains, immaterial, as it was the farm that came first, and thus neither.
Within this farm dwelt a farmer of such great farming skill, such natural gift for planting, and watering, and milking, and cow-scrubbing, and picking up of chickens and putting over there, that the Harvest Goddess herself did smile upon this farmer and grant him great peace and prosperity.
Unfortunately, the great farmer loved by the Harvest Goddess and the community alike had a young apprentice. He loved his apprentice like a son, and taught him everything he knew of watering and milking and cow-scrubbing and even of the picking up of chickens and of the putting of those chickens over there. His apprentice learned, biding his time until the day was right.
And then he killed his master in his sleep, picking up a chicken, and putting it over there. Directly on the sleeping master's face. The master, naturally, smothered, and by the time he woke up, he was dead, and thus did not.
From that day, the farm fell into chaos and corruption. Caring neither for the wellbeing of his animals nor for the little hearts that came out of their heads when they were happy, the cruel apprentice went forth and milked not his cows, but milked instead his horse; sheared not his sheep, but instead sheared his chickens; watered not his crops, but instead his dog. Truly, he was a farmer of unparalleled incompetence.
And of unparalleled evil. For once the apprentice had learned to milk the cows, shear the sheep, water the crops, and generally ignore the dog, he went immediately to work over-exploiting the land that his master had so lovingly cultivated; through the use of chemicals neither found in nor intended for the soil, he reaped far more than he sowed. He used pesticides and disregarded the truth of a cosmology in which the insects that he sought to eliminate had a vital role to play in the web of life. He crammed too many chickens in the coop, heedless not of their frantic squawking but only of the quantity of eggs. He fed not to his cows the fodder that was good, but rather hormones to make them produce more milk.
Regrettably, the milk was as sour as his disposition, and the eggs as black as his soul.
Into the river he did throw rocks and twigs and rusty cans and boots of all shape and size. And the good people of Mineral Town didst raise their voices in a mighty chorus, and unto the corrupt farmer they did say, "Stop that, you bastard!"
The Harvest Goddess did not smile upon this man, but instead glared and pouted most pointedly.
And, conferring with her pals over in Valhalla, did summon forth a meteor to strike down the evil man.
For seven days and seven nights did fire rain down from the sky upon the farm. The good gentle peoples of Mineral Town, who had previously enjoyed the goods of the farm in its glory days, but were now enjoying the entertainment value, did watch in fascination and great munching of popcorn.
The Harvest Goddess was not unkind to the poor, abused animals, and had seen to their previous departure before the smiting of the farm that had so fully turned from the ways of good stewardship and ethical treatment of the environment. She had appeared to one special cow in a dream, and inspired him to build for himself and the other slaves of the corrupt man a giant boat with which to sail to freedom. Then, realizing that there was no body of water big enough to hold it, she sent instead to him the image of a great truck.
And the cow's name was Mooses.
And so it was written, and so it was done.
Years passed. Spring turned to Autumn, as Summer had buggered off somewhere that year.
Eventually, the farm did pass into the hands of another good farmer. But sadly, he died.
And lo, left he the farm to no one in particular, and so did the Retail Agent take out an ad in a retail magazine, padding the truth of the farm's deteriorated state only slightly to drum up greater interest.
Seven days passed, and seven nights.
And on the eighth day, the ad was answered.
And so begins our story.
The sun shone brightly down upon the gentle folk of Mineral Town. The sky was cloudless and bluer than the bluest depths of…something really, really blue. The birds were singing merrily in the treetops, aside from the ones caught in peoples' chimneys, who were squawking rather frantically.
"Help! Let us out!" they cried, unfortunately in their native tongue of Bird, so that none save the chickens that were not there could have understood them.
The scent of fresh flowers wafted from the fields, quite indifferent of the plight of the birds, to fill all who caught a whiff of its gentle fragrance with the joy of being alive.
The day was Spring the 2nd, a day that would change the lives of the sleepy, uneventful Town and its people forever.
For it was on this day that the Miracle Cow Potion administered to Barley's youngest cow at long last took effect, and she began craving ice cream and waffles instead of fodder, Good, Bad, or Mediocre.
On this day that Ellen finished at longer last the maternity sweater she had been knitting for the last three years for expectant bovine mother.
On this day that Saibara finally made it down to the 255th level of the Spring Mine, and that Gray realized he was stronger than he had ever imagined when he had been forced to carry his unconscious, exhausted grandfather up two-hundred fifty-five flights of narrow and rickety stairs.
On this day that Mary's new book had arrived, and she had spent a joyous afternoon waltzing it about her room.
On this day that Elli finally found a use for her multitudes of failed cooking attempts and all those medicines that no one ever bought. These, she had named the Elixir of Life, and though they liked the initials, the folks of Mineral Town thought this name was slightly pretentious, and instead called them Elli Leaves. This led Elli to pout at great length, but the folks of Mineral Town cared not for a pouting Elli, aside from the Doctor, who found his life made much more difficult by an angry female.
On this day that Won finally beat Zack in a heated game of Solitare, thus winning a large sum of money and Zack's eternal hatred.
It was also a day of great tragedy.
May's teddy bear fell in the mud, and it was to be two whole days before it was sufficiently washed and dried to be cuddled once more.
Elli finally noticed that knothole in the wall between her room and the Doctor's and plugged it up with an old rag, much to his disappointment. She would later unplug it again, when it occurred to her that the hole did, in fact, work both ways, and his bottom was an exceedingly nice one, worthy of much ogling and just a hint of drooling.
Manna was stricken down by laryngitis, and was ordered by the Doctor not to speak for the next three days, lest she do irreparable damage to something. Possibly someone's reputation.
Also, a new girl arrived in Mineral Town to take control of the old abandoned farm.
But enough about her, as just as Mayor Thomas had rushed back into town to spread word of their new neighbour, he had chanced to look down at the sidewalk, only to see something bright and shiny glinting back up at him.
"Ooh! A penny!" he exclaimed in delight, stooping to pick it up.
He hurried home, clutching tightly in his moist, chubby hand his newly claimed prize.
"Harris! I found a penny!" he announced proudly as he burst through the door.
"That's wonderful, Dad," Harris said amiably, forcing a smile.
"I wonder what I should spend it on!"
"About a hundredth of a vegetable," the uniformed, impressively nosed man said, rooting about in his pocket. "Here; you can have the stem of my apple."
Thomas took the stem and munched happily away, before frowning.
"I should have saved that penny. After all," he continued, "a penny saved is a penny earned! But a penny spent on an apple stem is a penny squandered."
The little brunette seated at the front desk of the clinic started slightly at this polite interruption from behind her, and then sighed and rubbed her forehead wearily.
"No, Doctor, there haven't been any last-minute appointments scheduled for right now."
Coming around to the side of her desk, the Doctor pouted.
"Well…how about sudden last-minute emergencies?"
"None of those either," Elli replied, smiling a rather forced sympathetic smile.
"Oh," he sighed sadly. "Why is it so slow today? Doesn't anyone in this town get sick anymore?"
"Doctor, Mondays are always a little slow," she said, exasperated. "Lillia was here for her medicine yesterday, and Jeff doesn't usually have enough time to work himself into a panic over the mysterious bump on his elbow until Tuesday. There's really nothing you can do about it, unless you want to start sneaking arsenic into people's food to drum up some business. Um, Doctor?" she finished a little warily as she noticed his eyes fixed on her, narrowing slightly in consideration.
"You know, Elli, you look a little pale," he said, voice filled with worry. "I think a check-up might be in order."
"I just had one!" she exclaimed, bordering on an impatient whine.
"You can't be too careful with your health."
"An hour ago!"
"A lot can change in an hour, Elli," he said, very seriously.
"Doctor, why don't you just go…have a game of Solitaire or something?"
"I hate Solitaire. I always lose."
"Then draw a picture!"
"I don't like drawing. People always make fun of my stick-men."
"Then go back to your desk, lean back in your chair, and count the ceiling tiles!" Elli suggested, fraying patience snapping completely. "I don't care what you do, as long as you leave me alone to some work done!"
The Doctor blinked.
"You seem a little out-of-sorts," he said, continuing to watch her carefully. "That can be the first sign of a serious illness."
It took less than a second for Elli to shoot up out of her chair, plant her hands firmly in the center of the man's back, and push him toward the other side of the divider.
"Go!" she barked.
Once he was safely counting ceiling tiles, she dropped back into her chair with a long sigh.
"Finally! Now," she continued, carefully examining the matters of gravest importance spread over her desk, "where was I?"
Another moment of deep concentration passed, and then she brightened.
"Oh, that's right! Black seven on the red eight."
And all was sunshine again. But soon enough, the game had been won, the cards reshuffled and put away.
"Mary!" Gray called, delighted, as he caught sight of the pretty, bespectacled object of his affections hurrying past, clutching a small brown paper parcel.
He let go of the doorknob of the blacksmith shop thingy, and jogged after her.
"Mary?" he called again, frowning when she barely glanced his way, and falling into step beside her. He eyed the bundle in her hands. "What've you got there?"
He reached for it, and time seemed to slow as her head whipped around as a furious snarl filled the air…
Gray wondered dimly when Mary had grown claws like that as he flew, stunned, backwards into a nearby fence.
"Okay," he agreed shakily before promptly losing consciousness. "I don't need to see."
Stu grinned and waved as the little dark-haired girl approached the fence outside the church.
"Hi, Stu," May greeted despondently, also returning Carter's gently beaming smile with a tiny, sad one.
"What's wrong?" Stu asked, blinking.
"My teddy's in the wash," the little girl sighed.
"Yeah, I heard about that," Stu said wisely. "Manna came to see Grandma earlier." Then he brightened. "But one of your Grandpa's cows is going to have a little baby soon!"
"That's the other problem!" May wailed. "Grandpa said I could have some ice cream with lunch today, but when he went to get it, we were all out, because we had to give it all to the cow to make her stop crying!"
"Ah, I suppose even cows have hormonal crying jags," Carter said, expression sober but eyes dancing. "Well, never mind that, May. I'll make you both a treat."
"Okay," she agreed, taking Carter's hand as Stu took his other. "But if Mabel comes and eats it, I'm gonna be really mad!"
"We need to see the doctor!" Saibara called out as he and Mary dragged a barely-conscious, bleeding Gray into the clinic.
"Oh, no! What happened?" Elli exclaimed worriedly, up from her desk in a second.
"I…I don't know," Mary replied in a wobbly voice, gulping back a sob. "He went for my new book, and then everything turned red, and the next thing I knew, the fence was broken and Gray was afraid to come near me, and he was bleeding everywhere, and…"
"It's alright, Mary," Saibara said, surprisingly gentle, patting her soothingly with the hand not busily keeping his grandson from toppling unceremoniously to the floor. "We all know you're protective of your books; Gray just forgot."
"I don't want the book! I swear, I don't want the book! I was just trying to…grab a feel! Yeah, that's it!" Gray said unsteadily, cowering back against his grandfather.
"Doctor!" Elli was meanwhile calling, trotting towards the other side of the divider. "I think we have a bit of an emergency!"
"Emergency!" the Doctor exclaimed, bolting towards her, his paddle ball falling, forgotten, to the floor. "Finally!"
As his nurse's bewildered and slightly reproachful expression sunk into his boredom-addled mind, he cleared his throat.
"Er, that is, what exactly happened?"
"Well, I think Gray tried to take Mary's book, and she roughed him up. Doctor!" she added reproachfully. "It's not funny! I think she really did a number on him!"
The Doctor stopped snickering with some difficulty, and forced his expression back into its usual deadpan.
"Of course. Well, send him in."
The second Elli's back was turned, he dissolved into soundless laughter again, immediately composing himself when heavy, laboured footsteps reached his ears.
"Hello, Gray," he greeted, helping the young man to the cot. "Now, why don't you tell me what happened."
"Girls are scary," Gray informed him very solemnly.
The Doctor was on the verge of suggesting dryly that a woman only had the power to be as terrifying as a man let them, when a broken wail drifted from the waiting room.
"I hadn't even read it yet!"
Alright, so maybe Gray had a point. Withdrawing gauze and iodine from his cabinets, the Doctor made a mental note to buy his decidedly female roommate a present sometime in the near future.
Couldn't hurt to stay on her good side, after all.
It was much later that evening when Sakura Hyacinthia Roseblossom Crystal Lythia Sunshine Moondancer McPretty (more commonly known to the rest of the world as Mary Sue, although she had no idea why – there were no Marys OR Sues in her name) dropped exhaustedly to the little bed in the corner of her new home.
There was nothing like a good night's sleep, well earned by a day of hard labour.
And a successful day it had been.
Over the course of the morning and afternoon, she had not only managed to clear her entire massive field of twigs, rocks, boulders, and stumps – clearly, when the Mayor had told her that breaking a stump with her current axe and a boulder with her current hammer was impossible, he had meant "impossible for other people" – but had also managed to make friends with all the cute little creatures of the forest! She had thus acquired not only an adorable cuddly little puppy that loved her unconditionally already, but also a pet bunny, a pet monkey, and a snake that was just scary enough to look cool, but still as pretty as any pet of hers was required to be.
She ran a faintly, aesthetically scarred hand through her iridescently shining golden hair and closed her eyes of brightest cerulean blue.
It wasn't easy, being this gorgeous. Her iridescent hair and brightest cerulean eyes glowed in the dark and kept her awake all night.
Downright annoying, really, when she was this tired.
Five minutes later, head wrapped in a towel and eyes obscured by sunglasses, she climbed back into bed.
It had just been too bad that she hadn't had time to go meet any of the locals today.
But tomorrow. Tomorrow she would go introduce herself.
She was fairly certain that she would be the most exciting thing to happen to these stuffy, uneventful people in ages.
After all, what could possibly happen in a one-horse town (the one horse, naturally, belonging to her after it had wandered onto her property and begged her in a series of neighs and whinnies to adopt it) like this?
End Notes: Hehe! I'm having way too much fun with this one. Okay, so maybe everyone's out of character, and maybe the writing's really bad, and maybe there's no plot worth speaking of, and maybe the introduction was way too much, and…geez, why do I like this one again:P