Chapter 2

Jack awoke to the first glimpses of sunlight peeking through the window. He shielded his eyes from the sun hoping to fall back asleep. Unfortunately that plan was foiled when the mayor came knocking at the door. Sighing to himself, Jack hopped out of bed and threw on the closest available clothing, which just so happened to be his clothes from yesterday, and answered the door.

The mayor greeted him with his casual smile, "Good morning, sir."

Jack nodded his head in acknowledgment as he was still too tired to muster up a proper smile. "Hello Mr. Mayor. What brings you over so early?"

"Oh we all wake up bright and early around here," The mayor chuckled in good nature, "Anyway, I here you are going to be staying with us for a while. Am I correct?"

Jack nodded his head again this time with a bit more vitality. "Yes, sir." he announced happily finally bringing a smile to his face.

"Wonderful!" The mayor cried out in joy clasping Jack's hands and shaking them, "Well let me be the first to welcome you to Flowerbud Village."

Jack laughed hesitantly, ""

"Come now boy don't be embarrassed," The mayor chuckled walking Jack out into the open sun, "It's a beautiful day today. If you'd like I can show you around the village. Would that be okay with you?"

Jack just couldn't help but smile at the the plump man's exuberance, "Alright."

"Excellent." The mayor smiled and started walking off back towards the village. Jack patted Buddy on the head and told him to stay put before running off to catch up with the mayor. They walked down the trodden dirt lane from Jack's house until they reached a crossroads. The mayor stopped here.

"Alright, I think this should be our first stop since you're going to be a farmer and all," The mayor decided while smiling the whole time. Jack couldn't help but figure the mayor enjoyed giving tours of his town. "Now if you take this path immediately to your right," The mayor continued, "You head towards Moon Mountain and the vineyard."

Jack could see a sign in the distance and asked, "So do I turn left toward the vineyard at that sign?"

"Yes," The mayor said before moving in to whisper in Jack's ear, "But between you and me, it's better to get wine from the bar at the moment. The vineyard's been going through a rough patch lately."

"Why's that?" Jack asked curiously.

"Oh lots of reasons, I suppose," The mayor sighed piquing Jack's interest, "But it's not for me to discuss...anyway..."

Jack couldn't help but feel like he was getting the short end of the stick, but decided that since the mayor didn't want to talk about it the matter must not be any of his business. So Jack decided to let go of the subject.

"This pathway to the left," The mayor continued picking up where he'd left off, "leads to Green Ranch. They'll be an important family to you as a farmer. They will teach you everything you need to know about raising animals. In fact, I believe they are looking for someone to take one of their horses. So you should drop by as soon as you can to make sure they don't sell it off."

The mayor smiled which Jack gratefully returned. They then took the middle path that lead the way into Flowerbud Village. It came as a big surprise to see how lively the village was for it being so early. People were out stirring and talking with their neighbors and opening their shops up for a hard day's work. Seeing all of them hard at work made Jack want to work hard too. His eagerness to get home and clean that rocky, stumpy, and weedy field had multiplied.

Finally the mayor came to a stop in front of a particular shop with a blue, shingled roof. The shop's name was "Flower Lillia" according to the gigantic sign they had plastered above their door frame. What was cute about the sign was the big yellow sunflower they had painted on it next to the shop name.

"This is the local florist's shop." The mayor explained, "They sell all the vegetable and grass seeds you will need for your farm and can tell you what to do and how to go about doing it."

At that moment the door to the shop opened and a woman no older than her thirties with bubblegum pink hair pinned up in a bun came out, holding the door open for a younger version of herself. Jack stared at the young lass who was carrying fertilizer and smiled slightly. She had the same pink hair as the woman holding the door open, but instead of having her hair up in a bun, the lass's hair flowed freely down her backside and was kept straight by a green headband. She had the smile of an angel and colorful pink eyes that you could get lost in were you not careful. She wore a white blouse with a long red dress over it...and may very well have been one of the most beautiful girls Jack had ever seen.

Reality set back in rather quickly as the woman holding the door open called out to her daughter, "Popuri, be careful, I don't want you getting hurt carrying that heavy fertilizer!"

"I won't!" The lass cried out happily as she set it beside the other packages of fertilizer alongside the house.

"Ah, Lillia. Business good as usual?" The mayor asked walking up to the older pink-haired woman with delight who smiled politely in return.

"Same as always. The Green Ranch easily keep us in business." The older lady stated with a short bow.

"I got you a new customer here," The mayor stated introducing Jack, "His name's Jack Harvest. He's taking over his grandpa's farm out near the Green Ranch.

"Well we will be more than welcome to have you." The older pink haired lady smiled as the young lass, Popuri if he recalled right, came bouncing up beside her.

"Hi! I'm Popuri!" the young lass introduced herself taking off her right hand's gardening glove and extending it with her brightest smile. Jack took her soft and delicate hand and shook it, but just as he was about to return the introductions she interrupted him, "Visit 'Flower Lillia' for all your flower and vegetable needs!"

"I-I will," Jack nodded, still a bit surprised by how nice and open she seemed to be.

Just as Jack was about to strike up a conversation with the pretty pink-haired lass, the mayor interjected, "Well we had best be off. It was good seeing you Lillia."

"Say hi to your wife for me," Lillia smiled to which the mayor politely nodded.

As the mayor and Jack walked off further down the road, Jack heard Popuri call out to him, "See you later!" He turned around to see her waving goodbye to him and he waved back in a shy sort of fashion.

"Girls that cute should not exist," Jack muttered to himself after they had gotten farther away from the flower shop, he almost instantly regretted saying anything when the mayor started chuckling beside him.

Thankfully, the mayor said nothing about it and continued the tour as if nothing unnatural had just taken place, and soon enough they found themselves in front of the church. "Of course you already know this place, so I'll make this short. Pastor Brown runs the church and is also the town's educator. So the church actually doubles as a school for our children."

They walked on down the path a little further until they stood in front of a building that had a lot of wine barrels outside the entrance. "That's the bar. It's only open in the evenings. I hear it's a good place to go after a hard day's work, though I don't normally go in there as I'm not much of a drinker."

Jack smiled understandingly. Jack couldn't say he was much of a drinker either. He couldn't drink more than one glass without feeling dizzy.

"Up those steps will take you to the village square," The mayor said pointing out the staircase up ahead of them. "It's where we hold most of our festivals.

Jack made a note of that and followed the mayor down a path immediately to the left of them. They walked that path through a lot of residential areas until they took another left down a separate road in the direction they'd come from. They stopped outside a small shop that looked like it may have been a barn at one time, but had since been revamped.

"This is the Tools and Crafts shop," The mayor stated, "You can buy lots of farm tools and miscellaneous goods here...provided of course it's open..."

"What do you mean?" Jack asked out of curiosity.

"I mean the place is hardly ever open," The mayor said as he tilted up his glasses and rubbed his eyes, "The boy who runs it is about your age, he's a good kid, though a bit eccentric. Anyway, he's closed on Wednesdays and Weekends. Plus he always comes in really late and then leaves early. I guess it's to be expected though since he has to walk all the way from Green Ranch."

"I see..."

As if to prove the mayor's point, a young man with vibrant orange hair and safety glasses came running at breakneck speed towards the shop. He was dressed in a green plaid shirt and wore blue overalls over it like many of the other local villagers. He stopped just right in front of them gasping for breath.

"Hello...there...sorry need anything?" The young orange-haired man asked while panting.

"No no Rick, I'm just showing our newest villager around the town," The mayor greeted.

"I'm Jack," Jack greeted extending his hand.

"Rick. Welcome to Flowerbud Village." Rick nodded giving Jack's hand a firm shake. "Can I be expecting business from you then?" he asked cautiously.

"I'm sure I'll need tools for my farm somewhere down the line." Jack said laughing slightly.

"Well we had best be off," The mayor said also shaking Rick's hand, "Lots more places to visit."

After saying their goodbyes to Rick they walked further down the street until a sweet smell passed underneath Jack's nose. Soon enough, Jack found his stomach growling out in hunger.

"Hungry then are we?" The mayor asked while still walking, "It is nearly three. We'll stop and get a bite to eat at the bakery."

They walked a little further until they came up to a building that had a sign in big bold red letters where the word 'Cake' was posted. Upon entering a little bell located above the door rang to signal to the people working that customers had come inside. The bakery was small in size, but had this air of homeliness that just sucked you into its atmosphere. The mayor and Jack found a booth, sat down, and waited for their waiter or waitress to come take their order.

Not a second later, a girl around his age came out of the back room with a ticket book in hand ready to take his order. Jack smiled as the girl came up to the booth. She had short brown hair and smelled of cakes. Jack didn't know whether it was the intoxicating aroma or her cute looking features, but for the second time today he found himself drawn toward another cute girl.

"Hello. My name is Elli and I'll be taking your order," she smiled before looking at Jack, "I haven't seen you around here before. Are you visiting?"

"No mam, I just moved into my grandpa's house out by Green Ranch. My name is Jack Harvest." He said greeting her and extending his hand which she shook with a sweet smile.

"Nice to meet you Mr. Harvest—"

"Call me Jack."

"Jack," she corrected herself smiling, "My name is Elli as you already know." She turned back to the mayor, "Same thing as usual, sir?"

"That would be lovely, Elli, thank you." the mayor replied gratefully giving her his menu.

"Okay," she said hopping a little to reposition her attention toward Jack, "and for you, sir?"

Jack looked over the menu haphazardly looking for something good so as not to keep the pretty waitress waiting, "I think I'll have the apple pie and a glass of tea."

"Okay. Sweet or Unsweet?" she asked again.

"...Sweet," he said smiling a little bit. Elli smiled as she took the menu.

"I'll have your orders out in a second," she told them before running off to give the orders to the cook.

"She's a good kid," the mayor spoke up conversationally to which Jack smiled. The two sat and talked a little more about the town until Elli came back out with an older gentleman in tow who had their orders in his hand.

"Jeff, this is the new guy in town I was telling you about," Elli said introducing the older gentleman to Jack. He had slicked back black hair with his own mustache like many of the other men in the village. He looked to be somewhere between his late twenties and early thirties. He was wearing a standard white bakery uniform with a red bow tie, and according to his name tag he was the owner of the bakery.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, young sir," He greeted warmly as he put down their orders in front of them, "I hope the food is to your liking."

Jack dove into his pie without a second hesitation. "This is delicious!"

"Thank you. I am very grateful." Jeff replied smiling with pride.

After the meal, the mayor insisted he pay the bill and they said their goodbyes to Jeff and Elli and went off into the outskirts of the town. As they walked, Jack noticed three kids standing around a tree talking animatedly about what they had learned in school today. Jack couldn't help smiling at the kids and waving. He was happy to see them wave back at him too.

"If you ever get sick you should come here for medicine," The mayor said pointing at a building and walking onward in a dismissive fashion. Jack had to hurry to catch up with the mayor as he rounded the corner to stand in front of another building. As he made his way up beside the building two more women exited the building. A feeling of relief washed over Jack as he finally met someone he recognized from yesterday.

"Hey, Maria right?" he said running up to the braided-haired girl with glasses and greeting her with a handshake. To his surprise she moved back slightly and hid behind her mother. He blanked for a second wondering if he had done something wrong until she came back out. "H-Hi Jack," she greeted.

"Oh, so I see you've already met my family," The mayor replied with interest.

"Yes, sir. I met Maria at the funeral yesterday."

"Well that's good." The mayor smiled. "Well Maria is a receptionist here at the library. You can find all kinds of books on farming here, and I'm sure Maria would love to have the company. She often drawls about how boring the job is."

"Dad!" Maria yelled, blushing out of embarrassment.

They all shared a chuckle before the mayor shrugged his shoulders and looked back at Jack, "Well that's about all there is to know. Think you can get back on your own?"

"Yeah I can get home from here, thank you again for everything today." Jack replied gratefully.

"It was my pleasure, now if you'll excuse me I'll be taking my family home."

"B-Bye Jack," Maria said shyly.

"Bye Maria."

The sun was setting after a long day of memorizing. All along the way back home, Jack tried to reflect and remember all the people he had met and all the directions he had been given. He briefly stopped in front of the crossroads again and pointed out the directions to Moon Mountain, the vineyard, and Green Ranch to make sure he still remembered them from earlier and then walked down the necessary path back down to his house.

At long last his house came into view, but that's not what surprised him. Leaning up against the iron storage bin in front of the house was a new man he hadn't met yet. This man wasn't scrawny like most of the villagers, instead this man looked as though he had gone through some military training in his life. He was a well built man with a flat top haircut and big bushy eyebrows. He wore a white tank top with blue jeans and combat boots. He held a cool gaze as he looked down at Jack.

"You're the old man's grandson, right?" the man spoke.

"Y-Yeah," Jack stuttered out of intimidation.

"Let me cut to the chase," the man spoke again looking down at the boy, "Name's Zack. I'm a buyer, and your grandpa and I knew each other for a very long time. Unfortunately, I had to be out of town the day of his funeral..."

Jack didn't really know what to say to that so he opted for silence.

Zack turned around and tapped his hand against the iron storage bin before turning back around and looking at Jack again.

"Listen up rookie, because this is how things work. Any crops or produce you want to sell get tossed in this storage bin. I come by, I pick it up, and I give you money for all of it. How much I give you depends on how much you give me."

"Okay..." Jack said sighing at having to remember yet another mountain load of information.

"If you need any advice, check channel three on your television. They give a lot of advice to newbie farmers like you."

"...Thanks...I think..." Jack said.

Zack nodded and turned to leave, but stopped and gave a second glance over his shoulder, "Work slowly until you get used to doing the work. That's the best advice I can give you. Goodbye and good luck rookie."

And just like that the man walked off. Jack couldn't help but be pleasantly surprised at how nice the man turned out to be. Looks really can be deceiving.

Jack walked straight into the house and made a crash landing on his bed. He was so exhausted. What a day indeed. He jumped off the bed and grabbed a notebook and pencil from his travel bag and brought it over to the bed and began writing down all the information about the town he could remember.

Diary Entry 1

HEADACHE! Okay I'm going to toss down all this information for future reference. Luckily I have an excellent memory, so I don't think I'll leave anything out...hopefully.

1. At the crossroads, I turn right to get to the vineyard and Moon Mountain. I turn left to go to Green Ranch. I go straight to head into the village.

2. I can buy vegetable seeds in the flower shop. The shop owner's name is Lillia and she has a beautiful daughter around my age named Popuri.

3. Pastor Brown runs the church and also uses it as a school for the children of Flowerbud Village.

4. The bar is open in the evenings. The stairway next to it leads up to the village square where most of the village festivals are held.

5. The tool and craft shop is run by a man named Rick from Green Ranch. Seems like a nice guy.

6. The bakery is run by a man named Jeff and a really cute girl named Elli works there...a really cute girl...

7. There's a doctor on the outskirts of town, I should go there if I get sick.

8. The library is run by the mayor's family. His daughter, Maria, is the receptionist.

9. Zack, the buyer, told me that he comes by the farm every day and picks up produce. He then buys it from me. In other words I can make money through him.

Side Notes of the Day

1. Apparently the vineyard is having trouble of some sort. I should probably look into that someday and see if there's anything I can do to help.

2. I didn't meet any of the pallbearers from grandpa's funeral today...this is a huge town and there are a lot of people I'm going to have to remember...

3. I can get a horse from the Green Ranch, but I have to go quickly or they may sell it.

Jack closed the journal tightly and rested his head upon the pillow. He was kinda surprised he had remembered everything. With everything said and done, and the dark night sky apparent through the window, Jack lulled away into distant slumber wondering what misadventures tomorrow would have in store for him.