Thursday, March 3, 2016

Adventures in Darville; Chapter 1

Chapter 1:
The Jester Shirt Conspiracy
And The Town With No Hope

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

            I slept in late today, not like I had anywhere to be. The bumping of the train had almost started to become familiar to me. Somewhere over the night, a transition had occurred. While the day prior boasted a nearly full train, almost purely comprised of humans, I awoke to see only a single individual in the car with me, and human she was not. The old boar woman was fast asleep, hunched forward by the space caused by the backpack that she seemed to insist on wearing, rather than simply plopping it into the space next to her. It was a sign, I knew, that I was officially in animal country.

            I was approached by a blue cat wearing a red checkered shirt. He asked to sit before me, and though I was in no mood for company, I could tell that my words wouldn’t have swayed him either way, and granted him permission. He introduced himself as Rover, and I in turn told him my name. At his request, I also told him my destination. I became annoyed when he asked my reasons for travel, though. I had just woken up, and suddenly this stranger was inquiring about personal details. I instead asked him why he had such a need to know, to which he took only temporary offense before correctly guessing my intent to move. I told him again to mind his own business when he asked if I had a place to stay, and he in turn assumed correctly again.

            Rover then walked away, saying something about phoning a friend of his in Darville. I wondered if all animals were this much a combination of oblivious, and friendly. I could overhear him mention the name “Nook” as he made his call on the train’s phone. I knew the name sounded familiar, but when I tried to take the letter out of my pocket to confirm, I found it to be missing. Rover returned, assuring me that all would work itself out, despite my confession of having very little funds to my name.

            Darville was at last in sight. I noted its lush grass, growing in small triangular patterns, and trees mostly barren of fruit, but with a few holding apples on their branches. I departed, adjusting my yellow and purple Future Shirt and waving farewell to the chimpanzee that was the train’s porter. I was greeted at the station by a raccoon in a purple apron, that familiar leaf symbol stitched onto its front, who introduced himself as Tom Nook. He directed me south, to Acre B-3 by the town’s map’s standards, where a small housing development sat. There were only four houses, each built identical, and according to Nook, each one at a steal of a price. I chose the one in the north-western corner, boasting a striking red roof. Its interior was unappealing, to say the least, but did come with a cardboard box ideal for journal placement, and a stereo that my new raccoon friend said I could have free of charge.

            Then came the uncomfortable part, where Nook informed me of the home’s 19,800 Bell price, and I had to reveal that I only had 1,000 Bells remaining to my name. Though upset at first, Nook was quick to propose that I simply work the rest off at his shop, and asked that I stop by it later after getting settled. Not having much to settle in on, I took a moment to walk the town around, and introduce myself to the locals.

            My first stop was Acre B-1, where I met Pecan.

Image result for animal crossing pecan

            That squirrel can talk for days. She offered me all sorts of advice, from how to plant fruit trees to how to make some Bells. While the conversation was appreciated and informative, though, she definitely gave off a vibe of being a bit full of herself. One would almost think that she was only offering me advice just so that she could take credit for any future successes I might have.

Looking over the ledge by her house, I saw a line of buildings, all of which I was sure to visit. In C-1 I met the police dogs Copper and Booker, who were happy to allow me to begin my recollection of stuff with items sitting in the lost and found, including a couple of shirts and a Chalkboard. In D-1, I found the museum, where I met its curator Blathers the owl. He was quick to inform me that he museum was completely empty, not a single item on display. It then became all the more clear why I was coerced to come here. In E-1, I found the wishing well, where I introduced myself to the old tortoise Tortimer, the town’s mayor, who welcomed me to Darville before wandering off, mumbling incoherent nonsense to himself. The final building on that strip was the tailor shop, right along the beach at F-1, run by the porcupines Mable and Sable. Mable was one of the nicest people I’d ever met, offering me all sorts of advice about clothing design. Sable, meanwhile, seemed really busy and distracted, almost completely brushing me off. I hope she’ll warm up to me in the coming weeks.

Acre E-2 held the most curious sight. At first, I thought a giant orange was rolling around the area, on a quest for vengeance by eating the locals and showing them what it felt like. As the giant citrus sphere turned, though, I saw that it was, in fact, a cat, who introduced herself as Tangy.

Image result for animal crossing tangy

I couldn’t make that up if I tried. The cat looked like an orange, and her name was Tangy. I had to wonder if this was some sort of nickname, or family tradition. Did her mother resemble an apple and was named Juicy? Was her father a talking banana named Potassium? I had so many questions, but after how long Pecan had taken with her introduction, I decided it was best to make my way to Nook’s shop, greeting the remaining locals along the way.

Up the ramp I went, to Acre E-5, where I met Static.

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Two squirrels in the same village, and to be perfectly honest, the two seemed perfect for each other. I had the gall to cut Static off before he could get too invested in conversation, but in our short meeting, I could tell that he was a bit of a narcissist as well.

North one acre to D-5, I met the fit and athletic Axel

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And the laid back Otis.

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The two were a complete contrast to each other, and yet their friendship was unmistakable. Opposites really do attract, I suppose.

They sent me off with a toot and a tweet, and I went further north to B-5 to meet the final villager, Mitzi.

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She was a real sweetheart, telling me to come to her if I needed anything, and being completely understanding when I told her that I had a job to get to. After a quick chat, my rounds were complete, and I went north one more acre to find Nook’s Cranny at A-5.

The place was a total dump, made of cheap wood with a crude hand-painted sign. While on my rounds, I had seen how randomly spaced all of the town’s foliage was, with many trees forming impassable barricades while other spots were all but cleared out. Only six civilians not on the town’s direct payroll, the empty museum, the cheap stock designs in the tailor shop, and now the shabby hut that was supposed to be the primary store. Not to mention, of course, they fact that there was a housing development that still had three completely empty houses in it. Indeed, this town needs some help, and I guess that job has fallen to me.

Changing into my work attire, I did barely an hour’s worth of odd jobs for Nook. I planted some flowers and trees, made some deliveries, mailed a letter, and even wrote a quick advertisement for his shop on the town bulletin board. It wasn’t particularly hard work, and yet apparently it was all stuff that he had fallen behind on. With my quick completion of these tasks, I found myself being laid off already, with no more odd jobs to be done. 17,400 bells still remained in my debt, and I was on my own to finish paying them off. I got to work right away, selling fruit from trees and gathering up mysterious 100 Bell Bags that sometimes fell from them as well (with no shortage of bee stings from hives that fell out on occasion). I sold shells from the beach, dug up some fossils that no one would take from me to due being unidentified, and I did a few favors for the locals.

That was when things got a bit… weird. There are things going on in this town that are well beyond my understanding, but I think I may have stumbled across a conspiracy. Mitzi, the sweetest gal in the village, asked me to deliver a hand-stitched outfit to Axel. Having already seen the villagers’ generosity after the completion off favors, I agreed. I gave the wrapped gift to Axel, and he threw it right on. It was a patterned shirt, purple and yellow with a white bar at the base, a Jester Shirt. He seemed quite unimpressed with the gift, yet he insisted on keeping it on, despite my telling him not to feel obligated. I thought nothing of it at first, and went back to doing more favors for the animals.

My rounds took me to Mitzi again. She had another shirt that she wanted delivered, this time to Otis. I made the quick delivery, and beheld the Rose Shirt that now adorned his body. It was girly, yes, but also quite tacky. Despite this, Otis seemed impressed, and danced around happily with his new wardrobe. I reported this to Mitzi, who then gave me a third article of clothing to deliver, this time to Pecan. I did so, and Pecan happily donned… another Jester Shirt.

Image result for scary jester

I see two possibilities here. One is that Mitzi is trying her paws at fashion design, and has a very unusual and unique style about her. I find it hard to believe that the presence of dual Jester Shirts was merely an accident, though. It was almost like she was assigning roles to certain individuals. That would explain why Pecan and Axel had different reactions to the same outfit, or why Otis was so amazed by such an unsuitable top. Was I just dragged into something far bigger than myself? I’ll have to be cautious in the future.

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Anyway, my favor farming paid off, and I was able to pay off my debt in its entirety. Nook promised me a larger house come morning, and I personally cannot wait to see what he does with the place. I spent some time, then, talking to some of the villagers, trying to get a gauge on the local goings on. In doing so, I managed to convince both Otis and Static not to move out of the village, received a Cherry from Otis (which I promptly planted in hopes that a tree might grow), and heard multiple animals talk of an overpriced, shady, traveling merchant named Crazy Red who was due to arrive in town on Saturday.

There’s still so much I have to learn about Darville. Thus far, though, this is shaping up to be quite the adventure.

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