CHAPTER 11 | Goodbye, Babblebrooks
The story in which the Babblebrooks mostly move from Mosswood Fells and newcomers arrive. It's bittersweet- the reason for this story's bitterness is that during relocation, many of my hand-made dioramas were destroyed from pests and a robbery. The reason for this story's joy is that my figures were safe and sound during this time, and I was able to trade the Babblebrook family in exchange for others. Also, I received a few other figures for my birthday!
Mosswood Fells had been abuzz with the news. An earthquake had visited the mountainside in the early spring, and this led to loose boulders tumbling loose. The Fells' Way General & Farm store run by the Babblebrooks was damaged! The grey rabbit family sat outside in safety. They had been within Mosswood Fells Proper when the villagers had heard the rocks and subsequent damage. "
It's okay dear," consoled a sad-faced Crystal Babblebrook to her husband as she patted his shoulder, "we can rebuild."
"It was the efforts of so many of the villagers," bemoaned Rocky. "I know it wasn't a waste. We had such a beautiful farmhouse, and the Windwards helped even despite having baby Peanut arrive, and the Corntops helped when they weren't busy growing food... This will affect everyone who has come to rely on us for food day-to-day. I've already spoken with Mr. Brightfield, and he's passing out a flier with the news. Not to
say the damage isn't obvious..."
Rocky grimaced as he regarded their former farm-house. The boulders had smashed right through the back walls, and the damage was extensive. Plus, it was spring-time. The weather was still poor. At least the second floor was safe and accessible, so they had shelter. The Babblebrook family's children, Bubba, Richard, Breezy, and Coral came over and plopped down next to their parents. The grey rabbit father smiled at them, sad. "Say, children. Would any of you like to help your papa rebuild our farmhouse and someday take over the family business?"
The children looked at one another, wide-eyed; Coral simply babbled to herself merrily, dabbing her paws in the soil. The infant was quickly becoming a toddler. Richard finally piped up. "Father, we of course will help you rebuild!" he exclaimed. "You've been saying how proud you are of all of us, too. Let's rebuild!"
Crystal smiled to herself. Their children had their father's tireless nature.
* * *
The Fells' Way Farm & General had been renovated. It stood brightly in the summer's morning light. The Babblebrooks made breakfast, enjoyed it together, then walked outside to admire the freshly-remade white picket fence around the front gardens. However, their expression was somber.
A cheery voice called out to them. "Good morning!"
Rocky turned to regard the well-dressed, grey and white-furred rabbit strolling down the road. It was Mr. Bertran Cromwell, paw-in-paw with his wife, Hildie, and their two young sons Allen and his brother. Though their sons wore plaid overalls, the parents Bertran and Hildie wore fine purple satin clothes. They were well-to-do, and generous in nature. The family had moved into Mosswood Fells upon discovering that their younger son, the former Wind Monk in Mosswood Fells, had retired from his position to reunite with them last autumn. It had been quite a happy family reunion! Rocky Babblebrook waved; the Cromwell rabbits smiled and waved back.
All the rabbits greeted one another. "Ah, I see you are set to reopen your farmhouse today?" inquired Bertran. "If so, we would love to support your store. It sure does beat foraging all day." Hildie tittered next to him and nodded her head in agreement.
Crystal Babblebrook smiled. "That it does, my friend," she replied as she looked towards her husband at her side. "Although, two nights ago we received word that our reputation is now preceding us in other parts of Sylvania." Her demeanor changed, and she sighed. "But it comes at a steep price. We were discussing with our children the very dilemma last night. We need to relocate our family, even though we love our time in Mosswood Fells."
"It's okay, Mother," protested Bubba and Breezy. "We want to go exploring to new places with you too!"
"But I don't want that," complained Richard, grumping. He put his best frown on his face, and the young rabbit stomped his paw on the ground for emphasis. "Our plan was to stay here and become great farmers. That's what we do! We just finished rebuilding, too. I want to stay here!"
"And we can continue to become great farmers," gently answered Crystal, raising an eyebrow at her husband. "But we can do that any-place." Bertran Cromwell raised an eyebrow, thoughtful. He looked towards his wife. Both were wealthy rabbits and well-experienced with financial and business matters.
Rocky nodded. "Indeed- elsewhere. Mosswood Fells is surrounded with wonderful Sylvanians, and the Corntops and Windwards can take our place in running the store."
"But Dad, you said that we could take care of this store. And the Corntops do the bulk of gardening, not running the store like we have been doing." Richard was insistent in tone, and had the ears of the Cromwells. Their sons looked up at their parents, curious.
"I see," mused Rocky. "I did say that several times, and I'm a Sylvanian of honor. Well then, it seems that you know all there is to running the store now, yes?" He glanced to his wife, who seemed to understand what Rocky was thinking.
"Yeah." Richard's tone was suspicious.
"Do I see a young enterpreneur in the making?" asked Hildie Cromwell. "If so, I do believe we could take care of your son if the rest of you must travel. Until he's an adult, of course. Surely, we will miss all of you greatly."
Crystal Babblebrook blinked. "You would adopt our son so that he could stay here and grow into the next owner of the Fells' Way General and Farm store?" Her tone was incredulous, and a bit protective. She knew her children would grow up to be fine adults someday. But this- this was a surprise!And yet, it ran in line with her husband's line of thought. They both had wanted one or all of their children to take care of the farmhouse and store as adults, and it seemed this dream was coming true with young Richard.
Hildie nodded. "Yes, absolutely, if it would enable your family to relocate peacefully while giving young Richard ownership of the Fells' Way Farm & General store. Especially if your other children aren't of the mind to take up such a responsibility yet. Besides, he's nearly an adult now, isn't he?"
Everyone looked at Richard, then at the Babblebrook parents. Crystal Babblebrook knew that the Cromwells were well-to-do. Her husband looked stunned. Rocky didn't know what to think about the Cromwell's suggestion. "Well," Rocky thought out loud, "if everyone is okay with this, and I know Richard is a mature young rabbit for his age, then I am okay with this." He glanced to Crystal.
Slowly, Crystal nodded. "He's been raised to do this work since he could hold a spade and it's true that he's almost an adult now," she answered. "Richard, are you okay with being adopted?"
"You'll always be my family," Richard answered modestly and bravely without missing a beat, "and I'll do my best every day with the store! And I can write letters or ask for help if I need it. Everyone in Mosswood Fells has always been so nice to us."
The gravity of the situation was at hand. Everyone decided this was the best path forward, and made their way to the Zan pandas and the Sibilant Solitaire Siblings to file the paperwork. There was a lot to be done- to transfer ownership of the store to Richard Babblebrook, making him the youngest enterpreneur, as well as to be registered as adopted by the Cromwell family. However, Richard decided to keep his name, and became known as Richard Brook-well.
* * *
Quentin Mango strode up Up-Down Road. He had heard of Mosswood Fells before, particularly its beautiful scenery. As he passed various shops and made his way to the Mosswood Fells Proper, the monkey scratched his head, then turned right. A white cat with a grey muzzle and tail greeted him, clad in a celestial-patterned dress. "Sssss," the cat said as she scratched her cheek thoughtfully, "You musst be Quentin Mango. We rrreceived your application to become ourr next hisstorry teacher, and it was apprroved. Come with me, and we will intrroduce you to Rose Timbertop. Yourr inforrmation is already in ourr ledgerrs."
The monkey nodded. He readjusted his fancy vest as he took in the mountain-side scenery. From where they were, he could see the forests at the bottom of the mountains and the river far to the southeast. Quentin smiled. This place would be a wonderful area to live in and to teach what he knew of history. Quentin followed the Sibilant Solitaire Sibling. Mr. Mango registered with the Sibilant Solitaire Siblings, met the Zan Pandas, received a warm welcome, and eagerly met Dulcinea Tussah, Rose Timbertop, and other teachers. Everyone was warm and friendly!
* * *
Down in the kitchens, Amas Deluca helped Basil Hazelwood. "I'm so excited!" the honey-colored bear exclaimed. "I get to work alongside the Basil Hazelwood of Crystalwood Restaurant!"
The brown mouse chef laughed. "I'm glad you're so enthusiastic!" he replied. "There's always plenty of food to be made. I was working so hard before with Crystal Babblebrook, but I've caught wind that they're relocating- and so soon after having rebuilt the Fells' Way Farm & General Store. I'm more than a little surprised, but things come up. Having you in the Mosswood Fells Proper's communal kitchen is a huge help."
"Does no one else cook for themselves?" asked Amas as she laid out a bunch of serving-trays for the children upstairs. They would be out of their morning classes soon, and the menu was fresh eggs, hot dogs, and milk. It was easy enough to prepare.
"Oh, everyone does all the time!" Basil replied. "I'm glad to say that at least everyone is really good about washing dishes when they're done, and putting things where they belong. Well, except perhaps for that young Slydale fox, but they don't often visit aside from schooling. He and his family must be very busy with whatever it is they do. But when I had to be at the restaurant plus here in this communal kitchen, it was really tough."
Amas blinked, pausing as she gathered up hot-dog buns. "Does no one help you prepare?"
"I never thought to ask!" Basil exclaimed as he wiped his paws on a rag, looking at the young bear.
The bear grinned. "Well, Amas Deluca at your service!" she replied, saluting smartly with one of the buns. Basil laughed. "We'll fix that! And we'll ask for help if we need it, too!"
Basil nodded. "Indeed we will. And if you know anyone, Aspen Thistlethorn and I could use the help at Crystalwood Restaurant. But I'm afraid to say that once we do get help and everyone is settled into their duties there, I believe I will serve this kitchen full time." The mouse smiled as he scrubbed some dishes swiftly, dried them, and handed the stack to Amas, who set them across a few tables. "Crystalwood Restaurant was Crystal's idea, so I helped. But now that they're all relocating, it's back to my job here, you know?"
"That makes sense!" agreed Amas. "And that means more delicious food with less traveling on your part to make it happen!"
"Hahaha, indeed!" Basil laughed. "Now, let's get this food finished. I can hear young Sabrina and Scarlette coming down the hallway now. They've clever minds and are getting along really well lately. It's nice to see them having such fun."
The tables were all set with lunch. Amas Deluca and Basil smiled as Sabrina and Scarlette arrived, and then later, other students trickled in from class as well.
* * *
Artan and Nama Brambles were new residents as well, though not so new as Quentin Mango and Amas Deluca. The two hedgehogs had formed Quills Calligraphy and Basketry, a new shop in Mosswood Fells, upon arriving. They both loved using their shed quills to make tools which could assist others, and the Bouquet family had taken quite a shine to the hedgehogs' products. The baskets were woven finely and were as smooth as any herb-gatherer's willow-basket. The Mosswood Fells residents were a little wary because of the Brambles' penchant for hugging- and accidentally spiking others with their quills!- but soon the pair were broadly welcomed, and their shop is doing well. Mr. Moss attempted to do an article on them for the newspaper, but the Brambles kindly apologized and were shy, so unfortunately no photos were taken!