Bustling Fells Life
Detailing the opening of the Babblebrooks' store- and the first to open within Mosswood Fells! Followed by a few more shops...

Every last rabbit in Mosswood Fells had worked spectacularly hard from dawn til dusk to support the Babblebrook family. Plank by hefty plank, the Fells' Way Farm & General Store began to be built at the foothills just south of the entry path towards the looming mountains. The Chocolates and Corntops worked diligently to prepare the soil. The Windwards babysat the young rabbits and helped direct smaller skills, such as how to properly hold materials and give them to the older rabbits. Mr. and Mrs. Yule even surprised everyone by showing up from their rural home in the outskirts!

The Zan pandas smiled as they watched the construction, the sounds echoing up to their round black ears. Young Jing complained as she accidentally made a mis-stroke of her bamboo brush while practicing calligraphy that afternoon. "Mother, why do the noises reach all the way up here?"

"Sound travels; if it did not then we wouldn't hear one another," Feng smiled indulgently, ruffling her daughter's head and offering her another sheet of paper from the rushes of the marsh nearby. "Please, try again. You'll get the hang of it this time. A little more patience will help."

Down below, the Eclipses Enai and Kime- had arrived just as the white picket fence was being painted by the young Babblebrooks. "Careful not to get it in your fur," Kime warned, smiling to Enai.

Enai shrugged. "I'm an artist. It just means I'll look more colorful for a while," he answered mildly, curling his tail inward. "Besides, you're getting a white hair here and there too."

"Oh hush," chuckled Kime.

"Wonder what they're building?"

"We will see."

Their presence was not minded by the rabbits- the laboring continued onwards, paused through the night, and kept going the next several days. Gradually it came to resemble a very tall structure of two stories, with a slanting roof which gradually became covered in shed leaves and moss from the trees overhead. Light dappled down and shone on the wood. Cleverly, the ever-more-tired rabbits began to work smarter: they fastened ropes and levers throughout the trees and began putting paint to the wood.

All seemed quiet for a few days thereafter. The Yules headed out to their home, gently kneading their aches from their older bones. The Chocolates seemed missing, as did the Babblebrooks and the Windwards, though every so often a few would leave and return with bundles of supplies. Sometimes they took a cool breeze on the new balcony! The Wildwoods spent some time checking in on their father, who kept working at ensuring nails were placed properly in the structure!

Finally, the building opened for business! The Babblebrook and Corntop children planted in the back yard studiously; Shea Norrister's whiskers twitched in delight as he gifted a basket of lilacs in soil to Mrs. Babblebrook.

"Why thank you so much!" she exclaimed. Smiling, Shea flourished, bowing while twirling his hat. Mr. Babblebrook nodded with the understanding- if he had learned nothing else- that the snow-white rabbit was a theatrical one- and chuckled to himself. Gratitudes were exchanged throughout.

The Babblebrook family finally had their own home- on the second floor of their general store! Furnished sparsely, it nonetheless was a wonderful sight after so much hard work. Rocky nodded off on the plain red-and-white sofa after hanging a painting of flowers and herbs on the loft wall overhead; Crystal, Bubba, Richard and Coral played quietly, ears twitching in excitement every time they found a word-search puzzle. Mr. Windward had commissioned a small table from Mr. Waters; he brought it upstairs and placed it next to the sofa. Once back downstairs, he helped Mrs. Babblebrook bring up their modest bed and a special indulgence- a fancy clothes closet with a floral blue pattern on the front! The children promptly napped upon the bed after a round of storytelling, and Mrs. Babblebrook went downstairs to begin putting furniture in place for the storefront.

~

A few days later, all was well. The sun shone through the trees, the fresh air was fragrant with local scents, and lots of fresh fruits had been gathered and placed into their new bins. Of course the first thing Enai Eclipse went to- as one of the first customers, preceded only by Mr. Shea Norrister himself- were the freshly-jarred cold milks from the Buttercup family, with Kime right behind him!

Outside in the yard, the Corntops and Babblebrook children carefully taught one another about the seeds they had planted, which were beginning to sprout. Baskets of lettuce had been carefully brought into the yard to prepare as well. "We need to feed everyone in Mosswood Fells!" Bubba exclaimed, "So we have to work hard, but with so much foraging and the new orange and grey cats we just saw the other day leaving the Zan pandas' floor in the mountain, I'm sure we'll have something for everyone!"

"Yeah!" they exclaimed. Inside, the first transactions chimed as Rocky smiled from behind the desk. It was a great day- reunited with his family so soon, in their new home- and with his dream come true!

Finally, he thought, after all this time since Mr. Underwood took me in with my family missing, despite their own losses and all we've been through with the Great Migration, I can finally give back. Living in gratitude is the most wonderful feeling!

The register chimed again; the grey rabbit smiled as Enai's face lit up as the black cat licked his first ice cream in a while, tail lashing about excitedly. Upstairs, the children played and explored their new home.

Even Basil dropped in for fresh supplies!

The Bouquet skunks were discovered at the base of the Mosswood Fells' wet woodlands; protective and shy yet curious, the Sylvanians who had been migrating had caught their attention while asking for safe directions to travel up the mountainside shortly after Freya had discovered shelter. Stilton and his wife Rosemary had helped keep their area safe, foraging and gathering herbs. Young Sage was also learning the basics of wild-harvesting and identifying plants, and young Jasmin loved to sniff them and learn the basics of perfumery.

Now, they dwelled within the comfort of the mountain itself, and enjoyed the cooler, drier temperatures to the varying humidity of the forest. Stilton had been hard at work building a massage table, though he had greater ideas after seeing the impressive work the Mosswood Fells rabbits had all gathered to do. He inquired about any leftover materials and lo-and-behold, was able to barter his massage services for them! The lapines loved it after all their hard work; his little mustelid hands deftly worked day after day to help them until he felt his own paws were about to drop off! At night when their children went to sleep, Stilton spoke with Rosemary, invited Mr. Waters over for blueprint designs, and used advice from Roxy Renard and his wife's input for the interior of his own dream.

"I don't know if I can do this," he confided nervously, tail fluffing up. "I know my skills with my hands, but..."

"It's all becoming very real for us now, just as it did for the rabbits. But they did so," Rosemary assured her husband.

"Oui, mon buen-aime," Stilton agreed, yes, my beloved wife. "Even so... theirs is a general store. Ours..."

The skunk lady nodded. "It's because we are skunks, isn't it? That we seem more off-putting than rabbits? Or because we would have herbs and spices?"

"Both, I fear," Stilton reluctantly admitted.

"Dear husband," Rosemary consoled, "we're going to make this happen. If you've noticed, we have no doctors. But we have a wealth of medicine growing all around us. I'm sure the rabbits wouldn't mind if we asked them if it would be a problem not to sell herbs so that we could do so."

Stilton bit his lip and sank back, tired. "Perhaps you are right."

"We will make this right," Rosemary gently insisted, squeezing her husband's paw. "We've never had an issue with others picking on us for being skunks before with these new Sylvanians, only a very long time ago, when we were children- with others who had been traveling through. Times were different. You'll see."

Stilton smiled. "I hope so."

"Know so," she murmured. "Then we will make it happen."

~

The Babblebrook rabbits had readily given their consent, recognizing that the skunks- as Mosswood Fells natives- really knew their herbs and plants more than seemingly anyone else did (except perhaps the pandas, they speculated. Emboldened and excited by the lapines' blessings, the Stilton family set to work with Mr. Waters and Roxy Renard. The structure they built was within Mosswood Fells' mountainous path, halfway up. The view was lovely and it stood out- so those traveling knew they had hope for herbal treatment if need be. Rosemary set her two children to the task of filling and transporting glass jars very carefully, using their curled-around tails for padding. Because of his day off from teaching, Mr. Marlowe decided to help!

The hardwood flooring came in first, along with a surprise for Rosemary- bronze-plated wall trim with roses in carved relief. Stunned at their beauty, the skunk nearly dropped her wooden spoons on the floor! Quickly recovering her composure, she gave a peck on the cheek to her husband.

"Whew, this is a lot easier than the general store, so it is!" whistled Mr. Waters through his graciously-sized buck teeth. He wiped his head after the floorboards had been set and the last of the wallpaper had been pasted. "The plaster window frame will take a while to dry, so please don't touch it 'til it smells cool and dry."

The skunks nodded vigorously. Roxy Renard stood outside and looked around, analyzing her interior design from that viewpoint. "Seems correct," she said out loud to herself.

"Sure does! Ehm, what are we looking for again?" inquired Mr. Shea Norrister, right behind her.

The vixen jumped half out of her fur, a thousand retorts flooding her mind as she gasped and spun around. Roguishly, the cheeky white rabbit waggled his ears and twitched his nose at her. "Beg pardon, you seemed to be speaking out loud to someone, so I assumed that would be me. Doesn't make much sense to talk to yourself now, does it?"

Ensuring her agitation was carefully kept veiled behind a neutral expresson on her face, Roxy shook her head. "Fancy you showing up point-blank to see what's going on, but you're curious as a cat."

"I resemble that remark, perhaps except for being long of ear and slighter of tail," Shea agreed merrily, eyes sparkling. He could smell the fox's agitation but enjoyed seeing her... well, fox.

The two entered the modest rectangular building in time to see Stilton and Rosemary putting up the shelving. Not long thereafter, Mr. Waters and Shea Norrister were enlisted to bring in the furniture- a wooden counter with rose accents and a simple, broad-bottomed wooden chair, along with a register, a scale, and several wooden spoons.

Stilton was excited as he helped his young children place labeled jars on the shelves. The shoppe became full of fragrant herbs. "This is wonderful. I can't thank you all enough for your work!" he exclaimed. "Could I do anything to express my gratitude?"

Mr. Waters nodded. "An ounce of peppermint for my lovely wife's morning tea, please. I'm sure with me having been so busy lately, she would really enjoy it." He sat down and shifted his broad, flat tail through the slats of the chair. "Feels good to be sitting again!"

Rosemary's eyes sparkled knowingly as she placed a little wooden bowl on the scale and laid out some hand-carved wooden spoons. "It is fresh from last week. I'm sure she will!"

Sage and Jasmin sat down on the welcome mat, cheering for the new and exciting changes that had blessed their family.

Roxy Renard had been so busy working for others that she wanted time for herself. Her husband Eric loved to fix things up and craft strange little wonders for their two children, Baden and Mikaela, and their youngest daughter, Dani. But what to do? She didn't want to do hard work like construction. No, she reasoned, she wanted to work with the finest fabrics she could- and bring happiness through her creations. The artist Enai Eclipse did so with his artwork; why couldn't she with her keen eye for aesthetics? It seemed a fine idea, so she called her future shop the Water Lily Clothing Shoppe. She enjoyed the idea of listening to water while she worked, so she spoke with the Zan pandas- and placed it inside the mountain, with a natural overlook onto the waterfalls.

Commissioning the materials took a little more time. She and her husband worked hard to barter for enough resources, but they had acquired finely-chiseled stone for their ceiling, lovely shimmering aqua wallpaper, silver metal accents for the shop, a grey-and-white soft carpet which felt delightful underpaw- because, Roxy reasoned, she wanted her upcoming clientele to feel good the moment they entered, rather than hard stone or polished wood- and a clothing rack. She also created a white walkway!

She didn't want to ask for help from the other Sylvanians, however. This was her pride and joy- and more than a little pride. Roxy worked her tail off, right down to every last floral detail for her silver-plated changing room, which cost a small fortune. I'll make it back with enough sales, the vixen gambled.

Mrs. Marlowe had asked her to kittensit Rose for the day. Rose Marlowe arrived at the Water Lily, and was very unsure what to do! As the day progressed, Rose posed in various ways for the fox, and found that Roxy's precise nature made her nervous. At the end of the day, Rose told her mother she enjoyed working with the fox, but didn't want to again. Understandingly, Mrs. Marlowe let her daughter carry on her usual activities and decided to offer herself as a model for Roxy!

It worked out wonderfully; the two really enjoyed fashion together. Mrs. Marlowe's fur was a lovely white with black accents, and it really helped show off whatever designs Roxy happened to come up with. Roxy's favorite dress was a navy-blue, embroidered evening dress, and wore it as her unofficial uniform for work.

Roxy has been busy ever since!