December 2008 Concerto Gate Fanfiction - Christmas in Fanburg
*With Christmas coming and all, I decided to write some fanfiction for Concerto Gate, and hopefully, if I don't get lazy, this will become a monthly thing. As many of us know, there is a very real possibility that there may be no further development English version of Concerto Gate, so here's some (not entirely original) fanfiction that will hopefully preserve hope. I'll make an entry a day till Christmas, I guess. I apologize for my fail writing skills, LOL!*
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry One - December 18
The snow that fell around this time of year once seemed like a benediction from the skies above. It was fun to watch every little speck of white gently fall to earth. But then my parents passed away, ill from the cold. Since that time when I was six, I have never liked Christmas. The cold, harsh weather around this time makes it mighty difficult to farm, too, and besides, it's not like I
ever get any presents. The past seven years have been very hard because of winter, so I can see no reason why my parents cherished this dreadful holiday so much. I remember them singing (an activity in which I refused to participate) around a leafless tree that just occupied more space in our diminutive hovel. How weird, right?
This year, though, I'm considering moving to a nearby town to begin anew. The weather here has worsened with each year, and my crops cannot continue to endure these conditions. But...I'm afraid... What will the people be like? No...I can't leave. The meager food I have right now will simply have to suffice.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Two - December 19
Unbelievable. The temperature has dropped at least three degrees since yesterday, and nearly all my crops are buried in the thick snow. All I could see to gather for food today was two stiff carrots and a rock-hard potato, none of which were appetizing in the least.
My only meal left me with a peculiar rancid taste in my mouth as well as an extreme thirst, so I slogged through the heavy snow with a bucket for water. Needless to say, the frozen pond provided not even a modicum of liquid. Desperate, I gobbled up as much snow as my stomach could handle. My now convulsing body regrets that breakdown.
I don't think this life will work out anymore. This year's winter may be terrible, but what about next year's? And the following years'? Generally...I am adamant in my decisions. When I planned to plant cabbages, though it was winter, cabbages I did plant. Since the time I set a limit of two buckets of water daily for myself, I have drunk not a drop past my limit.
But these continually worsening conditions are simply unbearable. My bags have been packed. I'm moving into town.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Three - December 20
I think the walk was worth it. The bitter three hours it took for me to arrive here was immediately assuaged when I entered this town. Fanburg, they call it. I think I'll like it here: a warm environment with people who keep to themselves. (Then again, I did arrive in the middle of the night.)
I strode around the modest town, looking for a place to stay. I hadn't made any plans as to what I was going to do when I came here. There were foster homes everywhere, but I didn't think I could stand staying with so many children in one place. Fortunately, as I walked around, I met a man of about thirty years of age in rugged clothing who brought me into his workplace. He bade me sit down and have a cup of tea.
Man: "So, what brings you here so late?" he asked.
Me: I remained silent, afraid I might say something wrong.
Man: "A quiet one, eh? Well...I can't just leave you on the streets. It's below freezing. You can stay with me for the night."
Me: Again, I said nothing.
Man: "Is that okay?"
Me: I garnered up my courage to speak. "Yes. Thank you."
Man: "AH, so you do speak!" he chuckled heartily. I couldn't help but smile at his rosy cheeks. "Welcome to my humble abode and workshop!"
Me: "Oh? You work here?" I asked meekly.
Man: "Yes, yes! This is...oh, where are my manners? I'm Gregory Danae, finest armor craftsman of Fanburg. Nice to meet you...?"
Me: "Lucina Faye."
Gregory: Gregory gave me a look of surprise. "Lucina...Faye?" His voice trembled. "Well, um...right, then...you can stay here for the night. You can go home then, right?"
Me: "Oh...I'm afraid not. I was actually looking to settle here." I explained. "Long story short, the weather is bad, and my crops are dying. I can't return to my old home. It's probably buried in snow by now, with me not shoveling it away..."
Gregory: This time, he gave me a pitiful look. "Can you work a hammer?" he asked.
Me: "I suppose so. Why?"
Gregory: "Well, if you're going to stay here, I have to put you to work!" He grinned and got up from his seat to lead me to a small closet. Inside was a mattress, blankets, and a candle. "Here will be your quarters. I'm sorry it's not much, but-"
Me: "It's great." I interrupted. "Thank you very much." I took a moment to absorb the environment.
Gregory: "Well, then, you should go ahead and get to sleep now. You'll need the rest for tomorrow." He gently blew out the wall-mounted candle and slowly left the room.
I basked in the dim light that shone through the crack in the door, amazed at my luck, before falling asleep.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Four - December 21
I woke up at eight to a smiling face. It was Gregory, of course, and he was carrying a rusty old hammer.
Gregory: "You said you could work a hammer, right?" he asked.
Me: I nodded. I wasn't quite awake yet.
Gregory: "Well, then, get up, sleepyhead! The workshop opens at nine, and I'll need you to help me craft armor. It's a pretty simple job now, so don't you worry. My imported steel comes in irregular forms. Just shape them into blocks for me, okay?"
Me: I nodded again, took the hammer, and exited the closet, ready to work.
Gregory: "Silly! Brush your teeth, put on your new clothes-" He took a moment to point to a pile of new clothes in the corner. "-and eat breakfast. This will be a long day, and you'll need a good start, so set down that hammer!"
I did so, grabbed the clothes, and went to the bathroom to change and brush my teeth. I came out to find a bowl of soup on the table, which I slurped hastily. I was surprised to see that it was nearly nine, according to the grandfather clock next to the hearth.
The day was indeed long. We didn't talk much to each other, but he certainly conversed a lot with the seemingly endless deluge of customers constantly walking in and out. Who knew that armor could be in such high demand? But then again, holidays are probably not enjoyable if you're cold.
One customer, who came around noon, as I was eating another bowl of soup for lunch, gave me some cane-shaped candy.
Me: "What is this?" I asked.
Customer: "A candy cane!"
Customer: "A peppermint candy for the holidays. Try it."
Me: I handed it back.
Customer: She pushed it back.
Me: I did the same. I couldn't trust anyone yet.
Customer: "Oh, well... You're new, aren't you?"
Me: I nodded.
Customer: "If you change your mind...I'm just down the street. If you get lost, ask for Miss Heinkel." The elderly lady gave me a warm smile and left.
The shop closed at nine, the last customer a young man raring for adventure. I was exhausted and without dinner, I dropped on the closet mattress in fatigue.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Five - December 22
My heavy eyes opened in the morning to a rocking chair, two legs, a cup of tea, and a newspaper. Gregory was reading The Fanburg Times
. The obituaries were filled to the brim this week, sad to say.
Gregory: He lowered the newspaper. Half-moon glasses covered his warm eyes. "You must be famished! No supper last night, and you worked so hard, too!" He sipped his tea. "There's a bowl of oatmeal on the table for you."
Me: I looked at the clock. It was ten. "Oh, gosh, the customers must be flocking this place by now." I got up and ran out, but there was not a person in sight.
Gregory: He walked out and put his hand on my shoulder. "Lucky one, you are. We're closed from now until January 10. It was so busy last night because everybody procrastinates on their Christmas shopping until the 21st and 22nd. Today, it's the candy shops that will be raided. So, relax! Have some oatmeal. There's a bit of honey in it for you."
I sat down and slowly ate the oatmeal. Was that it? One day of work for three weeks? This might be easier than I had thought. I would have pondered some more, but I was interrupted by some jingling noise. I turned around to see Gregory walking towards me with a sack in one hand and a bag in another.
Gregory: He set the sack on the table. "Here's your pay. 500 Gold." He smiled.
Me: "What...? You've already fed and sheltered me. I can't accept this."
Gregory: "Oh, but you must. I insist. Don't you want to go out and buy some candy, too?"
Me: "...Thank you. For everything."
Gregory: "Well, it looks like you've finished your oatmeal. Why don't you put on these and check out the town?" He pulled out a coat, hat, scarf, sweatpants, boots, and gloves from the bag.
I did just that. As I walked out, a man with orange hair of Gregory's age entered the workshop. Fanburg is a quiet old town. It's hard to believe that the workshop was so crowded yesterday. The candy stores still open only had three or four customers at a time. There were no roads, and where a car drove, a person could walk.
It seemed a place with nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to buy, and no money to buy it with. There seemed no threats. Just a peaceful landscape. There was nothing interesting. Just buildings after buildings.
Eventually, I happened upon a cozy-looking little home nestled between two larger buildings. It was on sale for 200 Gold. The housing here was cheap, considering I had been paid nearly triple that amount for a day's work.
With nothing happening on the streets of this perpetually still town, though, I decided to return to the workshop, which was but two blocks away. I came close and heard two people quarreling. I recognized one of the voices as Gregory's and stood quietly by the door to continue eavesdropping.
Flustered Man: "You can't do this, Gregory. You're making a big mistake."
Gregory: "I think I can make my own decisions, John. She needs a place to stay, so what's wrong with providing her with one?"
John: "She belongs in a foster home. You know the kingdom is funding them less and less every year, too, so every person counts! Besides, do you really want that dirty little child living in your home? She could be some deranged murderer, for all you know!"
Gregory: He sighed. "True." His warm tone suddenly became cold. "The wretched girl is quite ungrateful of what I do for her, too. I'll kick her out as soon as she returns from touring this disgusting excuse for a town... Thanks for-"
As tears welled in my eyes, I let out a sob and heard footsteps coming in my direction. Two faces appeared in front of me: Gregory's and that of the man I saw walking by me earlier. I spoke before either of them had the chance.
Me: "I'm sorry for bothering you so much..."
Off I ran, back to the house on sale.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Six - The Eve of Christmas Eve
I bought the house, glad to be rid of the money that man pitifully gave me. But I shouldn't have thought he was one to be trusted, anyway, nor can anyone in this town be, for that matter. With 300 Gold left, I went to the local grocery across the street to pick up foodstuffs. The cheap prices weren't surprising. I purchased a month's worth of food for 60 Gold.
As I carried the heavy bags back to my new home, I caught a glimpse of the neighborhood I lived in. Four kids were having a snowball fight. An elderly couple was enjoying tea on their front porch cozily. A father and daughter held hands and walked past, the former dragging a sled. But their faces could not fool me. All of them were just like Gregory, wearing masks to hide their flaws.
For the rest of the day, I prepared every meal for the next month, most meals being some sort of soup or pasta with fresh greens as a side and distilled water for drink. Satisfied with my work, I ended the day with a cheese sandwich.
But I continued to wonder in bed long after supper. About Gregory, about this town, about my past. It was all some blurry enigma. I eventually decided to sort my thoughts out the next day and fell asleep.
From the Diaries of Lucina Faye: Entry Seven - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
I woke at noon, dizzy from the dreams I had that night. They were about Fanburg. I could recall nothing but that it took place over many years. Yet nobody aged in my dream. Strange.
I had brunch, which consisted of a salad and two small meat pies, while I sat in front of my window, observing what was going on this Christmas Eve. Nothing interesting, really.
The same four kids having a snowball fight. The same couple having tea. The same father-daughter pair dragging a sled behind them. I watched them all throughout the day and into the night, and at seven, they ceased these activities and scurried into their respective homes for supper.
I rose from my seat, after many long hours of watching, to fetch my supper. As I ate it, I thought about how mysterious this town was. Did the same thing happen everyday? Does anything ever change? Does a changeless place even exist? My thoughts were even more scattered then than the night before.
Then, I remembered: tomorrow was Christmas. I would see what would happen then.
I woke very early on Christmas to observe the neighborhood once more, but my window was far too clouded to see anything. I put on the clothes Gregory had given me to go outside. When I opened the door, though, I found a package with a note attached.
I apologize for what happened the other day. My friend John, you see, is a very stubborn man. He has a good heart, but his inane mind sometimes gets the best of him. I want you to know that you're welcome to stay at my place anytime.
But you probably aren't going to after that fiasco. However, if you should lose your faith in me, please lose not your faith in people. There are many kind people in Fanburg, and trust me on this: they will stay that way.
Not fully understanding what Gregory had meant, I opened the package and found three multi-colored candy canes. I licked one and tasted the most amazing flavor of sugary pepper. I looked up from the note at the neighborhood and saw what I had seen for the past two days. In my mind, daylight faded away.
It was Christmas, and four kids were having a snowball fight. An elderly couple had tea on their front porch, cozy in their rocking chairs. Christmas, and a father and daughter walked side by side, a sled behind them.
I knew what Gregory meant then. This town...it is as if time stands still when you're here. A town where nothing changes but the seasons.
With that newfound knowledge in my mind, I returned to the warm comfort of my own home to enjoy the rest of Gregory's candy canes. Those kids, the couple, and the father and daughter would stay out until seven. And they would be there when I woke in the morning.