Pardon, I’m an American and I’m supposed to care because? Misty insisted that we shower, eat lunch and put on something nice to meet the Baroness in. First impressions, in Misty’s opinion, were important. Or something like that, I guess nobility makes their decisions on first impressions. Yes, we were filthy, but we’d been working! Shouldn’t the Baroness expect us to look dirty from all the work she’s too cheap to hire someone competent to do? I had to admit that we were wet, and the jacket looked more brown than blue and that taking a shower and putting on something nicer were probably a good idea. Problem, we didn’t actually own anything nice enough to meet the Baroness in outside of maybe that red competition jacket that Reed Kessler had given us. And I didn’t wear that bright color of red. Misty nixed it right away as well. We sure weren’t going to show up as twins! I told her, in a voice of mock dread that this meant, we had to go shopping.
Misty sighed. It had to be done. She knew it. I knew it. She agreed but she didn’t look happy. I grabbed her hand, waved at Judy and called Jenna for a pick up. There was a nice collared purple shirt in Fort Pinta that I’d seen that might work and if Misty approved it that is what I’d be buying. I wasn’t ready to buy anything else yet.
It wasn’t until Jenna and Judy were right next to each other, that I realized if Jenna died her hair black, the two could be sisters. They certainly looked enough alike even with the drastically different colored hair. This place was odd. The two girls caught up real quick, I heard mention about meeting at the disco in Fort Pinta and we were off back to Moorland for a quick lunch, shower and into clean clothes for a shopping run in Moorland and Fort Pinta.
Misty surprised me. She bought more than I did! She grabbed some of the things she hadn’t worn yet and sold them too. I wasn’t ready for that yet. I needed to make a list of how many pairs of pants I needed and how many shirts I needed and then scour the open areas for all the shops and make my selections. I swore there was a shop up at the old G.E.D. construction site. That way when we were ready to shop hard core, I could go in and out and make my purchases with minimum of fuss.
She did approve my purple shirt though. She even really liked it. It’s a nice shirt! I kept in mind they had a purple cowboy hat and an aqua cowboy hat in Fort Pinta too. I had some fun trying them on, but I just wasn’t ready to commit yet.
So we were finally ready to make a ‘good impression’ on the Baroness. I think our hard work would do more than our clothes, but Misty was English and the English still have a monarchy so I am going to have to bow to her expertise here. So, we rode leisurely back to the winery. It wouldn’t do to get our new clothes messed up to find the Baroness.
I loved her dress. It was white with pretty purple patterns on it and if it was short and came in a black version, I’d buy it in an instant. It was almost Japanese like in some ways. Anyways, her white hair was up in a bun and I could just see her spitting silent swear words as she talked to us. She was going to send us away pretty quickly when Misty asked if we could help. The Baroness was pretty dismissive about that. I know we are only teenagers, but still.
At last, someone who knows G.E.D.’s full name. Global Energy Domination. That’s not subtle at all. Of course, Mr. Kemball didn’t strike me as a subtle man. I casually dropped the tidbit about the riding track. She seemed surprised we knew about it. I didn’t want to get Godfrey in trouble, but the Baroness figured out who had told us. I just wanted to get our foot in the door so to speak. Well, she suggested that we could go check it out and see if it was still there. Who knew, maybe Mr. Kemball had taken the track over too.
As we rode over, we saw a very familiar face overseeing the oil fields. I insisted that we go in and confront him. Mr. Kemball wasn’t happy to see us. In fact, he was like a toddler throwing a tantrum. I felt smug. We’d lost him money. Good. And yes, I would destroy this venture too if I could. He told us to go away. I said that I’d oblige him for now. He didn’t want to see us ever again. Well, I’d be back to take him down, but I didn’t need to tell him that. Misty is the Queen of dismissive put downs when she puts her mind to it. So snobby and proper and it was glorious. Poor character and status. I wanted to giggle so badly when Evening flicked his tail in Mr. Kemball’s face. I admit I hummed all the way over to the track. Misty hummed with me when she wasn’t giggling. We didn’t sound half bad. Now if we liked the same music maybe we could sing together.
The gate still worked and while Misty examined it, I looked around.
And smelled popcorn, the cheap kind with the fake butter they sell at movie theatres and hot dogs. And I could hear horses’ hooves and the rattling voice of an announcer excitedly telling the crowd who was in the lead and what turn they were on.
“Savvy!” Misty shouted at me.
I started and the smells and sounds faded away. “Sorry.” I said. “I must have zoned out.”
She bit her lip.
I shrugged. “Maybe we’ve been out in the sun too long.”
She nodded but looked worried. I promised her to get a drink as soon as we got back to the winery. We should get some canteens or something and some snack bars if we were going to be out this long. She bit her lip, but looked mollified with my promise. “The gate works. We can try the track. We’ll just have to jump over all this debris.”
Well, that was fine enough for her! I wasn’t the best of jumpers. But I wasn’t about to be shown up either. I squared my shoulders. “Okay.”
So we ran the track and Heart and I went around as many of the jumps as we could. It took less than a minute. Then we trotted back to the manor, Misty giving me worried looks the whole time. The baroness looked intrigued over us jumping over the rubble when we reported our findings to her. I think she was more relieved that the track was still there. She was going to have to get workers on it. She sent us back to the Equestrian Center and to Judy.
Judy was happy to see us again. There was a lot to do according to her. But she was willing to give us the rest of the day to pack our things and get settled. True to my promise, I got a drink from the well. Misty called Jenna, probably for the last time and went back to Moorland, packed up our clothes, dirty laundry and sheets and stuff. We grabbed dinner from the dining hall. The other girls gossiped and chattered about small things in the camp. And I felt really out of place. They didn’t know about the crying ghost girl in the Castle or that G.E.D. was drilling for oil in the Everwind Fields. They didn’t care either. I was happy to get out of there. Misty seemed really upset about something but I didn’t feel then was the time to ask. I kept my eyes open to what could be upsetting her, when I noticed Josh, sans hat, up at the front table teasing Loretta. I wrinkled my nose. I thought the boy had more sense than that. Then I narrowed my eyes and tilted my head, wait, they had the same hair color and I think the same nose. It couldn’t be coincidence. Cousins, maybe? Siblings? We checked our room one last time and then took the ride back to the winery, paid Judy the fee to use the Stables there and got settled in the inn.
We were no longer campers. It was a really weird feeling. I mean, we hadn’t been campers for even an hour I guess, but now it was official. We didn’t have a room at Moorland anymore. Misty stuck the Mountain Song room sign on our door, making us, officially according to her, home. I hadn’t even seen her take the sign!
I stretched out on the bed, exhausted. Tomorrow looked like it was going to be an interesting day.
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Have a question you want to ask Savvy about her experiences in Moorland or before? Ask at Ask Mountain Song on tumblr.