We trotted back to talk to Gilbert. Bad news. Gilbert knew nothing about paddocks. We needed to talk to Mr. Bucket, but Mr. Bucket was gone and had been gone for several days. Gilbert said Mr. Bucket was worried that the workers were using illegal means to build a tunnel north up at North Link. And that if we wanted to talk to him, we’d have to take the West Jorvik Highway North and go there.
I checked the GPS. That wasn’t remotely near Mario. We promised Steve we’d do his stuff first.
Misty and I moved away from Gilbert to debate about when Donald ran around the corner, panting and told us that he was glad he’d found us before we left. He wanted to thank us for all the wool by making us a riding vest, but he needed dye. He’d heard about special flowers in Valedale that had pink pigment. Elizabeth Sunbeam would know about it. We promised him that we’d talk to her about it.
That settled it. We had two reasons to head north towards Valedale and only one to North Link. Besides, Elizabeth would probably be able to give us better directions than Steve to the Observatory.
Misty and I chatted about the horses at Steve’s all the way to Valedale. Elizabeth was more than happy to help us with the dye. Apparently the flowers that we collected the tears from Aideen from were also the source of the pink pigment. She told us that they were protected and that we were to only gather the withered flowers for her. They were out with the cows and I hoped the cows knew that the flowers were protected and accidentally munch on them! We gathered the flowers and returned to Elizabeth. She said she needed until tomorrow to make the dye.
I asked her for better directions to the observatory. She actually blushed a little, but I showed her the GPS and she told me that if we went through the cow field and followed the mountains, it would be easier to find the path than it was from the woods. We thanked her and headed that way.
I wondered to Misty what that flush had been about. Elizabeth seemed to know the way to the Observatory pretty well for it being so out of the way and all. Misty giggled. She thought that maybe Elizabeth had a crush on this Mario. I laughed. Wouldn’t that just figure? Adults could be as bad as teenagers.
I saw some little rocks steaming along the road on the way up to the observatory. I wondered what they were and if they were important.
As we got closer to the observatory and went across the bridge, I heard this odd mechanical clanking noise. I stopped in the middle of the bridge to try and find the source and couldn’t see anything, but it wouldn’t go away. I looked at Misty? “Do you hear that?”
She seemed mystified.
It had to be my imagination. I decided to ignore it. “Never mind.”
Mario was blonde and very French. He said Bonjour and thought our names were coquette and tres chic. It’s was ‘bravo, bravo’ for braving the path. We told him briefly about Steve, and while he assured us he could help us, it would have to start tomorrow since he had the telescope fixed on a very important juxtaposition of planets for that night. Why is it always tomorrow, diary? But while we were here, could we find some fallen stars for him. He’d been watching the stars when a beautiful shower of meteors had burst above him, he rambled poetic about nature’s fireworks and sparks of the great smith or like petals from a dancing girl before he got to the business of whether or not we could get these stars that had fallen on the mountain for him. You see, the terrain was rugged and he had no horse.
It turned out that the little steaming rocks I’d noticed had been meteors. Misty and I ran about on Heart and Evening, reaching over to snatch them up and laughing as we found them. We returned to Mario and he thanked us profusely giving each of us one as a gift. They were worth 700 JS a piece. I might keep one as a souvenir but if he asks us again, I’m selling the rest!
I could still hear that mechanical clanking noise. I bit my lip. I didn’t want to appear crazy but I was beginning to feel it.
Mario thought the meteors were breathtaking and then started going off about something else that was breathtaking. He swore in French. Mon Dieu! The winters were horrible and he couldn’t get down and no one could get up and he wanted company! I restrained a giggle. He probably wanted Elizabeth’s company. Avalanches! Snow storms. He couldn’t take it anymore. He’d written a letter of protest to Councilman Gilbert and yesterday he’d received an answer. The council was going to do something about this and since he couldn’t leave his telescope, he wanted us, the first people he’d seen in ages to go to the Councilman and inquire about what was to be done.
We rode back down the mountain, Misty giggling over the Frenchman and as I poked gentle fun at him, mocking his manners and such. Gilbert was happy to see us and that we had news of Mario. He had news for Mario as well, but since we were here, maybe we could help him. The council had hired a construction company to help Mario out. The head of it was in the town square. He needed to see the Observatory.
We found him in the town square. He was the only guy wearing a construction outfit. He knew right away that we weren’t Mario. But Master Builder Olaf was willing to work with us instead. He told us that he needed pictures of the site and while we were taking pictures he’d get a ride up to meet us at North Link.
I looked at Misty. Now we had two reasons to go to North Link. This mysterious Mr. Bucket and now Master Builder Olaf.
We rode up West Jorvik Highway, Marley’s farm was to the left and Landon was to the right and just as we turned a corner a huge bulldozer tried to mow us down. We both screamed and darted out of the way, jumping fences into Landon’s field. Holy shit! My heart was pounding and from the looks of it, so was Misty’s. I suggested we ride up the field the rest of the way. Goodness knows what else was on the road. She agreed. I mean. Come on! A bulldozer, really?!
We found Mr. Bucket on top of a hill overlooking some sort of work site. When we were about to say something, he gestured us to be quiet and to get off our horses. We got off and explained in whispers about Marley’s desire to build a paddock. Mr. Bucket didn’t seem impressed. He had more urgent business. The construction site was using GED-O-Gel, a hazardous industrial adhesive, to shore up the walls of the tunnel to build faster. He just needed proof. If we would get him proof, he’d get us the papers for the paddock.
Figuring the horses would be a bit too conspicuous, we left them with Mr. Bucket and headed into the construction site. They had containers and piles of concrete and more digging vehicles than you could shake a stick at. We really needed to get a vest to blend in better. We rummaged through containers until we found some packaging and snuck back to Mr. Bucket.
He was furious. He started right away jotting on some papers and muttering about lawyers. It’d only delay the construction by a few days, but it was better than nothing I think in Mr. Bucket’s opinion. He handed us the papers for Marley. He’d done them while we’d been rummaging. I’ll admit, he knew his stuff.
Have a question you want to ask Savvy about her experiences in Moorland or before? Ask at Ask Mountain Song on tumblr.