• Published 8th Jul 2019
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The Rains of Vanhoover - kudzuhaiku



It was raining in Vanhoover. It was always raining in Vanhoover.

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Ideological differences

Tears rolled down Nut’s cheeks like raindrops down a windowpane. He really wanted a drink, but couldn’t face the accusations. Surely, his mother would say something, he would offer up some denial, and then the situation would grow complicated. So it was better to suffer in silence, to endure, and to give no outward indicators that anything was wrong. Even though right now, everything felt wrong. At least, nothing felt right.

Why hadn’t he said something?

He couldn’t face himself for answers.

When he’d left home to go to school, he had snuck off in the middle of the night. With no warning. No goodbye. He didn’t wish to give his family and friends a chance to try and talk him out of it, for surely they would. Which would only make things harder. Peer pressure made everything worse, and Nut didn’t like the jittery sensation of confrontation, at least not with those close to him. They would not have fought fair; there would have been guilt, emotional blackmail. Unreasonable behaviour. Irrational, illogical emotional entanglements, very much what was happening right now.

Black Maple too, pushed him to feel things and excited his passions.

Perhaps he’d leave tonight; there was a midnight flight to Vanhoover.


Gestalt’s study was crammed full of clocks and other fantastical clockwork contraptions. It was a dizzying place, disorienting, a real shock to the senses. But it was not a place of chaos, far from it. The study was a shrine to mechanical perfection, with a great many tiny parts that made satisfying wholes. There was even an orrery that maintained celestial precision and accuracy, a device no doubt worth more than the entire economies of multiple developing nations.

But nothing in the study held more fascination than Gestalt.

The ancient, wizened unicorn had his muzzle in a book when Nut entered, unannounced. Why, Nut didn’t even knock. With great hesitation, he slipped through the elliptical-shaped doorway and into the study. Silent, he navigated the maze of tables, chairs, desks, shelves, display columns, and other randomly-placed furniture, until at last he reached a seat in the corner. The same seat he always sat in when he visited Gestalt’s study.

The book was titled, The Virtue of Rude Attitudes: A Defense of the Oppugnant Pegasus. And what a book it was; hardbound, dark, subtle hues that were suitable for display in any study, and a solid two-inches thick. Naturally, Nut found the book of particular interest, and he considered filching it when Gestalt wasn’t paying attention.

When Nut sat down, something quite unexpected happened: there was a high pitched squeal, a lingering, overlong flatulent sound, and as the vulgar, unwanted trombonification continued, an embarrassed Nut squirmed in his seat. It was perfectly awful, and could not have come at a worse time, as he was in no mood for such juvenile, puerile toilet humour.

Without even lifting his head from his book, Gestalt said, “Really, something must be done about Taffy. Somepony needs to prank that filly, but none of us who live here are up for such a task. Positively dreadful.”

“Indubitably.”

“She’s a menace, that Taffy.”

“Oh, without a doubt.”

“So, Nut. What brings you to my study?”

Much to his own annoyance, Nut did not answer right away. He thought about spilling his guts and telling his grandfather everything that had just taken place—but he didn’t. There was a lot to talk about, such as the fact that Nut knew an oppugnant pegasus—however, he lacked the courage to give voice to this subject. There was a long list of his own shortcomings that could be mentioned, discussed in detail, and perhaps some of them might even be sorted out—except the very idea of dragging all of his shortcomings out into the light left him feeling quite unhinged.

Almost panicky, even.

“Miss Blossom had a panic attack,” Nut said at last.

“Is that so?”

“That is, indeed, so.”

“Quite… quite.” Gestalt slipped a ribbon marker into his book, closed it with a muffled, muted thump, and then set it down upon his desk. He rested one foreleg upon it, leaned forward just a little, and turned his attention upon a kinetic whirligig clock of mind-boggling complexity. “Well, I must say, I am a bit disappointed.”

“Disappointed?”

“Well, I had hoped that you had finally come to talk to me about you yourself.”

Now thoroughly unnerved, Nut responded, “The less said about me, the better.”

With a turn of his head, Gestalt focused his wizened stare upon Nut and peered out from beneath his bushy, overgrown eyebrows. His nostrils flared for a moment, there was a twitch from his saggy left ear, and the hoof that rested upon the book trembled. “Clove was quite upset, Nut. And not about your wordplay.”

“Oh, I can’t imagine why.” Unable to bear his grandfather’s scruinous gaze, Nut turned his eyes elsewhere; why, he had a whole room full of distractions. If Gestalt wanted ponies to pay attention, then perhaps he should free his study from all the visual clutter. “Should I ever want help for myself, I’ll ask for it. I came here for Miss Blossom’s benefit.”

“And I suppose you do not wish to mention what happened with you and Secundus.”

No longer able to ignore his grandfather, Nut gave his wrinkled ancestor his full attention. “Eavesdropping? Really?”

Gestalt offered up a shrug, but no apology.

“You know, a complete and total lack of privacy is enough to drive a pony to Vanhoover.”

“But that’s not the reason you left, so let’s not pretend that it is. Can we stop dancing around the issue and creating inventive excuses?” When Gestalt scowled, wrinkles threatened to completely consume his face. “Just what are you doing with that nice filly, anyhow? You’ve run from every responsibility that crosses your field of vision.”

Rather than dispute the truthfulness of that statement, Nut chose to remain silent.

“You’ve run from your inheritance, Nut. Every obligation. Pod had her heart broken. You were given a great gift, you were graced with extraordinary schooling, the sort of education that most ponies could only dream about, and now, from what I understand, you’re turning a wrench in a garage in Vanhoover. When you’re not slumming about, you spend a few paltry hours looking after your continued education. You were given a perfect future, which you’ve cast aside, and for what, exactly?”

Gestalt’s voice dropped to a low, rough whisper.

“And now there’s the filly, Nut. What made you get involved? I have to wonder, will you get cold hooves and buck this responsibility too?”

With this becoming more about himself and less about his apprentice and her panic attack, Nut pondered the possibility of escape. He could walk away from this. Much to his own dismay, he regretted his return home. Perhaps things might not have been perfect, but surely he could have survived by his own means with Miss Blossom. Maybe he’d panicked and called for help too soon. Seeking out help or assistance in the future seemed unlikely—the cost was a bit too dear for him to bear.

“Nut… a commoner might become a noble. It happens. And after a generation or two, the new bloodline adapts and they become like us.” He tapped on his book twice, shifted a bit in his seat, and then went still. “But for that commoner that begins the new bloodline, they are never truly like us. The reverse is also true, Nut. You are a noble. You cannot become a commoner. There is no way that you could ever handicap yourself or take away your advantages. You are what you are. Hating the circumstances of your birth does you no good, Nut.”

The words stung more than a little, because Nut knew they were true.

“In your rush to prove yourself, you are squandering everything you’ve been given. I’ve heard you complain about lax, lazy nobles, ponies born into great privilege that do nothing. We all remember your tirade about empty-headed socialites being the bane of Canterlot. How are you any different, Nut? You strive and you struggle, but what are you doing with what you’ve been given, exactly? Think about what you are doing now and compare it with what you could be doing. How are you any better than the leisurely Canterlot socialites that you’ve lambasted with such terrible ferocity?”

“Unlike the overfed, fat, overly indulgent socialites that waste perfectly good air here in Canterlot, I know what it means to struggle. No, I will never know what it means to be a commoner, but I know what it means to struggle. There is beauty in it, Grandfather. In the worst moments of struggle, there is a nobility, a dignity that is only known as one survives day to day.”

Now, it seemed, it was Gestalt’s turn to remain silent.

“You… you have no idea of the courageous goodness I’ve seen, Grandfather. Union workers who consider and weigh the benefits of a strike… who wrestle with the weighty burden of the greater good, doing what is necessary not only for their own future, but also their fellow workers, even if it means that their foals go hungry because of the strike. We ponies of Canterlot never face the consequences of our actions. We don’t suffer for what we do. What does being good cost us?”

“A lot more than you give credit, Nut.” The old unicorn shook his head as his eyebrows sagged, obscuring his eyes. “Doctor Sterling Shoe paid for his sense of goodness with his life. One life given for many. All of Canterlot mourns his death. It is my opinion that you are far too quick to judge.”

Arguing against this would be folly, and Nut could not think of a suitable response.

“Nut, I’ll not deny the union workers face a harsh lot. Allowing one’s foals to go hungry for the sake of one’s ideals… that is no easy thing to do. I suspect that many would sell out their own future and potentially their offspring's future just to sate the pangs of hunger. It’s shortsighted, but the immediate consequences are quite real and rather pressing, I would imagine.”

“And that’s my point, Grandfather. You have to imagine it.”

“So, I suspect that with your distressing boneyness, you are no stranger to hunger.”

“We’ve become familiar acquaintances.”

“So why not take your considerable influence and means, and all of the resources at your disposal, and do something about all of the hungry union workers?”

“Because I…” Nut’s words trailed off, and try as he might, he could not come up with a convincing reason.

“And that, Nut, is my point. Others suffer for your inaction. Good intentions and noble goals do nothing to fill empty bellies.”

With a sigh, Nut suffered a defeated deflation and air whooshed out of him in very much the same way it had from the whoopie cushion when he’d sat down.

“If those hungry foals were fed, those union workers could do more to secure their future. They might be secure enough to stand together in the face of adversity, their resolve, unyielding. Meanwhile, you’re turning a wrench in some greasy garage and contemplating every conceivable way that your noble birth had wronged you and robbed you of rich experience.”

“I yield,” Nut said, pained by his acknowledgement of his defeat.

But, it seemed that Gestalt was not yet finished.

“Your father, Nut, he has an obsession with two things: his tulips and Clove. As for your mother, the same can be said for her. She is thoroughly fixated on garlic and Bulb. This is the scope of their lives. Each of them has a career, a livelihood that exposes them to their obsession on a daily basis. They both derive a great deal of satisfaction from their work. It could be said that they’re both doing what they love, when they’re not busy doing one another.”

Upon hearing this, Nut suddenly felt sweaty and uncomfortable.

Lifting his hoof, Gestalt waved it around a bit as he continued, “It might be said that they live ideal states of existence. The equine ideal. They have a life’s work that is centered upon their obsession, the very thing that makes them who and what they are. They are free to indulge their passions, without restrictions or consequence.”

When he paused, Gestalt’s brows made a heroic effort to lift up and away from his eyes.

“You don’t have this luxury, Nut. If you did, there’d be more bodies than we know what to do with. We’d have to stack them up like cordwood. You do not get to indulge your passions, but rather, you must restrain yourself from it. Your misfortune is that you do not get to take satisfaction in the very thing that defines you and makes you who and what you are.”

The old unicorn pointed at the younger with his hoof while affixing him with a stern, all-knowing gaze. “Secundus gets off on violence. Make no mistake. It is very much like an addictive drug to him. I’ve seen it. He gets drunk on violence and the power that comes with it. The sooner we have him away from polite, civilised society, the better—”

“Grandfather, that is an awful thing to say!”

“Just because something is awful doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it. Sometimes. Sometimes, a thing has to be said. Doubly so when you are trying to illustrate a point.” Gestalt’s eyebrows raised themselves a little higher, enough so that his eyes were almost completely visible. “What satisfaction do you take from life, Nut? You cannot indulge in your talent. So where do you take pleasure?”

Nut squirmed in his chair as if he’d sat upon a lit match.

Every wrinkle on Gestalt’s face writhed as he leaned forward to scrutinise his grandson. “I trust you more than I do Secundus. You show some restraint. The Sisters trust you more than Secundus. Sure, nothing has been explicitly said, but you get to live your life among civilised ponies while Secundus is about to be sent to a place of grave danger. He’ll get a chance to be happy, to fulfill his purpose, and others will benefit from his gift.”

Eyes wide, Nut stared at his grandfather.

“But what of you, Nut? At some point, all this floundering must end.”

“Honestly,” Nut replied, “I don’t know.”

“For Secundus, it is the fight.” Now with a frown, Gestalt went on, “For you, it is what ends the fight. That is a unique thing to be gifted at—”

“I resent that,” Nut blurted out. “I resent that and everything about it. Calling my talent unique. Saying that it is special. It isn’t!” Aware that he’d raised his voice, Nut reasserted his calm quietness before he kept going. “There is nothing special about what I do. Anything that I can do, a wizard can do better. A well-placed fireball or a cloud of toxic gas could kill a crowd faster than I could. All this time spent clapping me on the back about the greatness of what I can do and how precious my gift is, the value of my talent. It’s all lies. Fallacy. Pretty words to smooth over my injured ego and to lift my self-esteem. Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel worse. Everything is just meaningless flattery.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Gestalt mmm-hmmed in the most annoying sort of way that a pony could mmm-hmm.

“What?” Alarmed somewhat by his grandfather’s non-verbal communication, Nut worried that the wily old unicorn knew something that Nut himself did not know. Off to his left, a mechanical clock struck the time by releasing two unicorns from out of their hidden stalls. They danced and pranced, twirling and whirling, until at last they met in the middle, and kissed.

Nut absolutely failed to be distracted by the whimsical display.

“A wizard can only cast so many spells, Nut. They get tired. Fast. They need prodigious quantities of food and extensive periods of rest between casting.” The smile on Gestalt’s face was a smug one, the sort of grin one has when one was thoroughly convinced of their own superiourity. “Once a wizard is out of spells, they cease to be an asset and instead become a liability. They’re squishy and ever-so-easy to cut down.”

“What is your point?” Nut demanded.

Gestalt’s response, a chuckle, was disturbing.

“Really, I must insist. If you have a point, say it now, or else I’ll be leaving.”

“Long after the wizard tires, you’ll still be going.” The old pony’s voice was a creaky whisper, and there was a vaguely demented pride to his words. “You have the stamina to go for hours. Long after the wizard runs out of fireballs, you will continue your unceasing assaults. For as long as it takes. Princess Luna has made sure of that.”

Completely unnerved now, Nut cast his sullen stare upon his grandfather.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Nut.

“Perhaps you should ask Princess Luna about that.” Gestalt leaned back in his chair and relaxed a little, which meant that his eyebrows returned to their usual position, obscuring most of his eyes. “You’ll have a chance tonight, when we go to the fundraising gala. It is time for certain truths to be made known to you. I think that you have the maturity, even if you are a stubborn ass.”

Irked, his ire aroused, Nut did his best not to show it. Rather, he said, “This is infuriating. I’m going to go cool off somewhere. I came here for help… because Miss Blossom had a panic attack… and instead, there is all of this nonsense. Is it any wonder that I left home? It was you lot that drove me away. Go back to your book, Gestalt. I’ll not trouble you a moment longer.”

While Nut left the room, his grandfather re-opened his book so that he might read…


Much to Nut’s surprise, he found the kitchen empty. In a moment of total honesty with himself, he admitted that he didn’t know what the domestic staff did, or their schedules. They were, for the most part, just ponies that he occasionally bumped into as he traversed the tower. These domestic servants were omnipresent and seemed to appear like magic when there was a mess or something in need of doing.

But an empty kitchen was just what he needed. A moment alone to clear his head. Just as he had feared, coming home meant facing the music, as the old expression went, and he was entirely unprepared for all that had transpired. At least Caliginous Dark was supportive. While Nut knew that his family loved him, and would be there for him, he wished that they understood.

The fridge was not electrical, but magic. A literal ice box. How old it might be was debatable, but it had to be centuries old by now, and the various magical matrices continued to function. As Nut stood before the ancient ice box, he found himself thinking of what it might be worth. It had to be worth millions of bits. The creation of such an artifact held such great cost, at least at the time of its creation, and such a thing could only grow in value.

Like so many other things in this tower, it was something that he and his family took for granted. Not only did it keep food cold, but the dimensional pocket altered time as well, slowing it a great deal, and this was just one of many clever tricks that prevented food spoilage. There might very well be food in the fridge that was hundreds of years old—and still edible.

The water that poured from the faucets was all conjured, magicked from somewhere, and Nut wasn’t even sure of the source. Water couldn’t just be created, but it could be conjured. It might come from the waterfall in Central Canterlot, or it might be connected through an interdimensional bypass to some unknown aqueduct. So long as it continued to function, nopony really cared about where the water came from.

Meanwhile, the water that came from the faucets in Vanhoover could only be described as vile sludge. When boiled, it became marginally safer to drink, but still tasted indescribably terrible. Collecting the rainwater was no better, because what came from the clouds happened to be acid rain. The water situation in Vanhoover was especially infuriating to Nut, because he knew it was an issue that could be fixed—it would just be costly. Who would pay for it was the big question that no one could answer.

But here in Canterlot, the old money, old families, they never had to worry about such things as clean water. Life was insulated from actual living. Nut knew that his family would never want for anything. They were so far removed from the struggle for survival that it could be said that they lived in their own little isolated pocket of reality. Why, they even had electricity, but Nut wasn’t sure where it came from. He doubted it came from an outside source—it was just there. Available. Without worry or concern. Probably without cost or expense. Meanwhile, the poor struggled to keep the lights on.

With a hard yank, he pulled the ice box door open and thought about milk. There was a clank of glass bottles, muffled thuds, more clinks and clunks as everything rearranged itself, and after a moment of patient waiting, the milk presented itself. A tall glass bottle with a shiny steel cap. No doubt delivered by the milk pegasus just this morning—or perhaps a few years ago, not that it mattered. Milk delivery to this part of Canterlot was made difficult by the excruciatingly narrow streets, so most deliveries were done by fliers. Sure, there happened to be magical teleportation, but everypony agreed it was better for the economy to pay delivery workers—it was charitable and smart.

Nut hated everything about life here, but the artificiality of it most of all.

He pulled out the milk, placed it on the counter, and then shut the ice box door behind him. A foul temper had overtaken him, and he was quite disgusted by everything, just everything. When he slipped into the pantry, he suffered a moment of disorientation, because everything had been moved around. How annoying it was to come home and find things not as one remembered them. His eyes scanned the shelves, he peered through his monocle as he sought what he wanted, which was malt.

A malted milk would make things better.

Spotting the cookie jar, he snatched it, levitated it down, lifted the lid, and sniffed. Oatmeal and garlic. Of course. Not that his mother had baked these—no, she could not be bothered to be domestic, as she was far too busy—but his mother made her preferences known. Savoury oatmeal cookies were a staple. This went on the counter, right next to the milk, and he continued his search for the malt, which he hoped he would find somewhere.

They did have malt, right?

Or did no one purchase it after he left home?

In his current state of upset, he needed malt to calm his stomach.

The vile hot belches were unbearable.

Up and down, left and right, he searched the shelves for the canister of malt that surely had to be there somewhere. He wasn’t about to walk to the pharmacy for a glass of malted milk. As his search became more frantic, he lifted things from the shelves so that he might have a look behind them. There were all manner of strange things to be found, peculiar items, and he suspected that Taffy was the pony responsible for introducing new things to the pantry.

Then, much to his relief, he found the tin of malt. It was old, a bit dusty, but it would have to do. He found it behind the rice wafers and the tinfoil packets of instant soup. Why they had instant soup was a total mystery to Nut, but he rather liked to see it in the pantry. Sometimes, one wanted soup, and one didn’t want to wait.

With his malt held overhead in triumph, Nut backed out of the pantry, turned himself about, and pulled open the drawer next to the stove for a spoon—only to find this drawer had no spoons. Why, it had no tableware at all. All his life, the spoons could be found in this drawer, but he’d left home, returned, and now the spoons were elsewhere. Who would do such a nefarious act? Why change for the sake of change?

“Beardsplitting bedswerver!” he swore.

“Oh goodness! That’s lewd, yer Lordship!”

The sudden, unexpected sound of another voice caused him to slam the drawer shut. When he turned around, he saw a maid that he did not recognise. She was young, trembling, and terrified. Now, on top of everything else, he felt bad because he’d unwittingly disturbed the domestic help. She stood in the door, more than a little afraid, and kept her eyes cast downward at the floor.

“Might I help you find something, yer Lordship?”

“That depends,” he replied. “May I inquire your name?”

“You wish… to know my name?”

“Well, may I?” he asked.

“I’m a scullery maid. Only the Housekeeper and the Butler need know my name. That’s the hierarchy, yer Lordship.”

“I care not for such things.” Nut took off his monocle, slipped it into a pocket, and then did his best to be unassuming. “So then, scullery maid with no name, would you happen to know where the spoons are? They seemed to have moved to a different neighborhood.”

“Two drawers over, yer Lordship. ‘Twas the cook that did it. Should he be reprimanded?”

“Gracious, no.” Nut studied the maid for a moment longer and determined that she was on the verge of fleeing. “Would you care to join me for cookies and malted milk?”

“If there is something else that yer Lordship wants from me, it would be best if it were stated plainly.”

This caught Nut off guard and it took him a moment to construe what the maid was actually saying. It was then that he remembered that certain unscrupulous nobles took liberties with their domestic servants, and he thought of Vermillion, Caliginous Dark’s sole remaining maid. She’d stayed simply because Caliginous never tried to ‘jump her bones’ as she’d so colourfully phrased it.

More than ever, Nut felt ashamed of his birth, and his loathing became a palpable, physical sensation as his guts writhed like a nest of hibernating serpents. Hot bile left the back of his throat raw, and he struggled to contain his need to shudder from the bad taste of stomach acid. He wanted to apologise to the maid, or maybe even go over to try and comfort her, but doing such a thing would surely caused her to bolt.

Or faint.

That was a possibility.

“I just wanted to be kind,” he said as he tried to explain himself.

“Many Lords believe themselves kind and generous as they huff and puff in one’s ear,” the maid replied. “Real givers, those types. And that’s how you end up with foals born on the wrong side of sheets. Forgive me for stating it so plainly.”

“There is nothing to forgive, it is something that should be said.” As Nut spoke, he watched as the young maid relaxed a bit, but she remained ready to bolt. “I just wanted to know your name, and to maybe have you join me for cookies and milk. Nothing else. No hidden motives.”

“I’m new here,” the maid replied. “Lost my last job ‘cause I refused the Lord’s son. I’m here on a probationary basis.”

“Oh, that is absurd.” Nut rolled his eyes and felt the need to do more, to have a stronger reaction. “Did you explain why you lost your previous position of employment?”

“No, yer Lordship, I did not.”

More bile flooded into Nut’s throat, and it took all of his willpower to not grimace. He feared that he might scare the maid if he did. “Mrs. Cream, the Housekeeper, I assure you, she will be understanding. If you explain your circumstances, your probation period will end and that will be one less thing for you to worry about. That black mark on your record shouldn’t exist.”

“My name is Sticky Toffee, yer Lordship.”

“Oh, that is delightful.” Even though it felt as though his throat was dissolving, he smiled his best smile and did his level best to be charming. “Care to join me for malted milk and cookies, Miss Toffee?”

“I’d be happy to prepare that for you, yer Lordship.”

“I am more than capable of doing so myself,” he told her. “Are you treated well here?”

“Shockingly so, yer Lordship. My room and board isn’t subtracted from my pay. I have a lovely room all to myself. Which is why I wish to keep my position here. I’m a cook… a good one too, but the hierarchy demands that I work my way up.” Sticky’s face brightened a bit, almost like the sun peeking out from behind sullen thunderheads. “Do you really think that Mrs. Cream will scrub the mark off my record?”

“I’m positive,” Nut replied. “Absolutely positive. Not that it matters. Most of our domestic staff remain as lifers. I know Mrs. Cream did after she married. We even have apartments for that very purpose.”

“So I’ve seen, yer Lordship. Seemed almost too good to be true, when I saw it. ”

Now in dire need of something to calm his stomach, Nut turned about, pulled open the right drawer, and found a collection of silver spoons. Not the good silver, which was kept in a locked cupboard, but the common silver, the tableware meant for moments just like this one, when one needed a spoon to stir with.

With Sticky Toffee still firmly rooted in the doorway, Nut fetched not one, but two glasses, and he put these down on the counter. Always a contrarian, he put the malt into the glasses first, rather than the milk. No sparing spoonfuls, either, but several great big heaping spoonfuls, a celebration of excess. When he unscrewed the steel lid from the glass bottle of milk, the heard the muted sounds of hooves against the smooth tile of the kitchen floor.

“You’re not like the others, yer Lordship. I mean, everypony here is nice, don’t get me wrong, I would never be insulting. But you are different.”

“I make it a point to be,” he replied as he poured some milk into each glass.

When he stirred, the spoon clanged against the glass in a soothing, comforting way.

Ting-ting-ting!

As the spoon went round and round, it clanged, and the milk grew frothy. He was almost salivating now, and his anticipation of sweet relief was almost as good at the sweet relief of malted milk itself. Whilst he stirred, he thought of Black Maple, and of all the glasses of malted milk she’d made just for him. Something about her technique perhaps, but she did something that made them extraordinary.

“They talk about you, you know,” Sticky Toffee said to Nut.

“Do they now?” he replied as he pulled the spoon from one glass so that he might stir the other.

“Your father most of all. He seems very proud of you, whatever it is that you’re doing.”

“Is that so?” With a turn of his head, Nut was able to see Sticky Toffee in the corner of his vision. “Well, that is certainly unexpected.”

“What is it that you’re doing, if I might ask?”

This gave Nut pause; what was he doing?

Try as he might, he could not think of an answer.

Author's Note:

So... what has Luna done, exactly?

Speculate!

Or not.

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