Chapter 2 – Flowers for a Stranger, Part I

Kip ascended the narrow, creaky stairs of the Gnome’s Arms, relishing the comforting smell of wood. The pub was still and tranquil in the afternoon light, with only one other patron lounging around downstairs. Sarah had entrusted Kip with a key to his temporary lodgings; a modest room that was located adjacent to the upstairs bathroom.

As he made his way up the stairs, his eyes were drawn to a charming potted plant that adorned the landing of the second floor. The warm and inviting atmosphere of the pub made Kip feel as though he had arrived at a home away from home.

Kip emerged into an upstairs space that was adorned with floral wallpaper. In the centre of the room, a well-loved football table sat, its surface marked with the wear of many games past. The warm glow of lamps cast a welcoming aura over wooden chairs and tables. On the walls, a bulletin board overflowed with notes and old news articles, lending the space a sense of history and community. Despite his lack of skill, Kip felt a sudden urge to pick up one of the miniature footballs and give the table a go.

Kip walked down the hallway towards the farthest door, the key in his hand jingling as he went. With a click, he unlocked the door to the spare room.

 Inside, he was greeted by the sight of a small and cosy bedroom. A soft rabbit rug lay on the wooden floor, and a small dresser stacked with toiletries stood against the wall in the corner of the room. On the tiny nightstand next to the bed, Kip could see an old tea set, clearly put there for guests to enjoy.

Kip walked over to the window, revealing a picturesque view of the bustling square in front of the pub. The morning sunlight cast a warm glow over the bare trees and shrubs, but Kip could already see the first buds appearing on the branches. Soon, everything in the square would be in bloom.

It was a shame he wouldn’t be here long enough to see it. The salaryman imagined it to be a beautiful sight.

Kip sat down on the edge of the bed, feeling the softness of the mattress beneath him. He reached into his backpack and pulled out an old photograph. He’d always brought it with him on business trips, too. Kip had taken the picture years ago, but it still brought him comfort wherever he went. He carefully placed it on the nightstand next to the tea set before taking out his phone. The navigation from the train station to Finchwick square was still active.

With a smile, Kip cancelled the application. He didn’t need it anymore.

He was here.

Kip made his way back downstairs, feeling lighter than he had in weeks. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, Sarah looked up at him, smiling.
“Did you find everything okay?”

“It’s perfect!” Kip relied, happily settling back onto his stool at the counter. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a man in his thirties dancing to the music that played on the stereo. He hadn’t seen him before, but something about the way Sarah looked at him immediately made him realise who he was. Kip smiled at Simon, giving him a polite nod before turning back and asking:  
“How much for the week?”

“Eh, it’s on us. No charge.”

“No… charge?”

“Technically, it’s Agatha’s charge,” Simon answered with a grin. “It’s honestly not even a proper room. We just let her use it on request. We’re all in this together, right, pal?”

That was too much. Kip didn’t know how to handle it. Almost instantly, the salaryman could feel a familiar sense of guilt bubble up from the pit of his stomach, rapidly rising to the surface. He shifted around in his seat uncomfortably, looking from Sarah to Simon and back.
“I can’t accept this,” he mumbled. That did nothing to change their expressions. Sarah chuckled, looking his way with an odd, knowing expression on her face. Kip watched as she expertly spun a few bottles around. 

“Tough luck, city mouse. We’re not charging you. Not for that room.”

But he never got to finish his sentence.
“Shush. Take it up with Agatha if you disagree. Now, are you going to order something, or am I just putting on a show for my husband?”

Kip stepped out of the pub and into the bustling square, scanning the area for a glimpse of Agatha. It didn’t take him very long to find her. After a few moments of searching, he spotted her sitting at one of the parasol tables, happily working on a cross stitch project.

As Kip approached her, nervous and fidgeting, she got up from her seat. He could see her smile at him, waving him over as she opened her mouth – but this time, the flower shop owner didn’t get two words in before Kip hijacked the conversation, immediately voicing his thoughts.
“Agatha, I can’t accept this. It’s too generous.”

“Good morning to you too, Kip,” she smiled in return. “I take it you’re referring to the room?”
“Yes. I should be paying for it-”
But much like Sarah, Agatha refused to hear of it. She shook her head, waving her hand dismissively.
“Nonsense,” the woman spoke. “We’re all in this together. And that room isn’t being used yet, anyway. You have just as much right to it as anyone else here – unless for some reason you think you don’t deserve it?”

“It just- it doesn’t feel right,” Kip said, not really sure himself why he was having so much trouble with this. “I just- I don’t want to be a burden. Please just let me pay for it.”
Kip watched as a little frown spread across Agatha’s brow. The flower lady let out a sigh.
“Oh, very well. I can see that you are determined. All right. You can pay for it-“
“Thank you—“

“-By running some errands.”


Agatha let out an amused chuckle at the baffled look on his face.
“Despite how I look, I am a busy woman, you see,” she explained. “I have a couple of seed packets that need to make their way to a few customers of mine. Flower seeds, to plant in their gardens. I do that every year, but I’m starting to get too old to walk all over town. These brittle bones, you see.”
Kip narrowed his eyes at that.
“Wait a minute, weren’t you the one that travelled all the way to-”
“So!” she continued, not allowing Kip to interrupt her. “You’ll be doing that for me. There are three packets that need to be delivered this weekend. I will tell you where you need to go. If you deliver all of them, I’ll give you a little something for your trouble. It should be enough to pay for your room, no?”

“I- yes!” Kip replied, immediately feeling better now that he had something to give back. “Okay! I can do that. I won’t disappoint you, I promise.”

“I know you won’t, dearie. Don’t you worry.”

After that, it had only been a small walk to the flower stall. Kip had been surprised by how small the seed packets were. He could easily fit them in his pockets. Agatha had given him detailed instructions on where and to whom to deliver them. She’d even listed them in order. Kip was supposed to start with the village Mayor, Lavina Chopra. She’d described her as a woman in her late fifties, easily recognizable by her green skirt and hat. She was known to wander around the village, keeping a watchful eye on Finchwick and ensuring that everything was kept in order.

That didn’t sound too difficult a person to find. Not even for Kip.

And he was right. It didn’t take him long to find her at all – but what he hadn’t expected was the absolute raincloud of a mood that he found her in.
“And you are?”

Kip’s heart sank at the sight of Lavina’s scowling face. He had expected her to be a bit stern, but he hadn’t anticipated such hostility. He cleared his throat nervously before answering.
“Uh, Kip. I don’t live here.”

“I can see that. What business do you have with me, Kip?”
“I- I have a… delivery. For miss-”
“-Mrs. Chopra,” Kip corrected himself, immediately turning red in the face as he kicked himself for making a mistake. “From Agatha. Seed… seed packets.”

He wasn’t sure what he had expected from her – but the strange, almost sarcastic sneer of a smile that spread across her lips was not it.
“Ah, how wonderful. Another errand boy to do Agatha’s leg work,” the Mayor spoke, looking at Kip with a condescending sneer, her words laced with sarcasm. “Surely a single seed packet isn’t too heavy to deliver across the street?”
“Uh, I don’t know-“
“You don’t look familiar. Are you a visitor?”
“Yes. Agatha invited me.’
“I see. Another one of her projects. Marvellous.”

Kip felt his cheeks burning with embarrassment as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, feeling like a fool. Ignoring Lavina’s barb, Kip pulled out the seed packet and presented it to her with a trembling hand. The Mayor snatched it from him and examined it with a critical eye, as if trying to find fault with it. Kip smiled nervously, feeling like he was failing his first task.

“Don’t mind me,” Lavina replied, her eyes still on the seed packet. “It’s just the idle musings of a busy woman. In any case, these look like they should. Good, good. Could you give this back to her?” she continued, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a neatly stamped, blue-coloured envelope. “The papers that she ordered. Seeing how Agatha can’t be bothered to visit me, I just couldn’t find the time to deliver these, either.”
“Uh… sure. Yeah. I can do that.”
“Good, good. Off you go, then.”

Lavina’s condescending tone felt intimately familiar in the worst way and grated on Kip’s nerves. But he kept his composure, taking the envelope from her outstretched hand. Feeling dismissed, Kip gave her a quick nod. He took a step back, then turned around, glad for the encounter to be over and done with.

“Oh, right. One more thing.”
The universe just loved proving him wrong. Kip grimaced, nervously turning around. He was met with a measured, calculated grin from the village Mayor that did not look sincere at all.
“Welcome to Henford-on-Bagley,” she smiled. “I do hope you enjoy your stay.”

Kip’s second person was located on the outskirts of the village. According to Agatha, her name was Cecilia Kang, a local that lived in a small cottage by herself. It took him a good while to find the right address- as it turned out, Henford-on-Bagley was a lot larger than he’d thought at first glance. Agatha had warned Kip in advance about the length of the walk to her door. The flower lady had mentioned Cecilia’s strange fondness for chickens, too.

What Agatha had failed to mention…

Was the guard.

“Er… Nice… nice chicken…”

Kip gulped nervously as a large black rooster with sharp-looking spurs strutted towards him, flapping its wings aggressively, squawking as it stood directly between Kip and the door. Kip tried to remember what he knew about animal behaviour. Slowly extending his hand, he attempted to approach the bird like he would with a dog, hoping to calm it down that way.  

“There’s a good bird… I’m just here to deliver some seeds—”

Kip had always had a way with animals. Canines, specifically. From as early as he could remember, he’d been great with dogs, often having an easier time with them than with most other people. There was no dog he couldn’t befriend.

As it turned out…

A rooster was not a dog.

“Bad! Bad chicken! Get off-OW! OWWW!”


“Oh, feathers.”

“Sir Cluckles! Stop! STOP! CLUCKLES!”

But the rooster, Sir Cluckles, had a mind of his own. He didn’t stop. In fact, Cecilia’s sudden panic made the exact opposite happen. He got even worse, pecking every exposed inch of Kip that the rooster could reach. After a good minute of screaming, squawking and savagely chasing him all over the front yard, the tiny hellbeast finally calmed down; not because Cecilia had finally managed to get through to him—

Cecilia gulped.
“Are… are you alive? Sir?”

With a groan, Kip pushed himself up from the ground.
“I’m… I’m okay… I’m…”

10 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Flowers for a Stranger, Part I

  1. Ah, it’s errands time! Delivery a few seeds, how hard can it be? XD

    The major, Lavina, was already way less friendly than Agatha or Sarah at the pub, but the roaster… Well, at least Kip learnt that roasters are nothing like dogs, I’m always been scared of them as well XD
    This very roaster is particularly expressive as well, and the effects added to the pictures definitively made it much more dramatic XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As it turns out, way harder than he thought! 😆

      Lavina is quite the character, as we’ll find out in the furure. Sir Cluckles absolutely takes the cakes on the hostility-scale today, though 🤣 I didn’t actually do anything with him either. The hellbeast decided all by itself that Kip was Public Enemy #1. Everything else happened on autonomy. All I did was add chicken eyebrows 😂🤣


  2. Salaryman patron deity Agatha headcanon disproven… or is it? 🤔

    I love using the errand system to get Kip around town, and all the character introductions have been great (you already know I was looking forward to seeing my girl Cecilia over here, and her house is so pretty!!).

    I’m dead that the chicken attack was an autonomous game event. Sir Chuckles has proven his honor in defending his estate. 🐔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say there’s still plenty of room for Salaryman Patron Deity Agatha 😁

      I had so much fun with the errand system when Cottage Living first came out. Together with the farming/start from nothing challenge, suddenly the game felt like Stardew Valley and Rune factory instead of TS4. It was the best thing ever 🥰

      Sir Cluckles will be appearing more in future chapters, so be on the lookout for overly aggressive rooster-ing 🐓😂

      Liked by 1 person


    Oh my gosh I laughed so hard when Kip got the shit beaten out of him by a chicken XD You know what to do Kip, toughen up and come back to the fight and send that little clucker to McDonalds! OH DAMN WHY IS KIP SO MUCH LIKE OLD ME…KIP LET SOMEONE ELSE HELP YOU. I KNOW IT’S A RED FLAG. BUT DO IT. YOU DESERVE IT! Thr scene of the chicken cranking its neck around like BOKKBOKK????? is hilarious XD That chicken needs therapy. And the ‘oh feathers’… Hey, having your ass handed to you by a chicken beats having your ass handed to you by your asshole boss. I also love the perspective shot of the chicken attacking Kip with the black zoom lines. Looks like a scene from an anime or something. And the proud face… XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Send the clucker to McDonalds omg 😂🤣 I honestly don’t know if I’d want to be beat up by a chicken more- those talons are nothing to sneeze at 😆 Kip absolutely needs to learn to accept help, among other things. It’s an uphill climb from here. With some rooster-shaped obstacles along the way 😂🐔

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They really are. Talons are incredibly dangerous and can seriously harm a person if they get unlucky 😅 I’m glad Kip survived that encounter – I’ve never lost a sim to chicken or rabbit violence, but I know it’s a new way to go for them, ha. Would have been a very short story 😆


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