Chapter 62: The Winter Solstice Festival

I am so relaxed after the bath I sleep soundly in Belinda’s arms, so soundly in fact I don’t wake up till I feel someone shaking me. I pull my face from Belinda’s breasts and she is still asleep so I look to the other side, and find Scylla with one hand over her eyes, blushing brightly, as she shakes me with the other.

Scylla: “I am sorry Master… But we were starting to get worried.”

She says as she quickly turns around.  I notice I have received quite a few messages from Scylla and Zoey, I even have received some from Lilah and Bell checking on me and asking if I am awake.

Scylla: “It is already pretty late, I sent the other girls on ahead to the festival, but I wanted to make sure you where ok.’

Belinda likewise begins to stir from slumber.

Scylla: “I am going to go join the others now, excuse me…” –She then quickly flees from the room.-

“Belinda… Wake up Belinda…”

Belinda grabs me tightly and says sleepily. “I don’t wanna.”

“The girls have already left without us… The sun has been up for hours.”

Belinda quickly sits up her hair is a total mess, and she has drool on her cheek as she quickly looks to the window. She quickly fumbles about scrambling out of bed rushing back and forth around the room.

I casually get out of bed and wrap my arms around her from behind pressing my body against hers.

“There isn’t any rush, the girls are already out there. This is our time, and I don’t know about you but I much prefer this view over that of the snowy streets of Tobes.”

I say as I place my chin on her shoulder looking at the mirror in front of us. She doesn’t blush anymore when I look at her naked body, but after my comment she does, but she has a large smile on her face. She turns around in my arms, and kisses me.

She then hops which startles me and almost cause me to fall back as she wraps her legs around my waist. I back up to the bed and sit back on it without our lips ever parting.

Belinda: “I love you Two-Twelve”

We remain in bed till noon. I don’t know why, but this time the feeling felt different. It was the longest time our bodies have been joined together, but it’s not only that. Usually the feeling is just a strong impulse, a rush and then it’s gone as quick as it came.

This time I didn’t go away, and it didn’t feel overbearing. Even after we finally get dressed and begin to take part in the festivities of Tobes I can still feel its warmth in my chest like a small flame. Every time Belinda smiles, she brushes against my arm, or whispers in my ear. The flame seems to flutter inside me only growing stronger.

We spend the entire day walking up and down the main street of Tobes. We visit with the other villagers, take part is small games that have been set up in the stalls. We even eat several different types of food, but even though I don’t find any appealing, it doesn’t bother me.

Zoey was quickly kicked out of one of the games where she had to throw a small bag of sand across the stall knocking over little wooden monsters after she knocked them all over several times. They did give her a large stuffed animal though before kicking her out, which she gave to Roxy with a sheepish grin.

Scylla and Bell stick close to Lilah helping her with several of the games, but once it comes to a game of the mind Bell is quickly left out. Scylla keeps up with Lilah, but even she loses to Lilah in the end… which is actually quite surprising considering.

One stall has a bar that you hold onto while focusing your magic which causes a ball in rise, and has prizes for height and duration. Scylla, Belinda, and I take part in it along with several of the villagers including Susan from the bakery, and while I win the prize for height, Belinda manages to outlast me claiming the duration prize.

Belinda gives her prize to Scylla, so I give mine to her. Bell gets kicked out from a game that you use a large wooden mallet to knock a ring attached to a rope into the air after claiming the prize several times, She gives one to Lilah, and one to Zoey since she hasn’t gotten anything for herself yet, and keeps one for herself.

Even as the sun goes down and snow begins to fall again, we don’t feel like going home until they begin to close the stalls. We are so tired by the time we get home we all go straight to bed. The next morning Belinda and I manage to wake up at the normal time. At breakfast Zoey is wearing an odd expression.

“What’s the matter?”

Zoey: “There is an eating competition today… I want to win it, but Roxy made this breakfast so I don’t want to waste it.”

“Alright, I will eat it for you.”

I take the plate and begin eating which shocks everyone, but Zoey’s shock is for a different reason.

Roxy: “I didn’t know you were hungry Two-Twelve, don’t look so pitiful Zoey. I will make you another one.”

Zoey looks really does look pitiful but says. “I…I…No I need to prepare…”

Scylla: “I heard if you go without eating it causes your stomach to shrink, so in the end not eating breakfast would actually cause you more harm than good.”

Zoey: “Good enough for me! I will have a plate then!”

We all laugh, and then sit talking together over breakfast, afterward we all clean up. We then head back to Tobes for today’s festivities and while walking out the door Belinda rubs my chest while leaning on me as we walk and says.

Belinda: “I am really liking this Two-Twelve, can I keep him?”

“What do you mean?”

She smiles shaking her head, and kisses my cheek then lays her head back on my shoulder.

Today’s festivities are more focused on events like the eating competition. We get nervous when Denova’s girls preform a dance, but even though the dance is rather sensual in nature. They are wearing beautiful flowing and wavy dresses that make it quite enjoyable for everyone.

When Zoey only comes in second at the eating competition she tries to blame Scylla because of breakfast. Roxy however defuses the situation when she begins to fake crying saying Zoey was blaming her food on her loss.

We are enjoying ourselves so much when Denova makes her way over sitting with us during one of the events none of us are partaking in we aren’t even upset.

Denova: “You all seem to be enjoying yourselves quite a bit.” –She says with her normal sly smile.-

“We are. Would you like a drink?” -I take one of the empty mugs at the table we are sitting at filling it, and sliding it over to Denova.-

Denova seems almost upset that she isn’t getting under our skin today.

Denova: “I seen that you were watching the girls dance earlier, what did you think?”

Belinda: “It was very beautiful. I admit I was worried at first but I was pleasantly surprised. Very well done.”

Denova: “After everyone seen them dance like that, just imagine how much I will be able to make off private dances.”

Belinda: “Always the entrepreneur I see. Well good luck to you.”

Denova now seems more miffed that she still can’t get under Belinda’s skin today, so she quickly finishes the mug off that I gave her and leaves.

Later some of the villagers get together and play some music. The music itself isn’t very good, as a matter of fact it is actually pretty bad, but it doesn’t stop couples from dancing. Belinda and I dance for a while, and so do Roxy and Zoey.

Zoey actually seems to only step on Roxy’s feet a few times this time. Watching the people dance seems to really cause Scylla’s mood to fall, so Belinda tells me to dance with her for a bit. Before it’s all said and done I end up dancing with dancing with Scylla, Bell, and even Lilah.

It doesn’t stop there however I end up even having to dance with several of the older village ladies. Denova uses this as a chance to send in Cassandra, but it doesn’t get the reaction she wanted out of Belinda. Denova even dances with me herself but nothing seems to faze Belinda today.

The random dancing ends up like an event of getting to dance with me for some strange reason. At one point I even end up dancing with Roxy and then Zoey immediately after. Belinda talks to the people playing and then taps on Zoey’s shoulder. Zoey then turns me back over to Belinda.

For the final dance Belinda holds me tight where we barely even take a step mainly just swaying to the music. I don’t know how long that last song lasted, but I no longer hear it as everything seems to melt away except for Belinda and me.

It feels like we standing there for an eternity, but even that doesn’t seem like it is long enough. When the world seems to catch back up with us we rejoin the others and the festivities continue. Late in the evening when we return home the furnace has seemed to burn itself out, leaving the house pretty cold.

Roxy apologizes several times, but everyone tells her it isn’t her fault… After Belinda and I retire for the night though, I don’t even have time to notice the cold. Belinda barely even gives me a moment to catch my breath…

It is so late at night before we eventually prepare to go to sleep I set [Menu] to give me a loud alarm in a few short hours so not have a repeat of the other night…

When the alarm does go off in the morning it takes quite a bit of work to drag myself out of bed. When I leave bed Belinda groans.

Belinda: “Nooo come back!”

“It’s the last day of the festival, and the announcement is going to be today so we definitely can’t miss today.”

When Belinda finally sits up in bed she grunts.

Belinda: “I don’t regret anything…But maybe we should take it easy for a few days…”

“I was just following your lead…”

Belinda: “Like I said no regrets…”

She however makes quite a bit of effort to keep herself covered, even equipping her clothes with [Menu] before getting out of bed.

“Are you ok?”

It takes her a bit of effort but she gets up out of bed now and wraps her arms around me.

Belinda: “I’m more then ok.”

She then kisses me, and by the time I get dressed and ready to head downstairs she seems to be back to normal. Since I set the alarm a bit early we are the first ones to make it downstairs. I fill the furnace while Belinda starts on breakfast.

After taking care of the furnace I move behind Belinda embracing her, she continues with breakfast while I nibble on her ear. Until I hear a grunt behind me. I turn to find Zoey, her hair is disheveled and her pajama shirt buttoned up wrong.

She lets out a big yawn then raddles the coffee container…

Zoey: “How can you guys still be at it this morning? I guess nobody in the house has to wonder how good Boss is now…”

Belinda starts to blush and I ask. “What do you mean?”

Zoey: “Everyone heard… I am sure even those at Denova’s place heard.”

Belinda: “I wasn’t THAT loud…”

She says with a snap, as she spins from my arms, walks over to the coffee container taking it from Zoey, and begins to make some.

Zoey: “It was loud enough to scare Lilah and Bell enough to stay with Scylla all night…”

Belinda looks genuinely concerned now as she says. ‘We weren’t really that loud were we?”

Zoey yawns again then says. “Well Roxy got a kick out of it so I got to have some fun as well, but even we sleep sometimes…”

Belinda is blushing quite a bit now she turns back to me hitting my chest with a small hand towel she is holding in her hand like it’s my fault…

Belinda: “How am I going to be able to look at them in the eyes now…”

Zoey: “Well I would be careful the way you say yes and avoid the phrase “That’s the spot.”

Belinda: “Oh my god!”

Zoey: “Oh yea that one too.”

Belinda groan as she covers her face with her hands then buries it in my chest. Scylla now enters the dining room followed by both Bell and Lilah who are holding on to her shirt with their heads bowed…

Scylla: “Oh… We didn’t think you would have woken up this early this morning.”

I can hear Scylla whisper to Lilah and Bell. “See I told you Belinda Is ok.” They however don’t look up as the as she sits them down at the table…

Scylla then heads into the kitchen with us, and says. “Maybe you should let me take over for a bit?”

“I think that’s a good idea.”

I lead Belinda out of the room into the large dining room where she sits in one of the chairs, she has tears in her eyes.

Belinda: “I am so embarrassed…”

“It will be ok.”

Belinda: “But Lilah and Bell… They looked so scared…”

“They were worried about you, now that they see you are ok, they’ll be fine.”

I eventually am able to coax her back into the dining room with the others. When we return to the dining room with the others  Zoey’s ears are drooping and her tail is tucked between her legs as Roxy is scolding her… They quickly stop when they see us however.

Roxy: “Good morning!~ Did you sleep well?”

Belinda: “It’s ok… Really…”

Things remain a little awkward as we have breakfast and clean up after, but after everyone goes and gets ready for the last day of festivities things are starting to return back to normal. Belinda doesn’t hold me quite as tight though when we leave the house heading into Tobes.

We hit all the stalls on the first day, and most of the events took place yesterday so today is kind of dull in comparison. We hit a few of the stalls again but for the most part there isn’t much to do today, which doesn’t help everyone’s mood.

Quite a few of the villagers have giving up on the festival already, and have begun to go home where it is warm. Luckily not long after noon the Mayor pushes up the announcement.

Mayor’s Speech

As many of you may have heard, I have decided that I will step down in two weeks at the close of the year. Although I have dedicated my life to Tobes, I feel that with the wonderful growth we have been blessed with it is time for me to turn the reins over to someone else.

Although it wasn’t easy I believe I have found someone much younger that will dedicate themselves to this town as I have. With their youthful energy I am sure they will be able to lead Tobes into fine budding town and perhaps into a small city someday.

Some of you may know when Tobes changed classification from a village to a town, and I was given the title of Mayor, that opened us to a whole new set of rules where the Mayor must be approved by the capital.

After sending my recommendation to the capital I received a letter back from the royal office of the King of Gowen himself. I would like to read to you a section from the letter directly from the King regarding the Mayor of Tobes.

We have received your wish to step down as Mayor of Tobes, and your recommendation for your replacement. Though your dedication to the Township of Tobes as its Mayor you have also proved your dedication to the Kingdom of Gowen. As such we took your recommendation for a replacement very highly.

Matters such as these are often handled by the committee, but as my youngest daughter has recently taken up residence in Tobes I wished to handle this personally. As concerning your recommendation I whole-heartedly agree with you decision.

The one who is called Two-Twelve has already proved to be an outstanding and intelligent man. He has already performed great deeds for the Kingdom of Gowen, and I believe as the Mayor of the Township of Tobes he will allow the small community that you yourself nurtured to bloom into a fine Town.

By the recommendation of Thurston Fletcher Mayor of Tobes, and Royal decree from King Rondsom Gowen the Second. On the first day of the calendar year 1437 I acknowledge Thurston Fletcher’s voluntary withdraw from the Mayor’s position, and to be succeeded by the one called Two-Twelve.

From the offices of… Yada-yadda so on and so forth.

Two-Twelve, if you would step up here.

Two-Twelve’s PoV

At the Mayor’s words Belinda squeezes my hand tightly then lets me go as I walk forward to join the Mayor.

He pats my back and shakes my hand while most of the villagers clap or cheer… There is of course one voice that rings out loudly in protest.

Denova: “This is ridiculous, Two-Twelve? Mayor? He doesn’t even have a proper name, yet you are going to allow him to take responsibility for your very lives. He has no qualifications to be Mayor he is only being allowed the position because of sleeping with the princess!”

Another voice from the crowd sounds out, it’s another voice I recognize, but luckily it isn’t one of the girls…

Susan: “You are just mad because you are now going to have to actually “Pay” your taxes now.”

Many of the villagers begin to snort and chuckle.

Mayor: “Well regardless of your feelings as I read this comes directly from the King of Gowen himself. I also wish to say as your current Mayor that I have been working closely with Two-Twelve in the past weeks and assure you he is more than capable.”

Denova stomps away, and the villagers gather around speaking with the Mayor and I. Unfortunately by the time the crowd finally dissipates it’s already late in the afternoon. Belinda then joins me with the Mayor.

Mayor: “Belinda, thanks for lending me your gentleman here. How did you find Tobes first festival?”

Belinda: “Evening… It was very pleasant, next year we can only hope it won’t be so cold.”

Mayor: “Yes it’s rather unfortunate that we started it on a year Faron’s rest.”

When I look confused Belinda adds. “He means on one of the cold winters. It is said the year that has a very mild winter is favored by the god Faron, but is always followed the next year by a year Faron’s rest.”

Mayor: “How did you feel about it Two-Twelve?”

“I think for a first one it was pretty good. I think next year we need to spread the events out a bit more to help keep momentum going on the third day. Also it worked well because all the adventurers left for the harsh winter, but we will need more events catered to them if there are more around.”

Belinda: “Yes some of the stalls and events were too easy for the girls, but fine for the normal villagers so we need to maybe have two separate difficulties.”

Mayor: “Well I know I am leaving it in good hands. I look forward to seeing it next year as just a resident of Tobes. You might also want to consider adding your little dancing event. You could call it dancing with the Mayor, because many of the ladies were singing your praises for that”

“I am still not quite sure how that all started…”

Mayor: “Well it helped your image greatly with some of the older ladies, so just take it as a win. Well, I am going to let you two return to the festivities, and I will see you bright and early tomorrow. We still have quite a bit more to cover the next two weeks.”

After the Mayor leaves we don’t stay much longer, Zoey asks if Roxy and her can stick around a while longer, but the rest of us decide to head home.

The next two weeks pass pretty quickly as I work with the Mayor. On the night before I take over as Mayor of Tobes we have a countdown to the New Year at home while drinking the night away.

The next morning however it has begun to snow heavily again, covering everything in a fresh heavy blanket of snow. I hope this isn’t a sign of what I have to look forward to…

The snow continues to fall heavily though the day making it hard to return home after being at the office all day. I need to get the office inside the secondary dungeon, or build a new one closer to the house…

The first few weeks of being Mayor are pretty tough, I spend long hours working, and don’t get to spend much time with Belinda. If it wasn’t for Bell and Scylla giving me a hand I don’t know how bad I would mess this up.

It takes a full month of being mayor before Bell and I can handle it alone without Scylla. It also marks the first day the sun has peeked out from behind the clouds shining down, although it doesn’t last long.

On one day when Bell and I are finishing up Scylla enters the office in a panic…

Scylla: “Two-Twelve do you know what day it is in a week?”

“Is this a trick question?”

Scylla: “Belinda’s Birthday! It’s coming up in a week!”

After thinking about it for a moment, she is right, that does seem like it’s been about a year.

“Yea, that sounds about right.”

Scylla: “Have you gotten her a gift yet? Or even started to plan a party for her?”

“Isn’t this her 19th one though?”

Scylla: “What does that matter?”

“Last year was her 18th so she had a big party, and my birthday was my 1st so we had one, but I was under the impression they were both special.”

“Scylla: “Well I guess that is right, but that doesn’t mean you don’t throw her a party and get her a gift this year as well.”

“Every year?”

Scylla: “That’s kind of how it works… I guess it is how I feared then. You haven’t started making plans…Well leave the party to me, Zoey, and Roxy. You however have to come up with your own gift for her.”

Scylla then leaves the office as quick as she came.. Bell and I finish up at the office and begin to head back home.

“Bell, what do you think I should get Belinda as a birthday gift?”

Bell: “I am sorry… I don’t know what would be appropriate to receive as a birthday gift…”

“Well you’re a woman as well, what would you like as a gift?”

Bell: “You and Belinda provide everything for me that I may need… so I couldn’t really say…”

“hmm…”

Bell: “What would you like to receive as a gift?”

“With my xp slowly dwindling down without adventurer’s returning to Tobes yet… I would settle for a high level adventurer trapped in the dungeon for a few weeks.”

Bell: “I think the more Mayor like response would be a gift of xp… And not asking for someone to give you a captive human…”

“I don’t think you can give xp as a gift.”

Bell: “That’s not the point…”

“Well I guess I will have to ask the others then.”

Bell: “I am sorry I couldn’t help…”

After we reach the house I begin my interrogation. I spend the rest of the evening pulling the girls one by one aside to ask them. Their responses however are less then desirable…

Lilah: “Anything Master gets Belinda, she will love.”

Scylla: “I said “you” have to come up with something”

Roxy: “Sorry, Scylla told us you needed to do this on your own.”

Zoey: “Ohhh Boss is in trouble! He hasn’t gotten Belinda’s birthday present yet! Wrap yourself and give her that!”

…I guess there is nothing wrong in asking Belinda herself what she would like… The best way to get what you want is to tell them what you want right? That night before heading to bed I make my move…

Belinda: “I know what you are trying to ask. Scylla was panicked earlier when she found out as well. I don’t care what you get me, as long as it comes from here.”

She says while placing her head on my chest. I guess I don’t have to rely just on the girls. I could ask Susan at the bakery, maybe the receptionists at the guild, Amy or Logan might work if all else fails. I will have to continue to work on it tomorrow. For now I go to sleep with a troubled expression.

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