Other A Farm in the Forest- Chapter 56 (December 7, 2018)

Discussion in 'Fan Works' started by MagicallyClueless, May 3, 2016.

  1. MagicallyClueless

    MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

    I've stated this elsewhere, but since this is the actual thread, I should say this:

    I'm shootin' for tuesday updates so you guys can have a consistent schedule. I know one chapter a week is slow (especially compared to all the other fics on this forum, lol) but when Camp NaNo starts up I'll probably have a good enough backlog to eventually move 1 update a week to 2. We'll see though.

    Next chapter has a lot of funnies and some more Robin screentime. Nothing too much happens action-wise but we'll eventually be getting back into some of that stuff before the finale of Summer. Jade hasn't actually gone to the mines yet! I think it's about time she learns that slimes are not nearly as annoying as those freakin buzzy insecty demons.
    • MagicallyClueless

      MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut


      JADE: SEB





      Sebastian’s eyes cracked open, sight still blurry and mood incredibly irate, but there was no way he could stay there in bed. His computer at the other end of the room kept beeping alerts for instant messages, the sound too loud to really attempt ignoring. Begrudgingly, he pulled himself out of bed and shuffled tiredly over to his desktop. The messy raven-haired man collapsed in his chair, yawning and rubbing his eyes. He began to read the messages, ready to nag whomever woke him up so early, but his rage quickly became replaced by concern. Jade was easy to freak out about any occurrence, but she was always good about not messaging him absurdly early in the morning. They would often not talk until the evenings, when both of them were finished with their daily work.

      SEBASTIAN: What’s wrong?

      JADE: you hoNESTLY WILL NOT BELIEVE ME if i tell you here just bring the truck and possibly a forklift. and a body builder.

      JADE: as soon as you can

      JADE: please, boo

      He sighed, since he had no idea what she could be referring to. Jade was safe, though, which was good. She could lighten up on the caps lock. Too friendly with cruise control.

      SEBASTIAN: Okay, okay, damn

      SEBASTIAN: Friendly reminder to breathe



      SEBASTIAN: Can you just tell me what it is? You made me get out of bed and now you're on my mental list.

      JADE: okay... fine...

      JADE: *deep breath again*

      Sebastian rolled his eyes, but he smiled. It couldn’t have been so horrendous if she was willing to joke-

      JADE: i have gigantic melons

      Sweet Yoba.

      SEBASTIAN: ... what??



      SEBASTIAN: Oh, you mean your crops


      JADE: you don’t understand!!! this is one of the challenges the junimos gave me for the community center!

      JADE: i need to take this melon to the community center and i can’t do it by myself! </3

      SEBASTIAN: Calm down, we’ll take care of it.

      SEBASTIAN: How big is it?

      JADE: it’s like as biG AS I AM

      SEBASTIAN: I thought you said the melon was big


      JADE: i will punch you

      JADE: your pretty face will have an imprint of my fist

      The raven-haired man chuckled quietly to himself. He always loved to work Jade up; it became a significant hobby of his. Even when she was angry, she still managed to compliment. He wasn’t sure if she knew she was doing that, but he considered it a guilty pleasure.

      SEBASTIAN: I’d be honored

      SEBASTIAN: I can go get Mom about it, but I don’t think you’ve told me about the Junimo and Community Center stuff yet. Care to elaborate?

      JADE: oh i haven’t?

      JADE: okay so after i passed out that one time, i returned to the community center again and the junimos gave me these six tasks to complete to restore peace in the forest and to also fix the cc itself

      SEBASTIAN: This sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon

      JADE: HUSH

      JADE: so basically i have all these cryptic pieces of paper

      JADE: hold on let me get them

      SEBASTIAN: k

      JADE: okay yeah so one of the tasks is “Grow the largest crop of all.”

      JADE: and that melon... thAT MELON... is pretty large

      JADE: possibly.... the largest crop of all

      JADE: i need to try and hopefully the junimos accept

      SEBASTIAN: Oooh, I see

      SEBASTIAN: What if they don’t accept?

      JADE: then i got a big ass melon to sell

      JADE: or maybe i’ll eat it. i dunno.

      SEBASTIAN: You can barely finish two pieces of pizza

      JADE: oommffgggg can u not be a mom right now

      JADE: let me be wasteful if i so please

      SEBASTIAN: Consider it revenge, Ms. Roll Up Your Sleeves

      SEBASTIAN: Okay well I’ll see you in a bit then

      SEBASTIAN: Is there anything else you desire, O queen of drama?

      JADE: your ass on a platter

      JADE: i want the platter to have “I’M SORRY, YOU’RE THE BEST. love, sebastian” engraved on it

      SEBASTIAN: Does it look like I have an ass to give

      JADE: yes

      Jade never failed to crack him up. Gentle chuckles became full laughter, though he tried his best to keep his voice down. As he was typing a response, there was a knock at his bedroom door.

      “What?” yelled Sebastian in question.

      “Sebby, you up? Come get breakfast!” Robin yelled through the basement door.

      “Sure- Wait... Come in, Mom. Need to talk to you.”

      Robin opened the door and peeked inside, seeing him at the other end of the room. “Yes, hon?”

      He sighed, thinking of how to properly word himself. “Jade wants us to visit her with your truck and help her harvest some crops.”

      The carpenter seemed intrigued by the suggestion. “Ooh, what is Jade doing? Does she have a larger than usual haul?”

      “I... I think we’ll get to see when we get there,” Sebastian replied.

      Sebastian and his mother arrived at Jade’s farm by truck, the former quickly realizing that Jade did not exaggerate her words. In the middle of her rows of various crops sat a gigantic melon, pink and ripe for the taking. Beside the gigantic melon contained two smaller rows of “normal” melons, then still growing blueberry bushes, tomato vines, and corn stalks. The farmer herself was walking around the huge crop, examining it and trying to figure out how to safely move it. She caught sight of the other two once they drove up to the farm, then waved excitedly to them.

      “I told you!” Jade shouted as both Robin and Sebastian stepped out of the truck.

      “Man, look at that!” Robin beamed. “You’ve been busy, huh?” She grinned and proudly strode over to Jade, giving her a light hug. “So you want us to help you with this monster of a melon?”

      Jade enthusiastically nodded. “Mmhm,” she began, “I have to take this to the Community Center. Do you think we can carry it there with your truck?”

      The carpenter studied the melon, sight then sliding back to her truck. “Hmm...” she considered. “Yeah, I think it might barely fit. Someone will have to keep it steady, though.”

      “I can do that,” Jade confidently replied. “Just you helping me carry it is enough!”

      “How does this even happen?” Sebastian wondered allowed. He knocked on the outer walls of the melon, which resonated with a deep echo. “Sounds hollow.”

      “It’s a huge melon, and that’s what matters!” rebutted the farmer with a loud huff. “I planted a bunch of individual seeds, and out came this big thing on harvest day. Crazy, huh?”

      Robin whistled, impressed. “I’ll say. Well, both of you stop dilly dallying! We need to load it up and get movin’,” she commanded the both of them while opening the back of her truck. She pulled down a ramp, went into the driver’s seat of the vehicle, and then watched the young adults carefully. Jade disconnected the vine that bore the melon and cautiously walked into her patch of plants, slowly pushing the gigantic fruit out of the crop zone. Sebastian helped her roll the melon up and into the truck, then returning the ramp and closing the truck bed. Jade sat at the front end of the truck bed, cautiously keeping a hand on the melon in hopes that it wouldn’t move much. Sebastian hopped into the passenger seat of the truck, and then they were off.

      Despite having to practically cradle a melon that matched Jade’s height, she found the ride smooth and relaxing. Cool wind whipped her hair as she stared out into the environment. She watched her farm’s trees turning into open plains, which then transitioned into a large and rocky flatland. Jade had never explored this area of the valley before, but it was just as depressingly old as the rest of the town. She saw the shattered ruins of a glass house and an miniscule, decrepit cabin that undergone decades of neglect. Even though there were trees and boulders scattered about, the land was so flat and the soil so rich that Jade wondered if the property used to have a significant purpose.

      Not only did local businesses seem to drop in Pelican Town, but the farms did as well... farms that were supposed to brighten the economy. The young farmer felt a spiritual weight on her shoulder, but she knew she was finally getting out of that financial rut. With the large tomato harvest and an even larger melon harvest that she has yet to do, the time was nearing to really get her farm in gear. “I won’t end up like the other farms,” she muttered to herself. Her intention was either to encourage herself, or simply hoping that she wouldn’t end up like the others.

      They went up a path from the old farmland, finally entering smooth, familiar territory. The pathway soon led to the mountainous area that contained Linus’ humble tent and the far less humble carpenter shop. Jade held onto the melon for dear life when they drove down the slope of a hill, then once more when they exit the mountain region and entered the reaches of Pelican Town. Finally, the truck sputtered along slowly and came to a stop in front of the previously abandoned Community Center.

      Jade took no hesitation in opening the back of the truck herself and setting down the previously used ramp. Both Robin and Sebastian exit from the vehicle doors to assist Jade in transporting the melon safely. Together, they all rolled the fruit to the Community Center entrance. Unfortunately, the melon seemed too large to really fit in through the double doors.

      “Dang,” huffed Jade, crossing her arms at their final obstacle. “Do you think they’ll just take it here? It’s too big.”

      “Maybe,” Sebastian shrugged.

      “Why’re you doing this again? Who is ‘they’?” Robin inquired.

      The young farmer turned her attention to Robin, but she wasn’t exactly sure how to word herself. “Uhh... Have you ever heard of the Junimos?”

      “Junimos? Of course I have, I’ve seen them.”

      Both Sebastian and Jade stared to her in mild shock, though the thought was very relieving to the latter. “S-so, I don’t have to explain myself, right? They’re these... forest spirits..?” The young farmer fumbled her words. She wasn’t exactly sure how much of a skeptic Robin was.

      “Ahh, I see, so you’re working on some deals for them, huh?” The carpenter crossed her arms and nodded towards the decrepit building. “They’re holed up in here?”

      Jade bashfully nodded. “Y-yeah... Have you worked for them before?” she asked.

      “Oh, no. Well I mean, they don’t want anything from me. But the forest is their home, you know? My job involves cutting down trees in the forest, so to be courteous, I only take what I need. You remember this too, Jade. Always respect nature.”

      “Trust me, I know that more than anyone at this point,” the young farmer huffed in embarrassment. Her mind flashed back towards the whole slime epidemic. She wondered if she did anything wrong to provoke so many of them, other than the fence. Maybe they were testing her? Seeing what she was made of? Jade became lost in her own mind as she tried to figure out the forest’s secrets.

      Robin chuckled and pat her on the back, bringing her out of her state of wonder. “All of this will pan out. So, what next?” she asked.

      Jade sighed. “Maybe I’ll go inside. You can leave now. Thank you so much for this, by the way. I’ll pay you.”

      “Pay me?” Robin cackled. “No, no! I do this because I want to. But I fully expect you to give me a job when the money starts flowing in,” she winked.

      “I will! I promise I will,” Jade beamed in response. “You’re honestly the best. I’ll go inside now, but I’m sure I’ll see you later.”

      “Of course!” the carpenter happily replied. “We’ll just go. Maybe now that we’re in town, some grocery shopping may- where did Sebby go?” She suddenly looked irritated, turning all around to find him. They both then spotted Sebastian walking back up towards the mountains. “Hey! Sebby!” his mother called. “Just where do you think you’re going?!”

      “Home!” Sebastian shouted.

      “Like hell you are!”

      “I have to work!” he yelled again.

      “Bye, Seb!!” Jade screamed to him, cupping her hands around her mouth to amplify her voice. He didn’t vocally reply, but he did wave his hand at the farmer.

      Robin puffed her cheeks. “That boy, I swear. He must’ve known I was going to drag him to the store. Oh, well. I’ll head off now, hon. Be safe!” She hugged the young farmer and fixed her bangs before closing the back of the truck and getting into the driver’s seat. The vehicle’s engine turned on, and the truck slowly drove towards the town square. Jade watched it for a while, smiling. She really wanted to do something nice for Robin.

      The young farmer turned back to face the melon- but where it had previously stood so proudly, there was nothing.

      “What the... it’s... gone?”

      The melon they left in front of the Community Center doors had already disappeared. Jade frantically looked to her left and right, but it was nowhere to be seen. It didn’t roll anywhere, and even if it did, wouldn’t she hear it? Instinctively, the young farmer opened the double doors into the Community Center’s foyer. Everything was the same as before; a tiny makeshift home for the forest creatures, floorboards pulled up and overgrowth everywhere... A fireplace with a large plaque above it would normally be visible, but Jade’s missing melon placed right in front of it.

      Dozens of Junimos gathered around the gigantic melon that somehow made its way inside. The majority of them began to roll the fruit off into different reaches of the building, while the last Junimo, a kind green one, squeaked to Jade. The young farmer curiously walked over, though she wasn’t sure she could speak. She had no idea what was happening and no words in explanation came to mind.

      The little Junimo squeaked again and hopped into the miniscule makeshift home just to her left. It emerged with a shiny golden star, crawled up to the fireplace straight ahead, and tossed the star up into a plaque with six star-shaped indentations. “So that’s what it’s for,” Jade murmured to herself. The star glowed beautifully within the plaque, though that brought to attention that Jade needed to acquire five more stars.

      There was a barrage of tiny squeaks and cries for the young farmer’s attention. She walked down the left hallway of the community center, hearing the source of the cries from the room on the right. Her jaw dropped open when she gazed in the now surprisingly clean room. A room that was previously in shambles, broken floorboards, torn wallpaper, collapsed cupboards... everything changed, and for the better. The floor was shining and clean, wallpaper revived and vibrant, floorboards fixed and containing all sorts of goods and utensils. There were some storage barrels lining the room, some counters, and lots and lots of space. This room was the master of storage rooms, and it appeared as if it didn’t even belong in the community center, considering how bright and fantastic it was compared to the rest of the building.

      “Whoa!” Jade gasped, stumbling inside to look all around. “This is such a nice room! Just... Wow!” She heard some Junimos squeak from behind her, causing her to turn around. It was the same group that pushed the giant melon away before. They all carried up a wrapped present box to the farmer and waited until she picked it up. The box had been wrapped in a shimmery white and tied together with a silky red bow. “This is for me?” she asked all of them. “You really didn’t have to... thank you!” Her face flushed up from the token of appreciation and leaned down to pat them. They seemed to like the contact and climbed onto her arm, causing her to laugh. “You are real cuties. I’ll try my best to continue to fulfill your goals, even though I don’t have any idea where to start... the giant crop was pure chance.” She slowly sat down, letting the Junimos gather around her and sit on her legs. “Can I open this now?” she kindly asked.

      The Junimos, extremely pleased with her kindness, ushered her to open the parcel. She carefully untied the bow and tore open the wrapping, finally removing the lid. Inside, there were several melon seed packets and a small collection of the region’s currency. Her eyes widened in shock, and she stared to all the Junimos. “You’re giving me all of this? Really?”

      They squeaked and bounced to assure her. Jade giggled, loving to see how cheerful they were. “This means so much. I don’t have to go to Pierre’s now... And how much money is this? Looks like a lot.” She gathered the money to further examine, jaw dropping a second time. “Holy sh...” She gulped, slowly put the money back in the box and closed its lid. “I... I gotta go.”

      After giving the Junimos their proper goodbyes, Jade left the Community Center with her gift in arms and booked it towards the mountains as swiftly as she could. When the carpenter shop came into her sights, she ran even faster, having to skid her feet on the ground to stop herself when she got too close. The farmer keeled over, panting in exhaustion, before finally wobbling inside. “Robin!” Jade tiredly called, clutching onto her parcel with dear life. “You op-” She heard the truck outside. “Oh, there you are. Robin!!” She yelled again, stumbling back outside. Robin’s truck just pulled in and slowly drove into their open garage. She quickly turned the vehicle off and walked out to see what Jade needed. In her arms were a couple of grocery bags.

      “Nice to see you again, hon!” the red-headed carpenter beamed. “Need some water again?” she pouted, noticing Jade’s exhaustion.

      “I-I’m fine! I just ran here,” she panted. “Are you still open? Please tell me you are.”

      “Of course!” Robin replied, causing Jade to emit the largest sigh of relief. “You wanting to shop?” She slid down the garage door and went back to the porch, dusting her hands. The carpenter arrived at the front door and opened it, allowing Jade to walk inside first before following.

      “W-well... Can I see the prices? Of the buildings?” Jade meekly asked.

      “... Buildings?” Robin suddenly appeared confused. “You mean... farm buildings?”

      “Uh huh,” Jade answered, setting her gift onto the counter.

      Robin blinked. “Farm buildings... that you want me to build? With my own two hands? I was… joking earlier.” She ventured over behind the shop counter and dropped the grocery bags in her trusty office chair.

      “Yes, I’m completely serious!” Jade replied, chuckling.

      “.... Yoba is real,” Robin whispered under her breath. “Here are the prices, hon,” she eagerly stated and slid a piece of laminated paper over with all the prices and requirements. Jade audibly gasped when she saw the prices, which made the carpenter express concern. “I know they’re expensive, but I have to... y’know... make a business. I know it’s pitiful, but-

      “I want a coop!” Jade yelled, opening the gift again and slamming all the money on the table. “I have enough for it! I need farm animals!”

      Robin didn’t respond, only staring down at the small wad of cash that Jade put on the very same counter. She looked back up to Jade, her eyes asking if this was actually serious, or if she was merely dreaming. Jade could tell that she hasn’t had a decent order in a very long time.

      “That’s enough, right? I counted before...” Jade sighed. “But, if it’s not enough, I have some more cash at home I could bring. I’ve been getting quite a bit from my harvests, so I can finally-

      “It’s more than enough,” Robin murmured in shock. “Holy...” She started to laugh to herself. “You really want a coop? Truly?”

      “Yes!” Jade beamed.

      “I always had such a good feeling about you! This is the absolute best!” Robin laughed even more, clapping her hands in giddiness. She ran around the counter and gave Jade a tight embrace. The young farmer was charmed and giggled, but the tight gripped caused her to cough. “I’ll build you the best dang coop there ever was! I finally have business that doesn’t involve a festival!” She realized her death grip on the young farmer and let go, embarrassingly scratching her head. “Hehe, sorry. I just haven’t had a big project in ages. I’ve been itching to work for the past forever.”

      The young farmer humbly gazed in understanding. “I’m guessing that’s why you offered to do stuff for me for free. I understand wanting to get away sometimes.”

      Robin shrugged. “Guilty. But!! We have a lot of work to do!” The carpenter took the cash and stored it into a lockbox that was hidden behind a mountain of paperwork on the counter. She confidently turned around to Jade and crossed her arms. “First, you need to show me where on the farm you want your coop. How big do you want it? Dimensions, what you’re planning, colors you want, etcetera. And we need wood. Lots of wood.” Jade could practically see Robin’s form shudder from excitement. “Aahh, come with me to the truck! We’ll go there right now so I can get to planning. Come on!” Robin tugged Jade by one of her arms and tried to drag her away. The young farmer barely managed to take her parcel back before being stolen out of the front door.

      The ride to Jade’s farmhouse took as long as it normally did, but it felt much shorter since Robin was talking the entire time. The young farmer noticed that this was Robin’s time to shine; she started to talk about all the technicalities of building something even as simple as a coop and started to discuss features she could include. She began recounting her experiences of coops she built before, and what she already had in store for Jade’s. An endless spout of information came from the carpenter, which strangely made Jade think of Sebastian. The long rants and mountain of trivia that the young farmer learned through Sebastian only seemed to increase, but it was one thing she loved about him. He must have received the trait from Robin. Seeing the carpenter in her element and excitedly recounting her experiences caused Jade to smile.

      For the next few hours, Jade and Robin planned the location and dimensions for the new coop. Jade decided that she wanted to house rabbits, so the coop would be elevated in length and have feeding systems attuned to them. Robin had to explain that it would cost a little more, but Jade didn’t really mind and happily scrounged up the extra cash. They both decided that the coop would best fit near the top left of the farm, but below her collection of crops; the building would be facing towards the right of the farm, aligned next to the path up towards the front porch. Both of them were already excited, but they could hardly contain themselves when the idea of a coop became reality.

      Jade could tell that Robin didn’t want to leave, and wanted to begin building right there, but she needed to close up shop and Jade needed to finish her crop harvest and water her plants for the day. With another hug, the two parted. The young farmer watched as Robin left in her truck and stood there until the vehicle was out of sight. She took a deep breath, stared at the makeshift dimensions of the coop, then over to her crops that still needed to be tended to. “I’m finally starting to feel like a farmer.”

      The evening quickly arrived after the rest of the melons were shipped in the storage bin and all the crops were finally watered; luckily none of them were too dry even with the unforgiving Summer sun, so she didn’t have to worry. While she had the opportunity, she prepared and planted all the extra seeds that the Junimos provided. She wasn't sure she'd be blessed with a gigantic harvest again, but crops were crops as always. Despite all the hard work, the farmer considered starting to chop some wood to help Robin. Unfortunately, it was already getting dark and she didn’t even acquire anything to carry the wood with. Jade would have to go to Pierre’s to make the transport possible, she realized with a low grumble.

      The last portions of the day involved making dinner, playing with her cat, and lazying in front of her computer. Despite not doing all too much for the day, a lot was accomplished. And yet, she felt like she was forgetting something. As if on cue, someone sent her a message:

      SAM: where are you fam

      SAM: its saloon night and im going to eat your pizza

      SAM: haha whoops too late



      SAM: are you coming or not?

      SAM: i cant kiss sebs ass by myself

      SAM: its a two man job

      JADE: yeah omg i got into my pajamas and everything i’m sorry!! i’ll be over!

      JADE: how are you sending these messages to me btw

      SAM: its called a phone. revolutionary

      SAM: run at the speed of fast

      SAM: im sure we can stay late for you

      JADE: oh. duh

      JADE: anyways i’d appreciate that so much!! thank you! OK SEE YOU IN A MIN

      Just like that, Jade quickly dressed herself and leapt out the front door to go join her friends in their weekly saloon meetups. Their night was long and rather enjoyable, much like the previous weeks. The farmer couldn’t say she enjoyed having to deal with the townspeople every day, but the thought of being annoyed never even crossed her mind when it came to her trio of friends. A night of gaming, pool, and stories while snacking were essential to a great saloon night. Friday nights were always the perfect time for them to see each other face-to-face and catch up with all their goings-on. While Jade normally didn’t have too much to say, she had quite a few scenarios to mention then. For the first time, Jade got to tell a real story of her transformation into an actual farmer. Everyone was proud of her.

      And for the first time, so was she.

      Sorry this explanation is abridged, since I had to rewrite this again:

      -IM conversations will appear less since there is a better established friendship between Sebastian and Jade

      -Lots of stuff will continue to be implied even if I don't write everything out (such as saloon night, or an IM conversation) but that's not to say they won't be written out again in the future

      -Headcanons ahoy!! I change some things in my story on purpose despite trying to keep personalities and the world of SDV accurate. But I will have to do a lot of assumptions and come to my own conclusions in some places. Since we're 16 chapters in though I'm sure you knew that, just felt like stating it again.

      -More stuff down the line!! Look forward to it!
        Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
      • Risukage

        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

        Jade gonna get bunnies soon, yay! :3

        And their IM chat is cute. Totes adorbs, as they say on the internet.
        • ApertureGaming011

          ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

          Now we wait for the Ultimate Darklord.
          We shall bow down to its wrath. We shall submit ourselves to its aborableness
            Gabaw, MagicallyClueless and CjBeats like this.
          • MagicallyClueless

            MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

            I actually have names for her first two rabbits hehehe
            but they're different from my silly comics. they're still awesome names though.
              Gabaw likes this.
            • Gabaw

              Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

              Teamwork can overcome any obstacle. Even if that obstacle is a giant f**king fruit lmao. Once again tho I'm enamored and thrilled with Robin and her genuine eagerness to help. The best. F**king Demetrius. What you doin!! ahem anyway I died at the IMs as usual so :rip: It's your brand of humor coming through. The Junimos were ofc adorable, jumping all over and clinging on Jade's arm and stuff. and obviously Seb is just bein' Seb :p Wouldn't have it any other way. Closing remarks, looking forward to the rabbit names. They gonna be good :rofl:
                MagicallyClueless likes this.
              • MagicallyClueless

                MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

                I might submit an extra chapter this week bUT NO PROMISES. That's because I am going on vacation and may not be able to submit at the regular time next week. I will still be writing though, I just will not be around much!

                Oh, and hey! I first made this thread on May 3... and now it's July 5! I've been at this for just a little over two months now. Time sure does fly.

                Robin began construction on Jade’s new rabbit coop on the day after the order was given. The day was long, hot, sweaty, and grueling, but the carpenter felt a sense of pride to be back out on the field while doing real work. Jade was mostly preoccupied with her own farm duties early that morning, since another batch of her crops matured: blueberries! She eagerly harvested all the ripe blueberries from the patiently growing bushes and stored most of them, except for a tiny bowl of them for personal consumption. She tried one herself, and it was somewhat tart, but still delicious and fresh. These would sell well.

                When Robin first arrived early that Saturday morning, she had a letter addressed to Jade. Upon reading it, she recognized it as a request from Maru:

                Hello Jade!

                I hope you don’t mind me sending you a message like this. I’m sure you’re very busy and feel free to decline this offer, but if you could lend me a hand, I would really, really appreciate it.

                I need some ore and gems for my next projects. I consider myself an expert at mining, but I’m not so good at the whole... monster part. I overheard that you’ve been practicing with a sword of your own, since there are some creatures scattered about the forest where you live. You know where I’m going with this, right? Haha.

                I’ll happily pay you half of my findings if you’d like to go with me! I mostly need some copper and quartz, so it’s not too far down the mine. It’s crawling with insects and duggies, though, so I would keep that in mind. Oh yeah, and slimes. (I heard you dislike slimes, so I’m sorry if this bothers you! That’s not my intention at all.)

                I’d like to go on Sunday if that’s alright. I look forward to hearing from you, either way. It’d be nice to chat and to catch up!

                Thanks for reading,


                “Maru is literally a bowl of sugar,” Jade laughed out to Robin, who was already starting up the frame of the coop. “I haven’t been to the mines yet. Do you know what it’s like, Robin?” she asked.

                Robin was hammering two pieces of wood together, holding iron nails between her teeth. She stopped for a brief moment and took the nails out, then continuing her business. “Nah, I don’t care for the mines all that much. Stone is the worst. And closed, rocky caves. Ugh. The only claustrophobic space I want to be in is if it’s surrounded by glorious wood.” The carpenter glanced at the farmer re-reading the letter, but went back to her woodwork. “Maru and Sebby used to sneak out a lot to the mines when they were younger. They’re both explorers at heart, even when I frickin’ tell them not to.”

                “Seb is an explorer type?” Jade wondered aloud.

                “When he was little, you could hardly keep him inside. He liked to run out in the rain, especially. That boy must be immune to colds now because that’s how often he got himself sick,” the carpenter chuckled. She made a motherly sigh, feeling rather nostalgic. She was quiet for a while, and focused on working. The young farmer carefully watched her. “... Now you can hardly get him outside. I worry about him, in that basement.” Jade noticed a change in how Robin was working. Her hammering was slower, and a very rare frown was placed on her visage. “I try to be a good mom, you know? He’s so big with his privacy, so I try to give him that. At the same time, I try to keep our family together...” She sighed. “But... I know he’s not very happy, living at home. He’s getting older, and I know in my gut that he’ll leave, sooner or later.”

                Jade approached Robin and gingerly placed a hand on one of her shoulders. “Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs you can ever have,” she murmured. “And no mother is perfect. No one is perfect, period. But, you know... I think you’re doing your best, and it really shows how much you love your family.”

                Robin stopped working and put her hammer down. She placed her hand on top of Jade’s and sadly smiled to her. “Thank you, Jade. That does mean a lot to me.” Her smile widened even more in thought. “You know, he’s been doing a lot better lately. I think it’s because of you.”

                “Yeah?” Jade smirked.

                “Mmhm.” The carpenter stood up fully and dusted her hands on her own pants. “He’s been talking a lot more. I like to ask about you, because he always has something to say. Usually I just get the same kind of response when I ask him what he’s been up to, but he likes to talk about you.”

                The farmer chuckled to herself. “He complained about you asking about me once.”

                “Oh, he complains about everything,” Robin snorted in response. “But... I mean it. You know the vibes you get from people? I can just tell he’s a lot more cheerful.” She wistfully sighed. “I want to say sorry for kinda forcing both of you together a few times, but I’m honestly not. I had a feeling when I first met you, and so far I’ve been right.” The carpenter winked and gave that familiar smirk of hers. “I think I can worry about Sebby a little less now. I feel bad for not giving Maru equal attention, but Sebby and Dem...” The entertained expression of hers quickly disappeared, and she crossed her arms. “I’m... I’m trying to keep our family together, like I said. You know?”

                “I know,” Jade smiled. “Family can be very complicated.”

                “For sure. Yoba knows I love them all so much either way. I just gotta let this stuff off my chest sometimes. It’s nice to take a breather and to work alone for a little bit. I get a little stir crazy at home.” Robin pat Jade in return, then went back to her building. This time, Jade could certainly tell that she was in higher spirits.

                “You could say that you’re an explorer at heart,” Jade teased.

                Robin bursted with laughter. “Oh, please. Don’t remind Dem that I gave them my worst traits.” She began hammering away again, pleased with her progress so far. “Thanks for the talk, hon. I think you should go with Maru. Just keep in mind that Sebby is easy to get jealous, especially with his sister.”

                “I will,” Jade replied, glancing back at the letter. “Game night is tonight, so I’ll spend some time with him anyway. Maybe I could come back with you when your work day’s over? I’ll just tell Maru that I accept her request, too.”

                “Sounds like a plan,” grinned Robin. Their conversation concluded, Jade letting Robin get back to work.

                Even though the young farmer was busy with her progressing work load, she still wanted to help Robin complete her project at a faster rate. With a wagon Robin brought, Jade went out into the open parts of the forest to break apart and collect some stray lumber. Robin, being such a good sport, required nothing more and took care of the rest when it came to building. The young farmer could hardly do much now, but she was extremely satisfied to have such a productive morning.

                Nothing else needed to be done except for fun time spent with her friends at the end of the day. Jade had spent the majority of her energy working in the morning, so she stumbled back indoors to shower away her exhaustion and then napped like a rock until the arrival of the evening.

                When she awoke and re-dressed herself, she noticed that Robin was still outside and hard at work. The coop already seemed to be well into development, and it would definitey be done the next day. Impressive! She wanted to be surprised at the carpenter still working, but truthfully, she wasn’t. Robin was just that kind of hard worker. To quickly refuel them both, Jade made a couple sandwiches for dinner and walked outside to give her one. For a treat afterwards, they shared the fresh bowl of blueberries and took a moment to appreciate the fruits of Summer. Together, they took a well-deserved break and lightly discussed whatever was on their minds before Robin wrapped up construction at the end of her shift.

                After Jade equipped herself with a backpack full of books and video games, the two got into Robin’s trusty old truck and drove off towards the mountains. The scenery they passed was the same as the previous day, though cloaked in a different palette due to the setting sun. Jade loved the soft and dim hues of the trees, the shadows the fading light cast in between the leaves, the soft reds of the sky and the dramatic white puffs of the clouds. The sky had an ominous look to it and the clouds seemed to crowd and clump together. Jade always welcomed rain, but she silently threatened the sky to not cast any rain until she was back home.

                They passed that same old field again, causing the young farmer to lose focus. Something about the field and the decrepit old cabin intrigued her.

                “Lookin’ at the cabin? That thing’s been here for decades. An old man used to live there and man the farmland, but he moved away when he got too old for the work and passed. There were some rumors about a grandchild coming, but...” Robin shrugged while she drove, eyes still kept on the road. “No one ever came. Lewis was disappointed, for sure. But then you came! You were a pleasant surprise for everybody.” She chuckled. “Hell, there were rumors that you were the grandchild. But you wanted a completely different house.”

                Jade shook her head. “My grandparents are in senior homes on the other side of the region. I mean, they might pass soon, but... None yet. And none of them owned a farm or anything.” She sighed, gazing at the beautiful yet gloomy scenery. A place full of history gave the ancient farm some pride and beauty, but it was eaten up by time so much that it became depressing. “I wonder if something happened to the grandchild.”

                “Ah, who knows. I hope they’re doing well, whatever they’re up to.” Robin paused for a moment, carefully turning the truck onto the right path. In a few more minutes, they would be back at the carpenter shop. “Say... If farming’s not in the family for you, why did you decide to become one?”

                Jade glanced over to the carpenter, silently thinking, then turning back to stare out the window. “Because it’s the last thing anyone would expect me to be,” she stated.

                Robin chuckled, but the farmer couldn’t tell if it was because her statement was hilarious, or because she was caught off guard.“You’re something else, you know that? I like it. I know it’s not the exact same, but my parents fought tooth and nail to keep me from being a carpenter. They were very, uh, traditional. Didn’t think a woman should be doing hard labor.” She smirked, lightly nudging her elbow to Jade’s arm. “We’re proving them wrong, huh?”

                The mood lightened for Jade, causing her to smile in return. “For sure,” she replied. The young farmer didn’t really consider what she was doing was hard labor, but... Robin was right. It was a lot of hard work, becoming less noticeable as she became used to the somewhat harsh routine. She didn’t even notice the scratches on her arms or the blisters on her hands. Not until she was finished working. Jade examined the palms of her hands as they came to mind. What was soft and dainty before had started blistered and hardened with wear. She began to wonder how different she would look if she allowed her pale skin to tan, or dyed her hair anything other than her honey brown.

                Everything around the truck grew dark, causing Jade to snap out of her contemplation. “And we’re here,” Robin beamed, turning off the ignition of her vehicle. Jade glanced out of the back window- oh, they were in the house’s garage. Jade stepped out of her side of the truck, toting her backpack with her. Their garage was average among all garages; stone floors, brick walls, storage that couldn’t fit in the rest of the house. On the side opposite of Robin’s truck stood Sebastian’s shining blue motorcycle. Several tools hung on the wall closest to it and a lot of equipment sat on a dusty wooden table. Jade couldn’t really recognize any of the tools except for a gas can that was half full. Vehicles were truly out of her league, but she thought the motorcycle itself looked nice and well cared. Without any further dallying, Jade walked out and took a head start towards the front door while Robin closed the garage shutters.

                Ah, the carpenter shop as it always was. This was the house she frequented the most, so the sights were familiar and welcoming to her. While she would normally search for Sebastian first, she had to respond to Maru’s request... Okay, maybe not the entire house was familiar. Jade ventured out of the shop area and glanced into the laboratory at the end of her path. Empty. She cautiously peered down the hallway and started to walk. She remembered the kitchen that branched off to her right, but the two doors ahead were completely lost on her. The room straight ahead was cracked open, so she peered inside. Demetrius was searching through a bookshelf at the far end of the wall. This must have been his and Robin’s room, then. Jade walked to her left to approach the second door and listened quietly before knocking.

                “Coming!” came Maru’s voice from inside. The young nurse opened the door, face brightening up when she saw Jade. “Oh, hey! I didn’t expect you here.” Maru was in an outfit that Jade hadn’t seen before; she had a fuschia t-shirt under a navy pair of overalls and brown boots on her feet. She had a dirty washcloth stained with spots of black hanging out of her overalls’ front pocket, the same spots scattered across her clothes. Oil, maybe. She was tired behind her cheerful expression, since it seemed she was working all day.

                The young farmer kindly smiled in response. “It’s game night with Seb and Sam, so that’s why I’m here,” she answered.

                Maru averted her eyes and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Oh, I see. Have fun with them.” She slightly smiled.

                Jade noticed a bit of Maru’s tension. She hoped she didn’t offend her in some way. “But! Your mom gave me the letter this morning. And I happily accept your offer.” She grinned. “I can’t say I’ve been to the mines yet, but it’ll be a good experience. I promise I’ll do my best to protect us both.”

                Maru felt a bit embarrassed to not know Jade’s reason for being at the house, but she was ecstatic to have her offer accepted. “Thank you, I really need to go to the mines. I’m working on my greatest experiment yet,” Maru mentioned. Jade seemed curious and tried to peer into the room, but Maru stood on her tip toes to block the view. “No! Not yet!”

                Jade chuckled. “Alright, alright. Well, I’ll come meet up with you tomorrow. I’ll just walk here, yeah?”

                “Yeah, absolutely. It’ll be fun! And dangerous. Be sure to bring lots of food. I have some medkits too, so we’ll be fine.” Maru confidently nodded.

                “Of course. Have a good evening, Maru,” Jade said with a wave and started back from where she came. The young farmer heard the door close from behind her, so nothing was keeping her from raiding the basement then. Jade carefully walked downstairs and then loudly bammed on the door at the end of the basement hall.

                “What?” Sebastian yelled, annoyed.

                “Pizza delivery!” Jade shouted back.

                She heard footsteps up to the door, and then it opened. Sebastian stood there with an unamused expression that morphed into disgust. “Ugh, you again.” They both stared at each other before Jade erupted into snickering. Sebastian couldn’t hold his grimace and smiled, leaning against his door. “It’s nice to see you, but why are you here? I left you a message.”

                Jade’s face drooped in confusion. “I haven’t checked my computer today. I came here with your mom when she was done with her shift at the farm... did something come up?”

                He patiently crossed his arms, not in the least bit surprised that Jade was late in getting the memo. “Sam was pulled into work today, so he couldn’t come for the game. We shouldn’t get ahead of the game without Sam, so yeah...”

                “Aw,” Jade pouted, disappointed. “Sorry I missed it. I do have the comic to return to you, though! I’ll be out of your hair after that.” She swung off her backpack and kneeled down to open and rummage through her belongings. Sebastian leaned over to watch, then graciously taking the comic book she returned to him.


                “Nope, not done yet. You wanted these games, right?” Jade brought out a few more game cases and offered them. He had talked about some games he’s been meaning to play before, so Jade thought he could borrow her copies. It was only fair, after all.

                “Hah, you didn’t have to do this.” Sebastian took them anyway, since he was never one to reject free games. He sighed and looked back into his room. “I mean, I don’t really want to kick you out... I don’t have a nice setup like you do, and I don’t really have other board games, so...”

                The young farmer zipped her backpack back up and re-equipped it, standing up. She flailed her hand in dismissal and calmly shook her head. “It’s fine, really! It was my fault for not checking before. Hey though, I won’t be on much tomorrow. I’m going to the mines with Maru.”

                What was previously a calm, neutral expression suddenly transformed into irritation. “Maru?” Sebastian asked in slight disbelief, eyes narrowed. Jade quickly realized that Robin wasn’t joking about the jealousy bit. Sheesh. It was like she betrayed him for some unspoken reason. "What does she want with you?"

                “Is it really that big of a deal?” Jade began, equally unimpressed by Sebastian’s attitude. “She sent me a letter and asked me to accompany her since she needs help dealing with monsters. It’s more of an errand than a get-together.”

                The grumpy raven-hair crossed his arms, games and book still in hand. “Whatever, then. Bye,” he started, backing away and knocking his door shut with his foot. He was confused at how it didn’t shut all the way, until he saw Jade keeping the door cracked open with her boot.

                “Ohh, no, we’re not ending this conversation yet,” Jade grunted, pushing the door back open. “Why are you like this whenever I mention Maru? I could probably tell you that I’m going to backflip into a pool of sharks and you wouldn’t act as dramatic as when you hear your sister’s name.” She firmly held the door open so that Sebastian could not easily exit the talk . Jade had no intention of going anywhere.

                He backed away in a defensive manner and turned his head away so that he wouldn’t face Jade’s glare. “Half-sister. And I already said I don’t care. You can stop lecturing now,” he offhandedly replied. But of course, the young farmer wasn’t one to buy such a reply.

                “You know, for such a smart guy, you’re really bad at hiding the truth. This is really ridiculous.” Jade huffed, stepping into the room. “You know how many times I’ve hung out with Maru?” She began in a threatening voice, taking another step closer. “I’ll tell you.” She poked his chest with a glare. “Zero.”

                Sebastian’s eyebrows furrowed and he continued to look away, face reddening in frustration. Despite the blank look on his face, his voice was still deep and angry: "What, so do you want my permission now or something? Back off, Jade." He turned his head back to her, now glaring. "I don't care what you do, but don't come here and drag me into this Maru crap."

                Jade wasn’t going to let up. “Dragging you? I was telling you so you would know what I'm up to and expect me online a little later." She huffed. "And I come to this house because of you, dummy. Hell, I even talk to you more than Sam and Abigail. Don’t act so controlling!”

                “I’m not,” Sebastian snapped in response, though not as threatening as he wanted it to sound. He didn’t think Jade could appear so intimidating, but then again, he had forgotten about the circumstances in which they became friends. “You just don’t know Maru like I do, or all the shit I've been through because of her.” He replied somewhat weakly, but Jade could tell that he wasn't any less frustrated. "Like I said before," he leaned closer to her face, voice stronger- "Back. Off."

                Jade irritatingly sighed and took a step back. She went quiet for a moment to think. “Sebastian, I get it. I do. Siblings can be horrible. They steal attention, affection, your stuff, your space. Everything." Jade took a deep breath, and continued: "But I think you need to lighten up. Maru hasn’t done anything to turn me against anyone, especially not you. Not since I moved here.” She stared at Sebastian until he finally softened his gaze. The young farmer slowly relaxed as a result. “So... chill out, okay?”

                They were both quiet for a moment, allowing the tension to settle between them. Sebastian eventually gave up and exhaled, relaxing his shoulders. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But... fine.” He averted his glance once more. “... Thanks for the games.”

                “No problem, Seb. I fully expect commentary and reviews with your playthroughs, or you’re in big trouble.” Jade playfully nudged him. “I’ll talk to you later, alright?”

                “Sure thing.” Sebastian was no longer angry, but he still wasn't in a good mood. Because of that, he didn't really have time for pet names or jokes.

                Jade noticed. She smiled a bit in an attempt to ignore the slips in conversation. “Bye, nerd.” She pat him again and then she was off, full of hope that the conversation was resolved. There was so much more Jade wanted to say, but she really didn’t want to overstep her boundaries. A lot of assumptions could have been made, but Jade’s relationship with Sebastian was only just improving and she didn’t want to put it even more at risk. At the same time, she wanted to keep peace with Maru. They didn’t know each other very well, but she could already tell that the family situation was rather complicated.

                The young farmer ascended the staircase, albeit slower and with less energy. Maru was right at the top of the stairs and jumped upon seeing Jade, instantly flushing in embarrassment. A closed blue umbrella was clutched in her right hand. “O-oh, sorry, I-I...”

                “Sneaky sneaky,” Jade tiredly smiled. “It’s okay. Did you overhear all of that?”

                Maru frowned. “Some of it. I was getting some food and I caught a little bit... Sorry.”

                “Don’t apologize, it’s fine. Get lots of rest for tomorrow.”

                The young scientist nodded. “Will do... Um, do you have an umbrella? I think it’s raining outside now,” she mentioned.

                Jade peered down and noticed the umbrella in Maru’s hand. “I actually don’t,” she pouted. Without hesitation, Maru offered the umbrella to her. The young farmer accepted and carefully held it.

                “You can return it tomorrow,” Maru calmly murmured. “Um... Thanks.”

                Jade chuckled. “No need. Alright, see you for real.” She waved and was finally able to leave the carpenter shop. It was extremely dark outside and the rain was heavily pouring onto the ground... visibility was limited to just what was ahead of her feet. The young farmer sighed and took out a decent-sized emergency flashlight to safely guide her home. Expanding the umbrella and turning on the flashlight, she slowly made her way through muck and muddy grass. Hopefully her shoes wouldn’t suffer too much and reach the town square’s stone pathways before then.

                Jade usually welcomed the rain, but it felt much more ominous in the late evening. Thunder from a far distance caught her off guard, causing her to flinch and nearly drop her flashlight. Flashes of lightning lit up the sky, illuminating all of the farmer’s surroundings for a split second. Due to memory and what environmental figures she could see, Jade safely made it back home after a few hours.

                The day didn’t really end as well as she wanted to, but there were always worse ones.

                Chapter 17, also known as, "I Don't Like It When Mommy And Daddy Fight"

                it's interesting to see how people react to my stories, and being scared about what i'll do with the characters. I like to talk about first impressions when it comes to the bachelor(ette)s of Stardew Valley, and I think people have the same kind of reaction when reading my story. People like Sebastian much more since he is introduced in a nicer way, Pierre is a bit pushy, Robin is best mom, etc. I just think it's cool to witness the power of The First Impression. That is the main reason so many people favor the nicer characters at first glance, and shun the less-than-nice ones.

                Do I favor some characters? Of course I do! But none of them are perfect. Shane's a douchebag? Uh, heck yes. But there is a soft side to him as well. Haley's a jerk who doesn't let people in her social circle? Yep. But she is also caring and acts as a "protector" to her friends. Robin favors one of her children and seems to not give much time to the other? The very same could be said about Demetrius, but I think Robin is stuck between a rock and a hard place and tries to make the best of it, even with her bias. And Jade, my little angel, my main character-- she pushes people's buttons a little too often, doesn't she? And she needs to taste her own medicine, sometime-- her defensive nature makes her a little hypocritical and, hilariously, controlling as well. My interpretations of the characters really come out here.

                Sebastian is my favorite character for a lot of reasons, but he still has quite a handful of flaws and I will show them as we get to learn more about him and resolve some conflicts. That's what character development is about, though. He is awesome, fun and great to mess with, but he can also come across as a bully, and "controlling" in Jade's case. Are there reasons for this? Of course. And will we explore them? Heck yes. He is my favorite, but I am not going to treat him like a perfect character-- he never was. When you first meet someone, you see nothing but amazing things, and when you get to know them, you start to notice their less flattering traits. Can't take the good without taking the bad, and I love to explore the bad. It's all about me trying to write this in a natural way. We may not see it all spelled out in the game, but again- these are my interpretations and what I've taken from my own experiences and studies.

                I feel like some of that may be basic understanding of story construction and whatnot, but I still feel like I had to say it, especially since all of us love these adorable NPCs in these adorable games. It's just that interesting to me, and I hope you guys like what I end up doing with the characters. One that starts off bad may not always be bad, and one that starts off good will not always be good. They're only humans, and humans make mistakes and they can redeem themselves. I think that is part of what makes SDV characters so realistic, so I hope to bring that to justice.

                As always, thank you for reading, and SO MUCH THANKS for your support <3 I'm having a ton of fun with this story and it means so much to know you guys like it. I honestly wish I could pump out these chapters faster, but dangit, I won't give up yet.
                  Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
                • Minimanta

                  Minimanta Spaceman Spiff

                  I just realized while reading the newest chapter that I don't really know where Jade's farm is located. Like I know it's located in Cindersap Forest but where exactly?

                  And it's nice to see you finally dig into the whole Seb doesn't like Maru thing! Curious to see where you take it :)
                  I really feel bad for Maru, poor girl just want Seb to be a brother for her but he just does not want anything to do with her.
                    Gabaw and MagicallyClueless like this.
                  • MagicallyClueless

                    MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

                    It's right before the entrance of the Secret Woods and goes up north into its own path, deeper in the forest. It's smack dab in the middle of the forest, but all the vegetation on her property was cleared to be proper farmland. On the actual stardew map we have, it is probably somewhere in the southwest- the nearest homes to her house would be Marnie's ranch and the Wizard's tower.
                    • Risukage

                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                      Heh, another reason that I like the Sebastian character is that my sister and I didn't get along much. Though it was less rivalry and more that she was annoying and clingy and I just wanted to be left the hell alone, damnit. Quit mimicking me, quit following me, let me be me. Took years, especially once I had moved out on my own, to patch things up. I've always been a reclusive loner with one, MAYBE two friends at a time, so yeah, I can really connect with your and the game's versions of Sebastian. :)
                        RichieJS, Gabaw and MagicallyClueless like this.
                      • LizardWithABook

                        LizardWithABook Master Chief

                        You are definitely a great writer! I loved every bit of this story can't wait for more!
                          Gabaw and MagicallyClueless like this.
                        • Gabaw

                          Gabaw Spaceman Spiff

                          woooooooo new chap! Well, this was def a bit more tense than some previous chapters what with Robin and Seb getting ants in their pants about one thing or another. I like that lines like "backflip into a pool of sharks" can still cut the air :rofl: omfg lol. The post-writing notes also helped me understand your thought process a bit more and appreciate the variables you're taking into account to create interesting characters. I think you're doing an excellent job with making them feel real and have actual, relateable emotions. can't say no to some of the funny s**t tho lmao you know we love it :p
                            MagicallyClueless likes this.
                          • MagicallyClueless

                            MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

                            Big chapta! Over 7000 words, which is my record so far. I'm posting this today because I probably won't post anything on Tuesday. Some family stuff and (hopefully) a vacation starting tomorrow, but we'll see. Either way, enjoy! It has a bit of action and a lot of exploration. No post-writing this time since I am about to leave and don't have the timeeee.

                            Jade may have overzealously packed for a mining trip that would only last from an early afternoon to a late evening. Along with Maru’s generously donated umbrella,the young farmer stored her trusty flashlight, her pickaxe, her still sharp and ready sword, a ton of snacks, some empty containers for loot, and rope (just in case). Jade also wore a lightweight red hoodie, her toughest pair of blue jeans, and the very same brown boots for farming. She didn’t exactly have much exploration gear, but for her first mission it would do.

                            She may or may not have played a plethora of dungeon crawler games the previous night. Though it was an attempt to ready herself, only Onyx was the witness of her questionable, if not hilarious, measures of preparation. The young farmer was so excited to venture the mines for the first time that she nearly forgot to do her regular farm work for the day... and there was a lot of it.

                            Her corn had finally finished growing, and she spent the majority of the morning pulling the vegetables from their stalks and tracking through muck created by the previous night’s brutal rainfall. The ground was still damp, so Jade decided to skip on watering the plants. The watered soil was a blessing for her, too; retrieving all the corn was exhausting and time consuming. She saved the two best corn pieces for herself and stored them in her refreshingly cool fridge.

                            Before leaving, she decided to leave a wrapped meal and drink out for Robin, who was still hard at work on the rabbit coop. Jade couldn’t help but survey the carpenter for a few minutes, since she was so powerful and eager to get the job done. Even with the mud and the dampened lumber, Robin was working quickly and with utmost precision. Sometimes she would get so caught up in her work that she would begin grinning. Jade was happy to give Robin such an opportunity to thrive. With a wave and a reminder about the food, Jade began her trek towards the mountains.

                            There was a sweet aroma about the valley whenever it recovered from a fresh rain. The sky, though partly cloudy, shown a vivid blue and contained the beaming sun. Grass sparkled with dew, mossy stone paths into town glittered bright, and curious animals of the valley ventured out from their homes for the warm summer air. The temperature was still high, as expected of the season, but there was a pleasant breeze that reduced the harshness of the heat. As Jade traveled out of the forest, she decided to stop at Marnie’s ranch and watch the farm animals roaming out in the field. There were mostly brown and white cows out and roaming, but she also caught groups of chickens fluttering about in tall grass. She continued to scan for any other animals, hoping that she could find- there they were! Jade’s expression lit up in glee upon catching some rabbits hopping out into shallow grass. Among them were several types: cream, white, tan, black, spotted. They were all so cute and so fluffy, even with the time of year! For a moment, Jade allowed her mind to escape with what was soon to be. From what Robin told her, they were expensive, but valuable cloth could be made from their wool. She wasn’t actually sure if rabbits bred like... well, rabbits. Sell them as pets, perhaps? There were several possibilities. Maybe she could get some cows too, eventually. Nothing beats fresh milk.

                            Oh. The mines. Jade pried herself away from the ranch’s fence and continued her travel through Pelican Town. At record time, she arrived at the front yard of the carpenter shop. Even if she didn’t have the entire town memorized yet, getting to Robin’s place became almost as natural was it was going back to her own house. Just on cue, Maru exit the front door with a leather brown messenger bag slung over her shoulder and across her torso. In her right hand, she held a clean steel pickaxe. Upon seeing Jade, she waved her over and approached. “Jade! Ready to go?”

                            “You know it. I’m excited to go! So, what is mining like exactly? Gimme details,” Jade cheerfully asked. The two started walking towards the mountain lake- a turn left would then bring them down a path that led to a huge cave opening. She gave a subconscious glance to the carpenter shop before giving her full attention to Maru.

                            “Hmm...” Maru gave the illusion that she was thinking, but then broke out into a nervous laugh. “Truth be told, I haven’t been to the mines in a few years. The huge blockage between the path and the mine entrance didn’t really help... it was removed just before you moved here.” The young scientist hummed in thought. “However, I’m sure it’s the same as before. The mines go down for dozens of floors, maybe even more. I’ve heard there’s over a hundred, but I’ve honestly never had the strength to go past floor 60. The deeper, the more dangerous. We’ll be going to the 20th floor to start us off, so don’t worry. I need some pretty low-tier stuff, but I can’t spend any money right now. I don’t have the funds to buy and smelt ore from Clint all the time, you know? I need a higher quantity, so I can’t afford it.”

                            Clint? From her context, that must have been the local blacksmith. Jade did recall seeing the shop before. “Oh don’t you worry, I understand. That sounds intense, though. Sixty floors is still pretty darn deep,” the young farmer praised, nodding. “So, how’s the area we’re going to? Pretty quiet?”

                            “Eh, somewhat. Lots of bugs, a few slimes. It’s covered in plants and moss, old cart tracks; you’ll see what it’s like. Kind of like a jungle within a cave, actually.” Maru glanced to the lake that they treaded beside. The water level was higher and the clarity was somewhat limited, but the lake still shined with beauty. “The monsters shouldn’t be powerful, as I said, but... They can still swarm, so let’s just watch our backs.”

                            A swarm. Ugh. “I’ve been swarmed before and I learned almost too much from that experience. I know I’ll need some new gear after this... so much stuff to keep up with.” Jade sighed, bringing out her sword from the side of her backpack. She examined it: still in good shape, though she hadn’t used it towards too many adversaries.

                            “Have you been to the Adventurer’s Guild yet?” Maru asked, now looking forward. When they turned onto the path with the cave entrance, they both caught sight of a cabin straight ahead. “It’s that old house, right there.”

                            Jade tilted her head as she stared at what was supposedly the guild. “Hm, I haven’t. What is it?” She put her sword back in its place and crossed her arms.

                            “Uh... Sebastian could probably tell you more about it than me... Again, I’m not into all the fighting and monster killing.”

                            “Was he into that stuff, then?”

                            Maru sighed. Her demeanor changed when Sebastian came into the conversation. They had something in common, apparently. “Yeah... I just know it sells equipment, armor, swords, the works. I never really go in there.” Maru lifted her head up more and glanced to Jade, interested. “Oh, they do open in the afternoon and close pretty late. If you’re going, then you should keep that in mind. I know most stores open very early.”

                            The young farmer took her words into consideration. “Will do, thanks.” She chuckled. “You’re fairly chatty. I get like that, too.”

                            “Oh... am I bothering you? Sorry,” Maru quietly murmured.

                            Jade laughed. “Don’t be. I like it when people talk a lot to me. Makes me feel a bit important, you know?” Her smile widened. “I’ve been hanging out with the goons so much, it’s actually nice to be with someone else.”

                            “Goons?” Maru had a decent idea of the group she meant, though she described them in such an interesting way. The two of them arrived to the mine entrance and walked in. The sight was familiar to them, though Jade had only been there once before. No one was there; only a ladder to their right that descended downwards and an old, rickety elevator at the far wall. The young farmer recalled the elevator, but didn’t realize she would ride it so soon.

                            “Oh,” Jade snorted. “You know. Seb, Abby, Sam.” She sighed with nostalgia. “Well, okay. To be fair, I hang out with Alex sometimes, too. Haven’t seen him around lately, but I can’t say I’ve been out exploring the town much.”

                            The scientist sadly smiled in response. “That’s quite a variety of friends. I’m glad.” She guided Jade over to the elevator and pressed the call button. Within a few seconds, the outer elevator door opened, revealing a tiny and surprisingly clean room. They both entered and examined the surroundings before Maru pressed the door button once more. Jade noticed Maru’s shoulders tensing.

                            “... Hey, what about you?” Jade asked, hoping to calm her.

                            Instinctively, the young scientist pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. She took a deep breath and then slowly exhaled. “Um, I tend to get along with most people... For people I talk to every day, though... Penny. She’s my best friend.”

                            “Aw, it’s good to have a best friend. I don’t think I really have one yet.”

                            Maru examined Jade in the corners of her eyes. “Well, you’re still close to others-” she lightly flinched when the elevator dinged.

                            “... Sorry for asking, but are you scared of elevators?” Jade asked, concerned. She noted how unspeakably fast Maru exit the elevator, but it did catch her somewhat off guard. The young farmer slowly followed her out into the depths of the mines, taking her sword back out.

                            “It’s just a thing, sorry. I’m fine.” Maru sighed. “Elevators don’t really bother me, just that one freaks me out a little bit.”

                            “It is a crappyish elevator. No worries.” Jade smiled. “Well, this is a nice place. I could have a picnic here.” The floor they were on was not very large and had an underground body of water to their left. The walls were rocky and gray, save for the soft orange light that mounted lanterns cast into the area. The water itself was extremely murky and still, though there were droplets of water that trickled from above. The floor appeared to be made out of stone, vegetation formed in several spots to give the appearance of grassy ground. Strange flora bloomed in the area’s corners and thorny vines crawled up the mine walls, while vines wrapped around stalactites on the ceiling. Plantlife flourished so much in the room that it really did have a jungle-like appearance.

                            “Beautiful, right? Luckily, there are no monsters on this floor. We’ll be climbing upwards, which will have... a slightly different story,” Maru explained, gesturing to a ladder that ascended right beside the elevator. Jade turned to look at it- she didn’t even see it there. “We can travel up for five floors and we’ll come across the elevator again. I’m sure we’ll have all the goodies we need by then.” She strode over to the ladder and placed her hand on one of the steps, her head slightly turned towards Jade. “Let’s go.”

                            The duo ascended up the ladder to the 19th floor, kickstarting their mission to retrieve as much copper and quartz as possible. The area was long and winding, much like what Jade initially imagined the mines would be. There were tunnels going forward and branching off to the sides, though their next path was not very clear. Vegetation heavily dangled from the ceilings and there were large patches of weeds and grass-like material. Several rocks and stones scattered across the entire area, some glittering a soft copper color. There weren’t any monsters so far, but Jade elevated her guard and held her sword tightly. Maru noticed a rock full of copper right beside her and began to break it apart with her pickaxe.

                            “And so it begins,” Maru proudly said when she cracked the rock open. She picked up the pieces that contained copper ore and stashed them in her messenger bag. “It’s a little too quiet now, eh?”

                            Jade nodded, carefully surveying the area. “Ayup. I think we’re fine for now.”

                            “How about you hack those weeds apart with your sword? You can clear a path to the next ladder while I do this.” The young scientist continued to pick at the different rocks and minerals, searching for the copper she required.

                            “Oh, sure.” Jade felt a little anxious to leave Maru’s side, but she took a deep breath and walked down the tunnel. She sliced at huge patches of weeds that would have made travel difficult otherwise- it was also good to do since various critters could have been lurking under the leaves. No creatures could be found, but some of the weeds provided ample amounts of fiber. Jade thought she could have used some later, so she stored them in her backpack.

                            The young farmer ventured further ahead, cautiously scanning her surroundings and even occasionally looking backwards to see if Maru was doing well. Nothing significant happened yet, but the mines were too quiet and things were going too well. Jade crept onto a patch of dirt that led into a fork in the tunnel: one leading to a larger, sandier area, and the other to a winding path. She took a step forward with the intention of going to the larger area, but her foot started to sink down into the sand-

                            Pop! A grimy, brownish-red creature reared its head out of the dirt, tiny sharp teeth gnawing in Jade’s direction. “Gah!” Jade hurriedly backed up just in time and swung her sword at it, blade slicing at its surprisingly tough form.The creature went to Jade’s shins in length, but this was only the upper part of its body... it could have been huge, and it was definitely hungry. A glowing antennae dangled on the top of its head, too- it was like an angler fish on land.

                            As soon as the creature surface, so too did it sink back into the sand below. Jade’s breathing elevated and she stared down to the sand in horror. Where did it go? In only a few seconds, Jade’s other foot sunk into the sand.

                            This time she knew to dodge at a quicker pace and wildly swung her sword. The creature growled and snarled, attempting to bite the sword, but only sunk back into the ground again. The young farmer purposefully began trekking on the sand in an attempt to bring it back up-- and it worked! The creature popped up one more time before Jade successfully sliced its head off with her blade. While the head stayed, now completely motionless, the rest of the creature’s body wriggled wildly before sinking right back into the ground. This time, it did not resurface.

                            “Jade, are you okay?” Maru shouted from a distance. “I heard you yell!”

                            Jade sighed in relief, that small battle being over with. “I’m fine! This thing came up out of the ground!” She shouted back. “Oooh, what’s this?” Jade noticed something shiny left by the monster she just slain. She leaned over and picked the item up- it was covered in goo, which may explain why it was so shiny, but there was something about this rock that seemed special. It was perfectly oval, had unique ridges and bumps on its surface, and it felt somewhat heavy.

                            “What did you find?” Maru shouted, voice getting calmer when she went to see Jade. Upon getting close enough, her eyes lightened with familiarity. “You found a geode? That’s good!” she cheered. “There are a lot of unique minerals and materials found in geodes. Take that to Clint later.”

                            “Ooh,” Jade remarked, marvelling at her find. “You sure you don’t want it?” she asked.

                            Maru shook her head and smiled. “Yeah, I’m just here for other materials. Here, though.” She took out a disposable cloth for Jade to clean the geode with. “This’ll do you some good.”

                            “Thanks!” Jade wiped the geode clean and stored it in her backpack. She felt a real sense of pride at getting her first item from the mining trip, and it felt great to get a successful monster kill without much harm done to herself.

                            The young scientist stared at the lifeless head of the creature Jade had just slain, and nodded her head with a disgusted expression. “Yep, that’s a duggy,” she sighed. “They tend to live in these sandy areas.”

                            Jade took a mental note of what duggies were, but she wasn’t exactly ecstatic to see more. For the time being, she wanted to take things slowly and not get too ahead of herself with all of her extra pride. Maru was finished with the first area it seemed, so the both of them ventured to the fork in the path and weighed their options.

                            “That larger area will most likely have a lot of duggies,” Maru brought up. “I think the ladder to the upper floor is in there, though... should we see?”

                            The young farmer tightly held her sword with both of her hands and took a defensive position. “Yeah, let’s do this.”

                            “Okay.” Maru took a deep breath. “I’ll run over to solid land and draw all of them out, and you can get slashing. Just try to not get overwhelmed.”

                            Jade glared to the giant and sandy room, a determined expression stamped on her face. “I got this.” She took away one of her hands from the sword to give Maru a high five of confidence. They nodded at each other with a ‘hmph’ and Maru ran forward.

                            Just as the young scientist said would happen, one duggie after another rose out of the ground to try to get their next meal. Maru was able to jump to the ther side of the sandy pit, its ground made of stone. She took a second to catch her breath and look behind her. Half a dozen of them must have come out of their hiding places; all the duggies growled and swiveled about, snapping their tiny jaws. Jade lunged forward, both hands back on the handle of her sword, and sliced all the duggies she could reach. She chopped the first one’s head clean off and brought the others significant damage before they disappeared back into the ground. In a hurry, Jade hopped backwards as the group of duggies rose to attack. One of them was quick enough to snap at one of Jade’s legs before she moved away.

                            In the moment, Jade didn’t seem to notice the puncture marks on her shin since she was too distracted by the monsters themselves. She hacked away with her sword, directly hitting one of them, slicing another’s head, and hurriedly dodging the last few who caught onto her tactics and tripped her under her feet. She stumbled in her last dodge, but spread her stance and powerfully swung her sword once more. She was able to decapitate two more duggies, leaving just two left to fight. They ended up disappearing into the ground, Jade hopping back once more to prepare, but they did not resurface.

                            “I think you scared them off,” Maru sighed out with relief. “They might be back sometime, though. Grab the goodies they dropped!”

                            Jade nodded with confidence and examined the dirtied battleground. She obtained one more geode, noticed a few regurgitated bits of stone, and grabbed an old rolled up piece of paper with a red thread tied around it in a bow. She didn’t want to linger around for much longer, so she jumped out of the sandy area to Maru’s location. “Just a geode and an ancient looking scroll thing. I’ll examine them more later,” Jade confirmed.

                            “Hmm.” Maru tapped her chin with her hand in thought. “Have you been to the library yet?” she asked. Jade shook her head, causing Maru to smile. “They have a museum there. If there are any artifacts you get from geodes that you don’t want, maybe you can donate them. Gunther would appreciate it.”

                            Two of them began to carefully traverse the new path. They saw a ladder clamped to the very far cave wall, though there were still clumps of copper ore to crack open before truly ascending. Maru brushed a batch of plants off of the nearest rock containing copper and began to pick it apart with her trusty tool.

                            “Is Gunther the guy that owns the library?” Jade asked while watching the mining process. She has lived in the valley for a while, though many names were still lost on her. Addmitedly, she didn’t really care to know all of them. Her small group of friends was enough.

                            Maru wiped some sweat from her forehead and collected some freed copper ore. “Ah huh, he’s the one you go to for all your artifact and book reading needs.” She chuckled a bit. “He loves me. I was the top artifact donator for a while.”

                            “Oooh, that’s a pretty great feat. Maybe we can make it a competition when I become a pro at this mining thing,” Jade huffed proudly. Since the area was clear, she placed her sword at the end of her backpack and took out her pickaxe. Just for the fun of it, she picked apart random batches of rocks she saw.

                            “Heh, that’d be cool. I’d be happy to accept the challenge. It will encourage me to get some more materials! There are so many gadgets I want to build, but then I realize that it’d only be possible with several mining trips.” The young scientist sighed as she collected the newly revealed copper ore. “It used to be so easy to spend the whole day at the mines. I’m jealous of Vincent and Jas... they’re so young, so naive. So clueless of their fleeting childhood days.”

                            Most of the rocks Jade cracked open were broken into smaller rocks, but a few of them did have geodes similar to the ones she took from the duggies. Picking apart the stones were much more labor intensive than fighting monsters, for some reason. Jade easily began to sweat from the work, deciding to stop once Maru salvaged enough copper ore. She took a brief break and focused on Maru’s statements. “All your time really does leave when you get older. It’s kinda funny... there’s so much I have to do in the valley, and most of it doesn’t even involve farming.” She laughed to herself. “Though, I do plan to get some bunnies when your mom finishes construction. I wonder how much time in my day they’ll take.”

                            Maru lifted her head to look at Jade. “Aww, bunnies? That sounds fun. They’re good for wool, I hear. Maybe you can make some cloth? I hear that’s a profitable business if you sell them to the right people.”

                            “Yeah! And I might sell some as pets. Make a store online and become an official breeder. I love animals, and I know some people may love bunnies almost as much as I do.” Jade put her pickaxe back and decided to free hand for a bit; there weren’t any monsters around and Maru was better suited for the harder mining work anyways. “Should we go up, now?” Jade asked, dusting her hands onto her pants.

                            “Looks like we’re done here, so let’s get to it.” The young scientist guided Jade to the ladder, both of them ascending one at a time. The floor above was very similar to the one they were just exploring, though there seemed to be more vegetation and rocks to make up for the lack of sand. Maru froze, eyes glued to the far cave walls in worry.

                            Jade tried to see what she was glancing at, but she couldn’t really tell what it was. There seemed to be hollow green blobs stuck to the walls. “What is it?” the young farmer asked in a whisper, just in case a louder voice would have disturbed anything.

                            “We have company now,” Maru muttered in return, pointing to the green blobs. “Those are opened insect pods... there are some giant flying bugs lurking around, so this is where we need you the most.”

                            Jade instictively re-equipped her sword and scanned their surroundings. Nothing yet. They crept forward, Maru heading towards a batch of rocks to break apart. She was getting tired, but they still had quite a few floors to go. Jade softly pat the young scientist on the back before walking ahead, slicing away any patches of weeds in their path. Only the distant water drop from the tips of stalactites could be heard in the distance. It was too quiet again, and this time, they were very aware that creatures lurked nearby.

                            Jade suddenly straightened her posture and stared down the nearest tunnel. She could hear faint buzzing from the other end of the cave, but they were growing louder at an alarming rate. Jade took a deep breath and tightly clutched the handle of her sword. There they were. A white insect the size of a human head flew right for the young farmer. It was off-white in color, with thin and clear wings and beady red eyes. She couldn't see a mouth on it, but its speed was alarmingly fast- it shot its body right towards her, Jade barely having enough time to knock it back with her sword.

                            "A cave fly!" Maru gasped. She stopped mining for a moment to keep her guard up.

                            So that was a cave fly, huh? It remained airborne despite being knocked back and aggressively lunged towards the young farmer again. She swatted it down with her sword, causing it to writhe on the ground. Jade huffed and sliced it in half, finishing the job. It continued to move after death, causing the young farmer to wince. "These things are gross..."

                            "There are more, watch out!"

                            Right. Jade lifted her head and quickly scanned her surroundings. She heard another buzzing sound, this time from behind Maru. Jade quickly ran forward and stood protectively in front of her mining partner- just in time, too. A second cave fly came barreling down the path and targeted Jade. Just like the first one, she was able to knock it to the ground and slice it apart with her sword while it was down. They stood there for a few minutes to listen around the mine floor, but no more buzzing could be heard. "Go ahead and mine while you can, I'll be scanning the rest of the area," the farmer stated, obtaining a newfound confidence from monster slaying.

                            Maru nodded and relaxed her form. She turned back around and started to mine away at the rocks. "Thanks. Shout if you need anything," she replied.

                            This floor seemed to be smaller than the last one they were on, but it still had a lot of minerals that could be of good use. Jade decided to collect some more fiber for herself and searched around the rocks for anything interesting.

                            Behind one vein of boulders, she saw a white, crystal-like formation. Her eyes brightened; she hadn't seen anything like that yet. "Hey, Maru!" Jade shouted, pushing some of the stones out of the way. She cupped the crystal formation and easily pulled it up. The shards were beautifully formed, sharp and geometrical.

                            "Yeah?" she heard Maru call from the other end of the floor.

                            "I found some crystals!" Jade yelled in return. She was hoping it was something rare, but considering how they weren't very deep underground, it probably wasn't. Either way, it was absolutely gorgeous.

                            Maru eventually caught up to Jade to see what she had, her eyes brightening in fascination when the crystals caught her sight. "Quartz!" She trot up to Jade at a faster pace, holding her pickaxe over her shoulder. "Oh wow, great job, Jade! Is it okay if I take this?" she asked, a sad sparkle in her eye.

                            "Nope, not at all." Jade handed the quartz to her, causing her to grin with glee.

                            "Thank you so much! I only need one more of these and then I'll definitely have all I need." Maru tucked the quartz in her bag with her free hand and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "This has been such a successful trip so far. I know it's too soon, but I still want to say thank you for coming with me."

                            Jade chuckled and continued to walk, Maru following right behind. "It's not a problem! This is certainly interesting. I'm glad you know some stuff about these monsters, because I sure as hell don't."

                            "I only really know about the more common monsters here, haha... But, I'm glad I could be of service! You're helping me so much, so it's the very least I could do." Maru sweetly smiled to her mining buddy, even though the buddy in question was too focused on going to the next ladder. Jade sliced apart some more weeds as they went through their path, the ladder to the next floor located at the very end of the tunnel.

                            Without too much effort, the two closed in on the ladder to the floor above, but Maru stopped in her tracks, causing Jade to stop as well and look back. "Uh... did you forget something?" she asked, frown twisted in concern.

                            "Shh," Maru snapped back almost instantly. They stood still and listened. Jade heard it too.

                            There were squishing sounds, but it wasn't anything like the slimes- it sounded like something moving and writhing. Maru saw a patch of tall grass and slowly moved the leaves.

                            "Go! Go!" Maru suddenly shouted, pushing Jade to the ladder. The young farmer didn't really get a chance to look back, but Maru was panicked enough that she trusted her. Behind the patch of grass sat three large and green segmented cocoons, all growing and morphing into cave flies.

                            Jade hurriedly climbed up the ladder to the next floor, hand desperately reaching for solid ground. She looked up to the next floor, which was brighter than average and glowed a serene green. Once reaching the surface and grasping for ground to lift herself up with, her hand touched... slime. The entire ground was covered in translucent green goop and sticky slime. "What the..." Jade scowled, glancing at her slime-covered hand. She moved up and carefully got off of the ladder, her knees suffering the same fate as her exposed hand. "The hell is this?" she grumbled.

                            The young scientist followed behind and quickly joined Jade. "Oh man... This isn't good. We need to find the ladder immediately," Maru murmured in worry. The pathways were much wider than the previous floors and the room was incredibly bright and saturated with green. All salvageable rocks had been dissolved by the amount of slime, so there was nothing Maru could do on the entire floor. They could see the ladder at the other end of the area, but they could tell that the room was much larger than what they could currently see. Both of them cautiously began walking. Maru sighed and glanced to Jade, who was wiping her hands and knees with the same cloth used to clean off monster goop. "Sometimes, a floor of the mine becomes covered in slime when the slime creatures make their nest- Jade!!" Maru gasped in shock. "You're bleeding!"

                            "What?" Jade looked down at herself.

                            "Your leg! How long have you been hurt?! You can't be fighting toxic slimes with an open wound like that!"

                            Jade's eyes widened. She didn't even notice the wound on her leg, but there was a deep bite mark on her shin, blood soaking an area of her pants. The wound itself looked way worse than how it actually felt. "I don't know how I got this-"

                            "Look out!" Maru pushed herself in front of Jade and swung down her pickaxe at a green slime that began rolling towards them. Jade gasped, caught off guard, but stuffed her washcloth away and quickly readied her sword. Without hesitation, Jade aided in slicing the slime in half. It was a green one without an antennae, so it couldn't have been too difficult. The two hits injured the slime, but it still squished in determination and hopped forward, aiming for Jade's wounded leg.

                            "Bastard!" screamed Jade, whopping the slime away with a nicely timed swing. The slime ruptured into several smaller pieces of goo, some of it getting on her torso.

                            Both of the ladies sighed in relief. That was too exciting for their comfort. "Sorry about that," Maru muttered with a frown. "I'm drawing attention to us."

                            "It doesn't matter," Jade began, looking around with extreme caution. She noticed more clusters of slimes being drawn out from their cubbies and hiding places. "Run for it!"

                            Several slimes began rolling and hopping forward, each greedy for the death of whomever disturbed their nest. All of them were some variation of green, which certainly explained the color of the room. Maru paid no attention to them and instantly started for the near ladder, while Jade traveled backwards and smacked away the slimes that tried to attack. Seeing the slimes caused Jade intense frustration, anger, and most of all, helplessness. Why were there always so many of them? Give her a million cave flies over these little bastards!

                            Jade was suddenly more aware of the wound on her leg. She was starting to feel pain airing from it, and she noticed the slimes wanted to aim towards that spot on her body. Maru had climbed some of the ladder, but stared back in horror, hoping that Jade would get to the next floor safely. She was doing a great job of keeping all of them back, but it was apparent that she was getting tired. She sliced one of the slimes in half, causing Jade to smirk... unfortunately, some of the glop hit the wound on her leg and caused her to shout in pain. "Gah! Shit!"

                            “Jade?!” Maru was about to descend the ladder, but Jade hurriedly put her sword up and latched onto the wall.

                            “Go, go, go!” Jade shouted, the both of them hurriedly ascending to the next floor. Luckily, the surface was made of thick dirt and they dragged themselves right outside of the exit. Jade collapsed onto her back and panted in exhaustion. The sword fighting was really getting to her, and now her leg was burning. Maru scanned their surroundings and made sure they were safe before dropping all of her equipment and crawling over to Jade.

                            A hole had been burned onto Jade’s pants, exposing her now worsening wound. “I’m so sorry... I wish I noticed this earlier,” Maru started with shame plaguing her voice.

                            Jade responded with a pitiful laugh. “I didn’t really notice it either. It didn’t really hurt until I got slime on it...” She winced, staring at her second pair of ruined pants and nasty streaks of blood. “Can you help me out?”

                            Before Jade even finished her statement, Maru pulled up Jade’s pant leg and shuffled through her messenger bag. She brought out a medkit and began tending to the wound, carefully cleaning it and then spraying it with medicine. The medicine made Jade flinch, but the pain quickly subsided. Afterwards, Maru dressed the wound with a thick but short bandage that covered it well enough. She carefully pulled the pant leg back down, still frowning. “Do you think you can walk? How is it?” the young scientist asked- or rather, the part time nurse.

                            “I can walk, but we’ve done a lot of work. Let’s take that food break.” Jade adjusted herself, scooting even further from the opening to the floor below. She took her backpack off and retrieved tons of delicious snacks to eat and share with Maru. There was no argument from the partner, who then sat beside Jade and shyly picked out the food she wanted.

                            For a little while, the two of them took a well needed break. They ate sandwiches, chips, and had some leftover fruit. For Jade, she snuck in some candy for herself and ate it all since Maru seemed to be the slower eater. In the lull of their break, they chatted about how they were doing, occupations, some thoughts for the future. Maru somewhat urged Jade to speak more; Maru preferred to listen and wanted to learn more about the farmer herself. She was lucky that Jade loved talking- their entire break consisted of airy chats and fun details about previous experiences in exploration.

                            When their break ended, they went right back to exploring the winding tunnels of the mine. Jade regained enough energy to successfully fend off any flying cave flies, sliced apart some cave bugs, and collected whatever goodies they offered. Maru mentioend how the insect meat could make good bait, so Jade ended up collecting some of the bug’s remains in the containers she brought. Gross, but could definitely be useful. Meanwhile, Maru mined out more than enough copper for her projects and found two more pieces of quartz. They spotted a few green slimes onto their final floor, which Jade went after without mercy. She really grew a vendetta against slimes and became much more talented in slicing them apart. Maru decided to let the young farmer vent her frustration, as long as she wasn’t being too careless with swinging the sword.

                            Finally, they were there. The next floor with an elevator, which at one point seemed so far away. Both of them were fairly tired despite the food break they had. The elevator ahead of them was certainly a heavenly sight. On this floor, there were abandoned minecarts full of coal and old, withered mine tracks. Ominous wind blew through the dark mine shafts, bringing a hollow, lifeless sound to the floor. The jungle-like appearance from the previous floors were barely present here. Something felt off.

                            Not even water droplets from the stalactites above could be heard. There weren’t any monsters nearby. Panic began to show on Jade’s visage, but Maru didn’t catch the same vibe. She cheerfully followed the iron tracks until she reached a branching path. Jade followed behind her, but glanced all around her in paranoia. She felt like something was watching her.

                            “Maru... Do you feel that?” Jade asked with a strained voice. Maru peered behind her to see how Jade was doing, but she wasn’t affected.

                            “No, what are you talking about?” the mining partner asked. She had stored her pickaxe away since she was too tired to mine any more, and she had more than enough to carry around anyway. The elevator, still old yet welcoming, was right at the end of the branching path.

                            “I...” Jade stammered, trying to put her thoughts into words. Nothing came out right. “... N... Nevermind.” She glanced back to one of the open mine shafts. The young farmer could have sworn she saw a human-shaped shadow.

                            Both of them stepped into the elevator and sighed aloud when their backs leaned against the metallic lining. “Home, here we go,” Maru sighed. She closed the elevator doors and pressed the button that would send them to the cave entrance.

                            “... Oh, Yoba,” Jade groaned, coming to a realization. “There is no way I can walk back to my house like this.”

                            Maru shrugged. “Mom won’t mind if you stay, you know. In fact, she’d probably beg you to.”

                            The young farmer chuckled, knowing such a statement was true. “Maybe I’ll take a nap and go back home in the night,” she suggested to herself. The elevator dinged when it reached its destination and opened up. The sky was a dim, darkening blue and visibility became limited. “Wow. We were in there all evening.”

                            “Yup,” the nurse sighed in return. “Mining can take a while. Maybe you should just stay the night, especially with your leg hurt like that. You should let it heal up.” Maru re-adjusted her messenger bag and started for the exit.

                            “I suppose you’re right,” Jade admitted in defeat.

                            Even with the temporary struggles the newcomer and the returning mining veteran had, their mining trip was certainly a success. Once they returned to the carpenter shop, they exchanged goods and came to a proper agreement for pay. After some pleasant conversing and a house call to Robin’s cell phone, Maru wished Jade a good stay at their home. Jade bid her new friend a temporary farewell and decided to stay in the shop section of the house. She watched the evening fade into night from one of the front windows, scanning the silhouettes of the mountainous horizon. Robin would come back soon.

                              Gabaw, mrobake, Rauchschwalbe and 3 others like this.
                            • WoogaBooga

                              WoogaBooga Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                              Please help me.

                              I'm addicted to this fanfic. :nuruneutral:
                              • Risukage

                                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                We'll start a support group together. Want some popcorn? :)
                                • MagicallyClueless

                                  MagicallyClueless Master Astronaut

                                  awww, i'm really glad you enjoy it! <3
                                    Gabaw likes this.
                                  • ApertureGaming011

                                    ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                    Do I need a rehab for this? This fanfic became my drug.
                                      Gabaw and WoogaBooga like this.
                                    • CjBeats

                                      CjBeats Weight of the Sky

                                      Uh.. may I have some popcorn?
                                        Gabaw and ApertureGaming011 like this.
                                      • Risukage

                                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                        There is popcorn for everyone. Popcorn is love. And delicious. :)
                                          Gabaw and CjBeats like this.
                                        • CjBeats

                                          CjBeats Weight of the Sky

                                          Great now i want popcorn. *Runs to get popcorn*
                                            Gabaw likes this.

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