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171 The Glade

 'How could this have happened?' Blooming Flower thought to herself as she looked over at the spot where Melting Snow and his friends once were.

The campsite that was bustling with life just an hour ago, was now completely deserted. It was all the game fault for making her log out.

That stupid 23-hour rule, because of that she became separated from her idol's group. Punching the tree in front of her in anger, she knew that if she was younger she would be definitely throwing a tantrum at this moment.

After bemoaning the situation she was in, she began to think about what she should do next. The first thing that came to mind was to look around and try to find them again.

The grove was only so big, she understood that if she surveyed her surroundings that there was a high possibility of her running into them. However, Blooming Flower thought it would be best to nix that idea.

Even if any monster would come across her, she would be able to take it out easily, the fight would draw attention to her. And to be honest that wasn't something she wanted right now.

Plus if Melting Snow and his party stumbled upon her suddenly, it would make her come off as suspicious. Especially since they had been carefully combing through this grove. If a random girl like herself popped up near them out of nowhere, she didn't think that would go over well.

No, she decided that she wouldn't continue to try and go after them, but what she could do is be one step ahead of them. While she was following them, she heard snippets of their conversation and they mentioned where they were heading next.

"What was it, Arzberg...Armeg..." Blooming Flower whispered to herself, as she leaned on the tree she was standing by. Tapping her hand against her head, she tried to remember the name of the town that she heard the elf girl say. "Arkala! That was it."

Pleased with herself for remembering the name, Blooming Flower pulled up her interface and opened the map. After locating the town, she smiled and started walking in the direction of it.

Although she was upset that she wouldn't be able to keep following Melting Snow, she had to admit it was kind of better this way. She would have more time to work on her plan for the perfect way to make his acquaintance.

With that thought in mind, she began following the map making her way out of the grove. While she was walking she made a note to herself to remember to mail her brother's dress to him.

~

While Blooming Flower was on her way out of the grove, Xinya and his friends were already making their way deeper into it. All throughout the night, they had been firing themselves up about what wonders they would see in the fairy world, so as soon as they saw a speck of light in the sky, they quickly packed up their camp and resumed searching.

As they ventured deeper into the undergrowth of this ancient grove. They wished really hard that they would be able to find those mushrooms in time. However, it felt like it wouldn't be so easy, since the farther they went in the denser the trees became, blocking out the bright sun up above.

Seeing how bleak the area had become, Xinya took out a couple of glow flowers and handed it to each member of the party, giving them that extra needed light. Since his focus was broken he took the time to look around only then did he realize that the grove became more mystical and spellbinding.

There were huge tree roots that seemed to be lying spread-eagled on the ground, twisting like the great backs of prehistoric sea creatures. The foliage became thick and lush, forming an arch of fairytale-green above their heads.

As they walked arthritic boughs, gnarled with age, dripped their bounty of nuts down from above. Briars, brambles and berry trees flanked the area as if there were impenetrable guards on every side.

Shuffling noises of various monsters could be heard coming from the dark shadows of the trees, stepping on the abundant fallen leaves. A troupe of shambling Bok deer could also be seen crossing the winding trail in front of them at one point. They were just finishing up their early morning foraging when Xinya's group passed by and startled them causing them to run away.

The sights around him felt surreal, but there was no time for him to gawk at them, he needed to keep searching for those elusive mushrooms. Turning his gaze back down to the forest floor he continued scanning around for them.

The search went on for the Amanita muscaria for quite a while, so long in fact that it was getting dark once again. Xinya couldn't believe it; they had searched all day long and still didn't discover the mushrooms.

Beginning to worry they wouldn't be able to find the mushrooms before the full moon was over he turned to Wandering Sound and asked, "Are you sure that librarian was reliable?"

"I'm sure, we just have to keep looking. I'm sure we will be able to find them." Wandering Sound replied, with a tinge of doubt in his voice.

Even though he was skeptical of what Wandering Sound said Xinya continued to look around anyway. While he was trying to convince himself to not be upset if they didn't find the mushrooms, he heard Melting Snow calling for them from a couple of feet away.

"Guys, quickly get over here!" Melting Snow yelled through the party's voice chat. He couldn't believe he had found the mushrooms. However, his happiness had to be on hold, cause there would be a problem getting to them.

Wondering why Melting Snow used the party voice chat to call them, Xinya looked at his map which was transparent in front of him and locked in on his location. Along with Wei and Wandering Sound, he made his way to the boy's destination.

They arrived at a large glade, but before they could enter, Melting Snow pulled them to hide behind one of the large surrounding shrubs. However, before he did Xinya caught a glimpse of what was inside.

Inside of the glade, there was only one tree, it was like the rest just disappeared since they paled in comparison to this one. The tree itself was luminously white glowing with ethereal light, and just below it was the ring of red and white mushrooms.

This would have been a call for celebration, if there weren't a giant boss monster that had just transformed right in front of it. Xinya couldn't help but curse their luck.