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122 Battle Interlude

 Death scorches the air, he could smell the stench of it all around him, the horrid aroma of blood and charred flesh. Everywhere he looked bodies of NPCs were scattered all over the place, the carcasses of men, women, and children were lying bleeding, littering the ground.

Screams of the living, echoed around him as if they were on an endless loop. The harshness of the sound was painful to hear. From where he stood he could see players trying to save NPCs, while simultaneously trying to fight the incoming monsters. With most of them failing, leaving the NPC to be torn apart.

If he had known that it would be like this he would have dialed back the realistic setting on his interface. The only thing that was keeping him sane while he looked at this bloody scene, was knowing that this wasn't real, that these people were only computer-generated.

"Nascent Soul! Are you alright?" Xafnir asked. "I have been calling out to you for the last minute."

"Yeah, man. I'm all right, it's just..." Nascent Soul trailed off, gesturing to the multitude of dead bodies on the ground near him."

Rolling his eyes, Xafnir said, "I told you when we were leaving to turn your realistic settings down. I bet you listen to me next time."

"Whatever. What is the status of the NPCs we saved earlier?" Nascent Soul asked.

"They are fine, all 200 of them had been escorted to safety. Our party is now at the top of the ranking boards, with how many NPCs we saved so far." Xafnir replied.

Smirking, Nascent Soul said, "Good, once we win this event, let's see if those other guilds will keep looking down on us."

"Soul, even if our save ranking is high, our party's monster kill ranking is extremely low," Xafnir told him.

"It won't be that way for long." Nascent Soul says as he takes out his disguised weapon. "Tell the elites, that its time to play."

"You know how they are, they will destroy this town," Xafnir said.

Glancing at the burning, and half-destroyed buildings, Nascent Soul just shrugged his shoulders, "Look around, how can they hurt this town any more than it already is."

"Your right, I will call them right over," Xafnir said, staring at Nascent Soul who was ready for action. "You be safe out there, it would be embarrassing if our guild leader was to die."

"Don't worry about me, if I die I'm taking 20 monsters with me." Nascent Soul said as he summoned ghostly wings on his back, and began flying towards the nearest and most powerful monster.

Xafnir just shook his head as he watched his friend fly away, he kind of wishes he chose the Soul Weaver class also, if only for those cool looking wings. Sighing, at the missed opportunity he began calling their guild's elites.

~

Back on the houseboat

"Drifting Cloud, what are you going to make for me?" Melting Snow asked while leaning against one of the counters in the kitchen.

Looking at his collected recipes, Xinya said, "Let me see."

Xinya looked through his recipes, checking to see which one would take the least amount of time to make, but would also be helpful when they are in the treasure dungeon. After looking at many different ones, he found the perfect recipe to make.

Puff Pastry Fruit Pizza: it looks like a fancy dessert that would be perfect for an elegant party, but it's super easy to make! *For four hours, it will give: Mana +50 HP+50 Str+ 21 Sta+50.

This dessert would boost the stats, that everyone in the party needed to use, and with it being only a 3-star dish, it would be extremely easy for Xinya to make. Besides that, Xinya knew that Melting Snow would enjoy eating it.

"I decided, I'm going to make a puff pastry fruit pizza," Xinya said.

Melting Snow's eyes begin to sparkle as he said, "That sounds delicious, I can't wait to eat it."

Taking out the ingredients he would need, Xinya started preparing to start making the dish. After he had all the equipment and ingredients prepared to make the dessert laid out on the counter, he began to cook.

First, Xinya went over and preheated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, he took out a baking sheet and lined it with some parchment paper. Placing the baking sheet to one side he grabbed a bowl and placed some strawberries that he cut up inside of it, he sprinkled some sugar on top of them, after giving them a stir he set the bowl aside.

"Do you need any help?" Melting Snow asked as he watched Xinya cook.

Shaking his head, Xinya said, "Not right now, how about you snack on these leftover strawberries while you watch me."

"Okay," Melting Snow replied, while happily taking the leftover fruit over to a table to munch on.

Getting back to work, Xinya layout some puff pastry dough on a cutting board so that it was in one flat piece. Using a sharp knife, he cut the dough into four equal squares.

After that he used the same knife to cut into the dough and run the knife down each side of the dough square until he was about 1/4-inch away from the edge of the dough, he repeated this on all four sides.

When he was done, he had a 1/4-inch square frame around the dough. Using a fork, he repeatedly pierces the center of the dough, inside the frame. Xinya than repeated this with the remaining dough squares, before transferring the dough to his prepared baking sheet.

Putting it in the oven, he set the timer for 15 minutes, while the pastry was baking, Xinya started preparing the cheese filling. Getting a medium mixing bowl, he began mixing cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it was smooth. While adding  2 tablespoons of milk to thin out the filling a little to his desired consistency, before setting it aside.

While he was doing that, 15 minutes passed and his timer dinged. Taking the pastries out of the oven, he transfers them to a serving platter. Putting the filling into a pastry bag, he proceeded to place 1/4 of the filling in the center of each pastry.

He then used the back of a spoon to spread out the filling until he reached the edge of the inner square. After he finished doing that, he began layering the 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries on top of each pastry so they look pretty. To finish them off he sprinkled the tops of the strawberries with powdered sugar.

Once the sugar was on each of the pastries a ding sounded:

[Puff Pastry Fruit Pizza has been completed!!]

[Puff Pastry Fruit Pizza evaluation: Taste 4 stars/ Quality 3.5 stars/ Presentation 4.5 stars!]

Seeing the Xinya was done, cooking, Melting Snow looked at the pastries with hunger, "They look delicious, I can't wait to taste it."

"Well you will have to," Xinya said, amused by the naked want on Melting Snow's face. "We can only eat this before we go inside the dungeon."

"Eh?! I'm going to go ask Wandering Sound, how much time we have before we arrive." Melting Snow said, running out the kitchen as Xinya put the dessert into his inventory.