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199 Pudding

 Logging back into the game, the first thing that greeted Xinya was the blinding light of the golden sun that was shining high in the sky. Shielding his eyes from the radiance of the sun's rays, he began to look around the area only to see that he and Wei were the first to arrive.

This was a little surprising to him since usually after a logout session like this, as soon as he logs back in, Melting Snow would be there waiting for him with a welcoming smile. However, this time it seems as though the roles will be reversed, and he will be the one welcoming the boy back.

"It appears that we are the first to arrive," stated Wei as she leaned against the railing that was positioned behind her.

"I guess we are," Xinya responded while making himself comfortable against the railing next to her. "But knowing how those two are, they should be arriving shortly."

As if he could predict the future, as soon as those words left his lips, Wandering Sound and Melting Snow appeared in front of them. The two boys turned to look at Xinya and Wei in surprise when they saw that they had already arrived.

"How did you beat me here?" Melting Snow asked, mystified. "You never log on before I do. This is a travesty."

Wei who was chortling at the boy's dramatics said, "What is so surprising, you can't always log on before Drifting Cloud does."

"Tsk, a person who doesn't know our system, shouldn't put their two cents in," Melting Snow huffed.

"We have a system?" Xinya asked with a grin. "Why didn't I know anything about it."

With a shrug of his shoulders the furry-eared boy replied, "Because you didn't need to know since you were automatically doing it anyway."

"So basically, from what I'm hearing, your system is something only you know of," Wandering Sound stated, finally joining in on the conversation.

"Semantics," Melting Snow responded, waving the man's words away. "It was my fault this time, I had to order out for my food, so the system was thrown into whack. It will be back in order next time."

Holding in laughter, Xinya walked over to where Melting Snow was and gave him a gentle noogie that mussed up his hair. "Whatever you say you, silly boy."

Batting away the bark-like hand that was messing up his hair, Melting Snow began to pout. He knew he wasn't being silly, his system was tested many times and worked great.

Every time he arrives before Drifting Cloud something amazing happens. Like getting invited to a banquet that is hosted by a monster or going fishing and having to fight a giant jellyfish.

After thinking about it a bit, Melting Snow decided that it was probably for the best that his system was broken this time. They still haven't joined his cousin's guild yet, so until they do it probably wouldn't be too good if Xinya was noticed too much.

Succeeding in getting rid of Drifting Clouds hands that were rubbing his head, Melting Snow walked over to the bridge entrance, "Why are we just standing around, let's go check out the other part of town."

"You were the one going on and on about your system," smirked Wei, seeing that the boy was trying to change the subject. "We could have started walking ages ago if it wasn't for that."

"Well, I'm not talking about it now, so let's go!" exclaimed Melting Snow, as he started to make his way across the bridge.

With indulgent smiles, the group followed the boy across the bridge while laughing quietly to themselves.


As Xinya and his friends crossed over the stone covered bridge, large bursts of sound coming from the town could be heard. Like a pointy pin, it popped the quiet atmosphere that they had while walking through the farmland like a bubble.

The tonal shift wasn't as abrupt as Xinya thought it would be, but then again he was used to the ruckus that came with living in a bustling town. Although, as he and his friends walked fully into the town's centre, he had to admit that this was way more than what he was used to.

To him this part of Arkala seemed to be a vast, intricate, labyrinth of noisy streets and houses. All around him there was a multitude of noisy players and NPCs either milling around or going about their business.

"We are finally, really here," Melting Snow stated in awe glancing around at the busy hodgepodge that was Arkala's town centre.

Nodding his head, Xinya agreed, "Yes we really are."

Suddenly he could hear the sound of music starting to blare, and a crowd starting to yell enthusiastically in the distance. Xinya and his friends looked at each other questioningly, wondering what could be going on.

Following the noise, the group weaves their way through the busy streets over to where a crowd of people was standing. They were watching some sort of performance.

As Xinya watched he saw musicians playing instruments that could be seen in museums. The sounds that they were creating was majestic, creating a merry atmosphere.

Seeing as there was a large group of people forming, the local food vendors started to move their wares closer trying to sell them to the crowd. Tantalizing scents wafted through the breeze, and even though Xinya just ate he started to feel hungry again.

Nearby he saw a woman who was selling something called Carnauba pudding. Tempted by the smells in the air, he was about to call her over but was stopped by Melting Snow beating him to it. Xinya watched as the boy rushed over to the woman, only to come back with two bowls of pudding in his hands.

"Here you go Drifting Cloud, I got pudding for you," announced Melting Snow while handing the sweet over to Xinya.

Taking the bowl of pudding with a smile, Xinya thanked the boy. Looking at the purple and black concoction with interest, he spooned it into his mouth, only to savor the pudding's sweet, creamy taste.

Suddenly a notification popped up that tempted him to go get another one.

[Tasting has leveled up!]

[Catering stat gain effects, Cooking's base quality rate, Stability during cooking, and EXP provided from Cooking food will increase by 3%]

[.01% of Carnauba pudding has been acquired.]

"This is very delightful," Xinya announced before eating a couple more bites. "I wish I knew the recipe."

Looking at how Xinya and Melting Snow were enjoying the pudding, Wei became a little jealous. "Why didn't you get me one Melting Snow?"

"I only have two hands," the boy replied while scraping the last bit of pudding from the bowl.

Holding back the urge to roll her eyes, Wei turned to Wandering Sound and said, " Come on Wandering Sound, let's go get some of our own. I hope someone won't be upset while they watch us eat, now that there's are gone."

"She does know that I could always get another one, right?" questioned Melting Snow as soon as the couple was out of sight.

Xinya just gave the boy a smile that said 'I don't know', as he continued to eat the last of his pudding.