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222 2.3

 'I wonder what awesome farm animal I will be able to find in here,' Melting Snow thought happily as he used his Sonic Run skill to speed through the wooded area of Drifting Cloud's farm.

That excitement only lasted so long, though, because there was nothing else to be seen after minutes of running apart from a charred landscape. The only thing around Melting Snow was scorched trees, rocks, and grass, which wasn't very appealing to look at.

He must have been running for a while because without noticing his stamina became depleted, this caused his Sonic Run skill to end prematurely. He thought about chugging down a Stamina potion but decided against it and let it refill slowly on its own.

Now that he was slowed to walking speed, he could really see everything around him in more detail. What really stood out to him was the ground, it looked strange, he wondered why he didn't notice it before.

Well, he knew why he didn't, it was really dark when they first arrived and when it became daytime, there were other more important things for him to care about than paying attention to the ground. But as he looked at it now, he became extremely interested in it, because of how odd it was.

It wasn't odd in some crazy way, it was just that the land was totally blackened. Melting Snow thought it looked like one of those aftermath pictures of those ancient volcano eruptions that he saw when he was browsing the net that one time he was bored.

He remembered reading about how the ground would turn super hard afterward and was suddenly overwhelmed with curiosity. 'Would it feel the same way?'

As soon as the thought went through his head, he knew that he had to find out. Stopping in his tracks, Melting Snow squatted down and gave the dirt a quick poke, only to be surprised by how it felt. Using his fingers, he played with it for a bit before gathering some in his hand.

It wasn't hard like a rock as he thought it would be; instead, it felt coarse and kind of brittle. The feeling of it between his fingers was strange to him, the texture was completely different from what he was used to.

Giving in to another weird urge of his, he lifted the handful of dirt to his nose and gave it a quick sniff. When the aroma of it fully hit him, Melting Snow knew that if he could, he would have gagged because the smell it gave off was genuinely horrible.

'Oh my goodness! Why does this stuff smell so putrid,' he thought to himself as he tossed the dirt far away from his body.

Jumping to his feet, Melting Snow began wiping the excess dirt off his hands and onto his pants, wrinkling his nose at the smell that was still permeating around him.

He really wanted to get the scent out of his nose. Although he couldn't clearly describe what it smelt like, it was still terrible. And it was something that he didn't want to try actively sniffing again. Seeing that his stamina was filled back up, he once again activated his skill, hoping that the wind would clear the smell from his nostrils.

It was only after running a couple more minutes that the smell was gone, and he finally saw something different apart from the burnt landscape that had been a constant for a while now. Instead of the charred wood, he was getting used to, he could see some actual green. Although not a lot, it seemed that some specks of life actually survived.

"This is promising," Melting Snow muttered to himself, quickly deactivating his skill. He came to a halt in front of two rows of trees that had been entirely untouched by the fire. "It seems the fire didn't get the whole entire farm."

As he inspected the trees, Melting Snow noticed that something was dangling from them. Getting a closer look, he could tell that it was some sort of fruit, but had no idea what kind they were.

'If Drifting Cloud was here, he would know,' Melting Snow thought, before plucking one of the round hairy fruits off the tree and stashing it into his inventory. He knew that the green-haired man would be happy to learn that some produce survived the fire.

Opening his interface, the furry-eared boy decided that it would be best to note everything he finds and their coordinates. That way, when he goes back to give Drifting Cloud the report of everything he saw, the man would know exactly where to look later on.

'I always knew I was a smart cookie.' Melting Snow smirked while mentally patting himself on the back at his brilliant idea.

After he finished writing down the fruit tree coordinates, Melting Snow once more activated his skill and started running straight ahead. However, it only took mere seconds before he almost hit a mountain wall.

Hurriedly he canceled his skill, realizing he had run to the end of Drifting Cloud's property. Looking around, he observed that besides the mountain that seemed to surround the farmland, there was also a small stream that was on the land.

After looking at it closer, Melting Snow saw that the waterway was only 3-4inches in width and only about 6-7 inches deep. He could only huff at the mere idea of labeling it a stream.

At most, it could be called a slightly significant trickle of water. Chuckling, Melting Snow shook his head while thinking, 'I guess Drifting Cloud wasn't lucky enough to have his own personal fishing spot on his farm.'

"Or maybe he will," Melting Snow said when he realized that the trickle of water had to be coming from somewhere.

Following the stream, the boy began to imagine where it would lead him to. For some reason, he kept picturing a misty pond with some unknown animal living in it. Knowing Drifting Cloud, as he did, he was quite sure that it could happen.

It wasn't long, only about ten minutes had passed until he reached the place where the water came from. From what Melting Snow could tell the water was coming out a small hole from the side of a mountain.

Melting Snow had a feeling that there might be something special on the other side of that rock wall. This was Drifting Cloud's property after all, and just like the green-haired man, the things he owns are always just as interesting.

Walking up to the mountainside, the boy decided to make the hole bigger to peer inside. He was hoping that he would be able to discover something awesome, like iron or gold.

Feeling excited at the notion of discovering something like that, Melting Snow quickly took out his swords. Stepping back a bit, he activated one of his many sword attacks and aimed it at the hole.

However, the attack was too powerful and shattered all the nearby rocks into pieces. It was only after the dust settled that Melting Snow realized that he mistakenly created an entrance to a hidden cave on his friend's property.

"I just knew I wouldn't be let down," sniggered Melting Snow as he stared into the newly discovered cavern's darkness that seemed to go on forever.