”I can’t decide on anywhere to go.”
”Fuyuko, we’re just going to do some gold farming; there’s no need to pick anywhere fancy. Just find something that has level-appropriate monsters for us to grind.”
”That’s too boring. I don’t want to subject myself to a game-length grinding fest; there should be something else to do in the meantime. Something fun, enjoyable, and non-monotonous. Something like… desserts.”
Fuyuko picks up one of the magazines and quickly begins leafing through it.
”I know! We should go somewhere that has lots of varied kinds of desserts and sweets so that we don’t get bored with the monotony of grinding; I’m thinking cherry ice cream, cherry pie, cherry tarts, cherry cake, cherry milkshakes, cherry gelatin, crystallized cherries, cherry gumdrops, cherry jelly beans, things like that. There’s this one place called Saccharet that I’ve always wanted to visit; it’s supposed to have the most and best desserts in the entire universe, and it even makes the special cherry cream-flavored soda with S+++ grade magic cherry syrup from real cherry crawlers.”
Fuyuko shows everyone a specific page from her magazine, which happens to be filled with 4K pictures of various candies and desserts with aggressively red coloration. On the opposite page is a short article accompanied by a photograph of a cherry crawler.
”Um, Fuyuko, it defeats the point of farming gold if we’re going to be spending all of our money on sweets.”
”I know, Hanako; that’s why we’re going to buy the special buff versions that give you more stats and +15% additional gold and experience gains from defeating monsters. They’ll pay for themselves with the extra money, and make the grinding so much easier.”
Meanwhile, Izumi is sitting next to Hanako looking somewhat unconvinced.
”Well, I suppose we can go to Saccharet if you really want. Just remember to pack your drinks before we leave; I don’t want to have to spend another 500 gold on buying them when we get there.”
”Great, it’s settled then! I’ll go pack all of my gear so we can get going soon; I want to arrive early enough to find a hotel before dark.”
”Maybe we should have brought some snowshoes; I might be the charmingly petite cover art mascot, but even I keep sinking into all of this snow.”
Fuyuko pulls her foot out of at least twenty centimeters of snow.
”You were the one with the travel magazine that was supposed to have weather information in it.”
”It didn’t say anything about there being this much snow; Saccharet usually only has a few centimeters of snow cover at a time. At least we’ll be able to find snow cones when we finally get to somewhere inhabited.”
Izumi takes a look around at the quiet, snowbound winter forest that she and everybody else are walking through.
”Hopefully we don’t run into any monsters before we get to Saccharet proper; I’d prefer not to waste effort and consumable items on defeating monsters before we pick up some quests.”
”Speaking of which, we still need to take bets on whether the first monsters will be rats or blue, vaguely gelatinous creatures of some description. Oh! I wonder if they’ll be living gelatins or something like that?”
”I have to admit that it would be pretty on theme with the rest of Saccharet, wouldn’t it? They probably farm slimes to make gelatin desserts, too.”
”No no no, don’t say any more than that; they say that you should never visit a gelatin factory or learn how they really make gelatin desserts because it ruins gelatins for you forever, and I still want to be able to eat my delicious fruit gelatin cups in peace!”
”Anyway, I bet 500 4D-Tetropoly dollars that the first level 1 monster that we find will be a blue slime or slime-like creature. Any takers?”
”Maybe later; I see a city gate up ahead.”
“Greetings, and welcome to the Moa’s Foot Inn. Are you here to accept quests, eat, or get some hotel rooms?”
Izumi walks up to the counter.
”We’re here to look at the quest board and get a couple of two-bed hotel rooms, please.”
“I see. The quest board is at that kiosk to your right; here are the room prices.”
While Izumi was interacting with the staff, Fuyuko looked around at the restaurant floor of the inn. Something seemed wrong with the surroundings, but she couldn’t pinpoint exactly what that was; the inn had fried moa legs, sandwiches, and other food available for lunch, served tea and milk for beverages, and had nothing around it that suggested any manner of foul play. After a few minutes, Izumi walked back from the front desk with some room keys.
”I got our hotel rooms. Ready to pick some quests to finish?”
”Hm? Oh, sure; I’m fine with going questing now.”
”I’m not hungry right now, so I see no reason to stop for a meal before leaving again.”
”That’s fine. I need more money before I can do any shopping anyway.”
”It’s settled, then.”
The party then quickly walked over to the quest board in order to view their options and select their first quests to be done in Saccharet.
”and… done! This quest just wants us to go defeat twenty monsters in the forest that we just walked through. It only pays 100 gold, but it says that we can defeat any kind of monster that we want.”
”Sounds good to me. It should be a nice warmup session before we start grinding; I’ve been pretty out of practice since our last adventure.”
Now that Fuyuko and company are signed up for their first quest, they leave the inn to return to the forest outside of Saccharet. After leaving town and spending a few minutes walking in the forest, Fuyuko has a realization.
”Oh! I didn’t see any sweets in the tavern; no desserts, no candy, not even any soda. You think that’s a bit strange, right?”
”I know that we’re in Saccharet, Fuyuko, but you can’t really expect it to be some kind of candy wonderland with sugar snow and gingerbread buildings.”
”Well, if you say so. But still, I don’t think that everything’s one hundred percent right here.”