[Author Note: Hey guys! Jumping on the bandwagon like the rest of the fanfiction writers here, and deciding to post a thread with my work. Going to essentially try to update this as I do on my WattPad account, but I may be a chapter behind or ahead at times. If you're looking for around the clock updates, the story will be posted here for all those looking for it on WattPad! This fanfic is essentially revolving around events that the protagonist/player (Roxane Beauchene) experiences after she moves to Stardew Valley. The story will aim to convert the game into a type of story--using both cut scenes from the game and those that I make up! Most of the content won't deal with much of the games actual mechanics (although they will be mentioned and described with detail), and more to do with the antagonist (Joja Corp.), relationships with characters, and love interests. Speaking of romance, this story will be semi-written along the format of a reader insert (if desired to read it this way), with the exception that the protagonist, or "you" are named. (Writing "Your Name" over and over again was not something I wanted to do, so I put in a player instead! ) That being said, there will be chapters which will ask you to pick "Path A" or "Path B", based on your preference! Most likely these will have to do with the romance Arc of the story, or the once in a while dilemma of what to do in a dire situation. Once the fanfiction is complete (if I get that far ), there will be two different endings pertaining who "you" would like to marry. Actually, there will be more like 5 different endings--depening on which character the player decides to marry, as well as the possiblity of a neutral route, OR a some sort of "bad" ending. Probably sounds complicated...but that'll be down the road! I should probably mention that each season will be around 10-15 chapters long...and there are 4 seasons....and this will most likely span at least 1 year & 1/2...so expect this to be an epic of a fanfic (I'm talking 70+ chapters here folks...oh boy...). But if you're up to committing to reading it, then so am I in writing it! I should also put out there that this is a Sebastian X Player X Elliot fanfic, so those be our bachelor options of the story. You is welcome Sebastian and Elliot fans. But I warn ye o' angst. *waves pirate hook* Without further ado, enjoy! And as always, thoughts about the piece, or ideas for the story, are very much appreciated and welcomed! (I'm bound to run out of ideas from time to time...heheh) -IR] ^Edited on 6/24/16 There are countless bunches of people who don’t give a care in the world, and would love to spend a season in a quaint little village west of no-where and east of never-been. Getting up and moving along in life to have a fun vacation is the norm for these types of people. Life is good, life is stable—why not put it on hold for a while? Press the pause button. When I come back to it, everything will be right where I left it! They make it so simple, and yet to someone like myself, they sound so naïve. You see, not everyone can just press the stop button, and freeze their life. To the rest of us, we have to surf through the waves of motion, and continue onward. Unlucky are we, to have to suffer through the bouts of loss and destruction, as life gives us the good and the bad times. We were unfortunate enough to open our eyes a little too wide, and find that everything around us was either good, or not so. We don’t just call things a day when things don’t work out right, which is a shame. Instead, we dwell on them until we can no longer find another emotion to help us deal with the wave. That is—until we do, and continue to roll through the motions. So while I’ll sit in my stubborn little coop and imagine what it would be like to be naïve, I remember that ignorance is a reluctant bliss for some, and a factor of life for others. Deep down, I regret not being so clueless, and enjoying life. Being pessimistic comes straight from the heart, and like that beating organ, never stops reminding you that it’s there and present. But, like the heart, it has to have a reason for beating. I didn’t want to come to Pelican Town on my own accord. No, instead, some somethings and some someones told me that I needed to go; it didn’t matter if I wanted to or not. Like so many other decisions and life events, I had no choice. So, like always, I went swimming through the motions. My grandfather died when I was a young tot, maybe around the age of 10 or 11. While that was many years ago, I remember it didn’t affect me as much as it did now. I was just a kid, I didn’t really know what death was—as much as I insisted that at that time, I knew everything about anything there was to know about. But aren’t all stubborn brats like that at some point in their life? Nevertheless, that great man gave me a letter—back then I didn’t really know what it was supposed to be used for, nor when to open it. I was but a child, remember? “In a time of crises, when your life is bleak, and you need an escape,” he must have said—or rather, something along the lines. “Open this letter.” I opened the parcel 12 days ago. Now I’m 25, more or less the same child, just a bit more stubborn-witted and realistic when it comes to what life gave me. I could understand the letter’s contents now, and rather, when I found the letter tucked away in a far desk-drawer as I scrambled to find it, I knew that I needed to understand its contents. My grandfather’s death may affect me now more than ever, but that may be because of the fact of me wandering back to a place he once roamed. While I hate to admit it, the real reason as to my need for a place calm and quiet, was my mother’s death. Both unexpected, unlike his, but all the more real, I needed to find an escape from all of the pain and suffering while I still had a chance. Working at a dead-end job, with no hope in sight, wasn’t good for anyone’s mental health. Even before the strain of her passing, I could feel my hair turn grey with the passing seasons, and my outer limbs developing arthritis. Things weren’t looking good for me, right from the start. This is why I came to Stardew Valley—to find my escape. Not a fairytale land of fun and adventure, but one that could take me back to a better time, or at least a better place. I knew not much of what I was going to find as I limped groggily off of the stingy bus, other than an old cabin and 20-acres of land. I was just hoping that it was all going to be worth it, and at least help me cope as I selfishly aimed to try and escape from the life I was presented. So let us begin on that path. A rather muddy one, being as the ground was wet from a combination of an evening shower, and a foggy morning. My mustard-tinted rain-boots squashed as they met with the muddy ground—internally forcing me to wince. A swift creeeak was heard as the plastic door to the bus closed behind me; I didn’t even have to turn around to know that that was it. A plastic life’s sounds always remains the same. However, every other sight and sound was brand new. Not exactly…as, er—well, as appealing as I’m sure nature looks in comparison to a sunny morning—but I was already starting to warm up to the joint. Even if my socks were already soaked. Before I was engulfed in a cloud of gas, I quickened my pace away from the road as the mighty beast of a car shrieked. I looked back for a second, to find the black wave of debris brush out against the landscape, before retreating into the atmosphere. The bus’s wheels scattered to catch their grip on the dirt path, mud spraying about, but this is where I stopped looking back. I had seen it all before, and I don’t find mud that entertaining. Heaving my only parcel of luggage, a duffel bag, onto my shoulder, I started down the damp path to the village. I had half-expected a bird to be chirping somewhere in the distance, seeing as it was early spring. However, I suppose the little pleasures such as these would have to wait for another day, as the afternoon seemed set on reflecting my mood. The sky was tinted slate, with hints of dampened violet off in the distance. A soft breeze would make its way through to me every now and again as I made my way, but other than my brunette hair being tugged at, all was still. Well, as still as it could be, considering that every step I took ended with a plop, plop. Being impatient isn’t one of my best qualities, which is why I was grateful that the pathway to the village was short, sweet, and to the point. It was only a matter of minutes before I found myself turning a corner, and gazing down another muddy mess of a trail. To my left, the fog covered whatever there was to be seen. I could have been for a loss at where to turn, if there hadn’t been a crooked sign across the way. Etched out, no doubt with a sharp knife or hatchet, were the words ‘Pelican Town’ directing to my left. The other sign, pointing obviously to my right, displayed a phrase I felt like I would never get used to seeing. ‘Beauchene Farm’. Since when did my surname belong somewhere so fresh and unpolluted? I felt like all it had ever known was the city sidewalk covered in slime, while ads for Joja Coke were plastered against every surface. Never did I think that my surname was meant to be somewhere like this. Maybe that’s why Papa wrote it on a note, I wondered in a curious, and almost childlike, fashion. It doesn’t sound right when you say it aloud. I forced myself to stop my starring at the sign, and continue onward to my right. I wasn’t in the mood to go wandering out into town in the late afternoon, especially when I couldn’t see 10 feet in front of my face. While the atmosphere felt, for the most part, safe—there was a part of me that wasn’t yet comfortable in meeting the townsfolk. Call me an introvert, or insist I must be some loner, but I just wasn’t in the mood to open up my mouth and talk. Instead, I wandered on to the plot of land that I would soon call ‘home’, if I decided it should be such a place. The idea of going back to the city wasn’t appealing, but if things didn’t work out…I would have no choice but to go back. But, who knows? Maybe there is a profit to be made on such a farm as this one ought to become. This is where my habit of thinking too quickly comes into play. Just before I entered the clearing, I was half-expecting a vast field filled to the brim with apple trees, and the sunset on the horizon. Maybe a rusty gate here and there, signifying the last of the crops my grandfather had reaped the many years beforehand. Instead, I felt like I had been cheated out of an astounding offer. Instead of a valley, I was introduced face to face with a thick forest as soon as the fog cleared around my form. Brambles and weeds covered the forest, not to mention overgrown grass that ran up and tickled my ankles. The ground may have been blessed with a pleasant mix of soil, but there wasn’t an inch of it that was not crushed by boulders, stones, or pebbles. Amidst the thick wood lie a cabin that looked like it had gone to hell and back. Some windows were cracked, not to mention the outer layer of wood, while the deck looked as if it was too unstable to walk upon. The top of the chimney had corroded away to reveal a moss-covered brick, while cobwebs draped every corner of the shack. For a split second, as my jaw lay agape at the scene before me, I thought about turning back. Leaving this all behind. What a waste of a trip this had been, only to find some land that hadn’t been touched by human hands in more than decade, and a wrecked mess of a house that didn’t seem suitable for even a lousy pig-sty! Didn’t anyone give a damn in the world to clean this place up every once in a while after my grandfather had left it? Didn’t anyone care at all? How could they be so selfish- Oh. That’s right. All of this was supposed to be my responsibility now. As much as I hated to think of the idea that, yes, this was it, I remembered how reality loved to hit me in the face as often as possible. This was one of those times. And just like every other, I had to power through it with a cup of coffee (or six), and with the help of a hoe or axe. I forced myself to let my anger and regret subside, just for a moment, before I took another couple of steps onto the plot. My hands were still clenched, but I didn’t dare release them. One of my many odd coping methods for stress. I’m sure we’ll discover more as soon as work is under way. I tried my very best not to look further into the forest, in fear that I might become overwhelmed with a sense of dread. Instead, my eyes wandered to an open crate—the only object that looked brand new, or at least not as ruined as everything else. Curiosity guided me over to it, to find a batch of tools lying out in the open. I guess some people care…at least, now that there’s someone actually living here. Along with an axe, hoe, watering can, and plethora of other items, I found a note taped to the side of the box. It read: Thought you might need these to get yourself started on out here—consider these as housewarming gifts from a dear friend. -Lewis Immediately I recognized the name, and for a split second a smile made its way to my face—as well as a hint of pity. Lewis was an old pal of my late grandfather, and in a sense, one of the only people left on this earth who knew a great lot about him. Shortly after I had decided to move to Stardew Valley, I had conversed with him by letter on the matter of making my way down to town. While I didn’t know much of him, other than vaguely meeting him when I was a little tot, I knew he was someone I could lean on if I needed to. It’s not everyday someone goes out of their way to buy you some tools that could have costed me all that I had left. At least I didn’t have to worry too much about my expenses now. Setting the note back into the crate, I planted my duffel bag on the top step to my new abode, and grasped out at the hoe I had been presented with. The grooved in the handle complimented my smooth hands, which were no doubt going to eventually turn rough and coarse with a healthy amount of tough labor. Taking a look at the stone edge of the tool, I found that it wasn’t as sharp as I had been expecting. More on the blunt side, I knew that I could make do with it. With the ground being as moist as it was, there was a good chance that I could pull off an easy start right off the bat. Before the ground turned hard and dry, anyway. With that, I went to work. My grip on the hoe tightened as I made my way back towards the entrance of the clearing, finding a small area that hadn’t been littered with neglect. Picturing a short row in my mind, I nervously clawed my tool into the soil in an attempt to toil the dirt. As I had expected, it was soft to the touch of stone, and seemed to willingly move out of my way as I pleased. There, you just found something that went right in your day. In an attempt to fight back depression from what I often considered was from my bleak life, I made an effort to find something that was good about my day. No matter how small. Didn’t fall when coming down the stairs? Good. Didn’t get into an argument with someone on a bus terminal? Fantastic. Had a delicious salad for lunch? Outstanding. If I could start with the little things, maybe I could make some grand memories out of the big events in my life. I hope it works. Maybe things won’t be so bad from here on out, my short spurt of optimism rang out from my conscious, and I couldn’t help but think that maybe I was right for once. That is, until it started to pour with the strength of a weeping infant 15 minutes into plowing at the land. I cursed up a storm, as did the sky above me, as I put on a poor effort to shield my form from the torrent of wind and water as they bit at my form. Spring rain wasn’t as cold as it was back in the city, and I found myself unimpressed in my choice of outfit for the day. Jean-shorts, red flannel with a black tank underneath. Just wonderful. At least my rain boots were in order, if you didn’t count the fact that mud had already found its way inside far before the weather turned hostile. With my lack of proper attire, my body pleaded that I make do with what I had accomplished in the short span of time, and head indoors. However, I had different plans. Tucked away in my back shorts pocket, was a bag containing a lot of parsnip seeds. My going-away-gift from my father, as he insisted that they would come in handy, and I suppose that he was right. I fought at the icy droplets that clouded my vision, and forced myself to plant each individual seed where I had disturbed the soil. Just get this over with, and I promise that you can sleep in tomorrow, I compromised with my body. There wasn’t much I could do to reject the offer, so I limped on with my task of placing each seed where I may. I’m sure the chore could have taken mere moments in pleasant weather—but tonight, it took me more than 5 minutes. Twenty-one minutes after I had originally started plowing at the ground, I found myself soaking wet inside the stingy cabin. At that point in time, I didn’t think of it as a creepy, unorderly, dirty, or even unwelcoming as I had originally judged it to be. Whether that was due to false judgement, or the fact that my body was practically begging for a sheltered bed, I could not tell. Probably both. Without a care in the world, I tossed the filthy hoe onto the doormat besides the entrance, and gazed at my surroundings. An entire room was all that the cabin was made up of—not that I was expecting three floors and a basement or any luxury such as this. A mini-stove and fridge lined the back wall, along with a small dining table with four matching chairs adorning the center of the room. Off to the opposite side of the ‘kitchen’, rested a television (approximately the size of my head) on a wooden stool. My brow clenched at the unexpected item, but I shrugged it off, allowing myself to be grateful for whomever it had been who had installed the piece of technology. At the very least, I would be able to know about what was going on in the world as I rested out in the middle of nowhere. The pièce de résistance of the entire room, was a small bed adorned with an auburn set of blankets. Quickly making my way to this piece of furniture after I stripped myself free of my boots, I observed that most of the blankets looked to have been sewn by hand. Had they been Papa’s pieces? I wasn’t aware that he was able to create such a fine piece of cloth, but I suppose anything was possible. If I had a chance, maybe I should write to my father with this proposal. But for now, all I wanted to do was rest. Not bothering to change out of any clothing, I tore apart the peaceful display that was a made bed, and covered myself in the warm blankets that had been left for me. My—literally speaking—cold feet, were immediately reintroduced with warmth’s embrace once they left the clutches of open air, and disappeared under the cotton. I sighed in disbelief; I hadn’t experienced such comfort in ages. Much better than those cheap, 10-gold a piece bargain mattresses, that’s for sure, I thought with slight glee. It was then, as I started to drift off into what I would vaguely remember as the most wonderful sleep I would have had in many years’ time, when I noticed the sound of dripping rain and howling wind outdoors. Instead of sounding like the harsh beckoning of something ominous as they had felt like outdoors—inside, they sounded like a lullaby. Nature’s little bed-time story for the tired young-adult. I let the thoughts of each individual grouping of raindrops clatter about in my sleepy consciousness, instead of letting something downcast take its hold. Mom’s departure. Quitting work. Traveling afar. Leaving it all behind for something new. I just hoped that at the end of this road, I would believe that it had all been worth it. Waking up in the morning wasn't as pleasant as I hoped it was going to be. While I could hear birds cheerily chirping outdoors, I found that even this slight disturbance was already starting to give me a headache. Weakly forcing myself to open my eyes, I found that half of my body had reclined off of the bed in the middle of the night. My right foot touched the cold ridges of the stained floor below me, before instantaneously lurching back to the warm comforts the sheets provided. For a moment, I cursed myself for forgetting to grab my slippers or put on some socks before I fell into a deep slumber. I sighed, and let my eyes wander to the roof of the creaky old cabin. While the boards didn't seem so sturdy before, they surprised me in the fact that not a droplet of water was dripping into the room below. I guess there are worse cabins, I thought for a split second. Shaking my head, I turned my attention back towards a new objective—what was I supposed to do with myself now? Well, that couldn't me more obvious, my consciousness muttered sternly, in a more than mocking manner. Go out there and get some work done. It's not like you can just lie down for the whole day. Now that's just lazy. I might have been right, but even with the rest I had earned in the previous night, my physical form yearned to rest for just a little while longer. With all my mental might, I vetoed its request and sat up in my bed. The springs of the mattress almost literally sprung to life with commotion, squeaking with every soft movement I made. Seeing as the sound was far from pleasant, I heaved myself off of the mattress to give my ears some comfort in silence. This is where I was, again, greeted with the stone-cold floor. Internally wincing, I looked about to see where I had left my duffel bag- Until I realized that I had left it outside. In the rain. Cursing aloud, and bringing my palm to my face in sheer embarrassment over my stupidity, I quickly ran forth to the entrance of the cabin, and gazed out onto the deck. A clean layer of sunshine kissed my cheeks as I peered around the door, almost warming my body in an instant. I would have loved to take my time and enjoy the sunshine, if it weren't for my eyes gazing upon the dripping duffel bag three feet away from my grasp. My fists clenched in a mixture of frustration and sadness, before I stepped forward and took the bag by its leash, and threw the mass into my cabin. It skidded across the floor, no doubt covering the floor in a liquid mixture of dirt and water—but I didn't care. Instead of worrying about any messes, I quickly began tearing open the parcel to collect my belongings. Some items came out of the storm unscathed, such as my journal and a few grocery items. On the other end of the spectrum, my entire collection of clothing articles—from my jeans to my sweatshirts—had been drowned overnight. I didn't expect anything different, and so I gathered up a ball of all that I could and set it off to the side. With no washer or dryer, I was going to have to resort to washing everything by hand—at least under I could afford some an expensive commodity. Some hard labor should do you good, I insisted. I took a couple moments from my time to organize all of my little knick-knacks I had taken with me in my travels, before I hesitantly picked up the dripping lump of clothing. Immediately I could feel my tank-top become drenched from the contact, but I forced myself onward. Taking my barefoot steps out into the wilderness, I stepped across the front deck and looked about. The atmosphere from the previous afternoon had completely changed. As you may have guessed, the sun was shining through even the tallest, thickest tree tops, and the sky from above looked a mighty cyan. The distance appeared to possess the storm that had disappeared off into the night, now retreating out westward. The vague appearance of clouds created the illusion of an ultramarine sky out into the distance, which blended nicely with the sky overhead. On the ground, the forest before me looked abundant with life. As they were moments before, birds were singing their songs into the early morning, and fluttering about as they may. Here and there an acorn would drop, giving notion that a squirrel was nearby. A grin made its way onto my face for a small portion of time—before I could feel water dripping down the leg of my shorts. Without bothering to put on my boots nor sneakers, I walked with my feet in the nude off of the front porch and onto the earth. I tried my best to avoid any sharp pieces of gravel that adorned the ground, but every so often the bottoms of my toes felt a sharp pinch. Talk about my feet becoming calloused—what about my feet? Around the side of the house I went, before I found what I was looking for. Two long poles, loosely connected by string—a clothesline. I figured, if I didn't have the regular means of washing my clothes, there had to be the old-fashioned way, and I was right. Other than the fact that the string was thin and worn, and the wooden poles had shifted in last night's storm, they seemed sturdy enough for my interest. Seeing as I didn't have any means of pining my clothing articles to the line, I just decided to fold them half way across the line individually. For now, it was good enough for me. Setting the large pile down at my feet, I grabbed each piece one by one, and hoisted them upon the line. I was only able to go half-way through the pile of laundry before I ran out of useable line, so I started on back to the front of the cabin to put the rest out of harm's way. About to turn around, I suddenly realized that I wasn't alone. "Hey there! How's it going?" I flinched, my eyes immediately widening at whoever it was who had snuck up on me. It was a woman, no doubt a couple of years older than I. Her pumpkin colored hair hung in a loose ponytail, pulling the bangs out of her eyes in a middle part. She wore an amber t-shirt, light hooded parka, and combat boots that were similar to ones I owned. Despite her friendly appearance, I was a little more than suspicious as to why she would come over unannounced—whoever she was. Then again, in tight-knit communities such as this one, this could just be the norm. Either way, I tried to not let this sudden surprise bother me. Before I could say anything, she chuckled. "A little jumpy I see! Well I guess with as rough of a night as it was, I suppose I can understand," without hesitation, she held out her hand. "I'm Robin, the town carpenter. You must be Roxane, am I correct?" I nodded, and let a small smile make its way to my lips. "Yeah. Uh...nice to meet you," I muttered a little too nervously for my liking, and shook her hand. "I came over here to-woah...that cabin sure is a bit...old, isn't it?" Her gaze had travelled from me to the farmhouse, and I couldn't help but instantaneously agree. "Yeah," I sighed, smiling out of pity. "It's, not much." "Well I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, but like I said, I am a carpenter!" Robin beamed, forcing me to inwardly chuckle at her enthusiasm. "I could fix up the place for you in no time! Add a full-on kitchen there, a bathroom over in that corner..." She trailed off, her mindset becoming consumed by her trade as she thought out the placements. Wanting to move the conversation along, I asked, "Well, how much would it cost?" Robin turned back to me, putting her hand to her chin in thought. "Hm...I'd need some raw materials to finish the job up right, but with the lot of land you have here I'd expect that it would be more than enough to cover that cost!" Her arms stretched out in the direction of the thick woods, and I nodded in a curious manner. She's right about that, that's for sure. I guess I could make something of all of this mess. "All in all, about 10,000 gold would do the trick in payment," her face turned a little apologetic once she saw my eyes widening. "I don't mean to be quick with you about all of this, so don't worry about payment right now! If you're ever in need of this place getting fixed up, just drop by and ask and we can get the details sorted out later." I chuckled a bit, "Right—that does sound like a nice plan though. I'll admit, when I saw the place at first I was a little more than shocked." Robin nods, "I'd be the same way! Unfortunately it doesn't look like anyone has been back here in a couple of years," she then glanced at me in a peculiar way. "I know that your grandfather lived here many years ago; Lewis talks about him from time to time at the Saloon. Do you know why he bothered to move away? I've tried asking Lewis, but he doesn't seem to want to touch the subject too much..." I shrugged my shoulders, just as confused as she was on the matter. "He never told me why. In fact, he never really mentioned this place too much when I was a kid. Only really found out about Pelican Town in great detail once I read a letter he gave me; that's how I got the deed." "Huh, interesting!" She remarked, a smile returning to her face. "Well, I don't mean to keep you waiting around with all of this small talk. I was originally coming over here with a request from Lewis—he'd like to meet up with you and chat back in town whenever you've got the time." I returned the smile and nodded, "Sounds good to me." "Great!" Robin started to head back the way she came, turning her head back to me one more time for a final greeting. "Hope to see you around town, don't be a stranger! Oh, and if you haven't heard it from anyone else, welcome to Stardew Valley!" ✧ ✧ ✧ As soon as I had finished tending to most of my laundry, I moved on to watering the crops. The second that was done, I weeded the plains. Then I cleared out some land. Dug into the dirt. Planted some parsnips. Watered the newly planted seeds. Collected some wood. Made myself some brunch. By the time all of these chores were completed, it was past 4:00, possibly going into 5:00 if I hadn't counted the minutes correctly. I was sweating profusely, and every so often I dunk my sweating forehead into the cool, clear lake over by the first parsnip cropping. The mini-lake felt like heaven as the liquid cooled my sun-kissed skin (although I do believe that a better term would be sun-punched), and was the only comfort I could receive next to a salad I wiped up with whatever I had left in me. With my stomach full, and my body slightly singed, I looked into the pool of water as soon as the ripples dissipated. My hair, which I had woven into a tight bun in the hours previous, had almost come undone and was lying on my left shoulder like a mop against a closet door. My cheeks were rosy, and my eyes glossy as they starred back at me. I was literally a hot mess—and not the good kind. One day in, and I was already looking like I was born and raised on a farm. Not that I was going to complain though, I'm sure that with time, this sort of labor would come with ease. Just need to work up the arm strength first, I thought—for once, in an optimistic manner. As my panting slowed to a silent breath, I glanced back at the land behind me. The farm was actually starting to take shape! Weeds had been cleared out in the generally vicinity, and I had two standard 15x10 foot parsnip crops lined up. Sure, the rest of the property was large enough to create this setting ten times over, but I wanted to start off small for now. I didn't plan on raking in any cash anytime soon. Seeing as I was satisfied with my day's work, I brushed the sloppy bangs out of my eyes and headed towards the crate towards the cabin—hoe in hand. I almost lazily dropped the tool in with the rest of them, before looking off to my right to see the path out of my lot. Still a little foggy in the distance thanks to the previous night's storm, and possibly blown in by the sea's current, I couldn't see too far down the path. Even so, I knew that it wouldn't be too much of a walk down there and back. With this in mind, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to go meet Lewis face-to-face. Not wasting another moment in time, I headed down the path—despite still feeling a bit icky from head to toe. If I had both the time, and a running shower, I would have no doubt freshened up right then and there, but I didn't want to keep him waiting for me any longer. I might be socially awkward in most scenarios, but I'm not impolite. I took in my surroundings as I started on my walk, using them as a sort of entertainment for my buzzing brain. A fence lined the entrance to my small estate, and lead out into the dirt path to the city. Where it ended, I wasn't sure of, but beyond the fence was a thicket full of wildlife. You couldn't see much beyond a couple of rows of bushes, ferns, and oaks—even without the present fog. My city-life mindset wondered for half a moment: Why is this land just sitting here like this? Doesn't anyone want to use it? Mentally face palming, I realized the error of my thought and forced myself to rethink it in a different manner. No one's using it because it's already being used. Ever heard of scenery? I asked myself in a mocking manner—second time I did so in the last 48 hours. I guess I did that more than I thought. I let myself stare into the woods for a period of time, letting my mind drift to subjects near and far, before I felt my boots hit something other than dusty old dirt. Peering down at my feet, I saw that the road had changed into a cobble brick, which gave the straight street a much cleaner look. As I stared off ahead of me, the small village was within sight, as well as what I assumed was the town's center, although still hazy with the thin layer of fog. Seeing as it was all just within my grasp, I quickened my pace until I was seemingly out of the barren edge of the valley, and entering true civilization. As the mist cleared, I noticed an array of small shops and houses line the streets surrounding the square. Off to my right as I entered was what appeared to be a back entrance to a mini-subdivision, completely covered in patches of lilies and tulips. They must be thriving with all of this dew in the air, I thought for a moment as I gazed at their sherbet and pearl tinted petals. I moved my thoughts back over to the shops that were lined up against the front of the center of town; and when I say "shops", I mean two of them. A bit humiliating when I thought about it in a critical sort of way, until I reminded myself that the population of this town wasn't New York City's—not by a longshot. Things are small and tidy here, I noticed, before I gazed upon some cracked cobblestone next to my left foot. Well, for the most part, it seems. Anyway, back to the two shops-or...well, one of them was a shop. Labeled Pierre's, it appeared to be some sort of farmer's market crossed with your average small town's goods store. For a moment I wondered if there was a possibility of being able to supply food to this vendor, seeing as their window display of fruits and vegetables looked a bit...stale. I made a mental note to myself to ask Lewis about the matter, if I was ever going to find- "Ah, Roxane! It's so good to see you dear!" I almost jumped, literally, once I heard this exclamation from behind me. Immediately I turned around, and as expected, I found Lewis walking my way. He looked just as I vaguely remembered him from my early years; a man of average height (that meant slight taller than I), with a full mustache and a beret covering the full head of hair he still possessed. Other than looking a little more grey than brunette, he still appeared as the jolly man I had met many years prior. He still wore vibrant dress shirts, today he chose a bright shade of evergreen, and sepia overalls. I'm sure that I, on the other hand, had grown much more over the years. I mean, the last time he saw me, I'm sure I was just going on 4 feet tall. "Nice to see you too, Lewis. You look well!" I replied, my smile wide and genuine. Seeing as he was the only person I had the nearest and dearest connection with, it would be only natural for me to loosen up a bit. I had to stop being so jumpy some time or another. Unexpectedly, Lewis brought me into a tight hug—which I wasn't exactly prepared for. Internally I winced as he pat my back a couple of times; physical contact was not my strong suit, but I just went with it for his sake. "So do you! How many years has it been? Ten? Fifteen? It can't be more than that, can it?" He asked me, once I left his embrace. "Can't really say anything for sure, but it surely can't be more than that!" I chuckled, twiddling my thumbs. "So...there was a woman named Robin, who told me to come meet you out here- "Ah, yes!" He nodded, closing his eyes for a second and putting his hand to his chin in thought. "Robin's a good neighbor around these parts, despite her interest in self-advertisement—but I'm sure you got to hear a mouthful of that," he joked with a smile. "Anyhow, there was something important that I'd like to discuss with you, if you don't mind my being lengthy about it!" I gazed at him in an intrigued manner, "What would that be?" Lewis motioned for me to walk with him, as he slowly walked past me and continued down the lane of the town square. "In short, about Pelican Town! As you can see, we are a small village, almost in the middle of nowhere! But without a doubt, in the middle of a haven. You'll understand why soon enough," his eyes almost twinkled at me as he spoke. "But, like every town, we have our problems. Would you mind telling me what exactly drove you here," he paused with a frown. "Besides, your mother's passing, if you don't mind my asking." I laughed slightly, "It's fine! But...if you get down to it, for a long time I guess you could say that I was unhappy with how life was turning out for me, you know?" My voice was a bit quiet at first, but as Lewis listened to what I had to say, it grew in volume. "I worked for this company; Joja was the name of it. It was the only option I had after college, seeing as how hard it was to actually find a line of work anywhere back in New York. Next thing I know, the job that seemed simple enough turned into long work hours of the same boring routine..." I suddenly jerked and blushed as I realized how that sounded. "N-not to say that I'm not a hard worker! I just wasn't...really into the whole 'desk-job' scene, if you catch my meaning." Immediately Lewis nodded, oddly enough with a sigh. "I understand what you mean completely, Roxane." He paused, which gave me a small window of time to notice that in my little rant, we had moved out to the edge of the town square, about to walk over to a bridge. This walkway overlooked a clear river—but you could only really call it that because of its shimmer, and if you chose to ignore all of the waste that clogged the stream. I frowned at the site, and immediately turned back to Lewis. "You see, I actually know a bit more about this Joja than you would think. I don't like to say that it's karma for how the town has been treated in recent years, or suggest that your troubles may have followed you, but I guess it would be best if you got a look for yourself." Confused, I furrowed my brows in trying to understand what exactly Lewis was going on about. My troubles have followed me? What's that supposed to mean? I thought that this place was supposed to be my sanctuary for all of that city crap! Through my perplexed thoughts, I tried to focus on what Lewis was trying to direct my attention to. He motioned ahead of us, as his head hung in a lower manner. As we moved off of the bridge, and onto another small area of Pelican Town, I realized exactly what he was referring to as the fog cleared. The windows were a cold, calculating, clear icy blue, while the walls as white as a blinding ray of sunshine. Neon signs decorated the outsides of the building and almost hurt your eyes if you starred at each one for two long. They described ludicrous offers, most of which didn't make much sense. Not to mention the smell of a factory—which I can only describe as gasoline drenched in shampoo in an attempt to clean things up (if that even makes any sense)—that Lewis and I could detect from meters away. There was no missing the place, and I'm surprised that I couldn't even see it at first through the fog. A JoJa Mart. Perfect, just perfect! Here I am, trying to get away from the disgusting moral views of a desensitized, corporate-run life, and it just decides to ruin my plans and sprint into Stardew Valley! No wonder Lewis held his head down a smidge—I'd be embarrassed too! However, in this instance, I was feeling furious more than anything else. "How on earth did this happen?" My voice sounded shaken as soon as I opened my mouth, which caused Lewis to gaze at me with slight concern. "Not too long ago, years after your grandfather left this land, Joja bought the deed to this slot of land. There was no way around it—as much as I hated watching them build the market, I knew that there was nothing I could do to prevent anything. There's no legal system for preventing monopolies like this one come into villages nowadays, it seems." He paused, looking back across the bridge. "It's affecting the town more than you might realize. I'm sure you noticed Pierre's little shop on your way into town, am I correct?" Quickly I nodded in response, my eyes still trained on the doors of Joja Mart in the form of a deadly glare. "He won't talk about it, but I can tell that he's having a hard time competing with Joja's prices. Their food may be ridiculously unhealthy, but the folks here can't always afford the best crops in the land, even if it means the alternative is junk. I fear that if things continue as they are, Pierre's store may close—or worse." My gaze had stranded up to a smoke stack placed on the top of the market. It spewed out the deep gray gas with the speed of a fire hose, lifting the toxin up into the atmosphere. It's then that I realized that the fog wasn't fog at all—it was smog. Talk about a metaphor, if I've ever seen one. I ripped myself out of my little daze as my curiosity grew. "What could be worse than that? Closing the only other food supply in town sounds like the worst of it to me." "The way I see it," Lewis replied, "is that Joja has the man-power to produce more than just the common goods. What if they moved on to the fishing market? The mining industry? Or even medicine? Roxane, the people of this town—and the folks across the world—who run their family owned businesses would run out of business in no time flat. Joja is becoming more of an obvious presence in this town with each season that passes. I see it in the way that the workers there, such as Shane, act. Their eyes are groggy, and their voices sound so depressed—it's almost as if..." "It sucks the life out of you," I sighed, finishing his sentence. Crossing my arms, I paused for a couple of moments before I could think of anything else to ask. "So, what are we going to do about it?" Lewis chuckled half-heartedly, "There isn't anything for us to do, unfortunately. All I am able to do is warn you about their presence here, as they will no doubt affect your farm whether you like it or not. As I said, there prices are hard to beat." I immediately gulped after he spoke these words. Talk about the small businesses, but can they run a small-town farm out of business too? Lewis must have caught wind of my worried glance, as he placed a firm hand on my shoulder and gave a warm smile. "Don't let this bother you for now, Roxane. I'm sure that in no time, you will be as prosperous as your grandfather! You just have to keep your spirits high, and optimism present!" I replied in a curt nod, which he accepted as my final word on the subject. "Well, I've got some important matters to attend to with Robin. I'd love to give you a tour of the town sometime, if you don't beat me to it!" He chuckled, and I gave a faint snicker as he started to walk back the way we had come. "You take care now, and try not to feel too overwhelmed with the move here. I'm sure that you'll do fine, farmer Roxane!" Lewis winked at me, which almost made me utter a true-blue laugh at the cheesy sight. Before I could, he too was out of my vision as he disappeared back through the smog in a hurry. There was still a lot I wanted to talk about with good ol' Lewis, but he was right—I really shouldn't stress myself so much on the matter of Joja. I was here to get away from them in the first place, so why let it become my problem? I didn't plan on staying in town for more than a year anyway. So why should I care so much? As I looked solemnly back at the glossy windows of Joja Mart, a thought whispered through my mind with great speed. If you won't care, then who will?