"I don't know what you're... are you trying to suck up with this?" a rancher with purple hair asked while completely flustered while being handed a hand made cake.

The delivery guy, a young man sporting a blue cap with matching overalls, simply gave a taunting grin and responded, "Yes... yes I am".

Thanksgiving was always an interesting day for Flower Bud Village, especially for its unique traditions. For this special rural place, people tend to give specially made cakes to those they feel must be respected with great thanks. To others, it is seen as the perfect opportunity to express their love for someone.

In this one special case of simple respect, the independent cowpoke with purple hair and a rainbow-colored poncho has been put into an embarrassing position by the blue-clad farm boy named Jack. What makes this situation even more unusual is that they're rival ranchers.

The wild western rancher named Jamie scoffed in contempt, though still red in the face. Not to be outdone, Jamie had also prepared a cake, and gave it to the earnest farmer in contempt.

"I'm not thankful or anything!", she shouted in frustration, "I just thought I'd show you that this is what a cake should be!".

Again, Jack gave a taunting grin, and in the friendliest tone possible, responded, "Thanks, Jamie. I'll be sure to try it!".

Jamie then stormed inside the Jamie Ranch, trying to work out some issues.

Back into the house on 3-2 Flower Bud Lane, Jack, being the popular socialite that he is, brought home boxes and boxes of cake. Out of personal interest, he decided to try his rival rancher's concoction first.

"I've most certainly never tried this guy's cooking before", he said to himself in curious glee, "Didn't even know Jamie could cook. This should be interesting..."

Taking a silver fork, the eager farmer took a piece of the cream-covered cake and took a bit. He carefully obserbed the flavor while chewing it a bit, and with an unusal expression on his face, he swallowed.

"Wow... this is great!".

After spending the day tending her precious gift shop and handing out some of her delicious cake to her fellow villagers, Jack's lovely wife, the pink-haired Lyla, had finally arrived with her usual sweet smile, carrying a bag filled with some more cakes by others.

"Jack, darling, how's your day been?", she asked in her usual cheerful tone.

"Pretty interesting", Jack responded as he pointed to the boxes of cake, "A whole lot more people seem to like me than I thought. Even some of the women have decided to go for it, which made me a bit nervous, considering our marriage not too long ago". He rubbed his head in bashfulness.

"Don't be too casual about that", Lyla sighed, "I could get jealous".

Jack laughed nervously. It has been a rough road trying to earn his wife's heart, and he wasn't about to throw all of his efforts away so easily, especially since he did love her most sincerely. "I know I already gave you that cake from morning, but I think there's a treat that you don't deserve missing out".

Lyla felt her cheek for a moment. "Really? What is this?"

"I'm not really sure how my own cake stands up to this, but I'd like you to try, anyway". He then took a piece of the cake he tried earlier, and fed it to the pink-haired beauty.

".m...mmmm... this is an interesting cake! It's pretty sweet, yet it has a distinct, well-prepared flavor to it!", she admitted in amazement.

"Yeah... the most interesting part all of this is that our dear friend Jamie made it!", he explained.

Lyla felt off guard by this recent bit of information. "Really? I didn't know Jamie cooked!" she exclaimed,

Jack nodded his head and confessed, "Neither did I. That's quite some talent, huh?"

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody

Carl's Cake Lesson

Chapter I

One day has passed since Thanksgiving at Cafe Callaway. The compassionate rancher girl, Ellen, happily entered through the door with a white box in hand. Her short burnet hair, along with the apron that is casual draped over body, gives an impression that she's constantly at work at her home, but she somehow pulls off this look with a charming impression. With some business at hand, she cheerfully made her way to the service counter.

At the counter was meek, yet earnest Carl, the owner and cook of Cafe Callaway. He had fairly tame, short blonde hair. On his body, he wore a fancy black vest over a nice dress shirt and tie, with some neat dark grey pants.

On an interesting note, the Cafe has only been open for two seasons, and it's already seen success. The opening of this place has been dreams come true for the aspiring chef. As a baker, many have found Carl's professional style and quality to be very refreshing, which garnered great success. It was because of this that the villagers would often take a break from their usual work to stop by the Cafe at least once a day. Ellen, being one of those regular customers, is no exception.

At the table, Ellen handed off her white box to a curious Carl. "I know how hard at work you are tending the Cafe, so I've decided to bring a gift! Here ya go!".

Carl's face reddened slightly as he accepted. He then opened the white box to notice a specially made cheesecake.

"I... really don't know it can compare to a professional's, but I hope you can enjoy it all the same. The cows looked really happy when I got the milk for it, so I was able to use some Special Cheese for the recipe. I believe a dessert made with as much love as possible is important for any purpose", she explained.

Carl nodded in acknowledgement. "I see... t-thank you, I'll be sure to try it when I can. It'll be a joy getting to eat this".

"You're welcome", Ellen responded, "I'm glad to here that". Not a moment later, she noticed a nearby clock and looked alarmed. "Oh my!", she exclaimed, " I better get back to the ranch now. Dad needed me for something, and I don't think it would be right to keep him waiting. Bye now!". In a panic, she rushed outside.

Carl sighed to himself. "Professional or not, this is a special cake. I know that for sure", he thought to himself. He got out a sampling fork and tried a bite. "I can taste it. The heart she put into this. I know I give my heart into making desserts as a professional, and yet... I don't... think I can express it so properly when it's for a special occasion. Even during Thanksgiving, for all the cakes I made for everybody, it ended up feeling the same no matter what thought I would put into it. I can't find what can really make a "special" cake for some reason. Why is it? What's holding me back? I---".

But before Carl could finish his mental soliloquy, his ill-tempered assistant gave a sassy huff, standing not too far away. This young lady named Katie looked appropriately fancy herself, even if it looked rather childish. Her red locks of hair were fixed in curls and topped with twin black bows. To further her youthful image was the black frilly dress she wore. Her appearance would lead many to believe she possessed a girlish innocence, if it weren't for her straightforward, pushy attitude.

"Carl! You just casually accepted that girl's cake? Just like that?", she whined. "You're ALWAYS hesitant when it comes to my cakes, like it was second nature to you! I thought it was just some professional courtesy thing you're doing for me! You looked ECSTATIC getting that rancher's cooking! You ARE, aren't you? I bet you don't even care how it tastes! And here I am, being held back by your lack of cooperation here!".

Carl signed. "K...Katie... honestly, I've made an effort to teach you everything I know! You're a valued assistant! You're an eager apprentice! But you're not even listening to me! You keep going on with your own ideas while disregarding my direction! ...d.. Don't your remember that Cayenne cake you made the other day?", he responded. He shook nervously as he said that, though he tried to emphasis as much strength as he could in his voice.

"That Cayenne cake wasn't half bad! If anything, it LOOKED quite beautiful, thank you very much!", she pouted. "I don't understand how people can even stand at looking at their food, considering the bland presentation it presents!".

This struck an inner chord in Carl, which bothered him a little.

"aggh... this is just driving me crazy! I can't stand this place any longer!" she growled.

"W-wait! Katie, where are you going?" Carl cried out as Katie headed towards the exit.

"I'm going to the Doctor's for a bit! He's the only one who'll actually listen to me! Besides, I can't possibly be doing any cooking with the mood I'm in right now!" Katie shouted as she stormed out and slammed the door.

Carl sighed. "My cooking is... missing something. I can agree with that", he said to himself in a hopeless tone.

Not too long after, a startled Jack entered the Cafe while approaching a somewhat depressed Carl.

"Uh... umm... yeah... Katie looks angry again today. What happened this time? Did you call her a child again, or is it about her cooking again?". He then noticed Carl's somber expression along with the white box of cheesecake. "Oh... uh, is this a late Thanksgiving Cake? But... even if it is one day overdue, you shouldn't be like this. Is this something you could tell your old friend, Jack?".

Carl stopped staring off into the distance and snapped out of it from hearing Jack's voice. "Uh... eh, sorry. This cake? Yes... it's from Ellen. It has a really good, home style feeling to it. I'm not exactly sure how, but it confirms a lot of what I see in her from everyday. She's always so kind and enthusiastic... but I don't even know how I can properly express my appreciation for her presence", he sighed.

Jack chuckled a little. "I can see how you can feel that way with the company you keep", he joked, "But anyway... yeah, I can understand the discomfort. To be honest, I was just coming in here to order some cake and herb tea to keep me up, but you look like you're in a rut today, old friend". He paused for a minute, looking a little perplexed. "So then, to be honest, what's the problem? You have your baking abilities as a medium to expression your appreciation, why not go with that? Everybody in the village practically loves your sweets! Well... except for a certain cow guy, but then again, that angsty rancher never bothers to go into any public place".

Carl sighed again. "But that's the problem. I already know I'm a decent cook, but there's something more that I struggle to obtain. I'm too used to baking as a professional, that I don't know how to make a truly "special" dessert!", he explained.

"You've lost the mindset of a passionate artist, you say?", Jack replied, "but isn't you who always keeps saying that we should always work hard to make our dreams come true? Isn't this cafe one of your very own dreams? If you ask me, you've had an artist's passion all along!", he exclaimed.

"Thank you, but... it still feels like that my compassion isn't quite coming through in everything I prepare. I realized that while I was making cakes for all of my friends for Thanksgiving... and today, when I tried Ellen's cooking. She understands that compassion very well. Every time she comes to the cafe, she always talks about how she compares her kind of cooking to a professional's, and how distinctly different the styles are". Carl said.

"B-but I don't think she meant that in a bad way!", Jack blurted out. "She's just an enthusiast for that kind of thing! She talks to me about that kind of thing all the time in the cafe, and I just think that the comparison intrigues her! It's sorta like your love for cooking!".

"It doesn't change the fact that my Thanksgiving cakes are practically the same way as my daily sweets", Carl groaned. "I would love to obtain the heart that home style cooking possesses".

"Okay", Jack abruptly responded, "Why don't you just ask Ellen for cooking tips?".

Carl turned red. "W-what? B-but I..."

"Why not? It would be the perfect excuse for a date or something! Sure, it's a little sneaky, but... it's a way you two could communicate!", Jack suggested.

Carl had to take a while to get over his bashfulness, but he did eventually regain his composure. "Jack, to tell the truth... what I want to do is... return the favor and make her a special cake of my own".

Jack laughed nervously. "Oh, yeah... right, that's what this actually has been about all this time! Forgive me for my momentary memory lapse and lack of picking up subtleties!"

"So then you understand, right? If I asked Ellen for some of her methods... and then I make it while taking her suggestions by heart, it would be the same as if I gave this cheesecake right back to her", Carl explained.

Jack nodded feverously. "R-right! Right! That wouldn't be good! Hmmm... well then, maybe...".

Jack took a while to think hard on this situation. Carl was one of his best friends in the entire village, and he would prefer to stay away from as much bad advice as possible. He also recognizes his friend's cooking as legendary among the rest of the villagers, but now he's in a sudden slump of confidence in his abilities. He then also recalled another cake he tried yesterday, which was unusually amazing for an amateur chef. That's when an idea suddenly hit him.

Jack smiled with some grim satisfaction. He then put up one finger as he went into explaining his new scheme. "Then how about this? You could walk over to the Jamie Ranch and ask its owner for an overnight cooking lesson!".

Carl looked extremely confused by his friend's suggestion. "W-w-w-what? Jamie? You mean... Jamie cooks? Jamie's good?".

Jack nodded with fortified confidence. "Yeah! It certainly surprised me, that's for sure! Out of respect, I gave the head honcho a cake I made myself, but then Jamie's stubborn heart got all competitive and shoved a cake back at me in return! It was exotic! It was scintillating! It was a quality of cooking you especially wouldn't expect from a rancher with a constant scowl!".

Carl was stunned, but skeptical. "That... sounded way too sensational. I'm not sure whether to take you seriously. And... what about your wife? Wouldn't Lyla be jealous if you were to speak of another's cooking like that?".

Jack slightly turned his head. "I suppose the description was overdoing it... and Lyla? Well, we both agreed that you're a good baker, so why should she get upset over complimenting Jamie's?", he said quietly. Suddenly, a blissful smile appeared on his face as it started turning red with a savory look. "Besides...", he continued, "It's not like her cooking is so bad compared to others, not at all! In fact, I think her love of pumkins is starting to rub off on me!".

Carl stared long and hard at his trusted companion's face, wondering for the life of him exactly what quality of dishes Lyla could possibly be making to have Jack blush like that by mere thought. His mind then changed gears a little to focus on the matter at hand. "Okay then... why don't I ask Lyla to help me instead, if you seem so satisfied by her?"

Jack's redness stopped imediatley. "No", he said aprubptly, "I actually think Lyla would be a too intimitaed by your talent to try tutoring you in a cooking lesson. Besides, Pumpkins are her specialty. Sure, she can whip up a mean cake when she wants to, but she feels really humble when it comes to making sweets in general. Besides, she really did agree with me on Jamie's cake. Luckily, I still have a sample of the thing for you to try".

With that, Jack took out of his rucksack a small plastic bag of a carefully preserved piece of Jamie's cake. "How about it? You wanna see if this has that special extra something you've been searching your soul for all this time?"

Carl simply nodded. He wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe this was some prank that Jack was playing on him. Maybe this was really something that Jack or Lyla actually prepared, which are tastes he became familiar with from the Thanksgiving Festival. Or maybe Jamie's cooking is actually worse than the works of the infamous inventor Ann, or if it could even be THAT worse... a rank below that of his only pupil, Katie. Still, Jack was a friend of his, and he had to see this bite to the end. It's his policy as a nice guy to try cakes, regardless of the situation. So he accepted the cake piece, opened the back, and swiped it onto his fork. Carefully, he moved the mysterious piece of cake closer and closer to his mouth, until finally...

"This cake..." Carl said, as he carefully chewed while analyzing the flavor to the best of his ability, "...is good!".

"What did I tell you? Jamie has that particular talent in the kitchen, I guess. Dunno exactly how that kind of dedication to cooking came from. Jamie can only cook for Jamie, after all", he said.

"All the components... all flavoring... it's all disturbed in such a way that it... it really brings the taste to life! This one bite says a lot!", Carl noted in amazement.

Jack laughed again. "So... are we in agreement now?"

Carl nodded. "With the life this cake possesses..." he thought, "if I can learn how to finally use this... I could finally tell Ellen how I feel..." He then looked at Jack with a determined smile and said, "I'll try it! I'll find a way to get Jamie to teach me!"

Jack then had a curious look on his eyes. "Well, that's good. I'm glad you've decided to take this initiative".

Suddenly, Carl lost a sense of hope, with some of his optimism along the way. "But Jamie doesn't like being around people, let along speak to them. How could I even schedule a cooking lesson with an unwilling teacher?"

Jack put on his sickly grin again. "Oh, THAT... well, I actually stumbled upon an interesting fact during my travels", he noted, "You see... Jamie... loves... Jam!".

Jack tried to stiffen his laughter at the amusement of this fact while Carl just stood there for awhile.

"Jam, really? But... Jam's such an accessible item to get now. Is it actually that easy?"

"Surprisingly, it is", Jack coolly responded, "every once in awhile... I happen to catch Jamie indulging in some Jams during my hikes to the mine. It's an unexpected side to see, methinks".

"That's... helpful news, I guess", Carl acknowledged. "I got some apples and oranges in the fridge. I could easily prepare some Jam or Marmalade for Jamie in an instant".

"Actually, you're in luck, thanks to Hearty Lyla's today", Jack said as he got another object from his rucksack. "I bought some Very Berry from my wife's shop the other day, thinking it could come in handy for someone, and I guess in this case, it's perfect! Don't worry about it! Think of it as a gift, so you don't have to pay me back!"

Carl accepted the Jam in gratitude. "Thank you. I didn't expect to be in this much luck today after what happened earlier. I'll see what I can after my business hours are up!"

"Think nothing of it. Jam seems to be the solution to a bunch of random problems, so I'm glad to have jar on hand when the need arises. It's an unusual habit of mine, I guess", Jack confessed.

"That makes sense. Trying to advertise your wife's merchandise?", Carl asked.

Jack shook his head. "It's a coincidence! A coincidence! Anyway, good luck with Jamie, and glad to be of help!"

Before Jack left, Carl served him a ready made cake and cool herb tea. "You should have some food before you continue working, or you'll tire out immediately! You're lucky I remember my customers' normal orders and have the pre made just in case".

Jack rubbed his head in embarrassment, sat down, and decided to have his afternoon snack. "Good call! My stomach's growling, anyway!".

Carl then turned around to his kitchen, remembering the things he was preparing during his conversation. "Oh, right! Say Jack, I gotta check my kitchen for a minute and finish up some treats. Can you tell incoming customers just to wait for a minute?".

Jack nodded. "Sure, I can take care of that". He then took another bite of his tasty cake as Carl approached the kitchen.

The entrance door opened again, this time with Lyla coming in. She makes sure to come in during her off time to have some pre made sweets herself, and chat with those who stay at the Cafe.

"So Darling, did it work? Is he going to Jamie's?".

Jack smiled with delight. "Yep, he's actually going to do it! He looked skeptical at first, but it didn't take much effort after trying that cake".

Lyla smiled along with her husband. "Oh, that's good. I wasn't sure if he would be willing to learn from someone who isn't a professional like himself, especially with someone as rough as Jamie. This is good. I've heard for awhile now how much Carl liked Ellen, and I was hoping one day they could finally be together. This session with Jamie may actually help Carl grow as a cook as well as a person".

Jack sighed. "That's true... if Jamie accepts. Even with a love of Jam, Jamie could easily just accept the gift without taking the offer. Carl's my best friend, but I know him enough to see he could actually let that happen".

Lyla approached her husband with heavy reassurance. "I KNOW he can do it. Carl is a man in love with something to accomplish. I doubt he'll let this chance to finally express his love just pass like that".

Hearing Lyla's confidence, Jack quickly cheered up. "Well, when you put it like THAT...". His grin widened heavily. "Still... this experience should prove to be interesting... for the both of them...".

Chapter II

Night time quickly approached the Jamie Ranch. Jamie was merely sulking around at home, brooding in deep thought about the beautiful Harvest Goddess, who seems to be most precious to this rancher.

"Am I... failing her? I'm trying my hardest to get those notes to free her, and yet... I've only this one note so far. Meanwhile, that newbie farmer is gathering notes effortlessly, one after another, like they were as easy to find as the weeds that grow around here! How is he doing it! Why did he receive a note for all those cakes he received from the villagers! This is... infuriating!".

Jamie stomped the ground hard. The cake received from Jack, along with that taunting grin, felt like a major insult. It was hard to get that inexplicable and rather unusual act of kindness of out the rancher's mind.

"And why the act of kindness? Gaining friendships is pointless... and for him to bring me a cake... what exactly is he trying to accomplish? Does he have some hidden agenda behind it? Maybe... he found out about the note that I have, and he's trying to gain my trust in order to steal it from me so he can help the Harvest Goddess first! That dirty farmer! Trying to use me--"

Before Jamie could finish thinking, knocking came from the door.

"I'm closed! I'm no longer doing any business today!", Jamie shouted.

"N-no... I'm here for another reason", a nervous voice cried.

"Cafe boy?", Jamie said aloud. The brooding rancher opened the front door, seeing a discomforted Carl. "What do you want?"

Carl put his hands behind his back and tried to gather some confidence. "Okay... yeah... this is a very unusual request to make... and I'm really not sure how you'll feel about it... and... yes... this is very unusual indeed, but...".

Jamie was getting very impatient and restless, giving Carl and extremely agitated stare. "Well?"

Startled, Carl got into a begging position. "C-can you please give me some tutoring on baking a cake?"

Jamie gave Carl a really funny look. "What?"

"Y-yeah... you see, I heard a little about your cooking, and I tried a sample of your cake... it was wonderful! I felt a blend of flavorings I would never thought possible to make in any cake! I must learn your secret!", Carl pleaded.

Jamie turned around in a panic. "What's going on here? People love Cafe Boy's cooking! I always notice people heading to that place whenever I'm busy at the farm! Why would he want MY help?", the rancher thought. Jamie then paused for a moment. "..HOW would Carl even know what my cooking tastes like? The only person I gave a cake on that day was that farmer, and ... Jack! What the heck is that demented farmer doing! He's always pulling stuff like this on me! I don't understand that guy at all! Isn't he happy enough just have a wife?"

"Please!" Carl continued to beg, "I must know... there is someone I've been desperately trying to express something important to, yet I feel my other attempts at this weren't good enough. I want bring out my full potential with at least this one cake for her, so please..."

Carl's aspiration managed to reach Jamie. The rancher also knew how tough it can be to properly express special feelings like Carl's. It's even tougher for Jamie, who's usually hostile towards anyone except the Harvest Goddess herself, whom constantly humbles the poor rancher.

However, Jamie still wasn't up to giving a cooking lesson. "Wh-What do you hope to accomplish with one cake? You make those things for a living! I don't care how special you think my cooking is! You're the professional! Find out what you can't do for yourself!"

Anticipating an initial rejection, Carl carefully brought out his trump card. "I would really appreciate your help, and to show that I mean it, I've brought a gift as proof... or as payment; however you wish to see it". He immediately took out the Very Berry Jam that was given to him earlier.

The poor rancher was immediately taken aback. Apparently, there was truth in Jack's words about Jamie and Jam. The antisocial Jamie just adored Jam for some reason. In fact, among those who knew of this particular fact, it is rumored that Jamie was named for that love of Jam. Along with Carl's yearnings of love for Ellen, it was even harder for Jamie to exist.

In short: Love Issues + Jam Jamie's Assured Cooperation. It was a guaranteed winning formula in stations like this.

"... gah! Fine! Come in, and I'll show you what I do! I really don't understand why a guy like you would even want help when you've got your own Cafe, anyway? Just know that I'm only doing this for you this one time! No regular lessons or anything like that! I've got plenty of ingredients stored from gathering, and my animals, so there should be no problem", Jamie shouted.

Carl nodded. "Don't worry, Teacher. I'll try to get it right this one time", he said in anticipation.

"And another thing", Jamie barked, "Don't call me Teacher!"

"Will do", Carl sighed.

After preparing the kitchen with ingredients and the proper instruments, Carl's cooking lesson was ready to be commenced.

For this occasion, the honorable Chef Jamie was wearing a white apron/poncho, and looking very authorities. The stern cook was still wearing the same cowboy hat as part of the ensemble.

"The first thing I consider in making a cake, of course, would be the main ingredient that determines the cake's flavor", Jamie instructed, "I always feel that making the cake from this point will end up being the same anyway, so this should likely be the most important step to baking one".

Carl looked at all the choices he had. Jamie had an impressive collection of crops and berries as options, so he was lucky. "Cocoa looks good... I remember that Ellen always adored good quality Cocoa nuts, so a Cocoa cake would be ideal for this occasion!", he thought to himself.

Jamie took notice at Carl's decision when he reached for the bowl full of Cocoa nuts. "A Cocoa cake, huh? Yes, I've heard that's become a popular kind these days...". Jamie grumbled incoherently for a minute, chose a bowl of chestnuts, and put away some other bowls, leaving the essential ingredients for cooking.

"Okay, being a professional, I suppose you know what would normally come next. A recipe book would tell you to put a specific amount of milk, and eggs, and stuff, right?"

Carl nodded. "Yes, of course... I've memorized my preferred cookbook's every detail of every dish I always cook!", he exclaimed.

Jamie nodded as well, and took a moment to think. "Hmmm... well then, for my cooking lesson, you'll have to disregard that".

"What!" Carl shouted. "But... but that's risky! Deviating from an established recipe could ruin it! Even a slight change could significantly alter its taste!".

"You're here to learn what how I do this, right? I'm just telling you my way", Jamie scoffed. "Anyway, yeah... the recopies are important, but I tend to deviate from them and make my own calls. I like to determine how adding more of an ingredient and less of another would affect the texture and flavoring of a cake. I personally think doing that can actually improve a cake's recipe, don't you think?". Jamie grabbed some eggs and started cracking.

Carl took a moment to think about this. "Deviate from the recipe? Making your own calls? None of this sounds right at all". He paused to consider to upside to this unconventional method. "Then again... this very technique must be Jamie's secret to cakes. This could work for me. I've always wondered what a cake would be like If I added just 1/2 a cup more milk than usual, and then..."

As Carl's mind wandered with new possibilities, he suddenly went by pure instinct in choosing various qualities of those ingredients, and then began mixing them into cake batter. He even tried to add in as much Cocoa as possible without trying to put in too much.

Meanwhile, Jamie already worked on mixing ingredients, choosing to add in grounded chestnuts in the end.

After both cooks finished preparing the batter, Jamie opened up a preheated oven. The cook carefully put in the chestnut cake batter. "Don't worry... I have a few others as well, just in case I needed to make more than one. Although I honestly don't understand why". Jamie then pointed to other ovens close by.

Carl shrugged. He actually prepared two separate pans with the same exact batter, so that Carl could try a piece himself just to make sure he got it right, and wouldn't have to give Ellen a piece of cake with a chunk already cut off. He then put his two pans of cake in two separate ovens. Two chefs then waited for around an hour, before finally, the cakes were about done.

"So now... you may disagree with this as well, but at this time, another thing I would differently would actually be turn off the oven and take the cake from the oven about a minute or two before a recipe would say so", Jamie said while looking at a clock.

"But what about the possibility of uncooked batter? The remaining "slimy" texture tends to ruin what would be a perfectly fine cake!", Carl cried.

"Relax, relax" Jamie sighed, "If you don't turn it off too early, I find that the leftover warmth from the cooking allows the cake to cook itself to a decent finish. The less excess time a cake is exposed to cooking heat, the better in my opinion. I think the cake ends up feeling softer that way, anyway".

Although still somewhat skeptical, Carl nodded to himself. "One of the strong points of that cake I tried WAS its impressive softness", he thought to himself.

Shortly before an egg timer sounded, Jamie casually took out a considerably finished chestnut cake. Carl followed Jamie's example shortly after and took out his two cakes. A minute after cooling down, the egg timer went off. The two chefs waited a little before finally taking the cakes out of their pans.

Jamie cut out a piece of cake to try, while Carl tried some of his "sample" cake.

"Hmm... yeah, mine turned out as good as usual", Jamie said nonchalantly, "how about yours?".

Carl was very nervous about going for his first bite. "I'm not sure if it turned out that well. This... isn't what I usually do, but that WAS the point of this lesson, right? To go for something new? But what if I... put in too much milk? Or what if that teaspoon of egg I took out ruined it instead? Or maybe.. the Cocoa will be too overpowering? But this cake... it must be good enough for Ellen, so I must be confident". Carl then quickly sent the piece straight into his mouth. He then took his time to carefully taste all of its components. He then swallowed down hard.

Although somewhat annoyed, Jamie looked at the aspiring chef with curiosity. "Well?", Jamie scoffed.

For a while, Carl had his eyes closed in deep concentration, trying to further analyze the quality of his new concoction. He then slowly open his eyes with an uncertain look in his eyes.

"Look", Jamie sighed, "if you're not satisfied, I apologize. Maybe you're just over criticizing yourself, and whoever you're considering to be your girlfriend will love it much more than you will. If it really IS bad, I'm sure you'll pick it up with practice on your own time, or maybe even keep doing what you've been doing at the Cafe. People should be relying on their own strengths, anyway, so I still don't understand the point of this lesson".

Jamie then sat quietly with that curious stare still present. After a long period of silence, Carl finally spoke. "THIS IS IT!", Carl shouted in jubilation, "THIS IS THAT SPECIAL CAKE I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE FOR HER!".

Jamie simply glared, completely dumbfounded. "Uh... congratulations, Carl. Good... job".

"THANK YOU! THANK YOU, JAMIE!", Carl cried out as he hugged Jamie while getting carried away in the moment.

Jamie's face immediately turned bright red. "T-t-t-t-this is what Jack wanted to happen the entire time, huh? This pointless humiliation. Why does he always have to devise the most twisted methods of torturing me?" Jamie thought.

After awhile, Jamie just couldn't take this affectionate display. "Get off of me!", the angsty rancher shouted. Carl immediately jumped back in a panic.

"s-s-s-sorry", Carl uttered bashfully.

"There... I've showed you how to make a REAL cake. Are you happy now!", Jamie growled.

Carl nodded cheerfully. "Yes... yes... this is just perfect!", he exclaimed.

Jamie sighed. "Good... now take your freshly baked goods and leave me alone to my chestnut cake. I would prefer to eat by myself".

Carl was about to silently leave the Jamie Ranch household when he passed by a barrel of chestnuts. He then turned to Jamie, who was still in the middle of consuming a freshly baked cake.

"J...Jamie... is there any particular reason you have a lot of chestnuts?", he asked.

Jamie slowly turned to face Carl and began speaking, "There are a lot of chestnut trees by the Harvest Goddess Spring. I always go in that area during the fall and gather some chestnuts as often as I can". Jamie then let out a long sigh, and then gave Carl a nasty look. "Why did you even ask?"

Carl froze in his steps. "I... I was just curious, that's all", he cried as he shook in terror.

"Fine... just leave me alone now!" Jamie growled.

"And thank you again, I mean it", Carl responded in a softer tone.

Jamie said nothing and simply went back to eating cake. Silently, Carl left the Jamie Ranch full of hope and gratitude.

While slowly taking bite after bite of the freshly baked chestnut cake, there was a vaguely somber, nostalgic look in Jamie's eyes.


"... Here's a cake I baked the other day! I made it just for you!", Carl said nervously as he presented a box to the kindly Ellen at the Blue Sky Ranch.

The cheerful young woman giggled as she accepted Carl's heartfelt gift. "Really? Thank you, Carl! You're always so sweet to people! I'm so happy!"

She then opened up the box to notice a sweet smelling brown cake. "Cocoa cake...this is my favorite", she said softly. With a fork in hand, she eagerly took a bite of the Cocoa cake. A warm sensation went through her as she chewed, and the feeling intensified as she swallowed.

"Wow... this is different from what you usually make... but it's... it's so great! And how did you know that Cocoa was my favorite? Thank you so much, I love it!" She didn't waste any time when she rushed into Carl's arms with great joy.

Carl blushed heavily as he was completely paralyzed and speechless. Still, at that moment, the aspiring chef's happiness greatly surpassed that of the day he finally opened his dream Cafe.

As witnesses of this touching scene, Jack and Lyla proudly stood by.

"They're so adorable. There's rarely anything more lovely than two people happy like this, is there?" Lyla said in her sweet voice.

"Well, I'm happy for the both of them", Jack grinned," they definitely go good together".

Unwillingly watching in the background is Jamie, wearing the usual scowl.

"Well... whatever. Good for them! My time is being wasted just standing here! Why did you guys even drag me here?" Jamie complained.

"What? Don't you want to see your star pupil in his shining moment?" Jack asked cheerfully.

Jamie turned away and turned toward the exit. "You really don't know when to stop, do you?"

"By the way... I was wondering for the longest time... and you'll probably hate me for even bothering ask me... but, are you a man or a woman, Jamie?" Jack tried to ask as gently as possible.

The irate rancher looked really angry. "WHAT! You can't even tell what my gender is just by looking at me?"

Jack was about to respond, but he felt it would be much wiser if he just kept his mouth shut.

"What's wrong with you? Honestly!" Jamie left slamming the door, miraculously without interrupting Carl and Ellen's happy hour.

Jack laughed nervously. "Well, I guess that's one mystery that'll never be solved, huh?"

Lyla accompanied her nervous husband in his uneasy mood. "Honestly darling, I don't think that was a nice thing to ask..."

Outside, Jamie was about to march off when mystical energy suddenly filled the air, and a note appeared out of nowhere in Jamie's grasp.

"W... what's this? A note? But... what did I do to deserve this?"

Jamie took some time to read the inscription engraved on the magical note.

"... Matchmaker Note? ... what the heck?"

Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon or any of its characters. Then again, I really don't know any Video Game staff who own the rights to their games and write fanfiction about their own game.I admit that it would really interesting to read fanfiction by those guys, wouldn't it?