// Author's Note: Wow, I'm starting another new story? Well, let's just say that Rune Factory is an amazing game and did a very good job of distracting me from, well ... everything. The characters have so much personality and there's just so much that can be written about! Ideas for fanfics were practically blooming all around me as I played. In my game, I'm currently trying to woo Melody and Rosetta, since I can't decide which of the two I'm going to marry, haha. Though, this fanfic, as you can guess from the title and summary, is going to be all about Melody. It's a kind of novelization of the series, but not entirely. It will have quite a few twists in it. I hope you all enjoy it!

To those of you who also read my other fanfic, Harvest High!: Don't worry, I know I haven't updated in forever, but I'm still working on the new chapter and a million things have gotten in the way, but It will be continued and (someday) finished. Also, this fanfic is not going to be as long as HH!, nor updated as frequently.

In fact, I don't want to make any promises, since my last two attempts at multichapters (So Close to You and Moonthorn) both failed after the first chapter. So don't expect this story to continue, but it probably will. Does that make any sense? Probably not. I'm not good at doing that. Let me just put it this way - If I decide to continue, then I will, and if I don't, then I won't. Yay!

Usual disclaimer, I do not own Harvest Moon/Rune Factory, they belong to Natsume/Marvelous Interactive/NeverLand/whoever else wants to take credit for this game.

P.S., I always seemed to think of Rosetta as a kind of Karen-ish character, since they both have very similar traits (such as speaking their mind often, being tough on their fathers, and heck, in the japanese version of RF, Rosetta's father's name is Jeff!). However, as you will soon see, Rosetta doesn't have half the alcohol tolerance Karen does! Hehe. End Author's Note //

THE WHICH WHO WASN'T

- CHAPTER 1: Kardia's Resident Witch -

The cobbled streets of Kardia Village were illuminated weakly by the orange glow of the setting sun. It had been New Years day, the first of the Spring season, and there had been celebrating. There was still tiny, colorrful pieces of confetti and the remainders of food littered around the paths that wove through the small, peaceful village. The streets however, were rather devoid of people, save for a certain girl with the attire of a witch, including a pointed maroon hat settled atop her pink hair. The girl stormed through the town, turning right at the first intersection and turning the corner, bursting into the door of the first building on that street.

Greeting her senses were a dimly lit bar filled with people, the smell of cooking and alcohol, and the distinct noise of a party going on.

"Oi, it's Melody!" called a voice. "Glad you could finally join the party, girl!" It was Kardia's local bartender, Emmett, standing behind the counter of the wooden bar and serving drinks to the other villagers. "What took you so long?"

"What do you mean?!" she snapped at him. "I was waiting for everyone to come down to my bath-house for my New Years special! It's a Kardian tradition!" There were few things that Melody loved more than a nice, hot bath. One of those things was a nice, hot bath shared with all the villagers and her friends. It was the best feeling in the world, to sit in boiling water, relaxing and being surrounded by friends.

"Oh, right..." mumbled a man sitting at the bar. He had long blonde hair framing his aged face and piercing blue eyes, and a small, matching beard. "We decided to have the party at the bar, this time, Melody." said the Mayor of Kardia, Godwin.

"And no one bothered to inform me?" she asked grumpily, staring accusingly at the mayor, and crossing her arms for good measure.

"It may've slipped my mind..." he muttered, lifting his drink to his lips and taking a long gulp. Feeling annoyed, Melody dragged herself towards the bar and slumped into a seat, demanding a drink from Emmett as compensation for stealing all her customers.

"Cheer up, Mel!" The girl next to her said rather loudly. "It's a party!" She exclaimed, giving her a hearty slap on the back, which made some of Melody's drink spill onto the wooden bartop.

"Rosetta," Melody addressed the blonde haired girl, who's red eyes were slightly unfocused. "Are you even allowed to drink? What would Jean think?" She asked her, referring to her father.

"Hey, it's New Years! Besiiiides," she leaned in real close and whispered into her ear, as if it was a grave secret. "I'ma be eighteen this year. That's a big number, you know? That's the magical number that means I'ma be able to eat! I mean... drink! Like, beer 'n stuff." The already-drunk girl informed her friend.

Melody, who always preferred a nice, hot cup of Relaxation Tea over a frosty beer smiled absently and patted her friend's back, not sure what to say to that. "Um...Congratulations?"

"Damn right, congradjerlations!" Rosetta proceeded to twirl off to another girl with long brown hair, who looked rather exasperated.

The girls of Kardia village were all incredibly unique - From Bianca, the spoiled yet delicate daughter of a famous gastronomist, to Sharron, the mysterious, almost creepy young woman who seemed to have a fetish for ruins, they were all unique in their personalities. Melody, however, felt like the cursed victim of a nasty amount of bad luck. Since she had been a kid and the fabled power known as 'magic' had been discovered and transcribed into spellbooks, she had a set ambition of becoming a witch. She had quite literally obsessed over becoming a witch, had read any books that had to do with magic or witchcraft, and even dressed like one!

At the time, however, she had no chance to be a witch. As magic had only recently been available in the form of a book, most Libraries had them hidden in restricted areas to avoid them falling into the wrong hands - it was the law of the Kingdom of Norad, where Kardia village resided, at the time. To make mattes worse, her parents refused to let her study witchcraft. They were still convinced it was the source of all evil in the world and forbid her from becoming a witch. Being the mischievous child that she was, however, it did not stop her from studying every book she could get her hands on from the Kardia Library.

It did not get easier, however. Melody's mother had succumbed to a deadly illness, and her father, along with Godwin and Leo, a gruff old blacksmith, had decided to scale Mt. Gigant in an attempt to find a medicinal herb that would cure her. The town's doctor, Edward, could not help her without the herb. According to Godwin, her father perished trying to save her mother, and that was the tragic end to the story of her parents. Godwin nor Leo had ever given her the details of that fated trip up Mt. Gigant, but since then she thought she may as well give up magic.

The death of her parents had affected her greatly. She decided to turn her interests to managing the bath-house her parents had left her. Having long baths with friends gave her the familiar feeling of family that she had been lacking for the majority of her life. It was her favorite thing in the world. She spent her Fridays with Sharron at the ruins, feeling a certain comraderie with the mysterious girl, since she was another individual who had lost her parents at a young age (not that she'd ever share the details).

Whenever she was free from the bath-house (which was often, since she managed her own hours and loved to open late), she'd spend her time on her newfound hobby - brewing and mixing potions and medicines. The feeling she had when she completed a potion brimming with magical properties made her feel like a real witch. It was, perhaps, the death of her mother which drove her to study potion and medicine making. She had become an expert on herbs, and even Edward came to her for help when he needed a new supply.

Then, several years later, Melody found herself in Kardia Library again, on a rainy day, where she was faced with a strong temptation in the form of one of her best friends, Tori, the blonde, bespectacled bookworm. Tori had a tendency to tumble over her words, and even moreso when she was excited. She was holding up an official-looking paper that seemed to state that the ban on most magic books was being lifted, and as long as they were kept in check, regular people would be able to try out the amazing power.

But that was not the case for Melody. Bad luck seemed to have a way of finding her, or it might have been the other way around. Everyone who could afford it had tried out the magic - some liked it and continued to practice it, others cast it aside. Soon everyone in Kardia had at least tried magic and had been able to use it. Ironically, the girl who had been come to known as the resident Witch wanna-be of Kardia, showed no signs at all of any magical talent.

Tori handed her a book inscribed with the Teleport spell, one of the most basic spells that would send the caster to wherever they felt was their home. She would close her eyes, let her mind dive into her soul, and focus as hard as she could, feeling excitement at the tip of her fingers, and after a weak glow of light, nothing would happen. Tori would then hand her a Fireball spell, and she once again dove into her spiritual power and felt her hands become lukewarm before the magic faded once again.

It was just terrible luck. Everyone and their dogs could use magic, but Melody, the girl who had aspired to be a witch since she had learnt the word, could not cast the simplest of spells. Discouraged though she was, Melody had no choice but to settle back into her normal life and ignore the magic all around her. Tori insisted on helping her and tried to keep her from giving up, but a month's worth of Magic practice was enough to convince Melody that her dream of becoming a witch just was not going to happen. It was hard, however, for she would pass by the deserted farmland and see Mist, the supposed farmer (who really didn't do any work whatsoever on her so-called farm), as she easily produced a ball of fire and tossed it between her hands, and felt as if a grey cloud had appeared above her head and was raining on her, and only her. If even the air-headed Mist could cast magic, why couldn't she?

Melody suddenly looked around the bar. Where was the farmer anyway? Knowing her, she had probably forgotten all about New Years and decided to milk an invisible Buffamo or something, so Melody was not entirely surprised by her absence. She was surprised, however, when the doors of the bar flew open and a young boy ran in, yelling.

"Fire!! There's a fire!!" yelled Zavier in his high-pitched voice. He was the daughter of the single mother, Lady Ann, who ran the Inn, and the brother of Tori. His dirty-blonde hair was almost never seen since he insisted on wearing a helmet and goggles on his head at all times, and it was no secret that he loved a good adventure.

"In Clemens cave? 'Cause you know, there's lava in there, stupid." Rosetta guffawed, dropping beer on the floor and thinking she had just made the funniest joke in the world.

"No! I was walking by Mist's farm and her house was in flames!" he yelled.

"Walking by Mist's house, eh? What were you doin' at this time on New Years?" laughed Emmett, who was drunk as well.

"He was not walking by, Emmett, he was probably hiding in the bushes watching her like he always does." Lady Ann rolled her eyes, swinging back her long red hair. It was amazing how this was the only thing they could focus on when their village was potentially in danger of becoming a human barbecue. The beer probably had something do with that.

"You know why? 'Cause he's got a cruuush on her! Heehee! Zavier and Mist, sittin' in a tree..." Rosetta giggled and twirled around some more.

"Actually," Zavier said bitterly, "She had some other guy with her."

"Ooh, another guy?"

Suddenly the bar was full of mutters and giggles at this piece of news. Finally, Godwin, being the good, respectable mayor of the village, cleared his throat. "Burning house? We should go check that out. Mist has enough weeds on her farm for it to spread, too..."

The Mayor had spoken, and everyone had gotten out of their seats and headed over to Mist's. The sky was now nearing total darkness, but the dancing flames which were disturbingly visible seemed to illuminate the village for them. When they arrived, Mist was doing an odd, frantic dance in front of the flaming house instead of actually doing anything about it.

Tori, and the other librarian, Russell, were the first to act. They were the two most potent at magic in Kardia, so holding their hands up in synchronization, the duo closed their eyes and summoned forth a spell known as 'Water Laser', and in an instant, beams of high-pressure water were shooting from their palms, dousing the flames. The other villagers who had a basic grasp of magic tried to help out, and Melody felt utterly useless and more than a little jealous.

"Mist, what the heck happened?" Lady Ann asked, taking the girl to the side and putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "You don't even use this farmhouse anymore."

"Eee!" the girl squealed, her eyes enlarged and shining with tears. "The new guy came, and like, passed out, and I didn't know what to dooo, and he wanted water, and food, so I gave him some, but he didn't have any memory of who he was, and so I wanted to be a nice ol' person and give him a home, but there was an icky bug under the furniture so I decided to blast it with a fireball and --"

Lady Ann put up a hand to silence the girl's frantic rant. "I... I think we get the idea."

Some villagers stared at her with raised eyebrows. Some, like Melody, giggled at the sillyness of the whole situation, and Rosetta just looked around dizzily, probably not entirely aware of what was going on right now.

"So what about this, ah... 'new guy', Mist?" Godwin asked in his calm, deep voice.

"He's, uh..." she pointed nervously to the crumbling house. Everyone stared.

"He's INSIDE?!" exclaimed Lady Ann. "For crying out loud, Mist, what in the name of Grimoire is he doing inside a burning house and why didn't you stop him?"

"I ... I forgot my favorite hoe in there and he volunteered to go get it." she said softly. This was met by more silence.

"How long ago was this?" demanded the shocked Innkeeper.

"... Ten minutes ago, about..." And then more silence.

Emmett burst into laughter. "She's gone and killed another one! It's the same situation with that last guy, what was it, Daniel?"

"Daniel did not die! He just... ran away in the middle of the night." Mist protested uncomfortably.

"Then... it was Allen, right?" Neumann asked - he was the owner of a produce store, and was more commonly known as one of the heavy drinkers of Kardia.

"Allen didn't die either! He left Kardia to go become a soldier in the Sechs Empire!" the young girl argued.

"Probably thought he had a better chance surviving in Sechs than around Mist..." Lady Ann muttered to Emmett and they both laughed wildly.

"Mist, honey, why don't you try doing the farmwork yourself instead of picking up random guys and manipulating them into doing it?" Melody finally spoke up.

"... 'Cause it's boring." Mist said simply. No one would ever understand her.

The faces of the villagers became less visible as the sky darkened and the flames weakened thanks to the combined effort of Russell and Tori. They were starting to worry about how long it was taking the mysterious man that Mist had found from getting the hoe from the house. It wasn't terribly big, and the Water lasers had cooled the flames significantly. Which meant, though no one wanted to believe it, that something had to have gone wrong inside.

Mist was anxiously swaying on her toes, torn between the urge to run into the house and find the man, or try her luck at casting some magic to help quell the flames (though she did not feel entirely secure with her magic after just burning down a perfectly good house).

Finally, after a few long, painful minutes, a figure appeared in what remained of the house's doorway, carrying a large Iron hoe and limping towards them all. Amazingly, the young man, covered in soot and ash and dirt, managed to smile at the crowd.

"Wow... that's uh, quite the welcoming comittee.." he said. How he was able to joke after he had just risked his life for a tool, no one could understand.

"You're okay!" Mist flung herself around his neck and Russell and Tori ceased their magic spells. Everyone was relieved that the man was safe, despite not knowing who he was. Zavier eyed him bitterly and looked extremely jealous as Mist pulled him into a tight hug. Russell cast a fire spell on a piece of wood from the rubble that was once a house, and illuminated the area around them so they could all see each other. Now that Melody could get a good look at the guy, he was quite good looking. Brown hair that was a bit messy (well, one's hair wouldn't be perfect after just escaping from a burning house) and a tall, lean figure. She couldn't help but notice how ... dirty he was, though.

Being the manager of a bath-house, and an avid fan of bathing, she had a problem with dirty people. Cleanliness was a top priority for her, and she constantly encouraged the dirtier villagers to come bathe at her bath-house.

However, the thoughts about how dirty the newcomer was slowly formed into an idea, one that made her completely forget the bad mood she had been in all evening. Once Mist had finally let go of him, Melody grabbed the arms of her potential customer and dragged him away from her. She was grinning from under her large, maroon witch's hat, and her somewhat bubbly, vibrant personality was starting to shine through the gloomyness she had masked herself in all evening.

"You, my good sir, are in dire need of a bath. And I know just the place..."