As the daughter of the Order of Adoulin and the princess of the sacred city, Arciela's personal thoughts are some of the most intriguing in the land. Without anyone to divulge her secrets to, she turns to her diary, which is where this exerpt comes from. Arciela speaks of a trek through Ceizak to the home of the leafkin, the Yorcia Weald and her feelings towards gaining the trust of these protectors of the forest.
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Even since I was young, I knew I was different from the other children—a bit too sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
And not just people. I could feel the movement and murmurings of forest spirits and faeries as well. Was there something special within me...?
That tale, however, is not one to be told today. There is something of greater import which I must put to parchment.
It’s about the leafkin—those adorable creature of nature that are well known throughout our fine city.
If you ask any adventurer from the Middle Lands what comes to mind when they think of walking plants, they invariably mention a species they call the “mandragora.”
Here in Adoulin, though, we think of the leafkin. Though these creatures are a bit odd, few are the Adoulinians who do not feel kindship with their agreeable form. Adorable indeed, they barely reach up to one’s knees.
Oh dear, and how cute they are! Just look at them, all round and fuzzy, with the most brilliant green leaves you’ve ever seen—not at all like the poisoned trees you find deep within the jungle! It’s like the sun shines forth from within their translucent foliage. And their eyes! So big, so round, so loving! And the little hint of yellow around their mouths—I could just die! I just want to run up to them and give them a big hug!
Despite the tough and resilient nature of their leaves, their bodies are refreshingly soft...or so I’ve heard. That’s what was written down in an encyclopedia I find in Celennia Memorial Library entitled Eastern Ulbuka—A Glimpse into the Beyond.
Their little mouths tremble and quiver as if trying to say something—but they speak not the tongue of man. Whether they communicate amongst each other is a question best left for botanists—or perhaps other such scholars.
Yet one time I did try to communicate with them.
I took a vessel to the continent, passing through the Ceizak Battlegrounds and deeper into the recesses of the jungle.
I pushed past the trees, cutting and slicing my way through as needed, stepping over logs and fording the river, passing over the natural boundary, and...
I pressed further onward.
All manner of beasts came at me, but it was with a flourish of my blade, a quick slide and deft riposte that I fended off my assailants, and with one final thrust I cleaved them in twain.
This treasured blade, an heirloom of my family, glinted a brilliant alabaster in the midday sun. I brandished it above, sending hundreds of shards of light raining down upon the ground like arrows during a castle siege, and with a whirl and a flourish, more than a thousand corpses lay before me.
Even impregnable forces of darkness trembled before me, scattering them to the four corners of the forests like roaches under an oil-soaked torch, proving for all to see that my dominance over the wilds was absolute.
And so it came that I arrived in the farthest depths of the weald, spotting leafkins in their natural habitat for the very first time.
Yet how could I possibly tell them apart? To my untrained eyes, even as they stood before me in a row, each one looked exactly like the one before. I called out, but as they began to shuffle and bumble about, I lost track of the one with which I was attempting to converse.
And my reward for coming this far? A rock thrown at my head. The creatures did not greet me with the same kindness I would have shown them.
Some have called the leafkin “the protectors of the forest.” To make further inroads into this perilous wilderness, we must earn their trust...but I could not dream up a way to do so.
Yet the citizenry’s interest in and curiosity about the leafkin grows with each passing day. Perhaps this can serve as some conduit to improve relations. At least, I hope so.
Story : Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration : Mitsuhiro Arita