A good day to you, fine pioneer. My name is Grennith and I serve as the chief lady-in-waiting of the Order of Adoulin.
Though in name we are but one of the twelve orders, in truth we are first among equals, with our leader serving as the both head of the grand alliance and as the face of our great city whom we put forth to all the realms of Vana'diel.
This owes to our storied lineage, which we trace back to the founder king himself. Both Grand Chancellor Ygnas and his younger sister, the fair Arciela, have studied history, letters, and decorum to the extent that they are now shining exemplars of the regime.
Though I must admit, Arciela has a certain wild streak in her—a free spirit, if you will—and can be flexible to a fault.
Forgive me. I did not mean to speak ill our out beloved princess.
Those of our order must first earn the trust and respect of the citizenry if we are to lead as an order should. Our words and actions are seen and judged by all. We must measure up to the standards set for us and never falter, lest the citizenry lose faith in us.
Arciela has espoused this philosophy even since she was but a babe.
Yet still, who among us could have suspected that she would write down her personal reflections in a diary, with the intent that they be made available to the public after her passing?
Furthermore, she asked one of the maidens in my charge to correct any misspellings or omitted information. "It is so I do not bring down travesty unto you," she reassured us...
But these alterations may have gone a step too far. Dare I say that some may even be called fabrications?
"Cynthia, could you please come here?"
"It wouldn't hurt to open your mouth before spoken to once in a while."
"I think...one should be more aware of the reader."
"So that's why you arranged it like this?"
"...It's very well written. She did a good job."
"Stop patronizing me! There's a reason you were chosen for this job. There are many who would like to curry favor with the princess."
It pains me to admit that a little extra training is needed before she is able to adequately edit the princess' manuscript.
Take a Peek at Arciela's diary.
* Sections added or deleted by Cynthia are marked in red.
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
Edited, Aug 22nd 2013 5:55am by Szabo