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The party arrives in Nawani to help beef up security against an odd influx of monsters that have been appearing recently. As they arrive, they meet Milla, Jade, and Asch who are here for the same reasons along with Senel and Shirley who came to enjoy the festivities. As they exchange pleasantries and begin eradicating monsters, they notice their employers having an angry discourse in the distance..
|Heralding the Festival|
|A Traditional Taste|
|4||Niwani's [sic] Traditions||5||5|
| The divinity festival... |
It's a tradition that has survived since antiquity in a remote land.
Join us for a tale about old customs, celebrations, and the "food of the gods."
|Sara||So this is Nawani, huh? We finally made it... What a long trip! How are you holding up, (user)?|
|Lippy|| Shall we review the situation? Nawani is preparing to hold its divinity festival, a long-standing local tradition. |
However, the town has been contending with an influx of unfamiliar monsters that began several months ago.
|Milla||Which is why we've been hired to secure the divinity festival grounds. And we shall do just that!|
|Sara||It's such an honor to be working with you on this mission, Milla!|
|Milla|| Yes, well, the reports of unfamiliar monsters had me a little concerned. |
And I must admit that another rumor has also caught my attention... Apparently they sell all sorts of amazing food at this festival!
|????||Why, if I didn't know you better, I might assume you were more interested in the menu than the monsters, Milla.|
|Milla||That voice... Jade! And I see Asch at your side as well. I wasn't aware that you were in town.|
|Jade||We're here to help with security as well. I was hired by the Nawani vendor associations directly.|
|Asch||I'm here at Natalia's request. That's the only reason I'd ever set foot in some backwoods town like this.|
|Lippy||While this may be a "backwoods town" now, Master Asch, Nawani was once a major commercial center. In fact—|
|Senel||So many familiar faces... What's going on here?|
|Shirley||Have you all come to enjoy the festival with us?|
|Sara||Senel! Shirley! I can't believe you guys are here too! We were hired to do festival security.|
|Senel||Is that right? We're just plain old festival tourists.|
|Shirley|| I read about Nawani in a book, and was riveted by the descriptions of the town's unique culture and traditions. |
When my brother saw how interested I was, he suggested we visit Nawani ourselves!
|Sara||You two always have so much fun together. That's so great!|
|Man|| What have we here! It appears everyone's arrived! |
Welcome to Nawani, and thank you for traveling so far for this assignment. We're excited to have you on the team.
|Jade||Ah, you must be from the vendor associations? It's a pleasure to be working with you. And I appreciate your consideration of that other matter.|
|Man||Ah, that other matter. Of course! Leave everything to us.|
|Asch||"Other matter"...? What's this about, Jade?|
|Jade||Oh, it's nothing you need to trouble yourself with.|
|Asch||Hmmm. Fine then. So what do you want us doing? Just guarding the festival site?|
|Man|| As we mentioned in our report, violent monsters have been wandering around in the outskirts of Nawani recently. |
There's a dense forest east of here, and apparently they've been emerging from there.
|Senel||So I gather that you want the forest explored and the monsters exterminated? I suppose I'd be willing to lend a hand with that part, if you need it.|
|Man||Thank you so very much, sir!|
|Shirley||I'll help too! I want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the divinity festival!|
|Man|| (A pity that even if they wipe out the monsters, we'll still have that other problem to deal with...) |
(Shut up about that! That's not the sort of problem we discuss in the presence of outsiders!)
|Milla||Hmmm? What are you two whispering about?|
|Man|| N-Nothing! Nothing at all! Just an embarrassing... personal matter. Nothing to worry about! |
Forgive our lack of courtesy. Now, are you ready to begin exterminating those forest monsters?
|Sara||You bet! Just leave all of that to us!|
|Sara||Well, we explored the heck outta that forest. And man were there a lot of weird monsters!|
|Milla|| And yet we've found no clue as to the source of their sudden appearance. And those monsters seemed... somehow familiar. |
I'm trying to remember, but... No. I'm too hungry to focus!
|Shirley||Oh! I could prepare something for you! Maybe they'll let me use the kitchen in our inn.|
|Senel||Fighting alongside such capable fighters certainly makes combat a breeze. Jade, how did you become so powerful?|
|Jade||Oh, I'm nothing special. But if asked to pinpoint the source of what little strength I do possess, I'd say it's the glass of fresh blood I drink daily—|
|Jade||...just to enjoy the reactions to such a clearly farcical response, of course.|
|Asch||A word of advice: Don't ever believe anything that comes out of his mouth.|
|Lippy|| Everyone! My smartphon analysis is complete! These monster species are indeed endemic to a nation far away from here. |
I've discovered something else as well. It involves Nawani's divinity festival—
|??????||(Are you out of your mind?!) (Are you out of yours?!)|
|Senel||Did you guys just hear that...?|
|Asch||Yes. It's those two twits from the vendor associations. They're over there, arguing again.|
|Man|| We're not changing the vendor assignments for the last day! That policy was settled ages ago, and you blues know it! |
You think I'm some sort of moron? If we follow that plan, we're gonna be ruined! You think it's so fair, then you reds can swap with us!
|Milla||They appear to be arguing about vending assignments.|
|Sara||What's this "reds" and "blues" business they're talking about? Any idea, (user)?|
|Lippy|| Why, this is exactly what I've discovered through my smartphon analysis! |
There are apparently two vendor associations that operate at the divinity festival, and have been since long ago.
They call themselves "reds" and "blues," and each group is in charge of two of the four days of the festival.
Basically, the "reds" sells their wares on the first day, the "blues" on the second, and so on.
However! Due to the threat posed by the monsters, this year's festival has been reduced to just three days.
|Sara||And with only three days, there's no way to divide them up evenly...|
|Milla||So they'll likely end up with one group in charge of the first and last days, and the other group in charge of only the middle day...|
|Senel||I see. Then they must be arguing about who gets to manage the vendor stalls on the final day.|
|Jade||Festival sales are a crucial source of income for the vendor associations. I'm sure they're both loath to part with an entire day's revenue.|
|Senel||I don't see how they're going to resolve this by arguing. Shouldn't they sit down and work it out in a rational fashion?|
|Jade||You're certainly correct about that. But it seems the association leaders have no inclination to do so...|
|Man|| You're driving me crazy here! You think you can pull one over on me? See if you can pull my boot outta yer— |
Oh, I'll pull somethin' all right!
|Asch||That one idiot just pulled out a knife.|
|Sara||What should we do, (user)? We gotta stop 'em!|
|Man||Oh, you wanna play with knives? I'm gonna gut you like a fish!|
|Shirley|| Surprise, everyone—dinner's ready! The inn let me use their kitchen— come and get it while it's... |
Umm... Why does everyone look so grim? Did something bad happen?
|Man|| Th-That smell... That can only be... |
What did you make, girl? Don't tell me it's... No! It can't be!
|Shirley||Hmm? It... It is. They're right out of the oven. Do you want to try one...?|
|Man||Th-That smell... What did you make, girl? Don't tell me it's... No! It can't be!|
|Shirley||Hmm? It... It is. They're right out of the oven. Do you want to try one...?|
|Asch||Huh? What did she make? What could possibly get those two maniacs to stop fighting?|
|Senel||It must be some traditional Nawani delicacy. Shirley's been researching that sort of thing.|
|Sara||It smells wonderful!|
|Jade||Ah, that's takoyaki. You'll find dishes with the same name in other regions, but Nawani-style takoyaki is considered to be the genuine article.|
|Milla||That aroma certainly arouses one's appetite. Might I try one?|
|Lippy||A fine meal can pacify even the foulest of tempers! Perhaps we could all have a calm conversation while we partake?|
|Shirley||Sure! I just hope they turned out okay...|
|Sara||Sounds great to me! I haven't had takoyaki in a while. The snap from that little chunk of octopus inside always gets me going!|
|Lippy||Master Asch? Were you not aware of that?|
|Asch||No... Of course I was aware. But I'll not be joining you.|
|Sara||What? Why not?|
|Asch||Why would I? I've no reason to.|
|Sara||Uh... I don't know how to respond to that...|
|Man|| If he doesn't want any, that's fine. But you bet I'm gonna try it. |
I've never had takoyaki made by a village outsider before. I sure hope she knows what she's doing!
Yeah, no kidding. But they look nice and round and cooked just right.
|Sara||Well there's no point talking about it! Let's just try 'em already!|
|Milla||The batter is crisp and light, contrasting with the richness within. The flavor is full-bodied and spectacular!|
|Sara||The fragrance of the bonito and seaweed flakes is irresistible!|
|Man|| Oh... I'm sorry... I'm so sorry... It was wrong of us to fight like that. Forgive me! *Sobs* |
It's a miracle! This flavor is nothing short of miraculous!
|Lippy||In my experience, general cooking ability is of little relevance when making takoyaki. Cooking this dish is its own unique skill.|
|Senel||And who'd have imagined that Shirley would possess such a talent...|
|Shirley||Hee hee! Looks like I've got a dish that rivals even your finest creations, brother!|
|Asch||And a little bit of food is all it takes to end their conflict. Absurd.|
|Jade||Why not try it for yourself before you pass judgment, Asch? It really is quite fantastic. Well done, Shirley.|
|Shirley||Thank you so much! I made lots of it, so everyone, please eat your fill!|
|Milla||Well, if you insist!|
|Sara|| Wow! I've never seen Milla this happy about anything before! |
You dig in too, (user). Let's eat well and get a good night's sleep!
Tomorrow we're going deeper into that forest... We've got to figure out where those monsters are coming from!
|Sara||The deeper into this forest we go, the fiercer the monsters get!|
|Lippy||We should be near its center shortly.|
|Senel||How are you holding up, Shirley? That last fight was a tough one...|
|Shirley||I'm doing fine. Never mind me— what do you thinks of all these weird ruins around here?|
|Jade||They're tombs. Humans have inhabited this region since antiquity, so those sorts of ruins are quite numerous.|
|Asch||You're oddly well-informed about this topic, Jade.|
|Jade||It's only natural that a professional would investigate the site of a mission.|
|Milla||You two! Behind you!|
|Jade||Hwah! Thunder Lance!|
|Milla||That was an impressive arte, Jade. Possibly your finest yet.|
|Jade||You are far too kind. Now, might I ask you all to leave that monster's body undisturbed?|
|Jade||It's an especially rare specimen. I intend to recover it and perform a dissection later.|
|Milla||You're a man of strange hobbies.|
|Sara||(user)—take a look at that tomb! Monsters are practically pouring out of it!|
|Lippy||Hmm. Apparently some sort of portal arte has been cast inside of the tomb, connecting it to a distant, monster-filled region.|
|Jade||It was not uncommon for wealthy men of the era to have such artes cast as a way to protect their tombs and, of course, demonstrate their power.|
|Lippy||But it is allowing far more monsters through than is necessary to protect the tomb. Perhaps the portal is malfunctioning?|
|Milla||It would not be unprecedented for an ancient arte to degrade out of control. I should be able to stop it.|
|Senel||But with so many vicious monsters running around the tomb, how are you planning to get close enough?|
|Milla||There's only one option—by slaying the monsters that stand in my way!|
|Sara||Wow, Milla! I can't believe how quickly you took care of that portal!|
|Milla||With the help of the Four, suppressing an arte like that is no great feat.|
|Sara||Well, this should give the people of the village peace of mind that the divinity festival will go smoothly!|
|Shirley|| I don't know about that, Sara... We may have closed the gate, but there are still plenty of surviving monsters in this forest. |
I imagine they'll still need tight security for the festival.
|Sara|| Yeah, I guess you're probably right. Well... |
What do you say, (user)?
Yep! We'll protect the festival together!
|Sara||Of course! You're just here as a tourist, right? So leave everything to us and enjoy the festival!|
|Shirley|| Oh, Sara... |
Thank you. I will!
|Senel||That's great, Sara, thanks.|
|Asch||Look at how smug you all are. As if you've wrapped up this mission in a tight little bow.|
|Lippy||What do you mean by that, Master Asch?|
|Asch|| The remaining monsters are far from our only problem. We still have the vendors associations fighting over who gets to deploy their stalls. |
The next time they go at it, takoyaki might not be enough to stop them. We should anticipate trouble.
|Lippy|| A most prudent analysis, Master Asch. |
Let us prepare for our security duties with all due caution, Great Savior!