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Feast of Swords 2012
| Whip out your whetstones and burnish your blades, for the time has come to pay tribute to deeds of dauntlessness and derring-do, kupo!
Yes, 'tis the season for the Feast of Swords, the famed Far Eastern festival celebrating young boys' bravery that has caught on like wildfire amongst the lionhearted ladies of the land as well!
All is proceeding according to our Machiavellian moogle machinations! Kupohohoho! Kupahahaha—
...Ahem, where were we?
Yes, adventurers one and all will be afforded another chance to flaunt their fortitude in a rousing romp to recover the glorious Genji armor—with rich rewards to be had for those who triumph in the task, kupo.
Seika was a thief and ranger—and rather accomplished at both professions, as she would be quick to let you know.
Camouflaged in the brown and green hues of her prized artifact equipment, she was nigh undetectable as she skulked stealthily through the sprawling verdure of Ronfaure.
Seika paused for a moment, closing her eyes. Employing her finely honed huntress's senses to the fullest, she took a deep breath and turned an ear to the sky. Having made countless trips through this forest, she had committed the location of each tree, each clearing to memory in greater detail than any store-bought map. Her prey would not escape her—not this day, not any day.
Northwest! With confidence, she resumed her stride in the general direction of an Orcish stronghold.
And yet Seika's quarry today was no beastman. The weapon in her hand spoke to this; not one of the lethal daggers from her extensive collection, but an ibushi shinai—a training weapon of Far Eastern make.
After some time, she emerged from the wood to the highroad leading from the gates of Northern San d'Oria. As she paused to regain her bearings, she fondly recalled a soldier who patrolled these parts, and a task once entrusted to her by his wife. All in a day's work for Seika the stupendous! she recalled with pride.
No sooner had Seika cut across the road and back into the dense wood than her senses alerted her that something was amiss. The next instant, she heard a rustle of leaves, the crack of a branch, and a scream.
She looked up to see a large object descending upon her at great speed. A...boy!?
Instinctively, she tossed away her shinai and braced herself to catch the rapidly descending tyke. At the last moment, he deftly took hold of a tree branch, delaying his fall and softening the impact as he landed in Seika's outstretched arms. With the two safe and uninjured, Seika let out a sigh of a relief.
"Egads! That was a close one, milady!"
"You're telling me!?"
Seika brushed an errant leaf from her eye and fixed her gaze upon her catch—an Elvaan child of roughly ten who, it would seem, had been frolicking up in the treetops. No sooner had she launched into a lecture on the dangers of the forest than the boy interrupted.
"I've nothing to fear in this overgrown thicket! And yourself, milady?"
"Me!? Well, I never—!" Seika directed a haughty laugh at the tyke, which was quickly cut off by the sight before her eyes. Her quarry had shown itself.
"Stand aside, boy! The hour for child's play is over." Reaching down to recover the shinai she had cast aside, Seika fixed her gaze on a Tarutaru brigand bedecked in extravagant Genji armor who was threading his way through the forest. Their eyes met, and in the next instant, the battle was joined.
Seika deftly employed her shinai to fend off the mystical attacks her opponent assailed her with, all the while taunting him as she awaited the perfect opportunity to strike.
"Another year, another duel...another victory! Hyaaah!" She let out a battle cry as her shinai met her foe clean in the chest, knocking the wind out of him and leaving him lying dazed and confused on a bed of leaves.
A triumphant sounding of whistles announced the arrival of a merry band of moogles, who quickly stripped the fallen Taru of his ill-gotten gains.
"A hundred—no, a thousand—thanks to thee, kupo!"
"This isn't the first time I've saved your furry hides. You'll be giving me more than your gratitude!"
"B-but of course! H-here is your hard-earned reward! Toodle-oo, kupo!" A moogle handed Seika a shinai of sturdier make than the one she already possessed, then proceeded to flit away with his compatriots in a hurry. Seika rested against a tree and caught her breath. The duel had taken more out of her than she would care to admit.
"Finally! It certainly took you long enough to subdue a foe not half your size," the Elvaan boy commented snidely from a few paces away.
"Why—! I was only taking care not to dent the armor, as perhaps you'll understand someday when you're out of diapers!"
Seika looked to the ground in disgust. Another year, another armor-absconding fiasco. Why, you'd almost think the moogles of the MHMU were in on the whole—
Seika's theorizing was interrupted by the sound of thundering footsteps. She looked up in a start, just in time to see a hulking Orcish warrior charging full-speed toward her, eyes mad with rage as it twirled a bloodstained axe over its head. Beside her, the Elvaan boy smiled bemusedly at the sight.
"Are you daft, boy!? Flee, unless you want to draw your last breath here as a simpering brat!"
In the corner of her eye, the Elvaan child's silhouette blurred, then vanished. There was a flash of light, the sharp ring of steel against steel, and a tortured, guttural scream. Clutching its chest where its massive breastplate had been cleaved in two, the formidable beastman slumped to the ground.
Seika stepped back agape. Standing before her was no child, but a towering Elvaan who dwarfed her by nearly a fulm. A knight? No, his armor was too exotic, his sword a katana of Eastern craftsmanship...
The realization hit her.
"...Elvaan mochi. I should have known."
"Very astute, milady," the samurai grinned. "The body of a child is far more suited for climbing trees, after all."
The Elvaan tossed his head back with a laugh. "You really ought to be more careful, milady. As a mighty adventurer told me not minutes ago, the forest is full of dangers..."
"W-why, you...!" Seika racked her brain for a suitable comeback, but managed only to exacerbate her headache.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd best be getting back to mommy dearest for a diaper change," the samurai winked as he sheathed his katana. Seika had never seen such an expertly crafted blade, but it was clearly a weapon befitting a samurai of unsurpassed prowess.
"I... I d-didn't..." Seika's face flushed with embarrassment.
"No offense taken, milady," the Elvaan's smirk melted away into a warm smile. "You've had a trying day, 'twould seem. It would be my pleasure to escort you back to San d'Oria."
Hmph! I can take care of—!
Seika seethed for a moment, then saw the samurai's outstretched hand and gentle twinkle of his eyes.
"Th-thank you, milord."
With the last rays of sun shining through the canopy of trees, the two adventurers set forth on the road home.
Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita
How to Partake of the Feast
1. Firstly, converse with one of the event moogles stationed in the following locations to procure an ibushi shinai:
2. Having equipped said ceremonial arm, proceed to have it imbued with a dose of moogle magic by one of the friendly neighborhood M.H.M.U. representatives in the areas below.
3. Join forces with your comrades to seek out the armor-thieving brigands and put an end to their vice and villainy! Word has it that successfully fending off your enemies' special attacks with your enchanted shinai will reap you considerable rewards...
4. When the battle has been won, trade your shinai to the ??? that has appeared in place of your vanquished foe. You just might be awarded a fabled blade for your feats of valor!
Mind The Three Maxims of Moogle Magic
#1: The moogle-magicked hero will be fleet of foot, but feeble of body. (Level will be restricted to 1, but movement speed will be increased in its stead.)
The Feast of Swords will come whirling into the three nations on Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 1:00 a.m. (PDT), and return to its sheath on Thursday, May 10 at the same hour.