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Keeper of the South-Southwest
The crew visits a miraculous shrine that is only open once every twelve years. There they meet Anila, one of the Twelve Divine Generals. She has been tasked with monitoring the world of the Astrals, so she decides to accompany the crew to Estalucia.
The crew hears about a miraculous shrine that is only open once every twelve years.
To receive a blessing at the shrine, the crew aims the airship to the south-southwest.
Lyria: Are you guys sure that's the right direction? I hope we're not going the wrong way.
Vyrn: Oh, we're definitely on the right track. I know because south-southwest is this year's lucky direction. This is the way to the sheep shrine for sure!
Various airships of all shapes and sizes suddenly appear from between the clouds.
Lyria: Hey! Look, Vyrn! Lots of other airships are starting to show up!
Vyrn: What are we waiting for then? We gotta hurry, (Captain)!
(Captain) and company soon enter the grounds of the sheep shrine.
But there's a long line of shrine visitors waiting in front of them.
Lyria: Whoa... That's quite a line.
Vyrn: Great. Looks like we're a little late to the party.
Lyria: Well, I guess we'll just have to line up and wait with everyone else.
After a while, the crew hears some men shouting at each other somewhere up in front of them.
Skyfarer 1: Hey! You got a lot of nerve cuttin' in front of me!
Skyfarer 2: Excuse me? I was first!
Skyfarer 1: Did you bash your head on a mast or what? I've been waiting here three days for this!
Skyfarer 2: Oh yeah? Where's your proof, chump?
Lyria: A-are they fighting?
Vyrn: Looks like we're gonna have to stop them. C'mon, (Captain)!
(Captain) gets ready to intercede...
But a young woman cuts in between the arguing skyfarers before the captain can.
???: Hey... What kind of place do you think this is?
???: Starting a fight on the holy grounds of the sheep shrine... You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Skyfarer 1: Hey! You better mind your own—
Skyfarer 2: You... You're Anila!
Anila: Indeed. I am the master of this shrine: Anila, guardian deity of the South-Southwest.
Anila: If you insist on misbehaving, I'll have no choice but to discipline you. Are you ready for that?
Skyfarer 1: Of course not! There's no need for that!
Skyfarer 2: Yeah! We'll be good! We were just caught up in the excitement! Look! We're getting along fine now!
Anila: Hee-hee. Excellent. It pleases me to see people getting along.
Anila: But try not to get too excited. It wouldn't do to upset the other visitors.
Skyfarers 1 & 2: You got it!
Vyrn: How'd that sheep girl pull that off? It's like they were never fighting to begin with!
Anila: I would like to thank you all. You were about to intervene in that fight, weren't you?
Anila: Are you skyfarers as well?
Vyrn: Yep! We're a crew all right. And (Captain) is our captain!
Lyria: Thanks for stopping that fight, Anila!
You have the power of the Astrals...
Lyria: Huh? The power of the Astrals? You know about me?
Anila: Not exactly. It's more like I can sense it. But whatever! We can talk about it later.
Anila: I'm sorry to bother you, but could you maybe come back here later this afternoon?
Choose: You bet!
- You bet!
- Like when?
Anila: Love the enthusiasm!Choose: Like when?
Anila: Oh, just some time around when the sun starts to set.Continue 1
Anila: The crowds will have likely died down by then. Understood?
Anila: I have a bit more work to do. Let's meet back here later.
Anila heads off to attend to her duties.
Shortly before sunset, the crew gathers at the same place and anxiously waits for Anila.
Vyrn: Hmm... I wonder what's taking her so long.
Anila: I'm so sorry for keeping you waiting! It took longer than I thought to tidy up the inner shrine.
Anila: Now where should I begin?
Lyria: Um... Weren't you trying to tell me something earlier?
Anila: Oh, indeed I was.
Anila: I actually sensed the power of the Astrals as soon as you started heading here.
Anila: When I saw you earlier and realized the wielder of that power was no more than a girl, it was quite a surprise.
Vyrn: So you sensed Lyria's power, but what does that mean?
Anila: Well, that's actually strongly connected to my role at this shrine...
Lyria: We'd be thankful for anything you can tell us! We're interested in anything related to the Astral world no matter how trivial!
Vyrn: Yeah! We're trying to reach Estalucia after all!
Anila: Very well. Allow me to start at the beginning then.
Anila: The original purpose of the sheep shrine was not for people to pray for health in the coming year.
Anila: This shrine was originally built after the War to monitor the boundary between the sky and Astral worlds.
Vyrn: You don't say. So that was this place's original role.
Anila: Indeed. There's one shrine for each of the twelve directions, including this one, which is devoted to the South-Southwest.
Anila: We, the Twelve Divine Generals, were sent here to monitor the Astral world from each of our shrines.
Lyria: The Twelve Divine Generals?
Anila: Yes... Twelve envoys who have the ability to resist the power of the Astrals.
Vyrn: So you're trying to say that all twelve of you are crazy powerful, right?
Anila: Hee-hee... Well, as embarrassing as it is for me to say, the twelve of us are not without our talents.
Anila: And now you know everything that I do.
Lyria: Thank you. Now we have one more piece of the Astral puzzle.
Vyrn: Yeah! Hopefully we can talk to the rest of the generals one day too!
Anila: By the way... Earlier you said you're trying to get to Estalucia, right?
Anila: I wonder if you'd mind bringing me along. What do you say?
Lyria: What? Why would you ask that all of a sudden?
Anila: Nothing sudden about it. Can you really blame me for wanting to see the legendary land of Estalucia with my own eyes?
Anila: Besides, living alone at this shrine gets pretty lonely sometimes.
Anila: So? You want me to come with you, right?
Vyrn: Hey! Sounds like she means it! What do you think, (Captain)?
Choose: I'm sure you'd be a big help, Anila!
- I'm sure you'd be a big help, Anila!
- Are you sure you can just leave the shrine?
Anila: Hee-hee! A decision as quick as your mind!
Anila: I can see the strength in your eyes. Looks like my intuition is as sharp as ever.Choose: Are you sure you can just leave the shrine?
Anila: So you're worried about what'll happen to me, (Captain)?
Anila: Well, don't be! I don't have to act as the goddess of the year for another twelve years.
Vyrn: What's that?Continue 2
Anila: Well, it's a goddess who oversees the health and prosperity of a given year. One of us resides in each of the twelve shrines.
Anila: Next year is the Year of the Monkey, so the noisy deity in charge of the monkey shrine can take care of things. There shouldn't be a problem.
Anila: Hee-hee... So let's head for Estalucia! Right, (Captain)?
Lyria: Yeah! I'm sure you'll be lovely to have around, Anila!
Thus Anila, one of the Twelve Divine Generals, joins the crew on their journey to Estalucia.
Her laughter rings out like a bell as she dreams of the distant shores of Estalucia.
Anila and the New Year Feast
Some time after Anila joins the crew, she says she wants to thank them by preparing some New Year's dishes for them. They decide to help by going to get the ingredients she needs.
Some time has passed since Anila joined the skyfarers.
Anila calls the crew to the airship deck one day with a serious expression on her face.
Vyrn: What in sky's going on?
Anila: Well, I think it's about time I showed you my appreciation for everything you've done for me.
Anila: So I was thinking of treating you all to some of my cooking.
Vyrn: Oh, is that all? I was expecting something serious, but I'd love to try some of your cooking!
Lyria: Yeah, me too!
Vyrn: So what do you plan to make?
Anila: Well, there's a type of cooking that people back home eat with their families every year.
Anila: It's a type of New Year's cuisine: food said to bring good luck is served in square containers.
Lyria: New Year's cuisine, huh?
Anila: Yes. I'd like to make it for you.
Anila: But many of the ingredients are quite rare. I don't know if I can get them all.
Vyrn: You never know until you try! Right, (Captain)?
Choose: Let's scour the market.
- Let's scour the market.
- I need me some New Year's grub!
Anila: Thank you.
Anila: If we're going to do this, let's find the best ingredients we can!Choose: I need me some New Year's grub!
Anila: Hee-hee. I'm glad you feel that way.Continue 1
Anila: I won't let you down, (Captain)!
Lyria: Hee-hee. It's settled then! Let's hurry to the market!
Anila and the New Year Feast: Scene 2
To find the ingredients, the crew visits a market that has many culinary rarities. Anila explains her New Year's dishes as they gather what they need.
To find the ingredients for the New Year's dishes, the crew visits a market that has many culinary rarities.
Anila and the rest of the crew make their way through the mazelike marketplace.
Lyria: Anila, what exactly do you need to make your dishes?
Anila: Well, the dishes actually differ somewhat depending on where they're made...
Anila: But you definitely need the three main celebratory dishes.
Vyrn: Oh? And what are those?
Anila: Where I come from, they're herring roe, black soybeans, and dried sardines.
Anila: Shrimp, sea bream, and other types of seafood are also popular for New Year's dishes.
Lyria: Wow. Just the thought of all those ingredients is enough to make my mouth water.
Anila: Hee-hee. Just you wait.
With the ingredients in hand, the crew returns to the airship.
Anila and the New Year Feast: Scene 3
Back at the airship, Anila prepares the New Year's dishes. Lyria bombards her with questions about this new type of food, but their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of monsters.
Once Anila returns to the airship, she puts everything she has into preparing the food.
She completes the New Year's dishes, and now it's time to serve them to her friends.
Anila: Here you go, everyone!
Anila: Feast your eyes on this!
Lyria, who has never seen such food before, bombards Anila with questions about it.
Lyria: Anila! What's this rolled up yellow food?
Anila: Oh! Good eye, Lyria! You obviously have great taste.
Anila: That's a sweet rolled omelet. I mixed seasoned fish and shrimp into the eggs and then lightly fried the whole thing.
Anila: It signifies knowledge and culture with its scroll-like appearance and is meant to bring about academic achievement.
Lyria: Wow, these dishes have such deep meanings behind them.
Lyria: Oh! Anila! What are these round yellow things right here?
Anila: Hee-hee... I see you noticed another one of my favorites!
Anila: Those are a type of sweet mashed potatoes. They're made by boiling a mixture of sweet potatoes, water, sugar, and mashed chestnuts.
Anila: Due to their golden color, they're a symbol of wealth and are said to bring good fortune.
Lyria: They smell so sweet and tasty!
Anila: Ahh. When I was a child, my siblings and I loved to see the sweets mixed in with the rest of the food.
Lyria: Hehehe... You must have a lot of fond memories with these dishes.
Anila: Yep. And it's been far too long since I last ate them with my family.
Vyrn: Hey! I know it's not as much fun as all the food talk, but monsters just attacked the bow of the ship! Help me drive them out!
Anila: Ugh... I'll strike down anyone or anything insolent enough to interrupt our meal!
Anila and the New Year Feast: Scene 4
With the monsters defeated, the crew returns to their meal and Anila's ongoing explanation of the food. Walder shows up and starts eating without bothering to listen, which wins him an icy glare from her, but everyone enjoys the rest of the feast.
The crew defeats the monsters and goes back to eating.
But that means listening to more food explanations from Anila as well.
Anila: The shrimp is a symbol of longevity and strength that lasts well into one's golden years.
Anila: The sea bream symbolizes celebration, while the kelp represents happiness.
Lyria: Wow. There are so many wishes behind these dishes.
Vyrn: Uhh, yeah. I'm sure they do. (Enough with the commentary. I just wanna eat.)
Walder suddenly walks in, oblivious to what's going on.
Walder: Hey! What's up? You gotta invite me when you throw parties!
Vyrn: (Oh, I completely forgot about Walder.)
Walder: Man, I'm starvin'. Oh, what's this?
Walder: Looks delicious! Don't mind if I do!
Vyrn: (Huh? No! Wait, Walder!)
Before Vyrn can stop him, Walder helps himself to some of the mashed chestnuts.
Walder: Whoa! This yellow candy is so sweet and tasty!
Anila: Ugh... My mashed chestnuts...
Vyrn: Eek! Hey, Walder! Apologize to Anila! Right now!
Walder: Huh? Oh! I'm sorry, Anila! I didn't know I wasn't supposed to eat it!
Anila: Hee-hee. No, I made these for all of you to enjoy.
Anila: It was rude of me to get carried away with the long-winded explanations.
Anila: Have as much as you want.
Walder: Well, I'm gonna dig in then!
Lyria: Oh! Me too!
Vyrn: Me three.
Anila: There's no need to be shy. You eat too, (Captain).
Choose: It's delicious!
- It's delicious!
- Can you feed it to me?
Anila: Good! I'm glad you like it!Choose: Can you feed it to me?
Anila: Not shy at all, are you? Here... Say ah...
Anila: Hee-hee. Well? Do you like it? Have as much as you want!Continue 1
Thus Anila and her friends surround the dishes and eat their fill.
But when Walder picked up his first chunk of food earlier...
The crew didn't miss the look of menace that flashed in Anila's eyes.
The Lost Sheep
Anila agrees to help two children look for their lost friend Eric. She soon finds clues to his whereabouts: a wooden toy knight and footprints which lead to an eerie black puddle. Upon touching the puddle, she is transported to a dark dimension where she meets a boy.
It's New Year's week, and the snow lies thick on a certain island's shrine.
Anila, Andira, and Mahira watch as the Joya disappears into the far reaches of the sky.
Having thus successfully banished the burgeoning negative thoughts that consume the land—the Kleshas—they are able to ring in the new year without further incident.
Concerned as to where the Joya has gone, Anila has returned to the island's shrine in search of clues.
Anila: I don't suppose it might ever return, would it?
She looks up at the large, empty bell tower and furrows her brows.
Boy: Eric! Eric, where are you?
Girl: Answer if you can hear us!
It's then that Anila hears the cries of two distressed children.
Anila: Is everything all right, little ones?
Girl: We can't find our friend...
Boy: We were just playing over there in the courtyard, but...
Boy: I looked away for a second and he was gone...
Anila: My, my, that is troubling.
Anila: Were you and your friend having some sort of argument?
Girl: No, nothing like that at all. We were showing each other our treasures.
Boy: No way we'd fight! Eric's super gentle and never gets mad! Ever!
Anila: Hmm, this is growing stranger by the moment.
Boy: Have you seen him anywhere? Eric's lots taller than me. And he has fluffy ears! Like this!
Anila: Hmm, I'm sorry. Haven't seen anyone like that hereabouts.
Anila: But tell you what: I'll be around a little longer, so if I happen to find your friend, I'll let you know. All right?
Girl: Wow! Thank you, miss! That would be great!
Anila: Worry not! I'm sure you'll find your friend soon.
Boy: Thanks a bunch! Bye now!
Anila: Be careful, you two! Stay safe!
The children wave goodbye as they part ways with Anila.
Anila: (Those two have been searching for quite some time from the look of it.)
Anila: (Hmm. It's especially cold today. The nearest place one could brave the weather would be the library. Perhaps there's a chance the boy's there.)
Anila eyes the wooden structure across the wide open courtyard, deciding to put her investigation of the Joya's whereabouts on hold.
She then begins heading toward the library when she spots something buried in the snow.
Anila: A figurine holding a sword and shield. A soldier or knight perhaps?
Anila pulls out a handkerchief and wipes the snow-covered toy clean.
It appears in rough shape, with chipped edges, worn paint, and scratches all about.
Anila: Hm? Aha!
Engraved on the sole of the knight's boot, she finds the letters E-R-I-C.
Suspecting the boy might be nearby, she looks around the area and soon finds little footprints leading toward a clear direction.
Anila: (Seems Eric was headed behind the bell tower. I'm glad I've got a clue, but this is starting to worry me.)
Anila puts the figurine into her satchel and follows the tracks.
Anila: And what do we have here?
Behind the bell tower she finds the ground covered with an even blanket of snow—save for a single dark spot.
Upon this peculiar sight, she draws closer to discover a pitch black puddle.
Anila: This feeling... I've felt it before... with the Joya.
Most peculiar of all, she finds, are the footprints. The tracks lead straight up to the puddle and end there.
Carefully, she peers into the puddle from above.
Anila: What... is this?
Within she sees not her reflection, but the tiny silhouette of a person, as if she's staring at someone in the distance.
What's more, the figure seems to have taken notice. It moves closer.
What in the skies...
Overcome with curiosity, and against her better judgement, Anila stretches out a finger to touch the surface of the puddle.
Anila: Wh-what's happening?
Dark mist bursts up from the puddle and envelops her in a bleak darkness.
A loud boom accompanies a strong gust of wind, lifting Anila into the air as if she were a feather.
She feels helpless as she's sucked into the dark portal.
Anila: Hm? Who's there!
In the darkness she can make out the form of a little boy standing before her.
Erune Boy: ...
The boy just stands there, statue-like in his stillness. Anila is left speechless, staring down at the youth.
The Lost Sheep: Scene 2
The boy turns out to be Eric. But he refuses to leave, running away into the darkness instead. Although Anila gives chase, she is deterred by a series of strange events that begin to manifest around her.
After falling through the darkness, Anila is now standing before a child.
Anila: Are you... Are you maybe Eric?
The boy answers with a silent nod.
Anila: I assume you too fell in here after touching the puddle?
Anila looks behind her to where she came in from, seeing a faint light floating amongst the nothingness.
Anila: We should be able to get back out if we go through that light. Come on, let's go.
Anila: Hm? Did you say something?
Eric: I said no! I don't wanna go back yet!
The boy cries out in an abrupt tantrum before running off into the void.
Anila: Eric! Where are you going?
What's the meaning of this?
When she gives chase, however, the darkness suddenly materializes into a forest.
White Rabbit 1: Squeak, squeak?
White Rabbit 2: Squeak!
Moles: Cheep, cheep!
Anila: Hahaha! Well, aren't you an adorable lot!
Anila: Did you get here through the portal like I did?
White Rabbit 1: Squeak?
The animals head deeper into the woods and appear to beckon Anila to follow.
Anila: Wait, where are you going?
The animals disappear, and the forest is replaced by an icy river in a frozen land.
A line of penguins appears and surrounds Anila.
Penguins: Auwk, auwk!
Anila: Hey, now! Don't pull at my dress!
Anila: Where did you all come from?
Penguins: Auwk, auwk!
Anila: You'll show me around? Why thank you!
Anila: It's happening again!
The penguins and ice disappear, replaced by an arid desert of rolling dunes.
Nopal 1: ...
Nopal 2: ...
Anila: Haha! Very nice! You dance well!
Anila: I quite like dancing myself!
Anila mimics the nopals' steps.
Anila: Hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hmmmm!
Anila: And a one, two, three. Twirl aaand...
Anila: Hehehe! Dancing sure is fun!
Nopal 1: ...
Nopal 2: ...!
Anila: That's right! I was also thinking of trying something like this. What do you think?
Anila: Step, step, step... Step, step...
Soft grass brushes against Anila's cheek.
Anila: Hehehe... Ahahaha! Gahahaha!
She breathes in the sweet aroma of the grass and lets loose a hearty laugh in bliss. She rolls over and spreads her arms and legs, looking up at the sky.
Anila: What a strange place. I used to dream of rolling hills just like this in my younger days.
Anila: I'm starting to understand why Eric doesn't want to leave.
Anila stands and brushes off the stray blades of grass from her clothes.
Anila: His friends are worried for him. I have to get him back home.
???: Meow... Meow...
Anila: Hm? A cat?
Cat 1: Meow?
Anila: Hehe! Cute little fellow, aren't you!
Cat 1: Meow!
Anila: There, there. Are you lost too?
Cat 2: Meowww!
Anila: Oh, and who's your friend here? Come to me, little kitties.
Cat 3: Meowr!
Cat 4: Mew, mew?
Anila: M-more little kitties?
Anila: Hehe. Come on everyone, don't be shy.
Anila pets all the cats one after another.
Anila: Hehehe! Who's a good little kitty?
Boy: You like cats, do you, miss?
Anila: Hm? You're that boy from earlier...
Girl: I brought another kitty! Wanna play with her?
Cat 5: Mew, mew.
Anila's mind starts spinning. How did these children get here?
Anila: Did you two get here through the puddle as well?
Anila: I'll get you out of here. Come with me; your parents must be worried.
Girl: Why won't you play with her? You played with everyone but her. Can't you see she's lonely?
Cat 5: Meow...
The cat floats from the girl's hands onto Anila's shoulder. It licks her cheek.
In an instant, all the worries troubling Anila melt away.
Anila: Hehe. Stealing a kiss are we? A daring one you are.
Anila: All right! Let's play!
Anila: Hehehe! You're so cute!
Anila: Don't worry, I'll stay here with you forever!
She laughs without a hint of concern and returns to playing with the cats.
All the while, the children look on. They nod to each other in an unspoken understanding—the hint of a smile on their lips.
The Lost Sheep: Scene 3
Anila senses danger but is unable to escape from the distractions that trap her. Only when the toy knight drops from her satchel does she remember her initial goal.
Cat 1: Meow!
Cat 2: Purrr...
Anila: Hehehe! Coooochie-coochie-coooo!
Anila continues to play with the group of cats.
Anila: (I feel like there's something not quite right here...)
Anila: (I do enjoy playing with cute little animals... However, I somehow sense I shouldn't be doing this right now.)
Boy: Miss, this little kitty says he wants to play too!
Girl: And this one as well!
Anila: Hehe. Of course. Come to me, little ones.
Anila: (N-no... I can't help but think of anything but the cats.)
She senses something amiss, but her thoughts feel clouded.
Girl: The little kitties sure do like you!
Anila: Hehe! Hey, that tickles!
Anila lies sprawled on the grass among the cats.
When she tries to turn over, however, she suddenly feels a sharp pain on her thigh.
She searches for the source and finds that it's the toy knight she had placed in her satchel. She takes the figurine out to examine.
Anila: A toy knight?
That's right! I should be looking for the boy!
Anila jumps to her feet and runs from the cats.
She spots the two children watching from afar and stops in her tracks. She is on high alert, carefully watching.
Girl: What's wrong? Don't you wanna play with the kitties?
Anila: I knew it. You aren't the children I met earlier.
Boy: What're you talking about? You're scaring me.
Anila: No. You've been trying to distract me—make me forget what's important.
Anila: Who are you! I want the truth!
The two look at each other, troubled.
The next moment, they both let loose a blood-curdling laugh.
Boy: Humph. Guess the cats are out of the bag.
Girl: You should have done as Master Joya planned. Wouldn't it have been nice to forget about everything and just enjoy the fun?
Anila: So this place is the Joya's doing.
Boy: One could say you're right. One could also say you're wrong.
Girl: Doesn't matter either way. You'll give in to your desires sooner or later. They all do.
Anila: I knew it. Monsters.
Anila: I'd prefer to avoid violence, but you give me no choice. So be it.
Anila: You challenge Anila, Keeper of the South-Southwest, to battle!
The Lost Sheep: Scene 4
The instigators of the bizarre events reveal themselves to be manifestations of destructive thoughts. After defeating them, Anila summons a flock of sheep to protect her from any further distraction.
Anila defeats the monsters that had taken the guise of children, causing the grassy fields and rolling hills to dissipate back into black nothingness.
That was a close one.
Anila takes out the well-worn toy soldier from her satchel and stares at it.
Anila: I owe you my thanks, sir knight. If not for you... I might've been trapped forever.
Anila struggles to adjust her eyes to the dark, silent space.
The air seems to seethe with negative emotions, and she feels the strong sense of a predator priming to strike her.
Anila: (It's too dangerous here. If I let my guard down for even a moment, I might fall into another trap.)
Anila: (I need to find that boy Eric. And quick.)
Anila grips the figurine with newfound determination.
She then takes her weapon in hand and stands at the ready.
Anila: I... am the goddess of lambs, Anila. My companions, hear my call...
Anila: My flock, I summon you!
Anila: I'm sorry to have to summon you in a lonely place like this, dear friends.
Anila pets the row of three sheep.
Anila: But I've something to ask of you. For this is a dangerous place, even for me.
Anila: If I ever get distracted—enticed by worldly thoughts—keep me from losing my way.
Anila: Hehe. I'm counting on you!
Protected by her sheep, Anila continues to walk through the darkness.
She stays vigilant for the trickery of the monsters, lest their illusions trap her once again.
A Boy and His Soldier
Anila is shown a scene of Eric and his friends telling each other of their most treasured possessions. But when Eric's turn comes, insecurity grips him, and he hides the fact that he's brought his favorite toy.
Anila has fallen into a strange world through the puddle she found near Joya's shrine.
After losing her way for a time, she now resumes searching for the missing boy in this strange place.
Her sheep stay close by her side, warding off any illusions that threaten to entrap her in a web of destructive thoughts.
She grips the lost boy's toy knight as she presses on.
I'm sensing something.
Without warning, the darkness changes into a scene set on the snow-covered temple grounds.
Boy: So, did everyone get the stuff?
Girl: Yep! All set!
The children from earlier!)
She expects to be seen, but the children don't seem to notice her and instead continue their conversation.
Eric: I'm all set too!
Eric—appearing from just out of sight—joins the boy and girl.
Anila still can't tell if what she sees is reality or an illusion. She decides to stay hidden and watch the scene unfold for now.
Boy: Okay! Then let's all show each other our treasures!
Girl: Oh-oh! I'll start!
Girl: Ta-daa! My treasure is... a pink quill!
Girl: My aunt from a really far-away island gave it to me! She says it's made from the feather of a super rare bird!
Eric: Whoa! It looks so cool!
Boy: Wow! From a rare bird! That sounds like a treasure, all right!
Boy: Okay, I'll go next. Here's my treasure!
The boy opens a small wooden box and shows it to the others.
Eric: Are those... brooches?
Boy: Yep! Collecting 'em is my hobby!
Girl: Oooh! Lemme see, lemme see!
The girl takes the box and squeals in excitement.
Eric: Th-they look expensive.
Boy: Not really. I managed to get all of them with my allowance. Didn't even have to save up.
Girl: But they're so shiny and pretty and they have gems in them and everything!
Boy: Heh heh. Pretty cool, huh?
Boy: So, Eric, what did you bring? Some gems? Or maybe something rare?
Eric: Um... Well... I...
Eric reaches into his pocket but stops just before he pulls something out. There's a guilty, uncomfortable look on his face.
Anila: (Hm? What's going on?)
Eric: Sorry. Actually, I didn't bring anything today. I'm still looking.
Girl: Huh? But just now you said you were all set!
Eric: I... I didn't mean it. Sorry. Just kinda said it by accident.
Boy: Aww, man... Boooring.
Looking for something new to do, the boy gathers the snow around his feet and makes a snowball to throw.
While the boy is looking away, however, the girl takes the box and taps Eric on the shoulder.
Girl: Psst, Eric. Which of these brooches do you want?
Eric: Huh? Which do I want?
Eric is taken aback by the girl's words, yet she continues with a cheery smile.
Girl: Look, he's got so many. Surely he won't miss just one. He'll never even notice.
Anila: (What's she trying to do!)
Eric: Heh heh. Maybe you're right.
Eric: Just one. I'll make one of these my treasure!
Anila: What do you think you're doing! Stop this at once!
Anila jumps to her feet and walks toward Eric.
But before she can reach him, Eric has already taken one of the brooches and run away.
Anila: I'm too late!
Girl: Heh heh heh.
Boy: All too easy.
Anila: You think this is funny? I won't stand for it!
Anila: Wha! They're gone!
Anila: Where are you? Show yourself!
Eric's Voice: Nyeh-nyeh-n-nyeh-nyeh! Can't catch me!
Anila: Hold it right there!
Boy: Give it back! It's mine!
Eric: Don't wanna!
Anila: What do you think you're doing!
Penguins: Auwkh, auwk!
Anila: Hey! Let me pass, I say!
Eric's Voice: Hahahaha!
Anila: Stay still! Where are you...
Eric: You're not the boss of me!
Anila: Or maybe over here...
Eric: Can't catch me! Can't catch me!
Anila: Wh-where is he? His voice is coming from all over...
In the darkness, Eric's voice seems to be both everywhere and nowhere.
Anila is at a loss, for try as she might, she knows she cannot catch him.
A Boy and His Soldier: Scene 2
Making use of her powers, Anila finally gets ahold of Eric. Though at first he still refuses to return home, his tone changes when he catches sight of his favorite toy knight.
Penguins: Auwk, auwk!
Sheep: Baa! Baa!
Anila: (Everything's topsy-turvy here, even the paths. How am I ever going to catch him?)
Eric: Hm? Which way do I go from here?
Anila: Found you!
Angry nopals emerge from the darkness to block Anila's way.
Anila: Wha! Where'd you come from!
Anila: Out of the way! Don't point your prickly fists at me!
Anila: No use talking to you, is there?
Anila: What do I do... I can't chase him. I can't even move from where I am.
Anila: Hm? That's it! Why didn't I think of it before!
Anila thrusts her weapon into the ground.
Anila: My sheep, I summon you!
Anila: More, more, more!
Sheep pour out in droves from the magic circle at Anila's feet.
The space is filled with an uncountable number of sheep—so much so that Eric is rendered unable to move.
Trapped in the fluffy stampede, he drops the brooch. It falls into the darkness and disappears.
Sheep: Baaa! Baaa!
Eric tumbles atop the canopy of the charging flock, which carries him directly to Anila.
Anila: Hehe. Right to my doorstep.
With a soft, kind touch, Anila takes Eric's hand.
Anila: Now, time for us to go home. Your friends and family are worried sick about you.
Eric: I told you I don't wanna go! I'm staying here!
Anila: Now, now, don't say that.
Anila: Why, I heard you were quiet and gentle, Eric. What's gotten you so worked up?
Eric: The old me's gone now!
Eric: I'm done acting like a good kid! I'll do what I want from now on!
Anila: Does that mean it's all right to steal? Is that really going to make you happy?
Eric: Yeah, it will! So let me go already!
Eric pushes Anila's hand away and tries to run.
Anila: Stop! Get back here!
When Anila stands to go after him, the toy knight she had been holding onto slips from her grip.
Eric's expression changes the moment he lays eyes on the figurine.
He scoops the toy up with both hands and stares deeply at the weathered and worn knight.
A Boy and His Soldier: Scene 3
Eric opens up to Anila, expressing how he longs to see his always working mother. Anila tells him she can relate, having been raised away from her family herself. Freed of destructive thoughts, Eric agrees to return home.
Eric's eyes stay locked on the toy soldier.
Anila: That's yours, isn't it? It must be very important to you.
Eric: No! A busted-up old toy like this could never be a treasure!
Eric: Treasures are expensive or made from rare birds!
Eric throws the figure to the ground and tries again to run away.
But like a great wall of cotton candy, the sheep bunch together to create a woolen barrier.
Anila: I see how it is now.
Anila picks up the figurine from the ground.
Anila: Before, when you were with your friends, you said you hadn't found your treasure yet.
Anila: But that was a lie, wasn't it?
Eric: I wasn't lying! I... I...
Anila: You brought this to show to your friends. This was your treasure.
Anila: But when you saw what your friends had brought, you lost confidence. You didn't think it was good enough.
S-so what if I did?
Anila smiles and crouches down next to the boy, figurine in hand.
Anila: Do you know how I can tell this is your treasure?
Anila: It's all scratched up because of how much you've played with it.
Anila: And the paint's been worn away from all the time you've been holding on to it.
Anila: That wouldn't have happened if it wasn't something close to your heart.
Anila: (That's it. He's coming round.)
Anila: (If I can get him to open up to me, we can get rid of the Kleshas that've poisoned him.)
Anila: Can you tell me who gave this to you?
Eric takes the toy soldier in hand; Anila's gentle voice seems to have calmed him.
He looks away, abashed.
Eric: My mom.
Anila: Oh, I see. And do you like your mother?
Eric: Yeah. But my dad... He's not around anymore.
Eric: It's just me and my mom. She raised me all by herself.
Anila: Well, that's certainly a mother to be proud of.
Eric: But she's never home until really late at night. She's always working.
Eric: Even though all my other friends' moms are always at home with them.
Anila: That must make you feel very lonely.
Eric: I can't tell her that.
Eric: Mom's always working so hard for the both of us. More than I ever can.
Eric: That's why I have to become a knight. So I can protect her instead.
His knuckles turn white as he grips the figurine.
Anila: (He's been keeping all this bottled up inside for so long.)
Anila: (One can't simply be rid of loneliness. You can cry and you can pout, but you'll still be lonely after.)
Eric: Wh-what're you doing?
Anila: You're such a good little boy. And good little boys deserve a pat on the head.
Eric: Cut it out! I'm not a baby!
Anila: Hehehe. Oh, don't be like that.
Anila: Come on! You guys join in too!
Eric: Hey! I said cut it—
Eric: Hehe! Ahahaha!
Anila: Cuddly, aren't they?
Anila: Try giving them a hug. You won't regret it.
Though hesitant at first, Eric buries his face into the wool of one of the sheep.
Eric: It's so warm.
Anila: Hehe. Feels good, doesn't it?
Eric's cares seem to melt away as he pets the sheep.
Anila: I too felt lonely as a child, being raised away from my parents.
Anila: Seeing you brings back memories of when I left home.
Eric: You were alone too?
Anila: I wasn't completely alone; I had others taking care of me. But I hardly ever saw my parents.
Anila: There was a letter my parents wrote to me once. Oh, how I would read the letter over and over.
Anila: So many times, in fact, that before long it was wrinkled, worn, and on the verge of crumbling to dust.
Anila: Just like that toy soldier of yours.
Eric: So... you're just like me.
Eric: Are you still lonely?
Anila: Now I have companions closer to me than brothers or sisters.
Anila: When I think about them, my heart starts to get nice and warm, and then I don't feel so lonely anymore.
Eric: I wish I had friends like that...
Anila: Humph. Actually, I believe you already do.
Anila: Hehe. You'll know what I mean when we get back to the village.
Eric closes his eyes and sinks deep into thought as he pets the sheep.
Anila: (He's calmed down. Looks like most of those negative emotions are gone now.)
I wanna go home.
Anila: Then let's do just that.
Anila: When you get back home, tell your mother how you really feel, all right?
Eric: Okay. I will.
Giving the sheep one last hug, Eric stands to his feet.
Anila takes his hand, and they head toward the light.
Just as they begin to see the snowy plains on the other side of the portal, however, something happens.
The portal! It's closing!
As if in response to their approach, the portal quickly starts to shrink.
Anila: Eric! Run!
Eric's foot catches on something, and he falls to the ground.
Boy: You shall not escape...
Anila: I won't let you take him!
Eric: H-he turned into a monster!
Anila: Get behind me, Eric!
Anila: You'll corrupt innocent hearts no longer!
Anila: Prepare to be defeated!
A Boy and His Soldier: Scene 4
The monsters close the exit portal, but Anila uses her powers to break through the walls and reach the outside world. Reunited with his mother and friends, Eric finally tells his friends about his most prized toy soldier, a memento of the precious day he spent with his mother.
Having defeated the monsters, a heavy silence descends on them.
Eric: Miss, are you hurt?
Anila: Not to worry, I'm fine.
Anila: However, it looks like the portal's closed.
Where there was once a glow of white light, there is now nothing but darkness.
Eric: Sob, sob... I'm sorry. If only I hadn't tripped...
Anila: Now, now, don't cry. It's not your fault.
Eric: Sob... Mm...
Anila: Everything's going to be just fine. There has to be another way out of here—I know it.
Anila walks through the darkness, searching for an exit.
But no matter how long she walks, it all seems for naught.
Anila: (This could be a problem.)
Anila: (I supposed the monsters thought that if they couldn't defeat us, they might as well trap us here forever.)
Anila: Right you are; we shouldn't lose hope.
Anila: (But if only I knew what to do...)
Eric: That sounds like my mom!
Eric: Mom! Mom!
Eric's Mother: Eric? Where are you?
Eric: I'm here, Mom! I'm here!
Anila: There! I see something!
Straining her eyes, she can faintly make out a faint glow in the distant dark.
Anila: Th-that looks like a crack in the walls!
Beyond the sliver of light, they see the snow-covered land of the outside world.
Eric: What do we do? How do we get to the other side?
Anila: I have an idea. Stand back!
Anila: Prepare to be defeated!
Anila: Fury of the Ram!
Eric: Miss, are you okay?
Anila: Perfectly fine. I'm just enjoying the snow!
Eric: Hehe! We finally made it out!
Anila: That we did!
The mother takes her son in her arms.
Eric: Hm? Mom, don't you have work right now?
Eric's Mother: Oh, Eric, how could I work when you go missing like that?
Eric's Mother: I was so worried about you.
Eric: I'm sorry...
Anila: Ahh, mother and son reunited. I'm glad everything worked out just fine.
Eric's Mother: And who might this be, Eric?
Eric: She saved me, Mom! And she even found my knight!
Eric's Mother: Is that so?
Thank you, ma'am. I can't tell you how grateful I am.
Eric's mother lowers her head.
Anila: Psst. Isn't there something you want to tell your mother?
Eric: Oh, y-yeah...
Eric finally lets his mother know about the loneliness he feels from her frequent absence.
Eric: I know you're busy at work... But sometimes you come back only after I've gone to sleep.
Eric: I wish I could talk to you more. I wanna tell you about so many things—happy things, sad things, everything.
Eric's Mother: I see.
Eric's Mother: I'm sorry for making you feel that way, son. You're such a good boy and never complain—I just kept on working without thinking how you'd feel.
As the mother hugs her son, Anila doesn't miss the sadness that clouds the mother's face.
Anila: How about this: when you want to talk to your mother about something, why don't you write her a letter?
Eric's Mother: A letter, you say?
Anila: That's right! You can read his letter when you get back home, then leave a reply for him in the morning.
Eric: That sounds fun! Can we do it, mom?
Eric's Mother: Hmm, yes. That sounds like a wonderful idea. Anything to help you feel less alone at home.
Girl: Oh! It's Eric!
Boy: Where'd you go? We looked everywhere for you!
Eric: Umm... It's a secret!
Boy: What? Hey, I wanna know!
Girl: I'm so glad you're okay. You made such a sad face when we were showing each other treasures—I was worried.
Boy: Yeah, and you still haven't shown us your treasure yet!
Girl: I knew you were lying about not having found your treasure. You were the one who said we should show each other our treasures in the first place!
Eric: Th-that obvious, huh?
Eric grips the toy knight in his hands.
Anila: (Hehe. That's it! You can do it!)
Anila nods a smile of encouragement.
Boy: A toy knight?
Girl: It doesn't look all that special on the outside. Why's it your treasure?
Eric: It's special because of what it means to me.
Eric: My mom gave it to me when we went to town for my birthday.
Eric: There were so many fun things that day. And this reminds me of everything that happened.
Eric: Well... That's it.
Boy: Whoa! Now that's what I call a treasure!
Girl: That's so sweet and wonderful!
Eric's Mother: Sob...
Eric: Mom? Are you crying?
Eric's Mother: I... I just have something in my eye.
Anila: Aww, come here, you!
Eric: Whoa! What're you doing?
Eric: C-cut it out! You're embarrassing me!
Eric blushes as Anila snuggles him with all her might.
After a little giggle, she turns to face him.
Anila: Do you understand now? You didn't need to hide anything in the first place.
Eric: Hehe. Guess you're right.
Anila: It's not about whether your most cherished item is valuable or not—if you cherish it, that's what makes it valuable!
Anila: I hope you never forget that.
Eric: I won't!
Anila: Hehe! Good answer!
She puts her finger to the toy knight's chest.
Anila: Now, be sure never to throw this away again, okay?
Looking surprised, he nods with a tinge of guilt.
Eric's Mother: Now, how about we head back and treat ourselves to an early dinner? What do you say?
Eric's Mother: Thank you so much, young lady. For everything.
Anila: Haha. Think nothing of it!
Eric: Bye! Let me pet your sheep again one day!
Waving goodbye, Eric goes home surrounded by his mother and friends.
Anila: Whew. I guess that's case closed for this one.
Anila turns back to face the empty bell tower.
Anila: (Anger and jealousy are always the result of something else. Their cause always lies somewhere deeper.)
Anila: (To see life from another's perspective. That's what one needs to banish the self destructive force of the Kleshas.)
Anila: Hehe. I still have a long way to go myself.
Anila is the guardian of the South-Southwest. Yet at her core she was, and still is, simply a girl who loves her parents.
She holds her head high, safe in the knowledge that the pain she faced as a child has—at the very least—relieved another of the same suffering.
One day near the end of the year, Anila, Guardian Deity of the South-Southwest, goes to visit Andira, Guardian Deity of the West-Southwest, for a transfer of duties. Overjoyed at the overdue reunion, Andira asks Anila to do that thing she does. Anila happily complies and summons a flock of sheep from a magic circle. Surrounded by the fleecy creatures, Andira takes full delight in their fluffy goodness.
One day near the end of the year, Anila goes to see Andira.
Andira: Oh, Anila!
Anila: Heh heh heh, I see you're doing well as ever, Andira!
Anila and Andira rejoice in seeing each other again after such a long time.
Andira: Hello... Oh, that's right! You must be here for the passing of the baton!
Anila: Of course. This is the last part of my job, after all.
Andira: Then I must congratulate you on your hard work!
Anila: Ha ha, don't you sound all grown up!
Andira: Well even I can't be a little kid forever!
Anila smiles to see how Andira has matured since her last visit.
Anila: Still...I wonder if I can really trust you with this.
Anila: I know...you're not all that much younger than the others, but...
Andira: Come on, Anila! You worry too much!
Andira responds to Anila's concern with a pout.
Anila: Ahem... How rude of me.
Anila: I apologize. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?
Still staring at her feet, Andira steals a glimpse at Anila's face.
Suddenly, as if the hurt feelings never existed, a smile lights up Andira's face.
Andira: I know...you can do that thing you always do!
Anila: Oh, for goodness' sake... You were you pulling my leg this whole time, weren't you?
Andira: Heh heh, you figured it out?
Anila can't help but smile at Andira's mischievous grin.
Anila: Honestly... You really do like that, don't you?
Anila: Although...I do admit, I'm rather fond of it myself.
With that, she thrusts her spear into the earth.
Anila: I am Anila, guardian of the sheep shrine. By my name, I command my brethren... Come forth, ovine multitude!
In answer to Anila's incantation, a magic circle appears over the ground.
Fluffy sheep come flying out of the circle one after another.
Andira: Woohoo! I'm surrounded by fluff!
Anila: Oh, no... I can do much more than this. Behold!
To prove her boast, Anila continues to summon sheep ad infinitum.
Now covered in woolly creatures, Andira takes full delight in their fluffy goodness.
Andira: So fluffy...
Anila: Heh heh heh... Cute little guys. And it makes me grin sheepishly to see how much they please you.
Anila takes Andira in a sisterly embrace.
Thus, their time together flies by in the twinkling of an eye.
Anila: Well... I suppose I should be on my way...
Andira: Come on, there's no need to rush!
Anila: There you go, acting like a kid again...
Anila: Where's that clever little adult I saw earlier?
Andira: Alright, alright... I get your point.
Anila: Remember, this is only goodbye for a short while... We'll meet again soon enough.
Andira is reluctant to say goodbye. It's as though she thinks this will be the last time they ever see each other.
Anila: You're hopeless, you know that? But if you're ever in trouble, you can call on me, okay? I promise.
Andira: ...What! Really?
Anila: Well, I'm practically your big sister, aren't I? Of course!
Andira: Thank you, Anila!
Thus, the yearly duties were safely passed on from the Sheep to the Monkey of the Twelve Divine Generals.
Undoubtedly, a deep bond had formed between the two, stronger than any mere professional relationship.