Scenario:Anila - The Lost Sheep

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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.
Joya: ...!
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: Hmm...
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.
Boy: Oh...
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.
Anila: ...!
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.
Anila: Aaah!
She feels helpless as she's sucked into the dark portal.
Anila: Aaah!
Anila: Oww...
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?
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.
Eric: No...
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?
Anila: ...!
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!
Anila: Wha!
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?
Moles: Cheep!
The animals head deeper into the woods and appear to beckon Anila to follow.
Anila: Wait, where are you going?
Anila: Hm?
The animals disappear, and the forest is replaced by an icy river in a frozen land.
Penguins: ...!
Anila: Whoaaa!
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.
Nopals: ...!
Nopal 1: ...
Nopal 2: ...
Anila: Haha! Very nice! You dance well!
Anila: I quite like dancing myself!
Nopals: ...!
Anila mimics the nopals' steps.
Anila: Hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hmmmm!
Anila: And a one, two, three. Twirl aaand...
Anila: Pose!
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...
Anila: Ah!
Anila: Hmm?
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: However...
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: Snuggly-wuddly-woo!
Anila: Hehehe! Who's a good little kitty?
Cats: Meow-ow!
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!
Cats: Meow!
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!
Cats: Meow!
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!
Cats: Meow!
Anila: Teeheee!
Anila: Hehe! Hey, that tickles!
Anila lies sprawled on the grass among the cats.
Anila: Ow!
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?
Anila: ...!
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!
Children: ...
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.
Tempter: Gwoooar!
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: ...
Anila defeats the monsters that had taken the guise of children, causing the grassy fields and rolling hills to dissipate back into black nothingness.
Anila: ...
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!
Sheep: Baaa...
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.
Sheep: Baaa!
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.