- Warty: L̸̜̃ą̵́n̴̲̏d̴̻̓ ̵̝͆h̸̘͝o.
Nino: Reading time's over, pack it up.
- Meimona: Seriously... feels like my wingbones atrophied from sitting around.
- Nino: That's because you didn't try to pass time with something meaningful, Mei.
- Meimona: Yeah well, I'm not like that phone freak, or you two lovebird-nerds.
- Nino: H-hey, what?
- Meimona: Lovenerds for short!
- Nino: Don't say that, idiot!
- Meimona: Ummm, I mean...
- Meimona: You looked super-duper-wuper excited to read with someone.
- Nino: Okay, I don't expect you to understand, but listen.
- Nino: Reading is usually a very solitary activity. It's not every day that you get the chance to share it with someone else... that's all.
- Meimona: Sure, suuuure.
- Meimona: The reasons behind anything you do are sooo very logical, aren't they?
- Nino: I don't know what you're talking about...
- Meimona: Heheheh! Just calling it as I see it, bro.
- Nino: You're so confidently incorrect there.
- Nino: You could've read with us too if you wanted, you know?
- Meimona: No way, that's nerd stuff.
- Meimona: Besides, a bro doesn't ruin another bro's date!
- Nino: Ugh, leave me alone.
Mei's (completely incorrect) comments aside, hopefully you'll get a chance to read more of the Book of Wonders along the way... whether alone, or with someone else. But for now, it goes back in the inventory.
The sea patrol has already weighed anchor. Mei bids them a warm farewell, as it seems like they'll be sailing back as soon as you're off their vessel.
Good. The less eyes on you, the better.
Party: Disembark in Wither Garden.
- Reed: Here we are.
- Aria: So this is Wither Garden...
- Meimona: Umm, it feels a little eerie.
- Five: Five thinks... nobody living here?
- Nino: Yeah, I don't see anyone around.
- Aria: Just wreckage. D:
- Five: Yahoo!
- Aria: There's no need to rush, Five!
- Meimona: Aw c'mon, how can you blame her?
- Meimona: She's been cooped up on that ship for hours!
- Aria: Alright... just be careful not to trip on anything. D:
- Nino: Reed, what's this place like?
- Reed: Barely populated. I don't know much about it beyond that.
- Reed: I've only ever lived in big, busy cities.
- Reed: But it's one of the places closest to the barrier, so...
- Reed: It does look like it was hit the hardest during previous conflicts.
- Aria: I'll say...
- Nino: Doesn't look like it fared well since.
- Nino: And not like anyone's tried to rebuild it, to boot.
- Meimona: Maybe no one bothered to, 'cause no one lives here anymore anyway?
Party: Look around.
- Nino: The grass here is still growing, but it feels... lifeless?
- Aria: Ah, it reminds me of the monster world.
- Aria: A lot of the land feels dead, in a similar way to this place.
- Five: Yes! Even when flowers and trees grow, in monster world...
- Five: The color of the flowers is sad, just like this.
- Aria: Really, they don't look too vibrant.
- Meimona: Oho! I know why! This soil isn't moist enough!
- Meimona: In fact, it looks like when soil is burnt too much to me.
- Nino: Huh, now that you mention it...
- Nino: I faintly smell something like soot here, but nothing's burning.
- Reed: Maybe there was a wildfire, then.
- Reed: Could explain the dead soil.
- Meimona: Fire doesn't always harm soil, you know?
- Meimona: A bit of burning can actually fertilize it!
- Meimona: But if it's too strong, it will ruin the soil's quality...
- Nino: Right. Intense burning would break its structure, wouldn't it?
- Meimona: Yes! It's very dry, 'cause it can't hold water anymore!
- Aria: That's interesting! But, umm...
- Aria: Where's all this agricultural knowledge coming from?
- Aria: First it was Mei, and now it's Nino...
- Meimona: Huhu, my mum owns a farm in the overworld!
- Meimona: Not to brag, but I was formerly a farming genius myself.
- Aria: Oh! Then what about Nino?
- Meimona: Haha, I dunno what his deal is.
- Nino: Uh. Shrug. Just some trivia that came to mind!
- Reed: You know some really random trivia, dude...
- Aria: So we have evidence of a destructive fire, but...
- Aria: If that's the case, then wouldn't the people living here have stopped it?
- Aria: But as Nino said...
- Aria: It doesn't look like there was any attempt to salvage the place.
- Reed: Maybe it wasn't possible to.
- Reed: So they simply chose to abandon it.
- Nino: Hmm... I guess? But that seems too obvious.
- Reed: So what? The most obvious explanation is usually correct.
- Nino: Well, it also doesn't really make sense to me!
- Nino: Would anyone really choose to abandon their home just because of a fire?
- Meimona: Counterpoint: it does make sense!
- Meimona: 'cause this was a weirdo enough fire that they'd have no other choice.
- Aria: What do you mean?
- Meimona: Just look at this soil's quality!
- Meimona: Even though it looks like it was burnt a looong time ago,
- Meimona: Besides dead grass, nothing has even grown back on it!
- Meimona: I don't think it can be healthy ever again...
- Meimona: Here you go!
- Nino: Wha... I'm not playing with dirt.
- Nino: Do that alone if you want to.
- Meimona: I'm not playing, dummy! Try holding it and you'll see.
- Nino: ...Woah. It's like dust in my hands.
- Nino: It's not sand, but it feels like it...
- Meimona: Yeah, see what I mean?
- Meimona: Barely anything useful can grow on something this poor!
- Meimona: Sooo, this fire was weirdo enough for everyone to be like "welp, let's just abandon ship". Or abandon land, I guess? Anyway...
- Meimona: The soil has degraded so much that it's practically quicksand!
- Meimona: Can't farm crops or build stable houses on that, can you?
- Nino: I guess so...
- Meimona: Better leave for greener pastures - literally!
The human world doesn't lack greenery, yet only these specific parts have become fruitless, and possibly eternally burnt.
As if it's become impossible to revive after death.
To leave behind such lasting damages... can a natural wildfire do that?
- Reed: Enough playing in the sandpit, you grade schoolers.
- Reed: Did you forget what we're here for?
- Meimona: We're not playing! This is AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE!
- Five: Look, look!
- Five: Five made... a dirt-friend!
- Aria: Wow, how adorable!
- Nino: Oh damn, shaping dirt of this quality is impressive!
- Reed: You were saying, Mei...?
- Meimona: That's... a valuable field experiment in action!
- Aria: It's so cute...
- Aria: What's our dirt-friend's name, Five?
- Five: Umm... Five doesn't know yet!
- Five: But everyone can help! Think together!
- Aria: Look! I think boyfriend likes it.
- Boyfriend: Meow.
- Nino: Maaan, that's so precious.
- Nino: Maybe it can be "Girlfriend" then.
- Five: Girlfriend! Heheh!
- Meimona: Woah, woah, I'm not sure about this sudden development in my cat's personal life... wait, I think he just likes how warm the soil feels?
- Nino: Of course he'd like a warm girlfriend!
- Nino: What a smart cat.
- Meimona: That's not what I said!
- Aria: Are we really going to leave her behind?
- Reed: Wha... of course we are!
- Reed: Are you out of your minds, or what...
- Nino: I guess a girlfriend made from dirt won't survive the journey, huh.
- Nino: That's sad.
- Five: Aww... :(
- Reed: No way you guys are getting attached to a piece of dirt now.
- Aria: Oh, I know! Reed, can you take a picture of her?
- Reed: What.
- Nino: Good idea!
- Reed: You're kidding me.
- Meimona: Oooh, that way we can immortalize Five's creation!
- Five: Yes!
- Reed: Unbelievable.
- Five: Oh... Reed can't do it...?
- Five: Five has to say bye-bye now...? D:
- Reed: No, I... ugh.
- Reed: Fine. Just one picture.
- Reed: Only so we can get a move on.
- Five: Yaaaay!
- Reed: Lucky for us, the signal's still here.
- Reed: Looks like this will work out after all.
- Aria: Whoa! You've already detected a rift?
Party: Bid farewell and get a move on.
- Reed: Already did while we were still on the ship.
- Meimona: Oh yeah! Reed's arm device thingy went all beep-boop about it.
- Meimona: He even showed me how it works back there!
- Meimona: But you guys had your noses stuck in a book, sooo...
- Aria: Oops... hehe.
- Reed: As soon as we got close enough to the island, my thing picked up on it.
- Meimona: Mmhm! The beeping only got beepier the closer we got!
- Nino: Excuse me, but "thing", you said?
- Nino: Shouldn't such a sophisticated device have a more proper name?
- Reed: Uh... the "Rift Detector", sure.
- Meimona: Wow, did you literally just go with the first idea there.
- Reed: Ah, who cares, I didn't make the damn thing.
- Reed: Rift's right up ahead. Come on.
- Five: Bye-bye, girlfriend!
- Aria: Hey, I've been thinking...
- Aria: Since this place is just that close to the barrier,
- Aria: Is what we're seeing the result of war?
- Nino: You mean... monsters set this town on fire?
- Meimona: Yikes! Is that true, Reed?
- Reed: Hey, I'm not a walking encyclopedia of human history.
- Reed: I don't really know what happened here. But Aria's guess might be correct.
- Reed: Since it's obvious that what took place wasn't something peaceful.
A "weirdo" fire that permanently ruins soil may be born of an ability. And who else could purposefully burn down a human town, if not monsters?
As you make your way forward, the hint of soot in the air strengthens.
What a sad thing to see, a land where everything has died.
Nino: Witness a sign of life.
There's still something that overflows with life.
- Meimona: Hey, wait up!
- Reed: Oi. That's the wrong direction.
- Reed: Where are you going...?
- Nino: ...
Nino: Inspect flowers.
They're bright, almost like a ray of sunshine in this desolate land.
One flower in particular draws your attention.
Against all odds, it rose above the dead soil.
You can see a faint glow emitting from it.
Yeah, this... feels familiar.
What will you do?