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The Doll Festival... The annual celebration where people pray for the health and general well-being of the young girls of Vana'diel is once again upon us.
This tradition from the Far East has captivated the hearts of all who appreciate the finer beauties in life.
Indeed, during this time of year, even the most seasoned female adventurers find themselves as giddy as they were in their youth.
The festival is marked by pink cherry blossoms gently wafting in the cool breeze, by the sweet aroma of its triple layered cakes...
Of course, no matter the time or the place, there are always those misguided individuals who never seem to understand the true workings of the fairer sex.
It happened during last year's Doll Festival. A group of four adventurers known as the "Sweet Tooth Brigade" were enjoying the time honored tradition of gathering together to engage in spirited conversation and indulge in their favorite sweets. As their party was winding down, their adventurer friend, Mojari-Majari, wandered by and jokingly mentioned, "I think you girls just come here as an excuse to eat sweetarus and couldn't care less about seeing the flowers themselves!"
The four girls remained quiet and simply smiled in response, dimples dotting their cheeks. The festival came and went, and an entire year blinked past them. The time of Doll Festival was already close at hand.
"So, are you ready to get this year's Doll Festival started?"
"I demand-wand to know what is going on here! Why have you tied me up like this!?"
"No need to get all huffy This year, the Sweet Tooth Brigade has decided to prove to you that we consuming sweets is only part of our Doll Festival ritual. In fact, we've decided to allow you to experience our flower viewing party for yourself."
"That sounds more like a threataru than an invitation!"
"Oh, hush now. Anyways... You're up first, Kurenai."
"Let's go, Mojari."
The Hume girl smiled cheerfully as she took Mojari-Majari's hand. Escape was futile.
Before long, Mojari-Majari found himself in North Gustaberg. Rising up to the east was a cliff so steep that his neck cramped up even looking up it.
"Umm... Why have you broughtaru me here?" Mojari asked timidly. If there was one thing that he was afraid of, it was heights.
"I wanted to show you these flowers here," said Kurenai as she moved to show him what she had been concealing behind her back.
"They're known as amaryllises," she said, displaying a bouquet of flowers that looked like a bright red lily.
"I suppose-wose they are quite ravishing."
"Of course it is. But why sit there agape when you can experience its true wonder for yourself. Come on!"
"H-hey! Letaru go of my hand!"
Kurenai threw two of the amaryllis flowers into the air, and in the next instant, Mojari-Majari found himself holding her hand atop of the cliff amidst the whistling winds, looking down at the very spot where he had just been standing moments ago.
How had he been at ground level one minute and up here the next!?
<Huff> <puff> "...I...I felt like my heartaru was going to burst..."
"I suppose the next task falls to me," intoned the Elvaan knight Madilane. Despite her reputation for being both serious and honest, she was not about to give the Tarutaru a moment's rest.
"If you were worried about your heart before..."
"Melodrama does not become you. Here. Take a long, close look."
No matter how hard he squinted, the plant bore no resemblance to a flower. In fact, it was even bigger than Mojari-Majari himself. The "flower" at the end of its long stem was more jar lid than fragrant appendage. The pair jumped in shock as it began to chase them down, its jaw snapping furiously.
"Ahahaha! It is a carnivorous plant known as a snapweed. Cute, no? Just make sure to protect your face from its acid if you do not wish to be reduced to a mere puddle! Gloss over that one minor detail, however, and what is left is an exquisite beauty unlike any other."
"Gloss over? Gloss over!?"
"Phew..." Mojari-Majari panted as he plopped down and lowered his head in exhaustion.
"Now it's my turrrn!" said the Mithra girl Sheh Teela.
"I've had enough... I can't take another-wother step."
"Don't worry! You don't even need to move, Moja."
"My name-wame isn't Moja. It's Mojari-Majari!"
"Look! There it is!"
Walking towards them was a Mandragora-a large plant with a sprout atop its head.
"Adorrrable, no? His name is Bill and he was raised in a flowerpot."
"You call thing a flower!? Just because it has leaves-weaves doesn't make it a flower!"
"Not so fast! It'll turrrn into a beautiful flower. You'll see!"
"That's a lie-wie. You're lying. You've gotta be."
"Don't worry. You'll have no prrroblems if you don't agitate it. See? You can gaze at its flowers for as long as you like!"
"What flowers are you talking-walking? I don't see any!"
"Sometimes, he curls up, and even when you're feeling down, he'll put you right to sleep. He's such a nice guy."
"Uh, isn't he...attacking-wacking you?"
"Hahaha! What does it matter? This world is nothing but a dream anyway!"
<Sigh> "I'm positively-wively pooped..."
"Forgive me. I was wrong... I never should've said anything about you liking sweetarus better than flowers."
"Oho. So you're having-waving a good time after all.," said the Tarutaru girl known as Chococo.
"Hehehe.... I think Mojari is really starrrting to like our little get-togethers."
"I suppose we can finally forgive-wive him now."
"Hey, Chococo. Now that you've got us down by the pier, where are you taking us? You still haven't shown Mojari any flowers yet."
"Well, I've saved the best for last. We're going to my Mog Garden. It's a little out of the way, but it's perfectaru for our party! And by the way, only fair maidens like us are allowed inside!"
The group dutifully headed toward her Mog Garden, located on a tiny outlying area of the Adoulin archipelago. The large garden was a sight to behold, filled with giant cherry trees in full bloom, beneath which she had laid out a scarlet sheet for the troupe to sit on. On top were small eastern-style boxes packed tightly with a bevy of seasonal dishes.
"Now, let's enjoy these flowers. You too, Mojari."
"M-Me? Together with you?"
"What are you so scared of? It'll be fine! Today is about having fun. Now, sit betwixt us and make a toast."
"Uhhh... You've got a cherry blossom floating in your apple juice."
"It's a sign of the season!"
"Everything looks delicious!"
"Hey, we need to make our toast first! Mojari, there's no need to be shy. Sit down and eat as much as you like."
Not completely trusting his companions, Mojari-Majari took his place and sat down next to the four girls.
"Now, before we make our toast, Mojari, you need to eat this."
"Hey, that's a rice cake from the Rhinostery! There's no way I'm eating that!"
Mojari-Majari shook his head. He was not about to eat any rice cake that would turn him into a little Tarutaru girl.
"Sorry, but you won't be able to sit and watch the flowers with us if you don't eat this. I already told you, only those who can fully appreciate the festival can join us."
"W-Well... Yeah, you did say that, but... Huh!?"
"Look at all of this food we made. So, here. Eat your rice cake. You don't want to be left out, do you?"
The smiles on the four girls' lips belied their seriousness.
"Fine. I'll eat it."
And so, the five girls ate, drank, and enjoyed the Doll Festival until the sun went down, bringing a close to another day of sweets, flowers, and friends.
|Story: Miyabi Hasegawa|
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita
The Doll Festival event will commence at 12:00 a.m. (PST) on Thursday, February 19 and conclude on Thursday, March 5 at the same hour.
For the duration of the event, moogles will appear at the locations listed below. These same areas will also host dainty doll displays for your viewing pleasure.
Southern San d'Oria / Northern San d'Oria
Bastok Mines / Bastok Markets
Windurst Waters (north side) / Windurst Woods
Speak with any of these furry friends to obtain various Doll Festival-themed items for you to enjoy.