A New Year's Challenge

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A New Year's Challenge


Taro resolved to climb up a mountain to see
the first sunrise of the year from its peak.
I had to get the inside scoop on his motivation.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I'm trying to make a wish. See, my father once told me a story...

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: He said that if I watch the year's first sunrise from a place close to the sun, I'll be blessed with the fortune to achieve my goals!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I'll do anything to become a first-rate samurai—so up a mountain I go!

It was New Year's Eve, and Taro prepared to
make his fateful ascent. The place he'd set his
sights was hardly the highest peak of Kleifheim,
but it was good enough for him.

A New Year's Challenge

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: *pant* A pox on this precipitous peak... *wheeze*

The Challenger

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: We've only just begun to hike! We have to reach the summit before dawn, and you CAN do it!

Taro's Supporter

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: How do you have so much energy?

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: I'm sure you'd have more if you weren't wearing all that heavy armor.

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Seriously. I can't pretend to be an expert on samurai logic...

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: ...but you'd be way better-equipped to make the climb if you shed all those extra pounds you're carrying around.

Taro's Guide

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: This armor is an extension of my being! I'd sooner die than cast it aside!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I also feel like there must be an easier way to scale this mountain... Is this really the designated path?

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: You kidding? I'd never take the easy way up. We're on maximum difficulty here, friend! We're gonna EARN this sunrise!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: WHAT?! I'm not here to thrill-seek!

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: But overcoming so much hardship on the trek up will make the sunrise that much more beautiful when you see it!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Why are you agreeing with him? ...Not that I necessarily disagree.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: All right! I will prove that I am mightier than some mountain! Let's do this!

And so they climbed.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Urgh... Argh...

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: Come on, Taro! But watch your footing— if you slip and fall, it's game over!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I know! Rgh... Urrrgh!

They climbed, and they climbed...

120007 01 base portrait.pngFiend: RAAAAAAAGH!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: A fiend?! And it's huge!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Of course it is. Haven't you ever heard the saying? "The bigger the mountain, the bigger the—"

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: "—ants!" Er, fiends! Yeah, that one!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Please stop talking and help me fight it!

Their journey was fraught with peril, but
they rose to the challenge time and again.

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: The water level here's really high.

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: But not TOO high! Caulk your wagons, boys, because we're fording this river!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: GAH! Cold! My armor's so heavy! Brrrrrrrr...

But eventually, Taro reached his limit.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: *pant* *pant* I can't...move...

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: What's wrong, Taro?! Talk to u—

What was going through his head
at that moment? I simply had to know.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I wanted to go back to Hinomoto. That was all I could think.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: But then, out of the darkness in my heart...arose a sudden burst of passion.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: The desire to see the sun rise, and to win its blessings, exploded within me, pulling me to my feet!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Oh!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Welcome back.

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: Phew! We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Ha ha. I'm sorry for worrying you.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: But I'm okay now. I WILL reach the peak before dawn! Samurai's honor!

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: That's the spirit! I'll be cheering you on the whole way there!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Heh. Then let's get a move on, shall we?

Taro & Emma: YEAH!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: We made it. There's the summit.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Whoa!

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: Look, Taro! The rising sun is so beautiful!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Aha ha... We made it... We made it to the mountain's peak, kissed by the rising sun!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: ...Wait, this is no time to get sentimental! I need to start praying!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: (O rising sun, grant me your blessings! May this be the year I become a first-rate samurai!)

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Aaand done. Hm? Aren't you two going to pray?

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Heh. I'll let you have all the good fortune.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I-I see. What about you, Emma?

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: I'm good! I only came here to support you. Besides...

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: I plan on praying to Apollo when I get back anyway!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: ...Apollo?

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: He's the guardian of the town where I work. People call him an avatar of the sun.

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: If you go and greet him, you get the sun's blessing! I do it every year!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: An avatar of the sun? The sun's blessing?!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Heh. That sounds just like what Taro here was after.

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: Hee hee. That's not all! He's even been known to personally come and visit warriors who train really hard!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: HE DOES?!

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: Heh heh... Sounds like there was a much easier way for you to get the sun's blessings after all, Taro!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Somebody... Say it isn't so...!

110260 01 r04.pngEmma: Oh, but it IS so! I get loads of energy from Apollo every single year!

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Seriously?! Everything I endured... All my passion... What was it even for?

110003 01 r03.pngJoe: The doom and gloom's a bit much, pal. We had some real thrills—isn't that its own reward?

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: MAYBE FOR YOU! NOT FOR ME!

Finally, I asked Taro if he'd be
making the hike again next year.

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: Well... Next year...

110044 01 r03.pngTaro: I'll go and see Apollo instead!