|In-game Slang||Quest Item|
|In-game Description||When a small-town boy looking to leave his sleepy hometown behind gets lost in a bamboo forest at sundown, what long-forgotten dreams will he encounter?|
The bamboo forest of Mt. Qingce is the verdant home to many fables.
After a spell of rain, a cadence of drips and drops could be heard bouncing from the bamboo leaves and hollow bamboo stalks. Along a winding path between the bamboo spires came a young boy. He swiftly made his way along the trail, climbing up damp crags and running down its paved mossy course. The leaves of tangled foliage and vines strewn across his path brushed against his skin. The boy finally decided to stop for a rest at a dried and withering spot among the creaking bamboo of Mt. Qingce, tucked away below the mountain rock.
The boy clearly remembered the village elder once saying that the rainy season was the proper time for the fox to take its wife. Only the eyes of a child could ever see the fox bride's crimson sedan chair and its procession dancing through the forest accompanied by strains of music and thumping drums.
The village elder also warned that kids mustn't approach any such procession.
"If you wander too close, the fox will snatch your soul away!"
That's what the village elder always said.
"What happens if your soul gets snatched?" asked one of the kids.
"Once the fox has your soul, your fate will be forever sealed... Perhaps they will use you for music in their processions, smashing you like a cymbal and beating you like a drum, horns blaring all around... There will be no rest for your soul."
The elder would never forget to pose as if she were beating a drum while she spoke, scaring the little ones all the more.
As the boy grew older, he stopped believing the elder's silly fables. Following the Seelie's wispy trails, he passed through the green labyrinth, accompanied by the faint calls of foxes coming from the thickets along the way. Those crafty creatures hiding deep in the forest will seldom reveal themselves or their boisterous bridal processions to careless treading travelers.
The boy was in rather low spirits, kicking pebbles off the road and stomping up the naturally occurring stone steps along the way, wandering further into the heart of the bamboo forest.
The village elder once said that this very forest was once an ancient kingdom conquered by the Geo Archon. But what did the Geo Archon look like? Did it have arms and legs, or eyes like us? Or, was he more like the stone beasts found along the water banks?
The herb gatherers that periodically set up shop in the city to sell their herbal ingredients would always bring tales of that year's Rite of Descension. Listening to their stories, one could only imagine the amazing scene of the Geo Archon descending to the world. But of course, the curious kids could only hope to someday see the great Archon that had been revered for generations with their very own eyes.
Was the immovable Mt. Qingce a gift from the benevolent Geo Archon? And were the decades of peace and the long lives that had been enjoyed by generations of people here preordained by the Archon?
The answers to these questions lay outside the village, within the aging forest on the mountain.
Bubbling with questions and expectation, the determined boy made his way forward beneath the scattered shadows of bamboo leaves.