Mo' Moogles, Mo' Problems

This page has been archived here from official Square Enix sources. It was originally posted on 09/12/2013.

Merry Starlight to one and all!

The season of smiles and bright lights is upon us once again, which means the moogles of the M.H.M.U. are working all hours of the day and night to ensure that preparations are finished in time to illuminate the faces of the three nations' citizens.

And, as an inevitable part of the preparation process, workshop supervisor moogles let into their subordinates with a wrath worthy of Odin. The treatment is particularly harsh for newly appointed apprentices, but such is hierarchy in an occupation full of stress.

No matter what craft, continent, or even cosmos one clings to, there will always be new recruits who make mistakes―it is a fact of life. However, the consequences for such indiscretions always seem direr to those employed by the M.H.M.U. On the other hand, perhaps the added pressure gives them the opportunity to learn more from their mistakes than the average moogle?

"…I don't think I have the creative capabilities to be classed as a carpenter, kupo," one dejected moogle muttered amidst the din of Starlight Celebration labors.

This down-and-out furball had entered the workshop only days ago, but he was already disillusioned. The long hours and physically intense activity? That he could make do with, but his peers refused to even address him by name. Instead, they opted to refer to him simply as "greenhorn."

"Why the frizzled fur, kupo?"

Turning around, the fledgling carpenter was met with the face of a concerned colleague―the only friend he was able to make in the atelier.

"My work is so muddled with missteps and flagrant faux pas that an armless antlion would be more adept an artificer than me."

"'Muddled with missteps,' you muse?"

"I performed poorly while planing the outside of an orchestrion…so much so that it looked like turmoil turned tangible, kupo."

"Such blunders besmirch even the best of us. Don't take it personally, kupo," she said, at a loss for a more sincere phrase with which to console her crestfallen comrade. The greenhorn's friend had already obtained a certain degree of fame in the workshop for her remarkably adroit handiwork. She had nary a rival amongst the apprentices and could complete projects in less than half the time of most veteran workers, despite the fact that being even a thousandth of an ilm off could jeopardize her whole creations.

"Greenhorn!" yelled a foreman moogle, his face contorted in suppressed rage. "Give up the gabbing and get your nose to the grindstone!"

"Y-yessir, kupo!"

As is often the case with neophytes, our protagonist was tasked with crafting astral boxes. Made of unvarnished wood and designed with minimalist ideals in mind, the most difficult aspect of their construction was to make them strong enough to repel the elements, yet weak enough to crumble under a slight assault from weaponry or magic.

The following takes place between the time our hero first gained employment and a few days before the Starlight Celebration was to commence:

A carpenter's day begins before even dawn has a chance to peer over the horizon. First, the recruits procure the proper amount and proportions of wooden planks, then go about planing them. After that, it is on to waterproofing, followed by infusing each piece with that now-famous mysterious moogle magic. Once all those steps have been completed, the artisans may finally begin to hammer the planks together and construct a box in earnest. Moreover, with their schedule as it is, the moogles are not even afforded a proper lunch. By the end of their long day, they can barely ingest even the smallest morsel of food, leaving them pathetically malnourished and susceptible to bouts of feinting.

"I just can't construct this contraption so that it collapses on command, kupo."

Astral boxes are composed of a series of smaller boxes contained within each other. Therefore, if the outer layers cannot be destroyed in a timely manner, adventurers will fly into a rage simply trying to open them.

Such thoughts preoccupied our protagonist's mind as he inspected the inner boxes, thus leading to his lapse in concentration and eventual fall from grace…and into his contrivance.

After furiously flailing his fluffy limbs in failure for a few minutes, he realized that everything around him had gone dark.

"What in the wide world happened, kupo?"

"Only just desserts for a dilatory deserter who dozed off in his doohickey," cackled one of his superiors as they put the nails in what he could only pray wouldn't be his coffin.

Oh no, I've been permanently placed in a package of planks, kupo!

The bumbling moogle screamed at the top of his lungs, but his efforts were all for naught. Was the commotion made by the workers excessively loud? Had the pranksters who enclosed him in his wooden prison put some sort of sound-dampening spell on the box? Either way, the greenhorn's pleas had not even the chance to fall on deaf ears.

Left to his own devices with no chance of escape, the master of missteps could do nothing but clutch his knees tightly to his chest while images of his demise violated his mind.

What if I'm relegated to rot amongst the robbers and rogues of Ronfaure, or stranded in the sinister savannah of Sarutabaruta, kupo? I could be cut into corpuscular cubes by ardent adventurers attempting to access the rewards within! Or even worse…I'd waste away waiting for a worthy warrior to whack the box to pieces. I wouldn't just see the Starlight Celebration pass me by, but the remainder of my life, kupo!

"Free me from these forested fetters!" the greenhorn cried out as he banged his fists against the wood he'd planed himself, a current of tears gushing down his cheeks. The box gave no quarter even after hours of punishment, but our hero's fists became swollen, his voice hoarse, and his eyelids heavy. Then, as proof he had succumbed to the sandman's clutches, strange visions began to appear before him.

The first was a garment of bright red fabric adorned with white trim. What was the name for it, again? A…Dream Coat? Next came the image of pudding that jiggled hypnotically, succeeded by a decadent chocolate cake, which was in turn replaced by a gingerbread house with walls so sweet his teeth almost ached. Though the greenhorn was under constant psychological fire from these figments of his imagination, he was still able to recall how astral boxes supposedly only manifest the gifts they harbor when an adventurer peeks inside.

If that rumor's real and not rubbish, will my existence be extinguished when the endowment evinces itself? Some sort of cosmic conciliation, kupo!

What woke the woefully wistful worker from his reverie was the sudden sound of a seal popping, along with an ensuing flood of light. Looking up, the greenhorn was overjoyed to see his friend peeping into the box with hammer in hand.

"I had a hunch you were hiding in here, kupo."

"You saved me from the certain silence of eternal slumber! Thank you!"

Surveying his surroundings, the greenhorn realized he was no longer in the bustling workshop, but a desolate warehouse populated with nothing but astral box upon astral box.

"How could you have possibly prognosticated my presence in this place?"

"Simple…I searched for you. I knew there was no way you'd wander away from work without a worthwhile reason, kupo."

From behind the gentle face of his only compatriot, the greenhorn spied the twisted countenance of an angry superior, replete with blood vessels about to burst.

"I promise to toil from twilight 'til the turn of two tides, if that's what it takes to finish the job, sir!"

"You're damned right you will, kupo," his superior spat out.

Though the tyro barely had any shoulders to shrug, he shrugged them as despairingly as a cute and cuddly creature could.

"…I guess you're entitled to some encouragement," the veteran added. "The beauty with which that box burst was bewitching, kupo."

Glancing down at his feet, our protagonist noticed there were only sawdust and wood chips where his planed prison had previously stood.

"Cleaning up this crap is always a chaotic conundrum…but keep up the colossal work, kupo."

That was all the inspiration the greenhorn needed.

I'll make the most marvelous astral boxes ever to enter the eyes of event participants, kupo!

Once the celebration had finally begun, it took mere hours for talk of this year's boxes and their legendary collapsibility to reach the ears of adventurers throughout the three nations.


Story: Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration: Mitsuhiro Arita

Category: News

This content copyright Square Enix.