Many of these mules are companions of famous adventurers, and are entrusted with tasks such as storing equipment and performing shopping errands.
I was lucky enough to meet one such person and find out more.
His name was simply "C." The reason for this ridiculously easy-to-remember moniker was apparently for ease in filling out delivery papers.
I asked C about his employer and he replied, "My colleague in Bastok might have a more interesting tale to tell. I'm just the warehouse supervisor. "
A colleague? Pondering the significance of this word, I headed straight for the industrial city of Bastok.
"I used to be an adventurer. I was starting to make a name for myself, too, until the boss asked me to take care of business in town," explained Holyrose, standing amidst the steam of the Metalworks. This was the colleague whom C had mentioned.
"Of course, I had some reservations about retiring from the adventuring life to become a so-called 'mule,'" Holyrose continued. "And it certainly was hard letting go of my old equipment. But I wanted to use the skills I gained from adventuring to serve my boss without any distractions."
Put at ease by the light of purpose shining in Holyrose's eyes, I asked about the kind of lifestyle that the typical mule leads.
"My colleagues and I number twenty-two members in total. Our main duties involve obtaining ingredients and materials that can only be found in our respective areas and selling them in other nations for a profit. Other important tasks include the cultivation of plants, and assisting the boss in adventuring activities," Holyrose explained.
What was going on here? C and Holyrose appeared to be part of some large-scale organization. What manner of person was this "boss" they kept referring to? I asked Holyrose to schedule an appointment, and traveled to Jeuno to meet their employer.
"We meet at last. I'm the head honcho."
The individual who appeared before me was not some hulking Galka as I had imagined, but a charming young lady by the name of Rosagigantea.
Rosagigantea was an adventurer by trade, but also ran a business with the help of her mules, whom she referred to as "employees." Recently, Rosagigantea had found herself spending more time running her business venture than practicing her main profession of adventurer. The considerable effort required to keep track of current market prices and issue orders to her employees across the world was an engaging pastime.
"It's hard to maintain a profit when things like the price of seeds suddenly skyrocket past the value of the plants I'm growing," Rosagigantea wryly exclaimed.
I was next treated to a lengthy discourse on the economic structure of Vana'diel--a speech that was unfortunately lost on a person who has trouble calculating her household budget.
Remembering what Holyrose had said, I asked the boss how she felt about her employees.
"It's a difficult task managing so many employees, but it's thanks to their efforts that I stand where I am today," Rosagigantea stated. "I only ask that they not neglect their gardening duties. Their work around town has brought my employees a measure of trust from the residents, and there is the occasional favor that requires them to travel outside. But leaving plants to wilt while they gallivant in the fields is out of the question."
Don't let the pretty face fool you; this boss is no pushover. She does have a soft side, however. On national holidays, Rosagigantea supplies her employees with high-quality equipment and allows them to set out on adventures. These kinds of benefits must certainly fuel a worker's motivation.
It is Rosagigantea's dream to one day provide all of her employees with each land's national aketons as a type of uniform.
"With these uniforms, my employees will be able to complete their chores around town in much less time," Rosagigantea enthused. "And as a reward for spending much of their day in a room surrounded by potted plants or running around the markets, the least I can do is provide a stylish wardrobe."
When asked for a final word to her employees, Rosagigantea immediately replied, "Wilting plants will not be tolerated!"
A businesswoman first and foremost, it seems. I thanked her for her valuable time and contribution.
It seems clear that these mules are the gears and cogs that help an adventurer's life run smoothly. Without them, adventurers would be lost under a mountain of mundane chores.
I decided to buy dinner from a mule's bazaar as a way of showing my support.
Come to think of it, I wonder what kind of mule my husband Tathuma employs.
Myhal: What kind of person is your mule, sweetheart? Is she cute?
Tathuma: I, I really don't think we need to talk about that...
Someone's getting insect paste for lunch tomorrow.