[[{{SUBST:Hats Off to the Maat Masher}}|   ]]
Hats Off to the Maat Masher
[[{{SUBST:Hats Off to the Maat Masher}}|   ]]
[[{{SUBST:Hats Off to the Maat Masher}}|   ]]

Any adventurer with a modicum of experience must have come across the name "Maat" at least once or twice. After all, he is perennially at the top of nearly every adventurer's "Most Wanted" List.

Recently, a new rumor has been circulating in about the venerable "Guardian of Limits."

"The word is, Maat has put out yet another challenge. Only this time, if we're to pass, he's going to admit defeat and remove his cap!"

Maat is renowned for always wearing his beloved cap, claiming that it carries the scent of the ocean with him. It is no small matter then, if the rumors are true.

However, even the most famed and powerful adventurers of Vana'diel were not able to draw out the specifics of the challenge from Maat. Most all of them had a pretty good idea of what was involved—they were just not ready to accept the reality of the long, arduous road ahead of them.

Hats Off to the Maat Masher1

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a young Elvaan named Mumu put an end to all the speculation regarding this matter.

A self-proclaimed "leveling enthusiast," Mumu had already raised all 15 jobs to level 75 when he heard about Maat's new challenge from an acquaintance, and decided to take it on.

"I knew it would be a massive investment, both in terms of gil and time. On top of that, there was no assurance that the information regarding the challenge was genuine. But despite all my doubts, I decided to go through with it, because it appeared that I had the potential to succeed. Even if it just turned out to be a hoax, I figured I could have a good laugh with my friends about it."

So without so much as confirming whether there was indeed a challenge being offered, Mumu fearlessly embarked on the long journey ahead (though he later learned fear when he faced Maat's Chainspell-Asuran Fists combination).

And Mumu's efforts did indeed bear fruit one fine morning, when Maat offered him his official declaration of defeat.

"How many times have we exchanged blows now, boy?"

These were the words with which Maat greeted Mumu in Ru'Lude Gardens, after Mumu, in his fifteenth incarnation, emerged victorious from the final showdown.

A legend was born that day. Maat had chosen this young adventurer as his successor.

"I will strive not to tarnish your great legacy, master!"

As the humble Mumu offered Maat his due respect, a cap the color of the sky was glimmering atop his head. Indeed, it was a testament to Mumu's perseverance, Maat's indomitable legacy, and the fierce battles fought between the two men.

After parting with Mumu, I went to visit Maat to ask him about his impressions of the young man who had bested him. I found him in his usual spot inside the Grand Duke Palace.

Hats Off to the Maat Masher2

"Heh, when I first met that one, I believe he fancied himself as a paladin. Really just a pup, if you asked me then. Who would've thought that that pup would one day beat me at all fifteen jobs! I guess when you live long enough, you get to see everything."

Maat then recounted the history behind his beloved cap.

His salad days in Jeuno when it was merely a small fishing village, his exploits as a daring sea captain, and his legendary rivalry with Degenhard. These were all memories that he had shared with the cap he had now passed on to a new generation.

Maat then paused in mid-speech, as if he remembered something, and together with his trademark "Heh," he shot me a sideways glance.

"I suppose that boy needs a few rivals of his own... There are a lot of promising adventurers out there, after all."

Maat's expression now resembled that of a mischievous child who had thought up a new prank.

"Can you pass on a message to the boy for me? Tell him to continue honing his skills together with all the other adventurers that will eventually fly out of my nest. Now there's a challenge to fill a lifetime!"

Then, with another "Heh," Maat pulled out a sky-colored cap from his pocket, then another one, then another one, and so forth until his arms were drowned in azure cloth. Shockingly, Maat possessed what seemed to be an endless supply of the same cap given to Mumu.

However, none of the caps he took out appeared to be replicas. Each of them had the wear-and-tear that embodied Maat's spirit and experience. They were all essentially "authentic," and by showing them to me, Maat was declaring that he would continue to train and mentor young adventurers as his potential successors.

"Don't think I'm forcing you or anything!" is Maat's patented remark to all adventurers who come to him seeking a challenge. It can be said that those who are able to see through his nonchalance and face the grueling tasks set before them head-on are all worthy successors of his legacy

But of course, one must concede the last word to Maat:

"Heh. Just so you know, retirement is not in my vocabulary."

[[{{SUBST:Hats Off to the Maat Masher}}|   ]]

Taken from: Vana'diel Tribune II Issue No. 08

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