"The citizens of the three countries are planning a new festival for children and adventurers. A dry run of the festival is planned for tomorrow night and the night after in Northern San d'Oria. Please come and report on it."
What I saw in Northern San d'Oria was a bizarre scene unlike anything I could have expected. Running about was a troupe of the most terrifying monsters in the world.
Before my frightened eyes were a scythe-wielding skeleton, an Elvaan ghost, and myriad black phantoms following each other through the air.
The only response the gatehouse guards on Laborman's Way would deign to give me was "Nothing to report." Perhaps they aren't allowed to engage in non-official conversation.
Unable to figure out what was going on and growing more and more worried, I spied the figure of an Elvaan man. It was the man who had sent the letter.
"There certainly are a lot of them. It is as if we were being overrun by monsters, is it not? Surprised? This is but the rehearsal for our festival. Please, go out and have a look."
I then realized that the monsters in the street were in fact the citizens of San d'Oria in costume, and promptly joined the parade, listening to what the people had to say.
---Hello. I must admit, I was truly surprised. You look very much like a real skeleton.
"Haha. Quite realistic, no? I worked rather hard on it, if I do say so myself. I traveled all the way to the Eldieme Necropolis to study the real thing. "
What sort of place was this, where the people of the city were willing to undertake the most dangerous of adventures for the sake of...a festival?
---You've also gone and made a very elaborate costume. But what is this festival intended to celebrate?
"The lady who lives next door to me said that it's a celebration of the yearly harvest. There's little I can add to that, but it does seem that the idea was brought here by some nice adventurers. You want to know how dressing up like this is a form of celebration? Perhaps you are better served not to worry about such trivialities. "
A middle-aged couple answered the same question thusly:
"Well, adventurers are coming from all over the world, so maybe this is to help them grow accustomed to the city? "
"Sweet, this is nothing like a normal festival. I hear tell that the Culinarians' Guild is behind it all."
"You've been listening to your sister-in-law in Windurst again, have you not? I have told you more than a few times that not a thing she says is to be believed. "
People bandied opinions about the origin of the festival for quite some time, yet I never got any closer to its true roots.
---By the way, what's the idea behind having everyone dress up like monsters?
"Well, to put it simply, it's to frighten. And to make people happy, if possible, " said an Elvaan ghost woman as she laughed meaningfully.
---What is everyone supposed to do today? Can you give our readers some hints?
"Hints? Let me see... Be not afraid and do not run away. Provide sweets to those who scare you. Heehee. The anticipation over what I shall receive is simply dreadful," said a young boy made-up as a ghost. His stomach growled, making his friends laugh.
Watching the boys with a satisfied look, the author of the original letter said, "My own goal for the day is to have as many people as possible partake of both the festive and frightening aspects of the celebration. "
The festival itself is drawing near. As long as you're going home, why not visit all three countries?