Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Maudeline Buffenstein, and I am delighted to announce that today I shall be having tea and crumpets with four of the finest warriors in Vana'diel: the Bastokan Republic Mythril Musketeers--a tight unit of fearless fighters dedicated to the president, the Republican council, and all citizens of Bastok.
Answering only to the direct orders of President Karst, the Mythril Musketeers are entrusted with a number of tasks crucial to the well-being of the Republic. From the protection of government officials to the eradication of encroaching beastmen forces, there is nothing these elite fighters cannot handle. However, due to their relatively low profile, there are few adventurers outside of Bastok that even know of the Musketeers' existence.
Today, I am proud to have the opportunity to lift the veil that has hidden these brave men and women from the public for so long, and attempt to sneak a peek at what lies beneath the shroud of mystery.
First, let me begin by introducing the members.
The Musketeers are led by the wonderfully handsome and experienced Captain Volker. Directly beneath him is the enigmatic dark knight, Zeid (though missing for the past few years, his name still commands respect among the Republican ranks). Third in command is the muscle-clad Iron Eater, often seen stationed at the doors to the President's Office. Finally, the unit is rounded out by the two young officers Ayame and Naji, who both joined when they were only 20 years of age.
Ah, but enough of this chitchat. Let us hear what our guests have to say for themselves.
--Why did you join the Mythril Musketeers?
Captain Volker: Whether it is my father, my mother, or my brothers, ever since I was young, people serving in the military have surrounded me. However, I think it was my late uncle, the former Mythril Musketeer captain, who had the most influence on me. If it were not for him, I might not be where I am today.
Zeid (answered by Captain Volker): I'm not quite sure why he decided to join the unit. But then again, there's a lot I don't know about Zeid. What I can tell you is that he's the first Mythril Musketeer in history that had no previous military experience.
Iron Eater: Before being promoted to my current position, I was a member of the Iron Musketeers who fought in the Palborough Incident. During that battle, I witnessed the slaughter of countless friends and companions. I, too, should have been defeated by the enemy, but my life was spared. I view this blessing as a second chance to reflect on my weaknesses, improve my skills, and make sure no one else is ever forced to watch the spilling of their comrades' blood.
Ayame: After completing my samurai training in Norg, I had the opportunity to meet with the head of the Metalworks, Chief Cid. I was moved by the passion he felt towards his work in improving the nation, and thought long and hard about how I could best serve Bastok. The answer I arrived at was the Mythril Musketeers.
Naji: It has always been my dream to shine a little bit brighter than my father ever did. However, with a world-renowned adventurer as your dad, that can be harder than it sounds. That's when it hit me--I'd join the most famous group of fighters in all of Bastok! And so, one day, after watching the Musketeers train, I challenged Iron Eater to a sparring match. When it came to fighting, I had never lost a battle, but three minutes was all it took for Iron Eater to have me on my back. I was devastated. My dreams of surpassing my father had been crushed into a thousand pieces. However, just a few days after my embarrassing defeat, I received a letter written by Captain Volker himself asking me to partake in the Musketeer entrance examination. And the rest is, well, history.
--What positions do you hold within the Mythril Musketeers?
Captain Volker: I was promoted to my current position in C.E. 870, when the former captain resigned following the Palborough Incident. I'll never forget that day...
Zeid (answered by Captain Volker): Considering he's been missing for the past few years, Zeid isn't currently assigned any responsibilities.
Iron Eater: I do anything and everything I am ordered. It is not my job to question the will of the president or Captain Volker. That said, my main duties include guarding the President's Office and patrolling the Zeruhn Mines.
Ayame: I spend most of my time investigating issues in and outside of the Bastokan Republic, as well as attempting to improve relations with outlying nations through bilateral negotiations.
Naji: I'd like to think my main job is to slice and dice any Quadav that has the guts to show its tiny turtle head in my hometown...though guarding the Metalworks twenty-four hours a day doesn't really leave that much time to do all the slicing and dicing I'd like.
--What weapons and/or armor do you prefer?
Captain Volker: The Mythril Musketeers have to be ready for anything at any time. In a tense situation, we may not have the opportunity to select our weapon, which means we have to effectively make do with whatever may be at hand. If the situation called for it, I would be prepared to defend myself against a Ruby Quadav with a single flint stone.
Zeid (answered by Captain Volker): I can only assume that the same could be said about Zeid. However, I've never been able to tell what that man was thinking, so I may be wrong...
Iron Eater: I have no preferences. I only carry this axe because it is imposing. When entrusted with the protection of the president, image can play a large role in keeping shady characters at a distance.
Ayame: I still wield the katana that I used during my training in Norg. However, due to unit regulations originally suggested by myself, Mythril Musketeers are prohibited from openly wearing their weapons while on Republic soil. Still, I feel that a weapon's true strength comes not from the steel of the blade, but the skill of the woman who wields it.
Naji: Weapons? I've got tons of them! "The weapon makes the man," that's what I always say. I don't know what a certain Musketeer was thinking when she suggested that we not be allowed to carry our weapons out in the open. She obviously wasn't thinking of looking good for the girls...
--What is your favorite food?
Captain Volker: I personally enjoy the meals prepared by the Craftsmen's Eatery. I used to eat there quite often, but every time I went, the other customers would always leave. Recently I've been having Naji fetch me takeout.
Zeid (answered by Captain Volker): I seem to recall him chewing on a slab of raw coeurl meat every now and then...
Ayame: I prefer Far Eastern cuisine to the giant sheep meat and popotoes of Bastok. Sushi and rice balls happen to be some of my favorite dishes.
Naji: I don't know. After a long day of training, I'll eat anything that's served up onto my plate...as long as I have some of my grandma's piping hot iron bread to scoop it up with!
--What do you look for in a man/woman?
Captain Volker and Iron Eater No comment.
Ayame: If I had the time to become flustered over some man, I would be working on my katana skills. Besides, the only men (if you could call them that) around me are nothing but weak-minded showoffs...
Naji: She'd have to be tall...and beautiful...and most of all, quiet! Oh, and she'd never even think of touching a katana.
--Who do you think is the strongest Musketeer?
Captain Volker: More than likely, Zeid...
Zeid (answered by Captain Volker): I don't believe Zeid would have an answer for this question. He's not the type that fights simply to be compared to those around him.
Iron Eater: When I was young, I once caught a glimpse of Zeid in battle. Not only his strength, but his skill and grace with the blade was like nothing I had ever seen.
Ayame: The strength of one's mind cannot be compared to the strength of one's body.
Naji: Next to me, I'd have to say Iron Eater. I mean, he's the only one who's been able to defeat me. And look at the captain. While he's experienced and all, he's...well, you know...old.
And there you have it, straight from the mouths of the Republic's foremost heroes. At first glance, the Mythril Musketeers may seem frightful and imposing, but hand them a cup of San d'Orian tea and it is plain to see that they are no different than any of us. Under their hard shells built up after years of harsh training are true and sincere feelings that ultimately guide these fine folk as they uphold the very lifestyle of their nation's citizens. No wonder they are considered across the nation as the pride of Bastok.
Now before we conclude today's meeting, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind giving a word of advice to all those out there who wish to one day stand among the ranks of the Mythril Musketeers.
Captain Volker: Contrary to popular belief, the fate of Bastok is not decided by the Mythril Musketeers. The Republic is only as powerful as its citizens. It is the duty of all Bastokers to train their bodies as well as their minds in order to ensure the prosperity of our fine nation.
Iron Eater: There are many types of people in the world, and we may not always get along with everyone. However, we cannot let hate and prejudice control our emotions. Only those with open hearts and open minds will grow in life.
Ayame: Before you think of yourself, step back and look at those around you--your friends, your family. Then remember that it is because of these people that you stand here today.
Naji: Um... Only good kids who eat all their vegetables can be Mythril Musketeers!
Purveyors of truth and justice? Defenders of the weak and oppressed? Role models for children and adults alike? The Mythril Musketeers are all that and more. Maintaining the peace and prosperity of the Bastokan Republic while protecting the lives and dreams of all its citizens--perhaps this is the unit's never-ending mission.