Taro resolved to climb up a mountain to see
the first sunrise of the year from its peak.
I had to get the inside scoop on his motivation.
Taro: I'm trying to make a wish. See, my father once told me a story...
Taro: He said that if I watch the year's first sunrise from a place close to the sun, I'll be blessed with the fortune to achieve my goals!
Taro: I'll do anything to become a first-rate samurai—so up a mountain I go!
It was New Year's Eve, and Taro prepared to
make his fateful ascent. The place he'd set his
sights was hardly the highest peak of Kleifheim,
but it was good enough for him.
A New Year's Challenge
Taro: *pant* A pox on this precipitous peak... *wheeze*
Emma: We've only just begun to hike! We have to reach the summit before dawn, and you CAN do it!
Taro: How do you have so much energy?
Emma: I'm sure you'd have more if you weren't wearing all that heavy armor.
Joe: Seriously. I can't pretend to be an expert on samurai logic...
Joe: ...but you'd be way better-equipped to make the climb if you shed all those extra pounds you're carrying around.
Taro: This armor is an extension of my being! I'd sooner die than cast it aside!
Taro: I also feel like there must be an easier way to scale this mountain... Is this really the designated path?
Joe: You kidding? I'd never take the easy way up. We're on maximum difficulty here, friend! We're gonna EARN this sunrise!
Taro: WHAT?! I'm not here to thrill-seek!
Emma: But overcoming so much hardship on the trek up will make the sunrise that much more beautiful when you see it!
Taro: Why are you agreeing with him? ...Not that I necessarily disagree.
Taro: All right! I will prove that I am mightier than some mountain! Let's do this!
And so they climbed.
Taro: Urgh... Argh...
Emma: Come on, Taro! But watch your footing— if you slip and fall, it's game over!
Taro: I know! Rgh... Urrrgh!
They climbed, and they climbed...
Taro: A fiend?! And it's huge!
Joe: Of course it is. Haven't you ever heard the saying? "The bigger the mountain, the bigger the—"
Emma: "—ants!" Er, fiends! Yeah, that one!
Taro: Please stop talking and help me fight it!
Their journey was fraught with peril, but
they rose to the challenge time and again.
Joe: The water level here's really high.
Emma: But not TOO high! Caulk your wagons, boys, because we're fording this river!
Taro: GAH! Cold! My armor's so heavy! Brrrrrrrr...
But eventually, Taro reached his limit.
Taro: *pant* *pant* I can't...move...
Emma: What's wrong, Taro?! Talk to u—
What was going through his head
at that moment? I simply had to know.
Taro: I wanted to go back to Hinomoto. That was all I could think.
Taro: But then, out of the darkness in my heart...arose a sudden burst of passion.
Taro: The desire to see the sun rise, and to win its blessings, exploded within me, pulling me to my feet!
Joe: Welcome back.
Emma: Phew! We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off!
Taro: Ha ha. I'm sorry for worrying you.
Taro: But I'm okay now. I WILL reach the peak before dawn! Samurai's honor!
Emma: That's the spirit! I'll be cheering you on the whole way there!
Joe: Heh. Then let's get a move on, shall we?
Taro & Emma: YEAH!
Joe: We made it. There's the summit.
Emma: Look, Taro! The rising sun is so beautiful!
Taro: Aha ha... We made it... We made it to the mountain's peak, kissed by the rising sun!
Taro: ...Wait, this is no time to get sentimental! I need to start praying!
Taro: (O rising sun, grant me your blessings! May this be the year I become a first-rate samurai!)
Taro: Aaand done. Hm? Aren't you two going to pray?
Joe: Heh. I'll let you have all the good fortune.
Taro: I-I see. What about you, Emma?
Emma: I'm good! I only came here to support you. Besides...
Emma: I plan on praying to Apollo when I get back anyway!
Emma: He's the guardian of the town where I work. People call him an avatar of the sun.
Emma: If you go and greet him, you get the sun's blessing! I do it every year!
Taro: An avatar of the sun? The sun's blessing?!
Joe: Heh. That sounds just like what Taro here was after.
Emma: Hee hee. That's not all! He's even been known to personally come and visit warriors who train really hard!
Taro: HE DOES?!
Joe: Heh heh... Sounds like there was a much easier way for you to get the sun's blessings after all, Taro!
Taro: Somebody... Say it isn't so...!
Emma: Oh, but it IS so! I get loads of energy from Apollo every single year!
Taro: Seriously?! Everything I endured... All my passion... What was it even for?
Joe: The doom and gloom's a bit much, pal. We had some real thrills—isn't that its own reward?
Taro: MAYBE FOR YOU! NOT FOR ME!
Finally, I asked Taro if he'd be
making the hike again next year.
Taro: Well... Next year...
Taro: I'll go and see Apollo instead!