During their journey, the girls from the other world travel from place to place, first to seek guidance, then to acquire what they need to become the Magic Knights.
Errel Spirit Forest
The place they first arrive at upon being called to Cephiro, thanks to the spirit beast Clef sent out to welcome them. It is here that they meet the Guru, who explains that they cannot return to their world just yet. The fact that a place considered sacred is being invaded by monsters shows Cephiro's pressing need for the Magic Knights, the ones said to save the world...
Clef urges them to seek out Presea, who would provide them weapons as well as give them Mokona. Another spirit beast of Clef's takes them to her house, two adjacent buildings connected by a hallway, in the Forest of Silence. The door's lock is a special creation by Clef that prevents anyone without the key from entering – anyone from Cephiro, that is... (Guess who "intrudes" unknowingly and gets caught!) Presea keeps the key in an ornament of her garment similar to the one on the girls' gloves. Her study, a spacious room with numerous book shelves, makes up a big part of the place, and even includes a trap for Mokona, who loves to wreak havoc.
The building across the hallway seems to be reserved entirely for the armory, which contains weapons and armor Presea has crafted. Since she lends the girls weapons from this room until they acquire weapons made specifically for them, it can be assumed that the majority of the gear stored there is not meant for anyone in particular, but can be borrowed or rented, or that the original owners have returned them for some reason. (It'd be hard to believe that Presea lets others borrow weapons meant for someone else before the person gets the chance to inspect them.) On that note, weapons stored in her armory call out to the new user so that they may find the one best suited for them.
Forest of Silence
To reach the Spring of Eterna, one must cross the Forest of Silence. Within its barrier, magic cannot be cast, neither can monsters be summoned nor magic scrolls and items such as magic compasses be used. The fact that Clef's spirit beast was able to carry the girls all the way to Presea's house before vanishing is a testament to Clef's prowess. Many paths exist within the forest, and no signs point to its exit or the location of the spring presumably in its midst. The path one has taken may even disappear and prevent one from turning back. Worse, monsters lurk around every corner, some of them immune to weapons. To find the exit, one must rely on one's own strength, weapon proficiency and wits. Having Mokona can't hurt!
MOKONA. Cephiro's only sacred beast. A creature of unknown age and origins; can't utter anything besides "puu", though Hikaru understands it just fine. According to Emeraude, it should serve the Magic Knights as a guide. Clef left it in Presea's care as a precaution. The jewel on its head hides many secrets, though the full extent of its power is unknown. It also serves as a channel to communicate with Clef. At times, Mokona shows the girls which direction to take and whom to trust. Both Umi and Presea greatly enjoy picking on it. Its carefree smile makes it seem as though it doesn't think anything, and perhaps it truly doesn't think about anything.
FERIO. The mysterious youth the girls encounter within the Forest of Silence. The sword he uses is about his own size, yet he wields it seemingly effortlessly. Though the girls are cautious at first, they are mildly put at ease when they see Mokona take a liking to him. As he, too, is headed for the Spring Eterna in search of Escudo to aid Emeraude, they persuade him to be their bodyguard on the way out of the forest. Ferio is resourceful and knows how to use the terrain to his advantage. When his companions' true identities are revealed, he is the one to tell them more about the legend of the Magic Knights and Cehiro's state, explaining that he set out to see whether he could become a Magic Knight himself, unwilling to accept that only those from the other world should qualify. Seeing those summoned by Emeraude makes him come to terms with it. Something about the way he takes his leave is oddly dignified and chivalrous... Likes sleep, dislikes sleep deprivation, enjoys naps.
Beyond the Forest of Silence lies Eterna, the spring that holds the much sought-after legendary material Escudo. Upon entering the clearing, no body of water – or anything aside from a grassy platform for that matter – can be seen. On closer inspection, however, one can see a one-dimensional line in the air. It is only when one looks at it from above that the two-dimensional (flat!), round Spring Eterna reveals itself, promptly earning it the name "The Weird Spring Eterna" by Umi. To acquire Escudo, one must jump into the spring.
When the sensation of drowning has passed, the inside of Eterna looks pitch black. The girls who jumped in together are separated, each of them facing an illusion of the thing dearest to them: Hikaru her pet dog, Umi her parents, and Fuu herself. The three are hesitant to fight those apparitions head-on and incur many wounds as a result – until a projection of Emeraude appears and speaks words of encouragement to them.
Once they pass Eterna's trial, the spring releases them. To their surprise, one can hover above Eterna!
Between scenes of the girls' journey, Zagato is seen plotting in the place where Emeraude is held captive. Icicles or stalactites hang from the ceiling and a magnificent staircase leads to an elevated platform surrounded by a waterfall, behind which curtains Zagato's underlings await their turn. Zagato speaks to Emeraude, who is in a secluded area below the platform, through something akin to an orb or a bubble. Zagato is able to see far-away events on the water's surface. Emeraude's prison resembles a flower blossom on top of a lily pad.
Strength of Heart is part of the Caged Songbird Network © 2015-2021 Lethe
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