Ceylon: Heartfelt Present

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Operator Record
Heartfelt Present
Ceylon icon.png

The search for truth is far more difficult than she imagined, but she learned to seek the encouragement and support from those who walk the same path.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Ceylon to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Ceylon.
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School Hall
Victoria Streets
As Christmas approaches, Ceylon runs into her classmate Rinz at the shopping district. Ceylon invites Rinz to help pick out presents, but seems oblivious to the awkwardness Rinz feels.
<Background 1>
"A few months ago, when I first entered university, I sent you a postcard of the National University Library."
"I was ever so excited when I gazed upon the rows and rows of bookshelves rising to the ceiling, and when I listened to the footsteps of my classmates echo through that great building."
"I thought there was no limit to knowledge held here, and that I could find the answer that I sought–the cure to your disease."
"But when I stand in the same place today, I find myself in a daze. Each and every step needed to reach the bookshelves has become an arduous trek."
"I've become afraid of the library, of the laboratories, of the classrooms. I fear giving everything my all like before. Whenever my eyes land on a passage that I cannot follow, I feel more exhausted than ever."
"I can't help but wonder if the time I have here is enough to learn all that I want to know."
"What if I exhaust all the knowledge here–like draining dry the Siestan sea–and I still cannot find my answer?"
"What should I do?"
–A discarded letter folded neatly into thirds at the bottom of the rubbish bin.
<Background 2>
Shop PA "Hot Sami-style cinnamon drinks, available only during the holidays! Great for the whole family! Buy two family meals and get one free, plus a chance to draw a special Christmas Messenger surprise toy..."
"The latest styles in the Icefield Messenger series are now in stores! Bringing warmth to your whole family..."
[Ceylon is listening to the PA announcement.]
Ceylon The Christmas sales have already begun? Things are always so lively in the commercial district this time of year.
I don't think I've been to "Miss Jacqueline's Tea Room" since Schwarz left. Sorry, Miss Jacqueline, but your towers of food are too much for me alone.
The Roxy Department Store is just around the corner, but after visiting it with Schwarz so many times I doubt I could surprise her with any gift I purchase there.
And over there, I should be able to hire an international Messenger directly. The lines are much longer than elsewhere, but I can send out my letter and Christmas cards there. After I buy them, of course.
Hm, I suppose I don't have to write anything on greeting card to Father.
[A Feline woman walks by Ceylon, whom she recognizes.]
Ceylon Oh, Rinz! Good afternoon!
Rinz Huh? Eh? Good afternoon, Ceylon. Didn't expect to–
(Quietly) Why is she here? What a pain.
Ceylon Is something the matter?
Rinz No, I was just going to say, uh... I didn't expect you to remember my name.
Ceylon Hm? Do I look like I have such a bad memory? How could I forget when you're the one who taught me to tell Victorian coins apart when we first started university?
Though, aside from payphones and the old vending machines in the hallways, I have to say I haven't found much of an opportunity to use them.
The vending machine was made to accept old coins, but I was trying to use the new ones and it jammed. We only managed to get it fixed because you gave it a good smack.
And then there was the first Thursday Poetry and Tea Party. You were the one who reminded me not to read Williams first because of how famous he is.
I'm not very interested in literature, sorry.
Rinz Then I guess you probably remember your report on our last field expedition. The one that included so much detail that it made everyone else on the team look like we didn't contribute anything. Gave us all dreadful marks.
Ceylon Hm?
Rinz Nothing. I'm just saying that I didn't really doubt your memory.
Are you here to shop too?
Ceylon Yes. Christmas is almost here, so I thought I would buy some presents.
Oh, but this is perfect. You're a local. Would you mind coming shopping with me?
I've been in Victoria for years now, but I normally only visit the large department stores. I'm not very familiar with the small boutiques hidden in the alleys.
Rinz Er... me?
Ceylon Sorry, were you busy with something else?
Right, we do have a few interim reports to write before the Christmas holidays. I'd understand if you aren't in the mood for shopping.
Rinz No, no. I'm already half done with my reports.
Please, you're not the only one who does their homework before it's due.
Ceylon Though, when it comes to experiments, we never have enough time, do we?
Rinz *Sigh*...
So what kind of gifts are you looking for? If you really don't want to waste time, we'd better be quick about it.
Ceylon I don't mind if we take our time window shopping. I need a lot of gifts. We can buy whatever catches our eyes and strikes our fancy. That's how shopping should be.
Rinz Huh? I, uh, didn't expect you to have the leisure to stroll around and shop.
Ceylon I simply feel I need a break today, and Christmas just happens to be the perfect excuse.
Rinz ...Way to kill the holiday spirit for everyone else.
Never mind. There's a handmade chocolate shop down these steps. Let's start there.
It has twenty kinds of completely different gift boxes, so you can buy all of them and give them out to different people. That ought to simplify your shopping.
<Background fades out and in>
[Whilst walking through the shopping district together, Rinz noticed that Ceylon is spacing out.]
Rinz Are you listening, Ceylon? Where has your mind drifted off to this time?
Ceylon Oh, sorry.
Rinz You seem rather strange today.
[A shopkeeper approaches Ceylon and Rinz.]
Shopkeeper Ladies, would you like to give our new Christmas flavors a try? We have all kinds of gift boxes on sale.
Rinz Thanks. We were just about to take a look at some chocolates. Please, tell us more.
Ceylon Hm... This sample is exquisite! Which flavor would this be?
Shopkeeper Raspberry chunks with white chocolate. We have a snowfield-patterned Christmas gift box available, too.
Ceylon Rinz, look! The packaging is just the color of Viviane's hair! Let's get her this.
Rinz Hm... hm?
–Did you just say you're buying Viviane a gift?
Ceylon That's right. Are you thinking chocolates are too mundane?
Rinz No, I'm thinking you two had a row just the other day.
Ceylon Oh, you mean the argument we had when we discussed Professor Diana's core theories during class? I already apologized to her yesterday.
The professor's Originium experiments already have applications for civilian use, at least according to her "Originium, Separator, and the Trembling Land" booklet, but I hadn't read it yet.
Rinz I mean, it wasn't just the once. You two are at each other's throats every time we meet up as a group.
I took you for mortal enemies.
Ceylon Is that so? But she's helped me learn me so many new things. I can never thank her enough.
There is so little that we can know on our own. To get closer to the truth, we must find those with different viewpoints and share our perspectives.
Rinz Oh, you...
Ceylon That is probably the main reason I left my hometown to come study in Victoria.
In Siesta, everyone says that the Infected will never be cured. So I decided to leave and see if people from different places and different times had different answers.
Would ancient Victoria know more than young Siesta?
Rinz Perhaps.
–Huh? Wait. Infected? Ceylon, you want to cure the Infected?
Ceylon That's right. Do you think that's too far-fetched?
Rinz No wonder you chose to take the pharmaceutical college's courses as an elective, and even put your statement right in the dean's mailbox. It caused quite a ruckus.
The National University's pharmaceutical college is known to be particularly strict. Even if they do accept you as an audit student, they most likely won't give you any certifications.
Ceylon I'm not interested in the certificates, I just–
[The shopkeeper nods at Ceylon.]
Ceylon –Oh, miss? Hello. Could you help me pick two chocolate gift boxes and ring them up? Thank you.
Shopkeeper Of course. Right this way.
<Background fades out and in>
Rinz *Sigh*... In the end, I never got a chance to chase her away. I even listened to her talk my ear off.
Maybe I should slip away now. If I stay with her any longer, I won't finish what I came here for today.
[Ceylon returns with the chocolates she bought.]
Ceylon All ready now. Where should we go next?
Rinz ...Perfect timing, as always.
Ceylon Right, just so you know, I'm not going to buy your present today. I'm only shopping for everyone else's.
Rinz Huh? You were going to get me a gift? Is our relationship really–
(Quietly) *Sigh* If you knew what I've done, I'm sure you wouldn't think of me as a friend.
Ceylon After all, how could it be a surprise if I bought it right in front of you?
Rinz *Cough*... *cough*! Er, right. That's true.
Ceylon Okay, please lead the way. Let's head to the next shop.
<Background fades out and in>
Ceylon Hmm... I still haven't yet picked the most important gift, but I don't need to settle on one today. Something so important deserves some careful thought.
Aside from that, all that's left is a greeting card. Once that's done, I'll hire an international Messenger, and my mission for the day will be over.
Rinz More international post? You send letters home way too frequently. All those Messengers don't come cheap. Besides, won't you be heading home soon?
Ceylon It'll take many days for me to arrive. And I think it's better to send cards than to hand them over in person.
That reminds me. How come you haven't bought anything yourself? Have I been getting in the way of your plans? If there are any shops you want to visit, you could bring me along.
It's almost dark. If we take any longer, they'll all be closed.
Rinz *Sigh* Fine... Such is my fate.
I want to check out the homeware shop over there. If you aren't interested, you don't have to wait for me.
Ceylon Homeware? I am very interested!
Rinz (Quietly) ...I'd rather you weren't.
<Background fades out and in>
[Ceylon and Ritz enters a homeware shop.]
Rinz Hello, my name is Rinz. I placed an order at your shop yesterday. This is the order code.
Oh, right. Could you wrap it for me, please? This is a gift for someone else.
Shopkeeper Absolutely. Here's the item you ordered. Please take a look. Would you like to include a Christmas card?
Rinz No, no thanks.
Ceylon What did you buy?
Rinz An automatic teapot. You just need to follow the instructions and put in some water and teabags. It'll keep the water at the right temperature and always make the best possible cup of tea.
Ceylon I've heard about those! Hm, I wonder what kind of Arts Unit is behind that process? Would it be okay if I opened it up to read the instructions?
Rinz *Sigh*. Just take it and do your research. No need to give it back, either.
Ceylon Huh? I thought you were buying it as a gift?
Rinz Uhh...
It's for you.
[Ceylon giggles.]
Rinz You can laugh all you want. I didn't expect such a coincidence either.
Ceylon Pff.
Rinz I'd be really happy if you made your tea with this instead of by hand when you have afternoon tea with our classmates from now on. I'm sure they'll be too.
Ceylon Thank you.
But Christmas is still a month away, and our holidays start in two weeks.
Rinz (Takes a deep breath)
This isn't a Christmas present. It's an apology gift.
Ceylon Huh?
Rinz Please don't look at me so confused. It'll only zap what little courage I mustered to do this.
I'm sorry, I was scared to talk to you before.
Er, actually, it isn't just me. Everyone is a little scared of you.
Ceylon Huh? Why would you be scared of me? ...Is it because I want to cure the Infected?
Rinz No, no, of course not! I didn't even know that until you mentioned it today! I just thought that you put in way too much work!
You come from a scorching hot city, but you climb out of bed at six to snatch yourself a seat at the library in the dead of winter! It's almost terrifying how self-disciplined you are!
Remember how we ran into each other in the hallway at ten this morning? I was heading to the canteen for breakfast, and you had a stack of books in your arms. When we greeted each other, I felt like your eyes were saying "who would wake up at this hour?"
Anyway, your eyes are like an ice-cold mirror. Whenever I see you, I see just how lazy I am reflected back at me.
Ceylon Do I really seem so cold?
Rinz D-Don't get the wrong idea! It's a compliment.
–Right, is it fine if I ask you a question?
Are you perhaps really close friends with an Infected?
Ceylon Eh?!
...Yes, I am. She's really dear to me.
Rinz Is she well?
Ceylon Her condition has been very stable. Nothing can bring her down. Not even Oripathy.
Rinz That's good to hear.
Ceylon Also, she's not in Victoria, so... the regulations here don't apply to her. If you want to–
Rinz No, no. I mean no ill will, and I don't think it's bizarre or anything.
We're Originium researchers. Any of us could one day become infected because of an accident during an experiment or observation. Perhaps even deliberately.
We know what it is, or at least we're closer to knowing than most.
Ceylon Thank you, Rinz.
Rinz *Sigh*. I should be the one thanking you.
Just like you have a dream to cure Oripathy, which led you to come all the way to the Victorian National University, even I have a tiny dream of my own.
I know that all scholars dream of accomplishing what's never been done. I know we'll have to walk this road to the end before forging a new path forward on our own, but... I'm not ready for it yet.
Ceylon Accomplishing what's never been done...
Rinz –Fortunately, I have a fine role model like you around me.
Ceylon Is that so? Can... Can I really become someone like that?
Rinz Just take the compliment. And don't give me that look.
Ceylon No, please pay it no mind. I just thought of something else... I think I finally realized something.
Oh, and I must insist on returning your gift. We simply didn't know each other well enough. That's nothing to apologize for.
Rinz Uh, about that, I hadn't got to the important part yet.
Actually, the reason I wanted to apologize is that I was too scared of talking to you to tell you that the Originium sample we collected from the Catastrophe ground zero had a rare reaction.
Ceylon What?!
Rinz I'm not too confident in my own experimental methods and observations. I kept thinking that maybe it was nothing special and I just didn't recognize it.
But it'd be so embarrassing to ask you to take a look and have you tell me that to my face!
Which is why, even though I knew you would be more interested in its progress than any of us, I didn't dare to tell you–
[Ceylon realized something an runs out of the store.]
Ceylon We need to run! It's only three minutes until the next bus back to the university!
As long as we can sneak inside the laboratory before it closes for the day, we can stay there overnight!
Rinz Er, isn't that against the rules? S-Slow down! You're going to rip my arm off!
<Background 3>
[Schwarz hands over a letter to Herman.]
Schwarz Master, a letter from Lady Ceylon.
Herman Hm? This one sure took its time to arrive. You were just about to head there to escort her back.
Let me guess: she didn't mention me at all. As always.
Schwarz ......
Although she has already memorized its entire contents by heart, Schwarz subconsciously looks down at the letter again.
<Background fades out>
"Since winter began, there has been a fireplace in the library that seems to run on Originium Arts. It's very pleasant to read books there now. My checkout records for this term have gotten so, so long."
"Ever since I got to know my classmates better, I have gotten a lot of help from them too. Before, I never thought too deeply about it while searching for a cure to Oripathy, but everything that perplexed me has been resolved now."
"Indeed, I realized how to break the code of Oripathy. Trust me, I will get there very soon."
"I have attached a card for Father. Please hand it to him."
<Background fades in>
Aside from the letter, the envelope is empty. The international Messenger's postmark states that this letter was posted three days after it was signed off.
Schwarz (Lady Ceylon must have been fascinated by something else and forgot about the letter.)
No, Master. She wished you a happy holiday and said she is looking forward to joining you at the dining table on Christmas.