Honeyberry: A Bitterest Rhizome

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Operator Record
A Bitterest Rhizome
Honeyberry icon.png

Prejudices and misunderstandings can seem stuck in place, but there's got to be someone, and there will be someone, who'll do something or other.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Honeyberry to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Honeyberry.
Male Kuranta B icon.png
Infected Kazimierzian icon.png
Fierce Infected (Gus)
Female Kuranta icon.png
RI Operator icon.png
Honeyberry's Father
Lydia's Grandfather
Martenson's Mother
Samantha's Daughter
Leithanian Village
Village House
Village Outskirts
RI Training Compound
Honeyberry returns home to deal with a conflict between the village and the Infected, but the real problem is not with the Infected.
<Background 1>
Campbell Really? Oripathy doesn't pass from the Infected to healthy people?
Honeyberry Regular contact with Oripathy patients in stable conditions does not transmit Oripathy.
Campbell But how do I know if someone is infected or not?
Honeyberry I've contacted the nearest Rhodes Island office. They'll be sending test kits soon–
<Flashback starts here>
<Background fades out and in>
Campbell Just go home, kid, and tell your family to move as soon as you can.
People are afraid that your dad will pass Oripathy onto other people. We can't afford that.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background fades out and in>
Honeyberry Please, Mrs. Samantha, patients who are in stable conditions are not infectious.
Samantha How can you prove that?
Honeyberry I come from Rhodes Island, where the Infected and non-Infected live together. Infection is not a problem, as long as the progress of Oripathy is monitored regularly.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background fades out and in>
Samantha Don't play with that girl, Molly! They've got an Infected at home! You'll get the stone disease!
Samantha's Daughter Stone disease?
Samantha A disease where you grow rocks from your body! It hurts so much you die from the pain alone!
<Flashback ends here>
<Background fades out and in>
Sandwheel Water, Honeyberry?
Honeyberry Thanks.
Sandwheel You spent all morning talking. Did they listen?
Honeyberry They will. As long as they can let go of their prejudice, there won't be any issues with the Infected here. And I won't need to be here.
Sandwheel You're so patient with them.
If my own family was chased out, there's no way I'd set aside the grudge and come back to help them with their Infected problem, no matter how many years had passed.
Honeyberry It's... not that I've set it aside.
The issue with Dad, I can understand. Hard not to panic when there's an Infected so close to you.
But the thing with Mum, I could never...
I came because I want them to set their prejudices aside. I don't want another tragedy like mine to happen.
<Background 2>
Martenson No!
My son's going to be a mining company manager! I can't have him living with the Infected!
<Flashback starts here>
<Background fades out and in>
Martenson's Mother My son's joining the mining company! I can't have him live and eat with you people!
Scram! Get out, while we're still asking nicely!
<Flashback ends here>
Honeyberry ......
Martenson We asked you to solve our Infected problem, not to preach at us!
We're an important supply point for the mining company! How are we supposed to do business with those Infected making a mess every few days?
Honeyberry I understand, I do.
But think of it this way: the Infected won't do that if everyone's getting along, right?
Martenson Says you! Their ringleader only came back to cause trouble because he realized he could use Originium Arts. He's a lunatic with rocks growing out of his brain!
Honeyberry Why you–
Sandwheel We should go, Honeyberry.
Honeyberry Right... okay.
<Background 1>
Honeyberry Looks like two-fifths are willing to listen, two-fifths are undecided, and the last fifth is strongly opposed.
Sandwheel So what's our next move?
Honeyberry I think it's worth getting everyone together to talk this out.
Sandwheel To be honest, the people you've categorized as "willing to listen" seem pretty undecided to me.
Maybe you could reveal your identity? None of them recognized you. Maybe they'll be willing to side with you for old times' sake? Or even out of guilt.
Honeyberry I... don't want to do that.
Sandwheel Sorry.
Honeyberry But if the villagers really are as stubborn as you say...
Anyway, let's get them together.
<Background fades out and in>
[The villagers gather as Honeyberry tries to convince them...]
Honeyberry ...The Infected and non-Infected can live together as long as there are proper identification, testing, and protection procedures in place.
[...but Mr. Martenson recognizes her.]
Martenson Wait, it's you!
What are you doing here? Get out! You're not welcome here!
Fierce Infected This is my home too. Who do you think you are?
[A fierce-mannered Infected walks toward Honeyberry.]
Fierce Infected So what's this all about? Some kinda meeting? Trying to run more Infected out of town? Hey, who the heck are you?
Honeyberry I'm Operator Honeyberry, from Rhodes Island–
Fierce Infected Rhodes Island? What's that? Did the mining company send you?
Honeyberry We did come at the mining company's request, but we're not taking a side here. We just want to get the problem resolved.
Fierce Infected Yeah right! You're just the company's hounds!
You're coming with me! Let's see what you're plotting!
Sandwheel tries to get to Honeyberry, but she waves him off.
Honeyberry Suits me just fine. I was going to visit you anyway.
Fierce Infected Ha, got a big mouth on you.
Samantha Gus, she's a guest. Show some respect–
[The fierce Infected attacks Samantha with his Arts.]
Samantha Eek!
Gus Who's the one who needs to show respect here, huh?
Anyone who dares stand in my way gets it to the head!
<Background 3>
[The fierce Infected, now kknown as Gus, takes Honeyberry to an abandoned part of the village.]
Gus We're here.
Honeyberry (This is...)
Gus Now spill it! Why'd they send you?!
Honeyberry ......
Gus What's the matter? You seemed pretty chatty back in the village.
Honeyberry How did you find this place?
Gus We had nowhere to go, and no one was living here. Why wouldn't we?
Honeyberry The first Infected from the village used to live here with his wife and kid.
Gus Don't you try to change the subject with old stories or whatever.
Honeyberry I was telling the truth back there. I came to help solve your problems, Gus.
Gus Solve my problems? How? I told them the rocks appeared on their own without catching it from anyone, but did they believe me?
Honeyberry That's why I'm promoting knowledge about proper Oripathy prevention and treatment, so that you can go back to the village.
Two figures emerge from the shadows.
Infected A Is that for real?
Infected B We can go back to the village?
Gus Quiet! Stay outta this!
Infected A But she said–
Gus How do you know she's not lying?
Honeyberry I was telling the truth.
And where's your sister, Gus?
Gus H-How did you know I had a sister?
Honeyberry ......
Gus Argh, whatever.
Lydia's in her room.
<Background 4>
[Honeyberry knocks the door.]
Honeyberry Hello, Lydia. Are you there?
Lydia Who's that? Another exile from the village? How is Carl?
Honeyberry I'm Operator Honeyberry, from Rhodes Island. I'm here to help.
[Lydia opens the door and Honeyberry enters.]
Lydia Hello, Honeyberry–
Wait, no– *cough* You're–
Is it really you?! Zoey Perris?!
Honeyberry Lydia... you...
Yes, we used to play together all the time. Even if the rest of the village forgot about me, you never...
Lydia Of course I'd never forget my best mate... *cough*, *cough*
What about Mr. and Mrs. Perris? Did they go to Rhodes Island with you?
Honeyberry Mum's living with me on Rhodes Island. Dad passed away soon after he was chased out.
Lydia ...I'm sorry.
Honeyberry It's okay. I still remember how you used to bring us stuff after we were exiled.
Lydia But after Grandpa found out...
Honeyberry Let's talk about you first. You don't look too good...
Lydia (Shakes head)
I've been feeling ill ever since I was exiled. Colds, headaches, occasional vomiting...
Honeyberry (Could Lydia be like Mum...?)
Let me do a quick checkup.
<Background fades out and in>
Honeyberry The quick test strips show an extremely low chance that you have Oripathy. I didn't see signs of any organic diseases either.
No Originium crystals on the body surface... I'll check with more precise equipment.
<Background fades out and in>
Honeyberry The results show you don't have Oripathy.
Lydia I see...
Honeyberry (She doesn't seem happy about it...)
Can I ask you something? Have you felt stressed lately?
Lydia ...No.
Honeyberry Are you sure?
Lydia There's just someone in the village I'm concerned about...
Honeyberry (Someone in the village? Is it the name she said before she recognized me?)
Carl? Mr. Martenson's son?
Her childhood friend looks at her with a shocked expression, then tears begin flowing from her eyes.
Lydia Carl and I were going to tell Mr. Martenson about our relationship and get engaged. And then Gus got sick.
Carl and I had been looking forward to it and preparing for so long... and then...
Honeyberry Lydia...
Lydia I might never see him again. When I think about that, I...
Zoey, I'm feeling sick... I think I might throw up. Stay away...
Honeyberry Why would you say that?!
Gus, Gus! Are you there?
Gus What's going on?
Honeyberry See if there's a kind of grass in the garden that's about the height of a human palm, with slightly red-tipped leaves growing in opposing pairs!
Gus Let me see... yeah. What about it?
Honeyberry Grab a few of them! Lydia's about to throw up, and that's a herb that can help.
Gus What? I'll get right on it!
<Background fades out and in>
Honeyberry How do you feel?
Lydia Zoey... much better. Thank you.
Honeyberry This is just for emergencies, though.
Whether it's some kind of organic disease I've never heard of, or the result of psychological factors, the herb will only alleviate the symptoms, not the cause.
My mum was in a situation just like yours. She got much better after the psychological problems went away.
Lydia And how'd she do that?
Honeyberry I grew up and reduced the burden on her. She didn't have to worry about tomorrow's bread, and our situation got better as well, so she got better on her own.
Lydia But how can I not worry?
*cough,* *cough!*
The villagers see me as the family of an Infected. Gus is afraid they'll hurt me, and I... I'm like this.
I don't care if I'm infected, and I don't care what they think. All I want is to see Carl again... one more time...
Honeyberry ......
I have an idea.
I know of a herb that grows around here that can give you a fever, without seriously threatening your health.
<Background 3>
Gus What's going on? Why does Lydia have a fever?!
Honeyberry The reason isn't important right now. What's important is that Lydia wants to go back to the village.
Gus I know that! How many times do you think she's told me?! It's always Carl this, Carl that! He's such a fraud!
He's not even showing his face at a time like this! That tells me all I need to know.
Honeyberry Lydia's feelings are real, though. Otherwise she wouldn't be so ill.
No matter how much you hate Carl and the villagers, think of your sister. It's not Oripathy she has, it's an illness of the mind!
Gus The mind...
Honeyberry If you're really worried about her, let her go back. I can guarantee that the villagers won't harm her.
Gus So... what? She sees that fraud and gets better. What then?
The village will never accept her, and it's not like Carl would ever come live with us. She'll still suffer in the end!
Honeyberry So you're just going to watch her suffer from the fever she's got right now?
Gus ......
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 1>
Lydia's Grandfather Perris, the whole village will be destroyed if your Oripathy spreads.
Honeyberry's Father But my wife and daughter are healthy! They don't have any stones on them!
Lydia's Grandfather Better safe than sorry. It's all for the village, you know.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 3>
Honeyberry Gus, I came here to dispel the village's fear, and the prejudices you have of each other.
Sure, some rejected me, but others were willing to listen.
Just try it. For yourself, for Lydia, and for them.
Gus ......
I can see you mean what you're saying, but I still don't believe those bastards can actually let go of their prejudices.
Honeyberry You mean...
Gus You can try, but on one condition.
Most of the villagers don't know about Lydia and Carl. Martenson is only thinking about his son's career, and he sure as hell wasn't gonna go around and tell people about it.
You're not allowed to bring up Carl's name in the village. I want to see him step up on his own.
Otherwise, he'd only do it because he didn't have a choice.
<Background 1>
[Honeyberry returns to the village with Gus and Lydia.]
Campbell Honeyberry, you're back–wait, why did you bring–
Honeyberry Don't worry, Mrs. Campbell. Infected in stable condition are not contagious.
Lydia is living proof. She's been staying with the Infected for so long, but she never caught Oripathy.
Campbell Really? But why does she look so sickly then?
Honeyberry Ah... that's why we came back. Let's just say that she's lovesick.
Campbell Lovesick? Now this I need to hear.
<Background fades out and in>
Campbell Aha. So that's what this is about.
Now why the heck didn't you let your sister come back and see her boyfriend, Gus?
Gus It was you people who–
Honeyberry Gus had his own troubles to deal with, ma'am. No one knew where the Oripathy came from, did they?
Campbell So, who's the lucky young man who caught Lydia's eye?
Honeyberry Sorry, I've got a non-disclosure agreement with Gus.
Campbell How could you do that, Gus?
Honeyberry Don't blame him. It's natural for him to be a little resentful after his exile from the village.
Besides, there's no real point if the young man isn't willing to step forward of his own accord, is there?
Campbell You've got me there. Alright, I'll get everyone.
<Background fades out and in>
[The villagers assemble.]
Honeyberry (Whisper) Is Carl here, Lydia? I don't remember how he looks.
Lydia ......
Still with a fever, Lydia bites her lip while casting her gaze towards a young man in a corner.
He stands beside Martenson, looking slightly timid. His father's eyes are wary as they meet Honeyberry's.
Honeyberry ...Step forward, if you still love her.
The crowd whispers amongst themselves. Some parents ask their children, while others ask Martenson, who shakes his head furiously.
Carl stands behind his father, his expression hidden from view.
Honeyberry The sickness of your beloved isn't because of Oripathy. It's because she misses you.
She insisted on coming back to see you. Please, step forward!
Martenson starts getting impatient and turns to leave, while Carl seems to be nailed to the ground.
Martenson Oripathy has fried the girl's brain. Get her out of here!
Honeyberry thought she would hear objections from the crowd, but there were none.
Honeyberry Guys...
What are you afraid of?
Gus Don't bother, Honeyberry. They won't listen.
Honeyberry No! I have to speak up!
The kids all love Mrs. Campbell because she always makes biscuits for them.
Mrs. Samantha doesn't trust people easily, but when she does, she always stands up for them.
The Martenson family works hard to live a better life, without forgetting to help out their neighbors.
This village is full of good people. What kind of deep, heavy–evil fear could make you all so heartless and cruel?
Lydia ...That's enough, Zoey.
Honeyberry Lydia?
But you haven't seen your boyfriend yet.
Lydia (Smiles meekly)
I saw him. I did.
Honeyberry But...
Lydia He heard you scold everyone, and he stayed here in opposition to his family's wishes... The important thing is that I saw him, and he saw me.
I know he loves me. He just can't... I don't blame him. How can I?
It's enough, Zoey. I'm happy enough.
I don't want to make his life difficult, even if I'm not Infected.
Let's go...
[Just as Honeyberry and the others are about to leave, Carl suddenly runs toward Lydia.]
Martenson Carl?! Are you out of your mind? Where are you going?
Carl hugs the weakened Lydia in his arms.
Carl I swear I won't ever leave you again, Lydia.
Lydia Am... am I dreaming, Carl? It's a dream, right?
Carl No, it's not a dream!
I almost lost you once. No one will ever keep us apart again!
Honeyberry (Rubs eyes)
You see, Gus? Just like I said.
Gus Carl...
Honeyberry casts her gaze at the crowd and feels her heart sink.
Campbell is wiping tears from her eyes, but not many others are rejoicing for the young lovers.
More prevalent are expressions of hesitation, doubt, and fear.
Honeyberry Excuse me...
Honeyberry feels a chill run down her back at the cold reaction of the crowd.
Honeyberry Will you accept Lydia back into the village?
She said "Lydia" rather than "the Infected," without even realizing it.
A moment of silence passes.
Finally, someone opens his mouth.
Martenson Think about it carefully, Carl.
Go with her, and you can never come back.
Honeyberry What?!
Martenson It can't be helped.
Honeyberry feels a daze come over her.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background black>
Honeyberry Wh-What are you talking about? So many years have passed. Haven't we proven ourselves healthy by now?
Lydia's Grandfather People are afraid, Zoey.
Honeyberry What are they afraid of?
They forced dad out! He's not around anymore! Mum and I have lived in the forest for so many years! What makes them so afraid that we can't even set foot in the village?
Lydia's Grandfather It can't be helped.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Honeyberry It can't be helped? Is that your final answer?
Samantha Better safe than sorry, after all.
How about this: I won't try to get Gus to pay for all the stuff he broke and all the lost business. We'll just leave each other alone going forward.
That way, he won't come and cause any more trouble, right?
Just have them go back. Once they're gone, the village will owe you a feast. Everyone appreciates how you took care of the problem.
Honeyberry But I've already said that Oripathy patients in stable condition aren't–
Samantha Just let it go, okay? Who knows who's Infected or not when they're not growing any rocks?
Honeyberry Rhodes Island is sending over equipment for Oripathy screening and testing, and our staff will be teaching people how to use it. Isn't that enough to dispel your fear?
Samantha That... that's in the future. What if there's a delay? What if there's an equipment error?
Just let it go, and let them go. I'll make you my special–
Honeyberry Mille-feuille.
Samantha ?!
Honeyberry Mrs. Samantha, I...
I'm Zoey Perris.
A commotion spreads through the crowd.
Samantha Perris... You're Perris's girl, Zoey? You're not Infected?
Honeyberry Like I said, Oripathy is not transmissible the way the flu is. Plus, Dad–
Martenson Get out! The children of the Infected are not welcome here!
Campbell What are you talking about, Martenson?
Martenson Perris was the first Infected in the village! How could we let his daughter in here?
Campbell Didn't she just say that Oripathy isn't transmitted like that?
Martenson Can she say for sure? Is she the one who'll have to pay the price if we have new Infected?
Frightened Crowd Yeah, yeah!
Honeyberry I–
Honeyberry feels a lump in her throat and could say no more.
Martenson's attitude is harsh and stern, but Honeyberry sees only fear in his eyes.
The same fear that they had cast towards her family.
She looks around at Samantha, at the others, and sees the same in their eyes.
[Sandwheel walks toward Honeyberry.]
Sandwheel Honeyberry.
Honeyberry ...Sandwheel?
Sandwheel Don't forget what we're here for.
We're not here to promote proper Oripathy prevention and treatment, nor are we here to dispel their prejudices.
We're just here to resolve the Infected problem.
You've done what you could. Leave the rest to the operators delivering the equipment.
Our job now is to worry about Gus's group, and that pair of lovers.
<Background 5>
Sandwheel Feeling better?
Honeyberry (Blows nose)
Sandwheel Think about happier things.
Honeyberry Happier things?
Sandwheel Like about how Rhodes Island is opening an office in the nearest Rim Billiton nomadic city, and how they'll need new staff to run it.
Honeyberry ...Yes, we're lucky that Gus and the other two Infected have somewhere to go.
Sandwheel Lydia is recovering quickly, and she and Carl are applying to a mining company branch in the city. Isn't that something to be happy about?
Honeyberry Yeah...
Now I'm realizing that the village never changed.
Not once, from the day they ran out our family, to the day Dad passed away, to the day I came to Rhodes Island with Mum, and all the way till today.
Sandwheel Most villages that small never change. That one just happens to lie on the supply route for a new Originium mine.
Honeyberry But this event... could it be the catalyst for change in the future?
Sandwheel Mind if I said something that you might not like to hear?
Honeyberry Go ahead.
Sandwheel Change was inevitable the moment ore deposits were found in the area.
The village has to either change, or perish.
You were still willing to come back and help them. That alone ought to push them to set aside old prejudices and fears.
<Background 6>
Honeyberry I'm jumping, Mint!
Mint Alright, I'm down here for you–
[Honeyberry jumped down, and Mint catches her as she lands.]
Honeyberry Phew.
Mint I was really worried when you came back from that field mission looking like a different person.
Honeyberry Just had a little bit of a shock. Got over it real quick, though.
Mint By the way, there was a letter for you yesterday. The Messenger left it with me when they couldn't find you.
Honeyberry From where?
Mint Rim Billiton. Here.
[Mint hand over the letter to Honeyberry.]
Mint I'm off for training. Feel free to join me after you read it.
Honeyberry Sure!
[Mint leaves as Honeyberry reads the letter.]
Dear Zoey,
How are you doing?
Carl and I both applied to the mining company. Guess who got hired?
Both of us! I couldn't believe it!
We celebrated by having a nice meal out. Carl chose a Siracusan restaurant, and it was really good. We'll take you there next time you're here.
We both went through the entrance physical, and showed no trace of Oripathy. I've fully recovered from my symptoms too.
Thank you so much for your help.
Give your mum my regards!
Your dearest Lydia
P.S.: Carl's dad came to see him and brought him some food from home.
He said that the arguments went on for days after the Rhodes Island operators brought the Oripathy screening equipment and trained people how to use it.
In the end, they're letting the Infected and their families live near the village. They don't have to stay in the forest anymore.
He asked whether we wanted to go back, but Carl turned him down.
Even if Carl said yes, though, I wouldn't go back. I won't ever go back.
Honeyberry ......
I guess I don't have to go back anymore.
They've taken the first step. They'll put their prejudices aside.
They will.