Perfumer: How Old Trees Grow

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Operator Record
How Old Trees Grow
Perfumer icon.png

It's no mere nostalgia, nor simple hatred. Perhaps this complicated feeling is what you call "homesickness."

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Perfumer to Elite 2 Level 60.
  • Have 200% Trust with Perfumer.
Nobleman B icon.png
Wealthily-Dressed Man (William)
Bakery Owner
Victoria Square
Victoria Streets
Acahualla Waterfall
Desert Mountain
By pure coincidence, Perfumer finds in Victoria an old tree long extinct in Minos.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 1>
Lena I'm sorry, Father, Mother. I've been infected with Oripathy. Your line of work would never let an Infected take over, so now, I'm free to do what I want to do, aren't I?
I know I can't stay in our home any longer. I'll move out as soon as I can. Don't worry about me, I'm completely able to care for myself now, and I don't need to trouble my family for anything.
But if it's alright, could you leave my flower garden where it is? They're just plants. Oripathy won't mar their purity.
Please, let me say goodbye.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 2>
Perfumer Winter.
Pallas The aroma of sawdust from the firewood 'pon the altar.
Perfumer Relics.
Pallas The nose of clay and moss within the temple.
Perfumer Nightfall.
Pallas The scent of the thickets' dew in Helia's Mountains.
Perfumer Sunset.
Pallas The taste of honey.
Perfumer Of honey?
Pallas During my time in the Hall of the Twelve Heroes, I always made it each evening's custom to watch the sun set as I imbibed a glass of mead. The dusk through the glass was golden as honey was.
Oh... the flavor of a scene such as that. How greatly I yearn, so greatly.
Perfumer Very unique, but very, very understandable too.
That's why we've done this. Just describing a situation can easily let us make associations with scents that match the scene well.
And vice versa. When we smell a clear scent, we'll associate it with the relevant scene.
Pallas So, Miss Lena, you believe that the use of similar methods can rouse Miss Gloria's memories?
Perfumer Scent has an emotionally evocative power. If the information within a scent is rich enough, then the brain will associate it with clearer direction too, and it's not out of the question it'll connect to what concrete memories it may.
This may well be a reliable treatment method for Miss Gloria, in response to her condition.
Pallas Ah, I shall not interrogate your professional judgment, nor complain of the weight of these plant specimens. I only hold some questions.
Why do we not bring Miss Gloria back here with us, directly?
Perfumer Heheh. As a Medic Operator with no fighting ability, I need others to accompany me when I'm going a ways away. You're the one I'm pulling along this time, Lady Priestess.
As for why we can't bring Gloria back, it's a sad thing, but the state of her health doesn't let her travel long distances. Besides, bringing her into familiar surroundings may not do wholly positive things for her.
Just like in a play, a more unadulterated scenario resonates more easily with an audience's mood. Too great a mix of information may well make it hard for one to catch the important things.
Take right here, right now. I imagine you'd have a hard time giving an overall, unique impression for this city, in the midst of all these scents.
Pallas Quite true. Frigid air bites in my nose, mingled with dust and soot. It is selfsame as other modern cities I have visited.
But I notice, too, in the air a faintly scattered scent out of the ordinary, with the perfume of cream and wheat–is this the fragrance of bread?
[A baker offers Pallas and Perfumer some bread.]
Bakery Owner Hah-hah, hello, Miss! Please, take two and have a taste. On me.
[Pallas took the breads.]
Pallas I thank you greatly–such warm and exquisite flavor. I extol your craft from the heart.
Bakery Owner Thanks for the kind words! If you're fond, would you mind spreading the word for me, then?
Pallas Assuredly! Such fine flavor deserves to be experienced by more–Miss Lena, would you sample one?
Perfumer I'll be fine for now... You really do harmonize with people just like that, Pallas.
Pallas To converse is a thing of pleasure. I may gain knowledge from it, and sharpen my thought.
Perfumer But our task here is to gather the necessary materials as quickly as possible. If we accidentally expose our Infected identity through enough contact with others, it'll mean unnecessary hassle in turn.
If that girl knew we were Infected, would she have been as friendly as she was?
Pallas Darling Lena, assume no ill will in others before you meet them. As the great forebears said, "even as you meet a century of wicked souls, ne'er conclude the century and first would then do evil."
Perfumer If that was the case, I can't see why our lives would be the way they are then.
Pallas Miss Lena...?
Perfumer No, don't mind it. I'm just being oversensitive.
There're a lot of materials we need to get our mitts on. Let's seize the moment.
<Background 3>
Perfumer Judging by the thickness of the wayside bushes, this city's climate must lean on the drier side. Its average yearly rainfall is probably around the 500ml range.
The ecology of plantlife here oughtn't be too complex. It seems we're in for a bit less work than I imagined.
Pallas I seem to have seen this tree in your greenhouse before, Miss Lena. Is it of the same kind?
Perfumer Not at all. This one is a Victorian cypress, and the tree in the greenhouse is a Minoan fir. People might often confuse the two thanks to their scale leaves, but they're actually completely separate.
Pallas I knew of the perfuming, but not that you were so well-versed in botanic studies too. My.
Perfumer Nature itself is an endlessly giving store of scents and sources. If you want be a good perfumer, you can't do without a knowledge of plants.
Pallas I've seen many a rare plant from Minos in your Convalescent Garden. Many were, to me, only names I had read in books before.
I imagine you too must long deeply for all the green that grows in Minos.
Perfumer Plants have their own charm, and that has nothing to do with where they are growing–
Strange, how do the tree ferns thrive even in such an environment here? Do they have tenders?
Pallas If I may be forthcoming, something you said has rather lingered on my mind.
Miss Lena, you left your home due to Oripathy too, didn't you?
Perfumer Not a prominent scent, but has a base aroma much like air. I'll need to sample and take notes. Pallas, could you grab a #3 test tube for me–I'm sorry, what were you just saying?
Pallas A #3 test tube. Is this it?
Perfumer No, the one to the right, a size larger. Yes. Thank you.
Hmm. Why did I leave my home...? It's complicated, I'll say that.
Too much time has passed to recall how I felt back then more than vaguely. I just remember a lot of regret and disappointment had piled up, and all that was left in the end was the idea of "I have to leave home."
Pallas Every traveler has what they cannot help. In that respect, you and I surely have melancholies abound to share, hard as it is to tell them to others.
Perfumer You're overblowing it, Pallas. It's all bygones by now. I've found somewhere to belong and something of a career–there's not much regret to have, really.
Pallas My dear countrywoman. Though I pull this ailing body far from native soil, I still can sense to this day the call of Minos's every alpine rock, every breadth of field and forest.
There may be a day, I hope with all my heart, that we can return to our home–
[Lena accidentally dropped the tube, shattering it.]
Perfumer Sorry... that was careless of me.
Pallas Lena–
Perfumer Pallas, would you mind leaving the topic alone for now?
Pallas Lena?
[Perfumer continues by raising her voice,]
Perfumer You never did anything wrong, it was just one accident, and then they took away everything you were, everything you were worth. You can understand that, can't you, with what you've gone through?
Do you treat that all like it's... nothing? Just little gripes and grudges we don't need to resent or let get to us?
Pallas What I cannot deny is that these lands are especially ruthless to the Infected. I too once asked if this was unjust of fate, but in the end, faith and hope still triumphed over the resentment.
Lena, of course I have no right to tell you you should shed bad blood. I simply ask, of the soil that nurtured us, or perhaps of your friends and family–is there any attachment that still remains?
Perfumer You're right, you're exactly right. But what drove me from home wasn't Oripathy. It was my family who abandoned me when they had no use for me. It was the people who saw me and didn't care, the friends who found it all so funny.
To this day, Minos is still about passing on all those romantic epics, the stories of heroes. What you and I have suffered, what all the Infected have suffered, could only ever be unsightly... errors in the tales.
Pallas, for you, Minos is a place worth cherishing. It's where your dreams and convictions lie. But to me, it's nothing but a name that I wish I could forget.
[Perfumer calms down.]
Perfumer I'm sorry... I got flustered.
Pallas No, I should be sorry. I am profuse with apology, that I roused your worst recollections.
Perfumer It's fine. Anyway, there's more important things to do now than get bogged down in unhappy memories.
Pallas Well spoken. We must find some meaning in the now, to dilute melancholies of days past...
[Perfumer noticed a tree that looks familiar.]
Perfumer A daeluswood?
Pallas An extinct tree, if I recall? Does it hold any special significance for you, Miss Lena?
Perfumer What... is a daeluswood doing here?
<Background 4>
On a hillside of bracken and weeds stands a lofty, ancient tree.
Its trunk is still arrow-straight, but not at all unyielding. Its rough bark appears weather-beaten. The sparse foliage resembles a tattered umbrella, only smatters of leaves left hanging on its branches.
Pallas The daeluswood. Grown in Minos, and only in Minos. Renowned for its timber sturdy beyond compare, a synonym for stalwart in poem and play.
When Sargon invaded, the invaders wrought unbridled destruction on our culture so as to crush our faith, and this tree was one among the sacrifices.
After our heroic soldiers repelled the invaders, not a soul in Minos ever saw such a tree again.
If not for its accounts in old texts, the people might have thought it a species from legend. How can you be so sure that this tree before us is a daeluswood, Miss Lena?
Perfumer Pallas... could I borrow your weapon for a moment?
[Perfumer chopped a branch of the daeluswood tree with Pallas' whip.]
Pallas "E'en by sword and by ax, no trace could be left." So the epics noted. But one light chop here severed a branch.
And the daeluswood's illustrations certainly didn't seem so thin and frail...
Perfumer The same plants growing in different environments can present extremely different characters. But it's just like how we wouldn't mistake a Liberi for a Savra, even though people's looks can vary so greatly.
The leaves' sawtooth outline, the red veining around its edges, and their extremely short stalk. These features are all identical to the historic records.
Though the timber's looser and weaker thanks to the different surroundings, it's kept hold of its neat and detailed grain, and there's still oily resin left on the inside of the bark... There's no mistaking it.
What's most important: this tree has the scent of Minos.
A breeze blows past, the vegetation about them somber in the twilight season.
The frail old tree nods in the wind, as if greeting another fellow countryman who's come from afar.
Pallas Daeluswoods have been rumored long extinct, and this tree seems to be decades in age. But just how, I wonder, did it arrive in these foreign lands?
Perfumer Maybe fowlbeasts carrying its fruit, maybe wind blowing its seeds. There's times when nature gives life wonderful opportunities, but it takes life with no mercy more frequently still.
Pallas, I'd like–to save this tree.
Pallas But now isn't the season for trees to flower, and moving it, roots and all, is more unaskable still. In the face of it...
Perfumer I may have a plan... I'm not too willing to do this, but I've got no other choice.
Pallas, back in Minos, did you ever act in the theater?
Wealthily-Dressed Man Huff, puff... This road is... treacherous and a half! What the devil are the city planners up to...? Ms. Lena, what makes you ask me to meet you here?
Perfumer Mr. William, it's been a while. I'm awfully sorry; it's difficult for Infected to show themselves in public, so I had no choice but for you to make the run.
William Such a shame. Too many fools in these lands ridden about by their prejudices–no, not that I mean to offend your father. I paid him a visit not long ago, and he's still fit as a fiddle in his old age.
But as your good friend, Ms. Lena, I'm well aware of your worth–no, the worth of your perfumery. How's Oripathy meant to tarnish that?
Under your guidance, our firm's perfumes have been taking all Victoria by storm the moment they release! Annual turnover has passed three million Victorian pounds! It's simply art!
Perfumer (All well and good. We know all you did was steal my recipes. If I'd never left home, would you have still dared?)
(Besides, just three million?)
(clears throat) Let me introduce you. This is Mr. William, my... friend, a perfume artisan famous in Victoria.
And this is a fellow Minoan of mine, Pallas, who's in your line of work too.
Pallas Mr. William, I've heard much of you. Though I'd heard some tell in Minos too, I see today that you truly... truly do seem the part of an artist of perfumes!
William Good to meet you, good to meet you. I assume since we're in the same business, business is why Ms. Lena here introduces you?
Perfumer It certainly is business, but to be clearer about it, I'm hoping you can help us out with something, seeing how we've been friends all this time.
William Help you out? I...
Pallas This perfume is one of my works. I do not boast, but as a Minoan product, it is too a household name. I have plans to create a perfume brand with it at its core, too.
Mr. William, perfume is our trade, and selling it is our living. Our pursuit surely lies not only in money, but the hope of passing fragrance and happiness onto all corners of these lands–
William Haha... You make fine, fine sense. So–what exactly are you trying to get at?
Perfumer A-hem. Ms. Pallas, Mr. William is a friend of mine. He won't mind frank talk from you. Tell him about your troubles.
(Get to the point! The point!)
[Pallas quietly complies.]
Pallas Of course, of course. I should be candid in the presence of friends.
Mr. William, I'd like to bring my work to the Victorian market. The materials for this perfume are by and large no issue, but the most important ingredient, a kind of tree, formerly could only be found in Minos.
Perhaps it was some will from Above, that I should have found the same tree in this city too. Do look, please.
William This leaf is your main ingredient, then?
Definitely has a unique scent about it. In a perfume, it'd bring more overall calmness, classicalness. Unlike any wood-scented perfume on the market today.
Pallas A Minoan juniper. To find a mark of its growth in this city proves that it can adapt to this climate.
Therefore, I wish to contract for a plot of soil in this city to plant them in bulk. But as a foreign merchant, the procedures pose me great challenges. Thus I hope you may lend me a helping hand in this matter.
William I would like to say, that's easier said than done, even with my connections.
Pallas Mr. William, since we are talking business, we may as well cut to the core. You needn't worry about this brand occupying your market. You need only be ready to aid me, and I will of course repay profits to you.
What say you to this? For the first year on the market, we will remain wholly dependent on your marketing channels.
William Hahaha... I could never. Ms. Lena and I are friends, and even if there was nothing in it for me, it's still right of me to lend an ear.
I'm just curious. Ms. Lena, do you also say this perfume has the potential to sustain a brand?
Perfumer I wouldn't dare run my mouth. You're the connoisseur here, market-wise. As a perfumer, I can only give an evaluation of the work itself.
Wood-based perfumes have been fairly popular in recent years, and a "taste of the exotic" easily sparks conversation. This perfume is no ordinary thing in itself, either. On the whole, it should be for you to judge, I think.
William Mm, fair point, fair point. I'd also like to ask, where did you find this tree you're talking about?
Pallas How well you should ask. It's right on this hillside, not too fa–
Perfumer A-HEM. Ms. Pallas, some things are best left unsaid for now, even to a partner in business.
William Ha, haha. quite right. Let me think now, just have a think...
[William puts the sample and leaves in his pocket.]
Perfumer (Ah! He's casually pocketed the sample and leaf.)
William Well. Getting the land contract will take some ups and downs. Give me a few days. If I could just have the both of you stay patient and wait for word from me.
Don't do anything unilateral before I get back to you. I'll run along for now, goodbye...
[William leaves.]
Pallas Wellaway, acting really isn't a strength of mine... Did I speak any lines wrong during that?
Perfumer You didn't get a single one right.
Pallas Ohh. Woe...
Perfumer I'm joking. You went a little walkabout with the script, but when someone's looking at everything to gain, it's hard for them to spot anything else.
Quite well done, Pallas. I think our goal's achieved now.
Pallas Market conspiracy is more enigmatic still than the art of the battlefield... What do we do next?
Perfumer What *do* we do? We might as well do as our friend said, go home to rest, and wait for now with peace of mind.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 5>
Lena Found them, finally.
Though their looks and growth environments are very similar, they're completely different in bud form. If you smell them carefully, their scents are hugely different.
I think we'll give you your own name after all. Let's see... How about setting sunflowers?
<Background 6>
Lena The book says "stoneflag leaves have curative properties on wounds." That's not actually accurate at all.
It's the acidic liquid in the leaves that kills germs, in fact, but that has to do with the soil conditions too. Just blindly treating it as a medicinal plant is too sloppy.
There's so many mistakes in this book. If I picked at every one, I'd have enough to write a whole new book. I might as well write one myself, if I have the time.
If I have the time...
<Background 7>
Lena You could show anyone pyrargrass in the wild and bloodmoon cress in the florists, and nobody would ever imagine they used to be the same plant.
Pyrargrass adapted to an arid environment through shrinking its leaves into this minute form, but the seeds of both have retained the same shape.
Which also serves as evidence that this barren might have been far from what we see today a few hundred years ago. If this discovery ever–
*cough* *cough*... *cough*......
My strength's dropped off so hard lately.
Come on, Lena, you're not going to feel helpless yet! If the pyrargrass is going to live on so stubbornly, so can you.
<Background black>
If only... I was just another blade of nameless grass.
Would I be able to take root here too, without a care?
<Flashback ends here>
Three days later
<Background 4>
[Perfumer and Pallas returns to where the daedalwood tree is.]
Pallas If I recall, it was just around here.
[Perfumer noticed something in a distance.]
Perfumer Look over there.
Far off in the distance, the old tree on the hillside is as withered as a few days ago, but a crew of fully armed men guard it in rings.
And a vast, empty plot nearby has been fenced off, with a conspicuous placard posted to it.
Pallas "Private property, do not enter?"
Perfumer Well, the early fowl does get the worm, but the force Mr. William brings to bear has really blown me away. Mm, it's praiseworthy in a way.
Pallas Commendable spirit, too. Finding that one tree in so vast a forest using nothing more than a leaf.
Perfumer He wouldn't be satisfied, no matter the conditions we gave him–he wants this perfume all to himself. Sadly for him, I think he's out of luck this time.
I didn't use any daeluswood in that perfume sample. I just mixed a few plants together to mimic the scent and trick his nose. He can keep researching all he likes; all he'll get is a dead end.
Pallas Had you foreseen that, so far in advance?
Perfumer I suppose you could say my family influenced me when I was young. I hate it, but I couldn't be more familiar with all that rhetoric and so-called "business think" if I tried.
Anyhow, we should have no reason to worry now. If all goes well, then come next spring, this hillside will be covered in daeluswood saplings.
I know I hoodwinked him a little, and though you could call it punishment for plagiarizing my work before, I do still feel a little sorry.
We'll see when I'm free enough to draw up a recipe that actually uses daeluswood, and I'll send it to him as a present.
[Pallas tapped at Perfumer's shoulders,]
Pallas Miss Lena. I have a question, in truth.
If Minos truly did leave you with but disappointment and resentment as you said, then why is it you care so much for this one tree's fate?
Perfumer The flora can't speak. It simply takes root, deep in this great land. What kind of plant could truly live, away from the soil which nurtures it?
Besides, Pallas, you're wrong.
I have plenty of bad memories of my home, true. To this day, I can't find it in me to reconcile with my past. But still, how can I say I hate that land?
My dream has never once changed. I want to leave beautiful things behind. Maybe in the distant future, there'll still be people who can take in that fragrance, thanks to my work.
<Background fades out and in>
[Pallas reminds Perfumer that,]
Pallas Lena, it is time to return to Rhodes Island.
Perfumer Mm, I've packed up every specimen I wanted to bring back. If you don't mind helping me carry on the return trip, dear Pallas.
Pallas Of course, I would be glad to assist. Is it the pouch by the doorway?
Perfumer It's the big trunk downstairs in the hotel.
Pallas Very... Very well. As a priestess, it is only expected that I should serve the Minoan people...
[Pallas leaves.]
Perfumer That's right. Just like me, you've come far and away, landed yourself in an unfamiliar place, and picked up a different name, a different identity, and a different worth.
The blizzards back home might have bitten like frost, but how do you really settle down and take up root, away from the warm sun and tender rains you knew?
It was Minos that nurtured you, and you'll reshape Minos in time.
Goodbye for now.
There'll come a day when I return home with you.

See also