|“||You can call me Hawthorne Ball! Oh! What's that?!||”|
A cute and innocent young girl, she looks at the world with awe and curiosity. She's full of questions for you to answer! Be careful though, once you answer her, she'll never stop asking!
Hawthorne Balls are a sweet treat beloved by children. Its sweet and sour fruits are covered with a tasty brown sugar coating.
How to Acquire
- Starter unit
- Tip Shop
|Contract||Is it you who has summoned me? Master Attendant, remember to take me out to play often!|
|Log In||Waaaah! Master Attendant, I miss you~|
|Ice Arena||Waaaah! Master Attendant, I've discovered a super fun game, let's play hide and seek, okay?|
|Skills||That looks fun, I want to join in~|
|Ascend||Wah, so fun~!! Let's play again, okay?~|
|Fatigue||Do you need a break? I've still not had enough fun...|
|Recovering||Eh? Still not yet? When can we go and play?|
|Team Formation||Yeah~ let's go and play~|
|Knockout||But~ I haven't finished playing~|
|Notice||It smells delicious, we can finally eat!|
|Idle 1||Master Attendant, where are we going to play today? Master Attendant? Master Attendant? What? Not here?|
|Idle 2||When out playing, I'm at my happiest~|
|Interaction 1||Some people call me Caramel Hawthorne, others call me Hawthorne Ball. Master Attendant, what would you like to call me?|
|Interaction 2||Playing pretend is fun. Master Attendant, let's go and play together, okay?|
|Interaction 3||Waaaah! Master Attendant, are we going to go out and play? I love you the most~|
|Pledge||So fun, so fun!|
|Intimacy 1||Eh? Is this a new game?|
|Intimacy 2||Master Attendant, can you take me out to play every day? Awesome, you're my favorite.|
|Intimacy 3||Master Attendant, can I change this table cloth? I like the color of that one.|
- As a Food Soul with 300 freshness initially, and with a Restaurant Skill that can increase total freshness, it is recommended that she work in the Restaurant.
- A fallen version of her can be encountered in the Main Story stages of Gloriville.
I. Bloodstained Daily Life
I lived in a perfectly normal little town.
It was crowded and noisy, and popular with travelers.
I told Uncle Tie I’d be collecting some bacon from him today.
I climbed out of bed, cleaned myself up, and began running towards Uncle Tie’s house.
“Hawthorne Ball! This is for you~!” As I ran past a breakfast café, Uncle Wang tossed me a bun.
“Slow down Hawthorne, or you’ll fall and hurt yourself,” My neighbor, Auntie Zhang scolded me, passing me a bowl of soy milk while I paused for a breath.
Everyone treated me very well.
“Grandpa Lu! Why don’t you ever wear glasses when you work on the wood carvings?” I asked as I walked past the carpenter’s workshop. The kind, old carpenter gave me a cheery wave.
“Sister Ning! Why do you always sew a mandarin duck on your handkerchiefs?” The pleasant and friendly seamstress gave me a wide smile as I passed the embroidery shop.
Everyone treated me kindly.
“Hawthorne! Would you like to hear a song?” A musician idling at the bridge asked me as I passed.
“Will you be going swimming again, little lass?” The fisherman in his canoe under the bridge waved his oar in greeting.
Everyone liked me, and I liked everybody.
After passing through several districts, I finally arrived at the street where Uncle Tie lived.
“Uncl…” The cheery greeting died in my throat as Uncle Tie’s door burst open.
No… It was more accurate to say that it was smashed open.
Uncle Tie was a large and imposing man. Nevertheless, he had been viciously flung through the door like a rubber ball by an immense force inside the building.
A spray of dark liquid splattered onto my face.
In a daze, I reached up and touched the substance. I could still feel its warmth.
I stood, frozen to the spot, numb with shock and growing terror.
Someone stepped out from the darkness of the building, through the now empty door frame.
The man, his eyes half-closed as if in a smile and his hair tied in a long ponytail stood before me, watching Uncle Tie.
“Tie Yishu?” The man’s voice was gentle and soft, but I sensed immense power and pressure behind his words.
“Cough…” Uncle Tie was struggling to breathe now. Blood trickled in a stream from the corner of his mouth. “That… would be… m…”
He never finished his sentence.
In an instant, a thick cloud of smoke, heavy with spiritual energy had enveloped and crushed Uncle Tie’s body.
In the blink of an eye, he was dead.
Someone who treated me well, someone whom I liked, was nothing more than a corpse.
II. The Quiet Murderer
“Uncle Tie!” I finally regained my senses, rushing to his side.
This tall and imposing man would never again reach down to ruffle my hair, calling out my name with a bright smile on his face.
“Why did you do this!?”
Things had happened too quickly, too suddenly. I was unable to process what was happening, and had merely screamed out my question on instinct.
“A Food Soul?” The man glanced at me, expressionless. “Was he your Master Attendant?”
“No, he wasn’t… Wait, that’s not right.” I shook my head, recovering my composure and drew my weapon. “Why did you kill Uncle Tie!?”
“He was an evil man.” The man did not bother to elaborate. As he said this, he turned, and started to leave.
“Don’t you dare leave! Uncle Tie was not evil.” I raised my weapon into an attack stance. “So hold it right there, and explain yourself!”
I did not manage to take another step forward. The thick smoke that hung in the air in the street gathered violently, ensnaring me in an instant.
The man had not even turned around. As if unperturbed by what was happening behind him, he continued walking away.
“You… You are the villain.” I tore myself free from the binding smoke and charged forward, my weapon ready to strike.
“Hm?” The man finally showed some sort of reaction, turning his head to face me. A puzzled look was stamped on his face.
Before I could think of what to do, my body was dragged down to the ground.
A cloud of smoke, thicker than the one before, held me down.
“I’M the villain?” The man tilted his head and considered the words for a moment, then smiled briefly, as if amused by something.
“Still, what your friendly Uncle Tie did was really no different from everything I’ve done.”
“LIAR!” Without thinking, I had already screamed in response. “Uncle Tie wouldn’t do anything bad. He WASN’T A BAD MAN!!”
The man chuckled quietly. He had no intention of fighting me.
He raised his hand, and the binding smoke dispersed in the wind.
“I don’t have time to babysit you, little one.” The man said as he casually turned to leave again. “If you really want to know the truth, try to keep up with me. Maybe I’ll tell you the truth, if I have the time.”
His strange actions left me speechless and stunned for some time, and by the time I could think clearly again, he was already some distance away.
Watching his figure stride away, I bit my lip and began to run.
III. A Puzzling Answer
I chased after him, leaving the town behind me, plunging deep into the mountain forests, following a path that led us to a bamboo grove.
As if he had chosen to completely ignore my existence, the man showed no signs of slowing down, casually and single-mindedly striding onward at an unnaturally fast pace.
His manner seemed like he was telling me that if I couldn't keep up, I should just go home and stop meddling in his affairs.
I would not allow the mystery of Uncle Tie’s death to go unresolved.
With this thought burning in my mind, I quickened my pace, only to find that the distance between us was somehow still growing.
When I finally stopped to catch my breath, the man had long since vanished.
I continued to wander down the road through the bamboo grove, eventually finding myself in front of a picturesque manor. A young man dressed in a long robe stood by the door, as if he were waiting for me.
“Did a man come by here earlier?” I hurriedly questioned the young man.
“The Master is resting at the moment. He asked me to welcome you.” The young man bowed. “My name is Plum Juice, feel free to ask me any questions you may have.”
I followed Plum Juice into the courtyard, explaining my circumstances and then asking the questions plaguing me during my journey here.
“Uncle Tie was a good person. He always treated everybody well. How was he a bad man?”
“He was a follower of a cult. He inveigled and exploited countless people.” Plum Juice explained patiently.
“Inveigled…? What does that mean?”
“He deceived others and made them do his dirty work for him.”
“But he never lied to me! Uncle Tie was always kind to me!”
“That’s because there’s no such thing as absolute good or evil.”
“Uugh… What does that mean?”
“The totality of all the actions a person takes in his life will never be perfectly good, or perfectly evil. Even the most evil men may bear some virtue. However, the evil of men is not so easily wiped clean simply by performing a few virtuous acts either.”
“So… So Uncle Tie had to die just because of that? No, that’s not right. Why do you people think you have the right…”
“And what about the people who died at the hands of Tie Yishu? Did you think about them? Everyone has to take responsibility for their actions. That is simply how it is.”
I left the courtyard feeling empty and hollow, blindly stumbling off the road into the depths of the bamboo grove.
Plum Juice had explained the crimes of Uncle Tie in more detail than I had wanted to hear.
I could not understand how Uncle Tie, who treated everyone in town so kindly everyday, could have at the same time been such a hideous monster who killed innocent people without flinching.
I couldn't understand why I felt that the calm man may have done the right thing, even though I saw him kill a human being right in front of my eyes.
Shouldn’t everyone be nice to each other?
Why do we need to hurt and kill each other…?
IV. The Solution to the Riddle
“What’s this, what’s this, what’s this?”
As I wandered aimlessly through the bamboo grove, lost in the questions that swirled around the inside of my head, a loud voice tinged with surprise interrupted my thoughts.
“A child? A human? A Food Soul?”
A young man with messy green hair was standing beside me.
“Hello, little one?”
“Why are things this way, Bamboo Rice?”
I had learned the young man’s name after chatting with him for a while. We now sat on a large flat rock in a clearing, enjoying the breeze.
“Why would Uncle Tie, who was always such a nice man, have done such awful things in the past?”
“Well… When the evil thoughts come, who can say?”
“Can’t everybody just get along with each other?”
“You’ve already said it before, right? And Plum Juice told you so too. There’s no such thing as absolute good or evil.” Bamboo Rice absentmindedly plucked and chewed a foxtail, comforting me in a quiet voice. “Sounds to me like your Uncle Tie got what he deserved. Don’t be too upset about it.”
“But what am I supposed to do now?”
“You got no place to stay?”
“That’s not what I meant… I mean, how am I supposed to face everyone in town now?” I lifted my chin as I thought of home. I felt like I was going to cry.
“What do you mean?”
“Everyone in town was so kind to each other, but now I can’t tell who’s good and who's not.” I sighed deeply and continued, my voice a low grumble. “And even if everyone turned out to be bad, I don’t think I could ever feel like punishing them.”
“Why worry about it?” Bamboo Rice patted me on the head. “You can just be yourself. These questions aren’t for a girl like you to think so hard on. Live like I do. Do as you please, every single day.”
“…be myself…” Hearing Bamboo Rice’s frivolous words, I recalled what Plum Juice had said, and things seemed to clear up in my mind.
Why had I been wasting my time thinking of all these things? Some people are good, some people are bad. That had nothing to do with me. As long as I treated everyone well, and became the absolute good these people kept saying did not exist, then I would be able to tell them that what they’re doing is wrong, and get them to slowly learn to be like me instead!
I stood up suddenly, and bowed my head in thanks to the young man beside me.
“Thanks Bamboo Rice, I know what to do now.”
I sprinted back to the manor along the Bamboo Grove path. Plum Juice was still busy with some chores at the entrance.
“Why did you come back?”
“I’ve come to treat you well.”
“No… I’m here to stop you people. There’s no reason to hurt anyone, whether they’re bad people or good people. You said there’s no such thing as absolute good. In that case, I’ll show you through my actions that there IS absolute goodness, and you people won't have the moral high ground to hurt anybody else!”
“N-no…? We never…?”
Plum Juice seemed completely baffled by my declaration. As he struggled to make a response, he was interrupted by a voice from behind him.
“Hawthorne Ball, right? I’ll let you work here from today onward then.”
Plum Juice did an instant turnabout.
“No… I think you’re being too…”
V. Hawthorne Ball
The usually solemn and serene Bamboo Smoke Pawnshop welcomed a new employee today.
This new employee was completely at odds with the previous atmosphere of the Pawnshop.
“Why are these stacked like that?” The loud and cheerful voice of a young girl sounded from within the warehouse.
“… … It’s so they won’t topple so easily.” Came the stressed and tired voice of a young man.
“And why is there a statue placed here?” At the corner of the corridor, the girl’s voice sounded again.
“… …Because it looks good.”
“Oh, and why…”
The voices had only stopped for less than half a minute, when the silence was interrupted by the sound of an explosion from the kitchen.
Dust and smoke poured from the windows.
It took Plum Juice a great deal of effort to finally put out the fire in the kitchen. He looked at Hawthorne Ball, standing in the midst of it all, an expression of curious innocence on her face.
The young man opened his mouth, as if he desperately wanted to say something, but saw no malice in the girl’s wide eyes and decided to just swallow his complaints.
Although he’d decided to let Hawthorne Ball off the hook, Hawthorne Ball was not about to let him off so easily.
“Why did it explode? I thought I’d followed all the steps correctly?”
“… … Why did Master Peking Duck agree to let you join…”
“Yeah, that’s right. Why did he?”
“Why do you keep asking why…”
The courtyard rang with the curious and inquisitive girl’s constant questions, and the anguished cries of a young man experiencing great suffering.
And at the same time…
At the house of Tie Yishu.
Yuxiang, dressed in a qipao, stepped through the doorway, gripping a book against her slender frame.
She gave the room a quick glance, analyzing and calculating all possibilities.
Then she raised her hand, firing a snake-like stream of spiritual energy at a wall.
There was a loud boom, and dust choked the air as the wall exploded, revealing a dark tunnel behind the remains of the wall.“I’ve found it… Now to see if I can find any clues as to where the remaining survivors have fled.”