The thing about Cerealia is, there really isn't any nature to be found here. Sure, you can go outside the walls of the city and explore the land beyond but who wants to risk a terrible, horrible death just to sniff the flowers? Not you, that's who! CERES understands that, CERES sympathizes, and sometimes CERES decides to take action when such problems arise. As part of the company's current "Healthier and Happier YOU" initiative, they've decided to let everyone get back in touch with nature a little.
Of course, this being CERES, the nature they've sent everyone to is more of a swamp. The place is disgusting, a real marvel of ViViD ingenuity and it smells like the dead. There's strange rustling among the leaves from creatures that may or may not want to eat you, and random pits that open up right under your feet with the goal of sending you straight into the marsh. It's not really that fun. There's no welcome sign either, no nothing except for swamplands as far as the eye can see.
Welcome to ViViD!
This is Mosley. One of our programmers forgot to include a welcome greeting for the level this time. How incompetent can you get? He's been fired now, it's fine. Instead, I will greet you today. Lucky you! You've been invited today to participate in CERES's "Healthier and Happier YOU" level where we've combined both physical exercise and relaxing meditation into the ultimate ViViD experience. Isn't that fun? You can... go camping and stuff. Or whatever. I don't... know...
Honestly, I don't even care. Have fun.
[ 600 ] Welcome to your new healthy living training ground! What does a swamp have to do with healthy living, you may ask? Absolutely nothing! To make up for it, CERES has outfitted all players with the proper equipment for their new healthy living lifestyle. They also may or may not have let you keep your shoes based on how benevolent the ViViD gods were being at the time. (Not very.)
Oh, and all newcomers will have something additional on their fancy new yoga shirt. It will be displayed loudly and proudly all over the front and back of it. And if you're one of the few not wearing a shirt, it will be on the back of your pants. As in, your butt. It will be on your butt.
What’s ViViD trying to say, anyway?
Regardless, it probably doesn’t matter as much as finding your way through the swamp. Some sort of dry land would be really nice right now, wouldn't it? You'll have to watch out for the mud that will suck you right down under the marsh, and the creatures with lots of teeth that will never surface from the mud but won't hesitate to snap up an unwary foot or two.
CERES is sure you'll be fine. Totally and completely fine.
[ 800 ] Eventually, if you try really, really hard, you’ll make it to a house. Actually, it’s more of a shack, really. If you clamber your way out of the mud and the gunk and the marsh into said shack, you will find it to be empty aside from a table. A table hosting a huge pile of... well, health drinks. See, there's totally a health theme in this level. CERES would never make a ViViD level that wasn't thematically appropriate. Never! Health drinks of all sorts and types and sizes can be found here and there’s even a sign too; it simply says:
Well, that seems safe.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to leave said shack until you do take one. And drink it. The door will lock shut and cover itself in more swamp until you do. Yay. Depending on your luck, the drink may do the following to you:
➟ Cause your ViViD experience to glitch. This may involve phasing through walls, seeing everything in 8-bit, or hearing really annoying old video game music everywhere you go.If you try to take more than one, that’s fine too, nobody will stop you, but you probably won’t get lucky more than once.
➟ Cause status effects. This can include suddenly moving incredibly slowly, being turned to stone for a period of time, suddenly being on fire, suddenly being poisoned, etc etc.
➟ Be healthier. Mmm, kale and hummus smoothie. Taste those veggies.
[ 900 ] And back you go, out into the swampy wilderness. Don’t give up! Keep going! Eventually, you’ll find the end of this level. Probably.
Eventually, though, you may stumble across something in the mud and the muck. It’s... a little doll?
In fact, it’s a little doll of one of your most important people (or, alternatively, of someone you absolutely hate). It might be someone in Cerealia currently, or someone who isn’t, but either way, the doll is there and it’s clearly them (covered in mud and all). Be careful, though. If you toss it aside, you’ll suddenly see that important person being tossed aside. If you cut the doll, you'll suddenly see that person bleeding. Even if they aren’t present in Cerealia, whatever happens to that doll, you'll see it happening to them. Is it a hallucination or are they actually there? That's a little more up in the air.
And if they are present in Cerealia, well... doing things to that doll might very well hurt them too -- for real, this time, though.
Be careful! Or don't. You do you, as CERES would say.
[ 1200 ] And then, eventually you reach a quiet, swampy area. Not that the rest of the swamp isn't swampy, this area is just extra swampy.
There’s very little happening here in this swampy place; even the birds are no longer squawking. And for a long moment, everything will remain quiet and peaceful, a place of reprieve... until the swamp begins to bubble. Then suddenly, a new friend will burst out of the swamp, showering mud and gunk everywhere.
Without warning, that creature is going to try to grab for the nearest person (it might be you!) and let out a mighty roar when they have them. Then, they'll hold them up to... read the nutrition facts on their shirt? What?
Of course, it will try to gobble you or whoever else it grabs if it finds, say, the salt content to be acceptable (the monster is watching their carbs). If it's not, then they'll just fling you away and move onto the next snack. For those without a handy nutrition facts label on your shirt, well, it might just take a gamble and try to eat you anyway.
Great. A health-conscious monster. That's just what this level needed.
[ xxxx ] Finally, you’re free of the game. Without warning, you’re dumped into Cerealia properly and you’re able to scrub the mud and gunk from your clothing (wait why did that come back with you and where are your normal clothes?). You're able to then make your way to your new place of residence (or old) and...
There is a tiny tree there waiting for you. Isn’t it cute? And if you take care of this tiny tree, it will eventually bear fruit! Tiny fruit. Itty bitty fruit.
Depending on which tiny tree you get, it will be one of the following: a tiny dildo tree, a tiny bacon tree, a tiny kazoo tree, a tiny carolina reaper tree, or a (dumb) tiny hats tree.
Everything will, naturally, be tiny. Enjoy your new healthy CERES gift!
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