Because GINJI DIED.
This is the first time I didn't save him. I didn't know it was possible to not save him, but when I was making my list of new things to do on this third play, I realized I had to let him die. BUT I DIDN'T WANT TO. And then it was moot, because it took me too long to fight the whatsit monster in the Highlands, and I didn't make it in time anyway.
I'm sorry, Ginji!
Noelle sure was practical about it, though. "Oh, well. Anyway, we need to get going."
One thing I need to remember and haven't been taking advantage of in fic is Natalia's love of fantastic stories. I can never be sure if she just really gets into them, or if she believes them a little. Of course, it's probably both.
Oh, and the reason I never made it through the forest before? I was GOING THE WRONG WAY. Duh. I actually paid attention this time and Tear tells you which way to go. I still suck at sneaking--I thought I was hiding behind the rocks, but they saw me anyway. And I can never aim Mieu right to get the fire off in the right place. The wolf things always saw me before I could scare them with the fire. But I finally did it.