Sacred Golden Hills is the second chapter of Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling. It involves Team Snakemouth's journey to the Golden Hills to claim another ancient artifact for the Queen. It is preceded by Chapter 1: A Dysfunctional Trio and followed by Chapter 3: Factory Inspection.
Upon arriving in front of the Explorers' Association, the team gets an emotional greeting from Eetl, who thought that they had surely perished, along with Gen and Eri, who had thought that they bailed on the mission.
When Vi shows Eetl, Gen, and Eri the Ancient Mask, they are astonished. Eetl confirms that it is a genuine artifact, just as Neolith had described it, and recommends that they deliver the artifact to the Queen, who will be beyond ecstatic.
Leif mentions that it has been quite some time since he'd last seen the Queen, and doesn't seem to remember the Explorers' Association being there. Eetl figures that Leif is new to this place, but Leif assures him that he recognizes the landscape. Vi believes Leif is just hazy from spending too much time in Snakemouth Den.
Since exploration teams usually consist of two members, Kabbu asks Eetl if Leif can officially join their team. Because the team conquered Snakemouth Den, which had been a goal for ages, Eetl grants the team the perk of having three members, and names them Team Snakemouth.
Eetl follows the team into Ant Kingdom City Plaza, and tells them that the palace is through the gate up ahead. Leif remembers the buildings in the plaza, but notices the walls are older-looking.
When they enter the throne room, the team meets Queen Elizant II, who is eager to receive the artifact. Her guard, Zaryant, completes the transaction and rewards the team with a Crystal Berry and 30 berries.
Leif wishes to ask the Queen a question, which she allows, but he is interrupted when an ant guard storms into the throne room. The ant guard alerts the Queen about urgent, confidential news. After listening, the Queen tells Maki to leave for his mission at once, and inform Artis that the next expedition is confirmed.
The Queen lets Zaryant brief the team on the Golden Hills expedition, which takes place in a small, rural settlement, involving another ancient artifact.
Zaryant tells the team that the Golden Hills can be reached by going through a tunnel south of the Explorers' Association. Vi knows that this area is within the territory of the Bee Kingdom, which, thankfully, is a close ally to the Ant Kingdom. Zaryant provides them with a Map of Bugaria, and the Queen orders the team to begin their mission at once.
Right after the team leaves the throne room, Kabbu and Vi express their excitement to visit the Golden Settlement because a festival is just about to take place there. Vi notices that Leif does not appear as excited.
In a somber tone, Leif confesses to Kabbu and Vi that when he first left for Snakemouth Den, the Queen was Elizant the First. Kabbu and Vi are in complete shock, and can't believe it's even possible. Vi says that she wasn't even born when the new Queen took the throne.
Leif says it is all true, as he can't find his old team anywhere, the plaza has changed since he last saw it, and there is a new Queen, so he thinks he might have been trapped in Snakemouth Den for decades. Leif says that this new Queen doesn't seem as kind-hearted and understanding as the previous Queen he once knew.
Kabbu recommends that the team keep exploring, and perhaps, they will find clues that will help Leif find out the truth about his past. While Leif does not have much of a choice, he agrees to keep exploring, as he thinks Kabbu and Vi are fun to be around, at least.
Once the team heads back into Ant Kingdom City Plaza, they notice that they're all hungry, and decide to stop by the commercial area to eat some food, masterfully cooked by Fry. After eating together, they head out to reach the Golden Settlement.
On their way to the tunnel Zaryant had described, the team hear a bug cry out for help, as he's being attacked by a gang of two Wasp Troopers.
The wasps are angry that the renowned Professor Neolith won't give them any information about the artifacts. Kabbu calls the wasps dishonorable for attacking a bug who cannot fight, and the team gets ready to deliver justice.
Levi and Celia join the fight alongside the team, and together, they are victorious. The defeated wasps run away after saying that they're going to report this at once, and Neolith thanks the team for their timely appearance. Kabbu remembers Neolith, as they met in the Lost Sands while Kabbu was traveling to the Ant Kingdom. Team Celia offers to escort Neolith to the Golden Hills, and he accepts.
The team makes it through the tunnel, and enter the Golden Path. Because the technician is asleep and cannot operate the lifts, Vi uses her Beemerang to turn wooden cranks and move platforms around in this area.
Beyond the Golden Path, the team reaches the Golden Settlement. Team Celia had already arrived, and want a bug named Aria to open the way to the hills ahead. Aria denies their request, because the hills are sacred.
Levi asks her to reconsider, because the wasps could get there before them. Aria tells them the wasps tried to enter the sacred hills, but failed, because she dealt with them herself. Team Celia decides that for now, they should just relax and enjoy the upcoming festival. Aria tells them that the way to the sacred hills will open only once the festival is over.
After waiting for nightfall, the Golden Festival begins. Aria announces that this festival is dedicated to the goddess Venus, and that once the two offerings are brought to her by the guest hosts, the final ceremony will begin.
Vi assumes Zasp is impressed, but he insults the team by saying how embarrassing it must have been for them to get pulled out of a river, half dead. Leif now dislikes Zasp, despite having just met him.
Zasp mentions he is representing his team in the eating competition at the festival, because the reward is an offering. Leif says that he has never been bested at eating, and that Zasp is going to lose horribly. Vi tells Leif he better beat Zasp, however, Kabbu just wants everyone to get along.
As they are walking to the competition, the team notices a wealthy bee calling the bugs of the Golden Settlement plebs, saying that the Bee Kingdom is much better, which makes Vi angry. Vi says that all bees are like this.
Kabbu asks Vi if she has a problem with her kingdom. Vi tells Kabbu that she doesn't get along very well with other bees because they told her exploring was too dangerous for her. Leif figures that she is an outcast amongst her own people, which he says he can relate to.
Kabbu tells the two that they aren't outcasts, and are equally incredible within this team. Vi and Leif thank Kabbu, which makes him feel a little embarrassed. After this conversation, Kabbu gains the Pep Talk skill.
Kabbu meets the Mayor of Defiant Root, who had graciously hosted him back when he got lost in the desert. The Mayor is honored to be hosting this year's Whack-a-Worm competition, where the prize for whacking 15 worms is an offering. The team decide to play the game, and win the Sun Offering.
Afterwards, an old bee named Prof. Honeycomb, accompanied by Hawk, asks Vi where she obtained her Beemerang, and she replies that she bought it. The professor doesn't believe her at all, and shouts that she must have stolen her prototype.
Hawk tells the professor to calm down, as Vi seems to have some mastery over the A.D.B.P., and could prove useful to their research. The professor agrees, and tells Vi she has no choice but to let them gather data and conduct some upgrade testing on the Beemerang. Vi says that this is what she gets for buying from Shades, but is still excited for the upgrade.
Hawk takes Vi's Beemerang for a moment, and then returns it, upgraded. Vi gains the Hurricane Toss skill and the Beemerang Halt field skill, which the professor says works through generated kinetic energy, allowing the Beemerang to continue spinning mid-air. Leif says that is literally impossible.
Before the eating competition begins, the team meet a bee who recognizes Vi, which makes Vi suspicious of her intentions, but the bee reassures Vi that she is her biggest fan, Chubee.
Chubee likes to see bees trying new things, and is actually traveling around Bugaria. Vi is happy to have made an unexpected friendship with another bee. Chubee, Leif, and Zasp participate in the eating competition, and the team obtains the Moon Offering.
The team has had fun, and now report back to Aria with both offerings to begin the ceremony. Aria says that only 3 bugs are allowed to perform the ceremony, including herself.
The other 2 bugs will be holding each offering. Since Kabbu hasn't participated in any festivities yet, the team nominates him to be one of the bugs in the ceremony.
The ceremony begins, and in fact, it is a battle against Aria, to entertain the goddess Venus. Venus enjoyed the ceremony, and opens the way to the sacred Golden Hills.
As they begin to explore the Golden Hills, a Venus' Bud springs up from the soil, and greets the two of them. Leif says that while this plant can talk, it can't count.
The bud asks the team what their business is in the Golden Hills, and Vi replies that they are here for the artifact, fame, and riches, which the bud describes as impure, reckless greed.
Kabbu tells the bud that their ambitions are more complicated, but it says that all bugs talk that way. Before disappearing, the bud tells the team that if they want to obtain the artifact, they will have to reach the top of the hills.
The team explores the hills, and solves various wooden crank puzzles to find wooden cranks hidden throughout the area which they can use to get to greater heights. Upon placing the final Big Crank into its slot, a singsongy voice is heard behind them.
This is none other than Mothiva, a famous singer who was in the festival concert, accompanied by Zasp. Leif doesn't recognize Mothiva, which frustrates her. Mothiva asks the team if they could let her and Zasp go after the artifact instead, which Vi won't allow, because her team did all the hard work.
Mothiva is jealous that while she was entertaining bugs, they have been getting all the attention for finding the first artifact. Vi isn't interested in giving up her reward, and Leif wishes to find answers about his past. Kabbu says he would normally let them pass, having no care for fame and riches, but because it matters to his friends, he won't let them pass.
Zasp tells the team that it seems they would prefer to do it the hard way, and gets into a battle stance. Kabbu is angered that Zasp would attack a fellow exploration team. Mothiva says it's a bug-eat-bug world on the way to stardom, and that she'll just put them to sleep for a bit.
The team defeats Team Mothiva, and Kabbu is disappointed that Mothiva is not as kind as she seemed. Leif says Zasp has lost the little respect he had for him. Zasp tells Mothiva they should retreat, so he throws a smoke bomb, and the two disappear instantly.
After that brief disruption, the team is able to begin their ascent to the top of the hills. Leif senses strong magic up ahead. When they arrive, Leif suddenly speaks an ancient language, similar to how he reacted to the magic of the Ancient Mask.
The team places the Sun Offering and the Moon Offering into two different flytraps, which opens the vine gate, allowing them to enter a bright pink garden.
A large flower spins around and reveals herself to be the goddess Venus, who had been listening to their conversations through her buds this whole time. Leif asks Venus for clues about his past, but she says the team will have to pass a special trial first.
Venus summons a large sunflower, which turns into Venus' Guardian, a gigantic creature. The team successfully defeats Venus' Guardian, and Venus herself is impressed by their strength.
Venus says it has been a long time since she had seen another bug, since her buds have no eyes, and can only hear. Leif tells Venus about the scouting mission he took part in during the rule of Queen Elizant I, where a spider trapped him, he fell asleep, and then awakened, when Vi and Kabbu saved him many moons later.
Venus recalls that Leif was part of a team of three, and while he got trapped, the other two escaped with their lives. Leif thanks Venus, as knowing the rest of his team lived brought him peace.
Having earned the goddess' approval, Venus summons the Ancient Tablet from the ground, and Vi claims it for the team. Kabbu suggests they head back to deliver this artifact to the Queen. Venus tells them that tablet may hold some clues about finding the Everlasting Sapling.
- Wasp Trooper (Mini-boss)
- Acolyte Aria (Mini-boss)
- Venus' Bud
- Mothiva (Mini-boss)
- Zasp (Mini-boss)
- Venus' Guardian (Boss)
- Inn Review Required
- I Want a New Taste
- Lost Toy
- Awful's Beauty
- Lost books
- Book return!
- Parts Delivery
- Cable Car Bodyguard
- Hydration Crisis!
- Dropped my Hat!