"There's nothing more horrible than the bite of the sprouter. Its deadly stinger spreads a green disease through every calcified pore on your body......leaving you veined with roots and flocked with grass......steadily growing thicker and thicker until you crash and bloom out......in a horrifying bouquet of pain and fragrant suffering......screaming until your mouth fills with petals and your nostrils shoot out thorny stems......and the bulbs sprout in your eyes......leaving you nothing but a patch of wildflowers on the ground, swarming with butterflies."
Sprouting is a method where a dead individual, which can not be killed by standard means, is injected with seeds that create flowers that bloom from within and destroy their bodies. The main ingredient used in the confection of sprouting darts is a seed mixture chemical known as Sproutella, which is prepared by florist Bowlsley under the employment of Hector LeMans. The branch of science dealing with identifying the identity of sprouted bodies is known as Forensic Botany.
Role in the gameEdit
The term "sprouting" is first mentioned by the Lost Souls Alliance's leader Salvador Limones, who first explains the process to an oblivious Manuel "Manny" Calavera after the former is locked in Glottis's shack by Don Copal due to insubordination after uncovering the web of corruption surrounding the Department of Death. While this explanations overly dramatic and dark, Manny appears intrigued and refers to it as a "story" and curiously requests to hear it again. The first character seen suffering this fate was Copal himself, who was sprouted by Hector LeMans since he was unable to control Manny and this resulted in Domino Hurley losing benevolent Mercedes "Meche" Colomar as a client, which in turn meant losing a Double-N ticket for his collection.
Copal's body produced marigolds, which Hector considered funny, actually expecting to see tulips. Domino was sent to the DOD garage in order to escort Manny to Copal's office, where he would meet the same fate. However, Salvador's intervention prevented this. During Year 2, two unidentified sprouted bodies can first be seen in Membrillo's morgue, these featuring not only a variety of flowers, but ferns as well. The coroner is quick to point out the dichotomy of being a florist in the Land of the Living as opposed to the Land of the Dead by saying how "[i]n life, they became florists because they love flowers, but here, a flower is a symbol of pain, of death within death. Their conflicting feelings build and build, and they become quite mad." The second character seen sprouted in the game was Lola, who suffered the fate at the hands of Nick Virago after trying to expose an affair between the lawyer and Maximino's girlfriend, Olivia Ofrenda. It is unclear which mixture of Sproutella was used on her, since Manny is forced to find a series of clues before acquiring the key to the lighthouse where she is locked by Nick, who is himself seen in the High Rollers Lounge for an extended time before she is found.
Despite the time that passes while these tasks are completed and the fact that she was already fully covered in flowers, Lola does not disintegrate until she is found. Unlike Copal, she appears to produce violets when sprouted. Year 3 opens with the entire crew of Manny's boat, the S.S. Lola being sprouted by assassins sent by Hector LeMans which posed as customs agents. Hector gave these assassins guns loaded with fast-acting Sproutella, capable to producing violet flowers and voluminous foliage within seconds. At least six sailors were sprouted and yielded the same by-product, of which only one is named, young crew member Ensing Arnold. Manny is surprised by the sight and expresses great regret at having lead his crew into trouble, but strategically decides not to interact with the evidence of the crime, which ultimately ends at the bottom of Puerto Zapato along half of the S.S. Lola. After being taken hostage by Domino at the Edge of the World, Meche requests an Sproutella gun from Manny, who manages to acquire one via trade from Chepito. Here it is mentioned that by this time Hector was running the most well armed organization in the Land of the Dead, although the LSA had significantly expanded since Year 1 and was challenging this status as well. Meche uses this gun to threaten Domino, who possesses one of his own, but is lost when her moral code prevents her from sprouting him.
After Manny, Meche, Glottis, Bibi and Pugsy reach the entrance of the Ninth Underworld during Year 4, the Gate Keeper hands over a letter delivered by one of Hector's human-headed demon raven messengers where he threatens to sprout Manny personally. After making their way to the home base of the LSA in El Marrow city, the group witnesses trough a video feed how Hector sprouts one of the groups' spies who had been carelessly recruited as an assistant by Bowlsley, who seemed incapable of distinguishing between his former work as a florist and his current function as a weapons developer. A second agent managed to make his way to the base and managed to warn Salvador of the trap while sprouting yellow flowers from the feet up. Stating that there was only one thing left to do, Salvador grabs an ax and cuts the soldier in two, saving what was left of his body and allowing him to continue serving. When Manny tricks Bowsley by sending him LeMans' threatening letter to the already paranoid florist, he grabs all of the fast acting Sproutella found among the sprouted bodies in Hector's Casino and jumps down the sewers next to the LSA's headquarters running to a hidden floristry. Meanwhile, Manny takes an arm from the fallen soldier's body and places it into a grinder, which the chipped bone fragments reacting and sprouting a baby's breath trail.
At the floristry, Manny encounters a deranged Bowsley who has been harvesting several bodies and has used them to decorate his shop, while selling guns and referring to them as "bouquets" illustrating the extent of his madness. After managing to fool the florist into selling him a nine millimeter gun and fast acting baby's breath Sproutella he leaves the shop behind and returns to Hector's Casino. After tricking Hector and gaining his trust, Manny is escorted to what was his former office during his time in the DOD. There he puts on his old grim reaper uniform, introduces himself and reveals his Sproutella gun. However, the intervention of one of the human-headed demon crow messenger startles Manny who shoots the bird, which proceeds to be sprouted only in the human parts of his body (mainly his skull). Hector uses this distraction to escape and Manny recovers the stolen Double-N tickets, deciding to proceed to the Number Nine train's station instead of pursuing him. However, in the station another messenger attacks and the group is scattered. Manny manages to retain possession of the briefcase with the Double-N tickets and escapes in Salvador's car along Olivia. However, it is soon revealed that she is actually Hector's girlfriend now and that she had decapitated the head of the Salvador and disposed of the rest of his body.
Olivia disarms Manny with a gun of her own and drives him to a field of flowers surrounding a greenhouse. She soon reveals that all of the flowers there were once Hector's enemies, now being kept alive by a watering system, and directs him to the greenhouse. There Hector shoots Manny with slow-acting Sproutella, taking pleasure at the notion that he would suffer for an hour. The process is stopped when he uses a bottle of liquid nitrogen to freeze the lone sprouted violet and plucks it before it can spread. Manny rendezvous with Salvador, who reveals the location of a well armed gun before committing suicide with an explosive Sproutella tooth filling, also sprouting Olivia in the process. Now armed, Manny shoots the water supply to Hector's greenhouse causing the Sproutella gas to spread within it. Hearing agonizing screams he approaches the structure to finish their fight, but before opening the door a severely sprouted Hector hits against it and collapses.
Sproutella process and aftermathEdit
Sproutella is a chemical substance used in the ammunition of many firearms throughout the Land of the Dead. When Sproutella comes into contact with bone it causes organic plant growth to bloom and spread throughout the victim's skeletal system, eventually consuming the entire body. Depending on the variety of Sproutella, it can take minutes to hours to kill. It is available in both 'Slow' and 'Fast-acting' variants, the latter being able to sprout an entire skeleton sytem within seconds and the former taking at least an hour. When used in gun darts, Sproutella appears to be mostly gaseous. However, a seed form is given to cans in cans to Manny, which he uses to break down a damaged wall. The process can be interrupted by successfully stopping the spread of the plant that emerges in the original wound and removing it. Tim Schafer revealed in the commentary for Grim Fandango Remastered Version that those who are sprouted are reincarnated back into the land of the living.