Part 11: Update X: An Alchemist and her Troubles
This Assignment is special in a couple of ways. The most obvious is that this one has nothing to with alchemy, as the description entails. All you need to do is beat three Vulture groups in Nearby Forest to pass. Especially around level 20 with upgraded equipment, this is painfully easy. This is an Assignment you can pass in a grand total of four days, if you travel to the Puni Woods area of Nearby Forest and beat all the Vultures there. Also, you get a star as soon as you defeat a Vulture group. No need to relay that information back to Sterk. What that means is that you have a lot of free time on this one, which again I'd use for building up friendship levels. Since the last couple of updates, we've added Cole, Tantris, and Pamela as brand new characters to level up, as well as the old guard. Spend this Assignment building up a lot of money if you need to, because there's quite a few high-value requests in this one. I'd also advise plunging deeper into The Catacombs, because the Forgotten Bone item that can be found there is needed for forging your own Gnardi Rings, which you really should start equipping on your allies.
This Assignment is your last breather before the second half of year 2, where new locations are going to start pouring in. I can already tell you we're going to be getting two new locations next Assignment, and a third one at the start of Assignment 8. Add that to the increasing number of character events that will be happening in that time frame, and we're going to have a busy rest of the game. I also shouldn't have to remind you to keep Hom busy busy busy. Every second she's not doing something is time you are wasting. As for the other way this Assignment is special...well, you'll see. Let's get moving.
But first, let's take care of some events that came up last Assignment. This scene happens in the Square when Lionela's friendship level is 30 or greater. Video goes until the screenshot of Lionela growling.
You came to watch us again? You must have too much time on your hands.
Well, I do have things to do, but...your show is really fun to watch.
Hey, don't flatter her too much.
Lionela never feels flattered, but compliments make her even more nervous.
Ugh... I'm sorry...
And when we point that out to people, she starts to get depressed, like so.
I do like how Lionela's behavior is so predicatable that her puppets can tell what she's going to do. Poor girl just can't win.
I've always wondered...why do you do these shows if you're so shy?
That's exactly the reason. She started doing this to get over shyness.
I know it's hard to believe, but she has improved a lot since she's started.
So she used to be even worse?
Yeah. She was like a stray cat. If you had tried to get near her, she would've hissed and scratched you...
Hmm, maybe that's the reason Aranya and Horoholo look like cats. Even though it's a small detail, I do like how all of them have scarf-things around their necks.
I-I never did that!
H-hey, don't scratch me!
Laura Bailey makes an absolutely adorable growling sound for that line. Really makes the scene.
See? Just like that.
Ohh... Do I need to be careful, too?
No. No, you're okay...I think.
Are you sure?
Hey, don't just stand there and watch! Help me out! She's about to tear out my stuffing!
This next scene has a strange trigger. It's obviously sometime after Hom appears, and when you return from an adventure, but other than that I can't say exactly what makes it show up. It happened for me in early March.
Oh, h-hello... Is Rorona here?
Master is out shopping. Hom is ordered to watch the place while she is gone.
Master? Are you talking about Rorona? And is Hom your name?
Yes. Hom is a Homunculus.
What's a Homunculus...?
I don't know... So are you Rorona's pupil?
No. I am Master's younger sister.
I do like the implication Astrid made Hom introduce herself as Rorona's younger sister. That said, I do find it odd neither Ryan nor Laura notice anything strange about Hom. Pale white skin and red eyes isn't exactly common.
Then again, Fate has a couple characters who are Homunculi who have pale white skin and red eyes. Maybe it's some Japanese character designer shorthand to make the audience know right off the bat that the character, even though they look and act human, is not human. Does anyone know of any Homunculi characters who have that skin / eye color combination?
I do like how good character designers can tell something about the character through their skin / hair / eye color. Like, I don't need anyone to tell me Ken from Street Fighter isn't supposed to be Japanese, simply because he has blonde hair.
Oh, I see... Wait, what!? You're Rorona's...
*fade to black, fade back in*
I'm back! Sorry for...
Whoa, what's going on? I didn't know you guys were stopping by.
You're coming home with me, right!?
Huh!? Wh-what's happening!?
Who are you calling a cheater!? i didn't do anything!
Yeah right! The proof is right in front of us! How can you lie about it now!?
That's exactly what I was gonna say to you!
Oh, so you don't even trust your own wife!?
H-hey, guys...calm down...
*fade to black, fade back in*
Grand Master, did Hom say something wrong?
Hom is sorry. Hom is still learning a lot of things.
Well, it's all my fault, really. I'll talk to them once they've calmed down.
Master! Don't just watch! Help me!
Come with me, Rorona!
No way! She's going to live with me!
Ouch! Don't pull on me from both directions!
I hope Master's body will be okay...
I'm sure she'll be fine. She's actually pretty durable.
This next scene takes place a month after Hom shows up.
Th-thank you... Can you help me with this one next?
*fade to black*
Do you have to call me, Master? It's kind of weird...to me.
Then what should I call you?
Well... What about my name?
Understood. I will call you by your name, Rorolina.
Oh, maybe not Rorolina...
Then I will call you Madame Rorolina.
Whoa, no! That's even weirder! Hmmm, what should I do? Oh, I know! ...Oh wait. This is kind of like something Master would say, but... Homhom, if you don't mind...will you try calling me, Big Sister Rorona?
It's probably only me, but "Big Sister" is one of my favorite things to call a woman very close to me. It's not something I'd call a woman significantly older than me, but it communicates intimacy pretty well.
Yes, Big Sister Rorona.
Ooh...now I understand why Master likes being called Big Sister...
Even Rorona agrees. A big sister to me is someone who looks after their real or imagined siblings, provides guidance and direction, and even a little tough love if needed. I don't have any sisters, so it's a world I have no experience with, but I like to think that's what connotations "Big Sister" has.
Oh, and also, you do'nt have to be so uptight with me. Just relax and be friendly.
Friendly... Okay, gotcha.
Good! And also...
Aghh! Wh-when did you!? Were you listening in the whole time!?
You won't call me Big Sister, but you're making Hom do that for you!?
N-no, it's a mistake! I was just curious... You know, just trying it out...
Yes, Grand Master.
That's ridiculous! And it's not fair!
Shut up! I don't wanna hear it!
Hey, wait! Master!
This next scene takes place three days after Pamela starts staying the atelier and Hom is around. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona yelling at Pamela.
So I never figured this out, but...
You know what I just thought of? I always thought Pamela having a teddy bear in this game was just a random "cute" detail, but now I'm thinking about it, it's probably a bit more than that. This is Pamela in Mana Khemia.
Yeah. Considering that game was released in 2008, it just seems like too much of a coincidence to me.
But this is about you... Oh, you don't remember much, huh? But you have to be near this teddy bear at all times, right?
No, I'm just comfortable with it around. But I can possess anything I want to.
I like objects better than people. I don't like sharing with another conscience.
Another conscience...oh, no! Don't even think about it... I'm getting scared.
Ooh, that looks perfect...
You mean Homhom?
Hmhmhm, excuse me now...
Ugh...huh? Agh, gahh...
Huh? It's not working...
Pamela, stop! You're gonna break Homhom!
Umph... I wish I could, but something's stuck...
This is going to be extremely dangerous... I must self-destruct as a last resort...
Whoa! No, no, no! I didn't know you could self-destruct!
It was Grand Master's preference...
It says a lot I can totally imagine Astrid making a self-destruct sequence for Hom just to freak Rorona out if she wanted.
There, I'm out... Whew.
...I have regained bodily control. I am shutting down self-destruct now.
I feel wrong...everywhere... I must rest to restore...
Homhom...? You're just sleeping, right? *sigh* That was scary...
Seriously, stop making me get so worried.
It was all because of you!
I'm sorry... I'll restrain myself from possessing anyone else for a while...
This next scene can happen as early as October of the first year, but only when Sterk's friendship level is 30 or greater. Video goes until the screenshot of Esty getting angry.
Huh? What's the matter? Didn't you finish everything?
Oh, yes, I did. But...You look a little down.. Are you okay?
Me? Oh... It's no big deal. Don't worry about it.
...But I am worried.
Normally I don't show content between scenes, but this next scene triggers when you talk to Esty after that conversation. The video above combines both of them.
Huh? What do you mean?
I don't know how to explain it, but he seems so out of it...like he's upset about something.
Oh? He never shows his emotions in front of other people... It sounds like you two have gotten pretty close.
Really? I don't think anything has changed since this all started.
So he's upset about something, huh? I wonder if it's about his work?
His work? As a knight, you mean?
Well, sort of. The work itself isn't anything like what a knight should be doing. It may seem weird, but he used to look up to the knights in fairytales when he was little...
I remember him saying something about that before.
Really? He told you that, too, huh? Did you know his real task right now is to sabotage a workshop that some little girl is trying to protect?
Well, now we know why Meredith is getting so upset with Sterk. Sterk just strikes me as that kind of guy who knows that what he's supposed to be doing is stupid, so he's just doing what he thinks is right. But even so, knows that as a knight, he's supposed to be doing what he's told, because that's all he knows.
But, he hasn't done anything to help close it down! He always lends me help when I need it...
...So, should I not let him help me anymore?
That's not what I'm trying to say. This is Sterk's problem. He needs to deal with it himself. Plus, you need his help, don't you?
Yes...and I want his help.
Then there's nothing to worry about. Sterk is an adult. He can take care of his own problems.
*sigh* ...Okay. Thanks for talking to me, Esty.
Oops... I was only trying to cheer her up...
This next scene takes place in Tiffani's shop any time after the 6th Assignment begins.
Sure, what is it?
I want to sell some of your items here at my shop. Like medicine and tools.
I've always wanted to increase the variety of products here...
I see... Are you doing this just to help me?
Oh, no. I'm running a business, too. It will profit me, too.
...Okay. Thank you!
Ah, good ol' Wholesale. How this mechanic works is pretty simple. When you make an item yourself, such as a Supplement or Barrel, you can bring that item to Tiffani and put it up for Wholesale. When the shop restocks its inventory after you put something up for sale, you'll have 10 instead of the one you dropped off, and the shop will carry it from now on. You can Wholesale up to 10 different items at once, so the big advantage here is clear.
Make some good general items, such as a Supplement, drop it off at Tiffani, and you'll have a limitless source of that item. Saves a lot of time, especially for good healing items. And you can attach traits that lessen the price to buy them. Make heavy use of this mechanic, and the rest of the game gets even easier. Tiffani handles sundry items, as well as healing items.
This next scene takes place in Sunrise Cafe at the same time as the above Tiffani scene if Iksel's friendship level is 25 or greater.
What? Oh , yeah. I can actually make food without alchemy now.
Do you want me to start putting your dishes on our menu?
At your resaurant? That would be great, but...
...Why does everything have to be a competition with you?
Iksel handles food items, as you might guess. If you're going for the Pie Ending, make sure you are able to wholesale at Iksel's, because some of the pies in the final batch are worth oodles of money for requests, and you can put them up for sale. Sure beats making some of them several times.
Third Wholesale scene. Happens at the same time as the others in Hagel's Shop if he's at 25 or more friendship level. Just as a note, Tiffani is the only shopkeep who is a guaranteed wholesaler. No matter what her friendship level is, you'll get that scene.
Oh, yes. I had to make some for the castle's assignment.
Great! If you don't mind, can I order some from you?
You want Bombs? Sure, I don't mind... But, why do you need Bombs?
Some of my customers are looking to buy Bombs these days. Yours too, right?
Oh, um...I guess?
Obviously enough, Hagel mostly handles Bombs, but he also covers a few synthesis items. I'd advise for the moment to register some high-quality Bombs, so you have a good source for job requests, a source to take out obstructions out in the field, as well as a cheap source of firepower in battle. I'd also look into some high quality Ice Bombs, but NOT Lightning Bombs. In a few updates or so, you'll see why.
The good thing about Wholesale is that the items registered are replicated perfectly, quality and traits in all. So put some great traits on what you register, and you'll get a lot of mileage from them.
This next scene happens when you leave Arland on an adventure with Tantris only if you got at least 8 stars on the previous Assignment. Video goes until Tantris says "Alright, I'll be sure to take care of it."
A date...? Have you forgotten your job?
No! You're supposed to destroy that workshop! Geez, I had you come all the way here just for this...
I'm just joking. It's just... It's against my motto to harass a lady.
I don't care about your motto! Do you know how much profit we would generate by building industrial factories in that area!?
For a really long time, I didn't know who Meredith's voice actor was. It was very vexing, because it sounded very familiar. But now that I'm playing this game again, I'm fairly sure it's Michael McConnohie. He's one of those voice actors who is a really nice guy in reality, but he ALWAYS plays bad guys in video games and anime. 99% of the time when he voices a character, that guy is going to end up a villain, or at least an antagonist.
But casting agencies can hardly be blamed, because he just sounds like a bad guy. The only exceptions off the top of my head is Renaldo from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and his characters in Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop, who were just kinda dopes.
How would a few factories make any difference? Besides, I wouldn't wanna live in a town that has a bunch of factories in it.
Hmph. A fool like you would never understand. Whatever... We can't be picky now...
Don't even ask. Just mix it in with her food, or hell, just make her drink it straight out of the bottle.
Whoa...what kind of villain are you?
And make sure she doesn't find out...
Gotcha. Anyway, is there any more of this?
Alright, I'll be sure to take care of it.
This is the follow-up to that scene, when you return to Arland after the previous scene. Video goes until Rorona says "Now I'm even more curious..."
Hi, welcome. Do you need anything?
Yeah, I have a favor to ask. Do you have some time?
Sure...I hope I can help. Do you need an item or something?
No, it's not like that. Can you find out what this is?
Let me take a look.
How interesting. I haven't seen this in a while.
You seem to know what it is... So, what is it?
Meredith's just not good at this "villainy" thing. He could definitely take a few pointers from Astrid on how to torment Rorona.
The ingredients to make it are ridiculously expensive.
I see... I wonder where he got this from?
Anyway, what did you come to ask Rorona? I really don't know what you're up to.
I thought I told you that I'm not gonna make things interesting on purpose.
N-nothing! Don't worry about it!
So my assumption was correct. But this is getting boring. I was expecting you to create love and angst related problems around here. But it looks lilke you're just a spoiled little boy who wants his father's attention.
There's just no getting past Astrid. Still, I think it would raise anyone's eyebrows if some supposed bum comes up to you with someone very expensive / rare and asked you to figure out what it is. Anyone except Rorona, I mean.
Don't get cocky now. So is that all you need? Go home.
*sigh* I haven't been that nervous in a while. She's good...
Umm...what are you two talking about?
Oh, don't worry about it. Actually, forget about everything that just happened.
Now I'm even more curious...
If you saw that scene, you'll be getting a special ending for this Assignment. I believe you still have to pass it with at least three stars, but Sterk and Rorona's dialogue at the end is completely different.
This next scene takes place when Pamela's been in the atelier for at least a month. Video goes until the screenshot of Pamela saying she's looking forward to it.
Wh-whoa! D-don't stand so close to me!
You really know how to make a ghost feel good about herself, you know?
Brianne Siddall as Pamela is just so great. She has a really weird way of talking that really establishes Pamela as a total airhead. It's kind of a weird role for Ms. Siddall to play, because she usually plays much more active characters.
I'm starting to get used to it, but it's still a little scary... So, do you need something?
Yes. I'm really bored. Do something about it.
Stop! Please! I'll think of another way for you to waste your time!
Next scene happens when you drag Iksel to pretty much anywhere in Traveler's Way. Video goes until the screenshot of Iksel talking about heating apples the wrong way.
Ooh, look at this thing.
Hehe, that's not ordinary apple... Here, try it out.
Okay...lemme try it. Hmm...
Hahahaha! Is it really sour?
Hurrrr!! Mghh! Hrrrmmm!
I guess that's a stupid question. Here, drink some water to wash it down.
W-water! Hmm... *gulp* *gulp* *gulp* Ahh... You're so mean! I cna't believe you made me eat that!
I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd react like that.
Ughh...my tongue is still burning...
No thanks! I don't need apples that are that sour!
It's tart, Rorona. Apples are my favorite fruit by far, but I don't like really tart apples that much. They're nice, but I prefer the nice, mild taste of regular red apples.
They're only sour when they're raw, and they get really sweet when you heat them up.
I'm serious. And I'm not lying.
Fine...I'll take some, too. But if you're lying...
This next scene takes place a month after the event where Pamela says she's bored. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona getting mad.
Oh, umm...I've been trying to come up with ideas...
You lied! I see how it is! You don't care about me at all!
That's not true! I just...forgot.
That's so mean!
Master! I need your help!
Hey! Don't run away from me!
So you two were fooling around with each other behind my back...? And now you're rubbing it in my face as soon as I come back? That's not fair!
Does it look like I'm fooling around!?
We'll talk thoroughly about it some other day... Pamela, come with me. I have something for you.
Something for me?
*fade to black*
Here we are.
Oh my...what a dirty room...
It has been unused for several years, but it'll be good enough to use after we clean it up a little.
What are you gonna use it for?
Weren't you complaining about having too much time on your hands? As I was trying to come up with an idea, I happened to run across this little property.
A shop... That sounds fun!
Then it's settled. I'll take care of ordering the prodcuts, so you can just take care of the interior.
W-wait! Are you sure? Pamela? Managing a shop?
Do you have a problem with that?
That just makes everything better. There's no law prohibiting ghosts from running a business.
Well, yeah, but...
Plus, look at how excited she is. Could you say no to her now?
Let's see...the teddy bear should be on the counter, right? How should I decorate it...? I don't want to be too simple, but I don't want to be too cluttered... Ooh, I need more shelves, too... Ahh! Where should I start?
Ugh...she looks super happy.
See? I mean, you can just take care of it if anything goes wrong, right?
Hey, you're trying to make me doing everything again.
Minor quibble, but if you watch the video, Rorona says this line as it should be, but the actual line is incorrect as written.
So after this scene, the fifth and final shopkeeper, Pamela, is open for business. Pamela's line-up mostly consists of synthesis items, but more complicated / harder to make items than any of the other shopkeepers do. You can also start taking jobs for her, but you only need to get her to 25 friendship level to get her to start Wholesaling. Other than that, you don't need to work with Pamela that much.
This next scene takes place when you bring Sterk and Tantris out. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona saying "...This is gonna be really awkward"
Hello, nice to meet you.
...Have we met before?
Maybe when you guys were little? You used to live here when you were younger, right?
My parents are normal citizens. Knights aren't hereditary here.
Oh, you're right. Well, excuse me.
Hmm...this is getting awkward... No fighting, okay?
...I'm not gonna fight him, but I'm not gonna befriend him, either.
Ouch. Well, I feel the same way anyway.
Y-you two... I said...
I'm sorry, but I can tell at first sight that I'll never get along with him.
Sterk here just seems to dislike anyone who even looks like Meredith. Can't blame him.
Yup. Same here. But for Rorona's sake, why don't we pretend to get along?
...Only when it's necessary.
*Sterk and Tantris leave*
This is the reason we're headed out to Nearby Forest at the moment, not only to complete the Assignment. Battle against the Puni King.
The only really notable thing about this fight is that when the Puni King buffed itself, the game seems to have glitched and the camera shifted to focus on the area behind the King. Weird. Anyway, poor guy didn't stand a chance against me, and I even forgot to re-equip Sterk's second weapon.
This request also came up pretty soon after the one with the Puni King. He's hanging out in the one of the later areas of Ortoga Ruins. Battle against the Pseudo Dunkel.
Again, there was only one thing really interesting to talk about, in that Pseudo Dunkel missed every time it tried its status effect move. Not that it would have helped it much, but it just wasn't getting very lucky. Another good reason to take these quests is that the monsters themselves give some pretty Cole themselves upon death. The materials are alright. Hardly anything ever noteworthy about them.
And again, forgot to equip Sterk. I thought I diassembled Sterk's second sword, but it turns out I was mixing up this playthrough and my overwritten one.
But I think we can do for a more challenging request. Well, that's what I'd like to say, but this guy was the reason for this update's title. You'll see in the video I nearly bit off more than I could chew. This little bugger is hiding out in the main hub area of The Catacombs. No matter what, bring along some high quality Bombs. Since I'm using Cordelia and Sterk for this request, we get this scene upon leaving Arland. Video goes until Rorona says "Aww, come on."
Huh? Hey Rorona, who's this guy?
My name is Sterkenburg. But you can call me, Sterk.
He's a knight from the castle.
A knight? Then he's your enemy! What are you doing with him!?
He's not my enemy. Sterk is a good guy.
How do you know that!? He might be trying to trick you!
You're right about that, but I'm actually helping her on a personal level, not as a knight. I'm acquainted with her master as well. I couldn't just sit back and watch.
Hmph, you might just be saying that.
Stop, Cory! I'm so sorry, Sterk. She's really not a bad person...
It's a natural reaction. She's right not to trust me from the start. I only hope that my actions will win her over.
What I like most about Sterk is he is a really responsible and level-headed guy. He might get upset pretty easily, especially when Rorona underperforms, but he is a guy you can always count on.
Ugh! Why did you have to say those things!?
I'm sorry. I just got a little carried away. But...he is an interesting guy.
Yeah, and he's really nice. He's much nicer than he looks.
Hmm...and he's not that bad looking. He sure doesn't look like the type of guy who'd do something to you...
What do you mean by that?
Don't worry about it. Let's get going now.
What? Aww, come on.
So we've got a pretty big problem against this guy. He gets two turns in a row at the party's current speed levels, and he hits like a truck each time. I lost several times with Lionela and Cordelia before I replaced Lionela with Sterk. And even then, I had to equip Sterk with a Gnardi Ring that gives him like 80 more HP just to survive this fight. But, I have a simple strategy to even the odds. Battle against the Black Demon.
Brinksmanship, goon sirs. In order to fight fire with fire, we need to the jack the element gauges as far as they'll go. By doing so, both Rorona's Bombs and Sterk's skills will be powered up. So will the Demon's attacks, but details. In the words of the Super Street Fighter IV announcer, we are turning our opponent's strength to our advantage. In a straight fight, we wouldn't have a chance. And it worked. This time.
Again, a few more events happened during this Assignment, but the start of next Assignment is going to be fairly quiet, so we can cover them then. I'd rather not have 17 videos in an update if I can help it.
Thanks for your help. I'm sure it was a lot of work for you.
Hmph. Well, let's see how well you did...
Oh, well...are you sure this is the right evaluation?
Are you saying that your work doesn't deserve to get a good evaluation?
Well, no. I'ts not like I didn't work hard on it, but...I'm sorry.
I'm not trying to make you feel bad. The Minister volunteered to evaluate your assignment himself this time, but he got sick.
Is he okay?
I heard he has an extremely upset stomach, but not to the point where it's life-threatening or anything. Since we don't have anyone to evaluate it, that's the grade that you get.
No matter what you think of Tantris, this is about the best way things could have ended.
That works for me, but...
You shouldn't necessarily be happy with the situation, but this is a mistake on our part. Don't worry too much about it. Just remember that this won't happen all the time, so keep trying to earn a good evaluation on your own.
There is another Assignment that can have a special ending, but the circumstances are quite a bit different to this one.
Alright, I'll do my best.
Great. Now, let's talk about your next assignment...
This summer is going to be a hot one. We want to take every kind of precaution to prevent being stuck with this extreme weather.
Hmm...so what kind of item should I make?
Unfortunately, we haven't thought of anything in particular... That's also going to be a part of your job.
*sigh* This is gonna be hard... Okay, I'll try to think of something.
*fade to black*
I hope Mr. Minister is okay...
Random Rorona illustration