Part 2: Chapter II: The Enterprising Lad and Lass
Music: Magnum Opus
So this is the atelier... I guess it makes sense that a town this small wouldn't have Central's equipment for alchemy, but I still feel bad about making Escha do all the work. I'll have to help out in other ways until I can talk to Marion about this.
Logy, is something wrong?
No...anyway, shouldn't we go talk to Marion about our first task?
Oh, yes! Good idea!
A difficult new life
Well, it looked really good to me, but...
"But"? Is there something wrong with it?
Actually... There was one small problem... People in Central have heard of using cauldrons for alchemy, but the problem is that nobody's been trained to use cauldrons for alchemy in a long time. The speed of more specialized alchemy machines has transformed alchemy in Central, and I can use those easily. But, a cauldron is just something that I haven't worked with in my life...and that's it.
I'm sorry, I was under the impression that all alchemists need to do anything is a cauldron. I wasn't really sure what to get for you... But it seems you have more equipment in Central City.
Huh? If this is the first day Escha has seen the atelier, where did Marion get the idea that all alchemists use cauldrons? Definitely no one from Central...
What should we do? At this rate, I'm going to be doing all of the Synthesizing on my own...
I'll help her as much as I can, but it's true that she'll be doing most of the heavy lifting.
There's nothing to be done now. For the time being, we have to work with what we have.
I'm really sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
No, it's my lack of preparation and knowledge that led to this mess. Do you think you can make do for now?
Please don't worry about it. Now that I'm an official worker here, I want to do everything I can!
I'll have to think of new recipes that'll work with a cauldron. I suppose that's the first step.
Since you'll be officially working for us now, there will be a lot for you to learn and keep in mind.
Yes! I'm looking forward to it.
At R&D, we operate and undertake tasks in four-month intervals. You will be given new assignments in April, August, and December, and work on them the full four months. During that time, you will one major project, and several small projects.
Does priority go towards the larger project, or the smaller ones?
Of course, the larger tasks are more important. In fact, failing to perform them earns you a poor rank. I will be the one assigning these missions to you, so I would like you two to do as many as you can. If you complete more smaller tasks than your quota, this will be reflected on your monthly stipend.
What's a "stipend"?
In other words, we must complete our main mission during the given time period, or we have "failed".
That's one way to put it, I suppose. Do you have any other questions?
Question! Could you explain more about the stipend?
It's basically money allocated to R&D from the branch's funds. You may earn some money from day-to-day activities, but the main income will be from this stipend. There is no doubt that your expeditions will cost money, so please use these funds wisely.
So, if we don't watch our finances, we risk not being able to do anything until the next month.
Yeah, it would be really bad if we ran out of money halfway through an assignment!
You're getting the idea. Don't waste your resources, and remember to check your account every month. Keep up with your assigned tasks, and you'll be able to use your stipend for a variety of things. And, as members of R&D, do a good job and help increase our ratings.
Yeah! Leave it to us!
We'll have to ensure that we complete our main assignments, at the very least.
Logy, I'm still a little confused...
How should I say this... Marion will give us a summary of the main task of the assignment, and other, smaller, assignments. When part of the assignment is completed, I'll mark it down and let Marion know it's been done. Sometimes an assignment will have more than one step, and Marion will give us an updated version of the assignment summary to let us know what to do next.
Look at the paper closely. Do you see how the nine inside squares are a different color than the 16 squares outside?
Those are smaller parts of the main assignment. Even if we don't know what they are, I'll make a note of everything we did when we go outside town. When we know what the tasks are, I can update them, so our progress still counts.
Oh, I see! Thanks, Logy!
Oh, is that the one to fix the windmill that Brother was talking about?
Yes. I've made that your task for this time period. He said that the windmill is wearing down, and some of its parts need to be replaced with new ones.
So, we have to make these new parts using alchemy, and then someone else will take care of the rest?
That's right. We'll take it slow for now. Once you have created the parts, bring them over to Clone.
Bring it to Clone, got it!
And don't forget to report to me once you've finished something. Until you do, you won't be graded.
The assignment isn't complete until we report back to you. Understood.
Ah, there's so much to remember... I think I'm getting lost...
Don't worry. I took down some notes, so you can always refer to them.
Th-Thank you very much, Logy! This will be a huge help!
Your assignments will also serve as an aptitude test. If you cannot perform tasks of this magnitude, then I'm afraid it means you are unfit to proceed.
D-Does that mean we're gonna get fired!?
...I'm sure the two of you will do just fine.
I... I understand. We'll do our best.
Very well, then. I'm counting on you both. When the time arises, I'll show you how to make your reports.
All right... Time to get crackin'!
Oh, but before we do, I need to figure out how to make the things we need.
Wait, I forgot to tell you something very important. I'm sure you'll be doing a lot of alchemy, but you should know how to talk to the Provisions Department.
The Provisions Department? What do you mean?
The girl at the entrance to the office should be able to help you with that. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the Administration Office, m'kay?
I'm still a little confused...
Don't worry, Escha. I'll talk with Marion about how to make the reports in the future. Just focus on the synthesizing, and I'll work on the reports. I've got a few things to talk to her about, actually, so don't worry. I'll help in any way I can.
Really? That's great! By the way, do you know where Marion got that teddy bear?
No, I didn't really have time to even notice it... It doesn't seem like the type of thing Marion would have in her office...
She got it from a friend of hers! I think her name was...Pamela, I think? Yeah, I think it was Pamela. Anyway, I haven't heard from her in a while. Looking at the teddy bear, I get kind of a strange feeling from it. Let's go to the Administration Office, okay?
Give us pay. We worked hard.
Yes, yes, yes, I know, I'll pay you. Wait a little, all right?
You promised, Solle!
Hmm... So you even have homunculi working at this branch? I've never seen one up close.
You don't have any where you're from? Hee hee, they're pretty cute.
R-Really? I'm not really good with them...
Huh!? Why's that? They're so cute!
I guess... I'm not very good at talking to them, and we never seem to understand each other. Anyway, we have to go see the person in charge of Provisions.
Oh, Logy. It's strange that you're not good around homunculi, you know?
"Strange?" They're alive, like us, but they were made with alchemy... I think it's weirder to be good around them...
Music: Sugary Spice
You must be the alchemists who were just assigned to the R&D Division. I thought you'd come by soon.
My name's Solle. I'm in charge of the paperwork, accounting, and most of the applications around here.
Um, what exactly is the Provisions Department? Marion told us we'd find out if we came here, but...
(Sigh) Marion really should take better care of the newcomers. Well, since you're alchemists, you'll probably be here a lot. I suppose I owe you a walkthrough.
S-Sorry...and thank you...
Now, then. At our local branch, we encourage independent investigation and philanthropic work. So that end, you will require support from the Provisions Department, and our homunculi.
Huh... I never knew such a system existed. Can you explain a bit more?
As you already know, homunculi have a different skill set than humans. They have a very high aptitude for reproducing things. They can recreate just about anything. Of course, there are some limitations, and they are incapable of creating something entirely new.
I never knew they could do that... That's so surprising!
Of course, living in Central, I've seen homunculi work before. Escha's right...it's still really strange how the minds of homunculi work.
You didn't...after all this time? That's what surprises me... And so, with the aid of the homunculi, we are able to support all of our expeditions here. Put simply, whatever you create with your alchemy or use in your expeditions, we can create more.
They can resupply us with tools and provisions in time for our next assignment? That's amazing...!
I suppose that's one way of looking at it, but they are for branch use only. I won't let you misuse them. Also, there are quite a few things even they cannot duplicate, so limit their use to consumables.
I see... So we can't ask them to make an infinite supply of tools for us, then.
I'm not saying they can't do it, I'm saying that it's beyond the duties of this department. Furthermore, because have a limited homunculus staff, I will deny any unreasonable requests.
Seems like he's really protective of them...
Really? Why's that...?
If, however, you increase your ratings, we will devote more of our resources to your requests.
...So it's entirely up to us to determine the quality of our provisions?
I'm glad you're so quick to understand. Now, let me explain how you submit a supply application. First, there are still some supplies from previous R&D members that I suggest you look through.
I know. I'll try to explain it to you later. His explanation uses a lot of strange words, but I think I know how it works.
Okay, this is how it works, Escha. When we make something with alchemy that can be used on an adventure, we have to register it with Solle. Before we leave on an adventure, we have to let Solle know what items we have, and how many of them we have. That lets him know what items to tell the homunculi to make.
When we return from an adventure, I'll check it in Solle and allow him to examine our inventory. Then, he'll let us restore our supply of the items we used on the adventure. So, a healing salve helps heal minor wounds, right? If we have three of them on an adventure, I'll let Solle know, and he can tell the homunculi how many to make. That way, we don't have to make new items for adventures. And don't worry about talking to Solle about items, I'll take care of it.
Oh, I think I understand! Thanks Logy! What kinds of items do we have?
Three Healing Salves, and 4 Crafts. Crafts are a pretty weak type of bomb, but we shouldn't need more powerful items on our first adventure together. Escha, I'll let you use the Crafts. I'll take care of the Healing Salves on our first adventure. Wow... These aren't too impressive, are they?
Well, they had so much work that I think they barely ever left the building... And, they're quite old.
So this is all we have to go on our expeditions with...? That's a little worrying.
You're welcome to invest in your own equipment. You are alchemists, after all.
Of course we are! I'm gonna go get ready right away!
Let's go back to our atelier for now. I need to see how good you are Synthesizing, Escha.
Music: Morning Dew Pizzicato
We're going to make medicine out of these? I'm getting a little nervous...
Hahaha, just do what you always do. You should be fine.
R-Right... Okay, I'm gonna do my best. So Logy, let me explain to you how you Synthesize with a cauldron!
Making items in a cauldron can be kinda tricky... First you need the materials, and the recipe for the item you want to make. Making something without a recipe can be really dangerous, but there are alchemy books all over the world! Alchemists in the past were really smart and we still use what they invented...it's not impossible to make new recipes, but it is very hard. I can't teach you that.
Once you decide what item to make, you have to use your materials to make it, of course. By selecting different ingredients, you can bring out new effects from the item. Here, let's give it a try!
Okay! To make a Healing Salve, we need a (Plant), (Oil), and (Liquid). When we gather new materials, write down what you think the category is for it. I can check my books when we get back to the atelier. For the (Plant), please hand me that Wind Flower. For the (Oil), pass me a Bullet Seed. And for the (Liquid), you can give me the Water, Mixed Oil, or the Clean Water from the well in town.
I have a question. What does "Eases Illness" mean? I see those words next to Fresh Water in your notebook.
Oh, that! Materials all over the world have different properties to them. Some materials can heal you more, some hurt enemies, some can make you stronger or give you more vitality...there's so many materials and properties in the world, there's probably nothing they can't do if you look hard enough for them! Eases Illness means if a monster poisons you, or makes you weaker than normal, the item will heal you!
Before I add anything to the cauldron, you can ask me what anything does, and I can tell you. Even if I haven't written it down in my notebook, I can go back to the orchard and ask Clone for one of the alchemy books my mother wrote. She was a lot smarter than me, and knew a lot more stuff.
Once you've selected your materials, you can review the Effects that will be on the final item. "Recov. Bonus Min", means the Healing Salve I'm making now will heal wounds better than the Healing Salve Solle let us use. Like with the properties, if it's not in my notebook, it's in one of the alchemy books my mother left me.
Next comes the funnest part of synthesis! How you add materials can really change what an item does, either making it better or worse... But since I'm not very confident in my alchemy skills, let's just put in the Wind Flower, Bullet Seed, and Clean Water for now. My mother taught me that everything in the world is made up of the elements Fire, Wind, Water, and Earth. That includes the items we make with alchemy. Each material in the world has elemental properties. For example, you can see the Bullet Seed is a Fire-elemental material.
Each material also has a certain "cost" to using it in a synthesis. The cost I can use depends on the materials and how good at alchemy I am. Right now, the cost isn't very high...so we can't make very nice items. But as I get better at alchemy, I can do more! Every time I synthesize, I also make a note of what the elemental properties of the materials I used add up to. Umm....don't worry about that right now, m'kay? I'll explain what that means later.
When you think you're okay with the item, just tell me, I can start the synthesizing process! You can also go back to the step and choose new materials if you want to make the item in a different way. The alchemy process uses a lot of chemicals and time, and I don't know how it works well enough to explain it to you. But I can do it! I have to add the materials together, change the elements with very special chemicals, then I can synthesize! Most of the work that I do is just stirring...but the way you stir is very important. Anyway, don't worry about that!
The last step of making an item is choosing the properties. Properties come from the materials and I use, and some properties I can't put on certain items. But you can't put all the properties you want on an item, or it'll go bad and you can't use it. Tell me the three properties you want, and I'll put it on this Healing Salve.
Okay...how about "Eases Illness", "Fixed Healing", and "Effect Up"?
I did it!
Hmm... So that's how you Synthesize something using a cauldron? Fascinating.
Heh heh, I'm pretty confident in my ability at making medicine. Would you like to give it a shot, Logy?
...No, this doesn't look like the sort of thing I'll pick up at once. I'll slowly try to understand it.
D-Does it really look that hard? I've been doing it since I wa a girl, so it comes naturally to me.
Well, aside from that, this method takes longer than I expected. We'll need to manage our time carefully.
H-Huh!? Am... Am I really slow at this?
No, that's not what I meant. The equipment is dated, so there's a lot of areas we can try to improve. We need to figure out how to be more efficient. I'll try to think of a plan. You focus on Synthesis.
O-Okay... I'll try to work a little faster...
At any rate, we made the medicine. Let's go take this to the Provisions Department. This is all we have right now, but once we can create formulae, I'm sure things will get easier.
Yeah, and I need to work on my alchemy, too!
Oh, Brother! Welcome!
I've gathered up all the materials I thought we'd need to repair the windmill.
Thanks. Let's take a look...
You think that'll do?
It doesn't look that difficult to make, but the problem is materials, We simply don't have enough.
Then, let's go outside of town to gather what we need! We can also collect items for future jobs.
Right, we have to gather materials ourselves... I forgot. I rarely had to do that in the city.
...You mean you don't gather, either? Just what do alchemists do in Central City?
Haha, I guess alchemy is different all over the world. Well, we should get on our way.
Huh? Don't you have to work to do, Brother?
I need to make sure you two get a good start. I'm not tossing you out of town without supervision.
That's a good idea... Thanks for the support, Awin.
Don't mention it. I was actually looking for something to do, so it all works out. I'm interested in R&D too, and with the both of you in my care... Let's go on some adventures.
C-Can you really be that easygoing? Don't blame us if you get into trouble with Heizman.
Ha, don't worry about it. As long as I'm doing what I have to, he'll understand.
Why don't we start in the nearby forest? I'm sure there are lots of good trees we can use there.
Yeah, I know where the forest is. But let's not forget to prepare for the journey!
Brother is going to be a lot of help! He's so strong from working on machines all day!
I can tell he's strong, but Escha...if we have to fight some monsters, I want you to stay close to him. I'm not that used to fighting, since I hardly left my workshop in Central, and Awin can probably protect you better than I can.
Our first adventure together! I'm so excited!
Music: Our Planet Has But One Sky
Let's start near the forest entrance. I'm sure we'll find something good there!
Music: A Story of an Adventure in an Uninhabited and Terrifying Place
That's because it IS dangerous. There are monsters all over the place. ...Like that one, you see?
An Ore Rat... I suppose that monsters are just a hazard that comes along with investigation.
Logy, do you have any combat experience?
...I can't say that I have much of it. Back home, I used to spend most of my time in the atelier.
Ha, well, some's better than none. The monsters here aren't all that strong, so I think you'll be fine. I'll give you some advice, so do your best to take them down. This is all part of being your mentor.
Yeah... Time to give it a shot.
I-I've never had to fight anything before!
Don't worry, Escha, you'll get used to it after you've done it for a while.
If we're really cornered, we have the supplies we brought... They should help.
Just remember that we have to go back to town to get resupplied. You have to plan when to use them.
O-Okay... I think I can do this!
Okay, Escha. Try hitting that monster with your staff before it gets too close!
You were a little slow...if you hit the monster first, you'll be able to attack before they know you're there. Remember that for the future. If me or Awin has enough time, we can protect you when an enemy attacks. It's important to protect yourself and the people who are fighting with you.
My sword is going to be a little more effective in battle than your staff, but I'm here to help you in battle, of course. I can use items in my basket in battle, just like you can use items in your basket. Awin's not an alchemist, so he probably doesn't know how to use the items and make them work.
When the timing is right, we can follow up attacks on the enemy. As we hit the enemy without giving them a chance to recover, the damage rate grows up. That means with the same attacks, from my sword, Awin's hammer, or your staff, they'll do more damage than they normally would. Be sure to work with your teammates to stay safe, and defeat monsters that attack.
Right! I'll do my best!
Music: Increase the Altitude
It might seem scary now, but I'm sure you'll learn how to fight effectively the more you work with me, Awin, and anyone else who wants to help us with our assignments. If you ever need more specific advice, I'll do what I can.
Logy, there's another gathering point nearby. Maybe we can find some of the things Awin needs to fix the windmill here... I know I've come here to get Bullet Seeds and Tauns, a kind of plant with medicinal properties.
You're right... There's no harm in collecting them now. That would seem the most efficient option.
Well, since we've come all the way out here, let's collect everything we can!
Wait, wait, our priority is to fix the windmill. If we spend too much time here, we'll miss our deadline.
Th-That's right... I need to find items that will help us with our goal. But even things we don't need right away, we may need further down the road.
Good point. I'm a little worried about our schedule, but harvesting items while we're here is smart. Looks like we won't find what we need for the windmill here... Let's go a little deeper.
Escha, me and Awin are going to check the area for enemies. You can take as much time as you need to gather materials.
Oh, that's good, because it takes me a long time to pick the materials out of the ground and put them in the basket carefully. If you rip them out of the ground, it can ruin them... You have to be so careful with alchemy materials.
If I find something new, Logy, I'll be sure to tell you about it! I've seen Silver Hives before, but maybe you haven't, living in Central all your life... But I'm sure there's a lot even I haven't seen. With your help, I'm sure I'll find some amazing materials!
I've noticed it in other places...but what is all of this, Escha? There's barrels, pieces of wood that would have been used for buildings, logs, boxes...all kinds of things that indicates people lived here before, but it doesn't look like anyone's been here for a long time.
I actually asked Marion about this one day. She said there used to be a pretty large village in this area, next to Colseit. Then one day, everyone just left... I've heard the previous people at R&D were supposed to find out what happened to everyone living here, but they weren't able to find out why everyone left and the village disappeared. Maybe we can find out why...
The one who uses magic
Yeah... Don't go too far.
I-Is that...! Miss Wilbell! Hello!
Music: Baby Bird Part 2
Miss Wilbell is a girl who came from a really far away place to learn about life in Colseit. She said the name of her town one time...Vierze-something, I think, but after one of her friends left, she decided she'd start traveling the world. She has a lot of interesting stories, and there's also something else special about her...
Huh? Oh hey, Escha. What are you doing here?
I've come to collect materials for my job.
Oh, yeah... You did start a new job, didn't you? How's that going? Wait, there are a lot of monsters around here, y'know? Can you actually fight?
I don't intend to let Escha fight on her own. I think we'll be okay. Wait a minute...Wilbell's hat, Escha's hat... Could she be...?
...Say, who's the new face around town?
My name's Logy. I'm an alchemist working with Escha.
Hmm... I'm Wilbell. I travel from city to city for... Reasons. Gotta admit, I've never seen a young alchemist like you. All the men I know who do it are old farts.
Oh yeah...one of her friends was named Keith something. I forget his last name...
So, do you mind if I ask what you do? You don't appear to be in the same trade...
Wilbell is a mage! Isn't that amazing?
Wha...? A mage? "Mage"? As in magic? No way.
I-I was...? I'm sorry...
Ugh, in one ear and out the other. You're NOT supposed to tell other people about that, got it?
...Don't worry. I have no reason to reveal your secrets.
W-Wait a second... You don't actually believe it, do you!?
That's because my ancestors worked really hard to keep it that way. If our powers were used for a bad cause... Who knows what would happen.
Okay, okay. By the way, we're looking for materials to repair a windmill. Have you seen any?
...Why do I feel like you're not taking me seriously? You can find the materials on your own. Buh-bye, kids... Don't go too deep and get lost in there, you hear?
Y-Yes... You be careful, too, Miss Wilbell. C'mon, Logy. You can't doubt everyone like that.
How could I possibly believe her? Her story has no evidence at all.
W-Well, that might be true, but...
Hey, I found some things that could be useful!
Hey, Brother's calling us. We'd better go.