Part 5: Chapter V: The Adventurous Mage and Swordsman
Oh yeah, Logy told me to turn in the two jobs we did at the Old Highway. I can't wait to see what the homunculi's snacks look like!
Melting Jewels Dried Taro Chips...I've never heard of those foods. I guess the homuculi really are a lot different from us. And I guess we need to work extra hard to rank up the department... We're still a long way away.
Oh! This looks like Logy's handwriting... I guess this is the first report he did. Looks...different, from the reports Marion usually does. Maybe it's because it's his first one. Well, it certainly tells Marion everything we did at the Old Highway. It was a lot, actually.
Wow, we did so much! We have time to complete the entire sheet! Let's see what else we have...
- Equip five search items, come back to town.
- Adventurer level 8 (we're already 75% of the way to that...)
- Defeat the Flesh Eater of Twilight Forest.
- Defeat the Scissor Beast of Twilight Forest.
- Gather Water from the town entrance for 10 days.
- Use the Support Guard in-battle (it's good training!).
- Alchemy level 8 (also pretty close!).
- Make a Craft with the Bursting Effect.
Looks like a lot, but I'm sure we can do it! We should probably head for the Twilight Forest next. I have to tell Logy about what Marion gave us!
Whoa, Escha, where did you get that book?
Oh, Ms. Marion gave it to me! When we complete the inner 9 tasks and make lines from one assignment to the next, she'll give us special bonuses, like recipe books and more money!
That's interesting... I didn't know that. It could certainly help. So it also looks like the rest of the assignments appeared?
Yes, and the report you handed in was really good. Marion's already registered the progress we've made toward two of the new assignments. See?
Yeah, I do... Good, looks like I'm getting the hang of it. Defeat the Flesh Eater and Scissor Beast. The assignments relating to alchemy I can't really help you with, but going to the Twilight Forest for now might be a good idea. What do you think?
Wow, that's just what I thought! But first, I want to try making a bomb.
Okay. But be careful. The bombs in the book are designed to be made in a very stable way, but still...
First, I need to make some paper to stabilize the bomb. The quality of the paper is important. I can make the bombs more powerful if I have stronger binding materials, but it looks like I can only make a Zettel right now. That's okay.
Um, Escha...you probably shouldn't have used that Earth Root. The cost is really high to add it to this synthesis. You can still keep going and make the Bomb, but it probably won't be very good...
Yay! I made my first Bomb! Wait, should I be happy about that?
I think so. It's pretty impressive to make explosives with alchemy. Of course, it's not a very powerful Bomb, but it is better than the Crafts we have. We should bring it along to Twilight Forest.
Yeah, I guess so... Hey Logy, can you pass me those books to your right?
Hm...these books look like they contain some tricky alchemy methods. Are you...?
Yeah! I've definitely gotten better with alchemy. I can try some new things now, like using the elements of each item in syntheses, or adding materials in any order I want... I think we can make even better stuff now! And, we have to let Marion know about my alchemy progress!
Yeah. Can you show me how the element system works? I've tried reading about how to do things like that with a cauldron, but I still don't know how it works in practice.
Okay! I'll try making a dessert to show you how.
The ingredients I've added, I already know the elemental properties of each. The Taro is Earth, the Apple is Water, the Fairy Soul is Air and Water, and the Clean Water is Water. As long as I don't go over the Cost, I can add elemental points on the little chart I have next to the cauldron. By drawing out the power of each element, I can change the synthesis. Each element has something it can do to the item: Fire can draw out powerful effects, Water can transform into any of the other three elements, Wind can change effect values and the quality of the item, and Earth can increase the quality of the item.
Of course, each element can do a lot of special things, but I still need to improve my alchemy before I understand them.
This is a list of things I can do to the synthesis with the elements I have available. The higher the elemental values, the more powerful skills I can use. That's about it.
Wait a second...
Is something the matter?
What did you just make? It looks like an apple tart.
Yup! That's exactly what I wanted to make. I think I did a pretty good job with this one!
Escha, you know how to cook, right? Why are you using alchemy...?
That's because... Logy, I just realized something.
But it's so much work to have to cook everything whenever we want to go explore... And then I thought, if Provisions is supposed to keep us supplied, and as long as we have alchemy...
Don't tell me...
Are you serious? You're twisting the rules to use the homunculi as your personal chefs!
I know, isn't it great!?
I don't know what's worse here, but your logic or your sweet tooth... Yep. Escha definitely has weird priorities...
Oh, Logy! I'm glad you're here. I made some Mixed Lubricant for some future [Fuel] syntheses. It's a pretty powerful item for synthesis, because it can draw out a lot of Fire power for the item!
Looks like you're getting better every day.
What's amazing? You mean the cauldron?
Yeah. I said it was impossible, but at the same time, I can't be here and not study it, you know? I'm going to do a little research and see if I can figure out how to use it, too.
Really? Well, you might be able to, if you tried. So, what do you think? Do you feel it's possible?
Not a chance. I guess mimicking what I've seen you do just isn't good enough. Escha, how did you learn alchemy?
M-Me...? Um, I was so young, I honestly don't remember. And it wasn't really being taught; I was just copying what my mother was doing.
You figured out how to do it as a child... It has to be simple, right?
H-Hmm... I guess it's a little hard to explain... You know how you stir the contents of a pot when you're cooking?
So, maybe it's not going really well for you because you don't know how to cook in a pot! I had to practice going around and around and around and around a lot!
Uh, do you think you could take teaching me a little more seriously?
Um... I WAS teaching you seriously. That's how I learned it from my mother, anyway... You add the materials until it feels right, and then you stir it...until it feels right, too!
Wow. That's very specific.
...Um, is it really that hard to understand?
N-No, I think it's my problem that I can't understand it. Don't worry about it. Why don't you show me again when we get another chance? I'll watch you Synthesize something else.
Got it! I'll try to go real slow so you can understand, too!
I guess synthesizing with a cauldron is a lot more complicated than I first thought... How does she know what feels "right"? I don't know yet...
Logy, I'm going to take a break. Want to go with me to Duke's?
Sure. Let's get something to eat.
Just now, actually. I was going to report to Marion...but she appears to be absent.
She's probably in a meeting. I could go look for her if you want.
No, that's not necessary. She should be back soon.
Okay. By the way, what kind of work are you always doing, Linca? I want to talk to you more, but you're almost never here.
Mostly eliminating monsters, as well as searching for wanted criminals when we get information. There has been a lot of monster activity in distant areas recently, so I get assignments to kill them.
Criminals? I don't remember Marion saying anything about that... You sound less like a government official and more like a full-time swordswoman.
I don't understand what you mean by "full-time". I've been a swordswoman since I was born. I know only the sword. Therefore, I determined that the best way I can contribute is by putting it to use.
So that's why you aren't in town very often. Sounds rough...
Marion is opposed to it because she says it's dangerous, but this is the only thing I can do.
I suppose that if we don't produce any results, then our department will lose face...
Marion was very happy that you two joined our ranks. I'm also very grateful that the two new hires were both assigned to our department.
Haha, I'm not sure we're making much of a contribution just yet.
There's still a lot I don't know, so I would be glad if you could teach me some things.
I'll probably be out of town very often in the future as well. But contact me if you need something, and I'll make it a point to rush over from wherever I am.
Heh, thank you. Do your best with your work too, Linca.
Not even I can stop her when she gets mad...
I think I know what you mean... We'll be careful.
What does THAT mean...?
Well Logy, do you want to head to Twilight Forest?
Sure. I want to see how powerful those Bombs are, anyway. Marion said the Flesh Eater and Scissor Beast are near the abandoned village deep in the forest.
Escha, watch out!
That's a lot of enemies... Here I go!
Bombs can be really dangerous...but I'm glad I have them here...
Very impressive, Escha. That was a dangerous group, and that Bomb did a lot of damage.
The Scissor Beast can be dangerous, but as long as you guard its attacks, you should be okay. And, there's only one of them. This should be easy. Actually, I want to try something I've been practicing in secret...
Logy...that was amazing! How did you do that!?
Heh. I can explain later. For now, though, I think we should head back.
Oh, it's our second stipend. Looks like we're doing pretty well!
Yeah. Hey Escha, Wilbell said she wanted me to talk about something before we left, so I'll see you in a little while. You should probably start working on your next synthesis. I think we still need to make a Craft with the Bursting effect, so you'll probably need to look through the materials.
Okay Logy. See you later.
Well, of course. We've been living in hiding so nobody knows who we are.
Your outfit speaks otherwise... But it's amazing the secret isn't out. Regardless of how much like a fairy tale it seems, I'd think Central City would have some information...
Hmm. I wonder. It does seem strange that they wouldn't know, no matter how well we hide. Maybe there's somebody secretly pulling some strings in Central City? I don't particularly care.
You don't care? It sounds like a very important part of keeping your big secret.
I'm keeping the secret, so I'm fine. As long as nobody else is leaking information, we'll be okay.
So there are other magicians out there besides you?
Maybe. My family's always been magicians, but I don't know anyone else. Even if there were, I doubt there would be very many. I've never met one.
I guess it's the same as us alchemists not knowing how many of us are out there in the world.
Exactly. But I'm sure there aren't a lot. Magic power is passed along in the blood, so if the family line ends, magicians would disappear.
Hmm, so that's another factor.
And some of those people can if they train hard enough, but it's a rarity.
I see... Sounds like you have it pretty rough, too.
When you look at it that way, alchemy sounds really easy. It's all in your books, and anyone who understands it can do it.
Now that you mention it, that's right. Alchemy sure is convenient if you think of it like that.
Yeah, but that's the danger of alchemy, too. Anybody who wants to use it can, if they learn how. Magicians are in hiding to make sure magic isn't misused. Lately, everybody's been using alchemy. The chance of someone using alchemy to do bad things is greater.
...Yeah. We need to be careful so that something like that doesn't happen.
Well, there's no way you could beat us magicians if we got serious anyway!
...Yeah, yeah. We couldn't beat all you magicians.
Hey, are you mocking me? I'm really powerful, you know!
She may be young, but she's smarter than she looks... Hm...
Did Ms. Wilbell tell you something?
Yeah, we were talking about magic and the fact magicians like her are in hiding. I still don't know how she can call herself "in hiding" when she's wearing clothes like that, but when it comes down to it, alchemy and magic are similar except in one important way: not everyone can do magic, but everyone can learn alchemy with the right amount of study.
Well, yeah, but isn't alchemy a good thing? Shouldn't more people learn it?
I don't know if that would be for the best... Anyway, did you find out how to make a Craft with the Bursting effect?
No, not yet... I just know I had a book around here with the effects for Crafts written in it, but I just can't remember where I put it...
Is this it?
Oh yeah, there it is! Thanks Logy. But, hm... How do I get the Wind effect? None of our materials are very good for that.
Aren't the Spiky Buds and Charcoal Pieces Wind-elemental? That should be enough.
It is! Where did you get those Charcoal Pieces?
One of the Green Spirits at the Old Highway dropped them. It seems you overlooked them, so I decided to pick them up. One thing you have to remember with alchemy is that you can't take anything for granted.
Wow Logy, that's the best Craft we've made yet!
It looks like we're about done with all of our assignments for this quarter.
Really? That means we can do anything we want!
Yeah. Do you want to try and go back to the Old Highway? I might be able to show you a few things about gathering materials.
So what am I doing wrong, Logy? What kinds of things do you look for in the field?
Escha, get ready!
Music: Don't Panic
So these things are still around...
Lo-Logy...what are we going to do!?
Just stay calm. It's not as strong as it looks.
Escha, your staff is too weak to do any real damage to it. Focus on using items and supporting me and Awin.
Seems it's mostly focused on long-range attacks and using its massive weight to gain an advantage. As long as we can overwhelm it, we can win.
Logy, I can't keep going...[/i]
Just hang in there!
I'm feeling so much better! I can keep fighting!
Good, because it's still coming!
Music: Beyond the Light
Logy...what was that?
That...was a slag. A creature created with alchemy that follows a pre-programmed set of orders. Slag technology is fairly advanced, but not many are made these days. Nowadays you mostly find them near ruins. I guess it's not a big surprise to see one around here, but a slag of that size is certainly unusual. I've heard reports of those kinds of slags appearing every now and then, but...
Logy! We're going!
You'd think she'd be more careful after something like that...
Alright. I've turned in my report to Marion. I'll keep a record of any journeys outside of town, but as far as assignments go, we've completed all of them. What do you want to do now?
Hm...there's still some alchemy I need to complete before we end this assignment. This was just our first one, and it's only going to get harder.
Okay. That sounds like a good idea, plus, I want to see cauldron alchemy in action more.
What is it?
I...kinda wanna fight more slags. We fought that big one a couple weeks ago, but I'm still really confident! I managed to beat a giant monster!
That was only because me and Awin were there, but I won't stop you. I'll get ready to go.
Music: My Name is Legion
I know you're getting better, but me and Awin are here to help you. You don't have to fight everything yourself...
Let's do it!
Logy...I think I'm going to take it easy...
These slags are really aggressive... Where are they all coming from?
Escha, you can get up now.
Is...is it over?
Yeah. Me and Awin took down all of the slags. Come on, we need to get back to town and make sure your injuries were nothing serious.
Oh! I wanted to see Brother working at the air docks today! He said was going to be doing some really interesting work today!
I guess it's a good thing sometimes she's so energetic.
That was, um...just a sudden impulse on my part...
Who does THAT on impulse!? Thanks to you, MY head was on the chopping block!
I-I'm really sorry about that, Heizman...
See, I think you've got talent, but you don't have to go out of your way to do crap you don't have to! Please, just do the work that we tell you to do. Got that!?
Whoa, when did you kids get here...? Sorry you had to see that.
Did you do something again, Brother?
W-Well, yeah... It's not that I did it. "again", more like I keep on doing it... heh heh.
What is it this time...?
I was sent to take care of a house with a clogged chimney, but...uh...something happened.
Wow, the Maintenance crew has to do stuff like that, too?
You'd be surprised by how many requests for structural repairs and renovations we get there. It's not as important as your assignments, but it's still work that needs to be done. I like it...
Why was he so angry at you, then?
Um... Yeah, the chimney was an easy fix, but we've been getting a lot of these calls lately...
Now that you mention it, I think our chimney gets clogged a lot, too...
That's because trash and crud get stuck in the mesh that's supposed to keep birds and bugs out.
"Modified..." In someone else's house...!?
Yeah... Trash wasn't getting in, but smoke wasn't getting out, either... You can see the problem. Obviously, the owners complained, and Heizman took the heat for me. Man, the things I put up with.
Didn't he get mad at you for something else a lot like that...?
This is a common thing with Awin? It sounds to me like it's Heizman and the people who live in that house who had the problem.
I guess I need to figure out a better airflow system. Maybe if I went for more of a diagonal...
Awinnnnn! Heizman just yelled at you for this exact thing! You have to think about what you did!
Don't worry, leave it to me... I'll get it done right this time!
Argh! I'm trying to tell you to STOP modifying things!
Aw, but it'll be so much better! I just need to think of a way to solve that problem...
Think all you want, but you probably shouldn't put your plans into action without asking.
So Logy, what do you want to do now? We've only got 16 days left on our assignment.
I never thought I'd say this, but why don't we take a break? We've been working a lot lately, and I can't think of anything more to do. Clone told me that they need some help getting the orchard ready for picking in a couple months, as well. You might want to do that.
That's a good idea! What are you going to do?
Hm... I thought of compiling a list of things I might need from Central and just relaxing. There's really nothing more for us to do.
Okay, well, see you in a few days!
Escha, I just got done handing in a bunch of new jobs to Solle. We've done about all we can, so let's go make our final report to Marion and end our first assignment period.
Is that it for our study period...? It felt really short...but somehow really long, too.
Yes. Starting today, the two of you are officially members of R&D. I'm not treating you like trainees!
We're going to have a lot more to do from now on, huh...? Hopefully we don't get fired.
Heh heh, don't worry. I made that task mandatory because it was your test. This won't be the case now. All you have to do is complete your goals. And, if you do somehow fail, I won't fire you immediately.
I-I see... That's a relief. I was worried you might give us really difficult assignments...
That said, I don't want you two slacking off, either... So make sure you're prepared for the worst.
If we don't finish our tasks, then the R&D Division won't get its funding next season, right?
That's right. Let's make sure we complete as much as we can!
Yes, that's the spirit! I see the awareness of your responsibilities is settling in. Good! Before we go into your next goals, I'd examine your previous period's work. Please pay attention.
Yes. Thank you very much.
Now, let's see your completion ratings for last period...
It was our very first job... I guess we tried super-hard!
We're still getting the hang of our work, but I guess it's good that we did this well...?
Yes yes, it's perfect! To be honest, I really wasn't expecting results this good.
Heehee, if we keep this up, I think we can finish our goals every period!
I certainly don't want to discourage you, but keeping up this performance record won't be easy. Still, I confess that I'm relieved to see this. I can trust in you two to get a lot done now.
Haha, well, we'll do our best to live up to your expectations.
Investigating ruins... I suppose that's a fitting task for a region like Colseit.
These particular ruins have been explored a few times, but Central City's sending an expert this time.
Wow... Someone from Central City's coming here?
Well... They WOULD be, but their so-called expert went straight to the ruins without checking in here.
So this person went in alone...? He or she must be really confident...or really thick-headed.
Yes, that's what bothers me, too. Which is why I want you to go to the ruins and find out what's up. I'd also like you to take a look at the deeper regions, as well, to prepare for our true investigation.
Gotcha! So we have to go deep in the ruins now, right?
That's correct. Also, there have been reports of treasure-hunting looters, so proceed with caution.
People raid the ruins for treasure...? I guess that kind of thing happens everywhere. Okay.