Part 9: Chapter VIII: The Sweltering Path and Desert
Wow... I had no idea Katla had so much stuff in her bag.
Yeah, I was surprised, too. The only reason I let her come was because the stuff she had in her trunk seemed like it could actually be useful in combat. She didn't even tell me her cane had a boxing glove in it...
And Wilbell's magic was incredible, too. What was that spirit she summoned?
It must be one of the more powerful spirits she was talking about. Her magic did seem to have a theme too it... Looks like it was a good idea to bring those two along.
Yes! Logy, I want to check out the garden behind the atelier. Let's go!
Oh, wait... Your basket is too full. We should head back to town before we go any further.
Now that you mention it... Yeah, that's a good idea. Before i go back to the atelier, I want to help Katla sort out her stuff. Her trunk looked so messy.
Oh, you're back, Linca. Is there something you need?
Is there anything troubling you? I'll help you with anything I can.
No, not really. Thank you for asking, though.
Oh, I see. Understood.
Logy, please be troubled by something.
Huh? Okay, now I'm feeling a little troubled.
I was waiting to hear that! Whatever the problem is, I'll fix it for you. What should I do?
...It sounds like the captain asked you to do something, LInca. It'd help if you told me about it.
Marion? Perhaps you mean the mission I just received.
Probably. What are you supposed to do?
Marion gave me a mission to help you with anything that's troubling you. I asked Escha a little while ago, but I wasn't able to do much for her... That's why I need you to be troubled by something, so I can complete my mission.
You don't have to push yourself like that...
Logy, I'm your senior. Seniors are apparently supposed to help their juniors. If neither of you are troubled, what exactly am I supposed to do?
Why are you so bothered by the fact that nothing's bothering me? What do you want me to do about it? Oh, here's something. I was thinking I shouldn't ask you to do this, Linca, but...
What is it!? Ask me anything!
Well, could you go and buy me a snack?
Ah, an errand. I am confident in my errand-running abilities. What should I buy for you?
Uh, how about a couple of bread rolls? I'll pay you back later.
Two bread rolls. Understood! I'll be right back!
I feel like I'm the one asking for favors here. Is this really what Marion had in mind?
Escha, you're back. Has Linca talked to you about wanting to do something for you recently?
Uhhhh... Yeah, she did! A few weeks ago she came into the atelier while you were working on the balloon with Brother and asked me about wanting to help me with some reports. I told her I wasn't good at writing them, and she wanted to help me. But she wasn't good at writing them, either...
I see... (Sounds like Linca could be a problem. I hope I can just leave her to Escha.)
Wow, that's a big stipend!
Escha, one of our additional tasks is to sell enough items to equal 50 Cole. Nio said she wanted some spending money, so I'll sell some materials to her. I'll be back soon. After that, we'll head back to the mountain atelier. I want to look at the garden.
Dammit, there's some monsters guarding it. Let's go!
Lots of barrels, and some of the plant life is still alive. It's really rare to see something like this near Colseit.
More rocks. This is the summit, so that's probably all we'll find on this mountain.
Hey Logy, how many people do you think lived here when this was used?
Hard to say. But it was definitely more than one person, considering the scale of the gardens we saw. Maybe there was a large group of alchemists living here.
And they've been gone for a long time...
Well, that's only a guess. I'm not that knowledgeable about ruins, so maybe Threia could help you more about that.
I'm scared to ask her, though...
I don't think she's going to find much more...
Isn't that one of Solle's homunculi?
Well, as far as I know there's not much difference between the homunculi. Maybe one of the alchemists that lived here made this one. Seems he has stuff in his tent. Might be selling something.
Wow...that's a great selection. I don't think we really need anything through. I am interested in what the Heavenly Spirits does, but it doesn't look like it has one right now.
It looks like we're done with our investigation of these ruins. Let's head back to town.
Yeah, good idea. There's something I want to get started on.
All right, that oughta do it.
Logy, what are you doing over there?
Oh, I just noticed this area over here was a little, umm... Well, I was organizing it.
Huh? But weren't you organizing that area before...?
Well, yeah, but I thought it would be a little easier to use this if it was over here.
Y-Yes, I think it's great, actually... Umm... Logy, are you by any chance...a perfectionist?
That's, um... Well, I wouldn't say that myself... Why? Do you think I am? Everyone at my last post said that about me, too. I wonder why...
I mean, it's just... Whenever I turn around, you're organizing something.
Really? Hmm. But you're cleaning up after us all the time, right? It's just like that. Besides, isn't using a well organized set of equipment much more satisfying?
Well, maybe, but I don't think we need to move them around the place so often, do we?
It's refreshing to change things up every once in a while, don't you think?
If you do it too much, we'll lose track of where all our tools and equipment are!
...Logy, I think this falls more under "OCD" than "perfectionism". It's not that it's a bad idea, it's just...
I just don't like seeing a disorganized place to work. Besides, the government of Colseit is giving us this room. It's up to us to keep it in good shape. I just...don't like working in a messy place.
Hmm... I didn't know that. I'm sorry.
It's okay. I'll just finish up here and get back to practicing with the Trainer.
Hey Escha, let's go take at some job requests from Solle. It's been a while since we've taken a few.
Hmm... More staff? Very well, I shall give it a look. ...This won't do at all. Have you calculated your budget properly? I must say, this is quite sloppy. I'm going to have to deny your request for additional staff. Please think further ahead.
W-Wait a second...! If we hire now, then we can solve our problem with being too short-staffed...
Given the current state of the Maintenance Division, I'd say you have more than enough staff. Perhaps your "problem" is a result of you not allocating your resources effectively.
W-Woah there, kid... Do you have any idea what goes on down in the trenches, where the real work is?
That's easy for you to say. When I asked earlier about your budget, you said you had plenty of time. And now, you're telling me that a job you had "under control" needs more staff, without more planning?
Urrrgh... Dammit, fine! I'll do something about it!
That was...pretty impressive. Anyway... Um... Mr. Solle? We came to ask you to check our calculations...
Yes, of course. What's the matter...? Why are you staring at me like that?
Ah, we were just wondering...if we should have Ms. Marion take another look at it... That's all.
That would require excess work and time. Since it's already here, why don't I look at it for you. Hm. It appears there are no errors... Very well, I shall accept it.
Whew... I'm so relieved. I thought you were going to get mad at us again.
Huh? B-But Mr. Heizeman was just...!
Oh, I'll express my opinions to people like him, but I would say I was far from angry.
R-Really...? But you looked so scary.
Scary...? I had no intention of scaring anyone. Heh. At any rate, please return to your posts.
I-I was so nervous back there... I guess he's really strict to people who half-heartedly do their work.
Yeah. We should be careful he doesn't call us out... C'mon. Let's go speak to Threia. Marion wanted us to get to know her better, and we need to start planning our next adventure with her. I have a feeling it's going to be difficult working with her...
Hey, you're late. How long do you intend to keep me waiting?
Huh? Miss Threia? It's not even time yet, though.
I've never gone on an exploration with this many helping hands... Now let's be off!
"This many"? There are only a few of us.
You're too soft. You only say that because you've never gone on an expedition by yourself. Even if you find important data, you have to bring it back. Monsters may attack you out of nowhere... Imagine how much easier it would be, simply by having a few more people in your traveling group.
Yeah, I can certainly see that there would be limitations when you're by yourself in the wild.
There's no immediate gratification in historical research. That's why it's difficult to get people. With everyone so fixated on investing in alchemical research, I basically have no budget to go on.
You mean you don't use alchemy, Miss Threia? I assumed you were good at it, from the way you look.
How many times do I have to tell you? I'm just a researcher... I know how to use certain items the alchemists used in previous eras, but I don't know how to Synthesize.
That's actually a little unexpected.
In fact, most of the discoveries I bring back from my travels get taken away. How am I supposed to conduct research?
Uh... I can see why you'd think that your research is difficult.
Argh! We're still wasting time! I'm going on ahead!
Wh-Whoa! P-Please wait! We need to gather our party before we-
You're so impatient... Why don't you calm down a little before we make a decision?
She really is scary...
I'm not sure if "scary" is the word I'd use, but that's pretty close... Anyway, we have a couple fighting assignments, don't we?
Yeah. Unusual monsters have shown up in Twilight Forest and the Old Highway. A Flesh Eater has been spotted deep in the forest, and Scissor Beasts at the end of the Old Highway. We should take care of both of them, I think.
Right. Let's get moving.
It's amazing how much experience I've gained in the past few months.
It's good, right? Doing this job means getting more confidence. I have to learn a lot, too, so it's not just you.
Another busy month. What do you think we'll do next assignment?
Hard to say. I've been trying to ask Marion, but I heard from her she doesn't even know the assignments until she gives us them. Apparently orders come in Central, pass through Mr. Grumman's office, and are given to Marion, who tells us what the job is. I worked in Central for a long time, but it's still hard to know what they prioritize. We'll know in a couple months.
And that's the other. What's next...
We've done all of them already? I thought we still had to make a Spirit Garland. I guess you made that, Escha?
Yes. Duke had the recipe book for making Spirit Garlands, so I went and bought a book from him. I guess you must have been away when I did.
I guess, but...still, you should make sure I know before you do stuff like that in the future. I have to keep track of how much money we spend.
Well, we're done with this assignment. Is there anything else you wanted to do before this quarter ends, Escha?
Hm...I need to catch up on my alchemy. I want to make a Heal Bandage and Aroma Pouch for future adventures. They'll be a big help, since the monsters get stronger the further we go from Colseit.
Gotcha. Just tell me if there's anything you need.
Oh, Logy! There is something I need!
What is it?
I reaaaaalllly want to make this Omega Craft! It's so powerful, but I don't have enough ingredients for it. I need to gather more Spiky Buds from the mountain atelier.
If it's that important, sure. Let's get moving.
Ugh...we really need to be careful. We left without gathering enough Spiky Buds. You really should be better organized, Escha.
I know, I know... I'm sorry, Logy. But, we do have enough now!
Yeah, let's get going. (The atelier's gotta be a mess by now...)
Hey Logy, I'm going to show you amazing an alchemist I've become. I want this Craft to be really strong, so here's what I'll do. I'll use the Wind Elements to divide the Mixed Lubricant, so I can add all those Fire Elements to the Synthesis. Then...
Then I'll use Power+ LV1, using three Fire elements, to double the power of the Mixed Lubricant, and then add it!
Are you impressed?
Yeah. Sounds like you've really improved, and so quickly. Once we get some better materials, I can show you how to make amazing weapons.
I'm really looking forward to that! Anyway, we don't have much time until the assignment is over. I'm just going to be practicing my alchemy. I'm getting better, but I still have a lot to learn. I think you can relax, Logy.
Actually, I wanted to go train with Linca. Marion said Linca will be back for a few days, so I want to learn a few techniques from her before she has to leave again.
That sounds really amazing!
Well, another assignment done. Looks like we're making good progress.
Yes. Let's turn in our last report and learn what we'll do next.
Is Linca still really busy right now?
Linca's out on an expedition to suppress nearby monsters... I think?
That's correct. I believe that in the past we actually had a division dedicated to keeping monsters back. But they've been disbanded, and there aren't many groups capable of responding to these requests now.
So Linca's working for another division on that mission...?
They just grab anyone who can swing a sword or shoot arrows. She's the only one from R&D who qualifies...
Yeah... It must be a pretty dangerous mission.
Oh, I'm not worried about the monsters. It's just... She's not the best around other people. She always says everything's okay, but I really hope she's not causing trouble, wherever she is right now.
You can say that again...
S-Sorry... I shouldn't have said anything.
Hmm... Well, I am worried, and I'd feel much better if she was helping with our investigations.
Well, worrying isn't going to do anything. We have to trust Linca while we focus on our own work. Now, let's look at your achievements for the last period. Hmm... This is very impressive. As your superior, I have absolutely no complaints.
I'm really glad to hear that. So, we just have to keep up our current pace, then?
You've done a really thorough job on all your assigned tasks. You did very well.
So, are we going to be doing a more thorough investigation of those ruins now?
Yes... Based on these documents, it looks like another group will pick up where you left off... With these thorough reports, I'm sure they'll have no problem taking over from here. Keep it up!
Got it. We'll keep doing our best! Um... I wonder if we'll find more ruins like that one?
Now, I'm going to give you your next assignment.
Investigate the village to the north? You mean to tell me there's another habitable area here?
Yes, it's a little ways away, but apparently this village has been around for a while.The people there have requested assistance from us. Evidently, their water supply is drying out.
(Hmm... So they're having problems like that, too...)
The water...dried up? But, how could that happen?
I'm curious what's causing it, too. But right now, we have to find out what's happening so we can help.
I hope we'll be able to do something for them when we get there.
Even small efforts can lead to big payoffs. Do whatever you feel you can, and you may be surprised.
U-Understood. We'll do everything we can!
Let's get to that village, first. I wonder what's happening there.
It looks like we've already completed one of the main assignments: invest in research. That's a nice surprise.
Y-Yes...it'll definitely help. Um, I'll start getting things ready for the trip. To the north, past the Old Highway, is a desert, so we'll need some things to keep cool. Could you ask Nio if she has any herbs that might help keep body temperature low?
That's a good idea. I'll be back soon.
Hmm... Maybe a forest nearby? I think there'd be some growing there.
There are, but there aren't many varieties there... I can't make very powerful medicine with only the kinds that are from there.
I don't know a whole lot about herbs, though, sorry. Are you that bothered?
Hmm... Well, it's just not convenient? I didn't think there would be so little around here.
Are things different in other towns, or wherever you're from, Nio?
That's something to envy. Places like that have become pretty rare lately.
Is that so? My house was pretty far from town, so it was also a little inconvenient. There was a nice traveling merchant who always came by, though, so I guess it was actually pretty good. After traveling for so long, I've started to feel like my home really was something special.
Isn't that good? Your homeland should feel like a special place.
Yes. What was your homeland like, Logy? You aren't from this town, right?
Let's see... There are a lot of buildings and people, and there's almost no green vegetation left. That's why it's pretty strange to me to hear someone say that it's inconvenient to be missing herbs.
I'm a little surprised... My homeland was full of greenery, but I suppose that's actually a very rare thing.
I really would like to see such a nice place. Where did you come from?
It's very far from here, so I think it would be very difficult to go there...
I see... I will when I have a chance.
Oh, you're back. Did Ms. Nio have anything that could help with heat?
No. In fact, she said she needed to find more herbs right now, and we ended up talking about where she came from. Did she ever tell you about that?
Yes. One time I asked where she and Wilbell came from, and she said a place far to the east from here, that was filled with greenery and beautiful, healthy fields.
Yeah, that's what she told me. I wonder why those places are getting rarer and rarer. Could it...
Nothing, don't worry about it. Actually, can we head to Katla's shop? I want to see if she has anything interesting.
Sure. Let's go.[/i]
It's too much work to count every single one... And when I use 'em, I just use them all at once, anyway. Obviously the catalyst's quality is extremely important, but so are the numbers I can purchase.
Why, we owe it to you, Ms. Wilbell! You're my special customer, so I have the perfect item for you. Tada! This Ruin Pendant is all the rage in Central City right now!
This thing? It looks like something I could find just about anywhere.
But, of course you wouldn't! You see, it's hand-crafted by only the finest artisans, piece by piece.
Hmm!? Say, do you mind if I take a closer look at it?
By all means, be my guest.
...Say, you said this was cheap? I would like to purchase it right away.
Huuh? R-Really!? Yes, I'll sell it! I'll sell it! Thank you VERY much!
Hm, Ms. Wilbell? Were you just buying something here?
Oh yeah, this little gem right here.
Hey, that looks like...
This is the Ruin Pendant! You mean she's still selling that thing?
Hey, Wilbell... I don't know what she told you, but I'm pretty sure it's all lies. Just so you know.
L-Logy! How could you say that!? I'm sorry, madam, but we do not give refunds here.
No, no, no, what are you looking at? This was quite the buy. A very rare find!
A rare find...? You mean that thing is actually popular somewhere?
Not the stupid pendant. See this gem here on the very end, here? It's a very rare mineral.
Huh...? A rare...mineral?
Oh, yes. It's actually an excellent catalyst, and very hard to find.
Wow, I had no idea when I first set eyes on it...
Well, I wouldn't expect an amateur to know it. There aren't a great many uses for it, either. Nonetheless, I wasn't expecting to come across one at such a bargain. This is quite the gem indeed.
Hmm? Er, you know, if you're not 100% satisfied by our items, we'd be more than happy to refund you.
Oh, I think I'm quite pleased with my purchase. Thank you very much. I'll be back soon...
Hahaha, if you'd known it was really rare, you could have demanded a higher price.
You did say you were trying desperately to sell it, so I guess your wish came true. Congrats.
There's nothing to congratulate me for here!
(I guess we can't expect a little child to be a great negotiator... Maybe we should help her a bit.)
Why are you smiling, Logy?
Oh, it's just... I'm happy to see she's making money.
But we should still do everything we can to help her!
C'mon. We should check with Solle to see if any new requests came in.
There's a bunch we can do!
Yeah. And if this assignment is anything like the previous ones, some of our jobs should be to fulfill some job requests from Solle. Let's go ahead and accept all the ones we can report in now.
You're so smart, Logy!
Look! Now you can use an Omega Craft, too. It'll be a lot easier to defeat dangerous monsters if both of us have these.
You're right. Thanks Escha.
The hotshot and businessman
Is something wrong? Do you have more work for us?
There's some people I'd like you to meet. Please follow me.
Music: Belly's Bullet
Hey...it's those guys from the ruins. I guess they really weren't looters.
I'll have to burn this moment into my memory... Nice to meet ya.
Miss Marion, who might these be?
They're both adventurers who are going to help us with our efforts. They've worked for us in the past.
Name's Reyfer, Reyfer Luckberry. Professional treasure hunter.
What is he...wearing? I've never seen clothes like that before...
I am the honorary president of the self-governing body of Reisengang, and leader of our science club... Deputy director of the Colseit Friends, famed adventurer Harry Olson. It is a great pleasure.
Reisengang? So he's THAT Harry Olson... Never thought I'd see him here.
I'm Escha from the R&D Division. We're alchemists. This is my colleague, Logy.
You've got TWO alchemists here? That's pretty rare. And the two of you are...pretty close?
Yes! Logy is a really good friend of mine!
Ah, okay... No need to rub it in, haha.
...So, what exactly are we doing here?
Ah, yes. Allow me to explain. Miss Marion and I are good friends, you see...
...And during my last business trip, Harry was kind enough to offer me lodgings.
I see... She's never told me much about that trip, actually...
Afterwards, I heard that Marion had a new post, so I thought I'd come along and how she was doing. Lo and behold, she was completely short-staffed and bewildered by her duties.
Well Harry here asked me to help out with the R&D Division's doin's, starting today.
You're both going to be helping us? That would be amazing!
Oh, no, only Reyfer will be joining you on your expeditions. I will be with you in spirit, though!
You're going to help us...? Um, is this okay, Miss Marion?
I got permission from both Colland and Solle. Besides, there's no denying we could use the help. Officially, we're contracting them on as "external consultants".
Why...is he speaking like that? I'm getting a headache...
Feel free to let me handle things for ya, kids. I hope we make a good team.
Treasure? Um... We're investigating the ruins to see what we can learn from them... (Can he really help us...? He does sound like an interesting person! Maybe we can become friends...)
Glad that's over...
It's Reyfer. Just the way he talks is very strange to me, and he seems to be more interested in treasure than investigating the ruins along with us.
Is that going to be a problem? As long as he helps with our adventures, I don't see the problem with letting him search for treasure in the ruins.
Maybe... We just have to make sure we don't get go off hunting treasure like he does. We have a job to do, and I don't think Marion would be very happy if we were more interested in finding treasure than doing our job.
I know, I know.
Oh, and Escha. Including us, there's now seven people going on our adventures. We don't have enough room to bring supplies for everyone. So, before we leave town, we need to decide who has to stay behind.
Oh, that's too bad...okay, I'll let Wilbell know she can do things by herself while we're away.
Hey, I'll go with you. We're about ready to go.
No, I just got here myself... You ready to head out?
Why is Reyfer leading this party now?
Oh, sorry for rustling the reins from you. Lead on, Mr. Leader.
What...? I'm not mad at you, I was just asking.
Hey, don't get all snippy on me now. It doesn't really matter to me who the leader is.
Yeah, you don't sound like yourself, Logy.
S-Sorry... I don't know why, but I'm just on edge whenever Reyfer's around.
Really? I actually enjoy talkin' to you.
Hahaha... Um, Mr. Reyfer, you're really used to going on adventures, right?
As long as there's treasure to be had, even a ladies' room becomes an ancient mystery to me.
Ugh, stop acting stupid, and let's get going...
Hey, c'mon now. We're gonna be searchin' for treasure together, so why shouldn't we be friends?
This is not one of your treasure hunts. This is an official investigation.
Haha, same thing, right? C'mon, let's go. If we sit around for too long, someone'll beat us to it. I do have a bit more life experience than you two, so you could learn a thing or two from me.
So you do want control of this party, then...
Hahaha... He is pretty driven. I think he'll be a big help to us!
He does seem pretty together, but still...
Does he bother you that much, Logy?
It's not that, it's just... Never mind. Let's get going.
Looks like we've got a long trip. Good thing we made all those preparations.
Music: To the Land Without a Name
It's a desert...so why don't I feel very hot?
Well, we're close to a river, and it's December. That might make this area a little colder than most, but I still wouldn't have brought that outfit, Escha.
It's okay! The hat protects me from the sun.
Hey Logy, how does Threia attack? She doesn't have anything she throws or hits the enemies with. She just sort of shakes her head and blasts the enemy with something...
I'm not...it's her earrings!
I'm not sure how it works, but I'll bet Threia uses special earrings made by ancient alchemists to attack. She probably found a prototype in ruins somewhere and made earrings based off of that. It's surprisingly effective, honestly. Maybe I didn't give her enough credit.
I wonder what other things alchemists in the past made, besides the ruins.
Well, slags for sure. We know slags have been around for a very long time, but other than that it's mostly a mystery. Maybe that's a big reason she wants to study the ruins more.
Logy! Be careful! There's something in the grass!
These things are a lot stronger than you'd expect hamsters to be...
Escha, I'll be bringing in Reyfer. I need to take a quick break.
Incredible...I guess her earrings and jewels are even more powerful than I thought.
It's important everyone work together to defeat difficult enemies, Escha. Everyone has a part.
Yeah. We're definitely stronger when we work together.
That shirt will provide a lot more protection against enemy attacks. Don't worry about me, Escha. You should use that one.
You were right, Logy...it's definitely getting hotter.
Yeah...let's move on as fast we can. The sooner we can leave this desert after finishing the investigation, the better. Looks like this lake is mostly dried up.
It's a good thing those slags were pretty weak...but Mr. Reyfer sure is strong.
I have to agree. A gun is a good choice to bring on adventures.
They also dropped a new staff for me! My mother gave me the staff I'm using now, so I'm going to keep taking good care of it, but I need something a little stronger when I go on adventures.
This looks like the village's warehouses for food and other supplies...but they've been boarded up. What happened?