Part 10: Chapter IX: The Thirsty People and Settlement
Do you think the village is still here, Logy?
Probably. Marion wouldn't send us out here if the village was gone, but... Things can't be looking good if the storehouses are boarded up. Let's get to the village quickly.
Oh, we've been waiting for you!
The report said that your water supply has dried up. Would you mind telling us more about this?
It's been slowly drying out for a little while, but... We didn't expect it to all go so suddenly.
I see... Well, in that case we're going to need...
We've already taken the initiative and prepared them for you.
Thank you very much! Well, I guess it's time to go off on our mission!
What is it?
It's a recipe to create a create a small wellspring. It probably won't be enough for the entire village, but if we can make this soon, then we can definitely get the villagers a lot more water. It looks like the well in this village dried up, and if we use this item, we can replenish the supply. We should make it soon.
Yeah... The people here look like they're really thirsty.
The village is large, but that will only make it harder to help this place recover... This could be tricky.
Logy, looks like there's some alchemy ingredients in here. Nothing in here looks like it can be eaten, anyway... I'll just take a few things.
Hey Logy, I found something!
What is it? ...Oh, it's an Iron Plate. Very useful in syntheses that involve a lot of metal. We should take it with us.
I knew it...
What is it?
I'll tell you later. C'mon, we should check out the village well, see how bad the drought has been.
It's dark, but there's definitely not much water down there.
Hey Logy, what was that man saying about the land decreasing?
It's been something that's been happening for a while now. Fertile lands have been going barren for a while now. This has been mostly happening in remote areas far from civilized areas like the areas around Central, but it's something that can happen anywhere. Not only that, but water sources have been drying up as well. No one really knows why it's happening.
Really? No idea?
There have been some theories, but nothing that's been proven yet. That's why Colseit is so strange to me, is that such a remote area can support such a large apple orchard.
Wow...I hope nothing bad ever happens to the orchards.
Yeah, the orchards are really special. Anyway, looks like we've completed our investigation here. Making that Drought Control recipe is going to be important now, so we should get back. I have to get started on working on cleaning the atelier.
That again? Then again, I have some jobs that the Maintenance Division wanted me to do. Something about making some metal connectors for the docks.
I did notice they looked like a little worn-down.
Huh!? You're finished already!? Oh, I'm so jealous that you're such a quick worker.
You're just inefficient. How do you expect ot even finish at the rate you're going?
Oooh... What do I need to do to become really fast like you?
For starters, you could turn down some requests. Focus on what you've already put on your plate.
Ahh, Marion told me the same thing.
Well, it was good advice. I think she wanted to come in and check in on our progress later today anyway. In fact, she should be coming in right about now...
Well? How are you guys doing in here?
We're doing well! I actually just wrapped up.
Ah, very impressive. And how about you, Escha?
U-Umm...I'm just getting started on today's work...
H-How can you possibly be so behidn!? Don't tell me that you've...
Um... Well, I was doing some work that Brother's team requested from us, and I...
If you've got time to be helping others, you have time to finish your own duties first!
Eek! I'm sorry...!
I was just telling her that, so go easy on her. Here, I'll help her with these documents.
Sorry, Logy... Escha, make sure you learn your lesson from this.
Y-Yes... I'll be more careful.
Huh!? I-Is that true...?
Wow, that's pretty exciting.
So, while our reputation's improving, it's not an excuse to slack off on our assignments. We've got to be careful about what work we take on, and manage our time a little better, mmkay?
Yes! I'll be sure to finish everythin on time from now on!
You sure you're gonna be okay? So, what haven't you finished yet...?
Um, this one...and this one... Oh yeah, and that one...
A lot more than I thought.
...Oh, why are the two of you so, um...different...? Though the two of you do make a pretty good team when you work together.
I'm not angry, Escha, it's just that I don't want Marion to worry about us. If she thinks I'm doing all the work, and you can't handle the jobs you've taken, that won't look very good for you or the department. That reflects on Marion, and Solle and Colland as well.
I know, but... What can I do?
Hmm... How about, I'll check your schedule every few weeks, and offer my suggestions? I want you to be punctual, but responsible as well. No one is expecting you to do everything.
... How do you do it, Logy? You're always so professional, and are always so organized. It doesn't seem like there's anything you can't do.
Well, I was trained in Central under people much more skilled than I was or am. Besides, I can't synthesize in a cauldron. And...there's something else I can't do as well.
It's about something that happened a long time ago. Never mind. I'll start getting the materials ready for the Purify Bottle. Why don't you go see what R&D has to offer? I'll join you after I'm done here. Katla said she wanted to speak to us about the last adventure.
This should be really helpful, and it's not that much.
Haha, was it really that fun?
Yes! I've never traveled around like this! Everything's a new discovery!
Yeah, there were some dangerous times, but it was still a lot of fun.
Personally, I wish you'd be a little more cautious...
But at least I'm not getting in your way, right?
...Yeah. I was surprised at how seriously you took it.
We got a lot of work done, so you were a big help. Thank you, Katla.
Hee hee, you're welcome!
So, did you find any rare items? I forgot to ask earlier.
What...? What rare items?
I totally forgot. I'm so ashamed...
It's pretty strange that you'd forget something like that, Katla.
I guess I couldn't help it. Being around outside with you was so much fun.
Yes, but if you forget your main objective, then it was all for nothing.
Ugh, you're right.
W-Well, you can always look for stuff on your next investigation.
Yeah, that's right. I'll definitely find something special next time!
I like how you casually imply that you're going to go with us every time now. Clever girl...
Are you still against it, Logy?
It's too late for that. It hink you should just do what you can for now.
I think so, too. We'll protect you, so don't worry.
Th-Thank you very much!
However, we do expect you to start pulling your own weight from now on. We'll be counting on you.
Got it. Just leave it all to me!
Your attitude toward her has changed a lot, Logy.
Really? I guess it has, but she's more than proven herself on the adventures we've gone with her on. She can be troublesome, but she's helpful and resourceful. She's a good traveling companion, but I'm not still not sure about her business model.
Hehe, yeah. Anyway, didn't Katla have a reference book in stock?
Yeah. Lots of interesting recipes in this one. Let's pick it up.
That's the Bottle. Should we head back to the village now?
I have something else I want to make first...
That's an interesting item. What is it?
It's a Glass Tiara. It uses magical runes to lessen the damage taken from monster attacks and reduces your spirit instead. If you don't have any spirit, though, it won't work. It can also change all sorts of things about your body just by wearing it. It's really interesting.
I...see... Escha, I was planning on working with the equipment brought from Central a bit. There's some modifications I need to make to it, and it's just...it might be a little dangerous for you around, so why don't you take a little break? Do you have anything you need to do in town?
Hmm, Nio stopped by the atelier earlier today. She said she had a new recipe book. So, I'll just take a little break and go buy it.
We've been buying a lot lately...but the more books we get, the better.
You're back. Did you get the book?
Yeah. Lots of good healing items. We should be a lot safer during our journeys.
Medicine Bread... I had this a lot back in Central. Very easy to pack, and nutrious. Not very sweet, though. I don't know if you'd like it, Escha.
Really? Maybe I need to make more snacks.
Logy, I was thinking... The villagers looked really hungry, and they didn't have any land to grow food. They didn't have much food either.
That's true, but what's your plan?
Well, it might be a good idea to make some food before we go. I'm sure they'd really like it, especially since even if we did use the Purify Bottle to restore water and nutrients to the soil, it might take a while for them to start growing food.
You know, you're absolutely right. You have some really good ideas every now and then, Escha.
"Every now and then"? You don't have to be so mean, Logy...
Haha, I'm joking. Anyway, it's a good idea. Why don't you make some of your Apple Tarts? I'm sure they'd like that.
Yeah! Let's get started!
And we're done! Let's get going!
But if this drought continues, I'm afraid we'll have to abandon this village...
I guess we solved the immediate problem, but there are still issues that need to be taken care of.
This is about all we can do for them right now. Let's go and report back to the boss.
Is that really all? I mean, the problem is still there...
True, but there's only so much we can do without knowing the source of the problem. We still don't know if the problem is localized to this area, or if the problem is more severe. That is, if it's a problem at the village or at the source. We won't be able to tell until we wait a few months and see what happens. At the very least, the immediate problem is over.
Yeah, you're right... But still, I want to check back every now and then. We can't let that village die.
I agree, but we should be getting back for now.
Interesting. We've completed all of the main assignments. That took a little while.
And we got some interesting new books, too! Books for making new weapons, making new accessories and synthesis items, and making more powerful bombs... Great!
Not to mention being able to carry more items outside of town. We're making some excellent progress. It's thanks to your alchemy, Escha.
No, no, it's all due to your professionalism. You're only a little older than me, but you're so much more experienced.
It may be like Marion says. We make up for each other's weaknesses.
Yeah! Let's check out the last assignments... Delivering Distilled Water and glass materials to people in town, defeat a powerful Steel Skin in the mountain atelier, use a Cup of Life to heal the people helping us in battle, make a Lightning Bomb with the "Piercing" effect, make some Handmade Pottery, make a Cotton Shirt with the Defense +3 effect, patrol the Southern Ruins and defeat a Nano Slag in the Courtyard, gather some Glass Cores at the Old Highway, and...make a Glorious Note. Looks like a synthesis task.
Sounds like a lot, but I'm sure we can do it. What do you want to take care of first?
Hmm...maybe the Glorious Note?
The magic of alchemy
Hmm... What should I do?
Something wrong, Escha?
I want to make something new, but nothing good's coming to mind. I guess I really don't have a lot of variety yet, huh?
I think you're doing the best you can with what you have to work with...
Oh, Marion! It's good to see you.
Another new piece of equipment form Central City just arrived.
Wow... I'm impressed. To be quite honest, I never even thought we'd get one device, but now...
Looks like I underestimated our boss, too. He really has a number of connections in Central City. The maintenance crew will come install this for you. Do you mind waiting outside again?
Oh, of course... I wonder what we're getting?
Do you know what we're getting, Logy?
No, I have no idea... I wonder what Mr. Grumman managed to get...
Yes, right around there's fine... Okay, perfect. Thank you. It's all done. Go check it out, you guys.
Wow, a Dismantler. How did you get this?
I have no idea what this device can do, but I'm glad you're happy. Well, then... Make sure you put it to good use, and keep up the good work.
Thank you very much, Ma'am. And, please give the branch manager my regards.
Um... So, what does this thing do? I don't have a clue...
This is a Dismantler. It's used primarily for analyzing ancient artifacts.
Whoa... So you can tell what the artifacts we discover in ruins are?
Not just that... If you analzye a compound in a Dismantler, you can see what materials it's made up of. Put simply, you can then Synthesize the artifacts that we've discovered on our travels.
Whoa... We can make things that we find outside?
I'll use this to figure out the recipe, and then give it to you, Escha. I'm the only one who can use this here, so leave the analyzing to me.
That sounds like a great idea. I get the feeling I'd never use that right, even if you taught me how.
If you find a new artifact, let's try analyzing it. Then we can have new Synthesis recipes for you.
Well, that's always nice. Hmm...this is getting exciting!
Still, I never thought we'd get technology like this. This thing is the pride of the R&D team in Central. I was always envious of those guys for making something like this. It's thanks to machines like this that alchemy research has come as far as it has.
Oh? Central City has divisions, too?
Yeah. I belonged to the R&D Division for a while, but I was transferred out before the Dismantler research was completed. The Divisions are organized similarly to here in Colseit, but the competition between the teams is a lot more intense than it is here. It was a little exhausting...
Why is that?
Well, it's a little hard to explain, but basically, the teams that perform the best get the most money. Teams that don't perform to expectations get dismantled, reorganized, or just removed, and the researchers get fired. It's a lot of pressure to come up with new and better ideas all the time, but that's the kind of place Central City is.
I think I'm good to go. Escha, do you want to see weapon synthesis?
Of course! I've been waiting to see how it's done.
Okay. Stand back.
Wow! Great! Seeing you work with that is amazing.
Okay, now all I have to do is finish the hilt and...
The swords you use look a little different from regular swords, Logy.
I'm not sure of the details, but apparently it was something found in the ruins, then upgraded. I put it together as a hobby. Never in a thousands years did I actually expect to use it in combat.
I see... So that's how you ended up with a sword, even though you're an alchemist.
Heh, I've got a ways to go. My instructor was so much better than I am.
You mean you had a teacher, Logy?
Oh, yeah. He was a top-notch swordsman, but he always had a scary look on his face.
I-I see... I've never learned any martial arts, so I have no idea. Do you think it's important ot exercise and practice the way you do?
Escha, you're always helping me out with the apple orchards and such. You do a lot of manual labor. Compared to that, I never really left my atelier for any considerable period of time.
I see... I guess it's good to get some exercise, then. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to move at all!
At the time, I was only doing it because I had to, but now I'm thankful for all that practice. ...If my instructor hadn't dragged me outside to practice, I might've spent my entire career inside.
Huh!? You mean you were THAT much of a homebody?
Logy, I had another question about your swords...
Oh? Feel free to ask.
Well, I watched Linca practice a few times in town, and the way she fights with a sword is so much different than how you fight. So why do you and Linca use swords so differently?
Well, there's a lot of ways to fight with a sword. Linca's method of swordfighting emphasizes powerful slashes and blows, sacrificing speed for power. I never really had time to practice fighting like that, so I had to come up with my own method for swordfighting. Linca's probably a better overall swordsman than I am, so I have to make up for my weaknesses with alchemy.
Yeah, Linca fights a lot differently than you do. Is the sword really that important?
Yes. When you consider a fighting style, you have to take advantage of your strengths and reduce your weaknesses. Linca has a very strong, powerful body, so that kind of sword works for her. A light, fast sword like I use wouldn't work for her, because her body would slow her slashes down. But, even with the difference in our swords and our bodies, I'm sure there's still a lot I can learn from her.
Are you still working on Imbuing?
Yeah. I want to make a new sword, so I've still got a little work to do. Putting the finishing touches on, and...
Nice. Looks like my skills are still fine after all this time. Escha, I'm going to go and get something to eat from Duke's. I'm getting hungry. You should get started on your own work. The Maintenance Division really needs those connectors. See you later.
I think I've made a lot of progress today. Maybe I should take a little break. Oh! That's right... Maybe I'll try to bake that cake recipe that Clone gave me the other day. I'm sure Logy will come back while it's baking... Maybe Miss Marion and Linca will be back, too! Okay, it might be a little big, but I'm gonna do it!
Uh-oh... Maybe I made a little too much. Well, it's always better to have too much cake than not enough! And to top it off...
That was a lot of work. Good thing I got some food from Duke's or I couldn't have helped Marion.
Don't worry, it was nothing. Let's get back to the Atelier and see how Escha's doin--
Wha--what on earth?
Um... What is this?
What the heck are you doing, Escha?
T-This is, um... Well, what happened is... I-It's not what you think!
And how could it not be what we think?
I was just going to taste it before you showed up, you know, to make sure it was good... But it ended up being a lot bigger than I thought, so... I figured I needed to have a bigger taste...
Just stop. I can't bear to listen to any more of your logic.
Isn't that a bit much for "just a taste"?
I-I'm so sorry! Before I knew it, I'd eaten it! I can't believe I ate almost the whole thing! I wanted to share it with everyone, too... Ahhhhhhh...!
Y-Yeah, don't worry about it.
B-But I shouldn't be so greedy, right? It was just so delicious, I-I... Oh, I know! I'll make another one right now, and we can all eat that one together!
You're going to have even more... Maybe you should call it quits on cake for today.
A-Anyway, break time's over! Time to get back to work, you two.
O-Okay... I'll stop for today.
*sigh* Let's get this place cleaned up. We can't do any work like this.
It did look pretty tasty, though. The next time you bake one, save a bit for me, okay?
Yes, absolutely! Next time, we'll all eat it together!
How did she bake that cake...? And where did she find the ingredients?
I know, I know, but once I started I just couldn't stop. I love baking so much!
...Clearly. It's just...you should be careful not to get carried away in the future. I know I can't stop your love of sweets, but it would be a big help to me and Marion if you could keep it under control while you're working.
*sigh* I know, I'm sorry...
You don't have to apologize to me. Anyway, I wouldn't mind if you did make that cake again. Just...smaller. I'm sure Marion would like it, too.
Really? It's a promise, then!
(That cake did look really tasty.)
Man that bomb looks powerful. We'll need to make this one as soon as possible. Escha, let's get started on those two delivery assignments. I think we've got enough Distilled Water and glass materials now. We don't need to make new items, actually. All the Glass Cores we picked up should count.
Yes. Do you have business with Marion?
We were going to have her check something, but she doesn't seem to be around.
Marion's out for a meeting. She said to leave anything on her for her desk. If you have a lot of documents for her, I could help you carry them.
That sounds like work we should be doing.
Not at all. The only work I can do here in the office is carrying stuff around. If you two do those jobs too, I won't have anything to do.
Now that you mention it, I don't think I've ever seen you writing up any paperwork, Linca.
I have a hard time making out small letters... And it's hard to figure out what sentences mean. I can stay up all night on guard duty, but when I start trying to read papers I fall right to sleep.
(How does that happen...?)
I know what you mean. Reading the same things over and over again just gets so old.
So you aren't very good with paperwork... I guess that doesn't leave you with much to do in town.
...So it really isn't good that I can't handle writing documents while I work here. Even if something about your paperwork bothers you, there's nothing I can do to help...
That's not true. Besides, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
Even if someone pushes herself to do something she's not good at, she wouldn't get good results. Thus, avoiding work you aren't good at maximizes your efficiency for all the things you are good at...
No, wait. You should try to reduce the number of weaknesses you have. We didn't have enough people here before, but now that you two are here, I can leave all that to you.
Thank you very much. I think I've found a solution to my problems, thanks to you!
What, really? That's good...
From now on, I will only contribute to the Development Division by doing work I'm suited to.
O-Okay. I understand...
I'm not sure if what she's saying makes a whole lot of sense... Do you think she'll be okay?
I'm not sure... Don't you find Linca a little strange?
Well, her sword-swinging skills are so effective, but she can't even write very well? How does something like that happen? I can understand not being able to write reports well, especially with Solle around, but Linca seems...different somehow.
Maybe she didn't go to school. She could have spent her whole time practicing.
Well, that's a possibility, but... Something about her just seems strange to me. Maybe it's my imagination.
Logy, I want to talk with Threia about something. Go back inside the Hall!
It's Girl Talk. You can't listen to it. It's nothing important. I just wanted to talk to her about something.
You are the strangest person I've ever met. Okay, okay.
Oh, excuse me, I didn't notice... Can I help you?
Huh? Oh, umm... I was just thinking that you're really gorgeous, Threia.
Wow, that's the first time anyone's complimented me like that... Thank you.
Huh!? No one's ever said anything like that to you!? I wouldn't have expected that.
Don't be so surprised. I think it's rare for someone to be able to pay a compliment to someone's face. Also, you're very kind to compliment me, but I think you're quite cute yourself.
No. In fact, I can't even remember the last time a man approached me for something not work-related.
Ahaha, now I think you're just exaggerating. Everyone's probably too intimidated to say so.
I generally stay indoors and read in my free time. Id on't go out on the town often. In fact, I don't interact with others taht much, now that I think about it... It can be such a pain. It's so tiring to speak to others, and worry about their needs... If I could just stay at home all day, I would.
Huuuuuuuuuh!? That's such a waste, though! Wouldn't you get lonely?
Not to mention that because of my thesis, I don't have time to talk to others.
I think the problem is more than just your work. You'll have more fun if you just talk to people!
Yes, yes, yes, Marion doesn't let a day go by without yelling at me to get out more. I AM trying... Don't you have a nice little boyfriend or two in this town? Maybe you could introduce me?
Umm... When you put it like that, I don't think there's anyone I would think of that way...
Haha, I'm just kidding. If you really do have a friend like that, give him to Marion instead of me. She needs a man more than I do. She never learned how to talk to people so she throws herself at her job.
Oh, is that how it works...? W-Well, I'll make sure to remember that... But, Miss Marion looks like she loves her work, too! Maybe she'll get married to work, like you...?
Just don't say that where she can hear you. I think it would be something of a shock to her.
Hmm, maybe she and Marion are friends... They seem to have similar views on life. I hope I can get to know Miss Threia better. She's so smart and beautiful... I hope I can be like her someday. Oh! I should let Logy know that I'm done talking.
So what did you and Threia talk about?
Hehe, it's a secret.
Haha, okay, I won't ask again. By the way, didn't an official at the town entrance want some materials?
Whew, just enough.The water should help the desert village get back some of their water.
And that's the second delivery we needed to do. That was pretty easy.
So what's the current state?
I-I can't tell you! You guys! Please, help me out here!
It should be obvious. I'm researching the history of magic, and its practitioners. To think that it really exists... Once word of this spreads, it will shock the scientific community.
I! TOLD! YOU! It's all a secret, so I can't tell you!
Threia, please stop. Wilbell's helping us, and putting her trust in us. You can't go spreading rumors about this!
Aren't you the least bit interested? This could be the breakthrough of the century.
I understand where you're coming from, Threia, but aren't you being extremely rude to Wilbell? If this information gets out, it would be troublesome for Wilbell's associates as well.
I... I didn't know you were so thoughtful...
Also, she's bad enough at keeping secrets already. We should be doing all we can to minimize the damage.
Hey! I... Yeah, you're probably right.
Hehe, at least she knows.
...I apologize. I wasn't being considerate. We really should avoid publicizing this.
Though, would it be okay to ask you some things on a personal level?
Well, I suppose I could tell you just a little...
Really? Then tell me too, please!
Hmm... No, I can't tell you. You'd probably blab everything to Logy.
Aww, no fair...
Well, that really is your own fault. Although I know a lot, thanks to you.
You aren't interested yourself? Not in things like magical techniques or technical details...?
No, not really. Why, are you offering to teach me?
Hmph... Showing no interest like that is annoying in its own right.
Um... So, is this supposed to be a secret or isn't it!? It's getting hard to tell.
...I wouldn't worry about it too much, Escha. I doubt Wilbell knows, either.