Part 14: Chapter XII: The Ambitious Project and Plan
What's the matter, Logy? R&D is going to do something incredible!
Huh? Oh, it's just... No, never mind. It's just, everyone was so happy to accept the job of going to the Unexplored Ruins, without realizing just how hard that's going to be. Even the best airships in Central City would have a hard time doing that, and we only have a worn-down blimp.
I know, but that's why everyone wants to try. If we can find the right materials, make the right items, and work with the other departments, I'm sure we can do it!
This is a lot different than anything we've ever tried...
So do you not want to try? That's why Colseit is even here!
Of course I'm fascinated by the Ruins, but the scale of this task is incredible. But okay, I'll do my best to help you as long as you think you can do it, Escha.
Of course! As long as you try, you can do anything!
(I wish I could still believe that...)
Um, okay... What is it?
According to official documents, the goal of Development is to recreate technology from the past?
That sounds about right.
However, you actual duties seem to encompass a much wider variety of activities. Investigating ruins, assisting with supplies... Aren't these tasks the purview of other departments?
Well, yes, but we're all short-handed here, so we need to do a lot of different jobs.
Even the Maintenance Division does repair work on buildings. I know we could be segmenting our work but...
I see... I understand the situation, but it is quite troublesome. It's impossible for me to verify irregularities if they are simply stated as necessities for a task.
Oh... So you're saying it would be easy to lie in our reports, then?
It wouldn't be reason enough to change the organization structure, either. It's quite a situation.
Indeed... Well, how about this?
...What!? How does that help with anything?
I shall use you as an example of how departments perform work outside of their stated duties. Then I shall compare your work with the paperwork submitted, and use it as a basis for future audits.
Is it really okay for you to use our department for such an important decision...?
I see no issues, as long as you wish to cooperate. Or are you trying to hide something from me?
N-No, it's nothing like that, but...
...I understand. But you should know that we do leave the town on investigations, too. We end up in combat with monsters quite often. Will you be all right?
There's absolutely nothing to worry about. Despite my appearance, I have extensive combat training.
Is it the same rose, or does he have a lot of different roses under that cape?
...The words of my teacher, also a master martial artist. I shall devote my strength to your cause.
I-Is that so...? Well, thanks...
He might be helpful, but he's going to be watching us. We have to make sure we don't make him mad at us...
Logy, I'm kind of scared I'll make a mistake on an investigation and make Micie mad...
I know how you feel, but it might not be as bad as we think. He has a lot of work to do in town, and hopefully won't follow us everywhere. But, the most important part is just doing our work well. That way he can't get mad at us.
Yeah, you're right. Anyway, Logy, can we head back to the desert? I heard there were Golden Rats living there, and maybe they're holding one of the best alchemy materials: the Golden Apple. We need to start getting ready.
I guess we can stop by, since we have to head back to the Abandoned River to complete the investigation, anyway...
You beat deadline. I give you bonus. More than usual.
It's so weird to hear Solle talking like that...
Yeah...this is a side of Solle I haven't seen very much.
Thank you, Solle. Everyone, happy.
It's not that bad. In the beginning, it was an uphill battle trying to understand each other. RIght now, I'm able to communicate with them using simple words and grammar.
Um... It looks to me like their way of talking rubbed off on you...?
That may be true... But I confess, their way of speaking actually makes a lot of sense to me. Apparently, I have the tendency to hurt other people when I express myself with too many words. By remaining terse ands speaking as a homunculus does, I feel that it helps me get along with others.
In other words, you knew that you were being harsh? Why not just go easier on other people?
It's just in my nature, I suppose. But I wouldn't have to resort to that if people didn't make errors.
...Sorry, I take that back.
In any case, the bottom line is that once you learn how to speak with them, it's not that difficult. Some people say they're not great around the homunculi, but I think they have many lovable qualities.
Still, isn't it a lot of work to bring candy for them every day?
Well, that's one area where my hobbies have a practical use... So it really isn't much trouble. Not to mention that I get to eat whatever's left over myself... So the arrangement has its benefits.
I see... That does sound like a pretty sweet deal.
Ugh, Logy... Anyway, I'm so jealous. Maybe I should try your work someday, Mr. Solle.
Oh, would you like to? It would actually be a great help. Why don't we start in a few days?
Before thinking about food, I suggest you review the budget schedule for each division.
And then, go through the branch's budget, and determine how much must be allocated to each division. We'll have to go through all the requests from the townspeople as well, and allocate the workload.
Huuuuh!? I can't possibly do all of that...!
Actually, I'm amazed you have time to make snacks after all that work...
Once you get used to it, it's not that bad. And, I am exaggerating just a little bit... When you're able to do all of that perfectly, then you can interact with the homunculi. Now, Miss Escha... Should we get you ready to take on some of my work...?
Waaaah! I'm so sorry. I was joking... I was joking! So, please, don't get anything ready!
Miss Marion has quite a bit of work, but Solle is on a different playing field altogether...
Solle is always kind of mean, but it's incredible how much he does for the town.
Yeah, he does. Considering how much work he does for the branch, and for Central's management of this area, he could be the most important part of the staff here. So, we should learn to work with him better.
Yeah, this is a Divine Jar. It looks small, but it has an incredible amount of water in it. So much water that it can hurt anything really hard, just from the amount of water. It's a really magical item...I'm not even really sure how it works.
Honestly, this is kind of why I like the more practical alchemy Central uses. I just like knowing how and why things work.
I just finished making a new sword for Linca. This was a little tricky, but...
Whoa... This is huge...!
Yeah, I thought Linca was joking at first, but she said she likes her swords really big. It was so huge, it was nearly impossible to make adjustments to...and the weight...
You mean Linca always swings something like this around? She's so skinny! How can she even lift a huge weapon like this?
I want to say it's because she works out, but... Then again, this goes way beyond simple workouts...
But with something like this, I can see how she fights those huge monsters!
The weapon's sheer mass makes it a thing to fear... Of course it's powerful. Still, I think finesse counts for something. I'd make it a little smaller, and sharpen the edge...
D-Don't do that, Logy! This is one of those cases where size matters! It's so much cooler this way.
It seems to me Linca uses a weapon like this because it fits her simple nature. If she could take advantage of some of the latest sword fighting technology, she'd be a lot more effective with a big sword like this, and she'd probably be a lot faster.
Ummm... Let me put it this way, Logy! Would you rather eat a big cake, or a small cake?
What does cake have to do with this!?
It's obvious, duh! You want the larger cake!
I'd rather eat the one that tastes better, regardless of which cake is bigger.
Oh, uh... You have a point. The better-tasting one is more enjoyable.
Again, what does any of htis have to do with Linca's sword...?
I just think it looks cooler!
Oh boy...anyway, it doesn't look quite right yet...I think I can improve the design a bit before I give it to Linca.
Empty Cores are great for alchemy. We should collect as many of them as possible in the future.
Much better. Take a look at this, Escha.
Wow! I feel like that could cut you just by looking at it.
I still say Linca should use a smaller weapon, but I think she'll be happy with something. I made a copy of it with the Wind elements that were in the synthesis. I can give one to Linca, and keep the other one here for improvements later on.
Still making swords, Logy?
Yeah. I'm just finishing up.
This is Micie's sword, isn't it? Why doesn't it snap snce it's so skinny?
This sword is designed for thrusting, not for slicing.
Oooooooh, I see. So different swords have different techniques, huh? That explains why the tip's pointy. Doesn't this make it really hard to fight monsters with a tough outer shell, though?
A good swordsman using a sword like this would targer the weaker soft spots, like a joint. Evidently, it's more effective in certain situations, but it takes a real master to use it that well.
Wow, that sounds really difficult. Do you mean that you can't use this kind of sword, Logy?
Micie must really be something else if he can use this sword, huh?
Yeah, only a real professional could use a weapon like this effectively. It's not popular, because it requires so much training to use, but it has its advantages. He may look like a child, but he's definitely quite skilled.
That's for the Lava Cube recipe, right?
Yeah, it's an incredibly powerful bomb that can generate an intense amount of heat. It's like the Divine Jar, except even more powerful. So, we need a really powerful Bomb.
Hey Escha, can I borrow your staff for a while?
I wanted to improve it a little. Don't worry, it won't take a long time.
Okay, Logy. Just be careful.
Of course. Why don't you get something to eat at Duke's? This shouldn't take very long.
Yeah. Try holding it for me.
Oh! Did you do something to it?
What do you think? Does it feel easier to use now?
Yes, it's perfect! I'm impressed, Logy!
Heh, I was worried you were going to tear my head off about it not being the way it used to be.
Aww, do I look that selfish to you?
Is that all you want out of it, though? I could make it even easier to use in combat for you...
It's fine. It'll be difficult to wield if it's too bulky. Besides, it looks cuter this way!
Cuter...? What about efficiency?
Well, as long as I can use it, I suppose it doesn't really matter what it looks like.
Ah, okay. I guess I didn't have to make it look so nice, then...
Y-Your Logy Staff...? What does that even mean?
Ahhhh! I mean, I mean, it's the staff I thought you thought I'd like!
I see... It sounded like you were going to use that staff just to smack me around with.
Now, you know I'd never do that...! (Where would he get an idea like that? I can't guess what Logy is thinking sometimes.)
Alright, this is the last thing we have to make for the assignment.
Oh, I think it's much more than just an average lump of metal on a stick.
...He's always just called it a hammer. I remember when he came over to our house with that big thing on his shoulder and fixed our leaky roof.
I'm surprised he didn't smash the ceiling in...
And Brother's really good at making furniture and stuff. He built my bookshelf, and my desk, and everything. He did it really fast, too!
He built a bookshelf with this thing!? That definitely sounds like fiction.
Hahaha, I guess he was just a really dexterous guy.
You know... I don't think it's a matter of dexterity. He should be using the proper equipment. You know the saying about there being a proper tool for every job? This certainly isn't for building.
B-But, you know he's on the Maintenance crew, right? Maybe everyone over there is like this. And they have to build huge blimps and everything. Doesn't it make sense to have a huge hammer?
Alright, I'm ready to go. Make sure you have everything. This might be a long journey.
S-Sorry we're late, Mr. Micie...
I don't mind. There's never any harm in being thorough when making your preparations.
I'm glad you say that...
However, it cannot be an excuse for tardiness. Had you properly prepared beforehand, you would have been here on time. Learn from this.
Ugh... There's not much I can say to argue with that.
You're way more reliable than us, Micie. That's amazing.
...Your compliment delights me, but are you really content with that? I lack experience in outdoor activities such as this. I only know what I was taught. I was hoping you would be able to help me, but...is that acceptable to you?
O-Of course! Leave the investigations to us!
We might not always be punctual, but we'll work hard. If there's anything you aren't sure of, just ask. Though, I think you already know more than us.
I'm relieved to hear you say that. I shall be most studious.
So why are we going to the desert, again?
Golden Rats! They've been seen in the Plains Brook. They're very rare, and supposed to carry a Golden Apple in their belly. If we can get that, I'm sure it'll be of great use in synthesis alchemy.
Escha, we've been searching for a long time, and we haven't found anything. I've never even heard of a Golden Rat, anyway.
Shhh! Don't say that, Logy! I can see some on the other side of the river. Let's sneak up on them...
The golden hamsters
Whoa, they're real.
I can just smell those Apples! Let's get them!
Heh heh, we found some Golden Apples! These are incredibly useful in alchemy, Logy. I can't wait to show you.
I'm looking forward to it. Anyway, let's head back to the Abandoned River.
Oh! I found some Pale Clay. It's a synthesis item that can be used in a lot of recipes, but it's kind of low quality, usually...
We really need to finish the investigation around here. We were only here for a little while, and took out that slag.
I can't remember what we were supposed to do here, though...
Did you say something, Escha?
Oh, no, it's nothing.
Alright, we've completed the survey, but I just can't help feeling we forgot something...
Another big stipend. We should go see if there's any good R&D experiments we should invest in.
This looks great! And it's pretty cheap, too. Anything to make my alchemy more efficient is a good idea. I still feel like I'm still being kind of inefficient when I do alchemy.
I don't know if I would say that, but it is a good thing to keep researching. I'm still learning new things when I Imbue, too.
This is okay, too, right? We're starting to make really powerful items, so I need to study even harder.
I have no problem with that.
OH! Brother is back to work on the Docks. I don't know what he was doing for a long time, but I saw him earlier today in town. We should go tell him about what we talked about with the airship.
Oh brother... Okay, okay.
Machines that can reach the sky
Escha started it... Marion just ran with the idea.
Brother, we want an airship that can take us to the Unexplored Ruins...
It's impossible. The turbulence is too unpredictable. The airship will be smashed to bits in midair.
Aww... I had a bad feeling about that. What if we modified it?
No, it's not a matter of modifications. I'm afraid that a blimp simply can't make it there.
Just making sure... No one can even get close to that thing, right? There are just too many obstacles, and the craft won't survive. That's what I've been told.
Yeah... It's a strange story, and I have no idea where it even came from.
Did you think of something, Logy?
A blimp...isn't stable or rigid enough. Is there any way to overcome those problems?
No, there isn't. The only airships we have available are... ...Oh, you're right! There are dreadnaughts now! One of those can probably make it.
Dreadnaughts? It's possibly the epitome of modern technology and alchemy, with a hardened hull. It's dense enough to survive the wind and the rubble. One of them's our best bet of reaching the Ruins.
Th-That's amazing! If we can get one of these here, we'd be able to make it there right away!
Well... I don't know if that's an option. Only a few have been built, and Central's researching them. Not to mention the dangers in manufacturing one... You can't simply pick one up and go.
Aw... It was a great idea, I thought...
Really!? So if we try really really hard, we might be able to build one ourselves!?
...Wait a second. Are you serious? That's impossible. It's too dangerous!
Don't you want to try it? Let's take on the challenge of building a dreadnaught!
Nothing will come of taking on an impossible task. We should think of another way to get there.
Don't worry, you'll have my full support. It's not every day you get to do something this interesting. I'll run it by Heizman; I'm sure he'll be happy to contribute. And I'll gather some Maintenance guys.
Really? Brother, you're the best!
Ugh... I guess there's no convincing these two. This is gonna be one hell of a ride.
Hahaha... Sorry, Logy, but I truly believe we can make this happen!
Now that that's settled, we need to start gathering materials for the ship's frame...a lot of 'em.
...And then gas to fill the ship. WIthout that, we won't get off the ground. That'll require alchemy. I don't know how to make that, and even if I knew the steps, I don't know if I could create it.
S-Still, we have to try our best! We've grown a bit too, you know?
Fine... But first, let's start by doing what we can! (Building an airship... This is going to be so exciting!)
How much Wood do you think Maintenance will need to start, Logy?
10 [Wood] items should be enough to start building the frame. That's a lot of lumber to get Maintenance started on working on the airship. Though, I don't know how big Central is making them, but that's okay. We just need something strong enough to make it through the rubble and debris surrounding the Unexplored Ruins.
Hmm...it'll take a few days then to gather all the materials.
But even if we do build the ship, we still need a way to make it get off the ground. I don't know how we're going to do that.
Yeah...I don't know about anything that would help move something really heavy off the ground.
Well, there is something from Katla I'd like to ask her about. It caught my eye last time we were here, and I do have to ask her about it while we're here.
Hm? What is it? Please, ask me anything...
That old book... You haven't sold it yet? I'm actually a little curious about it.
What, this? My, you've got fine taste, don't you, Logy? My father found this book in some ruins...but I left it here because I don't know what to make of it. Why are you curious about it now? It's been here for a while.
We're trying to build a new airship right now... Maybe there's some relevant information in that book.
If that's the case, I suppose I could let you have a little peek. Here you go!
Well, Logy? Is there anything we can use in there?
I knew it! It's a book on alchemy. It shows how to create the gas that will lift even the dreadnaught.
Really!? So, with that book, we'll be able to make the materials we need?
It should. I need to take a closer look at it, though... (Damn...I shouldn't have said that out loud with Katla nearby...)
...Huh? Is this something that we can use?
Katla, can we buy this right away!? We'll pay for it.
Well, well, well... If it's that important, then surely it should fetch a pretty penny...
Wh-What's that supposed to mean?
Well then... How about THIS much!?
Whaaaaaa? That's too expensive!
Well, it's pretty valuable, isn't it? I need to charge at least this much.
Is your bottom line the only thing you care about!?
Hmm... What should we do...? It's so expensive.
What was I thinking? How could we come up with this much money!?
Hehehehe, is that so? Well, I'm afraid we'll have to pretend this conversation never happened...
Aww... What should we do, Logy?
I shouldn't have let Katla know how valuable that book was to what we're trying to do.
Awww...is there anything we can do?
100,000 Cole is outrageous. There's no way she'll be able to sell it at that price. If we wait, she'll probably drop the price so she can at least get some money out of it. We just have to be patient for now.
Oh, that's what I forgot! Man...
Wh-What is it!?
We had to defeat a Mist Element at the Abandoned River's waterfall to complete this task. I totally forgot...we have to head back there to finish this up.
We'd better get ready, then...
Well, at least we finished it. I think there's a path at the far end. Want to go check it out?
Wha--? This is...
A homunculus village!
Look how tiny the houses are! Ahhhh, this is too cute!
This is a really interesting find. I bet even Solle doesn't know this is here. Oh, and I bet the homuculi were the ones leaving those barrels and boats around the river.
Yeah. We need to come back here all the time!
Heh...I don't know about that, but let's head back to town. I'm sure we have a lot to do after we report our success here.
Hmm, just like I thought. Let's see, we have...
- Make a Tarot of Fate
- One Traveler's Ration or five Five Grain Flour bags to the official at the town entrance.
- Deliver [Antiques], Abrasives, or Dowsing Rods to the homunculi.
- Equip a Dowsing Rod and return to town.
- Disassemble a Lava Cube.
- Make a Lava Cube with the Falling Stars effect.
- Defeat the Carrier slag in the Southern Ruins.
You still have those Traveler's Rations, right?
Yeah, but...shouldn't we keep it for our adventures?
Well, you can always ask the homunculi to reproduce it, and then give the one you have to the official. As long as the homunculi know what to reproduce, you can get it back later. Looks like these rations are bound for the desert village, so...
Oh...yeah, they need it more than we do right now.
There we go.
We have enough Abrasives, too. That's two down!
We definitely need to buy this book. There's a lot of interesting recipes in there. At least she's not selling it for 100,000 Cole...
It should be a lot easier to find amazing relics with this. Who knows what incredible things we'll discover? I'm getting excited just thinking about it!
You should get started on the Lava Cube next. I'm really interested to see more magical alchemy.
Okay! I need to make some better Neutralizers first. The Black Neutralizer uses the heavy elements, and the White Neutralizer uses the light elements. Maybe there's a way to combine them.
Oh, you made a new catalyst for me? Thanks, Escha.
Yeah! This one's great. It slows down the monsters, and draws out their strength and adds it to your own. This should be much better!
A Tarot of Fate, huh? I've never even heard of something like this.
Tarot cards are for telling the future. I think this card can make lucky things happen more often. I don't really know.
Wow...the Lava Cube is even more amazing than I thought. It's a condensed ball of pure fire that can set fire to anything. It's incredibly powerful.
Sounds like it, but...did you remember to get the Falling Stars effect?
Sure I did! Um...uh...I must've forgot...
Well, you can always make one for me, right?
Sure... Just don't let me forget. I'm sorry...
Well the homunculi are gathering more Phlogiston for us. Why don't we head to the Southern Ruins and take out that slag?
I've never seen that red slag before, but they don't seem very strong.
Wow, that is incredible. And it throws up so much magma that the effect repeats. This should be incredibly useful.
I'm using the Dowsing Rod. We should find much better relics now!
Oh, just a bomb? That's a little disappointing...
Hmm...something seems different about this one. Let's make sure to put it into the Dismantler when we get back.
I've never seen this material before...I guess we did find something really good.
Hey Logy, want to try asking Katla about the book again? Maybe the price has dropped.
That's a good idea.
About that book that tells you how to fly... Since you both seemed so interested in it, I decided to give you a discount...
(That didn't take long.)
Hey, maybe we'll be able to afford it now! How much is it?
What would you say to THIS much!? You can't turn it down, can ya?
I saw this coming, but...you did drop it by quite a bit.
It's still very expensive, though... What should we do?
What choice do we have? Sorry, I can't afford it, even at this price.
I see... Still too expensive, huh...?
I don't think anyone would buy it unless you lower the price some more.
Hmm... You can't fool me, you know! I know this book's worth a ton!
...You'll probably lower the price again. I think we'll have to watch and wait for you to do that.
Katla shouldn't be so stubborn.
Well, when it comes to Katla, it sounds about right, but yeah...we have enough things to buy without paying so much for a single book. We'll just have to keep an eye on her inventory.