Part 15: Chapter XIII: The Abyssal Depths and Graveyard
Finding a Lava Cube to disassemble...the assignment said to go to the Abandoned River, but I don't know where it could be.
Yeah, I don't know where to start.
Escha, stop. There's something at your feet. It looks...
Like a Lava Cube! Wow, that was lucky.
Yeah. At least we found it in time. Wanna head back now?
17 days left, and we finished the last task. That was pretty close, but at least we're done.
This should be the last book. I need to do more research to make better items.
Logy, while we're in town, do you want to give the wood to the Maintenance Division? It's been a little while since we asked Brother about it.
Yeah...let's take care of it. Awin should have had plenty of time by now to run it by Heizman (hopefully he was against it).
The construction begins
Hm... This should be plenty for what we're doing. Let's try and build that.
I've been meaning to ask you... Can you even design a dreadnaught? I don't want to rain on your parade, but... It's better to know now, rather than learn it later.
Heh, I'm glad you asked. Y'know, I've admired airship design since I was a kid... I've mocked some up.
Wow! You studied the engineering all on your own?
Yeah, I thought that if I understood hwo to build an airship with my own hands, I could go a lot farther. With that in mind, I'm happy these designs got to see the light of day again.
I...I see. That's impressive, but do we have the manpower? Maintenance is spread pretty thin as it is.
Y'see... Heizman's all for it. He said, "How can I turn down this chance of a lifetime?" So, he worked with Marion to talk to Colland. We don't have to worry about labor or budgets.
You've already done that much...? This has really gotten out of hand.
I see... Thank you, Brother, for coming on board such a reckless project.
Cut that out. We haven't done anything yet, and there's no guarantee that it'll work.
He's right. We haven't worked out all the kinks. I think we need to work with some more caution...
I agree. We'll be careful with the process. We don't want anyone getting injured on this quest. Nevertheless, I'm pretty impressed about your knowledge of airships. Have you studied them?
Y-Yeah... I was interested in them. A while ago.
Whoa, that's so cool, Logy! You learned all that just because it interested you?
We're building a prototype right now. We'll bring it over when it's done. Start looking forward to it!
Good luck with your work, Brother! We'll keep gathering more materials for you, too!
So did you study airships in Central City, Logy?
Uh, yeah...it was a hobby more than anything. Whenever I had some free time, I researched airship design on my own. I didn't get the chance to leave my atelier very often, so it was the only-
Hello, Mr. Harry. What are you doing?
I'm making some purchases to prepare for an adventure. I prefer to oversee these things myself.
So why did you decide to become an adventurer, Harry? I know you've said that you search for strange things...
A very good question! I owe thanks to certain twists of fate, and to my own curiosity. Let's just say that I'm currently writing a sequel to my book, recounting my various adventures.
...So it's to write a book?
You wrote a book, Mr. Harry? I wonder what kind of book it is...
Oh, I've actually written a number of books, but this will be my greatest compilation yet. My goal is to write a grand travelogue of the various unexplored regions of the world. It will be the only book of its kind in the world! I call it "From the Wilderness"!
That sounds wonderful! It would be totally unique!
(Escha is impressed pretty easily...) Well, he's still writing it, so of course it would be unique.
I really want to read it! Can I read what you have so far, Harry? Just a little?
If I were to stop writing, it would likely take me another...oh, three years or so to complete.
No way... Okay, I'll wait for now.
My apologies, but a book shines brightest when it is complete. It's rare to find a devoted fan. It's very valuable, but...I'm doing this for you. I swear you will be the first to read my book!
Really!? I'm so looking forward to it!
...This isn't good. I need to come up with more ideas, and quickly.
Hm? Harry, did you say something?
N-No, nothing. Don't you worry about anything at all.
Now, I suppose I should get to finishing my book. Things will get quite busy now!
What are you doing, making things like that, Escha?
Oh, the Crystal Balls...they're really magical items. I've heard some people use them to see the future, but I've never seen anything. Anyway, it's a really powerful item, and some people pay a lot of money for these kinds of things. I should keep them somewhere safe.
I see... Anyway, Escha, I've been keeping track of your progress, and it looks like you're about ready to attempt all the major alchemy skills that were written in your mother's book.
I'm not saying it's not a good idea to learn how the homunculi think so you can make them work on more items at once, but try not to get too carried away with reading that book in your free time.
Heh heh, we'll see!
These Crystal Rings will give anyone who wears them an incredible amount of power. It should really help!
Ugh...what a pain.
Wilbell asked me to tinker with it a little and see if I can make some adjustments.
Huh? When did you talk to her?
A few weeks ago, I guess. You asked me to get some alchemy materials from Katla and I saw her in town. Anyway... It's actually harder than it looks to make a broom according to specs.
Wow, that's unexpected. I thought it would be pretty easy to make a broom.
I think it's weird that you can use one as a weapon in the first place... Plus, she asked me to make it "easier to ride". How the hell would I know what that means?
Hahaha, that's not just something you can look up, I guess.
...That's a good point. I don't know how changing a broom affects its magical properties.
Maybe it helps with the magician's concentration, or something, like my staff!
I get the feeling that it's not quite the same, but then again I don't really understand mages.
Hmm... I've read a lot of stories that had witches in them, and they always used brooms, too. Maybe Wilbell wants to be like the great witches of old!
Hmm...that's not a bad idea. Wilbell just likes showing off she's a witch, so that's likely. Well, it's basically worthless to me, since I don't understand anything about magic. I'll give it to her when I see her next.
Well, we only have a week left. Why don't we gather some more basic materials in Twilight Forest before the assignment ends?
Good idea! I don't have anything I need to make right now, either.
I wish we didn't have to worry about powerful slags attacking everywhere we go, though...
Do you see that shiny stone with all the colors of the rainbow? That's an Aurora Stone! If you use it in a weapon, it'll get so much more powerful!
Uhh...okay. I'll keep that in mind, thanks.
Alright, that's the end of another assignment. I really wish we could have done something for the village, but...
Yeah, me too, but maybe Central can send some more people to help...
R&D's staffed up, and we have a lot of consultants working with us... It's getting pretty lively here.
That's true. I guess our division can finally operate at its full potential. I'm quite glad of that. Things were really difficult until you came, you know? I had to go out on investigations on my own.
You did all that yourself? Wow, that sounds pretty dangerous.
Why, I'm insulted. I do believe I could best the both of you in a match, if we had one...
R-Really...? I thought you were more into paperwork, and less into, y'know...moving.
At times, the paperwork is tougher than your average monster. No matter how I fight, it never stops.
You do have a lot of work, boss... I know that feeling.
I suppose I've been a desk jockey for too long. Maybe I need to get out there and back into the groove.
Yes... And if you don't exercise, you'll start gaining weight, too. Hahaha...
I think you're blowing this out of proportion.
Anyway, let's talk about your performance over the last period... Good work. You determined the cause of the drought, and our manager's increased our staff to investigate.
I'm sorry, I think we could have done a better job, but...
No, you were very thorough. On top of that, you completed a few side tasks as well. You did your best. The villagers to the north have decided to leave, but with all your hard work, they're coming around...
Really...? If that's the case, then I guess that's okay.
But I confess I'm surprised that you two would be able to defeat such a large monster.
It was a pretty difficult fight. I'm glad we came out on top.
That critter's been tearing up crops in the region. It wasn't your mission, but you did good.
I see... Well, I wasn't expecting to be helpful in such a strange way.
Very well, I'll now give you this period's assignment.
("Slag Graveyard?" Never heard of it.) Ruins...? What kind of place are we going to next?
A place so full of slags, apparently, that the excavation isn't making any progress at all. This is why they've requested assistance from our division, which also has some combat prowess.
Hmm... So we have to go fight the slags, too? That sounds kind of difficult.
Yes, according to the information, there are eyewitness accounts of a humongous slags.
That's a little troubling... We should probably defeat, too, I suppose?
If it's possible, then I recommend it. But, please, the priority is on your safety above all. Just focus on your main task. You can worry about the giant slag once you've completed it.
Got it! So for now, we just need to help the investigation!
Wow, we've already done a lot...
Yeah. We could complete this assignment really quick. Anyway, we should probably head out to town and check up on everyone.
But we still cannot capture this man? What a fearsome opponent.
What's the matter, Micie? Why the long face?
I was looking at the most recent list of wanted criminals from Central City.
Wanted criminals...? That sounds scary...
Don't worry. This town is quite safe and orderly. There is no need to fear. That said, criminals do tend to have hideouts far away from Central City. I suggest exercising caution.
A hideout, huh? I suppose it's possible in this remote region... Who's the most dangerous, Micie?
(I never thought I'd have to hear that name again...)
I see... Silver hair and a mustache. And he smokes cigarettes? I haven't seen anyone like that.
Well, that's good. It would be a disaster if we happened to find this man here.
Wow, is he that dangerous?
Destruction of property, graverobbing, and major damage to our institution of government. Despite having been on the Most Wanted list for quite some time, he never leaves a trail...never.
When you list out his crimes like that, it sounds pretty bad... But is he really as dangerous as that?
I'm not too sure about the details, but apparently he was involved in some important alchemical research. Though he hasn't harmed any people yet, this is an extremely dangerous individual.
I see... An alchemist criminal. That could be pretty troublesome.
This is a good learning experience... Maybe I should check the wanted list, too...
Please do. If you happen to find anything, please inform us. Do not take any actions on your own.
Oh, um, yes... Just around the corner. I was going to go gather some herbs.
Huh!? I-Isn't going by yourself pretty dangerous, Nio!?
I know there aren't many monsters this area, but it's still dangerous to wander around alone! Especially now that it's possible that criminals are hiding out in the area.
R-Really...? That's quite scary. Thank you for the warning. I'll be sure to be careful.
Yes, please exercise as much caution as you can.
Yes! Well then, I'll be back!
It's important for we inspectors to do our jobs thoroughly, for the safety of people like her.
You mean you have to go after criminals, too? That must be really tough for you, Micie...
Hm... If Keithgriff is doing alchemy, he might have lived in Central City at one time. Have you ever heard his name, Logy?
Yeah, I did. I've only heard about him from other people, though. He was a great researcher, but one day turned against his own research and destroyed a lot of alchemy equipment. He disappeared about 7 years ago, and he was heading east last time he was seen, but...no one's seen him since.
Nio's older sister is wanted by Central, too... I don't want to think she's a bad person, but I just hope no criminals come here to Colseit.
Another step forward
Wh-What's the matter? You look upset.
That book from the other day... Please, buy it. I set the price too high, and no one's willing to pay.
O-Oh, right... Well...
You should've given us a fair price from the beginning. How much is it this time?
Um... I'm going as low as I can here. It'll cost you this much.
That's a LOT cheaper... I think we can afford ths.
You sure you can't go any lower than that?
I really can't! Please, I've got to make a living here, too! Also, I do have another buyer lined up who's willing to pay a little more...
Really? Why don't you sell it to that person instead?
Uh... You said that you really need it, so I really want you to buy it. If you still don't want to buy it, I'm going to have to sell it to the other interested party...
What do you think, Escha?
Let's buy it! Katla needs to eat, too, and we need the book. 2000 is a much better price.
Yeah. And if that other person buys it, we may never see it again. Okay, it's a deal.
Okay, we'll buy it for that price. Thanks for saving it for us.
No, it's okay... It was my fault to begin with. Thank you very much for your purchase.
If you put a fair price on your goods, we'll buy them from you. I hope you've learned your lesson.
Ahaha... Yes, I'll be careful.
Now, let's get to reading this book!
Oh, I totally forgot!
Today's the day I promised to help Clone with the apple orchard! I was going to work with Nio to pick the year's apples.
Oh. Do you need my help?
Hm...I don't think so. You should probably bring that book back before I ruin by working. Oh, and I'll be gone all day, so feel free to grab something to eat, too.
Sounds like it's going to be a long day then. Okay, I'll speak to you tonight.
Yes, I'll do my best!
Oh, are you about to begin the harvest?
Yes. It's best to harvest the ripe ones while we still have time.
Do you want to help, Escha? I've never picked apples before, so it would be nice to have some advice.
Oh, of course... Actually, it's been a long time since I helped with a harvest, too.
Thank you. I'm looking forward to it.
Got it! So the red ones are ripe enough to eat?
Yes. It's fine if you only pick the ones you can reach. Don't push yourself.
Umm, so like this one? Yay, I got one!
Uh... That's not good, Nio.
What? But I did just like you said!
Yes, but you pulled out from the stem. It's going to slowly go bad from that spot now. When picking apples, be careful not to remove the stem, or bruise the fruits.
So that's what you need to do. THis is more difficult than it looks.
Don't worry. Just be careful to leave the stem, and do as I taught you.
This apple looks a little damaged, so what should I do with it?
You can pick those, too. They can still be processed, or used for cooking.
I see. Then I'll pick this, too. Oh, this one is big and red... Careful, careful... Yay, I got it!
I'll take the damaged ones first. Please continue your work.
...Clone, how did you manage to pick so many?
Clone is actually really good at picking apples...
Hmm... Well, I'm going to pick more than Clone!
What is it, Harry? Is something troubling you?
Yes. I'm actually having a hard time coming up with ideas for my book. I want more digression. Would you mind telling me a few things about this place? You don't seem to be from this area.
Yes. I was born and raised in a city far from here. This area is quite new to me. I think you would hear more from asking other people.
No, I'd prefer some additional viewpoints. Are there any customs or such that you find strange?
Let me think... Well, there aren't any schools around here. That was very surprising to learn.
"Schools"? Is that some sort of facility?
Well, the buildings are called schools. But i mean, there's no formal education system. Where I'm from, children enter schools, where they do things like study.
What? You're forced to enter studies at such an early age?
Yes. Once you've learned enough, you enter an occupation that makes use of what you studied.
"School..." Interesting. I could have used that!
What happened, Harry? Did I say something strange?
No, I just hadn't heard of any such thing. I was actually researching how to spread knowledge. I was wondering why my scholarly discoveries weren't acknowledge more widely in the world... If I could use these...schools...to spread the wonders of my book, so many more people would know me!
It may be worth introducing the concept to regions that don't have schools yet.
It's certainly something I would love to tell my homeland about. However, it's so far away... Could you give me a clearer explanation of them? I'd like to write a new book now.
Oh, oh dear, how could I forget! That should be my priority right now... To think an idea for a new chapter would become the nucleus for an entirely new book... This is a troubling decision. I wonder which I should focus on. Hm...
Don't you think you should finish the one you started on already? Concentrate on the other one later.
You're absolutely right, Logy. I'll do as you suggest and complete my current work. To think I would discover such a revolutionary idea in this quiet part of the world... How amazing!
I didn't think he'd get so excited over the concept of schools. Guess it's unheard of in some places. Alright, time to get back and start reading that book. Guess Escha isn't done yet.
Very good work. Thank you very much for your help today, Nio. I'll give you some fresh apples later, as thanks for today's work.
Um, Clone. What about mine...?
Oh, dear. Perhaps I'll make an apple tart for a change.
Wow, I haven't had one of your apple tarts in a long time! I'm glad I came to help, then.
Huh? Someone's knocking.
Mr. Ficsario, I presume? Do you have a moment?
Sure... What's the problem?
Has there been anything strange around you in the past few days?
Strange...? Not that I would say.
Something trivial, anything at all... Anything that you've noticed being unusual...
Well, if you really want to know... Escha made us some snacks the other day that were tastier than usual.
...That's not exactly what I was looking for.
Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.
...Lately, I've been hearing about a number of power struggles between the alchemists in Central Cty.
I've heard the rumors, too. What of them?
Mr. Ficsario, could your being stationed in this remote area be a result of one such grab for power?
Me? Hah... You're overthinking this.
So you say... You did receive your education in Central City, did you not? And yet, here you are, working far from civilization out on the frontier... It doesn't add up. I have an inclination to ascribe this to a great conspiracy...
You're being paranoid. The branch here was short-staffed. I went where I was needed. That simple.
I see... Perhaps it all takes place somewhere you cannot see.
Are you listening to a word I'm saying? Keep it up, and you will really get me angry.
Ah...! Excuse me. I think I've gotten ahead of myself. Let's both calm down a bit, shall we?
Listen, Micie... I volunteered to be stationed here. It wasn't an order from someone else. ...Besides, I'm getting used to life here, and it's not that bad. I don't plan to go back anytime soon.
I see... Well then, please forgive me. It would seem that I had been overthinking things a bit.
As long as you understand that.
As a token of apology, I would like to give you whatever aid I can in building your airship. I have some research material I was planning to use in my inspection at the R&D Division. It may be useful.
Now, if you'll excuse me. I hope that you can complete your airship.
Hey, wait--! Ugh... Damn... This could get really ugly. Well, I'll just have to see how things work out... Anyway, Escha still isn't back yet. Guess I should do a little cleaning.
Hey, Logy, are you still awake?
Yeah, I'm just finishing up. I put the book we got from Katla on the desk. I looked in it, and the recipe tells us how to make a Flight Gas Jar.
Yay! We're making progress!
There's a little problem, though...
We don't have the right ingredients... It's no big loss, anyway. We have an assignment we need to take care of. If we find the right ingredients, we'll make it.
Yeah. We should get ready to go.
Marion's map said the Slag Graveyard was about a three day flight in the balloon from the mountain atelier. So, that's a travel time of about a week. Flying a night is going to be a little strange, though.
D-D-D-Don't you think that there...might be something here, you guys?
Huuuuh? Wh-What do you mean!? Do you think something's here...!?
L-Like a ghost or something...
Eeeek! No, don't say that, Lucille! That's so scary, I don't wanna hear it!
...Sorry to interrupt you when you're busy scaring each other, but we need to keep moving.
Um, Logy... Aren't you s-s-scared, too?
But since they don't exist, why should I be afraid of them?
W-Well, that's easy for you to say...
B-But you're right. There's nothing scary about ghosts... Nothing scary... Nothing... Okay, let's keep going!
Waaah! Escha! Don't leave me behind!
The faster we move, the faster we can get out of here. I don't like it much here, either.
Escha, the light here is very bad, and it's crawling with slags. Make sure you stay very close to me and the rest of us. There's no telling what we'll find here.
It's incredible how powerful Linca can use her sword. The ground shakes every time she hits an enemy.
How does she do that!?
Yeah! We need to look even harder for better relics!
Wow...the path is so narrow. We really need to be careful.
All these slag husks are strange... What happened here?
Music: Rut of Time
There are Slag husks like this all over the place around here.
There are far too many Slags for them to have just been living here normally.
Is this a mass Slag grave?
Maybe. Either that, or there could have been a huge battle here at some point. Whatever it was, we still have no idea exactly what happened.
I see. So there are some things you can't know even when you investigate.
If we look around and find documents from the past, we might learn some new information.
Also, there's still a lot of value in finding relics. We should take a break before getting back to work.
I was just talking to this Slag over here.
Talking...to a dead Slag?
Well, they don't know how the world is now. I thought I'd let them know.
That's, uh, thoughtful. What were you talking about?
The town, and interesting things that have happened lately, and the bargains to be found in my store.
Why would you tell a Slag about what's in your store?
I guess you're right. But it does make me realize that lots of people are still struggling to get by. I also told them that we still haven't forgotten them.
...You sure are different, Katla. I've never heard of someone who thinks about Slags like that.
I think it's good to be sentimental, Logy.
Heh...I just felt sorry for them, so I guess I did something strange.
Haha. Well, let's get going.
Okay... Hmm? Is that...
This looks very useful. Was this yours? ...Okay, I'll borrow it. I'll make sure to put it to good use. Thank you very much.