Part 17: Chapter XV: The Shining Swords and StavesClone always makes the best snacks! Anyway, I should probably get back to the atelier. Maybe Solle is feeling better now.
Really? It's going to be even cheaper than usual?
C'mon, we've been friends for a long time now, Escha.
You're always so random...
What are you doing here, Escha?
No. I have no plans on buying anything. Marion has forbidden me to waste money.
Ahaha. Marion sounds like she'd be a strict money manager.
Hahaha, all right. It's a merchant's place ot subtly persuade her clients. Be honest, what is the thing you desire most!?
I don't think that asking someone straight-out counts as "subtle".
What do I want most...? I think my most urgent need is friends.
I-I see... Friends, huh? You sure are searching for something strange.
That's my mission. What can I do to gain a large number of them?
I told you, I don't think that's the real meaning of the assignment she gave you... (Or did I just think that...?)
Just leave it to me! First, I will become your friend!
Really? I'm thankful, but... Do you really want to be friends with someone like me?
Don't worry. In fact, there are many benefits to being my friend! You get my special friend discount!
You mentioned that before...
Your wares will be cheaper? That would be nice. Please, be my friend!
Happily! Anyway, please buy something. Think of it as helping a friend.
All right, perhaps I should start making purchases from your shop in the future.
What? Aren't you going to get anything today?
I don't need anything, so I'm fine. I need to avoid wasting money.
Ugh, even after I became your friend? You must have nerves of steel...
To think that I could make shopping even more convenient... Escha, I see that friends can have benefits. I believe I need to make more friends with shopkeepers.
That sounds like a pain for the shop owners... You should make friends a little more normally.
Is that so...? I thought it was a good idea. What a shame. Anyway, I stayed much longer in here than I'd planned to. I have to return to my patrol.
You really are too random... Don't teach Linca any weird things.
I would have wanted to clean a little and take a nap, but...
I already received Escha's permission to be here, if that's what you're getting at.
But you didn't bother to ask me? Don't you have your own office?
I do. It is very small, though.
Why do you insist on doing your work here? Wouldn't you feel more comfortable in your office?
I wouldn't dream of it. Besides, it's so messy. I can barely walk around in there. Don't joke around.
Uh... It IS your office, though, isn't it?
That office is a trash can, a file cabinet, and a bed. Nothing more, and nothing less. Besides, the desk is so covered with paperwork that I don't have the space to write anything.
How can you possibly justify it being nothing but the furniture?
When you get so caught up in your work, you can't find the time for cleaning. By the time you realize that you need to start cleaning up, it's far too late to do anything about it.
It must be really messy in there. Have you thought about just taking a day and cleaning?
Of course I did...once. But when I was about to, one of my stacks fell over. Since then, it just seemed like a bad idea to even bother cleaning, so I've been leaving it alone.
If it's as bad as you're saying, I guess I'd do everything I can to avoid it, too.
I suppose so... She does clean up a bit, which has been great.
I'm jealous. I feel that being able to stay organized and uncluttered is a valuable trait. How about you?
...I'm starting to think that it's more than you're just very disorganized and lazy.
I won't deny that... Cleaning is such a chore. I think it would be harder to find someone who actually enjoys, cleaning. Or... Do YOU like it?
I wouldn't say I like cleaning, but I don't hate it. I do take the time to clean from time to time.
Hm. Cleaning in moderation... Perhaps I should try to do that sometime.
I highly recommend it. For the sake of your own work, and for everyone else's sakes...
But, if I made a mess here, one of you would clean it up... Is it worth my time to clean my office?
Don't even start down that path. Go clean your room! Why do I have to talk like Threia's mother? She's exhausting... I need to get some air. Escha will probably be back soon, anyway. I'll just head down to Duke's and get something to eat before she comes back.
Oh, hey Escha.
Hello, Logy! What are you doing here?
Oh, Threia stopped by the atelier to do some reading. She was using the couch, so I couldn't get any sleep, and I just find it hard to work with her around. She stayed for a few hours, then left. Did you tell her she could use the atelier to read?
Yeah. She said she wanted a place to read outside her office, and I said the atelier would be perfect.
Oh, I see. (Just like Escha to suggest something like that.)
Is something on your mind?
Hmm? Yeah, I was just a little short on cash, I was thinking about what to do for food...
Say, Reyfer, you're a treasure hunter, right? And you're good at it? You've mentioned having no money before, too. Have you ever actually found a treasure?
Oh, tossin' a dagger straight at my heart! I hate to disappoint you, but you're wrong. Before I came to this town, I sold a big enough treasure to buy a house here. Harry can vouch for me on that, and on my treasure findin' abilities.
Wow, really? So rare items make you a lot of money, huh?
Now, hold on. If you've got that much money, how is it you're always trying to make ends meet?
I'm not poor, I just don't believe in spending any money when it's not absolutely necessary. You never know when hard times are comin'... Gotta save every penny you can, right?
I see what you mean, but isn't it hard to live like that?
Yeah. If I lived up on a mountain, it might be different. But in a city, you have to watch your money. I was thinking about eating, but... I guess I'll settle for water.
Isn't that a bit extreme? You could order something cheap off the menu. Why stress over it so much?
Hey, I was once trapped inside a ruin for three days, and survived with no food or water at all.
You push yourself too hard. What are going to do with all that money when you save it up?
Oh, nothin' fancy... By the way, what are you having for dinner? Do you think I might try a bite of it? Just to see...
That's just cold, man. C'mon, you said you want to help people, right?
I don't mind helping people, but you're just too cheap to pay for your own meals.
Cheap? Me? Cheap...!? W-Well, okay, maybe I can't deny it.
There's nothing to deny. It's the truth.
Hey Logy, do you not like Reyfer?
Hmm...I wouldn't say I don't like him, it's just his type kind of annoys me. He's very talented and resourceful, but he needs to realize that he needs to do real work and help people if he wants to be taken seriously. He's also too cheap, I think.
Hm, but treasure hunting sounds so exciting. I wish we had more time for things like that... Anyway, should we head back to the branch?
Oh yeah, with what happened with Threia, I forgot to submit the documentation for the stipend.
Hey, Lucille. You take rest?
Oh, hello there. Are you two taking a break, too?
Break... Yes. Let's talk.
That's a great idea. What would you like to talk about today?
Something fun. You have something fun?
Something fun, huh? Hmm...what would be good?
Oh, Lucille, what are you doing over there?
The homunculi like to come over here when they're on break, so I talk to them.
Wait, THEY come to YOU? That's unusual.
There are all kinds of homunculi, and their stories are really interesting. Would the two of you care to join us?
I-I'm okay. I think I'll pass.
Do they still bother you, Logy? Look at how cute they are!
All you have to do is make sure you use simple words to get your ideas across. They'll understand you.
...That's what's so hard about it.
I'm amazed you can talk with them so much, Lucille. Maybe we'll have you go to Provisions for us.
Ooh, please! I'm really good at that kind of thing! Let me do it!
Lucille? Where story?
Story, Lucille. Story. Now?
O-Oh, I'm sorry. Um... What was I going to say...
I don't mind you talking to the homunculi, but have you finished your own work yet?
Eek! That's right, I'm still in the middle of it. What should I do...?
Hahaha! We'll take care of the little guys for you. Go on and finish up!
Oooh... I'm sorry, Miss Escha.
...Now I have to talk to them, too? What the heck am I supposed to talk about?
Escha... We have our own work to do...
I know, I know... Um...why don't you go on ahead? I'll be back soon! i want to talk to the homunculi!
No, we really need to get to work!
I wouldn't call them insane! Anyway, wouldn't it be more convenient to do it this way?
Hm? What are you two talking about?
Ah, perfect timing. Would you mind talking some sense into this man?
Right... What exactly seems to be the problem here?
Awin has just submitted an unapproved budget schedule to me. It's to renovate the entire air depot and modify it. This plan lacks any sense of reality!
The depot...? Why would you want to do that all of a sudden?
The R&D Division's been using that blimp a lot lately. It'd be a good chance to redo the whole port. A loading area, dedicated wagons, bridges to other gates...and a facility for Maintenance workshops!
Wait a second! You're trying to do ALL of these changes at once!?
I-It does sound a bit tempting, but don't you think the scope is way too large?
Sure, it'll take a bit of work, but this isn't an issue of money. Sure, investigating ruins and stuff is important, but we can't forget trying to make this town better!
Money is probably the MOST important factor now. Have you any idea how much this would all cost? I do not deny the importance of renovating the depot, but there are tons of other areas to address.
I'll take care of those! C'mon, now... We go way back, don't we?
Well, maybe you don't have to do it all at once? Can you split the project up into bite-sized chunks?
I thought about that, too, but I've been trying to get Solle on board with this project for years now. ...Which is why I figured he'd give me something resembling a budget by now, but not a chance.
I see... That's why you attempted to make a schedule for completing all the work at once.
...There are many other issues that have higher priority. My hands are tied.
You always tell me that!
No! What you failed to understand is--
Ahhh... At this rate, they're going to get into a real fight. Wh-What should we do? U-Umm, Solle... I'm sorry. We'll try to talk to Awin, so--
Please do! I don't have time to explain the same concepts over and over to him!
Please excuse us. Let's go, Awin. There's no point in picking a fight here. Go cool off a little bit, and let's think about this. There has to be another way.
W-Well, if you say so.
Logy, can you talk to Brother? He seems really serious about this, and I'm worried he might start with the project by himself. Solle says the approval request is okay, so we'll definitely get paid tomorrow.
Yeah, knowing Awin, he might do something by himself. What are you going to do?
Hm, I'm going to start putting together a list of things I want to make before we head to the Homunculus Village. I asked the homunculi outside before I left, but it looks like all the homunculi managed to get away, but we still have to get rid of the monsters!
Wait... Is this about that project that Solle shot down?
Yeah! I'm thinking about how to get Solle to understand.
I know how you must feel, but is it even possible to convince that guy?
C'mon, we can't give up this easily. I'm sure the ancient people never gave up easily! That's probably how they got such advanced technology! For the sake of our own livelihoods, I intend to convince him!
That's a good speech, but what exactly are you planning on doing?
That's where I'm stuck, really. Y'know, he's always like that, ever since the old days. No matter what I suggested, he'd just reject it and hide behind "Money". He just...lacks dreams, man. You know what I mean?
I know what you're trying to say, but he's a realist. I can't deny that finances are important, too.
Urgh... At the very least, if I could make my plans seem a little more "realistic" in his eyes.
How about making a diagram that shows everything you're attempting to do? A quick rundown...
A diagram...? Do you think I really need something like that?
Maybe if he had more visual clues, we could convince him to take on the project stage by stage.
I see... I hadn't thought about that. Right, let's draft something really simple and see how he reacts. Can I ask for your advice, Logy?
...I-I guess, just a little bit.
It's beginning to take shape, but I'll need to get the materials to make this pulley, at the least. With this much ammo to our argument, I think we could convince Solle, don't you?
I suppose so. We'll help you get to that point, at least, okay?
Really? Oh man, you're a lifesaver. Could you share some of your materials? You know, after all you said, here you are helping me out quite a bit... Are you sure you don't want to take a bigger hand in renovating the city? ...Maybe join Maintenance?
...Drop it. I'll have to get back to Awin later. I have more important things to do right now. Besides, the quality of the materials will be important, and I have to inspect what can be used.
Escha, I'm back.
Oh, hello Logy. I just finished making some Beast Earmuffs. Did you pick up our stipend?
Yeah, I thought you would be happy.
I have more good news! I think I'm ready to try Perfect Division! By using four Wind elements, I can perfectly imitate an item's effects and properties, while allowing the original to still be used in the synthesis. I can also use Division, but that uses up some of the required materials in the synthesis. So that means if I wanted to, and I had enough Wind elements, I could use one item 3 times in one synthesis! Isn't that incredible?
Yeah, it really is. It's amazing how effective cauldron alchemy can really be.
I never get enough sleep when we investigate outside of town, but hopefully this book will tell me how to do manage time better...
Oooh! This is an alchemy book that will allow me to use one Fire, Wind, Water, and Earth element to significantly upgrade any item and improve the synthesis. This should be perfect!
Heh heh, Logy, I'm going to show you how to make an incredibly powerful item! First, the Properties: Harmful Numbers significantly increases the power of an item, Frame Reinforce strengthens the item depending on how big it is, and Frame Expand increases the size of an item. That means if we use Frame Expand and Frame Reinforce together, our items will get so much more powerful!
I can see why you wanted that Golden Apple so much.
Yeah! Now, I'm going to add Power Lv1 and Strengthen Material to the Golden Apple, which will triple the effectiveness of the Apple in the synthesis. Then, I can use Convert to have enough Wind elements to Perfect Divide the Apple, allowing me to use it again.
And that's how you use a Golden Apple!
Does something special happen if you draw something in this book?
Yes! If you draw something in here, it'll pop out! Pretty cool, huh?
Wow, that book has a lot of dreams in it... Do you know how to draw, Escha?
I'm pretty confident in my artistic skills. When I was little, I really liked picture books and old fairy tales, so I drew a lot in my free time.
Is that so? Well, I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with.
What about you, Logy? You seem pretty good at that sort of stuff...
I don't know. I guess if you consider diagrams art, then I can draw a little.
Hmm... Diagrams require a lot of attention to detail. Oh no, you might be even better than me!
I'm not so sure about that. Drawing blueprints and drawing people are two very different things.
Why don't we go somewhere and draw together, then? Some place with a beautiful view... We can both draw it and show each other our work!
Uh... That sounds fun, but we do have work to do, remember?
Ugh, you're right. There's no time to slack off. If only there was time... I'd love to try that.
Why don't we start by including more illustrations in our reports?
Y-Yes! That's true... We could use our jobs as practice!
It's really remarkable how powerful the Golden Apples are.
Hey Logy, could you try modifying my staff again?
Sure, I'll give it a try.
There, it's done. Escha, your staff has that property from the Aurora Stone on it, Comet Attack. Looks like you were right, and since [Lumber] is used in a lot of syntheses, I think could improve a bunch of weapons to put Comet Attack on it.
Really? That's great! We'll be a lot more powerful against monsters with Comet Attack.
That's one request...
There's the third one!
There are a lot of really valuable synthesis items in this book. Thanks Miss Nio!
Umm, what's this supposed to be used for?
I have no idea, honestly. I just made it according to Katla's specifications. I could very well be making some kind of fatal mistake...
I think it's pretty cute, but is there any more to it than just this?
Maybe I should redesign it into a weapon that even she could use...
B-But I think it already is a weapon, filled with the dreams of children!
Wha...? ...Really, Escha? Childrens' dreams?
All right, fine. Whatever.
The more I think about it, the more I think that Katla shouldn't even be fighting at all. Should we really be taking her with us onto the battlefield?
We can't let all her efforts go to waste!
I guess you're right. I'll try to make adjustments so she doesn't hurt herself with this.
There! It's done!
What the...? Did the atelier just suddenly get a lot colder?
Yeah, this is an incredibly powerful freezing bomb. We should be really careful with this, but if it explodes, it chills the air far below freezing. The cold can do a lot of damage to anything!
Let's get going! We need to save the Homunculus Village!
Wow...monsters are everywhere. This could take a while.
Comet Attack really is incredible...
This is a really interesting document!
The alchemic rodents
Whoa! Where did that rat get a Lightning Bomb!?
Let's see what it does...
That was amazing.
Yay! We got another Golden Apple!
Whew, that was a lot of enemies, but we've secured the area. Unless you have more business here, I think we can get going.
Attack of the small slags
I really wish we could go anywhere without powerful slags attacking...
Thankfully, looks like they're pretty weak to Water.
And that's all four deliveries. What else do we have...?
Looks like just heading back to the mountain atelier and defeating the Scorching Drake. That should be easy!
New blade for Micie, and...
And a new broom for Wilbell. I think we're ready to head to the atelier.
That was easy! I don't have anything else I need to do here, so let's head back.
Huh? No, I don't know what happened to it. Try looking somewhere else.
Hm... That's strange. I could've sworn it was here.
Are you sure you didn't drop it under the sofa or something while you were working?
Umm... Hey! I found it! It was just where you said, Logy. How did you know?
Well... I've dropped it down there a few times myself.
Whoa! M-Miss Threia...!? When did you...
I wanted to take care of some reports, but it's strangely dusty in here. Looking for something?
We lost a book, so we were trying to find it. Sure enough, it was under the sofa, which gets dusty.
I know that feeling. I tend to lose my books, too. When I do, I usually just buy another copy.
Haha, if you keep doing that, you'll have a mountain of books. You need to search for them.
It's already too late for that. What should I do with that pile of books I rediscovered...?
So, that's why you came back here? To do more work?
Do you have a problem with that? I promise you that I won't get in your way.
Oh, um, no... It's just that we're pretty busy here now, and I thought it may be hard for you to work...
Oh, no. I'm actually quite used to it.
Yes, I completely get what you mean! I just feel so at peace when I'm synthesizing anything.
Yes, yes! That's what I'm talking about! It's the ideal space to try and organize my thoughts. There's that ever-so-slight feel of dust, and the scent of gunpowder, and everything... The texture of papers on your bookshelf, the sound of rattling glass, the slight burning smell... I've tried working in a lot of locales, but I feel most at ease when I'm here.
You really like it in here that much? I've never met anyone like you...
Miss Threia, I think you'd make a great alchemist if you could study properly.
Oh, now you're just making fun of me. A complete amateur like me could never learn to Synthesize.
N-No, I'm not. I think you'd make a really great alchemist!
(Escha gets along surprisingly well with Threia... She's a wonder.)
Never thought I'd actually put this together. The design is trickier than it looks.
Better bag for Lucille...
You're making a lot of weapons lately, Logy!
Yeah, you were definitely right about Comet Attack. The more weapons that have it, the safer our investigations will be.
I don't know why I keep letting you drag me out to this desert. This is like the third time we've been here in the past four months. Anyway, let's...
Oooooh! A diamond!
That was fast...but those materials are amazing. We also found a Big Bone for making a new sword for Linca. I don't see any reason to stay here, and we've only got about 10 more days until the end of the assignment.
Just some Metal Chips?
Yeah, they're really good for syntheses, and since so many weapon syntheses use [Metal] ingredients, these will be really useful to you, too!
Well, I don't see why we had to go to the Southern Ruins, but there's no problem with it. Looks like we've completely finished this assignment, like last time.
Hey Logy, I've been wanting to ask: you've been in Colseit for about 18 months now...how do you feel about this place?
Hmm...I'm glad I got the opportunity to come here. It's exciting being part of developing this area, investigating the ruins, fighting powerful monsters, and I think most importantly, watching your cauldron alchemy, Escha.
Wha--!? Watching me is exciting!?
Yeah, it really is. You have to understand, growing up as a researcher in Central, I never got to see the outside world very often. My life was spent either researching in my room, researching in the lab, performing experiments, reading books all the time... Do you remember when I told you that my master taught me how to sword fight?
Well, those times were some of the only times I got to do something excting. Watching you perform Synthesis reminds me that there's a lot more to the world than just performing experiments and researching alchemy in Central City. I admit, it was kind of hard getting used to life here in Colseit, but I think I'm starting to enjoy my time here.
That's great to hear, Logy! I hope I can do even more to make your time here fun!
Sure. Why don't we go turn in our final report to Marion?
Miss Marion, I think this is a good opportunity, so do you mind if I ask you something?
What is it, Logy? Why so formal..? This is unusual.
How long have you been doing this job...? I'm guessing you're a seasoned veteran...
A-Actually, I'd like to know too... How much harder do I have to work to be a professional like you?
Y-You don't have to put me up on a pedestal like that... You're making me blush. Yes, well... I've been doing this for about ten years, ever since I became a government employee.
TEN YEARS!? I guess it takes a lot of experience to become as mature and smart as you...
So, if you were around Escha's age when you started, and it's been ten years, then... ...Wow. I guess it really is difficult...
Logy...? Let me give you a little piece of advice, m'kay? Never calculate a woman's age right in front of her. It's VERY rude, you know?
Ah... E-Excuse me. Th-That's not what I meant to...
You've got so much seniority over me! I've just found some new respect for you!
...I know you two mean no harm, but you really need to be careful about saying stuff like that.
Now, then... Let's take a look at how you kids did last quarter, hm? Wow, you worked really hard for us! Thanks to your progress, the ruins investigation will be very smooth!
I see... I'm glad to be useful to you...
I think you kids are becoming a lot tougher, you know? Inside and out. As a government official, you need to have about ten or twenty ruins explorations under you belt...
Please, not that many... Our bodies will give out...
We've taken on a lot of tasks already, so I wonder if we're becoming a little more mature.
At any rate, I'm going to give you your assignment for this period.
Oh yeah, Father said he needed some help from R&D.
Does this mean that...
Yep! Father submitted a request to the R&D Division.
Apparently the crops aren't doing too well lately, and we're looking into ways to help the orchards.
I see... The goal seems simple enough, but finding out how to do it will be tough.
I need to show that I'm a capable worker! I'm going to ask Father and Clone all the details right now.
Well, Escha seems really committed to this job... I guess having family involved will do that.
That's true, but if we work really hard, the whole town will harvest more delicious apples!
Hm...I'm going to go take a walk before we head to the orchard. Is that okay, Escha?
Yeah! I'll meet you at Duke's bar in about an hour, okay?
In Central City, I was always hounded by my work... It was incredibly stressful. Oh yeah, I wanted to ask Awin something. He's probably working around the blimps somewhere. I'll take my time.
Music: Sora no Kizuato
It's rare to see Threia at the docks...guess she was looking for Awin, too.
Laughing here, enjoying the world around me... I can almost start moving on now.