Part 19: Chapter XVI: The Blazing Wasteland and Mountains
Um, Logy... Are you finished? Sorry, but can you give me a hand with this really quick?
Y-Yeah, I don't mind. I would like to get this submitted and run it by Solle... What do you need help with?
Mixing these two chemicals is really tricky... I need someone to hold one of the glasses while I pour. It can be really hard to hold both and do it right...
Oh yeah, you told me about that before. Hold on...
Oh, Lucille. What's up?
I finished my report on the investigation, so I was told to come here and help you guys.
Oh, great timing. I have a little errand you can run for me. Do you think you can handle it?
Yes, what is it?
Can you pass this along to Solle for me? I have to stay here for the moment.
Oh, right! Can you take some documents to Miss Marion for me, too? They're right on that desk...
Of course! No problem! I'll be right back.
Sorry, and thanks. There she goes. Now, do you still need help with those chemicals?
Yeah, if you can...
Be careful, Logy! Not so much!
I'm trying! This is really tricky!
I just need a few more drops...
Whew, that was scary...
Pardon me, Logy. I came to pick up that proposal I asked you for the other day.
I just sent Lucille to give it to you. Didn't you get it yet?
Ah... The child did come by my office and gave me something, but it wasn't what I'd asked for. It appears to be an investigation summary... I was under the impression Marion handled those?
Whuh? How'd that get there?
Uh, Lucille, it seems the document I asked you to give to Solle never made it...
Huh? But I just gave it to him!
I think you may have mixed it up with the one I asked you to give to Miss Marion.
Oh, boy. I'll go with you. It'd be quicker if I just traded papers with her. Mistakes like this can cost more than just time. Please be very careful with handling documents.
I-I'm sorry... I'll be careful...
...Well, it's a pretty understandable mistake.
I wonder if Lucille's going to be okay. I'd better double-check to be sure I didn't make any mistakes.
Hey Escha, I know you're busy, but I just don't have time to look after Lucille. Can you do what you can for her?
Sure... Watching her kind of reminds me how I used to be... Haha, I'll help her out as much as I can.
Thanks. What's next...? Oh yeah, I have to get a bunch of reference books off the shelf.
Don't worry, I'll clean it up later.
Well... Don't complain to me if the Branch Chief suddenly shows up and yells at you.
...You're right. That guy's sudden inspections are quite scary.
Hmm? Did he get mad at you too, Logy?
What's that supposed to mean? ...He just caught me at a bad time, that's all.
Haha, he's a good person, though. He comes over and asks us if we need anything...
Yeah, I thought that all higher-ups were supposed to be arrogant.
He got promoted from there and became the current Branch Chief.
I didn't know that. No wonder he has such a powerful glare...
He really is scary when he's angry. I feel a chill down my spine when he so much as looks at me.
...Could that be because you both have guilty consciences?
M-Mr. Colland! When did you--!?
I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean anything bad...
No, I don't mind. But you're scared of me, huh?
I-It's not like that. You listen to what we need, and you're very helpful. There's just one thing...
I wouldn't be a very good boss if my workers didn't respect me. In other words, it's perfectly fine if young people like you fear me.
Huh... Is that right?
I need the presence to effectively reprimand others. If I don't have that, then my scolding has no persuasive power. That's the most difficult part.
Hmm... You're very strict with yourself, too. I think that's very impressive.
Scolding power, huh? Being a role model must be really difficult...
Flattery won't get you anywhere. Also... This room is a mess. I've warned you about this before.
Oh no. I forgot...
That's why I was telling you to clean up!
I know, I know...
This is your workplace. Clean it up! Now!
I guess I really should keep it tidy, if he's going to show up from time to time...
Hmm. Perhaps I should do a little cleaning in my own office when I get back.
For some reason he reminds me of Solle. Well, he's still scary, but both of us should be more careful...
Yeah...anyway, do you want to check out this quarter's assignments?
That's a strange assignment...
I've heard that the villagers were planning on leaving the village soon. I guess if that happens we'll have to confirm it. We'll just have to wait and see if that happens.
Hey! You guys are too late! I already finished my magic show.
Oh, you did another one of those?
Sorry... We never asked when you were going to be performing.
Oh, right, I never told you. Sorry!
Um... So, do you want us to see it, or not? I'd like to watch it.
You kids missed it again? That's some bad luck.
Heh heh... I suppose so. We'll definitely check before we come next time.
Hahaha! Good, you do that. It's a shame you didn't catch it. Thanks again, young lady. Business is picking up tonight thanks to you.
Yeah, well, it's easy for me.
There is something I wanted to ask you, though... Could you add some variety to your act next time?
Huh? Like... Like what?
I don't know...putting someone in a box, and sticking swords in it, and then--tada!--they're fine.
Oh, that sounds fun! You could split things apart, or make things disappear...
Yeah, yeah! Or light people on fire, or other fancy tricks like that.
What!? No way! There's no way I could do that!
Really? I think the crowd would really love something like that. Anyway, I don't mind what, but try mixing it up a little. Don't tell me you're out of things to do.
No, I'm sure even Wilbell has things she can or can't do.
Great! Don't hold back on us! I want you to do something fantastic for us next time! Hahaha!
That's great, Wilbell. So what magic are you going to use?
I-I don't know... I'm already out of ideas.
Whaaaat!? So you lied just now?
I knew it... So, what are you going to do?
I have to train and find something new. I can't tell him I'm out of ideas after saying that... Wilbell's Magic Show is on hiatus as of today...
No way... I wanted to see it at least once!
I thought I could spin this into making money for a while longer... Guess I need to learn more spells.
Knowing Wilbell, I'm sure she'll come up with something new soon.
I wouldn't say "shopping". I actually have some official business with Katla.
Really...? What kind of business is that? It's not something really strange, is it?
Actually, Harry's decided to support me in this venture! So, we were discussing how we should take the store mainstream.
Huh? That's a really huge turn of events! What happened so suddenly!?
I've been going to Katla's store for some time now, and we've hit it off quite well. I think my heart was moved to see a young child overflowing with passion for rare artifacts. Which is why, with the help of the merchant's association, we're giving her store a makeover.
W-Wow... I didn't know you hit it off that well. I suppose it does make a bit of sense, though.
Wow, you're finally getting your own proper store. Good for you, Katla.
Well, about that... I only plan to receive support for my living expenses right now.
Really? I thought you would've splurged a bit. This seems a little out of character for you, Katla.
Ahahaha.... Well, he did offer a lot of support for my store, as well, but... I just felt that this is something I needed to do on my own. I want to make my dream come true by myself.
...I guess that was your long-time goal, after all.
Faced with such trouble, she still insists on charging head-first into the path of her dreams... If you ever find yourself in trouble, please feel free to talk to me. I will do anything to help!
Oh no, all I need is you on my side, Harry... I feel like I can really do this!
All right, we're going to make a killing! You guys had better look forward to my improved shop!
That's amazing! Then, are you going to carry a lot more items in the future?
Of course I am! I've already got a nice selection today, too! Check out this strange-scented rock!
...Um. You said you wanted to make a killing, right...? You sure that's gonna happen?
(Still, she and Harry managed to become good friends... I wonder what they talked about?)
Yes. Several other farms have reported similar returns. It's like I thought... We will need to think of ways to improve the situation.
Hmm... This isn't good.
Hmm, the orchards don't look as nice today as they usually do.
Oh yeah, this request came from your father, right?
Yes. Clone and Father manage the orchards, since they're so big. Nio's been a big help, but Clone and Father have been working in the orchards since I was born. They've never looked this bad, though... Maybe that's why Father put in a request to R&D. Oh, looks like they're already talking... Father, we took on the request for the R&D Division.
Oh, is that so...? Thanks a ton, Escha.
Request...? What do you mean?
I asked the town's R&D Division to help us figure out why our apples aren't doing so well.
I see... That was a great idea.
Is it true the harvest's gone down? From here, things don't seem to have changed that much.
To the untrained eye, yes. But, we've been going through a slight decline for years.
We've done all we can think of, but we're out of ideas. Do you think there's something you can do?
You're the specialists in this area... I doubt we can come up with anything better.
Logy, do you think we can do anything with alchemy? Or our tools?
Well, I suppose that's all that comes to mind.
I'll write them down in a note, so please pass it along to Faul when you are done. As an official, and as an alchemist, I will watch to see how well the two of you perform.
Got it. We'll try to make everything that we can.
I think I'm getting a little nervous... B-B-But, we need to help the apple orchards!
Oh, Logy, I have something really special for you! Last time I was here, I asked Clone to make some new clothes for you. Let's go get them from her!
New clothes? What are you--?
Hm? What's the matter?
I was cleaning out the warehouse and I found something that brings back memories. Do you recognize it?
...This looks like a really old picture book.
Oh! Is this the book that you guys read to me when I was really really young?
That's right. I only meant to skim it earlier, but I ended up reading the entire thing.
Hahaha, picture books can be quite interesting once you begin reading them as adults.
That's so true! And rereading it can bring up completely different emotions when you read them later!
I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get you so worked up...
That's... "The Adventures of the Bumblebee Princess", right? Do you mind if I take a look at it, too?
Of course not. How would you like me to read to you, like I used to?
Once upon a time, there was a very cute girl, called the Bumblebee Princess.
To the annoyance of the people around her, she always seemed to know the answer to everything.
No matter how obscure the question, I always know the answer. Someone...tell me a story I do not know!
And then, a girl in a hat came to the Bumblebee Princess and told her:
Tell me, Princess... For I do not know...
What is it, that you don't know?
Why can't my grandfather's farm grow plants anymore?
Leave that to me. I'll fix it right away!
With that, the Bumblebee Princess created a strange watering can and began to water the fields. Suddenly, the fields began to grow their vegetables once more.
See? There is nothing that I can't answer.
The Bumblebee Princess was pleased, but the girl in the hat was not.
What is it, that you don't know?
My grandfather's farm never had trouble growing vegetables before... Why did it stop now?
The Bumblebee Princess was at a loss. For, not even she knew WHY the plants had stopped growing.
Wh-What do I think? Well... It sounds like you stopped in the middle of the story.
There are chapters. I remember being so curious to find out what happens that I couldn't sleep.
Yeah, this probably wouldn't help me get to sleep either, if I was left with a question like that.
Yeah, I remember liking that story so much... But for some reason I can't remember how it goes now.
My oh my... Well, if it interests you, I will continue the story at another time.
Yeah! It's nice to relax sometimes and listen to this story.
I guess. For some reason, that Bumblebee Princess looked a little familiar. Probably just my imagination.
Yeah, just something about the way she looked... I want to take a little tour of the orchards while I'm here. Would that be alright?
Do they just grow by themselves? I don't know very much about agriculture.
Haha, well, it's a little different. We put pollen on the apple flowers to fertilize them.
Then the flowers grow, and turn into apples, and the apples have seeds inside. You know those hard little things in the apple core? Those are the seeds.
Hmm, so that's what they are. I had no idea.
...It's kind of strange that you wouldn't know something like that, Logy.
I've just never had any sort of connection to it. Back in Central City, all I did was study alchemy. So, how exactly do you fertilize the flowers?
Usually, you put pollen on the end of a stick or brush. You've seen Clone doing that, right?
Yes, but with an orchard this big, it's very difficult. That's why we borrow the power of nature.
What does that mean? You use wind to blow the pollen around?
That sounds a little too difficult to work out. Is that okay?
No. We actually have beehives in boxes around the orchard. When bees drink nectar from flowers, they also take pollen with them. Clone taught me that.
Hmm, so you use the bees to move the pollen around. I didn't know you could do that.
The bees fly around carrying the pollen by themselves, so it makes sense.
Also, you could get some delicious honey that way, too.
Yes. The honey made from apple flowers is very good.
Yeah... But bees sting people. I don't really like them.
It is pretty scary when they come near...
So, you mean...there are tons of bees just flying all over the apple orchard?
Yes, I see them from time to time. But they won't attack you unless you do something to provoke them. Bees only attack people because they're the ones afraid of humans.
I didn't know... I guess even if they do have a stinger, they're still tiny bugs. I never really thought about how the bugs feel. You sure do know a lot, Escha.
Really? It's just normal to me, because I've lived on an apple orchard for so long.
...Maybe I should study apples more since I'm living in town. If we're going to be helping out with the orchards, it will definitely help to know how the pollen spreads normally.
Leave it to me! If there's anything you want to know about the orchards, just let me know. You're probably better off asking Clone, but she can be really busy these days, so...
I understand. We should start by making some materials to revitalize the ground. That's the place to start for now. Anyway, what about those clothes you were talking about?
Oh, I totally forgot! I guess we can come by later...
What's up, Harry? Strange that you would come to the atelier.
And you seem very happy...
Can you tell? Well, I suppose such uncontainable joy and overflowing accomplishment would be obvious. It's only because I finally completed "From the Wilderness"!
Really!? Congratulations, Harry!
Thank you, thank you. I was only able to complete this book thanks to readers like yourself. I had a flash of insight, and wrote it all in one sitting. So I admit there may be errors. But this is based upon the experiences I had during my travels. Please, make use of it.
Thank you very much. Wow, this book is quite thick...
"Scholarly experiences..." That sounds like a lot of hard work. I wonder if I can read this...
It is an advanced research book, after all. The contents are meant to be for high-level readers. And my insights have always proven difficult for others to understand... However, I'm sure that those of you who were waiting for so long will be able to process my verbiage.
Harry finished his book... I wonder if there's anything useful to our alchemy written inside.
Wow, there are some alchemy recipes in here. I can't believe it...and they look okay, too. I guess the only way to see if they really work is to make them, but they look okay.
Hey Logy, can you finish up this synthesis? I'm going to pick up the clothes from Clone!
Wha--!? But I don't know anything about cauldron synthesis.
Oh, it's so easy! You've seen me do it a bunch of times. You just have to stir! I'll be back soon.
Hm, we could use this for the orchard, but... Maybe we could use this on investigations.
Logy, I'm back!
What are you wearing--? It looks like a pirate...
Yeah! And I have something for you, too!
That coat looks nice, but is that a...a tail? I'm not wearing that!
Oh yes you are! Clone found this in the house! My mother must have made it!
Fine, fine... (I guess I can get used to the tail...)
How do I look?
You look so cool, Logy! I really like my coat, too! I look just like a pirate!
Yeah, I guess it looks pretty nice. Anyway, Marion said we should check out the Searing Wastes. It looks like they're fairly close to the Slag Graveyard, but going by the name...
It's going to be really hot. We should bring along plenty of cold bombs.
I agree. We should prepare pretty well for this trip.
This is going to be a pain...
Music: Cliff of Burned Place
Wow! It's so hot here... We should complete our investigation here and get out of here as fast as possible.
Logy! Isn't this what we need to make the Flight Gas Jar?
It sure is, and the quality is fine, too. Let's keep a look out for one more. If we can find one more, we can make the Gas Jar when we get back to town.
Yeah! I'm really excited to make it now!
The volcanic slags
Even this far out we're not safe from powerful slags... Escha, let's get rid of them!
Maybe everyone's tired from the heat... We should be careful in the future.
At least we did it...
Man, this lava is everywhere. We really need to get out of here fast.
Logy, where did all this stuff come from?
It's possible there were a lot of volcanic eruptions here in the past. I don't understand why there' s a lot of lava around, though, but this area seems very unstable. We're in great danger while we're here.
I can understand the bears, but the rats being here is strange. Regardless, we should take care of this.
Yes! We got three Golden Apples!
That's pretty good. Let's keep going.
Yeah, we should take a short break. Hey, Katla. Are you all right? You're really lagging behind.
Y-Yes... I'm okay...
Really? You aren't pushing yourself too hard?
No, but this is really difficult... Are you two okay?
Ahaha... I'm a little tired, but this isn't too bad yet.
Wow... I feel like I'm going to fall over...
No way, I can't burden you like that! I'll be fine! And if I give up in a place like this, you won't take me to even more interesting places.
Well, yeah. We'd definitely take that into consideration for future trips.
Logy, if you keep saying things like that, Katla's going to push herself too hard.
It's your responsibility to tell us before that happens when we're out in a dangerous place like this.
...You're right. If I feel like I can't take any more, I'll be sure to let you know. Don't worry. I can still handle much more than this! There's no way I'm going home until I find more rare items!
Ahaha... Just don't overdo it.
Okay... Oh, what's that!?
You're right, that is nice. And there are a lot of them, too.
Hmm, if these were properly processed, they could sell for a pretty high price.
I can't process them, but I could sell them as-is. I still have a good feeling about them, though! Yes, it was worth the effort to come this far. Now, shall we head home?
What are you talking about? We're still in the middle of the investigation.
What... We aren't going home?
We're not done yet. We've got to keep going, okay?
B-But I collected all this stuff! I'm at my limit! I'm so tired, you'll have to carry me.
What happened to all that energy from before? You're not going to collapse yet.
Yeah, you've still got plenty of energy. Let's get going.
No way... Ugh, I guess I'll just have to find more items, then.
I don't think Katla can ran out of energy. She always wants to collect a lot, wherever we go.
Haha, yeah! We should keep an eye on her, though. We want everyone to be safe.
That's a pretty great relic, Escha. It's a very viscous metal, allowing it to be used in a wide variety of synthesis to reinforce the item's properties without making it weigh a lot more. We should make one of our own soon, if we can find the recipe for it. Do you want to throw it into the Dismantler when we get back?
Hm, yeah, this metal is made out of an interesting substance. I'd love to know more about it.
Escha, we're about done with this investigation. Do you want to keep going after we're done here?
No...I'm really sweaty. Oh! But before we go back, we should get more Buoyant Gas! There should more around here.
That's an interesting bomb. The Dismantler should be able to tell us what this is made out of.
Alright, that should be enough for the Flight Gas Jar. Let's start heading back.
I can't wait to make it! We're getting a lot closer to making the dreadnought!
We've still got a lot to do...
I never thought liquid metal would disassemble into something like this.
Wow! We got Aroma Materia from disassembling that!? That's amazing!
I knew there must be a way to combine the White and Black Neutralizers! I still don't know the recipe for it, but we should keep an eye out for it.
Yeah, this is a great material. Let's make sure to have the homunculi start duplicating them.
This item will make you feel super light on your feet! And, it can make you really strong! Monsters have powerful attacks, but this can provide a really good defense against them.
...Wait, Logy? Hmm...where did Logy go?
Well, that takes care of that. I have to let Escha's clothes dry out. All that sweating from going to the Searing Wastes...
Logy, I think you'd make it better on Maintenance crew than as an alchemist.
...I'm not so sure I agree. What do you think about this? Will it be enough?
Yeah, I think so. I'll be able to get started right away... First, we'll begin with the foundation...
Wait, wait, don't get started on your own. We need to convince Solle before we do anything, right?
Hmmm... But I already have the blueprints, and the necessary materials... If we start now, it'll be finished that much faster. C'mon!
What are you talking about? We need these materials to get Solle on our side. Not to mention we need to get the plans approved by the branch manager, then we'll be able to...
If we sit and wait for that to happen, we'll never get started! We'll get caught in the red tape. Don't worry about it... I'll be careful, so no one will know we're working until we're done.
I hate to tell you this, but that'll make us look really bad. Please, work with me here... I don't need to tell you that I support this project. I want it to succeed as much as you do.
Whew... Well, then, good luck with the rest. I'm cheering you on.
Huh!? I thought you just said you were going to see this through! When the depot gets upgraded as a result of this, it'll make us all look great!
I'm not helping to make myself look good. I'm helping because it will benefit all of us in this town. I want to take advantage of the depot's improvements once they're done. I'm looking forward to them!
Man... It would've been nice to have you on our team...
We've already come this far. You could finish the rest on your own. I hope Solle approves our plans.
I still think we'd make a better case by starting the first stage of construction right now...
I wonder if that'll be all right... Might as well keep an eye on it. Anyway, by now, Escha's probably making the Flight Gas Jar...oh boy...