Part 26: Chapter XXII: The Soaring Hopes and Dreams
Those were some interesting ruins, huh?
Yeah...so mysterious. I wonder why the people of the past civilization needed to do so much research with plants.
I'm thinking that part of the problems the people of the past ran into was weakening soil and harvests getting worse and worse. If you think of it like that, that would explain the need for a facility like that.
That makes sense, but why did it happen in the first place?
I wish I knew... Anyway, I've finished writing at least the first part of the report. I'm going to go deliver it to Solle.
Why the formality? Ask away...
Whom in the R&D Division are you currently dating?
Huh!? Wh-What are you asking that for all of a sudden!?
Hmm... A defensive response, but with no real information. You're a cagey one, aren't you?
Cagey...? What do you mean?
Ah, I was afraid you were going to say that, which is why I couldn't bring myself to asking you, but... For the record, a lot of men working for the branch are jealous of your position. Did you know it?
Are they...? Well, I guess it's pretty rare to have two alchemists working for a branch this size...
That's not what I refer to. You see, the R&D Division is composed of all females; except for you.
You're right... It might be good to have another man around, just to balance things out.
Think this through. What you are doing is hogging all the women of the branch in your department, yes? Worst of all, it's all the attractive ladies... It's no wonder you're a target of a lot of envy.
You know, it's a lot harder than it looks. Do you have any idea how much I have to put up with?
No, none. In fact, that almost sounds like sarcasm to the rest of us. So, I return to my original question... Who is your main target? A certain someone has requested that I ask you... Some people are so curious that they cannot work.
I'm not dating anyone! I don't develop romantic relationships with my coworkers! ...Well, even if something like that were to happen... I'm so sure no one would mind.
Really? Then excuse me. I will refer your response to the person who made the inquiry.
Personally, I never thought that you would have the guts to do something like that anyway. I knew the question was unncessary even as it came out of my mouth. Please, don't mind us. Carry on.
...Now, you're just making fun of me, huh?
If you object, then perhaps you should attempt to woo someone. Perhaps you might even succeed...
Uh... I-I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
See? My point proven. And, I'm sure it must be difficult for a man to be working there on his own.
Exactly! They make me carry everything when we go shopping. And whenever anyone does any cooking, they ask me my opinion.
I would think that that's actually a benefit...
Hm? Did you say anything?
Oh... Must've been the wind.
Logy! R&D's reputation has improved so much since we've started!
Yeah, you're right. It's all thanks to the hard work of everyone in the branch.
Let's keep going and level up R&D all the way!
Heh...I don't know if we can do that, but let's see what we have left for this term...
Deliver special medicines to an official at the mountain atelier.
Defeat the Grand Breaker slag in the Searing Wastes.
Deliver antiques to an official at the Lab of Eternity.
Synthesize an Elixir.
Synthesize a Sun Flower.
Deliver accessories to an official in town.
Deliver Dragon materials.
Deliver sweets for a festival.
Deliver rainbow items to a girl at the Balloon Docks.
Complete three synthesis requests.
Make a Combat Shirt with a property.
Use Strong Powder.
Use a Dragon's Secret.
Slay dragons that have appeared in the Dragon's Nest.
Wow...we've got a lot to do.
Well, I think we can take care of that rainbow materials request now. We have some SP Neutralizers, right?
Yeah, we've got plenty!
Well, the request was saying that we only need one of those.
And we can take care of that accessory delivery! If we deliver just one Treasure Grimoire, we can fulfill the request.
Wow! We can really start making amazing stuff! Even an Elixir...
It's what every alchemist wants to make in their lifetime! A miracle potion that can cure any illness, and sometimes even prevent aging!
That's pretty amazing, but... Those materials are really hard to get it. *mumble mumble* What's that flower? "Dunkelheit"? I've never heard of that material.
Oh, that. It's a flower that's said to bloom only in a few places in the world, in places far away from where people or animals go...
How are we supposed to find something like that?
Well, Nio was selling one... But other than that, I have no idea where to find one.
Well... All we can do is keep our eyes out.
I'm going to try make some Tonic Powder.
Now we just have to use that in battle.
We're making good progress. What's next...? Escha? Where did she go?
Logy, I'm back!
Oh, Escha, you changed back into your witch costume?
Yeah. It was a lot colder in that lab than I thought, and I thought it would be better for me to wear something warmer if we're going to places like that in the future.
Yeah. I didn't want to say anything, but that seems smarter than your pirate costume.
I still think the pirate is cute, though.
Logy, I think we can make the Automatic Drive now. That's the next big step, right?
Right. We've brought together the materials, the recipe, and the airship itself. I checked on the progress of the ship itself back at dry dock, and it's definitely ready. Now we just have to finish the engine, and we'll have our dreadnaught.
Really, the Automatic Drive itself isn't that special. Its main purpose is to control the output of the engine. Now here comes the tricky part, making the 3rd Gen Engine.
I'm getting so excited... I better make sure I know how to mix everything. It might take me a little while...
Alright, that's done. Working with those powerful materials is pretty tricky, but... Escha, are you ready?
Logy, look at this stipend!
Look how much that stipend is for!
Alright, I put in the Fire Lord's Blessing, so now...
There's no turning back. I'll make sure the synthesis goes okay. The most important thing is to use the Moon Tablet as a catalyst to control the Fire Lord's material. As long as we can do that, I can work out any problems by myself later.
How is it going, Escha?
It's just about done, and...
The last step
...Really? Did you really finish it? Let me see...
I'm not sure if I did it right, but... Would you mind taking a look??
...It's pretty stable, and adjusting the power output is actually not that difficult.
Th-Then, do you mean we can use this?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure we can. Good work, Escha!
Th-Thank goodness. Oh, I feel so relieved now to hear you say that...
Heh, I know the feeling. But you know, that was really impressive. It's not easy to create something this nice. You must've worked really hard.
I-It's not like that. It's thanks to the material the Fire Lord gave us.
You have a point... I doubt we'll ever get something like that again. This'll be a one-of-a-kind engine. But, as long as we have this, the engine should be pretty stable.
So the engine's complete now, right...? It's like we're another step closer to our dream!
It's still too early to celebrate. We need to install this on the frame and run a bunch of tests.
Y-Yeah, you're right... We haven't tested this at all yet. I hope it runs...
No, you've done a really good job, Escha. Awin and I will take care of it from here.
Aww... You're making me embarrassed, praising me that much...
Oh yeah, we should go tell Awin the good news right away. I think he'll be pretty happy to hear this!
(Hehehe, I never see Logy this happy. This is pretty rare.)
Okay, I'm going to get going. If we work quickly, we could have the dreadnaught tests done as quickly as today.
Yeah. All we need to do is make sure we can get the engine's power up to a sufficient level, and have it hold there for a few hours. If we can make sure that happens, then I don't see any problem with installing it on the frame, and completing the ship. You should take a break, Escha, that synthesis took a long time.
No way! I'm too excited to sit still! Let me go get Linca and Lucille!
We finally have all the materials required to build the dreadnaught.
We're really building it... This is a little hard to believe. When you first told me you were building a dreadnaught, frankly, I thought it was impossible... Sorry.
No, to be honest, I thought it was an impossible plan, too.
But, in the end, we managed to acquire all the materials we needed. We just have to wait now.
It's only because of the help of everyone here that we were able to build this ship. Thank you so much!
C'mon, what kind of stiff greeting is that? I guess it's true, though. Everybody contributed a piece of the bigger puzzle. It really would have been impossible, if not for all your help.
Haha... Hopefully the rest of the process will go smoothly!
Yes. I'm really excited to see how it will turn out.
We'll have to leave the rest in Awin's hands. Even now, I feel like the ruins are closer than ever!
I still wonder about that...though our chances are certainly much better than in just a blimp.
...You're right. I know we can do it!
Into the Dusk Sky
Music: Both Wings
For a small town built on the fringes of the known world, a new chapter in history is beginning. For the first time, our R&D and Engineering divisions have created Colseit's very own dreadnaught. Today marks a great achievement for all our talented workers, and for us as well. I want to give everyone here my sincerest compliments. You have done a fine job today. Though it may be meager when compared to your accomplishment, I have a banquet set up in the hall.
Awin, let's take a look at the insides. I still need to start packing some things onto the ship.
Hahaha, you helped in the process, too, Lucille. We couldn't have done it without everyone's support.
Hee, I see. It's still a little hard to believe that R&D built this...
Look, right there.
Mm. I've seen the report, too. It's a shame, since this ship is surely capable of reaching the ruins... But, if a team is coming from Central Command, we don't want to step on anyone's toes.
Why does it matter who's conducting the investigation, if we have the means...?
I'm sure the people at Central have their own reputations to protect. Trust me, I'd send you if I could.
No, this was the deal from the start... It's not your fault. We'll wait for Central City's team.
I'm afraid that I have something somewhat depressing to tell you...
...I know. Central Command's going to confiscate our ship, aren't they?
I'm doing everything I can, but I'm afraid your work was just too good.
I apologize on behalf of my subordinates. They're just too good.
Good point. But, for the time being, the ship will remain at R&D. I don't see why you can't use it. I believe it's your right, as the inventors and creators... I say, go push that baby to the limit.
Thank you very much, sir.
...That's just like them...
I heard... ...The people from Central City are going to take away our airship...
Oh no... That doesn't seem fair!
There's nothing we can do about it. If there are others who can use the amazing tools we built... It would be a waste for us to keep it all to ourselves. So, I guess there's nothing we can do.
Hmm... I disagree. It just doesn't seem right...
Well... Try to cheer up a little. Let's enjoy the banquet!
Oh, right! I'll be the hall! If you don't hurry, Linca's going to eat everything, y'know!
...I should probably tell Logy, too. He'll be really sad...
The adventure begins again
Oh, is here where you're hiding? Brother's looking for you, shouting about "the man of the hour"...
I don't like rowdy scenes like that. I prefer to be where it's calm, like this. Don't worry about me, Escha. Go enjoy yourself.
I think we're having a little too much fun in there. Do you mind if I take a break here with you?
Yeah, we did.
I overheard Marion talking earlier, and...it sounds like we still won't get to go to the ruins. Also, people from Central City are going to come and take our airship away from us...
...I heard that, too.
It's such a shame. We all worked so hard to build it, and they're going to take it away from us. Wouldn't it be crazy if we took the ship and just ran away right now!?
...You seem down. What's the matter?
Oh, sorry. I didn't mean it like that, it's just...
...So many of my dreams just came true at once, I...I don't know what to do next. To me, building that dreadnaught was my life's goal. I never thought I'd do it in a place like this, and... I just feel lost right now. Do you understand?
Of course I do! Didn't I tell you before? I wanted to go to the Unexplored Ruins, too!
...And that's it? You're a skilled alchemist. Isn't there anything you've wanted to do with that skill?
Ahaha, maybe... But I guess I've always dreamed more of using my alchemy to help people. Besides... Isn't wanting to go there enough?
...Heh. You really are strange. I guess that's good enough for some people. Okay, I guess it's time for me to try real hard again and make your dream come true.
H-Huh, does that mean...?
You helped my dream come true, so now it's time for me to return the favor.
Heh, sounds good...
I also heard that we can still use the dreadnaught until the team from Central gets here.
Yeah, I heard that, too.
Really? How much did you hear?
Almost all of it. When I was packing the things on the airship, I stepped outside onto the railing and saw Marion and Mr. Grumman talking. So, I decided to listen in. It's just like Central to do something like that.
You mean they're always like this?
It's sad, but Central really doesn't have much faith in its regional branches. Basically, if there's something interesting Central wants to do, they'll do it themselves and go over the heads of anyone. It probably would have been better if we never told them about the dreadnaught...
Yeah... Anyway, let's start using our dreadnaught! We've got a lot of places to go! Like the Dragon's Nest, the Searing Wastes...all over the place! Where do you want to start?
Let's head to the Wastes first. We can stop by the mountain atelier to deliver the medical supplies they wanted while we're on the way.
This is so much faster than the blimp!
These Medicinal Solutions are pretty great ingredients, too. We should have the homunculi make a lot of these, too.
Alright, let's take care of that slag!
That was pretty easy!
So the request said a bunch of dragons have started showing up around the Dragon's Nest. I guess all of them came home to roost...
We're a lot stronger than we were before, but still...
Right. We can't be too careful.
That dragon! It was protecting a Dunkelheit! Yes!
Alright, we've wiped out all the dragons that came back here. I guess there's a lot of variety in the world, even with dragons. Now we just need to defeat a few more dragon monsters to fulfill the second dragon hunting request.
Only a few more to go! Dragon materials, deliver festival foods, Elixir, Sun Flower, and antiques to the Lab of Eternity...
What do you want to do next?
Well, the Elixir and Sun Flower need a Dunkelheit, and we only have one right now. I asked the homunculi to gather more, but it takes them 50 days to find one, so...we won't be able to make the other one for a while. Hm...let's make the Sun Flower first!
You weren't kidding about the Dunkelheit. That's an incredible material...
Another really hard synthesis, but I did it! Since you can shape the Sun Flower, we can use it in syntheses that need metal. That's why I kept the power of the Dragon Orb on it.
Escha, I just got the latest stipend. 9441 Cole this time. Still a lot, but not as much as last time.
If we use this, we can move a lot faster in battle. It can be a little dangerous, but it should still be really useful!
Thanks for making that Magic Fiber, Escha. This should be great for making new armor in the future.
I'm surprised I still remembered this...now we only have three left!
And the Dragon materials! We're closer!
But what are we going to do about the Dunkelheit?
I have no idea... Hey Logy, if you wanted to find some really high quality plants, where would you look around Colseit?
Given the quality of the Dunkelheit, there's not likely to be many places around where we could find any... Wait! How about the Lab of Eternity? We have to go there anyway for a delivery, and it couldn't hurt to check that big herb garden at the far end of the ruins.
It's worth a try!
Okay, let's go.
Hey Logy, doesn't it seem like we've grown a lot when we fight?
Yeah. Honestly, I'm not really learning anything new fighting these enemies. We can keep practicing, but I doubt we'll get much better than we are now. Maybe if we fight some new monsters, that will change, but...
I still can't believe it...
Well, here we are.
Before we start looking, we should use those Plant Nutrients to improve the soil. Maybe that'll help...
Wh...What on earth is that flower?
I have no idea...but it's so beautiful!
Well, we didn't find a Dunkelheit, but the basket is starting to get full. Let's drop off that flower we found and try again later. Nobody said it would be easy.
This should help on investigations a lot!
Yeah. If we're going to be searching for super rare ingredients, it'll help to use alchemy as much as possible to improve our chances of finding good materials and relics.
Escha, I made some improvements to your staff. You should be able to fight a little better with this.
Logy, it's perfect! Thank you so much!
Don't mention it, but... (Hmm, maybe I could improve it a little more in the future...)
Hm? Did you say something, Logy?
No, don't worry about it. Anyway, a homunculus dropped off another stipend this morning. 11,263 Cole.
They also finished resupplying R&D, so we can try to find another Dunkelheit. Let's get moving.
What is this?
I have no idea...but look at the pictures on it. Don't they look like people?
Yeah, but... I can't really read anything that's going on in it. It's so mysterious...
Escha, is this a Dunkelheit? Kinda looks like it.
Yeah, it is! That's awesome!
Hah...I just picked it up out of nowhere. I had no idea what it was, but I'm glad to help.
Yeah! Thanks again! Let's head back and put it in storage before anything happens to it.
Is there something troubling you, Linca?
Marion told me to write documents again...and it's a type I've never done before.
Again? She's sure asking a lot. Should we help?
No, apparently this atonement for my previous actions, so I need to write these by myself. I can't always rely on you two to do everything for me. I was to get this done myself, but I don't...
D-Don't worry, Linca! You already have the basics done!
I wonder... Perhaps I should do some training to cheer up...
Ahaha... If you keep putting it off like that, it will just get worse.
Indeed. It's best to get it done early.
Ugh. You're right.
Yo, sorry for intruding.
Hello, Mr. Reyfer. Is there something you need?
I just wanted to talk about my share this month.
I've been here the whole time.
No, I just saw you over at Duke's place. How did you beat me here?
Are you drunk? Maybe you mistook somebody else for Linca.
Of course I'm not drunk! I only had a little bit... Weird. Am I really that drunk...? You know, I'm not even sure anymore. I'd better be going.
I think that would be best. Don't push yourself too hard.
...Yeah. I'll definitely hold back for a while. See ya.
Does alcohol really do that to you...?
It's a dangerous drink, Escha. Stay away from it.
Have you ever been drunk, Linca?
I went drinking with Marion once. To be honest, I didn't enjoy the taste at all. It was too bitte.r
That sounds like the mother of all hangovers. How much did you have?
...I still wonder why anyone enjoys drinking after experiences like that. That sort of thing would definitely hinder my mission. I've decided to avoid drinking alcohol ever again.
Ahaha... Maybe I won't drink, either.
Either way, did Reyfer seem that drunk to you? I thought he seemed okay. Well, it IS Reyfer. Maybe it's nothing. Escha, let's go get our basket from the dreadnaught. One really good thing about the ship is we can carry more on adventures.
Huh? ...Lucille? What is it?
I-I-I-I'm so sorry, I made a mistake! Mr. Awin, um, I...
Hahaha, I was actually a little surprised by that, too... Escha's the only one who calls me that.
Y-Yes... Um, are the two of you actually related...?
Yeah, but we're actually cousins. And our houses are pretty close, so we grew up really close, too. She still calls me "Big Brother" every once in a while. Honestly, it's a little funny, but whatever.
Really... Hee, I was always thinking that the two of you don't really look that much alike.
Brother! Do you have a minute?
Hm? Did you have something to discuss with Awin, too, Lucille?
No, nothing major... I was just curious if Miss Escha and Mr. Awin were actually siblings.
It's kind of late in the game to be asking that, isn't it?
But I just learned that you were cousins. That's so nice! I'm an only child. I wish I had a brother.
Oooooh, you don't have any siblings, Lucille?
You can always get younger brothers and sisters later, but it's not really possible to get an older one.
Haha, yeah, that's true...
I actually wished I had a little brother who would tinker with airships with me... So, to be honest, I was really glad when you came along to the branch, Logy.
What's wrong with that? It actually suits you quite well...
You remind me a lot of Awin, Logy... So I think of you as an older brother, too.
Huh? Then why aren't you calling him "Brother" too?
Eh? Well, um... You're more like a fun brother, and, uh... Logy's more like the reliable brother...
So you don't think I'm reliable?
No, no. It think what she's trying to say is that we spend a lot of time together, so it's different.
Y-Yeah, that's right! I never once thought you were unreliable...!
...Oh, I'm really jealous that you have someone who you can talk to so casually so close to you. You know how i really can't leave my house at all, so... I was only ever close to my grandfather...
Oh, I'm sorry, Lucille. We didn't mean to say anything insensitive...
What's the matter? You look a little down...
O-Oh, it's nothing...
Hm...thought I heard something. Anyway, Escha, let's get going. Have Awin bring along some of the stuff, too, while he's here.
Oh? You're making Brother work, too?
Yeah, I told him the only way I could keep working at Maintenance when I'm not doing anything is if he helped me out every now and then.
(Guys can be weird...)
What can I help you with? I don't often hear from you.
You're a historian, right? So, I thought you might know a lot about old legends or folklore.
Hm. It depends on the subject, but I do occasionally dabble in the area.
I'm really curious about the edge of the world, and I'm trying to do some research... Do you think that the world actually has an end out there somewhere?
"The Forgotten Paradise", or "The Edge of the World". I see you have an interest in the old myths. I think there were some documents in the office, but...
You have documents? Do you think I could see them?
Well, I don't mind sharing, but we'd have to do a lot of cleaning up in order to find them.
I can take care of that much. Now, let's go...!
Come on, Escha. Pick it up!
I'm trying, I'm trying! It's heavy!
I'm about to go to Threia's office.
Hey, do you mind if we go, too? I've never actually been in her office, myself.
Yeah. I'm curious about what kind of reference material she has...
You really want to come, too? I don't particularly mind, but... Hm.
Is something wrong, Threia?
Oh, no, it's just... I'm not actually sure if four people can fit in my office. I don't want us bumping into each other OR my papers. It could cause an avalanche.
Hahaha... You must be exaggerating...
It's true. Someone brought me some documents a while ago... I'm sorry to say they were hurt when a stack fell on them.
That sounds like fiction. Are you telling us that actually happened?
But, Awin's going to help me tidy up. I'm having trouble opening the door, so you'll be a huge help.
H-Huh!? W-Well, I do want to see those documents, so...
Since we're going through the trouble, let's clean up the entrance, at the very least.
Um... I think I just remembered something we had to do. I mean, that we already promised we'd do...
Yeah, we've got other jobs we need to take care of. Soooo...
Ah, that's too bad. Well, I'm sure Awin will be enough help by himself.
Tch... It's worth it if it gets me closer to the edge of the world...!
That was close. If we've stayed any longer, we might've been trapped in there with Awin.
Is he going to be okay...?