Part 33: Chapter XXVIII: The Prescient Uncle and Troublemaker
I guess that's it, then. There's nothing here, and they didn't find the Edge.
Yeah, it's kind of depressing, but it's amazing how the Expedition Corps made it so far out here without an airship. Even with an airship, it took us a long time to get here.
Well, there's no use worrying about it here. Let's head back to town.
That Dimension Bomb looks like a really interesting recipe. We should try making it as soon as possible.
It's a good thing we picked up those Elixir Bases in the Unexplored Ruins and disassembled them. I'm sure that recipe would be put to great use once the reports reach Central.
Only three more...
Well, it's almost time for the inspection of the airship. Ever since Marion ordered us to keep the airship in good shape for Central, I've been down at the docks more often. It's honestly kind of a pain. Do you want to come with me to check it out, Escha?
Sure! Maybe I can even help!
What do you mean, "okay"...?
I think the shock was a little too much for him. He hasn't brought up the topic since.
Hmm... Maybe you're right. He looks the same to me, but he could be depressed deep on the inside...
O-Oh, Brother! Um, cheer up a little, yeah?
Huh? What are you talking about?
It's just that... You've seemed a little down ever since we went to the Edge, so...
Oh... Yeah, well... There's no point in hiding my disappointment, I suppose. But, were you concerned about me? Because I seemed down?
Haha, don't worry about it. Sure, I was a little shocked, but now my dream's clearer than ever before! In fact, I'm excited to think about what to do next.
"Next"? What, what are you going to do now, Brother?
I'm going over that hill, of course! I'm not going to borrow an airship. I'll build my own blimp!
You want to go over the hill...? Impossible! You'll never be able to do that in a blimp...
Maybe, maybe. It'll be a huge undertaking, too. But I didn't see the world's end where we stopped, even if the Expedition Corps said it was.
Are you absolutely sure about that? It could be much tougher than you're thinking...
I inherited those guys' dreams.
I guess you have a point... We'll help you with whatever we can!
Thanks. But first, we need to work real hard to get the money to buy blimp parts. No job's too small for me, now. I'll fix roofs or renovate entire houses if I have to!
Sheesh, you never give up, do you Awin?
Hahaha, that's more like the Brother I know!
I guess it is... He's always sprinting towards whatever he sets his mind to.
I hope he does find the Edge of the World that he's been dreaming of.
That's IF the Edge exists...
But it's a great dream!
What could this be...? It looks like a charm of some sort.
Oh, Ms. Escha, you've got an eye for treasure! It's said that item brings great luck in romance!
That sounds like a flat-out lie. As usual... You sure it has any effect at all?
Of course it does! I got it from Ms. Wilbell!
That makes me even more suspicious. Hm... Or, maybe she really did make a magic charm...?
Why don't you two give it a shot? If I see some sparks fly between you two, we'll know it's legit.
I know you're just trying to trick us into buying it... Gosh, you never let it rest, do you?
Aw, you got me again. Why don't you just fall for my tricks once in a while?
You never give up, do you? But a love charm that actually works... Heehee, that sounds amazing!
Oh, Micie! Welcome, welcome! I've got plenty of new wars today! Have a look!
New wares...? What might you have?
I've got this new love charm! It might help you win the heart of that girl on your mind!
L-L-Love charm...!? Is this true!?
That's what she claims, but there's still no proof that it works.
P-P-Please, sell one to me!
Why, thank you very much! How manly of you to seal the deal before even hearing the price!
Oh? Is there a girl you like, Micie?
(She's standing right behind you, Escha, but I can't tell her that...) H-Hey, Escha... We probably shouldn't discuss that here...
Ah... U-Umm, no... That's...!
I'm cheering for you, MIcie! Who's the lucky lady?
Awww... He ran away...
Hahaha, he really is an interesting character.
*Yawn* I'm getting pretty tired, Escha. Why don't we head back to the atelier and call it a day?
Sure, that... Wait...[/i]
Duke said today's the day of the eating contest! C'mon, we have to hurry!
I finally got all the participants for my "Duke's 4th Chowdown Showdown!"
Ugh... You were serious about that? I completely forgot about that thing.
Ah, so it's finally beginning... Logy, I'm cheering for you!
Right. Strike while the iron's whatever. It's time to start thing!
Huh!? We're starting right now!? I'm still not mentally prepared for this...
Quit your yappin' and get ready. There's no time to waste! Right! We're gonna kick this event off! All you fools with empty hands get helping!
The day has finally come...!
Oh yeah, Escha. Do you mind gathering all the participants together for me? Here's the list.
Yes... Huh? These are the people participating? Looks like I just need to get Linca! Reyfer and Logy are already here!
All right, you fools! You are to see some serious eating!?
You ready to see some faces get stuffed!?
Now, we've got a slew of brave men here up for the challenge! Who here wants to watch them CHOW! DOWN!?
Well said... I love you guys! Now it's time to begin the 4th Chowdown Showdown!
Good god... There's no way a single person can possibly eat this much! But I'm not about to lose!. I've got free meals on the line here. BRING! IT! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!
I love your appetite and your style, kid!
*chomp* I see... This is quite delicious. And with these servings, I'll be sure to be satisfied. Next time I make anything for Ms. Marion, I should be challenging her with sheer volume!
You've got some spirit, young lady! You didn't even flinch! Keep it up!
Ugh... What the hell is this... This is really bad. I don't think I can cram down any more...
LOGY! Do your best...!
Cough... I think... I think I'm done...!
Huh!? No! It's still way too soon! Please, don't give up! E-Eeeek! Logy's face... Oh my gosh! Please, get a grip!
Pfft, giving up already? The battle's just beginning!
Heh, throwing in the towel already, kid? Heh heh heh... You don't have to try too hard, right, sword lady?
You don't need to concern yourself with me. I conveniently skipped having breakfast this morning. Considering how much I have for breakfast, this isn't an impossible amount.
U-Um... There's way more here than anyone could possibly eat for breakfast.
You're looking a little pale, Reyfer. Perhaps you should throw in the towel while you still can.
Oh, don't you underestimate me. You think I... *Urp* H-How the hell aren't you slowing down at all!?
Logy! Where does it hurt...? Here? Or over here...?
Waaaaaaaah! Logy, please, get a grip!
And the winner is...this beautiful young lady, who polished off her entire plate! I give you, Linca!
Oh? So I won...? I think this was worth skipping breakfast.
Amazing... She at it all...and she's a girl!
I actually haven't seen anyone clean the whole thing in a long time. I... I'm moved...!
Heh heh, that was impressive eating. Everyone give a round of applause to our daring challengers!
Ugh... My free meal tickets... I couldn't do it...
Ack... And I have to wash the dishes, too...
Ugh... Just...go on ahead, Escha. I'll be back before too long.
Okay... Let's go back to the branch, Linca.
What's wrong, Linca? You seem a little down.
What exactly is a "mother"? The other Linca said she was trying to find her mother. But we don't know of any such person.
I'm sorry, Linca. I really don't know my mother very well either... She got sick when I was very young, and...
I-I'm very sorry! That was very inconsiderate of me.
No, don't worry. I don't remember her at all, so I don't really feel sad that she isn't around. I might be the same as you, Linca, in that sense.
I see... So that's how it was.
But, I'm sure your mother is a very pretty person, Linca.
I'm not sure what you mean... Are children usually similar in some ways to their parents?
I don't know. Some people don't resemble their parents at all. And lots of people are nothing like their parents in personality, either.
...Escha. I told you before that I have sisters who look like me. And there are many of them.
Yeah... She looked exactly like you, but it was very strange.
All of us look the same, but our personalities are completely different. There's a cruel Linca, and the...cheerier Linca you recently met. I wonder which of us is like our mother. Maybe none of us does.
I can't say. I don't know what kind of person your mother is...
...We're all supposed to be the same, so why are we so different? If we were all the same, there would be no reason for us to fight...
Hmm... I don't know why such a strange thing would happen. But isn't it normal that everybody would be different?
You're Linca. The girl in the tavern was also named Linca, but you're completely different people. And even though neither you nor I have a mother, we're completely different people as well.
Unique... I'm the one and only me... I suppose that's true as well. Thank you very much, Escha. I'll think it over.
Really? I hope I was helpful.
If conflict is caused by differences, then everyone would constantly be fighting. There might be a way for us Lincas to live without fighting one another.
(I started confusing myself with my own explanation... But at least Linca's cheered up a bit, so that's good.) Hm, Logy's still not back yet. Guess I'll start cleaning the atelier. I wonder if he's okay...
Well, at least there weren't too many dishes...man, I can still barely move. Ugh, let's just get back.
You look a little down, Lucille.
Oh, Mr. Logy! Um... It's nothing really important, so please don't worry about it.
Really? Well, if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know, okay? I'll listen...
Huh? A-Are you sure...? But, I really don't want to bother you...
Well, you can't help me when you're sad like that, so helping you now is better for me anyway, isn't it?
O-Okay...the truth is, there's a little problem with my parents back home in Central City...
Heh... I was never really close to my parents, either. We used to fight a lot, now that I think back.
No, not like that! My parents are really supportive of me!
Oh, uh... Sorry about that. What's the issue, then?
Well, um... I think the problem is that we're actually too close.
How is that a problem?
Haha, sounds like they worry about you a lot.
That's not at all. A little while ago, when we were really busy. I forgot to respond to a letter right away. And then my parents sent a letter directly to the branch manager... They were furious that I was "being kept in a sweatshop" and were about to send someone to pick me up...
That's pretty forceful. I'm surprised it didn't turn into a bigger issue.
The branch manager was able to calm them down when he replied... But just now, he came to me and said that he'd gotten another letter of protest...
...Wow, I was wrong. Yes, that does sound like a real problem.
Right!? So, I'm just so embarrassed, I don't know what to do! What would you do in a situation like this, Mr. Logy?
...Well, my family was pretty hands-off in a lot of ways. I don't think I'm a very good example.
Sorry... I'll try to think of a solution, but if you manage to find an answer to this...
This is a tricky situation... Well, I'll keep it in mind.
Oh, hello Logy! Did you finish washing the dishes?
Yeah, Reyfer helped out a lot. I was amazed by how much Linca can eat. And she's so thin, too. I wonder how she does it...
Hey Logy, do you remember the Demon Crucible synthesis?
Of course. Why?
Well, I used the same idea here. I can't wait to see what effect this has.
"4D Damage"...looks like it uses all the elements to generate an intense explosion. That looks great. Escha, I'm sure you've been noticing, but your alchemy was gotten a lot better since we started.
You think so? It doesn't really feel like much has changed for me...
(That may be the strangest thing of all...)
Is this a bomb...? It looks like something you'd find anywhere...
Oh, no! Be really careful with that! It's not your average bomb, okay?
I-I see... Sorry. Is it really that dangerous?
When you throw this bomb, it'll disappear into the air, and then blow up somewhere else... So, even if you try to run away, you'll never know where it hits. It's almost impossible to miss.
Whoa... That's pretty evil. We could probably use this in battle, then. I wonder if the people of the past used these kinds of things a lot. Wait... If we don't know where it goes off, isn't it dangerous to us, too?
U-Umm... About that...
...You're kidding, right?
Probably...? Do you really intend to bring that on our investigations?
I mean, it should generally explode on the monsters, so we'll be fine!
As long as it doesn't hit us, we will...
L-Let's not talk about that anymore, okay?
Forget it. I'm going to use this. I'll find out if there's any way to use this safely.
Hey Escha, can you take a look at a recipe book I ordered from Central? They were researching it for a while, but it doesn't look like they came up with anything from it. Your alchemy has come a long way, so I think you might do a better job at it.
Sure, I'll take a look!
Hm, this looks kind of hard, but I think I can do something with it. I need to do a little research, though. This Tauzent Blitz looks really complicated.
Yeah, I was worried about that. Well, if you could do something with it, that would be perfect. The recipe needs two of my Cores. Could you make another Airto Blitz so the synthesis is a little easier?
Sure! I need to prepare some materials for the Tauzent Blitz, though. Can you go to Katla's and pick up some materials for me, Logy?
Sure. I'll be right back.
Solle, do you have a moment?
Y-Yes, how can I help you, sir? I believe I've taken care of all the urgent paperwork... Was there some sort of error?
No, you're doing an amazing job. We have a little extra cushion in the schedule now. Say, what would you say about having dinner with me? I know it's been a while...
D-Dinner...? B-But um, I...
Well, I thought that we seldom have the opportunity, so... You've already finished your work, right? Now, let's go, then. Where do you usually eat, Solle?
Oh, no, um... I... Uh... Right this way...
So, um... Do you come here often?
I see... You should really think about getting balanced meals.
...Yes, I'll be careful.
...I followed them here without really thinking, but...why does the air feel so dense?
How is your work going? Everything smooth?
I figure you should know. You are the Branch Manager, after all.
Er, yes, I suppose you have a point. To be honest, I've been amazed by your work lately...
I-Is that so...? Well, thank you very much. U-Umm, Sir...?
Hmm? Yes, what is it?
I-I don't think it's necessary to pay me idle compliments...
...Right. Well, I wasn't forcing anything. I've been told that people are able to focus on their own work because of your support.
Wh-Who in the world's been saying that...?
Other people, besides me, who think your work is valuable. I hope that you can continue working for the branch...
R-Right... Thank you.
Ugh, the two of them are stressing me out. I think I'm getting an ulcer just watching them. C-Crap, he saw me!
H-Hey, Logy...! Did you happen to finish that paperwork
Oh! Solle, fancy meeting you here... Um, paperwork? Y-Yes, I believe I finished that...
I see. Excuse me, sir, I still have some work that needs to be taken care of.
I-I see... Sorry for taking your time.
Huh? I didn't do anything. But, you never asked me to do any paperwork for you, either.
No, I just needed an excuse to escape. There wasn't going to be an easy way out of there... I wonder what that was all about. It's like he was trying to test me... At any rate, it was terrifying.
I don't think it was the scary. Maybe he just wanted to have dinner with his son?
Hahaha, you must be joking. I highly doubt that would be the case.
I mean, he did tell us that he felt bad about what he did to you. I really think that he just wants to have a normal father/son relationship with you.
Hmm... We are speaking strictly in hypotheticals here, but I shall take it under advisement. Nevertheless, I don't think my stomach could handle it if something similar happened again.
You've got a point there. I think I felt a little sick just watching the two of you. But really, I don't feel there's a need to overthink this... Oh yeah! I still need to pick up those materials for Escha. I got so distracted watching Solle and Colland that I forgot about it...
Yes, I've finished it already.
Huh!? Already? Wow... That was fast.
Don't worry, I did it properly. You have to believe me.
No, I'm sure you did a great job. I'm just genuinely amazed you were able to do it that fast, though.
That reminds me... Things were difficult before, but I'm getting better. I think I've improved, huh?
Oh, no doubt. I can tell you right now that I can't possibly Synthesize anything that fast I don't think there's any need for me to give you any more advice now.
Ahahaha, that's not true. There's still so much that I don't know yet. We were only able to make so many things because we were working together.
Don't be modest. I really do think you've gotten better.
Huuuuh!? D-Don't say that! You're not going to get anything from me by flattering me, you know.
I was just saying the truth.
Ahh, why are you doing this to me all of a sudden? You're embarrassing me!
Heh, well, it's true that you don't LOOK like somebody who's that skilled, haha!
Ugh, I knew you were making fun of me!
Well, there's nothing wrong with the way you're improving. I'm still going to rely on you. Unless there's something extremely urgent, I think I can still let you do everything, haha.
Heeeeey! Don't say that! You've got to keep helping me!
Really, though, you don't need it. At any rate, we made out the deadline, so I'll go report to Marion.
O-Oh, yes... Thank you very much. I can't believe Logy's praised me so much. I guess I really have improved! ...But the better I get, the less he'll help me. Hmm, maybe I'm losing out on this deal after all.
Is that the Tauzent synthesis?
Yeah! I'm just about to finish it.
Whoa... I've only seen it in documents before, but this is...pretty amazing.
It's beautiful, huh? I wonder what it's for...
Simply put, it's a collection of various powers... But it takes a while to build up to this point. This secret has been protected and passed down by alchemists through the ages. To be honest, most of the recipe behind this item is theory. I'm really surprised you managed to make the recipe work.
I-I see... We've made something really amazing, then, haven't we?
I'd say you're pretty amazing for being able to make it. We finally did it...
Logy, what's wrong? You don't look very well. Did... Did I mess up!?
Oh, is that it? You're going to be fine, Logy! I know it.
D-Don't say it like that, you'll make me even more nervous. Alright, I should put in an order to the homunculi to start reproducing it. I'm sure this will be helpful on our investigations.
Solle's been complaining that the homuculi are hanging around Lucille a lot lately. We should go see her.
It's Threia and Micie. What could they be talking about?
Please, Miss Hazelgrimm. I need your help!
I told you already. I don't know anything about that man. The Hazeldines and the Hazelgrimms may be related, but we're separated. I don't know anything about them.
But, it was his malicious actions that led to alchemy in Central City falling behind more than a decade! Whatever his reasons may be, I think he needs to turn himself in so his story may be heard.
Perhaps. If you truly think that way, then why don't you go catch him already?
...All right. I'll be back tomorrow, in case you change your mind.
Now then... It's not polite to eavesdrop, you know.
S-Sorry... We didn't mean to, but it was really tough to say anything here.
It doesn't matter now... It didn't matter then, either. It's nothing you need to worry about. More importantly, I have another suggestion for our next investigation.
Y-Yes, no problem... Where would you like to go this time?
Do you recall the underground research facility in the mountains? I'd like to do more research there. According to literature I've found, there should be more ruins nearby, but I can't seem to locate them.
What other ruins do you think they'll lead you to?
If I knew, we wouldn't have to go back to the first ones. But now that you understand, let's go.
O-Okay... Ahh, Miss Threia looks like she's in a bad mood.
...Anyway, let's go back to those underground ruins for her.
Who knows? Isn't it Threia's job to find that out?
You're starting to see how this works. That's exactly what my job is. Though I have a good idea...
Wow, that's amazing. So what happened to this place...?
As I'm sure you're aware, in the old era, there were several "countries", like Central City.
I-I wasn't aware...
You should at least know that much. It's pretty common knowledge.
And, it's been written that mankind fought amongst itself quite frequently in those times. Research facilities like this were built during that time. To put it simply, they researched weapons.
Supposedly they used alchemy for evil in the past era... I've heard of that, as well.
I never knew that happened back then... Why couldn't everyone get along?
Sounds silly, doesn't it? But apparently they were fighting for an extremely long time.
No one believed him at first, but the more he investigated, the more the data validated his theory.
I see... That's amazing. And is that person why you became a historian, too?
I wouldn't say it's the only reason. It's not like I wanted to become him.
Then, why did you want to become a historian?
I had an uncle who thought he was doing good for the world by doing constant research. But alchemy was quickly advancing, and soon there was a chance that it would only create more conflict. He wanted to fully uncover the truth about alchemy, and feared mankind would repeat its mistakes.
Uncovering the truth... Those words turn up a lot in books about alchemy.
And yet, there are many people who only learn and advance alchemy for their own selfish desires. My uncle destroyed a number of alchemy facilities, to stop those who lost sight of the truth.
He destroyed alchemy facilities...? That's a grave crime! He would go that far?
Because of him, my family has been implicated as his accomplices. Who knows what people are saying now...
Miss Threia, um... You didn't do anything wrong, Miss Threia! No matter what the others say, you're innocent!
Well, thank you. But I hold no grudge against my uncle. I want to know if the people of the past fell because of their ambitions and see if their technology is worth pursuing.
That's why you do your own research...to understand what happened.
You look at the mistakes people made in the past, to help us make decisions today!
Yes. And I pray that mankind was not that foolish back then...
We should keep following her, Logy. Looks like she's on to something...
There are some strange sights here...things you wouldn't see in other ruins.
Yes. Those could be artifacts unique to this region. Let's take a closer look. I believe that this facility was used to make weapons, but I cannot find data on what kinds of weapons.
Are you sure they weren't researching something else entirely? Is that possible?
If that's the case, I wonder what they would have been researching... It must be related to alchemy. Also, there are artifacts similar to those found in the north. What are they doing in this place?
Um, Miss Threia!? There's a notebook over here...
A notebook? Not old documents?
Who could possibly have been here and written that? Let's have a look. That handwriting... I've seen it before. Let me see that...!
S-Sure... Go ahead.
I see... I think I understand now. This notebook was left behind by my uncle.
Huh!? You mean your uncle, the wanted criminal...?!
So your uncle came here, too? What does it say...?
He suspected something was amiss, like we are doing now. He was studying this facility's purpose. It appears this place primarily conducted experiments on plants, to make them grow in the wastelands.
Wow, they were doing that, too? It must have been tough to live back in those times... If they'd found an answer, though, it would have been really helpful for us!
Furthermore, it looks like there are other ruins with a similar purpose all around the world... This leads me to believe that many of the old "countries" were working together to solve a common problem.
You also said that these countries fought among one another. Why would they--
Yes, about that... It's indicated that the facility was built near the tail end of the previous era. It's possible that the countries united in a common cause as the land began to die around them.
You mean they became friends and worked with each other?
Former enemies turning to each other for help in times of common trouble... It's quite dramatic.
This could be a very big discovery, then!
Yes. If it's true, it would suggest that the previous era saw an end to the practice of war. Anyway, we should return. I'll need to rethink how to revise my thesis in light of this new evidence.
Right! Th-This is becoming really interesting...
Escha, didn't Threia say her last name was Hazelgrimm?
I think so... What about it?
Keithgriff Hazeldine... It can't be a coincidence. I thought I heard Threia's last name before, in Central City. Threia's uncle, the wanted criminal, was conducting research like this...? I had no idea...
Is there something wrong?
N-No...it's nothing. Anyway, there's nothing to gather here, and I don't see any documents to recover. Do you want to head back now?
Yes. It has quite a bit of data, so I'm using it as a source in my new thesis. I should be finishing soon.
Wow, that's great news. Congratulations!
It's not that great... I'd rather be collecting my own data than having to rely on his work. He was so far ahead of me ages ago. I can't sleep, knowing that... And to think he'd just leave detailed notes behind like this. It's not like him.
Well, maybe you can just think of it as a present left behind by your uncle.
It's still a major discovery, isn't it? Why didn't he go public with this, instead of leaving it behind?
Who knows? Perhaps it has something to do with this "truth" he was so fixated on.
Uh-oh, she's getting mad... Um, what kind of thesis are you writing, Miss Threia?
Haven't I told you about it yet? It's a study on why our ancestors disappeared into history... Civil unrest, war, and the lost of resources seem to be leading causes, but I believe in others. The data we've found leads me to think that there was a major shift in the later years. That alone opens up new questions. Perhaps our current understanding of the past is completely wrong...
In other words, you expect that your thesis will spawn a great deal of new theories about the past?
...Yes, to put it bluntly. It's still too early to release this to the public. I need more evidence.
Hmm... But even though the people tried so hard, they still died out in the end, right?
That's something we must never forget, when we research history.
I've never thought of it that way.
Yeah, it would be rude of people to just say things about them without fact... That's important, too.
Thank you for understanding. I'm glad to have you on my side. I'll make sure you see my thesis. I have to show it to one of my friends first. You won't be the first to read it.
I-I hope your thesis isn't too difficult for me to read, Miss Threia...
...I'd read it and help explain it in terms you'd understand, Escha.
Well then, I'm going back to my office now. Thanks for all your help in the investigation.
Of course! I hope that you can finish your thesis soon!
There was...something they could not overcome, even with all of their technology combined.