Part 4: IV: Pages of a Big AdventureChapter IV: Pages of a Big Adventure
Letter from a chancellor
Heh, I guess this place really does feel like home now. How many years has it been...hm? A letter... What could this be...? "To Ms. Rorolina Frixell, Regarding Your Atelier Business License Renewal. We write to inform you that the business license for your alchemy workshop is soon to reach its expiry date. We ask that you visit the Arland Parliament to renew your license. This is your third notice on this subject. Come here immediately, or I promise you this won't be a laughing matter, Rorona! Chancellor of the Arland Republic, Cor..." Oh no, oh no...! Ahh, this is really bad!
It does sound really bad, but that letter was getting awfully personal toward the end there...
If I don't do something, then Mom's workshop will be...! Closed, shut down, done for! I can't let that happen, what do I do?! Teacher must know a lot about running a workshop! OK, calm down! Let's just go and ask her...
Sounds like a plan, but man, that's a big treasure chest. Also, keeping a Tera Bomb in your house is probably just a bit dangerous.
Advice from teacher
Also, they did a lot more creative / dynamic stuff with scenes in this game, so Lulua in particular is a lot more physically active during them. For example, this scene technically started off with Dragon wandering about and Piana looking at a bookcase, then she turned out and Lulua popped up from just below the frame here.
Whoa, Lulua?! Y-You really burst in on me... What's wrong?
Mom! Mom's in trouble!
Really?! Rorona's in trouble?! What's happened?!
Well, um, look! *explains*
I see... So her business license is going to expire... Well, I'm just glad to know she isn't actually in danger.
I'm sorry... I was just so shocked to find this letter... So, what should we do? Can we just leave this be?
Yes. A third notice is a rather serious matter. Rorona must have completely forgotten about it. The next time they send a letter... I can only assume it'll be the notice of cancellation of her Atelier Business License...
Oh no no no... What do we do?! How can I stop that from happening?!
Calm down, Lulua. There's only one way to resolve this, and it's very simple. You just need to go to Arland and renew the license yourself.
Me?! G-go to Arland?
Yes. Go and apply for the renewal instead of Rorona. See? Simple.
I guess it is pretty straightforward... But I'm kind of nervous... I've never gone that far from Arklys before...
Then this is a good opportunity, isn't it? You should be able to learn a lot on your journey. And Arland is Rorona's old home. Aren't you curious about the place your mother came from?
Then it's settled. I have some business in Arland myself, so I'll accompany you too.
Whoa, really?! That's so great! If you're coming, what else could I need?!
Yes, I know. I wouldn't say my company is ALL you need, Lulua. Arland is pretty far from here, and there will be monsters on the way. It would be nice to have some more help on board for the trip.
Help, huh... I guess I know someone who might fit.
Do you? Well then, why don't you go and ask them?
Yeah, I will! I'll just run and ask them, I'll be back soon! (People who might travel with me... I'll go ask Eva and Aurel.)
Well, Aurel doesn't seem married to this place, so he'll probably be pretty easy to convince, but Eva could be a harder sell what with being a cornerstone of the orphanage. Guess we'll just have to ask. Next three scenes are all part of the same video.
Hey, Aurel! I've got a request for you!
A request? For me?
Yes. Y'see... *explains*
So you want me to be your guard on the way to Arland? Hm... Well, he didn't turn out to be in Arklys... And I got the item I needed. I guess there's no reason I shouldn't go back to Arland...
*pops into frame* Hey, what are you mumbling about over there? How about it Aurel, will you come along?
Yeah, sure. You did fulfill my request... So I suppose I can lend you a hand this time. This is a special case though, understand?
Yay! A special case is fine with me! Thanks, Aurel!
Oh, Lulua! Hello!
Hello! So, Eva, there's something I need to ask you... *explains again*
To Arland, huh... I see... I'd really like to go with you, and I'd be worried about you traveling all that way, but...
Go with her, Eva.
Heh, it's a good opportunity for you. Go and see the sights! You're always working hard here, you deserve a little vacation. I can take care of things here just fine, you...ah! *gets tackled*
It's OK, Eva! We'll all be extra good!
I'm beginning to think Renen's vocabulary is not going to substantially improve much while we play this game...
See, we'll be fine...haha. Have a good trip, Eva!
Aww, you guys! Hehe, it looks like you're stuck with me all the way to Arland, Lulua!
Yeah! You're stuck with me too, though!
The most wholesome formulation of Rorschach's little theorem. As you might guess, this next scene happens after you talk to the second person, regardless of identity.
And Teacher is coming too! Perfect! Everything's perfect! This trip is going to go great, I know it! Arland, huh... Mom's hometown.. Ahh, I can't wait to see what it's all like! I wish I couldn't gone there with Mom... But wishful thinking won't change anything now! OK, time to go tell Ms. Piana that Eva and Aurel are coming! All right, you better be ready for us, Arland, 'cause here we come!
And that we did.
I think that should be enough battle power, Master. You can leave the driving to me.
Yes. We're counting on you, Chim Dragon.
Hehe, at last...! We're really going to Arland now, Teach! Teacherrr!!
You're getting excited for this, I see. Remember, we're going there to renew the business license and let you broaden your horizons a bit... So don't neglect your studies! Understand?
"Alchemyriddle" is glowing! And there's new text in it!
Ahaha. It seems that "Alchemyriddle" doesn't want you to forget your studies either!
Haha, well, maybe! It sure is a helpful book!
Well then, once we have everything packed, we can depart. Remember to synthesize any bombs or medicine you think you'll need! Hehe. Let me know when you have everything ready! Got it, Lulua?
Yep, got it!
Well, at least we didn't have to wait too long before she officially joined the party. Remember, because Piana is an alchemist, she can use Interrupt, which you really should get around to utilizing with her. In addition, because we now have a four-member party, we get a tutorial for Formations. Only three characters at a time can be on the frontline, so someone has to be in the backline now if you want to have everyone contributing. There's a few benefits to having a character in reserve: they're protected from enemy attacks, no matter how powerful, they slowly recover HP/MP, and they can use Assist skills, which differs depending on the character and activation conditions but in most cases provides a little extra firepower for your team. In addition, for Interrupt users, the Interrupt gauge still charges while they're in reserve. If your entire frontline happens to get defeated, the backline switches in to continue the fight.
This is the Formation screen. You can set who you want where, but the most important thing to keep in mind is which characters can assist others. Unlike previous Ateliers, there's no option for a party member to support the protagonist, so you'll have to keep that in mind. In this screen, you can see Lulua and Eva in the foreground, so those two will be starting party members, but the thing with backline party members is they're only linked to characters corresponding to their slot. So in this instance, Lulua and Eva can be supported by Piana, but Lulua cannot be supported by Aurel.
This is why the middle slot of the party is important, because that character can derive support from both backline party members. Formation usually won't be the reason you lose a fight, as there was probably a larger problem with your strategy than losing just because of an inefficient formation, but it can certainly help if you pair up the right party members.
And, lest we forget, Alchemyriddle just got a lot bigger. In addition to the main story riddles, which are always found on the left-hand page, you just got bombarded with tons of optional riddles, which are used to unlock recipes, locations, the usual. Technically, all of the riddles up to the Final Chapter are unlocked, which means you could potentially spoil yourself on what's to come to some extent if you look forward in the book, but we should have no need for that.
As for now, if you've been following along fairly closely, the riddles you've already completed should look something like this. The game is kinda inconsistent as to when actions already taken count for riddles you have yet to unlock. Most of the time they will still count, rarely will they not. So it would certainly be wise to do a lot, so that when you unlock new riddle entries, you already have a lot of that work banked. In spite of my caution, there really aren't many riddles that don't count retroactively.
As for now, the page for Bomb is listed here, When You're Feeling Down requires collecting Clear Grass / using Little Vice at least once, I think, and the Road to Mastering Gathering (1) has getting materials from a tree, but we can't have finished the second part of the riddle just yet. I did discover something silly looking at one of the riddles...
"Kingdom of Arklys", specifically. It is to laugh. Guess you're bound to get confused occasionally when so many proper nouns in your subseries starts with 'A'.
Well, as Piana said, talk to her when you're ready to continue the plot, but for now, we have one final trip to the orphanage to take care of. In addition to the coming scene, we also have some Alchemyriddle-related business there. In spite of it being an important moment in the story, choosing to leave for Arland really just continues the story; you're not prevented from returning to Arklys whenever you want or anything.
The blonde-haired girl
...Hahaha! No way!
Afternoon, Father! Eva! Hehe, looks like everyone's as lively as ever!
Hello, Lulua. Hehe. Eating a lot and playing a lot, that is how life should be lived.
Yup. Just watching them enjoy themselves gives me the energy I need to get through the day. Right, Father?
Haha, that's true, Eva. I guess we better get to work then.
Well, there's no way I'd lose to you. Hahaha!!
Aww! But we're older than you!
Yeah, older than you!
Hm... Speaking of...Father Benon? When did Mana come to the orphanage?
Hmm... Now that you mention it, I can't recall... Do you remember, Eva?
Well, let me see... I think it was... Hm...
Just as I thought! I remember exactly when the others showed up, but Mana... Hmm...
Come on, Mana. Teach us how to run fast too!
Wow, Renen's first actual sentence since the game started, I think. Maybe her vocabulary is improving.
Huuh... How to run fast? Let's see... Well first, you have to look straight ahead of you...
Ahh, whatever. Mana is a part of our family, so it doesn't matter.
Ahaha. That's true. It doesn't matter when she showed up, she's a part of our family. Right, Father?
Haha, of course. Well, Lulua. We're going to have curry today... I guess you'll be sticking around?
Oh, curry?! Yes!! You know I will! Curry! Curry! I'll help serving! That I can do!
Such a mysterious girl. But never mind that, we have business to handle.
So the clues here both point to the orphanage. Specifically, the kitchen. As the book says, just talk to the kid and open the chest in the corner of the room to receive your first Nostalgic Spice, which a bit later we can use to make our first Nostalgic Curry. Makes sense to me.
Our final riddle business is to find a broken bridge, which you may have encountered before. In spite of the poor state of the bridges in the Eternal Spring, those aren't what the book is referring to with one of the clues.
It's this bridge, as flavor for the Empty Neighborhood, is what we're looking for. Don't worry about that message; this bridge will never technically be fixed no matter how long we wait or what we do. But we have no need to cross it in the first place, so it works out for everyone. We can worry about the Arklys Area's poor infrastructure later.
Music: Forty Winks
When I returned to town, it was night, rather than the early morning I actually want for the "Leaving Arklys" scene, for obvious reasons. So I decided to waste some time on the couch, which gives you this unique CG. Lulua apparently talks in her sleep quite a bit, and this is one of many messages you can get if you sleep long enough. I didn't sleep long enough for the music to trigger, but I'm pretty sure this is where it does if you do sleep long enough in a single sitting.
But now we're finally ready to go. Just select "Yes" after Piana asks here to continue the story.
(Yes) Yep, all set!
All right, time to head out, then!
Master. Shall we go through Arls first?
Hm, yes. A leisurely route to Arland via Arls sounds just right.
A-Arls?! We're going to Arls?!
Well, yes... Something wrong with that?
No, I'm just excited... I mean, it's Arls, right!
Lulua actually moved really fast from where she was standing, a few feet away from Piana, off-screen to where she's standing now.
Haha, yes. I wouldn't say it was overnight, though. Hmm, now that you mention it... We may be able to meet Meruru if we go through Arls.
Of course, if you don't remember Piana being among the cast of Atelier Meruru, you'd be right, since she wasn't. Wasn't even referred to if I remember correctly, but it has been a bit more than a year as of this writing since I last played that. But, Piana certainly would have heard all about it from first-hand sources, like Totori, after the cameras stopped rolling.
Ahhh, oh my gosh! We might be able to meet Princess Meruru! Teacher! We have to go to Arls! Like, right now!
Ahaha, all right. Off we go then!
*one hour later*
Oh, Mana! What's wrong?
I just heard you were leaving on a journey. So I came to see you off.
Haha, it's not really a big deal. I guess you can call it a journey, but it's not like I'm leaving forever...
Yes, I know. But I came to give you my blessing.
Hehe...! You'll just have to enjoy your trip! And you'd better not forget to bring back souvenirs! Bwahaha!
Yep...definitely a mysterious girl.
An important event...? Mana's a strange girl.
Isn't that just how she always is?
Haha, I guess so. An important event, though... Hm...
Nano Master, Eva. Everything is packed. Shall we depart?
Yeah, let's go!
Wow, we're really going to Arls, and then to Arland too! We can really go anywhere! Ahh, and not a cloud in the sky! Probably not Mana, but maybe something IS blessing this...hm?
Oh, it's that bird again! Hey, Teacher! Do you know what that bird's called?
Hm? Oh, that bird, well...
Wind Stone, the Windslicer. A monstrous bird that can swipe away everything around it with its wings. Though stories say it can also use that power to protect and guide. Some call it the Wings of Judgment. Hehe, I guess that means someone else is dying with curiosity too. I suppose that's to be expected. You don't find one so interesting every day.