The Let's Play Archive

Atelier Lulua

by Sylphid

Part 8: VII: Pages of the Big City

Chapter VII: Pages of the Big City

And here we go: we're finally getting to Arland this update. First time we've seen the start of first setting of the Arland series since Totori. The brief cameos in Meruru do not count.

Punis held up their end of the bargain. Nothing between us now and the city. Hopefully Rorona's little clerical error can be fixed quickly. As soon as this short little scene ends, you resume control on the other side of the gate, and this is a location you can gather materials from, for the record.

Seems like random machinery is still scattered around the areas near Arland. If you'll recall, we first met Marc in Totori near a pile of similar junk. That was south of Arland, though. This definitely isn't the same place.

No locations to explore in the interim. Stalhang is northeast of the checkpoint, if you want a point of reference. Big city

Music: Let's Go Out: For Lulua

So this is Arland!
Yep. The crowning glory of the Republic... And birthplace of Rorona!
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I can't handle it! It's so...big! I've never seen anything like it! I can't believe my mother was born in an place like this. Incredible! Amazing!

Indeed. Not only her birthplace (as confirmed by this game, not her game), but she *made* this town, and this country. By completing all 12 of her assignments, she proved to Gio that alchemy was the future of the country. She may be a tad Bohemian in her mannerisms, but there's no doubt she had a great influence on the country.

Well, it must be noted Astrid also had a hand in it. She never really went into it, but the prologue to Rorona said that a bunch of ancient machines had been discovered, but no one had yet managed to utilize them before Astrid came along and taught them how. That weird big purple structure in the town square is among those machines. Her payment for services rendered was being able to open up an atelier in town and, well, things snowballed from there.

It's really made an impression on you, huh? I grew up in Arland, so I can't imagine being so excited about it.
Hehe, I'm sure you can't. There's just something special about this place. The energy of the people... The weight of years of history... It's a swirling mix of amazing things. Like the inside of an alchemy cauldron!
A cauldron? What are you on about?

Poor males without any alchemical talent, being forced to put up with this kind of talk in this series. Nobody had it as bad as the first of two male characters you recruited in Lydie & Suelle. Even if you counted both DLC characters, literally *every* party member but him was an alchemist.

Haha! Let's just leave it at "it's special"? Eva, you know what I mean, right?
Er... Eva?
Wha--?! Oh, sorry! I've never seen a place like this before. I can't take my eyes away.
Ahaha, that's a little unusual for you... Right then. Hey, Lulua.
Right here, Teach!
I have to go apply for the renewal of the Business License now. Why don't you take the time to look around Arland?
Ooh, can I? I don't want to saddle you with the boring stuff...
No-no, don't worry about it. Hehe. You want to go explore the place your mother grew up in, right? So that's that. Let's meet at Rorona's Atelier. Here's the map.
Wow... So this is my mother's atelier... Got it!
Right then. I'll also see you later. I've got some of my own stuff to take care of.
Oh, me too. Sorry to leave you on your own, Lulua!
No, don't worry about it! I'll see you guys later!

Wow, party disbanded. Just like that. Well, they don't need to be around for the sightseeing Lulua plans to do.

Right. Arland, my mother's hometown! There's so much I want to see!

Makes sense we can't use this while the party's broken up. Not that we have business in other towns in the first place.

First, let's stop by this tavern. That sign seems familiar. Probably something interesting in there. The entertainer

Thank you, thank you.
*whistle* You killed it, Lionela!
That's "Arland's queen of the stage" for ya! She gives me the chills!
*chuckle* You're too kind. Oh!

Welcome. A new face, I believe?
Y-You're so beautiful! Ack, I mean-- Er, Lulua! Um, that's me. I mean, hello! Nice to meet you! Sorry!
*chuckle* Lovely to meet you, Lulua. My name is Lionela. This is my bar, The Ar Hollow.

Wow-wee, Lionela, huh? If you'll recall, Lionela was the dancer-vagabond Rorona met fairly early in her adventure after she dropped her wallet and Rorona gave it back to her. The two eventually became quite close, which concluded with Rorona and Astrid discovering the truth behind her two cat dolls, Aranya and Horoholo. Though, whether Rorona ever *truly* comprehended Astrid's explanation was a dangling plot thread. Nevertheless, even confronted with the truth (that the two puppets are just extentions of her personality that were acting as "friends"), Lionela continued to cling onto her belief that the two were separate existences.

The last we heard of her, since she wasn't mentioned at all in Meruru, was during an old friends get-together in Totori, where Sterk, Cory, Rorona, and Iksel talked about her still traveling the Arland area, putting on her shows. The others asked Rorona if she could impress upon Lionela to return to Arland and live there for good, and it seems that finally paid off.

As far as Rorona herself goes, though, that's another issue. Although she has a home in Arklys, she also has her atelier here that's still in use. Given how Lulua isn't constantly freaking out about how long her mom has been gone, seems she's used to Rorona being gone for large amounts of time, so definitely not unreasonable she still stops in with her old friend Lionela here from time to time.

Yes. We offer an array of fine food and drink... As well as song and dance.
Song and... Oh yeah! What was it they called you? Arland's queen of the stage?
Gwaha, that's right, young lady! Lionela is a very accomplished dancer! Arland's star!
She spent her childhood traveling from place to place, devoting herself to studying dance.

Oh, come now! Don't go around saying embarrassing things! *ahem* Anyhow... You look like a traveler if I'm not mistaken.
Oh! Yes I am. I came here from Arklys!
Oh my, all the way from Arklys! Welcome to Arland. Oh, by the way. Would you be interested in a job?
A-A job?
Yes. I run an agency that fulfills requests. As a traveler, I'm sure you need the money? Traveling can be rather tough. I've been there. I used to lose my purse all the time...

See above as to this reference.

Haha, yeah. It's not easy... I could certainly use a bit of gold. If you have work for me, please let me know!
*chuckle* Then it's decided. If you want to take on a request, just let me know.

Music: Liquor Waltz

Now that was an efficient scene. Got re-introduced to Lionela and opened up Arland's job handler. Functions the same as Keina and Lisa, as you might expect.

Well, her use of them may be long in the past, but no reason not to keep them around. But for now, take what requests you want from Lionela and continue on to Artisan's Way to resume our tour of the big city.

Hm, wonder if Cory still has the keys to this place. She did in Totori, at least. Anyway, all I'll say right now is you can't go to Atelier Rorona at present and that it's locked. Might want to keep that in mind.

Seeing people walking on the far side of the canal is a nice detail. The blacksmith

Music: Citizens of Arland

You know who I bet's behind there? A big bald burly blacksmith, possibly with a hat. I'm never wrong about these things.

Music: Blacksmiths Here!

Well...he seems to be a blacksmith. But it seems I'm entirely wrong outside of that. And the hat thing.

Ah, right lifesaver you are! I shouldn't have expected any less, eh?
See you soon! ...Hmm? Welcome. What can I do for you?
Huh?! Oh, um... I'm just looking around, sorry... You're a...blacksmith?
Last time I checked! Nice to meetcha. I'm Cole. Co-owner of "Hagel & Cole Ironworks".

Believe it or not, a recurring character. Don't worry if you don't remember him, but I do. In Atelier Rorona, after a certain point in the "plot", Cole would start coming around to the atelier on the 15th (exactly) of every month to sell you allegedly rare junk he came across from his suppliers or his own adventures. Every now and then you'd get a scene with him but he never really added anything to the plot, aside from helping to open Pamela's Store, which was important, and unlocking the Ster Highlands, which was crucial for the Iksel and Sterk Endings (and by extention, the True Ending), assuming you bought enough of a specific material. Yeah, Rorona was *that* kind of game, don't you know.

Again, aside from that, Cole was definitely easy to forget he was even a gameplay mechanic and never appeared in the other games. But here he is again, in a...considerably different role, though.

So you run this place? My name's Lulua! Nice to meet you too!
Lulua, eh? That name sort of reminds me of someone I know. Probably just a coincidence. Haven't seen you around before. D'you live in Arland?
Nope. We traveled here from Arklys! Arland is my mother's hometown!
Oh, really? Well, aren't you lucky? If you're on your travels, this is the place to come. We've got weapons and armor, horseshoes and housewares. If it's made of iron, it's sold in Hagel & Cole!

Great! I'm sure I will!

Well, he's definitely right about this place being crucial for Lulua's adventures, but you'll forgive me if I want to move on so we can get to the next plot beat before I go into a big discussion about equipment customization, won't you? Let us continue down the street. The chef

Ugh... I only just realized how hungry I am... Something smells really good...

Huh, Iksel might have himself a haircut since we last saw him.

Ahoy there! Table for one!
...Huh? I think my tummy led me here by itself... But hey, why not? Excuse me! Er...I'll just have whatever you recommend!
Recommend, eh? Well now. That's a bit of a tricky one. I'm Wild, the owner of the Sunrise Cafe. And we don't serve anything we wouldn't recommend!

Ah, uh, sorry, but... Um...Mr. Wild, was it?
Yep, that's right. Hungry, aren't you?
Um, yes... It's like my stomach and my spine are stuck together. I feel like an empty bag.
Ga ha ha! Talk about a mental image! You're funny. I like you. What's your name, missy?
Oh, Lulua. Elmerulia Frixell.
Wait just a second. Frixell?! Did you just say Frixell? THAT Frixell? You ain't...Rorona's...sister, are you?
No, I'm her daughter! Rorona's my mom!
Well I'll be... That's a turnup for the books. My master is actually an old friend of Rorona's. Hehe, well in that case, I'd better bring you something special! One second, missy. *frying pan noises* There you go! Wild's Homemade Burger. Eat up!
Wow, this looks super delicious! I can't wait to dig in! Mmm! Mmmmmm! This is TOO GOOD!

All right. I'm glad to hear it!
I'm so happy right now. Thank you very much, Mr. Wild! Um, how much do I owe you?
It's on the house. We can't take money from Rorona's daughter.
Wh-What? No way! I c-can't-- You have to let me pay!
There's no use arguing, missy! All right, all right! How about this, Lulua? Promise me you'll come back to eat here again. Watching you stuff your face put a smile on mine. So, come back sometime, and I'll feed you up just like today. Deal?
O-OK... Uh, is it really all right?
Of course! I said so didn't I? There's no reason to hold back. Good food strengthens the soul. The Sunrise Cafe looks forward to your return!
Alright then! Thank you so much for this, Mr. Wild!

Can't take money from Rorona's daughter, unless it's like this, huh? I see how it goes. Well, it would be highly advisable for you to buy the books Wild sells. They're quite useful and general-purpose. Once you're done with your shopping decisions, you can continue on to the Parliament building, but you're not supposed to go there yet and there's nothing to do but talk to some NPCs. Return to the Square after you see the scenes at Sunrise, the Ironworks, and Ar Hollow. The captain and the rogue

I met so many incredible people! I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything less. Right then! I need to head to my mother's ateli...Huh?

Now, if you will observe...voila!

Wow, that is so cool! He made a bird appear!
I wonder how he did it! It's like magic!
Haha, that's me! A wielder of the hidden arts! No tricks or tomfoolery here, my little friends!
I'm...pretty sure that was just a trick. But he's very good! It really looked like magic.

Wow, you heard me? What kind of superhuman hearing is that?
I think the lady down the street could hear you! Good work in Arls, by the way. The punis told me about it.
Wha---?! The punis...told... So, uh, who are you
Oh shoot, I haven't introduced myself. I am Ficus, wandering illusionist, at your service!

Definitely shady. The game thinks so, too.

Illusionist? So not a wizard, then...
Oh shoot! My apologies. I haven't introduced myself. I am Ficus, wandering wizard, at your service.

Still a conman. A few lines of dialogue will not change that.

Don't even try that! You're not a wizard, you're an illusionist!
Gah, I thought I was more convincing than that... You got me! So who might you be?
Ah, I'm Lulua. Elmerulia Frixell. I'm an alchemist. Well, trying to be.


Music: Surly Knight: For Lulua

I know that theme anywhere.

Ugh, a troublesome one appears. A license? Who would ever have something like that...
No license, no entertainment! No exceptions! As the citizen guard captain, I'm bringing you in!
Bringing me in? I don't like the sound of that. I didn't even know I needed a license... Dear me. I can see there'll be no leniency here. This is a cruel, unfair world, Lulua.
Ahaha... that right? It seems totally fair to me to require a license...
Ah, I was afraid you might see it that way. Hahaha! In that case, I have little choice... See you around, Lulua! Hahahaha!

STOP! *gives up on the chase in a fade to black* Grr, he's too darn fast... It's a shame that this is the most excitement I've had recently.

Hmm? Wait, is that Lulua? You've grown since I last saw you.

Well, at least this poor guy finally has a job. In Rorona, as you'll recall, he was employed by the government as a knight, but upon the kingdom's termination, he turned to kiiind of mercenary work, but it wasn't clear how he was actually supporting himself. Especially once Totori started bringing him along on her adventures. In Meruru, his employment problems got even worse, since he was acting as a representative of the Arland Republic but it wasn't clear he was on anyone's payroll. All this led up to the last thing Meruru had to say to him which was suggesting to him that he get a real job sometime instead of continuing to pretend to be a knight.

But, with all that history, this Arland mainstay has finally made his grand return. As far his relationship to Lulua, as you can guess, this scene implies Sterk's been to Arklys before and met Lulua there, although that must have happened some time ago.

Hehe. Right? I bet I'm taller than my mother already!

According to the OP, apparently this is true. She's just a tiny bit taller than Rorona if you don't count Rorona's massive hat.

Heh, now that you mention it, I do believe you're taller than Rorona.
Woo! ...Um, by the by... Do you think it'll be done soon? My mom's work, I mean.
Well... Every day, she has new requests to carry out. She won't be able to return for a good while.
Oh...I see. *sigh* I hope she's eating properly, is all.
...Hehe. It almost sounds like she's YOUR daughter. Oh, look at the time. I beg your pardon, but duty calls. Lulua, you've traveled a long way to come here. I sincerely hope you enjoy your time in Arland. Farewell!

He's gone... Busy as always, I guess. Oh, yeah, he said. He's the captain of the citizen guard now. He must be just, busier than my mom! Right then. Time to head to my mother's atelier.

And that, is just what we did. Atelier Rorona

Let's see... This should be it. My mom's atelier... *gulp* Um...hello? *goes inside*

Music: Atelier Rorona: For Lulua

Wow! Wowee! So this is my mom's atelier.

By the way, notice something about all this? Door was locked when we checked earlier, but now it's not. And there's no one else here, either. Truly mysterious workings going on here.

It's so different from the one in Arklys. This is where she grew up, became an alchemist...
Oh, Lulua!
You got here faster than I thought. I was sure you'd be the last one to arrive.
Oh, hey guys! That'll show you, Aurel! I'm an adult who knows how to be punctual.
An adult? Oh, speaking of which... Do you still need me around for protection? We made it to Arland in one piece, so you probably don't need me to...
Whaat, no! Would you mind sticking around? We don't know Arland at all, you see and... We'd feel a lot better with you around. Right, Eva?
Yes, definitely! Would it be alright, Aurel?

*sigh* Fine... But just a little while longer. I'm rather busy too, you know!
*runs in, breathless* *sigh* ...Wait, everyone's already here? I can't believe you all beat me!
Hehehe, looks like the teacher is late! Hang on, are you OK? What's with the sigh? Don't tell me the Business License renewal went badly somehow...
Oh, no. Not quite, but... Rorona let it lapse for too long, so... No, I can't be the one to tell you! But listen, Lulua... We need to go to the parliament.
P-Parliament? Why on earth...?
There, we need to rendezvous with the...person responsible for renewing your Business License.

She's uh...talking very strangely. Wonder what happened.

The...who? Well, all right. Got it. The parliament... (Huh? Is it just my imagination, or is she being strangely evasive?)

After that scene, the party reforms. And thank goodness, too.

Ah, this place never changes. Well, kind of. We last saw this place in Totori, and part of the cauldron area was kind of a mess because Rorona had only recently done some renovation to accommodate another cauldron for her beloved pupil. Other than that, the couch was moved against the far wall, instead of where that desk is now, but otherwise, it's pretty similar to how it's always looked.

By the way, that door? You could actually go through that in Rorona+'s post-game mode, but it was better known as Astrid's bedroom for all of regular Atelier Rorona. Of course, Rorona was on no account to go in there, particularly when Astrid was in a bad mood and/or sleeping. Her student was working to save the atelier, but she had to settle for the couch.

When you're ready to move on, the parliament building is down past Sunrise Cafe. Well, it is elsewhere, just that the path to get there is past Sunrise. The test

Here we are. The Parliament of Arland. It used to be the royal castle, but times change.
Yeah! The castle became the Adventurer's Guild. And now it's used by the Parliament. Well, shall we? Lulua... Try not to be too overwhelmed, okay?
Oh... Hello there. I brought her along.

My name is Totooria Helmold, but everyone calls me Totori.

Music: Sea Breeze: For Lulua

The legend in the flesh. I trust no introductions are necessary for the second Arland protagonist, but she seems to have changed from part-time alchemist to Arls Kingdom to working here at the Parliament. Her adventure certainly seems to have raised her profile, as this gentle girl from the countryside now works for the republic in an apparently prominent position.

T...To...Totori? THE Totori? My mother's apprentice, the legendary alchemist?! Not to mention a renowned adventurer? You!! Are, right?! You're THE Totori!

Lulua rapidly moves around Totori when she says the above lines. For not having met Totori before today, her reputation certainly precedes her.

Ahaha... What do you say to a greeting like that? But yes, I'm that Totori. Apprentice of your mother Rorona.

"Rorona-sensei", actually, an honorific reserved to teachers or similar professionals. Totori is far too respectful to Rorona to ever just call her by her given name, in any game she's appeared in. Of course, you wouldn't know that if you used the English dubs for Totori/Meruru, but I have for both games, and yep, that's just what she always does.

Our protagonist, however, quickly shifts from being right in front Totori to back to her own teacher. She's quite hyperactive, is what I'm saying.

Haha! Amazing! But, er, what does this mean? Why is Totori here?
It's very simple. Totori is the person in charge of renewing your Atelier Business License.
No way! Really?!
Yes. The reason I called for you, Lulua, is because you will need to fulfill the renewal conditions in your mother's place.

Ah, so there's our confirmation Rorona has returned to Arland occasionally even after Lulua entered her life. Unlike Sterk, whom Lulua already knows, this is Totori and Lulua's first meeting, and this is also the first time Lulua's been in Arland.

Well, either Rorona told Totori directly, or Sterk mentioned it, since he also lives in this town. He doesn't seem to be the type to blab, though.

Yes. License renewal is usually just a formality. But since Rorona let it lapse so many times... I'm afraid we can't just let it go. There's a penalty. A test has to be completed.
So you want Lulua to do it instead?
Yes, that's right. What do you say, Lulua?

Dammit, I should have retaken this shot.

I-I'll do it! 'Coz I'm my mother's daughter! Whatever the challenge is, it'll all work out! ...Somehow!
Well said. I wouldn't expect anything less from a student of mine, though!
Shall I explain the matter at hand, then? Close to here is a place called Orthogalaxen. An extremely dangerous monster has appeared there. Please drive it off using any means necessary.

Hmm, kind of a harsh renewal condition, gonna be real.

Huh? You want me to...defeat a monster?! I'm no mighty hero. I suck at fighting...
Don't worry. With the right tools, an alchemist can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Hehe. It'll all work out, somehow. Right?

Hmm... I guess Rorona must have also told Totori that she was training her daughter to be an alchemist.

*walks over to her party* Ngh... O-okay... How are we going to do this?
Good question... Should we maybe just go to Orthogalaxen?
Sounds like the best move. We need to size up the opponent before we can make a plan. We might be able to do away with them right there. Either way, no harm in trying.
Okay, for my mother's atelier! Let's go deal with this monster!

Something's definitely hinky about this whole arranagement. But, Totori is many things but a liar is not among them. If she says that's the renewal condition, that's what it is.

By the way, Lulua is also slightly taller than Totori or they're just about the same height.

Might be guessing that since we're near Arland, lots of old locations around here. You'd be right, and here's two of them: Orthogalaxen and the Golden Plains (so-named because of all the wheat that grows there). Orthogalaxen's only official appearance was in Rorona, but it technically was also in Totori+ as ORTOGALAXEN, but it was better known as the home of all of Totori+'s super bosses that weren't in the original (where Ozean Kaiser was by far the hardest enemy in the game). It only was available very late in the game once you hit Galaxy rank, which is fine because the bosses were, as mentioned, on a whole other level from the rest of the game.

Of course, you may rest assured no Atelier superboss has ever undone me. On that, you have my word. Now, Aurel's suggestion continues the plot, but as an Arland veteran should know, Orthogalaxen is a dangerous place. I feel upgrades are in order, but before that, why not check out the Golden Plains? I doubt anything too menacing is hanging out around there. Fields of gold

Ohh! Looks like there are some great materials around here! Hey, everyone! I have a small favor to ask! Could you pick up some of these materials? I'm sure we could carry a lot more if we share the load.
Sure, sure. We'll get as much as we can!
It shouldn't be a problem, but... Are you sure? I'm sensing a lot of monsters nearby...
Hmm... If we are quick, it should be fine! Anyway, I'm counting on you guys! *runs off*
Hey--Hold on! Heh, good grief...
Honestly, I'm a little worried too... The faster we finish this up, the better.

*Everyone marches forth to continue gathering*



*sigh* Are you all right? Are you hurt?
I'm...fine... Um...
Hm...? Oh! I'm Jeltje! Jeltje Jeremies!

Good thing we know a few of those, then.

I guess you could call me a wandering adventurer. And you?
Oh, my friends call me Lulua. Thank you for saving me, Jeltje!
Nah, if there is a monster in my path, I will cut it. No thanks needed.
Even still! You saved me from a pretty fearsome monster!
Ahaha, like I said, it's no problem. Don't worry about it.
Alright, I guess...
You're really strong though, Jeltje! I wish I was as strong!
Strong? Who, me?! Ahaha! I'm really not. Though I have been trying to improve my skills... I guess I'm all right. Hehe. I suppose it's less me being strong and more you just being weak, huh?
Urk... I're not wrong...
Ahaha! Anyway, it looks like you're in the middle of a journey. Try not to get separated from your friends again, OK? See ya 'round! *soldiers off*
She just walked off... I didn't really get to thank her either...
Lulua, are you all right?!

You were saved?! Well at any rate, I'm just glad you weren't harmed.
See? Didn't I tell you! No more going off on your own, you hear?! You could've--
I know. I'm sorry... I'll be more careful...

We'll see about that. Well, Golden Plains have a lot of good materials lurking around (again, relatively), as well as Tar Fruit, which is a material you can find in this area that is pretty rarely found elsewhere in the game at the moment, so it would serve you well to gather a lot.

Speaking of, pretty easy initial line-up of riddles this chapter. First one is reaching the Golden Plains and finding a Swirly Shell, which you can get by fishing around here. Lord of the Locks is examining a locked chest, which we did before we reached Arls, and talking to a guy in Arland. And the last one is for fighting a specific number of battles and reaching level 20. Unfortunately the game doesn't keep track of how many battles you've fought, so just keep fighting.

"Battle Tips" is kind of a misleading reward. It's more like a battle perk if you ask me.

By the way, I warned you back in the Trombe Plateau that fighting these white rabbits, the Crystal Horns, was dangerous business, and I meant it. Only because of Corner Missile, though. It does what it says here: big AOE damage and knockback, which means if you get a group of them spamming Corner or just using it a lot, you can get wiped before you have much chance to respond. While I did win this fight, it was rough.

Again, Piana hitting the enemies with Weaken to lower the damage of their really dangerous techniques is pretty important.

Huh, solved the third riddle already. If you say so.

Like I said, you can find Swirly Shells from fishing here, but watch out for that Gold Puni. Weakened as I am, I'm certainly in no mood to fight it. Luckily, it's one of those nice monsters who, even if you get close to it, it won't aggro against you and you can fight it when you feel like it.

But, that's all our business here for now. For now, of course. So now that we're in a lull of content, let's talk weapon / armor customization. Now that we have access to Cole, we can finally take advantage of it and start making up for pathetic early-game equipment.

First off, you'll need some ingot / cloth recipes. Luckily, Cole sells just what you need. This is the second tier of ingots / armor, which is just fine. Mostly because nothing else is available. Just after this scene, I noticed the Tinc is a level 12 alchemy item, and I was level 11. Obviously, I soon corrected this by making a Pure Oil, and this scene came up just afterwards. Learning to be an alchemist

Very good. You're doing it just like I taught you to. I wouldn't expect any less from my apprentice.
Hehe, I'm glad to hear it. Although, it's all because of you.
Hm? How so?
I love and look up to Mom... But she never really taught me alchemy... If you had never come to Arklys, I'd never have known anything about it.
You shouldn't think like that. Rorona had her reasons. Besides, it turned otu OK. And now you're steeped in alchemy every day, no?
Ahaha! Yes, I suppose you're right! I'm having fun each and every day.
I'm glad to hear so. Now, how about a little exercise? I want you to make a medicine and bring it to me. Let's see what you've learned in these fun-packed days of yours.
Hehe! I'm ready for anything! Just you wait and see!

Let's hope so, but I'm not going to Arklys just for the privilege of seeing Piana happy at her student's progress. Just yet, anyway.

17 days doesn't seem that long, but it's more the principle of it. And making sense with the story, of course. Cole also had a scene come up just after that Piana scene.

Not going to happen, sorry. I can't pay any more than this! I'm right at my limit as it is! *sigh* You better calm down and think about it.
OK... See you around. *leaves*
Hmm? Oh, hello Lulua.
Good day! Who was that?
Oh, you saw that? It was just a merchant. I was stocking up on materials.
Oh, I see. It looked like a pretty difficult negotiation.
No no, it's not like that, really. When you factor in market trends and microeconomics...
Market...trends? Microwhatnow?

I'm a blacksmith, but my family is an old trading family. When I was a lad, I worked as a merchant too. So I'm not lacking in knowledge.
Wow, I see! I get it now! You mean that you're really clever! I'll remember that!
*sigh* You don't get it at all. Ah, it's probably fine...
You used to be a merchant. And you're very clever. What more is there to get? (Cole said he comes from an old trading family. So why is he a blacksmith now? I'll ask him next time I get the chance. For now, let's leave it at "Cole is clever.")

Well, Cole is still fussy and particular about his work, that's for sure, at least.

But now to get to the important work. I already told you how to sort for traits in an ingredient slot before, so I won't go over that again, but it's time to take our alchemy up a notch. So for right now, we want to make new weapons and armor for Eva/Piana/Aurel, because Lulua's value right now is almost entirely reliant is in using items, and she would only need armor to survive. That's fine. We can manage.

So, next level of alchemy. Do you see Attack Charge / Boost? Starting with Meruru, you can begin combining two lower tier traits into a single higher one. Every Atelier since has kept this system, and this one is no exception. So here's how it works in general terms. There are six tiers of traits, and most traits fall into one of those six slots. For Attack+ traits, I shall illustrate.

Attack Charge is tier 1. Attack Boost is tier 2. Attack Mega Enhance is tier 3. Boost x Charge = tier 4. Boost x Super Enhance = tier 5. And finally, tier 4 x 5 = tier 6. These aren't exact numeric values (Mega Enhance gives more than Boost x Charge), but this is just for illustrative purposes. Now, you can't choose what traits you want to combine, the system will do that automatically. On the same item, you can't have Attack Charge and Boost separately, because the game will automatically combine them and you have no say in the matter. So to get the most bang for your buck, you'll want Boost x Charge, because tier 4 is a bigger increase than either of those traits.

And of course, if you're not sure, make sure to check the Encyclopedia for the trait you're thinking about to see if it's even compatible with the item you're making. Every trait can be put onto a Synthesis item, but as I said, Synthesis items do not do anything on their own. Just speaking briefly for now, equipment crafting works more or less the same as normal crafting, and you can't put some traits on an item. So, like here, you cannot put Defense and Speed Enhance on a weapon, but you can put Attack and Speed Enhance on one. Make sure you remember that.

Now, the Zettel is a valuable item always because it is a (Fuel) category item, which is a part of a Tinc synthesis. For this early part of the game, focusing on Stat Boosts would certainly not be amiss. Stat Boosts raise *every* stat, except for elemental resistances, of course. Here, I went with Stats Charge (+3 to all stats), Attack Boost (ATK +5), and Inflict Slow, which is both an attack item traits and a weapon trait, that gives an attack a 60% of inflicting Slow against an enemy who can be debuffed thusly by using normal attacks.

When you're making your early game synthesis items like this Zettel here, it would be quite wise to focus on combining TP enhancing traits. Those are very generally useful traits no matter what you're making.

For our actual Tinc synthesis, we need Max TP Extension to fit all those above traits, and using Pure Oil gives us the second Fire effect, which provides a free stat buff to any weapon that uses this Tinc. Of course, the effect is minor.

Once again, if you have doubts everything you want can fit, use this menu to confirm before you commit to anything.

And the actual Tinc. Attack & Defense Boost is +5 to both stats, but Stats Charge is +3 to everything. The effect with such lower numbers on these early traits is fairly similar, but I went with Charge and Inflict Poison, since that little extra damage if Poison hits sounds more valuable than Slow. Of course, the freedom of Atelier games is choosing what traits are more important to you. Now that we have the (Weapon Material), it's time to actually start making the items.

Music: The Angry Blacksmith

Now then. Cole's a skilled guy, so he doesn't need TP to put any traits of equipment he makes. He does need money, though. More powerful traits cost more money to apply them, but obviously these early ones won't cost much at all.

Once you've chosen your materials, as always, you can use these screen to check what traits you can choose from. By the way, Slayer traits? Those guarantee critical hits against a certain enemy type, like Punis, Birds, or, indeed Mushrooms. You should never really need these traits. Unless you are fighting that enemy type, it's a wasted slot. More generic traits like stat boots will always be more valuable.

And, as you can see in the lower right, equipment syntheses have their own effect bars. They play by the same rules as normal syntheses, so fuss around to get what effects you want, or don't, and make your item. Don't plan to optimize early game stuff, and, indeed, you'll be using the same general pool of traits until...Chapter 6 at the earliest, I think. It's gonna be a bit before you can really access powerful traits. Charge is +3 ATK, by the way.

Once you make your first weapon in a certain category, you'll get a scene with Cole. This is the one for Aurel's swords.

Fantastic, thanks! That blade looks like it could slice through anything!
You better believe it! Be careful around it--that edge will take your finger right off!
Yeah, yeah, I know.
I love making swords, you know. For this one, I emphasized agility over power. A sword really is the king of weapons! I've picked up a lot of sword-making tricks over the years. And I put a lot of them into this blade! For example... *continues talking in a fade to black*

*snore* ...Mmnnh...Aurel you idiot...
Er, Lulua? Are you even listening?

Think you lost her quite some time ago.

This sword has tricks that no other blacksmith could even hope to---oi! Lulua? Lulua!
*snore* Mmnh... You really are strong, Aurel...

This is the bump Aurel gets from this sword. By the way, the only stat I should explain is Quality. Honestly, I don't think this stat affects anything aside from one very specific thing. Don't even concern yourself with Quality. It's like the average of the items a character is equipped with to some extent? Anyway, don't waste the brainpower. But now, before the update ends, some Encyclopedia entries.

Eva is so delightfully easy to impress.