Part 9: VIII: Pages of Rising StrengthChapter VIII: Pages of Rising Strength
Got a big update today and indeed, the recording for this update and the start of the next was nearly 2 hours long, the longest I've ever intentionally recorded.
We start off by upgrading Piana and Eva's weapons, for reasons I explained last time. Lulua is nothing resembling a DPS, so we'll need to focus on those party members that can hold their own in a fight for now. The early game is kind of rough for properly upgrading either armor or weapons, but we'll get around to more quality of life stuff before too long.
Wow! Yup, this is definitely a great chakram! It's all round and chakram-y.
...Hey, Lulua. You've got no idea what a chakram is, do you?
Can't argue with that.
Sorry. I know you throw them. That's all.
Well that's actually basically it. They're in the same class as throwing knives and the like. You see this round hole? You use it to spin on your arm or fingers to build up throwing power. Most users will just fling the chakram and be done with it. It won't come back.
What, really? But when Piana throws it, it comes right back.
That's the mark of experience right there. It's very impressive.
Wow... Way to go, Teach! Is there anything she can't do? Maybe I'll get her to teach me...
I really don't think that's a good idea.
Hey, why not?! Don't you think I'd look cool using one of these?
Chakrams have a serious weakness... They put a lot of strain on your joints! Training would be hell on your arms and fingers. Are you sure you could handle that, Lulua?
Can't imagine why these things didn't catch on as weapons.
H-Hell? I don't like the sound of that. *sigh* I guess I'll quietly go back to my staff...
I think that's best. The rarer the weapon, the more taxing the training.
Wise words. Well, this is the Muffcot I'll be using to upgrade Eva and Piana's armor. Why just those two? I don't want to throw away this fairly valuable trait line-up away this early in the game when we'll have the chance to buy duplicates later in the plot. Not before this chapter is done, however. Luckily, Moffcots can take Supplements, so it's pretty easy to move traits from most materials to a Moffcot.
This is the guy you need to talk to for the Lord of the Locks riddle. He's hanging out near the hotel in the Town Square. That chest next to him is locked, so even if you didn't examine that gilded chest earlier, or any locked chests prior to this point, you can accomplish both parts of the riddle right here. Very convenient.
Unfortunately, we don't have many of these Advanced riddles cleared out.
Mainly because we didn't visit the Arls National Mine prior to leaving the Arls Area, which contains a ton of clues to finishing this chapter's Advanced riddles. And you know what that means, right? Backtracking! As for the mushroom-based riddle that I've cleaned out, gather Dizzy Cap Spores from Nearby Forest and I think gather Eicheloa prior to now.
We also need to, for one of the riddles, to defeat one of the green bats, i.e. a Taker. They can be found in Stalhang and caves, which we have yet to visit, but we have been to Stalhang. Whenever you take on a quest, Lulua will make some remark about the quest in assessing its difficulty. They aren't always accurate but it's a generally reliable way to check if you're punching above your weight class. Luckily, this job's needs and my current needs happen to align. I'm sure we can manage something.
But not before we upgrade Eva a bit. Stormbringer is pretty neat because it guarantees crits against Bird monsters and increases damage by a certain percentage. Just 5% for the weakest Stormbringer, though.
Yeah, of course! My childhood friend will be able to swing this round like it's nothing!
Phew, she must be pretty brawny! Even I have trouble lifting this.
Yeah... Eva's a lot stronger than she looks... She's always working hard at the orphanage!
I'm not sure that means she... I mean, I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean she... At any rate, I've made it a bit easier to wield. I've reinforced the barrel as well, but... Er, you do know that a bazooka is a gun, not a blunt weapon, right?
It's fiiine! It's both!
Finally, someone talking sense around here.
I'm not sure that's... Maybe I'm just wrong about bazookas? *sigh* Don't answer that. I just don't want to know. I hope she enjoys it...
I'm sure she will! I'll tell her to swing it about as much as she likes!
Hmph. Each to their own, I suppose...
Yep, this'll do for now. Adventurer's Clothing is the best armor everyone can have right now, with the exception of Aurel, who can wear Beast Armor.
Sure, but not if it'll frighten away the bats.
But these things CAN be jerks if they hit someone with Venom, which is upgraded Poison. This is draining a rather harsh 26 HP from Aurel a turn, which is just barely offset by the Migraine Syrup (+30 HP a turn).
But otherwise, nothing special. They are just green bats, after all.
Back in Arls already. Well, let's get to work. Money problems
Yes, of course, dear...! Ask away...!
I've been wondering about this for a while now, but...how's business? Are you doing OK...?
Urk...! Hehehe! Please come again...!
I can't believe she ignored me...! You're ignoring me, aren't you, Ms. Pamela?!
I haven't the faintest idea what you mean...! Besides business...is...booming, don't you think?
That's not a question for me to answer! I'm the one that's worried, that's why I'm asking! You barely have any customers, and even when you do have them, they just browse your merchandise... And even when people finally buy something, you usually give them the wrong price!
Yes! And I'm not usually one to worry about making money... But I'm REALLY worried about you! Besides... I don't want you to lose your shop...
Lulua... You needn't worry about me, dear...! Everything has gone swimmingly up until now...!
Er... I mean, I guess, but...
Hehehe! I'm fine, dear...! In any case, you know what they say? "Do what you love, and money will follow." And I do love this shop...! And surely that means my business will be fine, too!
Um...Ms. Pamela? I don't think that's what... Oh, forget it. If this is how she's going to be, it's better for me to just buy as much as I can...
Hehe! Whatever shall I stock up on next...? Oh my, it's so exciting...! Hehehe!
*sigh* Hmm... I can't help but worry though...
Well...things have a way of working out. I'm sure it'll all be fine.
Hm? Oh, it's you, Lulua! How've you been?
Great, thanks! Also, thanks again for saving me!
Ahaha! Still saying that? I told you that you don't need to thank me.
A-Are you sure...?
Very. For us adventurers, taking out monsters is just part of our daily to-do list. I'm actually getting ready to go after some monsters right now. Oh! That's right! Hey, Lulua. You know Arls pretty well, right?
Huh? Well, I guess so... I was born in Arklys, so I'm not that familiar with it, but I know a fair amount.
I see. Well... Do you know where I could get some traps?
Traps? Hm... Sorry, I can't really think of a place that sells them...
Hmm... Jeltje...? If it's all the same to you... How about I make you some traps?
Oh? Make some? What do you mean?
I'm actually an alchemist! So I'm sure I could make traps!
Ohh, an alchemist... I'm impressed! I guess I could take you up on your offer.
Great! Just leave it to me! As thanks for saving me, I'll make you the best trap ever!
Oh, really! In that case, I can't wait, Lulua!
Unfortunately, our savior's going to be waiting quite a bit. The Living Rope is a recipe you won't have access to until Chapter 6, which is quite a ways into the game. I kinda get the feeling you were supposed to get this job later in the game, because it feels weird having this job on the books for a large percentage of the game, but it is what it is. We'll just have to remember she's asking for a Living Rope. The only annoying part about this is the game has a * icon next a part of town with an event in it, but also has a * icon for parts of town you need to make a delivery in. Can make it confusing whether it's an event or someone just waiting you to deliver something.
Music: Lulua Chasing Stars: Caves
Certainly not, but it was more uninviting for Meruru, considering she had to fight a boss here. This place has tons of breakable rocks in it, so make sure before coming here that you have a Mining Bomb with Destruction Level 2 to be able to clear everything out that needs clearing out.
Like getting a Mountain Pearl from the boulders.
The Rock Punks around here are pretty annoying with their resistances, but luckily their base parameters are pretty low so even Physical damage will still do a decent amount of damage to them. I did have to Run from this battle and change Piana's item to a Bomb so I'm not wasting my time here, slowly plinking them to death.
No points for guessing which source of damage is which... Why am I talking about these goofy things, which may or may not be puni? Good for a riddle, of course.
Chest at the top of the mines has a Gnardi Ring in it, which is a pretty basic accessory that's good for increasing stats, but especially at this early point, every easy source of stats is a good one.
Making good progress. The only outstanding clue is to make the item from Basic Mining Methodology. We've done all we needed to do here, so let's head back to town.
Ah, yes. I am.
So I was thinking, would you want to buy materials from me? I am an adventurer after all. I go to lots of places, and I pick up all kinds of things. But there's a limit to how much stuff I can carry around, y'know? So if I could sell this stuff to somebody with a use for it, it'd be a win-win, wouldn't it?
Yeah, you're right. Hehe, in that case I'm definitely interested!
Got it! I look forward to doing business with you!
"Buy meals"? Well, whatever.
Huh...actually unique dialogue. How about that? For the record, I thought Jeltje's board was outside the inn (it wasn't) and just stopped in to the inn to hear what was on Aurel's mind and discovered this. Usually all the major characters have a unique thing to say based on what chapter it is, so I wouldn't have guessed he said this.
In actuality, her board is just outside the Town Hall.
Heh, the Large Conifer Forest. Let's just say we won't be meeting her there any time soon. Anyway, yeah, Jeltje moves around the world map to a large variety of locations (though there are some places she'll never be) and hangs out near the entrance to the location, selling items. You can get some pretty neat stuff from her, so if you're lucky enough to find her wandering around, feel free to stop by. I think her inventory changes based on where she is and the chapter? That sounds right, but I won't swear to that. Where exactly she is changes based on the month.
And making this is our last Advanced riddle for this chapter. Just as a note, you might be able to guess that the traits on Exploration Equipment don't matter, except for Quality increasers and usage counts for the items that have use counts, like the Mining Bomb.
Ooh! That's definitely a pickaxe! So... I guess you're going to use it for normal pickaxe-type stuff?
Yup! Just a garden-variety tool this time. See, the way it works is...
I trust I don't have to explain the grand theory behind pickaxes to you all. Basically it acts as an infinite-use Mining Bomb, but with a lower threshold for what it can destroy. This thing can only go up to Destruction Level 2, whereas the Mining Bomb can go up to Level 3. Just get close to the thing you want to destroy, press the staff swing button, and Lulua will use the pickaxe instead of her staff.
I see... But, wow... Hand-crafting your very own pickaxe... That's some serious dedication. Alchemy sure seems like a hard life.
Y-You sound so worried all of a sudden! A-Ahaha... Um...thanks for your concern?
Hm, all the riddles complete, but no completion reward. I simply cannot imagine why. After I made this, I took and completed a few more jobs from Keina and got this scene as a reward. Sandwiches and mushrooms
Hehe. I like your humming, Ms. Keina. You must be in a good mood.
Ah! Lulua! You heard me?
Yup. Watcha making with ham and cheese?
Um, well... I had this idea for a sandwich, you see...
A sandwich! Sounds delicious!
Yeah. I've been thinking about going on a picnic. Hehe. I used to do that with Meruru. Ham and cheese sandwiches, mushroom sandwiches...
Mushroom...sandwiches?? That...sounds...AMAZING! I want to try them!
Heh... In that case, I've got a request for you. Could you bring me some mushrooms, please? If you do, I'll whip you up a tasty mushroom sandwich.
Yay! I'll get right on it then! I can't wait to try a mushroom sandwich! Hehe! Expect good news soon, Ms. Keina! I'll get them as fast as humanly possible!
See you soon!
I get the feeling Lulua is going to wear out my '1' key by the time this LP is over, but in any case, just give Keina a single Eicheloa. You should have plenty.
Oh wow, thanks! With these, I should be able to get cracking!
Woo-hoo! You must really like mushrooms. I've never heard of anyone else putting them in a sandwich!
Well, kind of. It's not me who likes them, it's Meruru.
Wow, I had no idea. Kind of like me with curry?
Ahaha, something like that! So, Lulua... How about I make these sandwiches, and then after that, we go on a picnic?
Sounds good! Don't you have work, though?
Ah, one day off won't hurt. There are plenty of competent people who can cover for me. Besides, I want to see how you get on with Meruru's favorite food!
Then let's do it! It's a date!
Hehe. Then it's decided. We'll go on a picnic!
Apparently the picnic went on for six hours and ended at midnight. Unusual times to go out for a pleasant night, to be sure.
But that's it for the Arls Area for now...again. If you can't tell, the additional riddles are all more or less designed to be solved in the chapter you get them. On my first playthrough, this chapter of riddles held me up for a long time because I couldn't figure out where "excavated site" was supposed to be. Turns out I had never examined the broken bridge back in the Empty Neighborhood, and that backed things up quite a bit.
Upon returning to Arland, a scene with Cole. A cultured hobby
Music: A Catnip for Puppies Too
What kind of favor?
Well... A little bird tells me you're something of an alchemist. And that means you can make all kinds of stuff. Could you make me some really stylish cloth?
Oh, sure! I don't think that should give me much trouble.
That's great! There's a reward in this for you. I'll let you get on with it, then!
He wants a Moffcot, which I do have, but again, we're not going to use the valuable one I recently made. So I went a made a junk one for him. Sorry Cole, you'll have to settle for second-best.
Oho! This is great! Hah, it's exactly what I wanted! Thank you, Lulua! This will make a fine hunting cap!
Eh? Hunting cap?
Yeah. This, see? The one I'm wearing now is pretty nice, right?
Oh! Yes, it's very fashionable. But you want a new one?
Oh no, no. Collecting them is a hobby of mine. I've got so many at home you wouldn't believe. And recently I've started making my own! That's why I needed the cloth!
I see... That's a pretty unusual collection have.
Haha, I suppose it is. My smithing master also had one. We used to talk for hours about everything hunting cap-related.
Wow! I bet it was fun, having the same hobby as your master. So, Cole, about your master. What kind of person--
Let me take a look at that. Oops, sorry Lulua. Let's continue this some other time.
Oh, yeah, sure thing. See you around, Lulua!
Not a typo. The text box says "Lulua" on this line. Moving on, after this scene I upgraded Eva's armor to give her some standing power, so we're about ready to began attempting to conquer Orthogalaxen.
You know how I said Lulua's remarks are mostly accurate? No idea why she was freaking out about this. I have the materials, I have the level, and I have the recipe. There was no issue with making a Nectar at all...very strange.
Speaking of, our first KO recovery item. The Recycle effect is pretty neat, but it better be, because this Nectar only has two uses. But we are probably coming up on at least one boss fight, I think we can wait until after that to turn this particular request in.
Fun fact: Orthogalaxen is a day's travel away from Arland. Just like it was in Atelier Rorona. Now that's a callback. Encounters in the ruins
Music: Shu Shu Waltz: For Lulua 2
Is this Orthogalaxen?
Yeah. It's supposedly a relic of an ancient technical civilization.
For generations, adventurers have tried to explore its depths, but it still remains largely a mystery.
Huh... Hey, Eva? Doesn't it look a bit like Fellsgalaxen?
Hehe, well spotted, Lulua. The resemblance to Fellsgalaxen is exactly why they gave this place a name with "-galaxen" in it.
All respect to Eva, this place was known as "Orthogalaxen" back in Rorona's day. All indications are that Fellsgalaxen was discovered second, so if anything, it's the other way around.
Oh! I see now. I had no idea--argh!
Well, good thing we don't have an Ice Bomb equipped, isn't it?
This guy you can actually fight as an enemy in Nearby Forest, which is where you might have encountered it before, but this is definitely an adversary you don't want to play around with, which is why I advised you not to mess with him. Just because this is Lulua, though, doesn't mean other party members won't get hurt pretty bad by this thing's attacks. Aurel takes 30 HP from the same attack.
Which is why you wanna hit this bear with Weakness as soon as possible. Kind of an overpowered status effect at this point in the game, gonna be real.
Once it gets hit with Weakness, mostly just an extended mop-up operation.
Um, actually... I don't think we're quite done yet! Look...
This doesn't look good... There's a lot of them. What should we do now?
Good question... There must be something I can...
How long was he waiting to make THAT entrance?
Lift the curtain! It's showtime! If you will observe, ladies and gentlemen!
Y-You got it!
Ficus was, of course, the first one out of there.
*pant* You saved us! Thanks a lot, Untrustworthy-Looking-Guy.
Hah, a little harsh, don't you think? I'd prefer you called me Ficus.
Well, you might have rescued us, but there's no getting around how suspicious you are.
Yeah. It's not like it is normal for Orthogalaxen to get visitors these days. Yet here you are, just in the right time. Admit it--you were following us.
Whoa, hey now! After I saved your butts, now you're hurling accusations at me? Actually, I just have a terrible sense of direction. I was heading someplace else and wound up here.
Really? This is too fishy for words.
Haha, well maybe instead of debating my story, you should look over there!
That's...probably what Totori was referring to.
That's one dangerous-looking monster! Like, very very dangerous-looking!
He's right...Lulua? Is there any chance that could be...
Yes. Looks like the monster I was sent here to deal with. Even the regular monsters were almost too tough...
Hahaha, indeed. Perhaps if you had a little help, you might be able to prevail! So what say you? Shall I accompany y--
Right on cue.
Huh?! The Riddle is glowing...! Let's see... *examines book, puts it away* ...Ahh, this is good! Everyone, listen up! I think there's a way to deal with this monster!
Really? What does it say, Lulua?
Well... It seems to be saying that there's a way to create some special tools. If I make these adjustments to the synthesis, I should be able to create much stronger items. I need to read more to really understand it.
I see. And with that new gear, we'll be able to defeat the monster?
Hey, hold on just a second! I'm here proposing you to include me...!
Okay, let's go back to the atelier and get on with deciphering this!
*everyone but Piana runs off*
Hey, wait! Guys?! What about me?! You didn't include me! *flees*
So right at the moment we encountered a powerful monster, a new recipe just appeared? That's strange, no two ways about it. Something's going on with that "Alchemyriddle". It's almost as if it wants Lulua to develop her skills as soon as possible...
Teacher! Come on, hurry!
Comiiiing! I don't know who made that thing, or what their purpose was... Was it the right choice to tell Totori about it... Yes. As Lulua's teacher, I need to look out for her.
Well, we can ponder those riddles later, can't we? As soon as the above scene ends, you're still in Orthogalaxen, but you can wander around and gather a few treasure chests. Four of them, in fact. But if you get too close to the dragon...
Oh no no no. Nope. That's not happening. Not yet!
So we don't have much business here until we go back home. A reliable friend
So this goes like this... And this does that... Just a little bit more...
Huh, Ficus?! How long have you been standing here??
All along! I've been here the whole time since we arrived! I even did some tricks to get your attention!
Haha, yeah... You're really good at magic tricks, Ficus.
I...I didn't notice at all... I was too busy concentrating on the Riddle...
Hey! What did you say! No, wait... Um, Ficus?? ...Remind me why you are here?
Ah... You mean explain from the beginning? Alright. You want to defeat the beast at Orthogalaxen.
To do that, you need assistance. The more people you have, the easier it'll be.
Not clear enough? Let me rephrase... *ahem* I! Want! To! Join! You!
Whaaaat?! You can't be serious!! Why? How come? Why??
Ahaha, the reason is extraordinarily simple! The truth is, I'm intrigued!
The atmosphere just became heavy around here suddenly...
We've run into each other a few times, and there's just something about you. I sense potential! A bright future! Watching people grow is one of my main hobbies. So... I want to help you reach your true potential.
O...kay... I can't say I get it, but if you say you will help... Why not?
Yeah, why not? If the worst comes to the worst, we can use him as bait.
Yeah. I mean, at the very least we could always use him as target practice.
There's that atmosphere again...
Terrifying! You people are terrifying! You're trying to scare me! I'm not here to cause you harm?!
Well, are you?
Ahaha... I think he's had enough. Welcome to the gang, Ficus!
I see. That was certainly some welcome! Hah hah hah hah!
Right then. Time to get back to deciphering!
I'm sure he's not up to something. Probably. Possibly. After Ficus joins, we get access to a tutorial for how Ficus operates in battle as well as Primal Arts, both of which I can talk about in an actual battle. But before we get to deciphering, it seemed Aurel had something on his mind. The most important thing
Hey, Aurel! What are you looking at?
See for yourself. It's a sword. Swords are the spirit of us warriors. The quality of a sword can even determine the outcome of some battles. That's why I'm always looking for better swords. A good eye for a sword is a must for a knight.
Oh, really...? Hmmm... So the sword Aurel was just looking at...is it really nice?
Oh yes! A famous swordsmith made it. Let's see... It goes for about one million cole.
One million?! Whahoo! That's expensive! Too bad, Aurel. No matter how good a sword it is...
WHAT?! You're going to buy it?! Wait, you can afford it?!
Yes, I have plenty of money. If it's just a million cole...
*Lulua's stomach growls*
Oh, my stomach grumbled.
Hahaha, sorry, sorry! My stomach always seems to interrupt people...
*sigh* Fine... I'm sure at this price, it won't be sold any time soon. Hey, Lulua. Let's go get some food. I"m rather hungry too, so I'll buy you something.
Wait, really?! What's gotten into you, Aurel?!
Hmph. I just feel like it. Besides, with you around... I won't be able to properly concentrate on swords. Let's go.
Ahaha, sure. Sorry about that.. Thanks for inviting me though. Now where should we go? What kind of food do you like, Aurel?
Oh, I see... So you really are like a child.
C'mon, it's late and he's doing you a favor. No teasing.
Look who's talking! Your favorite food is curry! Come on, let's go!
Fine! Well, you can get curry and a hamburger anywhere, right?
Heh heh, Aurel ♪ Thanks!
Getting back to business, I'd like to direct your attention to something peculiar about Ficus. Do you see how Aurel and Piana are next to each other? Lulua and Eva are right next to each other on the other side. See what's curious about this? Everyone is listed in the order they joined...except for Ficus, who's listed as if he joined before Aurel.
I have a sneaking suspicion, based on nothing except the party menu, that Ficus was originally meant to join first in an early version of the game, and when it was changed to Aurel joining first, they didn't change this part because they forgot about this small detail. Just to alleviate your concerns, every party member left to join are all listed in the order they join, except for the DLC characters, who are understandably listed last. We'll have every playable character available by early Chapter 7.
My other Atelier Development Suspicion is that Atelier Shallie was originally meant to have just Lotte as the protagonist, and after Gust saw the positive reception to Escha & Logy, i.e. an Atelier with a co-star, they added Shallistera. Why do I think this? There are a number of trophies and unique CGs you can only see as Lotte, and there's nothing comparable on the Shallistera side. It makes me think that, even if Shallistera was always intended to be in the game, that her route was almost certainly developed second. And if you think about, it, Stera and everything exclusively related to her could have easily been written out and not a whole lot about the story of the rest of the game would have needed to be changed. Whatever the case, since the first bit of publicly-released media for Shallie was the OP, which obviously featured both protagonists, if I am correct that notion didn't last too long. Just food for thought.
Ficus is actually a really good party member, mostly for his skills, which allow you to take advantage of elemental vulnerabilities much more than you comfortably could otherwise. He starts off with Fire and Ice skills and eventually gains a Lightning skill.
So as for the next story riddle, just synthesize a number of times (I think it counts total number of syntheses, not just ones after you discover this riddle) and make a Craft of above 30 Quality I think.
Luckily, not much fussing around was needed for the second part. This next riddle unlocks an entirely new gameplay mechanic to this series and will explain some of the mystifying parts of item encyclopedia entries. Very exciting. After making this Craft and a Gnardi Ring, I hit alchemy level 15 and got this scene. An unflappable face
Sure thing! High-grade Uni, coming right up.
Nano Master. This one is better.
Th-thanks... You could tell right away? Amazing!
Not at all. I just have a lot of appraisal experience.
That's so cool... Um, I mean, here you go! The high-grade Uni you wanted!
Oh, thanks! By the way, Lulua...? Do you know what separates good Uni from bad?
Oh, er...well, you see... It has to be...uh...Uni-que...?
I guess. In a way.
It's OK to just say you don't know! Chim Dragon, could you show her, please?
Of course. The Uni quality is measured by the hardness of their spikes. The better the Uni, the harder and sharper they are. So you just have to pay attention to the spikes.
Oh really? I had no idea! Mr. Dragon really is amazing...
Hehe. Not at all. It's merely my job.
Hey, was that smirk I just saw from you? It was! Right? A smug little smirk!
...*ahem* It must have been your imagination.
Nope, I know what I saw! Do it again! Smile again!
Praising me is not going to work.
Aww, why not? Please please please please please!
P-Pleading with me is not going to w-work either.
Ahaha! I think he's cracking, Lulua! Y'know, I think since meeting Lulua, Chim Dragon has gotten a little more...emotional. Not that that's a bad change, of course!
That's great! What a genius! Woo! Woo! Go, Chim Dragon, go!
M-Master! Help me...! Make Nano Master...stop...that!
Call it a hunch, but I bet that dragon is weak to Ice. You know dragons, breathing fire and all that. Stands to reason. I actually made a few more items for the first time after that scene, but I think I qualified for the second part of the riddle after I hit level 15 before that scene. If you qualify for something special *and* trigger a scene after a synthesis, it won't let you know about the special thing (like completing a part of Alchemyriddle) unless you go to the book itself. Very silly. But, complete the riddle we did.
Ficus playing with the black arts here, I see.
Whew! I think I got it!
Great work, Lulua. So, what is it?
Well, it's basically exactly what I thought. An adjustment to the item-making procedure! *explains gameplay mechanic I shortly will*
Hmm... I don't know all the theory and whatnot, but I gather it's a way to make stronger items?
Bingo. I think there's a lot we'll be able to do now.
Shall we put this new method to the test, then? The monster at Orthogalaxen doesn't stand a chance!
Uhhh, better keep an eye on those things.
I wonder where all that confidence comes from... Oh well. Alright then, Lulua. Let's get ready to head back to Orthogalaxen.
Okay! Let's do this! For my mother's atelier! We're coming for you, you nasty monster! You don't stand a chance!
So as you might expect, you don't actually have to make anything. In fact, you could ignore that entire scene and just go beat up the dragon on your own. This is definitely possible, but what better time to talk about Awakened Effects?
I agree, Lulua. In any case, those four boxes in the lower left now have gameplay relevance. Do you see how it always says Awakened: Fire +2? Whenever you use the Phlogiston in a synthesis, if you can activate its Awakened Effect, it'll add two Fire elemental points to the item you're crafting. Now, just to be clear, there is a big limitation for this: the item you're attempting to Awaken has to be used in an Awakening slot.
Those four boxes represent each different kind of synthesis an item could potentially go into. Starting from the Bomb: Bomb, Weapon/Armor/Accessory, Healing, Synthesis. The Phlogiston is among a handful of items in that all of its Awakened Effects are the same; whenever you use this item's Awakened Effect, it adds two Fire Elemental points to the item you're making. Definitely easier to explain when we actually make something, so let's do just that.
First, do you see how (Fuel) and (Supplements) are highlighted? That means an item used in either of those slots can use its Awakened Effect in influencing the final product.
Focus, girls. Focus.
See how that box in the lower left has "Faint Value Up Lvl 2" highlighted? If I were to use a Tar Fruit to make this Bomb, it would have Faint Value Up Lvl 2 added to it as a free bonus to the final weapon (it increases the Faint damage an item does).
And now the lower right box has something in it. Like with the Phlogiston example above, using a Red Supplement adds a single point of Fire to the Bomb, going from two Fire points to three. Now, what happens if you use two different items in different ingredient slots? You can't have more than two Awakened Effects on a single item, so...
So if you want to choose between Awakened Effects, highlight the item you want the Awakened Effect to and hit a single button. If I were to hit Square for this Fuel Dirt, Faint Value Up Lvl 2 will become Inflict Burns Lvl 2. Simple, right? Once we have more materials and stuff, all this business will become very very important in crafting powerful items later in the game. It's kind of a bit more preparation than needed for the dragon, but this is how this new mechanic works.
Like with normal Effects, you can't transfer Awakened Effects from item to item in the same way you can pass applicable Traits between items. We'll get a chance to road test this mechanic in actual syntheses next chapter. Make your final preparations to face the dragon and let's get cracking.
By the way, I examined Alchemyriddle to formally finish this chapter of the book while I was in Orthogalaxen, so I leveled up while outside the atelier. Go me. In addition to that, this chapter's completion reward bumps maximum possible Quality from 50 to 100. This early in the game, don't sweat Quality, however. Taskmasters
Oof, it's no less scary this time around!
D-Definitely not. What are we going to do, Lulua?
Fight, of course! Because... If we don't bring this monster down, I'll lose my mother's atelier--no, my home! We can't let that happen! One day, when Mom comes home, I need to be able to look her in the eye!
Wow, that was unusually well-said, for you. My blade is at your service. For the time being.
Hahahaha! I, too, shall lend you my aid. To safeguard your future, Lulua!
...I'm obviously in too. Wouldn't be much of a teacher if I wasn't!
Thank you so much! I know we can do this! With you by my side--not to mention "Alchemyriddle"--I know we can do this! It'll all work out! Everything I've done, everything I've learned, everything I've experienced... Here we go! Everyone! Let's do this!
Now for the final battle of the first part of the game. First up, another new gameplay mechanic: Primal Arts. Whenever two specific characters are on the field, they'll activate their Primal Art together and give your frontline party members a specific buff. The one between Lulua and Piana is shown here. You can have up to three Primal Arts active at the same time, but these combinations are pretty rare.
Weakness is so ridiculous in this early part in the game.
Does have a looot of HP, though. So we'll be here a while.
So Ficus, as I said, is really good in-battle, but he does have a particular gimmick associated with him: Arcana. See that card icon with 2 next to it? That represents his current Arcana, which limits what techniques he can use, as well as his current MP. Ficus' Fire / Ice attack uses two Arcana each. Both work the same: they do an AoE hit at first, then a single target hit when the card's turn comes up (what's called a Timed effect in this series). What do you do when you run out of Arcana?
Shuffle the cards, of course. Like with Eva's Range Shift, this is a special technique that costs 0 MP and has a very low WT penalty attached to it. After using it, Ficus' Arcana is totally refilled, but it can't go over his current max, which is 4 right now.
Despite his undenied prowess at frontline fighting, Aurel is also really good as support, since he can clear debuffs if a frontliner gets hit with one and recover HP. In addition, a future technique of his also lowers the Faint value of the affected, something only Lulua can otherwise do if you don't have the right trait / item to lower it that way.
As for our enemy itself, it's almost an afterthought after it gets hit with Weakness, honestly. Wing Attack, pictured here, is probably the technique that hurts the most.
Another benefit of Ficus' skills is they come with a low chance of a debuff: Burn for his Fire technique (not using it in this fight because the dragon is strong against Fire) and Sleep for Ice, which prevents the enemy from taking any turns until either enough turns go by or someone attacks the enemy to wake it up.
Overall, not the most thrilling fight in the history of the world. Just a bit too much health for the little damage we're doing, but it's gone. We've finally saved the atelier.
You get a nice suite of Dragon items from this first win, but never mind that for now. Just keep in mind Dragon materials are pretty rare, so only use them if you mean it.
We actually did it! We won! We won!
Ahahaha! I told you it was a sure thing with me on board!
You sure like to brag. Though I must say you weren't totally useless.
Ahaha... That means a lot coming from you.
Hehe. Great work, Lulua. I'm so glad we won.
Ehehe! We all did great! That monster won't bother anyone ever again. Now my mother's atelier can--
Might want to look lively, Lulua.
...! Lulua, look out!
Well...you have to be grateful, but lots of interesting coincidences happening around here lately.
There. That did it.
Totori?! And Sterk?!
Lulua, are you all right?
Y-Yes...just about. Why are you two here?
Well, we... You tell her, Totori.
Well, the thing is... I've been watching you this whole time, Lulua.
H-Huh?! You have?!
Yes. I'm sorry. This was a difficult test. Though it wasn't really a "test" as such...
What?! But...! The renewal conditions...
Hehe. Perhaps here isn't the best place to talk. I'll see you back at Parliament. Farewell for now! Let's go, Sterk.
Hmph. Am I a mule to be driven to and fro? *sigh* Until we meet again, Lulua!
Warp Gate always a classy way to teleport out.
I'm sorry for worrying you, Eva! I'm fine, really!
Yes, but... If those two hadn't come along... Who knows what could have happened... Ahahaha!
Wait a second, where did you go to, Ficus? You disappeared as soon as you saw Totori and Sterk...
Hahaha! Everybody has a dark secret or four, don't they?
Four sounds like too many! Well, whatever...
What do you suppose Ms. Totori meant? This wasn't really a "test"? Hmm?
Oh... We should just head to the Parliament. Let's go before more monsters attack us again, yeah?
Sure... Ugh. I feel all confused.
*everyone except Aurel leaves*
One day! One day, I swear I'll--
Seems like we found the guy Aurel was looking for.
This is the door the dragon was standing in front of, for the record. No sequence breaking for now. When you go back to Arland, going to the Parliament building will end the first part of the game and start a fairly long sequence of events. A new start
Oh, Lulua! You made it!
Yeah... Umm, Ms. Totori...? When you said "this wasn't really a test" back in Orthogalaxen...
Hehe...! Before we get to that, here!
Well, actually... Would you mind if I handled this, Totori?
Sure, go right ahead, Piana.
The thing is, Lulua... I...I'm sorry! This whole thing has been a lie! Renewing a license is always just a matter of paperwork, however many times you let it lapse.
...Eeeh?! S-So, what're you saying...? If there was no problem, then... Why would you?!
Well... I really just wanted to test your skills, Lulua.
Of course, that explains everything now... Although you have to beat the dragon as part of the story, in-story presumably Totori and Sterk wouldn't let Lulua fail if it came down to it.
Yes. To be honest, I really wanted to see you...and "Alchemyriddle" at work.
I heard about it from Piana. She told me the whole story. How you're the only one who can read the mysterious alchemic information written within.
I see... Well, honestly, Ms. Totori... The Riddle is really amazing! Whenever I'm thinking of something I want to know, the answer just appears on the page! It's amazing!
Is that so... I guess all your recent growth really is thanks to that magical book. But listen, Lulua... You shouldn't rely on that thing so much.
Oh...? What do you mean?
Once you start relying on it to make your work easier, you're more likely to be caught off guard, you know? You have to be ready to act even without the book by your side. So keep up with your normal studies as well, OK?
Without my "Alchemyriddle"... I understand! Thank you, Ms. Totori!
Sure thing! Also, sorry about the whole testing you ordeal. Anyway, now your license renewal process is complete! Good luck as a new atelier owner!
Thank you! --Wait, what? An atelier owner??
Lulua, take a good look at the license.
Hmm? "Arklys Business License for Atelier Lulua Owner: Elmerulia Frixell"...?! Wh-what does that...?! Hold on! Atelier...Lulua? What do you mean 'Atelier Lulua'?!
So we had to get the license renewed in your name! Hehe. Atelier Lulua! Well, good luck! I'm sure you'll make a great atelier owner!
(I remember asking everyone for advice on our way back to Arklys... All I could think about was the pressure and anxiety regarding taking over Mom's atelier... Everything was already decided, despite how I was feeling. But perhaps this was a good starting point, in the end. And so marks the "Chapter of Succession." The end of one part of my story, and the beginning of another...)