The Let's Play Archive

Atelier Lulua

by Sylphid

Part 14: XI: Pages of a Pirate Captain

Part XI: Pages of a Pirate Captain

Mental block
I'm not getting anywhere trying to decipher the Riddle... *sigh* I wonder why...
I can't even see the text so I can't really comment, but... Is it really so difficult?
Yes. It's very difficult... I really need to study to become a better alchemist...
Hmmm... I don't know a whole lot about alchemy, but I think you're working very hard.
Ahaha, you sure say the nicest things. But I'm nowhere near where I need to be yet. You know my mom is a great alchemist, right? The kind that inspires everyone! That's why I want to become like her! To try to reduce the burden on her. So I really need to work harder! ...And of course, it's for your sake too, Stia.

Oh, thank you, Mr. Dragon. It's for me... From Ms. Keina. Uh-huh...
"Dear Lulua, How have you been? I know this is very sudden, but recently, Meruru came back home to Arls! I know you wanted to meet her, Lulua, so I thought I should write you a letter. You should come for a visit. From Keina."

How awesome we're in....Arls right now. She really could have just come by the atelier.

Huh! Meruru's back? So, what are you going to do, Lulua?
Isn't that obvious?! I'm going, of course!
Lulua, you seem very happy. Who is this Meruru thing?
Of course I'm happy! She's a reaaaaaaally amazing alchemist!
She's one of the leading alchemists in the whole country! No question!
Oh, yeah...! Maybe I can ask Princess Meruru about how to improve my alchemy better!

Not to mention your diction. I know you're excited to meet Meruru, but calm down for a second.

Ugh, I just can't stay still! Everyone! Let's go to Arls' Town Hall right away! Hurry! Princess Meruru! We're going to see Princess Meruru!

But, y'know, I bet Meruru'll stick around Arls for a bit. Apparently hasn't been in town for a while and she's probably keen to take a break for a bit. I think we can let her wait for a bit while we take care of some personal business.

So, we finally have the first (Gunpowder) item we can synthesize. Which's time to finally make a Mining Bomb with Destruction Level 3.

Huh? What's wrong, Lulua? Why are you groaning in front of the cauldron like that?
Um, hear me out... A lot of the items we make are consumable, right? Bombs, healing items, and other stuff... We use 'em up, make more, use THOSE up, and on and on... *sigh* I just wish there were an easier way, y'know?
There is.
I know, right? ...Wait. There IS an easier way?!
Yeah. Hey, Chim Dragon.
Yes? Did you call for me, Master?
Yeah. Hey, do you think you could restock Lulua's items for her?
Yes? Allow me to explain. The item Restocking process is as follows...

In a mechanic returning from previous entries in this series, you can turn on a Restocking option at Chim Dragon's store to automatically refill use counts on items you use out in the field upon returning to the atelier. This includes both normal consumables and usable Exploration Tools like the Mining Bomb. The restocking is charged automatically if you have that option on, or can be done on-demand by talking to Dragon and selecting the applicable option.

If you have automatic restocking turned on, and you don't have enough money, Dragon will let you know and won't restock anything until you get enough. This should only come up if you are absolutely dirt poor, however, which obviously I never will be. I'd advise having it on all the time. Think about it: Interrupts don't count as used items for purposes of Restocking, and you'll be using those the vast majority of the time. Like with Wholesaling, the amount Dragon charges to restock depends on the item, the Quality of the item, the traits, and purely for restocking purposes, how low in use count the item to be restocked is. The more uses left, the cheaper restocking will be. But for now, you'll be spending...maybe 3-400 Cole for a normal adventure. This service is very much worth it, especially for valuable items you can't stock at Dragon's.

Should also mention that an item going down to 0 uses won't matter for restocking purposes. It won't destroy the item or anything upon reaching 0 uses.

I-I had no idea anything like that was possible! Incredible! This is going to change my whole world!
Ahaha. Yeah, having to remake items every time is pretty rough, isn't it? We might as well take what shortcuts we can! That's just one more secret to alchemy.
Makes sense. the way... This wholesale and restocking thing is great, but why didn't you tell me about any of it sooner?
Geez, look at the time! Whew, have I got a lot of work to do today! See you later, Lulua! Good luck! *weasels out*
Hey! Come back! I can't believe she just walked away like that! Teacher! Wait just one second!!

With Alchemy Coal, getting to Destruction Level 3 is child's play. The other Effect increases gathered item quality after destruction but eh... It's not like we'll be using THIS bomb for the rest of the game, if you know what I'm saying.

You go to the Old Mining Tunnel, you blow up a crystal. Amazing technology.

The cost of using two of those Mining Bombs. Easy money.

That's a little more like it. An Acquired Taste is for using Nostalgic Curry 10 times I think, and talking to that kid in the kitchen back in Arklys, which we already did. For Greater Strength (2), use Tribloom a number of times (this riddle translates it as "Tribal Lume" for some reason) and fight many battles. Don't know the number but it was already solved for me by this point.

Wild Wasteland and the Fairy's Forest is a bit unusual in that it's one of those riddles we couldn't have solved before unlocking Chapter 4's Advanced riddles. Namely, we haven't uncovered a ?path to the wastelands? that's allegedly located on the border of Arklys, but... Doesn't that rock formation look familiar? It should. Vultures can be found in Trombe Plateau.

And finally, Professional Fishing Rod is for fishing a set number of times, which we've already done, and fishing up a Bomb Fish in the Guiding Light Forest, which we haven't. We have a quick trip back to the Arklys Area to take care of that.

Such a disreputable man... We need to stop by the Old Kingdom Checkpoint while we're heading south.

To talk to this old geezer, who just showed up. You take care of that. By whatever means necessary. This finishes the second part of the wasteland riddle and unlock a new area when we get back to the atelier and decode this riddle.

First try, hell yeah. And FINALLY, we have all of Chapter 4's riddles in the books.

Ah, now that recipe name, I know that one.

Note that Azure Wing. That's the one we got from Fellsgalaxen, and that's why I said you were meant to use that for a specific purpose. If you didn't pick up this Wing, or accidentally used it in another synthesis, that wasteland region has an enemy that Rare Drops Azure Wings, but again, not very convenient since those enemies are pretty hardy. Also, this item is level 18, so there's no way you could have access to this recipe but be short on experience to make it. But now...

How it works is that you equip it to the Exploration Tools inventory, then, using it from the usable items menu, either on the World Map or anywhere in any field map, you can instantly warp to Arklys, Arls, or Arland, making travel around the world map much, much more time efficient. Now, of course, there is no time limit so other than the Royal Fair in December, you're not under a time crunch for any explicit reason. Even so, as a veteran of the timed Ateliers, my brain simply can't get free of the notion I want to take as little time to finish this game as possible. It's just convenient to be able to warp around at leisure, right? That's what I think, and I hope you'll agree, because we're using it. A lot.

Also, how does this thing work with the Wagon Atelier? Don't worry about the details.

Wow! I see! I had no idea!
Hehe. Be sure to remember that, OK?
Got it?

Got it. Well, before we head back to Arls, why don't we stop by the orphanage? I bet they've got something going on. A day off

Father Benon, are you alright?! You sound totally exhuasted...
Hahaha, I'm fine... Just fine...! I've just been a little bit busy lately... So I'm not quite entirely steady on my feet right now... But! I need to do this though, for the kids...
*sigh* He's always like this... I try to tell him to rest, but he never listens... Hey, Lulua. Maybe you could try telling him?
Yeah, sure! Father Benon!

Argh! *knocked unconscious*
Wait, Lulua?! Why did you hit him?! I didn't ask you to finish him off!
Ahaha, it's Father Benon. The only way to get him to take a rest is by force.

All that leveling up is starting to pay off. She just wrecked him.

Of course! So first we have a delivery job...

*a long day of errands commenced...*

Yes, and that's not all, he also has the daily chores at the orphanage to take care of...
...He really is incredible. He must have some kind of super strength, to manage all that...
Hahaha, so you figured me out. It's true actually, hahaha!
Father Benon?! You should be asleep!
Oh no, no. I heard everything. You girls took care of my work for me, didn't you? I can hardly lie here and sleep while you two are out there working hard!
No, it's really fine! Please, Father Benon, go get some more rest! If you don't, your body will break down!
...Heh, it's all right. Being with all you kids heals me. And... This is something I do because I want to.
Father Benon...?
Thank you for today, girls. Here's something for your trouble.
What?! No, we can't possibly take that! We did this because we wanted to help you! *gets 500 Cole*
Heh... Well, until next time, then. *goes off for more work*
Wait, Father Benon! He really is stubborn...
Yeah... *sigh*...

Just can't stop this guy apparently. Which may or may not be good on balance.

See you in Arland. Oh yeah, and for some reason the Warp Gate has a use count of its own, and you get charged for refill upon returning to town if you set up auto restocking, like 39 Cole or something. They really should have just made it infinite-use, like in Totori or Meruru.

Ms. Totori, welcome!
Ah! What's wrong? Do you need me?
Oh, no. Today, I don't have any business with you, Piana... But I do have business with Lulua.
Huh? You

I don't see any other Luluas around here.

Yeah. I want to see how much you've progressed since that task you did for me a while back. So that's why I'd like to ask you to synthesize this for me.
Hmmm... I might be able to handle this...
Of course, just MAKING it isn't enough. The best ingredients, the best technique... Devote yourself to using them and do your best.
I'm going to put some pressure on you. What do you say, Lulua?
Hehe, of course, I'll do it! I want to show you how good I am now, Ms. Totori!
OK, I'll see you later! *checks out*
Ehehe. She's not going to go easy on you. Are you sure you're up to this, Lulua?
Of course! I'll work hard to show you how ready I am!
Hm, well said! That's my apprentice for you. OK, Lulua, show her what you've got!

Luckily, Totori isn't gonna give us the third degree when it comes to making a Globe. I think 50 Quality will suffice? Certainly the 37 Quality Globe I have now is not gonna cut it but luckily, she's not asking on a deadline, so I think she can wait a bit. If you're so inclined to finish Totori's request now, though, remember that you have access to the Alchemy Activator if you need to get ~5-10 more Quality. If you need more Globe Spheres, you can find them at Hart Outpost.

Dragon is also selling one of his few recipes books, for Tanning Liquid / Tanned Leather. We're so close to December, though, so I wouldn't advise picking it up if you don't think you can get to 10k before the end of December. The Arland Royal Fair runs for the entire month, so it's up to you if you think you can do it. We don't need either recipe for any particularly pressing business.

But now, even with that previous scene, we have a bunch of Arland scenes since it's the start of a new chapter. Let's get to work.

Oh, Wild?? What're you doing?
Hey, Lulua... I'm just trying to think of a new original dish...
A new original dish...?
Sure. Remember what I told you before? My dream is to surpass my master. And to do that I have to come up with a new dish every day.
Every day...?! That's a lot of work... So the reason why you were making that noise earlier... Can it be that you can't think of anything??
No, I've got something! And it's probably going to be really good! But... BUT!!
The ingredient that I need is sold out!! I mean, it's quite a rare ingredient too... That's why I'm racking my brain, trying to figure out what to do...
I see... In that case, what if I find the ingredients for you?
Eh?! Oh, yeah...! You're Rorona's daughter, which means...! You're an alchemist!! Your job is all about acquiring items!
Yup, that's right. Hehehe, just leave it to me, Wild! I promise, as a fellow apprentice, to help you get what you need!
Ohhh! Thanks! Thank you...! All right, I'm counting on you, Lulua...!
Not a problem! Just you wait...!

He wants some Hard Potatoes, an Arklys specialty, and Quality doesn't matter. Lulua notes in the pause screen that they have to be high quality, but the ones sold in Arklys will work just fine. So that's if you want to finish the quest quickly, by the by. Being careful

Ah, this is good...
Yes, we just obtained it this morning. It is high-quality and one of the finest goods available.
Oh... Hi, Teach. Are you shopping for something?
Yes, I am. I like it in Arland. There are so many things for sale. I need to be careful not to spend too much.
Ahaha, I know what you mean! I've already bought way too much.
Oh, that's not good. All right then. Since we're both here, how about we shop together? That'll help stop us from buying too much, and I can teach you how to find quality ingredients. What do you think?
Whoa, really?! I'd love to!
OK, it's decided! Let's go!

Wow, we've been at it for a while now. I think it's time to head home.
Hey, you over there. You're a looker. How'd you like to go get something to eat?
My, you're quite handsome. Sorry, but I'm spending the day with my sister. So if you want to talk to me... Maybe some other time, OK?
Yeah, yeah. Oh well, that's too bad.
Um... Did that guy try to hit on you just now?
Yes he did... You're going to run into lots of dodgy guys like him around here.
Ahaha. You're so strict. You blew him off really quick. Does that mean...?
Yup. They're always trying to talk to me. I suppose it's these strange clothes I wear...
No, I don't think that's it. It's because you're very pretty.
Huh?! What did you say, Lulua?! You really shouldn't tease your teacher like that!
No, I'm being serious! Your hair is nice and smooth, and you have beautiful skin... I've always thought that you were beautiful! Actually, I'm jealous of you!

Hm? Her face was so red... Is it really so embarrassing? Teacher... Wait for me!

Lulua... But the night around here is long, so let's go see what's keeping Aurel awake tonight.

Oh, Aurel! You seem a little morose today.
That's the first thing you say to me? And you're as airheaded as ever. ...By the way, Lulua. Do you have interest in training?
Training? Well, I'm a girl, so... I'd be lying if I said I didn't.
Not training in homemaking! Training for battle! Fighting! If you're going to continue your'd be safer for you to be strong, right?
Well, you have a point there... Training it is then!
Right... Let me show you where I like to train. We'll leave once you're ready. Don't forget the bombs and medicine, OK?

He actually wants to go to the Golden Plains, which does seem like a pretty good place to hone one's skills, far from anyone interfering.

I think those poor horses need some quality food first, though.

...! Could this be...?
Huh... Is this no good, then?
Quite the opposite! This is perfect! Good heavens... I had no idea you'd grown so talented!
Hehehe. I'm trying to improve a little bit every day. Right then, Mr. Dragon! We need to hurry up and feed those two!
Yup! Hehe. Thank you, Nano Master! *runs off to feed*
Wait. Did Mr. Dragon just...laugh? So that's what that sounds like! I feel like I was a little bit of help there.

He was in an exceptionally good mood in that scene, too. Nicely done, Lulua. And for one more event in Arland for good measure, a few more requests for Lionela. Part-time job

Lionela! We're ready to order food!
OK! Here we go. Food's ready, so just gotta take it over there...
Hello... Huh? Ah. It seems like I came at a bad time? OK, and this is where I... Ms. Lionela! I'll help you with your work!
Ah, Lulua...?! Thanks, but I'm OK! I should be able to do it myself...!
No, no, please let me help you! That's what we do! Help each other in times of need!
Ah... I-Is that right...? OK, then, can I ask you...
Yes, please leave it to me! I'm going to work as hard as I can! *begins helping out*
All right, this is ready! Lulua, think you can take it out for me?
What, already? Y-You got it!

Lulua, I've already done that one, so you don't need to! Go to the next table please!
Y-You got it!

*more time passes*

Whew, it looks like things have calmed down some. Thanks again, Lulua! You really saved me!
Ugh, I'm sorry... If anything I feel like I slowed you down...
No, you really didn't! So really, thanks! OK, I think the last thing I'll ask you to do is help wash the dishes.
OK, got it! Wash wash wash the dishes... Ah! Ack! Aaahhh!
Watch out!

W-Wha...? The plates aren't broken? I-I thought they were completely done for...
Lulua, are you all right? Are you hurt?
I'm...fine... Hm... Hmmm...?
Hehe, I'm glad. I don't really mind if the dishes got broken, but if you get hurt, that would be terrible! So let's do some dishes, shall we? If we do them both together, it should go faster.
That's right! I promise to be careful this time!

So if you're a bit confused about what happened there, Atelier Rorona established that Lionela straight up has magical powers. That's how she manipulated Aranya and Horoholo in battle and, I guess, in her dancing act. At the time it was a bit unusual, given other characters in this continuity use staffs, swords, frying pans, lances, lashes, boomerangs, uh...dusters, know, actual weapons. But with Ficus in this game, I guess magic is a canonical part of the Arland subseries.

Well, even though Lionela used her magic for entirely wholesome purposes, it seems the people of a few towns she performed in didn't take too kindly to that, so she got chased out of numerous places, including by her own parents. Lulua apparently has no interest in what happened, but that makes sense, since she was probably looking elsewhere when the plate was falling. Probably best to keep it that way, actually. Growing strength

This should do.


Huh, mushrooms eat meat. Who knew?

Yes, we'll be slaying monsters. Let's go!

Just four mushrooms, and nearly every mushroom in this game gets wrecked by Fire attacks. So turn up the gas and get done with this pronto.

It should be noted that DOT Effects can never KO a target, and that applies to your soldiers as well.

*pant* *pant* So tired... Hey, Aurel... Do you do stuff this dangerous all the time?
Sure do. Training is a dangerous endeavor.
O-Oh... Wouldn't it be better to find a different way...
No... I don't have that kind of time. To get stronger as fast as possible, you have to be rash.
Do you, though? Why would you need such strength?

The Knight Supreme? Isn't that what they call Mr. Sterk?
Yes, for now. However, it originally...belonged to someone else. That man was my blood relative. And my sword master. In order to repay him for his teachings... I must become the strongest. I must defeat Sterkenburg Cranach!

Don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say Aurel is a blood relative of the last king of Arland, Ludwig Giovanni Arland, otherwise known as Gio. In addition to his vagabond king act, he was a powerful party member on Rorona and Meruru's adventures and, no matter how hard Sterk tried, his strength was just not enough to overcome Gio on camera. But, it seems at some point Sterk was finally able to defeat his rival and inspiration and take the title of the strongest warrior in Arland. Good for him, it finally worked out. No word on what happened to Gio since, which is pretty surprising given he's the head of state throughout all of Meruru, but you know...nah, I'd better not say. Some things should remain legends.

...I've said too much. Now, back to training...

Heh, happens all the time. Listen, Lulua. At times like this...
What do we do?
Run as fast as you can!

WHAAAT?! HEY!!! How can you be the best when you leave a girl behind?! *retreats*
Even the strongest must run when necessary! Now come on, let's go!
Ugh, I hate this! I'm never training with you again!

Probably for the best, but hey, part of being the best is the talent to know when you're barking up the wrong tree. Lulua should be thanking Aurel.

One thing interesting about some fishing spots in this game is you can actually fish up Accessories. These actually do count as gatherable items if you care about 100% completion. Sure the traits are usually rubbish, but it's the thought that counts.

Good ol' Awakening Effects on those Fish Sauces. The Lightning bar is Picked Item Quality up, which is probably more important but eh, the difference isn't that important. This is the Professional Fishing Rod, by the way. There's no need to keep inferior rods around when you're making an upgrade, so say goodbye to the rod we've been using up to now. You live on, in a way.

The "Catches a Lot of Fish" Effect, by the way, increases the number of fish you can catch, as in, their rarity. You can get Butterfly Fish and Small Sardines from most every fishing spot in the game, but for rarer ones, you'll need this and the right locations.

Well, after all the sidequesting business we've done up till now, Meruru probably left, then came back, and this is where we resume the plot. Hey, she's (probably) still here! Searching for inspiration

Oh, Lulua.
I got your letter! Princess Meruru! Princess Meruru came home, right?! Where is she, where is she, where is she?! I'm really excited!
Um, well... About that... Um... I'm so sorry! Meruru just left. She said she needed to gather more materials.
I'm really sorry. I tried to stop her...
Ahaha, that Meruru sure is a feisty one. But surely she hasn't gone too far. What do you think, Lulua? Why don't we see if we can find her?
...! That's it! As expected from my teacher! You're so smart! Ms. Keina! Do you know where Princess Meruru has gone?!

Well, that's not too bad.

Hmm, hmm... It's the place with strong winds, right? I'll have to be careful to keep my hat on my head.
Got it. Thank you, Ms. Keina! We'll go to Trombe Plateau and look for her!
Yes, thank you. Oh, and if Meruru gets back before you, I'll keep her here. Everyone... Please be very, very careful.

Good advice, but... Seems Eva's a little jealous. At least we certainly know why, though. By the way, I should note that this is another of those chapters where you can't have done many of the riddles in advance. Most of the riddles at issue require both new locations to have opened up, which isn't going to happen until next update.

But for this chapter, we're going to be using Totori a lot, so let's get her a new weapon. Ster Metal we can't really take advantage of at all just yet, but this is good for a riddle. It is pretty pricey, though, so if you're not swinging nearly a million Cole around, I'd advise passing on it for now.

This is what we came here to do. Neither DLC character has a scene for making one of their weapons, so I assume this next scene triggers after you've made a certain number of pieces of equipment with Cole (funnily enough, this book in the Encyclopedia also spoils a future party member. Hehe). Burly master

Hm? What is it?
This shop is called "Hagel and Cole Ironworks", right? Cole is you, that's pretty obvious, but... Who's Hagel?
Haha, curiosity got the better of you? Hagel is the name of my blacksmithing master.
Ohh! Well, that explains it!
Yeah. He was a smith here in Arland. When I was a merchant, he looked out for me. By watching him work iron, I got interested as well. Arland's blacksmiths were in short supply, so I switched careers.
Oh! So you became a blacksmith for the sake of Arland!
Haha, you could say that. Of course, I love the job in its own right. And...hehe... There's one more reason. A big one.

Hahaha, and now I'm doing very well for myself. My tactics were right on point!
A-Ahaha... That was pretty smart, Cole.
You know it. In due course, I took over this place. I wasn't about to knock it down, was I? Let's hope it ends up making money for a long time to come.
Hehe, nice. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Haha, I hope you're right! I'm just going to do the best I can to serve Arland's smithing needs.
Great attitude! I'm cheering you on! Oh, one last thing. I wanted to ask...
What's up?
Hagel, your old master... With a name like that, was he good at...haggling?
*groan* Get out of here, Lulua!

NOW we're ready to finally start going after Meruru...probably! Man of the sea

The wind is SOOO STROOOONG!! If we don't shout, we won't be able to HEEAARR EEACH OOTHEEEER!
...It's true the wind is strong, but I don't think it's quite as bad as you say it is...
Stia. Your logic is wasted on those two.

She's at home in the party already.

No, I was just saying... I wasn't telling you to shout as well... *sigh*...
NOOOW THEEEN! I wonder where Princess Meruru is... Hm?

*runs up to the mystery man* He's getting attacked by monsters!
1, 2... There is a great number of them... And there are more hidden.
This doesn't look good... We have no choice. We should help!

Three Crystal Horns shall be our enemies. Luckily, like many early game enemies, they're weak to Fire. Totori's only skill right now is Micro Bomb, which is pretty powerful Fire / Physical damage in a wide blast radius, so she and Ficus will make short work of these losers.

Now he's even better at exploiting weaknesses.

Music: Keep Her Steady!

...Yeah, I don't feel any around. But... It's amazing that you can tell, Stia.
Yeah, that's awesome. Stia, are you actually a warrior?
Well... If it's just me, I'm not much of a fighter. But as an Operator, I am good at locating enemies and providing assistance.
Hmm? Stia, sometimes I can hardly understand what you are saying. But more importantly... Are you alright?!

Love how Lulua seems to have mostly completely forgotten Stia is several hundred years old and is definitely not entirely human. But hey, she's human enough, I think. But I'm with Stia, she's been telling an entirely consistent story about her story thus far. Not her fault humans evidently have problems listening to her.

Oh, did you help me out? Hahaha, thanks. I'm grateful... Huh?

...Oh, I think so! I'm so sorry about what happened that time, Mister.

Yep, it's that guy from Arls from a couple updates ago. Not so random, it seems.

Hehe, I told you not to worry about it. That reminds me, I haven't introduced myself. My name is Niko! Nikodemus David Dieter! A pirate of great renown across the seas!

Pretty far from home, it seems.

Niko... Gotcha! I'm Lulua, an alchemist. And, um, Niko... Did you just say you're a pirate? But... We're on land right now? This isn't the ocean...
You think I don't know that! I've just been through a lot, alright? I'm an adventurer for now, seeking my fortune on dry land.
Huh... It sounds like there's a lot to being a pirate too...
...Hmph. More importantly, Lulua... Aren't you going to ask him?
Oh, right! Niko! Have you maybe seen a woman around here?
No, can't say I have. I've been fighting monsters since I came here, so I might've missed her.
Oh... Thank you very much, Niko!
Oh no, it should be me thanking you! Blessings of the Great Ocean to you and your friends! See ya! *takes off*
Hm, it seems we stuck out here... Well, shall we head back to the Town Hall?
Hmm, yes. Maybe Meruru already returned, as well...
Right! To Arls then!

And warp back we did, except the day I did was December 1.

Not going to transcribe this scene because it's Lulua saying this and then saying it happens in the Town Square. Since we have the Warp Gate, we can just jet on over.

Funnily enough, you get a different version of the same scene if you're in Arland on 12/1, which evidently I didn't do on either of my previous playthroughs, as evidenced by their not being a "Skip" option in the lower right. Just because of that, this gets transcribed.

*gets the flyer* Yeah, I was right! I should go take a look!
It's here in Arland, so just head to the Town Square!
The Arland Town Square! Got it! Hehe, I wonder what it will be like. I can't wait to check it out!

Hey, I didn't say it was gonna be a long scene.

A nap first, though. Gotta be prepared for the festivities. Lulua has to mentally prepare herself.

Hehe. Surprised? THIS is how lively things get during the Arland Royal Fair!
I remember hearing that it has quite a history. All the way back to the days of the monarchy?
That's right. But the air has become an even bigger event since the establishment of the republic!
Wooow! *fidget* *fidget*
Ahaha. You look like you're ready to jump in! No harm in cutting loose every once in a while. Why not go and have some fun?
I definitely will! Oh, I can't wait! This is going to be great!

Eva is correct, you know. The Arland Royal Fair was held twice in Atelier Rorona, the only times we know it happened. The first one was where Rorona was (I like to think) canonically crowned the Cabbage Girl, and the second was a fighting tournament between a rando, Sterk, and the legendary Masked G if you had Gio's friendship level high enough, for some reason. Hey, I told you Rorona was a strange game. Now, we don't know how the Masked G fight turned out, or even if it happened, but Rorona beating Sterk was absolutely the way it happened, because he confirms that happened during Gino's character events in Atelier Totori.

Unfortunately, since Rorona ended in the third December of the game, we don't know how the third festival went. But getting back to this one, we have a few points of interest. First, approach that woman closest to Lulua.

Huh?! Wh-What is this?!
Hehe. It's a ticket for the Arland Royal Lottery! All fair visitors are eligible. One per person! The prizes are fabulous! Be sure to come back to the Town Square to check your number after the draw. And remember, tickets are only valid for this year's fair!
Wow, a lottery, huh? And with fabulous prizes! This sounds like tons of fun! Thank you so much! Hehe. I'll have to come back later to see if I won!

We'll get back to how that all works in a bit, but this is the big difference with the Arland Royal Fair: there are a number of shops that open during this month and this month only in Arland. Do you see that woman way in the distance, past the Ar Hollow? That's the woman you bring the aforementioned ticket to.

But first, let's check the shops. First, the little girl in the direction Lulua is currently facing.

The term "Bargain" must have changed significantly from my understanding, as I definitely wouldn't say any of these were a bargain. The rest of the stuff she sells, not pictured, are 50 quality sundries, like Flour or Honey. Nothing too valuable here. The Spirit Necklace is good if you care about elemental resistances but not much else. Even if I could buy everything in this shop many, many, maaaaany times over, I wouldn't buy a one.

This woman, setting up shop on the south side of the square, is selling stuff we're interested in. Namely, the Dragon Eye. Now, all this might sound like mumbo jumbo to you right now, but the game is making this item seem more complicated than it actually is. There's a special family of Effects in this game that are locked no matter how high you jack the corresponding Elemental Point Value up. So, let's say the best Effect on an item is like, +10 Ice. Even if you have +14 Ice, you'll never unlock this final Effect. For items you are meant to use a Dragon Eye in, the best Effect can be unlocked by using a Dragon Eye as a Boost Item. That's what this thing is meant to do.

We still haven't unlocked the recipe we're going to use this particular Eye in, but we're very close. Next story beat close, is how close. Trust me, you would be well-advised to buy this thing now if you want to get your item-making in gear as fast as possible. Like many things in this game, it isn't necessary to follow my recommendation here to have fun finishing this game. This will just markedly speed up when you start getting actually good Traits and high-quality materials.

One final note, I know 10k is a lot, but remember the Fair runs for the entire month. So you can take jobs, hunt monsters, etc. to raise that 10k Cole in time. Chapter 7 is the earliest you can get a Dragon Eye for free, but that's still some ways into the game, and there's a big catch to getting them. As for the other items she's selling, they're all Boost Items, which aren't necessary at all to buy, since you can find them as gatherable materials in various areas of the game.

The shopkeep closest to the purple machine is selling some pretty good items with good traits in the form of this Dragon Piece and Sacred Bird Wing, but to be honest, it's too much money for this point in the game. Again, just pretending I don't have all my actual money.

If you have the money to spare, you may want to grab those Gold Puniballs. They're a (Puniballs) and (Gemstones) item with Dragon Slayer, Strong Throw, and Defense Mega Charge as traits. Once you have access to the Mega Charge traits, you can start accessing the very highest-tier of traits. Well, outside of the special traits. As I mentioned, Slayer traits are generally useless, and so is Strong Throw, which increases the power of an item depending on the WT penalty incurred by using that item (so more powerful items that have longer WT times benefit more from this). Don't sweat it if you can't afford it or don't want it for now.

Not related to the Fair, it's about time we empty this chest. Three Nectars of good Quality are in there, so pick 'em up. After all, it's someone trying to help adventurers. Definitely.

The final point of interest is talking to the good ol' Captain of the (Citizens) Guard here. Grudge Match, Volumes 1 and 2

My word... Those muscles sure aren't for show!
Huh? What's going on over here?

An...arm-wrestling contest. Actually makes sense, when you think about it. Even a barrel got to make a cameo.

Mr. Sterk?!
Ah, Lulua. Impeccable timing. What do you say? Up for a quick spar?
A spar? Like a FIGHT? How exactly would be we be fighting?
Isn't it obvious? We'd be arm wrestling! If you can defeat me, I'll even give you a prize. Well?
A-Arm wrestling?! I'm not sure how that was supposed to be obvious!

Might be tough tussling with a guy who probably weighs three times as much as Lulua, but hey, it's Atelier. Being a petite teenager or young adult is no obstacle to being able to handle yourself in any kind of scrape.

I cannot back down! Mr. Sterk, I accept your challenge!
Whoa! Seriously?!
Show him what you've got, Missy!
Hah! Very well. But you should know, I never hold back! To do otherwise would be an insult to my opponent! Are you ready to face my full strength, Lulua?
You bet! Let's do this!
A clean, fair fight. Ready...and...

Gotta love comical tutorial messages. Well, the box before this said just mash X to win. I believe I can handle that.

3! 2!

No sweat. I learned my button-mashing prowess in Metal Gear Solid 1. I'm an old hand at this kind of stuff. Sterk's got nothing on Revolver Ocelot's idea of good times.

*pant* *pant* I... I did it... I won!
U-Unbelievable! She just took down Captain Sterk!
Incredible. Where does she hide all that strength in those dainty little arms?! Bravo! Bravo, Missy!
Hmph... Hahaha... It seems I am defeated. I must admit, this reminds me of another defeat I experienced long ago...against your mother.
Huh? You fought against Mom and lost? So, I take it you're not actually that stro--

Well, on the one hand, Rorona had items, but the difficulty gap between Sterk and Masked G was pretty insane, especially in Rorona+, where Masked is just shy of impossible on a NG, so it could go either way. Still, Sterk took a hit from a dragon. He's been around the block.

Ahem!! As promised, I shall now provide you with a reward for your victory! *gives 3000 Cole*

And yeah, that's a really big chunk of change for now. If you're just shy of that Dragon Eye, this may just put you over the top.

Um. Thank you very much.
It was a glorious duel. Perhaps you would honor me with another in the future. I will do all that I can to surpass my current performance. I eagerly await the day, Lulua.
Ahaha. Sure, any time you like! Thank you so much, Mr. Sterk!

Well hey, why not now?

Very well. My strength will be pushed to new limits.

Uh-oh, now it seems to be getting real. There are actually two new songs that play in this section but uh...don't think I'll be linking them for now. When the time's right, because these songs do play elsewhere.

Wh-Whoa, he's getting really into it!! Th-That yell was so ferocious, it almost knocked me over!
Missy, look out! Face Captain Sterk when he's like that, and you might not get out of there alive!
Don't worry! I've got this! Putting on a show, huh, Mr. Sterk? Well, so can I!

Lulua's powering up just isn't as menacing. It's all in the face.

Heh! Looks like we're about to witness a true battle of wills!
Hmph! Most impressive, Lulua. But mark my words, I shall not be defeated again!
Don't count on it! Let's make it a clean, fair fight. Ready...and...

Ouch...those dudes weren't kidding. Lulua got ruined there.

Sterk's love of pigeons was actually first revealed in Rorona, but you either had to get lucky to get Rorona to know that or know it was there. In the first couple of assignments, if Rorona was still out in the field when an assignment deadline was coming up, Sterk would let you know by sending a carrier pigeon out to Rorona to remind her, but if you were back in town, he'd stop by the atelier instead and you wouldn't know anything about his avian friends. If you got a scene with his pigeon, eventually you'd get a scene where Rorona asked him about it. He didn't bring it up elsewhere in the game, making it fairly easy to miss that he loves them.

Well, in Totori, this character trait became more prominent, because he was now working all over the country and had to keep in contact with more folks than ever. So it was revealed that, in addition to his usual friend, he was raising a whole flock of them in a world without email. Totori even got to watch a whole bunch of them take off at once, which highly impressed her.

And then in Meruru, this continued even further. But this time, he had an adversary in the form of Rufus' pigeon, which showed up in a couple scenes before Sterk becomes recruitable. Big problem, though: Rufus' was brown, and Sterk's was white. These two guys were at loggerheads a lot, but their first big argument was over pigeon color. Sterk insisted that pigeons had to be white and the argument escalated from there. Liam O'Brien's "Perhaps you'd prefer a crow!" was just dripping with venom. Great line read. But, in the final sequence of Meruru, you can see both of them chilling out together on top of Meruru's mailbox, and if you "talk" to them, they fly off together. Otherwise, Sterk did confirm that he can more or less understand what his pigeon says, or rather, what he *thinks* the pigeon would be saying to him. You'd have to ask him for the details, but Meruru aptly sums it up as him being able to talk Pigeon.

This whole thread is *quite* a lot of detail over a very missable thing in the first game, gonna say. The Totori and Meruru scenes, though, are scenes that normally come up in the process of a playthrough.

Ngh! I can't believe it! I lost!

Don't feel too bad, Lulua. I won this fight on my previous playthroughs, but I needed to throw it here to get Sterk posing with his pigeon. It's a necessary sacrifice but I think on balance you'll agree.

Hmph. Now you know my true power. However, I sense that I have yet to see the full extent of yours. Come and challenge me again, Lulua. I'll be waiting for our next match.

So if you do beat Sterk again, he'll give you even more money, and you can challenge him as much as you want while the Fair is going on. But before you think of it, no, you can't beat him over and over to grind for easy money. His salary is paid by the people's taxes, he can't afford to give all of it away to anyone who can beat him in an arm-wrestling contest.

So that's all for the Arland Royal Fair...or is it? It is. Or is it?

Back to work in Arls. I'm sure Meruru will be there. Absolutely. Once more on the road

Lulua!!! Sorry!!!
Huh?! W-What's going on?!
W-Well... The thing is... Meruru came back! I desperately tried to stop her, but... She set out again right away, saying she needed better materials this time.
A-Ahaha... Well, she is an alchemist after all... It can't be helped?
Hahaha... I see, I see! Looks like rashness is an alchemist thing, eh, Lulua?
Hm? Are you making fun of me?
Hahaha, it's just your imagination! Well, what are you going to do? Are you ready to chase after Princess Meruru again? Or will you wait? It's your choice, Lulua.
Hm... I vote for going after Princess Meruru! And honestly, dawdling around isn't really in my nature! Ms. Keina! Do you know where Princess Meruru has gone this time?
Hehe. I thought you might ask me, so... I gathered inormation from witnesses around the town. It seems Meruru was seen heading towards the Modis Ruins.

Stia? You know it?
Yes, of course. I used to visit Ehtogalaxen often. Hehe. I wonder how Sharm's doing. She's a smart kid, surely...

Another galaxen? So there was a third one, it seems. I never heard of no Sharm, though.

...? Yes. A Galaxen Ark. The same as Orthogalaxen and Fellsgalaxen. A state-of-the-art control mechanism made using the ultimate form of technology. With its size, I'm sure you know it...
I've never heard about it. So the Modis Ruins were really...
Never heard...? Wait... Did you say "Ruins"?
...I think it would be better to just go and see for ourselves. It seems like there's a lot going on. Lulua? Stia? Is that all right?
Uhh, yeah. Stia, it's okay, right?

Uh, well...we've certainly seen Modis before in a previous thread, but I don't think it'll be quite what Stia remembers.

But, since we're about to go visit another big location, and from a previous game, at that, I think it's time to call it for today.