The Let's Play Archive

Atelier Lulua

by Sylphid

Part 15: XII: Pages of a Lost World

Part XII: Pages of a Lost World

Please, have a little more faith in the...location you're about to visit, Lulua. Still, we haven't *technically* uncovered the Modis Ruins, so she'll say something like this. Potential


Oh, Ficus...? What're you staring off into space for?
Oh, is that you, Lulua? I wasn't staring off into space. Look over there. I was watching those kids.
I see... Oh, are you good with children?
You're not?! Then why...

Children grow...?
Yes. Yes, I like watching anything that grows. Growth is a wonderful thing. The thing is you can't predict the product of growth. And children are the epitome of that. What those children will become years from now... That's what I like to imagine. I guess you could call it a hobby.
Uh... I guess? It's a strange hobby...
Ha ha ha! You think so? Well, I've never really seen children before now. They're a curious thing.
You'd never...seen children? Have you been living under a rock?
Ahh, I was in a big tower. I was living at the very bottom, though!
We should head back!
Yeah, let's go!
Oh no! I have to go after them! See you, Lulua!

Definitely, *definitely* a strange guy.

Hmph. I've always thought he was strange... But now... I KNOW he's strange. Haha...

Well, look on the bright side: until he pulls something, it seems this guy can be counted on....somewhat, in a pinch.

Oh dear. Sounds like we might need to help.

Well, I doubt she'll mind. She never seems to be in town very long, so she probably won't notice her things are even missing. This contains Hay and Nylonfeather, which is the next tier of armor-making material. No traits, though, and average quality. One last scene before we finally get to work. Even though this scene starts in the Square, as you can see, this scene triggers when you go to Town Hall. Let's just say Lulua triggered this scene when she was returning to the Square. Showing gratitude

Ms. Keina? Is everything all right?
Oh, hello Lulua. ...Hehe. I was just lost in thought.
What were you thinking about?
Well... About Arls...and Meruru... Thanks to Meruru, Arls is an absolutely wonderful place to live. She used alchemy to build on the natural beauty of the town and evelop it into what it is now. This amazing growth is due to one thing, and one thing only--Meruru's remarkable talents. So... I was just thinking how great she is.
Ahaha, no arguments here! She was about the same age as I am now when she did all that incredible

For the record, Atelier Meruru ended when she was 19. Totori was in her mid-20s in the ending, and Rorona was...early 30s I think. She's probably more than 40 now. Assuming, of course, that her reversion to normal physical age also accounted for her time spent as a child. It's actually fun to try and guess the respective ages of Atelier characters from sequel to sequel if they're not confirmed elsewhere, since they rarely commit to a "This game happened exactly one year after the previous" or something.

Rorona was 16 when her game started, ended when she was 19. Totori was 13, ended when she hit the big 18. Meruru was 15 when her adventure began, ended when she was 19. Assuming at least a couple years gap between Rorona and Totori, and the canonical one year gap between Totori and Meruru, my age guesses are pretty close to accurate. I know my stuff. Arland actually has a fairly old average age compared to Dusk and Mysterious in their final outings, because, for example, Sophie was a young woman of 24 years of age in Lydie & Suelle, the third game she appeared in, and she was the oldest Mysterious protagonist. It's not a perfect point of comparison since Dusk has three games and Arland has four, but Ayesha was like...29 in her final storyline appearance in Shallie DX, according to a composer commentary.

...Hehe. You know what I think? I think that because Meruru did so well, we shouldn't let her do any more for the town.
To keep on developing Arls, everyone needs to do their bit. Obviously, nobody else here can do alchemy. But everybody can work hard. It wouldn't take much individual change to make this into an even lovelier place. I think that's the only way we can truly repay Meruru for what she did for us.
I see... Everyone doing their bit... That's awesome. I like the way you think, Ms. Keina.

Yeah, actually, this all seems pretty reasonable. Meruru can't do everything, for one, and I'm sure there are lots of things she would otherwise want to be doing with her life than working for Arls forever.

Hehe, thank you! I'm glad. I wouldn't call it just the way I think, though. Everyone basically came to the same conclusion.
Haha, well that's also great. That all the townsfolk have Arls' wellbeing in mind. Everyone must really like it here!

I need to get back to work soon. See you later, Lulua! *gets back to work*
(The fact that the townsfolk think like that is probably also because of Ms. Meruru's hard work... All right. I gotta work even harder so I catch up to Ms. Meruru!)

Not looking very lost to me, but... Eh, I'll let it slide.

Unless you have business in Hart Outpost or Trombe Plateau, no time like the present. Shock

Music: Remote Inn: For Lulua

No... This is... This is the Modis...? I can't believe this... But these do appear to be the remains of Ehtogalaxen, right where they shoudl be... Which means... I see. It would appear that much more time has passed than I first thought...
Stia...? Are you alright...?
Yes, I'm fine... Thank you. But the situation is perhaps worse than I thought.

Whoa, Stia doesn't get worked up very often, but she seems pretty serious about all this.

I'm afraid I'm not of much use the way I am now...

Of course I will help you, Stia! I mean, that was my plan all along. I'm still not a very proficient alchemist, and I don't know how much I will actually be able to do... But I want to help you, Stia! I'll do whatever I can to help you! I just... I just need a little more time, Stia!
...Thank you, Lulua. I do believe in you.
Thanks! And that's why we have to keep going and find Princess Meruru!

What indeed. Modis Ruins first came up in Meruru as a potential place for residential expansion, and of course, Meruru was on the frontline of that effort. Doesn't seem to have gone very well, or at least, we don't see anyone around here. Stia would probably balk at that effort, though, since you'd have a bunch of humans messing up good ol' Ehtogalaxen, or at least the ruins of it. In any case.

First, just by making it here, you start moving toward finishing one riddle. We've got a lot do in this very first area. Next, beat up a Ladyshroom, one of the mushrooms in front of you, for another riddle. They're weak to Fire, flambe, gas, fire pun, etc. etc.

You can also get a Ghost House at one of the mushroom gathering points to complete Keina's special job request, so make sure you do that before moving on.

Next, make sure to gather at these blue plants to get a Water Tree Fruit. It is very important you at least get one, but I would very strongly advise you get at least 2-3 of them.

These red crystals you can shatter with the Pickaxe with Destruction Level 2, thankfully, and they contain Boost Items, free to gather. See what I meant about not buying these things from the woman back in Arland?

Finally, defeat one of these Shadow Bats to complete Labyrinthine Forest, which is also an important area for clearing riddles this chapter. If you have Ficus' Lightning attack, that'll do tons of damage against these groups of bats, but any kind of AoE works great against them, especially the Barrel Bomb with a Blowback Effect.

Okay, now we're talking. We've accomplished all the riddles we can by arriving in Modis for the first time, and many of the others are for the forest. So unfortunately, finishing those riddles can't be included on this trip.

The Residential Area has some tight passages and enemies hanging around, so it may be a bit tough to move around them if you're not keen on fighting mushrooms or bats right now.

The railing next to the crystals has a couple places you can drop down to grab a treasure chest. It has a Locket of Friendship in it, which isn't a super valuable accessory, but might as well.

And finally, the Sky Summit features a giant branch leading to the top of Modis Ruins. There's a minor area boss hanging out near the top, but it's pretty hardy, so don't know if I'd advise you to fight it as you are right now.

The glow of crystals at night is pretty nice, gotta say.

Let's hope there are no wyverns circling around around here...

A pirate's job

Yeah... Do you think it's another dead end...?
Argh!! What the hell!! Get your butt down here!!

No wyverns, but annoying flying enemies seem commonplace around these parts.

What is that guy doing...
Hahaha! He must be doing one of those stress relief exercises!
Am not!
Oh, he noticed us. Nice to see you again, Niko.
Yeah, we do meet again. What brings you out here? Looking for that what's-her-face again?
Yup, but it's not so much "again" as "still" looking for her.
Still can't find her, huh? I really do wish I could lend you a hand... But I'm smack in the middle of fulfilling a request. And it doesn't look like it's about to move either.
A request...? Ohhh, I see. That's why you were yelling at those monsters.
Yeah! I was trying to take it down, but the sucker just took off and now I can't even get to it. Damnit! If only we were out in open sea, I could just swim up to it and take it out.
I see... Hmm... For a monster that flies through the skies... Huh?

*takes out Alchemyriddle*
What'sa matter, lil' lady?
*puts it away* Hehe... Alright, I think there may be something we can do to help you out, Niko.
Oh? And what makes you so confident?
Well, the answer just appeared in my "Alchemyriddle". It told me how to make what we need to take down flying monsters!
The answer...just appeared?
Yup! So I'll tell you what. We're going to help you out, Niko!
Really?! I appreciate it!! But...aren't you guys in the middle of searching for someone?
Ahaha... I think we missed her again, so...

To be fair, this is probably a pretty close approximation of a normal person trying to get in touch with an Atelier protagonist. Just think about how, for example, Lulua can warp around the entire continent with the Warp Gate, all on the same day, and try to picture how hard it would be catch up with them for two seconds if you didn't know where they were going to be.

It's like how in Assassin's Creed or a game like that, you may think, just because the camera is behind your character, that jumping around on rooftops is hardly stealthy. But when you're in the perspective of someone walking on the street, looking up at someone jumping around on rooftops, it's actually pretty hard to keep track of where they are or where they're going, or even that they're up there in the first place. You just can't appreciate that aspect of it when the camera is following you, is the thing.

That's right! But more than that, I want to help those in need!
*thumbs up* Heh! Thanks a bunch! Guess I'll head back to Arls. See ya later, Lulua. Can't wait to try that...whatchamacallit whenever you finish makin' it!

Take note of the fact he said he was going back to Arls. I certainly didn't.

Just leave it to me! OK! Now I need to quickly figure out what the Riddle is saying!

But don't leave too quickly. In addition to the nice view, we have something to collect.

At the very end of this path, we can smash open boxes to get Globe Spheres with a special trait on them: Ancient Power. It's just a 10% boost to attack items, which doesn't sound all that awesome, but that's only because we have very weak attack items right now.

By the way, in Meruru, this opening wasn't covered up by a tree. You could go through, and drop down to a special ledge that had Rainbow Fragments on it. The first place in the game you could get those. The treasure chest has a Red Ray Symbol, which is our first Symbol. What Symbols do? Well, a lot of things.

But for this one, it makes the user's weapon glow red (well, covered with red sparkles, more like) and gives them a chance to inflict additional Fire damage. I'll talk more about Symbols when we start making our first ones for ourselves.

Once you grab that Symbol, and do everything else related to riddles I previously mentioned, your business in Modis, for now, is done.

When you get back to town, take stock of what riddles have yet to be done. This is a very important one; we want this to be done and this item made before we return to Modis. Though, again, don't forget that Niko isn't there. He's back in Arls waiting for you to hand over the...whatever Lulua's gonna make to bring those birds down to our level.

As for the other riddle clue we have outstanding, Quiet Smile of the Enchanted Sword requires purchasing the recipe book Cole is currently selling and making Ster Metal, the next tier of ingot. Enshrouded in Light (Green/Red) requires defeating a Gold Puni and buying a recipe book from Refle, and Symbol of Justice, Fluttering in the Wind requires we defeat a wolf in a misty forest. Incidentally, that's where we're going next. When we're back out in the field, of course.

Ah, so we're making a cannon. Fair enough. This riddle is very very easy, so you should have done all of this before getting this riddle.

Great work, Lulua. So what do you need?
Hmm, you see, it's like a giant, magical cannon! And it shoots out magical bullets! With this, we can knock that airborne monsters out of the sky easily!
Huh... I had no how resourceful your alchemy is... Study of alchemy as I know it from my days was nowhere near as developed as this...
Speaking of your days, are you really like... A few hundred years old? And that thing about being an Operator... Stia, are you --

Ahahaha! Sure, sure. I guess we better eat. And after we eat, we'll get this item to Niko! (I have a lot of questions for Stia, but I guess I'll get to them some other time...)

That we will. Don't forget to turn this test in to Keina and upgrade the level of jobs available from her. But now our business is done in Arls for a bit, so let's head back to Arklys and make ourselves known for a bit. Farewells and family

Oh, it's Lulua!
We're fine! You look well, too!
Of course! I'm doing great today!
Haha! As long as you've got your health!
Oh, you said it...! Mana, you little...!
Lulua? Do you have a moment...?

*Benon takes Lulua and Eva aside*

What's wrong, Father? Is there some kind of problem?
Oh, no. Everything's fine. Actually... Better than fine.
Yes, you see... We've found foster parents for Lars. They're quite wealthy and very kind. So... We must say good-bye to Lars.
I see... While I do feel a little sad, that's great news!
Yes! That's why we're thinking about throwing Lars a going away party. And if we're going to have a party here...
We'll need some curry of course. And if we need curry...
We're going to need your help. I was also going to ask you to gather the ingredients as well...
Of course! Leave it to me! I'm going to go gather everything. Be back soon!
We're counting on you.
I'll leave it to you, Lulua...

Lots of mysterious goings-on inside the orphanage, but I'm afraid this is one mystery Mana doesn't feel like going on about right now. Let's just go give Eva that meat.

But first, Mia has some thoughts about Lars leaving (kid with the blue cap we've seen in like one other scene very briefly). Nice dog stuffed animal, too.

Sure hope Lars doesn't mind low-quality meat harvested from animals months ago.

Thank you, Lulua. Now that we've got everything, this should be a great party.

*the two girls take a seat*

Eva? You look a little down... Could it be... Again...?
Hehe... I knew I couldn't fool you, Lulua... Well, you're right... I'm really glad that Lars found a new family. I mean, I want to be happy. It's only right to be happy for him. But...but, you know... I still feel really sad... I consider everyone here at the orphanage members of my family... And now it's like I'm slowly losing my family...! *sniff* Waaaah...!

Music: If

Not to interrupt this nice moment too much, but just to be clear, Eva lives at the orphanage instead of just working there as a job.

I know, I know... know...?? I really hate myself for feeling this way. Why... Why can't I truly feel happy for Lars...!
It's OK, Eva. It's OK... I'm sure that's just because you're so very kind... Besides, I'll always be here. Even though I have Mom...

True family...
Eva? What's wrong...?
No... It's nothing... Thanks, Lulua... I feel better now. Well now. We better get started on the curry. I hope Lars and the others like it... We have to make it a curry that will make everyone feel happiness!
Yes! You're absolutely right! I'll lend a hand, too! Let's do this!
Yup! We have to make this the best party ever!

That's our Lulua

We have one other piece of business here in Lulua's hometown. Lisa's job board upgrade request requires a Sunny Crystal, which can be found in the wild at the wasteland location we unlocked at the start of this chapter, but there's no need to go that far to get this job done. Her little sister is selling just what we need, and at a great Quality, too.

I bought a Sunny Crystal and Adventurer's Accessories (the book from Refle I mentioned earlier) and left to get this scene. Act your age

OK! Here I come! One...! Two...!

Oh, Refle? What are you doing?
Hmm? Ah! Lulua! N-Nothing! Nothing at all. I was just watching those kids play.

Lotta that going around these days.

You don't believe me? I'm telling the truth. I swear. I wasn't thinking that it looks like fun...or that I wish I could join them... I wasn't thinking anything like that at all! Not in the slightest!
I see... I get it. OK, just leave it to me!
Huh? Wh-What do you mean?
Alf! Renen! Could you come here a sec?
What's up, Lulua? Whatcha want?
Whatcha want?
Here... This is Refle. Would you like to play with her?
W-Wait just a minute! Th-That's not what I--
Sure thing! C'mon, Refle!

*the children run off*

Have fuuun! (Refle is so mature it's easy to forget that she's still a kid. Sometimes she just needs to play. But she's such a wallflower... Right. I'm going to become close with Refle and try to understand her a little better. But how best to do that? ...I'll have a think about it.)

Just wait to see what Lulua thinks is an appropriate follow-up to this line of thinking. It goes a place I bet you'd never think of.

I dunno, I just find it funny that when you get a passive skill that increases a stat (Eva's Magic Surge here), that's reflected in the level-up notices pop-up.

Yeah, I'd say we made a pretty good profit on this job. Next scene comes up when you've completed 20 jobs from Lisa. A classy hobby

Hey, Lisa! ...Oh? Sorry, were you on your break?
Oh, yes, I was. But you can come in.
Well, if you insist...! Oh, wow! Look at all these pretty seashells...!
Hehe, aren't they nice? This is my collection!
Yeah, it's really nice! That's a really cool hobby!
Hehe. Refle's the one who got me hooked! There are so many colors and patterns. That's why it's nice to just sit and stare at them sometimes.

Right? This one has a deep blue color that I really like!
Ahaha! It really is fun to just sit here and look at them! It really suits you, Lisa. This is such a sophisticated hobby... It's almost like you're an aristocrat or something...!

Just what I was gonna say. Very upper class-sounding way to pass the time.

...Excuse me?
Oh, I thought you knew, Lulua.
Here are the vegetables you asked for, Lisa. *ahem* Anyway, you're part of the nobility, right? Lisa von Beilschmidt. The Beilschmidts are one of the great families of Arland.
WHAAAAAT?! Really?! How is it that you know everything... But that's beside the point! In any case, sorry, Lisa. I didn't realize that you were a noble...

I mean, this IS the same Lulua who didn't catch on that Aurel's last name is the same as the last king of Arland and didn't let him finish when he tried to explain. It makes sense that she wouldn't recognize a great family of Arland that she's known practically her entire life, it seems.

As far as Lisa and Refle go, it's very possible that their parents had lots of connections that let them open up shops in a frontier town. But in their total defense, apparently both are really good at their jobs. Much better than Pamela, at the very least.

Ahaha. Being a noble has nothing to do with my life now. So please, Lulua... Don't start treating me differently suddenly, all right?
Oh, Lisa...! Of course not!

Eva doesn't look too happy again... Interesting.

Oh, since we're all here, I'd love to!
Hehehe! Come have a seat! So, do you see this shell here...?

Speaking of nobles... Request from a friend

Hey, Lulua. Sorry to bring this up so suddenly, but... Would you like to take on a task for me?
Uh, a task? Sure, I'll give it a try. Hopefully it'll be OK... I'm honestly not too confident about my strength... But I'm going to do my very best!
Oh, sorry. It's not a fight this time. Here's what I'm talking about!
"Alchemy Challenge: Cloth Procurement"...?! Wait, it's an alchemy test?
Hehe, yeah. I didn't spend all that time traveling with Totori for nothing. I'm no mean alchemist myself, you know. Think of it like an alchemy pop quiz.
An alchemy pop quiz! Yes, got it! I'll do my best!
Very well. I'll be waiting.

She just wants a Cloth of any quality. She's really quite reasonable, you know.

Yup! What do you think, Mimi...?
Hm... Hmm... Not bad. Seems like you're really trying to do your best.
Phew, don't know how, but I did it. I'm relieved that I didn't make you mad.
Ahaha, I wouldn't be angry with you over that. So keep going, OK? Anyway, good effort. Here's your reward. *gives 500 Cole*

Sure, it might not be much for the heiress of a noble family, but Mimi's generosity is certainly appreciated.

T-Thank you...! But Mimi, I was wondering... Why the sudden test?
Ah, well, that... That's so I can see your progress of course. Look. Right now, Totori's trying to increase the number of alchemists out in the world, right? But there's never enough people, and it seems like a headache. Because you seem so promising, I wanted to test you. So it's a matter of whether or not you'll be able to help her...
Ah, I see... Being able to help Ms. Totori, huh...

So, Lulua. I know you won't be able to do this anytime soon, but... One day, please help out Totori, OK? That's my request... As her friend.
Mimi... Hehe, roger that! I'll aim to be an alchemist so good that I could even help Ms. Totori... So I'm going to do my very best.
Yes. ...It's a promise.

Ah, yep, Mimi hasn't changed a bit, despite the large jump in maturity in-between games. Still as obsessed with Totori as always.

So let's finally start making that Demon Cannon. As part of our preparations, decided to make a much better Globe. One that will, incidentally, more than be enough for Totori's test. But we aren't worried about that right now.

This is what I'm going with. That Earth value is very distressing, but I'm proud of those Awakened Effects. By using [Element] DMG+ Awakens, the attack item gains new elements it can hit, as you might expect. Of course, it just adds to the elemental damage if an item already hits that element. But in this case, the Cannon is a Magic damage item, so this Demon Cannon has three sources of damage.

As for the second box, well, we'll just have to deal with it. Many items in this game require a cost for using it, either MP or HP. In this case, the weakest Fire Effect is Consume MP L, which drains a significant amount of the user's MP to fire the item. The Lightning Effect drains HP to perform the same act. Now, if you don't have the required amount of HP / MP to use the item, you can still use it, but the item power is *significantly* weakened. This penalty also applies to Interrupt uses, so don't count on that as a backdoor to using this as much as you want.

As far as traits go, I went with Area Bonus+ (increases item power by number of allies / enemies affected. With a single-target item like this, that's a 5% boost in power), Quality++, and Destruction Up++, which is a much more respectable 20% increase in power.

Might not be a bad idea... But now that we have our Cannon, time to head back to Arls. Magic show

Hm? What a big crowd. Is that...?
Just like that. And the dove comes right out of the hat! Thank you all for watching. However, this will be all for today!
Whoa! That was awesome!
Show me again sometime, mister!
Yes, I'll be around again. But Mister is my father's title. Call me Ficus. Understood? Farewell for now!

*the crowd disperses*

Pilche is the name of Ficus' dove, for the record.

Ficus! Were you doing a magic show?
Oh, hello, Lulua. You're right, I was! My magic is top-notch. That's why so many people come to see me! Haha!
You're really going to brag about yourself? Well, I'll admit that your magic is really good. But where did you ever learn such amazing magic tricks?
Ah yes... An acquaintance of mine showed me long ago.
Long ago?
Yes, long, long ago. It must have been beore you were even born, Lulua!
Wait a second... You're not that old, Ficus.
Hm? Oh, right. Hahaha, I nearly forgot!
Well, nevermind that. Magic is great. I'm so glad I learned it. It's good for killing time and performing on the street earns me a little extra money. And...
And what?

Wow, you look evil! Trickster! Trickster!
Hahaha! Good and evil are nothing but self-determined notions. Right then. I think I"ll be off now. I need to get to my next show venue.
Oh, right. See you around then! Don't try anything funny on those kids though!
Hahaha! Yes, I know. Farewell then, Lulua!

Yes, we do have business in the Foggy Forest, so let's just get on over there.

Not enough fog, but depending on the weather conditions, it does show up . Jeltje's inventory here is pretty pricy, so only buy if you really, really need something from her. We can collect all the materials we need around here pretty quickly.

I did buy some, and any materials acquired from her count toward riddle completion, thankfully.

The only riddle part we need to complete around here is beating up a wolf. I think we can handle that. We've definitely beat up wolves before.

Hm, I guess gathering enough Eiche is good for this one. I'll definitely mention this one again when we get to that chapter.

Whoa whoa, I was just trying to catch bugs here!

So the wolves around here, and many in the future, have an interesting attack pattern where they'll spend their first turns using Howl, to lower your stats and build up your Faint gauge, even if they aren't actually doing any damage.

This is a more dangerous thing than you might realize. After a few turns, after you've been Fainted, they'll begin a powerful series of attacks designed to quickly take out allies who can't fight back and can't assist in support damage-dealing. Luckily, again, weak to Fire and Magic damage, so don't spare any expense and take them out.

Be wary of picking on the Scare Phantoms, though. Ghost enemies are annoying as always, and again, Physical damage resistance is always a pain.

You will regret that, Lulua... As will I, as I went to the Modis Ruins hoping to meet up with Niko. I must have zoned out because he's not here, but eh... It's fine, it's fine. We're in the neighborhood.

Might as well do something new while I'm here.

This thing is an absolute tank at this point in the game.

And just a bit dangerous.

This is the damage my Demon Cannon can output if the user doesn't have MP to handle it. Overall, for this fight, Physical damage, like what Eva and Aurel are good at outputting, are going to be your MVPs here. Bench good ol' Ficus for now.

It is good for a riddle entry down the line. That's something I guess.

When I got back to town after that mostly useless visit to Modis, I made a Ster Metal to finish the final outstanding riddle. Let's take it from the top in terms of decoding these riddles. Oh, for For More Efficient Gathering, I finished that in Foggy Forest, but as I demonstrated last chapter, if you want to grind for gathering riddles, you can do that at the well in either Arklys or Arls.

Not too bad progress here. I can live with it. Shelf Full of Medicines is for buying Alchemy of Materials from Wild and making a Tinc, both of which we've done long before now. This is a really valuable riddle to solve pronto because it unlocks a good single-target healing item and the best healing item in the game.

Poison among Poisons is for finding a Night Lady in Forest, and making a Pure Poison, which we just learned the recipe for. Enhancing Synthesis (Fire/Ice) is for using a Boost Item, which I can't say I remember doing, but I very well may have done, and for learning the recipe for an Alchemy Activator. Enhancing Synthesis (Light/Earth) is for making Sulfite and Super Cooling Agent, which are the Fire+ and Ice+ Boost Items. And finally, for now, Remote Mineral-Rich Cave is for finding a Sunny Crystal and examining a note in Old Blocked Mining Tunnel, which we only could have done now, after we unlocked this batch of Advanced Riddles.

So let's make that Tonic, shall we? In spite of that formidable-looking Ice bar, it's pretty easy to get it up that high with Water Tree Fruit in all three categories, if need be, but basically just don't use any Fire items that will make the bar go the opposite way.

But we can do better than that, can't we? Here's where the masterstroke comes in.

By selecting the Dragon Eye we bought, we can unlock a new Effect. THIS is why you went to all that trouble. I'll explain what it does after this coming scene. Aside from getting this Effect, if you can easily get any usage+ traits on this Tonic, it would be a very good idea to do so, but 3 uses is fine. As for me, I just put Heavily Mass-Produced on this, which lowers the restock price of this thing by 40%. Costs me basically nothing to use this.

Hm? Oh, I made something new. It's a super special Tonic!
"Super special"?
Yeah. See, how it works is...

You ever been frustrated by the quality of materials in an area? Well, no more. By using a Tonic, you increase the Quality of the items in the area as long as the Tonic is in-effect. There is a timer that counts down after you use it, and after the effect expires, you hear a weird sound effect that sounds like a pot shattering, and then you can re-apply it if you see fit. You can't use the Tonic multiple times in the same area until the effect expires, as awesome as it would be to collect 999 Quality materials or something.

...And that about covers it. What do you think? Pretty amazing, right?
Wow! That's wonderful! With better ingredients, our curry will taste even better than before!
Hey, you're right! I hadn't thought about curry... I've really synthesized something great this time! Hehe! We'll have to put these to good use. In the never-ending quest for more delicious curry!

And this is what it does. Now, there are certain traits that won't show up in like, early game locations. I'm unsure of the actual mechanics, but I'm reasonably sure there's a certain pool of traits that can show up in a particular location. Adding another trait to materials just adds another trait from that pool to a material. Which obviously isn't that valuable a service in locations we've already been to, but now that we're on the border of locations with great materials / traits, that will change. We're not too far from the day when we can make equipment I can stand to look at.

Niko's getting a special little Christmas present this year. If you want to use that Demon Cannon you made for your own purposes, make sure to stock it at Dragon's, because you do actually hand it over to Niko. He's hanging out near the Meruru statue. Setting sail

I vote Niko carries this thing to Modis.

Woooow! A cannon! It's a cannon! This is amazin'! I wish I could put it on my ship!
Hehe. It's not just a cannon though. It's a magic cannon! More powerful than a regular one!
Magic!! Cannon!!! This is the type of stuff a man only dreams about!! Thank you, Lulua! Thank you so much!! i don't know how I could ever repay you!!
Hehehe, I'm just glad you're happy. If you use this, you should be able to knock that monster right out of the sky.
Heh, thanks lil' lady! I better be off then! *begins to march off, but gets stopped by Lulua*
Hold your horses! We're not done helping you! We're all in this together now!
I sure am one lucky fella! You're like a blessing from the great sea goddess herself! I'll definitely owe you one! Let's go!
Sure thing, Niko! Heh heh, let's take out that monster, crew!

Seven party members, nice. Only three to go. Niko is your designated tank, but you wouldn't expect him to be a magic user, right? That'd be a twist. He's decently powerful, but his real merit is to be able to taunt and draw enemy fire to himself, and recover HP with another of his techniques. He also has very high maximum HP, as you would also expect. In fact, I think it's the highest natural HP in the game.

His stats aren't naturally THIS high at level 30, though... I forgot to de-equip his final weapon I made on my last playthrough and give him back his starting one...which means I'll need to make a new normal one for him.

It was actually pretty tough to make a 50 Quality anchor for him without getting any of the effects. I'm not too thrilled about having to use an Awakened Effect to do it, but eh, cat's already out of the bag on the fact Niko's not in possession of the weapon he had equipped when he joined the party on my first playthrough.

Wait, an anchor?

I have to say, I was a little surprised. I didn't know you owned a ship, Lulua!
Huh? What do you mean? I don't own a ship.
But...this is an an anchor for a ship. Why would you ask for one if you didn't need it?

What? A...weapon?! That is completely ridiculous! Anchors are for anchoring! Besides, they're so heavy. What kind of techniques does he use?
Uh, I don't know, do I? He just...fights! He grabs the anchor with both hands and... BAM! POW!

Lulua's actually slightly underselling Niko's technique, but Cole will somehow catch on from what she just said.

Two handed? I suppose it'd have to be. This sounds dangerous, and not just for the enemy.
Ahaha, that's true! He's a very dangerous-but interesting-guy!
Interesting, huh. Well, that I could have guessed. Nobody else would wield an anchor! This certainly looks like it could do some damage. Please tell him to try not to hurt himself.
OK, got it! Right, I'll just take this and--hnngh! So heavy...
I could have told you that! Next time, maybe I'd better deliver it...

Yeah, that'd probably be for the best. Lulua's gonna pull something at this rate.