The Let's Play Archive

Atelier Lulua

by Sylphid

Part 26: XXI: Pages of Deep Night

Part XXI: Pages of Deep Night

No guesses on what the star of today's update is... Nevertheless, we have some events I got during the course of last update to get around to, and I'm going to level with you, this update is going to be kind of foreshadowing for the game after the next...2 or 3 updates, when the amount of gameplay starts running out but the scenes keep coming. There's no getting around it, so let's start in Arklys today by giving Lisa that appetite suppressant. If this doesn't work, there's truly no helping it. Taming the demon

Thank you, Lulua! So this is the medicine that will help me to stop overeating! I'm going to try it right away! Here we go... *gulp* *gulp* ...Blegh...
Good. Now, Lisa, do you want to eat this...?
...No, I"m fine. I just... I don't feel hungry!
Ohh, it looks like it worked!
That's good! Thanks, Lulua...! Now I'll be able to eat together with Refle! Just like we used to! Hehe!
Oh, Lisa!
Here, Lulua. As thanks. I'm really, really grateful!
Don't worry about it, I'm just glad I could help. I'll see you later!
OK...! See you later, Lulua!!

Hm...Lisa not overeating. I know she asked for this, but something seems off... Anyway, since we haven't stopped in for a bit, the Orphanage also has something for us. The hero

Renen, what's wrong?! Where's Alf?
Um, we were playing outside of town, and then, a monster came out and...!
Yeah, we have to go find him right now!

Eva, Lulua! I'm sorry, I'm really sorry!
It's fine! You'll be just fine, we can handle this!
Yeah! We can take them out one by one!
Alf! Are you OK?!
Renen?! Why... No, stay back!
Move away! I know you are worried about Alf...
Yeah... I'm...sorry...
It's OK, you don't need to be scared. ...Hey, Lulua?
...Yeah. Doing this while watching both of the kids...
Might be a little tough... If we could just get them out of here...!
Lulua! Eva!

Well, now or never, let's---huh?!


Glad he had time to put on the fashionable scarf.

Get out...
Get away from them! I'll never let you hurt one hair on any of my children! RAAAAH!
W-Wow... He's really strong! That's the real "Benon of the Black Steel"?!

There, there. It's all right. No need to cry.
Father Benon, I'm sorry... I... I...
Now, now. You were trying to help Renen get away, right? So you don't need to be sorry. You did your best.
Phew, that was tough... I don't know what would've happened if Father Benon hadn't shown up...
Haha, yeah... I never would've thought he could fight like that...
Um, Father... You were an adventurer, right? So why...
I'll tell you about that another time, OK? We're all pretty worn out right now, I'd say. So why don't we all go home and have some nice, warm curry?
Curry! Yay!
Woo hoo! Haha, I feel really hungry now!

*the three leave*

Father Benon...

Well, the rumors of Benon of the Black Steel certainly seem to be true, but yeah, it can wait for another time. In gameplay terms, this means just a few days later, but for the purposes of this update, let's fast-forward a few days to get the follow-up scene. The previous scene and this one were, in actuality, separated by my trip to Fire's Domain that took place last update. A different path

Heh. Well, girls. Once upon a time, I was an adventurer... I traveled the land under the name "Benon of the Black Steel"... Sometimes they called me Hero in Black Armor, too. But... Back then, I had no real purpose in life. Day after day, I took on one quest after another. I fought and fought, and fought some more... Of course, I was happy that people were grateful for my help. But... I still felt empty, somehow. All I had to call my own were my sword and the money I earned from work. And I kept asking myself, is this really how I'm going to live the rest of my life?
Then one day, I came to Arklys. And I found this little orphanage. Well, that was the precursor of this orphanage, but... I saw the children living here, and they seemed happy. And seeing that, well...I don't quite know. I suppose I wanted to be a part of it. So I took off my armor, and took all the money I'd earned...and I built this orphanage.
I never knew...

I suppose there's not much point in hiding it anymore, though.
Eh? Did I say something funny? What's the joke here?!
No, it's just... It's just so you, you know?
Yeah... It's just like you, very dedicated, and very liable, and very, very kind.
Lulua, Eva...
*sigh* I guess now's the time to just say it...
Hehe. We'll just say how we feel.
Father Benon! You raised us like our real father...
And you always look out for us, so...

You two... Nn...ngh... I...I have such wonderful daughters...*sob*
H-Hey! Don't cry on us, Father Benon!
Y-Yeah! It feels like we're doing something mean... Oh.
Ahh! Lulua and Eva are picking on Father Benon!
Yeah! You can't do that!
Hehehe... Setting a bad example for the children, are we?
H-Hey! That's just slander! Stop it!
Yeah! You'd better not be making fun of us, or there'll be no snacks for you!
Haha, they're mad! We'd better run!
Run, run!
We won't be denied snacks! Flee!
Don't you dare! *runs after them*
...Hehe. It was hardly more than a fancy of mine, back then... But now, I look at them and I can see we really do have a wonderful family here. I think I chose the right path after all... I'm glad. Now I just need to keep up the hard work!
...Haha. We're behind you no matter what, Father Benon.

That we are, that we are. Since it is a few days later, we also have a scene in the atelier. Getting back to normal

Ahh, I'm sure she's fine. I made the medicine really strong so that success was guaranteed. ...Hm?

*knock on door*

I wonder who that is... Yes?
Refle! Wh-What's the matter?!
I...have a favor to ask. It's just...! It's...! Can you return my sister to normal?!
Wha---return her to normal?! B-but why?!
She barely eats more than a regular person!
(What...? She's still eating more than a regular person even after the medicine?!)
Lisa seems alright with that, but... I'm not!

What...? Hold on a sec, Refle... Didn't she tell you why she stopped? It was because you guys weren't eating together anymore. She was certain that you hated her eating habits...
No, that's not it at all... I'm just so slow... I thought I was in her way whenever we ate together. That's why...
Ohh, so that's what it was... I guess Lisa just got the wrong idea...! All right, in that case why don't we work together! I mean, I love watching Lisa eat, too! I'll make an item to restore Lisa's appetite! Just you watch!
Hehe! Give me a moment and once I'm done, I'll bring it over.
Sure! Thank you!
All right. Now to help Refle and Lisa...! I've got to do my best!

Well, if it's a request from Refle, I don't see in what way we can refuse it. Just make the Appetite Boost Pill and deliver it to Refle for this next scene. Sisters Forever

Lulua! If Lisa drinks this, her appetite is sure to return...!
Yup! She should be back to normal! Guess we better get going.
OK! Let's get my sister back!

*over to the pub*

Hm? Oh, Refle! What's wrong? Are you here to eat?
No, that's not it... Umm... Actually...
Hehe. We just brought you something. Here you go.
Oh, what have we here? Is this a drink...? And I was just feeling a little thirsty, too! Thanks, you two! I'll drink this right away! *gulp* ...Hm? Hmg...?! O-oh no... My stomach...! I-I'm very... I'm so hungry!! Wh-what is this?! Did you just...?!
Yes. I asked Lulua to make medicine to return your appetite to normal.
B-But why...? I only did it so we could eat together...

I didn't even know that you were worried about things like that... I mean, I just eat so slowly... I thought that if we ate together, I would only get in your way... But I love watching you eat everything! I just love watching your face light up with excitement when you eat! I love you, big sis... So...can we eat together again? Please...?
Refle... I love you, too...!
Hehe. Now I'm going to make the best dish you've ever tasted! Let's enjoy it together, Refle...!
...Hehe. I'm so glad this all worked out. Just take care of one another, OK?

Well, for their sake, I hope the family is *loaded* and/or Lisa's making a lot on job commissions, but you gotta know when to excuse yourself, you know? I'm sure they can work that all out for themselves. But speaking of food, it's time to bring Wild to heel once and for all. Instead of curry this time, you have to make a Special Plate.

Pretty sure 100+ quality is the cut-off for Wild's little sidequest. It's a moot point, however, because the game won't let you hand over an item that doesn't meet the qualifications to complete the sidequest anyway. I personally feel like Rorona and Totori are cases unto themselves in the series I'm familiar with. Of the Atelier games I know, there's plenty of them where you can ruin your game just through passive indifference to the Game Over-qualifying thing, mostly by just wasting too much time, but Rorona and Totori are cases of being able to ruin a perfectly optimal playthrough in fun ways. For example, in Rorona, don't go with Gio to fight the bandits, have Sterk get incapacitated by the dragon before he can recover and you qualify for his ending. In Totori, lose against Iksel in that cooking sidequest (although it doesn't affect anything else in the game, you need to have made all five Chims to qualify for the Chim Ending / True Ending, and that sidequest gives you a Water of Life), don't progress Mimi's events far enough before you fight the Flauchtraut. From Meruru on, there's fewer ways to ruin a playthrough that doesn't result in a Game Over.

You definitely get more solid, self-explanatory RPGs going that route, but you lose some of the magic of being able to send a playthrough off the rails. It's a difficult balancing act. Successor

Yup. I brought my dish to the battle!
Hehe... Finally we will compete, I see! Hehehe! I'm more than ready!! Just give me one sec! I have to go find a judge!

*Wild excuses himself*

Wait a sec?! Wild?!?

*fade to black*

Everyone: WHOOOO!!
Welcome to a once in a lifetime cooking competition! Our challenger is a cutie and a promising chef! And also the daughter of the great alchemist Rorona herself...! Elmerulia Frixell!
Everyone: YEAAAAAH!!
Hey, I already told you I am an alchemist!
And she will be facing me, the owner of Sunrise Cafe! Wild Klinsmann!
Everyone: YEAAAAH!!
And our judge, this kid I ran into on my way! Chim Bragon!

Luckily I don't feel any particular need to let Wild know of a potential source of bias coming from this kid.

That's Chim DRAgon. DRA-gon.
Oh, is that you Mr. Dragon?! But how did you...?!
That's what I would like to know... I was walking, and then I was just dragged over here. But, seeing as I am a judge, I will be completely unbiased in my judgement. I wish you the best, Nano Master...

See, notice I said "potential" bias. Didn't say he would be biased. It's all good.

...! Hehehe, as you should...!
All right, time to get started! First up, my dish!
Mm... At first glance, this dish looks delightful. As for the flavor... ...! This is...!

You can taste how carefully each ingredient was prepared. And through that careful preparation, the flavors are all carefully brought together. And then... The secret ingredient is Uni, yes? That secret ingredient just adds another layer of depth to the flavor. This... This is... This must be what a truly perfect dish tastes like...!
Everyone: OOOOOHHH!!
Wow! That sounds like a really high rating! But...I'm not giving up either! Here, Mr. Dragon! Try my dish next!
All right then. Here we go... ...!! This is...!!!

Absolutely ingenious, Nano Master...! By using alchemy, you've added a unique essence to the flavor...!
I am an alchemist after all!
This is...not something that can be compared to regular food. The flavor is simply on a different plane of existence...! Simply put... This is an extremely well-crafted dish. Basically... This is also what a perfect dish tastes like! It's going to be very difficult to choose between the two...!
Everyone: WOOOOOO!!!
Heheh... Well played, Lulua. But...there can only be one!
Yup, I know. This won't be a draw.
Well, Chim Bragon! Please choose...your champion!!
*ahem* That's DRAgon... The winner is...

Just a shame Rorona couldn't be in attendance to witness the moment her daughter took another step in her shoes. Even though she lives just down the street.

Yay! I won!!
Ngh... I lost...!
Yes... The fight was quite close. But it was a glorious battle indeed.
Heh... I guess so, Lulua!
Good game...! I didn't expect anything less! I am proud to have witnessed your true power... So I'm proud to say... You...are a true chef, Lulua.
Wild...! I've already said this several times before, but... I'm an alchemist, not a chef...

That ship has long sailed, Lulua. Give it up.

Listen up, everyone! From this day forth! Lulua, will be known as one of the best chefs around!
Everyone: YEAAAAAAH!!
Wow! She's an amazing chef!
We finally have a brilliant chef in our midst! I can't wait to try more!
Ha ha ha ha! Wow...! That was such an exciting battle!!
But...! But I already said...! I'm not a chef...!! I'm an alchemist...!!

Again, give it up. Maybe we'll have more success with whoever wants us in the Parliament building.

Don't get carried away. Got it?
Understood! We'll head out immediately!

*the two randos leave*

Wow, Mr. Sterk, you look so busy...
Oh, Lulua. Yeah, you could say that. The citizen guard's duty is to protect all of Arland, but we're always short-staffed... We actually just heard about a monster appearing. So we're heading out to take care of it.
Oh, really? Alright, Mr. Sterk! I'm going to help!
What...? Don't be ridiculous. You have your own work to do.

Hmm... Well, I suppose so... I mean, it would be a great help...
So then it's settled! Come on, let's go! Come on!
Hmm... They aren't related by blood... But she sure seems to have inherited that stubbornness from Rorona... Heh.

While it may be wise to let the trainees get some experience fighting, we wouldn't be much of an Atelier Protagonist if we sat on the sidelines, right? I'm sure things will be fine. We're headed to the Golden Plains next. The spirit of knighthood

Ah, gotta menace the local mushroom population. Hard work but someone's gotta do it.

Yes, that's right. Let's make sure it never gets up again... Charge!!

Yep, just four random mushrooms to beat up. You've done it a million times by this point.

No problem! I'm just glad I could be of service. Being in the citizen guard is hard work, huh? I mean, you're the captain, but even you still have to fight...
Well, that's just the way things are. And as well as getting rid of monsters, the citizen guard also has to protect the peace and complete requests. And we have to do this for all of Arland. No matter how many people join, we'll never have enough.
Yeah... I get it...
Well, I do have full confidence in our strength. The citizen guard is actually comprised mostly of former Knights of Arland and volunteer adventurers. We've got all kinds of talented fighters in our ranks. Everyone takes pride in the work they do here. That is why... As a captain, I am more than happy to fight alongside them on the frontlines.
Wow! I didn't know that the citizen guard guys used to be actual knights...
But of course!
...Mr. Sterk?
When they started talking about forming a citizen guard, it was already decided that I would be its captain.

However! The president and prime minister said that title wasn't suitable for the time we live in...!

Um... O-okay... Looks like I might have pushed a strange button there... (That reminds me of something my mom said... That Mr. Sterk loved everything related to knighthood... Apparently he became one because he wanted to become like the knights from the stories... Hehe. He has a sweet side, in a way...)
And that's why even though they call us the citizen guard, we continue to carry on the true spirit of knighthood...!

This conversation will certainly go on for a bit, so let's just skip a bit... In fact, we're headed back to Arklys. This is an unusual timing-based scene, where I think the earliest it can show up is July 1 of your second year, as long as you have a full party by that point. I don't know if you can miss it because you *don't* have a full party, or it just waits for you until that's true, I do not know. Given how newer Ateliers prefer to not really let you *miss* any scenes just because you didn't get a scene at the right time, I'm thinking it's the latter. Without further ado... Seaside vacation

Eep! Niko?! What's wrong?!
Please, Lulua, you have to help me! I'm begging you! I-I just can't stand it anymore!
Um... You...can't stand it anymore? What exactly are we talking about...?
The sea, Lulua! The SEA!! Please! It's been so long. I need to be near it!!

Hah hah hah! Niko, I've never seen you so merry! We'll have to salt that one up and roast it later!
I refuse to be defeated! Especially not by a watermelon! Hi-yah!
Focus, Aurel. Strike with precision. Otherwise, you won't get a clean cut through the melon.
I don't need you to tell me that! Just you watch! I'm going to cut it right in two!
...One would think a kitchen knife would suffice.

One would think, just based on this CG, that Stia is a head shorter than Lulua and Eva. It's either a mistake in the artwork itself or a perspective thing, because if you put Lulua right next to Stia, they're just about the same height (i.e. very slightly taller than Rorona).

Sure is! I love it here! Hey, Stia, take this!!
...Why do you splash at me with seawater? Ah, is this one of your methods of recreation? Allow me to try as well. Take this! And this!
Ahaha, oh, you're going to get it now!
Hehe. Hey, Rorona! What do you think? Great time, huh?!
Yes, it sure is...
Huh? Is something wrong? That didn't seem like much of a response.
I'm fine. It's just... I'm not so young anymore, you know. Not sure if it's really my place to join in on--Eep!
What are you talking about?! Stop worrying! Come on, Mom! Come play!

Basically what Totori had to say to Rorona when she was signing up her teacher for the Fishing Festival in Alanya. Rorona, for some reason, has been thinking she's too old for such revelry for like 15 years now.

Ahaha! Hooray! Ah, trips to the beach really are the best!

You lose quite a few days from seeing that scene, but doesn't really matter since not a timed game. I'm also not sure of the timing, but this happened in July for me, 16 months after the start of the game.

See, just about as tall as each other. Well, we have a couple more scenes in Arklys. For now, anyway. We need to get around to Night's Domain eventually.

And then?! She made such a fuss!
Hehe, really?? That does sound terrible.
Oh, Father. Has something happened?
I just received a letter addressed to you. Here.
Thank you. A letter? I wonder who it's from... Oh.
What? What happened...?? You look like you've just seen a ghost or something...
Lulua... This letter... It's from my birth parents...
Oh... WHAAAT??! From your birth parents?! Oh wow!! That's great new, Ev--

Oh... S-Sorry, Lulua... A-Anyway... According to this letter, they want to meet me... Since I do have a lot I'd like to say, I was thinking I should go, but... Lulua, could you come with me?
Of course I will... I would worry about you if you went alone. And I'll do whatever I can to protect my oldest and bestest friend.
Thank you, Lulua... I guess we'd better head out!

Mmmm, I smell something bad coming, but let's try to lighten the mood with Refle. Next two scenes are in this video. Shell game

Hi Refle! Is it just me, or have you changed? You seem to have opened up recently. As your betrothed, it's nice to see.
Ahhh don't say that! It's embarrassing...!
Ahaha, sorry, sorry! I was only joking.
*sigh* Oh, that reminds me, Lulua! I wanted to ask you a favor.

Really like how Refle's seiyuu takes Refle's lovestruck youth completely seriously. But sadly for her, Lulua seems completely set on a robo-girl she's known for a few months.

A favor...? Sure thing. What is it?
Yes. I want a pretty shell. To give... To give to my sister.
Oh, of course! Lisa likes collecting shells.
Y-Yes. That's right, ahaha... Er, this is the kind of thing I'd like. Do you think you could...?

Refle seems a little shaky right now. But I suppose that's not much different than the usual.

Yes, of course! Sure thing! Leave it to me!
Thank you very much. I'll leave the rest to you, then!

She just wants a Swirly Shell, which you should have plenty of. I elected to give her my highest-quality one, as fitting of her betrothed.

Oh, really? Thank you so much! This is a really wonderful specimen. With this...
Yeah, Lisa's going to be so happy!
Y-Yes! E-Exactly! Aha, ahahaha!
Huh...? What are you up to, Refle?
Up to? I'm not up to anything! Why would you think that?
Hehe, it's obvious. You're planning to surprise Lisa, right?
Uh...yes! That's it! You figured me out, Lulua.
I'm quite the detective if I say so myself. But don't worry, I won't tell her! Good luck, Refle! See you around.

*Lulua leaves*

Wow, Refle actually managed to fool Lulua. Impressive. Alright, time to head back to Arland. Gotta get back to work. Family recipe

Oh, Lulua! Look, look! I made a tasty pie! Ehehe, let's try it out, together!
Of course I want to eat the pie, but... Mom! Won't you teach me how to make pies?
Of course! Well, first this is how you knead the dough...
Oh, sorry. I don't want to know how to BAKE pies, but... How to make them with alchemy! You've never taught me alchemy before.... Moooom!
Lulua... Hmm, you're right... If it's a pie, it should be OK. Probably. OK. I'll teach you.
Really...? Yaaay! Thanks, Mom!
Ehehe. Alright, I'll try my best to teach you. Well, let's start from the basics. First, pour the ingredients in, glug-glug. Make sure the flames are at full blast, whoosh...

Someone isn't familiar with Rorona's teaching method. Totori could have told you this much about how Rorona "teaches" people. To be fair, apparently it makes much more sense to those with natural intuition for such things, which is how Totori learned anything at all.

And then like this. If you follow my instructions carefully, they should be tasty. Probably.
Ah, yeah! I kind of get it! I think...
Really? That's great! Ehehe, that's a relief. OK...let's see if you can make one yourself. Can you make a pie for me, Lulua?
OK... (W-What should I do? There were a bunch of places I didn't get what she meant.)

Yeah, sure! I'll make the best pie ever!
Ehehe, Lulua you can do it! Give it your best! Can't wait!
Yep! (I-It's all work out...somehow! No, I'LL work it out somehow!)

Well, by this point you've made the Philosopher's Stone. How hard can a pie be?

Don't answer that. But didn't we have some other business in Arland? And wow, I didn't make a video for this scene? I'd like to say I had a good reason not to do so, but that would probably be a lie. Just a lot of scenes being written and processed within a short period is the most likely explanation.

Yes. Well, at least I think it is...
You must be Ms. Eva...?
Yes... That's me...
I am the butler for the Brauglass Family. You may call me John. A letter was sent because the mistress of the family wanted to see you in person.
I see...
The Brauglass Family... Does that mean...they're Eva's family?
Yes. The Brauglasses are one of the most well-known aristocrats in all of Arland. As a descendent of the Brauglass Family, Ms. Eva has the blood of nobility running through her veins.

Personally it makes sense to me a big deal is made of noble families in Arland despite it being a republic. The monarchy is still in living memory for a large percentage of the population, so you'd figure people would still care. Even if many of the members themselves don't particularly care that much (such as Lisa and Refle).

Which means... You're a noble...!
That's what it would mean... Even though, right after I was born, I was taken to the orphanage... So what's this about? Why now?
Straight to the point, I see. It is my mistress' desire to live together with you, Ms. Eva.
Regarding the matter of you being left with the orphanage, it was a matter of circumstance that could not be avoided. My mistress has always been concerned about Ms. Eva's well-being. And she desperately wants Ms. Eva to join now that the time allows it. Well, Miss? What will be your answer?

I said I refuse. Didn't you hear me? She's the one who abandoned me, but now she wants to live with me? Doesn't that sound more than a little selfish to you? Besides, you think I don't know? The "matter of circumstance that could not be avoided" you speak of, was only some stupid inheritance dispute, wasn't it? She threw me out to protect hersef... And now that the inheritance has been settled, she wants to live with me? That is the most self-centered thing I've ever heard. I'm appalled. Never contact me again, please. Good day.

*Eva leaves*

W-Wait a sec! Eva?! EVA!

That's some rough stuff. To be fair to Eva's unnamed mother, however, there are at least a few plausible explanations other than "My daughter is in the way" to explain why Eva was dumped off at the orphanage. You would have to wonder whether Eva would have made the same choice if Lulua wasn't there. Our final, final business in Arland is with Lionela after taking on a few more requests. You have to love this portion of the game when you have so many ingredients you keep getting asked for things you have. Childhood dreams

Seriously?? What happened next?

Are you sure? At this rate, none of your belts'll fit!
Li-on-ela! You seem really happy!
Ah, Lulua. Is it that obvious? I was just thinking. This place has been attracting more and more customers of late. So I couldn't help smiling. Hehe.
I see, I see. It seems like whenever I come here, there are always so many people.
It's a blessing for sure. Anyway, I wonder if my dream came true...
Your dream?
Yeah. I moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I couldn't make a whole lot of friends... I always dreamed that one day I'd make a lot of friends. And bring them all together and have a great time!
Is that so...! Hehe. Then I'd say your dream is coming true! They look like they're having loads of fun. You know a lot of that is down to your personality, right?
Personality, huh. Hehe, I hope so.

Oh man, never ask Lulua what she wants to eat. Like asking her mom what baked pastry strikes her fancy.

What, really?! Yay! I love you, Ms. Lionela!
*chuckle* Well then, what would you like?
Ummm, hmmm...! It's so hard to choose!

Well, maybe we can make our decision while going to Night's Domain. This should be fun. Land of midnight

Boy, these are some memories. Good ol' Night's Domain.

This... Is this Night's Domain?
Yeah, it's supposed to be, but... It's too dark to see...
Mm... It was always known as a place that was as dark as night, but lately... It's been getting even darker. There's no visibility now at all. It's become a land of endless darkness.
I see... I believe this was also caused by machines going out of control.
Hah hah hah! This isn't good. What should we do, Lulu--Ow!!

What happens is that after that line, Lulua walked over his foot. It's not timed exactly right, because he says the line, then Lulua steps on his foot, but I guess because you can skip the line it wouldn't ever play exactly right anyway.

Oh, sorry, I stepped on your foot... Hmm, what should we do...? Alchemyriddle! It's glowing again! Let's see... Ugh, like I can read anything in the darkness!
Hahaha. That's true... Let's return to the atelier for now...Ah!

Before that poor man gets his foot broken, let's get back to town. Carefully this time, everyone. The greatest trick

Um... it looks like an item to see in the darkness.
Heh... Exactly what we need. Your "Alchemyriddle" saves the day as usual. No matter the problem, it guides Lulua to the solution. It's almost like magic...
Magic... Hahaha, you're right. That's well put, Sterk. Like a lighthouse illuminating the darkness. "Alchemyriddle" guides Lulua without fail. It must be the work of some higher power. You could even say it's a spectacular trick. But... There's always a catch, isn't there?
Ficus? What do you mean?
No matter how amazing a trick is, there's always a catch. Each and every time, "Alchemyriddle" shows you the path to take, but... How can anything be so accurate? It's like it can predict your actions. That's right, almost as if it...knows your future, Lulua.
"Alchemyriddle" was given to you by someone and for a reason... Who would benefit from such a thing? Who indeed would? Hehe...

Ah, but remember, this is the man who says he never jokes...

H-Hey! You really got me thinking!
Hahaha, sorry, sorry! I just wanted to joke around a bit is all.
Geez, Ficus... Please stop teasing Lulua. Now, Lulua. Ignore Ficus, and let's decipher first.
Yeah, you're right. Geez, Ficus, you meanie...

*Lulua and Stia leave*

Ficus. If you happen to know anything about "Alchemyriddle"...

Less "knowing", but certainly suspecting something is afoot... But what could be afoot, well, that remains to be seen. For now, we have some food-related business. The two cooks

Ohh, here comes our world-class chef!
LIKE I SAID...! I'm NOT a chef, I'm an alchemist!
Haha! I know, I know, sorry! I'm just teasing ya! I really do think your cooking is amazing, though. Actually, I couldn't believe how close our competition was. I learned a lot from it. Thanks, Lulua.
Wild... Hehe. I had a great time, too!
Haha, really now! Well, I'm happy to hear that! Say, Lulua...? I've...made a decision. I'm definitely going to make a dish that's better than anything my master ever made! And on that day... I'd like for you to try that dish, Lulua. And so... Hehe... I'd like us to keep helping each other out, you know, as fellow apprentices!
Sure! I'm going to work hard to surpass my teacher, too...

*stomach-growling noises*

Uh-oh. I'm hungry... Uggh... So hungry...!
Hahaha! Typical Lulua! It's fine!

Yay!! Thank you, Wild! Ehehe! Time to eat! Time to eat!

But don't eat too much...

'cause your Mom wants some high-quality pie. And we're not about to fail her. Not today. Mother's method

Wow...! Good job, Lulua! Well...will you let me see?
Y-Yes. Here you go.
Hah... Looks good. But how does it taste...?
I'm so nervous...!
Yeah, it's delicious! You did a great job! That's my Lulua! So amazing and great!
Ahaha, thank you! Hehehe. Thanks for teaching me alchemy, Mom! Lulua... I'm sorry. Now that you mention it, I never really taught you before... But, there's a reason why...
A reason?
Yeah. It's just... People often say I'm very bad at teaching...
I always try my hardest at teaching, but... Somehow, I don't explain things well enough, here and there... Hmm, I wonder why though... I try to use little...sound-effects so it's easier to understand...
Uh...huh... Um...Mom, I'm sorry. I didn't really understand when you explained it either.
What? Really? Ugh... I really am lousy at teaching...

Well, at least we know where Lulua got this particular tic from.

Waaah, that's not true! That's not true at all! make me so proud! So, cheer up...please...Mooooooom!

For the record, this scene popped up exactly after the scene where Lulua says Rorona's teaching method is strange. This game does that on occasion, where seeing one scene apparently directly correlates to seeing another. Hidden passion

Huh? Wh-What's with that strange sound?
??? Hehehehehehe...
There it is again! Sounds like...laughter? Is it the vengeful ghosts of all the materials I've harvested? Spare meeee! Begone!
Oh, Nano Master. Welcome back.
Huh? Mr. Dragon? How are you so calm? Didn't you hear that terrifying laughter a moment ago?
Terrifying...laughter? I must confess I didn't hear anything.
Hmm... This is strange. I definitely heard SOMETHING... Hey, Mr. Dragon. You've got a bit of food around your mouth.
!! I-I'm so sorry... That's not like me at all...
What's this? Something fell on the floor. It looks like...a pie wrapper...
Ah!! That must be Master's! I haven't finished cleaning today.
Hmm...something smells fishy. Right? Was that laughter I heard... You??
!!! O-O-Of course not!

I was just enjoying a pie that I'd bought.
Oh, do you like pies?
Yes! Naturally! They've always been my favorite!
Huh?! Are you alri--
Pie is love! Pie is life! My heart is a pie! It's no exaggeration to say I would literally die for pie! I spend all the money I get from Wholesale and Restocking on pie! Viva pie! Pie is forever! Pie is the supreme foodstuff! Ack, sorry... I may have gotten a little carried away. This is why I eat in secret...

Rorona's influence rubbing off on Chims even decades on. Astrid's recipe for the Homs didn't require any foodstuffs to keep them happy, but Rorona's slightly less perfect design required a constant fuel of pie to do their work back in Totori and somewhat in Meruru. Only gotten worse since then, apparently.

Haha, is that so? You don't have to hide, though! I get the same when it comes to curry. I just can't help myself. It's not a bad thing to let yourself love the things you love.
Oh, Nano Master. Thank you for your kind words. Hehe. Still, I somehow feel a little bad that you saw me like that. Here, take this. *gives a Simple Pie*
Oh, is this for a pie? Thank you!
Well... This is a secret recipe, OK?

One day, I'm going to bake you a pie myself! Would that be OK? I hope your taste buds are ready for it!
Hehe, of course! I look forward to it, Nano Master.

Indeed, but for today, we're getting back to work.

The final riddle for Chapter 9 is pretty simple. We accomplished these tasks quite long ago. The thing with this riddle is that if this is your last riddle of Chapter 9, as it was mine, you'll launch into the following scene and won't actually get the bonus if you don't go back to Alchemyriddle and register it. I may or may not have run into this problem during this playthrough. Future plans?


That's right, almost as if it...knows your future, Lulua.
"Knows my future"... Future... I wonder what will I be doing in the future? Will I be an alchemist like Mom? Or, will I be doing something else...? Stia and Eva... I wonder what will everyone be doing... No, stop, stop! I don't have time to be thinking about that! There's no way to know the future, and besides, I have something more important to do! Make a fancy new item, and travel to Night's Domain to find the material for the Authorized Key! Phew, let's get busy! We'll find a way...somehow! All right, I'm ready! It's time to go to Night's Domain!

Well, it's worked out so far, somehow. Although there are certainly other scenes we could be getting right now, let's save those for next time and just head to Night's Domain. I think you'll agree.

Hah hah hah! It's pitch black as always...ow!

This time it's Stia stepping on his foot.

Um, sorry. Lulua, do you think you can do something about this?
Yes! Of course! Um, if we use this item...!

Oh, the visibility!

Well, I probably could have found my way around without them, but definitely much brighter now.

Hehe, that worked well! Let's keep going...ah!
Ow! Why?! Why did you step on my foot?!? It's not dark anymore!
A-Ahaha... It wasn't on purpose, really. N-Now, let's going! Ahahaha!

A likely story...

Music: Night's Domain: For Lulua

Night's Domain was a late-game location in Rorona that was filled with dangerous enemies and valuable materials, and it kinda filled that same role in Totori. Apparently the land of midnight was quite notorious and for good reason, since a land cloaked in darkness has a way of raising eyebrows. Here, there are certainly tons of enemies to IK with my Craft, but this place also has demons and ghosts everywhere, so it won't work against everything. The enemies are quite meaty, so don't assume these fights will end too quickly.

Near the top of the tower in this first area is a gathering point at a patch of coral. Gathering from points like this will give you a Dark Firefly. This is actually one of the special materials that Sterk wanted you to gather as part of Assignment 10 in Rorona, but here, it's been reinvented as...

Probably the best Boost Item in the game is what it's been reinvented as. When you're starting to make endgame equipment, beginning to sacrifice the Elemental Point values of intermediate syntheses, like Supplements, in exchange for extremely high-quality stuff is going to be very valuable. I like to gather a *lot* of these while I'm here. 40+ would be a good number.

Near this piece of coral is another really valuable thing: inside a gilded chest, a Wispstone with Awakening Agent, which is yet another Special Trait, which mostly details with stat-related traits. Depending on what you want, you'll want this for either one trait in particular or a large family of them. We're so close to building ultimate equipment I can taste it. I think there's only one left we haven't gotten yet.

And finally, on a connected platform (where I think the Bloody Griffin used to hang out on), is this chest: which houses the Valkyrie Mail. Since Eva is the only playable female character who isn't an alchemist in this game, this is the highest-tier armor she can use. It's female-exclusive, as you might guess. It's just that it's wasted on the alchemists, who have their own set of Himmel Linen-created armor that's best for them.

Nothing in the second area is too special, though I think this is supposed to be the place where the Black Dragon was dwelling back in Rorona. It changed its location to a connected platform to the main tower in Totori. Though personally, I like to chalk up the rapidly-shifting architecture around here to all kinds of dimensional flux. In the Deep Depths, the next area, we have our next scene. Ancient machines

Hmm, what should we do... Are we just going to keep searching at random?
Hehe, it's all right. You're going the right way.
Everyone: Mana?!
Lady Mana?!
"Lady" Mana?
Um... Nothing! You didn't hear anything! It was just a mistake, hahaha...
Hmph. Don't worry about him. We have to take care of the Authorized Key first, right? The "Slice of Night" you need is just ahead! C'mon, keep it up, hah hah hah!

Literally right ahead of the party. Gotta maintain some illusion you can get lost in a place of eternal midnight, right?

Th-Thanks... Hey, Mana. Was this place also...
Huh? Oh, yeah. This place was also a machine facility.

From day to night at most?! This place, and the Fire's Domain... Ancient technology is really something. I have one question... Why did such an advanced civilization disappear? It seems so vastly superior to our current state... Surely they'd have the ability to save themselves.
The reason is singular and very simple. Self-conceit. Hey, Lulua. Do you know what the Galaxen were built for?
Huh?! No, I don't...
Each Galaxen functioned as a control center for various machines. The well-known ones were "Orthogalaxen" in Arland, "Fellsgalaxen" in Arklys, and of course... "Ehtogalaxen" in Arls, which now is known as the Modis Ruins. The most important of these was actually "Ehtogalaxen". It was a most exceptional facility, packed with the state-of-the-art technology.

Boy, bet you didn't figure all those random locations we visited in previous games had much lore behind them, did you? I certainly didn't, and we've still got a few more of those "Huh, that was actually important" things to go.

However... By some cruel fate, it was also the very first one to collapse in ruin. As the result, the machines could no longer be controlled. People panicked. There was no way to bring back the order. And so came the end of the technical civilization. So there you have it. That's the price they paid for putting too much trust in technology.
What's wrong, Lulua? You look pretty out of it.
It's just... I can't wrap my head around it at all... Um, first off, I have a question... Hey, Mana... How come you... know all of that?
Hehe, not yet, not yet. I'll tell time. Lulua. Once you synthesize the Authorized Key, come to the depths of Orthogalaxen. As I told you before, the Slice of Night lies ahead. Hehehe, good luck!

Hey, Stia... What...IS Mana?
I can't be the one to tell you. I'm sorry.
Meanie... You could just tell us if you know...
No, I can't. I'd like to, but I can't. As long as Mana feels that way...

You know, as obvious as it is Mana isn't a normal little girl by now, "I can't tell you out of respect for her wishes" is a pretty good reason to avoid the usual "Character COULD reveal more about the plot, but will not" thing. Kudos, Stia.

Hmm?? But, what do you...
Lulua, I know it bothers you, but... We need to go on, for now. With Fellsgalaxen in danger of collapsing at any moment...
Oh... You're right. Sorry. We should keep going!

After you resume control, you'll find this area is a four-way intersection. Just ahead of you is where the Slice of Night is, but the other branches contain treasure chests. The geography doesn't exactly match up since Night's Domain has changed a lot from Rorona to Totori and from Totori to Lulua here, but presumably this is where Demon was hanging out in Atelier Rorona. Apparently canon she can count "Demon Slayer" among her accolades.

Toward Lulua's left is a treasure chest with Azure Wing, and on the opposite side is a Spirit Tears. I don't recall anything too special about either. Otherwise, the strongest demon-type enemy, the Eternal Darkness Demon, also floats around here. When you're done with your business... Deepest night

Th-That...! Is that the Slice of Night?
Wait, Lulua!

We have no choice. We must slay them...!

A slightly-extended mop-up operation commenced. Such a shame you can't IK these enemies.

Yup! Without a doubt, this is the Slice of Night!
That's a relief. Now we have what we need for the Authorized Key.
Yes! The Burning Ore and the Slice of Night... All that's left is synthesizing in the atelier! ...All right. There's no way I'll fail now...! I have to give it my all!
Hehe, Lulua can definitely handle it. We're all cheering for you!
Yeah! C'mon, let's go back to the atelier!

The World Spirit in the silver chest at Demon's throne here has a very important trait: Resonant Soul. Resonance traits are very important to ultimate builds. I'll explain in greater detail when we're making ultimate equipment but get used to making equipment with Resonance traits. To wrap up today, let's head back to Arklys for more Refle. Shells and various things

Hi Lulua! It's me!
Refle! Do you have another job for me?
Nope. Today...I've got a present for you. I have something for you.

It's the same kind of thing. But I collected this one.
Huh...? Why did you...?
Um, well, you see... I'm sorry! I lied to you! The shell you brought me before... It wasn't for Lisa at all.
Huh? What do you mean?
Hehe. Allow me to explain.

Among Arlandish nobles, there's a tradition called "shellgiving".
You exchange shells of the same type, and affirm a lifetime bond.
A...lifetime bond? What exactly does that mean?
Hah, exactly what it sounds like. A message of eternal friendship.
Um, Refle...

I thought that might have been your intention. But, Refle... I think it's better it's all out in the open. Hehe. Just a little advice.
...! Lulua!
I, um... I really respect you! You're so bright and positive all the time! I...I think you're amazing! So...let's be friends forever!
Of course, Refle! I think you're amazing, too! So... I think that's a great plan. It's a promise!

To be exact, the word Refle and Lulua used was "Daisuki", which literally means "Big love". It's kind of an ambiguous term, since it can mean either romantic love or just being very emphatic about your fondness for someone, but it's what they say here. There are more exact ways of expressing your sentiments toward someone in Japanese, depending on which exactly you mean, but that's the size of it.

Thank you! I promise it too.

Well, she's a little clumsy in her affections, but message received loud and clear, Refle.