Part 11: Chapter X: The Resolute Side of the Desperate Battle
Uproar on the docks
Heyyy, it's Shallie! You came to see, too?
Master! What's this about?
A Sand Dragon appeared near the city again.
Miss...! This is bad!
Teo! Kortes? What happened?
Another Sand Dragon has appeared!
And this time, it was seen near the city.
What?? So Sand Dragons really ARE violent?
No, that's what's strange. Sand Dragons are normally calm and quiet. Could the ship that crashed into the harbor have something to do with it?
Ship...? Oh, hey!
A Sand Dragon...
It would be awful if our freshly repaired ship was damaged again...
It's still strange... Sand Dragons are supposed to be pretty docile unless they are provoked...
What? Another one?!
Do you know her, miss?
Yes, her name is Shallotte. We share a nickname!
I'll go down to meet her. Excuse me...
Yeah, a Sand Dragon is nearby...
Sounds like it... Is your ship alright?
Yes it is, and thanks to the materials you brought, the repairs are going well!
In fact, we should be just about ready to sail, if Teo is right... But I've been hearing whispers that our ship is the reason why the Sand Dragon is acting this way...
What! There's no way!
(What happened on the way here to Stellard... That was a Sand Dragon, too.) Mmmm... Do you... Trust us?
...Thank you so much.
A dangerous idea
We don't have a choice, we don't even know the cause behind the dragon appearing. It doesn't matter if it was spotted nearby, it hasn't DONE anything yet.
Well, I have reports of several ships out at sea that have already been sunk by it.
None of the reports confirm the Sand Dragon is the cause, though. Without evidence, it's just a rumor.
Research shows up that the dragon usually sleeps in the sand...
Even if we cant' prove that it's caused damage, seeing its activity is more than enough. Coming up with some countermeasures wouldn't be out of place...
I'm glad you understand, Solle.
Absolutely not. Countermeasures would only cause people to panic. The last thing we want is a population of insecure people. Why don't you understand?
Because if we waited for something to happen, then it would be too late to do anything. Besides, have you seen the state of the town the past few days? People are already starting to panic. You can't stop the spread of rumors at this point.
Really? Because at this point, they're just rumors. If we were to act, we would confirm everyone's suspicions and cause a real panic. I'm not willing to risk so much for something we're not even sure of.
This is going nowhere. Look, this is the Union's view. The Sand Dragon has already done damage to the town... We should get a team together to take it down.
That sounds more forceful than necessary... But if it means a clear sea near Stellard, it might be for the best.
That's why we plan on killing it before that happens.
... Look, listen to me.
None of the city's ships can confirm the Sand Dragon's caused any harm... But, there IS a ship that has already been harmed.
The outsider's ship, actually. They were attacked by the dragon before they fled into our harbor.
What are you saying?
The rumors of a rogue Sand Dragon started right about the time they arrived in the harbor... By which I mean, the ship may definitely have something to do with the dragon's activity.
This sounds like it could use an investigation, but I can't deny the possibility.
What're you gonna do if there's a connection?
But if they failed, a significant amount of its already low fighting capacity will be depleted. If fighting the Sand Dragon is our only option, we should send that ship to the front line to ensure our success.
...You want to use them as bait?!
Think of it however you like, but that is the condition of my cooperation. Of course, I'm aware that ship can't defeat the Sand Dragon on its own. If you agree with my offer here, I can guarantee the support of what ships the Corporation has. Otherwise, I'm well aware the Union does not have the manpower to confront the Sand Dragon on its own. The people going out there all have families here... I only have the greatest respect for those leaving their families behind to brave the Dusk Sea. That's why they need some reassurance to go out to face the unknown. Sacrificing the people of the city to protect it wouldn't solve anything.
... Well, Solle, Escha, what do you think?
It's not a bad idea, but the biggest question is if Shallistera will agree. We should consider how we might act without her assistance, but I will admit, the odds are not great without her.
I'm sure when Shallie hears about what's at stake here, she'll agree. Of course, I'll do whatever I can to help, too!
What's your decision?
Everything depends on what Shallistera has to say about this, but speaking for the Union, that's acceptable to me.
What's your plan?
What do you think is the right thing to do?
There's no correct. answer. "Right" depends on what your personal views are, and where you stand...
Haha, you're a cold one. Though, you're not completely wrong about that... I want Stellard to be a town where everyone can live in peace. That was the decision that was made.
An important decision
It was easy with all the correct materials.
Oh! Good work, Teo! This means...
The repairs are complete! We can sail again, just like new.
Thank you, you did an excellent job.
The only problem is that Sand Dragon. I don't want to take the ship out and have it get damaged again...
Hm, yeah, you're right...
Well you seem pretty chipper today.
Oh, Raoul! Look, the ship is reparied thanks to your materials!
That's great. The other Shallie will definitely be happy.
Hehe! I hope so.
So, Shallistera, I was wondering if you had some time to discuss something important...
Well...do you make decisions for this ship?
Raoul, this definitely doesn't sound good. What do you think, Shallie?
This is your journey, Miss Shallistera. I see myself just as your support while you're here. See what he has to say.
Okay, thank you Teo.
... I still don't like this, dad. Why don't we listen in a little?
Where do I start...? Well, you've heard the rumors about the Sand Dragon, right?
Yes, earlier today, but...
The Union was discussing how to address the problem fo the Sand Dragon, and we decided to use your ship as an important part of the operation to stop the it. Your ship is the strongest ship in Stellard, and well... There's no easy way to say this, but the combination of your adventuring and alchemic talent, along with your ship, is our best possibility. That's why we need you to lend us your strength, to kill the Sand Dragon. I feel bad asking someone who's come such a far way to help, but our offensive forces just aren't enough.
I understand. It's thanks to the people of Stellard that our ship is fixed. So...
I'm so sorry, but we can't reply right away.
Kortes?! And Teo!
It's rude to eavesdrop, by the way.
Still not as bad as you.
You're going to stay and help with the Sand Dragon that's causing trouble. That's not that weird. I know about the problem Stellard has... But it IS Stellard's problem... It's not ours to help.
If our ship was destroyed, or we got hurt fighting the dragon... Would Stellard save the village in our stead? Our village gets worse and worse every day... We can't put it off any longer.
This and that are two different issues. Besides, what do you think Stellard can do for Lugion?
I don't know yet, but you promised Shallie that you would devote Stellard's resources to helping our village if we helped Stellard with your problems.
I can only promise the Union's resources. But you came to Stellard with the hope of solving the crisis in your village. At this point, the problems of your village and Stellard are one in the same. Stopping the Sand Dragon is in your best interest as well.
Everyone! Please...Raoul, is the dragon posing a threat to Stellard now?
No, not right now, as far as we can tell.
Okay, then, I'll ask everyone I can think of to get an opinion. I don't want to do something I'll regret, for myself and the village's sake.
I think I know what you mean. I understand... Give me your answer after you've had some time to think about it.
Raoul... I'm sorry I can't give you an answer earlier.
It's quite alright. You should be happy you have such good friends... Pardon the intrusion.
That was easier than I thought it would be...
He... He was intending on using our ship as a shield. That way, even if they failed to kill it, the city itself wouldn't have taken much damage.
No way.... Raoul isn't like that!
Yeah, Raoul is young, but decisive. He seems like a good leader. He didn't seem like he'd decided on this issue, though...
He's hesitating. He might not have thought of this idea in the first place. The only other group that would consider a plan like this would probably be the Corporation. No wonder Raoul didn't seem very enthusiastic about it.
You seem like you've gained a lot of insight, Kortes. The way he hesitated and went around in circles... He knew he was making a crummy proposition.
He doesn't seem like one to lie so easily with a straight face...
Well... I still think he can do it. At least he can make a decision based on the things that are important to him.
...The important things... Teo, Kortes, our job is to save Lugion from its crisis. But to do that, we need to be accepted by Stellard...
A delicate situation, indeed...
I want to hear what people have to say, and make a choice based on that.
Should we consider this an order from the daughter of the chief? Er, the representative?
Yes. I want to do this, as the representative.
Very well, then. May a thousand voices and ten thousand thoughts guide you, miss. Regardless of your answer, we will be your strength.
Yes, we're here for you.
Thank you, Teo, Kortes... (Hm, where should I start...?)
Yes, for the dragon... It's quite scary...
No kidding... How do you even kill a dragon?
I don't know... Hitting it definitely won't do enough...
Yeah... It seems impossible...
Just thinking... I don't know if it's okay to keep relying on others to protect the town... But as it is, I'd probably just end up in the way.
Do you wanna go, Shallie?
I don't know... But I don't want to do nothing, either...
I see... I don't want you to do anything dangerous, Shallie. Your feelings are the most important thing. If you make a decision, I won't stop you.
You should talk to as many people as you can, and think about it thoroughly before you decide... ...About what you want to do, and who you want to be... Don't have any regrets.
...Okay. Thanks, mom.
You could make strong weapons and armor with alchemy... But I doubt it would be enough. Raoul, my sister... Everyone's being reckless. It isn't a decision to be taken lightly.
You're level-headed, as usual.
I know my limits, and the stuff I learned in Central isn't of much use. This might be none of my business... But Stellard is finally trying to unite... I want to help with that, at least. Even Gerard came here to buy weapons and armor.
Wait, Perriend did?! I wouldn't've expected that... I never thought I'd hear something like that from you, Miruca...! Not bad.
Yeah... So have you made a decision about the dragon?
Not yet. I was thinking of asking more people about what I should do.
I see. It's not a decision to make lightly, after all.
Miruca... If I do decide to help fight the dragon, would you want to come with me?
...Of course. I'm sure Wilbell wouldn't want anything to happen to you either.
Thanks Miruca... What do you think I should do?
While it's probably true my skills with Imbuing couldn't defeat the dragon by itself, with the combination of your alchemy, I think we might have a chance. And it's true the people of Stellard will never feel safe as long as the Sand Dragon is outside the city... I think you should.
I'll definitely be on that hunting team, of course... That dragon has been acting up lately.
Is it really because our ship provoked it?
I don't know. But I want to protect this town, for Miruca, somewhere where she feels happy.
Where she feels happy... That's what this is about. Thanks Jurie.
In my opinion, it should be left alone. Investigations tell us that the dragon is quite docile when left alone. Provoking it by attempting to fight it will only make things worse. But, the people over at the Union seem blindly intent on killing it. In that case, the ship that initially provoked the dragon should be sent out as well.
Are you trying to blame this on Shallie's ship? There's no proof!
The initial cause doesn't matter now. But if it came down to a battle, nobody would escape unhurt. And if people from Stellard were injured in the fighting, who do you think they would get angry at?
Shallie? Because they're outsiders...?
I believe that's correct, yes. That ship has plenty of fighting capabilities, but I wonder how people would view it if it were to hang back? But if it was used to fight for Stellard, what would people think? Therefore, it's my decision to include that ship in the battle. I don't care if you think I'm cold-hearted. It's for the good of the city. Do you know what Shallie's feelings are toward this?
Um...last time I talked to her, she seemed unsure what she should do. It sounded like she was going to make the decision based on what she heard from people in town.
If that's the case, then I wouldn't worry about what her decision will be. Even so, you might want to talk to her about this. Just a suggestion. Now then, if you'll excuse me...
The chairman has no higher priority than the town. He wants to minimize threats that appear, just like the Union. Though, to tell the truth, the whole Sand Dragon incident is beyond expectations. There is an unknown cause somewhere, at least, that's what the chairman thinks. The decision to include that ship in the subjugation team was a difficult one for him. I ask for you consideration, as well.
(That's a good point... What has Shallie decided?)
That Sand Dragon is definitely not happy. At this rate, no one will be able to fall asleep again. Observations have showed us the Sand Dragon being sighted numerous times, necessitating countermeasures.
Yeah, but who's going to join the hunting team? It's so dangerous...
The decision to use the outsider's ship is a good choice. It's mobile and sturdy. I reparied it myself with materials I gathered, so, I should know.
So you're suggesting our ship be used as a shield?!
I wasn't that excited about it, if that makes any difference. I feel bad having to borrow their ship... They need to help their own village, after all. The people are just too worried about that dragon... It needs to be dealt with. They believe the flow of goods will stop, and some have started buying up food and other supplies. If this keeps up, the lower class is going to have food issues...
I had no idea that was happening...
That's understandable. It's not something anyone in the Union or Corporation wants to talk about, but I'll be honest, it's not looking good.
It would be nice if there were a better solution...
We've already been trying, Escha. Don't worry about it.
Okay. I guess I should've expected that from you, Solle.
Anyway, that's what's going on. Everyone just needs to think positive and keep their spirits up. Anyway, I'm not trying to push anything onto you, but it would be a big help to the city if you could make a decision soon. Sorry, there's just no easy way to say that...
I know, it's important for everyone... There's just one more person I want to ask, though...
This area. Should be. Protector god. Sand Dragon.
Homura! Then why is it...
Dusk. Probably. Dusk Sea spreads. Keeps spreading. Water dries up. All. Must be. Retaliation. Still exciting. For me.
See? Even Homura is excited to fight the dragon!
Shallie...are you scared over having to fight the dragon if you agree?
I guess you can see that... Yes, I am, but I'm more concerned for my village and the safety of Teo and Kortes.
If it's any help, Shallie, I know exactly how you feel. When I went to the Unexplored Ruins...
Alchemy can incredibly rewarding, but incredibly dangerous, too. There's so much we can change in this world, for good or bad. I've seen both sides of that, and well... I'm not sure if I'm saying this right, but I think you can make a difference here, Shallie. Of course, I'll be here to support you no matter what you decide, but...I think this your chance to prove to yourself alchemy is something that can help people.
Shallie...! What a coincidence, meeting in a place like this.
It is, but, things are getting quite serious around here...
Yeah, you're right.
Also, thanks to you, the ship is all fixed up! Thank you so much!
Raoul was saying how our ship is able to fight. He was asking us to fight for the sake of Stellard.
Shallie, if you don't want to do it, you should say something.
What are you going to do?
I want to protect the town, even though I might not be of much use... There must be something I can do.
This city seems really important to you.
Yeah, well. My mom, Miruca, Al, Jurie. So many people I really care about are here. That includes you and me. I've lived here for so long! I Mean, sure, I don't like how there's always trash around no matter how much I pick up... But I still love it here. And I don't want a Sand Dragon to destroy that.
I see... I talked to a lot of people... Everyone is working hard in their own way. They work for the sake of the city, their families... They're serious about protecting the things important to them.
That's how I can understand how important Stellard is to you, and the people of this city. Even as an outsider, the poeple here have shown me so much kindness. I won't forget that.
And that's why I've decided...
Please, let me fight by your side!
Shallie... ...Raoul and the others mean to use you as a shield... So...
Still... I will fight for this city as a representative of Lugion Village. I love this city, too.
Well...I guess that settles it. What do you say we have a big meeting together? I'll go get Miruca and Master.
That's a great idea! From now on, we'll work together!
Yeah, for Stellard!
I'm sorry Kortes, but this is where my decision stands.
I'm so sorry! Please, let us borrow the ship... And Shallie!
You... Didn't get talked into it by Shal, did you?
No. I just want to do whatever I can.
That's good! I'll help.
I won't let anything happen to you, Miruca.
We make campfire. Exciting adventure. Start now!
Oh Homhom, you never change... This is gonna be a serious fight.
Though we do have Solle and Escha. There should be a fairly good chance at winning.
You might be right...
Yeah. We have a lot of capable, strong people, now we just need the spirit to win it!
If that's your decision, then I will do everything I can to protect you, no questions asked.
And this ship won't go down easily. Even a Sand Dragon is a breeze.
Haha! Not bad, grandpa!
Shal... You really shouldn't be laughing.
Yup, we got this!
Uh, Shallie...? If we win this, do you think Stellard will accept us?
Of course. You're already our friend, Shallie!
Awww... Thank you...!
Alright then Shallie, let's go!
Oh right, two Shallies... I think we're going to need to come up with nicknames...
Well, I can just call Shallotte "Shal", but...
Yeah, I guess that would be Miruca's nickname.
Shallistera, do you have any ideas for a nickname?
But I already have one...
So Shallistera is going to be "Shallie" and Shallotte is "Shal"?
When we. Sail. We need. To. Decide.
I agree, Homhom!
It's good they're already getting along, but...
Yeah. We need to stay focused.
Miss, Shallie, I think you should let the Union know of your decision.
Yeah, we have to let Raoul know!
For Stellard, and for my village!
Hunting the dragon
Music: Those Who Challenge the Twilight
Yes. We'll fight for the sake of this city with our ship!
I see... And your companions support you?
The decision was mine, as the representative of Lugion Village. There's nothing to worry about.
...It might be frustrating to hear me say this after my request, but, I can't guarantee your safety. Are you still okay with that?
The same goes for people in the hunting team.
We'll be fine. I'll be with her!
What are you talking about? Why are YOU going?!
I don't want to be left out... I want to protect the city with everyone else!
Granted, but, we don't need anyone getting in the way...
It's okay with me.
But she's just a kid! There's no reason to send her with the subjugation team...
Everyone was a kid, once. We are no different.
It's too reckless!
The other Shallie is young, too, and yet she is lending us her strength as a representative of her village. I'm sure she thought through her decision very carefully.
I didn't just decide this on my own, I thought about it a lot, and talked to a ton of people!
Ability and victory... Those are all that matter.
You sound pretty sure of yourself.
It's not like I haven't been doing anything. I'm supporting her because she has a damn good chance.
If Solle thinks it's alright, isn't that enough?
...Hahh... Fine. Just... Don't get hurt, okay?
I shouldn't have to remind you two, but make sure you're extra prepared for this hunt. We're only going to get one real shot at this.
Is it really going to be that hard to hunt it?
We've already discussed how to proceed with the Perriend. The Corporation will contribute what ships they have to drawing the Sand Dragon out. If one ship can draw so much attention from the dragon, a fleet of them will surely draw him out. Then, after the dragon has been lured out, your ship will be right there to meet it. From there, we'll support you as best we can, but the main part of the fight is up to you.
Of course, that's the hard part. Your safety, for many reasons, is more important. If you think your ship is any danger of sinking, pull back. We can always come up with another plan.
Our regular ships don't have the firepower to take on the dragon directly. That's where your alchemy comes in. You'll need a lot of bombs to defeat the dragon. That's also of course, not taking the dragon's ferocity into account. Don't ever underestimate what it can do.
So prepare well, and ensure our safety if things go badly?
Sounds like a plan! Let's get ready!
Of course, if we lose a lot of ships on the Dusk Sea, we may not get a second chance.
... I know. That's why we have to have faith they'll do it right the first time.
They understand the stakes. We have to do everything we can to support them now.
So Shallie, what should do first?
Well, maybe we should see if there are some new recipe books for sale in town. We'll definitely need some powerful bombs to defeat a Sand Dragon.
That's a great idea...
I think Rose might have some new stuff. I don't think Katla will have many new books.
Yes! I knew it! Let's read this together Shallie! Is it...okay if we do alchemy together now?
Sure! I was hoping to ask you... Do you want to do it in the ship or your house?
My mom would probably talk to us too much, and your ship looks really interesting... Let's do it there!
What do you think about the Lava Cube? Do you that could help against the dragon?
Well I can't say I've ever fought a Sand Dragon before, but every little bit should help. All of these other materials look really combustible, so they should be valuable ingredients in the synthesis. Let's try making those first.
Alright, let's get to work!
What kind of bomb is that? Looks...dangerous.
Have you ever used Crafts before?
Sure, they're a big help against weaker monsters...Oh, I see! It's just a bigger, more dangerous, Craft.
That's what the recipe seems to call for. Let's start working on healing supplies.
Hm, we should probably work on getting some new equipment, too. I'll be back soon!
The essence of Slags... Maybe something like this could help me understand them better. Giving life to inanimate objects... I wonder where they came from?
Shallie, Miruca needed some high-quality ingots... Oh! You made some!
Holinicait is a pretty malleable ingot. I guess Miruca wants to make some great new equipment with that.
Yeah! I'll get it made right away!
I'm baaaaack! What are you doing, Shallie?
I'm making a Lava Cube. I was thinking of trying something new for this synthesis. Do you know about chains in alchemy?
I've heard of them in my recipe books, but it looked a little challenging, so I haven't tried them yet.
Well, by combining the same element multiple times in a row, we can increase the property values and make stronger materials. It may be easier to show you...
And the more elements that are added, the greater effect the materials will have, beyond what they normally add to a synthesis.
Hm, but we'll probably need better materials to really use that more often. I don't have much different ingredients in my Container.
Well, it's probably no use worrying about it now. We have to get moving soon.
Well Shallie, are you ready to go?
I'm so nervous, but...yes, I am.
Okay, I'll go get Master and Miruca! Let's do this!
Wow, there're so many ships! And people!
Everyone wants to protect the city!
You're right... So many people love Stellard... We need to protect it too!
Once we get out to open ocean, they'll give chase to the Sand Dragon. While they have it distracted, you have to get as close as you can to the dragon.
Shallie, I felt so helpless up until this moment... Now, I feel like I can do anything. I'm sure it's because of you. And everyone.
I feel like I've grown so much! I've never felt so in tune with other people before. Let's give it our best shot!