Part 17: Chapter XV: The Close Side of the Two Friends
The elusive alchemist
The risk vs. reward is too unfavorable for now.
Sounds reasonable. Risking our lives going to a distant land isn't going to help Stellard anytime soon...
Unfortunately. It's not just you... Central's independent investigation is also going too slowly.
Can't the alchemist who helped with the water equipment help with this?
If they really wanted to help, we wouldn't have had to implement the emergency measures.
I don't have that much information about them. If you're interested, you should ask the chairman. The water is under his jurisdiction anyway. He's the one who talked with the alchemist.
Then we should go see Perriend!
They might know more about the Dusk...!
What you want to know is how to stop the drought, not concerning the Dusk.
That's not really...
Then what? What do you intend to do?
I don't think the things happening in my village and in Stellard are unrelated... That's why I feel like I need to find the truth behind this, as an alchemist.
I see, that's noble of you. Did you have the same idea?
Yeah! I want to help this town with my own hands, too!!
Even if you have to leave your mother?
...I can't do anything for my mom right now. I want to at least be someone who she would be proud of.
Is that so... Very well. Tell them, Linca.
It seems he came here to research alchemy from the past, but just happened to find an issue with the equipment.
What kind of person is he?
He's not much socially, but an honest guy. Also, he had an automaton following him.
Someone with an automaton following them... Wait, does it move on its own??
The name was originally given to human-like machine dolls capable of autonomous actions. They were created with alchemy in the past, but the technology is lost now. It's extremely rare to see one still in operating condition.
The one problem that Keith's visit caused was due to that automaton. Because of that, my son became obsessed... As if he didn't have enough issues already.
So that's why Al was asking for more information about automatons...
Where did this Keith go?
We don't know... Though he did have an interest in this region, so he may be working nearby.
He is a man who seeks to find knowledge through his own work. I'm sure you'll meet him if you continue your work.
That might take too long...
Searching for the truth is a long, frustrating process. You have to be prepared to invest a lot of time. Are we done? I've told you everything I know.
Perriend, thank you so much.
Let's go back to the ship for now... We have to sort through this information.
Music: Droplets of Time
So the only thing we found is his name.
He's an amazing alchemist, and he has an automaton... That might be enough. That sure sounds a lot like the guy I met in the ruins...
Wait, you met him before...?
Yeah. I was looking for automatons with Miruca and master, and he showed up as we found an automaton that we couldn't pick up.
I think I met him as well! Still, he didn't speak to me very much... I need to meet with him and talk to him as soon as possible. He might know more about the Dusk.
I know Solle said it too, but we might want to just continue with our investigations...
No way... If we meet Keith, we might learn about everything!
What would we do if he doesn't know? Leaving it up to other people won't solve anything.
...Are you saying I depend on other people too much...?
...I didn't really mean it that way.
...Not really... That's something I can't leave up to others either.
Shallie, what're you gonna do?
I want to look for Keith, because I need to solve the problem in Lugion as soon as possible...
I knew it... Well, I can't help with that.
What do you mean?
Why would you say something like that! It's terrible!
Then why don't you want to try solving these problems together? Instead of relying on some guy you've never met!
I just... We haven't been able to find another solution... Besides, you don't seem to care about the problems in my village, either. The water here in Stellard just started drying up, so I can see why you think you still have time to laze around...
Lazy?! I'm trying my hardest around here!
So am I! You have no idea what it means to have so many people depending on you!
Yes. If our goals are different, there's no need to force ourselves to work together.
Yeah, I agree. I'm busy with my mom, and Stellard. I'm leaving.
Just be quiet, Kortes!
Is this really okay, miss?
...It's fine. We should just think about saving Lugion Village.
But... The problems in our village and Stellard aren't unrelated... We should do whatever we can to ease the burden of saving the village.
Of course, that's why we have to find Keith and ask him. I'm the representative of the chief, it's only natural for me to have this burden. (That's right, my situation is totally different from hers... She doesn't have any burdens. I'll definitely save Lugion...)
This isn't just your burden, Miss Shallistera. Kortes, Jurie, and I--
I know, Teo, but we've wasted too much time already. Lugion can't wait...
...So what're you gonna do now?
We'll search for the alchemist Keithgriff. He seems to know a lot about the Dusk.
I got it. We'll ask around. You should rest for today.
No, I'll go too. I need to go.
... (We're not gonna make any progress if she insists on doing everything herself. Still, I'm not the one who's gonna be the next chief...)
A new direction?
Now what should I do?
Mm? What're you doing, Shallie?
Oh, master! Um... I was just thinking about what I could do, and ended up here...
What? ...You're kidding.
Haha! Just kidding. But, since we can't just go to the eastern continent, maybe you should just do normal work for now?
Normal work...? This is an emergency, you know! The water in Stellard could disappear...
And you're gonna fix it by walking around mindlessly...?
Then you need to act! You're not really the thinking type, right?
That's not true...
Yes it is. I'm the same way.
Yep! That's why I know. If you're worried, just take action! That's how we are!
Hmm... You might be right.
You should go ask Solle for work.
Okay, I'll do that. Alright then, I'll do whatever I can!
Wait, are you okay!? Don't worry about me, just get some rest!
Don't worry, I'm sure I'll feel better in a little bit... But since you're home, would you mind talking a bit?
... (No, I need to stay cheerful like always! I can't cause mom any worry.) Um...
She's...busy with something. Something about her village, I don't really know, but... She said we couldn't work together for a while until she's finished.
She's an incredibly cheerful, good girl, Shallie. You should treasure your friends.
What's wrong? I can tell when you're feeling down.
Mom, I need to go get some work from Raoul. Why don't you get your sleep now?
Okay. Take care.
A brave face
You're alone today? That's strange.
That doesn't matter... More importantly, do you have any work?
Hmm, let's see... What about a survey of the open sea? That sounds ideal for you.
The sea? Uhm, you need a ship for that...
Of course you do. That's why I asked you.
Um, Solle? I wasn't in town for a while, so I really want to do something in Stellard!
Work in the city...? I wasn't expecting that. I'll need some time to make changes. I'm sure I'll find something. Mind waiting a while?
I didn't expect you to say you won't work out of town. Did something happen?
No... I'll do some work that uses the ship again soon!
Do you believe that?
Of course not. I'm surprised it took so long for problems to emerge between them. This is something they have to solve. Still...I wouldn't expect it to lead to such a break so fast. This must be serious.
If I had to guess, Shallotte is probably hiding something from Shallistera, and Shallistera took it the wrong way. Shallie herself was acting a lot more nervous, so unless it's about Stellard, it's probably about her mother.
Well, at least we have nothing to focus on at the moment. The best thing they could do is work this out, in the meantime.
Rosemia... Oh! Maybe you'd know!
I'm searching for an alchemist named Keithgriff Hazeldine. He came to town recently, but he might be working around Stellard for a while. He helped fix the city's water supply the other day, and he's supposed to be really smart. Since you always stay by the harbor, maybe you saw him, and...
Hmm, so apparently this guy is a really great alchemist, huh? What was his name again?
Keithgriff. Have you met him before?
...No, I haven't.
Was there something weird about him?
He should have an automaton following him... That's it, really.
An automaton, huh...
Yes. Do you know about automatons?
Of course... And actually, I have an idea about the person you mentioned.
Yes, I think he went to the Union.
Thank you so much! I'll check it out right now!
Maybe you should ask Escha.
(Well, at least it's something to work on, and I'm sure these materials would go for a high price if I sold them... But I don't have Holinic Ores... I should go gather them.)
Really? Do you know where he went??
I don't, but he said he was going to be checking out the area for a while. I'm sure he'll be back at some point...
Some point? But...
Oh uh, yeah, he gave me this alchemy recipe. He said, "Make this", but I have no idea what it's for.
...Uhm, may I take it?
Huh? Sure, if you want it. I'm not sure what he wants this for, but, you can make it if you want.
Really? Thank you so much!
Um, Shallie... I saw the other Shallie earlier today. She was alone, and was asking if she could do some work in the city. Did you know she was looking for work?
Well...we had some separate jobs to do, so we decided to work on our own projects before we did some more investigations of the Dusk Sea.
Oh, that's good! I was worried something might have happened, because Shallie sounded kind of nervous. That's good then! If Keith comes by, I'll keep him here for you.
Shallie was right... Why did it turn into an argument...? I wonder what she's doing... She probably hates me... Anyway, I should be helping however I can right now!
I wonder what Keithgriff wants with something like this. I'm not even really sure what it does, but that was the recipe... Judging by its size, looks like it could be an automaton part.
Hello, is Shallotte here?
Ah, no... She's not.
I see. How troublesome... I can't go visit her home myself...
She didn't tell you? I guess that's not too surprising... Nady, Shallie's mom, is very sick. She's had her condition for a long time, and it's uncurable. I guess Shallie was keeping it a secret to not worry you.
Shallie's mom is sick?!
The chairman found an alchemy book to help ease her condition, even if it's just a little bit... I need to get this book to Shallotte without Nady seeing it.
Why can't you let her find out?
Nady is still hiding something from her daughter.
If Shallotte comes by, tell her to visit the Corporation.
Umm, if it's okay... I could give the book to her.
Really? That would be helpful, and I'm sure she'll be happier getting it from you, too. I'll be around if you need me.
Oh... I know I heard Shallie talking about her mom with Mr. Perriend... Part of me probably just... Didn't care. Or thought there wasn't time for that. (I don't even know myself. Did I just want to find someone reliable to shove my responsibilities onto? Wow, I might be a terrible person... She probably hates me... What would I do if she doesn't want to see me...?)
Oh, Shallie, hi.
(Huh? This person... I've met them before...) I finished the recipe you gave me.
Wow, you must've worked really hard! Keith, this girl is an alchemist, too.
...Keith? You don't mean... Keithgriff?
Yes, this's him!
...Hm. So, you Synthesized this?
Yes. I asked Escha to let me make this.
Hmm... I can use this. You have my thanks.
AH! Uhm, you fixed this city's water supply equipment, right?
Fixed? Haha, ah, don't make me laugh. That's just a temporary measure.
That's good enough for me, please, teach me! The water in my village is drying up, just like it is here. Do you know how to save this city and my home village?
And even if I did, there's nothing I can do. My only goal is to find the truth behind the Dusk.
If you're an alchemist, you should look for the truth yourself. Not for the sake of others.
You said there might be clues about the Dusk in the relics and ruins of this region... Right?
... In a manner of speaking, yes. However, there are clues about the Dusk everywhere. I just happened to be passing through this region, and it is of some interest. That's all.
If you study relics from the past, maybe you can find the reason for the droughts?
Maybe... I'm heading out, so how about I pay you for that Synthesis...
You don't have to pay me. But, I would like you to teach me one thing... How to Synthesize the items in this book...
Let me see the book. ...I see. Follow me.
It seems highly likely that it's a disease of the respiratory and circulatory system.
...So, why did you decide to come straight to me?
Huh? Well, because...
Don't worry, it doesn't matter. Isn't this an illness of your friend's mother? You're an alchemist. Why don't you try to find a solution yourself?
I'm sorry... I just don't know what to do...
First, you need to think of ways to improve her condition. You should come to me after trying that, at least.
I understand. I'll try and think up a solution with alchemy on my own before asking you again. Can I ask you one more thing?
...Make it quick.
Are you going to be staying around Stellard for a while?
I'll stay as long as I have a reason to believe this area provides clues to the truth about the Dusk. I'm still investigating a number of ruins, so I'll probably be here for a while.
(Ugh, it's boring around here without anyone around. I'll go see what Miruca's doing...)
That should be obvious. To study.
Oh... That sounds about right. But you're already an amazing alchemist... Doesn't that mean you've achieved your dream?
...What do you think it means to be "great"?
Hmm, I guess...someone who's serious about work and can get it done, and can be trusted by their clients... Maybe?
I felt the same way in the past. But the "great" instructors, my fellow students from the "great" houses in Central... I couldn't respect them. After that, it's hard to understand what "great" means anymore. I don't know what I should do now...
I think you're great, Miruca. You run an atelier by yourself... And you treat your customers really well. There's really nothing you need to be confused about...
...Your eyes look confused, too, Shal.
Yes. When Shallistera came in here earlier today, she had the same look too. It doesn't seem like any of us know what we should be doing, or even if we should be "great" alchemists.
W-Well, in that case...we should only keep doing what we think is right, right?
Yes, I think so. Shal, I won't ask exactly what's going on between you and Shallistera, but she's doing her best, too. She's younger than you, Shallie, and she has responsibility to save all of her people from the Dusk.
So you're saying I should go back to her?
Not until you're ready. Give it time, you'll know what to do.
I know... Is it the same between you and Jurie?
... I'll see you later.
Yeah, see ya...
Tell her. She's her friend's mother. It won't hurt if she knows.
Very well, chairman. Nady's illness is a disease of the heart. It could be described as...her heart is weak. It's been a problem among some residents of Stellard, but Nady has one of the worst cases of it. Even simple exertion can be difficult for her, and results in her passing out and being short of breath, which is probably what Shallotte saw. It's not immediately life-threatening, but it is true her symptoms are worse than they were years ago.
...Thank you very much for telling me. So it'll just keep progressing if left alone...
It's difficult to slow its progress, let alone cure it, even with alchemy. It's quite unfortunate...
I'll try looking for a way... I know someone who might be able to help. Um, by the way...
Thank you. The chairman is a man who values his belongings, so he likely will have high expectations for its quality.
I'll examine it now.
Um... What do you think?
The stitches are rough. The cloth is non-uniform. And it seems to have been sewn against the grain of the fabric.
...I-I see... (Wow, he's really checking it thoroughly...)
It's better than most items these days, but there really wasn't a need to place a second order...
O-Oh... I-I'm sorry.
Linca, come with me.
...Hahh. I guess I need to work harder to make Mr. Perriend happy.
Ms. Shallistera, here's your payment.
1000 Cole... Huh? ...Isn't this a lot more money than we agreed on...?
I have a message from the chairman. He says he would like you to improve yourself even more as an alchemist.
...Th-Thank you very much. I'll do my best...!
Were you going to ask her about that?
Oh, yes. There's something I need to ask you.
Oh? What is it?
I'd like you to tailor some clothing.
There will soon be a Corporation dinner, and I convinced the chairman to wear something new for the occasion.
I see... But what about the suit I delivered?
It's perfectly functional for everyday activities, but this dinner is a little more special. Appearances are extremely important for the leader of the Corporation. But even so, I already have several sets of formal clothing, this is a waste of resources...
No, I cannot allow you to lose face, chairman.
(I don't really get what the Corporation does... But it sounds difficult.)
There you have it. Can I ask this of you?
I've written all the details here.
Yes, I understand. Is there a date when you want the suit delivered?
Obviously Nady is more important than my suit, and there's no date set for the dinner, either. Deliver it when it's convenient for you.
I understand. Thank you.
Even if it can't be solved with alchemy, maybe Escha could think of something.
No, I just thought you might know something... I'm just so lost...
Even doctors are stumped on this one. It would be exceedingly difficult for you to treat it on your own. Hmm... OH! I heard that homunculi go through reincarnation... They might know something!
So maybe Homura...!
A treasure hunter? Yeah, they might know...!
I suggest. Reyfer. Great. Treasure hunter!
Reyfer...? Where is he?
Probably in. Faav Village.
Harry? Well, it does seem like he knows a lot. Thank you very much!
Hm... A disease of the heart... I'm very well-traveled, and I do know of a talented herbalist. She might...
Where is this person...!?
Unfortunately, it's been a while, and I don't know where she is. I've been searching for her myself, but...
I'm terribly sorry I can't be of more help... Do you know a treasure hunter named Jurie?
Y-Yes, I do.
You might want to speak with her. If anyone knows information like this, she would.
Alright, that should be enough ore for the metal...
You did great, Homura.
Thank you very much! I'll do that!
Oh, and also, Kortes mentioned that Teo knows a lot about medicine.
Teo...! I didn't even think of him. Thank you so much, Jurie...!
That's amazing, Teo!
According to your diagnosis, this medicine might form a proper foundation...
Thank you, Teo...!
But the disease sounds quite complicated, so I'm still worried, even with the medicine.
No, it's okay! I'll use this to think of something myself...! If I can help Shallie's mom even just a little...
Now to show this to Keith so I can see what he says about it...
A mother's worries
Shallie? You're home early.
Mom! I told you, you shouldn't be up!
I'm fine, see?
You collapsed the other day, mom! That's serious stuff! Go lie down!
Oh my gosh, you're so scary! Can't we talk a little? I hardly see you anymore...
(That's right...) Sure, let's talk a little.
Ah, as I'd expect from my daughter. You've really grown up.
Even the chairman of the Corporation was talking about giving me work...
I'm glad you're working hard, but make sure you're taking care of yourself. I know you get hungry really quickly.
...Yeah. I know. Hey mom, I'm gonna go report my work to Raoul. I'll come back after I'm done, okay?
Come back before dinner!
It's never too late
Good job! You're alone today, too?
Heh... Pretty much.
Huh? You don't normally dodge subjects... Did something happen?
Not really... Nothing happened. We're fine!
Oh yeah? Well. That's good then...
Solle, I sent the documents to Central.
Thank you, Escha.
Oh, hello, Shallie. What're you doing here?
I figured I should get some work done.
Haha, that's good. Oh, also, I heard your mom wasn't feeling well. How is she?
What? How did you know?
The other Shallie was asking Keith something earlier. She said something about an illness...
Is she not doing well?
Oh, no, she's fine! She's just... Same as always.
I see, that's good. I'll do whatever I can to help, so feel free to ask.
Eh? Go where?
Shallie's place, of course.
It looks like you want to say something.
... I said something awful to Shallie... That's why I...
Don't tell me about it, go talk to her about it yourself!
I'm sure the other Shallie is waiting for you. She was really worried.
She won't turn you away. Get going!
Um, what do you think...?
Many parts aren't optimized, but the plan itself is fine.
However, this still can't be used on a patient.
I-I see. So it's no good...
I don't like people who give up easily. I told you, the plan itself is fine.
Maybe I overreacted... I'm sorry.
Stop apologizing. You're making me feel I've done something wrong. One of my acquaintances is a skilled herbalist. Her ability is the best when it comes to mixing medicines. She might be able to do something about this. I'll contact her, but you'll have to wait a while.
R-really!? ...Thank you so much!
...I simply don't agree with giving up on something with a chance of success.
(Shallie... I'm sure your mom will be okay! I'll make sure of it!)
There's nothing more to be done for now. Focus on your own work and I'll let you know when I've received the medicine. From what you described, it doesn't sound like this disease is life-threatening at the moment.
Can your acquaintance really make a strong enough medicine?
I know of no one else who can, if it is even possible. The only things you should focus on are the things that are possible. If this doesn't work, think of another way.
(I don't even want to think what to do if this doesn't work...) Thank you so much.
Music: Aquamarine -Game Version-
Getting ready for what?
About my mom... Thanks...
Oh, well... I haven't fixed anything... But I'm sorry I went and did it on my own.
I know. You should've just come to me instead of asking around.
But when I asked you, you didn't answer me!
It wasn't something I wanted to tell someone with her head full of some unknown alchemist!
Wait a minute... Are you saying you're a good enough alchemist that you don't need help?! Nothing will change if you convince yourself you're doing a good job! You'd be no different from me.
Yeah, we're the same on that point...
I take on more than I can handle. I get carried away, and I talk a big game. But I'm actually pretty flimsy. I didn't even realize what was happening with my mom, or with Stellard...
...I don't know why I got to be the representative... Deep down, I was thinking someone else would take care of it. I didn't do anything because I was afraid of being blamed or disliked by other people...
Shallie... We don't have that much in common as I thought... We really only share a nickname...
That's why it's natural for us to think differently and want different things. Still, we were able to become friends when we met. ...Sorry, Stera. You're the one I have to thank for helping me move forward. I realized that too late.
Shallie... No. Lotte. You're always so forward-thinking, I just used your strength to my advantage. I want to come up with my own answers, not as the daughter of a chief. Are you with me, Lotte?
Stera?? Why are you crying?
Because... Uuwu... Here, Linca... Told me to give this to you... Uuu...
I... I did it... I finally managed... To give it to you...!
Stera, hey, stop crying! We were finally able to make amends because of this. I feel like we'll be spending a lot of time together.
I'm still worried about things, we can finally start moving forward.
Yeah. Let's move forward, together.
We should...go thank Linca for delivering the book.
I wanted to thank you for giving me that book. I'm not sure if I can help Shallie's mom yet, but I want to do everything I can for her!
Oh, you're very welcome. I'm very grateful to Nady for when I was just starting to work here, but you didn't really need to come down here.
Hm? I-is something the matter?
Um, is it true that you have sisters who look just like you?
Um... Who exactly did you hear this from?
Oh, is this something you don't really want to talk about?
No... To tell the truth, my sisters and I were separated when we very young. I'm the seventh of eight sisters.
EIGHT SISTERS!? I-Is is true you all look the same?
As far as I'm aware, but I haven't seen any of my sisters in a long time. The one Ms. Escha met was likely the youngest. But she shouldn't be that similar...
She said you looked so similar that she couldn't get used to you being a different person...
Th-That's impossible if she's number eight! I'm not that crude!
So the Linca in Colseit was the youngest at number eight, and this Linca is number seven... I heard that people with siblings don't like it when you say they're similar. I wonder if that's it? Still, they look the same...
The only thing we know is that we still don't know anything...
Hm, I met another Linca, too. She was totally different from the Linca I knew, because she liked to drink a lot and was really loud. The Linca I knew wasn't like that at all.
Three Lincas, and they all look the same... Where is the other Linca now?
Oh, she left Colseit long before I did. I don't think the Linca I know knows where she is, either.
Hm, I guess we might not ever know... Oh! Shallie! Did you want to do some work on the Dusk Sea?
(It looks like they're friends again. Thank goodness...)