Part 20: Chapter XVII: The Wrathful Side of the Great Spirit
The big step
It sounds like there's been a development form their investigation.
What kind of development?
Central didn't know much about the eastern continent before... But after reading some of Solle's report on your investigation, they're interested in Faav Village.
Now?! What kinda timing... A little late, isn't it??
And I'm wondering why they found Faav Village interesting. The only things we found there were a village not affected as much by the Dusk, and an automaton they called their goddess...
Yeah, but... Government work has so many procedures... I'm sorry.
Oh, no! I'm not trying to blame you for this...
Anyway, the historians in Central are trying to come up with a new theory now.
Yeah, research about the ties of past civilizations to the Dusk.
Wait a minute... Isn't the Dusk a natural phenomenon? Why would it be related to a civilization created by people?
Well that's... Er, probably...
You're saying the Dusk might not be natural?
Hmm... Shallie, do you remember when I told you about my time in Colseit?
About the Unexplored Ruins? Yes, I remember.
Well, the girl who sent the Unexplored Ruins into the sky was angry at humans for causing the death of plant life, but we couldn't really understand what she meant by that, and... I... Uh don't really know... We should ask Solle!
Water, water, everywhere?
Hehe! We're doing great!
Solle, we heard there was a message from Central...
Yes. And it's related to the drought we're experiencing.
What did they say?
There wasn't any sign of drought in Faav Village yet, right?
Well, there wasn't exactly an abundance of water, but they weren't having any troubles, either.
That's what got Central's attention, honestly. There's a difference in the rate of Dusk expansion region to region. Knowing why may be the key to the cause.
How would we investigate that?
We could compare investigations of the water mangement here to the water sources in other areas.
You mean, if we can find more water in certain areas, it may help us find out why the water dries up in others?
That's what I think. If there's more water around Faav Village than Stellard, we might be able to prove there's something about the area around Stellard that makes it dry up faster.
And that could be helpful as evidence for the historians' new theory?
Yes. However, they're still working to verify. Don't get your hopes up.
But if it helps us with the drought even a little bit, then we need to do it.
Yeah, we need to do everything we can, no matter how small.
No matter how small the detail, please keep track of everything.
We can do it! This could be a way to save Stera's village!
No, Lotte, not just my village... Stellard, too!
They seem to be having fun.
Stera and Lotte?
Sounds like they've finally grown up a bit.
Miruca said she found something really interesting in her notes from Central.
You mean from when she was a student?
Yeah. Miruca always keeps her notes around the atelier, but they always get lost until Miruca finds them again. She did say these were really important, though...
I still have that automaton from the Crystal Valley. Maybe we should take that to Albert before we go to Miruca's atelier.
Oh yeah! Good memory!
Wow, good work! Thanks to you, I truly am happy...!
But still, how long are you going to keep collecting these? What are you going to do with all of them?
This still isn't enough to make my dream a reality.
Are you planning to open an automaton shop or something?
O-Of course not! Why would you say something like that, Shallie!? Shallie, just so you know, that was a misunderstanding, okay!?
I'm simply examining the construction and purposes of automatons, in order to complete a major thesis. It's troubling that you seem to think I only have an interest in their appearance.
I-I get it, Al...!
As long as you understand.
So if we happen to find an automaton shaped like a man, or an animal, or something weird, do you want it?
W-Well... Y-Yes. I do. I'll take it. But don't push yourselves. I'm sure this is hard work...
S-Sure... Um, can I ask you a question? What does Perriend think of your job?
Father? He...doesn't see value in my work, but I will convince him! With all the things you gather for me, though, I'm sure I can convince him! As long as you find more automatons, there's no way he can doubt me in the future!
Whoa! If we have this, wouldn't it solve all our problems?!
Yes! This is... Beyond amazing!
It's impossible... You can only make a little at once, and raw ingredients are required. You can't make it if you don't have them.
Uuu, so it's no good...
I guess nothing in the world is that easy...
Still, if you need small amounts of pure water for alchemy, this recipe could be really useful. If you want to take it, I don't mind.
Well, I guess we could use it for something...
Yes. Thank you, Miruca.
Don't mention it.
When I was exploring the forests south of Stellard with Miruca and master, I thought I saw some water. I guess we could start there...
There's not much water here, but being so close to the Dusk Sea, that's not much of a surprise.
To be honest, I'm surprised there's this much water this close.
It's kind of hard to believe, but I've heard rumors of a large amount of water existing in the Slag-filled ruins to the north of Stellard.
But wasn't that place pretty barren?
No, there was a lot of plant life there, too. It's worth investigating, at least.
Alright, I'll set a course.
Clear water existing in a place like this...
Hunters. Always find. Amazing things!
Music: Stella -3-
Music: Sweep -3-
The monsters here are stronger. We're going to need to be extra prepared if we're exploring in places like this.
What kind of place is this...?
Shallistera, Shallotte, can you remember any locations near Stellard with water?
Why don't we check near the entrance to the Slag ruins?
That's right nearby. We should check before we leave.
Wow! You have such a great memory!
Ahaha... That was nothing.
That makes three out of five potential water sources we need to investigate to get a clearer picture of the water situation. We should start around Faav Village next.
That's one of the dragons!
Indeed. This should be interesting...
The water source is barely breaking the surface, but it's definitely here. Maybe we should keep going from the other side of this cave. There could be a wellspring near here.
I didn't expect to see this...
Wow!! How could so much water be here...? I don't think I've ever seen so much water in my life!
So the Dusk definitely doesn't affect areas near Faav Village as much. I wonder why that is?
There's no doubt there's something in the area around Stellard that's causing at least the drought problems of the city. The question is...
Let's take this out and get home.
The rogue alchemist
Alright then... What should we do?
There's something I want to ask.
What would that be?
I want you to figure out where Keithgriff went.
He is, in fact, a Class 1 wanted criminal in Central...
Listen to the whole story.
Due to his contributions to the city water equipment, he's been guaranteed freedom in Stellard.
Uh, why is Keithgriff wanted?
He's wanted for the destruction of ancient relics. He's put alchemy research back for years.
But he's a skilled alchemist, isn't he?
Yes, that's why it's so hard to understand his crimes. However, the irresponsible destruction of ruins and relics under research is still a crime.
I kinda get it... But I kinda don't...
Regardless of his crimes, as long as he remains within this region, Central has no interest in pursuing him. Even if you do encounter him, it would probably not be wise to question him regarding his actions in Central.
You could say he's guaranteed freedom as long as he's useful for Central's research. But make no mistake, Keithgriff is a brilliant alchemist.
In any case, Keith is probably the man closest to knowing the truth behind the Dusk. Seeing as Central's decided to recognize his actions here, we can't miss this opportunity to get his cooperation.
Hm... But wouldn't Keith not want to work with Central?
I can't speak to Keith's motives, but neither of you are directly associated with Central. He would not likely find any issue working with you two as you continue your work. In fact, you two may be the only ones who can convince him to cooperate.
I guess we can ask Keith for help, but I don't know if he's someone we should rely on...
We need to do something about the drought. We'll use anything we can get.
I get what you're saying, but...
Even so, it can't hurt to ask, right?
Lotte, I think everyone wants to do something about the Dusk. The goals of Stellard and Central are finally coinciding and they're trying to cooperate, even just a little. Maybe we should be the ones to lead everyone by example.
I guess if you're going that far, we can try finding this rogue alchemist.
Thanks, Lotte! Solle, we'll go find Keithgriff.
Don't get too far ahead of yourselves.. There aren't even any clues to where he is.
You should ask at the Corporation... The chairman might know something.
Yes! Perriend, do you know where Keith is?
There's no way I would know that. I care about criminals' whereabouts as much as I care about Slag tears.
Maybe he's on the eastern continent?
When Keithgriff visited the Corporation the other day, he hinted at an interest in the ruins around Faav Village.
Ruins? Around Faav Village?
Yes, he's studying the legends surrounding them. I'm sorry I don't know more than that.
No, that's alright! Thank you, Linca!
Let's go, Lotte!
So now we need to learn more about mysterious areas in the Dusk Sea and legends around Faav Village. Who would know a lot about those kinds of things?
Legends of the Dusk Sea
Yes. You've traveled to many places, so I thought you might know something.
The east was an unknown land for a long time... I don't know much about it.
Oh... That's right.
But I have heard some old sayings about it.
That the Lord of Water spirits lives on the eastern continent.
Water spirits. We might not be able to see them, but they live everywhere there's water. And that's their Lord.
The Lord of Water spirits... I wonder if there's any relation to the Dusk...?
It's just a saying, I don't know if it's true.
Where on the eastern continent should we meet them?
You seem... Busy.
Yeah, pretty busy. The officials from Central work people to the bone!
We travel to the east, and study water sources, and visit ruins... We're on the Dusk Sea a lot.
Oh... Well, if you have time for a break, do you want to hear an interesting story about the Dusk Sea?
Whoa... That sounds exciting!
Right?? The ruin is aptly named the Castle of Mirages.
Mirages... That's a strange name.
It's the name used by treasure hunters and adventurers, so it's no surprise.
Why's it named that way?
I don't understand...
It's said the Castle of Mirages is somewhere in the Dusk Sea, but no one knows exactly where. It's there, for sure. The ruins are like a dream, though, and nobody knows much about it.
How can you say it really exists, then?
Heheh... I wonder why. If you're interested, you should search for a place where you can get a wide, open view of the Dusk Sea.
Whaaa? Where's a high place where you can get a view like that?
Also, both of you.
If you're having trouble, I recommend you listen carefully.
Yes. It's possible that a mysterious singing voice will help guide you...
A mysterious voice...
I'm not sure if we've heard anything like it, but it's still true there's a lot of the Dusk Sea we don't know about. Well, why don't we head toward Faav Village? Our investigation should start there.
To the place of destiny
What is it, master?
There's something I want to ask.
Mhmm, there's supposed to be a place called the Spirit's Altar on the eastern continent. It's north of Faav Village. Could you come with me?
I don't mind... But why?
I know you mentioned there's still plenty of water to the east, and I think it's because of that Lord of Water. They seem like they would know something about the water drying up in this town. What do you think?
It sounds plausible a Lord of Water would know a lot about water... Good thinking, Wilbell!
Ehehe! It's only natural.
But master, when did you do all this research?
When we went to the east, of course! As you were gathering information on the droughts, I was gathering information about spirits.
Oooh, that's pretty clever!
There's nothing to "Ooh" about. It's obvious. Anyway, let's get going.
Master! You seem really excited!
Why wouldn't I be?!
Lotte... You don't really seem like an apprentice.
Oh ho ho! It's so lively in here!
Oh, hello, Teo.
Sorry we're always barging onto the ship like this.
Haha, don't worry about it. So where're you going today?
The Spirit's Altar. We're going to meet the Lord of Water.
What? The Lord of Water?
Why are you so surprised, Teo...
It's said to be especially powerful, even compared to other Lord level spirits.
Is it really that strong...?
How do you know this, Teo?
When I was a child, Lugion Village was still trading with the east. The waters there were ruled by that Lord of Water.
I see, so stories about spirits aren't uncommon there, either.
No worries, people. I've already contracted with the Lord of Fire and the Lord of Wind.
What! You're crazy, master! How could you do all that?!
Huh, I didn't tell you? Oh well. I'll contract with the Lord of Water, too.
Alright, master! Let's hurry over!
It's nice to practice alchemy when we're just traveling on the Dusk Sea...
The power of dragons!? Wow!
This is so beautiful...
I had no idea there were still places like this in this world... Wait, what's wrong with that sheep?
It's over there now!
Get after it!
Ah! I was so close!
What a strange creature...
Music: Sanctuary of Water
I can feel it. The spirits are getting stronger here. The altar should be close.
I've never met a spirit before... What are spirits like, Wilbell?
Well, spirits are like humans. They're all different. The Wind Lord I made a contract with was scary, but she was nice when I got a chance to talk to her. I was so young then... The Fire Lord was REALLY scary until she got something for her altar back, but then she was really helpful.
I see... Do you know anything about the Earth Lord?
I haven't heard anything about that. It should exist, but no one knows anything about it.
The landscape here is amazing. It's hard to believe these are natural.
Are you going to write this in your book too, Jurie?
You bet. This is something people haven't seen for a long time, if ever. If I could get people interested in exploring the Dusk Sea, who knows what's out there?
I know how you feel. I really wish I could fly and see it all, though...
Never say never
We're finally here!
...This is impossible.
I... Can't handle this... This great power... Great anger...
The Lord of Water is nearby?
Just ahead... But we can't go any further. We have to go back... It's too dangerous.
You're giving up after coming this far?! Is that okay?!
I'm not stupid. Even I won't try to do something impossible.
That doesn't sound like you at all! You haven't even met the Lord of Water yet!
...What do you know, you aren't even a magician!
Master! I finally found you!
Why did you just leave like that? I was so surprised! The Spirits' Altar sure is a crazy place, though... It really felt like a place you can see spirits! Oh right...
Do you know how to contract with a spirit?
...No. Is there some sort of... Really difficult incantation?
Heh...I wish it was that easy. No, you show them your true strength. As in, prove to them you're stronger.
That sounds... Violent.
You could say it's the capacity for your whole self.
Sorry. I'm actually kinda scared... I've never seen a spirit with so much power before. I got overwhelmed before even meeting it... I lost before it began. I know I don't act that serious... But I've got a lot of training in magic, at least. But... This difference is too much. I am a weakling... Could never contract with the Lord of Water...
I know you're not really one to give up that easily. I'm sure you know from your own experience that you won't be able to beat the Lord of Water. I can't understand myself like that... I get carried away and fail, and end up running away. And I do it over and over again.
But I finally understand lately. One step at a time. I started by being a trash picker, and then learned alchemy, and now I'm all the way over on the eastern continent. It's amazing... I never would've thought I could do this just a short while ago. Though I still don't get it. I still don't know anything about myself... But I'm learning.
What are you talking about...? That doesn't make any sense.
Sorry! But you seem to understand yourself, master. You understand yourself, and that you won't be able to stand up to the Lord of Water. That is the right choice. You don't have to do it now. You can contract with the Lord of Water any time. You just need to take it one step at a time, get stronger, and try again.
...Why are you only serious at a time like this?
...I'm not serious all the time?
Not... At all.
Whatever, I get it.
I actually don't understand myself at all, either. I was just scared by the Lord of Water's presence and tried to run away.
...Shallotte. Will you come with me?
Music: Darkness of Oblivion
Please be careful, Wilbell!
I'm fine, leave this to me.
Leave this place.
...Please. Oh Lord of Water, lend me your strength!
The power of water. The source of life. You are foolish to seek such power, human. Your greed pollutes all that is pure. You know only selfish desire. Thirst, struggle, until you wither and die.
Music: Kawaki no Rinkaku
The contract is complete.
Everything is clogged, getting dirty and polluted... Rotting... Drying out? ...Is this inside of the earth?
Yeah, thanks to you. You really helped out!
I... I didn't do much.
Wilbell... Are you okay?
Yeah. Sorry about running off before. Are you tired of me now?
I see... That's good. Thanks. But more importantly, there's something that's worrying me...
What is it?
Just now... I saw the Lord of Water's memories... They have to do with the water on this continent.
Memories of water...?!
Yes. It could be helpful in finding the cause of the droughts or the Dusk.
Yes. I... I want to stop the Dusk. After seeing the Lord of Water's memories... I NEED to stop it. ...But I don't know what to do.
Oh and Shallotte!
Am I still your master?