Part 25: Chapter XXI: The Flying Side of the Youthful Wish
Raoul looks serious... I wonder what they're talking about?
Hmm, Raoul is quite the tough customer.
Business here is starting to slow down, so I was thinking about trying my luck somewhere else close by... But he scolded me and said that crossing the Dusk Sea on foot was too dangerous.
Of course it is! It's even more dangerous to go alone...
I thought I'd get by somehow...
No, no, that's impossible, just no! I'll object to that too!
Don't worry, Raoul already gave me a tongue lashing. I won't push my luck! There're a lot of nice people in this city... But that's kind of inconvenient.
(I wonder if she's planning to leave Stellard already... We only got to know each other...)
I'm sure I'll figure something out, but I need to start making sales. It's tough making money out there these days. Maybe I should take some Union jobs... Still, it's pretty great to take advantage of that kindness to make money! Oops, did I say advantage? ...Let's just keep this a secret between us, okay? Anyway, I need to get to work on getting new items. Please feel free to visit anytime!
Hmm, she's pretty tough... Maybe I could learn something from her?
Solle. Give shiny.
Hm? Again? I suppose I can't help it.
When feeling down. This is good. ...
Homura, is something the matter...?
Today. Wind. Is just strange.
It seems knowing homunculi were artificial lifeforms created by humans as experiments is bothering him.
I...see... Hey, Homura... You're still yourself, you know...?
...I give. Shiny.
... (I don't know what to say...)
...Solle. Your shiny. Really good.
Solle. Reason. I'm different. From others. Because. Was made. That way?
...I don't think that's something you need to worry over. You'll always be yourself.
... By the way, there's something I needed to tell you. There've been sightings of terribly powerful sea monsters in Various parts of the Dusk Sea.
Oh, you'll be fine. Still, you should be careful when doing your investigations.
Solle. Shallies. Sudden, but... Busy tomorrow?
Huh? Is something happening?
Well. Tomorrow. My funeral. Please come.
Wait... Your FUNERAL!? Solle, what does this mean!?
...Oh, it's time for that. I had completely forgotten.
Solle! You don't need to be so cold at a time like this...!
Please settle down. Homura's funeral isn't something that can be avoided...
I know it's important, but...
...Shallies. Come with?
Do you want to go outside?
No. Just walk. Walk is like. Shiny.
Hello, young ladies. Raoul's been sighing all day. Do you know why?
Could it be...?
Yes, it has to be. No questions.
"That"? So you have an idea?
Yeah... But I don't know if we can talk about it?
Could affect. Man's honor. Pride.
T-That might be true...
Oh, so it's a lady, then.
H-How did you know!? You can't tell anyone!
Whoa, I'm not trying to start rumors or anything. I just wanted to help my friend...
What should we do... Lotte?
Hmm, let's see...
Did you say Linca?
1 Please don't say you heard anything from us.
So what about Linca?
So this Linca seven just needs to know how he feels, right?
I don't think this is something you could just tell her for him...
I know that. What we need to do is call Linca seven and Raoul to the same place, then... Wait! There she is! We can't let our prey escape!
That doesn't quite sound right...
Hey there, Linca seven.
Wh-Where did the "seven" come from?!
Yo. Linca seven! Copied. My nickname.
So this is your fault, Homura... I was surprised for a moment. Anyway, do you have business with me?
Yeah, about that... You see... ...That guy... Linca... He likes... Uh...
...Wait, Homura does!?
Um... This is so sudden, I'm not prepared for this... Do you mind if we just start as friends?
Noooo! I'm such an idiot! Damn it!
I think... This just got even more complicated than before...
Is that all?
Y-Yeah, I guess...
Not interested. In. Linca.
I know, little Homura, but I don't have much experience when it comes to things like this. Oh brother, maybe I should just stay out of it. I'll see you three later, okay?
Shallies. Coming to. Funeral tomorrow?
Lotte, is it okay if I go back to the atelier now? I need to get started on more synthesis.
Sure. I wasn't going to do much today... I'll see you later!
Hm...I wonder why she's in a good mood today?
I wonder what they taste like... Can't wait! Guided by the delicious smell of sweets, Shallotte makes her grand entrance!
Oh, you're here. I suppose you want to get started, but...
Yes! I can't wait!
No, I'm sorry for making you come out here, but... The sweets didn't turn out well.
What!? No way...!
Burned to a crisp. Probably because the oven was overheated.
I guess I'll be going... Bye, Solle...
Wait, there's still something I need you to do for me.
You don't have any sweets, what else is there to do...?
Is that all you see me good for? Actually, I have an important message for you. Your friend, Miruca Crotze... She's been selected to receive a scholarship in Central.
Why would I lie about something like this?
Okay, I need to get going! I need to tell Miruca right away! Excuse me!
I was planning on asking her to deliver the news anyway... I suppose it worked out. Now, time for the sweets that did turn out well...
She's so talented, no matter how you look at it! Uu, I need to tell someone about this...! ...But first, Miruca! I can't wait to see the look of surprise on her face! Although she's pretty skeptical... She might not believe it... But when she finds out it's true, I'm sure she'll be over the moon. ...Yeah! I need to go tell her!
Uhhgh, shut down so fast... But I just know you'll be surprised when you hear this!
...Okay, I get it, just tell me and get it over with.
Well, Solle told me some great news... You've been selected for a scholarship in Central!
What's with that reaction!? Is it because you don't believe me?
Then why aren't you happy? Are you... Not happy about this?
Going to Central would mean leaving here for a long time. I wouldn't be able to see my sister, or Al... Or you. Even with all that...do you still want me to go to Central?
Huh? ...Well, um, I guess it would get a little lonely here... But wasn't your dream to go to Central and become a great alchemist? That's why...
My dream... I wish it were that simple, Shal. I'm not sure what I want to do in the future... Could you let me think for a while? This is an important decision.
S-Sure... I'll see you later.
She didn't seem excited at all... But it's something I need to celebrate with her. First, a present... Maybe something alchemy related would be best? But I can't really make difficult things... Hmm. No, I shouldn't get intimidated so easily. I'm sure Miruca will be able to do even more complicated Imbuing afterwards... I can't lose. Alright, I'll definitely do this!
I want Miruca to become a great alchemist when she goes to Central...
Hard work is really important!! But... If I used the ingredients in here, eventually it would get empty... It could even happen sooner than I think...!? Wah! No, I don't want that to happen! The only thing left to do is keep stockpiling, so I'd never run out! Alright! I'll keep gathering even more! Yeah!
Shallie, is something wrong?
No! I'm gonna go out and gather some ingredients around town!
Be back for dinner.
Why are you asking that now, master? Of course I'm serious. Super serious! When you flew me to safety from that flock of viscious sheep... That's part of why I became your apprentice! You were so cool back then... I still remember it like it was yesterday!
Could you stop making such a big deal out of it? But now that you mention it... That's when we first met. At first I thought you were crazy or something, but you've been putting up with my nonsense too...
Huh? Did you say something?
A-ahem! Right, I have good news for you. Apparently there's a way for alchemists to fly, too.
What the WHAT!? Master Wilbell, are you serious!?
Well, it's just something I heard about. You should ask an alchemist to tell you more. ...Sorry I don't know more.
Master! Thank you so much! I'll try asking around!!
Sure. I'm glad you're happy. I've done what I can, as your master! The rest is up to you!
Alright, I'm getting excited now! Let's go get more information! Alchemists in town... There's Stera, Keith, and Escha. Oh, and Miruca, but I don't know if she would know how to work with the kind of alchemy I do...
Hm... This might not be much use, but... Do you remember the item you made to restore flight to this ship? The Gravistone is capable of generating flight, but the ability of whatever you attach the Gravistone to fly depends on the size. If you made something small, you could fly with that.
A Gravistone!? So this is what was powering this ship! Wait, I'm surprised Gravistones could even be used that way! This is a huge discovery!
Gravistones as a power source was invented during my father's time. An improved form is in this ship. Was this useful for you, Shallie?
Yeah, yeah! It was really helpful! I just thought of something great!!
That's good, Shallie... I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Ehehe. Flying has been my dream ever since meeting my master.
I think you'd look... Nom... Really cool while flying!
Go, fight! I'll do my best! ...By the way, Shallie, this isn't a big deal, but...
You really seem to like meat...
Yes. Meat is delicious.
S-sure. That's fine. Anyway, thanks! I hope you like what I figure out!
Haha... I haven't eaten meat for a long time, so I think I'll stay here for a while... Teo, do we have any more meat?
I am thinking! Really hard! But then I started thinking about the huge number of problems too!
I figured getting some advice from a really smart experienced person would get better results!
...So how do you desire to fly? Ride on or in something? Maybe holding onto something, or simply move your body?
Riding in something is simple, with a vehicle like a Sand Ship. Holding onto something would need a strong grip...
I'd probably get tired and fall...
Even if you don't fall, there's still the danger of death by suffocation.
Keith, stop! I don't even want to think about something so dangerous!
I'm sorry, I got a little carried away... I'll think seriously, so please stop giving me that scary look! Anyway, what kind of do I want it to be...
Hmm... So simply moving your body itself is out?
Alright! This was super helpful, Keith! It's great to have a capable superior around!
...Since when am I your superior?
Heh heh, don't worry about the details! Anyway, thanks Keith!
Hm? Al...? What could have happened? What's wrong, Al?
Oh, Shallie... Father scolded me again today.
Oh yeah, Mr. Perriend is really strict... Why'd he scold you?
The same old complaint... That I need to "be more serious as the successor to the Corporation"... Hahh...
I can kind of understand where Mr. Perriend is coming from...
Are you siding with my father!?
N-No, that's not really what I meant, ahaha...!
But even more painful than the scolding is the fact that he's deciding my future for me.
What's your dream for your future, anyway?
...I want to study ancient civilization. Although I'm sure father would refuse that outright.
(Huh, he's actually got a pretty serious dream. That's unexpected.)
I've always been fascinated with it. An advanced civilization, lost to time... How did they live...?
Oh right! Automatons were created during that time, too.
So it seems. Everything about them is shrouded in mystery. More compelling than any book or artifact...
Aaand it all leads back to her... And here I was almost touched for a moment. But Al, when Perriend gets too old to lead the Corporation and leaves it to you, couldn't you just do whatever you want?
I'm sure if father left the Corporation to me, he would expect me to run it. I don't want to let him down when it comes to that, but I'm just not interested in it at all. I don't know what to do...
It does seem pretty complicated... Maybe Linca could do it?
Oh, hello Miruca!
I didn't make you wait, did I?
No, I just got here too!
If it isn't Stera and Miruca... Are you two going somewhere together?
Yes. We had plans to visit Escha's shop.
Escha's place, huh... I wonder if she has anything tasty?
I think so. I wanted to get Homura a yummy snack, too.
Oh, that's nice of you! Maybe I should come along.
Okay then, let's go.
I changed my mind. Could you two go instead?
What are you talking about? Let's get going!
...I know I'm just getting in the way.
What's that supposed to mean!? Miruca! Wait!
Let's try checking over there next...
Music: The Twilight and the Hourglass
Sheesh, what happened, Miruca? You're acting so weird!
...Why'd you come after me? You two should just go along yourselves. Sorry about getting in the way until now. ...
I... Kind of understand how Miruca feels.
You and Miruca have a lot of memories together, right? I'm just...really jealous. And it's frustrating.
Yes, just a little. Miruca told me about some of the times you spent together. I feel like she showed me something really important... It made me happy. That's why I think it's our turn to talk to Miruca about the things we've done. Miruca... Do you want to hear?
So that's why... Sorry, Miruca! I really like you and Stera... You're both really important to me... That's why... Um...
What's with you... Shal... I'm sorry too. I don't mind if it's over tea. You don't mind telling me what you two have been up to, do you?
Miruca...! Yeah, of course! I wonder where we should start?
Lotte, settle down...
Ah? Welcome everyone, need anything?
Oh, Escha... Sorry for the commotion in front of your shop.
Ahaha, that's okay! Come on in! I just finished making some sweets, you should have some.
Wow... Thank you so much. I'll help make some tea.
Yay! C'mon, Miruca!
Miruca, do you have a second? Shallies, why don't you get started on the tea?
Friends are like apple tarts and chocolate cakes, you know?
If you like them both, there's no need to choose between them!
...I'm not sure that's the best way to put it.
If you think of anything, please, tell me! Don't hold back! No need to hide anything!
Ahaha... I don't really intend to hide anything! Let's see... This might work...
Whoaa! An engine using alchemy? Central's pretty amazing!
Using this as a base, we built an airship engine at the branch I used to work at...
I see... This looks pretty useful...
It puts out too much power like this, and it's dangerous. You need to tune it properly.
Alright, I'm getting even more excited about this! Thanks, Escha!
That's the spirit, Shallie! Do your best!
You seem to be in a good mood.
Yeah, but I'm thinking right now.
Hehe, well then make sure to focus, my future grand alchemist ♪
Hmm... I'm trying to think of a plan, but it's harder than expected... I don't remember the last time I thought this hard... Uu, my head hurts. I wonder if I have a fever... Waah, I can't think of anything! This is awful! I can't do anything at all!
Yes, reinforcements! Miruca, this is all I've ever wanted in my entire life!! Please, help me!!
I'm working on a flying machine, and I've asked all the other alchemists in Stellard, but I just can't think of how to put everything together! It's so frustrating!!
Calm down. I know how to put machines together.
Hmm, yes, ok, I see...
...And then set it like this. That should work out, roughly.
Whoa! That was easy to understand, Miruca! You're really smart!
I just put your thoughts onto paper. You understand things, but you're just bad at organizing your thoughts.
Uu, I can't tell if you're complimenting me or insulting me... But this should finish the recipe!
So... What are you going to do with something like this?
Because it's cool! ...I wanted to see the same thing as I did back then.
Back when my master saved me, flying on her broom. Stellard was just a speck from up there! ...I thought the world was a super big lace, and didn't have anything to do with me. But I was wrong. If I can fly, the world will get smaller, and I could go anywhere! I could even bring my mom to Central...
At first, all I wanted was to satisfy myself. But when studying alchemy, I discovered more important things. It's really fun to work for the sake of others! I didn't understand that when I was picking up trash on the street... But I've got a ton of dreams now! If I don't accomplish this, I won't be able to move on to other things... This is just the first step.
That's rude! I'm growing too, you know!
...Do your best. I'm sure you can do it. Although I don't know about being the world's first.
Thanks, Miruca! I'll definitely complete this!
Now that that's done... Solle came by my atelier earlier, and said he wanted to speak to me about the scholarship. I'll be going to the Union now.
Oh! I'll come with you!
Are you sure...? It's not like you'll be going to Central.
You're my friend! No matter what you decide, I'll be there to support you.
Oh, hello Shallie... I see you're brought your friend along. I called you here because of your scholarship. We'd like to know if you have an answer for us.
...I'm grateful, but I refuse.
Huh!? What do you mean!? I'm so sorry Solle, I think she's just confused!
Shal, no. I'm serious. I don't need to go to Central to fulfill my dreams.
But, your dream...to study in Central...and become a great alchemist...
I was wrong. The fixation on Central wasn't really what I was feeling. I was just going on what I'd heard about Central, who all say it's where to go to improve and move up in the world. But after listening to Escha... I understood. Knowing what you really want to do for yourself is more important. I want to stay here. I'd rather work to help the people in the city, who're important to me, than people I don't know in Central.
Then we will offer this scholarship to another.
Yeah, please. ...What's wrong, Shal?
Miruca, wow. I'm so moved! And inspired, and happy... I don't even know what to think...!
Shal, just stop it already.
...Master, may I make a request of them?
You don't need to ask for permission to make a request. That's your business.
Very well then, I shall make my request.
Huh... What's going on...?
Wh-What should we do if she makes some huge request...!?
Shallies, there's something I would like to ask of you. I'd like you to supply me with a variety of sweets.
You mean like...candy?
Sweets have the power to relax a tired mind and heart. Please bring some to me.
I understand. Um... Keith?
What kind of sweets do you like?
Why would you ask me? The one making the request is Odelia.
Wait, Ms. Odelia wasn't ordering sweets for you?!
Are you assuming automatons such as myself do not require food?
Wait, you DO?!
It's true that, from a purely functional perspective, I do not require food. However... I learned that consuming sweets can have an extremely soothing effect on the mind.
See? I have nothing to do with it. Just make her what she wants, please.
O-Okay, I understand.
Regardless, please fulfill my request.
Is that pipe something you really treasure, Keith?
It's nothing more than a normal pipe, really.
Hmm, I see. (He sure is treating it like it's really important though.)
If I may interject, that pipe was from...
It's just a pipe.
You should take a break too...
Huh, is that okay?
Constantly working will drain your energy faster than you realize...
(Keith always seems different when he smokes that pipe. What is it!?)
Was there a reason you two are still here?
Yes. I heard from Solle that various powerful monsters have started appearing around the Dusk Sea. We were about to head outside of town to do a little investigation.
I see. Are you sure you don't want to work on your flying device?
I'm fine, don't worry!
I see. Well then, let's be off.
So...dragons are here, too.
Huh? Did you say something?
Nothing. Let's take care of this and move on.
I can't believe it. We took down all three of the dragons that were in the Stellard region. There's nothing that can stop us!
That was nothing.
The Altar of Spirits, huh?
I thought there might a good chance some of the powerful monsters came to the altar.
Oh no... What's that shaking!?
This is... Something's coming towards the ship! Watch out!
Yeah! We actually won!
Whew... Looks like we came through okay.
By a hair's breadth...
The Dusk Sea has not only monsters like the one we fought, but also things you might call "legends".
Oh hm, that's kind of scary...
The monster's recent violence may be related to the droughts. We must exercise utmost caution.
Did you two want to keep going to the Altar of Spirits?
Nah, we should probably turn back. That dragon took nearly all of our supplies to beat.
Is that okay with you, Miss?
...Miruca. Have you been eating well?
Don't worry, I'm fine.
...I see. ...Thanks for my equipment.
It's nothing. I wouldn't want you to get hurt...
...I'm more worried for you.
I can defend myself. ...I've got something to do. I'm leaving.
...What's with her? Bad mood?
Ms. Linca, are you taking a break from work?
Yes. we've had so many visitors today. I'm a little tired...
Now that I think about it. Mr. perriend has it pretty tough too.
Although at first, I just thought he was a scary old man...
Hehe... I've never thought of the chairman as scary.
That reminds me, how and when did you two meet? ...And how do you know my mom?
It was a long time ago... I was still a child. It must have been soon after I escaped from the facility. I wandered into this city with nothing, but the chairman took me in and raised me. For a long time, I would watch Ms. Nady as she worked.
I see. My mom never told me anything about this.
I was sent to school, and once I reached a working age, I asked the chairman to allow me to repay my debt. He said he'd simply performed his responsibility as someone with wealth, but I still felt a need to repay him.
So that's why you became his secretary...
Yes. Ms. Nady taught me everything. I'm very happy to be able to work with the chairman.
Huh, I didn't know any of this before.
Anyway, I should get back to work. Excuse me.
Homura... Are you really dying!?
Was good life. Tinus Alexandros the 7th. Life ends. Returns to heaven. Shallies. Pray too. Shallies. Solle. Homura's friends...
Homura...! Why did you have to die!?
Homura...! You've come back to life!?
Solle...what happened!? We saw Homura disappear!
Homunculi like Homura enter an eternal slumber at set intervals, before reviving. I was surprised, too.
...I didn't know... I was so shocked!
Not revive. Reincarnate.
The homunculi call it reincarnation.
Then... Does that mean homunculi don't die?
From our perspective. I guess it could be called immortality. From my research, new individuals are never born.
Solle. We are not. Immortal. Reborn. That means. Not Tinus Alexandros. The 7th. The 8th now!
Homura. Congratulations. Good funeral.
Yes, congratulations Homura.
I don't really understand... But I'm just glad Homura was reborn...
For homunculi, being seen off by their close friends is a very important thing.
Right. Harry. Wanted to attend. But not friend. Denied!
Harry. Hung around. Wanted to see. Any funeral.
Harry. Just nuisance.
Homura's friends. Our friends. All refused Harry.
I don't really get it, but I know I saw something really important...
Glad. We get along. From now too.