Part 27: Chapter XXIII: The Valiant Side of the Great Heroes
No, it's okay! I guess not very many people have actually seen it.
What kind of dish is it...?
It's extravagant and luxurious, but pretty much only seen in books these days. It seems hard to gather all the ingredients, but I want to try it sometime... I actually have the book here, but I'm not sure if I have enough ingredients. Do you want it?
Sure! I want to see if I can make it!
I wonder if the ultimate dishes are made with meat...
Oh, hey, you have perfect timing...
What is it?
Mm, I suppose you could call it work... We've received reports of a dangerous dragon that appeared in the Dusk Sea.
Dangerous... Is it something like the Sand Dragon?
It appears much more dangerous than the Sand Dragon. It's SO dangerous, we hardly have any information on it.
I've never heard of anyone seeing anything like this before...
Why so suddenly?
That's what I want to know.
...Could it be...
Could it be... Because we hunted down so many dragons?
We can't be certain of such a relation.
But you said there could be an effect on the ecosystem, right?
...I did say that.
The world's never easy, is it...
...We'll take care of this.
Why do you say that?
If there's a chance what we did caused this dragon to appear, we need to take responsibility.
But we're the ones who asked you to do it in the first place.
I can't deny that. Are you really okay with this?
Yeah. ...Right, Shallie?
So Solle, nobody knows where the dragon is?
Not right now, no. We've received the reports about the dragon from Faav Village. The dragon is probably in that region.
The area around Faav Village... There's not many places a large dragon could hide, right?
The eastern continent doesn't have many places, no. We should probably focus on large places, though we can probably exclude the herb garden area. Aside from that, and the Castle of Mirages, there's not many large areas where a dragon could live. Wasn't there anywhere else?
Um...the Heaven's Vine is a large area near Faav Village. We should start looking there.
Good idea. Raoul, has there been any reports of trouble caused by the dragon?
None that I've heard.
Yo. You two. You noticed?
Oh! Those are Escha's tarts!
Jealous? Not made. With alchemy. Baked properly!
Hmm. Do you think baked ones are better than ones made with alchemy, Homuran?
Well... Matter. Of Feelings!
A matter of feelings... That reminds me, my coworker in Colseit said something like that too. I guess with synthesis, you kind of worry about what ingredients were used.
Really? I don't really mind, as long as it tastes good...
Oh, well, I understand that! I guess that puts me with the worriers...
Grr... I see... I think I'm the type who doesn't care as long as it tastes good...
Even alchemists. Think different! By the way. In Colseit. Only met alchemists. Who were officials. Shallies. Somewhat refreshing.
I'm a little curious, just what makes us so refreshing?
When you're an official, you're always following orders.
Could that really make a difference? ...Oh, what about Keith?
...Him. Can't handle!!
Huh, why not?
Him... Wants to know. All my secrets!
He's just interested. You should try and be a little more friendly with him.
Escha. Don't care. If one day. Find me dissected!?
You seem really specific in what you're afraid of...
I'm more afraid that I could totally see that happening...
Right!? Don't want. To be fillet!!
It wasn't just me. Everyone worked together.
But that's still amazing! I really want to fly through the sky!
You too? I felt the same way... I was so elated when I finally got to...!
I'm getting excited just hearing about it!
I'd ridden in a balloon before, but it was completely different...
That's awesome! I wonder if I could see how far the Dusk Sea goes if I could fly?... Although, that might be a little disappointing...
I don't think so... It's wonderful to see how small your world really is, and see the whole world going on and on...
I'll find a way to fly myself some day...!
What did you make there, Stera?
It's a talisman that's been passed down in my clan. Teo gave me the recipe to make it, but... I feel kind of strange when I look at it.
It does look really mysterious, huh?
My clan calls it the "Talisman of Ancient Beasts". There's a story in my clan that long ago, Lugion was protected by "Beast Men", but it's really nothing more than a legend. Something like this, though...
Well, it's powerful, right?
Yes, but I don't know if that's all it does.
No doubt about it. There it is.
So this is...!
Whoa, this thing looks more dangerous than the Sand Dragon...!!
...What's this voice!?
Do you intend to do battle with me, humans...?
...Yeah! As long as you keep harming people, we'll have to keep fighting you!
And if you were to defeat me, you would continue to kill my kind?
...If it were possible to coexist, we'd try that... But...
...I knew it. That's a shame, seeing how we're actually able to talk like this...
That cannot be helped. The worlds we live in are too different. Since we cannot coexist, our only choice is a conflict of pride.
...Yeah. Very well. Here we come!
Music: FJ: Arm of Divinity
We were able to talk, but in the end, we couldn't communicate a damn thing to each other. ...I guess that means we need to come up with our own answers.
...Hey, Shallie. I thought I had seen more and knew more of this world than anyone in the village, but... I still hardly know anything at all.
...Nothing worth mentioning.
But you were pacing in circles! Is something troubling you?
We'll help if we can!
...I was just thinking that I needed to resupply my herbs.
Oh, that's all...? That's a relief.
I told you it wasn't worth mentioning.
If you need to resupply, it's better to just get it over with.
Very well. Shall we go?
No, wait. I need to think.
Is it really something to think about?
The amount he's been consuming has grown considerably compared to when he's alone... He most likely doesn't wish to admit it.
He's smoking more... It IS stressful to be on a ship for so long... Is there anything we can do?
Stera... I don't really think that's the issue... But it's kind of strange. I don't smell any tobacco.
Master does not smoke tobacco. He did a few years ago, but stopped out of concern for his health.
Ugh. Odelia, we're going.
Hey Kortes, what're you thinking about?
Oh... Just about how this world makes you think about a lot of things.
When I was in Stellard, and after I came back to the village, I didn't know anything. Now I've talked to dragons, seen spirits and ruins of a past civilization... There's so much I don't know.
There's a lot we didn't know back in the village...
Yeah. And despite that, I was complaining about how the village never changed, like I knew everything.
I want to see change, not be bound by the stale old traditions of the village. My opinion hasn't changed on that. But that doesn't mean everything about the village is wrong. For example, the alchemy in the village isn't a stale tradition. New alchemy can't do everything, either. ...Everything doesn't need to be changed for the sake of change, only things that need it.
I'm sure there's still a lot in Lugion Village, too.
...Yeah, you're right. I'm sure of it!
When we return to the village, I should examine our past...
That's why we have to protect our village's future.
Exactly. Though...I'm not sure if I'll stay in Lugion forever. I'll stay as long as you need my support, but one day, I want to see the world, or at least as much of it as I can.
So Stera, what do you want to do now? Are we gonna head back to the underground city?
No... I thought we might finish Keith's request. It has been a while.
Oh yeah... What did he want us to make?
A Travel Gate.
Well that was pretty simple. I guess he was just testing if we could do it.
Phew, I'm glad you approve.
Don't be absurd, this is just the beginning. You may wish you failed here by the end.
Okay...! I'll try to prepare myself!
Prepare? Hah. You've only just started the path of alchemy. There's nothing that can prepare you for what you'll learn if you continue this path.
Whaaat? This was already hard enough, and it's just going to get worse? Wait, I mean... I'll do my best!
... Anyway, I want you to make the Medicine of the Four Beasts next. Learning the proper mixture of ingredients is not something you can read in any book. You will just have to feel out the correct recipe. When you think you're ready, come back to me.
This is gonna be easy!
That wasn't as hard as Mr. Keith made it seem. Does that mean...?
it was difficult... But thanks to this, I feel like I understand alchemy more. What should we do next? I think we can do even better!
Yeah, I feel like I could synthesize something amazing!
There's nothing more I can teach you. You should think about what to do next on your own.
Huh, what does that mean?
No way, we're finally getting into it. Why now?
All I did was give you a chance to draw out that talent. You need to think for yourselves about what to do now.
I'll keep working at it!
If you need advice, I can tell you anytime. I'll take my leave.
Keith seems really strict, but he's actually really nice.
If my dad was still alive, maybe he'd be like that... Anyway, let's get back tand keep synthesizing more stuff!
Yes, we need to keep thinking on our own so we can keep improving!
Sheesh. You never change, Reyfer.
And you haven't changed a bit either, Escha.
Grr. I've grown, you know.
Although past a certain age, women don't enjoy being told that they've "changed"...
Solle, you aren't helping!
I think men and women are the same in that regard...
It may be a good idea to open a discussion about the correlation between age and development!
And how many customers would that attract?
You seem awfully close-minded for someone so young, Solle! How unfortunate.
But Solle is still a lot more relaxed than he used to be, right?
I wonder if that's because Mr. Grumman ain't here?
... Not both, Escha. Government officials are often seen as very conservative by others.
Yeah! The government official Solle Grumman needs to be serious!
I don't really know how I feel about that.
C'mon, don't worry about the details!
This seems like a reunion of friends who haven't seen each other in a while.
By the way Reyfer, are you still saving your money? Have you bought a house yet?
Well you see, Escha... I was invited by Harry to go on an adventure. It cost quite a bit of money to come this far... And m wallet's been getting thinner, if you know what I mean...
I see... Now that I think about it, this is pretty far from Colseit...
But you couldn't possibly think that this journey was a pointless experience!
I guess so... Yeah, I still can't really argue with Harry...
Escha, have you heard from Logy recently?
He sent me a letter a few months ago. Logy said that Ms. Marion and Linca were still busy running the branch. With me gone, Logy's had to handle all of the alchemy needs of the branch. He was saying it's pretty tough keeping up with all the demand.
That makes sense. You and Logy proved just how valuable alchemy can be to the branch's needs. We were even able to keep Central away from directly managing the branch.
That's a surprise to hear you say that, Solle. I thought a government official would want Central involved.
My concern was for the branch primarily.
I understand completely!
Even Solle is smiling... It must be nice to have old friends like that...
I hope we'll be able to do that someday too!
Um, could it be around here...?
Escha, please try not to make a mess.
Hello... Escha, are you looking for something?
Hmm, I was just wondering if there's a plant encyclopedia around here.
I wanted to look up plants native to this region...
Did you find a strange plant? Could this be a new culinary discovery...!?
Ahaha... No, it's this...
I've never seen seeds like this before...
I knew it... If possible, I wanted to find the best place for them to grow...
I'm sure your friend would be really happy if she knew you were taking it so seriously!
Yeah... I want her to be happy...
Leave to me. Solle. Solle. Have minute?
...Oh, yes. Uh, Homura...
They understand each other without saying anything! Is this what men's friendship is like? How nice!
We know. Each other. Long time.
That's right, we've known each other for quite a while.
Solle. By the way...
Oh right, I forgot. Here you go.
Om nom... Mm. Friendship. Sweet.
You can have some too.
Yay, Solle's handmade cookies!
To me. Best sweets. In the world!
Anyway, Shallie, looks we have a problem at the Ruins of Frozen Time. Surveyors in the area have noticed some particularly powerful flying slags in the area. If I recall, we have to go there anyway soon.
Yes, the path to the water control device is in that area.
Then, Homura, we should get going.
Excited. To see. What happens!
...What do you mean?
We're searching to solve that... Right?
...Let's say the water supply in Stellard can't be fixed and everyone has to move. What would you do?
...I won't let that happen.
...Yeah, that sounds like you.
Kortes. You liked your village, and Stellard, a lot more in the past.
What do you think I should do to start trusting the strength of people again?
Well, I guess we found the slags. Still, just one...
Is there something wrong?
Then we'll just have to fight.
That sure was tough...
But we have to keep going!
Does anyone else...feel that?
Hairs. Standing up. Something powerful. Close!
A... A person? No! A wolf...? Umm...
(Why have you entered our world and disturbed our lives? I am the "King of Ancient Beasts." We were born here in this city, in ancient times... After the humans who lived here died, we took over. You appear to be the descendants of humans... Who drown in their own knowledge. Only we can use these ruins. Our time has passed long ago, but we haven't disappeared, either. Do you... Choose to live along side us?)
This voice... Is that the beast talking...?
It's not a voice... I can hear it inside my head!?
It's telepathy. It's to the point where it can't speak anymore... What do we do? Is this a challenge?!
Looks like we have no choice...!
The "King of Ancient Beasts"... What WAS it?
Our people call them "Beastmen". There're ruins of underground cities all around the world, and it's confirmed that Beastmen lived in them. But thanks to having a certain alchemic item, my theory has developed in an unexpected direction... It's common knowledge that here are several gaps in the history of current human civilizations. Something should bridge the gap between civilizations, but it was a mystery until now... Apparently Beastmen fill the gap.
This talisman made it so we could understand them...?
Unfortunately, there aren't many Beastmen left...
Escha, is there something wrong?
Yes. That Beastman...looked just like one me and Logy fought back in Colseit. I never thought I'd see another one, but what Mr. Keith said...
There are two Travel Gates here... Which one should we use first?
Another ancient city?
This place looks very similar to the Geofront. We should proceed with caution. If the humans of the past built their city on top of this one, maybe they were trying to keep something out.
K-K-Keith! What the heck is this!?
This...is a Controller. This is what you fight against!
If the evil remains of past alchemy are still in this world, what will you do?
You stand and face it, head on!
Music: FJ: Hand of Dusk
Is that it...!? Did we do it!?
No. That definitely wasn't the control device, but it was a Controller. It was valuable in an of itself to destroy this one. That is the responsibility of alchemists today.
If you want to walk the path you've chosen, you need to accept responsibility for the good and evil it has done, and can do, in your hands. If you believe alchemy is a positive force in this world, you need to prove it.
Land seemed barren. Long ago too...
Back then, advanced technology from the past civilization was much more active than now. Automatons like me were tasked with various specialized occupations.
It seems like it...
Huh, how did you...?
It just seemed like that...
Could it be the same person who sends you those letters...?
What!? Why would you bring that up...!?
Ahaha... You're so cute when you get flustered, I couldn't help it...!
I don't know what to say...
That long ago, huh...? What kind of person is she?
Could she be an automaton?
She's not an automaton, she's called a Controller... But her soul was the same as us... I can't really explain it... She'd given up on us humans... But came to an understand... And she gave me these seeds... That's why I want to make this land green again... I made a promise with her...
I heard ancient alchemy created the Dusk... But that's not all there is to alchemy.
It sounds like people were thinking of ways to solve the Dusk too.