It wasn't widely known that the Sorcerer's Ring was a dwarven-crafted artifact, or that there were two of them in the whole world. The one most used by the Heroes of Union was the one found in the Martel Temple near Iselia. The Tethe'allan counterpart was stowed in a safe within the Martel Cathedral in Meltokio. It also wasn't public knowledge that the gem set in both rings were mana crystals, pulled from deep within the earth and traumatized so they would be affected readily by the mana around them. Thus the reason why ring reactors could be found in many areas of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla; they were what tuned the mana crystals to the specific type of mana output that would be best suited to the environment. The creation of the two rings had been incredibly difficult, even for Cruxis' dwarven force working day and night to forge them.
Which explained Altessa's current mood in a nutshell.
"Blasted crystal!" the dwarf bellowed as another of the tiny gems shattered into dust. The tool had been set too high to properly tune the mana crystal. He sighed, checked his inventory of the crystals, then called out for Caleb. The automatic doll jogged in with a smile, cheerful as always and still clad in the same green outfit that had been heavily modified from Tabatha's old clothes.
"Here I am! I'm making a nice cordon bleu with a tasty sauce for lunch. I can't wait for you to try it!" Caleb remarked brightly, red hair tied back with a frayed green ribbon, the same one he wore a few months ago on a quest to save the world from certain hunger. Altessa raised an eyebrow questioningly, then harrumphed.
"Wren sent you that recipe, right?" he grumbled. Caleb only smiled wider. "I need you to go to NeOzette and pick up a few new blocks of material for my projects." the dwarf told him and gave him a small sack of gald to work with. "If there's anything left, buy something for yourself. I suggest a travel pack."
"A... travel pack?" Caleb echoed in confusion as he took the money. Altessa waved a hand in dismissal.
"Go on and get started! I haven't got all the time in the world to be hammering on old metals to get this crafted!" he added loudly, pushing the doll out of his workshop, "Get out, get out!" Caleb waved his arms, trying to keep from falling over as he found himself being shoved all the way to the front door.
"W-wait! But... lunch!" he protested.
"I'll finish it! Get going!"
Caleb blinked as the door was shut and looked around himself in confusion. What was going on? Since returning from his adventure with Wren, known to all others as simply the Wonder Chef, Altessa had been working almost feverishly on several things. One involved an Elemental Cargo that had been abandoned on the shore near Sybak, another seemed to be centered around the new Sorcerer's Ring Altessa was trying to forge. What was the dwarf planning to do with an EC and a mana crystal ring?
"Strange." the doll muttered and headed for the Elemental Carriage.
NeOzette had a similar layout to the old Ozette, but was in the midst of doing a village wide renovation to include half-elves among the populace. It was part of Colette's teachings to learn to accept those of another race, and since Colette was such a sweet girl -not to mention she knew Judgment and wasn't afraid to use it- the town tried its best to accept the idea of half-elves living with them.
Caleb had parked the carriage and headed out to search for the materials Altessa wanted. He already knew which ones to look for, the list had long been input into his memory and could be called up at any time. The doll liked sorting through the information he had, sometimes surprising himself with how much he knew and could remember. The local blacksmith already knew him and his routine, and only pointed towards the back without looking up from his work.
"Meltokio steel price went down. Half-elves are teaching others to mass produce the stuff." he added as an afterthought. Caleb thanked him, then went on to collect the blocks of material. He checked the amount of gald he had and smiled brightly.
"Well, Master Altessa did say I could buy something for myself. I wonder what's in the market for an automatic doll with a soul?" he remarked and strolled off.
The market was the center of commerce for NeOzette and today it bustled more than ever. People were gathered around booths and stalls, shouting out deals and offers, waving products around. Caleb looked over a table full of ribbons before finally deciding to purchase a blank journal for himself and a book of recipes. The book itself took a large amount of gald to buy, as printing was still a relatively new technology for Symphonia on the whole. At least it was cheaper than a scripted copy. Loud shouts and declarations about a new food drew his attention and he followed the sounds to its source. There was a group of people standing on a podium not far from him, holding up what appeared to be very large eggs. A crowd was listening to the speech being given about the remarkable new food item that was put out for sale.
"These delectable, delightful eggs are fit for a king, but we are generous enough to begin selling them right here in NeOzette to all of you wonderful people!" the pitchman declared enthusiastically. "So hurry on up and buy a few! You won't be disappointed!"
"What kind of eggs are they?" one woman yelled out. The announcer cradled one large white egg in his arm and waved his free hand.
"The most de-li-cious eggs in the whole world! Full of goodness and flavor!" he answered brightly, easily avoiding a real response.
"How do ya cook one?" another man in the crowd shot out. Two of the salesmen looked at each other in rising concern. Caleb joined the crowd in curiosity, maneuvering his way to the front to examine the eggs more closely. They were the size of an infant, and came in a variety of colors. The pale green ones appealed to him most, as did the soft pink eggs that were clustered nearby. In all he could guess at roughly two dozen eggs in the cart that was parked right by the podium.
"Just like any other egg! It's easy!" the pitchman went on and noticed Caleb's intense study of the batch. "You there! Young man in the green suit!" Caleb blinked and looked up at the man, pointing at himself in confusion. "Yes, sirrah! Are you a cook?"
"Yes." the doll answered slowly, unsure of what was happening. The pitchman shoved the white egg he'd been holding into Caleb's arms. "Wha-!"
"On the house, man! Cook it up and give it a try! Then everyone will know how great these eggs are!" the man declared and returned to pitching for the crowd. Caleb hugged the egg, stammered a thanks in confusion and left quickly.
"How do I get myself into these messes?" Caleb wondered aloud as he made his way back to the Elemental Carriage. He tossed the supplies into the back of the carriage and decided to take another good look at his new egg. It was very warm, that much he could sense after taking a temperature reading with his fingertips. "Must have been out in the sun all day." he commented and climbed into the driver's side seat. Pulling off his jacket, Caleb wrapped the egg with it and set it beside him in hopes of not cracking the shell on the way home.
"I suppose I could practice making an omelet the size of my head." he remarked as he began heading back to the cave.