Wandering Salesman

An Atelier series fanfiction by Warrior of Sol

AN: So I got this idea off a post on GameFAQs (reproduced at the end). So I got to thinking, and I brainstormed this oneshot up. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: The Atelier series (including characters, locations, and errata) is copyright Gust Corp. Minor crossover Final Fantasy VII is copyright Square Enix. Any further references are copyright their current owners.

Abandoned Station, somewhere in the galaxy…

"So why are we here again?" I asked the woman in front of me. She's an excellent alchemist and all, trained at Al-Revis and spent her journeyman years making advances that will still be talked about decades from now (that is, if Al-Revis doesn't fall to the ground or something), but as she reached Master, and now Grand Master, she's gotten a bit… erratic.

But don't tell her I said that. Forty years old is still forty years too young to even attempt trying something on her, without her launching loads of bombs and desserts at you.

No one ever said she was an expert cook, either.

"Well, I heard that the monsters in this area all have extremely rare components – even the common ones here are worth tens of thousands of Cole back home!" she replied, spinning in a circle, arms outstretched.

"You do realize we're on a space station in the middle of nowhere?" I asked, wondering just where she got this idea.

"Sure – after all, I had to make the shuttle that got us here."

"And it never crossed your mind that we're literally millions of miles from our atelier?" At this point, I'd given up on trying to understand her. Maybe I should have done so ages ago, but obviously, that ship has sailed.

"Yes, I am aware," she replied, oblivious as ever.

"Exactly how did you figure out that there were rare enemies here, much less rare materials? Do you even think there is anything to Gather here?" I asked, hoping she at least knew a bit about what she was doing.

"There's always something to Gather, and you know it," she coolly replied. I hated it so when she got into this… mood.

"You still haven't answered the rest of my question."

"Come on. Do I need a reason for half of what I do?"

I attempted to decline the urge to facepalm. I failed horribly. "Apparently, yes."

She scoffed. "Honestly…"

We spent the rest of the day Gathering strange metallic materials. Mostly Gear-type items, but there were a few esoteric items that I found that apparently count. I don't know what a "Fusion Drive Engine" could be used for, and to be perfectly honest, I don't really care.

Being a guardian for a treasure-obsessed alchemist is a tough job. 'Least the pay is good.

A few months later…

Impact Crater, Gaea

"Okay… Tell me why we're in this meteor. I'm not particularly fond of the glowing green around here."

"You baby," my employer scoffed. "We're here for what we always do."

Ah, yes. Gather and obliterate. Mutually assured destruction optional. And also…

"What are you doing here?!" asked an approaching voice. Turning to face it, my employer and I came face-to-face with what appeared to be an adventuring party. The leader had spiky blonde hair, and a sword far larger than what I'm sure is necessary on his back.

"Ah! Welcome to the Atelier Shop! Powerful goods and the strongest of arms, all on sale!" Only she could make an introduction sound so informal and so formal at the same time.

"Atelier?" asked a girl next to the man. This one was wearing some sort of leather getup, and didn't appear to be carrying any weapon. Hand-to-hand fighter, I thought. "Doesn't that mean… workshop?"

"Yup!" my employer replied, happy that someone at last figured out the name. If we just stayed at home, instead of using that shuttle, you wouldn't need to be so happy.

"Workshop shop?" asked the ninja-looking girl.

"Don't ask," I replied. Leaning in close, I whispered, "She gets like this every so often. It's best if you ignore it." Surprisingly, she nodded,

"You haven't answered my question," the man said, crossing his arms. "What are you doing here? It's extremely dangerous, and one false step here will lead you to death."

"Ah, you're just saying that to get me to leave, aren't you?" she asked casually. The man rolled his eyes obviously. Nonplussed, my employer continued: "It'll take a lot more than a hundred Rock Punis to get me to back off an area I'm Gathering in."

The spiky-haired man was about to protest, when a roar from behind the adventuring party drew our attention.

"Tch. Standard procedure?" I asked my employer.

"Nah. Make it spectacular."

I smirked. That meant I could dive into any item we had in our inventories.

"Barrel!" I threw a golden barrel toward the enemy, and the resulting explosion dwarfed everything I had used in the last few months.

It was so good to have no stops. Laying Tera Unis like mines, I circled around the huge enemy, dodging massive strikes. Unfortunately for the monster, its swipes thrashed the Unis, spearing its claws with tiny irritating spikes, on top of the other items I was throwing at it from all directions. Bombs, food, whatever I had, I threw. "We still got a few Lightning Rods laying around?" I asked, turning towards my employer. I got a few thrown into my face as answer. Turning back toward the enemy, I started launching them like spears into its pelt. The small bolts didn't harm it very well, but it was still fun.

Deciding just to end it now, I launched one more gold barrel towards the monster. It attempted to bat it away, but all that did was set the bomb off earlier, sending it reeling on its back.

It didn't even have time to execute a final attack before it dissolved.

"I'll take as many of those barrels as we can carry," I could faintly hear the man say over the echoes of the last explosion.

"I knew you would," my employer said, a self-satisfied smirk on her face.

AN: Here's the post that triggered this idea.

"Okay, you know how every RPG has the grand heroes chosen by fate to become wonderful friends and stand up to the evil sorcerer/empire/corporation/monster and keep it from destroying the world? This game is not about them.

You know how in almost every RPG, buried about halfway down the final dungeon, sitting next to the second to last save point in the game there's a shopkeeper who has every healing item in the game and every weapon or bit of armor that doesn't require an epic quest? The one who leaves you wondering: "Just how in blazes did she get down here? I'm the ridiculously powerful chosen one and it's almost impossible for me to do it so how did a lowly shopkeeper pull it off"?

This game is about her."

-Magus2K, a poster on the GameFAQs boards