Greetings, friends, comrades, and fellow FanFiction writers. This is a story that came from some interesting self-musing, an obsession with Valkyria Chronicles, and examining some of Atelier Totori's characters. Enjoy this story, where VC2 gets thrown for a loop with Alchemy!
Atelier Totori: The Alchemist of Gallia
Their quest had started on a grand enough note. Departing from the dock at Alanya village. Everyone wishing them farewell. They were ready to go explore new horizons and find the person they were looking for.
…But Tootoria Helmold had been out here for weeks on end, almost two months, and her alchemical food stores were running out. Especially between the four of them. Herself, Mimi, and the Excee… The Exce… The Super Sc… Marc. There was Sterk too, but he seemed to have an ability to get by on the bare minimum. The girl sighed. Her light(very light) brown hair was messy, and her clothes were only barely clean by this point. Where were they? She knew what direction they were going in, but they were lost as to where they were. So much uncharted territory, and after those few islands off the east coast of Arland, there stopped being any land to speak of in any direction. The Alchemist stood up and went toward the bow portion of the deck, where Mimi was looking out at the horizon as usual, while Marc handled the steering of their ship itself. She straightened out her short, frilly blue dress as much as she could after this much time out at sea, and sat down next to her noble friend.
Mimi… Looked rather tired. Her hair, as well-kept as it often was, was clearly feeling the effects of all their time out. The girl's single sidetail of hair was looking immensely frizzy, and the rest of the locks that supplied it no longer looked so perfectly straight. Her cape was ruffled, and the look on her face was one of boredom and creeping despair. "Have we found land yet, Totori…? The young noble asked dejectedly. Even the way she always held her spear beside her was loose, unladylike and exhausted. The Alchemist shook her head.
"No… Not yet… Nothing bu—" Her reply was cut off by their ship shaking violently all of a sudden. "Whaaa! What's going on!" The Alchemist looked around, while splashes were heard from all directions around her wooden thing. Whatever was hitting it… Her father's craft should have been able to hold up against it, shouldn't it? After all, it stood up against the Flauschtraut! A titanic claw then wrapped around the port side of the ship. The response from her crew was immediate. Sterk, in his long black coat, and with his powerful sword that Totori herself helped to craft, jumped into action from the crew quarters and took a slash at the large claw that was gripping their vessel.
"Totori!" Mimi ordered, picking up her spear and twirling it, fatigued though she was. A large, draconic head rose up from farther back in the ocean. It was huge. Easily three times the size of the Flauschtraut, and with very long "whiskers." The monster let out a roar, and brought up from the depths its second limb to strike at their ship. Mimi joined Sterk in trying to push off its first one and perhaps hurt the sea monster enough to scare it off, but it was far less effective than it should have been, no doubt because they were so tired.
"McVelion!" Marc shouted from the steering wheel, jumping down with his backpack and a remote control at the ready. From a specially-modified bay in the rear of the ship emerged a three-meter white, knight-like robot, his greatest invention, which leapt into action and began beating on the giant dragon's claw with its right hand, a mace. "Beat them back, McVelion!"
And Totori, standing back and away from the action, having not the skill of her companions, reached into her ever-present purse. From the brown bag, the young Alchemist drew forth… "G… Gloooobe!" She took the item, exactly what she had called it, out of the bag, and with all her strength, tossed it at the dragon's claw. The item generated several pieces of earth which all pierced the scaly flesh, and Sterk and Mimi at once gave vertical strikes up the middle claw in assistance, making the thing lose its grip.
As well, Marc, adjusting his glasses, worked on his remote to make McVelion take flight. The twin boosters on its back brought it off the ship, and its weapon hand reared back. "We've almost got it! Alright, McVelion, finish them off! Our final attack! OMEGA BUSTER KNUCKLE!" The giant robot made contact with the sea monster's nose, with a powerful sound akin to a thunderclap. …But it had less effect than they hoped. The creature seemed only to grow angrier, and dove back into the water.
"It's not over!" Mimi said to them all, as Sterk looked around, maintaining his sword in a ready position. The adrenaline was starting to throw off his fatigue a bit, but… The party of four then turned around to see that the sea dragon had surfaced on the other side, water draining out of its mouth. It was their last sight, as suddenly it shot a powerful jet from its maw that sliced the ship in half. It then brought up its claw and smashed what was left. As the shock took over, all of Totori's vision went utterly black…
Shores of the Principality of Gallia, six weeks later: January 1st, EC 1937—3 weeks later
Things were being kept under serious watch, given the situation. With the Rebellion, people had to watch for whatever naval vessels the GRA had appropriated attempting to perform attacks from the sea. But the watchmen in the area were in no way prepared for what would come on their shores this day, the first day of the New Year. One of them had to adjust his binoculars after he saw a vaguely person-sized object washing up on the beach. Immediately, he got on the radio with the rest of his watch. "Something just washed up!" He zoomed in further, and saw… It was a girl! Who was not in any military uniform, or even in any sort of clothes he often saw outside of costume parties. Perhaps someone who got drunk underage? "It's a girl!" There was a good chance she wasn't alive, but they had to check. A female shore watch ran out to her, while at the same time they got reports of three more things coming up on farther distances from the area, but still on Gallian shores.
The shore watch ran up to the girl—a small, brown-haired thing, but it looked like she was still growing. Was being the key word. She looked absolutely lifeless… When suddenly, she began to cough. She was alive! Immediately, the watchman flipped the young one onto her back, and began to apply procedure to get the water out of her lungs. She was about to supply air of her own when the girl's eyes finally opened and she took a proper breath.
"Wh… Wha! I'm alive! Ooooooowwwww…" She almost jolted up straight awake, seemingly not processing the things around her. The watchman stared at her strangely, but let out a sigh of relief. Maybe someone like this was lucky to be alive.
"Yes, yes you are." Upon closer examination the girl looked pretty badly bruised, sunburned, and in general malnourished. She was starting to look pretty sick to her stomach… And fell unconscious again. Without another word or thought, the watchman called a team in. "Let's get these people to a hospital immediately! They've been adrift!"
Randgriz General Hospital, 2 hours later
Totori's eyes began to slowly open… But there was pain everywhere. Pain she'd never felt before in her life. Not even when she'd fought dragons or the Flauschtraut. "Ohhhh…"
"Be careful not to overexert yourself." Said a voice, one she didn't recognize. "Valkyrur knows how long you were out at sea."
She didn't take the time to really register the words immediately, but the young Alchemist knew she'd never heard one of them before in her life. Once she processed them, however… "Val-ky-roooor…?" Everything looked like such a blur, but it was starting to come into focus. She was in a white room, surrounded by equipment… And there was something bright blue shining next to her, which was slowly making her feel better. "Wha…" She finally was starting to fully comprehend everything around her when she saw the person who was speaking. Someone in a labcoat similar to Marc's… "Who… Are you… What happened…" She was out at sea? Why was she… "Aaaah! My ship! My ship is gone! My dad's ship…" Her eyes started to get teary, and it wasn't helped by the pain.
"A ship? Ship from where? Where did you come from, Miss Helmold?"
Helmold? How did they know her name… "I came from Arland! I was heading East to look for my mother! But the ship's gone…"
"…East?" The man said the word as if disbelieving. "You were heading East as in… From the West?"
"I… Think that's where you head East from…" Totori replied, with utter confusion. Why would that surprise him so? Sure, the Flauschtraut was a danger to sea travel, but… …Hold on. She arrived East. There was land East. There were PEOPLE East! "Wh-where am I exactly!"
"You're in the Principality of Gallia… Miss Helmold… Now… How exactly did you head East with all the Sea Dragons out in the depths of the Atlantic?"
Sea Dragons? That was what trashed her boat! A giant dragon far larger than the Flauschtraut could ever be! "I… Used… A… Ship? H-how do you know my name!" ….She was in another country? They spoke her language, that was awful convenient… …But then, there were some oddly strange things she saw back in Arland… Like how the Containers of the workshops were connected by Rorona taking the two and going "clamp." The man in the labcoat reached for the table next to her and showed the young girl her Adventurer's License, with all her stats.
"A ship you say.. Well, isn't this correct? Totooria Helmold, Cobalt-ranked… 'Adventurer', Age 17?" He didn't seem to understand her career, but that didn't matter. He understood her and the writing on her card well enough. …Which was still odd. But she was grateful for any help in communication she could get. The girl nodded, despite her pain. Looking at herself, she grimaced. Some of her skin was outright disgusting, and others of it were peeling off.
"Ewwwww…" She was too busy staring at it all—though it was healing, seemingly in sync with the flashes of the blue light beside her—to notice that the man seemed to have some kind of realization.
"Wait… Helmold… This may be a bit out of the blue, but did you ever meet a… Gisela?" This snapped Totori out of her trance. Her mother! Here!
"You know Mom!" She looked at him desperately, now wanting so much more information. "Where is she! I set out to find her! Please, tell me!" Her excitement dimmed when she saw the somber look on his face.
"I… KNEW of her. Many people here in Gallia did." He was using past tense… That wasn't good… The Alchemist tried to cling to hope. That he wasn't saying what she thought he was saying.
No, it's got to be wrong! Maybe she went out and got lost again! "Wh-what're you saying…?"
"Gisela Helmold, a woman who washed up on our shores just like you did, proclaiming to be an adventurer from across the Atlantic Ocean… Died defending our country." This stopped Totori stone cold. It couldn't be true. It was impossible. Was it all for nothing! Tears once again started to well up in her eyes… And now these were ones of sadness. The coated man continued. "She was the greatest Fencer our entire military, Army or Militia, ever did see. I'd read all the newspaper stories about her exploits… They almost seemed unbelievable. She was like a one-woman Squad 7… Private Gisela Helmold of Militia Squad 2 was… Sadly, she was killed in action at Fortress Ghirlandaio, along with the majority of the other Gallian armed forces. A weapon of mass destruction was activated there, and…" He trailed off.
"Th-that's not true! You're lying! My mom's s-survived worse!" Yes, the fact that she'd made it here, over the ocean, meant she did survive the Flauschtraut, and drifted at sea for who knows how long! Something in her arm was starting to hurt… A needle…? She looked down. It was feeding something in there… "P-please tell me the truth… Mom's a-alive, isn't she?" The tears started to stream down her cheeks, her face red with sunburn and sadness. The man took a deep breath, considering rescinding his statements, but instead let out a heavy sigh.
"She died a hero… Miss Helmold. I'm Dr. Peñate. This is Randgriz General Hospital. You were found on the beach, nearly dead yourself. I presume the other three people we found are friends of yours?"
Friends…? "S-Sterk! A-and Mimi! And…" She sniffled, and let out a wailing sob. "And Maaaaaarc… Th-they're alive…!" But even that wasn't enough of a relief to Totori. Her mother was gone. She really was gone… Not killed by the Flauschtraut, but her ship destroyed, her body adrift at sea, then she washed up here in this strange country, and made a name for herself… And then Gisela Helmold met her untimely end fighting a war here… "Mom… Mom's gone… It's not faaaaaaair!"
Dr. Peñate shook his head and placed a hand on the little girl's shoulder comfortingly as he could. Weak though she was, she buried her face in her hands and continued to cry for quite a few minutes. When she finally composed herself to continue speaking, it was with sniffles in between regardless. "S-so… Sterk… A-and Mimi… And Marc… They're all fine…?" The doctor nodded immediately. "Wh-what do we do now…?" They couldn't go back. They had no boat. And apparently that Sea Dragon thing was dangerous enough to hinder sea travel for the most part back to Arland… …And she had to go to her mother's grave. Pay her final respects…
But she was trapped in this hospital for now. …What was going into her? But she'd best not question it, it could make things worse for her… That light was making her feel better every time it shone, though…
"I don't know… Oh, we looked into your purse when you washed up. There were some very unusual items… …And an amount of them far too high for its size."
"Items? Oh! The items I made with my Alchemy before I set out!" Peñate raised an eyebrow in response to her answer.
"…Alchemy? What do you mean?" Totori started to think about how to answer the question. She was in pretty bad physical… …Her stomach growled. She was hungry… Though not as much as she thought she'd be given that she was out at sea for who knew how long. It only took a look to her left to see that there was a little food—a small salad—there for her to eat. She took a few bites, and looked a little more energized, though the sadness of the loss of her mother still weighed. She wiped the last few of the tears that were on her, and took a deep breath.
"Um… Would you happen to have… A cauldron somewhere that I could use? Any one will do." The doctor pondered her statement for a few minutes.
"I believe we have something small…" Totori wasn't sure if he was deciding to humor her, but the doctor at least decided to walk up and out of the room to fetch it. In but a few minutes, he returned with something that was small and accessible enough for her bedside. That was when she realized—she'd need something to stir with. The Alchemist looked around herself, and found her staff nearby. She tried to reach for it, but found herself just a little too short, too tired, and too weighed down by all the equipment around her to take it.
"My staff, please!" She asked, though with a hint of embarrassment at sounding so needy. Ah… This is going terrible all around… Totori thought to herself, face still quite red. The doctor couldn't help but laugh a bit—which made her feel worse currently—and gave it to her. Now, she'd need… Hm… Ah! Totori looked to the food that was beside her, and poured it all into the cauldron. Then, with her arms, needled and mildly restricted though they may have been, she began to stir. The doctor looked on, bewildered at this process.
The Alchemist was able to tell that was health food. And it would stay that way. But… She was in the mood for something... A little warmer. "Twirl… Twirl…" Totori said to herself quietly as she continued to stir the concoction. She continued to work hard at it for some time, time during which a nurse came from a different room to report to the doctor.
"Another of them has woken up. The other girl, Mimi. She keeps asking after this patient." She reported, and… Was bewildered as Dr. Peñate at what was going on.
"Mimi? She's alright?" Totori brightened a bit more on hearing this news. She stirred with a bit more vigor, until finally, in a flash, a bowl of soup came up to the top, spoon and all, which she promptly began to drink happily. "Delicious!"
The doctor and nurse stared in awe, and a little confusion. Sipping a little more, Totori stopped and looked at them. "Oh! That's… My alchemy." She explained, feeling yet more and more improved. But she was still pretty bad regardless, and moved to lie down.
"Did you just… Combine the hospital food into a soup?" The nurse asked, not able to comprehend what she just saw.
"I did. That's alchemy! Now… How is Mimi?"
"Stubborn." The woman replied, though in a tone that indicated she wasn't quite the most cognitive at the moment. Totori figured that her Alchemy might have looked a little weird to them, but… …Maybe she could start an Atelier here, and build a ship. "She wants to get out of bed and make sure you're alright… I told her you ALL need your rest."
Totori gave a smile as she put down her soup. That was so nice of Mimi… And so like her too. And she'd probably end up denying she was so concerned once they came face to face about it. "Alright… Tell her I'm awake, please." The nurse nodded and left, leaving her alone with the doctor again.
"So… You can do that in a cauldron." He seemed to be thinking of something else, which made Totori tilt her head. In her usual thinking gesture, though, she rested her right cheek on her hand as she did.
"I can. Why?"
"Well, there are just… How good are you at this?" How good? Totori frowned a bit—she was being doubted… But then, all she really made was a soup.
"I'm actually very good! If I could have my purse back, and recover, I could make anything you needed! But this place looks like it has a lot… I've never seen machines like this before! Like this lamp! Every time it flashes, I feel better!" What was it, exactly? It was like a Heal Spore, only… It didn't smell as nice. And it wasn't a plant. Boy, did Totori feel stupid when she described it as such.
"That's Ragnaid. It's made from a crystal called Ragnite. Quite abundant here in Gallia." The doctor sighed, seeming to think about how to voice any further concerns.
"Ragnite?" Totori turned and stared at it. It looked rather nice and shiny… Perhaps she could use that in her alchemy while she was here… The Alchemist looked back at the man before her. "Could you tell me more?"
"I can… But… You see… This is a clearly unique talent you have. What would you say if asked to apply it… Militarily?"
Aaaand cliffhanger. Totori's found out about Mom early, but that's not all she wrote in that regard. Next chapter, we'll see Totori's answer, and where it led her...