The nice thing about the original Arland trilogy is that although there was definitely a sense of narrative progression over the course of the three games, each one was self-contained and left things open-ended for future development; there was no “grand finale”.
That’s where Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland comes in, of course. The fact that Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concluded the story of Meruru’s growth into a talented young alchemist, but didn’t spell any sort of “finality” for the Arland region meant that there was still plenty of scope to tell more stories in these pastel-coloured lands. Perhaps some sort of story that answers a few unresolved questions from the original trilogy — and which lets us see how all our favourite characters are getting along?
Atelier Lulua still doesn’t necessarily feel like a “finale”; if anything it ushers in a bold new era for Arland. Whether or not we’ll see any more games in this setting remains to be seen at the time of writing, but for now, Atelier Lulua provides an interesting, substantial story to tie things together nicely. So let’s take a closer look — bearing in mind that, of course, there will be spoilers ahead.
In Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland, you take on the role of Elmerulia Frixell, daughter of the renowned alchemist Rorolina Frixell. The pair of them live in the small, out-of-the-way village of Arklys, which lies a fair distance to the south of the former kingdom of Arls, but as we join the story Rorona has been absent for some time.
It seems that the flighty, chaotic Rorona we saw in previous installments has mellowed to a certain degree as she reached her 30s, and is now trusted with tasks of considerable import on behalf of the Republic of Arland. This, unfortunately, means that she has to spend long periods of time away from home — and indeed at the start of Atelier Lulua, it seems she’s been away so long that she’s let the business license expire on her atelier in Arklys.
Right from the outset, it’s clear that Lulua doesn’t resent Rorona for her long absence. She misses her, yes, and she does sometimes feel a bit anxious about if she could have done anything to make her stay, but in her heart she understands why Rorona is away. It’s also immediately apparent that Lulua has always been someone that is perfectly confident and comfortable being self-sufficient. She regularly contributes her time and efforts to the local orphanage along with her friend Eva, and picked up the study of alchemy under another travelling alchemist, rather than relying solely on her mother. Indeed, it seems Lulua had to take the initiative on this, since Rorona had made no moves to teach Lulua herself. As we learn later, however, this is primarily because Rorona believes (reasonably accurately) that she isn’t a good teacher — though the existence of Totori would suggest otherwise to a certain degree.
The travelling alchemist who takes Lulua under her wing is Piana, a girl who, back in Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, Totori accidentally “kidnapped” from the Frontier Village on the eastern continent while attempting to discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance. Piana initially stowed away on Totori’s ship in an attempt to escape the dreadful fate that one day awaited the all-female residents of Frontier Village — death in the maw of a dreadful demon — but subsequently found herself becoming interested in life in the Arland region.
After Totori dealt with the whole pesky demon problem and made sure that Piana’s carers in the Frontier Village had no objections to her coming along, she took her on as an apprentice, and Piana became a talented alchemist in her own right. And, as Rorona, Totori and Meruru before her all came to demonstrate their own unique talents and specialisms over time, so too did Piana. In her case, it’s the frankly terrifying ability to “mess around with the laws of physics”, as she puts it, which allows the inside of her wagon atelier to be considerably larger than the outside — a process which, regrettably, makes it impossible to build windows.
In contrast to Rorona, Totori, Meruru and indeed Lulua, Piana’s priority with her alchemy seems to be more satisfying her own curiosity and learning things for herself rather than directly helping people. That’s not to say she doesn’t help people at all — she wouldn’t have taken on Lulua as an apprentice otherwise, nor would she travel around the country plying her trade — but rather that any help she might provide tends to be more of a pleasant side-effect than anything else. She also has a somewhat lazy streak about her (which she describes as her simply “preferring not to do things that are unnecessary”) that is a source of continual frustration for her homunculus assistant Chim Dragon — and which the more cynical might argue formed at least part of the reason for her taking on an apprentice.
One of the core mysteries at the heart of Atelier Lulua that is introduced right away is the existence of a large, ancient structure that extends far beneath the town. Known as Fellsgalaxen, this peculiar structure is a source of considerable interest for adventurers, historians and scientists alike — and indeed, we can assume that part of the reason Piana set up shop in Arklys was so she could find out a bit more about it.
Those who have been following the Arland series since the beginning will note some things that are familiar about Fellsgalaxen: its nomenclature and architecture resemble the mysterious “Orthogalaxen” dungeon that Rorona explores towards the end of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland. Not only that, but the use of what appears to be considerably advanced technology within the structure calls to mind the presence of seemingly anachronistic mechanical and electronic components around the Arland region, previously explained as being remnants of a past civilisation.
As Atelier Rorona began, Arland and its surroundings were just starting to undergo an industrial revolution — indeed, the main reason that Atelier Rorona’s core conflict arose at all was because a member of Arland’s government wanted to flatten the area where her workshop was in favour of building more factories. Rorona ultimately proved the worth of alchemy in a modern world, of course, and indeed a side story in Atelier Totori demonstrates that alchemy, as what is effectively a branch of science, can happily coexist with modern scientific method. Even when “modern scientific method” is represented by someone as chaotic as Marc McBride.
As Atelier Lulua begins, roughly twenty years have passed since Atelier Rorona, so the world is starting to become a little more comfortable and confident with the use of technology, but it’s still early days. One gets the impression that few people would be able to truly understand the technology of the past were they to take it apart, and there’s certainly little hope of anyone recreating something similar from scratch. But at the same time, we do see evidence that certain members of society have managed to keep some devices in working order, and indeed that said devices form an important part of daily life — a good example being the electronic terminals seen in the town squares of both Arland and Arklys, which we can assume do things like deliver important news and announcements.
We’ll come back to this topic in a while, because it forms an important part of Atelier Lulua’s overall narrative — but more important in the early hours is Lulua’s struggle to define herself and understand her reason for living. She has an ill-defined goal of wanting to “catch up to” Rorona, but doesn’t quite understand how to go about doing that, even under the kind tutelage of Piana. It gradually becomes apparent, however, that in order to broaden her horizons and develop her skills, she’s going to have to leave her comfortable home in Arklys.
Thankfully, an opportunity presents itself to do just that; as previously noted, towards the beginning of the game, Lulua receives a notification that Rorona’s business license has expired, and that she will need to travel to Arland in order to renew it at the governmental offices. With Rorona nowhere to be seen, Lulua tentatively accepts the suggestion from her friends that she go and renew it in her mother’s stead, as this will provide her a suitable chance to get out into the world, explore and learn more about life outside the village walls.
And thus Lulua’s journey begins, allowing her to take in the kingdom of Arls that she has heard so much about after Meruru’s efforts in the previous game — though much to her frustration, on her first few visits she seems to continually miss Meruru herself by a day or two — and finally the prosperous town of Arland. Upon arrival — and after being set something of a challenge by Totori, who has stepped up to take something of a leading role promoting alchemy in the region — she discovers that she cannot, in fact, renew her mother’s license on her behalf… but she can, instead, take on the business herself.
Lulua initially doesn’t believe herself worthy of this — and feels a bit guilty usurping her mother’s property — but by this point she’s already demonstrated herself to be both a capable alchemist and adventurer. Her friends encourage her to accept the challenge — and reassure her that Rorona would almost certainly be in favour of it if she were around, too.
Let’s talk a little about those friends, then, because they all play an important part in Lulua’s journey as well as having their own personal matters to attend to over the course of the story. The first one we meet is Eva, a girl around Lulua’s age; it seems the pair have been friends since childhood, and both feel a considerable sense of attachment to the orphanage in Arklys. Indeed, while Lulua lives in what was initially her mother’s atelier, Eva seems to still live in the orphanage despite being considerably older than the other residents.
Eva’s role in the story is to keep Lulua grounded to a certain degree. While Lulua isn’t as outlandishly chaotic as her mother in her younger years, she does occasionally get a little carried away, particularly when it comes to her favourite subject of curry. At these times, Eva can typically be relied upon to make use of her formidable teacher-style death stare to encourage Lulua to calm down a bit — and it usually works.
Eva has her own questions about her life that gradually come up as you spend time with her in the game. Specifically, she learns that her birth parents who abandoned her at the orphanage have come looking for her again, and she’s not sure what to do about that. Eva obviously resents them for what they did to her, and suspects their motives in getting in touch again now; not only that, she’s come to consider the people of the orphanage — and Lulua — more of a “family” than those related to her by blood.
By this point, Eva is old enough to make her own decisions, but despite being an intelligent, assertive young woman she is still keen for the approval of Lulua in particular. To that end, as the matters with her birth family reach a climax, she insists that Lulua come along with her in order to witness proceedings — and help reassure her that she’s making the right choice. In the process, Lulua learns the importance of considering other opinions before diving headfirst into any sort of important decision. Her habitual catchphrase “it’ll all work out… somehow” will only get you so far, after all.
The next individual that Lulua encounters is Christoph Aurel Arland, typically referred to as just “Aurel”. While Lulua simply finds it amusing that he shares a last name with the town of Arland, those of us who have been following along the series for a while will correctly deduce that he has some relation to Ludwig Giovanni Arland (aka “Gio”), the former king of Arland. Specifically, Aurel is Gio’s nephew, and spends much of the game attempting to reclaim his uncle’s honour, which he believes has been unjustly taken from him.
We don’t learn the details of this until later; Lulua’s initial encounter with Aurel involves him placing an order for an item she doesn’t know how to make. Aurel rather gruffly indicates that he believes in Lulua’s capabilities, since she is the daughter of a famous alchemist, but Lulua isn’t so sure at the time; she sees her inability to meet Aurel’s request as letting her mother down.
As it happens, it’s Aurel’s initial request that gets Lulua started making use of one of the game’s core mechanics and narrative concepts: the mysterious tome known as “Alchemyriddle” that seemingly fell out of the sky onto her head one day, and which only she is able to read. Upon expressing her anguish that she doesn’t know how to make the Bunt Resin that Aurel is requesting, she discovers that Alchemyriddle has the means to provide the answers she is looking for — but only if she puts the work in to figure things out for herself. Alchemyriddle is not a quick fix; rather, it acts as a prompt for Lulua to investigate certain things that will eventually lead her in the right direction to come up with a solution.
As such, Lulua’s initial encounter with Aurel is an extremely important one. Not only does it introduce her to something at the core of the whole story to follow, it helps her understand the concept of sticking with something until you’re successful — even if you suffer a few setbacks along the way. As Aurel’s personal story continues, we certainly see him encounter more than a few problems on his quest to, in his eyes, “redeem” his uncle — and his willingness to pick himself back up and try again after suffering a failure proves inspirational to Lulua.
Several characters express their concern at Lulua’s reliance on Alchemyriddle to solve her problems, believing that it just provides her with the answers, no questions asked. They can’t read it, after all, so they can’t see that it requires her to decipher several pieces of knowledge before it leads her to a suitable solution. One of these concerned parties is none other than one Totooria Helmold, who initially believes that relying too much on an external source of information will make it more likely that Lulua be caught off guard in the future — but after seeing her at work directly, she is reassured that Lulua is still putting in the effort required to thrive as an alchemist.
Not only that, but Alchemyriddle itself is clearly aware of the fact that Lulua needs to develop her own skills along the way, too; there are multiple situations throughout the game where Lulua needs to reach a particular level milestone in either her alchemy or adventuring — or perhaps simply synthesise or enter battles a certain number of times — before it will give up any more information. The eventual revelation of where Alchemyriddle ultimately came from explains this side of things in particular — but that’s not something truly revealed until the game’s finale.
Another character who expresses some concern over Lulua’s use of Alchemyriddle is the mysterious magician known as Ficus, who basically barges his way into Lulua’s party after taking an interest in her efforts following a few chance encounters. As a street performer, Ficus points out that every trick has a catch — and that Alchemyriddle seems to know Lulua’s future… but subsequently claims that he was just joking. There is, of course, still a certain amount of truth behind his words.
The most interesting thing about Ficus is that it’s initially difficult to figure him out. Our first encounters with him in the game show him hiding or running away from both Totori and Sterk for reasons unknown — almost as if he’s done something far worse than perform magic for children without a license. It’s not immediately apparent what this might have been, however. Unless, of course, you played Atelier Totori through to its conclusion, in which case you will figure out Ficus almost immediately after he makes a few important statements. Or perhaps even after you see his distinctive outfit.
After Lulua questions Ficus’ apparent fascination with children — that he claims to have never seen before — Ficus explains that he had not been “living under a rock” as Lulua suggests, but had, in fact, been living a life of isolation on the bottom floor of a big tower far, far away from the lands he is in now. He also seems to have extensive knowledge of monster culture and society, and claims that “some monsters like humans”. Indeed, his first encounter with Lulua is as she and her group are attempting to deal with a Puni infestation at the Arls border; he encourages her to seek a means of communicating with them rather than thoughtlessly attacking them.
Since there’s no real downside to following Ficus’ suggestion — the worst that could happen is that they get into a fight with the Punis, which is what they were ready for anyway — Lulua decides to investigate further, and subsequently manages to develop a means of communicating with the Punis, at which point she discovers they have legitimate complaints that they have been struggling to get across. There are echoes of Puniyo’s narrative from Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy in this sequence, as the rebellious Punis have become frustrated in the fact that humans have expanded their territory without considering the impact on Puni society — and, moreover, they have been unable to communicate this effectively.
Ficus is, in many ways, the embodiment of people being more than meets the eye, and that first impressions aren’t always accurate. If you follow through his personal story to its conclusion, Atelier Totori fans will have their suspicions confirmed completely: Ficus is, in fact, the human incarnation of Atelier Totori’s final story boss Evil Face, and that he is attempting to destroy an artifact known as the Demon Crystal, which houses the spirit of a powerful creature known as the Rage Beast.
Now, interestingly, this throws one’s perception of Atelier Totori’s finale into disarray, since in that game Evil Face himself was implied to be the demon that put the people of Frontier Village at risk, while Rage Beast was an optional boss you only encountered if you ventured further into the tower where he was imprisoned after defeating him. If we take Atelier Totori’s events in the context of Ficus’ explanation in Atelier Lulua, however, we can instead interpret the real threat to Frontier Village as being the Rage Beast, while Evil Face was actually standing guard in the tower to ensure it didn’t get accidentally released. Or perhaps they were both evil. Either way, by the time Atelier Lulua rolls around, Ficus is clearly seeking to atone from the past, but Lulua herself doesn’t have any real awareness of this past.
This puts us in an interesting position as the player if we’re familiar with the previous installments in the Arland trilogy. We know what Evil Face was built up to be in Atelier Totori and now we are presented with the suggestion that we might have been wrong about him. We are, in essence, being presented with the exact same lesson that Ficus teaches Lulua: the fact that sometimes the things you think you know are wrong, and that questioning your prejudices is a healthy and desirable thing to do in a variety of situations. You can end up learning a lot, and even making some valuable new friends.
It’s a very clever piece of narrative that works best if you come directly to Atelier Lulua after the rest of the Arland trilogy, but it’s a solid lesson that we can all appreciate nonetheless. And Lulua, as someone who is pretty tolerant at the best of times, of course takes this to heart without question — even after seeing the terrifying sight that is Ficus revealing his true power and form.
This is a lesson that the legendary “gruff knight” Sterkenburg Cranach has also been teaching for the entire Arland series, where his stern countenance has been something of a running joke ever since Rorona first encountered him. Sterk looks intimidating to those who don’t know him, but over the course of the series we’ve seen him to be both a kind and considerate individual, as well as someone with something of a childish single-mindedness about fulfilling his own fantasies of knighthood.
Sterk, who has been in all of the Arland games, has been very interesting to watch develop, because it’s abundantly clear he went through a full-on, honest-to-goodness mid-life crisis over the course of Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru. It’s understandable in a way; when we first meet him in Atelier Rorona, he has been fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a royal knight for some years, but Arland’s gradual transition from monarchy to republic leaves that dream in tatters, with nothing he can do about it. Consequently, over the course of both Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru we see an increasingly dishevelled-looking Sterk trying to recapture his past glories in various ways — and usually failing, which helps to humanise him somewhat, particularly in the eyes of those who previously found him intimidating.
By the time Atelier Lulua rolls around, though, we see a man who has worked out some issues and managed to establish himself in a position that he feels comfortable and confident in — in this case, the head of the citizen guard for Arland. It may not quite have been what he originally imagined, but it’s similar enough that he can make the best of it, particularly now he has managed to accept the fact that the concept of “knighthood” will never be coming back in its original form. He’s picked himself up, tidied himself up, cut his hair and devoted himself to doing the best job he possibly can in his new position. It’s a reality pretty much all of us have to face at one point or another: what we always wanted to do and what we actually end up doing don’t necessarily end up matching.
There’s another important narrative factor with Sterk that ties in with Ficus’ core lessons, too: the fact that following through on Sterk’s personal narrative is the means through which you discover the truth of Lulua’s parentage and background. There was a great deal of conjecture prior to Atelier Lulua’s release as to whether or not Sterk would be Lulua’s father, but his route puts that to rest: through it, we get confirmation that Lulua was adopted by Rorona rather than being her child by birth.
This once again presents us, the player, with a challenge to a potential preconception. Up until this point, Lulua has been regarded as being Rorona’s daughter, no questions asked. Many characters refer to how much they have in common — and the ways in which they contrast — and others refer to how Lulua picked up certain traits from her mother. At the same time, no effort was made to hide Lulua’s connections to the Arklys orphanage; if she had known Eva since early childhood, for example, that suggests that she had been around the orphanage since that childhood, and if we bear in mind the timelines of the previous Atelier games, Rorona wouldn’t have been settled in Arklys for long enough for her to have brought a very young child to the town.
The question presented by this piece of truth, then, is: does it matter? Does it matter that Lulua isn’t Rorona’s daughter by blood? It certainly doesn’t seem to matter to either Rorona or Lulua, or indeed anyone else in the core cast. And indeed, we see the situation mirrored somewhat in Eva’s personal story; while Eva has continually turned down adoption requests over the years, leading to her being the oldest resident of the orphanage by far, she has come to see the people that she spends the most time with and shares the most precious memories with as “family”; blood doesn’t even come into it. Being adopted would essentially mean starting all over for her, and that’s not something that she, personally, wants to do.
We can apply the same lesson to yet another member of the core cast, too. Niko introduces himself as a “pirate” who has been grounded thanks to the destruction of his ship — it transpires that, in a twist of fate, his ship was “accidentally” split in half by Totori’s legendary adventurer mother Gisela — but quickly demonstrates him to be anything but the stereotypical image most people have in their head of pirates. He’s not interested in looting, pillaging and all that business; instead, he’s simply a skilled sailor who does his best on the high seas to take on the challenging jobs that others won’t go near. Hence, presumably, his willingness to step on a ship with Gisela Helmold.
Although cutting quite an intimidating figure with his muscular build, Niko shows himself to be a kind and gentle soul, always keen to take on jobs that will help people around the land — even if they haven’t gone through official channels. He initially feels guilty about this, but is subsequently reassured that he’s ultimately doing a good thing; sometimes people don’t feel comfortable going through official bureaucracy when they have something that needs doing, and thus Niko is doing more good than harm by quietly taking on these requests and getting things done.
The core lesson to be learned from Niko, besides not judging people exclusively by preconceived notions, is that humans are inherently adaptable creatures. Niko is initially very uncomfortable living a life on land, having clearly spent much of his life at sea, but he makes the best of things and manages to carve out a nice little niche for himself.
He also provides some inspiration to Lulua by setting himself a long-term goal and approaching each challenge in front of him as being in service of that long-term goal. Every bit of money he earns brings him closer to being able to afford a new ship; every bit of experience he gains makes him more likely to be able to survive increasingly tough challenges as time goes on. And, if you follow through on his personal story, it ultimately all pays off for him very nicely indeed.
And finally, of course, we come to Rorona, who shows up later in the narrative and comes along to help Lulua out on her journey. We can see from their tearful reunion that despite the lack of blood ties between them, there is genuine love and affection there. Lulua adores and respects her mother, both for being a good person and for her renowned alchemy skills, while Rorona makes it clear that she cherishes the time she gets to spend with Lulua — as infrequent as it might be at the time the story unfolds.
Lulua sees Rorona as her “goal” from the outset of the story; she wants to at the very least equal and perhaps surpass her mother’s capabilities as an alchemist. For the most part, this doesn’t seem to be a desperate desire for approval or anything like that; she simply wants to challenge herself. In fact, this has been something of a running theme in the Arland series as a whole; each new alchemist introduced in each subsequent installment has been driven to succeed by a desire to surpass their master in one way or another.
An important part of Atelier Lulua’s overall narrative is Lulua defining her reason for living. And not in vague terms, either; as part of her quest for knowledge — and ultimately to uncover the mysteries of Fellsgalaxen beneath Arklys — she is presented with a challenge to spell out this reason for being by a powerful entity known as Wind Stone. Rorona — along with Totori and Meruru — helps Lulua realise that a reason for being can be something as simple as another person’s existence, but that said reason can also change over time according to the circumstances.
Rorona stating her reason for living being Lulua is what causes her to feel guilt for her long absences — and, towards the conclusion of her personal story, her desire to join Sterk overseas in an expedition to investigate the largely uncharted eastern continent. But Lulua, having seen a broad range of responses to this important question during her journey, understands that while she is an important part of her mother’s life, she’s not the only part of her mother’s life. And that, in turn, helps her provide a convincing answer to Wind Stone’s question on her next visit.
A big part of that answer comes in the form of Stia, an automaton Lulua and her friends discover in the early parts of Fellsgalaxen after Lulua finally manages to create a bomb powerful enough to destroy a door that has been stumping adventurers for years. Stia presents as a charming young girl, but it becomes obvious to us almost immediately that she is a core part of the administrative systems that keep Fellsgalaxen up and running — whatever it might be doing.
Lulua, being someone who is not particularly well-versed in technology, chooses to see Stia as someone entirely human who just happens to have some traits and a job she doesn’t really understand. Indeed, Stia doesn’t appear to particularly object to this — and over time the pair of them develop a very close relationship with one another that can reasonably be interpreted as genuine love by the end of the game. This, of course, is bad luck for several other characters in the game — most notably Eva and Arklys’ shopkeeper Refle, both of whom explicitly and unequivocally state their feelings for Lulua in their own way on several occasions over the narrative — but love is not something you can force.
Stia is also one of the main means through which we get answers to questions that have been up in the air for the duration of the Arland trilogy. Since she is a relic of the long-lost civilisation that built Fellsgalaxen, Orthogalaxen and the Modis Ruins that Meruru explored in her own game, she is in a position to explain their existence — as well as the function of the peculiar, otherworldly “Night’s Domain” region first introduced in Atelier Rorona, and its accompanying “Fire’s Domain” counterpart found between Arklys and Arls.
Essentially, much of the technology left behind by this lost civilisation represents attempts by mankind to take control of things that would normally be managed by nature. Fire’s Domain was to manage the temperature of the region, for example, while Night’s Domain helped manage time itself — specifically, the passage from day to night. Meanwhile, the three “Galaxens” acted as administrative control centres that helped oversee the region as a whole.
Stia, along with orphan child Mana, whose true identity remains something of a mystery until the later chapters of the game, explains that the lost civilisation was eventually brought to its knees by the people’s overreliance on technology. And, with many years having passed since their time, their creations are starting to malfunction and fail. First to fall was Arls’ Modis Ruins — originally known as Ehtogalaxen, the most technologically advanced of the three control centres — but as Atelier Lulua builds towards its narrative climax, we learn that Fellsgalaxen is on the verge of failing, too. And, unlike the Modis Ruins, which were far away from any populated areas, Fellsgalaxen sits beneath the village of Arklys. This means that were Fellsgalaxen to collapse, it would take Arklys with it.
As an administrator of Fellsgalaxen left dormant by a long-dead civilisation, it’s up to Stia to sort the situation out — but given that so many years have passed since the facility’s abandonment, there are only a few options left, not to mention some inconvenient doors in the way that Stia doesn’t have the appropriate privileges to open. And when the group finally does get down to the core of Fellsgalaxen in the hopes of finding some sort of non-destructive solution, it looks increasingly likely that Stia will have to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save everyone else.
Lulua, head over heels for Stia by this point, is having absolutely none of this. And so, taking her “it’ll all work out, somehow” philosophy to heart, decides to pursue a possible solution that will ensure no-one has to get hurt — and that no-one has to die, whether they be human or automaton.
Is she successful? What might be the consequences if she isn’t able to find a suitable alternative solution? Atelier Lulua’s finale provides conclusive answers to both of these questions — along with the true source of Alchemyriddle and its mysteries — but I have to leave something for you to discover for yourself, now, don’t I?
Suffice to say that by the time we get to this point in the narrative, Lulua has well and truly figured out her reason for living, and is willing to follow through on it in the most thorough way imaginable — as only an alchemist who truly believes that nothing is impossible would be able to do.
By the time it’s all over, I think we can safely say she’s not only surpassed her mother’s abilities — but that of pretty much anyone else in the land, too. It does indeed all work out, somehow.
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