Sorry for the super late update. I got a little (read: very) distracted by Brothers Conflict, and it really doesn’t help that Stephan annoys me. I hope you girls will like him though, unlike me. xD
Stephan is a musician who spun beautiful melodies with his beloved violin, painting the city of Elkrone with vivid colors with his music. In contrary to his pure and gentle music, his eyes are really cold and he’s not exactly sociable either. For some reason Stephan hates alchemy with a passion, which causes him to be extremely hostile towards Meri. He’s also employed by the mayor as Laura’s music teacher, often playing his violin in their rose garden.
The Flower Festival Arc
A Certain Place’s Decoration
Client: Stephan. Reward: 100 cole.
For the upcoming Flower Festival, Stephan needs Meri to make a beautiful and perfect flower decoration for a certain place. Of course Meri and Popote find it surprising since he absolutely hates alchemists, but Stephan says they’re the only ones he can ask for help. He won’t allow them to refuse either, and he drags them to Strauss Hill saying an atelier is just the same as a utility service. Popote protests saying he can ask the adventurers too, but Stephan replies that guys like them won’t understand anything about flowers. This also means that he actually has no female friends other than Meri and Laura, and he can’t ask the mayor’s daughter to do such a task for him LOL. When Meri asks about the atmosphere of that certain place, Stephan says he can’t tell her.. because he doesn’t know. That’s why he’s asking for her help. ＼(^o^)／ He only wants them to make something “beautiful and perfect”, so judging from his image, Popote asks if he wants to make a flower shower by using one million roses. Stephan obviously goes Σ(Д｀|||ノ)ノ and asks “what do you think I am?”, so Popote brilliantly answers with “some sort of weirdo.” In his eyes, Stephan is the same as Erhard and Clemens. ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵
Meri then asks if he has more hints, and so Stephan takes them to the mayor’s mansion next. After telling them to wait outside, be quiet and blend into the background, he breaks the gate’s lock and goes inside. Yes, you read that right — he breaks the lock. He comes back after five minutes and confirms that Laura is out with her friends, and he brings them inside to complete his plan before she returns. At first both Meri and Popote think he’s going to steal all of Laura’s money, but it turns out Stephan only wants to decorate the dining room. They work together to decorate the room after that, and Laura is really surprised when she returns home. It turns out Duke Rosenheim’s birthday is coming soon, but he’s away and won’t be able to celebrate the day with Laura, so Stephan wants to cheer her up by making a small party for her. Meri also offers to help with the preparations, and she doesn’t mind even if it’s not a part of the request. Before Meri goes to make some tea for Laura, Stephan suddenly blushes and stops her.. but then he stutters saying Laura loves the “floral shower” brand. This is obviously a lie, because Laura actually doesn’t really care about brands. She notices that Stephan actually wanted to say something to Meri, though he only blushes quietly beside her. (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ♪
In the morning, Stephan nervously greets Meri and Popote together with Laura. It appears that their head chef has taken a liking on Popote, so Laura asks if Popote can come and help out in their kitchen from time to time. It’s a very tempting offer for him, but Popote apologizes because he’s busy running the atelier with Meri at the moment. Laura then reminds Stephan that he has something to say to Meri, and he blushes as he thanks her for helping him decorating the room yesterday. He keeps stressing that he’s only doing this for Laura, and he flees afterwards out of embarrassment. (* ´艸`)ｸｽｯ♪
Invitation for Cocktail-Tasting
Client: Alois. Reward: n/a.
Alois is having a cocktail-tasting party featuring a new musician’s debut, and he’s requesting for Meri and Popote’s presence. Well, that new musician is obviously Stephan. He’s busy with his violin and doesn’t even realize them entering the bar, but after a while, he suddenly stops saying he won’t be able to surpass a certain person’s performance with his current level. The moment he realizes Meri and Popote’s presence, Stephan grumpily asks if they came here to disturb his violin practice. Meri is surprised because the melody he played was beautiful and soaked right into her heart, but Stephan completely rejects her opinion since she doesn’t have musical background nor experience. He says she’s just impressed because musicians like him are rare, and sadly she can’t deny the statement. Stephan then asks if they’re here to laugh at his slump, refusing to believe that it was Alois who invited them. Upon seeing Popote enjoying the cocktail and tart on the counter, he also accuses them of trespassing and stealing food.
When Meri tries to stop them from fighting, Stephan pushes her away towards the counter — breaking the tableware in front of them. Alois soon comes out to see what’s happening, and Stephan asks him to explain why Meri and Popote are here. It turns out the party actually takes place at night, and the bar is closed until then for preparations. Alois apologizes for forgetting to inform them about the time, and Meri also apologizes for eating the food at the counter.. but Stephan only tells them to get out. Of course Meri feels bad and asks if she can make another tart as a replacement, but this causes Stephan to rage even more. He says she doesn’t know how hard Alois worked to make the tart, and he can’t accept how she’s planning to replace it with something made with alchemy. When Alois asks him to respect his guests, Stephan says he’s probably the one who should leave instead.. because it seems impossible for him to play the melody Alois is wishing to hear. Alois replies that Stephan is the only one who can follow “her” footsteps, but Stephan he can’t be her replacement — nobody can ever replace her.
Since Alois didn’t even notice his slump, Stephan knows that he’s actually not seeking for his melody. What Alois is wishing for is the song of a legendary songstress named Camilla, who has disappeared without a trace. Stephan was her apprentice, so Alois wants him to continue his teacher’s performance. Or rather, Alois wants Stephan’s status as her apprentice and for the news to spread. Stephan actually doesn’t think it’s a bad idea, but he can’t accept his own performance. He then asks Alois to give up, both on the stage and on Camilla. He doesn’t want to perform on stage anymore, saying he can also take responsibility that way. Before leaving, Stephan mentions that in the end, Alois and him can’t escape from the “songstress’ ghost”.
Noticing that Meri feels guilty, Alois tells her that it’s his own fault. He actually knew Stephan is in a slump, but he pretended not to notice. Alois explains that Stephan always feels awkward to perform in front of people, because he can’t seem to put his heart into the melodies he plays for humans. Alois didn’t say anything because he believed in Stephan’s music, but after what just happened, he realized that he made the wrong decision. Alois then says he’s going to talk to Stephan again later, and he asks Meri to help getting some tomatoes from the inn. Along the way, Meri keeps thinking about Stephan. She’s worried about him, but she doesn’t understand anything about music or his distress. Upon entering the inn, Meri finds Elie and Oswald having lunch inside. This reminds her that Elie is a talented musician as well, and she decides to ask if Elie ever had a slump before. Elie answers she never had any when it comes to performance and songs, but she did reach a slump in baking cheesecakes. In order to get over it, the key is to do it for other people — not for yourself.
Elie and Oswald are actually eating the last tomatoes at the inn, but fortunately Carl has saved one of the tomatoes for Carla, and they’re more than willing to give them to Meri. Upon seeing Carl and Carla being ラブラブ as usual, Oswald jokingly says their love has such a destructive power to everyone around them. (○´ﾟωﾟ｀):;*.’:;ﾌﾞｯ When Oswald says an alchemist’s lover is none other than alchemy, Carla replies that’s exactly why a certain songstress ran away from him. Carla explains that Camilla used to work in Alois Bar at night, and everyone was charmed by her song — even Oswald and Clemens. However, that was only until she disappeared at the peak of her fame. Back then Oswald, Clemens and Camilla were really close, and Carla is wondering if she disappeared because of a love triangle between them. It seems like Camilla rejected both of them though, so Carl stops both Carla and Popote from reminding the poor guy about the rejection LOL. Since Meri still needs more tomatoes for Alois, Oswald then suggests visiting Clemens to make duplicates. Oswald is willing to do anything to help Meri, and Popote jokingly tells him to get a girlfriend, so Mathias won’t kill him for using his position as a teacher to hit on his beloved daughter. xD
Just then Stephan appears in front of them, and he’s not happy to see Meri wasting Alois’ time by chatting with Oswald on the street. He accuses them of trying to put Alois to shame, and knowing they’re probably planning to duplicate the tomatoes, he says the tomatoes they make with alchemy just won’t taste the same as the genuine ones. When Oswald is about to ask if he still hates alchemists, Stephan cuts him off saying he does hate alchemists with a passion. Stephan says Oswald should know that fact too, and he asks if Oswald forgot everything — just like Clemens. Everyone from the academy are all heartless in his eyes, and he wonders if Camilla left everything in Elkrone because of them. Upon hearing this, Oswald asks Stephan to stop. He doesn’t mind getting blamed, but he doesn’t want Stephan to involve Meri in this issue. Stephan only says he understands and tries to walk away, but Meri stops him saying Alois is wishing to see him again. She asks him to visit the bar once again, though he harshly refuses and leaves — with Oswald chasing after him.
After that, Meri and Popote visit the academy. Clemens is away today, but Heidi helps them to duplicate the tomato. Synthesizing duplicates is actually forbidden in the academy, and so she asks them to keep this a secret from everyone. When they return to the bar, Alois apologizes because he couldn’t find Stephan. Meri also feels bad thinking she did something unnecessary by asking him to see Alois, which only angered him even more because she’s an alchemist he hates. However, Alois says it’s not Meri’s fault. Stephan has been hating alchemists for a long time, and today’s debut performance is just too heavy for him to handle. As an apprentice of a songstress, Stephan can’t seem to accept any performance which is inferior to his teacher’s. Just then Stephan enters the bar, and after insulting Meri for failing to get enough tomatoes, he hands one last tomato Alois needs. He actually went to retrieve it from Sunlight Forest, simply because he loves Alois’ cooking. Stephan then tries to leave, but Alois asks him to perform on stage tonight. He knows Stephan can’t perform that well in front of people, but he doesn’t mind at all. The stage did belong to Camilla in the past, and Alois approached Stephan because he’s her apprentice.. but after hearing Stephan’s melody, he realized that he’s actually not seeking for someone to replace Camilla. What he needs is someone to play a new music on the stage, and he wants Stephan to fill in that role — even if he’s not playing for humans. Stephan sighs upon hearing this, but then he smiles and agrees to take the stage.
After helping Alois in the kitchen all day, Meri and Popote join the party at night. She bumps into Junger XV in the bar, but not knowing who he is, she only apologizes and walks away. They made it just in time for Stephan’s performance, and they watch in awe as he plays a wild and violent song on his violin. When Alois asks for her opinion, Meri answers that the performance is wonderful.. but Stephan looks like he’s in pain. It’s as if he’s fighting something, which might be the shadow of his teacher. Meri then asks about Camilla, and Alois describes her as a bold and mysterious person. Her singing voice was like a whisper to everyone’s hearts, and all the man who watched her got their hearts stolen — including Alois himself, Oswald, and Stephan. By the end of Stephan’s performance, the guests are incredibly satisfied with his music. Even Popote admits that he loves Stephan’s music, to which Stephan replies with “it’s not like I hate fairies either.” ｲﾔﾝ☆(*´∀｀)σ)))))*3ﾟ),･´. He ignores Meri when she praises his performance, but then he sits down to eat Alois’ tart beside them. Normally he would refuse to eat anything made by alchemy, so it’s a sign that he wants to make up. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:*
In the morning, Alois comes to thank Meri and Popote for helping him in the kitchen yesterday. As a sign of gratitude, he made a delicious three-colored tart for them. Meri feels bad since it was her fault for dropping the tableware yesterday, but Alois says it’s all thanks to them that he can reach an agreement with Stephan. He also mentions that Stephan has a really complex relationship with the songstress, but before he could explain further, they suddenly hear the siren’s song from the ocean. Her voice is really clear today, and Popote says it’s strange how people refer to her voice as “the sound of the wind” or “a monster’s cry”.. because it sounds like a woman’s voice to him. Meri asks about what Alois wanted to say earlier, but he says it’s nothing and excuses himself.
Today is the atelier’s day off, and Meri is having tea with Popote when Stephan comes to give her a concert ticket — in complete silence LOL. Noticing that he’s asking her out, she decides to accept the invitation along with Popote. Stephan then takes them to the Austen Gate, where he grumbles saying he’s only doing this to return the favor. He keeps saying he doesn’t have time to explain since they’re already late, and he leaves them saying they can go home if they don’t want to follow him. Popote is obviously pissed and asks Meri to go home instead, but she soon notices that he actually didn’t give them a concert ticket. It’s actually a hand-drawn map. It’s pointing to a certain location in Torene Lake, and so they decide to chase him before it’s too late. He continues ignoring them though, and when an Apostel appeared along the way.. they just have to run for their lives. The monster keeps chasing them, but suddenly the siren’s song is heard — instantly calming down the monster. Meri and Popote use this chance to run away, but unfortunately they trip on a stray bomb. It’s unclear how the bomb ended up there, but it’s definitely Clemens’ bomb LOL. Soon enough Stephan comes to save them, and he smacks the monster with his violin before taking them to escape. (ﾟ∇ﾟﾉﾉ”☆ﾊﾟﾁﾊﾟﾁ
Upon reaching the lake, Stephan rages at Meri and Popote for wandering around the area just by themselves. However, he turns ･･･(・_・；) when she explains that they were chasing after him. When Popote asks if he’s trying to pull a prank on them by doing this, Stephan turns silent and only tells them to follow him. He then takes them to see a group of birds of passage by the lake, where he plays a song on his violin to send the birds off. Stephan was actually trying to take Meri and Popote here before the birds are gone, and that’s why he was in a rush earlier. Upon hearing the song, Popote tells Meri that Stephan’s song is dedicated to the birds — not to humans. The song gives energy to their wings, wishing them luck for the long journey ahead. Meri soon notices that one of the birds is wounded, as it can’t fly despite its attempt to spread out its wings. Stephan has to stop playing when one of his violin strings snaps, and Meri calls the bird to come to the lakeside. Meri examines its wings to check if there are any injuries, but when she says the bird is fine, Stephan says the bird is probably being left behind. The birds of passage are always traveling from one land to another — giving birth and raising their kids during their journey — but they will leave behind the ones who don’t have enough strength to endure the long journey.
Meri feels sorry for the bird, but Stephan sarcastically asks if she’s going to help the bird with her alchemy. Like making a pair of big wings so it can fly, or creating fake birds so it won’t be alone. He also stresses that he only took them here to return the favor, not because he wants her to show off her alchemy. A lot of birds got separated from their group, and just like those birds, there are also people who got thrown away by their own family. Stephan’s expression changes when Popote sadly asks if there are any ways for the bird to return to its group, but then he walks away saying they can’t do anything.. and they don’t have a choice but to leave the poor bird alone. Stephan then walks them back to the fountain plaza, and nearly gets into another argument with Popote when Oswald comes to stop them. He’s surprised to hear that Stephan asked Meri out today, but Stephan insists that he’s just returning the favor. He has no intentions to deal with Meri anymore, and he turns around to leave.
However, Oswald notices that a string on the violin is broken. Stephan says the violin has just reached the end of its life span, and when Meri asks if they can repair it, he says he’d rather destroy it than have her repair it with alchemy. Oswald tells him not to say such a thing since “she” was the one who gave him the violin, but Stephan replies that it doesn’t mean anything. He already forgot about “her”, just like how they all did. Then suddenly, the siren’s song starts flowing through the city. Oswald tells Stephan to stop arguing and just treasure the violin, and Stephan walks away saying he won’t see Meri anymore. Noticing that Meri looks sad, Oswald asks her not to lose confidence. Not everyone holds positive opinions towards alchemy, but it doesn’t mean she has to stop believing in her alchemy too. Luckily Stephan’s ツンツン attitude doesn’t stop Meri, because she then synthesizes a Howling Chord to replace the broken string on his violin. Knowing he’ll just rage at them again if they deliver it directly to him, she decides to ask for Alois’ advice tomorrow.
Early in the morning, Alois visits the atelier to inform Meri and Popote about Stephan. Since his violin’s string is broken, Stephan insisted that he wants to buy a new violin instead. The price is quite expensive, so now he’s planning to search for another job and save money first. Alois also mentions that Stephan’s violin can’t be fixed unless they can find a string that suits it, and so Meri gives him the Howling Chord she made yesterday.. though she’s not sure if it’s alright for her to hand the string to Stephan. Moved by her kindness, Alois then submits a request for the string. Stephan won’t act so thorny because Alois is his employer, and Alois thinks Meri’s string might be able to ease Stephan’s hatred towards alchemy. Since Alois wants to pay her, Meri decides to ask for information about Stephan’s violin. As expected, the violin was indeed given to Stephan by Camilla. He moved to Elkrone with Oswald and Clemens a few years ago, and he was learning music under Camilla’s guidance back then. Meri is actually curious about Camilla’s disappearance, but she decides not to ask further.
Today Meri receives a letter from Junger XV, which says that she needs “Spirit Light” in order to make Aoi Wakkakka. It can be retrieved from the Forest of Fairies, which means they have to walk through the Lost Forest. Since Meri and Popote need someone to guard them through the way, Meri then decides to invite Stephan. She knows he would refuse, but she can’t help to think about him. Because he shares the fairies’ opinion regarding human greed, though his hatred is directed towards alchemists instead. Meri finds Stephan talking to Laura at the port, gently smiling as he listens to Laura. It reminds her that he was really kind too back when they first met, and she realizes that he’s actually a kind person. It’s just his extreme hatred towards alchemists is clouding his real personality. Laura explains that Duke Rosenheim is coming back to Elkrone soon, and they’re discussing about his welcome back party. She also mentions that Duke Rosenheim really loves Stephan’s music, and the one who introduced them was actually Mathias. Meri can tell that Stephan doesn’t seem to like her father though. Or probably he’s just scared after Mathias threw him into the kitchen a few weeks ago. When Meri asks Stephan to come along with them, he instantly refuses.. but then he turns silent upon hearing about what the fairies told her yesterday. Meri admits that Stephan’s words are harsh, but there must be something she can learn from him. Laura also encourages Stephan to help them, so he finally agrees to accompany Meri and Popote.
Upon reaching the Forest of Fairies, Stephan splits up with Meri and Popote to help them look for the Spirit Light. Meri then finds a frozen heart-shaped stone on the ground, and soon a bearded fairy comes out asking what business they have in this forest. When Meri shows him Aoi Wakkakka’s recipe, the bearded fairy reveals that the heart-shaped stone is actually the Spirit Light they’re looking for. The fairies call it a “Spirit Heart”, which is the crystallization of the hearts of the spirits. It’s frozen solid because the fairies don’t trust humans, and so Meri has to wrap it with human kindness in order to make it melt. The moment Meri asks it to let her hear its voice, the Spirit Heart instantly melts in her hands.. while Stephan watches everything in silence. The bearded fairy also reveals that he’s actually the elder fairy who raised Popote in the Green Forest, though right now he’s acting as the guardian of this forest instead. When Popote begs the elder fairy to take him along, he asks if Popote can really leave Meri’s side to live with them.. because unlike humans, fairies like them can’t erase the bond they made with someone. After asking Meri to take care of Popote, the elder fairy disappears into the forest — leaving Popote to wonder why fairies and humans can’t just live together.
Seeing Popote at the brink of tears, Stephan takes out his violin and plays a song to make him feel better. Meri also tells Popote that he’s got her by his side, and Popote finally cries in Meri’s arms when she says that the atelier is his home too. Stephan walks them home after that, and for once.. he’s being nice and stays with them until Popote falls asleep. When Meri thanks him for comforting Popote, Stephan says she should express her gratitude to his violin instead. He was only playing based on the violin’s wish. Much to his surprise, she really thanks his violin for the beautiful sound it gave them today. Stephan asks if she really believes that everything has a heart, and he falls into silence when Meri says yes. Then he takes his leave.
The Port Festival Arc
There’s an open market at the fountain plaza today, and Meri goes to buy some new flasks for the atelier. Soon she hears Stephan playing his violin by the fountain, and while his song heals her fatigue, she notices that he looks stressed and tired. When Elie appears to greet her, Meri remembers that Elie’s cheesecake is infamous for relieving fatigue. Meri then asks Elie to teach her how to make a good cheesecake, and under Elie’s super strict guidance, she manages to make “Elie’s Special Cheesecake” for Stephan.
Meri isn’t sure if Stephan is willing to accept her cheesecake since it’s made with alchemy, but she decides to deliver it to him anyway. She finds him playing his violin at Breeze Terrace, and just as expected, his immediate reaction is “hmph.. as if I’d eat something made with alchemy!” He then goes on to complain about how she used alchemy instead of baking the cheesecake, but she doesn’t give up and asks him to try eating it first. At first he refuses saying alchemy is just an easy shortcut to create things, so she tells him that it’s not easy at all. She had to learn a lot under Elie earlier, and she doesn’t want him to deny Elie’s effort and pride as a specialist. Meri apologizes for being a nuisance saying she’ll just take the cheesecake back, and Stephan finally says he’ll accept the cheesecake. He makes it clear that he still hates alchemy and it will never change, but it’s against his aesthetics to waste someone else’s pride. While he accepts her pride and hard work, Stephan doesn’t understand why Meri would go this far just for him. He asks if she’s plotting something, and she answers it’s a sign of gratitude for his wonderful melody. Stephan denies that he’s tired though, and Meri subconsciously asks if he doesn’t feel tired by frowning all day long — which obviously makes him go ( ಠ_ಠ ) LOL.
In the morning, Meri finds a letter from Stephan in her mailbox. He only wrote a short message for her: “I ate it. Are you satisfied now?” xD Of course it makes her happy, and she wonders about what kind of expression he had while eating her cheesecake. Even though she knows he probably looked like ( ಠ_ಠ ) this. Just like he always does.
Client: Alois. Reward: (to be discussed).
This is a secret request from Alois. It seems like Stephan’s violin is still in a bad condition, and he wants Meri to examine it. Which won’t be so easy considering the owner’s hatred towards her. The moment Meri and Popote enter Alois Bar, they receive a very cold welcome by a very grumpy Stephan. He knows they came here because of his violin, and since he hates it when people are being sneaky, he decides to show them his violin.. which is now covered in a lot of small cracks. The violin is about a hundred years old, so even if he takes a good care of it, the wood have worn down and the varnish is fading. Stephan thought the violin would still last for another year, but then it started breaking down when he attached Meri’s Howling Chord on it. While it produces a beautiful sound, the Howling Chord is actually too strong for the old violin. It even scraped the table plate just by a simple touch. Stephan then says it’s because the violin was made and maintained by hands for 100 years, and it rejects the Howling Chord — which was made in an instant using alchemy. He also accuses Meri of mocking his music, and when Popote says she’s not, he answers that he used to think that way too.
Despite his extreme hatred, Stephan then admits that he thought his music can reach Meri and Popote — because they always smiled whenever he plays his violin. However, that was only until the Howling String ruined his violin. Now he thinks she’s only deceiving him and Alois, and he rages at her when she asks if she can fix it. She always offers her help to people, and it’s not a good thing in his eyes. To him, all alchemists are always so full of themselves. They think they can do anything, replacing everything people lost just by using alchemy. When Meri tries to explain that she only wants to help, Stephan yells at her to shut up. He admits that deep in his heart, he was actually hoping that she would be different from other alchemists. Different from “that person”. Noticing that Meri doesn’t know anything, Stephan decides to tell her why he hates alchemists that much — it’s all because of Camilla. Before her disappearance, Camilla actually had two occupations. The first was a songstress, and the second was an alchemist. A “singing alchemist”, to be exact, as she created a modern “singing alchemy” with her music and alchemy. That’s why Stephan can play songs for flowers and birds, knowing everything has a heart. Unfortunately, Camilla suddenly disappeared for alchemy — leaving Stephan with nothing but the violin. She left everything she had in Elkrone, including her academy, her job as a songstress, her friends and even her lover. Stephan thinks it’s wrong for people to leave all they have and seek for something which wasn’t given to them, and he hates alchemy since it makes people think they can create everything they want. He then hands his violin to Meri and asks her to leave, saying he doesn’t want to see them anymore.
Just then Junger XV enters the bar, asking if he’s disturbing them. Stephan coldly says Meri is leaving, and that he’s going to sing without his violin tonight. Junger XV then tells Meri to forget her wish to reach an understanding with Stephan, because he’s trapped in the past. His heart isn’t here in the present, though Junger XV can see that she’s actually just the same. Meri only leaves the bar without saying anything, but then outside, she tells Popote that it was her fault. She was only wishing to make a strong violin string for Stephan, without even thinking about if it would go well with the violin itself. She feels guilty since the violin has reached the end of its life because of her, and she wonders what she can do to atone for that sin. Not too long after that, Alois comes out saying there’s a person who has repaired the violin before. He tells them to visit the academy, where Heidi guides them to see Clemens — who knows both Camilla and Stephan personally. Meri is curious about what actually happened to Camilla, but first Clemens tells her to concentrate on repairing the violin. Following his instructions, they create a varnish for the violin together. Oswald soon comes to scold Clemens for synthesizing items without a permission from the principal, but Clemens calmly says it’s for the cruel woman who dumped Oswald in the past. It should be an extreme pleasure for a ドM like Oswald. ＼(^o^)／
Since they’re done with the varnish, Clemens then goes back to Meri’s question. From him, she learns that Camilla left Elkrone in order to follow her own alchemy. He also explains that there are two types of alchemists. First are the ones who use alchemy to build their career, and the second are ones who destroy their bodies for the sake of alchemy. Both Camilla and Clemens fall into the second category, and he says they were really similar in that aspect. However, he knows Oswald and Meri are different. Oswald doesn’t like alchemy which requires sacrifices, and Clemens says everything would be so much better if only Oswald took Camilla’s alchemy away from her. On the other hand, Oswald couldn’t do such a thing knowing both Camilla and Clemens were connected at heart. Oswald quickly puts this subject to an end, while Clemens tells Meri that Camilla was special to them. She was their friend, their rival, their teacher.. and maybe also their lover. However, people can’t stay together forever no matter how much they love each other. Someday they will have to part, and their time together is limited. Since Camilla disappeared, Stephan has been looking for a person who can walk with him. If Meri loves his music, then Clemens wants her to walk with him — even if it’s just for a few steps. She might not be able to see anything right now, but she’ll find her destined path with him. Clemens then leaves the rest to Oswald, who guides Meri to varnish Stephan’s violin through 215 repeated steps of cleaning, coating and drying.
It’s already evening when Meri and Oswald are done repairing the violin, and they can see the message written by Camila on it: “Everything has a heart and voice. That’s why the world will always sing.” Oswald also shows a picture of Camilla in his locket, telling Meri that she left for the sake of pursuing “singing alchemy”. He says the one who received the biggest shock was actually Stephan, not Clemens nor himself. Stephan really loved Camilla, and Oswald thinks he is indeed looking for someone who to walk beside him.. but unlike Clemens, he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Meri to approach Stephan. Meri asks for the reason, but Oswald remains silent and doesn’t give her an answer. Both Oswald and Popote are wondering why she’s willing to go this far for Stephan — who’s by no means kind to her — and Meri says it’s all because she can’t forget his music. Every single song he played has given her something important, though she can’t describe what it is. Besides, she knows the violin wouldn’t want to part with him this way. After thanking Oswald, Meri and Popote deliver the violin to Stephan in Alois Bar.
When Meri and Popote enter the bar, Stephan’s performance is about to begin. She hands the repaired violin to him, but instead of appreciating the help, he goes “You fixed it with alchemy, didn’t you? That’s not my violin anymore! Now go away, you’re an eyesore!” ( ಠ_ಠ ) Thankfully Meri doesn’t give up, and she explains that it’s repaired by using a varnish — they didn’t fix it with alchemy. She also mentions that Oswald and Clemens helped them repairing the violin for Camilla, which surprises him since he always thought they have forgotten about her. Meri tells Stephan that both of them still have Camilla in their hearts, and she begs him to take the violin.. because she doesn’t want him to give up on his performance. The audience is cheering to let him know that they agree with her, so he eventually accepts the violin and performs on stage. As soon as his performance is over, Stephan asks Alois and Popote to leave for a while since he wants to talk to Meri in private. Popote says he’ll bite Stephan if he does anything terrible to Meri, and Stephan replies that he understands.
After taking Meri to sit down, Stephan says he can tell that his violin wasn’t repaired by using alchemy. That’s what she told you! （╯ಠ益ಠ）╯︵ ┻━┻ He also knows that it requires more than 200 steps to repair the violin, and he wants to know why she went that far just to repair it. Meri answers it’s because she admires “singing alchemists”, who can hear the voices of all the things around them. She can’t hear their voices, but if the violin can speak, she knows it’ll ask her to bring it back to his side. That’s why instead of using alchemy, she repaired it using a method he can accept. Meri also admits that she can’t imagine leaving those who are dear to her for alchemy, and she will definitely hate alchemy too if she’s in his position, but she wants him to know that “singing alchemy” is something one do with heart. If Camilla left because of it, there must be a big reason behind her disappearance. Stephan still finds it hard to accept as a person who got left behind, but Meri then asks him not to hate all alchemists. She wants him to believe in her alchemy, and she asks him to give her a request — promising that she won’t do irresponsible things anymore. Stephan admits that his opinion regarding Meri hasn’t improved, but he decides to give her a chance. He explains that he’s currently searching for something, and he needs alchemy in order to find it. Even though he has met a lot of alchemists, he never thought of working with any of them.. until he met her. Stephan then holds out his hand saying he can’t treat her kindly, but if Meri doesn’t mind working together with him, then he wants her to take his hand. Of course Meri gladly accepts the offer, and she holds Stephan’s hand.
Just then Popote returns saying Alois is calling them, and he’s obviously shocked upon seeing them holding hands. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Meri and Stephan try to explain that it’s a misunderstanding, but he doesn’t listen and drags her home — saying Mathias will be angry if he found out. xD Meri asks if Stephan is going to continue performing with the violin, and he hesitantly answers that he will.. since she already went through the trouble to repair it for him. When Popote tells him to be honest already, Stephan says he’s not 100% satisfied, but he praises Meri for not using alchemy to repair his violin. Popote is obviously not pleased with this, but Meri is happy since it means Stephan will continue performing with his violin. Meri then says goodnight and excuses herself, while Popote grumbles that she’s being too kind. The moment they walk out, Stephan smiles saying Popote is right.
In the morning, Stephan comes to give Meri an unfinished music score. It’s a song he’s writing at the moment, and it’s the only thing he can give her as a sign of gratitude. He’s going to invite them when the song is finished, and the music score is the proof of his promise. Upon looking at the violin, he noticed that it has the same shine as before — back when Camilla was using it. He realized it must be Oswald and Clemens’ influence, which proves that they never forgot her after all.. and it makes him happy. Stephan then notices Junger XV standing nearby, and he excuses himself saying an acquaintance is calling him. Before leaving, he tells Meri that he might ask for her help in the near future. Popote finds it really surprising to see Stephan being nice today, but Meri is happy that he’s starting to trust her.
Today is the atelier’s day off, and Meri is relaxing at home with Popote when Stephan comes to take her out. He doesn’t say anything other than “let’s go”, but she agrees thinking he might need her help. As they walk to the Austen Gate, Stephan explains that they’re going to obtain the item he’s been searching for. He’s not sure if they can find it, and he needs Meri’s help in order to retrieve it. He also warns her there will be danger ahead, but he promises to protect her. Their destination today is a geological stratum of the ancient kingdom — located in Qualm Mountain — and this excites her since it’s a proof that the ancient kingdom did exist a long time ago. Meri then notices that Stephan received the information in a familiar black envelope, and she asks if they can really trust the source.
However, Stephan answers that he doesn’t even think about trust. For this case, all he can do is to receive information from “that person”. He’s willing to cancel the request if Meri is unsure, but instead of cancelling the deal, she wants to know what he’s actually looking for. It seems that Camilla left an unfinished item in that area, and that’s what they’re going to retrieve today. If they can find it and finish the synthesis, they should be able to see what Camilla wanted to achieve. Meri eventually agrees, and she tells Stephan that she admires “singing alchemy” as well. Besides, Meri wants to answer Stephan’s decision to rely on her. Upon reaching Qualm Mountain, he guides her to enter a cave under the volcano. They find a twisted key along the way, and she notices that it’s entirely covered by intricate emblems. It’s unclear whether it’s a key from the ancient times, but it’s definitely a rare item. Meri apologizes because that’s all she can deduce from the key, though it’s more than enough for Stephan. He then takes the twisted key saying they should return to the city, but soon an Apostel comes to block their way out. It really surprises Meri, and she falls down to the bottom of the cave. The last thing she heard is Stephan’s voice calling her name.
When she opens her eyes later, Meri finds herself on Stephan’s back. He protected her when she fell down, and now he’s doing his best to climb back up while carrying her. Meri feels bad and tries to get off his back, but sadly she also feels dizzy — probably because she knocked her head during the fall. Stephan also tells her to just stay still and let him carry her, since he’ll just think of her as a luggage. After a long, awkward silence, Stephan asks why Meri decided to become an alchemist. Meri explains that her mother died not too long after giving birth to her, and Mathias is always busy with his job in the army. She grew up all alone, with books as her only friends. When Margret invited them to live together, Meri and Mathias came to Elkrone and spent one summer with her. Sadly they had to move again by the end of summer, and Meri hid in a cupboard because she didn’t want to leave. It was then when Margret found her, and she told her that everything has a heart, so she’s never alone. Stephan says it’s just like Margret to say those words, revealing that he actually knows about Margret. He never met her in person, but Camilla used to learn alchemy from her. She was the one who taught Camilla the song she used to sing. Meri excitedly wonders if they can see the “singing alchemy” by meeting Camilla, and she realizes that Stephan tells her all of this to drive hear fears away. The monster from earlier soon comes to chase after them, but suddenly the siren’s song is heard — driving the monster away from them. Stephan seems to know something about the siren, but he tells Meri it’s nothing and takes her out of the cave.
The moment they step outside, Meri notices that Stephan’s hand is injured. She wants to treat his wound, but he tells her not to touch him. Since she seems to be getting the wrong idea, he makes it really clear that he’s only taking advantage of her abilities as an alchemist. They might be partners right now, but he doesn’t think of her as an ally. When their task is over and done with, they’re going back to become enemies again. Meri doesn’t care though, as she just grabs Stephan’s hand and treats the wound — completely ignoring his protests. She tells him that his hand is important as a musician, since people who love his music will be sad if he ignored the wound. Stephan finds it really strange how she’s thinking about his audience — people whom she doesn’t even know — and he says she’s a really complicated person. To that, Meri smiles and replies with “not as complicated as you are.” ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ They return to the atelier after that, where Stephan hands an unfinished instrument to Meri. He also provides the recipe, which also comes with a black envelope, and he even makes some tea while she’s busy with the synthesis. Since the progress is rather unstable and Stephan looks nervous, Meri decides to ease the tension by asking about his family. He says both of his parents were musicians as well, and they died from a monster attack during their journey. He also had an older sister who was always busy working in order to feed him, so his only friend was music.
Meri apologizes for asking about this, but Stephan doesn’t mind. Their past are actually similar, and he doesn’t feel as nervous anymore thanks to her. He also says she’s complicated since she’s always thinking about everyone around her, but after learning about that side of her, he finds her very simple. She’s very straightforward, and that’s exactly why she has to deal with someone like him. xD When the materials inside the cauldron have finally stabilized, Meri fuses the twisted key with Camilla’s unfinished instrument — creating a Singing Orgel. Stephan then turns it on, and they’re surprised to hear a woman’s singing voice playing from the orgel. Meri finds the song strangely familiar, while Stephan says it’s the song he’s been searching for. He can finally complete the unfished music score with the song, and he thanks her for helping him out. Soon Popote comes home saying Oswald treated him earlier, and he goes Σ(ﾟ□ﾟﾉ)ﾉ!! upon seeing Meri and Stephan holding hands inside. After telling Popote that it’s a misunderstanding, Stephan leaves to write the continuation of the music score — promising to invite her once he finishes writing the song. Popote wonders if love is blooming between them, but Meri tells him she’s just happy that her alchemy could help Stephan.
Today Oswald comes to thank Meri and Popote for helping Stephan. When Meri comments that Camilla must be really important to Stephan, Oswald replies that Camilla was a selfish person who disappeared on her own. Popote feel sorry for Stephan, but Meri happily informs Oswald about the Singing Orgel. While it wasn’t easy to finish Camilla’s synthesis, Meri is really happy that Stephan relied on her. Besides, she also wants to meet Camilla someday. Oswald replies that Meri is really kind, but that kindness might end up destroying herself in the end.. and so he wants her to treasure herself as well.
Client: Stephan. Reward: ???.
For some reason, Stephan needs quick money for the upcoming Port Festival. When Meri and Popote goes to ask him about the details, he simply says he’s got a job for them. They can gain money in a short amount of time, though the job is a bit dangerous. Stephan then takes both of them to the abandoned Mulvey Mine, where he carefully guides them to infiltrate a monster’s lair. He plays his violin to put all the monsters along the way to sleep, but unfortunately Popote and Meri’s panicked voice wakes them up again. Since they keep panicking and won’t shut up about it, Stephan has no choice but to explain. One of the monsters in the mine loves to collect shiny things, and he wants to obtain said monster’s treasures today. He doesn’t know which monster has that habit though, and he doesn’t want to fight it either. Once they find the lair, he will put the monster to sleep with his violin. They’re going to take the treasure in the meantime. Deep inside the mine, the three of them find a huge Spirit Stone lying on a monster’s lair. It’s not exactly gold, but Stephan thinks it’s valuable enough. He takes Meri and Popote back to the city after that, and he immediately tries to sell the Spirit Stone to Anna.
Upon seeing the Spirit Stone, Anna says it’s been a while since the last time she saw a Spirit Stone of such a high quality. Popote asks if she used to sell Spirit Stones and Anna answers that she did, but Stephan quickly interrupts them saying they’re here for business — not to dig through other people’s past. Anna agrees to buy the Spirit Stone for 10,000 cole, but she also needs a few days to prepare the money. Since he won’t get the payment right away, Stephan then says he’ll give a different reward for Meri later. He also asks Anna to purchase several musical instruments with the money, and Anna confirms that she should be able to obtain them before the Port Festival. While Anna writes a purchase receipt, Meri holds Monika to make her stop crying. Popote also entertains Monika by making weird faces, and Stephan only watches them in silence. Before they leave, Anna asks Stephan not to pick on Meri too much. Because she really resembles a person whom she used to love.
For the reward, Stephan plays a song for Meri and Popote in the atelier. It’s the only “reward” he can think about, but both of them are really excited. The song he plays for them is the song he played for his debut in Alois Bar, and he mentions that he was irritated back then.. because he kept thinking about Camilla during the performance. No matter how hard he tries to resist, in the end he couldn’t get away from her curse. This causes Meri to wonder about what kind of past Stephan had, but she decides not to ask. Just then Carl comes saying a group of tourists is eating at the inn right now, and it doesn’t seem like he can cook everything on time. Carl then asks Stephan to perform one song to distract them for a while, offering the inn’s dinner menu as the payment. Stephan gladly accepts the offer, while Meri and Popote go to help Carl in the kitchen. By the end of the day, Stephan says he’ll come to have the dinner menu on a different day.. and Meri wonders if he’s going to come with someone.
In the morning, Miranda and Laura greet Meri in front of the atelier. They’re going to talk about Laura’s new dress while eating breakfast today, since Carl has prepared the dinner menu for them. Even though it’s still morning. It turns out Stephan gave the dinner menu to Laura instead, knowing she doesn’t have much chance to eat dinner outside. Miranda told Stephan to go with Laura, but he refused. Popote thinks it’s simply because he already ate a lot last night, though Meri tells him not to say such things.
• The Voyage Dance •
Today is the Port Festival. In the afternoon, a lively music starts the festival’s Voyage Dance. As soon as the dance begins, Meri hears Stephan’s voice saying “hey, why are you spacing out here?” He then appears to surprise them from behind, telling them to stop spacing out and go make a circle already. The citizens hold hands to form a large circle during the dance, and they march around the city together. Since Meri has no idea how to do the dance and Stephan finds it troublesome to explain, he just grabs her hand and drags her to join the march. Popote rages upon seeing this, but soon Laura also comes and asks Popote to dance with her. She’s not allowed to hold hands with men, but it should be fine if she’s dancing with a fairy. Popote and Meri panic when the pace starts going faster, while Stephan tells them not to complain — the real deal is about to begin. He’s still being thorny though, and he says he invited them just to make the dance merrier. Yeah right. xD After the dance ends, Alois takes everyone to join a cocktail party at the bar. Laura sadly says she’s not allowed to go out without a guardian, but she turns sunny again when Meri asks if Stephan can fill in the role. Stephan is Laura’s music teacher, so it should be fine if she performs with him at the party.
When Meri and Popote wake up today, they find Stephan staring.. or rather, glaring at them in front of the atelier. Meri thanks him for the amazing performance yesterday, and Stephan asks for her opinion about Laura’s performance. She answers that it was very delicate and gentle — just like Laura herself — while Popote says that Laura seemed to enjoy playing the violin a lot. Stephan is relieved to hear this, and he explains that everyone has their own melodies. He wants Laura to play her own melody with freedom, and so he was afraid that she’d follow his teaching too much. After Stephan leaves, Popote says it’d be nice if he can share a little bit of that kindness for alchemists as well.. though Meri notices that Stephan recently comes to talk to them more often than he used to be.
At noon, Meri hears the news that Elkrone’s ocean liner is drowning. She rushes to the port and helps everyone synthesizing medicines, but soon they learn that Duke Rosenheim — who was helping all the passengers to evacuate — is currently missing. Johann stops Erhard from jumping into the sea without thinking, but eventually Stephan says he’ll go and save the mayor. Erhard gets pissed when Stephan calls him a “decorative knight” who can never think with a calm mind, and Meri has to stop them from arguing further. Stephan only tells Meri not to order him around, and he jumps into the ocean before she could react. While Johann asks Fren and Dirk to send a boat to help him, Alex tells Meri that he couldn’t care less about a person who’s always so harsh on her.. but he doesn’t want to see her sad, so he’ll also pray for Stephan’s safety. Stephan returns to the port not too long after that, and he’s really surprised to see Meri crying for him. When Meri says she’s happy to see him returning safely, he instantly turns red and goes “..it’s not like I returned for you..!” (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ♪
Charlotte then takes Stephan and Laura back to the mayor’s mansion, where they have lunch together. She thanks him for taking care of Laura’s rose garden, and Laura finds it interesting how he always says flowers can understand his music better than humans. Stephan replies that it’s because there’s a lot of “foolish alchemists” in Elkrone, but Laura teases him by saying he often gets involved with a certain alchemist from Realm Street. (❤ฺ￫艸￩) He keeps insisting that he hates alchemists, so Laura eventually mentions her father’s words — one should learn from a person who one can never ignore. Even if Stephan claims to hate Meri, Laura thinks he might be learning something from her. Stephan sighs saying Meri might be giving bad examples for him, but Charlotte knows his hatred is changing into something else. Like friendship or love.
Following Charlotte’s suggestion, Meri travels to Vincestein — the Kingdom of Winter — with Stephan and Popote to search for the last material to create Aoi Wakkakka.
When Meri wakes up in the carriage, the first thing she sees is Stephan’s grumpy expression. He tells her that Heidi came to the mayor’s mansion yesterday, asking him to accompany her to Vincestein. He didn’t have any intentions to listen, but Charlotte and Laura also asked him to do so, and that’s why he’s now here with her. It was them who prepared the carriage, and so he wants her to be thankful. That’s all he needs to explain to her, and he tells her to do whatever she wants since he doesn’t have time to deal with her. However, Popote soon wakes up and asks why he joined their journey. Even if it’s a request from Charlotte and Laura, Popote finds it weird for Stephan to agree — considering his hatred towards Meri. He doesn’t want such a person to accompany them, even if he’s not the black society’s spy. Stephan sighs saying he understands, and he suggests creating some rules to make sure they can get along during the journey. They should state what kind of things they don’t want the others to do, and they have to keep the rules at all costs. Those who break the rules will have to sing as the punishment.
The rules are as follows:
1. Do not mention alchemy. (Stephan)
2. Do not insult alchemy. (Popote)
3. No fighting allowed. (Meri)
Both Stephan and Popote break the rules in less than a minute, so they have to sing a duet as they eat breakfast together. ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵
Before dawn, Meri, Stephan and Popote continue their journey towards Vincestein. Since he’s only getting carried around like a luggage, Popote complains that he’s bored. Stephan mentions that he’s being really naggy, and this causes them to get into yet another argument — breaking Meri’s rule again. Each time Meri reminds them about the punishment, they end up blaming each other.. which only increases the number of songs they have to sing. xD Popote asks if he can sing a hit song as the punishment, while Stephan quietly grumbles beside them LOL.
Today Popote complains that he can’t sleep because the carriage keeps rocking, and Stephan nearly breaks the rules again with his sarcasm. He learned from his mistakes though, because he then fixes his sentence to “this naggy luggage.. m-might be nice..” (○´ﾟωﾟ｀):;*.’:;ﾌﾞｯ Popote says it’s really creepy when Stephan is being nice, and he almost mentions Stephan’s regular sarcasm towards alchemy.. though he quickly changes it from “alchemy / renkinjutsu” to “lotus root juice / renkon juice” instead. (:.oﾟзﾟo:.).:∵ぶっ This causes an awkward silence to hang in the carriage, and they wonder why Meri never breaks the rules like they do. xD
On the fourth day of the journey, both Stephan and Meri are starting to get exhausted. Popote, on the other hand, is snoring loudly on the carriage couch. After a short silence, Stephan asks if they can nullify the rules for a moment — because he wants to confirm something from Meri. He knows she needs an item which is related to dragon, so he’s been wondering if it’s related to Vincestein’s ice dragon. She admits that she doesn’t know either, but if it’s something which they can’t obtain, she’ll keep searching for another item. Just then Popote suddenly wakes up, and he asks what they’re talking about. While Meri keeps her mouth shut, Stephan completely breaks his own rule by saying “we didn’t talk about alchemy!” LOL. Popote excitedly points out that he just mentioned “alchemy”, and he also breaks the rules by repeating the word. The two of them end up blaming each other again, and they have to sing together as the punishment — feeling irritated because Meri never has to sing. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
After spending the last four days traveling by carriage, Meri, Stephan and Popote finally reach Vincestein today. Meri wants to ask the citizens about the last material, but Stephan tells them to save that for later. He drags them to visit Vincestein’s Crystal Palace instead, where they’re welcomed by the royal advisor — Lutz Reisengang. It turns out Stephan is a special guest for Vincestein, and he goes to play his violin for Queen Victoria.. while Lutz serves lunch for Meri and Popote. By the end of Stephan’s wonderful performance, Victoria is impressed saying the soul of the “friend” will be happy too. She agrees to hand a dragon-related item to them as the reward, and she takes them to a large atelier inside Crystal Palace. Vincestein doesn’t have a good relationship with alchemists, but they used to get along really well in the past — just like a certain someone. Victoria also notices that Stephan is hiding something from her, since he’s not requesting the Dragon’s Tear — one of Vincestein’s royal treasure — for himself. Victoria knows the one who needs it is actually Meri, and she wants to know why Stephan is helping an alchemist despite his hatred. Stephan says it’s because he feels indebted to Meri’s father, and Victoria realizes that it must be Mathias.
When Victoria says Meri must have a good and easy life thanks to Mathias, Popote replies that a queen like her is in no position to say so. Victoria admits that her current life is indeed easy, but she had a hard life when she was young. Her social status and honor were taken away, not to mention she got thrown away to survive in the city alone. The experience gave her the strength to obtain everything she wants, crushing all the things she hates. That’s exactly why she can say that people who rely on their parents’ prestige are considered children. She asks if Meri is someone who hides under her father’s protection, or is she a person who opens her own path with knowledge and strength. Victoria then gives Meri the Dragon’s Tear, asking her to prove her worth by performing the synthesis right now. If she succeeds, then the Dragon’s Tear is hers. Meri decides to accept Victoria’s challenge, but the result turns out to be Aokunai Wakkakka instead — a ring with a grey gem. It’s definitely different from what they expected, but Victoria allows her to keep the ring because the synthesis is successful. In addition, she also lets them spend the night in Crystal Palace today.
In the morning, Lutz sends Meri, Stephan and Popote off from Vincestein’s gate as they leave on the carriage back to Elkrone. Victoria only sends them off from afar, but the song Meri sang while synthesizing Aokunai Wakkakka yesterday is already enough to satisfy her. It turns out that Victoria actually knew about the “singing alchemist” of Elkrone, and Meri’s song makes her feel like her “old friend” has returned to her side.
In the carriage, Stephan says Victoria’s words yesterday have opened his eyes. He realized that he’s indebted to Mathias, not Meri and Popote. He should return to favor directly to Mathias instead, and so he doesn’t want to deal with them anymore after their journey is over. Popote rages saying Stephan didn’t help them that much, and the result might be better if Meri wasn’t forced to synthesize on the spot. Stephan tells them to just dye the ring blue, but Meri tells him not to say such a thing.. because Popote’s dream depends on Aoi Wakkakka. This causes him to feel bad, and he falls into silence until the carriage suddenly stops. Stephan then takes Meri and Popote out of the carriage, where he shows them the snowy road outside. She wonders if he’s been planning to take them here, though he says it’s not for her. When Popote runs off to play in the snow, Meri asks if Stephan is doing this for Popote. Or maybe to return the favor to Mathias. He only tells her to stop asking stupid questions, and he asks if she still remembers what Victoria said about Vincestein and alchemists yesterday.
Curious about what happened, Stephan did further research and learned that royal alchemists constructed the road — the “King’s Road” — for Vincestein in the past. Sadly while they did a marvelous job, those alchemists got involved in politics and commited wrongdoings. Vincestein cut off all ties with alchemy ever since, branding it as an “evil art” which corrupts people. The same goes for art. Despite all the beautiful descriptions it has, art only creates an illusion they can never touch. While in reality, art can’t change anything for the better. Stephan is aware of this, and it’s the reason why he never plays any songs for humans. In the eyes of those who hates art, a musician like him is nothing more than a demon. Meri says she loves his music and will never think of it as a demonic thing, but Stephan sharply replies that he hates her alchemy. Just then Popote calls Meri saying he just made a self-portrait on the snow, and she sadly tells Stephan that she’ll be leaving. Stephan says she can do whatever she wants since he’s done anyway, and he once again tells Meri that alchemy is an “evil art” — warning her to be careful not to get excluded. Upon hearing this, she sadly admits that she used to believe her alchemy will reach his heart one day.. but now she realized it’s all just a misunderstanding on her part.
Meri then apologizes to Stephan, and she says it’s a good chance to put an end to everything. She also apologizes for involving him in her issues, and she promises that she will never ever approach him again from now on — this journey will be the last. Before Meri goes to Popote’s place, Stephan suddenly holds her hand saying he’s going too. Nothing will be able to change the fact that alchemists are corrupted by greed, but alchemists and musicians are similar. Both of them are demons entranced by an power called imagination. Stephan then says that he can never treat Meri kindly, but he has acknowledged her existence for quite a while. He takes her to see Popote’s self-portrait after that, saying they need the “evil art” to fix the horrible doodle Popote drew on the snow.
After spending another four days traveling by carriage, Meri, Stephan and Popote finally reach Elkrone at night. Stephan only gives a short “yes” when Meri thanks him for coming with them, and Popote can’t tell if he’s actually a good or a bad person. Meri tells Popote not to say such a thing, while Stephan only says he’s going home. Then he leaves without saying anything else.
The Spirit Festival Arc
Blank Music Score
Client: Niklaus. Reward: n/a.
For the upcoming Spirit Festival, Niklaus is asking Stephan to copy a bunch of music scores. It would be difficult for Stephan to work alone considering the amount, so Niklaus also requests for Meri and Popote’s assistance. It’s not related to alchemy, but he doesn’t know anyone else to rely on. Meri then takes Popote to meet Stephan in Stolz Hill, and they find him standing right in front of Frasco Cafe with a scary expression. Meri soon notices that Elie is calling her from inside, so they sneak into the cafe from the back door. It turns out Stephan has been standing in front of the entrance for quite a while, and he’s scaring away all of her customers with his expression. The problem is that he doesn’t do anything wrong, and so she can’t just tell him to go away. Elie then asks them to help softening Stephan’s expression, but of course Meri says it’s impossible. He hates alchemists with a passion, so everything she does will only anger him instead. However, Popote instantly accepts the request when Elie bribes them with a delicious cake set. ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ They have to talk to him about Niklaus’ request anyway, and Meri has no choice but to leave this case to Popote.
Stephan is shocked when Meri and Popote walk out of the Cafe, and even more when Popote suddenly asks him to play his violin for them. Stephan obviously goes ?(´・д・`)? upon hearing the sudden request, but he eventually agrees to play one song. His performance attracts a lot of customers, but of course things won’t be pretty when they’re dealing with him. As soon as he’s done performing, Stephan walks into the cafe and overhears Elie saying she will have to thank them with a greater reward. He immediately accuses Meri of making him perform for the sake of cake, going as far as using Popote. Meri apologizes right away, but Stephan keeps on glaring at her.. until Popote says he was troubling Elie with his scary face. When Meri explains that they’re here to help him with Niklaus’ request, Stephan takes out a huge mountain of music scores. Some of them are the originals, while the rest of the mountain is blank scores for them to write on. The church needs a lot of copies for everyone in the choir group. Popote says it’d be so much easier to create duplicates, but Meri replies that the church only uses handwritten music scores. Right after they finish making copies, Stephan immediately takes everything and leaves. Elie soon comes with a cheesecake to thank them, but since Stephan is already gone, Popote happily eats his share.
Not too long after Meri and Popote return to the atelier, Niklaus comes to thank them for helping Stephan earlier. He gives them some cheesecakes as a sign of gratitude, though Popote can’t eat anymore after gulping down three whole cakes in Frasco Cafe. xD
In the morning, Stephan shyly greets Meri and Popote in front of the atelier. Popote asks if he’s here for a request, and since he says no, Meri asks if he’s just taking a morning walk. Instead of answering, he only says he’s going home and leaves. Popote wonders what he came here for, but Meri realizes that Stephan actually tried to thank them for yesterday — as unbelievable as that sounds.
Client: Stephan. Reward: Free food and drinks.
Just as he promised, Stephan is inviting Meri and Popote to attend his live performance at Alois Bar. From Alois, they also learn that Stephan’s performance today is dedicated only to the two of them — it’s a private concert. Much to Popote’s shock, Stephan soon comes out and thanks them for coming today. Stephan wonders if it’s really weird for him to show gratitude, but Meri says it’s not. If anything, she’s happy to get invited to his concert. He instantly reverts back to his usual ツンツン self, but noticing that Alois is giving him a weird look, he looks away saying it was indeed thanks to Meri that he can finish the song. It’s a song Camilla has been seeking for — even going as far as throwing away her everything — and today he’s going to perform the completed song in front of them. After telling Meri and Popote to listen, Stephan steps onto the stage and plays the song on his violin. Soon after his performance starts, she notices that the air is dancing along to his song. All the things around them start glowing with a blue light, as if they’re singing too. Popote mentions that the song feels familiar, and it also reminds Meri of the words Margret used to say. There’s a heart in everything, and “singing alchemists” can create things just by singing together with the materials.
However, Meri soon notices a change in Stephan’s condition. He mumbles that his power as a “singing alchemist” isn’t enough, and then he collapses on the stage. When he wakes up later, Stephan finds Meri watching over him. They think he fainted due to fatigue, but he says it’s not because he’s tired. The real reason is actually the “singing alchemy” itself. The song absorbed his life energy while he was performing earlier. Meri finds it hard to believe that a song can do such a thing, but soon Junger XV appears to answer her questions. Realizing that she’s being extra cautious around him, Junger XV tells Meri they’re not enemies when it comes to Camilla’s case. He mentions that Camilla is breaking his heart, dropping a huge hint by saying he’s an old friend of hers. It also means that Camilla was actually involved with the black society, which is confirmed true by Stephan. Junger XV asks if he’s prepared to involve Meri into this issue, but Stephan only asks him to tell her everything.. for her own sake. Junger XV gladly accepts the task, and he reveals the secret behind the “singing alchemy”.
In the ancient period, when humans and fairies were living together, “singing alchemy” used to be mainstream. The “singing alchemists” used their singing voices to communicate with all the things around them, freely rebuilding the world with that power. Even more than alchemy, their power was more similar to a witch’s, a shaman’s or a singer’s. Those who had greater power then created a new existence which can replace humans — homunculus. A lot of alchemists in the current time are questioning whether “singing alchemy” truly exists, while the academy never teach them about this.. but it does exist. It’s just intentionally concealed in the dark, since there’s a big difference between “singing alchemy” and modern alchemy. The basic of modern alchemy is combining materials to synthesize an item, but “singing alchemy” has the power to modify the world and even creating new lives. The power of “singing alchemy” is so large, but it also comes with a great price. Because the main source of that power is actually none other than the user’s life. In short, the “singing alchemists” are sacrificing their own lives in order to synthesize. The “singing alchemy” is not extinct, it’s just hidden because of how dangerous it can be. Meri then goes into a denial and says it must be a mistake, insisting that Stephan didn’t use “singing alchemy”, but Junger XV replies that’s exactly why it’s dangerous. Stephan only played a song, and yet “singing alchemy” still absorbed his life anyway.
When Meri asks Stephan if it’s true, he replies that it’s indeed the power of the ancient songs. Just by humming the melody, one can gain high concentration and strengthen their abilities — the songs grant them tremendous power. Junger XV mentions that Stephan is really similar to Camilla, but Stephan says he doesn’t understand her. He doesn’t get why she dealt with such an dangerous thing, and that’s exactly why he thinks of “singing alchemy” as an “evil art”. Not only it changes the world based on human greed, but it also takes away the user’s life. Meri is shocked and asks why did he perform the song knowing it’s dangerous, and Stephan admits it’s because he doesn’t want her to take the wrong path. In the end, it can be said that Camilla was murdered by that song. Now that Meri already learned everything, Junger XV disappears again saying he’ll talk to Stephan later. When Popote and Alois return with several medicines, they notice that Meri looks really pale. Stephan says it’s because she’s tired after nursing him, and he asks Popote to let her rest at home. He also asks Alois to cook something for them to take home.
The moment Popote and Alois disappear into the kitchen, Stephan quietly asks Meri to give up on “singing alchemy”. He knows she’s not Camilla and her alchemy isn’t “singing alchemy”, but he wants her to think carefully about everything that she learned today. Stephan couldn’t stop Camilla and ended up losing her, and he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if he ignores Meri in this condition. He says it’s just a selfish wish from someone who lost Camilla in the past, but she agrees to think about it. Stephan suddenly stops Meri before she goes home with Popote, but then he lets go and says it’s nothing.. though she notices that he looks sad.
At night, Meri has a dream of Stephan playing his violin in Laura’s rose garden. With his music, he already made the roses bloom, sent the birds of passage off (even though one of them got left behind), and released Alois Bar from the songstress’ ghost. He already did everything that he needs to do here, but then he falls into silence and apologizes to her — telling her that he’s leaving. Meri soon wakes up calling Stephan’s name, and she can hear the sound of his violin from afar. She was too shocked to think properly yesterday, but now she realizes that he can see Camilla in her.. and that’s why he wants her to give up on “singing alchemy”.
During breakfast, Meri tells Popote about the dream she saw earlier. Usually Popote would just tell Meri to ignore Stephan, but he can’t say the same since Stephan fainted while performing for them yesterday. Popote then takes out a fruits tart he baked for Alois, and he sends Meri to deliver it to the bar while checking Stephan’s condition. When Meri enters the bar, Alois tells her that Stephan has recovered yesterday. He says Stephan might be in the mayor’s mansion right now, so Meri goes to visit Laura after that.. only to learn that Stephan went out last night and hasn’t returned ever since. He often goes out to search for inspiration, and he mentioned that he’s concerned about the birds of passage. Meri also shares some of the tart with Laura, and Laura reveals that Stephan actually talks about Meri quite often. He always says she’s a complex person, but he can’t seem to leave her alone since she always puts other people on top of herself. Laura knows Stephan actually likes Meri, so she tells Meri to ask him about this directly. After parting with Laura, Meri finds the bird of passage from the lake — the one who got left behind. The bird then gives Stephan’s music score to her and starts pulling her clothes, asking her to come along. Realizing that the bird knows where he is, she follows it all the way to the port — where she finds S.S. Dawn of Intelligence.
Near the ship, Meri finds Junger XV talking to Dirk. The weather isn’t too good, but it seems like S.S. Dawn of Intelligence is going to sail away. When Meri asks about Stephan’s location, the bird flies onto the ship.. and soon Junger VIII comes to report that “the songstress’ apprentice” is joining their journey as well. After asking Junger VIII to keep people away from their temple, Junger XV enters the ship to meet up with Stephan. Soon after that, the bird suddenly returns and snatches Junger VIII’s mask — luring him away from the entrance. Meri uses this chance to sneak into the ship, and she can hear the sound of Stephan’s violin echoing in the corridor. The bird joins her again not too long after that, and it guides her to the temple. Stephan’s song is getting clearer as they draw closer, which makes Meri realize that he’s actually playing the song from yesterday. The song of “singing alchemy”. Even though he’s aware of the danger, he’s still playing that song.
After Junger VIII chases the black society members away from the temple, Meri sneaks inside and finds Stephan there — playing his violin in a glass tube. He doesn’t notice her presence at all, and he keeps playing with a painful expression. Sadly the glass is really strong and won’t even budge when Meri tries hitting it with a book, but the bird once again puts Stephan’s music score into her hands. Hoping her voice can reach Stephan, Meri then starts singing the song. Fortunately the song delivers all of her feelings to him, and it brings him back to his senses. He rages at her for singing the song despite the risk, but then he realizes there’s nothing wrong with her. Stephan asks if Meri feels any pain or the sensation that she’s being controlled, but she’s completely fine. She doesn’t know the reason either, because all she could think about was how to open his eyes. However, Junger XV suddenly appears while clapping his hands. He’s actually happy to find Meri and Stephan together, saying he now has two candidates for “singing alchemist”.
Before Junger XV could approach Meri, Stephan hits the glass tube with his violin — breaking both at the same time. Junger XV asks if this means he’s taking Meri as Camilla’s replacement, but Stephan answers that he will never forget about Camilla. Junger XV then tells him to give up on Meri and shut her out of his heart, because if Stephan loves someone else, he won’t be able to carry out “the siren’s role.” Then suddenly, a woman’s voice echoes in the temple. She tells Junger XV not to blame Stephan, because he already promised not to hurt Stephan. They realize that the voice comes from a woman’s statue above the temple’s organ, whom Stephan recognizes as.. Camilla. She says Meri feels nostalgic, and Junger XV explains that Meri is the granddaughter of Margret. By using Stephan’s music and Meri’s alchemy, they should be able to set her free. However, Camilla answers that she’s not wishing to be free. She turned into a siren on her own will, using alchemy to alter her own body. When Meri asks why she did that, Camilla says it’s because a siren’s voice has a broad range. She can calm down the monsters from afar with her singing voice, so she decided to turn into a siren. Junger XV also explains that alchemy can control monsters, and the black society has been researching about this for a long time. The objective is actually to chase away Vincestein’s ice dragon and also Elkrone’s beast away from people, but the result was a tragedy. Camilla became the sacrifice, and they also revived “singing alchemy”.
Here, Camilla explains that “singing alchemy” isn’t a curse. As long as the user isn’t consumed by greed, everything in the world will lend their strength. Camilla admits that she was wishing too much in the past, and she notices that Stephan probably has a mistake as well. The song actualy reflects one’s love and hatred towards oneself, and it harmed him because he’s been blaming himself for what happened to her. Camilla then says she’ll carry the sin of leaving him behind, and so she wants Stephan to leave his pain right here — along with his broken violin. If her voice can protect him and the world he lives in, then she will keep singing forever. Even if she lost her human body, she will never lose her heart. That’s why she wants him to believe in her and her alchemy. Junger XV sadly says he wants her to continue living as a human, but Camilla replies that she’s the only one who can fulfill this role.. so she wants him to give up on her, and return both Stephan and Meri to their daily lives. Junger XV asks if that’s what she’s truly wishing for, and when Camilla answers yes, he whispers “I see..” with trembling voice. Camilla also tells Meri that Margret was an wonderful person, but she also needs to know that alchemy can be used for evil as well — it all depends on the user.
Camilla says she’s really happy to have seen them, but it’s now time for them to say goodbye. For her last wish, Camilla asks Stephan to call her like he used to. She knows it sounds really selfish because she was the one who left him, but Stephan eventually says “You’re the one who ended our bond, and now you’re doing this. As confusing as always.. my sister.” Camilla happily thanks Stephan for fulfilling her wish, and Junger XV takes them back to the port.
By the time S.S. Dawn of Intelligence returns to Elkrone, a week has passed. Junger XV also repairs the broken violin for Stephan, and he admits that he wanted to do everything to save Camilla — even if it means sacrificing her brother. Camilla should be free if Stephan takes her place as the siren, but she already chose the world over anything or anyone else. Junger XV is still thinking of creating a new body for Camilla, but Stephan tells him that Camilla wouldn’t be happy with that. If he really loves her, then he should take responsibility by making a peaceful world and stop the monsters from attacking people. Feeling irritated, Stephan says he doesn’t want to see Junger XV’s mask anymore and tells Meri to get going. She has to chase after him since he walks really fast, but when she caught up to him, she realizes that he’s holding back his tears. Stephan says he couldn’t do anything to change Camilla’s decision after all, but Meri also feels guilty since she’s the granddaughter of a “singing alchemist”.. and yet she couldn’t do anything at all. However, Stephan tells Meri not to say such a thing. He hated himself since he failed to save Camilla, but he can finally forgive himself thanks to her. She did a lot of things for him — things no one else could do — and he finally thanks her.
Just then the sun rises in the horizon, and a group of birds of passage appear to pick up the small bird who got left behind. After thanking the bird for helping them, Meri sends it off as it joins the group and flies away. Beside her, Stephan smiles saying a new dawn has come.
When Meri finally returns to the atelier, Popote is crying alone because she’s been missing for a week. The moment he sees Stephan next to her, Popote immediately rages: “Ever since she met you, Meri had doubts about her alchemy, felt confused about a lot of things, not to mention running away from home on top of that!” ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ He falls flat on his face when he tries to punch Stephan, who obviously feels bad for everything. Stephan apologizes to both of them for everything, but Meri is happy because she got to learn more about Margret. Popote is willing to let it slide as well, since she has finally returned home. Stephan then asks if Meri is working today, and when she says yes, he sincerely tells her to do her best. Meri also asks him to do a concert again, which causes Stephan to blush, say “see you”, and flee — much to Popote’s disbelief. xD
It’s the Spirit Festival Eve today, and Popote asks if Meri is going to participate. She tells him that women can’t join unless she receives a man’s invitation, but soon Stephan comes to invite her to the event. He doesn’t need her answer right now, since he’ll be waiting at the fountain plaza tonight. Popote is obviously shock since this is a man who used to pick fights with them all the time, and he wonders if Stephan mistook the Spirit Festival Eve for a battle royale LOL. Since Meri doesn’t have a dress, Popote then calls Belinda and Miranda to help dressing her up for the night. Meri also asks Popote to come along since she’s really nervous, but Popote replies with “What are you saying!? Didn’t you have a luxury cruise trip with him on S.S. Dawn of Intelligence?” and pushes her out of the atelier. (○´ﾟωﾟ｀):;*.’:;ﾌﾞｯ
Since Meri takes so long to arrive, Stephan sadly thinks it’s only natural for her to refuse. He’s been so mean to her all this time, it’d be weird if she comes. He’s about to leave for the bar when she finally comes, which instantly brings smile to his face. Meri admits that she wasn’t sure if it’s really okay for her to come, but Stephan promises to do his best to treat her kindly. He even praises her dress as they dance together, and he says that he’s been thinking about Camilla’s words. Camilla said alchemy can either be a good and a bad thing, and he wants to hear Meri’s opinion about this. Meri says she can understand what Camilla told them, because there’s always an objective behind each person’s alchemy — be it good or bad. After thinking for a while, Stephan says her opinion regarding alchemy might be similar to his view onmusic. When Meri says alchemy and music might be similar, Stephan smiles saying she really does resemble his sister. Just like Camilla, Meri is always thinking of other people. She seems like the type who would sacrifice herself for other people too, so he finds it hard to take his eyes off her. Now it’s Stephan’s turn to help resolving Meri and Popote’s issue, so she can always ask for his help anytime.
Meri happily says yes, but deep inside she actually feels insecure. She thinks Stephan is only helping her because she resembles Camilla, somehow believing that his heart is completely full of his sister. Just then the countdown to the Spirit Festival begins, and Stephan tells Meri that couples who are dancing together can kiss during the countdown. When the count reaches zero, Stephan calls Meri’s name and kisses her hair. He wasn’t sure where to kiss her, but he admits that he has always wanted to touch her hair. When Stephan asks if she hates it, Meri gets really nervous and accidentally admits that she’s actually happy. (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ♪ Of course this causes him to blush, and he wonders if he’s moving too fast. Stephan promises to think carefully before he makes a move from now on, while Meri can feel that her heart is about to explode. xD After that, the two of them dance togethe until morning comes.
Today is the Spirit Festival. Meri wonders what Popote wants to do since he won’t be able to reach his dream anymore once the festival is over, but she decides not to ask him about this. In the morning, Stephan finds Meri sighing in front of the atelier. He gets worried and wonders if she’s feeling sick, but Popote explains it’s just because they have absolutely no requests to take today. Popote also finds it weird that Stephan now cares a lot about Meri, and Stephan blushes saying he already realized his mistakes. Besides, Meri’s atelier is special to him. Upon hearing this, Popote asks if he came here to hit on her. ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ Stephan nervousy denies it and says he only wants Meri to enjoy the festival, so Popote makes him watch over their atelier while they walk around the town. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Poor Stephan can’t refuse since it’s an “apology” for all the things he did to Meri so far, and he watches them go with a sour look. If they return to the atelier, he greets them with a nervous “w-welcome back..” (* ´艸`)ｸｽｯ♪ Meri has to stop Popote for teasing Stephan, and she asks him to watch over their home while they’re away. Right after they leave, he blushes saying he needs to answer her trust. He then goes to write a theme song for the atelier. 8D
After escaping from the black society’s attempt to capture her, Meri finally manages to create Aoi Wakkakka with “singing alchemy” and Popote’s help. The ring then takes them to the world of the spirits, where they meet Margret and the king of the fairies. When Margret asks Meri not to blame the black society too much, Stephan objects saying they’ve been targeting Meri ever since Margret disappeared. Margret replies that’s exactly why Meri has Stephan to protect her, and besides, she knows her granddaughter is a hardworker who will never give up even if the black society is getting on her way. That’s why she wants Stephan to do his best too, or else he’d only get dragged by Meri’s pace. Stephan blushes saying she’s right, while Margret teasingly tells Meri that her boyfriend is interesting. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:*
The king of the fairies then invite both Meri and Popote to come to the world of the spirits with them, but Meri refuses the offer because she loves Elkrone too much to leave it. After saying goodbye to Popote, Stephan walks Meri back to the atelier — where she cries all night since it looks so empty without Popote.
In the morning, Meri hears Popote’s voice greeting her as usual.. but sadly it turns out to be her imagination, since Popote is no longer here with her. Meri then hears the sound of a violin, and soon Stephan comes to see her. He knows she must be sad after parting with Popote, so he’s trying to cheer her up with his music. Stephan is aware that he can’t make Meri smile the way Popote does, because nobody can take Popote’s place in her heart.. and she also admits that she feels lonely without Popote. Stephan then says he did a lot of terrible things to Meri in the past, but he wants to change from now on. He wants to understand her, and he wants to be the person who can support her. That’s why he’s now asking her to teach him alchemy. Meri is obviously surprised, but before she could answer, a familiar “DOOON!!” suddenly surprises them even more. Before they knew it, Popote is already standing next to them — asking her to employ him. He explains that time flows differently on the other side, and he’s already satisfied after making a lot of fairy friends. Both Margret and the king of the fairies noticed that Popote has the ability to get along with anyone, so they decided to send him back to the human world — knowing his ability will only be wasted otherwise.
After he’s done explaining, Popote teasingly tells Stephan that even if he learns alchemy from now on, becoming Meri’s assistant is still a far-off dream for him. Popote also says he doesn’t like how Stephan keeps sticking to Meri like a glue despite his hatred for alchemy, and he calls Stephan a warped person who keeps picking on Meri because he loves her. xD Stephan says Popote also kissed Meri during the farewell yesteday, and while Popote claims that it was just a “pure” friendship kiss, Stephan noticed that he looked like a boy in love back then. They keep bickering until Meri eventually yells at them to stop, and she scolds Stephan for taking Popote as a rival — asking what happened to his cool and mysterious side. ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ Then she scolds Popote for asking her to employ him, while he has something else to say when he returned home. When Popote says “I’m home”, both Meri and Stephan answer with a warm “welcome back!”
Following what he said before, Stephan really starts learning alchemy under Meri and Popote. The latter is still quite bitter and refuses to get along, but Stephan asks him to forgive what he did to them in the past. Popote is his senior — both in alchemy and as Meri’s partner — and he has a lot to learn from the fairy. Stephan’s sincerity actually creeps Popote out, but he actually still has his sarcasm. He’s just not using it on them. xD Stephan then asks Popote to let him see Meri, so Popote calls her by saying “Meri! Smiling Stephan is here!” (○´ﾟωﾟ｀):;*.’:;ﾌﾞｯ She’s more than happy to see him though, and Popote is about to leave them alone.. but Stephan stops him saying he has something important to tell both of them. Based on the mayor’s recommendation, Stephan is going to have a concert tour around the five grand capitals of Schlissel.. and so he wants both Meri and Popote to come along with him.
When Meri asks for the reason, Stephan says it was them who changed him. He hated Camilla for leaving him behind, and he hated himself for failing to stop her. He took out all of his anger on them, and apologizes to Popote for everything. Stephan also thanks Meri for accepting his hatred and anger, even thinking of him when he was being mean to her. She fixed his broken violin, restored the bond he lost due to Camilla’s disappearance, returned the abandoned bird to its group, and even made the siren’s song sound more cheerful. Meeting Meri changes a lot of things, and she has given hope for Stephan. When the concert tour was decided, Stephan realizes that he needs Meri — both for his music and his heart. He wants to stay with her and live with her forever, taking her as his wife. ♪ﾟ+.ｏ(*萌´д`从´д`萌*)ｏ.+ﾟ♪ Stephan asks Meri to give him an answer before the tour starts, and she smiles saying she feels so happy to hear those words. Especially since he’s proposing in her beloved atelier, directly in front of Popote. Just then Popote interrupts saying he’s against their marriage, and Stephan immediately asks Popote to tell him what’s wrong. If there’s something wrong with him, he’ll fix it right away. He knows Meri won’t be happy without Popote, so he can’t just marry her if Popote is against the idea. Popote then says he only has one complaint regarding Stephan — “break up with Camilla first!” ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵ Of course both Stephan and Meri burst into laughter, leaving Popote confused because he still doesn’t know that Camilla is actually Stephan’s sister.
On their departure day, Stephan, Meri and Popote depart from Elkrone on a ship. Stephan asks if Meri really okay with this, because the tour will take a year. Since both Popote and her are coming along, they have to close the atelier until they return to Elkrone next year. She asks if he’d rather be away from her for a whole year, and he blushes saying she should know the answer. (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ♪ Stephan then reminds Meri that he still hasn’t heard her answer to his proposal, while Popote cries beside them saying Stephan is a really good guy who loved his sister a lot. The revelation clearly changed Popote’s opinion about him. xD Meri teases Stephan by saying he should know her answer too, and when he says she’s really mean, she laughs saying it’s a payback for what he did to them before. Meri then asks if he can endure staying apart from her for a year, so Stephan has no choice but to shyly admit that he doesn’t want to be apart from her. She teases him even more by asking him to repeat his proposal, and so the poor guy proposes to her again — ending it by saying “I love you. Please marry me.” (* ´艸`)♪ Meri finally answers with a clear “yes”, while Popote comments that both of them are equally confusing.. but they make a good couple. Beside them, the small bird of passage from before chirps happily.
A few days after Popote’s return, Stephan comes to invite Meri to the Spirit Festival. He’s been learning alchemy from them too, which feels strange for them since he used to hate it so much in the past. He keeps saying he can change himself too a little, though Popote thinks it doesn’t take a “little” change from an alchemist hater to turn into an alchemist. That’s a total change. xD While they had to face a lot of conflicts before, both Stephan and Meri say all those problems actually made them understand themselves and each other better. Popote asks if both of them are the type who had to punch each other in the face to deepen their friendship, which makes them realize that he might be right LOL. Popote is excited to see them exchanging fists again in the future, but Stephan says it’s already over. From now on, he wants to approach Meri with a different way. There’s a place that he wants to show her today, but he asks Popote not to come along since it might be dangerous for his small size. Popote understands though, as he doesn’t have any intentions to disturb their date either. (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ♪
After that, Stephan takes Meri to the clock tower. He holds her hand as they climb to the top, where they can see the entire city of Elkrone from above. It’s his secret place, and this is the first time he ever took someone here. He always comes to the clock tower whenever he feels down or angry, playing his violin under the sky to release his stress. Just then Camilla’s song is heard from the ocean, and Meri notices that her voice sounds more cheerful than it used to be. The wind soon starts blowing towards a different direction, carrying Camilla’s voice away from them. Stephan then takes out his violin, and he plays a song just for Meri — the one who he treasures the most. The song is really gentle and bittersweet, as if he’s whispering words of love into her ears.. but she shoves the thought away. When Stephan is done, Meri says it’s a really wonderful song. However, he’s clearly expecting her to say something else. He says it’s not just a regular concert, and he goes (´・д・`) when she only replies with “I feel touched!”
Stephan put all of his feelings into the song, so he can’t believe that they didn’t reach Meri. He wonders if his song only works on plants and birds, and that’s when she finally realizes that he presented the song just for her. Didn’t he say this earlier? What happened to you, Meri? xD; Stephan then asks for the answer, and Meri laughs saying she really loves the day she spent with him. Their encounter has changed both of them, and also how he feels towards Camilla. While they had a lot of problems, she knows there must be a meaning behind their encounter. Stephan says he feels the same way, as he can accept his past with a smile because of her. He can finally forgive himself, and he can believe in his own performance — all thanks to her. Then suddenly, Meri surprises Stephan by kissing him on the lips. He’s a complicated person who’s hard to understand, but she can hear his honest feelings through the songs he writes.
Meri tells Stephan that she loves him too, and he asks her to hold onto his arm as they go on a date around the city. They might fight from time to time, but Meri says she wants to grow her love together with Stephan from now on. He laughs saying she already changed him so much he started learning alchemy, but she’s still making him fall in love even more. He will gradually change for her as time pass by, until he can be a man who’s worthy of her love one day. For their first date, Stephan takes Meri to visit Alois in the bar.
Talk about a drastic change. Stephan is really cold to Meri for about 80% of his route. It’s only after the last event that he finally warms up and gets all デレデレ around her. Sadly Stephan’s 80% of ツン left a stronger impression on me. I didn’t like how their relationship goes back and forth. One minute he’s a bit friendly, the next he says he hates her and her alchemy. That’s like denying her entire existence. ( ಠ_ಠ ) Sure his endings are sweet, but i-it’s not like I like him or anything! D-Don’t misunderstand! I didn’t go ♪ﾟ+.ｏ(*萌´д`从´д`萌*)ｏ.+ﾟ♪ at his proposal, and if you see me fangirling over him, you must be seeing things!
P.S. I’m currently hospitalized, so it might take a while before I can reply to your comments. But I promise I will reply to everything once I have the chance to do so. (*・人・*)ｺﾞﾒﾝﾈ☆