Risou no Himo Seikatsu Volume 8 Chapter 2
This might go without saying, but just because it was called the “Rainy Season”, it did not mean that it was going to rain non-stop for three months.
With a bit of luck, you got a few consecutive days without rain, albeit with a cloudy sky, and with even more luck, the sun came out for a bit.
This afternoon was one of these rare sunny days during the “Rainy Season”.
Zenjirou was walking through the garden of the Royal Palace together with two girls.
Even there, the persistent rain had washed away the soil or damaged the plants, but the royal gardeners dealt with it skillfully.
Thanks to them, the garden was still worth being called “beautiful” despite being in the very middle of the “Rainy Season”.
Seeing this fine garden for the first time, the black haired girl, Nilda Guzzle exclaimed excitedly.
“Uwah, so pretty! It is so pretty, Master Zenjirou!”
“I’m glad you like it.”
Zenjirou narrowed his eyes pleased, when Nilda was thrilled at the sight of the bubbling fountain in front of her.
Captivated by that fountain, she was not paying attention to her footing as she teetering around, but fortunately enough, it had not rained in days, so the ground was not slippery.
Still, it would be bad, if anything were to happen, so Zenjirou was about to give her a light warning, when the other girl called out to Nilda with a smile.
“Nilda, you are getting a bit carried away.”
“Ah, I am sorry, Princess Freya. That was unsightly of me.”
The voice from the silver-haired girl, namely Princess Freya, brought Nilda back to her senses and she corrected her posture.
Zenjirou unwittingly cracked a smile, when he saw her switch from hyperactive to modest in no time, as it reminded him of a well-trained, but energetic pet dog.
(Whoops. I gotta be careful. Being with Nilda messes with my sense of intimacy.)
Admonishing himself, he pulled himself together before becoming too relaxed.
Apparently dealing with the girl named Nilda had the same effect on him as with Princess Bona: His usual tensioned attitude was coming loose.
To begin with, he had been too careless, when he promised a full-aged girl to “show her around the Royal Palace”.
In a desperate manner, he had reasoning that “he never said anything about showing her around with just the two of them” and had Princess Freya accompany them, but Nilda seemed to never have had any ulterior motives to begin with and was happy about her company.
Both of them had gotten rather close during the incident at the March of Guzzle, so his plan seemed to work out well.
Under the watchful eyes of his bodyguard Knight Natalio, various other soldiers, some royal waiting maids, Princess Freya’s bodyguard Skathi and some rear vassal knights that acted as a bodyguard for Nilda, Zenjirou committed himself to escort the two girls.
“The pond with the ’golden fishes’ I told about before is this way. Want to take a look?”
“Golden fishes? That sounds fascinating.”
Hence Zenjirou guided Nilda and Princess Freya to the pond in the back.
“Over there. It is not really dangerous, because it is quite shallow, but please be still careful as there is no fence.”
“Yes, thank you for the warning.”
Listening to him, Nilda stood at the edge of the pond and observed the shoal of fishes swimming in the pond.
“Wooooaaah… So pretty!”
It was indeed a beautiful sight to behold.
A single fish was no bigger than the middle finger of a grown-up, but there were so many of them that the whole water surface sparkled brightly.
With a stricter upbringing as a lady, the glint in the eyes of Princess Freya was not as distinct as in Nilda’s, but she did seem interested and leaned over a bit to get a better look.
“You have some really colourful fishes here. I am quite surprised.”
Zenjirou got the idea that fishes and birds became plainer further to the north and more colourful further to the south, so he asked Princess Freya a question in light of her words.
“Does the North Continent not have ornamental fishes like this, Princess Freya?”
“Hmm, at least I have never seen such ‘beautiful’ fishes before. Above all, a shallow pond like that would completely freeze up in winter.”
“Oh, right. It would certainly be difficult to keep them then. And making the pond deeper would defeat the purpose of sightseeing.”
“Indeed. As such, fishes were nothing but a source of food in my eyes. Prosaic, is it not?”
The silver-haired princess shrugged her shoulders with a wry smile.
“Not at all. I am actually envious. The Capital is located inland, so I only ever get to eat freshwater fishes here.”
The fishes used in food almost entirely amounted to saltwater fishes for Zenjirou, a born Japanese.
By no means did the freshwater fishes served in the Royal and Inner Palace taste bad, but because of their peculiar taste, he did prefer saltwater fishes after all. Nilda turned around to the two royal members and joined their conversation with a friendly smile.
“I like fishes, too. When I was still living in the village, I caught and ate small fishes from a waterway this big. It channelled off a far away river.”
While saying this, Nilda spread her arms and if her words could be trusted, the waterway in her home village was not even measuring thirty centimetre in width or depth. Even a child would be able to cross it easily. It may have been a small village, but did they never consider to expand it? At this size, it would not be strange if it were to dry up during the Hottest Season.
“Did they ever talk about expanding that waterway? I would think having more water would be better.”
Nilda shook her head to his question, then answered.
“No, it is too dangerous. If they were to expand it any further than this, then crocodiles or carnivore dragons would get to the village, when the river is in flood during the ‘Rainy Season’.”
Apparently they also had a well in the village as another water source, so there was no real shortage of water during the Hottest Season.
“I see. So you have to consider these factors, too.”
Hearing this story, Zenjirou once again realized how much he lacked the common knowledge of this world.
(Speaking of, I wonder how the water source for the Capital is managed? With so much water required, the waterway can’t be all that small.)
Did they strain a wire mesh or alike somewhere on the way to prevent dangerous animals from entering? Zenjirou was curious about that, but as royalty and kind of master of the Palace, he knew better than to satisfy his curiosity by asking royalty from another country or the daughter of a noble from his own country.
(I’ll ask Aura later.)
Zenjirou was preoccupied with his thoughts. In the meantime, Nilda spotted a building in the back of the garden and spoke up.
“Say, Master Zenjirou, what is that building over there?”
The building she pointed at was very far away and partly concealed by trees, so no details of it could be made out, but even then, it looked obviously out of proportion to this garden.
All things here, be it the pond, the fountain or the pavilion, admittedly differed in size, but they all shared a thoughtful beauty. Yet that building looked like nothing but a crude wooden hut.
Faced with her question, Zenjirou did gave a wry smile, but answered honestly as it was nothing to hide in particular.
“Oh, that is the ‘Goat Shed’. Sorry, but I cannot show it to you.”
“A ‘Goat Shed’?”
Nilda tilted her head puzzled. Apparently the word “goat” did not exist in her vocabulary.
Since the “Soul of Words” worked properly, the term must exist in the language of the western part of the South Continent, but Nilda probably did not come across the word so far as she was raised in the borderland.
“A goat is a livestock from the North Continent. Princess Freya here was so kind to give us some. It is the first time our country is farming them.
We try to keep people away as much as possible until the goats have gotten used to their new environment.”
The expert dispatched by Princess Freya, Nicolai was taking care of the goats with all his might, so the goat milk sent to the Inner Palace had recently lost most of its smell.
Right now, the breeding seemed to go well, too, and some yeanlings had already been born in the shed.
However, Princess Freya voiced a little worry to Zenjirou.
“I am a bit worried, because we did not expect this constant rain. You carefully built the shed according to Nicolai’s instructions, so I do not think anything serious will happen, but still…”
“Eh? You’re worried?”
In light of her unexpected utterance, Zenjirou forgot his royal manner of speech for a moment and responded casually.
Totally warming up to Princess Freya beyond their standings, Nilda asked the question at hand before he could.
“Princess Freya, are these so-called goats bad with rain?”
When Nilda looked at her straight with her round black eyes, Princess Freya affirmed it with a smile.
“Yes. Goats are known for their exceptional ability to adapt to the environment as they manage with little food, but they originally come from dry high plains, so they are somewhat weak to rain and humidity. It is not a fatal vulnerability, though.”
The reason she spoke so politely to Nilda was because she was addressing Zenjirou at the same time.
In fact, Zenjirou replied to her and not Nilda.
“Is that so? That certainly is a bit worrying.”
To him, the goats in the shed embodied the hope to enrich his eating habits in the future.
As of recently, the goat milk in particular had lost a lot of its smell and was a lot easier to drink now.
He might actually cry for real, if the goats were to die out due to some skin disease.
“I hate to trouble you, Princess Freya, but could you inquire about the situation from Nicolai?”
Nicolai was currently dispatched to the Carpa Kingdom, but he still used Princess Freya as an intermediary, because their relationship was not all that close yet.
When the goats died out, Zenjirou would cry and that was the end of it, but Nicolai was left in charge of them as an expert, so his very life might actually be on the line here.
Neither Zenjirou, nor Aura assessed the farming of northern livestock in an unfamiliar environment such as the Carpa Kingdom as easy, so even if it did fail by some kind of twist, they would not give him such a severe sentence.
But who would actually believe it, when relatively unacquainted royalty told you: “It’s okay. Even if you fail, there won’t be a punishment, so take it easy.”
With an explanation from Zenjirou, Princess Freya comprehended that approach and accepted his request with a calm smile.
“Very well. I shall meet with Nicolai soon and discuss it with him.”
“Thank you, Princess Freya.”
Zenjirou somehow ended up talking away with Princess Freya, but the main guest today was Nilda, not Princess Freya.
Remembering that, he faced the young girl with the imposing big black eyes again.
“Well then, are you thirsty by chance? If you like, we can take a break in the pavilion over there.”
“Yes, thank you for your consideration, Master Zenjirou.”
Nilda nodded to him with a friendly smile.
* * *
Around the time Zenjirou was talking with the two girls in the garden, Queen Aura was working in one room of the Royal Palace.
Not long ago, Doctor Michelle had diagnosed her with a “pregnancy without a doubt.”
Learning from the previous pregnancy, it was highly likely that her morning sickness would soon become worse and heavily obstruct her work efficiency.
In light of the child in her belly, she definitely could not overdo things, but she wanted to get the work she was capable of right now out of the way.
The stack of dragon leather parchment at her hands in particular were important documents for a smooth delivery in the future.
“Now let me see who we got for the second recruitment.”
With these words, Aura looked through the bundle of parchments.
Just as she had muttered now, these documents were the second round of applications for waiting maids of the Inner Palace.
A few waiting maids had retired due to marriage or age reasons, so they had started a recruitment for new waiting maids a few months ago.
The elected people from the first round had become accustomed to the Inner Palace in the last few months, so they were going to run a second election now.
Secretary Fabio had gone through the applicants beforehand and eliminated the candidates not worth the trouble of the Queen herself, so applications were unexpectedly sparse.
The Queen silently looked through the bunch of papers with her loyal secretary standing besides her.
These recommendation letters were kept rather short. All of them had written the name of the candidate, her age, the name of her backer and their relationship on it for sure.
Then each backer had written down the fortes of their candidates in an attempt to appeal, but to be honest, Aura skipped most of these.
In the first place, it was always the same bragging about appearance and manners. If she were to take them at face value, the Carpa Kingdom would apparently be overflowing with girls, who were supposed to become peerless beauties in the future.
“Mirela, fourteen years old. Backed by Count Marquez. Uncle and niece. Oh, the niece from Count Marquez. So she is already at this age?”
Looking at the first parchment, Aura recalled the person from her name.
Aura had memorized Count Marquez and his entire family, which had fielded Raffaelo Marquez as one of the two former marriage candidate for her, so she did not need to ask the secretary standing next to her about it.
“This goes here.”
She placed the dragon leather parchment to the right. Then she looked through the others papers one after another.
“Isidora, thirteen years old. Backed by Marquis Bervides. Father and daughter.
Lorensha, twelve years old. Backed by Baron Massana. Father and daughter. Additionally, the little sister of the former waiting maid Keyshia.
Hasmin, sixteen years old. Backed by Viscount Bonilla. Father and daughter. Hmm.”
There was no reason to reject them, but neither was there any decisive factor that warranted hiring them, so these candidates went to the left side of the desk.
“Next one. Luisa, thirteen years old. Backed by Marquis Ralah. Wait, that means… Yep, as expected, ‘Lord and Subject’. Since my husband works outside more often now, Ines and Margret cannot cope with it alone anymore. This obviously goes here.”
Placing the dragon leather parchment to the right, the Queen showed a satisfied smile.
Afterwards, Aura checked all the papers, but after going through them once, there were hardly any worthwhile candidates.
The troublesome ones had been dropped before Aura got to see them and the remaining ones hardly ever distinguished themselves from the others.
So far she had almost mechanically sorted the papers to the left and right (mainly to the left), but the Queen suddenly stopped her hand at the very last parchment.
“Nilda, fifteen years old. Backed by Marquis Guzzle. Father and daughter. …Miss Nilda as a waiting maid?”
Taken somewhat by surprise, the Queen looked up to the face of her trusted retainer by her side.
“Fabio, I want to hear your opinion. What do you think of this?”
Addressed by the Queen, the Secretary replied calmly with his usual inexpressive mask.
“There are generally two reasons to send your daughter into the Inner Palace: First, wanting a connection to the Royal Family. And second, giving your daughter some prestige.
For an influential family like the Guzzle Family, it is usually the former, but in the case of Miss Nilda, I would say it is more likely the latter.”
“Yeah, considering her situation, any decent parent would try to polish her up.”
Aura looked up at the ceiling and put her right hand against her head.
Raised as an illegitimate child in a village, the little girl had made a grand debut at the audience room, because she had not been listed on the “Roll of Names” until recently. Her past could not be any more dubious than that.
Moreover, Marquis Guzzle already suffered a trauma from not being able to marry off his eldest daughter Lucinda until she passed her best years. So it was not unthinkable that he would dote a little bit too much over his second daughter.
According to Zenjirou, their relationship was positive to the point, where their complicated starting point was nowhere to be seen anymore.
After pondering for a while, Aura made a decision.
“Well, her birth and upbringing aside, I did kind of put her on display with the ‘Roll of Names’ incident. I guess I will have to make up to them.”
The last parchment was placed on the right side of the desk.
* * *
At night of the same day.
Done with their work, the Queen and the Prince Consort were reporting the latest news to each other as always in the living of the Inner Palace.
After dinner and bath, they had sat down across from each other on the couches in their light nightgowns, drinking cold water in a relaxed manner.
In a departure from convention, three waiting maids were standing by Aura’s side, though.
Now that her second pregnancy had been confirmed for sure, Aura had to pay attention to her body and the other life within it.
Normally, Aura was sending the waiting maids away in consideration of Zenjirou’s moral values, but she was actually pure-blooded royalty.
To be honest, she could relax better with some maids by her side to order about.
Usually Aura was considerate towards Zenjirou, but during her pregnancy, it was Zenjirou’s turn to be considerate towards her. Neither of them actually mentioned it, it just happened naturally.
In this relaxing environment, Aura spoke up first.
“Well then, I have something to tell you first. We have gotten applicants for the second waiting maid recruitment. I have already narrowed them down to the final candidates. The new maids are scheduled to come in soon.”
“Okay. Sounds good. The first newcomers have settled in after all.”
The first round of newly hired waiting maids had come into the Inner Palace while Zenjirou had been away to the March of Guzzle, so he did not really have time to get used to them, but they had never gotten in the way.
Zenjirou had agreed to increase the personnel, when the other maids retired, a long time ago, so there was no point in rejecting them now.
But he was certainly surprised at her next words.
“I want you to be mindful of one thing. Truth be told, Nilda will be one of the new waiting maids.”
Naturally, he unwittingly exclaimed in surprise.
This was the first time that someone he got to know outside was coming into the Inner Palace.
When Zenjirou displayed confusion and a bit of wariness on his face, Aura expanded on it.
“Ah, needless to say, you do not need to treat her any different. If anything, you are getting a bit along too well with her. Just be careful you do not start to treat the other waiting maids differently, too.”
He was obviously relieved to hear that.
“Alright then. But still, that surprised me. For a moment, I thought she was going on the offensive, too.”
“I would have rejected her, if that were the case. Apparently Marquis Guzzle purely wants her to work in the Inner Palace. Given her background story, you know.
He must want to give her the prestige as a ‘former waiting maid of the Inner Palace’ to find her a fine husband.”
“Oh, I see. That’s his aim.”
Zenjirou already knew about Nilda’s birth circumstances.
So he immediately accepted that reasoning.
Well, Marquis Guzzle simply wanted to “finish the education of his daughter under a kind master in the Inner Palace”, but Queen Aura had no way of knowing that yet.
She would only realize it later in a conversation with Supervisory Maid Amanda.
“Okay. I’ll keep it in mind.”
Zenjirou had taken a liking to Nilda, so he welcomed it that she would be working at his side as a waiting maid.
He had been with her just recently at noon, so he gave a report as well.
“Nothing really serious happened on my side. Both Nilda and Princess Freya seemed to have enjoyed the tour.
Frankly speaking, I’m not really the type to notice, when a woman harbours feelings for me, but it looked to me like Nilda simply wanted to see the palace. She had no ulterior motives.”
Aura nodded with a stern expression to his report. She kept it a secret from Zenjirou, but amongst the waiting maids in the garden had been a subordinate from Margret. In other words a secret agent.
It was indispensable to get another opinion than Zenjirou’s subjective view from her later on, but Aura herself also considered neither Nilda, nor Marquis Guzzle behind her capable of utilizing sex appeal for power play. Most likely, Zenjirou’s assessment was spot-on.
Yet, Aura was not able to avoid warning him on that score.
“Fine. But you still need to be careful, when meeting her.
She might not harbour romantic feelings for you, but her feelings are favourable nonetheless.
I might be getting ahead of myself, but it seems you have the same level of intimacy with Miss Nilda as with Princess Bona.”
“Uhh… Okay, I’ll be careful.”
When his wife pointed out what he himself had also been aware of, the husband averted his eyes and obediently took her advice to heart.
At any rate, Aura had no intention to nag about it all that much.
She immediately moved onto the next topic.
“What else is there? Oh right. You, bring me that.”
The Queen looked at one waiting maid, who simply bowed without questioning the vague order.
“Yes, very well.”
Smoothly moving to one corner of the room, the waiting maid came back with a package wrapped in red cloth.
Considering she was carrying it by herself, it must not be all that heavy.
Then Aura gave that waiting maid another order.
“Put it down there. But be careful so as not to break it.”
As she had been told, the waiting maid put the wrapped package onto the table between Aura and Zenjirou and unwrapped the red cloth skilfully.
Seeing what was inside, Zenjirou unwittingly leaned forward and exclaimed joyful.
Pleased by the reaction of her husband, the Queen smirked and threw out her big chest that was wrapped in her light nightgown.
“Behold the newest achievement of our craftsmen!”
In a nutshell: It was a “glass flower vase”.
Illuminated from all sides by the white light of the LED floor lamps, the light green glass twinkled and any person from modern Earth would identify it as a “glass flower vase” for sure. It was such a perfect workmanship.
It stood on its own on top of the flat table and had a hole on top to put in flowers. As it had no other visible holes, you could expect it to hold water as well.
A “glass flower vase“ well and truly.
It was indeed well-done to the point, where you would ask impressed “did you make that yourself?”.
But even though it could stand by itself, it seemed like the bottom was not perfectly flat and seemed somewhat unstable. On the whole, it looked obviously distorted, too.
No one on Modern Earth would probably buy this, not even in a hundred yen shop.
Even with the biggest form of flattery, it was only about the level of a better result from the try-it-yourself corner at a glass museum.
But Zenjirou’s delight had nothing to do with the workmanship of the glass container.
The important point was that they finally managed to produce “glass” without doubt in this world. The glass vase cast a light green shadow over the table due to the light from the LED floor lamps.
Its colour was way more transparent than the colour from Ramune bottles at least.
“Wow. The craftsmen must have really given it their all, given the short time span.”
The Queen narrowed her eyes pleased in light of the compliment from Zenjirou.
“Well, yes, their future depends on it after all.”
The reinstated former smiths asides, the young craftsmen headhunted from all the smith apprentices would have a dark future awaiting them, if they failed to make a name for themselves as glass manufacturers.
The royal family was paying them enough to not be troubled in their livelihood, but hardly any woman would marry a guy working in a line of work without prospects.
In order to find a wife and build a stable family, they needed to establish the job known as “glassblower” in this world. Compared to women, men were suitable for marriage over a longer period of time, but a time limit existed nevertheless.
Then Aura suggested to the excited Zenjirou.
“As a result, I would like to finally try making these glass marbles next. You already had an idea about how to make them spherical, right?”
“Yes. It’s not really my idea, but just something I saw at a glass museum in the past, though. Give me a sec. Like I told you before, it’s hard to explain with words, so I’ll draw a sketch.”
With these words, Zenjirou stood up from the couch and headed for the desk, where he kept the printing paper and pens.
Aura did not even have time to stop him. Her raised hand dangled awkwardly in the air as she put on a wry smile.
In her eyes, it was questionable why royalty had to get up and fetch something by themselves, when there were waiting maids around, but to Zenjirou, it was only normal to go fetch something by yourself without relying on others, if it was in the same room.
These trivial things really showed the difference in moral values between them.
But the reason the couple was still getting along just fine was because they both understood that it was normal for their partner and respected each other’s moral values.
Anyway, Zenjirou did not notice the wry smile of his wife at all, since he had turned his back to her, and returned to the couch with paper and pen in hand.
“Ehm, I have two ideas. A primitive method and a modern method. I’ll draw down both, but I think the modern one won’t work out, since it requires a driving force.”
Saying this, he drew down a device to make the glass marbles spherical.
His struggle persisted for a while.
Having no artistic disposition, Zenjirou had troubles drawing it, but somehow finished two sketches that tried to convey his idea to the beholder.
“Something like this. I suggest the first one. The second one would be better, but is more like something to work towards to.”
“Let me see… Oh, I see. The first one is easy to understand. You pour a controlled amount of molten glass down this repetitive spiral-shaped channel.”
“Yes, exactly. While the molten glass rolls down this spiral slope, it naturally becomes round and by the time it gets to the end, it has cooled down somewhat and becomes firm.
Although it looks simple, I believe it will require a lot of trial and error, so you better tell the craftsmen to be prepared for that.”
The theory was extremely simple: You just let molten glass roll down a spiral slope made of metal. But with a bit of thinking, you could come up with a lot of reasons why it could fail.
If the molten glass was too viscous, it failed by sticking to the metal.
If the spiral slope was too steep, it failed by rolling over the edge.
But if the slope was too shallow, it failed by losing momentum in the middle and stopping premature.
Needless to say, it also failed, when there was a single distortion or bump in the spiral slope.
The method was relatively simple, but required a fine-tuned assembly.
“And this is the other one? I do not really understand it, even with this drawing. Does this circling line mean this roller is turning around?”
“Yes. You take two uniform round rollers with grooves carved into them and let them spin at the same speed, in the same direction. Then you pour the molten glass into the groove. The gap between the rollers is smaller than the diameter of the marbles, so the molten glass does not drop down and keeps spinning in between.
By spinning in the grooves of the rollers, the molten glass naturally globes itself, cools down over time and becomes firm.”
The other sketch pictured only the crucial part of the modern process for making marbles.
Normally, that glass manufacture was fully automated. Glass shards were melted, cut into the right amount and moulded into a sphere. Uneven ones were eliminated while the rest naturally cooled down.
But it would be impossible to recreate that whole production line in this world. Neither was it necessary to do so.
What mattered was how they could shape the molten glass into a proper sphere before it cooled down and hardened.
The craftsmen themselves could take care of adjusting the amount of molten glass or picking out uneven ones.
One bag of marbles was sold for around a hundred yen on Modern Earth, so they needed to make thousands, if not ten of thousands all at once, otherwise there would be no profit, but that did not apply to this world.
The marbles were going to be a catalyst for the magic tools, so strictly speaking, making one marble a day would already be plenty enough.
“How are you going to spin these rollers? Manually by hand?”
“Hmm, if possible, I would like to use a waterwheel. At any rate, this is just another scenario. For now, we should work with the first method.
I just wanted to give an alternative in case we can’t get the first method to work out at all.”
It goes without saying that Zenjirou was no expert on making glass or marbles. The only experience he had with it was seeing the assembly line once at a museum during a school trip.
Apart from that, he only vaguely remembered stuff from reading on the internet or in books.
The Queen compared the two sketches with each other. Even an amateur like her, could tell at a glance that the second method was far more complicated than the first.
Needless to say, the simple structure of the first one did not necessarily mean it was equally simple to recreate, but its feasibility was higher without doubt.
“Okay. Then I shall only pass the first spiral method to the craftsmen for now.
They are all former smiths. It should not prove to be all that difficult to recreate its appearance. They might even be glad to get to forge something again in a long time.”
Although Aura said this, she was actually not thinking that it would go so smoothly.
Even if they were former smiths, most of them had been young apprentices with uncertain job prospects in that business.
In spite of being overseen by retired professionals, the smithcraft of these glass craftsmen was probably going to be inferior to the work of regular blacksmiths.
However, she could not simply allocate that work to some other professional blacksmiths just because of that.
The glass craftsmen themselves would actually be using the tools to make marbles, whereas other blacksmiths would have absolutely no clue about glass itself or what these tool would be used for.
So it was self-evident that outsourcing the creation of tools in the testing would involve communication problems somewhere down the road.
“Alright. I’ll leave it to you, Aura.”
Having finished her report about the glass now, Aura look at the waiting maids at her side once more.
“You two, bring me the other stuff now.”
The two waiting maids calmly accepted the obscure order without getting flustered.
“Yes, very well.”
“Please wait a moment.”
Like the maid before them, the two of them moved to one corner of the room and brought a barrel small enough to be carried in one hand and a palm-sized round block of wood.
When the two waiting maids returned, they put the small barrel and round wood block onto the table with these words.
Zenjirou could tell at a glance what these things were.
“This is ‘Distilled Liquor’ and a ‘Compass’?”
The Queen affirmed it with a smile, when her husband leaned forward.
“Indeed. The ‘Distilled Liquor’ is from the first batch up for sale and this ‘Kuhmpuhs’ was made according to the sketch you drew before.
The liquor was already well-received at the night banquet, so we are starting a little mass-production this year and will sell it to the public.”
Seeing how the culture he introduced was taking root in this world, Zenjirou was greatly excited, but also somewhat worried.
Well, the ‘Distilled Liquor’ had already existed on the North Continent, so it would have been only a matter of time until it reached the South Continent, though.
“Pour us some.”
Ordered by the Queen, the waiting maid at her side filled the empty Kiriko Glasses they had used before to drink some cold water, with the liquor from the small barrel.
It looked no different than water, colourless and transparent.
Zenjirou immediately grabbed his glass and carefully took a nip of it. After savouring it a bit on his tongue, he swallowed it.
“Yes, it’s well done. We can sell it like that.”
As such, Zenjirou gave it his seal of approval.
At first, they could only make ‘Distilled Liquor’ with the electrical hotplate distillery he had brought along, but it had already been more than half a year, since the people of this world had started their quest to recreate it with the tools of this world.
They could make a plain ‘Distilled Liquor’ without problem now.
“Seeing as you want to sell it, it is profitable already?”
Zenjirou asked curiously, whereas Aura shook her head with a grim face.
“No, it is hardly profitable at the present. And considering the investment in the facility, we are actually operating in the red.”
In a way, he had expected that answer. Zenjirou put the glass down on the coaster and spoke grimly as well.
“Yeah, thought so. The distilling process isn’t all that effective, either, so it’s only natural.”
“The costs for the materials and fuel are more of a problem, though. Considering its supply and demand, there is no perfect season for the manufacture. We recruited people for the typical handiwork of the ‘Rainy Season’ this time, but I would like to try making it during the ‘Hottest Season’ next year.”
“Hm? What do you mean?”
Her husband titled his head puzzled, as he seemed to not understand, whereat Aura explained it in simplified terms.
“I intend to use fruit wine or ale shy of spoiling as the raw materials for the ‘Distilled Liquor‘. We can purchase large quantities of these for cheap during the ‘Rainy Season’, but the price for the fuel we need for the distilling process is at its highest during the ‘Rainy Season’.
Taking the price for the fuel into account, the ‘Hottest Season’ would be best, but then the raw materials become scare goods.”
“Oh, a cause for worry for sure…”
Comprehending what she was getting at, Zenjirou heaved a troubled sigh.
On top of having a climate with high temperatures and high humidity, the Carpa Kingdom had not developed a preservation method, so the average fruit wine or ale with low alcohol content was spoiling relatively quickly.
Unlike Modern Japanese, the commoners of the Carpa Kingdom would still drink it with a bit of spices or sugar, when the alcohol turn a bit sour, but there was a limit to that as well.
The “Rainy Season” with its continuous rain and the “Hottest Season” with its abnormal temperatures were especially bad for its preservability.
Once the alcohol had gone bad for good, it certainly was out the question to use it for the Distilled Liquor, so they wanted to use alcohol just shy of spoiling, but that was only available in large quantities during the “Rainy Season”.
Hence, the cheapest season for buying a lot of “alcohol” was the “Rainy Season”.
But needless to say, the continuous rainfall of the “Rainy Season” made it difficult to obtain firewood or charcoal, which they needed as a fuel for the distilling.
Usable firewood during the “Rainy Season” was limited to the stock you sheltered from the rain inside, and that effort obviously made the firewood more expansive than during the “Hottest Season” or “Vibrant Season”, where you could just let it lying around outside.
In conclusion, the “Rainy Season” was good for buying the raw materials cheap, but screwed up the prices for the fuel.
On the other hand, the “Hottest Season” was the exact opposite.
Since humidity went down and temperature up, firewood became cheaper as a fuel, but it was more difficult to get large amounts of alcohol as a raw material.
It was self-evident. The alcohol just had went through its archenemy, the entire “Rainy Season”.
Most of the “cheap alcohol shy of spoiling” in the “Rainy Season” would have changed to “useless spoiled alcohol” by the time the “Hottest Season” began.
And then, the little alcohol that remained would obviously become more expensive due to the law of supply and demand.
In conclusion, the “Hottest Season” was good for buying fuel cheap, but screwed up the prices for the raw materials.
“Hmm, how about making it during the ‘Vibrant Season’? The prices for firewood won’t be as bad as during the ‘Hottest Season’ then and they are making fresh fruit wine and ale at that time, so there will definitely be some ‘by-products that barely qualify as alcohol, but are unfit for selling’. If we buy that up, we should be able to get a portion of the materials for cheap.”
Zenjirou had thought it up on the spot and deemed it a rather clever idea after giving tongue to it, but Aura shook her head brusquely.
“That will not do. Both the farmers and the craftsmen will be busy during the ‘Vibrant Season’, precisely because they are making the new alcohol. We may be able to scrape up the manpower, but the ‘wages’ will be rocketing during that season.”
“That definitely won’t do…”
In light of her explanation, Zenjirou looked up at the ceiling and heaved a sigh.
Even if they managed to economize on fuel and material costs, there was no point, when higher wages ruined it.
And above all, the Carpa Kingdom still seeing some effects from the previous great war. The whole country suffered from a lack of manpower and the Royal Family would surely spark a fierce backlash, if they were to try hiring people for a new business during the busiest season.
Realizing that this matter could not be resolved here and now, Zenjirou moved the topic to the other item beside the “Distilled Liquor”.
“So, this is the ‘Compass’?”
“Yes. It was not all that difficult to make, actually. The needle in the middle was made by blacksmiths, the rest by carpenters. I believe it was done right according to your instructions, but what do you say?”
Zenjirou took the “Compass” in question in his hands, checking it out.
The needle in the middle was not yet magnetized, so it technically was not a compass, but he could check for any other discrepancies for now.
“Lemme see… Hmm…”
He did so by raising it, turning it around and shaking it a bit.
Except the needle, everything was made out of wood. Because there was no glass or plastic in this world, it had no cover on top. Instead, the needle was held in place by a wooden frame in the shape of a cross.
The needle seemed to be properly balanced and spun around neatly, when he nudged it with his finger.
There was no problem structure-wise.
“Yeah, looks good. I’ll magnetize the needle later. Mh, wait? How do I take out the needle?”
“Oh, that wooden cross is simply pushed on, so it will easily come off, if you pull with a bit of force. That part can easily be remade, even if you break it, so do not worry about it.”
“Okay… Oh, it really came off so easily. How are we going to attach it in the end, when the needle is magnetized? It’s a bit unreliable like this.”
With the dismantled pseudo-compass in hand, Zenjirou asked Aura, whereat she answered naturally.
“I guess with small nails? Or maybe glue it? Well, either way, the craftsmen will do their job properly.”
“Hmm, speaking of, you have no screws here, do you? I did give the merchant one of mine, but I guess a replication is too difficult?”
“Not necessarily. He might not have seen any value in recreating it. After all, merchants only ever act on profit.”
“I see. Guess that’s true.”
Convinced, Zenjirou put the dismantled compass back onto the table.
First the glass, then the distilled liquor and the compass after that.
While they were taking about these three things, quite some time had actually passed.
Zenjirou looked at the desk clock, then faced his beloved wife again and declared.
“You should go to bed now, Aura. After saying good-night to Zenkichi, that is.”
With these word, he stood up and offered his right hand to the Queen, who obediently replied to him.
“Already this late? Fine. Doctor Michelle would nag at me, if I stay up too late after all. But what about you?”
Still grasping the hand of his wife after helping her get up, her husband answered honestly.
“I’ll practice ‘Teleport’ for a bit longer in the living room after seeing Zenkichi, before going to bed. I’m getting a feel for it.”
“I admire your enthusiasm, but do not overdo it.”
Zenjirou unwittingly cracked a smile, when his wife frowned worriedly, and reassured her.
“Yeah, I know. I’ll keep it in moderation.”
The Queen and her husband then naturally crossed arms and left the living room in order to say good-night to their beloved child Carlos Zenkichi in the other room.