Once he obtained the raw materials for soap making, Eiji quickly proceeded to focusing on tool making.
The needle became extremely thin after being pulled out from the smallest hole in the metal board, and at the end, it looked as thin as a thread.
With this, it will be possible to make a wire netting with eye-holes
It was also the first time for Eiji himself to make a wire netting using a wire.
However, it was also not the sort of a job a blacksmith would do under normal circumstances.
Therefore, yesterday, it was decided that all the members would be making it together inside the workshop.
First, they were going to fix two thin poles, so as not to allow them move horizontally.
Even attaching them to protrusions on the left and right side of a wooden frame would be fine.
Using the pole to fold back, once a single wire is made to go back and forth, a vertical shaft of the wire netting will be created.
The next step would be to hold one more wire and pass it horizontally.
The point of doing so is similar to using a loom, where the wires intersect with each other after a single pole is inserted in.
After the horizontal axis has been passed through, the wires will naturally start to cross over each other.
With the wires being brought close together and properly by hand, the gaps will disappear.
At such time, if the wires aren’t brought close to each other carefully, in order to create proper and equal intervals, the wire netting will lose its functionality as a good filter. Instead, it will let foreign matter slip through.
As one would expect, when letting others do such a job, the difference in their strong and weak points will show up in practice.
Was Dante unable to stomach his compact movements? He would frequently stir up his head’s hair while complaining.
The moment Eiji tried to talk him, Dante made an expression as if being exhausted.
– I’m not good with minute works like this one. Don’t you have any similar job that requires using power?
– Weren’t you greatly flourishing yesterday when we were making wire?
– Yes Yes, I’m talking about that.
– Still, if you continue to do only simple tasks like that, you will end up being used by others without leaving a mark as an artisan.
– Ugh, that would be troublesome, I guess.
– Even blacksmiths have lots to do. From now on, it’s fine for you to wait and look forward to a job that will involve using strength.
Despite his grumbling, Dante didn’t stop working with his hands.
Even though he complaints about this and that, his attitude of carrying out works til their end gave a favorable impression.
At any rate, the almost 2m tall, stern man with a wrestler-type of body was weaving a wire netting with small movements while holding a slightly larger than 1mm wide wire.
Seeing how Dante was performing his job, Eiji couldn’t help but to feel a sense of discomfort.
If someone was to be in Dante’s shoes, that person would probably as well want to mutter a single complaint.
Do your best, me! – As he called out to himself, Dante increased his working pace despite getting annoyed once again.
He was an unexpectedly adorable fellow.
Were he to be able to choose humbler words, Eiji wouldn’t have anything to say against him. However, were it to happen, Dante wouldn’t probably be the Dante he knew.
– Masteeer, please pay attention to me as well.
– Hm, yeah. Katharina-san….has become quite skillful, haven’t you? Ain’t you more apt for detailed works like this one rather than me?
– Is that so? Yay!
Katharina, who had an honestly delighted face, grabbed his hands.
Oh, her hands have become a bit more solid. – Eiji thought.
Perhaps it was due to her giving her best every day when striking with her mallet.
Unlike the first time when she first started her work, light blisters began to appear on her hands’ palms and fingers, like an octopus.
Thanks to her accustoming herself to using leather-made gloves and apron, Eiji didn’t feel any need to worry.
Katharina was probably starting to get familiar with smithing than her dyeing job, little by little.
What’s more, was it due to the job being enjoyable? Her natural, smiling face would appear more often.
There were many occasions on which her charming face would make Eiji’s heart skip a beat.
Of course, in terms of being a blacksmith, she was still wet behind the ears.
However, as if being able to take a glimpse into their growth, Eiji was glad.
Once the wire mesh was finished, the preparations were done.
The one who had most experience in making soap was Pietro.
Not losing to the stench coming from the process of making soap, Pietro was an exceptional help when he thoroughly carried out the task last year.
This year, Eiji decided to have Pietro acquire the full knowledge of soap making. Together, they went to make lye, which was one of the component needed for that process.
He also didn’t mind having Katharina and Dante help out afterwards.
The most important thing would probably be concealing the mix ratio for the soap.
– Excellent, then, shall we start?
– Yes. What are we going to do first?
– We’ll mix water together with ash and filter the mixture.
Following Eiji’s instructions, Pietro carried the ash from a container into a barrel, and continued to pour water inside.
Recently, thanks to trading with Tal village, the number of tortoise shell increased in comparison with barrels.
Just like the previous year, there was a faucet installed at the bottom, and this time, Eiji decided to use the wire netting as the filter.
– Master, is it fine for me to receive some soap this time?
– Of course. What’s with the sudden question, though?
– No, I don’t particularly need it, but…..ehm, that girl, Sara, she says she wants to become clean….
Turning away, Pietro’s face continued to dye itself red.
Sara was Bernardo’s daughter, and the same time, his fiancée.
Despite Pietro refusing at every turn about him being fond of her before, perhaps considering a gift for her could be the proof of his relationship improving a bit.
– Is that so, is that so?
– Ah, Master, you’re enjoying mocking me again, ain’t you?
– No, that’s not true. Still, in that case, you better make and give her something nice, I guess.
– Ain’t you making too much of a smiling face there?!
Eiji became aware of his face losing composure.
He himself disliked being made fun of, because of that, he didn’t want to cause any unpleasant feeling to another person as much as possible.
However, Eiji asked himself about the reason why he enjoyed bittersweet love stories of other people.
– Speaking of which, is your relationship with Sara is going smoothly?
– Well, it does…..to the extent of making us wonder whether or not a ceremony will be held next year.
– Congratulation. You better make the necessary preparations from now on, so as to make that event as glamorous as possible.
– It seems to be quite a big deal since Master says it takes a whole year to do the preparations, but…
– No, I don’t mean it that way. By the way, do you plan to leave your house once you’re married?
– Yes. I think we are going to move into a new house.
– Is that so?
In that case, it probably wouldn’t be a big burden for Eiji to make them at least a set of cooking tools
Or perhaps, it would be better to have Pietro forge them by himself?
When it comes to a congratulatory gift, giving Pietro more opportunities to practice his skills in making still-unlicensed products would be the best present for him.
Also, letting him choose what he, himself, wants to make wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Providing he decides to make cooking tools by himself, it should be fine for Eiji to create something else instead and present it to them.
Even though it’s still too early for that, I have to consider that fact now, I guess. – is what he thought.
The production of the soap went favorably.
A botanical soap based on the use of unprecedented oils, such as olive oil and grapeseed oil.
An animal soap made from animal fat, like cattle, pigs, boars, and sheep.
And then, a mixed soap that utilized waste oil.
Among these, only the botanical soap needs to be solidified with salt in order to be completed.
There was no particular problem about using soaps with a liquid form.
Nevertheless, unless it’s hardened, it won’t be easy to transport it during a trade.
What’s more, those are high grade items.
The black pepper was once rumored to be a proud item with a value equal to a single gold coin. This high-grade soap would most likely not reach such an extent, but nonetheless, it would probably obtain a corresponding price.
The target clients were tribal chiefs with their spouse, and feudal lords, like Nazioni with his wives.
The animal soap would possibly be collected in the form of taxes by Nazioni, as well as become a core product of future trades.
Since the number of killed livestock decreased in comparison with the last year, the produced amount of soap would also fall.
The reason why the production hasn’t dropped sharply was thanks to Jean supplying them with oil from killed animals. Recently, his gathered oils consisted mainly of this. Like that, Eiji was able to continue his soap making.
The last soap made from wasted oil had an oxidized stench which was impossible to be completely eliminated even with the salt alone.
However, it would probably amount to be used for other industrial purposes.
Especially, inside Siena, on things like cog wheels from the water-powered hammer. Because the industry in the village was anticipated to strongly develop, they could use the soap by themselves.
Eiji lined up all the soaps in front of Jean and showed them to him.
On the other hand, Jean wore a daring expression on his face.
Perhaps he has already earned more than enough this year.
– This time, you won’t be able to dictate your rules smoothly like in the previous year. After all, Mostori already has a lot of soap in reserve.
– First, I shall to hand you these soaps as a form of payment for the oils and minerals you brought the previous time.
-……. Oh. To think that you would do something like this.
Ten tortoise shells filled with wasted oil were exchanged for one of soap.
If one hadn’t considered Jean’s pay, it would’ve become an extraordinary profit with just 10% of the cost price.
I wonder if it’s just natural for a monopoly product to have an interest rate – Eiji thought.
Following what he thought, Jean recorded the interest rate of the soap on a wooden plank.
Despite him not being very literate, he could actually use letters.
What he wrote down were symbols for “wheat”, “sheep”, and lots of numbers related with taxes.
The numerals were based on a decimal system.
Among those who could use the letters were the government official, Frank, and the peddler, Jean.
And then, there was the shrine maiden and wife of Fernando, Adele, who was acquainted with writing.
Eiji, too, was told a few things about the letters.
Because most of the used numerals and letters were basic ones, he had no problem remembering them.
Apart from that, he would normally use Japanese for recording things.
Still, during an occasion like this trade, Eiji tried to resort to the local’s writing.
– And then, this is our new product, a candle!
Brimming with self-confidence, what Eiji brought out was a candle created from a beeswax.
As establishing beekeeping hadn’t been successful yet, the candle was a limited item made from beeswax naturally gathered inside the forest. However, it’s light was several times stronger than the light of the fire on an oil tray.
Eiji deliberately took Jean to a dark place and lit the candle in front of him.
Seeing how it worked in practice, Jean twitched his muscles on his face and began to hold his head in pain.
– ….Oi, wait a moment.
– I beg you, stop inventing new things one after another. We, too, have to consider plans for raising our budget.
– Then, shall we leave the candle for another time?
– No, wait wait! there’s no way for me to refuse buying after being shown something like this in front of my eyes. I would be a failure as a peddler.
– I see. Indeed, there are those who are willing to buy what they desire no matter what the price is. It also seems to be something that Pierro-san would want to have at all cost. Then, what will you do? There’s no guarantee there will be any of this left until next time.
– Understood…I’ll buy it.
Once Eiji wrote down a number on a wooden tag, Jean’s face turned pale.
Considering Mostori’s income and expenditure with this village alone, they were clearly in the red.
Despite them possibly being able to resell Siena’s products at a high price to other villages, the amount of their expenditure was most likely tough on them for the time being.
In the end, Jean spent a part of his golden coins he had with him.
With this, I should be able to present Tanya-san with some nice ornaments, I guess. Should I also give some to Katharina from time to time? – Eiji thought.
– I’ve….lost again? Or perhaps, won? I don’t understand anymore.
Toward Jean, who made a troubled face, Eiji smiled positively and said.
– Thanks for your continued patronage.