“As expected, I can do nothing but increase the production of gunpowder.”
I didn’t know how much time it would take to stabilize my company so that it could safely cover the living costs of the girls, were I to sell only soap.
Even soap takes lots of time and effort to be made, but, more importantly, I realized I could raise my funds by increasing the production of gunpowder.
For the time being, I managed to improve our living conditions in the camp a bit, but, even there, it will be hard for us to live like this for a long time.
I want to quickly build a shop with a firm floor and roof.
Luckily, there seemed to be a fair demand for bombs used for blasting purposes. A new order came from Nattal from the Losgow mine, whereas, the Earl, Donovan, wanted to buy some firecrackers.
As for the Earl, he saw me become desperate in searching for means to raise money, so he’s most likely doing this out of sympathy.
Well, anyway, if they want the gunpowder, then the only problem will be producing niter.
I need more niter, more soil with the fermented dungs of animals in it!
Louise, together with her apprentices, Suzanne & Claudia, will be in charge of supplying us with materials while making a living by doing monster quests near the city of Est, whereas, Lyle-sensei(?) and Viola will go pick herbs.
I had to choose people from out of my soap making group and form a new one that will be producing niter.
“Master, I’ll do it.”
“Laure? However, you know that making niter is quite hard in comparison with soap, right?”
The process of making niter is simple, you could say.
You collect soil containing appropriately aged dung from an animal huts and boil it together with potassium carbonate (Yes, it’s the familiar scum that you use for creating soap) inside a hole in the ground or under the floor, where light doesn’t reach. After that, you concentrate the mixture, crystalize it, then melt and boil it again, after which you crystalize the niter.
Nevertheless, despite the process sounding simple, the actual labor is much more troublesome.
Carrying large amounts of soil, mixing it with water, and boiling, just how much effort would it take?
For a young girl, it was quite a harsh job.
What’s more, in addition to drying up the soil, you had to gather human and animal dung, and even build a small hut for collecting niter at the same time.
It’s a job that consists of smell, dirt, and many labor pains.
“I can do it if you tell me how it works.”
“Hmm, well then, I’ll try and teach you, so I’m relying on you.”
The copper-red haired and brown skinned Laure is a daughter of a miner.
She is also a dwarf (from black spirits) with a height shorter than other girls and pointed ears.
I’ve heard about female dwarves being physically more inferior to males, but, among all the girls here, she’s probably the only one suitable for this job.
Upon teaching her, she generally grasped which soil she should collect and what the process of making niter is. Laure wasn’t quick witted, but, she would do her job calmly and steadily while working twice as hard as others.
Whether she did good or bad, she was the type of person that would immerse herself in her job without looking aside, so perhaps, she could cope with this job of making niter that required lots of perseverance.
Later, I’ll create a line of production for niter and entrust the rest to Laure.
If she can do her job well, I shall praise her. However, even if she doesn’t, I won’t get mad.
I entrusted Laure with making niter and decided to return back to Losgow for now together with Lyle-sensei.
Loading our covered wagon with niter and goods, which the village was lacking of (such as cloths, salt and miscellaneous), we set off for a one day visit.
I was worried, since I would be leaving the girls in charge of the company, but, I made a request to Louise to protect them, as she seemed to be dependable.
As soon as we arrived in Losgow, we offloaded the items at a general store, after which I took the wagon and headed towards the Rhod family.
Once we stopped in front of this somewhat nostalgic farm, a blonde haired girl came out to meet us. I quickly apologized.
“Sorry, Sara-chan. It looks like I’ve been borrowing your horse for quite a while. Later, I’ll make it up by paying you lots of money, therefore….
“We don’t particularly mind about the horse. We only use it during the growing season, so you saved us the cost of feeding it. More importantly, I’d rather have Takeru apologize for constantly using my Sensei, you see.”
Saying that, Sara-chan made a smile of satisfaction.
Did she treat Lyle-sensei too, as some kind of belonging? I was surprised by such a possibility.
Well, to begin with, it’s Sara-chan’s Sensei, so taking him away from her would be a bad thing, I think.
I’m sure Sensei is currently catching up on the paperwork that had accumulated during his his absence, but…
“If you hadn’t brought Sensei with you, I would’ve been able to study letters.”
“I see. In that case, I’ll give you lots of homework this time.”
I turned my face toward Lyle-sensei’s clear voice who had immediately caught up with me.
“Sensei, have you finished sorting the documents?”
“Sorting the documents and sending them to the capital didn’t even take five minutes. Recently, I’ve become unable to understand my purpose here, you see.”
The very capable Sensei, made a bit of a lonesome expression while saying so.
I guess, you could say that working in an office inside a village is similar to being demoted for him.
“Still, I didn’t know Sara-chan was this keen on learning. It makes me proud as her teacher, you see. I’m going to give her lots of homework.”
“Uwaaa, save meee.”
Sara-chan dashed inside her house as if trying to run away.
After all, she’s still a child, I guess.
For some reason, things have settled down since I arrived here.
Even though working on a plantation is severe, a farming village is quite tranquil in comparison with the hectic city of Est.
I felt the urge of wanting to rest here now.
However, it wasn’t the right time for that.
I had to collect sulfur, create bombs, and deliver the goods to the mine.
I too, had become occupied with lots of things.
“Goodness me, your bombs are excellent indeed. Our work has been greatly progressing thanks to them.”
What reached me first was the voice of Nattal, the Losgow mine governor, whom I hadn’t met in a long time.
I brought him bombs made from niter, which I had previously carried to this village. As I did so, I was handed over a full sack of Silesian golden coins.
Was he at the mining site again? As always, he looked muscular while being half-naked.
I wonder if he’s always dressed like this.
“With these, we can blow apart even that hard bedrock that’s impossible to be broken with a miner’s hands. Normally, we would’ve had to call a high class magic user to pierce through that thing, so if we consider the time for waiting, even one gold coin is cheap.”
It looks like Nattal has worked out the best way to utilize the bombs and is now showing it in practice.
“I also showed my fellow engineers from other mines how the bombs work, but, they were curious to try out the bombs themselves.”
“Is that so? I’m glad to hear that.”
I was grateful to Nattal, since I was worried if he wouldn’t try to promote himself thanks to his influence.
No matter how much money it is, having a demand is important at the early stage of a company.
“Later, if you want to sell your bombs to the state mines, I think it’s safe to go along the Ye mountain range. However, if you plan to visit the royal capital, you better pay enough attention, even to the road.”
On my way back, I was given such a piece of advice by Nattal.
I had nothing in particular to do in the royal capital, but, Nattal’s comment made me a bit curious.
“What do you mean?”
“Apparently, monsters have become more active near the royal capital for some reason. Even among the merchants, there are rumors about that place being dangerous.”
“Ah, now that you mention it, I think I’ve heard about the royal capital becoming boisterous.”
“Even the kingdom’s chivalric order has had a hard time protecting their territories. I would still understand if it was just a caravan of merchants getting destroyed, but, there’s even been rumors about groups of bandits getting caught up in monsters’ attacks, so you should consider it a serious threat.”
I think that the rumor about the bandits, who prey on merchants, isn’t that bad, but, monsters becoming active is a scary thing indeed.
‘I wonder what the reason for that is.’ – I became a bit curious.
If we go with that theory, it’s possible the environment will be destroyed or something like that.
It wasn’t related to me, since I didn’t plan to leave the peaceful city of Est for the time being, but……..
While thinking so, I recalled something.
“Lyle-sensei, about the herd of monsters that attacked the merchants and slaves nearby Est.”
“That’s right. Their trip was probably delayed due to the sudden outbreak of monsters outside the royal capital. Even if it’s not related to us, it’s better to pay more attention.”
Lyle-sensei too, seemed to ponder for a while.
As expected, do we need to strengthen our fighting strength even though we have just started to make a living from trading?
As I thought, this world is indeed harsh.
However, I’ve become robust to that. I also noticed that those who are troubled will become a source of income in this world’s economy.
Taking into account the number that can be hunted, I became able to see monsters as a source of income.
“Speaking of which, I want to make this, but, I wonder if it can be crafted by someone who’s a blacksmith here.”
Taking into consideration a plan to enhance our fighting strength, I decided to show Nattal some of my blueprints containing ideas I had thought of.
Following the production of gunpowder and bombs, I immediately came up with guns and cannons.
I was a bit reluctant about introducing this technology, which brought damage upon my world during wars, into this world.
Nevertheless, for the sake of protecting myself from those monsters, I, who possessed no magic power whatsoever, wanted those firearms.
“What’s this, a hole made inside an iron rod….?”
“By detonating the gunpowder placed inside that hole, you can fire a lead ball straightly, using the force of the explosion.”
“Hmm, do we need to make something as dull as this?”
‘If you want to attack an enemy, shouldn’t it be fine to throw these bombs directly at them?’ – Is what Nattal wanted to say.
Since Nattal was just an engineer, he probably couldn’t imagine how effective a gun and cannon are.
Well, if I hadn’t witnessed the real things myself or learned about their history, I too would probably have had the same impression as Nattal.
“For example, there should be those catapults in this world. The cannon, which I mentioned, can fire a large iron ball a far longer distance than a catapult. How about that?”
“Despite you telling me so, it’s still hard for me to imagine. As long you pay the necessary expense, I don’t mind asking a blacksmith to craft the tube and balls, but, he might have never heard or seen something like this, so it might take him some….. no, actually, quite a bit of time to make these.”
Nattal wasn’t sure about this himself, but, Lyle-sensei, who stood next to me while listening, had his face turn pale as he snatched away my blueprint and looked at it intensely.
As expected of Lyle-sensei’s cheater detecting sense, could it be that he quickly understood my intention?
“Governor Dacole-dono! I’d like to ask you to manufacture these things, but, please do so using your utmost power.”
“O, Oh. Fine by me, however, was Secretary Laertius always this ardent?”
Even if you ask me that, I don’t know.
Nattal, seemed to be surprised from witnessing Lyle-sensei’s rare emotions.
‘If we manage to make these, the whole concept of wars will be turned upside down…..’ – Lyle-sensei, whose face was unusually stern, gazed even more at that clumsily drawn blueprint of mine while muttering these words.
I’m glad he can understand it, but still…
No matter how much it was, Sensei’s conjecture was way too sharp for someone coming from this world, which made me pull back.
Having concluded our sale, we went to the Rhod family and took a breather there.
I paid them a generous amount of money for lending me the horse, since I made quite a lot thanks to my previous transaction.
I can buy whatever I want without having to worry about money for now.
“I think I’ve already told you not to fret about the horse, but, how long do you plan on staying here?”
“Eh, so I’m being a nuisance to you?”
Being told like that by Sara-chan, I was a bit shocked.
I thought I had already become a part of this family, but, I guess I’m still an unwanted laborer.
“That’s wro…that’s not what I mean. You are always welcomed here.”
“Well, it’s about time I should check on the company in Est, so I was thinking if I shouldn’t go back soon.”
“Hmph, is that what you mean…..?”
I wonder if Sara-chan was in a bad mood. For some reason, it felt that way.
Well, after all, I was about to take Lyle-sensei with me at my own convenience.
“Ahh, that’s right. I bought this gift for you, Sara-chan. If it’s fine by you, please try it on.”
“Oh my, this dress from Est is indeed lovely. Aren’t you quite thoughtful, Takeru?”
What I gave her was a red apron dress bought in Est (child sized).
I thought it would suit Sara-chan, so I bought an extra set.
I also thought ahead and deemed it was necessary for me to have this family cooperate with me. They were a family that raised cattle, so they could supply me with soil and materials for making niter.
Like this, I made yet another future investment and also was able to put Sara-chan back in a good mood.
“Also, I brought you some drink called coffee, but….”
“What’s this? It’s bitter, so I don’t need.”
Just as I thought, she doesn’t like it.
Uhaha, it can’t be helped. After all, she’s still a child.
I too, used to consider bitter drinks in the same way when I was small.
Later, I would drink coffee after adding milk and sugar, however, I soon realized that black coffee suited my taste much more.
“Apparently, coffee has become popular in the royal capital and is drunk by everyone from noble families.”
“Ehh? Is that true?”
Sara-chan was a self-interested person, so as soon she heard about that, she decided to give her best and try to drink the coffee.
“How about you start drinking it by adding sugar and milk?”
“Well, if it’s too sweet, it won’t do as well, but….. this one is bitter.”
Could it be that Sara-chan is longing for city life in her own childish way?
The coffee that I told her about was a café au lait, but even so, she tried to drink it with a painful expression.
“That’s right, Takeru. It’s been a while since we last went to a hot spring. Shall we go again?”
“Ahhh, that’s sound like a good idea.”
As expected, perhaps, it was the best thing to do to recover from exhaustion.
Well, in any case, it meant I’d be in charge of digging a spring once again, but…
I tried to ask her something that had been on my mind since before, when we spent our time together inside the spring.
“Hey, don’t you wear underwear?”
“Honestly, nobody in this village does such a thing.”
No no, that’s probably not true.
Is it because she’s a child that she isn’t aware of such things yet?
There’s bound to be lots of complications if a girl doesn’t wear underwear, but…
Well, she seemed to be pleased with my gift, so I thought maybe I should buy her a pair of underwear the next time we meet
Once I fully recharge my batteries at the spring, we’ll proceed to leaving the village.
Looking around the general stores and secondhand shops in Losgow, I worked out what we should bring to replenish the village’s stock when we come here next time.
For some reason, goods here were overly expensive, as the stock was short of items. Perhaps, it could have something to do with the goods distribution being delayed, due to the increased activity of monsters near the road leading to the royal capital.
Thanks to that, I managed to sell the cargo, which I had carried here with me, at a high price, however, I was a bit concerned about the market being slightly in unrest.
As expected, what we would carry with us from Losgow would be iron-made goods.
Later, I thought about collecting large amounts of sulfur from hot springs, which is needed to make gunpowder.
Lyle-sensei and I set off back to the city of Est.