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Volume 5 Chapter 7: Raise your spirits and take the promotion exam!
What was in Ryouma’s hands was a bag filled with wheat. Other than that, he also brought with him some cooking utensils and rice.
“Isn’t that just wheat?” [Miyabi]
“Can you make anything sweet with that?” [Michelle]
“You’ve never heard of mizuame? [simple_tooltip content=’ (Mizuame (水飴?) is a sweetener from Japan which is translated literally to “water candy” (also known as millet jelly). )’](?)[/simple_tooltip] This can be used to cook, and in fact, you can give this a lick without cooking it.” [Ryouma]
Elia and the others were confused.
“I guess it tastes sort of like sugar.” [Michelle]
“Hmm… As far as I know, the only ingredients used to make sweets are sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey. And then, I guess there’re also fruits… As for this one, I’ve never heard of it.” [Miyabi]
Hearing their responses, Ryouma was sure now that mizuame didn’t exist in this country.
“Well, in any case, I’ll just explain to you guys while I prepare it.”
Ryouma lined up the various wares he’d brought with him. Amongst those were two medium-sized pots with two handles, a cloth used for concocting medicine, a mortar and pestle, and several bowls. First, Ryouma filled one of the pots with water.
“After filling the pot with water, we add the grinded rice grains. ‘Heat’” [Ryouma]
As the wheat started boiling, the pot started blubbing and blurping.
“We’ll keep this boiling until it turns into a porridge. In the meantime…” [Ryouma]
Ryouma filled a bowl with wheat, but then he poured its contents back into the bag. Then he added it back into the bowl, and then back to the bag, and again, and again…
“Have you forgotten the amount you’re supposed to put?” [Riera]
“Grandma made it for me before, so I can just barely remember how to make it… I only just remembered about it a while ago too, so… Well, the amount of rice should be right, but… Ah, jeez, who cares anymore! Let’s just try it out. ‘Water’, and ‘Grow” [Ryouma]
Ryouma filled a third of the bowl with wheat, and then he casted water magic on it. Normally, he would leave this bowl of wheat and water for several days, changing the water from time to time to let it germinate, but Ryouma used wood magic to forcefully speed up the process.
Not long after, Ryouma threw away the water, took the germinated wheat, and grinded it with the mortar and pestle. Elia and the others were still dubious, but they helped out nevertheless.
And 20 minutes later.
The rice that was being boiled in boiling temperature finally started to lose its shape as it turned into a thin porridge. Ryouma added the grinded malt into this pot, causing a reaction between the starch in the rice and the enzyme in malt to create sugar.
But the temperature most suited for sugar was 60 degrees Celsius. The current temperature was too high, so Ryouma used water magic first to gradually cool the rice porridge.
“Well then, shall we start? After adding the malt, we lightly stir it, and then… I hope this works: ‘Reaction’” [Ryouma]
Converting the starch to sugar would normally take a day, but with Ryouma’s dark magic ‘Reaction’, he forcefully sped up the process. As he continued to stir the contents of the pot while casting magic, the thin porridge-like state of the contents gradually turned into liquid.
“I-It’s starting to smell sweet!” [Kanan]
The two girls from the beast tribe had better noses, so they immediately noticed the slight change in the aroma. And just as they said, the smell was indeed sweet. Moreover, there weren’t any rotting odors. But just to be safe, Ryouma still used ‘Identify’ on the new substance. After confirming that it wasn’t poisonous, Ryouma filtered the contents of the pot with the cloth he brought. Then after removing any residue left, the mizuame was completed.
The finished product was like honey. There was also enough to fill an entire ricebowl. Ryouma then wrapped the finished product around some bamboo chopsticks.
Ryouma wasn’t sure whether it was because he hadn’t boiled it enough, but the resulting product wasn’t viscous enough. So Ryouma had to use ice magic to lower the temperature and harden the syrup to make it stick to the chopsticks. Then he distributed it to Sebasu and the five girls. Of course, he also took some for himself.
“So this is mizuame…” [Michelle]
“It’s made from rice, so it’s also called komeame. Anyway, give it a try. First, you knead it like this, and then you let it breathe in the air like this…” [Ryouma]
Ryouma kneaded his own mizuame covered chopsticks. causing the mizuame to turn white. As he did, he was reminded of the mizuame candies back in Japan. The mizuame was hardened with ice magic, so the more hekneaded it and the hotter it got, the softer it would be. So it’s best to eat it quickly.
“Delicious! So nostalgic…” [Ryouma]
“Ah, it really is sweet.” [Kanan]
“It has a unique taste, but it’s not bad.” [Michelle]
“It has a tender sweet taste to it.” [Elia]
The sweetness of the mizuame left Ryouma in a state of nostalgia. The girls on the other hand, enjoyed the sweetness of the mizuame. While Ryouma was still immersed in nostalgia, Miyabi called out to him.
“Ryouma-han, since this is made with just wheat and rice, can I make some too?” [Miyabi]
“Ah, right… Well, if it’s just for personal use I don’t mind. But if you want to sell it as a product, I’d like to have some special privileges to be able to use as much as I want both for my Slime Den Restaurant and myself. And also, you should make it not with rice but with potatoes.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma stated his conditions for a short while, but Miyabi knitted her brows when she heard them.
“I’m sure dad won’t have any problems with those conditions, but… Won’t your share be too small?” [Miyabi]
“Nah, that’s more than enough.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma isn’t a merchant who specializes at handling ingredients, so he’s the same as a beginner in that field. Because of that he mostly relies on Gimuru’s stores and Miyabi’s family to stock up on ingredients. So when it comes to selling the mizuame, he doesn’t have anyone else to turn to except for the Saionji Firm.
To begin with Ryouma didn’t even make the mizuame with the intention of selling it. He just ended up remembering it because of the flow of the conversation. So monopoly was the last thing on his mind. And that is exactly why Ryouma doesn’t mind letting the Saionji Firm sell the mizuame as long as the Saionji Firm guarantees him and his Slame Den Restaurant enough mizuame to use as they please.
Ryouma explained that to Miyabi.
“I think that instead of trying to monopolize mizuame or hiding it, it’s better to continue my good relationship with the Saionji Firm. Besides, I’ve gotten a lot of help from Piero-san too.” [Ryouma]
“Well let’s just leave it at that. Anyway, dad’s the one who’ll be deciding. I’ll just send him a letter.” [Miyabi]
Suddenly, Sebasu suggested something.
“How about going home instead of sending a letter? Renauph isn’t that far from here, so I can send you home with my dimension magic.” [Sebasu]
“Ah, now that you mention it.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma can’t overlook their training tomorrow either because of his promotion exam, so when he heard Sebasu’s suggestion, he was inclined to agree. As they continued to talk like that, in the end, it was decided that the girls will be visiting Miyabi’s family in Renauph.
“See you tomorrow.” [Michelle]
“Good luck on your promotion exam.” [Elia]
“Show us your B Rank guild card after we get back, alright?” [Riera]
“We’ll buy you some souvenirs.” [Kanan]
In front of the house in the tunnels, everyone spoke words of encouragement to Ryouma before leaving. Then after everyone was gone, Ryouma muttered to himself.
“…The promotion exam, huh? Come to think of it, how long has it been since my last exam? I got one when I registered for the first time, but the results then didn’t really matter… Anyway, I should move my body a bit before sleeping.” [Ryouma]
What people do in that peculiar time period known as “The Day Before the Exam” differs between every individual. But in Ryouma’s case, he started training high-level magic such as the magic battle technique and shadow manipulation. But of course, as the exam was tomorrow, in the end it was just light training to get his body in perfect condition.
Although whether that training could be called light for a normal person is another story altogether. After training, Ryouma was only slightly exhausted. So he took a dip in the bath first, then he retired for the day.
The Next Day
When Ryouma woke up it was already almost noon. After eating and preparing, he went to the Adventurer’s Guild to take the promotion exam. The receptionist, Meilin, told him he had to wait a bit, so they ended up chatting. Most of the adventurers had already gotten their requests in the morning, so Meilin was relatively free.
“Sorry, but it looks like your opponent for today suddenly fell sick, so he couldn’t inform the guild in advance. We’ll look for a new opponent for you within the day, so just wait a bit, alright?” [Meilin]
Hearing that, Ryouma grew anxious.
“I don’t mind, but you will find someone, right?” [Ryouma]
“We’ll there aren’t really a lot of B Rank adventurers. And if we get someone strong but has a horrible personality, they’ll get mad when they end up losing… You wouldn’t like that, would you?” [Meilin]
“Well, yeah.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma nodded as if to say, ‘Obviously’, while Meilin laughed.
“Anyway, there shouldn’t be any problems as long as we weed out the bad bunch. But there’s really just too few adventurers who are B Rank up, especially when we limit it to Gimuru. Not to mention, how short notice this is.
Actually, there’s also the option of just subjugating a magical beast, but in the end, we still need to hire an adventurer B Rank up to act as an inspector. And on top of that, you’ll both have to go out to look for a B Rank magical beast. So not only will it cause more work, it’ll cost even more money too.” [Meilin]
“Wait a moment, Meilin-san, aren’t there people who would fit the bill? Like Jeff-san or Miya-san?” [Ryouma]
“Well that’s true, but they’re not here right now. They’re working on a request somewhere.” [Meilin]
Around this time, another female receptionist who looked like new hand went up to Meilin.
“Meilin-san, can I borrow you for a bit?” [Female Receptionist]
“Sure, what is it? Ah, Ryouma-kun…” [Meilin]
“I’ll wait over there. If you can’t find anyone, just let me know.” [Ryouma]
Meilin is still on duty after all, so there’s no way she could keep chatting with Ryouma. In the meantime, Ryouma decided to kill some time by the notice board.
30 minutes later, Meilin called out to Ryouma who was still staring at the notice board.
“There sure are a lot of transport and escort jobs.” [Ryouma]
“Ryouma-kun, we found someone!” [Meilin]
As soon as Ryouma heard that, he immediately replied, and Meilin brought him to the examination hall where the guild master, Wogan, and a pair of a man and a woman were.
“Sorry about that, we made you wait a bit. Are you ready?” [Wogan]
“Yes. I’ll be in your care today.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma had already equipped his armor over his special battle clothes which were made with slime thread. A blade could also be seen by his hips. Ryouma was fully ready so he greeted Wogan and the pair of man and woman, but…
“Sorry, but you’re mistaken.” [Man]
“The person you’ll be fighting isn’t us.” [Woman]
“Ryouma, those two are healers. They’re here in case either you or your partner gets injured.” [Wogan]
“Ah, so that’s how it is. Sorry about that, though I’ll still be in your care.” [Ryouma]
Because of this the atmosphere between Ryouma and the pair became cheerful, but then… Who was Ryouma’s opponent?
“Umm… could it be that I’ll be fighting you today, Guild Master?” [Ryouma]
“Nope. I’m only here to observe.” [Wogan]
“Then in that case, who–––“ [Ryouma]
“It’s me.” [???]
Before Ryouma could finish speaking, a voice reached him from the entrance of the examination hall. When Ryouma turned around, what greeted him was a giant of a man with an adamantite hammer over his shouoder. His pair of eyes looked at Ryouma with a ferocity like those looking at one’s prey. Smiling, he walked toward Ryouma.
“I see… He certainly is above B Rank, isn’t he?” [Ryouma]
Ryouma’s opponent is none other than the S Rank adventurer, Glen.
TL Note: Mizuame if you’ve never seen one: （This is actually neriame, but… eh, it’s close enough. mizuame should just be a bit less stickier.)