…If I recall correctly, there was a time when rubber could only be procured from the Amazon River Basin, but the people then were able to find out just how useful of a material it was, and so the United Kingdom monopolized it. In fact, it was so highly valued that people referred to it as ‘black gold’… This makes it more likely that this Gwam that Serge-san is talking about is the same rubber that I know of.
“But I don’t think it’s as amazing as this rubber you’re talking about.” [Serge]
“Huh? Really!?” [Ryouma]
“Yes, the gwam is mainly used in simple products like toys for children. It’s also used for cloths and to repel water, but it’s not like this rubber you’re talking about that’s supposedly resistant against tearing or melting. In fact, it’s the opposite.” [Serge]
Wait. doesn’t that mean that they’re using natural rubber as is? They haven’t added sulfur or carbon to it?
Back on Earth, the reason people were able to realize the usefulness of rubber was because someone discovered the processing method. It’s precisely because people knew that it was such a useful product that it was valued so highly and everyone wanted to monopolize it. And yet in this world, it’s being monopolized despite people not understanding its purpose? That is so strange…
I asked the adults about that.
“The people of that continent had a special use for the gwam. One that’s rooted in their culture and custom. Most of it is being used for that.” [Serge]
As Serge-san spoke, it dawned on me that he was trying to shirk away from saying out loud exactly what the people of that continent were using the rubber for.
“I was thinking that it would be too early to talk about it, given your age, but then again, you do have knowledge regarding medicine, and you probably understand the necessity and importance…” [Serge]
Despite saying that, Serge-san decided to delay saying the use of the gwam out loud until after our meal. And so, we enjoyed ourselves to a different topic until breakfast concluded.
Before Serge-san left, I asked him again what the people from that continent were using the rubber for, and he replied briefly, “For contraceptive purposes.”
“Ah, so that’s the direction they took…” [Ryouma]
That is certainly not something that should be said during breakfast in front of the madam.
“The people of that continent are very open-minded when it comes to sex. So much so that you can find villages practicing polygyny, polyandry, and polyfidelity. They also see the act itself as a rite of passage to adulthood.
When I was yet young and full of adventurous spirit, I went there and was deeply shocked by the cultural difference. Men and women alike dressed lightly, and if you go out to the sticks, you’ll find people walking around basically naked.” [Serge]
Well, even back on Earth you can find sexual content in myths. I guess there are places like that here too.
But there’s a risk to the act.
“And I take it that the contraceptives are…” [Ryouma]
“Yes. When people do the deed a lot, and not just for the rite, and the numbers stack up on a daily basis, it can’t really be helped that in the past, people got sick or got pregnant during their rite of passage to adulthood. Even if they wanted to do it a lot, there were a lot of problems that came with the deed. But then the gwam contraceptive was developed, and that solved a lot of problems.
Unfortunately, not everyone is understanding of the culture of the people from that continent, and of those people, there are those who have taken to calling them ‘savages’. That being said, I do think their technology surpasses our country’s when it comes to sexual diseases and contraceptives.” [Serge]
Speaking of which, this country mainly relies on medicine for their contraceptive. They’re available not only for women but also for men. Unfortunately, they’re poorly made, and if you use them wrong, they can have a bad effect on the body.
On that point alone, the gwam contraceptive is superior. It was safe for the human body, and in fact, to this day, it is being imported from the southern continents to the nobles at a high price.
“I see.” [Ryouma]
Countries really do come in all kinds and shapes. Hearing stories about other countries is really fascinating.
While I was thinking that, Serge-san asked me a question.
“Ryouma-sama, is the rubber you’re talking about the same thing?” [Serge]
“I believe the gwam and my rubber both use the same ‘latex’. The difference is that my rubber processes the raw material more to make it easier to use for a variety of different purposes.” [Ryouma]
“Ho ho…” [Serge]
I took this opportunity to ask if my rubber would be treated as contraband.
“What’s prohibited is the export of trees and seeds from the southern continents. It has nothing to do with using the viscous liquid excreted by a slime.” [Serge]
I see. It should be safe to perform my experiments then.
“I’ll experiment and see if I can turn the viscous liquid of the latex slime into rubber.” [Ryouma]
“If anything else comes up, please feel free to consult me. I’m looking forward to the results myself.” [Serge]
I thanked Serge-san for hearing me out, and then parted ways with a smile.
Now that that’s done with… It is time for an experiment!