Upon completing the clean up job, the feudal lord paid us 10 small gold coins as promised along with a mouthful of praise, and then we went back home.
We split the reward between the Wharf of Shikumu and I 5:5.
I’d intended to distribute the earnings equally, but all the knowledge and tools from the chemicals to the cloths to the slimes were all from me, so the members of the Wharf of Shikumu refused to be paid. It didn’t sit right with me not compensating them when they did their share of the work, so in the end, we decided on that ratio.
After receiving their compensation, the Wharf of Shikumu quickly purchased expensive liquor, food, and other daily necessities before going back.
Because of that we had to rent another small boat to get back to the village. When the villagers saw the souvenirs the Wharf of Shikumu brought and found out that they’d made a killing, the whole place lit up. It was a little troublesome, but all in all, it was fun.
As I thought back on the things that happened today, I stretched myself across the futon inside the room I was borrowing.
“Hmm~ …Fuu. We managed to clean the bath successfully, get a hint on what dish to make, and even found a new use for the acidic sticky liquid. Today was a really productive day. Right, before I go to sleep…” [Ryouma]
I opened my Dimension Home and took out the acidic sticky liquid and its container. I also took out the pearl slime and some of the shells that it fed on to evolve.
I was reminded of the mayonnaise pearl on the day the acid slime evolved into a pearl slime, but thanks to the cleaning job today, another possibility came to mind.
In order to test that possibility, I first had to confirm that the shells were indeed the feed for pearl slimes, and then I used the excess acidic sticky liquid to soak the shells. Bubbles began to form on the surface of the shell soaked in the strongest acid.
After putting a stop to that, I washed the shell in the container and had the cleaner slime clean it. The surface had melted a little, but there were still some fine sand sediments on the shell. I sank the shell once more into the acidic sticky liquid and repeated the same process several times until the liquid was gone. After that I put it aside to let it rest through the night, and then put away the slimes and the tools in the Dimension Home too. With that, I retired for the day.
The next day.
I woke up a little earlier than usual. It’s probably because I have an experiment today.
After readying myself, I checked the results of my experiment.
The shell that had been marinated overnight in acidic sticky liquid was…
“I knew it.” [Ryouma]
The surface of the shell had melted and beautiful white spots could be seen here and there.
When I polished the shell, it turned into a beautiful mother of pearl.
Just like with pearls, the main ingredient behind its luster is the calcium carbonate that’s secreted from the mantle of the shell.
Mother-of-pearls aren’t just found inside shells that make pearls, but also in those that don’t make pearls.
A popular example would be the marbled turban that can be found in places like Okinawa. The inner part of this shell can also be eaten.
But of course, that’s a shellfish that lives in seawater.
Sunagakure (Lit. hidden in sand)
A type of shell that secretes liquid to stick the surrounding fine sand and stones onto its husk to deceive external threats. Lives in fresh water and can be eaten. It is generally cooked in its own shell, though it should be noted that when exposed to heat, the mother-of-pearl loses its luster.
“There are similar shellfish living in the lake here, so the pearl slime probably evolved after eating the mother-of-pearl inside those shells.” [Ryouma]
That’s a much more believable theory than the mayonnaise pearl theory stemming from the acid slime’s acid and the mayonnaise made from egg. I feel a lot better now that the questions surrounding the evolution of the pearl slime have been cleared up.
“…What should I do with this result?” [Ryouma]
A few days ago, the god called Sereriputa told me that the value of the pearl was far beyond my imagination, so I figure if I could create a husk with the same luster as the pearl, I could sell it for a good price.
Yesterday before going back, I saw the stalls selling accessories made out of shells, but I didn’t see anything that used a mother-of-pearl. Besides, the villagers here also just treat these things like garbage and throw them out, so I doubt they know that they’re good for anything other than food.
It’s a bit wasteful, but I can’t tell Niki-kun and the villagers about this. Just as Sereriputa said, it’s simply too dangerous. I was able to be acquainted with the lord ruling over this region, Porco-sama, but I’m hesitant to tell him about it too.
He doesn’t strike me as a bad person. The time we’ve spent together doesn’t even add up to a day, but we’ve eaten together, talked… And so far he strikes me as an easygoing guy who’s admired by the people. I don’t think the people are just acting when they behave amiably in front of him either.
But I suppose that’s ‘exactly why’ I’m hesitant to tell him about it.
Speaking of which, there’s something bothering me.
“I think the feudal lord might be lacking in war potential. He might also be on the weaker side when it comes to the power balance of the nobles.” [Ryouma]
When Niki-kun ran away and we went out to look for him, we happened across some goblins. Word has it that those goblins were released here by some nobles to harass the feudal lord.
I don’t know how accurate those rumors are, but I did see those goblins with my own eyes, and what’s more is that there are cages that have clearly been tampered with by human hands. To make things even worse, these things supposedly ‘happen a lot’.
…Isn’t it strange? Even if it’s just harassment and even if it’s just a few goblins – some of the weakest monsters out there – they’re still monsters. One step wrong and someone could get hurt. Just look at Niki-kun. If not for that secret base of his, he would have been in danger.
So why isn’t the feudal lord doing anything about it?
If the feudal lord didn’t care about his people, then it would still somewhat make sense, but then the locals wouldn’t admire him so much. And personally I don’t think he’s that kind of person either.
So I’m thinking that maybe it’s not that he ‘doesn’t want’ to do anything about it, but rather that he ‘can’t’ do anything about it.
Fatma is a pretty a big place, after all. On top of having difficulties dealing with the sporadic harassment, before the roads were constructed, Fatma was supposedly so poor that people actually starved to death.
In order to hunt monsters or to protect one’s people from those with ill intent, the first thing one needs is someone who can fight. In other words, soldiers. But raising soldiers require food. And that’s not something that can be solved just by putting in ‘effort’ or being ‘motivated’.
How is a land so destitute that it can’t even provide enough to keep its people from starving to death supposed to raise an army?
Even if the feudal lord can maintain some degree of military to defend his territory, the fact that there were people starving is all the proof one needs to prove that they don’t have enough food. If the feudal lord intends to raise an army despite that, then the people will suffer. Hence, it only stands to reason that the feudal lord likely has the smallest army he can get away with.
And that would also explain why he can’t deal with the goblins – because he doesn’t have enough hands.
Still, if it were only an issue of having not enough soldiers, then he should still be able to ask for help from his neighbors. Of course, he would have to pay them compensation, and since it’s considered the duty of a feudal lord to be able to defend his territory and people, he will also incur some shame. But as far as shame goes, I don’t think there’s a big difference between asking for help from other people because you’re too weak to defend your territory and not asking for help and just accepting that you’re not strong enough.
If so, then the reason he can’t ask for help must be because of his poor relationship with his neighbors.
Word has it that the neighboring nobles are the culprits behind the harassment. Of course, I don’t just plan on believing those rumors without proof.
As the saying goes, a man’s mouth cannot be kept shut. But regardless, it is possible that these rumors are going around because the people can feel the strain in the relationship between their lord and the surrounding nobles.
“Supposing that the feudal lord does in fact have a poor relationship with his neighbors and is weak, then…” [Ryouma]
After reaching this point, I recalled a story from my school days.
There’s no basis for it or anything. It’s just that the situation is similar.
That was a story from when I’d just entered middle school. A story where I happened upon a kid being bullied. That in itself wasn’t noteworthy. If there were a hundred schools, then even a thousand such incidents would be too few.
As the story goes, I saved the male student being bullied and asked him about his situation.
It turns out that he and the bully were from the same school and that he was always being bullied. Now that he was a middle school student, he also wanted to graduate from being bullied. A month ago he started training at a karate dojo, so when he saw his bully that day, he told him that and was beaten harsher than usual.
…At that, all I could really think of was that he was the very picture of an honest fool who ended up digging a deeper hole for himself.
I understand wanting to graduate from being bullied, and going to a karate dojo is fine too, but there was really no need for him to tell all that to his bully.
It’s true that you can’t solve all your problems just by calling the teacher, but if you’re going to try and solve your problem with strength, then at the very least, you should first gain enough strength or there’s no point. I also believe it’s best not to say anything to until after you’ve gotten strong enough.
Trying to show off your strength or training when you’ve only just started is just going to get you beat up since it’s no different from telling your opponent ‘I’m training so I can beat you up’. You’re only making your opponent wary of you and adding fuel to the flames.
If the weaker one announces that he’s going to fight back, the stronger one isn’t going to just say ‘okay’ and then wait for the weaker one to get stronger. The moment the weaker one show signs of resisting, the stronger one will beat him up harder than before.
“…The feudal lord might be in a similar situation.” [Ryouma]
Him looking for rice that could be cultivated in Fatma, inviting specialists, studying sumo personally, and showing interest in martial arts that suits the pig tribe could be him trying to improve his situation.
Perhaps the issue isn’t just that the feudal lord can’t respond to the harassment but that he has no way to solve it at all, and he’s just accumulating strength for the time being.
If so then stories of pearls or anything with similar value would only be a problem for him. In fact, it would be akin to gifting him a bomb. Just as Sereriputa said, the pearl is too dangerous without enough strength.
“It would be best not to bring it up, but what’s there is there, so someone might still notice it.” [Ryouma]
…But then again, Sereriputa did say…
‘Especially, in the Riforu Kingdom where you reside. After all, it is a jewel that can’t be harvested yet.’
For better or for worse, Sereriputa is the kind of person to just say what he wants, so he’s probably not lying. Moreover, he used the word ‘yet’. If I look at it from another perspective—
I heard footsteps.
It’s almost time for me to go, so let’s wrap up my thoughts here for now.
It’s going to get busy again starting today…