After completing my morning routine, it was time to go to work.
When I met up with Yurdum-san in front of the laundromat, I noticed that his eyes were already dead despite it being so early in the morning.
“Good morning. Did something happen?” [Ryouma]
“No, it’s just the usual, but it’s precisely because of that that I’m starting to doubt myself for getting used to that spell of yours, Boss.” [Yurdum]
Ah, I see.
He’s talking about my spell that gathers water to allow my boat to float and move. It certainly would be difficult for a normal magician to maintain this spell for more than an hour while cleaning the road and clearing it of snow, both mana-wise and technique-wise, and yet, here I am doing it as though nothing could be more natural, and everyone just accepts it.
I’ve also gradually started to get used to it.
But anyhow, if that’s all, then I suppose there’s no problem. I quickly put away my boat, and headed to work with Yurdum-san.
Our workplace this morning is right in front of my store. Because today I’m going to be clearing snow manually at the residential district in the eastern part of town. Although I cleared the road of snow with my slime magic early this morning, the snow has been pouring throughout town, and there’s still plenty of streets to clear.
“Couldn’t you have just cleaned everything with your boat?” [Yurdum]
“That’s true, but as small as my boat may be, the streets there are simply too narrow, and even my mana pool won’t be able to last if I had to clean every nook and cranny. It’s not a good idea to drink too many mana potions too, so I’ve been limiting the use of that spell to just places that people don’t pass by much early in the morning, places that have bigger roads, and places that are lacking in help.
Once the hour gets a little later into the morning, the adventurers from the guild and the people hired by the government office will also start working anyway. Not to mention, the townspeople themselves will also help clear out the snow, so there’s no reason to force myself to do that much.” [Ryouma]
“That’s true, I guess. Or rather, won’t you normally run out of mana? You’ve been doing stuff like that right from the morning, and you’ve never looked tired or anything, so I’ve always thought that that boat was some kind of magic tool, or maybe there’s some magic stone supplying it with mana or something.” [Yurdum]
“There’s no way I’d go through that much trouble.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah, I figured. You don’t look the sort… Wait a sec, wouldn’t it normally be more convincing to be told that he’s relying on some kind of trick or on potions?” [Yurdum]
Yurdum-san seems to be conflicted… I never said there were ‘no tricks’, though.
Speaking of which, it’s easy for accidents to occur while clearing snow.
While working below the eaves of the roof, snow piled up on the roof can slide down and injure you, or they might bury you under their weight, keeping you from moving.
While working in high places, there’s the risk of falling, of course, but on top of that, you can also fall into a pile of snow and be unable to get out.
There are a lot of cases of such accidents, so it’s important to prepare well and be careful when removing snow, and it’s just as important to work in groups.
While Yurdum-san and I talked like that, before long, we arrived at our destination.
“Let’s start from here.” [Ryouma]
Like that we started clearing the snow from a street in the residential district.
First, Yurdum-san opened the lid to the gutter for drainage.
“I’ll be counting on you today too.” [Ryouma]
Then I took out my filter slimes from my dimension magic, and got them to block both ends of the gutter. After that I took out two more slimes from a water jug, the sewage slime and the sludge slime.
The sewage slime evolved from an aqua slime that preferred poison-type mana, while the sludge slime evolved from a mud slime that fed off of sludge. Just like the scavenger slime, both of these slimes possess the Stench skill. Other than that there’s not much difference between them and the aqua slimes or mud slimes.
In the same way that ice slimes are thought to be merely aqua slimes that have frozen over, these two slimes are thought to be slimes that have merely been dirtied, and most people don’t consider them to be an actual evolution.
They were able to evolve because they’ve been hard at work cleaning the gutters before this cold wave came. In fact, they’re very good at that job.
After all, they feed off of sewage and sludge, so they’ll naturally clean the gutters as long as you leave them there. If a proper setup is prepared for them, they should be useful in large-scale sewer treatments too. Also—
“Boss? Is something the matter?” [Yurdum]
“Ah, it’s nothing!” [Ryouma]
Oops, that’s not good. Lost myself in my thoughts, thinking about the slimes again, there for a moment. We’re at work right now. Gotta focus.
As I renewed my focus, I affixed several sheets of my Light-Absorbent Hot Plate on copper tubes that matched the width of the gutters. By the way, the Light-Absorbent Hot Plates are made by combining the ‘Fine Black Powder’ that I showed to the gods last time and the hardening liquid sheet of the sticky slimes.
By raising the temperature high enough to melt snow, the snow thrown into the gutters can be melted, effectively filling the role that would otherwise be filled by a snow melter tank, and greatly increasing the efficiency of our work.
…Unfortunately, the plates merely produce heat through light reflected on it, and that heat is passed on to the water through the copper tubes, so they’re really nothing more than a simple apparatus and I can’t judge them to be a complete product just yet. I think they can still be improved, though perhaps not as good as the solar water-heaters that we used back in Japan.
I spoke about it with Grisiera-san and her group from the Merchant Guild, and the discussion can basically be summarized as…
・The hot plates already produce enough heat, so they can be used right away. Moreover, their efficiency can be increased by using them alongside light magic.
・There are plenty of workers, especially, adventurers, that can use the rudimentary light spell, Light, even though they’re not mages.
・The design may be simple, but that’s actually a boon, because it’s precisely that simple design that will allow town craftsmen to mass produce the copper pipes.
・Once mass produced, they can be installed throughout town to increase the efficiency of all the workers.
・What needs to be prioritized now wasn’t the completion of the tool, but the countermeasures to deal with the snow.
With the discussion concluding as such, improvements to the design were put on hold, and the Merchant Guild tasked the craftsmen to mass produce the copper pipes, while I produced as many hot plates as I could and
I decided to merely lend the hot plates because they’re still merely experimental, so I have no plans on selling them just yet. With Reinhart-san’s permission, I might create an improved water heater and sell them in the future to make some change.
As is with its current simple design, the copper pipes can get hotter than the hood of a car on a summer day. It should be possible to further improve and optimize the water heater, and even combining it with a big stove shouldn’t be impossible, but as for whether they can be sold or not, I’ll have to find out once I start experimenting and making estimates.
After setting the water heater, all that was left was good old physical labor. Yes, we’re really just shoveling the snow normally.
Simple work like this can be done even while deep in thought.
I used my dimension magic and took out a tool with the end of a bulldozer made out of hardening liquid sheet in place of plastic to push all of the snow toward the gutter in one go. After that it was up to the water heater and the slimes inside the gutter to take care of the rest.
Water above a certain level would be filtered by the filter slime and flushed down the end of the gutter, so the water would never overflow. Like that we continued our work merrily.
“Good morning.” [Grandma]
“Ah, good morning, grandma.” [Yurdum]
While we were working, Yurdum-san called out to a grandma that walked out of a house.
“Have you cleared the snow in front of my house already? Thank you… I’ll go clear the snow in the roof then.” [Grandma]
“Grandma, are you planning to climb up your roof? That’s too dangerous, let us do it.” [Yurdum]
“Nah, I’d feel bad. You already cleared the snow in front of my house. Besides, these legs and loins of mine are still plenty strong.” [Grandma]
“Don’t feel bad, Grandma, we’ll take care of it. Boss!” [Yurdum]
“I heard. We can’t enter private areas, so we’ve only cleared the streets until now, but if it’s alright with you, we’d love to clear your roof for you. We have a tool just for that too.” [Ryouma]
I had a terrible experience removing snow from the roof before, so there was a time when I went all over the net researching about tools to deal with snow. Thanks to that, though, I’m able to create a bunch by recalling those memories.
Of the tools to help with that, the tool I personally found most convenient was a long rod with a metal fixture at the end for cutting snow and a waterproof cloth. The tool is able to efficiently remove snow by sliding the cut snow over the cloth.
“Besides, we’re in an emergency right now. The guild will pay us too as long as we can get proof of our work here in writing. There’s a subsidiary aid from the government office for stuff like this, so there won’t be any demerit to you at all.” [Yurdum]
“That’s right, so just leave it to us.” [Yurdum]
“In that case, I’ll be counting on you boys then.” [Grandma]
And so, we ended up removing the snow off the grandma’s roof.
“That grandma hates being treated like she’s old, so we need to be careful.” [Yurdum]
Yurdum-san told me quietly while we worked.
It might’ve been because he sensed that that he suddenly brought the topic to compensation.
He’d brought the topic there rather forcefully, but the grandma didn’t seem to mind.
He’d also easily taken care of a person who asked something unreasonable before when we were clearing the snow.
Yurdum-san appears to be frivolous, but he’s generally a kind and considerate person, though I’m not sure whether to describe him as someone sharp toward people’s emotions or merely someone good at handling distance with others. The more we work together, the more I feel that.
“By the way, Boss, did something happen recently?” [Yurdum]
“What do you mean?” [Ryouma]
“You’ve started to become tense again lately, you know, like last time.” [Yurdum]
…Really sharp. And here I was trying not to let it show on me.
“I’m trying not to let last time happen again too, but there’s something about the air that I just can’t shake off.” [Ryouma]
“I see… I think it’s been peaceful lately, though. I haven’t been picking up any strange glances our way when we’re together, and the snow is like this too. Even if the enemies are planning something, I’m sure they didn’t see this snow coming.” [Yurdum]
“You might be right, but…
I tried putting into words that vague feeling within me.
“It’s true that it’s been peaceful lately. But that’s exactly what makes it feel so revolting… Like the calm before the storm… In the first place, the enemy is trying to harass the duke, the actions they’ve taken strike me as though they have a grudge of some sort. And yet they refuse to attack the members of the duke directly, choosing instead to wreak havoc in town and pull down the reputation of the duke.
Perhaps a direct attack would push their actions beyond the scope of mere harassment, and make it easier to trace them, but what really bothers me is that these people, or the very least, the person giving the orders hasn’t put the town in his eye at all. He doesn’t care about getting unrelated people caught up in his schemes as long as he can accomplish his goals, or at least, that’s the feeling he gives me.” [Ryouma]
“…Yeah, this won’t end as just a nuisance to the people. In fact, when I first came to this city, the air was a lot worse. Apparently, there was an increase in the number of robberies, so the guy definitely doesn’t care about involving unrelated people.” [Yurdum]
“Yes, now do you think a person like that would give up without accomplishing his goals? I don’t think so. Besides, while the enemy’s influence in Gimuru has been suppressed, Reinhart-san has been acting in the imperial capital. From the enemy’s perspective, their plan failed, and now they’re on the verge of being caught.
As the saying goes, a cornered rat will bite the cat. Now that the enemy has been driven to a corner, he’s bound to throw all pretense, and it wouldn’t be strange if he were to stake everything on one last roll… In fact, it’s very likely.” [Ryouma]
Because the more I think of this enemy, the more I think about his situation, the more I feel that way.
“Perhaps this heavy snow was unexpected even for them, perhaps it’s obstructed them. But that goes for us too, and in fact, this crazy snow also has us up a wall. If the enemy has been cornered, then they might very well stake it all on one last bet. Of course, I don’t have proof for any of this.” [Ryouma]
When I said that, Yurdum-san seemed to understand.
“In that case, they’ll probably attack the moment we show an opening. Alright, I’ll be sure to keep a careful eye out.” [Yurdum]
“Thank you very much. It would be good if nothing happened, but just to be safe, we should prepare as much as we can. I’ve also sent a request to the related departments to recheck the emergency response manual… So everything that can be done for now has already been done. Just as Yurdum-san said, it has been relatively peaceful recently, so it should be fine to relax a bit… Otherwise, it’ll end up like last time.”
That’s really a black mark on my history, and I’d really rather not go back to it.
Regardless, I’m glad that Yurdum-san is taking my words seriously even though I have no proof to back them up. Of course, there are other people working with me too, but it’s probably because he’s here with me that I’m able to maintain my calm this time and remain leisurely like this.