I instructed the smoke slimes to bring the smoke to the buildings outside the base along the central stairway. It might have been akin to pouring water on a hot stone, but I should be able to alleviate the traffic to some extent if the undead could be directed there. If some undead could be sated during that time, some other undead could come in and take their place.
Anyway, up next were the ingredients of the soup. Unfortunately, I can’t actually give the water as an offering, so I can only offer the vegetables, but… Curry without added water was a thing in my past life, so I hope they understand what food I’m trying to send them with the water content from the vegetables.
After that I added the fruits and the desert in a new cup. The fruits were dried fruits that Sebasu and the others brought for camping. When placed over fire, they released a fresh citrus aroma and a rich sweet flavor all at once.
“Ohh…” [Undead 1]
“Ahh…” [Undead 2]
Looks like the fruits are a hit among the undead. I had an inkling back when I added the pepper, but it looks like the undead prefer the food with a stronger smell. The reactions also varied depending the individual. Is that because I created the spell around the concept of aroma? Or is it because of the preferences of the person when they were still alive? Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about them when they were alive, so it might be hard to investigate that.
Finally, I poured the sake into the last cup. Sake won’t burn up either like the soup. Though it’s possible just by extracting the alcohol using alchemy, but all the other flavors would be lost in the process. That’s why I’m using sake lees instead――
『UoOOOOOOO!!!!』 [All Undead]
When the Sake Lees was heated by the flames, in that very moment that the aroma of alcohol spread, the undead all suddenly cried out. Until now, they had been moaning here and there, but now, they were practically screaming. It was so drastic a change that we all braced ourselves, but…
“Hmm. Apparently, that was meant to be a cheer.” [Reinbach]
“That surprised me, but from the way they’re acting, I don’t think they can even see us.” [Schieber]
There were some undead that were moving quickly, but they weren’t acting violently and were instead trying to get as much of the aroma as they could. More and more undead have been passing on since the aroma of alcohol spread.
Just as the existence of the term ‘Liquor of Purification’ implies, liquor has long been used in Shinto rituals. Legends say that the liquor offered to the gods possess spiritual power and could exorcise evil. That’s why I was hoping the sake would prove effective, but I sure didn’t think it would be this effective.
“There’s still more to come, though.” [Ryouma]
“The spell seems to be working plenty well already. Is there something special about your liquor?” [Sebasu]
“There’s nothing special about it. This white sake is something that I learned how to make when I visited the Fatma Territory. I’ve tried to make it taste better, but other than that, I haven’t done anything special.” [Ryouma]
If there’s anything special about it, then… It would be its compatibility with the ‘concept’ of my magic.
Kotsubuyarikusa grows abundantly near water, and the white sake of Fatma Territory is made by exposing it to water, adding certain herbs native to the territory, then leaving the concoction in a cool, dark place to ferment. It is so simple to make that every house used to make it, but there are still a few more things that could be done to improve the taste.
First of all, the Kotsubuyarikusa has a peculiar tangy taste, so it must be ground into small pieces once and then soaked in water to extract the starch in the seeds before use.
Second, adding the herbs as is to stimulate fermentation would leave behind a smell, so only the stem part of the stalk should be used, then the outer skin should be removed, leaving behind only the core part.
Even then, the smell of herbs cannot be completely removed, so from the second batch onward, some of the finished liquor should be added in place of the herbs to encourage fermentation.
By following these three points, it is possible to progressively reduce the stench of herbs in the liquor with each run, gradually producing a sake with the aroma and sweetness of a pure sake, something akin to the sake for sale and not the homemade ones… In fact, I believe this process is actually close to the process of making Japanese Sake.
Japanese Sake is made from polished rice and sweet potatoes. To brew, Koji Mold is added to some of the ingredients to create Koji, then the ingredients are mixed with water to cultivate yeast. That is then added to the ingredients, and the fermented product is called Moromi or Doburoku. When the Doburoku is placed into a bag and strained, the resulting product becomes Nigorizake. Isn’t that similar to the shirozake of Fatma Territory?
As far as the methods to improve the taste of Japanese sake goes, the rice used undergoes a process called “polishing,” in which the rice bran and other impurities on the outside are removed and the starchy center is taken out.
It’s just an idea I came up with as a layman, so a pro might have more to say. In fact, I’m still very much lax when it comes to temperature control and other factors, and the trial products are also still not stable. But there is no denying that by using the sake production method as a reference, I’ve succeeded in improving the taste.
Japanese Sake is also used in Shinto rituals such as Omiki and Otoso. And my sake is similar to it. That’s why it’s possible that my sake could make the spell even more effective.
..Then there’s also the Akumochizake, which is made by adding the ash of the Ash Slime, and the Seishu, which is made by using the filter abilities of the Filter Slime. I’ll offer the new sake I come up with to the gods and see if there are any effects… I’ll ask them for their opinion too. They might be willing to talk if I bring the best liquor I could bring.
“If their response varies so much depending on what I burn, then I should put more attention on what food to bring next time. A food that burns easily, smells strong, and is easy to transport like preserved food would be really convenient, and it would make it possible to prepare some beforehand too.” [Ryouma]
It sort of reminds me of Incense Sticks. Although it comes in many different forms, and there are all sorts of ways to make it, Incense Sticks have been widely used throughout the world and have permeated deeply into the lives and cultures of all sorts of people. I never really thought about it back then, but now I see how convenient they are.
Though I would think about random things from time to time, I continued to burn food for the undead and prayed for them. Before long, the sun set, the surroundings became dark, and even more undead gathered. Whether I looked up to the sky or down the stairs, everywhere outside the base was crawling with undead.
“It’s strange to see so many undead gathered not attacking.” [Schieber]
“Isn’t it because it’s more profitable for them to enjoy the effect of the spell rather than attack us? If they could get better tasting food anyway, there’s no reason for them to work hard just to get worse food, right?” [Remilie]
“Humans would be able to think of other profits, but most of the undead have already lost their mind.” [Reinbach]
“If they could understand that this is a memorial service and not a spell meant to harm them, then perhaps it would also become unlikely for them to become wary of us.” [Sebasu]
The four adults surrounded me from every direction to serve as my guards, but even they could feel how gentle the air was. But though they talked casually among themselves, they never once let down their guard. Still, their composed demeanor spoke a great deal about their wealth of experience. The topic of their conversation also sounds like a good avenue to explore to improve this spell.
While I was thinking that, I added more food into the cups, and then…
The gentle air was suddenly torn apart by a screeching voice.