“Pi-pirororo.” [Rimel Bird]
In the morning, a rimel bird could be seen flying from far away. All my rimel birds are with me, and there’s just one of it flying, so… That’s probably Elia’s. A cloth on which a family crest was could also be seen by its neck, so it’s definitely not a stray.
“PIRORORO” [Rimel Bird]
“Good job.” [Ryouma]
As I opened the letter, I allowed Elia’s rimel bird to drink and eat with my rimel birds.
“Let’s see…” [Ryouma]
The first thing Elia spoke about was the Great Forest.
Elia had caught wind of the rumor and wanted me to take care. The adults weren’t against me going either, but they reminded me not to push myself and to prepare properly. Also, they want me to inform them before going.
I’ll tell them that I’ll make sure to contact them. Next is… Ah, enrollment is here already?
The letter says that enrollment is approaching, so they’ll be going to the capital sometime next month in order to let Elia get used to the new environment. If that’s the case, then…
Presently, Elia and I are communicating through the rimel bird.
When Elia was still here, I would pair up my rimel bird with her rimel bird and send them together to the duke’s family. Like this we were able to make them remember our addresses. The rimel birds ability to remember the way to their destination is something they are highly praised for even among other bird-type monsters.
But if she’s going to be moving to the capital, does that mean that from here on we will have to communicate through the duke’s family? She’ll be staying at a dorm, after all. It wouldn’t be strange if pets are banned. I’ll have to ask her.
I’ll also ask about if there are other stuff that’s occurred… Hmm?
“I hear the festival at Gimuru is starting soon. I’m sure you must be very busy what with having to prepare on top of all your work, but please do your best.” [Elia]
“Festival? What is she talking about?” [Ryouma]
No one told me anything about some festival. I better ask someone.
As such, I went to the store.
“Do you know of any festival here that’s starting soon?” [Ryouma]
“Sorry. Nothing rings a bell. Should I investigate?” [Carm]
“A festival?” [Jane]
“We’re a bit…” [Fina]
“It hasn’t been long since we’ve been here.” [Maria]
“You might want to ask someone who’s been living here for longer.” [Leelin]
“Alright. Thanks.” [Ryouma]
I asked Carm-san and the others, but no one knew anything about it.
Now that I think about it, almost everyone at my store aren’t from around here. Fei-san and Leelin-san are from another country, so it’s only normal that they don’t know much about the events in this town. In that case, the one that I can probably rely on the most for this is…
“Dolce-san. Are you free right now?” [Ryouma]
I tried asking my guard, Dolce-san.
“It’s probably the Founding Festival. A festival to celebrate the day this town was founded. That’s the only one that comes to mind.” [Dolce]
“What do you do to prepare for that festival?” [Ryouma]
“…It would depend on the store or person.” [Dolce]
When I asked him for the specifics, he gave me 5 key points.
1. The opening is the month after next.
2. It will be held in the main street that extends to every part of the town.
3. Usually preparations begin starting next month.
4. The preparations usually involve putting up decorations in front of the store and cleaning up the place.
5. If you request it, you can also put up a food stall.
As for the stalls, other than the regulars, there are also traveling entertainers and troubadours, and people who are used to putting up stalls.
Because of the custom to put bright colored clothes in front of the store or one’s house, the town tends to get dirty after the festival, so it seems the stall owners also help out with the cleaning.
“That’s about it. Is that enough?” [Dolce]
“Yes. You were a huge help.” [Ryouma]
Cleaning the region is also part of keeping relations with one’s neighbors, but I should make plans to participate in the event. I don’t think it’ll be that busy unless I put up a stall.
I wonder what Elia thinks I’ll be doing. Well, for the meantime, it’s still a month and some away, so for now, I just need to make a mental note of it.
I should also inform the others about this. It might also be a good idea to do something with my employees if they come up with a good idea.
For now I’ll just tell Elia that I’ll manage.
“…Maybe I should give her something to celebrate her moving out.” [Ryouma]
After all, she will be staying at a dormitory once she arrives at the capital.
But what should I give her?
I can’t give her things related to fire, things that take up space, and things that will damage the room because of installation requirements. Giving shoes and footwear are a no no in Japan, but it seems the people here take it to mean as ‘a first step to a new beginning’, so I can choose to give one as a present. Unfortunately, I don’t know Elia’s size and I don’t know what’s in vogue too, so I can’t gift her a pair either.
She’ll need to fill her room up with something after she moves, so some gift cards or money might make her happy, but then again, she’s the daughter of the duke, she probably doesn’t need any help with money. Maybe I can gift her some consumables instead. Just gotta make sure not to give her anything too private.
After solving the issue with the festival, the next thing I was racking my head with was what to gift her for her moving out.
The next day.
“Good morning, Paena-san. For the Rakuton Herb Collection Job. There should be 50 roots all in all.” [Ryouma]
When the sun was directly above in the sky, I gathered some herbs and went to the guild.
“4, 5. Yes, that’s 50 roots all in all.” [Paena]
Rakuton Herbs aren’t very effective, but they can help with a lot of symptoms, so they’re often used to deal with colds. Save for extreme environment, these herbs can be found growing basically anywhere, so they don’t sell for much. 10 roots will get you a suit.
“Here’s your 5 suits. Please confirm that the amount is right.” [Paena]
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
I’ll buy some candy or something with this when I go back.
“Ryouma-kun, do you know a lot about medicinal plants?” [Paena]
“Just the basics. I learned from my grandmother. Why?” [Ryouma]
“Oh, it’s just that all of these herbs were collected really well… If you can tell apart the Tyler Herb from…” [Paena]
Tyler Herb, a herb that works well against nerve pain. Just like the Rakuton Herb, it can be found almost anywhere. Unfortunately, the poisonous Tula Herbs tend to grow where Tyler Herbs are. To make things worse, they look alike.
Of course, I can tell them apart. …Or rather.
“If you need some Tyler Herbs, I have some with me. I collected them for my private use from the southern grasslands.” [Ryouma]
“Really? If you have 5 roots, you can already complete a job.” [Paena]
Then I’ll do just that.
I presented 5 Tyler Herb roots to the counter, and Paena-san started checking the goods with Identify.
“These are all Tyler Herb indeed. Are you sure you’re okay giving this? You don’t need to give it if you need them for some personal reason…” [Paena]
“It’s alright. It’s nothing urgent.” [Ryouma]
“I see. In that case, here’s your 70 suits. Please confirm that the amount is right.” [Paena]
14 per root? That’s a lot. I left the guild feeling like I’d made a profit. Today, I’ll go home while the sun is still high.
“Now then, shall we?” [Ryouma]
I used a tunnel that I normally didn’t to prepare a present for Elia.
What I’ll be making today is the ‘soap’. I wanted to gift her a consumable that wouldn’t be too private, so I decided to go with something practical. Soaps are a thing in this country too, so it won’t stand out too much.
I couldn’t just go out and buy one to gift, though, as that wouldn’t make for a very good gift. And after considering Elia’s position as the daughter of the duke, I figured she’s probably already used to seeing luxury.
So, I decided to gift her a bar of soap made by yours truly.
Making soap can be said to be a standard when it comes to otherworld novels.
“Gather tallow, gather ash, boil them down…” [Ryouma]
The protagonists of various books made soap like that, but!
I’m going to do things differently!!
“Ingredients… OK. Everything is good to go.” [Ryouma]
What I’ve prepared was water purified with alchemy, and oil and salt. And various other stuff. Making soap using tallow and ash is a really old way of making soap in Earth, but in present times, using caustic soda makes for a much easier time making soap. But to that end…
“First, I need to procure caustic soda…” [Ryouma]
Caustic soda is also known as sodium hydroxide. Its chemical formula is NaOH. I can get the sodium from table salt. I need to be careful of the metal sodium and the toxic and caustic chlorine gas.
Metal sodium oxidates very easily in air, and it also produces heat and explosion when water content is added to it, so to be safe, I need to turn it into an ingot with alchemy and remove the oxygen from it. The surface will oxidate a little no matter what I do, so to minimize the oxidation as much as possible, I dipped the metal sodium in the container filled with oil.
And then I filled another bowl with water..
And I added a fragment of the metal sodium inside the water-filled container, and then as a sound akin to that of a fuse catching fire resounded, I slid my finger atop the surface of the water. That’s the sign that sodium hydroxide and hydrogen have been produced by means of hydrolysis.
When I used Identify on the contents of the container, the water had changed into an sodium hydroxide (aq). If I use Separation on this aqueous solution again, I’ll be able to separate it into water and the sodium hydroxide that I need. Like that I was able to acquire caustic soda.
Metal Sodium can cause explosion when added to water, and sodium hydroxide itself has strong alkalinity and is highly caustic, so it’s really not something that you can touch with your bare skin; hence, I’m performing this entire process inside a tunnel I rarely use. I couldn’t just choose any tunnel, though, as I had to make sure that there was sufficient ventilation. At the same time, I’m also wearing the boiler suit I used when cleaning the sewers. On top of that, I’m also wearing a pair of cleaner slime goggles and helmet. My hands are also covered in a pair of brand new gloves, ensuring that not even a little bit of skin is exposed.
It seems I’ve succeeded in refining sodium hydroxide, but it would certainly be safer and faster if I could directly make it through the fusion formation. After all, the response midway would be completely skipped over by alchemy.
After procuring the caustic soda from salt and water, I am now ready to start making my soap.
I’ll be handling caustic soda, so I need to be in full gear, but the process from here on out isn’t that difficult.
Measure the water and caustic soda, then pour the water into a vessel and mix the caustic soda with it. At this point, the hydration reaction of the caustic soda will cause heat, so it’s important to take care of the steam and any sudden boiling. Pouring water into the vessel first, and then gradually pouring the caustic soda is the safest way to do things.
Afterwards, warm the oil in a vessel, and then slowly pour the caustic soda (aq) into it. From here, mix the liquid well, and once it starts to get heavy, add a scent to the mix with something like perfumed oil, and then pour the mix into a mold.
At this point, all that’s left is to keep the temperature of the product and avoid overcooling it. After a few days, the soap will harden.
Once the soap hardens, there’s a chance it can cause burns if there’s still some caustic soda left, so it’s important to take care. I’ve had experience making soap using waste oils countless times, but this is a gift to Elia, not my personal use. So to be safe, I’ve been keeping careful attention to the basics since the start. I still need to observe and experiment more to have a better understanding of the amount of soda, the resting period, as well as to perfect the process as much as possible.
Depending on the type of oil used and the mixture, the color, bubbles, texture, and efficacy of the soap will change. In order to make soap making relatively easier, I should closely examine this process along with my study of medicines.
It will take time for the soap to complete, and I have work in the afternoon, so I decided to conduct a little of my soap making experiments every night.
Tl Note: This counts as two releases. Also, from what I gather, the shoe thing is just a superstition and isn’t exactly practiced in Japan, so it should be safe to gift shoes.
I don’t know exactly what the superstition is, but there are various answers ranging from ‘because if you give them shoes, they’ll go somewhere far away’ to ‘in China if your lover wears someone else’s shoes they’ll go that guy’s place’. Another answer say it’s basically a proposal or something, but in the end, I couldn’t really find a consensus.