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In the end our royal army group and the Mizuho army moved to the city of Sakart as if being driven out from the outskirts of the imperial capital.
A flunky far below, below His Majesty the Emperor came to explain the circumstances in an arrogant manner. We were told that suspicious foreigners hanging around the capital is bothersome since it’s necessary to prepare and strengthen the ruling system in the lead-up to the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg after the coming harvest.
We were able to endure despite being told that, but telling this to High Earl Mizuho might be the height of stupidity.
After that messenger went back, he once again cut the favourite helmet of a former emperor right in half with a Mizuho katana, although he had previously ordered his craftsmen to repair it after having cut it before.
As usual his katana techniques are fascinating.
『That helmet had been just repaired, no…?』 (Ina)
『Ina-dono, if you fix it, you can cut it right in half again.』 (Mizuho)
『That’s certainly true…』 (Ina)
『Of course, if it’s cut into four parts, repairing it will be difficult, right?』 (Mizuho)
Ina has a cramp on her face after seeing the helmet being split into two halves again, whereas High Earl Mizuho answered with a smile plastered all over his face.
Cutting the helmet has probably allowed him to greatly relieve his stress.
Nevertheless, the craftsmen employed by the High Earl Mizuho household are excellent.
In a short period of time, they completely fixed the helmet that had been cut into two.
He likely had them fix the helmet as destroying something that was granted by the emperor will trigger bad rumours.
No wait, I guess it’s more correct to say that it will trigger bad rumours if him breaking it is seen by outsiders.
For him to do such an act in front of our eyes apparently means that he’s treating us as friends.
『Well, no matter how often he cuts it into two, he can have a peace of mind since the excellent craftsmen will repair it.』 (Luise)
『Certainly, it has been repaired perfectly to the degree that you can’t even see any seams, but I don’t think that’s the problem here…』 (Katharina)
Going by Luise’s words, she thinks that it’s no problem even if the helmet is cut apart as stress relief for High Earl Mizuho as long as it can be fixed.
As for Katharina, she’s probably thinking What have you done to an item you were granted by His Majesty!
『Since there are no excellent craftsmen among us, we can’t cut this tunic right in half.』 (Armstrong)
『I see, that’s a shame, isn’t it?』 (Wilma)
Doushi and Wilma speak of ridiculous things again.
The item honourably granted to me is a slightly worn-out tunic.
Its materials are certainly good, but it’s already old and the design is out of fashion, too.
Since I can’t wear it either, the clothes I was given in the past as present for my birthday by Erich-nii-san are much more tasteful.
Even I had a mindset of wanting to burn the tunic, but as expected, if I were to do this, it would very likely be turned into material to attack me with the fact that I commited lese majesté.
I decide to transform it into a semipermanent manure of my magic bag.
『Wilma-san, Uncle-sama, one must preserve such items properly.』 (Elise)
Since the old days, there are cases where penniless nobility and royalty dodged rewards by handing over their favourite items while calling it an honour.
In the Edo period daimyo, who couldn’t pay back the money they lent from merchants, handed out cherished items and clothes they wore in order to write off their debts. It’s the same here.
『Right now it has no value, but maybe it will become prestigious in the future.』 (Elise)
There’s certainly no way for the person on the receiving side to feel let down in front of the person on the giving side.
“We will accept it gratefully here and even if it’s a loss now, it will decorate the mansion for several future generations and they will be able to boast about it as honorful reward”, Elise explained.
『So you can get back a bit of the losses in long term?』
『Dear, that way of thinking is one belonging to merchants…』 (Elise)
『As for our current problems, there are the matters of food and money.』
The emperor will raise a punitive force against Duke Nürnberg after the harvest in fall. He has the intention to pay our rewards with the spoils of war.
Since he can’t pay right now, he’s likely dodging it with such a worn-out tunic and helmet.
『A supply of food has arrived from Therese, but even that amount is barely enough. The financial situation of the Duke Philip household should be quite severe as well.』
Nobles usually strive to be frugal on money in preparation for such times, but she fought a civil war by leading the northern imperial lords for several months now.
The internal conditions of her household should be dire in regards to its finances.
『If we won’t move the soldiers until the fall harvest, even our Mizuho army will have severe financial issue if we don’t reduce the number of soldiers.』 (Mizuho)
It seems 1247 soldier were killed in action from among the 15,000 soldiers he has taken along.
Although they defended quite well against Duke Nürnberg’s various offensive schemes, his losses can be accounted to a few lords due to the difference in power.
High Earl Mizuho announced that he will return to his territory for the time being while leaving around 5,000 soldiers behind in the city of Sakart in case something happens.
『I suppose I have to motivate the craftsmen properly. There’s also the analysis of the captured golem remains. We also have to increase the number of magic guns and improve them as much as possible.』 (Mizuho)
High Earl Mizuho seems very frustrated that we couldn’t defeat Duke Nürnberg.
He declared that he will strengthen the military power of the Mizuho army even further until fall.
『I have heard that Therese-dono will also return to her dukedom for now.』 (Mizuho)
According to the information from High Earl Mizuho, despite the quarreling, Therese and the emperor found the common ground of avoiding internal discord as it will only become an advantage for Duke Nürnberg.
『Although he’s governing the capital city, his ruling ability and authority as emperor has hit rock bottom, right?』
Currently he can’t even govern the central area of the empire flawlessly.
Accordingly he has entrusted the rule of the area north of the Great Sorbid Wastelands to Therese for the time being, I hear.
『It looks like he’s pretty much making a proclamation of increasing her territory, but it will be actually carried out after the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg…』
It’s probably natural as he would only promote the chaos that is even now going on, if he started to modify the territories.
However, given that it also means that their rewards are frozen, the displeasure of the nobles, who participated in the liberation army, is accumulating.
『Even though there are also nobles who are still so deep in debts that they can only provide for themselves…』
『That’s why he’s entrusting the area north of the Great Sorbid Wastelands to Therese-dono. I mean that area has many nobles who participated in the liberation army after all.』 (Mizuho)
It was obvious that the emperor intended to have them turn their displeasure towards Therese.
『So, it’s the same for the west and east as well?』
『Of course that’s how it will turn out. After all the prince-elector households are not functioning properly, correct?』
Their family heads, whom they considered to have been taken prisoner, were actually killed, and their retainers and soldiers have been dwindled down in the battles against us and the liberation army.
Their financial situation has deteriorated due to the war expenditures, and it seems that all except for the Duke Philip household and the Duke Baden household are in a hopeless situation.
『The Duke Baden household was officially succeeded by the young lord, but that place has suffered losses as well.』 (Mizuho)
There was the loss of soldiers in the battle against the rebel army and furthermore he joined the liberation army after heartlessly cutting off his father in the capital.
As expected, all those related to the Duke Baden household in the capital were murdered.
『Even so, I believe that’s still a better situation than for the others, but I suppose he is hated by the emperor who believes that he belongs to Therese’s faction.』
It seems that he will gather his feudal army and return to his eastern territory, just like Therese, but there are nobles, who are close to the south, among the eastern lords, that have declared their will to join Duke Nürnberg.
They have already started skirmishes against the nobles of the anti-Duke Nürnberg faction.
『I wonder whether the new Duke Baden will be alright?』
『Previously I treated him as youngster due to his unreasonable offensive, but he has become slightly pitiful, I guess.』
After failing once, young Duke Baden has raised military accomplishments by diligently and reliably leading one wing of the liberation army.
Since he’s going through a hard time now as well, even High Earl Mizuho didn’t harbor any ill will towards him anymore.
『The east will still manage one way or the other, I think. The problem is likely the west.』
Three prince-elector households are existing in the western domain.
Having suffered huge losses, it has become impossible for them to stably rule the west. Just like in the east, there are many among the lords, who are close to the south, that have allied themselves with Duke Nürnberg.
Of course skirmishes have started there as well. Currently it seems to be the area with the most chaotic circumstances.
『Even before that, there are also households who are disputing and arguing over the the family head succession.』
Because the deceased family heads didn’t nominate the next successor, there are also Duke households who ended up getting killed by Duke Nürnberg.
Several candidates have appealed to the emperor with 『Have me succeed the household!』 and started of an unsightly inheritance feud after joining up with other nobles.
Of course it’s impossible for them to unify the west as their own territories are in chaos as well.
『Since the emperor can’t be relied upon, there are also successor candidates who are requesting the support of Therese-dono. Hearing that put the emperor in a foul mood.』 (Mizuho)
Although it’s because his own ability to control the situation is insufficient, he seems to be enraged as the meddling by Therese is showing its effect.
『It has reached a stage of being headache-inducing. Duke Nürnberg is a truly frightening man, isn’t he?』
『Indeed, he doesn’t choose his methods to reach his objectives.』
At the point he abandoned the capital, it should have normally become disadvantageous for him, but instead it gives him an advantage.
Now I can understand why that self-important schemer let the emperor live in contrast to the prince-elector lords.
『Earl Baumeister, this is another case of human ups and downs.』
『You are right there.』
The emperor will be defeated crushingly by Duke Nürnberg before long.
The capital, the empire’s central area and the majority of the west will probably fall into his hands once again.
『He owns strengthened military forces and compensates the lack of magicians with legacies from the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization.』
Me, Therese and High Earl Mizuho know of that.
But, since the emperor is in the capital, we can’t adopt any countermeasures.
There’s probably no other choice but to drag the emperor, who is definitely the cause for the coup d’etat, off the throne.
Though, once we do that, we will bear the same stigma of being rebels as Duke Nürnberg.
『Consequently, I will get my preparations in order in my territory.』 (Mizuho)
Various preparations are necessary. If we have our entire army stationed here, it will only increase the burden onto the city of Sakart too much.
Even so, since it will be a problem if there’s no support, the emperor announced that he will exempt Sakart of its taxes that have to be paid to the central government until fall.
It looks like his aim is for us to somehow pull through until fall while making use of those funds.
However, if we station 20,000 soldiers in a fortress and city that originally don’t even have more than 50,000 inhabitants, it will turn into a problem.
Since we can’t decrease our rumbers, the total will be 10,000 people. Lowering it to half the number, it looks like the rest will send supplies in cooperation with Therese.
『Since we will bring food and merchandise, I’d like you to provide for the 10,000 people until fall through the profits of selling those.』
『I guess we will handle it somehow.』
『Earl Baumeister-dono, you have a deep understanding of our culture and spirit. Given that you are also popular among my retainers and soldiers, I can leave them to you without worry. Now that it has turned out like this, we will go nuts after autumn.』 (Mizuho)
『That’s true. If only we had a bit more freedom to act as we like.』
Since we are going to risk our lives anyway, there are things I’d like to move a bit more freely.
Although it’s pitiable, let’s have Duke Nürnberg get rid of the annoying emperor for that sake.
However, for the existence of the emperor to become a minus as long as he actually lives… I wish he had at least a value as puppet.
“Hmm~, something like this before High Earl Mizuho departs from here, eh?” (Alfons)
One week after High Earl Mizuho and his group departed from the city of Sakart, Alfons, who came visiting all of a sudden, revealed an understanding expression after hearing my story.
Since he was returning to the Philip Dukedom together with the military forces of Therese and the other nobles, he split off along the way by himself and came to extend his greetings.
“Therese wanted to meet with you, Wendelin, but as expected, now’s a bad time for that.” (Alfons)
“The emperor is probably acting all fussy, right?” (Wendelin)
“Therese has secret meetings with me in order to take the imperial castle for herself.” For the sake of such rumours not cropping up, she only met with me once after entering the capital.
“The chaos in the capital is still lasting. I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen. Thus we tread carefully.” (Alfons)
“So, can you at least send some food?” (Wendelin)
“The amount will be considerably low.” (Alfons)
“Adding it to the share from High Earl Mizuho; I suppose we have to get the rest by ourselves, huh…?” (Wendelin)
Currently the 10,000 soldiers have been split into groups and are working.
Fortunately the government officials below the governor of Sakart were on good terms with me.
That’s because I used my magic to cooperate with their development during their short time under military rule.
They also sympathized with the idea of supporting our side without having to pay taxes to the central government.
There’s also a legal base for that since a written command that mentioned those terms was delivered from the imperial capital.
As long as they are paying wages to the governor and his subordinates, there’s no reason for them to oppose it either.
“I have entrusted the paperwork within the royal army group to Christoph and Earl Schultz as they are good with that kind of work, and I’m also having them cooperate with the government of the governor and his group.”
Since I cleared the land, the number of people, who have come to migrate there, has apparently increased.
Even though the workload of the administration has grown accordingly, they were troubled as no additional personnel has been sent by the central government.
Are they unable to do so because the capital is still in chaos, or because the work of the government officials is slow? Or is it just a harassment against us?
As I feel like any of those reasons is likely, I decided to leave this matter to Christoph’s group who is strong at this kind of work.
Also, I have the soldiers build houses on the land I reclaimed.
The materials consist of the building stones quarried by me. Except for the guards of the fortress and during war time, I want them to be able to live an as normal life as possible.
Of course we are holding regular training sessions as well. After we leave, the constructed houses will be given to immigrants.
It was also planned to have them construct as many houses for others as possible.
“I will also have them cultivate the soil in the surrounding areas.”
Starting with wheat all of a sudden is impossible, but I will have them grow foxtail millet, barnyard millet, buckwheat and idiot daikon as fodder for the horses.
I think they should be able to harvest them once until fall.
In addition, I also have them go to the neighbouring monster domains to hunt in turns.
It’s because we can earn profits by selling furs and collected items, and secure meat at the same time.
Doushi, Burkhart-san, Katharina and Wilma were left in charge of leading this operation.
Erw and Haruka are receiving training as commanders under Philip.
Since the royal soldiers, who were in the capital city’s embassy were with us as well, I had them lend a hand, too.
『The royal army group increased in number. At the very least I will entrust 1,000 soldiers to you. Learn it until autumn.』 (Philip)
He had the stigma of a miser in dealing with our first dispute attached to his name, but Philip raised his evaluation with us as an excellent commander.
He was also the most suitable as Erw’s teacher.
“Wendelin, what are you doing?” (Alfons)
“Rummaging through the abandoned mines, I suppose.” (Wendelin)
As there are abandoned mines in this neighbourhood, I was working hard at gathering metals once again.
Permission seems to have been sent through official documents to the governor of Sakart from the imperial capital.
“I suppose the rest is reception of polluted mine water.”
As there are many magicians that search through abandoned mines and extract usable metals from polluted mine water, they apparently give permission easily.
Since it’s common sense that it’s nothing which yields that much of a profit, even Therese has given me permission readily.
It turns into more than the expected additional income if I’m the one in charge, but I don’t have any obligation to go out of my way to expressly inform that emperor about this fact.
“Wendelin, you are strong-willed, aren’t you?” (Alfons)
“Indeed. That’s the reason why that Therese likes you.” (Alfons)
“Therese, huh…?” (Wendelin)
Recently we have become estranged, but I wonder whether she’s doing well?
“She’s quite in love with you, you know?” (Alfons)
“Is that so?” (Wendelin)
“Although she’s a lady of character who established an authoritarian rule in the Duke Philip household at the mere age of 15 years, I’m well aware of it since I have been associating for a long time with her as her cousin. She doesn’t really wish for such a life. If possible, she wants to become your wife after abandoning her Duchess rank and her position as next empress, Wendelin.” (Alfons)
However, because there were no other candidates, she couldn’t do that.
“I suppose it’s because she has that kind of visible sense of responsibility. Even though it would be fine for her to resign if she hates it, she can’t abandon the residents of Philip Dukedom and also the citizens of the empire. Although she has been flashily obstructed by your wives as she forcibly approached you before, Therese actually enjoyed the arguing quite a bit…” (Alfons)
To me it looks like she has been rejected quite harshly, but I wonder, is Therese a masochist?
“As Duchess Philip there are no people within her territory who would oppose her opinion. That’s owed to her being a feudal lord in an authoritarian rule, but in her mind she feels doubts about that. Her forcibly approaching you and getting rejected is her attempt to keep a balance as human.” (Alfons)
“I didn’t know that.” (Wendelin)
“That’s how heavy her responsibility is. And I think she’s struck by grief due to this time’s case.” (Alfons)
“The matter with the emperor?” (Wendelin)
“Yes. I won’t say it to anyone but you, Wendelin, but Therese doesn’t have the calibre to be empress.” (Alfons)
Because the overly imprudent statement, even Doushi opened his eyes widely in surprise.
“I believe her being Duchess Philip is the limit for her. She unified the northern lords and did her best up until this point, but she wasn’t able to make heartless decisions like Duke Nürnberg due to her hesitant nature as woman. To begin with, she was unable to stop young Duke Baden running wild, wasn’t she?” (Alfons)
“That would have led to the same result even if someone else had been the supreme commander, no?”
“Maybe, but do you think Duke Nürnberg would have tolerated that if he was in the same position?” (Alfons)
“No… there’s no way he would have permitted it…” (Wendelin)
Certainly, Alfons is right there.
It’s very unlikely for that Duke Nürnberg to forgive military movements that hinder his own strategic plans.
She should have forced them to stop the operation, even if she had to use an iron fist.
“It’s the same with the case of the emperor not retiring. If Therese was a man, the emperor would have probably given up.” (Alfons)
Because There is a woman, the emperor dreamed of the restoration of his rights and didn’t retire.
You might say that this is the reason for the empire to be in a chaotic state right now.
Judging from my viewpoint as former Japanese, I had a general idea of the concept of discrimination against women, but in this world that discrimination is a reality.
“Therese should have shut up the emperor, even if it had to be with force. As a matter of fact, me and young Duke Baden… ah, I guess he’s the new Duke Baden now… recommended that to her, but she didn’t use that plan saying that she can’t disturb the legal order. She’s half-hearted at the crucial moments. For an empress ruling in peaceful times that wouldn’t matter, but currently it’s a state of emergency.” (Alfons)
I did my utmost to throw in agreeable responses to the speech of Alfons who shows an expression full of anguish.
“I see…” (Wendelin)
“Umm… Here you are.” (Elise)
“I’m sorry, Elise-dono.” (Alfons)
Due to Alfons continuing to speak seriously for a change, Elise makes a smart move and serves him a somewhat strong maté tea. He gulps it down in one go.
“The emperor will advance the preparations for the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg until autumn. As long as there’s a harvest, there won’t be any shortage in food either.” (Alfons)
“So, what kind of numbers does he plan to attack with?” (Wendelin)
“The scheduled mobilization is supposed to reach 300,000 soldiers.” (Alfons)
“That’s a lot, isn’t it…?” (Armstrong)
Doushi seems to be surprised by the huge number of mobilized troops.
“He will be able to gather them without that much of trouble. The empire’s government structure has been paralyzed, but it’s not like it fell apart. It will be fine as long as he can secure the food to feed the expeditionary army. The rewards will be land since the southern lords will vanish. There’s also the treasures and money stolen by Duke Nürnberg and the share hoarded by the Duke Nürnberg household. That household is rich after all.” (Alfons)
“War completely depends on the wallet of others.”
“I think there’s no other choice for the emperor. Apart from the actual problems, the imperial palace’s treasury is empty after all. Above all else, the opponent is Duke Nürnberg. Moreover, he has the territorial advantage since he’s defending his domain. Even if he prepared five times that amount of soldiers, he would probably lose. While we are at it, we won’t participate.” (Alfons)
We and the Mizuho army are out of the question, so Therese and Duke Baden apparently will take care of the empire’s public order during the absence of the emperor.
Of course, that’s only the superficial reason. In reality, it means that the emperor will be troubled if they were allowed to obtain any further accomplishments.
“I guess we are lucky if you consider that we won’t suffer any losses?” (Wendelin)
“I think it’s just as you say, Wendelin. Anyway, it’s almost 100% certain that the emperor will lose. There are only incompetent yes-men around him. After he loses, we won’t have any other choice but to make a move once again. However…” (Alfons)
“The same thing will repeat again with the woman called Therese, huh?” (Wendelin)
“I can’t say something like this in the Duke Philip household, but an empress is several hundred years too early for this country. If it was at least a succession during a peaceful time…” (Alfons)
“However, there are no other candidates either, are there? How about Duke Baden?” (Wendelin)
“He is hesitating due to his first defeat. He thinks that he’s inferior to Therese as emperor. It doesn’t look like he has the composure to bear this heavy responsibility at all.” (Alfons)
It appears that he has realized that it’s his very limit to only manage the Duke Baden household which he succeeded after his father’s death.
Therefore there’s currently no other choice but to operate while accepting Therese as top even if it’s only for a certain time.
“I guess we have no other choice but to strive in reinforcing Sakart and training the soldiers until fall.” (Wendelin)
“Though I don’t think that Duke Nürnberg is that much of an idiot to suddenly attack a military base that you are defending, Wendelin. At any rate, I leave it to you.” (Alfons)
Once Alfons finished telling us everything he wanted to speak about, he departed to the Philip Dukedom.
“The empire’s future looks bleak, doesn’t it?” (Burkhart)
“The same applies for our future outlook, Burkhart-san.” (Wendelin)
“By no means did I expect us to get stuck remaining in the empire for over a year.” (Burkhart)
Everyone returns to their respective jobs.
Today I busy myself with cultivating an open plot of land.
If it’s now, it’s possible to plant seeds so that they can be harvested in autumn.
The food is sufficient, but I don’t know what lies ahead of us.
Thinking that even a poor harvest is better than none, I ordered the soldiers to cultivate land.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, the fertilizer is finished.”
The magicians of the Mizuho army created large amounts of fertilizer.
Plants that were torn out to cultivate the lands, excreta, kitchen waste, and the unusable parts from animals and monsters which were hunted down; mixing all of these and letting them ferment, then letting them ferment again after mixing them – repeating that work for several hours, we create usable fertilizer.
“You have gotten skilled at this, haven’t you?” (Wendelin)
“Yes, our productivity won’t rise if we only practice offensive magic.”
Not hesitating to use magic for improving the quality and production rate of food seems to be a tradition for magicians of Earl Mizuho Country.
They even got used to the way a magician does reclamation.
“Though we could have grown rice if we had two years.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“It looks like our lord puts a preference on sending rice.”
Even on the battlefield, the Mizuho people fussed over eating rice.
I can also agree with them saying that they won’t have any strength if it’s bread.
Nowadays, I’m leading a life of mostly eating rice.
“Seeing that we will manage somehow with the food, the problem is money…?”
It’s not like we can leave 10,000 soldiers unpaid.
No, since the Mizuho soldiers are paid by Earl Mizuho Country, I suppose it’s actually 5,000 people.
If they are pushed into criminality due to poverty, I will get blamed by the residents of Sakart.
Mizuho army is paying wages, but we don’t have a supply point like Earl Mizuho Country.
“The group that became prisoners has finally escaped their lethargy. They are diligently training and working… So we have to give them at least some spending money.”
Earl Schultz sent a letter, in which he explained the current situation, to the kingdom through the spies who barely survived.
Given that it also includes a list of the survivors, it will probably be dealt with once the letter reaches His Majesty in the capital, but their wages will only be paid to their families in the kingdom.
Even if the people concerned planned to spend the money, it would be impossible for them to withdraw it as there’s nothing like a bank’s ATM here.
“Our side takes care of the daily necessities as much as possible. The rest can be somehow handled by giving them some pocket money, I think…”
Their houses have been built by us. The minimal amount of clothes is provided by us after buying them in one batch and they get three meals a day.
For the rest we decided to give them 200 cents per week.
As this applies to the common soldiers, we have to consider the amount of money since there are also nobles and other commanders with us.
Almost all of it is provided by me who works without pay, but luckily the unity of the royal army group was good.
『That means if they go against you, Wend, they won’t get any pocket money, right?』 (Erwin)
Since Philip, Christoph, and the group that had become prisoners are mostly penniless, it’s only natural that they can’t oppose me who is giving them their money, according to what Erw says.
“Isn’t there a way to earn some money…?” (Wendelin)
A part of the increasing sales of the goods coming from Earl Mizuho Country, monster materials, gathered items, construction and soil preparation requests (which we received from the city), road construction, the metals collected from the abandoned mines; however, due to the income not exceeding the expenditures, my assets only keep decreasing.
I have to come up with an idea of how to earn some money.
When I was walking while pondering about it, the Mizuho craftsmen were in the middle of checking the goods that had been brought in.
Once I look properly, among them there seems to be porcelain resembling Imari ware.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, what might be your business with us?”
“Ah, I’m just taking a stroll. By the way, I feel like I have seen those porcelain items in a shop in Earl Mizuho Country…” (Wendelin)
“Yes, it’s Mizuho porcelain. It is exported as high-class item. It’s popular among wealthy people such as nobles and merchants.”
It looks like these are transported to this place for the sake of earning money.
“However, I wonder whether there will be any customers who will buy these under the current circumstances…”
There are many nobles with a severe financial situation. The craftsmen are worried about the possibility that they won’t be able to sell them since there already exist many nobles who own these wares.
“Is it because the design doesn’t agree with the imperial citizens?”
Since it resembles Imari wares, there are many Japanese-like plates, jars, and bottles with narrow mouths.
It appears they are bought for decoration rather than utility.
“Even though it would have been fine if you had produced pots or teacups.”
The kingdom and the empire use western-styled tea sets when drinking tea.
Both are made out of porcelain, but their quality was inferior to mass produced items sold in Japanese stores.
The attraction of porcelain is how thinly and lactescent it’s manufactured.
I hear that the tea set, which Elise always uses, is a high-class item since it’s her trousseau, but its strong colour is slightly gloomy as well.
As it’s uncouth on the whole, it might be made out of low-quality white clay.
As it seems that a technique to imprint a design doesn’t exist, it’s probably the reason why Mizuho porcelain, which has pictures drawn on it, is also popular as decoration.
However, that side had no practical use in relation to its design.
“The technique to make it does exist, but it doesn’t sell overly well, does it?”
There are certainly pictures drawn on the wares, but the original colour of clay doesn’t change overly much – no matter whether it comes from the empire or the kingdom.
Like this it probably won’t sell even if you make a tea set.
“I have seen pictures drawn on teacups, but I think those didn’t sell well.”
“Then it’s probably because they added pictures in the same manner as with Mizuho porcelain.”
There’s no way for teacups, which had Japanese- and Chinese-styled flowers, birds, and arabesques added to them, to sell.
It looks like only a part of the collectors among the nobles would buy those.
“Is there any room for improvements then?” (Wendelin)
“Earl Baumeister-sama, do you have any experience in making porcelain?”
“Umm, I’ve made it with magic.” (Wendelin)
I show the jar, where I stored the salt during my Savage Lands period, to the craftsmen.
“Umm… I think the shape is no good…”
For the work of an amateur it was already plenty if I could put in salt without it leaking out.
Even as the shape of the jar was criticized by the craftsmen, I endured by only crying within my heart.
“I guess the quality of the clay is so-so.”
Since there was no particular reason for the colour to be milky white, it wasn’t that different from the common items.
“Are you selling this jar?”
“As work of art it’s questionable, but…”
“You know, I have zero training as artist…” (Wendelin)
Saying something like that, I don’t have the spare time to wallow in regret.
I can create porcelain even without a furnace.
The shaping is a problem and I don’t have any artistic sense, but the craftsmen in front of me are professionals in that line of work.
It would be fine if I leave the colouring and molding to them after handing over the clay.
“However, since there’s no difference with the ones produced in the empire, the price…”
“Therefore I will make use of my own developed clay.” (Wendelin)
Of course it’s unlikely for me to have something like the technique to produce porcelain.
However, I can make use of a technique invented in England during the 18th century on Earth.
Being called 『Bone China』, it’s about porcelain produced by mixing the bones of cattle as substitute for white clay, which was difficult to obtain, with potter’s clay.
It should be possible to create beautifully lactescent porcelain if I create the clay by mixing traditional clay with bone ash, mold it, and then bake it.
“I think I will experiment with this at once.”
As a matter of fact we produced bone ash from the bones of the monsters Doushi and the others hunted everyday.
Given that it’s useful as fertilizer, the magicians in charge of creating fertilizer produced it with magic.
“(If I remember correctly, bone china should be porcelain containing more than 30% calcium phosphate. I think that this is appropriate since there’s no cattle bone available.)”
I vary the mixture rate, produce a great amount of clay with bone ash added, change it into the shape of boards and create porcelain after reproducing the firing with magic just like at the time when I made my jars.
Since I don’t possess any technique, the shapes were crooked, but I succeeded at producing porcelain with a cleaner milky white than the traditional Mizuho porcelain.
“(This is the best version, isn’t it? I learned the detailed mixture ratio.)” (Wendelin)
Next I create a great amount of clay with that mixture ratio, hand it to the craftsmen and tell them to make teacups, saucers, teapots, plates and vases with it.
As expected of professional artisans, with their experience in production, they created wonderful porcelain.
“And, if you fire this with magic…”
Within several minutes, porcelain that has a feeling of the transparent milky white I had seen in Japan was finished.
“Ooh! It’s white!”
“This will sell!”
It’s porcelain that has a far more transparent lactescence than Mizuho porcelain and traditional imperial porcelain.
I safely completed the 『Fake Bone China』.
There are still parts that can be improved, but it will be better for me to leave this to the craftsmen who are professionals in that area.
I combine the clay and bone ash, and the craftsmen add the shape and pictures.
For a few days I create clay in the morning and hand it to the craftsmen. At noon I immerse myself in reclamation and construction around the city. At night I use my remaining mana to fire the porcelain. That’s how my daily life continues.
“Drawings of apricots on teacups, eh…? It’s not bad, but I wonder whether you can’t maybe draw pictures of native plants of the empire?”
As expected, designs similar to Imari and Arita ware are strange on western-styled teacups.
It might be best to draw things like flowers that are normally growing on this continent.
“I suppose that might be better after all?”
“The customers are imperial citizens. Let’s mix in a few items with Mizuho-styled drawings since they are rare. For the rest I’d like you to use imperial-styled designs. Is that okay for you?”
“It’s fine. After all, we have studied for the sake of exporting goods.”
As result of the craftsmen struggling hard for around a week, they completed quite the number of plain, white porcelain, and porcelain with painted works of Mizuho artisans after putting in much effort.
“Earl-sama, you are meddling in strange things, aren’t you?” (Burkhart)
“Please look at this milky white porcelain.”
“Certainly, it’s whiter than the items at the royal palace…” (Burkhart)
“To add such multicoloured, complex drawings is amazing, isn’t it?”
Elise poured the maté tea in the teapot into teacups and distributed them to everyone.
The yellow-green colour of the maté tea looked pretty in the beautifully lactescent teacups. Burkhart-san and Elise were surprised by the whiteness of the porcelain.
Given that it’s different from the very heavy mug-like teacups, like the other imperial and kingdom ones, this should sell now that I have grown accustomed to clay composition adjustment.
“Can you produce porcelain without a furnace? I suppose it’s because you previously made jars and such?”
“This whiteness comes from monster bones?”
Half of it was a bet since there are no cattle bones nearby, which are a raw material of bone china, but it actually went quite well.
Maybe the monster bones might have proven fortunate in this case.
I feel like the whiteness is more superior than the porcelain I saw in Japan.
“A small quantity of mana resides in monster bones. I think that’s why it’s also used as ingredient for magic tools and medicine. Though we turned it into fertilizer since there isn’t that much demand for it around here.”
We have sold only a small part on demand, the rest was turned into fertilizer.
Just as before we are changing normal animal bones into fertilizer, whereas now monster bones are used as material for porcelain.
“This is a plan to earn war funds by selling a great amount of these until fall while cooperating with the craftsmen of Mizuho porcelain.”
I’m hiding the condition of the firing and the mixing ratio of clay and bone ash from the Mizuho side.
However, since the other side has professionals, they should reach a point where they can produce the same after investigating it for a bit.
Even so, as long as we can sell them on a large scale by creating as many as we can until autumn, it should be possible to make a huge profit for something that was created as pure white porcelain at the very start.
“Are you going to earn a large amount of money by selling it on a large scale before others, who can create such white porcelain, appear?”
“After all it’s bad if my funds on hand decrease any further, you know? I don’t know what might happen.”
Me having to do something like this is because the stupid emperor won’t fork over the reward.
It’s not like I can go back until I destroy that device, so seeing that I can’t rely on the reward, I have no other choice but to earn the money by myself.
“I guess it’s just as Earl-sama says. Alright, it’s time to get some monster bones, am I right?” (Burkhart)
“We have hunted a large amount as food, but I didn’t know that there was such way to use it.” (Armstrong)
Doushi continued to seclude himself in monster domains and hunt everyday since he can’t do things such as army training and construction work in the city.
Possibly because of that, he’s going at it with a vigour as if he’s trying to annihilate those monster domains.
Since he’s contributing to the acquisition of food, it’s warmly welcomed in our eyes though.
“I wonder whether I should ask High Earl Mizuho to lend me more craftsmen?”
With the time limit lasting until autumn, I will produce a large amount of porcelain and sell it expensively on a large scale.
Like this I came up with a new business idea and began the harsh struggle to earn war funds.
Translator Announcement *** Important, so read ***
As I have mentioned in the Release Post of Part 1 of this chapter, which you can read here, I decided to switch to the Light Novel (LN) at this point, meaning that the translation of the Web Novel (WN) comes to an end with this chapter.
There are various reasons for this decision.
The most important one is that the WN has come to an end at chapter 162. Some may say that’s still far down the line, and you are probably right about that. But as the LN keeps getting released beyond that point, I decided to switch to the LN while the divergence between LN and WN is still neglectable. After all I do wish to finish this series properly someday. ^^
Another important point is that many of you, the readers, have been unhappy with the pacing of this arc, and the story in general. Well, to be very honest, I mostly translate this novel for you guys, as the one series that I do for the community instead of following my own preferences. Thus, if you are unhappy with it, I have no problem with trying to ease your discomfort as much as possible by translating the official LN instead.
I will start at chapter 1 of volume 10 of the LN, which is around chapter 95 of the WN. So it’s a slight step back into the past. However, even those of you unhappy with this entire arc can bear with at least this much, I hope.
If you are impatient and want to read chapter 1 of volume 10 as soon as possible, I have put it up in its entirety on Patreon, and am currently working on adding chapter 2 next. 🙂
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