This chapter is the edited version of another translation. You can find the original chapter post here.
Please notice that this chapter has NOT been re-translated but only edited in order to improve the readability.
Please be sure to thank the translator in the link provided above, if you wish to express your gratitude.
This chapter was merely moved to this blog as the original blog has been inactive for quite a while.
By no rights Infinite Novel Translations claims ownership of the translation.
ED: Garit, Loxy
“Whew, I guess I’m just getting started.” (Wendelin)
It’s been a few days since I discovered a (mostly) safe route to the sea. After thoroughly enjoying that small victory, I’ve recently started trying some new magic. There’s not really any specific reason that I should practice this new magic at the coast, but I do so anyway because I’m sure that I won’t be found out in this remote location. Plus, I can eat seafood as I please.
“There’s also a lot of salt here.” (Wendelin)
Right now, I’m trying to develop an original application of earth magic to extract raw salt from seawater. This is only possible now that I have made it to a large body of salt water, so I’m taking my time to experiment. I say “original”, but really there is a similar technique written in the book that Master left behind.
When a magician that makes his living as an adventurer runs out of salt, it is apparently not uncommon for him to develop methods to extract salt from soil, rocks, plants, animals, or even monster corpses, as each of these contain a small amount of salt that can, in some cases, be extracted and refined using magic.
Humans are strange creatures. Even with sufficient food, it is not unheard of for a person to lose his appetite to the point of starvation just because the food wasn’t sufficiently salty.
That is to say, salt is really important to humans.
Anyway, I didn’t have much trouble desalinating seawater and collecting the extracted salt. The process took less time and resulted in a greater yield than the spell described in Master’s book. Even if it’s not 99.9 percent sodium chloride, I can make white, silky salt, which is distinctly different from yellowish, rocky salt.
“I could probably make a pretty good living selling salt.” (Wendelin)
But how could I be satisfied with just salt? I will have to revive several seasonings that use salt as a base.
“Miso first.” (Wendelin)
Soybeans are a popular crop in this world, and the Baumeister Knight Territory is no exception. In the territory, people use them to feed livestock, as an ingredient in soup, and as a cereal made using wheat rice porridge. Further, they’re cheap, so I managed to get a sackful from the villagers, who cultivate it in the fields near their homes.
The price was the pelt and meat from a single rabbit.
With soybeans and salt I can try to make miso. There is no miso in this world so I’ll need to perfect it myself. Luckily, there is some really helpful magic. Some veteran magicians are able to brew wine instantly using grapes that they prepare themselves. Others make ale from wheat, rum from sugar, or mead from honey. It’s safe to say that this world is familiar with that special alchemy that turns sugar into alcohol.
But in this world magicians learned to sidestep the time consuming process of brewing the old fashioned way and instead achieve the same results instantly by applying magic.
Although, the idea of instant fermentation is seen as absurd by brewers and vintners that diligently hone their respective crafts, and generally such professionals produce superior products. However, there are apparently a select few magicians who can make alcohol that puts professionals to shame, but they can only produce small batches that don’t really move the market.
Most magicians that experiment with magical distilling or brewing do so as a hobby or to enjoy it with their family. Still, it’s amazing that a fully brewed alcoholic beverage can be produced so quickly.
For me, it means that it should be possible for miso to be fermented in an unnaturally short period of time.
“First is miso, then fermenting tamari, and finally brewing soy sauce. I will use the power of magic to make my dreams come true.” (Wendelin)
I began experimenting with ways to make miso at once.
“Hahaha… I can’t believe it was this hard…” (Wendelin)
After a year, I can only chuckle when I look back on how difficult it was to make passable miso and soy sauce.
In theory, it should have been easy. I wasn’t asking for much, just enough for my personal use. If I could speak to my past self, I would warn myself that things were going to be much harder than I thought.
In my last life I had learned to make miso from my grandma, who lived in a rural area and often made her own ingredients. I helped her several times, so I was somewhat familiar with the process.
Boiling the beans with magic was pretty straightforward, but everything after that gave me some trouble. Namely, when I tried to mix the other ingredients into the boiled beans, I could never get the resulting mixture to ferment.
In the absence of fermentation, the mixture just rotted, and no amount of magic could prevent that.
During my high school years I had a biology professor teach me the difference between fermentation and rotting. Basically, fermentation and rotting are the same phenomenon, and the only difference between the two is that fermentation is useful while rotting is harmful.
Thus, I wasted a lot of soybeans. As a result, I ended up exchanging soybeans for rabbits every day.
Still, after myriad failures, I eventually succeeded in producing miso.
And then immediately suffered the same parade of failures when trying to make soy sauce.
I can’t help but chuckle at the irony that I, a person who can easily grasp even the more advanced spells from Master’s book, and who’s able to successfully develop various original spells myself, spent a year in abject failure trying to produce miso and soy sauce.
Particularly when trying to make soy sauce (and tamari for that matter), my struggles and failures felt distinctly like they bore no progress.
Although I eventually managed to produce passable soy sauce, I still exchange game for soybeans to this day, and it’s gotten to a point where I’m starting to get strange looks from my trading partners in the villages.
In fact, I’ve made this sort of exchange so many times that the territory’s people have stopped using soybeans as ingredients in their meals. Instead, they save their soybeans as a barter currency to use with me, the result of which is that many families in the territory have been eating meat for dinner every evening.
I’m sure they have questions about where all of these soybeans are going, but I guess they bury that curiosity in light of the fact that I am still the lord’s son.
I don’t feel as though I’m exploiting them since ours is an equal exchange. If anything, I’m lucky that my family hasn’t said anything. Though the treatment I get is kind of awkward.
Either way, once I managed to produce soy sauce I turned my newfound expertise toward the production of various alcoholic beverages, which has been going smoothly thus far.
I trade guinea fowls for wheat, which is abundant in the territory given that most people cultivate it in the fields near their houses. With wheat I am able to create shochu and ale.
Besides that, I gather large quantities of various wild fruits, such as mountain grapes and wild strawberries. With the application of magic, these become both traditional and fruit wines.
I can only enjoy a small sample as I am still in a child’s body, but in my own humble opinion it’s all quite tasty. In order to ensure that my new concoctions can be stored for the long term, I create sturdy jars from earth magic and seal the alcohol tightly within before packing it away safely in my magic bag.
Soil is the best raw material for magic-produced earthenware. Specifically, soil rich in compounds like silicon dioxide and aluminum oxide that can easily be manipulated into clay. I then remove the moisture and shape the mass of clay into the form of a jar. After that, I magically alter the chemical composition of the jar in a process that would usually be accomplished by a high temperature kiln.
I had toyed with the idea of just directly firing the jars with fire magic, but decided against it in light of the fact that it may take a week or more for a fire of that temperature and intensity to burn out on its own.
My first few attempts resulted in overly fragile jars that crumbled the moment I tried to pick them up. They were also full of small holes, so they leaked like a sieve. Needless to say, I ended up wasting a lot of clay. After substantial trial and error, I managed to come up with a jar that is suitable for storing and preserving alcohol, miso, and soy sauce.
My jars won’t win any beauty contests. And it’s safe to say that I lack an artist’s sense of aesthetics.
But I just use them to store the fermented foods, sauces, and drinks that I make. So, for my purposes, as long as it’s not crumbling or leaking and I can put it in my magic bag without worry, it works.
Still, it feels like I’ve spent almost every waking moment of this past year manufacturing jars, miso, and soy sauce.
However, in addition to salt, I’ve figured out how to refine pure sugar using sugar cane that I discovered on an island off of the southern cost of the territory.
Sugar cane is only indigenous to the southern portion of the continent, so the kingdom exports it to the Urquhart Holy Empire across its northern border. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing sugar in the Baumeister Knight Territory.
Much more so than salt, demand for sugar overwhelmingly outstrips supply, resulting in sugar being priced as a luxury good that is dozens of times more expensive.
In lieu of real sugar, a poor family like ours has to make do with items that can be harvested in the forest, such as honey and fruit, which we use as a sweetener. The most abundant and affordable such solution is a certain vine from the forest that, when boiled, results in a solution that is slightly sweet and tastes vaguely of honey.
Anyway, these days I am able to make boiled mackerel’s miso and freely pour soy sauce over my fried turban shell snails.
Further, I’ve found that there are salmon running upstream to breed in the rivers along the coast, which seems odd given that the Baumeister Knight Territory is on the southern tip of the continent and salmon never ran in such warm climes in my previous world. But I’ll have to just chalk this up to my own luck, as I should be able to enjoy fried salmon with soy sauce pickles now.
“Now that I have all of this great stuff I need a certain special ingredient all the more…” (Wendelin)
Rice. Rice is a completely indispensable staple food for the Japanese. I had been hopeful that it might be cultivated in our territory since we are in the southern part of the kingdom, but I haven’t seen even a hint of it.
However, it must exist somewhere in the kingdom, as I have found references to a plant with a similar description in a book in Father’s study. I suppose it must be other parts of the south.
Having learned this fact I wondered whether my father might be an idiot. It’s not like the region lacked sufficient water to support rice paddies.
If rice were cultivated, it would likely result in greater yields than wheat. I’m sure it wouldn’t be easy to create the first rice paddies, but, in addition to a greater yield, rice has the advantage of repeated cultivation without crop rotation.
Just an observation from a lazy son that doesn’t even help his family.
In any case, I think I’d like to make a rice paddy. I’ll probably build my paddy in the south, as it is unlikely that my family would listen to me even if I were to propose cultivating rice as a staple crop in the territory. Besides, if I cultivate it in the south, I’ll get to keep it all for myself.
Of course, if I had a teleport location logged outside the territory I could buy it at market. But that would mean that I’d have to travel there by flight or foot to create the initial log.
“My first destination is the largest city in the south, Breitburg, the seat of the Breithilde Margraviate.” (Wendelin)
Breitburg is a merchant city and the largest hub of commerce in the southern region. Despite struggling to recover from his father’s failures, the current Margrave is lucky to have a city that is large and resilient enough not to be shaken by the events of a few years ago.
Because Breitburg serves as the de facto capital of the south, every noble who has territory in the south is allowed by right to establish a residence and branch office in the city. Because it is a center of commerce, many people visit to sightsee and shop.
However, for me, the most interesting fact about Breitburg is that it houses the regional headquarters of the various guilds, including the adventurers guild, which is the branch that controls the entire southern frontier.
“So my next goal shall be to establish a Teleportation log in Breitburg.” (Wendelin)
Once I do so, I can make use of some of the saleable goods in my magic bag.
At this point, my magic bag is full of interesting things, including all of Master’s property, the Breithilde army’s resources and the monster parts that it had amassed, the large amounts of magically fermented drinks, sauces, and foods that I have produced, plus the magically purified salt and sugar that I had refined.
The foodstuffs that I produced myself are stored in my homemade jars. At this point, these jars number in the tens of thousands. And none of them are empty.
While the numbers sound like overkill, it is important to remember that creating these jars also serves as a way to increase my mana capacity and efficiency.
After all, it makes sense that it is easier to reduce the amount of mana consumed each time a certain spell is cast (i.e. efficiency) when that spell is repeated over and over until one reaches one’s limit. And mana capacity only experiences material growth when it is first exhausted.
Of course, I would be able to achieve the same result by repeatedly using attack magic, but repeatedly firing off huge fireballs or tornados would have a pretty severe negative impact on the local landscape. Even if my practice field is an uninhabited plain, it still feels irresponsible, so instead I train my mana capacity and efficiency using earth support magic.
“I need to travel through the mountain path tomorrow. Gotta go home early and get plenty of sleep.” (Wendelin)
I cast Teleportation to quickly return home. Tomorrow will be a big day!