Chapter 53: MCs that Know Everything can be Annoying, but MCs that don’t Know Everything can also be Annoying
Haa, haa… To think I was in the biggest crisis of my life.
Let’s recap: I brought a bunch of groceries back to The Queen Mary’s, the girls had just got back from their stamina-building run, bath time.
Yup, that’s about it. That’s about it…
Fuck that! No way am I going into the public bath with everyone.
“Mou, Jun-chan ran away way too fast.”
“Even though this was a good time to build up some skinship…”
No, I’m begging you, please spare me from that. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t want to see or if I don’t want to be seen, but the public bath is still way too much of a hurdle.
When will I be okay with it?
I mean, isn’t it a dirty trick? Like cross-dressing to get into the girl’s locker room or something? Even if you say I’m a girl now, I can’t just accept it like that! To begin with, don’t I still think like a high school boy?
… don’t I? I would like to think I do … Hm? Is it weird to want to still think like a guy now that I’m a girl? Or now that I’m a girl, are these considered girls’ thoughts? Hm? Are? I’m getting confused.
Don’t you dare tell me I don’t think like a guy just because I’m not thinking, this is a great chance to see naked ladies guhehehehe … Even I will think things like, if she just moves a little more I can see it, or that outfit is pretty eros; if it was any lower … but just because I think things like that, that doesn’t mean I want to trick a lady into letting me see her naked.
More like, guys who try to take advantage of girls are most likely guys who like taking advantage of other people whether they’re guys or girls, and they’re the worst.
What? I wouldn’t be tricking them, they’d be showing it voluntarily? Even if you say that, I won’t accept it!
I’m not being weird with these circumstances, I’m –
“Maybe she’s on the roof?”
“We’re not going to let her get away this time!”
Crap. It’s not safe here.
“Oooh, Jun-ojou, I didn’t think you would be interested in glass making.”
“Well, I’m interested, but I’ll admit I don’t know much about it.”
I’m looking at various bits of glassware at the glass manufactory. It’s a small studio with several ovens going. It’s not quite as hot as any of the smiths’ forges, since there aren’t as many forges or kilns, but it’s still hot.
I stopped by the glass manufactory while avoiding returning to The Queen Mary’s, since I’ve been meaning to this entire time, and now I have some time. Not only have I not seen Old man Harulf in a while, I’m still curious about the state of glass technology.
Not that I’ll be any help.
Heh… glass is made from sand?
… Yeah, I don’t know anything about this.
More than a glass factory, it’s more like a glass laboratory. The glass craftsmen are carefully mixing different types of sands and minerals and noting how they turn out. According to Old man Harulf, they’re trying various ways to increase the clarity and smoothness of the glass, as well as testing the degrees of hardness, all that type of thing.
But even so, their greatest problem is … what should they use glass for?
“I see. Khrystel is more durable, has better clarity, and is more consistent so there isn’t much space for glass to break in.”
That’s basically the problem. The glass craftsmen are kind of looked upon like amateur cellphone novelists; there may be some merit, but largely everyone agrees there are better ways for them to spend their time.
Some part of me wants to see glass succeed. Stubborn nostalgia to my old world?
While looking over the glass materials and various things in the manufactory, I see something black and shiny, and something I think is kind of out of place. I pick it up and carefully look it over. Eh? This is …
“Oooh, that is natural black glass. It forms around active volcanoes near the Ploids Labyrinth.”
I don’t really remember which Labyrinth was what, or where, but this …
“Isn’t this obsidian (kokuyouseki/black day stone)?”
“That black glass? What do you mean, black … stone?”
So that translated funny, huh? But, I thought obsidian was a rock? A mineral? It’s a ‘natural’ glass? Is this something different? No, this is definitely obsidian, right?
Old man Harulf’s eyes glitter expectantly, and he asks,
“…Jun-ojou, do you mean you recognize this black glass? Was it used for anything in your hometown?”
“Weapons, you say?! Ooo, like?”
“Knives and spearheads … for … primitive people …”
“Ooo… so weapons for ancient times … that doesn’t help us, huh?”
“No no, Erl, have we ever considered making a cutting edge with glass?”
“Hah? It’s not easy to sharpen, is it? And glass is all brittle, you know? Even if we could sharpen it without destroying it, it won’t hold up to another weapon.”
“No, instead of sharpening it with a whetstone, you … break it? I think? At least for the obsidi – um, black glass, I think people used to use rocks to break off small parts of the edge to make it sharp. And it’s not used for battle, but for puncturing more organic things, like hunting, or cutting hides.”
“… It’s … interesting…”
The craftsmen all have doubtful looks on their faces. I don’t blame them. I’m part of the metal weapons faction, myself.
“Sorry, I don’t think I have any information that’s helpful…”
“No no, it’s interesting because they’re things we haven’t heard before.”
“But I’m not even sure I’m remembering these things right…”
“Haha, no problem. Even if it’s a bad idea, any more ideas that we haven’t thought about open more possibilities!”
These glass craftsmen sure are tenacious. Though Old man Harulf is probably the oldest, all the men here are rugged-looking ossans.
“Jun-ojou, you said glass was common in your hometown. What was it used for?”
All the rugged-looking ossans gather around me eagerly. What is this…
“Um … cups, bottles, plates, things like that… oh, but it’s mostly used for windows. Some people cut them like gemstones and make sparkling sculptures. Those sculptures are considered luxury items.”
The excitement fell, and all the ossans seemed deflated.
“Mm, there are too many assassination attempts using glass eating implements for those to take off.”
“Yeah, and when compared to the beautiful designs of the magic-patterned khrystel, glass just doesn’t seem to match up to it.”
“And since you can’t use magic in it, the khrystel statues will probably still be more popular, with the various enchantments they can put on it…”
“Oh, but to cut it like gemstones is interesting. Khrystel can only be molded into sculptures. We can … try it, at least?”
“Yes, yes, everything’s worth a try. I wonder if the light will reflect in the glass like gemstones.”
Hm, so cutting and breaking glass to make things are things they haven’t tried.
“The light is very pretty in the glass. My mother was given a small mouse carved out of glass by my father, and I remember it being very pretty to hold up to the light.”
“Fufufu, a mouse? Why a mouse?”
Um… I don’t really feel like explaining the zodiac animals, but my mother was born in the year of the mouse. That carving was one of the things she treasured the most after my father died.
“Hm… but windows, is it?”
“People in your hometown liked those types of unclear windows? Khrystel is definitely the way to go here.”
One by one the craftsmen showed their window panes to me. One was blown into a cylinder and cut, then flattened while still hot. The other was rolled flat while it was still hot. This one was poured into a mold hot, but not molten, so that it wouldn’t stick to the mold.
All of them had defects and unsmooth parts.
Umu… The Queen Mary’s had textured glass, and I thought it was on purpose so you couldn’t see perfectly clearly inside, but maybe it wasn’t done on purpose…
“No… the window panes from my hometown were perfectly clear, and could be even bigger … Almost a full wall-size.”
“Tell us, Jun-chan!”
“To be clear!”
“To be big!”
Uwaaah! This kind of atmosphere is stifling!
“Now now, calm down. Jun-ojou, do you know how they were made?”
Old man Harulf brought order back to the manufactory, but, sorry,
“… I don’t know. I’m pretty sure the glass is completely melted and … nn?”
“Aah, if you can’t remember, then that’s that.”
So it seems that big sheets of flat, perfectly clear glass is the pinnacle these men are looking for. I wish I looked up more on how glass was made when I was still in Japan… My head was much too full of metal and swords.
Somehow, I think molten glass was floated on top of something else that was molten … salt? Metal? Aaah, even this idea is probably wrong. I know molten glass was used … but the problem is that molten glass will stick to things, right? So what can be done … hm?
Stick to things … but then, what if it rejects something? Would that work? Or would it just treat it like nothing’s there and go through?
Hm… I am now mulling a thought over and over in my mind.
And that thought is … will molten glass stick to a thin layer of magic?
Hm hm hm… A thin layer of magic that can withstand pressure … isn’t that Barrier!?
“Ne, Old Man Harulf, can you try pouring it out on this?”
Using the minimum distance, I had put a thin film of a Barrier on a metal tray they had handy.
Old man Harulf frowned.
“This is … a Film Barrier? Jun-ojou, you’re already at this level…”
Heating the glass to a high temperature, he poured the molten mixture onto the Barrier-covered tray as I lightly tapped it.
Oh, ooooooooh! It seems to work! The glass isn’t sticking to the tray, and it’s coming out perfectly flat! And now, when the glass cools…!
Or so I thought, but it looks like it won’t be that easy. It totally cracked, huh? Nn…
“Ahaha, Jun-ojou, it needs to cool more gradually. We cool it in that oven there, lowering the heat little by little.”
“Oh, I see…”
Just like metal, glass will need its own rate of cooling, but unlike metal, I don’t know what that rate of cooling is at all … I guess I should leave that part up to the glass craftsmen.
“That being said…”
Old man Harulf picked up one of the broken pieces of the pane I had been messing with. Despite the cracks, the clearness and smoothness is unlike anything else they’ve been doing, when it comes to flat sheets of glass.
“… Toulie-danna, this …”
He hands it over to the leader of the group craftsmen and explains to him what I’ve been doing.
“…! What! Non-attribute Barrier! Nn… so Non-attribute … to think it was like that after all…! Un, this is something we should look into.”
Even though in our world I think large sheets of glass were made differently, I think that here they should get by on Barriers. It can even be applied to … molds? Is that what they use to make glass bottles?
I’m sorry, this is all I’m going to be able to help on …
“… Ah! Can I commission a large pane of glass once you figure something out?”
“…Jun-ojou, even with this, it won’t be so easy, you know … Not everyone can use Barriers as simply as you can.”
Well, my spoils today are Film Barrier and these broken pieces of glass. I can at least begin experimenting with these cast offs for the potential mirror!
And so I go back to The Queen Mary’s happily … no way is that going to go well.
Thinking to delay the inevitable pouting storm, I take a detour through the city…
… Somehow I managed to be captured by a certain group as I was taking my detour.
“Poriela Aged Ale!”
“Ah, whisky for me!”
“Mou, it’s the middle of the day, you gluttons. Ah, Sparkling Yuzuil Wine for me!”
“You say that, Niera, and then you order one yourself…”
I’m sitting at a table, surrounded by the 4 Beastkin Adventurers from The North Wind Troupe, the 4 from the Valor of Arms Brigade, and Ragnall.
Ah, by the way, the members of the North Wind Troupe are LeeAnne the Rabbitkin, Binno the Foxkin, and the siblings Port and Jip, both Bearkin. LeeAnne aside, the 3 men are regulars at The Queen Mary’s.
I was called over by Niera, saying,
“Ooooh, Jun-chan, did you take that guard commission from Sir Knight Captain?”
And then I was trapped here.
“Haaaaa… I really want to back out of this commission.”
Ragnall frowned, propping his head up on his hands.
“Fufufu, then do it, do it! You don’t have to follow every order from the Guild!”
Niera laughed happily as she tossed back her glass in one gulp.
“This is this and that is that!”
Ragnall bolted upright with a determined look … you’re not fooling anyone, Ragnall. There are money signs in your eyes, you know?
Since I had gotten a special reward promise from the Guild, there’s a good chance Ragnall did too. It seems to have been really good compensation.
“Um… is the commission really that bad?”
Should I have avoided it after all?
“Nn… not … bad … more like slightly troublesome.”
Ragnall grumbled that into his cup of mead.
“Ah, you probably don’t know it, but there are two groups of guards; you and Ragnall are the visible guards, and our East Wind Troupe is the secret guards.”
Hahaaan, so there are secret service-like guys after all. Nn?
“East Wind Troupe?”
“Aaah, that’s right, Jun doesn’t know. See, we have quite a few groups in our Wind Troupes, and our intelligence network is unbelievable. Well, we, the North Wind Troupe, are the best, kakaka!”
Port, the Bearkin, laughed.
LeeAnne smacked him.
“Mou, you’re only saying that because we’re the ‘hub’ in this city. Don’t go spreading false rumors. Though, our Wind Troupes are the best if you ever want to know … anything… Jun-dono. What I’m more concerned about, is why Sir Knight Captain chose Ragnall and Jun-dono. Aren’t the Valor of Arms Brigade the most specialized in guarding and escorting in the entire city?”
Wow… right here are the city’s number one in escorting and guarding, the city’s number one in spying, and the city’s number one in … money earning? I’m kidding. The city’s number one in strength.
Hm? Wait. Isn’t this a table of powerhouses?!
“Um… so … why did all of you … call out to me?”
“Oh yeah! It’s because there were some weird things going around the city we were curious about, and we were just thinking that Jun-chan’s experiences in Nyl City would be good to use as guidelines.”
“What’s with that?”
“Jun seems to be more or less a magnet for troublesome things.”
Kristaf said it so bluntly.
‘What do you mean by that?!’ is what I want to say, but I can’t say it. Masaki has already told me that exact same thing too many times for me to be allowed to say it.
It’s not like I go out looking for trouble!
But, how do I say it, so basically, as they were talking about me, I showed up, and so they dragged me in? So … basically I have no reason to be here.
LeeAnne grinned. Oops, some of that must have shown on my face.
She leaned in and said,
“So the things you’ve just been randomly caught up in are the attack on Kali’s Mana Pot caravan, the request of swords from an annoying Noble from Fernett, attack on The Queen Mary’s, and the attack from the Crystal Python, right Jun-dono?”
Or like, how the hell do you know all of that…
LeeAnne tilted her head, her ears also leaning cutely to one side, thinking.
“Nnnn… If we pretend all of that is the result of connected events … It would be to control supplies, to prepare for war, and to lay down a base, and to weaken the Guild. Is that it?”
“… No matter how you think of it, isn’t the Noble from Fernett something completely separate?”
“That’s why I said ‘pretend,’ you know?”
“Nn, but when you make a guess you should only use the relevant information.”
“And how do YOU know what’s definitely relevant and what’s not?!”
I’m watching speechlessly as LeeAnne and Jip argue over things.
“Aaah… even though they’re like that, they really are the top duo for gathering intelligence in the city …”
Binno scratched his cheek, looking sheepish, as he tried to make excuses.
“Well, it’s because they used to date, and boy was that a disaster! Kakaka!”
Port laughed loudly as he drained off a glass of ale.
Ooooi… big brother, should you really be taking that much amusement out of your little brother’s failed relationships?
<A/N: Thank you Robert for your donation!
Hm … I think it might be time to give up and remove the harem tag. I suspected it, but I thought if Jun treats everyone equally it might turn into a low-key harem … nope. If she hasn’t ‘captured’ any chicks (or dudes) at this point, Imma say … harem off.>