Chapter 93: Some people just have ideas that are too advanced for mere mortals to understand; but I wonder how many of those ideas actually succeed
Ragnall has a tense smile on his face.
“So while we were doing work, you were playing truant here.”
“Hm? That’s rude. I was definitely working while helping in the forge …”
“Which is basically playing, for you.”
That last bit was Hibiki. Grinning cheekily.
She’s starting to have a personality like a cheeky younger sister. If she didn’t have that kind of modified body, I wonder if she would have appealed to those that like them younger. Not the lolicon crowd, but the ones into just-barely-still-juveniles … she said she was actually just about to take her high school exams, so I guess technically she’d still be a middle schooler.
But when she said she was a high-schooler, I didn’t question it because her body was well-developed in this world.
“Anyway, I managed to negotiate with them so we can work independently.”
Ragnall looks tired.
“Ah… good job? You’ve worked hard.”
I hand over my tea cup, and Ragnall just grimaces before he gulps the rest of it down.
Oh, amazing, he drained off all the herbs in the bottom too.
“Hm? That man there … is the White Demon?!”
Ah… is that going to be a problem – I guess not. The wolf(?) beastkin’s tail is wagging.
“I’m amazed you’re still working here, Trelzt. And don’t call me that.”
“No, well… Sword! Can I see your latest sword forged by Helward-sama, please?!”
Ah. That’s right. Ragnall goes through swords like they’re disposable chopsticks sometimes… Anyway, it seems like this wolf(?) beastkin’s name is Trelzt, and he at least knows of Ragnall’s reputation.
“Well… I don’t mind, but you were working with a master bladesmith approved by Helward himself, you know? Isn’t that more important?”
Ragnall said while unhitching his sword and handing it over.
Oi oi, is it okay to just hand something that’s supposed to be your cherished partner over so easily? That’s one thing that annoys me about Ragnall. Daggers are consumables, and swords are damaged way too easily; even if they aren’t going to be your lifetime partners, I’d like you to treat them with more care…
Ma, this wolf(?) beastkin seems trustworthy enough as a smith, and it sounds like they have some history, so I guess it’s best to just not mind it.
Trelzt looks at Ragnall with wide eyes, then at me, then back at Ragnall.
“Eh?! This lad is?!”
“-Pu! He called Jun ‘lad’!”
Oh, come to think of it, he did, didn’t he?
“I’m surprised. You’re the first person to (accurately) guess that.”
I mumbled the (accurately) part really really softly.
Trelzt slowly turned red in the face as he realized his mistake(?).
“Oh, I’m so embarrassed… although your scent was vaguely female, your aura was something not feminine. We get some people with deep-elf blood sometimes, so I gotta be careful with my assumptions, y’know.”
No, you still made an assumption… maa, I don’t really care either way, but you were the first person to assume I was a guy.
…Hm? Should I be happy about that or upset?
Somehow, the less I’ve started caring about being identified as a girl, the more I’ve become confused about how I should feel about it. Although this time is the opposite from the other times.
“I know, I know what you mean, Trelzt. I forget she’s a girl all the time.”
Mu. I think I’m insulted by that one. Because I feel like Ragnall’s saying it to be slightly insulting on purpose.
After Trelzt worshipped Ragnall’s sword (it was kind of creepy), and then made me promise to come back to the forge later, it was time for business.
Or rather, it was time for Ragnall and Hibiki-chan to brief me about what happened at the Wardens HQ.
It was also time for an early lunch. Since we had been traveling overnight, it makes sense that we’re hungry now.
Since we’re now moving separately from Orvowel and his assistant, we just go ahead and eat in the inn’s eatery without looking for them.
“Well, it was annoying, but I managed to negotiate so that we’re moving independently from the Wardens. We’re basically going to be doing a standard Guild quest for investigation.”
“I see. I get that it’s beneficial, but tell me why.”
I’ve gotten better at asking questions in the 2+ months I’ve been here. Yay~.
“If we move with the Wardens, it will be something like becoming part of a squadron. I don’t really like that kind of work; it’s why I quit being a merc. By taking it through the quest, we’re guaranteed of payment even if we don’t find anything important, so we won’t waste any work.”
“I see… un. It may be preferable to avoid becoming part of a squadron. It will make it easier to leave if we can’t find anything. It would suck to be stuck here for months.”
I said, after thinking it over.
“Right. They weren’t happy about it, but, well, we’re adventurers not soldiers, so they’ll just have to deal with it.”
Ragnall gulped down his ale as he finished his statement.
I guess we’re not going out right away, since he’s drinking.
Hibiki-chan delicately sipped on her water, then said,
“It was a little weird in there… it was really tense, and I didn’t really like how some of them were looking at us.”
“Sorry, that’s probably my fault.”
Ragnall admitted with a scowl.
“Well, others were also looking like they met a big celebrity, so it was just all kinds of weird.”
Hibiki-chan quickly said.
Un… I wondered about that. Ragnall’s more or less famous. But,
“It wasn’t because you’re… you know, part…”
“Nah. Although some of the more sensitive elves can tell, most people don’t know it. Just young ones thinking I’ll take their glory, or others who heard about stuff I’ve done, I bet.”
Young ones… you’re not that old yourself, Ragnall.
“So, I know Jun’s fine, but we’re not going to go out right away, are we? I’m tired.”
Hibiki-chan said, stifling a yawn.
“No, only Jun can just keep going without sleeping. I bet Orvowel and Leimon are napping, too. I say we start at dusk. It’s a dangerous hour to head out, but I think we can handle it.”
How rude. You two are treating me like some kind of freak.
We finish our meal in silence, and as we were sitting around, digesting,
To Ragnall’s mutter, I asked,
“This situation is. Did you hear that the victims were all mangled and drained when they were found?”
Un, I did, from Eloise.
When I nodded, Ragnall continued.
“Normally, when there’s major demon activity to be concerned about, they’re dragging people back to be their mana-cattle. Killing and torturing people outright … well, what do you think?”
I rest my chin on my hands and think about it.
“Un. Sounds like they’re planning to invade. And not in the clever way.”
I finally say.
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“Like… a bandits trying to take over a village template; it’s that kind of feeling.”
“Ah… I understand now.”
As expected, she understood with just that.
“… I’m not sure what you two are on about, but as you can see, it’s kind of bad. If it’s not stopped, there could be a war between Orelia and Arcene. When you think about how all the countries on Orelia are all fighting with each other, and the fact that you can’t really predict where the Boundary will be breached, it’s not a good deal.”
Well, we’re not really sure it’s demons, even, so I think it’s a little too early to be worrying about war.
“Since Nyl City is an undesirable place for most countries, it is also the safest place to establish our base without any interference.”
“Even so, there’s still no question that Nyl City isn’t a good place to cultivate medicinal plants.”
“But it is a good place for minerals and gems. And I have an interest in how some of the industries here can help us.”
It was in a small conference room in Nyl City’s Guild Hall where this conversation was taking place.
Although the only two people in it were Lor and Seimei.
All across the conference tables and desks were maps, papers, and property blueprints. That was why they borrowed the room.
Despite Seimei having a moderately nice house in Nyl City, it was still cramped and didn’t have enough room to spread everything out to look at. That’s how houses in this type of mountainous city are.
Seimei and Lor were discussing logistics.
It was all because Seimei’s plans were bigger than Lor could ever have dreamed of.
Medical instruction, tools, cultivation of materials, data organization – Lor couldn’t help but feel that this kind of knowledge, even though it might just be surface knowledge, this kind of knowledge was the crystallization of hundreds, maybe thousands, of years of research.
Compared to that…
Here, our people are only concerned with making life luxurious while they’re alive. It’s shameful, this feeling like he’s stooping to our level and trying to forcibly raise our level of medical knowledge to a level he finds satisfactory.
Lor kept those kinds of thoughts to himself.
It wasn’t like surgery was COMPLETELY unheard of, but few people would cut new wounds into a body. If you were going to do something like that it’s usually an amputation, when the whole limb is lost, to keep the rot from spreading.
When Seimei matter-of-factly talked about cutting someone open to fix something within, like just casually opening up a magic tool to correct a circuit, Lor felt his jaw drop in surprise.
Why would you further damage someone?! And blood vessels – although he hadn’t heard such a concrete theory about them before, but what do you mean about sewing them together?!
Lor felt like his brain was constantly about to collapse under the ideas Seimei was introducing him to.
He had never felt more relieved when Seimei concluded his treatise on surgeries with,
“Well, there are surgeries an amateur can’t do, so we should focus on things like bone-setting and foreign object removal at first. And consumable medicines. The mana diseases worry me, and for that I think you would be more well-read on those.”
“Yes, well, it is definitely impossible to implement everything that Sir Seimei has thought of all at once…”
The things that Lor wanted to get started on right away was non-magic anesthetic, disinfectant, and pills. There were some herbal medications, but carrying powder was a pain, and not everyone could afford the magic-based alternatives.
Not to mention, magic effects are easily corrupted when the caster is no longer present, and magic treatments used simultaneously would often times interfere with each other. Magic poisoning, different from Ragnall’s mana poisoning, was all too common, and turned many people away from any but the most urgent medical treatment.
To be frank, if it wasn’t Light Magic, most magic used for medical ventures often had side effects that couldn’t be ignored, and the magic power consumption was too grave for the average magician. For anesthesia, nobles might require 2-3 mages to continuously cast <Numb>, one after another, to be able to make it for 30 minutes.
Although Lor had his suspicions about Seimei’s magic pool… well, whatever the case, Lor had a strong interest in making many things non-magical.
But what greatly fascinated Lor was this ‘Chemistry’ that Seimei talked about.
Breaking down substances; this was what alchemists only briefly entertained. To go from something that seemed like it was all made of one thing, but being able to divide it further… Even though he didn’t understand everything about it, Lor knew instinctively that this kind of knowledge had the potential to save lives.
But, anyway, the current discussion had nothing to do with that.
It was a discussion about where to build their first base for research.
In front of them was a map of Nyl City, marked with the places that Seimei was considering buying.
Before anything else, we should work to improve on the supply of things that we will need. The greatest concern is securing ingredients – Side Lor.
Before anything else, we should secure a place where research can prosper. The greatest concern is stability and availability of skilled people – Side Seimei.
For side Lor, Nyl City is an inconvenient place because of the limitations of medicinal herbs. Even in the Labyrinth, you can only find them on the 2nd and 7th level. Compared to other Labyrinths, Nyl Labyrinth had the worst herb concentration. Although that’s not saying too much, since all the other Labyrinths overflowed with flora on all levels. Nyl Labyrinth was truly a mineral paradise, not a vegetation one. Lor was eager to establish a base that could research the cultivation of many medicinal herbs that were as of yet difficult for people to produce. This was why many medicines were so expensive.
For side Seimei, Nyl City is the best place. Countries were far more interested in the other Labyrinths full of riches and wider varieties of resources, and the terrain made sieging the city difficult at best. Nyl was the only Labyrinth-based Unaffiliated territory where a country, Carnus, was allowed to establish its presence. Coincidentally, Seimei was allied with Carnus. Furthermore, many researchers, like Lor, would come to this relative place of safety to do their research. In fact, Lor often traveled between Tren City and Nyl City for this reason.
There’s also the matter with the glass artisans… but this was something Seimei had yet to discuss with the glass workers themselves, so he refrained from talking about it to Lor. Since glass had a bad reputation.
“It seems we’ll have to have a branch here and a branch there…”
Seimei, a business elite, was used to an idea like that.
Lor, a poor researcher, was not.
“That’s right… with my current capital I can purchase one of these four places and have remodeling done. You were saying we should investigate a location in Tren… Fine. The others of my house will be visiting Nyl soon, so they can house sit for a couple months. We will go to Tren.”
Lor found himself gaping.
“Nonono, if you’re not going to use it right away, there’s no need to buy it! At least, not such a big plot! That will use up all your money, right?”
Seimei laughed confidently.
“It’s an investment, an investment. If you buy one part, then go to buy the other part later, it’s easier for the landowner to raise the price.”
“That’s… no, that’s true, I have heard of people doing that…”
“Such an extravagant purchase, with a large-scale remodeling rumored to be a research facility… other solo researchers like you would be drawn in, no? I suppose personnel screening would be an issue then… ma, it’s better to cast a wide net. Since it’s Nyl City, the benefits of those rumors would outweigh the demerits. A facility not within Carnus, but moderately within Carnus’ reach… it could be better, but I think it should suffice.”
Lor’s head hurt. It wasn’t just Jun; all of her countrymen were crazy.
He complained for the sake of his common sense.
“Even so, there’s still the problem that all of the renovations and land purchases will use almost all of your personal money. I doubt borrowing from Carnus will go well; you’ll need an escort to go to Tren, and when dealing with those who cultivate the libalm, you’ll need a sizable amount of money as well…”
Seimei smiled. Lor was starting to have chills whenever he smiled.
“I just registered as an adventurer. There will be no problems on that end.”
Although he had let Jun take almost all of the materials from their blitz through the Water Corridor, it wasn’t just because Seimei was being altruistic, or because she was making him and all the other gamers near-legendary equipment for free. He was a businessman, after all.
No, he let go of that potential gold mine without batting an eye because he was confident that he could raise that much again without any trouble at all.
The business mind of an elite business man from Japan had met with the freedom of raising capitol as a fantasy adventurer.
It was a way of thinking that Lor couldn’t ever hope to emulate.
<a/n: Thank you Raist and SilverWolfCurse for your donations!
Umu. Here is the part of the story where I planned Seimei’s side of the story more diligently than Jun’s and just thought, Oh, I’ll figure it out when I get to it. Well, I’m here. Brain, think fast.
Maa, I say that, but I do have a vague outline… haa. Past self, work harder next time.
Well, without Seimei’s story, it’s questionable if I would have ever bothered fixing the ruin of a story that eventually became wfb, because it helped a LOT with world building.
(And gendbending the MC helped me want to write it, since I wanted to explore the trope from the pov of a more or less asexual character)
Fun fact: My initial vers of wfb was based on Konjiki Moji no Tsukai for a NaNoWriMo challenge (it was supposed to be a write-then-trash story done purely for practice since I hadn’t written in years, and then I was going to delete it, so I didn’t care about stealing ideas at the time. It was called Flower Blades.)
The Jun character was an actual girl called Akane, and she was supposed to be haughty and arrogant. Unfortunately, she went past haughty and arrogant and just turned into a horrible human being. She didn’t act like a Queen or a bitch (which, honestly, would have been much better and far more entertaining), but just threw tantrums the entire time like a 5-year-old with social disorders. I actually started hating her as a person.
And with an obsession for forging and disposition to ignore everything that didn’t interest her, as well as a distaste for troublesome things like traveling … the story went nowhere. At all. She just wanted to be in the forge 24/7.
Also, the world-build was … mumble mumble … non-existent, so there were a lot of problems… but anyway, the main character didn’t help me want to make it better.
But that’s why Hibiki’s character was so difficult to nail down. Her initial timid-but-capable-in-tough-spots personality was supposed to be a foil to that Akane character, and actually make the story… go… somewhere.
(I will say the yuri was stronger with that pair, but, maa, if the story tanked 10 chaps in, what can ya do.) At least that kind of transition from timid to not is pretty realistic for what she ended up going through in wfb, so I don’t see any need to worry about it too much. Or like, I think it would have been harder to pull it off if I consciously tried to write the transition in…
Btw, Masaki was initially the stupid Hero that gets misled the entire time… kukuku. He’s in a much better place now. Ragnall had a more noble feel to him, but was generally the same. Aside from that, all the other characters are original to the wfb version.
Sometimes I wonder if you can even say those two stories are related, they’re so different…
Anyway, this is why I don’t do NaNoWriMo anymore. I hate writing stories that go nowhere fast.
And there is a new cursed chapter>