111. Preparing Things in Advance
The first thing we did after leaving the orphanage was to head over to the Adventurer’s Guild so we could ask them to assist us in sending the Alessa branch a message.
I’d assumed that all communication was done through the use of some sort of magic item, so I was completely blindsided by the fact that they were using carrier pigeons. Well, not exactly carrier pigeons, but something along those lines. To be precise, the messages were being carried by hawk-like magic beasts.
The carrier hawks’ were a species of magic beast called Wind Eagles. They specialized in high speed flight, and as a result, were ranked as E level threats. In fact, they were so quick that the one we’d just sent over to Alessa was due to reach its destination within the day.
The hawks were really convenient given the fact that they could cover large amounts of ground in very little time, but the guild didn’t actually have all that many on hand. Even the Barbra branch only had two in total. As one could presume from that fact alone, they were not only expensive to use, but also fairly busy. I guess you could say that we were pretty lucky that our message was actually sent off immediately.
And by the way, expensive meant expensive. Sending just that one letter cost us an entire ten thousand Golde. Ten thousand! I’d almost felt like just taking our money and flat out donating it to the orphanage instead, but I ended up sending the letter anyways, as I rationalized that it would still probably end up be the better investment in the long run.
Now, with that said, Fran and I were both fully aware that Amanda wasn’t actually allowed to leave Alessa, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t be able to help us. It might be possible for her to pull a few strings in order to get Barbra’s lord to start giving the orphanage money again. Likewise, we might also be able to make use her name in order to discourage those that looked at the orphanage with their eyes filled with malicious intent.
Naturally, the letter contained more than just our request for assistance. We first wrote a bit about ourselves and our most recent experiences and accomplishments before moving to explaining the orphanage’s less than satisfactory circumstances. The reason we saved the orphanage stuff for last was so we could purposefully finished the letter off by saying, “There are many children in need that would greatly benefit from your help. Could you please lend them a hand?” It had much more impact that way. I was aware that we were kind of just pushing the whole thing onto her, but we didn’t hesitate in seeking her help. We figured that Amanda would have more than enough influence and ability to actually get something done. This was more than just our problem, so I felt it necessary to make use of every resource we possibly could.
『Welcome back, Urushi.』
Urushi came back from his hoodlum-filled adventure right as we finished up all our guild-related business.
I kind of wanted to head over to the Luciel Conglomerate immediately, but I was more interested in the result of Urushi’s investigations, so we first decided to follow him back to the place from which he just returned despite it being in the conglomerate’s opposite direction.
『So he went in here?』
Urushi had guided us over to the town’s residential area, where we found ourselves standing before a massive mansion with a five meter tall fence lining its property. It size was indicative of the fact that it probably belonged to some sort of noble.
I’d really wished that it had something as convenient as a nameplate, but reality was pretty much never that convenient.
What we needed was information. We couldn’t make any sort of decision or come to any sort of conclusion without it, so we decided to ask around and gather as much of it as we could.
Fran’s still a kid, so luckily, her posing a few questions wouldn’t really lead to her being suspected of anything malicious. All she needed to do to get people to divulge the information she wanted was to put on a bit of an act. It was a shame that Urushi couldn’t get any smaller, else we could probably use him to play the good old puppy card as well.
Whenever we came across a man, we’d have Fran give her head a bit of a tilt whilst gazing up into his eyes. Seeing her act like that pretty much caused every man we came across to immediately become as obedient as could be.
「Y-Yes? Did you need something?」
Most of them reacted as if they were charmed. It seemed like having Fran interact with them in the manner she had had caused them to awaken to a new sort of interest. Whoops, my bad. That uh, wasn’t intentional. Hahaha…
Women were approached in a much more natural fashion. They seemed to act much more amicably when Fran retained her usual, expressionless face.
「Excuse me, ma’am.」
「That mansion. Looks really big. Owned by nobles?」
「Now that you mention it, I think it might be biggest one in this neighborhood, so maybe.」
「Looks like owner has bad taste. Poorly decorated.」
「Ahahaha, you’re right about that one. No one knows exactly who owns it though.」
「Well, this is just a rumor, but, apparently it’s currently being occupied by some shady folk. They say that you only ever see people going in and out of the building in the middle of the night.」
「Illegal, underground organisation?」
「That’s what I thought too, but I hear that some of the carriages that visit the building on a regular basis are said to have the city’s lord’s crest on them.」
「Lord involved with underground?」
「I don’t know about that. The lord isn’t the only one that has access to carriages with his crest on it.」
Most of the conversations we had were more or less along that same vein. In the end, we never were able to figure out exactly who the mansion belonged to. All we got were more rumours about how the place was being used by “bad people.” Moreover, everyone we conversed with would always lower their voices and check their surroundings before telling us anything about the aforementioned rumours.
『Hey Urushi, were there a lot of people inside?』
（Woof. Bark bark.）
Urushi replied with several dog noises in order to answer my question affirmatively.
『Hmm… then breaking in probably isn’t that great an idea.』
I mean, they were suspicious and all, but we didn’t actually have any evidence of their guilt.
Oh well, whatever. We figured out where their base was. That alone more than sufficed for the time being.
『Did you memorize their scents?』
We don’t know if they’ll actually try to interfere with our business at all, but it was much better to be safe than sorry.
Alright, next up, the Luciel Conglomerate! They even might have a bit of info on this place as well, who knows?
And so, time passed; an hour flew by as we went about our business.
「Alright! I think that should be all of it.」
「Don’t sweat it, the pleasure was mine. Make sure you knock the contest’s other participants out of the water.」
The oil, vegetables, and flour that we ordered from the conglomerate were already all prepped for us, so we went ahead and picked them up. I was honestly quite surprised by how quickly they managed to get everything ready, I guess their size and reputation really weren’t just for show. Rengil had actually gone out of his way to get us a carriage and some professional help for the sake of transporting all the goods we bought, so he was left completely stupefied by the fact that we managed to casually just store it all away within another dimension. I felt kind of guilty for putting his effort to waste, but well, we didn’t really need what we didn’t need. That’s kind of just how things were.
He was really impressed by the amount of storage space we had. In fact, he’d even gone as far as to ask us whether or not we would be willing to work in transport going forward. Users of space/time magic would often have large item boxes, and the size of their dimensional pockets would scale with their degree of skill, but most weren’t even able to come anywhere close to reproducing anything as spacious as what we had. Space/time magicians were already rare enough as is, so what we had was something along the lines of a one in a million enigma. It made sense though, we weren’t just using space/time magic, we also had a separate dimensional storage skill. It would’ve been weird for us not stand out. Apparently, most merchants would be willing to pay out the ass for that much storage space.
Our purchases weren’t limited to just edibles. We’d also ordered from the conglomerate a bunch of paper bags so that we could make things easier on our customers. Much to my surprise, Barbra had access to such a vast supply of paper that even the common folk were seen using it on a regular basis. Apparently, paper products were, in general, split into two categorizations. Regular paper was pretty much used by just about everybody, whereas parchment was only used for tasks involving magic.
Either way, the paper bags we got from the conglomerate were identical to the ones I was used to seeing back in Japan, just… not as high quality. They were plain, brown, made of cheap material, and came in two sizes. The smaller size fit up to two servings of curry bread, and the larger size six. Each bag also had a bit of an open grip on top in order to make it easier to carry.
「We still have a lot of those bags in stock, so feel free to just drop by if you ever need any more.」
「Nn. Got it.」
Another thing we did before departing was asking Rengil if he knew anything about the mansion we’d just investigated. Unfortunately, he didn’t. However, he did get all heated up after hearing about the orphanage’s circumstances. He said that he was going to ask a few of his contacts to do some investigation, for which we were thankful.
「And last but not least would be… this.」
「I think you mentioned something about needing a place to cook, right? That key’ll get you into a restaurant that shut down about a month ago. No one’s bought the place yet, so it’s kind of just been sitting there without purpose. We’ve left the place as it was when it got vacated, so it should still have all the necessary utensils and the like. I don’t particularly mind lending it to you for a few days.」
He showed us over to the so called abandoned restaurant. The stove and stuff still all looked intact, and the there was even an area to store water in the back. The conglomerate had been taking good care of the place despite it being empty, so it wasn’t really all dusty or anything like that. It was pretty much exactly what we needed, and so, we ended up borrowing it for about a week’s worth of time.
Alright! That’s everything we need. All we need to do now is to carry it all over to the Chef’s Guild so we can report our costs. Errr, wait, no. I have to get all the water ready first.
『Okay, why don’t we get down to making that magic-infused water we were going to use?』
「Nn. Where? Bathroom?」
『I think it’d be better if we used soil magic to make ourselves a pool or something.』
There was a large dirt floor to one side of the kitchen we were given, so we didn’t have to worry about anyone overseeing our activities. But first, we actually needed do a quick experiment. That is, we needed to figure out how much of the Potion of Attribute Reversal we needed to use per litre of swamp water. We also needed to determine whether it’d be better to use the swamp water or the Highest Grade Poison Mixture as our base. To that end, I started by making a bunch of smaller containers so we could do all the testing we needed.
「Nn. Looks interesting.」
「Nn? This one?」
Our tests ended up taking the form of something along the lines of a science experiment; we mixed a bunch of chemicals and watched as they reacted with each other whilst documenting the results. Fran had so much fun with it that she even ended up getting Urushi to secrete a bit of his poison so she could conduct some additional testing.
The cost of our products would skyrocket if we used stuff that was way too effective, so, after consulting with Rengil, we ended up coming to the conclusion that it’d best for us to use the Water of Recovery. The Water of Recovery had the ability to restore any negative status conditions inflicted within the past few days. The aforementioned limitation seemed to function as compensation for the prominence of its effects.
I didn’t really get the whole distinction, but apparently, it didn’t count as a potion. A potion was strictly defined as a type of medicine. For some odd reason, magic-infused water didn’t fit under that classification and instead was put in its own category.
Either way, we experimented. We mixed a whole bunch of swamp water, poison, magically created water, and alchemically created water in the name of science.
It took a whole bunch of testing, but in the end we finally managed to find the right mixture and ultimately mass produce the Water of Recovery that we’d been wanting. Though, I think we ended up producing way too much of the stuff. Oh well, again, better safe than sorry, so whatever.
『Whew. That’s everything. Let’s whip up a quick test batch and then head on over to the Chef’s Guild.』
I’ve noticed that some of you guys have been mentioning that honorifics add extra meaning, and I guess it’s partially my fault because of how I phrased my TL note.
I may or may not have been trying to come off as less lazy than I actually was. While they do function to that end in some specific cases, honorifics providing more meaning is, in general, actually a misnomer.
Translators are typically capable of retaining connotation without the use of honorifics. This is done through careful choice of diction. You’d probably be surprised at how easy it is to construct a section so that it more or less gives off the exact same feel as its raw. The only difference between the expression of a character’s emotions and views in English and Japanese is the manner in which it is presented. That is, the honorifics used in Japanese make certain aspects more explicit. This, however, is something that the translator should be covering for. If a translator fails to convey a character’s tone of speech, then it’s generally not due to the lack of an honorific, but instead because the translator lacked the skill to do so. This is often occurs because the translator lacks the ability to read undertones in Japanese. The worse and slightly more common case is that the translator lacks the ability to rewrite the aforementioned undertones in English. The final case is that they were probably just being lazy like I was yesterday. That is, “too much work/too difficult/too time consuming” all actually mean the same thing: I was being a lethargic bum and didn’t want to sit down for like 7 minutes to alter a small section so it worked better in English. I normally don’t mind doing this.
The question was moreso just asking whether or not you enjoyed them from an aesthetic standpoint.
Note that none of what I’ve explained above is applicable to low quality translations.