We decided to make dried bonito flakes, a traditional preserved food made by repeatedly molding bonito meat to remove the water content so that it can be stored for a long time and acquire a unique flavor.
Although it started as a request from Horkosfon, I’ll do my best to make this versatile ingredient!
“…What do we need to make bonito flakes?”
Bonito, of course.
But this is a different world with an ecosystem different from mine, so it’s not as if the creatures from there also exist here.
However, even if the exact creature we want doesn’t exist, there is usually a counterpart that looks like it.
Thus, my journey to making bonito flakes begins with the search for a fish that can be used as a substitute.
I first went to the farm refrigerator, where we store and preserve our fish.
But it’s not that filled at the moment.
The fish that the orcs had caught during last winter’s fishing trip had long since been consumed.
They have been regularly fishing in between their farm work, but they could only fish in the nearby waters at best.
“Now that winter is here, I wonder if Orkubo and the others will go fishing again?”
I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have to rely on their voluntary activities.
Feeling a bit uneasy, I decided to ask them about their plans.
- * *
“The boat’s broken?”
I got an unexpected answer.
It seems the fishing boat Orkubo and his friends built last winter is now in pieces.
“The boat was the first of its kind and was built by trial and error, so some parts were not well-made and aren’t as durable!”
“So, we were all discussing what we should do this time around. Do we build a new boat to fish again this year, or should we try something else?”
“Our first voyage with those monsters onboard has done quite the damage.”
The orcs are talking nonchalantly, but this is terrible news for me.
I don’t have any fish in my refrigerator that I could substitute for the bonito.
The only way to get it is to fish on a big boat at sea.
“Huh? What is it, My Lord?”
“I’ll build you a new boat!”
They’re all surprised.
“Please wait! We don’t want to cause you trouble with our fancies!”
“I’ve been wanting some pelagic fish myself, so don’t worry! I’ll build you a fine fishing boat so you can go all out fishing!”
It seems that making dried bonito flakes will start with making a boat!
However, the thought of having to build a fishing boat every year is a hassle.
“Let’s do everything we can to build a sturdy fishing boat that can withstand a hundred years of use!”
The orcs are also getting excited.
“A boat built by Our Lord… I wonder what kind of ship will it be?”
“I’m sure it’ll be something beyond our imagination.”
And they’re mercilessly raising the bar.
If you insist, I’ll build the most revolutionary ship ever built in history!
“…How about an iron ship?”
I reckon Orkubo and his team made a wooden ship last year.
In between metal and wood, metal is, without a doubt, the sturdier building material.
So why don’t we build a metal fishing boat that looks like a battleship?
What’s wrong, you guys?
What’s with the weak reaction to my suggestion?
“Are you out of your mind, Dear?”
Who said that?
Oh, it’s my wife, Platy!
You’ve already finished your daily ritual?!
“Very well, Dear. Let me tell you the truth!”
“You see… Iron sinks in the water!”
A declaration so bold, I thought I heard it make a sound.
“Iron is a material that sinks in the water! So, it’s only natural that a ship made of it will also sink! Can’t you even understand that, Dear?!”
“Er… There’s this thing called buoyancy, though…”
“Such bigoted words are what made Orkubo and the others confused! They don’t talk back to you, so you must guide them with your words and actions!”
H-Hey, hold your horses!
We can build an iron ship!
In my world, it was actually a thing, or rather, it was the norm!
“With all due respect, My Lord…”
Even Orkubo, my farm’s most loyal subject, has such an apologetic look on his face!
“I concur with what Madam said. Suppose we could build an iron boat that floats on water, it would still be very heavy, wouldn’t it?”
“We’d have to row it with our own hands….”
“What’s more, the sail we need to use to catch wind…”
The rest of the orcs are also skeptical!
They’re doubting me.
This estrangement of civilizations is hindering our understanding!
“Fine! I won’t back down here!”
I’ll show you a metal ship you’re so convinced is impossible to build and make you realize once again how great your respected farmer is!
“Um… But what about the natto sauce?” asks Horkosfon with a worried look on her face.
“Don’t try to stop me, Horkosfon! This situation has evolved into a battle with my will and pride on the line!!!”
“I don’t care about anything else as long as I can make natto sauce…”
“To regain respect as a farmer, I’m going to build a metal ship!”
“I think we all respect you enough, Master…”
But I want to be respected more!
I’m just that greedy!
The orcs made a good point about building a metal ship.
“The metal is too heavy to move around.”
While the buoyancy of a metal hull can help it float, the propulsion is too problematic.
It would be too heavy for natural forces such as human or wind power.
We need a more solid propulsion system.
Besides, in the history of shipbuilding, metal ships were built because a mechanical propulsion system was established beforehand—the steam engine.
And steam engines are fueled by coal which we have in abundant amounts now.
“So… Are we going to pioneer the Industrial Revolution?”
“Um… I don’t know how I’m supposed to answer that, Master!”
Not even Horkosfon could handle my randomness.
But since we’re going to build a metal boat, we might as well build the steam engine that comes with it!
I don’t know how to build one, though!
The answer is obvious.
When it comes to making things, there’s always that one guy, or should I say, that one god.
I decided to appeal to Hephaestus, the god of crafting.