C236: A Compassionate Feudal Lord

My name is Dalkish.
Though young, I am a feudal lord of Wallachia, one of the territories that make up the Human Kingdom. I’ve been in charge for a year or two since succeeding my father.

However, before I had time to get used to my job, my motherland was destroyed by our archnemesis of over a thousand years—the Demon King’s Army.
Their invasion was so sudden that we feudal lords couldn’t take immediate action, and so we just watched the royal capital be seized before our very eyes.

We were forced to choose between a do-or-die resistance or complete surrender.
I chose the path of renunciation.

Now that our king is held captive and the Human Kingdom is beyond recovery, I feel prolonging the war would only make my people suffer, and I do not wish for that.
With that as my only condition, I officially decided to submit to the Demon King’s army.
Naturally, I was also prepared to be executed, but I surprisingly received no such punishment.

Rather than being imprisoned, I was allowed to continue with my duties as a feudal lord—a treatment so generous, it’s perplexing.
The Demon King’s Army showed its mettle as an invader and succeeded in diminishing the rebellious spirit of their enemy.

I can’t keep being defiant if I’m treated with such compassion, so I administered my territory in a way that would allow the demons’ governance and the security of my people to coexist.

Surprisingly, most of the feudal lords also took the same path.
This may also seem surprising, but as feudal lords, we are remarkably more capable than royalty and the Religious Order.
Otherwise, the Human Kingdom would’ve vanished long ago if we were in the same league as the dimwitted royalty and the corrupt Order!

Thus, we lords have been working hard to support our nation and people.

I received a rigorous education both in academics and in the military from a tender age to become a worthy feudal lord, so strict it was enough to make the typical person vomit blood.
Because of that, I was able to fight on the front lines of the Human-Demon War without showing disgraceful behavior and managed to keep up with some of the more difficult tasks like taxation.

In fact, since the Human Kingdom was destroyed and the demons took over, we are no longer being driven into national wars, and taxes have drastically reduced.
Frankly, it’s easier to manage our territories now.
If I knew this would happen, the Human Kingdom should’ve been overthrown sooner. It’s incredible how we’ve been able to support such a ridiculous nation for generations.

Well, we’re still under military occupation, so it’s not entirely free of inconveniences.
My retired father, urging me to get married and give him grandchildren, is one example.
I’ve been avoiding the topic on the pretext of being busy, but there’s no way I can continue doing so forever.
Finally, having made enough free time to worry about my troubles, I began wondering what to do.

But then, an emergency occurred that disturbed my fleeting peace.


“Monsters have appeared?”

Such was my retainer’s report, interrupting my not-so-important paperwork.

“How many and what kind are they? Can we outsource it to the Adventurer’s Guild?”
“Orcs, at least thirty of them, sire. The scale is too large for a single adventurer to handle them!”

I bite my nails at the unimaginable severity of the situation.
Thirty!
A group of that size is unbelievably large for wild orcs.
Monsters spawning from the dungeon wander as strays, attacking people and villages they come across.

“A man from a village near the orcs’ location has come to inform you. It appears he’s been traveling for a month to get the word to you, sire.”

A month?!

What kind of remote area did he come from to travel for that long?!
Nonetheless, he has done well. He deserves a reward from me later.

“Anyway, monsters that many are too much for the adventurers to handle. Gather the troops.”
“Are we going to dispatch them, sire?!”
“We’ll go with an estimate of five men per orc. Since there are at least thirty orcs, get one hundred fifty… No, make that 200. I leave the transportation to you.”
“Are you going to lead them yourself, sire?”
“Our people are in danger. What will they do if I, the feudal lord, don’t act?”

If a villager has come to inform me, it probably means that his village is nearby.
We can’t just take things leisurely when there is imminent danger to my people.

“Your concern for your people is admirable, sir. However…” calls out a voice from behind me.

It’s a woman.

“As the supervisor, I have the right to interfere in this matter.”
“Lady Varlina…”

The young woman who appeared had skin darker than a human, proof that she was a demon.

She is one of those inconveniences I mentioned earlier; one of the many guards sent by the Demon King’s Army to watch over the human feudal lords.
They monitor our movements every step of the way to see if we are plotting a mutiny or taking advantage of our position to fill our pockets.
There’s nothing we can do about it, but it’s still a bit annoying.

“You’re now under the occupation of us demons. Don’t you think you should be cautious about mobilizing your troops?”
“You think we’re going to wage war against your army on the pretext of dispatching troops and subjugating monsters? How ludicrous. Are supervisors like you only meant to express this unwanted concern?”
“Why don’t you learn to take into account trivial concerns and remember who is the winner and loser of the Human-Demon War?”
“You wench!!!”

What a gaudy way of talking.
Are all demoness like her?!
If so, I genuinely pity the demon men who have to take these women as wives!

“But the fact that monsters have appeared in my territory is absolute. If I’m not pardoned the discretion to solve it, there’s no meaning in me being a feudal lord. Just behead me if so.”
“I’m not saying you can’t dispatch your troops. I will inform the occupation headquarters in the old capital and ask for permission first.”
“It will be too late by then! Will you take responsibility for my people if they get attacked by monsters while we idly wait?!”

Even ex-post-facto approval is acceptable.
We’ve received many unreasonable demands from royalty and the Order before their downfall, but we’ve always turned down anything that would make our people unhappy.
Otherwise, how can I be a feudal lord of the Human Kingdom without that kind of grit?

“And besides, for what purpose are you here, Miss Supervisor? Aren’t you supposed to facilitate smooth communication between us feudal lords and the demon occupation forces during immediate times?”
“…”
“What’s the point of assigning people like you here if you still have to negotiate directly with the headquarters?”
“You’re a glib lord, aren’t you? Fine, it’s an emergency, so I’ll allow you to raise the troops on my judgment. I’ll inform the capital afterward.”
“Hmph, you should’ve said so from the start.”
“However, I will accompany you.”

What?

“Because I decided to permit you, it is necessary for me to monitor you from the closest distance. Are you fine with these terms?”
“Cease the thought. The battlefield isn’t so soft as to spare a woman like you.”
“I appreciate the concern, but I am a Demon King’s Army soldier who’s been in battle multiple times.”

Well, of course, I knew that.
We were able to compromise on something, so I guess I have to give in, too.

“…Hmph. If that’s the case, then maybe we’ve fought on the same battlefield before.”
“Maybe so. If I had battled with you, you wouldn’t be here right now.”

What a detestable woman!
Forget it. I’m going to go out to save my people!


And then, we arrived after five days.

What was the meaning of the information the villager who took one month to inform me?
His village is relatively close.

“The orcs are camped on top of that hill!”

The soldiers who went out to scout brought back information in succession.

“Big trouble, sire! The orcs are building a castle on the hill!”
“A castle?!”
“That’s why we can’t grasp the enemy’s status since they’re hidden behind the castle walls. It’s cleverly built to take advantage of its position, making it difficult to infiltrate unaided!”

I ask the demoness beside me.

“Lady Varlina, demons can use anthropomorphic monsters such as orcs and goblins, can’t they?”

I’m sure she knows more about them than I do.

“Can orcs build castles?”
“The only orders we demons can give to the orcs are straightforward, like rushing into enemy territory or killing everyone in sight. They can construct a building by carrying simple cargo, but it is challenging to assemble or build something that requires precise calculations…”

Then, how will you explain this?
Is there someone who used orcs to build a castle?
Or did the orcs themselves evolve to the point where they could build a castle?

Both are unlikely… What exactly is going on?

“Sire, look in front!” shouts one soldier.

When I turned in the direction he mentioned, I saw an apparent anomaly.
An orc.

And it wasn’t just any orc. Even from a distance, a powerful aura emanated from its entire body.
Not even the bravest of the brave humans have this intense of a spirit.
What is up with this orc?!

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C235: Resonance of Misunderstandings

Hmm… I wonder if they’re doing okay?
When I received the report that there was a village nearby, I thought it was natural for me to go and visit our neighbor.

But Orkubo stepped up and said, “I’m the one responsible, so please leave it to my team and me!”

And so, all I could do was wait at the castle for their return.
Impatiently. Waiting.

Were they able to introduce themselves without a hitch?

As I kept watching the mountain path down to the village in suspense, I soon saw several figures coming up from the other side.
It’s the orcs. They’ve returned safely.

I also saw a few unfamiliar figures with them. From a distance, I was sure that they were people. In other words—the human villagers.
The fact that they looked all slightly tipsy and happy was enough to tell me how successful their meeting went.

“We’re back, My Lord!” says Orkubo in an uncharacteristically good mood. “This is the representative of the village at the foot of the mountain. He has accompanied us to meet you!”

The old man, who calls himself the elder, is also the head and representative of their village.
Orkubo’s visit went so well that they ended up drinking the night away.

“Oh, my! Orkubo didn’t cause you any trouble, did he? I’m his master!”
“Not at all! Thank you for treating an old man from the village like me with courtesy.”

Even the elder is in a better mood than I expected.
He seems relieved to find out that the monsters he thought were a disaster upon the village were actually harmless neighbors.

“The vegetables you gave us were so delicious that we used them all up for the feast. All of us had never eaten such delicious food before…”
“It was nothing. I’m glad you enjoyed them.”

We’ll send you some more later.

The great success of the meeting was evident just by this friendly atmosphere.


The elder then toured around Orkubo’s castle.

“Dear me! What a magnificent structure. I never knew orcs could build castles in such detail!”
“Oh, no, this is just…” says Orkubo bashfully.

Our orcs are unique in many ways, though!

“To be honest, I felt like I died the moment we heard that monsters had settled here, but now, all of us in the village are relieved to know the truth.”

I didn’t realize that we made you feel so weary.
I’m sorry we didn’t take action sooner.

“But now the misunderstanding is cleared up, isn’t it?”
“Actually, there is one problem.”

Huh?!

“When I heard that there are monsters on the hill, we immediately appealed to our feudal lord.”

Monsters have appeared!
Please send out your troops to kill the monsters and drive them away! Please help us!

…Like that?

“We sent our fastest chap.”
“Then, he must have heard the news already!”
“Well… Our fastest chap is also one with the poorest sense of direction.”

Yikes.

“Just a few days ago, he came back to the village once, saying he took the wrong road. He’s a hopeless fellow, I tell you.”

That’s why no help has arrived even after a month?
What are you doing when your village is in danger?

“But it was a fortunate error this time, wasn’t it?”

The misunderstanding was cleared up while the fast, directionally challenged person was still dawdling, so everything worked out peacefully.

“But just a while back, he returned, saying he has finally reached the feudal lord’s place.”
“Darn it!”
“He said that the lord will be rushing with his troops within five days. He’s such a good man who’s compassionate even toward a small village like ours!”

Is he? Judging by the pattern of things, I thought he’d be a villain or some other…
But what now? If I connect the dots based on the elder’s story, the troops led by the feudal lord will be here in five days at most, right?
And that too, armed and ready to fight.

“I’m sure they’ll understand if we explain the situation from the beginning,” says Orkubo, as happy-go-lucky as he can be, but I think he’s overly optimistic.

A castle is essentially a warfare facility built to protect its inhabitants and kill the enemy efficiently by hiding behind its solid walls and gates.
Those involved in its administration must have such a strong awareness.

For example, a feudal lord.
If this feudal lord came to the castle with the will to fight, would he easily back down if his opponent told him they hold no animosity and just want to build one for fun?
Wouldn’t someone who takes that at face value be toyed by Zhuge Liang?

“What do we do then?!”
“There’s no way we can seriously confront them!”

Perhaps the most peaceful way to solve this would be to demolish the castle and leave before the troops arrive. Still, it would be a pity to destroy the castle the orcs put their heart and soul into building.
We have to protect the castle, convince the imminent feudal lord, and keep the village’s peace.
The ingenious idea that meets all those requirements is…

“…All right.”

Eureka.

“I’m going to carry out the only brilliant plan to achieve all of those. Orkubo, I’m going to make some changes to your castle. I hope you don’t mind.”
“My Lord!”
“I’ll take command from here on out! Work hard, everyone! The deadline is only five days away!!!”

Thus began our preparations to intercept the feudal lord’s army…


Five days later, the feudal lord arrived with his army precisely as promised.
His army was much larger than I had imagined, with hundreds of men.

Is this how he plans to surround and kill the orcs that are stronger than humans?
But I won’t let that happen.
The preparations to intercept them lies with me!

“Orkubo, start your speech!”
“Are you certain you want me to do it?” asks Orkubo, but our opponent has come with the intent to kill you orcs.

It’d be meaningless if orcs don’t go out to intercept them.

“I-If you say so, My Lord…”

I watched from the top of the castle as Orkubo descended the authorized personnel-only safety route of the mountain.

“But… is this really the right choice, My Lord?” implores another orc. “If we can’t get them to back down through negotiation, isn’t it still too violent to just fight them?”
“Don’t worry. Don’t opponents become solid pals with each other after a match or two?”
“No, My Lord, they don’t.”

We will dare to convey our harmless intentions, which cannot be expressed by words alone through fighting!
After we have clashed with each other with all our might, we will then realize that we can reach a mutual understanding.

That’s why I’ve thoroughly remodeled Orkubo’s castle and its defenses to repel the attackers without them suffering any damage.

In other words, I turned our castle into an attraction.
With this, we will let them know that we mean no harm.

Orkubo finally makes his speech after reaching the feudal lord’s troops.

“Well met, human troops! I am Orkubo, the lord of this castle!”

He sure has become an expert in acting like a villain.

“If you think you have what it takes to challenge my castle, so be it. You will be rewarded with a great prize should you be able to reach and conquer the castle tower. I hereby declare the start of a war, a castle siege. You will attack, and we will stay inside to defend it.”

I chose the name of this battle based on my world’s knowledge—Orkubo’s Castle.


yes. takeshi’s castle reference.

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C234: Dreadful Neighbor

I’m just your typical resident from a rural village in the middle of nowhere, so my name doesn’t matter.

I was born to farmer parents and grew old doing the same mundane thing day after day. Nothing good, but nothing too bad, either. Before I knew it, I had a wife and became a father of one.
Our daughter will turn eight this year.

One day, the Human Kingdom that ruled us was destroyed and the demons took over, but nothing much has changed.
Either way, it doesn’t matter to us commoners.

Still, taxes have been reduced and the soil has somehow become richer.
The crops we planted are growing well, and if this keeps up, our lives will become more comfortable.

Or so I thought, but the celestial gods have given us a test!


“There were monsters on the hill!”
“I knew it…”

I’ve been noticing a strange presence in the mountains recently, and I was right on the money.
I sent a courageous young man from the village to check it out, but he came back ghastly pale.

“…So, what kind of monster did you find?”
“Anthropomorphs. The huge kind. Dozens of them!”
“Those must be orcs, intelligent monsters who move in groups. This is troublesome!” explains the most knowledgeable elder in the village.

But what good does it do to know their species?
All monsters are born brutes.
It’s extremely rare to have a small village like ours be suddenly attacked and destroyed by a pack of monsters, but it’s still something that you hear about.

“How were the monsters acting? Did they notice us? Do you think they’re going to stay for a while?”
“They didn’t seem to notice our village, but they definitely seem to be settling there. They were even cutting down trees and making things out of them!”

No way!
Just the fact that monsters are hanging out near the village is catastrophic enough!
They’re not aware of us at the moment, and it would be great if could stay that way.
Because the moment they are, it’s all over for us!

“It would take only ten orcs to destroy a small village like ours. How many of them were there?”
“Thirty, at the very least!”

No…
This is it for our village.

“Contact the feudal lord right now and have him send out the troops to get rid of the monsters!”
“I believe that’s for the best. Very well, send out our fastest chap in the village. Until the feudal lord makes his move, let’s just hold our breaths and pray the monsters don’t notice us…”

Everyone agreed with the elder’s instructions, and we decided to stay still like the plants around us.
This was the beginning of our long, quiet days.


Now and then, we would scout our surroundings.
Thereupon, we found something surprising—the monsters had built a castle atop the hill.
At first, it seemed to be a hut to shelter from the rain and dew, but as the days passed, it grew larger and larger until it could no longer be called a hut.

“It’s a huge castle with stone walls and gates! I don’t think the troops are enough to subjugate them!” reports our lookout as he sheds tears from being distraught.
“If worst comes to worst… We might have to abandon our village…” says the elder, as if in despair.

So, are you saying we should leave the village, run far away, and start a new life in a different place before the monsters could attack us?
But I was looking forward to next year’s abundant harvest now that the mana has returned to the soil after the disappearance of the Human Kingdom’s thaumaturgy magic!

“It’s better than being slaughtered. Or do you prefer our men killed and our women used as their plaything before they die a slow death?”

But my daughter has recently caught a cold from the winter cold and is bedridden…
Her fever won’t go away either, it’s impossible to make her move in her current condition!

“We can no longer afford to wait for the feudal lord’s help. There is no time to be lost. We can only hope that your daughter will make it. The rest of you, hurry up and start preparing to evacuate!”

Everyone was as reluctant in leaving the village, but we had no other choice, so we could only comply.

But my daughter has a fever.
The poor girl won’t be able to withstand the long journey ahead.
The rest may be in good health, but my family can’t escape right now.

As a poor villager, I can’t provide my own daughter with healthy food or a warm bed.
At best, all we have is a shabby hemp mattress.

In such a poor environment, we have no way to cure her.
What am I to do now?
Is there any way I can save my daughter and protect my village?

O’ celestial gods…
If you are watching, please help us!


But before we could leave the village, the monsters came.
They finally realized that our village exists.
They were fast in their actions, and by the time we realized they were approaching us, it was too late.

“We sincerely apologize for dropping by to introduce ourselves this late.”
“…”

Huh?!
The orcs came in a small group of three.
They had no weapons but instead carried some kind of package.

“This is a gift from us. It’s not much, but we hope you accept it. Please pardon our rudeness for not showing our faces for almost a month. We had absolutely no idea you lived so close, you see,” says the orc as he hands the package to our elder.
He then adds, “These are vegetables from our home. Please feel free to cook and eat them as you desire. More of our men will come later with a cartload of them so that everyone gets their share.”
“I-Is that so… …?????”

The elder looks as if he’s about to ascend to heaven with fear and confusion on his face.
But I don’t want that to happen just yet, so I tactfully take over.

“U-Um, so you’re not here to attack us?!”
“Nonsense, my good sir. We have no hostile intentions. Peace is always the best,” replies the orc.

Not only is he polite, but his dignified demeanor is also overwhelming.

“S-So, why are you building a castle? That was a castle, right? Ones built to attack or wage war?”
“We just want to build one, that’s all.”

He answered so decisively that it was pointless to press the matter further.

“B-But we were all bothered by how close you were. We don’t know when you’re going to attack us. We’re so frightened that we can’t even take leisure walks outside! We can’t fetch water or collect firewood either, we’re all mentally exhausted!”

I desperately blurted out everything I wanted to say.
I don’t care if they lash out.

“I even have a sick daughter!”
“You do? That’s not good. Have you brought her to a doctor yet?”
“There’s no doctor in this destitute village!”
“Let me take a look at her then.”

Huh?!

“Despite appearances, I’ve learned how to examine people from a famous mermaid doctor. I may be able to help you and your daughter.”

I have no idea what is going on anymore, so I did as the orc asked and took him to my daughter.
He peered into her mouth, listened to her heartbeat, and said…

“It’s a common cold, but her condition has aggravated, almost turning into pneumonia. Poor nutrition and the cold air are probably to blame.”
“Even if we know the cause, what are we supposed to do?!”
“In the meantime, I’ll share with you some of the first-aid medicines I got from Lady Garra Rufa. You can also make a hearty soup with the vegetables we gave you. Also, keep the room as warm as possible, and the cold should go away on its own,” says the orc as he takes a vial from his pocket, pops a pill out of it, and puts it in my daughter’s mouth.

The next morning, she was suddenly well again.
The crisis in our village vanished without any logical explanation whatsoever.

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C233: Castle Building

With the dried bonito flakes done, I used the rest of my spare time in winter to expand my cooking repertoire.
That’s when Orkubo came to me to ask for a favor.
And it wasn’t just him; there were other orcs with him too.

“We have a favor to ask you, My Lord.”
“What is it?”

It’s rare of them to come to me with a favor.
Although I brought them from the dungeon to streamline farmwork, they are now excellent companions who have helped us a lot.
So, I’d like to fulfill whatever request they have as much as I possibly can.

“Tell me about it.”
“All of us present were deeply impressed by what you did a few days ago!”

He starts with a strange introduction.
They’ve leveled up considerably ever since they came to the farm and have acquired quite the eloquent way of speaking.

“The bizarre yet rational mana metal boat! Your mastery of perfecting something that no one has ever imagined overwhelmed us from the bottom of our hearts. That was truly the work of a god!”
“Oh, no, it wasn’t anything like that…”

You’re giving me too much credit, dear Orkubo.
…Oh, want some zucchini?

“We are mere fledglings compared to you… We have built many houses, cellars, and waterways, but we are still no match for you… Hence, we thought up something!”
“And what’s that?”
“We want to accomplish even greater things and build something that has never been built before to hone our skills!”

Build something that’s never been built before?

“What are you going to build?”
“A castle!”

A castle?
What in the world is he talking about?
Wait, no. Our precious orcs are seriously asking me this, so I have to take them seriously, too.

“…Y-You want to build a castle?”
“Certainly, My Lord! The biggest one ever!”

The orcs are in charge of building houses where most of our residents sleep, storehouses where we keep our harvests, and various other structures on our farm.
They’re incredibly strong, after all.
Before I knew it, they had grown up to be such construction enthusiasts…

I guess they’ve come to enjoy building things.
There are many kinds of pleasure, such as debauchery and epicure, but the ultimate kind of pleasure usually isn’t one that doesn’t fall in the category.

“But wait. Where are you going to build the castle?”

Won’t it be a huge obstacle if you build it on our farm?

Also, just to make sure, we’re thinking of the same ‘castle’ here, right? The huge, imposing buildings made of stone?
How are you going to make use of something that big?

“Worry not, My Lord. The castle will not be built on the farm.”
“Not here?”

If not here, then where?

“Madam Aileron’s group saw a plot of land perfect for a castle on their way here.”
“The elves did?”

After spending life on the run from the two kingdoms they stole from during their time as elven bandits, they ended up on our farm.
I suppose it’s not a surprise if they saw all sorts of things on their way here…

“We want to build a convincing-looking castle there!”
“Wait, you mean you’re leaving the farm? But it’ll be lonely without you guys…”
“I’ve already arranged for Lady Veil to take us there! Then, we’ll set up a waypoint so we can come back every night!”

Oh, that’s a smart plan.

“Please grant us permission, My Lord!”
“PLEASE, MY LORD!!!”

I’m worried about leaving the orcs on their own after they’ve been with us all this time, but I also can’t ignore the fact that they’re asking so earnestly…
I guess this is a good way for them to compensate for the lack of things to do in winter.

“Do what you think is best.”
“Thank you very much!!!”

Thus began the story of our orcs building a castle.


“…So this is the place you told me about!”

Curious and bored, I decided to accompany the orcs on their castle-building expedition.

We got on dragon Veil’s back and soared through the skies according to Aileron’s directions…
The trip must’ve lasted for three hours.

We arrived on a hillock with a great view on top.
Below it is a large river flowing and a magnificent flatland beyond it.

“…It would make a great field if we plowed it,” I thought to myself.

…Have I become a farmaholic?

“Leader Orkubo! This land is flat and vast! It’s perfect for a huge building!”
“And that river makes a natural moat! We can even use it as drinking water!”
“Wait, before we use the river water for drinking, we have to take into account the possibility of poison being released from upstream! Split up and investigate to find out where the water source is!”
“We’re going to use this summit as the building site of the castle. Let’s check the mountain path leading up here and discuss what kind of traps we can set up!”


They’re so enthusiastic that it’s giving me the shivers.

Come to think of it, I’ve heard that castles were originally meant to be warfare facilities to barricade and fight back when enemies invaded.

I first thought the orcs just wanted to build something huge when they said they wanted to build a castle, but I guess that’s not the case.
They’re trying to build an actual castle that can withstand sieges and go, “We’re going to hold down the castle and fight for the next ten years!”
Where did they even get such knowledge from? Is this the zeal of a construction junkie?!

“We’ve finished setting up the waypoint,” says Belena, who accompanied us for no special reason.

Now, the orcs can come and go whenever they want.
They’ve begun building a castle as their winter project.


…I visited the hilltop a month later to see how the orcs were doing.


It’s a castle on a hill.
But I’m not going to tell them that. I don’t think the people in this world would understand it anyway.
Besides, it’s not like it’s on a cliff.

…A moving castle on a hill.
Yikes, I’m starting to think of all sorts of things now.

Random thoughts aside, the castle is pretty much complete.
When I first came here, it was just a plain hill, but now there’s a magnificent castle built on top of it.

It’s a western-style stone castle.
The rampart and the side towers are so solid that I doubt they would easily break down.

“My Lord! Wouldn’t it be cool to put a catapult here that can throw stones at once?”
“We’re working on a design that will allow them to fly across the river!”
“Please look here! We can shoot arrows through this hole in the wall!”
“Enemies who try to pass through this passage will fall into a pit and be attacked from above!”

The orcs look like they’re having fun, but what kind of impregnable fortress are they trying to build?
It’s becoming more and more like a warfare facility.

Although I can still hear the sound of wooden hammers being used here and there, it’s practically ready to handle an enemy invasion if one were to happen now.
But what are they going to do with it after it’s finished?

“Leader Orkubo! My Lord! We’ve got trouble!” says one of the orcs as he rushes over to us frantically.

“I thought of exploring the surroundings during my break and found something!”
“Hm?”
“There’s a human settlement!”

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C232: Strong and Hard

We’re back from our fishing trip!
Along the way, we ran into a sailing ship in distress, but other than that, our voyage was smooth with a bountiful catch.
However, we didn’t keep them with us on the ship, we teleported them directly back to the farm after draining the blood out.

Completing the revolutionary cycle of instant cryopreservation left us with extra space on the ship.
And thanks to Sensei, we don’t have to load the ship with piles of coal, either.

…I think we should drastically remodel its interior once.
But we’ll leave that for later.
For now, I should be thinking about whether or not we caught the otherworldly counterpart of bonitos.

I selected several fish from our catch and found one that looked good.
It’s about two sizes bigger, but it’s blue with stripes on its belly, just like the bonito I know.

“Ah, isn’t that a bont-o?”

My wife Platy looks like she knows something.

“It’s a migratory fish monster!”
“Oh, so it’s a monster too…”
“Its flesh is so firm and flavorful that it’s widely available in the Mermaid Kingdom’s markets! If I knew you wanted bont-o’s, I could’ve just asked my parents to send us some.”

The two of us then look at the mana metal magic steamboat, the only one of its kind in the world, that we had painstakingly built.

“…W-Well, our farm’s motto is self-sufficiency, remember?”
“O-Oh, right!”

It’d be hard to accept the fact that we wasted our efforts making it otherwise.

Anyway, I minced the bont-o and gave it a taste. It was just like bonito.
But ‘bont-o’ sounds confusing, so I’ll just call it a normal bonito.

I cut them into appropriate sizes, boiled them, and smoked them.
Strictly speaking, it took several rounds of trial and error. Still, I was eventually able to recreate the process of making dried bonito with the smattering knowledge I have of it.

“Okay, all that’s left is to mold it.”

It’s an essential and characteristic process of dried bonito, as the mold adheres to soak up the moisture and dry them out.
That’s why I’ve already prepared the mold while we were building the boat.
Specifically speaking, I entrusted it to Garra Rufa, our local expert and avid fan of the science behind it!

“Lord Saint, I’ve prepared the fungus you requested!”

Garra Rufa is also known as the Witch of the Plague and is devoted to the existence of germs that are unacknowledged by anyone else in this fantasy world.
I decided it was best to leave the fermentation to her, so she sprayed them with a mold hybridized with mermaid magic and observed their progress.

“I’ve made several magic mold prototypes, so let’s try all of them!”

And then, we used the one that turned them into dried bonito the fastest.

Ta-da!
Otherworldly dried bonito!


“What’s this?” asks Veil, the first person to have spotted the food. “All that fuss with the big boat, and this is what you made? A little bland, don’t you think?”

Yeah, I know a lot has happened to get here.
We made mayonnaise, then a boat.
It was a project with many by-products and detours…

“I think that mayonnaise thingy tastes better than this… Well, I’m broad-minded enough not to jump to any conclusions until I’ve tasted it, though,” she adds as she takes a bonito. “Now, for the taste test…”

Oh, Veil.
You’re actually eating the entire thing as is…

Crack.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! MY TEETH! MY TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETH!!!”

She writhes in pain.
Why would she sink her teeth in them like that?

“Veil, a dragon, couldn’t gnaw through it?!”

Platy shivers as she watches the silly scene.
Then, she takes the bonito from Veil’s hand…

“Hey, Aileron, can I have a piece of that firewood?”
“Hm? Yeah, sure. It’s only for the kiln anyway…”

Platy holds the dried bonito in her right hand and the firewood in her left…
What is she planning to do?
With tremendous speed, she then smashes them together.

The firewood got smashed into pieces.

“I get it now! This is a weapon!”

This time, Platy is being the silly one.

“I had the preconception it was food since it’s a fish! But it turns out this hardness makes it the ideal blunt weapon!”
“That’s not it!”
“Huh? What is it then? It can’t possibly be food with this hardness.”

Well, when you put it that way, I’m afraid I’m also terribly perplexed as to how we’re going to eat something with a hardness of ten, enough to pulverize phosphophyllite.
It seems to be harder than the dried bonito that I know of…

Is it because of the special mold that Garra Rufa made? Or is it because I unconsciously activated the Hand of Supremacy?
Even if I were to chop them into flakes, I don’t think a simple blade would be able to cut through them.

So, what now?
That’s right.
This calls for the holy sword.


As expected from the Wicked-Holy Sword Dreischwartz.
The otherworldly bonitos, which are so hard that an ordinary iron sword’s blade would chip, are chopped away.
They’re so thin that you can see through the other side.

“Here, it should be fine now. Try it.”
“Hngh… Are you sure?”

In addition to Veil, who is being more wary than necessary after nearly breaking her tooth, Platy also takes a piece of the flaked bonito.

“Well, it’s easier to chew than that huge lump earlier… Hm? What’s this?”
“The more you bite into it, the more flavorful it tastes! What is this taste?!”
“It’s neither sweet, sour, nor salty…”
“It’s not bitter, either!”

Yes, this is…

“UMAMI!”

Bonito flakes rich in umami.


With the introduction done, I chopped the rest of the dried bonito using the Wicked-Holy Sword Dreischwartz to make bonito flakes.
After boiling it in a pot and taking out its extract, I mix it with soy sauce and kelp extract and adjust the taste with salt and sugar.

Then…

“The natto sauce is done.”

What do you think, Horkosfon?
Taste the natto with this sauce.

“Here’s to supreme natto!”

Horkosfon then eats a lot of the natto mixed with the special sauce.
I have no idea why Gobukichi is next to her, but anyway, they both give it a try.

“…”

They put down their bowls and place their chopsticks on top of it, and say:

“It’s the best.”
“Indeed.”

Yes!
It’s been approved by Horkosfon and Gobukichi, the two biggest natto fanatics on our farm!
All my hard work up to this point has paid off!

“Thank you so much, Master. Thank you for going to so much trouble for what I want…”

Yeah, I think I’m going to take a break from going all-out for a while.

“I’ll work even more vigorously to make natto and repay your kindness.”
“In moderation, okay?”

All right, the case is closed.
This project had many by-products, but I’m just glad it was a success.

“After the sauce…”
“?”
“Let’s try putting mayonnaise on it next.”

Mayonnaise is secretly and steadily corrupting our farm.

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C231: Cruise Journal

I am Capt. Racha Leones, a demon sailor and explorer in search of the sea’s mysteries.

The sea has many dangerous and breathtaking romances—an ancient island where refugee demons have settled and built their own civilization, several paradise islands managed by the mermaids, the rumored Dragon King Geyser Dragon that dwells in the Dragon Emperor’s Fortress at the far end of the sea, and many more.
The whereabouts and existence of these places remain unknown and unconfirmed.
Finding these mysterious islands and taking the first step is what ocean exploration is all about.

People on land say that the war is over and the whole world is united, but such words are the jests of those who know little.
We have yet to see a huge portion of the world.

Uncovering each of them is the life of a seafarer.
For as long as I live, I will wade my way through this pathless ocean.

O’ San Imelda, my love, embrace the wind with your bewitching sails!


But during my voyage, San Imelda’s sails no longer embraced the wind.

It’s calm at sea, the most frightening thing for us sailors—no wind, no waves. Just a still and silent sea.
A sailing boat can’t move anywhere without wind, so once it’s caught in a lull, all we can do is wait for the weather’s whims.
Those who can ride a magic-powered ship that can sail freely without wind are the select elite members of the Demon King’s army.

When will the wind blow?
It might blow in a while, or it might not until tomorrow.
It might blow in three days, ten days, a month, or six months.

It may not blow at all, even if we’re on board and already famished.

The more we are caught in the lull, the more we realize how insignificant beings we are, only kept alive by the whims of nature.

Thirteen days have already passed since the ship stopped moving.
The standstill far exceeded our expectations, and we were beginning to run out of supplies.

Even if by some miracle the wind had picked up and we had been able to reach the nearest port, we would have barely enough left.
I told my crew that we would cut down from two meals a day to one and prepare for the worst, but that would not help if the wind did not blow.

Despair hangs in the air around the deck.
I wonder if we’re going to die of hunger and thirst.

From the moment we decided to become sailors, we knew we would not die quietly on land.
But I never thought that dying at sea would be so quiet and somber.

It’s a somewhat anti-climactic end for a marine adventurer.
If I’m going to die here, can’t it be at least through a strike of lightning?
Then my fellow survivors can spread the word about my glorious last moments.

“Captain… Captain!”

As I was lost in my trifling fantasies, a sailor called out to me.
I was so hungry that I almost lost consciousness. That was close.

“…What? Did you find a phantom ship that will take us to the underworld?”
“I’m not sure if it’s a phantom ship or not, but our lookout spotted it. It’s coming straight toward us.”

I meant it as a joke, but the unexpected report cleared the haze from my consciousness.

“What nonsense are you talking about? A ship is heading toward us?”

Have you forgotten what kind of crisis we’re in?
What kind of ship rides the waves without any wind?

“That’s why the other crew members are flustered. It might actually be a phantom ship!”

I couldn’t help but click my tongue at the sailor’s foolish joke.
Oh, well. I’ll just have to see for myself.

I walk out of my cabin and make my way to the deck.

“Where is it?”
“To the right, Captain.”

The sailor leads me to the edge of the deck, and sure enough, there’s something that looks like a ship sailing across the water.
There are no sails on it and is clearly coming toward us.

“…There’s no wind, right?”

I can’t help but ask the people around me even though I know the answer is obvious.
How is that sailless ship moving?!

“If it can move without wind, it doesn’t need a sail!”
“Perhaps it’s one of those rumored magic-powered ships in the Demon King’s Army. If so, it makes sense that it can move without wind…”
“No…”

I’ve seen magic-powered ships before, but their design is clearly different from the one in the distance.

The mysterious ship floating in the ocean before me is sparkling.
…The closer it approached us, the more defined its features became.

What is that?!
Its hull is shining like metal!

“No… It doesn’t look like metal, it is metal! It’s a metal ship!”
“Metal, how? Doesn’t it usually sink in water and rust in the salt wind?!”
“I guess it really is a phantom ship!!!”

The crew is in chaos.
The famine has gotten to their brains, but the fact that they’re making such a fuss indicates that the shock is that great.

“W-What should we do, Captain?!”
“Nothing! We can’t move, so if they want to come, we can only greet them. Make sure our crew is fully armed just in case!”

Before long, the mysterious ship came alongside our San Imelda.
A plank was laid across to create a makeshift bridge between our ships.
And what crossed over it was…

“An orc?!”
“Ahhhhhhhhh! Why are there monsters on the ship?!”

A ship full of monsters?
What is up with this ship? It’s just one mystery after another!

The only thing I can say for sure is that this orc is different from the norm.
I could tell from a glance that if this guy went on a rampage, our ship would sink.

I didn’t want to die a simple death, but I wasn’t expecting something this bizarre either.
This is a fitting end for a marine adventurer!

“U-Um…”
“?!”

I was already preparing myself for all sorts of things, but then, the orc spoke to me.
What now?!

“You seem to be in some trouble, so we’ve come on board without permission. Are you all right? Are you in distress? You all look pale from the looks of it, are you perhaps hungry?”

The orc asked about our welfare and I told him about our predicament.

“I see… My Lord! It seems that they are indeed in distress! They said they’re running out of food!”

The orc shouts as he turns back to their ship, and on the other side of the railing, I see a lanky… human?
…I think? He looks different.

“Okay! We’re not sparing any expense! Also, ask if any of them are sick!”
“Understood!”

The monster is listening to what the human is saying?!
The human race in question raises his voice even more toward us.

“Ah! You must be the captain! Sorry I’m talking to you from so far away! I’m the captain of this ship! We’ll be bringing in some of our supplies, so I’ll greet you once again then!”
“O-Okay…”
“Are any of you suffering from scurvy?! I know how it feels! We’ve got lots of orange juice on board, so don’t worry!”

W-What the hell is going on?!
All I can say for sure is that this strange encounter has given us a new tomorrow when we should have been dead.


“…And there you have it.”

Five days have passed since then.
We made it to the nearest port, guzzled down a few drinks at a bar, and reflected upon our recent experience.
We had made it back alive without losing a single sailor.
What a miracle!

“We were trapped in the calm, but the mysterious ship towed us to a route where the trade winds were blowing. We were ready to die until they came. I even thought I’d never see your filthy face again!”
“Oh, quit your babbling and tell me a better lie.”
“Say what?!”

I’m sharing drinks with a fellow explorer I met by chance in the port town, yet he calls me a liar the moment I told him about my peculiar experience!

“Of course, it’s a lie! A ship with no sails sailing on its own? Exterior made of metal? There’s no such ship in the world! If it’s metal, it’ll sink! It would rust in the sea breeze!!!”
“I know, I know… But I saw it with my own eyes, how are you going to deny that?!”

You have got to believe it really happened.
Hundreds of epic romances exist in the vast ocean.
That ship is one of those, no doubt about it.

But my seafaring friend doesn’t seem to believe what I said.

“Your silly talk aside, there’s been some interesting gossip going around lately, do you want to hear all about it?”
“What?”
“It seems that somewhere in this world, there is an earthly paradise that has all the treasures you could ever imagine… It’s called the Saint’s Farm.”

The Saint’s Farm?

“Rumors have spread even among the human adventurers. They say that if you go there, you will find all the tools, weapons, treasures, and delicacies. This is where I want to make a request.”
“Let me guess, to find this ‘Saint’s Farm’?”
“Bingo. There are already many adventurers looking for it on land, but not many approaches it from the sea. If we play our cards right, we might outwit them, eh?”

My fellow explorer expressed his greedy, speculative spirit, but it didn’t make my heart race.

“Pass.”

I have more important things to pursue now.

“I’m going to find that mysterious ship again!”

We eventually parted ways with that ship as we returned to the regular route.
It was careless of me to forget to ask for their name and background.
It was a huge mistake, notwithstanding the fact that I was confused by the whole situation, and my mind wasn’t in the best condition.

So, I don’t know where that ship was built, what kind of ship it was, who was the human commanding it, or where I can go to see him again.

“I’d rather look for that mysterious ship than some farm! After all, I’ve seen it myself!”
“Are you sure you weren’t just hallucinating from extreme hunger?”
“Bullshit. There’s no way that amazing ship is also at the Saint’s Farm. I’m going to see that ship again and unravel its mysteries!!!”

The romance that makes the hearts of ocean explorers race.
That mysterious ship must be the most romantic of all.

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C230: Forbidden Food and the Completed Steel Boat

Ingredients needed:
Eggs from yoschamos, the chicken monsters we keep.
Vinegar made by Bacchus.
Olive oil manufactured by the orcs.
Lemons grown in the dungeon orchard.
Salt directly extracted from the sea.

It’s amazing how our farm has come to supply whatever we want now.
But now is not the time to get emotional.
We mix the above-mentioned ingredients together, and voila!
Mayonnaise!

And then I add Poseidon’s favorite cod roe…
Mentai mayo!
I mixed some into a rice ball and offered it to Hephaestus’ altar.

“Hephaestus, I offer you a rice ball with a new ingredient. In exchange, please give me the blueprints for the steamboat… Or rather, the steam engine.”

Every time I offer a new rice ball to the rice ball-loving Hephaestus, he would give me blueprints for new machinery.
This is how I got the blueprints for the sewing machine before.
Since it’s an equal exchange, it doesn’t violate their rule of not giving man one too many ‘blessings.’

“You might think that it’s just a twist on the cod roe rice ball from before… But we just started pickling plums the other day, so I couldn’t find anything else that could be used as an ingredient. Once the steamboat is complete and we go to a wider area to fish, we’ll be able to get new ingredients like kelp and tuna. And most importantly, once we make bonito flakes, our main goal today, I can make a special rice ball!”

Bonito rice balls!!!

“In light of this, I beg of you to please give me the blueprints for the steamboat!”

A glaring light shines from the altar, and a few sheets of paper flutter in front of me.
The drawings on it are… a boat!

“Yes! He heard me!”

Now, we can build a steamboat!
Thank you, Hephaestus! I love you! You can expect more rice balls from me in the near future.

“…Hm?”

I notice a few light bulbs on the altar.
They’re not lit.
Were they always here? I don’t remember putting them here, though.

…Huh?
The Hephaestus Gauge?

So, for every new kind of rice ball I offer, one will light up and I can exchange it for the blueprint I want?
And that I should stop being modest and offer you all my rice balls?
I understand, but please stop communicating with me through my brain.


Well, this is how I was able to get the blueprints for the steamship.
But in exchange, I have created something preposterous—mayonnaise.

Should I really introduce mayonnaise to this world?
Ever since vinegar was made thanks to Bacchus’ efforts, I guessed that mayonnaise could be made as well.

But I couldn’t make up my mind to make it.
Why, you ask?
Because mayonnaise is a terrifying condiment!

It has a lot of calories and a severe addictive quality… almost like drugs!
Those who have become addicted to it will no longer feel satisfied unless they put it on everything they eat!!!

Mayonnaise on rice! Mayonnaise on even more mayonnaise!
We mustn’t produce mayoras whose favorite party trick is to chug mayonnaise!
Hence, I’ll keep the leftover mayonnaise in a safe place and never let anyone know it exists.

“So, this is your new dish, Master?”
“What are you making when you’re supposed to be building this steel boat of yours?”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

They’ve already sniffed it out!
Platy and Veil discovered the mayonnaise immediately!
It’s like they have a special radar for my new creations!

“It looks like whipped cream, but it tastes totally different from it.”
“Let’s try putting some on the cucumber. Ooh, goody! Though I think it will go well with any kind of vegetable.”

Stoooop!
There’s no turning back once you discover the versatility of mayonnaise!
You’re going to tread a never-ending mayonnaise road!

“Master, I have an idea.”
“How long have you been here, Horkosfon?!”
“Don’t you think this mayonnaise would match natto?”

I’ve heard that’s one way to eat it, but don’t be hasty!
I’ll make you some authentic sauce made with dried bonito flakes!


“Anyway, let’s rush making the steamboat.”

And then, ta-da.
We finished it after a month.

“Wasn’t that a little too fast?!”
“I always thought you were too good at making things, Dear. Normally, this would’ve taken others decades to finish through trial and error, but here you are, finishing it like it was nothing!”

It’s all thanks to the Hand of Supremacy I received from Hephaestus.
Also, Horkosfon and her equipment helped us with metalwork while Orkubo and his team went to the mountains to cut down the needed wood necessary for building the steel boat, so we were able to save a lot of time!
The completed boat has already been launched and is floating off the coast near our farm.

“It’s made of metal, but it’s really floating…”
“The same metal that goes clang, clang when struck!”

Orkubo, please go easy on bumping your fists together like that.
You’re the most powerful orc in the world right now, so even if the boat’s made of mana metal, your strength is enough to blow a hole in the hull.

“Is it also made of mana metal?!”
“How could you just liberally use such precious metal? Huh? This ship’s exterior is made of mana metal? All of it?! Do you have any idea how many swords you could’ve made with that?!”

When I told Sensei about the shipbuilding project, he was very enthusiastic and condensed the stagnant mana in his dungeon to produce a lot of mana metal.
He sure produces a lot when he gets in the groove.

“If the Dwarf King saw this, his soul would probably leave his body,” says Bacchus.

I’m glad to see that even an alcohol lover like him is also interested in the boat.

“We had to make it big this time because we needed to secure enough space for the steam engine as well as net fishing.”
“It’s harder to ignore the fact that you used so much mana metal to make it, though.”

Anyway, on to the main point—the steam engine!

…Come to think of it, Sensei came to me while we were working on it.

“I see, so the steam from the heat is used to generate the power? But burning coal is hard, wouldn’t the smoke make it dirty?” he says as he throws a glowing red rock into the hearth. “I have placed a fire magic crystal inside. Invoke magic into it, and it will generate high heat. It produces neither smoke nor soot, so it’s easier to handle than coal.”

The next thing I knew, the steamboat turned into a magic steamboat!

“What’s wrong with that?”
“A magic crystal made by the Lifeless King is a rare item that an elite adventurer would spend a lifetime searching for. Its exterior is made of mana metal. Moreover, a magic-powered ship is a super-military luxury item, of which there are only one or two in the Demon Kingdom…”

Oh well, at least we can do pelagic fishing now.
Are you ready?

Orc army, board the ship.
This time, I’ll also be on board to lead the fishing and catch the bonito counterpart of this world.

“Wow, this is going to be fun!”
“Platy? You’re coming with us?!”
“The sea is my territory, after all! Besides…”
“?”
“We can’t be separated from each other when we’re trying for a baby, now can we? Consistency is key!”

Huh?
Platy, don’t tell me… You’re also planning to do it on the boat?

Err, we didn’t build this ship with that much regard for privacy, so the noise might be a nuisance to the orcs… you know?

…What’s this?!
We’re going to wrap up our fishing trip early and come back home right away!

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C229: The Road to Bonito Flakes

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.


“Hm?”

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!”

Oh, dear.

“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.

“…Okay.”
“Huh? What is it, My Lord?”
“I’ll build you a new boat!”
“HUH?!”

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!”
“Oh!”
“My Lord!!!”

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.
A-All right!
If you insist, I’ll build the most revolutionary ship ever built in history!

…Hm.
Let’s see…

“…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?

“…?!”
“Huh?”

Huh?
What’s wrong, you guys?
What’s with the weak reaction to my suggestion?

“Are you out of your mind, Dear?”

Huh?!
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!”
“Okay…”
“You see… Iron sinks in the water!”

Boom!
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!

“What now?”

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.

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C228: A Bean-timate Relationship

After all that had happened, winter came.

Platy is practicing the Lamaze technique of giving thanks 1,000 times every day in between work in hopes of mastering the conception trick taught to her by the sea mother goddess Amphitrite.
I wondered how that technique even got here, but I remembered that deities could transcend dimensions. Even I was able to travel across dimensions, so I’m sure gathering something intangible, like information, is an easier feat to accomplish.

But the problem is whether or not Platy can bear my child with the Sea Mother Goddess’ Blessing.’
Let’s just hope her maternal power will be enough.

On the other hand, I continued to work on the farm as usual.
It’s already winter, but we’re well-prepared, unlike last year.

Heaters installed in each room burn hot from the coal mined by the orcs.
Feather quilts made from bird monsters in the mountain dungeon keep us warm.
More than enough food to last us through the winter!

But then, someone came to me for advice.


“Master, I have something to ask,” says Horkosfon.

She’s one of the strongest residents on our farm, and her job is to make natto.
Which means there’s only one thing that she came to ask me for.

“It’s about natto.”

I knew it.
Ninety percent of her world is made up of natto now.
Her skill at making it is also improving; she has made a variety of small-grain, large-grain, and ground natto.
I’m not quite sure if the other residents are happy about it, however.

“So, what do you want to know about natto?”

Then again, I only have surface knowledge, having gathered information from books or the web.
I’ve already passed on most of my natto knowledge to her.
So, if anything, she, who has taught herself and done research from scratch, is more knowledgeable than me at this point.

“My tactical program, which can predict up to 148,000 battle patterns, has concluded that something is missing in my natto.”
“I see.”
“If I can identify that, I’m affirmative my natto will become closer to perfection, and everyone will enjoy it more. But as of now, it is still incomplete.”

You’re just exaggerating things.
I think you make pretty mean natto already.

Some people, including Gobukichi, have incorporated it into their breakfast as their staple food.
And besides, Veil keeps her promise to eat them whenever she loses to you in a mock battle.
She practically eats it every time, right?
I’m concerned at how expressionless she’s gotten lately, though.

“If I can further perfect the natto, I believe Veil’s expression will return. This is of prime concern to us.”

I see.
Well then, let’s get down to business. What do you think is lacking in natto at this stage, Horkosfon?

“The seasoning.”

Huh.

“Looking at the food we eat, it isn’t orally ingested as is, but various liquid or powdered substances are added to adjust its taste. I think our natto must also be made in such a way.”

‘Our’?

“Well, I suppose you have a point…”

It was also impossible to eat natto as it was back in my world.
We always ate it with some seasoning mixed in.

“If that’s the case, I think I can come up with some ideas.”
“Really? Thank you, Master!”

Horkosfon only ever shows varying emotions when natto is involved.
But it’s hard to believe that she hadn’t added any seasoning all this time.
No wonder Veil’s face has become expressionless.

“But natto goes surprisingly well with all kinds of seasonings. There’s no set seasoning for it.”

You can pour soy sauce on it straight away.
Green onions and eggs are also famous.
I heard you can also add sugar if you want a little twist.
Or oil! We can try sesame oil or olive oil, both of which are being produced by the orcs.

I presented all these ideas to Horkosfon, but…

“No.”

She rejected them all.
Why?

“I’ve already tried those.”

Wow, you’re so diligent.

“As you mentioned, Master, the ingredients were excellent in bringing out the flavors’ harmony, but I felt that they still weren’t enough. Veil, my taste-tester, also remained expressionless throughout…”

How many times are you going to torture Veil until you’re satisfied?
Are you sure she’s okay? Will you be able to make Veil smile or cry again?

“Unfortunately, I’ve come to rely on your wisdom and nothing else. Master, please impart your wisdom to me!”

She sure uses ostentatious language when natto is involved.
But I can’t betray her expectations.

“Hm, let’s see…”

I cross my arms and ponder.
If we can’t find an answer that fits our needs, we should go back to the most basic of the basics—natto sauce. That thing that comes with every packed natto.
It’s so common that the producers include it as a matter of course, so it’s safe to say that no other seasoning goes better than that.

So, what now?
Do we make it?

After otherworldly natto, we’re making otherworldly natto sauce.
Sounds like it’s worth a try.
But how should we make it?
Based on its color, it probably uses soy sauce…

But based on what I’ve tasted in my world, there was a deeper flavor mixed in that clearly wasn’t just soy sauce, like the taste of the sea.
I assume it’s a mixture of dashi and mentsuyu.

Speaking of dashi, do we use kelp or dried bonito flakes?
Surely, we don’t need to include the stock in our list of options. That’s already a given.

Supposing we want to add soy sauce to dashi made by boiling either of those two.
In that case, kelp should be the first choice since we can easily get it from the sea.
But with dried bonito flakes, we have to spend a lot of time and effort fermenting and drying bonito fishes to get our finished product.

Avoiding the hard stuff and tackling the easier one first is a fine way to solve problems. As we solve the easy ones, the difficult ones often become easier.
But this time, let’s dare to choose the difficult one.

“I’ve decided, Horkosfon!”
“What do you mean, Master?”

It’s not just the natto sauce.

If we can produce dried bonito flakes, we will be able to expand our culinary repertoire.

My goal for this winter is…

“To make dried bonito flakes!”


chapter title “豆(bean)魚の交わり” is a pun for the noun(expression?) “水魚の交わり” which means a close, inseparable relation just like water水 and fishes魚.

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C227: Desiring the Treasure that is Children

It’s me again.

Just before our farm entered its second winter, more good news came—Demon King Zedan’s second child was born to the second Demon Queen, Mrs. Glasya. It was just a few months after the first Demon Queen, Mrs. Astres, gave birth to the Demon Prince Goetia.
This time, it’s a baby girl.

The whole Demon Kingdom is abuzz with the birth of another successful heir.
The royal family came to our farm with the newborn princess, and everyone instantly fell in love with her. The birth of a new life is always worth rejoicing!
Mrs. Glasya’s baby is named Marine and will be raised as a demoness under special education.

As we were swooning for little Marine, I felt the hem of my shirt being tugged by someone.
It’s Platy.

“Oh? What’s wrong?”

But she didn’t reply and just kept dragging me away by my shirt’s hem.
As I let myself be dragged away…

We reached the back of the warehouse with no one around.
This makes sense since everyone’s too busy adoring the baby.
What do you want to do with just the two of us here, Platy?

She looked hesitant for a while, wondering whether to say something or not, but eventually, she spoke.

“I want a baby too.”

Huh?

“I want to have a baby just like Astres and Glasya! Our baby, of course!”

…O-Oh!
Well, we are married, after all.
It’s natural for a married couple to have a child.

Be that as it may, it’s been more than a year since we had our wedding ceremony.
Normally, now would be the time to drop the big bomb, but no stork has come to us to date.

This is not to say that we’re neglecting the steps.
As a married couple, we do that often, which is the preliminary stage of pregnancy and childbirth.
But still no sign of a stork.
What in the world is taking it so long?!

“I thought I’d be satisfied just living happily on the farm with you, but after seeing their babies, I got jealous…”
“I see your point.”
“Don’t you want your baby to be born by me, Dear?”

I can’t say no even to pleading eyes like that, even if I want to!

“I do! Of course, I want one too!”

I want one from the bottom of my heart.

“Okay! Then, starting today, we’ll work harder towards procreation for an entire month! Every morning and every night!”
“An entire month? Every MORNING?!”

Can’t we at least reduce it to every night?

However, Platy’s eyes are sparkling with the unstoppable desire to have a baby.

Thus, I worked in the fields for the next few days, almost half-dead.


“Don’t you look awfully haggard lately, My Lord?”
“You think?”
“Why don’t you get some rest?”
“But I am. I’m spending more time under the covers lately…”

Hehehehe…
I need to get as much stamina as possible in my meals and head to bed early today.
Getting under the covers isn’t equivalent to immediate bedtime, after all!

“Are you here, Lord Saint?”

While I was daydreaming, Sensei the Lifeless King came to visit me.

“Oh? What’s wrong? You look even more dead than I am.”

Hehehe, you’re such a jokester, Sensei.
If I looked more dead than you, I would’ve been a mummy by now!

“Anyway, what can I do for you today?”
“Oh, I don’t have any particular business per se… Can you please call your wife first?”

Platy?
It’s unusual for Sensei to mention her.

Platy came soon after I called her, with glowing skin in stark contrast to mine.
She also seems to be in a good mood.

“How do you do, Sensei? Were you looking for me?”
“Well, not quite…”

Sensei’s saying the same thing again.
I wonder what he’s trying to say?

“It’s this person who wants to see you… Whoop-dee-doo.”

After Sensei chanted a sloppy spell, time and space were distorted, a door opened, and a magnificent being from the spirit world emerged.
Sensei!
Did you summon a deity again?!

It’s a goddess.
A mature yet youthful beautiful woman, her dark blonde hair reminds me of the sea surface glittering in the setting sun.

“Oh, I remember seeing her before.”

Amphitrite, wife of the sea god Poseidon.
She was present at the gods and goddesses’ banquet.

“Holla, mine own lovelies, long time nay see! ♡ ♡ ♡”
“Amphitrite! Why are you here?”

For a mermaid like Platy, Amphitrite, the sea god’s wife, is the very center of her worship.

“Thy actions lately has’t been a matter of most wondrous interest to me, so I hath asked the Immortal King to summon me.”

You’re being used so conveniently, Sensei.
A god who uses the Immortal King on a whim, and an Immortal King who summons a god nonchalantly.
Both outlandish relations enough to make my brain mush.

“What…we’re doing?”
“Doth thee not remember, Platy? I did bless thee with something as thanks for the feast thee did prepare for us.”
“Oh…”

Right, that happened.
Hades and Poseidon’s little dispute turned into a deity merrymaking event before we knew it.
And for some reason, our farm was chosen as the venue, and we almost ran out of food.

In return, the gods and goddesses gave blessings to all the farm residents, regardless of who they were.
Platy was among those who received their blessings.
She was blessed by Amphitrite, a sea goddess, who is right in front of us at the moment.

“I did get word through the Sea Mother’s Blessing I bestowed upon thee yond thee has’t been working hard every morning and every night ♡♡♡”
“~~~?!?!?!”

Platy turned bright right after hearing this from a goddess.
Sure, it’s a regular activity for a married couple, but it’s hard to remain unfazed when someone blurts it out in the open.
Sensei is also trying his best to pretend that he didn’t hear anything.

“H-Huh? Did you come all the way here just to say that? Aren’t you being too much of a gossiper?”
“Of course, what I wanteth to bid thee is something else: that thee shouldst not waste thy time.”
“Wasting our time?”
“Nay matter how hard thee tryeth the normal way, thee shall never be able to conceiveth a baby with the Saint.”

With just those words, the atmosphere around me changed instantly.
I could hear the cracking of thin ice in my head.

“Thy beloved is a visitor from another world. A clever person like thee can connecteth the rest of the dots, hm?”
“…?!”
“That gent may behold similar to the mortals living here, but he is still different. Beings from different worlds can’t procreate successfully.”

The moment she heard that, the sparkle vanished from Platy’s eyes and became as dark as the deep sea.
Just looking at her breaks my heart.

“I am truly sorry. I knoweth not being able to conceive a child with the person thee love the most is heartbreaking… But doth not loseth hope just yet.”
“?!”
“That is not the only thing I has’t cometh to bid thee!” says the goddess lightheartedly. “The blessing I bestowed upon thee is the Sea Mother’s Blessing! Those blessed by me, one of the three mother goddesses given omnipotent power by Gaia, the mother goddess of all, can conceiveth with the person they love!!!”
“T-Then…”
“It is just that right now, thou art not yet able to useth mine own blessings to their full potential! But thee can train thyself to!!!”
“Oh, Sea Mother Goddess!!!”

The color of Platy’s eyes changed, and they started sparkling like pearls.

“Please train me so that I can use 140% of your blessings! I’ll be able to bear Dear’s child after that, right?!”
“Of course, and that is wherefore I am here! I’ll train thee. The sea god’s ten-billion-year (exaggerated) history tells us about a technique of prosperity handed down from one generation to the next! Its name is…”
“Its name is?!”
“The Lamaze technique!”

I can tell she isn’t being a hundred percent serious.
Still, she’s our one and only hope who can help us have a baby!!!


volume 7 let’s goooo

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C226: The New Heavenly Four’s Efforts (Second Half)

I’m Aeshma of the Heavenly Four who’s about to have her meager pride blown away at Saint’s Farm where I’m currently training.
It was during this time that I had an encounter with a small, frail-looking girl.

“Oh… It’s Lady Veil,” says Belena for some unknown reason.

If she knows her, that means this girl is also a resident here!
I feel like the two of us are going to get along.

“Aeshma? Whatever you’re thinking right now, I’m having none of it…”
“Why the worried look on your face, Belena?”
“This is just my guess, but you’re certainly not thinking of establishing dominance by persuading someone who you think is lower than you, right? With Lady Veil… who’s in her human form as your target?!”

You’re misunderstanding things, Belena!
I, Aeshma, who has inherited the title of “Wild” from Queen Astres don’t hold such malicious intent despite my lack of talent!

“I just wanted to use her cuteness to heal my heart that’s been scarred by rough experiences.”
“Military police! Military police, over here!!! Wait, no, they can’t arrest a Heavenly One like you!!!”

Hahaha.
There are no military police on the Saint’s Farm, silly Belena.

I’ll just leave her to her own world and call out to the little girl.

“WAH-HAH-HA! You fragile little worms. I, Veil, shall crush you to death!”

I wondered what she was doing here outside, but she’s actually playing with bugs?
That’s cute.

“Well, pillbugs are persistent vermin… Are you helping out in the fields at Lord Saint’s orders for once, Lady Veil?”

Shut up, Belena.
You’re making it hard for me to talk to her.

“Helping with the work, little miss? Well, aren’t you admirable!”
“Hm? Who are you?”

The girl looks back at me with a wary expression.
She’s just like a stray cat wary of a stranger approaching it!

“I’m just a Heavenly One passing by who wants to praise an industrious little girl. Do you mind if I pet you?” I ask as I pat her head.

It’s just as soothing as I imagined it would be!

“Aww, good girl. There, there.”
“Hey!”

The girl turns to Belena with a troubled expression.
Belena is pale all over, I wonder why?

“You’re such a cute little girl. And because of that…”

Hyup.
I held her up in my arms.

She’s so light that I managed to lift her easily.
So cute. It makes me want to rub my cheeks against hers. Nuzzle, nuzzle.

Belena?
Why are you running away?

“…You dare insult Grinzel Dragon Veil like this? So be it! Let’s see if you still think I’m cute when you see me in my true form!”

…Huh?
The girl’s appearance is changing before my very eyes…


“…Lady Veil is scary.”
“I TOLD YOU SO!!!”

Belena and I are both dumbfounded.
For the next hour or so after that, I felt like a hamster being rolled around Lady Veil’s ‘palm’ after she reverted to her dragon form.

“I never imagined that a dragon could transform into a girl… I’ve learned not to judge the inhabitants of this farm by appearances alone.”
“That’s the first thing you should learn when you come here. If not, what did you learn during your first few days here?!”

Hahaha…
My younger sister-figure is so harsh.

If you had been cuter, I wouldn’t have been distracted by Lady Veil.

“Lady Veil is the one who brought me and Miss Astres to the battlefield and threatened everyone present there. She’s one of the strongest people on this farm, definitely someone you shouldn’t piss off!”

Tell me that sooner.
Lady Veil is still roaring near us in her human form.

“Don’t you dare pet me again! If you do, I’ll get really angry!”

It’s more like you’re asking to want to be petted again with how you’re so insistent about it.
What do you think, Belena?

“Like an overexcited cat scratching you for petting them, but in reality, they want you to do it more.”

Dragons are so hard to please.
But my pride has not been healed at all.
…Ah.

“Hey, Belena.”
“What is it this time?”
“I’m sure the normal-looking guy over there is weaker than I am, but what do you think?”
“I told you it’s unhealthy to find someone you think is lower than you just to flatter yourself… Huh? That’s Lord Saint!”

…Hm?
You’re right, that’s Lord Saint.
He’s the very first person I met here. Oh, I’m such a clumsy girl.

“Get your grip together, you Heavenly Fool! It’s true that Lord Saint may look ordinary, but he’s even stronger than Sensei and Veil!!!”

I knew it.
I guess no one on this farm is as they seem.

“Pay attention to the sword that he has on his waist.”
“Hm?”
“That’s the Wicked-Holy Sword Dreischwartz.”

The lost holy sword?
That’s the holy sword that the Demon King and each of the Heavenly Four have possessed for generations. But legend says that there are seven holy swords in total, and the whereabouts of the remaining two are completely unknown.

“Moreover, His Majesty’s Einrot is considered more precious because it’s the only one that exists in perfect form. Then again, Queen Astres and Queen Glasya’s holy swords have also been restored.”
“And do you know who restored them? Lord Saint.”
“Hahaha… Haha…”

I can’t help but let out an awkward laugh.

“I heard rumors that the other lost holy sword, Annihilating-Holy Sword Siebengrün, has also been confirmed recently.”
“Oh?”
“Though I doubt that even matters.”
“Indeed.”

We continued to observe Lord Saint working in the fields for a while, but then he took a break and started playing with the orcs and goblins he was working with.
They faced each other one-on-one and grappled with each other.

“What’s Lord Saint doing now?”
“He’s sumo wrestling, a form of dueling, and a favorite sport of Prince Arowana from the Mermaid Kingdom.”
“Could you please not bring up such an important figure casually like that?”

Lord Saint wrestles and wrestles with his orc opponent…
…And hurls him?!

“His winning technique is the underarm throw. Lord Saint is very good at controlling the opponent’s balance movement, so he can hurl them quite easily.”

But… I was beaten up so badly by an orc right as soon as I got here!
Yet Lord Saint just flung him away…

“The orc that you lost to on your first day was a Warrior Orc. And the orc Lord Saint is grappling with right now is one of the Ten Outstanding Farm Monsters, Orkra the Legatus Orc.”
“Don’t put up any more insurmountable barriers than this, please!!!”
“Resigning to that reality is what it means to live on this farm.”


Thus, as one of the splendid Demon King’s Heavenly Four, I learned the vastness of the world and my own trivial existence.
I ended up crying.

After a few weeks of training, I decided to return to the Demon Kingdom to put into practice many of the things I learned here.

Thank you, farm.
And thank you to everyone who lives here.

I swear to you all that I will be a great Heavenly One!

“Huh? You’re leaving already, Aeshma?”
“But you were just about to get used to the wackiness here…”

I’m leaving before that happens!
Don’t lump me with you forsaken kids, Batemy and Belena!

“I, on the other hand, am going to pay regular visits to this place, though.”

Leviasa already got accustomed here?!
I swear to Hades, you scare me!


another volume, complete!

thank you so much for sticking around and putting up with my translations (Ghost Ape also deserves kudos for being my second pair of eyes). see you again on Monday with a brand new volume and cover art to accompany it ^^

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C225: The New Heavenly Four’s Efforts (First Half)

I am Aeshma, chosen to serve His Majesty as one of the new Heavenly Four.
Alas, I’m currently at the Saint’s Farm where I spend my days training my inadequate self.
Today’s story is about my hardships and growth here.


“Flame Brace! Become my sword, o’ flames!”

I’m in the middle of chanting a spell.
Striking a cool pose during this moment is essential for demon soldiers.

“Hellfire Spirit Slayer!!!”

A huge flame from both of my hands shoots up as if to scorch the sky.
It’s only a demonstration, so I have no specific target so to speak.

“Ohh!”
“Wow!!!”

The mermaid girls are struck with admiration at the spectacle of it.
I heard that they are also living here on the farm to study.

“This is the first time I’ve seen demon alchemy!”
“I guess it’s as flamboyant as they say!”
“B-But our Master Puffer is more amazing!”
“No one can beat Master Garra Rufa when it comes to being nuts!”

Discus, Veiltail, Heckelii, and Batrachus.
I like these four girls because they are genuinely amazed by what I do.
They’re more lovable than Batemy and Belena who have become jaded!

“Hahahaha! Marvelous, wasn’t it? Hellfire Spirit Slayer is my most powerful attack!”

I’ve even used this magic to kill monsters in three-star dungeons!
Pretty amazing, right?!
Demon alchemy is amazing, right?!

“Please don’t brag about your power to these innocent girls, it’s embarrassing!”
“And you’re a former peer and junior who has become jaded.”

Belena showed up.

“Who are you calling jaded? Anyone who lives on Lord Saint’s farm becomes like this.”
“What do you mean?”
“Advanced magic doesn’t surprise anyone here anymore.”

No way.
I’ve been chosen as one of the Heavenly Four, and this is the spell I’m most skilled at!
If this doesn’t surprise you, what will?

“I’d like to introduce you to the magic guru today.”
“Magic guru?”
“It’s by the kind offices of Lord Saint and him, so make sure you get something from it, such as learning your place.”

Hah-hah-ha…
Oh, Belena. I’ve been selected as one of the Heavenly Four, what else can I possibly learn from someone else now?
Lifelong learning is a noble aspiration, but too much of it can be despicable.
Isn’t that pathetic for the Heavenly Four, who should be feared by their enemies?

“Please make her understand, Sensei.”
“Mm-hm.”


Huh?

There’s an undead in front of me.
An immortal demon.

Something that’s both alive and dead and has received supra-rational power from the dungeon.
Moreover, the miasma emanating from this figure and its overall appearance…
Is he perhaps the most dangerous of all creatures, the Lifeless King?

“This is Sensei the Lifeless King. You can just call him Sensei.”

So, he is a Lifeless King!
How could I have just stumbled upon an evil being that is said to be one of the World’s Two Greatest Calamities?!

He’s real, right?
The four mermaid girls from earlier even ran at the speed of light!

“On the way here, I saw a huge flame…”

The Lifeless King spoke?!
He’s actually capable of coherent speech?!

“That was the alchemy spell Hellfire Spirit Slayer, wasn’t it? It’s an advanced spell that borrows the power of the elder spirit Efreet. I’m amazed you mastered a difficult spell at such a young age.”
“Huh?! U-Uh… Yes!”

Did he just praise me?
Even a Lifeless King recognizes my abilities. No wonder I’m a Heavenly One!

“Please stop trying to flatter yourself. Sensei is generous with praise.”

Shuddup, Belena.

“Therefore, what you need to learn now is how vast this world is and that the place where you stand now is not the top of it all.”
“Pardon?”
“Do so, and you won’t remain a frog in a well. You’ll be able to keep improving, like that magic I just saw, for instance.”

His words are wise.

“…Try and shoot me.”
“Pardon?!”

That’s too sick of a prank, even if it’s coming from a Lifeless King!
Hellfire Spirit Slayer is one of the most advanced alchemy spells in the world. You may be the strongest kind of undead out there, but you won’t survive unscathed!

“Don’t worry, just do it.”
“Ugh, don’t blame me if this goes south, okay?”

I invoked a lot of magic into my chant and released it.

“Hellfire Spirit Slayer!!!”

But…
I guess I underestimated one of the world’s Two Greatest Calamities.

The magic flames unleashed by the Lifeless King at the same time swallowed my strongest spell.
But it didn’t stop there and still surged toward me.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH!”
“Oops, I put too much power into it. Null.”

The flames were instantly extinguished just before they hit me.
Thanks to this, I was spared from being charred alive.

“…What tremendous power!”

My strongest magic had been completely overpowered by the same attribute.
It wasn’t even supposed to be a competition of sorts!

“The user’s powers make a world of difference even when casting the same spell!”
“Oh, no. That wasn’t Hellfire Spirit Slayer.”

Huh?
Don’t tell me…

“They’re just flames!”

The most basic magic spell that can be unleashed by borrowing the power of the lowest-ranking fire spirits?!
The same flame a demon child would use to kindle a bonfire exceeded my deadly magic?!

“You probably understand now that the spell’s power changes with the absolute amount of magic power. But the scale is much larger than you can imagine. If you keep this in mind and combine it with your desire to improve, you can become as strong as you want.”

But the difference in scale is so huge that I might wet myself!!!
How am I supposed to take that advice?!

“I’m not an expert in demon magic because I was a human before I became immortal, so I can only lecture you at best. I love to teach people and remind them of the human connection in this body that has ceased being one…”


Damn it.
Sensei’s class was so good.
I learned how to use magic efficiently and was able to make new contracts with plenty of elder spirits.

“How is demon alchemy still outside of his forte with that much knowledge?!”

The Lifeless King is a transcendent being.
I knew that in my head, but I didn’t really realize how transcendent he actually was!

“B-But I didn’t see Leviasa today… I couldn’t compete against her as a fellow Heavenly One!”
“Leviasa has already attended all of Sensei’s lectures.”
“What?!”

I was shocked when Belena, who is accompanying me for no reason, told me.

“She’s so competent, she didn’t even need to be told. She figured out that Sensei exists and went to his dungeon to ask for his lectures.”
“Drats! Competent, you say?”
“Yes, competent.”

I also heard that Demon King Zedan and Queen Astres have also improved under his tutelage!
How could I have been so nonchalant until now?!

“Ugh! Me and my foolishness!”
“I know, right?”

My former peer who I treated like my little sister doesn’t even try to console me!
My pride as a Heavenly One will crumble to pieces if this continues!
Is there anything, anything I can do at all to sustain my position?!

That’s when I found an innocent little girl playing with dirt.

“Oh, Lady Veil?”

I thought I heard Belena say something behind me, but I paid no attention to it.

“…A-Aeshma? Why are you glaring at Lady Veil like crazy? You’re giving me bad vibes!”

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C224: The Dragon of Gratitude

“Bird and animal control!”

That’s our topic today.
For those who grow crops, there is a big problem that troubles them: wild animals and birds that devour the crops they’ve tended.

“We didn’t grow these vegetables for you to eat!!!”

Whenever I see one, I chase them away.
They’re wise and powerful beasts. They could easily go around and over the fence we set up.
Pochi and his friends patrolled the area and controlled the damage to a certain extent at first, but with the expansion of our fields as the days went by, his group could no longer cover all of it.
A new approach is needed.

“…Let’s set up traps,” was the first idea that came to mind.

Traps.
It’s the thingy you set up beforehand so the thingies get caught in it.
It’s a very effective way to deal with wild animals that invade at any time.
Hence, I made a few things to try out:

First, a taut rope that trips you.
Second, a pit to fall in.
Three, a tub that would fall on you.
Fourth, a bear trap.

Then, I laid them around the farm.

The only trap that looked the most decent was the bear trap. But since it’s still a prototype, the springs are weak and loose.
I was dubious whether this trap would really catch anything, but I still set it up in the morning since it’s not like I’ll lose much. When I came back to check around noon, however, I was surprised to find that it did catch something.


“…”
“…”

It’s Veil.

“The heck are you doing there?”

The trap caught a dragon in its human form.
Her huge dragon body would definitely be able to wreck a trap designed for the size of a stray dog.

“It looked intriguing, so I… I tried stepping on it,” reluctantly says Veil.

You’re like a kid who wants to press the fire alarm button for no reason.

“You could’ve just broken free by turning into a dragon. Why are you still stuck in there?”
“I was afraid you’d get mad at me if I broke it, so I decided to wait.”
“I like that mindset.”

Anyway, I couldn’t leave her like that, so I disarmed the trap and let Veil go.
And since it had pretty loose springs, there’s no need to worry about injury.
Though it’s not like dragon Veil would’ve suffered a scratch even if it had been a strong spring.

“Now go, and don’t get caught again.”

I pretended like the protagonist of some story and let Veil go.
Veil looked back time and again before she went back to the forest.
She doesn’t even live there.


Based on the above results, I scrapped the idea as Pochi and the earth spirits could possibly get caught in it as well.
I collected the items I had set up and went back to the house.

I heard a loud knocking on the door as soon as I returned home, so I went to open it, and the person standing in the doorway was…
Veil.

“I’m here to return the favor!”

An event must have been triggered.

I’m feeling déjà vu from this flow of events.
Find a beast caught in a trap→save it→turns into a human and comes to return the favor.
Wasn’t there a folk tale like that from a long time ago?

Well, except Veil was in her human form from the very beginning.
Besides, in the original story, it was a bird that came to return the favor, not a dragon.
I once recounted a fairytale from my world during my spare time, and I think Veil was present at that time too.

“…That’s not it. I’m a traveler who needs a place to stay for the night!”

But you live here.
I don’t know when she realized the similarity in the flow of events, but she’s now in full “The Crane of Gratitude” mode.

“I’ll weave for you if you let me stay! Take me to the weaving room!”

Veil then goes to the weaving room in our house, which she knows very well.
There were several goblins inside, all in the middle of weaving fabric from the adamantine silkworms’ silk and cotton from the fields.

“Get out of here! You mustn’t take a peek at the weaving!”
“The audacity!”

Our goblin victims were thrown out of the room even though they work there.
As expected of a dragon, no one can top their selfishness.
The goblins who were kicked out ask me in confusion.

“My Lord… What should we do?”
“You don’t really need to finish them right away, no? Let Veil do what she wants for a while.”

And so, Veil had the weaving room all to herself.

“Listen up, Master! I’m weaving to repay you, so promise me that you will never, ever peek! Swear you won’t!” she says as she shuts the door.
“…I guess that’s our cue to never peek without permission,” says the goblins.
“Hmm…”

What would be the right thing to do here?

Open the door and take a peek?
Or leave her alone?

This decision is very difficult.
If we proceed according to the original story, it would be faithful to peek inside at the right time.
However, as a result, the crane, or in this case, the dragon, whose true identity is revealed, flies away and never comes back.

In other words, a bad ending.
Those who broke the taboo get their retribution.

We all know the tragic ending, so why should we choose an option we shouldn’t?
It would be very dumb of the protagonist to choose a bad ending on their second run.

Therefore, if we want to have a happy ending, we shouldn’t peek, but at the same time, that wouldn’t be “The Crane of Gratitude” anymore.
It’s just Veil’s pretend-play of the same title.
If her goal is to recreate the story, isn’t peeking at the right time the best choice to make?

“Which one is the right choice?!”

Two perplexing choices.
Why must this torment me so?
I pondered and pondered.
After all my pondering…


“…Ready, set, one!”
“…Ready, set, two! Damn it, I missed!”
“Heh-heh-he. I’m next, My Lord… Ready, set, four!”
“Ah, it was a hit!!!”

After abandoning all hope and worries, the goblins and I amused ourselves with simple games.
They’re bored and have nothing else to do after Veil took their job.

“My Lord! Let’s do ohajiki next!”
“How rash of you to challenge my strongest ohajiki, the mana metal hopscotch!”

Just when we were getting heated up over our games…

“Peek, damn it!!!”

Veil got angry at us.
So, peeking was the right choice!

“Don’t you understand the flow of the story, Master? You’re supposed to say ‘So, it was you, Veil…’ after seeing me weave with all that I have!”

That’s from a different story, and a more tragic one at that.

“Geez! I’m going to fly away now that you know who I am! I can’t stay here! Take care, Grandma and Grandpa!”

But there are no old people here, and this is where you live.
Without paying attention to my tsukkomi, Veil reverted to her dragon form and flew away into the sky.

“Veil, it’s dinnertime soon.”
“Yay, food!”

And she came back right away.


By the way, Veil actually managed to weave something while she was holed up in the room.
It’s made from her dragon scales.

I know some may wonder how that works, but in the original “The Crane of Gratitude,” the crane was weaving with its feathers, so I’d say there’s not much point in thinking logically about it.

Anyway, the cloth is made of dragon scales.
Doesn’t that sound pretty rare?

“Are you going to make me sew legendary clothing again?!”

When I took it to Batemy, our local tailor, she got all worked up.

“I’ve never seen a weave like this! Its exceptional feel! If I were to make clothes out of it, it’ll have more defense than a full set of legendary armor! Are you sure? Do you really want me to make that, Lord Saint?!”
“Ah… Yeah, it’s fine.”

It’s a shame to leave it as it is.
Veil should also be cautious about producing legendary items on a whim.

Thus, the “Dragon Robe” was completed by Batemy in the best quality possible and became an invincible armor that can repel all attacks and magic, unless it is a holy sword or a weapon made of mana metal.

Perhaps because they thought their position was threatened, Arachne and the adamantine silkworms got together to make a firm objection.

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C223: Fire Drill

One thing worries me now that we’ve added heaters to our farm: fire accidents.
A little carelessness and a fire could break out, burning everything down.

People say a single match is enough to start a fire, but with so much wood and coal burning in the heater, it’s not just a match that we need to look out for.

It’s something that must be kept in mind the moment you build a house, but it’d be better to spread awareness to all our residents once again.

Fires are scary.
Be careful of possible causes of fire.
We must never make light of it.

And so, we shall be conducting a fire prevention campaign at our farm today.


“You’re all going to learn about the horrors of fires.”

I gathered all the residents for today’s fire drill.

“I’ll teach you how to avoid fires and what to do in case a fire breaks out, so make sure you listen well and make use of this knowledge! Then, we’ll rid this earth of fires!!!”
“OKAY!”

Orcs, goblins, mermaids, elves, satyrs, earth spirits, wolves, and Bacchus’ Maidens—all of them are present.
There wouldn’t be any point in conducting the drill otherwise.

“The first thing you need to know is what to say when a fire breaks out. You better remember these words…”

And they are…

“O-ka-shi! (emergency drill instruction)”
“OKASHI?! (sweets)” shouts a group of people.

“Sweets? Did you say sweets, Master?! Is it cake? Ice cream? Maybe fruit parfait???”
“If it has butter, then all the better! It highlights the sweetness!!!”

Veil and the earth spirits are getting ahead of themselves as usual again.

“No. I’m not talking about treats-okashi.”

O-Ka-Shi is an acronym for the three things you should keep in mind when you encounter a fire, making it easier to remember and react promptly in an emergency.

Our ancestors sure have thought up something witty.
Or maybe it was recent, I don’t know.

“Let’s learn what ‘O,’ ‘Ka,’ and ‘Shi’ stand for!”

O-Osanai (don’t push)!
Don’t push one another when trying to evacuate, or you might miss your chance to escape.

Ka-Kasanai (don’t lend)!

“…Huh?”

Lending or borrowing money, even between friends, can lead to the breakup of relationships.
That’s why you should never lend money.

Wait, no.
That’s important on its own, but it has nothing to do with fires.

This isn’t the right ‘ka’…
The ‘ka’ after ‘o’ is…

Karinai (don’t loan).

Never take part in illegal loans.
…Not this either!

Why aren’t we moving away from the financial side of things?!

Wasn’t ‘O-Ka-Shi’ supposed to compactly summarize the necessary things to do during a fire?
Do I just have that bad of a memory?

“W-We’ll just come back to ‘ka’ later…”

Let’s try to remember what ‘shi’ stands for next.

Shi-Shiranai (don’t know).


Why is this getting so random?
My memory is fuzzy on everything but the first word.

“Oh well! I’ll try to remember what ‘o-ka-shi’ stands for by the end of the drill!”

I was booed for my lame attempts at hosting.

“Next fire drill lesson: Firefighting practice!”

Firefighters that come at the press of a few buttons like in my world don’t exist here.
We have to extinguish the fire by ourselves!
That’s why we need to experience firefighting beforehand so that we can be prepared for the real thing.

Hence, I prepared a small campfire in an open, flat area outdoors, by assembling wood and setting fire to it.
The fire burns red hot.

“You will extinguish this fire on your own to gain hands-on experience. I’ve prepared some fire extinguishing tools, so use them!”

Fire extinguishers are still too advanced for this world, so I prepared buckets of water.
I think I’m going to place these emergency water buckets everywhere on the farm from now on.

Come on, don’t hesitate to pour this water on the blazing fire!
Those who wish to try it, fall in line!

“Hmm… So, you just want us to put out that fire?”

Surprisingly, Veil was the one who volunteered first.
Currently, she’s in her human form.

“I don’t think we need to use water for that.”
“Huh?”

Veil gives a glance at the fiery campfire and says, “Vanish.”

With a single word from the dragon-girl, the fire went out by itself, not even a wisp of smoke in sight.
Platy then explains to me who’s dumbfoundedly speechless.

“A fire that size is no threat with dragon magic. Don’t underestimate the ultimate magic that mankind has yet to understand.”
“Exactamundo! I can put out a small fire like this with a snap of my fingers. I can put out even bigger flames in an instant! For example, I could put out a wildfire that would cover that whole mountain! Do you want me to show you how?!”

But there’s no wildfire on that mountain.
Since there’s no fire, you’re going to make one yourself with your dragon breath, you say?

Don’t!!!

That’s just like an arsonist getting credit for putting out a fire they started themselves!
Anyway, we all rushed to stop her.

“I’m not as good as Lady Veil, but…”

Next comes Lampeye from the mermaid team, nicknamed the Witch of Hellfire.

She holds her hands out toward the re-lit campfire and whispered, “Dorime, dorime…”
The flames broke into smaller flames and went onto her hands.

“…She’s manipulating the flames?”
“I’m called the Witch of Hellfire exactly because I can use flames as if they were a part of me. Those who can set fire to the flames at will are merely second-rate fire mages,” says Lampeye, as she holds up the flame in her hands and extinguishes it.

It wasn’t as fast as Veil’s, but it was still a remarkable feat.

“I don’t have the ability to control flames like Lampeye, but I made this,” says my wife, Platy.

Something smoky is coming out of the test tube she brought with her.

Wait… I think it’s more like mist.
It’s something in between smoke and mist… The best way to describe it would probably be dry ice vapor.

An unimaginable amount of dry ice vapor is coming out of the test tube!
As if crawling on the ground, it’s heading straight for the campfire!

…By the way, the goblin team is the one who reignites the fire every time it’s extinguished.
Thanks, you guys.

Back on topic, the vapor from the dry ice finally covered the flames and swallowed them!
It’s as if we’re watching the predatory behavior of an amoeba!

Over time, the fire was extinguished by the vapor.

“This auto-extinguishing mist is made by diluting a monster called smoke slimes with a magic potion,” explains Platy. “Smoke slimes originally use the body heat of living creatures as their energy source and are known for clinging to their prey, stealing their body heat, and freezing them to death. I applied that logic here.”

The smoke slime, modified by the magic potion, only reacts to high-temperature objects like fire, so it automatically goes to any fire source and extinguishes itself—an ideal fire extinguishing device.

“I’ve already placed this fire-extinguishing mist all over the farm.”
“Huh? For real?!”

According to Platy, they’re sealed in paper boxes and set in every possible place where a fire could start.
If a fire breaks out and the paper box is burned, the fire-extinguishing mist will leak out and extinguish it.

“You don’t even have to wait for the fire to reach it, you can also just throw the box into the fire. It’s a great system, isn’t it?”
“U-Uh-huh…”
“Besides, we’ve got some reliable people with us to help prevent fires,” says Platy as she shifts her gaze toward the elves and the hypercaons who immediately struck a pose.

“Forest fires are a matter of life-or-death to us elves! We can use our superior senses as forest-dwellers to immediately detect and extinguish fires!!!”
“Woowoowoof! Woof, woof, woof!!!”

‘Wolf monsters’ sense of smell can detect even the slightest scent of burning!’ is probably what they’re saying.

I can’t believe I forgot something important.
Though our worlds are different, fires are still the same so it’s only natural that corresponding countermeasures are in place.

Fantasy sure is great.


I finally remembered it!
I was about to finish the drill without remembering, but I managed to remember one thing: the ‘shi’ in o-ka-shi.

Shi stands for…

Shinanai (don’t die).

That’s it.
That’s the most important thing!

Thank goodness I remembered it.

Ahh, I feel so much better now!


the real o-ka-shi: osanai (don’t push), kakenai (don’t run), shaberanai (don’t talk).
sha in shaberanai is composed of shi and a small ya to make the sha (しゃ) sound, hence shi.
today’s chapter was more of a gag with practically impossible to localize jokes/puns.

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C222: Preparing for Winter

My second winter is right around the corner.
We had a swell time last winter being unprepared and all, but we’ve learned our lesson and are ready this year!

Our elves have been making and storing charcoal since the beginning of last winter and Batemy has been sewing thick clothes for us.
Pochi and the other wolves have also shed their coats into thicker ones.

Of course, I can’t let myself be outdone!
As the owner of this farm, I’ve decided to make my own preparations for winter—a heater!!!

But kerosene doesn’t exist in this world, so I’ll have to find an alternative fuel source.
That’s when I came up with…

Firewood!
We can burn firewood and use the heat to warm the room!

We’ll spend a warm winter with the power of this firewood heater!


That’s why I’ll be making one now.
We need to keep the fire burning inside while it transfers heat to the outside to function as a proper heater.

The material we’ll be using is, of course, mana metal.
Strangely enough, mana metal softens at a relatively low temperature, but once I finish processing it and wait for it to harden, it attains a melting point that far exceeds that of steel and never burns or melts.
The thermal conductivity is also ideal, making it the perfect material for heaters.

“Hm, I wonder about that…”
“Oh, what’s the matter, Bacchus?”
“I think the dwarves would weep if they saw this. Still, this place really has an abundant supply of mana metal!”

Bacchus walks past after leaving behind suggestive words.

“Oh, our sake brewery is also making a lot of strong spirits to fight the cold!”
“Sure, please do.”

Looks like we’ll also be able to drink whiskey and brandy aside from shochu soon.

Now, back to the main topic and concentrate on building the heater.

First, I need to think about making the chimney.
It’s absolutely necessary so the smoke has an outlet.

And it’s not enough to just build any chimney.
The smoke and the air around the fire both carry heat through the chimney, so the chimney itself also gets a certain amount of heat.

If I connect that chimney to every room around the house, all rooms will receive radiated heat.
But in doing so, we also have to increase the heat output of the heater.
Of course, there are some problems such as unequal heat distribution with the area near the heater hotter than the rest, but we can research that in the future.

“Proper ventilation is also important to make the heater work, so I need to make it in a way that’s easy for air to enter…”

The elves suddenly joined me in making the heater.

“It’s good to have a pile of firewood next to the heater so you can easily add more.”
“Let’s make a basket for storing the firewood!”
“Wouldn’t it be fun to boil water and cook on the heater?”
“It is extremely hot to the touch. Let’s build a fence around it so the little ones won’t accidentally touch it.”

They keep proposing good ideas.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the fire inside?”
“Poel, can you make a glass cover for the heater?”
“Leave it to me! I can make a super heat-resistant glass that won’t melt even in magma!”

Poel, leader of the glasswork team, is highly motivated.
After a lot of trial and error, she made the real thing.

“But don’t you think it’s amazing that Lord Saint can easily process mana metal which is much harder than steel?”
“It’s not me who’s amazing, it’s this holy sword.”

Adamantine silk that even dragon fangs cannot penetrate is easy to pierce and sew together because the needle used is made of mana metal.
And the Wicked-Holy Sword Dreischwartz can easily cut through that mana metal and process it into such tools.

“I see!”
“No wonder it’s called a holy sword!”
“The ultimate sword given by the god of the underworld!”
“We’ve witnessed its awesomeness first hand!”

I can’t tell you how many times the holy sword has helped us on the farm!
I’m extremely lucky to have come across this sword!

“Thank you, holy sword!!!”


After all that messing around, we finally did it!
A heater made entirely of mana metal!

The chimney goes to several rooms in the house, so more rooms can be heated.

We can put pots and pans on it since its top is flat.
We can also boil water, cook food, or even bake mochi.

“Our farm is now fully prepared for winter! Come at us whenever you feel like it, General Winter!”
“Hold on, Lord Saint!!!” cries out Aileron.

What’s wrong? You seem to be in a rush.

“This heater is missing something crucial!”
“W-What?!”

What do you mean?
The heater that I put my heart and soul into building and perfecting is missing something?!

“The firewood!”
“Oh, right!”

It’s a heater that uses firewood!

No machine can work without fuel.
A firewood heater without its firewood is like a mage without magic.

“O-Okay, let’s go into the forest now to collect firewood!”

But will we be able to collect enough before winter?
Don’t we need to let it dry for a certain period of time after chopping them into pieces?

“You’re so absentminded, Lord Saint! But don’t worry!”
“Huh?”
“We elves have already collected the firewood!!!”

Whaaaaat?!

There’s a huge pile of firewood piled behind the house!
They collected all of this?!

“Oak, evergreen oak, zelkova! We’ve prepared all sorts of wood! One of the best things about open-air fire is that you can enjoy different kinds of flames with different kinds of wood!!!”
“Really?”

As expected of our elven forest-dwellers!

“It should be enough to last us all winter! Use it to your heart’s content, Lord Saint!”
“Aileron, you guys…”

You’re such well-prepared elves!
Moved by emotion and solidarity, Aileron and I hug each other tightly.

“Don’t you always keep firewood for the kiln, boss? That’s the same pile, isn’t it?”
“Shh! Shut it!”

I felt the bond between me and the elves deepen as we built the heater.


“Haa… I’m home!”

After the bond between me and the elves skyrocketed, Platy returned.

“Where did they come from?”

After Platy, Orkbo, Gobukichi, and the rest came buzzing in.
It suddenly became noisy.

Were you all out?
Where have you been?

“What’s wrong with you, Dear, hugging Aileron like that? Are you going to make her your concubine now?”

No, I’m not!
And stop making it sound like I have concubines other than Aileron!

“What about you, Platy? Where did you go with the orcs and goblins?”

Thinking about it now, there’s no way the orcs didn’t want to help in building the heater.
Maybe since they were away is why I didn’t sense their presence.

“Isn’t it obvious? We’re getting ready for winter.”
“What?”
“We were caught by surprise last year, so we have to be prepared this year.”

As expected of my wife, she was thinking the same thing.
I’m sure she’ll be very surprised when she sees this!

Behold, our heater!

“So, we dug out a lot.”
“Hm? Of what?”
“Coal.”

Coal?

Orkubo pushes a cart filled with jet-black rocks.
Is that coal?!
The coal used to power steam trains and steamboats?!

“W-Where did you get that?”
“Sensei remodeled his cave dungeon and made it possible to mine coal! So, I asked Orkubo and the others to help me dig them today!”

Carts of coal arrived one after the other, and it looked like there was more than enough to last us all winter.
The more we looked at it, the sootier our faces became.


…Coal has better thermal efficiency than firewood and charcoal, right?
Otherwise, the Industrial Revolution never would’ve happened.

“The orcs even made a coal heater! Now we won’t freeze this winter anymore!!!”

Looks like we’ll be spending a really warm winter this year.
A desolate autumn breeze blew relentlessly across me and the elves.


Side note, thankfully, the mana metal used for the firewood heater was sturdy, so it worked fine with coal, which generates more heat.

I thought the firewood would go to waste, but Aileron’s pottery group just kept using them for their kiln.

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