C260: …is Under the Sea

A letter from her mother shattered Platy’s stubborn will.
Is it that hard to defy her?

Let’s find out from an excerpt of the letter.


My beloved Platy,

Congratulations on your pregnancy.
You are now an adult. I couldn’t be prouder as your mother.
Are you taking good care of yourself? Are you making sure you’re not sleeping with your belly exposed?
Your body is not yours alone anymore, so you have to be more careful.
Usually, I’d come over and congratulate you in person, but I can’t be away from your younger siblings, so I’ve decided to write this letter and give it to Carpy.

(Omitted).

I trust you’ll take care of the branch school’s establishment.

With love,
Mom


“There’s no way… I can say no to Mom’s kind words…” says Platy as she cries tears of joy.

I see.
Appealing to her weak point is also her natural enemy.
I think there was some pretty nasty political stuff in the omitted part, but we’ll get to that later.

“Fine, we’ll start a branch school or whatever! I’ll listen to anything Mom says!”

And so, Platy gives in as well.
Now that there’s no one left to oppose…

“I hereby approve the establishment of Mermaid Witch Academia Farm Branch School.”
“YAAAAAAY!!!”

All the mermaid students rejoice, including Angel and her friends.
…Why are they all so overly delighted?

“Quiet down, everyone!”

With just one shout from Carp, things instantly quiet down.

“As merladies, you must refrain from such immodest behavior. You will not only learn pharmacy magic here, but you will also learn how to behave nobly like the ladies you are.”
“YES, MA’AM…”

Teacher Carp is strict.
Come to think of it, I also had a carping teacher like her during my school days…

…Meanwhile, Platy is purring close to me.
It’s as if I’m seeing a fluffy tail swishing behind her.
Though, obviously, she doesn’t have one. She’s a mermaid.

Veil is our only cat character here, and that’s more than enough for me.

“Therefore, Saint, we need to discuss our schedule with you.”
“Schedule?”
“A student’s life is all about order! The students will be following a daily schedule that has been carefully made by our instructors!” she says as she lays out another broad piece of seaweed.

This must be their version of paper. Written on it is a detailed schedule of when to get up, go to class, start work, etc.
It’s so detailed down to the very minute.

“…”

I boldly toss the seaweed into the pot to make dashi out of it.

“Ah!”
“Please discard this schedule.”

Our farm is all about tranquility.
It will ruin the atmosphere if people are forced to live such a time-pressed life.

“You can work whenever you want, however you want here. That’s what makes this place pleasant and fun.”

As long as we all have a set time to eat, wake up, sleep, and drink the milk the satyrs hand out, the rest is all up to you.
Efficiency?
Who cares? I’m in a different world, so I’m free from such things.

“But… But our school’s education…”
“It’s a branch school within our farm. If you can’t adhere to our ways, I’m afraid we’ll have to ask you to leave.”

Behind me, I could hear, “Way to go, Dear!”, “You’re so cool, brother-in-law!” from the two merprincesses.

“I-I understand… We’re already indebted enough as it is already. I suppose we should comply.”
“Thank you for understanding.”

Behind me, I can hear more merry voices, saying, “See that? That’s my Dear’s power!”, “Brother-in-law’s power!”

“Well, since you’re going to be living with us… We have to prepare your quarters too.”

There’s no way we can let them stay out in the open.
And since there are more than a dozen of them, we’ll need to build another house.

“My Lord! Do we get to build things again?”

Orkubo and the rest of the orc team seem excited.
They’ve really become construction junkies.

“Our boys want to indulge in their hobby, so they’ll build you your place to stay shortly…”
“That can’t be.”

Huh?

“We can’t nurture the merfolk’s pride if we let others do everything for us. We’ll secure our own quarters.”

So, they’ll be building their own house?

“Will you be hiring carpenters from the Mermaid Kingdom?”
“No need. We mermaids have this,” says Teacher Carp, taking out a white pebble of some sort.

It’s about the size of her fingertip.

“…A coral?”

From the looks of it, it’s probably a fragment of it.

“It’s not just any coral. It’s one of Princess Platy’s great inventions—a sample of a hypertrophic growth coral.”

Hypertrophic growth coral?

“You really brought that old thing with you?” asks Platy.

She probably invented it, but really, what exactly is a hypertrophic growth coral?

“It’s a coral that grows at an explosive rate when a special growth-accelerating potion is mixed with it, and you can decide in advance what shape it will take.”
“That’s why it’s possible to grow them into hollow, roofed houses. With this, mermaids can instantly lead a cultural life in any ocean!”

So… Like a coral house?
But corals can only thrive in the ocean, so that means they’d have to be built underwater, right?

“You won’t be staying at the farm?”
“We are mermaids, and we should live our basic life in the sea. We will build our quarters in the nearby waters and live there. During daytime, we will ingest the humanizing potion and go on land.”

That’s too much trouble.
If they’re going to live with us, why don’t they just stay on land?

“Besides, a cultivation coral house is just prefabricated with simple construction, a far cry from a house built by a professional coral carpenter. It’s one thing to make your camp-out more comfortable, but not as a permanent solution to it!”
“No, merfolk’s pride can only be nourished by cherishing sea life.”

Her statements alone are more than enough for me to understand Carp’s stubbornness and troublesomeness as a teacher.
The students with her probably find it unbearable.

“To avoid becoming a burden on Princess Platy and the rest, we will be providing our own meals, too.”


Thus began Mermaid Witch Academia’s farm branch school.
At first, the girls built a sea dorm near the farm as instructed by their teacher Carp, slept there at night, came on land in the morning in their human forms, took classes, and helped with the farm work. Then, they returned to the sea after dark, reverting to their mermaid forms.

Such was the repetition of their life.
Eventually…

“Huh?! Do they wear such cute clothes when they sleep on land?!”
“They’re called pajamas! All the clothes here are made by the best demoness artisan!”

The mermaid students are all of a certain age, and the longing to dress up in pretty clothes can’t be taken away from them.
What’s more…

“…Lunch at the farm is so delicious!”
“…It’s nothing compared to food under the sea!”
“I’ve had enough… Enough of eating raw fish!”
“I’ve also had it with the philosophy that drinking seawater is enough to make you live!”

At some point, one by one, the students began to stay on the ground, and it wasn’t long before they all refused to return to their sea dorm.

And Carp…

“W-We’ll be in your care!”

With my homemade kebab in hand and a bashful expression on her face, Carp proposes a full-scale residence on our farm.
By that time, all the newcomers were captivated by our farm life.

“The food on the farm is delicioussssssssss! The milk from the satyrs is also deliciousssssssssssss!”
“The hot spring feels so goooooooooood! So are these cozy futooooooons!”
“Lord Bacchus sake is deliciouuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!”
“Wait… What?”
“Aren’t you still a student?!”

And so, the mermaids could no longer live without the food and clothing produced on our farm.


Once their official migration was settled…

“Orc team, assemble! It’s your long-awaited building! Let’s build a comfortable place for our new mermaid friends!”
“But we already have, My Lord.”
“Huh?! Fast!”
“Well, it was only a matter of time before they gave in.”

Still, they started construction without waiting for their Lord’s signal; how impatient!
Despite the twists and turns primarily due to Carp’s fastidiousness, the mermaid branch school officially started.

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C259: Mermaid Branch School

Yup, it’s me again, Kidan.

Angel and her group are back on our farm.
However, one thing bothers me…

“…They’ve multiplied?”

I could’ve sworn there were six of them, including Zoth Syra, but now there are twenty.
Multiplication?

“I didn’t know mermaids could multiply!”
“No. What makes you think that?” interjects Zoth Syra.

But we really appreciate your help this time, you know.

“Why have they increased in number, then?”

Among the twenty mermaids, the five girls, Angel, Discus, Veiltail, Heckerlii, and Batrachus, have bitter smiles.
Who are the rest of the unfamiliar faces?
I personally haven’t seen nor met them before.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lord Saint. I’ve heard a lot about you,” says one of the somewhat older-looking mermaids, bowing her head.

She gives off an awfully meticulous impression.

“I’m Carp, a teacher at Mermaid Witch Academia, the most prestigious school in the Mermaid Kingdom.”

Ah, I remember that name being mentioned before.

“I am pleased to announce the proposed establishment of Mermaid Witch Academia’s branch school here on the farm managed by you, Lord Saint. Hence, I would like to ask for your kind support.”
“Hmm…”


…Huh?

“Branch school?!”

The heck’s that?!
It was so sudden that I had to repeat the word in my head to understand it!

“That’s the compromise plan,” explains Zoth Syra.
“Compromise plan?”
“The girls want to continue their studies here at the farm. But if they do, the prestigious school’s reputation will be ruined. You cannot satisfy both sides. That’s why we’re setting up a branch school here, so Angel and the others will still be considered students of the same institution.”

Oh, I see.
Seems like gray sophistry politicians tend to think of.

“What does this have to do with the number of mermaids that have increased since you left, though?”
“If we’re going to set up a branch school, we’ll need a more respectable number. Think of them as exchange students from Mermaid Witch Academia’s main school.”

Oh, okay.
So, they also want to study here.

“I’ve been assigned to be in charge of the branch school and to guide the students. Naturally, I’m also going to be of service to you, Lord Saint, the husband of Princess Platy!” says Carp (am I right?) as she bows her head again.

No wonder she’s the only one who doesn’t look like a student in this group of unfamiliar faces.

“Please, we’d like your permission to establish a Mermaid Witch Academia branch school here!”
“Well, it’s not like I’m against it…”

We’ve already taken in a lot of new residents, so there’s no point in worrying about it now.
Though, we do need to give some consideration to the other residents and ask for their opinions.

“I’m fine with it.”
“I think it’s a good idea.”
“The mermaids’ department is regularly short-staffed, so it might be a good idea to add a few more of them.”
“We’ll have to bake more plates, won’t we?”
“Woof, woof!”
“MREOWR!!!”
“We’ll have to produce even more milk starting tomorrow…”
“New fwiends!!!”
“Do they drink?”

They seem generally welcoming.
However…

“We have a problem.”

This statement ironically came from a mermaid.
One of the Six Witches—Lampeye, the Witch of Hellfire.

“Huh? Just you?”

Where are the others?

“Puffer’s out as usual, and Garra Rufa’s in the infirmary, not because she’s too busy with her duties, but because she can’t stand being called crazy again.”

The new mermaids let out impressed voices, saying, “The Witch of Hellfire is here!”, “Wow, she’s really here!”
The Six Witches sure have a high status back in their nation, huh?

“Puffer and Garra Rufa are fine, but where’s Platy? Isn’t she supposed to be in charge of things like this?”

She’s my wife and the mermaid team’s representative, after all.
Shouldn’t the opinion of the entire mermaid team come from her?
So, why Lampeye? And why the adverse reaction?

“I’m speaking on behalf of the princess. Such was her opinion.”
“Huh?”
“Princess Platy and that school have had many conflicts, so…”

Is that right?
But when I was about to ask for more information, something strange happened.
Carp’s eyes glinted for a moment.

“Princess Platy! You’re there, aren’t you?!”
“Gah! You found me!!!”

You were here this whole time, Platy?!

“Too naïve, Princess Platy! Have you forgotten how many times I caught you sneaking out of class as a student?!”
“That’s why I hate you! You’re a ghost of the past! You shouldn’t be stepping into my paradise!!!”


It’s rare to see Platy in an unfavorable position like this.
Exactly what kind of relationship did they have?

“…Oh, didn’t the Crowned Witch drop out of Mermaid Witch Academia?” says Zoth Syra.
“I’ve only learned about this through hearsay, but apparently, due to Princess Platy’s personality, she didn’t fit in with the school’s authoritarian order and clashed with the teachers many times. Perhaps Carp was the spearhead of those clashes,” says Lampeye.
“…Is that why the teachers have been looking at me that way?!” asks Angel.

Well… If you’re the younger sister of a troublemaker, you’re bound to get some attention, whether you like it or not.
Meanwhile, Platy and Carp are fighting with each other.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time! I came here to protect and educate the current students and meet you again, Princess Platy! Now is the time for you to be re-educated along with Princess Angel and her friends and officially graduate from Mermaid Witch Academia!”
“Shut upppppp! I’ve already graduated from being controlleeeed! Being polite and earnest isn’t in me! I just wanted to be free as soon as possibleee!!!”

Platy is throwing a tantrum like some kid.
But don’t flail around too much. I’m worried about our child.

“There’s her strong detest. The princess even pleaded with me to object to the teacher’s offer on her behalf,” exasperatedly says Lampeye.

Platy actually pleaded to someone?!

“Even the Crowned Witch has her natural enemies. It’s kind of understandable that Carp, a person of discipline and meticulousness, wouldn’t be on the same wavelength as the princess, a witch.”

In addition to that, a mentor is the most challenging person to defy in one’s life, next to one’s parents.
If so, what should I do?
I wouldn’t want to welcome new residents when my beloved wife doesn’t want me to.

“Oh, I know! I’ll use my authority as the farm owner’s wife to reject you! You should all just go back to the Mermaid Kingdom at once!!!”
“Why me too?!”

Angel takes collateral damage.
I’ll have no choice but to agree with Platy’s decision if she insists, but…

“You leave us no choice,” says Carp calmly. “I can only show you this letter I received from Queen Mahi.”
“From Mom?!”

Carp pulls out some kind of broad seaweed from her pocket.
…A letter?
Written on a piece of seaweed?

Platy snatches the letter from her and reads it.

“…”

For a few seconds, her eyeballs moved left and right.
Eventually…

“I hereby approve… the establishment of…the branch school.”
“YAY!!!”

The mermaid students are overjoyed, while Platy is utterly beaten.

Platy had one more natural enemy.


volume 8’s here with a cute volume cover to match. also, i keep forgetting to add this as a little footnote, but is anyone else having problems posting a comment? if you are, please drop a message in the inquiry box here!

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C258: The Queen is a Witch

Victory to the five girls who stayed on Saint’s Farm!

I, Zoth Syra, Witch of the Abyss, couldn’t ask for a better outcome.

On the other hand, our enemies were a huge disappointment as high-achieving students at the best school in the Mermaid Kingdom.
They lost a match they were supposed to win.

Even Carp lost face after overconfidently promoting her own students.
But all’s well that ends well for me.

“We won all matches against students from the highest grade…”
“Have we really become stronger?!”

However, our victors are the most confused.
Why the astonishment?

“You’ve been directly instructed by witches expert in different fields and have had hands-on opportunity to experiment and practice your skills. How could you not have improved in such an environment?”
“Master Zoth Syra!”
“So, if anything, there’s no way you’d lose to a bunch of sheltered fries who did nothing but note down formulas in school.”

Which is more beneficial to the development of these children, the farm or the school?
Those who have always believed they’re top class may have been confronted with a harsh reality.
Ohohoho!

“The students I nurtured with all my heart… were utterly defeated?!”

Oh, hey there, Carp.
How do you feel now that you’ve lost when you thought you were going to win 100%?
Hmm? What does it feel like?

“Just how did Princess Angel and the other children grow so fast in such a short period? They were just mediocre students who could’ve never produced such outstanding performance before!”
“Turning them into remarkable students is what the farm’s all about.”

It’s not like I’m one of their residents, but I act like I’m their representative.

“They’ve shown you their undeniable results that even an obstinate person like you will understand. This school is not the best environment to raise these children.”
“But… This is the most prestigious school in the Mermaid Kingdom!”
“So what? Prestigious school or not, it’s no match for a farm with a few witches. You must understand that and back out gallantly.”

That’s the best thing you can do to help these kids’ development.

“No! I cannot!”
“You don’t know when to give up, do you?”
“We let the first princess, Princess Platy, drop out of school… And now her sister, Princess Angel, too?! Our school’s existence might as well be meaningless now!”

Mermaid Witch Academia is a royal institution.
But if they couldn’t get the royals to graduate from it, then I guess they’d question its significance.

“This isn’t over yet!!!”
“Yes, it is. All five matches are over.”
“No, there’s still one match left, and it’s between you and me!” says Carp, glaring at me.

What do you want, woman?

“I challenge you to a match, Zoth Syra! If I win, you must leave the girls here!”
“How deplorable. Are you going to decide these girls’ education through our unrelated confrontation?”
“There is a relation! This match will show the capability of the leader, and the stronger one will lead the younger ones, that’s all!”

There’s a limit to one’s absurdity, you know?
Buuut it’s not as if this tendency of hers to act rashly when backed into a corner is anything new. It’s what obstinate people tend to do.

“But Carp, aren’t you forgetting something important?”

The impulsive thought of challenging me, the Witch of the Abyss.

“Even when you were at your strongest, did you ever challenge me and win once, Witch of Arts?”
“Don’t call me by that name. I am now a teacher at the glorious Mermaid Witch Academia!”

Let’s see how much you’ve improved then, proud teacher.

“Huh? Uhh… Huh???”
“What kind of relationship do they have?!”

The girls watching as bystanders are confused, but don’t worry.
I’ll win and bring you all back to the farm in an instant!

“You can’t.”
“?!”

Whose voice was that?!

“You two used to be on such good terms with each other, Zossy and Carpy. You shouldn’t be fighting.”
“Y-You’re…”

A dazzling mermaid couple appears.

The husband is a dignified-looking merman in his prime with a rich beard and a magnificent tail fin.
His wife is a youthful lady who could be mistaken for a maiden in her twenties, radiating an irresistible charm.

“Your Majesty, Mermaid King Nagus?!”
“Mermaid Queen Mahi too!”

The rulers of the Mermaid Kingdom and parents to Platy and Angel.

“Mom! Dad!”

As if to prove this point, Angel hugs her mother.

“Why are you here? You said you’d wait at the castle.”
“We were going to, but your Dad was too worried, so we decided to see things for ourselves… And it seems that was the right decision.”

Queen Mahi then swims over to us.

“Zossy, you’re still a wanted person, so don’t go on a rampage here. If you attract too much attention, there would be chaos.”

Y-Yes, Your Majesty!

“That goes for you too, Carpy. You’re in a position of responsibility now, so be rational. Or are you going to teach your students to solve problems with their fists?”
“I-I’m sorry, Your Majesty!”

Carp and I freeze in place in front of the mermaid queen, in no position to argue with her.

“But Queen Mahi, this is a matter of prestige for Mermaid Witch Academia!”

Ah, never mind, this woman still has the nerve to argue.

“Our school’s mission is to raise the royal mermaid family into ladies worthy of their lineage. If we can’t instruct Princess Platy, and now Princess Angel too, our existence is at stake. Please, Queen Mahi, give it some thought!”
“Are you talking back to me, Carp?”

Eek!
I told you so!

Not just Carp, but me and the other girls are shaking in fear too!

“Ahem!”

The mermaid king accompanying her clears his throat.
Queen Mahi gasps and keeps her bloodlust in check.

“…Well, now that you’re a teacher, you have to think about the school, don’t you, Carpy? Not that it matters either way to me, really. As long as Platy and Angel grow up fine, academic background matters not.”
“That can’t be! That would make the nation and schools…”
“Hm? Say what?”

Why do you never learn?! You’re supposed to be a teacher, Carp!

“Ahem!”
“Oh! …Don’t worry, we’ll keep the school in mind.”

If the Mermaid King hadn’t coughed, how many times would Carp have been killed by now?

“You haven’t said a word, have you, Zossy?”
“Ah… I’ll say whatever you want me to say, Sis!”
“Didn’t I tell you to stop calling me that after I got married to Darling?”
“I’m sorry, Sis!!!”

Angel and the other mermaids at the school are dumbfounded, unable to comprehend what is going on.

One of the worst troublemakers in the mermaid realm, a member of the Six Witches, and a teacher at the most prestigious mermaid school are terrified before the Mermaid Queen’s presence.

“I want Arowana, Platy, Angel, and all the younger ones to live freely so that they will have no regrets in their lives. Some people accuse me of spoiling them, though.”

Such reckless daredevils exist?

“But being born into mermaid royalty comes with responsibilities, right? So, I’ve prepared a compromise plan. I hope you’ll all accept it for now.”
“OH…”
“You’ll accept it, yes?”
“YES, YOUR MAJESTY!”

Good, you people are clever.
Just do what Sis Mahi tells you to do. That’s the secret to a long life.

“Hey, Master Zoth?” asks Angel. “You seem to be a good friend of Mom. Do you know each other? I didn’t know she’s acquainted with the Six Witches.”
“Well, we used to hang out a weeeeeee bit in the past.”

Please don’t ask me any more than that. I was threatened to be killed if I spilled any more beans.


About 20 years ago, Carp and I ran on a rampage led by Sis in the ocean.
But before carrying out our grand scheme to destroy the Mermaid Kingdom, she met a young man. She married him soon after, abandoning our plan altogether.

The title she once bore shook the mermaid outlaw realm to its very core—Mahi Kanne, the Witch of Darkness.

The only people who know about her past are her former underlings, Carp and me, aside from her husband.
That’s why we can’t make a slip of the tongue to her own children, either!

“It’s been a while since we last saw each other, right, Zossy?”
“Y-Yes, Your Majesty!”
“I just want to remind you that our memories remain beautiful only if they are kept close to our hearts.”
“You’re absolutely right, Your Majesty!”

At the very least, Platy must have inherited her outstanding talent from her mother.

With the arrival of the Mermaid King and his wife, neither Carp nor anyone else can interfere.
This matter has been settled peacefully…

…Or not!


vol 7, done.

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C257: Inherited Skills

“This is an arena set up within Mermaid Witch Academia’s premises. Today, we’ll be using the full-water type.”
“Even this prestigious school’s facilities are sophisticated.”

This entire room filled with water would surely drown humans or demons if they were to enter. It’s a space only we merfolk can use.

Incidentally, in addition to the full-water type, there is another arena where only half the room is filled with water. It is designed for battles near the water’s surface and allows tricky tactics such as surprise attacks. Still, the fact that Carp chose to fight in the full-water type instead suggests that she is determined to make things clear based on pure ability alone.

“And here are the opponents I’ve prepared for you. They’re my honor students.”

Five unfamiliar mermaids appear, all young and inexperienced-looking.
They’re beautifully dressed like elites, but from my point of view, they look mediocre.

“You will be fighting each other one by one.”

If they win, the girls can continue studying at the farm, but if they lose, they have to stay here in school, huh?

“But this is an actual battle. I thought it would be in a more scholastic format, considering it’s being hosted by a teacher like you.”

You know, like a written test or a quiz.

“It’s better for a barbaric woman like you if it’s as simple as this, no? You don’t get to give me excuses when you lose later.”
“Wow. I didn’t know you were so demanding of yourself.”

Both sides return to their respective camps with invisible sparks crackling in the room.
I get to support these girls through this unexpected turn of events. And with a great tactician like me on their side, their victory is as good as guaranteed!

However, Angel and the rest of the girls are already getting cold feet before anything has started.

“We can’t do it… We won’t win!”
“All our opponents are from the highest grade! There’s no way we can compete with them!”

I see. Their enemies are their upperclassmen.
If so, it’s no wonder they’re intimidated. For students, the difference in grade is absolute, even by one year.
They must be thinking of themselves as children in front of adults.

“But we have no choice but to do it…”

Oh?
Just as I was about to encourage them, I was beaten to the punch.

“If we don’t win this match, we’ll never get back to the farm. We must win! Now is the time to show off everything we’ve learned!” says Angel.

She just took my spotlight. I guess that’s royalty for you.

“She’s right. Don’t worry; you also have me, the Witch of the Abyss.”

I wasn’t enthusiastic at first, but now I’m getting excited. I’m going to help them give Carp a surprise.

“I, the Witch of the Abyss, will be in direct command to help you win. So, you’d better rest easy!”
“Commander!”
“Commander!!!”

Now they’re starting to call me Commander for some reason.

“Just so you know, it’s foul play to let your students use your potions.”
“I know that. Who would use such an underhanded trick?”

The skill of potion compounding and use is put to the test in this match.
A witch is most apt at using her own potions, and it is meaningless unless she wins with them.

“Well then, let us begin. First pair, step forward.”
“Go get ‘em, Discus.”

If I recall, Discus calls herself the Witch of Ice.
She seems to admire Puffer and respects her in both attire and demeanor.
Her opponent is…

“Calva, daughter of the Amia family.”

Just another stereotypical-looking elite.
She looks smart in contrast to Discus, who is awfully flamboyant in her imitation of Puffer.

“It seems you’ve forgotten your place as a plebeian. I’m here to teach you that such people should stay in the shadows of a true elite like me!”
“…?!”

A sharp voice comes from Carp, the referee, telling them that the match has begun.

But her voice only echoes vainly underwater.
Neither opponent isn’t moving an inch.

“…? What’s going on? I said ‘begin’!”
“Teacher, it’s already started.”
“Huh?”
“And it’s over.”

What was the name of Discus’ opponent again?
Oh well, there’s no point in trying to remember the loser’s name.

She, who lost to Discus, is desperately trying her best to move but to no avail.
I can see that the water on the surface of her body is slightly frozen.

“Ughhh! Move! I can’t move! The ice won’t melt even when using a potion to neutralize it!”
“Master Puffer said you can’t make ice by using a potion to lower the temperature. You make it by reacting the potion with water. The temperature then lowers itself due to the generated ice.”

This is Puffer’s appalling specialty.
Because the potion reacts with water to create ice, a simple temperature-increasing potion will not melt it.
The resulting ice cools the surrounding temperature and reacts with the cooled water to create even more ice.
If I’m not careful, Puffer’s silent invasion of creating bottomless ice can be pretty dangerous.

“Hey! You already mixed a magic potion in the water, didn’t you? Even way before the match has starteeeed!”
“What about it?”
“That’s unfair! How could you ignore the starting signal?”
“Master Puffer also said that no one gives you the start signal in a real battle and that those who let their guard down before the enemy are fools.”

Her “elite” opponent can no longer escape the ice on her own.
Suppose they can’t even neutralize Discus’ freezing potion that’s not as well-crafted and effective as Puffer’s. In that case, this so-called prestigious school is worth nothing.

“Ugh!”

As if to prove the point, Carp hurls a test tube, cracks open, and melts the ice as quickly as the contents spread into the water.

“Calva, you’ve lost. If you’re a compounder, you can neutralize a freezing attack with a surprise attack. Your lack of study owed to your loss.”
“Yes, Ma’am…”
“Round two!”

The second one is Veiltail, who calls herself the Witch of Fire.
She looks up to Lampeye, the Witch of Hellfire.
Her opponent is…

“Crowntail, daughter of the Betta family.”

She may be elite, but something about her is a little different.
For a mermaid, she’s got a harpoon.

“The Bettas are one of the few warrior families in the Mermaid Kingdom and are also known as the ‘Fighting Fishes.’”

Oh, yeah?
Thanks for the explanation, kid.

“I’ve been told that Crowntail has a fixed position as an imperial guard after graduation and is an upper-echelon candidate.”
“That’s pretty darn elite.”

So, does she look up to Lampeye as well?
This is a clash between two Lampeye Jrs. then.

“Begin!”

This match is about potions and the use of harpoons, which are originally the weapon of choice of mermen. However, Veiltail dodges Crowntail’s thrusts and hits her shield with an explosive potion, emerging victorious!

Lampeye’s take on explosive potions makes them so sticky that when spilled out of the test tube, it adheres to the shield’s surface and continues to burn even underwater.
As the metal shield heats up, Crowntail could no longer hold it.
The harpoon and shield come as one set in mermen’s fighting style.
And Crowntail, who was trying to imitate it, lost one of the two and was consequently beaten.

On the other hand, Veiltail’s fighting style combines the harpoon with potions. This is a technique that Lampeye passed down to her.

With a senior who lost one of her wings and a junior who is still in tip-top shape, the rest of the match was set.
Veiltail won.


Heckerlii, the third contestant, calls herself the Witch of the Air.
Apparently, she is the protégé of Garra Rufa, the Witch of the Plague, and is selling her newly-developed magic bacteria.
They scatter in the water and adhere to the opponent’s clothes, decomposing the fibers and leaving them naked.

It’s a cruel way to win, but what’s even worse is that once released, the bacteria multiply endlessly that not even their creator can stop them.

Everyone except Heckerlii, clothed in adamantine silk that cannot be broken down even by magic bacteria, took the risk of becoming naked.
We had to boil the water in the arena just to kill the bacteria. It was a hassle.


In the fourth match, Batrachus, the Witch of the Earth, has helped me heaps.
She helped me mass-produce Deep Ones for Orkubo’s Castle before.
I advised her that she could use the remainder of what she made and used that in today’s match.
Her opponent fell right into Deep Ones’ trap that split every time they were hit and was eventually crushed by their overwhelming quantity.


Last but not least is Angel, the second princess of the Mermaid Kingdom.

“Finishing Blow! Mermaid Spark!!!”
“Is that… One of the three secret techniques passed down from generation to generation in the royal mermaid family?! I heard Princess Platy revived it for the first time in decades!”

And her younger sister using that same technique means she learned it from her.
It may be a secret technique within the royal family. Still, it’s not something that can be easily mastered, even with a great teacher.

Anyway, there you have it. Our side won all five matches with me as their great tactician.

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C256: The Irregular(s) at Mermaid School

“Well then, where should we start? First, I’d like to talk about your months of absence…”

The teacher skips the formalities and gets straight down to the business.
This no-holds-barred directness must be terrifying to the person being scolded.

I understand why these girls are scared.
It’s not like they’ll be able to do anything even if they muster the courage to face her beforehand.

“You’ve been declared absent from school since His Majesty Nagus notified me, but the time you’ve wasted outside has left you far behind the other students. That’s why we’re going to be doing a lot of remedial work so you can catch up…”
“P-Pleash waith!!!” interrupts the Crowned Witch’s sister.

She fumbled on her words again.
While she did a good job interrupting the teacher’s flow, her calm stare is about to make her break down.

“W-We came here… t-to ask for permission!”
“Permission?”
“Permission to extend our absence!”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“Please do something about it!”

Well, that escalated quickly.
Now, this girl has got the hard-headedness of royalty again.

“…I have a question for you, Princess Angel. What are you?”
“Huh? Um… The second princess… of the Mermaid Kingdom?”
“Good. At least you have a modicum of self-awareness.”

What a sarcastic woman.

“As a member of the royal mermaid family, you have certain responsibilities that come with it, such as being a role model for the mermaids and acting with dignity. And education is essential to provide the foundation for this.”
“Y-Yes, Ma’am….”
“Mermaid Witch Academia is a place where young royalty like you can acquire education. We want you to become a great potion compounder and a great member of royalty. That’s why we’re doing our best to make that happen.”
“Y-Yes, Ma’am…”
“Yet you’re trying to abandon your responsibilities and behave as you please. Do you think that’s acceptable behavior for royalty?”

This woman’s all about logic.
I’m relieved to see that Carp hasn’t changed on the inside.

“And the same goes for the four of you.”
“Y-YES, MA’AM…”

Now she’s onto the other girls?

“Especially you, Discus and Veiltail. You have met the requirements to be admitted to our institution but had to give up due to familial circumstances. However, due to Lady Angel’s kindness, you were granted special admission.”
“OOF…”

Hm? So, their families are too poor to admit them to a prestigious school?
I thought these girls only had sheltered upbringings, but it seems some also have some backbone in them.
Also, Carp said her name’s Angel, wasn’t it? She behaves more like a princess than her sister.

“Which is why it’s inexcusable that you’re spending all your time in idle amusement with your sponsor, Lady Angel, when you should be striving even harder at your studies. You’re ruining the expectations the school has set for you.”
“B-But we’re not…”
“What was that? If you have something to say, say it clearly.”
“Well… On land… We…”

She may have potential, but she’s still just a student. She can’t go against Carp’s words.
Good grief. If I don’t do anything here, there’ll be no point in coming all the way to the capital.

“What can they possibly learn in this sheltered institution?”

My voice drew Carp’s attention to me.

“You’re a fool, Zoth Syra. Had you not spoken, I would have pretended you never existed.”
“Are you saying that for old time’s sake? Kind of ridiculous to see a failure still calling herself a potion compounder, though, if you ask me.”
“I’m sorry, what? What about me is a failure?”
“Just look at your position as some pompous teacher right now.”

And at a prestigious school, too.

“You think you’ve come a long way, but once you’re in power, you’re as good as dead as a researcher.”
“That’s a typical misconception of yours, Zoth Syra. You, who have let your research subjects run amok, upset the balance of the world and end up on the wanted list.”

The girls confusedly look back and forth at Carp and me.

“I can call the guards here right now if I want. You will tragically end up in Trench Jail, and your ultimate research will never be completed.”
“I dare you to try, but this disgusting school would have turned to ashes before then.”

I know she can’t do anything about it.
She’s scared of me.
I’ve even made her cry countless times in the past.

“…Tsk, why did you girls bring this woman along?”

Sensing the disadvantage of her position, Carp shifts her attention back to the girls.

“This woman is a felon known as the Witch of the Abyss. She uses magic potions in the wrong way. And our school’s vision lies in not producing criminals like her!”
“However, it’s also true that the highest-level of potion compounders are generally referred to as witches, including me, the Witch of the Abyss, Zoth Syra…”

The Crowned Witch.
The Witch of the Bitter Cold.
The Witch of Hellfire.
The Witch of the Plague.

“…These five girls are their proteges.”
“What?” says Carp surprisedly.

Well, not that I expect a mere teacher like her to know this.

“When you said they were spending all of their time in idle amusement, these five were being taught by the finest potion compounders, the most distinguished of witches.”
“Hey!”
“Are we even allowed to say that?”

I don’t care if they’re flustered right now.
I’m sure I was asked to escort them to say this.

“Just imagine how rewarding it has been for them to spend time there than in the classrooms here. The days they spent were truly a battle. They’ve been accumulating knowledge that they cannot master even after ten years in an unengaging school as this.”

Not that I’ve been watching them closely.
I just embellished it a little as if I saw things myself.

“Let me ask you again, Carp. Are you saying that this ‘prestigious school’ you’re so proud of can provide a better education than established witches? You’re just some mediocre compounder, far inferior to a witch, acting cocky and all.”
“W-Wow, Master Zoth Syra…”
“This is the first time I’ve seen someone push back Teacher Carp in an argument!”

Praise me more, girls.

“P-Princess Angel!”
“Huh?!”
“Was that true? Wait, but more than half of the Six Mad Witches are held captive!”
“No, there really were several of them present. I think my sister did something to them…”
“…?!”

Even her habit of nail-biting when annoyed hasn’t changed.

“Princess Angel’s sister, Princess Platy, is the Crowned Witch of the Six Mad Witches! I see, so you pursued her…”

Oh yeah, I heard the Crowned Witch dropped out of Mermaid Witch Academia.
I guess she thought she’d be more successful as a witch if she didn’t study here.

“We’d like to ask you again, Teacher Carp!”

Oh, Angel’s suddenly serious.

“I want to be a better compounder than my sister! The best way to do that is to be close by and learn from her!”
“I want to be taught directly by Master Puffer too!”
“I want to be trained directly by Master Lampeye!”
“Master Garra Rufa’s madness!!!”

If I were to ask them their real intentions here, they’d probably reply that they want to keep eating the farm’s food, which would ruin the whole thing, so I stopped.

Well, this is how a teacher of a prestigious school was confronted with the hard fact that it’s better to learn directly under a witch than at school. How will she react?

“I can’t back down here… I can’t back down here!”

Oh?

“We’ve already failed to educate Princess Platy and develop her unique talent… That’s why we can’t afford to lose you as well, Lady Angel, the second daughter!!!”

She’s getting worked up.

“Unacceptable, unacceptable!!!”

And she’s lost it.

“A witch’s techniques are heresy. The only thing that is truly useful to merfolk is the legitimate pharmaceutical magic we teach at our school!”
“That’s plain sophistry. There is no right or wrong in the path of mermaid magic.”
“No! I’ll prove it to you in a match!”

A match?

“I’ve taken several seminar students of this school under my wing. I’ll prepare five of the best and make them compete with each one.”
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!”

The girls are taken aback.
Come on, it’s just a little match.

“If the witches’ evil ways are truly beneficial, they should win. However, if they lose, you will acknowledge that our school’s path is true, and they will follow its curriculum! All right?!”
“Fine.”

Results: The girls won 5-0.

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C255: Mermaid All-Girls’ School

I am Zoth Syra, the Witch of the Abyss, and I am currently in the Mermaid Palace, the capital of the Mermaid Kingdom.

Why, you ask?
Because I’m babysitting a group of little girls entrusted to me by the people at the farm. You know, immature little fries.
They told me they were going back home and were worried about leaving them without some supervision.

Why again, you ask?
Why would I, the Witch of the Abyss, do such a charitable thing?

Even I myself wasn’t totally willing to do this.
There’s a solid reason behind it.

First of all, my timing was wrong when I visited the saint’s farm to see Orkubo.

This is the first and most important reason.
Then, that’s when the Crowned Witch approached me.


“Hey, my sister and her friends are going home. Escort them.”
“Why?”
“Well, leaving them to themselves bothers me. They might do something reckless.”
“Why me?”
“Of all the mermaids I know, aren’t you the least busy?”
“But I’m not?”
“You’re not even an official resident here, but you keep dropping by. I’m pregnant, so I can’t dive underwater. Puffer is busy with the brewery and my brother Arowana. Garra Rufa is in charge of the farm’s health care. Lampeye is also busy with this and that…”
“But I’m not that free either. I just make good use of my spare time outside my lab and come here.”
“In addition, all the mermaids here are convicts. There’s no way I can let them walk around the capital in plain sight.”
“But I’m also a wanted mermaid. The only difference is that I’m not caught yet. Aren’t the Six Witches all like that?”
“Look after them for us, oldest of the Six Witches.”


That’s how I was forced to do this.

What’s up with her aggressive persuasion?

How could she force me, the Witch of the Abyss, to babysit a bunch of children?
Is not listening to other people in their blood?!
Ah, no…

Anyway, I’m here again in the capital after who knows how long.
How many years has it been, really?
I don’t think it’s been more than ten years… but I decided not to think too deeply about it.

Then there are these young and fearless girls.
I heard that they’re returning home to get official permission to live at the farm.
Well, permission or whatever it is, just get them all. You should take advantage of being pampered by your parents while you’re still young.

After staying at their parents’ house for a few days, they came to meet each other on the promised date.

“We got permission!”
“It was A-OK!”
“They told me to be the finest witch I could ever become!”

I see.
Good for you.
But how are their parents fine with their daughters becoming witches?

“Well then, our job here is done. Let’s go back to the farm.”

So I get to see Orkubo as well.

“Please wait!”
“The real trouble starts here!”

The girls all cling to me at once.
What is the meaning of this?
Don’t lump me in with the other younger witches. I’m not as overprotective or thoughtful as they are!

“Our parents were more like a minor hurdle! Like the weakest of the Heavenly Four!”
“The last boss is still waiting for us! Please accompany us until we get thereeeeeeeeeeee!”
“Please! Just staying with us is more than enough! Otherwise, we’d feel hopeleeeeess!”

Huh? The last boss?

Of the five little girls here, only one isn’t clinging to me.
I believe she’s the Crowned Witch’s younger sister.

“That demonic sister of mine told us to get permission from our school…”

School?

“Yes, the elite school that produces the best potion compounders in the Mermaid Kingdom, Mermaid Witch Academia,” says the Crowned Witch’s sister as her tail fin quivers ever so slightly.

She must be scared as well.


However, Mermaid Witch Academia is a prestigious school.

Merfolk prides itself on its pharmacy magic.
Schools in the Mermaid Kingdom that teach it to young people are spread far and wide.

Among them, Mermaid Witch Academia is the one that boasts of its overwhelming structure and scholarly ability. And since it is directly managed by royalty, it’s a prestigious school.

The first to be admitted is the daughter of the Mermaid King’s family. After that, daughters from noble families. Then, talented girls selected from all over the nation.

As the Crowned Witch’s sister, she’s automatically a merprincess, so she has all the qualifications to enroll.
Her followers are probably just partners in crime who started hanging around the school.

Haa… I never had the enthusiasm to put up with this job, to begin with.
Why should I, the Witch of the Abyss, have to take care of young ladies from well-to-do families?

I am feared as a witch because my research is regarded as dangerous and heretical, as it could destroy the world.
Who thought combining such an outlaw like me with these sheltered girls was a good idea?

Ugh, I don’t really care anymore.
I’ll just accompany them and not interfere.

To hell with what they say about me later.
I’m the Witch of the Abyss, and whoever decides to trust a witch is entirely their fault.


So, we’re finally here.
At Mermaid Witch Academia.

To be honest, this is the first time for me, an outlaw, to set foot in this place. It’s as overly luxurious and unpleasant as I imagined it to be.

It seems that we’re going to have an interview with someone beyond the room before us.
The girls form a circle in front of the door.

“Ready? We’re going to get through this ordeal and go back to the farm!”
“YES, LADY ANGEL!!!!”
“Five Legitimate Holy Witches, Five!”
“YEAAAAH!”
“Five!”
“YEAAAAH!
“Fan!”
“TASTIC!!!”

Why are they so worked up about this?
And what’s with the Five Legitimate Holy Witches thing? Is that their team name? How embarrassing.
Anyway, they open the door with renewed spirit and enter the room.

“E-Excuth mi!”

She fumbled.
Is she that nervous?

The room is part of a prestigious school, so it’s as luxurious and puke-inducing.
There’s a mermaid waiting for them.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Princess Angel? Normally, we’d meet every day to take my classes.”

Even the way she talks is getting on my nerves.

Well, from the school’s point of view, these students have been absent without notice for months, so I should say that it’s nice of her to keep the sarcasm to a minimum.
So…

“…Who is she?”

Who is this mermaid who looks like she’s about to sarcastically diss these children?
I thought her identity is classified information, but then, one of the girls secretly whispers into my ear.

“She’s a teacher here at Mermaid Witch Academia, Teacher Carp.”

A teacher, huh?
Well, I thought so.

Wait.
Carp?
Could it be that Carp?

I didn’t recognize her immediately because of her overly prim outfit but…
Carp as in Carp, the Witch of Arts?

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C254: Returning to the Sea

We’re going to be talking about the mermaids for a while.
Now that winter is over, and spring has come, a change is also coming to their team.


“My beautiful tail fins…”

Angel is the sister of my wife, Platy, making her the second princess of the Mermaid Kingdom.

“Free! Finally, free from the side effect of the reject humanizing potion! I’m back in my pretty mermaid form again!!!”
“Yay!”
“We can go back to the sea now!”
“At one point, I really thought we were done for!”

Angel and her friends are frolicking on the coast near our farm, swimming in the shallows with their tail fins, which they regained after months.
It’s as if they’re reacquainting themselves with the sensation of being a fully-fledged mermaid again after so long.

“I didn’t think it would take this long to neutralize the side effects…” says my wife, Platy (currently pregnant), as she stands on the beach and sighs.

It was before winter when her sister, Angel, and her gang arrived at the farm.

They launched an assault in a fit of youthful recklessness but were utterly beaten by her sister Platy and her team, who were far superior to them in terms of experience and ability.
In addition, the humanizing potion that allows mermaids to traverse on land backfired due to their inexperience in making it and had awful side effects.

When they tried to revert to their mermaid form, their lower half transformed into algae, octopus, barnacles, and other horrifying shapes.
Hence, the girls had no choice but to stay at our farm until the side effects wore off…until today.

With time and the extraordinary efforts of Platy’s group, the side effects of the failed potion have been neutralized…
And now, the younger mermaids can go back to the sea!

“We’re finally back in the sea! This sea is ours!”

I don’t know about that.
How can young people like her be so overconfident?

“…Anyway, as you can see, neutralizing the potion produced equal successful results,” says Platy exhaustedly.

She’s also a mermaid, but only she is standing on the beach in her human form.
Since she’s pregnant, she won’t revert to her original form until the baby is born because of the potential impact it may bring.

“Go on; it’s time for you to return to your homes now.”
“HUUUUUUUUUH?!” the girls disappointedly exclaim.
“Why are you surprised? That’s what we agreed on; you couldn’t go back to the sea because of some stupid potion my stupid sister made, so we had no choice but to let you stay, right?”

Now that the side effects have worn off and they can return to the sea, there’s no reason for us to let them stay any longer.

“No! Wait a minute, please!”
“We want to stay here!”
“We want to keep eating delicious food!”
“Not that, silly! We have so much to learn here!”

Angel’s followers cling to Platy all at once.

Discus, Veiltail, Heckelii, and Batrachus are their names, I believe.
They’re clinging to Platy in their mermaid form, so they’re like fish flailing around.

“We…We have a mission!”
“Indeed! We have an important mission to help Master Puffer and Master Garra Rufa!!!”

Uh-huh.
The mermaid team’s shorthandedness became a major problem last year.
There were many underlying reasons for this, like the increased demand and diversification of responsibilities.

The improvised approach to solving the problem was to train these girls, which is how they came to live with us.
Puffer, the Witch of the Bitter Cold, was the pioneer behind this idea.

Platy lets out a deep sigh and says, “…As I said before, I’m against it. You’re all still students, so you should focus on studying hard.”
“But we can study here too!”
“If anything, we get to learn a lot better here!”
“Yeah! We get to receive direct instruction from the Six Mad Witches!”

Ah.
In the heat of the moment, the girls stepped on a mine word.

“You little-!”
“AHHHHH!”

Platy’s anger sends the scared mermaid girls squiggling back into the water for cover.

“I told you not to utter that name! It hurts my ears!!!”

The Six Mad Witches. A nickname given to the powerful witches who represent the mermaid realm.
“Witch” is the title given to a mermaid who is an expert potion compounder.

My wife, Platy, is one of them, but she despises being called “mad.”
She says she finds the group name offensive because it sounds so childish.

Oh, we got off track.
Our issue at hand is whether or not to return the girls to the sea now that they’re back in their mermaid form.

“I’m not going back,” says Angel, who has been quiet this entire time. “I came here to surpass you, Sis. I won’t go back to the Mermaid Kingdom without accomplishing that!”
“But what is your true motive, really?”
“The food here is so delicious, I can’t part from it!!!”

Good. We like honest girls.

“Don’t tell us to go home! Ginger-fried pork is delicious! Miso soup is also delicious! I want to live here with you foreveeeeeeeer!!!”

And as the usual pattern goes, she also clings to Platy, with her tail fin swishing around.

“Hey! Stop it! Why do I still have to live with you even when I’m already married?!”

Her sister’s rejection is relentless, so I decide to intervene.

“Well, they’ve become a valuable asset to the farm already, so won’t we be in trouble if they leave now?”

They’re even working remarkably hard as assistants to the older mermaids now.

Puffer is in charge of fermentation and food refrigeration.
Garra Rufa is in charge of medical care.
They support the essential parts of our farm, but it’s hard to deny that their work is also supported by their new assistants.

If Puffer were here, she’d probably take the initiative in refuting Platy’s point, but she isn’t, as she is currently accompanying Prince Arowana on his pilgrimage.

“Why must you hit where it hurts?”
“Right?!”
“We also have the right to live!”

The girls keep pressing on.
But my wife, Platy, also known as the Crowned Witch, is not one to be pushed around by some girls.

“No means no.”
“Whaaat?!”
“You came here without permission from your school or parents. Don’t you understand how worried they are about you?!” says Platy bluntly. “I’m finally starting to understand what it’s like for a parent to worry about their child now that I’m also going to become a mother…” she adds as she caresses her belly.

There’s a hint of never-before-seen sanctity on her face.

“O-Oh… She has a point!”
“Y-Yeah, Mom and Dad must be worried…”
“Hendra may have explained the situation to them, but still…”

The girls couldn’t refute Platy’s point, who is also emitting a motherly aura now.
Remembering the face of my mother back home also makes my heart ache.

“…You’re actually still evolving, Sis?”
“There are several periods of dramatic change in a woman. You haven’t reached any of them yet, though.”

The way Platy just puffed her chest proudly made me think that she hasn’t grown up much either.

“With that in mind, I thought up a compromise plan.”
“A COMPROMISE PLAN?”
“It’s a good opportunity for you to return to your mermaid form now. First of all, don’t grumble about anything, and go back home once. Then, get your own permission to live with us from your parents.”

That must be the minimum requirement for the girls to officially move to our farm.

And I agree with her.
They’re still young girls, just a step away from adulthood. While there’s a saying that goes, “If you love your child, send them out into the world,” as a soon-to-be parent, I can relate to the feeling of worrying about one’s child.

“…Okay. If you say so,” solemnly says Angel. “I’ll get permission from Mom and Dad and come back. Don’t take me lightly, Sis!!!”
“Very well. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Why are these sisters always seem to be in a dueling mood at every opportunity?

“…Ah, also.”
“?”
“One more thing. You need to get permission from your school.”
“?!”

For some reason, Angel’s expression froze at Platy’s request. But why?

“What? From school too? Do we really have to?”
“Of course. You’re students, after all.”
“No matter what?”
“Of course… Well, I understand how you feel about it, but that’s how things are.”

Even Platy lets out a deep sigh with her.
Huh? What’s going on?

The school they’re referring to teaches the highest level of pharmacy magic in the Mermaid Kingdom—Mermaid Witch Academia.

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C253: The Real Completed Ship

Yo, it’s me again.

It’s been a few weeks since the dwarves started frequenting our farm.
Pops can’t do the work all by himself, so he leads the extra helpers he brought with him instead.

We provide their meals and lodging during their work hours.
It’d be too much trouble to have them commute all the way from their home, so we decided to let them live here for a while.
The orcs built their house and brought them their meals while they were at work.

The dwarves, on the other hand, are amazed at what’s happening on the farm—first with the orcs and goblins carrying axes, sickles, and other farming tools.
They are astonished to see that they are all made of mana metal.
Second, I’m honored that they enjoy the meals I cook for them, but they’re even more surprised when they see the kitchen because all our cookware is made of mana metal.

“Why is there mana metal everywhereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?!”
“This place is teeming with iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! So much that they’re being used in daily livinggggggg!”
“Farming tools and cookwareeeeeeeeeeee?! But there are much better uses for them!”
“Like weapons… Or even armor!!!”

Pops and the other dwarves are on the verge of ascending to heaven in shock.
Please don’t die all at once. Sensei won’t be able to accommodate you all.

Besides that, they are also surprised by the adamantine silk made from the adamantine silkworms, the monster materials brought back from the dungeon by Orkubo and his group, and the transparency of the glasswork made by Poel’s team.
Having to keep calling Sensei over and over in an emergency was a hassle for all of us.

And so, at the end of all the crisis and hardships (although I think they had nothing to do with the shipbuilding itself), the dwarves finally completed their job.

In what way did they remodel our ship?
Let’s find out!


The dwarves say in succession:

“Please look at her!!!”
“This is the result of our technical prowess!”
“The ultimate ship in terms of functionality, simplicity, and aesthetic beauty!”
“We call her, Helcirce!”

They even named the ship themselves…

Well, not like I gave her a name first.
I guess they also name ships here.

“Please have a look at her exterior!”
“We did our best to create a radical design as our client would have wished.”
“It won’t look out-of-trend over time with her timeless design. We tried creating a solemn impression without being too flashy or too plain!”
“A ship fit for a ruler!”

I’m no ruler, though…
The remodeled ship looks nothing like before, with traces of the dwarves’ skill all over it.

Let’s say the ship I made was Kamen R*der.
The current ship that the dwarves have remodeled is his final form as the story progresses.
Maybe that’s too hard to understand for most people.

Anyway, you can think of it as a simple ship that became flashy.
But it’s not just flashy; it’s also sophisticated and charming.
This is probably because, as the dwarves themselves claimed, great care was taken in its decoration.

The dwarves continue their explanation.

“Look at her bow! We’ve installed a familiar figurehead there!”

Oh, you mean the carved statue in front of the ship.
I see a beautiful statue of a goddess as if she were guiding the ship.

“Hm? But that statue looks familiar…”
“Of course, you’d recognize her! To tell you the truth, that figurehead was modeled after your wife!”

My wife?
Platy?!
An idol modeled after her?!

“Oh, wow. I was asked to be a model for something, and I just went along with it, but I never thought it would be displayed in such an eye-catching place…”

Well, she is a merprincess, so that might effectively protect our ship from disasters at sea.

“Her bow and stern are specially carved to show that she’s a first-class ship! I’ve even had the farm’s insignia engraved on the side of the hull!”
“The farm’s insignia?”

I don’t remember there being such a thing.

“We came up with it ourselves!”
“Oh…”

I feel like all sorts of things are happening without me knowing.

“Painting an insignia on the mast is customary. But this ship doesn’t have a mast!”
“Amazing, right? A ship that moves without a mast! She can generate her own power!”
“We dwarves have no foundation in magic, so we’re no match for the demons when it comes to technology like this. But seeing a magic-powered ship firsthand makes us so happy!”
“We’ll never have a job this good again!”
“Whoever built this ship must have been Hephaestus or something!”

Err… I’m the one who built this ship.
I’m embarrassed you think so highly of me.

“Next, let me explain to you how well the interior is done. Let us go.”

Like I said, I’m the one who built this ship.
Why are these dwarves acting more like homeowners inviting guests?

“We wanted to make effective use of her unused space, so we made full use of our dwarven know-how to propose an ideal voyage project.”
“Okay…”
“First of all, the noise and heat from the drive engine on the bottom impair comfort, so we built comfortable quarters in the ship’s tower.”

Huh?

“Hahaha! Relax, relax! There’s no way we dwarves would let her lose her balance with the amount of weight she’s carrying! Her magical power reactor has a lot of extra power, so she can handle even double her weight!”

No, that’s not what I’m worried about…

“Onto the captain’s cabin! We brought in the finest furnishings that the Underground Dwarven Empire offers, so it can also function as a VIP room! We can even hold important treaty-signing ceremonies here!”
“Signing ceremony?”

But I don’t plan on doing that.

“There are twenty guest rooms in all! All of them are furnished in the style of first-class inns in the Demon Capital!”
“We’ve added a kitchen, bathroom, toilet, playroom, and everything in between in the empty space at the bottom!”
“As such, you’ll be as comfortable as if you were on land! This is the result of the saint’s divine work combined with the technical prowess of us dwarves!”
“You won’t find a better luxury liner anywhere in the world!!!”


Mm-hm.
The dwarves had done a great job.

It’s luxurious, clean, functional, and comfortable.

But what the dwarf just said caught my attention.
What was that?
A luxury liner?

“Um…”
“Well, even if you asked us to do a better job, we probably couldn’t do it. We just had the best job of our lifetime! …Hmm? What is it?”
“It’s not a cruise ship; it’s a fishing boat.”
“Huh?!”

Didn’t I tell you?
It’s only meant to catch fish.

It seems they misunderstood the ship as a luxury liner that tours VIPs around the world.

“…Is it why it’s made like this?”

What do to…
It’s nowhere near functional as a fishing boat anymore.

“It’s fine. We can still fish and draw nets on this ship,” says Platy.

“We proved in our last fishing trip that magical support is enough to handle our catch. Plus, it’s not a bad thing to have a comfortable room to sleep in while we’re out fishing, don’t you think?”

Yeah, you have a point.

Our farm’s fishing boat, the Helcirce (named by the dwarves)…
Is here!

“Waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!”
“Such a wonderful ship with the divine combination of function and elegance… is just going to be a fishing boaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!”
“What a wasteeeeeeeee! At least! At least take this beauty around the world onceeeeee!!!”
“You can go to the end of the world with heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!!!”

The dwarves are clinging to me all at once. But don’t they understand that a fishing boat is a fine vessel in itself?

It’s okay, guys.
You’ve all done a great job.

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C252: Melancholy of the Dwarves

I’m Pops Edward of the Underground Dwarven Empire.

Since then, I haven’t been concentrating well on the job.
Since when you ask? There can only be one answer—since my first encounter with the mana metal ingots Bacchus brought with him.

A piece of mana metal as huge as your pinky finger is said to be more than enough to sustain you for the rest of your life. But where in the world did Bacchus retrieve such a huge quantity?!

The thought weighs on my mind so much that I can’t get anything else done.
I’ve been absentmindedly hammering away at work, often accidentally hitting my own finger and crushing my bones in the process.

This is all because I’ve not only seen a lot of mana metal, but I’ve actually processed them myself.
The feeling of processing them was irresistible.
For us dwarves, the feeling of forging metal is an essential guide for creating quality goods.
That’s why my hands will never forget the feeling of making that mana metal still.

It’s hot and sturdy, yet light to the touch as if brushing your hands against a feather.

Ever since then, I’ve become mana metal’s captive.
I made the distiller precisely as the client instructed before, but how blissful it would be to freely create whatever I wanted with that many mana metals.

It’s enough to send me to heaven just thinking about it.

But every time I’m brought back to reality, I feel dejected.
I let out a deep sigh every time I dream about getting involved in processing mana metal again.


“Hey, boys…”

One day, I ask the younger dwarves.

“If you were allowed to use as much mana metal as you wanted, what would you make with it?”
“What’s this out of the blue, Pops?”

Well, I don’t blame them for being wary when asked a weird question.

“Just for fun. There’s no particular meaning behind it, so just say what you think.”
“You’re being weird, Pops… But hm, it’s mana metal, a luxury-grade metal…”

He’s seriously thinking.

“…A-A ring, maybe?”
“Too small!!!”

Be a little greedier!
Then another dwarf proposes his idea.

“Pops! What about a sword?”
“…A sword?”
“But not just any sword! It’ll be a two-handed sword! It’s big and heavy, so it will use all sorts of minerals!”

A two-handed sword. That’s a good idea.
Swords are esteemed ritual tools and weapons that show off the skills of dwarves like us.
So, a two-handed sword that uses a lot of minerals is a bold idea.

“Hah, all your dreams are too small.”

Oh?
Another dwarf speaks up.

“If I were you, I’d use the mana metal to make something even BIGGER and BETTER. That’s right… Full body armor!”
“‘FULL BODY ARMOR?!”

You want to cover your whole body in mana metal?!
How much mana metal would that take?!

It’s evident that it’s going to need more minerals than we’ve ever used before. I’m not sure if the ingots the demigod brought last time would be enough…
Maybe it would be.

“I’m impressed, Dwarf No. 3. Your dream is the most ambitious!”
“Thank you, Pops!”

Yes, a dwarf must be grand in his smithing profession!
I keep dreaming that I’ll be able to create one a luxurious set of mana metal swords, shields, and armor that could become legendary class one day!

“Pops, you have a visitor.”
“What?! Who is it?”
“It’s the same dubious guy who came before.”

It’s Bacchus!!!


Bacchus brought in a wide variety of new brews as thanks for the work we did for him last time.

“Why the dejected face?” asks Bacchus.

Huh? Do I seem that way? Sorry about that.
But I’m pretty happy. Dwarves love to drink, after all.
If the god of alcohol put his heart and soul into making these, they’re bound to taste good. We, alcohol-loving dwarves, are pleased!
…Well, I suppose I’m asking for too much if he brought mana metal as a souvenir.

“…Let’s try them right away.”
“That’s vinegar, by the way.”
“Sour!!!”
“It’s a sake-based seasoning, so I brought it along with the other brews.”

Damn it! I wasn’t expecting a trap hidden among all this alcohol!
Why didn’t he add in some mana metal while he was at it?!

“…So, I came here with another favor.”
“?”
“I have a new job for you.”

?!
Does it involve processing mana metal again?

“It’s about building a ship, you see…”

Pshhhh.
There goes my balloon of expectations deflating in my mind.

A ship?
They’re generally made of wood, so there’s no way mana metal is involved.
And this is more than enough to drastically lower my motivation.

But did you know? Smithing isn’t the only thing we’re good at. We know how to do construction too!
Even though we live in an underground empire and aren’t familiar with the sea, I’m confident we can build a ship that’s better than anything the demons or humans have ever produced.

“No, you don’t have to build it from scratch. I already have a complete one. It just lacks external decoration, and I need your professional help here.”

Excuse me?
It’s probably just some amateur-class ship. Wouldn’t it be better if we built one from scratch?

However, it’s a job introduced to me by a demigod, so I can’t exactly turn it down.
And the alcohol he gives us is delicious.
…He might even reward us with mana metal after the job is done.


Thus, I decided to take on the task of modifying a ship.
It was a strange request to be asked to decorate something that was practically finished. Still, like dwarves, we pride ourselves on working thoroughly.

First, we teleported to the site to see the ship in person.
The man who came to greet us was a lanky guy who looked like the place’s owner.
I hope the requested ship to decorate isn’t some lame fishing boat.

I suddenly began to feel uneasy.
For now, I asked him to show me the ship.
And there it was— much bigger than I had ever imagined.
It’s probably big enough to rival the demons’ battleships!!!

No, more than anything else…
The exterior of the huge ship is made of…

“MANA METAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL?!?!?!”

But why?!

Why mana metal?
I don’t even know how or from where I should start asking! Why? Why? Why?!

Okay, let’s backtrack a little.
First of all, I don’t understand why they used metal for the ship! Metal sinking in water is supposed to be common knowledge and a fact, right?
And yet, this ship is floating.
It floats even though it’s made of metal. Why? Why, oh why?!

No, wait!
There’s more to it than meets the eye!
If I get this excited now, I won’t make it till the end!
Listen up… The most amazing thing of all is that…

It’s clearly made with mana metaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!

Why?
This is leagues beyond the realm of luxury!

Just how much mana metal was used in the process of making a ship this big?!
I think it’s more than enough to make hundreds of armor, with more to spare!

My lifelong dream…And my goal of creating hundreds of them…
Yet, this ship before me…

Just wow… Wowowowowowow…
Ah, my breathing-
How does one breathe again???

“…”
“Hm?”
“…”
“…H-He’s dead?!”


I don’t know how I got back from the underworld, but I’ve decided to take on the job.
Suppose we dwarves can be involved in constructing a ship made of mana metal to some extent. In that case, we will feel grateful for our profession!

What? You don’t want to leave the job to me because I might die again?
I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen!
Please!!!
If not, I’ll die of rage!!!

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C251: Ship Modification Project

I want to start working on more things this spring, like modifying the ship, for example.
Last winter, the ship we built made its maiden voyage, but it’s not genuinely complete yet for two reasons.

One: Awfully wasted space.

Its steam engine is equipped with a magical heat source provided by Sensei the Lifeless King.
Therefore, it can sail eternally without any refueling, and the space for loading coal, which was the proposed fuel, has been left untouched.

Other facilities have a similar history, like the refrigerator for storing caught fish.
However, Platy’s idea was to use teleportation magic to toss the caught fish into our farm’s refrigerator, so we also discarded the ship’s fridge idea.
Hence the dead space on the ship.

Two: Few decorations.
Or rather, none at all.

The Hand of Supremacy is a miraculous gift that can create anything I want semi-automatically.
Our magical steamship was mainly created due to my ability. Still, even such a versatile gift has a weakness—it is utterly ineffective in artistic fields.

Creative painting and sculpting? Out of the question.
Even if I had a brush in my hand, I wouldn’t be able to draw a masterpiece.

It seems that such works of art, which people all have different opinions of, aren’t the Hand of Supremacy’s forte.
…Or maybe my artistic sense is just that catastrophic.

This is why my ship has none of the decorative elements that it should, like a goddess statue on the bow, intricate carvings on the parapets, or coating on the hull.

During its construction, my main concern was to get fish that could be used to make bonito flakes, so I didn’t pay much attention to its aesthetic aspect…
Now that this purpose has been accomplished, the lack of decoration has become a concern.
I’d like to improve the interior as well as the exterior of the ship.

“…But we need to ask someone else to take care of the exterior.”

I’ve already accepted my own hopelessness in that field, and there’s nothing I can do about it unless I leave it to another person.

Putting the interior aside for the moment, I have to figure out who to ask for the ship’s exterior.

“How about the elves?” says my wife Platy when I asked her for advice.

She’s in the early stages of her pregnancy, but she’s as wise and great. Hence, she’s the best person to ask.

“Isn’t that the elves’ expertise? Why don’t you go and choose five or six of them?”

I thought about that too.

It’s just that, Aileron, the elves’ leader, recently said;
— “Decorating the ship? What for? The act of decorating takes away its true beauty. After baking dishes day and night, I have concluded that there is no beauty greater than nature. Beauty created by human artifice is nothing more than a petty trick compared to nature’s beauty. The act of decorating is an artifice in itself. Nature is beautiful without decoration. The more we decorate, the more we stray away from nature’s beauty. The search for beauty means to be imaginative and creative in how to make beauty with human hands closer to nature’s beauty. That’s why I try to abstain from any decoration as much as possible. The moment the audacious creations by human hands and the coloring born from chance fight each other to create the ultimate, unparalleled beauty…!”

…She’s been pottering too much that she has awakened the artistic sense in her.
That’s why we can’t ask the elves.

“Besides, elves are best at making small articles that fit in their hands…”

Making large structures such as ships would certainly be outside their expertise.

But if that’s the case…
I can’t think of anyone else on our farm.

Batemy has shown some creative talent in clothing and accessories, but I don’t think she can do carpentry.
The orcs are professional carpenters, but not so good at artistic work.

“…I guess we’ll have to outsource.”

But who should we ask?

Maybe it’s safe to ask the Demon King to introduce me to some random people.
I’m afraid I’ll owe Shax, our business partner, big time if I ask him.

“…”
“Huh? Bacchus, what’s wrong?”

Bacchus, the god of alcohol, is standing right next to me.
For some reason, he’s making a difficult face.

“I may be able to help you with that…”
“What? Really?”

I suppose we can trust the recommendation from a demigod who has lived for thousands of years.

“Should I bring him here?”
“Sure. It should be fine if it’s someone you know. But is it just me, or have you been smiling bitterly ever so slightly for some time now?”
“No… Well, I can vouch for his skills. His race is the world’s best at manufacturing things, so they should be good at architecture too. But how should I say this… It’s like his zeal for making things tends to backfire.”

How rare for Bacchus to beat around the bush.
Anyway, I’m sure we’ll meet him soon.


Bacchus has brought a dwarf with him.

He must be the one who made the still for us.
It was well made, so I think I can trust him with today’s job…

“…!”

The dwarves’ leader, a.k.a. ‘Pops’, has come to see the ship in person.

I’m embarrassed to show my amateur-made ship to a professional dwarf, but…
I hope he doesn’t nitpick details.
However, as soon as he sees the ship up close, he stiffens up then and there.

“…Um, hello?”

He’s not moving an inch, so I try calling out to him. Still nothing.
Actually… Is he even breathing?

“He’s deaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!”

Pops has died while standing.
Why?

I hurriedly called Sensei and made him bring him back to life.
If we had been later by a second, it would’ve been impossible to revive him.

“The Revival Technique won’t work if the soul has gone to the underworld or the body is too damaged.”

Sorry for the trouble, Sensei.
But why did you suddenly die, Pops?

When I asked him, he said he couldn’t accept that a ship made entirely of mana metal exists.
He was both astonished and impressed that his heart stopped.

…C-Can I really entrust this job to him?

I finally understood why Bacchus was hesitant.
If I ask him to decorate the ship, I don’t know how many times he’ll die of a heart attack, so I’ll just ask someone else to do the job to avoid a bad ending…

“Wait!”

Pops suddenly clings to me.

“By all means! Please let me do this job! Processing such a huge amount of mana metal! Will be the best job I’ve ever had! If I miss this opportunity, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. So much I’m going to dieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”

He’ll still die either way?!

We’ve hired quite a troublesome person…
I ultimately decided to leave it to him, so even if he died along the way, he would at least be able to ascend to heaven.

But he already looks so happy right now that he might ascend at any moment.
The road ahead is looking very uncertain.


Anyway, the work began and Pops brought a few assistants to start decorating our ship.

The other concern is remodeling its interior. I was thinking of doing this myself, but the dwarves were also adamant about it…

“We beg of you! Please leave that to us as well!!!”
“We won’t charge you anything extra! Nothing makes us happier than to be involved in the construction of this splendid ship!”

And so, I ended up entrusting the ship’s entirety to them.
I look forward to see how their work will turn out.

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C250: A Dragon’s Secret

At any rate, we can’t just abandon her now that we’ve discovered her.
We have to deal with a new dragon, Seidour.

“Oh? Are you sure? The wine isn’t ready yet.”

I’d be concerned if a wine full of dragon essence were actually ready.
You can’t drink it unless you’re prepared to become immortal or some sort.

The one I drank was still relatively insipid, so it didn’t make me immortal.
So, I trust that this is for the better… Right?

Anyway, I asked Seidour to climb out of the wine bottle and transform into her human form so that we could converse easier and explore the ambrosia fruit she was after.
Her human form is as beautiful as her demeanor suggests–tall, and has a well-proportioned body.

“…”

I couldn’t help but compare her to Veil’s human form.

“Hey, Veil, she calls you her big sister, right?”
“Is there a problem with it?” asks Seidour.

None.
I push my thoughts into the back of my head.

Back to the ambrosia in question.
They said it’s already extinct.

When I pat the soil with the Hand of Supremacy active, plants from other worlds that shouldn’t exist here can also grow.
That’s why it should be theoretically possible to sprout an extinct plant…

“Still, can we really bring something unknown to fruition?”

As my first attempt, I’m not quite sure how it will turn out.
It’s a plant I’ve never seen before, so I won’t be able to judge whether it’s a success or a failure, even if it sprouts and bears fruit.

“Hmm… What should I do?”

When it comes to fruit, the dungeon orchard is the place to be, so I went there to think while looking at the fruit trees.

“Oh my. What a lovely dungeon with all these colorful trees.”
“I know, right? Master remodeled my dungeon!”

Says the dragon sisters, Seidour and Veil, who came along with me.

“Do you mind if I go look around? It’s not every day I get to visit a dungeon like this.”
“Look around as much as you like! Realize how great me and my master are!” boasts Veil.

Seidour takes her word for it and looks around.
However…

“Kyaaaaa!!!”
“What happened?!”

I suddenly heard a scream, so I rushed toward its source.
That was definitely Seidour.
It’s rare for a dragon to scream!

“What’s wrong? Did something bad happen?!”

I helped Seidour back on her feet after she fell bum-first on the ground.

“I-I found it!”
“Huh?
“Ambrosia!”

What?!
But isn’t ambrosia supposed to be extinct?!

Seidour’s trembling finger points to a tree full of red fruits…

“Apples?”

Yes, apples.
To me, it’s an ordinary fruit.

“You’re saying that’s the ambrosia? Where I come from, it’s called an apple.”
“I’m sure of it! Father told me all about an ambrosia’s features before I departed!”

Tell me that sooner.
But how is it even possible for a plant that has vanished from this world to be thriving under a different name in my world?

“We have plenty of them growing in this dungeon orchard, and we eat their fruit every day. So…”

I pick one of the well-ripened apples and wipe it clean with a hand towel.

“Please, have one.”
“What?! But I have to give this precious fruit to Father!”
“There’s more where that came from, so don’t worry.”

Seidour looks reluctant for a while, but she eventually makes up her mind and takes a bite from the apple.
I feel like the snake that gave Eve the forbidden fruit.

“It’s delicious! This is exactly what Father would choose for his trials!”

Maybe I’ll bake her an apple pie when we get home.

“I’m at a loss for words! You didn’t need to grow ambrosia; you already have them! As expected from my sister’s master. So… Um…”
“You’re free to take as many as you want.”
“Thank you so much! I’ll never forget this! I’ll be sure to return the favor someday!”

Seidour reverts to her dragon form and is about to fly away.
But…

“Wait a minute.”

Someone stops her in a calm voice.
It’s Veil.

“If you take this, will he really recognize this as ambrosia?”
“Pardon?”

Veil looks at the apple in her hand and says, “Isn’t this just an apple? If he says it’s just a variety that looks like ambrosia, how will you prove it’s not?”
“Er… That’s…”
“If he says you failed your trial, your magic and intelligence will be taken away, and you’ll be turned into a Lesser Dragon on the spot. If you return thinking this is enough, you’ll be a huge lizard before you know it.”

Veil is in a more serious mood than usual. What’s going on?

“I heard a rumor floating around recently…”
“A rumor?”
“About Father not intending to use the trials to determine his successor.”
“What do you mean, Sis?! Isn’t Father giving us various trials to determine the new Geyser Dragon?!”

Huh? What?
A serious discussion?

“Why does he need to decide the successor in the first place? Father’s rightful successor is supposed to be Brother Alexander, the Grauglintz Dragon.”
“That’s because Brother Alexander had a falling out with him!”
“Father is already old and powerless to resist the young and aggressive Brother Alexander. Isn’t that why he’s using us?”
“Using us?”
“What I’m saying is that he wants us to undergo his trials under the guise of choosing a successor, and as punishment for failing them, he will turn us into Lesser Dragons and take away our magic and accumulate it for himself to oppose Brother Alexander!”
“No… So, you think the trials and the selection are a farce?!”

I have no room to interrupt their conversation, so I decide to sit down and have tea.

“But… If that’s the case, why is he putting us through these trials? If he wants power, he can just forcefully take it from us!”
“He may be a Geyser Dragon, but that doesn’t mean he can take other dragon’s power by force. That’s why he uses the Oath Spell.”
“O-Oath?”
“It’s a curse that is enforced on those who break the promises they made. That way, he can effortlessly drain us of our power in the name of punishment.”
“He uses the trials as a dummy to get us to make an oath unknowingly, and then he uses that to take away our power? Is that really Father’s real goal?!”
“That’s right… Well,” mumbles Veil. “…Or so a pseudo-corpse living nearby speculates.”
“All those were mere parroting?!” I interject.

Thank goodness.
I was able to insert a tsukkomi at the end.

I thought it was a very serious deduction for Veil, but it was Sensei’s all along!

“Thanks to Master, I got acquainted with that pseudo-corpse and was able to ask him a lot of questions. Come to think of it, I can recall several occasions.”
“True, multiple things make sense if we go with that theory. If so, even if you pass the trial, there’s a perfect chance that you’ll fail if he finds fault with it!”
“Especially your trial. You’ll be turned into a Lesser Dragon if you go back with it, no doubt.”
“Urk…”
“The best thing to do here is stay put and wait for Brother Alexander to make his move,” says Veil.

I don’t really get what’s on, nor do I dare to, but the world of dragons seems to have it rough as well.

Seidour, who was told a harsh truth, is stumped.

“S-So, if I go back to Father, I’ll fail regardless of my results? But if I don’t go back, where should I stay…”

She ponders for a while.

“I-I’m going to stay inside the wine bottle a little longer!”

And she darts off.
I guess she was thinking of postponing the conclusion by staying inside it.

“Do you want to eat some apple pie before you do?”
“Yay! I do!”

And so, another dragon came to live on our farm(‘s brewery).
Or rather, another recluse…

But even if we were to complete the rich dragon wine, we wouldn’t know what to do with it, would we?

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C249: Oozing Alcohol

The first thing we’re doing in spring is to taste the fruit and herbal wines.
Back in autumn, we soaked various fruits and medicinal herbs in the distilled liquor created by Bacchus, hoping that their flavors would infuse into them.

It should be ready to drink now that winter’s over!
It should be!!!

In theory, you soak the fruits in the wine before the rainy season and drink it around autumn. But the concept of seasons isn’t all that defined in this world.

So here they are, all lined up in front of us, a colorful array of wine.

Starting with the standard plum wine, we also have apple wine, lemon wine, peach wine, loquat wine, orange wine, and kiwi wine.
There are also a variety of herbal wines prepared by Platy and the other mermaids.

They take out whatever steeped ingredient they put into them, giving them a unique color that cannot be found in ordinary alcohol.

“…I don’t think we’ll be able to finish all these in one sitting!”

Anyway, we decide to enjoy the plum wine first since it’s the most abundant in quantity.

“Plummy-yummy!”
“It’s even easier to drink if you dilute it with water!”
“The pickled plums are also delicious!”
“I’ll make them into jam later, so don’t eat them all, okay?”

They all seem to like it.
I’m going to make this a staple on our farm and brew them regularly.

“Saint, saint.”

I hear someone call out to me in my tipsy state.
It’s Bacchus, the god of alcohol.

“I want to see the results of the other steeped liquors. Will you come with me?”

Bacchus has now established himself as the head of the brewing department at our farm.
He told me that he had made dozens of different kinds of steeped wine, but only a handful of them was shown at the wine party.

“I know for a fact that they will all taste great!”

Well, that’s wise judgment.
We got some crazy ideas when we asked the farm residents what alcohol to brew, but Bacchus was willing to try them all instead of rejecting them.

He believes that the possibility of creating a miraculous product, no matter how ridiculous the method, isn’t zero.
This determination of his is what you’d expect from an alcohol enthusiast.

“But there were some extreme ones, weren’t there?”

Like Horkosfon’s proposed natto wine…

“Failure is the yeast of success! The challenge itself wasn’t the problem. But we do have one in particular!”
“Huh? What?”
“It’s this…”

Bacchus shows me around the brewery, and what he shows me scared me out of my wits—a ridiculously large wine bottle.

It’s so tall that I have to look up at it.
How did they make such a huge bottle?
That in itself is already a mystery, but an even bigger mystery is its contents. It’s a glass bottle, so we could naturally see the generous amount of sake, probably shochu.

And what’s floating inside it is…

“A dragon?!”

Dragon wine?!
Who the hell thought of up this?
We’re they confusing it for snake wine?!

“Veil? VEIL!!!”

I call out to Veil from the outside of the bottle while knocking on it.
What in the world is she doing?!

“You called, Master?”
“Ahhhh!!!”

The voice from behind me spooked me out!

“Huh? Veil?!”

She’s right here in her human form!

“Huh? Who’s the dragon inside this bottle then?!”

There’s a dragon inside the bottle.
There’s also a dragon outside the bottle (Veil).

Veil is the only dragon on my farm; that’s why I assumed that the dragon inside was her.

“If you’re outside the bottle, then who’s the dragon inside?! Who?! …Oh, your clone?”

She does have a conscious clone of herself that guards the mountain dungeon. It must be the exact clone!

“No, this dragon is different from me. Can’t you tell?”
“Huh?!”
“Have I not introduced you to her? Alrighty, I’ll introduce you.”

Veil taps the bottle as if knocking on it.

“Seidour. Master seems interested in you. Come out and say hello.”
“Oh, my. Are you sure, sister? I’ve only been here for less than two months.”
“Just come out for a few minutes.”

She’s aliveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I shouldn’t be all that surprised even if she’s inside a sealed bottle, considering she’s a dragon, but she really is alive!!!

“Hyup. There we go. It’s been a while since I’ve had some fresh air.”

The alcohol-soaked dragon pokes her head from the lid.

“So, you’re Sis Veil’s master. I am Seidour, a Grinzel Dragon.”
“Y-Yes… Nice to meet you…”

The situation is so bizarre that I can barely utter a reply.

The dragon that had soaked itself in the liquor comes out and greets me!

“Um, this is our first meeting… it seems.”
“Indeed, it is. Is there a problem?”

Why is a dragon I’ve never met soaking herself on my farm?!
Its level of mysteriousness is similar to those locked-room murders!

“Let me do the explaining,” interrupts Miss Know-It-All Veil.

You’re probably the one who started all this, anyway!

“It was an ordinary winter afternoon, and I was bored out of my mind…”
“Okay…”
“So, I decided to kill some time and go mess with another dragon.”

?!
Speaking of which, aren’t these dragons being tested by the current Dragon Archon to determine his successor?
And if they interfere with the other dragons and make them fail the trials, they’ll benefit by eliminating their rival.
That’s unfair.

“As I was flying around, I came across Seidour. I made her my target and approached her…”

But instead of intercepting Veil, she clung to her, crying for dear help.

“I was given an outrageous trial! Not even we dragons could accomplish it!”
“W-What kind of trial was it?”

I didn’t want to pry too much, but that wouldn’t get us anywhere, so I had no choice but to urge her.

“I was asked to bring a fruit named ambrosia.”
“Why don’t you just get one?”

A fruit?
Dragons like you should be able to get a fruit or two easily.

“That’s not how it works, Master,” says Veil. “Ambrosia is a fruit that has been long-extinct and is nowhere to be found on earth.”
“Oh, it’s practically an impossible trial.”

No matter how many dragons there are, it’s impossible to find something that no longer exists.

“I was roaming around at a loss when I met Sis Veil. I had no one else to turn to and was already exhausted, so out of sheer happiness, I…”

Hugged her and cried out, eh?

“And with all her bawling, I didn’t have it in me to corner her anymore…”

Your initial goal was to sabotage her, but you didn’t stick to it, Veil.

“That’s when I remembered you, Master. You can grow trees and crops out of nothing without sowing a seed, right?”

Oh, yes.
That’s one of the benefits of the Hand of Supremacy.
It’s a really versatile gift.

“I brought her here because I thought you’d be able to make an extinct fruit sprout again.”

I see. I understand how Seidour came to the farm now.
But what I still don’t understand is why she’s soaking herself in the alcohol!

“A noble dragon like me can’t be indebted to a human! Not to such children of lower races!”

Her words are relatively polite, but I can tell she’s a dragon, all right.
She’s naturally arrogant as the most powerful race.

“So, I thought I’d first try to give you a big enough reward before I ask you a favor. But since you’re a human who can subjugate Sis Veil, I thought you wouldn’t be satisfied with something generic…”
“We were just having an alcohol party, right? That’s why I thought it would make you happy if I prepared dragon wine.”
“That’s what Sis Veil told me, so I decided to immerse myself in alcohol right away! Being stuck in a bottle for six months or so is no hard task for us dragons.”
“Not being able to play with Master for that long sucks, too, personally.”

And that’s how this happened?!

Why didn’t I notice this? Oh, wait, I have been away a lot during winter, fishing and preparing for Orkubo Castle’s attractions!

It’s no wonder I didn’t notice. But at least inform me about it, Veil!
I guess I can’t even expect that much from her…

“Less than two months have passed since, but I’m determined to persevere! I’ll be sure to ask for your help in cultivating ambrosia when I’m finished!”
“I’m also interested in dragon wine. Oh yeah, Master. Why don’t we give it a taste now while we’re at it?”

There’s nothing more thoughtless than tasting steeped alcohol before it’s finished…

Dragon wine…
I’m interested in what it tastes like.
I wonder if it’s like snake wine?

I take a scoop of the wine and sip it.

“Woah! This is goooooooooooooooooood!”

What’s up with this?!
It’s delicious! And that’s not all! My body is boiling hot, and I feel strength surging up within meeee!!!

No alcohol can contain this much power!
This dragon wine is undoubtedly the most potent alcohol!

“Oh, saint, you shouldn’t drink dragon wine carelessly,” casually says Bacchus, unconcernedly checking the quality of the other wines. “It will make you immortal.”
“Why say that after I finished drinking it?!”

I guess a dragon’s power will always shine through, no matter what product they’re involved in.

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C248: How We Spent Our Winter (Two)

We will continue to look back on how everyone spent their winter.
The next thing on our list is this unusual incident.


A nude woman runs out into the snowscape.

“Hmm?”

I tried to shut my eyes immediately, but I still saw a fleeting glimpse of it.

“What is the meaning of this?!”

I covered my eyes with my hands so I can’t see, but I can still hear shrill voices.

“No! It’s cold!!!”
“My entire body is freezing!”
“Alcohol! Alcohol!!!”
“Warm up with it!”


What’s going on here, seriously?
With my vision blocked, I can’t grasp the situation except by guessing.

“This is their training.”

Hmm?
Is that Bacchus’ voice, the god of alcohol?
He’s been living on our farm for some time now, energetically brewing alcohol.

“Um… Is it just me, or are there actually naked women running around in front of me?”
“Nope, they’re really there. 15 of my Maidens are completely naked!”

Woah!
That was close! I almost uncovered my eyes!

“Why? Why are they running around naked?!”
“I told you. This is training for Bacchus’ Maidens.”

Training?!
But what kind of training makes you run around naked in the cold?
Oh, is it a mid-winter marathon?!

“Listen. You know how it’s cold when you dive into the snow naked?”
“Just imagining it makes my spine freeze over.”
“But when you pour the alcohol onto your cold body, it warms you up. Then you dive back into the snow to cool yourself down. Then you drink some alcohol to warm up. By repeating this process, you can…”
“You can?”
“Increase the amount of alcohol you can consume daily!”

The hell is that kind of training?!
They’re already part of a drinking cult, yet they still have to undergo rigorous training to drink more?
Bacchus’ Maidens sure have it rough!

“It’s a seasonal event that can only be done during winter.”
“You can leave me out of it, but at least don’t make them go stark naked. It’s corrupting public morals!” I say while still covering my eyes.

“But won’t their clothes get wet if they dive into the snow wearing them?”
“Why does your commonsense only apply to that part?!”

My guess is that Bacchus, the insane leader of this training, doesn’t feel anything when he sees naked women.
With a lifespan of thousands of years, his libido must have dwindled into nothingness.
The only thing he has eyes on is alcohol.

“This is how I train and develop my elite and provide momentum to our new plan next spring.”
“New plan?”
“We’re going to sell the alcohol we brew.”

Why would you do that?
Not that I won’t allow you.

“Good wine should be shared, don’t you agree?”

This part of him really makes him stand out as the god of alcohol.
Although, the training had an unexpected effect on the other women on our farm, who had been influenced by the Maidens, and awakened the pleasure of repeatedly tossing their bodies into the snow and then warming up in the bathhouse.
As a result, more women were running out of the bath completely naked.

To protect the public morals of the farm, I had to enforce stricter control.


Then, there’s Princess Letasreit.
I thought she’d be bored during the winter, not being able to grow her fava beans, but she was enjoying the winter in her own way.

“Heave-ho! Heave-ho! Heave-ho!”

I look to see what she’s doing and see her rolling a snowball to make it bigger.

“Are you making a snowman?”

It’s something I taught them last winter. Now, snowmen are lining the farm like the Five Hundred Disciples of the Buddha.

“Yeah! I’m going to make a high-class snowman worthy of being a princess’s work, one that will stand out from all the other snowmen!”

As usual, this girl is taking pride in her royal bloodline in strange ways.

“Well, if you want to make a snowman, you need another snowball. Do you want me to help?”

Two snowballs, one for the body and one for the head.
And since it’s winter, I’d start lacking exercise if I’m not careful, so I need to take the initiative.

“Don’t worry! The other snowball is already being made by a reliable helper of mine!”

Oh, you already have an assistant?
I guess I’ll start making my own snowman then.

“Holly! How’s your snowball coming along?”
“It’s going well, Letasreit.”

Huh?
Horkosfon is helping Letasreit build a snowman?
The angel Horkosfon?

If she, who’s one of the strongest on our farm and has a reasonable amount of strength, makes a snowball…

“The snowball for the head is complete.”
“TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIG!!!” exclaim me and Letasreit.

Its size is towering over our surroundings.

It’s not even a snowball anymore, but a spherical mountain of snow.
Its diameter exceeds the roof of my house by a considerable margin.

So, if Horkosfon were to make a snowball, it’d be this big?
Yikes.

“Hey! That’s too big, Holly! It doesn’t balance out with the snowball I made!”

Comparing the size of Horkosfon’s snowball and Letasreit’s would be like…
The earth and the moon.

“I’ve finished its head, Letasreit. Please hurry on making its torso.”
“I’ve also finished mine!”

Horkosfon’s snowball is supposed to be the head?
It’s apparent that it’ll crush its body.

“I’ll place it on top then. Ready…”

She places it mercilessly.
As expected, Horkosfon’s snowball crushes Letasreit’s.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! My masterpiece!!!”

Since then, their collab snowman became the biggest one on the farm, attracting everyone’s attention.

Her goal of making a “special snowman” has been accomplished.


Lastly, we have Panu’s satyr group.

They’re in charge of making dairy products on our farm, but it appears that they used the cold, piled-up snow to mass-produce ice cream.

I can understand why they’d want to take advantage of the cold environment to make something cold.
However, when it’s cold, our instinct is to regulate our body temperature by consuming warm food.

In fact, hot milk and cheese fondue are more popular among our residents.
Barely anyone is brave enough to eat ice cream in winter.

Panu and the rest of the satyrs have no choice but to consume the ice cream themselves.
But they got carried away and made too much.

“Lord Saint… If you’d like, please have one…”

Feeling sorry seeing their pale lips as they urge me, I decide to join.

“It’s giving me brain freeze! How many do we have left?”
“138 cups, including the ones we made today.”
“Why did you make another batch?!”

In the end, we somehow managed by placing them in the after-bath corner of the bathhouse to encourage consumption.


That’s pretty much how the residents of our farm spent their winters.
The orcs and elves were busy creating Orkubo’s Castle attractions, while the goblins were busy tending to the farm.

All in all, it was a productive winter.

Now that we’ve passed the period of hiding in the cold, let’s move on to spring.


the hot spring-cold snow-hot spring cycle reminded me of the ‘hot sauna cold plunge’ technique I learned from a rap song about sauna facts lol.
also we’re 42 chapters away from kidan jr’s long-awaited appearance

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C247: How We Spent Our Winter (One)

Winter has passed, and spring has arrived. But before we start celebrating the arrival of spring, I’d like to highlight a little more about winter.

Let’s take a look back at how our farm residents enjoyed theirs.


Starting with the earth spirits.
Originally, they are intangible beings that blend into the soil and assist in the functioning of nature, but on our farm, they materialize and help us with chores.

“Winter!”
“The season for all creation to stop gwowing!”
“We, too, will sleep quietly!”

Changing seasons significantly impact the earth spirits, especially during winter, when all living beings cease their activities. It’s the season when they’re least active.

They go back to the earth until spring comes.
In other words, they hibernate.

“See you soon, Master!”
“Let’s meet again in the spring!”
“Evewy winter comes to an end!”

They bid their goodbyes and went back to the earth.

At times like this, I realize that although the earth spirits may look like little girls, they’re still nonhuman.
Let’s take a moment to review them.

They look like little girls, are plenty in number, love butter (and anything sweet with butter in it), can materialize with Hades’ blessings, and help us with housework.

Their main job is cleaning and keeping our buildings tidy and free from even a single pest.
But we have to clean the house ourselves during the winter when they’re asleep. This isn’t a problem, since we have no farmwork around this time.

Winter is a season for sleeping and storing up life force for all life to bloom in the upcoming spring.

I am sure the earth spirits will also show us their magnificent forms then.
With this in mind, I decided to spend the winter in my own way.


And then, spring came.

It was a mere recollection of an event, so time flew in a flash.
The snow melts, the stinging sensation in the air vanishes, and warmth returns—just the right conditions for the earth spirits to awaken.

“Spring is here.”
“It’s time to wake up.”
“Wakey-wakey.”

The earth spirits crawl out of the earth one after another.
However, there’s a definite difference between their appearance now and before they started hibernating.

“They multiplied…” I mutter.

“They’ve multiplied!!!”

That’s right, they multiplied in many ways than one.

The earth spirits, who used to be little girls in appearance, have grown up.

They’ve grown taller, and their body builds, chest, and hips have become more prominent.
They’ve grown into alluring ladies who are nothing like the little girls they once were!

“Is this the effect of your hibernation?!”

As a result of staying asleep and accumulating life force, the little girls have matured!

“Everyone, let’s do our regular wake-up routine.”
“If we don’t, we can’t do anything else.”
“Here we go… One, two…”

“DETOX!!!”

Huh?!

The alluring earth spirits are enveloped in light!
After I gradually regain my vision from the dazzling light, the earth spirits…

“Are back to normaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!”

They’re back in their adorable forms.

“We acquire too much energy during the winter that we grow fat!”
“That’s why we release the excess energy and tune it accordingly!”
“Just like dieting and casting off! We leave all the excess stuff to tomorrow, along with memories!”

Says the tiny earth spirits one after the other.
As it turns out, the alluring earth spirits’ forms are a rare sight that could only be seen for a short time after winter.


We rewind time once more to the peak winter cold.

For Angel, the second princess of the Mermaid Kingdom, and her friends, seeing a snowy landscape is something new.

“Wow…”
“The ground is white, Princess!”

The five girls, Angel, Discus, Veiltail, Heckelii, and Batrachus, who call themselves The Legitimate Five Holy Witches, are now entirely accustomed to life on the farm.
They no longer get spooked by dragon Veil or Sensei the Lifeless King.

However, they are surprised to see this snowy landscape.

“Wow!!! Is this what they call snow?”
“Brr! Princess! It’s cold to the touch!”
“I’m going to catch the ones falling from the sky! Ah, so cold!”

They frolic in the snow like children.
Well, their age is still under that category, so I guess it counts…

“Pfft, they really are children, all excited about their first snowfall,” says Platy (this was before we found out she’s pregnant).
“She can’t be called a merlady if she’s making a fuss over a mere snowfall!”

But in reality, even Platy looked up and opened her mouth wide during her first snowfall last year…

“I’m going to teach you how to enjoy the snow with grace as your leader and as a full-fledged merlady!”
“W-What?!”

The mood in the air is that of their sister showdown again.

“What are you going to teach me, Sis? And you’re actually trying to help your enemy…”
“You can’t call yourself my enemy until you’re more skilled!”

Platy is strict with her sister as usual.

“I’m going to teach you how to play with snow. You can only do this when the snow is falling heavily, as it is now.”
“A seasonal game?!”
“You grab a handful of snow and form it into a ball. Then you throw it at your opponent.”

That’s the snowball fight that I taught to everyone last winter.

She’s also doing something childish by immediately teaching what she learned from others…

“Its name is…”

Its name is…

“Snow slaughter!!!”

No.
The slaughter part is wrong.
I can’t overlook this as a bystander, so I call out to Platy.

“That’s not it, Platy. It’s a snowball fight, not slaughter.”

Why are you naming it something much more ominous?

“Dear… But aren’t battles also called wars? And war can only happen between people of the same level.”
“Huh?”
“You can’t have a war between people who are overwhelmingly different in level. Otherwise, it’s a one-sided slaughter. The strong will trample the weak, you see?”

The way Platy looks at her sister is exactly the way she would look down on the weak.
Angel also notices this and snaps in response.

“Grr! You’re going to pay for looking down on me, Sis! Fine, let’s do this snow slaughter! Of course, I’m the one who’s going to slaughter you!!!”
“Bring it on! I’m going to show you again that no younger sister is better than her elder!”

Angel’s friends join her to surround Platy in a five-on-one battle, but it still ends up as a one-sided slaughter with Angel’s team being trampled down.

It would’ve been a pity for them if it had ended like this, so they added Aileron and Gobukichi as helpers to make both sides equal in power and enjoy the snowball fight together.

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C246: Udon and Tempura

I feel like eating udon.

Come to think of it, I haven’t had it in a while.
Now that we have bonito flakes, we have no other ingredient missing.

That’s why we’re making udon today.


First, we need to make the noodles.

Mix flour with salt water and knead.

“Oh, looks like Master is making something again.”
“I wonder what he’ll make this time?”

Veil and Platy have evolved into being able to sniff out food before it’s even ready.
Well, it’s a pre-established harmony, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

“I’m so looking forward to his next new dish. It seems he’s kneading the flour with wheat.”
“Uh-huh. I feel like we’ve seen this before. What was it again? Hm… Oh, yeah!”

Veil makes a weird face as she jogs her memory after seeing me knead the dough.

“I remember now! This is to make bread, isn’t it?”
“Bread?!”
“You know, the thing you bake! And here I thought you were making something new, Master. Turns out, it’s just bread!”

Was I giving off that kind of vibe?

“Hey, let me help make bread too! Kneading the dough is so much fun!” says Veil as she joins me to knead.

“Knead the dough♪ Knead the dough♪ Mix flour, water, salt, sugar, and yeast to make bread, ♪” she sings gleefully.

I, on the other hand, knead the udon dough quietly.

“Let’s mix in some butter and knead some more, then let it rise. ♪”

After letting the dough rest for a while, I spread it evenly with a rolling pin then cut it into noodle strips.

“Once it’s done proofing, we knead it again and cut them into pieces. ♪”

Then I boil the finished noodles and make the dipping sauce at the same time. This is where the bonito flakes play their part.
I throw the boiled udon noodles into the hot dipping sauce and sprinkle it with chopped green onions, then…

“Put the dough in the oven to bake it through and through. ♪”

It’s done!
“It’s done!”

“HUH?!”

The finished noodles and bread are side-by-side.
A double carbohydrate combo.

“I thought we were baking bread, Master! You made something else!”
“But it’s not like I mentioned anything about making bread! And how did you not notice me making something different midway?!”

That aside, I’m slightly impressed that Veil managed to make bread on her own.
I took a bite from it.
Given that it’s freshly baked, it’s delicious!

…Hm? But doesn’t this taste a little salty?
Oh, it’s the taste of my tears.

“Pish, let’s taste your new dish instead, Dear.”

Platy is not impressed.
Then, without asking, she grabs my udon bowl.

“Is this some kind of soup? The bowl is mostly broth, but with some kind of long weird thing in it…”
“Do you eat it with chopsticks? I’m not very good at using them, though…”

Veil also shifts her interest toward the udon.
Despite what she said, she uses the chopsticks well and slurps the udon…

“YUMMMMMMMMM!”
“What is this long, chewy thing?! I thought it’d be fluffy since it has the same ingredients as bread, but I was wrong!”
“The sauce is also delicious. Is this flavor from the bonito flakes you recently made? I see. You were able to make this because of it!”

I’m glad to see their satisfied reactions.

“I’m going to try dipping my bread into the sauce… Mm! Yum!”
“Manners, Veil… But you’re right. It is delicious.”

They’ve turned into flavor researchers and are trying all sorts of combinations!

I don’t really approve of the way they’re eating it, but I’ll give it a try later for curiosity’s sake. Just once, maybe…

All right, I’ll add one slight touch.
It’s not just bonito (or otherworldly fish that looks like one) that we caught during our fishing trip.
Among them was a shrimp-like fish. I cover it with batter and fry it in oil…

“Hup!”

I put the shrimp tempura into their bowls of udon.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA???”

They both instinctively raise their voices in delight.

“This is incredible! I can tell it’s incredible! Two foods that are incredible on their own merge into one! It’s not just twice as incredible, but thrice!!!”
“The shrimp’s coating is soaked in the udon soup, synergizing its taste! The golden color of this batter is luxurious! It’s perfect for a dragon like me!”

They’re so delighted.
Meanwhile, I’m making kakiage.

I wonder what else goes well with udon?
Meat, tanuki, kitsune, wakame, tsukimi, wild vegetables, burdock tempura…
Hmm…
I can’t think of anything else anymore.

Wait, there must be more to it.
I could’ve sworn most stand-up soba and udon stalls at train stations had a menu full of various toppings.

For example…
Croquette udon?
No, that would be too strange. The contents of the croquette would dissolve into the sauce and ruin the dish…
Hmm, I wonder if that’s a good idea? Maybe it isn’t?

Curry udon.
But isn’t that a separate dish? It’s not part of the repertoire.
Besides, my farm isn’t ready to make curry, so I’m putting this idea on hold.

There are also zaru udon and bukkake udon if we don’t want to limit ourselves to individual ingredients.
I don’t need to get new ingredients for these, too, so I can make them right away…

Oh, wait, I have to make a bamboo mat for zaru udon!
What a hassle, there are so many things I need to prepare.
And then there’s the forbidden…

“Natto udon!!!”

When I returned to reality, the situation in the kitchen had changed drastically.

“This natto udon is pretty good.”

?!
Natto udon has been realized!
Of course, its executor is none other than our Natto Angel Horkosfon!
She has imitated something typically served in Mito’s udon shops!!!

“Natto and udon together is one fine combination. I will add this to my natto repertoire.”

Wait, it’s not just Horkosfon, but the kitchen is now bustling with the other farm residents.
Orcs and goblins are boiling the rest of my udon and putting it into bowls one after another, along with the dipping sauce.
They actually did it themselves without asking me…

“Oh, apologies, we boiled them without asking you.”
“Why don’t you try some yourself, My Lord? It’s really delicious!”

But I made that myself…
It’s not just Veil who learned how to cook without my help!

“Let’s try this tempura thingy too!”
“Let’s deep-fry some pumpkin and eggplant! How about tomatoes and cucumbers, too, while we’re at it?”

They aren’t even hesitant in experimenting with things!

“After frying, put them into the udon bowl!”
“Brilliant! We can taste all kinds of udon!”
“This udon with sweet potato tempura is pretty good!”
“So is this udon with chopped burdock root!!!”
“Butter tempura!”
“Ice cream tempura!”
“Would Japanese sake make a fine pairing with the udon?!”
“Udon noodles with seaweed is also delicious!”
“These wild vegetables too!”

I guess my passion for food and cooking must have transferred to everyone on the farm.
I felt time moving forward when I found out Platy was carrying my baby, but that wasn’t all.

Everyone is growing up, little by little!
Every single one of us!
And I’m sure this growth is going to continue.

Then, there’s Horkosfon…

“Next, let’s try natto tempura.”
“Please don’t! I fear the outcome!!!”


quick geo check: mito is the capital city of ibaraki prefecture in japan. it seems they’re most famous for their natto.

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