Mariela arrived back at the Yagu’s Bridge Inn before Sieg. The baggage containing the materials they had gathered was in the room, and Mariela was waiting for Sieg to return. As Mariela was waiting at the cafeteria counter, a woman that worked at the inn approached her.
“Hey, you’re a pharmacist, right? Do you sell medicine?”
The woman was around the same age as Mariela, maybe a year older. The woman was not as sexy as Ms. Amber, but Mariela still couldn’t compare to her.
“There will be a labyrinth expedition soon. After the expedition, business would thrive. So I’d like to prepare, but most shops seem poorly stocked.”
Apparently, the woman wanted Mariela to make contraceptives. Mariela would love to say, “Okay, this is perfect for me! This is my specialty!” However, the potion she used to make may be too powerful as is. She wanted to know what they were currently using.
“Eh? They’ve been using a powdered medicine? That would just wash away with a little water….”
It was worse than she expected. This type of medicine would hardly do anything to prevent pregnancies. When Mariela said this to the woman, she laughed and told her that was the point. The population of the Labyrinth City was stagnating, so they had adopted a policy that would have any slaves that get pregnant take time off from working with the hope of giving birth to a healthy child. They’d give birth in an orphanage and have some time off after giving birth. A child born in this way would be raised as an ordinary citizen at the orphanage. The mothers were then sent back to their masters but might be given time to go see their children, and if they were debt slaves, they were even allowed to earn their freedom and return to their children.
Mariela also grew up in an orphanage. She had never met her mother. Due to there being a possibility of meeting their mother, are the orphans of the city happy? Some mothers would live on hoping to someday meet their children. But, aren’t they unwanted in the first place? During challenging times, there are some people that only have their family for support.
Mariela was unsure. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is this cruelty or mercy?
When Mariela went silent, Amber came.
“Ah, I’m sorry. It looks like I said something wrong.”
The Nee-chan who asked for medicine told Amber about the situation.
“She already has a customer in Vice-Captain Marlowe. Sorry, Mariela. You don’t need to worry about her.”
“No, I’m sorry for getting lost in thought. I can make the medicine. The effect may not be 100% though.”
There was little that Mariela could do. She wasn’t even sure if this was for the best or not.
But Mariela could make a better birth control pill now. Because it was not a potion, it was not 100%, though. (Note 1)
Do not drink if you want a child.
For those that have little say over what happens to them, at least this would offer a small sense of independence.
(I’ll make the best medicine possible without revealing the fact that I’m an alchemist.)
Mariela thought so.
“ I’m back.”
Sieg was back. He handed two large silver coins to Mariela. Mariela took one and left one in Sieg’s hand.
“Use that to buy anything you want, Sieg. Ah, I’ll worry about buying a change of clothes for you and other everyday consumables. It will be the day after tomorrow, so be patient.”
Sieg showed a very troubled face. Mariela knew what he could buy with a large silver coin; it was not a small amount. Even if she allowed Sieg to spend it on whatever he wanted, Sieg had never been in that position before. She mostly did this for herself, and she knew that. Still, she wanted to give something freely to Sieg.
She repeated herself once more before Sieg’s hand finally closed around the coin.
After finishing the dinner, Mariela went up to the room, leaving Sieg behind. Since Mariela wanted to take a bath, she told him “I want you to go up after about half an hour.”
She felt somewhat irritated that she couldn’t relax as long as she wished in the bath. Since she still had plenty of mana left, she heated the water and sank into the water mixed with drops of life.
She finished her bath and got out before drying her hair. She then filled the tub with hot clean water.
Sieg had yet to return to the room, so Mariela opened the front door to their room and, just as she thought, Sieg was waiting in the corridor.
“….You don’t have to wait out there.”
‘Yes,’ he answered, but Mariela expected him to be waiting in the hall tomorrow as well.
For the time being, Mariela tossed Sieg into the bath. Because the drop of life was mixed with the water and was good for health, she told him to soak his body in it for a while. Once she had confirmed he was soaking in the bath, she quickly collected his clothes.
She needed to wash them because Sieg had no change of clothes. He had worn all the clothing she had bought him over the last two days. Today, he even went out into the forest with Mariela and was sweating a lot. She must wash them!
She grabbed all the laundry they had and sprinted to the washing area behind the inn. She threw them in a basin and filled it with water using life magic. After washing their clothes with soap, she emptied out the basin and filled it with clean water to rinse them off.
<<<Training Space, Centrifuge – Hyper Weakness>>>
She discreetly used alchemy to clean and then dry them.
There were ways of using life magic to wash and rinse, but they all required a larger tub than the small basin Mariela had. Creating an invisible container using [Training Space] allowed her to use her life magic to quickly finish up their laundry even without a larger tub.
When Mariela returned to the room with clean clothes, Sieg poked his head out from the bathroom.
“Here, I brought you some clean clothes. I’ll just leave these here for you.”
She put it within reach of the doorway and returned to the bedroom. Sieg finished changing and returned to the room, looking extremely apologetic.
Was he apologizing for making Mariela wash his underwear? However, it was more efficient to do the washing altogether, and more than anything, it was embarrassing for Mariela if Sieg were to wash hers. Mariela thought it would be best if they each washed their own respective underwear.
(It’s difficult when two strangers start living together.)
Before going to bed, Mariela started processing the materials they harvested today.
First, Mariela set aside the Apriole leaves. Her alchemy skills could make the process shorter, but it would be best to slowly remove the astringent taste over the course of an entire day.
The Apriole was a tree nut enclosed in a hard shell, and the contents of the shell became the base material of intermediate-class potions. However, the astringent taste was overpowering, and the stronger this taste, the weaker the effect. It was a material that consumed a lot of time to process. There are other materials that can be used for intermediate class base materials, but Apriole seems to be the cheapest. Besides, if properly treated, the effect would be higher than other materials, so Mariela always used Apriole.
<<<Training space, Coarse Crush, Wind Separation>>>
She crushed the leaves of the Apriole and separated the shell using wind.
She took out a relatively large glass container from the junk box and added hot water. Then, she added a Torona ore and the Apriole to the water and heated to prevent the temperature from falling. When the water turned black, she let it cool, emptied the water from the container, and added more clean hot water to the container. As she repeated this process, the Torona ore slowly dissolved. She kept adding hot water until it no longer turned black.
It was a time-consuming process, so she also treated other materials as she waited.
Next was the leafstalk of a Lund. This was an expensive material used to create advanced antidotes. The amount needed to make one antidote cost sixty copper coins at Gark’s Herbal Store. Outside the Labyrinth City, it would cost one silver coin. Among the herbs purchased by Mariela, this was the second most expensive material, only next to the Nagiru sprout used to heal Sieg’s leg. Although Nagiru sprout could produce only a single potion, Lund’s stalk could be used to make as many as 20-25 potions. So, with one leafstalk, Mariela could make one large silver coin.
The Lund’s leafstalk was peeled after being frozen. The leafstalk could be damaged if the temperature rises too high, so Mariela had to control its temperature while drying it.
<<<Training Space, Temperature Control, Crushing, Decompression>>>
If it was decompressed while maintaining a low temperature, the moisture would slowly come out little by little.
Now, for the materials collected today. For the Planada moss, she needed to wash away the remaining soil. Mariela decided to do that out back tomorrow.
She treated the remaining materials collected in the forest and decided it was time to rest for the day.
It was now the next day; the day the potions were due. Mariela was excited to start making potions.
She quickly ate breakfast with Sieg and then locked herself in the bedroom to get started on her work. Sieg sat restlessly on the edge of the bed watching her.
“Is there anything I can do…?”
There wasn’t. What else could he do? Sieg can do whatever he wants, which to him seemed to mean acting more and more like a suspicious man. Sieg offered to do the laundry but then realized Mariela had done them last night.
Sieg seemed unsure of what to do with himself if he didn’t have any work. Oh, that’s right. The Planada moss collected yesterday still hasn’t been treated.
“Please treat the moss.”
“Wash off the soil using well water, not water created by life magic. Be careful not to damage the roots while you’re cleaning them as they are very nutritious. This moss is very valuable, so even if there are very small pieces, be sure not to toss them aside.”
Because it was really valuable, Mariela thought about processing it by herself, but when she handed him the bags filled with moss, he nodded with a big smile on his face.
(Well, I’m sure it’ll be fine.)
Now then, Mariela decided to start with the lower class potions. She used Daisies and Boromintella to create demon repellents, Kyuruke Grass to make low-class potions, and Jibuki leaves and Tamamugi seeds to manufacture low-class detoxification potions.
The lower class potions were all easy to make. Besides the Tamamugi seeds, all the materials were acquired from the garden outside of Mariela’s hut in the Demon Forest. The Tamamugi seeds could be found in wheat fields and are often washed into rivers, accumulating along the riverbanks. However, it was slightly too early in the year to harvest them as the Tamamugi plant begins to seed in autumn. Since it couldn’t be helped, Mariela bought what was available at Gark’s Herbal Store.
Next, the intermediate potions. Mariela took out the Apriole she had treated yesterday. Now that the astringent taste was completely gone, she dried it and turned it into powder for the intermediate potions. She divided the powder up into equal parts for each potion she’d need. She added distilled alcohol to the powder to make intermediate potions and intermediate detoxification potions.
She also combined the alcohol with dried and powdered Demon Jujubes. After removing any excess residue, she soaked the leaves of the Urol flower in this mixture and removed them once the colour of the leaves began to change. If she waited too long, they’d begin to pickle, so she had to time it perfectly.
Kyuruke Grass and Kalgoran were dissolved in drops of life. By mixing these ingredients and concentrating them, an intermediate potion was completed.
For intermediate detoxification potions, combine Jibuki leaves, Tamamugi seeds, and extracts of Fiorkas flowers. However, since she needed to make potions of varying types, the final step was different for each one.
It took a lot more time to produce various potions at the same time. It would be much simpler to make a lot of the same type at once.
Finally, the advanced rank potions. The procedure was roughly the same as the potion that Mariela made for Sieg the other day. And before that, drawing a seal on the potion bottle is necessary for higher ranked potions.
She dug through the junk box to find the Lumine stone and manastone powder. She also took out the slime acid and the Child Creeper’s bulb that they collected yesterday. She needed proper ink to create the seal on the remaining potion bottles. To create this ink, she combined the viscous liquid secreted by the bulb with parts of the Lumine stone that had been chipped off, the slime acid, and the manastone powder. The ink for the potion bottles was now complete. This ink could become dangerous when handled incorrectly, so Mariela placed each bottle in a Training Space before beginning to drawing the seal.
She carved shallow grooves on the surface of the bottle before using the ink to draw the seal in the grooves. The magic circle she drew was designed to prevent the potion from deteriorating. After a while, the ink dried and the manastone powder accumulated in the groove. To finish it off, Mariela used her alchemy skills to reform the glass to cover up the grooves.
Sieg returned just as Mariela was setting up the appliances she’d need to make the actual potions. It seems he had finished washing the Planada moss. He was carrying a large washing tub filled with the moss that had been carefully cleaned. He definitely took his time to carefully wash the moss.
Mariela didn’t even notice that it was already past noon.
Note: 1) Contraceptives in this series are different than those that actually exist. Because this work is fiction, the effectiveness of the real drug may differ. Please be careful.