Of the 52 gold, Mariela accepted 31 gold and 2 large silvers as her share and signed the document. And with this, the business was done. She had also heard from Lynx this morning: the Black Iron Transportation Corps would be setting off to the royal capital early tomorrow morning and would be expected to return sixteen days later in the evening.
Mariela spoke to Vice-captain Marlowe, who said that he would keep Mariela’s room at Yagu’s Drawbridge until then, that she had determined her address.
“Oh really? Then allow us to send Lynx over as a messenger when we’re back.”
Be that as it may, there were still sixteen days until their next business and she would be busy with moving into her new home and the renovation. She probably wouldn’t be able to make a large batch of potions. She had given her word that she would make no more than what she had this time for their next dealings. And specialised high-grade potion with this time as the basis for the kinds of potion too—Vice-caption Marlowe had requested while glancing at Sieg.
Captain Dierk, who had gone quiet in the latter half, as if he had read the atmosphere, didn’t even mention “Cheers” or anything of the sort when their discussions were over.
She went down to the dining hall with Sieg. Lynx, Ulrich, and the other members of the Black Iron Transportation Corps were eating. Apparently, some red meat fish was on today’s menu; they were asked whether they wanted it as a steak or fried. Both options were marinated and came with a salad.
Since they wanted to try both, Sieg requested for the steak and Mariela the fried option. They went to sit on the same table per their invitation. The steak had no hint of a fishy odour and was covered in fat that was unlike fish. Its refreshing sauce, a combination of citrus juice and intense spices, didn’t leave a greasy feeling after the meal. The fried option was dressed in a sauce that had pieces of roughly diced tomatoes. The batter trapped in the fat of the meat, giving it a rich flavour.
The dishes were so tasty, and yet everyone in the Black Iron Transportation Corps was eating in silence. They might be bracing themselves since they would be going through the Evil Forest from tomorrow. Mariela didn’t understand, but it must be a dangerous journey. They savoured the meal with a solemn mood.
When they finished their quiet meal, the after-meal tea was carried over.
“Both Mariela and Sieg ate everything?”
Lynx suddenly started chatting.
“What do you think today’s fish was?”
“Eh? It wasn’t freshwater fish? The red meat was unusual though.”
“The answer is… SAHAGIN!!!”
She spat out the tea. Some went up her nose.
“You didn’t know, right—You had no idea, right—You thought it was tasty, right—”
“It’s a high grade? Fish? Master’s thoughtfulness?”
“I suppose, apparently it’s amazingly nutritious though! That said— you wouldn’t think that it was edible, right? That thing.”
Sahagin. Well, a bipedal fish. Grotesque and makes a Gyooo sound. As their proportions were similar to humans, she had never thought of wanting to eat, no, never thought of it as food.
(But it was so good. It was so, so good.)
At the grimacing Mariela’s disgusted response, Lynx and the others burst into rambunctious laughter.
“Haah, we laughed. We’ll be up early tomorrow so I’m going to head to bed. See ya, Mariela. Until next time.”
After he stared intently at Mariela’s face, Lynx returned to his room.
Returned to her room, Mariela was deep in thought as she organised her belongings.
She was vigilant in the beginning, but the Black Iron Transportation Corps were all good people. It hadn’t been five days since she had met them, and yet she wanted them to return safely. It was probably because of Vice-captain Marlowe himself that she was reserving the necessary potions. Still, she wanted to be of assistance.
She touched the thick book. Encyclopaedia of the Medicinal Properties of Herbs. Come to think of it, she had heard about the Library today. The reading restrictions of her master were strict, but as if there wouldn’t be something good from unlimited information.
It’s been a long time since she had linked to the library. She freely browsed through the catalogue of useful information.
Delicious Recipes From the Application of Alchemy Skills, Alchemist Items Useful for Home Living, Housework Techniques for an Alchemist Wife….she read up to about here.
Alchemist Sweets. She got into a sad mood here. It called for a lot of a pricey sugar—she couldn’t make any of those at all.
(Ah, I brought some coarse sugar today.)
I can totally make them now, she started to skim through it. It was written in a terribly indirect manner, but it seemed to be a collection of recipes for sweets that have potion effects. What’s this, so amazing. Ahh, but the effect drops by 10 percent and stuff. Yeah, intricate. But it might be a good thing since children can also enjoy bitter potions in a delicious way.
Mariela also made an effort to improve the taste of her potions. She often failed in making something that could be classified as a delicious potion. When she completes a delicious potion without a drop in efficacy someday, she wanted to register it to the library.
She flipped through many recipes. There were things like Outstanding Durability; Regen Candy and Hunt Until Morning; Beastly Night Berserker Chocolate. There were hard to understand recipe names and even harder to understand explanations written down.
At Mariela, who looked lost, Sieg went to ask her what was wrong, so when she spoke to him about the recipes, he asked her back dubiously if she was going to make some. It had to be the strange names.
A lolly that continuously bolsters physical strength for a child weakened from illness, and a chocolate that turns you into a mad warrior when you are surrounded by monsters—they would have to be designed to be a nutritional supplement and a recovery from a hopeless situation, so I think that they are splendid in theory, but why do they have such weird explanations, Mariela said, and Sieg averted his gaze awkwardly.
“Ah, this.”[Cookie of Energy Filled Beginnings
For you who have yet to begin. With the excuse of thanks and greeting, let’s give out this cookie. Exceptionally effective even outside of ley lines! Bursting with energy, they will surely be interested in you. Make complete preparations, so your prey will dangle over your nest, carefully reel them in with your thread!]
Was the author of this recipe a spider or something? She was surprised that there were fellow apprentices that weren’t human. The explanation was hard to understand, but she inferred from the ingredients and recipe that it was a cookie made from ground creeper seeds, so it seemed to increase the medicinal effect with the practitioner’s magic in place of the Drop of Life. The effect of creeper seeds is the recovery from fatigue. The seeds themselves were also high in nutrition, so eating a single seed will make up for a single meal. If you grind the seed into the powder and mix it in, it would end up with a slightly peculiar taste, but crushed tea leaves were added in, probably to give it some fragrance. Tea leaves have a mild arousal effect, so it would probably be the most optimum as a nutrient supplement while you’re on the go in harsh situations.
Since it doesn’t use the Drop of Life, it doesn’t lose its effect outside the ley lines even though it won’t be much higher than normal confectionary. Yeah, let’s try making this.
She also wanted to share some with Grandpa Gark and Miss Amber. Sieg too, of course. With enough ingredients for the number of people, she ground the creeper seeds into powder. She could use the tea leaves she bought from the merchant guild. Next was wheat flour, eggs and butter. Sugar was settled by isolating it from course sugar.
She went down to the dining hall and discussed with Master if he would sell ingredients to her. He gladly portioned some for her and even asked if she wanted to use the kitchen—she declined. Alchemist Sweets was strangely particular about alchemy skills due to the few potion components; it made no use of tools and the oven, the entire process was done with alchemy skills.
Seriously, who’s the author? They’re a weirdo.
Leaving that aside, training (?) start.
《Training Space. Control Temperature. Melt Butter. Blend Magic. Add Sugar. Blend Magic. Control Temperature. Add Eggs. Strong Blend Magic. Scatter and Add Wheat Flour, Seed Powder, Tea Leaf Powder. Blend Magic. Mould. Control pressure. Superheat. Stand. Cool.》
She made it following the recipe. It was easy. Like controlling the temperature to about hot water level, atmospheric temperature and things had lax specifications, and she only had to blend in magic every time she added ingredients. The pressure control midway was to decrease pressure, so air bubbles in the dough could expand; it seemed that it would be crunchy. It was written that a heart-shaped mould was recommended, but she didn’t like that, such an uneven shape was inefficient, so she made them all square-shaped instead.
When she talked to Sieg about the shapes, he said he wanted to eat a heart-shaped one, so she tried making one that way. It was a little difficult. It was asymmetrical, so it was now closer to a daisis leaf. It was amusing, so she tried making a raptor.
Not at all, Sieg. It’s a raptor, but yeah. It does look like a sahagin. Let’s give this to Lynx.
She lined them all in the training space and baked them in one go. Going with the time the recipe stated, they were baked to a faint light brown colour. After cooling them, they were done. When she took them out of the training space, the smell of butter filled the air.
“Let’s eat one. Taste-testing. Taste-testing.”
Sieg bit into the daisis, no, heart-shaped cookie, and Mariela, the square-shaped one.
After the buttery flavour melted on her tongue, the fragrance of tea wafted up her nose. It had the marked taste of creeper seeds, but with the egg, it was transformed into a peculiar flavour.
“Uwahhh, it’s delicious!”
Sieg also seemed to be a fan of it. He took his time nibbling on it, so she offered him another piece, but he said that they came back from eating so this much was good enough. Such a voice of reason. Doesn’t that just make it hard for her to go for seconds?
She cut up the cloth she bought today and wrapped the cookies in it. And so it doesn’t break, she wrapped the sahagin up separately.
Let’s sleep now so she would give it to them tomorrow. She requested Sieg to wake her up if it looks like she would oversleep.
When she tried to go to the toilet before she slept, Sieg stopped her. He pointed to the back garden from the window. There were two human-shaped shadows.
It was Captain Dierk and Miss Amber.
The two locked themselves into an embrace, stared into each other’s eyes, then reluctantly returned to the inn.
When she went down to the dining hall, Miss Amber was serving customers as usual. Did Captain Dierk return to his room—he was nowhere to be seen.
She couldn’t fall asleep in the end that night.
She wanted to believe that it was the effect of the Cookie of Energy Filled Beginnings
Before dawn broke, the Black Iron Transportation Corps headed for their armoured carriage. She didn’t sleep, but she was able to send them off properly.
“Mariela, it’s still night time. Go back to sleep—”
Lynx came to speak to her in his usual tone.
“I made this. It’ll give you energy, so eat it with everyone. Ah, this one is for Lynx to eat.”
She passed the cookie pouches and the sahagin cookie pouch to Lynx.
“No way, are you serious? I’m so happy. Can I open this?”
She couldn’t see his expression in the dim lighting, but it looked like he was overjoyed. He opened the sahagin cookie pouch.
“The answer is… SAHAGIN!!!”
“Are you kidding me?”
It was actually a raptor though. It’s amazing that he got it.
Lynx chomped on the sahagin cookie, said, “Oh, delish. Thanks. I’ll buy you some souvenirs,” and left for his trip.
“So they left.”
After the Black Iron Transportation Corps left, it was now just the two of them.
“It’s, still early. You should sleep.”
She climbed onto the bed with Sieg’s insistence. He pulled the covers up to her chin.
“Is Sieg not sleeping?”
Sieg hesitantly reached out, and gently stroked her head.
“Good night, Mariela,” he said, and left the room.
After he closed the door, he muttered that quietly.