Just as one problem is resolved, another one appears……
ED: xtostos, eristol
We went to a room which was left as it was when we were preparing the lunch earlier.
Tirnanog and I and also Auguste, our guest of honor, made a bee line to the big table.
Auguste looked on with great interest at Gilbert’s belongings piled up on the chair that was pushed to a corner.
“Magic scrolls and Flora Magica illustration book, huh? This place is like a mage’s workshop.”
“Yes, that’s roughly correct.”
Gilbert is an alchemist who has also taken a class about magic, so it was not that far from the truth.
Scrolls and the illustration books were the belongings of Gilbert’s partner who was a mage.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
While I was talking with Auguste about such a thing, Harold, who was wearing an apron, came into the room.
On the hand-made silver tray, there are porcelain tea cups with a blue pattern on them which have just been created by Gilbert as prototypes.
The painting is simple due to making it in a hurry, but the fine brushwork is something to be expected of a craftsman.
The teapot is a porcelain made of white ceramic glaze which generally appears in the market.
He probably wanted to mold the prototype in a short time, so he avoided making a teapot with a complicated shape.
This made the exquisiteness of the material used for the cups stand out.
Harold arranged the cups in front of each person and poured in the tea.
The dark orange color of the tea he chose further complemented the whiteness of the porcelain.
“Here you go, Your Highness Auguste.”
“Heeh, I thought it was a jade bowl cut out from a mutton fat jade from the distance, but it’s not. This is an artifact.
Of course it’s not pottery either. It’s too thin and it’s obvious if I compare the color tone.
I remember. I have seen something similar to this in the treasury.”
Auguste raised the corner of his lips a little and smiled happily.
“Erica, the one who was hiding the white porcelain alchemist I heard from rumors, was it you?”
“No way. We were just collaborating when I met him by chance.”
“That was also……a mysterious coincidence, huh?”
As expected, I can’t say that our connection was made by chance while I was crushing my death flag.
I laughed ambiguously to gloss over it.
Auguste lifted the cup and brought it to his mouth quietly with graceful movements.
This prince’s style looked like that of a beautiful girl as usual, he became a painting just by drinking tea.
A certain cat would have wanted the still of such a scene.
While putting down the cup in his hand, he murmured calmly.
“Speaking of porcelain, I thought that they were only ridiculous items that are held in the treasury.
For example, a large vase about a person’s height, or a big plate where a crouching child can hide their entire body.
However, this one is like a jewel that fits in my hand.”
“I’m pleased that you like it.”
“Aa, the tea is also wonderful.”
Since it would be wasteful if it gets too cool, I also sipped my tea.
This black tea is a summer-pick Darjeeling with a smell like muscat grape.
Refreshing and with a strong flavor.
The smell and taste that the royal aristocrats of Ignitia seem to like.
“And this picture is also very beautiful. It’s a white ceramic with blue pomegranate pattern.”
“You have discerning eyes. This is a classic pattern that was prevalent in the eastern continent, Zygos1, a long time ago, Your Highness.”
Harold added complementary information to Auguste’s careless remarks.
Thanks to painting with Gilbert, Harold was also getting deeper into the eastern culture.
“And then? How much should I buy this for?”
Auguste asked straight away, while sending a provoking stare.
Although I thought that royalty and titled nobility with eyes for beauty will really get into porcelain, this starting topic was too to-the-point.
I reflexively wanted to shrink back, but I regained my composure and replied.
“This is still an experimental prototype, so we cannot sell it.
In any case, as this will be the main industry of the Nibelheim territory, you should be able to purchase vessels tailored for a variety of uses.”
“I see, that’s a shame. I can’t wait for the commercialization.”
“And besides, we plan to offer Auguste-sama a better vessel than this one.”
When I said so with a light smile, Auguste stared into my eyes with a surprised expression.
“An offer? I feel somewhat included, but what are you plotting?”
“No, no, we just want to offer such things like large vase, ornamental plate and tableware. It’s enough for us if you can use it normally.”
“Hm, it’s an especially rare beautiful vessel. It’s wasteful for the royal family to be the only one who enjoys this.
If this is used for tableware anyway, I would like to use it in a special place. I see……to make me think so, that’s your intention, huh?”
Auguste narrowed his eyes and looked at me confidently.
As expected, he is a person with a good judgement.
“Erica, you plan to let the entire continent learn of the existence of this porcelain through our royal family, do you not?”
“Yes. It’s helpful that this conversation will be quick.”
Auguste seems to be enjoying the secret plan.
It seems that my strategy to fuel his curiosity and make him interested was successful.
“I would like to popularize porcelain as a product used by every level, not just as collections of the royal aristocracy.”
“Every level approach, huh……to what extent?”
“Literally every person can use it without distinguishing between rich and poor.”
“If we approach from that angle, the culture itself will change.
That is very interesting, how can we spread it to the people?”
“Trends come down from the top. If the royal family uses porcelain tableware, the noblemen who see it will also wish for it.
Then, you would want a distinguished family in each field to enter and exit the noblemen’s houses.”
“Hmm, if every distinguished family uses it, it will also spread to the people, huh?”
The future where everyone will use porcelain, which Gilbert envisioned in his mind.
What I am about to do is a little boost for that future.
“Sounds good. I may as well ride on your plan.”
“Thank you very much, Auguste-sama.”
“However, if I am to use it at a ceremony or a banquet, I would like a basis that can convince my father.”
“Should I explain its advantages and origin? Or is it for building your official position?”
“If anything, I would like it to be appropriate for an official stance.
If we show him the actual thing, it should be easy attract my father’s interest as an individual.
However, in order to employ His Majesty the King for this, I need another push.
To be more precise, I want a basis for my father to convince his retainers.”
Indeed, there is a reason for that demand.
Silverware is the main material used for the current banquet.
Although it has already become a mere formality because of the advancement of magic, there are meanings in using silver such as to prevent poisoning2.
If it turns into tableware made of porcelain suddenly, they will want a reason.
One should hide one’s original aim and induce people’s consciousness with a topic that is easy to sympathize with.
If we need such a scenario, there is nothing but that subject matter.
“If not for Auguste-sama, the porcelain could not have been produced again……how about it?”
“Ooh~ that’s interesting, but you cannot lie, lies are—”
“No, no, I wouldn’t dare. That’s the full-fledged truth, you know?”
I briefly told Auguste the story of Gilbert’s escape.
Auguste was listening with an unreadable, mysterious expression.
“Hm, so the man named Gilbert of the Turm family was in the Island of Messenger at that time, huh?
What a strange coincidence.”
Auguste closed his eyes as he sipped his black tea from the thin porcelain cup.
His long eyelashes cast shadows on his white cheeks.
“Speaking of Turm family, is that the wealthy merchant family of Knot Reed who descended from a distinguished family of mages and deals with shipbuilding and marine transportation?”
“And also maritime insurance and weapons production.”
“One of the most prominent north-western family who owns Water Palace and is producing influential people in various fields.
The Turm family will declare Ignitia’s position as benefactor by offering porcelain as a form of repayment to the debt of gratitude received by their youngest son.
I see, it’s a good card. Many lords will be convinced.”
Auguste smiled like a mean person.
I slowly shook my head.
“If seen from the backside, it may be so.”
“Hou, in that case, how is it seen from the frontside?”
“Their important son had saved the life of someone no one had been aware of.
If they listen to this story, the King and the Queen will be pleased for certain.”
I remembered Palug’s joy and said so.
Auguste averted his eyes from me and sipped his black tea to gloss over it.
For some reason there is an embarrassed air and I feel that his cheeks are red.
“No way, that kind of approach is……”
“If you listen to the story as it is, that’s the kind of interpretation you should get, you know?”
“That’s true, but I was talking about the political influence……aah, jeez, you win.”
Auguste switched to a friendly smile.
Somehow I can feel that he is happy from the bottom of his heart.
The chaos that he caused has unexpectedly helped someone, for him, it has to be a pleasant thing.
“Well then, on the occasion of my victory, may I be impudent for a bit longer and request something else?”
“Oops, there’s no chance to be careless, huh? Well, you can ask me as much as you want.”
“Could you allow us to stamp the crest of the Ignitia royal family in all the works made in the furnace of Turm and Nibelheim as a proof of loyalty to the Ignitia royal family?”
It is something that I often saw in the previous world.
With this, we can receive the unprecedented honor of having the royal family’s seal in the workshop.
It is the so-called royal warrant.
“I see, you seek to add special value to the porcelain.
And for the royal family, we can demonstrate our power by hinting at our involvement in having gathered the essential technologies for the porcelain production.
Besides, since we are going to use whatever porcelain offered to us, the one with the highest rating is better.”
“You’re very quick on the uptake, this saved me some trouble.”
“Alright. I will talk to my father.
Well, since there is no reason for my father to refuse, as long as we can talk, I will be able to get the approval quickly.”
“Thank you once again, Auguste-sama.”
I bowed to Auguste.
Harold, who had been listening to our conversation quietly, sighed in relief.
“Uhaah……that was somewhat amazing, it surprised me.
I thought we were only going to sell it, then suddenly we got the honor to offer it to the royal family.
Something like rewriting our culture, and including the awe-inspiring crest of the royal family in the porcelain among other things.”
“I’m glad, Harold. The Nibelheim family will also be saved with this, right?”
“It feels unreal……everything went without a hitch in such an anticlimactic way……”
Harold sighed deeply again, wiping his forehead with his sleeve.
It seems that he was getting too nervous, he is sweating badly.
Oh well, I was able to pull out overwhelmingly favorable conditions in our transaction, so it is good.
On the other hand, Auguste was enjoying his tea with a relaxed appearance.
“Well~ I was wondering what sort of conspiracy I would be involved in, but it was kind of normal.”
“There are other good stories for Auguste-sama. This is the blue used for painting this porcelain, but in reality—”
Then we talked about using cobalt oxide for restoring the stained glass of the church, tasted the tart we forgot to eat, then Harold who regained his state began his tourist guide recommendation for Town of All Kinds of Goods for Ignitian people, Auguste saw the workshop’s golems, all in all we had a nice chat.
I was looking at everyone’s faces and felt relieved that the destruction of the Nibelheim family could be avoided if the situation went on as it was.
The time was early evening and orange light was coming from outside the window.
Our long and fun tea party was about to end soon.
I asked Auguste.
“I think I will return to the Water Palace soon, what about you, Auguste-sama?”
“Nn~ that’s right. The dragon has returned temporarily, so I think I will enjoy going downstream in a boat.”
“Then, let’s go together—”
Just as I tried to reply.
The grounds shook violently in a big way.
I became concerned, because almost no earthquake ever occurred on Ichthyes continent.
Unlike the volcanic archipelago where I lived in my previous life, there are only few active volcanoes and faults here.
No, to begin with, I feel that this way of shaking is different from an earthquake. Then what is it?
“The ground is shaking……?”
“Oops, in such cases, you shouldn’t panic.
The tremors won’t be limited to only one time. Let’s open the doorway for now.
Harold, you are to check the places where fire is likely to break out.”
In contrast to Harold, who was feeling shaken, Auguste was calm.
The moment each of us tried to move according to his instructions, a roaring sound like a lightning strike reverberated.
The slatted shutter was rattling from wind which was blowing violently outside the workshop.
Tirnanog started running quickly and opened the door without being frightened by the roaring sound.
Heated air flowed in from the opening of the entrance.
“What!? What happened!!”
『Look at that! The other side!』
Tirnanog pointed outside the building.
We ran towards him and saw the abnormal sight.
On the other side, a huge fire pillar was rising.
Torrent of fire was blowing up to the sky.
In the periphery of the fire pillar, I could see the sparkling remnants of a fading magic circle.
Was it a magic accident at some workshop, or was it a spontaneous discharge of fire magic?
『This is not the atmosphere of a forest fire.』
“Why……on the other side there is only an ancient ruin……”
I felt chills running down my spine as I heard the words that came out of Harold’s mouth.
As I exchanged glances with Tirnanog, it seemed that he had noticed it too.
Magical flame, ruins.
The ominous keywords are all present.
Perhaps, we were too late in dealing with this.
Assuming that the place where this incident happened is in the aforementioned ruins of military weapons, is Actorius-sensei okay?
Actually, this is a very dangerous situation, right?
“Your Highness Auguste, Erica, make sure to escape to my family’s castle.
I will not let any of you get injured even by chance!
I will prepare the horses!”
Harold said so and ran to the stable.
Auguste slung his bag around his shoulder and Tirnanog was also preparing to move quickly after lifting a heavy bag.
I watched the porcelain that was left in place, but as soon as I heard the footsteps of the horses, I left the room with both of them.
As long as there are Gilbert’s technology and the material of the Nibelheim territory, it can be reproduced as much as we want.
The horses on Gilbert’s grounds were a dapple-gray horse and a black horse.
Harold rode on the gray horse with Auguste.
I rode on the black horse with Tirnanog.
『Erica, stop worrying about it. Your safety is the top priority.
Trust the gray mage. He is excellent regardless of his appearance, isn’t he?』
“You’re right, thank you.”
I nodded a little after hearing Tirnanog’s words.
While hiding the anxiety in my chest, we let the horses gallop to the Castle of Light.
1 Zygos means Libra in Greek. It’s the name of the eastern continent. So now we have Ichthyes (Pisces), Karkinos (Cancer), and Zygos (Libra).
2 Silver is said to be able to reveal poison, although it only works if the poison was sulfur based, because silver tarnishes on contact with sulfur due to its reactivity.
By the way, from now on, Cascadia will be Casketia. This was actually me mistranslated since the beginning. キャスケティア is obviously Casketia =__= this is why you should check hundreds of times and not take google translate at face value.