Magi Craft Meister 583

18 Further Progress Arc

18-03 Desiccant



“However, I’m not that knowledgeable about the topic either.”


Jin was thinking about the three types of desiccants he knew could be actually used.


Silica gel, calcium chloride, and quicklime. Charcoal also had a high capacity for absorbing moisture, but it was not considered among the candidates in this occasion.



As far as he knew, silica gel seemed to be composed of silicon dioxide, or SiO2, but since this silicon dioxide seemed to be present in quartz and rock crystal, Jin didn’t understand how it absorbed moisture, so he discarded it as an option.


Calcium chloride was one of the many solutions found in the bittern that is left over after the crystallization of seawater, so it could be easily produced by separating it from the rest of the bittern. ingredients contained in seawater, so it can be separated from kernels. It could cause a phenomenon called deliquescence, in which it absorbs moisture and melts.


Lastly, Jin knew that quicklime was calcium oxide, apparently made by burning seashells.



Looking at it this way, Jin’s first options were calcium chloride and quicklime.


Each of these  had its own drawbacks, though.


While calcium chloride could absorb large amounts of moisture, its deliquescence process eventually turns it into an aqueous solution, which makes it difficult to handle. Jin figured they couldn’t just leave the thing melting away just like that.


Quicklime, on the other hand, absorbs moisture to form calcium hydroxide, also known as slaked lime, which helps to make acidic soil more alkaline. However, if you pour water over the quicklime, it will generate a sudden heat that could even cause things to catch fire.


Jin remembered a case he heard in the news, back when he was still on Earth, where a bag of quicklime that was left under a leaking roof actually started a fire in that building.


Incidentally, its heat-generating properties are used in self-warmed sake cans.



“…So those are the options.”


Jin was explaining his plan regarding making desiccant to Elsa, Saki, and Toa.


“Hmm, both of them have their pros and cons.”


The impressed Toa shared his thoughts.


“That silica gel thing is going to be difficult to work with even for you, right, Jin? If the choice is between quicklime or calcium chloride, I think quicklime is our best choice.”


Saki favored the quicklime route.


“I think quicklime is good too. It’s fine as long as we don’t expose it to direct contact with water. Calcium chloride looks like it could lead to a dangerous situation if we accidentally spill it.”


Elsa’s opinion was correct. In fact, even on modern Earth, calcium chloride-based desiccants were meant solely for business use rather than for the general public.


“I think quicklime is good too.”


Toa also agreed.


“Okay, then let’s follow that route.”


Being an island, Hourai Island was rich in marine products. A lot of clam-like shellfish could be caught, which would also contribute to Jin’s plan to mass produce miso.


They could also serve as stew ingredients, so there were many reasons for Jin to begin harvesting shellfish.


After all, the Magi Craft Meister couldn’t afford to waste anything that could be used as material.



“Let’s begin with an experiment.”


When calcium carbonate (CaCO3) found in things such as shells and limestone is exposed to a heat of about 1,100 degrees Celsius, the carbon dioxide (CO2) is released from it into the atmosphere, leaving the calcium oxide (CaO) behind.


This was an experiment that was sometimes done in high school chemistry classes in modern Japan.


Jin put a seashell in a crucible made of carbon and used the Engineering Magic “Heat”. As a result, the shell turned into quicklime.


“Oooh, that’s impressive.”


The alchemist Toa found this phenomenon to be very interesting.


“Your Engineering Magic is quite the handy tool, Jin. I wish I could use it myself.”


Saying that, Saki looked into the crucible over Jin’s shoulder. Her hair brushed the tip of Jin’s nose.


On top of having Ehr do her hair for her regularly, she also bathed in the hot springs on Hourai Island every day, so Saki’s hair was now much smoother than before.


After catching the scent of her hair, Jin found himself unusually thrilled by it.


“…Brother Jin, if you pour water on this, will it generate heat?”


Sensing that Jin’s face had turned slightly red, Elsa peered in from the opposite side of Saki’s side and half-forcibly turned Jin’s attention to herself.


“Ah, yes. Let me show you. We’ll move this to this plate over here and pour a bit of water over it.”


As a result, the newly processed quicklime started to let off steam before turning into slaked lime.


“Uhuhu, that’s interesting. Now this is what you call chemistry, huh?”


Saki was genuinely enjoying the transformation, but an uncertain feeling was still lurking inside Elsa’s chest.


As for Jin, he wondered why his heart had begun to beat faster than usual after finding himself so closely sandwiched between the two of them.



“Hmm… Jin, the process itself is simple. So all we need is a cheap material and a cheap method, so that it’s affordable for everyone.”


Toa seemed to have understood the idea. Naturally, production cost was something that had to be considered if production was to take place outside of Hourai Island.


“If I’m not mistaken, we could use limestone as a replacement for seashells. Now, about how to heat it up… well, I don’t think firewood alone is going to get us anywhere near 1,100 degrees Celsius…”


A temperature of 1,100 degrees Celsius would be very difficult to achieve without using carbon fuels and a means to send in oxygen.


“I wonder if we’ll have to use some kind of Magic Tool for this…”


“It doesn’t have to be for personal use, so if we come up with a good enough idea, it would still be profitable, don’t you think?”


Toa agreed. Perhaps because of his seniority, Toa was very good at accounting for these costs. Though Saki thought that it would be nice if his father didn’t give in to his material desires so easily.


“That’s right, it’s exactly as you say, Toa. …We could keep the heater in a black box so that it will disintegrate if you try to remove it…”


It seemed that Jin already had an idea in his mind.


“And what about the limestone? Where can we get it?”


Saki added another question.


“Well, yeah, we still need to figure that out. But I think we could use shells or egg shells at first.”


After answering that, Jin realized that a production plant set up like this would not be able to operate in the Klein Kingdom, as it had no direct access to the sea.


“Hmm… seashells… shellfish…”


As he brooded over it, Jin suddenly remembered something.


“Elsa, wasn’t there something about fossil shells being discovered in Lake Tosumo?”


Jin remembered that in Toscotia, a border town between the Celuroa Kingdom and the Shouro Empire, Berthie’s older brother Matheus had said something about that.


“Yeah, there’s definitely a place where we could get fossils there… Ah, do you think there’ll be limestone there?”


Jin nodded.


“Yeah. If fossils were found there, it means that the area used to be at the bottom of the sea long ago. That means there is a high possibility that we’ll find limestone formations there.”


Limestone was formed by deposits of crinoids, corals, shellfish, etc. in ancient seas. Therefore, the presence of fossils means that there is a high possibility that limestone exists there as well.


“Come to think of it, it’s been a while since the last time I’ve visited the Shouro Empire….”


And then something else came to his mind.


“It’s about time I let Barrow and Belle go back home for once, isn’t it? Also, I should report the events in the land of the demons as well…


He now had more than enough reason.


“Okay, let’s go to the Shouro Empire… Ah, it’ll have to wait at least until the day after tomorrow, right?”


“…Why is that?”


“Because Brother Jin’s treatment will end the day after tomorrow.”


Elsa answered Saki’s question.


“Saki, Toa will you be coming along with me?”


Toa was the one to answer for the both of them.


“No, we should be heading back home as well. Thanks for the offer, though.”


“I see…”


Then Jin asks Elsa the same question.


“I’ll go with you.”


Elsa grabbed the hem of Jin’s clothes tightly and answered immediately.


“Alright. Then I’ll go talk to Barrow and Belle, and after that’s done, I’ll be starting with our preparations. First I’ll go pay Reinhardt a visit… Ah, I’ll talk to him about the desiccant production plant as well…”


While listening to Jin’s rambling, Elsa thought that poor Adberg would be getting a lot of work on his hands soon.



*   *   *



That same day, it was also raining in Kaina Village.


After transferring himself to Nidou Castle, Jin summoned Barrow and Belle.


“Huh? You’re taking us home?”


The two of them exclaimed in unison.


“Will it really be okay for us to leave?”


“Sure, I don’t mind at all. Rather, I’m sorry it took me so long to find a chance to take you back home.”


However, both Barrow and Belle were very excited, to the point where Jin wasn’t sure whether they were even listening to him anymore or not.


“Well, I’d like to go back as soon as possible! Ah, I shouldn’t speak like this here. Let’s just say that I’m very excited for this opportunity!”


“I-Is that so? That’s great. fine. Umm, we’ll be passing through the Egelia Kingdom on the way, so I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as well.”


“Thank you very much!”


As a matter of fact, Regulus 5 of the Quinta he had dispatched to Blueland not long ago, had informed Jin that Count Kuzuma and Beana would be getting married soon, so he wanted to join in the celebration.


Jin shared that information with Barrow and Belle as well.


“Understood. At that moment, we will of course continue to serve you as butler and maid.”


Jin admired how dependable they had shown to be thus far.


“We’ll be leaving in three days. If you have any luggage or presents you’d like to bring along, be sure to start preparing them. It doesn’t matter how much you have, we’ll bring it all along.”




Jin’s “how much” had literally meant that he had no problem taking along as much as they wanted to bring with them, but at the time, Barrow and Belle thought that it had been a bit  that it doesn’t matter how many there are, but the two of them thought it was a bit of an exaggerated phrase that came from Jin’s kindness.


But that wouldn’t change the result. The only one that noticed this was Elsa, who was still grabbing the hem of her Jin’s clothing.

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