Magi Craft Meister 595
18 Further Progress Arc
18-15 A Good Harvest
The short autumn days had already receded, and the wind was getting colder.
“Belle, what are you doing today?”
Jin wanted to know if Belle was planning to stay at this house. As far as he could see, it had no proper bed or any piece of furniture suitable for sleeping.
Incidentally, the moment this thought led Jin to wonder what she was going to do for things like lunch and so on, he suddenly heard a cute little roar coming from her belly.
Belle blushed after her hunger was made evident.
“…Listen, Belle, Elsa and I are staying at the village chief’s guest house tonight. Would you like to join us?”
Belle hesitated at Jin’s invitation.
“Don’t worry. If you come with us as a maid, no one will have anything to say about you joining us.”
With that said, Belle could no longer refuse, so she gratefully accepted Jin’s offer.
But at that very moment, someone else arrived on the scene.
“Oh, Master Jin, Lady Elsa… What are you doing here?”
“…The same question goes to you, Barrow.”
“I came to ask Belle to come to my place for dinner.”
Barrow seemed to have been worried about Belle, and so came here with the same plan Jin had.
“Come on, let’s go. Everyone’s waiting for us.”
“What’s with that attitude? Come on. You know my family, they don’t bite!”
Belle glanced at Jin and Elsa while being pulled by the sleeve by Barrow.
“Well, that’s great, Belle. So that means you’ll be spending the night at Barrow’s place, right? …Barrow, make sure to take good care of her, okay?”
“Yes, of course!”
Barrow took the lead and Belle followed, which was the exact opposite of how those two were during their time as butler and maid at Nidou Castle.
Jin and Elsa smiled as they watched them walk away.
“Poor Belle, she looked so sad…”
Elsa muttered those words as if they had escaped her mouth, but then continued.
“…She was like the exact opposite of her usual self.”
“Oh, she must be feeling inferior to all of us.”
Jin explained his theory to the confused Elsa.
“Villages behave like closed mini-societies, in a sense. Being alone in the remains of her home, without a family waiting for her return… She must be feeling quite meager.”
Jin remembered how, back when he was in the orphanage, it would take a while for some of the new children to get used to their new surroundings.
“… Being alone is painful.”
Elsa was reminded of the time when she abandoned her home and was subsequently taken prisoner by the Unifiers.
As the air was starting to get chilly, Jin and Elsa decided it was time to go back to the guest house. Reiko walked silently behind them.
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When Jin returned to the village chief’s guest house, he was met with the harsh reality.
Since this village had a shortage of water supply, there were no such things as bathhouses, and instead of a bathtub, the guest house had showers. Taking a hot bath was something regarded as a luxury that no one could afford.
“Well, if it comes to that…”
Back when they were repairing the pumps, Jin noticed that the wells were about 20 meters deep.
Jin decided to take a look at how things were below the ground just in case.
He first found layers of soil and sand, followed by layers of gravel, and then bedrock. Below that there was yet another layer of gravel, and then bedrock yet again.
The layer of gravel that was sandwiched between the two layers of bedrock was the permeable layer, that is, the layer through which groundwater would normally flow. This was also known as a “perched aquifer”. Since the water inside such formations flows at atmosphere pressure, it won’t rise up to the surface unless it is pumped by an external force.
If the people of this village were to dig a bit deeper, they might hit a pressured layer which would cause water to spring up, but such wells were rather difficult to maintain.
“Hmm, what should I do…”
If too much groundwater were to be pumped up, it could cause some harmful effects, such as ground subsidence. But judging from what he could observe during his probing, Jin felt that there was an abundant supply of water, and since the village had a relatively small population, they would only need to have access to a small amount of that water.
While thinking about such things, Jin continued his underground probing, and soon came across something that piqued his interest.
Copper ores are rich in sulfides, but formations of native copper, which resembles gold dust, can also occur naturally on rare occasions. Such deposits were once discovered in the area of Japan that is now known as Chichibu city, and they were used to produce wado-kaichin, which is among the oldest examples of coinage in Japanese history. There are also records of large deposits of native copper having been found in America, specifically in Michigan and Arizona.
“It’s a little too deep, but we can make an industry out of this.”
Jin immediately went to see the village chief.
Flix Becker, the tax collector, was also there. Jin quickly informed them of the deposits of native copper he had discovered lying deep underground.
“What? Native copper under the ground of this village?”
The village chief was delighted to hear that. Who would have thought that this impoverished village, where only corn and beans would grow, would actually have abundant deposits of native copper sleeping deep below the ground?
“If we can dig it up, it will be very good for this village, and by extension, for this country!”
Flix was also feeling very enthusiastic.
“It’s quite deep underground, though. So you’ll need to be very careful when digging your tunnels.”
Jin’s warning goes without saying.
“Yes, it would require a solid construction made by professionals.”
The copper mines could also bring about a great opportunity for development for this village, but that would be a matter for the future.
“Anyway, here’s the main question.”
Both the village chief and Flix seemed confused. What else was there to say about the native copper deposits?
“Would it be possible to mine enough copper to mass-produce pumps?”
Although there are abundant water veins underground, Jin knew that the village was suffering from chronic water shortages due to a lack of wells.
What Jin wanted to do was to dig a few more deep wells, and to use whatever copper they would mine on the process along with some tin to make bronze, which he would then use to build more pumps.
This is also due to Jin’s personal desire to enjoy a hot bath.
In the past, the Japanese have built baths by creating artificial rivers which would carry the water from natural hot springs to effectively “take the hot springs with them”. And being a Japanese himself, Jin was one hundred percent sympathetic with the idea.
＊ ＊ ＊
Since it was already getting late that day, they would start digging on the following morning.
With Elsa and Reiko as his assistants, Jin started looking for suitable sites for the new wells.The three of them explored various parts of the village, and after finding a spot that looked good enough in the eastern part of the village, they went to the village chief for permission.
“The area you mention is basically a wasteland, and it will take time for us to turn it into a harvestable field. So I don’t mind if you want to do some prospecting over there.”
With the village chief’s blessing, Jin decided this was a good opportunity for him to train Elsa, so he had her use the “Ground Search” spell to do a little probing of her own.
“There’s another bedrock under the first bedrock you can find. We need to investigate that lower layer of bedrock.”
Elsa nodded, and used the “Ground Search” spell.
“…I found it. There is underground water deep below the ground.”
“So you can see it too. We’ll dig a hole for it, but we also need to dig out the native copper above it.”
With this, Jin proceeded to the next step in Elsa’s training, which consisted of actually digging the well. They were able to obtain some native copper, and as they continued to dig, they also found some cassiterite –which is one of the most important sources of tin ore– in another layer. With it, they would be able to make bronze.
Elsa, too, had increased her possessed magical powers since she was cured of her condition. Jin believed that this was probably because her ability to manipulate Ether had increased.
“Whoa, as I’d expected, the Magi Craft Meister’s young sister is also a top-notch Magi Engineer, isn’t she?”
It seemed that Flix, who was observing as Elsa worked, was no longer able to keep that thought to himself.
Then, after about 2 hours of work, which consisted of digging a hole, drilling the well, mining the ore, refining the metal, and building the pump, the installation of the deep well had been completed.
Since setting everything up was a considerable amount of physical work, Elsa had Reiko help her with the heavy lifting, but setting that aside, this training session had proven just how much Elsa’s ability had improved.
Then, Jin and the others set up two more deep wells in the same area.
Jin also helped out this time, so each of the wells were completed in less than an hour. A total of three deep well pumps were installed.
The village chief was overjoyed now that the number of deep wells in the village had doubled for a total of six. Unable to hide his deep feelings of gratitude, he bowed to Jin and Elsa many times, eager to rewarding them for their hard work in any way he could
However, the only thing Jin asked of the village chief was to be allowed to use some of the water from these wells so that he could enjoy a hot bath later that night. Of course, the village chief wholeheartedly agreed.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Ah, the water feels so nice…”
The temperature of the pumped water was 15 degrees Celsius. After using his “Heat” spell to bring it to a temperature more appealing to him, Jin was all set for a nice, hot bath.
He had come to enjoy hot baths even more than before, probably because of his bodily sensations being enhanced after the cells in his body were completely activated. Jin believed that one of the reasons for that was that, when they were inactive, his synthetic cells wouldn’t produce as much dirt as before, but now the need for a hot bath after a hard day of work was stronger than ever as his body would tire and get dirty in a more normal manner.
This feeling, paired with the fact that this was Barrow and Belle’s hometown, made Jin think of his own hometown, a far away place to which he could not return.
Now he had Kaina Village, Hourai Island, and, of course, his “Family”.
“…I’m a very lucky person.”
Jin murmured those words as he looked at Reiko, who was keeping watch near the bathtub he was in.
Soon, the restless stars began to twinkle in the darkening sky.