Magi Craft Meister 596

18 Further Progress Arc

18-16 A Sudden Visit

 

 

It was the morning of October 13th.

 

A message suddenly arrived at Magiroots Village on this day.

 

“Her Majesty the Empress Gelhart Hilde Von Rubies Shouro will be visiting the village.”

 

“What?”

 

The village chief could not hide his surprise, and the tax collector, Flix, went suddenly pale.

 

This message was actually a reply to Flix’s own report, which he had sent by carrier pigeon two days prior.

 

He had reported to the Empire that “The Magi Craft Meister, Sir Jin Nidou, has arrived in Magiroots Village”, but he hadn’t thought that it would be such a big deal.

 

He didn’t know that the Empress held the Magi Craft Meister in such high regard.

 

“No way… have we been found out…?”

 

But the reason why both of them were so flustered about the Empress’ visit was that the tax collector Flix Becker and the Magiroot village chief had actually conspired with one another to embezzle some of the tax revenue. However, it was for a small amount, one that any tax collector would do.

 

However, fraud was still fraud, so if it was discovered, both of them would be subject to penalty.

 

Flix had planned to score some points with the Empire by letting them know that the Magi Craft Meister had arrived as soon as possible, but he had never imagined that it would cause the Empress herself to come to the village.

 

Though, as they say, “suspicion begets monsters”, and the Empress was just coming to see Jin.

 

 

Jin was also slightly surprised to hear the news.

 

“…Her Majesty is a bit reckless, isn’t she?”

 

Was it really okay for someone as important as Her Majesty the Empress of the Shouro Empire herself to be going to such a remote village so casually…? Elsa quickly followed up on Jin’s remark.

 

“Her Majesty’s always been like that. She enjoys doing tours around the distinct regions of the country from time to time.”

 

After a brief pause, she continued her explanation.

 

“Throughout her reign, the Empress has conducted these imperial visits at least once for each region, and she has gone as far to visit some regions six times already.”

 

“Hmm…”

 

Jin remembered that, back in his world,  His Majesty the Emperor of Japan would also make frequent visits and tours to various rural areas of the country.

 

“But still, to come all the way here…”

 

“Well, that’s because you’re here.”

 

“Yeah…”

 

Jin didn’t dislike the Empress, and even held her in high regard, but he couldn’t stop feeling bothered by the fact that their social standings were so different that he had to act all formal and ceremonious around her.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

Early in the afternoon of that same day, the Imperial Carriage arrived at Magiroots Village, joined by 25 members of the Imperial Knight Platoon.

 

Since one of those knights had actually come to announce the Empress’ arrival one hour ago, all of the villagers that were available… that is, all of the villagers, came out to welcome her.

 

“Her Majesty the Empress of the Shouro Empire!”

 

At the same time one of the knight’s voices echoed, the door of the carriage opened and the Empress stepped out.

 

“My, what a reception. Please, raise your heads, everyone.”

 

When Jin raised his head –which he had bowed deeply–, he saw the Empress smiling brightly at him.

 

“Magi Craft Meister, Sir Jin Nidou.”

 

The Empress walked up to Jin.

 

“It’s been a long while since our last meeting. But above all, you seem well.”

 

“I apologize for having neglected to contact you for so long, Your Majesty.”

 

Jin tried his best to sound as formal as he could. But the Empress didn’t seem to like his approach.

 

“Oh, no… Everyone, please. We’re not in the Imperial Castle. I can’t expect you all to treat me like any other of your neighbors, but please… try to behave as normally as possible.”

 

Everyone was surprised to hear such unconventional instructions coming from the Empress herself.

 

“Your Majesty…”

 

That worn-out sounding voice belonged to Degauss Furt Von Manishlas, the Minister of Magi Technology, who had a prominent aquiline nose. He seemed to have joined the Empress on her tour.

 

“I’m not trying to take formality lightly, Degauss. But I’m sure you’ll agree that placing more importance on form than necessary will lead to all of us taking much longer to say what we want to say, right?”

 

“Yes, I understand…”

 

He could sympathize with the Empress’ opinion when it came to formal ceremonies and procedures. Still, although the Minister of Magi Technology as a statesman felt that formality was there to show the dignity and magnitude of a politician, and as such there were some things that couldn’t be considered “unnecessary”, he breathed out a sigh while keeping his thoughts to himself.

 

Jin, on the other hand, welcomed the fact that he didn’t have to be so formal around the Empress on this occasion.

 

 

“…It’s really been quite a long while, Jin.”

 

Shortly after that, Jin was chatting with the Empress in a marquee set up on the outskirts of the village.

 

The Empress, her secretary, Minister Degauss, and an escort female Knight, as well as Jin, Elsa, Reiko, and Edgar were inside this large tent.

 

“It seems that you’re doing well too, Elsa. I’m glad to see that.”

 

“Thank you very much.”

 

“I feared that you’d be feeling down after the ruin of your parent’s house, or your father’s illness, but it seems that’s not the case. I guess it’s because Jin is by your side.”

 

“Yes.”

 

The Empress seemed a little surprised to hear Elsa respond so quickly and with such assertiveness to her remarks, which she had said half-jokingly, but she immediately smiled.

 

“Huhu, is that so?”

 

After looking at both Jin and Elsa’s faces, the Empress made a face that looked like that of someone that had understood everything.

 

 

“First of all, allow me to thank you once again for giving ‘Führer’ to us. Every single one of our key officials are happily attending his lessons.

 

“Führer” was the name of an Automata Jin had gifted to the Shouro Empire to facilitate the propagation of scientific knowledge, even though it was only natural science and mathematics at an elementary school level.

 

Minister Degauss opened his mouth as if he had waited for the right timing to speak up.

 

“I actually have a question related to these teachings. Could I bother you with it for a moment?”

 

“Sure, go ahead.”

 

“Thank you. …So, there are so many things that dissolve in water, correct? Salt, sugar, and so on. But sand, for example, doesn’t dissolve in water. What’s the difference here? Why do some things dissolve in water while others do not?”

 

His sharp question quickly popped Jin’s balloon of thoughts.

 

Jin thought hard about how to explain this without delving too deeply into the concepts of atoms and molecules, which was foreign to the people of this world.

 

“Hmm, that’s quite a difficult question. You do know that matter comes in three states: solid, liquid, and gas, correct?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, you see, solid matter is made of minuscule grain-like particles.”

 

“Oh…”

 

This was something that could not be explained with elementary school-level science, and so it wasn’t included in Führer’s curriculum.

 

“For example, you can know how sand and clay become harder by adding water to them?”

 

Jin explained that, in this case, a grain of sand is the “smallest unit of solid matter.”

 

Both the Empress and the Minister of Magi Technology listened to Jin’s explanation in silence.

 

Jin looked at them and started thinking about what kind of analogy he could use to help them understand the concepts he wanted to explain.

 

“So, the difference between a soluble solid and a solid that doesn’t dissolve so well is whether or not these small particles can stick to each other easily.”

 

Both of them nodded in unison as Jin explained that sand and clay differed in how easily they crumbled after being hardened like that.

 

“I have yet to find a way to explain everything related to what makes it easy for these particles to stick to each other, though. I lack the necessary technical knowledge to be able to do that.”

 

Jin made it clear that there were things that even he didn’t fully understand. Even though he was aware of concepts such as intermolecular forces, he had absolutely no confidence in being able to explain them.

 

“We study science so we can unravel mysteries such as the one you’ve just presented. That’s why it’s very important to keep asking ourselves these kinds of questions. It helps develop our scientific knowledge.”

 

Thus he concluded his explanation.

 

“I understand. Thank you.“

 

Jin was glad to see that the Minister had a strong desire to learn, and was looking forward to seeing how his studies would produce in the future.

 

“Thank you, Jin-kun. So there are some things even you don’t know about, aren’t there?”

 

“That’s right. Just looking around this world makes me think about all the things I still do not understand.”

 

The Empress smiled at Jin’s words.

 

“Huhu, you’re so humble.”

 

Once the conversation had reached a pause, the Empress’ secretary placed a cup in front of everyone. Jin was pleased to see that it was green tea. It seemed that the Empress had kept Jin’s preferences in mind.

 

 

After the tea break, the conversation resumed, this time with a more businesslike tone.

 

“I just heard this from the village chief… Is it true that there is copper to be mined under this village?”

 

“Yes. There is a layer of bedrock at a depth of about 12 meters underground. I was able to find some deposits further below it, at a depth of about 18 meters.”

 

“That’s good news. But it may be impossible for this village to handle this on their own, so we should get the appropriate department on board and have them do the mining.”

 

The secretary quickly took some notes.

 

“Well, there’s something you should know regarding that. …I have already dug out three deep holes in this village and created some pumps with the resulting copper.”

 

“Yeah, I heard that too. Don’t worry about it. It’s not like you had put the copper you mined into your own pocket, after all. If anything, I should be thanking you for doing that work for us without any promise of compensation of any kind.”

 

“Thank you. Though, to be honest, all I wanted was to be able to enjoy a hot bath during my stay in this village.”

 

After hearing those words coming out of Jin’s mouth, the Empress suddenly burst out laughing.

 

“Uhuhu, you really are something, Jin. Simply because you wanted to enjoy a hot bath, you ended up finding an underground deposit of native copper, then you just went ahead and dug it up so you could make pumps. You can’t find someone like that just about anywhere, I’d say.”

 

Jin felt embarrassed after hearing the Empress complimenting him like that. Still, he took this chance to say that although the installation of pumps was progressing, he was concerned about  the lack of capable maintenance personnel in the village to help keep the pumps in top condition.

 

“Certainly. We’re currently installing some of these pumps in our deep water wells at a rapid pace. Though we can’t seem to be able to catch up to you… But still, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I’ll keep them in mind.”

 

The Empress assured Jin that she would take his concerns into account regarding the installation of pumps throughout the country.

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