Magi Craft Meister 600

18 Further Progress Arc

318-20 Opal and a Mysterious Mineral

18-20 

 

 

“Oww… My head hurts…”

 

As Saki woke up, she scrunched up her face as her head felt like it had been ran over by a horse.

 

“Miss Saki, you’ve awakened…”

 

“…Ah, Ehr… Can you give me some water…?”

 

Saki continued to hold her head as she took the glass of water that had been presented to her.

 

“T-Thank you…”

 

After drinking the water in one go, Saki felt a little better. Then, once she put on her glasses, which Ehr had handed her, she realized that the one who had given her the glass of water hadn’t actually been Ehr.

 

“…Ah, um…?”

 

“Huhu, did I surprise you? This is my house. My husband brought you here after you drank yourself unconscious.”

 

The woman in her late thirties said that with a smile. Her dark blond hair was casually tied behind her head, giving her a cheerful feel. Her eyes were bright blue.

 

“Uh…”

 

Saki tried to remember what happened the previous night, but it only made her head hurt even more.

 

“You passed out after drinking two mugs of beer. The beer here is much stronger than normal, so it’s no wonder.”

 

It seemed that the beer here was stronger than usual since the town’s fishermen preferred it that way.

 

The strength of regular beer is around 5%, but the beer in this town was said to be over 15%. And since Saki couldn’t handle alcohol very well to begin with, two mugs were more than enough to knock her unconscious.

 

“I’m sure something must be up around you for a young girl like you to come to a place like this to get herself drunk…”

 

Seeing Saki’s face, which had turned pale from her hangover, the woman held out a small cup and urged her to drink from it.

 

Since her head still wasn’t working properly, Saki accepted it instantly and drank it all in one go… only that this time her face was twisted by an intense bitterness.

 

“Huhuhu, yeah, it’s bitter, but it works.”

 

Hangover headaches were said to be caused by substances such as acetaldehyde and acetic acid, which are produced by the decomposition of alcohol and cause blood vessels to dilate, which in turn causes inflammation.

 

The reason beverages such as tea and coffee are recommended to combat a hangover is because they contain caffeine.

 

“It’s just very strong tea. It’ll help you feel better.”

 

“…Thank you.”

 

Her headache hadn’t subsided yet, but Saki’s head had returned to a level where she was able to realize that she was being rude.

 

“My name is Saki. I’m sorry for having caused so much trouble already.”

 

“My, how polite. I’m Rosie.”

 

After their introductions were over, Rosie asked Saki how she was feeling. Saki said that the tea seemed to be working already, and that she was feeling a little better. Rosie smiled and asked Saki to excuse her for a moment before leaving the room.

 

“…Ehr, what did I do last night?”

 

Now that they were alone, Saki asked Ehr about the night before.”

 

“Well, Miss Saki…”

 

Ehr spoke frankly, and briefly recounted how the drunken Saki was about to be kidnapped by those suspicious men, how Ehr fought them off, and how Rosie’s husband Augus later showed up and offered to bring them to his house.

 

“I… I see. Thank you so much for helping me, Ehr.”

 

“All I did was fulfill my duty.”

 

At that moment, the door opened, revealing that Rosie had returned with a bowl of barley porridge.

 

“Here. Take it easy while eating this, okay?”

 

The barley porridge had a gentle taste. Saki felt a warm sensation as she brought one spoonful to her mouth after another.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

This restaurant, “The Fresh Shrimp”, also doubled as an inn, so Saki decided to rent a room in due form for the time being.

 

Rosie and Augus were a bit concerned since Saki seemed to have come to this town only joined by her maid Automata, so they assumed that something was wrong, but both decided against trying to dig too deeply into the matter

 

 

“…Has it been already three days since I came here…?”

 

Saki ended up staying several days around a landscape that was different from the familiar north shore of Lake Tosmo.

 

The lake shore was sand mixed with gravel, and large rocks protruded here and there. It seemed like an ideal place for fishing.

 

“The gravel here is quite something…”

 

Her interest as an alchemist was growing little by little. She asked Ehr to dig a hole 1 meter deep into the ground, and was surprised to find a rainbow-colored mineral.

 

“Is this… opal?”

 

Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica, also known as silicon dioxide (SiO2·nH2O).

 

“Well, since there’s opal here, it means that this side of the lake has igneous rock or other kinds of thermally metamorphic rocks.”

 

Saki knew that the northern shore of Lake Tosmo, where her house was, had of the sedimentary rock type instead, because fossils have been found there in the past.

 

“So this means that the geology is different on both sides of the lake!”

 

After discovering an unexpectedly interesting fact, Saki spent the next two days researching the geological features of Lake Tosmo from her new temporary base in the town of Trom.

 

 

“Hmm, what’s this?”

 

As a result, she ended up finding a strange mineral that she had never seen before.

 

It was a bit like clay but also had quite a rocky texture, and seemed to have small bean-like grains inside.

 

“I should get this to Hourai Island… I’m sure Jin can help me find out what this rock is in no time.”

 

Saki muttered those words while rolling the mineral she had found over the palm of her hand.

 

“…What should I do?”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

In the end, Saki ended up staying another night without reaching a decision. This was her seventh night in a row staying here.

 

As expected, Rosie and Augus were starting to get worried about Saki. To both of them, Saki’s situation seemed critical.

 

Perhaps it was because they didn’t have children of their own, but they couldn’t just leave Saki to fend for herself.

 

“Hey Saki, I don’t know what happened to you, but maybe it’s time for you to go back home, don’t you think?”

 

“Right. Your parents must be worried sick too.”

 

At that moment, Saki revealed her feelings to them for the first time.

 

“…My mother passed away a long time ago, and I’m sure my father is getting along well with his new partner, so it’s fine.”

 

She finished her remark with a forced, almost desolate laugh.

 

Upon hearing that, Augus’ face looked like he was telling “Ah, so that’s what it was” to himself.

 

“I see… So that’s what you’ve been sulking about. That’s why you ran away from home, huh?”

 

“Sulking…? No, I’m…”

 

Without letting her finish, Augus gave Saki a gentle tap on her head with his closed fist.

 

“Nonsense. Why did you stay here all this time, hoping someone would come looking for you? That’s a bit selfish, don’t you think?”

 

Their guess was a bit incorrect, but it was what they believed.

 

“Now that I’ve heard this, I can’t let you stay anymore. Well, it’s already late today, so you can stay here tonight. But please, go home tomorrow.”

 

“Eh? Um…”

 

“That’s right. Starting from tomorrow, we won’t even take your money anymore, so you’ll have to go home, okay?”

 

“…”

 

The two of them had gone on about it while completely disregarding Saki’s intentions.

 

There were other places besides “The Fresh Shrimp” where Saki could stay, but Rosie and Augus’ assertiveness drew a bitter smile onto her face, and tears welled up in her eyes.

 

Though Saki had run out of the house in silence and seemingly not wanting to return, deep inside her heart she was actually looking for a chance to go back home.

 

“…Okay. Thank you, Mrs. Rosie, Mr. Augus.”

 

“There, there, I’m glad you see that too. Well then, I guess tonight we’ll have to flex our skills for you.”

 

Relieved to see that Saki had agreed with them, Augus smiled as he slapped his flexed arm.

 

 

That night, “The Fresh Shrimp” closed its dining room at 8:00 PM.

 

Then, the dinner, which could be called Saki’s farewell party, began.

 

“Here’s to your future, dear Saki.”

 

Augus raised his mug, and Rosie and Saki raised their glasses.

 

Since that night, Sakin hadn’t had a single drop of alcohol.

 

“Thank you. Mrs. Rosie, Mr. Augus. Really, thank you very much for all you’ve done for me.”

 

Now that she had finally decided to go back home, Saki felt like a heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders, and was able to say thank you from the bottom of her heart.

 

“Now I wonder why I was being so stubborn. But I was able to wake up thanks to the both of you.”

 

Now that she had seen it, it was so easy to understand. It had been so selfish of her to run away just to make Toa worry about her.

 

Reinhardt, who Saki had had feelings for, had chosen Berthie as his partner, and now her own father Toa had found himself a new partner.

 

Saki now could only feel ashamed of herself for running away from home as if to try to make someone understand her loneliness.

 

Now, Saki had recovered to the point where she could reflect on what she had been doing wrong.

 

“I wonder what Jin and the others will say when I show them the opal and that other mysterious mineral I found?”

 

With that goal in mind, Saki was now looking forward to reuniting with the others.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

 

“Thank you for taking care of me…”

 

“Take care, dear.”

 

“Come again sometime.”

 

Though she had been with them for a short time, Saki felt a flood of emotions as she got on the ferry.

 

The morning breeze across Lake Tosmo felt nice and cold. Rosie and Augus stood there to see Saki off as the ferry sailed away.

 

Saki kept waving her hands until the two of them were out of sight.

 

 

After arriving at Sagina on the opposite shore, Saki had lunch at a restaurant near the port, and then walked to her house along the lakeshore road. She wanted to double-check the geology of the north shore of Lake Tosmo.

 

Saki wanted to bring back some new discoveries to make up for having disappeared without saying a word.

 

After making sure that the northern bank was made of sedimentary rock, Saki returned to her house.

 

However, contrary to her expectations, it was empty.

 

“…I wonder if they went to see Reinhardt?”

 

She would have been able quickly confirm this by contacting Hourai Island, but for some reason, Saki didn’t feel like it, so instead she chose to use the Warp Gate installed in her house to go to Reinhardt’s “Rankenhaus” via Shinkai.

 

“Master is in the workshop.”

 

A maid that was familiar to Saki told her that when she saw her. As she approached the workshop, she could also hear Jin, Elsa, and her father Toa’s voice.

 

Though a bit hesitant at first, Saki finally peered into the workshop. The first thing that came out of her mouth sounded just like her. The things that had been worrying her for the past week were no longer clouding her usual brightness.

 

“Hey, what are you guys doing?”

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