Magi Craft Meister 603
18 Further Progress Arc
18-23 The Pot Lid
On the night of the 19th, Reinhardt started making arrangements for their plans to build a desiccant production factory in Kartze Village, in the Shouro Empire.
However, on the morning of the 20th, he and the others received an unexpected visit.
A knight of the imperial guard of the Shouro Empire had come as a messenger with an imperial order.
“Since the manufacture of desiccants has become an urgent matter, it has been decreed that a factory will be built in Vanne as a national project. To this effect, the Empire requests the assistance of Reinhardt Randall.”
Reinhardt was perplexed. Where did they catch wind of the idea of building a desiccant factory?
But more than that, he wondered why it was so urgent. So he asked the messenger.
“We have received reports stating that, in the Klein Kingdom, the long autumn rains had caused mold to grow on their grains, which drastically affected the quality of their harvest.
“Understood. I’ll go with you.”
When Jin said so, the messenger knight said that he would promptly inform Her Majesty the Empress about it, and quickly left.
“Well, what should we do with this one here?”
The plans for the desiccant producing plant Jin and Reinhard had been working on were already roughly finished, so they estimated that it should continue to move forward even without them..
“Then let me keep an eye on it.”
Reinhardt gratefully accepted Toa’s offer to stay behind as a technical advisor.
Berthie and Adberg would be enough to take care of all necessary paperwork. Saki and Stearleana also offered to stay and help out in any way they could.
Thus Jin, Elsa, and Reinhardt rushed to get ready to leave.
After having an early lunch, they departed on Jin’s blimp.
“Ooh, the view from the sky is as beautiful as ever.”
Reinhardt was in great spirits after seeing the landscape from the sky for the first time in a while…
“If I ever have time, I’d like to make one of these for my personal use, too.”
Though he quickly grumbled about being very busy with his new duties as lord of this region.
Apparently, there was an airfield for blimps in Koju, so they headed there first.
The trip took about 1 hour. The Imperial Palace could be seen far away in the distance, on the other side of Lake Tosmo.
There were five sphere-like things floating around the Imperial Palace.
“Ah, I’d heard about it, but those must be the hot air balloons developed here in our country.”
It seemed that the Shouro Empire’s Magi Engineers had made them using the ones Jin had gifted them as reference.
Their air sacs had the same coat of arms as the national flag of the Shouro Empire, the “Three Wheat Ears”.
“With those, you can easily tell which country they’re from, huh.”
“Ah, that’s right. Jin. You should come up with your own crest as well.”
Reinhardt then went on saying that since Jin was an honorary knight, there shouldn’t be any problem if he were to have his own crest.
“…Then I think I’ll go with ‘two lines across a circle’.”
“It’s one of the family crests of the country I come from. It’s an abstract shape of two horizontal black lines drawn across a black circle.”
This crest is also commonly known in Japan as “the Pot Lid” because it resembles a traditional wooden pot lid seen from above. A similar crest, the ‘one line across a circle’, was also known as “the Pan Lid” for the same reason.
Both of these crests were linked to the Ashikaga and Nitta clans, from the historical epic “Taiheiki”, which was written during the late 14th century in Japan.
Jin remembered that the headmaster who raised Jin at the orphanage had told him that the family crest was based on the same character for “Ni (二)” used in his own last name, Nidou.
“Oh, it’s quite simple, but that makes it easy to understand at a glance.”
“Yeah, that’s what I think. The fact that it’s abstract might actually make it stand out.”
Elsa nodded as well.
Therefore, Jin decided that he would talk about it with the Empress once they visited her later.
The soldiers in the balloons seemed to recognize Jin’s face and saluted him. They were wearing protective glasses on their faces.
It seemed that they were used as both windbreaks and as a means to avoid getting dust into their eyes while airborne.
Welcomed by the five hot-air balloons, Jin’s blimp landed at Koju Square, the site where the Technology Expo had been held.
There was also a new “bollard” installed there for mooring blimps, balloons, and similar aircrafts.
“Welcome, Magi Craft Meister, Sir Jin Nidou.”
They were then greeted by Degauss Furt von Manishlas, Minister of Magic and Technology of the Shuoro Empire and owner of a large aquiline nose.
“What do you think of our hot air balloons? They were made with the best of our country’s technology.”
After a few greetings, Degauss asked Jin’s opinion.
“Yeah, I think they’re very well made. s a good result. I can picture them being able to fly almost anywhere.”
“Ah, I’m glad to hear that from you, Sir Nidou. …I’m sure you’ve heard, but we’ve received orders to set up a ‘drying agent’ manufacturing factory near here in Koju.”
“So I have.”
“Then, we have set up a dormitory for you here. I’ll introduce you to the people who will be working on this project with you there.”
Once they arrived at the dormitory, Jin, Elsa, and Reinhardt were introduced to Vice-Minister of Magi Technology Christoph Barde von Tarnert, who was going to be involved in the construction of the factory.
He was joined by three other young Magi Engineers, who introduced themselves as Kiringer, Salzbach, and Budwight respectively.
Jin and the others started by laying out the experimental tools they had prepared, and showed them how to make quicklime from limestone, and how the quicklime that was produced was water-absorbent.
“Hmm, interesting. This alchemy… no, this ‘science’.”
Christoph, as well as the other three young men, had also studied under “Führer”, the automata Jin had given the Shouro Empire for educational purposes.
“We have already planned the shape of the furnace we’ll need for this factory, as well as the materials we’ll need to make it.”
While Reinhardt explained this to the other four, Jin took out the piece of parchment where they had written the plans for the furnace, and spread it over the table.
“I see, this doesn’t seem to be something that you can just make bigger in order to get more out of it.”
“Rather, I think it would be best if we were to arrange several of these furnaces in tandem.”
“We would also need airtight containers and storage to keep the finished quicklime from absorbing moisture from the environment.”
“Keep in mind that our miners need to wear a mask when digging for bauxite to ensure that they don’t inhale its dust.”
In this way, the meeting went on smoothly until it started to get dark outside.
At night, there was an uproar in the lodgings.
Having heard that Jin was here, the Empress flew over after finishing her government affairs.
“Sir Jin Nidou, thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”
“I, umm… I’m simply acting in response to having heard about the mold situation in the Klein Kingdom, where I received the title of Magi Craft Meister. I will do everything in my power to help out.”
Since the guard knights and the mayor of Koju were also present, Jin couldn’t address the Empress in a casual tone.
“Yes, that is exactly what this is all about. We are to help the Klein Kingdom with this situation, as it is something that could happen to our country as well. So we have decided that this is a plan worth promoting as a national affair.”
Jin was impressed by the Empress’ decisiveness in this matter. It also made him wonder how long it would have taken for the Japanese government to make a decision like that. Of course, that didn’t mean that Jin thought that the government of his home country was all bad, but he still preferred the Shouro Empire in that regard.
The work for the day was finally over after Jin recreated his experiment to create quicklime before the Empress.
Taking this opportunity, Jin reported to the Empress that his crest would be “two lines across a circle”.
“I think it’s a fine choice. No other country has such a crest. You could say it’s the peak of simplicity. I think it’s perfectly suitable for the Magi Craft Meister.”
The Empress also praised the design. She then agreed to have it officially registered as “Lord Jin Nidou’s crest.”
“Anyway, there is something I want to show you, Sir Nidou. I would also like to give you the reward money I received the other day, so would you come to Loizart after your work here is done?”
The Empress seemed to be quite secretive about what she said she wanted to show Jin…
“It’s related to a state secret.”
…To the point that she had to resort to saying that to prevent him from inquiring into the matter any further.
Jin then asked if he could go the day after tomorrow or the day after that.
Getting this desiccant factory going was originally a mission for Reinhardt, so Jin was actually free to go whenever he wanted to.
“Jin, go with Her Majesty. I can manage things here on my own.”
Reinhardt was also considerate enough to say that, but Jin didn’t want to be half-hearted about the project either, so he replied that he would stay with them until the prototype furnace was completed.
＊ ＊ ＊
After that, the prototype furnace was finished, and two days later they were able to confirm that it could produce quicklime successfully.
Then, just like Jin said, three days later, on October 23rd, Jin had decided to leave for Loizart as soon as he had finished his breakfast.
“Thank you for everything, Jin. See you later, Elsa.”
“See you later, Reinhardt. Please take care of the rest. And good luck.”
“Good luck, Brother Rei.”
Even though Loizart was only 20 kilometers away in a straight line, Jin had set his mind on going there by blimp.
Once they got to the airfield, Jin spent a few moments painting his new crest, which he had already sketched in his spare time on his blimp’s air sac.
Thus Jin and Elsa headed for the capital, Loizart, on a short flight.